silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
I welcome all of the following types of comments on ANY of my entries:
  • Single or two word comments, e.g. , woo!, yay, yes, no, please, thanks, absolutely, agreed, seconded, so much, no way, etc.
  • "+1" or Facebook style "like".
  • Otherwise brief comments, e.g. single sentences.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to let me know you read, e.g. a period, an asterisk.
  • A comment that is a punctuation mark(s) to express your response, e.g. an exclamation mark or question mark.
  • A comment that is an emoticon(s) to express your response, e.g. \o/, <3, :), :(, :-D, :-P, etc.
  • Long, wordy comments. Rambling is totally okay.
  • Comments and links on related topics.
  • Comments on single links, entities, paragraphs, topics, or words in the entry. I throw out a lot of things each entry, and I don't expect anyone to have to come up with a coherent comment on each and every one of them to comment.
  • Sequential commentary. It's totally okay to comment about one thing as you read it, then another thing in a separate comment, then a third thing after you've chewed on it for a while and feel ready to talk about it.
  • Incoherent comments. It’s all good. I would rather have you here and showing interest,, even if it's just a *flail*, than for you to stay silent because you are afraid or unable to get the perfect comment out.
  • Talking amongst yourselves in the comments is fine. I like creating a place where people get to interact!

I also welcome:

  • Comments on older entries, access-locked or public.
  • Comments on VERY OLD entries, access-locked or public. I have many years of archives.
  • Comments from people who are not subscribed to me.
  • Comments from people who I’ve never met.
  • Comments from people who haven’t talked to me in awhile.
  • Comments from people who’ve never talked to me.
  • I like knowing the provenance of new commenters. If you're new, I'd love to know where you came from and what brought you here.


My great anxiety is that there's nobody out there and I'm shouting into the wind. If you’re feeling like you want to comment with something, feel free to comment with what feels good and comfortable to you, whether that’s leaving a !!! or an essay. If you don't have the spoons for any comment, that's okay, too. No pressure, no obligations.

How I reply to comments:
  • I mostly try to reply to comments.
  • I normally try to reply to comments as soon after they arrive as I can.
  • My comments will probably try to elicit more discussion and longer-form commentary. Part of it is my professional training, part of it is because I like discussions.
  • You are never obligated to reply to a reply, nor to write longer-form than you wish.
  • If you would like a response to a comment, I encourage you to let me know. “I would appreciate a response to this if possible,” etc. is totally fine with me.
  • Absentminded. If I have forgotten to reply to something you want a reply to, a poke is totally okay.


Linking to my entries:
  • If it’s public, it’s fair game.
  • It’s access-locked, ask me.
  • Please do not archive my work without asking me first.
  • If you do link to me elsewhere, it warms my heart if you tell me where you linked, but it's not a requirement.
  • If something I linked or wrote inspired you, it warms my heart if you link me to it. Also not a requirement.


Transformative works:

As of the time of writing this (02013-09-09), the content of my blog is licensed CC-BY-SA (3.0 Unported), which says that if you use my work for something, your work should attribute me (the user name and a link back to my blog is usually sufficient) and your work should also be licensed under a license similar to the Attribution-Sharealike license. The stuff I link to is not governed under this license and may have additional requirements for you to use.

Adding and access:

If you want to add me, go ahead! Please feel encouraged to do so.

I like new subscribers. I also respect access-locks - if something you created is That Awesome, I'll ask for permission before excerpting or posting elsewhere.

I may not add you back - I tend to evaluate based on what's available on your entries page. If you're mostly access only, it may take some comments or a conversation in a third space before I have an idea of whether I want to subscribe. If your journal is a repository for your fiction efforts, I may not add you back, because I do not have near enough time to properly read anyone's fiction as a part of my daily list crawl. I would probably enjoy it, if I had the time.

I don't give access, generally. For one, nearly everything posted is public, so you're not missing out on anything by not having that access. If I do post something under access-lock, it is probably something intensely personal, and so I'd be hand-selecting who I want to see it.

(This idea stolen and modified from [personal profile] trascendenza, who first broached it in their own journal when talking about commenting culture and their own anxieties.)
silveradept: A head shot of Mo Willems's Pigeon, a blue bird with a large eye. (Pigeon Head)
Just in time before the conference, right?

Here's the thing: I spent most of today listening to RWBY soundtrack stuff. Considering how much I'm hoping that Season 4 gets here soon, so that I can hopefully get beyond the ending of Season 3 (and, perhaps, hold out hope that someone will be able to wipe a smug smile off a certain ship-killer), this would seem to be normal, except if you actually listen to the lyrics of most of the songs, they're not happy speed metal sorts of things.

So, I'm guessing that my mental state is somewhere in brainweasel territory and just not signaling that yet, or making a decision as to whether to be a question of performance anxiety about presenting, existential anxiety because of the rapid-fire announcements of deaths and tragedies, or some sort of depressive episode since my memory hasn't been great lately and I've been fighting a fic to get it to settle into the pocket where I feel good about it and the narrative and characters make sense. That, at least, finally happened, but it could probably use a few extra eyes.

Censorship comes in many forms, but a common one is a teacher believing that a child's brain cannot handle what it has already experienced. There's another - representing one's personal beliefs as company policy. As is arresting a student that chooses to wear a representation of his heritage to his high school graduation and forbidding creative expressions as sinful.

A used bookstore closes its doors, because retail booksales are still difficult if you're not a giant chain. The store intends to deploy its stock as a bookmobile, which has a long and proud history with public libraries.

Having fun with Amazon reviews.

Iron Man 3 could have had a woman as villain, but apparently someone there thinks women don't sell toys. Jessica Jones fans and actors think toys would work just fine.

Working on television is a frantic place, with lots of money being thrown around for everyone.

Badass women who went behind the lines of World War II and attempted to funnel as much information back to England as possible.

Attempting to follow high school dress codes as an adult is a nearly impossible task, so one can only guess how it must be for students. Plus, as we saw before, dress codes are a lot more about policing women's bodies than anything.

Brains sometimes make it more difficult to achieve tough things that require effort.

People who look like they are doing the very best may be suffering horribly from anxiety and depression. Women have ADHD, too, and are not just strangely manic creatures.

And yet, anyone not able-bodied and white is likely to be called lazy at some point, even if they're working harder than the people accusing them. Or worse, having their very expensive medical equipment broken by persons who have can't be arsed to ask how to handle it properly.

Faith is not always a universal good when dealing with anxiety and depression.

