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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Firstly, it takes very little discussion of regulations for my eyes to glaze over. Secondly, and far less constructively, if someone proposes a system that relies on genres like science fiction and fantasy being distinct rather than overlapping sets, I will start thinking about the worthy works that live in the overlap.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:20 pm
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Crooked Timber's John Quiggin considers imaginable ways to get carbon dioxide in the atmosphere down to 350 ppm by 2100.

  • Karen Sternheimer at the Everyday Sociology Blog considers the tenuous nature of the upper-middle class in America. How is downwards mobility to be avoided, even here?

  • Imageo shows the growth of a sunspot larger than the Earth.

  • Language Hat shares the story of how Manchu script came to be.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that the working poor need protection from arbitrary and always-changing work schedules.

  • The LRB Blog notes the geopolitical scramble at the Horn of Africa, starting with bases in Djibouti.

  • The NYR Daily engages with an intriguing exhibition about the relationship between Henry James and paintings, and painting.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw engages with the classic 1937 Australian film, Lovers and Luggers.

  • Noel Maurer at The Power and the Money notes that one benefit of the trend towards greater informality in fashion is that time has been freed up, especially for women.

  • Peter Rukavina writes about his new Instagram account, hosting his various sketches.

  • Unicorn Booty notes the continuing problems with Germany's adoption laws for same-sex couples.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how the Polish president saved the independence of Poland's courts with his veto.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia is trying to mobilize the ethnic Russians of Lithuania, finally.

Passing the hat

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My vet has an interesting receptionist and so what I was told would be a sixty dollar trip for their shots is in fact a two hundred dollar trip. This is all part of the seemingly futile effort to find them new homes. If people could donate towards the trip, that would be great.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
How to Make a Clichéd High Fantasy Cover

I am reminded of the cover of a Joe Abercrombie novel where every time I took another look, I noticed yet another sword the character on the cover was carrying.

Definitely Can't Be Buggered At All

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:55 pm
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[personal profile] stoutfellow
This is a sculpture, in mammoth ivory, of a hedgehog. It is 40,000 years old - the oldest known sculpture of a hedgehog.

For some reason that makes me happy.

H/t to numerous people, but most immediately Dick King-Smith's twitter feed.
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



The Order of Truth's Aeon Priests have resurrected our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the tabletop science-fantasy roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future.



Bundle the first and bundle the second

Walked to the library

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:15 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Saw a squirrel hop into the back of a pickup truck and wait, giving every impression it was waiting impatiently for something. Does it know trucks move? Is that how it got to the library?

Sequitur. Definitely Sequitur.

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:32 pm
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[personal profile] stoutfellow
So I'm sitting at the computer, websurfing, and the randomized playlist brings up Pat Benatar singing "Out-a-touch". The song comes to the finale, as Pat warbles "I need you ... I need you!" and Buster comes up and puts his forepaws on my leg.

Two questions

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:55 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I wonder how long it will take the shadowy figures behind the Dragon Awards to count the votes?

I wonder to what degree the award has been gamed by the puppies?

Diamond Rust

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:57 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
For some reason, I've been thinking about Neil Diamond. It seems that when you buy a "Greatest Hits" album of a singer or group you loved in your youth, it never contains all of the songs you want (unless it's a "Complete Works", and even that doesn't always work - my so-called "Complete Diana Ross" omits several songs of her songs from the Supremes. I found those later.)[1]

I have three Diamond albums. Two of them - Beautiful Noise and I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight - are from the late seventies, early eighties; they're good albums (I love "Dry Your Eyes" in particular) but they're not the Diamond I grew up with. The third is The Neil Diamond Collection, mostly from the early seventies, and it has some great stuff ("Sweet Caroline", "Holly Holy", "Brother Love's Travellin' Salvation Show"), but it's also not the Diamond I grew up with. It does have one song from that era, "Cherry Cherry", but - no. That song was written for and by someone a decade younger, and hearing it sung live, by the older Diamond, complete with grunting... just no.

The songs that introduced me to Diamond were on one album, belonging to one of my sisters. (I have no way of knowing which; they themselves sometimes disagree on the issue.) It was very early, mid-sixties Diamond: "Kentucky Woman", "Red Red Wine", "You Got to Me", "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon", "Solitary Man"... Yeah, some of them have probably been visited by one of the Suck Fairies (probably the Sexism Fairy), but that's what teen heart-throb albums were like back then, and I still remember them fondly. One of these days I'll have to get the CD.

[1] I can't decide whether the period goes inside the parenthesis or outside, when the parenthetical is a sentence and a half long. My rule of thumb - if the parenthetical is entirely part of the sentence, then outside; if it's a sentence, or more than one, in its own right, then inside - doesn't handle fractions well. Probably parentheses should be avoided then, but quod scripsi scripsi. :grmph:

An Ill Wind

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:50 pm
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[personal profile] stoutfellow
I put out a call for estimates on the fence this morning, and have spoken to one contractor. His estimate, based purely on my possibly-flawed description, is something over a Kbuck, but I can handle it. I've decided not to let the mowers into the back yard until the fence is fixed; the gate is in the damaged section, and opening or closing it is likely to increase the strain. That shim won't last very long....

We had a bad thunderstorm, with much wind, the last night of the heat warning, and I suspect that wind was the final blow to an already weakened system. This morning I noticed my trash bin (about 4'x1'x1') had fallen over; there was only one bagful of garbage in it. The recycling bin, of the same size and right next to it, was still upright. It was also about half full. (I seem to generate recyclables more quickly than I do garbage.)

Please explain

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:39 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The logic of requiring pedestrians to press a button for the pedestrian crosswalk sign to change, rather than just linking it to the traffic lights.

Fig and Ibid still need rehoming

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:40 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Jasmine provided me with a very apt description for Ibid and Fig: the feline answer to Pinky and the Brain.... So if any Waterloo Region and adjacent people would like a cat who spends a lot of time thinking and one who spends a lot of time ... not thinking, let me know...

(also open to suggestions for rehoming them, because what I am doing isn't working)

Dur

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:03 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Of course I can review the Kobo Aura. It just never occurred to me I could until someone suggested it.

Reanalysis

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:32 pm
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[personal profile] stoutfellow
A current article in Atlantic contains the following: "[T]he FSB has built an empire in the same way, making minigarchs out of rank-and-file FSB officers whose salaries don’t square with the posh lifestyles they lead." I draw your attention to the coinage "minigarch", presumably a portmanteau of "mini" and "oligarch".

Of course, that's a bastardization reanalysis of "oligarch"; an oligarchy is a state in which there are many few [1] ("oligo") powerful people ("archon"). [I am no doubt messing up the precise Greek, but the roots are common enough...] Evidently the "g" has been reinterpreted as being part of the second morpheme rather than the first. (Compare, in English, "a nadder" > "an adder", or "helicopter", originally "helico-pter" ("helix-wing"), being interpreted as "heli-copter" > "copter".)

Just an oddity....

[1] Thanks to [personal profile] ndrosen for catching my error on this one.

On the Fence

Jul. 23rd, 2017 01:16 pm
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[personal profile] stoutfellow
That's "on" meaning "pertaining to".

After I bought my house, twenty-some years ago, my next move was to acquire a dog. (That would be the late lamented Murphy.) In order to allow him outside time, I then had a fence erected around part of the back yard - a plain, unadorned picket fence.

I have to admit that I haven't taken good care of the fence - hammering in the occasional loose nail, no more than that. Just now, I glanced out the window and saw that the western segment of the fence had broken; one of the supports had leaned out of true, and the section of fence north of it had come loose and sagged inward. If Buster had noticed it, he would have had an easy route to freedom. I shut the access to the doggy doors and went outside to inspect it. Armed with no more than a hammer and a shim, I managed to get it realigned, but it's no more than a makeshift. Among other things, it puts increased strain on the already-misbehaving gate.

No help for it; I'll have to call in the pros to repair the fence ASAP (and hopefully get the gate working properly again). At least the excessive heat warning that's been in effect since Tuesday noon will expire this evening.
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