delphipsmith: (drat)
Apparently they used to be in California, thus subject to US law etc. No longer, apparently. It's not clear what this will mean for the non-Russian arm of LJ, but you can read lots more here, including links and directions on how to port your entire LJ to Dreamwidth.

Interesting in light of recent events with Obama, Trump, etc. I hope this isn't some sort of omen for how 2017 is going to go :P
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: (McBadass)
If you like yogurt, and if your store carries a brand from New York called Chobani, please consider buying it.

The owner is a Turkish immigrant, Mr. Ulukaya. He bought a defunct yogurt factory in central New York a few years back, revived it using a yogurt recipe from his homeland, and it's now a billion-dollar business with a second location in Twin Falls, ID. He's instituted profit sharing for his employees, gives paid paternity leave, has created more than 2,000 jobs, and keeps dozens of New York dairy farmers in business because he buys as much milk as they can produce. He actively employs legal immigrants who have been resettled in the area, recently founded the Tent Foundation which works to help immigrants find work (so, y'know, they can pay taxes!), and spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on how corporations can help with the refugee crisis.

So: A hardworking immigrant achieves the American Dream, creates thousands of jobs, treats his employees generously, does his bit to help solve a serious world crisis, and is "walking the walk" about turning immigrants into productive tax-paying citizens. Sounds like the right wing's dream guy, right?

Nope. Breitbart and others in the far-right conspiracy-sphere are spreading lies about the company, suggesting a boycott of the product, and encouraging death threats against Mr. Ulukaya personally.

I'm really starting to believe that there is a small but loud segment of the far right that is quite literally insane.

God I can't wait for this election to be over. Every single particle of it has depressed me unutterably.
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: (elephant)
Usually when I read the New York Times Book Review on Sundays there are at least two titles, often more, that I am inspired to add to my to-read list. Today I went through the entire section and did not add any. It seems like this should mean something but I'm not sure what.

Courtesy of a colleague on GoodReads, however, I also read a superb essay by Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange, written for The New Yorker. Burgess begins by talking about A Clockwork Orange but expands into a discussion of the role of the state, free will, the nature of good and evil, and all sort of other remarkably timely and pertinent topics (especially considering it was originally written in 1972!). An essay to savor. This was one of my favorite bits:

...We probably have no duty to like Beethoven or hate Coca-Cola, but it is at least conceivable that we have a duty to distrust the state...In small social entities—English parishes, Swiss cantons—the machine that governs can sometimes be identified with the community that is governed. But when the social entity grows large, becomes a megalopolis, a state, a federation, the governing machine becomes remote, impersonal, even inhuman. It takes money from us for purposes we do not seem to sanction; it treats us as abstract statistics; it controls an army; it supports a police force whose function does not always appear to be protective...[I]n our own century, the state has been responsible for most of our nightmares. No single individual or free association of individuals could have achieved the repressive techniques of Nazi Germany, the slaughter of intensive bombing, or the atomic bomb. War departments can think in terms of megadeaths, while it is as much as the average man can do to entertain dreams of killing the boss. The modern state, whether in a totalitarian or a democratic country, has far too much power, and we are probably right to fear it...
delphipsmith: (BA beta)
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday

Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust


Only eight???

1) People who don't keep their word/do what they say they will do.
2) Printers. They seem to have some evil intelligence that springs to life whenever I interact with them: they print stuff landscape or backwards, create paper jams, and just generally become disobedient and contrary.
3) Tuvan throat singing. Mr Psmith has started practicing it and it's driving me maaaaaaaaad.
4) People who are unkind to animals. There is simply no excuse for that. You should be beaten with a rubber hose.
5) People who are anti-science. You have a brain for a REASON, people. It's not just filler to keep your head from imploding.
6) The rampant mindless idiocy that has allowed people like the Kardashians, the cast of Duck Dynasty, and every single person on Jersey Shore to become famous and rich.
7) Words like "irrespective" and "orientate." Also corporate buzzwords like "facilitate" and "synergy" and "leverage".
8) George W. Bush. I can't help it, his fact just makes me want to smack him. Plus he invaded a country that didn't bomb us.

And here's a bonus one: The bottomless gulf between library funding and football/basketball coach salaries.
delphipsmith: (bazinga)
A bunch of Friday random fun stuff, for your edification and jollification:

Too much snow? Bored with snowmen? Try a lovely snow-pig!

For you fabric artistes in the audience, I bring you Spoonflower, where you can design your own fabric. I expect to see lots of peacocks from [livejournal.com profile] shiv5468.