Buttered bread with sprinkles, meet Canadians.

The current nostalgia filter claims previous generations were tougher as children is just that - a filter. There was a lot of crap going on then, too.

Cliques tend to be defined more by those outside than inside, which may involve attributing malice when ignorance is correct.

As with many other things involving women, everyone has advice on what's wrong with a woman that doesn't have a man.

The societal meanings of woman and girl and the ways in which girls may be preferable to women.

Patriarchal interpretations of Abrahamic religions make sense when you want to privilege men and try to make sure that their sexual property is never tarnished, but don't work well in a world where women have agency and don't have to depend on men for everything.

The Episcopal Church of Scotland sanctions gay marriages.

The reinterpretation of art now that there are new words and contexts to consider.

Justin Trudeau had an incident in the House of Commons, with verbal and physical altercations with other MPs. Frankly, it seems like the Congress could do with the occasional push here and there.

Making Captain America a HYDRA agent destroys the context and reason for his creation.

What might the childhood of the Peter Parker (or, perhaps, the Khamala Khan) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been like?

Fanworks have benefits of being safe for experimentation and in allowing people who might feel like they have no community to find peers.

Tending the spirit of a movement is an essential duty, and many of the spiritual elements of movements like Black Lives Matter focus on advancing the cause and on self-care, because they want people to avoid burnout and to tap the benefits of their work.

Testing the backlog of collected rape kids reveals that many of those kits may have collected evidence from serial attackers.

Guidance on diet is always changing, and what was good isn't any more, and what is bad is good again. Corporations messing with our heads about what is healthy isn't helping.

Patients are the most overworked and underpaid part of the health care system - make their lives easier by not forcing them to be the intermediary between everyone. Doctors need to be thorough in their examination of causes, and not just assume that weight loss will equal health. This includes listening to and treating seriously concerns patients have about other conditions or things that will interact.

The attitude parents take toward failure helps shape whether the children believe ability is a fixed quantity or not.

Terminology is important - use the word you actually intend, rather than a stigmatizing substitute.

Tactics are important when delivering a correction - or in choosing not to fight sinkhole battles. Because there is always a lot of work in becoming an ally, and much of it centers on recognizing where you have not noticed what you are doing. Things like band names that say "girls" without having any women in the band. Or the reasons why bathrooms became gender-segregated.

Here's where I add on the fact that Wayne's World treats its woman rocker a lot better than many movies about all-woman bands.

Gender identity as a continuum of paint swatches, so that the intensity of the identity felt comes through, too.

An early theater of London users a rectangular stage instead of an oval one.

Using elements of famous paintings to do facial makeup.

Where a third season of Agent Carter could pick up, were it to be made.

A yearly parade celebrating the works of Hieronymous Bosch.

Lessons learned from Canadian movies of the last century.

Quebecois swearing often involves the elements of a Catholic Mass.

A book recommendation for a graphic novel where the United States invades and occupies Canada for their water resources.

The young adult horror of the pseudonym Christopher Pike engaged in some very fantastical stories.

A book recommendation for a story where people can stop time with orgasm.

The barriers that prevent women who write from being recognized as writers, along with the need to have more women characters in traditionally male roles, like espionage.

A book recommendation for those who love their technology mixed with folklore and fairy tales.

Creative people of a certain level of fame and following may be able to obtain a monthly income through crowdfunding, but it really does take having the followers first. Getting those followers is often a conscious exercise in telling the expectations of others to get fucked. And perhaps a little magic in choosing the right title.

The one-handed flail thought to be a staple of feudal weaponry may have only truly existed as an illustration in the time it was supposed to be in use.

Examining evidence and source material often complicates our understanding of a concept, like bacon, or slavery.

Digital archives of fugitive slave advertisements, which will hopefully assist researchers in finding macro-level clues.

Reimagining Emma Watson's Hermione Granger as a libertarian tax evader.

The next time there's an all-white cast for parts that could or should be filled by Asians, here are several leading men who could fill roles. More specifically, John Cho would be perfect in any role.

An examination of the trope that disappears disabilities when they stop being narrative necessities.

A quite serious discussion about what the effects of a sex toy-shaped rock would be were it to be used as a sex toy. The results are not pretty. Perhaps we should stick to questions about anatomy.

Various reasons why particular relationship conflicts keep reoccurring.

More on Saint Harridan, a clothier specializing in masculine-reading silhouette for non-cismen bodies.

Laying groundwork for sex positivity doesn't mean having to always talk about sex. There are plenty of compatible concepts to use as well. Somewhat more blunt tips about having good sex.

If you wish to do a lot of good in the world, fixing respiratory illnesses and treating clinical depression are your two best bets. Also, manufacture these useful shirts for wearing to doctor appointments.

Punctuation whose informal usage may be giving off the wrong impression. And common things of English that are uncommon in other languages.

Well-designed musical guides to help non-musical people follow classical pieces.

Politicians that annoy writers find themselves on the sharp end of the quill, whether in print or on Twitter. Certain politicians also have detractors that engage in violence with their supporters over remarks the politician said that generally promised violence would be done if the candidate was elected.

Racists and White Supremacists take advantage of a computer's programming to strip punctuation in searches so that they can tag whom they believe are persons deserving hate. As technology advances, the ways that technology is used in service of particular goals advances as well. One known, however, and suddenly disseminated, it's often possible to introduce sufficient noise into the situation to render the technique useless.

Inappropriately gendered products. Reviews of meal delivery services, all of which are expensive per serving and have a lot of packaging waste. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the pervasive narrative that poor people should never be allowed to indulge themselves in good food, or at least tasty food, and the ways that society drives fat people to radical surgery to finally shut up the critical voices.

Sailor Moon socks styled like the school uniforms of the man characters. Pictures from the live action version of Fullmetal Alchemist. Soy sauce cosplay.

All of the The Librarian movies, as well as the first season of the television show The Librarians will have disc releases, for those of you that enjoy snappy banter and/or ogling the plentiful eye candy present.

The vowel sounds of Canada have a few members that United States English can't really recognize.

Immersion schools helped bring back native Hawaiian from near-extinction by colonial powers.

Regardless of your opinion of their health value, the money made by selling Hot Pockets made their creators able to engage in a giant amount of philanthropy in their communities.

Seeing how easy it is to purchase and then use for harassment purposes, John Oliver night nearly fifteen million dollars of medical debts and then turned it over to a company to have it forgiven and destroyed. Total cost was about sixty thousand dollars.

The design museum of Fleuvog shoes. Which is great for those looking to see what has come before. Goth fashion works for persons of all ages. Actually, wear what you want to.

In technology, What WIRED magazine knows about how the FBI installs malware and evidence-gathering tools on suspect computers, the history of the blue raspberry flavor, a plan to avoid creating more drug-resistant microbes by being sensible about the use of antibiotics, the ways that flowers can help humans understand aerodynamics better, using the intersection of multiple biometric elements as a way of verifying identity, a low rent house in the middle of a metropolitan area for older citizens - it's in France, of course, what kind of costs it takes to live in San Francisco, using an aggregation of book reads and recommendations to sell books someone might like, not unlike, say, a library, a rock-sorting piece of art, the possibility that a fifth fundamental force of the universe exists, preservation techniques for stones carved with Ogham language, uses for personal lubricant, an apartment complex that appeared to be threatening people to like their Facebook page or face reprisal, a pair of rings that can be used to require both of them to be present before television shows can be watched, an application demonstrating the warp in play with the Mercator map projection, adapting a sewing machine for use by a chair user so that they can develop fashion for chair users to wear that is easy to get in and out of, attempting to find a treasure buried more than thirty years ago, an incredibly violent lightning storm in Colombia, the color selected to make cigarettes as unappealing as possible, and the ways in which technology gets us to accomplish their goals instead of assisting us in ours.

A startup in the United Kingdom is offering to mine the social media data of potential tenants and offer landlords profiles on whether those tenants would be good for the landlords. One might wonder how such a thing isn't going to be roasted alive by housing discrimination laws, but there's probably some way of making it so the prospective tenant "agrees" to the mining as a condition of being able to potentially be offered anything at all.

Pictures from SPAAAAAAACE! Which have had more than long enough to accumulate - the International Space Station has now gone more than 100,000 times around Terra.

Doctor Heilmlich used the technique of his invention to assist a choking victim, demonstrating the effectiveness of the technique.

Making a caramel without liquefying the sugar used as the beginning point, essentially producing a toasted sugar with the right properties of a caramel.

Pickle brine as a drink or mixer for other drinks. Yum!

Using cats to teach multiple languages, foxes that adopted a human, dogs dressed as Star Wars characters, exotic animals kept as pets, a previously closed section of Central Park in New York is opening to the public, a new species of boa constructor, silver in color, tiger cubs meet an adult tiger, an adventurous baby porcupine, a baby panda interested in play while a human tries to clean up, a bottle-nursing of a baby pangolin, the dramatic difference a bath makes for pets, an institute that raises baby sloths separated from their parents, the ways that daughter elephants step in to fill voids in social networks left by poachers killing their mothers, variations in wolf howls, the degree to which cats roam at night, an isolated environment resulting in a very different path of evolution, sea creatures that seem Lovecraftian, a Toronto cryptid, measuring bioluminescence, bird nests in atypical places, beautiful animal sculptures, trees as stress relief, the ocean as stress relief, birds that might spread fire, slow-motion video of electric eels discharging amperage against a target, a secretary bird demonstrating why it is lethal to snakes, and large birds still staying airborne.

Last for tonight, the sign of a warp zone?

Also, the pitch meeting for the show that will become Animaniacs.

And a grownup-size Catbus to ride at the Ghibli museum to go along with the town from Spirited Away in paper.
silveradept: A librarian wearing a futuristic-looking visor with text squiggles on them. (Librarian Techno-Visor)
Let's start with a consequence of an increasingly swift technological pace - one must eventually deal with displaced persons.

When reading anything that claims SCIENCE! is on their side, subject it to rigorous analysis, keeping your and their biases in mind. And that includes whether the government is actively trying to censor the work of your scientists.

When considering philosophy, consider it fully, and in all its possible forms, before committing.

The Zika virus is being used as a convenient scapegoat to abandon women and children with disabilities. Because it's a fairly common social assumption that disability is the worst thing, even beyond death.

The function of public mourning, and those who can gather many to do so by having the stage.

With age comes wisdom, and the ability to be a better fan than you were when you were younger, from being able to afford the merch (Say hi, Hot Topic Star Wars line in many body sizes and Firefly-inspired dresses) and avoid the drama. Plus, you get to write definitions for new words in the dictionary based on your fannish expressions. And possibly have several very anxiety-inducing moments when the heroes you've been RPFing the whole time find out about you. (As it turns out, Wonder Woman's pretty cool with it.)

On the impossibility of becoming a polymath, which is one of those things that can trigger or exacerbate existential anxiety, if you're the kind of person whose worth was measured in how smart you were during your formative years.

The utility of mundanity in promoting spiritual and magical awareness and practice. Which is certainly not a new idea, by any standards, but is occasionally useful when existential anxiety intrudes. Coupled with how a working-class upbringing sometimes makes things easier on slicing through office politics, because I'm a big meanie like that, and somewhat of a comfort that I'm not the only person dealing with anxious thoughts and feelings.

The District of Columbia would probably function better if it were decoupled from the federal government that enjoys messing with it.

Texas Republicans need to proof their platform more, so as not to contradict themselves immediately. Or, for that matter, saying that most Texans are gay.

Another musician says Donald Trump can't use their music.

A story of using all the available options to fight off the brainweasels. A story of the body of intersectional issues surrounding bodies. Phrases that seem innocuous but are problematic regarding body size. Good behaviors of allies.

The many ways people without disabilities write and talk about people with disabilities that erases, advocates for eugenics, and otherwise ignores the disabled. And even more so for disabled people of color.

A story of disassociation and lost time, accompanied by the reality that trauma is not suffered solely on a battlefield.

It is entirely possible that persons thought to be without brain function based on behavior are still conscious and attempting to respond to the stimuli if their environment. Such people could potentially benefit from therapy and other interventions.

Writing characters as they are, instead of as mystical or completely strange, because people are fantastically diverse and different, and materials written for and by diverse people reveal new perspectives of looking at the world. Which means yes, Hermione can be black just as easily as anything else.

The experience of transitioning to being a man, and all of the changes in perception that accompany this, many having to do with having privilege work for you.

If sex education sucks, that puts people whose sexuality isn't covered in crap sex education at even greater risk. Then there's extra crap on top when pseudoscience claims to prove gender stereotypes.

A story of learning about another culture while still trying to make it okay for the child that's introducing you to it. A story of finding someone to kiss.

A story of learning language, and learning at least some of the worldview that backstops language.

Music geniuses snubbed by society because they're women. Or perhaps because they are part of the Cassandra tradition of telling truths that the society around them has no interest in hearing.

