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June 26, 2014

Open thread 198
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 03:29 PM *

There are many ways that the Dutch are unusual about bicyles. The one that struck me most recently, though, is nomenclature.

Most terms that I know of for this device fall into four rough categories:

  1. Borrowings and derivatives of the French vélocipede, or “fast foot thingie”
  2. Borrowings and derivatives of the German Fahrrad, or “travel wheel” (including the less-common Dutch term, rijwiel)
  3. Borrowings and derivatives of the English bicycle*
  4. Terms that belong to the Emperor Comprehensible exceptions, such as the Polish Rower, which comes from the proper name of a bicycle manufacturer

The Dutch term, fiets (pronounced as an English speaker would say “feats”), doesn’t appear to fit into any of those categories. Indeed, it’s one of the biggest etymological mysteries of the language, which results in an Etymologie section of the Dutch Wikipedia page stretching over nearly 600 words. The seven paragraphs lovingly detail the dialect terms in various regions of the Netherlands, several French words that could have been corrupted into the word, and the identities of manufacturers whose names sound similar, before giving up and admitting that nobody knows†.

The only analagous etymological mystery of national importance I can think of is America.

* Of course it’s made up of Latin and Greek terms. What could be more English than a bastard assembly of morphemes from several foreign languages whose original speakers would never have considered using them in conjunction with one another?
† It does not, alas, include the theory that Martin advanced, which is that it’s onomatopoeic, possibly from the sound of trouser legs brusing against one another. My response was that an onomatopoeic term for a bicycle in Amsterdam would be thunkRATTLEscrapeSQUEAK.

Continued from Open thread 197. Continued in Open thread 199. Unsurprisingly. One day we’re gonna do something weird and you all will be totally flummoxed.

Comments on Open thread 198:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:02 PM:

ROFLMAO at the onomatopoeic term for a bicycle in Amsterdam!

#2 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:03 PM:

"The Revolution is like a bicycle. If it doesn't move forward, it falls over."

From a Louis de Funès movie.)

#3 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Probably also has nothing to do with "Fiets, don't fail me now!"?

#4 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:26 PM:

I am so glad to have the word bakfiets. I love it. I love it so much. I think of it sometimes, usually associated with bicycles and my failure to ride the one I have (anywhere I'd want to bike, I can also walk without having to buy a helmet or get into better condition or buy a helmet) but it's a pleasant word that has good associations for me, entirely due to Abi. I am probably never going to get one, but I love that it exists.

#5 ::: Miramon ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:32 PM:

Re America, are you saying:

a) you dispute the received knowledge the continents are named after Amerigo Vespucci

b) you think Vespucci wasn't important enough to deserve two continents being named after him

c) you don't know why someone would choose to name the continents with Vespucci's first name instead of his last

Just curious, no particular bias of my own....

#6 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:41 PM:

The Dutch term, fiets (pronounced as an English speaker would say “feats” feets)

OMG ROTFLMAO. The Dutch word for bike is feets.

"You came fast! How did you come? On fiets?"

"No, sir, rode my bike."

(And of course the funniest bit is that all the Dutch I've ever talked to spoke better English than I did.)

#7 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:44 PM:

I have heard other theories, though it does appear that the Consensus of the Internet is that it is Vespuggi. I am not deeply emptionally affected either way, though I think I will leave the blog post as it is.

I guess fiets retains its singularity.

#8 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:47 PM:

Re National Lampoon's "Amish in Space."

I remember a few things about it.

The family patriarch drifts about in a rocking chair, making pronouncements about accepting rebukes.

When a bunch of hideous BEMs invade and carry off one of the daughters, the elder forbids his sons from resisting.

Another daughter finds a big lever marked PULL TO RETURN SAFELY TO EARTH. She is prevented from activating it by the elder, who says something like "Touch not the unclean thing!"

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:51 PM:

Note, also, that the Dutch for 'moped' is bromfiets. That is a fiets that goes 'vroom'.

#10 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:52 PM:

I reckon we all need to think about the accents of the past. Should we really expect Shakespeare to have been writing for Kenneth Branagh, or did he write for this accent?.

#11 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:54 PM:

"Captain Vespuggi: The Winter Soldier" just doesn't have the same ring.

#12 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 04:54 PM:

And the word for those little tiny car-shaped things that disabled and elderly people drive on the bike paths is snorfiets, "mustache fiets".

#13 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:17 PM:

keranih @6:

I love multligual puns. It might be useful to know that the Dutch word for staircase is trap when I tell you that one of the favorite non sequiturs in our house is to point to the stairs and say, in one's best Admiral Akbar voice,


#14 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:19 PM:

Actually, 'bicycle' (like 'television' and 'homosexual') is Latin+Greek. (It was formed on the analogy of the fully Greek 'tricycle', which existed first.)

#15 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:32 PM:

Sigh. You're right, and I think I'll amend the OP. (Thanks.)

(In my defense, I've done nothing but work, work-related socializing, commuting on my fiets, and sleeping for the last three days. The only reason I'm not on a boat with colleagues right now is that I had a prior family obligation.)

#16 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:32 PM:

Speaking of bicycle culture: Chicago just got their first one of these practical railings. In the bike lane on Milwaukee Ave at Ogden, I am informed. Our local urbanism-and-bike-stuff blog is hinting at a big writeup soon and several more similar railings to come. Woohoo!

Now if only they'd give us curbs to keep idiots in cars out of the bike lanes ... still. Ten years from now the bike infrastructure of Chicago will likely be unrecognizable from any benighted bicycular time-traveling visitor from 2010, and a good thing too.

#17 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:40 PM:

And speaking of my own household fiets, I HAZ A CARGO TRIKE! Not the kind I want most [with the wheelbarrow-like bin on the front between the handlebars and the front wheel(s)], because those start at $1500 and go only up from there, but one of these, only mine is red. Fire-engine red! It is so dank it makes me wriggle in happiness.

What it doesn't have is gears. [John did Scary Math and says its hardwired effective gear ratio is 3.1, if that helps anyone here]

What I don't have is cardiovascular conditioning.

As the bike weighs about 60lb and my kid (who I am frequently dragging on her bike-behind half-a-bike trailer mounted to my seatpost) is 40lb on her own ... this makes a difference.

As I am (YAAAAAY!) gradually catching up on my sleep deprivation, I intend to make myself take it out for a mile+ spin around the neighborhood at least once a day all summer and attempt to surmount the latter difficulty at least.

I have a plastic storage box mit snap-on lid that fits the back cargo platform PERFECTLY. Bungee'd on securely, it's even cleared by the bike-behind trailer's arm, so I can take minor-to-medium cargo AND the kid somewhere.

If I work up to 5-mile one-way trips (and two of them in one day), that somewhere will be THE BEACH AWWWW YISSSS.

#18 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:41 PM:

abi @ #15

Just as long as you don't fall asleep on your fiets.

Plus, of course, you had to make sure the gnomes weren't goofing off or redesigning the spamtrap to be driven by water power. (We know spam comes in waves, but that's no reason for going back a level; steam power is entirely satisfactory, with the bonus that it can also be used for drying your pointy hats when it rains and pressing trousers, etc.)

#19 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 05:42 PM:

I will say the weirdest thing about transitioning to driving the trike is that you canNOT steer it by leaning. Period. It turns because you turn the handlebars, only. Which I was perfectly aware of, in theory ... but on the actual road, with camber to deal with, my kinesthetic memory keeps trying to anyhow, with occasionally hilarious results. :->

#20 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 07:03 PM:

What Chicago also just got: A museum devoted to illustration and "narrative art", to be paid for by George Lucas. He wanted it at the Presidio in San Francisco, but was turned down. Chicago's mayor courted him, offering a lakefront site near the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Soldier Field.

The museum is completely self-funded; will be built, funded and endowed by Lucas; and has been described as a “history of storytelling” project “dedicated to the power of the visual image” as well as the world’s largest interactive museum.

Lucas's art collection includes works by Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, and J.C. Leyendecker. And a whole lot of Norman Rockwell. Plus Carl Barks. Plus a Kelley Freas portrait of Alfred E. Newman.

The museum will also, unsurprisingly, include filmmaking art, such as costumes and sets, and will cover computer graphics as well.

Here's the brochure from Lucas's pitch to the Presidio folks.

Here's the museum's Web site.

Personally, I would love to see this happen.

But controversy is brewing. See also.

#21 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 07:15 PM:

My longtime interest in movable bridges took me to some Dutch-language sites, which included a diagram in which the lift span of a vertical lift was referred to as the Val. Curious, I checked out some dictionaries and it seems that that means "trap" or "thing which falls". This does not exactly set the mind at ease...

#22 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 08:00 PM:

There was a big hoohah about what Lucas wanted vs what the Presidio was willing to allow. They really didn't like his proposed design; it was very large and wouldn't have fit the location: Lucas the emperor.

#23 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 08:09 PM:

Bill Higgins @20 -- I'd sure like to go to that museum! Even though I've seen originals by most of those artists already....

#24 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 08:12 PM:

I was shopping for a new commuting bike today. Really liked, to my surprise, an "Urban Xtreme" bike with drop bars, disk brakes, and a steel frame. I could have confidently predicted none of the above before trying it. I expected to look at flat bar, conventional rim brakes, and aluminum frame.

It's got a sibling "urban xpress" with a flat bar.

My first/last new bike purchase was twenty years ago. These newfangled integrated brake shifter levers are easier to use than I thought.

And the bike are so light! Before a rack and commuting clutter, of course. Still I think I might wind up with a much lighter vehicle.

#25 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 09:42 PM:

#9, Fragano Ledgister:

Note, also, that the Dutch for 'moped' is bromfiets. That is a fiets that goes 'vroom'.

Not the ones I've heard... I'm more familiar with the type that go 'brrrrrrom-brom-brom-brom'.

I always found that name appropriate.

#26 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 10:41 PM:

Fire-engine red

Reminds me of a conference during the dot-com boom when a speaker who worked for a company called Fire Engine Red pointed out that it was an anagram of Fried Engineer.

(No idea if this was the same company that comes up now during a Google search.)

#27 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 10:41 PM:

HLN: Area woman is lured into watching Penny Dreadful, and becomes instantly hooked. She goes on to write three explicit fanfics in a single week, thus breaking a writer's block that had lasted a full year.

"It's almost too easy," she explained. "The script does half the work, especially since they've included Dorian Gray, and I've loved the literary sources for years. But it sure is fun."

#28 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 11:01 PM:

Of course it’s made up of Latin and Greek terms. What could be more English than a bastard assembly of morphemes from several foreign languages whose original speakers would never have considered using them in conjunction with one another?

The real trouble starts when you mix French and Greek. Bureaucracy, anyone?

#29 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2014, 11:31 PM:

The real trouble starts when you mix French and Greek. Bureaucracy, anyone?

To be fair, we probably got that straight from French, which also uses some Greek roots, without mixing and matching too much. Bureaucratie is the French word, and the T is why we have bureacratic and not bureacracic, I'd imagine.

My favourite Greek-derived word is the English-language singular term for glasses or spectacles: a bioptikon (possibly a biopticon). Makes me feel like I have Transformers on my face.

#30 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 02:42 AM:

Am I the only one wondering why a Dutch bicycle would sound/"speak" in English onomatopoeia? (*ducksrunshides*)

Oh, wait - Dear Hubby listened to me (as I gave a detailed explanation of why I wasn't closing the laptop) and then hunted up a volume in the bookcase: Etymologische woordenboek: Waar komen onze woorden vandaan?, by J. de Vries and F. de Tollenaere. They appear to give two explanations, one of which is close to your first. The development goes from vélocipède => vielecipee => flitsepee*.

Or maybe the "second" explanation is just an extension of the first? (They do actually cite a second source for this, so.... anyone's guess.) The current form was apparently determined by the addition of an interjection for movement/painting (? DH is also mystified) 'hup!' (With a lot of overlap with use in English) with a dialect verb vietsen, "to 'translocate' oneself with a quick motion." (Sorry for the weird mouthful of 'translocate' - Dutch has two words that are very different: bewegen and verplaatsen, both of which translate to "movement". "To move with a quick movement"? - ouch! that hurts my ears.)


* No giggling there in the back - "ee" is not the tight "long" e of "pee" but more like the English "payh"

#31 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:17 AM:

The contrarian theory on the naming of America is that it was named for Richard Amerike (Richard ap Meryk in Welsh), who owned/sponsored a voyage of exploration in 1497.

#32 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:26 AM:

a bioptikon
Do short-sighted spiders need to wear a panopticon?

#33 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:42 AM:

There is also a suggestion in that wikipedia article that Amerigo Vespucci was named after America - that he was originally Alberigo Vespucci, and only called himself Amerigo later in life after the local name of a place he visited in Nicaragua, a name which survives in the Amerrisque Mountains.

#34 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 06:41 AM:

Dave Bell @ #10:

One of my favourite details about the Original Pronunciation production of Romeo and Juliet was that they ran audience surveys to find out if the change in pronunciation made it harder for people to get into the play, and got the result that for some people it was actually easier because the unfamiliarity of pronunciation was balanced by the removal of the implicit "this is for people who speak Proper English, not you" message carried by the Formal Shakespeare Accent.

#35 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 06:43 AM:

abi @ #12:

Ahahaha. The Dutch for moustache seems to be the Swedish for "snot" (snor). Or, possibly, "stealing" in the present tense.

#36 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 07:35 AM:


The only analagous etymological mystery of national importance I can think of is America.

Not sure if dogs are of national importance: but they are dear to my heart so what the hell: dog is weird. It seems to just pop up in Middle English, displacing OE hund(modern hound) to its more specialised meaning (cf deer losing its more general meaning). There are etymological suggestions for dog, but I'm not sure I'm convinced by any of them. Meanwhile German, for example, just continued with hund as the general word for a dog. It just pops up...

#37 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 07:57 AM:

Rikibeth @ 27... Glad to hear "Penny Dreadful" helped with your writer's block. I now have access to Showtime and have been recording episodes, but won't watch it until I've found the first five. It does look good. And it has Timothy Dalton *and* Eva Green. 'Nuff said.

#38 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 08:02 AM:

Niall McAuley #31: Another contrarian theory is that the Americas are named for a mountain range in Nicaragua, the Sierra América.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 08:03 AM:

Oops, didn't see Niall McAuley's #33 before posting.

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 08:07 AM:

A century ago the world began
in blood and pain, the auguries were wild,
so many things have changed in a short span.

My father’s world the currents overran
there was no time for words or thoughts too mild,
a century ago the world began.

We have to choose which of the screens to scan,
it is too easy to become beguiled
so many things have changed in a short span

and we are all entranced, woman and man,
by all the facts that overcome the child
a century ago. The world began:

two shots, and then the faeces struck the fan
for all mankind; none would be reconciled;
so many things have changed in a short span,

the light itself has been placed under ban
and all that once was purest been defiled.
A century ago the world began
so many things have changed in a short span.

#41 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 08:21 AM:

Fragano @40: <applause>

#42 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 09:08 AM:

I was going to watch Penny Dreadful, but then the first ep disappeared (about two weeks after airing) off free Hulu and my friend's cable streaming subscription, and now I can't find it to watch anywhere.

These broadcasters need to learn that you don't poof the first ep before the third ep goes up, darnit ... not if you want people hooked in by word-of-mouth from friends!

#43 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 09:25 AM:

I was aware that there was some controversy regarding the name America - that it disapears into confusion over the name of a Welshman, or perhaps the chosen name of an explorer who fell in love with a native mountian range, or perhaps something else - this delights me to no end. For me, this is how America is - of uncertain provenence, borrowed from myriad sources, all woven together.

Fragano @40: nicely done.

Re: Penny Dreadful - 1) is it better than the graphic novel League of Extrordinary Gentleman ? (I already know the answer re: the movie)

2) Do I need more than the cliffnotes for Dorian Grey? And are there any other sources I need to brush up on?

(Jimminee Christmas, if I had known being a fan was such work I might not have gotten into this line of nonemployment.)

#44 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 09:42 AM:

Penny Dreadful: I feel it is aimed at those with minimal knowledge, with occasional bonuses for those who know more.

From thread 197:
> If the one little silver-covered comb-bound book was good enough for Gary Gygax . . . .

... he wouldn't have written any more versions? I really hit my stride with AD&D myself.

#45 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 10:15 AM:

Regarding dog, after my first History of the Spanish Language class, I marched up to the professor and asked about perro. Nothing made sense. The answer? We're not sure, but the erre means it's probably from Basque or protoBasque.

I liked that class. A lot of it was memorizing the steps from Vulgar Latin to Spanish, which was fun to practice.

#46 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 10:46 AM:

I can't remember where I heard that 'copacetic' came from Israeli Hebrew 'ha kol b'seder', "all is well," but apparently it's a folk etymology, as both of my dictionaries say "origin unknown" for 'copacetic'.

I do know that certainly my Israeli coworker (many years ago, and she was the only good thing about that job) said "ha kol b'seder" as the second line in every phone conversation she had with her husband. (She's also the woman who told the story of shouting "Enough! Enough!"* in Hebrew at her misbehaving child in a public place, and only figuring out later why she got the weird looks.) It's the equivalent of saying "fine" when someone says "how are you?" as a conversational reflex.

But as I've said before, folk etymology is the linguistic equivalent of creationism, so however attractive an etymology may be (and I really like this one, because it goes through Harlem shabbatsgoyim and Bojangles), if it can't be supported by the evidence, it must be discarded.

*"Dai! Dai!"

#47 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 10:51 AM:

Off any current subthread topic, P Z Myers tweeted this wonderful video about the phrase 'like a girl', and the harm that it does.

The woman in the blue dress with the bright red lipstick needs to be my friend, because you can never have too many brilliantly-spoken and generally awesome friends. Maybe we can get her to come to WisCon.

#48 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 11:37 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 47

Re: like a girl - le sigh. So many, many wormholes to dive down, and I really don't want to fight over this.

As a woman in a physically demanding field who grew up running track and cross country, I hold that there is a point in development where, particularly in urban areas, that young females markedly shift how they walk, move, and express themselves physically. We had more than a few try out for high school track who literally had not run a full half mile in the last four years. They absolutely did the whole hands-waving, heels flailing thing.

And don't let me get into what heels (aka be-eaten-by-zombie shoes) are good for.

I reject the idea that somehow the patriarchy forced them into this - this is so messed up, it has to have taken a committee - but there is something wrong here.

I was hoping to offer an antidote, in the form of a link to a scan, but I can not find it.

The image was of WildCATs's Grifter, sparing with another muscle bound young hunk. Said hunk attempts to mock Grifter, asking him, do you know you fight like a girl?

For Grifter, protege of the Keran amazon Zealot, this is hardly an insult, and his response (an uppercut to the chin) is an effective rejoiner.

#49 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 11:37 AM:

keranih, I haven't actually read the graphic novel of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but I have read other Alan Moore works, and I'd say the show holds up, in terms of being layered and interesting. Plot-wise it's a bit raggedy, and it's very, VERY over-the-top (the inclusion of a Grand Guignol Theatre as an in-show location is no accident) bur I think it won't disappoint you.

You definitely won't need more than the Cliff Notes version of Dorian Gray. They've actually made a number of changes to his character which are distressing some purists but which I find intriguing, and I've loved the book since eighth grade.

It's a show that could have been tailor-made to suit my interests, and maybe is not for everyone, but DAMN, I'm having a good time with it.

#50 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 11:48 AM:

keranih, did you WATCH that video (to the end)? It's about how the phrase 'like a girl' becomes an insult, even for girls. As far as I can recall, the word 'patriarchy' doesn't appear in the video, or in my comment about it. The use of the phrase as an insult is a problem that needs to be solved, and as a gender-based insult it's a feminist issue, but that doesn't mean there are Evoll Patriarchs standing over girls with wire whips dipped in vinegar and screaming at them "Stop running efficiently! It's not ladylike!"

I think the video makes an important point and we need to work on the use of that phrase, turn it positive if possible, and so on.

#51 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 11:48 AM:

keranih, addendum re: other sources for Penny Dreadful: the major ones are Dracula and Frankenstein. They also quote a good deal of Romantic poetry in the show, and I squee when they do. And the more you know about Victorian London, the more detail you will find to appreciate - there have been some errors, some minor and some, to me, pretty glaring, but I am a costume nerd and when a designer decides to favor character illustration rather than historical accuracy I often balk. There is a small but vocal clique in the fandom who would really like to see Dorian Gray PUT ON A DAMN CRAVAT, no matter how pretty Reeve Carney's neck is.

Other references available to catch include La Boheme and Phantom of the Opera, though no familiarity is needed. And there is mention of Jack the Ripper but he's not a serious plot point or anything.

It's a treat, is what I'm saying.

#52 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Xopher @50

Yes, I did watch it all the way to the end.

No. Girls running like flapping chickens and being unaware of how to put their hips into a throw and squeezing their eyes shut when a ball comes toward them and wearing clothes that get them guy attention but are impractical for actually doing anything is a problem that needs to be solved.

If you think that changing the phrase is either going to make those girls start running like they are intending to get somewhere, or going to erase the cultural recognition that it is young women who run like headless chickens while young men do not, then we have significantly different opinions on what kind of top down change can be effected through social pressure.

Track girls don't have crap self confidence because they get told they run like a girl, girls have crap self confidence because their lousy running style is not going to allow them to fully extend their stride, drop their hands, and actually move fast enough to win the race against other females who are not running in that manner.

And the irony of this campaign coming from a hygeine company is...quite something.

#53 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 12:29 PM:

Not seeing the irony. Their customers are almost all women, so being feminist is a plus for them. Do you think tampon companies are intrinsically unfeminist? I haven't heard that before.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 12:34 PM:

I worked for a guy who told me that I threw like a girl. My response was something like 'What did you expect me to throw like?" - No one taught girls how to throw, when I was a kid. We weren't expected to need to throw.

#55 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 12:40 PM:

So earlier this month the daughter and I were in Fayetteville and went with the friends we were staying with to watch the pride parade. One of the floats was carrying a guy in drag who was chunking little lavender mesh bags full of birdseed into the crowd. One of them caught my daughter's friend on the arm hard enough that it very slightly hurt. I don't remember who said:

Doesn't he know how to throw like a girl?

I'm not sure if it was right or wrong to say it, but it did crack us all up. We later decided over coffee we needed to send the cat to Mardi Gras so he could learn the right way to toss.

(That wasn't a double entendre at the time.)

#56 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 12:43 PM:

Xopher @ 53

No, I think that it's pretty clear that Always is interested in looking like they're "pro-woman" or "pro-girl" without actually doing anything (besides selling a product they can't really market to the male half of the population) to support individual women.

And Always is best known for their sanitary napkins, not tampons.

being feminist is a plus for them

Not sure I follow that that line of reasoning.

#57 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:12 PM:

Appearing feminist (for certain values of feminist) is probably a competitive advantage for such a company. Actually being feminist? Not obviously such an advantage, again depending.

#58 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:14 PM:

Count me in as someone who, except for the Nautilus in Venice, thought the movie was less messy than Moore's story.
(Ducks out quickly.)

#59 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:21 PM:

keranih, the problem with your analysis for me is that the ones who are doing it right are also running, throwing, fighting etc. like girls--because they are girls.

The problem is the idea that only if you're doing it wrong are you doing it "like a girl" (which also means that if you're running/throwing/fighting correctly, you are incorrectly performing "girl").

I'm an ex-girl (now matron) myself, and the mother of three fierce, athletic and unconventional daughters. Like Xopher, I found the video encouraging.

#60 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:27 PM:

Lila: There we go. That's what I was trying to say, except I thought that message was pretty clearly what the video itself said.

#61 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:30 PM:

An open thready kind of question:

I'd suggested two REM songs, "Losing My Religion" and "Nightswimming", for our church's Coming Out Day service, thinking of them as kind of a before-and-after picture.

I got back the answer, "I just read through these texts and I really don't see a strong connection to coming out day. What is it about these that you think make them coming out day songs?"

This left me at a loss.

I know that Michael Stipe has said various things about "Losing My Relgion" over the years, but the video being about as queer as it gets undercuts a lot of that. (And makes me wonder if it had an influence on Tony Kushner's Angels in America, but that's a story for another day.)

"Nightswimming" is perhaps less clear-cut, but I've always read it in that manner.

So what's the answer? Can I explicate the lyrics to make this clear? Is that even possible? Should I suggest asking some other folks' opinions? Am I wrong to suggest them? Wouldn't be the first time.

Is is a matter of listening to the songs? They are very much not in this cat's aesthetic. The videos help me understand, but those aren't part of a live performance at a church service.

Your thoughts, should you have any on this subject, are very desired.

#62 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 01:54 PM:

#48, keranih: I reject the idea that somehow the patriarchy forced them into this

Oh, you don't need to explicitly tell girls they have to flail when they run, if they run at all which they shouldn't, for it to be sexist and damaging. A childhood of being told not to get your cute little dress dirty and similar slow drips of being not allowed to do something slowly erodes a lot of girls' willingness to get dirty. Or sweaty, by running. Or handle power tools. Or even *try* a lot of things.

#63 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 02:04 PM:

kerainh @48:
I reject the idea that somehow the patriarchy forced them into this - this is so messed up, it has to have taken a committee - but there is something wrong here.

We might be having a terminological problem here. What definition of "patriarchy" do you use that isn't shaped rather like a committee, both in the sense of many pressures from many directions, and many people applying said pressures?

#64 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 02:14 PM:

@59 Lila, @60 Xopher -

To me, the video identified the problem as "people say that running like a headless chicken is something girls do" and the solution as people shouldn't say that.

Which is neither the problem as I see it, nor imo an effective solution.

This statement ("girls are weaker and less coordinated") is effective mockery because of the truth in it. In most cases, this is directed at boys/men, and it is effective because guys don't like being mocked as weak.

If you look at the video, you see that both men and women and boys and girls recognize that there is a specific style of moving (or throwing, or punching) that is associated with how women do it.

That association does not come from contempt for women, imo - part of the contempt for women comes from that association. And the association is there because it has a basis in truth.

It was not clear to me that the video intended to change what I saw as the actual problem - women/girls performing at a certain degree of physical (non)capability. It was about changing words so that people (women) didn't feel badly about females being identified as the ones most commonly performing at that level.

There is only so far we're going to be able to go in reprograming the human thought pattern if we keep running up against the fact of weak throws and clumsy running being a characteristic of girls (at a certain age) and not of boys. (Likewise, us flatchested gals "look like boys". Goodspeech campaign's not going to change that, either.)

Actually training our girls to be able to physically perform might.

The problem is that "running like a girl" and the like are tied to specific behaviors that start kicking in around the time that a girl starts maturing into a young woman. We mince in high heels and sigh and flip our hair and go "oh ekk a mouse" because it works really well in convincing guys to pay attention and do as we ask.

Beating guys at baseball (or pinball) is a far riskier way to win the guy's attention.

As someone with marginal social skills and a flat chest, but who can hammer nails and chuck a rock, I would really like for this to change as well, to more favor me and my skills.

How much headway we'll make against thousands of years of evolution, though, I dunno. Especially as women are the most ruthless enforcers of what is acceptable female behavior on other women.

Dragging it back to Bujold, way back last thread - I think this was something she handled well, with an acknowledgement that many/most gals lacked in some physical skills, but that there ways to at least partly compensate for many of those, but not all.

@58 Serge

Miller's books were an untidy heap of...everything. And I really liked Federal Agent Sawyer. But the heavy handed anvils that were used to apply paint to that motion picture canvas were...not to my taste.

#65 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 02:25 PM:

@63 Abi -

I see most of the boundary setting for women (and girls) being made first of our making, and secondly of that by our foremothers. It is possible that my personal experience plays a huge role in this, but imo it is the matriarchy that defines the roles of women, not the patriarchy.

@62 Janra -

Oh, yes, and this drives me INSANE with my neices. (It also made me crazy with my mother.) Okay, okay, the kid likes pink and likes the way the dresses swirl, fine. But it was *you*, dear SIL, who taught her to throw a screaming fit when she got dirt on her dress or shoes, or had her hair untidy.

It makes me suspect there is a mom's magazine version of Cosmo or Vogue that airbrushes all the little angels into impossible perfection.

#66 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 02:56 PM:

keranih @ 64: I disagree with much of your analysis, but this:

Actually training our girls to be able to physically perform might.

has a lot to recommend it.

#67 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 03:24 PM:

Keranih @ 64... My big disappointment with the movie is their dropping the Veauty/Beast relationship between Mina and Hyde, and the idea of Quatermain as a burnt-out adventurer. Still it had lines such as this.

"The empire is in peril."
"You're probably too young to know, but the empire is always in some kind of peril."

#68 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 03:34 PM:

keranih 65: It is possible that my personal experience plays a huge role in this, but imo it is the matriarchy that defines the roles of women, not the patriarchy.

OK, I just deleted a long rant. I'm just going to say "Matriarchy, my ass" and leave it at that.

While you are correct that girls are the ones who tend to learn to run ineffectively and so on, you're still missing the fact that using the phrase 'like a girl' for those ineffective behaviors is insulting to all the girls who run, throw, fight effectively. They're all running, throwing, and fighting like girls.

And also, calling those ineffective behaviors "like a girl" makes it harder to train girls out of them, which is your intended result.

You're acting like words have no impact or importance. You're wrong. Words are critical tools for social change, and can be equally critical tools for enforcing the status quo.

#69 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 03:44 PM:

Xopher, keranih

We're using words at cross purposes here, I think. In my vocabulary, and I think the one that Xopher is using, the patriarchy is a system, not a specific group of people.
The system is enforced by men _and_ women.
The patriarchy defines the roles of women in our society. That may include a role for a 'matriarch', but the society of women in the U.S. is not a matriarchy, it's part of the patriarchy.

#70 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 03:59 PM:

It's no accident that at the same moment in history the mediated communication of the internet enabled the massive queering of gender, we've also come to massively overvalue the ability of language to cause social change.

#71 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:09 PM:

For myself, it's not a matter of hoping that changing language will cause social change.

I don't say "throw like a girl" to mean "throw like an untrained person" or "throw like a weak, uncoordinated person" for the same reason that I don't use terms related to disability or race as insults.

Not because I think changing my language will magically cause ablism and racism to vanish, but because using someone's identity as an insult is hurtful and wrong.

#72 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:10 PM:

Steve 69: Yes, that's what I meant.

#73 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:12 PM:

Xopher @68

I'm dead serious about matriarchy. I don't ever recall being told I could not do something because of my gender by any male boss, mentor, or relative. My mother, aunts, female teachers, and female bosses, though...and they sure as hell didn't take it as enforcing standards for *men*.

I absolutely feel that words have tremendous power. I also feel that we are best served by teaching our childern sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

A goodspeak campaign against "like a girl" isn't going to change the way girls run, hit or throw any more than a goodspeak campaign against "dance like a white boy" is going to give my brother the least sense of rhythm.

Nor did 'dance like a white boy' mean anything to Fred Astaire. Or Mikhail Baryshnikov. Or Patrick Swayze.

#74 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:17 PM:

@71 Lila -

I think that is sound.

I wonder how much impact it has to change the words, rather than to do away with mocking altogether - I think perhaps not very much.

But in a world where we still resort to force, weapons, and fists as conflict mechanisms, I'll take the mocking over the violence, and better mocking over worse.

#75 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:18 PM:

keranih @ 73... Nor did 'dance like a white boy' mean anything to Fred Astaire

I'm more partial to Gene Kelly myself. :-)

#76 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:19 PM:

Suppose we continue in a world where most girls never really learn to throw a ball, run, or punch effectively, but where the phrase "you [verb] like a girl" somehow disappears from the language. My guess is that a near equivalent will show up, because it describes an observable phenomenon. We'll just take a more steps on the euphemism treadmill.

My guess is, we're moving in a different direction as a society. Lots of girls in grade/middle/high school are involved in sports now. It looks to me like girls being involved in sports is much more common now than in the past. And this is one way that girls will actually learn how to run, kick, throw, punch, etc.--by being involved in activities that teach them to do it.

Now, girls and boys have different bodies, and different incentives based on both biology and society. (And there are many areas where it's not too clear how to untangle the two--if lots more boys than girls want to play flag football in the 4th grade, is that biology or society, and how would you tell if your answer was wrong?) But ISTM that we're actually in the process, right now, of radically decreasing the number of adult women who never really learned to run or throw or punch or whatever effectively.

#77 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:22 PM:

There's a term in anthropology: crypto-matriarchy. Ever see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" That sort of thing. There's a great scene where the daughter wants to go back to college, and talks to her mom and grandmother. Then, her mom manipulates her dad into thinking it's his idea. Who has the power, and who thinks they have the power?

Talk about "the Patriarchy" gets all muddled up because in the conventional Western world, most of us live, or at least grew up in a crypto-matriarchy. Males, as a group, have confidence that things go their way, and women, in groupings, do a lot of behind the scenes emotional work to keep all kinds of relationships stable, and thus keep the men between the orange cones.

In other societies, men have all the confidence, and work very hard to undermine the sense of self and real power held by _any_ woman. Some may find that description familiar. Anthropologists categorize those societies as true patriarchies. Like most category systems, it's flawed, and like lots of anthropology-for-undergraduates it has a very Western vs. Eastern or Imperialists vs Colonies feel to it. I do think the fedoras come from growing up in a crypto-matriarchy, thinking that they have a place in the patriarchy org chart, and discovering that reality just isn't shaped like that.

"The Patriarchy" that most of us are talking about here is not exactly either of those things. Abi said it well above: What definition of "patriarchy" do you use that isn't shaped rather like a committee, both in the sense of many pressures from many directions, and many people applying said pressures?

With regard to awkward running: well, there _may_ be more variability* in motor movement in females while a skill is being acquired, variability that vanishes with mastery. This would explain both the prejudice of the boys and the competence of the women. I will not speak to the meaning assigned to it, and leave that to better posters than I.

*picture a bell curve that is flatter compared to one that is more pointy.

#78 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:28 PM:


I dunno, the "sticks and stones" line has some real value in encouraging kids to learn to deal with the (inevitable, people being people) nasty things other people will sometimes say to them, but it's not really true. Just about everyone I know can think of things someone said to them a decade or two ago that *still* sting--sometimes because they were cuttingly accurate, other times because they were nastily wrong. ("Wow, how could she have said such an awful thing to me.")

More to the point, it's important for kids to know that sometimes, people are going to say nasty things to them--just as sometimes, people will do (or try to do) nasty things to them. But the "sticks and stones" line seems like it will lead the kids to convince themselves that they have to (or should be willing to) put up with verbal abuse. Whereas the right way to deal with people who like to use words to hurt you is usually to find a way to avoid those people, or if that's impossible, to find a way to push back on the verbal nastiness till it stops. And at the very least, they should recognize that having someone say nasty things to you isn't just harmless fun, it's actually something you have every right to get mad about.

#79 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:43 PM:

Kimiko @77 - wot's a fedoras? Google only gave me this.

albatross @78 - I sometimes wonder if the 1st Amendment (specifically freedom of speech) would have been written as it was, and interpeted as it was, if it had been women, with women's preferred use of language, put down, and social pressure, (rather than the men's norm of force & violence) who had written it.

In someways, despite all our "pen is mightier than the sword" I think that we hold that words can be freely used only because we are pretending that *they don't really matter*.

Other days, I look at the second amendment, and remember that the Founding Fathers were in fact a bunch of crazy idealists who really did think that, below a certain bar, everything was fair game, and we could sort it out.

Madmen, all of them.

#80 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 04:59 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @61 -

I am not your target audience, but I never saw/heard Losing my Religion as a particularly queer song.

It's possibily considered trite, but I always found Bruce Springsteen's Streets of Philidelphia -

- walk a thousand miles just to slip this skin -

- to be an evocative piece about coming to terms with identidy.

For the second half, perhaps "I can see clearly now" (which always gets me, because it does not pretend that the way is smooth, just that ones vision is clear enough to see and deal with the stones on the road.)

But songs are so dang specific. For me, How to Save a Life is a healer's life story, satisfactory and solid, keeping on, keeping on, winning and losing.


#81 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:14 PM:

If we can get enough people inoculated to stop thinking of "you [perform an act] like a girl" as an automatic slur on one's ability to perform the act properly, it will help us stop artificially DIScouraging girls from acquiring skills in those acts.

Also, keranih? Many, many women in patriarchical societies (like the modern US) have sufficient internalized misogynistic thinking that only rarely do the boys even HAVE to slap girls down directly anymore. Girls do it to each other, starting in middle school, and their mothers and allomothers often started it far earlier than that:

* Sit still. Keep your knees together.
* Don't climb/flip like that -- people can see your undies!
* Walk SOFTLY, please, not like a clomping elephant!
* Be a lady.

All of these continual, microaggressive pressures on growing girls teach them (unless they are very strong in themselves or have strong adults helping them resist) all the horrible physical habits of un-ability that you remark upon as the visible hallmarks of running/throwing/etc/athlete-ing "like a girl".

The reason the way girls run changes is because once girls reach a certain height or start to change shape, the pressures on them to conform to expected, 'ladylike' gender presentation ramp up exponentially. This is also when girls quit reporting being interested in math and science.

The fact that it's primarily other females causing damage to females doesn't mean the damage is the result of a matriarchy; if we had a matriarchy it would make societal rules that benefited women disproportionately to men, and oh boy do we not.

#82 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:18 PM:

Leaving this for the runs like a girl/woman thread.

(I'd like to point out that the only way I'd win that race with her is if I had a bike, or possibly a 1 lap head start. )

#83 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:18 PM:

It is, of course, the hallmark of a working (by which I mean, self-perpetuating and robust, not actually desirable) oppressive system that it co-opts the oppressed to police themselves and each other into conforming with their oppression.

See also every other long-term stable oppressive system in all of human history, with multigenerational slavery in the US South being perhaps the most ready example that jumps to my mind.

#84 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 05:58 PM:


The people who wrote the bill of rights (and the constitution, and the declaration of independence) were very well aware of how powerful words are. They'd just kicked off a revolution with their words, after all. And I have to guess that people as verbally clever as Thomas Jefferson were pretty clear on how you can cut a person to ribbons with your tongue or your pen, too.

[1] Both in the legal sense of not having the cops arrest you when you say the wrong stuff, and in the broader sense of tolerance for people whose views seem wrong to you--not pretending they're right, but also not beating them up or shouting them down.

#85 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 06:32 PM:

#73, keranih: I don't ever recall being told I could not do something because of my gender by any male boss, mentor, or relative.

Lucky you.

Leaving aside the stuff that some people claim isn't sexism but a compliment ("wow, you know which way to wrap teflon tape?! I'm impressed!" -- said by a male employee of a client, on seeing me doing basic maintenance on some equipment owned by my employer) I've had more than a few.

To pick out three of the most blatant ones:

"Are you taking [university engineering program] to get your M.R.S. degree?" (laughs) --said by a male co-worker at one of my student internships.

"What are you doing?! You can't carry that!" -- said by a male co-worker, while I was carrying a 50-lb bag on my shoulder at a brisk walk.

(to male co-worker) "When you lift this, make sure to keep it close to your body, it weighs more than [worker safety] regs allow us to lift." (turns to me) "Don't you try to lift it, you'll hurt yourself." -- said by a male co-worker. The male co-worker he gave lifting instructions to is smaller than me.

#86 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 06:48 PM:

#83, Elliott Mason:

"The last stage of oppression is when the oppressor lifts their hands and says 'my god, what are these people doing to themselves!'"

(The original quote was talking about genocide, but it is apt for less murderous forms of oppression as well.)

#87 ::: MIchael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 06:53 PM:

HLN: Local man gets call from apartment office. Apparently when maintenance people were moving stove unit it somehow started a fire and fire department got called. Fortunately when local man gets home he learns that damage is actually minimal. Hole and singed area on part of a wall next to new stove unit. Cover to light fixture in ceiling will need to be replaced. As will venetian blinds on window. Everything else seems fine. Local man plans to make first use of oven in new stove unit later tonight.

#88 ::: kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 07:02 PM:

The patriarchy runs a very low level process - very close to the society OS. For instance, the gender-policing service was up the other day, when the neighbor girl informed the Local Child that their Male Parent Unit was weird for making clothing for Local Child. Local Child was sad, until MPU reminded them of all the other people who thought it was cool. No conscious intervention by the patriarchy programming team was necessary.

#89 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 08:19 PM:

Elliott Mason @81 said a lot of what I was thinking.

In my mind, who does all the real work does not determine whether a system is a matriarchy or a patriarchy, but rather who makes the decisions and who benefits. I could agree that certain subcultures have a crypto-matriarchy, especially when you think in terms of private, personal power instead of public, official power, but I think the society as a whole is still working from a patriarchal structure.

"Throwing like a girl" is not just a denigration of men who do it, or even a way of saying that girls are lesser, it's also a way of defining femaleness. Girls going through puberty are trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be, and if they want to be a "girl" and are told that girls run a certain way, then by god that's what they're going to do.

There's also the issue of trying harder when you're told you should be able to do something, and giving up faster when you're told it's hopeless. My parents are very into the arts and humanities, and so I got a lot of encouragement for activities that fit that mold. Recently I discovered that I do actually like mathy stuff, it's just that I was told my talents lay elsewhere so I never really tried to do more than the minimum to get by in school.

I believe very strongly that language shapes our reality. What we tell each other about men and women builds a framework for how we think men and women should act, and thus how we think WE should be acting. Changing what we say will eventually change what we think we should do.

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 09:49 PM:

I wear a fedora (it's a panama) because I like it, and because it keeps the sun off my head and the glare out of my eyes. I do not, unlike a large number of young men, confuse it with a trilby. I also own a trilby (which is also a jippy-jappa hat), and much prefer the fedora simply because it has a wider brim (though the trilby is snappier). Please do not call me a fedora.

An old friend has accused me of being a planter even though I don't own a plantation (my younger brother having sold off the family estate and great house I certainly haven't even got pretensions at being a pen-keeper).

#91 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 10:14 PM:

At least what I was told by my parents (and my father's parents) was more like 'you can be whatever you want to be: go for it!' It probably helped that my mother and my grandmother had both had very non-traditional jobs during WW2.

#92 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2014, 10:30 PM:

keranih @ 73

I'm dead serious about matriarchy. I don't ever recall being told I could not do something because of my gender by any male boss, mentor, or relative.

Perhaps you could have the courtesy of believing those of us who had exactly this experience. Over and over and over again. And who see "throw like a girl" as exactly the sort of sexist denigration that is used deliberately to "keep girls in their place" and remind them that they are branded with incompetence even when they're more competent than the boys.

So you have never in your life been discriminated against or oppressed by a man due to your gender. I'm happy for you. Seriously. But accept that yours is far from a universal experience. And that by arguing against the experienced reality of other women, you risk joining the very alternative framing that you describe: the women who enforce misogynistic attitudes.

#93 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:07 AM:

keranih @ 73

I'm puzzled. You are clearly intelligent, and well read, but you make statements such as women enforcing social norms means it's not a patriarchy. Or that a drumbeat of voices telling girls that they are less than boys won't have any effect if you just tell them sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I see ample evidence that a system of oppression is expressed throughout a culture, not just by the elite, and that stopping the negative messages is as important as telling those who are put down to "buck up". Are these novel ideas to you?

#94 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:41 AM:

"Throwing like a girl": When I was in junior high track, one of the instructors pointed out that boys were more likely to screw up their arms doing shot-put than girls were, as they naturally went to a throwing motion that is used for balls. Very bad idea when said "ball" is a ten-pound shot. I'm not sure if that points to physiological differences between the genders or to training gaps.

Also note that while I haven't learned proper throwing technique, my husband has summed up the differences between "throwing like a girl" (aka "untrained") and proper throwing: Someone who is untaught will tend to face the target straight on, while someone who is using proper technique will have the arm with the ball back, the other shoulder pointing at the target, and be almost perpendicular. When I spent a summer teaching archery, in fact, that was the first lesson, because the stance is very similar.

#95 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:42 AM:

One thing sticks in my mind suddenly; The experience of being told the brisk walk I took to school looked like "marching". Because instead of thinking "Oh, no, I'm unfeminine" and correcting, I thought, "oh, good, that means I'm doing it right." March, to me, didn't just mean "The way armies move", because I understood that part of why armies marched, outside the excesses of parades, was training for getting places fast, efficient, and in a group. And I wanted to do two out of three of those.

And it says something that the word stuck in my mind for 25 years after.

(Unlike EVERY army in recent fantasy films, whose march is a most remarkably noisy, slow, and inefficient form designed to tire out the soldiers - and doesn't break over bridges)

#96 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:43 AM:

Open thread: Apparently, big red buttons are irresistible.

#97 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 01:18 AM:

Ah, now I understand throwing a little better. (A semester of archery taught me the proper stance.) I wish they'd done that in grade school.

#98 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 08:26 AM:

Anybody else watching "Halt and Catch Fire"? Me, I'm expecting to nominate it for next year's Hugos.

#99 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 09:45 AM:

The Atlantic website has this appreciation of Penny Dreadful.

#100 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Elliot Mason at 17: that adult trike is very attractive. I am curious -- what made you choose that one, as opposed to ones made by Schwinn, Torker, Summit...?

#101 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:08 PM:

@Lizzy L: It's the one offered for sale near my house on Craigslist. :-> I would prefer one with a bucket-shaped holder on the front (because it would interfere less with having the kid hanging off the back of the bike/using panniers as well/a kid seat on the panniers), but all of those are muuuuuch more expensive. And never show up used around here.

Also, we discovered after the fact that the Sun Atlas model supports a 250lb load on the cargo deck (plus up to 270lbs of rider), whereas most of the other models you mention have a total limit for all the weight on the bike of something like 270lbs. Their back 'cargo' bins are mostly intended for tiny light stuff, like shoving a backpack under the seat. The Torker and Schwinn in particular have very light-weight, easily bent back baskets (to discourage you from putting anything heavy in them).

#102 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 12:41 PM:

keranih @ 80: Yeah, the lyric and the song aren't particularly queer. A lot of coming out stories aren't.

And a lot of non-Southerners mistake that title as being meant literally. Michael Stipe said this: "In the South, in Georgia, where we live, if you say that you're 'Losing your religion' basically means that you're at the end of your rope, or that you've had it, you're fed up." Given that, there are still a lot of different interpretations of what that song means. I won't say just one is right, but the video has so much homoerotic content, and he wasn't yet out, so.

And the lyric of "Nightswimming" is very open to multiple interpretations, but again, I think the video lends itself to mine in particular. Or maybe I'm just reading them way they seem right to me.

I think reading the lyric/text is the wrong way to enter.

#103 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 01:03 PM:

I've heard this before. People who "have religion" are people who always behave properly (a pretty bizarre idiom in itself). IIUC, a correct usage would be "That woman jostled me so hard that I lost my religion and cussed at her."

#104 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 01:09 PM:

keranih@74: "But in a world where we still resort to force, weapons, and fists as conflict mechanisms, I'll take the mocking over the violence, and better mocking over worse."

They are not separate. The mocking first, then if that doesn't work, the more intense measures, including ostracism and violence.

#105 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 01:46 PM:

Mocking vs. violence

I've never known a case where the mocking didn't escalate as far as the social setting permitted.

It's not a "vs.".

#106 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 02:07 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @102 -

Oh, no, I get that, from way back (the meaning of the phrase). And blame it on my perspective, but that video doesn't hit any homoerotic (or really many erotic-of-any-kind) buttons for me.

It's a guy - an artist - under great creative pressure, slowly going mad. He imagines Icarus, but this time it is the father who falls. He imagines people who come in and out of his empty room and stand in the corners and don't say anything. He sees martyered saints and temptresses. He's angry, upset, and feels abandoned by friends. He imagines himself as Icarus's father, betrayed by his creation and tortured by ordinary humans who don't understand him. And he imagines a, a, a poetry factory where machinists build a set of wings, but they as sterile and useless as anything the Soviet Union created. And then he is back in his empty, cold, leaking barn, struggling with his demons.

What I'm saying is, that doesn't work for me as a 'self-discovery song'. Either by itself or as a video. It might work very well for other people that way. If so, I wish you luck with it.

#107 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 02:34 PM:

Mocking is violence.

#108 ::: Josh Berkus ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 04:28 PM:

Re @31, @38, and other posts about America/Amerigo/etc.:

I don't get why anyone would consider this a mystery; the Amerigo --> America mapping is quite well documented in historical records. I think people like to invent contrarian theories just to have something to argue about. This is like the theories that Cardini didn't invent the Caesar Salad, isn't it? Or the thing about Shakespeare?

The TL;DR version: Vespucci was a failed explorer (he lost 75% of his crew discovering Guyana and lost it to the British), but a good mapmaker. His maps became extremely popular with a group of well-funded German intellectuals who produced and published the first folio maps of the New World. They credited him by putting a Latinization of his first name onto the continents (apparently Vespucci is hard to pronounce in German). All of this was extensively documented by everyone involved (I read it in a history of less successful 16th century explorers).

#109 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 04:32 PM:

I presume by mocking we're not talking about the kind that Jon Stewart or other satirists practice.

#110 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 05:06 PM:

Satirists, by definition, are punching up.

#111 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 05:07 PM:

Michael at #87 I may be Just a Girl, but I know enough to disconnect Stove Unit before attempting to move Stove Unit (or any other Unit, really). I take it the non-girls who were performing "maintenance" on your apartment didn't know as much.

#112 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Thanks, EM at 101. Appreciate it.

#113 ::: keranih ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 06:00 PM:

Speaking very briefly on the patriarchy vs matriarchy point ( @69, 80, 88, 89, etc) - it is possible that I am not using the term as many here are. But when one stretches "partriarcy" to mean "the modern US culture and the Pashto culture and Confucicianism and Italy and everything else human" it really loses its ability to be used as a word. I continue to use it to mean "a male controlled society" - which the USA is very far from being.

Janara @ 85, Heather @ 92, etc: The close reader may note that I never said that I did not encounter some (or many) men who tried to put limits on my horizon. I have had co-workers and subordinates and casual aquaint and the boyfriend or two who have tried. I do not doubt any woman who tells me they have run into this.

