aris_tgd: Ada Lovelace, "This must be twittered! / Wait, this is a fan." (Ada twitter)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Whoever scheduled an 8am quantum mechanics final should be fired. Into the sun.

On the other hand, good news about Standing Rock, finally! I have a feeling that Obama has been attempting to avoid attaching his name to anything involving the situation out of a concern for that "If Obama does anything, conservatives make it their mission to oppose it" problem. It's good to see that behind the scenes, movement has been happening.

Hopefully the delay will run out the contracts and change the whole thing enough that they won't be building over people's water supply. Eeesh.

I have more things to say, probably, though I'm mostly brain fried and should be working on either QM or grading or both.

Let's see. I'm excited for the new Sense8 Christmas special! Though I'm upset they lost one of the actors. And hopefully over break I'll actually have time to, like, watch things.

[syndicated profile] volokh_conspiracy_feed

Posted by Will Baude

That tiny fraction of you who also read my defunct law-school blog may remember my disproportionate enthusiasm for “Gilmore Girls.” (Though it turns out I may not be the only Supreme Court nerd to also be a “Gilmore Girls” nerd, as evidenced by this Supreme Court amicus brief by Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute.) In any event, I therefore made it a high priority to watch the new Netflix revival of the show, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” [BTW, modest spoilers will ensue throughout the rest of this post.]

There have been plenty of mixed reviews. Here are ten somewhat skeptical questions from our friends on the Arts & Entertainment pages. Here is Phoebe Maltz Bovy on Rory Gilmore’s lackluster and spoiled writing career. Here is pseudonymous blogger “Miss Self-Important” worrying (among other things) that the revival is just “a series of cameos and inside-jokey flashbacks to the original series.” And here is an excellent essay in the L.A. Review of Books arguing that the best thing about the revival is its failure: “the way nostalgia goes sour and you can’t actually go home again, the way the story–as it should have been told–can’t be.”

Well say what you will about failure, but I am a sucker for sequels, and so I still basically liked it. The third of the four ninety-minute episodes was basically unbearable, but the other three combined glimpses of the charm of the original with new developments to both satisfy and frustrate the fans.

It’s true that Rory’s career is now disappointing, that the ending is ambiguous at best, and that the more one sees of Rory and Lorelai and Stars Hollow the more one sees not virtue and utopia but a bleakly prolonged adolescence. But all of those seeds were planted in the original series too, for those who had eyes to see.

Indeed, I’ve been rewatching the original series at the same time as the revival has come out, and I’ve found myself much more interested in the bad things about the seeming-heroes of the series and the good things about the seeming-villains. Here, for instance, is the positive case for Paris Geller, Rory’s frenemesis, and here is the case for grandmother Emily Gilmore as the real hero of the show. The flaws in the show’s main characters are not the same thing as flaws in the show.

My friend Josh Chafetz floated the following interesting theory on social media (with the caution that it was a “crazy, 1/8-baked hypothesis”): Whether one liked “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” is positively correlated with whether one liked “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Both sequels seem guilty of the recycling of motifs and narrative repetition, which could sit uneasily with those who want to see a progressive arc out of history.

I liked this theory, but I had a very different reaction. I basically liked the Gilmore Girls revival while I basically refuse to acknowledge that “The Force Awakens” takes place in the Star Wars universe. For me, the big difference between the two is the extent of their fidelity to their original materials. “A Year in the Life” recycled motifs in a way that was incredibly faithful to the original material, while “The Force Awakens” recycled them in a way that did violence to the original material. (I’m speaking of the material itself rather than authorial intent, but it’s still probably not a coincidence that “A Year in the Life” was made by the original creator of the show, while “The Force Awakens” was made by an entirely new team with no relationship to the original creator.)

And that brings me to my one real beef with “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” A minor MacGuffin in the revival is the plan for Stars Hollow to finally switch off of an outdated septic system to the sewer system. This provides a minor plot device for town politics and must have seemed to the creators like a nice reminder of the quaint low stakes of municipal governance in Stars Hollow.

But you know what? Stars Hollow already switched from septic to sewer years ago, and I found myself repeatedly screaming this fact at the screen. From Season 1, Episode 16 (“Star-Crossed Lovers and Other Strangers”):

DEAN: Man, I thought Christmas was a big deal around here.

RORY: Well, this is a town that likes the celebrating. Last year we had a month long carnival when we finally got off the septic tank system.

