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August 16, 2017

Open Thread 219
Posted by Patrick at 05:51 AM * 1231 comments

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

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

Cable Street, London, 4th October 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

1129, 1130

We have met the enemy, and he is us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Harmon @ 4:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dave Harmon @4

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

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

@dbb from the previous OT:

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

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

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

Gah, that was addressed to dcb...

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

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

Quill @11:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bullies. Keep the cameras rolling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schadenfreude fodder:

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

I suggest we call this the Scut Farkas Syndrome.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time to kill this snake is now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simply put, if you are

Physically or mentally different from the "norm"
Native American

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

¹ Historical reference intended. ;-)

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

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

Jacque @15:

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

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

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

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

Tom Whitmore and Jenny Islander:

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

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

That's the difference.

Buddha Buck @ 33:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus wept....

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

I am inclined to think you are not wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words: who started it matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dcb #17:

Thanks. Tips & advice gratefully accepted.

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

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

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

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

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

There's your symmetry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Andy Serkis as Gollum reading a Trump tweet

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

Who's the next comedian going to be?

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

Fragano @53:

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

I thought I was a better person.

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

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

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

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

* Yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fragano, #27: Hear, hear!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xeger #54:

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

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

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

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

But he did get an entire planet to play with.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anne Sheller #72: Much cheaper to give them this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How to Make Sixty Enchiladas with One Small Chicken”

1. Find a really smart chicken. With thumbs.

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

And some Open Threadiness, albeit on a related topic:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They've found the Indianapolis in the south Pacific.
Photos of it here:

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

HelenS @84: Wikipedia definitely agrees with you.

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

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

(It bends, but slowly.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[*smacking the server*]

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

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

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

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

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

Race Traitor Xopher@ #45:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angiportus Librarysaver #92:

You owe me a new keyboard.

dcb #95:

Thanks. (Makes a note)

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

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

Lee @ #90:

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

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

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

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

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

Just saw at File770 that Brian Aldiss has died.

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

P J Evans @ #100:

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

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

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

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

Doug @ #OT218/1107:

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

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

I just hope anyone who attended learned something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian Aldiss has passed away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It seems we have cats and kittens.

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

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

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

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

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

So many things are ending.

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

CHip @ #109:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P J Evans @ 115:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone at NASA had a high-speed camera in Wyoming and got video of the space station passing in front of the sun during the eclipse.

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

@ various:

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

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

The people on the space station got some very nice views of the eclipse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Argh. Stupid browser.

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

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

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

David Goldfarb @ 126 -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHip @109 Ingvar M @114:

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

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

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

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

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

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



A very geeky joke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

My twitter report of seeing totality:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

During totality it was like well into twilight.

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

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

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

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

to be cited as evidence by Hollow-Earthers.

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

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

Today there's a video sequence from a satellite. You can watch the shadow as the earth turns. (The URL will change, this is the one for today)

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

I'll second Alan's sentiments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Assuming it's not cloudy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

and today's xkcd is relevant here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anne Sheller @72:

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

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

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

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

Tom Whitmore @150: Kcymaerxthaere

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

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

Interesting pinhole camera:

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

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

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

Still, one can hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anne Sheller #72, Quill #153:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My eclipse report:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read all the comments.

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

Agh, link didn't go through

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes Georgia is just so quaint.

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

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

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

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

The gentle journey jars to stop.
The drifting dream is done.
The long-gone goblins loom ahead.
The deadly, who we thought were dead,
Stand waiting, every one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See an eclipse, get a hurricane.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One wonders what he would write today?

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

Andrew Plotkin, excellent recommendations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHip @170:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There's a satellite pic of Harvey making landfall:
The eye is smaller than San Antonio. And the cloud bands go all the way to Midland-Odessa.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That I will, thanks.

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

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

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

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

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

Every Windows computer knows about that file-type.

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

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

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

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

A description of the Scam from 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stefan Jones #184:

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

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

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

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

* * *

The last time a scammer called:

"Which system is reporting the error?"


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

"You have a Mac computer?"

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


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

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


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

"I . . ."


He hung up before I could have more fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can anybody point me to such a thing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHip @ 217

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Bruce H. @ #220:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Thready Minor gender/pronoun question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which entirely fails to convey the experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandy B @227:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TomB #222

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


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

Thanks for an enlightening hint!

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

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

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

Houston Transtar. Darn auto carrot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odaichini @245:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ty all for the clarification!

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

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


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

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

#253 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2017, 10:59 PM:



#254 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 12:37 PM:

albatross @253:

If is connecting you to, either you work for the FBI or you should be very worried.

#255 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 12:46 PM:

albatross #253: More seriously, the loopback address is too well known. I've heard reports of at least some scammers immediately hanging up when someone tried giving that as their IP.

#256 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 03:26 PM:

I have, sometimes, made firm but polite requests to the scammers that I need the specific IP address, because there are several computers on the network. Oh, I know it's a scam, they know nothing at all, but they seem to think I am a possible sucker because I am talking to them. And I say things like, "Every packet sent over that internet has to have the source IP address in the headers. How can you not know?"

I even sympathise over the way in which Microsoft appears to be giving them inadequate information.

The down side to all this is that they are starting to switch to abusive language, rather than just hang up.

#257 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2017, 05:02 PM:

Since we finally got home after the eclipse trip, with three days of delay waiting for Harvey to vacate, here's some eclipse video.

#258 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2017, 03:19 AM:

I hope where you live is doing okay, Steve.

#259 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2017, 08:47 AM:

Thanks, David. We found a slightly musty smell in the house, and one tiny dried-up worm in the bedroom by the sliding glass patio door. So we may have gotten a small bit of water splashed up onto the door which then dried in the A/C. I think we had a brief power outage.

The neighborhood itself has good drainage, and they did some releases from the levees which brought water up to the sidewalk level, but that was all gone by the time we drove in.

#260 ::: crazysoph ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 02:07 AM:

I just read a lovely SF story, and then went back to my Twitter feed, then realised the Hugos may have a small gap in their categories: there are some very funny Twitter accounts that manage beautiful stories or moments within the character limit.

I would not want to nominate individual tweets, but is there some way to create a category for accounts creating short tidbits like this? I can already see some problems as I type: for instance, this first notion is too platform-specific.

But, if you've noted the same kinds of creativity, perhaps there's more to mull over and better articulate something that could work.

Crazy(but happy to have thought of this)Soph

#261 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 03:43 AM:

crazysoph, with Twitter's new TOS, essentially allowing them to SELL anything that's posted to the site, I wouldn't want to use Twitter to make anything commercial available. Maybe there are special terms for the paying advertisers, but right now it stinks big-time, going back to the copyright grabs of the last century.

My understanding is that the internet depends on being able to copy stuff, just to be able to move it around. even private email, but what Twitter is doing goes way beyond any necessity of the service. And they're not the only people making this sort of grab.

So whether there will be any good stuff, I just don't know. And can this micro-fiction, maybe nano-fiction, ever be worth it? Outfits such as Twitter and Facebook and Lifejournal are looking pretty pointless for creative people.

#262 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 05:49 AM:

I don't know if you know Micro-SFF; but my daughter, who is a fan, nominated him for a Hugo. I seem to remember that he head something on his webpage suggesting what he thought was the most appropriate category.

(In general, I don't think the category should be determined by the Medium. I can imagine someone nominating Ursula Vernon's tweet-thoughts of Swiss Family Robinson under 'Best Related Work'. 1

1. Of course the tweet thread about decomposing whales - some of which was also in her Hugo acceptance speech - is a leading contender for 'Best Related Worms.'

#263 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 09:07 AM:

I think "Best Fan Writer" is the most appropriate category for Twitter accounts.

#264 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 11:59 AM:

crazysoph @ #260:

I know that @MicroSFF has been nominated in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, in the "fan writer" category (may show up in the long-list as O. Westin), for some years, this is from written docs, and for others from having nominated.

#265 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2017, 12:04 PM:

HLN, from a different L than usual:

Local woman has moved to Toronto and is living in a hostel following the three-weeks-previous falling through of the apartment she'd leased, for no fault on the part of the leaser or leasee, as "horrible illness preventing needed repairs being done on time" is a very good reason. Local woman has her deposit back. "I really wish all these apartment blocks wouldn't advertise when they don't actually have vacancies," she complained to reporters.

Local woman is also teaching her first undergrad seminar on Tuesday and is wracked with nerves. She was overheard saying to a friend that "if [she] screws up [her] own coursework, that's one thing, but if [she wrecks] a course for fifty other people, that's awful."

#266 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 08:26 AM:

@265, Em, that's rough. Hope you find a place soon.

#267 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Random health info: I contacted my doctor over email because I had been experiencing a lot of fatigue (plus various other symptoms). She sent back a depression screening and decided I was mildly depressed because "feeling an inability to get tasks done" (due to FATIGUE) was a signal. After some back-and-forth (no in-person visit; I wanted to be on the same page first), she agreed to do a blood test.

And guess what? Rock bottom iron levels (ferritin, not in the normal blood test.) "But that shouldn't make you so fatigued without the anemia," she wrote. (Online medical journals confirm that low ferritin can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, heart irregularities, and higher blood pressure without anemia being present... yet. Funny how low iron levels invariably leads to anemia.)

Iron deficiency is pretty common, especially in women of childbearing age. And it's pretty easily fixed, though iron supplements can be uncomfortable. But I'm pretty annoyed that it took a lot of badgering to even get a basic test for it, and that my (soon to be former) doctor wasn't interested in any follow-up as to why. (Oh, and quick note—do not self-diagnose for this. I had a friend who had similar principle symptoms, fatigue and shortness of breath, and her issue was a clotting disorder. Iron would have been the worst thing she could possibly do.)

#268 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 01:20 PM:

Hello, open thread!

Resistbot is responding very slowly today. I can only assume it's because a lot of people in the U.S. have something very important to say to their congresscritters. I know I do.

In similar news, I have recently been introduced to the Postcards to Voters project. From what I've seen so far, I highly recommend it.

#269 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2017, 02:10 PM:

B Durbin @ 267... My best wishes for a quick recovery.

#271 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2017, 11:06 PM:

That doctor sounds very frustrating. I have lower-than-usual bloodstuff today too, as it turns out, though mine is shorter-term and more typical-- I tend to refer to it as 'not enough blood' or 'low-quality blood' because I find out at the blood donation center at the hospital. Another week of iron supplements with orange juice, then I'll try again.

#272 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2017, 11:51 PM:

So as soon as David Goldfarb starts drying off, we read that Fragano may be in for a blow. (With luck, Irma will have worn down after walking 200 miles up the Florida pensinsula -- but the forecasts that far out are very loose about the possible track, so it could just stay strong going up the Gulf coast.) Here's hoping all MLers in Florida stay safe. (Or further southeast; a grade-school classmate is probably picking up a mess around now, but I don't know whether any MLers are on the islands.) I just got word that my Texas cousins are all hale (although at least one is still out of home), so that's something.

#273 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:14 AM:

Latest forecasts have Irma going up the east side of Florida, with the eye hitting land around Savannah or Hilton Head Monday evening. not going to be missed by it, although the eye may be off the east coast by a little. They're hoping it doesn't turn inland over South Carolina, because that would be just like Matthew last year.

#274 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:33 AM:

I was informed this afternoon that one of my cousins in the Islands has had the roof blown off.

#275 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 12:43 PM:

I just got an all clear from an old friend in Antigua. Another friend "complained" about being forced to spend an extra two days in Dominica (he lives in Toronto). I'm worried about a friend in St Martin, for the whole island seems to have been trashed according to both the French and Dutch authorities.

I also hope Michael Roberts of this parish, who's in PR, is okay.

#276 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 02:03 PM:

The island of St. Martin (or, more properly, Sint Maarten) tried to kill my husband when our cruise ship stopped there. But that doesn't mean that I want anything bad to happen to it. Well, maybe to a certain tiki statue...

We'd left the ship with the intent of going over to the French (Saint-Martin) side of the island. We stopped first for lunch at a little place just off the beach. Outdoor seating only, with a couple of massive 7' tall hewn tree-trunk tiki statues. Out of nowhere, a storm blew up. Very strong winds. We took shelter against the wall of the restaurant (the only interior was the kitchen, which, obviously, we weren't allowed into.) One of the tiki statues toppled in the windstorm and fell; missed my husband by about 2". Probably would have seriously injured or even killed him had it hit him. The storm only lasted about 10 or 20 minutes but we were soaked to the skin by the time it passed. Never did get to the French side of St. Martin. But by ghod did we come away with a story to tell....

#277 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2017, 06:34 PM:

Some of the features on Pluto now have Official Names:

#278 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 04:12 PM:

Fragano (and any others concerned):
Michael Roberts has been posting intermittent updates on Facebook, and he and his family are all doing fine. His area got heavy rains and some winds but never lost power or Internet; they're on the opposite side of the mountains from Irma.

#279 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 04:18 PM:

AKICIML: The other day I used the phrase "commanding trousers of great knowledge" to describe a bloviating jerk. At the time I felt inspired, but now I have a feeling that I was quoting somebody. However, I can't find it on DuckDuckGo. Has anybody else heard this?

#280 ::: Odalchini ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 05:32 PM:

Jenny Islander #279: I think that was inspired – wonderful image (whose implications may vary according to your upbringing).

Somehow made me think of Pratchett's "trousers of time", which I'm certain have nothing to do with it.

#281 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 05:42 PM:

Odalchini, my mind also went to Pratchett, but I don't know if that specific phrase was his.

#282 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 06:10 PM:

B. Durbin @267: I'm currently reading How Doctors Think by Dr. Jerome Groopman. I'm only a little way into it, be he's already detailed some of the different errors of thought that cause doctors to miss things (including failing to follow up on what a patient reports).

#283 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2017, 08:10 PM:

Jerry Pournelle has died. He was a man who polarized a great many discussions, in the manner of Heinlein who he emulated. He was at times difficult; at other times, extremely kind and generous. May we remember the good he did.

#284 ::: annejohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 03:59 PM:

Tangentially related to 'trousers of time' and entertaining featuring Wallace and Gromit

#285 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 10:14 PM:

@273: and now the predicted path has unkinked a bit, toward Florida's west coast. The stone is going to be bad for some pitcher; hope everyone in the path has left, or battened down safely.

#286 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2017, 10:47 PM:

Karen's mother in Naples (FL) has battened down in her new condo, built well enough that they're serving as a shelter for 300 people beyond the 400 who live there normally, including the CEO of the operating company who flew in from the Midwest. They look to be in good shape.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 02:20 PM:

There's another claim of decrypting the Voynich manuscript. This time they're saying it's about women's medicine, and it was written using common medieval Latin abbreviations, mostly for herbal/pharmaceutical use.
So far, it's only been published at BoingBoing, so it's not exactly a trustworthy claim.

#288 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 03:37 PM:

@287, scholars of the Voynich manuscript are skeptical of the claim.

#289 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 04:16 PM:

Cassy B, so am I. If it were that simple, I'd have expected it to be deciphered a long time ago. (I remember reading about the manuscript back in the 60s, in the late lamented Horizon magazine.)

#290 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2017, 04:57 PM:

@289: I'm sticking with the Necronomicon theory.

#291 ::: Terry Hunt ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 03:57 AM:

Jenny Islander #279: I can't help you with "commanding trousers of great knowledge", but it might be a clever paraphrase of the standard British description (usually applied by women) of a loudly and sexistly opinionated man as "all mouth and trousers."

#292 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 04:09 AM:

The basic idea of what the Voynich manuscript is, some sort of health manual, is fairly respectable, if not certain. Nicholas Gibbs publishes his explanation in the TLS, and manages to present that, falsely, as entirely his idea, coming from a supposed unusual viewpoint.

He says it started when he was commissioned "to analyse the illustrations of the Voynich manuscript and examine the commentators’ theories" by a TV production company. This makes a sort of sense, since he says he is some sort of artist.

Several details of his ideas, such as the argument that some sort of page-number/indexing is missing from every page seem to be things that might be apparent to somebody who has examined the actual manuscript, but he seems to have stayed well away from it.

And the TLS seems to have been rather uncritical. They don't say anything at all about Mr. Gibb, nothing that gives us a context, as though he came out of nowhere.

It's being suggested that he is trying to talk up a script he is trying to sell. It's claimed that he has avoided contacting the people who could have blown a hole in it. It does start to look that way.

If you come at it with a vague general knowledge. the TLS article does look plausible. But it's not a new idea, it's not something original. And what might be, the actual decryption, doesn't seem to hold up. We see a tiny part of that, and for all we know, the article shows the only two lines that are even close to working.

#293 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 08:32 PM:

Well this has been a shit week. Jerry and Len were both something between acquaintances and friends. One of them would have been ok, but the both of them sort of added up. Part of it is, I think, that both of the are, in some ways, famous, so I don't exactly get to own them; because my sense of them is being swamped.

Also, I'm having a lot of anxiety, so there's that.

One of the things I've been having trouble with, because of the various anxieties, is my already less than stellar eating habits even worse. So I'm trying to make an effort to eat; which led to my writing a poem about my breakfast, after the manner of Bashō and W. Carlos Williams,

Yesterdays’s fishcakes
Were in the fridge, so good,
And so cold.

I saved them for breakfast,
And you did not eat them.

#294 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 09:08 PM:

I understand anxiety.
The last few weeks have been a little more stressed than usual, made more difficult by trying to become the informed patient they tell me I should be, and finding that no one with information actually seems to want to inform me.n!@#$%^&*()_!!!!

#295 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 10:10 PM:

I seem to have more than just normal anxieties. We shall see what the therapist I have an app't with has to say.

#296 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 10:35 PM:

Terry Karney - hugs. Having known people who've gone through both anxiety and depression, anxiety tells lies at least as viciously as depression does, and it wants you to pay attention to them. (Not that you can't have both at once, of course, which is even more fun.) Glad you're going to get help.

#297 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2017, 11:29 PM:

For the other folks who might not know which Len Terry refers to, Len Wein just died. (I had to look it up -- I'm not on FaceBook, and so not immersed in such events.)

#298 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 12:44 AM:

Tom: I'm a little surprised you don't follow File 770. It was reported there. In addition to the articles (Len Wein got one) Mike Glyer has a little news roundup every day that is usually interesting and often amusing.

You don't have to follow the comments, but in fact a community has come into being there which has a fair amount in common with this one.

In other news: A somewhat belated Happy Birthday to Xopher.

#299 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 12:27 PM:

Terry Karney @295:

Good on you for making the appointment. Too many people don't get that far, because of all the stupid @$%#$% stigma society heaps on it. As someone with both depression and anxiety, as well as married to someone with both, I'll echo Bill Stewart @296 somewhat. Depression and anxiety are lying liars that lie, are attention hogs, and unfortunately have the ability to use all of your own intelligence against you. We don't know each other except via what we can interpret through the small window that ML and twitter opens, but please know that you are not alone, and you do not have to face this alone.

One note I can emphasize up front, that you probably already know, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce: don't let your thoughts that "other people have it harder" prevent you from getting/giving yourself the care you need. You matter too. You deserve help too.

I believe it was you who mentioned, I don't know how long back here on ML, that it is OK to spend money on small luxuries. That helped me, and my wife, thank you. Maybe it can help with the eating thing? For at least one meal per day? Either a meal out, or a gadget that makes a meal easier, or a better/different stock of easy/tempting ingredients, etc.? Food issues are hard, and universal advice often isn't, but I can give some examples from my household if you want.

My condolences on your recent losses, too.

#300 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 02:21 PM:

Terry Karney @293: I've only had one bout of anxiety that turned me anorexic, and it was no fun at all. (Energy? Oh, right: eating. :-\ )

A friend hipped me to the smoothie trick: was a handy way to sneak nutrition past my mouth. But then, of course, one has to remember to make smoothies. And then to eat them.

Also, to echo cajunfj40 @299, if it will willingly go in your gullet, it counts as "nutrition," even if it is just [your local chocolate cake equivalent]. (We won't discuss how much of my stressful life I have lived on Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream.)

Meanwhile: Bashō / W. Carlos Williams mash-up: so very Making Light! :-)

#301 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 02:35 PM:

Häagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream

Hey, that's just processed milk, right?


#302 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 03:25 PM:

Jacque @300: When I was three weeks graduated from college and had come running back to my university town because a member of the old house had died suddenly in an accident, and I was frankly kind of emotionally shocky and not really interested in food, I was staying a couple nights in a guest room at my former adviser's house. His wife tricked me into consuming nutrients by blending nicely ripe watermelon with a little liquid and offering me a cup. Not as nutrient-dense as a smoothie, but also easier to get down. I was very grateful.

#303 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 06:18 PM:

As an alternative to making smoothies (prep and mess can be an obstacle), you can also get Ensure or the equivalent. Those are in fact designed for people who are having trouble eating for various reasons.

#304 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 07:00 PM:

Dave Harmon (303): Ensure was a lifesaver when I was on chemo a while back. The vanilla flavor is quite palatable when chilled.

#305 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2017, 10:20 PM:

I found that some of the meal-replacement liquids went okay frozen as popsicles. The whey-y taste was reduced a bit.

#306 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:34 AM:

My coworker points out that apparently there's new research linking gut biota (or the absence thereof) to anxiety & depression.

#307 ::: Mike G ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 12:50 PM:

@283 re Pournelle: sad... I liked a lot of his earlier works, especially the early Niven collaborations.

I'd have expected him to be a popular enough author for obits to have shown up a few more places. Maybe not nytimes, but at least

His political views being troubling doesn't seem like a good reason to disregard his passing, does it? If anything, an obit would be a good place to mention such issues - I thought Scalzi did a good job of balancing that, for example.

#308 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:02 PM:

HLN: Local woman has signed a lease and is moving into a nice bright one-bedroom basement apartment on Friday. Local woman is quoted as saying "I am so relieved, you guys, there just aren't words."

#309 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:18 PM:

Em (308): Yay!

#310 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 01:52 PM:

Irma chased us (Gail, Marjorie The Cat, and your most humble and obt.) from Sarasota to Atlanta over the weekend. We just made it back last night. Our total damage is the front of the house covered in old man's beard, and a panel on the wall in the lanai (that had been held in place by a cardboard shim) had fallen. Everything else was intact, and the power was on. This is a huge relief.

Fourteen hours on the road (I-75) with a million of our closest friends, and the attendant aches and pains, is a small price to pay. We could up stakes and run for it. People in places like St Martin, St Barth's, the Virgins, Puerto Rico, or Barbuda, can't.

#311 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 02:00 PM:

Fragano (310): Glad to hear that you're okay, with minimal damage to your possessions.

#312 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 04:47 PM:

Mary Aileen #311: Thanks!

#313 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 05:17 PM:

This came up last evening, talking with my sis-in-law. Now I need to find storage space for the packages I'm going to need to get. (Yes, I have an medical adventure upcoming.)

#314 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 05:37 PM:

P J Evans (313): Best of luck with your medical adventure.

#315 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 09:00 PM:

P J Evans, good thoughts headed your way.

#316 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:07 PM:

I'll accept all good thoughts. Right now, I'm still in clearing-the-decks stage (today: flu shot and eye exam; tomorrow: see what Costco has in optical, and oil change for car.)

#317 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:40 PM:

Fragano @ 310: glad to hear that your "welcome" to Sarasota was not too traumatic; I have some idea how age and issues make upping stakes and hauling out more difficult, without the addition of a disaster at the far end. And thank you for making me one of today's 10,000; I spent several spring vacations in what is now Jacksonville, but never heard the term "old man's beard". (Grandfather called it "Spanish moss".)

#318 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 10:44 PM:

P J, good thoughts coming your way!

#319 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:05 PM:

Thanks, Xopher, and let me offer you a hug.

We haven't gotten yet to the "needs lots of good thoughts stage". First there's some imaging, then they're going to install a port, and then the fun starts. Once every three weeks, they said, and I'm going to get them to set the schedule so it doesn't mess with the existing stuff in January (which happens to be three weeks apart). Requires planning and more phone calls.

(They said that chemo works on this one two times out of three.)

#320 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2017, 11:20 PM:

I wrote a quick gloss of my feelings about Jerry in my Patreon. They were complicated by meeting him when I was.... 10? Getting to know him when I was 15/16; having his sons as friends, and butting heads with him on various things.

His writing was variable, his politics excreble, his personality difficult.

He was not utterly despicable, so I did not despise him, though I understand why some would. Some anathematise me, so I'm not going to gainsay anyone's feelings about him.

Len, Len was a mesch. I'm gonna miss him, no qualifications on that.

#321 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 12:04 AM:

I'll agree with you on both people, Terry.

#322 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 11:30 AM:

Terry Karney @ 320... I met Len Wein at a local comics con in 2012 where Melinda Snodgrass introduced me to him. I liked him right away. (It says something about my life taking me where I would never have expected. If you'd told my then-teen self that one day a writer from a future non-Kirk Star Trek series would one day have me meet the creator of the Swamp Thing, I'd have made rude noises of disbelief.)

#323 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:14 PM:

CHip #317: Thanks. Old man's beard is what I learnt to call it, down in Jamaica. I've no idea why Americans call it Spanish moss. It's no kind of moss.

#324 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:53 PM:

...because Americans are generally foggy on the concept of moss...?

#325 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2017, 04:56 PM:

::actually reads Wikipedia page::

Oh wait:

This plant's specific name usneoides means "resembling Usnea", and it indeed superficially resembles its namesake Usnea, also known as beard lichen
#326 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 02:46 PM:

Jacque #325: That's interesting.

#327 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 02:49 PM:

A friend of mine, in doing archival research, encountered this statement, in a letter from Nancy Cunard to Ezra Pound:

The only proper term for a Fascist is "scoundrel".

Scoundrel is, I must say, a word that is much underused, and certainly applies to the person whom Gore Vidal would call The Oval One.

#328 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2017, 04:59 PM:

I dunno. "Scoundrel" seems...inadequate, somehow.

#329 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 04:36 AM:

Adam, naming created things:

Adam: I dub thee "Spanish Moss""

Recording Angel: But It's not a moss at all.

Adam: You let me have meadow saffron and hemlock fir and star jasmine

Recording Angel: And that was too many.

Adam: Ok. It looks a lot like beard lichen, so: I dub thee "Spanish Beard"

Recording Angel: Lichen aren't even plants. Can't you at least get the phylum consistent?

Adam: So where do you have it classified

Recording Angel: Bromeliacae

Adam: I dub thee "Spanish Pineapple"

Recording Angel: ⟨sighs⟩

Adam: "Charleston Pineapple

Recording Angel: Let's just stick with "Spanish Moss" and hope no-one notices. They can rename it when Charleston is founded.

#330 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 04:49 AM:

Recording Angel: That's the 917th "small yellow daisy"

Adam: And will anyone else be able to tell them apart?


**faint noises, off**

Adam: I dub thee "**crickets**"

#331 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 07:37 AM:

That's the 917th "small yellow daisy"

My husband took a course in prairie botany and his instructor introduced the class to the term DYC, damned yellow composite. As in, "what kind of plant is that?" "It's one of the DYCs."

#332 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 08:51 AM:

My father, an avid bird watcher, uses the term "LBB" a lot.

"Little Brown Bords."

#333 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:24 AM:

Tony Zbaraschuk (332): I thought the term was 'LBJ', 'Little Brown Job'.

#334 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:41 AM:

That's the term I've heard (along with DYCs for some flowers).
I've met people for whom all birds are "jays", especially the LBJs.

#335 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Avian spp. not known to me are Rear-Tailed Evaders.

#336 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 11:27 AM:

My favourite moment in bird names, with my best friend (who divides birds into "crows" and "not crows"):

Her: What's that bird?
Me: Which one?
Her: The black one, with the red wings.
Me: That's a red-winged blackbird.
Her: ... really?

I do like a bird name that does what it says on the tin.

#337 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 05:17 PM:

Thomas #329: YOMANK

Jacque #328: It does need an intensive modifier.

#338 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 07:51 PM:

thomas @329 & 330: Here, please have this internet.

See also: moar plz.

And speaking of jays, I saw one yesterday I suspect of being a hybrid? Standard eastern jay blue-white-and-black markings and shape, except that the head was black. A quick Google Images search didn't turn it up.

#339 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 08:31 PM:

Could it be a Steller's Jay?

#340 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:07 PM:

Jacque's jay @338 is definitely not any Steller's Jay that I've seen, they don't have any white. And I'm not sure where Jacque is but Steller's are western, not eastern.

Did the bird have a crest like a standard blue jay?

#341 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 09:25 PM:

Steller's range includes the Rockies - and they do have a little white, more than the Pacific Coast version. Maybe a hybrid - those get odd markings.

#342 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2017, 10:42 PM:

Adam: ...what even is it with the beetles? Some One really has a thing for them.

Recording Angel: we like to say "fond"


Recording Angel: "Inordinately," perhaps.

#343 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 01:57 AM:

As someone or other pointed out, truth can be stranger than fiction because it doesn't have any artistic constraints.

The cancer geneticist Mary-Claire King has an incredible (almost literally) story of the week she was scheduled to fly to Washington DC for an interview about the grant that led eventually to discovering BRCA1. It's at HuffPo in text, and at The Moth as audio.

Her first week of April 1981, is the sort of thing our hosts would probably make an author tone down a bit in fiction: no-one is going to have all that happen at once.

(I was lucky enough to have Professor King as the random person from another department on my PhD committee)

#344 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 01:59 AM:

PJ Evans @341
Aha, I have only seen the Pacific Coast variety. A more inland variety does indeed seem like a plausible identification, then.

#345 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:28 AM:

Thomas@343 : Thank you for that. That's the best thing I've read all week (and it was the best thing BEFORE the gentleman at the airport!)

#346 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:39 AM:

That's quite a story. And quite a week.

#347 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 10:43 AM:

Jays and Introverts:

#348 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2017, 09:37 PM:

So, does anyone know of a way to get the attention of Countenance Tome and have them deal with the apparent fact that the confirmation emails they are supposedly sending are not actually being sent, if three different mail providers are any indication?

#349 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 12:20 PM:

@343: It seems the Universe just Really Wanted her to get to DC to give that talk. (Although piling the divorce, the burglary, and her mom in on top seems a trifle excessive.)

#350 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 08:47 PM:

thomas 343: As someone or other pointed out, truth can be stranger than fiction because it doesn't have any artistic constraints.

I've heard that one as "...because fiction has to make sense," but your version is more applicable here.

What struck me about that story is the jawdropping malevolence of her unspeakable shit of a husband. He had to have known a) that she had that trip coming up, b) that it was a career make-or-break for her, and c) that she'd need childcare during it. He dropped his bombshell and skipped out at a time calculated to destroy her career.

Fortunately, the helpers appeared, because (I strive to keep believing) the gods delight in frustrating the plans of malevolent pieces of shit.

#351 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 09:58 PM:

Or he knew all that, and did it because he didn't care about her at all, just himself.
Which isn't any better.

#352 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2017, 10:32 PM:

Any sufficiently advanced indifference is indistinguishable from deliberate malice.

#353 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 08:09 AM:

Jacque #349: It seems the Universe just Really Wanted her to get to DC to give that talk.

Um, no. All the "impersonal forces" here (the traffic, and for sake of argument the burglary) were against her. So were two of her three closest family members, that dipshit of a husband and her mother who was freaking out instead of supporting her in the crisis.

What got her to DC was that her own strength was backed by the help of three people: The department head who didn't freak out, but instead offered what help he could think of. The mentor who not only believed in her, but went above and beyond to support her. And then a passing celebrity who saw, and took, the opportunity to be someone's angel for the day.

The natural world is a hostile place, where entropy and hazard surround us. But long ago, our distant ancestors looked at that... and decided to do something about it. They began to build a new layer atop the natural world, standing together to shelter themselves and their descendants against the whims of mischance. We called that protective layer Society, and more lately Civilization, and we are still building and maintaining it. "It is not given to us to complete the work, but neither are we free to leave off from it." And when we reach out to support or help someone else in their misfortune, we are taking up our part in that oldest work of all, the project of Humanity.

#354 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 10:50 AM:

Or one could look at it like this: the people whose role it was to support her directly (husband and mother) fell down on the job, so support rings further out stepped up to get her where she needed to go. :)

Furthermore, forces conspired to have the daughter witness all this first-hand which, at the very least, is going to give lie to the mother's view of A Woman's Proper Place.

(As always, trying to impugn intent where The Universe is concerned is mostly a matter of which data you pick to foreground. ;-> )

#355 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 11:53 AM:

A New York City-specific cool thing:

Councilmember James Vacca has introduced a new New York City Council bill that I support. It would require city agencies to publish source code used to make decisions. Specifically, the summary of bill Int 1696-2017 is:

This bill would require agencies that use algorithms or other automated processing methods that target services, impose penalties, or police persons to publish the source code used for such processing. It would also require agencies to accept user-submitted data sets that can be processed by the agencies' algorithms and provide the outputs to the user.

This is currently before the Committee on Technology, of which Vacca serves as chair. He's term-limited out and aims to start hearings on the bill before he leaves in December. I am gonna keep an eye on this; it is a great idea and I hope it gets more cosponsors (currently Vacca has 4 cosponsors). Algorithmic transparency is sorely needed and I'm happy to see this introduced. I've contacted my city councilmember about this but haven't gotten a response yet.

#356 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2017, 06:28 PM:

This is really neat and I want some:

Carbon nanotube yarn that generates electricity when you stretch it

#358 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 11:13 AM:

Michael Roberts of this parish is, at this hour, sitting right under Hurricane Maria. I'm hoping he's okay. I've been watching Antiguan television, which has interviewed the special advisor to Dominica's prime minister, who's laid out the critical situation there. This is their second storm in two years, and this one was big.

#359 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 12:50 PM:

Thomas @ 342: I saw what you did there. (Which I oughta, since I took Bio 1 from him.)

@343: <picks jaw off the floor below>

Dave Harmon @ 353: Well stated!

Sumana @ 355: a good first step, but from what I've read the real issue is at least as much the data that is actually used as it is any biases in the code; it will be interesting to see how this works out, especially since most of the code is likely to be proprietary. Do you know whether Vacca thinks he'll actually get code, or is aiming to make it impossible to use apps to make decisions?

Allan @ 357: very nice -- I can imagine Mike Ford coming up with something like it -- but it is a villanelle, not a sonnet.

#360 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 05:35 PM:

Singing Wren at 356: Maybe clothing made from that electrical yarn can be used for CGI motion capture.

#361 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Allan Beatty @ #357:

A villanelle, not a sonnet -- which makes it even more impressive.

#362 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:18 PM:

AKICIML, attn: Latin scholars.

Google Translate SUCKS at Latin (and most languages other than Spanish, where I give it a C+). I put in "Carthago delenda est," and got "Carthage must be destroyed," which I expected. But then I clicked the Swap Languages button and the English still said "Carthage must be destroyed," but the Latin changed to "delendam esse Carthaginem."

I didn't re-enter it or anything.

What I was TRYING to do was get something analogous to "Carthago delenda est," but meaning "ice must be destroyed," punning on ICE, which I feel has become the Gestapo and needs to be disbanded. I plan to use it as a hashtag on Twitter.

Can any of you wise and learnèd people help?

#363 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Classical Latin had a thing called "the accusative-and-infinitive construction". In general, if you had a verb of saying or thinking as the introduction to a dependent clause, the dependent clause would have the subject in the accusative case, and the verb in the infinitive form.

So: "Carthage must be destroyed" is "Carthago delenda est" (and this uses yet another construction that rejoices in the name of "passive periphrastic") but "and besides that I think Carthage must be destroyed" is "praeterea censeo Carthaginem delendam esse".

"Ice" is "glacies", accusative "glaciem". Like "Carthago", it's a feminine noun, so you can use the same verb forms.

#364 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:46 PM:

David 363: Well, that was quick! Thank you!

#365 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 09:51 PM:

Wait, so "Glacies delenda est," and "praeterea censeo glaciem delendam esse"?

#366 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 10:04 PM:

Yep. "Egestatem, potestatem, dissolvit ut glaciem."

#367 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 20, 2017, 10:56 PM:

CHip, #359: I'd be interested to see what you've read, if you have any links to share. Sadly I don't have insight yet into Vacca's negotiating posture and what he thinks he'll be able to get when all is said and done. I think a combination of open data sets (the tweaks to the open data laws currently under consideration, like bill 1528 and bill 1707, mostly seem to be going in the right direction IMO), the "must publish source code" requirement, and the "must take test data and return outputs" requirement would definitely go a long way.

#368 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 12:19 AM:


#369 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 12:35 AM:

Sumana Harihareswara @367 - Don't these systems tend to evolve their behaviour from the data fed into them, in ways that are black-box-ish enough to be very hard to evaluate? If so, it would be hard to audit them without access to the complete working data set... and releasing that might involve some privacy concerns.

#370 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 07:44 AM:

Joel: Am I right in inferring that your thinking is this legislation is a well-meant idea but it probably won't do much good? If I understand your comment correctly, you're referring to situations where machine learning is involved. As far as I understand, a huge proportion of the algorithms deciding, for instance, when to issue a traffic ticket, who gets their preferred assignment in a school lottery, what score to issue on a health assessment of a restaurant, etc., aren't based on machine learning. And in cases where machine learning is involved, I'm not clear on why you think the "accept test data and provide output" provision is not a reasonable substitute pathway for critics to test the system and figure out what biases might have emerged.

If I'm misunderstanding you, maybe you could explain further.

#371 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 12:14 PM:

Xopher #368: "Michi"?