"Male people try to limit you" however, is not the defining feature of a patriarchy. If the US culture really was a patriachy, and we really intended to make changes, and changes could be made via 'this-is-why-you-suck-and-should-feel-bad lectures' - why on earth is this message being produced by a feminine hygeine company? Seriously, who do they think is listening?

And again I draw your attention to the cultural use of "to [verb] like a girl" - it is a piece of mockery aimed at boys, because of the crap way that girls (stereotypically) [verb] badly. No one says "you dance like a girl!" "you cook like a girl!" "You study like a girl!" - these are not effective mockery because they are meaningless - girls (and women) excell here. I'm with albatross @76 - this is a thing because (some) girls [verb] badly. Changing the phrase is not going to change the poor performance that underlies the idea.

If we're concerned about mockery, however, we need to address the mockery of our boys as well. Which would need examining the reaction of our boys to mockery, and perhaps how it differs from the reaction of girls.

If we're just concerned about our girls being hurt by this, I have two thoughts.

Firstly, throwing "like a girl" is bad. No one should do it. Girls need to be taught how to effectively move. If no girls threw like a limp noodle, "throw like a girl" would be a stupid phrase that no one used.

Secondly - both our girls and our boys will be mocked. They live among humans, this happens. It sucks, but so do many parts of life.

Learning to discount the remarks of people whose opinions we do not value while still letting them speak is a vital part of becoming an adult person. (As albatross @84 notes, it's part of the American heritage.)

Which brings me to Steve C. @109's point - I suppose Jon Stewart and Stephen Colburn - not to mention Chris Rock, Jeff Foxworthy and half a thousand other comedians currently out of work in LA - should turn themselves in for charges of violent assault.

(And, oh - the idea that anyone mocking a female is always "punching down"? Check your assumptions, please. There's a coatrack by the door.)

Mockery is one of the tools the monkey tribe has in its tool box. It is not my favorite, and I tend to think of it as inferior most of the time to reason and logic and love. But it is better than physical or emotional violence.

If it were not the case that mockery could be managed below the level of violence, then these clowns would not have been nearly as successful.

Our girls should know how to run fast and throw hard and block a punch effectively. They should know how to read a crowd that is about to explode into a riot and how to tell the difference between a friendly flirt and someone who intends to hurt them. They should know the difference between looking professional and looking sexy. They should know how to counter a logical argument, a lie, and a taunt.

As Elliot Manson @81 points out - when we don't teach our girls this, we are failing them.

They should know how to fall and get up and fall again and get up again. They should know that their primary purpose in this world is not their own advancement. They should know that just standing up for themselves isn't enough, that they have to look out for those weaker and less able than themselves.

And if they aren't learning those things, it's not going to be fixed by erasing "like a girl" from the English language. It'll come by changing the way we raise them, and how we teach them to become women.

Which brings me all the way back to janetl @93 - thank you for saying that I seem intelligent and wellread, I like to think I am. It has seemed to me to be the general custom that various sorts of intelligent and wellread people could have different views on different things that they have read, and so come to different conclusions.

#114 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 06:40 PM:

keranih @113, I think you're using the hard definition of patriarchy, and so you're missing the angle of men being the (default) privileged class, or thinking that they are.

I've done and said a few embarrassing things that, in retrospect, could have a lot to do with default privilege. And I hear of stuff which is just plain stupid that still happens. And it likely needs places like this to remind me that it still happens.

#115 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 06:50 PM:

I've been browsing the lyrical images of the invisible one, who posts most often on the Dysfunctional Families thread. You can get the site by clicking her name, should you mislay this link and want to revisit.

I was stopped short at 8 June 2014 figuring out what the objects could possibly be. Fishing tackle? - misled by what looked like dry fly bits.

Enlarged it. Ha!!! Toxophilites* in the area!

*one of my favorite misleading terms, coined by Roger Ascham in 1545 according to Wiki.

#116 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Open threadiness: Congratulations to Tor Books on another win at the Locus Awards for Best Publisher!

#118 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 09:55 PM:

keranih 113: I continue to use it to mean "a male controlled society" - which the USA is very far from being.


I see the USA as being very largely male-controlled and male-dominated, with the privileged class being male (specifically WHITE male), and most social structures designed to benefit men at the expense of women (or sometimes to benefit a few men at the expense of all other men and all women).

It is less male-dominated than it used to be. It is less male-dominated than Saudi Arabia. It is still largely male-dominated.

I cannot understand how anyone who has lived in the USA for a lifetime, or even for a few years, can possibly honestly believe that the USA is not a "male-controlled society." Your honesty I'm willing to assume; but that leaves me completely boggled.

#119 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 10:10 PM:

Xopher @118: I am reminded of exchanges on Facebook where my dad attacks me for talking about the ecological issues we need to handle in the US by arguing that China is an ecological hell-hole so why am I complaining ...

#120 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2014, 10:34 PM:

I learned which things I wasn't supposed to do or be good at without anyone explicitly telling me. Cars and guns were For Boys and I shouldn't be interested in them, even when I was; Dad was really puzzled when I said I was interested in going shooting because I had never asked, only waited to be invited. Boys were the fastest. Boys were the strongest. Boys played soccer and girls weren't interested in it. Girls were supposed to be grossed out by boys and vice versa. All boys were bad. And no child in the world ate vegetables voluntarily.

When that changed, I became freakish. No one told me when the rules changed because no one had told me the rules, period. I learned them the same way I learned slang or playground rhymes.

"Like a girl" teaches girls how they're supposed to be. It not only excuses lack of skill-- if you're a girl and you throw like that, what do you expect?-- it makes it clear who throws right.

#121 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 12:34 AM:

One year in junior high I had a very nice older gym teacher, one of only two gym teachers in K-12 who didn't sneer at me when I was in pain (Osgood-Schlatter's, undiagnosed therefore untreated for years because I was obvs. making it up) or get angry at me because I wasn't athletic (all hail the Great God Basketball and His son Track & Field). This teacher told us that we had to throw "like girls" because, due to our naturally lower centers of balance, we could put more of the force of our bodies into underhand throwing per pound of muscle on bone, while we tended to have less muscle to throw with. So we did a lot of drills putting our whole bodies into our underhand throws. Meanwhile, he assigned the male students exercises in keeping their balance that sometimes involved what looked a lot like a horse stance, because, he said, men tend to carry their weight higher and therefore are tippy.

#122 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 07:50 AM:

On the thread concerning how a male-dominated society looks, or doesn't look:

Cockblocked by Redistribution: a pick-up artist in Denmark

This might seem a tangental contribution, but the way I see it, determining if a particular society is or isn't controlled by a specific group hinges on whether that group, generally can get what they want. Not only that, but also how generally can members of that group expect their sense of entitlement to be ratified by the society at large.

The take-away from this article is that the dedicated pick-up artist has a far easier time getting what he wants when the targets are made vulnerable by (fear of) poverty, expensive-to-treat medical conditions, et al.

Which, poor bunny (referring to the PUA trying to "review" the women of a country), he didn't get to do in Denmark.

Crazy(and well aware how many of her hopes and needs have been looked down upon as "feeling entitled", or luxuries allowed only after more "important" people have had their go - on the basis of her "special-interest", that of being a woman...)Soph

#123 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 11:42 AM:

B. Durbin @96: “How much more can brave Cadet Stimpy take? … How can he possibly resist the maddening urge to eradicate history at the mere push of a single button? The beautiful, shiny button! The jolly, candy-like button! Will he hold out, folks? Can he hold out?"

#124 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 11:44 AM:

HLN: Local woman engages in zombie-hunting, to generally positive results. A group of seven friends spent Saturday as the first annual Zombie-Eradication Day; played the board game Zombicide for several hours, then went to a laser-tag venue that offered a zombie theme. One travels through a large, mazelike "haunted house" type basement (dim lights; strobes; loud noises, fog machines, things jumping out at one -- all the sorts of things local woman usually *hates* -- armed with a "machine gun" (they said what type, but local woman is hopeless at weapon designations) with which to SHOOT the ZOMBIES. Worst score in the group was about 24 zombie kills with two bites (they "bite" if they get within a few feet without being shot); best score in the group, surprsingly, was local woman with 40 kills and one bite. (Nobody was entirely unbitten in the group, but we were assured that it took five bites for the zombie infection to set it.)

Odd how the eek-I'm-helpless-I-hate-it dynamic of a haunted house, which local woman dislikes intensely, changes when one can SHOOT BACK.

Local woman will do this again. In about a year. After the adrenaline has time to clear from her system.

#125 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 12:24 PM:

The patriarchy is what allowed Santa and Rudolph's dad to put Rudolph down for being different while his mother and his girlfriend stand by helplessly. The alternative to the patriarchy turns out not to be a matriarchy, but the post-patriarchy, best examplified by Yukon Cornelius, who takes on the responsibility to make a home for those who don't fit, including Hermie the elf who wants to be a dentist.

#126 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 01:26 PM:

We detest the Beatles.
Hate the Rolling Stones.
We like Obama
Because he uses drones.

We distrust George Lucas
Dislike all his clones.
We like Obama
Because he taps the phones.

#127 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 01:27 PM:

(Just trying to exorcise a brainworm. This seemed the safest place.)

#128 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 02:13 PM:

All day, we have been hearing the big-name musicians at Glastonbury on how they want to see Dolly Parton.

And then she hits the stage. Wow!

And there is a twitterstorm over whether she is miming.

Now, this isn't a crazy accusation. It's more common than you might think, it was once routine on Top of the Pops. But, with digital transmission of sound and picture, there can sometimes be different time delays in the process.

There were certainly timing glitches, and some of them might be in my my TV as the digital data stream is decoded. But that didn't look like miming to me. Machines and men both make mistakes, but they're different mistakes.

Some of the screeched tweets looked, at their core, to be more about Dolly Parton being a successful woman.

#129 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 03:02 PM:

If I wanted to make fabric/embroidered book covers, is there a source of book blocks with plain, not-for-primetime covers that would be embellishable? I'm thinking of something like notebook refills, only not spiral-bound.

I don't think I'm explaining this well, but I know there are people here who do bookbinding so I figure it might be a place to start.

#130 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 03:06 PM:

Dave Bell @ 128: Also, if they can prove she's faking her voice, then they can say she really got in on big boobs and big hair. It's irrelevant that she's had those same pipes for what, a 40-year career? Certainly since before they could do the sort of vocal correction they can do now in a recording studio - and people listening to a song aren't looking at the body.

Never mind the question of whether not miming live once actually constitutes a valid refutation of that whole rest of her career. (The reason it was an issue for a pop teen idol band is that they *don't* have that whole career behind them, and often never will.)

Not a country fan, but I still have a lot of respect for Ms. Parton and especially for her voice.

(Vitas, pop idol in Russia, at one point adopted a habit of pulling the mike away from his mouth in mid song to prove to naysayers that he's really delivering that same performance on that stage at that moment. Which I hated because I don't exactly want the awesome vocals to blink out periodically. The reasons I would want to see a life performance of something I already have recorded generally assume there won't be a *decline* in musicality.)

#131 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 04:26 PM:


"mockery is...better than physical or emotional violence." My answer? Mockery IS emotional violence. I'm still getting over the emotional damage done to me as a child by mockery, bullying and other emotional violence.

I think "words can never hurt you" is an awful thing to say to a child who has just been verbally mocked or bullied and hurt by it. It is telling the child that if they have been hurt it is their own fault that they are hurt, not the fault of the bully. It is victim blaming and it is very damaging.

If American, British etc. civilisation is not a patriachy, not male-dominated, then why do women get paid less than men, listened to less than men? Why are women not making up 50% of politicians, company CEOs and board members, etc. etc.? "Throw like a girl" and "run like a girl" are used as mockery because of the overwhelming, male-dominated, cultural/societal assumption that girls, and their abilities, are lesser than those of their male counterparts in all physical settings. Yes, we (general we) should be teaching our daughters to run properly, throw properly, fix cars etc. etc., and that girls/women can do such things - and do them well - not that lacking a Y chromosome means that we should be, and want to be, weak and helpless. Part of that process includes removing the verbal/textual reinforcement of that helplessness which is included in the " a girl" meme. Discouraging the use of the term is not, in and of itself, sufficient: but its part of the process

#132 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 07:39 PM:

Lila said it way upthread, but I think it needs to be said again:

I want people to stop saying "You do [x] like a girl" to mean You do [x] like someone who's never been trained to do [x] for the same reason I want people to stop saying "That's so gay" to mean "That's stupid."

Using identity-words as insults is bigoted.

While I don't want to dismiss the extent to which "you throw like a girl" teaches girls that they are not expected to do well at throwing, I would like to shine an equally bright light on how "you throw like a girl" teaches everyone that being like a girl is BAD.

I always want to see the end of "girly" as an insult, and feminized slurs used as particularly degrading insults for men. I want who and what I am to stop being used as an insult.

I also want the end of "like a man" being used as a general compliment/aspiration ("Take it like a man!" "Man up!") for the same reason we all, I hope, can agree that those remaining pockets where "mighty white of you" is still in use as an unironic compliment need to cut it the hell out.

#133 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 08:18 PM:

*applauds Nicole*

Well said, ma'am, well said.

Also, 'Christian' to mean "morally upright." Don't hear that much anymore, but it used to be pretty common. I never did have the experience of having a POC tell me that I or something I did was "Christian," but I had my reply ready: "White of you to say so."

I'm not sure I would have had the guts, and these days I have other reasons to keep that behind my teeth (like saying racist things is racist even if they're meant ironically), so I doubt this particular exchange will ever occur in my actual life. Perhaps I'll put it in a story.

#134 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 08:33 PM:

Xopher @ 133: I was once very, very tempted to use the phrase sarcastically in a feedback thread on one of those "get yer BBC stuff here now so you don't live in fear of Torchwood spoilers before you can legitimately spend money on it" sites (i.e. a torrent site). The conversation would have gone something like this:

Them: I think it's pretty good despite all that Captain Jack Harkness gay crap.

Me: Gee, that's mighty white of you.

I refrained for reasons much like yours: racist things are racist, even if meant ironically; being all clever isn't worth risking hurting someone with the shrapnel.

(As Scalzi tells us, the failure state for "clever" is asshole.


HLN: Area women spends Friday night at a roller disco, Saturday afternoon/evening competing in a roller derby bout, Saturday night dancing like there's no tomorrow at the bout afterparty, Sunday morning reassembling roller derby track at roller derby practice location, and Sunday afternoon taking her annual Women's Flat Track Derby Association minimum skills assessment. Area woman returns home Sunday evening, remembers that 1. Pasta with Sausage is delicious, and 2. there is a ridiculous amount of sausage in the freezer.

"Mmm," area woman is heard to murmur. "Recovery pasta."

#135 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 09:03 PM:

If you're not familiar with the latest Facebook outrage, here's a pretty good summary. I am furious about this, and went to the Feedback page for PNAS1 to write the following:


I am writing to express my deep displeasure with your decision to publish "Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks" (Kramer, Guillory, and Hancock).

These researchers did not obtain informed consent consistent with the Declaration of Helsinki2, as your publication allegedly requires. The only reference to "informed consent" in the paper is to the Facebook User Agreement's authorization of data collection and usage for research; this is dubious at best, and does not even begin to address the issue of consent for the emotional manipulation (in fact, calling it emotional abuse would not be excessive) that some of the subjects underwent.

As someone who uses Facebook in English, I may very well be one of the subjects of this abusive and unethical study. I would never have consented to have my feed filtered in the way the study describes, much less to have it filtered with the intent of deliberately manipulating my emotional state. The filtering may be covered by the UA (I'm not an expert, and like virtually everyone do not read and reread the UA), but I feel confident that "from time to time we may decide to manipulate your emotions to make you happy or sad as we see fit" is NOT included there.

I have written to the two university professors involved in this study, asking for their IRB3 authorizations and ccing their respective IRBs. I'm not going to bother writing to Kramer, since he works for Facebook and I assume he has nothing I would recognize as ethics.

I urge you to retract this paper for consent noncompliance. The editor should be ashamed; the two university professors should be censured by their respective institutions. But the only thing you can do is retract the paper and look very carefully at any further submissions from these researchers.

Thank you,
[my legal name]
1Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, a prestigious scientific journal

2An international accord setting out standards of informed consent wrt experiments on human subjects

3Institutional Review Board, in charge of ethical compliance for human research

(Footnotes not in what I sent them, obviously. I didn't know these terms and structures until I was helped by a member of this community who is also a researcher using human subjects, and whose standards for informed consent are very strict indeed.)

#136 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 09:12 PM:

Only one of them is actually a university professor. The other is a postdoc, but I didn't realize that until I'd sent the feedback.

#137 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 09:18 PM:

Power & girls, generally:

The Fortune 500 CEO list has 4% women, 1% minority per this link .

The Senate is 20% female and 7% minority, the House is 19% female and about 20% minority if I'm doing the math right on this report. I didn't count to see how many minorities are also female; I saw a list and by eye it was more than 20%, less than 50%.

I did this math once before, was appalled by the numbers and forgot the specifics; please let me know if I made any obvious mistakes.

Anyway, my point is that, generally, white men control the money in the US; white men make the laws.

It could be just lag; very few CEO's or Congresspeople are under 50, and 30 years ago the world was different . It doesn't feel like lag to me, but I have no mathematical justification for that statement.

#138 ::: Jim S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 11:16 PM:

De-lurking to say a big thank you to the community ...

Thanks to the extensive discussion of the Hugo awards in the various threads after the nominees came out, I decided to get a supporting membership and actually vote. I've now read enough* to vote in the fiction categories and I'm in the middle of the Campbell nominees now. I'm having trouble choosing for Fancast and Fan Writer, but I'll figure that out soon.

Anyway, my point was that I've been really enjoying this experience** and it's thanks to this community. So thanks!

* Following the John Scalzi/Jo Walton method of reading enough of every work so that I feel comfortable voting.

** Except the "sad puppy" slate, which is pretty mediocre.

#139 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2014, 11:44 PM:

#113, keranih: The close reader may note that I never said that I did not encounter some (or many) men who tried to put limits on my horizon.

I re-read, closely. You earlier had said:

I don't ever recall being told I could not do something because of my gender by any male boss, mentor, or relative.

So do I understand from this that you distinguish being told explicitly "you can't do that" from other types of "put[ting] limits on [your] horizon"?

The close reader may have noticed that I used the word "erodes" in my earlier post. You don't have to explicitly tell a person "you can't do that" when they're surrounded by the constant wearing drip of "like a girl", "be careful!", "don't get dirty", "put that down", "why don't you do [x] instead?", "wouldn't you rather" from all directions, rather like the video I linked to showed. I find that explicitly being told that I can't do something is much easier to dismiss (especially now that stuff *that* blatantly sexist is relatively rare) because hey look, I'm doing that, they don't know what they're talking about and can safely be ignored. The drip drip drip, though; no one of those statements is by itself enough to push back on, and they're often presented in a caring way, especially "be careful" or the pseudo-compliments.

A friend of mine signed up for welding in high school. When she showed up for the first class, the shop teacher never explicitly said "no girls allowed" or "you can't do that", he immediately asked if she had made a mistake and had intended to sign up for the jewelry making class. There was no need to *say* she didn't belong, that was assumed and unstated and he went straight to looking for what mistake she had made to end up in a place she obviously didn't belong.

Several boys asked me if I was lost and many more stared at me, confused, when I showed up for my high school electronics class, in the shop wing. That was an entire wing of the school that girls just didn't go to. They never said directly that I couldn't be there, because it was assumed and unstated that I had to have made a mistake to end up in a place I obviously didn't belong.

How many girls don't even think of signing up for welding, electronics, or other shop classes, because that's a boy thing and not for them, and any thought that they might like to try it got eroded away long before? No, never explicitly told "girls can't weld", and yet my friend and I were the only girls in our respective classes.

Girls need to be taught how to effectively move. If no girls threw like a limp noodle, "throw like a girl" would be a stupid phrase that no one used.

Ever heard of a positive feedback loop?

Lots of girls throw poorly because they were never taught how to throw properly, while lots of boys are taught and thus can throw properly. "Throw like a girl" is a descriptor of how many girls throw, even though the actual connection is lack of training.

"Throw like a girl" describes how girls typically throw, so if a boy throws poorly he's trained to throw properly, but if a girl throws poorly, well, that's how girls throw.

So, lots of girls throw poorly because they were never taught how to throw properly...

While being taught to throw, (gym class maybe? the one that both boys and girls attend from early elementary and is supposed to teach basic physical skills, and has been around for how long?) there is still that expectation and insult that girls throw poorly, and girls who are growing up and learning to define themselves take in "girls do x" from all directions -- and maybe put less effort in, or give up sooner, when being taught to throw properly, saying or thinking "oh, I just can't do that, I'm just not good at that". Discourage the language everywhere as well, and learning can proceed with less hindrance. Stereotype threat is a real thing.

None of this is to say that girls are some sort of special delicate creature that needs to be coddled; boys at the same age are also learning to define themselves, and see "like a girl" used as the worst insult and meaning weak and ineffective. That can lead boys to scorn everything that girls like or do as being weak and useless, including boys who like those things, not do things they might be interested in because they're "girly" things, and reject girls who like "boy" things as not actually being interested in those things.

(And then there's all the other genders, orientations, and presentations, which are generally not recognized. Excepting "gay" as "girly" and therefore to be avoided and mocked.)

Claiming that only explicitly stated "you can't do that" is the problem is erasing the majority of the problem.

Why a feminine hygiene company? Why not?

The "don't get your dress dirty" video I linked was by Verizon. Why a communications company? Who cares?

The message is good. I don't care if they're doing it for PR, they're doing it, without relying on damaging stereotypes, and they have the money to get it done well and get it seen.

#140 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:11 AM:

Xopher @135: there's a huge difference between agreeing to have one's information used for various purposes, and agreeing to be a research subject. I expect the people who signed off on that paper will be in very real trouble -- at least, I hope they will!

#141 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:18 AM:

keranih seems to be using matriarchy: much social power actually wielded* by women.

Nearly everyone else seems to be using patriarchy: primary benefactors of social power are men.

At least this is what I am seeing, and it might be a source of some of the conflict, especially since I am prepared to grant both those statements as probably true.

*particularly on a day-to-day low-stakes level, since women do most of the emotional work of society, and also most of the child-raising

#142 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:34 AM:

Tom, I'm doing my part to ensure that they do.

#143 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 03:35 AM:

The issue of "you throw like a girl" being an insult has little or nothing to do with any biological differences. The issue is that "like a girl" is used as a synonym for WRONG. And it carries the further connotation that being female/feminine is also WRONG. That's why changing the language will inevitably have an effect on the culture.

John A., #70: we've also come to massively overvalue the ability of language to cause social change

I can't agree with this, Just as the most obvious example that springs to mind -- how fast did the social climate start changing when someone reframed "gay marriage" as "marriage EQUALITY"? That was absolutely brilliant, because it changed the focus of the discussion from "gays" to "equal rights," and a lot of people started thinking about it differently once it was put that way.

Words MATTER, more than most people realize.

keranih, #73: "Sticks and stones..." is a bully's best friend. Because words DO have power, they DO hurt, and that's a Get Out Of Jail Free card for saying the most vicious, hurtful things. "Oh, you were hurt by this thing that I said with the specific intention of hurting you? Well, it's YOUR OWN FAULT and I haven't done anything wrong!"

Fuck that shit, sideways with a cactus. It's the other end of the rape issue; as long as we focus on telling the victims instead of the predators what they did wrong, nothing will ever change.

(FYI, I consider bullying and rape to be on the same spectrum of behavior, with a common root of "hurting someone because you can". It's just expressed differently, and sometimes rape IS bullying, especially male-on-male rape.)

Sandy, #137: Also, remember the 15% phenomenon -- in a mixed-gender classroom environment, if the women contribute more than 15% of the class discussion, they will be perceived by both genders as "dominating" the discussion. Similarly, I'm quite sure that there are a number of Senators who look around the chamber as it is presently constituted and think, "My god, just look at all these women!" When you're used to a given proportion of any type of person in a social situation, and suddenly find yourself in a place where the proportions are different... well, it takes some getting used to even if you don't have a problem with the proportions changing.

janra, #139: ObXKCD.

How many of us have ever been appalled by the way "kids these days" frequently can't do mental math (making change, etc.)? My partner and I have both occasionally had surprised store clerks ask how we DO that? He used to answer with, "It's easy where I come from," and when the clerk asked him where that was, he would say, "The past." OTOH, I tend to respond with, "It's not hard. You could do it too, if anyone had ever bothered to teach you how." The analogy, I trust, is sufficiently obvious as not to need browbeating.

#144 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:14 AM:

On the Facebook story, what I am seeing in the news media is an apparent ignorance of the expected ethical standards. It's just a storm of protests, not questions about whether Facebook met the ethical standards expected of such research.

There's a pattern there, a sort of acquiesence to power. Outfits like Facebook can set their own rules, and we just have to accept it. Nobody is bothered whether there is any legal framework or other external context.

That's a rather obvious flaw in other areas. It's settled law that a contract can't be enforced in breach of statute law but companies are always pushing the limits.

#145 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 08:09 AM:

Lee @ 143: I can't agree with this, Just as the most obvious example that springs to mind -- how fast did the social climate start changing when someone reframed "gay marriage" as "marriage EQUALITY"? That was absolutely brilliant, because it changed the focus of the discussion from "gays" to "equal rights," and a lot of people started thinking about it differently once it was put that way

That's one way of viewing it, which ignores the long years of struggle that came before and continue on.

I've been reading Jo Becker's risible, pernicious Forcing the Spring and trying to review it. It's so disheartening.

#146 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 08:43 AM:

At several panels at WisCon it was wondered what the next Big Fight we should be mobilizing for on the sexual-and-gender-minority rights front, is. I had to miss the Radical Queer Agenda panel (dangit; I was on something scheduled against it) and I bet they came up with some good stuff.

Something that's been BEING fought, under the table, and is quietly being won with hardly any public/media notice is health insurance coverage for transition-related procedures.

First Obamacare redefined "being transsexual" as not a pre-existing condition that can prevent you from being covered at ALL. Then the San Francisco municipal health plan decided to explicitly cover all transition-related surgeries, even above-the-neck ones ... and found in two years of covering it (for a population with probably a notably higher proportion of people needing that coverage than will be generally true) that it was no more expensive, actuarially, than covering gall bladder surgery. They didn't even have to raise their premiums.

Just this month, Medicaid has removed its blanket ban on transition-related expenses. Several states have changed their insurance regulations to comply with Medicaid's position (transition care is now no longer a blanket no -- which means in practice almost certainly hormones are covered if prescribed in accordance with HBIGDA, and who knows on surgeries).

Two years ago, only 20 nationwide-sized employers covered transition care in their company plans. Now over 60 do.

What a brave new world it shall be when any trans person with half-decent insurance coverage can be certain their much-needed care will be COVERED, and no longer require independent fund-raising of $25-125K!

And yet, this isn't the big new "We need to move the Overton window and hold marches for it" issue, because it's chugged nicely along and is half-done (if not in the home stretch yet).

#147 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 08:46 AM:

I haven't encountered a matriarchy; I have run into a bunch of Aunt Toms.
In better news...
HLN: Area pontist welcomes a new bridge.
It's a double bascule span in the South Park district of Pugetropolis, south of Seattle. I have a great big old soft spot for bridges that lift, but also the people of that 'hood had been waiting a lot longer than they should have had to. The old bridge was on its last abutments, so much so that my friend would not drive on it at all, and the powers that be demolished it before even starting work on the replacement--something they never would have done in Bellevue. It is hoped by me and everyone else that the neighborhood will recover.
Yesterday it was just people swarming all over the thing, but road traffic is scheduled to start in 14 minutes...

#148 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:27 AM:

The Supreme Court has found in favor of Hobby Lobby, and "closely held" corporations can get an exemption on religious grounds from the Affordable Care Act requirement that contraception be covered. The decision explicitly states that this only applies to contraception, and a company cannot exclude other coverage that some religions oppose, such as blood transfusions. I believe that the decision doesn't actually say "because, women".

"Closely held" isn't just mom-and-pop stores. Some large corporations qualify.

Any claim that the USA isn't a patriarchy is either using that word incorrectly, or is just trying to stir up arguments.

In other news, they also decided against public employee unions. Sigh.

#149 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:28 AM:

(Got an Internal Server Error trying to post earlier. Doing this to see if it will shake it loose.)

#150 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:36 AM:


Did the researchers get this through an IRB? The researchers I know involved with human subjects (accessibiltiy and usability researchers) absolutely, positively won't go anywhere near an experiment involving humans till it's got IRB approval. I'd be very surprised to see the academic researchers involved willing to be involved without IRB approval.

One possibility: if the researchers don't normally deal with human subjects (especially if they're computer science or math types without much insititutional culture of human subjects research) then they may not have realized that human subjects research rules apply to stuff like this, rather than to stuff like drug trials or setting up a make-believe prison to see how the guard/inmate roles affect peoples' behavior[1].

[1] Don't do this--it doesn't end well. Nor is it exactly clear how meaningful the results were, since the guy who designed the experiment with a particular outcome in mind was directly involved in how they turned out.

#151 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:40 AM:

Sad news -- one of the nicest people in the world has died. Per Robin Bailey, Frank M. Robinson, author, editor, gay activist and Nice Guy, has died -- no details yet.

#152 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:40 AM:


ISTM that the issue here is that the definition of "patriarchy" is not too clear to a lot of participants in the conversation. I'll admit, I'm one of them--I can't quite figure out what's meant by "patriarchy" in this context. Nor is it quite clear to me that everyone using the term here has the same meaning attached to it.

#153 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:55 AM:


#154 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:00 PM:


I'm not too convinced that Roosh's deep social analysis[1] of Denmark (and his failure to pick up many women in bars there) is likely to teach us much. I expect he's actually a pretty good source of information about how to pick up women in bars (at least non-Danish ones), since that's apparently what he spends all his time doing. But I doubt he's got any deeper insights into the larger society than the guy sitting next to you at the bus stop.

I think it's an easy mistake to make to give someone's arguments or words more weight because they're saying something you agree with. But really, this looks like GIGO.

[1] For some reason, a lot of pick up artists in the blogosphere self identify as conservatives. This leads to a lot of entertaining rationalization, since pretty much all conservative value systems teach that this kind of lifestyle is destructive to both self and society. It's not like spending your life chasing wine, women, and song (or getting laid as often as possible to keep score and somehow "win") is some kind of new innovation of the 21st century. Any middle-aged guy in ancient Rome would have recognized the type, and rolled his eyes.

#155 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:17 PM:

It probably isn't good for my soul to wish certain members of the Supreme Court would peacefully shuffle off this mortal coil while Obama is still in a position to name their replacements.

#156 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:18 PM:

Stefan Jones @155, do you really think that the House will let Obama name anyone, even should that happen?

#157 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:19 PM:

On the union ruling: not as bad as it could have been.
On the contraceptive ruling: I'm not sure they realize the can of worms they just opened. Or maybe they do, and don't care.

#158 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Xopher, I just posted a comment on one story about the Facebook stuff that they should have gotten informed consent from everyone involved, and gotten approval for their project, and I don't think they did either one.

#159 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:24 PM:

So... The Supreme Court sided with Hobby Lobby, which means they can withhold any health care need that goes against the owner's religious beliefs. You know, like contraception and abortion...

#160 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:26 PM:

Somehow, I don't think this would be happening if some of the Supremes had been nominated by a Democrat, in spite of the oft-heard assetion there's no difference between the two paries.

#161 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:26 PM:

I KEEP seeing people reacting to suggestions that change of language use could, or already has, effected a further change in a political or social concept as if the people saying so are saying it's the only way to cause social change, or the only thing that has had an effect. (In many cases, in the face of people explicitly saying "We can do BOTH")

Most recently: John A. Arkansawyer @ 145, I didn't see Lee ignore a lot of other aspects of the fight for marriage equality. I saw her saying she saw an additional particular bump when the words Gay marriage were replaced with marriage equality. And you know, so did I. Now, it may be that the human mind is invention a correlation because as well as pattern-matching creatures, we are notoriously pattern-inventing ones, (And as a further issue, we all know that even if there was a direct demonstrable correlation in time with a bump in the marriage rights battle, correlation does not prove causation, either.)

But to suggest that because we thought we saw a correlation and we do attribute power to those words, we believe it's either the only thing we noticed making a change or the only thing we advocate doing seems to miss the point.

(I also attribute most changed minds, including my own, to tireless efforts to campaign for the idea, a lot to efforts to normalize it, a lot to the visible results in places where it is legal, and some to seeing cultural icons and/or political representatives who've changed their minds publicly, especially those describing their changed mind as a desire for their own child's happiness)

I like keranih's idea of teaching all kids to throw properly, including the non-sporty boys who get the brunt of the insult thrown at them and the girls of all kinds who get the back end of being the insult. But I ALSO like the idea sie is protesting against, of trying to change the language so the assumption that girls are bad because they are girls, not because they are untrained, gets far less reinforcement.

And I don't see *Anyone* advocating FOR the language change saying it's all you need to commit the change. They're saying it's a relevant piece, in the face of people who are saying that it doesn't matter, all that could possibly matter is the physical.

The two should run in tandem. They're a team. Teach all kids to throw, WHILE never using the gendered slur against those who don't get it right.

(And that the ads don't also say, "And BTW, why not teach your girls to throw with force and aim"? Probably don't because it's a short feel-good soundbyte. Soundbytes are notorious for promoting their one solution even if it's one among hundreds of things that need doing, something true of none of the people typing here.)

#162 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:41 PM:

Lenora Rose @ 161: Language follows cultural work, not the other way around. It's easier on us not to believe that, so we do.

#163 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:47 PM:

John A Arkansawyer: Cites, please?

#164 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:50 PM:

And again, your first sentence presumes one must precede the other. I said they can work in tandem.

Pretty much all civil rights battles I've observed have spent time trying to make certain words or sentences far less socially acceptable, usually during the time they're working to secure other and more substantial rights. This is true for POC, for people with physical and mental disabilities, for QUILTTBAG communities, for feminism.

The switch in terms from Gay marriage to marriage equality came pretty late in this particular game, but the fight for equality is far from done. So unless you're asserting that the cultural work is finished and we've just got to tweak the language now (An assertion which is absurd in the face of the number of places without marriage equality) I fail to see evidence of your assertion.

#165 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 12:50 PM:

Lee @143:

Just as the most obvious example that springs to mind -- how fast did the social climate start changing when someone reframed "gay marriage" as "marriage EQUALITY"? That was absolutely brilliant, because it changed the focus of the discussion from "gays" to "equal rights," and a lot of people started thinking about it differently once it was put that way.

I'm not sure you have the arrow of causation correct there. Marriage equality advocates have been using "marriage equality" for a long time; for a while it was "same-sex marriage", but advocates haven't said "gay marriage" at least since I started paying attention in about 2000. Part of what I think you're seeing is that as people become more sympathetic, they start using more sympathetic terminology. And, as intended, that terminology makes others more sympathetic as well - but it's not as though marriage equality advocates decided one day in 2010 to change how we talked about things.

#166 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:08 PM:

Jacque @ 163: You first.

Lenora Rose @ 164: And they should. But language isn't the driver. What popular change in language has ever preceded the struggle it celebrated? How often is change in language deployed to disguise how little things have really changed?

#167 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:29 PM:

Gently, people.

#168 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:38 PM:

John A Arkansawyer @166: You first.

I have made no bald assertions that need supporting.

#169 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:38 PM:

abi @ 167: Sorry. I could feel myself becoming grouchy.

All: Being in the South has given me a certain perspective on this. We've done an admirable job of patching our language up. All but the most unreconstructed have learned certain things to say and not to say.

Boiling underneath it all has been the same vile pit that Guy Grand built at the end of The Magic Christian. Different graffiti, different bait, but entirely the same stinky contents.

Most people didn't change. Most well-meaning people didn't change. The power didn't shift as we'd hoped it would. Now we're stuck with the results of an unproductive time doing things aimed more at disguising than ripping out root causes.

And here's a special bonus quiz question to bum you out: How many of the Koch brothers support gay marriage?

#170 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:40 PM:

Wasn't there an ad campaign a while back that used "X like a girl" as a tagline--showing clips of women running, throwing, biking, etc in a clearly correct and effective manner? I have a pretty clear visual that goes with this memory. The take-away from it was of course that doing it "like a girl" was not a bad thing, that the women in question were "doing it like a girl" because they were girls, and doing it. (In fact, it may have even been a Nike ad campaign.)

#171 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 01:46 PM:

John, you've been at the sharp end of a lot of conversations lately. I totally understand that you're on edge.

Which is one reason I'd like everyone to go a bit more gently in this conversation.

#172 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 02:00 PM:

abi @ 171: I'm not as on edge as I have been, but your concern is still well-placed. Between trying to review that damn book--god, it's demoralizing--and digesting the latest Court decisions, I'm not a happy puppy. Even though I'm in an obscenely good mood mostly.

And some of the worst of the South is resurfacing. That's the sharp end that worries me. I don't think it'll be as bad as it could be, but the long Republican march through the government is designed to smash it up real good. I expect to be collateral damage.

And what people are offering up as resistance mostly isn't. They are well-meaning and it doesn't matter. Or maybe I'm just this guy:

"That's good thinking, Chuck--but syrup won't stop 'em. Next!"

#173 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 02:45 PM:

Regarding the Facebook study, it's deeply problematic on several fronts (note that I'm coming at this as someone who works with human subjects for a living, and I have extremely strict views on what informed consent means).

Before we even get to their approach to informed consent (quick version: no, the Declaration of Helsinki doesn't let you claim advance consent for studies the way they want; standard consent procedure requires a hell of a lot more detail than "buried in the depths of their user agreement), their result is a joke to boot - their main results have a Cohen's d of 0.02 and 0.001 respectively, which means the only way they're significant is because of the size of their subject pool.

Frankly, I don't expect companies to have the same research ethics that I do (although, arguably, I probably should - the Declaration of Helsinki, which is the core document on the rights of subjects in biomedical research, doesn't make any distinction between academic researchers and corporate researchers, and it shouldn't - it's mostly aimed at biomedical, rather than psychological research anyway), but what galls me is that everyone on the paper should have known better. From what I've found, everyone involved has graduate training in psychological research, which mandates yearly training on subject protections, so either they've paid no attention to their training, or they think that it simply doesn't apply to them.

PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), which, as I believe Xopher mentioned, is a seriously prestigious journal, also has its own requirements regarding human subjects - the following is Section VII of PNAS' own editorial guidelines:

"Research involving Human and Animal Participants and Clinical Trials must have been approved by the author's institutional review board. Authors must follow the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' policy and deposit trial information and design into an accepted clinical trial registry before the onset of patient enrollment. Authors must include in the Methods section a brief statement identifying the institutional and/or licensing committee approving the experiments. For experiments involving human participants, authors must also include a statement confirming that informed consent was obtained from all participants. All experiments must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki."

Now, there is an entire class of research that IRBs classify as "minimal risk" - which is to say that the IRB doesn't believe there's a meaningful risk of bodily harm to subjects if they participate. From what I've seen, particularly from Laurie Penny's New Statesman piece on this Facebook Can Manipulate Your Mood, the IRBs involved classified it as "minimal risk", which I can understand as a professional judgement. However, speaking as a researcher whose work is similarly classified, this classification does not permit researchers to ignore their responsibility to get proper informed consent for the experiment in question prior to subjects participating therein.

For point of comparison, all of my research can be pithily described as "sit in a little dark room and play the most boring video game ever (maybe while having your eyes tracked". The greatest risk to subjects in my research is boredom, and maybe eyestrain-induced headache. However, I'm still required to have my subjects read an actual consent form before they participate. I can't just say "well, you agreed to this in order to do this other thing," and the fact that Facebook's approach to consent seems to be exactly this infuriates me as a researcher.

Getting informed consent from subjects isn't optional, much as some portions of the field seem to think that it is. Or, more bluntly: get informed consent, because the zombies won't.

If someone was really twisted, I'd see about forcing an IRB audit, and making the researchers produce all 689,003 consents... and the ages of all participants, because a minor can't give informed consent without their guardian's agreement and countersignature.

#174 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 03:20 PM:

AKICIML: Does anyone here happen to know the date for next year's Locus Awards (as in, were they in the program book or something), or could ask someone involved in the planning and get an actual answer (as in, they've ignored several e-mail queries)? Or at least provide a time frame in which it might be expected that someone could find out? My local con has a chance at snagging a really stellar GOH next year, but only if we don't conflict with the Locus Awards -- and we can't find out when those are going to be.

#175 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 03:23 PM:

Laurie Penny's New Statesman piece on this Facebook Can Manipulate Your Mood

"When do we start to worry?"

When they made privacy "opt-in." And made it really hard to delete your account.

I haven't touched Facebook with a bargepole since.

#176 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 03:31 PM:

Lee @174:

Lemme see what I can find out.

#177 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 03:49 PM:

Lee @174:

According to the Editor-in-Chief*, there's nothing booked, but it will probably be the last weekend in June or thereabouts.

* AKA my best friend from high school, because sometimes the world is a very small place.

#178 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 04:37 PM:

Abi: I'll try and be gentler. If I fail, please do not hesitate to shut down this line of talk.

Carrie S @ 170: I remember that too. It's one of the ongoing debates what to do with language: try to get rid of it, or reclaim it? I don't think there's one answer. I tend to try and reduce usage in my own language choices, because I find the pitfalls of reclaiming to be much more likely to be hurtful (using a reclaimed phrase in front of someone who is still scarred by prior not-reclaimed usages) and absence rarely does explicit damage, either to any listener or to my own ability to express myself fully.

John A. Arkansawyer: You give some well thought out answers and some exceedingly important context once you answer with something that's more substantial and less brief. I don't usually encourage people to go on at length (though it's usually my crime), but it served you much better in this instance.

But language isn't the driver.

Agreed. But change in language still tends to happen before the social change is complete, and often does help continue the nudges in the right direction.

What popular change in language has ever preceded the struggle it celebrated?

None, as far as I know, although the course of change is rarely a clear-cut and easy road to follow, and it may very well precede the internal attitude change of many individuals. But a counter-question: What struggle has been *over* at the point at which people began to advocate a change of language (In spite of the extant examples, my mind keeps going to "retard" and how it seems like the idea of not calling people something that dehumanizing seemed to me to precede a significant amount of the integration and support programs now in place).

How often is change in language deployed to disguise how little things have really changed?

That does happen, too, which is why I understand why Keranih objected to *only* changing the language. As you say, there's definitely a veneer in the south. But the south has always, even on non-prejudicial matters, had a reputation as far as this non-southerner has understood it, of people with sweet polite language and much nastier undercurrents.

But I do believe that language influences outcome -- if in nothing else, it's often made clear with the antithesis of what some of us are advocating: this is where dog-whistles come in, and conservative reframing of concepts related to anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, or anti-poverty, so that what the words they twist actually mean gets buried under unwanted associations.

#179 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 04:50 PM:

Thank you, folks. That was the gear-change I was looking for: seeking to understand one another and our views rather than focusing on the forms of our postings. Conversation to enlighten, not to win.

(I love Making Light.)

#180 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 04:57 PM:

abi, #177: Thanks. Unfortunately, it's the "or thereabouts" that's deadly, because our con's traditional date is the 4th weekend in June. We are already under some pressure to shift our date due to another con which heavily overlaps our draw area having moved to the end of June; if we had a second reason not to want that weekend, it would be a strong addition to the argument. Does your friend have any idea when the event will be booked?

#181 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:01 PM:

Frank M. Robinson is dead.

He was a mentor and friend to me for many years.

#182 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:10 PM:


ISTM that what's missing from your description is the costs involved with these sort of activist-pushed language changes. I think there are substantial costs, and the benefits look to me to be quite modest.

For example, one pretty obvious cost is that people having a discussion about some important topic have limited time and mental energy. Time spent "educating" people on the right words to use is time *not* spent on discussing anything that actually has to do with the issue you care about.

A more subtle cost is the way changing the acceptable terms in conversation puts older people at a big disadvantage. It's not at all uncommon to hear an older person toss out an outdated term while expressing a perfectly decent idea or position, and not too uncommon to see them get dinged for it. That isn't making the world a better place in any way at all. More broadly, this becomes a kind of ingroup/outgroup signaling, so that by using the wrong terms, you're "not one of us." That's some pretty powerful social machinery to invoke, and it can lead to some good outcomes, but also to some pretty unpleasant ones.

One pretty visible cost is ridicule. Lots and lots of people who aren't even particularly hostile to your cause can and will make jokes at your movement's expense. Because language-policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphemeisms is, in fact, ridiculous.

#183 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:12 PM:

Lee @180:

I don't know when it'll be booked, but it's a very strong "last weekend in June" and a very weak "thereabouts". I'd take it as another argument to move.

#184 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:24 PM:

Not using people's identity as an insult = "language-policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphemeisms" and "ridiculous"?

I have nothing to say that can even begin to connect with this.

Bowing out. See y'all on another thread sometime maybe.

#185 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:27 PM:

albatross @182:
Because language-policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphemeisms is, in fact, ridiculous.

Is it? You make that sound like an objective, measurable fact, but I'm not convinced that it is.

Both terms you're using are strongly emotionally weighted. But what you call language policing can also be asking people not to call Xopher a f— and Fragano a w—. And if I'm self-conscious, can it not be because I'm being careful of the feelings of others, particularly those who are often overlooked?

And I'd maintain that those things are not inherently ridiculous. They're often ridiculed, but that's not the same thing.

#186 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 05:57 PM:


Time spent "educating" people on the right words to use is time *not* spent on discussing anything that actually has to do with the issue you care about.

You assume that there is a disconnect between "anything that has to do with the issue you care about" and "the right words", but that's really not my experience of it at all. Very often, when people ask me to use a specific form of words, the request is followed by an explanation of why that form of words matters to them.

And the vast majority of the time, that explanation reduces to the same thing: putting the person first, recognizing them as a person rather than a stereotype/member of a group/incarnation of a term that's become an insult. And even in the cases where the vocabulary is not an immediate expression of that impulse, the request to use it is: see me. treat me as a person. call me by the name I choose.

And that has rather a lot to do with the issues they care about.

Of course there are exceptions; of course there are times that terms are used as bludgeons rather than bridges. But these blanket, normative statements casting your opinions as objective facts are, quite honestly, inappropriate for this conversation.

Dial it back. You're driving people away from the discussion, and you are not entitled to do that.

#187 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:00 PM:

The costs aren't that high.
The benefits *are*.

#188 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:02 PM:

Serge (and everyone), let's all make sure we're using relative rather than absolute statements. I think it would reduce the temperature of the discussion.

#189 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:06 PM:

Sure. By the way, when I was growing up, I never had to suffer being called a nerd, even though I was a nerd, because the word had no equivalent in my native tongue.

#190 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:12 PM:

Oh, and I didn't intend my earlier post to come across as an absolute. I blame my inclination toward extreme concision. That behing said, I do tend to find the cost of using a word that won't insult someone to be quite low. There may be exceptions, of course.

#191 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:15 PM:

And by contrast, it took me a long time to figure out that I was a nerd (which in my context was a good thing), because I couldn't claim any of the (then specified) skillsets, such as math, engineering, or science. Not quite in the same league as "girls don't...", but of the same type.

#192 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:36 PM:

I don't recall "nerd" or "geek" entering common use until the late 70's. I do remember harsher terms.

#193 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:42 PM:

albatross 150: The Cornell IRB have issued this bullshit statement, which addresses only the data-access issue, and basically says that because Guillory and Hancock didn't have access to the data, they figured they weren't doing human research directly, and therefore the IRB didn't need to approve.

I got a note from their IRB including this press release. I wrote back to them telling them (in polite, academic-friendly language) that it was bullshit, and why.

While writing this I got an email from UCSF saying they're "gathering additional information," and to contact a particular person in Public Affairs for further questions. That's better, IMO, than the bullshit Cornell fed me.

And Benjamin Wolfe is the person I mentioned earlier who coached me on some of these issues.

#194 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:50 PM:

albatross @ 182: I hve a longer answer on costs and supposed ridiculousness pending, but for now, i will choose to spend my very limited time on something that no doubt feels like a very minor matter of labelling to you, and makes the point almost as well:

My name is Lenora. Not Leonora or Lenore. It does actually bother me a fair bit when people get it wrong. Please try better next time.

#195 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 06:54 PM:

Benjamin 173: I'm actually pretty glad their result is a joke; I'd had some concern that some people in the "negative" group might have been depressive and pushed over the edge by this, but it sounds like those fears are groundless.

If someone was really twisted, I'd see about forcing an IRB audit, and making the researchers produce all 689,003 consents... and the ages of all participants, because a minor can't give informed consent without their guardian's agreement and countersignature.

Or make Facebook pay them each $1000. That would serve them right.

#196 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:16 PM:

@193 The Cornell statement is total cover your ass bureaucratic crap. My father taught social psychology there, and I can't imagine him or any of his contemporaries in those departments approving of that study. Some of them would be raising public hell over it.

#197 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:18 PM:

Abi #185: If that word is the one I think it is, people calling me that are at risk of having me track them down and kill them. There is such a think as a deadly insult and that one's right up there with suggesting that my mother walks the streets.

#198 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:20 PM:

I actually wrote something related to this last week, exploring reasons potentially underlying resistance to language-policing from a hopefully-sympathetic point of view. It does have some background reading (at minimum, the previous week's post), and some of my phrasing could be better, but here's where I end up:

If one source of resistance to "political correctness" is this feeling that all the rules are just arbitrarily imposed by people who presume to dictate your language... well, I don't know what would be a good way to address that, but I know what's not a good way: telling people that they're awful for using the wrong language, without ever addressing why they're using the wrong language.

As an example of a healthy interaction around use of language, during a conversation around Christmas my aunt used the word "tranny." I took her aside and said, "I know you mean well, but between last time you learned what words to use and now, that's become considered a slur." She asked "what should I use instead" and I told her, "trans person or trans man/woman, matched to how they look or are trying to look," and she thanked me and it was that simple.

#199 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:24 PM:


Usually the "outdated term" was ALREADY insulting when the older person originally started using it. It's just that back then the targets of the term didn't dare object.

