Friday phrase: Mouse Potato

Friday, April 28th, 2017 09:03 pm
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Posted by med_cat

Grandiloquent Word of the Day: Mouse Potato
(MOUS po•tay•toe)
-A person who spends large amounts of their leisure or working time on a computer.

Combination of couch potato and computer mouse.

Used in a sentence:
“Would you quit being such a mouse potato and go get some sun, you’re starting to frighten the children!”

(from Grandiloquent Word of the Day, on Facebook)

[libations, MA] We have a meadery?!

Friday, April 28th, 2017 02:39 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
[Content Advisory: Contains booze]

I just discovered, compliments of Groupon, the existence of the 1634 Meadery, up in Ipswich. How did I not know about this? Did you know about this? How long has this been there? Is this somebody I know? Has anybody tried any of their stock? Is it any good? Is it any good by Scadian standards?

This is less exciting to me now than it would have been 20 years ago, but, still, I'm amused and hopes it turns out to be a viable source. It would be nice to acquire a bottle when I felt like it, and without all the washing of glassware and standing over a hot stove and multi-month wait, so say nothing of the crying expense of honey these days. I wish them success.

In any event, Groupon has a deal on tours which includes a tasting.

ETA: And they have six varieties on the shelves of my preferred liquor store! I shall launch an expedition forthwith.

ETA2: Success! I scored a bottle of Pilgrim's Pride. Verdict: I've made better, but I've had worse. Not as Scadian-flavored as the tej they sell at Fasika, but definitely something I recognize as a proper mead and at 14.7% ABV it was clearly made in the Scadian way: as with drowning someone, you're not done until the bubbles stop coming up. This is no-saccaride-left-behind booze, and it kicks like a mule. $20 only gets you 500ml. The serving suggestions are either chilled or on ice, and I can see why. I, of course, tried it at room temperature, which at the time wa 76degF, and it has some unfortunate notes which are flashing me back to my undergrad meading days, a milder version of the tastes that caused me and my confederate to wonder if what we made was safe to drink*; those notes are probably suppressed when chilled.

* Okay, story time. My partner in crime and I got such a weird flavored result from our first batch of mead that we found ourselves wondering if we had actually managed to produce some variety of alcohol other than ethanol. Some of those are dangerous to drink, and we had no idea how any of them are made. So there we are in our dorm kitchen trying to figure out how to figure out what our little craft project consists of, chemically speaking. My collaborator is a chemistry major. I am, at this point in time, a materials science major, and say what is probably the most materials-sciency thing imaginable, something to the effect of, "If this were an metal alloy, we would be able to tell what was in it by the temperatures of its phase changes. You orgo types, do you have phase state diagrams for different alcohols vs H2O?" Now, presumably you can just go look that up off the internet; this was before the Web. She checked her textbooks, and didn't come up with anything. It being an engineering school, we then pretty much went door-to-door in the dorm asking if anybody had the reference data we needed; lots of people loaned us likely textbooks, and we pored over them, but no luck.

Now, as it happened, we were doing this on a Friday night, and, as it happened, the dorm was at that very moment holding a party on the ground floor. I don't know which one of us it was that got this bright idea: since we couldn't find the data we needed in references, we could derive it experimentally. We could take a sample of H20-C2H6O solution of known proportion – a Budweiser – and see what temperature it boiled at. My confederate had a candy thermometer. I went down to the party and grabbed a Bud.

(Note! I eventually realized that this wouldn't work, because we had two dependent variables, not one. My co-conspirator eventually realized that this wouldn't work because the candy thermometer was probably insufficiently precise to do the job. At least we only wasted a Bud.)

So there we are, in our dorm kitchen. The gallon apple cider jug which no longer holds cider and has the tell-tale U-shaped vapor lock sticking out of the cork in it is sitting on the kitchen table between my co-conspirator and I. The rest of the table is covered in textbooks all open to pages about the chemistry of ethyl alcohol. A saucepan of beer with a candy thermometer in it heats on the stove.

And the dorm Housemaster wanders in.

He's an affable gray-haired 70-something physicist, and I on no occasion before or after ever saw him on a floor of the building higher than the first. If you had told me he was no more able to climb stairs than a Dalek, I would have had no evidence to the contrary.

I am 19. My collaborator is 18. It's 1990. We freeze like two deer in a headlight.

"Are you girls studying on a Friday night? You should take a break. There's a party in the first floor lounge, you know."

And he wandered back out.

We never did figure out what was in our mead. An upperclasswoman who – perhaps crucially – was a biologist who liked to party hard, counseled us that if it didn't taste like something we wanted to drink, maybe we shouldn't be worrying so hard about whether it was something we could drink. Thus we resigned ourselves to the obvious and sadly fed it to the kitchen sink. Some weeks or months later, she actually found exactly the phase-state diagram we had needed and made me a photocopy; I may still have that piece of paper somewhere in my stuff.


Friday, April 28th, 2017 07:38 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
rebec or rebeck (REE-bek, REH-bek) - n., (music) a pear-shaped, usually three-stringed medieval instrument, played with a bow.

Ancestor or uncle of the violin, played under the chin or against the chest. Pear-shaped might better be described as lute-shaped, if that helps you visualize it better. Or this might be even better:

Rebec played by an angel

In use in Arabic classical music since at least the 9th century, introduced into Europe via Spain, and popular there from the 13th to 16th centuries. Note that the body was made of a solid carved piece of wood. The name was adopted in the 15th century from French, from Old French, alteration (influenced by bec, beak, from its shape) of rebebe, from Old Provençal rebeb, from Arabic rabāb, from rabba, to be master/control, Semitic root rbb (the same as rabbi).

And that wraps up 5x5s -- back next week with the usual mix.


How Not To Fight The Murder Zombies.

Friday, April 28th, 2017 09:30 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So the murder zombies are in your town again, ripping limbs from torsos. Everyone knows the best way to survive the murder zombie onslaught is to hide in a closet.

But humans react to murder zombies in funny ways, even when they’re not being personally devoured by the zombies’ hoof-hard teeth.

See, because “hiding in a closet” is the best way of riding it out when the murder zombie herd comes ravaging through town, you’ll have people who get really good at hiding in closets.

With each Culling they survive, these people will become increasingly cocky about their closet-hiding techniques.

Eventually, they’ll start making fun of people who don’t know how to hide in a closet properly. Complaints about the way the murder-zombies ate your child will be met with a sneering, “I guess somebody didn’t have their closet ready.”

And the end result will be, unbelievably, people who have more scorn for zombie victims than they do a hatred for the murder-zombies who want to tear them to shreds.

