[syndicated profile] astoriapost_feed

Posted by admin

June 26, By Christian Murray

The popular New Orleans-themed restaurant Sugar Freak opened today in a new 30th Avenue location, across the street from its original venue that closed in February.

Sugar Freak has opened at 37-11 30th Avenue where the Mexican barbecue joint MexiBBQ operated before it shut its door in December.

The new space is almost twice the size of Sugar Freak’s original venue at 36-18 30th Avenue. The new space has seating for 90 people inside, and offers sidewalk seating for 30 additional diners.

Sugar Freak opened in 2011 and quickly became known for its funky interior and authentic New Orleans cuisine.

The restaurant will offer the same Louisiana dishes as it did before, including po’ boys, muffalettas, jambalaya and gumbo, and some new items. These will include seafood boils, waffle tacos and beignet eggs benedict.

The interior feel of the restaurant has not changed and every piece of furniture from the vintage plates on the walls to the tin ceiling has been moved to the new space, according to the owners.

The restaurant now has a counter for customers to place their orders before sitting down, and will also offer delivery, catering and lunch service for the first time.

The revamped Sugar Freak is being run by the original owner Michele Addeo as well as the former owner of MexiBBQ, James Paloumbis, and Chef Cristian Fajardo.

Previous venue

[syndicated profile] astoriapost_feed

Posted by admin

Dr. Rashmi (center)

Staff Report

Children in Astoria will be able to celebrate the last day of school with free ice cream and face painting this Wednesday, outside the office of Astoria Smiles Pediatric Dentistry at 30-44 29th St.

Event flyer (click to enlarge)

“We feel as though our neighborhood kids have worked hard in school all year and deserve a special treat to celebrate the start of the summer vacation,” said Dr. Rashmi Ambewadikar, who leads the practice.

Ice cream will be served immediately outside the office from a parked ice cream truck, while free face painting will be provided adjacent to the truck from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm.

Servings of ice cream will be limited to one per person, and will only be available until supplies last.

Although ice cream is not always recommended by pediatric dentists, Dr. Rashmi wants parents and kids alike to know that having a treat once in a while isn’t unsound.

“While dentists don’t usually recommend ice cream, an occasional indulgence is okay on special occasions,” she said.

Astoria Smiles will also be giving out toothbrushes to all participants to reinforce good oral hygiene, especially after having the sweet treat.

“Kids are kids, so we should try to make dental care and their experiences with their dentists as fun as possible,” she added.

Astoria Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, which opened in the fall of 2015, is located steps away from P.S. 234 and less than a 10 minute walk from the 30th Ave N/W station.

Dr. Rashmi decided to open her practice there after seeing a need for more pediatric dentists in the area.

“I don’t want parents to have to travel miles or take the entire day off to bring their kids to the dentist,” she said.

Patient’s family in “The Forest Room”

Children who visit the office will be in for a unique experience when they visit, since the interior design of their examination rooms vary in creative settings. The walls in one room in the office resembles a forest, while another looks like the ocean floor. A third examination room immerses children into outer space with its design.

“One of the most important things is to make sure kids have fun going to the dentist, and that it’s not a scary place for them to visit,” Dr. Ambewadikar said of the decorations.

Some of the services her office provides are routine preventative care (such as exams, cleanings, x rays, and dental sealants), restorative dentistry, fillings, extractions, and emergency care. Nitrous oxide and sedation services can be arranged for patients who require extensive treatment or have extreme anxiety.

Hours of operation at Astoria Smiles are Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10:00 am – 3:00pm.

Other hours can be made available by appointment when calling 917-832-7177, or by booking online at this link.

2016 End of School Year Ice Cream Social

Note: Astoria Smiles is an advertiser of the Astoria Post.

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:15 pm
such_heights: amy deep in thought (who: amy [dust after rain])
[personal profile] such_heights
It occurs to me I've been on twitter a lot the last two months, but nowhere else. So - hi. Still here. Grieving, but here.

Comments disabled as I think I've had as much sympathy as I can handle (it's much appreciated, just A Lot sometimes).

<3

Tiny kindnesses, noticed

Jun. 26th, 2017 07:21 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

The Awl’s Everything Changes newsletter gave their readers a mission this week: “to notice people doing tiny kindnesses for each other”. Here’s what they observed.

My toddler and I were waiting in a long line at Russ and Daughters this morning, and a guy gave me a much earlier number. He’d somehow ended up with an extra number right after his, and waited until he saw someone he thought needed it. I gave my number to the last couple in line, and if they did the same, it might still be going.

My husband and I were having lunch together at a deli. A woman two tables over from us was eating by herself and received a phone call on her bluetooth. She began crying from what appears to have been bad news. She was fairly quiet about it and kept it to herself, but she was obviously crying. Another patron in the restaurant stopped, patted her shoulder and mouthed “Are you OK?”. She nodded through her tears and continued with her phone call. He and a few other patrons continued to monitor her out of the corner of their eyes, but gave her her privacy. It seemed a small gesture — but I felt all of us in the restaurant sending her strength through the man’s small pat on the shoulder.

I was about to cross a side street in Brooklyn when a concerned-looking man crossing in the opposite direction stood in the middle of the street and began frantically waving a tshirt in front of the cars that were about to get a green light. I quickly realized that he was stopping traffic so that a blocked ambulance with its sirens on could make it through further down. It worked — the traffic cleared and the ambulance moved. When I got a few blocks down in the direction he’d been coming from, EMTs were on the scene, attending to an unconscious, apparently homeless person on the sidewalk. I think most people would call 911, but this guy went the extra mile. He did what a family member would do.

