nancylebov: (green leaves)
If you see a typo in one of your years' old posts, do you feel compelled to correct it?
nancylebov: (green leaves)
https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap170410.html



This seems like an unmanageable science fiction premise-- it's quite possible that aliens living in the hole in the microwave background wouldn't be able to learn as much about the early history of the universe. This should matter for something, but what?

Also, is there any way to automatically enlarge the images from apod_rss?
nancylebov: (green leaves)
https://www.dreamwidth.org/feeds/list

It took me a little time to figure out how to add xkcd to my reading list, so this resource might not be obvious for everyone else.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
https://2017revival.dreamwidth.org/2102.html

I was torn. "Friends" leads to emotional issues. "Readers" is the DW term. "So people from livejournal can find you" might be vaguely threatening. So "contacts".

Anyway, I think the link is to a very helpful project.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
This is a private person who's willing to fund 3 projects that sound interesting to her-- 5K each.
If you have a 5Kish project that you can't get off your mind, you might want to take a look.

https://medium.com/@nayafia/5-000-no-strings-attached-9e7b95d33e50

I’d like to fund something that’s personally meaningful to you, whether that’s moving to the city of your dreams, building a better mousetrap, or bringing strangers together.

I’ll also prioritize projects where:
Funding isn’t readily available for this kind of project
You have a unique take on the project, or your backstory is interesting
Impact extends beyond the life of your project (ex. new program vs. one-time event)
Timeline is shorter (ex. 2 months) vs. longer (ex. one year)

Get creative! I’m open to suggestions. While your project should have a sense of beginning and end, I’ll gladly fund exploratory periods like sabbaticals or research.

I’m also happy to consider proposals like an extracurricular class or moving expenses, if they’re a major obstacle standing in between you and your dreams.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
https://mapsburgh.tumblr.com/post/151687211976/frodo-didnt-fail

This is really excellent-- it compares Manichaean evil (evil is a force) with Augustinian evil (evil is the absence of good) and demonstates that the plot of LOTR-- and especially the climax at the Cracks of Doom are solidly consistent with the idea that victory comes from doing the right thing, even when it seems completely impractical.

Link found here. Sherwood Smith is doing a reread of LOTR.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
The subject line pretty much covers it.

If you haven't heard, livejournal has imposed a new and possibly sketchy terms of service on its users, and more people are leaving lj and heading to dw.

I'm not sure it makes sense to post my request at dw as well as lj, but I'm not sure it doesn't, so I'm cross-posting.

I'm very grateful that the original lj had open-source software so that it's possible to mirror a livejouranl (including the old posts) at dw.
nancylebov: blue moon (Default)
I've come up with a non-dairy comfort food.

1 medium butternut squash
4 medium small sweet potatoes
1 medium onion and a shallot
1/2 pound bacon
4 assorted somewhat hot peppers and a little hot sauce
garlic (Auntie Arwen's dried garlic mix)
salt
some maple syrup, maybe a couple of tablespoons

I steamed the squash (20 minutes). I found that the skin was edible, which was convenient-- some people don't like the texture, but it's a pain to remove the skin. (Second thought, maybe it's worth the trouble to pick the skin out.)

Microwaved the potatoes.

Fried the bacon, then fried the chopped peppers and onions in the bacon grease.

Mashed the squash, potatoes, bacon, peppers, and onions together. That was when I decided it needed more heat and salt, and added a little hot sauce and the maple syrup.

This is pretty comforting as it is, but would be more comforting without the hot peppers. My original plan included collard greens, but I don't think they were necessary.

The hot peppers (one light orange and wrinkly, one good-sized dark green and with an oval cross section, a smaller dark green pepper which wasn't quit as oval, and a medium-sized dark red spherical pepper) were from a mixed bag from Whole Foods. They had an interesting variety ot flavors, but I'm not sure what to do with them-- I'm not bad at improvised cooking but they were beyond my level of subtlety.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Richard Stallman ordered a button from me-- the top half had blue writing on white which said BLUE LIES MATTER*, the bottom half had black writing on yellow "Prosecute Perjury", and the whole thing had a red ring around the edge to make it more eye-catching.

