(no subject)

Apr. 26th, 2017 09:12 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] ookpik!
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.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Apr. 25th, 2017 05:48 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
Happy 100th to Ella Fitzgerald, singer extraordinaire.

(Selected samples.)

FMK #9: Second Books

Apr. 25th, 2017 07:07 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Note to self, things your circle is v. interested in: Library classification. Canadian art.

So, back on the wagon with FMK! I posted about Growing Up Weightless yesterday and I am very nearly done with Snow Queen. After that Electric Forest should be quick and then I will be caught up! Except the six library books! But we aren't talking about those!

Fewer of you than I thought voted that you change your poll answers after reading the comments! I am apparently in the more easily swayed group. :P


This week's theme is I Read the First One And It Was Good But For Years I Could Never Find The Next One But Then I Did So Here It Is Yay

(In a it's the first one I couldn't find instead of the next one, but close enough.)


How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

If you want to be extra-helpful, bear in mind that it may have been two decades since I read the first on, and note whether I need to re-read that one first.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Adams, Cherryh, Ellis, Gibson, Handeland, ab Hugh, Jones, Kotzwinkle, Lackey, Monette, Snyder, Watt-Evans, White  )

Reading Tuesday

Apr. 25th, 2017 04:15 pm
jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (books)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

Past imperfect : history according to the movies edited by Mark Carnes

4 of 5 stars )

Truevine by Beth Macy

4 of 5 stars )

Chenoo by Joseph Bruchac

3 of 5 Stars )

A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters

3 of 5 stars )


  1. discovered in my Cumberbatch-completist mode ↩︎

So, farewell then...

Apr. 25th, 2017 07:05 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

Haven't yet actually deleted my lj - there are still - probably less than a handful? - people posting there whom I read who haven't made the switch to DW - though I rescinded auto-payments back when the server move happened.

What cheered me about this was when I tried whether it would work in DW and previewed the post the misspelling of 'received' that showed up at the LJ is 18 page had been corrected. I was going to say something about it, I R pedant, but it seems I don't need to.

It's been a long time and I've made many friends, I've done things I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been on LJ and made those friends, it's a pity it had to end like this, even if my life has been predominantly at Dreamwidth since 2009, which is, in fact, for somewhat longer.

jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Last post, I decided that what's "really there" for fundamental particles is typically a quantum thing, specifically, a probability wave of possible values a particle can have which appears to collapse into one particular place only when its interacted with.

However, this "collapse" sounds very suspicious. If two different particles emitted from the same particle decay (or something?) are known to have opposite spins, but not what those are, do you get all the usual wavelike behaviour, can each self-interfere, etc? Yes, of course. And yet, when you finally measure them, lo, the spins are still conveniently opposite.

Something that looks like collapsing to a single answer seems to happen, because when we measure them, we always do get a single answer. But that's not an event. If you measure one, does a spooky force reach out across the room to force the other to collapse at the same time? Does it collapse the value you measure, but still allow other properties of the particle to continue being multiple? That looks awfully like what happens, but it should seem wrong to start with, even before you ask "if you measure one particle, does the other know to wait until you interact with it, but store the answer you're going to find until then" and "if you measure them both a long way apart, does the collapse rush faster than the speed of light (aka backwards in time) to make sure both answers agree with each other?"

Any theory involving particles "knowing" or "waiting" or "choosing" depending on how you measure them sounds very unlike physics.

And yet, the particles go on behaving like probability waves until you measure them, and if they came from a shared source, then when you measure them, they DO agree. Just as if this spooky shit was happening. What might be going on?

Hypothesis 1

Whenever one particle collapses, a spooky force travels faster than the speed of light to the other particle, and then hangs around telling it what value it will have when it's finally measured.

This *works*, but hopefully you can see why it doesn't seem correct.

Hypothesis 2

Just like hypothesis 1, but we try to avoid thinking about it. This is not really satisfying, but it works and is a pragmatic default for many physicists. (Sort of Copenhagen interpretation?)

Hypothesis 3

Even while a particle is still smeared out across a probability of many potential positions/values, it has a hidden property which tells it how it's *going* to collapse when something interacts with it. Like, not necessarily "hidden", but basically some sort of determinism.

This is roughly Hidden variables interpretation (right?)

This would be fairly satisfactory except that it turns out it's impossible.

This is not very mysterious or controversial, but involves more simple probability than I can manage to wade through. Look up the EPR paradox or the Bell inequality. The idea is, you choose something like polarisation angle that could be measured at many different angles. You randomly choose to measure at different angles for two particles known to have opposite polarisation. There are various correlations between the probabilities when you measure the two particles at an angle to each other (the detectors neither parallel nor orthogonal). You can prove that no possible hidden value would make all those correlations true at once, but QM does and that's what's actually observed.

I can't really prove this to myself, let alone anyone else, but AFAIK no reputable physicists doubt that it's correct, only maybe what it means, so I'm willing to accept it as true.