I think if we all “did what a family member would do” more often, the world would be a better place.

Harry Potter at 20

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:45 pm
tealin: (Default)
[personal profile] tealin

Twenty years ago today, the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves. I didn’t pick it up for another two years, but I could never have guessed when I did so what a life-changing reading choice it was. I already knew I wanted to be an animator, but Harry Potter gave a focus to my energies, and the compulsion to draw anything I could from the books gave my drawing skills a necessary boost before college. Putting those drawings online (starting with the one above) made me, weirdly, one of the first Internet fan artists, and the friends I made and the following I gathered from that have been blessings for which I can never be too grateful. For someone who was such a pariah in middle/high school, it still blows my mind that I’m ‘popular’ in another sphere – what might have happened to me otherwise? So hard to imagine … And yet, so many people out there have similar ‘there but for the grace of Harry Potter’ stories they could tell. What an amazing thing to have brought such a catalyst into the world. Thank you, J.K. Rowling, from the bottom of my heart, for being such a positive force!

And no, it hasn't escaped my notice that I am once again compulsively drawing a dark-haired pointy-nosed bespectacled young Englishman ... one might almost be tempted to have Thoughts on this.

Coming Out as a Slytherin

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:39 pm
ravenna_c_tan: (slytherclaw)
[personal profile] ravenna_c_tan

Ars Technica published an article by me on Pride Day (yesterday, traditionally the last Sunday in June) entitled “Coming Out as a Slytherin.”

In the article I detail how there have been a series of “closets” whose doors I have had to kick down, from coming out as bisexual in the 1980s, to coming out as a pro who also wrote fanfic in the 2000s, to, eventually, realizing I had to come out as Slytherin, too.

In the article I talk about the pervasiveness of the anti-Slytherin bias in the books, which carries right through from Harry’s first hearing of the word through the epilogue:

“One of the magics of the Potter books for me was that as I read them, I was transported back to feeling like a kid again. … My journey as a fan… started from a childlike devouring of the books where I took Harry’s journey at face value. Harry hated Snape and Draco? I hated Snape and Draco. Harry thought all Slytherins are bad? I thought all Slytherins are bad. It’s a book for kids, right? A simplistic worldview is appropriate and comforting.”

“But the moment I leapt into fandom headlong was also when book six, Half-Blood Prince, came out. In that book, Harry keeps on thinking that Snape and Draco are villains. It’s also a book where many adult readers started realizing that Snape and Draco are victims. I went back and re-read the entire series through Snape and Draco’s eyes and what I saw was very different.”

“I guess you could say it was the Potter fandom equivalent of being woke.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from blog.ceciliatan.com.

Jaggery Step-Down

Jun. 26th, 2017 05:52 pm
[syndicated profile] mamohanraj_feed

Posted by Mary Anne Mohanraj


I am both delighted and saddened to note that I am formally stepping down as the editor-in-chief of Jaggery after this next issue, #10. It’s been a pleasure to shepherd Jaggery through the reboot of what was once DesiLit Magazine, and I look forward to where the new editor-in-chief takes it next. I’ll be staying on as Senior Consulting Editor for at least a year to help with the transition.



 



Also delighted to note the new Editor-in-Chief will be former Poetry Editor Anu Mahadev. I’ve stolen her bio from our website: Anu is a left brained software engineer- turned right brained creative poet! Originally from India, she is now based out of New Jersey, with her husband and son. She is a recent MFA graduate of Drew University and a prolific writer. Other words to describe her are dreamer, choir singer, social bee, book and movie addict, avid hiker, lifelong learner and traveler. She writes mostly about love, life and the ties that bind us.



 



Welcome, Anu. Onward!

Astoria Republican Club Meeting 6/28

Jun. 26th, 2017 06:19 pm
[syndicated profile] astoriareddit_feed

Posted by /u/DartTheWolf

Hey anyone interested in local government from a moderate, Republican, libertarian, or non-aligned conservative background!

Meeting this Wednesday at the VFW on 31-35 41st Street at 7:30p. Anyone is welcome to come join to see what it's like, what it's all about, what's going on in the neighborhood and so on. They could use a youth movement and are extremely nice and welcoming. Anyone interested feel free to join or use this thread to ask any questions.

If anyone wants to connect after and grab a drink or coffee I would be down too!

submitted by /u/DartTheWolf
[link] [comments]

My Colleagues at the Messenger Office

Jun. 18th, 2017 02:24 pm
[syndicated profile] jackbarsky_feed

Posted by jbarsky

 

My Colleagues in the Messenger Office

 

The two and a half years I spent doing messenger work turned the German college professor into a Manhattan street urchin. Occasionally, I would ask myself: “So where is the life of glamor the Russian English professor had hinted at during my interview in Moscow?”  Perhaps it was still to come, but I had to get through this rough stretch to get there.

 

And of course, the messenger job was not exactly a great platform from which to conduct intelligence work.  However, hanging out with the motley crowd at the messenger office allowed me to gradually and safely integrate with American culture while avoiding probing questions by curious and more educated individuals.  The messenger office was a safe haven where I was in the company of men who existed at or near the fringes of society and had no interest in finding out who you are, where you come from and where you are going.

 

While working at that office I had to opportunity to observe some of the most unusual types I would ever meet in my entire life.  When Al was moved to the main office he was replaced by Marvin, a Vietnam veteran and ex heroin user who managed his addiction with methadone.  His claim that he helped the New York mayor set up the methadone program was highly questionable.  Marvin was an inveterate gambler – he played the ponies.  On weekends, I would join him at the track to establish a relationship that turned out to be very helpful when I required flexibility because of demands by my undercover job.

 

Soon after Marvin took over the office, Gordon was replaced by Ed, a soft spoken long haired drug addicted deadhead (fan of the rock band Grateful Dead).  Every Friday, soon after the paychecks arrived from the head office, nickel bags of marihuana and pills in all kinds of colors were on display on Ed’s desk.  Ed himself was not a dealer, but he made sure to have an adequate supply for the following week.   The other constant companion of Friday payday were lottery tickets.  Folks who could least afford it, spent a significant portion of their paycheck on those tickets.  The Friday afternoon conversation among the waiting messengers about what they would do with their million dollar winnings was more sad than it was comical.

 

The pinnacle of oddity was represented by three fellows named Ray, Eugene, and Bruce. Ray, who lasted only two months at Swift, bragged about his career as an “actor” who performed live sex acts on the stage of a burlesque theater in the sleazy red-light district on 8th Avenue.  Eugene, an effeminate gay transvestite, spent many an evening picking up men willing to pay for his services.   He was very high strung and once punched me in the nose without warning because “I had looked at him funny”.  And finally, there was Bruce, a long haired fellow in his 20s with a hard edge to his personality.  I kept my distance from him as I sensed that he might explode any minute.  He once tried to cash a million-dollar corporation to corporation check, the kind we routinely carried in open envelopes.  Since there was no damage done, he got away with a warning, but when security caught him trying to steal a dinosaur bone from the Museum of Natural History he was arrested, which of course spelled an end to his illustrious career with Swift.

 

 

The post My Colleagues at the Messenger Office appeared first on Jack Barsky.

A Day in the Life of a Bike Messenger

Jun. 18th, 2017 12:41 pm
[syndicated profile] jackbarsky_feed

Posted by jbarsky

 

7AM, the alarm rings.  One look out the window and I really do not want to get up.  There is a driving rain outside and the temperature is hovering around 40 degrees.  ‘This will be a tough day’ I think ‘but I got to go – if I don’t show up in bad weather, they won’t have me when the sun shines’.

So I hastily eat my cereal and step into my work clothes:  jeans, flannel shirt, nylon jacket, rubber boots, and the final layer of protection a yellow rubber rain suit, pants and jacket.

I sling the waterproof messenger bag over my shoulder, roll my bike onto the street and awkwardly climb into the saddle.  The twenty-minute ride towards Manhattan will take at least 30 minutes today, and that driving rain hits me right in the face.

‘Watch out’ I want to scream, but in this weather the truck drivers do not see very well, and even if they did, they would not care.  So, I take the hit of water the big truck wheel has dug out of a massive puddle by the edge of the road.

Finally, I arrive at the office – dripping wet.  Marvin is glad to see me.  He knows that he can rely on me.  “I am getting a route together for you, but you have time for a smoke” he says.  Damn it, the cigarettes got wet – I ask Marvin for a smoke.

Great route – 10 packages, in this weather that will take me all morning.  All packages, wrapped in plastic and stowed in the bag I venture out into the crazy Manhattan traffic.

On a day like today one has to be especially careful.  The brakes do not work in the rain, so racing down in the center lane of the avenues is out of the question.  It is more of a slow crawl on the edge of the street, interrupted every other block by traffic turning into the cross street,

First stop the flatiron building.  I hate that building, it has only one very slow elevator to serve altogether 22 floors.  But I figured out how to beat the system.  My delivery is to the 15th floor.  After waiting three minutes for the elevator I am lucky to be the only passenger.  I press both 15 and 22, press the down button on the outside of the 15th floor, race to the office, drop off the package, get a signature, and race back.  When I get to the elevator, it stops there for me as if hailed by a magic wand.

Next stop 42nd Street.  I am dripping wet and feel uncomfortable stepping into the office.  The young receptionist, who notices me, turns around and yells to the back: “Christine, the messenger boy is here”.  I want to scream at her and wring her pretty dry neck: ’Lady, you don’t have a clue who you just called a messenger boy!’  And right then I really yearn to be back in Germany in a dry lecture hall teaching chemistry or math, or anything for that matter.  This spy stuff has not lived up to his billing.

Next stop Park Avenue in the 60s, Ronald Lauder’s residence.  Pick up envelope and deliver to Este Lauder’s main office on Fifth Avenue.  I step off the elevator and am dazzled.  All pastel colors with a white carpet.  The receptionist shrieks: “Do not come in here!”.  She comes over and very carefully removes the envelope from my outstretched dripping hand, trying to avoid any contact with the dirty man from the street.

A few more stops, and one last foray to the West Side.  The usually pleasurable downhill ride on 34th Street is outright dangerous today.  ‘Watch out lady’ I want to scream at the careless pedestrian who crosses in the middle of the block.  The brakes don’t work, so I plow right into her.  Luckily, she is not hurt, but she expresses her anger by hitting me several times over the head with her umbrella.

The front wheel of my bike is bent to make a figure eight.  Got to walk to the nearest bike shop to get it fixed.  By the time I get back to the office it is already 1PM.  Just enough time for another run in this blasted rain…………….

The post A Day in the Life of a Bike Messenger appeared first on Jack Barsky.

[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

The scuttlebutt around the tech/media internet water cooler over the past few months is that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President in 2020. This feeling has been fueled by Zuck’s goal for this year of visiting the remaining 30 or so US states that he has yet to visit and the way in which he’s been documenting his trips. Nathan Hubbard argues that Zuck actually has other things on his mind as he tours America:

Zuck isn’t running for President. He’s trying to understand the role the product he created played in getting this one elected.

