two of a kind family

Apr. 1st, 2015 09:39 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Who was it I was talking to about the luck of having two kids of the same sex?

Because it does feel like an escape. See, if I'd had a boy and a girl, I know in my soul that I would be absolutely convinced at this point that there are real differences between boys and girls, even at the age of like a year, and that I knew because I had seen them.

If the Junebug had been a girl I would be convinced that I had hard evidence that it's true that boy babies cry more than girls. If Rocket had been a girl I would be convinced that, wow: girls really do show so much more affection and emotion than boys. Even at such a young age.

But they're both boys, so what I have hard evidence for is that n=2 doesn't mean shit. Kids vary.

(no title)

Apr. 2nd, 2015 03:16 am
[syndicated profile] mamohanraj_feed
Two stories critiqued at workshop tonight -- one deemed irremediably broken (although Amanda​ did say that the food descriptions made her so hungry she had to order food afterwards), and the other deemed pretty much perfect and good to go.

When she was good, she was very very good; when she was bad, she was awful.


Apr. 1st, 2015 08:40 pm
inlovewithnight: (eat a dick)
[personal profile] inlovewithnight
1. Write every day in March was a success. I have a chart and everything (can be found here.) Now to keep it rolling into and through April.

2. I stayed 45 minutes late today at work because one of the engineers had a fit about a proposal and needed me to redo it. The thing is that all of us tech writers come in between 8 and 8:30 and therefore are ready to leave at around 4:30, while the engineers come in between 9:30 and 10 and like to stay until 6 or later. So they're really hitting their stride of getting projects done for the day and sent for editing just as we're trying to leave. Sometimes they get a "this must go out today" to us at 4:15 and everything goes to hell.

3. Sample screeching in tumblr tags this work, Mikey and Kristin edition: "the ring is probably an heirloooooooom so alicia and sarah gave it back to hiiiiiim and he can give it to kristin if he wants tooooooo imagine me doing singsongy rage like a cat don't make me fight everyone"

4. Lately it feels like (<-- note subjectivity, I'm not interested in debating intent) everything I say to anyone that even remotely expresses my feeling or opinion gets either an argument or a lecture in return. It's making me want to not talk to anyone ever, and certainly not be honest about my feelings. I know what I need to do is step up and state my boundaries ("I disagree" or "I wasn't asking for advice" or whatever) but in reality-land when you do that people get mad at you. So. I dunno what I'm going to do.

But here's a draft statement: if I don't specifically say "What do you think?" or "I would like advice on this," I don't want advice. I don't want a lecture about what you think I should do or what would be the right thing to do if you ran my life. I'm just expressing my fucking thoughts like everyone is always telling me I should do, I'm not signing up for Condescending Lecture Fest 2k15. Also I'm not a moron or a child, excitingly enough, you don't have to tell me blatantly fucking obvious things.

...apparently I've been stewing on that. It probably needs some editing.

5. Along the same lines, I am hermiting this weekend and it's going to be nap-ful and book-ful and maybe there will be a movie. Or maybe not! I don't have to defend my choices to anyone.

6. I miss my dog.

Starting a New Blog?

Apr. 1st, 2015 07:01 pm
oheysteenz: My final form (Default)
[personal profile] oheysteenz
I haven't had a blog like this since ye olde LiveJournal days, so this might be good for me! I remember moving away from LiveJournal to spend more time on Tumblr and Twitter. But they've become such differet entities, that I don't even consider them really "web-logs" anymore.

I'll probably write about my job at the Library, the work on my webcomic, and... who knows what else. I want to get blogs like this trending again! It's been too long.

More Things I've Made Recently

Apr. 1st, 2015 09:48 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
In addition to Randomized Dystopia, I've made some additional things recently that I don't think I linked to here.

Last year, with Alex Bayley, I co-wrote an article for about Growstuff and how open food can change how we approach technology.

In late March, my friend Elisa inspired me to write Captain America fanfic in the form of a sort of sonnet -- I called it "Spangled". It's 142 words, in case you're looking for a short read.

Today, I made my first fanvid, a 30-second Sisko study called "In the pale dublight". Thanks to Critical Commons for hosting transformative works! Thanks to the open source software community and especially the makers of VLC, Handbrake, and kdenlive for the software. Thanks to synecdochic, Skud, and the wiscon_vidparty vidding workshop for guidance, and thanks to Syun Nakano for the CC-BY music.

And it's behind a paywall right now, but I wrote my first LWN piece, on the upcoming release of Mailman 3.0. I think it's a pretty reasonable roundup of what's new in one of the most popular FLOSS mailing list managers and what that implies for the open source community as a whole. Thanks to Jake Edge, my editor, and to the Mailman dev team for making this piece better!

(no subject)

Apr. 1st, 2015 05:31 pm
copperbadge: (lolcats in turchwad)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Also, by special request of an anon, I am bid remind you all that on this date twelve years ago, one of my students presented me with the best grad school story ever.

(no subject)

Apr. 1st, 2015 05:27 pm
copperbadge: (silly guinness)
[personal profile] copperbadge
This afternoon I got on the bus and I thought there was a breeze blowing my hair, so as I sat down I reached up to the back of my head to smooth my hair down.


Butterfly wanted to ride the bus free, I guess.

I did get the best "what the hell just happened" look from the woman across the aisle when I sat down and produced a butterfly seemingly out of nowhere.

I totally collapsed this afternoon.

Apr. 1st, 2015 06:11 pm
alexandraerin: (Default)
[personal profile] alexandraerin
Night without sleep caught up to me in a big way. I tried to offset it with caffeine, then tried to take a nap to recharge when that didn't work... the caffeine did just enough to stop me from resting, not enough to actually get things done.

Both more and less than political

Apr. 1st, 2015 08:05 pm
[syndicated profile] makinglight_feed

Posted by Abi Sutherland

Throughout this long recent discussion, I've had a passage from The Left Hand of Darkness rattling around in my head. It popped up because it strikes me that one of the fundamental cultural clashes that we're dealing with is between the belief that the ends—getting the "right works" or the "right authors" their rockets*—justify the Sad Puppies' means, and the weirder and more subtle belief that the "right result" of a Hugo vote is unknowable, and can only be achieved by using the right means to go about it.

The conversation in question occurs between Estraven and Ai up on the Ice. Estraven asks Ai why the Ekumen sent him to Gethen alone. Ai's answer is even more interesting and relevant than I remembered.

It's the Ekumen's custom, and there are reasons for it. Though in fact I begin to wonder if I've ever understood the reasons. I thought it was for your sake that I came alone, so obviously alone, so vulnerable, that I could in myself pose no threat, change no balance: not an invasion, but a mere messenger-boy. But there's more to it than that. Alone, I cannot change your world. But I can be changed by it. Alone, I must listen, as well as speak. Alone, the relationship I finally make, if I make one, is not impersonal and not only political: it is individual, it is personal, it is both more and less than political. Not We and They; not I and It; but I and Thou. Not political, not pragmatic, but mystical. In a certain sense the Ekumen is not a body politic, but a body mystic. It considers beginnings to be extremely important. Beginnings, and means. Its doctrine is just the reverse of the doctrine that the end justifies the means. It proceeds, therefore, by subtle ways, and slow ones, and queer, risky ones; rather as evolution does, which is in certain senses its model... So I was sent alone, for your sake? Or for my own? I don't know.

I was just going to bring this up in an ends-verses-means way, which is in fact important to what the Hugos are. But the passage also echoes what, precisely, is the difference between the rather chaotic means of choosing the Hugo that has evolved over time and the Sad Puppies' slate-based, goal-oriented one.

When I sit alone with my Hugo nomination page and try to wrestle through the eligibility lists, thinking about the things I've enjoyed over the past year, I'm faced with the fact that my relationship with literature and media is both more and less than political. As a single person reacting to what the field has produced I must listen, as well as speak in the way that someone voting en bloc need not. And doing this thing alone, I can't dictate what "should" win. I cannot change the Hugos. But I can be changed by them. The relationship is not political, not pragmatic, but mystical.

And that's really the point of SF&F, at least as I love it: exploring worlds that weren't in my head before I started reading. Encountering ideas I didn't imagine, or expect, before opening the covers or watching the opening scene. Allowing myself to be changed by what I experienced. Discovering what I wanted by finding it. These are experiences and ways of learning that, in other contexts, are described as mystical. The term fits.

My Hugo nominations and votes are reactions to that broadening-out of my mental universe. As such, they're intimately, intensely personal. And that's part of the visceral reaction that some fans are having to the Sad Puppies' slate: it looks like the institutionalization of a private, particular process in the service of an external goal. It comes across as a coarsening and a standardizing of something that should be fine-grained, unpredictable, and unique to each person participating. It seems like denial of variety and spontaneity, like choreographed sex.

And it ruins the nature of the Hugos as the strange, unpredictable product of all of these solitary musings. It removes the mystery, the quirkiness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness. Then it's just an election, with partisans and campaigning and slogans and crap. Surely we have enough of those already.

Does this analogy cast fandom as the Ekumen, as a kind of body mystic? Maybe, but it's an extremely easy mysticism to join in with. Pick up a wide variety of books and be open to what they say. Create your own personal and unique relationships with them. Reflect those relationships in your own distinctive ways on the Hugo ballot.

* Yes, I know that there is also the stated objective of widening the pool of Hugo voters. But that doesn't require a slate to achieve.

The sounds of Hollywood

Apr. 1st, 2015 07:44 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

A profile of Gregg Barbanell, who is a Hollywood Foley artist responsible for the ambient sounds (walking, clothes rustling, gunshots, etc.) in Breaking Bad, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Walking Dead. The best bits are about how specific sounds are made.

Popular apocalyptic zombie TV series The Walking Dead has no shortage of gore -- and as the show's Foley artist, Barbanell is tasked with creating most of its gruesome "blood and guts" sounds. "They're pulling organs out of bodies, they're slicing heads off, reaching into bodies, pulling out things," says Barbanell, with disgust. "So, we get creative."

For "gushy, squishy sounds" like oozing blood, Barbanell uses chamois (a leather cloth made from the skin of mountain sheep). "You soak it, then lay into it, and it just oozes -- it's something you can control really easily," he says. "And when you put pressure on it, you get these amazing, gory noises." Sometimes, when that extra oompf is needed, he'll go out and buy a whole, raw chicken to stuff the chamois inside of.

For "breaking bones," big, full stocks of celery are employed -- not merely individual stocks, mind you, but HUGE bunches capable of producing layered, complex snaps. "They give you this huge, sinewy stringy sound," adds Barbanell. "It's very effective."

Oh, and his collection of shoes for making different walking sounds, some of which are shown here:

Foley Shoes

I love that Foley is still something done by hand, but sometimes it's a bit too much, less like ambient noise and more like these exaggerated Wordless Musicvideos.

Tags: audio   Gregg Barbanell   movies

The Enigma wristwatch

Apr. 1st, 2015 06:19 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

Engima Watch

Forget the Pebble or Apple Watch. Wouldn't you rather wear a fully functional three-rotor Engima machine wristwatch?

The idea here wasn't to make the smallest one possible. I decided to make a device that was practical and useable. And something that looks like it was from WW2. Something that could actually be used in the field in place of a real Enigma machine. Obviously there were some limitations. I could have a 26 key keyboard for a start so I had to come up with a UI that would work with a minimal number of keys. I bought a small 128x64 OLED, a suitable battery and started breadboarding it all up. With it working on a normal Arduino I bought an Arduino Pro Mini (or a good replica!) and started looking at getting it running on that.

For reference, here's what an actual Enigma machine looks and how it works.

Tags: Enigma machine   video

Middle aged molly

Apr. 1st, 2015 05:17 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

Mary H.K. Choi writes about reconnecting with an experience she'd had when she was younger: rolling on molly.

When you're a kid, you think you'll be a certain place in your mid-30s. I presumed I'd be rich because when you're middle-class with hardworking immigrant parents that's the whole point. I also thought I'd be married and potentially own a beautiful apartment in New York. Ha ha. What you spend zero time wondering about is whether you'll still be doing drugs. You naturally assume you'll grow out of whatever stupidity you dabbled in as a teen. Even up to my 20s I didn't realize that job-having, non-fuckup grown-ups in their 30s and 40s still smoked weed. Or did ecstasy.

But then I got older and got bored. Saying you're bored as an adult is truly despicable since it implies that your Maslow's pyramid is so satisfied, so abundant with shelter, food, health, and love, that you're driven to idly wishing you liked video games more.

What I want is a vacation from myself. I've tried exercise, meditation, sex, and food. I wait for the desire to plan a wedding or have a kid or buy a house and when those things don't take hold or are plainly untenable, I get my aura read. I open a trillion tabs of internet and drink it in. I gorge on studies about magnets that make you think differently and begin researching the properties of crystals. I don't think about any of it as self-help because that's way too pathetic, certainly more than the itchy meh I feel. I want to hurl my brain into outer space; it's real, real quiet there, the ultimate holiday of feeling small. But because I'm not pregnant and don't have cancer, I just want to do drugs again.

Tags: drugs   Mary HK Choi
[syndicated profile] makohill_feed

Posted by Benjamin Mako Hill


Today, Aaron Shaw and I are pleased to announce a new startup. The startup is based around an app we are building called RomancR that will bring the sharing economy directly into your bedrooms and romantic lives.

When launched, RomancR will bring the kind of market-driven convenience and efficiency that Uber has brought to ride sharing, and that AirBnB has brought to room sharing, directly into the most frustrating and inefficient domain of our personal lives. RomancR is Uber for romance and sex.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Users will view profiles of nearby RomancR users that match any number of user-specified criteria for romantic matches (e.g., sexual orientation, gender, age, etc).
  • When a user finds a nearby match who they are interested in meeting, they can send a request to meet in person. If they choose, users initiating these requests can attach an optional monetary donation to their request.
  • When a user receives a request, they can accept or reject the request with a simple swipe to the left or right. Of course, they can take the donation offer into account when making this decision or “counter-offer” with a request for a higher donation. Larger donations will increase the likelihood of an affirmative answer.
  • If a user agrees to meet in person, and if the couple then subsequently spends the night together — RomancR will measure this automatically by ensuring that the geolocation of both users’ phones match the same physical space for at least 8 hours — the donation will be transferred from the requester to the user who responded affirmatively.
  • Users will be able to rate each other in ways that are similar to other sharing economy platforms.

Of course, there are many existing applications like Tinder and Grindr that help facilitate romance, dating, and hookups. Unfortunately, each of these still relies on old-fashion “intrinsic” ways of motivating people to participate in romantic endeavors. The sharing economy has shown us that systems that rely on these non-monetary motivations are ineffective and limiting! For example, many altruistic and socially-driven ride-sharing systems existed on platforms like Craigslist or Ridejoy before Uber. Similarly, volunteer-based communities like Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club existed for many years before AirBnB. None of those older systems took off in the way that their sharing economy counterparts were able to!

The reason that Uber and AirBnB exploded where previous efforts stalled is that this new generation of sharing economy startups brings the power of markets to bear on the problems they are trying to solve. Money both encourages more people to participate in providing a service and also makes it socially easier for people to take that service up without feeling like they are socially “in debt” to the person providing the service for free. The result has been more reliable and effective systems for proving rides and rooms! The reason that the sharing economy works, fundamentally, is that it has nothing to do with sharing at all! Systems that rely on people’s social desire to share without money — projects like Couchsurfing — are relics of the previous century.

RomancR, which we plan to launch later this year, will bring the power and efficiency of markets to our romantic lives. You will leave your pitiful dating life where it belongs in the dustbin of history! Go beyond antiquated non-market systems for finding lovers. Why should we rely on people’s fickle sense of taste and attractiveness, their complicated ideas of interpersonal compatibility, or their sense of altruism, when we can rely on the power of prices? With RomancR, we won’t have to!

Note: Thanks to Yochai Benkler whose example of how leaving a $100 bill on the bedside table of a person with whom you spent the night can change the nature of the a romantic interaction inspired the idea for this startup.

[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

I love Guillaume Cornet's fanciful and intricate drawings. He's done Paris, New York, and a London apartment building, among others.

Guillaume Cornet

Guillaume Cornet

Guillaume Cornet

Society6 recently put a camera on Cornet while he did his Paris drawing, condensing 75 hours of painstaking work into a 2-minute time lapse.

My favorite little detail highlighted by Society6 is the appearance of the Emmet minifig in the NYC illustration, complete with the Piece of Resistance.

Guillaume Cornet

Tags: cities   Guillaume Cornet   illustration
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by Leigh Honeywell

This is another round of Geek feminism classifieds. If you’re looking to hire women, find some people to participate in your study, find female speakers, or just want some like-minded folk to join your open source project, this is the thread for you!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Geeky subjects only. We take a wide view of geekdom, but if your thing isn’t related to an obviously geeky topic, you’ll probably want to give a bit of background on why the readers of Geek Feminism would be interested.
  2. Explain what your project/event/thing is, or link to a webpage that provides clear, informative information about it. Ideally you’ll also explain why geek women might find it particularly awesome.
  3. Explain what you’re looking for. Even if it’s not a job ad, think of it like one: what is the activity/role in question, and what would it involve? What is the profile of people you’re looking for?
  4. GF has international readership, so please be sure to indicate the location if you’re advertising a job position, conference, or other thing where the location matters. Remember that city acronyms aren’t always known world-wide and lots of cities share names, so be as clear as possible! (That is, don’t say “SF[O]” or “NYC” or “Melb”, say “San Francisco, USA”, “New York City, USA” or “Melbourne, Australia”.) And if you can provide travel/relocation assistance, we’d love to know about it.
  5. Keep it legal. Most jurisdictions do not allow you to (eg.) advertise jobs for only people of a given gender. So don’t do that. If you are advertising for something that falls into this category, think of this as an opportunity to boost the signal to women who might be interested.
  6. If you’re asking for participants in a study, please note Mary’s helpful guide to soliciting research participation on the ‘net, especially the “bare minimum” section.
  7. Provide a way for people to contact you, such as your email address or a link to apply in the case of job advertisements. (The email addresses entered in the comment form here are not public, so readers won’t see them.)
  8. Keep an eye on comments here, in case people ask for clarification or more details. (You can subscribe to comments via email or RSS.)

If you’d like some more background/tips on how to reach out to women for your project/event/whatever, take a look at Recruiting women on the Geek Feminism Wiki.)

Good luck!

Flax Planting

Apr. 1st, 2015 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] vol_nyc_park_feed

Date: April 4, 2015

Join the Prospect Park Alliance for the start of the spring season at Lefferts Historic House, and help them plant their first crop of the season by spreading flax seed and watering the garden.

Start time: 2:00 pm

End time: 4:00 pm

Contact phone:

Location: Lefferts Historic House (in Prospect Park)

Spring Sprouts

Apr. 1st, 2015 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] vol_nyc_park_feed

Date: April 4, 2015

It's time for spring planting! Join the Alliance at Lefferts Historic House, where you can make a small pot out of newspaper, fill it with soil and plant an herb seed to take home.

Start time: 2:00 pm

End time: 4:00 pm

Contact phone:

Location: Lefferts Historic House (in Prospect Park)


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