There are still edge cases, like, people argue whether the experiments have ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY proved this spooky collapse effect would have to go faster than the speed of light, rather than going at a possible speed (but depending what exact moment sets it off, etc). But I don't find any of that very persuasive. A spooky collapse effect which is triggered by measuring a particle and goes at the speed of light or below, while not ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY ruled out, doesn't sound at all likely. I don't think anyone seriously expects that if they make the distance apart in those measurements a bit bigger, they'll suddenly get difference results: that's not how you expect physics to happen.

Hypothesis 4

Those weird quantum probability waves don't only exist for tiny particles, they happen just the same for everything including macroscopic objects, humans, etc, but you can't observe the effects except for tiny things (because to see interference you need something isolated from other particles, and you need to be able to detect its wavelength, which is way too small for anything bigger than a molecule).

I'm still working on understanding *why*, if that's true, it produces the effects we see. But most physicists, even ones who don't like this line of reasoning, seem to agree that it *would*.

This makes everything above non-mysterious. How does the collapse effect move around? It doesn't. Every "collapse" is just another probability thing of a scientist (and all the other macroscopic stuff) interacting with a particle and becoming two never-interacting possible scientists, one observing A, one observing B. We know both happen. We know, when we measure things light-hours apart and then compare notes, that we will be comparing notes with the version of the other scientist who observed the opposite polarisation to what we saw, while our shadow twin will be comparing notes with the other scientist's shadow twin.

The multiple non-interacting versions of the macroscopic world are called "many worlds" or "parallel universes" which admittedly makes them sound very implausible.

It seems like, this leaves some things to ponder, but resolves a very large part of the things people find mysterious. And yet, many physicists really don't like it. I need to read the bits of Scott Aaron's book about different interpretations[1], because I trust him to know more about this than me and he doesn't seem convinced.

Footnote [1]

The hypotheses above are called interpretations. I don't know if my ones exactly map onto the real ones. The name is because they all predict the same results, and yet seem quite different.

You can argue, "they're the same", but I don't quite agree. See for instance space outside our light cone -- we have no way of observing it, so the hypotheses "it's got physics just like ours but with different stuff there" and "it's all purple unicorns" are both possible, and yet, the first one seems a lot more like actual reality.

In both cases, it sort of doesn't matter, but you can imagine (a) which answer is most plausible, most useful, easiest to work with, or least ridiculous (b) if we're wrong and there IS some difference, which one would actually be found to be the one that exists.

Requiescat in Pace

Apr. 25th, 2017 09:08 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
It turns out that the political situation is making for mental constipation. Which calls for some mental coffee and banana. Soon.All NY Times obituaries.

Rain, Rain, And Also More Rain

Apr. 25th, 2017 12:41 pm
tkingfisher: (Default)
[personal profile] tkingfisher
Five inches in forty-eight hours, by the home weather station in the garden. (I love this thing SO MUCH. I cannot even tell you how much I love it.)



The rivers are all flooding, of course, but I'm on high ground, so it's just soggy. The thing of interest to me is how my growbag + water reservoir systems are holding up. All of them are as saturated as it is possible to be now and the tubs of water are overflowing. So far, they've done fine staying consistently moist during sunny days--now we see if they drown in the rain!

So far, most of them are holding up apparently fine. One bag, which is too shallow for the tub it's in, is definitely waterlogged (but that's one out of over a dozen, so not too shabby!) The two big chiapas-inspired growbag + barrel tubs are hard to tell, because the rain also pummeled a bunch of stuff flat, so I can't tell if the tomato starts are dying from drowning or just hammered down by hard rain. The peppers in the same tubs are okay. I guess we'll know in a day or two.

We close on Dogskull Patch next week. I am trying not to think about it for fear of jinxing everything and becoming a whimpering wreck.

(no subject)

Apr. 25th, 2017 12:16 pm
cafeshree: woman sitting on chair reading a book (Default)
[personal profile] cafeshree
 Meant to post more but I've cut back on online time, needing a bit of a break from politics, but not wanting to be completely cut off, so mostly looking at twitter.

Decided I needed the break partly because it's all so frustrating and infuriating, but also because I had a dream that #45 was swimming in a pool that I was in and he may or may not have been naked. So icky. 

A week or so ago my Dad had some people come to clean out our attic, they just take everything away and do whatever with it. So much stuff up there they are doing it in two  trips.  So I got to look at the trunk I've had and see what was in it. I vaguely remembered some books about the Beatles from my young fangirl phase, but couldn't remember what else was in there. Well, I found those book and scrapbooks of Beates and Bruce Springsteen articles. Backstreet fanzine about Bruce. Also my college diploma, some family history info and college textbooks. A few stuffed animals and an unused puzzle. So I kept the diploma and family history stuff a few pictures and the puzzle. Everything else will go. It was kind of fun to see that stuff but beyond wanting to keep it for anything.

