Amtrak notes

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:27 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
The openings on the newspaper and aluminum can recycling receptacles were all tidily duct-taped closed.

If you bring cream with you onto the train, it will turn into butter.

The first seat I wanted, the chair back ratcheting mechanism was broken. The second seat I tried, the footrest mechanism was stuck with the footrest up.

They are trying new things with the diner car menu, but this has little benefit for vegetarians.

Only about a 1-hour delay this time.

(no subject)

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:01 pm
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
[community profile] holmestice finished posting! Reveals are on the 27th; in the meanwhile go and admire all the lovely things! I particularly recommend my own gift, "The Case of the Deceased Marmalade Thief", which is an utter delight.

--


It's been ages since my last proper update. Highlights!

I got a camera for my birthday back in March...

obligatory kitty pics )

obligatory I-can't-stand-my-face selfies )

Then the current round of Holmestice began, PRECISELY when the Livejournal TOS fuckery hit the fan. I will not say that this round has been a clusterfuck, because I think it mostly hasn't been? But gdi, pulling off this round has been more effort and cursing than any of us planned for. Happily, I have great co-mods, and there is wonderful satisfaction in looking at ALL THE THINGS and knowing we helped facilitate that happening. Even if we're still trying to finish backing up the damn comm.

In early May we went to Colorado and Wyoming for a week to visit [personal profile] grrlpup's family. Not half an hour out of the airport, we got caught in an impressive hailstorm; Grrlpup is still wrangling with the rental car and insurance companies over how many thousands of dollars that storm is or isn't going to cost us. The rest of the trip was pretty good, but socially taxing. As always, it was wonderful to see her friends and family; as always, I was very happy to get back home again.

In June, [personal profile] grrlpup had her birthday. We have become my parents' generation: when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she asked that I actually do that one home-improvement task I'd been promising to do for two years. So I spent a few days bolting and screwing bookshelves to the wall, while pretending I wasn't doing any such thing.

Her: What are you doing? Are you painting boards? Why are you painting boards?
Me: [flagrantly painting boards] Boards? What boards?

front room shelves )

Later today, [livejournal.com profile] crazy_marcia, for whom we crewed the Badwater Ultra and with whom I used to climb mountains, is coming to visit.

(For those who didn't know me back then, the Badwater Ultra is a 135/143-mile footrace through Death Valley and up to the top of Mt. Whitney, always held during the height of summer. And by "height of summer," I mean 120-degree heat, woot! The two mountains I've climbed with her are both non-trivial: Mt. Whitney by the Mountaineer's Route, and Mt. Rainier, which involves glacier travel, and thus is a technical climb. Both mountains are near-abouts 14,500 feet high and Exciting Shit Went Wrong on both peaks.)

Anyway, I'm weirdly nervous about seeing Marcia -- it's been an age since we last spoke, and I got lazy and fat and don't have adventures anymore, and what if she doesn't like me now??? -- but scanning back over these old trip reports, I feel very silly. We're going to sit around and gossip, not pull one of our what-were-you-even-thinking-people-die-doing-that-shit adventures. What could possibly go down today to be worth being nervous about? I mean, seriously.

(Actually, given that Marcia will be in attendance, I would not be the least bit surprised if we save someone from a close brush with death later today. FURTHER BULLETINS AS EVENTS WARRANT.)

flat?

Monday, March 25th, 2013 02:00 pm
syntonic_comma: a tiger (tiger)
[personal profile] syntonic_comma
Mon Mar 25 14:00 EDT 2013Stikfas pop singer

Do people who sing flat whistle flat?

Science articles

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:30 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
So, went out to walk the dogs earlier. Everything was going great, until Moonpie found a patch of grass. It looked to me to be identical to all the other patches of grass, but not to her....

Moonpie: YAY! Grass!
Me: C'mon, we're on our way home now!
Moonpie: Sure, sure, but hold on, I gotta roll around here.
Me: C'mon!
Moonpie: Busy flopping around like a dead fish!
Me: Indeed, you are.
Moonpie: LIKE A DEAD FISH!!!!
Finn: Smells good. Maybe I should take a leak.
Moonpie: LIKE A DEAD FISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did eventually get home, where I found out that when Eva agreed to take out the compost for me in exchange for $7, she actually just dumped it on the ground sort of near the compost bin instead of actually in the bin. She's not getting her $7, and I don't care what she says, that's plenty fair.

**********************


While trust is inherited, distrust is not: study

Massive, ‘Dead’ Galaxy Puzzles Astronomers

Bioengineers create more durable, versatile wearable for diabetes monitoring

Legal or not, more American women are opting for abortion by medication. We asked doctors: How safe is it?

Self-folding origami: Chemical programming allows Nafion sheets to fold and refold

A Better Touch Screen, Inspired by Moth Eyes

Scientists spy on the secret inner life of bacteria

Sea sponges stay put with anchors that bend but don't break

Some clouds are full of little lollipop-shaped ice crystals

How did bird babysitting co-ops evolve?

Why Do Bird Eggs Come in So Many Shapes?

Saying 'climate change' instead of 'global warming' decreases partisan gap by 30 percent in U.S.

Wave beams mix and stir the ocean to create climate

Are you forgetful? That's just your brain erasing useless memories

Cancer cells may streamline their genomes in order to proliferate more easily

This glass frog wears its heart for all to see

How a wildfire kicked up a 45,000-foot column of flames

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Vivian Kane

I’m always boggled by how little understanding so many Republicans seem to have of abortion issues. Between letting the church crash the state’s party with the whole “life begins at conception” thing and Mike Pence wanting to force women to throw funerals for their miscarriages and abortions, it’s clear that this group of almost exclusively white men have no idea what’s actually entailed in the personal experience or medical physiology of pregnancy.

Case in point: the Republicans from New Hampshire who just accidentally made it legal for pregnant women to murder people.

Senate Bill 66 defines a fetus as a person after the 20-week mark, thereby allowing anyone who causes the death of that fetus to be charged with manslaughter or murder. However, the bill–which was passed by both the House and the Senate, but not yet signed into law by the Governor–uses incredibly vague language in making exceptions for abortion. When defining the crimes it protects against, the bill specifically excludes “any act committed by the pregnant woman.”

Any. Act.

The bill also makes an exception to the fetal homicide law for “any act committed at the request or direction of the pregnant woman or for the benefit of the pregnant woman,” and “any act performed by a physician or other medical professional in the course of such physician’s or medical professional’s professional duties.” Many are pointing out that that language essentially legalizes assisted suicide.

It took more than a week for Republicans to notice what they’d done, and quickly amended the bill through a process “normally used to correct spelling and grammar,” according to the AP.

On its surface, SB 66 doesn’t look like an anti-abortion bill. After all, it specifically makes an exception to the fetal homicide law for cases of abortion, right? But New Hampshire Democrats are insistent that this is a “vehicle to undermine protections established by Roe v. Wade.” Giving legal status to a fetus is a slippery slope, undoubtedly ending in fewer rights for women. As BuzzFeed points out, the law itself is unnecessary, since there are already additional penalties for crimes against pregnant women. SB 66 is simply a step towards establishing legal rights for fetuses.

But since Republicans don’t actually understand that there is a HUGE difference between a fetus and a person, this is where we end up. Roving gangs of pregnant women, freed from the normal laws of society, killing people at will. I assume.

(via BuzzFeed, image: Shutterstock)

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Mount Pleasant, Iowa

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 10:47 am
rebeccmeister: (Default)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
We stopped in this town last year during RAGBRAI, and again on our return to Ottumwa to retrieve Princess TinyHouse and store her in Lincoln again. Thus it feels strange to be here without a bicycle.

48 hours in Coach on Amtrak is a long time. I finished _Anathem_. It reminded me of _Godel, Escher, Bach_, which is to say, of a somewhat tiresome book that is slightly too pleased with itself.


The scenery throufh Nevada, Utah, and Colorado was calming.

