(no subject)

May. 26th, 2017 02:19 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Monday I went and posted back a couple of dresses that I thought I'd buy from the internet. I ordered three, sent back two. The one I kept I have already worn several times. (I also kept a pair of multicoloured palazzo trousers - a skirt for each leg! Yess!- but I need to get them taken up because they are too long).

Tuesday I was outdoors because I went to visit [personal profile] morwen, in her new flat. It was good to see her again, it had been a while.

Wednesday was the first time the air-conditioner was on this year. It was a hot and humid day.

Thursday I went out to King's Cross to meet Derek and Muffy, and there were food stalls outside, so I bought myself a Crosstown™ gin-and-lemon doughnut. We sat in the sun and talked, then took ourselves indoors, away from evil daystar, and talked more. It was good.

Later Derek and I went to a delayed NT Live screening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the Old Vic production, with Daniel Radcliffe at a cinema inside King's College. I enjoyed it, I laughed, and then I was sad. Because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die. Hamlet in it was very cool. There was David Haig as The Player, and he was good. Funny and attention-capturing and that.

[psych] Define Empathy?

May. 25th, 2017 04:31 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I am thinking about writing a thing, or several things, about empathy. I come from a perspective of generally being appalled about how the concept is bandied about, not just in the popular press, but pretty much everywhere, including among the pros.

Part of my appall is how there seem to be a vast profusion of definitions, many mutually exclusive, loose out there. Like, I'm pretty sure two of my grad school classes promulgated precisely opposite empathy vs sympathy distinctions.

So, for kicks and giggles, what's your personal definition of empathy? Assuming, of course, you have one. (If you don't, you can say that too.)

All comments will be screened, and I may or may not be unscreening some or all of them at my personal discretion. If you don't want your definition of empathy being tied to you, comment anonymously.

Sister latest paintings

May. 25th, 2017 05:26 pm
morbidfrog: (Default)
[personal profile] morbidfrog

Fantastic just spotted a new painting one my sister FB, a very Disney cow inspired by my Minnie mouse steampunk outfit i made :)


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My profile photos from Antichrist been donkeyfied too :)

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from raven ball :)

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and those cute ones :)

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Fabrice at Bree Louise

May. 25th, 2017 12:19 pm
morbidfrog: (Bluebells Sepia)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Monday 22 May: Bree Louise with French mob

That evening we went to catch up with the La FABrique team for their little annual visit to the London wine fair . Simon was super happy with a few mild on taps and an eldelflower beer and thanks to Fabrice for our gorgeous new Zombie Gnome for the garden.
A shame to get home and see the sad news regarding Manchester.

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Watford, Ascott House and St Albans

May. 25th, 2017 12:04 pm
morbidfrog: (Gothcentric flyer)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Sunday 21 May: Watford, Ascott House and St Albans

Late the night before our guest for the next ten days Ingela arrived. That morning we went to a little car boot sale in Watford ( one never has enough skeleton fairy lights :) ) and then went to help Alan fit his roof racks. Made me practice my driving and parking in a muddy field :)

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Afterwards we made our way to Ascott House
Getting harder and harder to find NT we haven’t yet visited in certain counties, but it seemed we had missed that one so we decided it would be perfect to do on a sunny day and being not too far from both Watford and St Albans perfect to visit various friends before and after.
The house itself pretty timber building (the ex hunting lodge/country home of the Rothschild family). You only visit a small section but quite an impressive paintings collection (Stubbs, Gainsborough, Reynolds). My favourite bits was the gardens, really beautiful with lily pond, teletubbies land, topiaries over rolling hill views. Even a Richard Long sculpture. A stunning fountain and a very unusual shrub sundial. Being there after all the horrible recent rain made it so green and lush.

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Photos )

Afterwards we made our way to St Albans to have dinner with Martin and Amanda.

