ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Parked next to an old-timer today. (Columbia Roadster, held together with spit and duct tape.)

"Dreamtime"

24/4/15 17:59
rosefox: A diagram labeled "immortal eye" and "fearful symmetry etc." (geeky (worksafe))
[personal profile] rosefox
Last night I dreamed that J had offered to write some drivers so I could use a USB trackpad with my laptop, and I was affectionately teasing him about what a silly offer it was because he's not really a programmer. We were walking down the street, someplace with wide roads and low warehouse-type buildings--maybe an ungentrified part of San Francisco. Two women who were standing at a bus stop overheard us, and after J got on the bus? went somewhere else? I started talking with them about how much we all enjoy writing x86 assembly code (which I did enjoy the last time I did it, but that was almost 20 years ago!).

When I woke up, I thought "My dreams are the patriarchy's nightmares!" and smirked a lot.

The results are in.

24/4/15 17:41
beable: (yet there's still something in my heart)
[personal profile] beable
Ticky Box needs a hurdy-gurdy.
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daily gratitudes

24/4/15 09:56
watersword: A ship at sunrise, with the words "not all those who wander are lost" (Stock: wandering)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. I work for an employer that has actual retirement benefits
  2. made it to the HR information session only half an hour late despite oversleeping
  3. tea, English Breakfast, hot
  4. warm kitten purring on my lap
  5. my old favorite recipe blog Tigers & Strawberries, now sadly defunct but still extant and delicious

Talk me out of this

24/4/15 16:33
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


My 'A' hardcover bookcase is situated such that I walk by it every day when I leave and my eye keeps falling on Anderson's The Avatar...

(no subject)

24/4/15 16:23
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Anti-Ode on a fibroid

You, tangled net within me
you old ball of bloody rags
emotional abyss
encysted, enwebbed, encrusted in tears

You spearhead that stabbed me for decades
you physical sneer of failures
conglomerated anguish
thief of strength, thief of time

You who hid for so long
have been found out
and you will be gone
(o blessed scalpel)

Away with you
and begone
and let me live free
and at last be strong.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Some of the stuff to do with the Hugos has had me pondering. Not the stuff to do with Vox Day, who is simply a particularly toxic member of the losing side of the culture wars. But the larger movement of people that feel disenfranchised by their perception that science fiction nowadays is all culture, diversity, and politics, rather than the zapping space battles of the Golden Age.

Which is _obviously_ nonsense. And clearly the kind of opinion that nobody who has actually read, and paid attention to, the science fiction written by the science fiction grand masters can make with a straight face. (see this Heinlein quote, for instance.)

Except that earlier today I bumped into a link to the Asimov short Profession, and while thinking about the politics inherent in it, I realised that a younger me would not really have noticed those politics. And then that an awful lot of the fans who feel disenfranchised can spot the politics of something which points out unfairness to people that aren't them, or that places the blame at the feet of people like them. But political writing that says that they're great, and downtrodden, and that one day their specialness will be recognised, because the world should be arranged so that people who don't fit into neat categories, but instead think special creative thoughts, are the most important - that doesn't feel at all political. It's just a statement of the obvious, after all.

And it's things like this that have made me ever more aware that it's not just that the personal is the political - that _everything_ is political. It's just things don't feel political to people when they embody a situation that feels both normal and right to them. I mean, I bet Friends doesn't look political to most people watching it. But that it feels intensely political for anyone who thinks that every joke about Charles Bing in a dress sets back the cause of LGBT rights.

All of which doesn't explain why the Sad Puppies are raising this _now_. I'm fairly sure that the exact same discussions happened during the New Wave - if we'd had the internet making it easier to organise block votes then would the same thing have happened?

If

24/4/15 12:20
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
You could suggest just one interesting historical period that isn't Rome, an idealized British Empire, rechewed American Revolution or Rome for SF writers to rip off, what would it be?

(no subject)

24/4/15 15:57
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. There is a blackbird nesting directly above our front door.

2. I was sufficiently sad on my way back from this afternoon's errands that I ended up buying a pair of sparkly metallic blue skinny jeans from a charity shop on my way home. It has a terrible blue faux-rhinestone button.

3. I have achieved food by dint of stopping off at a food market in the William Morris Square in Hammersmith. It was just closing up and apparently I looked sufficiently smallsad that aunty decided the correct response was two of onion bhaji. Consequently I have also taken some painkillers.

