War Porn.

Feb. 12th, 2016 09:47 pm
[syndicated profile] aklapper_feed

Posted by aklapper

Photo of the book.

Sometimes, when some individual, group, institution publishes, releases, leaks a cruel video of this planet’s conflicts, media decide not to show it or only show a (edited) screenshot.
I usually end up trying to find the uncut video on the internet because I naively believe I can better realize how cruel things are when I force myself to watch it.
So I constantly feel the need to defend my behavior against accusations of voyeurism and dehumanization: “Can’t you imagine the rest anyway? Haven’t you played video games and watched enough fictitious movies?”

A few months ago I bought the photo book “War Porn” by Christoph Bangert (a photo journalist in war regions). The photos are somewhere between disturbing and disgusting.
Bangert also covers the aspect of self-censorship as a photographer or publisher, hence for some of the pages you have to decide yourself whether to break the perforation to see the image included on that page.

The book’s introduction puts it into simple words that I could not find myself:
“What’s the point of showing these things? We know that wars and disasters are horrible events. But are we really aware of just HOW horrible they are? Yes? Why are we so shocked by these pictures, then?”

[syndicated profile] astoriapost_feed

Posted by admin

Angela Spero, Laura Lane

Angela Spera, Laura Lane

February 12, By Michael Florio

An Astoria comedy venue is hosting a show on Valentine’s Days that targets singles.

The show, “This is Why You’re Single,” will feature comedy skits about real-life dating disasters and living alone. It will be held at Q.E.D. (27-16 23rd Ave) on Sunday from 7:30 to 9 pm. Tickets are $5.

The show is based on a book penned by Laura Lane and Angela Spera, both professional comedy writers.  The duo will be performing the skits.

Lane said the book looks at some of the reasons why people are single.

“It takes a look at dating and being single in the modern world,” she said. “It is a comedy and advice book all in one.”

Sunday’s show will be the first time the duo will have performed at Q.E.D.

Spera, who is from Astoria, is a fan of the venue and has wanted to do gig there, according to Lane.

It will also be their first time performing on Valentine’s Day, which Lane is looking forward to.

“It’s the perfect day to do our show,” she said.

“It will be something unique and different for people to do on Valentine’s Day,” she said. “Going to a restaurant can feel like a cliché.”

The book will be for sale at Q.E.D. and retails for $15.99. The two will be on hand after the show to autograph books and speak with those in the audience, Lane said.

“We will be here to talk to people and answer any dating questions they may have,” she said.

rachelmanija: (Saiyuki: Gojyo beneath the sheets)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Due to medical reasons, I have been living under a rock for the last seven months. So you may all already be aware of the pornographic novel about Aaron Burr, The Amorous Intrigues and Adventures of Aaron Burr, published in 1861 and attributed to aaronburrsmyastralhusband, I mean Anonymous. In other words, at least one person was writing Aaron Burr RPF smut 150 years before it first appeared on AO3. However, I had not heard of the book until Naomi Kritzer tipped me off yesterday. And in case the same is true for any of you, behold!

Reaching forth his hand, Burr seized that of Adelaide King, and drawing the beautiful girl to him, he pressed her plump bosom forcibly to his own, and inflicted a dozen kisses on her dainty red lips.

The biggest cliche of old-school trashy romance, the forcible yet welcome kissing, has rather deep roots. I have read similar lines in porn from Burr's own era. I expect that descriptions of brutal and forbidden yet strangely delicious kisses were once inscribed on lost tablets in a language of which not a single word now survives. And I bet some of those were RPF, too.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books reviewed it, called it out for rapeyness, and gave it an F+. Talk less, fuck more, Burr.

A comment to that review says, "Is this the time to mention that a gothic Aaron Burr romance novel exists?

It’s a trilogy called “The Torment of Aaron Burr” and apparently in it, Burr creeps on Alexander Hamilton’s teenage daughter."

A TRILOGY. Martha Washington should have named her feral tomcat after him. Here's a picture of the cover. You know it's a Gothic because it has a woman fleeing a house.

This does not appear to be online, but luckily several people on Tumblr read and liveblogged.

The Amorous Intrigues and Adventures of Aaron Burr is available free online.

Miranda's Burr would probably have been appalled by the book - talk about giving ammunition to your enemies. But I think the historic Burr would have secretly read and gotten a kick out of it. Burr may now be remembered as a villain, but apparently he was remembered for quite some time as seriously hot stuff. And now an entire generation is going to picture him as Leslie Odom Jr. Hamilton got the protagonist's role and the ten dollar bill, but porn writers may never stop telling Burr's story.

Cut for Aaron Burr and a nun; not worksafe. Read more... )

I think I've found the inspiration for Harlequin Presents, circa 1970. Seriously, prose styles have changed somewhat, but I have spotted lava metaphors in a minimum of three modern romance novels. Not to mention modern fanfic. The more things change, the more they stay the same. "Anonymous" would be raking in money self-publishing on Amazon if he or she was writing today.

Also, you may enjoy this ad for more trashy novels at the end of the book. I can't decide if my favorite title is Kate Montrose; or, The Maniac's Daughter or Madeline, the Avenger; or, Seduction and its Consequences.

Attention is called to the following Catalogue of cheap Publications, just issued. These books are got up different from anything of the kind ever offered to the public. They are all handsomely illustrated with Colored Plates, which have only to be seen to be appreciated.

Cut for long list of dirty books Read more... )

Awkward! QR Scanning + LinkedIn Spam

Feb. 12th, 2016 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] simplysecure_feed

Messaging with friends and colleagues is rewarding – but sharing contact information is awkward. Many people want to preserve their privacy by carefully controlling who gets their contact information, and choose not to broadcast their email address or phone number via a public Facebook or Twitter profile. Instead, they choose to strategically share their contact info.

It's awkward to navigate the social and UX challenges in this sharing. Looking at how WeChat and LinkedIn handle this problem exposes two different kinds of awkwardness: mechanics of sharing and social agreement about what permissions you get as a result.

WeChat: Reciprocity and Leaving People Hanging

Chinese messaging app WeChat has grown to 650 million monthly users. Although posts may be censored, it's a fixture of the Chinese mobile landscape. During 2016's Lunar New Year, WeChat handled 8 billion "red envelopes" of New Year's money through its payment platform. Christina Xu's Am I Scanning You, or Are You Scanning Me shares the social nuances of scanning a QR code off someone else's phone to exchange contact information. Her writing provides cultural context; for example, URLs are only slightly more human-readable than a QR codefor most Chinese people. Her discussion of Chinese norms of courtesy and reciprocity include descriptions of the discomfort that an inexperienced QR-code scanner causes, requiring their scanning partner to "hold their phone out steadily for awkward, uncertain seconds, as if waiting slightly too long for a high five."

Image of users scanning QR codes.
Scanning a QR Code to share contact info in WeChat. Photo by An Xiao, used by permission.

With WeChat, the physical mechanics of contact sharing may be awkward or difficult, but it's clear what you have permission to do. After being scanned, you still have a graceful way to not complete the friend request if you choose. However, once the request is accepted, you can exchange messages with them on the platform, and optionally share Moments with them.

LinkedIn: Spam and Dark Patterns

Last fall, designer Frank Chimero proposed that any New Yorker cartoon could be captioned with "Hi, I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." These bland and unthreatening words, which the professional networking site has made familiar to many people around the world, have achieved internet memedom.

However, these messages are not always desirable, and a specific set of UX decisions has caused LinkedIn to become synonymous with spam. Dan Schlosser describes LinkedIn's Dark Patterns and how they trick people into inviting their contacts to connect on the social network.

LinkedIn iPhone app screenshot
LinkedIn interrupts users' workflow to request access to your contacts.

In contrast to the up-front awkwardness of scanning a QR code, sharing contact information via LinkedIn is downright seamless. The LinkedIn iPhone app screenshot shown above makes "continue," which gives ongoing access to your contacts, prominent – and the "x" to dismiss the request without granting access subtle. Because the app frequently requests access to your contacts, invitations to connect can be unknowingly sent to everyone in your address book, including those you don't consider professional contacts, such as someone you texted with to buy a used sofa.

With LinkedIn, the social awkwardness around contact sharing comes after the request has been sent. The fact that LinkedIn's aggressive requests reached meme status indicates that these requests are often unintentional. Furthermore, there's no social agreement on how to interact once the LinkedIn connection is made. Message only within the app? Send emails? Endorse for skills? It's not clear what accepting the request means, because it's not clear what the invitation-sender intended.

Designing to Share Contacts and Preserve Privacy

Deliberately increasing the awkwardness of sharing contacts would decrease usability and distract users from their primary communication goals. However, "friction-free" isn't always good; designers should safeguard the intentionality of sharing contacts by making it explicit and noticeable. Instead of happening seamlessly behind the scenes, contact sharing should be something people intentionally and explicitly opt into. I look forward to more experiences like WeChat, where the on-screen UX and social agreements work together – even if they require a little QR awkwardness.

[syndicated profile] wordyard_feed

Posted by Scott Rosenberg

From “Negotiations at the IRL/URL Border,” by Jamie Lauren Keiles in Vice | Motherboard, May 5, 2015:

In this present moment of negotiatory online messiness, we must realize that online institutions will eventually become as concrete as anything we can touch or feel today, but that it may take some time for things to shake out.

I like to imagine social media as a prosthetic technology. We have language already to describe our relationship to the objects we allow to become parts of our physical selves. The artificialness of a prosthetic arm doesn’t undermine its usefulness or its validity. We need not fully become our online personas in the future, but surely we can make space for them as something real and integral to the project of building a tangible life and an authentic self. The best IRL/URL future is a porous fluid membrane in which real life informs online and so becomes it in an infinite blurry loop.

giandujakiss: (Default)
[personal profile] giandujakiss
Major warning for child harm. But basically, when the problem was neglect in a case like this, I never know whether my instincts are "throw them in jail for fucking ever" or "they've been punished enough, and it's not like jailtime is actually going to deter people in the future - this is self-deterring for anyone who can be deterred."
emceeaich: A close-up of a pair of cats-eye glasses (Default)
[personal profile] emceeaich

The Library of Congress is considering changes to 1201 of the DMCA, the section that covers DRM or Technical Protection Measures.

The Federal Register has details on the period for comments, which is open through February 25th.

If you do work on crypto and/or security or you make fan works, you may want to follow this.

[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

Adam Westbrook talks about Vincent van Gogh and the benefit of doing creative work without the audience in mind. Having never read Csikszentmihalyi's Flow (I know, I know), I was unfamiliar with the word "autotelic". From Wikipedia:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity, as autotelic. This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force.

Doug Belshaw has a bit more on autotelism and how it relates to education.

Tags: Adam Westbrook   art   Doug Belshaw   Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi   video   Vincent van Gogh
[syndicated profile] lunastationquarterly_feed

Posted by Chloe N. Clark

For this month’s column, I’ve decided to focus in on a specific episode from a specific fandom-beloved show: “Changing Channels” from the fifth season of Supernatural. I chose this specific episode, not only because it’s an episode that in many ways caters to its fanbase but also because it directly comments on and uses other genres. Please note that season five has a lot of dramatic happenings and SPOILERS are ahead so please read at your own caution.

“Changing Channels” is my favorite episode of Supernatural. In addition, I put it in my top-25 episodes of any television show of all time. I know, I know, these are some major claims I’m making here, but I’m not making them willy-nilly.

Supernatural is a show known for episodes that play with dramatic structure and formula: from the alternate universe show-within-a-show of “The French Mistake” to the 200th episode which featured a musical based on the lives of the characters within the show. “Changing Channels,” however, is one of the first times they so obviously upended the nature of what makes a show. The cold open reveals the Winchesters partaking in a strangely forced version of a comedy, complete with opening credits that seem to be ripped from Three’s Company era shows, including a cheesy theme song.

We then jump back in time to see how the boys ended up in this predicament. It involves a Trickster and some inter-angel warfare, so I’m not going to get too far into the why. What it boils down to, though, is that the Winchesters are stuck “changing channels,” i.e. jumping from generic examples of different television show types until they can figure out how to get out of the loop. This allows the show to capitalize on the full conceits of many popular shows: romantic medical drama (Dr. Sexy, MD) to the afore-mentioned laugh-tracked situational comedy to a CSI: Miami that includes the characters all wearing sunglasses at night. The show utilizes not only the dialogue beats of each type of show, but also the camera-work, music, and acting.


The episode becomes a kind of meta-commentary on what genre is and also how hard it is to fit into a genre when you don’t belong within it: Sam and Dean desperately want to return to their own show’s universe. Supernatural is at its most compelling when mixing genres: the show has never been purely horror and it knows that. This episode seeks to say that genres are things to jump between.

And, lastly, one of the reasons I find this episode so compelling is that it hides maybe its most brutal line of dialogue ever within the episode. Stuck in a Japanese-style game show, Dean must answer a question that he doesn’t understand (being that it’s spoken in Japanese). The question is whether the Winchester’s mother would still be alive if Sam was never born. The answer, which Dean gives correctly, is “Yes.” What’s brilliant about this is not only that it’s hiding a hopeless truth about the show within one of its most surreal and comedic moments, but that the truth is never actually revealed to either the Winchester’s, as neither understands Japanese which in some ways makes it a kinder moment.

While I’d love to dissect this episode in more depth, I’m running out of space. However, I’d love to know what your favorite episodes are? Favorite moment from “Changing Channels?” Let us know, @lunaquarterly or @PintsNCupcakes. Next month, I’ll be back with an interview with the editors behind an exciting new anthology! Til then: Keep Fannin’ On!


The post S2/ E4: ” Dr. Sexy, MD. I think it’s based on a book.” appeared first on Luna Station Quarterly.

What do I do with my time?

Feb. 12th, 2016 07:35 am
[syndicated profile] cfournier_feed

Posted by Camille Fournier

I'm a new manager, new to both the company I work for and to management. When I joined this company there were several fires for me to help put out, and every day I was busy dealing with one urgent task or another. But now I'm drifting. My boss doesn't have time to tell me what to do, I don't have any features that I am responsible for, and no one is urgently requesting my time. What is my job, now that things are no longer on fire?
Ah, yes. One of the challenges of management that we don't often talk about is those times when you have no clear urgent tasks. Engineers deal with uncertainty in relatively bounded forms, such as, how should I break down this big project into smaller chunks, how should I architect this system, who should I talk to for information about this feature, what library should I choose? These are enough to stymie some, but usually by the time you've been working for a few years you know how to get started on these types of problems.

Management, however, is a different beast. Management is like being in operations. Operations engineers must balance a series of ad hoc needs (system configurations or permission granting, say), with fires (outages), and long-term strategic projects (moving to a new data center, upgrading a major piece of critical infrastructure). As a manager you also have regular ad hoc needs (1-1s, meetings, small decisions) and fires (hiring, firing, projects in trouble, outages). And you have long-term strategic projects (planning for the team growth, thinking about the next quarter's goals, anticipating future obstacles). Like operations engineers, many managers get really good at the ad hoc and the fires, and really bad at the long-term strategic projects. It's much easier to do things right in front of you than it is to think abstractly about unclear topics.

When faced with the blank slate of empty time and no obvious deliverables, what can a manager do to make the best use of that time?

As a new manager to a new company, downtime is a good chance to learn the existing systems. Learning things that you aren't actually working on can be really challenging, so if it's feasible you might find small bugs to fix or minor improvements to build, things that aren't urgent (in case another fire crops up) but that will give you the feel for working in these systems. You can also use the downtime to meet with other teams that your team works with, learn about their projects and challenges, look at what they're busy with. Lend a hand to their managers, or help your boss fill that gap if they don't have one.

At some point, though, you will have gotten comfortable with the teams, the code, the projects, and you'll still find yourself with downtime. This is the chance to flex your strategic thinking. Take a bigger-picture look. What are you not doing that is important, but not urgent? Maybe it's planning for reviews next month, setting up a team dinner, doing some proactive outreach to candidates you may want to hire in six months, or finishing that presentation that you have promised to give on testing but keep putting off. What are the recurring problems your team is having? What is not going smoothly? What could you be doing to resolve that? Remember, part of your job now is to define what work needs to be done. Your boss won't always be able to tell you what to do, and she probably expects you to tell her what needs to be done. Use this time to answer that question.

Sometimes we put downtime to use in bad ways, and I don't mean procrastination. There are times when the best thing you can do with downtime is take a breath, check in on the internet, watch a talk you have been meaning to see. All of that is better than using downtime as an excuse to make work for other people, which can happen if you're not thoughtful. If you use your downtime to half-bake a feature and throw it into prod for your team to support, that is harmful. If you use your downtime to wander around and interrupt your engineers who are busy working, that is harmful (and yes, I'm guilty of that sometimes!).

You are responsible for finding productive uses of downtime, and part of that is resisting the urge to meddle, micromanage, and distract your team just because you don't know what else to do. Is everything going ok? Are your teams productive, getting things done, working on the right stuff? Great! Use your time to think about the future, write a blog post, catch up on small unfinished errands. Don't worry, there will be another meeting, another fire soon enough. Enjoy it while it lasts.

What are gravitational waves?

Feb. 12th, 2016 02:55 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

From PHD Comics, and explanation of what gravitational waves are and why their discovery is so important to the future of science. (via df)

Tags: physics   science   video

Architectural Folk Models

Feb. 12th, 2016 02:55 pm
[syndicated profile] kitchen_soap_feed

Posted by allspaw

I’m going to post the contents of a gist I wrote (2 years ago?!), because Theo is right, some gists are better as posts. The context for this was a debate on Twitter (which, as always, is about as elegant and pleasing to read as a turtle trying to breakdance). 

Summing up contextual influence on systems architecture

1. Monolithic applications and architectures can vary in their monolith-ness. This is an under-specified description.

2. Microservice applications and architectures can vary in their micro-ness. This is an under-specified description.

3. Both microservices and monolithic architectures have both benefits and disadvantages that are contextual.

4. Successful organizations will exploit those benefits while working around any weaknesses.

5. Success of a business is a large influence on the exploitation of benefits and implementation and costs of workarounds.

6. All benefits and work arounds are context-sensitive. Meaning that they are both technically and socially constructed by the organization that navigates them.

7. Path dependency is a thing. History matters and manifests in these architectural decisions and evolution in an organization.

8. Patterns exist to inform practice, not dictate it. Zealous adherence to an architectural pattern brings peril when it is to the exclusion of cultural and social context in actual practice.

9. Architectural patterns will expand, contract, evolve, and change in multiple ways to fit the trade-offs that an organization perceives it has to make, at the time they make them.

Much has been said about this, including some more by me, since then, but apparently it is not a dead topic and I figured I should grab it off of the gist system. :)

In the end, I consider architectural patterns to be folk models. Meaning that in popular dialogue, they tend to:

Substitute one label for another, rather than decomposing a large construct into more measurable specifics (how do I know when I say ‘microservice’ to you, we can be sure your understanding of the term is the same without being more specific?)

…are immune to falsification (how do I look at an architecture and decide when it’s no longer a monolith in a way that is universally true?)

…and easily get over-generalized to situations they were never meant to speak about. (when we talk about microservices, how do I know when we are no longer talking about technical specifications and when we start talking about organizational design?)

Much thanks to Hollnagel and Dekker for introducing me to the concept of folk models.

[syndicated profile] aerogram_feed

Posted by Yuan Changming


Yesterday’s Newspaper

Like a small leaf
Rolling along
From curb to curb
Beside or behind
Each running wheel
You have become
Heavy, even heavier
Than the headline
Of the front page

Once the wind stops, you
Will get stuck right here
Among all the forlorn
Pieces of history

* * *


Your Song

To sing a single song well, hopefully as
Aloud as a pacific whale, whose call can
Reach far beyond a continent, you have used
All the strengths of your life, but tone-deaf
And never able to carry a tune, you sound
Like an old donkey that has lost its voice
So prosaic and, indeed, so monotonous
No human ears would turn to you; even if
Your throat gets choked with blood, there
Is no echo from the heart of the valley

* * *

Yuan Changming grew up in rural China, started to learn English at 19 and published several monographs on translation before moving to Canada. Currently tutoring and co-editing Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver, Changming has poetry appearing in 1019 literary publications across 32 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, Best New Poems Online and Threepenny Review.

The post “Yesterday’s Poetry” & “Your Song” — Original Poetry by Yuan Changming appeared first on The Aerogram.


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