Facebook has undergone two major evolutionary events in its history, both of which were driven by what Zuck saw as existential threats.

The incredible revenue growth in mobile (probably the greatest biz execution of our generation) helped Facebook survive a platform shift.

And the fearless acquisitive streak of Instagram, WhatsApp and others helped Facebook survive a shift in how we communicate and organize.

Zuck woke up on Nov 9th acutely aware that FB had facilitated a new shift he didn’t foresee or understand; that’s terrifying to a founder.

He’s the head of product. So he’s ventured out into the world beyond his bubble to do field research and inform how FB will evolve again.

I am also sympathetic to the argument that Zuckerberg doesn’t need to run for President because he’s already the leader of the largest group of people ever assembled in the history of humanity (aside from possibly the British Empire). Facebook doesn’t possess many necessary qualities of a sovereign country, but it also has many advantages that countries don’t. Zuckerberg is already among the world’s most important people and with Facebook still growing, he could one day soon be the most powerful person in the world.

Tags: Facebook   Mark Zuckerberg   politics

Choosing secure open source packages

Jun. 26th, 2017 04:02 pm
terriko: (Default)
[personal profile] terriko
This is crossposted from Curiousity.ca, my personal maker blog. If you want to link to this post, please use the original link since the formatting there is usually better.

I wrote a pair of blog posts for work that came out last month!



Many developers don’t feel qualified to make security decisions. In many ways, that’s a perfectly healthy attitude to have: Security decisions are hard, and even folk with training make mistakes. But a healthy respect for a hard problem shouldn’t result in decisions that make a hard problem even harder to solve. Sometimes, we need to recognize that a lot of architectural decisions in a project are security decisions, whether we like it or not. We need to figure out how to make better choices.


The posts are about how to do very simple security risk assessments on open source packages, so you can make more informed choices about what you include in your code and get a sense of what makes a library look scary to security folk. They’ve got lots of real life examples of things we’ve seen, good, bad and embarrassing, and there’s a nice scorecard at the end that you can use to help you do quick assessments of your own. There are even some cat memes included!



I’m pretty proud to be able to share some of the things we’ve learned about open source security risk with the greater world and these posts fall in the category of “things I’ve made” so I thought I’d link them here. Hope you like them!

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:25 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
At the end of the story of Korach ben Itzhar, the cousin of Moses who leads a strange rebellion in Numbers 16, Moses says

Numbers 16:29-30If these men die the common death of all men, and be visited after the visitation of all men, then the LORD hath not sent Me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the ground open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down alive into the pit, then ye shall understand that these men have despised the LORD.


'Make a new thing' is a doubled use of the same Hebrew root letters, and that root is the root used in Genesis 1 to describe God's Creation of the world, so trying to preserve some of the sense of the Hebrew we might render it 'Create a creation'. Which is terribly infelicitous, so.

There is a debate among the more philosophical commentators about the nature of miracles. Rambam holds that God set in motion the natural laws of the world- physics, in a nut shell, and then because God is the Unity at the center of creation, God is able to alter those natural laws to effectuate something outside of them. Ramban, instead, holds that all of creation is constantly and miraculously being instantiated by God and that what seem to be miraculous violations of the natural laws of physics are just naturally within God's power. Both Rambam and Ramban are incredibly subtle and complicated thinkers and it's hard to say what either meant. It's possible this is not a debate and that they're truly in agreement. I do not claim to understand their teachings, which is why this post. But let's assume this is a debate as at least a starting axiom.

There's a third position, one which is at the same time even more naturalistic than Rambam and less, or which may be what Rambam is actually saying, I'm not sure. And it derives from this moment in the story of Korach.

Pirkei Avot 5:6 : Ten things were created on the eve of the [first] Shabbat at twilight. And these are they: The mouth of the earth [that swallowed Korach in Numbers 16:32]; and the mouth of the well [that accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness in Numbers 21:17]; and the mouth of the donkey [that spoke to Bilaam in Numbers 22:28–30]; and the rainbow [that served as a covenant after the flood in Genesis 9:13]; and the manna [that God provided the Israelites in the wilderness in Exodus 16:4–21]; and the staff [of Moshe]; and the shamir (the worm that helped build the Temple without metal tools); and the letters; and the writing; and the tablets [all of the latter three, of the Ten Commandments]. And some say, also the destructive spirits, and the burial place of Moshe, our teacher, and the ram of Abraham, our father. And some say, also the [first human-made] tongs, made with [Divine] tongs.



This is a really complicated Mishna that I don't understand at all, but it seems clear from the fact that the first item on the list is the mouth of the Earth that it's the phrase "Create a creation" that is the source for this logic. (I don't have the sources for all of the other things in this Mishna. I think the fact that the other two mouths are mentioned sbusequently suggests that the Earth-mouth is the source for all three of those. And I'm pretty sure there's no Torah source for the bit at the end about tongs, which is why it's just part of the 'and some say'... all that is purely Midrash Aggada) The Mishna is saying that Moses asked God to invoke a miracle of creation and this mouth that had been created at Creation and set up to swallow Korach swallowed up Korach. And it raises a lot of questions. It seems to be a response to this question of the nature of miracles, and its answer is in one sense more naturalistic than the Rambam: Not only is the world run according to natural laws set in motion at creation, but even things that apparently work outside of the laws of nature are actually naturally set in motion at creation as part of a special step in creation that took place Bein Hashmashot of Erev Shabbat.