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Exit the Grey II

May. 25th, 2017 11:42 am
morbidfrog: (Thorns)
[personal profile] morbidfrog
Friday 19 May: Exit the Grey

This was its second edition,
Filling a void in the clubbing scene, Exit the Grey focuses on modern synthpop but also features the best from across the history of the genre. Alongside synthpop we also play excellent EBM, Futurepop and Industrial. Expect to hear synthetic, melodic, lyric driven tunes you can't help but dance to
Next one on 7 july https://www.facebook.com/events/294977384282859/

Great night of dancing and friends, i especially loved that it starts early and end early being a friday...and get to have a dance and in bed before 2 am :)
Loved how the whole venue became one big dancefloor.

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Photos )

That's a *nice* one, Finnair!

May. 25th, 2017 12:29 am
rbarclay: (laughingcat)
[personal profile] rbarclay
Checking in for a flight, a couple days ago. For 9 people. Choose seats. Sensible layout found (eg. noone of the grouo sits alone), "confirm".
Reset to start. 4/9 sit alone, filling gaps.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Same result.
Plane looks half-empty, though.
Try on a different device.
Same result.
User thinks, "what the hell, first of all: we need to fly" and clicks "ok".

I disagreed. I'm too .. substantial to sit between other folks. Aisle or window, no problem. But not between other people. So I interfere. Change my seat to window, one row further to the front. No problem. I print my boarding pass.
Communication ensues. I click around and get sensible seats for everyone (eg. noone sits alone).

We do a little digging.

Oh, it's only iDevices that get shitcanned - regardless of browser. 'droids? Fine! WinDOS? Fine. LeeGNUnix? Fine! Even on Crackberry: fine! (Set the User-Agent to ""Fuck you sideways, with a 2x4": fine!)

Couldn't happen to more deserving folks. I'm perfectly OK with this concept.
fallenpegasus: (Default)
[personal profile] fallenpegasus
Some thoughts on composing laying out ebooks:
- DONT put a separate additional title page at the beginning. The user just saw the title in the renderer's UI when they selected the book. Separate title pages are archaic: an ebook will never be stripped or rebound.
- DONT put the copyright info, publication info, "printing" info, legal disclaimers, boilerplate, colophon, etc at the beginning. Put it at the end.
- The only exception is you MAY put the ToC at the beginning.
- if there is a ToC, each line of the ToC MUST include the name of the chapter or section, and SHOULD contain a short (3 lines or less) description
- if the book has a ToC or an Index, each entry MUST hyperlink internally to the part of the book they reference.
- DONT put footnotes or notes or citations at the "bottom" of the "page", or at the end of the chapter, or worst of all, at the end in a "Notes" section.
- DO put footnotes, notes, and citations inline, and hint them to the renderer, so it can fold them, to be expanded at the user's touch.
- Hint to the renderer, that the first time the book is displayed, it SHOULD open to either the introduction, or to the starting text of chapter one.
- DONT try to force the renderer to waste pixels on margins. Let a renderer running on a mobile, eink, or small tablet run the text right up the side of the display. Let a render running on a desktop or large tablet use it's own margins. It *always* knows better than your art and layout editor.
- Renders SHOULD ignore, subvert, and frustrate attempts by the publisher's art and layout editor to force margins. The render and the user know better, always.
- DONT render body text or header text as an image, unless it's a visual poem (for example, the poems in "Alice in Wonderland"), but even then, see if you can hint it to the renderer instead.
- DONT render a drop capital as an image.
- If the book contains images, the image data SHOULD be the highest resolution and color depth the renderer can display. If you don't know what the renderer will be, the image data SHOULD be at least 1024x768.
- Each image data rectangle MUST be one and only one image or photograph.
- DONT put margins in the image rectangle
- Each image SHOULD completely fill the ebook display when rendered. Renderers SHOULD heuristically clip margins and rotate images to completely fill the display surface.
- Comic books and graphic novels will have a different set of rules and requirements, which I will write up another day.