#200 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:35 PM:

Dave Bell #128: Indeed, Ms. Parton has a long and distinguished record. I'd call the slowed-down "Jolene" one of her trophies, and solid proof of her chops.

If you tried to do that with the work of most singers, slowing it down by a third, it would highlight every flaw and slurred syllable. Her version still sounds like a dman good singer.

#201 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:38 PM:

Michael I @199, not always, I don't think. At least, I learned "Oriental" at the exact same time I learned "Occidental" and had never understood it to be any sort of a slur; just a description of which hemisphere one lived in. Now I gather "Oriental" has become a slur; I was rather taken aback when I found this out but have tried very hard to adjust my language.

That said, yes, sometimes (often?) they *were* intended as slurs that one couldn't protest.

#202 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:46 PM:

I don't think of these things as language policing. I consider them basic courtesy.

"Please don't call me 'X'."

"I'm sorry for saying that. What would you like me to call you?"

"Call me 'Y'."

"Okay, thanks for letting me know. I'll remember that."

#203 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 07:52 PM:

Hm. Reading the Cornell statement, it actually makes some sense. The IRB is concerned with data collection at their institution, so arguably, with Gullory and Hancock having no involvement in data collection, and none of the data collection happening under Cornell auspices, the IRB wouldn't have been involved.

From my understanding (having never done human subjects work across institutions), the basic rule of IRBs is where will the data be collected. If there's a project going on across multiple institutions, I'd guess you'd want to have collaborators from different institutions listed on the applicable IRB protocol at the institution where the data is being collected, so they could legally have access to the data, but their home IRB wouldn't be involved.

So, assuming that the two researchers who were at Cornell weren't involved in any data collection, the Cornell IRB wouldn't have been involved. I can well believe that Gullory and Hancock's respective research at Cornell was minimal risk, and that's what seems to be getting reported by their IRB.

From an informed consent standpoint, the real issue is the conflict between Facebook's cavalier (and incorrect) approach to informed consent, and PNAS' editorial requirements for informed consent of human subjects in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. From what's come out in the last couple days, I don't think PNAS should have accepted the manuscript on grounds that the authors' consent procedure was not in compliance.

I actually see this as a nice stick with which to beat corporate research (because, frankly, I expect a certain cavalier attitude towards human subjects, especially from tech companies): if you want to publish in academic journals [and engage directly with the rest of the field], you get to play by our rules. Don't want to consent your subjects properly? The journals shouldn't be willing to publish the work.

#204 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 08:39 PM:

estelendur #198: Where I originally come from 'tranny' meant 'transistor radio'.

#205 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 09:02 PM:

Where I came from, a tranny is what you use to change your car's gears.

#206 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 09:04 PM:

It has come to my attention that every issue of National Lampoon seems to be up, and downloadable, at the Internet Archive, in no particular order. I'm told that even the '64 High School Yearbook Parody is there. I was told this a day after I scanned the whole thing.

Pro: They have the good issues.
Con: Every page has a watermark on it.

But hey: free!

#207 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 10:16 PM:

Hyperlocalews... At a local comic-con, local man saw the Incredible Hulk's Lou Ferrigno and MST3K's Joel Hodgson. No, there was no battle royale.

#208 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2014, 11:45 PM:

Teka Lynn, #202: I suggest applying Cory Doctorow's advice on "political correctness" to similar phrases like "language policing" and "Goodspeech campaigns" -- whenever you see one, replace it with "treating people with respect".

Because really -- what harm does it do you as the speaker NOT to use language that you know hurts other people? Okay, so you have to "self-censor" for a while to remove those phrases from your reflexive go-tos. Guess what? Everybody does that under various circumstances. But somehow it's only when the language under discussion hurts people lower on the privilege ladder that folks get all up in arms about being asked to change it.

#209 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:02 AM:

Albatross @ 182: To continue (And I'm sure if I hadn't already spent so much time on this, I could edit it down to greater brevity):

A more subtle cost is the way changing the acceptable terms in conversation puts older people at a big disadvantage. It's not at all uncommon to hear an older person toss out an outdated term while expressing a perfectly decent idea or position, and not too uncommon to see them get dinged for it. That isn't making the world a better place in any way at all.

That is unfortunate, and no it isn't making the world a better place. I think it depends on the people involved in the transaction in question, but this is a place I advocate strongly for compassion if the error is entirely one of "not what I learned as a kid/old habit", and the person, once politely corrected, *tries* to remember to use the right term.

One can even take it a step further and let it slide. My Mother-in-law uses a few terms considered by some to be politically incorrect (Almost invariably the ones that are more debatable, like Oriental, rather than the ones that are explicit), and I usually say nothing. Because I know this woman: she has travelled worldwide, lived in Kenya, knows a lot more about the real relations between people around the world than I do, and has more generosity in her heart even for people and things she disagrees with than I ever shall.

OTOH, we have called her directly on unthinkingly passing on an anti-Muslim Birther e-mail. (Not that she agreed with it, I hasten to say. Her e-mail habits are... sometimes interesting and inexplicable.) her reaction was mostly dismay, and a certain improvement in what gets sent.

And, more significantly, the situation in which I called someone, politely, on use of a racial stereotype, and had it turn into a multi-hours' discussion, where I *and* a third party nearly walked out - because the person who'd made the statement showed zero remorse and even less understanding, and doubled down hard on how okay it was to do/say that thing. Not because I asked quietly, "Could you please not do that?"

Yet if you asked that person, he would say it was political correctness gone amuck that caused the altercation. Of course, he also blames that for just about everything it's remotely possible to blame on PC-dom.

More broadly, this becomes a kind of ingroup/outgroup signaling, so that by using the wrong terms, you're "not one of us." That's some pretty powerful social machinery to invoke, and it can lead to some good outcomes, but also to some pretty unpleasant ones.

I agree. I suspect darn near everything in identity language has some aspect of that signalling. But, as I've said about the concept of privilege, that it has problems doesn't necessarily make it invalid, it just means care must be exercised in its invocation.

And again, people aware that the term or language shift in question is new or not universal usually try to politely educate people they suspect from other markers really are "one of us". It's when this attempt goes BADLY that the person usually becomes more firmly pushed out of the group.

One pretty visible cost is ridicule. Lots and lots of people who aren't even particularly hostile to your cause can and will make jokes at your movement's expense.

Nudged on by people who are hostile. Nudged on by assuming extreme positions are central.

This is also exactly the way feminists are mocked for everything else we do or say.

How dare we risk doing a thing that might lead back to mockery upon us by our foes and bystanders who hear the spin and don't recognize it as such?

What *can't* be spun, usually into satire, by taking it to its absurd extreme?

Because language-policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphemeisms is, in fact, ridiculous.

Because "language policing" is how "Please call me what I prefer to be called, not that thing I find denigrating" has been painted by people who would rather choose what to call other people, even if it hurts, than to have to learn to ask, and sometimes remember, various divergent terms.

I won't say there aren't ridiculous extremists who do police language, and they might deserve mockery, but there's a whole gamut of people who are *really* just politely asking people not to call them something they find insulting, and they don't deserve the same.

Worse, just about everybody I've seen painting ALL identity language advocacy as 'language policing' is also reactionary to a lot of real action on the part of social justice movements. (the few exceptions that complain about language but seem to have their heart in the right place otherwise, seem to be mostly a small subset of the elder generation members you mention above)

Most of the people I know who do use make effort to use the most current terms sound pretty natural about it, not self-conscious -- though if the term is unfamiliar to the listener, it can jar just as badly as if it didn't slip out naturally.

Most have some sympathy for people who are genuinely trying, or just make mistakes (I HAVE accidentally called a recently out trans man by the wrong gender pronoun, and while it's been pointed out to me when I slipped, it has never been a big deal as long as I tried to correct.) The only people they take issue with are the ones that react, not with "I'll try to remember for next time", but with one of the wolves' responses here.

Anyone who ever asks for a pronoun correction or a particular term/stereotype not to be used will still get painted as policing by those who disagree. Does this really invalidate the worth of the effort?

Language can change fast and people adapt. Except, apparently, when it comes to respecting another person's identity or having some sympathy for their desire not to be insulted.

#210 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 03:19 AM:

Fragano @197:

Yes, and I know. The problem is that there aren't words with that damaging power for most straight white cis men, which makes it easier for them to fail to understand/not care that there are such words for other groups.

I was rather hoping that realizing that some of the most beloved members of this community are vulnerable to that kind of damage would make that point a little easier to grasp despite that visceral gap.

#211 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 04:13 AM:

What I'm getting from the Facebook fracas is that the effect is so small, and the experiment will need to be so large, that even before the consent issues are considered, it may be impractical to confirm the result.

And hen I start wondering, if the effects are so slight, how the trolls came to be. Can a Social Media site do anything to modify their behaviour, or are they the product of their real lives?

But it may discredit the view that the abusive posters were created by their access to social media, and call into question just how, as time passes, we can deal with such problems. Those internet jokers prosecuted under terrorism laws over bomb threats: we need a better real-world response. We shouldn't be dismissing the virulent hatred directed at well-known women, with threats of rape and murder. How did they get that way, and what do we do now?

These flaws may need a lifetime to fix, a new-age Reconstruction that is sustained for a lifetime. We can't afford to stop any reform at the next election.

And there is some evidence, better than Facebook's, that governments are broken by the dominance of such things as single-sex private schools (Places such as Eton in England) which infests politics with people who have experienced adolescence in a flawed social environment.

(You don't need to go to a Public School to do great things. Look at what Nye Bevan did.)

#212 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 07:59 AM:

abi @ 210: I wasn't thinking about eliminating slurs as one of the ineffective parts of language-as-politics. It's one of the places where it is effective, even though its effectiveness is greatest while playing defense. That's still worthwhile.

What I was thinking of was more, for instance, the tweetstorm as political action. While that has its uses, the idea that it substitutes for physical gathering and face-to-face organizing is, I think, wrong.

#213 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 08:11 AM:

abi #210: About twenty years ago, on Usenet, a white American complained about the word 'buckra' insisting that it was pejorative much to my surprise. Over my objections that in Jamaican Creole it simply meant 'white person', he said that in his understanding it was a pejorative term for white person and his understanding, as a white man, was superior to mine. I gave up and walked away from that newsgroup (which, I suspect, was his objective).

#214 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:03 AM:

Speaking of a variety of things...

I was idly considering where to take a long-ish break next year and thought that Seattle (being somewhere where I know quite a few people, some of which I don't even know through work, and have spent quite a few pleasant weeks in the past) was a brilliant idea and it also struck me that it isn't super-far from Spokane.

But, it troubles me that I cannot find a "code of conduct" nor an "anti-harassment policy" on the 2015 WorldCon's web pages. Is it just me being bad at finding this info?

#215 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:09 AM:

John A Arkansawyer, I would never have included political Twitter in what you mentioned. That's another issue and worthy of discussion, but I don't connect it to the respectful-language topic without a serious amount of thought.

So: what's your favorite kind of puppy? Do you like the little tight-skinned ones that will stay nearly that size, or the big floppy ones that will eventually grow less wrinkly? Or floofy fur?

#216 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:11 AM:

Claiming "language policing" or "political correctness run amok" amounts to classic concern trolling: trying to convince you to abandon a dominant position.

That is, having been accused of a given offense (using an insulting word), they're claiming that calling them on that offense, is itself an equal or greater offense against them.

Of course, being allowed to insult a subordinate (group) with impunity is privileged behavior by definition. What they're claiming is an offense against their privilege.

#217 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Diatryma @ 215: It doesn't seem like such a leap to me, I guess, nor was I meaning to just talk about one thing.

#218 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:42 AM:

AKICIML: Suppose I'm trying to do experiments in cooking Indonesian food. Are there reasonable substitutes for:
- banana leaves (for wrapping & steaming rice)
- galangal
- kluwak nuts (which i most suspect I won't be able to find at all)
- Indonesian bay leaf
(looking at making either sop konro or coto makassar, and burasa, by the "find five recipes and average them" method)

#219 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 10:57 AM:

estelendur, #218: If you don't have a hard deadline on finding these ingredients (as in, you're planning to do this tomorrow or something), you can order galangal from Penzey's Spices. Or my partner says that ginger and galangal are closely related, so you might try using that instead.

#220 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 11:22 AM:

estelendur@218:I've found frozen banana leaves in our local (a Hy Vee) supermarket. A good Asian food store will also have them. If they don't have them, then you could try using green corn husks. The flavor will be somewhat different but not radically so. If the object needing wrapping is large, then you could contain the corn husks in an outer wrapping of cheese cloth.

Ginger can be used instead of galangal although the flavors are somewhat different.

I see that people substitute regular bay leaf for Indonesian bay leaf but then remark that they taste different. A sour component is mentioned. They are for sale at:

Note that they are also different than Indian bay leaves.

I haven't tried a recipe that needs kluwak nuts. I see them for sale at:

I notice that while the kluwak nuts for sale in the US are processed and safe, raw kluwak nuts are poisonous and contain hydrogen cyanide. So, make sure to get processed ones. The ones at the above link look processed.

#221 ::: alsafi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 11:52 AM:

As Lee mentioned, Penzey's Spices has powdered galangal available, but depending on the season (and on your local area), you might be able to find it at an Asian grocery store--I've seen it here in my city, and we are not a terribly cosmopolitan locale. It looks like a very thin-skinned ginger, perhaps slightly more bulbous, and is kept in the fresh vegetable section, in my experience. Note that, bit like powdered ginger versus fresh, the flavor profiles of fresh & dried galangal are distinctly different, at least to my palate.

For wrapping & steaming of rice packets like I've seen, in place of banana leaves you could try waxed paper, or even cornhusks, like you'd use for tamales.

As for the other two, I'm stumped.

#222 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 11:55 AM:

HLN: Local woman is waiting for results of yesterday's biopsy. Anemia, multiple masses in abdomen (one somewhat necrotic); possibility of one or more types of cancer. Local woman is exceedingly unenthusiastic. (Translation: local woman is scared shitless.)

#223 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:01 PM:

Velma: Good thoughts for you.

#224 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:07 PM:

Velma, <hugs> if welcome.

#225 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:11 PM:

Velma, wishing you hugs and all the good energy you want. (Oh shit!)

#226 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:12 PM:

Oh, !@#$%^&*(.

#227 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:14 PM:

Velma (222): Thinking good thoughts.

#228 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Oh crap. Thoughts & prayers, Velma.

#229 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:23 PM:

Velma, may things turn out better than feared.

#230 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:32 PM:

*roots for Technology and Life*

#231 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:33 PM:

Velma, GoodThoughts being sent your way.

How many folks are going to be at Detcon1? Should we try to plan for a Gathering of Light?

#232 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 12:37 PM:

E-mail from my local library:

The rhesus chart / Charles Stross.
Ready. Must pick up by 07-10-14

Woo Hoo!

#233 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:07 PM:

Velma: GoodThoughts, candle lit.

#234 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Velma @222:

You're in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted how things go.

#235 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:37 PM:

Oh, Velma. If anyone can pull the strength and community love (including me) to get through this, it's you.

#236 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:40 PM:

Velma: That's scary-sounding for sure, and I hope it turns out to be far less alarming than it sounds.

Please keep us posted, so we can help you fret, at the very least.

#237 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:47 PM:

Velma: Scary indeed! May there be sure and certain knowledge of how best to proceed as soon as possible.

#238 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 01:53 PM:

Velma @222: Thinking good thoughts.

#239 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 02:04 PM:

Velma... My fingers are crossed.

#240 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 02:33 PM:

@Velma: Best wishes and fingers crossed.

#241 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 02:42 PM:

Velma: The very best of wishes to you!

#242 ::: CN ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 03:18 PM:

Velma, holding you in the Light.

#243 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 03:48 PM:

Ingvar M @214 -- I believe Sasquan has such a policy (and I know we intend to have such a policy!). You're right that it's not obvious on the front page, and I'll see what can be done about getting that changed.

#244 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 04:29 PM:

Velma, good wishes and prayers you way from me, also.

#245 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 04:45 PM:

Thanks for the suggestions, all! I found everything I was looking for except the kluwak nuts and Indonesian bay leaf, at the previously-unknown-to-me large Asian grocery in my area.

Velma: sending good thoughts and wishing you luck :(

#246 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 04:50 PM:

Velma, good wishes and crossed fingers and toes from over here too.

#247 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 05:02 PM:

Velma: Good thoughts. Do we have permission to do more?

#248 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 05:12 PM:

Best wishes, Velma, for things working out well.

#249 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 05:18 PM:

Velma #222: I'm wishing you strength and hope.

#250 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 05:57 PM:

HLN: Local man encounters former boss on street. Former boss is carrying two gallons of spring water, says she won't drink water in building where she works and local man formally worked.

She explains that, in additional to local man, two other people on that floor have gotten tongue cancer. She didn't know whether the type of cancer matched the kind local man had.

#251 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 06:07 PM:

Velma @ 222: Good thoughts and wishes wending your pay. Prayers if appreciated.

Xopher @ 250: That is exceedingly suspicious clustering. Something needs to be checked. And if it is more than coincidence ... I have no words, but the ones I would have would be exceedingly vile.

#252 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 06:29 PM:

Some of the ways the Dutch are unusually good at bicycles:

#253 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 06:35 PM:

Velma @222: Petitioning the heavens on your behalf; HealingWishes and industrial-strength Strength are on their way FedEx.

#254 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 06:57 PM:

Velma, best of luck to you.

#255 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 07:23 PM:

Velma, very best wishes.

#256 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 07:41 PM:

Xopher: prayers, spells, petitions are all welcome. I am still waiting for biopsy results and trying to find interest in food.

Not quite how I'd planned to spend my summer.

#257 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 08:04 PM:

Ingvar M @214, me @243: I've checked -- the policy isn't in final form yet, but Sasquan is working on one. I don't have a firm date on when it'll be up, but it is in the queue, and not forgotten.

#258 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2014, 11:12 PM:

Velma, you are in my prayers. Here's hoping for better news from here on out.

#259 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 12:00 AM:

Velma: Good wishes and virtual hugs, if wanted.

#257: Oh good. I've found Sasquan to be very responsive, and I'm glad they haven't missed that detail.

General note on bad behavior and "doubling down"—there was a bar owner in Spokane who had the bad taste to create a drink called "Date Grape Kool-Aid" and then act as though he were being attacked when people objected. Complete jerk behavior. He then made minor changes to the name when Kool-Aid threatened a lawsuit, but put up ads with a person in a bulldog suit—closely resembling the local college mascot (my alma mater). He also stuck up college stickers around the bar, making it seem as though the college endorsed his bar. Well, they didn't. Lawsuit followed (in progress, AFAIK. Local college also happens to have a law school.)

And then it turned out he was behind on his rent, and the landlord was unamused. His quick fundraising efforts failed (for some odd reason) and his bar has been evicted. He is playing the martyr, of course.

My friends in Spokane (who brought this to my attention) are experiencing a bit of glee. If he'd apologized, they probably would have forgiven him. But continuing in bad behavior and then claiming to be entirely in the right? Well... it's hard to get sympathy that way.

#260 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:48 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ #257:


#261 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 07:17 AM:

:hugs the Velma, if given the hi sign to do so:

Love and prayers and goofy harmonies as always, now and ongoing.

Re the discussion on conventions and policies and so forth: I was pleased to see that Balticon has one, because I'm pretty sure that's where I'll be next year for Memorial Day weekend. Perhaps some fun can be arranged, if other Fluorospherians will be in attendance.

#262 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 07:42 AM:

Velma, hoping for the best for you.

And some thoughts on "language policing"/asking people to use correct identity names, I recently had a post of mine blow up a little on tumblr over just that. Some links and pull quotes:

My original post, in which I was criticizing a media interview for seeming unwilling to mention the word "bisexual" in the context of Penny Dreadful's portrayal of Dorian Gray, and where (on a gay media site, no less) they resorted to that old "he's beyond labels" dodge. My exact words:

This, on the other hand, feels like a giant “no homo” after the preceding question. And I blame it more on the interviewer than the actor.

WHY IS EVERYONE SO AFRAID OF CALLING SOMETHING BISEXUALITY? Or, better yet, pansexuality, which seems more accurate for Dorian - I doubt he’d restrict himself to the binary.

One person took exception to my phrasing thusly:

his was going so well until you said bisexuals restrict themselves to the binary :/ non-binary bisexual here, your definition is wrong, biphobic and transphobic

Now, despite the Jay-Smooth-approved "what you said" vs. "what you are" method of criticism, that stung.

However, I tried to keep my cool. The first paragraph of my response:

…if a person’s sexual orientation (as opposed to their gender identity) includes more types of people than fit into the male/female binary, how is that not pansexual rather than bisexual?

And I ended by saying "…I think we may be using different words to describe the same thing."

You can see my full response and links to most of the ensuing discussion here. (Tumblr's threading: not so bad, actually.)

Here is where, in frustration, I resort to the "look, I'm OLD, have some patience" self-defense, to a different commenter:

Look, I am 44, a dinosaur by tumblr standards. When I was first figuring out my identity in the 1980s, “bisexual” WAS used reductively, and nobody would have said “heterosexuals and homosexuals get to be attracted to nonbinary people” because hardly anyone realized that “nonbinary” was even a thing.

I do follow it with an apology (middle paragraphs cut for length):

I used the terminology as best I knew how. I screwed up. I appreciate the education.

and in the tags, I mutter "but I feel like I could use a little more slack". (If you're not reading the tags on tumblr posts, you're missing half of the conversation, just like not reading the comments here.)

Here's a subsequent response from a later person, which was much less judgmental in tone, and my response to them. Including my tags "also thank you for not rushing to throw and around" (eek, I'm sure I meant "insults", not "and", or else I left out the words biphobic and transphobic), "hasty and quick to anger", and "a jedi craves not these things".

Their response (to which there's a link in the notes) had the tags "don't beat yourself up auntie" and "i know you meant no harm".

I like to think that I kept my cool reasonably well through most of the discussion. And I know that on tumblr it's not instantly obvious that I'm of an older generation than many of the participants, because I can code-switch into tumblr's flailing-fangirl style with some fluency, and do, because it's very expressive.

But dear heaven, I'd like it if more people corrected language the way that calling-doctor-bones did rather than the original response I got. Especially when the point of my original post was so clearly arguing for a position they shared that even they acknowledged it.

Sometimes hostile corrections have a purpose, which is to get across the message "both your language and your position are wrong wrong wrongity wrong, and this makes me angry," but sometimes, even though it's true that "tone policing" is a form of silencing, it would be a lot more effective to correct someone gently. abi, what's the full phrasing of your admonition to "read charitably" and consequently how to react? Like that.

...yeah, I'm still maybe a little stung over the initial response, even though I found the way the discussion wound up ultimately satisfactory. And the lessons learned here about responding temperately - is that the rest of the admonition? - helped a lot.

So I have great sympathy both for those who say "incorrect and insulting identity language needs to be called out and corrected, as a matter of courtesy and respect," AND those who say "language policing is hostile and drives off allies."

Would that all of life had the Fluorosphere's moderation team.

#263 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 08:56 AM:

Oh my bob there are such terminology issues around sexual and gender variance lately. To the point that my own chosen best-fit identity words read as insulting (a step short of slur, but barely) to some other people who I consider to be on the same spectrum as me and fighting many of the same fights.

The bisexual/pansexual fight is totally a "Thing" that's happening right now in terminology slapfight news, and you sailed straight into the center of it all unwitting. I'm sorry. :-/

#264 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 09:01 AM:

Rikibeth @262 I have great sympathy both for those who say "incorrect and insulting identity language needs to be called out and corrected, as a matter of courtesy and respect," AND those who say "language policing is hostile and drives off allies."

Thank you. I had a similar experience to yours elsenet, also in a discussion having to do with gender identity and sexual orientation, except I didn't follow it through to your satisfactory conclusion. I was driven off (and, I should note, by relatively mild correction. It was not a dogpile. But I am, as always, conflict-averse.) I was left feeling, well, excuse me for attempting to express support; I won't make that mistake again.

Maybe this is whiny. Maybe this is entitled. But I think there must be a middle range between "I'm entitled to plop down anywhere in the internet and say any ignorant thing I want" and "Study up on this and become an expert before you dare make a passing comment."

#265 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Elliott Mason: I had NO FRICKIN' IDEA that bisexual/pansexual was a current slapfight, and part of me was just going "well excuse ME for having a grounding in scientifc prefixes, LATIN, UR DOIN IT RONG."

I have a handy reality check system in the form of my kid, who is a non-binary-gendered college student and thus hears all the changes and kerfuffles first. Kid was like "yeah, it's a thing, and okay people are stepping back from pansexual, but you are so right about the Latin and that part BUGS ME TOO."

Kid also backed up my perception on another tumblr incident that resulted in an unfollowing, saying "okay, that person has a position, which I don't necessarily agree with but it's a position some people have, but they were hella rude about how they addressed it with you, your request for clarification was reasonably polite." It's good to be on the same side as my kid. (And I get uncomfortable when people praise me for being so supportive, because THIS IS MY KID and that should be, like, expected MINIMUM.)

OtterB, in my case, I engage when I have the energy rather than backing down and going "well excuse me for trying to offer support" because it's not abstract/ally stuff for me, it's my identity (bi/pan depending on How You Use The Words) and my kid's that are both at stake, and it feels worse to back off than to defend it. I blame absolutely no one for backing away in the face of a hostile reaction to a well-meant statement. Hostility is draining.

And I know, I know, "intent isn't magical", but sometimes, if you can make a good guess at a person's intent, you can figure out ahead of time whether to say mildly "excuse me, you're stepping on my foot" or "HEY, GET OFF OF MY FOOT, NOW, JERK!"

Sometimes people are taken by surprise and their foot is already bruised by repeated stepping, so sometimes they yell out of proportion. I try to get off any feet I'm stepping on, regardless of how it's pointed out. But someone who yells at me when it was a simple accident? No matter how sorry I am, I probably don't want to stand near them anymore.

#266 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Rikibeth @ 262: I'm sorry that discussion began so roughshod, and glad it got cooler and more level so quickly. I also have to echo your kudos to the moderators here, with special note of Abi* - and the many many educational discussions they have put forth both on moderation and how it really works, and charitably reading other peoples' words. Many Moderators are much quieter and less public about their decisions, but while their moderation decisions have influenced the tone of this site, those discussions and openness have influenced my manner of responses elsewhere.

*Because while abi is most likely to discuss this now, and is definitely the proponent of charitable reading, I can think of words from some of the others that have also made me think about how response feeds either good conversation or trolling.

#267 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 10:42 AM:

Thirding praise to the ML moderation style for helping me be more civilized elsewhere. Based on my very short attempt at moderating a community, it's hard.

#268 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 10:46 AM:

ab @ 177... According to the Editor-in-Chief (of Locus) AKA my best friend from high school

The Cabal of Women who want to destroy SF obviously recruits its members at an early age.

#269 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 11:09 AM:

Lenora Rose, thanks. I expect tumblr to get a little contentious, really - enthusiasms run high and so do emotions. One of the things I've been enjoying about the Penny Dreadful fandom, as I've been watching it develop (nothing like being in near the start!) is how civilized people generally are - there's plenty of spirited debate, but remarkably little name-calling or disrespect of others' opinions. And the discussions get pretty high-level, which seems to be a result of the show having so many roots in classic literature, which attracts people who already like that stuff and like to analyze it. And when a fan who's pretty clearly not as well-versed in the reading says something that demonstrates a lack of grounding, the tone of the explaining definitely tends more to the You Love What I Love And Here Are More Things To Love That Will Make You Love Our Thing Even More, and not You Idiot How Do You Not Know That Already. It's really refreshing. If there are bitter arguments, I haven't seen them in the tag.

Which is why it was kind of a shock to get the call-out I got in those terms. It was an outlier for how that little corner of fandom has been behaving.

Something else I've tried to observe is that it's more acceptable to get very ranty at people who are clearly not participating in the debate (showrunners, frex) than it is to get ranty at people you're engaging with directly. Mostly? This new baby fandom is good about that. Rest of the world? SO variable.

#270 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 11:37 AM:

Rikibeth... I haven't watched "Penny Dreadful" yet, but we recently became Showtime subscribers, and they reran the whole series this weekend. My DVR is full and ready for my peepers. I've heard lots of good things about it. I must say that its cast including Timothy Dalton is a point in their favor. Same for Eva Green. (Unless we're talking about the dreadful "Camelot", which even her birthday suit couldn't make me want to keep watching.)

#271 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 11:42 AM:

Serge, you and I share an opinion of that dire Camelot, even if it was Jamie Campbell Bowers' birthday suit I was watching for, not Eva Green's. (Although hers is quite wonderful as well).

Penny Dreadful's a lot less aggravating than that.

#272 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 12:48 PM:

Velma, that's terrible. You've come to the right place. I don't think anyone will gainsay that we all wish you well. Please keep us informed when possible.

#273 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 02:27 PM:

Something to think about for convention planning...

Well, two things...

The power bank (there are other names), a rechargeable battery that can recharge your smartphone or tablet, is getting to be a commonplace item in shops. It's not everywhere, but it can make a big difference to have one. Some cameras can recharge from USB too.

Something called an OTG lead will let you connect a tablet or smartphone to an ordinary USB stick. You'll need some file management software, but that lets you back up the pictures you take. With the right sort of adaptor, you could read the memory card from a camera, maybe directly connect the camera. Smartphones can take good pictures, but I've not seen any which have easy memory card changes. Try things out before you go.

(I'm seeing some startlingly low prices for memory sticks and cards of one sort and another. Five quid to store 2500 images? No wonder people stopped using Kodachrome.)

My biggest problem is going to be deciding which camera to take.

#274 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 02:43 PM:

Well, to me use of the term bisexual implies the existence of a gender binary, because otherwise what "bi" are you being "sexual" toward?

But I'm a) a pedant, b) neither bisexual nor non-binary-gendered, and c) well aware that words don't always keep the meaning they were originally formed with, witness the usual suspects (malaria, glial, migraine).

But being swatted down for not using the most up-to-date term would definitely frost me the hell off.

#275 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:00 PM:

Xopher, I agree with you on both points, the "Latin, UR DOIN IT RONG," and the being frosted off when swatted for a small (and CLEARLY non-malicious) error in nomenclature.

I once quit visiting a blog because a commenter ignored the point I was trying to make in my comment in favor of dinging me in a very hostile manner for saying "transwoman" instead of "trans woman". JFC.

#276 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:01 PM:

Xopher @ 274

I'm following the conversation on language with interest. Can I request an expansion of what the difference is that you see between "being swatted down for not using the most up-to-date term" and the general "language-policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphimisms."

It's clear that a difference is intended, but I'm not clear on what it is.

#277 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:23 PM:

B. Durbin, #259: That's good news. I heard about that issue when it was all over Facebook, and am glad to get an update. Sounds like the standard cluster of "an asshole is rarely an asshole in only one area" behavior.

HLN: Local woman is now posting from shiny new (to her) Windows 7 computer.

#278 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:31 PM:

Sam, two conversations:

Conversation 1:
A: I was talking to this [term 1] the other day and [completes thought].
B: That's interesting. A, [term 1] is considered offensive these days. [Group] prefer [term 2] these days. If you use [term 1], people will think you're [term for people who are prejudiced against [Group]].
A: Wow, thanks. I'll try to remember.
Conversation 2:
A: Are we still using the word [term 1]? It seems wrong to me.
B: You shouldn't have to ask! You're a filthy [term for people who are prejudiced against [Group]] if you don't already know we use [term 2] now!
See the difference there? I hasten to add I would accept the criticism offered by B in the second conversation, try to use [term 2], and block B from my social media. I would not, however, tell B that B could win more hearts and minds by being gentle and polite; other members of [Group] can have that conversation, because otherwise it's the Tone Argument.

And of course the more usual ending for Conversation 1 is

A: I was talking to this [term 1] the other day and [completes thought].
B: That's interesting. A, [term 1] is considered offensive these days. [Group] prefer [term 2] these days. If you use [term 1], people will think you're [term for people who are prejudiced against [Group]].
A: Oh, get over yourself. You [term 1]s are always trying to tell us [non-term 2]s what to do. Anybody who doesn't [rant with terms like 'political correctness', 'social justice warrior', etc.] is called a [term for people who are prejudiced against [Group]].
If B has had THAT conversation many times, it may explain Conversation 2. And it's why the Tone Argument is generally bullshit.

#279 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:37 PM:

SamChevre, if I can step in, the difference for me comes down to intent and tone and subtext.

When someone describes what's going on as "language policing and self-conscious use of the latest euphemisms," I take away the sense that the person so speaking doesn't believe that the latest terms are valuable, or that it matters whether they use the up-to-date correct, non-insulting language, and that they're privileging their desire to use the terms they prefer over the desire of those whom the terms describe to be called what they want to be called.

When someone says "swatted down for not using the most up-to-date terminology," the sense I take away is that the speaker would like to use the current appropriate language, but acknowledges that they may not always know it because it's often a rapidly shifting area, and that they would appreciate a mild "actually, the term I prefer is X" -type correction instead of "your use of the word Q is rude and Xphobic" when, apart from the term, the substance of the utterance was anything BUT Xphobic.

Does that make sense?

#280 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:40 PM:

Xopher, well put!

#281 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 03:46 PM:

Rikibeth, actually I liked yours better. Plus, it's shorter!

#282 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:09 PM:

Xopher, I felt like I sacrificed clarity for length and that your examples were nicely illustrative. Lord knows I've had conversations like that. All of them. I've learned not to be Person A in conversation 3 by now, but I did have to learn.

#283 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:11 PM:

That, and I've also had to learn not to be person B in Conversation 2!

#284 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:15 PM:

Xopher, don't remind me! I was that young and earnest and quick to bristle, once. I cringe a little at the memory.

#285 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:25 PM:


You're in my prayers. Yikes!

#286 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:40 PM:

Rikibeth, Sam, Xopher:

I suspect there is not a clean line between these two. It's notoriously easy to misread the intent of a speaker, or the subtext of a discussion, for example.

#287 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 04:43 PM:

In the particular set of conversations regarding terminology, one thing I'm grappling with personally right now is the bit where I have friends with...mutually exclusive terminology preferences, basically. One friend prefers Term A as their self-chosen best representation of how they identify, and another friend had Term A used against them in a terrible context and thus has very painful memories brought up whenever that word is used.

To date, my best way to navigate this is to not use the term at all in public places where one or both of them is likely to be present, and keep in mind the potential for both reactions when I see the term used elsewhere. But there is not a single good solution here! Not that I can see.

When it comes to "bisexual" vs. "pansexual", I then find myself in half of that bind myself. And thus I back away quickly from the discussions there, because... I do not want to give up a term that represents me in a way I'm comfortable with. Nor do I want other people who have been hurt by that term to be further hurt. And damned if I have a better solution when I'm in the middle of it than I do when I'm standing outside it.

#288 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:10 PM:

The language thread is interesting. Is there a term similar to the Overton Window to describe words and their varying acceptability?

#289 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:18 PM:

And I hasten to add that "politically correct" is not what I'm looking for. :)

#290 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:26 PM:

Lenora: Sorry for getting your name wrong.

Abi 185: I guess I kind-of assumed in writing my comment that we all agreed that you ought not to go around tossing out ethnic slurs and deadly insults. Indeed, I don't think there are many people at all who use those terms innocently--instead, if you call someone a f-- or a n-----, you're almost guaranteed to be trying to insult someone, start a fight, etc. And I thought we were discussing something quite different from that.

The discussion I *thought* we were having was based on the construction "X like a girl" for various X, and more broadly on the question of whether trying to impose language changes is a good or productive thing for social movements. And so I gave some examples of places where I see that attempt as having some significant costs, and having seemingly pretty small advantages.

This isn't a matter of my not understanding that there are slurs that hurt people or make enemies or start fights. None of that is new to anyone in this discussion, even the old white men. Most of the kind of language change we're talking about seems to be pretty far from that point, to me.

#291 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Steve C:

The phrase I've seen is the "euphemism treadmill."

#292 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:34 PM:

Thank-you, Rikibeth and Xopher.

#293 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 05:56 PM:

Dave Bell @273

re Smartphone card swapping.
As my DSLR has poor wi-fi options, when I'm at airshows I have a miniSD card with adapter. If I have photos on the DSLR that I want to share during the day, I copy them to the miniSD card (using the DSLR's two SD slots), then put the miniSD into my smartphone. My old smartphone required the battery to be removed to swap the miniSD, my new one has an externally-accessible slot.

#294 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 06:50 PM:

albatross, #286: IME, terms like "language policing", "political correctness", "Goodspeak campaigns", etc. are far more likely to be used by people higher on the privilege ladder* who are objecting to being asked to consider the wishes of those who are lower.

and @291: "Euphemism treadmill" made me giggle, and seems to be remarkably accurate.

* As regards the issue under discussion at that time. Intersectionality is real, and the same person can be higher on the privilege ladder in one area and lower in another.

#295 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 06:50 PM:

albatross @ 290: Apology accepted.

I think a major question involved is, where is the line between socially acceptable cases of asserting one's identity (Being called an obvious socially recognized insult is cause to take offense in most peoples' eyes) and those which are 'taking it too far'? Why is asking people not to use 'X like a girl' -- when it insults not only the person, usually a boy, so addressed, but an entire gender that is, for many, a very close part of their identity -- excessive? Why is asking for one's own pronoun obviously too much? Why is debating bisexual and pansexual* a discussion that is, in your prior word, ridiculous?

The answer, "Because some people are a jerk about how they address the language shift" is insufficient.

Fade Manley @ 287: I can see that being very hard ground to navigate.

My experience so far is that even with people with separate preferences** few of those preferences are of a sort to cause deep offense in those who don't use them. I am very sad to see that you have to deal with an exception. (is it a case of someone reclaiming a nigh-universally insulting term? If so, my answer would likely match yours: I know there are a handful of words I will never use even if the person in front of me is saying, "I want to use it for myself." )

* I have some interest in that debate. I have been IDing myself as bisexual since I first came out to anyone, and while I agree that the origin of the word, and the prefix bi, imply a binary (See, there's the prefix again!) -- but calling myself pansexual still sounds and feels weird, like the wrong size clothes.

** My biggest experience with people who have distinctly different preferences: I've encountered non-binary people, mostly online, who prefer things like singular they, sie/hir, Spivak pronouns, or even 'it', and to the best of my knowledge, only the last has been considered by anyone else to be insulting (And because of that, as with my comment on all reclaimed insults, it's the one I am not likely to reach for in front of someone whose preference I do not know.)

#296 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 06:53 PM:

"Pansexual" seems off to me because it sounds like being attracted to everyone-- this is probably rarely the case.

#297 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 06:55 PM:

"Pansexual" seems off to me because it sounds like being attracted to everyone-- this is probably rarely the case.

#298 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 07:18 PM:

I tend to read "bisexual" and "pansexual" as overlapping but not necessarily identical descriptions. I identify as bisexual for a number of reasons, some of which come down to "it's the term most people will understand if I use it," and it's possible I'll change my mind in the future. And, yeah, I bristle when I run into the people who use the prefix origins to claim it means something very discriminatory; English is full of words whose active meaning has little to do with the literal aspects of their roots! But at the same time, I can totally see someone choosing to go with "pansexual" as better representing themselves because of their dislike for those root origins.

Just not, you know, using it as a stick to beat people with.

Lenora Rose, as you guessed, it's a slur-reclaiming thing. Specifically, the word "queer". I know a lot of people who self-identify with that term; I know a few people who were deeply hurt by it; and I do not personally know, but have heard about from the latter group, people who use the word themselves, and attack that second group and tell them they're wrong for not embracing the word themselves.

My general approach is thus to never use the word myself in a public place, and to assume that people who use it in what doesn't seem like a hostile manner do indeed mean it in the reclaiming and non-hostile sense. But it's something I need to keep in mind when I'm using language in public spaces, and, yeah, that uses some cycles.

...but a lot of things use some cycles. I had to work "gyp" out of my vocabulary after discovering it was a slur, and that took a while to internalize. I'm still working on "lame" and some other ableist stuff. There are people who say it applies to them and doesn't hurt them; there are people who say it applies to them and hurts them; I figure the first group isn't going to be hurt by my not using the word, by and large.

I've also picked up incorrect word definitions on occasion from my early reading; it took me years to find out that "taciturn" didn't actually mean "stoic". It's brain-cycles to remember to use those words properly too, and no one's likely to get hurt if I use them wrong. So I figure if I can invest a bit of energy in getting other vocabulary right when no one's feelings are on the line, I can invest at least as much in the vocab handling when people's feelings are.

#299 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 07:19 PM:

Along the lines of The Man Who Melted Jack Dann, I present: Lisa Jackson Deserves to Die.

As my fellow librarian just remarked, "poor cover design."

#300 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 09:25 PM:

It's like "The Sheep Look Up John Brunner!"

#301 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 10:06 PM:


It brings back memories of the 1984 Hugo-counting program, which was stuffed with output to track where it failed if it died in the process - the thing would only run if most of the device drivers were unloaded, it required so much memory. So the monitor would have a line reading 'Eliminating [nominee]'.
Yep: Eliminating In the Face of My Enemy

#302 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 10:19 PM:

Rikibeth @265: Sometimes people are taken by surprise and their foot is already bruised by repeated stepping, so sometimes they yell out of proportion. I try to get off any feet I'm stepping on, regardless of how it's pointed out. But someone who yells at me when it was a simple accident? No matter how sorry I am, I probably don't want to stand near them anymore.
All of my feelings forever. (to use the tumblrspeaks)

Xopher @274: But being swatted down for not using the most up-to-date term would definitely frost me the hell off.
One of my favorite webcomic artists had a character use the term "transgender" and was promptly swatted for not having her use "trans" instead. By someone who assumed they were cis, which they… kind of aren't.

Lenora @295: calling myself pansexual still sounds and feels weird, like the wrong size clothes
That's how I feel about really all gender identity descriptors. Because it's "bleh too big" instead of "ouch too small get it off!" I usually just let all pass by without comment, but… someone was saying something about no good options? Yeah.

#303 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 11:43 PM:

My kid just read, unhelped, the first two sentences of The Hobbit. And I GOT IT ON VIDEO. I am so geeksqueed.

Extra so because she is motivated to want to know the story in The Hobbit because a month ago she wanted me to play my guitar at her. So I pulled up some things I have chords for and practiced, and one of them was Smaug the Magic Dragon. It was fun, she sang along, ok fine. Then last Saturday she started spontaneously singing the chorus endlessly, clearly earwormed. So I told her that the song was based on a book and now she wants to know the story. :->

#304 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2014, 11:52 PM:

Xopher @ 197.801: That's an interesting explanation, but ISTM that it requires some of the Master Race getting a dose of common sense; or, what else were the Lakewalkers before the tech crash? I'm also not sure I believe in nanotech carrying the impulse to rule; ISTM that that requires conscious self-delusion. But I'm guessing here; the scope of the idea is certainly awesome.

abi@197.813: I definitely don't remember those chapters; don't know whether I quit before then or just blanked on them. (It sounds like Melville may have taken Les Miserables too much as a model.) I'd call such infodumps the opposite of procedural markers if they're so irrelevant, but I suspect from your comments that there are less-irrelevant sections.

Xopher @ 197.851: or a slogan that has been debased. Sturgeon touches on this in "Slow Sculpture", and Knight built it into "The Country of the Kind", one of his most penetrating stories. Considering the number of other useful thoughts the right wing has debased, I'm not much worked up over this one -- although I would probably be suspicious of its use, as you are.

Kimiko @ 197.981: the problem with your analysis is that it doesn't explain movies having the same rules of acceptability. Temple of Doom aside, I've personally seen a US all-ages movie that was no-kids rated in Europe; consider this vs the joke about US women (according the movies) always draping themselves with a sheet when they sit up in bed. Or, consider that everything we debate was banned under the Hays code; somehow the wowsers didn't notice violence sneaking back in, or didn't really care as much (for reasons discussed in this thread?).

Xopher @ 197.1029: the first time I sang K.626, I snarked at a fellow bass with the unfortunate name Victor Perpetua. ("Who's this fellow Etlux? Relative of yours?") The things 18-year-olds think are funny....

kimiko @ 77: that's the theory espoused in What Every Woman Knows -- but I doubt that an observant anthropologist could argue it's the only, or even majority, state of affairs in countries where it appears. I won't claim it's a patriarchal lie for hiding where the power really is

Islander @ 121: your coach had a fascinating theory, but I wonder how true it is given that (from what I've read and very loosely observed) a woman typically has longer legs than a man of the same height, suggesting that women would have a relatively higher CG. Does anyone have hard facts on this one?

Cassy B @ 156: the House doesn't control SCOTUS appointments -- and if the Republican senators played stupid over an appointment they might find the 50%-cloture rule extended. (This isn't just my opinion; there's been discussion that Ginsburg should resign in time to be replaced by another sane person.)

Velma @ 222: may it turn out to be only a scare.

general: I see several comments about other SCOTUS messes, but none about the buffer-zone error, which was a 9-0 decision; could none of the sane wing of the court understand the difference between "freedom of speech" and "freedom to get in somebody's face"? Locally people are suggesting that SCOTUS should lose its buffer zone (I hadn't realized they had one); I'm hoping for skilled cool-headed people who know enough basketball that they can set picks on the anti-choice induhviduals, or at least answer with whatever level of heat the anti-choicers attempt to apply.

#305 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:26 AM:

On bisexual/pansexual: I agree about the overlap. I identified as bisexual for a long time; when I became aware of the term pansexual, I thought about it some more, and realized that a goodly number of people I've been attracted to/involved with have not fit neatly into the gender binary, and pansexual seemed to reflect that best, so I went with it. However, I'll still use "bisexual" if that's the one on the tickybox list besides gay and straight, and I certainly won't get shirty about being called either bisexual or pansexual - they both feel fine.

I'm perhaps sulking a little bit about having been offered a shiny new label that I liked and that now it seems the Identity Language Cabal wants to take away again, or accuse me of "bisexual erasure" if I use it. I really did like it and the way it acknowledged my partners. My Rule 63 Jack Harkness cosplay isn't just because I like the coat.

Sometimes I feel like I have to dig up photos of me with the bi activism group from the gay pride marches in the '90s, with all of our rainbow-colored signs with a numbered Myth About Bisexuality on one side ("we don't exist," "it's just a phase," etc.) and "I am not a myth!" on the other side, and scan it in, so I can wave it around to prove my street cred to the kids who are fighting whatever the latest fight is. Especially when we seem to still be fighting the SAME fight. Are you a college student, like my own kid? See the baby in the stroller in that picture? THAT'S HOW LONG I'VE BEEN AT IT.

...I'm just venting now. Carry on.

#306 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:40 AM:

I myself was very bummed when it was pointed out to me that QUILTBAG--what acronym could be finer than that one?!?--used terms which referenced a binary gender and did not in the same degree use terms which didn't.

I mean, QUILTBAG, people! So handy a term. And yet, so inadequate. Much like myself some days. Not so much others..

#307 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:44 AM:

Fade Manley, I thought the word might be "queer". I'm all for reclaiming, and will happily self-identify as such (useful umbrella term! none of this hairsplitting!) but I'm cautious about using it unless I know my audience, because I remember all too well when it was a slur first and foremost - who else remembers Josie Cotton's song "Johnny Are You Queer?" I can't be the only one who saw the movie Valley Girl, right? - and don't want to hurt people who've been hurt by it in he past.

But I have to say when I'm batting ideas around with the academically-inclined types who talk about "queering the narrative" and whatnot, I find the term apt and a delight to use.

#308 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:51 AM:

Elliott Mason, YOUR KID IS AWESOME, and getting that on video? Priceless.

I share your moment of parental kvelling.

#309 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 04:10 AM:

albatross @290:

I think a lot of my assumptions about whether we agreed on what we were discussing went out the window with your calm, absolutist, essentially privileged declaration that things that people cared that much about were "ridiculous".

Indeed, my assumption that I understood you and where you come from in these kinds of discussions went out the window too. I thought you were the guy who tried on lots of shoes, then walked the mile across no-man's-land to tell the other side what they felt like. But that guy wouldn't have said that.

In my experience, when a thing looks "ridiculous" on its surface, but people are still passionate about it, then I'm looking at it from the wrong perspective. Lots of things can seem ridiculous: the color of the shirt a man wears as he kicks a ball into a net; refusing to eat when hungry and drink when thirsty because the sun has not yet set; the disposition of little tasteless wafers of bread; the word filioque; the difference between "God" and "G-d"; the placement by humans of one organ inside another. Ridiculous, the lot of them—except to the people who care about the things they represent.

Unless (and the thought comes late) you meant it as a kind of performance-art lesson in how words can shut down conversation rather than opening it up?

#310 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 04:47 AM:

#299: Years ago, I had a book called "Hello Summer, Goodbye Michael Coney"

And years later, I learned that Jo Walton once had that exact same edition!

#311 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 04:55 AM:

#302 ::: estelendur

I don't know whether this would be of any use to you, but Hanne Blank has referred to her orientation as sovereign.

#312 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:02 AM:

Aigh. Velma. Prayers/good thoughts.

I generally use queer sparingly in f-t-f conversation, unless in company which also uses it. I'm less sparing online, since I'm not generally hanging out in places where people would use it insultingly.

And. Pansexual just feels weird and not quite the right suit of clothing for me, but I try to use it as an identifier (along with bisexual) in places where not using it would divert the conversation to terminology instead of the conversation.

#313 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:32 AM:

AKICIML: My Google-fu is letting me down, for once. I'm trying to find a manual for the air conditioner I was just given secondhand, and all the links that Google suggests don't seem to actually have the manual.

It's a Maytag, model M3X05F2-BC.

The reviews at Home Depot are right about it being a noisy beast, but I'm not going to raise a fuss about free. It screens out a lot of street noise, anyway, even if its frequency combined with the different frequency of the RCA-brand unit in my bedroom sometimes gives me brief auditory hallucinations. They're more interesting than disturbing, and I'm used to my auditory processing being weird.

But all that is merely digression. What I really need to find out is whether it has a filter that needs to be replaced, or a washable filter, and where said filter IS (so I don't yank on some other part and break it), and, if it's disposable, where I can buy or order replacements and what part number those are.

