Nominations Closed: Clean-Up Time!

Aug. 25th, 2016 08:15 pm
samuraiter: (Default)
[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] femslashex
And there you have it, folks. Nominations are concluded.

Thanks to your efforts, our tag set is complete, and it is mighty. ... Except it's not quite complete. This is the part where I ask you to have a look at the fandom lists and see if we've got duplicate pairings, duplicates across fandoms, pairings in the wrong fandom, misspellings, characters inappropriate to the challenge, etc. Granted, you've already been doing this as the nomination process has developed, but this time is to put the final coat of paint on that tag set, so let us know if you find anything goofy, have any questions, etc.

Barring any (excessive) weirdness, sign-ups should open in three days, on Sunday, August 28 at 5 PM (PDT). I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully all of you are, too.

Priorities in security

Aug. 25th, 2016 08:02 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
I read this tweet a couple of weeks ago:

and it got me thinking. Security research is often derided as unnecessary stunt hacking, proving insecurity in things that are sufficiently niche or in ways that involve sufficient effort that the realistic probability of any individual being targeted is near zero. Fixing these issues is basically defending you against nation states (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) will probably just find some other way) and, uh, security researchers (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) see (a)).

Unfortunately, this may be insufficient. As basically anyone who's spent any time anywhere near the security industry will testify, many security researchers are not the nicest people. Some of them will end up as abusive partners, and they'll have both the ability and desire to keep track of their partners and ex-partners. As designers and implementers, we owe it to these people to make software as secure as we can rather than assuming that a certain level of adversary is unstoppable. "Can a state-level actor break this" may be something we can legitimately write off. "Can a security expert continue reading their ex-partner's email" shouldn't be.

[ SECRET POST #3522 ]

Aug. 25th, 2016 07:51 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3522 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 24 secrets from Secret Submission Post #503.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
lannamichaels: Matt Smith holds two thumbs up, before heading into Certain Danger. Cap from season 5 promo trailers. (yay)
[personal profile] lannamichaels

I was reaching the stage of "oh no, running low on walnuts", so I got some from a couple places to make up for it, because I'm not sure the next time I'll make it out to Costco to stock up...

and tonight I was looking into the pesach cabinet to check on something and I noticed, right in the front, a completely full 3lb bag of walnuts from Costco. And behind it, another 3lb bag of Costco walnuts.

I now have a fuckton of walnuts. Yayz.

(I should probably check the best-by dates on these. I have no idea when I bought them.)

[syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed

Posted by (Velveteen Rabbi)


The folks at The Wisdom Daily have published my latest essay. It's about repetition, and patterns, and this time of year, and discovering who we really are. 

Here's how it begins:  

Sometimes life feels like a wilderness, wild and waste and inhospitable. Sometimes I feel like I’m going in circles, recognizing my own sorrows as ruefully familiar landmarks in an otherwise pathless desert. This painful issue – haven’t I been here before? This broken relationship – why are its jagged edges slicing into me again? This dysfunctional work situation – haven’t I spent forever struggling with these colleagues and their ill will? Why can’t I seem to get out of this place?

You can read the whole thing at their site: When Life Feels Like A Wilderness


Aug. 25th, 2016 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu


I bought the cat dancer toy for Hana.

Hana:[Yes, I catch it!]

I thought that Hana would be pleased with it very much.
However, she did not seem to like the hard wire.



Maru:[Let’s play! I catch it by all means.]

However, unfortunately there is already it in your overhead.

As a matter of course,

Maru:[Omg! I miss it…]

la_rainette: (Default)
[personal profile] la_rainette
And one Blue Wildebeest. I KNOW, RIGHT? Who gnu there were blue wildebeest? 

(Ok that was terrible - I need a nap)

*falls over* 

from Tumblr
la_rainette: (Default)
[personal profile] la_rainette
Today I learned that Baby Lynxes are like kittens with ENORMOUS paws, Baby Zebras are like regular zebras only smaller and with ENORMOUS ears, and Baby Pandas really are just as cute and clumsy as the many viral videos on youtube would have you believe. 

Also, pandas eat bamboo with absolute dedication and crunch branches like nobody’s business. 

from Tumblr
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I literally cannot remember the last time that happened, probably a Dr Who special from before I got fed up with Dr Who.  Years, anyway.

