Dentistry.

8/7/15 01:20
archangelbeth: Face with glasses and large red horns. Looking blah and-or grumpy. (DjinnBeth)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
The kid, not me. Regular cleaning. No cavities. Spot to watch -- deeply grooved tooth. Painted on floride stuff, on the grounds that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of sedation to have teeth filled at the hospital.

Havva Quote
J_______ [to N_____]: And their legions of Soldiers with hay fever?
N_____ [to J_______]: "I cad't perforb dis Sog because by dose is too stuffed ub."
--From the MUSH


INwatch+Bookwatch )


Dragons under fold )
[personal profile] xmc
I just got back from a weekend trip to St Louis, to visit a good friend. While I was there I continued my campaign of observing how American cities differ. I come from Seattle, a place which I increasingly am understanding is ... atypical. For example, there are some aspects of American history which are taught in schools but I basically disbelieved because there isn't much visible evidence of them where I'm from.

One of these is "white flight", the phenomenon of white people leaving cities for the suburbs in the middle decades of the 20th century. Seattle never really experienced that, and what it did experience was mostly recovered from by the time that I became conscious of it. So when I was in middle school, I discounted its significance. All the textbooks said it was a nationwide issue, and I'm in the nation, and I don't see evidence of this thing, so why should I believe these books?

I've also never seen an urban area which has significantly fewer people now than it had 40 years ago. St Louis has 319,000 residents in 2010 and peaked at 856,000 in the 1950 census. That means it currently has 37% of the people whom it has historically supported. It's frightening to see.

(There was another totally worthwhile thing that I noticed, which belongs right here logically, but I forget it. If I remember I'll add it later.)
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Remains of a BBQ picnic fit perfectly into the panniers. #everydayonabike

New Bujold TODAY

7/7/15 19:35
ase: Book icon (Books 3)
[personal profile] ase
Penric's Demon, a novella in the five gods universe.

Tsipras

7/7/15 17:46
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Has picked which book I review on Sunday. Have fun speculating which Disco Era book I have in mind.
twistedchick: mountains, Jackson Brown quote: You do what you can to keep your love alive -- try not to confuse this with what you do  (love alive)
[personal profile] twistedchick
One of my cousins sent me a huge box of get-well things, including a little notebook that our mutual grandfather had, with all sorts of things in it. English was his second or third language, so he wrote down a lot of words as he learned them, but also phrases and notes to himself on money owed or lent, and so on. I am getting a much better sense of him from this than I have from memories; this is making him real.

But there is a sentence that I know is a quote -- it is not something he would ever say -- and I cannot find what is being quoted. So I am asking you -- does this sentence look familiar to you in any way, and if so, who was the author and what was the source? The sentence is:

Being what they are, it is to be doubted if a single person failed to get his money(’s) worth and the seats cost plenty.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Dave, Aradia, Damara, and Caliborn-as-Caliborn aren't programmers, so our options are basically,

1) the Squiddle/Outer God Time player (unlikely),

2) Lord English (probably most likely given that most software developers are in fact screaming space skulls),

3) some iteration of Aradiabot who downloaded a bunch of ~ATH tutorials into her robot brain and spent a few stable timeloops learning to code (likelihood???),

4) the Handmaid doing the same thing but without the robot brain (??????),

orrrrrr 5) some combination of these individuals angrily reversing one other's commits every five meaningless-Time-player-minutes.

Someone please draw fanart of this last possibility.

Yuletide in July

7/7/15 14:06
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
[personal profile] cadenzamuse
Why now, Yuletide plot bunnies, why now?

I was driving back from teaching my knitting class and "Jessie's Girl" came on the radio, and a rabid hoard of plotbunnies came out of nowhere and started attacking me.

Because he's so obsessed with Jessie's girl...why? Like, I remember that feeling in high school where you're half-appalled by your friends being sappy with each other, and a little left out, and half-watching as closely as possible out of the corner of your eye because something about it makes you horny as hell.

Anyway, I wrote more on this and put it up on Tumblr, because apparently that's what I associate now with unfinished, poorly written story snippets. Anyone have ideas about where to go next or protestations about my million uses of "just" per sentence, let me know. :)
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I don't care how we got here*.

I don't care who's to blame**.

I care about how Greece can get from here to a situation that's sustainable, and in the long-term can lead to them being a prosperous nation.

This _does_ mean reform. A country needs to be able to manage its debt levels, raise enough taxes to pay for its welfare systems, invest in its infrastructure, etc. But it may also mean large quantities of aid if the other eurozone countries want it to remain in the Euro.

Eurozone countries cannot use deflation to make debt payments easier - if the UK had been in the Euro then we would have been much more fucked than we were. And the countries in the South are disadvantaged by the common exchange rate, just as German is advantaged by it.

Areas with a common currency need to move money from the parts that this helps to the parts that it hinders - and either Europe is going to have to learn this, and make allowances for it, or it's going to lose Greece, and then other countries the next time that this happens***.

In any case - if Europe can come up with a proposal that means that Greece can both stay inside the Euro _and_ have debts that it can manage, then I think it's probably in its interests to stay. And if it cannot (or will not) then it's definitely in Greece's interests to go, and so they should****.

*Well, I do. But only because understanding the past is useful in knowing how to get to a decent future.
**Well, I do. But blame is so nebulous that it's very easy for people on all sides to cast it wherever they like.
***This will happen again, and Europe really needs to have plans in place for it next time.
****So far, I haven't seen any signs that Europe has any proposals that will do this. If I've missed one, then please do point it out to me.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I spent my birthday weekend playing The Witcher extensively, and I’m pretty sure that 20 hours or so is more time than the developers spent playing the game.

It’s not that Witcher 3 is a bad game, mind you: it’s just that there’s a really great game in there, smothered underneath a bunch of horrible terrible UI choices, making it more mediocre with each playthrough.  And some of these UI sins are so easily fixable, you wonder whether they actually played the game at all.

Now, I’m not talking about the big problems that would be tricky to fix: sure, I’ve died thirty times because my all-powerful Witcher got caught on the edge of a fence in combat.  Sure, I can literally go get a soda, drink it, and still have another minute’s wait left before the “Loading game” screen finishes.  But those are technical problems: it’s a big game so I presume there’s tons of data to load, and reasonably recreating physics is a tough challenge (I’m looking at you, Skyrim and your randomly unclimbable slopes).

No, it’s dumb shit.  Things that sap the game’s fun, because you have to do this dumb-ass thing over and over again that gets in the way of the game.  Things like:

The way the huge-ass map doesn’t point the way to your next quest.  Seriously, this map is frickin’ massive, meaning your next quest could be on the other side of the world – and you’re often scrolling in every direction, trying to figure out where the contract is, playing a mind-numbingly boring game of “Find the yellow dot.”  Maddeningly, the mini-map does point you towards your quest, so eventually, you dope out the workaround of “Point your character’s face at the dot, then switch to the large map and follow a straight path in that direction until you find the dot.”  And hope you’re not angled slightly off, because being five degrees off-dot over large distances means you may not find it, ever.

Hi! You’ve just gotten a new quest! Do you want to start it? Well, you can’t, because you have to read the letter that the Earl of Whogivesafuck left behind! And to do that, you have to open up your inventory, scroll to the “Quests” tab, find the letter among the seven other letters there, and open it.

Why didn’t the game just display the letter when you found it? I mean, you picked it up. It’s reasonable you’d just read it by default instead of folding it up neatly to stow it the depths of your pack. But no, The Witcher involves a constant stream of “God, I’ve gotta open up the tasks screen, switch over to inventory, switch three tabs over to my quest items, then down, then press X.”  Over and over again.  Over and over again.  Over and over again.

Speaking of “Over and over again,” it sure would be nice if the crafts screen preserved your last choice when you switched tabs.  I generally dislike games with intensive crafting systems, but Witcher makes it maddening: Oh, hey, you can make this great set of armor if you could only buy two vials of hummingbird tears!  I’ll switch tabs to buy some hummingbird tears – and then have to scroll down literally through thirty choices when I switch back.

Oh, and did I mention that the merchants’ goods aren’t sorted by name at all, with no way to sort them?  So if you don’t know what a fucking vial of hummingbird’s tears look like, you have to flip through eighty tiny icons hunting for the ones that look like vials, until you narrow it down and finally purchase one. God help you if you need three purchases to finish crafting that armor – and keep in mind, crafting seems to be the only way to get good armor, as the drops from monsters usually just provide craft materials – because you’re in for a hunt-the-pixel-fest.

I get that you have to start a conversation with a merchant to shop.  That’s fine, because you might also want to play this more-boring-Magic variation with them, too.  But when I’m done shopping, I don’t want to talk to you any more – and yet still I have to navigate two selections down to select the “Done talking” option. Can you just assume that when I’m done shopping, I’m done talking, and save me literally a thousand pointless menu selections over the course of the game?

Likewise, I find the crossbow to be a useless goddamned weapon.  I know many love the stealth approach; I want to charge in swords-a-blazin’, which thankfully the Witcher allows me to do.  But the game keeps switching my default alt-attack to crossbow whenever I switch, instead of the grenade I selected, or the witch’s lamp I use to get better light in dark areas.  Which means I keep wasting precious crossbow bolts as I think I’m throwing a smoke bomb and oh, shit, we’re back to crossbows again.  WHY DO YOU LOVE CROSSBOWS, WITCHER.

Also, hey, a better auto-save system would be good, considering some quests you get involve you traveling to the other side of this goddamned unwieldy map.  What frequently happens is that you spend two minutes galloping across hills and valleys to get to that stupid yellow dot, get caught on a fence, and die – and then have to spend five minutes reloading the game, and then travel again.  Wouldn’t it make sense to have an auto-save whenever you transitioned between distant areas, so you wouldn’t have to backtrack over and over again on quests you made?

And lastly, you have horses. They are kind of neat horses – I appreciate that if you hold down X, the horses will follow the roads, allowing you a sort of quasi-fast-travel.  Yet frustratingly, you are smart enough to have a trail of white dots showing you which roads will lead you to your next quest – yet the horse does not know this trail, so you’re constantly horse-course-correcting when the horse jukes left and you can see the dots on the road leading right. How much effort could it be to have a logic in place that says, “If the horse is choosing between two paths automatically, choose the one with the white dots on it?”

All that stuff gets in the way of what I want to do: talk with your fascinating characters, fight the bad monsters, do Fantasy CSI investigations.  Instead, I’m scrolling AGAIN through thirty craft entries to find the hummingbird-needing armor.

That’s not as fun as you think it is.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

swaldman: Animation with "translations" of various academic phrases. (academia)
[personal profile] swaldman
Matlab has a funny relationship with "singleton" dimensions[1], i.e. dimensions of a matrix that have only one item.

In a function I'm working on, I obtain a 3D matrix and want to take the mean along one dimension to reduce it to a 2D matrix. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that I'm starting off with a array 'a' of dimensions 100x10x40000, which corresponds to points x layers x time. I'm trying to average over the layers.

b = mean(a,2)
will do what I want, leaving me with a 3D array of dimensions 100x1x40000.
Having that middle dimension is silly, and meaningless, so I can use the squeeze command.

c = squeeze(b)
gives a 2D array of dimensions 100x40000.

So far, so good.

But what happens if I don't have such a big array? Let's say that on this occasion, the first dimension only has size 1 - i.e. I'm starting off with 1x10x40000.

b = mean(a,2)
gives me 1x1x40000, and
c = squeeze(b)
dutifully tries to remove both of the singletons to give a vector of 40000... except that Matlab doesn't recognise the concept of 1D vectors, and so adds an extra dimension on the end to make it 40000x1.

Oh look - where I was expecting points x time, where there is only one point, I now have time x points instead. I need to check specially for the situation in which I only have one point, and in that case transpose the matrix afterwards in order to get consistent behaviour.

To be fair to Matlab, on this occasion its behaviour does make a sort of sense - there's no way for squeeze() to know which singletons I want to remove, and even if it didn't do its silly-buggers thing of adding dimensions so that there are always at least two, I'd be left with figuring out whether I had a 2D array or a 1D vector.

Turns out that the answer is to use reshape() rather than squeeze, which allows one to be more specific - although it does make things harder to read and probably slower.
So in the example above,

c = reshape(a, size(c,1), size(c,3));

is safe.


[1] Is that a general term, or a Matlab-specific one? I've only ever seen it used in a Matlab context.
nanila: (tachikoma: broken)
[personal profile] nanila
Today is the tenth anniversary of the (most recent) London bombings.

I was living in Camden at the time. My LJ posts on that day are here.

If you'll excuse me, I think I'll be spending the rest of the day cuddling my baby son and watching the Tour de France.
umadoshi: (to-do list (totaldevotion))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Sure, brain, let's wake up ~3 hours before the alarm. That couldn't possibly cause a problem with the amount of work I have to do today! >.<

Fandom

[twitter.com profile] debaoki tweeted a bunch of cosplay pics from AX (and a ton of other stuff too, as is Deb's way). My favorite is this Deadpool Pikachu cosplay.

Most exciting news out of AX for me: the Princess Jellfish (Kuragehime) manga has been licensed!

For all the other AX manga news, Sean Gaffney has an "AX 2015 Licensing Roundup" post.

Legend of Korra cosplay: Korra and Asami as flappers.

At The Mary Sue: The 100 Has Some of the Best Female Characters on TV. Yes, Really. "The 100 has created an interesting world of moral complexities, where the “right” decision will often get you killed and the ruthless choice can sometimes save the most people. The people making those hard choices, ruminating over those tough calls, and grappling with the conflicts of leadership? By and large on The 100 it’s the female characters calling the shots. It’s a quietly remarkable feat for any television show, but it’s especially impressive in a show aimed at a young audience." Not completely spoiler-free, but fairly close.

At EW: "5 reasons Hayley Atwell kicks ass".


Useful

On Tumblr: what to do if a cat is choking.


Photography

"These Same-Sex Boudoir Photos Will Make You Want To Take It All Off With Someone You Love: 'Nudity and sexuality are not something that needs to be hidden or ashamed of,' says photographer Ewan Phelan." [Buzzfeed's habit of awful article titles continues! But the photos and commentary from the photographer are lovely. Not terribly SFW, but the more risqué pics are reserved for the original posts on the photographer's site.]

"Africans are fighting media poverty-porn by tweeting beautiful images of their real lives".


Social Justice

"8 Things Some A$$#ole Says in Every Debate About Sexism". [Cracked.com]

"The Real Reason Why Conservatives Like Ross Douthat Oppose The Gay Marriage Ruling". "Reading Douthat, you do get a better idea of why conservatives see same-sex marriage as a threat to traditional marriage. It’s not because straight people won’t want to get married if gays are doing it, too. It’s because it redefines marriage as an institution of love instead of oppression."

"Comedian Literally Tries to Get Arrested to Prove Just How Real White Privilege Is".

"You Don’t Have to Hate Anybody to be a Bigot" looks at the similarities between conservative arguments against same-sex marriage now and arguments against interracial marriage not all that many years ago (and the similarities to arguments in support of both racial segregation and slavery), and is chock-full of supporting links (four in the following pull-quote alone): "Social conservatives were all over the airwaves and print media this week, explaining how and why the battle over marriage equality is not over. The Supreme Court may have spoken, but the other branches of government, they promised, could still step in somehow, if we elect the right people. Or county clerks could just refuse to issue licenses. Or ordinary people could practice civil disobedience in some unspecified way. There are, Glenn Beck has promised us, ten thousand pastors willing to “go to prison or to death” over this issue (though exactly what charges will brought against them or who might try to kill them is a bit vague)."

And jumping ahead in the post, we have "Like most people who oppose marriage equality for gays and lesbians today, past opponents of racial equality were not necessarily the screaming haters we see in the more dramatic videos from the civil rights movement. Far more were sedate and thoughtful people who were not aware of hating anyone. They just held a sincere belief — “in a spirit of kindness and charity”, they would tell you — that blacks were an inferior race who were better off among their own kind, or perhaps under the “tender, fatherly and thoughtful” guidance of a white master. / Most believed that God agreed with them, and could cite you chapter and verse to prove it. Freeing the slaves, desegregating the schools, allowing interracial marriage — at the time, those changes were all seen as aggressions against the religion of large numbers of American Christians".


Unsorted

Via Twitter, Stuff in Space is "a realtime 3D map of objects in Earth orbit, visualized using WebGL".


Via Facebook:

--"14-Foot Long LEGO StarCraft Display Took Three Years To Complete".

--"New Watercolor & Ink Cats That Slowly Bleed Into Paper By Endre Penovác". I've seen (and reblogged) this person's cat art before, but I think this is a new batch. ^_^
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I decided to set up my development environment on my laptop, so I can play with stuff while I'm on holiday for the next two weeks.

And for some reason, unzipping Eclipse was being incredibly slow. Like, 300kbps slow. Which is about 100 times slower than it should be (SSD, i5 processor). So I checked what the resource monitor, to see if something was hogging the disk, or using all of the CPU.

And found that Windows Defender was pegged solid at 25% of CPU. Which, as I have four cores, meant that it was using all of one of them. This was annoying for two reasons: (1) 100% of a CPU and it still couldn't manage more than 300kB/s of scanning? (2) Only using one CPU? What is this, the 20th century?

As it happens, I have a Norton license with 3 devices available on it. And Norton underwent a major rewrite a couple of years ago which meant that it was actually pretty efficient (and easy to install/uninstall, which used to be hell). So I logged onto their site, grabbed a licensed copy, and installed it. Which took about three minutes in total, and worked seamlessly.

I then ran a quick scan (which removed 29 tracking cookies), restarted my laptop (to be on the safe side), and unzipped Eclipse again. Which got me about 30MB/s, while using almost no CPU at all.

I normally recommend Microsoft's own anti-virus to people, on the grounds that it comes with the OS, and seems to score reasonably well on effectiveness. I think I'll have to stop doing that (or at least offering caveats).

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azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz - bolt of blue - infovore)

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