The Long-Lost Weekend Update Returns

Oct. 20th, 2014 09:17 am
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[personal profile] pantryslut
One of the reasons I don't write here as much any more (not that I have any plans on leaving) is sheer exhaustion*. Ok, coupled with my aversion to narrative recaps. This is at odds with my desire to keep at least a sketchy record of my activities for posterity, but life is full of contradictions.

Thus, the return of the weekend update.

Friday night: I participated in Cat vs. Dog Haiku at Mission Critter. The format: three rounds, five haiku each reader. I was on Team Cat and I led off each round as first reader. Just so you know how fierce the competition was, [ profile] postmaudlin was the Team Dog anchor. The match-up ended in a tie, and more importantly, everyone was fantastic and had a great time.

We took the kids in with us because we figured (unlike many of my readings, cough) this would be the perfect opportunity for them to hear Mommy read aloud, plus the topic was of interest and the setting too. We arrived in SF early so we took a detour to Mission Pie for a snack. Mission Pie remains heavenly. I had pumpkin, and so did the kids; G. had walnut pie. So good. I want to make a walnut pie now the next time the freezer fills up with nuts from the farm share.

Saturday was the Walk-a-Thon for Mills College Children's School. This year, April walked 26 laps and Simone walked 15. We hung out with kids and parents and chatted. I miss the potluck "Fall Festival" that used to launch the school year; it was a nice way to get to know other families. But this was still a nice way to spend the day.

Sunday we went to Ardenwood to pick out pumpkins with Shayna and folks and have a picnic and visit some farm animals, too. It was hot. We were tired. But we had a good time anyway. And our trunk is now full of big pumpkins, little pumpkins, white "ghost" pumpkins and stolid orange pumpkins, variegated "goblin eggs" and supersaturated red pumpkins. Now all that's left is to carve them. Not to soon, or they'll rot and/or the squirrels will eat them. Not to late or we'll be all worn out again.

* My exhaustion is compounded at the moment by the fact that, due to vagaries in scheduling, I have been on deadline a solid month. Done now! Hooray!
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[Image: Sam Wilson wearing street clothes; there are finches flying around him and leaves drifting on the wind.]


I wanted to draw something autumny and I also just really, really love the idea of MCU Sam with an inexplicable affinity for birds.

(Riley would have noticed eventually, would have ribbed Sam about the sand-coloured finches that seemed to congregate the moment Sam sat down anywhere. “What are you, Snow White? We’re in the middle of the desert, how are there always so many of them? Honestly, Wilson, do you just carry them around in your pack?" Sam would have laughed, shrugged, tossed them his last few sunflower seeds.)

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It keeps going back and forth between R and U, so I keep wondering if the next letters are going to be JELLY.

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Posted by Sarah Wanenchak

In truth, I didn’t pay a tremendous amount of attention to iOS8 until a post scrolled by on my Tumblr feed, which disturbed me a good deal: The new iteration of Apple’s OS included “Health”, an app that – among many other things – contains a weight tracker and a calorie counter.

And can’t be deleted.

1 (3) - Copy

Okay, so why is this a big deal? Pretty much all “health” apps include those features. I have one (third-party). A lot of people have one. They can be very useful. Apple sticking non-removable apps into its OS is annoying, but why would it be something worth getting up in arms over? This is where it becomes a bit difficult to explain, and where you’re likely to encounter two kinds of people (somewhat oversimplified, but go with me here). One group will react with mild bafflement. The other will immediately understand what’s at stake.

The Health app is literally dangerous, specifically to people dealing with/in recovery from eating disorders and related obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Obsessive weight tracking and calorie counting are classic symptoms. These disorders literally kill people. A lot of people. Apple’s Health app is an enabler of this behavior, a temptation to fall back into self-destructive habits. The fact that it can’t be deleted makes it worse by orders of magnitude.

So why can’t people just not use it? Why not just hide it? That’s not how obsessive-compulsive behavior works. One of the nastiest things about OCD symptoms – and one of the most difficult to understand for people who haven’t experienced them – is the fact that a brain with this kind of chemical imbalance can and will make you do things you don’t want to do. That’s what “compulsive” means. Things you know you shouldn’t do, that will hurt you. When it’s at its worst it’s almost impossible to fight, and it’s painful and frightening. I don’t deal with disordered eating, but my messed-up neurochemistry has forced me to do things I desperately didn’t want to do, things that damaged me. The very presence of this app on a device is a very real threat (from post linked above):

Whilst of course the app cannot force you to use it, it cannot be deleted, so will be present within your apps and can be a source of feelings of temptation to record numbers and of guilt and judgement for not using the app.

Apple doesn’t hate people with eating disorders. They probably weren’t thinking about people with eating disorders at all. That’s the problem.

Then this weekend another post caught my attention: The Health app doesn’t include the ability to track menstrual cycles, something that’s actually kind of important for the health of people who menstruate. Again: so? Apple thinks a number of other forms of incredibly specific tracking were important enough to include:

In case you’re wondering whether Health is only concerned with a few basics: Apple has predicted the need to input data about blood oxygen saturation, your daily molybdenum or pathogenic acid intake, cycling distance, number of times fallen and your electrodermal activity, but nothing to do with recording information about your menstrual cycle.

Again: Apple almost certainly doesn’t actively hate cisgender women, or anyone else who menstruates. They didn’t consider including a cycle tracker and then went “PFFT SCREW WOMEN.” They probably weren’t thinking about women at all.

During the design phase of this OS, half the world’s population was probably invisible. The specific needs of this half of the population were folded into an unspecified default. Which doesn’t – generally – menstruate.

I should note that – of course – third-party menstrual cycle tracking apps exist. But people have problems with these (problems I share), and it would have been nice if Apple had provided an escape from them:

There are already many apps designed for tracking periods, although many of my survey respondents mentioned that they’re too gendered (there were many complaints about colour schemes, needless ornamentation and twee language), difficult to use, too focused on conceiving, or not taking into account things that the respondents wanted to track.

Both of these problems are part of a larger design issue, and it’s one we’ve talked about before, more than once. The design of things – pretty much all things – reflects assumptions about what kind of people are going to be using the things, and how those people are going to use them. That means that design isn’t neutral. Design is a picture of inequality, of systems of power and domination both subtle and not. Apple didn’t consider what people with eating disorders might be dealing with; that’s ableism. Apple didn’t consider what menstruating women might need to do with a health app; that’s sexism.

The fact that the app cannot be removed is a further problem. For all intents and purposes, updating to a new OS is almost mandatory for users of Apple devices, at least eventually. Apple already has a kind of control over a device that’s a bit worrying, blurring the line between owner and user and threatening to replace one with the other. The Health app is a glimpse of a kind of well-meaning but ultimately harmful paternalist approach to design: We know what you need, what you want; we know what’s best. We don’t need to give you control over this. We know what we’re doing.

This isn’t just about failure of the imagination. This is about social power. And it’s troubling.

Sarah Wanenchak is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her current research focuses on contentious politics and communications technology in a global context, particularly the role of emotion mediated by technology as a mobilizing force. She blogs at Cyborgology, where this post originally appearedand you can follow her at @dynamicsymmetry.

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waywren: (Default)
[personal profile] waywren posting in [community profile] poetry
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields
Woods or steepy mountain yields

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flower, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.
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This is how the solar system is actually moving as it traverses the galaxy.


So beAutiful


Yeah it’s not circular as you’ve been taught. It does revolve around the sun, but like every other star, the sun travels, and pulls us too. Fih-boe-nah-chi

and just where the fuck are we going

We are going everywhere.

Dear Yulegoat

Oct. 20th, 2014 10:02 am
woggy: (Hi Frog)
[personal profile] woggy
Hi there. Still kinda new to this whole Yuletide thing, but think I've got the general gist of it. Here goes!

I tend towards worldbuilding and extensions-of-canon more than smut-for-the-sake-of-smut; if it's plausible and consistent with canon, by all means write it, but I'm not fond of the Utterly Gratuitous Sex Scene. I'm happy with People Being Awesome, humor, and did I mention worldbuilding? General dislike for explicitly gory violence (if violence is necessary, yes, but please don't dwell?), deliberate cruelty to animals and/or people, and obvious biological improbabilities.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: (Mikau, Lulu)
So there's a guitarist, and a singer. And they're in a band together, and he seems kinda sweet on her. Obviously both the group and the romance had to start somewhere, probably relatedly. Bonus points if you explain how/why Zora Hall came to be; suspiciously convenient architecture, that is.

Girl Genius: (Gilgamesh, Ardsley)
Paris! City of Lights! Adventure, science, and apparently saving Zola from...everything imaginable (and a few things that aren't). Not that Gil has exactly 'settled down' in the main story, but stories definitely paint him as a lot more...teenage during his time in Paris. I suspect that Ardsley was...trying to rein in the more egregious of Gil's habits, but to only limited success. They fight crime monsters!

Kushiel's Legacy: (Berlik)
Berlik, chosen by the Maghuinn Dhonn to mess a lot with Imriel's life. Canon looks at it from Imriel's viewpoint, which is...understandably biased. I want to see...Berlik's take on things. What led him to be the one to make the sacrifice that he did? what were his thoughts along the road when Imri was chasing him?

His Dark Materials: (Xaphania, Lord Asriel)
Canon presents Xaphania as the leader of the 'fallen' angels, but how did she get there, what triggered the Fall? Is she intended to be The Lucifer figure, or is there a separate angel running about with that name? And then she somehow ends up working for/with Lord Asriel. (which, how does THAT work, does he have a timey-wimey ball to be able to have a gigantic war-footing fortress and allies and everything so shortly after opening the bridge?) and, from what I can tell she's one of the older angels, so how'd she come to the decision to bend the knee to Asriel?

Arthurian Mythology: (Nimue, Merlin)
Nimue learns stuff, betrays Merlin, imprisons him. How, why, what was her thought process here? Possibly relatedly, seems that she's the one to give Arthur Excalibur. That's an...odd character shift, and what I've been able to read doesn't seem to much explain the reasoning.

As always, optional details are optional, and if you want to tell another story with any of these characters, PLEASE do so.
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People think feminism means that there’s a group of women somewhere that want to take trousers with pockets away from men and give them to women, and give men trousers with fake pockets, while in reality feminism is the general idea that everyone should have trousers with pockets, because pockets are awesome.


Oct. 20th, 2014 04:53 pm
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[personal profile] flick
GB's blood test results are back: 138. We'll put his dose up again....

Riding lesson this morning. Not great. No obvious improvement from the 'bute (or otherwise), and Riding Instructor is now worried that doing too much will mean he develops a problem somewhere else as he tries to compensate....

Time to start at least window shopping, I fear.
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i didn’t realise shit didnt have to be as hard as it was

shout out to all of you downplaying tough times

speak up, get help

aight this post is up at 370 notes and counting; I never thought it would get so much attention and i just wanted to thank everyone who’s shared it around

if this helps just one person keeping quiet like I was then i’ll be overjoyed. everybody stay safe yeah

I needed to see this

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Posted by admin

Government move aimed at making best use of the energy savings potential of LED lights



A Rs 400 LED bulb would be available for just Rs 10. Yes, that’s right, it's a steep discount of 97.5 per cent. And it is not part of any festival special megasale offer. It is part of a business model formulated by government’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL, a joint venture of public sector companies of Ministry of Power) along with electricity distribution companies.

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Posted by admin

Member nations of a commission that was set up 34 years ago start their first maiden meet in Australia’s Hobart


This week in Authors Behaving Badly

Oct. 20th, 2014 08:25 am
annathepiper: (Buh?)
[personal profile] annathepiper

The Internet blew up over the weekend with the news that the Guardian had run a piece by author Kathleen Hale–in which Hale describes actually stalking a reviewer who’d given her a less-than-positive review on Goodreads. The *thunk* sound you may have heard was the sound of the Internet’s collective jaw hitting the floor.

I first saw this come up at the Bitchery over here, and shortly thereafter saw posts go up at Dear Author and on Jim Hines’ blog as well. All three posts and most of the comments in them are in accord that Ms. Hale went so far over the line that she left the line in another state entirely behind her.

Me, I’m going to take this opportunity to reiterate my personal policy re: reviews of my work. I don’t read them. I’m on Goodreads, but I make a specific point of avoiding reading any of the reviews on Faerie Blood, Valor, or Vengeance. All I’ll look at is the aggregate rating on those books, since I have them on a my-books shelf. Likewise, I do not rate my own books either. If a standalone review on a blog somewhere comes across my radar, I’ll go look at it–but I will not engage with that review unless it’s clear that I can do so without making the reviewer or commenters uncomfortable. I strongly feel that it’s important to let people be able to discuss your book without you looking over their shoulders.

Y’all have probably noticed that I’ve backed off heavily in writing up reviews of books, too. Part of this has been because I simply haven’t had as much time, what with writing my own stuff. But part of it has also been the increasing trend I’ve seen of authors reacting badly to reviews–even to three-star reviews. I see a surprising amount of unhappiness about three-star reviews, in fact. And I’ve seen more and more reports of authors dogpiling on reviewers, which for my money, just isn’t right.

For the record, if you’ve reviewed anything I’ve written, I’m happy you did so. Even if it’s three stars. Hell, even if it’s one star. I promise not to take it personally.

And if I do, I will never, repeat, NEVER engage you about it. DO NOT ENGAGE is the golden rule here. I just wish Ms. Hale had followed it when she was reminded.

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