Work has been stressful, nothing new there, mostly the 2 colleagues that will not shut up. Last week I was ready to give up my week vacation for one day of silence from them. But I didn't so I will be leaving shortly for an almost week getaway.  I hope I can get back into reading books on this trip, I've not been able to concentrate much and I miss curling up with a good read. 

Arrivederci. 
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
You should be able to select multiple pokemon from your reserves when choosing which pokemon to fight with.

When you're training a friendly gym, the default pokemon selection should avoid pokemon very slightly higher CP than the ones you're fighting that automatically reduce the prestige gained by 40%.

"Vaporeon used hydropump" should always come slightly before the special move takes effect, rather than slightly after.

If your pokemon is on 5% health and you switch to another pokemon and that one is knocked out, its default replacement should be the *next* one, not the one which will be knocked out instantly. (Is there a shortcut for "next pokemon" without going through the pokemon select screen?)

If your switch pokemon and while you're in the pokemon select screen, your previous pokemon faints or you forget which pokemon you started with, and you click frantically click a pokemon again and again trying to select it and nothing happens, it should select that pokemon even if it's the one already selected.

If you select "run away" there should be a quick gesture to do so in a single click, without needing to get to the "yes" button before your next pokemon is knocked out too.

It me

Apr. 25th, 2017 02:53 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Here's me doing The Worst Clerical Job in the World on Saturday. I look happy because [twitter.com profile] LadyPHackney, who was taking the picture, made me laugh...so it turned out okay I think.

alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
This rescue kitty in Baltimore is looking for a forever home. The people who found her love her and she is super human-friendly, but she can't live with other cats!

http://synecdochic.dreamwidth.org/777659.html

Comment over there, not here please...
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
This has so much I love.

An interesting space empire, full of detailed calendrical minutae, customs, etc, etc.

A mathematically gifted protagonist struggling to serve loyally as a minor officer in the infantry.

A legendary rogueish maybe-monster.

The empire is built on basically mathematically-based magic, following particular social codes (both on an "infantry formation scale" and a "society as a whole" scale) allows various exotic technologies to work that wouldn't otherwise, including more powerful weapons and other tech that enables the empire to function at all.

I had some reservations too, which may contain spoilers, so will be moved into a follow-up post. Please make any comments which contain spoilers on that post too.

Interesting Links for 25-04-2017

Apr. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
After running a couple of roleplaying sessions with quad & family, I would like to try to run something regularly in addition to whatever I run with them. I'm probably going to aim for once a month depending on interest.

I'm going to start by running a lightly revamped version of the DnD 5e one-shot I ran for quad before.

Pitch

Passengers on a ship, driven far out to sea in a storm and beached for repairs on an abandoned island. 30 years ago it was home to a pirate lord, Erik Twicecursed and his BFF Grignir Hammerhead. While repairs succeed, the captain asks for volunteers to explore the abandoned and reputed-cursed pirate lair.

There may be treasure. There will almost certainly be combat encounters. Hilarious misunderstandings of the skill system and trigger happy party wizards are not guaranteed, but likely.

DnD 5e. For people new to roleplaying I will give you a pregenerated 1st level character sheet but suggest you invent a character who's more interesting to you, and change any specifics accordingly. If you're familiar with the system you're welcome to generate a 1st level character however you like.

Invitation

This Saturday 2pm. It may run into the evening, in which case we'll probably have pizza.

If you're interested, comment here or email me by midnight Fri, and I will send you directions. (North cambridge, but may be lifts available if transport is an issue.)

You don't need to bring anything. If you're excited to do so anyway, things that could be useful: bring 5e books if you have them; read a little about 5e online; think about a character concept, not so much detailed background, as what they like doing and how they might be connected to other characters (member of ships company? bodyguard? relatives?)

Also let me know if you'd be interested in future one-shots or campaigns.

Future

I have a campaign in mind following this session, but think it makes sense to schedule several one-shots and see which people are interested in coming back to.

People were very enthusiastic about my putative vorkosigan campaign, and I would really, really like to run that, but it will not be this weekend, it needs more prep time. But if you're interested and think you could actually make time to come, please let me know. (If it happens I plan a series of connected stand-alone sessions, so I might well be able to run one if I'm in london for the day, even if other sessions take place with people in Cambridge.)

The Blood is the Life for 25-04-2017

Apr. 25th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Inbox non-zero

Apr. 25th, 2017 09:48 am
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I realise I've had *another* shift in habits.

Now I'm keeping a daily/weekly todo list more as standard, any emails I need to reply to on a specific timescale get duplicated into that system.

But that means I've shifted to starring emails that need a reply, and going through them occasionally, and the rest of my inbox has gone back to being "everything I've received recently0-ish that might be relevant". But mostly without the problem of "agh the important emails got lost".

Of course, gmail divides that into five folders: primary; social media notifications; corporate mailing list type stuff, and a couple of others. I could do something similar with filters. But it would be harder to cope if those were all muddled together. Non-starred mail in primary tends to be "conversations which are relevant in the next few days but don't need a reply right now". I tend to use social media notifications for marking comments I'd like to reply to, although that's fiddly. And the others rarely need any action (if they do, it's usually important and I move it into primary).
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
(Click any photo for a larger version!)

Hello, internet! I'm Thea. Here I am in my favorite spot (somebody's lap):

Thea in my lap looking up at the camera sleepily

I'm a female dilute calico, and the vet and the vet dentist think I'm about five years old. I grew up on the streets of Baltimore, but it's cold and lonely out there and I like people too much, so now I need a forever home! I'm an absolute sweetheart who'll be in your lap or draped over your shoulder the minute I meet you, but there's one catch: I need to be an only cat.

Thea asleep up against my legs

More about me! And more pictures! )

Does it sound like you could be my human? If so, leave a comment with your email address, and the humans will get in touch with you. (Or, you can email [personal profile] synecdochic at synecdochic@dreamwidth.org.) Anonymous comments are allowed; you don't need a Dreamwidth account. I'm in Baltimore right now, and the humans would prefer somebody within a few hours' drive or somebody who's willing to come pick me up themselves, but if you're the absolute right person to take me in, they're willing to talk about flying me to you, especially if you can pay for some or all of the costs. (Having all my teeth pulled wasn't cheap!) [EDIT: The humans have a friend who might be able to put a flight on frequent flyer miles for me, so they're willing to escort me outside the immediate area for the right home!]

I'm looking forward to finding someone I can help with everything, drape on top of, and sleep on!

(Please share this with your friends! For the first round of looking we'd prefer not much further than friends-of-friends, because we'd like to know the people she's going to or know someone who knows them, but if the first efforts don't pan out, we'll try again with a wider reach. We also already know the rescue organization we'll turn to if we can't find her a home through word of mouth, so you don't need to research rescue options for us!)

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2017 11:01 pm
staranise: Jane Bennet does her sister Elizabeth's hair. (From the 2005 Pride and Prejudice) ([personal] Bennet sisters)
[personal profile] staranise
A few thoughts about Jane Austen's Persuasion:

Spoilers )
starlady: Uryuu & Ichigo reenact Scott Pilgrim (that doesn't even rhyme)
[personal profile] starlady
I'm inaugurating a new movie rating system: did these movies engross me enough to make me forget about Trump for the length of their run time? 

Both these films were a resounding yes.

Colossal, dir. Nacho Vigalondo

The director is an avowed hater of romcoms for the way they degrade women's agency and posit that if the man is just enough of a stalker, he'll wear the woman down into saying yes. I figured it was worth seeing for that alone, and I was right: although 30-something Gloria by no means has her life together, moving back home to her parents' empty vacation rental when her boyfriend Tim kicks her out of their unbelievably nice New York City apartment, that doesn't mean it's okay for her childhood friend Oscar, a certified Nice Guy™, to try to pressure her into dating. The movie knows this. It makes it clear by a device whereby when Gloria and Oscar walk through a certain park in their town, they turn into a giant monster and a giant robot that lay waste to Seoul. I had questions about this premise, but notably, the film in fact turns on the question of the innocent urbanites: Gloria actively cares about them and tries not to cause further damage once she realizes what's going on. Oscar, by contrast, is perfectly willing to hold those innocent lives over her head to get her to do what he wants. Notably, ex-boyfriend Tim is not a catch either; he's not a Nice Guy, but he's also perfectly willing to try to neg Gloria into living the life he thinks she should have. The ending was extremely satisfying on all counts.

The Fate of the Furio
us, dir. F. Gary Gray

I think on the infographic this one is more furious than fast, alas; my one friend actually peaced out at the 1/3 mark because there was too much Vin Diesel having feelings and not enough explosions. She missed Helen Mirren, and Jason Statham holding a baby while killing a bunch of guys, definitely my favorite sequence, with the soccer haka close behind. For those that like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like. I hope they go to space next. Relateldy, I approve of Charlize Theron's mid-career turn to action hero stardom and eagerly await Atomic Blonde.

Seeking perfection

Apr. 24th, 2017 10:48 pm
finding_helena: Girl staring off into the distance. Text from "River of Dreams" by Billy Joel (Default)
[personal profile] finding_helena
When I was growing up, I was very aware of the standard that I was expected to achieve and I knew that I couldn't meet it. I always felt that my mom wanted me to be perfect and she dismissed me when I made this complaint to her. But she really had awful, unrealistic, super exacting standards for me. The other day I read this article about the lousy goings-on at "troubled teen" rehabilitation centers that really brought it all back. I tried so hard to toe the line and I just never could. And my entire adult life has been an effort to toe that line of "perfect" adulthood. At that I have actually done better because the standards are at least theoretically achievable, but I always feel like I'm one disaster away from everything falling apart and everybody being able to see what a disaster I really am.

