I know it is the nature of things

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:31 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But I am a little surprised there don't seem to be ebooks of the Pliocene Saga. Or a North American edition younger than about twenty years.

Things I will do today:

Oct. 21st, 2017 01:55 pm
aris_tgd: Whitestar crashing, "And when you fall as Lucifer fell, you fall in flame" (Whitestar Lucifer Fall)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Well, things I'm planning on doing today, anyway:

- Eat lunch. Self-explanatory.

- (Hand)wash my summerweight wool dresses and put them away. The putting them away part might actually happen tomorrow, since it takes a while to dry them.

- Run a load of laundry that includes my jeans so that I have the option of wearing jeans next week.

- Finish my Yuletide letter squeeing for goodness' sake

- Play a few hours of Stellaris (this isn't really a goal, just an acknowledgment that it's going to happen)

- Pick up some more things around my room

- Go to Home Depot and buy a hangar rack/crates for shoes? Maybe? Install those things? Put up shelves? Now we're getting into blue sky dreaming territory. Ha ha ha. (I have shelving units from Ikea I've been meaning to put on my walls since I moved in. That would be a good project too.)

Let's see how much actually gets done...

Julian Clare May (1931 - 2017)

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:03 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Angry Robot Books reports the death of Julian May.

Today's ambiguity

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Resent" is both how one might feel about being told an email never arrived and also what one might do in response.

Wait

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The month was only half over last weekend. How can it be almost three quarters over only a week later?

Guess the author!

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Atwood lifted much of HANDMAID from Heinlein. Yet the world thinks she’s an original."

The thing in my brain

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:34 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
Still haven't finished updating my Yuletide letter, but I did finally finish watching one more episode of Brooklyn 99. Sometimes I really dislike the cringe reflex in my brain that makes watching new episodes of things difficult--it took me something like a week to watch one episode (episode 3 of season 1, I am not exactly moving at a fair clip.)

Went shopping today and finally have new bras, YES. Also I have finished putting away a bunch of socks and tights, woohoo! Eventually I will actually have all my clothes in my dresser instead of in various laundry baskets, but that seems like a distant dream right now. Hahahaa. Also one of these days I'll hopefully have enough closet space and shelving. I have small dreams at the moment, okay?

Life

Oct. 14th, 2017 08:31 pm
aris_tgd: Daenerys "Come not between the dragon and her wrath" (Daenerys dragon)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
I am still sick! *hands* I'm getting less congested, but I'm still coughing and drippy and gross. Just... ugh. I stayed home on Wednesday being sick and cleaning my room a bit, which felt good. I laundered sheets and towels too, so I can take showers with clean towels which is super nice. And I handwashed all the tights I own which fit and threw out a bunch of old ones, which is great.

I also looked up a bunch of videos on tight repair because I would really like to repair some of my stockings, not just throw them out, especially the expensive imported silk ones. I've saved a couple nylon ones with runs to practice on, and I have a pair of fishnets with one hole that I'd REALLY like to save--they're Spanx brand which is ridiculous, but they're really sturdy and have a great pattern on the backs. Except for the hole at the top of one they're terrific.

I need to go out bra shopping and grocery shopping this weekend, but I was so tired today, I slept in and ordered pizza. I do not want to be out around humans at all. Hopefully tomorrow those things will occur!

Also finishing my Yuletide letter because eeeeesh.

B-5: The Cortez

Oct. 14th, 2017 01:34 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
B-5 things that look poor in retrospect: who the hell named a peaceful exploration ship the Cortez?

"Pleased to meet you, Hoo-Mans. Why is the name of your ship?"
"Oh, a man from our history, who conquered an empire with a scant expedition force."
*aliens open fire*

joining the Rust cult

Oct. 12th, 2017 03:57 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
So, programming languages. Years ago I'd run across D, aiming to be a better C++, or even a better Python -- enabling high level coding without giving up type safety or speed. It had lots of features, including contracts from Eiffel, and being functional friendly; overall it seemed like a language I'd design. It was cool, but I didn't code actively enough to bother learning it.

Last weekend I did start, but also started on the new cult kid, Rust. I went in parallel a bit, but Rust has pulled ahead.

D is not very exciting or revolutionary; it's like a better done kitchen sink. There's a lot of value in that, and in what it's trying to be, and AFAICT the language itself is pretty good. I've seen people criticize the toolchain, and uptake has been rather modest -- though the forums do see daily activity, at least.