Typed via smart-o-phone.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
[personal profile] crafty_packrat
Spanakopita, roasted olive bun, mixed herb bread, beet confit, pita, fresh fettuccine, spinach & cheese ravioli, eggplant ragu, quart of Mocha Moo, pint of cheese curds, spinach empanada, bluefish empanada, 2 bottles of hickory vinegar (made from shagbark hickory, the same source for hickory syrup).

I'm going to make Sweet Cherry ketchup this afternoon; I've got a six-at-a-time cherry pitter to help with that. Hopefully, the hickory vinegar will give is a nice finish that will make it into an interesting barbecue sauce.
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Vivian Kane

Over the last five months (sweet Christmas, how has it only been five months?), Sean Spicer and the rest of the White House team have made a number of attempts to get around that whole pesky “free & independent press” thing. They’ve tried having closed-door, invitation-only briefings (that didn’t go over well), they’ve tried hiding in bushes (ditto), and now they’ve banned cameras from the White House press briefings.

So CNN did the only reasonable thing: they brought in their courtroom sketch artist to cover the briefing.

This not only highlights the absurdity of the Trump administration’s efforts to avoid accountability and keep the press from reporting all the “alternative facts” that come out of these briefings, but it allows CNN’s Jim Acosta to make a Grade-A Dad Pun.

Others were having just as much fun.

Others, though, weren’t feeling the jokes. Because while we do need to be able to point out the absurdity of the Trump administration, the degree to which the White House is fighting to restrict journalists’ access to the office of the President is not normal, and not democratic. It’s a legitimate threat to the First Amendment, and cheeky jabs aside, the press needs to put up a fight.

Because the sketch is a cute visual and makes for good headlines, but it can’t get across the buckets of misinformation Spicer spewed out up at that podium.

(featured image: NBC)

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tablet mounts

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 09:41 pm
syntonic_comma: 4-legged plush duck (syntonic)
[personal profile] syntonic_comma
Fri Mar 22 21:41:54 EDT 2013

universal headrest mount for tabletsKindle Fire HD TabletThe tablet mounts I ordered arrived yesterday. I took one to the office, and I was able to mount it under the cabinets over my desk, where it would put a tablet pretty close to my monitors. So when are we finally going to see these promised Kindles? Is this an inducement to keep people from leaving? We've had several new hires since the announcement of boon; will they be included or left out? [Left out.] And there have been people who've left in the last few weeks. I don't see any corporate incentive to give them one.

Buckyballs 216 Piece Rare Earth Magnetic SetIs a tablet left unattended at my desk likely to be stolen? What if everyone else in the room already has one too?
Someone did steal the set of BuckyBalls I brought to the office for communal diversion.

So our kitchen overhead fan broke

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 11:23 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
On the downside, it'll need to be replaced.

On the upside - or, shall I say, the bright side - we all loathe that light fixture. It only takes two bulbs and the cover over the bulbs means we're cooking in the dim all the time.

*************************************


'Superhero' 3D printed hands help kids dream in Argentina (I bet!)

All the Animals That Love Touchscreens

Georgia Sheriff To Cut Sentences For Inmates Who Saved Correctional Officer

On the trail with Cambodia's tarantula hunters

As drought looms, could this team of scientists prove cloud seeding works?

How Animals Develop Regional Accents

A surgeon’s secret: As she operated on babies’ birth defects, a doctor hid her own diagnosis

A School That Provides The One Constant In Homeless Children's Lives

Pride and prejudice? Race tinges LGBT celebrations

Supreme Court limits government's power to revoke citizenship

Where Street Vendors Run Pharmacies Out of Buckets

Military heads want transgender enlistment hold

A daily conundrum in convulsed Venezuela: will my kids make it to school?

Solar’s rise lifted these blue-collar workers. Now they’re worried about Trump

Senate GOP releases bill to cut Medicaid, alter 'Obamacare'

Children of Islamic State militants in Libya reunite with families in Khartoum

'Buried alive': the old men stuck in Britain’s prisons

Coffee under threat. Will it taste worse as the planet warms?

Ethiopia's Coffee Farmers Are 'On The Front Lines Of Climate Change'

Mounting evidence that Trump’s election was aided by Russian interference presents a challenge to the American system of government—with lasting consequences for democracy.

Rigged: Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing.

When the man who abuses you is also a cop.

How totalism works

Trained to Kill: How Four Boy Soldiers Survived Boko Haram (Skip this article if you have a sensitive stomach.)

The Handmaid’s Tale and the Fiction of Prediction

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 02:32 pm
[syndicated profile] the_mary_sue_feed

Posted by Antonia Honeywell

At one point in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, a rape victim is surrounded by other women ritually chanting that the rape was her own fault. I live in the UK, so haven’t managed to see the new television adaptation yet, but I imagine it makes a powerful scene. Perhaps as powerful as the one where a woman is forced to pretend she’s enjoying sex, because that’s what she’s for, and the man has gone to so much trouble to take her out. Or the one where the State strings abortionists up on the Wall, for everyone to enjoy, or the one where the woman who gives birth is immediately abandoned, her purpose fulfilled, and a simple game of Scrabble is the greatest rebellion.

Margaret Atwood didn’t stamp a foundation date on the Republic of Gilead, but the novel exerts as powerful a hold on readers in 2017 as it did upon publication in 1988. Is a room full of older white men determining that rape should be classed as a pre-existing condition for health insurance purposes really so different from declaring that there must be some form of punishment for women who have abortions, as in The Handmaid’s Tale? What’s the expiry date on a terrifying futuristic vision? Clearly, three decades is not enough.

What about twice three decades?

Six decades ago, in Nineteen Eighty Four, George Orwell wrote of a totalitarian regime in which every home, building and public space is monitored by a screen, which broadcasts as it surveys. Winston Smith, performing his compulsory morning exercise at his telescreen, finds himself reprimanded by Oceania’s Jane Fonda for not trying hard enough. From Poltergeist to The Ring, the blurring of the line between the screen and real life has been the stuff of horror, not science fiction. For Orwell’s original readers, the idea of being personally addressed from the telescreen was one to fear—the loss of individual freedom expressed in a moment.

Where lies the horror now? For the modern reader, such reprimands are the stuff of everyday life. I wear a wristband that shouts at me if I haven’t moved for an hour. My phone throws up dresses I can’t live without, because I once bought one online. My laptop puts together my weekly grocery shop. ‘Antonia,’ it trills merrily, ‘have you run out of Medium Sliced White Bread?’ Sometimes I feel like Tom Cruise in Minority Report, haring down a station corridor while the models on the advertisement hoardings literally turn and call his name. Even more so when the next notification I receive is extolling the virtues of wholemeal.

And yet, if I step away from this intrusion—if I do all my shopping in store, in person, with cash, and I throw away my smart phone—I’ll lose my primary means of connection with the world in which I live, in which I am bringing up my children. More than this—I’ll lose the time I save by being able to shop, e mail, research, chat and read at the touch of a button. It’s a trade off—one that allows me to do my piano practice. Bake. Write. It drives me mad, and it keeps me sane. That’s the great oxymoron of our time, and Nineteen Eighty Four is our warning light. Sleepwalking to Oceania cannot be an option.

Step back seven decades, and Aldous Huxley shows us a world in which babies are grown in glass jars, their future lives laid out for them by the section of society in which they’re born. Leaving aside the vast advances that have been made in the science of conception and gestation since Brave New World was published in 1932, set against which a baby developing in a jar doesn’t seem such a great leap, we do seem to be moving towards a world in which success or failure is set out at birth.

In our world, education standards have become inextricably linked to parental wealth; earning potential is determined not only by education but by family connections and social environment. Wealth has become a justification in its own right as the gap between the rich and the poor becomes more extreme and less bridgeable. Show me where in the world a child is born, and the education and income level of its parents, and I’ll be able to predict, with some confidence, whether its life will be lived as an Alpha or an Epsilon.

