delphipsmith: (the road)
This is a project on Kickstarter, which I thought was so neat I had to share it. So much of the news we see is at the macro level; I love the idea of exploring the world one person and one conversation at a time. Check it out here.


"It’s been four years since Paul Salopek, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, set out on foot from a campsite in Ethiopia on the Out of Eden Walk - a 21,000-mile, decade-long experiment in slow journalism. Through words and pictures, audio and video, Paul is creating an unprecedented record of human life on a global scale at the start of a new millennium, through the eyes of the villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely show up in headlines but whose lives illuminate the contours of the modern world..."


Also no, I will not be watching the inauguration tomorrow.
delphipsmith: (weeping angel)
Thank you, Jon.

delphipsmith: (books-n-brandy)
Yes, it's a vending machine that sells Moet & Chandon champagne.

delphipsmith: (Solo odds)
Prompting is open at [livejournal.com profile] mini_fest! Signups are still open at [livejournal.com profile] sshg_giftfest!! [livejournal.com profile] hp_goldenage is going to have an anonymous promptfest this fall!!!

So much fun, so little time...

Borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] toblass and [livejournal.com profile] savine_snape:

After all the recent terrible tragedies that have and are happening it's time for some positivity and kindness to happen.

So, I'm going to grab the pay-it-forward idea and put a little twist on it. The first twelve people to comment will get a surprise from me at some random point during the next twelve months.

All I ask is that in your comment, you share something with me about yourself that I may not know otherwise. This might be a good opportunity for me to get to know my friends better as well.


Ooh, I can't wait to see what I learn ::rubs hands in anticipation::
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
Some of you may have heard me talk about the books Those Across the River and Between Two Fires by Christopher Buehlman, either here or on GoodReads. They're excellent books, and if you haven't read them I highly recommend them.

Well, the author is releasing his third novel in October; here's an excerpt:

"Andrew Ranulf Blankenship is a handsome, stylish nonconformist with wry wit, a classic Mustang, and a massive library. He is also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing warlock, able to speak with the dead through film. His house is a maze of sorcerous booby traps and escape tunnels, as yours might be if you were sitting on a treasury of Russian magic stolen from the Soviet Union thirty years ago...")

A classic mustang. And a massive library. And stolen Russian magic. How can you not love this dude??

Anyway, the first two books got excellent reviews but little publicity. Buehlman wants to finance a bigger publicity campaign for this third book, so he's launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund it. The backer rewards are really cool -- including a letter to you from the main character, advance reading copies, lunch with the author in NYC, the chance to appear as a victim in his next book, even a personal visit from him to do a reading. So here's your chance to be a patron of the arts, for as little as $5!

Oh, and the video he did to accompany it is hilarious; even if you aren't interested in contributing, watch it just for the giggles :)
delphipsmith: (snoopydance)
I thought today I'd share two news stories that made me really happy in the past couple of weeks.

First, an eleven-year-old Masai boy from Kenya named Richard Turere. He's invented a cheap low-tech lion repellent -- a way to keep lions from chowing down on his family's herd of cattle. Lion predation on livestock is the number one reason locals kill them (Kenya's lion population has dropped from 15,000 ten years ago to about 2,000 today), so anything that keep them away is good for the cattle, good for the humans, and really good for the lions, though they may not know it. He wired up a bunch of LEDs to an old car battery powered by a solar panel, and the moving lights make it look like somebody is out roaming around and the lions stay away. Is that brilliant or what?? Many other villages are now installing these things, and it's working like gangbusters. He's now 13, and the Kenya Land Conservation Trust has gotten him a scholarship to go to school and study engineering. Yay!!

Second, the men of Phi Alpha Tau at Emerson College in Boston. They fund-raised on IndieGogo to help one of their brothers pay for his gender change from female to male, when his insurance company declined to cover the surgery. A fraternity, can you believe it?? They raised $16K; the extra is being donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, which helps fund sex change surgery (they call it "gender-confirming surgery" -- new phrase? never heard it before) for those who can't afford it. You guys rock, man. Best fraternity ever.

It's things like this that give me hope :)
delphipsmith: (bazinga)
Yep. Really. Specifically, Dr Karen Norberg, of the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, spent a year knitting an anatomically correct replica of the human brain. Why, you ask? I don't care, I just think it's awesome.
delphipsmith: (Solo odds)
One of the things the Obama administration instituted during its first term was a "We the People" website, where anyone can set up a petition. The administration promised that any petition garnering more than 25,000 signatures would get an official response. Well, someone put up a petition to build a Death Star.

It got 34,000 signatures.

The administration has responded.