#314 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:48 AM:

Nancy, Hanne Blank's (fantastic!) description is for orientation, IOW, partner choice, and estelendur mentioned gender identity, which isn't the same thing, though they interact, of course.

estelendur, again offered in the spirit of "no idea if this will help," but my kid has been known to say "My gender identity is sparkles." Or sometimes "polka dots", but "sparkles" is closer.

I was discussing questions of gender identity with another friend of mine, who is nonbinary but not entirely sure how to describe how they see themselves, other than "you think you see a girl but NO THAT IS WRONG." And wasn't happy about "genderqueer" (though, as the term is commonly used, it's not a bad external descriptor) because this friend really loathes the concept of gender at all, it having caused them so much distress over the years, and doesn't want the word smack dab in the middle of their identity label, forcing them to acknowledge it. There was also a concurrent discussion about clothing choice and presentation, in which we were analyzing the gendered connotations of my friend's preferred clubwear and how those connotations weakened in the context of goth fashion, where people mix it up with abandon and little to no pushback. In the labels half, I brought up my kid's self-definition of "sparkles", and my friend *pinged* and said "I've got it! My true gender is GOTH!"

O course, if they went around saying that, it would involve a ton of explanation every time, so they go with "nonbinary" as the least awful option. But they were happy to be able to call themselves something that felt like it fit.

For orientation labels, for me, "pansexual" is my Jack Harkness coat. "Bisexual" fits equally well, but it feels less awesome - the exact same coat, but before I'd swapped out its plain buttons for replica RAF ones and sewed on the epaulettes with their rank stripes. It's the extra details that make it excellent.

#315 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 09:08 AM:

Metasexual? (Or is that one taken? Oh, no, that's metrosexual.)

Or, in my case: Martian. (And don't even get me started on placental reproduction. I mean, seriously, WTF!? ;-> )

#316 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 10:15 AM:

My sex is female, and I present in a way that maps closely to "woman", but as far as I can tell, my actual gender is "geek".

#317 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 11:13 AM:

I was wondering about "multisexual".

Unfortunately, Greek/Latin seem to be bad at Taoism-- I'm noodling at the idea of a gender which is too real to be named.

"Agnostisexual" seems too wimpy.

#318 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 11:49 AM:

I'm wondering at the lack of 'poly' in these prefixes. No dog in this fight, but my friends have quite a few, and I don't like any dogs getting hurt even if I don't know the owners, so. 'Polysexual' seems a little more discriminating than 'pansexual', which I tend to interpret as 'yes, with anyone' because lack of data points for actual use.

I'd also like to go back and use 'philic' rather than 'sexual' because that doesn't involve defining one's own sex or gender to declare which sexes or genders one would like to make out with. But that's not English as we speak it because English is messy and weird and involves a lot of people with a lot of opinions and not all conversations are connected to all others.

Words. Oh words. You are difficult.

And if I remember Hanne Blank's book correctly, 'bisexual' used to mean 'attracted to the sex one is not'. (and what would happen if, in response to 'bisexual is binary-normative!' you said, "I am bisexual. I am attracted to women and nonbinary people. No menz allowed, so not pan." I am now making an intellectual exercise, and a silly one, out of people's actual important lives, so I'll stop. But I would like to try that.)

#319 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:08 PM:


#320 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 12:35 PM:

Store tag, not cover, but in response to #299/#300 et al., Why yes, yes they do.

I've been mulling over what I wanted to say about the sticks and stones thing (which has morphed away, unfortunately for me, but fortunately to another interesting topic); all I can comfortably come up with is "BS. Names can kill. And when they don't manage to quite do it, they can ruin years of a life now not worth living." And repeating that canard helps the names to kill and maim. So, please don't do so around me?

People wishing evidence are welcome to view my history, especially on Those Threads; and I freely admit to my luck that it was just sticks and stones (and fists and toes) and that it could have been oh so very worse. And the fact that I'm almost coming up to my break-even point - where the years of "worth living" equal the other ones.

Oh, and prayers for those needing them, and yay for those finally having words to claim.

#321 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 01:28 PM:

Shaking loose an ISE. Maybe.

#322 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 01:29 PM:

Nope. Second try at the comment:

I tell some people (cis people who show a lack of trans-awareness) "I am cisgendered, meaning the gender I was assigned at birth is the one that matches my gender identity, and cisvestite, in that I am most comfortable in the clothes that are socially approved for the gender I was assigned at birth and present as on a daily basis."

Why? To show them how much they're just assuming, and to open the discussion of how hard those assumptions make it for people for whom those things are not the case.

I've been told I'm on the butch side of center, these days. This was not the case in early days (o Mary don't ask). When I was in junior high one of the bullies who slammed me around on a regular basis was asked why by a vice-principal; he shouted "'Cause he's a woman!" He expected this to be accepted as justification and was outraged at having been called on the carpet for doing his masculine duty to police my inadequately-masculine gender presentation and impose penalties as he saw fit.

(He did not, I realize, mean that he felt beating up women was an appropriate thing to do; it was only for "women" who ought to have been "men"—which at age 11 I thought was a bit unfair to expect.)

It's odd. This discussion has led me to question my lifelong self-identification as a gay man (well, gay boy at first). I know 'butch' and 'fem' are not gender identities (some entirely cis women are quite butch and some entirely cis men are quite fem), but I don't know that some of the more fem guys* I've been attracted to (even slept with) are really guys, do I? Some might be trans women who never came out to me. And I certainly don't know if some of the men I've been attracted to on the street might be trans men.

My preferences tend to the "soft butch" presentation (that is, warmly masculine guys, not macho extremes like Sylvester Stallone), but I've been attracted to (and dated) some guys who no one, least of all themselves, would call butch. And in at least two cases, I've been VERY attracted to some "guys" who later transitioned.

So am I gay if I'm attracted to trans women? Even if as soon as the effects of HRT become apparent, the sexual attraction fades?

Fortunately I don't need to have an ironclad orientation to survive. I'm not in the position of Orashia Edwards, who's been denied asylum in the UK because the Tories don't believe bisexuals can be in opposite-sex relationships and yet be queer enough to be murdered in Jamaica, Time Magazine's "most homophobic place on Earth."

*deep breath*


So I don't have to know for sure, but it's been decades since I've questioned it at all. It's interesting.

*Or even some of the butch ones; at least one of the trans women discussed in the next paragraph presented as pretty butch, at least when acting.

CHip 304: That's an interesting explanation, but ISTM that it requires some of the Master Race getting a dose of common sense; or, what else were the Lakewalkers before the tech crash?

I'm assuming some of the proto-Lakewalkers dissented from the idea that they should rule the world, and that there was a lengthy war once the Malice Emperor ate his followers and showed his intention to eat the world.

I'm also not sure I believe in nanotech carrying the impulse to rule; ISTM that that requires conscious self-delusion.

I assumed that the Malice Emperor's personality was encoded in the nanotech he was building and modifying, if only to make himself truly immortal instead of emortal as the proto-Lakewalkers already were. So the malices all have bits of the ME, at least enough that they try to rule as soon as they're built up enough to think of it.

The things 18-year-olds think are funny...

Indeed. And the principle that if you can make a joke about someone's name they're already sick of it doesn't penetrate that young either. (Although interestingly I made a name pun recently that the person said she'd never heard before. Lucky for me. I apologized anyway.)

#323 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 01:52 PM:

Is this where I mention the nearby appartment complex that advertises deluxe bi-level facilities? Maybe their stairs go both ways.

#324 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 02:23 PM:

There's an xkcd on this whole topic, so appropriate that I was sure I'd dreamed it until I went looking.

#325 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 02:25 PM:

Rikibeth @313

That certainly looks like a Maytag model number, but there seems to have been some badge engineering going on. A company bought the rights to use the name on air conditioning, and stuck the badge on cheap units assembled in Asia.

You give the number M3X05F2-BC which fits the pattern recorded in this article. That could just be you have read wrong digit as the second character.

It's rather critical of the Maytag brand. You've mentioned the noise, and some have barely minimal efficiency. And, reading between the lines, a bankrupt manufacturer may make filters hard to get, whatever the badge on the case.

Anyway, if you have the part number wrong that will mess up web searches. But one or two bits of fiddling around with the number suggested that filter stocks are running out.

I'm glad I don't need this kit, but it doesn't seem dreadfully expensive, at least.

#326 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Open threadiness: I don't know if this court ruling will really get rid of the monstrosity of a no-fly list. I can hope so, but it seems to be relatively popular with the powers that be[1], so I imagine the no-fly list will stick around.

It's always been amazing to me that the no-fly list just got widely accepted by most Americans. I mean, what could be more American than having a secret list of people who weren't allowed to fly, but couldn't find out why, or even that they were actually on the no-fly list?

[1] Bipartisan powers that be. If only one party supported it, you could see how to vote to get rid of it.

#327 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 02:45 PM:

I found this post by Zeynep Tufekci really interesting. It's short enough not to need a summary, but basically she's pointing out that the unethical research angle on the Facebook story is much less disturbing than the idea that big companies like Facebook are routinely manipulating us (and researching ways to do it more effectively) via algorithms. You can imagine this kind of manipulation becoming *really powerful* over time, for everything from helping social movements Facebook likes to winning elections. And alongside the personal beliefs of Zuckerberg, Facebook (and Twitter, and Google, and Microsoft, and...) has business interests, some of which may not be too obvious from outside.

#328 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 02:54 PM:

Dave Bell, thanks. The second digit is definitely a 3, and I've seen reviews of that specific model online (bad ones) - just no parts listings. Now I know why. And the toll-free service number has a Fedders website listed beneath it.

It's a shame about Fedders. When I was a kid those were the units my family had, and they lasted for literally decades, and their filters were washable.

The one I have definitely seems underpowered for the space it's trying to cool. As I said, it was free, but I wonder if I could persuade my dad that it's a bad bargain and get something more suited to the square footage.

But probably the answer is "run it until it breaks, or until the filter is so grubby that it kicks off my kid's asthma," and then get a new one.

#329 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 03:05 PM:

abi, #324: Particularly the mouse-over text.

albatross, #326: Two points. One, I agree with your that this is good news. Two, I was sorely tempted for a few seconds to make some flip, offhand comment about how "ridiculous" it is to be so bent out of shape about something that trivial, just to let you see how it feels when someone else casually disses something that's important to you.

#330 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 03:07 PM:


Fair enough, though perhaps this is just somewhere we disagree.

I certainly don't want to offend people or hurt them with my words, and within some pretty broad limits, I generally try to use the polite terms of the day when I can.

I also don't accept that everyone everywhere has the right to demand that everyone else change their language on the basis of being offended or feeling excluded. I imagine (when I phrase it in that extreme a way) that almost nobody really thinks everyone everywhere[1] does have that right, and so we're probably disagreeing on where the boundaries are. But also, this is mostly a discussion about manners--where does the desire not to offend someone bump up against other values like communicating clearly? That's a little different than what is a good thing for a social movement to try to do.

As far as what is or isn't ridiculous, I imagine that's one of those things that can't really be argued out. I know from my own experience that I often find attempts to force the world to take another step on the euphemism treadmill to be pretty silly, even when I broadly support the goal of the people pushing for the language change. I have seen many other people with the same reaction, but it's not like I have polling data or anything, so maybe my circle of acquaintance simply has an unusual notion of what's ridiculous.

[1] Also, I guess I'll point out that I fundamentally don't agree with the often-expressed notion that the morality of this sort of thing depends on who is more/less privileged, or whose group has more often been kicked around. I've seen the arguments, but they always read to me like special pleading.

#331 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 03:08 PM:

abi @ 324... I was told variations of that, growing up. The lesson I learned from it is a great anger at having the burden put on me, and watching the creeps who hurt me get away with it.

#332 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 03:22 PM:

abi 324:

Yes, that's a perfect response to the "sticks and stones" line.

Nasty names and words are a *different* thing from physical assault, and are in general (though not always and everywhere) less severe, but they can be seriously harmful. Sufficient ridicule and verbal nastiness with no physical bullying at all can make the target's life a living hell. Indeed, ISTM[1] that most people have some personal experience with this. And yet, the saying still continues on.

[1] Again, maybe this is my unusual circle of friends.

#333 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 05:10 PM:

HLN: Area woman discovers that the knee pads from her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) kit are also good for knee survival while scrubbing floors. "The sellers of this house appear to have believed than an occasional damp mop will keep the grout on tile floors clean," she said, "but they were wrong." The good news is that the bathrooms in this narrow house are small, which would reduce the area of tiled bathroom floors to scrub, if ambitious former owners hadn't installed a bathroom on every floor. "Installing a bathroom in the basement with no window and no exhaust fan seems kinds of pointless," she said, "and what's wrong with linoleum floors?!"

#334 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Rikibeth @328

It is possible to get dust-filter materials, usually an open-cell plastic foam which is cut to size. You may see this sort of material as a vacuum cleaner filter. It might need some supports to stop the filter being sucked into the fan.

My cyclone-based cleaner has a final filter on the exhaust which looks rather minimal, but it does make a difference. Similar materials are used for engine air-intake filters in motorsport.

There are certainly possibilities for a replacement filter.

#335 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:29 PM:

"The Gunfighter" is giggle-inducing. I'm glad my life isn't narrated.

#336 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:29 PM:

Lee #174: WRT picking a "stellar GoH", if your convention travel budget will cover it, simply ask someone who's from a long way away. If you look to east coast authors, or further afield (European or South African or other non-American) the timing of the Locus awards will be a non-issue because they wouldn't normally even consider going to them.

Speaking for myself, as a Locus award winner who would like to attend the Locus award weekend some year when I'm nominated, I have never done so and probably never will -- because getting there involves at least two flights, over 12 hours in the air, and 8 time zones' worth of jet lag, at my own expense. I'm only ever likely to get to the awards if I happen to be on the West Coast for some other reason around the time they're happening. And while I like the west coast cities, I get to visit maybe once every 3-4 years (file under "jet lag").

Note that I'm not putting myself forward for your local con -- I just hope this gives you a useful new angle to chew on.

#337 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:32 PM:

Rikibeth @ #262:
Would that all of life had the Fluorosphere's moderation team.

Word. I've recently been spending some time on another forum, and I still don't know the people there well enough to figure out who I want to avoid and who I simply don't always agree with.

#338 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:43 PM:

I've heard a lot of suggestions for jetlag, and some of them have worked pretty well for me; I don't know if they're generally or specifically applicable. Getting morning sunlight in whatever zone you're in seems to help, as does being determined to stay up until bedtime in the new time zone.

Going to a "massive parties all the time" situation, these may not be the most useful suggestions.

#339 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 07:56 PM:

Niall @310, this reminds me of when we saw Robert McDuffie in recital in Virginia maybe fifteen years back, and I went back to maybe gush a little and buy his CD, and I mentioned that the last time I'd seen the piece he played was when I saw Cho Liang-Lin play it at Georgia Southern College around 1981. "I was at that concert!" he said.

See also: WORLD, and the smallness thereof.

#340 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:07 PM:

Charlie Stross @336: Inasmuch as the con Lee's talking about takes place in Houston, Texas at the end of June, I'd think that the heat alone would keep you away.

#341 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:19 PM:

Rikibeth @305: Nothing is as invisible as a bisexual person in a long-term married opposite-sex relationship. Every so often I wake up, pinch myself, and have to remember who/what I am.

... In other words, you're not the only person around these parts who feels the need to vent in that direction.

#342 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:27 PM:

David @340 ... Houston? Texas? June? ... Yeah. (Mind you, I just got home from two weeks in Orlando so nothing's entirely impossible. But Texas is not on my list of favourite US states to visit, and anywhere in the south in June would leave me a hostage to industrial strength aircon.)

However, I maintain my point: just approach potential GoH's who live far enough away that they wouldn't normally attend the Locus awards.

#343 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:28 PM:

Open-threadiness: Moody Gallery in Houston, July 12-August 9, an exhibit of works by my most-senior aunt.

#344 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:47 PM:

I don't remember where I first saw this (maybe here?), but I thought it apropos to the discussion:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can also hurt me. Stones and sticks break only skin, while words are ghosts that haunt me.

Slant and curved the word-swords fall
to pierce and stick inside me.
Bats and bricks may ache through bones,
but words can mortify me.

Pain from words has left its scar
On mind and heart that’s tender.
Cuts and bruises now have healed;
it’s words that I remember.
- Barrie Wade

#345 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 08:50 PM:

OK, weird. I did a Preview, which hung, so I went back to Making Light's front page and reloaded the thread. And there's my post.

No big, I guess, but I wasn't expecting that. Sorry about the formatting oddity.

#346 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 09:19 PM:

Charlie, #336: Oh, how I wish our con's travel budget extended to overseas authors! It's good advice, but sadly non-feasible for us.

We lucked out this year with David Gerrold, but that was partly because my partner (1) was the conchair and (2) has been interacting with David on Facebook for several years. The person we're trying to snag for next year has indicated that they would like to come, but has a commitment to the Locus Awards that takes priority -- which means that they probably wouldn't be willing to give us an answer until Locus announces their date, which (from all the research we can do) it seems that they don't do until a couple of months out, and we need a GOH lined up long before then.

#347 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2014, 10:57 PM:

P J Evans @343: I want to go to her house. We have similar tastes in bric-a-brac.

#348 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:28 AM:

Long, narrow apartment, as I understand it.
(I'll admit to supplying some of the leaves she uses.)

#349 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:28 AM:

Words can reflect thinking, but they can also shape thinking*. So for me, using acceptable labels is not only about respecting how others wish to be called, it is also aspirational. Maybe one day, I'll use non-biased & non-discriminatory terms instinctively, but for now I make a conscious decision to describe the chair of a meeting (instead of chairman) , humanity or humankind (instead of mankind), etc. so I remain mindful of my own biases. And by being mindful today, maybe one day I won't need to be.

*That words are powerful won't be news around here.

#350 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:30 AM:

Words can reflect thinking, but they can also shape thinking*. So for me, using acceptable labels is not only about respecting how others wish to be called, it is also aspirational. Maybe one day, I'll use non-biased & non-discriminatory terms instinctively, but for now I make a conscious decision to describe the chair of a meeting (instead of chairman) , humanity or humankind (instead of mankind), etc. so I remain mindful of my own biases. And by being mindful today, maybe one day I won't need to be.

*That words are powerful won't be news around here.

#351 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:40 AM:

Cute story to tie to the gender-identification thread:

Our aikido dojo was arranging a "family photo" of all the black belts, before class one day.

A friend of mine, someone who began training at this dojo around the same time I did, walked up to me with the teasing remark, "You see something all of those black belts have, that you don't?" He was referring to facial hair: all of the black belts in the photo were men.

Without missing a beat, I replied, "Listen, son, let me tell you about what happens to a woman when she gets to be my age..." and went on to describe the effects of falling estrogen levels, rising (relative to the estrogen) testosterone levels, and the famous old-lady chin hairs.

It was wicked, wicked fun, seeing my friend's eyes get wider as he realized the thicket he'd just crossed into.

Crazy("So, son," said I, stroking my chin, "I wouldn't even need to shave, eh?")Soph

#352 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:47 AM:

Apologies for the double post. I got a "No data received" error the first time ages after clicking the "Post" button.

And when I refreshed the thread, my comment hadn't showed up, so I tried posting again. The ML server is very very slow at updating comments at the moment.

#353 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:10 AM:

janetl@33 "What's wrong with linoleum floors?"

Old linoleum can get shreddy, as well as coming in colors that look like they're from the wrong decade. I don't like tile floors in bathrooms (cold, hard, slippery when wet, has grout that needs scrubbing), but the best thing about it is that nobody is going to decide to "improve" it by installing carpeting, because it's much harder to nail tack strips into a tile floor than into a boring-but-adequate linoleum floor.

Now, you might ask "Why would anyone do that? They must have been total idiots!" Area man thinks that must have been part of the explanation, and has muttered many detailed suggestions of specific ways in which they were idiots while pulling many rusty nails out of the floor with pliers, after having earlier removed the carpeting. There was enough other subfloor damage from various causes that area man hired a professional to use leveling compound to get it smooth enough for vinyl, which has for the most part replaced traditional linoleum.

#354 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:26 AM:

I am not sure that a tiled bathroom floor is the best way to a "wet room" status, but carper is so obviously shifting into reverse on that road…

And it is one of those things that can depend a lot on the underlying construction methods. From pictures I have seen, some US housing looks likely to flex in ways which can make it hard to maintain the water-seal for a tiled floor. So what is the answer?

#355 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:27 AM:

I can attest to the shreddy nature of old linoleum. If I ever win the lottery, I'm gonna do a whole house upgrade, not least being the kitchen floor. Which now occasionally tries to capture me as I attempt to leave.

And the whole carpets in bathrooms thing? I mean, seriously!? For someone with digestion as wonky as mine this is a...[inadequate adjective] thing to contemplate. Not to mention the odd toilet overflow. For which, of course, the carpet would be the perfect summoning spell.

#356 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:29 AM:

Dave: Repurposed tanker car?

#357 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:29 AM:

It's awfully convenient to tell other people that they shouldn't be affected by insults. Does anyone know whether other cultures have an equivalent to "sticks and stones"?

I use gender-neutral language reflexively, but it doesn't affect my imagination all that much. A few years ago, I heard a mention of a Shakespeare scholar, and then was surprised to find that the scholar was a woman. My hope is that my use of language increases the odds that younger people won't be surprised by that sort of thing.

Any thoughts about fun but ungendered clothing would look like? I brought up the subject to an analytical friend who pushed me about the clothes, and I realized I had no clear idea. So much of clothing is about gender signaling.

#358 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:39 AM:

I've always guessed that the "sticks and stones" thing originated as a form of bravado - something that a bullied kid invented to try to convince bullies that their words were ineffective.

That it got turned into something that bullied kids were supposed to believe is galling.

#359 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 09:21 AM:

Hyper-local news: author gets back from vacation to discover that combination fridge/freezer is malfunctioning: freezer works fine, but fridge compartment has warmed up and won't refridgerate. Bummer. Four bin bags of food waste later, confirm fridge is non-functional. (They run on the same compressor and the electronics seem to be working, but ...)

Today: walked into local John Lewis department store, found sale in progress, found Which? Best Buy rated fridge/freezer that appealed, then found a one-off display model with some dings on the freezer door reduced to 2/3 of regular price.

Delivery scheduled for next Wednesday. Now to get on with normal life again.

#360 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 09:23 AM:

Lee #346: I think you might be over-estimating the cost of intercontinental travel. Even in peak season, and with the dollar relatively weak, it should be possible to book a return economy class flight from the UK or elsewhere in Europe to Houston for under $1000. (Assuming a 300-person con with a typical budget, this should be just about manageable without breaking the bank.)

#361 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:19 AM:

Re: carpets in a bathroom, several elderly ladies of my acquaintance (including my grandmother, who recently spent three weeks in a hospital after falling over and fracturing a part of her pelvis) like to have carpets in the bathroom for extra traction, and because poor circulation means their feet are cold anyway, and why should they make it worse, and bathroom rugs are a hassle and occasionally slip around. It's a safety thing for them.

My grandmother's bathroom is, however, equipped with a lovely big window, and she lives in a climate where the weather is mild enough that the window can be opened for eight months of the year without incurring massive heating costs.

#362 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:40 AM:

Bill, #353: My condo in Nashville, which was brand-new (I was the first owner), had carpeting everywhere except the kitchen. Yes, that meant in both bathrooms. One of the things I did was to find out who they'd gotten the kitchen flooring from and have the carpet in the lower half-bath replaced with the same stuff; I also had that extended to the area immediately inside the rear door (which is where I normally went in and out) to limit the carpet damage from tracked-in water. Never did get around to doing the upper bath, though.

Nancy, #357: Ungendered clothing IMO would be anything which is routinely worn by a lot of people without regard to gender. Right now the only thing I can think of that qualifies would be jeans/chinos/cargo pants and a regular T-shirt; the shirt may contain a gender-signaling message, but it doesn't have to.

Naomi, #358: I think it's more complex than that, and related to magical thinking. Someone who already has a lot of self-confidence can indeed shake off the negative effects of name-calling, and the phrase is a recognition of that. But it doesn't help someone develop that level of self-confidence, even though it's used that way. IOW, the people who can say it don't need it, and the people who need it won't be helped by it.

#363 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:45 AM:

"Answer straight: what would be its purpose?"
"To place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent."

- Jefferson about the Declaration in '1776'

#364 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 12:06 PM:

Lee; And partly due to necessity of cut, and partly just because we can, even jeans and cargo pants often have attached gender signals.

But it's tiny, and subtle, and everywhere. My son (2 1/2) has a lot of second hand and hand-me-down clothes, and I can reliably ID the few that were originally intended for girls: The jeans with the occasional line of pink stitching that are meant to be size 4 but fit him now, if he rolls up the ankles. The plain turquoise t-shirt with the tiniest bit of ruching at the shoulders and the front of the neck opening. The purple onesie with a particular kind of bumpy edging around the neck hole. The t-shirt in easter pastels I've been using as a night-time t-shirt while his actual pyjama top was in the wash; something about the shape of the neck hole, again.

Now, I'm already pretty sure he's a cisgendered boy (It's early, and I'm open to being wrong - but, let's just say that when a cousin whom I babysat when she was around my son's current age later came out as trans, I just kind of nodded and thought 'that fits'), and yet he wears all his clothes without any thought or concern - for now. I keep wondering when it will start, though, that he starts trying to ID things as 'for girls'. Because I'm sure it will, even if he doesn't get it from me.

(and in one way he does; I definitely dress femme, in long skirts and the not-infrequent bout of hot pink. His dad definitely dresses 'male'.)

#365 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 12:31 PM:

In my experience, "ungendered" generally means "not marked as female", with a few outliers in the realm of formal fashion. But that's a whole different rant on the way in which gender equality gets co-opted into meaning "Everyone should aspire equally to things deemed appropriate for men."

#366 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 12:52 PM:

The 'sticks and stones' saying is intended to buck up children, instead, all too often it fucks them up instead. It also teaches them (well, it taught me at any rate) that adults don't comprehend what they're going through.

#367 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:17 PM:

Words and not offending:

I'm in the final stages of getting my book ready to send off to my publisher (very exciting) and my retired-editor aunt has indicated that describing something as "a lunatic event" is inappropriate. Help! Is there a word I -can- use? Is "a crazy event" okay? "A wacky event"? (although that really doesn't convey what I'm trying to say). I'm really having problems here. I'm trying for humerous here and don't want to be accidentaly offensive.

(The event in question is spending the longest day of the year running multiple seven or eight 5K courses, travelling for maybe 30-60 minutes or more between them).

#368 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 02:31 PM:

Catching up.

On girls changing how they run, throw, [x] when they hit puberty, talk to women gymnasts. Hips get wider, legs change angle, and they get these floppy weights on their chests up near their shoulders. Their center of balance changes, and and continues to change over a period of years. There are probably a number of sports that carry this awareness. Martial arts is one I can think of. The rest of us have to adapt to those changes with no idea why doing [x] now makes me lose my balance.

Words hurt. I was never physically abused as a child, yet I still bleed from the damage inflicted on me by well-meaning parents. I've been working on healing for years, and am taking stronger steps now. One of the pleasures of living alone is that I have no one else to blame. It's eye opening.

Being a regular reader here, I am aware of pronouns. I was treated in the local ER by a slim person, no beard or even stubble, no obvious breasts, long hair caught in a clasp at the neck, soft tenor voice. When the doctor left the treatment room, I stuck my head out and said, "um, Dr. [Y]..." I had several people look at me with an amused look, of the we're going to let someone else in on the story variety. "What pronoun does Dr. [Y] prefer?" By their expressions and body language, they were pleased by my choice of question. Dr. [Y] prefered "he".

Velma, ow, said with tears in my eyes. I am of an age that if I lit a candle for everyone I cared about who needed it, I'd risk burning the house down. So zen hugs and zen candles, energy for healing and coping.

#369 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:06 PM:

dcb 367: Call it bizarre or extreme or complicated, or bizarrely complicated or something.

#370 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:28 PM:

Xopher @369: The problem is, it's not bizarre and it's not complicated. And extreme... That depends on your point of view: I ran five 50-mile races last year and this is really minor compared to those. (And those 50-milers are as nothing compared to Marathon des Sables, the Barkley ultramarathon, trans-continentals etc.) But at the same time, it's not exactly an event most people would consider sensible...

I'm really struggling to find another word that fits as well as "crazy." I've been to several websites discussing alternatives to the use of "crazy" and not found any solutions that fit.

#371 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:53 PM:


#372 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:56 PM:

dcb @370: If it's not bizarre or complicated or extreme, I'm not entirely sure how it's "crazy", since those are the things being implied by that word when I see it. Ridiculous? Unusual?

#373 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 03:56 PM:

Kip W. @371: Nope. None of those fit either!

Is it really so bad to use "crazy"? Of an idea? (That's a serious question)

#374 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:01 PM:

dbc @373: Is it really so bad to use "crazy"? Of an idea?

It's going to depend on who you ask. Some people are hurt by it; some people aren't. I don't find it particularly offensive, but then, it doesn't get applied often to me, so I wouldn't. I've been trying to use it less, but also haven't been working as hard on that as I have been on certain other words. Language is a fuzzy and poorly lit beast at the best of times, I'm afraid.

#375 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:03 PM:

Fade Manley @ #365: In my experience, "ungendered" generally means "not marked as female"

I've long been fascinated by pre-WWI clothing for toddlers, which to modern eyes appear uniformly feminine. I'm not sure if it was genuinely ungendered (very practical, I would imagine, for hand-me-down purposes in an era of larger families) or whether there were style differences that would have been visible at the time. Certainly skirts are probably better than trousers for children still in diapers.

#376 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:15 PM:

Could you use one of the more colorful, less recently clinical syonyms, like "completely bats"?

#377 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:33 PM:

I'm with Fade. What's "crazy" about it? I thought it was odd to do a bunch of runs connected with non-foot travel, but why is that crazy?

#378 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 04:48 PM:

dcb, how about "off the deep end" or some suitable-to-your-story equivalent of "a few sandwiches short of a picnic"?

#379 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 05:23 PM:

A few bricks short of a full load?

#380 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 05:35 PM:

Should I feel guilty for wearing my Firefly shirt because people mistake it for a POW-MIA shirt? It uses the famous silhouette, but also has a silhouette of Serenity, and while it says "All Gave Some - Some Gave All," it also says "Serenity Valley."

I don't think the people who nod approval or tell me somberly that they approve are Firefly fans.

#381 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 05:46 PM:

Fade Manley @374: Thank you for that.

Xopher: The runs are set courses in fixed locations. Normally, people run (or jog, or walk) one of these (free, timed 5K runs) on a Saturday morning. Running seven or eight of them in one day, complete with car, bike or public transport travel in between, is... rather more difficult. In context, "this crazy event" implies something out of the ordinary, which some people might think excessive - but which is also a very good, positive challenge. To my mind, "crazy" encapsulates this quite well. However, having been informed that the use of this word might be considered problematic by some people with mental health problems (whom I would never call crazy) I'm trying to find an alternative.

abi @376: I've considered "this nutty event"- but when I went onto some websites to read up about this I read that if someone objects to "crazy" then "nuts" or "bananas" are also considered inappropriate.

Note: I'm not using it to label a person.

OtterB @378: nope. The former goes too far and the latter doesn't work at all (I'm not referring to a person, for one thing).

Serge Broom @379: Like "a few sandwiches short of a picnic", "a few bricks short of a load" really doesn't convey what I'm trying for at all.

#382 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 05:48 PM:

dcb, #370: What about "eccentric"? Or even "bizarrely eccentric"?

Xopher, #380: If that were happening to me, the shirt would promptly be assigned to the "only wear this for things where there are going to be high concentrations of other fans" group. If people aren't getting it, wear it preferentially where people are likely to get it.

#383 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:11 PM:

Lee @382: Those don't work either. I was trying for a jokey, light hearted and positive tone - some people may think doing this is extreme and crazy, others might not. But if it's crazy then it's crazy in a positive way.

Never mind. Fade Manley @374 answered my question - confirming that some people might find the use of "crazy" offensive in any context. The other responses have confirmed that there is no appropriate synonym for the idea I'm trying to convey. Forget it.

#384 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:13 PM:

#362 ::: Lee

Even t-shirts.... If I'm buying online, I'll probably have to choose between a men's cut and a women's cut for the shirt, even if the slogan is the same. I miss being able to just buy a t-shirt.

dcb: Eccentric? Extreme? Wildly eccentric?

#385 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:16 PM:

dcb... Bonkers?

#386 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:26 PM:

dcb: I appreciate your consideration of others in your wording. Would something like "wild" do - as in wild party, wild night out - even if it doesn't convey quite the same sense?

#387 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:34 PM:

dcb - how about unhinged?

#388 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:38 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @384, it seems to me (and I could be wrong) that "mens t-shirts" are what were formerly just "ordinary" t-shirts, with straight sides.

As opposed to women's t-shirts, which tend to be wider at the chest and narrower at the waist, and are sometime cut shorter in length.

Thinking about it, it might be a positive step that the previously unmarked case is now marked.

#389 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 06:59 PM:

388 ::: Cassy B.

Yes, the men's shirts are what used to be standard t-shirts. As a matter of my somewhat vague gender identification, I strongly prefer being able to buy non-gendered t-shirts. It's a thing in my head, not about the physical features of the shirt.

#390 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 07:02 PM:

388 ::: Cassy B.

Yes, the men's shirts are what used to be standard t-shirts. As a matter of my somewhat vague gender identification, I strongly prefer being able to buy non-gendered t-shirts. It's a thing in my head, not about the physical features of the shirt.

#391 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 07:07 PM:

Clifton #386 & dcb:

I was about to suggest "wild & challenging".

#392 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 07:59 PM:

"I don't think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy's brain is a bag full of cats. You can smell crazy on him.'
- Bruce Banner

#393 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:02 PM:

Cassy, Nancy: Okay, professional expertise here. We call the standard T-shirt "unisex". Both men and women buy and wear them. Depending on the manufacturer, we may order the blanks as "men's", "unisex", or "adult".

Women's-cut shirts... are a whole different nest of snakes. There is a reason we don't carry women's-cut shirts in most of our designs. In one catalog from one supplier alone, there are 72 different cuts of shirt labeled "women's", and no matter which one we use, the women who prefer women's-cut shirts will say we have the wrong kind. The sleeves are too short or too long, they wanted a crew-neck or a V-neck or a scoop-neck, the torso is too short or too long or too wide or too narrow, they wear a size [X] shirt but our size [X] doesn't fit, etc. We do print a very few designs (those targeted specifically to the female market) on one variety of women's-cut shirt, but even on those we also print them on unisex shirts... and more women will buy those than the women's-cuts.

I stand by my previous statement. The standard-cut adult-size T-shirt is ungendered.

#394 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:11 PM:

Buddy of mine, upon seeing "The Gunfighter," offered up this meta-analysis:

That was awesome. Apart from the excellent comedy, I like the "If we start shooting, the voice wins" nice commentary on divisive contemporary media. Also, a hopeful (at first) take on privacy loss / domestic spying / etc. -- that we might all behave better without our secrets. Or not, as it turns out!
#395 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:12 PM:

393 ::: Lee @393, I appreciate your professional expertise.

I am one of those who usually buys ungendered or "men's" t-shirts; I'm curvy but long-torsoed, and the short-midriff cut of many (but not all) women's-cut t-shirts is unflattering on me.


#396 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:33 PM:

I just got a call from one of those "Computer technical support" guys. Asked him if his mother knew what he was doing, and if she would be disappointed, or maybe she raised him to be a crook. Got him angry enough for him to tell me to fuck off.

Meanwhile . . . someone flew a camera drone through a fireworks show!

Fireworks drone view

#397 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 08:51 PM:

The Indonesian food for America Day turned out delicious, although I want to play with the balance of spices, and maybe put the lemongrass etc in a cheesecloth next time so it can be fished out.

Nancy Lebovitz @311: that is most excellent, and now I am working on figuring out how one's gender could be 'sovereign'. I am master of my own, perhaps?

Rikibeth @314, your kid is excellent. I may use that next time. Although I am fond of: "my orientation is 'people are cute and I can't deal with it' and my gender identity is 'crap, there's a test? I didn't study for it!'" still doesn't quite fit. what is gender anyway.

Nancy Lebovitz @317: a gender which is too real to be named
*contemplates* I like it.

Xopher @322: I've gone around saying "my gender identity is 'transvestite'" for a little while now, partly because I'm annoyed at the people who claim transvestism is inherently appropriative of transgender experience, and partly because neither gender's typical clothing feels consistently right, so I'm pretty much always in drag if I'm in a recognizably gendered aesthetic.

@words thread: today in "words matter" news, I discovered that my sibling uses the term "self-harm" to refer to any action that a person takes that results in harm to them, except for a truly unforeseeable accident: for instance, negligently walking into something that they really should have seen, or smoking. Whereas it's deeply important to me to only use "self-harm" to indicate actions taken with the intent of causing harm to oneself. The depth to which I care about this and their to-me-inexplicable-and-obstinate refusal to change their definition surprised me quite a lot.

#398 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 09:12 PM:

Well, that was interesting. Somebody pretended to be me on Slacktivist. Rather, that person used my name to spew out rather vile things that were so unlike what I'd say that others recognized him as a troll. I don't think I was hacked. This was apparently done by some loser who hangs out there and who regularly swipes other people's names.

#399 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 10:36 PM:

dcb@367: "Ludicrous" or "ridiculous" are often used in the same place that "crazy" could be, and they have no connotations involving mental illness. They both sound a little disapproving, but everything within half a mile of "unusual" does. The English language is a tool of the Man, and it's keeping us down!

#400 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:14 PM:

I knew it wasn't you.

#401 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:19 PM:

Stefan @396 Someone did that at our local fireworks last night. It was pretty annoying actually, since there was a constant little red light and a blinky green light, up, in the way of viewing the fireworks.

#402 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2014, 11:27 PM:

dcb @381: Running seven or eight of them in one day, complete with car, bike or public transport travel in between, is... rather more difficult.

My phrase for this would be "ridiculously extreme."

Stefan Jones @396: Fireworks drone view

I'd love to see that done in 3D.

#403 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:00 AM:

There's a positive facet of "crazy" that "ridiculous" doesn't have: "crazy like a fox", "crazy wisdom", "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct."

I think "absurd" shares a little of the same positive facet, mostly because of "credo quia absurdum".

And "wild" does too.

So to modify Soon Lee's modification of dcb's suggestion, maybe instead of "lunatic event" you could say "wild and absurd event".

#404 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:23 AM:

estelendur 397: I'm pretty much always in drag if I'm in a recognizably gendered aesthetic.

One of the interviewees in Word Is Out said "We're all born naked, so anything that anyone wears at any time is drag."

Serge 398: Same thing happened to me a while back. Before the people there who knew me came in, others had already named the troll. Apparently his style is quite consistent (in other words, he's Johnny One-Note).

#405 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 01:11 AM:

PJ @343
Yay! If the exhibit makes it to NYC area, let me know.

#406 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 03:21 AM:

Just out of curiosity, is there an end-run around this Hobby Lobby bullshit? Can their female employees go to the exchange during the next open enrollment and get a different plan, since their employer has gotten exempted from offering full coverage?

#407 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 04:10 AM:

dcb@370, I was thinking "silly" might work, especially if walking rather than running were involved, though Nancy's suggestion of "eccentric" or some of the multi-word descriptions are probably better.

#408 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 04:13 AM:

I'd always interpreted the "sticks and stones" thing as primarily to teach young boys that hitting people who hadn't hit you first wasn't a necessary or appropriate response.

#409 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 04:30 AM:

The spammer over on the other thread has "locksmith" in their name, and I had a pleasant lock-related event the other night, so I'll use that as an excuse to tell it here.

I was over at the storage place cleaning out junk, and one of the neighbors there, whom I've met before, came by looking for help; she'd just locked her purse in her storage unit, complete with her car keys, storage unit key, spare storage unit key, phone, etc. None of the tools I had with me were appropriate for opening the lock except by doing significant damage to the door, but I've got a friend C__ who lives across town and for some years has been corrupting all of our friends by teaching us lockpicking. So I called her, and soon she came by with her box of picks, and the friend who'd been visiting her toting a bolt cutter, and a minute or two after that the padlock was unlocked and the purse retrieved. A good, or at least improved, time was had by all.

(Lockpicking's legal in most states, if you're not picking a lock you're not supposed to, and it's popular computer-hacker recreation. In California, if you're not a licensed locksmith, you can't accept money for working on locks, but you can still do favors for your friends. C__ complains that most locksmiths don't know how to pick locks; it's an art, but cutting or drilling the lock and selling the customer a new one is a lot more reliably. I really need to find my picks, which are in some random toolbox, and probably should also get a bolt-cutter to keep in my car as a backup.)

#410 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 06:41 AM:

Lee @ 406

As far as I know, buying an exchange plan instead of taking the Hobby Lobby plan would be possible, but I see no reason anyone would.

The holding depends on the fact that there is already a system in place for providing problematic forms of contraception when the employer objects; from the employee's point of view, it should be exactly the same whether the employer pays the insurer directly or not (in the workaround, the insurer pays directly; it works since contraception is cheap relative to pregnancy). Nothing employee-facing is any different between Hobby Lobby's plan and a "normal" plan; it's just the accounting at the insurer that is different.

#411 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 08:02 AM:

Since we're talking locksmiths and locks, I'll tell my latest story, which involves a locksmith but is more about the positive uses of social media.

I'm moving to Boston. Dorchester, specifically. The closing on the condo was Monday, and I've been here with my Awesome Kid all week, painting the place and getting administrative stuff done. My parents (who own it) were very firm that we should get the locks changed ASAP, on the grounds that we had no idea who the last owner had given keys to over the last seven years.

Well. No phone book for choosing one at random, and I'd rather have a recommendation anyway.

There's a Twitter account I've been following since we started house-hunting, called @WelconeToDot. Sort of a neighborhood gossip for Dorchester (lately it's been retweeting a lot of kvetching about neighbors with fireworks). So I put out a tweet saying "Boston friends & @WelcomeToDot, recommendations for a locksmith? Not an emergency, just need doors re-keyed." @WelcomeToDot retweeted me, and within about 10 minutes I had an enthusiastic suggestion. Called him, made an appointment for two days later, and the job was done entirely satisfactorily.

So bless Twitter for letting me reach out like that!

#412 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 09:26 AM:

Taking "ludicrous" as a starting point, how about ironically going to the opposite, as in "a not at all ludicrous notion" or whatever?

#413 ::: Kimiko ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:00 AM:

Re: un-gendered clothes. I think 'work clothes', eg, overalls, dusters, steel toed boots, generic t-shirts, might qualify. Yes, some are re-cut specifically for men or women, but the ur-examples are so function oriented as to be gender less. Which is to say, they fit well enough for the job to be done, but poorly enough to be obvious that they aren't for social signaling. As noted, it doesn't take much alteration to gender clothes. Maybe the definition of un-gendered clothes are one worn where signaling is irrelevant to oneself.

Of course, wearing such things is a masculine privilege, so...
I'm just speculating here. I hope no offense is taken.

#414 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:08 AM:

I get that part of the difference underlying the ungendered-vs-women's clothing skewed dichotomy is that men's apparel is clothing, while apparently women's clothing is fashion. A plain T-shaped upper body garment is, in the dim times, a utility piece of underwear that managed to seep its way to the surface for a variety of reasons (US summer weather being perhaps the chief of these). The same shirt cunningly shaped is about being (sexually, I would gather) attractive, not just clothed. There's typically going to be some difference around the waist between men's and women's pants because of the difference in hip structure, but again I deduce that after that women's jeans are again driven as much by fashion as by fit (not a lot of the latter considering all the complaining I hear).

Personally, my big beef about T shirts is that the tails are all too often too short for long-waisted people such as myself.

#415 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:52 AM:

Lee @ 406: An American friend who did research on this said that the biggest issue with Hobby Lobby is that they're trying to use their religious exemption to have their cake and eat it too: To not cover every contraceptive (Apparently some forms are covered) AND still be allowed to claim the 100% coverage that prevents their employees from being able to look elsewhere.

C. Wingate @ 414: I hope you're talking from the designer perspective. Because otherwise you're putting a lot of assumptions on the women who choose to buy women's t-shirts, and since you said not one word about comfort, I'll just say you missed a little.

(I even have some women's t-shirts of "the wrong cut", per Lee @ 393, which are still an improvement over unisex t-shirts and their assumption my shoulders go halfway down my upper arm.)

#416 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:55 AM:

#413 ::: Kimiko

The starting point for me thinking about ungendered clothing was a rant about unisex clothing being intolerably dull.

I don't feel quite that strongly on the subject, but I started wondering about unisex clothing which is fun and/or expressive.

#417 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 11:02 AM:

I've been dressing close to generic unisex for years. Basic white shirt for work, either long or short sleeved - with pocket(s) because I could drop the badge in the pocket and keep it out of the way - and slacks; generic craft-store tee and jeans on weekends. Jeans and slacks are a problem, because stores tend to stock 'stylish for 20-somethings' more than 'comfortable'.

#418 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 11:09 AM:

I shop at Goodwill on the weekend now and then. If I find a nice shirt or pair of pants, it pays off. Being preworn tends to take off that "brand-new" edge.

#419 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:03 PM:

While "crazy" is problematic, what about "crazily"? Doesn't seem to me to carry quite the same connotations, or at least to be as directly involved, as in "some people might say it's crazy, but ...". My first mental response to dcb's original post was "over-enthusiastic", so what about "crazily over-enthusiastic" as a possibility?

#420 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:09 PM:

Re: T-shirts: OK, I'm short and at least plump. If a man's T-shirt is going to fit my chest, it will not only come halfway down my shoulders (which are narrow even for thin women), but also end up down below my all-too-well-padded bum, almost able (but oh, not quite) to audition for an overly tight minidress. It certainly doesn't work over jeans, and if tucked inside, looks like I'd crammed a whole other T-shirt in there. Women's petite for me every time. I really regret not being able to wear a few of spouse's souvenirs from networking conferences, but them's the breaks.

#421 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:34 PM:

It amuses me that XL t-shirts fit me well because I sure don't feel extra large.

#422 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 12:55 PM:

Some medical scrubs are unisex; others are modified in a femme direction. I don't think I've seen any that looked masculine-only, i.e. would cause raised eyebrows if worn by a woman.

#423 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 01:10 PM:

Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. Some (such as "ludicrous" or "ridiculous" or "silly") really don't convey what I was trying for at all; others are closer.

Eccentric isn't quite there. "Challenging but fun event" might just about work... or following on from joann @419, perhaps "enthusiastic (!) event." (I'm also keen not to add in too many words as I'm presently editing to get the book back down to c.100,000 words, as indicated in the contract. 10 days ago I realised it had crept up to nearly 108,000 but I've reduced it to about 101,500 at the moment.)

Note: I've just been speaking with a relative who is a psychologist working in clinical mental health and she agrees that it's problematic, that there are no good synonyms without the same potential mental health connotations as crazy, and has said she'll discuss it with her colleagues. I'll let you know if I get anything useful back from her.

Jacque @402: re. "ridiculously extreme" that really does depend on your POV. Compared to the events I've already mentioned, or something like the Bob Graham Round (66 miles, 42 peaks, about 27,000 feet of ascent - to be completed in under 24 hours) it's a doddle! (I dream of being able to consider starting to train to attempt a Bob Graham Round, and that's with six 50-mile trail ultras behind me.)

Serge Broom @398: Symapthies re. the troll wearing your name.

#424 ::: Sten ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 01:19 PM:

Would "An (extremely) odd thing to do" be a more neutral way of phrasing "crazy"?

#425 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 02:02 PM:

dcb @ 423... The strange thing is that I don't think I'd ever visited Slacktivist so I wonder where the troll had come across my name. Thankfully, PJ Evans and others who are familiar with m blogging very quickly spotted that racist loser as not-me.

#426 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 02:13 PM:

Serge @ 425: Well, we had a troll who was sockpuppetting regulars' names here during the threads about the Hugos, and someone said the same one was active on Slacktivist then (Including using Teresa's name there.). So it could be old carryover from that. Why they'd use your name this long after, I don't know.

#427 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 02:37 PM:

dcb @ 423: "over-the-top"?

#428 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 02:42 PM:

Sten @424: but I don't think it's odd!

janetl @427: "over-the-top" doesn't work because it's NOT. The only reason I didn't take part in it last year (I would have loved to) is because I was away that weekend doing 30 miles one day, 16 miles the next day recce runs for the Lakeland 50 (miles) a month later.

#429 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 02:57 PM:

Lenora Rose @ 426... Why? Who knows what lurks in the hearts and minds of those losers? If he expected me to be peeved by his payback, it didn't work. Actually, I was rather amused.

#430 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 04:33 PM:

dcb: I'm starting to get the feeling that no semi-synonym works because *you* don't actually think the idea is "crazy", either.

This is not intended as insult, but an observation that might make finding the right mindset of the person talking, and therefore the right word, easier.

#431 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 05:11 PM:

Lenora Rose @430: Interesting. I'm the person talking/writing - this isn't a novel, it's a (hopefully inspirational) running book. And I find "this lunatic event" or "this crazy event" describes it just about right! It's sort of crazy - but in a GOOD way. Some people might find it excessive, but for others it's just a bit of a challenge or a fun way to spend the day. - The sort of thing where someone might say "that's crazy - let's go!" Does that help?

#432 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 07:30 PM:

re 414: Yes, of course: gender labelling of clothing is something done by manufacturers/retailers, after all.

#433 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 07:46 PM:

Well, the Nook for Windows app kinda sucks. I'm trying to use it to read the Hugo nominees. Anything you import is in one huge blob in the My Stuff section, with no way to move or organize anything.

I was going to just move everything onto the reader, but some things are only available as PDFs, and the Nook app doesn't handle them well at all. They show up illegibly small, and I haven't found anyway to change the size of the display (unlike the epub-format ones).

Also, with TWELVE stories included in support of Ellen Datlow's nomination as Best Editor - Short Form, if I put everything on the Nook app at once I'll get confused about what's nominated for what (because as noted above they're in one huge blob), and checking the nomination list isn't a good solution because after reading that many stories (of various lengths, and my brain really doesn't distinguish in memory between novellas and novelettes, for example) I won't necessarily remember which title went with which story (I know, I know, but it's a problem I've had).

So I'm going to let the categories drive, and go to the Nook app to read each story or novel excerpt in turn, and decide each piece of the ballot before moving on. That way I'll at least complete SOME categories.

Which is all way better than I would have done before the packet. I have no idea how people voted for Short Story before the internet, because unless you subscribed to ALL the magazines it was too late to acquire the nominated stories by the time the nominations came out.

#434 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 07:49 PM:

I'd say moonstruck, but to most, I think it would mean under the influence of love. (Okay, I did say it, but I still think that.)

#435 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 07:54 PM:

I forget to mention the most annoying thing. Though other things are more inconvenient, it's much more annoying that the User Guide button brings up ad copy about how great the Nook is. NO instruction on how to do anything, just happy horseshit about all the things it does and how much you're going to enjoy using it. Not even a FAQ.

The poor quality of the programming is inconvenient. Calling ad copy a User Guide is offensive.

#436 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 07:55 PM:

I was looking up lyrics recently to "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" to see if the verses I remembered were standard or family inventions. I found a lot of different versions, naturally, and all of the verses I remembered were in there in one or another, but almost none had the sound effects, and none had all of them. Did anyone else sing this growing up, with sound effects? We used to call out a suitable sound after the first and second line of each verse, and after the last line would sing all of the sound effects so far in reverse order. (Snore sounds, scratch scratch, yum yum, chop chop, Hi Babe!, Whoa Bess!, Toot Toot!)

The only verse I don't remember singing was "We will all sing Hallelujah when she comes." Did anyone sing this? What was the sound effect? I could imagine "Praise God" or something similar.

#437 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 08:18 PM:


Funny you should ask. My chorus had similar issues last April, when we sang "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" at our children's concert. At the first rehearsal there was much spirited debate as to the "correct" stanzas and hand gestures. Interestingly, the conversation was entirely held by the women (mostly altos). The men watched us with stunned expressions as we argued "pink pajamas" and "Woo hoo!" vs "red pajamas" and "Scratch scratch". Finally, one of our baritones asked "Where do you learn this stuff? Is there some sort of secret class for girls?!" To which our female director chuckled and said "Careful, you're very close to the mysteries!"

What we settled on:
"She'll be comin' 'round the mountain when she comes" (Toot toot!)(pull whistle cord)
"...driving six white horses..." (Whoa back!) (pull back on reins)
"...wearing pink pajamas..." (Woo hoo!)(sensuously rub arm to feel fabric)
"And we'll all come out to greet her..." (Hi, babe!) (wave)
"And we'll all have chicken and dumplings..." (Yum yum!)(rub belly)
Repeat first verse.

#438 ::: Tamlyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 08:21 PM:

dcb - out there?

#439 ::: Zelda ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 08:24 PM:

Re: women's T-shirts-- My household has occasionally received gifts that came from Duluth Trading Co., so I knew who they were, but lately these commercials have been showing up on TV.

They advertise items of women's clothing, not according to how they might affect the perceptions of others about a woman's appearance, but according to how they function for the women wearing them. Radical. Revolutionary. I love them so much.

#440 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 09:25 PM:

Calibre can handle PDFs, along with most other formats. KOBO's (free) desktop reader is also supposed to handle PDFs, and it's not hard to use.

#441 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 09:36 PM:

Second the recommendation for Calibre for reading ebooks on a computer.

#442 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:10 PM:

"Is there some sort of secret class for girls?!"

I've long been fascinated by the schoolyard and summer camp as transmitters of the oral tradition. I worked at a BSA camp for four years and I can definitively state that the subsection of songs that are used are very different than those I was exposed to at Girl Scout camp. (Of course, there's no reason for the Boy Scouts to have the song "Mountain Girls," for example.)

#443 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 10:16 PM:

By the way, can anyone tell me why even a minor case of food poisoning is so incredibly draining? The incident was Wednesday, and this morning I was so exhausted I literally cried when I had to take the kids out. (And when I came back, slept for another three hours.)

It would be annoying if I had the strength to be annoyed by it.

#444 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2014, 11:19 PM:

I think food poisoning is so draining because the body tries to throw out anything that is in the stomach (and, usually, the kidneys) so there's no nutrition left in the system. And it generally clears out the intestinal flora/fauna as well, so digestion doesn't proceed smoothly even after the food poisoning is gone. Consider probiotics or yoghurt to help with that, if you haven't already.

#445 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 12:16 AM:

Calibre is also useful for converting ebooks to your reader's preferred format - this might fix the PDF problem Xopher's having.

#446 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 12:52 AM:

I suspect that food poisoning is draining for the same reason flu and bad colds are: ALL THE RESOURCES are spent fighting off the bug. (This implies to me that immune reactions are energy-expensive.) I caught whatever was going around back in May, and it absolutely flattened me, even without any particular GI distress. I'd long ago learned the hard way to stay hydrated when I get sick, but even so—whew! (Pro-tip: I figured out recently that bicycle-style water bottles are the right tool for the job: makes it possible to drink while lying down. Which is a blessing when even getting up to go to the bathroom requires ALL THE SPOONS.)

#447 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 12:53 AM:

Xopher #433:

If you are using Nook for Windows and are dissatisfied with it, have you considered looking into Calibre? It's an open source/free software e-book reader/library/converter that runs on all the major desktop platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux).

It's able to interpret multiple ebook formats and display them, it'll allow you to edit the metadata on books (including adding your own), as well as search, sort, and organize based on that meta data, etc. I have, for instance, created a custom metadata field called "Hugo", and twelve ebooks have the value "2014.EditorShortForm.Datlow" for that field.

It is supposed to be able to connect with and download to devices, but I haven't bothered to figure out that part yet.

#448 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:28 AM:

#444:I've got gestational diabetes, and milk products spike my blood sugar, so I can't right now. And Jacque, unfortunately one of the hallmarks of when I get food poisoning (only when I'm pregnant, dammit) is that water starts me retching. It's awful.

#449 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:54 AM:

Thanks, everyone. I'll check out Calibre.

#450 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 02:04 AM:

B. Durbin @448: there are non-milk probiotics as well -- check with a health-food store if you have a local one. And I'm sorry for your distress!

#451 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 02:24 AM:

I am a supertaster. Well, was. Several months back, I noticed food tastes bland, and I can eat bitter things without flinching. In and of itself, it's not a problem. What is a problem is that my sensitive nose went away, too. The resulted in my getting the worst uti I've had in years, because the first line of detection is smell.

What could cause thie and how do I get it back

#452 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:40 AM:

Kimiko @413, that's something to think about, yah. Although my problem is I'm vain: I want to show off the body I may or may not have (depending on gender presentation of the day) ;)

Serge @421: I wear an American Apparel women's Large t-shirt, and wear a 14 1/2 neck 32/33 sleeve men's button-down, which is nearly as small as they come. I think AA women's shirts run small, yah?

#453 ::: Jacque sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 05:26 AM:

@452. zzzz.....

#454 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 08:18 AM:

Lin Daniel, I've heard that zinc deficiency can affect one's sense of smell. Supplements worth a try?

#455 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 08:28 AM:

You have to be careful with zinc. The Wikipedia page for anosmia (loss of smell) has a long laundry list of possible causes, including both zinc deficiency and the use of zinc-containing nasal sprays (including some labeled homeopathic).

The list of possible causes looks like anosmia would make a good symptom to appear in an episode of House, MD. I'd suggest asking your doctor about it.

#456 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 09:34 AM:

Jacque @ #446

Urgh! This moose is currently under the weather with the worst cold in several years (not helped by accidental dehydration that sort of snuck up on me yesterday) A forced visit to the local supermarket for tissues, milk, cold remedies, etc., followed by drinking a lot of water seems to have improved matters, but I may still need another day off work. Bah!

Next move is to see if Berocca (sp?) improves things.

#457 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:16 AM:

Lila @422:

Some medical scrubs are unisex; others are modified in a femme direction. I don't think I've seen any that looked masculine-only, i.e. would cause raised eyebrows if worn by a woman.

I can't offhand think of any clothing that would cause raised eyebrows if worn by a woman but not for a man, but that may be geographical, or just what sorts of people I tend to interact with most frequently. What sorts of clothing would do that where you're located?

(Some sorts of lack-of-clothing, notably going topless, would cause raised eyebrows when a woman does it but not a man, but I don't think that's the same thing.)

#458 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:17 AM:

Acidophilus caplets and capsules work. (Had food poisoning. Once.)

#459 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:22 AM:

lorax @ #458, if a woman showed up to work in the administrative dept. of the hospital I work at wearing a sportcoat, tie, oxford shirt, pants, and lace-up oxford shoes (i.e. the male uniform), there would be considerable buzz.

The female executive uniform is narrow knee-length skirt, heels, feminine blouse, jewelry, makeup and styled hair.

#460 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 12:42 PM:

Cassy B @ #156:
I'm late getting here, but: the House has no role in Presidential nominations. It's the Senate whose advice and consent is required. (Yes, filibuster; but it's still essential to hold the Senate.)

#461 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:21 PM:

PSA for anyone who, like me, is going to Worldcon and is staying offsite (anyone else staying at the HI hostel in Southwark?) with plans to public-transit it around London: London buses are no longer accepting cash fares. Best thing to do is to get a Visitor Oystercard, but those have to be ordered in advance and can take a few weeks to arrive.

(This was in the Progress Report, but I managed to miss it.)

#462 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:24 PM:

Teka Lynn 437: I'd forgotten the hand motions! You're right, we used to do that. I didn't think this was a girl thing, though - how odd.

#463 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:33 PM:

While we're on the subject of the Hugos, how does one judge the Editor categories? What does one look for?

#464 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:34 PM:

Lila @459: The female executive uniform is narrow knee-length skirt,* heels,* feminine blouse, jewelry, makeup and styled hair.

Probably just as well I'll never be in a position to have to deal with that. That ensemble represents all of the worst characteristics of the "female" dress style, IMHO.

* The better to hobble the wimminfolk, and keep them in line.

#465 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 01:52 PM:

Teka Lynn #437:

I pretty much learned your version, modulo the line about pink pajamas, which I do not remember *at all*. Where I learned what I did was in 4th grade music class (music teacher came by once a week, rolling her piano from classroom to classroom). We had hardbound songbooks, and I'll bet there's a whole lot of kids who were 9-10 in the mid-60s who had the same book.

Generally: I learned stuff there, other things at summer YWCA sleep-away camp, still other stuff at a YMCA day camp. There was almost no overlap, partly because both camps had a bunch of traditions, partly because the music counselor at the YWCA place was in the throes of the folk music movement.

#466 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 02:04 PM:

Lila (459): a woman ... wearing a sportcoat, tie, oxford shirt, pants, and lace-up oxford shoes (i.e. the male uniform)

Minus the sportcoat and tie, that's what I wear to work all winter. And I do wear a blazer when the office heating is inadequate. (In summer, I usually wear a long, flowy skirt instead of the pants.) But I'm a librarian, and we're known for our sensible shoes and dowdy* clothing.

*This is no more accurate than any other stereotype. But it's not completely inaccurate, either.

#467 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 02:50 PM:

Jacque, one of the things I like about being a physical therapist assistant is I never, ever have to wear heels, pantyhose, or makeup. I wear scrubs + athletic shoes for the inpatient job and polo/sweater + khakis + flats for the outpatient job. (Similar or identical to what a male colleague would wear.)

I don't object to skirts or dresses, but I'm profoundly uncomfortable being out in public in clothes I can't run or fight in. That rules out heels and pencil skirts.

#468 ::: Dave Crisp ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 02:58 PM:

Em @461 (and anyone else needing to use public transport at Worldcon): You can pick up a PAYG Oyster instantly at any tube / DLR / overground station but I don't know how easy it is to reclaim unused credit if you're not likely to visit London again for the foreseeable.

#469 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 03:59 PM:

The best part about summer camp song tradition is when one of the counselors sings you a song that they're "not supposed to." I finally looked this one up, and it's a Tom Lehrer song! Rickety Tickety Tin

#470 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:06 PM:

Teka Lynn #437:

Our version had "wearing her red flannels" (presumably an itchy wool union suit) with fingers clawed on the other arm, "scratch, scratch".

All extant versions imply the lady dressed, erm, casually when she went tearing round the mountain.

#471 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:11 PM:

estelendur @ 452... Sizes for men and women are a great mystery to me, especially women's. That being said, I try to keep it simple for my own vestments. One reason I favor short-sleeved shirts is that my upper limbs are a tad on the longuish side, out of proportion to the rest of my tall self.

#472 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:36 PM:

I think the only clothing sizes I've seen that make sense are men's jeans. Waist measurement in inches, inseam measurement in inches. Of course then they throw in different fit options to confuse the issue.

This is why I don't buy clothes online, or anywhere I can't try them on first.

#473 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:42 PM:

@465, 470: The "pink pajamas" took me by surprise too. The version I had known, and everyone else I knew (mother, teachers, kids etc etc) was "red pajamas". You say "scratch scratch" while, well, scratching and with the appropriate look of distaste/irritation. She's clearly supposed to be wearing itchy flannel in this variant.

Where all the silky, sensuous pink pajama singers came from, I don't know, but at rehearsal I was in the minority.

#474 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:43 PM:

B. Durbin, my much older sister sang that to me and my niece and nephew when we were little! I think all three of us still remember it (I know I do).

(She also read us The Hobbit, a chapter at a time, for bedtime stories. Favorite chapters: Riddles in the Dark and Flies and Spiders.)

#475 ::: Teka Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:44 PM:

@436: Oh! I do remember the "Hallelujah" stanza! I only sang that one at church. The response is "A-MEN!" while stomping your feet as loudly as possible.

#476 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 04:58 PM:

Dave Crisp @468

Refunds on Visitor Oyster Card are described here.

It is possible to get either the full or visitor Oyster Card on arrival. The Full card has a higher deposit, but it can be refunded at a Ticket Office.

The main thing is to only use one method of loading your Oyster Card. Visitors to the UK apparently only need to show their passport, but if the top-up payments are a mix of cash and card-payments, they will only post you a cheque in sterling.

UK residents will need a proof of address.

The Oyster Card can carry virtual versions of the assorted travel cards and passes, or just money for Pay-As-You-Go. If it's just money you can let somebody else use the card.

It's possible that the full Oyster Card will work out less expensive, depending on how long you intend to stay in London, as you could buy a weekly Travelcard which would be loaded on the Oyster Card. That cannot be done with a visitor card.

Best check the details for yourself.

#477 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 05:16 PM:

Is anyone else going to be at Detcon1? Should we consider trying to plan a Gathering of Light?

Mary Aileen, #466: I would say "practical" instead of "dowdy". While there's some overlap between the two, it's possible to wear clothing which is both practical and attractive.

My "professional woman" look, back when I had a day job, was blazer, slacks, nice blouse, and low-heeled pumps -- usually not flats, but with no more than 1" of heel, and some of them were wedges. Jewelry was earrings and maybe a necklace, makeup was lipstick and eyeliner, and my hair was however I was wearing it that year; I have zero patience for hair-styling routines that take half an hour. Sometimes I would wear a skirted suit, but never one with a pencil skirt.

OTOH, some of my female friends who are lawyers complain that the "courtroom uniform" still requires skirts and high heels -- and that wearing low heels or flats will get you a reprimand from the judge for "unprofessional dress". Mind you, the judge gets to wear robes.

#478 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 05:16 PM:

It strikes me as slightly odd that in an Open Thread starting on the subject of bicycles, nobody has mentioned the Tour de France yet, which has just spent two days in Yorkshire. People seem to have been surprised by the crowds.

Mark Cavendish crashed in Harrogate and is out of the race.

Chris Froome is currently in fifth place.

The Sky Team decided not to include Sir Bradley Wiggins this year.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry started the race from Harewood House. Neither William nor Harry wore a necktie.

The Cóte de Buttertubs sounds odd, but there was the Cóte de Jenkin Street in Sheffield.

Tomorrow, Cambridge to London. No King of the Mountain points on the third stage, just an Intermediate Sprint in Epping Forest.

#479 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 05:43 PM:


I'm going to Detcon. Having a Gathering of Light sounds fine to me.

#480 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 05:54 PM:

Em @461: Actual Londoners can confirm, but I'm pretty sure that Oyster cards can be bought at all train stations and manned tube stations. It's how I got mine.

London after all runs on tourists and wouldn't make every tourist have to one through the mail.

#481 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 06:06 PM:

We have a recording of Pete Seeger singing "She'll be coming round the mountain with the little additions at the end of each in (whoa back, scratch scratch, yum yum, and so on). Since it was audio only, I have no idea if he did the hand gestures.

Whereas I'd never encountered that aspect of the song until acquiring that recording as an adult. Just for a random bit of data.

#482 ::: jonesnori/Lenore Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 07:22 PM:

Hallelujah/ amen/ stomp makes sense. I guess I didn't sing this in church. I really don't remember, but it could have been summer camp, family, or girl scouts. Family, I think.

We sang "Whoa, Bess" instead of "whoa back" - well, I *think* we did. I didn't get my first hearing aid until I was 15. We also did red flannel and scratch scratch. I had the impression that long underwear was referred to. And we sang the verse "We will kill the old red rooster when she comes (chop chop)" before the chicken & dumplings one. A lot of people apparently skip that one.

#483 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 08:18 PM:

Lee (477): I would say "practical" instead of "dowdy". While there's some overlap between the two, it's possible to wear clothing which is both practical and attractive.

I agree. "Dowdy" was my nod to the librarian stereotype. In fact, most of what my colleagues and I wear is quite attractive as well as practical, and some of it is downright fashionable. Or just plain eccentric.
Re "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain": We just sang it straight. I never heard of any of the additions (interjections/hand motions) until this thread.

#484 ::: iamnothing ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 08:19 PM:

Dave Bell @476: Now I'm Very Confused. The Tfl page says, "It is not possible to buy a Visitor Oyster card when you are in London." Also, different pages show different rates!

#485 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 08:33 PM:

Lila @#459 I'd have to say that "female executive uniform" depends on the industry and role. One interview where I came in a suit, first person I met was a woman in jeans, running shoes, and I think a sweater, who introduced herself just as "Josée" - she was the Chief Operating Officer of the corporation and effectively President, in a software-as-a-service business.

The CTO was a male, dressed about the same.

Similarly, in a different software company, I worked for a VP who tended to dress much like any of the software team, jeans and shirts. Now, at board meetings or the like, she would dress "business", just as at the Christmas party she would wear a dress.

But in the office, we pretty much all wear/wore polo and jeans as the daily uniform.

One woman who was my manager transferred to a sales engineering job. She commented that her clothing expenditures skyrocketed because she again had to have "consulting clothes" as you describe.

#486 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 09:02 PM:

AKICIML: Has anyone read Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo? (collection by Miyuki Miyabe; copyright 2000, published in 2013 in the U.S.) The story "The 'Oni' of the Adachi House" has some fascinating resemblances -- in mechanisms, not in plot -- to "Casey Agonistes", making me wonder whether McKenna (who served in a river gunboat in China, and in WWII and Korea) may have picked up some interesting tropes to drop into his stories, without the bleedover of structure that I'm told is visible in Cordwainer Smith. Can anyone comment knowledgeably on whether Oni appear in Chinese or Korean mythology as well as Japanese?

McKenna died at about the same age as Mike Ford, and left far less material because he'd only started writing for publication after his Navy retirement sent him to college. I'd love a peek into the parallel world where he had more time to turn out his idiosyncratic work.

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 09:03 PM:

Where I worked, if someone showed up in a suit, wearing a tie, or otherwise in Serious Business Dress, we'd ask if they had something else going that day. Even the big managers didn't usually dress like that.

#488 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:01 PM:

Serge Broom @ 323: one would \hope/ the staircases go both ways; I recall a kids' book about a firehouse pole that was installed upside-down, with resulting mayhem....

albatross @ 327: ah yes, the world catches up with SF again; see (e.g.) the Pohl story about a tabletop town, and the manipulation of Delphi odds in Brunner's The Shockwave Rider.

Charlie Stross @ 359: what a mess! Mine at least had the courtesy to die in the middle of December -- although it did so the day after the most usable outdoor steps were ripped out (to be replaced by something less likely to acquire a thin but firmly-attached layer of sheer ice).
      @ 360: I've been hearing lots of moaning recently about London costing significantly >$1000 from the US East Coast. (I was very amused recently when Delta stock fell on their report that weak demand was lowering their international revenues; isn't it nice when the free market actually works?) And that can be a lot of money for a small convention; other GoH costs are nowhere near that size at most U.S. conventions.

various, re T-shirts: Boskone used to get noise from a strongly-figured member about the lack of female-cut convention T-shirts; she felt that the default ("male"?) cut was too tight. We tried them; they sold badly. Possibly because they just weren't made as well. (I don't know whether the person in charge of T-shirts didn't look far enough -- is it even possible to find a shirt with extra chest room in 100% cotton? -- but I hear a lot about female-specific clothing typically being not as well-made as male-specific.)

Sam Chevre @ 410: the problem with that approach is that in order for the employees to get govt. coverage the employer must (per news later this week) sign a form attesting that contraception is excluded from their ACA-mandated coverage for religious reasons; SCOTUS made an emergency ruling (just before baling for the summer) in favor of Wheaton College that even requiring this form was an inappropriate burden on the religious.

B. Durbin @ 443: what do you call a minor case? I've had suspected cases that didn't involve "trying to expel everything" (thanks for the reminder, Tom...) that snuck up on me for that reason; alternating chills (>3 blankets) with fever (blankets? are you <not-all-there>?) can be draining by themselves. Possibly the body reacts so severely because evolution (e.g., ]tribes[ with vigorous displays will have fewer people incapacitated by a semi-common food pool)?

re office clothing: my penultimate tech job featured "casual Fridays" -- which all of the line people I knew (and many of the managers) ignored because they dressed to suit themselves (especially in summer, when the A/C went off at 6pm). The one exception was a woman who dressed much more sharply on Fridays; I guessed that she went out on the town straight from work but never asked.

#489 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:17 PM:

CHip @ 488... Like the pole that Adam West used to slide back up to Wayne Manor?

#490 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 10:58 PM:

CHip, Serge:

In Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, there's a magician whose house has two staircases, of which one only goes up and the other only goes down.

#491 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 11:00 PM:

Thanks very much for the advice re: Oyster cards. I think I'll wait and just pick up a zone 1-3 one with a week on it (that covers buses as well as the Tube, right? And the DLR?) since I'm going to be spending eight days in town.

While I'm soliciting advice, there is one night during the con when I'm likely going to be departing too late to take public transit (paaaarties!), and while there are many places where I'm willing to walk for an hour and a bit by myself at one in the morning, London isn't one of them. Is there a cheap cab company? Do they take credit cards, or should I be sure to have cash on hand? How much can I expect to pay for a five-mile trip? I'd appreciate any advice. I've been to London a bunch of times, but not this area of it - mostly I stay in and around the West End and the museums and only venture further during the day, so cabs have not been a consideration.

#492 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 11:20 PM:

#488 CHip: A "minor case" for me is one in which the expulsion of food from the wrong end only lasts a comparatively short period of time, as opposed to the case I got with my first pregnancy, which consisted of twelve hours of me lying on the cold bathroom floor, inadequately dressed, because any time I tried to move I'd start retching again. Food poisoning is always miserable, but that was sheer torture.

#493 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2014, 11:56 PM:

CHip 488: Was that a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book? Didn't she have a whole upside-down house?

Paul 490: In Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, there's a magician whose house has two staircases, of which one only goes up and the other only goes down.

From Fiddler on the Roof, "If I Were a Rich Man":

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

#494 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 12:25 AM:

John Scalzi's daughter, Athena, lifts like a girl. His wife, Chrissy, and Athena both shoot like girls too. And other things. Part of his list of things they do better than he does.

#495 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 01:23 AM:

CHip, #488: in order for the employees to get govt. coverage the employer must (per news later this week) sign a form attesting that contraception is excluded from their ACA-mandated coverage for religious reasons; SCOTUS made an emergency ruling (just before baling for the summer) in favor of Wheaton College that even requiring this form was an inappropriate burden on the religious

WHAT THE HOLY FUCKING FUCK??? Why don't we just go ahead and declare Christian Sharia law and be done with it? We already seem to have a 5-man tribunal ready to enforce it.

Well, I guess that answers the question I asked upthread. Those employees are just screwed, and Hobby Lobby did it with full and deliberate intent.

#496 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 03:00 AM:

Visitor Oyster Card: £3 non-refundable deposit, bought before you travel to London, posted to you, allows some extra tourist discounts for such things as museum entry, stores money only.

Purchase web-site

Full Oyster Card: £5 refundable deposit, bought on arrival or internet order, stores money, also stores Travelcard Passes and other types of Season Ticket

The other purchase website

I did some figuring out for my likely usage, and I am doubtful that I will be running up enough of a bill on public transport to make a Travelcard for the week worthwhile. The Tfl map indicates that a Zone 1-3 Travelcard will cover all of the DLR except the river crossing to Woolwich Arsenal.

Buses and trams don't use the Zone system, and use a different season ticket to the Travelcard. The 7-Day Bus and Tram Pass may be worthwhile.

I think TfL may have been taking lessons on how to confuse visitors for fun and profit from the burghers of Anhk-Morpork.

#497 ::: Tobias ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 08:37 AM:

#496 It's not as bad as it sounds. Travelcards work on buses and trams, using the normal zone system. There's also a cheaper bus and tram only season ticket that works differently.

The simple way is to put money onto the Oyster card when you get to London, and use pay as you go. That will automatically switch between charging for single tickets and one day travelcards, when the one day ticket is cheaper. You can get a refund of any unused money when you get the oyster deposit back.

#498 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 08:53 AM:

Lee @ 495... If I'm not mistaken, the Supremes opposed to this horsepuckey were nominated by a Democratic President. Coincidence? I think not.

#499 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 09:29 AM:

Henry Troup @ 485: I phrased that badly; I meant, the female executive uniform in that particular department of that particular workplace (in contrast with the male uniform ditto), not in general.

#500 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 09:32 AM:

CHip @ 488, Lee @ 495

I don't think you are reading the cases at all clearly, and would recommend the Denniston and Goldstein pieces on SCOTUSBlog as useful summaries.

So far as I can tell, the "contraception is wrong" side of the argument has won exactly nothing substantive. The Supreme Court has been fairly clear that as long as contraception is provided, for free, to everyone with insurance, religious objections to particular pieces of paperwork should be accommodated; there's been exactly no consideration for any alternatives that don't result in free contraception for everyone.

#501 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 11:59 AM:

Serge, when Batman & Robin needed to go up, there was a special mechanism that moved the whole pole. Never got to see how the Bat-Costume-Changer worked either way.

For actually sliding up a pole, we turn to the (classic) Addams Family's own Uncle Fester and his firepole, which worked both ways, at least for Fester.

#502 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 12:00 PM:

Respectfully I say that you're wrong. The decision was made without regard to actual science or medicine, and is clearly favoring a particular religious view at the expense of others.

Wheaton College? Like 'little Sisters', they're claiming that filling out a form is somehow making them complicit in what their employees do with their compensation. Which is nonsense.

#503 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 12:14 PM:

P J Evans @ 502

I'm not sure what you think I'm wrong about, so I can't respond as on-point as I would prefer.

At least in my line of work (actuary), I am definitely legally liable for filling out forms that enable illegal behavior[1]; I'm thus uninclined to think filling out forms enabling others to act wrongly is necessarily morally OK, given it isn't even always legally OK.

1) Signing a true but misleading actuarial certification has gotten people convicted of felonies--most notably Ron Ferguson.

#504 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 12:25 PM:

Kip W @ 501... Ah, yes, the Bat-Costume Changer...

"Batman! Gotham is in grave danger! Why won't you get the Batmobile going?"
"Huh... I left the keys in my Bruce Wayne outfit, up the shaft."

#505 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 12:35 PM:

P J Evans #502: Apparently, also, if an employee uses their compensation for a purpose the employer dislikes that is wrong.

#506 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 01:28 PM:

As I understand it, the form they're objecting to is simply their official notice of religious objections - it's sent to the government. I don't know how they think it could make them complicit in anything. It isn't like they're signing off on income tax or something else with dire consequences if they lie.

What they lied about on BC is their 'belief' that it causes abortions. No, it doesn't. (Also, that an employee using their legally-acquired compensation for legal uses somehow is going to harm the employer, who has no legal need to know how that compensation is used.)

#507 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 01:56 PM:

PJ Evans @ 506... And they made a decision giving special treatment to religion. I'm pretty sur there's something in the Constitution about laws giving or denying religion special treatment.

#508 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 02:15 PM:

SamChevre, #500: Having read both of the articles you linked, I see nothing in either of them to change my opinion. The dissenting opinion in Hobby Lobby was 100% correct, and the Wheaton College thing is one more instance of somebody claiming Special Snowflake status on the basis of religion, which is fine if you're doing it for yourself but they're doing it non-consensually for everyone associated with them as well, which is Wrongity Wrong Wrong. We are headed for a situation in which somebody only has to say, "But RELIGION!" in order to get anything they want from the Supreme Court, right down to exemptions from the 14th Amendment.

Does Wheaton College accept any sort of Federal assistance money? They'd damn well better not.

If the Hobby Lobby employees were going to be able to opt out of their company plan in favor of going thru the exchanges to get a full-coverage plan, my cynical self would have said that this was a blatant attempt by Hobby Lobby to increase profits by decreasing the number of employees for whom they have to pay for medical benefits. But absent that option, I can't even believe that.

#509 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 02:38 PM:

Abi @12: Snorfiets has nothing to do with moustaches but with the sound the original snorfietsen, that is bikes with help motors, made, which is something inbetween the sound of a cat purring and light snoring.

Snorren as a verb can mean to ride quickly, but only on bikes/bromfietsen, not in a car.

The real difference between a snorfiets and a bromfiets is of course the law: the former can only go up to 25 kilometres/hour and doesn't need either a license or a helmet (and can go on bikepaths where brommers aren't allowed) while the latter can go up to forty, need a license and helmet.

Your average Dutch cyclepath is intended for bikes, snor- and bromfietsen, so in order to make bike paths where brommers are not allowed stand out, there's a special sign: fietspad, dus niet brommen.

And if you, you have to pay a fine. Can't pay the fine, you will still end up brommen -- spent a night in jail...

#510 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 02:44 PM:

Sandy B @ #338:

As someone who does "UK to Pacific Coast" a couple of times per year, my normal strategy is to arrive Pacific Time in the afternoon, trying to keep awake until ~10 PM and then sleep until I wake up naturally the following day. Then I take that entire day as "adjust to local time" and try to spend at least 2-3 hours outdoors.

If this works for anyone else, good. If it doesn't, your neural wiring is probably sufficiently different from mine.

#511 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 02:55 PM:

#404 ::: Xopher Halftongue One of the interviewees in Word Is Out said "We're all born naked, so anything that anyone wears at any time is drag."
#485 ::: Henry Troup
#487 ::: P J Evans

A friend and I had a conversation after she came back from teaching in China. It was basically about "dressing to signal" mixed up "what to call an outfit from a different culture" (Frex: She accidentally offended someone from India by calling a salwar kamees a "costume").

I argued that if it's not your skin, it's a costume. (she corrected me when I used "costume" in regards to dress.) As in "We are all actors on a stage..." and every stage play signals with clothing. Or, more simply, "what aspect of myself do I feel like presenting today?" I pointed out that most people don't wear fannish outfits to formal work environments and vice versa.

#512 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 03:39 PM:

Victoria, #511: Technically, you're correct that anything you wear over your skin is a "costume" of one sort or another (and often intended to signal something), but that's not the way most people use the word, so your friend was also right to disagree with you.

Personally, I tend to use the word "garb" to mean what someone else might call "traditional/native/ethnic costume". The distinction between "costume" and "garb" (at least to me) is that garb is clothing -- something one might wear on a daily basis -- while a costume is not.

#513 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 03:46 PM:

Oh my goodness. Fietspad.

#514 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 03:46 PM:

#510, Ingvar M: That's my general strategy for that many hours' difference too, in either direction: try to arrive while it's light out, spend as much time in the light (and awake, and moving around) as possible that day, try to stay up at least a couple of hours past dinner (sometimes that means 8PM, but I try for 9).

On work trips, I rarely have the luxury of having the next day as an adjustment day, but I still try to get as much daylight as possible while I'm working.

It's a hard wrench for the body, but sunlight makes it not as hard as changing to night shift.

#515 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 03:52 PM:

re 511: That's putting too much intentionality into the matter. It's not a signal unless it's sent. Long ago we had a very formal anniversary dinner as a company event, and one woman wore stunning salwar kameez, another a sari, and a third a gorgeous caftan. And given that one was from Pakistan, another India-American, and the third's husband was from somewhere in Africa, the only message was "this is something really dressy that I have in my closet."

Also, when I hear "costume" I understand "pretense". While military uniforms are plainly meant to give a signal, and while they often have some element of pretense in them,1 nobody is pretending to be a soldier or sailor simply by wearing one, unless they aren't in the military.

1e.g. the NWU: what's with the faux camouflage?

#516 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 04:10 PM:

We've debated 'costume' before, and it seemed that there was a difference between varieties of English - in British English it doesn't have the same implication of pretence. (It's significant that Americans say 'costume party' where Brits says 'fancy dress party'.)

#517 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 04:18 PM:

C. Wingate @515 the only message was "this is something really dressy that I have in my closet."

I disagree. Especially in that kind of situation, I think there is also a signal of "I am proud of my heritage."

I think "costume" carries the implication of performance, which is not the same as fake or disguised or over-the-top. My chorus has a formal costume, which has red sequins and is a costume by pretty much anyone's definition. We also have a casual costume of matching shirts with our logo over khakis and a white tee; if I wore it without lots of other people around wearing the same thing, it wouldn't strike anyone as a costume.

With Lee, I would understand "garb" as implying traditional wear. If I am wearing my own traditional wear, I might find it odd to have it called a costume as though I were on stage.

#518 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 04:22 PM:

516 ::: Andrew M @516, I have to make a deliberate effort to code-switch when talking to people from the Other Side of the Pond. When this American hears "fancy dress party" I instantly think of "fancy" clothing; i.e., tuxedos, sequinned gowns. Not giant rabbits or pirates...

I do know what the term means to Brits, but it doesn't come naturally to me. As you say, in America when you mean giant rabbits and pirates, it's near-universally a "costume party". (I'd say "universally" but it's possible there's a usage I'm not aware of.)

#519 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 04:39 PM:

Ob Casual Fridays: My five-a-year opera season tickets were for Friday nights, when I worked in tech places. Bringing in something dressy to change into was kind of a pain; going home in between out of the question, as it was much easier just to go straight into town. After the first couple of suit-with-dressy-blouse or dress with suit jacket times, the gang would just look at me, raise an eyebrow, and ask "Opera tonight?" *grin*

Otherwise, yeah, a guy wearing suit-and-tie was quizzed about where they were interviewing.

#520 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 05:28 PM:

I have the same issue as glinda: I direct bridge in town four weekends a year; uniform is either dressy or name-and-logo polo shirt. The latter looks stupid in my 9-5 tech job; so Fridays I wear my suit.

I'm tall and thin; my suit is a modern take on the funeral director frock coat (almost knee-length, no waist cut) - which makes me look tall and thin. It also makes me look like a funeral director.

So I sometimes get "where's the interview"; sometimes I get "where's the funeral"; sometimes they know (because they asked before).

I wore suit and tie for 11 years; I know how to, and I don't feel uncomfortable in it. I work in IT; one of the reasons why is that I get to wear a suit and/or tie when *I* want to, not when someone else thinks I should.

#521 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 06:17 PM:

C. Wingate @515

"NWU" meaning Naval Working Uniform? The claim I have heard is that the camo pattern means that it doesn't have to be perfectly cleaned.

#522 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 06:18 PM:

"Costume" means "like for Halloween" for me: giant rabbits, pirates, Emily Dickinson, whatever--I know what "fancy dress" means, but I wouldn't use it unless I were being consciously Anglophone. "Garb" is what I call SCA clothing, because it's not a costume; it's what I wear every day at Pennsic or any other SCA event I might attend. But I wouldn't wear it to work, so it's not the same as modern(/mundane) clothing. For saris, kimono, dirndls, etc, I would say "traditional dress".

#523 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 07:28 PM:

Sandy @338, Ingvar M@510:
For jetlag there's a fairly good new research paper and project and subsequent iphone app (called Entrain) done by University of Michigan researchers.

I like that the app updates its recommended light/dark patterns based on your activity, rather than giving one static and unrealistic pattern. It starts with where you are and where you're going plus what type of light(s) you have available (sky, superbright lights [winter SAD lights], dim light), and as you give it your real light and sleep patterns it changes what it suggests.

#524 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:00 PM:

Cassy B @518, you mean dressing like pirates or giant rabbits isn't just normal everyday clothing where you live? :-) (Or is telecommuting not quite the same as being at the office dressed as an invisible giant rabbit?)

Some years ago my neighbor invited me to an SCA event a couple of counties north of here. We stopped in a fast-food joint on our way up there, in garb, and the teenagers who were sitting inside eating looked at us like we were Martians. Then one of them said "Renfaire", and the others were "oh, right", and went back to ignoring us, since we'd been reduced to an identifiable category. (This was about halfway between the older and newer Northern Faire locations, but close enough.)

#525 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:34 PM:

dcb @various:

Would "over-the-top" or something along that line be suitable to describe this event?

#526 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:37 PM:

If you live in Pittsburgh, and it's the 4th of July weekend, giant rabbits are positively ho-hum, but no pirates to be seen. The costumes from Anthrocon are simply amazing. One character was waggling their head from right to left as they walked, as the animated character would. It looked perfect, but I'd need a visit to a chiropractor after going just a few blocks.

#527 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:45 PM:

janetl, #526: It's like that when Furry Fiesta comes to Dallas too, only not as much so. I hear that Anthrocon (which has been described to me as "the Worldcon of furry fandom") had over 5,000 attendees last year.

#528 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:52 PM:

There was once an event in early June and a couple people in garb stopped in a grocery store north of Pittsburgh for something on the way.

The manager started to freak the hell out, because he wasn't stocked for Pennsic yet.

#529 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2014, 10:54 PM:

Bill Stewart @524 Some years ago my neighbor invited me to an SCA event a couple of counties north of here. We stopped in a fast-food joint on our way up there, in garb, and the teenagers who were sitting inside eating looked at us like we were Martians. Then one of them said "Renfaire", and the others were "oh, right"

My husband and I were relocating to Naperville, Illinois. We drove into town and stopped for fast food before we met the real estate agent we had an appointment with. In the hamburger place were characters from a Civil War re-enactment: men in uniform, women in hoop skirts.

We were deeply amused by the following overheard conversation:

"What time is the battle?"

"There's a skirmish at 11 and the battle is at 1."

#530 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:46 AM:

Well, if this article has the facts of the matter correct, perhaps the Hobby Lobby employees aren't as screwed as their employer intended for them to be. Also, the article makes a good point that the narrowness of the majority decision only serves to reinforce the perception that right-wing Christianity isn't about anything but sex (abortion and homosexuality) any more.

My scan of the Detcon1 website reveals that both Bill Higgins and Brother Guy will be in attendance. If there's going to be any attempt at a Gathering of Light, they should be invited.

Carrie, #528: OMG ROTFL -- I can just see that!

#531 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:51 AM:

I was reading a story on one of the local news sites today, about a touring art exhibit, called 'The Paternal Suit'. One of the items is a painting claimed to be by a (female) Dutch artist named 'Oopen Uit den Poort'.

(It's really a show about where reality and story meet, and whether you can tell them apart.)

#532 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:56 AM:

Something I years later identified as an SCA event: a local dude ranch had an all-day tour they'd do: start out at the ranch, ride into and through town up into the foothills, and then back around town to the ranch. (I did this once in a high school riding class. Why in the name of all creation you'd take greenhorns—or even only moderately experienced riders on such a tramp is beyond me; I was crippled for days afterwards.)

Anyway, I was peddling north through town going somewhere, and up around the bend in the street comes a whole troop of folks on horseback—in garb.

I have to say, even though they were bouncing all around in their saddles, and scrambling to keep their helms and other headgear on, and didn't quite know what to do with their broadswords, they looked like they were having a grand old time. The western style saddles kind of ruined the effect, though. :-)

#533 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 01:03 AM:

Lee@530 - Certainly if I were running a business, I'd try to apply the Hobby Lobby decision to the business's immigration paperwork, because harassing or shunning sojourners is against my religion (and I could argue that either from an evangelical perspective, or Quaker, or the Methodism I grew up with.) And if Hobby Lobby can weasel out of paying for their employees' birth control by letting the Feds do it, I ought to be able to do the same kind of thing, letting the Feds who want to see papers that are in order get them from other Feds.

#534 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 02:11 AM:

February 2007: I was living in Northern Virginia, and it was President's Day weekend, which meant Katsucon. They were still in the Omni Sheraton in Adams-Morgan, hadn't been forced to move to National Harbor yet, and I was heading home (the panels were closed and I didn't have any invitations to the good parties).

I took the Red Line to Gallery Place to transfer and noticed a group of Final Fantasy VII cosplayers in the car, discussing where to get dinner. They were a few paces ahead of me and changed trains at Gallery too, so I noticed when two frat-boy types pulled a double-take.

"Dude, they're dressed up like Final Fantasy! What gives?"

"Oh," I said as I passed, "there's an anime con in Adams-Morgan."

"Dude, we should party in Adams-Morgan tonight!" I heard.

(I've heard that similar shifts in cosplayer/noncosplayer density happen as you approach Inner Harbor Baltimore on Otakon weekend.)

#535 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 05:12 AM:

#524 ::: Bill Stewart

In re the effect of putting something into a category: I was reading a Kelly Link story about something bad in the woods (sorry, I can't remember the title, but it's got a bit about a monster not caring about the moral virtue or lack of same of its victims any more than a human cares about whether a hot dog is virtuous or not) and I was getting very spooked until I realized it was a horror story-- at that point I calmed down.

#536 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Eater of Spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 05:49 AM:

Just so you know: yes, spam flood, yes, on it, no, not fun.

#537 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 06:06 AM:

Idumea @536, I saw that there was a flood, and also that it was being disappeared. We are, as always, grateful for your vigilance on our behalf.

#538 ::: Idumea Arbacoochee, Eater of Spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 07:16 AM:

Well, that was a thing. Looks like we're through it now.

#539 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 07:55 AM:

*offers condiments in appreciation*

#540 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 08:54 AM:

I've noticed a spam uptick in my blog also. Someone must have gotten a new server/bot net.

#541 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 08:57 AM:

Thanks, Idumea.

#542 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 09:15 AM:

Idumea Arbacoochee, Eater of Spam @536: Hope it's not given you indigestion. I can offer a pleasant selection of relaxing herbal teas...

#543 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 10:08 AM:

re 534: My daughter does Otakon, and I can testify that if the weather is decent the con floods out several blocks in all directions, to the point that everyone entering Balto. from I-95 either catches the edge of it (if they take MLK Blvd.) or drives straight into the thick of it (if they take the other route). Mind you, membership numbers last year were nearly 35K; "turnstile" (whatever they mean by that) was over 100k. Anime USA at the Wardman Park (the baby of the three) creates lots of amusing juxtapositions since it isn't anything like big enough to consume the whole hotel (yet).

#544 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 11:35 AM:

Thank you once again, Idumea, for the hard work. We can't keep it from being tedious, but we can keep it from being thankless!

#545 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:02 PM:

C. Wingate @515

NWU is real camouflage, if you're on a ship and not in the woods or the desert. The digitally-created pattern is "created using highly complex fractal equations that produce non-repeating patterns designed to match the visual texture of background environments. I suppose the occasions one would need camouflage shipboard are limited, but I can think of a few. As it is described as a "working uniform," it's ability to conceal grime is useful. In a nod to fashion and tradition, the Navy pattern incorporates the Navy seal.

Then there's this.

#546 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:27 PM:

C. Wingate @543: Convention attendance counting methods! I know this!

So, traditional attendance numbers count badges: if you buy a weekend pass, you're one person. If you buy three day passes, you're three people.
Turnstile counting is badges per day: if you're there the whole weekend, no matter what kind of badge you have, you're three people.

It would be nice to be able to count people instead of badges, but short of putting headshots on badges and recording everyone's personal information (so you can group three day passes under one person, and don't accidentally record the five weekend badges that someone bought for their friends as one person), it's not going to happen.

As a staffer at a traditional-attendance convention, I tend to view turnstile counting as cheating. Among other things, it means you can significantly inflate your attendance numbers just by being on a holiday weekend where you can run a 4 day con instead of just 3.

#547 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 12:35 PM:

Lee @530: Wasn't that possibility counteracted by the Wheaton College case immediately after Hobby Lobby?

It was my understanding that for insurance companies to offer contraception coverage directly, they would need documentation that the company refuses to cover contraception. The Wheaton decision means that the company can't be compelled to provide that documentation.

#548 ::: Howard ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 01:01 PM:

dcb: What about something more along the lines of "patchwork" or "jumble"? Like "jumble run extreme"?

#549 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 01:48 PM:

shadowsong @ 547

The Wheaton decision means that the company can't be compelled to provide that documentation.

I'm pretty sure that's a mis-reading of the injunction, given Denniston's summary: key paragraphs from that summary follow.

Here, in simpler form, is what the Court’s new order required:

First, the college need not file a form prescribed by the government to claim the accommodation that would shift the legal duty to its insurer or plan administrator to provide the actual birth control services. The college objected even to filing that form, saying it put the college into the middle of assuring access to those services.

Second, the college need only write a letter to the government to claim an exemption.

Third, since the college has already written and sent such a letter, that is enough to block the government from enforcing the mandate in any way against the college.

Fourth, the order declared that it was not intended to affect “the ability of the [college's] employees and students to obtain, without cost, the full range of contraceptives [approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration].”

And, finally, to make it possible for that access to remain, the Court said the government may rely on the college’s letter to the government as the mechanism for facilitating the access to the birth control services.

That looks to me like "if you object to the form, provide notice in some other form--but there's no way we'll let it have any impact on coverage."

#550 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 02:22 PM:

janra @ 472

Jeans, and men's pants sizes in general, aren't quite as straightforward as you would think. The waist size isn't the measure of the top of the pants, as you would think, but of the nominal waist if the pattern were to be extended to the waist, rather than being cut at the hips.

This comes up when buying kilts, which are sized in inches at the waist, and it isn't the same number at all as your pants size. Usually a few inches smaller.

It's also why pants from different manufacturers may not be the same size, although it's usually only an inch.

Shirts and coats do have sensible sizes, though. Sleeve length, neck size, and chest size are just measurements.

#551 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 03:17 PM:

janra @ 472, Steve Downey @ 550:
Having just bought jeans, I can assure you it's more complicated than that. Apparently wishful sizing is a thing now: men's jeans (and shirts, and underwear) frequently misrepresent what size they actually are. In the store trying on jeans, I was certain that the supposed 32" waist on one pair of jeans was not a 32" waist; I bought the pair by that manufacturer which claimed a 30" waist instead, as they fit how I expected a 32" waist to fit. At home I measured them, and the jeans claiming a 30" waist actually had a 32" waist.

Esquire has written about the problem.

#552 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 03:33 PM:

This is well-known in women's clothing: they redefine the sizes so what was a 12 is now a 10, or even an 8. (Sewing sizes haven't changed in years: someone who wears a size 10 in ready-to-wear may need a size 14 pattern.)

#553 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 04:06 PM:

SamChevre @549 and elsewhere:

It's my understanding that the Court does not claim that other methods of providing free contraceptive coverage must actually exist, only that so long as they could theoretically exist then corporations can be exempted from providing coverage. So if the Court decides that in principle the government could provide contraceptive coverage, or that the Contraceptive Fairy could leave pills under everyone's pillow, then the non-feasibility of the former or the non-existence of the latter wouldn't actually prevent companies from denying women coverage - there is nothing in the Constitution to prohibit those "alternatives", and their non-existence isn't Hobby Lobby's doing, so as far as the Court is concerned they're real.

If this is incorrect (and I sincerely hope that it is), what are the actual means whereby women employed at Hobby Lobby can get their contraceptive coverage?

#554 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 04:29 PM:

lorax @ 553... They say that a letter from the employer declaring "We will not provide that coverage" will be as acceptable to the insurance company as an official form. And as we well know, insurance companies will never reject a claim because of a document not being 'official'.

#555 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 05:13 PM:

lorax @ 553

I'll answer, as best I can, in general and then in specific.

In general, religious accomodation law (RFRA and RLUIPA) is fairly clear in principle, but not necessarily clear in detail. Religious accommodations are to be provided if it's reasonably doable[1]. The details can be tricky, and in this case, the court re-stated the standard without going into hypothetical detail.

In general again, one thing that counts very heavily toward "reasonably doable" is "you are already doing it elsewhere." In a prison, if you provide vegetarian meals, or allow beards, for non-religious reasons (typically health-related) then you must allow them for religious reasons as well.

The Hobby Lobby decision came under the "you are doing it already" standard[2]. The accommodation for religious non-profits exploits the difference in cost between contraception and pregnancy (pregnancy is much more expensive), so that technically contraception is paid for by the insurer, out of the expected savings due to providing it, rather than by the employer (whose premiums are higher due to the expected cost of the pregnancies than if it included contraception.) The Hobby Lobby decision is "you can perfectly well let corporations with religious owners have access to that same system."

The Wheaton injunction came under the less-clear "this couldn't be hard" standard; if the employer is willing to send you a letter, but not a particular form, then act on the letter while the case is heard. (And in this case also, the effect is to move over to the "technically, it's not the employer" work-around. As it's an injunction, not a decision, this is temporary--it only applies while the case is being decided.)