Once, we used our fiction to send our heroes into space, to restore peace to warring galaxies. We were noble and brave, and our incursions into distant and dangerous realms brought hope and justice. HG Wells published The War of the Worlds in 1897; the chances of anything coming from Mars are still a million to one.  And those pesky Martians weren’t even strong enough to defeat the germs that we human beings fight off every single day. But our world has changed. The mirror of science fiction can also show us, not as heroes, but as a flawed and arrogant animal, seemingly intent on destroying the very best of ourselves.

We’re faced with impossible questions, dilemmas that are too big for the individual to solve. Our planet needs action on the largest scale, governments that embrace and accept the scientific evidence of the damage that human activity has done and is doing. I cannot refreeze the ice caps by watching videos of disorientated polar bears, or solve poverty by donating to the food bank; I cannot give the homeless person in the doorway a place of refuge by giving a few coins. My advantage is as systemic as Winston Smith’s oppression, as Offred’s eradication as an individual, as the monotonous, servile life of the Epsilon.

The rise of technology, the uneven distribution of freedom, the comfort of victim-blaming, perpetuate themselves in spirals. It seems that all we can do is close our doors—to surround ourselves with caring, loving people with whom we are in sympathy, bar our doors and turn off the news. Faced with a collapsing society, the people in my book The Ship do just that.

But we must continue to face the ugly parts of life if we are to change them. If we resist, like the Mayday rebels in The Handmaid’s Tale, maybe eventually we will be able to consign these dire visions to the past, and enjoy them as the fictions they should be.

(image: Hulu)

Antonia Honeywell studied English at Manchester University and worked at the Natural History and Victoria and Albert Museums in London, running creative writing workshops and education programmes for children, before training as a teacher. During her ten years teaching English, drama and film studies, she wrote a musical, and a play which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival. She has four young children and lives in Buckinghamshire. The Ship is her first novel.

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Nun acts nunly, in a queer way.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 08:12 am
sistawendy: (stern nun)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Last night I skipped the Trans Pride march to set up & staff the table for Lambert House at the rally in the park that followed. That was more intense than I expected: I must have spoken to at least a hundred people in ones and twos over the course of three or so hours about the house.

Categories of people my fellow volunteer S and I talked to, in decreasing order of number:
  • People who just wanted to know what we were about - we're a safe place for queer kids to be together, basically, plus activities, and a few social services. I got the impression that there are people who instantly understand the value of a safe space by and for queers, and there are people who don't. I'll give you one guess as to the queerness of each group.
  • People who wanted to volunteer! I only had a handful of paper applications, so I sent people to the web site and handed out volunqueer coordinator B's business card liberally.
  • People who wanted to know how the fund raising is going. Many people knew about the eleventh-hour loan we got last year and the consequent capital campaign. I know what's going on with that better than most volunteers by virtue of hanging out with the director to do reports, but even I don't know much. I do know that we need six- or better yet seven-figure donations in the next few years if we want to keep our house.
  • One therapist. I got to give him the special clipboard.

  • I got mysteriously cold after the sun went down, possibly a blood sugar crash from the absurdly early dinner I ate so I could be on time. S took pity on me, saying she'd tear down - I'd done most of the setup after literally running down the questionably parked B, who's no good at giving directions. I administered Molly Moon's ice cream and warm Guinness at the Merc immediately, but I completely struck out at finding anybody I knew who wanted to party on the Hill last night. Even the young Burning Man campmates I ran into were calling it quits early. Weird.

    Picked up Saga, vol. 2 - so much tasty plot! - and came home to m'boy, was reminded how much I don't miss his clutter & mess in my apartment, and went to bed.

    Today's plan: work out, get gussied up, Greenwood car show & pizza with m'boy, hit the Hill for the street fair & dyke march, and the Siberian Siren's party. If you want to meet up with me, late afternoon is your best bet.

Animal Companionship is emotionally healing, etc.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 08:30 am
yendi: (Default)
[personal profile] yendi
We got home around 1. When I came upstairs this morning before 8, I found that a couple of cookbooks had been knocked off the kitchen bookshelf. No big deal. Then I noticed that the sample pack of cat food we'd gotten in the mail (Rachel Ray's Delish) was in the dining room and torn open. Sigh. I cleaned it up, went about the rest of the morning routine, and then hit the living room, where the bag of soft duck and pumpkin dog treats was lying there, also torn open.

Sigh.

Normally when there's morning chaos, I know which animal to blame (and this generally seems like Charlotte-style mischief), but I'm not sure all the animals didn't work together. Thankfully, it doesn't look like they ate a ton of the food in either case (I'm not sure Nicky even realized his treats had been opened).

Remember, folks: Having pets is good for your emotional health!

Final Blists hill pics

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 12:41 pm
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 Back to sunny after a glitch yesterday.

We've been down to the POW (People of Wellington) festival this morning- a fun multicultural do in the churchyard and market square. We partook of Bryony's vegan pasties which are SO good!

Any road up- 't pics!



Further pics behind the cut: )

2017 SDCC NECA Coraline

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 07:45 am
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
So, this is a thing. I have a couple of the earlier NECA Coralines, including a 2009 SDCC exclusive that I picked up cheap right after its release, so I'll be on the look out for one of these as well (still kicking myself that I didn't get the full set when they were "only" going for about $50 a piece).

Interesting Links for 24-06-2017

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 12:00 pm

some unrelated things

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 04:05 am
syntonic_comma: 4-legged plush duck (syntonic)
[personal profile] syntonic_comma
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2013 23:09:28 +0000
Russian Intelligence Agency Can Tap Skype Users Without Court Order

... it essentially means that Microsoft has build [sic] back-doors in Skype so that the company can tap into users' conversations whenever it wants to.

Hard to carry the day with this response:
You have no idea what you are talking about. I love the Kindle Fire...it's very user friendly and great for kids as well. Your and idiot.
-- bowiemdh, 9/11/2012 2:30 PM EDT
When you get 2 words wrong in a 3-word sentence, I don't give much credence to what's left.

I was also surprised by all the ads on the website. I don't see that (with my locked-down Firefox) at home. I'm going to have to root the Kindle, because I won't have the patience for Amazon's ads every time I pick the thing up. Their product is a shopping device, and I don't want to shop.

Some would say by filtering ads (websites, TV commercials) I'm not paying for the media I consume, not carrying my share of the load. But if the commercials don't influence my spending, who would benefit from my watching them? Most of the ads are for things I have no use for – drugs for diseases I don't have, home furnishings, clothes I would never wear. I do drive a car, but mine is 20+ years old (so 20 years of wasted commercials there), and TV is not going not be a major factor in my decision; a commercial is not a source of objective information. Commercials may even discourage my purchase if I feel they're a waste of money, and by buying what they advertise I'm supporting that waste. So you're better off if I don't know you spent a million dollars on a Super-Bowl ad. A car company that sponsors NASCAR – product development/testing. A clothing company – waste. (I don't consider auto racing a "sport", either, and horse racing is dubious. (Getting back to that "ride" a bike and "drive" a car thing.))
Equality House (before), 1200 Southwest Orleans Street, Topeka, KansasEquality House, 1200 Southwest Orleans Street, Topeka, KansasAaron Jackson of Destin, Florida bought a house across the street from the notoriously-homophobic Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas and painted it in the rainbow hues of the Gay Pride flag.
Westboro Baptist Church gets a rainbow-colored neighbor

Tue, Mar 19, 2013

The Westboro Baptist Church's neighborhood got a splash of color Tuesday morning. Aaron Jackson, the founder of non-profit Planting Peace and the owner of the two-bedroom, one-bath house at 1200 Southwest Orleans Street, directly across the street from the WBC, had his home painted in a gay pride rainbow theme Tuesday.