Rust, OTOH, is trying to be revolutionary: compiler-enforced memory safety, meaning not just no memory leaks but "fearless concurrency", where the compiler would enforce no data races in multithread code unless you did something specifically unsafe. "No leaks" doesn't sound exciting unless you're an engineer who's had to worry about them; "safe concurrency" is potentially sexy to lots of people.

On diving in, I noticed something else sexy to me: it's like the unholy love child of C and ML and other functional languages; one blog post even called it a functional language in C clothing. Enums/sum types/algebraic data types/tagged unions, which I quickly fell in love with while playing with Ocaml; 'traits' or type classes a la Haskell, which serve for generics, dynanmic dispatch, and overloading, all with one coherent mechanism; hygienic macros a la Scheme, something I thought I'd never get to play with seriously unless I got into Clojure. Also, supposedly, an easy and powerful package system, and a minor taste of mine, nested comments.

The failure mode for my Kobo Aura

Oct. 11th, 2017 11:06 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The screen turned white a few times in the summer and I thought maybe that was how it would cease to function. Now I think it will be the battery that goes first: it lost something like 25% of its charge in an hour.

Re-reading Harry Potter

Oct. 10th, 2017 11:33 pm
mindstalk: (CrashMouse)
[personal profile] mindstalk
I re-read the first three novels last week, and have started the fourth. Observations:

* It is a fast and easy read, it feels like I'm zipping through in no time.
* It feels like we barely see Quirrell, especially as a teacher. But then, we see very little of any classes in the first book.
* Arthur Weasley seems feckless as a person and silly in his ignorant Muggle-enthusiasm but he's pretty competent as a wizard, making a flying TARDIS car, and casually repairing Harry's glasses.
* Rowling's naming wordplay is still great. Yes, it's 'childish' compared to Tolkien or Hodgell, but it works, and there's so much of it.
** "Quirinus is also used as an epithet for the Roman god Janus"
* I remember thinking Harry/Ginny came out of the blue when I first read the 7th book, but Ginny's crush on Harry is pretty starkly obvious from book 2 on. Harry's interest, I dunno. I still favor Harry/Luna myself.
* People often say the Wizarding World is stagnant but there are a lot of counterexamples. One early one is broomsticks, which get better and better over the course of the first few books. Possibly too much so, for something they've been using for centuries. Also, the werewolf suppression potion Snape make for Lupin was a recent discovery, postdating their time at Hogwarts.
* What's with Crookshanks the intelligent cat?
* Owls have some convenient deep magic to be able to find people otherwise in hiding but not be abused to reveal their location or deliver a letter bomb. Well, maybe you could do the latter. [Edit: reading the wikia, there is in fact magic you can use so owls don't find you.]
* First book is 350 pages, 4th is 750. :O

And finally... so, more obsessed minds than mine have grappled with the Wizarding World demographics, but some things leapt out at me. It's very explicit that there are 5 boys in Harry's Gryffindor year, and 20 broomsticks in a two-House flying class. Assuming uniformity, this points to 40 students a year, 280 for the whole school. Given the number of teachers we see, and that one teacher will teach a subject for all seven years, this fits.

Assuming an average lifespan of 150, that'd be 40*150 = 6000 wizards in Britain. Maybe up to 12,000 if you assume severely damaged demographis due to Voldemort.

IMO this fits too. 6000 is a large town or small city by medieval standards, certainly capable of supporting a fair number of businesses, especially given that wizards are quasi-post-scarcity in mundane ways. They don't have an actual city, but with Floo and Apparate teleportation they can basically be a distributed city. The economy is Vague but being based largely on doing magical services for each other fits. Having a top-heavy government for the population kind of fits; you've got a heavily armed population with a lot of free time and a lot of secrecy, leading to high regulation and high "keep them busy". No idea how that's paid for, though.

Some oddities though. 200 people show up on Slytherin's side in a Quidditch match, but maybe they were from outside the school.

If most people don't break their wands much, Ollivander's main business would be supplying 40 students a year. But he's best in the world, maybe he gets a lot of international business. And if 1% of British wizards break or lose their wand a year, that'd be another 50+ wands a year.

6000 wizards in Britain implies 600,000 in the whole world. 100,000 showing up for the World Cup would be 1/6 of the population! But again, middle-class population with teleportation.

JKR apparently has opined 1000 students at Hogwarts and 3000 wizards in Britain, which is an insane population distribution. 1/3 of the population would be in the 11-18 age range. That's not a high life expectancy. Having gone to a 900 student college, I'll say Hogwarts does not feel like that to me.

I'm assuming a modern age pyramid, stable population, tapering off in the mid-100s. One fan disagrees, noting that wizards died of Dragonpox, and suggesting that while wizards have great healing magic when it comes to injuries, they may be subject to diseases, magical or even mundane (how many are vaccinated?) As well as a rather higher death rate from violence, what with being a population of gunslingers, Voldemort being the most feared Dark Lord of the century... implying more Dark Lords. (We *know* of Grindelwald.)

Other questions:

* How do they get food and raw materials? You'd think they magic it up, but the last book sai they can't live on conjured food, IIRC. Though magic could steal food or tranform biomass, I'd warrant.
* Do pure-bloods like the Malfoys and Weasleys, or Dumbledore, even exist as far as British bureaucracy is concerned? Harry and Hermione should, 'just' living a rich secret life, but what about others? Do their houses exist on Muggle records of title, or are they all mentally invisible to Muggles? We're told Hogsmeade is the only all-wizard community, implying everywhere else wizards have Muggle neighbors, but their deep ignorance of Muggle life belies that. The Malfoys have a manor, but the Blacks had a "don't notice me" house right in London.
** Likely this simply doesn't stand up well to critical thought.

Dear Yuletider!

Oct. 10th, 2017 12:40 pm
aris_tgd: (shell beach)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Eep, so, I haven't finished my letter yet. OH NO. But! I linked you to my Dear Author tag for a reason, because I'm reusing a few prompts from previous years, and for most of those fandoms you can probably find tons of squee about what I love no matter what. (ETA: I have added some clarification to the A Series of Unfortunate Events prompt, which was confusing!)(ETA2: The mods have fixed my signup, so hopefully that, at least, is officially less confusing.)

In the meantime, here are my prompts under a cut:Prompts! )

If you can't find a fandom on my tag list you can try looking under "Yuletide Fandoms", which includes reviews I've written of media that was (at least at the time) fannishly small enough to include in Yuletide or that I otherwise didn't classify.


ETA: Okay, so. THINGS WHAT I LIKE:

Hijinks
Joy
Crossovers
Smut
Gen
Case fic
Revealing character moments
Friendship
People making the best of/rules lawyering around bizarrely oppressive circumstances
People reacting realistically to bizarre happenings
Silliness
Seriousness
Silliness punctuated by seriousness (see also: 2nd Doctor)
Tropes! Huddling for warmth, stuck in a cave, sex pollen, etc etc.
Taking potentially embarrassing/humiliating things and making everyone okay with them/finding non-humiliating workarounds ("Oh, you're cursed to be naked all the time? Gee, that's rough, can we all fetch you things so you don't have to leave the house?")
Otherwise creatively fixing problems

Things I am not fond of:
Character/fandom bashing(not likely, but y'know)
Bleakness
Embarrassment (I have a gigantic embarrassment squick)
Humiliation (similarly)

... I'm honestly having a hard time coming up with things on the negatives list. You'll be fine, Yuletide author! I like things! I like lots of things!

Thank you so much, Yuletide author, happy Yuletide!

Gun ownership vs. homicide

Oct. 8th, 2017 03:21 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Gun ownership vs. total homicide rate, by state and country. Some observations:
* high gun ownership is compatible with low homicide rate
* there's an empty quarter of low gun ownership and high homicide rate
* Many low-population states are low in homicides, but Alaska is high.
* This is still total guns, not handgun specific; it also throws in Switzerland, where yeah they have guns but the control regime is very different.
* Compared to the US all the other countries listed are low, but there's still a large multiple between Japan or Switzerland and Finland.
* The 'empty quarter' effect holds for those countries.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Household_gun_ownership_vs_Homicide_rate_2000-2001.png

By the way, if you dip into current gun control debates, you may see people repeating an AEI talking point that "gun ownership has gone up but crime has gone down". This is "damn lies and statistics", as I'd expect from the AEI; the number of guns owned in the US has gone up a lot, but the number of people owning guns has gone down.

(Gallup disagrees with GSS and Pew in that, but it also disagrees with a claim of rising gun ownership. Their data also looks noisier.)

Pew also says that "protection" is now the top reason given for owning a gun. Given that crime rates have been going down, and that gun owners tend to be suburban or rural white men, not exactly high crime targets, this seems rather absurd.

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