Yet that’s not the weirdest thing. The *weirdest* thing is that these expert closet-hiders genuinely come to think they’re fighting the murder-zombies by teaching these hiding techniques. “See, if you starve them, maybe they won’t murder so much,” the closet-hiders say.

But that’s not actually fighting the murder-zombies. That’s just surviving the murder-zombies. At best, the murder-zombies might slaughter the people in the next town over – but the expert closet-hiders think that’s just great, because at this point anyone who gets eaten by the murder-zombies is so stupid they deserve to die.

They think they’re fighting the murder-zombies, but in a way they’re actually very much aligned with the murder-zombies.

Whereas the truth is this: hiding in a closet is a useful skill to learn, and you probably need to learn it. But reducing the murder-zombie hordes to mere nuisances will take more than one person. You need an entire town to rise up, grab guns from the burning houses of those who have fallen, the mobilization of thousands of people so their response is not “Shit, murder-zombies, better prep my hiding-from-murder-zombie camouflage techniques” but “Sound the alarms, get the pitchforks, let’s make sure these murder-zombies don’t hurt another person!”

You need an organization to fight the horde, man. One man (or woman) can’t stop the undead stampede. One man (or woman) might as well just hide in the closet.

But the problem is this: that expert closet-hider is mocking the people who want to go out and fight (“What, don’t you have a closet?”), and telling everyone that the people who died deserved their deaths. And yes, maybe some of the people who died were unwise in some of their decisions. We might need a couple of staunch closets until we can recoup enough resources to take the fight to the murder-zombie larvae in their terrifying butchernest, and if you want to lead a respectful class on “Closet Hiding 101” then okay, sure, it can help.

Yet when you spend more energy denigrating the victims than you do saying, “*Of course* the murder-zombies are an evil necrotic horde who deserve no sympathy,” then you’re sapping the town’s efforts to rise up, man. We need to get out and shine sunlight on the necromancer’s cursed butchernest jewel and dissolve this murder-zombie horde after all – and your reliance on “BUILD A STURDIER CLOSET” just makes us all live in increasingly smaller closets.

So, you know, survive the zombies. Nothing wrong with that.

Just don’t forget that survival is very different from changing the landscape so zombie-survival is no longer necessary.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.


Friday, April 28th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"But I'm so over defending my own humanity. I'm so over providing a power-point presentation about the fact that I exist. And I'm completely done with engaging with anyone who has a clever theory explaining why they actually understand my soul better than I do.

"To be blunt: if your crazy-ass theory of the world doesn't ease the suffering of people whom you do not understand, maybe what you actually need is a new theory."

-- Jennifer Boylan, 2017-02-18, "I'm all done explaining my humanity"


Thursday, April 27th, 2017 07:48 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I've been driving through a place called Lake Arbor Park to blow up my frenemies' Ingress portals, and ran across cormorants.
And herons.
But today I came home and walked Monty around the block and while I was down by the church to the south of our house I heard an utterly familiar (to me) "breet!" sound that is unlike any native bird. I managed a passable "breet!" response and got an extremely enthusiastic response, so we played Marco Polo until this old grey lady tried to fly towards me.
Her wings are clipped so it didn't work very well, but she's quite well-trained and civilized, so I got her to step up on my hand and walk up to my shoulder while monty had a complete emotional breakdown about not being allowed to eat the little bird, and brought her home. She's now sitting in the downstairs bathroom.

What. Is. That.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 07:03 pm
threemeninaboat: (Default)
[personal profile] threemeninaboat
[personal profile] randomdreams was out walking Monty and heard a cockatiel hiding under a bush. I really don't know the probably of a tiny bird chirping out before an ice storm and somehow the person walking by speaks fluent cockatiel but it hopped on his shoulder and he brought it home.

Monty reluctantly did not eat the bird.

He says it's a girl bird and they are happily tweeting at each other. He's feeding her red pepper bits. In the morning I'll take her off to the animal shelter.

Code push scheduled for Sunday night

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 03:03 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 8pm PDT / 11pm EDT / 3am UTC on Sunday, Apr 30 (or May 1 for you transatlantic types.).

I don't have a list of changes for you yet, but most will fall into the following categories: things users have complained about to support volunteers, things support volunteers have complained about to developers, things [staff profile] denise has complained about not working the way she expects them to (and as we all know, The Boss is Always Right), and things that were printing warnings over and over in the production server logs, making it hard to spot when less frequent, more urgent errors were being printed. Oh, and also all the unused code I ripped out at the roots, which if you notice that, I did it wrong.

To sum up: we are rolling out a bunch of requested changes, so thank you all for your feedback!

If you're new to Dreamwidth and interested in tracking our development process, our commit logs are published to [site community profile] changelog and [community profile] changelog_digest, and every month or so, one of our volunteers will translate those often-cryptic entries into witty, informative code tours! The most recent one was published on April 1, so we're about due for a new one. Hint, hint.

We'll update here again to let you know when the code push is imminent!

Thursday word: perse

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 02:58 pm
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Posted by prettygoodword

perse (PURS) - n., a dark grayish indigo.

Most dictionaries try to hedge this by saying a dark grayish blue or purple, but that would be an indigo, yes? Yes. The word has been in use since at least the 14th century, adopted, either directly or through an Anglo-Norman-French connection, from Medieval Latin pursus or persus, which seems ultimately to be an alteration of Latin Persicus or Persa, Persian. Latin in turn got the word from Greek, which got it from the Persians themselves. (Yes, the Persians actually called themselves Persians, or at least Pārsa -- the Greeks adapted the vowels during the adoption, as one does.) Why the color was considered Persian, I cannot find -- anyone with a hint here?

(That in Finnish perse is a very rude word, I am ignoring.)



Thursday, April 27th, 2017 07:58 am

For Fuck’s Sake, They’re At It Again. Call Now.

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 09:56 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So I’d hoped the Republicans would grow up after being trounced in their first attempt at repealing/replacing Obamacare.  I’d legitimately love it if Republicans said, “People are being bankrupted by out-of-control health costs, and health care is complicated – why don’t we take some time to get the law right and come up with something America doesn’t hate?”

Instead, natch, they’re trying to ram through a hasty bill that’s even worse than the last one.  They may vote as early tomorrow.

Which is why you have to call your Representatives now.  And here’s how you stop do that:

Politicians can ignore emails the way you do. They can’t ignore calls. Their staffers have to take the calls, which means their staff doesn’t get anything done while they’re handling calls, which means the Senator is far more likely to hear about how the office is slowing to a crawl because the ACA issue is jamming the lines.

Last time, my super-conservative rep changed his mind on the repeal/replace from “YEAH LET’S DO IT” to “Uh, maybe?” because the calls were literally running 20 to 1 in favor of keeping Obamacare around.

Let them know you’re local. Don’t bother calling if you’re not a potential voter. You do not have to give your name, though you can if you want; they may ask you for your zip code.  You may wish to force them to take your name to ensure they got your message.

A good script is something like:

1) I’m disappointed that there’s a rush to shove through even worse health care legislation;
2) Please do not repeal the ACA without a strong replacement;
3) If you have a preexisting condition or the ACA has helped your life in some way, talk about that and make it personal how your life (or the life of someone you love) depends on this;
4) I will not vote for any Representative who helps repeal the ACA without a strong replacement, either in the primary or the general election.

You’re free to go on, if you like, but be polite. They kind of have to listen. In my experience, they’ll generally say they’ll pass the message onto the Representative, and hang up. But if you want to be that person who the office groans when they have to handle them – that polite-but-firm person who will be heard – then hey! You can contribute to the office gossip that people are really concerned about this ACA issue, which is good in politics.

That means you have to make a maximum of one call, which will take ten minutes max. (Unless your Representative’s line is already clogged, in which case, keep calling.)

You can generally look up your senator by using Who Is My Representative, but if not you’ll find a phone number on their website. Calling the local number is generally viewed to be slightly better.

And here’s the trick: If you’re a conservative who’s opposed to mandating that insurers must be able to insure people with preexisting conditions (for some weird reason), flip the script and call as well. This is a republic, and you deserve to have your voice heard.

That said, there was a ridiculous idea last time that the ACA repeal only failed because it wasn’t conservative enough.  That wasn’t true.  The reason it failed was most because tacking to the right to appeal to the hard-core conservatives cost them more votes in the center, and trying to appeal to everyone made their base splinter.

So calling to register your complaint actually does work.  We’re not guaranteed, of course; the Republicans are desperate, trying to shove through a law they wrote in less than a month that nobody’s even fully read (as opposed to the ACA, which was introduced in July 2009 and voted on in March 2010 after heavy debate).  They may manage it.

But if they do manage to replace the ACA with something that literally punishes those with preexisting conditions (and that could easily be you, even if you’re healthy now!), let it not be because you didn’t try.  Make the call today.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.


Thursday, April 27th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"There is one area in which I think Paglia and I would agree that politically correct feminism has produced a noticeable inequity. Nowadays, when a woman behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'Poor dear, it's probably PMS.' Whereas, if a man behaves in a hysterical and disagreeable fashion, we say, 'What an asshole.' Let me leap to correct this unfairness by saying of Paglia, Sheesh, what an asshole." -- Molly Ivins (via Jone Johnson Lewis' collection of quotations on

Wednesday word: nocebo

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 05:32 am
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Posted by trellia_chan

nocebo: [noh-see-boh]


A nocebo is the opposite of a placebo. It is an inert substance--or even a real medication--that causes negative side effects or symptoms in a patient simply because it is what they are expecting from it.

Also referred to in the phrase "the nocebo effect," when the expectation of a negative outcome (symptom) that produces a real negative result.

As an example, people who believe that they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity will experience real symptoms by imagining that exposure to electricity is causing them harm. In this case, it is electricity that is the nocebo.

Etymology: Coined in 1961 as a companion to the word "placebo" which dates back to the late 1700s. Latin, literally translating into "I will be harmful." Related: English word nocent meaning "harmful." From Latin nocēre meaning "to harm."


Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 07:46 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
helve (HELV) - n., the handle of an ax, hatchet, hammer, or the like.

Better known to me as the haft, though Robert Frost (or rather, a New England farmer depicted by him) uses helve. This goes back to Old English helfe/hielfe, handle of an axe or other tool or weapon, related to both halter and helm via the PIE root *kelp-, to hold/grasp. In Middle English, "holden the axe bi the helve" was an idiom for to take something by the right end, and "throw the helve after the hatchet" means to throw away what remains because your losses are too great (as in, lose the ax-head, throw the handle after it in disgust).


The next 101/1001 Update

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 07:16 am
grim23: (Default)
[personal profile] grim23
Stop worrying about what's going on around you. Focus on what's in front of you. - Nick Koumalatsos

Goals Completed: 2
Goals in Progress: 30

I'm still striving to get more strength training in at the gym, working on my chest, back and arms. I'm also trying to keep up on my cardio because I'm training for my next serious run, a 10K, on June 1st.

Puja meditation and practices are going generally well, and I'm in the third week of four (Bhoga to Shakti). I've also sat zazen this morning at the Heart of Wisdom Temple, and finished this month's haiku. I've continued a mindful practice this week with my eating habits, and I'm currently restricting my caloric intake to 1500 calories daily.

No maintenance tasks or Zombie preparations have happened, although I did take advantage of a couple of sales and improved my gear loadout. Not much travel or adventure planned for this weekend, either - geoevents, setting up the Tantric Temple, and SOAK meetings will take up most of my time.

shoulders and chest -
pleasant aches well soothed
hot, quiet waters

postworkout hunger,
not many calories left
time for more oatmeal

new responder bag,
new boots and carry tools?
20 percent sale!

Needed: Beta Reader For Maintenancepunk Novel.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 10:18 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Last night,  I finished the first draft of my maintenancepunk novel – which is like cyberpunk, except you spend way more time troubleshooting device conflicts and field-stripping your cyberlimbs.

I’m looking for about seven to ten people to beta-read for me and give me feedback. (Why seven to ten?  Because I’d like four to five people, and generally I find that you hit about 60% on getting beta readers to get back to you in time.)

I’m giving special preference this time to military folks and gun nuts, because this is a novel written by a pansy-ass civilian about a veteran in future combat, and I am positive I’ve gotten the details laughably wrong.

Now.  If you’re saying “Let me do it, I’m really good at proofreading,” alas, I shall pass.  Assuming I sell it to a publisher, we’ll have professional copyeditors and proofreaders sniffing this sucker like a hound dog.  Flagging misspelled words and grammatical errors is a distraction from the overall point of “Did this book deliver an emotional cyberpunch?”

No, what I want are the sorts of people who can explain four separate things, each cogently:

•         The things that confuse you (“Why would $character do that?” or “Wait, cyberlimbs shouldn’t be able to do that?”)
•         The things that throw you out of the story (“Character wouldn’t do THAT!” or “Factually, that’s so wrong!”)
•         The things that give you ass-creep (“I got bored here”)
•         All the things that make you pump the fist (“This moment was truly awesome, and unless I tell you how awesome it is, you might cut this part out in edits”)

So if you think you can do all that in five weeks, do me a favor and email me at with the header “FERRETT, I WOULD LIKE TO BETA-READ YOUR MAINTENANCEPUNK.”  This service comes with the great reward of being name-checked in the acknowledgements, if this eventually sells.  I may get filled up on people, but if I do, I’ll put you on the list for the next revision, if there is one – I’ll need to give this one two more drafts in the next four months.

(And if you have beta-read for me before and are asking, “Ferrett, why didn’t you ask me directly?”, kindly remember that I am shy and dislike bothering people.  If you’ve got the time and want to volunteer for another go-round, pitch in!)

(Also note: I’ve not been blogging much on my main blog because, well, I’m still deciding what to do about LiveJournal’s recent TOS change, and moving away from LJ involves some technical preparation I hain’t had time for.  If you’re on LJ, well, consider bookmarking my main site.)

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.


Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"They keep the radio on up front here all day long. The news snippets come from FOX, on the hour. If you're just a casual listener they make it sound as if Trump is achieving all these things he says. Tax reform? I just heard it will be done on Wednesday. I bet there are tens of millions of people who believe he is doing or has done this stuff he boasts about. It's really remarkable. His bullshit is working. He pretends he has accomplishments and it sounds like he does." -- Kay, Balloon Juice, comments [thanks to [info] realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]

[rhet/psych, phil] Pirsig's Pejorative Just

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 01:19 am
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I just learned that Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away on Monday, at the age of 88.

I've thought for a while that I should tell you about one of the more valuable things I got from ZAMM, which I refer to now as Pirsig's Pejorative Just, and now it seems like a fitting tribute to share the relevant passage:
[...] the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: "Does this undefined 'quality' of yours exist in things we observe?" they asked. "Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?" It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer.

Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special – the kind you don't recover from.

Because if Quality exists in the object then you must explain just why scientific instruments are unable to detect it [...] On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like. [...] If he accepted the premise that Quality was objective, he was impaled on one horn of the dilemma. If he accepted the other premise that Quality was subjective, he was impaled on the other horn.

[... regarding the first horn, the objective premise] This horn was the mean one. [...line of proposed reasoning...] This answer, if valid, certainly smashed the first horn of the dilemma, and for a while that excited him greatly.

But it turned out to be false. [...]

He turned his attention to the other horn of the dilemma, which showed more promise of refutation. He thought, So Quality is whatever you like? It angered him. The great artists of history – Raphael, Beethoven, Michelangelo – they were all just putting out what people liked. They had no goal other than to titillate the senses in a big way. Was that it? It was angering, and what was most angering about it was that he couldn't see any immediate way to cut it up logically. So he studied the statement carefully, in the same reflective way he always studied things before attacking them.

Then he saw it. He brought out the knife and excised the one word that created the entire angering effect of that sentence. The word was "just." Why should Quality be just what you like? Why should "what you like" be "just"? What did "just" mean in this case? When separated out like this for independent examination it became apparent that "just" in this case didn't mean a damn thing. It was a purely pejorative term, whose logical contribution to the sentence was nil. Now, with that word removed, the sentence became "Quality is what you like," and its meaning was entirely changed. It had become an innocuous truism.
Now, when I point to a "just" – or an "only", or a "mere", or a "simply", or "but" – and say, "That's a Pirsig's Pejorative Just", you'll know what I mean.

And, if this is the first time you've seen this, maybe now you'll be better prepared to notice them slinking by, in the wild, yourself.

ETA: I wrote a longish comment below, further discussing ZAMM and my criticisms of it, which may be of interest to my readers.

Tuesday Word: Capon

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 03:22 am
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Posted by theidolhands

ca·pon [ˈkeɪpən]:
origin: (before 1200's) Greek; koptein = "to cut".

noun (plural, capons)
A rooster who has been castrated.

Castrating cockerals allows them to plump up by 7-12 lbs, creating a dish with a distinctively different form of deliciousness from a typical chicken due to the combination of tenderized muscle & fat. Schiltz Foods even recommends a slower feeding to achieve that extra weight; it's a delicacy that takes time & technique.

The origins of this practice can be traced as far back as ancient China and Greece. A farmer from 1913, named George Beuoy, heavily advocated for rooster castration in order to combat food shortages; he also found capons could be superior substitute mothers for chicks, with their ability to nurture, along with retaining an ability to fight off birds of prey!

However, the neutering procedure is tricky on fowl, and quite medical -- it takes a careful & swift hand to be a skilled "caponizer" -- so, if you can find capon to eat, expect it to go for much more per pound.

Last Tuesday: Googie
Saturday & Sunday: Doyen & Doyenne



Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 09:25 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
chiro (CHEE-roh) - n., the ladyfish (Elops saurus). (KAI-roh) - n., (informal) a chiropractor.

The fish is also called skipjack and banana fish. Is edible, but is very bony and not considered prime eating. No origin for this name for the fish -- for the second meaning, it is of course from Greek for hand, with the practic part meaning activity.


Dammit. RIP, Bob.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 05:24 am
grim23: (Darker)
[personal profile] grim23
The study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself. Working on a motorcycle, working well, caring, is to become part of a process, to achieve an inner peace of mind. The motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon. - Robert M. Pirsig


Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"As an opener, I'd like to state that elves are certainly NOT cliché. It doesn't matter if they all have pointy ears, or they all live a long time, or even if they all like forests. It doesn't matter if they're short or tall or both. It doesn't matter if they're related to forest spirits or even angels. Regardless of how many elves are like one another or how many elves appear in how many books, elves are NOT cliché.


"Well, for one, an elf is a creature. How can a creature be a cliché? Is a human clichcliché? They certainly do appear in a lot of books! How about dragons? Now there's a popular subject! Are dragons clichcliché as well? Well what about vampires too? Or werewolves? Or bats? Or rabbits? Or mice? Or owls? Or crows? Cats??"

-- Robert Fanney [via goodreads]

[Happy birthday to [info] wayward-va!]

45, DnD Finale, March for Science

Monday, April 24th, 2017 09:29 pm
dr_tectonic: (Default)
[personal profile] dr_tectonic
According to the calendar, I'm 45 years old as of yesterday. This seems improbable to me; that would imply that all the people I know who are around the same age as me are also in their mid-40s, and that can't be right, can it? But it's hard to argue with math, so I guess it must be so.

