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Episode 1410: It's the Fort that Counts

There's lots of fun to be had with mixing up figurative and literal interpretations of what players or characters say. Because when you think about it, quite a lot of English (and I suspect other languages too) is actually idiomatic. People tend to drop idioms into speech without even realising it.

Try dropping in a character who always takes idioms literally. This is the source of much humour in Star Trek, both the original series with Mr Spock, and The Next Generation with Data. Just imagine a character like that, and you're halfway to playing one.

naraht: "If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be called research" (hist-Research)
[personal profile] naraht
Not new, but making the rounds:

Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945)

Thought some of you ([personal profile] sovay, [personal profile] seekingferret, [profile] e_pepys...) would be very interested.

Apparently the complete edition is Hitler's Uranium Club: The Secret Recordings at Farm Hall by Jeremy Bernstein. It is now on my Amazon wishlist.

On Faroese

Sep. 25th, 2016 08:11 am
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
Faroese Online has finally landed! It's based on Icelandic Online, which was one of my major learning resources (though I still haven't finished it). So far it's only the "survival course," which is a bit basic for me, but probably worth doing in order to grasp the pronunciation and a few basic differences in vocabulary. I don't expect to work through it in an organised way, unless/until I decide to go back to the Faroes, in which case I'll probably do it as a bit of a crash course.

Faroese is in amazingly good health given the years of Danish rule, when Danish was the language of church, school, law, politics, literature and pretty much everything else. Faroese only returned to being a written language in the mid-nineteenth century (hence the wacky orthography): the first notable novels seem to be from the 1930s, and the Bible wasn't fully translated until 1949!

But Faroese is absolutely the language of daily life in the Faroes. Apparently 5% of people have Danish as a first language but this wasn't something that I noticed. All the signs, brochures, menus, announcements are in Faroese. Everyone started off speaking to me in Faroese (which would have been great if I had any speaking/listening skills....) It has a thriving little literary scene, and a radio station, and a TV station I guess although the broadcasting hours seem to be very restricted.

You can definitely see the difference in cultural production between the Faroese and Iceland. As an independent nation with a population of 300k rather than 50k, Iceland puts out much more material in terms of books, films, TV, newspapers. You could quite happily read Icelandic literature all year, unless you were a very voracious reader, whereas the selection in Faroese was limited and dominated by translations.

Most of the books in the bookstore were Danish. Iceland's second language is clearly English whereas in the Faroes it's clearly Danish. Most of the Faroese seem to be fluent in Danish, whereas the Icelanders are required to learn it in school but never seem to manage. I found it funny that there were no Icelandic books on sale in the Faroes: the written languages are mutually intelligible, so you would think they would take advantage of the literary output there, but no.

While in the Faroes I did buy a couple of books in Faroese, one a translation and one in the original language. I plan to try reading these without too much prior study, and we'll see what sticks. There are a few key Faroese words that I've already had to look up. For instance, "but." We shall see!
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Pharmaceutical companies aren't interested in a 'simple cure for cancer' because it hasn't been proved an effective treatment, not because it isn't patentable.

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2016 10:19 pm
zvi: (barcode)
[personal profile] zvi
I hate being sick. Friday, I woke up and didn't feel bruised and beaten, so I went into work. (I had been out of the office four business days, so there were some things I really need to get done.) I only made it until about quarter to two, and then I left work to get lunch, walk around a nearby shopping center a little bit (I was sort of hoping to buy a purse big enough to hold my 10" tablet, but I didn't see anything I really liked), until I could catch the bus home.

Today, I put away about six loads of laundry, including schlepping an ironing board up and downstairs, and I was wiped out. My breathing got fucked up so that talking made me cough, and I still feel quite subpar. (I can't tell if it's the impact of the laundry or if it's just me feeling shitty from the flu.)

Anyway, also today, I decided against reinstalling Ubuntu on my computer. (I was dual booting Ubuntu and Windows, but first my Windows partition got too small to be usefully updated, then my Ubuntu partition got too small to be updated, so I took it to a computer shop to be repartitioned, but they were kind of freaked out by the idea of installing Ubuntu, so I ended up having them wipe the hard drive and install Windows 10. I actually really like Windows 10 and One Note, and almost everything else I do, I do online.

So, I'm going to restore the data from my backup, but not Ubuntu. I'm pretty sure it's going to be easier, once I eventually get everything backed up. (Getting everything backed up is going to take forever, though. I'm doing it in chunks, as I'm trying not to download stuff that was saved multiple times on my hard drive. For some reason, nearly all of my podfic had been saved twice, for instance.

I feel a little sad about it, but also like it will make my life easier. I was never very political about free software, and dual booting is kind of a pain in the ass. It's the end of an era for me, though. :/

Syllabus and stats

Sep. 24th, 2016 09:49 pm
deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
[personal profile] deborah
I've updated the online reading list for my Fantasy and Science Fiction class at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

Some random statistics might be interesting. I kept track of them for my own purposes, and then I had too much fun with pivot tables, so I'm sharing some of my results. Keep in mind these are often guesses on my part, because I only needed rough numbers, and I could be wrong.Many stats! )

Dear Yuletide Writer

Sep. 24th, 2016 08:10 pm
yhlee: snowflake (StoryNexus: snowflake)
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hello, and thank you for writing for me!

General likes: I have pretty broad reading tastes, but some things I enjoy include angst, schmoop, fics that stick close to canon, fics that go a long way from canon, odd AUs (everything from coffeeshop to high school to IN SPAAAAAACE), power dynamics (especially in smut if one is inclined to write such a thing), witty dialogue, comedy, darkfic, amnesia, dubcon/noncon, military tactics/strategy/logistics, plotty fic...

DNWs: Animal harm and issuefic. [1] I have also listed a couple DNWs specific to fandoms where warranted. If you're not sure about something you want to include, feel free to query via the mods.

[1] I've read some brilliant issuefic, so it's not that I'm against the category, but this year I am inclined toward iddier reading.

If you are feeling experimental--IFs, second person, odd narrative structure, etc.--I encourage you to go all-out. I like that sort of thing! But at the same time, please do not feel obliged. I like not-second person (etc.) fics, too. :D

Optional note: I am open to both AUs (as you have figured out) and crossovers. In particular, a Captive Prince/L5R crossover could be amazing if someone wanted to try it. I assume Laurent is a Doji duelist and Damen is a Hida bushi...or what about Vorkosigan/L5R? Just imagine!

I've talked a little about what I like about each requested fandom, and listed possible prompts in case you find that sort of thing inspiring. If you come up with an even better idea, however, go for it! It is important to me that you have fun writing what you write. :D

If you are hard-up on time and need an emergency fandom, I would recommend Captive Prince. It's a trilogy, BUT you could read just the first book (titled, helpfully enough, The Captive Prince) and use that for a basis for a missing scene or an AU. Alternately, you could go with Vorkosigan Saga (although the whole thing is ungodly long), just read the first omnibus (Cordelia's Honor), and base a fic off what you find there, going AU as necessary. I don't mind AUs in general and will not hold it against you! As much as I love L5R, it has a ridiculous amount of backstory scattered in five zillion places. I completely disrecommend L5R as an emergency fandom.

I love all three fandoms equally so have simply put them in alphabetical order. I'd be thrilled by fic for any of them.

Captive Prince (Damen, Laurent), Legend of the Five Rings (Hida Kisada), Vorkosigan Saga (Aral Vorkosigan) )
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The Libertarian candidate said 'global warming is in our future' because 'the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth,' but what he meant is uncertain.

[stories] The Sky-Sister's Garden

Sep. 24th, 2016 07:50 pm
yhlee: Texas bluebonnet (text: same). (TX bluebonnet (photo: snc2006 on sxc.hu))
[personal profile] yhlee
The Sky-Sister's Garden

For Nancy Sauer ([personal profile] daidoji_gisei).
Prompt: "vegetables."

People who dwell on sea or land often do not realize the effort to which the sky-sisters go to cultivate the clouds, the winds, the swirl of stars in the great wheel of night. Every caprice of the weather is governed by laws written in the language of butterfly wing and unstable equations. The dwellers on sea and land sacrifice goats or geese or, occasionally, imperfectly formed geodes to influence the rains ands snows and sun in their favor, little realizing that the sky-sisters, for all their attentiveness, cannot do more than nudge the weather to help them.

One such sky-sister was known for her skill at coaxing constellations to march properly across the sky as the seasons passed, instead of lingering too long and scattering meteor-signs of ill omen. With her digging tools and specialized shears, she traveled the skyways, her pet bird--the sky-sisters have a weakness for birds--perched upon her shoulder. Patiently she stopped by recalcitrant polestars or planets out of alignments, singing and tugging until they grew in their proper places.

Even the sky-sisters have time for leisure, however. During those hours, this particular sky-sister lavished time on a small plot of land upon a sky-island that the lord of clouds had kindly anchored in the atmosphere for her benefit. There, taking advantage of the peculiar ways that seasons manifested in the sky-realm, she grew sugar snap peas and parsnips and carrots, tomatoes and cabbages and kale. (Never beets, however. She was not fond of beets.) Her bird benefited the most from the garden's harvest, but she too ate the resulting salads and soups.

Try as she might, however, the sky-sister could not grow zucchini. She tried planting it close to the sun. The zucchini wouldn't sprout. She tried planting it close to the moon. The zucchini wouldn't sprout. She tried planting it on the underside of the sky-island, in case the zucchini had unorthodox notions about the proper place of gravity. The zucchini wouldn't sprout.

This only made the sky-sister more determined. She fertilized the zucchini with fewmets imported from the Mountain of Nine Dragons. The zucchini wouldn't sprout. She watered it with the tears of poet tigresses. (She shed a few tears herself, contemplating their odes. Tigresses are surprisingly excellent poets.) The zucchini wouldn't sprout. She chanted imprecations from the Book of Aspiring Chlorophyll. The zucchini still wouldn't sprout.

At last the sky-sister sat down on her sky-island and looked around at all the vegetables that did grow. "Why isn't this working?" she asked, and absentmindedly plucked a sugar snap pea to gnaw on.

At this point, her pet bird had the grace to look embarrassed. "You really like zucchini, don't you?"

The sky-sister hadn't realized that the bird could talk, but when one spends one's free time on a floating island, this sort of detail doesn't faze one. "I don't see how you could have guessed that," she said wryly.

"I do too," the bird said. "I just like it at a more embryonic stage of development."

The sky-sister considered this. "Well," she said philosophically, "it's good to know that the problem was not my skill at gardening, but my skill at applied ornithology."

Notable Yuletide nominations

Sep. 24th, 2016 07:25 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
From the newly released tagset, mostly a note to myself. I haven't gone through Movies or TV Shows in much detail.

All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot
Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
The Charioteer - Mary Renault
City & the City - China Mieville
The Cruel Sea - Nicholas Monsarrat
David Blaize - E. F. Benson
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Foreigner Series - C. J. Cherryh
Goblin Market - Christina Rossetti
Gödel Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid - Douglas Hofstadter
He Knew He Was Right - Anthony Trollope
Hilary Tamar Mysteries - Sarah Caudwell
The Image of a Drawn Sword - Jocelyn Brooke
À la recherche du temps perdu | Remembrance of Things Past - Marcel Proust
Lady Audley's Secret - Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Le città invisibili | Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino
Le Petit Prince | The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
The Magicians - Lev Grossman
Mánasteinn: drengurinn sem var aldrei til | Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was - Sjón
The Marlows - Antonia Forest
Maurice - E. M. Forster
Moby Dick - Herman Melville
Paying Guests - Sarah Waters
Return to Night - Mary Renault
Revelation Space Series - Alastair Reynolds
Secret History - Donna Tartt
Shadow Man - Melissa Scott
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James
The Unlit Lamp - Radclyffe Hall
The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard

Bloomsbury Group RPF
Bright Young Things RPF
Cambridge Apostles RPF
Cycling RPF
Deadliest Catch RPF
First World War RPF
Royal Shakespeare Company RPF
Star Trek: The Next Generation RPF

Cities (Anthropomorfic)
Global Cycling Network (Youtube)
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Questionable sources maintain that the plight of so-called "Irish slaves" in early America was worse than that of African slaves. Historians beg to differ.

Sidetracks - September 23, 2016

Sep. 23rd, 2016 11:03 pm
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Sidetracks (sidetracks)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Sidetracks is a collaborative project featuring various essays, videos, reviews, or other Internet content that we want to share with each other. All past and current links for the Sidetracks project can be found in our Sidetracks tag.


Read more... )

Planning. It's like exercise really.

Sep. 23rd, 2016 11:13 pm
zvi: Warrick Brown, looking fine and sexy (Warrick Brown)
[personal profile] zvi
So, I've been watching these Bullet Journal videos and Planner videos for, like, two weeks, and, even though I have no intention of starting my own physical planner (I use a notepad to write down my daily tasks at work, because I had to confront the fact that writing must do stuff on post it notes and attaching it to my monitor made me feel dumb, but EVERYTHING ELSE IS DIGITAL.)

Part the first: The only good planner is the planner you actually use. Things that make you stop using a planner are extremely idiosyncratic and extremely real. If you don't use your planner because it's too big or too small, because it's not pretty enough, because the pages are hard to turn, because you never have your planning pens with you, or whatever it is that's giving you grief, change your setup until you are willing to use your planner consistently. Like exercise, planning is for you to make your life better, so if the planner you have is not one you're using, it's not doing you any good. If any of the advice you get from me or anyone else makes you less likely to plan, ditch the advice. You do you!

That being said, the opinions.

Part the Second: Bullet Journal opinions
  1. Start your bujo in a notebook you already own. This is gonna feel weird for maybe as long as the first 3 months and it may end up not working for you. Don't throw out cash to begin with, just pick up an old spiral-bound and get started. If you find that a bujo is kind of working for you but you want something prettier or smaller or larger, you'll figure it out. But to give it a try, just use the notebook and pen you have on hand. The first three months are seriously you just trying the system.
  2. Page 1 should be your key. Leave a blank page on page 2 for changes you make to your key, a color code, or a pen test.
  3. When you do buy a journal specifically for bullet journaling, you want dot grid paper. (You don't have to buy an expensive Leuchtturm1917 to get dot grid paper.) It's much easier to draw boxes and grids freehand if you have the dots to guide you. If you really can't get dot grid paper, you can get quadrille notebooks from any office supply store.
  4. Your bullet journal should be the largest notebook you will happily carry everywhere with you. Feeling cramped is a problem lots of people have, feeling weighed down by too big a book is a problem people have. Find your best compromise, which may be tiny!
  5. Index. To make it easier to index, you should either write the page number on all of the pages as soon as you start your journal, or make adding a number the first thing you do when you start a new page. Adding a page to the index should be the second thing you do when you start a new page. Index.
  6. After you've figured out your preferred monthly or weekly spread (maybe you don't need a monthly and a weekly. Maybe you do.) consider turning it into a printable and just printing and pasting the spread to save yourself some time. (Unless you like drawing your layouts. But consider creating the printables for a really busy week. Just keep it in your back pocket.)
  7. Think about how you're going to archive/transfer your permanent collections. Evernote and Onenote are options.
  8. Planners have a bazillion neat tools for planning. Stamps, stickers, printables, binder clips, paper clips, magnetic bookmarks, tabs, stickynotes, paper flags, washi tape. Don't feel limited to highlighters and colored pens and pencils for making your bullet journal work for you. However, the tools you pick should probably be the tools you feel happy to carry with you just about everywhere. So your bujo is with you, and your tools are with you, and you can always update your bujo.
  9. Skipping weeks or days in your bujo is fine. Pick it back up when you have time. It's just blank pages. Figure out what kept you from using it, and if you can simplify, eliminate, or switch, wrote you're busy. But if you wind up putting things down and picking them up, it's fine. Honestly, maybe you just prefer a different method.



Part the third: Planner opinions
  1. Consolidate in as few planners as you can. The more planners you have, the more opportunities you have to not have the right planner to take the note or make the appointment you need to do at the moment.
  2. If you have to modify the layout all the time, create a printable or find a stamp to make the change you need.
  3. If you don't care about bulkiness, a disk system offers maximum flexibility and ease of change. If you want something relatively slim, get a bound planner, but pick your layout carefully. If you don't know exactly what layout you want, your best bet is to wait until December (or even January) and buy several different discounted planners at a bookstore.
  4. Carry your planner supplies with you inside of your planner.




Part the fourth
Are you sure you wouldn't be happier doing all of this on your phone? They make quite large phones, nowadays.
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An existing hoax news site used a new domain to spread a false rumor about a freeze on government assistance in Wisconsin.

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