DEAN: A month long? You’re kidding.

RORY: No. There were rides and a petting zoo and balloon animals and a freak show.

DEAN: Uh huh. Okay, you almost had me going there for a second.

RORY: Well we did have a ribbon cutting ceremony.

It turns out that I can tolerate the bleak turns in Rory’s life and career, and the way she’s gone from charming to cruel; I can tolerate the lack of communication in the Luke/Lorelai relationship; I can tolerate Star’s Hollow’s descent from eccentric to dystopia. But the one thing I wanted in exchange for all of that was narrative continuity, and alas, I didn’t quite get it.

Voices from the Past

Dec. 4th, 2016 06:26 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
[personal profile] darkoshi
My mom sent me a cassette in 1986, back when I was living in the U.S. with my dad, and she was in Germany. She spoke on it, and let several of my German relatives speak on it too during a family gathering over there, and then let it record in the background while relatives were chatting with each other. She and my aunt sent me a few such tapes during those years, and I likewise recorded and sent a few to them. When we ran out of things to speak about, we recorded music on the remainder of the tape.

I must not have listened to this tape in a long time. Six minutes into recording the first side onto my computer, the tape got stuck in the player. I managed to pull the tape back out without breaking it. I twisted the tape back into the shell. The reels weren't turning smoothly or easily, which is why it got stuck. The part of the tape which had been stuck was crinkled up, and I worried that it might get stuck again.

This page: FRUSTRATED by old cassette tapes binding my decks
Try slapping the sides of the cassettes firmly against the palm of your hand (do it on both sides.)
This does help in many cases in freeing the layers of tape, and in my case I am talking tapes that go back to 1972.
If the rollers in the cassette are sticking, this could also help loosen them
Then after that, wind them through.

So I tried that. After slapping the cassette, the reels *did* seem to turn more easily. I then fast-forwarded and rewound the whole tape, and started the recording over again. This time it is playing fine.

There are voices on this tape from aunts and uncles who are no longer alive. I didn't even remember that they had spoken on the tape, and that I had any recording of them. What a precious treasure to find.

I spit and chew and bite

Dec. 4th, 2016 06:55 pm
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
This cat picture is not mine; it comes courtesy of of [ profile] teenybuffalo, who found it on Tumblr:


I was prepared to love this image despite its likely origin as an outsider's sendup of the suffrage movement, but then it turned out to have been an actual suffragette Christmas card, which is even better. [ profile] derspatchel says he can see "Hestia marching, festooned with violets, hoisting a banner aloft with her tail, ready to pounce on any police resistance." Mice and roses, they sing. Mice and roses.

(The actual song "Bread and Roses" causes me to tear up for reasons I do not entirely understand, because I cannot remember ever singing it as a child or communally, but it turned up as a spontaneous and formal expression of workers' solidarity in a scene in Pride (2014) and I disintegrated.)

December Patreon Theme Poll!

Dec. 4th, 2016 06:37 pm
aldersprig: (flower aldersprig)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Welcome to December! In the Northern Hemisphere, Winter is nearly here, and I think it might already be Summer in Australia.

And I have a Patreon! (Here: And each month I have a poll to determine what I'll be writing about in that Patreon for the month.

The theme then opens up a prompt call for all Director-level donors (I made up some names. I'm still working on them). And then I start writing!

Don't have a Dreamwidth account? Vote in the comments.

Poll #17769 December Theme Poll for Patreon
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 4

What should the December 2016 Patreon Theme be?

View Answers

Things Unspoken (Setting)
1 (25.0%)

Faerie Apocalypse (Setting)
1 (25.0%)

Arlend (Setting) (new, dystopic fantasy, post-apoc)
0 (0.0%)

Space Accountant (Setting)
1 (25.0%)

More Please (type) (continuations of extant pieces)
1 (25.0%)

Change of Seasons, Change of Weather (motif)
2 (50.0%)

Evergreens and ever-reds? (motif)
0 (0.0%)

Winter(Summer) is Coming (motif)
0 (0.0%)

Gender & Sex (motif)
1 (25.0%)

Thresholds and liminal spaces (motif)
1 (25.0%)

Holly and mistletoe (motif)
2 (50.0%)

Encyclopedia Worldia (type) (All About The Worlds)
0 (0.0%)

Demifiction (type) (non-fiction in fictional settings)
0 (0.0%)

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
I purely don't understand stories that treat clones as something different than humans. I mean there's a person right there in front of them, how on earth does it matter how they got there? Except in terms of experiences a forced growth clone who has never left the lab is indeed very different, so I guess I mean I don't understand when they're treated as inferior or less worthy of human rights or in any way less worth mourning.

But we got a one off episode with a clone Barry, and all Barry got from it was a sense of his own mortality, not any lingering grief for his short lived brother-son. Twin made from his dna who lives only a short while is just a kid and a relative. Why the bit in the middle of the story where they treat that as not obvious?

Well so they can have the drama of that resolved with the happy we're all people two or three sentences. And then undermine that by never treating him as such.

Every way to look at another person and doubt they're just as much a person as you are? Treating people as things? That's where evil starts.

I'm also super tired because they did the thing where he has the mind of a child in an adult body. So it's basically a story about intellectual disability. Without it knowing that. So they do the reinvent the wheel bit and the whole story is oh no he has adult strength but doesn't understand consequences, how unprecedented, there is no guidebook, what do what do. And then they duck responsibility and resolution for that and just kill him off. Because having a sad tragic reference to Frankenstein and sacrifice to save the progenitor is a nice tidy story with an awww at the end, and committing to spending a fair chunk of your life helping him is not.

How about stories never again treat disability and mental illness with a good being killed, hmmm?
Yes I know this one was 1991 but it's not like it gets less relevant.

So blergh to this episode.

God's a monster

Dec. 4th, 2016 05:09 pm
erik: A headshot of me! (Default)
[personal profile] erik
Sort of where I'm going with this is the idea that your religion is your business, and not anyone else's.

If you are concerned with what religion I am or with making sure I know what religion you are, then you are in the wrong. You should not care what faith I do or do not follow at all and to whatever extent you are even curious about it or are interested in making sure I know that information about you, you are infringing on my liberty and right to be free from interference in my spiritual affairs.

Your god is not my business, and it is my right to explicitly not know about your god.
[personal profile] dragonlady7
via Corps Denies Easement For Dakota Access Pipeline
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
[personal profile] sophia_sol
Eh, it was a perfectly reasonable kids' book that I found totally uninspiring. There wasn't anything glaringly wrong with it, but I didn't get emotionally invested in the characters or the plot or anything.

I did like that in the context of this story's worldbuilding dragons' genders have no visual cues and dragons don't say anything about their genders, so dragons get referred to by nonbinary pronouns and titles. On the other hand the pronoun used for dragons is IT. And no, that wasn't me all-capsing for emphasis, that's actually how the book writes IT throughout. The dragon Meenore is one of the major characters in the book, which means that the pronoun IT gets shouted at you by the text a lot over the course of the book. So that's both a plus one and a minus one for nonbinary representation, I guess. Sigh.

Other than that...I am just super lacking in anything at all to say about anything in this book because I just didn't care.
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

As long ago as 1914, an article by the grammarian George O. Curme made the point that more than can modify the verb of an infinitival complement, and since it must be adjacent to the verb, that actually forces a split infinitive: shifting the more than modifier to anywhere else creates clear ambiguity. I found a small measure of comfort in seeing that even The Economist, so often driven to deleteriously unnatural phrasing in its efforts to avoid split infinitives, acknowledges this grammatical imperative. In the November 26 issue for 2016 (online here) we read:

A string of purchases of A380s, starting in 2008, helped traffic to more than double to 51m in 2015.

Since avoiding the separation of to and the verb here would occasion a major rethink of how to construct the whole sentence, nobody ever objects to this sort of split infinitive. Yet it demonstrates, as clearly as one could want, that there simply is no general principle of English syntax forbidding modifiers from intervening between to and the verb of an infinitival clause.

The construction to more than double has in fact appeared hundreds of times in The Economist, possibly thousands (as a Google search on {"to more than double"} will show). This underlines the fact that there is no basis for the magazine's cowardly policy of avoiding split infinitives on the grounds that readers might get irritable. There never was any such basis. We can't avoid everything that some crazies somewhere might object to. In fact [Sorry; in this next bit Geoff was going to refer to something that some crazies somewhere might object to, so we have reluctantly deleted it. —The Editors]

Kilometers and miles

Dec. 4th, 2016 09:51 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

Sometimes the obeisance to style guides by newspaper editors and journalists looks not so much craven as robotic. The Telegraph provides an example. Like many newspapers, it has a policy of reporting distances in kilometers but appending parenthesized equivalents in miles (it's a conservative newspaper, and is not going to push its mileage-oriented British readers toward metric units any time soon). Often that's useful, as when it reports that The behemoth Airbus A380 … is capable of carrying 544 passengers up to 15,200km (8,200 miles). The parenthetical suffix assists metrically challenged Americans and older Brits in forming an idea of what 15,200 of those little bitty European kilometer things might amount to. But sometimes providing a conversion figure is not so smart.

It was not nearly so sensible to print Their journey ended up stretching to 14 months and took them 6,000 kilometres (3,728 miles) in a story about a family bicycle ride. The 6,000 km figure was surely just a very rough estimate of the distance the family rode, so "3,728 miles" is absurdly over-specific.

But a story about a recent triple shooting in Imatra, Finland, clung to the usual policy despite its being utterly ridiculous in the context:

Imatra is a small lakeside town of 17,000 people in southeastern Finland, just a few kilometres (miles) from the Russian border.

Even the most metrically innumerate of us know what a kilometer is: it's a unit of distance smaller than a mile. Sometimes those who still think in terms of miles need a conversion figure, but they don't need to be told that the relatively small but unimportant hence unspecified number of kilometers from Imatra to the Russian border could also be measured by some relatively small but unimportant hence unspecified number of miles!


Dec. 4th, 2016 02:38 pm
muccamukk: Ray and Mick sitting in a car, not looking at each other. Text: Feelings? Yes. (LoT: Feelings?)
[personal profile] muccamukk
[personal profile] dctv_kinkmeme is a thing that exists. I believe it covers the CW shows as well as Gotham, Constantine and Lucifer, though almost all the prompts are CW right now.

I'll do talking meme once I have a brain.

Yuletide betas needed

Dec. 4th, 2016 04:12 pm
beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
It's that time of year again.  As some of us are frantically writing Yuletide stories, there comes the challenge of finding betas for obscure fandoms that we don't normally write in and so don't have a beta for.  There are several ways of finding betas, but one of them is to ask a hippo in the Yuletide chat to find someone for you.  (Hippos are matchmakers to help people find betas without compromising their anonymity as authors.  Here's an instruction manual and explanation, if you're interested in joining chat or learning more.)  And usually, they can!  But sometimes even the hippos in chat fall short.  There are currently several beta requests, a couple that have been open for a couple of days, so I thought I would try to publicize them.  If you can help with one of them, you can either go into chat yourself and talk to the Hippo there (if they're online), track them down some other way, or ask me and I'll hook you up.  The hippo will then send you the contact information.

Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Dangan Ronpa 3, 10k words

Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Trails of Cold Steel, 13k words

Hippo: kinetikatrue
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (TV) 27k words (gore warning)

(no subject)

Dec. 4th, 2016 03:58 pm
yhlee: Hamilton musical (Hamilton musical)
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] isis, too good not to share: Hamildolph, a Hamilton/"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" parody by Utah a cappella group Eclipse 6.

[personal profile] dragonlady7
I just. I had to catalogue this Epic Nap. The two of them. Reverse-chronological order from top left. Her head is upside-down in the current one. He is trapped and may starve to death, but at least he’ll be well-rested.

Book Charity Suggestions

Dec. 4th, 2016 01:37 pm
[syndicated profile] drive_comic_feed

Posted by DaveKellett

I feel very blessed and grateful for the life I've been given as a cartoonist. For some wonderful reason I get to draw these silly cartoons, you kindly read them, and somehow I make a living off it.

So this Christmas, I'd like to give back to charities that could use some help — and I'm soliciting suggestions. I'd like to send full carton boxes of 40 Sheldon books to different service, poverty and literacy charities around the U.S.

So far, I'm sending a few hundred Sheldon books to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, and to USO airport facilities in Texas, DC, and Los Angeles. I'd like to send a few hundred more.

Do you have a suggested local charity in your area that you *know* could use a box of all-ages, family-friendly Sheldon comic strip books? Check with them directly to make sure they can/would like to make use of them — then e-mail me at

(Checking with them, first, is critical: I don't want to mail them off without the charity knowing they're coming!) :)

I may not be able to give to every charity you suggest, but let's at least try! Let's get these winging across the country before Christmas!


snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)

December 2016


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