But I think that a lot of people actually feel this way on some level.

Life isn't about being perfect, or looking perfect. And I know I've spent so much time hoping my mother would see how much I'd achieved, but ultimately it didn't matter how she did or didn't see me, because it was always how I saw myself that mattered. Her positive statements were never enough and her negative statements would destroy me. But I just have to accept that she has her perspectives and they're very warped and I just need to take them with a large glass of salt; her perspective on me isn't worth more than that of any other randomly selected person. And she has this total inability to look at the world from anyone's point of view but her own. My sister is the same way now too. It's really irritating.

I know I have more to say on this subject but I can't seem to come up with anything right now.

In Need of Trek TOS Art

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:09 pm
elf: Pocket-sized chapbook shown in someone's hand. (Zinelets)
[personal profile] elf
Zinelets is established as name of mini-zine line. First issue, titled Motionally Compromised (unless someone convinces me otherwise) will feature Star Trek: TOS, with the feature story expected to be Spock/McCoy.

I plan to distribute flyers during Memorial Day weekend conventions (I think there are 4 in my area, although hitting them all is not likely to happen unless I get help) with the intent of either mailing them out on June 10th - 1 week after the 48th anniversary of the end of ST:TOS.

But. I don't have any art. If things get closer to Time To Print (or rather, Time To Spend Several Hours Tinkering with Minute InDesign Settings) and I don't have art, I'll probably crawl around Deviantart and try to find someone, but... in the meantime, anyone know artist(s) who'd like to be printed in a tiny Trek TOS zine?

I need art. Could use other content as well. )

FWIW, I have a "test zine" that I intend to use as a template, with Glitch as the fandom. It features one of my Glitch stories from AO3, a bit of simple photoshop artwork involving Glitch pics, and a schedule of Zilloweens for the rest of 2017. Available by request - happy to print them out and mail them to anyone who'd like one; this is an exception to the "send SASE" rule mentioned above. (Mail zinelets@gmail.com with a snailmail address, or questions/comments/etc. that you don't want to show here.)

A mental reframing

Apr. 24th, 2017 04:39 pm
steorra: Detail from the picture Convex and Concave by Escher (escher)
[personal profile] steorra
I had an interesting mental reframing recently.

In the past, I've thought of romantic feelings that have no realistic avenue of turning into a romantic relationship as 'pointless'. Feelings might be pointless because the other person doesn't reciprocate the feelings, or because even if they did reciprocate the feelings, I wouldn't consider a romantic relationship to be a viable option.

When I have romantic feelings, I always hope that if they can't turn into a romantic relationship, they can instead lead to a good friendship with the person in question. And I have a strong history of this actually happening - of cases where I've developed a stable and valuable friendship with someone who I at one point had romantic feelings towards. (The friendship develops while the romantic feelings are active, and sticks around after they're gone.) This has happened both in cases where as far as I know the other person never knew I had romantic feelings, and in one case where I disclosed my feelings.

And as far as I'm concerned, friendship is a good outcome. Even though the romantic feelings don't get fulfilled in the way that they call out for, they've still led to something good and valuable. Actually articulating this to myself made me think: maybe I don't want to think of unfulfillable romantic feelings as pointless. If they end up leading to a friendship that I wouldn't otherwise have had, they're bringing me something valuable, even if they're doing it in a kind of annoying way (managing unfulfillable romantic feelings is still a nuisance). And that's not pointless.

Invisible 3 Update

Apr. 24th, 2017 07:20 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 is running a little behind the schedule I’d hoped to meet. It turns out that coordinating between two editors takes more time than one editor doing it all himself. Who’d have guessed?

Mary Anne and I have 13 essays and 3 poems contracted thus far. We’ve got one revision to look over, and two rewrites we’re waiting to receive. We’re also missing a few author bios I need to follow up about.

Cover art is mostly done, but I need to confirm those last few names before we can finalize that.

We’ve sent the contents off to the person who will be writing the introduction for this volume.

My hope is that when I get back from Buenos Aires and have had a day or two to recover, we’ll be able to announce a tentative release date (I’m guessing May or June, but I reserve the right to be wrong in that guess) and move forward with the cover reveal.

I’m very happy with what we have so far, and I can’t wait until we’re able to share it with you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

FMK: Growing Up Weightless

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:30 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I went to the March for Science yesterday! It didn't have as many people as the Women's March but then what would? It still took a solid two hours to get everyone funnelled down Constitution Avenue.

Also if you are ever at the Capitol end of Constitution with a few minutes to kill, go look at The Spirit of Haida Gwaii outside the Canadian Embassy; it's in a nice quiet corner and I found more to see in that one sculpture than in the entire National Gallery sculpture garden.


...also if you are ever on the Mall and need wifi, find an idling coach bus to loiter near.

I brought Growing Up Weightless by John M. Ford to read on the metro, and I don't have a huge amount to say because basically it was everything I wanted for a book about coming of age in the Moon colony )
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I've come across this a fair bit the last few days (can't think why it's been coming up *rolleyes*), and as it's a big frustration for LGBT+LDs I thought I'd better post about why.

Lots of people high up in the campaigns department at LDHQ think it's great to say that "we achieved equal marriage". They think that because we campaigned for equal marriage, and the Same Sex Marriage Act passed, we should trumpet our achievement. They think that calling it Same Sex Marriage is bad "framing" and Equal Marriage sounds better*.

The problem is that although we did campaign for equal marriage, we didn't get equal marriage. Here is a list of some of the things that remain unequal:
  • Northern Ireland. There is no recognition of same sex marriage there at all.

  • The Spousal Veto was a part of the Same Sex Marriage Act and actually made things worse for trans people. It's not extant in Scotland, but still applies in England and Wales.

  • Likewise, to get a gender recognition certificate prior to the Same Sex Marriage Act, if you were married, you were forced to have your marriage annulled, even if your spouse was supportive. These stolen marriages have never been restored, despite Same Sex Marriage now being legal.

  • Same sex spouses do not enjoy the same pension rights as mixed sex spouses. This is obviously unequal.

  • The church of England and the church in Wales are legally prohibited from performing same sex marriage ceremonies. This is manifestly unequal for same sex couples who are adherents to the state religion.

  • Adultery and non-consummation. To commit adultery, you must have vaginal intercourse with a member of "the opposite sex". Yup, not only is the strict gender binary embedded in law, but so is the necessity for PIV to happen for it to count as sex. This is... problematic for people who do not adhere to the strict one man, one woman, no genderqueer people model of relationships. Non-consummation of marriage and adultery both rely on PIV sex. And sure, reasons you might split up don't apply at the moment of marriage, but not every marriage will last, and equity in the divorce courts is surely a consideration before we start calling it equal marriage?

  • The special requirements for registering premises for the conduct of non-CofE religious same-sex marriages are more restrictive than for opposite-sex marriages in religious premises. If the premises are shared by several small denominations - which is often the case with evangelical, African and pro-LGBT churches - every last one of the faith organisations which share the premises has to give their permission for the premises to be used for same-sex marriages. In effect, anti-gay churches have a veto over pro-gay churches.

  • There's no humanist marriage in England and Wales (despite the best efforts of the lovely Julian Huppert) - which affects both mixed sex and same sex couples, but still means that humanists are second class citizens (unless they live in Scotland). Equal marriage should be equal for all beliefs (and lack thereof) as well as for all genders and sexualities.
Now, imagine you are one of the people who is affected by one of these things. Imagine you have been faithful to your partner for decades, and you've finally been allowed to marry under this legislation, and you retire loving and happy, only to discover that your pension rights are not equal.

Imagine you are a trans person, and your spouse has been supportive all along, and first you had your marriage stolen because that had to happen for you to get your gender recognition certificate, and when that happened you got a civil partnership because that was the best that was available and you loved your spouse, and then when same sex marriage came in you had to get married for a third time to convert your civil partnership into a marriage, and you'd meantime been supporting other people going through transition and the spousal veto had applied to some of those people... How would you feel in that situation if you were told that we'd achieved Equal Marriage?

Imagine you were the chair of an LGBT+ campaigning organisation. Imagine trying to persuade people that there are still inequities that need to be corrected, that people are still suffering injustices that need to be righted, that work still needs to be done, when everybody says but we achieved Equal Marriage, didn't we? What are you fussing about?

Imagine trying to persuade other LGBT+ people to vote for your party, when they can look at what your party is saying about "equal marriage" and think but they are completely tone deaf to the actual concerns of LGBT+ people, or else they would know that 'equal' marriage is nothing but!

For anybody, in any of those situations, Lib Dems trumpeting we achieved equal marriage! is going to feel like a proper slap in the face. It's going to feel like the inequalities and injustices that you suffer do not matter to Lib Dems. Equal Marriage, as framing, makes a very ugly picture indeed if you are suffering from one of the unequal effects of the Same Sex Marriage Act.

Please, please, please, for the love of Cthulhu, if you are a Lib Dem, stop saying we achieved equal marriage. We achieved same sex marriage. There's still a way to go before it's equal. Our leader gets this. Please get it too.



* NB: Our Glorious Leader is not one of these people, and completely gets everything I am posting about here, and that's yet another reason why I get annoyed with partisan Labour types going BUT TIM HATES THE GAYS!!!!! at me. Apart from anything else the conflation of gay rights and LGBT+ rights is infuriating.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
To expand on the point in the previous post, is it right that electrons bend round corners, like sound etc? Aka diffraction? This is how electron microscopes work, right?