The occasion was the Great British Bake Off, which I have got sucked into because of a work sweepstake. There are 24 of us in it, 2 of us drawn for each GBBO contestant yesterday morning.  Each week after a contestant goes out, the two unlucky colleagues have to cook something on the week's theme and bring it in for everyone else to taste and fill out a scoresheet for a mini-contest.   (All the invention of one of my colleagues who likes to organise this kind of thing.)

Literally everyone signed up has made disclaimers about how they are not very good cooks and not to expect much, although in my case this is completely true.  Charles has volunteered to help me, and he is already a better cook than I am, so I won't turn it down!

Anyway, having signed up, I felt I should at least try an episode to see what the fuss is about ... and I can completely see why it's such a popular show.   Tony got sucked in too, and I might actually try to make a habit of this.  I have Val, so I was getting a bit worried last night, but thankfully I've been spared my cooking ordeal for another week.  (On the other hand, it might be nice to get it out of the way early, before expectations have been set too high.)

GBBO was followed by The Chronicles of Nadiya.  I had picked up on the wonderfulness of Nadiya Hussein, last year's GBBO winner, through fannish osmosis, and I really enjoyed this show following her from her home in Luton to the village her parents came from in Bangladesh, with a great deal of food and family interactions.  I completely see why everyone was enthusing about how lovely Nadiya is.  I think the Explaining My Culture To The Presumed-Ignorant Viewer was done with a great deal of grace and straightforwardness.  This week of all weeks I really appreciated the segment where two young articulate women (Nadiya and her cousin) talked about the importance to them of wearing hijab.

There is a second part next week after the GBBO.  I'm looking forward to it very much, if I can pull off being free to watch them both in time again.

Chapter 47: The Sky Suspended

Aug. 25th, 2016 08:59 pm
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
[personal profile] rmc28
When Hazel stamped, Dandelion leapt instinctively from the grass verge.

[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Bloomberg's Chris Cooper and Katsuyo Kuwako report on how a Hokkaido ski town, Niseko, has avoided depopulation thanks largely to an embrace of the wider world. The performance relative to the rest of Hokkaido, or to small Japanese communities generally, is notable.

Japan’s shrinking population has weighed on the world’s third-biggest economy, alarmed government forecasters and turned some rural communities into veritable ghost towns.

Not so in Niseko, a ski resort community on the nation’s mountainous, northern island of Hokkaido that’s prospering in the face of all the demographic gloom.

The local government has embraced immigration in a way the national government hasn’t. The area’s booming economy has spurred investment in luxury hotels, restaurants, and shops--and attracted local and expat workers who’ve become full-time residents. Niseko’s population grew 2.9 percent last year to 4,952 compared with 2010 levels, the highest mark in four decades. Nationwide, the population slid 0.7 percent over the same period.

“There haven’t been any other towns that have been this successful before,” said Tatsuya Wakao, a consultant at Fujitsu Research Institute. "They did a good job in recognizing the need for foreign tourism."

True, not every rural community is blessed with the ski slopes and hot springs that Niseko enjoys. Should the town’s much larger neighbor Sapporo win its bid to host the Winter Olympics in 2026, Niseko would host the Alpine events for the games and enjoy an economic windfall.

That said, other Japanese ski resorts and tourism centers have fallen on hard times and Niseko offers broader lessons to all struggling rural towns about the power of savvy and sustained marketing as a rising middle class in Asia broadens the region’s tourism opportunities.
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Savage Minds hosts an essay by William Cotter and Mary-Caitlyn Valentinsson looking at the cultural and ethical complexities of specialty coffee.

If you’re in academia, you probably have a very close relationship with coffee. For most Americans, coffee feels like a necessary part of our day, crucial to our higher-order cognitive functioning. Coffee has been a staple in American households and workplaces for over 100 years, and coffee as a commodity is one of the most widely traded and profitable items on the international market (Pendergrast 1999). In early 19th century, coffee served as a strong index for the elite classes of American society. It was expensive, often challenging to obtain, and was consumed primarily within prestigious social circles. However, the increasing reach of white European imperialism and the fine-tuning of the mechanisms of colonial trade and exploitation led to such resources becoming accessible to a wider range of consumers. In less than a century, the notion of coffee as a beverage consumed in the drawing rooms of the upper crust eroded. Coffee instead became a ubiquitous fixture of the American working class, tied to notions of cheery productivity and the booming prosperity of the American labor force (Jimenez 1995).

Despite the place of coffee as a common fixture in the American psyche, there is an accumulation of evidence to suggest that the social meaning of coffee is again shifting. Today, it seems that coffee is being enregistered (Agha 2003), or is coming to be seen as, a symbol of a “higher class” America. But instead of the narrowly defined American elite of the past, coffee, and specifically “specialty” or “craft” coffee, is becoming an increasingly important part of the “yuppie”, “hipster” experience. Craft coffee in the United States is an industry of skilled artisans, focused on delivering handmade products to their communities. This reorientation in the American coffee industry towards a more craft-focused ideal is closely tied to the emergence and growth of independent micro-roasters and coffee shops that offer a “local”, community-centered alternative to the mass market coffee franchises that have until recently dominated the landscape of American coffee consumption (Roseberry 1996).

But specialty coffee, like other craft industries in the United States, comes with a high price tag. While the $.99 cup of coffee still exists, the world of specialty coffee is limited to those who can economically participate in the industry by paying $5 or more for a cup of coffee. This conspicuous consumption indexes an investment in not just the coffee itself, but also in how the coffee is grown, harvested, roasted, and brewed. At the same time, consumption of specialty coffee reifies the divide between the $.99 cup of coffee and the $5 cup of coffee. This is one way in which forms of stratification tied to wider issues of race and class in the United States become concrete.

The physical spaces that specialty coffee shops and roasters occupy play an important role in the wider landscape of the industry. In many cases, specialty coffee storefronts are opening their doors in urban areas undergoing gentrification. The white yuppies and hipsters at the vanguard of these changes hold an economic status that makes a five dollar cup of coffee affordable, something that in many cases cannot be said for the historical residents of these areas.

The symbiosis between the consumption-based desires of this new upper-middle class and the services provided by the specialty coffee industry creates a situation in which craft industries feed off these larger urban development projects. Gentrification encourages new specialty establishments. At the same time, the existence and proliferation of specialty coffee, in these locations, further encourages gentrification through the availability of the commodities that the new upper-middle class feel they “need”.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The Toronto Star's Robin Levinson King goes into detail about the recent hunt for the capybaras of High Park.

This is the true story of Bonnie and Clyde.

No, not the infamous outlaws who went on an armed robbery spree during the Great Depression. This is about the two endearing but evasive capybaras who escaped from the High Park Zoo, prompting a media frenzy and month-long search and rescue mission.

Lost in the park’s 400 acres of forest, ponds and trails, the mischievous rodents evaded capture for 36 days and cost the city at least $15,000 in services and overtime for about 30 employees, according to emails from the city’s parks and recreation division obtained through access to information laws.

It all began the morning of May 24, when the capybaras, which had been purchased for a total of $700 from a Texas breeder, were dropped off at their pen in High Park Zoo.

Zookeepers had hoped to exchange the duo, who are capable of breeding, for lonely old Chewy, High Park’s OG capybara. But Bonnie and Clyde, as they were later nicknamed by city staff, had freedom in mind and went on the lam.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Anti-nuclear activist Zach Ruiter writes about the latest campaign against the nuclear processing plant on Lansdowne just north of Dupont, just west of me.

Toronto's west end has a new nuclear neighbour. General Electric Hitachi announced August 19 that it plans to sell its Canadian nuclear operations, including its uranium pellet plant on Lansdowne, to BWXT Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Lynchburg, Virginia's BWX Technologies, which operates one of only two facilities in the U.S. licensed to process highly enriched uranium.

BWX Technologies is the prime contractor in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy's 13,000-hectare nuclear weapons testing laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Among the "recent accomplishments" listed on the company's website: the manufacturing of the grapefruit-size plutonium cores used in the W88 thermonuclear warhead designed for the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

If BWXT acquires the necessary licence and regulatory approval from the federal government, it will take over GE Hitachi's operations and 350 employees at three plants in Toronto, Peterborough and Arnprior. BWXT's Cambridge plant was recently awarded a $103 million contract to supply the first eight of 32 steam generators for the refurbishment of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Tiverton.

The GE Hitachi plant at 1025 Lansdowne, north of Dupont, processes 53 per cent of all the nuclear fuel used in Canada's nuclear reactors. Drums of yellowcake uranium dioxide powder are trucked into Toronto and transformed into ceramic pellets for use in fuel rods at the Pickering and Darlington reactors.

I've blogged at length about my support for the plant. I see nothing in the article to justify a change of opinion.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
At Spacing Toronto, Chris Bateman writes about a brilliant young architect, dead too soon, and the hotel he designed.

Peter Dickinson was dying when he designed the Inn on the Park.

From a bed in Mount Sinai hospital, his body weakened from cancer, Dickinson listened to Four Seasons co-founder Isadore Sharp explain his idea for a new flagship location at Leslie and Eglinton.

Sharp’s sixteen acre site was directly opposite the west branch of the Don River, next to Sunnybrook and E. T. Seaton parks, and rose gently to a hill in the middle. It was outside the core, but Sharp hoped to lure guests to the picturesque location.

After securing the land, Sharp approached Dickinson, who had previously designed the company’s first motor lodge on Jarvis and Carlton streets.

The hotelier explained he could only afford to build a 200-room complex, but that the design should be able to accommodate expansion.

“He sketched on a pad the way the hotel looked when it opened,” Isadore Sharp told Globe and Mail architecture columnist, Adele Freedman. “This building, when it opened, was identical to the sketch.”
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Steve Munro begins his analysis of the new federal funding for Toronto transit.

With many Huzzahs! the federal government announced the details of funding for many projects in Toronto and other parts of Ontario under its new Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. This first step concentrates on “state of good repair” (“SOGR”) projects, especially as they relate to the TTC whose capital budget has been constrained by Toronto Council’s willingness to raise new revenues for only a few pet projects.

Press reports, together with the usual tub-thumping from Mayor Tory, imply that we are about to see a huge leap in work on TTC infrastructure upgrades. This sounds good, but the truth is not quite so simple, or as photo-op worthy.

The TTC’s Capital Budget can be a forbidding document, even in the short version that is online. The full version, with detailed descriptions of every project, fills two large binders. A fundamental problem, as we have heard every year for some time now, is that the total value of the ten-year Capital Plan is not completely funded, and there is a shortfall over that period of close to $3 billion. This does not include projects with their own earmarked funding such as the Spadina Subway Extension (aka “TYSSE”) or the Scarborough Subway Extension (“SSE”).

The main issues facing the City of Toronto and the TTC are:
•Almost all ongoing funding for Capital spending has dried up at both the Provincial and Federal levels with only the Gas Tax flowing on an annual basis. This amounts to about $160 million from Ottawa and $70m from Queen’s Park (an additional $90m in Provincial funding goes to the Operating Budget).
•City borrowing is constrained by a debt ceiling target such that no more than 15% of the Property Tax income is required to service the City’s debt. Major projects added to the budget in recent years, notably the Gardiner Expressway, have pushed the City right to that line leaving no headroom to finance additional projects until the early 2020s.
•City Council has not been willing to raise additional revenues either through the property tax, or other mechanisms allowed by Queen’s Park, to service new debt beyond the 1.6% Scarborough Subway levy, and Mayor Tory’s proposed 0.5% levy to help fund some other capital needs.
•Queen’s Park announces a lot of transit funding, but this focuses on areas outside of Toronto. Even within Toronto, it flows mainly to Metrolinx, not to the City and TTC. All of the new funding is for Capital projects, not for day-to-day operations.

There is much, much more at his blog.
graycardinal: Carmen Sandiego (carmen sandiego)
[personal profile] graycardinal
From [ profile] astrogirl2

Mary Russell, Sarah Jane Smith, and Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart are stranded at sea in a tiny lifeboat. Do they easily survive to be rescued, perish horribly at sea, or find themselves resorting to cannibalism by day five?

All three are much too civilized to resort to cannibalism and much too experienced at surviving difficult circumstances to be severely challenged by this one. Also, between Sherlock Holmes, the Doctor, and Sarah Jane’s own various allies, someone will show up to bail them out well before the end of day two.

Why is Sherlock Holmes trying to kill Dairine Callahan, and how likely is he to succeed?


The only way this even begins to be possible is for Holmes to have been really well brainwashed, and that just about has to mean that some incarnation of the Master is involved. Which is actually possible, given that it’s established in canon that the Doctor exists in the Young Wizards universe. Since that appearance involved Five, we can further extrapolate that it’s Anthony Ainley’s Master, who is probably trying to co-opt Dairine’s planet of silicon life forms for his own ends. However, like all of the Master’s plots, this one is doomed to failure – in this case because he really doesn’t quite get the degree to which wizardry is rather more than a weird scientific sub-discipline.

Peggy Carter has become a vampire! Does she angst about it endlessly, or wholeheartedly embrace her creature-of-the-night status?

Peggy only does serious angst if it involves Captain America, and since he obviously wasn’t the one who turned her, there will be no angst at this table. If Howard Stark or the SSR can’t find some way to turn her back (very possible, though not guaranteed), she’ll adapt with no great difficulty, though she may have to get very stern with a few people about how much blood they’re willing to donate to her cause. And eventually Stephen Strange will probably find a way to unvamp her, several generations down the line.

Richard Castle, Victoria “Victory Anna” Cogsworth, and Severus Snape are having a movie night. Who brings the snacks, who loses the remote control, and how hard do they fight over what to watch?


Castle brings the snacks (because he doesn’t trust Torrey’s culinary skills and because snack-bringing isn’t in Snape’s vocabulary). Torrey does not lose the remote, she merely borrows it, and somehow its parts end up scattered among two ray guns, a teleportation device, and a pair of rocket skates. There is actually very little fighting over the movie, Torrey will watch just about anything in the name of learning more about her present dimension, and Snape is there less for the movie than to try and figure out what diabolical scheme has prompted Castle to set up the event. Since Castle is screening the new Nebula-9 feature film (produced after the events of S5 episode “Final Frontier”), both his guests end up more confused than ever....

From [ profile] lost_spook:

Vala and David Xanatos are stuck in a lift! Will they escape, meekly wait till the fire brigade gets there or kill each other?

Knowing Xanatos, he secretly caused the elevator to get stuck in order to plot an ingenious caper of some kind in which Vala will be a key player. Knowing Vala, the odds are dead even as to whether she’ll go along with the scheme whole-heartedly or play along just long enough to (at least attempt to) pull the rug out from under him at the last minute.

Mary Russell has been murdered. Cat Grant is the detective, Xanatos is her faithful sidekick and Victoria Cogsworth is the plodding police ally. Why is Rupert Giles a red herring, and who actually dunnit and why?


This one is so full of improbables that one hardly knows where to start. David Xanatos is so definitionally a mastermind (if not precisely an evil one) that he’s difficult to envision as a sidekick. Victory Anna? Absolutely Does Not “Plod”; she may not be quite the loose cannon she often appears, but she is a woman of action and intuition. And of course, despite the title of her latest adventure being The Murder of Mary Russell (how’s that for a scary coincidence) it’s difficult to contemplate one of the world’s premier sleuths (alongside her more famous husband) actually getting herself killed.

Which leads me to believe that the whole thing must be part of a party game set up by someone with really good superpowers in order to generate this particular guest list. On this list, that looks like Dairine, though it could also be Xanatos’ aide Owen Burnett in his alternate Puckish persona, or just possibly one of the most recent Doctors. That being the case, Giles is a red herring because that’s the game-card he drew, and in all probability the in-game mastermind will turn out to be (ta-da!) Sherlock Holmes himself, who will reveal in the climax that of course Mary Russell has not actually been murdered after all.

Will Riker and Severus Snape are going camping in the woods! Fun holiday or complete disaster?

On the one hand, Riker’s woodcraft skills are impeccable (and he’s known to be an avid fisherman). On the other, a situation in which Riker would invite Snape on a camping trip – and Snape would accept – is difficult to conceive, unless perhaps Snape needs to go out in search of potion components in the wild and someone in authority has insisted that he needs not to go by himself per the relevant wilderness-safety regulations. (Where and how he comes up with Riker as a campmate is left as an exercise for the student of improbable time travel.) My guess is that the trip would start out reasonably enough, but that by two or three days in, the two men would rapidly figure out that they’re catastrophically incompatible, mostly because Riker would be having fun and Snape is, if not constitutionally incapable of experiencing fun for its own sake, at best deeply uncomfortable with the concept.


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