Yet this is a hugely problematic theory for Jews because it seems to propose a completely deterministic universe where an intervention like the Earth swallowing up Korach for sinning against Moses and God can be preprogrammed as part of creation. If this is the case, where is free will? Where is Korach's ability to choose on his own whether or not to sin, if this preprogrammed miracle Earth-mouth was created as part of the Creation of the World?
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

Yesterday, Grover Norquist shared a short parable about taxes on Twitter:

How Republicans are born…
Daughter, 8, has been savings up to buy her first Guitar.
Found it for $35. She had 35 exact.
Then…sales tax

Norquist has famously been on a quest to stop tax increases in the US…in 2015 he wrote a book called End the IRS Before It Ends Us.1 Many people took Norquist to task over his remarks:

Did you mention that you drove her to the guitar store on roads that were partly funded by sales taxes?

In a car which only has seat belts preventing you from being badly injured in the event of a crash due to taxpayer funded regulations?

or those same taxes that pay for emergency services that will respond if you do get in an accident?

These responses remind me of a pair of posts written several years ago about the contributions to society of both taxpayer-funded and corporate goods & services. From the liberal version:

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.

And from the conservative viewpoint:

When my Motorola-manufactured Cable Set Top Box showed the appropriate time, I got into my Toyota-manufactured Prius vehicle and set out to my graphic design workplace and stopped to purchase some gasoline refined by the Royal Dutch Shell company, using my debit card issued to me by Bank of the West. On the way to my workplace, I dropped off a package at the local UPS store for delivery, and dropped my children off at a local private school.

  1. How was Norquist radicalized about taxes? In part because his dad was a dick: “After church, his father would buy him and his three younger siblings ice-cream cones and then steal bites, announcing with each chomp, ‘Oops, income tax. Oops, sales tax.’”

Tags: economics   Grover Norquist   politics

Trivia Tonight?

Jun. 26th, 2017 03:05 pm
[syndicated profile] astoriareddit_feed

Posted by /u/pooch516

Hi, all!

We're meeting up for Geeks Who Drink trivia at Sekend Sun tonight. Starts at 8pm but we like to roll in at 7-7:30 and get tables and such.

The Astoria Ocelots/Weirdos from the Internet/Date Nights of the Round Table have been doing progressively better.

Post in this thread if you're able to make it. Teams are capped at 6 members, but we've been doing 2+ teams each Monday.

*Click the link below for a preview of some of this week's topics. The first round will be on animals, so I guess brush up on your cat facts* http://portal.criticalimpact.com/vm2/0555f43459964340/25929/088c516c32a1654e09e5cb74f1f037a9

submitted by /u/pooch516
[link] [comments]
[syndicated profile] kameronhurley_feed

Posted by admin

I was graciously invited by the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) to give the LITA President’s Talk on June 25th. The talk was recorded and will be shared publicly in the next few weeks.

Until then, here is the full text of the talk (minus my asides, of course).

Thank you so much to LITA President Aimee Fifarek for the invitation (and to N.K. Jemisin for the NYT review that brought Geek Feminist Revolution to Fifarek’s attention!) and everyone involved in coordinating the event. Thanks also to the Tor team, in particular Kathleen Doherty and Zohra Ashpari, for all of their support in ensuring this event went smoothly. It was lovely, and I felt honored to be there.


 

LITA TALK: WE ARE THE SUM OF OUR STORIES

So, this talk was described a bit disingenuously. And I apologize for that. What I’m actually here to talk to you about today is llamas.

Yes, I’m going to tell you a story about llamas.

#

On the surface, it’s pretty easy being a llama. I mean, all you want to do is eat, and poop, have sex sometimes, maybe raise some babies, and die old. These are desires that pretty much every llama shares. It’s something they can collectively agree on, and have collectively agreed on since there were llamas.

What they can’t agree on is what the point is of being a llama, anyway. Who made them? What’s the point of all this sex and pooping? They also can’t agree on if bigger llamas should be able to get access to more to eat, even if it means that other llamas may get less. Should little llamas have to poop in one part of the pen but big llamas poop where they want?

These are important llama questions. Pooping is serious business when you’re a llama.

These differences in such philosophical questions posed by herd life caused the llamas to all break up into divisive groups based on these different stories created around the facts of being a llama.

As divisions among the llamas escalated, they didn’t notice that sometimes there were some sheep dogs and leopards wandering among them, agreeing with their stories and planting new alternative facts into their heads, that not all llamas poop, not all llamas eat, so what do llamas really have in common anyway?

But leopards eat llamas, you might be saying, why on earth would llamas be listening to leopards, and I’d say #NotAllLeopards, why don’t you just hear both sides?

Pretty soon these llamas no longer stayed in the same herd together. They formed smaller herds. They started trusting no one but their own immediate families. The llamas could not form a shared reality, a shared story, about the state of the herd and the world around them. Soon, even their own families became suspect.

At some point, the llamas contaminated their grazing spaces. Many died of dysentery and ecoli. Some starved. But most were simply picked off one by one by the leopards who had helped nurture the stories that drove them into these little, more easily murdered groups.

The llamas all sat around blaming each other, until there weren’t any more llamas left. The leopards got very fat.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

Oh, you want a moral to the story. A purpose? Why share a story, if it doesn’t tell us something about ourselves, the way that stories are supposed to?

Well, I guess the moral of the story is…. Thank goodness we’re not llamas.

#

It’s certainly easier to talk about the folly of llamas and their warring versions of reality than it is to face and understand our own shortcomings. We like to believe that we are rational creatures. But as someone with a deep background in storytelling and over a decade of marketing experience, I know the ugly truth. We are not rational creatures at all. We are driven purely by emotion. And those emotional drives are most powerful when communicated through narrative.

Story is absolutely central to our understanding of ourselves and our reality. There is a theory that human consciousness begins with story. Our awareness of the world hinges on our ability to form narrative. This is why most of us don’t have any clear memories until we’re two or three years old. Before we are able to construct our own consciousness, we must be able to form narrative. It is story that makes us human.

It means we can be shaped and altered entirely by the stories we tell, the stories we are told, and the stories we choose to believe about ourselves.

Scary, right?

#

My 6 year old nephew thrives on rules and facts. Household rules, social rules, give him a baseline template by which to measure the world. It soothes his anxiety to know exactly how people are supposed to act. When rules are broken, he loses his mind.

I like to tell him wild stories that aren’t true. When he was four I convinced him that dinosaurs weren’t extinct, just nocturnal,. Which was super funny until he corrected his kindergarten teacher, during a class on dinosaurs, by announcing loudly: “DINOSAURS AREN’T EXTINCT THEY’RE NOCTURNAL.”

I know, I’m a terrible Aunt.

Before then, he was happy to believe whatever story I told him. Now he hesitates and interrogates on the assumption that NOTHING I tell him his true. “Auntie Kamo that’s not TRUE.” And when I assert it is he looks for other sources, asks his mom, his uncle, “Is that REALLY true?” in an attempt to find a consensus.

He has learned to think critically (I have turned him into a critical thinker! Mission accomplished!). He’s learning who the best sources of information are. (not me). If only those llamas could learn to think as critically as a 6 year old.

#

The way our behavior is shaped by story has been known by prophets, governments, and marketers (for millennia. It’s why religious books are largely written as a series of parable and stories. I still remember the Bible story where the King determines which woman is the true mother of a child by threatening to cut the kid in half! Memorable stuff.

For 15 years I’ve been working in an industry that was able to convince people that tobacco was cool, and then that it wasn’t. We got people to wash their hair everyday instead of every week, so we could sell more shampoo. The “tradition” of the diamond engagement ring can be traced directly back to a 1930’s ad campaign by De Beers, in which a copywriter like me came up with the phrase “diamonds are forever” and started convincing celebrities to show off diamond engagement rings.

Everything we do is made up. It’s all driven by stories.

#

Even our sense of ourselves as a nation is simply a story, one many of us learn when we’re about… six. It is a carefully crafted story of manifest destiny and independence, in which a collection of European immigrants went out into a largely unpopulated continent and tamed it to their will and gave freedom and equality to all.

The only way to stick to this sense of ourselves is to willfully ignore the fact that the country was also built through the use of genocide, slavery, and oppression. We were, for nearly two hundred years, a democracy only in the sense that Athens was a democracy, a democracy that didn’t include women, foreigners, or slaves.

Yet even here there is some truth to the story we tell ourselves, at least. This is a country of immigrants. Together we have built some great things. We have also, collectively, done and continue to do some very terrible things. These are facts we can all agree on. It’s the story around it that changes.

Hijacking the American story is much easier than we’d like to think. Because, like my nephew, we all learned these stories when we were very young, we reject much of what we learn we when are older. We don’t want to believe entire nations of people had to be murdered and forcibly relocated for this country to be what it is. We want to believe they all died of plague. White people in this country in particular don’t want to believe that enslaved hands helped build our White House. We want to believe all slaves were treated well and slavery “wasn’t so bad.” It soothes are sense of ourselves.

But that doesn’t make those things true.

Stories and truth aren’t the same thing.

#

Much has been made of the rise of the internet, and its power in fracturing our sense of ourselves and our stories.

But our mass media is simply a reflection of our true selves and the culture at large. It’s like a carnival fun house where we are constantly confronted with all the best and darkest and most twisted versions of our reality as individuals and a nation.

Technology has simply made abuse and misinformation easier. I get yelled at and harassed on the street constantly when I lived here in Chicago. While walking my dogs last week in Dayton, Ohio I had a guy follow me in his car, espousing my physical virtues while demanding to know if I had a boyfriend. I’m regaled by street preachers about their views of apocalypse and salvation. On trains here in Chicago I’d also encounter wandering folks who insisted we were being controlled by aliens, or…whatever.

Online, it’s simply easier for people like Todd in his boring corporate cubicle to engage in this behavior of abuse and misinformation – quickly and and infinitely.

For more than two decades, we have allowed bullying and abuse online and off, on playgrounds and by our sons and daughters, by our police forces, on our college campuses, in our streets, and we have allowed it in ourselves. To achieve this, we have built elaborate stories about why this abuse isn’t really abuse. We talk about how “boys we be boys” and “women are just asking for it,” and “if people just respected people with guns they wouldn’t get shot.” And we have allowed our media to serve us entertainment an call it news.

These stories aren’t solving these problems.

#

Story has power no matter how it’s communicated. Consider an examples less close to home. One without internet.

After an airplane carrying the then president of Rwanda was shot down in 1994, members of the political elite in Rwanda launched a campaign to encourage the Hutu majority to murder their Tutsi neighbors. Checkpoints and barricades were erected to screen those with Tutsi ethnic classification. One of the most powerful tools of the genocide, however, was the radio. On an extremist radio station, Hutu civilians were encouraged to take up whatever arms they had at hand, murder their Tutsi neighbors, and take their property. Over the course of about 100 days, Hutus murdered somewhere between 500,000 to 1 million of their own friends and neighbors.

