Friday April 28th, 2017

NSA stops some US citizen email collection

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One way streets

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How multi-lane, one-way street design shapes neighbourhood life: collisions, crime and community (PDF)

Our results show that neighbourhoods with one-way multilane streets experience greater abandonment, lower housing values and slower increases in property values. This research supports expanded thinking about one- to two-way street conversion as a method to improve safety, connectivity, community and sustainability.

Math typesetting has gotten sexy!

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Math typesetting has gotten sexy!

Status Quo & World Building

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Charlene and I have been mulling around the idea of starting a square dancing group in Petaluma. And, of course, I'm working with the Vallejo Pioneers to try to re-vitalize their club, make it grow again. One of the challenges in square dancing is that it's got this image of old stuffy white people with big floofy skirts or embroidered western shirts, very staid and traditional. It is, or can be, but it can also be so much more.

So I've been thinking a lot about how to market it so we get the vibrant growing bits of comunity.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast, I think it was Life on the Swingset #281: Finding and Being Community Role Models, and the non-white cis male contingent went off on a rant about how they were constantly going into spaces and feeling not included. How grateful they were to find other people of color, and how the micro-aggressions of the space meant there was a lot of clustering. And as I was listening to it I kept thinking "okay, I hear your frustration, but tell me what I can do..."

And then the fog cleared and I realized that not making special effort is making a special effort. It's just making a special effort to make the default feel welcome. That if we were going to seek out alternate communities and draw them into square dancing we had to individually market directly to them. It isn't enough to say "this is an inclusive space", we have to be pointing at individuals and say "you, yes, you, and your peers: we want you here."

Another example of that message.

The Status Quo Does Not Need World Building:

It is implied in every detail that is left out as “understood by everyone,” in every action or reaction considered unimportant for whatever reason, in every activity or description ignored because it is seen as not worthy of the doughty thews of real literature.

There are many ways to discuss elaborated world building. This post will focus on material culture and social space.

Myth of straight fan fiction

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Gender & verbs

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Wednesday April 26th, 2017

One simple trick

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Bwahahaha! Driver reveals ONE SIMPLE TRICK to avoid all speeding fines and penalty points:

She said: ‘It’s all down to one simple trick really. I don’t break the fucking speed limit.’

‘If I am on a particular stretch of road, a combination of my knowledge of the Highway Code and local signage will usually tell me the maximum speed at which I can take my vehicle in a forward direction without setting off any speed cameras.’

‘By applying this one life hack to my everyday driving habits, I also manage to not kill anyone or run off whinging to the local press when a pothole ruins my wheel tracking.’

Given the number of programmers

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Given the number of programmers building yet another job search website, there can't be that much of a software developer shortage.

Tuesday April 25th, 2017

cycling safety

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Ouch. Shadow forwarded along a cycling safety video that was abruptly stunning...

Not sure I totally agree with its statistics, but the end point is the same whether the cyclist fucked up or the driver did.

Monday April 24th, 2017

How far we've come

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How far we've come: "top" is listing the resident RAM usage of my process in fractions of a terabyte.

Kitty Hawk Flyer

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Introducing the Kitty Hawk Flyer (YouTube)

Looks like the first commercially available n-copter I've seen. This one's a recreational fly over water in the ground effect toy, but that looks like up to 20' AGL.

The random quarter that landed Life magazine in court.

And a good reminder that the forces of "decency", the anti-pornography crusaders and the like, are just anti-feminists in drag.

Ivory dildo

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Sunday April 23rd, 2017

Science March

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RT Siobhan Thompson‏ @vornietom:

The numbers for the Science March seem high but we won't know until we compare it to the numbers at the placebo march that's also happening

RT Siobhan Thompson‏ @vornietom:

I honestly feel bad for the people on the Placebo March who thought they were at the Science March but double blind testing is important

RT Jeremy Cape‏ @jeremydcape:

There's hardly anyone at the homoeopathy march but they say that's how it works.

RT Allyx Davison‏ @MyNameIsAllyx:

I heard the placebo marchers feel like they're making a difference even after they're told they're at the placebo march

Saturday April 22nd, 2017

Artisanal phat beatz

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Artisanal phat beatz

NSA leak includes binaries

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NSA leak includes binaries, thousands of 5kr1pt k1dd13s run them on their machines. #raisedeyebrow

Friday April 21st, 2017

Your Brain On Drug Policy Rachael

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Your Brain On Drug Policy | Rachael Leigh Cook (2017)

Square Dancing notes of the moment

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Last night Charlene and I went to the Petaluma Arts Center Idea Lounge with Scott Lowrie and Laura Sunday. Laura is the driving force behind Taste of Petaluma and the Great Petaluma Chili Cook-Off, and attributes her abilities to run those events to discovering roller dancing, 20 years ago, when she was 50.

One of the things she talked about was being the grand dame of roller dancing in Golden Gate Park now, only one regular dancer older than her (85 to her 70), how the activity was being filled by younger dancers. Given that in Modern Western Square Dancing she'd be about mid-range in age, I went up afterwards and asked what she thought was dragging in the kids, and a few notions stuck:

Her first association with square dancing (and most people's) was "well, these are urban kids, they don't go for that kind of music". Good point, we need to work on more modern and relevant music. This is complicated by the issue that MWSD really needs lyric-less music, because we're all about the choreography.

She also commented that in Sundays at Golden Gate Park there are huge swing dancing groups, so it's not like modern music is everything. Though Postmodern Jukebox, The Basement Jaxx, and similar have helped keep the swing music revival going.

She made a comment about breaking traditions, and new paths. As much as I love what CALLERLAB has made square dancing, having standardized calls means that innovation only happens with new calls (choreography has largely been "done", especially as we look at how much of what used to be called back in the '60s and '70s as "bad flow" or worse). So the institutional rigidity has pretty much stopped innovation and adoption from other dance styles.

She also commented, as most people do, "Oh yeah, I did that back in grade school". Which, of course, brought to mind Pappy Shaw's admonition (from the nineteen teens or twenties: "Please do not teach these dances to little children. Grade-school pupils may enjoy them but it will mark the dances forever in your community with the stigma of "kid stuff.""). And is something I need to think about as my club talks about bringing in home school students.

Thursday April 20th, 2017

Power corrupts

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On The Turing Completeness of PowerPoint (SIGBOVIK) (YouTube video)

... It requires asymptotically fewer autoshapes than when implemented in alternative slideshow editors...


This space intentionally made blank

Wednesday April 19th, 2017

On inclusion

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Kimchi Cuddles: Good people are still able to do oppressive... (comic)

I think there are two things in here that are worth unpacking.

Listening to Tristan Taormino's Sex Out Loud interview with Kitty Stryker, and, paraphrasing badly, Kitty mentioned wanting to destigmatize sexual assault, that is: Make it easier to admit that we've all crossed consent boundaries, in order to better talk about where those boundaries are. I think we need similar discussions around racism.

Similarly, I was listening to Life on the Swingset #281: Finding and being community role models, and the participants of color were ranting about inclusive spaces and how hard it was to find them. I was thinking about this in the context of starting a square dancing group in Petaluma, and how to make it inclusive, and thinking "okay, so y'all are venting, give me some actionable advice", and then it hit me: It's not about advertising to me and trying to make it non-objectionable enough that everyone feels comfortable there, it's about deliberately calling out the marginalized groups, and saying "You, yes, you, are invited here."

Because when we do bland advertising, we're talking to our own culture, and no others.

We are a household with a Norwalk juicer. This has a grinder, you place a cotton cloth or bag below the grinder portion, then fold it up and put that packet in the hydraulic press portion. So I know from expensive hydraulic press juicers.

This is glorious failure: Bloomberg: Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze.

Google's VC arm funded them for $120M(!). They sell the juicer for somewhere between $1,200 and $400, and then sell pre-packaged bags of chopped veggies with bar codes on them for DRM (and "freshness") purposes for $5-$8 a pop.

Except they won't sell the bags to you unless you've purchased a juicer. And it turns out that you can squeeze out almost as much of the juice from the bags by hand as you can with the juicer. So somehow they managed to get funded doing the exact opposite of the razor blade model.

What really gets me, though, is this idiocy from the founder:

“There are 400 custom parts in here,” Evans told Recode. “There’s a scanner; there’s a microprocessor; there’s a wireless chip, wireless antenna.”

Two things here: First, if the microprocessor, bar code scanner and the internet connectivity are the expensive bits, $400 is way too much. The mechanical parts of this are where it's pricey.

Second: What investor looked at this business model and didn't immediately see that building a whole new fresh vegetable distribution system was the difficult part of this business? Holy crap!

Tuesday April 18th, 2017

A history of "cunt"

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Whores of Yore: A history of 'cunt':

But, here is what we do know; it is the oldest word for female genitals in the English language (possibly the oldest in Europe). Its only rival for oldest term for the boy in the boat (1930) would be Yoni (meaning vulva, source or womb). The English language borrowed yoni from ancient Sanskrit around 1800 and today it has been appropriated by various neo-spiritual groups who hope that by calling their duff (1880) a yoni they can avoid the horror of cunt and tap into some ancient veneration of the flapdoodle (1653). Of course, the irony is cunt and yoni may even have sprung from the same Proto-Indo-European root. ...