TFW illiteracy inspires hope

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:35 am
elf: Animated image of planetoid Eris (Eris is a Planet)
[personal profile] elf
Trump could launch a nuclear attack in 4 minutes discusses how the launch code system works, and how few checks and balances it has - basically none.

The "nuclear football" is a briefcase carrying the codes; it goes with the president everywhere. The article mentions that, hypothetically, the aide who carries it could refuse to hand it over - but that would (1) be illegal and (2) get him fired. Full cooperation is legally required. So, ok, odds of the president saying, "That Kim guy just insulted me on Twitter; I'm gonna blast him to the stone age; hand me that briefcase" and being told, "no, Mr. President, I'm not going to do that" are thin.

However... full cooperation doesn't necessarily mean "offering the kind of help that a PA/exec assistant provides."
The Football is actually full of binders and plans for war, so that a President can flip through it and decide what kind of nuclear war he wants to launch -- then he communicates that order to the Pentagon or Raven Rock, where it's promptly executed. There's a visual guide as part of the Football that one military aide referred to as the "Denny's Menu" of nuclear war. But other aides have darkly joked there are really just three options: Rare, Medium and Well-Done.
(Emphasis added) So... it involves reading. It involves finding data in a binder, and deciding what to do with that data. And while that info is likely well-referenced and explained, maybe even with simple flowcharts... the president is borderline functionally illiterate. His ability to grab information out of text may basically not exist.

If the president wants to launch WWIII, it's possible that all his staff has to do to stop him is not agree to help.

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:20 am
shyfoxling: (campbell (she'll think i'm a loony))
[personal profile] shyfoxling
Would anybody reading this be willing to nominate Takin' Over the Asylum for this year's Yuletide? (Nominations open on Sept 8th - see schedule here) I wheedled [personal profile] elf into doing it last year, but it didn't get any takers, and it's not on her list of fandoms she's considering for this year (I don't really blame her).
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Why I don't use automated checkout machines -- they cost jobs. Millions of jobs.

Where statues go to retire.

Is America finally ready for the bidet?

The Congressional Black Caucus is talking impeachment.

With all the weirdness, we might need some Help!

***

There is a lot of coverage of Trump's speech in Phoenix yesterday, ranging from "he's deranged" to "he made it all up" to "he plans to pardon that racist Joe Arpaio" and more. And there were 3000+ peaceful demonstrators outside -- at least, it appears, until police threw pepper bombs into the crowd. I do not have the oomph to chase all of this, but if you go to news.google.com, you'll find a ton of links. Sorry. I am having vision problems (eta: because the frame of my glasses is bent and one lens is closer than the other, and I have ordered new ones that aren't in yet) and need to take care of my eyes today, ok? Thanks for understanding.
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
I'm in general pretty sceptical about the Honours system, but over recent days I've become a believer. The Honours system justifies itself by continuing not to give a knighthood to Geoffrey Boycott and by very properly giving them instead to the likes of Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose, Wes Hall and Gary Sobers (and why the hell has Clive Lloyd not appeared on that list?), something that has recently prompted the mouthy Yorkshire rhubarb obsessive to observe that the honour was handed out "like confetti" to Windies players and that "Mine’s been turned down twice. I’d better black me face.”

Honestly, it's like a variation on Lewis's law*: Boycs' explanation for why he hasn't been knighted shows why he mustn't be knighted.

However, speaking of white knights, a whole bunch of Boycott supporters have crawled out of the woodwork on twitter, claiming that the only reason their hero hasn't had the respect he deserves is because of that pesky domestic violence conviction from 1998, and after all, that was in France so it barely counts and anyway, she was probably lying.

And since most of them are talking about "new evidence" I thought it was my public duty to do a little gentle fact checking, as a resource for others who may have to deal with these pests.

Read more... )

Anyway, as [personal profile] kalypso and I have known since the early 80s, the block to his knighthood lies not in his domestic violence conviction, his racism, his ban from Test cricket as a result of touring apartheid-era South Africa, his running out of Randall or his all-round painful personality. It lies in the deep dark reason everyone in the know knows, but no-one can talk about.