The title of the official response? "This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For." And it just gets better, including an estimate from the Office of Management and Budget on the cost of construction. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying at this, and the best part is that it's TRUE :D
delphipsmith: (zombies)
I just found out about this really unusual post-apoc book and wondered if anyone else has heard about it. (NB: No, I have no connection with the book or the author, so this isn't a veiled sales pitch!) It's called Ora et Labora et Zombies.

Dr. Thomas Schutten's wife, Ava, is out of town when the zombie apocalypse strikes, so the doctor and his young son flee to a nearby Benedictine abbey -- his and his wife's agreed-on meeting place in case of catastrophe. (Bonus points for planning ahead, Dr. Tom!). While waiting for Ava, hoping against hope that she'll make it, Tom writes her letters. The book consists of these letters.

So you're thinking, "Meh, it's an epistolary novel, big deal," right? But here's the kicker: you actually get the letters in the mail, as in via the US Postal Service. You get one letter a week; each one is 4-6 pages and there will be 72 of them overall. The author/publisher says this about it:

Ora et Labora et Zombies is comprised of seventy-two handwritten Letters of between 4-6 pages, reproduced on specially watermarked stationery with a hand-printed serigraph cover sheet. Each Letter will be published individually, as a weekly serial, and distributed to readers through the mail. This idiosyncratic method of publication aims to celebrate and prolong the disappearing experience of receiving letters in the mailbox, and also to create in the reader a sense of anticipation, of waiting as the dramatis personae must wait to discover what is happening.

Is this not a really original and fascinating combination of book art/art book/letterpress skill/zombie apocalypse/serial novel?? And these are a few of my favorite things, so I'm utterly intrigued. I've subscribed to the first two bundles and cannot wait to get the first ones!!
delphipsmith: (thinker)
Francis Bacon's recommendations for being a "gentleman scholar" (1594), and my new ambition of what I want to be/do/have when I grow up. I love the idea of "in small compass a model of universal nature made private" so that you can study whatever it is you want to, right there in your own little realm :)

First, the collecting of a most perfect and general library, wherein whatsoever the wit of man hath hitherto committed to books of worth, be they ancient or modern, printed or manuscript, European or of other parts, of one or another language, may be made contributory to your wisdom. Next, a spacious wonderful garden, wherein whatsoever plant the sun of diverse climates, out of the earth of diverse molds, either wild or by the culture of man, brought forth, may be, with that care that appertaineth to the good prospering thereof, set and cherished; this garden to be built about with room to stable in all rare beasts and to cage in all rare birds, with two lakes adjoining, the one of fresh water, the other of salt, for like variety of fishes. And so you may have in small compass a model of universal nature made private. The third, a goodly huge cabinet, wherein whatsoever the hand of man by exquisite art or engine hath made rare in stuff, form or motion; whatsoever singularity, chance and the shuffle of things hath produced; whatsoever nature hath wrought in things that want life and may be kept, shall be sorted and included. The fourth, such a still-house, so furnished with mills, instruments, furnaces and vessels as may be a palace fit for a philosopher's stone. Thus, when your excellency shall have added depth of knowledge to the fineness of your spirits and greatness of your power, then indeed shall you be a Trismegistus, and then when all other miracles and wonder shall cease, by reason that you shall have discovered their natural causes, yourself shall be left the only miracle and wonder of the world.
delphipsmith: (Hepburn)
A woman hasn’t run a presidential debate in twenty years.

This boggles my mind. With all the women in business, journalism, politics, etc., NOT ONE has been named to moderate a presidential debate??? Other adjectives I can think of besides "surprising" include annoying, vexing, inappropriate, strange, or even (if I were of the paranoid persuasion) Highly Suspicious.

Well, three teenage girls from New Jersey apparently agree. Rather than spending their summer listening to Justin Bieber or hanging out at the pool, they amassed an astonishing 170,000 signatures on a petition to have one of the upcoming 2012 debates moderated by a woman. They then took their packet of signatures to the office of the Commission on Presidential Debates (the Commission will be selecting the moderators in the next couple of weeks)...

...and they were turned away, and told that they would not be permitted to leave the packages of signatures in case they contained dangerous substances.

WTF? Epic governmental fail.

Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis were interviewed about their experience on NPR today, where they spoke like mature, thoughtful, engaged young citizens about their disappointment with the way they were treated. (I applaud their self-control; I believe I might have thrown something large and heavy...)

Rather than give up, however, (quoting from themarysue.com): "[w]orking with Change.org, the girls have put together two petitions asking for female moderators–one targeted at the commission, and one targeting the Obama and Romney campaigns, who can also have a sizable influence over who is chosen to moderate the political showdowns. The former has 116,000 signatures, the latter 53,000."

These girls rock. If you agree, you can sign their petition and add your support. You go, girls!!!
delphipsmith: (thinker)
The town of Corigliano d'Otranto has gone all brainy. They've put up ceramic plaques around town with quotes from the likes of Augustine, hand out conversation-starter postcards with questions like "Why were you born?" and even hired a Municipal Philosopher.