6/5/15: Kindergarten report

May. 24th, 2017 10:11 pm
tla: (Default)
[personal profile] tla
Before the LJ migration, I used this journal mostly as a diary of life-with-Sophie. No reason not to continue I suppose...

Since last I wrote, we have all moved to Vienna, settled into a new neighborhood and new routines, and Sophie has got most of the way through her final year of kindergarten / preschool / Vorschule. Yesterday afternoon we had the semiannual parent-teacher meeting with her teachers there.

Well. As [personal profile] mpk  said elsewhere, one almost wishes they'd said "she's doing great, a bit above average" and left it at that.

None of it was bad news - we do, after all, know what our kid is like. They led off with definite good news, which is that she has made good progress this year in learning to tolerate group activities. They also pointed out how musical she is - not only that she is singing to herself constantly, but that she's got some serious natural vocal talent that should be allowed to flourish. She is also crazy about what we call "making" but what in the US would be called arts & crafts. Every week we take about an Ikea bag's worth of paper creations home from school, and the house is just as full with things she draws and colors and constructs here. The teachers say that they've never seen a kid make the sorts of things she comes up with, both in terms of intended creation and in terms of construction techniques. She's still pretty convinced that, given enough sticky tape, paper, and cardboard, she can eventually get to the moon.

The basic gist, though, was that she is "extremely individualistic" and "has a completely different internal structure from the other children." Even in Montessori-land, which is so much about learning by doing (and boy does she like to actively do things, rather than watching or listening), the activities that engross the others simply don't capture her attention. I've observed this too - she picks up new ideas or skills or knowledge very quickly, but at some point short of "sustained mastery" she will just lose interest. When we put her in piano lessons last year her teacher wanted to tear his hair out for the way she would grasp in a few minutes what took other kids a few weeks, but then be right back at square one the next week because she didn't care to retain it. Even now, when she counts up past 12 the sequence tends to go 11, 12, 15, 14, 17... and when I stop her and say "what comes after 12?" she'll roll her eyes and say "13" but she just doesn't think it's important. This also means that she has done very little of anything this year that even by Montessori standards would count as structured learning - she recognizes the materials from her old classroom, and doesn't seem to think that they hold anything new for her, and her teachers haven't been able to disabuse her of this.

The teachers didn't entirely explain what they meant by a "completely different internal structure", and it's hard for me to articulate what I understood of it. It is to do with all of the above, and with the vocabulary she uses, and with the things that interest her, and with the questions she asks, and with her drive to create. Another example they gave is the way that, when the class goes out to see a show at the theater, the other kids are engrossed in the story but Sophie is engrossed in the production, and will march up to the actors after the show and grill them about how and why they were doing whatever they were doing on stage. It's clear to me that she is absorbing ideas for how she can make similar productions of her own.

And so, even though she's mostly made her peace with occasionally being asked to participate in what the other kids are doing, her teachers were clearly worried about her prospects for primary school. They told us of their concern that she was not ready to cope with a classroom where the kids are sitting at desks and doing what the teacher asks them to all day long. Happily for everyone, the nightmare scenario of being constantly summoned to school about our uncontrollable problem child, in those circumstances, had already occurred to us, and we were able to get her into the one mixed-age (grades 1-4) Montessori-style classroom at the local public school. We've only met the teachers in passing on the open days, but the visiting day for new kids to the class is on 19 June and we will have some more idea then what the next year(s) will be like. Still, I know that there is simply no predicting how any teacher will cope with Sophie until they actually find themselves having to do so. Watch this space...

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Starts good, gets great: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's magnificent address of May 19 on the removal of the Confederate monuments from New Orleans. It's 22 minutes long, and, Americans, it's absolutely worth making the time. Beautiful, firey, and uplifting, it's worth hearing it delivered rather than reading a transcript.

Many thanks to [personal profile] heron61 for bringing it to my attention.