#372 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 02:06 PM:

Google Translate's Latin doesn't even handle "Veni vidi vici" correctly. I've gotten a couple of different results for that one; today's was "I came Caesarean." Whatever that means, the gizmo obviously needs work and isn't going to get it.

#373 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 05:17 PM:

Sumana Harihareswara @370 - First, this is an area I don't know very much about. I'm asking these questions because I'd like to be better-informed; I don't put much faith in my current understanding.

If these algorithms don't involve machine learning, then none of my "concerns" are relevant. I thought that you were referring to evolving-algorithm stuff. I think I misunderstood your "must take test data" to mean that the test data used to bring the system up to speed had to be published, rather than that people/organizations would be allowed to submit their test data and see the results.

#374 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2017, 09:39 PM:

Fragano 371: I was about to write 'mihi' but looked it up and my source said 'michi'. It's possible that the 13th-Century German who wrote the poem spelled it that way, but also possible that my source is just wrong.

#375 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2017, 04:31 AM:

Xopher, Fragano: Orff definitely has 'michi' and it has always been described to me as a mediaeval version. However, I've just looked up the 1847 edition by Schmeller, which Orff is supposed to have worked from (isn't the Internet wonderful?) and it has 'mihi'.

#376 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2017, 12:00 PM:

Today's xkcd is fannish:

(Ah, the dreaded "internal error".)

#377 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2017, 02:02 PM:

And it's the Equinox (autumnal up here, vernal in the Antips). Rick Albertson (known to some here) pointed to this as a time of balance -- may the balance be healthy for all here.

#378 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2017, 02:23 PM:

thomas, Fragano: Maybe he spelled it that way to make his German chorus pronounce the 'h'. In German, 'h' after a vowel indicates vowel length, rather than spelling a sound; 'ch' spells a sound pretty close to 'h'.

#379 ::: anhweol ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2017, 07:03 PM:

On 'michi' - spellings replacing medial 'h' with 'ch' were quite common in medieval Latin.

See e.g.
page 5:
"MICHI = MIHI (etc.): after H lost all sound, scribes often wrote -CH- to indicate a disyllable. "

Where the local language had no 'h', as in French and Italian, medieval Latin did not normally pronounce it; but in a few words this caused a problem (michi would have merged with mi, which also existed, and had the wrong number of syllables), so a different sound was substituted ('ch' probably being read as 'k' by at least some of the people using this spelling).
In a similar way, one of the theories of the origin of the name 'h' (aitch) derives it via French from something like Italian 'acca', supposedly strengthened from 'aha' and ultimately from 'ha' - obviously that could not be allowed to become just 'a', as you would normally expect, as otherwise the two letter names would have merged.
Medieval Germans might well have used these spellings, though they did not have a problem pronouncing h (even in the middle of words where it is now silent). It would be interesting to know what the actual manuscripts said, though the edition quoted doesn't seem to normalize to classical spelling elsewhere in the page so there's a chance it said 'mihi' as well and the 'michi' is from some other source or Orff's amendment - but it is at least a _bona fide_ medieval form.

#380 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2017, 02:19 AM:

Someone who I don't know posted to Michael Roberts' timeline on Facebook to say that Michael and family are reported safe. He hasn't provided any more information than that, unfortunately, but at least that much is good news.

#381 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2017, 02:19 AM:

Someone who I don't know posted to Michael Roberts' timeline on Facebook to say that Michael and family are reported safe. He hasn't provided any more information than that, unfortunately, but at least that much is good news.

#382 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2017, 11:26 PM:

anhweol 379: Thank you! That's good to know.

#383 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2017, 02:15 PM:

Wow! That's a lot of superb erudition on a single variant letter/digraph. So Orff wasn't excessively Germanising the middle ages, or Benediktbeuern monastery scriptorium (where some of the monks, I believe, were Irish).

#384 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2017, 02:16 PM:

Wow! That's a lot of superb erudition on a single variant letter/digraph. So Orff wasn't excessively Germanising the middle ages, or Benediktbeuern monastery scriptorium (where some of the monks, I believe, were Irish).

#385 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 02:34 PM:

So...I thought Star Trek: Discovery was interesting, but I don't think I'm interested enough to pony up the $6 per month for yet another streaming service.

#386 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 03:01 PM:

Is anyone else watching THE ORVILLE? I've seen the first two episodes, and it's fun in a classic Trek kind of way -- somewhere between classic Trek and GALAXY QUEST, which seems to be what they're aiming for.

#387 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 03:45 PM:

Another question for classicists, this time for Greek: 'vexiphobia' is an irrational fear of flags. Would flag worship be 'vexilatry' or 'vexiolatry'?

#388 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 06:04 PM:

I know the study of flags is vexillology.

I expect either one would be usable, Xopher, but don't find any usage of either.

#390 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 06:32 PM:


#391 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2017, 08:27 PM:

Xopher, I'm a little surprised that you haven't heard of "Vexilla regis".

#392 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 02:50 AM:

If you move to another country it will have some surprising brand names, and I suppose it doesn't really indicate that NZ is unduly clean-minded, but:

* the (very successful) national men's softball team is called the Black Sox (say it ain't so, Joe).
* The leading brand of typewriter correction fluid, back in the day, was Twink.

#393 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 11:44 AM:

@368: If you're going to shout at us like the setting, you could at least provide the percussion as well. (I've done this once with a full orchestra and a stage that made the orchestra audible to the chorus; I remember the jolt the first time the gong (tam-tam?) bloomed under us.)

various re mi{h,ch}i: various conductors of other works where it's spelled "mihi" have told choruses I sing in to say "michi". (Sorry, no more precise cite.) A further tangent: my Schott(1937) piano-vocal score of the Orff is the only score on my shelf in which the spine printing runs up instead of down when the cover&contents are right-way-up. Is this a continental variation, or continental-antique, or ...?

#394 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 12:29 PM:

CHip @393: It's standard in the UK to run the title up the spine of a book rather than down. Don't know about the Continental usage.

#395 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 01:21 PM:

I own one book published in France; the title runs up the spine.

#396 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 01:48 PM:

Just checked my bookcase: all my books printed in the UK have the title running down the spine, save two that were printed before 1950. Dutch down the spine as well. French, Spanish, and Portuguese books have titles running up the spine.

#397 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 06:32 PM:

Lee of this parish has been diagnosed with cancer. They're scheduling her for a PET scan in the near future to see if it's all in one place or if it's spread, and determine treatment options from there. Good thoughts are appreciated.

#398 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 06:34 PM:

Good thoughts and best wishes to Lee.

#399 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 06:51 PM:

All the sympathy - I get the CT/PET scan Monday after next. (As a fan, I'm interested in the process. I'd prefer not to get personally involved, but well, too effing bad.)

#400 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 09:24 PM:

I've had a PET scan (and cancer). If my experience of same is of any use to any of the folks about to have the one and get rid of the other, please call on me by email. [third part of my name here][singular of Tolkien's holedwellers]@[google's mail service]

#401 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 09:27 PM:

All the best to Lee. I like reading what they write.

WRT books: my local library growing up filed all the books in the usual categories, without dividing them up by French or English. I read both, so didn't want to skip any, but it did lead to flopping my head back and forth a lot while roaming the shelves browsing spines.

#402 ::: P J Evans is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 09:36 PM:

I have lots of dark chocolate available....

#403 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 09:52 PM:

P J Evans (402): (Your gnomed post shows in your view-all-by.)

The first year after a breast cancer diagnosis is definitely not fun. There were days when I felt like I just couldn't do it. (I was diagnosed twelve years ago--fine now; a good friend just finished chemo and will have radiation next.) Take one thing at a time and keep plugging through it. If you'd like specific advice/commiseration at any point, feel free to email me. The address at the bottom of my linked website works.

#404 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2017, 10:56 PM:

I may take you up on that at some point, but the chemo I get first is six sessions over 4 months (three weeks apart), which should be tolerable, if Not At All Fun. After that, they think surgery, then more stuff which hasn't actually been described, but I gather it's more drugs.
I've been doing things that can be done ahead of time. (This week, it's a fast trip to my brother, for the just-in-case paperwork.)

#405 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 12:29 AM:

Big politics in the Catholic Church: a group of clergy and laity, upset about the Pope's Amoris Laetitia, have issued a "filial correction" (text, in English, here).

This is the first such filial correction since the 14th Century. That sounds like a big deal to me. Is it, actually?

#406 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 07:01 AM:

Sending good thoughts to Lee and to P J Evans.

#407 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 10:27 AM:

P J Evans (404): That's the chemo regimen my friend just finished. It gets harder as it goes along, but it's doable. Best of luck.

#408 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 11:15 AM:

They gave me the chemo plan, and I looked up the ones I haven't met before.

#409 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 12:16 PM:

Tom @405

I am not sure that the term "filial correction" has any formal meaning within the Catholic Church, unlike terms such as "Papal Bull" and "ex cathedra", and it seems to be a step in an ongoing argument.

The group who signed it seem to be hard-line conservatives.

This could lead to some extravagant popcorn consumption.

#410 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 02:34 PM:

Dave Bell @409:

Doing a Google Search on "filial correction", I came across a bunch of articles, blog postings, etc, about it, mostly by supporters.

It seems that when a group of Catholics refer to "Papa Bergoglio" instead of Pope Francis, and say that his teachings are heretical, this could be dangerous times for the church.

Looking into it has introduced me to the terms "sedevacantism" (the belief that there hasn't been a valid pope since before Vatican II) and "sedeprivationism" (the belief that the post-Vatican II popes are "deficient", and just "potential popes", until they readopt Catholicism). It's fascinating the distinctions people will draw.

Much popcorn consumed indeed.

#411 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2017, 06:37 PM:

Another perspective, not quite so gentle

The article I linked points out that no cardinals signed, and the only bishop leads a schismatic group. Not exactly mainstream Catholicism.

They also have no Jesuits on the list of signatories.

The summaries I've seen lead me to make a shorter summary: infraponts, the lot of them.

#412 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 01:13 AM:

U. K. Le Guin has lost her publisher. RIP, Hugh Hefner.

(No change in the status of any of Ursula K. Le Guin's publishers has been noted.)

#413 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 05:20 AM:

Dave Bell @409

Yeah, it kinda seems like they picked a term From History essentially for the attention, kind of a clickbait tactic really. It's not like this was a disused but still valid legal instrument with some particular power or process, like say "first letter of marque issued since the 18th century" (which would be a big deal).

And it's certainly not the first time some group of Catholics has written a grumpy letter to the Pope telling him his religion is busted and he needs to upgrade to what they're into. I would guess that it might be "the first grumpy letter since the 14th of September," but probably not much longer than that.

#414 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 09:19 AM:

I have heard that there was a letter of marque issued to a Goodyear Blimp, after Pearl Harbor, but I am doubtful. There are other legal mechanisms covering armed merchant vessels.

This seems to be the climax of a series of protests, including a letter signed by four Cardinals.. No public answers from the Pope, but I doubt there has been silence at that level.

They have fallen victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never argue theology with a Jesuit."

#415 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 09:19 AM:

I have heard that there was a letter of marque issued to a Goodyear Blimp, after Pearl Harbor, but I am doubtful. There are other legal mechanisms covering armed merchant vessels.

This seems to be the climax of a series of protests, including a letter signed by four Cardinals.. No public answers from the Pope, but I doubt there has been silence at that level.

They have fallen victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never argue theology with a Jesuit."

#416 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 09:45 AM:

Dave Bell @ 415:

As far as I can tell, the blimp Resolute operated under a letter of marque between Dec 1941 and "first few" (Mar? Apr?) 1942. Claim is on this page, right at the bottom and is based on a claim on p. 43 of The Goodyear Airships (Shock, James R., Smith, David R. / Airship International Press). It was doing so while being armed, in military service, with a civilian crew (according to that page I pointed at).

If it's true or not, I genuinely do not know, but it sounded bizarre enough that I had to go looking.

#417 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 05:00 PM:

That story doesn't make sense, though. As Dave says, there are other legal mechanisms, though they'd barely have needed legal cover at all: there's no suggestion of offensive armament like bombs or depth charges, so the military role of the airship would have been "look for subs, and try to stay above AA range." Assuming decent optics and a good flight ceiling, it would have been quite a useful observation platform, but you don't need any legal authorization for that.

Plus, you'd have to go all the way to Congress to get a letter of marque, it's not something a state governor or some underemployed-but-eager-to-help official could sign. I think Congress was a little busy in December of '41? Probably busy enough for an aide to spot a request from a rifle-armed airship and go "yeah, put that on the later-means-never pile."

#418 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 06:31 PM:

Here's a long article (PDF) about this story, which apparently got started by causal newspaper references to the blimp as a "privateer" shortly after the war ended.

#419 ::: Yarrow ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2017, 06:34 PM:

I meant casual. Though causal is appropriate too, as it happens.

#420 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 01:58 AM:

Nice pull, Yarrow.

#421 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 04:30 AM:

"And not even Wikipedia has noticed such a claim."

I recall one of the A. Bertram Chandler "Empress Irene" novels that had some aspects of the problem as part of the plot, "Space Mercenaries" I think, and it hinged on the weapons on the ship being the personal property of the Captain, which the crew were allowed to use. There were precedents, he said, and it seemed plausible that he knew of them.

This fits with a detail of the Blimp story, the only weapon carried was the commander's own hunting rifle. But I wonder just how often that method was used. Most armed merchant cruisers that I have heard of were formally naval vessels, built with the structure to mount guns, earning a subsidy, and taken up from trade and armed when the war started, acting as patrol vessels and convoy escorts. The far more common armament of a single deck gun on an otherwise ordinary merchant ship was provided by the government, and the crew had some sort of special status.

On the other hand, there was a dash of it in some pre-WW2 pulp adventure stories where ships in the China Sea had encounters with pirates. And this was the era when it was legal to own a machine gun in the UK.

This seems an adequate general account of what was done: Defensively Equipped Merchant Ship. The guns had naval personnel as crew.

#422 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 01:21 PM:

Singing Wren @411:

So if the Pope trolls them right back, would that make him an infrapontiff?

#423 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 03:02 PM:

This has been percolating in the back of my head for a while, and the last pieces fell into place today:

O say, can't you see that it's time to get tough?
We will build a great wall, and secure our south border!
We will arm the police, and if that's not enough,
We'll send in the feds, to restore law and order!
We’ll get rid of the drugs, we’ll lock up all the thugs,
And if bad guys attack, we will squash them like bugs!
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the police, and o’er liberty’s grave.

#424 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 04:51 PM:

On the one hand, I am having to cater to my broken-legged toddler.

On the other, I'm finally getting the garage managed without having the chaotic effect of a small child undoing everything I'm hoping to attempt.

(And I am getting very sick of Strawberry Shortcake, which he adores.)

#425 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 04:54 PM:

On the one hand, I am having to cater to my broken-legged toddler.

On the other, I'm finally getting the garage managed without having the chaotic effect of a small child undoing everything I'm hoping to attempt.

(And I am getting very sick of Strawberry Shortcake, which he adores.)

#426 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 07:05 PM:

Since we don't technically know U.K. Le Guin's gender, shouldn't it be "has lost their publisher"? After all, "It is commonly suspected that the writings of U.K. Le Guin are not actually written by U.K Le Guin, but by another person of the same name."

#427 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 07:25 PM:

re 418 et seq: one thing which that article misses is that when we entered WW I, several hundred private vessels of all types were hurriedly drafted into the navy as patrol boats. Mostly they were private motorboats from what I can see, but they got boats from the Maryland oyster police (which were mostly sailing craft) and I found a four-masted schooner too.

#428 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2017, 10:03 PM:

The top of the second page of the ]letter[ (as linked here) says that there were to be no new revelations after Peter. If doctrine was complete in the 1st century CE, how do they justify the ~1000CE decree on priestly celibacy? If this is valid, why should Catholic doctrine not be as labile as that of the Mormons?

@411: "infrapont"? That's a cute way of saying "troll" -- but I'd like to hear the Latin scholars (e.g., the ones just discussing "ut" and "mi{,c}hi") discover why it's preferable to "subpont"

@412: <snortle>

@414: I'll have to remember that as an epigram, but does it go before or after not challenging a Sicilian?

@418: fascinating -- especially in the connections: he notes that Wikipedia (contra the quote in @421) was revised to call the claim "legend", but also notes the plan to put up an observer blimp in Maryland; half a year after the cover date, that blimp caused a considerable fuss.

Chris @ 423: I have a vision of this being sung loudly enough to deafen some of the trolls complaining that they have to boycott the NFL because of last weekend's knees. I'm beginning to get fed up with a local columnist who claims to be trying to keep up conversation with/between Trump and Clinton voters, but without any indication that she challenges some of the Trumpists' ... failures of understanding.

Best wishes to both Lee and PJ.

#429 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2017, 10:52 AM:

Chris, that's excellent, and well crafted so the words don't trip over each other. (Do I sound like someone who's been exposed daily to the amateur rhyme schemes of commenters at GoComics? Sorry: Not your llama.) Builds just right.

#430 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2017, 11:03 AM:

I just read the link at the top. Funny how the most patient ones, the ones most willing to wait and wait some more in this matter, are the ones who don't think they have a lot at stake. (I don't think they've thought it through.)

On a totally unrelated matter, don't mutts make the best dogs to be with? Breeding dogs pure seems to handicap the individuals in insidious medical and anatomical ways, and eventually it just chokes the strain out entirely. Wasn't that what happened to the American Beauty rose, too? Sorry, just rambling.

#431 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2017, 05:45 PM:

Who do y'all like for donations to Puerto Rico and USVI relief?

#432 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2017, 06:27 PM:


The Capclave convention is next weekend (October 6-8) at the Hilton Washington DC/North Gaithersburg (620 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD). It's just off of I-270, a couple of blocks from exit 11. If there's interest I'm up for a GOL on either Friday or Saturday evening.

There are several restaurants across the street in the Gaithersburg Square center and more within easy driving distance. There is a restaurant guide at the convention website ( on the "Printable Material" page. The guide is grouped by location.

#433 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2017, 09:20 PM:

Michael I, put me on the maybe list. I'm not going to Capclave but I might be open for a GOL. Schedule without me and I'll come if I can.

#434 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 10:27 AM:

Monty Hall finds out what's behind the last door. (RIP)

Condolences and sympathies to those folks here who've been through various trials; I haven't been up to much participation, but I'm witnessing.

#435 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 01:52 PM:

I guess Monty Hall didn't make a deal with the devil after all....

And that link just goes to the start of this thread, Dave Harmon. Is there a particular obit you liked?

#436 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 07:14 PM:

I have ordered knitting needles (varying sizes, bamboo) and yarn.

Alea jacta est.

#437 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 08:16 PM:

Xopher, I tend to say that if you haven't started a knitting project at least twice, you're probably doing it wrong. (I've only been knitting since 1970.)

#438 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 09:11 PM:

I have just decided to take up knitting. I have never knitted (knot?) before. By this time next week, I expect to have knitted (knut?) something. Probably a couple of rows of knittage.

#439 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 09:31 PM:

Xopher (438): I believe the past tense of 'knit' is 'knat'.

#440 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 10:00 PM:

Yes, but what's the perfect? I knit today, I knat yesterday, I have [?] today.

I think it's probably knit, knat, knut.

#441 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2017, 10:13 PM:

Knit, knat, knatted?
or go completely irregular: knit, knat, knotted

#442 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 12:30 AM:


#443 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 11:59 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @438: On the chance you haven't seen this: Drunk knitting with John Scalzi.

Bill Stewart: Ahem. ;o)

#444 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 12:26 PM:

You think knitting is hard? Try nålebinding.

First, you run into the spelling issue: is it nålbinding, nålebinding, naalbinding, nalbinding, or even "needlebinding" (the link of Wikipedia of a reference using that spelling goes to a site which has three spellings in the title, including "nålbindning").

It looks like a gerund, but should it decline like "bind" or not? "Bind" is irregular, so should the irregularity follow through? Is it "Yesterday, I nålbound."? Or should you keep the gerund-looking form, "Yesterday, I did nålbinding."?

I think it's pronounced with a short-a and short-i, like nal-bin-ding, not with a long-i, like nal-bind-ing, which makes it sound weird to conjugate it like the cognate "bind".

Which reminds me, I've lost my half-completed nålbinding project (a Möbius scarf); I ought to start another.

#445 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 08:06 PM:

P J Evans @ 437 ...
Xopher, I tend to say that if you haven't started a knitting project at least twice, you're probably doing it wrong. (I've only been knitting since 1970.)

It's not the starting I object to nearly as much as the undoing that comes before the second-and-beyond[0] starts ...

[0] I dream of a day when I finish an entire project with only one start, and minimal unraveling[1]
[1] ... and I've been knitting long enough that I'd like to be well past that phase by now.

#446 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 08:57 PM:

Oh, I know that part, too.

#447 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 09:55 PM:

Jacque 443: I hadn't! Thank you!

Buddha 444: I don't know anything about nålebinding, but this summer I did learn how to pronounce å while we were visiting Åland.

It's like the vowel in bought, caught in dialects where the sound is distinct from bot, cot; with a slight rising diphthong into /a/ as in father. I have verified the correctness of that pronunciation with a native speaker of Swedish (who is also an accomplished singer and well clued in to terms like 'rising diphthong').

My knitting needles are prophesied to arrive tomorrow!

#448 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2017, 11:53 PM:

I've occasionally found "Knitting for Dummies" to be helpful. Another of my favorites is "Knitting Without Tears".
YMMV, of course.

#449 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 03:34 AM:

Buddha Buck @ #444:

I would've spelled it "nålbindning" and consider that to be the noun for the activity. The verb, I would consider to be "nåbinda" in present and inflect it "binda - band - bundit" (present, past, perfect). I have NO idea what I would do it in ENglish, though. "Needlebind, needlebound, needlebound" (s/needle/nål/ if you prefer)?

#450 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 04:43 AM:

444/449: I've seen the past/perfect of naalbind rendered both as naalbound and as naalbinded (short "i", like "winded".) Also discovered just now that it's a sufficiently obscure word in English not to be in the OED.

#451 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 05:39 AM:

Seeing a link to the one-pixel solar system chart ("what if the Moon was a pixel high") from tnh's particles reminded me (again) of the existence of The Sweden Solar System, a scale model of the solar system we live in, using the Stockholm Globe Arena as the model of the Sun.

I failed to see Mercury on my way to Helsinki, since the museum in whose forecourt it normally lives is being renovated and it's in storage until late 2018. I also failed to see pretty much everything else of the scale model, but Mercury was close to the tube station I needed to get from where I was to where I could catch a bus to Ytterby Gruva.

#452 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 09:55 AM:

P J Evans at 448: I don't get how it would be possible to tear anything while knitting. Maybe if it is a delicate piece such as a baby blanket made with alpaca. But even a super-soft yarn is pretty sturdy.

#453 ::: Naomi Parkhurst ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 12:17 PM:

TomB @452

Knitting without Tears = Knitting without Crying

#454 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 02:03 PM:

*snicker* boo hiss *snicker*

#455 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 04:22 PM:

TomB @ 452 ...
P J Evans at 448: I don't get how it would be possible to tear anything while knitting. Maybe if it is a delicate piece such as a baby blanket made with alpaca. But even a super-soft yarn is pretty sturdy.

I've had all sorts of issues with lace-weight single ply, as well as cobweb weight stainless steel and copper... [0]

[0] Yes, I saw what you did ...

#456 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 05:53 PM:

I've had some trouble with laceweight merino, and it isn't single ply. Breaks fairly easily if you put too much tension on it, and don't let the cat get hold of it. (It is, however, easy to splice when it breaks.)

#457 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 06:13 PM:

Xopher, I've been knitting for almost 60 years now, and I can tell you this from that experience: if you don't rip (more often than you'd like to), then you aren't really knitting . . . good luck!

#458 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 06:28 PM:

I've found myself reassuring a lot of early knitters that no, really, you don't have to remember how to cast on. Everyone forgets how to cast on by the time they discover they've forgotten how to bind off. It's just how it goes. Also why I always start teaching knitting about four rows in.

#459 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 07:06 PM:

I learned to knit by making garter stitch washcloths on the bias - one stitch to start with, and one to end with.

The side effect was that I learned an increase (knit into the front and back of the stitch) and a decrease (knit 2 together) before I learned casting on or binding off. Or purling, for that matter.

#460 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 09:14 PM:

Mary Frances @457: if you don't rip (more often than you'd like to), then you aren't really knitting

Avner Eisenberg was the Juggling GoH at Minicon in...'80? He did a juggling class at which the first (and most important!) juggling move he taught us was The Drop.

If you can't do The Drop, you can't juggle.

I have found this to be an exceedingly useful metaphor for Life.

Diatryma: The few times I've had a go at knitting, I always cheat the casting on by just crocheting the first row. Makes a slightly odd edge, but seems to work.

#461 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2017, 10:36 PM:

There's an actual cast-on that's crochet-chain-over-the-needle. The "v" side is the visible edge; it's great for when you want all four edges of a square to look alike (with a slip-stitch selvage on each side).
I use it a lot when I want the cast-on and bind-off to look the same.

#462 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2017, 01:07 AM:

Diatryma @ 458 ...
I've found myself reassuring a lot of early knitters that no, really, you don't have to remember how to cast on. Everyone forgets how to cast on by the time they discover they've forgotten how to bind off.

I've discovered that Judy's Magic Cast On is a great way to tell exactly how bad the flu/cold/ick is -- if I can't do it, I'm too unwell to be trying to do much of anything, contrary to whatever I might think is the case.

#463 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2017, 03:09 AM:

B. Durbin @424: Sympathies to both you and the broken-legged toddler. Wishing a speedy and complete recovery.

#464 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 11:56 AM:

Oh ghods. It's That Time of Year again. (Well actually, way past that time of year.) Need to do yearly check-up, but in my case, I'm also supposed to do a colonoscopy.

Problem is, the main GI practice in Boulder is one I fired years ago: if you don't have cancer, they're just don't want to talk to you.* (At least the two docs I've dealt with. I've heard good things about their third senior partner, but always from cancer patients.) (My issue is ulcerative colitis, which also means that I have $NNN copays, instead of the standard screening, which is covered by insurance.)

I had a tolerable experience with another area GI a few years ago, but just about the time I was working up to dealing with this last year, he closed his practice.

So I'm sitting here, grinding my teeth, poking away at Google, and wondering what the hell I'm going to do this year.

(The one GI I actually had good experiences with is now up in Montana, the rat.)

If anybody has any tips or ideas on how to deal with this situation, I'd be delighted to hear recommendations. (And, no, taking a trip to MT is not an option, though believe me, I've thought about it.)

* Also there's the small matter of the medical cascade I went through twenty years ago that resulted in a hysterectomy.

#465 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 12:29 PM:

My doctor wants me to do that, but at the moment it's way the hell down my priority list. (For one thing, everything I've heard about it is unpleasant.)

#466 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 12:58 PM:

P J Evans @465: FWIW, the actual procedure is relatively neutral if it's done properly. (From some points of view it's intrinsically awkward and embarrassing, of course.) The prep is unpleasant, having to clean things out beforehand, so to speak.

Bowser & Blue's Colorectal Surgeon song, FYI.

#467 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 01:02 PM:

P J: My last go-round wasn't too bad. The worst part is the prep, and these folks actually even made that non-horrible. The worst parts for me were being thirsty all morning,* and the staff being grumpy at me becuase my last bit of prep was a half-hour late (which meant they delayed everything for a half-hour). Well, that and the $NNN copay.

* They want your stomack empty because aspirating while under anesthesia is, you know, Bad.

#468 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 02:01 PM:

I see that Peter Yarrow also has a colonoscopy song.

A tip that may make the prep less unpleasant: for part of that period, one is permitted to drink clear fluids. That may include the clear-fluid nutrition drinks such as the clear-fluid Boost... depending on the proctologist's office staff. If they're working on the basis of "clear fluids are okay" and understand the reasons for that rule, even if they're not familiar with the product, you're likely to be okay. If they're just working on the basis of "this is what the rule says, and that product isn't on the list", you probably shouldn't use it.

I also got caught by the "must not drink anything, even water, for several hours" requirement. My procedure had to be delayed for a couple of hours. In my own defense, the document with the prep instructions was very poorly organized.

#469 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 04:11 PM:

Also, my doc's assistant got defensive when I commented that it would have been easier if I'd been told why one doesn't want to consume anything after [deadline]. (Which, of course, it didn't occur to me to ask until half-past owl's-fart the morning of my proceedure.) I got some variation of "You should just trust us."

#470 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 05:32 PM:

Jacque @469

Yeah, that's something I definitely grade on, for medical sorts.

I am happy to report that my dentist not only answered my weird questions about the UV curing of dental cements, but seemed delighted to have been asked. Turns out a) yes, the porcelain used for crowns is mostly UV-transparent, but also b) it doesn't really matter, because the cements are actually self-curing as well, so as long as the UV seals the edges the rest will cure in an hour or so.

I do trust him, but a big part of the reason I trust him is because he'll explain things.

(That, and because I've several times seen his hygienists question his decisions ("Hey, this says X, but shouldn't we do Y because of Z?") and seen him explain his reasoning and thank them for checking his work. For me, that builds a lot of confidence: I'd much rather have three smart people looking out for me than one.)

#471 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 05:37 PM:

Weird Event: the PNH sidelight, "Jo Walton: Not My Gods" looks like a good link, but sent me to somewhere creepy and mysterious that my antivirus blocked.

I typed it by hand and it worked; I can now follow the link normally.

I fear this is on my end, because I can't figure out how it would be anything else. Any ideas?

#472 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 05:50 PM:

That happened to me, also - a link that went somewhere that wouldn't load, but when I used the actual link, it worked fine.

#473 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 05:53 PM:

the place it sent me was /?p=562eb6df14f2dacd85a6ed82a4d81320
(I added a space to break it)

#474 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 06:35 PM:

@471 passim.:

I had a similar experience with the sidelight the first time I tried it. I tried again just now, to see if I got the same URL as P J Evans, and it worked without any issues.

That's a good poem.

#475 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 07:06 PM:

@471 etc: The ic3 [etc] address looks like where it sent me. (I need to back up my stuff anyway, but it's a relief that it's not on my side. Sort of.)

#476 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 09:21 PM:

Devin: And be okay with a "subordinate" challenging his thinking—! That's truly impressive.*

Oh yeah, my dental practice gets high marks across the board, for similar reasons. I grilled one doc in particular hard when we were discussing adjusting the fit of a crown that was giving me trouble. He met all my objections, answered all my issues & questions, and then we got things adjusted. Took a little while for the adjustment to settle in, but haven't had a lick of trouble since.

Yeah, the whole UV-curing thing: I could think about becoming a dentist just to get to play with all the wonderful tools and materials. (Finally got around to getting my own set of dental picks—from McGuckins, of course.)

There is some astonishing artistry in the field. The guy who did the crown for my implant—I stare at it with my 10x mirror, and if I didn't know it was a fake, I wouldn't be able to tell. Color, texture, wear...! Just ::boggle::)

* I once had a dentist call an hygienist on the carpet—in front of me—for having me come in for him to check a "stick" that turned out not to be a cavity. I didn't have the vocabulary for it at the time, but that felt wrong in so very many ways that I found myself moved to look for a different dentist. (To be charitable, I think he was trying to show me that he "respected my time," but Dude. Not the way to go about it.)

@471 &seq.: Yeah, I think I ran into that, too. But my work 'net is pretty prudish, so I just forgot about it.

#477 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2017, 09:46 PM:

HLN: Black squirrels have been sighted in Skagit County. I knew that melanistic specimens had popped up in various places around the nation, but I hadn't expected to find them in my own state. The region just southeast of Mount Vernon, toward Big Lake, has some that are very dark brown and at least one that so far as I could tell was pure black, a startling sight. A dark brown one was also sighted by me in Bellingham.
I don't know if they came from Mirkwood. But someone who hangs their hat in Mount Vernon tells me that there had been rumors some years back of white deer.

#478 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 01:12 AM:

RE colonoscopy prep: The big no-no from the clinic I went to was nothing *red*.

Jell-O, chicken stock, black coffee, OK. Anything orange or red, no.

The colon-blow solution the clinic specified was all over the counter. The big show was a half gallon of green Gatorade with a whole bottle of Miralax stirred in. Friends suggested drinking the periodic doses "on ice," with two straws, to get it down as quickly as possible.

Advice: Don't be tempted to schedule an early appointment so you can look forward to a late breakfast. This meant getting up in the wee hours for guzzle down the final quart or so of colon blow drink, and then go for hours without fluids.

Actual procedure was . . . nothing. A nice nap. Nothing sore or weird afterwards. In my case, "come back in ten years." (A co-worker wasn't so luck, but his cancer was caught early and he's doing fine.)

#479 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 01:46 AM:

My HMO is happy with an annual shit sample (Fecal Occult Blood Test, if you want the technical term -- I wonder how they can tell the blood is occult [joke]). They'd give me a colonoscopy good for 5 years if the test looked wonky.

#480 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 03:25 AM:

From a different country, I do find myself wondering is some of this medical stuff is just a way of running up the bills, because here in the UK we just don't seem to get this level of routine testing.

There could be other reasons.

#482 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 09:42 AM:

re 471 et seq.: OK. so it wasn't just me. I didn't track the URL because I was more concerned with getting out, but it was an obvious "permit us to download something we can screw up your machine with" phish.

#483 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 09:54 AM:

Haven't had a colonoscopy specifically, but I've had the pre-surgery cleanout a few times. For me, the best way to get down whatever noxious fluid I've been presented with is to put the straw as far back as it can go in my mouth without triggering my gag reflex, and suck-and-swallow as smoothly as possible. This gets the ick past the tongue and most texture sensors.

On the last round, I couldn't finish the last quarter or so of the bottle, but when I explained (politely) that I had to quit or it was all going to reemerge, they let me stop.

#484 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 04:48 PM:

HLN: Local man trips on uneven brick sidewalk.

"I was greeting Tony instead of watching where my feet were going," he commented. "I wound up attacking a street sign with my face."

Bystanders immediately gathered to ask if he was all right, get him a chair and some water, find his glasses, offer to call an ambulance, and even drive him home. "I feel really good about how this community responded," said the man. "I have good neighbors in this town."

The man did not go to the ER, citing insurance concerns. He has a bang on the head, a scraped knee, and a cut over his collar bone. He's now home and resting comfortably.

"Could have been a lot worse," was his summation.

#485 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 05:56 PM:

Xopher @484 Sympathies to local man.

#486 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 08:45 PM:

Jacque @ 464: yearly colonoscopies? Gag me with a proctoscope! I consider myself hard done by with a 5-year cycle (because they once found something that might have turned cancerous if it had been let alone long enough). I'm happy with the work done in Boston, but that involves a very large, very thorough clinic chain (Harvard Vanguard / Atrius) such as I suspect Boulder doesn't have; does your plan cover Denver services, if you have someone to drive you home?

P J Evans @ 465: I was not going to put my first off (age 50) given that gut troubles are the only thing that has killed more than one blood kin; you may not have such a motivation, but you should consider getting on with it just because the (admittedly low-probability) effects of something unfound can be much worse. My advice on taking my practice's recommended cleanser (magnesium citrate): refrigerate as they say, then chase with shots of white cranberry juice -- more sugar than I like, but tart enough to wipe the aftertaste of almost anything (and legal, because it really is clear -- I wonder who got the idea, either to breed or to decolor).

Tom W @ 479: in your case I bet they've heard about that book you found....

The Walton link loaded for me with no trouble on Firefox 56; I wonder if the misbehavior was browser-sensitive. I'm not so ... generous ... as I think Jo is, but comparing various nuts with commoners from 2 millennia ago has a certain ring to it.

#487 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2017, 10:57 PM:

It's low priority because I already have medical issues that are much more urgent. (And a living will. And the chances of surviving that particular form of cancer are much worse than the problems I am dealing with now.)

#488 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 06:13 AM:

Yeah, he's good people. And the materials are pretty sweet: not just tiny drills and picks and a wide range of high-spec adhesives, but also probably the most common non-novelty uses for nitinol. (Certainly the only one I've ever personally encountered, though others do exist.)

Oh, and cocaine: apparently some dentists still prefer cocaine as a topical anaesthetic.

#489 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 10:29 AM:

Devin @488:

Nitinol and related shape-memory alloys are really neat! One slightly less frivolous but still probably novelty use I want to see it put to is self-folding or self-unfolding Origami. Might need some very careful assembly of different activation temperature alloys to make a sheet that folds/unfolds in stages to avoid getting stuck on itself, though.

#490 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 10:47 AM:

The evening before my first colonoscopy or whatever it was, I was in a performance at a Kabaret at Houston's Goethe-Institut. I was on schedule for the last prep pill, the balloon payment if you will, and took it when I estimated I'd be home in less than a half hour. I made to get the reed organ I'd played on so I could clear out, but my host wanted to stay for the awards and the moment passed when I could get away safely.

I sat and sat. It was quite an evening. Lots of thanking going on. Finally made it home, but will power was definitely involved.

#491 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 12:06 PM:

All: Thanks for the info. I'm good for another 2 years. I recall that when I described the effects of the 1st 2/3 of the solution over the phone, the doctor's assistant said I could skip the rest.
Everything checked out fine. On coming to, I asked what would they do if someone wasn't as well cleaned out as they thought. "Oh, we just vacuum it out." "--Well I will never complain about vacuuming the floor again!"
If you're a plasma seller, wait till the mark on your vein fades and then don't say a word when you go in, or they will defer you longer than makes sense.