In both cases, the result to employees as I understand it is nothing at all-not just hypothetically or eventually, but actually and immediately; the insurer covers contraception, just as if the employer paid for it directly, but is technically not paying for it at the employer's direction. It seems to me that unless (as one commenter helpfully noted) "the complicity IS THE POINT," this should satisfy the pro-contraception side; it's not clear to me why anyone who believes that contraception is socially harmful and morally wrong would find it satisfactory. (On the other hand, it's also not clear to me why it's OK for my colleague to eat cheese, and then eat meat 10 minutes later, but if he eats meat, he must wait several hours before having ice cream. Religious rules can be arbitrary around the edges.)

1) The formal standard is "the least restrictive means of fulfilling a compelling government interest." Like disability accommodation, this standard doesn't mean "already exists" but also doesn't mean "could be achieved if there was an unlimited budget." (Disability law example--if you have space for a wheelchair ramp, building one is reasonably doable--even if it doesn't exist currently.)

#556 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 05:22 PM:

HLN: Area household acquires new kitten. The dog is overjoyed; the cats are dubious; the kitten wants to be with a human friend at all times, or will wail piteously until Friend Human returns. Humans hope that the kitten will soon take up the dog's offer to be Friend Dog and thus be a little less clingy, and expect some fraught, sleep-deprived nights until then.

#557 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 06:13 PM:

P J Evens @ 552:

My Google-fu has been eaten by a grue today (OK, fibrofog, but a grue sounds better).

Do you know of a site that translates today's women's dress sizes to those of the mid-60s to mid-70s?

#558 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2014, 06:34 PM:

I seem to recall that the last big change in sewing sizes was in the mid-60s. (They still put the measurements on patterns, so you always have some guide.) This post is helpful for measurements, but not history - the old sizes are really only critical if you're dealing with vintage patterns. I can't find much else, either. Also this page has questions, and a couple of links down the page.

#559 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 03:50 AM:

glinda #557:

I get hits using the following search term:
vintage dress size conversion

But I don't know enough to judge how useful the links are.

#560 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 10:59 AM:

One of the links-down-the-page is dead, but the other leads to a discussion of how sizing has changed - vintage patterns are apparent A Thing on eBay. Biggest difference is that they've increased the dimensions, the better to fit real people, and the armholes now are larger. The Big Change was 1967, with at least one smaller one since.

#561 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 11:27 AM:

Open threadiness.

I want to hang something from a beam in the basement. Since it's an open beam, I don't have to use the heavy eye screw. I can tie a rope around the beam and hang my sky chair from that.

I have a book of knots and knot tying. I just don't know which one is best for my purpose.

#562 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 11:43 AM:

Lin: best knot to hang a tire swing is a pre-loaded search in Google, and the top hit suggests a double half-hitch. Next hit suggests a bowline or rolling hitch knot. Me, I'd feel safest with a bowline.

#563 ::: Jacque visits the gnomes! ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 11:44 AM:

My goodness, it's been a while! Here, have some fresh oatmeal.

#564 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 12:03 PM:

Lin Daniel @561: A bowline will do the job. It is a simple, sturdy knot and it will stay tied.

#565 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 12:28 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 561

I'll second TomB's recommendation of a bowline if what you want is a fixed loop around the beam. The bowline is the second-most-useful knot I know. (First place goes to a shoelace/bowtie bow.)

If you want to be able to adjust the height of what you are hanging, a trucker's hitch may be what you want--tie a bowline around what you are hanging, make the beam loop with a trucker's hitch.

#566 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 12:37 PM:

I notice that it's been discovered that Jane Austen bears an uncanny resemblance to Mary Robinette Kowal, who writes Regency stories with a fantasy element. Mary has been rather coy, and has provided no explanation.

#567 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 01:18 PM:

Serge, she's hiding from the Weeping Angels, and doesn't want to give her location.

#568 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 01:41 PM:

Lin Daniel @ 561

You probably want two knots. One attaching the rope to the beam, and the other forming the loop. So something like a constrictor hitch with a bowline on the other end.

Or two constrictor hitches to the beam, with the rope between them forming the loop?

Useful knot reference

#569 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 02:12 PM:

Wow! Just wow! Hoodwinked House, an ongoing saga of predatory remodeling. While a good home inspector might have uncovered some of this, they would have missed most of the really heinous stuff, as a normal home inspection for real estate purposes is visual only. And finding a good home inspector is a complete crapshoot.*

This guy has great family, friends, and kindly strangers, some long-suffering room mates and an amazing tool-wielding fiancée.

*I don't know about other states, but in Georgia there are no training, experience, or certification requirements for setting up shop as a home inspector, just a business license and insurance. Some counties may require membership in a professional organization, but all that requires is paying dues. Even Georgia Association of Home Inspectors certification, which requires the passing of state and national exams and continuing education, also requires the completion of 250 paid inspections before certification. One would hope that during these 250 inspections, there would be some training, supervision or oversight, but one could only hope.

#570 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 03:08 PM:

Xopher @ 567... The most likely explanation is that she keeps an unusual portrait in a locked room.

#571 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 05:25 PM:

I think the Permanent Worldcon Floating Mornington Crescent Game has started early.

Cóte de Buttertubs

#572 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 05:32 PM:

@Serge Broom #570: Next, finding out which SF/F writer bears an uncanny resemblance to one O.F.O'F W. Wilde.

#573 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 05:39 PM:

@571 Dave Bell

Cóte de Buttertubs

Without wanting to be the spelling police,I really need to ask, 'cause that aigu is freaking me out: are they really spelling Côte that way?

Or is this correct in another language I don't know?

#574 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 08:22 PM:

Fragano @ 572... Got anybody in mind, regarding old Oscar Wilde?

#575 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 08:46 PM:

Serge Broom #574: If George R.R. Martin were a bit slimmer he might fit the bill.

#576 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 09:39 PM:

A few minutes ago, spurred by this conversation, I had a thought: if you were suddenly immortal, how would you plan for the future?

The compound-interest trick would get you going eventually, but you'd need enough to prime the pump, and you could do better with active management, which probably means a trust, which can't be perpetual of course...and what would you do in the interim? Live cheap? You'd miss all the fun. Assuming Rip Van Winkling isn't an option, anyway.

And suddenly I had a title: "The Trustee of Dorian Gray." It can go alongside "The Cold Retainer" (Gerry Cross visits a lawyer to discuss a wrongful death suit over sister Marilyn). And maybe more, if I can think of any...

#577 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 11:03 PM:

Depends a lot on the form the immortality takes, Will @576. Does it involve eternal youth? Does it involve rapid healing or slow healing from injuries? Different factors lead to different approaches and decisions.

#578 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2014, 11:17 PM:

Coming never, because I'm not that talented: The First Thing We Do..., an anthology of legal piss-takes responding to famous or infamous (or just really annoying) stories. Featuring:

"The Cold Retainer" (Cross v. Frontier Settlement Office, wrongful death)
"The Trustee of Dorian Gray" (R. v. Gray ex rel The Gray Perpetual Trust, antitrust and insider trading)
"Trade Secrets" (U.S. Robotics v. Calvin, Olivaw (R.), et al., breach of contract, copyright infringement, interference with business)

And many more!

#579 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 07:28 AM:

I just got around to reading the Pitchforks are coming Parhelion. Well worth the read - the man speaks truth. Thanks for finding that, Abi.

#580 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 08:34 AM:

I am 90% of the way through Capital in the 21st Century and so I've got a pretty good idea of how to kickstart an immmortal lifestyle, financially. Well, the part between year [say] 10 and year 60 or so. Basically once you're a top-ten-percenter your finances get stronger as you age. You'd have to live cheap to a certain point, I assume 10 years or so, but then you can let the capital work for you. Also, the older you get the more you know.

I'm not 100% convinced by all of Piketty's points, but I'm thinking about a lot of things I wasn't thinking about before. I don't have my own thoughts in order, or not enough to have a thesis and support it. And he does bring an awful lot of data to the fight.

#581 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 08:35 AM:

Also, that "Hoodwinked House" link is a horror story for homeowners.

#582 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 10:30 AM:

Sandy B. @ 581:

Also, that "Hoodwinked House" link is a horror story for homeowners.

It's a horror story for the Rule of Law in general. Many times in that story, persons who are responsible for enforcing the relevant laws say something like "If we caught them in the act, they'd be in jail for this", but when pressed on what they can do now, they just shrug, as if the mere passage of time or a business transaction has rendered the crime invisible.

It's baffling to me, as someone who has grown up with the Common Law system of the UK and Ireland. If something was illegal when it was done, why is it non-prosecutable when it's discovered, only a few years later?

#583 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 10:48 AM:

odaiwai, #582: In this particular instance, I think the Get Out of Jail Free card is that they conned the buyer into signing an "as is" contract, which legally removes them from liability. I agree with you that (like corporate malfeasance) this should not be considered to absolve them from having done things which were illegal at the time they were being done, but that's not the way contract law here tends to be interpreted.

#584 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 11:51 AM:

I had the impression that the people who had done all these things had, literally, escaped the law; they'd used corporations to hide their identities and offshore bank accounts to make sure they could keep the money.

It also says, in the FAQ, that the law is working on catching up to the malfeasants. The last chapter has not been written.

#585 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 01:48 PM:

I don't know how many people here are familiar with the TPP, but I wanted to post this here to try and get some more exposure for it:

“Chief negotiators” are now stepping in to finalize a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) plan that could censor expression online for generations.1 2

Your comments on mobile platforms, content on YouTube, and posts on Facebook could be censored. Whole websites could even be blocked.3

We only have 48hrs before meetings in Ottawa conclude: Let’s raise a loud global call for TPP chief negotiators to back off and save free expression now ------>

TPP negotiators received citizen comments in a face-to-face meeting with OpenMedia just hours ago,4 but now chief negotiators are stepping in to ram the censorship plan into place.

#586 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 02:16 PM:

Tom Whitmore @577:

Mary Wollencraft Shelley's take on option 1, eternal youth, The Mortal Immortal.

I'm still looking for the story I read long ago about immortality attained but leaving the narrator in his old and sickly state forever. I read it about the same time I read Zacherley's Vulture Stew or maybe his Midnight Snacks. in my search, I discovered that Zacherley (John Zacherle) ) is still alive at 95. "Goodnight ... whatever you are."

#587 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 04:02 PM:

Tracie @586 -- That may well be Fredric Brown's "Great Lost Discoveries III: Immortality" in his collection Nightmares and Geezenstacks -- the man who discovers an immortality drug is afraid to take it until he's in near-coma from pneumonia, and it makes both him and his pneumonia bacteria immortal. It's the right period for what you're talking about (1961, where the Zacherley collections were from 1960).

#588 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 06:32 PM:

HLN: In what's being described as a "freak accident," a time-release capsule containing ADHD medication has broken open in the mouth of a local hemiglossic man.

"Since my surgery, I have to wash pills down with lots of water," he explains. "The pill managed to wedge itself between my back teeth just as I was closing them to swallow." He adds that he swallowed the shell, but the core got (TMI) pnhtug va gur fpne gvffhr ba gur onq fvqr bs uvf gbathr. "It was foaming and burning my mouth. I scraped it out and rinsed and spat; I didn't want it burning all the way down my throat, plus I was afraid I'd have a heart attack if I got the whole time-release dose at once."

Now, twelve hours later, he's pretty sure he's fine. "I felt weird all day," he says, "but I'm feeling more normal now. Man, when they say 'do not break, crush, or chew,' that's a safety warning. Believe them."

HLN hopes this will be a lesson to him.

#589 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM:

Tom @587: that's it! And I did indeed read all those books at about the same time, right after we moved from Germany to Virginia. They were family favorites.

#590 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 07:57 PM:

Tom @587: that's it! And I did indeed read all those books at about the same time, right after we moved from Germany to Virginia. They were family favorites. (My family was a bit weird.)

#591 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 07:59 PM:

Urrrrp! Sorry about that double (but not identical) post.

#592 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 08:45 PM:

Anyone here a fan of Naomi Novik's Temeraire series? I just finished book 4 (Empire of Ivory) and it hit me RIGHT in the feels. Nobody I know locally has read it. Would love to discuss it with someone off-forum (email? LJ? G+?).

#593 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:15 PM:

I need some etiquette advice: When someone who you've been nothing but kind to gives you a rundown on your flaws as human being (in reply to a VERY kind message), are you allowed to correct the grammar and spelling on their comment, or is it best to ignore it?

#594 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:23 PM:

Hm. Depends, do you want to have any sort of relationship with the person afterward? There's something to be said for the satisfaction of eviscerating those who should be shown their viscera.

There's also something to be said for just blocking and/or ignoring them.

But my inner Honey Badger says to have fun.

(I don't know how helpful that actually was)

#595 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:26 PM:

I have some friends that just had a house incident that was not nearly so horrendous as Hoodwinked House, but which was pretty nasty all the same. The short version is that the house of their (modest) dreams was being sold by an unscrupulous realtor who was never available, delayed closing, let them move in before the deal was closed, and only then revealed that there was a lien on the title. Yes, these friends are working on legal action to recover the fees for the house inspection and the moving fees.

As a side effect of this, they've moved to the family farm in Montana and will be building an earth shelter. Because life also kicked them in the pants by removing the primary income job right as this was going down.

My friend actually apologized to me because she'd planted some seeds that I was using for a project at the house they didn't live in for more than a month. After getting punched by life in the face repeatedly.

#596 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:33 PM:

Benjamin 594: Thanks. I think I'll just let it go in hopes of having more positive interactions in the future, but I couldn't see my way to that before I vented.

#597 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:44 PM:

Anybody know what's up with LiveJournal lately? The past couple of days, whenever I refresh the page or return to it after following a link, it never stops showing the "loading" symbol even though the page has loaded properly AFAICT. I have to stop it manually, by hitting the little X on the control bar.

#598 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2014, 09:47 PM:

Lee (597): It's been doing that to me for...oh, a couple of months now. No idea what's actually up.

#599 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 12:00 AM:

A giantess, stacked as any you could name.
Gleaming limbs beneath electric sunlamp tanned;
Below a giant lamppost, see her stand—
A brazen woman sings a song of flame
She gestures, having turned from early fame
To spurn poor immigrants. Now her hand
Waves them away with heavy book of Rand;
Mascara’d lashes show she seeks new game.
“Keep your poor, tired trash,” calls she
With ruby'd lips, “Send me your rich, your white
Your lucky heirs, scheming to live tax-free;
The wretched I refuse as is my legal right!
Outsourcing, open-handed men for me—
Above my door I light the scarlet light!”

#600 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 03:50 AM:

Lila @592: The Temeraire books are such fun! Some years ago, my father and I talked long into the night about the Napoleonic Wars, with Dragons. He was quite knowledgable about the military history, but relied on me for knowledge of dragons and dragon logistics.

Shall we meet for tea?

#601 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 07:43 AM:

Tracie: sounds awesome! I'll email you.

#602 ::: James E ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 09:10 AM:

Lee @597: are you using an adblocker? It seems to be caused by LJ trying and failing to load some ad/tracking thingy. I did find a Greasemonkey script that stopped the perma-loading in comments here but LJ seem to have changed something so the script doesn't work for me any more.

#603 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 12:20 PM:

Lila@592: Temeraire! I've never been quite sure why those books aren't more popular, they're fantastic fun and really incredible worldbuilding on top of it. I am happy to geek out about them any time (my LJ is the same as my handle here).

#604 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 01:21 PM:

I have an extremely high opinion of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Now my opinion of them is raised even higher by finding out they're running a new Underground Railroad to get LGBTQ people out of Uganda.

LGBTQ people in Uganda need rescuing not only from Uganda's official crackdown, but from Livelyite lynch mobs.

When others flail and wring their hands (I include myself), the Quakers take action. And it's something no one else is doing AFAIK. The Human Rights Watch guy is talking nonsense IMO. What "recognized refugee NGO" is making an effort of this kind? I don't know of any. And do you really think the QUAKERS don't know how to run an underground railroad? ISTM they've done it before; let me think...

#605 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 01:28 PM:

(And yes, I know Scott Lively has denied all responsibility. He's a lying sack of shit, which we already knew from the way he bore false witness against gays in Uganda, accusing us of things that would justify the crackdown if they were true. Stochastic terrorists always deny responsibility for the violence they promote.)

#606 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 01:41 PM:

Kip @599: Bravo!

Looks like the Republicans in Congress have become her pimp...

#607 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 02:34 PM:

Kip #599: Very well put.

#608 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 03:17 PM:

Jenavira: friended you on LJ. (I'm unhappytriad.)

#609 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 07:50 PM:

Xopher @604

One should always be wary of what one finds on Wikipedia, but there does seem to be something odd about the Human Rights Watch guy. And the Quakers are doing something.

There's signs that the British government would send these escapees back to Uganda. Our glorious leaders are a repulsive bunch, in all sorts of ways, and seem set on protecting their wallets and our precious bodily fluids.

#610 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2014, 11:08 PM:

Xopher Halftongue @ 605: I first became aware of Scott Lively in Oregon, where he got his start in earning a living by promoting hate. He seems to have learned some restraint as he's gotten to the big time. Don't see any mention of him assaulting journalists who disagree with him lately, like he did Catherine Stauffer back in the day. He's learned to get other people to do the violence. I never would have imagined him or his buddy Lon Mabon getting to the national stage, let alone international.

#611 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 12:48 AM:

And yes, Kip, that's magnificent. It's exactly what they're saying.

#612 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 01:14 AM:

Xopher Halftongue @588: 'Minds me of dealing with "chewable" vitamin Cs I picked up by mistake. Damn things are ginormous horse-pills, roughly the size of a nickel. I didn't feel like going to the trouble of taking them back to the store (I'd opened the bottle before I realized my mistake.) Since they taste nasty, I decided to just swallow it whole, like regular pills.

Big mistake. Gheaf bhg vg'f whfg gur evtug fvmr gb fybg vagb gur abgpu jurer gur onfr bs gur gbathr zrrgf gur rcvtybghf. Naq vf gura cbfvgvbarq gb erfvfg nal nzbhag bs pbhtuvat be qevaxvat jngre gb qvfybqtr vg. Fb gur bayl fbyhgvba vf gb fvg gurer, svtug qbja gur tnt ersyrk, naq jnvg sbe vg gb qvffbyir.

#613 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 01:56 AM:

Lila: I'm a big Temeraire fan too, though I don't do LJ, and I'm not sure how much I've got to say.

#614 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 07:54 AM:

Clifton: IJWTS that the whole "treason" business got me right in the feels. If you're also a Patrick O'Brian fan, it reminds me a lot of JA in the stocks, and I hope other characters react similarly when push comes to shove.

#615 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 01:27 PM:

I haven't read the last couple of novels in that series. (I was really hoping that they'd get some peace for a while.)

#616 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2014, 10:46 PM:

I saw the best Web ad ever. I'm listening to a read-aloud of Day of the Triffids on Youtube while I work on something boring. Every 20 minutes-ish, I get an ad, which I can click through after a few seconds.

Well, the audio for this one is nothing but a single piece of classical music, uncut. If I whistled it, I bet at least a quarter of you all could say, "Oh, that's Such-and-Such Etude!" And the video is nothing but slow, crisply clear, and beautifully lit pans and closeups of some very nice furniture pieces that some company (contact info helpfully and silently displayed) wants to sell me.

#617 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 10:32 AM:

P J Evans @ #552 (Sewing sizes haven't changed in years: someone who wears a size 10 in ready-to-wear may need a size 14 pattern.)

(Gets on sewing soapbox): However, the thing that irritates me with modern Big Fours sewing patterns is the inclusion of “ease” in the patterns. Modern sewing patterns are generally printed multi-size, with different-sized pieces nested inside each other like matryoshka — The envelope has a table of measurements on the back which is supposed to tell you which size you should cut out for yourself. However, the pattern companies expect you to make adjustments, so they make all the pieces slightly bigger than advertised. If you cut and sew them exactly as written, the finished garment will be approximately two sizes bigger than the back of the envelope would lead you to believe. (Vintage sewing patterns are generally one size only, but you can trust that if the envelope says it’s for a 34” bust, it actually will be. Your wiggle room for adjustments is in the seam allowance, which is twice that given on the modern pieces.)

#618 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 11:01 AM:

Sarah #617:

Thanks for the warning; I've just bought some patterns for the first time in never mind how many decades, and clearly will need to make some unanticipated adjustments.

(Incidentally, gnomes, I suddenly lost all my carefully-preserved over *years* name/address info: what's up with that?)

#619 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 11:29 AM:

KipW @599, very well done indeed.

#620 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 11:48 AM:

joann @#618: Thanks for the warning; I've just bought some patterns

Here's a post and discussion on Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing that may provide some help with getting things to come out the right size.

#621 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 01:30 PM:

Xopher@604, the Quaker meeting I used to attend in Shrewsbury NJ had a section of floor under one of the seating areas that lifted up, if you moved the chairs. The meeting had been around since the 1630s, but that building was early-1800s after the previous fire, and the floor trapdoor was from the Underground Railroad.

#622 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 05:51 PM:


Area woman finally gets to perform the song she's sung in the shower, car, while cleaning the kitchen, when nobody's around, etc. for the last 23 years before a live audience and is actually pretty pleased with the result. Area woman will now spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how to marry the better quality audio recordings she made with her zoom H2 with a still photo so she can upload those on the you-toobs and share with her family. Swearing is expected.

#623 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 06:37 PM:

nerdycellist, I haven't looked myself, but I often find useful how-to videos at YouTube itself (and have used it for issues with Photoshop and InDesign in the past).

#624 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 06:42 PM:

Thanks Kip! I actually just used youtube to save myself about $100 by changing my engine air and cabin filters myself. If I hadn't seen the video, I would never have believed how easy it was.

#625 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 07:18 PM:

Kip W.@599, you're maligning the wrong right-wingers. There certainly are those like you describe, but the Randians themselves view nation-states as a collectivist fiction, and immigration and emigration as a fundamental human right. If you're some Chinese peasant or Mexican farm-worker or European serf or Russian Jew, and want to get off the farm or out of the ghetto and have the initiative to go work on Rearden's railroad or Galt's Gulch tobacco farm or puddle iron at the Satanic Mills or write slush for Hollywood, and then save up enough on the side to start your own restaurant or laundry or write the Great American Novel or homestead some farmland that the Indians totally* weren't using and hire the next batch of immigrants to help you build your dreams, it's your right to do that and anybody who tries to stop you is a collectivist thug who probably inherited their privileged position or doesn't want to have to compete against other laborers. (The "live tax-free" part, of course, they're all in favor of.)

There are plenty of right-wingers who don't like immigrants, and some of them may wave around Rand's book when it'll get them followers, but the capitalists are generally in favor of immigration even if it's just to get cheap labor and not for human-rights reasons. (And then there are people like the New York City draft rioters during the Civil War, who were mostly recent Irish immigrant laborers who not only didn't want to be drafted and resented rich folks being able to buy their way out of the draft, but also didn't want to have a bunch of freed black slaves moving north and competing for jobs with them.)

* (I'm not saying their positions are without internal contradictions here.)

#626 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 07:26 PM:

... and done! Here's the superior audio recording. This was one of the several rehearsal recordings I took, and is the one with the best phrasing and intonation although I wish the piano were a little louder because my accompanist was fab. Still, all I had was a zoom H2 so that's what we have.

I have to say I'm pretty damn proud of myself. And next year I'll do an up-tempo.

#627 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 08:37 PM:

Bill Stewart @625, and then there are the right-wingers who, from what I've heard in interviews, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were those who advocated machine-gun nests and sending those dangerous child illegal immigrants home in body-bags to discourage les autres.

I wish I could say this was entirely hyperbole. An Illinois politician is calling for criminal background checks, on children from Honduras. A Texas politician compared the "invasion" of illegal aliens into the US to the D-Day invasion, and called for miligary intervention. Seriously.

#628 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 08:43 PM:

Said military intervention being invading Mexico. Which is totally going to go over well with everyone in the hemisphere. /s

#629 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 08:46 PM:

Speaking of YouTube... does anybody know how to delete messages from your YouTube Inbox any more? It looks as though it ought to work like any other such list -- check off the items you want to select and then hit Delete -- and all the online advice I can find says the same thing -- but there's no Delete button any more! There's some kind of yammering about a New! Improved! Messages! box, but clicking on that gets me a "no messages to display" message.

Dammit, I wish the big Internet players would quit changing breaking shit without warning and no way to fix it.

#630 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2014, 08:55 PM:

Me @627, miligary? <headdesk> Rented fingers; no biscuit. *military*.

#632 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:16 AM:

So has this happened to anyone here? I'm looking for reassurance, or for cries of "see your doctor now".

Yesterday I rented a bicycle from Houston B-Cycle to participate in a "Bike to Bats" event. I went from Brazos St. and West Dallas to the Waugh Street bridge, to see the bat colony come out at dusk. I went about two miles, up and down some fairly gentle slopes.

When I arrived my legs felt a bit tired; I was exercising muscles that I don't, usually. But a minute or two after, I started feeling lightheaded. I found a manhole cover to sit down on, and then my vision started becoming distorted. I could see what was there, but it was like my vision was overlaid with afterimages from staring into a bright light, if the light were a large grid of irregular shapes. I guess you could say it was greying out, but the web pages I've seen that talk about greying out don't really seem to agree with what I was experiencing.

The group leader was saying some things about the bats, but it was hard to focus on sounds. I could hear, but I felt somewhat detached, similar to how I felt that one time a dentist put me on nitrous oxide. I also felt rather uncomfortable in general, apart from the concerns I was having about my vision.

After a few minutes I gradually got better. As I was recovering, I felt a tingling sensation in my hands, not unpleasant.

The bats themselves were pretty interesting. When we got there, it was almost dusk; many bats were flying down from underneath the bridge and then flying up again. Occasionally one or two would venture out and then back again. Just after sunset, the flying activity under the bridge increased, and a steady stream of bats began coming out eastward. Only one direction for some reason, although I didn't venture to the other side of the bridge to make sure that none were going that way.

There were at least two hawks circling above the whole time, maybe as many as three or four, and several times I saw a hawk dive into a stream of bats, but I didn't see it catch one.

There were a huge number of bats: I'd estimate that the bats exiting from the bridge numbered at least 25 per second, and we were there for more than half an hour; when we left bats were continuing to exit but there was still a great deal of activity beneath the bridge. The group leader said that the bats took hours to leave entirely.

#633 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:26 AM:

John 631: Note crazed fanatic having conversation with empty chair. Note that this is a familiar trope. Note that I refrain from further comment.

#634 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:36 AM:

Rick Steves article on visiting polders in Netherlands. Couple of pictures.

#635 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:51 AM:

CassyB@627, oh, yes, there are plenty of those thugs around, unfortunately, and people who listen to them, and many of them even get to make laws or make rules for enforcing them.

On the other hand, there are people like the family of a friend of mine who grew up on a ranch in northern Arizona. Occasionally they'd hear that La Migra were in town, and they'd have to tell some of the farmhands that the fences out in the back pasture really needed inspecting right now, probably ought to spend all afternoon just to be sure it's done right, and one time he was carrying a forklift full of hay and had to stop suddenly when the La Migra truck drove up his driveway, totally hadn't seen them, sorry the hay fell off the forklift and scratched up your truck, officer.

#636 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:51 AM:

David, I've gotten symptoms like that from a migraine, but it lasted longer than you're reporting. Hyperventilation is also possible, as is heat exhaustion. The tingling in the hands sounds like the former, but I've never experienced the latter, so I can't be sure.

IANA physician and cannot diagnose or prescribe, etc., etc., void where prohibited, do not bounce Happy Halftongue Ball.

#637 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:59 AM:

#632: It has been years, but I've been through something like that.

You may have been low on blood sugar and hydration. I wouldn't be super concerned unless this kind of thing happens when you've *not* just been through physical rigor.

* * *
I've had the DAMN weirdest visual-field things when returning to sleep after getting up to pee. Kind of like getting a look at brain operating system clip-art file.

#638 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 01:27 AM:

David Goldfarb: I've experienced things like that sounds like from intense physical exertion (chopping out and digging up head-high weeds in the sun) and/or low blood sugar. I think it's pretty much graying out, but with a bit of weird visual field stuff going on, which can give you migraine-like splotches of blind spot all over the field of vision. Is that kind of what you're talking about when you say after-images?

Maybe the bike ride was a little more exhausting than you recognized at the time, maybe you were a bit overheated or hungry too, or whatever.

#639 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 03:04 AM:

Clifton: that sounds like what I was experiencing, yeah. And I hadn't eaten much that day, and it was pretty warm out. (It's Houston in July, it's always at least "pretty warm".)

#640 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 03:17 AM:

@Bill Stewart no. 365: I was just a kid at the time, so I can't attest to the details, but apparently during the Cold War the Russian vessels that stopped here occasionally would mysteriously lose people now and then, and at the same time the local Orthodox seminary would suddenly have a new janitor. Not sure how the inevitable paperwork was handled.

#641 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 08:10 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ #631:

"'Quite right,' said his throne. 'Imagine! A talking yam!'"

#642 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 08:14 AM:

David Goldfarb, do you by any chance take beta blockers?

The symptoms you describe are consistent with a drop in blood pressure. There are a lot of things that can cause that (dehydration is another likely suspect), but if you're on beta blockers and you do unaccustomed exercise, sometimes your heart rate doesn't speed up to account for the exertion, and your blood pressure drops.

My husband the bicyclist consulted his physician and got the OK to skip his beta blockers before taking a long bike ride; please don't make any changes in meds or dosing without consulting your own physician! IANA doctor etc. etc.

Also please stay hydrated!

#643 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 08:17 AM:

Paul A. @ #641, I love that story! (I have it in a collection called "Best-Loved Folktales of the World" edited by Joanna Cole.)

#644 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 08:22 AM:

@632: I agree with the rest; sounds like dehydration/low blood sugar to me.

Not that the symptoms should be ignored; you're getting them for a reason and if they get worse you will be in real trouble. I hope you drank plenty of water at the stop.

That bike rental really should have had water bottles too, especially on hot summer days.

#645 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 09:41 AM:

Open Thready quote of the day: "Internet dating/hook-ups are a whole new world to me, and I doubt I’ll ever partake in the scene again -- I’m in a happy relationship, and I encountered far too many incorrect uses of “your” to ever feel comfortable picking a potential partner online." -- Brinton Parker, How Men on Tinder Reacted To Three Different Levels of Makeup

Tea, meet keyboard. (Not really, but it was close.)

#646 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:18 AM:

Bill Stewart @625, your points make a lot of sense, and I look sideways at that line every time anyway, because it feels too specific. I'm not quite motivated enough to take it out yet (still might), because the people I'm writing about show as much understanding of the Rand book in their right hand as they do of the Bible in their left. They would clap them both together on a dark-skinned child they see near a border, even if they didn't see her cross, and they see no contradiction in wielding them both at the same time. This is, perhaps, more of a reflection on them than it is on their parents, Jesus Christ and Ayn Rand, but the correlation is there, if not causality.

On yet another hand (I am large; I contain octopodes) , Rand rhymes — I kept the rhyme sounds the same as the original for the first few lines in order to bolster the resemblance and avoid having to footnote the source, so an -and sound is compulsory there.

I will give the poem some hard staring before I do anything else with it (or rerun it as new and improved), and maybe find a better way this time, but even as a flawed makeshift, the line describes the sort of people who welcome loot-laden crooks flying in but wave misspelled signs and scream at children on buses. I was angry when I wrote it. If I think of another way to convey some of what I just wrote, then good. I still frown at the specificity of the name, not least because it can make a thoughtful person focus on it at the expense of the other words.

(ps: Fragments of another sonnet keep wanting to come out, but all I have is something like this:

And on the base, these words appear: "Give me
Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning
To be free; Your weary, lost, and tempest-tost,
Send to me." Nothing beside remains…

And they don't even rhyme.)

#647 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:22 AM:

nerdycellist @624, that's great! I love it that I could not only help by pointing out where the truly helpful can be found, but that I was helpful on a different issue than the one I'd been thinking about. [Victory dance!]

That's a good day's work, there. I'm going back to…

…I'm informed that I'm not going back to bed, but still, it's a good feeling for this early in the day.

#648 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 11:36 AM:

During my just-concluded vacation, I spent a fair bit of time in hotel lobbies with the flickering idiot box tuned to a 24 hour news channel while I was reading or browsing the net. I seldom see these channels, so it was kind-of interesting in a depressing way. Fox in particular was really good about hitting their top two propaganda points at least every few minutes. (Apparently, the most interesting thing going on was Obama going to a fundraiser instead of visiting the border, though I never did work out what he was supposed to *do* at the border, if he went. "Why isn't Obama going to the border to see the crisis for himself?". That was asked by at least a dozen different people over the course of an hour or two. There was also some coverage of the Israelis bombing Gaza and getting missiles shot at them from Gaza, with a heavy-handed commentary about how the Israelis are fighting for their lives and we must support them.)

The children coming illegally across the border actually raise a really hard problem--you pretty much have to take care of those children for reasons of human decency, but you also need to avoid creating an incentive for more kids to come across the border. Of course, I wouldn't expect TV talking heads to get too far into something like that, since it's complicated and depressing and gets tangled up in international law and treaties and such.

#649 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 11:50 AM:

A bunch of journalism groups wrote a letter complaining about the Obama administration's policies of restricting journalists' access to federal employees as a way of controlling the news.

My impression is that this is a trend that has been going on for many years. Administrations always want more control over the news stories done on their agencies, and their stated ideology has very little to do with their final decisions. I suspect that the overwhelming majority of the places where the Democrats and Republicans are very similar come down to places where they have the same incentives. Controlling press coverage of government agencies and the military, keeping on the good side of spy agencies and big banks, backing security theater vs. terrorism, and so on are useful for getting and keeping power. And so both parties just ignore their rhetoric and do those things.

#650 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:07 PM:

Cassy B #627:

I'm sure you can find someone who advocates that, just as you can find someone who advocates for unlimited open borders. Indeed, I think a Google search will get you a few examples of each.

But it's *way* too easy to cherry-pick horrible people on the other side of an issue. (This is how otherwise decent and sensible people convince themselves of all kinds of bizarre stuff about people they don't know anything about--like people who have never knowingly met a Muslim and yet "know" that Muslims mostly support terrorism.).

My understanding is that the practical range of immigration policies runs from, on one extreme, trying to deport most of the people here illegally (making exceptions as appropriate for humanitarian or other reasons) to, on the other extreme, trying to allow most of the people here illegally to eventually get some kind of legal status (with exceptions for criminals, terrorists, and maybe some other categories of people likely to cause a lot of problems). This survey data from Pew shows that this has become a partisan issue--the broad view of immigrants (are they making things better or worse for the US) and whether people who are currently here illegally should mostly be moved toward citizenship or deported are things that now are partisan questions, where peoples' answers used to be much less aligned with party.

#651 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:09 PM:

Albatross @649:

The start of the clamp-down on press access to Federal employees varies from agency to agency. The department I worked for didn't have a policy regarding this until the Reagan Administration.

I'm certain that agencies with higher security requirements (Defense, Treasury, CIA, FBI...) had something in place earlier than that, but I can remember being told that ANY press inquiries for the office I worked for had to be referred to our Regional Office.

#652 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 12:13 PM:

returning to abi's opening: Copenhagen provides free bike-repair house calls. Does Amsterdam do this?

#653 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 01:36 PM:

albatross @648

The whole Israel question has been a tangled mess since WW2, and before. But the reaction to the Holocaust really motivated people, and not always in good ways.

The war which established the State of Israel left a messy armistice line, and the IDF seems to have been stirred up trouble, shooting across the borderline, ever since. Even when, in 1967, the effective border with Jordan changed to something that made some sense, provocations continued. The idea of rule of law, of security in your property, has been questionable for non-Jews in Israeli territory ever since.

Neither side are angels, and I reckon both sides have become defined by the long war. They've both forgotten what Peace involves.

#654 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 03:31 PM:

Knots: yes, a bowline will do what I need it to do. Thank you.

Also, Steve Downey @568
I love that website. It makes knot tying simple. When I first came across it, I spent several days tying knots of various flavors.

#655 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 04:57 PM:

Random convention-related musings:

I spent the last 4+ days at my first Golden Crown Literary Society conference (lesbian publishing convention). It's been interesting to compare my expectations and experiences with sf cons. It's a bit more skewed towards industry professionals (as opposed to readers/fans) than a typical sf con and the logistics remind me more of business conferences in being designed to keep people socializing as a group (e.g., box lunches, single focal items for evening programming). This put the conference fee more at worldcon levels for a small-regional-con size event.

Like sf fandom, GCLS perceives itself to be open, friendly, and welcoming to newcomers; and like sf fandom it can very easily give the impression of being a collection of closed circles who all already know each other. (I think of this as the contrast between "we're like a family reunion" and "it's like attending someone else's family reunion.") Out of the 300 attendess, I had previously met 4 face-to-face (not counting my girlfriend, who joined me for the event) and in addition to those, I had significant interactional non-business conversations with 5 people. (I succeeded in triggering monologues from several more, but I don't quite count those as conversations.)

Programming was quite similar to sf cons: panel discussions of writing-related topics, readings, meet-the-author and signing sessions, keynote speeches, and an awards ceremony (at which I got to represent one of the absent award-winners, which was fun). But there didn't seem to be as much casual book/writing-related discussion outside of programming. I volunteered for programming but only got included in one of the reading sessions (5-minute slots) which was a bit frustrating.

Since I'd taken the option of selling my own books from my publisher's dealers' table (rather than having the common bookseller carry them) I spent an hour or two each day behind the table and sold 6 copies (plus one strategic gift for promotional purposes). That seems to be reasonably good sales for the event -- at least twice that many people mentioned to me that they already owned it.

So all-in-all an interesting cultural experience. I already have next year's conference on my calendar and hope to be a more active participant in the programming. My second novel will be out by then and the first will be eligible for awards consideration, so it could get considerably more exciting ....

#656 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 05:31 PM:

Lila and Paul, in my family, when someone wanted to be left alone, but didn't want to sound grumpy, the standard comment was, "Leave me alone, said the yam." Said in an ominously exaggerated deep voice, of course. It worked so much better than "Will you kids please get out of my hair and leave me alone for a minute!" which was reserved for more serious occasions.*

It was one of the more functional things my family did.

A ritual response when departing, but loud enough for Mom to hear, was,
"We'd better leave. Yams don't have any hair."
"Yes they do, just not very much.

#657 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 07:29 PM:

Xopher @ 493: I'm reasonably sure it wasn't Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle; the whole story was about the fire house and a bright boy who suggested turning the pole over.

Jacque @ 532: IIRC, medieval saddles were more like Western than Eastern, since they were for work rather than show.

kip w @ 599: ouch! but also yes....

(various) camo on shipboard seems like it could be plausible -- make strafers or raiders work harder, since the techno model (ship standing off to pound sites from a distance) still isn't perfected (or even desirable -- isn't the latest planned toy a destroyer that can get especially close to shore?)

followon to Wheaton: meanwhile, the president of another MA college (Gordon, in Wenham) demands to be allowed to discriminate against gays in hiring, and gets an appropriate response: Salem (probably remembering its own historical error) shuts down cooperation, and the college's accreditation is under review.

#658 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 07:30 PM:

Amid the bad news from Wheaton, Gordon, et al, a bit of sanity from a surprising location: a South Carolina town rallies behind a lesbian police chief.

#659 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 07:34 PM:

My possibly-incorrect understanding is that Western saddles are much closer to medieval saddles in more ways than just being for work. The design is similar, with the high front and back and the heavier, larger stirrups - the difference is that the medieval saddles would probably not have had a horn. (Western saddles came from Spain, after all.)

#660 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:00 PM:

AKICIML, Gardening Edition: I detest the way that working with my tomato plants makes my hands smell. I have discovered that washing my hands afterwards with ordinary hand-washing methods and soap does not remove the smell.

Suggestions? I'm not sure what kind of chemical is causing it, though I would usually suspect an oil. But dishwashing liquid ought to degrease a treat and I still stink of tomato plants.

Weeding nightshades out of the yard is just as smelly, but for some reason doesn't seem to linger (it just stinks to high heaven while I'm holding the plants), whereas going out and lightly brushing against the leaves of my cherry tomato plants once or twice while adding more support-strings has stenched me. Argh.

#661 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:30 PM:

Lila @642: Nope, no beta blockers, or any other meds. And I did take a water bottle along and drank some from it on the way. (It was my water bottle from LoneStarCon III, and somehow it got lost, annoyingly.)

I walk a mile from work to downtown, and I can easily go 45 minutes to an hour on a treadmill, so I'm not a complete stranger to exercise, even exercise in the heat.

Two days earlier I had donated platelets and plasma, so maybe my blood volume was still low from that. And it sounds like I needed to do more to make sure we ate dinner beforehand instead of after.

To all who responded: Thanks.

#662 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:43 PM:

Elliott, #660: My go-to for removing odors of any sort is fresh lemon juice (the kind from a bottle works about as well as the kind from a fruit). Pour a little into your hand and rub it well into the smelly areas. Unless you also detest the smell of lemons, it can't hurt to try.

#663 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 14, 2014, 10:51 PM:

#661, David Goldfarb:

Oh, after blood donation? Yeah, that'll probably be it. I can't run (regardless of heat) the day after donating, and I probably wouldn't try it in the heat for a couple of days after.

The exact symptoms vary. The most bizarre one for me was one time when I was riding my bike the day after donating. You know the prickly feeling of a cold sweat? I got that on the backs of my *eyeballs*. So I slowed down a lot, before I could get dizzy, because bike and traffic and dizziness are a very bad combination.

(That reminds me, I'm eligible to donate again as of last week. I should get over to the clinic soon.)

#664 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 12:46 AM:

The weird (and interesting) thing about blood donation woozies, for me at least, is that they are very seldom the same twice in a row. I can recognize them and usually trace them to having given blood that day, but wow they can vary.

Must remember to make an appointment for the day before I leave for Alpha. Apparently blood donation is one of my hobbies.

#665 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 01:46 AM:

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno has been awarded the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

#666 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 07:27 AM:

As a non-donor I can only cheer you guys on. (I can no longer blame that on the Red Cross; I've been to South Africa and India since, so I have multiple reasons to be ineligible.)

#667 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 07:59 AM:

AKICIML, Trying to Avoid Major Howlers in Fanfic Division: if you're a present-day Irish Catholic whose family has lived in Chicago for at least two generations, which translation of the Bible are you most likely to be familiar with? (If "the one you grew up with" is different from "the one we're using now", pick the former.)

#668 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 08:01 AM:

(trying to shake a post loose from the dreaded Internal Server Error)

#669 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 08:05 AM:

Linkmeister @665, couldn't happen to a nicer Guy. Pun intended. <grin> (If you're reading this, Brother Guy, congratulations!)

#670 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 08:11 AM:

Lila @667: When I was a kid (early-mid 80s), the official "all schoolkids get one for First Communion and use it in class" Catholic Bible was the New International Version. All other versions were viewed with suspicion as being either inaccurate (KJV, though it was pretty and occasionally quoted for its poetry), or Probably Too Protestant.

#671 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 08:29 AM:

Elliott: thanks!

(I was raised Episcopalian, born in 1961 and my headcanon is the KJV and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, in spite of everything that's happened since I turned 12!)

#672 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 10:03 AM:

re 667/670: The NIV?!?!?! That's the version that was SO PROTESTANT that the Episcopal Church didn't authorize it for AGES!

If we're talking right-now present-day, the version they know is the NAB. If we're talking somewhat earlier, and in English, it'll be the Douay-Rheims. The RSV/NRSV common bible and the JB/NJB are, I think, authorized, but I don't think they ever really caught on in American RC circles.

#673 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 11:06 AM:

C. Wingate @672: It's what my Catholic grade school issued me in 1982 when we started being given homework that involved having a Bible handy, and what my (admittedly, Jesuit) high school used for religion classes.

#674 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 11:13 AM:

Side-comment on Penny Dreadful (no spoilers): I've just started watching it. I was reluctant to start because I've lately been in a headspace where anything vaguely like horror is a really bad idea, but everyone I know seems to like it, so I tried.

And I do have "I need to look away now and let them finish doing That Thing before I can watch anymore" reactions, but they're different than I usually get with gory-horror moments. I think it's because the emotions the show is trying to trigger in me are different.

I think it is trying to disgust me. To purposely put its camera on viscerally disgusting things, to tell me I am "supposed" to be disgusted by the whores and other underbelly people ... and then undercut that with a moment of transcendent wonder at the amazingness of things. Followed by disgust again very quickly. It feels different than horror-goriness to me, because while horror-gory is sometimes icky, it ... it just feels different.

For me, emotionally, the show is like a syncopated three-way dance between disgust, pity, and dawning WOW-I-want-to-know-more interest. Very odd.

#675 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 11:25 AM:

re 673: How very puzzling. It was more or less written to be the definitive post-KJV fundamentalist bible.

#676 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 12:07 PM:

Congratulations, Brother Guy!

#677 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 12:08 PM:

In my set, NIV is Protestant and NJB Catholic. But Douay-Rhiemsis what I'd put as the ancestral Bible of a multi-generational Catholic family in the US.

#678 ::: Mary Aileen points to old Electrolite spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 03:50 PM:

I've been rereading the Electrolite archives and just found suspicious postings at the bottom of two adjacent threads. In both cases, the comments by jimsheng and by Tiaoe are quoting lines from previous comments in the thread.

#679 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 15, 2014, 06:11 PM:

Xopher #604: I'd say the Quakers themselves qualify as a "recognized NGO" with a wide brief. I suspect that quote is the result of the reporter quote-mining for supposed "balance".

#680 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 01:08 AM:

Open-threadiness: I accidentally a piece of comparative ethnology on Zande witchcraft and American litigiousness, and both my former advisor and David-Graeber-my-favorite-anthropologist complimented it, so I thought enough people might find it entertaining for it to be worth posting.

nerdycellist @622, 626, beautiful

Stefan Jones @637: Kind of like getting a look at brain operating system clip-art file
I just wanted to admire this a little more

#681 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 02:44 AM:

estelendur, that is a wonderful and quite profound piece of observation and commentary.

#682 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 06:47 AM:

I grew up with the NIV, and I've just noticed that I think of it as being neutral. All other translations may be biased by their translators, but the NIV is the plain truth.
That's rather disturbing. I've agonised over life choices based on the precise words of the NIV, back when I thought prooftexting was a trump card, and it never occurred to me to wonder if other translations would give me different prooftexts. If it had, I'd have rejected using them. It would have felt like cherry picking to use any other translation just because I didn't like what the "real" one said.
That's a direct parallel to KJV-only practices. Intellectually I'd have denied that any one translation could be definitive or final, but that was exactly how I acted.
How common is it to conflate the version we grew up with - of anything - and the most valid version? I also think that the original radio production of Hitchhikers is the real one, and all forms of Pokémon postdating Gold/Silver/Crystal are not quite Pokémon.

#683 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 07:21 AM:

Very common! Mostly without ever noticing, I think. I remember a quote from Stephen Fry's Paperweight (Amazon's Look Inside tells me it's on p407 but won't actually show me the exact words...) about how his childhood household used Vim [scouring powder] and voted Tory, and therefore that was the natural way the world should be, and people who voted Labour or used Jif were a bit weird and silly (with exactly the same weight on either choice)- and it took a while to grow into the idea that either thing was something it was possible to think about and make a decision, rather than just accepting as How It Was. He calls it part of clannishness.

I think it's all part of how important it is for children to be impressionable, I guess- they need to fit in with their society, so therefore they need to believe their parents about how the world works. Sometimes that means you accidentally impress on something that isn't really "true" in the same way that, say, "try not to kill people" is "true".

#684 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 07:46 AM:

estelendur: fascinating parallel. It's amazing how resistant people can be to the concept that sometimes things just happen (or to the concept that individuals are responsible for their own actions). Cf. "God must have had a plan for those people who survived the plane crash" (but not for those who died?) and "my client doesn't deserve to be punished for his crimes because he's a rich kid who's never had to take responsibility".

duckbunny: C.S. Lewis discusses this in "The Screwtape Letters". IIRC the example he uses is of a child going to another child's house, noticing that the other family uses a different sort of fish-knife, and concluding that those are "not proper fish-knives at all!"

#685 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 08:13 AM:

FOAF on facebook asked a question about fan fiction and shared worlds. There's a *lot* on ML about fanfic so I couldn't easily find if this had already been answered.

I've had a query by someone who's written a short story in one of my published IP universes and would like to publish it. What do you do in such cases? I'm guessing my take should be:

i.) Thanks for being interested in writing in my universe!
ii.) It is my IP, so you can't formally publish your story for money without getting a license / paying a royalty.
iii.) However you can put it up on a website, distribute "for personal use", etc, with a disclaimer that it's unofficial fan-fic.
iv.) I'd love to see it!

My opinion isn't worth a bag of two-headed snakes, so I figured I'd ask the people who know what they're talking about in re rights, etc.

#686 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 08:24 AM:

There are authors who choose to rule out utterly your option iv on the grounds that if they later want to use a plot twist or kind of character that the fanficcer used "first", there's a potential for Lawsuit Stupidity. So they don't read any of the fic of their worlds so they can honestly say they've never seen it.

#687 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 11:52 AM:

The "default biblical version" discussion is fascinating. I confess that even as an atheist I have a default version -- the KJV -- purely on grounds of literary reference. When I was including Bible quotes in Daughter of Mystery the vernacular ones are pure KJV on those grounds (since I don't actually have an Alpennian vernacular text to worry about), but when my characters are quoting in Latin (their default mode) I went to the trouble of determining the most likely version an early 19th c. continental Catholic would be using (Clementine Vulgate) because ... well ... historic accuracy, you know?

#688 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 12:15 PM:

Also, a writer may really want to create her own stories herself.

It's like "I'm cooking a dinner for a few friends. Would you like to come over?" "Sure, I'll bring a ham."

#689 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 12:18 PM:

From the early five hundreds of this thread: in UK larp parlance, your costume is your "kit", which term encompasses clothing, prosthetics, facepaint, weaponry, armour and also associated props such as notebooks, mana crystals, bandages and so forth. The props are not called "props"; they are either exactly what they appear to be, like a pewter tankard, in which case they are just part of your kit, or they are imperfect imitations, and called "physreps".
That last distinction is fuzzy. A document written in iron gall ink on vellum might be a perfect replica of a mediaeval document, but it would still be a (superb) physrep. My costume, body language and speech patterns are my physrep for my character, but I am also personally the physrep for my character. Often a bad one.

