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Jun. 26th, 2017 10:34 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


Mosque approved despite pleas to think of the little turtles and an odd assertion that the mosque would produce more sewage than "normal " spiritual use.

The exgf's cats meet Fig

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:42 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Ibid has a ... troubled history with Nigel so we're holding off on that.

No histrionics but somehow Rufus established himself as a cat Fig needs not to annoy, whereas Nigel is someone Fig will happily follow around.

Also, Fig made himself sick eating daisies, then tried to eat one again.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I finally found out where I misshelved this.

(no idea what review series I can fit it into)


Dumb Calibre/Kobo question

Jun. 26th, 2017 03:20 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I can see my Kobo has about 300 more titles on it than my laptop Calibre does (because I got the Kobo well before the laptop). How do I move the titles that are on the Kobo to Calibre?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
One issue: I really suck at giving people their free reviews. Would appreciate pointers on how to suck less.

Free comic book collection

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:34 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
There is an interested party. Will update if this changes.

Jasmine's closets are filled with the late MV's comic collection. She's been trying to find home for the 30 cartons of comics for the last decade. If anyone would like them, they are free for the picking up (in bulk, not piece meal. Sorry.).

If she cannot find a taker in the next week, they are going out to recycling.

Please contact me here or at jdnicoll at panix dot com for more details.

Clarification: you can take individual boxes if you like. You just cannot take individual issues.

Things make a post?

Jun. 25th, 2017 09:40 pm
aris_tgd: "Tune your ear to the frequency of despair and cross-reference by the latitude and longitude of a heart in agony." (Lyttle Lytton Spider-Man Agony)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
My housemates are back! All of them! This is good and bad. It was nice having the bathroom all to myself, but it was getting kind of lonely in a house made for four people, only having two.

Critical Role continues to be a delight. I'm watching Episode 52 now. Plot! )

Housemate and I are almost up to The Coming of Shadows in B5. We took a detour to watch some more Season 1, and watched the A Voice in the Wilderness two-parter. You know, every time I watch the show during a Republican administration, Seasons 3 and 4 seem relevant, but right now I feel like the Mars stuff even in Season 1 is super timely. I keep forgetting how much of the Mars plotline is brought up in Season 1, especially in that two-parter.

I now know

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:16 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It takes roughly 3 hours to pack 4000 MMPB.

I had an amusing thought: donate them to UW, to keep the B. P. Nichol Library of Science Fiction company.

A week off

Jun. 24th, 2017 07:34 pm
aris_tgd: Shadow ships, "We could tangle spiders in the webs you weave." (Tangle Spiders Shadows)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Well, I was going to take a few days off to relax, and then I tried to get up and do work and my body said NOPE.

But on the other hand, I'm feeling quite well-rested!

Let's see. I've been watching more Critical Role. I'm halfway through! I mean, I've watched over 50 episodes now, only 50 more to go, and they're making more every week! Ah heh. Heh.

The "new" opener they revealed at episode 50 is pretty amazing, I have to admit. Plot things. )

I also just watched another bootleg copy of "Hello, Dolly!"--This one filmed from much closer to the stage, with more audience reactions. And it's a very good production! They went a little low on "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" for their Dolly, which was a shame, but overall it was a terrific cast and really solid performances. The humor really landed this time, which was awesome. I also have a copy of a more recent show with Bette Midler as Dolly (!!) but I haven't seen it yet.

It's a little ironic considering the most recent Captain Awkward letter on terrible matchmaking, but I do love this show. It's ridiculous and its premise is that nobody knows what they actually want except for Dolly Levi, but what the heck. Its songs still make me happy, especially when the cast nails them, which this cast did.

I think I'm going to check out the David Campbell "Company" I got in the same lot of bootlegs. Ahhhh, feels.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Why YouTube did this seems unclear so I am just going to jump to a conclusion completely unsupported by the available evidence and assume this is yet another example of right-wing trolls gaming a site's complaint mechanisms.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Without spoiling the title, it's old timey SF from a series set on the worlds of the nearer stars. Wikipedia has a current list. In my day, the right hand column would have been filled with "here there be dragons," not lists of exoplanets.

That one KSR about how if you send a generation ship filled with the learnedly ignorant, colonization will surely fail aside, are there any SF novels recent enough to use the exoplanets we now know of as settings?