#492 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 10:36 PM:

Went to the U-Fix-It clinic this morning put on by the local Maker community. Amongst all the blenders, coffee machines, and toy RC trucks, one woman brought in her green, 6ft-tall, anamatronic Frankenstein's monster (with transparent brain-case duct-taped to his head). I think she officially wins. (Somebody pointed out that, since they actually got him working again, she can literally claim to be Doctor Frankenstein.)

#493 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2017, 10:56 PM:

Devin @488: Memory metal for braces! Huh. Now there's an obvious application that never would have occurred to me.

cajunfj40 @489: I want to see it put to is self-folding or self-unfolding Origami.

By your command. Or at least a first-order approximation.

I think I've also seen mention of similar principles used for spacecraft solar sails and antennae.

Kip W @490: Yeah, it's a weird sensation. Nothing like illness or colitis-associated, um, "symptoms." No pain, no cramping. Just all of a sudden, FWEET "Everybody out the pool!"

#494 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2017, 01:46 PM:

Angiportus @ 491: "Oh, we just vacuum it out." Sounds like better tech; I was given very short notice of the appointment due to some screwup, and was told to come back much sooner than standard due to "inadequate preparation".

#495 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2017, 06:48 AM:

Tom Whitmore #435: Whoops, sorry to link-drop and then drop-out for a week. I was just forwarding the Yahoo obit, which I'd seen via "Customers Suck!".

Trying to catch up now...

#496 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2017, 02:33 PM:

HLN: area woman had CT and PET scans this morning. Glowing in the dark doesn't actually happen, but it was an interesting (if tedious) experience. (PET scan takes about half an hour, and and you aren't supposed to move, even when muscles start complaining.)

#497 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 02:07 AM:

HLN: Area woman moms in public for the first time ever. Sky does not fall in.

See, I've never waved my mom card. I still feel like a clueless kid even though my oldest is less than a year from high school and a checkout clerk asked me if I was tax exempt for the first time not two weeks ago. But there was a bully in the sign-in line at the public pool, doing his damnedest to start something with anybody handy, hitting a little boy and trying to make a little girl cry and spraying threats at a quiet kid, and I put on my mom face and mom voice and told the counter attendant that he had to go because I did not want somebody like that in the water with my son or any child.

And nobody laughed. Amazing! Also he was gotten rid of. The one kid he managed to get a rise out of, the quiet boy--and this was by first telling him he should be dead and then hitting a little kid--got kicked out too, but the staff actually came to me to ask how I thought they should handle something like that in the future.

Holy crap, I'm an adult.

#498 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 11:27 AM:

Holy cow! ::applause::

Adulting is hard enough—momming in public! Should be a merit badge for that!!

#499 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 02:00 PM:

Adulting is tough. Parenting in public is even tougher. You did good.

#500 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 02:44 PM:

Brief vent here.

Who the @#$% thought it was a good idea to put TVs in the elevators of my office building? All I can think is that the management is getting some kind of advertising kickback. The TVs are showing CNN, so it could be worse, but I HATE riding up/down the elevator to the sound of a White House press conference and I'm not physically capable of taking the stairs from the 8th floor in anything but the direst of emergencies. It used to be that the freight/garage elevator didn't have one, but the recent renovation put one there too. Aargh!


#501 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 02:57 PM:

The building I worked in did that some years ago - apparently the idea is that you can't be out of touch with the world, even for the few minutes you're in an elevator. (Or at a gas pump, because I've met stations with screens on the pumps.)

I don't see any useful point to this kind of thing.

#502 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 03:28 PM:

OtterB @ 500 and P J Evans @ 501:

At a gas pump or a hotel elevator, the idea is to bombard you with advertising. In an elevator at work (or at the airport, or in a hotel breakfast area) playing news, I have no idea what the idea is. At least it's only CNN. The telescreens in 1984 have the excuse of being government mandated, but the number of places that voluntarily put up a television playing Fox News is truly incredible.

My place of work has recently upgraded their outside the elevator TVs from static slides about upcoming events to video loops about how wonderful the company is with slides off to the side. At least they keep the volume turned down. It's a good thing that the video player is kept behind a locked door, because otherwise I might succumb to the temptation to improve the video.

#503 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 03:51 PM:

I live in Southeast Michigan and the weather has been consistently summery -- sunny and in the mid-70s if not 80s or even 90s -- for all but two or three days of October so far, and most of September.

It is making me extremely grumpy. October is supposed to smell chill and crisp; the breeze is supposed to nip at my nose. The leaves are lying colorful on the ground, yes, but it smells all wrong and it's too warm and it is so relentlessly Wrong. I forget, most of the time, that I am also an animal, and one attuned to my native climate, no matter how much of my time I spend in an artificially temperature-and-humidity-controlled environment.

I joke: I'm going to move to Siberia! I joke: if I wanted it to be 85 in October I would live in Florida! But in truth, I love my home, as flawed as it is, and I do not want to leave. But if this pattern of unreasonable, unnatural warmth continues, I may feel forced to flee.

People did this. They willfully ignored the consequences of their actions, through open-eyed greed and blind tribal loyalty, and they convinced themselves and others that their actions had no consequences, making any fight to save the natural order of things a Sisyphean drudge of regulation and lobbying and rollback. And now it is not right and my home is forever changed and I fear it can never be put back, even if the most unrealistically drastic of measures were fully implemented tomorrow. I am furious, helpless, mournful.

#504 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 04:13 PM:

estelendur (503): I heartily agree. Long Island has also been unseasonably hot and summery this September and October. Today is one of the hottest days yet. I hate summer* and have been eagerly awaiting the onset of fall (my favorite season). Several times now it has cooled off and I have relaxed in delight, only to curse the return of summer. Blech!

*I find the heat and humidity very debilitating.

#505 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 05:43 PM:

I think that 'adult' is something often discovered in contrast to 'those kids over there, who I thought I was part of until I realized they're babies'. Certainly that's how 'college student' and 'grad student' worked for me.

#506 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 06:14 PM:

OtterB #500, et seq.: Argh. My local taxi company (which has eaten all the others) has a screen in the back seat, which plays 30-second ads for their online/app ordering system, on continuous rotation. At least you can turn off the sound, and I've had a couple of taxi drivers who did that without being asked, but who thought that was a good idea? Not only have I not downloaded their app, but that screen was a push toward my switching to Uber.

estelendur #503: I'm hearing ya. Here in central Virginia, we had a week or two of chilly mornings and evenings in September, but then it went right back to not only short-sleeve weather, but short-pants weather (as in, regretting my jeans). The area also went on drought warning last week (so much for the expensive new reservoir, but that's another rant); we've had a bit of rain this week, but not hardly enough (I've been seeing how dry it was for weeks on the local trails).

#507 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 09:49 PM:

#503, #504: I wonder what kind of weather crap would have to go down to make the DaGullibles get a clue. Would they eventually just blame it on God when things got bad enough? I can picture televangelists iwth the gall to blame hurricanes on abortion clinics or gay nightclubs. (And as I finished writing that sentence . . .I bet they've done that already, right?)

#500 & so on: My dentist installed ceiling-mounted TVs above the chairs a few years back. My mind generally goes to Another Place when at the dentist, and the assistant will switch channels or turn the thing off if asked, so I'm not put off.

But this morning, they were playing "Doctor McStuffins," which I'd heard about but had never seen. It was kind of trippy, trying to figure out what was going on.

#508 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2017, 11:10 PM:

Jenny 497: GO YOU! *applause* Great momming!

OtterB 500: Sounds like you need a TV-B-Gone.

#509 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 09:21 AM:

Xopher 508 Sounds like you need a TV-B-Gone.

Huh. Perhaps I do.

#510 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 10:33 AM:

OtterB @509: Or you could just tape a piece of paper over the screen, with "SHUT UP" printed on it in large font.

#511 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 10:49 AM:

estelendur @503: At least you still have a home, damaged though it is.

Diatryma @505: "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes." - The Doctor (#4)

Dave Harmon @506 - I'm reminded of Podkayne of Mars, with its in-taxi in-your-face advertising.

Venusberg assaults the eye and ear even from inside a taxi. I believe in free enterprise; all Marsmen do, it’s an article of faith and the main reason we won't federate with Earth (and be outvoted five hundred to one). But free enterprise is not enough excuse to blare in your ears and glare in your eyes every time you leave your own roof. The shops never close (I don’t think anything ever closes, in Venusberg) and full color and stereo ads climb right inside your taxi and sit in your lap and shout in your ear.

Don’t ask me how this horrid illusion is produced. The engineer who invented it probably flew off on his own broom. This red devil about a meter high appeared between us and the partition separating us from the driver (there wasn’t a sign of a solly receiver) and started jabbing at us with a itchfork. "Get the Hi-Ho Habit!” it shrieked. “Everybody drinks Hi-Ho! Soothing, Habit-Forming, Dee-lishus! Get High with Hi-Ho!"

Stefan Jones@507 - Oh my goodness, yes, the evangelistic types have been blaming The Gays for natural disasters for years. Dunno about abortions.

#512 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 01:27 PM:

Joel Polowin @511 --I doubt even the evangelistic types blame The Gays for abortions.... (ducks and runs)

#513 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 03:13 PM:

Joel Polowin @511: You are correct, and I am in fact very grateful that Michigan is not on fire, underwater, or experiencing rampant earthquakes or tornadoes. I am sorry that I seem to have touched a nerve. But I am allowed to be upset about problems that are not the worst possible problem, particularly in a discussion thread with no set topic.

#514 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 03:14 PM:

Ohnosecond: Also glad, of course, that my home is not in a war zone or experiencing other more directly man-made disasters.

#515 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2017, 06:25 PM:

Did someone mention NiTinol? I remember it cropping up in lectures a good 17 or more years ago, and finally last week I decided to try a pair of glasses frames made from it, since it is quite forgiving of being bashed and is rather light. It turns out it is still weirdly amazing stuff to see at work.

#516 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 01:50 AM:

According to the birth announcements in my local paper, somebody actually thought that naming their baby girl after a character who is best known for being dangerously insane and also for having a long-term enabling relationship with a man who abused her personally while murdering hundreds of people for the lulz...was a good idea.

No. Nopity nope. You want to name your kid Nerys, Arwen Tinuviel, or frickin' Twilight Sparkle, go right ahead. But somebody, somewhere, should have stopped you before you picked that name.

(Not specifying it because I don't want it to turn up next to the word "baby" in a search. What's done is done; no point nameshaming the poor tot.)

#517 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 03:11 AM:

Sympathies on the public TVs. A couple of years ago, the building at work installed little screens in the elevators, showing an endless loop of bland inspirational business platitudes, factlets of varying degrees of accuracy, truncated headlines and weather. I happened to opine loudly that it should have been required to show nothing but cute animal videos. The Chief Grand High Poobah of my division was (unbeknownst to me) in the corner of the elevator and expressed his agreement. Within two months he was gone, replaced by a man who spent 20 minutes of his first presentation at a quarterly meeting stating that people who weren't 100% excited to come in to work might find a better fit outside the Company. When they moved to a hellishly overcrowded open-office plan and installed two giant TVs on each floor, I kept my opinion to myself, glad that they at least muted them so we didn't have to hear yet more ads constantly throughout the day. I feel absolutely no guilt stopping a gawping like a cat at a laser-dot whenever live coverage of a car chase is broadcast on the Mandatory Work TV. Serves them right.

#518 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 06:46 AM:

Jenny Islander @ #516:

It's a name that, in the way of names, goes in and out of fashion; Kevin Smith's daughter is 18 this year.

#519 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 08:17 AM:

Paul A. @518:

While the name does go in and out of fashion, and I'm sure Paul Dini chose it because it sounded like reasonable first and last names while still forming a suitable pun on the character's appearance and style, citing Kevin Smith's daughter is a poor example, since he named her after the character.

Of course, now my mind is trying to put together a parody of "Jolene", sung from the point of view of the mass-murderer-for-the-lulz's previous "girlfriend"...

#520 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 08:18 AM:

Paul A. @518:

While the name does go in and out of fashion, and I'm sure Paul Dini chose it because it sounded like reasonable first and last names while still forming a suitable pun on the character's appearance and style, citing Kevin Smith's daughter is a poor example, since he named her after the character.

Of course, now my mind is trying to put together a parody of "Jolene", sung from the point of view of the mass-murderer-for-the-lulz's previous "girlfriend"...

#521 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 10:18 AM:

At least the TVs in my office were in the kitchenettes, and usually turned off - before they remodeled our part of the building. They didn't re-install them. (We ended up with galley kitchens, with a door on each end as they're also passageways between the two long sides of the floor.)

#522 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 10:56 AM:

On my lunch hour, I read. I have trained my coworkers to keep pleasantries and conversation to a minimum when my nose is in a book. ("I'm not trying to be rude; I'm READING....")

For a brief time, some years back, we had a fileclerk (who was fired because she was terrible at her job -- she told me, in tones of pride and satisfaction, not embarrassment, that she sang the alphabet song to herself while she was filing... and years later we still can't reliably find anything in the files from those dates). We had a small TV in the breakroom; she saw me reading and asked me, in all seriousness, "why don't you watch TV? It's so much easier!"

I boggled at her, but thankfully didn't say any of the first six things that came to mind. Now, years later, I wonder if she was dyslexic. (File clerk was very much NOT a job she could do, whatever her issues may have been.)

#523 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 11:00 AM:

Most disturbing public TV experience:

15+ years ago, Christmas shopping season. "The Great Mall of the Bay Area" down in . . . Milpitas, I think.

A strange, ugly building with a great dark vault above the walkways. Like there could be giant spiders or dire gibbons up there. Terrible acoustics.

Installed along the corridor (it was a big loop, as I recall) were overhead monitors. Running Stories from the Book of Virtues, a mediocre cartoon based on the preachy book by William Bennett, the moral scold and former Secretary of Education with an Indian casino habit.

Maybe it was my mood, or SF fan/writer habit of scenario spinning, but I found this rather sinister.

#524 ::: Craft(Alchemy) ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 11:03 AM:

@519: I'm sure Paul Dini chose it because it sounded like reasonable first and last names while still forming a suitable pun on the character's appearance and style

He wasn't the first to spot the pun, either - some of Agatha Christie's short stories feature "the mysterious Mr Quin", although he's calling back to the more melancholy aspects of the stage character.

#525 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 12:35 PM:

511, 512: Their story is that the women run off and get abortions so they can go be (I think) gay witches. Everything ties together: They've been telling it a long time.

#526 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 01:02 PM:

estelendur @513 - I apologize; I was being rude and thoughtless.

#527 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 04:15 PM:

So, there's a story (? or book?) by John Kessel called Pride and Prometheus, which is a pastiche of Pride and Prejudice with Frankenstein, a Modern Prometheus. I'm a little burned out on Austen pastiches, and I went on a bit of a Twitter rant, under the hashtag #WorstAustenPastiche. My entries:

Sneetches and Prejudice
Pride of Lions, Witches, and Wardrobes
Pride vs. Predator
Sharknado and Prejudice
The Princess Pride
Pride and Prejudice of Chanur
KILL DARCY Vol I and II, a film by Quentin Tarentino
Dorothy and the Wizard of Austen
Delta Persuasion
Ancillary Prejudice
Pride is a Harsh Mistress
Happily, some others got in the act:
  • Cassandra said "Archie (comics) and Prejudice";
  • Craig Ranapia contributed "White Pride and Prejudice," "Mansfield Park-and-Ride," and "Nonsense and Insensibility";
  • Wolf Baginski came in with
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Blade Runner in possession of a Voight-Kampff machine has just shot a Replicant."
  • Chris Hutchings gave "Pride and Prejudice Of Gor," which I should have thought of;
  • Andrew Hickmott came up with "Pride and Prejudice and Ted and Alice"; and
  • dotless ı, of this parish, pointed out that
    "Ancillary Prejudice" is the first book of a trilogy, followed by "Ancillary Persuasion" and "Ancillary Sensibility",
    which truly made my evening.

So far the one people seem to like most is "Pride vs. Predator," probably because Scott Lynch retweeted it.

#528 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 05:44 PM:

Buddha Buck @ #519:

I was unclear. I know that Ms Smith is named after the character and that was my reason for mentioning her, to say that the parents Jenny Islander spoke of weren't the first to have the same dubiously-sensible idea.

#529 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 08:21 PM:

Up at comment 397 KeithS reports that Lee has been diagnosed with cancer. I spoke with her today, and she asked me to post an update, for those who read here but not File 770.

Here's what JJ posted for Lee to File 770 a little while back:

I’ve been feeling increasingly worse for a couple of months, and all the tests were coming back “can’t see anything wrong here”. I finally collapsed in my doctor’s office due to dehydration, and she sent me to the ER. The people there listened to my description of what had been happening and admitted me for a CAT scan. That showed a mass on my pancreas, and the subsequent biopsy came up malignant. Now waiting for an appointment for a full PET scan, which will tell us exactly what we’re up against. If it hasn’t spread, it will be treated surgically. If it has, I’m looking at chemo.

And here's the update (again a re-post from JJ).

The mass is only about 3 cm, but it’s wrapped around the celiac artery. This means it’s inoperable, and there are also a couple of spots on my liver that look dubious. Chemo, here we come.

The good news, such as it is, is that there’s no evidence of lymph node involvement. This means we can probably hit it with a combination of chemo and targeted radiotherapy and knock it out completely. In the meantime, I’m on heavy duty painkillers. I get to have a port installed on my chest tomorrow. This is going to take out most of my fall and holiday season, after having lost my summer already. I am not a happy camper.

Right now she’s accessing the net through a cell phone, which is not ideal for reading File 770. If you wish to contact her, you can use the email fgnepngwrjry@tznvy.pbz *.

* rot13’ed for spam avoidance

I mentioned to her that my mother had chemotherapy for breast cancer a couple of years back, and according to her reports about it, they're much better nowadays about avoiding nausea. Lee received this with some skepticism, which I find entirely understandable.
#530 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 08:30 PM:

David Goldfarb (529):
...they're much better nowadays about avoiding nausea. Lee received this with some skepticism, which I find entirely understandable.

I'd be skeptical, too. A good friend just finished chemo for breast cancer and had a lot of trouble with nausea. Not quite as much as I did a dozen years ago, but according to my oncologist I had a particularly hard time.

#531 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 09:02 PM:

@516 et al: How long has the Joker been a enormously-mass murderer, canonically ?

I don't know how to form the question. If the Joker has to support 77 years of continuity of course he's murdered thousands. And Batman has had several hundred broken bones, gunshot wounds, concussions, comas, etc.

But in the two sets of Batman movies, I feel like it's ten to fifty, something like that.

And there's been resets and reboots and people weren't [originally] supposed to read the same title for twenty years. Maybe the question is "If you asked Commissioner Gordon, how many people would he say the Joker's killed?"

#532 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 09:37 PM:

Sandy B @531: Gordon would say, "We don't actually know. We know for sure about dozens, but we'd estimate a much higher body count."

#533 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 10:24 PM:

The list I was given for mine includes three anti-emetic and anti-nausea drugs. Some are stuck in the section labeled "hydration".

#534 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2017, 11:38 PM:

Continued adventures in adulting: I am steadily getting sicker, being the (I think) fourth person in the house to get this stupid cold, but I still created and served a wholesome dinner from scraps with no recipe.

Take two boxes of the kind of rice side dish that starts with you boiling everything together. Throw out the sauce packets and do this instead:

In the last schmear of butter left in that butter dish, saute' three bell peppers that you trimmed of the old spots and diced. Meanwhile, pour the broth created in the pot when you slow cooked that flank steak in plain water the other day into a big glass measuring cup, add leftover homemade chicken broth from the frozen block you thawed day before yesterday, and top off with plain water until you have as much cooking liquid as the box calls for. Take out the peppers and keep aside. Put in the cooking liquid and the butter (from the fridge) called for on the boxes, then the rice mix (I used Rice-a-Roni White and Wild Rice Blend) and lots and lots of chili powder and cumin. Cook as package directs. Meanwhile trim and dice those three tomatoes that are getting just a bit oldish. After you let the cooked rice stand for 3 minutes as directed on the box, stir in the peppers, the tomatoes, and the last of the shredded slow-cooked beef. Serve with sour cream and a plateful of satsumas.

I feel like crap and I haven't done nearly as many chores as I should today, but dinner was good. I actually feel like a cook.

#535 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 02:47 AM:

Devin @470

My dentist has great toys. Last year she put a crown on a tooth that got infected and had to get a root canal. Rather than dig the root out, as they used to, when she’d ground the top of the tooth off to fit the crown, she squirted bleach inside to dissolve the root painlessly. To make sure she got all the root out, she used an ohmmeter with an audible signal attached to a dental probe (though it was probably much gussied up from my little pocket multimeter, and much more expensive.

Then, instead of making a temporary crown and sending out to the lab for a permanent one, and having to wait a couple of weeks, she swung her computer terminal over, and took a set of photos of the tooth. The computer stitched the photos together and created a 3D model in a design program. She then designed the crown (the software obviously used some sort of spline surface representation, but the user interface was good enough that someone who didn’t know Bezier from NURBS could get artistic results), and sent the result to a milling machine which cut the crown out of a ceramic blank in about 20 minutes while I watched.

#536 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 03:30 AM:

Ah, Nitonol. Neat stuff. There were some experiments some time back using it to make arterial stents that would be inserted in a collapsed state and expand at the point of use. Don’t know if those went into clinical use.

My favorite application is very SFnal. In the 90s the roboticist Hans Moravec invented something he called a ”bush robot”. It’s limbs were fractal, terminating in fingers that could manipulate objects in the micrometer range. Some of Moravec’s grad students designed a version with somewhat larger fingers that were driven by nitinol wires heated by electrical current.

1. Don’t bother googling for it without adding Moravec’s name or you’ll hit a very odd bunch of posts involving a conspiracy theory that President George W. Bush was a robot.

#537 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 09:23 AM:

Dreamwidth user kaberett wrote up a long and interesting post about their Board Games Desensitisation Process. I thought it would be interesting for folks who have a difficult relationship with card and board games but want to participate in social events that focus on those games.

#538 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 10:39 AM:

#535: My dentist uses a similar imaging system, but has to have the cap ground by an outside provider.

They still have to do an impression, to mold a temporary tooth. Got one of those in my mouth right now.

I was sent home with a gold filling. I wonder how much it is worth . . .

#539 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 11:01 AM:

David Goldfarb @529, Mary Aileen @530 - Oncologists have better chemo tools than they did a couple of decades ago, and are better able to find a match with a given patient's form(s) of cancer and medical history so as to minimize side effects such as nausea. And more kinds of anti-nauseants. But there are some hard limits: most of the good anti-nauseants have some characteristics in common, such as blocking dopamine, which make them unusable by some patients.

#540 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 02:29 PM:

Joel Polowin @526: Thank you.

Bruce Cohen @535: Wow, that is very cool! I did not know dentistry had yet taken so much advantage of The Future In Which We Live.

#541 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 03:06 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 535: an ohmmeter with an audible signal attached to a dental probe. I wonder how long that's been in clinical use. I did a piece of a research project on using an ohmmeter to find enamel flaws ~40 years ago, but I've never seen that used in real life. (I did several biomedical research projects with that result; it's one of the reasons I didn't regret shifting to software engineering.) I'm so envious of your 20-minute crown; I've had 6, and there was only one where the temporary didn't give me the twitches the entire time I was waiting for the permanent.

Sumana @ 537: fascinating. I'm a very mildly competitive player of some of the simpler games and hadn't thought of those being stressors -- but I can see how someone could have Issues.

#542 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2017, 11:51 PM:

HLN: Local woman started having chest pains, then nearly blacked out at drum circle on Tuesday afternoon. Drum buddies called 911, local woman was taken to ER, stayed at hospital overnight for observation and tests, released Wednesday evening. No significant problems found. Followup scheduled with primary doctor, hematologist, and cardiologist. Local woman relieved by test results, but would like to know what did cause painful and frightening episode.

#543 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 01:51 AM:

HLN: Community is grateful to drum buddies.

#544 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 03:30 AM:

Anne 542: Holy crap. So glad there were sensible people around to call for help.

You weren't drumming stopped anapests or any other rhythm known to disturb the heart?

#545 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 10:57 AM:

Bruce Cohen #536: That "bush robot" sounds like Robert Forward's "Christmas Tree" bot from his Rocheworld series.

#546 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 12:14 PM:

Anne Sheller (542): So glad you're okay!

A few years ago, I had chest pains that kept me in the local hospital's cardiac unit overnight. Afterwards, my cardiologist ran a bunch of tests, but we never did figure out what had caused the episode. So there aren't always answers--which is very frustrating.

Wishing all the best for you.

#547 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 12:17 PM:

Xopher (544): I can't be around music with a really heavy base beat because it makes my heart go all wonky. (Nothing like Anne just experienced, though.)

#548 ::: Lori ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 02:36 PM:

Anne 542: Glad you're still with us!

Many years ago, while she was a work, my Mom, an RN, began having chest pain. Her co-workers immediately whisked her off to ER. Same business, stay overnight, get checked out, only to find nothing wrong.

The best explanation her cardiologist could come up with was "vein spasms," which cause a pain similar to a heart attack.

#549 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 04:21 PM:

Two weeks ago, late in the morning, Inge started experiencing a headache, with difficulty finding words, and weakness and lack of sensation on her right side.

These are symptoms she has experienced before with a migraine, so that's what she assumed was going on.

But on those occasions, the symptoms passed after half to three-quarters of an hour. This stuff persisted. By eight in the evening, she was getting concerned. She told me that if a patient had come to her with those symptoms, she would have sent that person to Emerg immediately. I told her that she should take her own advice.

But she wanted a second opinion: a nurse was coming over to change a wound dressing. (That's another story.) Nurse told her to go to Emerg.

When we got to Emerg, it didn't take long to get the basic stuff done such as the EKG. Pupil dilation was somewhat ambiguous. Inge couldn't be given clot-busters prophylactically because she's already on blood thinners for her clotting disorder. It took some hours to get her a CT scan. That showed a fuzzy area on the part of her brain that was "appropriate" for her symptoms. Diagnosis, on the basis of her medical history and that scan: a small stroke.

Some hours later they got her into an MRI to get more details. That didn't show anything out of the ordinary. So they were back to calling it an unusually severe presentation of a migraine.

At this point, after a couple of weeks of some-days-better, some-days-worse, she's mostly recovered. We're both pretty worn out. But if there's a next time, I'm going to push harder to get her to Emerg sooner, because next time it might be that stroke. Also, I suspect that it might be possible to get medications that would treat the symptoms better if we can deal with things earlier. We've been waiting to hear back from the neurologist who usually treats her for migraines, but he's been extremely busy recently.

#550 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 04:36 PM:

Bruce Cohen @535: [crown + root canal]

I had one of those done a few years ago, where they did the crown first and then ran the root canal through the crown. (Offended my Delicate Sense of Order and Design, because the root canal filling is a blemish (different shade of white) in the middle of the crown. But nobody sees it but me & the dentist/hygienist, so oh well.)

My dental practice has All The Toys, so I'm a little surprised they didn't use the method you describe, though this was a few years ago.

The endodontist did use bleach to clean out the root canal after he drilled, though my understanding is that was antiseptic rather than mechanical in intent.

(I told him the story of my first root canal, back in the early '70s, where I had to go back multiple times to get the canal tested and cleaned out, because it kept coming up contaminated. Because of course it would, because you're breaking the seal every time you pull out the temporary filling. Nowadays, they just bleach it to death and then seal it right away (one sitting!), which makes a lot more sense to me.)

He also had this nifty little scrubbity thing, which is a long, thin, flexible rubber cone that's attached to the dental drill. The cone is slightly off-center, so the tip bends outward as it turns at high speed. High-tech, microminiscule bottle brush, to clean the last of the yutz out of the canal. I made him hold it out so I could look at it. (I gotta remember to take my glasses next time, so I can actually see it.) Clever idea!

And of course this all reminds me of Orthoprint, or How I Open-Sourced My Face

Anne @542: Mercy! What abi said!

Race Traitor Xopher @544: You weren't drumming stopped anapests

And no one was using a Tibetan skull drum? (Those apparently produce some very weird energy.)

Mary Aileen @547: I imagine you probably avoid Taiko, yes? Especially with an odaiko?

#551 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 04:44 PM:

Jacque (550): I avoid big drums, yes. Also most loud rock music.

#552 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 07:14 PM:

Joel Polowin - Yow! Hope she recovers well and quickly. One-sided weakness and lack of sensation is a classic stroke symptom; it's a get to emergency room now thing, and if you need a second opinion they'll have multiple people there who can do that. (Maybe less urgency if she's taking drugs that interfere with using the stroke-busting drugs, because those have about a 4-hour window of effectiveness.) I've never been around somebody when they're having a stroke, but I've had elderly relatives who've had them, and there's a local filker who's had a number of small-medium ones starting in his mid-50s.

Bruce Cohen - My dentist was an early adopter of milling machines and digital X-rays; he's commented that he had to unlearn everything he learned in dental school about what shape to carve the remaining tooth to get them to fit together, but they've worked pretty well.

#553 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 08:40 PM:

Jacque 550: I don't know about that. The stopped anapest, especially if it's very loud, has been clinically shown to interfere with the natural rhythm of the human heart. Subjects lose physical strength and some experience dizziness. I can't remember any more about it.

#554 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 08:56 PM:

Thanks to Calimac, we have a Kesh fire report.

#555 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 10:07 PM:

Ozymandias Replies.

This seems relevant to local interests.

#556 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2017, 11:41 PM:

Thanks, all. I was playing a dununba, West African cylinder drum with a "bell" (in this case a hardwood stick) attached. We were jamming in 4/4 time, and the other dununba player and I had gone into our pattern for Daro - basically Boom dit dit dit Boom Boom dit dit, where both drumhead and bell are hit on the booms, just the bell on the dits. Easy even pattern. I can usually keep it up for quite a while.

#557 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2017, 03:05 PM:

Dave Harmon @545

Yeah, I think Forward got the idea from Moravec’s work. The main difference between their descriptions is that Moravec envisioned a permanently connected 3-fold recursive structure, where Forward’s has a 6-fold structure where the children can detach from the parents and move around.

#558 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2017, 03:27 PM:

HLN: Area man has finished the recovery period for cervical spine surgery. His optimism about the length of recovery was misplaced: it took 6 weeks, not 2, and area man had to wear the neck brace the whole time. But everything is copacetic, and now it’s time to move on to the next lumbar surgery. This one might require 2 surgeons, and probably a contract with Ace Hardware for all the nuts and bolts.

#559 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2017, 03:28 PM:

HLN: Area man has finished the recovery period for cervical spine surgery. His optimism about the length of recovery was misplaced: it took 6 weeks, not 2, and area man had to wear the neck brace the whole time. But everything is copacetic, and now it’s time to move on to the next lumbar surgery. This one might require 2 surgeons, and probably a contract with Ace Hardware for all the nuts and bolts.

#560 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2017, 03:30 PM:

Oops, got a server error on the first try to post that last comment, so I tried again, and ended up with 2 posts. My apologies.

#561 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2017, 03:28 PM:

According to Lifehacker, there's a way to mute the TV screens at gas stations.

#562 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2017, 05:09 PM:

Em @ 555: that's some ... reply. Reminds me of Anderson's "Ballad of the Three Kings" -- which is also relevant today....

#563 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2017, 05:33 PM:

A cartoonist draws his life this last week:

#564 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 16, 2017, 09:56 PM:

@Bruce: I hope phase II heals up faster.

#565 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2017, 11:38 AM:

If I have to put up with TV screens in public spaces, I wish I could get a CC-Be-On in addition to a TV-Be-Gone.

Many times, in restaurants and such, the TVs are on, but with no sound or captions. I'm somewhat unwilling to turn off a public TV someone else might be watching, but I'd love to turn on captions.

#566 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2017, 07:24 PM:

You may have heard about the KRACK attack on WPA2, but there is a degree of panic and confusion in the reporting. Patches and firmware upgrades are appearing, because vendors were tipped off about six months ago, but some vendors have not been very clear about the fix. Netgear is just saying there are multiple security patches, not even mentioning a date for firmware versions

Netgear also warn about using something called bridge mode, which lets you use a second router box to give a higher speed wifi connection to something such as a TV. Some TV hardware seems to have a wired connection option. I was checking, and Amazon hardware, such as Alexa and Fire, seems to be wifi only

Netgear hardware looks good, but their communication skills are somewhat lacking. I did a firmware upgrade today. but what does it fix?

One report suggests that the standards-setting process may be loaded with security by obscurity. This also fits with my experience of somebody involved in setting past standards, who now works for a company I deal with.

Documentation, guys

#567 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 05:42 AM:

I shall just add that powerline networking isn't especially secure, the signals can be picked up by a neighbour using compatible hardware while on the same phase. It depends on the encryption, which is good, but how well has the system been tested? The current scare is about how the setup is done when a wifi connection is made.

What I have is my wifi hub at the back of the house, well away from the road, and British brick walls. which makes it a bit harder to even find my wifi, but I use wired ethernet for what I can. The black hats can use various methods to find a low-power signal., and it's been pointed out that this security weakness is a problem for any multiple-occupancy office building where businesses use wifi. Strangers with computers don't stand out anything like as much as they would on my street.

You can get long ethernet patch cables, flexible with a plug at each end, quite cheaply, and if you can use cable clips to keep them off the floor, it's not a big job. Going through doorways to the next room can be tricky. Fixed wiring is more intimidating, but I can recommend the fiberninja channel on YouTube. It isn't that complicated, his videos are almost common sense, setting things up for easy future maintenance.

The big thing is not to run ethernet cables close to power. Even an unexpected 110v can ruin your whole computing experience. We use 240v rms, which is over 400v peak.

#568 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 12:01 PM:

*kick* internal server error

#569 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 12:06 PM:

That didn't seem to shake anything loose, so I'll repost and hope not to duplicate.

Bruce Cohen #559, glad to hear you have recovered from phase 1, though not as quickly as you had hoped, and I wish you the best for phase 2.

I am splitting the difference in your cervical and lumbar spine surgery and having neurosurgery of my thoracic spine in a couple of weeks. I have a tumor which is vastly likely to be benign, but is pressing on my spinal cord and causing intermittent back pain and a fair amount of leg numbness, uneven gait, etc. So it will be removed. Best case scenario, sensation etc. returns to normal quickly. Other possibilities include needing to remove more bone than currently expected to get access to the problem area and thus needing to place some pins. It's also possible that the spinal cord will be no happier about decompression than it has been about compression, and there will be issues, probably transient. Also possible there is already permanent damage, though we certainly hope not.

Can I say that I like living in the future? The MRIs that show the problem are very cool.

#570 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 01:11 PM:

OtterB - Inside or outside the spinal cord? Mine was a fluid-filled "cystic lesion" inside: syringomyelia. Fixed by draining it and installing a shunt to keep it drained.

A thing that wasn't made clear to me beforehand was that the surgery itself inevitably caused nerve damage. It was *necessary*, because eventually the syrinx would have caused more damage than the surgery did, but still. It was extremely unnerving to discover that my knees/leg muscles were suddenly not working properly, when they got me out of bed the day after the surgery to go down to the nursing station to take a phone call. It took me months to "recalibrate" for much lower strength than I used to have, even with slow healing of the nerves.

#571 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 01:29 PM:

Best wishes to all facing surgery.

#572 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 03:23 PM:

Best wishes to all, regardless.


#573 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 03:42 PM:

Joel Polowin @570. Mine is inside the dura but outside the spinal cord. They originally thought it was an arachnoid cyst which probably just needed to be drained, but a second MRI with contrast showed that there are some solid edges, taking it into the tumor category. So the surgery itself doesn't have to go into the spinal cord as yours did but is working in its close vicinity. Plus, as I said, my current symptoms are due to the spinal cord being unhappy with compression, and it may or may not be equally unhappy with removing the compression, at least in the short term. Memo to self: Don't piss off your spinal cord. It never ends well.

It's a little unnerving to know how much odd stuff is hanging around inside me but not causing problems. This tumor has probably been there for years, so I'm told. The MRIs also showed that I have a stenosis elsewhere in my spine and multiple disks with issues, but as far as we can tell nothing else is causing any symptoms at the moment so we won't do anything about any of them.

#574 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2017, 06:46 PM:

Thanks, everyone, for your well wishes.

OtterB @569
Ouch! Good luck with the surgery and the recovery. Don’t be too impatient with the recovery; my physical therapist tells me it can take up to 6 months for the phantom nerve sensations caused by the compression in the cervical region to go away.

Yes, MRIs, CAT scans, and PET scans are wonderful things. Almost as wonderful is that the clinic can send the images to my neurologist and surgeon electronically, usually by the next day.

Joel Polowin @570
Another wonderful thing is that kind of surgery we’re talking about these days has typically a >90% success rate, where failure means things don’t get better. 15 or 20 years ago the success rate was 50%, and damage from the surgery could be really severe. My first surgery was just as minimally-invasive techniques with high success rates and less downside were just coming into use, so I feel very lucky.

#575 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 07:28 AM:

Would anyone else be interested in a spoiler/discussion thread for the new Philip Pullman book? (The first volume of “The Book of Dust”, a companion trilogy to “His Dark Materials”— this one is a prequel, but I gather the next two will leapfrog past the original books as sequels.)

#576 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 11:39 AM:

OtterB - In case you (and your doctors) didn't know, there are a number of medications that help with neuropathic pain with a lot more bang-for-the-buck than opioids, in terms of pain reduction relative to side effects. This may require consultation with a pain specialist. Relatively few doctors are well-informed about pain management, and even many neurologists don't know about all of the options. There are also non-pharmaceutical things such as meditation and cognitive behavioural therapy.

