Home alone, again

Dec. 1st, 2015 08:10 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
I'm not sure if I least dislike the days when Mike is in London for a normal working day, when I have to do the yard on my own but am generally kept busy while he's out, or the days, like today and yesterday, when he has an evening meeting, and so goes out after the yard is done: less work for me (although I do have to cook my own dinner, which is shocking), but I'm used to him being here in the evenings. And I suspect he's going to be exhausted tomorrow, after two late nights.

Still, we had a riding lesson this morning, before he left. I was on GB, which is probably a good thing as he was in a foul mood. We started off with some trot work, and he was doing some lovely stuff - swapping between medium, extended, collected, all on an inner track - but then he had two stumbles in half a circuit so we stopped that and switched to laterals instead. At the end, I asked him if he wanted to have a run but he wasn't very interested. Gave him an extra 'bute in his dinner, just in case.

(His stumbles are odd. He never used to stumble, and when he does it's always the bad leg. It might be nothing, but given the bad leg we're pretty careful not to do anything that triggers it.)

Mike was on Bugs, who seemed to be being a good boy. I didn't watch all of it, but when I popped over between mucking out he was going nicely.

Jo Jo was in disgrace, earlier: not only did she find some badger poo in the woods but she rolled in it even though I told her not to both before and during. She got The Ultimate Punishment for ignoring me calling her back: "Bad Dog", a tap on the nose and being ignored for ten minutes. Fortunately, it wasn't very fresh so she's not actually too stinky.

November books and movies

Dec. 1st, 2015 02:51 pm
silentq: (post via email)
[personal profile] silentq

Cabin porn : inspiration for your quiet place somewhere, collected by Beaver Brook ; edited by Zach Klein ; feature stories by Steven Leckart ; feature photography by Noah Kalina. Read more... )

Book club: The Monsters of Templeton, Laura Groff. Read more... )

Chapelwood: The Borden Dispatches, Cherie Priest. Read more... )

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green and David Levithan. Read more... )

Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen. Read more... )

Early Review: The HIIT Advantage: High-Intensity Workouts for Women, Irene Lewis-McCormick. Read more... )

Zen Pencils: cartoon quotes from inspirational folks, Gavin Aung Than. Read more... )


Spectre. Read more... )

Prometheus. Read more... )

Total: 7 books, 2 movies, not bad for 1/2 NaNoWriMo.

Why torture doesn't work

Dec. 1st, 2015 12:16 pm
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
A new book goes into the details of how memory works, and that torture makes memories less accessible and may even destroy them.

Book link.

NaNoWriMo half

Dec. 1st, 2015 12:15 pm
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[personal profile] silentq
Well, I reached my revised NaNoWriMo goal of getting to half the 50k word count, reaching 28,353 words written on my travel diaries in November. I finished writing up 5 trips and should be able to get them posted up tonight or tomorrow. It was the right decision pain wise to only go for a half, as well as for the fact that the 5 trips didn't use up all 50k words anyway. I did dream a full episode of Doctor Who at one point in the month and considered writing that up as a short story, but work was also slamming me in November (like it always does, remember this!!!). I also want to write up the fun of Halloween week as a much belated update, and I have some pictures to get posted as well, but at least I'll very soon be caught up with my travel diary write ups. Just in time for a Christmas trip to Comox and a ski trip to Calgary and two more winter camping trips are on the books, plus Convergence is coming around again in the early spring (end of March, remember this too!). :-) Still pondering New Year's Eve options, I have a Toronto possibility but I'll have just come back from BC. I do have two more vacation days to burn this month though...

(no subject)

Dec. 1st, 2015 04:40 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1135 aged 67 King Henry I Beuclerc (my toy,wikipedia). Henry had two legitimate sons, but they both died when the White Ship sank; he wanted to leave the crown to his daughter Matilda, but Stephen had Other Ideas.

Born on this day in 1844 to King Christian IX of Denmark and Louise of Hesse-Kassel, Alexandra of Denmark (my toy,wikipedia). Wife of Edward VII. Alexandra's brother was appointed King of Greece (I'm not really sure how). She was a popular Queen, but had little effect on the running of the country.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov

I'd assumed there was a bias towards the prosecution for cultural reasons, but apparently the culture also affects the payment process.

I was shocked by this article from 2013, and then I found I'd commented on it.
reddragdiva: (post punk)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

i am about to be mean and ranty. please look away if these books are special to you, i have unresolved literary trauma to work through.

Read more... )

December Days

Dec. 1st, 2015 12:39 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
In the spirit of trying to post here more and to reconnect with people i thought i'd try thew December Days thing (copying [personal profile] yoyoangel and others

So please ask me questions or give me prompts to write about particular things, and I will (at least try to) write a post for each of the prompts sometime in December, up to one a day (I seriously doubt you'll ask enough questions for it to be anything like every day).

Ask away! Be as nosy as you like: I'm happy to answer most questions and it's OK to ask even if we don't know each other very well. If for any reason i don't feel able to post about any particular prompt i'll let you know.
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
Apparently Niecling2 got given a pink globe for her birthday - the countries are all in pink and the sea is pinky-purple. Sometimes i really do despair for the world

(yes, i do know that a political globe is an abstract and you can show the countries whatever colours you want ... but turning complex geopolitical realities into interior decoration with added gender policing just seems the opposite of educational or respectful or in any way helpful to anyone)

Richard Thompson

Dec. 1st, 2015 12:32 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Is there such a thing as a Richard Thompson album that has both Vincent Black Lightning and Wall Of Death on it? Or am I remembering a mix CD?

Dreamwidth News: 1 Dec 2015

Dec. 1st, 2015 03:43 am
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_news
Hello, Dreamwidth!

It's December, and those of you who have been around for a while know what that means: the December Holiday Points Bonus!

All Dreamwidth Shop orders of paid time or points made (by a logged-in account) between now and midnight UTC on December 31 will get a 10% points bonus for you to save or spend in the future. For instance, if you buy a 12-month paid account (350 points), you'll get another 35 points once the order is complete for you to use on a future order.

This bonus only applies to orders of paid time or points -- bonus icons and rename tokens don't receive points bonuses. If you buy paid time or points for a friend, the bonus points will go to you, not to them.

The holiday points bonus is our way of saying "thank you" for continuing to support Dreamwidth. Our income comes entirely from you -- we have no advertising, no outside investors, and no venture capital, so you know that the decisions we make are always 100% in your best interest. Thank you to everyone who's bought paid time, extra services, or points this year. You make it possible for us to keep the site running for everyone, and we love you for it.

As 2015 draws to a close -- it's hard to believe we're finishing up our sixth year of Dreamwidth! -- we'd like to wish a very happy set of holidays to you, no matter what December holidays you celebrate. Here's to an awesome 2016.

(EDIT: Also, there was a brief problem with the promotion not properly adding the bonus points to your account -- that's been fixed, and I'm manually applying the bonus points for the accounts/orders that were affected.)

While I have you here, I'd also like to highlight some of the changes we've made over the last few code pushes in case you've missed them:

An incomplete list of the improvements we've made )

We've also had a request for another round of the Great Community Rec-O-Matic! For those who weren't around last time we did this: it's a great way to get recommendations for communities to participate in that you might enjoy.

Here's how it works:

* If you're looking for new communities to join, comment here with a list of some of your interests, and the kind of community you enjoy reading and participating in.

* Or, read through the other comments and see what things other people are listing. If you see someone you think would be a perfect match for a community you admin or participate in, comment back to them and point them at the community!

(Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated after an update is posted to [site community profile] dw_news. This was posted at 3:45AM EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about delayed notifications until at least two hours after that.)


Nov. 30th, 2015 10:54 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
It seems that LJ has been blocked by spamhaus. If you're not getting notifications, or getting strange messages saying you need to revalidate your email when you try to comment, that's what it is.

She says from experience.
compilerbitch: That's me, that is! (Default)
[personal profile] compilerbitch

Rather than waiting for the next album to come along, here’s the first track I’ve completed in a long while, here goes nothing:

Much more chilled out and even (gasp, dare I say it) New Agey than my previous work. I hope you like it. If you do, please share!

Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2015/11/30/first-new-track-in-a-long-while-titan-lakes/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
Lucy Kellaway did one of those nasty little exiperiments-- she asked 20 managers to identify their company's mission statement. Only 5 managed it.

She then goes into why mission statements are potentially embarrassing guff-- VW listed sustainability as one of its values.

Here's the punchline:
Seventeen of Britain’s 100 biggest companies are sensible enough to have no values at all — or at least none they care to disclose on their websites. And how do they get along without them? Maitland suggests that these companies are laggards and that they should get in line. Values, the report says portentously, are the “next frontier”.

Absolute nonsense, and I have facts to prove it. I asked a man in our statistics department to crunch some numbers for me and compare an index made up of the 17 values refuseniks with one made of 83 who are toeing the line. He went off for a bit and has come back with a graph so conclusive that I hope it will stop all windy talk of value statements forever.

Over the past 10 years the 17 valueless companies have outperformed the others in the FTSE 100 Index by about 70 per cent.

If this is a consistent pattern, it's huge. It's very hard to find such a strong guide to investment.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Third book in the Charlie Madigan series. Our intrepid hero returns, not long after the conclusion of book #2 and she's starting to grow into the heritage imposed on her in an attempt to save her life. However, shift is getting weird and nothing is actively helpful.

Charlie also ends up dimension-hopping, which is not nearly as nice and smooth as it could've been.

Spoilers... )

Who knew hellhounds could be affectionate?

A declaration.

Nov. 29th, 2015 05:40 pm
flemco: (Sup bitches)
[personal profile] flemco
This has been haranguing my mind for weeks so I might was well type it up:

I am a humanist and a cynic. Cynical because I've seen far too much of the evils that humans do across the world to have more than a glimmer of hope left - hope that we'll ever really come together as a species and better ourselves.

Humanist because fuck it, I'm gonna keep trying anyway, hopeless or not.

The rise of the Social Justice Warriors, and there are many who have embraced this title, has left me angry as hell, and fully willing to confront any self proclaimed SJW on their ridiculous nonsense. They're not helping. IF anything, as I recently read in a comment, "sensitivity has become weaponized." The SJWs are finding as many divisive lines to draw as possible, instead of trying to work together with others.

And I realized what the difference is between those of us who are helping, and those who are harming under the guise of help. It's right there in the term.

Social Justice Warriors.

First off, social justice, by definition, requires punishment. Punishment of large swaths of humanity, for the historical wrongdoings of their categorical fellows. Even if the members of an identified group have not, to a person, committed the crimes themselves. Punishment of this sort does not ever result in equality, or common understanding. All is does is make that group a target for wrath and rage and self-righteousness.

(As a quick aside, there is nothing new in my detest of Self-Righteousness. It's usually founded in hatred, anger, or rage, and history has never, ever upheld a case of loudly vocal, aggressive self-righteousness. Not once. God is not on your side. Don't act like it. Question all of your driving principles, constantly. Make sure you are doing the right thing.)

I don't want social justice. I want equality. There is a fairly wide gulf between the two. And you're not going to get equality by punishing people. All that you'll get is more fractions in the human conglomerate. Vengeance for slights has a ripe history within the human race.


No, they're fucking not. I've known more than a few, and if they're warriors of any kind, I'm a fucking triathlete.

If you consider yourself a SJW, I would rebut that you're not fucking Batman. You're not Superman. You're not a caped avenger, out to fight the darkness and evils of mankind. You're an offended, outraged human, typing on the internet. And honestly, just calling yourself a warrior is retarded as fuck. War is a terrible human construct that results in no great overall gain. War should be avoided. Understanding and equality should be pursued.

I give to charities. I volunteer. I help. But that doesn't make me a warrior. That makes me a decent human being (in those ways, let's not try weighing my soul in the balance tonight on the ills I also commit).

Try being a decent human being for once, without wrapping it in your imaginary cape and mask. Stop trying to start or finish a war. Stop trying to punish. There is no glory or fame in being decent, which, I fear, is why so many would rather call themselves SJWs and scream at people.

And after looking at the things the SJWs I've known have actually DONE, I'd suggest you put on some pants, stand up, go outside, and volunteer.

Grab a shovel. We got lots of digging to do. Listen. Understand. Communicate.

What is hacker culture?