Dear suspiciously rotund cat

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Not my cat, not my house. Please don't be pregnant.

What other Nicolls are up to

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The only way I could work out to fix the formatting issues (where point size varied for no reason and underlining got tossed in at random) was to remove all formatting in the original document and reinsert links by hand.

Marvel at the new list!

Read more... )

Facing reality

Jun. 21st, 2017 12:08 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Various attempts to shore up my dwindling income have failed to achieve their necessary goals so as of the 28th, I don't have a house. Friends and family are helping with the accommodations and moving my stuff into storage. I don't think I am quite up to doing five reviews a week and packing my household so review frequency may drop a bit for the next week or so.

Fig and Ibid will likely have to be re-homed.

Whoot!

Jun. 20th, 2017 06:06 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Another UWTC season is nearly over and once again I am permitted to leave my dress shoes in their bag in coat check.

question

Jun. 20th, 2017 12:08 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Is it the custom to pay babysitters at least minimum wage? On the one hand, if minimum wage laws do not apply, why spend a penny more than one has to on the person into whose care one is placing one's children? On the other, arguably it is wrong to teach young people to undervalue their labour. Others might argue that it is very good to teach young people not to value their labour overmuch, as that training will prepare them for a life of unpaid internships.

Context: in my day, it was not uncommon for kids to be expected to donate their labour out of duty and not being permitted to say no. And that was on a farm, where there was a certain risk of getting pulled into a bailing machine or run over by a harrow. But human litters were bigger back then, and you could lose one or two kids here and there without endangering the lineage.
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Powerful new intervention study causally linking lead and crime http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/06/powerful-study-lead-crime-hypothesis/

Story told by cat DNA https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/cat-domination/530685/

murky story told by dog DNA https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/the-origin-of-dogs/484976/

Social power causes brain damage https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/07/power-causes-brain-damage/528711/

America's rising class society https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/06/the-hoarding-of-the-american-dream/530481/?utm_source=atlfb

Tattooine's future moisture farms https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/04/new-solar-powered-device-can-pull-water-straight-desert-air

India cuts back on new coal, solar is eating its lunch: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/02/world/asia/india-coal-green-energy-climate.html?_r=0

Comparative advertising in the Middle East: http://www.boredpanda.com/saudi-arabia-middle-east-censorship/

The Dutch approach to global warming https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html?_r=0

Growing YIMBY movements in SF http://www.beyondchron.org/rising-rents-green-activism-spur-pro-housing-movement/ and Toronto http://torontoist.com/2017/06/yimby-movement-taking-off/

Southern Baptists embrace a gender-neutral bible https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/southern-baptists-embrace-gender-inclusive-language-in-the-bible/529935/

Dumb Luck for the Win

Jun. 18th, 2017 08:09 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Because I guided someone to the vending machines, I missed the 8. Because I missed the 8, I had time to notice I forgot to leave my name tag. Because I had to return it, I was in the right place at the right time to help a kid and dad find a bandaid for the kid. When I walked back to the other 8 stop, the other number 8 was one minute away.

Theater of Blood!

Jun. 18th, 2017 04:02 pm
aris_tgd: Guildenstern, "So much for scientific inquiry," watching feather fall (Guildenstern scientific inquiry)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
This movie is amazing.

Vincent Price plays an actor whose season of Shakespeare plays gets snubbed by the London critics' scene, so he kills all of them in thematic ways.

VERY RECOMMENDED. It's a little cheesy and there are some dumb jokes, but it is unironically amazing and Vincent Price gets to do all the best monologues in Shakespeare, and Diana Rigg plays his daughter and she is also unironically amazing. There is drama, there is ACTING, there is fire, and there are lots and lots of murders. A delight.

venting about socialism

Jun. 18th, 2017 01:58 pm
mindstalk: (atheist)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Last week I went to a reading group for the mis-titled book Communism For Kids, as the book had sounded interesting. I hadn't gotten around to getting or reading it, so naturally I kept quiet most of the time. Plus, even as I heard things I privately objected to, I was the self-described token liberal in a dozen+ socialist/communist/anarchist sympathizers, and the night wasn't about me or my thoughts.

This blog is about me and my thoughts, though! So I'll vent some responses I didn't make then.