A 2014 study estimated that 51,000 perpetrators, or approximately 10% of the overall violence, could be attributed directly to the propaganda espoused by a single radio station. The station was established several years before with a clear mission of promoting Hutu dominance in the region, and shared racist jokes and urged civilians to violence. More damning, the study also found that the station had not only directly influenced behavior in the villages within reception, but also indirectly increased participation in neighboring villages through social interactions. In short, mass media can and does affect participation in violence due to both direct and indirect exposure to propaganda.

#

I bet you relaxed and felt much more comfortable when I was talking about faraway Rwanda than Todd in his cubicle. It’s easier to say we aren’t responsible for dealing with Rwanda. A lot harder to admit that Todd has problems and those problems are American problems.

For decades we have called the rise of misinformation and propaganda in this country entertainment. But it’s becoming increasingly clear what they really are.

Russian chess grand master Garry Kasperov recently tweeted, “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking. To annihilate truth.”

Sometimes the only way to share the truth about ourselves is by giving it some distance. The closer it is to us, the more it hurts to see it. It’s like looking at our reflection. All we want to do is break the mirror.

#

Does truth still exist?

I have seen the attempted annihilation of truth in other countries, and I can tell you the general story of how it happens. But you already know by now, don’t you? You are encouraged to not think critically about media, but to reject it outright. You watch your government state a stance in one sentence and deny they ever said it in the second. When they are called out on this, governments then prevent themselves being filmed, so ordinary people have only the word of the already discredited media on what the government is saying. You see the pervasive spread of radio programs and Facebook pages influenced by foreign governments and bros looking to make a buck who actively spread false stories.

These are things we have witnessed. What remains to be seen is how each of us crafts the stories of these truths to shoehorn them into our internal story of the country we live in, and the people we are.

Because we would rather figure out a way to do that than confront what is really happening. The splintering of our stories of ourselves and our countries feels too much like dying.

So the leopards get fat.

#

If we can agree the world is confusing, and we often feel that we’re dying, we can, at least, ask ourselves… what happens next?

Now that so much in the world has been discredited and maligned, where do we turn? It turns out that there’s still one shining institution in America that has yet to be tarnished with the “fake news” label. It still holds a place in the public mind as an authority in fact and truth. That last bastion of truth is, of course, our libraries.

They’ve gone after your funding, sure. They don’t want to educate the populace because then they think critically. Authoritarian governments, corporations, people who want to retain power by crushing others, don’t want you to show the public how to really critically interrogate the information they consume.

But we’re not dead yet!

Children still come to libraries, young people still come to libraries, adults still come to libraries, looking for objective truth. In my hometown in Dayton, Ohio we just funded a massive new downtown library space with meeting spaces, cafes, and three floors of books. We still believe in libraries.

We unleashed firehouse of the internet on our countries without giving people the tools they need to navigate that information in a critical way. We assumed that somehow, magically, people would just figure out what was true and what wasn’t.

To help patrons, it’s not enough to show them where the information is, but also to teach them how to think critically about it. Incorporate guidelines for critical thinking in every how to use the library talk, every discussion about the internet. Hell, put up posters there along the computer banks, “Think before you click!” “Think before you share!” That sounds simplistic, but put those messages into the form of stories told by llamas who are making poor decisions, and it becomes powerful.

When I teach copywriting classes, I give my students handy green, yellow, red caution designations for common news sources and sites. It’s not that they can’t or shouldn’t see that information, no! But it urges them to think more critically about what the source is, what their motive may be, and gives them guidelines on how to navigate the vast trove of information. It invites them to take personal responsibility for the information they create, share, like, and broadcast. I teach them about hyperlinks, and clicking back, always to check the original source of a news item buried eight blogs deep. I tell them to take note of the author of the information, and think about what biases that person may have. I teach them all to be little mini-historians, using the same training I was given when I pursued my degree.

Most importantly, again, I urge you to share this information about how to uncover truth in the form of stories and fables, not bullet points. If you want people to remember the importance of critical thinking and their part in spreading misinformation… tell them about the llamas.

We unconsciously examine the biases of our own family members every day. Today, we must all be that studious 6 year old, shaping and reshaping reality, examining sources, doubting, always, but knowing the truth is, as ever, out there.

#

So finally, I realized that some of the problems I had in crafting this speech is that I was trying to tell you how to save the world with the power of story in…. 30 minutes. What can I say, I’m ambitious. What I’m going to do instead is share with you the story that is getting me through this difficult time in our history.

I tell myself that we all still have more in common than we have been led to believe. We all just want to eat and poop. Occasionally, we may want to have sex or at least have strong human relationships, we all want to live a life where we are comfortable and loved. We all want to die old.

I also have to believe there is a future. I often imagine that it’s 30 years from now, and the world here in America is amazing. We have tackled income inequality. We no longer wake up anxious in the middle of the night about medical bills or how to pay for our children’s medications, because we have all decided that we are only as healthy as the least healthy among us. We don’t worry about how to provide for our parents, or ourselves, in old age, because we have all decided to take care of each other from birth to death, just like a herd of llamas.

Our story, as a nation, has changed from one of The Hunger Games who can kill or rob more people faster than anyone else – to one of sharing for the common good. We have learned how to be kinder. Less angry. The story we tell ourselves now is that we all need each other to be here. I need other people to live, because they make my shoes, my medications, they pave my roads, they fund the library that helped me learn to read, they regulate the safety of the food I eat. We all understand and value that, now. Thirty years from now.

I understand that sometimes it takes the very worst happening for us to get to that future. Sometimes, as in Europe, it takes a terrible war. Hard times. Terrible times. I tell myself that we are just beginning to enter those times.