*"The comments below any article on feminism justify feminism".

t-shirt crossover (not for me)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 07:33 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I was looking at a catalog today and found the most frightening t-shirt I've seen in a while.

The design was meant to be patriotic and comforting -- a kitten looking out from under a draped American flag. I can't fault the idea, though it's not to my taste.

However-- on a shirt? The kitten is all head and it's huge -- the size of a small leopard. And with the shading, it appears to be emerging from the wearer's chest, confidently searching for more food...

Facebook Kittens/Alien.

Not for the win. ewwww.

$10/year, so why not?

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:27 am
elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Got my first magazine subscription in over 15 years, since I let my Consumer Reports sub lapse. I subcribed to Teen Vogue, which has some of the best feminist coverage of politics available in mainstream media.

Mixed in with the fashion tips and celebrity gossip, they have some terrific "celebrate yourself" pieces and amazing current events articles.

Their celebrity news mentions the importance of consent and all-around not being a jerk. Their makeup and fashion articles talk about individuality and bringing out your best features - which are not expected to be the same as everyone else's. They mention how disabilities and different cultural backgrounds interact with popular trends. Their photos aren't all of white people, nor thin people, nor young people. Their target demographic is definitely "teenage girls" - but they don't make everything pink, and they don't have "how to catch a boyfriend" articles.

I'd been meaning to subscribe since campaign season and never quite got around to it. Fixed that today.

what's getting (re)moved, what's not

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:35 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Some Confederate statues are being removed, some covered, some may be moved, and some won't go anywhere.

I have no problem with the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. They mark the locations where people stood or died when stuff happened; they are largely markers saying this unit was here, sometimes with names, sometimes not. They assist with understanding what happened in the battle. I don't recall offhand that there was anything glorifying the South there, in the way that there is elsewhere; but it's been a few years since I walked the entire battlefield, tracking troop movements.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I'm rereading Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades' and I just came to the place where it mentions, in a phrase in one sentence, Justin Alastair's secret efforts to put Charles Edward Stuart on the throne instead of George I. And that made me imagine a fanfic crossover that I have brain enough to write, though I'd love to read it. The other source would be Outlander, specifically the second volume where Jamie and Claire are in France attempting, subtly, to stop the Stuart uprising because Claire knows its outcome and wants to save the lives that would have been lost at Culloden, not to mention the destruction of the Highlands. The main problem in writing it would be viewpoint and style -- These Old Shades is written in a very mannered style, and the Outlanders, which are mostly from Claire's viewpoint, are a modern view of a past era. If it were from Justin's viewpoint -- he would not be quite the cynical onlooker that he is in 'Shades', at 45. He'd be a bit more like young Rupert, and I'm not sure how to do that. If it were from Claire's viewpoint, he might come out looking like a younger version of St. Germaine, which would not do. But what I would love to see is Justin's reaction to one of Claire's famous set-downs, whether aimed at him or at someone else. I suspect they would end up good friends, though I have no idea what Jamie would think of that.

Unfortunately, Leonie would not be able to be there in 1745 -- and her next appearance is in 'Devil's Cub', which I think dates to something like 1775 or 1780. By that time Jamie and Claire are in the Colonies, and I don't think they visit Paris together again for a while, though Jamie is there before that with his print shop. So the dates don't line up for a confrontation between Dominic, Leonie and Justin's son, and Bree, Claire and Jamie's tall, outspoken, red-haired daughter who wears breeches (Leonie would like that, though.)

Say your right words

Aug. 22nd, 2017 07:00 am
elf: Stained glass interlocking pentagons (Law of Fives)
[personal profile] elf
Five recent articles about the "alt-right" and what variety of racists go under which labels. (CW: some of them use NSFW language.)

The Complete List of Racists by Michael Harriot at the Root:
If the alt-right were a family, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and skinheads would be the grandparents, aunts and uncles who get their plates fixed first, while the anti-globalists, anti-feminists and “racialists” would sit at the kids’ table and have to drink out of paper cups.

Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language by Liam Stack at the New York Times:
Both phrases are part of a broad lexicon of far-right terminology that has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.

How to describe extremists who rallied in Charlottesville by John Daniszewski at the AP blog:
"alt-right" A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.

Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy at the Anti-Defamation League:
Though not every person who identifies with the Alt Right is a white supremacist, most are and “white identity” is central to people in this milieu. In fact, Alt Righters reject modern conservatism explicitly because they believe that mainstream conservatives are not advocating for the interests of white people as a group.

A Deconstruction Of The Alt-Right Movement by Rachel Toalson at Huffington Post:
The problem, see, is that while Spencer appears to be an intelligent human being, he also appears to be well practiced in manipulation and rhetoric — which, unfortunately, those who are unpracticed in the art of writing and the training of rhetorical composition, will be unable to recognize. So this is my humble attempt to do it for them.

It is time to stop using the term ‘alt right’
In recent years, American racists have taken pains to come up with new terminology to self-identify with—such as the so-called “alt-right,” a phrase credited to avowed racist Richard Spencer, who famously celebrated Trump’s victory with Nazi salutes.

**** A few thoughts inside )

Things You Can Believe In

Aug. 21st, 2017 06:24 pm
yourlibrarian: Sam and Dean are trustworthy (SPN-YouCanTrustUs-cakeholes)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) Has anyone else watched the movie Their Finest? I loved it. Read more... )

2) We've been watching Manhunt: The Unabomber and it only confirms my belief that the best and the brightest do not go into law enforcement. (Or if they do, chances are they don't last there). I actually found myself agreeing with the Unabomber's view of them. Read more... )

3) That people were more concerned about their legacy and the standing of the agency than actually thinking outside the box (although if you've got written evidence, how out of the box could linguistic analysis possibly be) contrasts rather painfully with the noble and dedicated view of investigators in fiction. (Although why should we expect these agencies to be different than any other workplace?) I couldn't help being reminded of their shortcomings when reading the following though:

"To push the limitations, I downloaded all the novel-length stories of the fifty most prolific Twilight fan-fiction authors on Fan-Fiction.net—each of whom had written more words in the Twilight universe than Stephenie Meyer herself. I thought that if you compared writers writing at about the same time as each other in the same universe about the same characters and in the emulated style of one author, the word frequencies might not have as much determinative value. Instead, it was 99.7 percent accurate at picking out who the true fan-fiction author of each story was."

4) We also recently watched Race, the Jesse Owens story. It was ok but the timing of seeing it was quite good. Read more... )

5) Nothing like finding a story that's rare in the fandom only to discover that, not only was it not finished, but it and all the author's other stories have disappeared from the net so you can't even look for their other work :( Read more... )

Time to start thinking about it

Aug. 21st, 2017 03:53 pm
elf: Petalwing in snow, saying "Yuletide!" (Yuletide)
[personal profile] elf
Yuletide nominations start in under 3 weeks. Time to start thinking about what to nominate, and if I want to cajole any friends into extra nominations.

Yuletide 2017 schedule - Link with updated schedule
Nominations Friday Sept 8 - Saturday Sept 16

I keep a locked post on my journal where I throw notes, over the course of the year, of fandoms I'm considering for Yuletide. This year's options include:

* Midnight Cinderella, an otome game
* Sunstone, a lesbian BDSM comic book
* 21st Century Political RPF, because I'd love to read fic of the non-mirrorverse USA
* They Might Be Giants (1971 movie), which would make some hilarious Sherlock fusion material
* Season of the Witch (book) by James Leo Herlihy, a hippie adventure novel
* Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I would love to see considered through today's fannish tropes

Fandoms I've nominated in the past and might try again:
* Liquid Sky (Movie)
* Never Promised you a Rose Garden (book)
* Schoolhouse Rock
* Elfquest, for specific characters
* Ghost Soup Infidel Blue (or some variation thereof; maybe I'll nominate the book series)

The Yuletide comm might have a "promote your fandom" post, but since the bulk of the discussion happens on LJ, I don't usually bother.

Looks like I need... *squints* one dentist and two assistants, at the most.

It eclipsed!

Aug. 21st, 2017 03:58 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
We had an 85% eclipse, which means it got a little darker and the birds weren't singing though the insects were -- nothing shuts up a cricket. I have some phone photos of the light coming through the leaves in crescents on the sidewalks. And then it poured rain for ... 10 minutes? And the sun came out again, starting to strengthen. So, not the biggest deal -- but we were out on the front steps with our homemade cereal box viewers and so on, and the neighbors on either side came over and hung out and watched it with us, which was very cool.

Eclipse is underwhelming

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:07 am
elf: Smiling South Park-style witch with big blue floppy hat and inverted pentacle (Witchy)
[personal profile] elf
I'm in a partial eclipse zone; wouldn't see the full one anyway. But still...

It's overcast. Solid pale grey sky. Which means any eclipsing is probably resulting in a slight dimming of the already dim day.

This is exactly the same weather as 38 years ago, when I got to "see" the full eclipse. I had a small sheet of treated glass to look through to see it. So I technically got to see the eclipse, because the glass let me see it without the clouds, but... no darkening in the sky (dim solid grey overcast), no watching any changes, just "here, look through this; look around until you see the sun!"

So I looked through this dark hand-sized sheet of glass, and sure enough, there's a darker glowing spot in one place in the sky. And today, I don't even have special polarized glass; I was planning on doing one of the pinhole projector things, but there doesn't seem to be much point.

I don't get to watch the Moon Lord cover the glowing body of the Sun Lady. I haz a sad.

Don't let the clouds fool you, though; it's still the best time to take down Fire Nation.

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:35 pm
resonant: Brian from The Breakfast Club: Demented and sad, but social (Default)
[personal profile] resonant
The spouse reconnected with his former therapist via Facebook instant messaging this weekend. They got to talking about current events.

"I counseled a member of a neo-Nazi group once," the therapist said.

"Did you learn anything useful about the movement?"

"This particular fellow was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I think that was the root of his rage," the therapist said.

It makes me wonder how things would be different if American mental health care were in better shape.

The truth has got its boots on

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:43 pm
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
A scientific breakdown of the errors in Damore's manifesto - Metafilter discussed Damore's memo at length, until someone said, "I could write something about how wrong he is on all his biology claims," and people threw money at her Patreon until that happened.

It's terrific. It's also long and detailed and extensively cited, absolutely intended for quoting during future discussions where someone claims that the pay gap or glass ceiling or low representation of women in tech is caused by "biology."

She goes over his academic background, his argument methodology, and the actual science related to his claims, which - surprise surprise - involve incredible twists of misunderstanding, or cherry-picking data, or assuming that tests for personality traits can be used to confirm brain chemistry difference.
Sample excerpt inside the cut )

clarification

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:05 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
When I ask you not to show images of that torch march, or of the Swastika, it's not because I think sweeping them under the digital rug will Solve All Our Problems about race in America.

We all have to work through our own mental crap, the stuff we inherited from parents and society and friends. That's our job. That's each individual person's job -- to figure out for 'self what is true and right and honest and compassionate.

But that doesn't mean we are obliged to take on what those symbols represent. We are not obliged to be on the side that believes that hatred, racism, and genocide will make a better world.

We know that's not true.

In the meantime, we do not have to do the Nazis' work by spreading their images, by giving them our minds. We don't owe them that. We don't owe them anything, not one thing.

In Second Life terms, they're griefers. They get their rocks off by causing trouble, by hurting people, by causing damage. Unfortunately, in real life, I cannot press two buttons and ban them from the US. I don't have that power here. Neither do you.

So we need to keep them out of our heads. And not allow them to add to the pile of stuff we're already dealing with.

It's important to know who your enemies are. It's also important to know when they are trying mind games and to not let them win.

(Apologies if this is not as thoughtful as usual. I have a hell of a headache.)

My new favorite headcanon

Aug. 20th, 2017 01:54 am
elf: Subvert (Subvert)
[personal profile] elf
I decided I loved Jewish Bucky Barnes in spitandvinegar's Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down) (requires AO3 account), in part because I love the sound of "John the Revelator" and that falls in the category of guilty pleasures. (Absolutely nobody in my life knows which gospel songs I still enjoy.) I love-love-LOVE the idea of an openly, firmly non-Christian character latching on to a particular gospel song.

Also, the fic is incredibly awesome and the slow-burn romance is sometimes hilarious and the OC's deserve a novel of their own.

I've been enjoying Jewish Bucky in other fics; it makes a delightful contrast to Steve's well-known Catholicism, and a secret they kept together during the war, possibly along with the secret of their orientation. (Secretly Gay!Steve and Secretly Gay!Bucky are also good headcanons, but it's not like those are remotely unique to this fandom.)

Ring the Bell Backwards was in the Stucky zine from k'start, and it's sweet and achy and hard to read more than once. (In a good way.) Canon-compliant through Civil War, and exactly the kind of plot we have fanfic for - the comics could never do this.

4F by stoatsandwich is a skinny!Steve AU that's a bit darker than my taste for the pairing runs, but when I first ran across it, I slammed through the whole series. Mind the tags; don't read if you don't like that kind of content, because this fic pulls no punches. Also locked to archive accounts.

What's in a Name is shorter, very introspective, and Bucky's Jewish background is part of what helps him rebuild his identity. Says it's the first of a series, but there's no other works, and it's been a couple of years, so it's likely abandoned. But it does nicely stand on its own.

three white horses was posted yesterday, so I'm getting in on the recs game before it shoots to the top of the kudos-sorted lists. Whoa yah, I will read that again. ... Eventually. (Mind the tags & warnings, if you care about that kind of thing.) This is the one that convinced me, "oh hey... this is like a Thing, isn't it? I could go find more fics with this tag?"

And there's more highly-kudosed fics that I haven't read, so I'm looking forward to exploring all those YAAAY.

Fierce Against the Men

Aug. 19th, 2017 08:46 pm
elf: A purple rook with wings spread; the word "Glitch" above it and "Don't Panic" below. (Glitch - Don't Panic)
[personal profile] elf
"There are two important things to remember about the coming revolutions. The first is that we will get our asses kicked. The second is that we will win."

I am not playing the "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" game. It doesn't; it makes us injured and tired and afraid for our families. But I will say: We have endured worse; we fought back white supremacists when they had a lot more political and social pull. The must frustrating part of this whole struggle is the sense of, "weren't we DONE with this part already?"

No, we weren't. We squashed a lot of the overt oppression and racism and left it to fester, in part because we were just so damned tired, and in part with the hope that seeing a thriving nation would show how much healthier, happier, and more prosperous diverse cultures are.

Oops. We forgot that it's not really about having better lives for themselves or their children. It's all about having someone to lash out at, someone they could blame when times are hard and someone to crush when times are good.

I miss the music Leigh Ann would have made, but I am so glad to have the inspiration of the music she left: The Burning Times seems very appropriate this week.
I will not answer hate with fear;
Nor with a smug, cheek-turning love;
I will not answer hate with rage;
By strength alone will I not be moved—

Rise up, witches, gather your strength,
And let your power spread and climb;
Earth and all her children need us,
For all face now the Burning Times.
We have, sigh, been here before, and we have the tools we need to work against white supremacist poison, anti-gay poison, misogynistic poison, evangelical poison, and all the other toxins that seek to erode a vibrant, inclusive, kaleidoscopic, welcoming, joyfully celebratory society.

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