The waiting list for the pain clinic at the Ottawa Hospital is about a year and a half long (last I heard). But I got in in just a few months, because my problem had/has a simple well-defined cause, and its treatment doesn't require in-clinic time. Most of their resources go into treating patients whose problems are a lot more subtle and/or systemic, such as fibromyalgia.

Incidentally, "algologist" may refer to either a pain specialist or someone who researches algae.

#577 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 12:46 PM:

Joel Polowin #576, thanks. The surgeon said that one of the reasons I'd be in the hospital 2 or 3 days was to make sure I had pain control that worked for me, so I suspect he's on it but we'll see.

When my husband was in the hospital after his fall and multiple orthopedic surgeries last spring, the pain service was one of his regular visitors. That was a different hospital than I'm going to, but my surgeon operates at both.

It would be important to get the right kind of algologist. :-)

#578 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 01:03 PM:

I heard that Julian May passed away.

#579 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 07:21 PM:

Locus has it up now.

#580 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 08:17 PM:

OtterB @577 - Okay, pain management in the short term is absolutely important. The stuff that you can take and immediately get benefit from is things like opioids, Tylenol, ibuprofen, and other NSAIDs.

But there are other classes of medications that reduce pain only after they've been taken regularly for some weeks. The exact mechanism of their action isn't entirely understood. Their action in reducing neuropathic pain was/is discovered during clinical trials of medications for other purposes, such as seizures and depression, when patients noted that they had had unexpected decreases in their long-term neuropathic pain. Examples include Lyrica, gabapentin, oxcarbazepine, Elavil, and Cymbalta.

I'm currently taking four such medications, and trying to find the optimal balance -- including trying and rejecting several -- has involved trial-and-error over several years. The pain is never gone, but most of the time it's at between 1 and 3 out of 10 on the good ol' pain scale.

#581 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 09:55 PM:

#575: I'd like that. I'm planning on either borrowing from the library, or buying, the new book sooner than later.*

*I have this . . . habit, or OCD thing, of putting off reading books I really want and anticipate because I have so many others I received as gifts or bought on a whim to get through. In addition to a backlog of the two magazines I still subscribe to. So, for example, I *just finished reading* Sacks's Musicophilia which I got as a gift when it first came out . . . ten years ago.

#582 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2017, 10:47 PM:

Serge Broom @ 578 ...
I heard that Julian May passed away.

Damn :(

#583 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2017, 12:56 PM:

Joel Polowin @580 Thanks, will keep in mind.

#584 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2017, 04:02 PM:

OtterB @ 573: It's a little unnerving to know how much odd stuff is hanging around inside me but not causing problems. ISTM that medicine's ability to detect the not-perfectly-normal has outstripped its ability to determine what of the NPN is actually a threat. Prostate cancer has been such a case (on my mind as I'm the age/gender of concern and so being well-(over-?)informed by my HMO); everybody was happy about the prostate-specific antigen test, until longer-run examination concluded it was finding cases so minor that the cumulative side effects of treatment were likely to be worse than the danger of ignoring the result. Here's hoping you come through this treatment and find the rest of the odd stuff doesn't cause problems.

#585 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2017, 11:43 PM:

#471 - Sandy B. - October 05, 2017, 05:37 PM:

Weird Event: the PNH sidelight, "Jo Walton: Not My Gods" looks like a good link, but sent me to somewhere creepy and mysterious that my antivirus blocked.

When I tried the same link just this evening Malwarebytes blocked the site. Any idea why that is happening?

As an aside, it's been so long since I've posted that my name and email address no longer autofill. I had used an obviously fake email address out of spam concerns - and I'm at least close in recalling it, but I'd never written it down. So I may be inadvertently creating a new account for myself.

#586 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 04:34 AM:

Rob @585:

Hey! Long time no!

I don't know why the malware thing is happening. I've checked the link, and it's a straightforward link to Jo's site. I wonder if she has some malware or a rogue Google ad there. I might drop her a line and mention this phenomenon.

Regarding your email address...your previous one used the following construction:

[plausible mail provider userid][first element of spam obfuscation string]@[second element of spam obfuscation string][mail provider domain]

If you revert to that format I'll frig the above comment to match.

#587 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 06:17 AM:

The Parhelia on ball-bearings is from NASA, and maybe some folks will forget that it is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

It mentions the importance for bicycles, and aircraft have similar dependencies. When you get to the high rotation speeds in jet engines, bearings are even more important, one thing mentioned only in passing is the life of bearings.

During WW2 the allies bought all of Sweden's ball-bearing production, and the usual story is that they were flown to Scotland by DH Mosquito aircraft flown by BOAC. Other aircraft were also used. and some reports suggest most of the bearings didn't get flown out.

It's possible that these references were to the actual balls, which would have worked out lighter than the complete bearings, but part of the idea was keeping the bearings out of Germany. SKF in Sweden exported most of their production.

#588 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 09:46 AM:

Regarding your email address...your previous one used the following construction:

[plausible mail provider userid][first element of spam obfuscation string]@[second element of spam obfuscation string][mail provider domain]

If you revert to that format I'll frig the above comment to match.


This one has a look of plausability to me. But if I've got it wrong still - you should be able to figure out my actual email address. Maybe you could drop me a line with my secret code — pending any other verification questions you might think of (I kind of think my meticulous and plodding writing style would be a bona fide).

#589 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 09:48 AM:

Well, I can tell I got it right! 'View all by' is linking to my previous comments.

Thanks again.

#590 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 01:21 PM:

I knew, given the distinctive nature of the elements, that you would almost certainly get it right. Well done.

I've edited the previous comment to make it conform.

#591 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 10:14 PM:

abi & Dave Bell @587: The Parhelia on ball-bearings

Oh, goody! The perfect place to crop this little gem from my local bike shop. I'm probably far too amused by the implicit pun.

#592 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2017, 11:39 PM:

LOL! (My father would have been amused, I think.)

#593 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2017, 09:56 AM:

591,592, that's a honey of an idea.

#594 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2017, 01:03 PM:

Erica Chenoweth argues that non-violence is more likely to succeed than violence, and also leads to better outcomes.

#595 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 12:05 AM:

A non-spoiler question wrt “The Book of Dust” vol. 1: amid other identifiable thisworld works such as _A Brief History of Time_, there’s a mention of _The Silk Road_, “a true description, by a modern traveler, of the trade routes across Central Asia from Tartary to the Levant.” Anyone know who the author might be? Google is tossing up way too many not-quite matches for me to sort out.

#596 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 12:28 AM:

Possibly the Frances Wood book? Looks as if it may fit.

#597 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 02:28 AM:

Maybe? The “modern traveler” aspect suggests to me something more like Tom Coote’s _Tearing up the Silk Road_, or _Journeys on the Silk Road_ by Joyce Martin & Conrad Walters, but idk. Haven’t yet found any interviews in which Pullman identifies this book more clearly.

#598 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 08:17 AM:

@595, the style of the title looks very Victorian to me, but that's all I've got.

#599 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 10:35 AM:

Julie L #597

Another possibility is Colin Thubron, _Shadow of the Silk Road_. Very modern-day traveler follows the route as much as possible. I picked this up a couple of years ago, got halfway through, and then it got lost under a pile. (Story of my life, I fear.) I remember enjoying what I read.

#600 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 11:49 AM:

The Wood has the advantage of actually being titled "The Silk Road", rather than some variant (yes, with a subtitle, but I can see that being removed for conciseness).

#601 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 01:31 PM:

How is A Brief History of Time identified in the Pullman book? That would give us a better idea of what kinds of real-world titles we should be looking at for The Silk Road.

#602 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 04:15 PM:


I'm in a state of semi-retirement. In such a state, should I be keeping my CV up-to-date, since I won't be seeking new employment in the foreseeable future? There are items, however, that I can add to it.

#603 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 04:24 PM:

Fragano -- there are people who would say you should, and people who would tell you not to bother. I'm guessing you prefer to keep your options open, which makes it a good idea. If you're not interested in doing that, let it go.

#604 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 05:07 PM:

@601: there’s not much to go on; the other books invoked in the same context (casually lent by obe character to another) aren’t identified by author either, but have sufficiently distinctive titles to pin down.

_The Body in the Library_(mystery novel by prolific female author; Agatha Christie)

_A Brief History of Time_ {“experimental theology” ~particle physics; Stephen Hawking)

_The Strange Story of the Quantum_ (more experimental theology; Banesh Hoffmann)

and iirc the list of books started off with a generic-sounding thriller which I didn’t look up at the time and can’t quickly refind in Kindle.

#605 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 10:32 PM:

HLN: area woman was treated to an echocardiogram this afternoon, and reports that it's fascinating to watch your own heart beating.

#606 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2017, 10:55 PM:

Fragano: I'd go ahead and add the items if you might conceivably want specific details (publication dates or something) that you won't remember later.

#607 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 01:09 AM:

Julie L @595 et al:

I'm going to guess "The Silk Road" is by Sven Hedin. Two problems - it's a little too early to be "contemporary", and he never actually went to the Levant.

This particular book covers the Sino-Swedish expedition in Mongolia, the Gobi Desert, and Xinjiang (which is more or less "Tartary"), but even his other expeditions, while often along the Silk Road, never went farther west than Baghdad.

The other three titles mentioned in Pullman's book were published in 1942, 1988, and 1947, so I would expect this one to be on the newer end of that range - but Hedin's expeditions were in the 1930s and this was published in 1938.

Still, a promising candidate, especially if we're looking for exact title matches! And maybe the character was fudging the meaning of "contemporary" anyway - Hedin's expeditions were contemporaneous with the use of Tartary as a name for the region, which was definitely archaic by the 80s, although I can't figure out exactly when it fell out of favor.

#608 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 02:09 AM:

HLN: Local woman discovers that a musician she liked years ago has been visited by the Suck Fairy. Wow, so much of her stuff is Orientalist and kinda Hollywood. And will you just look at that failure to do basic research before attempting to perform a piece of actual ancient music.

Oh well, at least I have Enya.

#609 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 08:04 AM:

Fun little coincidence this past Sunday (closing day) of the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

One of the things that happens on closing day is a "Danse Macabre" procession. The procession stops a couple of times and the participants do a traditional dance number. At the first stop, after the dance, the participants posed for photos. After the photos one of the participants did a partial turn and raised his arms skyward. A small rainbow had appeared up in the sky, just at the right moment.

#610 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 10:55 AM:

#602: In pretty much the same boat. I only recently joined LinkedIn, and posted resumes at other job search boards.

But I'm nearing the end of my planned "let's see what QA jobs are out there; what can it hurt especially since I can get unemployment while I look?" period. Next step would be to try to bring in a little money doing freelance writing. That's a DRASTIC change, and would require a drastic change to my posted resume and profiles.

#611 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 12:50 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @602 - I'd say that it would be worthwhile to keep your CV up to date if there's any chance that you'd be interested in working again if some really attractive position popped up on your radar. I've been doing software for many years, and only part-time now due to health problems, but I still keep my eyes open for something in chemistry that would be within my limitations. I really would like to get back to lab work, or at least computational chemistry.

#612 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 01:48 PM:

HLN: Local woman confronts list of 14 candidates in city council race, none of whom she knows anything about. Local woman wants to Do her Civic Duty, but really just wants to burst into tears and/or take a nap. (At least the school board races are only 3 candidates each.)

#613 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 04:04 PM:

Jacque @612 Is there a League of Women Voters guide for the election? I have found mine especially helpful for local races. They ask each candidate the same set of questions and print the answers. Answers aren't verified investigatively, so you might need to do a little more due diligence, but people's responses on their background and priorities give me some clue of where they stand.

I admit 14 candidates is a lot. Do you have to pick just one?

#614 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 04:52 PM:

Jacque @612, OtterB @613: My region also has a "progressive voter's guide" that usually answers all my questions. It's nice if you can find someone who has done all the legwork, so all you need to do is decide if you agree with their conclusions.

#615 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 04:53 PM:

OtterB (613): I second the LWV voters' guide rec, if it's available. Occasionally a candidate won't answer at all; I never vote for them, figuring that if they can't be bothered to answer the League of Women Voters during the election, how responsive to the public would they be in office?

#616 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 06:15 PM:

The Boulder Chamber of Commerce has stock question-and-answers things. Three pages, single spaced, per candidate. ::eyes cross:: But, yeah. It's better than it could be. Sadly, LWV doesn't seem to be weighing in on this one. :(

Well, I've gotten through two, so far.

Oh yeah and: who do I have to kill to get ballot questions posted in upper and lower case? These all-caps with multiple dependent clauses just make me want to scratch my eyes out.

#617 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2017, 07:10 PM:

Thanks to Tom Whitmore, HelenS, and Joel Polowin for your advice. It looks like updating the CV is the best idea.

#618 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 10:54 AM:

AKICIML, "Questions That Make You Go 'Hmmmmm...' Division": On the topic of hot cereal:

So, the cereal in question (oatmeal, couscous, cream of wheat, cornmeal mush, &c) is absorbant before it's cooked, but it isn't until after it's cooked that it really soaks up the water.

What's the difference? I'm speculating that it's a breakdown in celular structure, or something...?

#619 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 11:12 AM:

Yes, I think it breaks them open to where the starches are able to do their stuff more easily.

HLN: area woman is unable to get computer to recognize any new pointing device, including basic mouse, and is stuck with old, wearing-out one.

#620 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 11:12 AM:

Jacque @618:

When the cereal is not cooked yet, the starch is bound up in little granules, light tight balls of string. It can't interact with the water very much.

When the cereal cooks, those granules absorb water and heat, and burst open, and become much more hydrophilic.

The starch is thickening the cereal in much the same way that flour will thicken a sauce, or risotto gets its creaminess.

Using the same idea, if you cook pasta in as little water as possible (much, much less than the 1 gallon/pound typically recommended), and add some of the pasta water to the sauce, it'll thicken the sauce and make it stick to the pasta better. The starches dissolved in the water lock up a lot of the water.

#621 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 01:08 PM:

Adding some of the pasta water to the sauce helps even if you've used the larger recommended amount of water. This is particularly true for pesto, BTW. A tablespoon full or so of pasta water in a batch of pesto makes a huge difference in color, consistency and sticking power.

#622 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 02:03 PM:

We live in the future. Saudi Arabia grants citizenship to a robot.

When that robot initiates a lawsuit, then we'll know we've really arrived.

#623 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 02:49 PM:

Is there a good antonym for "apostrophectomy"?

For years, I've been mildly irritated by the many, many instances of inappropriate "it's"es and "its"es in our code base, enough so that on a day when I'm feeling under the weather, I'm putting in a couple of hours to correcting them. I'm leaning towards using a check-in comment like:

Socialist redistribution of apostrophes
From each according to it's ability, to each according to where its needed

#624 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 02:54 PM:

@Tom Whitmore, I'm trying to parse all the implications of a robot having citizenship (even in an absolute monarchy) and I'm wondering if they thought this through....

@Joel Polowin, deliberately using them backwards...?

#625 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 03:05 PM:

Buddha Buck @620: Ah, good, thanks. Yeah, that's approximately the model I had running in my head, but it's nice to get it fleshed out.

Tom Whitmore @621: Ah, that's a neat tip. I'll never remember it, because I almost never make my own sauce anymore.


Meanwhile: Woo hoo! I did it! Ah Dun Mah Civic Dooty. Just dropped my ballot off a few minutes ago. The Chamber of Commerce site had a scorecard I hadn't noticed before; made it much easier to elimiate candidates. (The one who hadn't bothered to answer any of the questionaires? Yeah, no.) Boiled it down to two or three to pick from. A much more feasible task....

#626 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 03:59 PM:

Cassy B@624: Yes. On several previous occasions, when I've done such global corrections, I've made a point of using them (incorrectly) in the check-in comment. Some of our people have been good coders but notoriously poor spellers. I don't remember how many times "installion" was in the code in place of "installation".

#627 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 04:51 PM:

Jacque, go you!

I'm doing my Civic Duty as well; I was called for Grand Jury duty. Which is much weirder than regular Jury Duty; for one thing, I'm required to show up every single Tuesday for three months. (My boss was Not Happy about this. The coworker who covers my job when I'm absent for sickness or vacation was even less happy.) And for another, we're not hearing one case; we're deciding on between thirty and fifty felony cases each session on whether there is enough evidence to indict -- but not "beyond a reasonable doubt", merely, "probable cause", i.e., whether it is plausible that a crime was committed and this person did it, so it should go to trial. MUCH lower standard of evidence.

And we can ask questions.

It's a rather peculiar job. We only see prosecutors and (for the most part) cops. Never defendants, and never defense attorneys. It goes something like this. The district attorney identifies herself and reads the indictment, then gets the arresting officer and has him identify himself. Then she asks the officer, "Did you stop Person X for failure to stop at a red light?" "Yes." "Did you notice a small baggie filled with white powder on the passenger seat next to the driver?" "Yes." "When asked about the baggie, did the person cited in the indictment say, "That's my heroin?" "Yes." "Did it field test positive for heroin?" "Yes." "Did you take him into custody and on searching him find several more baggies of a fine white powder?" "Yes." "Did that powder test positive for heroin at the crime lab?" "Yes." "And is possession of heroin against such-and-such statue of the criminal code?" "Yes." "Does the Grand Jury have any questions?" (silence) "We will now withdraw to allow the Grand Jury to consider the evidence presented...."

The prosecutors do almost all the talking; the cops rarely say much unless the prosecutor gets something wrong. We're allowed to ask questions, and we do, but not in straightforward drug cases like the above, which is probably representative of about 80% of the cases we've heard so far. (Not that they're 80% drug cases; I'd say about 30% drugs, 20% theft (mostly retail, some home burglary), 20% felony DUI, 20% ID theft (which includes forged credit cards and people taking advantage of old people by cleaning out their checking accounts), and 10% other stuff.)

Now, repeat that, with variations, something like forty times...

Fortunately, most of the cases we hear are boring and straightforward. The sexual-assault-of-a-minor and the possession-of-child-pornography cases are very difficult to sit through, but there's usually only one of those a week. (Which is plenty bad enough, believe me. I'm very, very glad I'm not on the criminal jury for any of those cases -- we get descriptions of the images but don't have to actually see them if we don't want to -- and NOBODY on our Grand Jury has asked to see them. If someone asked, they'd have to show us.)

#628 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 06:24 PM:

HL Civic Duty:

The town, and I believe the community college district, is having an election with two measures, both to renew school bonds.

My ballot is filled out, in the envelope, and stamp applied. Off to the mailbox after feeding the dog...

We're having another election in January, to give thumbs up or down on a tax to support Medicare and Medicade. I'll be helping out the local democratic party with that one.

#629 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 06:36 PM:

It's time for us to vote in WA also. It's mail-in, so we have a bit of time yet. And a Democratic precinct worker actually rang our doorbell today!

#630 ::: Older ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2017, 08:49 PM:

Fragano, it can't hurt to keep your CV up to date. You may want to work again, if only part-time. And don't make the mistake of assuming that things will always look to you as they do now. (Speaking from experience ...)

#631 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2017, 12:18 AM:

@623: the “-plasty” suffix seems like a good fit, though I’m not sure how to graft it on... which lures me down the rabbithole of possible similar terms for forming compound words. Lexidesis? Logopexy?

And then a further rabbithole of historical construction of actual portmanteau luggage, and the discovery that some people collect vintage suitcases.

#632 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2017, 02:50 PM:

More on Citizen Robot, from Tech Crunch. They think it's creepy, and I agree.

#633 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2017, 04:21 PM:

Since this seems likely to be a publicity stunt, one wonders if anyone even filled out any forms, or if someone just made a non-legally-binding announcement.

#634 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2017, 02:16 PM:

Older #630:


On to another issue: What's that thing rushing through the Solar System? A passing rock or aliens?

#635 ::: Jim Parish ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2017, 03:39 PM:

Fragano #634: I've been reading through the Peanuts archives, and my immediate response to your question was "I got a rock."

#636 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2017, 07:38 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ #634:

We're not due to rendezvous with Rama for another few decades, I know that much.

#637 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 03:49 AM:

Cassy B. @627: That's really interesting, especially in light of the news this week wrt the Mueller investigation. Nice to get kind of a peek inside. (And yes, I'm appalled that there are as many child abuse cases as that. Sheesh. Meanwhile, I'd be hard pressed not to tell the prosecutor to bugger off regarding the drug indictments. But then, that's probably not really an option, is it?)

What? What?? Thing rushing through the solar system...? ::scampers off to Google:: Wow, that trajectory does look like a gravity-assist, doesn't it...?

Meanwhile, happy news: Walmart attempted to get a foothold* in Boulder (across the effing street from my house!) four years ago with a "Neighborhood Market." (Their answer to Whole Foods, I guess.)

Well, it seems we successfully ignored it to death; in doing my research for the city council race, I discovered that it had closed during the summer! (Gives you an idea of how thoroughly I'd ignored it that I'd managed to entirely miss this, despite the fact that I pass by that area on a nearly daily basis.)

* Yes, the reference to SG1 is intentional.

#638 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 06:19 AM:

>> ... it had closed during the summer!

I was sad. I bought insulin there.

#639 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 09:41 AM:

I understand most of their "neighborhood markets" failed. People weren't generally interested in what they were selling; more accurately, they weren't interested in what was being sold in the way that those items were packaged.

#640 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 07:36 PM:

Fragano @634

It seems to be on a hyperbolic trajectory, so it’s either a dumb rock, or someone who wants plausible deniability if they decide we’re not worth stopping for. The way things have been going the last year or so, if it was me, I wouldn’t stop.

#641 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 09:09 PM:

Walmart proper failed to get a foothold in my area. Part furious opposition, but competition from Fred Meyer, a Walmart-sized grocery/discount store. (Maybe a bit more upscale?)

The two "neighborhood markets" they snuck in so far look busy, but one far more than the other.

I occasionally dropped by one, which was the closest grocery to my old work place by a mile or so. (Important during lunch breaks.) I went there recently to take advantage of an interesting service; I ordered a couple of pieces of furniture on-line, and saved some money picking up the boxes at the "market" rather than having delivery to the house.

#642 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2017, 09:54 PM:

Internal Server Error ::boot:: (Sorry if this is a duplicate.)

Bruce @640: Or they're saving gas. But I like your theory better. "Oh ghods, they're at that stage. Next on the list...?"

~~The Walmart by my house was particularly annoying because I used to go to the Albertson's in that slot; it's a five minute walk from my house. (Ironically, I gather Albertson's wound up buying out Safeway, including the one that's a fifteen minute walk from my house. This was actually useful, though: a couple of brands that SW had stopped carrying came back, so now I don't have to go to ridiculous lengths to get my preferred shampoo and lemon juice.)

#643 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 01:12 AM:

Hey, so, if you need a unicorn chaser for, like, anything, here you go:

(A supercut of heartwarming and heart-tugging moments from nearly all of Star Trek, set to "Long Live" by Taylor Swift.)

#644 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 04:09 AM:

It's totally just a dumb rock, not a spacecraft. Using robots for space exploration means you don't need a life support system; they can hibernate between stars. They dropped off a couple of probe bots on their way by, like they'll did at the last star, and they kept at least a few for the next one (though that'll be a while.)

#645 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 04:09 AM:

It's totally just a dumb rock, not a spacecraft. Using robots for space exploration means you don't need a life support system; they can hibernate between stars. They dropped off a couple of probe bots on their way by, like they'll did at the last star, and they kept at least a few for the next one (though that'll be a while.)

#646 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 11:51 AM:

Slowing the probe-bots down enough to have them stay in the solar system, without them being detected, is an interesting problem in itself.

#647 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 11:56 AM:

Tom, if they're small probes you could maybe use solar sails for deceleration, and if the sails were offset from the plane of the ecliptic the odds of intelligent planet-bound life noticing the reflection isn't very high. I'm assuming the probe itself is non-reflective and small enough not to be noticed by gravity. I'm also assuming it was released from the mother-asteroid as the mother-asteroid entered the system before it was likely to be noticed by intelligent planet-bound life, so the separation wouldn't be seen and tracked....

#648 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 12:00 PM:

I hope they at least drop of a Gate and the codes. I'm thinking it would be really great to have a Back-Up Plan, these days....

#649 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 12:39 PM:

today's xkcd is so true:

#650 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 01:21 PM:

P J Evans @649

Yes, but I think he underestimates how much ongoing effort print libraries require.

#651 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 04:19 PM:

Do folks here have thoughts about the best way to find a jeweler who might be able to reproduce something like this ancient egyptian ring ?

#652 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 04:27 PM:

Xeger, speaking entirely out of my hat, perhaps if you found someone on a site like Etsy that did something similar you could ask them...?

It would no doubt be easier to find someone willing to carve or cast plastic, but you might be able to find someone who carves semi-precious stones.

#653 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 04:27 PM:

Speaking of the topics of [mumble] and [mumble], I finally got around to seeing Bladerunner 2049 this weekend. I thought it was pretty good, despite some very plot-holey problems. It had at least some of the courage of the original in trusting the audience to figure out answers to certain things for ourselves, without beating us over the head with it.

Is there any interest in a Bladerunner 2049 discussion thread, to avoid potential spoilers for those who haven't seen it yet?

#654 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2017, 08:16 PM:

Patrick, via Twitter:

"TNH is recovering from necessary surgery, and I have the worst cold I've had in years. Life is currently less than fun."

Best wishes to our hosts.

#655 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 12:18 AM:

Bruce H. #650: Yeah, but a library book's continued existence doesn't depend on the author continuing to pay their hosting bills (or worse, attracting enough advertising to pay for hosting).

Yeah, I've been burned by sites going down. Heck, just look through the links for the old sidebar topics, and see how many links from, say, 5 years ago have gone 404 or been taken over by domain squatters. By comparison, at the used-book store where I work, we regularly get (and often shelve) books from the mid-19th century, and occasionally earlier than that. (Offhand, there seems to be a line around the 1830s or so, with very few books from before then. I suspect changing technology in binding and/or printing.)

#656 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 04:19 AM:

@651/652: The cat component might be found prefab as something like these, though I can’t figure out which direction they’re drilled— usually this sort of figural bead/pendant does not have its borehole through its base, as shown in the original piece.

For a ring, their similar sleeping cats might be more practical. I have a similar sleeping cat somewhere (prolly from a trade show) which was fairly easy to wirework into a ring.

I actually don’t know anything about the linked site other than it popping up first in Google; if you want to continue the search, the key phrase would be “fetish bead” plus whatever specific critter/posture. “Beadable ring” findings might be useful if the prefab slot is the right size; otherwise, I’d recommend wireworking,

#657 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 06:31 AM:

Julie L.

Your links appear to be active when I mouse over them, but they don't actually go anywhere.

#658 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 06:39 AM:

That’s odd— wonder if I misformatted them? The domain is delightfulimports dot com; sidebar > carvings > fetish bead. Price display seems limited to members, of which I am not one.

There are also Czech glass pressed beads of Bastet-type seated cats, frex , but obviously those would be better suited for necklaces/earrings due to fragility.

#659 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 08:16 AM:

@658 When I view page source, I see that the links have anchor tags around them, which is why they appear active, but there is no href specified in the opening tag.

#660 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 10:08 AM:

Julie L. @656 ...
@651/652: The cat component might be found prefab as something like these, though I can’t figure out which direction they’re drilled— usually this sort of figural bead/pendant does not have its borehole through its base, as shown in the original piece.

I actually don’t know anything about the linked site other than it popping up first in Google; if you want to continue the search, the key phrase would be “fetish bead” plus whatever specific critter/posture. “Beadable ring” findings might be useful if the prefab slot is the right size; otherwise, I’d recommend wireworking,

Thank you! I hadn't managed to come up with those particular search terms[0], and while I'm not sure that they make sense for this particular desire, they're unquestionably going to be very useful for other things!

[0] I still haven't found the correct name for the type of cuff link finding like the back of this lovely pair of art nouveau lion cufflinks or the Lions and Leopards cufflinks or these lovely cufflinks[1]
[1] ... although I may have finally answered my question by digging up these links -- it looks like my search terms should be something like "cufflink curved bridge bean back" [2]
[2] I guess talking to yourself has moments ;D

#661 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 02:58 PM:

Cassy B:

A light sail seems like it would be easier to detect than a magsail, but I'm not 100% sure about that. (Accelerating charged particles gives off some radiation.)

#662 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 04:30 PM:

Looks like the League of Women Voters voting guides are at . I'm looking through their "Personalized Ballot" right now...

#663 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 04:46 PM:

AKICIML, health version:

I'm considering spending more time at a gym for reasons of weight loss, increased general health, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, etc.

I am finding a lot of recommendations to reduce calories, do basic cardio (3x20 min/week) and then just lift heavy weights, often. Is this back-to-basics plan reasonable? Or is this a new version of an old fad?

#664 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 05:12 PM:

Sandy B @663. I am by no means an expert, but my understanding is that you should add stretching or something like yoga to that to work on the flexibility.

#665 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 05:46 PM:

Dave #655 - and libraries get rid of stock distressingly often, but it does allow people like me to then get hold of many books and keep them in existence for longer.

As for the pre-1830's cutoff, I suspect a number of things are in play. Generalising from the UK, it's partly down to education, also fashions in what people read, and changes in social/ cultural stuff such that fewer just read newspapers and broadsheets etc, with more demand for informative books after the 1820's.
There must surely have been a change in price of books, perhaps with greater automation of the printing and binding process, but I don't know much about that.

#666 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 06:19 PM:

I think a lot more pre-1830 books have gone into rare book libraries.

#667 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 07:47 PM:

Bruce H. & Julie L.: If memory serves, anchor tags with no href component can mean that the href component was misformatted in some way (too many or too few quotation marks, for instance) and the blog software performed a hrefectomy to avoid it causing additional problems.

xeger: In computer programming, there's a procedure for dealing with stubborn bugs called "rubber duck debugging", in which you take out the rubber duck kept in your desk drawer for the purpose and explain to it what the problem appears to be, what steps you've taken to solve it, and why none of them worked. A rubber duck (or else a plush toy) is recommended because what often happens is that in the process of arranging the facts into an explanation, the solution becomes blindingly obvious, and you don't want to damage anything when you hurl the duck across the room in frustration.

#668 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 09:41 PM:

Paul A. @ 667 ...
xeger: In computer programming, there's a procedure for dealing with stubborn bugs called "rubber duck debugging"

Thank you. I'm well aware of the term -- but there were neither ducks nor throwing involved here, just mumbling to myself in the corner in a way that would have gotten sideways glances before the advent of mobile phones and bluetooth.

#669 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 11:17 PM:

I am totally going to steal the rubber duck thing for a student I tutor. I've tried to have her write essay problems/final drafts of her homework-- less noodling around figuring out the steps, more neatly writing things and explaining what she's doing so the dog can understand-- and that might work better for her.

On an unrelated note, many people here do art things, and design art things. Do you have any ideas of how to find how-to-design-art-things information? I can find how-to-embroider, how-to-stained-glass, how-to-tile, but not how-to-make-these-look-good. I don't know what kind of art class might do that, or how to explain it in general rather than finding someone whose art I like especially in terms of design and asking them if they teach cartoon-making or whatever. The design part is always the worst and most time-consuming portion of my embroidery work, and I'd like to know more that can be extended to other media.

Also, I am suddenly very interested in Penrose tilings and deeply resent that one cannot buy the pieces trivially.

#670 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2017, 11:36 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 622: the BBC reports that a number of people are (IMO justifiably) unhappy that a robot is getting more courtesy than human women in the kingdom.

Paul A. @667: I wish I had learned that term when I was still in SW engineering (20 years ending 5 years ago). It would have been a useful stress relief -- at least for current development; much of my work involved finding why a new apparently-in-spec use broke something ancient. (My record when I left was a screwup that was 15 years old (and outlived the coder by ~14 years...).)

AKICIML: I really liked Bear's "Eternal Sky" trilogy; I've heard that "Lotus Kingdoms" covers similar territory, but I don't know whether it will be a triptych (which I can read the pieces of as they come out) or a trilogy (more like ES) where I'll regret reading the first one due to hanging threads. Has anyone read this, or heard from Bear? The only thing I find online is a page that seems to be about Patreon-supported short fiction rather than the for-purchase novels.

#671 ::: alisea ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2017, 05:21 AM:

Diatryma @669: Thank you for your question. It's one that has frustrated me for quite a while, and I'd love to hear about any ressources any of you might be able to point to as well.

One book I like in the textile area is Textile Adventures by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs. (Link goes to, but the book is actually printed in German-English-French simultaneously.) Disguised as a book about making textile art, it really is a book about the artistic process - how to develop ideas, what to think about and so on. The first part is overwritten "Art theory and techniques" and introduces the different elements, always with lots of exercises to practice on. The second part is titled "Personal taste and the inner voice" and introduces ways how to figure out what kind of art you want/need to make.

Also, re Penrose tilings: I very much want to make an English Paper Piecing project with a Penrose tiling. If you're handy with CAD programs at all, making your own templates nowadays is as easy as locating a laser-cutting company and drawing up the design for them to cut in the material of your choice. I've done that a couple of times now and am amazed at the possibilities living in the future brings!

#672 ::: eliddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2017, 11:05 AM:

Diatryma @669: I think you may be looking for specific topics in art theory--composition, probably; colour theory, possibly; maybe some other stuff. I'm afraid I can't give specific book recommendations, but that might give you a start on appropriate search terms to hand to Google.

#673 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2017, 12:39 PM:

Diatryma @ 669 ...
On an unrelated note, many people here do art things, and design art things. Do you have any ideas of how to find how-to-design-art-things information? I can find how-to-embroider, how-to-stained-glass, how-to-tile, but not how-to-make-these-look-good. I don't know what kind of art class might do that, or how to explain it in general rather than finding someone whose art I like especially in terms of design and asking them if they teach cartoon-making or whatever. The design part is always the worst and most time-consuming portion of my embroidery work, and I'd like to know more that can be extended to other media.

I suspect that the blanket name for what you're wanting is 'Design Theory' -- but that's both broad and (in some places) wholeheartedly unhelpful. Adding 'textile arts' will narrow things down a fair bit, but not necesarily in a helpful way.

On a more commercial basis, there are are books like Fashion Design Course: Accessories and related works that do talk about design as well as some of the associated constraints. I can recommend that book as generally decent, but many of them are (at best) frustrating.

Art theory/history can be very useful, as folks have mentioned above (but it can also leave you wanting to throw things at the teacher/author).

It's a general, rather than a specific pointer, but the V&A carries a good selection of design related books

Properly, I should probably have asked this first -- when you say "how to make things look good", are you thinking about colour, proportion, materials, source images, creating images, all of the above?

#674 ::: Incoherent ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2017, 02:25 PM:

CHip at 670:

The Stone in the Skull (Lotus Kingdoms I) is set in the same world as the Eternal Sky trilogy, a generation or so later. The events of the previous trilogy are referenced in passing, at least one character from the Eternal Sky shows up as a minor character. It is the first third of a definite trilogy, doing a lot of setup and not too much resolution, and does end with several characters in to-be-continued peril, so YMMV.

That said, it's a wonderful read. It has political maneuvering, prophecies and omens, a fight with a dragon, warlords, a white elephant, people trying to figure out what to do with their lives, a mysterious message from a sorcerer...and that's just the first three chapters.

Very much looking forward to part 2!

#675 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 10:52 AM:

I just learned that D Potter passed away last night.

#676 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 12:45 PM:

@675: ((no words))

#677 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 01:36 PM:

Oh my goodness.

#678 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 02:50 PM:


#679 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 03:10 PM:

I'm very sorry to hear this.

#680 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 03:28 PM:

*kicks server right in the internal*

#681 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 03:29 PM:

Holy shit. Was she sick? I hadn't heard anything.

Dammit, dammit, dammit.

D was OE of ALPS when I first joined, while I still lived in East Lansing. She was one of the few people I knew in NY fandom when I first moved to the area in 1982, and I liked her a lot. She was kind, gracious, and had a dry wit that few could match.

She guest-hosted Fanoclasts in the late Stu Shiffman's apartment one time when he had to be away unexpectedly. She told each arriving group a different tale of where Stu was. At one point she had to step out herself; she said "If anyone comes while I'm gone and asks where Stu is, you may tell them anything except"—here she leaned in and raised her eyebrows—"the truth."

The world is a poorer place today.

#682 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 05:33 PM:

I found a link with a photo:,_D..htm

Ave atque vale!

#683 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 06:49 PM:

Echoing all that.

#684 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 09:39 PM:

I was never close to D., but we met at a number of fannish gatherings, from rec.arts.sf.fandom meetups to Debbie Notkin's New Years house parties. I always liked her. How sad.

#685 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2017, 11:18 PM:

A link to D. Potter's "View All by" comment stream here (only the first 20, but you may expand easily from the page to get everything). One of the best memorials we have here is the words of our own.

#686 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2017, 03:40 AM:

D is gone? Augh!


#687 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2017, 12:53 PM:

#685: Thanks, Tom, for the reminder that some of our words may live on. Farewell, D.

#688 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2017, 12:57 PM:

On a less somber note, I said to myself, "You know who would probably enjoy Alec Nevala-Lee's essay on The Unstrung Harp? The correspondents at Making Light would."

#690 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 03:23 AM:

Paul A. @667

Although I always kept a few plush toys in my office, I never talked to them. Instead, over the course of 40 years or so of programming I developed the habit of talking to myself. Usually, though, this was in aid of actually writing the code, not debugging it (“Terminal condition here should be an empty list”, or “No, that needs to post-increment”). I did get a reputation for being somewhat eccentric, which really isn’t false.