Ever pondered why your state is so ________? And perhaps been curious how most people would fill in that blank? Wonder no more!! io9 has mined the data and brings you the answers. Unsurprisingly, the answer for Texas is "big" but some of the others may make you scratch your head.

Did you know that the NFL, which grossed $9.5 billion last year, is a non-profit? This is a true thing. If you think it's stupid, which apparently 87% of the public does, you can sign a petition to change it. (On another football-related note, there's more at stake in this year's Super Bowl than just a big silver trophy: a Frederic Remington and a Japanese painting.)

Want a few LOTR-related giggles but can't face another Legolas/Gimli slash fic*? Visit The Tolkien Sarcasm Page, a collection of very funny things indeed, including Saruman's diary and "Tales from the Prancing Pony," the story of three British adventurers who spent four months in Middle-earth in the late 1880s, with a genteel and well-mannered Uruk-hai as their guide. Oh, and there's also the Crackpot Tolkien Theories page, featuring a well-argued theory that Tom Bombadil is actually the Witch-King of Angmar. Really.

Then when you want something a little more serious, meet Clint Smith. I can't really describe him, you just have to listen.

OK, 'nuff said. Have a nice Friday, y'all!

* Apologies to anyone in the audience who actually likes Legolas/Gimli (what do you call that pairing, anyway? Legimli? Gimoglas?)
delphipsmith: (weeping angel)
The Western black rhino was declared extinct today, and the top story on Yahoo News was Suri Cruise's new haircut.

[Edit: The link above was to an old news item, sorry, and now I can't find the correct one. Curse you, interwebz! However, in trying to find it, I did learn that they've found footprints of the Sumatran rhino someplace where they thought it was extinct, so the news isn't all bad. Still...]

Humanity, I weep for you. And yes, that's a poem, so it counts as one of my 100 Things. *sigh*
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: (PIcard face-palm)
I'm all for freedom of speech, but sometimes there are statements that just go beyond the pale -- see for example this, this, and this, and that's just within the last five years (and doesn't include the Rape Nuts from the last election cycle).

Here's the latest installment: A regional media relations director for the Salvation Army apparently interprets Romans 1:18-32 very, very, very, very literally:

Ryan: According to the Salvation Army, [gay people] deserve death. How do you respond to that, as part of your doctrine?

Craibe: Well, that’s a part of our belief system.

This makes me want to write a sternly worded note, make a hundred copies, and drop that in their little red kettles instead of cash. Or, you know, take a baseball bat to them. Not to the nice people who ring the bells, of course, because I think they're all hired at minimum wage to do so (at least if the totally bored guy I saw outside Price Chopper is any example), but to the little red kettles.

Of course the official Salvation Army folks are trying to backpedal, but they're having trouble since (like the Boy Scouts) they have a documented history of being anti-any-lifestyle-that-isn't-hetero-nuclear-family. Now, I'm not a Christian and highly unlikely ever to become one, but any Jesus who would have the remotest chance of getting my support would have nothing to do with such bigoted horrible nonsense.

One has to wonder why He doesn't come back and correct this sort of faulty thinking. If I were him I'd be seriously vexed at the misuse of My brand.
delphipsmith: (Luddite laptop)
A hacker has discovered -- and, happily, disclosed -- a "blind spot" between Apple and Amazon's identity and account verification procedures:

Details are here and here.

I have to say this had never occurred to me as a way to game the system, but it's scary easy because so much information is available online (names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses) and I'll bet can be done with other paired accounts as well. I know how many places use the last 4 digits of your credit card as verification.

Amazon claims this has since been fixed, but I have my doubts. My wallet was stolen last year and within four hours I had closed all my credit and debit cards, but the thief got my debit card turned back on via the simple route of calling my bank, pretending to be me, and telling them the card had only been lost and was now found. Wow.

It's almost enough to make you leave ze interwebz entirely. Almost, because otherwise where would I go for beta readers??
delphipsmith: (kaboom)
There are no words for how behind I am with so many things, as anyone might guess from the fact that I've only posted three times this month. Gaaah. Editing a 300+ page scholarly monograph on Freemasonry in your spare time can do that to you.

But at last, at last, here I am with my next installment in the 100 Things Challenge. Yay!

The reptilian hindbrain, also sometimes called the "lizard brain," is pop culture slang for the most primitive part of the brain, the part just slightly more evolved than the autonomous functions like breathing. Its proper name is Rhombencephalon, and according to Wikipedia "it has been suggested that the hindbrain first evolved...between 570 and 555 million years ago."

But this surprise, which I experienced when I was about ten years old but still remember like it was yesterday, has nothing to do with where the hindbrain came from and everything to do with the fact that it's still in there, sulking at its superfluity, waiting to pounce and take over in certain circumstances.

