More popcorn

May. 27th, 2017 11:22 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
First, Mother Jones have put together a handy timeline, which they promise to keep updating:

Mother Jones: The Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal

And the Guardian have a helpful guide to the multiple different investigations going on:

The investigations swirling around Donald Trump – a short guide

***********

So, lately:

NYT: At a Besieged White House, Tempers Flare and Confusion Swirls — from the 16th, which is practically decades ago in our new accelerated reality, but still fun:

Some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers fear leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.

It’s been widely rumoured/speculated that the White House "significant person of interest" is Jared Kushner:

Vox: It’s becoming increasingly clear that Jared Kushner is part of Trump’s Russia problem

(Via [personal profile] robynbender, this: https://twitter.com/bornmiserable/status/865695064722251776 Once this has been pointed out, it's hard to stop noticing it.)

Raw Story: White House looking at ethics rule to weaken special investigation: sources

The two people this could potentially block investigation into are Kushner and Manafort.

This also suggests it’s Kushner:

NBC News: Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny in Russia Probe, Officials Say

And late on Friday, we enter holy shit territory once more:

TPM: WaPo: Kushner Asked Russian Envoy To Set Up Secret Moscow Backchannel

Cut for length )
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] purplecat
One of my all time favourite Doctor Who stories.



The Doctor and Romana in Paris

Oxygen

May. 26th, 2017 10:01 pm
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] purplecat
Oxygen struck me as, structurally, being very similar to Knock! Knock! and, like Knock! Knock!, I feel I like it less than it deserves to be liked.

Both Oxygen and Knock! Knock! tell neatly self-contained stories. These are well-produced and acted with scripts that are thoughtful while fitting recognisably within the mould of a Doctor Who story. Fond as I am of the Sylvester McCoy era, it would have struggled to produce two stories of this high quality in close succession. In fact if these had appeared during a Sylvester McCoy season, I suspect I would have rated them as highly as stories like Ghost Light and Curse of Fenric.

This isn't a Sylvester McCoy season though, my expectations are different, and somehow neither managed to really grab me.

I don't really want to nit-pick at Oxygen, but among other things I'm dubious about the economics on display. I've mentioned a couple of times when discussing this season, about how you identify that point in a fantastical show, where it's breaking its own unstated rules of consistency. The problem Oxygen had for me specifically as someone who has hung around space scientists a bit, is that its very emphasis on the realities of surviving in a vacuum made me expect more realism from the rest of the Space Science. The reality of space is it is really, really expensive to put people up there (in weight terms, even if you're not factoring in the expense of training someone and are, apparently, discounting any value in human life) so you probably don't want them randomly suffocating even if they are not being as productive as you might like. This then, of course, made me think of the practices of Victorian factory owners and making your workers indebted to you for their use of oxygen (and thereby imposing a form of slavery) and that somehow seemed more plausible though not, obviously as likely to produce space zombies. Like the "how does agriculture work on Christmas?" problem I had with Matt Smith's final story, this distracted me far more than it should have done.

I'm not really qualified to comment on the depiction of disability. [personal profile] hollymath has written eloquently about how hurtful she found it though I've seen other commentary that was cautiously optimistic or at least "jury still out" on the subject.

I was disappointed that the blue alien had no function in the story beyond making a simplistic point about racism and then dying.

Did I like anything about the story? Yes, actually. I really liked the interactions between Bill, Nardole and the Doctor. This is the first time we've seen them operating as a team and I liked the way the dynamic of two companions (who aren't romantically linked in any way) worked, particularly the way that the two of them can jointly put different perspectives to the Doctor. In fact I really like this softer version of the twelfth Doctor and both his new companions.

I did think the story was well-paced, well-acted and I liked that it was allowed to be about something and that its resolution tied back to its themes and the set up of the problem. I'm far from convinced it is really Oxygen's fault that I got distracted by picking holes.

"You with the Guardian?"

May. 26th, 2017 08:10 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(X-posting to [community profile] thisfinecrew.)

Here's a thought:

If you disapprove of politicians beating up journalists (or winking at other politicians' beating up journalists) and have some spare cash, one possible action would be to contribute to the Guardian -- whose journalist, Ben Jacobs, got beaten up.

There are various options for becoming a member and paying a regular subscription, but you can also make a one-off contribution.

Although they're a British newspaper, their coverage of US issues is very very strong.

They would like to note (in an e-mail sent out to members) that they recently ran pieces including GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies and Trump diehards stay loyal in Montana's 'white man's country' – video:

In that interview, the Guardian's west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump's executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.

Well that's an obnoxious form of SEO

May. 26th, 2017 03:23 pm
[personal profile] swaldman
It looks as though the creator of this site has trawled through the source for MATLAB's built-in functions and created an empty forum topic for each error message, so as to snare people who search for the error....

Out of curiosity

May. 26th, 2017 01:08 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
What happens if the new Republican rep for Montana is now convicted of assault?

He appears to have "declined" a further interview requested by local law enforcement (which, much like "declining" a subpoena, is one of those things I didn't know you could do).

But he's apologized (or "apologized") for having "made a mistake".

(A "mistake" that allegedly involved grabbing someone by the neck with both hands, body-slamming them to the floor, then repeatedly punching them.)

Paul Ryan (displaying all the guts and principle we have come to expect from him) took the bold stand of saying Gianforte should apologize. Other Republicans seem to feel that Ben Jacobs should apologize for having wickedly provoked Gianforte to attack him by being a liberal journalist in public.

... wow

May. 25th, 2017 03:01 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(x-posting from [community profile] thisfinecrew)

Holy shit:

The Guardian: Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter

The day before the Montana special election (which is today).

And it was caught on audiotape and witnessed by a Fox News team also present who wrote this about (avid Trump supporter) Gianforte's alleged attack on Ben Jacobs:

Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, "I'm sick and tired of this!"

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff's deputies.


Fox News: Key Montana newspapers pull Gianforte endorsement after incident

Here's [personal profile] colorblue's post on the Montana election:

Action: Montana Special Election

If you are a US citizen, you can still donate to the last-minute get-out-the-vote effort for Gianforte's opponent, Rob Quist, and he currently has 5X matching:

ActBlue page for Rob Quist (thanks to [personal profile] loligo)

The Randomiser: The Daleks

May. 24th, 2017 07:42 pm
purplecat: Texture by simpleandclean (LiveJournal) (Doctor Who)
[personal profile] purplecat
I have vague memories of starting to watch The Daleks once and then giving up because I felt it was too dull and slow-paced. This rather surprises me now. I'm not sure if that is age, or watching it much more episodically, or simply that I'm now more used to the pacing of 1960s Doctor Who. At any rate, I thought it went along at a pretty decent pace all told and while the plot wasn't exactly full of twists, it did keep progressing from Dalek city, to the forest, to the lake and the caves and then back to the city again.

Much has been written about the design of the Daleks and its contribution to their success. It's difficult not to be impressed. Even today most Doctor Who monsters definitely adhere to the "man in a suit" model, so seeing something from so early in the show that really doesn't look remotely like a man in a suit. The fact that the fundamental design of the Daleks has altered so little since then is probably a testament to its longevity. Even the sink plunger which ought to tip them over into the ridiculous seems to work, and to continue to work. While the design of the Daleks has been much praised, the design of their City is also pretty impressive, both in terms of the exterior shots of the whole city and the internal corridors. There isn't anything in this story that looks risible and a great deal of it looks very good indeed.

Some of the dialogue is also surprisingly nuanced for Doctor Who and a reminder that, at this point in time, its writers viewed it as an ensemble show. I'm particularly thinking of the discussion in the forest over the morality of pressurising the Thals to help them, though I'm not quite sure (even in 1963) why the dynamic of this is the Doctor and Barbara attempting to persuade Ian to persuade the Thals, as if the Doctor and Barbara can't have a go at a bit of persuading themselves. In fact, I'm not at all sure what this story's attitude is to the concept of Ian as the leader. It seems to be implicit in quite a lot that happens, but then the script also undermines him - particularly in the sequence when it becomes clear that only Susan can venture back to the Tardis to fetch the anti-radiation drugs where Ian is basically a bit of a tit about the whole situation.

On the down side, the Thals are rather bland, more so than I remembered from the novelisation - though they do avoid the 1970s mistake of looking like a bunch of actors who have never done a day's physical labour in their lives. They are almost uniformly kind, thoughtful and a little bewildered looking - the only excepion really being Antodus who's cowardly and bewildered looking. My memory from the novelisation is that they were better differentiated than this, but the novelisation is a slightly different beast. I was aware that there was supposed to be a potential romance between Ganatus and Barbara and so spotted the various hints of this, but Tame Layman was a bit taken aback at the end when it was made more explicit in their farewell. Susan is also fairly ill-served by the story although I'm beginning to feel that Susan is often ill-served. While the Randomiser re-watches have improved my opinion of many of the 60s era "screamer" companions, I think my opinion of Susan has dropped. Sadly, the most interesting thing about her is her background. Otherwise, an awful lot of the time, her role in any story just to scream hysterically and panic. Here she is given a moment to shine, when she fetches the anti-radiation drugs, but the script undermines her even then by focusing mostly on her fear and not on her bravery.

