delphipsmith: (all shall be well)
The French election has made me feel rather better about things. Toutes nos félicitations et tout mon amour, all of y'all :)
delphipsmith: (ba headdesk)
Because news. Mostly this, but also everything that the Orange Hobgoblin says or does, because it highlights how incredibly incompetent and stupid he is. (Just look at all the tags I've applied to this post -- I couldn't stop, they are my frenzy made visible.)

So instead, I give you the peaceful February view out our back windows yesterday:

(click to embiggen)
delphipsmith: (live live live)
These women. Fabulous.



delphipsmith: (McBadass)
...is all the women's marches, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Amsterdam, Oslo, Helsinki, Bogota, Nairobi, Madrid, Marseilles, London. Truly heartwarming to see so many people (both men and women!) in some many places, speaking out against the stated policies of the current administration.

Also: THANK YOU so much to my lovely flisties who gifted me with virtual prezzies and LJ account extensions! You are lovely and I smooch you all :)

Also also: We saw Rogue One today and LOVED it. More on that tomorrow...
delphipsmith: (Solo odds)
Following up on yesterday's post:

delphipsmith: (Solo odds)
"The Star Wars universe is going on 40-years-old these days, but apparently the alt-right just now got the memo that the franchise’s universe is multi-cultural..."

Yup. The poor wittle Trumpflakes are apparently all miffed about Rogue One because it's, er, "anti-white" or something.

So they've invented a #DumpStarWars hashtag -- which was promptly, and humorously, co-opted by Star Wars fans and people with, y'know, an actual sense of proportion, with tweets like these:





Seriously, what is wrong with these people??
delphipsmith: (weeping angel)
I can't even. I just can't even.

I know that there are many people in this country who feel angry, left behind, ignored, trampled on, betrayed by their representatives in government. I know that both parties have done a shit job addressing their very real concerns. I know that many of us are desperate for some kind of change, some kind of shift in government, a return to its proper nature of being by, for, and of the people. And I am so, so, so sorry that we as a country didn't have a better choice last Tuesday (*koff*Bernie*koff*).

But that so many people were willing to sacrifice dignity, courtesy, tolerance, civility, and common human decency in an effort to get that change... that, I cannot understand. And that racists and bigots have the apparent sanction of our president-elect is absolutely shameful.

If "making America great again" requires jettisoning the very things that underpin a civilized society, then I don't want that particular flavor of greatness.
delphipsmith: (Elizabethan adder)
"In the early 1590s, Shakespeare sat down to write a play that addressed a problem: How could a great country wind up being governed by a sociopath?...Shakespeare’s words have an uncanny ability to reach out beyond their original time and place and to speak directly to us. We have long looked to him, in times of perplexity and risk, for the most fundamental human truths. So it is now..."

Read more ===>
delphipsmith: (PIcard face-palm)
Dorothy Thompson, suffragette, radio broadcaster, and war correspondent, was the first American journalist to be expelled from Germany for questioning Hitler. I recently ran across a couple of quotes by her that I really like. Both seem rather apt, the first one due to the current state of journalism with its non-substantive coverage of news and its mindless rush towards infotainment, the second due to the insistence of a certain political party to poke their noses into people's sex lives and bedrooms.

No people ever recognize their dictator in advance. He never stands for election on the platform of dictatorship. He always represents himself as the instrument [of] the Incorporated National Will. ... When our dictator turns up you can depend on it that he will be one of the boys, and he will stand for everything traditionally American. And nobody will ever say "Heil" to him, nor will they call him "Fuhrer" or "Duce." But they will greet him with one great big, universal, democratic, sheeplike bleat of "O.K., Chief! Fix it like you wanna, Chief! Oh Kaaaay!"

-- 1935, quoted in Watchdogs of Democracy? : The Waning Washington Press Corps and How it Has Failed the Public (2006) by Helen Thomas, p. 172



I know now that there are things for which I am prepared to die. I am willing to die for political freedom; for the right to give my loyalty to ideals above a nation and above a class; for the right to teach my child what I think to be the truth; for the right to explore such knowledge as my brains can penetrate; for the right to love where my mind and heart admire, without reference to some dictator’s code to tell me what the national canons on the matter are; for the right to work with others of like mind; for a society that seems to me becoming to the dignity of the human race. I shall pick no fight, nor seek to impose by force these standards on others. But let it be clear. If the fight comes unsolicited, I am not willing to die meekly, to surrender without effort. And that being so, am I still a pacifist?

-- 1937, "Dilemma of a Pacifist"


On a lighter (I guess) note, apparently the most frequent UK Google search AFTER the Brexit vote was, "What is the EU?" Probably should have done that googling BEFORE voting, guys.
delphipsmith: (despicable)
A group of authors have banded together to petition the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon and its stifling of competition in the market for both physical and e-books. I'm very glad to see this and I hope it leads to action on the part of the DoJ.

The letter says, among other things:

In recent years, Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America's readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.

The statistics they cite are pretty stunning: Amazon now controls the sale of more than 75% of online sales of physical books, more than 65% of e-book sales, more than 40% of sales of new books, and 85% of ebook sales of self-published authors.

It's more than a little worrisome that one single corporation has that much say over what is easily available to the general public. Not to mention their detrimental effect on small independent booksellers, who throughout history have been far more sensitive and responsive to local and non-mainstream interests. When the giant gorilla in the room only offers you best-sellers while sitting on and squashing everyone else, it's a little bothersome. Not to mention the fact that Jeff Bezos has admitted in so many words that he doesn't give a rat's ass about books; all those books are loss leaders to Amazon who just uses/sells the data thus gathered. As the longer version of the letter puts it:

The idea that Amazon would intentionally use its power in a way that vitiates the book industry strikes many Americans as counterintuitive, much like choosing to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. But Amazon's goal has never been to sell only books. On the contrary, Amazon executives from the first spoke of their intent to build what they called "the everything store." Amazon analyzed twenty product categories before choosing books as the company's debut "commodity."

The letter goes on to put the situation in historical context with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, anti-trust laws going back to the 1866 Telegraph Act preventing a monopoly of that particular brand-new information highway, and the recent FCC Net Neutrality rulings.

While Amazon contends that its goal is to serve consumers by eliminating middlemen in publishing (which it calls the "gatekeepers"), Amazon's executives have also made clear they intend to make Amazon itself the sole gatekeeper in this industry. But what's at stake here is not merely monopoly control of a commodity; what is at stake is whether we allow one of the nation's most important marketplaces of information to be dominated and supervised by a single corporation...The conviction that antitrust law plays a vital role in protecting freedom of expression continues to this day. Justice Anthony Kennedy, in the Turner Broadcasting case, wrote, "Assuring that the public has access to a multiplicity of information sources is a governmental purpose of the highest order, for it promotes values central to the First Amendment," and that, "[t]he First Amendment's command that government not impede the freedom of speech does not disable the government from taking steps to ensure that private interests not restrict, through physical control of a critical pathway of communication, the free flow of information and ideas."

So for myself, I'm boycotting Amazon and any possible way they might make money off me, including all their brands and subsidiaries. I'll still use abebooks.com to find used books, but I'll go straight to the seller and buy direct from them so Amazon doesn't get a cut. I'll still use goodreads (because damn it, I was there BEFORE the behemoth ate them) but I won't use any of their links to buy anything.

Now I just have to talk Mr Psmith out of renewing his Amazon Prime membership and get him to drop his Amazon credit card...
delphipsmith: (Solo odds)
The company that posted this song, Soomo Publishing, calls it a "satirical video." Possibly one could also call it a grownup version of Schoolhouse Rock. I prefer to think of it as just a kick-ass way to celebrate the Fourth of July. I especially like the part where somebody -- Sam Adams, is it? -- gets up on the table and starts playing the fiddle. Plus the mischievously sexy bit with the feather from 1:09 to 1:14. Hubba, hubba.


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delphipsmith: (McBadass)
Those excellent hot pink tennis shoes Wendy Davis wore for her marathon filibuster? You can buy them on Amazon. Which means you can post reviews of them on Amazon. Which people are:

"If you live in North Dakota, make sure you purchase these within the first six weeks of your running program or you will be prohibited from purchasing them. It's for the safety of the shoes."

"The next time you have to spend 13 hours on your feet without food, water or bathroom breaks, this is the shoe for you. Guaranteed to outrun patriarchy on race day."

Go. Read. Cheer.
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
What happens when a Wikipedian attends a political rally
(I do love xkcd).

wikiprot
delphipsmith: (allyourbase)
So the military has come up with a new medal to be awarded to drone pilots. Without getting into the question of whether remotely piloting a drone from the safety of, say, Peoria deserves a medal at all, or the broader question of the ethics of drones in the first place, this seems a rather odd method of implementation:

"The new Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced on Feb. 13, will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross in the military’s official order of precedence. That means it will technically rank higher, and be worn on a uniform above, the Bronze Star with V device, which honors heroic conduct on the battlefield, as well as the Purple Heart, which is awarded to troops who are injured in battle." (Navy Times)

A petition to demote the medal has been posted on WhiteHouse.gov, if anyone is interested. They need 100K signatures by March 16 to get it officially addresed by the White House; as of today they're at about 17K. Feel free to spread the word, if you know people who might be interested.

Personally I'd prefer a petition to ban the damn things altogether, but hey, we do what we can...
delphipsmith: (Sir Patrick Captain)
Those of you with a mathy turn of mind will be interested to know that it's actually command gold that loses the highest percentage of its wearers, not the stereotypical expendable red shirts. But sciences and engineering are still the safest. Go Spock!

And since we're in a Star Trek moment, please enjoy the ten most awesome things that happened during ST:TNG's 25th reunion. (TWENTY FIVE. Wow do I feel old. So imagine how Jonathan Frakes feels!!)

Also, Patrick Stewart has made the NRA's enemy list (and is apparently quite proud of it). He's also been attacked by some sort of squid/fruit hybrid, but I'm sure there's no connection.

Oh, and Mississippi finally banned slavery.

That is all.
delphipsmith: (buttons)
I'm amused by the fact that I'm sure I saw Joe Biden surreptitiously counting how many pages were left in the President's speech, round about the 40 minute mark :D

But wait, I was going to talk about smut! Check out this great episode of The Storyboard, in which well-known authors talk about how to write good fantastic sex :)


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delphipsmith: (waka waka bang splat)
The hashtag #natesilverfacts has been trending on Twitter since Election Night. Here are some of the best:

@weldonwk: Nate Silver wasn't born, the probability of his existence just increased #natesilverfacts

@edyong209: Immense RT @TrojanScientist: Before going on a date, Nate Silver calculates the prior probability of reaching third Bayes.

@petridishes: Han Solo lets Nate Silver tell him the odds. #natesilverfacts

@edwardbenson: Nate Silver escaped from a Prisoner of War camp by shrugging and making an independence assumption #natesilverfacts

@Smedette: Nate Silver can recite Pi. Backwards. #NateSilverFacts

@clarklab: Statistical margin of error will now be referred to as “Distance from Nate” #natesilverfacts

We also have the (fictitious, one hopes) #drunknatesilver ("Last night, I walked onto a maternity ward and pointed out the 53rd President of the United States. #DrunkNateSilver").

Then there's the hilariously over-the-top parody account @fivethirtynate, which has gems like this: "@fivethirtynate: Molten variables hiss and roar. On my mind-forge, I hammer them into the greatsword Epistemology. Many are my foes this night!"

Also, some people think he's a witch :)

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