On the other hand, the thing that often did bring that “Aha! That’s what’s wrong!” reaction was going home. A half-hour commute was just about right for solving the most-common simple bugs.

#691 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 12:47 PM:

When I was a programmer, I discovered that a night's sleep made many of the stubbornest problems become simple. Since sleep is culturally forbidden to programmers, I kept this heresy to myself.

#692 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 01:29 PM:

I fell to thinking of what is next for any of us, and this sort of happened.

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some server, in an alien rack,
That is forever fannish. There shall be
In some domain, a little still held back;
A life that fandom made, shaped, made aware,
Gave puns and new-made words, conjectures, lays;
Turned from loneliness and sad despair,
Brought to joy by light of other days.

And think, this self, all process gone away,
An echo in the internet, we guess
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by fandom given;
The sights and sounds; words happy as the day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under a fannish heaven.

#693 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 02:27 PM:

Dave Bell, damn. I'm crying.

#694 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 02:46 PM:

#692: *blurry monitor syndrome*

#695 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 03:55 PM:

That is a marvelously poem.

I've mentioned to some people that I only talk to myself when there are people around to hear me-- it's a sort of performative internal monologue. This is true except when I'm doing editorial work and haven't been getting out of the house a lot besides that. I make faces like a 90s character writing an email, I shake my head to clear it of typos in the same motion I ctrl-z, I talk to the screen. In general, I am the odd person twitching and mumbling at the coffeeshop, which is a good experience to have sometimes. Then I go home and am still and quiet while I read for fun.

#696 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 04:33 PM:

I suppose that #692 can be classed as a filk. Rupert Brooke of course, but he wrote about what made him, an image of England. And then he died when a mosquito bite went septic, not for any reason that you could say had any close connection to the War.

And the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is looming.

But do I want to say that England made me, this crazy, insanely bigoted, country that made modern Europe possible, and is now in a zombie-like blind stumble away from Europe, away from the future, groping for an imagined past of which even the real fragments, the detritus the archaeologists have reassembled into a ritual object, are long gone. There are too many corners of foreign fields made forever England, and a crowd of shysters and con-artists telling us what England is, while cashing in this precious stone set in a silver sea at the local pawnbrokers, promising to redeem it.

I've got something better to remember, something that feels more real that the fevered dreams of the politicians.

And, while I remember...

GNU Terry Pratchett

#697 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 06:04 PM:

Dave Bell @ #692 and #696

Very well put, I'll just add "A fan's a fan for a' that".

ObFilk: IEEE-696

#698 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2017, 09:07 PM:

I just noticed a weird thing (obvious once I thought about it): my downstairs neighbor's teenage son has a bunch of friends over, and they're playing video games. I could normally sort of ignore the noise (it's audible, but not completely unreasonable). But I'm trying to do some work on the spreadsheet, and it's the sort of noise that repeatedly interrupts my train of thought.

I'm trying to be tolerant (i.e., not murderous), and I've put on my ear protectors, turned on the furnace fan, and have some ambient noise going on YouTube. Which is all working reasonably well.

Except that it doesn't block the vibrations coming up through the floor into my feet—which I hadn't previously noticed as a component of the distractiveness.

Huh. Learn something new every day....

#699 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2017, 04:40 PM:

Never met D Potter other than as a poster here - but sad to hear that she has died.

Dave Bell @692: that's lovely. Long, long ago I memorised the original.

#700 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 02:32 AM:

I think we're all aware of H.L. Mencken's quote about there always being an answer that is simple, plausible, and wrong. It's so widely known that finding other quotes on that theme is hard. It is, itself, the simple right answer that sticks.

My brother was asking me if there were any quote on the theme of there being few simple answers left. In a mature field, he said, the simple answers have been found. and we're using the working ones. You can't expect to do better than your rivals by copying them. There's a limit to what you can do by turning the dial up to 11.

I think I can see what he is getting at, but I am wondering if there is some short quote, anywhere, that sums up the problem, the sort of thing that you could put at the top of a blog post.

And then he suggested I ask my friends, knowing you to be a well-read bunch, and a bit smarter on using language than the Google Search system.

Google Search finds the simple answers. It drowns us in a sea of simplicity. It parted the Red Sea, and now we feel like the Pharaoh's Army.

Maybe it's an academic thing. He's looking for a citation, so he doesn't have to prove his working. It can get like that in STEM.

#701 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 03:52 AM:

Race Traitor Xopher @ #691:

Sleep is ++good. But, sometimes, you need to fix something broken Right Now, and at that point, having a teddy bear / rubber duck / willing colleague to point at the screen and explain the problem to is still useful, since typically when I do it, it is due to an ongoing production issue and going for a few winks is, well, not really an option. Once the imminent problem has been plastered over, sleep is useful for figuring out a permanent fix, though.

#702 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 10:45 AM:

Dave Bell @ 700 wrote "My brother was asking me if there were any quote on the theme of there being few simple answers left. In a mature field, he said, the simple answers have been found. and we're using the working ones. You can't expect to do better than your rivals by copying them. There's a limit to what you can do by turning the dial up to 11."

In one of his editorials, John W. Campbell, Jr. opined that sometimes the only possible improvement is a radical change of design.

That's all I've got.

#703 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 11:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ 700 -

I saw something tangentially related to this about discoveries in science. Basically, all the low-hanging fruit has been plucked, so further discoveries require a greater portion of societal resources.

It took just a couple of geniuses to formulate calculus a few centuries ago. It took simple antennas to discover the cosmic background radiation (the echo of the Big Bang). But it took billions of dollars to find the Higgs boson.

So.... I like the term "low-hanging fruit."

#704 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 01:10 PM:

Sandy B @663: I'm considering spending more time at a gym for reasons of weight loss, increased general health, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, etc.

Obligatory Free Advice: Two references I've found disproportionately useful:

- Richard Hittleman's Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan (Easily worth orders of magnitude more than I paid for it.)
- The Hacker's Diet (Excellent description of process, including explanations for non-linear weight changes. Also well written and fun to read.)

Paul A. @667: "rubber duck debugging"

I hadn't heard this one; I love it. I've done that process, though. Usually with some long-suffering user-support drone standing in for the duck.

Diatryma @669: how-to-make-these-look-good.

Are you speaking in terms of how to (frex)
- come up with colors and shapes that look pretty, or
- what constitutes a "polished" look?
- other

If it's the first, I want to know the answer to that question, too. If the second, I think the answer is "practice & feedback".

One tangentially-related book I'd love to get my hands on but have never been able to find since I've had the means to purchase it: The Semiotics of Color. Don't know the author's name.

Serge Broom 675: Oh, damn. First I heard of D, it was as Jon Singer's "twin." (Same height, same weight, same birthday....)

Race Traitor Xopher @691: I kept this heresy to myself.


#705 ::: Sean ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 03:37 PM:

Steve Timberlake suggested that if I wanted to get on a wait list to get a piece of poetry 'translated' into Shakespeare or psudo-Shakespeare I should post it here.
I found and lost, to my regret, a bit of text that was a translation of Firefly's intro song.
I would appriciate it if you would create this for me.
Firefly's song url:
I can copy and post the lyrics from that site if there is need.

#706 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 03:45 PM:

Sean (above) has it right. I did suggest that, since AKICML, he might find a willing translator of Firefly's theme song into Shakespearean English. If someone's got the time and/or inclination, it would be appreciated.

Short form: (Longer form at his link above)

Take my love, take my land,
Take me where I cannot stand.
I don't care, I'm still free,
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black,
Tell them I ain't comin back.
Burn the land and boil the sea,
You can't take the sky from me.

There's no place, I can be,
Since I've found Serenity.

And you can't take the sky from me.

#707 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2017, 04:17 PM:

Steve C. @ #703

That was the motivation of the villain in the The Tick cartoon ‘Leonardo da Vinci’s Fightin’ Genius Time Commandos”: bitter that all the “easy stuff” had already been invented, he kidnapped famous* inventors out of history so he could wipe out their works and lay claim to them himself**.

*And not-so-famous – the wheel turned out to have been invented by a prehistoric woman named “Wheel.”
** I know, I know, bootstrap paradox in reverse.

#708 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2017, 06:36 AM:

Dave Bell @700

I think this is partially addressed by Kuhn's concept of "paradigm shift" in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

The term is overused as a buzzword, but IMO it's true that when your current theoretical framework, has been thoroughly mined for ideas, sometimes what you need is a new theoretical framework that includes the things you already know but has room to go beyond them.

In Kuhn's view, a paradigm shift comes about because of experimental findings that don't fit predictions of the old theory but do fit within a new theory. But it's also true that having a new theory can suggest a lot of new experiments and so set off a cascade of new findings.

#709 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2017, 09:38 AM:

Jacque @704: Is the book about photography? If so, the author may be José Enrique Finol.

#710 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2017, 11:18 AM:

Quill: I would have said "maybe," but the Finol book looks to have been published in 2012, and I got this rec in 1985. (Obvy time-travel jokes, taken as read. ;-> )

#711 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2017, 03:02 PM:

Jacque @710: It looks like the topic has come up here before; I, too, found the sole worldcat reference (echoed in the Yale University library catalog). But I also found a reference in this pdf of conference proceedings, page 151 as numbered, in which she mentions that it was her thesis.

This means if there is any chance of finding it electronically cataloged, it is most likely to be in one of two libraries: WVU, where she works (and got a doctorate?), or RISD, where she got her MFA. Alas, neither of these fine institutions have such a thing in their catalogs. :(

#712 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2017, 03:14 PM:

me @711: If one were quite bound and determined to find the thing after all, the most likely possibilities in order are 1) email the author (as mentioned in the previous open thread) or 2) email the WVU library and ask if they have theses in storage which are not electronically catalogued, if one of them is The Semiotics of Color, and if they would be so kind as to scan it for you. Also possible is to make an interlibrary loan request for Semiotics of Color part 2 and see if it fulfills the need also.

(why no, I'm not avoiding actual work... nor do I miss being a student and researching things...)

#713 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2017, 03:32 AM:

Dave Bell @692
Lovely. A consummation devoutly to be wished.

And let me be the first to raise a toast in celebration of the election victories tonight, and what I hope is the beginning of the long road back from Trumpville.

#714 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2017, 11:59 AM:

estelendur: How the hell did I miss that? Or did I see it and forget it...? Anyway: thanks! ::looks through old thread:: Wow. Several interesting items there, of which I have no memory whatsoever....

(Compulsive, cat-vacuuming research, hee hee. I'm familiar with the problem....)

The other thing I forget is: if I did a Google search some while ago and came up dry, try it again; the Googleverse is ever-expanding....

Bruce: Hear hear!

#715 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2017, 07:33 PM:

HLN: area woman now has intravenous port (port-a-cath) for future adventures in medicine. Lying on the gurney in the hallway, waiting for them to get into the radiology area, she kept hoping/expecting to see Dr McCoy walk by.

#716 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 10:43 AM:

#715: Best wishes to area woman. Make sure it is the Real McCoy.

#717 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 11:07 AM:

I only knew D.Potter from here, but the world is better for having had her in it. My condolences.

#718 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 11:28 AM:

Sore today, as expected.
I sure wanted it to be the real one. The hospital people I met were nice.
The ones who should have been givign me scheduling information (and I tried to get it), not so much. Too busy, too short-handed, I don't know - but people need to have some idea when they're going to be released.

#719 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 03:46 PM:

Incoherent @ 674: TFTwarning; I will set this aside until the other two parts come out.

Bruce Cohen @ 690: lucky you. I tended to wake up in the small hours, knowing that if I didn't get up and write down what I'd realized I would never remember it when I was awake-for-real. Maybe I should have had a longer commute? (I rarely needed more than 20 minutes. Yeah, lucky me....)

Xopher @ 691: Since sleep is culturally forbidden to programmers I suspect that violating culture is almost as important as the seven deadly sins of coding. I pulled a couple of >20-hour-days when I was in night school at age 36, and swore I wouldn't do that to myself for the rest of the course or whatever job I wound up with. My last job didn't seem to demand such ... dedication -- although it did run on abuse for a while, until the top boss put their foot down.

Dave Bell @ 692: Excellent.

#720 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 03:52 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 688: and you were right; I'm fascinated that someone with no experience could describe the process well enough that another writer would praise it. I do find myself wondering how many non-fictional writers avoid Mr. Earbrass's final trauma by having another novel well in train before the page proofs come back; I understand this was Pratchett's habit, but from our too-few meetings I can't imagine him being that wracked.

#721 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 04:14 PM:

HLN: Local man has been hit hard by the shift to Standard Time. "I'm not ready to go to bed until midnight EDT, but my alarm goes off at 6am EST" he reports, with bags under his eyes. "The caffeine isn't helping as much. I'll be glad when work is over and I can walk home and nap".

#722 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 08:46 PM:

Of general interest here, I think: Jo Walton is hoping to run a small con in Montreal next fall.

#723 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2017, 09:16 PM:

CHip @ 720:

I have gained the impression that Mr Earbrass was something of a dilettante, whose writing was more of a profitable hobby than his primary source of income. He lives in a very large house (even with American numbering, it has at least three floors) which would require either servants or a large family to take care of it, and there is no sign of a family. It has substantial grounds, including a croquet lawn, and it has a name rather than a street address, suggesting the Big House of the neighbourhood. How is he going to pay for all this on one novel every two years? He has almost certainly inherited whatever is left of the family fortune, and is living mainly on investment income with the writing mainly paying for luxuries.

Sir PTerry, OTOH, was trying to make a living out of writing, and the need to secure the next advance before the bills it was to pay came in meant that for a long time, yes, he did have to get the next book going as soon as he had handed in the last one. In later days the need might not be so pressing, but if he had the story to tell, he might as well keep up the habit.

Buddha Buck @721,
That seems odd. It's usually the switch the other way that has that effect.

#724 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 01:19 AM:

So now some asshole is defending Roy Moore on the grounds that "Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult."

That's wrong in so many ways (moral, logical, cultural, historical, and theological) that the only analogy I can come up with is saying "Hey, it's OK if I smoke pot, because it's Biblical. People got stoned allllll the time back then."*

Also, there's something about Mary** - what was it again? Starts with V...

I'm not Christian myself, but I'm dead sick of seeing ignorant bibliolatry pass itself off as Christianity.

*There are good arguments for the idea that smoking pot is just fine; this isn't one of them. The part before the semicolon is why I'm not very happy with the analogy.
**The Devil made me do it.

#725 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:32 AM:

Xopher: It was way easier to get stoned back then. All you had to do was say "Jehovah."

"Teenage Mary" is someone's fanfic. Her age isn't given in any of those books God dictated in English, so somebody has apparently put on his (oh yeah. his) thinking cap and decided that if she was a virgin, she had to be thirteen or a really fast runner, and the Bible doesn't say anything about running.

Anyway, Moore's associates swear they'll vote for him even if he's guilty, because at least he isn't one of those terrible consensual liberals like Clinton, and they have a whole wish list of stuff they want to do to people, and anybody who wouldn't lie to do God's work just isn't worthy of his tenth round of forgiveness.

Of course, these are opportunists, working in the milieu at hand. If being taller meant more power, they'd be cheating and lying at that, too. Maybe if the place you're in is bad enough to start with, then bad religion will drive out good religion. Moore's Law! (What do you mean, "it's taken"?)

#726 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:32 AM:

Xopher: It was way easier to get stoned back then. All you had to do was say "Jehovah."

"Teenage Mary" is someone's fanfic. Her age isn't given in any of those books God dictated in English, so somebody has apparently put on his (oh yeah. his) thinking cap and decided that if she was a virgin, she had to be thirteen or a really fast runner, and the Bible doesn't say anything about running.

Anyway, Moore's associates swear they'll vote for him even if he's guilty, because at least he isn't one of those terrible consensual liberals like Clinton, and they have a whole wish list of stuff they want to do to people, and anybody who wouldn't lie to do God's work just isn't worthy of his tenth round of forgiveness.

Of course, these are opportunists, working in the milieu at hand. If being taller meant more power, they'd be cheating and lying at that, too. Maybe if the place you're in is bad enough to start with, then bad religion will drive out good religion. Moore's Law! (What do you mean, "it's taken"?)

#727 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:32 AM:

Xopher: It was way easier to get stoned back then. All you had to do was say "Jehovah."

"Teenage Mary" is someone's fanfic. Her age isn't given in any of those books God dictated in English, so somebody has apparently put on his (oh yeah. his) thinking cap and decided that if she was a virgin, she had to be thirteen or a really fast runner, and the Bible doesn't say anything about running.

Anyway, Moore's associates swear they'll vote for him even if he's guilty, because at least he isn't one of those terrible consensual liberals like Clinton, and they have a whole wish list of stuff they want to do to people, and anybody who wouldn't lie to do God's work just isn't worthy of his tenth round of forgiveness.

Of course, these are opportunists, working in the milieu at hand. If being taller meant more power, they'd be cheating and lying at that, too. Maybe if the place you're in is bad enough to start with, then bad religion will drive out good religion. Moore's Law! (What do you mean, "it's taken"?)

#728 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:33 AM:

Sorry. Multi-tasking and I forgot to look at the subtle progress bar before stabbing the button again.

#729 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 12:31 PM:

What I post three times is true.

#730 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 03:11 PM:

TomB 729: You only posted that once.

#731 ::: Race Traitor Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 03:17 PM:

In other news, here's a pledge for Veterans' Day.

#732 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 03:37 PM:

Xopher@730: That means its truth value is undetermined.

#733 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 05:04 PM:

What I post three times is not true.

#734 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 05:05 PM:

What I post three times is not true.

#735 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 05:06 PM:

What I post three times is not true.

#736 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 06:47 PM:

For Veterans Day, I like to reread Dave Luckett's poem from 2006: You want to see their monument? It isn't here.

#737 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:03 PM:

J Homes @ 723: a fair-enough summary of the two people (and I think Earbrass is not just the dilettante you describe but a bit of a head case, just like most Gorey characters), but I picked PTerry as an example I was sure of; I wonder how many others follow that mode, simply because it gets them out of the trauma of finishing (there's got to be a scientific term for that) and into the next book, and how many simply cope with the minutiae. (I've just finished the chapter on writing in Nolen's A Surgeon's Life; he speaks of increasing loathing as a work moves toward publication. OTOH, he doesn't need the money either....) Others may not feel the need; I've read a Banks quote that he drifted for a good part of each year, not even researching, and then wrote a book in a couple of months. (I can't remember the source -- don't think it was a Loncon PR as I didn't get those -- and don't know if that was ever confirmed.)

#738 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2017, 09:06 PM:

Xopher @ 724: could the proper response be that the Devil is said to be able to quote Scripture to his own purpose?

#739 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2017, 07:35 PM:

Or, as I like to say three times: "The Devil can quote Peanuts to his own purpose."

#740 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2017, 05:22 PM:

Just the place for a snark

#741 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2017, 12:16 PM:

A useful counter to people who don't think registering to vote is worthwhile: the BBC notes that a factor in the UK Conservatives' losing their majority was the rush of hundreds of thousands of young voters who used the government's online system to join the electoral register after the election was called. There are other steps that can be taken -- e.g., making sure registration follows a person when they move -- but this gets people connected in the first place without requiring that they take time off from work.

#742 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2017, 02:57 PM:

Dave Neiwert's Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump hasn't been getting reviews in newspapers, though he's welcome on talk radio.

I'm posting about it here because people might have more connections to newspapers than I do and also because there might be interest in the book.

I'm including the whole post because some people don't go on Facebook.


"OK, friends, I have a media problem.

Specifically, my book 'Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump' -- the first and so far only book to document the resurgence of the extremist right in American politics -- is simply not being reviewed in any newspapers anywhere.

As of today, it's been a full month since its release. And so far, only one paper -- the Washington Post, where it was folded in with a review of two other books -- has reviewed it.
Not the New York Times (not a surprise; the NYT has never reviewed a single one of my books, since I am not among the "name" authors that they exclusively review). Not the LA Times (even though they previewed it last spring). Not the Oregonian, even though there was a huge crowd at Powell's last week. Not even my hometown Seattle Times, which ran an interview with me but has so far declined to actually review the book. Nor any other major daily newspaper anywhere in the USA.

I have a good idea why this is happening. American newsrooms have never come out from under the stigma of the "liberal media bias" accusations invented by the right in the 1980s and used as a club to drive out deliberatively liberal voices ever since. It's a large part of why I no longer work in these newsrooms myself after more than 20 years in them.

Moreover, they are extremely cowed by the flying monkeys of the Trump Right now. Prime example: A friend of mine who is an expert in hate crimes last week was in New York at CBS News studios, where he explained the big picture on hate crimes in interviews that were aired in prime time. However, CBS edited out all of his many references to Donald Trump and how he has played such a significant role in the extreme spike in these crimes we have seen.
No one, it seems, wants to make clear to the public the powerful connection between the president and the army of racist haters he has raised in his support. "Alt-America" not only makes this connection explicit in its title, it documents it in vivid detail.

So book editors are shying away from assigning it for review. They are, in essence, sparing themselves the gigantic hassle that will inevitably come when the hordes of rabid Trump followers descend on them for even daring to mention the book, let alone favorably, as many of them likely would. Moreover, many of their owner/publishers (see esp. the Seattle Times and Oregonian) are well-known Republican partisans who favor right-wing politics on their pages. So they're also saving themselves the displeasure of their bosses.

It's not a conspiracy, it's just human nature. And the only way we can hope to overcome it is with the power of the public demanding that the book receive its proper due.

If you have the time, please drop a line (email, phone call, letter, whatever) to your local book editor and make an inquiry about 'Alt-America.' Explain to them that the book is of vital and intense interest to the public right now. Explain that it needs not to be ignored and swept under the rug. Be nice, rational, and thoughtful, and help them understand why they really, really need to review the book on their pages.

It may not help, but it might. My gut feeling is that right now, the book's status is like the crowd of little Whos on the flower held by Horton, and all it needs is one penultimate "Meep!" to break through the cloud of silence that is settling over it.

Oh, and if you're going to buy the book, please please please go to your local bookstore (if you have one) and get it from them, even if you have to order it. Those purchases and orders actually convince the stores to stock more copies, which build to greater sales.

I think we are getting phenomenal word-of-mouth on the book, and we've been getting excellent media time (though, typically, "Fresh Air" backed away after very nearly booking me for an interview, since "Alt-America" doesn't really fit in, we were told, with "what we do"). It's just a matter of time.

But the window of time between a book's release and the decision of book editors to assign a review to it is extremely brief, and is very close to running out. I need your help, if you think you can spare it.

Thanks, folks."

#743 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2017, 12:03 PM:

Open-Threadiness: Last night I made candied Buddha's Hand citron! I am not sure I did it very well, and we'll see if it actually dries, but I think I did alright for never having made candy before. Because I was sort of flailing around not having a very good idea of what to do, I ended up with some candied citron, some citron simple syrup, and some citron-flavored soft sugar candy stuff. The citron itself is good, and has an interesting, strong lingering flavor.

Next time, I'll consult ML's archives for guidance before starting, instead of mid-process, when it's too late to really use the advice. ;)

#744 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2017, 09:03 PM:

@743: "First make proper obeisances to the Great Old Ones...."

#745 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2017, 08:37 AM:

By way of "Customers Suck", a lovely interview with Ursula K. Le Guin: Writing Nameless Things.

My favorite line: "I’m not a curmudgeon, I’m just a scientist’s daughter."

#746 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2017, 05:52 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I recently had a thought on web search and its limitations:

Is it possible to find pages that mention both theologian Martin Luther and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr?

#747 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 01:26 AM:

I don't know much about it, but it can be done with semantic search. You can use RDF to unambiguously specify what you are searching for. Web pages can use RDF to describe their contents. Search engines can also be pretty good at figuring out what is on a web page even without RDF, which is a good thing since very few pages bother.

Here are two library pages with RDF links for Person: Luther, Martin, 1483-1546 and Person: King, Martin Luther, Jr, 1929-1968.

#748 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 09:40 AM:

Holy cow... I've only just discovered that Harry Chapin's "Taxi" song has a Sequel. (lyrics)

#750 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 12:45 PM:

...the whole thread is a joy....

#751 ::: thomas ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Jacque #749: And from Pratchett

“Yes, sir, but the Librarian likes bananas, sir."

"Very nourishin' fruit, Mr Stibbons."

"Yes, sir. Although, funnily enough it's not actually a fruit, sir."


"Yes, sir. Botanically, it's a type of fish, sir. According to my theory it's cladistically associated with the Krullian pipefish, sir, which of course is also yellow and goes around in bunches or shoals."

"And lives in trees?"

"Well, not usually, sir. The banana is obviously exploiting a new niche."

#752 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 10:11 PM:

Patrick reports on Twitter that Teresa experienced stroke-like symptoms:

So anyway @tnielsenhayden got hospitalized last night for what looked a lot like a stroke but may have been _merely_ a marginally-less-alarming "transient ischemic event." Probably in hospital until Wednesday at least.

Teresa writes:

I lost my language for a little while. Then I got back some language, but not speech or legible handwriting. @pnh was puzzled by the picture I drew.

I've had relatives who've been through TIEs, and had no lasting effects.

Fingers crossed & best wishes.

#753 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 10:43 PM:

Sometimes they're transient but still actual strokes. That's what my father's first one was like - he was dizzy, and it took an MRI, after the next one, to find the damage. (His weren't clots.)

All the good feels for TNH!

#754 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2017, 11:56 PM:

Indeedy! Best wishes for speedy and complete return to normal (whatever that normal may be)

#755 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 12:29 AM:

Best wishes from here too.

#756 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 12:31 AM:

Oh, no, losing language is scary. I've had some of that happen due to what I have declared to be a migraine, and it's so disorienting. I hope that yours turns out to be more 'interesting anecdata about brains' than 'requires rehab', Teresa. Be well.

#757 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 12:52 AM:

Large good wishes from here, too.

(TPA for the win!)

#758 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 05:58 AM:

752: Yikes! "Losing language" sounds terrifying, especially for someone whose life is built around language, as Teresa's is. Here's hoping she makes a full recovery and has no further problems.

#759 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 09:01 AM:

Best wishes from here, also.

#760 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 09:22 AM:

Yikes! All the hopes for a swift and complete recovery here too.

#761 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 09:27 AM:

Best wishes for healthy brains, Teresa!

#762 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 10:30 AM:

Goodness, glad I stopped in here. That is scary indeed!
All the good wishes for Teresa and for Patrick. May all be well and all manner of thing be well.

#763 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 10:33 AM:

Echoing best wishes to Teresa! Yeah, the losing language has got to be scary.

#764 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 10:58 AM:

Teresa, my absolute best wishes. May the words find you, and versa vice.

#765 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 11:01 AM:

Best wishes also to your nice gentleman! It was implicit, perhaps, but it's worth saying.

#766 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 11:11 AM:

Scary indeed! I'll echo the general Yikes! and best wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.

#767 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 11:33 AM:

Teresa was with it enough 13 hours ago to tweet her MRI coping strategies.

#768 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 01:04 PM:

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, and Yay for coping strategies!

#769 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 02:18 PM:

Adding my best wishes for a speedy recovery, Teresa!

#770 ::: J Homes ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 02:53 PM:

Adding mine to the good wishes.

J Homes

#771 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 03:38 PM:

Best wishes, Teresa and Patrick!

#772 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 04:35 PM:

Oh no! Wishing for a complete and speedy recovery for Teresa, and best wishes to both Teresa and Patrick.

#773 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 07:38 PM:

Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

#774 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 08:24 PM:

Meanwhile, I got hit by a car yesterday:

I would, I swear, have gone to the ER if anything was bleeding or falling off. But right now I'm waiting for the officer from last night to go back on duty so he can finish filing his report so my insurance agent can contact the car-driver's insurance agent* so I can get authorization to go to an urgent care clinic Just In Case.

*The people in the car were rather badly hurt by the same thing -- an unfortunately or fortunately placed telephone pole -- that kept me from getting killed.

#775 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 08:52 PM:

Wow, Stefan! I'm glad you're okay.

#776 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2017, 11:51 PM:

Stefan, I hope you can get a checkup. It takes a couple of days for the shock to wear off and then you realize how banged up you are. Physical therapy can really help, and it should be covered by the driver's insurance.

#777 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 12:30 AM:

My best wishes to Teresa.

#778 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 01:28 AM:

bumping an ISE

#779 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 01:30 AM:

Well, that failed. Suggesting to Stefan Jones @774 that a chiropractor might be in order, if you know a good one. Or can find a good one, possibly through referral from your MD. Injuries can take some time to show effects (from a few days to weeks), and it helps to have that kind of exam before accepting a settlement from the insurance company.

#780 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 09:02 PM:

Back from urgent care:

Bedrest, ibuprofen, muscle relaxants, physical therapy (eventually), and watch for signs of a bruised spleen.

And: "Come back ASAP if anything changes."

And: "Wow, you were REALLY lucky."

Other Guy's insurance paid for the scrips and exam , and they'd better pay for the PT. And count themselves lucky. If I hadn't seen the headlights and started to jump, they'd be paying for hip repairs, or death benefits.

Other Guy was speeding, and cited for careless driving. If you look at the Twitter post, you'll see he received other, more visceral feedback on the value of safe driving.

#781 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 10:21 PM:

Stefan: thanks for the update. All best hopes to Teresa for a full recovery (from the TIE and the MRI, which I understand is Not Fun).

And similar wishes to you; being saved by a phone pole is better than being saved by one's own poundage (as happened to a friend a long time ago), but neither is desirable. Make sure they don't stiff you for PT, which can take a while depending on just what got injured.

Since nobody else has said it: congratulations to Australia for voting against bigotry -- I think this is the first time a legislature has wimped out but received firm guidance from the populace.

#782 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 10:23 PM:

Whew, Stefan!

#783 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 11:07 PM:

A moment here for Randy Byers. I went over to efanzines and read me some Chunga. So sorry he's gone.

#784 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2017, 11:56 PM:

Randy wrote a lot of obituaries -- I'm sad it's time to write one for him.

#785 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 01:21 AM:


Glad to hear the checkup checks out. Be sure to get the other guy’s insurance to cover the PT. If not covered by insurance that bargains the price down, it’s expensive. For a half hour session Providence charges over $200, but my Medicare policy only charges me a $20 copay.

#786 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 01:25 AM:

Hoping for full and swift recoveries for both Teresa and Stefan.

#787 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 10:02 AM:

Best of luck and recovery to Stefan!

And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans!

#788 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 01:32 PM:

I'm thankful for all the folks who post here regularly, our delightful hosts, and most of the people who are only occasionally present (pretty much all, except the spammers). I learn stuff here!

#789 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 02:40 PM:

Wow. High-dose ibuprofen is something else.

Last minute shopping done; low-effort solo Thanksgiving meal mostly set up.

Now crashing in front of the TV.

Happy Thanksgiving!

#790 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 05:23 PM:

Kip W at #783: There is also a wonderful trove of columns at

#791 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 06:00 PM:

Patrick tweeted that Teresa has been sprung from hospital at 4pm today. Yay!

#792 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 06:20 PM:

Olly olly oxen free!

#793 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 06:25 PM:

Bill beat me to posting the good news.

* * *

Having grown up in the NYC area, I feel like Thanksgiving is incomplete without watching King Kong and Babes in Toyland on WOR 9.

#794 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 06:57 PM:


Clotbusters are the best thing ever.

#795 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 07:13 PM:

Happy turkey day, Teresa! I'm glad you're here for it!

#796 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 07:57 PM:

HLN: area woman discovers how much hair can come out in a week and still leave you with hair for the next cycle to remove.

#797 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2017, 08:33 PM:

Glad to see you out and posting, Teresa. Hooray for modern medicine!

#798 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 12:48 AM:

Thankful you're back here, T.

#799 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 02:06 AM:


#800 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 08:44 AM:

Yay and Thanks for Teresa's return!

We had a lovely T-day dinner with the local family¹, though no out-of-state visitors. At this point all the kids are well-behaved teenagers² who can converse intelligently about the worlds of politics and literature -- even my niece's head-butting with her mother was purely conversational; I think she actually used the phrase "surely you must admit..." at some point. ;-)

A bit of giftbragging: My younger nephew clearly likes the Book of Jhereg I got him for his recent b-day, and (jokingly) tried to use "appreciation of the gift" to excuse reading at the table. The niece is getting McGuire's Discount Armageddon, Bujold's The Spirit Ring, and Farmer's Dark is The Sun.

¹ Now increased by one of BiL's brothers, who's moving into town after various travails.

² The youngest had her Bat Mitzvah last week, and her birthday party is tonight, closing out our "birthday season" until February.

#801 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 10:33 AM:

Last year, 'birthday season' was difficult for me-- in-laws, born in late November and early January, plus the Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year alignment, and the tinyfriends are right after New Year anyway, and then there's Valentine's as a sort of coda to finish me off.

I really hope any additional birthdays are not in the winter. It's very hard to manage that many gifts all at once.

#802 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 01:27 PM:

Diatryma @ #801 -

The joke I once heard about birthdays around the holidays (since mine is Jan. 15, I'm familiar), is that you get the same spiel Jesus got from the Three Wise Men: "These are for your Birthday AND for Christmas!"

#803 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 01:56 PM:

Holy crap. I haven't been on here in several days, and my Twitter feed moves very fast. Best wishes for Teresa's speedy recovery, an it be her own will.

I've lost language for a few hours at a time, and it wasn't scary (to me) until later, probably because I couldn't tell myself how scared I was. I'm so glad Teresa looks to be recovering.

#804 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 02:18 PM:

Oh, and I forgot my brother the week before Christmas. We did not multipurpose presents for him, nor shall we ever. It did mean that he got a lot of skateboard hardware all in one chunk rather than throughout the year, which is also the problem for everyone else. I find things for gifts in June! Or they do, and then they buy them! Oh such hardship.

The first sign I had of the Scary Stroke Migraine was that the book I was reading was terrible. The author had no idea how to put together a comprehensible sentence, which was weird, because the previous three in the series hadn't been great but had been decent. Then I figured out that the words in my brain were not the words on the page; I was getting close but not quite there, like someone sounding out the first half of a word or guessing at one they can't quite see. Weirdly, once it moved on to auditory language, I got news of one uncle's surgery and managed to understand it as a different uncle... and I have never managed to hook the surgery back to the first uncle.

#805 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 04:39 PM:

one of my cousins WAS born on Christmas. I try to send him two sets of good wishes, because he's so often stuck with just one.

#806 ::: Gray Woodland ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 05:25 PM:

Oh, my goodness. Best wishes to Teresa for a quick and complete recovery, and so glad to see her out and posting again already. green_knight also sends their best!

#807 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 05:50 PM:

Glad that both TNH and Stefan are on the right side of the grass.

I had speech taken from me temporarily in 2016. It was annoying, but the alternative was rather permanent.

#808 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 05:51 PM:

Glad that both TNH and Stefan are on the right side of the grass.

I had speech taken from me temporarily in 2016. It was annoying, but the alternative was rather permanent.

#809 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 09:05 PM:

Yes, it's great that Teresa and Stefan are coming along!

Is the TIE related to carotid artery blockage by any chance? Both my mom and mother-in-law had surgery to address that. Both came out well.

#810 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 09:13 PM:

It can be related. TIEs are usually a small clot blocking a little artery in the brain, making it impossible for a small area of neurons to get oxygen/nutrients. It's transient because the clot gets broken up or flushed through. Carotid artery blockage is an (effective) narrowing of the carotid artery, meaning less blood gets to the brain in general. It's usually caused by difficulties with the wall of the artery; this can cause clots, which then cause TIEs. They're not directly related, but indirectly. (I am not a doctor, and I do not claim this information is complete or perfectly accurate. Comments from those with better information gladly accepted.)

#811 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2017, 09:26 PM:

Steve C. #802: Oh yeah. Even before my niece was born on top of Thanksgiving, I'd long since learned not to give Mom anything with hearts or "pinkness" for her birthday... which doubles as Valentine's Day.

#812 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 02:12 AM:

I’ve never lost language myself, but I’ve heard Jill Bolte, a neuroscientist, describe in clinical detail her own stroke. From the Amazon page for her book, “My Stroke of Insight”:

On December 10, 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor, a thirty-seven- year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist experienced a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. As she observed her mind deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life-all within four hours-Taylor alternated between the euphoria of the intuitive and kinesthetic right brain, in which she felt a sense of complete well-being and peace, and the logical, sequential left brain, which recognized she was having a stroke and enabled her to seek help before she was completely lost. It would take her eight years to fully recover.

I will never forget her description of trying to dial 911.

#813 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 02:17 AM:

This is maybe a little morbid, or at least too much on the nose, but I now have ear worm of Annie Lennox singing “No More I Love Yous”.

#814 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 10:14 AM:

Glad to here Teresa is doing well. Stefan, glad things are okay for you, too. P J Evans, wishing you as smooth treatment as can be.

Last Tuesday I went with my husband to a Trauma Survivor Day at George Washington University Hospital. There were lots of staff of all kinds including local EMS teams. Six of their major trauma patients from the year were present, giving brief remarks and getting a small plaque. The six were two motor vehicle accidents, two gunshot wounds (including one of the people shot at the congressional staffers baseball game), one found unconscious in an elevator (turned out to be a brain bleed), and one serious fall from a ladder (my husband, who feel 8 feet onto a concrete floor at work and broke his left leg, right upper arm, and shattered his left wrist).

And I am recovering from the surgery to remove the tumor on my spine. Tumor confirmed benign, which was what was expected. Recovery going well. Numbness still present but improving, I think.

We have much to be thankful for this year.

#815 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 11:02 AM:

What has stuck with me from My Stroke of Insight (the book itself was a little disappointing in its lack of specifics) was the amount of time spent making sure a doctor was in-network before calling... while having a stroke. That's also why the Scary Stroke Migraine ended with uninsure me going to bed early.

Strokes: weird. Migraines: weird. Brains: weeeeird.

#816 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 11:58 AM:

I'm glad TNH is doing better.

With a birthday ten days before Christmas, I did the arithmetic. Everybody else made out better than me. Now, though, it's almost an advantage, because I get a couple of checks around the same time and can combine them to get something nice for myself.

#817 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 02:10 PM:

My birthday is exactly two weeks after Christmas (exactly one week after New Years)... AND I have an identical twin.

So, one guess at who got 1/4 presents every year? ("This is for birthday and Christmas, for both of you!") Now, I grant you the presents were better, but when you're a little kid it's the AMOUNT of loot, not the quality of it, that matters.

Now, I'm fine with it. I don't live with my sister so I don't have to share gifts, and now quality MATTERS to me.

Glad to hear that everyone's heath misadventures are getting better.

#818 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 04:22 PM:

I know that celebrating half-birthdays is one solution that some families have adopted for the Christmas children. I wonder if anyone has done the opposite: Santa comes in June, saving the birthday for the child.

#819 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 04:58 PM:

Diatryma @ #815:

Health care systems where "is the doctor in network?" is a question that arises when somebody needs urgent medical attention: weeeeeeeeird.

#820 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 05:07 PM:

Buddha Buck @ #818:

The drawback I see to the latter option is that you'd lose the community aspect of Christmas, part of the joy of which is that everybody else is also celebrating it at the same time.

#821 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 06:53 PM:

It's an interesting experience, for definitions of interesting that run from "wouldn't wish on others" to "oh kewl!" (Ultrasound exams where you can see the picture on the screen, like the echocardiogram where I'm watching my own heart beating.)

#822 ::: temporarily pseudonymous bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 08:40 PM:

Paul A. @819 And health care systems where "Is the emergency room in-network?" does not tell you "Are the doctors treating you also in-network?" are broken. There's also its entertaining cousin "We're in-network for regular emergencies, but not mental health" and the even more entertaining "For mental emergencies, the ambulance can only take you to County Hospital", which is not in-network.

#823 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2017, 11:17 PM:

My husband had an in-network hospital and an in-network doctor for a gall bladder removal some years ago. The assistant surgeon, whom he never met and didn't know about nor authorize, turned out NOT to be in-network and sent us a bill for several thousand dollars.

It took many, many frantic phone calls to the hospital, the insurance agent, and the doctors' offices to get that bill taken care of.

#824 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2017, 12:26 PM:

Grateful for T, Stefan, & OtterB's good outcomes! (Let's hear it for modern medicine!)

Bruce Cohen (Speaker To Managers) @812: Jill Bolte ... book, "My Stroke of Insight"

She also has a lovely TED talk.

For those with birthdays on holidays, I think I'd hold out for anti-birthday observances, personally.

#825 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2017, 10:34 PM:

I had a setback today when I tried RUNNING across a roadway while cheerfully waving at the nice guy who stopped his car to let us cross.

Burning flaming ho-gawds pains in my hip and back. I'm returning to a sedate shuffle until the fires die down.

Interesting: Doctor said not to bother with an MRI until the considerable swelling and bruises are gone. Too much noise and false positive when there is a lot of tissue inflammation. But the request is in the system and I'll get one.

Now I need to dial down and do as little as possible for the next few weeks.

#826 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 12:18 PM:

Stefan: I grok how frustrating it can be to have the body crump; when I had a broken ankle the crutches and cast were a continuing reminder that crossing the street would take more time, while AFAICT a lot of the therapy for tissue injuries is knowing what will make one's body go "Don't do that!" and not doing it -- for some months. This from the person who has given up archery and thrown weapons until the last symptoms of mild epicondylitis fade (ironic because I had no problems doing archery ~8 hours/week 1.5 years ago, but had trouble after a year of 2-4 hours/week); not a patch on your level of pain, but "fascinating!" to this one-time biomed researcher to see how many dominant-hand activities need to be modified.

Bruce Cohen @ 812:
I will never forget her description of trying to dial 911.
Sounds like she at least had her priorities in order; I am told that an acquaintance's mother died while looking up her symptoms to see whether they could be for something severe enough to justify calling. This may have been an effect of living in a very rural area where summoning help could be expensive -- but that's a parallel to the discussion about in-network emergency help; I've learned the hard way where to take my partner in emergencies but figure I'm fortunate in having been able to do it myself instead of having to argue with an ambulance provider.

Returning to politics for a moment: the Washington Post catches an attempted reactionary sting.

#827 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 12:21 PM:

CHip #826: Your final link is broken.

#829 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 04:16 PM:

Teeny little thing here:
Having downloaded the newest version of Nethack, I've been having a spate of playing it again recently, and I discovered the new version of the game contains a tribute to Terry Pratchett. In a "used book store" that appeared in the dungeon, which usually just contain scrolls and spellbooks, there was a "paperback novel" of 'Soul Music'. I was touched. (This isn't any kind of secret, but I just ran across it for the first time.)

#830 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 04:51 PM:

Clifton @829:

I have seen, in the wild, a web-service which includes a "X-Clacks-Overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett" header.

#831 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 07:16 PM:

Turns out I have a non-displaced broken rib, right side, around back, down south.

Which really puzzles me. Achey-painy stuff is mostly on the left side.

I really need to get going with the bedrest stuff. Slow walks on level ground don't hurt, but I need to ignore the dog's capering about begging me to take her out so I can concentrate on resting.

1st physical therapy session tomorrow.

#832 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 08:02 PM:

Oh, that's lovely. (Been there, had a couple cracked/broken, right side, low, non-displaced. Took about eight weeks for the achiness to leave. They recommended a rib belt.)

Meanwhile, HLN: area woman had second chemo session and was hit by the effects of the included 25mg of Benadryl. Finally woke up about 5 minutes ago (7 hours after starting).

#833 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 09:42 PM:

Stefan Jones #831: A non-displaced rib fracture probably can't make itself heard over all the other damage you've suffered, to load-bearing bones and soft tissue. Just take things easy and it will heal with the rest. Do you have a local dog park where you could let the dog run around while you stay put?

#834 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2017, 10:07 PM:

@PJEvans: May chemo be as side-effect-free as possible and successful!

@Dave Harmon: I have thought about that. Ivory LOVES the local park*. The weather has been dreadful lately, and sitting under an inadequate rain shelter in 40 F weather is only slightly better than walking. But I think I'll give it a shot tomorrow.

* Somewhat appropriately, the Laika animation studio is right behind the dog park.

#835 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2017, 12:27 PM:

HLN: So I've been trying to cough up a lung or two ever since this time last week. Made Thanksgiving REALLY fun...

Finally saw doctor on Monday, and he actually prescribed antibiotics! It had been so long since I'd had to have them that I couldn't remember which ones I was allergic to -- but the good guys at the pharmacy caught the error and made sure I got something that wouldn't make things worse.

So I've reached the point where there is nothing I want to eat, and everything I drink tastes icky. Praying the drugs evict my unwanted tennant soon...

#836 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2017, 07:42 PM:

Lori Coulson (835): If you're not already doing it, you might want to eat lots of yogurt and/or take a probiotic for the duration (and a little while after), to help repopulate your good gut flora. I find that probiotics make a lot of difference to my digestive health when I'm on antibiotics.

#837 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2017, 10:44 PM:

Stefan Jones: Sympathy here! The only bone I ever broke… well, in a rehearsal for a play, I ran out of places to put my foot (cramped set), and went down on top of a quarterstaff a couple inches in diameter. It hurt. The director was an MD, and he said I was probably okay. We went to my doctor, and he thought I was maybe bruised but okay.

Later that day, I happened to notice that if I pressed lightly on the rib, I heard a muffled noise like two large pieces of chalk being rubbed together. A rib was broken. There wasn't a whole lot they could do except bind me somewhat and wait for it to heal. I kept expecting it to stab me in the lung, but it never did. Took forever.

Jolly story! Anyway, I'm fine now, which is maybe a better thing to concentrate on than my tale of pain and inconvenience. Wishing you the same—the 'fine' part.

#838 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 10:45 AM:

I Did Something to a rib hacking out a lung during a cold, some years ago. Went to the doctor. He started to send me in for X-rays but, being as I was "self-insured," I said, "What difference would knowing conclusively whether it's broken make?" Doc, to his credit, said, "Uh—well, none, actually, since there's not actually anything useful we can do for it." So he sent me to get a rib-belt instead.

The rib-belt actually helped a lot. Made it so I could cough without falling over in agony.

#839 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 10:57 AM:

I still haven't a clue WHERE rib twelve, right side, posterior IS.

Pain from that is overshadowed by general misery of lower back.

Remembered that the whole rationale for the X-rays is as a preliminary for an MRI, which is what would show non-fracture damage which would explain mysterious pains in my hips.

Since the radiologist forgot to do my hips, I need to go back today.

I'm past the "WOW, I got hit by a car and walked away from it" euphoria and into the misery of slow healing. I was planning on a cross-country road trip starting around 12/16, but the way I feel after sitting in the car for more than a few minutes may make that impossible. And I didn't bother looking for cheap flights back east.


#840 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 11:37 AM:

About the third rib from the bottom, lower right back, I think.
(Mine were right on the side, IIRC - car accident, I got thrown diagonally and hit both thigh and ribs on gearshift knob - it's the one direction that shoulder belts don't do anything for. The black-and-blue knot on the thigh was impressive but, surprisingly, not painful.)

#841 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 02:17 PM:

Rib 12 is the bottom rib. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae, each of which supports a pair of ribs, one on the right and one on the left. The 12th ribs are what the diaphragm attaches to directly, btw, so taking a deep breath is likely to be very painful (more so than with other ribs, where it would just be quite painful). Posterior is the back side (lateral would be the side, and anterior the front).

#842 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 02:23 PM:

So, okay. Can someone explain "cryptocoin mining" to me?

I gather that there's some process involving computationally solving puzzles, but I haven't been able to find a good explanation for how this translates into "real world" "value" that you can actually buy stuff (houses, bread) with...?

#843 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 03:28 PM:

My brain was failing at how many ribs there are. But I know that rib 1 is at the top.

#844 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 03:34 PM:

Jacque @842, I'm neither an economist nor the kind of technologist who understands cryptocoins, but I'll take a crack at it.

Some things, like a lot of modern currency, have value basically because people agree that they have value. We agree that the US Dollar has value because the United States Government has said "we will back up the fact that this has value," roughly speaking. Other things, like gold, have value basically because they are inherently scarce.

Cryptocoins have value sort of because people agree that they have value, and sort of because they are inherently hard to produce. "Mining" cryptocoins means doing some difficult and expensive computations. Not only is Bitcoin difficult to produce, the type of calculation involved means that there is a finite amount of Bitcoin that can ever be mined.

But that inherent finitude wouldn't be interesting if it weren't for the fact that people also agree Bitcoin is worth something. A lot of people are very interested, for various reasons, in producing currency that isn't controlled by any one government. (Criminal* reasons, philosophical reasons, utopian reasons...) So they agree, ok, I will use this cryptocurrency for my transactions. That makes it worth not-nothing. The more people will pay for the ability to use the cryptocurrency, the more the cryptocurrency is worth.

Add in the modern stock market and all its mysteries, and you have a bona fide Phenomenon worth $10,000 per, uh, unit. Somehow.

#845 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 03:43 PM:

me @844: Whoops, took out the footnote but forgot to delete the asterisk. Well, here's the footnote:

*As I understand it, Bitcoin isn't all that great in the long run for criminal activity, because every transaction ever made is saved in perpetuity and eventually we will be able to break the encryption keeping the precise details secret from the outside world. But people want to use it for crime anyway.

#846 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 04:15 PM:

Best wishes to everyone suffering from various maladies. I hope you all get better soon.


My company's health insurance plan is one of those high deductible jobs. Calculating out a few different scenarios and taking into account that it fulfills the requirements of the ACA, it's cheaper than their other, low-deductible plan. That doesn't make it any less annoying to have to drop money on things up to that point.

And I constantly roll my eyes whenever they tell us that we need to be smart medical consumers. Because I obviously know how to do comparison shopping for MRI exams and what have you. And if I'm in need of an ambulance, I'm not going to be calling them for quotes first, never mind asking whether they're in network or out of network.

Jacque @ 842:

I haven't been keeping up with all the cryptocurrencies out there. The value supposedly comes from the difficulty of generating the coins. For Bitcoin in particular, it gets harder and harder (read: more time consuming and more costly in terms of electricity) to mine more of them.

Bitcoin was designed to act in many ways like gold: a finite supply that can be hoarded or spent. It appeals to the same sorts of people who think that gold has inherent value.

In the end, things only have the value that others are willing to pay for them. At the moment, a lot of the value in Bitcoin (and the other cryptocurrencies) is driven by the same sorts of speculation that has been seen with gold.

So for the people who agree that cryptocurrencies have value, they're willing to trade them for goods and services. That many of these currencies were designed to be difficult to report on or trace makes them appeal to people who are carrying out more unsavory business. They also, as stated before, appeal to techie people who like gold.

As far as I'm concerned, the only value in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency is what I could sell it for if I happened across any. I'm certainly not interested in owning any.

Related: Charlie Stross's "Why I want Bitcoin to die in a fire" from a few years back.

#847 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 07:24 PM:

HLN: After expressing what is hoped are suitable sympathies/comfort to all recent posters, area retiree reports receiving a surprise physics lesson.
Said retiree was reading on a bus following a familiar route this rainy morning, when all of a big fat sudden there was a tremendous BANG simultaneous with the hardest vehicular stop in memory. People were thought to have been seen flying through the air; screams were definitely heard.
The bus, not slowing fast enough and perhaps following too close, had transferred a large parcel of its energy directly to the SUV in front, which in turn imparted some unneeded velocity to a car, and in fact there might have been still another car involved, but anything ahead of that had already gone through the light. (Whether the vehicles ahead might have stopped too suddenly is uncertain.) The driver asked if everyone was all right; yes except for one passenger up front who was seen lying on the floor, and when the fire dept. and cops arrived, was taken to the hospital, but injuries were probably minor. The narrator's artificial knee had banged into a partition just ahead of the seat, but the knee and the partition are expected to retain full function. The anticipated downtown appointment, however, had to be rescheduled.
A couple dozen passengers, apparently unharmed, trooped off through the rain to catch the next bus. Area retiree, after walking 3 blocks home, got rest, ice, elevation and the case number, and was heard to express an intention to don kneepads before subsequent bus trips.
Blessings were counted and chocolate was self-administered.
Be careful out there, folks.

#848 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 07:57 PM:

KeithS #846: And I constantly roll my eyes whenever they tell us that we need to be smart medical consumers.

In addition to the points you note, most medical procedures simply do not have a well-defined price to quote.

The cost charged to, or on behalf of, any given patient is the result of complex and fraught negotiations among the hospital, any independent labs (or clinics, etc.) that may be involved, various levels of government, insurance companies, sometimes equipment vendors, and occasionally the patient.

#849 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 08:29 PM:

estelendur @845:
As I understand it, Bitcoin isn't all that great in the long run for criminal activity, because every transaction ever made is saved in perpetuity and eventually we will be able to break the encryption keeping the precise details secret from the outside world. But people want to use it for crime anyway.

It's a death bet. They're betting that they'll be dead before decryption is practical, or at least that the statute of limitations will have passed.

#850 ::: annejohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 08:47 PM:

Bit coins and block chains - Charlie Stross's blog this week. Lots of comments and detailed explanation

#851 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 08:50 PM:

Hip x-rays taken. No problems with hips that an X-ray can show. So mystery pains are likely nerve stuff.

Next up: Second physical therapy session, and then lots of at-home practice.

#852 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2017, 09:25 PM:

Angiportus (847): Yikes! I'm glad you're (mostly) okay.

#853 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 03:21 AM:

A fairly decent article on Bitcoin -
It doesn't cover everything, and tries to stay far away from the bits and blockchains, but isn't up in the abstract economics cloud either.
If you want the deep stuff, Nick Szabo wrote most of it, after Satoshi Nakamoto's initial papers.

Bitcoin is a way to do highly decentralized decision-making with a public ledger that everybody can agree on but nobody can control (except by taking over too much of the system.) This system is used to issue coins. Unlike most digital money systems (where whoever's running it can just print all the money they want, making it worthless), Bitcoin places a limit on how many coins it can issue, and uses a proof-of-work system to hand out tokens "fairly" but slow down the rate that participants can grab the new money.

There's no real relationship between Bitcoins and real money unless there's some actual business application to make people want Bitcoins (e.g. Beanie Babies were a good way to entertain small children but a bad way to invest money), so the price in real money will always be voluble and subject to speculators. But it's close enough to anonymous and close enough to stable that you can make short-term transactions to pay for high-profit-margin goods without the currency bothering you too much, i.e. you could use it to buy and sell drugs, which was enough to jumpstart a Bitcoin market.

Unfortunately, people rapidly discovered ways to mine bitcoins much faster using custom computer hardware and crowded out the widespread "mine Bitcoin at home on your PC" people. Several similar coin systems were developed, with modified crypto puzzles that need to be on general-purpose computers and are hard to accelerate with custom hardware. One was LiteCoin, and another was DogeCoin (which was officially priced at thousandths of a penny, so you could have fun and play with the technology without worrying about the money.) And Bitcoin itself ran into some technical difficulties that caused it to fork off a couple of related crypto-coins.

A Bitcoin Exchange was a company that would buy and sell Bitcoins for real-world money. You could also store bitcoins at the exchange. In a great surprise to everybody, HACKERS broke into the biggest, oldest, most reliable bitcoin exchange and stole most of the bitcoins! Oh, no! And it's happened to most of the other bitcoin exchanges since then.

Ethereum was a system for implementing "smart contracts" using blockchains, and one thing you could do with it was implement your own cryptocoin. There are now about 1000 of them. (With all of them, the mining gets exponentially harder as it goes along, so the person setting it up can grab a lot of the total value cheaply before they release the coin.) Probably a dozen of those coins were experimental, and another few that had some legitimate market niche that could make their coin worth something, and the other 985 are scams selling you cyber-beanie-babies.

#854 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 06:50 AM:

Bill Stewart #853: An excellent non-technical summary. Noting one "wordsub": I assume that for "voluble" you meant "volatile". ("Who's voluble?! You're voluble! ;-) )

#855 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 12:21 PM:

Bill Stewart #853

"...Bitcoin places a limit on how many coins it can issue, and uses a proof-of-work system to hand out tokens "fairly" but slow down the rate that participants can grab the new money."

"... Unfortunately, people rapidly discovered ways to mine bitcoins much faster using custom computer hardware"

The apparent contradiction between those two (accurate) statements is why Bitcoin now consumes a noticeable fraction of the human race's energy budget.

(Every time someone invents cheaper and more powerful custom hardware, all the bitcoin miners jump onto it, thus creating a greedier ecosystem that produces new money at exactly the same rate as before.)

#856 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 02:09 PM:

Dave Harmon #848 most medical procedures simply do not have a well-defined price to quote.


For my recent surgery, the surgeon I chose was out of network for my insurance. I originally went to him for a second opinion; the first guy (who happened to be in network) was okay but this one explained better, and even more important, made a couple of good catches that made me choose him.

His office manager gave me their list of prices and sent me to my insurance company to get a quote for out of network benefits. (They are in network only for Medicare.)

The insurance company literally could not give me that. The phone rep was very nice, well informed, and helpful, but could only provide benefits where they had a contractual agreement. But of course by definition there's no contractual agreement with an out-of-network doctor. As far as I can tell, when the bill hits the insurance office, an adjuster randomly decides what they'll cover. No way to make an informed decision in advance.

The hospital was in-network, the surgeon's office was willing to work out a payment plan with me, and worst case scenario was known (the surgeon's stated rates) and could be dealt with by a 401K deduction or a hit on our home equity line of credit if necessary, so I went with the surgeon I preferred. But I do realize the privilege inherent in this. And "be a well-informed consumer" is crap, even before you get to things like negotiating with the ambulance crew.

#857 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 02:22 PM:

Bitcoin and anonymity: the blockchain records all the transactions, including ID codes.

The link between the ID code and a real person is apparently stored outside the blockchain, and is associated with the conversion between Bitcoin and "real" money.

That is apparently the weak point.

Bitcoin mining is the work needed to authenticate the blockchain, and the power consumed, and the bitcoins "mined", are the transaction cost.

Recently there have been around 350k Bitcoins traded every day, at an energy cost of over 215kwH per bitcoin, which is around $50. It works out at around 0.5%

Caution: I did a very approximate calculation, though recent rapid swings in the value of Bitcoin have a larger effect than any approximations I made. But, even if it is a 1% cost, it's a tolerable cost. I have not allowed for any margin over electricity costs

Bankers are saying that Bitcoin is a tiny enough market to ignore. The figures are fuzzy enough to be awkward: $5 trillion or $3 trillion per day, and Bitcoin might add up to $1 billion. It does look pretty trivial.

Currencies have crashed before. But Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is best treated with caution. It has it's own delusions. A country with a thriving economy backing its currency can suffer a collapse from mismanagement. Look at Zimbabwe for a recent example: "The final redenomination produced the "fourth dollar" (ZWL), which was worth 10²⁵ ZWD (first dollars)."

#858 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 02:49 PM:

Dave Bell@857 - that second link should be to here, I think, rather than internal to ML.

#859 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2017, 03:11 PM:

Everyone who's enjoyed Abi's posts on the Netherlands and how they handle water there will enjoy this video about a Dutch water board bond issued in 1648 and still paying about one Euro a month to Yale University. (Via.)

#860 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2017, 01:25 AM:

Dave Harmon@854 Yup. Obvious typo was somehow not obvious when I was typing :-)

Andrew Plotkin@855 - Yeah, that's a problem, and it also concentrates the mining business, which is a real problem for a currency that has "Somebody who owns 51% of the current mining capacity can snag all the money" as a failure mode. OTOH, everybody who's got a 2-8 core PC mining ***coin with their spare CPU would also make a noticeable dent in world electric usage.

#861 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2017, 12:15 PM:

@P J Evans: cheers for Benadryl just making you sleep -- probably not a bad thing after chemo. My partner found out the hard way that they loathe IV benadryl, which was the first treatment for a suddenly-appearing allergy; the dizziness/disorientation was not pleasant.

@Stefan Jones: sympathies on the missed trip -- but it sounds like there are enough different damages that staying put is a good thing. If you have a really decent insurance company they might cover the cost for a professional walker to take your dog to the park -- not as much fun (or good vibes) for you as going yourself, but possibly worthwhile to maximize relaxation (including not being out in bad weather).

@Angiportus: not fun; glad you came away from it walking. The kneepads will make every subsequent bus ride smooth (we know how the universe works); other passengers won't realize they should thank you.

@Steve with a book: interesting; forwarded to my sib the 5th-generation Yalie. (I'm the apostate....)

Moody's has warned that it may downgrade public bonds issued by areas not taking steps against climate change. An amusing reminder of Twain's observation that the opposition to unionized steamboat pilots was broken by insurers; they saw that union pilots, having built up a reporting network to keep up-to-date on the notoriously changeable Mississippi, were getting into far fewer accidents than non-union. A small consolation on a day when senators who should have known better gutted their country with another rich-oriented uncompensated tax cut. I'm still annoyed that Clinton didn't hammer harder on the fact that the last two Republicans to get into office blew up the economy like a balloon -- and then were amazed when the balloon exploded over the rest of us. I'm old enough that I may not see the world of (John D.) MacDonald's Ballroom of the Skies, but I have nieces and nephews who will certainly be dealing with "Make America Go Belly Up Again". (Or "Make America Go Down Again" -- a line whose unintended second meaning became a lot more visible as we watched Trump sucking up to Xi Jinping.)

#862 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2017, 03:32 PM:

Chip, #861: I already have some ability to avert rain by bringing my rain poncho (didn't work today, blast it), and fear that I might strain this by adding traffic-calming kneepads, but if I find some that can be reasonably inconspicuous under my pants, I might make the experiment.

#863 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2017, 09:34 PM:

Am back from a taping of "Says You!", at which it was revealed that all of the panelists had deprived childhoods -- or at least didn't remember reading The Phantom Tollbooth, which is where I first encountered "charabanc". The subject was words tossed from new editions of dictionaries; I can understand them not knowing enough Greek to recognize "toxophily" (a Bluff word), but six people without enough French between them to get anywhere near "charabanc"? Tsk, tsk....

Angiportus: yes, one must be careful of straining the universe; Asimov wrote of the fool who put a sample of thiotimoline in a safe, leading to a major catastrophe aimed solely at making sure the substance dissolved.

#864 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2017, 10:01 PM:

Dave Harmon @848
In addition to the points you note, most medical procedures simply do not have a well-defined price to quote.

I've had first-hand experience of that.

Several years ago, I injured my back & wound up having several weeks of physical therapy. After the first session, I went to the front desk to pay for it, and they were oddly reluctant to take my money. I had to insist a couple times that I wanted to pay before they would accept it. This continued to happen every week until the treatments were over.

About three months later, I received a bill for about $100 from the therapist. Looking at the statement, I could see that they had continued to dicker with the insurance company over the price for a couple months after the treatments were over. And I realized that perhaps one reason they didn't want to take my money at the time was because they didn't know how much to ask for.

#865 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 07:17 AM:

On health insurance billing: As someone who often goes into learned-helpelessness mode when dealing with healthcare bureaucracy, I have been finding Dreamwidth user echan's posts on, for instance, health insurance billing terminology and benefit coordination helpful and calming; they nonjudgmentally and clearly explain what all these words mean and how they often interact with each other.

I'm intrigued by what PokitDok is doing, regarding pharmacy and eligibility and pricing verification -- the idea is that they're a giant switchboard that knows how to programmatically interact with all the insurance companies' data feeds, so anyone at a doctor's office or writing an app dealing with healthcare stuff can plug in a patient's insurance plan & find out (without having to make a phone call or a fax) what's covered and how much it'll be. It's more meant for software developers -- I keep thinking of fiddling with the Python interface to their API so I can use it to look stuff up for my own healthcare needs but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

On a completely separate note, I was talking with Teresa the other day about particularly good ways to sneak exposition into a story. I think "show two characters having an argument" is somewhat more commonly known -- but I realized while talking about Michael Crichton that he often used "show an irritated character in a hurry taking a shortcut" (which lets you in on their thought process of what they'd ordinarily do, or ought to do, and what they're doing instead). She mentioned "show the day at work that all the procedures change", and I thought of a couple more, times when the point-of-view character has motivated attention. One is showing the pleasurable anticipation a POV character has when she expects she's about to have an enjoyable, validating experience, like a coronation, a promotion, that sort of thing. (I think it's almost a cliché now to dwell on that ramp-up and then surprise that character with defeat; it'd be more surprising to me as a reader if the character actually got what she expected!) And another is showing the nervous anticipation of an insecure character venturing into a new milieu and anxiously performing status play, e.g., a new mom at the neighborhood playground sussing out the scene and trying to blend in.

I talked with my spouse Leonard about this question and one thing he brought up is: arbitrage and cheating. Showing the way a system breaks is interesting, and you can show the moment a character realizes it's possible, or show the cheat itself.

I'm noodling on how the "show an argument" approach is, as Dreamwidth user siderea points out about rubber duck debugging, a way that the character makes their interior world accessible to their exterior world, but the others are not -- and so sidestep the way that speaking aloud about problems, working a different part of the mind, can lead to a different perspective and new solutions. Which is good, if you're trying to write about a character's problems without letting them solve them.

#866 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 10:07 AM:

Re: "Informed" heathcare shopping.

Warning: Wall-Of-Text follows....

So, I had a really bad attack of asthmatic bronchitis a few years bad. Didn't know what it was, my general practictioner didn't know what it was; it lingered on and on and on no matter what drugs the GP threw at it (I think I took antibiotics four times!). Got a referral to a pulmonologist; he prescribed (among other things) Advair, which knocked it right out.

Fast forward two years. Bronchitis starts again; I recognize the symptoms and go right to the pulmonologist. He prescribes Advair again; I go to the pharmacy. "That will be $360 for one month's dose". (Did I mention that my healthcare provider had been switched by the employer since the last time?) In something of a state of shock, I said, "um, no thanks; put it back on the shelf; I need to make some calls now." The pharmacist was very understanding...

I spent about four hours on the phone the next day with my pulmonologist's office, the current insurance plan, Aetna (from my husband's work), and the insurance plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield) from my own work that I figured I could transfer into if they covered Advair. Indeed, Blue Cross Blue Shield covered Advair... but NOT my pulmonologist. So that was a non-starter. I finally found a medicine, Brea, that the pulmonologist said would be an adequate substitute (Aetna didn't cover the first two suggested substitutions - over $300 for one and over $1000 for the other) AND that Aetna said that they'd cover - they told me over the phone that Brea would "only" cost $56 for my copay. Which does beat the hell out of $300+.

So my pulmonolgist's office sent the prescription to the pharmacy and I went to pick it up. And was told that it cost $176. I double-checked; this was one month, not three, despite being three times the cost. Not having a choice, I bought it. Thank whatever gods may be that I'm in a financial position that I could afford to buy it; many people would not be....

So there I am, making an informed choice, and I still didn't get charged the amount I was told it would cost. (You can bet I'll be on the phone with Aetna again on Monday morning.)

TLDR: It's not possible for a consumer to make an informed choice about heathcare costs in America. I know. I tried.

#867 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 07:17 PM:

CHip @ #863:

By the time I read The Phantom Tollbooth, I'd already encountered "charabanc" in Spike Milligan's Puckoon. (Though I suspect that if you'd asked me what in meant I wouldn't have been able to tell you.)

#868 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 07:40 PM:

CassyB@866: have you looked into having the prescription fulfilled online? See

#869 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 09:03 PM:

Wasn't "charabanc" Amy March's "cherry bounce" in Little Women?

#870 ::: Cassy B ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2017, 10:15 PM:

Helen S, I don't know how that would help, unless online pharmacies charge one seventh of what brick and mortar pharmacies charge. <wry>

#871 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 02:52 AM:

Cassy B at 866: That's a really good example. I need to push back on my corporate HR. They have been changing our benefits to the consumer-driven model. There is no way it is about better healthcare. It's just shifting costs onto individual consumers, with an extra "gotcha" that the costs will be higher because individual consumers have the least power to negotiate costs.

#872 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 08:57 AM:

(Catching up after 10 days running a marathon a day and otherwise eating and sleeping, pretty much!)

Very glad to hear the better news re. Teresa.
Stefan Jones: Sympathies for the accident; relieved that you walked away. Like Tom Whimper said @841: that’s the bottom rib at the back, so quite possibly only being felt as part of the general lower back pain. When I broke/cracked mine (three, based on the number of bone bumps that developed - I never did get an X-ray) it HURT - enough that I took diclofenac for several days and thus didn’t realise how badly my left ankle was damaged (in the same cycle accident) until later. Do rest!

Re. Jill Bolte: I loved her TED talk.

“in-network” — whaaat???? took until #823 for me to work out what you were all talking about. Your health system is CRAZY!!! (and ours is underfunded and under strain).

Clifton @829: That’s a nice touch.

P J Evans @832: Good luck for minimal side effects from the chemo.

835 ::: Lori Coulson @835: Good luck for a rapid recovery - seconding the suggestion of yogurt.

Angiportus Librarysaver @847: glad you walked out of that okey

#873 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 11:00 AM:

My general lower back pain has subsided, and I can now feel the broken rib as a separate ache!

I slept "wrong" last night, and it gave a might twinge. Got up to take an ibuprofen.

#874 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 12:28 PM:

"Charabanc" is an obscure word? Next in difficulty, I suspect, will be "pantechnicon". The last person I heard use it was the Prince of Wales.

#875 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 12:28 PM:

"Charabanc" is an obscure word? Next in difficulty, I suspect, will be "pantechnicon". The last person I heard use it was the Prince of Wales.

#876 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 02:29 PM:

Well, some side effects that are, while not minimal, at least manageable. (The expected hair loss doesn't even count on that scale.)

#877 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 03:14 PM:

P J Evans (876): The one thing I regret about the hair loss from chemo is not dyeing my hair purple a week before it was due to fall out. What a missed opportunity that was! I did get it cut very short, so that it wouldn't look so awful when it came out in patches.

#878 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 03:39 PM:

Mine is coming out all over, basically thinning. I still have some, for now, but I knit myself a slouchy sock-yarn hat which came in handy when I was out running errands this morning in 60F and gusts to 25mph. (They're predicting 35 to 50mph tomorrow. And I have to go out tomorrow afternoon....)

#879 ::: Clifton ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 04:05 PM:

We're taking our last surviving cat, Curie, for her final vet appointment this afternoon. It's hard to let go, but we probably should not have waited this long - the tumors which recently developed in the lymph nodes under her jaw are now pressing into her throat to where it seems impossible for her to eat and difficult to drink water.

In the end, she got about an extra month and a half out of the palliative treatment, and I hope most of it felt worth living for her.

#880 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 04:08 PM:

Mine was expected to fall out on a certain day ("...on Day 18, your hair falls out..."); the night before I experimentally tugged at a tuft to see if it was loose, and it came right out. Didn't hurt at all. I wound up pulling all of it out that evening while watching television. It was oddly satisfying.

#881 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 04:11 PM:

Sympathies, Clifton.

#882 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 05:15 PM:

Clifton #879: My condolences.

#883 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 05:18 PM:

Clifton @879: we take on making those choices when we accept responsibility for a cat. I believe (from what I know of you through your posts here) that you did good with Mme. Curie.

#884 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 05:45 PM:

HLN: area woman, waiting in line at post office this morning to mail a small package, was amused by man several spots in front, carrying a large stuffed animal: a catfish. With feelers.

#885 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 06:15 PM:

Clifton, condolences.

#886 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 08:39 PM:

Sorry to hear the news, Clifton.

My old dog got about a 10 day reprieve from lymphoma symptoms on steroids, and I think she enjoyed them.

#887 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2017, 10:56 PM:

Clifton @ 879 ...

Sympathies and empathies :(

In the end, she got about an extra month and a half out of the palliative treatment, and I hope most of it felt worth living for her.

IME, she would have let you know if it was otherwise.

#888 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 01:13 AM:


Two weeks after getting slammed by car, the toes of my left foot are numb and tingly. But no other sciatic symptoms.

#889 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:20 AM:

Isn't today the 10th anniversary of Abi becoming Making Light's moderator?

#890 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:20 AM:

Isn't today the 10th anniversary of Abi becoming Making Light's moderator?

#891 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:21 AM:

Isn't today the 10th anniversary of Abi becoming Making Light's moderator?

#892 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 09:50 AM:

Happy tenth ML anniversary, Abi!

#893 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 09:51 AM:

Serge Broom @889-891:
What you tell us three times is true?

#894 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 12:24 PM:

Reiterating my suggestion for finding a chiropractor, Stefan (@888). Neurological symptoms (like numbness) after an accident mean it's a good idea to see someone who specializes in that situation, and good chiros do.

#895 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 02:44 PM:

Jon @ 864. I'm not surprised -- I'm pretty sure my dentist's clerk would be lost if asked to work out what I should pay; every statement (except the few listing only cleanings) shows some random amount of the desired fee disallowed by the insurance company, probably as being above the "usual" charge. I've considered dropping dental insurance, which isn't cheap -- but the retail cost of cleanings (as opposed to what insurance pays) is slightly above the premium.

Fragano @ 874: I can't answer for the obscurity, only that some dictionary decided it was unused. (I don't recall the MC saying which dictionary; with 6 words to find, they may have used multiple sources.) I also wonder whether the panelists are encouraged to fluff some of the questions in order to make room for wit, or in order to console listeners. (18 questions and 2 bluffs aren't much for a 1-hour show, IMO.)

Something for font geeks: The typeface that helps dyslexics read. As someone with extreme visualization but no trouble reading (although I didn't start until instructed), I was fascinated by the report that dyslexics sometimes see letters as 3D objects (so 'b' and 'd', which are congruent if rotated out of the plane, can be confused); the project ignores the usual esthetic rules to make each of the letters more distinguishable from the others.

And belated thanks to Jacque for fixing a previous link.

#896 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 02:49 PM:

Clifton #879: Little is harder. My sympathies.

#897 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 03:08 PM:

CHip @895:

There are many fonts out there designed for dyslexics. The Kindle app on my tablet offers me as a font choice OpenDyslexic, for example. It's nice that there are many choices.

I am not dyslexic myself. As an avid reader of anything, I've found that I've trained myself to be able to read standard text in just about any orientation -- rotated, mirrored, both. I do find that I get "b", "d", "p", and "q" confused, especially when in the wrong orientation, and this can make it harder to read backwards text. I don't know if that experience is dyslexic-like, but it's probably the closest I get.

But I wonder... Many times an accommodation made for a disability turns out to benefit the non-disabled as well. Is the same true here? Do fonts for dyslexics help non-dyslexics in reading as well?

#898 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 04:40 PM:

Hard to believe it's been ten years. Hard to believe I was ever at home anywhere elseweb, before I came here. Or that there was a time when I didn't look at the world through a moderator's eyes.

