beatrice_otter: Sha're in a blue veil (Shau'ri)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
For those of you who don't know, the Barna research group is a group that focuses on researching religious trends in America.  Although they are very DEFINITELY Christian and doing this for a Christian audience, they are also quite firm in their belief that in order to make good choices people need good, reliable information to base it on.  So they're pretty good about being as fair and accurate as they can in their research practices.

Their newest finding?  That in the last year, public opinion in America has swung quite dramatically in favor of immigration, diversity, and refugees, with most population segments adding at least 10% to their approval.  And practicing Christians who believe the US should welcome refugees more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, which is why there are currently more religious leaders across the board speaking to refugee and immigration issues.  (Evangelicals are the lone holdouts, surprise, surprise.)  For example, the Christian community is pretty much united in opposition to ending or limiting the DREAM program.  Even the Evangelicals agree there.

Unfortunately, the shift doesn't seem to be from racists, nationalists, and other right-wingers changing their minds.  Where the shift seems to be coming from is the people who were undecided a year ago moving towards open-mindedness, tolerance, and compassion.  So it's not that the whole country is moving towards tolerance, it's that the people in the middle are moving leftward on this issue.  Which is good, don't get me wrong!  It just means we've got our work cut out for us to reach out to the Evangelicals and the FOX newsers and all and help them see things in a different light.

(Obviously I'm not talking to people who aren't safe or wouldn't be safe if they tried to reach out, whether psychologically or physically.

Hands across the ocean

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:00 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Thanks to [personal profile] cesy for the heads-up -- Hope not Hate have launched a US site:

Hope Not Hate (Twitter: [twitter.com profile] hopenothate_USA)

By way of making a dramatic entry, this seems to have been timed to co-ordinate with the announcement of their epic undercover project: Patrik Hermansson, an extremely brave young Swedish grad student, infiltrated the alt-right and lived undercover in the movement in London and the US for nearly a year, wired for sound and carrying hidden cameras. This ultimately included being at Charlottesville and witnessing the car attack that killed Heather Heyer.

The documentary is coming soon, and the comprehensive report on the international alt-right (for which the infiltration was part of the research) is here:

The International Alternative Right

News reports:

New York Times: Undercover With the Alt-Right

Raw Story: ‘It’s gonna end with concentration camps’: Alt-right executive boasts of a future Europe with Hitler on their money

As you will have noticed, I love HnH. They have a long history working against fascist and far right groups in the UK, through research, infiltration, legal action, anti-racist/xenophobic education and campaigning, and their work seems to have naturally become international as the "alt-right" has (e.g. with the "Defend Europe" boat). I think their expertise (and the willingness of their reporters to put their necks on the line, holy fuck) will be a formidable addition to the US scene.

Also they will allow you to give them money to help sue Nigel Farage, and honestly I would love them for that alone. PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Medieval porpoise 'grave' on Channel island puzzles archaeologists

I love everything about this story:

Archaeologists digging at an island religious retreat have unearthed the remains of a porpoise that, mystifyingly, appears to have been carefully buried in its own medieval grave.

MAYBE THE PORPOISE WAS A MONK, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THAT.

... and now I eagerly await the medieval monk were-porpoise shifter romance.

For a different kind of wonderful:

The Fader: This Artist Is Filling London With Murals Of Extraordinary Black Women

The art is gorgeous, but what I really love is that he's portraying his female friends, people who aren't famous but are ordinary/extraordinary people - a youth worker, a psychotherapist, and so on. And I love the shots of the murals with the real women posed next to them.

Climate comms...

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:02 am
[personal profile] swaldman
This week, a new paper was published in Nature Geoscience that shows that the planet has not been warming quite as fast as most climate models have predicted, so far. There's a deficit of 0.3 degrees C. I'm no climate scientist, so I don't feel qualified to judge whether this methodology is good; it's passed peer review, but it'll be worth waiting a week or three to see whether any other relevant scientists disagree with the findings. This article has a dissenting view[1]. Either way, though, it changes little: If correct it gives a little more breathing room, and the point that is mostly being made is that it makes a 1.5C rise merely "challenging" rather than impossible... but we're still likely to breeze through and beyond that anyway, IMHO. It changes little in terms of the required actions.

So faced with that finding, how to communicate it without either causing the denialist community to go "THE MODELS ARE WRONG! WE TOLD YOU SO! IT'S ALL A HOAX!", or causing the more moderate politicians to go "Phew. We have time. We can ignore this and let the next government deal"? And at the same time not being perceived as hiding less alarmist news? The first author made an excellent effort in this article, which IMHO is a really good example of giving an honest and straightforward lay explanation of a scientific study.

Did it help? Not really. It's escaped the front pages for now, perhaps due to the ongoing series of natural disasters in the Carribean and central America, but the usual suspects have still written what you'd expect. Scientific American has a reserved and balanced take. The Guardian is more optimistic, but warns us that "politics is still not easy". The BBC presents so many views that it's not clear what, if anything, they are concluding. Both of these note the possibility that the original article's conclusions about 1.5C being easier to hit may be wrong. Meanwhile Dellingpole, in The Sun, is spinning this story as "I WAS RIGHT!", saying "a tiny bunch of ­scientists got their sums wrong and scared the world silly with a story about catastrophic man-made global warming." Meanwhile an MP who is a member of the Commons Science and Technology Committee - and also a trustee of the denialist GWPF - complains in the Mail that "There has been no word of apology, no sign of humility. Remarkably, they carry on preaching their diehard gospel. With their habitual arrogance, they argue that the lower levels of global warming mean that we now have even more time to implement their radical policies."

Hmm. Yeah. Whether or not this study proves to be correct in its conclusions, we'll be hearing about it from denialist groups for the next 5 years or more. But I don't think there's anything that one can do about that; keeping quiet about such results would be far worse.


[1] AIUI nobody disputes the paper's direct findings so far, but some are doubtful about its import - some say that there is a natural cycle which has had a cooling influence in recent years, but will have a warming influence in future ones. Superimposed on the overall warming trend, this could apparently explain the discrepancy without changing the urgency of the problem.

brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I posted on my other blog about supporting a new New York City Council bill that would require city agencies to publish source code used to make decisions.

On MetaFilter, I posted about a transparency case pending before a California appeals court; the EFF and ACLU have submitted amicus curiae briefs saying (to simplify) that the right to due process includes the right to inspect source code used to convict you. Evidently the creator of the closed-source DNA testing software doesn't think so. As is often the case on MetaFilter, there are very lucid explanations in the comments regarding complicated technical issues.

And I really like the photo I used to illustrate the potential for algorithmic bias.

Graham-Cassidy

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:45 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Via [tumblr.com profile] vassraptor and [tumblr.com profile] realsocialskills:

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network: ACA repeal is back – and so are we

Explanation, script and guide to contacting your representatives.

linux user

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:56 pm
srukle: (Default)
[personal profile] srukle
The average Linux user should just admit they're actually an x11 user in denial.

Top of the Lake

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I have been writing a post about Top of the Lake for literally like 4 years. FOUR YEARS. I keep writing drafts and never finishing them, because it all just feels so enormous and too much and I need like an entire day to get all my thoughts in order.

But, it's happening today friends. IT'S HAPPENING TODAY. SO HELP ME, THERE WILL BE A POST. It will be cobbled together from different drafts I've started over the years, but IT WILL EXIST.

So, below are my thoughts, which were written a few years ago, before I'd seen Mad Max: Fury Road, before Jessica Jones, before Wonder Woman.

Anyway, this post is still not even a fraction of the thoughts I have in my head about this show, BUT. We are doing this. THIS POST IS GETTING POSTED.

*

Well, there's now not one, but two versions of Broadchurch (both starring David Tennant!) and I still haven't gotten around to the show that, to me, is the far more subversive, far more interesting, far richer and more beautiful original version of what has now become a multi-season franchise.

I haven't been able to write about Top of the Lake until now because my talents do not lie in talking about the things I find overwhelmingly amazing. I had to wait such a long time for the edges to fade, for this show to settle in my head and become digestible (this is after multiple viewings, because of course I rewatched parts of it ad nauseum) and analyzable and describable.

The non spoilery version is this: Robin (Elizabeth Moss) is a detective who comes back to her small town in New Zealand to visit with her gravely ill mother. At the same time a 12 year old girl in the town is discovered to be pregnant. Robin is called in, because of her big city specialist training, to help interview the girl - however the girl claims she remembers nothing, and Robin ends up leading the investigation into what happened. To unravel this mystery Robin will have to face old friends and enemies, the local gang, police corruption and the secrets of her own family.

If you, like me, are utterly bored by detective stories and mysteries, let me attempt another pitch: Top of the Lake is probably the greatest story I've ever seen about a heroine who is flawed and competent and human, who's allowed to unravel, whose power is never undermined even when she's as low as she's ever going to get, even when the odds are insurmountable. Robin is a heroine you root for when, like Buffy, she has nothing left but herself, her body, her wits. She's someone you root for while you recognize her blind spots, her privileges, her biases. Robin is someone who always, always comes through. Stripped down to the bone she rises, like Lazarus, unstoppable in her passion, her moral duty to do right by the marginalized, her incredible strength.

The amazing thing about Top of the Lake is that it's about a girl who loses everything, but never loses herself. It's about trauma, it's about survival, it's about revenge, it's about justice, it's about compassion and love and forgiveness, it's about asking the ugly questions about ourselves and being uncomfortable and trying as hard as you can to be the best person you can be. It's about trying to make sure no one has to suffer the way you've suffered.

And of course - Jane Campion is an amazing director, and stepping into her world for 7 episodes was like suddenly finding myself in an alternative universe where complex, challenging visual stories are told for me, as a woman. Where the male gaze is not even a distant memory.

Here's one last way of putting it: Robin and Leslie Knope (of Parks and Rec) are two extremes on the same continuum. Leslie is Robin in a light-hearted, brightly lit comedy - Robin is Leslie in a graphic, gritty detective story. Robin is the grown up version of Veronica Mars. The settings, the moods, the tropes are different but the women are the same - beacons of resilience, fortitude, open-eyed optimism, competence, who are the heroes rather than the victims of their narratives.

spoilers )

*

And now an addendum written by today!me:

Top of the Lake is the spiritual mother of so many modern shows, and I'm so happy (SO SO HAPPY) that I get to place it a broader than ever tapestry of women heroes of all kinds.

Long day!

Sep. 17th, 2017 02:46 am
azurelunatic: Polyamory infinite hearts, in a polymer-like grid (polymer)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Breakfast with partner and metamour Leopard Girl.

Seanan McGuire event in Silverdale. We brought tribute, and were briefly Seanan's favorite. (Diet Dr Pepper and candy corn. Seanan is a being of predictable tastes.)

Mini muffin tin quest!

Partner made a note they should chat with our mutual friend in London about stuff. Hooray, viable communities.

Dinner for the extended polycule, with many dishes thanks to Trader Joe's. (Rice, orange chicken with extra zesty sauce but no carrots since we ran out, BBQ pork buns, pot stickers, spring rolls, and green beans. The rice and green beans weren't pre-packaged, and I do a little customization to the chicken by adding orange peel and scallions. The gyoza and bao steam over the rice, and the spring rolls could bake with the chicken. The green beans start frozen and get gently fried with seasonings. Usually it's butter and Montreal steak seasoning, but Stray Puppy Girl is very lactose intolerant, and Leopard Girl dislikes red pepper. So I went for sesame oil, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, ginger, a packet of soy sauce that needed using, and the excess teriyaki sauce from the other night. It turned out well. To my immense gratification, my partner really likes all the iterations of the green beans that I have made so far. Generally they disappear immediately.)

Club night. Without going into excessive detail, one of the groups near the people I was with were having a hilarious time, and kept setting each other off giggling. That prompted our group to giggle. The glee was infectious.

Everyone is spending the night. We hauled the camping pads out of the alleged guest room (it is currently not in a state for guests as my textiles have exploded all over it) and they're set up next to the futon in case it turns from cozy to crowded in the middle of the night. Things are well set up for breakfast, and there should be cheesecake at some point (thus the mini muffin tins).
alexia_drake: Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow in his green suit (Badass)
[personal profile] alexia_drake
Here's icons of the following TV series: 50 icons of Arrow, 10 icons of Supergirl, and 20 icons of Lucifer, all made for challenges at LiveJournal.

Arrow:
8 Oliver & Felicity, 8 Oliver Queen, 12 Felicity
2 Carrie Cutter-Cupid, 2 Cupid & Deadshot
4 Floyd Lawton-Deadshot, 1 John Diggle, 3 The Flash
1 Thea & Oliver, 4 Thea-Speedy, 5 Laurel Lance

Supergirl:
9 Kara-Supergirl, 1 Mon-El-Mike

Lucifer:
4 Lucifer & Chloe, 12 Lucifer Morningstar
4 Chloe Decker, 1 Trixie



See the rest here )
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
is now OH JESUS FUCK BUTTERCUP'S GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ISN'T HE.

Today:

Trump claimed on Twitter that the terrorist attack involved “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard”, despite no such information having been released publicly by police. He also blamed it on “loser terrorists”, promoted his travel ban and advocated a “proactive and nasty” policy against Islamic State.

Note: since no information's been released publicly about whether the police even have suspects, let alone ones known to Scotland Yard, Buttercup is either a) violating the conventions on intelligence sharing (again), or b) completely making shit up.

Also note: almost all our terrorists recently have been home-grown, so a travel ban would do exactly fuck-all.

Also pre-emptively and doubtless ineffectively: DON'T EVEN THINK OF COMING AT OUR MAYOR YOU FUCKER.

i'm swamped

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:21 pm
sporky_rat: Princess Bride - text truncated. Text: I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan....I'm swamped. (swamped)
[personal profile] sporky_rat

I'm teaching a Heraldry 101 class tomorrow at Kingdom A&S and I have exactly one thing typed for a hand out - my list of sources. Everything else is going to be a quick run down, showing off SENA and the Admin Handbook, and then questions! I like answering questions. I will make sure my phone is ready to go and maybe even my notebook computer since it's sometimes easier to see something on that screen that a phone screen.

I am a terrible lecturer. AND Adalyde put me up against Morin's Poison Garden class. HOW COULD SHE. I've offered a prize to whoever shows up to my class with Morin's handout.

I loaned out Seasons 2 and 3 of Game of Thrones to Jenna. She devoured Season 1, so I need to eventually pick up the physical copies of Seasons 4-7.

Dystopia Rising has been awesome lately, I've decided to create a Rover Sawbones (basically a combat medic) and I'm pretty sure I will not use a weapon the first couple of games. Mostly because I need the build for other stuff. Like Rescue and Scrounge and other stuff like that.

I forgot that there was a youngish James Woods in John Carpenter's Vampires. I like this movie a lot, no joke. Then again, I like James Woods. But the effects are really neat. Daniel Baldwin makes me groan a lot, though. I'm not a huge fan of him.

I have an awful lot of stuff to get ready for the month of October. It is full of stuff to do - first weekend in October is actually empty, then there's Coronation, Four Horsemen, Diamond Wars and GAHSS, DR:AR (debuting my Rover on my birthday weekend) and then my cousin Caitlin's wedding. Wow. Busy.

sketchdump.

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:42 pm
syntheid: a person perched on a windowsill with tea (wren(ish))
[personal profile] syntheid

ruffled blue heron sitting on a rope in ballpoint pen and tombow markers

a mouse sitting in a flowerpot with sorrel

doodle of Tykket

ballpoint pen value study of a japanese iris

wip shot of an attempted fanart of atomic blonde

portrait of a person laying on their side merging into fungi



In... order of posting, either L to R or Top to Bottom or something depending on where you're viewing this, but. (Click on them for full size.)

1. Just some random blue heron from a ref on pixabay. Turned out surprisingly well for a sketch that took about an hour, using markers I have no idea how to use with a very limited color selection.
2. My mouse on Mouse Guard is named Sorrel, and a friend of mine was talking about planting sorrel, the plant, in pots, and it just made me think of "potted Sorrel" so. I keep trying to color this and failing.
3. My Asuran mesmer on Guild Wars 2, Tykket. Someday I'll try to tackle the armor but I was just trying to work out how to customize her hair a bit to make her less generic.
4. An iris I decided to try to make a value study of using... ballpoint pen. It took me basically a full day, it was kind of ridiculous, and I regretted the decision one petal in, but it did turn out pretty neat.
5. WIP of fanart of Atomic Blonde that I'm failing to figure out how to actually color. I wanted to watercolor it, but I really am not good enough at watercolor yet and also still couldn't figure out how I actually wanted to color it, so I'm trying digital. Someday I'll finish it?
6. Left-handed drawing in ballpoint and colored pencil. Started out just as a doodle of fungi, then I got lazy about finishing the trunk and put a face on it instead.

I kind of hilariously got a couple more paints so I could have a better range of colors for watercolor and then... haven't managed to do anything.

(ETA: ughhh browser incompatibilities rendering flexbox, I'll try to fix the wrapping again tomorrow, sorry for the overflow.)
(ETA2: fixed, I think, hopefully isn't overflowing on anybody's system now... unless you're still on IE11, then I'm sorry)

Cool things

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:48 pm
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Max Gladstone: "What happens when it’s so difficult to understand the people we live beside—or the people we love—that we can’t help them? That we don’t even know how to help each other?"

These awesome photos of Sloane Stephens!

Some useful information on the General Data Protection Regulation which will affect many of us starting May 2018.

"ProPublica would like to hear from people who have expertise in some facet of the health insurance industry." And then they will do investigative journalism on it!!

Upcoming New York City Council bill on algorithmic transparency:

g. Each agency that uses, for the purposes of targeting services to persons, imposing penalties upon persons or policing, an algorithm or any other method of automated processing system of data shall:

1. Publish on such agency’s website, the source code of such system; and

2. Permit a user to (i) submit data into such system for self-testing and (ii) receive the results of having such data processed by such system.


(If Legistar's RSS feeds work, [syndicated profile] nyc_algo_bill_feed should let you track further actions on it.)

on the hair bounty

Sep. 14th, 2017 12:52 pm
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
So I saw the news story about Martin Shkreli getting punished for posting online and offering USD$5,000 for a strand of Hillary Clinton's hair. And it gets at a bunch of deep primal or overlapping things, doesn't it?sexist bullying )

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