My brother is five years younger than me, and when we were kids we had developed mad skillz at pushing each others' buttons. One evening when I was about ten, he did something -- I don't recall what -- that sent me into quite literally a blind rage. I was so furious I was incoherent; I distinctly recall that I felt like I had lost the power of speech, as well as all control over my actions. We were downstairs at the time, and I remember hurtling up the stairs, slamming into his room (a MAJOR breach of protocol: personal space was a very big priority in my family and you DID NOT enter someone else's room without permission)...I ran to his dresser, ripped the drawers open, grabbed handfuls of stuff, anything, whatever I could get my hands on, threw it left, right, up, down, hurling it about the room until it was festooned with socks and underwear. I felt like a passenger in my own head, like my rage had become a physical thing that had taken possession of me. And side by side with the red berserker frenzy was this astonishment: What the heck is going on? What is this??

I remember that my brother and my mom had followed me upstairs and stood in the doorway staring, open-mouthed in awe at my tiny whirling vortex of fury. (I was a very small ten year old.)

Later, my mom told me she was proud of me that instead of beating my brother to a pulp, I'd turned my rage on something inanimate, not to mention squashy and damage-free (socks = harmless). Looking back, yeah, as a mom I too would probably have taken that as a good sign. At the time, though, had I known who the Incredible Hulk was then, I'm sure I would have identified with him (sans the purple shorts).

That particular part of the hindbrain never showed itself to me again (though I caught a glimpse of its red-and-black hide once, years later, when my college boyfriend smugly opined that it was fine for him to have slept around in high school but that girls ought to be virgins...but that's another story, and it wasn't really a surprise LOL!). But I've never forgotten my amazement at this hitherto unsuspected capability lurking inside me, and my astonishment at the power of this most basic of hindbrain emotions.
delphipsmith: (seriously pissed)
Arizona has passed a bill stating that life begins two weeks before conception.

::iz speechless::

Presumably that means everyone in Arizona will soon be singing this.

Also passed: a law protecting doctors from being sued if they withhold information that might lead a woman to get an abortion. Now, I'm fairly certain that's malpractice and violates every medical code of ethics since Hippocrates. I can't wait to hear what the AMA has to say about it. Ideally they will vow to yank the license of any so-called physician who perpetrates this obscenity on a patient.

Gaaaaaaaaahh. And the GOP says there's no war on women. Uh-huh. Pull this one and it plays Jingle Bells. Becoming a rabid feminazi is becoming a more and more attractive option every day that insanity like this sees the light of day.
delphipsmith: (despicable)
Just wanted to bring this to people's attention. [livejournal.com profile] ofenjen's relatives have rescued Lily, an adorable tabby kitten who was -- get this -- shot and dumped at their place out in the country. (Grrr...so angry with idiot humans...) Vet bills will be steep (we've all been there, right?) so they're having an auction to raise some money at [livejournal.com profile] loveforlily. Some neat stuff up for bid -- custom art, custom fic, Harry Potter fabric, etc. Check it out and if you feel inclined, bid on something or offer something :)


delphipsmith: (kaboom)
Latest leisure reading / nuclear apocalypse: The Pallid Giant. Set during the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, it concerns a diplomat who, discouraged by the bickering and pettiness he witnesses, learns from a scientist friend that homo sapiens may not be the first intelligent species to rise -- and fall -- on Earth. Rather eerie in its prescience; Noyes couldn't possibly have foreseen the development of nuclear weapons (his novel has a "death ray") but he accurately describes the corrosive effects of fear (the "pallid giant" of the title) on nations, once one of them has a lethal weapon.

Noyes was an interesting character. His father was John Humphrey Noyes, founder and leader of the Oneida Community, a sort of proto-hippie commune in central New York in 1848 that believe in plural marriage, controlled breeding, and the possibility of the (secular) perfection of mankind. The book has clear roots in the pacifist movement but old John, a Perfectionist, would have been sadly disappointed in his son's obvious lack of faith in human nature. The book's ending is literally ambiguous but the implication is clearly negative; humanity is in grave danger of their technology outrunning their ethics. A lesson we would do well to remember. Intelligence is no guarantee of survival.

I'm pleased to have read it, though it gave me nightmares about a giant comet heading directly for Earth. Apart from that it was excellent, certainly one of the earliest apocalypse novels I've encountered. (Well, OK, the earliest human-caused ones, anyway; strictly speaking, I guess the Deluge myth from 1700 BCE qualifies as the earliest apocalypse tale, though somewhat lacking in plot and characterization.)