Nov. 29th, 2015 12:00 am
[personal profile] mjg59
Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar (an important work describing the effectiveness of open collaboration and development), recently wrote a piece calling for "Social Justice Warriors" to be ejected from the hacker community. The primary thrust of his argument is that by calling for a removal of the "cult of meritocracy", these SJWs are attacking the central aspect of hacker culture - that the quality of code is all that matters.

This argument is simply wrong.

Eric's been involved in software development for a long time. In that time he's seen a number of significant changes. We've gone from computers being the playthings of the privileged few to being nearly ubiquitous. We've moved from the internet being something you found in universities to something you carry around in your pocket. You can now own a computer whose CPU executes only free software from the moment you press the power button. And, as Eric wrote almost 20 years ago, we've identified that the "Bazaar" model of open collaborative development works better than the "Cathedral" model of closed centralised development.

These are huge shifts in how computers are used, how available they are, how important they are in people's lives, and, as a consequence, how we develop software. It's not a surprise that the rise of Linux and the victory of the bazaar model coincided with internet access becoming more widely available. As the potential pool of developers grew larger, development methods had to be altered. It was no longer possible to insist that somebody spend a significant period of time winning the trust of the core developers before being permitted to give feedback on code. Communities had to change in order to accept these offers of work, and the communities were better for that change.

The increasing ubiquity of computing has had another outcome. People are much more aware of the role of computing in their lives. They are more likely to understand how proprietary software can restrict them, how not having the freedom to share software can impair people's lives, how not being able to involve themselves in software development means software doesn't meet their needs. The largest triumph of free software has not been amongst people from a traditional software development background - it's been the fact that we've grown our communities to include people from a huge number of different walks of life. Free software has helped bring computing to under-served populations all over the world. It's aided circumvention of censorship. It's inspired people who would never have considered software development as something they could be involved in to develop entire careers in the field. We will not win because we are better developers. We will win because our software meets the needs of many more people, needs the proprietary software industry either can not or will not satisfy. We will win because our software is shaped not only by people who have a university degree and a six figure salary in San Francisco, but because our contributors include people whose native language is spoken by so few people that proprietary operating system vendors won't support it, people who live in a heavily censored regime and rely on free software for free communication, people who rely on free software because they can't otherwise afford the tools they would need to participate in development.

In other words, we will win because free software is accessible to more of society than proprietary software. And for that to be true, it must be possible for our communities to be accessible to anybody who can contribute, regardless of their background.

Up until this point, I don't think I've made any controversial claims. In fact, I suspect that Eric would agree. He would argue that because hacker culture defines itself through the quality of contributions, the background of the contributor is irrelevant. On the internet, nobody knows that you're contributing from a basement in an active warzone, or from a refuge shelter after escaping an abusive relationship, or with the aid of assistive technology. If you can write the code, you can participate.

Of course, this kind of viewpoint is overly naive. Humans are wonderful at noticing indications of "otherness". Eric even wrote about his struggle to stop having a viscerally negative reaction to people of a particular race. This happened within the past few years, so before then we can assume that he was less aware of the issue. If Eric received a patch from someone whose name indicated membership of this group, would there have been part of his subconscious that reacted negatively? Would he have rationalised this into a more critical analysis of the patch, increasing the probability of rejection? We don't know, and it's unlikely that Eric does either.

Hacker culture has long been concerned with good design, and a core concept of good design is that code should fail safe - ie, if something unexpected happens or an assumption turns out to be untrue, the desirable outcome is the one that does least harm. A command that fails to receive a filename as an argument shouldn't assume that it should modify all files. A network transfer that fails a checksum shouldn't be permitted to overwrite the existing data. An authentication server that receives an unexpected error shouldn't default to granting access. And a development process that may be subject to unconscious bias should have processes in place that make it less likely that said bias will result in the rejection of useful contributions.

When people criticise meritocracy, they're not criticising the concept of treating contributions based on their merit. They're criticising the idea that humans are sufficiently self-aware that they will be able to identify and reject every subconscious prejudice that will affect their treatment of others. It's not a criticism of a desirable goal, it's a criticism of a flawed implementation. There's evidence that organisations that claim to embody meritocratic principles are more likely to reward men than women even when everything else is equal. The "cult of meritocracy" isn't the belief that meritocracy is a good thing, it's the belief that a project founded on meritocracy will automatically be free of bias.

Projects like the Contributor Covenant that Eric finds so objectionable exist to help create processes that (at least partially) compensate for our flaws. Review of our processes to determine whether we're making poor social decisions is just as important as review of our code to determine whether we're making poor technical decisions. Just as the bazaar overtook the cathedral by making it easier for developers to be involved, inclusive communities will overtake "pure meritocracies" because, in the long run, these communities will produce better output - not just in terms of the quality of the code, but also in terms of the ability of the project to meet the needs of a wider range of people.

The fight between the cathedral and the bazaar came from people who were outside the cathedral. Those fighting against the assumption that meritocracies work may be outside what Eric considers to be hacker culture, but they're already part of our communities, already making contributions to our projects, already bringing free software to more people than ever before. This time it's Eric building a cathedral and decrying the decadent hordes in their bazaar, Eric who's failed to notice the shift in the culture that surrounds him. And, like those who continued building their cathedrals in the 90s, it's Eric who's now irrelevant to hacker culture.

(Edited to add: for two quite different perspectives on why Eric's wrong, see Tim's and Coraline's posts)

Oh, Bugs, you were doing so well....

Nov. 29th, 2015 04:43 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Yesterday, we took the boys out for a little hack. It's rather muddy, so we went a different way to the usual one, more on the roads. Bugs was a bit nervous once we got past the places he's been to before, and started a couple of times at dust motes, but he didn't work himself up and calmed right back down once he was back on familiar ground.

Today, we took them in the school. It was very windy, so I didn't have high hopes for his behaviour (indeed, it was really Mike's turn to ride him but we thought it best to swap), and he was rather nervous at first but he settled down eventually so I thought I'd risk a canter. Absolutely perfect: instant reaction to the aid, lovely transition, nice steady pace, all the way around once and then a creditable circle at one end, didn't break down to trot until I asked him to. Brilliant.

We had a little rest while Mike cantered GB (I'm still being a bit careful with keeping Bugs under control and out of the way when GB's having a run) and then tried again in the other direction. Pretty good transition, started to get a bit fast at one point but came back down when I asked, all the way around nicely, asked for the circle and woosh. Up in the air, charging across the school. Sigh. On the plus side, this convinces me further that it's happening when he has a case of the don't-wannas, not because he's in any discomfort or struggling to actually canter. He doesn't like doing circles because his balance isn't quite there yet, I know that. I also know that he has to learn, so once I'd got him back under control we did another five, rather than the one he would have done if he'd behaved himself.

I also finally got around to giving GB a hair cut, so he looks much better now. I had tried last week (it had got to the flopping over stage) but couldn't find the big clippers, and the little once just aren't up to that enormous mane. Eventually, I asked Mrs Next Door if I could borrow hers, kinda hoping she's say "Yup, I'll get them, here you go" rather than the "Sure, I'll get them for you later" that was what I actually expected and got. When that hadn't done any good after a couple of days, I told Mike that we'd have to have a better look in the barn for them. "Here they are," he said. "Those are the little ones!" "No, they're the big ones. I wonder where the little ones are...?"

That bloody blue tit's still around, and he's got a mate to join in as well, now. Fortunately, they seem to be splitting their time between the living room and the study, so at least it's not continuous!

Baby Next Door's quilt is very nearly finished, I just need to do the hand-sewn side of the binding. However, my hands are objecting to the fact that I used the clippers and then did an hour of neatening up the quilting around the animals, so I think that will have to wait for another day.

(no subject)

Nov. 29th, 2015 04:17 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1314 aged 46 King Philip IV of France (my toy,wikipedia). Father of Isabella who married Edward II. Consolidated royal power in France, fought a War with the English, expelled the Jews from France... so fairly typical sort of European ruler then. He had diplomatic contacts with the Mongols in Baghdad and was contemplating an alliance with them against the Turks.

Born on this day in 1338 to King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, Lionel of Antwerp Plantagenet , 1st Duke of Clarence (my toy,wikipedia). One of Edward III's too many sons... he was governor (not very successfully) in Ireland. Geoffrey Chaucer was a page in Lionel's house (Chaucer married the sister of Katheryne Swynford, John of Gaunt's 3rd wife, so he's going to be in the database eventually although he isn't yet)