liv: cup of tea with text from HHGttG (teeeeea)
[personal profile] liv
Haven't managed to post anything since I started back at work after the New Year break. During that time I have:
  • Visited [personal profile] angelofthenorth in Cardiff
  • Hosted [personal profile] khalinche for a truly delightful couple of days
  • Made a flying visit to Cambridge for [personal profile] jack's birthday / engagement party
  • Heard a fascinating but rant-inducing talk by Simon Baron-Cohen
  • Had a visit from my parents, uncle and grandmother
  • Heard a really good talk about the Staffordshire Hoard
  • Marked dozens of exam papers
  • Seen an urban fox
  • Helped represent the Jewish community at a whole bunch of Holocaust Memorial Day events
  • Saw Star Wars for the first time (only the original film, now called episode IV, as yet)
  • Continued going to the gym regularly with [livejournal.com profile] mathcathy
And [personal profile] jack has been staying with me, which is probably the biggest reason for spending less time on the internet than I sometimes like to.

I have built up a huge queue of posts in my head, including my thoughts about many of the above events, but I also want to post about:
  • Reviews of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, Stephen King's The Liar and Jo Walton's Among Others
  • Finishing the 10-day countdown meme
  • Answering deep questions people have been posting about relationships
  • Answering the final, giant FAQ about getting engaged, namely: what are the political implications of your decision?
  • A retrospective of 2010; I always do that, every year, and although it'll be February by the time I get to it I'd feel bad about not doing it at all...
Sorry for the bullet points instead of a post. I am very much enjoying 2011 so far, but wow.

I also have a small logistical problem: there is a sofa. It belongs to my brother's partner. They (brother and SO) want it in the long term. Right now it does not physically fit in their living room. I have no sofa, but I do have plenty of space. My brother and sister-out-law would like to long-term lend me their sofa. Sofa is currently in their flat in Hackney. How do I get the sofa from there to my house in Stoke? I'm happy to throw money at the problem, but, you know, preferably not more than the value of the sofa!

On the fungibility of sofas

Date: 2011-01-31 12:52 pm (UTC)
hairyears: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
What this needs is a Virtual Sofa Exchange...

If the sofa is a commodity item (say, a common IKEA design) it could take part in a two, three or n-part exchange of identical sofas in which fewer-than-n sofas actually move the while distance, and the end-point recipients receive locally-sourced sofas that are identical to the distant sofas.

Post this to er... Freecycle? Where do sofa donors and recipients signal their market positions on the Web? This is a problem of communication and intermediation, not long-distance logistics.

Assuming, of course, that the sofa in question is a commodity item and not a distinctive crafted work.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-31 06:30 pm (UTC)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
From: [personal profile] forestofglory
Yay a fox! Wildlife is very exciting.

I enjoyed Star Wars much more when I was 13 then I do now, but it is still fun and something you should see.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-01 06:27 pm (UTC)
ajollypyruvate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ajollypyruvate
"I can see that Star Wars would make more of an impact when you were young and hadn't seen lots of other films or encountered lots of more sophisticated stories."
For those of us who saw it in the theatres at first release, it was a significant life event. I'm not sure there was anything comparable, film-wise, at the time.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-31 10:15 pm (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
(the thing I was about to say stops being relevant when I realise that you mean Stoke-Stoke, not Stoke-Newington Stoke ... um - sorry!)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-01 12:01 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
SIMON BARON-BLOODY-COHEN

Right, and in more detail:

so he came to give out the awards at my sixth form's post-A-level-results evening. And he cheerfully stood up there and talked about (not-yet-published IIRC) research that showed that girls weren't any good at science but boys were, and you could tell this from when they were ONE-AND-A-HALF-DAY-OLD BABIES so it MUST be true. And he nowhere, not once, mentioned how large an effect it was or the statistical significance or anything. And there was me, little baby feminist barely believing I could actually do science, and he was going to give me an award for being really fucking good at science, and he was telling a room full of lay people that I was axiomatically shit. (Because he's a clever man. I don't believe he doesn't know what he's doing.)


And then, last year, Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine was published. It is mostly awesome, and I should lend it to you. And there is a chapter in which she totally deconstructs the study he was referring to that night - basically, the entire methodology was woefully flawed in about five major and important ways. And I CHEERED.

So, yes, I am extremely sceptical of SBC.
Edited Date: 2011-02-01 12:08 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
The hopeless methodology isn't actually just gender studies-related - this is the study I'm talking about, where important problems include:

1. The researcher presenting the stimulus knew the assigned sex of the baby (though the people doing the scoring didn't, but this is still enough to make me uncomfortable)
2. Babies aren't actually very good at focussing on things
3. It's not clear how the mobile in question is obviously sufficiently more mechanical to prove his hypothesis
4. The babies in question were *either* on their back in a cot *or* held in a parents' lap, where it's not clear what proportion of MAAB and FAAB were in each group, changing the angle at which they were looking at the thing, which matters a lot (because babies don't see very well...)
5. Two objects were presented sequentially (babies don't exactly have long attention spans)


Points 1, 4 & 5 are ones that are apparently usually quite carefully controlled for by people doing serious research on newborns.

I note that these problems are better explained and better referenced in the book I cite above :-)


So. I agree that it is dire if he genuinely doesn't realise how much harm he causes, and I think he ought to be a damn sight more careful with his methodology especially as people are willing to point out its flaws to him. And he makes me ragey. And I've just raged all over you. Er. Sorry.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-03 11:52 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Blush, etc. And hurrah for sanctioned rage! And, er, I am not actually a biologist, so please do tell me if I make Egregious Biological Mistakes.

I do look forward to you posting about SBC :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-01 06:31 pm (UTC)
ajollypyruvate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ajollypyruvate
Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine
Thanks for rec! I shall place this on my library list. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-02-01 06:35 pm (UTC)
ajollypyruvate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ajollypyruvate
Do you have an equivalent of Starving Students movers? Someone who will haul furniture for a much-reduced rate? Barring that, good friends with a large vehicle.

Would love to see an urban fox. It would be a welcome break from the raccoons, 'possums, and deer!

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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