First, a meta-note: arguing with socialists has increasingly seemed like arguing with libertarians, in that the perceptions of history and the current world, and the definitions of key terms, differ so widely as to make useful discussion difficult at best.

Also, I've seen a lot of these points in past online discussion too, so I'm kind of responding to a melange of my experiences.


"social democracy has failed": this got stated like an absolute, and accepted by everyone. Like, really? What's the criterion for failure? The richest, freest, and largely most equal countries are all social democracies, broadly speaking. People risk their lives to flee to those countries. They're not perfect: unemployment is often high, immigrant integration often lacking. But they're pretty good, and social democratic policies generally work; a lot of the flaws could be described as not trying hard enough.

Those policies are under attack, and inequality has been increasing again in many countries. One could say it's "failed" in failing to totally resist such attacks. But here, let me list the social systems which have proven their ability to last a long time on a large scale while resisting inequality:
begin list
end list
And if social democracy creeps toward economic inequality again, every attempt so far at large scale socialism has positively raced toward authoritarianism, censorship, and purges.


"capitalism can't solve global warming": Question, is the EPA 'capitalist'? Hear me out: these people were also saying capitalism is a total system, that states created or were taken over by capitalism, that it's pervasively disruptive and corrupting. So, the EPA isn't a corporation or something, but it is an arm of the government of the USA, paragon of capitalism. It has *also* addressed many environmental problems, like cleaning up air and water and protecting endangered species. Under Obama it tried to regulate carbon emissions, and but for some tens of thousands of votes, it would be doing so under Hillary. Capitalist countries agreed to limit CFCs to protect the ozone layer, and are mostly inching toward addressing global warming -- the Paris accord was agreed to by almost every country, almost all of which are capitalist. A strong global state of any variety would be able to tackle global warming far more directly, without the handicap of a disorganized anarchy of countries going "but if we cut back, what if India or the US just pollute more?"

I agree that laissez faire capitalism can't solve global warming. But does 'capitalism' mean that, or does it mean real existing capitalism, with regulators and welfare states and democracy? The usage seemed... fluid.

(Which is something I've seen among libertarians, too: capitalism is either the natural way for things to be such that almost everything is capitalist, or a pure ideal snowflake that evaporates at the first hint of tax, depending on whether they're assigning credit or blame.)


"Markets don't arise, they're created by governments to fund war.": Nnnng. Yes, governments can create markets, or make them work better. Yes, governments had a role in creating or expediting the modern capitalist world, including things like enclosures. But... so what? I infer implications that governments created capitalism out of whole cloth, or that the origin taints capitalism for good.

Whereas I'd say markets often *do* arise spontaneously, in the absence or even opposition of governments; we call the latter "black markets". Often, a medieval government creating a market was about banning/trade market activity elsewhere, concentrating it in one place to it could be taxed. Markets and trade tend to make most things more efficient; centuries ago, the main government expense was waging war, so yes, prudent governments would advance markets and what became capitalism, to wage war, so they could pay for mercenaries or full time soldiers rather than depending on short-term levies.

But you know what? If a government had been using labor levies for education or health care, "you must spend one month a year teaching children", it would have found raising monetary taxes, and paying for full time professionals, to be just as much an improvement for those things as it was for warfare.


"capitalism arose through trade, like with Asia": Begging the question of why this trade didn't cause capitalism in China, the other half of the trade equation... There's a whole murky area of how one even defines capitalism, which would depend on exact quotations to argue about rigorously. I'd just say that markets, contracts, money, and wage labor go back thousands of years, and that early medieval Europe was rather a low point in financialization. Modern capitalism is an intensification of things that have been around for a long time, fueled as much by changes in agriculture (fewer people on the farm) as anything else. You can argue that the change in degree amounts to a change of kind, but it didn't spring into the world out of nothing in 1700.


"Native American societies were communal": North American societies, with small populations, could be described as that. Aztec society had money, merchants, markets, and long distance trade, like any urbanized Eurasian society.


"co-ops can't work in capitalism": I can't believe no one objected with the various co-ops that do exist, including the giant Mondragon group in Spain. The book apparently gave some theoretical example of a co-op in a market society having to lay off workers anyway, and "laying off the thinkers"; in my limited understanding, real co-ops are more likely to cut back on wages and try to keep everyone employed. (In the Great Recession, the capitalist and social democratic government of Germany took similar measures, subsidizing employment to minimize layoffs.) Transparency and democracy make such things more amenable than wage cuts from an employer would be.