In a lovely moment of intersection with the Whedonverse, I discovered that part of the apocryphal Book of Enoch is called The Book of the Watchers. Apparently it was "influential in molding New Testament doctrines about...demonology." Coincidence? I don't think so. Also related to Angelology which I read last month (excellent concept poorly executed, don't waste your time).

Coming up: I went to Barnes and Noble last night and discovered that Laurie R. King and Guy Gavriel Kay BOTH have new books out. Well, there goes $50...but for such a good cause!
delphipsmith: (wibble)
Watched a fascinating two-hour piece last night on the financial meltdown and how it happened. Turns out the number of bad mortgages exploded not because unscrupulous lenders wanted to screw home buyers, but because very rich people in places like China and Asia were eagerly hunting for places to put their money; American mortgages seemed like a good idea; therefore there was a growing demand for more and more mortgages; therefore more and more had to be created to meet this demand. The demand trickled down to the mortgage brokers, who of course were happy to supply that demand. Eventually they'd done mortgages for all the good-risk people but still needed more mortgages to sell to Wall Street so they started making riskier and riskier loans. The demand was so hot, and Wall Street was so desperate for mortgages that they could turn around and sell, that lenders went off the deep end. One guy they interviewed said he was loaning $5 billion A MONTH on mortgages for which he required no proof of income, no proof of employment, and no credit score.

So Wall Street took the crappy mortgages and sliced and diced them into little pieces and mixed then into composite things called Mortgage Backed Securities; these MBS's got rated AAA (very very safe investment grade) because a) the companies doing the ratings were being paid by the people who had MBS's to sell and b) nobody really understood what they were selling and c) the people with the MBS's proved to the ratings people how safe and awesome their MBS's were by using math that assumed housing prices would keep going up 6%-8% every year FOREVER. Now how stupid is that?

So then, when the lenders had sold all the crappy mortgages of the regular type that they could possibly talk borrowers into, they came up with a new beyond-crappy positively-insane version where the borrower paid only part of the interest he owed each month and none of the principle, and the unpaid interest got added to the balance of the loan. So (follow me on this) as a borrower, you paid every month and the amount you owed continued to go UP. And people took these mortgages! And even then (here's the really crazy part) Wall Street was happy to buy these worse-than-crappy-actually-insane mortgages so they could slice and dice them into MBSs and sell them.

What part of this makes any sense whatsoever? Like a giant game of Hot Potato, as long as you could keep selling the things fast enough, everything was kosher. Once the beyond-crappy-and-into-surreal mortgages started to default, that made ALL the mortgage-backed securities suspect because nobody knew whether they were made of good mortgages or bad ones (because they were all sliced and diced), so they all tanked. And several hundred billion dollars vanished into thin air. And the problem doesn't end, because the banks STILL don't know what they own and whether their MBSs are worth anything or something or nothing.

These would be the "toxic assets" we've been hearing so much about.

So now I understand it, and I'm even more horrified and appalled than I was before.
delphipsmith: (DamnNotGiven)
I must thank the Octuplet Mom for waking me up this morning by providing me with inspiration for truly vigorous rant.  What kind of a moron is this woman???  Six kids, ages 2 to 7 (so that's six kids in five years -- ok, some of them are twins, but still), three of them disabled, and all of them on WELFARE, and what does this cosmically stupid woman do?  She has eight more.  EIGHT!!

??!!?!??

I was very close to speechless and believe me that does not happen often.  So now my tax dollars are supporing this women and all FOURTEEN (!!!!!!) of her children.  I practically go speechless again just thinking about it.  (She has the nerve to say that she doesn't consider herself on welfare.  I have news for you, missy -- when you can't support your kids and you take money from the government, Ii believe that's called being on welfare.)

I seriously hope someone is bringing ethics charges against her doctor; he had no business helping this woman have more kids when she couldn't support the ones she already had.  He should be on the hook to pay for them, not Joe Taxpayer.  And who paid for her fertility treatments?  I surely hope that Medicaid didn't, because that would mean that we the taxpayer paid for the privilege of her having eight more kids so that we the taxpayer could then pay to raise them.  Wow.  Maybe she'll be individually mentioned in the bailout bill.

And her "spokesperson" has the nerve to blame people's outrage on the economy, saying that last year people would have welcomed these kids and donated lots of money.  Well now, let's think about this...six months ago she still would have had six kids, the taxpayer still would have been forking over food stamps and welfare checks for her, her three disabled kids would still need lots of attention...hmmm....

Nope.  Still monumentally wrong-headed and colossally selfish.

Profile

delphipsmith: (Default)
delphipsmith

August 2017

S M T W T F S
  12345
678910 1112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27 28293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 20 September 2017 11:47 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios