June 24th, 2017
ilanin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ilanin at 12:41am on 24/06/2017
Today's prompt is "a song that reminds you of summer". This was interesting; there's a lot of music that reminds me of particular summers, but individual songs that remind me of summer in general are definitely thinner on the ground, particularly since Boys of Summer (I'd have used the Show of Hands cover) doesn't really have that association for me. My strongest summer associations are sport-based, I think, so I free-associated my way to cricket and thence to a Duckworth Lewis Method song (the band can be distinguished from the limited-overs cricket rain rule by its lack of a hyphen). This one does have a nice relaxed quality to it and feels nicely summery and reminiscent of scoring my team's innings on a sunny afternoon. Sadly it doesn't have any good live versions on Youtube that I could find, and the DLM didn't do music videos, so the video is rather dull...


The list )
June 23rd, 2017
hooloovoo_42: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] hooloovoo_42 at 09:40pm on 23/06/2017
 Today is seven months since I started at the council.  I'm just hoping that things continue to be this good for the next 15 years and 3 weeks! [1]

Referring to my previous post about DDC: the movie, I had someone of an epiphany this afternoon.  On my way out at going home time, I was followed down the stairs by Professor Snape.  Being a polite sort, I held the door for him at the bottom of the stairs and asked if he had any plans for the weekend.  He said that he was taking his daughters to Cadbury World and they were really excited.  He, on the other hand, doesn't like chocolate.  

So there you have it.  Poor old Severus was scarred by being picked on by the popular kids and spurned by his one true love.  This guy is just a pillock [2] because he doesn't like chocolate.  I can think of no other explanation!  

[1] Always assuming that I actually *get* to retire without them moving my state pension age *again*!
[2] My boss was expounding [3] today about how he was a PITA at one of the senior manager meetings this week.  
[3] Closed door, strictly IA ears only!
serene: serene (ooh)
posted by [personal profile] serene at 01:18pm on 23/06/2017 under , ,
If you and I are close, you probably remember first hearing about my sister and being kind of surprised that my feelings for her range from deep apathy (almost all the time) to raging anger/hatred (during any of the crises in my family that she caused or precipitated over the years). Mostly, once the kids I helped raise were 18, she hasn't affected my life in any direct, practical way, but her fingers are in most of the shitty turns my family's lives have taken, for as long as I can remember.

She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.

I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.

Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.

Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
location: 91911
Music:: "Dream On" earworm because they played it at the grocery
Mood:: fine
mtbc: maze D (yellow-black)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 07:14pm on 23/06/2017 under ,
Many American states have the notion of secondary traffic offenses: the police may not pull one over for committing them but if stopped for some primary reason, like speeding, then secondary charges may follow. It depends on the state but secondary offenses are acts such as using a cellphone or not wearing a seatbelt.

I find the concept bizarre. I don't know if the theory is that being pulled over constitutes some kind of seizure under the Fourth Amendment or if the legislature really did not want to pass, say, a seatbelt law so making it difficult to enforce was the only way to get enough votes at all, or what. I am curious to know what the thinking really is and the degree to which it makes sense. I am not aware of an analog in English or Scottish road traffic law.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 03:12pm on 23/06/2017 under
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.


This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
Music:: Black Sabbath: Who are you?
location: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
wpadmirer: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wpadmirer at 08:09am on 23/06/2017
'Nuff said.
andrewducker: (Default)
rydra_wong: A woman boulderer lunges up towards the camera for a hold. (climbing -- puccio!!!)
posted by [personal profile] rydra_wong in [community profile] disobey_gravity at 11:15am on 23/06/2017 under
The Friday post of glee is where you get to tell us about your climbing-related happiness this week.

It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.

N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.

To enhance this week's glee: totally stealing from UKC, but this vid of James Pearson's new E10 7a really is great.
wildeabandon: (books)
posted by [personal profile] wildeabandon at 09:22am on 23/06/2017
Gosh, I've not done one of these for a while...

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.

Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.
ilanin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ilanin at 12:00am on 23/06/2017
Day 2's prompt is "a song you like with a number in the title". There were several potential choices - Frank Turner's Four Simple Words and Simon & Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m. came to mind, to be rapidly superseded by Show of Hands' Home to a Million Thoughts, but then I decided that's not really what the prompt was looking for since it would be more a song with a lot of emotional resonance for me rather than one I just like as a song. So I ended up here:
 


(People who do not like 1990s music may want to look away for quite a lot of this meme. I spent a lot of time listening to the radio starting in sort of 1995ish and a lot of my favourite music comes from the mid- and late 1990s. It's mostly Rock/Britpop but with odd bits and bobs like this in other genres - just songs that have stayed with me over the years.)

The list )
June 22nd, 2017
hooloovoo_42: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] hooloovoo_42 at 11:34pm on 22/06/2017
I seem to have run out of raspberry wodka.  Fortunately, that nice Mr Waitrose has sent me a voucher for cheap booze, so I will have to pick some up over the weekend.  Or I could fly somewhere and pick some up at the duty free at LHR and get a new One Water bag while I'm at it.

The weather has finally cooled down a little and it's a much more bearable 22C in my bedroom with all the windows open, instead of the 28C it's been for the last few nights.  I'm sufficiently sleep deprived that I haven't trained this week and only went swimming on Monday lunchtime.  I

I've booked an induction at the gym next week to find out how to use the equipment, then I can start rowing or cycling after work. Apparently my leisure centre membership allows me to use a vast number of locations around the UK.  Not bad for less than £240 for the year.
andrewducker: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] andrewducker at 09:11pm on 22/06/2017
At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.
skibbley: Grant wearing a straw hat (Default)
wpadmirer: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] wpadmirer at 07:15am on 22/06/2017
I have spent most of the past two days transferring information from one accounting program to another. I probably have at least one more day's work left to do, if not more.

This is the most TEDIOUS thing I've done in years.

ARGH.

In other news, I got up at my regular hour of 6:15. YAY!

I continue to be disgusted with Republicans and the people who support them.

The only reason no one in my immediate vicinity is dead is because today is my Friday. Thank God for four day work weeks.
andrewducker: (Default)
wildeabandon: musical notes on a stave (music)
posted by [personal profile] wildeabandon at 08:51am on 22/06/2017
Apparently it's the time of year for reviving old hobbies. I recently got to the top of the waiting list to join the London Gay Men's Chorus, so I'm going to be starting rehearsals with them in September. I'm a bit nervous about this, because singing in public is scary, but also really excited. I'm switching my piano lessons to singing ones for the time being, which should help with the nerves, and having external things to practice for will hopefully mean that I'm a more assiduous student than the last time.

Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with [personal profile] emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.
June 21st, 2017
ilanin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] ilanin at 10:50pm on 21/06/2017
[personal profile] emperor has been doing this, and it seemed fun enough to make me want to actually post something on the Dreamwidth account, so here we are. It's 30 different music prompts which you're supposed to do one of per day; we'll see how far I get. The first one is "a song you like with a colour in the title", which caused me to question whether or not black is a colour. The song would have been Texas' Black-Eyed Boy; then I thought of Katzenjammer's Lady Grey, but that didn't really seem any more valid given that it's not even entirely clear to me that "Grey" in the title ever refers to a colour anyway; it's just a name. So here's where I've ended up:



Famous Blue Raincoat is, as the lyrics suggest, a Leonard Cohen song, but there's so many cover versions I was bound to prefer one of them to the original (particularly since I don't like Cohen's vocal style much). The first version of it I actually heard was a cover - Jonathon Coulton's which is more faithful a rendition of Cohen's original than the above - but I am in general a sucker for a good piano version of a slow song, and I have a preference for female vocalists, so Tori Amos it is.

The list:
hidden for length )
mtbc: maze H (magenta-black)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 10:10pm on 21/06/2017 under , ,
In The West Wing (1999) the senior White House staffers chronically work very long hours. How does this make sense? Is it good for their cognition to be ongoingly compromised? Can there not be enough staff to take on the workload? Perhaps the problem is that they would not be able to leave notes for each other or that they do not have enough room to put all the people or something. It does seem as if there has to be a more effective way for them to work. Maybe we are supposed to believe that they are so superlatively good at their jobs that even half-asleep they outperform some next-best people who might instead be on duty to catch some acute situation.
mtbc: maze C (black-yellow)
posted by [personal profile] mtbc at 06:34pm on 21/06/2017 under , , ,
In the School of Life Sciences where I work we produce systems like the Image Data Resource which is full of strange pretty pictures acquired from expensive microscopes and used to justify scientific conclusions. There is also some initial proof-of-principle code for reproducing analyses via the IDR Jupyter Hub. OMERO.figure is also rather neat: turn the raw image files acquired from the microscope into figures ready for Adobe Illustrator to put into your paper; information in the figures like timepoints, scalebars, etc. is derived from the metadata encoded by the microscope as it acquired the images.

Modern academic life is highly competitive and journals are far more keen to publish interesting new discoveries, however lucky, so there is great career pressure report the right kinds of findings. Further, many of them turn out to be difficult to impossible to reproduce. Even despite this, my impression is that the kind of research misconduct I have in mind is, at its core, well-intentioned: the results may be a little doctored, or an unusually significant subsample, or whatever, but the researcher does generally believe the hypothesis that they are trying to prove, they are just exaggerating the evidence for it.

I figure that our work stuff might be useful if it helps to encourage a culture of sharing all the raw data and the procedures by which it was analyzed. But, I wonder if this papers over a more fundamental problem: that the people generating the hypotheses are also those testing them. I am amused to be thinking of this as a conflict of interest.

I can see why it happens. The people who have the idea are probably the more enthusiastic about testing it. Maybe not many labs are used to working with those cell lines or protocols or whatever at all so it is not like any lab could just pick up the work. And, even if we had a system where the people who generate hypotheses are separate from those who test them, one can see that there is still scope for mutual back-scratching and the like. One can imagine the specifics of the experimental design would be something of a negotiation between the hypothesizer and the tester.

So, I am not saying that even this pipedream idea of having researchers' hypotheses tested by third parties is a good one even if it were workable. But, I do wonder if there is some related but realistic way in which scientific research could be restructured to make it more trustworthy.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 06:06pm on 21/06/2017 under ,
Recently read: Not reading much or posting much at the moment because [personal profile] cjwatson is visiting and I'm mainly paying attention to him. I'll update here later in the week, probably.

Currently reading: Nearly finished: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I'm really enjoying the resolution of the political intrigue plot, but I'm a bit annoyed by the sophomoric speculation on the philosophical implications of sadism.

Up next: All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders.


Music meme day 8 of 30

A song about drugs or alcohol

Two from opposite ends of the spectrum: my ex-gf used to sing me this ridiculously soppy song, Kisses sweeter than wine by Jimmie Rogers. Which is really only tangentially about alcohol but it's connected to happy memories for me. And I couldn't leave out the most explicitly druggy song in my collection, Heroin, she said by WOLFSHEIM.

two videos )
location: Keele University, Staffordshire, England
Mood:: 'satisfied' satisfied

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