Jackson and a couple of Planting Peace partners have been living in the home for about two months. The organization has traditionally focused on causes like caring for orphans and de-worming children in impoverished countries. Jackson, from Destin, Florida, decided that GLBT equality would be the next area of focus for his group. The home, dubbed Equality House, will serve as a volunteer center and help the group promote GLBT rights in Kansas and throughout the country.
Equality House (before), 1200 Southwest Orleans Street, Topeka, KansasTrans Pride House, 1204 Southwest Orleans Street, Topeka, Kansas[2017/Jun/22] Interesting – I just took another look at Google Maps street view. Google has updated the front view of the house with the new paint, but if you move your viewpoint you can still get older images with the grey paint (and a realtor's sign(?) in the yard). In more-recent photos you can see that the garage has been converted into a room, and the driveway has been replaced with grass. (The house is on a corner, and there's a separate garage and driveway at the back of the lot.) And at some point the house next door became the Trans Pride house. (The two houses look like the same floor plan (not unusual) with different roof styles.)

It's not unusual to see seasonal shifts in Google's map images – aerial views that have leafy trees and bare branches in adjacent areas, or street views that suddenly have snow as you move down the block. I hadn't seen a surgical update like this before, but any business needs to respond to providing what people expect to find.

If you just want to see the house, you'll do better with an image search ('equality house topeka ks') than with Google's street view.
thanekos: Yoshikage Kira as Kosaku Kawajiri, after the second arrow. (Default)
[personal profile] thanekos posting in [community profile] scans_daily
He'd gone to the arena with his slave Bran.

He'd found a lead in his investigations, a gladiator's memento.

He watched the gladiator in question, Achillia, win another of her matches.

He went down to confront her. )

hey linux networking peeps

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:32 pm
solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)
[personal profile] solarbird

I’m finally getting back to working on a new gateway/router server and I’m basically setting up this old-school sort of DMZ, with the rest of our servers hanging off one card, and our internal LAN/DHCP/NAT side hanging off the other. (Using ISC, which Debian seems to like.) And all of that seems to be right from the new server’s perspective, which is yay!

Except there’s no packet forwarding from the DHCP side even though it’s enabled and I’m sure I enabled it and yes the kernel thinks its enabled but it isn’t happening.

Any ideas where to start?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

versaphile: (Yuuri/Victor Happy)
[personal profile] versaphile
I know I've been quiet on here, but I've been very busy with RL. Fandom inspiration finally struck me and I wrote for the first time in ages! YOI fandom has so much inspiration laying around that some of it had to strike me eventually.


Smile For The Camera (4080 words) by versaphile
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katsuki Yuuri/Victor Nikiforov
Characters: Katsuki Yuuri, Victor Nikiforov
Additional Tags: Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot, Smut, Hasetsu, Future Fic, Post-Season/Series 01, Husbands, Filming, Exhibitionism, Summer, Fluff, Fluff and Smut, Domestic Fluff, Porn Video, Photography, Dakimakura (sort of), Bottom Victor Nikiforov, Top Katsuki Yuuri, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Anal Fingering, Comeplay, Come Marking, Ass to Mouth, Spanking, Mild D/s, So mild it's barely there, Anxious Katsuki Yuuri, Confident Katsuki Yuuri, Smitten Victor Nikiforov, Teasing, Tickling, Praise Kink, Dom Victor Nikiforov, Sex Tapes, The Softest Dom
Summary:

Victor loves summer in Hasetsu with Yuuri. He loves it so much he needs to capture it for posterity.

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Posted by John Scalzi

Gotta be honest, I had entirely forgotten I’d done this interview last year when I was in Iowa City for a book festival. But eventually it all came back to me. Also, it’s a pretty good interview. Enjoy.


James Bond 007: Service

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11:14 pm
laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily


It’s explicitly a book about fading Empire. M16’s roots are in World War 2, and the core of the plot reaches back to there. What is Britain’s place in the world now? What does being British even mean? In a real way, it is a post-Brexit Bond. -- Kieron Gillen

Read more... )

The Hood #1

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 05:50 pm
mastermahan: (Default)
[personal profile] mastermahan posting in [community profile] scans_daily


Since Foolkiller ended with the implication Frank Castle was about to shoot The Hood, and the general consensus was "good riddance", I thought I'd take us all back to a time before Parker Robbins was a lame magic Kingpin wannabe, with the MAX series that first introduced him, written by a pre-Runaways and Y: The Last Man Brian K. Vaughn and drawn by Kyle Hotz.

Trigger warning for racism and sexist language.Read more... )

Brief review of "October" by China Miéville

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:16 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
 You know when you finish a book and you're sad because you know you won't ever write anything nearly as good?

That.

Weekly Update 24 JUN 2017

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 09:07 am
megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
[personal profile] megpie71
I made a bit of a change to my routine this week - instead of staying in bed until I was ready to wake up on my own (which was about 8am, if not later) I set an alarm to get me out of bed at 6am. Why? Mainly because I was finding the 8am wake-up time meant I felt as though I was getting nothing accomplished in the day - I was having trouble getting dressed before 10am, having trouble getting the housework completed before my spoons ran out at about 2pm, and overall just feeling as though I wasn't getting anywhere. Since the switch to a 6am wake-up, I've been feeling much more positive about the amount of stuff I'm getting accomplished in the day (same amount as previously, it has to be said - I just feel more positive about it), particularly since I'm managing to get a certain amount of it done before 10am, and most of the housework completed prior to noon. My spoons still largely run out around 2pm, but I feel better able to manage things before then.

In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.

What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.

Expectations: exceeded

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 08:52 pm
rmd: (Default)
[personal profile] rmd
So, back last year when a block of "Hamilton" tickets were released, I managed to snag tickets for the NY production of "Hamilton" for this week. Fourth row, front mezz, house right, so pretty good seats, and the tickets were priced at face value. [personal profile] clauclauclaudia and a few friends (who I don't believe have DW accounts) and Claudia's brother and my stepmother all took the train down to NYC on Weds, and most of us stayed overnight at the Paramount hotel (pretty much across the street from the theater, which was good as my stepmother has some mobility issues) and then took the train back on Thursday afternoon.

The show was everything I hoped it would be - exceptional, and the choreography and staging were a delight (one advantage of the mezz seating over orchestra is that I think we got a good view of the pattern-making in use on the nested turntables on the stage). Quite literally: I laughed; I cried; it was better than "Cats."

Hooray!

Y: The Last Man #1

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:16 am
[personal profile] history79 posting in [community profile] scans_daily



"We wondered if he thought a planet full of women could ultimately rebuild society and sustain itself once again. Vaughan was surprisingly optimistic on that front. "Yes, I do think it could. There were a lot of people early on in the first year who complained, "Wow, this is such a misogynistic book to say that, because the men died, the women can't get the electricity running all over the world and the airports up and running again." I think that's an extremely complex, extremely difficult thing to deal with. When three billion people die, I don't care what their sex was, that's an incredibly difficult thing to come back from. I will say that the world would be better off than if it were just the men left. I think that would be an even more dire situation. I think there is hope for the planet."

Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2008/02/02/y-the-last-man-the-end-of-an-era?page=5


Read more... )
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Posted by Teresa Jusino

 

 

Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, had a very specific vision of the future. By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation rolled around, he insisted on a story mandate: the conflict can never be between our main characters, because in Starfleet, petty squabbles are a thing of the past. Which is weird, because on the Original Series, Spock and McCoy were all about petty squabbles, and Scotty would punch you in the face if you trash talked about the Enterprise.

According to Nerdist, Star Trek: Discovery showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg are putting the kibosh on that mandate. Says Harberts, “We’re trying to do stories that are complicated, with characters with strong points of view and strong passions… People have to make mistakes — mistakes are still going to be made in the future. We’re still going to argue in the future.”

He continues, “But while we’re human or alien in various ways, none of us are perfect. The thing we’re taking from Roddenberry is how we solve those conflicts, so we do have our characters in conflict, we do have them struggling with each other, but it’s about how they find a solution and work through their problems.” And Berg adds, “The rules of Starfleet remain the same.”

I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was eight years old, and I’ve heard about Roddenberry’s mandate before. It never made any sense to me, because it didn’t seem to jibe with the show I was watching. At least, not the way it was described by people who’ve worked with him.

io9 talks about a William Shatner-produced documentary called Chaos on the Bridge, which focuses on the tumultuous first years of TNG. They say of the documentary:

“The picture that emerges is of a man who was angry and bitter after years in the wilderness following the cancellation of the original Star Trek in 1969. Roddenberry, according to all Shatner’s sources, had also developed a huge ego after years of going to conventions and college campuses and speaking to huge, adoring throngs—and the ‘Great Bird of the Galaxy’ had started to believe his own hype regarding his status as a great visionary who pointed the way toward a utopian future for the human race.”

It’s certainly very possible that, by the time Roddenberry got to TNG, he’d become more set in his ways thanks to decades of fans blowing smoke up his skirt. But as a kid growing up watching the show, particularly the Original Series, and hearing about Roddenberry’s “no conflict” mandate, I didn’t understand it as “no conflict between main characters ever.” I understood it to mean no conflict based on things that humanity had gotten over, like racism, sexism, and differences in class. Roddenberry wanted his starting point to be a human race free of those things. This doesn’t mean that there will never be interpersonal conflicts. It simply means that those conflicts won’t have the added layers of racism or sexism, or won’t have economic underpinnings.

To me, it makes sense for Starfleet personnel to not throw racial slurs at each other, or think less of each other because of gender, race, or physical appearance/ability. But yeah, the entire point of having a Spock and a McCoy tempering Kirk is that there is a conflict there. Spock and McCoy were like the Logical Devil and Emotional Angel on his shoulders, fighting with each other as they each tugged Kirk in their direction, with Kirk left to decide how to balance the two. The entire series was based in conflict like that.

And clearly, no one told Scotty about these higher ideals. Sure, the person he wants to punch for talking trash about the Enterprise in the Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles” is a Klingon, but if Starfleet officers were really as “over it” as all that, surely that wouldn’t have been Scotty’s go-to impulse. Especially with someone of a different culture.

To me, that’s the spirit of the mandate: that conflict between humans only be based in universal concerns, not stemming from any sort of inequality. So long as Discovery does that, that’s totally in the spirit of Roddenberry’s mandate and his original creation, even if it’s not following the letter of the law written by a man whose sense of self had gotten inflated.

Tl;drwrite what you want, Star Trek: Discovery. You’re correct in that you don’t need any kind of mandate to “get it right.” Roddenberry’s original vision is like pornography. Hard to define, but you’ll know it when you see it.

(image: CBS)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

Everyone who’s anyone seems to get remade in the Clue image these days, and now it’s Rick and Morty’s turn.

Nerd Approved has the first look at the game, subtitled Back in Blackout, which will be out in August for your end-of-summer parties. You can pre-order it here. The board itself looks pretty rad:

And here’s a summary of the “plot”:

The plans to Rick’s portal gun have been stolen! It’s up to Rick, Morty, Summer, Jerry, Beth and Mr. Poopybutthole to get them back. They must find out WHO stole the plans, WHERE they are hiding, and WHAT item they used to succeed in the heist. It’s an inter-dimensional mystery!

Bonus points if you play with a flask perpetually in hand. (via Nerd Approved)

  • Stephen Colbert is in Russia on a “secret assignment” and I cannot WAIT to see what kind of comedic gold emerges as a result. (via L.A. Times)
  • Bill Cosby, who has been accused by more than 60 women of sexual assault, is now planning to hold town hall meetings on how “young athletes” and “married men” can avoid being accused of sexual assault. This is kind of like Lex Luthor holding town halls on how to be a superhero, except nevermind because I like Lex Luthor and Bill Cosby is a monster. (via Twitter)
  • Cult cartoon Rocko’s Modern Life is getting a TV movie revival, because it was awesome, and also because no media property that dies is truly dead anymore. (via Syfy)
  • This summer’s new crop of TV passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. (via The Guardian)
  • Preacher season 2 will hew even more closely to the comics’ storylines. BRING ON THE SAINT OF KILLERS. (via IGN)

So what did you see today, my besties?


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(no subject)

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 03:41 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] jesse_the_k tells me all the cool kids are doing this:

what boxofdelights likes to talk about

row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;

I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.

Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.
alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher posting in [community profile] scans_daily




"I'd read the two BROTHER POWER THE GEEK comics as a small boy, and thought they were seriously weird. Rereading them as an adult they were still seriously weird, and funny, and touched with a sad, strange nostalgia. I'd been reading some Ken Kesey, and somehow the idea of Brother Power as a final remnant of flower power began to possess me. 'At least you didn't bring back Prez,' said my friends, relieved. Little did they know."
--Neil Gaiman, Midnight Days

Mild gore on one page.

'Like where did the beeeautiful people go?' )
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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

Yesterday, some people at NASA got wind of a company selling magical healing stickers—sorry, “smart stickers” that are “programmed” to promote healing but are actually just stickers and not magic or programmed at all—and they were less than impressed. NASA officials took particular issue with claims that the stickers made use of a “conductive carbon material” used in spacesuits that isn’t actually used in spacesuits, and now Body Vibes, the company behind the stickers, is sorry—for lying about spacesuits, but probably not about whether stickers can heal you.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, which promoted the stickers along with other ridiculous items, is also sorry, but the apologies seem a little insincere underneath the pile of other ridiculous, unscientific crap promoted by both Goop and Body Vibes. Gizmodo reports that Body Vibes’ apology read, “We apologize to NASA, Goop, our customers and our fans for this communication error. We never intended to mislead anyone. We have learned that our engineer was misinformed by a distributor about the material in question, which was purchased for its unique specifications. We regret not doing our due diligence before including the distributor’s information in the story of our product. However, the origins of the material do not anyway impact the efficacy of our product. Body Vibes remains committed to offering a holistic lifestyle tool and we stand by the quality and effectiveness of our product.”

There are … several strange things about that apology. First, if it’s not clear enough already, it’s kind of silly to apologize to Goop for this misleading information. In their own blog post about the stickers, Goop was more than happy to claim to be “geeking out about the healing power of energy recently,” which, no, that is not a thing. The “healing power of energy” is not a thing, and the idea of “geeking out” about unscientific things is inherently insulting to geeks everywhere—how do you even “geek out” over something with no substance? The fun of geeking out is all in the details! Although, I guess the placebo effect is technically scientific …

Then, there’s “we never intended to mislead anyone,” and, yeah, you did. You maybe did not intend to mislead them about whether or not the “conductive carbon material” was part of NASA spacesuits—it seems the fake product salespeople were beaten at their own game there—but you absolutely did intend to mislead people into buying stickers that would do nothing for them other than stick to their bodies. The one true part of their apology seems to be that “the origins of the material do not anyway impact the efficacy of our product.” That’s accurate, since they would’ve been junk-science nothing-stickers whether the material came from spacesuits or not. The efficacy is in no way affected.

Bonus points for that bit of honesty, I guess.

(image: Luis Pérez on Flickr)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

Jimmy Kimmel, who’s previously done his fair share of normalizing Trump, has recently come out very strongly against the Republicans’ vicious plans for the American health care system. After his newborn child needed emergency heart surgery, he aired a heartfelt appeal to create a health care system where no one has to go without the life-saving care they need. “We need to take care of each other,” he emphasized.

As part of that ongoing appeal, Kimmel opened his show by ripping into the Senate healthcare bill. “They’re calling the plan ‘Bettercare’,” he said, “as in: ‘Just imagine how much better this plan would be if the people who wrote it cared.’ It slashes Medicaid; it could negatively affect millions of poor and elderly people. But, here’s the thing: it won’t happen until 2024. It’s gradual. It makes you wonder, why 2024? What is the significance of that? Will we all be in those pods from The Matrix by then? We won’t need healthcare?”

“The reason it’s 2024 is because that will be after most of the current senators have run for re-election. And then these guys wonder why we hate them.”

After that speech, Kimmel also shared the above interviews with some children. A lot of this video is “cute kid” jokes, in line with Kimmel’s usual all-audiences shtick, but it’s telling how easily the children can answer these basic questions about compassionate, appropriate behavior.

“What if somebody who is poor is sick?” asks Kimmel. “Should people who have money help them to get better?”

“Yeah!”

“Of course!”

“Should all kids be able to go to the doctor when they get sick?” he asks later.

“Yeeesss.”

“Yes, they should!”

Watching this video, it’s almost as if the only requirement for understanding the right to health care is … the basic human decency we’re all born with! And yet more than half our Congress lacks that crucial quality.

While this video is most worthwhile for pointing out how absurdly cruel it is to punish anyone for being in poor health, there’s also humor to be had. I especially recommend that you watch in order to catch the reactions of these two girls when this boy says he wants to be “a Trump guy.”

Now, this poor kid is probably just miming his parents’ talking points, so I mostly feel sorry for all the toxicity he must be exposed to. But the girls’ reaction faces…they’re still my everything.

The children, on the whole, know what’s up.

(Via Deadline; featured image via screengrab)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Vogue, as an art form, didn’t start with the hit Madonna song. It started decades earlier in the Harlem ballroom scene of the 1960s, which sprung up in response to decades of racism in the ballroom scene going back as early as the 1930s, where white gay men wouldn’t let gay men of color participate, and if they did, they never won prizes. Right now, there is a reigning queen of vogue. She’s known as Mother Leiomy, and Nike has recognized her greatness during Pride Month.

In the ad above, which is part of Nike’s #BeTrue #Equality campaign, we see 30-year-old Leiomy Maldonado, A.K.A. Mother Leiomy (ballroom competitions are divided up into “houses” and each house has a “mother” or a “father” who guides newer members) head of The House of Amazon (perfect for the ‘Wonder Woman of Vogue’) being athletic as hell.

Marvel as you see her move, push, and contort her body in ways most people can’t. But more importantly, listen to the words of the poem being spoken in the spot by Precious Ebony. where she talks about how inspiring Leiomy is to an entire generation of “fallen angels” who never felt like they fit before coming to know of and be taught by Leiomy. Precious Ebony writes:

“Which angels gave you their wings?
Which skies have you flown?
When you reached the heavens, who was there to catch when you fell?
And did they tell you that you saved them too, like you saved me?
That they are mending their wings and holding them up to the sun, just to step back and watch you fly
So go ‘head Lei — fly.”

There are so many reasons why vogue exists primarily in the underground, not the least of which is that it remains a safe space for black and brown LGBTQIA youth, but that doesn’t mean it’s small. There are global competitions, and countries all over the world have their own houses and ballroom scenes. Voguing has also popped up in pop culture everywhere from the Madonna song and the award-winning documentary Paris is Burning, to Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” video (in which Leiomy was featured), to The Get Down in which Dizzee is introduced to the ballroom scene in 1970s New York.

Knowing that, it makes sense that a mainstream brand like Nike acknowledge the athleticism and inspiration brought about by this art form that has its roots entirely in the LGBTQIA community (as do many other cool things).

And now I’ll leave you with one of my favorite instances of Leiomy doing her thing at a vogue competition in Stockholm a few years ago when she was a judge. SHE DOES ALL THIS SHIZZ IN HEELS, THO! (Sorry, Nike!) Much respect, Mother Leiomy.

(via Mic, image: screencap)

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Posted by Charline Jao

The Hollywood Walk of Fame announced their additions for 2018 yesterday, and it includes many of our favorite actors and performers for whom acknowledgement is long overdue.

This includes beloved Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter, Gillian Anderson whom we love in everything but most recently American Gods, Taraji P. Henson who’s in the television category for Empire, Niecy Nash who’s killing it right now on ClawsTV hero Shonda Rhimes, and Drag Race‘s Rupaul. And of course, is it a surprise to anyone that Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda received one for theater, and Star Wars hero Mark Hamill for film?

Here’s the full list.

From the television industry: Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, Anthony Anderson, Gillian Anderson, Lynda Carter, Simon Cowell, Taraji P. Henson, Eric McCormack, Ryan Murphy, Niecy Nash, Mandy Patinkin, Shonda Rhimes and RuPaul.

From the film industry: Jack Black, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Goldblum, F. Gary Gray, Mark Hamill, Jennifer Lawrence, Gina Lollobrigida, Minnie Mouse, Nick Nolte and Zoë Saldana.

In Recording: Mary J. Blige, Sir Richard Branson, Petula Clark, Harry Connick, Jr., Ice T, Snoop Dogg, Carrie Underwood and “Weird Al” Yankovic

In Live Theater and performance: Charles Aznavour, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and posthumous Bernie Mac.

In Radio: Steve Jones.

The two posthumous stars in the awardees are Steven Irwin and the late comedian Bernie Mac. Irwin’s daughter Bindi Irwin shared a heartwarming message on Instagram, writing “I am beyond excited to share with you all that we have just received the news that Dad will be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Dad changed the world by reaching out to people through their television screens to bring them on the adventure of a lifetime. To have his name on a Hollywood Star means the world as we carry on his important work.”

Do you see any of your faves up there?

(via CNN, image: Warner Bros. Television Distribution)

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what i saw June 23, 2017 at 01:17PM

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 08:17 pm
ironymaiden: (beholder)
[personal profile] ironymaiden

Just another day at the office. (Enjoying being outside before the heat hits this weekend.) something i saw

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Posted by John Scalzi

Hey, did you know I’m currently writing a novel? I am! It’s called Head On, and it’s coming out in ten months. Also, it’s not done yet, and the deadline is real soon now. I need to make some real progress on it in the next few weeks or else my editor will give me highly disapproving looks. Which would be no good. My problem is that whenever I make any real progress and take a break to see what’s going on in the news, it looks like this:

 

And, well. That’s not great for my focus.

The world is not going to stop being like this anytime in the near future, alas, but I still need to get my work done, and soon.

So: From now until the book is done, my plan is to avoid the news as much as possible, and also, to the extent I do see news, to avoid writing about it in any significant detail. Tweets? Maybe. 1,000+ word posts here? Probably not.

Note that I’m going to fail in avoiding the news entirely — I live in the world, and next week I’ll be at Denver Comic Con, which means that at the very least in the airport CNN is going to come at me, and anyway whichever way the Senate plan to murder the ACA falls out, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna know about it. Be that as it may I’m going to make an effort to keep as much of it out of my brain as possible.

Incidentally, yes, just in case you were wondering, this is confirmation that at least one of your favorite writers — me! — finds it hard to get work done in these days of the world being on fire. “The art of the Trump era is going to be so lit!” people have said. Dudes, when you’re worried about friends losing access to health care and American democracy being dug out from below because the general GOP attitude to the immense corruption and bigotry of the Trump administration is “lol, as long as we get to kick the poor,” just to list two things about 2017, the creative process is harder to get into, and stay inside of. I’m not the only one I know who is dealing with this right now.

But the work still needs to get done — and not just for you folks. I like getting caught up in my work. It feels good when the writing is moving along.

So, again: News break.

This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer Whatever posts over the next few weeks, since I’ll have July Big Idea pieces and other posts in the pipeline. It does mean the posts that show up probably won’t touch much on world/national news or politics.

I mean, I hope they won’t. But I also know this is a thing, especially with me:

So. I will try to be strong.

Also, when the book is done, oh, how I shall opine.

In the meantime, I don’t suspect you will have difficulty finding other opinions on news and political events. It’s called “the Internet.” You may have heard of it.


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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

We love Sir Ian McKellen so much for so many reasons, but watching him stand up for the LGBTQIA community—especially during Pride Month—is a big one. Donald Trump’s presidency, no matter how much he said he’d be “much better for the gays,” is a disturbing one for LGBTQIA rights, particularly because we were already struggling to make progress before things were seemingly completely derailed with the 2016 election.

While the damage done by the Trump administration hasn’t been as visible as, say, actively overturning the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that upheld marriage equality, there’s still plenty to be concerned about—including the rollback of federal guidelines on the treatment of transgender students, as well as the revocation of rules barring federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under normal circumstances, those may sound like strange moves for a candidate who actively proclaimed himself to be a friend to those very same people during the campaign, but McKellen perfectly summed up the unique problem with Donald Trump—without just saying, “He’s unusually full of shit.” Did we mention that eloquence was one of the qualities we love about him?

He told them, “I don’t always understand what [Trump] says, and when I do, I have to admit later that I got it wrong, because he’s changed his mind.” He also mentioned that it’s fundamentally “unAmerican” to interfere with LGBTQIA rights and brought up the history of the rights movements in our country, eventually calling Trump out on the idea that not being “aware” of any of this is plausible.

When Trump was asked about marriage equality, his best answer was that his personal opinion on it was immaterial due to the Supreme Court ruling, but taking McKellen’s logic on awareness a step further—as I have to believe he meant it—Trump can’t have avoided having a personal opinion on it. If that opinion follows the rest of his actions, rather than his disingenuous words, it’s not good.  Rumors are circulating that there may soon be another Supreme Court opening that Donald Trump could fill with someone who could make that personal opinion a nationwide reality, and even if they’re not true, he may yet get the chance eventually.

But Trump wasn’t McKellen’s only target on the subject of awareness. As we talk about a lot around here, the entertainment industry, despite how much flak it already catches for being left-leaning, could be doing more to help out. After all, those “left-leaning” complaints are frequently more revealing of the skewed worldview of those making them and what they’re normally shown, as McKellen pointed out, “I wouldn’t say the films coming out of the mainstream are quite as related to what’s going on in the real world as I would like them to be. One indication of that is LGBT people don’t really get quite a big enough say. If you’re one of those initials yourself, you do notice that actually these movies are not about me at all.”

(via Variety, image: screengrab)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

YouTube comments are the infamous cesspool of the internet, and they remain stubbornly hateful despite the introduction of comment moderation and (controversial) programs like YouTube Heroes. While a solution to the problem remains elusive, academics may have identified one of the causes. (Spoiler alert: it’s 4chan.)

In the papers, “Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan’s Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web,” and “The Web Centipede: Understanding How Web Communities Influence Each Other Through the Lens of Mainstream and Alternative News Sources,” researchers attempted to analyze 4chan’s effect on the wider web. Specifically, they looked at the effects of the “Politically Incorrect” board, better known as /pol/. As one of the researchers on both papers, Gianluca Stringhini, explained in an interview with Nature, we understand a fair amount about how content spreads once it’s been posted on a platform – how a “fake news” story gets shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter, for example – but we don’t have as much data about inter-site traffic. How does hate travel from site to site?

Researchers for the “Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump” paper analyzed over 8 million /pol/ posts for insights into both the types of content that appear on the board, and how that content leads to user behavior. The revelations about the content will surprise exactly zero persons. It’s full of hate speech, memes, and links to extremist “tabloid and right-wing leaning” sites. “We find that 12% of /pol/ posts contain hateful terms [i.e., hate speech]…In comparison, analyzing our sample of tweets reveals just how substantially different /pol/ is from other social media: only 2.2% contained a hate word.”

The content on /pol/ is also often original, making it a clear starting point for plenty of racist memes. “Most content on 4chan is quite unique: 70% of the 1M unique images in our dataset were posted only once and 95% less than 5 times,” said the researchers. “In fact, /pol/’s ability to find or produce original content is likely one of the reasons it is thought to be at the center of hate on the web.”

However, the revelations about /pol/’s effect on YouTube were a little more intriguing. “The website most linked to on /pol/ is YouTube,” the researchers found, “with over an order of magnitude more URLs posted than the next two sites, Wikipedia and Twitter.”

Seeing YouTube’s popularity on /pol/, the researchers then studied “raiding” behavior. As defined in the paper, “a raid is an attempt to disrupt another site, not from a network perspective (as in a DDoS attack), but from a content point of view. I.e., raids are not an attempt to directly attack a 3rd party service itself, but rather to disrupt the community that calls that service home.”

“We studied ‘raiding’ behavior by looking for evidence of /pol/’s hateful impact on YouTube comments,” the researchers wrote. “We used signal processing techniques to discover that peaks of commenting activity on YouTube tend to occur within the lifetime of the thread they were posted to on /pol/.”

In short, although explicit calls for “raids” aren’t allowed on 4chan, when /pol/ users share a YouTube video they disagree with, it often serves as a call to other /pol/ users to leave abusive comments on that video.

In his interview with Nature, Stringhini also discussed the “Web Centipede” paper’s findings about /pol/’s effect on other sites. “Twitter influences the other services a lot, which makes sense,” he said. “Users of /pol/ and reddit will see news on Twitter, and then they will post those stories on their own boards and talk about them. But we also found that the opposite happens. To give you an example, we found that about 12% of the alternative news on worldnews — one of the main news boards on reddit — is coming from 4chan. And over 16% of the alternative news on the same board is coming from The_Donald.”

As we come closer to understanding the causes and sources of the most hateful news in our media ecosystem, and how that content spreads, the next step will be masterminding solutions. Given how much traffic this content can generate, I’m not sure I trust companies like YouTube and Twitter to develop those solutions – but at least academics are on top of researching the causes.

(Via Boing Boing and Nature; image via Justin Taylor on Flickr)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

What do you do with a problem like turning your greatest Nazi-fighting superhero into an agent of Hydra, upsetting fans for months? Continue to milk the storyline unto infinity, if you’re Marvel Comics!

We’ve written about Nazi Cap several times before and now I’m just. Done. At this point, I’m devoid of any other emotion where my beloved Steve Rogers is concerned except for a sense of total exhaustion. Despite more than a year of consternation and pushback from fans and lots of distraught press coverage, Marvel has decided to beat this dead war horse for all that it’s worth. Screenrant reports:

“…it looks like the controversial Captain America story will go on even longer thanks to Secret Empire Omega #1. What originally started as a nine-issue series and countless tie-ins had previously been extended with a tenth issue depicting Captain America’s new Hydra armor on its cover – suggesting his reign as Hydra’s leader wouldn’t be stopped by story’s end. At least, Steve Rogers wouldn’t be returning to the version of Captain America fans actually love.”

This is frustrating particularly because Marvel had assured us, in its tone-deaf way, that we’d be feeling better about Steve’s decisions by the end of Secret Empire, telling fans to “wait and see.” Now you have to wait and see and also buy some more comics! Oh and here also are even more “countless tie-ins.” Gotta catch ’em all!

I guess nothing sells books like exploiting the good will and affection built up for a superhero over seventy years. A character created by Jews to punch Hilter in the face who is now running Hydra. And Marvel’s sitting there like, how can we do even more of this? They’ve certainly thrown a ton of money into promoting and growing this thing rather than, say, the recently canceled titled featuring diverse characters.

Go on, Screenrant:

When an issue is described as something of an epilogue dealing with the “Aftermath” of a major event, there will be some readers who feel it a less-than-necessary read. For the cynics, it’s merely a chance to extend an event’s branding for one more week or month. But with writer Nick Spencer and artist Andrea Sorrentino remaining on for Omega, and announced to contain 40 pages, it’s looking more and more like the creative team may be saving some of their biggest, or most pivotal closing words or events for the very end.

This is what we in the business like to call “LOL suckers we’re coming for more of your hard-earned cash.” Nick Spencer’s probably cackling like some kind of actual Hydra villain going “Muahahaha, I could have wrapped this thing up when I said I would, but oh look AT THIS NEW AND SIZEABLE PAYCHECK.”

Here’s the official synopsis for Secret Empire Omega #1, if you can bring yourself to care (SPOILERS I GUESS):

SECRET EMPIRE AFTERMATH! Hydra has fallen, but the world is still not secure! As the heroes of the Marvel Universe stir from the wreckage of the battlefield, the inevitable rebuilding must begin. However, one question hangs in the air over the proceedings: What redemption can there be for Captain America?

I don’t know? Maybe Captain America wouldn’t need to find redemption if he hadn’t been turned into the leader of Hydra and betrayer of his friends and deepest principles? I’ll give you that idea for free, Marvel.

There’s also this: when you cancel Black Panther & The Crew and World of Wakanda, which were being written, respectively, by Ta-nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, two best-selling and immensely respected writers with massive followings that you somehow could not figure out how to market effectively, you are doing things wrong. When you delete spaces for diverse voices but find time and resources to extend the universe where Captain America is evil, you are DOING EVERYTHING WRONG.

You may find a way to narratively “redeem” Secret Empire‘s Steve Rogers to some readers’ satisfaction, but how will you, Marvel Comics, redeem yourself from the ill-will and sense of betrayal this year’s decisions have provoked in fans?

Please just let me rest.

(via Screenrant, image: Marvel Comics)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Remember how psyched I was for the sci-fi exhibit at the MoMA this summer? Well, there’s another exciting film series in the city this summer. The New York Asian Film Festival is coming up at the end of the month, giving those in the city an opportunity to watch all kinds of Asian films on the big screen with appearances from 30 different directors and actors.

There’s definitely something for everyone in these 57 films, as the description states:

“Get wooed by die-hard romantics, unnerved by devil children, and bear witness to the fury of angry young men on paths of destruction in the sweet sixteenth edition of the New York Asian Film Festival. Wild cinematic outings that always have something to say about the human condition, this summer’s crop of titles range from the heartwarming to the desperately dark. Dive headfirst into the raging sea of talent from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and across South East Asia—filmmakers unafraid to take on controversial subjects and explore complex emotions.”

Every image in the trailer alone looks mesmerizing, with images from cult favorite Sabu’s Happiness and Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess (making its U.S. premiere) in particular standing out to me. I’m also especially curious about the female-centered stories like Daigo Matsui’s Japanese Girls Never Die and Ahn Jung-min’s Fantasy of the Girls, as well as what’s sure to be a compelling watch, Jero Yun’s Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman. While there is definitely a generous amount of action films and thrillers, there’s also wholesome films, like Han Han’s Duckweed, Shinobu Yaguchi’s Survival Family, or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius. Even if you’re not in NYC, NYAFF is a great reference if you’re looking for something to add to your watch-list.

The entire roster is a treasure trove of films that are easy to overlook when you’re more focused on English-speaking films, and a great opportunity to watch something different. For me, I’m definitely curious to check out some of the Taiwanese films since I don’t get an opportunity to watch them on the big screen very often.

NYAFF will take place from June 30 to July 13 at the Film Society and July 14 to 16 at the SVA Theatre. Check out showings and ticket info here.

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

I sometimes have to wonder if people who fight so hard trying to derail already marginalized communities would instead focus their considerable energy into something more productive, if we wouldn’t have a cure for cancer by now.

As you may recall, Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas held (sold out!) women-only screenings of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, and some men on the Internet got real mad about it. Those that didn’t get out and angry still thought the whole thing so ridiculous, apparently, that they decided to “make fun of” the women-only screenings by holding their own response events.

Take the “dudes” over at The Billy Madison Show, a nationally syndicated radio show on 99.5 KISS in San Antonio. Last night, they held a men-only screening of Metallica Through the Never (because nothing says manliness like Metallica!). Here are some of the hilarious things about this:

  • They paid for it themselves. Rather than organizing it and showing how many men actually even needed/wanted something like this by allowing tickets to be sold publicly, they rented out the Alamo Drafthouse themselves and made the event invite-only, giving away tickets to their listeners. So they spent their own money to, what, prove that their listeners are sexist? That there aren’t nearly as many men who are in any way threatened or upset by a women-only screening because more men than they like to think actually fucking get it?
  • Whatever point they’re trying to prove, they did so with the least amount of people involved possible. According to MySanAntonio.com, “Madison said the showing will feature ‘dude seating’ and a ‘dude Q&A’ session with ‘dude-only questions’ hosted by himself and his co-hosts. Derek Allgood, one of the show’s co-hosts, said ‘dude seating’ means there will be one empty spot between each guy.” Way to get people to rally and give a shit, guys.

Let’s just linger on ‘dude seating’ for a seconda thing that is stupid in regular life that is even more stupid at an event like this. You’d think that getting as many men together as possible would make the stronger statement. You’d think, right? But for these guys, it’s more important to prove the latent homophobia of some men by catering to it at their event. Not to mention clearly reminding the world that “real” men are straight men, because God forbid there be any gay around here. This is Texas!

What the hell is a “dude-only question?” Like, I know they’re trying to be funny, right? But seriously, that joke only works as far as the press release. I can imagine them all getting there, and the hosts being like, “We’re ready for your dude-only questions!” And then they all laugh. And then there’s an uncomfortable silence. And then the hosts are like, “No seriously, anyone have a question? About Metallica? Or, you know, us being dudes? Anyone?” *crickets*

What this screening did was simply illustrate why the women-only screenings of Wonder Woman were so necessary, and helpful, and a wonderful move for Alamo Drafthouse:

  • Multiple women-only screenings of Wonder Woman sold out. There was clearly a desire and a need for women-only screening of Wonder Woman that Alamo saw and jumped on. Men don’t need “men-only” screenings, and only get up in arms about them whenever women want an all-women anything. If men really needed “men-only” screenings, they’d already be having them. But they don’t. Because the world caters to “men-only” enough as it is. It’s likely that they gave away tickets and made a production about “dude seating” because they knew they wouldn’t be able to fill a theater otherwise. Not for this nonsense.
  • They’re not making a great case for masculinity. So, to these “dudes,” what men want (what they really, really want) is heavy metal, no women around (except when they want sex, of course), and no gayness (because gay and trans men aren’t men). Oh, and to be reactionary rather than proactive and actually giving a shit about the world around them. Because they have it so good as men that any change is a threat. So, whereas the women-only screenings also served to raise money for Planned Parenthood, this men-only screening served…nothing. No purpose. Men like this do nothing most of the time, fighting only when they’re denied something to which they feel entitled…which they believe are most things, but in reality is actually very little. I often wonder why so many men are so willing to play into the worst stereotypes of themselves just to prove some vague point about their entitlement. For all that say that “feminism” is about hating men, I think it’s about loving men as much as we love women. It’s about believing in them and knowing that they can be better than that. It’s about reminding men that they don’t have to be hateful, or hurtful, or destructive to be men. It’s about not treating men like children, but treating them like adults who are capable of being vulnerable, taking responsibility, and seeing beyond themselves enough to care for others.

Meanwhile, Alamo Drafthouse wasted no time in responding re: their part in this, making sure we know that they’re not believers in this nonsense. “This is not an Alamo Drafthouse-promoted event,” an Alamo Drafthouse spokesperson said. “It’s a private event and our feelings on this have been previously expressed.”

I suppose I should be grateful for this men-only screening. It serves as a hopeful reminder that there are more decent men out there than we think, and those are the men that we need to engage in doing away with sexism. As for the hosts of this show and their echo chamber?

As Beth Elderkin says in her tweet above, “Boys, knock yourselves out.”

(via Beth Elderkin on Twitter, image: The Billy Madison Show)

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A New Addition to the Midnight Star Universe

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 05:00 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

If you’re a fan of the Midnight Star video games I helped create, here’s something fun for you: John Shirley, legendary writer and lyricist, has written “Purgatorio,” a serialized story set in the Midnight Star universe. He’s written it for Bound, a new company (and iOS app) specializing in serialized fiction. Which is pretty cool.

And, it’s the first time someone’s done media tie-in work for a universe I helped to create. Which is also pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

Here’s the post on Bound’s site talking about the story. If you have an iOS device you can also download the app there.


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