(no subject)

Mar. 30th, 2017 02:17 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Here is a link to a page with a video on it: Turning over a sheep that has fallen on its back.

A couple of weeks ago a man on the internet went all 'real names, that's what would make social media a better place!' I considered arguing with him, and saw that a)people already were, and 2) he was not taking it in. But one of the people arguing gave a link to information I had not been aware of before: https://blog.coralproject.net/the-real-name-fallacy/
Why the thought was that anonymity was the problem.
(Anonymity isn't the problem, and I, and probably you, have seen enough pictures from facebook of people not being their best selves under their own name, where their friends and relations can see them)

Game of Thrones Camp 2018

Mar. 29th, 2017 05:04 pm
wildeabandon: photo of me with wavy hair and gold lipstick (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
This year I organised my first every readthrough weekend (with [livejournal.com profile] the_alchemist) of the first two seasons of Game of Thrones. It seemed to go reasonably well, so next year we'll be doing seasons three and four.

First dibs on places will go to people who came to the first one, but there'll be at least one more space, and maybe more if some people decide they can't make it. If you think it might be your kind of thing, there's a poll about interest and dates here.

things I say when half asleep

Mar. 29th, 2017 11:21 am
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
"If I lived in India I would totally have an elephant, not to do anything but just as a companion. And I would buy it canvases and brushes so it could paint things and then I could see what it painted, and also I would buy it a theremin because I think nobody ever thought to buy an elephant a theremin before, and then it would go [noise of elephant playing a theremin; Yantantessera the cat decides to leave]. And the neighbours would come round saying 'What's that bloody noise?' and I'd say 'Just my elephant playing the theremin' and they'd say 'Oh okay'."
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
GoT random musings with spoilers (at least for published books). Now I'm going to witter a bit so the spoilers don't go into the first few lines. So, pumpkins are really quite ridged and orange, aren't they?

Read more... )

(no subject)

Mar. 28th, 2017 09:19 pm
ruthi: an eye. (eye)
[personal profile] ruthi
Today I was awake and focused enough to take in culture.

I watched, via Netflix, the film Robot and Frank. It has an old man whose memory is failing, his dutiful son, and a robot-carer that the son provides.

more about Robot and Frank )
It was fun and I liked it, and it's also a bit sadder than I was expecting.

Also today a friend linked to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qykl/episodes/downloads Where there are episodes of In Our Time where Melvyn Bragg and guests talk about things

So I listened to The Fighting Temeraire , where they talked about Turner's painting, and about Temeraire the ship, the battle of Trafalgar, and mentioned things like Turner's cockney accent and the sun setting over the Thames. It was fun and interesting.

New-old games

Mar. 28th, 2017 08:27 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
I took a couple of days off so I could have a four-day weekend, and didn't commit myself to excessively many social things, so I was able to spend lots of time gaming.

reviews )
[personal profile] swaldman
Not for a while has an article had me shouting YES THIS as much as this one. It posits that a significant factor in the Leave vote was that the UK, and England specifically, hasn't come to terms with its reduced place in the world. I don't agree with everything it says by any means, and I think it would be foolish to attribute all leave votes to this, but I'm convinced that it's true for a good number.

It's struck me for a long time that a lot of the weird British exceptionalism that we see relates to the nation, or at least its leaders, not being prepared to admit that we're not a superpower any more. I said a number of times before and after the referendum that many of my parents' generation - people who grew up being taught about the Empire in school and looking at the pink areas of the map - saw leaving the EU not as a leap into the unknown, but as returning to how things were. They were wrong, of course, because the world has moved on, but they're in their 70s or older and it's an understandable thought.

And now we hear of civil servants and, allegedly, ministers, using the phrase "Empire 2.0" for what they want to see in the future, and so while the phrase is probably being used satirically by some, I bet that some parts of the establishment - possibly the public-school-educated parts in particular - still think that Britain's natural place in the world is to be in charge. Not to simply be one more country that gets along with the others.

(no subject)

Mar. 26th, 2017 08:59 pm
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Last Saturday I went to see taming of the shrew at the globe and I felt faint half-way through.
I sat down so as not to fall down, and a kind usher directed me outside to a bench. I sat for a while bt energy to get back up did not appear. Then I was taken to the first-aid room, where I had some water and a lie-down with feet up. So I had a nap, and some more water. I missed the rest of the play. Part of me was curious as to how they had done it and part of me was glad I'd missed the part after the wedding where it gets more abusive. I don't know why they still do this play.

As the play was about to end I got enough energy to stand up and go back to my friends and be active.
I realised I had failed at sleep - I stayed awake all night and fell asleep at seven in the morning, I had not eaten or drank anything before I left the house, and while I had meant to do the 'food as a substitute for sleep' thing, all I had actually eaten was about three bites of cheese at Neil's Yard Dairy in Borough Market on the way to the Globe.
I did have some fruit juice, but it was not enough.

So that was half a play. I liked the actors and I liked the blinged-up moblity scooter the old suitor was using.

After, I walked with friends across millennium bridge - it was v. windy and gulls were riding the wind, and pigeons were flap-flap-flapping about and not coping with the wind well. Friend G told how he had got a pigeon to the face earlier, delivered by that wind.

I went with friends to a pub, had a couple of soft drinks, sat down a bit, and then went home.

On the way home I bought a small bunch of narcissus flowers, and they smelled lovely, and they have lasted a full week. They are wilting now.


On wednesday and thursday and friday I celebrated my birthday. A robot reminded some friends it was my birthday, and they sent me greetings.

The beloved brought me a bouquet. I did not have a vase of a fitting size, so I put them in a Kwak glass instead.

Family sent greetings from afar (which is where I like to keep family).

I went out for an evening meal with the beloved and had delicious food, with chips. The chips were not as good as the best chips I have ever had, so I felt a little sorry for them.

I was brought delicious doughnuts from Crosstown Doughnuts,
descriptions from their website )
because I'd mis-ordered myself cake for next week by mistake.

Also friend D has bought us tickets for a cinema screening of the NT production of Angels in America - Millennium Approaches, which we both want to see, and it is a present and it is in the future.

I made this

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:00 pm
ceb: (I made this)
[personal profile] ceb
This weekend I have made a thing! Which is neither for Worldcon nor the BSFA, unlike everything else I've been doing in the past 6 months.

moon box


Mar. 25th, 2017 10:03 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
  1. The English sofa is a loan from Turkish. The Turkish for the English sofa, however, is kanape, as a loan from the French canapé, which has the original meaning of English sofa and, by figurative extension, the meaning of English canapé, because you've got a little piece of bread or pastry or something that looks like a sofa with the topping perched on top of it. ([personal profile] sebastienne conjectured this etymology when I was grumbling about the Turkish last week; they were surprised and delighted to be correct.)
  2. Fox/vixen is the solitary surviving example in modern English of the Germanic feminine suffix -en, -in: Fuchs/Füchsin.
  3. The English/French foyer is rendered, in Swedish orthography, foajé. It is pronounced the way one might reasonably expect foyer to be pronounced. See also: restaurang.

What my gender dysphoria feels like

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:12 pm
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
[personal profile] sashajwolf
Copying this from a comment I made on Facebook in order to have it easily accessible for future noodling. This is of course only how I experience dysphoria, not how anyone else does. The original discussion was, in part, about the extent to which dysphoria would still exist in the absence of gender stereotyping. I have made some minor edits for clarity.

I'm not "in the wrong body"; this body is very much part of me, and there are things I really like about it. But there are parts that feel stunted, like they never fully developed like they were "meant" to, and at times they ache as if they were still desperately trying to. Descriptions of phantom limbs from amputees often resonate with me. I assume this would not go away in a perfect society. It has got worse with perimenopause and seems to show some cyclical variation, so I imagine there's a hormonal factor involved.

Also, some of the parts I really like are the very ones that cause people to guess my gender wrong, and that causes a real psychological tension. I have to choose every day whether I want the cognitive dissonance of hiding those parts as if I were ashamed of them, or the cognitive dissonance of leaving them visible and being misgendered. This part would clearly improve if societal etiquette changed so that it was understood to be rude to guess someone's gender without being told, or at least rude to voice the guess.

Then there's a gender role/performative component, which expresses itself as a feeling that I'm constantly failing at "being a girl" by looking wrong, acting wrong, thinking wrong and just generally Being Wrong. This part has improved considerably since I gave myself permission to stop trying to be one, but there's a residue that would probably require societal permission to get rid of. For me, full societal recognition of nonbinary gender(s) would probably do it, but total abolition of the gender binary would also work for me (and for agender people? but maybe not for strongly binary-identified people?) Even then, there may be a biochemical component that would not disappear, because I feel the looking wrong part is linked to my bulimia, and that gets worse with certain nutritional deficiencies and could presumably still happen without sexism. Society not being so damn fat-shaming would surely help, though.

Summary: In a perfect society I'd probably still have body dysphoria and maybe a small amount of psychological discomfort. I might still define as trans because although we wouldn't be assigning gender at birth any more, I might still have self-assigned as a girl before the hormones kicked in enough for the body dysphoria to become noticeable. But I'd have much less cognitive dissonance and everyday life would be much more comfortable, so none of these issues would be the grave threats to mental health that they are now.

Impressed at Domonic Grieve

Mar. 24th, 2017 10:48 am
[personal profile] swaldman
He appeared on R4 Today this morning and refused to be led into "this could have been prevented" or "something must be done". Instead, he took a sensible line and pointed out that Westminster's security worked.

You can listen here for the next 30 days. That link is to the specific item, and the relevant part is about 4 minutes long.

swaldman: Icicles (icicles)
[personal profile] swaldman
Looks like schools in Boston are going to switch from using Mercator to Gall-Peters projection maps. Here's a rather simplistic Channel 4 video that I can only find on Facebook, and which caught my ire this morning for its bizzare claim that "The Mercator makes the Northern and Southern hemisphere look similar in land mass. The south is actually double the size of the Northern hemisphere." (their emphasis).

That sentence made me go "huh?", and I'm pretty sure is complete claptrap, but anyway. Boston schools might be on to something; and I'm glad that they are thinking about the maps that they use, and for elementary schools who aren't going to delve into projections, Peters might be a good choice; but much of the media commentary that surrounds it seems to be about jumping from an Unjust Imperialist Map to a One True Map, and that's rubbish. While I am delighted that people are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of Mercator, I am disappointed that they are focussing on a single other projection to replace it. Yes, Mercator is wrong. But ALL maps are wrong, because you can't accurately flatten the surface of a globe onto a bit of paper. Different projections are wrong in different ways, and useful in different ways, and it's important to select the best one for the task at hand (which, incidentally, is why Mercator exists: not to benefit imperial powers as some are suggesting with much hand-wringing, although it does have a side-effect of enlarging Europe, but because it's good for long-distance navigation).

Perhaps the most significant bit of map-wrongness in the next few decades, IMHO, is our treatment of northern latitudes as a boundary and a barrier. I wrote about this before.

Reading Wednesday 22/03

Mar. 22nd, 2017 10:26 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Recently acquired:
  • Can neuroscience change our minds? by Hilary and Steven Rose. Steven Rose was a big influence on getting me into bioscience, so I'm excited to learn that he's written a new book about debunking neurobollocks, a subject close to my heart. And that he's written it in collaboration with his wife, a sociologist of science.

  • Three non-fiction books to give as belated bar mitzvah presents: I went with A history of God by Karen Armstrong, 1491 by Charles Mann, and The undercover economist by Tim Harford in the end. I reckon that gives a reasonable spread of perspectives, periods and cultures to get a curious teenager started.

  • A whole bunch of mostly novels for a not-very-sekrit plot.

Recently read:
  • This is a letter to my son by KJ Kabza, as recommended, and edited by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. It's a near-future story about a trans girl, which has minimal overt transphobia but quite a lot of cis people being clueless, and also it's about parent death among other themes.

  • Why Lemonade is for Black women by Dominique Matti, via [personal profile] sonia. Very powerful essay about intersectionality between gender and race. I've not actually seen Lemonade yet, because everything I've read about it suggests it's a large, complex work of art which I need to set aside time to concentrate on, I can't just listen to the songs in the background. And I'm a bit intimidated by the medium of a "visual album".
Currently reading: A Journey to the end of the Millennium by AB Yehoshua. Not much progress.