That means that a probability wave is an actual thing, right, not a description of a particle? Does it?

But if so, how can anyone cling to the idea that they're a particle with a particular position. Particles don't do that. Do they?

And yet, there's massive amounts of effort to come up with interpretations of quantum mechanics that retain the "in a particular position" idea. Or the idea of hidden variable theory seems to be that the electron is in multiple places at once, but when you finally measure it, it was predetermined what value you were going to find[1]. If you've *already accepted* the multiple-places-at-once thing, AND the wave-physically-exists thing, what do you gain by assuming it then suddenly stops doing that at some unspecified point?

[1] "Predetermined" to avoid the "spooky action at a distance" problem, of, if you have a probability wave describing *two* particles (say, emitted in opposite directions with opposite spin), and measure them waaaaaaay far apart, how do they "know" what value to take to ensure they end up opposite, when there's no way for a signal to travel between them. Leaving aside the absurdity of a "hey, collapse this way" message even if it were slower than light.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Hypothesis 1: Electrons are tiny objects that have a specific position

Evidence: If you bounce something off an electron it hits the electron in one place. For all the talk of "in multiple places at once", you never shoot something at an electron, it bounces off the electron, and it bounces off the electron *somewhere else*.

Evidence: There's always a particular number of electrons. You never have two and a half electrons.

Hypothesis 2: Electrons are waves

Evidence: If you have an electron "orbiting" an atom, it's not at a particular place, it's smeared out over a whole sphere (or sphere-ish shape?) round the electron aka "an electron shell". Indeed, if you have two electrons in an electron shell, I don't know if you can even tell them apart, just that there's two. In metal, ALL the electrons are ALL OVER. They really don't have a particular position.

Evidence: If you fire one at a corner of an object, they diffract round it (is that right??)

Evidence: If you fire one through one or two narrow slits, you get interference bands, where "electron from here" and "electron from *here*" combine to give a dark band of "no electrons detected". This happens to waves. It does not happen to objects.

Hypothesis 3

This takes longer to explain. Imagine you have an object, but its position isn't certain, you're doing a calculation like, "if there's an x% chance it's here, and a y% chance it's there, and it bounces off this, then it might be anywhere along this line with a chance proportional to the distance..." etc. We do that all the time instinctively. But we mostly expect that the object actually *is* in one particular place, we just don't know what it is.

Suppose that instead of a mathematical convenience, what an electron *actually is* is a probability distribution like that, except for:

(a) When something interacts with it, it interacts with one point in the distribution chosen with the relative likelihood of that point, and from then on only that matters. Except if the other particle is of uncertain distribution too, then you get a probability distribution over both of them, until you actually check at least one of them.

(b) The probability distribution changes obeying equations which mostly describe a particle moving in a straight line (or a curve according to a force acting on it), except that it's all continuous, and if you have a sharp corner, the probability spreads out round it (as if the particle's path was bending).

(c) The probability not only has a magnitude, it has a direction (usually represented as a complex number, where the actual probability is the magnitude). If two probabilities have opposite signs, they cancel out. And it changes as it moves, analogous to wave oscillating, eg. light consisting of electric field waxing while a magnetic field wanes, etc.

The third point (c) is par for the course for waves: waves almost always involve something oscillating in both directions away from a rest point. But it's very spooky to see with things that look like particles: if there's a 5% chance of an electron hitting this particular point on a screen having gone through slit A, and a 5% chance of an electron hitting this particular point having gone through slit B, what's the chance of it hitting that point at all? Well, it might be 10% or it might be 0% or it might be somewhere between, depending

Evidence: Everything above in both previous hypotheses

Evidence: Everything behaves like a particle even if you didn't expect it (eg. light has photons)

Evidence: Everything behaves like a wave even if you didn't expect it (eg. you can fire small molecules through slits and see them do wave-like things like interference).

Evidence: The cancelling-out thing. You can construct this out of specific particles with clearly defined values (qubits) in building a quantum computer, and this is exactly how you find probabilities behaving. (Right?)

Correct me?

Is (b) really true? That's what it looks like from what I've read. But is that basically accurate?

If not, where have I gone wrong?

If so, it seems such an obvious "this is how we know these probability thingies actually exist" why isn't it front and centre in more explanations?

Is the description of probabilities right?

Conclusions

Hopefully I will think myself through some more examples. But this is the major point to get your head around first with quantum mechanics.

I think everyone would say the first two hypotheses are more natural. But they don't fit the evidence. The third hypothesis fits ALL the evidence, even though the hypothesis itself looks screwy.

And as far as I can tell, physicists still argue about which parts of this are actually there, and which are mathematical descriptions of something else, but agree that if you take Hypothesis 3 and just assume everything works like that, then you get all the right answers.