I <3 brainy punks

May. 24th, 2017 11:16 am
ceb: (absinthe)
[personal profile] ceb
My favourite Basque horrorpunk band, Los Carniceros del Norte, have made a covers album where all the songs are translated into Spanish. Exhibit A: _Cuchillos de Fuego_ by Johnny Cash: https://loscarniceros.bandcamp.com/track/cuchillos-de-fuego-johnny-cash-cover

Hoping this makes someone else's day as much as it made mine.

(entire album here: https://loscarniceros.bandcamp.com/album/kaskeria )

If you need your day made in Québécois French instead, here's a different brainy punk/psychobilly band (The Brains, appropriately enough, and they can make your day in English and North American Spanish too): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLwin5O6nxc

NB do not try to make your day with French-French punk, it works very poorly.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

This is a book about swords. It is pretty much just about swords and swordsmanship, through history and in the modern day. I don't think I cam say much else about it, apart from possibly "there are some things that Hank Reinhardt say about some swords that I do not agree 100% with".

Costs of rail privatisation

May. 23rd, 2017 06:21 pm
damerell: (trains)
[personal profile] damerell
I've been meaning to write this for a while, but I just got blocked on Twitter by the editor of Rail magazine for pointing it out (!), so now seems like a good time. If there is some reason I am laughably wrong, now's the time to point it out.

Fairly often, when renationalisation of the railways is discussed, a neat little pie chart turns up showing some small percentage of income goes on TOC profits (here is an example: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/images/structure/css/fact-about-fare-2014.jpg - this one discusses fare income, but as far as I can make out from http://www.orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/24149/uk-rail-industry-financial-information-2015-16.pdf today's figure of 1.9% does reflect the distribution of all income. I don't know why Network Rail can't replace their pie chart with one based on more recent figures...)

As far as I know this is true, but what pops up next is the assertion that only that small percentage is to be saved by renationalising the railways. That seems to be totally untrue, as a bit of a peek at the other slices of the pie chart will reveal.

First of all, there's a much bigger chunk (11% in 2014, 7% now) marked "leasing trains". Do the rolling stock companies (ROSCOs), which were of course created out of British Rail, make a profit? You bet they do. Their surplus is about 20%, so there's another 1.4% right there.

Secondly, there's "interest payments and other costs". There was a bit here about how the TOCs are probably hiding some profits via (say) borrowing money from associated companies in countries with less corporation tax, but as far as I can make out all the interest payments are made by Network Rail. There is a pretence that Network Rail is not just a bit of the government, and that compels it to borrow money at a higher interest rate than the government would.

(However, the ROSCOs may well be posting an artificially low surplus, either through such tax avoidance or via the private equity practice of buying an asset with a loan secured on that asset. That would represent yet more profit that doesn't show up on the pie chart.)

Then we have staffing costs (25% of the pie chart). Fragmenting the railway has added untold layers of bureaucracy; the ROSCOs have staff to deal with leasing the trains to the TOCs and the TOCs have staff to deal with leasing the trains from the ROSCOs. The TOCs have staff to deal with Network Rail and Network Rail has staff to deal with the TOCs - a lot, because a train cannot simply be delayed now without a careful apportioning of the costs arising from that delay. A vast management tree is essentially duplicated across 20-odd TOCs (yes, it would be a bit bigger in a company the size of BR, but there wouldn't be 20 of it). It's hard to obtain any decent estimate of this (I would be intrigued to see figures on the relative number of officebound staff employed by BR and the current system, but I suspect they are well hidden) but it's hard to suppose it's too small a proportion of that 25% to show up.

So I think two things are true; the proportion of the railways' income that is lost to the structures of privatisation certainly is not 1.9% - it must be at least as high as 3.3% if we add the ROSCOs' profits in - and there is every reason to suppose it is considerably higher, even if it is hard to know exactly how much.

New 'electricity'

May. 23rd, 2017 04:43 pm
hennes: Lavender (Default)
[personal profile] hennes
Last week the cooperation I rent my appartment from sent a letter that they were going to add a videofoon and some appartment might receive additional electrical changes. Last Thursday I got called for an appointment. Preferable today.

So I took the day off. Two people (one experienced, one not so) arrived at 10:15 and worked for roughly 5 hours. The fuse box got replaced. Instead of 2 fuses I now got 4. A unearthed power socket got added to the light switch in my work room. Ditto to the switch at the entrance to the bed room. This means I no longer have to use extension cords when vacuum cleaning.

They also added a 240volt plug to the shower. No isolation transformer since apparently it is 'out of the zone' at > 1½m from the shower head. I am slightly pessimistic about this.

While doing the the apprentice also drilled though the wall, shattering the mirror on the other side of the wall. Not quite sure how you do that. A 3cm plug fits nicely in a 5cm hole. When you drill well over twice that deep some mental alarm should go off though. Apparently it did not.

The've been gone for an hour now. Up to 10 minutes ago I have been cleaning. Home looks decent again. Now a shower, a painkiller and lunch.

Lazy Monday(?)

May. 22nd, 2017 05:44 pm
tetsab: (MehBounce)
[personal profile] tetsab
I'm getting more and more convinced I'm some degree of solar-powered (which, having grown up in the UK and also having spent the last 20 years very purposefully hiding from the sun is an interesting notion).

That said, I still don't want to get out in the sun (much... I did purposefully sit in it for about an hour the weekend before last) but I do want it to be lighting up my house as it seems to be the most reliable battery up my butt for actually getting things done. For example, I've had Loads Of Shit To Do all day but have I done it? Mostly not! But now that the sun is peeking out I've managed to get a load of dishes done, dinner for the week into the crockpot, and a load of (3 needed!) laundry on.

The only productive things I'd done all day up to about an hour ago when I got that lot going was write 2 paragraphs of fiction and sign myself up to be reimbursed for purchasing refreshments for an non-profit user group meeting I'm helping out with tomorrow. Which, hey, was a good thing to do but it wasn't all the other things or that meeting prep I have to do for the meeting moronically booked for tomorrow morning (lesson here is to get better at clearly marking stats in my work calendar in order to say "NO! NO! HECK NO!" to any heavy-ass meeting invites the day back after a long weekend).

Alright, tea and a DW post. I'll count that toward productivity too. :)

Declining use of cash

May. 22nd, 2017 04:07 pm
sweh: (Default)
[personal profile] sweh
So I had to hit the ATM on Friday for some cash, and when I came to record this I found that this was the first time since January. It made me wonder how my ATM usage has changed over time.

Fortunately I keep records, so I can see how many cash withdrawals I've made per year since 2002:
     54 2002
     61 2003
     59 2004
     57 2005
     43 2006
     27 2007
     27 2008
     33 2009
     24 2010
     24 2011
     16 2012
     10 2013
      9 2014
     10 2015
      9 2016
      2 2017

Now part of that is because I don't go down the pub as frequently, and I no longer buy a sandwich for lunch (both mostly cash activities for me), but it's pretty clear how little I use cash these days!

[Snork] Museum 404s

May. 22nd, 2017 07:27 pm
dancefloorlandmine: (Snork)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
Unsurprisingly, some museum websites have quite imaginative, and/or humorous, 404 pages ...

Some examples ...
fallenpegasus: (Default)
[personal profile] fallenpegasus
Is there an Android tablet that does not suck?

What I need:
* stock Android, latest OS version
* enough CPU that the UI does not lag
* enough main storage that I don't have to worry about it
* enough battery that it will run for at least a long afternoon
* standard power adapter, either microUSB or USB-C
* ok camera
* SIM & WIFI & GPS &etc

What I do not want:
* OEM UI "experience"
* OEM shitware
* out of date Android version
* slow security updates
* proprietary plugs, cables, adapters, or chargers
* the wireless internet locked to a carrier
* showing off how hipster skinny thin it can be. I need moar battery, not shaving 20 fucking grams of weight from my everyday carry.