#690 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 12:35 PM:

TomB: Certainly one should not push fanfic at the canon author, but in this case it seems the author actually wants to see it.

Lots of authors do read fanfic of their own works. I believe a fanfic of mine has been read by the canon author (sent to him as part of a birthday tribute form a fansite, after careful enquiries). He hasn't 'stolen' any of my ideas yet, but of course I'd be delighted if he did.

I don't believe any author has actually been sued for 'stealing' ideas from fanfic - the case that's commonly quoted was actually about something rather different. Terry Pratchett, I believe, was once advised by his lawyers not to use an idea which had also been used in fanfic, for fear of being sued, but then it occurred to him that he could ask the fan author if it was OK, and they said 'Yes, great!', so that was not a problem. (And in any case, authors can be sued for 'stealing' ideas from anywhere - witness J.K. Rowling's tribulations - so it's not as if avoiding fanfic would save them from this.)

#691 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 01:03 PM:

Oh, and of course the KJV - or the Authorised Version, as I was brought up to call it - is the real Bible. (But the Psalms in the Authorised Version are not the real Psalms. The real Psalms are in the 1662 Prayer Book, from Coverdale's translation.)

#692 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 01:24 PM:

Interesting open-threadiness: NYT article quoting some statistics on participants on a white supremacist site. I'd take all their numbers with a few grains of salt, at least until they spell out their methods for counting a bit more thoroughly[1], but it's an interesting first-cut.

[1] The text description of how they inferred the fraction of participants who were women did not fill me with confidence.

#693 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 01:29 PM:

Heather Rose Jones @ #687: cf. "When it came to avoiding going to church, the church he stolidly avoided going to was St. Cecil and All Angels, no-nonsense C. of E...." --Gaiman and Pratchett, Good Omens

#694 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 02:28 PM:

Lila @693

*laugh* Well, it's not quite like that. The religious tradition I was raised in was Quaker, and what I took away from it was a confidence in the moral guidance of thoughtful consideration and conscience without the need for a deity to be part of the mix. But the flavor of Quakers I grew up with weren't particularly big on Bible study of any type, so it's not quite that "the version of the Bible that I don't believe in is the KJV." It's more that KJV is the default version in the literary context I grew up in, so that's the wording that well-read, literate characters quote in my head.

#695 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 03:05 PM:

Re: Bibles, I'm an atheist who never was religious (one atheist parent, one Church of England parent, who opted to just raise us to be decent people and come to our own conclusions about religion; my sister declared herself a Christian when she was about thirteen after going to a Christian camp, citing Pascal's Wager, but hasn't actually mentioned it since), and if you asked me to name a version of the Bible, I'd name the King James version purely because it's the only one I'd heard of up until I actually put some effort into learning about it.

My flatmate and her boyfriend are quite devout and their church has a specific Bible For Women (that is what it says on the cover of the one in residence on our kitchen table, anyway); I'm not sure which translation they regularly use or how the Women's edition differs from the default. I should find out. Are gender-specific Bibles a Thing generally?

#696 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 03:50 PM:

As far as I know, gender-specific bibles are only A Thing in evangelical/fundamentalist churches. I suspect the biggest difference is in whatever notes and devotional materials have been added. (I'm an RSV/NRSV person, but KJV gets points for language.)

#697 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 04:03 PM:

There was a marketing fad some years back of publishing ostensibly different bibles for different people. The actual underlying translation was typically the NASB or NKJV or some such "conservative" translation1; they add exegetical notes/highlighting supposedly tuned to the that audience but the biblical words are the same. I think the idea was to take up bookstore shelf space the way that Colgate takes up space in the store by selling twenty different kinds of toothpaste.

1 The NASB for instance is very close to the RSV but the latter was the first "liberal" translation of the OT so it's "bad" and the NASB is OK.

#698 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 05:56 PM:

An FB friend clued me in to this mashup of "Let It Go" from Frozen with a song called "Let Her Go" by a group called Passenger (never heard that second one before, but the mashup, IMO, works).

#699 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 08:52 PM:

Estelendur, that's a brilliant bit of comparative theory.

#700 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 11:00 PM:

Clifton @681, thank you very much. wonderful and profound is higher than I expected to reach

Lila @684: As I said in the comments, the idea of attributing misfortune to someone else's malicious agency turns up over and over and over again. (and over, and over, and over...) It's a bit funny, really.

Fragano @699: thank you! It means a lot, having people whose intellect I appreciate appreciate my intellect. :)

In case there are any other stats dorks around: the ratio of blog views to nice ML comments is about 30:1.

Xopher @698, huh, I was not expecting that to be less annoying than "Let Her Go" but it was. (I violently object to the refrain line "you only know your lover when you let her go," because IME breaking up rarely provides clarity, and instead enhances bias.)

#701 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 16, 2014, 11:19 PM:

Oh, and I almost forgot, I met a Lee! The restaurant we were going to eat at had burned out and not updated their website to reflect that (or, apparently, the new location). But other than that it was most pleasant, even though I had to skip out early.

#702 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 01:00 AM:

Heather Rose Jones, I grew up agnostic-Jewish, but have pretty much your relationship both to ethics and the KJV! And, of course, writing in Regency England, that's the one my characters will be quoting, along with the 1628 BCP. The marriage and burial services have the power to make me all wibbly even though they were never part of my family's practice.

WRT the Good Omens quote, we belonged to a Conservative synagogue, so the melodies I never go to services and sing are the Conservative ones, and the ones used by Reform congregations are Just Wrong. You can generally tell them apart because Conservative ones tend towards minor keys and Reform ones are often majors.

Elliott Mason, that's an interesting reaction to Penny Dreadful! I haven't tried to analyze it on that level because, for me, the show falls into the category of Candy-Coated Crack, my term for something so squee-inducing that I'm willing to forgive flaws that would turn other works into wall-bangers. (DORIAN GRAY, PUT ON A CRAVAT!) I cannot even figure out why, except that so many of its elements are already beloved to me and this show's spin pleases me rather than annoys me (the recent NBC Dracula lost me about halfway through the first episode, DESPITE my love for the star).

I'm eagerly awaiting the second season and filling the hiatus with fanfic, RP, and copious meta on tumblr. Also an intent to scour thrift stores for V-necked plum-colored bridesmaid gowns that I could easily modify into Eva Green's dress from episode 2. Alas that I cannot effectively cosplay my favorite character, even under Rule 63; my hair is all wrong and I hate wigs, and I would just look like a short woman in hipster clothes instead of "the irresistible one, the beautiful boy of both our dreams." Their take on Dorian is fascinating; it's like they've scrubbed all the Bosie off of him. I really wonder what they'll do with him in season 2.

#703 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 03:01 AM:

estelendur -- I thought I'd left a comment saying I'd shared your blog post, but it seems to have vanished without a trace. Sigh. I liked it, and shared it with several people. So maybe I'm helping the comments over there....

#704 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 08:19 AM:

estelendur @ 680

I also enjoyed the piece, and found it thought-provoking.

For me, it echoed with this Timothy Burke essay on Guns as Witchcraft, which is one of the pieces I found helpful in thinking about attitudes toward violence.

#705 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 09:24 AM:

Mad Science party is happening (July 26th, about 15 min. from Newark Airport.) All fluorospherians are invited; arohybhfzranpr@lnubb.pbz if you want details.

Experiments are optional but encouraged; some will be provided. Danger level is "less than thermite". Also there will be pool, grill, and common drinks.

I have to go check and see if this year's disposable microwave works; I didn't test last year's and there were a number of experiments we couldn't recreate as a result. One of these years we'll get the glowing eggs working.

#707 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 12:09 PM:

I think I have asked before, but I am still looking for a home for my father's impressive collection of leftist pamphlets from the late 1940s-early 1950s.
I'm sure there is an archive that will want them, but I haven't been able to find it so far.
Anybody have any suggestions?

#708 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 12:11 PM:

This looks extremely not good. I don't think there's any particular hope that the plane didn't go down, but we can keep our fingers crossed that it was a "natural" crash, I guess?

#709 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 12:13 PM:

John M Burt @707:

I don't know if the Swarthmore College Peace Collection would be directly relevant, but if they don't want it, perhaps they'd know who might.

#710 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 01:10 PM:

So I listen to books-on-tape-on-Youtube when I have to do boring computery-type things. They come with ads dropped in every so many minutes. I usually click past, but I stopped to watch one for a new "app" (read: program) called Milk. See, Milk makes a dial appear on the touch screen of your smart phone. Turn the dial to hear music. The ad promises "no lists." Milk "just knows" (read: probably mines records of your past smart phone usage to find) what you like and plays it for you. It also plays stuff that somebody decided is like what you like, plus stuff that you might or might not like just to see whether you like it.

And I listened to this pitch, and I thought, "But that's called 'radio.' "

#711 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 05:44 PM:

Rikibeth: Your ideas are fascinating and I would like to receive your newsletter. Or, in this case, correspond with you for detailed costuming-squee, because lo, I am a costumer but WOW this is not my period. My gmail identity is 2ells2tees, and I've only seen the first four (? Something like that) eps as of this moment.

Others interested in getting into an email-chain squee about Penny Dreadful (if there are enough, we can switch to LJ post comment-threads? I suppose) are invited also to contact me.

#712 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 05:46 PM:

We can do a spolieriffic Penny Dreadful thread here if there's interest in it.

#713 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 06:16 PM:

abi, I'd love it, if there's suitable interest from others.

#714 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 07:32 PM:

Ah, the correction in the second paragraph came by way of David Graeber on Twitter, and I should have credited him in the text, whoops. I fixed it now. (Also can I just say that it is *delightful* that I can interact with authors on the internet? Because it is.)

Tom Whitmore @703: Were you the source of the brainstormscommunity referral, then? Cos I got at least one person linking from there. :)

SamChevre @704: Ooh, that is fascinating. Very relevant, very good. Also it has one or two ideas it passes through which are directly relevant to my larger research (that is, the research I aspire to focus on full-force once I have acquired the necessary background and skills, and which I may therefore never really complete).

The complexity of the world is, as ever, deeply frustrating and on some fundamentally level utterly confusing. (I appreciate the tag "Oh Not Again He's Going To Tell Us It's a Complex System" on, also, a fundamental level. Of giggling.)

Nancy Lebovitz @706: *adds to list of books to investigate via library*

John M. Burt @707: These people might want them?

#715 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 08:54 PM:

estelendur @714: Yep, that's one place I mentioned it. Nice to know someone looked! I think I know who it would have been, though there are several possibles.

#716 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2014, 11:58 PM:


Weird Al is doing a week's worth of videos to promote his new album. All of them are extremely funny (of course!), but I thought that Teresa should definitely watch this one if she hasn't already:

Word Crimes

Warning for the "Tacky" video-- contains outfits that may fatally offend your fashion sense.

#717 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 05:34 AM:

@716: 8-O

Freakin' brilliant. On so many levels.

#718 ::: Dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 12:27 PM:

Commenting here because old threads are closed: In re the Malaysian Airlines plane that got shot down: amazing how much more real the story became to me when it turned out the plane was flying from Amsterdam, and that the passengers were mostly Dutch - and then when it turned out that a close colleague of my husbad's was on that plane, with his wife and children.

And I'm ashamed of that reaction. Until it was confirmed that they were indeed on it, what kept going through my head were the poems from this ML thread, and the refrain "The dead are someone else's friends, not mine." Only they aren't someone else's - but if they were, the tragedy would be as real.

(Back on topic, my commuter bike is a stadsfiets, a legacy of my years in the Netherlands. When Dutch people see it, their reaction is usually, "Oh, you have a real bike!")

#719 ::: Dichroic ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 12:28 PM:

Commenting here because old threads are closed: In re the Malaysian Airlines plane that got shot down: amazing how much more real the story became to me when it turned out the plane was flying from Amsterdam, and that the passengers were mostly Dutch - and then when it turned out that a close colleague of my husband's was on that plane, with his wife and children.

And I'm ashamed of that reaction. Until it was confirmed that they were indeed on it, what kept going through my head were the poems from this ML thread, and the refrain "The dead are someone else's friends, not mine." Only they aren't someone else's - but if they were, the tragedy would be as real.

(Back on topic, my commuter bike is a stadfiets, a legacy of my years in the Netherlands. When Dutch people see it, their reaction is usually, "Oh, you have a real bike!")

#720 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 12:40 PM:


Warning for the "Tacky" video-- contains outfits that may fatally offend your fashion sense.

Rewatch that video closely: it's all done in one take! So a man with a video camera on his shoulder has been running backwards into elevators and up stairs for than entire video!

#721 ::: odaiwai ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 12:56 PM:

Oh Lord: I have no mouth and I must Squeee: WIERD AL YANKOVIC - Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies

#722 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 04:29 PM:

odaiwai: The "Money for Nothing" video shows up in Weird Al's one movie UHF, which I think is a total hoot (and even has an actual plot.) If you like Weird Al videos, you should track down the movie.

#723 ::: MinaW ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 05:52 PM:

Open Thread
Perhaps of interest to this community -- Spoonflower, the design-your-own textile company, is having a contest this week for Cosmic Voyages textile collections. The finalists include 3 from Australia, 1 from Wales, 1 from the Netherlands, 1 from France, 1 from Singapore, and 1 from New York.

The winner's textile collection will be produced commercially.

And if you didn't know about Spoonflower, it's your source for Dr Who fabrics for instance…

#724 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 06:07 PM:

Dichroic @719, I think it is inevitable that a disaster will be more "real" to you if you have a personal connection with it, and realer the closer you are to it.
For instance, the closest I came to having a personal connection to 9/11 is that on the afternoon of the day, I went on a chat site I used to frequent, and one of my contacts was also on. She had just found out that a friend of hers was on the plane that hit the second tower.
A pretty distant connection, but it did make me feel differently about it.

#725 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 06:28 PM:

What with one thing and another, I decided it was time to recommend this Mike Ford post on my Twitter stream today. It's getting a lot of retweets and favorites.

#726 ::: Errolwi ::: (view all by) ::: July 18, 2014, 09:43 PM:

re connections to disasters.
The crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901 into Mt Erebus in 1979 had personal connections for most NZers. 200 NZers died (total 257 victims), out of a population of around 3 million - most were within 3 degrees of separation of a victim. For instance, the son of one of my father's clients was on board.

#727 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 07:52 AM:

Abi @ 725... Wise counsel... I listened to Kiri te Kanawa sing "Chants d'Auvergne". I watched a movie clip from "Contact", the one where Ellie meets her 'father', who tells her that humanity is capable of great beauty and of great nightmares.

#728 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 01:10 PM:

The post succeeded admirably as a Serge protector!

#729 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 01:11 PM:


#730 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 01:15 PM:

John Burt @ #707 -

I asked my archivist friend about your question and she has come up with two possibilities. Both look like they concentrate on political posters, but if they don't also take brochures and leaflets, they may have suggestions for appropriate institutions. There's The Center For The Study Of Political Graphics which includes posters, buttons and bumper stickers in their collection, and the All Of Us Or None Of Us collection of progressive posters at the Oakland Museum of California.

#731 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 05:05 PM:

Found it! This was the light, is-it-a-romance novel I was thinking about giving away: In A Fix, by Linda Grimes. Is it a romance?

#732 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 05:29 PM:

Free WiFi at SFO is currently making me happier. I can report that Tahoe is very very pretty (and quite full of "designed to make you spend" in at least one of the resorts).

In re "definite bible versions", I consider the 1917 Swedish bible translation to be superior to the modern one. But that is mostly down to it being closer to pre-spelling-reform Swedish and so has a richer grammar. The new version is probably an easier read, but...

Somehow, recent world events makes me slightly leery of going airborne, but since I will not be anywhere close to what I imagine might be contested airspace, I have argued myself into " it'll be fine ".

#733 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 07:41 PM:

Kip W @ 729... First time I've ever heard that one. :-)

#734 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 09:48 PM:

All Knowledge Is Contained In Making Light, home improvement edition:

My water heater (manufactured 2006, 50gal, standard US big tank, gas fired) is having a problem. It can't seem to keep its pilot light lit for more than 12 hours in a row, which means we go to use hot water and suddenly find we haven't any, then go downstairs, re-light the pilot, and wait for it to heat the tank.

Is there some obvious easy fix for this I'm missing? What can I do to work a tech-support-style tree for figuring out if we need to replace it or not?

#735 ::: Henry Troup ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 10:05 PM:

Elliott Mason @#734

Most likely in a modern system, there's a flame detector that is there to shut off the gas if the pilot goes out. It may be a photo cell, and it might just be dirty. I would use a cotton swab to try to clean it.

The twelve hours thing doesn't quite match that, so maybe I am jumping to a conclusion.

The manual would be a good thing to have.

When the pilot goes out, do you smell gas?

#736 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 10:23 PM:

PJ Evans @ 657: sorry, I was too compact. I meant that form followed function -- that the shapes were similar \because/ they were both for work. This meant that both saddles were designed to keep the rider on the horse, rather than to display the rider's skill at staying on with little help. (Workers don't need to be skilled riders if mounts are plentiful; cf Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, in which Piper (almost certainly drawing from history) has a rapid-response force of footsoldiers who use horses for transport.)

estelendur @ 680: a rather broad brush, perhaps? As described, all Azande believe that any misfortune was caused, where (as in the pants link you provide), public opinion is less than kind to that approach in the US. I'm especially wary of your approach because "sometimes things just happen" is a motif I see in the people who want to "reform" civil suits, often to the advantage of people who would rather not be annoyed by being held responsible; cf the common misrepresentation of the McDonalds coffee case.

Rikibeth @ 702: I've been to a couple of Reform ba{r,t} mitzvahs and was interested to note the commonality of text with Bloch's Sacred Services ("based on the Union Conservative [text]") but was surprised by mostly major-key music; I hadn't thought that it might be a denominational difference rather than temple-specific. Fascinating.

Sam Chevre @ 704: now that's an interesting phrasing of the related problem (belief that everything has a precise solution). Gives me a flashback to events following the Boskone From Hell; if only NESFA hadn't thought it could fine-tune fannish reaction....

HLN: the raspberries (the same raspberries that stomped the daylilies that wouldn't let anything grow in their bed) have exploded -- a little late but as usual. 6 pints already from a bed ~2'x20' and many more to come. I never thought of raspberries as an invasive species until I moved to Boston....
      Meanwhile (paralleling comments on the Singularity thread), net electricity usage in our latest bill was 0 (zero) kWh. (Reported; I don't know whether that's exactly correct, or the billing system can't handle negative usage.) That's with just 10 panels; I await reports from the friend who put in 26 panels.

#737 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 11:15 PM:

Elliott Mason @734: Is there some obvious easy fix for this I'm missing?

This being summer, this one probably doesn't apply, but when that happened to me, I realized that the water heater lives in the same closet as the furnace. Whenever the furnace would come on when the water heater was trying to heat, the latter would die. I finally realized that the vents on the closet door were nearly clogged with dust and oobleck. Cleaned 'em off; problem went away. Apparently the furnace was sucking up all the oxygen.

#738 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2014, 11:40 PM:

CHip just mentioned the McDonald's coffee case. If there's anyone here who hasn't seen Shannon Wheeler's comic strip about it, you should read it. You might find the true facts surprising.

(If you're already well familiar with all the facts in the case, then perhaps not.)

#739 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 12:14 AM:

#724 John M. Burt: My "personal" connection to that day was also through a forum poster—in this case, someone who was originally scheduled for flight 11 but who took advantage of an earlier flight. The operative phrase, repeated throughout her post, was "I have the ticket in my hand." It was pretty chilling to read.

#740 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 01:59 AM:

If I'd gone to work on 9/11 the same time I did on 9/10, I would not be typing this now. No one who was on my floor when the plane hit got out alive.

#741 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 05:33 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @731: Based on the cover (and what it says on that website), it's urban fantasy including romantic elements alongside the plot. If it was romance, the cover would have shown Billy and Mark with their shirts open or off, looking sexy/glowering out from the cover... Or, if the cover artist hadn't bothered to read past the first page, would have shown Henry in similar pose. Instead, the cover shows the lead woman, clothed in practical clothes. Simple.

#742 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 05:37 AM:

I made a thing.

#743 ::: Nix Nat ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 06:58 AM:

Long-time lurker here. And I think it's my first post ever but not sure (1st ever under this nym). I've just read this and thought of Making Light - -- and it changed my thoughts on upthread going-ons/discussions re: women/girls and men. As a shy guy, I thought you/some women were really reactive (read-over-reacting) to some things written earlier but I get it more now. An brief intro- I'm a mid forty-something male in Asia , I have white privilege or equivalent here, ethnic Chinese male middle-class geek/nerd.
Just wanted to state the above and you may or may not have read/lived the article /Amy Poehler's take on the Jimmy Fallon joke, but it brought into clearer view what I didn't get from the upthread discussion about women/girls throwing like girls and how it isn't about how guys see it, it's first and foremost about what women and girls are going through in their lives. All a guy/man can do is -something I haven't come to a conclusion yet. Maybe I never will. Guys/men who instinctively know are admirable, I don't instinctively know what to do/say.
For comics fans, I went there through a link on The Comics Journal website which mentions Thor being a woman now(even though it's a miniscule part of the article, which The Comics Journal rightfully mentions as being a smallish portion of the article, as it should be). Re-lurking now unless something else causes me to de-lurk.

#744 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 10:40 AM:

Jacque (742): And a very nice thing it is!

#745 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 11:32 AM:

Nix Nat, I don't think that any of the responses to sexism are instinctive, or maybe only very few. The men who have responses you admire learned those habits.

I'm a big fan of pointing out when people had to learn things, whether it's responding to bullying, walking in a group, or how to navigate the internet.

#746 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 12:06 PM:

#743, Nix Nat and #745, Diatryma:

One thing I heard years ago about computer interface design, but which I think is related: "the only intuitive interface is the nipple. Everything else is learned."

With regards to human interaction, I might phrase it more like the need to belong and feel loved is the only instinctive social behaviour, everything else is learned. It's unfortunate that a very common learned behaviour is the one redefining "belonging to a group" to mean "forcibly excluding others to define my group and show that I belong."

Nix Nat, as far as what a man can do about this problem, the best starting point to figure that out is to listen to what women are saying. Maybe start by reading some feminism resources. In english, resources marked "feminism 101" are a good place to start; a lot of things not so marked assume you already know the material and vocabulary covered there. They are often specific to the american culture, politics, and laws that the author lives with. I'm not sure what the equivalent phrase for chinese beginner or basic resources would be the way "101" is in english.

#747 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 01:02 PM:

janra 746: I've never breastfed, but my friends who have say that not only do they have to learn how, the babies have a learning curve as well. I'm certain this varies greatly with babies and mothers.

I mention this only because it makes it possible to state, categorically, that there is no such thing as a fully intuitive interface. Babies even have learn to use their fingers, fhs.

#748 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 01:44 PM:

And here I thought "grab" and "suck" were the two things babies didn't need to be taught. :)

(I do know that it takes babies a while to figure out how to control what they grab, or learn that they have grabbed something, and it doesn't surprise me to find out that they have to learn what to suck on.)

#749 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 02:36 PM:

Xopher: There's more of a learning curve for the mother than the baby; there's even ostensibly video of utterly newborn babies effectively wiggling up the mom to find the breast on their own -- but most of the time, it's both easier on everyone and more sensible to hurry this up by teaching the mom how to hold the baby and guiding the baby's mouth right there.

But no, not all babies get it right all the time, either. It's amazing, realizing just how much they're *learning* that we just kind of feel like people, even infants, *know*.

(it doesn't help that even newborns on tv are played by babies a few months older, which means they've already learned a LOT.)

#750 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 03:51 PM:

Happy Moon Day!

#751 ::: cantabrigian poet ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 05:12 PM:

There is absolutely a sucking reflex. Getting the nipple in the right place and moving their tongue correctly can take some practice...

#752 ::: cantabrigian poet ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 05:13 PM:

There is absolutely a sucking reflex. Getting the nipple in the right place and moving their tongue correctly can take some practice...

#753 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 06:36 PM:

Lenora Rose @749: John and I were both shocked and then sort of embarrassed at ourselves when we watched Beka experience the learning moment that is why older humans NEVER POKE THEMSELVES IN THE EYEBALL ON PURPOSE. She was looking at her own fingertips, and how the nail attached, and was fascinated, and her finger kept getting closer and closer, and it never even occurred to either of us to intervene and tell her not to do it because nobody would ever do that, right?

Turns out that's WHY nobody ever does it. Twice. :->

And yes, without getting TMI on anyone, the breastfeeding thing takes significant learning process for the infant, the boob-owner, AND in a sense the lactation systems themselves (as they adapt to use and needs -- feedback loops are fun). We didn't get really "good at" it until about 3.5mo in ... and most maternity leaves, at places that even have one, are 2mo at most. I can see why a lot of US families have trouble establishing a working lactation relationshp. :-/

#754 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 06:39 PM:

If one were to insulate a wall by bookcase and one wished to add additional insulation to the back of the bookcase (say Billy from Ikea), because not all shelves will be bookfull,* what would you suggest? I was thinking of picking up pre-quilted holiday fabrics after the holiday when they go on sale. Other options?

*Some will be catfull, and some will be stuffie-full. Well, maybe not catfull, but cat-available. I have a huge bedroom, so I'm turning one end of it into Merlin space.

#755 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 07:05 PM:

CHip @736: Evans-Pritchard does say that misfortune occuring as a result of incompetence or someone else's obvious moral or legal culpability (such as an apprentice potter's pots cracking, or someone stealing your spears) was not generally talked about as being caused by witchcraft, although the apprentice potter would still probably blame it on witchcraft, for instance. Upon reflection, that *is* important to my analysis.

Separately from that point, I think there are civil suits that are obviously beyond the pale (e.g., suing the family of the teenager one ran over and killed, for damage to one's car) and suits that do raise the question of "where does my responsibility stop?" (e.g., a mail carrier suing a house owner because the mail slot door snapped shut on their fingers).

The fact that an analysis can be misused does not mean it shouldn't be made, although it's then partly on me to try to mitigate the possibility, I think. (This attitude is probably going to get me in a lot of trouble some day.)

David Goldfarb @738, that's a good strip. IIRC I actually became aware of the true facts of the coffee lawsuit via someone who was making fun of what they thought were legitimately frivolous lawsuits, which is a nice bit of authorial conscientiousness.

Xopher @740: *shudders* Contingency is terrifying.

Jacque @742: It is a cool thing.

#756 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 07:05 PM:

You might want to be careful because of fire-retardance (or lack thereof). A (possibly the? Possibly not) last thing you need in a potential house-fire situation is wicks up behind every bookcase (potentially putting out burning-plastic fumes). If you go with fabrics, consider buying a spray-on fire-retardant to treat them with? You won't be washing them weekly or even monthly, so it should last well.

Yard goods of thin (often team-imprinted, if you're on the clearance rack) polarfleece-style fabric will be as insulative or moreso and may be cheaper than pre-quilts.

#757 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 07:39 PM:

The famous coffee lawsuit is interesting, because even knowing all the facts, my gut reaction is that it's bizarre. I understand that in America, hot drinks are not expected to be made with boiling water, and the coffee was therefore excessively hot. But my understanding of that is purely intellectual.
Emotionally, hot drinks are made with boiling water. Tea is boiling, coffee at home is from instant and therefore boiling, hot chocolate has about equal chance of being hot milk, or boiling water. I know coffee from coffee shops is not boiling, but only because I know the tea from coffee shops is always cold - I've never liked drinking coffee. I can understand the facts, but they still point to a foreign conclusion. It's not a frivolous lawsuit, but it is an alien one, because my reaction to "no, the coffee was boiling, scalding hot," is "yes?" Knowing the cultural difference doesn't make it stick.

#758 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 07:55 PM:

One last note on insulation: if you can get mylar sheeting cheaply, use that. It's awesome.

#759 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 08:39 PM:

758: Tack together lots and lots of silvered-mylar candy wrappers? :-)

#760 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 08:40 PM:

janra @748: it doesn't surprise me to find out that they have to learn what to suck on.

My understanding is that if someone is born sufficiently pre-term, they even have to learn how to suck.

duckbunny @757: tea from coffee shops and restaurants is always  cold  tepid, IME. A waitress once doubled her tip from me by warning me, when she brought me my kit, that the water was really hot (because she'd nuked it to boiling before bringing it out). I hate hate hate restaurant "hot" tea. (And, sadly, I also hate Celestial Seasonings* brand teas, too, which seems to generally be the standard issue option in most restaurants.)

* I feel bad, because they are such a fixture of the local Boulder landscape, and I love them dearly on principle. One of my Life Ambitions is to do a CS tea box design.

#761 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 08:42 PM:

I don't have anything to say on the matter myself, but if the Powers That Be thought it was worthwhile, I'd be really interested to hear Making Light folk on the just-announced Amazon service where for $9.99 you can borrow as many kindle books (and audiobooks) as you want (subject to limitations on which are included). Given those with knowledge of writing/publishing who post here, I'd love to see a thread devoted to it. Just a thought.

#762 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 08:46 PM:

Tea from tea shops, on the other hand, is hot, and sometimes even leaf - but the coffee is instant.

#763 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 08:53 PM:

Tea from coffee places in the US is quite possibly very hot; they draw water from the coffee machine, so it's very close to boiling.

I've scalded myself a couple of times, spilling tea from a coffee place. It isn't fun. (Neither time was one where I could do first-aid on the damage.)

#764 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 10:52 PM:

Great. My blog is now covered with "deprecated" comments. It's old, and once knew what I was doing, but since the stroke, I'm helpless.

This is a bitter happening. There is already things that were awful. (Language.) Shit.

#765 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 11:01 PM:

Any Colorado or vicinity Fluorospherans might like to know that next week, from Saturday 7-26 to Friday 8-01, there will be a major high-power rocket launch in Pueblo, CO. Parking is free, watching is free, and I'll be there (probably under a collection of 9 or 10 EZ-Up shelters dubbed "Alumanet City" because we use shiny mylar gardening mesh to shade the sides of our pavilions.) Here's the event website with directions and so on:

#766 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2014, 11:35 PM:

@Cally: I've never been to a NARAM, but I did make it to a couple of LDRS's in the early 90s, one out in Hartsel.

Rocket events are cool. Rocketeers are immensely helpful and generous to newcomers.

#767 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 12:33 AM:

<arachnophobia trigger warning> For some reason, my MacBook has become a very popular stop for lots and lots of little teeny tiny spiders. I could ignore them, but for their tendency to go rappelling down across whatever I'm trying to look at,* and walking around on my person, which is annoying, thank you.

* Their nearly as good at it as cats.

#768 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 02:32 AM:

Jacque: A recent hatching nearby? We had those in our kitchen once for a day or two - I did a very thorough cleaning of them from their favoured corner, alas, because useful as they be later, they were themselves the pest at the time.

duckbunny @ 757: Unless you regularly get 3rd degree burns from your home brewed tea, I think the McDonald's case is not-weird.

One underestimates the steeping/cooling time involved with tea or coffee -- and the effect of transference to a ceramic cup (Usually after transference to a ceramic pot), and how much heat is thereby absorbed. And how much lost by the lidless factor. IIRC, home made tea made with fresh boiled water is very likely, by the time it reaches the lips, to be somewhere closer to 160/150 faranheit. The only time you're likely to be in contact with liquid as hot as McDonald's coffee then was is if you spill it straight from the kettle.

I make tea fresh steeped with a just-boiled kettle at home daily, and lately I've been using a timer more to make sure good quality leaves do not oversteep, so I know it's not *long* before it's sipped. I have only been scalded or burnt my tongue badly on tea made from restaurants and food joints whose hot water machines actually produce a boiling temperature. (Seem to be more common up here). It should cool faster in the long term than with ceramic (Though again, lids counter this) but the short term effect is that much less heat is absorbed away.

Also, really, paper mugs are just never as *secure*, and because of the fast food nature, are used in less safe locations. Ceramics failure modes far less frequently include spilling hot liquid on oneself in a position where one is restrained.

(Admittedly, I drink black tea with milk, which is another cooling factor. But not greens or my tisanes, and I've had the same experience of much-less-scalding-at-home with those.)

(On a strongly related note, I was very impressed with the thermos/travel mug I used at folk fest this year; I was given spearmint tea from a vendor at just that Scalding temperature, and it stayed that way for 2 HOURS without cooling enough for me to taker a sip without feeling burnt -- I finally added a bit of water to make it "Hot cup of tea at home" temperature.)

#769 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 04:17 AM:

754, Lin Daniel -- you can pick up 4X8 foot styrofoam sheets with mylar backing at pretty much any big box store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) They're made for insulating things, can be cut to shape with a box knife, and could be fastened to either the bookshelf or the wall any number of ways.

#770 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 06:21 AM:

Again, I'm not arguing about the facts of the case or the correctness of the judgement. I'm only commenting on my gut reaction, which is that the case illustrates certain fascinating and perhaps not otherwise obvious differences in hot-beverage culture in various places.

#771 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 06:38 AM:

Lenora Rose @ #768:

No, I've only had 3rd degree burns from home-brewed coffee once. Most of the scar tissue is still quite visible, some 40 years later.

The main differences between "it hurts and may blister" and "tissue death and extensive scarring" is "did it wick into fabric, keeping it close to the skin" and "volume". In my case, both were contributing factors (about 2 litres of liquid, soaking into and being plastered to my skin by the T-shirt I wore at the time).

#772 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 08:39 AM:

Back when the McDonald's case was being hotly discussed, I decided that data was better than testimony and took measurements of my wife's coffee as I made it in the morning. At the time I was using a Melitta filled from a teakettle and caught in a Thermos pump (the standard mode for coffee carafes in those days, outside restaurants). The coffee in the filter before dripping was 200F; the first cup was at 180.

And without regard to the blistering heat, removing the lid from a paper/foam cup by "bracing" it between one's thighs is the sort of act that sends safety officers into tirades if not dead faints.

#773 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 09:00 AM:

In reading old threads, I found a recipe not in the recipe index. It sounds delicious.

Cold Soup

#774 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 09:20 AM:

Drip coffee makers do not produce coffee as hot as pouring from a boiling kettle into a Melitta filter. At the time, McDonald's deliberately served their coffee much hotter than other restaurants did, and had received hundreds of complaints that it was too hot. My impressions was that it was the ignoring of those complaints that spurred the jury to award punitive damages.

#775 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 10:07 AM:

I'm not trying to mount a defense of McDonald's.

#776 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 11:42 AM:

Any Fluorospherians going to be at ComicCon? I find myself with a few gaps in the schedule Wednesday night, Thursday afternoon, and Friday morning. (I'm promoting a game for which I did a bit of consulting -- moderating a panel.)

#777 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 12:21 PM:

Scraps @764 At least one good thing happened: I got you back into my links, having changed browsers for unavoidable reasons some time back. I'm filing you under 'friends,' if you don't mind.

#778 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 12:47 PM:

At some point, I started pre-heating my tea mugs with the extra boiling water from the kettle. It's not quite a dramatic a change in the heat-sensitive color-changing one any more, but it still makes me feel like I'm doing it right.

And I don't even drink tea that often!

#779 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 02:26 PM:

C. Wingate @772: the sort of act that sends safety officers into tirades if not dead faints.

Or gets you added to their collection.

Diatryma @778: At some point, I started pre-heating my tea mugs with the extra boiling water from the kettle.

I discovered that the screw-on caps for the jars that came with my Magic Bullet blender are just right to serve as lids for my tea mugs. Keeps the tea hot about 2x longer.

#780 ::: John Costello ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 03:21 PM:

Jim's done a number of posts on disaster preparedness, so I thought the Kickstarter for the TOC Go Bag might be topical for Making Light:

It looks reasonable to me, though it's not cheap at $225. Or maybe it is? It's missing, and I would like, an instant cold pack or two – but cold is on my mind because I have personal medication that over the long term needs to be refrigerated.

#781 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 04:05 PM:

John Costello @ 780: I vaguely remember paying at least $100 for my minimal Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) backpack full of supplies, and this looks bigger, so it's not off by an order of magnitude. It surprised me not to see a pry bar, or 4-in-1 tool (non-sparking, to shut off gas, and water). Of course, those two tools are pretty focused on earthquakes, and a pry bar is really heavy.

I wish they didn't have typos on the web page:
[10 ultra-loud whistle

#782 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 07:01 PM:

AKICIML: for the martial artists in the crowd--can y'all suggest works of fiction that have particularly good fight scenes? Asking for a friend, but since I like that sort of thing myself I will ask for myself as well! Suggestions made so far by myself and others: the Vlad Taltos books, the Dresden Files books, and the Protector of the Small series.

#783 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 07:31 PM:

Jacque at 767: I remember taking a Mac Plus in for a memory upgrade and finding a spider web in it.

(did they come in from the World Wide Web, by any chance?)

#784 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 07:44 PM:

Lila, Marie Brennan has done a series on writing fight scenes, so you might look there for recommendations.

#785 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 09:21 PM:


#786 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 10:09 PM:

A particular personal favorite is C. J. Cherryh's The Paladin (which I found I share with Jo Walton as favorite comfort reading) which has a lot of great martial arts training scenes as well as some great fight scenes. (Plus a great story line of a pig-headed sexist old warrior Learning Better, though YMMV.) A lot of Roger Zelazny's fight scenes are very good, and in particular some scenes from the first couple Amber books stick in my memory, such as Corwin's duels with Eric. Zelazny practiced at least five or six different Asian martial arts (both Chinese and Japanese) as well as western fencing, so he writes with some authority.

#787 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2014, 11:15 PM:

We know who is alluded to in this Eviscerati comic about e-book publishers.

#788 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 12:06 AM:

Fresh wQQt

Shall I compare thee to a Juggalette?
Thou art more twiztid and more horrorcore:
Rough chords doth frame thy wicked silhouette,
And summer's tour doth leave us wanting more;

Sometime too sweet the sugared Faygo sprays,
When spewed upon the mosh-craz'd pit of fans;
They can but hope to set the world ablaze
Or suffer failure, abject also-rans;

But thy eternal carbonation will
Inspire us to excel in belching bouts;
Thy painted smile with joy us will instill
And leave us not in fear or wretched doubts.

Forever Juggalos, ma damoisele,
Will envy us our blue neck MCL.

#789 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 12:48 AM:

For those following the WisCon harrassment process, there is a new official statement from the concom as a whole as of about half an hour ago (late in the day 21 Jul 2014).

#790 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 03:24 AM:

John Costello @780

Instant cool packs have been lurking below my radar, and could be very useful for some people. I do wonder what else you'd need to cope with your sort of drug storage problem. Most likely some sort of insulated pouch. And I would be storing it in the refrigerator, cycling the medication through it.

But how long do those instant cool packs last?

#791 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 05:09 AM:

lila @ #782:

Quiet a few of Steve Perry's books (I think "Musashi Flex" specifically, but there's traces of it throughout the Matador series and also in others).

#792 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 09:09 AM:

Dave Bell: instant cool packs don't last long. Maybe 20 minutes, tops. Some of them can afterwards be re-used as standard cold packs (i.e. put them in the freezer). Also they're not that cold; a standard Blue Ice type frozen thing would keep your meds cold longer.

I carry a few, but for icing down minor injuries rather than for food/meds refrigeration.

Clifton and Ingvar: thanks!

#793 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 10:35 AM:

There are some professional-quality gel packs that are sent with medications to keep things cool; they last for quite a long time (as the out-of-range indicators can show). Pharmacies that send meds will have them in supply and perhaps can point one to a source. I have at least a dozen, thanks to my cat's chemo requirements, and I've been using them to keep milk cool all day; the packs are still cold 24 hours after leaving the freezer.

#794 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 11:59 AM:

I've been pondering how to keep my vitamins and meds at so-called room temp for a two-week trip to a cabin in the UP with no A/C, and which only has AC when they turn on the generator. I expect I'll do what I always do — get increasingly uneasy as they change colors and grow weird spots.

Maybe I'll store them at my niece's house, a half hour away, though that'll make taking them on schedule a bit rockier. Well, keep most of them there, and take a day or two worth back to the cabin, I guess.

Yeah, that works. Hey, thanks for your help, gang!

#795 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 01:58 PM:

Kip, if your cabin is by running water, there's an old girl scout trick of putting stuff that needs to be kept cool under water (wide-mouthed plastic jug with a good seal (peanut-butter jar works well), weighted with rocks and tied off to a tree so it won't drift away in case the rocks are inadequate). This, of course, presumes a constant source of cool water...

#796 ::: duckbunny ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 02:46 PM:

Under the groundsheet is another trick, especially when camping under nylon. It does require well-sealed things-to-keep-cool and a lack of interested critters capable of breaking in. A sudden flood might also go badly.

#797 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 03:48 PM:

Kip W @794: A couple of years back, I spent quite a bit of time working out how to keep some stored items frozen through a range of different travel situations. If you will be near enough to a source of dry ice to pick up a new supply every few days, that's probably your easiest solution. No, you don't need to freeze your meds - dry ice can also help keep things "refrigerated".

The process: get a high-quality foam cooler made for shipping. These have thick walls and a tight-fitting top - often they come with a snug-fitting outer cardboard box, too. You want one that is only as large as necessary to contain the cooling source and your meds. Here's an example: (found by random googling, I have no relationship with this company).

Then, get a quantity of dry ice - 5 pounds will last up to 48 hours used in this way, possibly more if you don't open the cooler regularly. Keep the dry ice wrapped in plastic or a paper bag (less air exposure is better). Place the dry ice in the BOTTOM of the cooler. Take a thick towel and fold it so it fits snugly in the bottom of the container, completely covering the dry ice. Depending on how cold-sensitive your meds are, you may want to use two towels. Place your meds on top of the towel, and fill in any extra air space with additional folded towels or empty containers - you want as little free air circulating in there as possible.

Until you get everything calibrated, check every 6 to 12 hours to make sure things aren't getting too cold or too warm. More insulation between the dry ice and the meds will keep them warmer, less will make them colder. Depending on the external temps and how often you need to check the meds, again, 5 pounds of dry ice (a common size) should last about 48 hours, possibly longer. Larger chunks will last longer, though it is not usually a directly proportional relationship.

#798 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 04:45 PM:

I would not recommend dry ice for something that needs to be kept room temperature, as Kip W. specified. For medicines "too cold" can be as damaging as "too warm". I would take a well-insulated cooler and put a large (sealed) container of cool water in it, as well as the meds. Even an un-airconditioned building in the UP of Michigan should average within the acceptable temperature range, (IIRC the standard definition of "room temperature" for these purposes is something like "between 65 and 77 degrees F") so the job of the cooler is mostly to damp out temperature swings, not to chill. Start with water a little cooler than your desired range and you'll be fine. You're going to have access to water for an entire 2-week trip, too, while dry ice or even regular water ice would need to replenished at some point.

#799 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 04:46 PM:

I would not recommend dry ice for something that needs to be kept room temperature, as Kip W. specified. For medicines "too cold" can be as damaging as "too warm". I would take a well-insulated cooler and put a large (sealed) container of cool water in it, as well as the meds. Even an un-airconditioned building in the UP of Michigan should average within the acceptable temperature range over the course of a day, (IIRC the standard definition of "room temperature" for these purposes is something like "between 65 and 77 degrees F") so the job of the cooler is mostly to damp out temperature swings, not to chill. Start with water a little cooler than your desired range and you'll be fine. You're going to have access to water for an entire 2-week trip, too, while dry ice or even regular water ice would need to replenished at some point.

#800 ::: Bill Stewart sees ninjas blending spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 04:52 PM:

review: two thumbs down.

#801 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 04:55 PM:

Pardon the double-post, I've been having slow connectivity all day.

#802 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 06:13 PM:

Depending on the available conditions (shade, airflow and humidity), possibly evaporative cooling? Keep the items in a sealed container, cover the container with an absorbent cloth (white cotton sheet?) with the end(s) in a container of water.

The water will "wick up" the cloth and (assuming the atmosphere isn't too humid already) airflow will evaporate water from the cloth, extracting heat as it does so.

#803 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 07:09 PM:

Light was made while I was off at NASFIC! I made dinner plans with a group of people in the area who I knew from various contexts, and who were not going to the con, and estelendur was one of those who attended. Unfortunately, she left before I remembered that I wanted a picture of everybody. But it was a fun time, and I hope that she and I will be in the same place again sometime in the future.

duckbunny, #682: How common is it to conflate the version we grew up with - of anything - and the most valid version?

Very common in young children; something that most people grow out of, in most cases, at widely-varying times. Some people never do grow out of it about some things, and some people eventually notice that they're still doing it about things for which it's inappropriate, and have to struggle against it. And I see that Lila beat me to the C.S. Lewis reference.

estelendur, #701: There was no new location -- it was a "game of Telephone" error, in which I said one word and my friend heard a different one, and searched accordingly. But I'm still annoyed with every site I checked about that first place, NONE of which mentioned that it was currently closed for fire repair. (I just posted a review on Yelp noting this.)

Jenny, #710: I'm thinking more along the lines of "that's called Pandora". When I want a radio station that only plays stuff I like (as opposed to suggesting other things I might like), well, that's what my All-Hits Radio iPod playlist is for.

Incoherent, #716: OMG. That has SO replaced the original in my headspace, and I'll be buying the album just to get it.

John B., #724: I knew (only slightly, but still) someone who was killed in the 9/11 attack. And it shouldn't make a difference, but it does. I think that's just the way human beings are wired.

David G., #738: The thing that sticks in my mind about that case was that, after a 2-week thrash about it on a.c. during which the actual facts of the case were thoroughly hashed out, someone said that it didn't matter what the facts were, the decision was just wrong. This was back in the late 1990s, and in retrospect is a perfect illustration of what has become canonical right-wing behavior ever since. Facts don't matter to them any more. They reject consensus reality and substitute their own.

Nix Nat, #743: I'm beginning to get a recurring earworm of a line from RHPS, to wit. Frank pouting, "I didn't... make him... for YOU!" And I think more women should be open about the fact that whatever they're doing or not doing, it's not FOR the benefit of whatever guy is commenting about it, be that comment positive or negative. I wear what I wear because I like it, not because I think some guy will like it. I don't care what some guy thinks about my reproductive choices. I'm not doing it for THEM.

Oh, and an interesting syllogism about the new Thor, mined from Twitter via Facebook:
- Disney owns Marvel.
- Marvel owns Thor.
- Thor is the child of a king.
- Thor is now female.
- Therefore, Thor is now a Disney Princess.

Jacque, #760: My partner would insist, loudly, that Celestial Seasonings doesn't sell teas, they sell herbal infusions. For him, it's not tea if it isn't primarily Camellia sinensis. I'm not so picky, but I do understand his objection.

C. Wingate, #772: I agree with you that it's not a stellar example of safe product handling. Nonetheless, it is a common and predictable action when someone is trying to open a cup while sitting in a car. I've done it myself, albeit only with iced tea to which I was trying to add lemon juice, and spilled it on myself thereby.

#804 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 08:39 PM:

Congress is now less popular than JarJar.

#805 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 09:13 PM:

Something I said over on the Hugo Spoilers topic, but it's not actually a spoiler.

Is this the first year (in a long time, or at all) where the majority of the Best Novel nominees have non-male (female, female, and ungendered-but-grammatically-female-by-default, respectively) protagonists/viewpoint characters?

#806 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 10:03 PM:

Lee @803: Telephone? Oh, good lord. Where *did* she end up? And yes, the fact that zero internets said "Place done burnt down" is kind of… uh. Something. It's definitely something. Something printable? Possibly not.

And aw, I missed the picture :( oh well. It is probably not the last opportunity (*knocks wood*).

I agree with you that it's not a stellar example of safe product handling. Nonetheless, it is a common and predictable action when someone is trying to open a cup while sitting in a car.
This slots nicely into some thoughts I've been batting around recently. Namely: to what extent should we blame humans for being imperfect and human, and to what extent should we try to intelligently compensate for it?

#807 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 10:20 PM:

P J Evans @804: is that Steve Savitsky in the background of the photo at your link? It sure looks like him.

#808 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 10:40 PM:

Don't know - the photo is on Wikimedia Commons, from the 'Star Wars Celebration' in 2007.

#809 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: July 22, 2014, 11:32 PM:

Thanks, all for the food for thought.

The cabin is a residential home, albeit a largely owner-built cinderblock one. It has hand-pumped water, but no nearby creek or stream.

I'll ponder.

#810 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 12:37 AM:

My dog got sick and cost a few thousand in vet bills. While she was at the vet overnight, the house got minor flooding, and it's been thousands of dollars to work on drying it out. We have been sitting in the heat and dark while fans blow constantly since Saturday, now; we hope desperately to have the fans out heat-producing dehumidifiers out by Wednesday, but there's no guarantee. All the baseboards are gone. The flooring has been ripped out of three quarters of the house. The pets are unhappy. I am constantly covered in sweat.

I am trying to be grateful for the many things I should be grateful for. My dog seems to be recovering just fine. The new kitten doesn't seem to be traumatized by any of this. The spouse took the initiative to call in disaster recovery people while I was still in denial, so we caught the damp walls in time. The water that covered the floors was very shallow, so we've lost almost no possessions: a few books, a boxspring mattress, some minor water damage to some cheap furniture. We have the money at hand to pay for all of this, and the replacement flooring we'll need, and my tuition this fall, even if it makes taxes next spring exciting. So even if the insurance company covers nothing, which is likely, we can still fix things before it gets worse. No one in the household is suffering any health problems. And a good friend has been an enormous help in emergency furniture-moving, not once but twice. I am exceedingly lucky.

But I am so very, very tired of being an adult about this. I am tired of moving furniture and boxes and bags from one room to another. I am tired of sitting in the dark, with the heat and the noise and not being able to turn on the coffee-maker without worrying about blowing a circuit. I'm tired of sweat, and my recovering dog being anxious about all this, and my older cat hiding outside most of the day. I'm tired of being out of clean laundry and clean dishes and not being able to wash either the nice modern mechanical way. And I'm tired of telling people about it, because it's the same story again and again, and it's not like other people can help much.

I'm tired of being an adult right now. I miss the days when I didn't worry about these things because someone else would take care of it, and when I didn't watch bank account numbers myself.

Anyway. Hyper-local news, formatted incorrectly because I am so very tired of all these things.

#811 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 07:05 AM:

Fade Manley @810, ick. Sympathies, and wishing you sufficient cope to continue to get through.

#812 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 09:11 AM:

Fade Manley @810, cyberhugs if welcome.

Just before the 4th of July, we had a double derecho come though our area which knocked out our power for 12 hours, dropped 3" of rain on us, and thereby caused our crawlspace to flood; we've lived in the house for twenty years and it's never flooded before. 2" of water, and it didn't get into the finished part of the basement (which was constructed 4" higher than the crawlspace, for which I bless the folks who poured the foundation....) so all we lost were boxes and boxes and boxes of old stuff we were going to go through "someday". And a few hundred books which hadn't made it onto shelves (yes, I have bookshelves in the crawlspace).

That was horrible to deal with, and it *wasn't* carpets and walls and furniture; just mostly-disposable-stuff that should have been thrown away years ago. And I had a helpful sister (thanks, Cal!) which made it possible to haul all that stuff out; getting into and out of the very narrow entrance to the crawlspace is a feat in itself, so the only way to do it was one inside bagging stuff up and one outside hauling it away.

My profound sympathies on your situation; I hope you get lights and air-conditioning and dishwashers and all back again very very soon. And the assorted fourfooted members of the household get their comforting routines back.

#813 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 10:20 AM:

I hear that today is the 21st wedding anniversary for Abi and Scotsman Martin.

#814 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 10:49 AM:

Fade Manley (810): Ugh. Sympathies. Floods are the pits, even when they're fairly minor. Wishing you lots and lots of cope.

#815 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 10:58 AM:

Fade Manley @ 810: You have my heartfelt sympathy. It sounds perfectly miserable. I'm glad it didn't get to the walls, and that it isn't an immediate financial crisis on top of everything else.

Flooding is my nightmare. One of the changes I'm making in my new house is to replace the existing sump pumps with ones that have battery backup. I have this vision of the power being knocked out during a thunderstorm with heavy rain.

#816 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:11 AM:

Janetl @815, We had battery backup on our sump... but the battery didn't last for 12 hours, alas. It's good for relatively short power outages, but not so much for long ones. (In the past it's done fine with power outages that lasted a couple of hours.)

Which is not to say don't get one; you should absolutely get one. Just be aware of its limitations.

#817 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:20 AM:

Fade Manley @ 810: sympathies. That sounds really frustrating and annoying.

#818 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:23 AM:

Kip W @794: I've been pondering how to keep my vitamins and meds at so-called room temp

Is the climate dry enough that a pot-in-pot refrigerator would be an option?

Lee @803: My partner would insist, loudly, that Celestial Seasonings doesn't sell teas, they sell herbal infusions.

Him and Jon Singer. However, if you ask for a hot "herbal infusion" at a restaurant, many servers will just give you a blank look. And to be fair, CS does sell one or two Camellia sinensises(?). Early Grey, and maybe English Breakfast, I think. The latter I'll use in a pinch, but the former tastes like cigarette smoke to me. Thank Ghu for the nearly ubiquitous Liptons.

Tom Whitmore @807: is that Steve Savitsky in the background of the photo at your link? It sure looks like him.

I was thinking, "Gee, he looks like someone I would recognize if I were around cons more."

Fade Manley @810: Depending on the cause of the flood, you might want to have a chat with FEMA. Some of my neighbors, who had "only a few inches" last fall, I think got some help from them.

And of course, being hot and tired makes everything else feel all the more burdensome. Sympathies.

#819 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 01:16 PM:

Fade Manley @810: I am simultaneously glad that you are not totally screwed, and sympathetic at how much trouble it must be anyway.

#820 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 01:35 PM:

Fade Manley @810: I had a 2-3 inch flood (clean water) throughout my ground floor flat about 12 years ago. I remember what it was like with all the carpets ripped up and thrown away, everything in boxes piled on top of the piles of furniture in the middle of the rooms. All the damaged chipboard wardrobes and bookcases. Damaged books, tapes etc. (not TOO many damaged books, but...) Having to get the door repaired 'cos a fireman had kicked it open to go in and turn the electrics off for safety. Having three blowers and three dehumidifiers going to dry the walls out. Having to turn the blowers and dehumidifiers off so I could hear the building manager on the other end of the phone telling me that she didn't see why I considered the place uninhabitable while it was in this state - with no accessible bed and sticky glue all over the floors where we'd pried up the lino tiles (which had been under the carpets) so the floor could dry... I was lucky and had my now-husband's place to go live while the idiot manager was pretending we didn't need to tell the insurance company. I didn't break down and cry until some idiot came driving towards us the wrong way along a one-way street on our way back to now-husband's place after surveying the damage. I cried again when I went back in three days later and it had re-flooded.

TL:DR: Been there, done that. Sincere sympathies.

#821 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 01:39 PM:

Fade Manley @810--I am always amazed at how little water inside a house it takes to really screw everything up. And while no post-flood cleanup can ever be easy, having hot humid weather added to the mix just adds to the trials and tribulations the cleanup has in abundance already.

Wishing you a quieter, cooler house, with calmer pets and homemade coffee RealSoonNow. And floors. Not subfloors, floors. And no mold or mildew buried inside the walls.

#822 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 02:56 PM:

Fade Manley @ 810:

Sympathy. Tons and tons of sympathy. Being able to handle things at all, while going through that, is impressive. Be gentle with yourself, 'k?

(One flood in a lifetime is too many, says someone with memories of Elmira, NY during the '72 Hurricane Agnes flood. Loss, even if comparatively minor, sucks. Cleanup sucks even more.)


What's the term for that comparison thing, where you're not supposed complain about whatever horrible thing is going on in your life, because others have it worse? I get so tired of that. In fact, hate that. Just because others are worse off doesn't negate one's own hell, dammit.

#823 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 03:23 PM:

Thank you all so much for the kind words and thoughts; I am grimly becoming accustomed to the endless fans, and surely some day they will declare the walls dry enough to haul them all away again. (I am trying not to think about next month's electric bill, which will be astounding.)

..."them" being the fans, not the walls. The AC is even keeping the temperature down to about 85F during the day, which is quite livable, especially when it's that amazingly dry inside the house. And while I do not revel in the misery of others, it is comforting to hear from other people who have been through this--or worse--and gotten through it. There will be a through and an over and a beyond! One of these days. Meanwhile... thank god for coffee shops with wifi and AC and lots of outlets.

#824 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 03:29 PM:

Glinda: Oppression Olympics?

Fade, add my sympathies to the others.

#825 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 03:29 PM:

Fade Manley (823): You're probably already on this, but just in case... Make sure you/they do mold abatement on/inside the walls and floors. There's some kind of mold-retardant spray that the professionals can use; I'm not sure of the details but it was deployed at my library after floods both major and minor. As the people around here learned the hard way after Sandy, mold is amazingly persistent stuff and can take over again if appropriate precautions aren't taken early on.

#826 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 04:13 PM:

Fade @810:

All the sympathy. It really does sound hideous. As everyone else has said, the best thing to say is that this too shall pass, and one day it will just be a story.

Like the time the pipe burst in the eaves of our flat and eroded the flooring between the joists. We went out there to find we could look down on the bed of our downstairs neighbor, buried under a pile of former ceiling. (She was away at the time, mercifully.)

Serge @813:

Yes, it is indeed, and we are just back from a very nice dinner out.

It was also a day of national mourning here, for the Dutch victims of Maylasian Airlines flight 17: flags at half-mast, a minute's silence with all public transport stopped, a big deal.

The Dutch, for all they fly their flags a lot, don't tend to fly them at half-mast, even on Remembrance Day. The jury-rigged solutions to make non half-mast flagpoles work were kind of painfully touching.

#827 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 04:34 PM:

Fade, #810: That sucks like unto a Shop-Vac. My sympathies, and GoodThoughts being sent your way.

Since you say it's comforting to hear other people's BTDT stories, I'll briefly mention our experience with Ike, when the flood came in thru the hole in the roof after the tree came down on us. We saved most of the books on the bookcase under the hole, but there was a miserable 4-hour stretch of sopping up the water off the floor with mops, which were squeezed into buckets, which were then emptied thru the bathtub drain. We still have some water damage on the parquet floors in the back bedrooms and hall, but it's only to the finish and therefore livable-with, and we kept the water from getting into the carpeted part of the house. But then it was a couple of months before we could get the roof properly repaired -- we were living under giant "shingles" made from old political campaign signs while we argued with the insurance company. And it was nearly a year later before we got the last of the stuff out of the rental storage where we'd had to put things just to have the house be livable-in during that period. But we survived, and got back to what passes for "normal" with us. :-)

abi, #826: Congratulations, and many more!

#828 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 05:03 PM:

We did get the anti-mold stuff sprayed on the walls! This being Texas, the disaster recovery people know from mold. And told as they were assessing, at the 36-hour mark after the flooding, that if we'd waited more than 48 hours it would've been much harder to save the infrastructure. (Apparently they had dealt with over a 100 calls the day before, and they're not the only disaster-recovery place in Austin. It was impressively heavy rain.)

I am now looking gloomily at the time, and realizing that the assessor is unlikely to show up in the next hour, which means we probably have at least one more night of fans everywhere before we get another chance to have someone come in and say "Dry now, let's just haul all this away!" But. Well. Better than sitting in a slowly molding house regretting not calling people soon enough, eh?

#829 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 05:12 PM:

Fade Manley (828): *Much* better than waiting until too late, yes. And hooray for disaster recovery people who know their business!

#830 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 05:49 PM:

Fade: I'm sorry, because that sucks big time.

#831 ::: John Costello ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 08:57 PM:

When I'm thinking of wanting cold packs in a go-bag, yes, they'd be for injuries, not for keeping medication cold. When you're turned into transient population, best to be prepared for people getting sprains and such.

When taking insulin on travel that's only a couple of days, I refreeze and use the gel-packs that the mail-order pharmacy sends me. And at diabetes camp as a kid we used to use the "suspend the meds in the stream to keep them cool" trick while on canoe excursions.

I don't know what to suggest to Kip W@794, except that the plan to store meds and vitamins off-site and refill every couple days is appealing. (I usually have 4 days supply of insulin in a pump, and the rest stays refrigerated.)

Longer term, like a fortnight with no power and no refrigeration, would start to be an issue. I get three months of insulin at a time by mail and it really makes a difference to the shelf life to keep it refrigerated.

#832 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 09:02 PM:

Fade: I won't even try to tell you stories about the flooding in the basement of my bookstore (which did in multiple thousands of dollars worth of books, including some irreplaceable rare ones). Yes, floods suck. (And imagine that the water was flowing in from the roof through the electrical conduit, because the drain had been clogged. No, seriously, it can be much worse.)

#833 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 10:19 PM:

I just answered a question on Quora (What are some awesome English words, handy to use in daily routine, that sound good?), and then realized my answer is very Fluorospherian, so thought I'd crosspost it here for all the other word nerds. :->

I have loved "serendipity" (and the related "serendipitous") since childhood. I had a picture book about a baby dragon named Serendipity and that made me look up the word (and then find a bigger dictionary that contained it), and I've adored it ever since. It was the first word that I found and then NOTICED that it reified a concept whose awareness I had sensed but never had a word for before -- it happened again later with wonderful words like schadenfreude and becroggled and petrichor, but serendipity was my first.

( defines it as "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way," and that's accurate though not quite as numinous as the word feels inside my head)

#835 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:01 PM:

Escaping from the internal server error: Tintin in the Mountains of Madness

#836 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:53 PM:

Lila @ 782

There are several fights I like in Emergence, by David R. Palmer. That may be because I have a mad crush of the protagonist.

Honor Harrington and Nimitz versus the assassins in The Honor of the Queen, by David Weber is also inspiring. The scene where Honor bitch slaps Reginald Houseman is fun, too, but hardly a fight.

#837 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2014, 11:56 PM:

Lila @ 782

There are several fights I like in Emergence, by David R. Palmer. That may be because I have a mad crush of the protagonist.

Honor Harrington and Nimitz versus the assassins in The Honor of the Queen, by David Weber is also inspiring. The scene where Honor bitch slaps Reginald Houseman is fun, too, but hardly a fight.

#838 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 12:22 AM:

People who should know have told me that the fight sequences in the Modesty Blaise books, especially The Silver Mistress, are very true-to-life. I am not a martial artist, so I cannot say. They're very gripping.

#839 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 12:36 AM:

Elliott #833 I had that same book!

#840 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 01:20 AM:

It's not SF, but the fight scenes in Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels are well-paced and grounded in Parker's experience as a boxer.

#841 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 01:27 AM:

I am preparing for Alpha. I leave in less than six hours. Fewer. Argh. I have everything I need, I hope, and I remind myself again that not only do they have stores in Pittsburgh, going to them is part of my job.

But what if I forget something I need?

Arg, packing. This time tomorrow, I'll be there; this time the day after, everyone else will be and I won't remember what my life today was like.

#842 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 04:20 AM:

C. Wingate@835: "Escaping from the internal server error: Tintin in the Mountains of Madness"

Billions of billious barbecued blue blistering barnacles, yes! But after cleverly escaping the gibbering anthropoids of the internal server, ia! ia!, you, interplantary goat, you!, were our plucky heroes any match for the sufferin' cephalapods from beyond the stars? Dealing with the abominable snowmen wasn't bad enough? How's his camera going to record colors out of space or non-Euclidean angles? Shoggoths and Slubberdegullions! Stay tuned!

#843 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 04:24 AM:

Tom Whitmore @807, I don't think that's Steve Savitzky in the background. It's the right category of beard, and my facial recognition skills are below average, so I could quite easily be wrong, but I don't think it's him.

#844 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 11:18 AM:

Still reading old posts. Much hilarity and brilliance.

Since I'm trying to read them in date order, I start from the bottom of a month's archive. So the first bit I saw of the post Lemon-pepper hot sauce was Pantyhose: The strainer of choice for large projects. Followed by Be considerate when disposing of it afterward, especialy if you’re working with flesh-colored materials; it can look unnervingly like a transporter accident.
I love this place.

And this is also not in the recipes index.

#845 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 01:30 PM:

For keeping things at "room temperature" I'd check out the basement or crawlspace of the building. No basement or crawl space? A large bucket buried in the ground in the shade, with something insulating on the top, will also likely work.

FWIW, I live in a remote area where power is sometimes unreliable. I live in a travel trailer with a dual propane/electric fridge. If the power goes out, the fridge automatically switches over to propane. Not real helpful for those of you dealing with occasional power outages, but a propane powered fridge is a handy solution for anyone with routine power problems.

#846 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 08:22 PM:

Cygnet@845 A lower-end solution for some people is 12v refrigerators for cars. They make them as small as 6-pack or 12-pack sized, so they're big enough for keeping medication cool, especially if you fill the rest of the space with bottles/cans of cold liquid as a buffer.

#847 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 08:38 PM:

Since time travellers have recently unearthed TNH's article on lemon-pepper sauce for making Bloody Marys or grilled fish, I'll mention a recent research experiment - high-botanical infused gin, for making low-alcohol Bloody Marys. The theory is that if I put in 4-5x as much flavoring material as usual, I can put 1/4 as much in a drink for use at times that I don't want a full shot of alcohol. Initial results are that further research is required :-)

It's mostly a bunch of juniper berries, a sprig of rosemary, a bit of fennel, allspice, and other random spices recommended by web searches for "homemade gin"; I should probably add some citrus and maybe celery.

#848 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 09:00 PM:

'DIY cook book' by "America's Test Kitchen" has a recipe for home-made vermouth, with information on herbal extracts.

#849 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 10:06 PM:

Also found on that lemon-pepper thread was this amazing comment by Bob Webber in response to someone objecting to discussion of creating household vacuum pumps cheaply:

"Anyway, if we can't have vacuum distillation in every kitchen, it's just not worth the trouble of living here in the future. It would be like not being able to degauss fresh corn, and instead having to eat it off the cob like animals."

There is something so fractally Fluorospherian about it I wanted to pull it out to admire it a bit more.

#850 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2014, 11:04 PM:

I'll be at Confluence in Pittsburgh this weekend. Do we have enough people for a Gathering of the Light?

#851 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 12:03 AM:

Those "Windows Technical Support" scam callers are so hard not to be rude to.

I just told "Henry" that I was tired of the scam but that I hoped the next person he called was a gullible old woman.

#852 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 12:26 AM:

Stefan Jones: The last Windows Technical Support person who called us outright said, "Oh, you're such a liar" when I told him I wasn't Mrs. (Husband's former surname)*. And hung up on *me*, at the end, even though the most I had done rudeness wise was to be adamant that I was not turning on, much less changing anything in, my computer on the say-so of someone over the phone.

I don't feel too badly about the thought of being rude to them. I do feel badly for gullible old ladies, though.

*My husband changed his name for our wedding, and I took his new surname. I was telling precise truth.

#853 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 12:42 AM:


If we're going to come down on "cried like a little girl" and such ilk, can we consider replacing "gullible old lady"?

I'm a little old lady!

#854 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 02:05 AM:

I do hope "Henry" was the one I hung up on a few weeks back - between the line noise and his strong Indian accent I couldn't understand what he was saying.

Non-gullible old lady....

#855 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 03:18 AM:

Carol: Thank you.

#856 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 05:52 AM:

P J Evans @ #854:

When they last called me, I said "Sorry, not interested. Would your mama be proud of what you do?"

#857 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 07:41 AM:

Media @ SDCC: hey, apparently harassment of women and POC is a thing. Let's interview this white guy!

(Note: I have no problem with Scalzi, who has himself pointed out this selfsame irony more than once.)

(Additional note: for all I know they also interviewed a wide variety of people who are not white guys. I hope so.)

#858 ::: Cassy B. sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 08:48 AM:

Spam @858

#859 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 11:00 AM:

#851, etc.

They wanted my computer's IP address. So I told them.

(I have that one in my Hosts file.)

I heard a keyboard rattling.

Then a long silence.

Then the caller got very rude.

#860 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 11:30 AM:

Dave Bell @859 <snork!>

#861 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 03:37 PM:

Carol, #853: Hear, hear!

Lila, #857: Also relevant.

Dave B., #859: Brilliant!

#862 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Ingvar @ 856

When they last called me, I said "Sorry, not interested. Would your mama be proud of what you do?"

Heck, I said nearly an identical thing to a perfectly legitimate Wells Fargo representative once. (It was over one of these account add-on things where they send you something in teeny tiny print saying, "If you don't want this additional service, let us known by $unreasonable-date or we'll start charging you for it.") It wasn't so much the borderline-scamminess of the set-up, but the fact that the rep I called to cancel it defended the entire practice.

#863 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 06:07 PM:

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Summary: the panic about the number of Millennials "still living with their parents" is being partly fueled by a misleading datum in the U.S. Census -- college students living in dormitories are included in that number.

#864 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 06:17 PM:

#853, Carol Kimball:

Not only "gullible old lady" but also such things as saying something is easy enough for your mom (or grandmother) to use, usually in relation to computers.

Yes, let's just mock not only women, but people who could easily have been using computers longer than some of the mockers have been alive.

There is no eyeroll big enough for that.

(So... my mom started programming over 30 years ago.)

#865 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Dave Bell @ 359:

*peals of laughter*

That is perfect. *still laughing*

#866 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 07:01 PM:

Bandwidth poverty.

No, this has nothing to do with computers; it's another one of those computer-related metaphors for real life. When you're constantly struggling to make ends meet, you end up having to focus on the immediate future at the cost of long-term thinking, because you've only got so much "brain bandwidth" available. Then, of course, you get called "lazy" and "shortsighted" for not thinking ahead to the long term.

#867 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 07:58 PM:

re 859: You can has awesome.

#868 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 08:12 PM:

"Yes, let's just mock not only women, but people who could easily have been using computers longer than some of the mockers have been alive."

My mom had a nickname of "Net Grandma" for a while. Mind you, she's not a programmer by any means, but she's been online (BBS-ing) since the mid-80s and can use HTML, which is a higher level of functionality than beginners can claim nowadays.

It all depends on how much you want to learn, honestly.

#869 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 09:46 PM:

The fans are gone! The lights are on! The walls are dry! The washer and dryer are working again! The...the flooring replacement is going to cost a fortune, and it looks increasingly likely that insurance won't pay for anything.

But the giant endless loud fans and the hot, hot dehumidifiers are gone. And I am sitting in the light while clothes and dishes are washed by large machines designed for that purpose. I'll take it.

#870 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 10:02 PM:

Worth noting: my mom was an administrator for NetWare and for Active Directory PDCs — and also helped out my dad, who never could figure out how to operate his work-issued "confuser".

#871 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 10:08 PM:

Hurray (I think)!

#872 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 10:22 PM:

This is so wonderful and goofy that I have to share it: embroidered eggshells.

You can see the drill holes at the ends of some of the stitches. I assume there must be largish holes in the back so the needle could be manipulated.

#873 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 10:40 PM:

Carrie S.

Lovely eggshells! If you were using a fairly long needle the hole at the back needn't be large, and one would do.

#874 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2014, 11:35 PM:

My mother (now dead) was working on machine translation of languages in the 1960s, and got a PhD in mathematics in the 1940s because it was easier than being a debutante. My partner Karen's mother is a database consultant, at 96 -- in part because she helped invent the field for the National Bureau of Standards back in the 50s, and is the only woman in a lot of the pictures of IBM training classes. And Karen herself, one of the savviest web people I know, would probably be perceived as an "old lady" by many people. Yeah, a base canard.

"Bamdwidth poverty" (not in exactly those words, but the concept) came up for me yesterday, in talking about people who choose to be homeless because the other choices are worse, to them (like being subjected to sexual or physical abuse by the current partners of their parent)/ Making sure that there's a safe place to sleep tonight is an amazing way to concentrate one's attention.

#875 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 12:31 AM:

Um. I meant Dave Bell @ 859.

#876 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 03:02 AM:

Apologies, because everyone here is absolutely right about the phrase gullible old woman being inappropriate.

I used a the phrase as a direct retort to Stefan Jones' use of it, but I could have made a retort in other ways.

At the moment I did, I noted that the gender skew was unecessary (And ditto the ageism), but thought it was rather more important that his remark, probably meant to suggest "You're a low life who preys on the most vulnerable", instead could read as suggesting it was *okay* to throw gullible people to the scammers, something with which I most vehemently disagree. (And suspect/hope that he does)

TL:DR: I'm sorry.

#877 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 06:21 AM:

Lenora Rose @ #876

Yes, the telephone equivalent of the "distraction burglars" that prey on the elderly.

#878 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 10:05 AM:

I've been programming (off and on, sometimes for what passes for fun and profit) for 45 years now. Of course, I'm still not old enough to officially retire.

The odd thing is, there was a fair percentage of women in my classes back then, more than there is now. (Which was less than the percentage 30-35 years ago, but let's not go there.)

Point being, there are a *bunch* of (probably former) female computer jocks my age.

#879 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 10:30 AM:

I've been called twice by the Windows Technical Support scammers. The first time I hung up pretty much immediately. The second time I let the caller get to "We need you to turn on your computer and give us control of it," at which point I said, "Not in this lifetime" and hung up.

Remarkably satisfying.

#880 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 01:18 PM:

One of my choirmates (who is a person who is very unconfident about computers, and constantly worried that something is going to be wrong with hers and that she's breaking it) got scammed by those guys; they got all her credit card and online banking information and completely cleaned her out. It makes me so angry.

I admit I do say "so foolproof my mother can do it" with computers, but only to people who actually know MY mother and know that her superpower is that she emits EM pulses and all electronics immediately fail in her general vicinity, even if she's not actually using them. When she was a kid, she wasn't allowed to touch the television, and she's successfully put the radio in her new car on the fritz. I suspect she may be a wizard.

#881 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 02:16 PM:

Popping in briefly:

Fade Manley: Sympathies and congratulations!

Lee #866: Also known as cognitive load. It's not just scarcity, either, almost any handicap adds cognitive load (see also "spoon theory").

#882 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 02:43 PM:

Apologies for suggesting older women are in particular gullible or non-tech savvy.

I was, in the call, trying to *shame* this jerk, and the two real-life examples in my head were trusting older relatives who got taken in or almost taken in. (And they actually didn't RECEIVE the "Windows support" call; they Googled for "____ technical support", and there are promoted hits for websites with 800 numbers that connect you to these @#$^%$#%$ parasites.)

In addition to "Does your mother know what you do this?" and "Did your mother raise you to be a crook?", I've used "What phrase do they use in India: 'Con artist' or 'Confidence trickster?'"

Or just "You should be ASHAMED!"

#883 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 02:53 PM:

From the "I wrote that?" Department:

A podcaster narrates his play-through of a solitaire RPG adventure I wrote 23 years ago:

His character's adventure came to an end right before a spot that covered by the errata.

#884 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 03:30 PM:

In the "I wrote that?" department, it's always a good sign when you find an old part-finished thing you wrote a decade ago and it makes you sniffle and then cracks you up at the foibles of the people in it, right?

Not that I had a word for it then, but MAH FEELZ, THIS FIC, SO YAY.

It's motivated me to try to finish it.

#885 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 06:55 PM:

It is looking more and more ugly in Gaza. Pictures have emerged of the results of "precision" attacks. The total area is much harder to judge from a low camera angle but the look is consistent with attacks on European cities in WW2.

My late father was trained for British Civil Defence. He once told me they expected there to be dead bodies under the rubble, and were trained to concentrate on the living.

That, and the photographs, lead me to think the current figures for deaths will increase a lot, even if nobody fires another shot.

Hiding rockets? The small Russian artillery rockets can be 9ft long and weigh 150lbs. You can imagine hiding an AK-47 or M-16 in your suitcase, but not these.

There was an strange tweet, blamed on cyber-terrorism, from an official Israeli account, about a radiation leak at Dimona. Is the denial true, or is it some sort of deniable reminder?

Israel manufactures a lot of weapons. Some they openly advertise, such as small-arms ammunition. Some is a bit more discreet, such as mortar bombs. Looking at the photographs of the damage, I wonder if they might not be advertising the development of fuel-air explosives, but Gaza is a live fire test. The tech has been around long enough that they could have developed their own,

It looks like every time I plan on going to a Worldcon, some crazy in the Middle East starts asking for Danegeld, and that never ends well. It's starting to look a bit worrying.

#886 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2014, 07:36 PM:

I am going to be on a panel at Loncon3, about furry fandom, which feels a bit strange. I don't do the usual stuff, I've just written a few stories, mostly set in the 1930s.

I expect I'll talk about the way I mix real and unreal history, and the different sorts of furry character that are possible. You get Aesop and Beatrix Potter and The Wind in the Willows, and they're all a bit different. And while I might have a cunning little vixen in my stories, she's also an intrepid, and competent, aviator. And she carries a Browning in her handbag.

And of course there are Nazis. But do you make Reinhard Heydrich a fox? And when do you get around to killing him?

I may be going in a completely different direction to the rest of the panel. A hundred years ago the world changed. And 75 years ago the word changed again. But the ideas behind science fiction had been established.

Personally, I agree with the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. Elvis Presley sounds to be preferable to Adolph Hitler as a fellow diner at breakfast. But maybe we're forgetting just what happened with right-wing governments.

Elvis Presley sounds a decent bloke too, Maybe I should arrange an auto accident for Colonel Parker, so Elvis gets a better chance to learn film acting, and stars wih John Wayne and Dean Martin in Rio Bravo.

#887 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 01:01 PM:

Carrie @ 872 -- I love that idea!

You wouldn't need that big of a hole for the embroider, but you would need to have a hole around the size of a pencil eraser to blow the egg's contents out.

I imagine they probably coat the eggs with something to make the egg shells a little less fragile.

(We have 11 hens due to start laying in a month. I wonder how well embroidered egg shells would sell on eBay or Etsy? -- Makes me wish I had a few guineas fowl now. Guineas lay eggs that are like hollow rocks with yolk inside.)

#888 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 01:19 PM:

#887, Cygnet: Nah, don't need that big of a hole to empty an egg. I've emptied them with a pair of pinholes (one just a hole from a straight pin to blow into, the other very slightly bigger, maybe twice the diameter of the pin, for the egg to drool out of). It's a lot easier if you use a syringe, then you only need a hole the size of the syringe needle to suck the egg out, plus a little pinhole for air to get in.

#889 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 01:23 PM:

You can see the hole at the bottom where the egg was blown. Maybe a little smaller than a p3encil eraser - they didn't cover it up.

I was wondering if they used curved needles.

#890 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 10:19 PM:

At long last, our constantly shifting plans have settled down enough for me to know that our visit to the UK is going to be perfectly timed to…miss Worldcon. Oops. (It's all for excellent reasons, and the trip should be great, but it's still a notable near-miss. We'll even be in the UK during the con, just not in London.)

Nevertheless, we will be in London the week before Loncon, so if anyone is around and available for a sort of sneak-preview, not-available-at-Loncon mini Gathering of Light (a gathering of glimmerings?), please speak up.

#891 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 10:46 PM:

If you're blowing an egg without a syringe, I've found that a dremel tool works well for a size that's not too big and won't leave you light-headed.

General open-threadiness about the Ebola that's spread into several western African countries: If it gets much worse, I can see it ending in guns, tanks, and bombs. Quarantine enforcement can get really nasty when people are scared.

(God, if Ebola ever got airborne...)

#892 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 11:17 PM:

#891. I think military-related "solutions" are way down the road, but even more "reasonable" measures could lead to inequity and, as Xopher pointed out, on Twitter, be used to settle old scores.

#893 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 27, 2014, 11:52 PM:

B. Durbin @891: won't leave you light-headed.

Light-headed? Por qua?

#894 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 12:38 AM:

Next time you get a "Windows Technical Support" call, try this response:

"Sir, according to the back trace I just ran you are calling from an IP address registered with Liz Infotech of Kolkata, India. Is that correct?"

That firm is heavily associated with these scams, and them thinking you're looking back at them might put some fear into them.

#895 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 01:16 AM:

Doctors trying to stem the Ebola outbreaks in west Africa are being blocked from entering villages; locals trust witch doctors more:


#896 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 07:51 AM:

dotless ı, a crepuscular gathering?

Jacque @ #893, light-headed from puffing & blowing, maybe?

#897 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 10:14 AM:

A mention in the Quantum Theology blog sent me to this link on Japanese communal poetry

There are variations (one more formal and one more comic), but in general there should be a connection between one verse and the next but not an overall theme or narrative structure. Depending on the variation verses may be all haiku or a mix of haiku and a form with two 7-syllable lines. There are some content rules, e.g. the moon must be mentioned once each page (where a page is roughly the amount that would fit on a handwritten page; 8 / 14/14/etc. verses), and if love is mentioned, it must be mentioned again in the next verse and may be mentioned in the third verse, but cannot continue to a fourth verse.

Apparently it's normally done in person.

It strikes me as a very Fluorospherian activity.

#898 ::: john, who is incognito and definitely not at work ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 10:31 AM:

Open-threadiness: the dilemma of how to honor Ramadan in a place where for two months the sun doesn't set.

#899 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 12:52 PM:

Yeah, only got one of those scam calls. They were very flustered when I asked, first, which computer, and then "I'm sorry, I don't understand. What is this Windows of which you speak?" Yes, my house is a full-linux shop (except for the Xbox I guess).

Dave: I'm surprised anyone fell for the trick, even at a scam shop. However, Here is a good collection of sites to give out. Note to all: if you don't get the joke, don't go to any of these sites. If you're actually looking for anything "unusual", don't go to any of these sites - at least if you're looking for anything new and unusual.

#900 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 01:09 PM:

An unexpected twinge, looking at your list, Mycroft: (as in was my late net.friend J.D. Falk.

#901 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 01:13 PM:

Could someone explain what that list is to people who don't already know, in terms comprehensible to such people? This kind of delicate evasiveness is exclusionary and confusing, which is to say, not good communication or conversation.


#902 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 01:52 PM:

#901, abi: I can attempt to unpack how I read it.

My interpretation based on both the warning given by Mycroft W and by context on the page itself was that the list of sites on the linked page will infect your computer with some malware, such as a virus or maybe a backdoor that will allow somebody to take over your computer.

The context from the page that I read was:

* domain is BOFH = Bastard Operator From Hell, aka a (fictional) person who manages a large organization's computers, hates users, and acts in malicious ways toward them. The BOFH stories can be entertaining if you're in a particularly misanthropic mood.

* it advertises a list of "warez" sites. "Warez" = commercial programs and games which have been cracked so the copy protection is no longer active and you can use them without paying for them. They have a very long standing reputation for being riddled with viruses and backdoors.

* "reverse authentication look-up to local FTP daemon" = the computer you're connecting to will try to log in to your computer using a system that allows it to upload files.

* "Anonymous might not allways work [...] you might have to use your own userid and password." = getting people to type in their own username and password for the computer they're connecting with. The computer they're connecting *to* can then try to connect back and use their u/p to invade their computer. It will probably refuse an "anonymous" login if your computer refuses anon logins (see item above).

* "simple PC's with Wind0wz are also totally off the limits. Go to your shell account and use a real operating systems. L4m3rs without multitasking can't get in." = I'm not sure if this is tweaking windows users and getting them to try anyway just to show that they can get in (and getting infected) or if the malware is linux specific and they're making sure people log in with the OS they're targeting.

* an example FTP session for those who don't already know how to use it, to increase the number of less-sophisticated users capable of connecting to the list of sites.

So yeah. Don't connect to any of those sites.

The "if you don't get the joke" part of the warning was because the first three items of context I listed require a certain amount of specific knowledge which most people don't have. The first two may also be historical knowledge; it's been well over ten years since I hung around with people who could be mostly assumed to know about BOFH and warez, so I don't know how current that knowledge is.

#903 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 01:56 PM:

I've just received word, via Facebook, that Margot Adler has died.

She was a great lady, a terrific writer, and a great and generous soul with a wonderful sense of humor. She was particularly kind to me, playing the part of "Margot Adler" in a mock-radio piece I wrote for Rites of Spring one year.

#904 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 02:15 PM:


They're malicious in the sense of being a timewaster for the clueless.

The usual trick is to loop back any FTP request so that the requester is looking at their own system. This can result in hours of wasted time as the seeker for warez checks for everything on the alleged server and discovers they've already got it. Eventually the penny drops. Some of them get Very Annoyed Indeed.

One hilarious stunt was when someone left an "open" FTP server; this was quickly seized upon by the script kiddies and flood-filled with illicit uploads, none of which were any use at all when re-downloaded. They spent several days leaving rude messages to one another, along the lines of "upload in BINARY, you idiots!", to no avail. As the owner later commented: "dropping the top bit and translating everything to EBCDIC works wonders".

Demon Internet apparently had two publicly-announced servers, and that didn't actually exist except as a time sink for crackers.


#905 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 02:22 PM:

I have to say that the one about translating everything to EBCDIC had me giggling. (How many people even know what that is, any more?)

#906 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 02:27 PM:

So, what is EBCDIC, anyway?

#907 ::: zzatz ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 02:28 PM:


The list contains subdomains which resolve to the numerical Internet address of, which is defined to be the local computer. The names are chosen to suggest illicit content, but you are actually connecting to your own computer.

The Internet works with numerical addresses. Version 4 of the Internet Protocol uses 32 bit numbers, written as "dotted quads", which are decimal equivalents of four 8 bit numbers, separated by periods or full stops. is your local computer. It may seem strange to need to connect to your local computer as if it were another computer elsewhere, but it is surprisingly useful. For example, if you wanted to play chess with someone far away, you could each run clients that connect to a server somewhere. But if you want to play against the computer, the game starts a server on your local computer and your client connects to You use the same client to play against the computer as you would play against other people; only the address of the server changes.

People aren't good at remembering numbers, so DNS (Domain Name System) is layered on top of the Internet. This provides a distributed system to look up names and resolve them to numerical IP addresses. Your computer usually asks your ISP's name server to look up the name. It will look up the base name, such as It will then ask to look up the subdomain, such as Domain names need to follow rules, but the domain owner can create whatever subdomains he wishes, so they are available for jokes and pranks.

If you find new and interesting photos at, you need to talk to the other users of your computer.

#908 ::: janra ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 02:58 PM:

Ah, so it's timewasting malicious, not virus-installing malicious. I didn't look up what the domains resolved to.

#909 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 03:00 PM:

It's a character code (Extended Binary-Coded Decimal Interchange Code) used by older IBM machines up through the 360 models. It doesn't match anything currently in use, and was pretty weird to begin with.

#910 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 03:09 PM:

EBCDIC is mainfraime encoding, contrasted with ASCII. So it's another way to turn letters into zeroes and ones and back again.

(Story time. My first major software testing project was a UK-wide Y2K test for banks run by APACS, then the national payments-processing body. Basically, banks would send APACS transaction files of payments to and from other banks, APACS would mix and match, and would then send the payments files to the appropriate correspondent banks. The big question was, would it work on The Big Night?

Each of the banks had to have a change- and access-controlled test environment to fiddle with the dates of. Very clean-room stuff, in theory, but of course in practice each environment was cobbled together as a subset of the required systems plus stubs and drivers for everything not needed.

To succeed at the tests, we had to partner with other banks, so we could send each other payments and prove the end-to-end processing. So payments had to go from my employer (the Royal Bank of Scotland) via APACS to our partner bank, and payment from them to us.

Unfortunately, APACS ran on UNIX, and our partner bank ran on mainframes. And although they had built a lovely payment system, they had omitted one key component: the ASCII-EBCDIC converter.

I will never forget the voices on the other end of the conference call when they realized how very, very screwed that made them. We were only mildly screwed, since we'd sent payments to other banks as well, and could prove end to end by other means.

But yeah, EBCDIC.)

#911 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 03:41 PM:

P J Evans@909: EBCDIC is certainly still in use, although I managed to get through about half my programming career before I had to deal with it in real life. It's notable for the number of "natural" (if you're used to ASCII) properties it doesn't follow; e.g., the letters aren't in contiguous positions. (The fact that the letters are grouped nicely on a punchcard layout doesn't seem to come up much anymore.) Even before I needed to use EBCDIC, I liked knowing the cases where the rules broke down.

It just occurred to me that "where the rules break down" sounds like Cherie Priest's definition of horror. (Code)paging Mr. Stross! There are some letters for you...

#912 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:18 PM:

Somewhere in one of my boxes I have an EBCDIC reference card. I am really really happy that I don't need it. (It's even worse than Rad50, which at least bears some resemblance to ASCII.)

#913 ::: jon singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:37 PM:

I am deeply saddened at hearing that Margot is gone. She was an amazing person. I met her, almost certainly through or in connection with Jim Freund, soon after I got into fandom; used to run into her, seemingly at random, in the subway, and we would talk until one of us had to get on a train...

#914 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 04:46 PM:


Current work project relates to a system whose primary file format (devised when I was still in secondary school; I'm now considering retirement) is a mixture of raw binary, binary coded decimal (with and without sign digits) and EBCDIC character fields. These fields do NOT occur in fixed places within the records.

The file format is still used in communication with outside organisations and so we have to keep using it, even if the system gets ported to a modern platform, such as Red Hat Linux.

Fun for all.

J Homes.

#915 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 05:34 PM:


It's still in use, I've got systems that use it every day. Well, every banking day anyway.

Picture ASCII as designed by a committee where human comprehension wasn't a design goal. ASCII has all the letters as a continuous block. A = 65, B=66, Z=A + 26. Standard printables all fits in 7 bits, All that niceness. EBCDIC doesn't. The letters are interrupted by other symbols, some of the ordinary characters are above 127. I'm sure that it all makes sense mod(punchcards).

The worst part about it is that when you're dealing with a mixed binary/ file, all the low level hex editors assume ASCII, so your binary bits look just as mixed up as the EBCDIC ones. (except for the ASCII strings embedded in the binary blobs in the EBCDIC file. _Those_ look normal.)

OTOH, once you've figured out how to make a workflow work with that, unicode doesn't seem that bad anymore.

#916 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:54 PM:

Unfortunately, it seems few, if any, sites on that list is still up. I tried to ping a sample, and got nothing but DNS errors. So they don't even resolve to anymore.

#917 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:56 PM:

I still have to accept data from a system that operates in EBCDIC. There is a 1-character field that they use to encode something important, and it turns out we need to keep track of a lot more different kinds of things than were originally contemplated. SO after assigning codes A to Z and 0 to 1 and a to z and all the keyboardable punctuation marks, they began assigning á and à and â and so on. So not only do I have to deal with EBCDIC; I have to worry about EBCDIC code pages.

#918 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:57 PM:

Unfortunately, it seems few, if any, sites on that list is still up. I tried to ping a sample, and got nothing but DNS errors. So they don't even resolve to anymore.

#919 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Handy pro tip: if your text file is mostly accented letters and @ signs, somebody forgot to convert from EBCDIC to ASCII when they FTP'ed it to you.

#920 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 06:58 PM:

Internal server error, didn't see myself on the most recent comments list, resubmitted. Double-posted.


What's the current best-practice guideline for avoiding that?

#921 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 07:21 PM:

Buddha Buck (920): If you post something else, that will often--but not always--shake loose the one caught in the Internal Server Error. So people will either add a little addendum to the first piece, or post something along the lines of "previous comment caught in ISE, trying to shake it loose".

#922 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 08:08 PM:

Here's NPR's brief blog entry about Margot.

#923 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 10:21 PM:

Bill Stewart@847: high-botanical infused gin

Please report with any recipes you particularly like. I think we could find some uses for this.

#924 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2014, 10:59 PM:

Margot Adler was also a Clarion West graduate, from 1973. Odd connections into the community.

#925 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 12:23 AM:

Bill Stewart @ 847 / dotless ı @ 923: I too would like to know more. One thought might be to make a very aggressive herbal infusion (I've got a shiso one brewing now) in neutral spirit, and add that to a gin you already like. Not that it's something that would agree with gin, but a superconcentrated lavender infusion is a fun tincture to have around. I made one in 2010 and still use it on occasion.

Then there's the liquid flamethrower, but no one should make that. For any reason.

#926 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 01:27 AM:

I probably first heard Margot Adler on the radio on NPR in the 80s, or maybe on WBAI. There was one interview, probably with Susan Stanberg on All Things Considered, where I remember her talking about nature and spirituality and the group she practiced with, and since it was fall, she sang a short round about "A river of birds in migration", which so much felt like the Atlantic flyway with geese migrating by. (And NPR being the conservative lot that they are, she seemed to be minimizing the use of words like "coven" that could freak the mundanes, but still conveying a lot of depth and saying what she wanted to say.)
I'll miss her.

#927 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:56 AM:

Mycroft W @ #899:

Oh. My. That brings back memories... It seems my example FTP session is still on the page ("cat" was followed by "head" and "tail" as home servers, continuing the theme of picking hostnames that were feline-connected and unix commands).

abi @ #901:

The IP address should always result in you connecting to the machine you're initiating the connection from (it's more commonly known as "localhost"). The classic complaint from people in the warez scene trying this was "bad sites, don't have anything I don't already have" (no, that's because it's your machine).

janra @ #902:

You're correct that connecting to them is useless. Mostly, Windows machines don't run FTP servers, whereas many unix machines of taht age had one running. So, connecting from Windows would fail.

#928 ::: Incognito Because Reasons ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:54 AM:

AKICIML question:

I am finally coming out of a kind of dark period in my life. Adopting a cat helped. What it's done to one of my rooms while I wasn't in shape to keep the litter box up didn't.

Is there a guide to depisstifying (as opposed to demystifying) a room?

#929 ::: Incognito Because Reasons ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:54 AM:

AKICIML question:

I am finally coming out of a kind of dark period in my life. Adopting a cat helped. What it's done to one of my rooms while I wasn't in shape to keep the litter box up didn't.

Is there a guide to depisstifying (as opposed to demystifying) a room?

#930 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 11:07 AM:

Incognito @628, you'll need to start with a good enzyme cleaner; the brand that comes to mind is "Nature's Miracle" but there are others as well. Any pet store should stock it. Use it liberally. A "black light" will make areas where your cat urinated glow; focus on those. (The enzyme cleaner will not remove the glow, so don't panic when it doesn't stop fluorescing.)

Beyond that, it depends on the kind of damage, I think. Are you willing to go into more detail?

#931 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 01:06 PM:

Incognito, I also recommend the enzyme cleaner. I've done baking soda beaten into the carpet as well. It may help to use a very good cat litter while you're cleaning up; I adore the Arm & Hammer stuff in the black box because it absolutely stops smell from my cat. I have no experience with rented carpet cleaners, but that might be a good step.

#932 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 01:51 PM:

Be careful with the carpet cleaner, especially in combination with the enzymes, though. If the carpet doesn't dry promptly, it can actually make things worse. Oh, so very much worse....

#933 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 03:25 PM:

My pet stain removal regime:

Mop up with paper towel.

Generously apply "Nature's Miracle" or similar cleaner. Mop up with old rag.

Dump a bunch of cheap sodium bicarb on the area. Work in with brush. Yes, this makes a solid.

Put a few paper towels on the area, then sheet of newspaper folded up.

WEIGHT DOWN. Leave it be over night or while you are at work.

Toss away stained paper towels and newspaper. Marvel at the amount of stuff still in carpet. Repeat with new papers.

When the sodium bicarb is really dry, use a brush to break up the stuff. Vacuum up.

After all the spots are done, consider renting a carpet shampooer, preferably on a really hot dry day. Go over things with just water, then shampoo, then with just water again.

#934 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 04:52 PM:

Someone's talking again about how they made zillions self-publishing.

Looks like the same old thing to me; alleged success trumpets own alleged success, blames eeevil publishers for being mean and having standards.

Has anything actually changed since Scalzi vs. Von Straumann, 2010 ?

#935 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:25 PM:

Open Thread:
Articles on my dad here (not Wikipedia) and here.

#936 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 07:29 PM:

My apologies, abi, all, for the confusion/exclusion. Thanks all, for the translation.

My thought was, that if you understood the game, it would be a quick jump from there, on that page, with the "you must use YOUR OWN username and password" bit, to the realization that all those would resolve to Clearly, that wasn't clear, and my breadcrumbs didn't help.

And then my proxy server wouldn't let me at ML for all of yesterday, so I only saw it today.

Clearly, I should have mentioned that the warning was not for malware, but for "it won't help..."

And yes, Ingvar, you know me (in my real name) from a long way back.

#937 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 08:45 PM:

Carol, you and your family have the right to be proud of your father.

#938 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 09:53 PM:

For pet vomit stains, technology rules. For about $100 on the net I bought a machine that shampoos a 6-inch (15-cm) circle of carpet in three minutes. There is a setting for set-in stains that goes longer. The machine is the size of two shoe boxes stacked on top of each other. It wants to use its own brand of shampoo, naturally, but it comes with a sample.

A friend recommended this. I think the manufacturer is Bissell, but would you believe that mine has no brand name printed on it?

The downside is that it whines like a vacuum. Laid-back Cat has deduced that It Is Not The Vacuum, but Hair-trigger Cat still heads for the closet.

Highly worth the money, if you have $100 to spare.

#939 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:02 PM:

How about cat pee in a car, from a poor cat who got a bit nervous about going to the vet and peed right through the carrier? I'm hoping hard winter freezes will kill it off, but in the meantime I've got 7 days of driving ahead of me getting to and from Mythcon. I've tried soaking the seats with two different varieties of enzyme cleaners -- used up a bottle and a half already. It seems to work for a day or two but obviously I'm not finding all of it. Perhaps the black light would help locate it...

#940 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 10:25 PM:


Powder the seats with baking soda? Vacuum it out every few days, and reapply?

#941 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 11:06 PM:

Thank you, Allan.

#942 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: July 29, 2014, 11:15 PM:

#893 Jacque: Light-headed? Por qua?

Definitely from puffing and blowing. I used to drill smaller hole sizes for blowing eggs but the effort to force the membranes through (even cut) was definitely too much. The dremel makes holes just enough bigger that the membranes don't require forcing.

At some point I have to actually decide what to paint on those blown eggs. Oh well, their location is such that they aren't taking up space I'd otherwise be using.

#943 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 01:25 AM:

B. Durbin: My puzzlement stems from the fact that I don't actually use my lungs to blow my eggs, just a mouthful of air, which I "bite" down on to exert pressure, breathing normally through my nose. Even at that, I have to put my thumbs on my cheeks to keep from blowing my "Dizzy Gillespie" valves. Also: I use bigger holes than described (because I'm lazy, and anyway they're mostly getting paved over with papier mache), and poke the membrane through the bottom hole, so it doesn't get a chance to resist.

#944 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 04:21 AM:


Say you make a post for a blog you like that uses Disqus. It's just text, not even any HTML markup.

Say you click Post and get a preview box with an orange bar bearing a message you have never seen before, asking you to identify the username and source address, or something like that.

Say there's nothing to click except a tiny "This is a Graphic" placeholder below the orange bar.

So you click it, and you see the contents of a folder on your hard drive, viz., scanned copies of new hire paperwork for your latest job, which you previously (as in more than a week ago) attached to a message that you sent from this computer via your password-protected account on your new employer's employee-only e-mail service, which happens to be Outlook Yayyy We're In the Cloud, or whatever it's called.

After you make a new post frantically asking the blog owner to remove any attachment or graphic she sees, and send it, and see it go up normally and furthermore see that it is your only post, and surf away from that blog as fast as your mouse will go . . . what do you do? Besides venting, who do you even tell?

I mean, what the frack just happened here?!

#945 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 10:35 AM:

dotless ı @890: I WILL be at Loncon, but I live on the outskirts of London, so I could make it to a mini-Gathering next week as well.

#946 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 11:57 AM:

Jenny Islander @944: Disqus did not fully load so you saw the placeholder text instead of a graphic button. My guess is that the button would have said something like "Attach" or "Insert Media". When clicked it brought up the local file browser so you could choose files to upload. Since you canceled out, none of your local files were uploaded.

The placeholder text is supposed describe the function of the button. Unfortunately, coding on the web often fails to do simple basic things like this.

#947 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 01:11 PM:

Disqus is flaky, but it's not the worst commenting system available.

#948 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2014, 04:17 PM:

Just so you know, Open thread 199 is now up.

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