What could possibly go wrong?

He wore it to Boskone, and several people saw it as being about lies from Democrats.

I considered redoing it with "Prosecute Police Perjury". However, most police lies aren't in court and therefore aren't committing perjury.

Please discuss this at DW/LJ, not on Facebook.


*read it carefully, there's a gotcha
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Daryl Davis is a black man who befriends KKK members, starting from a premise of trying to understand how people can hate him without knowing him, and also meeting people where they are.

He's got about 30 KKK robes which were given to him by people who left the KKK.

There's been a book by him for a while, but now there's a movie, available on the PBS site until 2/28.

Do *not* watch it at Film Lush, they're scammers.

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/videos/accidental-courtesy/
nancylebov: (green leaves)
I'm currently planning to maintain two parallel blogs, posting from DW to LJ.

The interesting question is how to handle my presence in both-- reading habits (some of the more prolific posters are in both DW and LJ, and I don't want to unsubscribe from them at one site and then have to keep track if they change where they are) and commenting (comment where there are already comments or what?).

I'm planning on maintaining paid accounts at both because I want to be able to edit my comments easily. Like so many people, I don't seem to see typos until after I hit send. I was nervous about saying that I value editing LJ comments more than I dislike letting the Russian owners of LJ get a few dollars a year (I assume that most of the fee is for maintaining the site), but then I decided that I might as well tell the truth and see what happens.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
From [livejournal.com profile] kalimac:

I'd totally forgotten this, but I've been going through my posts of the last year in preparation for writing a year-end post, and found this: On January 31st, I predicted that, given a straight fight between Trump and Clinton, Trump would be elected President.

Let me repeat that: On January 31st, 2016, I predicted that Trump would be elected President.

Here's the relevant part of what I wrote:
The article's second argument is that "there are simply not enough struggling, resentful, xenophobic white people in the US to constitute a national majority sufficient to win a presidential election." The flaw in that reasoning is that, if Trump wins the nomination, he won't need merely that category. Unless the party splits over him, and I wouldn't count on it doing so, other Republicans will have nowhere else to go. Trump has high negatives, yes, but so does Clinton (if she's the Democratic nominee), and she doesn't have the enthusiasm of her party's base. Enthusiasm is what means turnout, and - as the difference between 2008 and 2010 amply shows - between two strong bases, it's turnout that wins elections. Combine that with the prospect of a sluggish economy, and in a straight fight between Clinton and Trump, it'd be a wonder if Trump didn't win.

Then I wrote, "Never say that a strong candidate can't win," with a link to a collection of quotes from as late as the day before the 2008 election saying that Obama can't, or won't, win.

A bunch of people saying that Obama couldn't possibly win

I tell you three times, this wasn't my prediction. I thought Clinton would win.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
There's currently a migration to Dreamwidth because the LJ servers have been moved to Russia. This is a security risk (though I hope not a serious one for people who aren't living in Russian controlled territory*) and also puts LJ accounts at more risk for being deleted for arbitrary reasons.

If you're on my friends list on LJ, using a different name on DW, and don't mind letting me know what it is, could you let me know?

*insert scenario about Trump)
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Literally speaking, "You should have known better" makes no sense. How can people have known things before they knew them? How can there be a moral requirement which is impossible? It was a revelation to me that moral strictures should be achievable-- I thought they were just floating out in the ether being correct.

I got a lot of "you should have known better" when I was a kid, and I have no patience for it now. However, logical consistancy requires that I not blame people for not knowing better than to say it.

If I feel compelled to give advice about something someone did, I say "for future reference" to make it clear that I don't think they could or should make the past different.

On the other hand, people do say "You should have known better" quite a lot. Most people (that is to say, non-geekish people) use language very approximately, and they seem to manage. My theory is that "You should have known better" is shaming someone for making a mistake-- it's an effort to make sure they don't make that particular mistake again. There may be some hope that they'll be more alert in general, or it may just be dumping fear and anger without thinking about long-term effects.

It's worth noting that I was living in a pretty safe environment and temperamentally cautious. I'm interested in discussion of good methods for teaching urgent rules.

I believe that shaming people, especially shaming them for breaking vague rules, tends to damage their initiative. Who knows what else will bring down another punishment? Better to not take risks.

One thing that took me a surprisingly long time to learn was that when my calligraphy was going badly, I should stop and think about whether there's a problem caused by ink, paper, penpoint, or temperature/humidity. Before I had that realization, I would just keep trying the same thing, hoping that somehow matters would get better. It was sort of a moral issue-- perhaps if I was a good enough person I could get things right.

From the outside and after I figured this out, it seems as though I had very little sense. However, it was the amount of sense I had.

I was a somewhat spacey and very angry child (I think a good bit of the anger wasn't shown), and being shamed about incompetence did a lot to get me to give up on connecting to the world outside my head. If you startle someone who's being inept, it doesn't make them more competent. The rules are probably different for emergencies and I'm interested in what anyone has to say about being effective about getting people's attention.

This only feels like half an essay, but I think I might as well post it and see what further thoughts show up.

Meanwhile, a case of being told the rules repeatedly and what it can take to believe a rule might be worth following.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
http://en.news-4-u.ru/within-days-after-moving-servers-lj-in-russia-ilv-blocked-almost-100-entries.html

The LJ servers have been moved to Russia. 99 accounts and records have been blocked. This also means LJ is accessible to the Russian government.

Some of the people on my friends list have duplicated their LJ accounts to Dreamwidth, which has very similar code.

Here's how to make a Dreamwidth account that duplicates what you've posted to LJ, and the comments you've received. I think you'll need to duplicate your friendlist by hand for DW, and get individual permissions for non-public posts there.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Wells Fargo's bad incentive plan also led to clients being forced or pushed into low quality insurance from Prudential.

A commenter mentioned Wells Fargo getting loads and scads of money in the bailout, so I found a reminder that WF was highly involved in mortgage fraud-- and, of course, it did get a big bailout.

There was an annoying bit near the beginning of the article shouldn't have been "Gold is a great thing to sew onto your garments if you're a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939 but civilized people don't buy gold", it should have been "people who trust that their countries are civilized don't buy gold".

So, there was that bit about people buying gold in the Rolling Stone article and my mind naturally went to India-- their government suddenly made their larger bills into not-money so that the government could collect more taxes.

Very cleverly, this deactivated 80% of the money. It hasn't been going well.
Indians tend to keep gold as a financial reserve. I don't know what history goes into this, though that might be the next thing to research.

Anyway, googling turned up that the Indian government is also targeting gold, but none of it is from sources that I'm familiar with-- not sketchy sources from my usual infosphere, just sources from parts of the world that I don't usually see.

http://www.nigeriatoday.ng/2016/12/following-demonetization-india-is-changing-its-outlook-on-bitcoin/
nancylebov: (green leaves)
Article about hostile feedback having a dispiriting effect on open source developers.

https://medium.com/@thejameskyle/dear-javascript-7e14ffcae36c#.k9k5mjty7

The comments are the usual Team People Should Be Kinder vs.Team People Should Be Stronger. While I'm on the Be Kinder side, I don't expect either team to make a lot of progress. Also, I wonder what would happen if the Be Stronger team won-- would the world be a better place if people were unshameable?
nancylebov: (green leaves)
"'There's no courage', The Prophet said, 'before the war has begun.'
Drunkards vaunt their bravery when you speak of war.
But in the blaze of battle they scatter like mice.
I'm astonished by the man who wants purity
And yet trembles when the harshness of polishing begin...
When a man beats a carpet again and again
It's not the carpet he's attacking, but the dirt in it."
-- Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (b. 1207, d. 1273-12-17), translated by Andrew Harvey

I used to be a big fan of Idris Shah, possibly the best known modern Sufi. Now, when I say I was a big fan, this means I read all the books of his I could get my hands on, not that I tried to live according to his ideas. I was a big fan of G.K. Chesterton, too. This doesn't mean I wanted to be a Catholic.

Anyway, I read the poem and was attracted to the metaphor of the carpet beater. It's a brilliant metaphor, and a hazard for humans. (I don't know what God is up to.) If you are a human, you just might not be an expert on what part of a human (yourself as well as other people) is simply dirt to be gotten rid of, and what is the real brilliantly colored valuable carpet.

Improvement is possible, but perhaps purity is a bad goal and something else, maybe excellence, would be better. Purity is limited by what people can imagine, and what people can imagine is much simpler than the real world.

At this point, I'm primed to notice it if I see people who took damage from Sufi training. This subject is complicated by the fact that it's hard to tell who's a real Sufi and who isn't. One of Shah's very reasonable points is that when you start out on a mystic path, you aren't a mystic, so you can easily make mistakes about what you're doing and who you're following. For that matter, I've seen some question about whether Shah was a real Sufi.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
A whole lot of people are making a whole lot of predictions.

I recommend keeping track of your predictions so that you can learn something about how accurate your model of the world is.

If you have a testable prediction, there's Prediction Book for keeping track of whether it comes true. You can make your predictions public or private.

Not a testable prediction, but I promise to try to not gloat if you turn out to be wrong.

My informal prediction is that Trump and his friends will steal a tremendous amount of money. I'm less sure about governmental and street violence. Things will probably get somewhat worse, but I don't have a strong feeling about how bad things will get.

Annoyingly, we can only test predictions about the effects of one candidate's victory.

We are in historically unprecedented territory so far as I know. Normally, when a country starts to become authoritarian, it then becomes authoritarian. America, as a relatively free country with a strong opposition, is in an unusually good position to resist.
nancylebov: (green leaves)
The subject came up of what to do because of the Trump victory.

At this point, I don't have much. I'm not panicking, and it's possible I should be much more worried than I am.

One general point-- you've got a minimum of three months before political changes.

Some reasons for less worry. A high proportion of people generally survive bad times. The worst thing you can imagine is not a good guide for prediction, usually. America has a lot of checks on political power. We know about the Nazis. That last isn't a guarantee of safety, but it was a lot easier for people to kid themselves about Germany being a civilized nation.

Guesses for preparation: build general capacity-- take care of your health, your finances, and your social network. Have cash. (The Handmaid's Tale is a nightmare, and part of it is about centralized control of money.) I realize people's resources vary a lot. You can only do what's possible. You may be able to get or give help.

The big picture: I don't trust government as much as a lot of people seem to, but I also acknowledge that it's useful. I think it's very early to be thinking about violent revolution, and things would have to be very dire for revolution to be a better bet than working on and with the system. This doesn't necessarily mean that you should be law-abiding if it looks very dangerous or debilitating. We're talking about guesswork, not bright moral distinctions.

Two Cheers for Anarchism is good about informal resistance.

Political: https://storify.com/editoremilye/i-worked-for-congress-for-six-years The short version is that a phone call (expect it to be picked up by a staffer) is the best way to get attention to members of Congress.

Discussion of how to tell when things are getting really bad:

http://ask.metafilter.com/302522/Knowing-the-warning-signs

From Making Light:
Go bags
General preparedness
First aid-- this is overwhelming, eat it one bite at a time.

I'd appreciate information about de-escalating street confrontations. I've done a little of that, mostly for myself, and my approach is so weird that I'm not sure how many other people can use it.

Please note that what I'm talking about is for relatively slow-moving confrontations and a shared language.

My underlying premise is that the most important thing is to lower the emotional intensity. My concealed premise is that there's nothing between people but dominance transactions. I believe that people mostly don't know what they want, so it's possible for the person who is more certain (in this case, that I don't want a dangerous confrontation) can take charge.

So I start calmly arguing. I'm not talking nonsense except that I apparently get so abstract that I'm incomprehensible-- if the other person says they don't understand me, I apologize and keep on going.

The point isn't what I'm saying. It's that they've been moved into a discussion.

I am not trying to shame them or change their life. I just want them to not be angry. If I can get them mildly bored this is good.

I feel faintly ill after I use this method. I think it takes a lot of repression.

I have no idea where this ability came from-- I've lived a pretty safe life.

Oh, and ask for what you do want rather than telling someone to stop what they're doing.

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