4. Sent scary e-mail #1 pulling out of teaching on Monday.

5. Sent scary e-mail #2 requesting some more bloody paperwork for the council.

6. E-mailed my supervisor a status update.

7. Booked an in-person GP appointment (it is not for a fortnight but I cannot in point of fact bring myself to care).

8. Printed out train tickets for this weekend.

9. Printed out some more benefits-related paperwork.

10. Washed and clothesed and spent some time outside.
[personal profile] swaldman
I have some data in a text file called "test_turbines.ppl". It is in fixed-width columns with spaces between them. Some of it is numeric, some of it is strings.

In R, I would import it into a data frame with one line,

a = read.table("test_turbines.ppl").

I might have to add a header=FALSE option to that, or I might not - I forget which the default is.

But, I was trying to do this in MATLAB. I'm using very nearly the latest version of MATLAB, and that has a new data structure called the "table" and a new function to read data called "readtable", which seem very similar to R's data frame and read.table. Great, I'll give that a shot.

>> a = readtable('D:\matlab-scripts\d3d_turbines\test_turbines.ppl')
Error using readtable (line 129)
The file extension '.ppl' is not recognized.


Uh... apparently readtable will complain unless the text file that you ask it to read has a .txt, .dat or .csv extension. That feels a little pointlessly awkward, but OK. I renamed the file.

>> a = readtable('D:\matlab-scripts\d3d_turbines\test_turbines.txt')

Hmm. It imported one record per line (great) but one field, including the whole of each line as a string. It removed the first line and turned it into a column name that was equal to all of the characters on the line with spaces removed and a few underscores added to make it a "valid MATLAB identifier", and it gave me a warning about that.

Well, fair enough, I was asking it to guess at quite a lot. I looked up the appropriate options and tried again.

>> a = readtable('D:\matlab-scripts\d3d_turbines\test_turbines.txt', 'ReadVariableNames', '0', 'delimiter', ' ')
Error using readtable (line 129)
Each line of a text file must have the same number of delimiters.


Because this is a file with fixed column widths, there are sometimes multiple spaces between columns to make them line up... and MATLAB is interpreting these as multiple delimiters. I looked for the option to treat them as one... and there isn't one, at least not within readtable.

*headdesk*

Giving up on readtable, then. Let's try dlmread.

>> a = dlmread('D:\matlab-scripts\d3d_turbines\test_turbines.txt')
Error using dlmread (line 138)
Mismatch between file and format string.
Trouble reading 'Numeric' field from file (row number 1, field number 1) ==> U 139 34 139 34 5 10 3.79062e-02 .\n


Ah. Yes, I remember now - dlmread is strictly for numeric data only.

What's left?

The only way appears to be the low-level textscan - which requires one to specify a format string explaining exactly how the file is laid out. That wouldn't be unreasonable if I were working in FORTRAN, or C. But the whole point of a high-level language like MATLAB is surely to remove this soft of faff?

Well, it turns out that MATLAB does have a way to avoid the faff - it has a GUI "Import Data" tool, which generates code for textscan. The GUI tool seems to be quite good at guessing what I want, and I don't have to make any changes from its suggestion. Quite why they can't put that logic into a function... The resulting generated file, if one is generous and omits the comments, is 15 lines long and involves a fair bit of ASCII soup:

filename = 'D:\MATLAB-scripts\D3D_turbines\test_turbines.txt';
formatSpec = '%1s%5f%5f%5f%5f%4f%4f%13f%s%[^\n\r]';
fileID = fopen(filename,'r');
dataArray = textscan(fileID, formatSpec, 'Delimiter', '', 'WhiteSpace', '', 'ReturnOnError', false);
fclose(fileID);
U = dataArray{:, 1};
VarName2 = dataArray{:, 2};
VarName3 = dataArray{:, 3};
VarName4 = dataArray{:, 4};
VarName5 = dataArray{:, 5};
VarName6 = dataArray{:, 6};
VarName7 = dataArray{:, 7};
VarName8 = dataArray{:, 8};
VarName9 = dataArray{:, 9};
clearvars filename formatSpec fileID dataArray ans;


Let me remind you again of the equivalent in R:

a = read.table("test_turbines.ppl")

*sigh*

I'm fairly new to MATLAB. Am I missing something?

EDIT: Yeah, it's basically me rediscovering the same as this guy. Apparently things haven't improved much since 2012.
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james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I've noticed any time he pauses for a long time before doing something, the outcome is generally not favorable to him.

Most recently, he was mulling over what turn out to be "Should I bop Groucho on the nose?" He chose poorly.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So because I have These Sorts of conversations with people, I wound up asking “So who’s the hardest person to masturbate to on Game of Thrones?”

And whenever I have These Sorts of conversations with people, people start needing rules.  “Are we counting the underaged kids?” people asked.  “We’re not counting Rickon or Arya, are we? That’d be creepy.”  Which, you know, it gets tricky.  Because the show upped the kids’ ages in dramatic ways – Jon Snow in the books is fourteen, Arya is nine, Sansa is eleven, and none of those kids are anywhere close to that age on the show.  (Which is understandable – the actors would not only be incompetent at nine, but they’d age out quick.)

So we have a weird issue – the actor who plays Jon Snow is literally double the age of the character he’s playing, so when we ask “Who’s the hardest to whack it to?”, how do we count Sansa, who is either eleven, or the actress who is nineteen now, but was certainly underage when we started, and what is the age of consent in Westeros anyway and wow holy fuck does this get crazy.

Anyway, so I’m going to ask the question based on Season Five of the television show now, according to the actors’ current ages, restricting it to actors currently over the legal age of consent, eliminating anyone who is currently dead.  (Sorry, Sean Bean fans. You should be used to this by now.)

With all those restrictions in place:

Who is the most unfuckable character on Game of Thrones? 

Now, for me, this is a weird question, because it’s so clearly Sansa. I hate Sansa. I hate her more than Joffrey.  My hot button is “People who prioritize their fantasies over reality in a way that harms other people,” and holy crap Sansa, I have yet to forgive you for taking Joffrey’s side way back in Season One and killing a poor innocent dog as a result. I loathe her so much that I can barely stand to look at her, and honestly, Sophie Turner is an attractive young woman, so that shows you how sapiosexual I am.

Yet the most popular answer is “Theon Greyjoy,” who a friend told me could see taking his anger (and current physical handicap) to to a dark, sexy place. Except that Theon has proven thoroughly, seethingly incompetent at literally everything else he’s ever done, so I’m pretty sure he’d screw up your sexual fantasies, too.  Theon’s not a bad choice to never masturbate to, though frankly I might suggest looking towards Ramsay Bolton if you want some real dark fantasies happening. Like, “Fantasies you probably wouldn’t survive.”

For me, however, if you take personality out of it, the Least Fuckable Character in Game of Thrones has to go to Lord Walder Frey.  Especially if you’re a woman.  You know why he wants you, you know you’re walking away with an heir in your belly, and you can just imagine the stink as he crawls atop you.

(The funniest answer came on Twitter, however, in the form of Ser Pounce.)

And yet this is a democracy, so I ask you: Who is your choice for the most unfuckable character on Game of Thrones, and why? Explain why your nethers shrink at the thought of this person.  And please, don’t break out in a slurry of fanfic to prove your choice, I really need to eat today.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

New Phone!

24/4/15 09:03
[personal profile] yendi
As some of you might know, for roughly the last two years, my cell phone has been the Kyocera Rise.

If someone had told me that Apple has initialed a false flag operation to make people hate Android, the Rise would be the result. It's awful. Horrible. On a hardware front, it's unresponsive to touch, it's slow, it's hard to read, it has trouble getting signals even in good locations, and its battery life is about two hours. On the software front, it crashes in almost any app, it has trouble running updates, and even basic apps tend not to work. Even basic tasks like dialing a number take minutes, not seconds.

I stuck with it because I'm using Virgin Mobile, and I refuse to pay more than $35 a month for my cell service. I don't want a $60+ bill (which is generally the only way to get a free or low-cost iPhone or Galaxy), because I want a phone primarily for texting, MBTA bus tracking, Twitter, occasional web access, and occasional phone calls. Oh, and taking the occasional picture of the dog or cats, of course.

But I finally hit a breaking point with that piece of shit, and have now upgraded to, of all things, a Nokia 635.

Yes, I'm on a Windows phone. And I fucking love it.

No, it's not high-end, but it does all the things I actually expect a smart phone to do. And it does them quickly. It gives me alerts. It lets me text (and has a swype-style interface that's much better than the Rise ever did). I can actually read the screen. Hell, I was able to actually check Mets scores on the bus yesterday!

Yeah, the ecosystem's small, but I really don't give a damn about that. I use my iPad for games, so only need one or two time-killers here. I use the same iPad for productivity (along with my Android Tablet to a lesser extent), and the few productivity apps I'd want on a phone (like Evernote) exist. I've got no real interest in streaming audio or video (and years of dealing with Android's well-known audio latency issue haven't helped), but most of the apps I'd consider on that front exist.

I'm still getting used to the interface changes -- it's not quite the "do they even have a usability team?" stuff you see in Android, but it's a noticeably different thing from the other systems. The tile updates are nice, but I'll need to spend some dedicated time this weekend ensuring I've got the right stuff on the front screen.

Anyway, I have a smart phone that's actually somewhat smart, finally! And I'm still on my nice Virgin Mobile monthly plan, meaning I'm not tying up more of our bank account than we can afford. Yay!
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I have small fame. Small fame is pretty easy to get on the Internet.

“Small fame,” for the record, is that nebulous area where you have a couple of thousand fans – not enough to earn a living off of, but enough where every post you make gets a flurry of comments, and you occasionally get fan mail (which is quite nice), and if you squint nicely and don’t walk outside the Internet you can fool yourself into thinking that you are a Very Important Person.

(The way you can tell whether you have small fame or actual fame is to walk around the mall to get yourself an ice cream. Does anyone recognize you when you’re in a generically public place? They don’t? Then you’re not actually famous.)

But there’s plenty of places for people to get small fame. There’s lots of small famous people on Twitter, and small famous people on Tumblr, and Instagram and even FetLife, and tons of other places. It’s nice, like I said.

Until some of these these people self-destruct.

And what nobody tells you about small fame is that it comes with a problematic cadre of core fans, who – if you’re not careful – will mislead you.

Because what you see happening with this small fame, repeatedly, is that someone who’s now got a larger platform says something quite stupid. This is not because they themselves are necessarily stupid – “stupid” is a state that most of us fall into periodically, where we accidentally wash our hair with Vagisil or run through a stoplight or say something ill-thought-out on the Internets.

And the good news is that most of us have friends who’ll serve the same function as bumpers on a pinball table – they’ll go, “Wow, that was pretty silly of you,” and send you rebounding back into the Not-Stupid Zone.

We take our cues from our fellow humans, because we are social creatures. If you were to one day wake up and go, “I would like to wear pants made entirely of ice cream,” you would discover people staring and complaining about the ice cream drips and noticing that shortly afterwards you were displaying Rocky Road-smeared naughty bits about.

And so you would learn that this is maaaaaybe not your wisest idea, and rethink this ice cream-pants travesty.

But if you have small fame, you will have acquired a group of core fans who will love whatever you do. They are so like you that they are almost echoes of you, and will applaud and cheer and justify almost any action you would consider taking. They are not bad people, but they adore you simply because they are so close in tone and temperament to you that realistically, it’s like having a cheering section composed entirely of clones.

They will tell you these ice-cream pants are spectacular.

They will tell you that the folks complaining about the trails of dribbling Rocky Road you leave everywhere are irrationally afraid of ants.

They will tell you that anyone who doesn’t want to watch your peanut-coated nethers is just too damned prissy for their own good.

And if you are not careful, you will listen to these core fans, and not to the rest of the world frantically waving their arms and trying to warn you about the swarms of impending yellowjackets drawn to your sugar-clad genitalia.

Once you get past a certain point, you can get drunk on your own fame, and start listening to these core fans only, and start marking anyone who disagrees with you as The Enemy. When they’re not, in fact, The Enemy, but a friend who is trying to point out that hey, your ass is showing.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a lot more comfortable to live in the core group. They don’t question you. They defend you. They cheer you. No matter what idiotic thing you do, they will assure you that ZOMG, you were correct, and look at all those idiots out there denigrating you. And you’ll come to believe that anyone who criticize you is a jealous fool, because hey, I have this cheering squad over here, how can I be wrong with all these metronome-nodding heads assuring me I’m right?

And if you’re dim, you never do the math and realize you’ve got about a hundred people relentlessly nodding their heads, and ten thousand people disparaging these fantastic ice-cream pants.

It’s sad, when someone vanishes up their own ass like that. Some of the best things I’ve learned have been from people who have, sometimes quite rudely, put me in my place. And it was painful at the time, and embarrassing, and not something I wanted to do at all, but in the end I learned how to be a better and wiser human being, and to compose pants made out of much more durable waffles.

But if you’re on the Internets, one day you too may be lucky enough to experience the danger of small fame. And when that happens, go to the mall, look around, notice how nobody is paying attention to you at all, notice how when you step outside this carefully-constructed framework you are not, in fact, such a much.

And breathe thanks that you still have people who will call you out when you’re foolish. It’s actually a blessing, I assure you.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

kaberett: Blue-and-red welly boots on muddy ground. (boots)
[personal profile] kaberett
... yesterday Charing Cross phoned me up to ask if I was okay moving my next appointment with them from the morning of the 7th of May to the afternoon of the 30th of April. Which, well, yes - but also if they'd given me any kind of sensible amount of notice on that, I'd have been able to (1) apply for a postal vote, (2) stay down in Cornwall for Furry Day, and (3) aid and abet my mum in Visiting my baby brother in Bristol on our way back up. As it is my aunt and I have train tickets that rely on my railcard bringing us back upcountry on the 6th, and I am Irritated.

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Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz - bolt of blue - infovore)

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