I got online greetings and phone calls galore to wish me a happy birthday, and they were all lovely and made me appreciate once more just how many really wonderful people I know. Yay! Thank you all!

We didn't do much of anything for my birthday. I'm not, like, opposed to recognizing it or anything, but there's just been so much going on lately with work and wedding prep and everything that I had no spare CPU cycles to really even think about it before Sunday. Mostly we spent the day playing the final session of our D&D campaign. I got to destroy the evil artifact that was mind-controlling the main villain, yay! It was a satisfying end, and it's the first time I've played from 1st level all the way to 20th level, so that was neat. Also, Brandon made very tasty Indian food for lunch, hooray!

On Saturday we managed to get ourselves up and take the bus downtown to March for Science, woo! We met up with and merged into the actual march about halfway along the route, somewhere on 16th street. I'm not much for political rallies (that old GenX hype-aversion syndrome), but it was kinda cool to be in a great big pro-science crowd taking over the streets. We couldn't get anybody to chant "Where would we be / without science? / Most of us would be dead!" (although I did see a number of signs expressing that sentiment), but when we got to Civic Center Park I got to chant "What do we want? / Evidence-based knowledge! / When to we want it? / After peer review!" and that made me very happy. We wandered around and checked out the various tables, and I almost felt bad that I'm already registered to vote, because there were so many opportunities to sign up. We didn't see anyone we knew (though according to Facebook quite a few were there), but I spotted a number of people I sort-of recognized from work. I think, anyway. We left before any of the speechifying started up (*shudder*), and that turned out to be good because partway back Jerry realized he'd forgotten to take his brain pills that morning! So yeah, definitely time to head home.

(no subject)

Monday, April 24th, 2017 09:02 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
This morning I got up, hopped in the shower, and fainted.
I faint a lot, but usually what that means is I stand up, get dizzy, grab the wall, and have to sit down for several seconds.
This was a complete blackout, fall through the shower curtain, and stay on the floor for quite a while until N had pulled the curtain off me and started checking for a pulse.
It may be the same low blood pressure problems I've had for years: standing in a really hot shower is the sort of thing that leads to fainting.
Nevertheless I'm going back to the doctor.

Anyway, I took the day off because I had an awful headache. Apparently I hit my head pretty hard.
So I did a bunch of housework, got the new DSL modem FINALLY hooked up and functioning, cut down a bunch of stupid elm trees that keep coming back every year, watered all the plants, walked the dog several kilometers. Not much involving power tools.

Greyhound legs look particularly alien.

I went over to the junkyard to get steel for the deck railing and found some drillbits that were more than two meters long. I kind of want one.

Some newspaper blew into the yard. It's had a long journey.

I set up the foundry and did some more casting, just scrap processing.

In doing so I found the last bits of the Subaru engine block I broke up and mostly melted down years ago.

Whilst organizing the workshop I got out the old glass annealing oven. I recently bought a fancy PID controller for it, that'll replace the kind of scary triac-based control system I built for it many years ago. That's the last step I need for the 3d-print-to-aluminum-casting toolchain.

Saturday & Sunday Word: Doyen & Doyenne

Monday, April 24th, 2017 10:58 pm
[syndicated profile] lj1word1day_feed

Posted by theidolhands

do·yen [ˈdɔɪ.ən; Fr. dwɑˈjæ̃]:
origin: (1670) Late Latin decanus, from Greek dekanos = "chief of ten"; Old French deien= "dean".

noun (plural, doyens)
1. The most renowned and/or senior leader in a profession, class, group, field or subject; a person allowed to speak on behalf of same.
2. An individual whose abilities or skill are unique in their category.
3. The oldest within a category.


Doyenne of MIT, Nancy Hopkins, discusses continued unconscious bias against women in science.

doy·enne [dɔɪˈɛn; Fr. dwaˈyɛn]:
origin: [1731, 1900's] French; feminine of doyan.

noun (plural, doyennes)
The most renowned and/or respected female leader in a profession, class, group, field or subject.

Thought of the Day

Monday, April 24th, 2017 08:55 am
grim23: (Grim)
[personal profile] grim23
Never ask yourself, "Can I do this?" Ask instead, "How can I do this?" - Dan Zadra


Monday, April 24th, 2017 07:45 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
Theme week: 5x5, or five days of five-letter words.

bulse (BUHLS) - n., a purse or bag for carrying or measuring valuables (such as diamonds or gold dust); more loosely, a parcel of jewels.

After the practice in the East Indies, conveyed to us via Portuguese bolsa, purse, from Medieval Latin bursa, from Late Latin bursa, ox hide, from Greek byrsa.



Monday, April 24th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"One lesson America needs to understand is that the Holocaust did not begin with killing or gassing, but rather with words.

"In my work as a scholar of American Jewish history, I examine the Jewish experience in the United States and consider whether the near-obliteration of European Jewry could have been avoided through the adoption of different policies by countries throughout the world in the 1930s. For example, the experience of the infamous SS St. Louis teaches us the important power of executive orders, the words they use, and the messages they send -- not only to those immigrants who clamor to come to the United States but also to the larger world.

"The SS St. Louis left Hamburg in May 1939, carrying 937 German Jews -- many of whom had been imprisoned in concentration camps -- seeking to flee Nazi Germany. They all had valid visas for entry in the coming years but had to leave Germany immediately for their safety. Denied entry to the United States out of the preposterous popular misconception of their being German spies, the 937 Jews were sent back to Europe to await the calling up of their visa numbers. These passengers resettled in Europe, but many fell back into Nazi hands. As a result, over a quarter of these US visa-holding Jews perished in the Holocaust."

-- Rebecca Kobrin, 2017-04-23

"'[Spencer] said that America belongs to white people. His statement that white people face a choice of 'conquer or die' closely echoes Adolf Hitler's view of Jews and that history is a racial struggle for survival,' the museum said. Then it offered a history lesson to anyone who has forgotten: 'The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.'

"Those words eventually led the Nazi party, which came into power legitimately in Germany, to kill 6 million Jews and millions more Communists, Gypsies, Poles, gay people and people with disabilities."

-- Julie Zauzmer (quoting from a statement from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), 2016-11-22

[You can find plenty of hits for reminders that the Holocaust began with words. That remains a really important reminder, but also look at the other reminders different authors attach to that one.]

Today is:
Gregorian: 2017 April 24
Julian: 2017 April 11
Hebrew: 5777 Nisan 28 -- Yom HaShoah, Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day (started last night)
Islamic: 1438 Rajab 27
Persian: 1396 Ordibehesht 04
Indian: 1939 Vaisakha 04
Coptic: 1733 Paremoude 16

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
A set of videos, of particular interest to programmers, compliments of Metafilter. Delightful, recommended.