(I'm actually about half willing to rewind this year and have it be nine. I haven't been absent from Making Light because things are easy, exactly...)

May next year be better in all the ways it's been tough.

#899 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 05:20 PM:

abi: I think you're not alone in wanting a refund on 2017.

#900 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 07:55 PM:

Do fonts for dyslexics help non-dyslexics in reading as well?

Not in my (admittedly limited) experience. I find them unpleasant, at least at first, and if anything more difficult to read. I could probably get used to them if I had to. But I'm very happy that such fonts are available for those whom they help.

#901 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:45 PM:

Buddha Buck @897: Do fonts for dyslexics help non-dyslexics in reading as well?

Speaking as a probably non-dyslexic natural speed-reader, I just visited the page for that font, and was instantly struck by how effortless reading it was, compared to most webpages I visit. Even taking font size into account, there's a real difference here.

#902 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:54 PM:

Congrats Abi!

* * *
Got the keys to my house five years ago this night. No fires, floods, or infestations. May it always be so.

* * *
@Tom #894: When I had awful sciatic nerve problems due to a bulging disc ~2003, the orthopedist who read my MRI responded to my query about chiropracty with (paraphrase, slightly doubtful) "maybe one can suggest physical therapy things."

Called a guy out of the phone book near work. Turned out to be a splendid choice. After the (to me) witch-doctory diagnosis phase, he concluded "you have a bulging disc pressing on your sciatic nerve" (didn't want to take the orthopedist's word) and gave me a series of stretches.

Which eliminated 90% of the agony within days.

On a follow-up visit the next week, I put on a quasimodo-style sway and lurch and pretended to be near tears. The straightened up, told him how much better I felt, and thanked him profusely. He didn't suggest further adjustments. Great, great experience.

#903 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 08:54 PM:

Congrats Abi!

* * *
Got the keys to my house five years ago this night. No fires, floods, or infestations. May it always be so.

* * *
@Tom #894: When I had awful sciatic nerve problems due to a bulging disc ~2003, the orthopedist who read my MRI responded to my query about chiropracty with (paraphrase, slightly doubtful) "maybe one can suggest physical therapy things."

Called a guy out of the phone book near work. Turned out to be a splendid choice. After the (to me) witch-doctory diagnosis phase, he concluded "you have a bulging disc pressing on your sciatic nerve" (didn't want to take the orthopedist's word) and gave me a series of stretches.

Which eliminated 90% of the agony within days.

On a follow-up visit the next week, I put on a quasimodo-style sway and lurch and pretended to be near tears. The straightened up, told him how much better I felt, and thanked him profusely. He didn't suggest further adjustments. Great, great experience.

#904 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 09:07 PM:

Working in schools has given me the skill of reading upside-down, sideways, and in poor handwriting-- U and N, lowercase, give me trouble, but for the most part it works. Writing upside-down is harder, especially trying to get it to look good. I've started writing as if I were just learning, with the circles and lines rather than more flowing letters, because it comes out better.

#905 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 09:44 PM:

One aspect of fluent reading is that the reader uses the overall shape of the word, and can skate over all sorts of spelling errors. I've seen a sample text recently that demonstrated this. Most of the letters are relatively unimportant. so long as the ascenders and descenders are in about the right places.

This is why block capitals can be a pain.

So many elements of that dyslexia font wouldn't make much difference, but I would expect some difference between a monospaced and a proportional font. And some of the older things, such as the use of black-letter type in older German printing, throw me off more than the language.

This leads me to wondering if dyslexics can reach the stage of this sort of whole-word reading, and if there is a change in their reading capacity. Is it word-blindness or letter-blindness? But when we hit unfamiliar words, we do go back to the letters, so these special fonts would still help, I suppose.

Meanwhile, is "aibohphobia" really the fear of palindromes? Or has somebody got things backwards?

#906 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 05, 2017, 10:18 PM:

Stefan @902/3: Not all chiros are like that -- you got one of the good ones, and I'm glad to hear it! Is he still accessible to you?

#907 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 12:19 AM:

Oh, I also once had a teacher whose board writing was perfectly neat, if slanted upward, but also horrendously difficult to read... because it was perfect, regular cursive. I had to focus on each individual letter much more than usual rather than glancing through.

I do like writing letters in cursive, though. I'm always hoping mine will magically transform into something more rounded than it is.

#908 ::: Elyse ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 02:00 AM:

I am, if anything, hyperlexic on input rather than dyslexic, but I am somewhat dyslexic on output, especially when I am tired. I can even be spelling out loud as I write and say 'b' but write or type 'p' or vice versa, though usually spelling aloud is not involved. 'd' and 'q' occasionally get in on the fun. And so do 'q' and 'g'.

Proper Cyrillic handwriting (as taught in my college Russian classes) has fewer rotational/mirror pairs than the Latin alphabet, but there was at least one pair that gave me problems. I don't remember which letters were involved.

I never wrote enough kanji to experience problems with symmetric interference -- the few kanji I learned did not have rotational or mirrored partners. The handwritten forms of hiragana include two pairs that are close enough to being mirrored or rotated that I found them swapping occasionally.
I don't have the Greek alphabet internalized enough to try writing in it, so I don't know whether it includes symmetric pairs.

#909 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 06:57 AM:

Dave Bell #905: So many elements of that dyslexia font wouldn't make much difference, but I would expect some difference between a monospaced and a proportional font.

Given that the rest of your message distinguishes between "you" and "dyslexics", I should hope this refers specifically to Buddha Buck's "Do fonts for dyslexics help non-dyslexics in reading as well?"

For myself, I'm hyperlexic, but glancing at their site, my near-immediate response was "ooh, I like this!". Of course, the site also has other readability features, notably better coloring and larger text than most sites.

#910 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 09:02 AM:

TIL that the official accommodation for mobility impaired riders on the Dublin Commuter Rail system is to call 24 hours in advance and arrange to be on a specific train. Having grown up with the ADA and generally seeing equal access as a requirement, this comes as something of a surprise. This doesn't specifically affect me now, but it's a shock to see that level of inequality in an otherwise generally nice/ well regulated place to live.

#911 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 09:22 AM:

When I was taking Russian, and therefore handwriting Cyrillic regularly, I kept writing my English 'd's as 'g', because the Cyrillic handwritten 'd' looks like a cursive English 'g'. Most memorably, I wrote 'jugement' (or 'jugment') in some notes and for about thirty seconds my brain processed the 'g' as simultaneously both a 'd' and a 'g', and thus adequate.

#912 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 10:47 AM:

@Tom #906: His office disappeared long ago!

I've got a really good physical therapist though; third appointment later today . . . after seeing a lawyer.

#913 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 12:44 PM:

A few thoughts on typefaces and legibility (continuing the conversation CHip started at 895): some dyslexics find that specialty typefaces help them; it’s a pretty variable thing (e.g., I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that some dyslexics find Comic Sans to be helpful). From a research perspective (I used to study typeface legibility, particularly for text on screens, rather than text on paper), typefaces that are more legible are frequently more discriminable at the letterform level (e.g., it’s harder to confuse letterforms for each other). Almost everyone, for example, will have a hard time with Eurostile, particularly if it’s small or they’re trying to do it at a glance (and that’s because the letterforms are so similar when they don’t need to be).

Thinking about Dave Bell’s comment at 905, there’s lots of evidence showing how robust word reading (as opposed to letterform identification) is to various interference. You can show half a word (split along a horizontal line) and it’s trivial to read. You can blur words, and they’re pretty easy to read (although this is harder for older readers).

Looking at Dyslexie itself from a typeface legibility point of view, it’s both a success (in that it helps the population it’s meant to help) and problematic, in that it renders poorly, which will hurt legibility overall. I think a lot of the latter is a function of the “inclined letter” feature. I’d wonder what the impact is on non-dyslexic readers. There’s not much research on Dyslexie itself, and what’s in the literature (I found a 2016 paper) suggests that it’s more of a letterform spacing function than a letterform discriminability function, and that the overall impact of the typeface is pretty modest.

If studying this (admittedly for non-dyslexics) for the last couple years has shown me anything, it’s that there’s never going to be one perfect typeface for all uses, but that most of the typographic best principles will serve to make more legible typefaces than others. That, and you shouldn’t let your marketing department dictate the typeface if you want people to be able to read it (why yes, I do have an example in mind here…).

#914 ::: Louis Patterson ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 02:38 PM:

Working in schools has given me the skill of reading upside-down, sideways, and in poor handwriting-- U and N, lowercase, give me trouble, but for the most part it works. Writing upside-down is harder, especially trying to get it to look good. I've started writing as if I were just learning, with the circles and lines rather than more flowing letters, because it comes out better.

I do a bit of letterpress printing, which means typesetting, which means reading mirror-writing. It's pretty well attested [and my experience] that it's easier to do this if the text is upside down, so that at least it flows in the right direction.
Flipping vertically seems to be easier than flipping horizontally.

#915 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 02:59 PM:

In the distant past, when computer output was printed on green and white fanfold paper, my fellow students and I used to be able to read moving print upside down as we stood watching our latest program attempts come off the printer.

We could also sometimes tell whose printout it was by the sound of the printing. People's programming styles - short or long lines, blocks of comments present or absent - had a characteristic sound.

#916 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2017, 10:10 PM:

Clifton, sorrowful sympathy.

#917 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 03:31 AM:

One of the things I have noticed with typefaces, over the years, is how something can look better (or worse) on screen than on paper, depending on monitor and printer. Now we have far more pixels per inch than we used to, on both.

I can see how that Dutch-sourced typeface for dyslexics is trying to do some of the same things as Opendyslexic, but I reckon it needs more pixels to do it. Both have features to avert confusing symmetries but Opendyslexic has much bigger differences in things such as stroke-width.

If you're asking whether the design gets in the way for ordinary readers, I can say that Opendyslexic does feel more intrusive as a body-text font. It's not similar, but it's some of the same awkwardness as a font such as Comic Sans. It lacks subtlety. Maybe an older font such as Gill Sans is a better example.

That Dutch font has the sort of look that is at the level of choosing between Times New Roman and Garamond, though designed with a specific intent.

Way back in the DOS days I had a program that could do DTP, and the technology struggled to show font differences. And I had a 24-pin dot-matrix printer. The serifs still looked crude.

It couldn't have read the Opendyslexic files, but I think that font would work at that sort of detail level.

sudo apt-get install fonts-opendyslexic

#918 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 03:34 PM:

Some of what I've read on dyslexia says it's a reading disorder, not a seeing disorder-- it's specifically affecting words rather than everything that could be reversed. If this is true... how do Braille users adapt? Or if it is not as true, where's the intersection of dyslexia and blindness (like colorblindness and synaesthesia)?

This post brought to you by the fact that I really want to Braille things right now.

#919 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 03:51 PM:

Re me at #500 and ensuing discussion about TVs in elevators and other public places:

I returned to the office this week after my surgery and it appears that the elevator TVs are all set to the Weather Channel. This usually gives me an interesting tidbit in the short time I'm watching it, and doesn't generally raise my blood pressure. It's a big improvement.

#920 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 08:19 PM:

HLN: Area woman has an artificial artery installed mid-November. Circulation was restored, but not In time to save a
wounded great toe, which had become infected. After a week back in the hospital on IV antibiotics, the toe was amputated.

When interviewed, the now nine toed woman said, "I
think I'll tell people it was a highland sword dance accident" and promptly fell into a drug-assisted sleep.

#921 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 08:38 PM:

#920: Good plan!

I'd suggest it has something to do with wolves.

#922 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 09:44 PM:

Brought my car in for an oil change & to check why the Check Engine light was on.

Decided, while waiting for call to come pick it up, to abandon plans for cross-country road trip.

Finally got call from mechanic. Blown head gasket. $1600 in repairs.

No car until Tuesday, which means taking a train to physical therapy.

Also, my homeowner's association fees went up $7.00 a month.

(Oddly, a specific set of homes, not mine, is going to be paying $4.00 a month more, for "alley maintenance.")


#923 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 10:23 PM:

My car needs the seal on the engine crankcase pan replaced. $500, they tell me. (I'm driving maybe 20 miles a week for the next three or four months, no long trips planned, so it's not currently high priority.)

#924 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2017, 10:33 PM:

@PJ that sounds high for just the seal? I had a whole pan replaced for $400. Might ask around.

* * *
Remembered that carless-me has a library book due back on Saturday. I could ask for an extension, but I'm going to be bored and I think I'll try to do the six mile round trip!

(Aside: It is a D&D book. The library loans out D&D books and the Beginner Set! And GURPS books!)

#925 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2017, 02:21 PM:

me@895: crxn: even the cleaning statement shows something disallowed -- I don't always notice because the cleaning is fully covered, like an annual physical.

@Tracie: I know a few crowds that story would go over well at. I've read claims that the big toe is critical to balance; here's hoping you find workarounds.

My former-lab-scientist's reaction to the questions started by Buddha Buck @ 897 was that testing would require people who have never seen Roman-alphabet fonts, to see how they did learning one or the other. On second thought, that's trying to build an overview, not necessarily relevant to specific people -- and I suspect there are innate variations (beyond both dyslexia and what forms children are taught with) that would make a universal answer impossible.

@Dave Harmon: I remember that class of printer. Can you believe my first computer employer actually delivered contract reports to the US govt. using such a device? (It was faster than a daisy-wheel printer, and the output didn't wander all over the staff as the full-case lineprinter's did.) We didn't get a reasonable-speed laser printer until ~1986 -- and it was a huge hunk of iron compared to what's been available this century, and not as fast.

Today's undesired knowledge: following yesterday's UNESCO announcement (establishing Neapolitan pizza prep&eating as an "intangible heritage", today's BBC news quiz tells me Morris dancing is not. MIFF!

#926 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2017, 02:47 PM:

It does sound high for the crankcase pan seal, though my experience was with older engines. I can't see it as a complicated job, but it does include an oil change.

Essentially, it's drain the oil, undo the bolts holding the pan in place and drop it clear, remove the old seal, clean out accumulated sludge in the bottom, fit new seal, bolt back in place, and fill with new oil.

I'd be looking at crank bearings and seals too, and that could be where it gets complicated and expensive. The pan doesn't have to be an exact fit, the crankshaft bearings do.

#927 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2017, 03:20 PM:

I think the seal is silicone, so it might be more involved than on older cars. (It goes to the dealer for service, because it's Prius, and because the dealer is the nearest place I trust with it.)

#928 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 12:25 AM:

Does the universe just have a thing about oil pans this week? My wife's car needed a new one, and apparently the parts place stocks a lot of them for her model. (Chrysler PT Cruiser 2001.)

#929 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 05:32 AM:

Sump'n up?


#930 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 07:49 AM:

CHip #925: I believe you have confused me with Dave Bell; at least he was the one talking about those printers.

I do have one minor story about those printers: Back in high school, I was with a friend visiting another school, where a friend of my friend was working (playing) on a time-shared system using such printers. He had written a "banner" program, to make signs with big letters formed from little letters, and he offered to print a banner for me with my choice of messages.

My choice was the classic "To err is human; to really foul things up requires a computer". Naturally, the program messed up the banner in classic fashion! I probably still have the printout stashed somewhere, though when last I saw it the paper and ink had not aged well.

#931 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 10:39 AM:

re 923 et seq: probably the reason dealing with the oil pan is so high is that these days the labor to get at it is no longer "put the car on a lift and unbolt the pan"; usually it's "pull the engine". Modern cars tend to have a structural member running across the engine compartment directly under the pan, so you can't get at it when the engine is in the car. We junked a Kia a year ago because of that: it obviously had something wrong in the sump, but the labor just to get in to find out whether it was just crud or whether the oil pump was bad too was $200; that, plus the lack of promise that the engine would ever be happy anyway pushed things into the "forget it" range.

#932 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 11:44 AM:

I haven't been under mine, but it's an 02 Prius and there probably is something right there supporting the engine - or it's right over the axle and not otherwise easily accessible.
(Last year they had to replace the struts, and, as they had to pull the wheels anyway, it got new tires at the same time.)

#933 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 05:56 PM:

I have been doing a bit of Googling and found some info about Prius oil pans. There doesn't seem to be an access problem, no mention of needing to pull the engine, but the sealing is done by some sort of RTV jointing compound, and cleaning the old off is a bit tricky. And reassembly is so very not the reverse of disassembly. It's easy to get the timing wrong.

#934 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 07:34 PM:


I was expecting to be carless until Monday, at the earliest. Got a call from the shop while I was out walking the dog.

While the gasket replacement still cost me a pretty chunk of change, my Civic's engine was undamaged. It was just a gasket leak.

Let's hope that's the last major repair for a while. I hope to have this car for four more years.

#935 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 08:38 PM:

This is one reason it gets service at the dealer: they know what they're doing. And, as the car is getting the same performance it did when it was new, I have to think they are competent at it. (I've found that I can, in fact, get from the Bay Area to L.A., 400 miles, on one tank of gas. Which includes going over the Grapevine - 5 miles of 6% upgrade on the north end.)

#936 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 08:55 PM:

I've had some amazingly good independent mechanics, some not so good. When I gave up petroleum and switched to an EV, I've been going to the dealer for service. There it's random chance whether I get a mechanic who know what kind of car it is. The best independent mechanics used to run an auto salvage operation before selling salvage vehicles was made illegal. They could do just about anything.

#937 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 09:02 PM:

For anything other than basic maintenance, I lean toward dealer service these days. My old Civic got abused (and I think I got taken advantage of) by small-chain and indie service stations who just couldn't figure out an ongoing starter problem.

OTOH, the replacement radiator was put in by some guys on Camino Real. Fast, cheap, honest.

#938 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 09:08 PM:

I went to an independent mechanic, a fairly reliable one. He closed his shop and moved out of state right about the time the Prius came off warranty. (And I'd even bought him a repair manual for the thing.)

#939 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2017, 10:42 PM:

@Tracie: very sorry about your toe; I hope you adapt well and have no further problems.

My HLN also concerns surgery, in my case to have a pin placed in the scaphoid bone in my (non-dominant) wrist, which I broke back in September and didn't get diagnosed until November. See, no one ever told the scaphoid bone that broken bones are supposed to hurt way more than that, so they often get missed. If you ever whack your wrist, take it to the doctor, is the moral. Apparently I was an atypical case as 75 percent of such fractures happen to athletic young men. Those bones have surprisingly poor blood supply and often don't heal well, which can result in dead bone bits and bad arthritis.

I had never had general anesthesia, so was a little freaked about the operation, but it went very well and I had no nausea or wooziness afterward at all -- woke up feeling fine and was quite coherent AFAIK. The arm was dead weight for quite some time, like carrying a leg of lamb around, reminding me of the man Oliver Sacks wrote of who did not believe the leg in bed with him was his own.

#940 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2017, 12:11 AM:

For five hundred smackers, the seal better be able to juggle and play "America" on a set of tuned bulb horns.

#941 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2017, 10:45 AM:

@931: I wonder if there's a market for an artisanal automobile that is handily owner-repairable, a la the old VW Bug. Parts would probably be the show-stopper (well, that and emissions testing). But in this day-and-age of 3D printing, maybe not as much of a roadblock as it once might have been.... Open source, like.

#942 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2017, 12:04 PM:

You forget labor costs. It's all by the book.

#943 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2017, 03:32 PM:

From the Department of Age Is Weird, I'm older than two of my coworkers put together....

#944 ::: estelendur ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 02:48 PM:

HLN: As of sometime between noon and one pm EST today, local human is Officially Jewish, Like, For Reals And Forever, No Take-Backs. Local human is happy, is still processing, and would quite like a nap (but, lamentably, is at work instead).

#945 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 02:59 PM:

Mazeltov, estelendur! (I hope I'm using that correctly...)

#946 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 04:03 PM:

estelendur @ 944: Mazel tov!

#947 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 04:24 PM:

Mazel tov, estelendur!

#948 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 05:42 PM:

I have a functional website for sales (yarn, woven goods; and probably some weaving tools [spinning tools, e.g. spindles, requires a place to put a lathe). Photography is a whole different can of worms, because of how much different making salable prints is from making salable yarn, woven goods, &c).
I also intend to make it my new natter blog (though at the moment all I'm nattering about is learning how to run a website, as opposed to using a platform.

So, feel free to pop in and set a spell (I certainly am more active when I have interaction). If you happen to want some yarn, well I am getting it all listed (and some scarves too).

Feel free to tell your friends.

Clotho's Corner


The Shop

#949 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 06:39 PM:

Dave Harmon @ 930: I remember those banners; the Boston in 1980 Worldcon bid ran them (in multiple fonts/formats) along the faces of a few hundred feet of balcony at the Phoenix Hyatt. I haven't kept anything nearly that old, but I'm not surprised that they didn't last well.

C. Wingate @ 931: and lifting an engine gets expensive; I suspect that's a big part of why replacing the timing chain (required every 60K miles on 1980's Mazdas) cost ~1/6 of the price of the new car. (I junked the car at 120K rather than pay that fee again.)

Jacque @ 941: IIUC, emissions are only one of the things that a diagnostic computer (or at least a device that can read the chips in the car for reports on what's wrong) looks for; a hybrid is even more likely to depend on high tech. I wonder just how much would be lost if someone ingenious were designing a car that could be serviced by the user -- at least to the level a VW could be; I'm not sure whether some of the ailments described above would be fixable by amateurs. (Some service is still possible -- I know someone who has gone through some number of used Subaru Foresters so that what he's learned will carry forward -- but I'm not surprised it's less overall.)

#950 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 07:51 PM:

HLN: Area artisan has now successfully drilled rock. A little diamond drill was used on a small piece of polished basalt which will become a keychain ornament or something for a very special friend. Metal, wood and plastic are more familiar materials to work with and the project was approached with some trepidation, but it worked. Taping it down kept it from escaping and shattering. The drill was cooled with water.
The artisan, relieved, recalls being praised for drilling skills by a coworker many years back, and replying "Well, that's because I have a penetrating mind."

#951 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 08:43 PM:

re 949: Back when I had a Fiat 131, replacing the timing belt was a simple matter of opening the stopcock on the radiator, pulling one hose loose, loosening a tensioner, swapping belts, and reversing the whole process and refilling the radiator. Then I got one of the various Ford Escorts that percolated through the family. So here my father and I are replacing its timing belt on my patio, and of course it's 40 outside and a bit breezy, and there's something we need to get at along the way, and we can't figure out how because things are in the way. And we finally worked out that this way was to put a jack under the engine, undo one of the motor mounts, and drop that side of the engine about three inches. The was precisely the point at which I resolved I wasn't going to work on cars anymore.

#952 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2017, 10:20 PM:

My father became a DIY VW mechanic / cultist as A) a way of "saving money", and B) (guessing) a sort of compensation for being an alcoholic, demonstrating that he could Still Do Things.

At one point there were three or four VW van engines under wraps in various sheds, a spare van kept in the driveway for spare parts, and a stream of gray-market parts from Mexico that had to be hammered and re-drilled to get them to fit.

So, while I am not averse to changing oil and filters, I have bad associations with extreme car DIY.

#953 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 09:18 AM:


Food science question. What's the reason you use rice flour and corn starch in your Black Hole Brownies of Death, rather than wheat flour? I have a basic idea of how wheat flour and corn starch work, but rice flour not so much.


I don't mind that modern cars can be hard to work on. Many are more reliable, better for the environment, more efficient, and definitely more crashworthy than the old ones that were easy to work on. That said, there's a special place in hell reserved for the designers of certain cars who made it so you have to remove the whole front bumper to replace the headlights. (Not my car, but I've known people who had cars like that.)

#954 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 10:07 AM:

#948 ::: Terry Karney

Congrats on the websites.

I misread "set a spell" because I have spent too many years reading fantasy.

#955 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 10:07 AM:

#948 ::: Terry Karney

Congrats on the websites.

I misread "set a spell" because I have spent too many years reading fantasy.

#956 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 10:14 AM:

So I took another look at the link at the top of the thread, and I think the author left out ordinary government action.

#957 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 02:54 PM:

So... The upcoming Star Wars flick is the current excitement, but... passing my local multiplex, I saw a poster for Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, expected in March.

On the one hand, I'm afraid of them butchering it, and distressed that this movie might become many people's "primary source" for L'Engle's classic story. On the other hand, the book has so many scenes that just cry out to be on a big screen....

#958 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 02:59 PM:

Re: Wrinkle: Well the trailers make it look like it will disappoint anyone expecting the book to be translated shot for shot onto the screen (all the visuals we get for the Mrs. Ws are as magical beings, not in their humanish disguises), but the trailers also look gorgeous, and like they got the heart of it right...

#959 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2017, 04:47 PM:

Nancy: I've been using the "Wanna Buy Some Yarn" button in my advertising: it's also one of the images on my business cards.

#960 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2017, 05:32 AM:

Terry Karney @ #959:

The first skein is free?

#961 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2017, 06:32 AM:

Lenora Rose #958: Well, that sounds promising. I'll check out the trailers when I have some spare brain cells.

#962 ::: Quill ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2017, 09:48 AM:

Dave Harmon @957:

I haven't watched the trailer yet, but I've seen a LOT of enthusiasm online, in large part because of the casting (representation, yay!). I'm a little alarmed at Mrs. Which actually having an appearance, as in my recollection she only becomes sort-of visible once, but it's been a while since I read it.

It is interesting to me that the book itself ages well with regard to technology. There's mention of a computer, but aside from the lack of cellphones it could be any time between the 1960s and today. Which I suppose makes it the more suitable for adaptation.

#963 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2017, 09:49 AM:

Congrats, estelendur!

#964 ::: Angiportus Librarysaver ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 10:33 AM:

HLN: Area pontist celebrates a long-awaited milestone.
Seattle's Ballard Bridge, a personal favorite, turns 100 today.
It wasn't just a flash in the span.

#965 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 10:42 AM:

The Last Jedi had no business being anywhere near as good as it is.

#966 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 03:02 PM:

Mazel tov, estelendur!

#967 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 03:21 PM:

Mazel tov, estelendur!

#968 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 06:06 PM:

It doesn't look like this has been mentioned here yet, so:

Kidde is recalling approximately 40 million fire extinguishers sold since 1973 in the US and Canada. These were sold under Kidde's name as well as several other brand names.

In the US, you can check the CPSC website to see if you have an effected unit. In Canada, you can check the Government of Canada website. If you need help figuring out if your extinguisher is part of the recall, you can call 855-271-0773 to talk to someone at Kidde.

One of my three fire extinguishers was covered by the recall. The replacement showed up a couple days ago, along with a shipping label to return the defective extinguisher and a phone number to call to have Fedex pick it up. (I've seen people report that they tried to drop off the shipment at a local Fedex office and had the shipment refused because it has a hazardous material warning label, so I plan to have them pick it up next week.)

#969 ::: Jon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2017, 06:12 PM:

I forgot to add:

You don't necessarily have to have an old extinguisher to be affected. I saw one person on another forum report that they bought a new fire extinguisher around Thanksgiving that turned out to be covered by the recall. So they may not have gotten all the affected units off the shelves yet.

#970 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 01:25 PM:

Open threadiness: Can anyone suggest a notable piece of art in which something like a necktie is significant? The best I've been able to come up with is Tenniel's illustrations of Humpty Dumpty and his cravat. Images of someone being hanged... well, my narrator has Views on neckties but is nowhere near that tasteless, insensitive, or crude. Unless the image itself is supposed to be humorous, I suppose. Unfortunately, the Girl Genius sequence with the three Jaegers is too obscure a reference.

(Because to my mind, a parody of Stan Rogers's "Lies" should include a reference to a notable piece of art. For some value of "should", at any rate.)

#971 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 01:40 PM:

Has anyone here used a Roomba? I have some questions.

One reason I don't vacuum nearly as often as I should the last few years is the sheer physical difficulty of it. I sometimes do one room at a time over the course of several days, because that's all I can handle at a time. I've toyed with the idea of getting a Roomba, but they're too expensive to get one when I'm not sure how it would work for me.

So, questions:

Do you have to pick it up at all? To reposition it, or whatever? How heavy are they?

How tall are they? I'm wondering how well it will get under my bookcases and dresser. (The head of my canister-vac fits under most of them.)

Do they try to eat electric cords? (I'm sure I'd have to pick up the lingerie bags that live next to the hamper, but there's no way I can move all of the extension cords out of the way.)

How often do you have to change/empty the bag/dirt compartment? (Which does it have?) How hard is that? (An answer in number of uses is a lot more helpful than in times, btw.)

Anything else I've forgotten to ask?

#972 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 01:40 PM:

Has anyone here used a Roomba? I have some questions.

One reason I don't vacuum nearly as often as I should the last few years is the sheer physical difficulty of it. I sometimes do one room at a time over the course of several days, because that's all I can handle at a time. I've toyed with the idea of getting a Roomba, but they're too expensive to get one when I'm not sure how it would work for me.

So, questions:

Do you have to pick it up at all? To reposition it, or whatever? How heavy are they?

How tall are they? I'm wondering how well it will get under my bookcases and dresser. (The head of my canister-vac fits under most of them.)

Do they try to eat electric cords? (I'm sure I'd have to pick up the lingerie bags that live next to the hamper, but there's no way I can move all of the extension cords out of the way.)

How often do you have to change/empty the bag/dirt compartment? (Which does it have?) How hard is that? (An answer in number of uses is a lot more helpful than in times, btw.)

Anything else I've forgotten to ask?

#973 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 01:41 PM:

Sorry for the double post. Nothing happened the first time I hit the Post button, so I hit it again. Oops.

#974 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 02:12 PM:

Joel Polowin @970: IIRC, most of Daumier's lithographic caricatures have prominent cravats.

Would the bright red necktie on the classic Uncle Sam poster fit properly? It's a pretty famous image.

#975 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 02:14 PM:

One ohno second later: bowtie rather than necktie. And the Lundgren portrait of Ben Yalow on Philip K. Dick's CONFESSIONS OF A CRAP ARTIST painting is another good bowtie piece (for fannish filking, Ben's a great tie reference, too).

#976 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 03:15 PM:

Mary Aileen @971:

We've had a Roomba type 770 for a couple of years. There's no question that it picks up dirt, cat hair, etc., but I'm not particularly impressed by it. I think I spend more time managing it than I would vacuuming. But... vacuuming is a low-priority task that rarely made it into the queue for the day. Fixing things tends to be a high-priority task for me, so sorting out the Roomba gets done.

Its search algorithms look pretty random to me. It doesn't sweep in rows, and it doesn't appear to sweep an area rigorously. When it hits an obstacle, it stops, backs up a bit, rotates in place to find a different direction to head in, and heads away. Only occasionally does it appear to try to clean closely around an object. One exception is that it can be placed on some location and told to spot clean; there, it goes in a widening spiral until it hits an obstacle, then runs in a decreasing spiral back to (approximately) its starting point.

Do you have to pick it up at all? To reposition it, or whatever? How heavy are they?

It bumps around our dining-room chairs and gets itself stuck between them by shifting them. We have to have our bathroom door held open at night, because otherwise the Roomba bumps the door so that the door closes behind it and the Roomba can't get out. (This is particularly problematic for us because the cat's litter box is in there, and if the cat can't get at its litter box, unpleasant things happen.) The Roomba manages to wedge itself under furniture and behind things. It bumps its charging station, shifting it enough that the Roomba can't make its connections.

The weight presumably depends on the model. Ours weighs 8.2 lbs. by our bathroom scale.

How tall are they? I'm wondering how well it will get under my bookcases and dresser. (The head of my canister-vac fits under most of them.)

Ours is about 88 mm (3½")tall, counting the little sensor that projects from its front top. The rest of its body is about 82 mm (3¼") tall. That difference is partly responsible for it getting itself stuck under things, I think, since of course it isn't always moving forwards: it turns and runs backwards when it encounters an obstacle.

Do they try to eat electric cords? (I'm sure I'd have to pick up the lingerie bags that live next to the hamper, but there's no way I can move all of the extension cords out of the way.)

A cord for 120V or 240V, probably not, even if an end is left free, because of the bulky ends and the rigidity of the cord. Speaker wire, USB charging cords, and such: definitely. Anything like string: absolutely, and it's amazing how much stuff it will wind up in its rotating brushes. Cat toys... <*sigh*> Cat toys inevitably get left on the floor and tangled in the Roomba's brushes. If its main sweeping rotors get stuck, it's supposed to stop moving and yell.

At the moment I need to replace the motor/gearbox assembly that runs the little side brush, because some of the teeth on its gears have been broken off, presumably because the brush got stuck and the motor tried to keep running. It appears to be more expensive to buy just the plastic gears I need than to buy the entire module. If I had a 3D printer I could probably run off new gears pretty easily; people have posted the patterns.

Such replacements are relatively straightforward, at least. Standard screwdrivers plus a miniature screwdriver set are good enough, if one has the willingness to open up a device. That side-motor gear box is an exception, requiring a 3-prong screwdriver, or deftness with standard miniature screwdrivers. I assume that they're not expecting / wanting people to dig into things at that level.

How often do you have to change/empty the bag/dirt compartment? (Which does it have?) How hard is that? (An answer in number of uses is a lot more helpful than in times, btw.)

It has a removable chamber for the dirt, which includes a couple of filters which catch dust. The chamber has a trap door, kind of like a wide pasture gate relative to the fence, which is pulled open so the dirt can be dumped into the garbage or whatever. The dust filters pop out so they too can be knocked into the garbage container. This part of managing the Roomba isn't difficult, at least after one has one's hands on it. I have to do it a little more frequently than once a week, but of course it would depend on how much dust / hair / fur lands on one's floor.

#977 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 03:48 PM:

Joel Polowin (976): Thanks for the detailed answers. Sounds like it would be rather more work than I'm willing to put in, for a less-good cleaning job. Ah, well, it was a nice idea while it lasted.

#978 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2017, 03:51 PM:

#968: Thanks. Checked my upstairs extinguisher. Garage extinguisher soon.

* * *


Dog murdered a squirrel. A healthy red that was . . . well, I didn't see what happened. After some furious activity I didn't see Ivory dragged it from behind a pine tree it was trying to get back up. Conceivably it was already injured and couldn't employ typical squirrel agility to escape. By the time I got a good look its hind quarters were a mess. Going nowhere, probably doomed from the start.

If I were less of a chicken I would have immediately stomped it in an attempt to give it a quick end. Instead I was hoping Ivory would do the head shake thing she practiced on stuffed toys every day. She seemed as surprised and uncertain as I was, so the poor thing lingered.

I am sorry, squirrel.

#979 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 12:55 AM:

Crap. I forget what I came over here to ask. ::mumble::

Joel Polowin @970: Open threadiness: Can anyone suggest a notable piece of art in which something like a necktie is significant?

Does the fourth Doctor's scarf count? (Which reminds me of the person I encountered (at the Maker Faire?) who had a very sensible quarter-scale version, which made me smile.) And following on Tom Whitmore's @975, there is of course Eleven's "dicky bow." (Copy-edit question: what's the protocol for capping a Doctor's sequence number?)

Not sure what you mean by "significant," but this guy is totally rockin' a cravat(?) or scarf-thing. Also big (TW) jeweled spider pin, which I will bet money has a great story to go with it.

Joel Polowin @976: If I had a 3D printer I could probably run off new gears pretty easily; people have posted the patterns.

Check your library or your local Maker collective; both here have 3D printers available to rent time on.

Stefan Jones @978: squirrel

Ouch. See also: ick. One assumes Ivory is up on her vac'ns?

#980 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 01:07 AM:

Oh! I remember:

Anyone else here picture Ekaterin Vorkosigan as abi?

#982 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 08:30 AM:

Jacque @ #979: Copy-edit question: what's the protocol for capping a Doctor's sequence number?

There's a pretty solid consensus that when using the number itself as a stand-in for his name, as you did with "Eleven", it is capitalized as a name. (There is less agreement on whether using the number itself as a stand-in for his name is an acceptable behavior; I know some fans who get quite heated about it.)

The other form you used is a bit fuzzier, with proponents of both "the Fourth Doctor" (again treating the number as part of his name) or "the fourth Doctor" (the number is just an adjective).

#983 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 09:38 AM:

Paul A. (982): I've generally seen that written as the Fourth Doctor. Not sure I've ever seen it without the capital, in fact.

#984 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 10:59 AM:

Jacque #980:

I hadn't, up to the point where I read your question, but that visualization now completely fills that spot in my brain, such that I don't think Ekaterin could look like anyone else.

#985 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 11:08 AM:

Joel Polowin #976:

Mostly concur with your descriptions. We run ours once a week for two rooms, the bedroom and the bathroom/closet. We empty out the main dust/dirt chamber between rooms, but wait until both rooms are done for filters and brushes.

I find it much easier to use than a vacuum; I have weird dislikes of things like hoses tangling or kinking up.

We also have what used to be a Mint (it's now called a Braava or something like) to damp-mop the downstairs floors, also once a week. It's such a large space that my spouse, a rather gadget-mad gent, has gotten two. Sometimes they meet each other and behave like dueling rhinos for about half a minute.

#986 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 12:55 PM:

joann (985): Thanks for the confirmation. Having to empty the dirt chamber that often makes it a non-starter, as far as I'm concerned. By way of comparison, it's been almost two years--and counting--since I had to change the bag in my vacuum. Granted, I don't use it as often as I should, but that's still a huge difference.

#987 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 02:41 PM:

#968 Jon

Thank you. One of the fire extinguishers here should be replaced.

The picture was a little unclear-- the model number is on the back.


I'm very fond of Erst Haekel's art.

There seems to be a fair amount available about his ideas and place in history, but I'm interested in anything he wrote about how he thought about making his engravings. Anyone know of any such?

#988 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 06:14 PM:

Jacque @#979 re: 3D printing: Thanks! I just found out that the Ottawa Public Library has a maker space of some kind, including 3D printers. Some of their equipment requires that one take a training session (a requirement that seems entirely reasonable!) but one of the 3D printers is run on the basis of "submit a job to us and we'll run it for you overnight". I've sent them a note asking how one submits a job. The files I found on the net look like they should be compatible with that printer.

Tom Whitmore @974/975, Jacque @979 re: ties: Well, the song "model" I'm working on is that the original "Lies" refers to "Rodin's Belle Heaulmiere". My previous "Lies" filk, "Flies", mentions Edvard Munch's "The Scream". I try to avoid re-using filk sources but this one seems more-or-less necessary, for reasons that I don't want to get into at this point in the creative process.

#989 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 06:22 PM:

Does anybody out there know of any butcher, anywhere, who sells beef palates? They were considered to be the cut of beef back in the 19th century, worthy of all kinds of fancy presentations, but now I can't turn up a supplier online, even in this age of nose-to-tail eating.

#990 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 08:27 PM:

Jenny Islander@989 - Good luck getting answers that aren't really about pallet-loads of beef. Here in California I'd try asking a Mexican butcher, since they seem to have large variety of cow and pig parts, and some fraction of their meat arrives at the butcher as carcasses rather than as pre-cut boxes of frozen product. (I've been vegetarian since before I moved here, so I'm not always sure which meats are from which animal - tongue is cow, cheek might be either one?)

#991 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 10:09 PM:

Thanks all for the notes on Doctor capping styles. It seems my confusion is neither unreasonable or unprecedented. (And, of course there are fans who get heated about it!)

joann 984: ::curtsies:: That's my job: corrupting the youth of the world. ::grin::

I find that I, likewise, can't visualize anybody else in that role. Which will be a challenge, come time to film the books. (I still want Peter Dinklage as Miles, of course. Possibly too obvy to be practical (and also issues around age for the earlier books), but oh well. At the very least I want audio books voiced by Dinklage.)

Joel Polowin 988: You're welcome! Maker culture has only recently really taken root in Boulder (in my observation), which I find somewhat surprising, given how techie we are around here.

Meanwhile, I'm going to be sniffing around for a metalworker sometime soon to make me one of these things. I've already got the smaller, commercial widget on order, but I have a strong feeling it's not going to be big enough for my need. (Unless I can run a batch weekly which, given my chores history in recent years, seems unlikely.) I wonder if Task Rabbit deals in welders...?

Jenny Islander @989: I added "cut" to the Google search term "beef palate." It still wondered if I meant "plates," and some number of hits referenced the diner's palate (as in flavor). But there did seem to be some hits that reference the portion of the cow in question, and also some suggestions for vendors.

#992 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2017, 10:22 PM:

I found a reference in "Oxford Companion to Food" as it having been popular in the 19th century and pretty much non-existent as a cut since then. Apparently the French cooked it in a court-(bouillon.) Beard's "American Cookery" doesn't mention it at all.
I second the suggestion of asking at a carniceria; they'd also be more likely to have things like ears and tails, along with about a zillion kind of tripe (because menudo).

#993 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 09:49 AM:

Jenny @989:

For hard-to-find specialty items, I usually find it helpful to go to a local supplier who might or might not carry it, ask them if they have it, and then ask them who they recommend for getting it.

For something like an unusual cut of beef, a local butcher shop may even be able to order it, or have the source cut at hand for supplying it themselves. Beef heads are not unusual, as both tongue and cheek are relatively common specialty cuts. Palate may not be something they usually cut, but they may well be able to.

A friend wanted caul fat for a recipe and went to our local charcuterie to get it. She was told "We don't carry it. Come back next week after we slaughter more hogs.". She got her caul fat -- and the charcuterie secured a customer. Something similar might happen with beef palate (but not at our local charcuterie, named "The Piggery").

#994 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 11:44 AM:

The Twilight Zone returns to spook theatregoers. Unfortunately, it's only running for a month; is anyone in reach to see it?

Dave Harmon @ 957: there's a cliche about being able to get a good trailer out of anything -- but this one gives me hope for much better results than The Dark Is Rising, even though this story is also transplanted to the US west coast; for one thing, Meg is still Meg (an awkward geek in glasses), instead of being transformed into an emo brat. I am wondering how many Puppies will have heart attacks over the mixed casting; so far, I haven't heard report of the same sort of pearl-clutching that happened when Whitaker was announced as the Thirteenth Doctor (cap per Wikipedia -- I'm not taking a theological position on the current debate).

#995 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 12:59 PM:

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel is a very faithful adaptation. I want to like it better than I do, but the art style just doesn't work for me. From the reviews I see, I'm much in the minority on that point, and I greatly respect the artist's intentions. I'd very much like to see more adaptations of this kind, for all that I'd also like to get young people reading non-graphic books.

I'm willing to take a chance on the upcoming movie, for all that I loathed the ABC/Disney adaptation.

#996 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 04:19 PM:

Jenny Islander @989: It's possible that the cut name has changed as well, as standardization of butchering is really not a solved problem. Even between the US and UK/Ireland now, there are both different names for the same cut, the same names for different cuts, and just generally cutting in different chunks and directions. If you're looking at a 19th century recipe, all bets are off. (frex, bacon is pork belly in the US, and it's more of a loin thing in the UK. There are also bacon chops, which are essentially pork chop quick cured ham. Similar differences affect beef.)

From a quick google, I can't actually tell what a palette is, though I was directed to beef plate, aka hanger steak.

#997 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 04:36 PM:

eric @996:

I assumed it was the meat from the roof of the mouth, which is why I brought up butchering the head.

Jenny Islander @989:

Where does the recipe that you are trying to follow come from? That might help track down what it's called now, if anything. Meat cuts are differently named by region.

#998 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 04:44 PM:

Re discussion on various cuts of meat. Tongue can refer to beef, veal, pork, lamb, and probably other animals slaughtered for meat. Lamb tongue is quite tasty, but peeling the skin off is too much work for me to try again. The stand at the Farmer's Market where I get lamb and mutton has lamb tongues from time to time, as well as various other parts.

#999 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 05:07 PM:

@Buddha Buck no. 997: It just says ox palates. I have discovered the following:

* They're called palais de boeuf in French and still used in modern cooking.

* The English have not completely forgotten them, but they're thought of as an old-timey meat.

* They are commonly black and white before being skinned; there's a shellfish named after them for that reason.

* They aren't a feature of home butchery (like "take a pig's head and cut the..."). The professional butcher was apparently always supposed to cut them out for you. So I can't find any handy diagrams.

* There's no mock version that I could find.

* They aren't super tender right off the bat--you have to soak and precook them--so I suspect that like most bone meats they are very flavorful. The ability to cut them into neat shapes seems to be part of the appeal.

* I still can't find any place that sells them online (although I'm only looking at sites that take dollars) or a picture of one (but I haven't checked Beeton yet).

#1000 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 05:42 PM:

Jaque @941: "I wonder if there's a market for an artisanal automobile that is handily owner-repairable, a la the old VW Bug. Parts would probably be the show-stopper (well, that and emissions testing). But in this day-and-age of 3D printing, maybe not as much of a roadblock as it once might have been.... Open source, like."

I can't write an answer to this without feeling like I'm snuffing out some wonderful dream. I know, because I share that dream.

From a new car manufacturer perspective, parts are easy - go to the aftermarket suppliers that sell replacement parts to auto parts stores and even the other OEM manufacturers. You just need to have enough money and be a good enough credit risk that they'll sign a contract with you. 3D printing will help in prototyping and low-volume tooling, but isn't very useful for production yet.

Emissions testing can be avoided by going full-electric, but you'll still need to do the EPA "electric mpg" tests. Those are non-destructive, at least, so you get your prototypes back.

The hard part is FMVSS certification for newly manufactured vehicles. That's the safety standards - airbags, seatbelts, lights, electronic stability control, antilock braking systems, etc. all gotta be there, and getting it right is expensive. It also generally requires sacrificing a few prototype vehicles to crash testing before you have tooled up to high-volume manufacturing - and then you have to make sure that the change from prototype processes to high-volume tooling doesn't mess something up.

Under the "Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015", you can manufacture a licensed copy of a 25 year old or older design and only have to pass the standards associated with that design year, but you can only build 325 cars a year of that particular model, and your company can only sell 5,000 cars a year total. There are some EPA/emissions exemptions in the act as well, but only to the extent that you can buy what a given manufacturer is willing to sell you that is already EPA approved. Said classic replicas then run into a myriad of different State-level requirements for registration and licensing, some of which restrict how many miles a year you can drive the vehicle. Then there's insurance, too.

The only other way around this is to offload all of the work onto your customer and sell a kit car - where they still hit the State-level registration issues and insurance issues. Many states adopt FMVSS standards wholesale, so it isn't really any easier on them.

This is why so many of the low volume commuter cars, new sporty runabouts, etc. happen to have only 3 wheels. That makes them motorcycles and exempts them from a huge raft of FMVSS requirements and lessens the EPA requirements.

If you want an easy to work on vehicle, do the research online. Find ones that people talk about how easy it is to work on, and provide pictures and writeups and howtos. There are DIY enthusiasts out there who, like me, will write pages and pages of information about what they find easy, what they find annoying, what they would do differently, etc. Some cars are laid out underneath their skins to be very serviceable. Others get cursed out by professional and shade-tree mechanics alike for things like having to be a contortionist to reach the oil filter or spark plugs or similar. Enthusiasts in the rust belt will let you know which ones become absolute horrors to work on after a few winters of salt exposure, too. A good code reader device or phone app can get you talking to the computers that run your car and help find out what signals or modules many not be working right, beyond the usual noises/vibrations/smells/etc. that you use for diagnosis.

The rest is the usual - don't buy a fire-damaged or flood-damaged car, and avoid ones that have had major frame or structural damage unless you implicitly trust whoever fixed it. Also avoid rust unless you plan on cutting off all of the rusty bits anyway.

#1001 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2017, 07:45 PM:

I am wishing the A Wrinkle in Time adaptation all the best, but the style and flavor suggested by the trailer irks me. It seems too bright, too cinematic. Made for eye-popping 3D.

The three witchy ladies of the book were AFAICT based on eccentric turn-of-the-last-century Spiritualists. (The spiritualists adopted mathematical and scientific notions of the time -- fourth dimensions and tesseracts and such -- to give spirits a place to live. Thus, "ascending to a higher plane".) It has been a long time since I read the book, but I recall them being a bit vague and hard to see. Not vivid "stars."

And so many places in the book are dark.

Well, fingers crossed.

#1002 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 03:38 AM:

Jacque @ #991:

If you can get hold of a steel drum (not the musical instrument, the 200-odd litre container for liquid), with lid and the metal springy-thing to keep the lid in place, you can make one using just a drill, but as they do need to be fairly well-filled to work, that might just be on the "too large" side.

Drill a couple of holes in the lid, to allow the gases generated to escape (you probably don't want an exploding fire mess), fill the drum to ~80%-90% with organic material to char, place on heat source, cook until no more gas escapes through the holes, cover the holes, let cool, open. Bear in mind taht hte generated gas is flammable (wood-gas, you can pretty much run a diesel engine on it, although modern ones may be a bit too tuned to actual diesel to allow it to run well).

OTOH, since the reward for failure is a big explodey fireball of combustible material, it MAY be better to leave the construction to someone else (and, maybe, outsource the running as well).

#1003 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 08:14 AM:

cajunfj40 #1000: For those safety tests, I think another problem applies specifically to the idea of "open source" cars: What happens to that crash certification when you change the design?

As far as manufacture: 3D printing in tool steel has got to be pretty expensive. I know that the airline manufacturers have done jet engine parts and the like, but their budgets are many orders of magnitude above hobbyists. Big, structural chunks of stuff, like the car's frame, probably won't favor 3D printing either.

Going back to the original goal, I'd say the best bet for making future cars "home-serviceable" lies with converting Elon Musk to the cause, or else someone in the second generation of electric car makers.

#1004 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 10:05 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 1003 ...
As far as manufacture: 3D printing in tool steel has got to be pretty expensive. I know that the airline manufacturers have done jet engine parts and the like, but their budgets are many orders of magnitude above hobbyists. Big, structural chunks of stuff, like the car's frame, probably won't favor 3D printing either

Who says that you have to use tool steel? IIRC they've used plastic, wood and carbon fibre/laminates for frames at various times.

#1005 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 10:05 AM:

Dave Harmon @ 1003 ...
As far as manufacture: 3D printing in tool steel has got to be pretty expensive. I know that the airline manufacturers have done jet engine parts and the like, but their budgets are many orders of magnitude above hobbyists. Big, structural chunks of stuff, like the car's frame, probably won't favor 3D printing either

Who says that you have to use tool steel? IIRC they've used plastic, wood and carbon fibre/laminates for frames at various times.

#1006 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 10:49 AM:

xeger, I think Dave Harmon is talking about the engine. Can't really make that out of plastic, wood, and carbon fiber. Unless you've got a really really strong rubber band... <grin duck and run>

#1007 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 12:45 PM:

cajunfj40 @1000: Thank you; that's a nice clear answer that gets at all the angles I was wondering about.

To be clear: this is not a dream of mine. (I don't "do" cars.) Rather, it's a thought I've had in reaction to hearing acquaintances whingeing about car repair frustrations and expenses. Me, my attitude is, "Why drive, when you can be driven?" which is why I treasure my employer-supplied bus pass.

Ingvar M @1002: There are a couple of aspects that make the beer keg option better from my standpoint: first and foremost, it doesn't need an external heat source. (That's the biggest reason I abandoned the design I had been researching in favor of the Champion the minute I saw it. I want all of my fuel to go to char. Also, the capacity of the half-barrel size looks like it's just about right for my need. Getting a barrel later for the outer shell is something I might look into. Also, ironically, I anticipate that obtaining a keg will be easier than finding a barrel. (Also easier to transport using my bike.)

Construction will innevitably be outsourced, since I don't have, and have no ambition to obtain, the metal-working kit (including the drill; I don't "do" powertools).

Bear in mind taht hte generated gas is flammable

That video covers that point, too. In point of fact, it's only the gas that's flammable. Solid wood has to outgas to catch fire.

maybe, outsource the running as well

Leaving aside that this would defeat my whole purpose (believe me, if I could find someone to do my charring for me, we wouldn't even be having this conversation), the Champion looks pretty straightforward, and comes with instructions as well, and seems pretty safe (modulo wanton stupidity). So I plan on practicing up with that to start, so once I confront the keg-version, I will hopefully be reasonably safe to operate these things. And, yes, a barrel would be too big. I could eventually fill it up, but I'd rather not have to save up a barrel-sized heap of biomatter on my deck. This whole exercise is an attempt to avoid that, in point of fact. (I live in a condo, for context. We have a "back garden" where residents can barbeque food on a charcoal grill, so I use that area to do my charring.)

Also, from your description, you're just dumping the wood-gas straight to the atmosphere, un-combusted (hence the 'splodey party), which seems (a) wasteful, (b) nasty and smokey, and (c) dangerous. The whole point of the TLUD design is that those gasses get combusted (hence the "stove" aspect of the device) in a very clean and efficient manner. (If I understood the video correctly, the post-combusion gas consists of not much more than C02 and hydrogen.) In effect, the biomatter you're charring is the heat-source; easier to use, and much more efficient.

So, yeah, the design you describe frankly sounds like a Bad Idea, from several standpoints.

Cassy B. @1006: I think Dave Harmon is talking about the engine. Can't really make that out of plastic, wood, and carbon fiber.

...yet.... ::evil laugh::

(Oh dear. This now has me pondering what an oak car engine would look like, and how it would work....)

#1008 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 01:20 PM:

The past few months at our house have been enlivened by Ginger & Stripe; littermate sisters. They're now seven months old, and when they're not being cute, they're ninja demons with more energy than a photon torpedo.

Ginger and Stripe in repose

#1009 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 02:28 PM:

Steve C @ 1008: Awwwwwww! Those are some seriously cute kittens. (Clearly I'm not biased at all. Even if I did have a cat named Stripey who was one of my Best Cats.)

#1010 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 04:44 PM:

Jacque @ 1007 ...
Cassy B. @1006: I think Dave Harmon is talking about the engine. Can't really make that out of plastic, wood, and carbon fiber.

...yet.... ::evil laugh::

(Oh dear. This now has me pondering what an oak car engine would look like, and how it would work....)

I'm actually not at all sure that it wouldn't work. You're just talking about having repeated, brief explosions, quickly put out for a gas engine. Diesel might be a bit more problematic.

#1011 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 04:59 PM:

xeger @ 1010:

I don’t know of anyone who has made the entire engine out of wood, but this guy has made and tested wooden cylinder heads.

#1012 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 06:09 PM:

Dave Harmon @1003: I'm primarily commenting from the perspective of a manufacturer - I was taking Jacque's "open source" descriptor to apply to servicing/repair. If the manufacturer changes a design, they need to re-certify.

For 3D printing, I was thinking bits and bobs like brackets, plastic housings, and the like. You can also 3D-print the soft tooling to make the rubber parts used for making investment casting molds, etc. 3D printing in ABS plastic has already been used to make bumper skins and the like for show cars and prototypes. Sheetmetal tooling would likely still be made using traditional CNC machining techniques, but sintered 3D-printed metal could potentially work for "soft" short-run stamping tools.

You're right about structural parts, but if you go with a carbon-fiber or similar (as Xeger @1004/5 notes) you can still print a mold. Might still be too big to be cost-competitive with CNC machining, though.

As for Elon Musk, maybe. Like other manufacturers, he's leery of opening up the code that runs the braking systems/driveline/etc. in the vehicle. Most of the time, people have to basically hack in. There have been a number of lawsuits about allowing access so that independent shops and owners can repair vehicles legally without tripping over the DMCA by using non-OEM software tools to get in.

More likely, an enthusiast network will grow up around something like the Nissan Leaf where it's mass-market enough that you can buy replacement bits and bobs from the aftermarket. There's already more than one open-source motor controller to replace the OEM one within the same housing. One guy's transplanted the driveline into an old Honda Civic and is pushing 400hp out of it. Biggest thing is to figure out how to get the safety and braking systems to work properly without the original motor controller computer in the loop. Difficult to do right with regenerative braking, but there are folks learning the CANbus programming needed to sniff the network on the car and fake it out. You can already buy a complete Tesla driveline that's been sniffed out and hooked up to an aftermarket control unit, ready to swap into whatever vehicle you want.

The trouble with using Tesla parts is that Tesla won't sell you new spares unless you have a Tesla that's listed as "active" in their system, and you are a Tesla-approved shop. So you have to use junkyard parts and/or re-engineer stuff. At least the main motor/transaxle/controller unit is extremely reliable if not abused and regularly maintained. A plus for EV motors vs. their ICE counterparts, for sure.

Cassy B @1006: You'd be surprised. Yes, that's a wikipedia link, but I heard the story about a Torlon engine a while back, and the links from that page bear it out.

Jacque @1007:

Glad you find it clear!

Also for xeger @1010 and Singing Wren @1011:

As for an oak engine, hmm. If you don't mind external combustion, you could probably make a passable steam engine out of oak, suitably coated to prevent expansion/seizing of the oak piston in the oak cylinder. You might also be able to run an Otto cycle (spark-ignition) if you do low compression, again seal it to prevent it expanding and seizing, etc. it could work. For a while.

To tie into the gasifier discussion, if you made the compression ratio high enough (and the crank/rod could withstand it) you could maybe even get the oak engine to self-fuel via off-gassing on a modified Diesel cycle for a little while, until the char layer gets too thick on the piston/combustion chamber. Look up "fire piston" for why.

#1013 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 06:18 PM:

Jacque @ 1007:

Alas, I don't think an oak car engine (or one made of any other kind of wood) would work very well. Wood is subject to inconsistent material strengths because it is naturally grown, so it would be hard to avoid weak spots. You'd have to worry about grain direction for many parts. It can be hard to machine tight tolerances into wood. The wood would be subject to seasonal growth and shrinkage. And the wood would likely not be able to stand up to the high pressures necessary to develop enough power to move a car for very long.

Now, if the Greeks and Romans hadn't viewed steam power as a mere curiosity, and had had enough time to develop better metallurgy, the Romans might have been able to invent working, useful steam engines. (Well, and if the Romans didn't have abundant slave labor.) I'd be far more interested in that kind of steampunk story than the pseudo-Victorian, let's slap brass gears on everything variety.

For fun, a small, air-powered reciprocating engine made of wood.

#1014 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 06:47 PM:

Ingvar M @1002: If one is to be cutting into a steel drum of the kind that was formerly holding liquids, it's extremely important to be sure that it doesn't contain any flammable residue. An Ottawa high school student was killed a few years back when he got a fuel/air explosion from the drum he was cutting in half to make a barbecue.

#1015 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 08:11 PM:

Maybe some of the high-density woods would work, like ebony or teak. Ebony I know from experience is a very hard wood, very fine-grained, and you pretty much have to use power tools on it, with steel wool rather than sandpaper to finish.

#1016 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2017, 10:42 PM:

re 1003: For metals you don't want home 3D printing: you want home CNC, which is already A Thing, though I haven't come across anything that can handle steel, yet. Aluminum, yes, which is how you can buy one specifically intended to machine the lower receiver of an AR-15.

#1017 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 03:36 AM:

#1013 ::: KeithS

Not quite what you're looking for, but Pasquale's Angel has the industrial revolution starting in renaissance Italy, with Machiavelli as a journalist.

#1018 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 04:31 AM:

Jacque @ #1007:

I was more thinking of "not having enough gas vent", causing over-pressure in the container, a rupture, and then fine particles of charcoal going airborne around flames, causing a a rather rapid combustion. Which is definitely a failure mode to be aware of.

One of the charring barrel designs I've seen has a gas vent on top, leading into a pipe manifold letting the gas escape underneath, through small holes under the barrel, in order to keep the charring going. Looked kinda neat, but all of this is too big for my patio, even ignoring the London restrictions on what you can and cannot burn.

#1019 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 05:34 AM:

The Silent Stars Go By by James White has the industrial revolution starting in Ireland.

#1020 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 10:39 AM:

cajunfj40 @1012: enthusiast network

See, that's what I'm talking about.

I'm gathering that the biggest showstopper would be regulatory, in that stuff like airbags and whatnot (safety features that require electronics to operate). None of which shows up in the old 1960 bug, which was what I was thinking of (hence cajunfj40's @1K comment).

In principle, it seems that a non-metalic electric (absent all the peripheral controlly bits) would at least be possible.

KeithS @1013: It can be hard to machine tight tolerances into wood.

Nevermind the whole "seasonal" thing—woodworker friend of mine once pointed out that wood mechanisms (doors, drawers, & suchlike) really only work properly in the season in which they were constructed, due to humidity changes through the year (in most locales).

But that's where we use plastics, right? <g,d&r>

I suspect there could also be some entertaining games to be played with resin pressure-infused wood, but at that point, you might as well just go with fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Footnote: despite my general aversion to powertools, I will confess that I drool over that CNC widget.

#1021 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 01:14 PM:

Jacque @1020 -- if wood doesn't work, why not try bamboo? It's really good for tight tolerances, and doesn't expand in humidity: thus its use in sliderules. This is just from memory, not from research, but the uses of bamboo are many, varied, and underexploited -- it also grows very quickly.

#1022 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2017, 04:18 PM:

Oo! Bamboo, yes! It's also ridiculously strong and tough.

#1023 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2017, 07:06 AM:

Is the goal here to build a car from scratch, or to have a car that's easy to repair?

The VW Bug was easy to repair, but there were plenty of design considerations that make it hard to build from scratch. From the choice of an aluminum-magnesium alloy for the engine block, to the multi-curved body panels, you'd almost need a dedicated factory to build them.

So when I read this conversation veering off into engines made of wood, and 3D-printed plastic parts everywhere, I have to wonder... what's the goal again, cause this doesn't sound necessarily easy to fix.

#1024 ::: Bruce H. ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2017, 10:22 AM:

Jacque's discussion of wooden car parts reminds me of an urban legend set right here in Boulder.

It seems that many years ago a car dealership here took a pickup in trade from a hippy who lived in a cabin up around Nederland. They would not ordinarily have wanted a pickup, but happened just then to need one for running parts. Not very much time passed and the pickup started smoking badly and then the engine started rattling, and when they tore it down, they discovered that one of the cylinders contained a hand carved oak piston.

I do not vouch for this story. There are many reasons to believe it did not happen. But it amuses me every time I think of it.

#1025 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2017, 10:36 AM:

Many years ago, my father's Austin A40 got dinged up in an accident, and the wrecker that collected it wrapped a chain around the body to lift it, which really wrecked the body. My father took a good look at the remains, determined that the frame was still good, and bought it back. He then built a new body on the existing frame, with the original parts that were still undamaged, from sheet metal and 3/4-inch plywood, with vinyl-covered seat cushions and a vinyl roof on a metal frame; and later he added seat belts. It looked like a four-passenger dune buggy, but it was completely street-legal. We went camping with it a couple of times, with gear in the trunk and the tent pole sections tied alongside (they were tied on top of the knobs where the roof was fastened to the body). He still owned it when he died.
I tried learning to drive it, but it required things like lifting the gearshift to get into some of the gears - no synchromesh!

#1026 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2017, 03:27 PM:

Bruce H.: Wow. A Boulder legend I hadn't heard! I've been around long enough that that doesn't happen very often. I'll have to ask around and see if any of my compatriots have heard it.

Buddha Buck @1023: Is the goal here to build a car from scratch, or to have a car that's easy to repair?

My original thinking (reacting to some discussion upthread about issues with modern car repairs) was aimed towards "owner serviceable", but "owner buildable" would be pretty cool.

#1027 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2017, 11:35 AM:

So, I'm rereading The Worm Ouroborous and following the news.

The novel has a lot of demands and boasting and standards of pride, and it occurs to me that I might be interested in a straight discussion of the subject, considering how much real world nations are dealing with those matters.

It's definitely Guardian ethos (see Jane Jacobs' Systems of Survival), but as I recall, she doesn't get into the verbal side.

Anyone know of such a book?

#1028 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2017, 01:47 PM:

Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier?

The various dueling codes?

#1029 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2017, 01:53 PM:

Steve C. @ 1008: when they're not being cute, they're ninja demons with more energy than a photon torpedo. Some cats have throttles; some just have valves. ISTM that this is more true of the young of both cats and other species....
Cute picture, though; getting along now may mean they'll still be sociable as adults, which will make keeping them amused less effortful -- or may mean they're better at finding trouble.

#1030 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2017, 10:34 PM:

This Twitter thread / essay on Star Wars, race, and heroism is brilliant. It has me close to tears, of joy, of GETTING IT.

"It’s ALWAYS people. Not magic. Not powerful death machines. People shift the tides of war. People save each other. People do this because of love, friendship, family, and faith in a better future.

To me this recaptures the magic of A New Hope, but more importantly our first experience of it. Where it was just about random people stumbling their way into friendship and saving the galaxy along the way. Just a farm boy, smuggler, and rebel princess. Anything was possible.

They won not because of magic or machinery. They won because Han Solo couldn’t abandon his new friends, showed up in the very last minute of the battle, kicked Vader in the dick, so Luke could blow up the Death Star."

#1032 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2017, 10:55 AM:

Merry whatever to all!

#1033 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2017, 11:20 AM:

Belated Happy Hanukkah, Satisfying Festivus, Cool Yule, Merry Christmas, a Pugilistic and Quick-Jabbing Boxing Day, Defiantly Self-Sufficient Kwakzaa, and Happy New Year, because jeeeeez we really need one.

* * *
Now watching the WPIX Yule Log, a tradition about as old as I am. According to a Twitter poll, 32% of respondents didn't know what it was.

#1034 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2017, 01:37 PM:

And because it's missing this year: links to "Texts" from previous years: (2006) (2007) (2008) (2009) (2010) (2011) (2012) (2013) (2014) (2015) (2016)

#1035 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2017, 03:32 PM:

And turning them into links, to make it easier to find them without cut-and-paste:


#1036 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2017, 08:10 PM:

Adjective Descriptive Noun of the season.

Listening to BBC 4 A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is lovely music, entangled with religious service.

#1037 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2017, 11:00 AM:

xeger #1036:

I listen live every Christmas Eve (for me, it starts at 9 a.m.). We're down in the living room with our coffee, our panforte (30% figs this year), and our iPads to follow along. This year's musical portion was in particularly fine form, I thought.

#1038 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2017, 12:09 PM:

...effing tax bill....

#1039 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2017, 09:10 AM:

@Jacque: Yeah. I've been putting aside money for the 1/15 Q4 payment. I got a large severance payment when getting laid off in July so I'm in a higher bracket this year. I had to set aside a big chunk of each unemployment check...the withholding they made was no where near enough.

Most symbolic pain came when a royalty check for my game publications amount to, after tax, $15.40. Which is 20 cents more than what I paid to see The Last Jedi.

#1040 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2017, 01:54 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz # 1027:

John of Salisbury comes to mind as a reading on the feudal mind and how to live within it.

Machiavelli, in the Prince, the Discourses, the Art of War and the Florentine Histories describes a political and moral order not far removed from what you're looking for. Except for the fact that he doesn't really have much time for pride of the aristocratic variety.

#1041 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2017, 02:30 PM:

So, potential diagnosis of pneumonia two Decembers in a row. Not that much fun. OTOH successful do-over of Thanksgiving dinner, minus the DRAMA.

#1042 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2017, 03:35 PM:

EFFing tax bill...
Times a side of local paper failing to check their facts....

#1043 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2017, 07:03 PM:

#1040 ::: Fragano Ledgister :

Thanks, though I'd also like a more general view of boasting and insults in politics. It's not as though that sort of thing stopped in the middle ages.

Also, would this be a good place to discuss Ouroboros? It's magnificent in some ways, but remarkably uneven about women and consent.

#1044 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 08:19 AM:

@C. Wingate: I hope the diagnosis is wrong.

I came home from holiday visits with bronchitis once and that wasn't fun. Can't imagine the full blown thing.

#1045 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 09:17 AM:

Stefan Jones @ 1039 ...
Most symbolic pain came when a royalty check for my game publications amount to, after tax, $15.40. Which is 20 cents more than what I paid to see The Last Jedi.

I was once given a $100 bonus, of which I received $0.43[0] ... I feel your pain!

[0] Finance probably did something strange with their calculations, and I certainly didn't have enough experience then, to ask what.

#1046 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 10:29 AM:

#1045: That's awful, especially for a bonus. I hope you at least got a bunch of that $100 back when you did taxes.

* * *

I'm spending part of my holiday visit doing financial stuff for family. Trust accounts and looking up tax things and telling sibling about how to figure out social security benefits.

This stuff seems so utterly . . . well, not exactly simple, but quantifieable and doable . . . to me. I wonder if it would be worth it to get some kind of financial advisor certification as part of my career change goals.

#1047 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 02:33 PM:

Stefan Jones, if you have the interest, the knack, and the aptitude, why not?

#1048 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 02:56 PM:

xeger @ 1036: thanks for the link; one of the many annoyances of the few-years-ago radio reshuffle is the local NPR station's classical programming is so dumbed-down that it no longer livecasts the 9L&C. I spend way too much time reading BBC News; I'll make a note to look for this next year.

Stefan @ 1046: what you're dealing with may be more the province of a CPA than a CFP; however, if it's something that you're finding a knack for, you should ask around to see what the rest of both jobs entail. Late discovery can be useful, as in the case of an acquaintance who discovered a knack for forensic accounting and got an MBA (focus on practical, AFAICT), leading to something that sounds better than the gigs their BA ~supported.

#1049 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 04:36 PM:


!@$$@#$ !$#!#@# *&%*%*%$# !@#$##&$^$%-ing tax bill.


#1050 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 04:55 PM:

I think the appropriate response here is
"Tell us what you really think about that POS bill."

#1051 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 05:16 PM:

P J Evans: *snerk*

#1052 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 05:29 PM:

The Basics of the GOP Tax Plan, Explained

Well, it looks like at least my tax bracket goes down, slightly.

#1053 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 08:29 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #1043:

I'd love to discuss The Worm Ouroboros. It's been around twenty years since I last read it, so my memory is a bit fuzzy. As I recall, it involved knights from the high middle ages, speaking Elizabethan English, on a quest. And then...

#1054 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2017, 11:35 PM:

re 1044: It likely is; it didn't pan out last year either. OTOH I would like to stop coughing my lungs out at intervals, and to get my singing voice back.

#1055 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2017, 02:49 AM:

Wife found out yesterday that her best friend of ~35 years died last month, from a stroke. Elaine lived in Texas, and her husband was too distraught to track down out-of-town friends at the time. Grieving will take us some time.

#1056 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2017, 07:09 AM:

Well, one place to start is the setting, which I think is Renaissance. We have plate armor, but no gunpowder. (I think-- it's a very detailed book, and I'm not the world's most attentive reader.)

There is a mention of a mammoth, though it's offstage. Possibly in Lord Gro's book about the Moruna, or in decoration, or somesuch.

There's some serious world-building, I think. There's a historical timeline, and I bet Eddison had maps.

Details, details, details. I wouldn't be surprised if Eddison had experience with wrestling and mountain-climbing.

Unfortunate naming. There's Corund, Corinius, Corsus, and I think at least one more. This didn't help when the Witches got to politicking about who was going to invade Demonland.

It's also unfortunate that the good guys are Demons (of Demonland) and the bad guys are Witches (of Witchland). They have nothing to do with witches or demons. They're all basically humans (the Demons have horns, sometimes inlaid with gold). We also have Imps and Pixies. At least the Ghouls are bad guys (conquered before the beginning of the book).

I wore someone down by mere repetition that it makes a difference that Tolkien was a Christian. I don't know what Eddison believed himself, but his book definitely lacks Christianity, though characters seem to believe in hell, or at least mention it now and then.

The book might be framed in terms of the cardinal virtues-- justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. Also courage and honest dealing. Faith and charity aren't especially in play, though arguably hope is part of fortitude.

As might be expected in a novel of adventure, the characters are generally better at fortitude than prudence, though the consequences of ignoring prudence are pretty common. Witches get into real trouble from being drunk.

Anyway, this should be enough to get started with.

A good discussion

#1057 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2017, 07:07 PM:

Horrible thought:

The "year in review" segments that will be airing over the next few days are going to be like bad flashback trips.

#1058 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2017, 11:32 PM:

I am so happy I moved on to a better job at a better agency (FAA). I was IRS, tax examiner in 1040X/when you need to revise your 1040. I think this bill is going to cause a huge amount of scrambling for details and etc. for interpretation.

#1059 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2017, 09:34 AM:

@Paula: It's going to be a very hard year for table-browsers and nit-pickers like me to do their OCDish financial planning.

I hope the 0% cap gains and dividend rate for low-income folks is still in place in 2018. I'm counting on that. Or obsessing over taking advantage of it.

#1060 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 30, 2017, 02:40 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #1056:

I think that the names are meaningful (and so, for that matter is the glimpse of Zimiamvia given to our protagonists).

Calling the various nationalities Demons, Witches, Ghouls, &c was intended to startle, to make what are very human characters engaged in a very human endeavour of heroic quest seem more alien. So was setting it on Mercury, although Eddison seems to have forgotten Lessingham and the martlet after a couple of chapters.

The repeated Cors (Corund, Corinius, Corsus) are also, I think meaningful.

#1061 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2017, 12:38 AM:

Jacque@1020/1026 (and others in the car thread):
The biggest hurdle in the way of manufacturing a user-repairable car is getting that goal into the designer/engineer/management/accountant loop. As I mentioned earlier, there are easy to service cars out there, where the design team had a service tech on it or similar. Us users find these gems via online enthusiasts and a willingness to buy car models that are not brand-new designs. Most cars are relatively easy to do all the scheduled in-warranty services on. It takes time to get enough high-mileage cars of a given model into enough enthusiasts’ hands to get an idea of how easy the out-of-warranty scheduled (like timing belts) and unscheduled (transmissions/clutches/etc) services are.

Diy or owner-built cars are possible, but I would doubt that a scratch-built one could be made as cheap/safe/efficient as a 3 year old economy car that sold in high volume.

I’ve been a DIY gear-head for almost 30 years. I like modern safety and efficiency. I can’t build a modern Toyota FJ40 without approaching/exceeding the cost of a comparable recent Jeep Wrangler or Toyota 4Runner. At least, not without a lot more time and effort rebuilding/repairing/refurbishing vs just buying new stuff. I’m still trying to figure out if I’m willing to commit to the sacrifices necessary to do it. My current Ford Explorer experiment is proving the cost/effort part to be higher than I remember. It also takes up a lot of space.

#1062 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2017, 02:11 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @1060:

The repeated Cors (Corund, Corinius, Corsus) are also, I think meaningful.

A hereditary title of nobility, originally meaning "thief"?

#1063 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2017, 02:12 AM:

Heard hyperlocally: "While it is entirely possible that Papa Smurf is a Jedi Master--"

I live in a house full of nerds.

#1064 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2017, 04:09 AM:

C. Wingate @1054: I would like to stop coughing my lungs out

I've had more issues with an allergy-induced cough year than ever before. Aggravated a month or so back by whichever disease my coworkers were passing around. Haven't expectorated any lungs, but it has woken me up a few times in the middle of the night. Your cough probably isn't likely to respond to allergy meds, eh?

(And my traditional mid-winter nose-bleed is dribbling down the back of my throat. Blech.)