Another thing didn't explicitly come up that night, but I've seen elsewhere, is an idea that capitalism is the root of most modern evil, including racism and sexism, that the struggle is between Capital and the Proletariat. But for some major policies I care about, that's not true.

* A useful tool to address global warming is a carbon tax. Capital might object to that, but capital has had to knuckle under to other environmental laws, such as sulfate cap and trade, so capital can clearly lose this kind of fight. And in theory, businesses shouldn't actually care much as long as they're not disadvantaged relative to competitors (so a world state with no foreign trade would have a policy advantage.) But... most US voters are drivers, with no enthusiasm for seeing their gas (or utility) prices go up, and I see that as a far deeper obstacle to good environmental policy. And even some leftists object with "it's regressive", or, I feel, a general suspicion of anything that sounds market-like.

* Top economic issues for the average person are "can I get a job?" and "can I afford housing near my job?" Capital's allergy to Keynesianism is a problem for the first, but on the second, capital is on my side. Unregulated capital, aka "developers", would *love* to provide housing! Possibly substandard firetrap housing that'll kill you in ten years, but it'd put a roof over your head today. And in great quantity: subdividing houses and apartments, building tall buildings, packing 8 people into a house, turning gardens into housing. Why don't they? Because local government makes it illegal to do so, through building codes and zoning laws, backed up by existing homeowners, most of whom are simply better paid members of the proletariat. (Also backed up sometimes by anti-gentrification activists.)

I'm all for genuine safety codes, and such inspections are an example of a way in which governments can 'make' markets: if I can trust that rental housing is safe, I'm more likely to choose it rather than be forced into it. But I'm told that in Somerville, a legal bedroom has to have a closet. Why? That's neither a safety feature, nor one which can be hidden from a prospective tenant. Why can't I choose to pay less for a room that happens to lack a closet? And lots of zoning laws outright restrict housing: single-family zoning, height limitations, minimum space requirements, parking requirements, caps on the number of unrelated people living together... none of that is capitalism's fault, but it's the basic cause of the housing crisis in many cities.

Of course, when I've tried to make that argument, I've been dismissed with "supply and demand doesn't apply to housing". Speaking of giant gaps in understanding that impede communication...

Saturday

Jun. 18th, 2017 02:35 am
aris_tgd: (shell beach)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
I go to check the internet and learn that Stephen Furst has died. Farewell, Emperor Cotto. You did good.

In less unhappy news, I just watched the entirety of the new Dirk Gently series, which was lovely. Funny, touching, lovingly shot, and made a damn sight more sense than I remember the book making. And I thought that all the characters were lovely.

Honestly, if anything this makes me more interested in checking out the American Gods show, which up until now I haven't been that interested in because I didn't really like the book that much. But since I didn't really like the Dirk Gently books all that much, either, it's possible the adaptation will fix many of my issues with it.

ALSApocalypse has arrived

Jun. 17th, 2017 12:32 am
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Firefox 52 dropped support for ALSA systems. Arch Linux users were insulated from this; something like the code was still there but not enabled by default, but it was in the Arch package. As of FF 54 though, poof, it's gone for good. I'm not sure exactly why Pulseaudio is avoided, but I'm still avoiding it... so need another browser.

There are lots, actually! Currently trying Seamonkey on the work VM, mostly because it's the one alternative which is both based on the same engine as FF (so familiar, and plugins should work) while having a supported package on Arch. There are a couple more, including Pale Moon, but they need the AUR, and I'm lazy.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Enraged by how her dad sidelined her education on the apparent assumption she was just going to get married to the next single male she met who she wasn't actually related to, and alarmed by what happened to both her mother and grandmother's careers, Meade Stone sets up the first women's collective in deep space.

Today's odd coincidence

Jun. 16th, 2017 12:15 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova first woman to fly in space.
June 16, 2012, Liu Yang first Chinese woman to fly in space.

Sally Ride, 1st American woman in space, went up June 18, 1983. I wonder if at any point the plan was to launch on the 16th?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I wonder how hard it would be in 2018 to review no books by SWM at all? And how long would it take people to notice? People seem diligent about policing various aspects of my core lists...

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