I don't know why I formed such a low opinion of this story the first time I came across it. It is mostly intelligently written, well-designed and pretty pacey to watch. As the story that first introduced the Daleks its significance in the history of Doctor Who is clear and it is a story which I think a moderately tolerant modern viewer could easily enjoy.

Sewing Woes

May. 23rd, 2017 11:14 pm
beatrice_otter: Ginger Rogers--Dancing! (Dancing!)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
When my grandma died, she had a huge fabric stash.  Lots of it was either awful, scraps, or half-finished projects from thirty years ago, but there were some nice fabrics in large enough pieces to make stuff out of.  There were also some interesting vintage patterns.  I took the interesting/nice stuff.

Over the weekend, I pulled it out and decided to make some of it into a sundress.  Problem: I needed about 1/8 yard of interfacing, which I do not have.  I live an hour away from the nearest city with a fabric store, and was not about to drive two hours round trip for 1/8 yard.  So I ordered some from fabric.com.  It will get here in 4-7 days.  But it's all cut out and I've done all the steps I can do without interfacing, AND IT'S SITTING THERE STARING AT ME.  The executive dysfunction of autism means that I have two modes: hyperfocused on something, and unable to focus on it without outside pressure.  So not only do I feel really bad about the fact that I can't sew it right now, but there's a decent chance that by the time the interfacing gets here, the focus will be gone and the sundress will sit in a pile on the table for months and possibly never get completed ever.

Also!  This is a light, delicate fabric that ravels if I look at it, and I do not have a serger.  I did the seams of the skirt as French seams (where the raw edges are encased in a sewn channel so they can't ravel), but I don't know what to do about like armhole seams where you can't do that (and in fact need to clip the seam allowance so that there's less bulk and it curves better).  The only time I've done significant work with fabrics that ravel like this was in the costume shop of the theater/dance department in college, where it didn't matter if it ravelled apart quickly, because it was only for stage use.

Googling has not been helpful.  I have seen a lot of seam finishes (some of which are new to me), but none that look like they'd be good for armholes and other curved seams.  Anybody got any advice?
momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)
[personal profile] momijizukamori












My name is Mikazuki Munechika. I’m one of the five great swords of Japan, and well, I’m also said to be the most beautiful.
I was born near the end of the 11th century. I guess you can say I’m an old man. Ha ha ha.

syntheid: [text] the intp (myers briggs) (intp)
[personal profile] syntheid
Duolingo finally released a Japanese course, currently only available for iOS. I've been curious what they'd do for that for ages, so I immediately took their placement test to start the course. Background, so you know where I'm coming from: I've been studying Japanese for a hell of a long time, and I'm ... middling at it, been stuck in the intermediate plateau for years because I haven't been able to devote much time to study. Kinda hovering around N3 level, though I have yet to actually pass the N3. But I can get around and have some conversations depending on the topic and read things depending on the vocab. And I've tried a lot of different tools and courses between my formal education at university and my self study.

Also, after I was placed, I found the things I missed were either me making a stupid mistake I did know but failed to input correctly, or me incorrectly guessing what English sentence structure they were intending me to respond with. So instead of going through the rest of the course normally, I tested out of each topic individually, which took me between 1 and 3 tries for each topic. Again depending largely on my luck in guessing what English sentence structure they were looking for. Except for the Olympics topic, which I knew I didn't know much terminology on, so I completed that one normally. It took me around 3 hours to complete everything.

The tl;dr version is that it seems like a decent introduction to Japanese, but the amount of material it covers is approximately the amount we covered in my first month or two of material in the beginning class at college with focus on somewhat different topics. My guess is, based on my experience with the Russian course, that you'll still want to study hiragana and katakana on your own outside of it, but it does provide a relatively gentle introduction to the characters and the entire course is using them, so you'll get practice in reading. If you're looking for just an intro or practice reviewing basics, this would be fine. But don't expect to come out of this course with anything more than basic/travel Japanese. You will sound oddly formal, but understandable, and be able to read... nothing, really, with the amount of kanji and grammar they teach.

some detail )

It's a little difficult for me to compare to their other courses since I haven't completed any others, but also just this course seems sparse on content. As a general Duolingo critique, I'd love to see some of the features that are available in languages like Spanish (or possibly only Spanish?) in other courses, really. Such as the interactive chat bots and speech detection. The speech detection is somewhat spotty in my experience-- I've said things in English to the iOS version that it counted as correct Spanish, but the Android version seemed better at detecting me saying the actual words-- but if they could improve it that would be also nice to have elsewhere. (Russian, please!) Also, give us something else to do with lingots.

one foot in front of the other

May. 23rd, 2017 10:34 am
sporky_rat: John Barrowman (Capt. Jack Harkness) facing right, head up, eyes closed. (this day needs to be over)
[personal profile] sporky_rat

I am very much worried about Nero. Right now he's at Dr Ebers' and there's probably going to be bloodwork and x-rays and I am worried about the big lug. I love that cat. He has come so far in such a short time from the cat he had been. He loves having his ears scratched and his head kissed and sleeping between me and his human. (I'm his human's human. That's about how he puts up with me.)