So in this future, I’m an old woman living in an off-grid adobe hut in the middle of the desert, not because it’s the apocalypse and I’m drinking my own urine, but because it’s hot and sunny and when I’m old I want that! And I imagine these students tracking me down. And they come to me and they say, “How did you survive this terrible time in history and get through to the other side? How did you keep up hope when it looked like America had lost its story and was going to tear itself apart, with a foreign war or even a civil war?

And I tell them what I’m telling you now, and that is that I persevered because I could see the future on the other side. I could see us coming together. I had hope for this future. I could see them, these students and their shiny faces. I could see the future I built for them, and all of us. And I told that story to others.

No matter how horrible things got, so matter how divisive we were all encouraged to be, I remembered our collective story.

We all want to poop. We all want to eat. We all want to die old.

And I hope that as we go forward, there is some solace and hope for you in that as well. We are not all going to make it to that future. And that itself is a tragedy. It’s a tragedy to be here. But I believe in that future. And that is my story. That’s the real story I wanted to share with you today.

So, if there’s one thing we can all agree on, those llamas sure have a lot of problems. I hope they can work things out.

I want to thank you all for coming to story time today.

I wish you the very best.

/fini

The post LITA Talk: We Are the Sum of Our Stories appeared first on Kameron Hurley.

PUBLICATION UPDATE!

Jun. 26th, 2017 02:04 pm
[syndicated profile] luna_station_mag_feed

Posted by admin

Hello everyone.

Thank you so much for your patience with our delay. We just got the print proof in, the digital versions of the issue are in production and we should be live with the new issue by July 1.

Everyone is fine, life is still a bit off-kilter, and we can’t wait to get this new issue out the door and in your waiting hands.

Thanks again for your kindness and patience. Keep an eye out for our next announcement!

[syndicated profile] wingolog_feed

Posted by Andy Wingo

Happy midsummer, hackfriends!

As you know at work we have been trying to find ways to apply compilers technology to the networking space. We will compile high-level configurations into low-level network processing graphs, search algorithms into lookup routines optimized for the target data structures, packet filters into code ready to be further trace-compiled, or hash functions into parallel AVX2 code.

On one side, we try to provide fast implementations of existing "languages"; on the other side we can't help but try out new co-designed domain-specific languages that can be expressive and run fast. As an example, with pfmatch we extended pflang, the tcpdump language, with a more match-action kind of semantics. It worked fine but the embedding between pfmatch and the host language could have been more smooth; in the end the abstractions it offers don't really apply to what we have needed to build. For a long time we have been wondering if indeed there is a better domain-specific programming language to apply to the networking domain.

P4 claims to be this language, and I think it's worth a look. P4's goal is be able to define switches and other networking equipment in software, with the specific goal that they would like to be able for P4 programs to be synthesized to ASICs, or installed in the FPGA of a "Smart NIC", or compiled to CPUs. It's a wide target domain and the silicon-bakery side of things definitely constrains what is possible. Indeed P4 explicitly disclaims any ambition to be a general-purpose programming language. Still, I think they manage to achieve an admirable balance between declarative programming and transparent low-level compilability.

The best, most current intro to P4 out there is probably Vladimir Gurevich's slides from last month's P4 "developer day" in California. I think it does a good job linking the language's syntax and semantics with how they are intended to be applied to the target domain. For a more PL-friendly and abstract introduction, the P416 specification is a true delight.

Like I said, at work we build software switches and other network functions, and our target is commodity hardware. We write most of our work in Snabb, a powerful network toolkit built on LuaJIT, though we are branching out now to VPP/fd.io as well, just to broaden the offering a bit. Generally we try to build solutions that don't have any dependencies other than a commodity Xeon server and a commodity NIC like Intel's 82599. So how could P4 help us in what we're doing?

My first thought in this regard was that if there is a library of P4 building blocks out there, that it would be really convenient to be able to incorporate a functional block written in P4 within the graph of a Snabb program. For example, if we have an IPFIX collector written in Snabb (and we do!), it would be cool to stick that in the middle of a P4 traffic conditioner.

(Immediately I run into the problem that I am straining my mind to think of a network function that we wouldn't rather just write in Snabb -- something valuable enough that we wouldn't want to "own" it and instead we would import someone else's black box into our data-plane. Maybe this interesting in-network key-value cache counts? But I digress, let's assume that something exists here.)

One question is, why bother doing P4 in software? I can understand that if you have 1Tbps ports that you definitely need custom silicon pushing your packets around. You would like to be able to program that silicon, so P4 looks to be a compelling step forward. But if your needs are satisfied with 40Gbps ports and you have chosen a software networking solution for its low cost, low lock-in, high flexibility, and sufficient performance -- well does P4 buy you something?

Right now it would seem that the answer is "no". A Cisco group wrote a custom P4 compiler to VPP, which is architecturally pretty much the same as Snabb, and they had to do some work to get the performance within a couple percent of the hand-coded application. The only win I can see is if people start building up libraries of reusable P4 components that can be linked together -- but the language itself currently doesn't support any more global composition primitive than #include (yes, it uses CPP :).

Additionally, at least as things are now, it doesn't seem that there's a library of reusable, open source P4 components out there to take advantage of. If this changes, I'll have to have another look. And of course it's worth keeping an eye on what kinds of cool things people are building :)

Thanks to Luke Gorrie for conversations leading to this blog post. All opinions and errors mine, of course!

Profile

brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
brainwane

Style Credit

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
456 7 8910
11 12 131415 1617
1819 2021222324
252627282930 

Most Popular Tags

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 26th, 2017 08:47 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios