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radiantfracture

September 2017

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You may or may not be aware we had elections in Germany yesterday. The results weren't very surprising (if you've been following news and polls), but nonetheless shocking, because Nazis in German parliament for the first time in over 70 years should be. (Let me qualify the technicalities: of course we had original flavour Nazis in the very first post war parliament, it being 1949. We even had a rather prominent one, the original commentator of the Nuremberg "race laws", in Adenauer's cabinet. And there were right wing extremist parties since then who didn't pretend very hard to be anything else. But none of them reached 13%, which the right wing extremists du jour, the AFD, just did.) In practical terms: this means 80-something MPs drilled in verbal abuse and little else entering parliament as of next year. At least they won't be the official opposition, since the SPD, which had its historic worst result in the entire post war history with 20 something %, ended the governing Big Coalition last night. (This is actually a good thing and was direly necessary to save the party, imo. It governed in coalition with Merkel's conservatives for two out of three terms Angela Merkel has been chancellor, and while this wasn't the only reason for its steady loss of votes, it was a big one.) How the "Jamaica" coalition (so called because of the colors associated with the parties in question - black for the CDU/CSU, the conversative union, yellow for the FDP, the business-oriented liberal party, which will return to parliament after having been voted out four years ago, and green for the Greens, obviously) will work out is anyone's guess, but it's the best of currently available alternatives. And since the AFD does have a lot of inner fighting between its heads going on and hasn't yet managed to actually do something constructive in any of the provincial parliaments they were already in, they might destroy themselves over the next four years, as the 80s flavor of right wing extremists did (they were called Republicans, I kid you not). None of that changes me feeling thoroughly disgusted this morning at 13% of our electorate, and angry with a lot of other people as well.

Here are two articles from two of our leading papers translated into English which analyze the election and its results:

Tears won't change a thing (from the Süddeutsche, in which Heribert Prantl says that we're the recovering alcoholic of nations, which is why it's differently serious when part of our electorate falls off the wagon to get drunk on demagogery, racism and authoritarianism again)

The Panic Orchestra, which also analyses the role the media played (because just as with Trump, the bloody AFD seemed to be on tv all the time)

On the bright(er) side of things, there were spontanous anti AFD marches on the street in Berlin and Cologne last night, and they were soundly defeated as also rans in Munich. (Which is a relief on a personal level, since I live there, and also because of history.)

Speaking of Munich, to conclude on a distracting and cheerier note, the Süddeutsche also hosts an US journalist who last week penned this column:

11 things Americans get wrong about the Oktoberfest
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No time to watch yet, wedding and work, plus my father in town, but I just purchased an annual CBS "All Access" subscription so I can immerse myself in Star Trek: Discovery for the next few weeks, and in The Good Fight come 2018.

I really wish the television model were different, though. Not because of the money; I purchase shows on iTunes consistently (Wynonna Earp, Killjoys, Orphan Black, iZombie). But I worry that the no-network model of CBS here means the opposite of its name: less access to smart, well-written, diverse, and feminist shows for normal people who aren't able to drop yet more money on a limited slice of entertainment, good as it may be.
...are predictably depressing.

Please send love and virtual hugs. Also, punch a nazi for me, or ten.

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:30 pm
cupcake_goth: (Default)
[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Cartomancy: DEAR POWERS THAT BE, WHEN I ASKED FOR LESS OBFUSCATION AFTER THE VAGUE TAROT CARD, I DID NOT MEAN SARCASM.



Halloween Tarot: Page of Ghosts (Page of Cups)



Vintage Wisdom Oracle: Healing
I don't understand Facebook's algorithms. Independent of any pages shared by my friends, it keeps presenting me with this photo of violinist Gil Shaham, upcoming guest of the BSO, and I cannot tell if it thinks that I am the sort of person who listens to classical music (true) or the sort of person who thinks this particular musician is great-looking (also true) and in either case I have no money for the symphony and extant commitments on one of the days he's playing anyway, but I still want to know which data they were farming to produce this result. Seriously, it's been every time I go to check in on the news. I'm not complaining, but I am puzzled.

Gil Shaham


(I did not make it to the Brattle's screening of A Matter of Life and Death (1946), so the question of whether I find David Niven as beautiful in that movie as Andrew Moor does will have to wait for another time.)

Posted by Jason Eisner

The most pervasive metaphor in English may be the use of "higher" to mean "better" (e.g., stronger or more moral), which has spawned endless figures of speech.  It's hard to avoid those metaphorical phrases, although that might be wise in situations in which "higher" also has a relevant physical meaning.  The New York Times on Saturday ran the following headline:

(1) As Trump Takes On Athletes, Watch Them Rise

Indeed, these athletes may be rising metaphorically as a political force.  But they're refusing to rise physically for the singing of the U.S. national anthem.  On the same day, the New York Times wrote (in this article, though it has now been edited away):

(2) Some people urged more players to kneel or sit during the anthem at football stadiums on Sunday as a way to reinforce their First Amendment rights. Others urged more white players to stand with black players who have knelt or sat during the anthem.

How confusing!  White players are urged to stand metaphorically with their black teammates … by physically kneeling or sitting with them, or by speaking out afterwards.

But how do we readers know that "stand with" in (2) is metaphorical?  Why couldn't the second sentence be about white players standing physically?

In fact, it's tempting to interpret (2) physically — "some people" encouraging kneeling while "others" are encouraging standing.  There are indeed Americans urging both actions.  But it's an implausible interpretation because of little clues like "more" and "with":

  • It happens that nearly all white players have continued to stand during the anthem.  So it would be strange to urge "more" of them to stand, rather than urging "the rest" to stand or asking "the few sitters" to "resume standing."
  • Physically standing "with" someone presumably means that you stand at the same time as them, or that you walk over and stand next to them.  Neither is likely here, since there seems to be no opportunity to carry out either move as a political gesture.  (At the relevant time, these black players presumably aren't planning to stand at all, and the white players are presumably already next to them.)

Thus, it's unlikely that the "others" are urging white players to physically stand by their kneeling or sitting teammates.   (If the white players did so, then they wouldn't be metaphorically "standing by" their teammates.  At best, they'd just be "standing by" as the controversy unfolded … a.k.a. sitting it out.)

One more, from Yahoo Sports (h/t Ben Zimmer):

(3) NFL shows it won't sink to president's level

The "sinking" is again metaphorical.  This time, the headline happens to be literally true as well: the president is presumably sitting as part of the TV audience, and the National Football League players are standing, not sinking physically to his level.  Yet again, no one who knows the context could think that the headline literally means "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel."  Why?

  • "Sink to the president's level" is too roundabout a way to say "sit or kneel."
  • "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel" isn't true: sitting and kneeling during the anthem are on the increase in the NFL.
  • "These NFLers show they won't sit or kneel" still wouldn't be plausible as a choice for this headline.  While the photo does show that they have decided not to go as far as kneeling, the newsworthy bit is that they are nonetheless protesting and their team's owner has joined them.

Getting computers to attend to all these factors, as we humans seem to, is why passing the Turing test will be hard.

Question for LL readers: What's a clever name for a metaphorical phrase whose literal interpretation is at odds with the facts?  (A "mixed metaphor" is a pair of metaphorical phrases whose literal interpretations are at odds with each other.)

I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-8

Constitution-16

Intelligence-10

Wisdom-8

Charisma-7


Alignment:
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Cooking Diary

Sep. 25th, 2017 04:36 pm
soon_lee: Image of yeast (Saccharomyces) cells (Default)
[personal profile] soon_lee
Catch-up post.
Week starting August 21:
Monday: Spaghetti with beef ragu
https://flic.kr/p/XjEQcY
DSC_0132
https://flic.kr/p/XRiowm
DSC_0131
More... )
I've been doing less book bingeing and more reading of fic over the last month, which is probably, ultimately a happy balance for me.

Liberty and Other Stories (Prosperity, #2-4, 6) - Alexis Hall - ★ ★ ★ ★

A diverse series of stories expanding on the Prosperity universe, both before and after the events of Prosperity. read more )

The New Born Year - Kris Ripper ★ ★

I love this series, and I really liked getting to know Ally better, but I found this a difficult and unpleasant read. read more )

Full of Briars (October Daye, #9.3) - Seanan McGuire ★ ★ ★

I'm several books behind in this series, and figured this was a good way to dip back in. Because Quentin. Who is awesome. read more )

Gun To My Head - Dira Lewis ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. First read April 5, 2017. Second read April 6, 2017. Third read now, by which you might infer that I really fucking love this book. read more )

The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2) - Heather Rose Jones ★ ★ ★ ★

I continue to adore this series. This second installment continues to follow Barbara and Margerit's lives, while expanding the focus to two characters who played a supporting role in the first book. read more )

The Element of Fire (Ile-Rien, #1) - Martha Wells ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. I think I first read this sometime in 2010.

This is a secondary-world fantasy set in the approximate equivalent of 17th Century France only with both sorcery and Fae creatures.read more )

Point of Dreams (Astreiant, #2) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett ★ ★ ★ ★

In some ways the murders are the least interesting part of this book. They matter, and they drive the plot, but it's the thematic stuff going on around and in cause of the murders that I found most interesting.

This is a book about relationships, and the ways they are seen and controlled by society and societal pressures. read more )

Seven Summer Nights - Harper Fox ★ ★ ★ ★

This was not the book I expected it to be, but I quite enjoyed the book it turned out to be.

This is, as the cover copy stated, a just-post-WWII historical romance between an archaeologist and a vicar, both of whom came back from the war changed. It's about two men trying to fit back into roles and ways of life they no longer fit. read more )

Bound to Be a Groom (Regency Reimagined, #1) - Megan Mulry

DNF.

It's queer, kinky, poly, historical erotica. I'm pretty much THE target audience for this book. And I gave up at 13% read. read more )

Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey, #1) - Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a rougher read than I expected from the ad copy. Good, but at times decidedly difficult.

This is a queer, steampunk murder mystery, but that's not really what it's about.

What it actually is is a book about institutionally-sanctioned bullying and abuse and the different ways in which adult survivors of childhood trauma cope with their past. read more )

writing for the next 3 months

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:23 pm
tielan: (AVG - agents)
[personal profile] tielan
Goals for 12 Days Of Ficmas 2017, in order:
- complete sedoretu: definitely complicated
- finish off Fire And Ice: MCU Jaeger AU series
- finish off 30 days of Steve/Maria series
- finish off Neighbours AU series

I mean, I'd also like to write the sequels to 'Between Destiny And Love', (currently titled: 'Destiny Is Overrated' and 'Paved With Good Intentions'), write that Black Jewels AU, and finish off 'a practical acquaintance with bees', but, eh. Even I have limits to how much I can write while simultaneously holding down a job, managing a house, and having a social life...

Phethean.

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:20 am
[syndicated profile] languagehat_feed

Posted by languagehat

I recently ran across the unusual surname Phethean and having no idea of its etymology or even how to pronounce it, I had to do some research. It turns out it’s /ˈfiːðiən/ (FEE-thee-uhn, as in “[I’ll] fee thee an [apple]), and it’s apparently a (very weird) variant of Vivian; Rybakin, my go-to reference for English surnames, gives the other variants Fiddian, Fidgen, Fidgeon, Fithian, Phythian, Videan, and Vivien, and there is actually a dedicated website, Phethean One-Name study, which has a bunch more:

The Phethean One-Name study was established in 2012. I have been researching the PHETHEAN surname for about 20 years. More recently I have been concentrating on tracing the early origins of the surname, including all variants that I am aware of, rather than establishing a definitive family-tree of my own particular spelling of the surname

The registered variants of the name are Fithyan, Phitheon, Phithian, Phythian. Only Phethean, Phythian and Fithyan appear to be represented in England at the present day.

All the variants that I am researching are: Fethion, Fethyan, Fethyon, Fhithyan, Fithan, Fithean, Fitheion, Fitheon, Fithian, Fithion, Fithyan, Fithyon, Fitton, Fytheone, Fythian, Pheathean, Pheathian, Phethean, Phethein, Phetheon, Phethian, Phethion, Phithean, Phitheon, Phithian, Phithion, Phithyan, Phythean, Phytheon, Phythian, Phythion, Phythyan. […]

There are sparse records dating from 1250 – 1450 in various parts of the UK. The definitive spelling Phethean first appears in Tunstall, Staffordshire in 1459 where it was used as a first-name (Phethean of Tunstall) and then is found as a surname (and many derivative spellings) mainly in two locations in Cheshire – Brereton-cum-Smethwick and Warmingham from about 1500-1750. These sites are only about 15 miles from Tunstall but at present I have been unable to link the two locations.

Read more about the history of the name (“The Industrial Revolution lead to migrations of families who were yeoman farmers from the country to the cities. The Phethean line became established in Bolton, Lancashire from the late 1700s”) and frequency (“The surname is rare!”) at the link; I admire the dedication of Mr Stuart Phethean, who created and updates it.

Another rough week, especially Sunday through Tuesday when we didn't have our Bronx. The house felt very sad and lonely. N brought him home from the vet on Wednesday; while she was coming off the ferry she saw the Bath Fitter truck waiting to get on to come and install our new shower.

Bronx is recovering, but he lost a lot of weight over the weekend; he was in really scary shape when he came home. He's better now, but still not his old self. But it's so good to see him rampaging, or at least romping, even if only for a while. Best the vet can figure is that he has some virus -- possibly herpes -- that is mostly dormant but gets reactivated when he gets anything else. Poor little guy! But we have him back! That's the important thing.

We also have our revamped shower -- it's a lot bigger than the old one because it makes better use of space in addition to being a bit deeper, and it has a full-width curtain instead of sliding glass doors, which I hate and Colleen has a lot of trouble with. The floor is only about an inch and a half up, with a squishable rubber dam to keep the water in. It's wonderful.

Another cow sighting Thursday morning when I went out to plug the car in; I'd forgotten Wednesday night. (Friday when Colleen and I went out to the Country Store on the way to dinner, the clerk who checked us out told us that someone from out our way had been in early the previous morning to get some hay "to lure a cow". Right. I know where he lives! Hopefully he came back later for some fencing.

We finally found a good caregiver for Colleen. She'll be coming in only one day/week, Thursday. Our housekeeper comes on Tuesday, so we'll be pretty well covered, and save quite a lot of money over our former 3 day/week schedule. Unlike (previous) G" and all of the others we interviewed, M has made a career of caregiving and loves it.

Link of the week is the Ig-Nobel Prize winning paper, "On the Rheology of Cats", in Rheology Bulletin 2014-07, p. 16. (It's a PDF, so you have to scroll down to it.) You also need to pull down NASA's coffeetable book, Through the Eyes of Cassini

Notes & links, as usual )

Tags:

Day Trip!

Sep. 24th, 2017 05:37 pm
lovelyangel: (Homura Soft)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Flatware Dragonfly
Flatware Dragonfly
Corvallis Fall Festival

Maybe this is a new annual thing for us! Jenni and I repeated our 2016 Autumn Day Tip with a followup visit to the Corvallis Fall Festival. But as always with Jenni and me, it’s not so much the destination as the extended time that she and I get to chat. We could have done that anywhere. Still, participating in a special event just adds more fun.

At 10:00 am Jenni arrived at my house while I was putting my things in the car – so we were immediately ready to jump in and take off. It was a breezy, conversation-filled drive to Corvallis. My parking fairy opened convenient street parking just two blocks south of Central Park. It was 11:30 am.

As per plan, we walked over to Block 15. As if to celebrate our return, the waitress coincidentally seated us at the same table we had last year, tucked away in a corner upstairs. We were delighted.

Block 15’s Oregon Country Beef Burger was so good last year that I eagerly reordered the meal. I couldn’t decide on fries or the beef barley soup – so I got both. I ended up taking most of the fries home for an evening meal. As before, everything was delicious.

Lunch at Block 15
Lunch at Block 15
iPhone 6 Photo

I think it was about 1 pm when we finished lunch and began our return walk through downtown Corvallis. (I didn’t take any notes this year, so I can only guess on times.) We returned to the Starbucks at SW 4th & Madison, where Jenni got a drink; she also got cash from an ATM. From there we walked back to my car to drop off my takehome container of fries – and also my Icebreaker vest. The weather forecast was 60°F with a high of 66°F under partly sunny skies – but Accuweather and buddies lied. Bright sun. Not a cloud in the sky. I was dressed too warmly. During the week I’d been fighting the onset of a cold and had been uncharacteristically chilled, so I dressed conservatively. I should have worn short sleeves.

We walked up to the festival and did all the loops. The festival advertises 160 vendors, so it takes a couple of hours to get through the whole thing.


The festival has a nice variety of artisans and craftsfolk. Lots of impressive jewelry. Interesting photography (but nothing I’d put in my own house). Unique fabrics and clothing. Other facinating scupltures, paintings, and mixed media works. Jenni and I had a wonderful time absorbing the mix – as well as talking with the artists. Jenni bought some gifts for her friends, but I was much less noble.

Early on we happened upon one of my favorite ceramic studios, STILLFire Pottery. This year they had a number of bowls in sizes I wanted, so it was difficult to show restraint. I limited myself to three bowls – a convenient soup bowl and a small snack bowl in my normal blue/white style… and another shallow bowl similar to the dark one I bought last year. I love these bowls! I think my favorite is the soup bowl.


STILLFire Pottery Bowls

Sometime between 3:30 and 4:00 pm we headed back to the car. It was an easy jaunt from SW 7th St (where I had parked) over to SW 9th St. Unlike last year, there was no home football game this year, so we had no problems at all with traffic. I took SW 9th to 99W, and we again took the scenic route from Corvallis to Independence to Salem to Woodburn.

And like last year, we stopped at Woodburn Premium Outlet Stores and did some shopping. Neither of us make it down to Woodburn often. The day continued to be sunny and warm – just around 70°F – so walking was extremely pleasant.

When we were finished shopping, I took us home. We were back by 6:40 pm. We had talked non-stop the entire day, and I could have gone on for hours. I was energized. But we did have a lot of things to get done for ourselves over the weekend and had to stop sometime. My rare days with Jenni bring me great joy, and I savor the memories – and am still smiling a day later.

"Sons of a bitches"

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:18 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

In his 9/22/2017 rally speech in Huntsville, Alabama, Donald Trump said

Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners
when somebody disrespects our flag
to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now —
out, he's fired.
Fired!

This posed a question for people who wanted to speak up in support of the football players he was threatening: What's the plural of "son of a bitch"?

I always thought it was "sons of bitches", but a surprising number of people decided on "sons of a bitches" instead. (See "Plurals", 9/22/2013, for some additional context.)

 

 

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:33 pm
ashlyme: (Default)
[personal profile] ashlyme
Saturday would have just been the usual pleasant night of seeing John if it hadn't been for what happened ten minutes from the flat. I was walking back with my headphones in and nearing the canal when some guy stopped me. I thought he was asking for a lighter; I took out my headphones and then he jabbed his hand into the inside pocket of my jacket, taking out my mobile. He was laughing. I screamed at him not to touch me or my stuff and he dropped the phone on the ground. Walked off, still laughing; there might have been a sarcastic sorry, mate but I was past caring. It was over in less than a minute, there was no violence offered, but my space was violated; I have spent most of today shaking. I got back in, melted down on Facebook and burst into tears. Took [personal profile] cybermule 's advice and took a walk around Edgbaston Reservoir, this afternoon but that was difficult. I could sit and watch the birds (a brace of swans; young gulls still in their early plumage, the colour of slush). Everyone who passed me felt to me as if they could attack in a moment. I flinched away from anyone who even glanced my way. I got back then had an afternoon of shakes and gut-grimness. If I could get a refund for most of this weekend I'd take it.