Does this not astonish you, in this age of tweets and sound bites, knee-jerk ideologues and their blind followers? It does me..

Graziella Lupo, the first person to hold the position, actually trained as a philosophical consultant at the Ca' Foscari University in Venice. I didn't even know such a degree existed!! Had I known, I might have made different choices as an undergrad ;)

So, the Philosopher is available for consultation on Friday afternoons to help you clarify your thoughts and puzzle over Deep Junk. Is this not a wonderful creative fascinating thing? Are not amazed at the intellectual fire of this tiny (pop. 5900) town?? Of course it is and you are! (I wish MY town had a Municipal Philosopher.)

But guess who thinks it isn't? The local branch of the psychologists' professional organization. They say that the use of a consulting philosopher is "not only misleading and confusing, but utterly perilous" and state that they will take "all the most appropriate actions to combat any offence that may be identified".

Well, thinking has always been a little perilous (all those highly volatile IDEAS, you know?). But somebody whose job is helping people's minds work better objects to...somebody whose job is helping people's minds work better? (This bit of course is not surprising at all. Rather depressing, but not surprising.) It's almost enough to make you question their dedication.

Perhaps I shall institute the habit of starting each day with a little Marcus Aurelius or Socrates :)
delphipsmith: (LaceMe)
Wow, how much fun is this?? http://www.dolldivine.com/deluxe-pin-up-maker.php
Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] droxy (I think -- although if I waste another hour playing with it the word "thank" may mutate into something else LOL!)

Now if I could just find where to buy all the pieces:

delphipsmith: (IDIC)
I love LZ Granderson :)

"I'm sure you've heard a lot about the gay agenda, but may not know what's in it. Here's what you do: Download a copy of the United States Constitution, read it. Everything the LGBT community wants is in there. Sounds like an oversimplification? It's not..."

Read the rest of the article here.
delphipsmith: (much rejoicing)
Tired of paging through multiple chapters of a long fic? Wishing there was an easier way to put a long fic together other than copy-paste-copy-paste (repeat ad nauseum)? Or maybe you just prefer to hold a tiny lightweight Kindle instead of hunching over a laptop? FRET NO MORE!! I give you the fabulous fanfic compilation tool FLAG (Fanfic Lightweight Automatic Grabber).

Enter the URL of any chapter of the story you want, from any one of 24 popular websites (soon to be 30 or more; sycophanthex is upcoming, I know because I emailed and asked!), choose your format (epub, mobi, PDF, HTML), click Download, and poof! You get a lovely file with all chapters in order, complete with copyright statement and TOC. You can even have them emailed straight to your Kindle! How geek-cool is that?

Go. Try. Give some love to the creator, who does it all for the geeky fun of it (but also appreciates paypal donations). And enormous thanks to [livejournal.com profile] madeleone for alerting me to it.
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
A stylized grey badge with the red OTW logo taking up the middle and the words Survey Taker bracketing the logo This is an interesting survey by the Organization for Transformative Works -- thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shyfoxling for alerting me to it via her post.

The Organization for Transformative Works, for those who don't know, is a nonprofit organization run by and for fans to provide access to and preserve the history of fan works and fan cultures. They're the outfit behind Archive Of Our Own (AO3) and also the scholarly academic journal Transformative Works and Cultures. TWC has included papers on fan aspects of everything from Wizard rock to World of Warcraft to Willa Cather. They've even done a piece on silent-era movie fandoms (which operated via magazines) back in the 1920s!

They are also, which I did not know until I took the survey, the brains behind FanLore, a wiki designed to document the phenomenon of fan/fandom (making it a sort of meta-fandom of its own, I suppose?), as well as several other projects.

So yeah, I took a survey and actually learned something. How cool is that??

100 Things Blogging Challenge iconOn another note, a lot of people are taking on the 100 Things challenge to encourage themselves to write more, and more in-depth, posts. I'm all for it (I mean, if I wanted tiny little posts I'd go to Twitter, right?). For a long time I've cross-posted my book reviews from Goodreads to LJ, so choosing 100 books (while easy) would have felt like cheating since I already do that. There's music or movies or poems, all of which are great, but none of them spoke to me. Finally I decided on 100 Surprises: the people, places, events, stories, things, ideas, etc. that have surprised me over the years. I just hope I can come up with 100 of them...
delphipsmith: (waka waka bang splat)
That would be "science, technology, engineering and mathematics," fields in which (as we all know) there aren't enough women -- but Etsy's doing its bit to change that. They're hosting the summer 2012 session of Hacker School at Etsy headquarters, AND they’re providing ten Etsy Hacker Grants of $5,000 each — a total of $50,000 — to women who want to go but need financial support to do so.

How fantabulous is that?? (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] spacefem who initially posted on it.)

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