These are lectures/demos of brilliant stupid programmer tricks:

1) A DOS executable that only uses printable bytes. (SLYT, 25:40 (yes, long, but so worth it, and accessible to non-programmers), audio and visual both required)

2) On the Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SLYT, 5:33, audio and visual both required)

This is a work of art with accompanying making-of:

3) A Mind is Born (article with embedded SLYT, 2:21, primarily audio plus cool but inessential visuals) - a 2+ minute music video that is, in its entirety, a 256 byte program for the Commodore 64. This is now my answer to "can a computer program, in itself, be a serious work of art?" I understand about one word in five of the article; someone on MF said of it, I read most of the how it was done link, and I've been a programmer for 20 years, and I still say the answer is "black magic".

Oh, and a bonus blast from the past – I just got done fixing my broken video links post migration from LJ – 4) Life in Life (SLYT, 1:31, primarily visual, with cool but inessential audio). h/t [personal profile] nancylebov. I originally posted here; I had tagged it "sci", but I dunno, what do we call programming with cellular automata?

(no subject)

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 11:14 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
We went to the Ingress cross-faction awards ceremony for the Colorado area on Saturday. They hold it in a kind of divey artist gallery on Santa Fe, but there are usually at least a couple of good sculptures.
Both these were basically 2 meters tall.

Two of my coworkers have bought the same model of 3d printer that I have. One printed a tiny crossbow, that is almost entirely a single print: all the moving parts (and there are several) were printed in one go, assembled, relying on flex to enable it to work.

I think it's funny that so far he has printed a fidgeter (a weighted spinny thing) and the plastic equivalent of brass knuckles and a crossbow and a skull. I have printed a testbed for one of my circuit boards, an enclosure for another circuit board, an intake manifold, and motor hold-down brackets. The other guy has printed a klein bottle and another mathematical oddity, related to a moebius strip. We all seem to be quite consistent in our choices, although they are all quite different.

I bought a pipe nipple and cap, intending to weld them together to make a small heavy-duty crucible for melting and casting brass, insofar as my aluminum one is intended for much larger volumes and much lower temperatures. The nipple and cap both claimed to be galvanized steel. I sat them in hydrochloric acid for about 20 minutes and then went to weld them. The HCl did not sufficiently strip off the zinc in 20 minutes: I should have left it in there for an hour.
This is what it looks like when you try to weld something galvanized.
Zinc fumes are bad for you. Avoid doing this.
As it turns out, even though they both claimed to be galvanized steel, the cap was in fact cast iron. I should have tested it before trying to weld it.
This is what happens when you use standard welding rod to try to attach steel to cast iron.
See that big old crack horizontally right down the center of the weld? The cast iron has melted and run up to that point, but because it is brittle, when it cools it contracts and cracks. (Steel is ductile enough to stretch just a little as it cools.)
This is definitely not going to hold liquid brass without leaking everywhere.
I'll fabricate another one later.


Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2014-02-18:

"If your mind is expansive and unfettered, you will find yourself in a more accommodating world, a place that's endlessly interesting and alive. That quality isn't inherent in the place but in your state of mind. The warrior longs to communicate that all of us have access to our basic goodness and that genuine freedom comes from going beyond labels and projections, beyond bias and prejudice, and taking care of each other." -- Pema Chodron


(submitted to the mailing list by Rob Wood)

CWA Notes 2017

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 12:21 am
flwyd: (Trevor glowing grad macky auditorium)
[personal profile] flwyd
I made it to eight panels at this year's Conference on World Affairs at CU. Back in college, I would skip most of my classes during CWA week and listen to at least 20, but recently I just pop in for a few interesting talks. Some interesting notes:
Hurricanes! )
Refugees: Crisis? )
Ambassador to Vietnam )
From China with climate data )
Politics, comedy, and lady parts )
Revelations of Art and Symbolism )
Equal opportunity Internet access )

Wow, that took a long time. I typed notes on a tablet during the conference, but it would've been hard to interpret. Retranscribing and contextualizing involved a lot more time-consuming typing than I expected.

(no subject)

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 11:00 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
[personal profile] threemeninaboat says there's this song that includes the words "Hakuna matata" that everyone in the world knows except me.
Is she right?


Saturday, April 22nd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"In a perfect socialist society, only the people who really deserved it would catch tuberculosis. But alas, there is no ethical consumption under capitalism." -- Michael Yosef Miller [thanks to [info] realinterrobang for quoting this earlier]


Friday, April 21st, 2017 07:48 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
superbity (su-PER-bi-tee) - n., pride, arrogance, haughtiness.

The state of being superb -- and knowing it. Adopted around 1450 from Middle French superbité, from superbe, haughty, from Latin superbus, excellent/proud, from super, above.


Friday word: Blatherskite

Friday, April 21st, 2017 01:40 pm
[syndicated profile] lj1word1day_feed

Posted by med_cat

Grandiloquent Word of the Day: Blatherskite
-Someone who speaks at great length without saying anything important.
-A person who talks at great length without making much sense.
-A person who blathers on a lot.

From Scots, alteration of blather skate, from "blather" or "blether" - blather + "skate" - a contemptible person
First Known Use: circa 1650

Used in a sentence:
“You know, that blatherskite has the absolutely most ridiculous hair style I’ve ever seen.”

(courtesy of Grandiloquent Word of the Day, on FB or Tumblr)

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Friday, April 21st, 2017 06:23 am
altamira16: Tall ship at dusk (Default)
[personal profile] altamira16
This was a book recommended by someone on Twitter. It is the 2014 Winner of the Philip K Dick Award for distinguished science fiction. I really enjoyed it because I like science fiction dystopia and empowered female protagonists.

In this book, there is a nurse in the hospital maternity ward in San Francisco taking care of women and babies when some unknown disease hits. Women in late pregnancy catch a fever, their babies die, and then they die. Other people in the household become infected and also die, but no one dies like the women. Eventually, the nurse catches the disease too. She wakes up in her house to a man trying to rape her. Once she escapes from the man who has broken into her house, she runs into a gay man who introduces her to the post-apocalyptic world where most people have died, and the survivors are mostly men. He does not want to stick with her because women are dangerous. They lead to fighting among men who try to take them as slaves. The unnamed midwife scavenges for the biggest pile of birth control she can find and a chest binder and disguises herself as a man as she wanders the US to see if there are any people left.

There were only two little parts that bothered me. I think someone called a motorcycle that was not a Harley a rice-rocket, and I think this is what Californians call Asian motorcycles. I wish they wouldn't. Then at the end, one character talks about someone being lynched. After reading about the violence involved in real lynchings, it was surprising to see someone discuss lynching in such a superficial way. When that character turned out to be black, it seemed like "here is the token black character discussing lynching."


Friday, April 21st, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow." -- Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism [via Goodreads]

Thursday word: xyresic

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 03:38 pm
[syndicated profile] lj1word1day_feed

Posted by prettygoodword

xyresic (zai-RES-ik) - adj., sharp as a razor.

I'm guessing on the stress there, but that seems the most natural to me. Not related to xeric (dry) but rather from Greek xyster, a razor, from xuein, to scrape/make smooth. Note, btw, that this is not in the OED2, that I can find.

My sword may not be sharp, but I can usually rely on my xyresic wit.



Thursday, April 20th, 2017 08:39 am


Thursday, April 20th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (b. 1882-01-30, d. 1945-04-12; President of the United States 1933-03-04 to 1945-04-12), Second Inaugural Address, 1937-01-20

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!


Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 07:59 am
prettygoodword: (Default)
[personal profile] prettygoodword
logarithmancy or logarithmomancy - n., divination by using logarithms.

There are a few mentions of this practice dating from the 17th century, not long after the invention of logarithms, but without details, and no one today (not even such spell-books Google has digitized) has a clue how this might have been done. This book has a suggestion for reinventing it. Some sources claim this it means divination by algorithm (one of them even saying it's been supplanted by using computers), which makes even less sense. Coined form logarithm + -mancy, of course.


She's Eight

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 08:40 am
jcfiala: (Default)
[personal profile] jcfiala
That time when an off-hand comment on dreamwidth sends you off searching to find out how old Sophia the First is.
sravakavarn: (Default)
[personal profile] sravakavarn
A critical review

I have been a fan of the scholarship of Donald S. Lopez Jr. for a long time: His Prisoner’s of Shangri-la and Tibetan Religion in Context shattered a lot of myths I had held on the topic and that permeated popular culture both within and outside convert Buddhist circles. Although he has two books on myths about Buddhism, The Story of Buddhism, and the Buddha, The Story of the Buddha, that go into little known elements of Theravada history, Lopez tends to focus on myths of Mahayana buddhism and the critical studies around it, particularly on Vajrayana variants and the actual uses of sutra texts. This brings us to his two recent contributions to Princeton University Press’s Lives of Great Religious Books series.

In The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography, Donald S. Lopez Jr. immediately hits the The Tibetan Book of the Dead out of the gate as not properly speaking a book, not really Tibetan, and not really about death. Now, it must be clear, that the several different collections of terma texts that up the various editions of the Nyingma text, the Bardo Todol, are Tibetan, but it isn’t one text and there isn’t even a set collection. Instead, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is largely a creation of theosophist and semi-professional orientalist, Walter Evans-Wentz.

Lopez starts us with a history of American crypto-archeology around religious texts starting with Joseph Smith in New York’s “burnt over” district and the revelation of reformed Egyptian and lost golden plates. This history comprises the first chapter, and the next chapters gives us context for Buddhism, and then compares implicitly compares the history of Mahayana textual “findings” and the specific Vajrayana traditions that involve finding “hidden” texts for later revelation and, again, the even more specific Nyingma traditions around terma, which were hidden scriptures that are found through reincarnations and access to Dakinis.

In a way, this contrast is both a condemnation and apologia for Evans-Wentz’s theosophical creation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead based off some obscure manuscripts in Tibetan found in the British protectorate of Sikkim at the end of the Victorian period that played against the Victorian schemas placing Theravada as a purer form of Buddhism and making the original Buddha a rationalist. This myth, one that still uses up today in popular Buddhist writings, is in some ways just as misleading as Evans-Wentz/Blavatsky theosophical story about Hindu hidden masters in Tibet.

Lopez then goes through the origins of the various introductions–Western converts without proper ordination claiming to be Lamas, Jung’s psychologizing and mythologizing of the text, the 70s re-translations and introduction of depth psychology even by Tibetan exiles to make an otherwise hyper-obscure text more appealing. The turning of the text into a self-help manual, and lastly, the more complete recent translation with a proper contextualization by the current Dalai Lama.

Now this is NOT a history of the Bardo Todol in Tibetan or its various manuscripts. That is handled by Bryan J. Cuevas’ The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. However, it is important to note that Cuevas and Lopez cite each other and are clearly in dialogue. Like so many of Lopez’s books, this is an excellent demystification if it can be dry in the minutiae it must go into to make its point.

Lopez’s second contribution is dedicated to the Lotus Sutra, unlike he did a treatment on the “Tibetan Book of the Dead and its text, the Lotus Sutra is important to Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism as well as the Japanese schools of Buddhism such as Tendei, Shin, Shingon, and, most dramatically, Nichiren Buddhism. The Lotus Sutra, among the other English named Mahayana sutras such as The Heart Sutra, which isn’t truly a sutra, and The Diamond Sutra, a key text for Chan/Seon/Zen Buddhism, is long and full of allegory and parable.

Lopez starts with the texts seem origins in the Sanskrit literature of the Indo-Greek world of Bactria. There is some speculations on the exact nature of the shift here. The secret doctrine elements of the text set it apart from the other two famous Mahayana sutras readily found in English. Lopez then talks us through the reception in China, the development of Chinese esoteric Buddhism, where The Lotus Sutra is put in a schema as revelation of doctrine it did not have in its Indo-Bactrian form. Then Lopez shifts focus to Japan, Japanese devotional and esoteric Buddhism(s), particularly in development of Tendai Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism in particular, where it even plays a rule in quasi-religious wars before the Edo period. Then Lopez moves the reception of the Lotus Sutra in French and American scholarship and its role in early Orientalist scholarship. Lastly he Development of the modern Nichiren sects, their consolidation in the Meiji restoration at the same time as French-English scholarship on the Lotus sutra begins, Nichiren nationalist role in the war, and then the post-war development of Nichiren outside of Japan with Soka Gakkai being a highly evangelical form of Buddhism outside of Japan.

Lopez’s treatment here is fascinating and brings up many of the problems of the history of Buddhism and the Mahayana developments outside of India and outside of their original Sanskrit context. In many ways, the contrast between the two texts Lopez focuses on are telling: the Lotus Sutra an early, but found, Mahayana text from the classical period of Buddhist development when both the Pali and sanskrit (so-called ”Hinayana” nikyana schools such as defunct Sarvāstivāda and Sthaviras/Theravadans) cannons. However, these texts resembled gnostic texts in Christianity, a comparison Lopez notes, in that they are esoteric revelations that do doctrinally abnegate large portions of prior Buddhist doctrine. The Bardo Todol is a similarly esoteric text, but with a very late lineage and not theologically/doctrinally nearly as important. Indeed, while many of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas from the Lotus Sutra are actually key in the Bardo Todol, the Dharma protectors and largely quasi-demonic figures of the Bardo Todol are more relevant to the transitions to the rebirth and are largely rooted in local traditions in Vajrayana Buddhism.

Furthermore, Lopez’s almost philological precision on their reception and commentary indicates that uses of both texts in the West are somewhat anachronistic and decontextualized from their original and their contemporary Asian use. The role of British and French colonialism and American obsession with Asian texts just after the US civil war to just before World War 1 play a huge role in the English-language reception and development of both texts. Both treatments are easily readable despite the obscurity of a lot of the topics involved, and offers a good history of Mahayana developments in America in particular through the lens of the textual reception. Highly recommended.

first published at former people


Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"There are a lot of things to remember that the Trump presidency has surfaced, one of which is that there is always money, but rarely will. The cost of security for the Trump family and Cabinet alone could fund the arts and public education at record levels. Money is there. When it comes to black people, to poor people, to any marginalized group, the response is often, 'there's no money.' But it's a lie. Electoral politics is important if not only because our representatives determine how tax dollars get spent. We need to be those people. We could equitably fund public education, arts, healthcare, etc. It's not a matter of money. It is, and has always been, a matter of will.' -- DeRay Mckesson, multiple tweets, 2017-04-08 (emphasis added)

Tuesday Word: Googie

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017 07:42 am
[syndicated profile] lj1word1day_feed

Posted by theidolhands

goo·gie [GOO-gee]:
origin: [late 1940's] American, originating in California, named for a coffee shop designed by John Lautner -- coined by Douglas Haskell as an insult.

Once upon a time, architecture imagined the future, it was optimistic, geometric, sprawling, cheerful pastels, and great neon signs, chrome and curves -- like The Space Needle. Buildings space-age enough for the cars that looked like rocket ships to park there; an American style ideal for commercialism. When the phrase "The Nuclear Age" was a good thing!

Think - The Jetsons - or The Neutrinos of Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, and you'll have a pretty good grasp of googie!

Part of this concept that embraced advertising were buildings that resembled what they sold -- an ice cream booth shaped like a giant vanilla cone, for example, or a giant dachshund selling hot dogs. It was fun! Impractical! Eye-catching!

Alas, the concept now falls under "retrofuturism", for the future has come, and it's not boat-sized flying cadillacs or 30-lane bowling alleys. This style is also referred to as Populuxe, for "popularity" and "luxury". It was camp before it even began, too plastic to be taken seriously, but too wide-eyed & enthusiastic to completely resist; "modernism" without restraint (or shame)!

"The Pie Hole" restaurant from Pushing Daisies = Googie!

Wumph, busy weekends, Easter, wedding prep

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 09:35 pm
dr_tectonic: (Default)
[personal profile] dr_tectonic
I was gonna say that there was something noteworthy about weekend before last, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was, alas, but then I remembered: taxes! I spent Saturday getting them actually filled out and printed and mailed off. Whee. And then Sunday was the next-to-last D&D session, where we strategized the big climactic boss fight. We are finishing a campaign that has gone all the way from 1st level to 20th, which is a first for me.

Last week, Kevin / Wumph was in town for CWA at CU, so we got to see him, which was nice. On Tuesday evening, Jerry and I joined him at a brewery on Pearl Street for the Puzzled Pint, which is a puzzle-solving event. There were four regular puzzles and a meta-puzzle that built on the other four, plus a bonus puzzle. The three of us blew through them in 35 minutes, plus 5 more for the bonus puzzle, which was pretty satisfying. Then we just hung out and talked for most of the evening.

Then Thursday night, the plan was for me to stay late at work and pick him up after his conference dinner. It turned out that the dinner was at NCAR! So that was pretty convenient. At one point he got trapped by speechifying from some politician and had to escape off the backside of the cafeteria patio. "I can jump a wall if I need to," he said. :) After the requisite here's-my-office tour, we went to the Floyds' for Game Night, yay!

I played a new game that I really wanted to love, but did not. It's called Skyway Robbery, and it was heists + steampunk + airships! It had amazing theming and interesting gameplay, but some pretty serious balance issues. There was one "win the game" card that came up at the very beginning, which I've seen discussions online suggesting should be removed for first-time-players, but the bigger issue it's a game with a lot of momentum (i.e., succeeding puts you in a good position to succeed even further), but also a lot of randomness that can leave you stymied for several turns in a row at the beginning. I dunno, I might play it again if somebody can find good houserules online for it, but it was a frustrating and disappointing experience.

Much less fun was that also that week Panthro was overeating and then throwing up just about every day. Gross. Well, then we found out that the cause was that he had worms. Ew! Double gross! Jerry took him to the vet and got medicine for it, and now he's doing a lot better. Fortunately, they're apparently a kind that are spread by flea bites, so we don't have to worry about the other kitties getting them. Ah, the joys of pet ownership.

This last weekend I spent Saturday prepping and running Star Wars. Plus I got a haircut and did some grocery shopping while I was thinking about how to structure the next little mini-adventure. Sunday was more interesting; we went over to Matt & Jason's for a lovely Easter luncheon (Jason made standing rib roast, wow), and then in the evening Bob & Mike came over to our place to discuss wedding cake. ZOMG weddings involve so much work. I'm glad we're doing this with a decade and a half of getting along under our belts already. On the other hand, I think people who get married in their early 20s don't realize how much they're saving by doing it when they don't know anybody yet!

(no subject)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 08:58 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
Apparently my style of decapsulating integrated circuits is so different we don't know how to take pictures of the results that show what we want to see. We have damaged chips. When we etch the top off with nitric acid there are spots that won't etch because they're a mixture of metals, epoxy, and silicon. The way I remove the top doesn't leave those spots, so we have to compare the pictures to pictures of a good chip and even then the evidence for damage is subtle: lines that aren't quite straight, for instance. I may have to come up with some way of producing contrast. But, generally, it's extremely successful save for our lack of ability to electrically connect to the die anymore, and we can even manage that with our probe station.

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Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 09:17 am
grim23: (Grim)
[personal profile] grim23
It doesn't get easier. You just get better. - Nick Koumalatsos
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