Up next: I am thinking to pick up How to be both by Ali Smith, which has been on my to-read pile for a while. We'll see.
ceb: (exams)
[personal profile] ceb

The invasive Floating Pennywort has in recent years colonised the lower
Bourn Brook, the River Cam and some of its minor tributaries, and is
affecting an SSSI near Wicken. It is also spreading down river on the
River Ouse and has been found as far down river as the Denver Sluice.
Since 1990, when it was first found in the wild on the River Chelmer in
Essex, it has spread rapidly and each year the number of affected sites
is expanding exponentially. In high season there are long stretches of
the Cam where dense mats reach out towards the centre of the river, and
in one part it has grown from bank to bank. It is a threat to
bio-diversity, a nuisance to river users and could increase the risk of

This week contractors for the Cam Conservators have been removing as
much as they can from the upper Cam by mechanized means, but inevitably
this will leave floating remnants and inaccessible patches. If left,
these remnants will soon grow. The Cam Valley Forum and associates are
organising a major volunteer punt day on SATURDAY 1ST APRIL ON THE UPPER
CAM, and we are inviting you to join us. The target is to remove as much
as possible on the day, from Byron’s Pool to Scudamores boat station.
Scudamores are kindly giving us ten punts for the task, which will need
a minimum crew of one experienced poler, a raker and a netter. And just
as important, we also need people on the bank to rake out easy-to-reach
Pennywort and to help with lifting out filled bins from the punts and to
dispose of the material on the bank. Not everyone feels comfortable on
a punt in which case a bank job would be ideal. Up to forty people may
be required to take this project forward and we hope that you have the
enthusiasm and time to be part of this unique experience.

If you would like to take part, or have any queries please contact Mike
Foley (Cam Valley Forum) on mfpfoley@gmail.com

We envisage a early start time between 9 – 10 am and those punts that
go the furthest (Byron’s Pool) will not necessarily be out for longer
as there is much to do in the Grantchester Meadows area. It would be
very useful if you could supply details of your experience, how long you
want to be involved, and whether your role would be on land or on water.
An indication of whether you possess a long handled rake and are
prepared to bring it would also be useful.

More detailed information will be available to those who express an

Mike Foley

Tower of London

Mar. 22nd, 2017 01:00 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
[ghosts, death; parody of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell]

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the Tower of London
Face full of grace with a queenly charm?
She's no breath for talking,
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her head
Right underneath her arm.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And in the topmost turret
You'll meet Sir Walter Raleigh
Cursing at his fall like an angry tar
Looking at the world
With a chip on his shoulder,
Each and every midnight
He smokes a mild cigar.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And have you seen the playroom
Of a pair of ghostly princes?
Such endless games in a place like theirs!
Careful where you sit if you
Accept their invitation:
They don't have ghostly cushions
On all their ghostly chairs

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

A Silent Voice (Koe no katachi)

Mar. 22nd, 2017 07:21 am
[personal profile] swaldman
Ah, nobody does childhood depression, withdrawl and self-loathing in film like the Japanese.

I went to see this film last night, and was impressed. It's a film about all these things, about school bullying, about isolation, about trust, and about the redemption of a bully. It manages to handle all these topics powerfully and sensitively without becoming a particularly sad or difficult-to-watch film in itself.

Special mention must go to the soundtrack - not just the music but the whole soundscape, with effects and with the ambient background, which is sometimes there and sometimes not, to good effect. It deserves to be seen in a cinema not so much for the visuals, but because it benefits from a big sound system.

I saw a subtitled version, and I'm glad that I did; there's a lot of nuance in this film around things like when people change between being addressed as -kun and -san, and while I inevitably missed a lot of this, I imagine it would have been totally lost in a dubbed translation.

Recommended, with a content note for attempted suicide.


Mar. 21st, 2017 09:48 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
So this weekend I went to two synagogue services (in two different cities) and one church service, and I had a quiet going out for lunch and talking date with [personal profile] cjwatson and a bouncy metal gig date with Ghoti. And went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast and just about managed to squeeze in a little bit of time talking to [personal profile] jack. Um, it is hypothetically possible that I may have over-scheduled myself a bit.

I had fun, though )


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Abigail Brady

January 2017

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