I want him to be okay.

I am currently avoiding all the panic that is percolating in my brain by watching Survival Lilly on YouTube in Austria build herself outdoor shelters. It helps. (She also has an adorable dog that loves to wallow in dirt and leaves.) It's very interesting to see how people in Europe build outdoor shelters versus what you would down here in South Mississippi. There you can use conifer branches and whatnot, but here it's more pine brances and they don't work well or cedar and that's sometimes hard to find where you can reach it.

We had water in the house again since it rained a lot.

Crown List was last weekend. It was held at the State Park near Shreveport - we have James and Joan as Prince and Princess again. I need to go do some research for their names because they don't have registered names or devices. I put up my canopy for the first time and I need to seal the seams on it. Wow do I. I also made a Lemon Bliss Cake and it was fine. Gaius made a deep-fried turkey for his Crown List people and shared with us other Heralds and that and my cake were divine. My Heraldic Boss (Brendan) fell in love with my large thick felt hat. If you wear glasses, a thick felt hat is wonderful because it keeps your glasses from getting spotty in the rain. Brent bought it several years ago at Acadiana or Scharborough Fair.

I should never get a top bunk again. It gets very difficult to get up and down from there.

I got a mole removed yesterday. Dr Rose is pretty sure there isn't anything wrong with it; it was one of those moles that's right at the waistband of your underwear or trousers or skirts and always gets rubbed on so it itches or gets rubbed raw occasionally. (I hate those moles.) So she took it right off then and there. I like lidocaine - yes, it stings at first, but then the lidocaine makes the sting of the lidocaine go away. Win win!

A thing I had not previously realised

May. 23rd, 2017 04:13 pm
kaberett: Lin Beifong crying (lin-tear)
[personal profile] kaberett
You know the way tear are an excretionary mechanism for Nope Too Much Of That Emotion Let's Have Less Of It? No, they really are, maybe: emotional tears contain more misc hormonal wossnames. Have an art project!

Here is a delightful thing

May. 23rd, 2017 09:38 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] violent-darts:

AV Club: Meme becomes reality as Netflix orders Lupita Nyong’o and Rihanna’s con artist movie

Because we need it this morning.

Fuck terrorism, fuck Katie Hopkins and her vile cohorts, pre-emptively fuck Trump because presumably he's going to make some sort of statement about Manchester at some point and it's going to be awful (or at best the kind of vacuous blandness that means they've managed to make him stick to a script for a few moments), go awesome black women and making movies happen through the power of Twitter and delight.

May all the surviving kids at the concert be safe and reunited with their families soon and participating in the proud British tradition of recounting acts of terrorism in terms of the epic journeys that had to be taken because public transport was shut down (a la 7/7 -- Americans: "We weep for you!" British people: "I had to walk for FIVE HOURS").

ETA: Oh fuck they let him write at least part of it. Yes, of course Buttercup thinks the worst thing you can call someone is a "loser". Because winning is all that counts, and Buttercup is the winningest winner ever. Losing means you're wrong because winning is right.

Sending thoughts to Manchester

May. 22nd, 2017 09:22 pm
lavendertook: (lavender candle)
[personal profile] lavendertook
My best to anyone effected by the explosion in Manchester. I'm thinking of [livejournal.com profile] gabi_fics and hoping everyone she knows is safe. Love to all my UK friends. Much strength to all survivors. <3

Newly local characters

May. 22nd, 2017 03:13 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Once I move at the beginning of June, there will be a new local set of people.


Me: y'all know me. Lunatic, infovore. Gender: no thank you. Pronoun set: plural-they.

Partner: a witty, kind geekfolk, fascinated by books and shows and links and sports and hardware and eking every last ounce of usefulness out of old gear. I have known them for about 10 years at this point. Infovore. Gender: has a lot of oppressive constructs which should be BURNED THE FUCK DOWN while not endangering the vulnerable folks who depend on some of its supportive ones. Pronoun set: anonymous-they.

Metamour: has been seeing my partner since February-ish. Met them over a game of CAH; knew they had to be friends when they had pretty much the same answer. Witty, beautiful. Likes baking. Gender: woman. Pronoun set: she/her.

Tay-Tay: my younger (biological) sister, and soon to be my roommate. I say she is my "baby" sister but she's actually a year older than my partner. Violinist and general ball of energy. Short and tiny; I can kind of lift her in one arm so she can be on eye level with my partner. Gender: probably woman-ish and she likes kicking over gender norms and dancing on top. Pronoun set: she/her.

The Kitten: a small, loud, grey indoor lap cat who loves my partner and will punch people who try to pet her without her permission. Previous owners declawed her. She is food-insecure, and cannot be left to free-feed. She's antisocial to other cats. She does not like Master Jerkface very much at all. She is most often found perched on the back of my partner's desk chair and getting hair on their jacket, on my partner's lap with her tail in their face demanding to be petted, or on top of them when they're asleep.

Master Jerkface (and other equally unflattering nicknames): the abusive ex of my beloved partner. I hope to not meet them. Gender: they have one. Pronoun set: as used here, anonymous-they.

The Man-Child: Tay's boyfriend, who I didn't hear about in the context of a Relationship until September 2016, literally as I was coming back from the Oakland radiation oncology department. Musician, outdoorsy hiker type. A few decades too old for man-childishness to be excused. Gender: man, probably. Pronoun set: he/him.


Team Partner: a bunch of people who came together to help my partner in their hour of need. They include:

an old internet friend of mine who reads the Vorkosigan books
their wife
a friend of theirs

The first hosts: one of my partner's former co-workers who went into tech and her husband

The second hosts: another co-worker-ish person and her husband


Assorted now-local friends of mine include:

Mr. Zune: a former co-worker from Virtual Hammer who is now at the SEA-TAC outpost as his career was portable
Mr. Zune's Girlfriend: got a dream job in the Seattle area

[livejournal.com profile] tygerr: an old friend and Listee
[livejournal.com profile] tygerr's wife: an excellent and fun geek lady

Carnelian: a friend of mine from the late 90s; we had various different paths in life but now we're talking again and comparing notes.
Terezi: Carnelian's daughter, who infamously needed two stacked baby gates to keep her contained as a toddler. Now a proud teenage tumblr bb. (I haven't seen her in Many Years, but I'm likely to run into her more often now.)

Various #dw, #dw_kvetch, and #lj_s folk!!!

Viv is awesome

May. 22nd, 2017 04:20 pm
metawidget: me, Oscar, Elizabeth with Viv in front (family)
[personal profile] metawidget
Viv and Oscar have been out playing at a neighbour's place today, leaving us to be ruled by delightful Ada. But I wanted to record a couple of fun Viv moments.

First, when discussing bugs in the kitchen, she wanted to know if ants have necks. Siri had trouble parsing the question, but a little searching got a yes answer — and those necks are apparently very strong.

Second, she wanted to play Set this morning… and she pretty much figured it out (on the solid-only deck) and was able to pick out sets and explain why (or work out what was wrong with them when she made a mistake).

Smart and delightful kid.

Superheroes and Lego Robots

May. 22nd, 2017 08:23 pm
purplecat: (lego robots)
[personal profile] purplecat


At the University Open House during Liverpool Light Night


For context, John Higgins was giving a talk to go with an exhibition of his art in the Victoria Gallery and Museum, where the Open House was taking place.
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
No, a literal one, not (just) metaphorical. I had to Google to be sure. Reality is getting way too on-the-nose lately.

Also: TPM: Trump Denies He Said ‘Israel’ When He Shared Israeli Intelligence With Russia

That's right: while in Israel, Buttercup spontaneously confirmed for the press that Israel was the source of the uber-classified intel he shared with the Russians without the Israelis' permission, but he thinks it's all fine because he didn't say the word "Israel" while in the room with the Russians (just, you know, now, on TV, in front of the entire world, in case the Russians had any remaining doubt about where the intel came from), so that's okay.
[personal profile] swaldman
David Davis has reportedly threatened to walk out of negotiations if the EU continues to demand a £100bn exit payment. Lots of people are banging on about this sum of money, on in various countries, for internal political purposes, and in all cases... ARRGH.

Leaving the EU is a long term choice. That payment is a one-off. Yes, it's a lot of money. If you believed the £350m/week claim, it's five and a half years' worth of membership. More realistically it's a bit under eight.  Ignoring other economic impacts of brexit, even with a £100bn payment, after a maximum of eight years we're better off. (no, this doesn't take account of inflation, NPV, etc.. I don't care.)

This is the STUPIDEST thing of all the possible things to be arguing about.

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