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2017 04:50 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
I've been thinking, as I wrote in my last D&D post, about how to do the more natural settings in my new campaign in a way that both explores the economic questions and maintains the sense of whimsy and adventure you want in a fantasy adventure and it struck me that the obvious approach is to use Fey. The very nature of Fey adventures is tied up in questions of contracts and obligations, it's inherently economic in nature. Players want to exploit a mine, but in order to gain access they need to make deals with the local fey, whose goals may be orthogonal to predictable economic aims, but whose practices are definitely economic in nature.

This creates a really interesting potential scenario: Beneficial contracts that players make with fey accrue immediate guild merits (XP) toward levelling, but if a deal with a fey is ever breached, players lose those guild merits and potentially can de-level. I really like this effect, it makes breaking fey contracts have real, meaningful teeth to the players on a metaphysical level.

Larger contracts between Auction Houses and fey kingdoms are also a wonderful source of adventure hooks, as such deals no doubt require periodic acts of maintenance. I'm imagining a scenario like where the Deal is that in order to ensure safe passage across a river in fey territory, all the Carter's Guild needs to present the local fey lord with a small, somewhat obscure but not valuable gem every year- the kind of payment where the players might wonder what the hell the faeries want with it. The players try to cross the river and the fey lord, wearing an outfit beautifully adorned with hundreds of identical gems showing that this Deal has been in force for centuries and revealing the intricate way that this ageless lord executes plans over long time scales, denies them passage until they present him this year's gem. And he doesn't deny them passage by force, but with a simple but immensely powerful teleport spell. Any time they try to cross the river, they end up back where they started. I can do so much with this kind of story element.


So I'm going to need to think up the details of the organization, such as it is, of the fey in the Mannheim Vale. I definitely want multiple kingdoms/courts of fey, but I probably also want individual loner fey creatures.

The agreeable and the weird

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:50 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Dept of Serendipity: discovered that I had already ironed in my last massive ironing session the two tops one or other of which I intend wearing for giving a paper later this week.

Also, in Dept of Things I Should Have Remembered: the existence of an article I did c. 20 years ago bits of which I can reasonably recycle for A Thing I have been asked to do in a couple of weeks. However, the other paper of a similar era that I am similarly cannibalising had, once upon a time, a very fine set of slides to go with it. Not all of those images are now readily available for insertion into my Powerpoint, maybe I should have done the 'convert my slides' thing when I had the relevant hard- and software.

Dept of, Still Got It: 'We have the reader’s reports back... and your essay was summed up as ‘an excellent contribution’'. Though it then occurs to me that the essay in question is but the latest iteration of a paper that goes back a fairly long way.

Dept of, Oddness of People: The former inhabitants of the lower flat moved quite some months ago (didn't leave us a forwarding address). We are still getting post addressed to them, though I think it must be just about within the period for which the Post Office would be undertaking routine redirection, if such had been requested. While a lot of it is junk mail and catalogues that people might not bother updating on new address, I have become a bit perturbed by, firstly, notifications from dentists and opticians concerning coming up of next appointment due dates, and secondly, even more so by a package that I took to be the next X months' supply of disposable contact lenses. WTF?

Drawing tutorials

Apr. 24th, 2017 07:01 pm
green_knight: (Konfuzius)
[personal profile] green_knight
By chance I stumbled across this set of tutorials (hosted by one particular piece of software, but completely agnostic, you don't even need to work digitally).

In fact, the tutorial that made me go 'oooooh' was

http://www.sketchbook.com/blog/how-to-draw-dragons-step-by-step/

which teaches you how to draw a dragon, complete with anatomy. (I like this way of working. Iz impressed.)

The horse one is mostly accurate (it gets one coat pattern wrong and most of the horses move much stiffer than they should) but there's nothing egregiously _wrong_, so I hope that the other species - cats, big cats, foxes, wolves - are equally accurate.

I am starting to see the first improvements in my drawing - the lines I draw are smoother and more confident - so I'm hoping to eventually move out the line exercise phase into one where I actually begin to draw stuff.

Right now, these tutorials are way beyond me - I could copy the lines, but I cannot decide where they should go and vary postures or phases of the stride - but if I squint sideways, I can see there from here.

Money and Government

Apr. 24th, 2017 06:07 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
The UK takes in 34.4% of GDP as tax*. This is a bit less than the EU average (35.7%), about 6% less than Germany (40.6%), and a chunk less than the countries at the top end (Sweden at 45.8%, France at 47.9%, Denmark at 50.8%).

Is this the major source of the UK being awful at providing a safety net at the moment? Or are there other things that play a significant part in exacerbating the situation?

And are those figures comparable? In the UK that 34.4% has to cover the vast majority of healthcare, while in Germany healthcare looks to be largely on top of that - which would have an effect there (Although that would make the overall figures even higher in Germany).

I'm not actually sure how much I trust the figures in this case either. That page has the USA at 26%, whereas the figures here show total US taxation as either 18% (Federal), or 42% (Federal, State, and Local).


*All figures from here.

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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