Oxycontin is dangerous, especially when the company that produces it insists it ships be taken one every twelve hours, when it seems to be effective only up to eight, which is a good way of getting someone addicted to the substance by telling them to have to wait through four hours of narcotic withdrawal.

The Rolling Stones have requested that Donald Trump not associate their music with his campaign. It seems like a basic thing - play musicians that might agree with you.

The need for yet more diversity, even as we acknowledge the strides made in opening up the narrative playbook. The uselessness of the phrase "damned if you do, damned if you don't" when taking about privilege and allyship. Then there's also major party candidates who don't mention intersectional issues, or who aren't clued-in enough to know how bad they have messed up.

If major party candidates sound like choosing between evil and stronger evil, you can thank neoliberalism's wholehearted adoption of a conservative capitalist platform for it, abandoning the actual liberal focus on protecting and expanding access to unions and government programs intended to buffer working people against the cruelties of The Market (all hail).

Kate Beaton moved away from the city to work on comics, and has the extra bonus of finding more people and stories to tell that don't normally have comics made about them. I'm putting this next to the way that history tends to marginalize and disappear pioneering women in the arts and sciences, in case someone from a much later time is reading this and doesn't know who she is. Or, for that matter, about Lyudmila Pavlichenko, a Russian sniper with more than 300 kills to her name.

Encouragement from the independent booksellers is sometimes more meaningful than big sales, although the sales pay the bills.

Fandom is equally able to erase minorities as anyone else - but fandom should be a place that doesn't do this, because fandom is often supposed to be about minority viewpoints and characters that aren't getting enough in their source. Commenting on fannish history without having done cursory research, though, brings down the wrath of those who went through it - as insular as I am from fandom in general, I still saw Racefail happen, so I would expect it to be part of the timeline. Things like that, and other threats from corporate entities, founded places like the Archive (and, to some degree, Dreamwidth). Erasure of history does violence to the narrative, and to those who have invested in changing history and the narrative.

It also means not knowing how media and its archetypes react to collective cultural traumas.

School dress codes are used as methods of policing women's bodies.

Women should have more space to express their anger, rage, frustration, and other emotions that men believe women shouldn't have. Because men believe they shouldn't have them, unapologetically angry women in media are criticized more harshly than men, women who express anger lose their ability to influence others, and entire generations of women are one again socialized that anger is an unacceptable emotion for them, leading to many other problems down the road.

At least one bright spot, though - after giving a convicted rapist a six month sentence, a judge is finding it harder to get a jury pool for trials.

An overloaded child and a child demanding what they want may react similarly, but the way to defuse them is different.

For example,
tantrums at the lack of handwriting skill and practice are best handled by pointing out how much handwriting was already difficult to decipher, possibly.

Suggestions on how to achieve physical activity when brainweasels are running interference. Suggestions on finding a good therapist when you are part of a marginalized group.

Thirty years on, a new big size book about David Bowie in leather pants. Would that be were still here to see it.

Agent Carter in the Civil War movie was wasted, and not even a particularly good substitute for Agent Carter. Agent Carter is more than willing to come back to her show, if someone will greenlight another season.

Chris Evans is ready to be done with the Captain America role - it's been very big, but also hugely anxiety-making.

If you can get past the condescension and the punnery, the need for people who work in the industry related to death to find compatible dating partners actually highlights how taboo death still is as a subject in most of United States and United Kingdom society.

People likely to experience oppression have to make risk calculations all the time, calculations that are invisible to those less likely to have to make them. And to those steeped in the culture that prizes toxic masculinity and lack of respect for no, the privileged need to be explicitly called to task before they notice it. Because so many of the people in power and privilege don't have to deal with gestation or abortion. Or, for that matter, the systematic devaluation of any profession or institution that starts to become majority women. There may be space for an argument that suggests feminism is being co-opted by capitalism and marketing here, although I would conclude that it's not a failure of feminism, but a success of oppressive forces if feminism's edge is so thoroughly blunted. The other problem might be that our stories lack a full range of women in them, shorting our ability to conceive and empathize with women who don't fit a particular mold. Like Barbie and Skipper as overstressed hackers and programmers/a>.

By making John Joan and casting Lucy Liu, Elementary made a most excellent Watson.

Having captured the very thing the government wanted to suppress, a photographer's pictures of those forcibly relocated by the United States government in 1942 were censored and embargoed for nearly thirty years. This reflects a broader tend of insistence that those wronged by the past should forget about those wrongs.

Solitary confinement in prisons should be approached with the same mindset that one thinks about torture.

The are people building installations they hope will be seen as art - very far away and in the desert where few people go. There's probably a poem about looking upon someone's works that applies here. There will probably be more conversation about the artist that works in vulvas. Or about why repetitive music is enjoyable to brains. Or, for that matter, body painting people so that they look like animals.

The condemnation of hedging in language is mostly a device for older people to criticize younger people, which makes it one more thing used to decry the people than need encouragement.

Creative and learning endeavors eventually hit a point where there is no external validation to determine progress. That point is when creative endeavors become really hard, because at that point, you have to answer the question of what success looks like and nobody else.

Motherhood is not always positive, and some mothers regret what motherhood did to their lives. Even as they are bombarded with messages saying that women have only a limited time before children of their own bodies will be forever denied to them. Women don't get socialized to ask for what they want, and get punished for when they do, after all. And yet, there isn't a media furor over men whose sperm is collected or used after their death.

Naked ancient Greek men statues have small penises when the artist wants to depict the men as wise and rational. In Japan, Queen Himiko represents a time when women ruled and had equal authority as spiritual and temporal leaders. Misty Copeland enjoys success in ballet despite a recent prejudice for white and thin bodies in the art form. Badass punks taking school uniforms and making them into rebellious symbols. (Many punks eventually have to get straight gigs.)

All hail Morojo, cosplayer number one and founder of that particular fannish expression. See what your descendants have done.

The Puff Pant Prom, a women-only event where one was either attired in formal ladies evening wear or formal men's evening wear. That's excellent, and I'll bet everyone there looked great.

When engaging with sexuality and relationships, especially in visual media, there's always more to it than just putting bodies together. So much so that one can successfully argue against restrictive regulation that has been banning fetish expressions of sexuality.

Fixfic is not just for fandom. Canon authors get into the act, sometimes aided by fandom.

Writing science fiction as a woman is always frought with people telling you what you can and can't do. Perhaps for inspiration, or because you want a lot of good work in one book, two collections of Ursula K. LeGuin will be available this fall. While you wait, the Baen Free Library.

Also, a coffee table version of all the works of Hieronymus Bosch. For inspiration.

Being an editor is often a thankless and very misunderstood job.

A checklist of things to examine if you feel like you have writer block.

Tumeric juice in drinks is a new health thing. As with all new health things, claims routinely outpace what can be proven.

A revenge and intrigue thriller makes Cannes sit up and take notice.

The ways in which legal language changes with the times.

Not all donated clothing returns for resale - much of it is recycled into other things or sent to other countries.

Having asked the public to name a new polar exploration vessel, the government went with a name they felt wouldn't be embarrassing, despite its popularity.

Places to purchase digital manga for your readers and computers.

The New York Public Library has placed another large cache of images into the public domain, including a set of woodblock prints.

In technology, plant-based meats that look and cook like their animal counterparts, the likelihood that a program that caters to women's tastes is going to be more sharply downrated by men, combined with the problem that most narratives are one of three variations on the Straight White Man story, the evolution and expansion of a meme about equality and equity, using astronomy as a lead-in to a lesson on poetry, pictures of and from space, a reminder that armor with separate cups for each breast is armor that is working against its own purpose, the failure of a technology to indicate which options would be destructive, which may be the manifestation of an undetected bug, various free sites and services to help accomplish your tasks, passwords to the wireless services of various airport lounges, doing things that leak data without warning and interfere with user experience will generally alienate users, the history of the drink known as Coca-Cola, influential gadgets of the past one hundred years, alternative camera applications, things related to the creation of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the woman who was a prime investigator for Houdini to expose charlatans posing as mediums and Spiritualists, dinosaur toys that reflect the current science, selection of appropriate typefaces, sizes, and use of ALLCAPS can be the difference between legible and lethal, deep-frying water, visualizing the way that airports are connected to each other, the possibility that phone conversations are distracting, regardless of the means of communication, attempts to create perfumes that smell of ink and paper, renderings of bicycles drawn from memory, cakes with high gloss finishes, and the reality that maintainers and infrastructure people are more important than innovators and entrepreneurs. Which, perhaps, is a hat tip to Hufflepuffs everywhere, doing the hard work of creating and maintaining without flashy recognition.

A discovery of a boneyard suggests that lions might drag corpses away to eat them, the process of training kittens to work on a movie set, a cat that plays and scratches a postal worker when they put the mail into a letter slot, an ongoing battle between squirrels and their proponents, tiger cubs meeting adult tigers, a hognosed snake faking its own demise, a tunnel to help leopards safely migrate by covering a highway through their habitat, the rapidly approaching reality that soon dinosaurs will be taught as feathered creatures and not scaly ones, pictures of cats with excellent timing, glowing squid, attempts at using snails as instantaneous transmission devices, a fish swallowed by a jellyfish, cabybaras on the loose, blue-glowing fireflies, crystalline creatures, snow leopards with their tails in their mouths, a giant squid kite, excellent egg sandwiches, and cephalopods are doing really well.


Last for tonight, unabashed joy in being able to enjoy something, contrasted with an enduring character whose trauma is built to seem relatable to our own.

Reacting to the cancelation of your show with grace and thievery.

And then, An interactive guide for helping with self-care.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
Yeah, I upgraded my phone and it ate a previous draft, so this is going to be extra large, most likely. Here we go. Let's start with thirty haikai, courtesy of a community.

The Dead Pool collects Price at 57 years. And another iconic musician goes earlier than they should have. Beyond that, Prince reminded us of ongoing racial issues in society as part of a career of social commentary on lyric and in name as he messed with our hearts about what an artist should look, sound, dress, or sing like. He was a reason for people to embrace themselves and a man who clearly respected women and the power they had, in and out of the bedroom.

None of that fiction for you if you want to be successful, or so we are told, forgetting that storytelling has been a way of imparting useful information for much longer than the printed word. Plus, when being told only to keep that which sparks joy, one implicitly has a system in place to repurchase mistakes, like with books. And finally, if your book club has to reinforce toxic masculinity just to be able to read books, you're probably not going to read books that would be good for men to read and discuss.

In the same vein of simplistic advice, if you can just think yourself positive, then you will also be financially frugal! If only it were that simple.

For as long as there are people to levy taxes, there are means by which people attempt to avoid paying them, it seems.

Also, the case for the use of trigger warnings and content notes, both as a way of being compassionate and as a way of having to avoid other people's feelings invading your space. A draft form, according to the most recent commentary on it, so it may change. I'm putting this near the question of why teenage girls are the most feared group in society for no apparent reason.

The ways that people trying to raise awareness often end up ignoring or doing things counterproductive to the people they're trying to help. Similarly, public speculation about the sexuality of others, even with good intentions, can also be counterproductive. Best, most often, too let people come out on their own time and terms. And to remember all the people that have gone before and the reasons why they died. Then, remember the fight continues, and there are frontiers in this fight that are valid and need fighting, but that don't always have a collective experience and vocabulary right from the beginning and it always starts younger than you think it does.

Knowing the way history is constructed gives you insight into the history of when someone is writing history. Or when they're writing hagiography. Indigenous people are often more important to history than invaders, but history rarely reflects that, for example.

Given an opportunity to avoid a strike by piloting a new contract for junior doctors, Health Secretary of the United Kingdom Jeremy Hunt decided he wanted the strike, instead.

CBS didn't pick up a pilot for a Nancy Drew series, with rumor suggesting they didn't want too many women. CBS denies they passed on the Nancy Drew reboot because it was too female-focused. Gendered reporting on mountain climbing incidents.

All around the world, the fight to make products accessible and affordable for women on periods rages on, mostly ignored by those who don't have the biological reminders. Which can make it difficult when those same ignorant people hold the reins of power. Women online fight this same fight about being women in a space that assumes men are both default and privileged.

Harriet Tubman will grace a new $20 design. This is the first time anyone other than a white man will be on the currency. That's neat, and Tubman's record for smuggling slaves is excellent. Less cool are the fact that Andrew Jackson will still remain on the bill, instead of being booted off money he wouldn't support for atrocities he committed and a persistent part of the hagiography of the United States involves the slavery period (and all the race relations afterward), which makes a strong case for why putting a person who fought against the buying and selling of other persons on the currency is not an appropriate thing to do. There will be plenty of opportunity to debate and refine this idea, because new bills won't appear for at least four years.

As marijuana becomes more and more legal, white people are easily able to step into the void, and minorities are very easily shut out based on having been disproportionately prosecuted during the War on (Some) Drugs.

Phrases of fairly common parlance that have very racist roots, next to words misheard so often their incorrect forms became the correct ones.

Australia's unique geography and inhabitants means they were writing dystopia long before it was fashionable to do so.

Heroic men characters need to have to a bigger range of acceptable emotional responses to this that cause fear or panic. Like, say, Captain America's conception of masculinity, at least before Marvel decided they were more interested in shock value than in the investment made in the character of Captain America and his ideals. (Messing with your fandom in fundamental ways backfires almost universally, by the way.)

Comics need more heroes like Faith. Or this entire suite of black heroes not named Storm. We could all use more actors like Natalie Morales. Diversity in comics requires many of the standard things comics need in general to succeed. When it does, though, it works out extremely well.

Suggestions on making a well-written book into one that sings to the reader, the ways that fan and creator are cyclical and simultaneous, instead of separated by the wall of publishing, actors going for making subtext much more textual (Myka and H.G. forever), fans making Shakespeare for his 400th anniversary, along with the prologues and warnings delivered that actual women might be on stage as actresses, Emilia as the woman most relevant to our current times, and a handy flowchart for deciding which play to go see.

A chance laying of electric cable results in the discovery of a well-preserved Roman villa. Elsewhere, copper mines likely dug out by children, a map overlay showing then and now of Kyoto, and maps of old London taxi routes that may be the forerunners to the current Underground system.

There are postal workers whose job it is to decipher handwriting that can't be understood by the processing machines.

A shorter work week might help improve general cognitive performance, as anyone who has worked a long time knows.

The first night in a new place may not have the best sleep, because the brain is still alert for predators and dangers. Once a place is in the safe list, the sleep gets better.

When considering a living space, think about all your potential needs, including whether there is sufficient space for sex.

When considering the creation of a safe space, think about what behaviors you want to exclude, and target those, rather than the perceived identity of what you think of as an abuser. Because lots of people who might look like they don't fit very much do.

In defense of the need for comment sections and the moderators that try to keep them cleaned, because the job of moderation is often fraught and exposes those who most make decisions to traumas and watching the worst of people.

Children are autonomous creatures and deserve the respect of being able to say no to physical attention.

Damaging cultural assumptions around weight, and especially women and weight. Damaging cultural assumptions about weight and health. Damaging snake oil sales about things supposed to get rid of subcutaneous fat. Damaging cultural assumptions around mental illness and psychosis. Damaging cultural assumptions about physical abilities and accessibility. Damaging cultural assumptions about the presence of a white cane.

Stories of the relation of body to image, of the concern trolling almost constantly accompanying a a fat woman, the likelihood that nobody will step up to defend a fat person against aggressors, that these attacks often extend to official policies in addition to being used as extreme examples, that people need good ways of talking and dealing with psychosis, but also finding a highly visible role model or five, coming to the realization that the is a space between love and hate, the feeling of what it's like to deal with the stress from trauma, advocacy for all abilities to be able to use cycles, and recovering a name to the person.

The conflict between an organization that believes autism is a disease that needs curing and an organization that believes autism is a thing that requires adaptation, but not necessarily any sort of thing that requires a cure. I think it would be clear that we are to side with the group that treats autism with respect and doesn't use methodologically suspect research and testing to determine autism.

The experience of a person that cannot visualize anything in their mind. The experience of being legally blind, the experience of the world well above the ground, using the body as reminder of one's experience, and making the world around you acknowledge your experience.

Carrie Fisher some at Harvard about mental illness, spirituality, and yes, some of Star Wars as well.

Courtship and dating, an evolving process. As, for that matter, is grammar. If you're just looking at phrases, the presence of certain glyphs will help identify the likely language that has been written.

Fifty stories of cities worldwide.

Long-term disability often means permanent poverty because of the maximum limits imposed on those who receive social assistance in the United States. Speaking of poverty, if your narrative insists that people are poor because of their choices, your narrative needs fixing in the worst way. (Including the expanded proof of how much your world needs changing.)

What people cook and what food magazines tell us we should cook are very different.

In tech, Apple loses to a patent troll, Google wins against Oracle over Java use in Android, yet again, data stolen about you without you having to be involved in it, the nature of Buzzfeed, robotic snakes to do repairs and monitoring on offshore drilling platforms, gloves with a wireless connection that translates sign to spoken words, DRM interfering with the ability of people to keep books they have purchased, a graphic designer tries their hand at cookie-making, and useful data gathered from unlikely sources.

Artificial creations are increasingly coded feminine because the people driving technology are generally looking for the "perfect" woman to command. This is so so because we haven't yet decided that women are sentient and independent and shouldn't be exploited.

Great board games for developing useful skills for the world beyond the game.

Art about identification, a children's book version of how Ruby and Sapphire became Garnet, labels for your projects that have taken a very long time to complete, a beautiful book of Japanese art of stylized women, beautiful and badass feminist Indian pinups, the rainbow cheese sandwich, pictures of soba merchants on delivery runs, trans* and genderqueer children photographed the way they want to be, breastfeeding women in their professional clothing, Hong Kong, by drone-camera view, pictures of the actors of Game of Thrones [fanfare] in and out of their makeup, a display of every card created for the Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card game, and the competitors of the women's professional wrestling company of Japan.

and the ways in which visual communication is better at getting things across than linguistic communication.

Dogs jumping into lakes, animated cats, barn owls learning to fly, dolphin behaviors that aren't cute or cuddly, feeding thousands of birds at a time, a snow leopard rejoicing at food, a very photogenic cat, a review of red pandas, smiling animals, baby sloths, various cross breeds of dogs, playground towers for goats, cats interfering with human tasks, cats at play, and the cute of baby cheetahs.

Last for tonight, human self-care, even for those who don't feel like they deserve it. And swears of previous times and a a historical thesaurus.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
I've been having a little bit of a year of fandom, I gueses, deciding that creaive exercise is best done rather than left undone. So, at this sixth month, here's the collected works that I've doe so far in various fiction exchanges:

Because nobody wants to be spammed with fiction-sharing... )
silveradept: A librarian wearing a futuristic-looking visor with text squiggles on them. (Librarian Techno-Visor)
Let's begin with this knowledge - should you find yourself having to pass someone else's judgment for the afterlife, Big Bird is a valuable ally and advocate.

The family tree of the gods of Egypt.

Many of the personal magical artifacts of Doreen Valiente will be displayed according to the work of her foundation.

The concept and practice of positional yoga is a recent development, as is most conceptions of yoga. Yoga is a changing thing, even as some practitioners want it very much to be older than it is. It appeals to those who would like to achieve a more practical, rather than ascetic, mysticism.

Various reasons why someone may choose not to respond to an argument you are making - most of the time, it has something to do with you tipping your hand that the argument will be more trouble than value.

If you are playing the loneliness game or are feeling down about the general state of the world, relief may be hiding in the pages of a spice catalog.

Bioluminescent spheres that glow brightly in the night. Which is neat. Many very cool women scientists working today is even better. As are women whose illustrations paved the way for entomology.

A debate on the validity and use of trigger warnings sparked by Stephen Fry saying that child abuse victims need to grow up (a statement for be had since apologized for) has more than a few sides coming out to play. For some, the use of warnings is being co-opted by those who want to bully using the rhetoric of a safe space. For others focusing on the warnings themselves obscures the point that trauma needs to be thought of and accommodated. Some rather disingenuously suggest that warnings are just ways for people to stifle ideas they don't want to hear. (That argument is ships passing in the night, and the corollary that says exposure is best for healing from trauma elides that most therapy should be done by therapists.)

The reality is likely in the middle - an idea that allows people to approach material with a thought in mind about what is contained within. There's an excellent set of things at [personal profile] liv's, from where much of the links came. The discussion traverses much of the useful space regarding warnings and notes. One thing that might be with adding is the difference between causing offense and causing harm, in that warnings can avoid harm even if they cause offense.

Protests erupted after the delivery of a not guilty verdict to Jian Ghomeshi on charges of sexual assault and choking women. Mostly because the judge rendered the verdict based on his suspicion that the victims were not telling the truth due to discrepancies in their stories. In essence, the judge did not believe the victims, and one can guess the sound of the facepalm involved. Then multiply it by the pervasive culture and incidents of harassment and assault in the United States Forest Service details in the Grand Canyon area. Essentially, to believe survivors and women means believing everything that happens to them, and not just one aspect of it. It gets difficult when two people in an argument are at non-parallel purposes.

The market for art pieces often involves shell companies, guaranteed minimums, and a lot of what looks like collusion long before something comes to market.

Arts education is suffering from an impression of not being essential. But it creates things like electrical distribution towers that look like stained glass structures.

The Simple Dollar has a simple idea - always delay your gratification until later and your bank account will enjoy it. This is a very simple rule. Also, entirely wrong in helping someone have enough pleasure in the short term to be able to tap that later pleasure. In much the same vein, habits that may help with success in life, although many of them are things that seem basic, like finding time to read and do creative expressions.

75 years of Make Way for Ducklings. That's a lot of copies, although I think Seuss might outlast even that. Related to that, the downside of being a phenomenon is when charity shops use copies of your book to build fortresses. For those that like papercraft, a Transformers pop-up book where the robots do the transformation.

Single panels of comics, that are hilarious outside of their context. Jokes that require understanding of more than one language to understand fully.

Cats protect paper from those that would feast on it, so they make natural companions to libraries and bookstores. And people are reading plenty, in formats that make sense to them.

Exporting Shelfari data and importing to LibraryThing will meet you a lifetime account with LT.

A thief nicked £600 from a small bookstore, and social media turned around and donated four times that within 24 hours of hearing about it, plus lots more books and some cookies. Because local bookstores and libraries are there for more than just books.

Young children get their first taste of journalism, which we put next to the nine year-old proprietor of the Orange Street News defending her decision to report hard news instead of fluff pieces.

Translating a work that has a major pedigree in its native language is a scary task - and sometimes produces multiple translations.

A state dinner speech from President Obama gave a joke to Cape Breton, which had been angling as a place for liberal Americans to go should Donald Trump be elected President. Then again, when you have a country where a couple can have boiling water poured on them, and then be pushed out of their house by a guest of the house, it doesn't seem like much of a joke anymore. And then there are people throwing pythons at others.

On, and did we mention North Carolina's government called an emergency session to override city nondiscrimination orders with a statewide ban on them. Which is going to die in a fire on the court challenge, but is still evidence of the animosity present toward minorities.

Politicians that attempt to cut disability benefits and don't apologize for it shouldn't be surprised when they have trouble doing anything else.

At least Scotland is officially recognizing a third gender.

Interesting places to put interesting bookstores. The best stationery stores in and around Tokyo. Photography that makes ordinary objects seem giant, as if one were seeing it from the perspective of The Borrowers. The library / museum of pigments, exceptionally useful for authenticating and dating paintings. Tiny scenes built into tiny boxes.

The gymnasts of the United States Olympic team demonstrate the power and flexibility that the sport demands.

Ernie Hudson in the Ghostbusters he signed on for, as opposed to what he actually got. Which appears to have an eerie mirror in the revival Ghostbusters' treatment of its black character. And also the way that John Cho has been treated as a sidekick and supporter even though he has the ability to be a lead.

Big Hero 6 is getting a television series.

The television show Elementary involves many sharply dressed men and women, with Lucy Liu as the beneficiary more often than not.

The hospital plot of Downton Abbey's sixth season may be the most relevant thing to today's society.

The person that you're silently judging in public spaces probably has already done enough judging of themselves beforehand. If, however, your like to contribute to making better portrayals of them in literature, writing them as characters who are, instead of making the stories about their thing, is a good idea. There is something to say about the society that surrounds them, a thing that is sufficiently vicious that they feel the need to talk and disclose their issues and problems before someone else can use them against them to get and silence them. Idris Elba spoke to Parliament about the need for greater diversity in television and movies. Beyond that, architecture also needs more women and classical musicians should have been keeping more of their women.

Often, the best way to shed anger is to reframe the narrative you are telling yourself. This may include having to forgive and set down the burdens of the past.

Sometimes, though, self-care means medicine and professionals, rather than things like wine and baths. Sometimes it means having to stabilize your own space before being able to help others on their journey. Self-care, however, also means avoiding the trap that you can and should only rely on you to get through everything. Which can be really tough, when you understand that almost everyone else has it worse. It can make you not want to use your social circle for fear of burdening them with something more that they shouldn't have to deal with.

Shifting the mental model from anxious to excited takes less cognitive load than shifting from anxious to calm.

Neurological damage can cause a shift in a person's sense of humor.

Travel advisories about visiting the United States highlight cultural differences.

Doing things by yourself is not a failure of having friends, but instead allows you to experience things at your own pace. Sometimes that means a better experience. High IQ people seem to have a better life experience with less socialization time, but I look a bit suspiciously about that, because some friends are people you enjoy hanging out with, and some people you hang out with are a serious drain. They are not often separated easily, so sometimes it means you have a small group you want to hang out with, rather than a large group where half of them you can't stand.

A sweater full of Neko Atsume characters, the wire sculpture work of Alexander Calder, drone photographs warping architecture, surpassed by pictures from space, and what happens when your opera is invaded by rock and roll.

Tea used to be condemned as an addictive substance, which is why so many science fiction novels have machines that make tea. Also, an infographic on method, placement, and time that food can be safely kept in storage.

Complaining about the youth of your time is at least as old as written language.

It's very easy for bad practices to become institutional and emphasis put in forcing people to adapt to bad things. That includes things like building architecture - designing space that the Deaf will be comfortable in requires a completely different set of norms than designing just for the hearing.

One hundred years of hairstyles for black men. And the degrees of kink and 'fro in black women.

Also important, the essentials of black science fiction.

Believable Chaos is a goal of worldbuilding in fiction. Also, options on what you can do when asked for revisions.

If you work with energy or creativity, enjoy the process of building the spell or the dream, instead of rushing to looking for the result. Pay attention to your energy and body, too, or else you may end up both miserable and exhausted.

We must keep the horrors of war fresh in our memory, lest we decide that we want to do it again. Artifacts help us with this - observe these musical instruments damaged by war.

Even as we work to eradicate epidemics that have killed millions, we must remember to care for those that have survived it at its worst. Which means realizing railing against pornography as a problem when the article itself points out that a lack of comprehensive sex education and consent training is the actual issue is unproductive. It shouldn't take public awareness guides, copious amounts of fanfic reading and writing, and experimentation to produce an informed population.

Calculating the cost of not being a straight man.

Yet another reason not to overgeneralize - the are still plenty of people who haven't had any sort of intimate relationship well past the point when someone assumes everyone has. And yes, single women are powerful, and at least some suggest that low expectations are the way to go in having a happy relationship and complain that older single people are looking for unicorns, but there are a lot more factors at work with regard to relationship status than someone's opinion of expectations. Having been in the smaller towns of the United States, anyone whose tastes doesn't match that of the majority may find themselves not very able to find suitable partners. For some, maintaining friendship and social engagement is tough enough. If you think that speed dating and dating apps are good ways of meeting people, open postures generate more interest, apparently.

A gallery of work inspired by Hayao Miyazaki with several very beautiful pieces.

Superhero stories that go for the grimdark are working against what superhero stories are generally designed for. This doesn't make them bad on face, but it does mean that simply going for violence and the like is likely to backfire.

A discovery of preserved bones in Ireland suggests that the was a native population on the island before the Celts arrived.

Backstage with Leslie Odom, Jr. in the last few minutes before a performance of Hamilton begins. Daveed Diggs on how a guy who wanted to do real ends up doing Broadway. Leslie Odom Jr, along for the ride. Along with Hamilton as a musical that's not about romanticizing its characters, the ways in which Hamilton fails at its mission, the frames that Hamilton chooses not to engage with, how just reading the words does not give you the full character, and the way that Burr is marked as something integral to the narrative right from the beginning.

A primer for rap and hip-hop based on what you like from Hamilton. And the charges of discrimination leveled against the way Hamilton advertised for cast - because a musical that asked for a nonwhite cast is remarkable and deserved scrutiny, while other casts that remain mostly white are just the default.

A documentary on the song We Shall Overcome has filed suit claiming the find itself is in the public domain and does not need licensing.

Given that we are entities that cannot yet defeat entropy, fertility problems from men as they age should probably not come as a surprise. Along with this, the logistics of oral sex and fairy contracts.

The are no roles in a fantastic or science fiction novel that cannot be filled by women, even if you intend your fantasy world to be a pastiche of a historical society. Because actual historical women did basically everything you can think of.

Shonda Rhimes on how taking more time away from work has allowed her to keep working at a higher level.

Tips for new writers - Wheaton's Law plus a few more. Then, beating writer blockages by engaging in creative exercises with private results. Suggestions on success using notebooks for your writing. A game that provides writing prompts based on the environment around the player. Advice on writing that suggests treating writing like work is not necessarily helpful. Technology that might help with thesis and other long form writing. A suggestion on writing a work with multiple points of view - choose the character that is receiving the key information - usually. And a short piece on how a book that didn't look like its peers helped someone choose writing.

Writing outside your experience is possible, but take care with doing so, considering how easy it is to screw something up - really screw it up. For example, autism doesn't always get a great representation in children's media. Writing queer characters needs to make them actually queer - and not give them a tragic ending. There are places where you can find disability-focused arts and other spaces, but it would be nice for the mainstream to adopt better things.

The discovery and pursuance of someone who is plagiarizing an author's work.

The good and not so good LBTQ movies on streaming services. And an analysis of just how much of film dialogue is dominated by men. Plus, a video on how much the Academy excludes movies from consideration for the Oscars.

An appreciation of a language often comes from having discomfort with it - and that includes languages like sign that use three-dimensional space to communicate.

Windows 10 may not be for everyone, including those on older machines.

New ways of looking and designing current-era technology and devices, including a nice toothpaste carton design.

A consequence of an insightful algorithm - Twitter taught a chatbot to be racist, transphobic, and anti-feminist.

The animation software that produced Futurama and several Ghibli films has a free and open source version, now so that those who want to use a professional program to animate their own work will have another option. In non-animated things, realistic Disney paintings, just because.

A lovely picture of the skies above. The benefits of having a 4K camera to shoot with, which mostly comes down to having a higher resolution to shoot with.

The increase of attacks that hold data for ransom is a bad thing - because the risk is low and the potential payoff is high, and the possibility of critical infrastructure and companies getting hit is also really bad.

A tour of the Kitsune Mura village for foxes, the acrobatics of the lion dance (and a glimpse at what training for that entails), a groomer that gives shelter dogs haircuts so that they can be at their prettiest, birdsong, at least in some species, has a syntax, watching a dog grow up a daysecond at a time, a seal lounging on the Charles River (that may have figured out how to get through the locks), wild tiger numbers have gone up for the first time in one hundred years, the newest cat from the Foreign Office, an octopus nopes out of the aquarium, pictures of the cherry blossoms in Japan, pictures taken of old trees, small dogs of large breeds, a kitsune in fox form at work, a penguin reuniting with the person that saved them, the cats that come to the table, communication with cats, animals getting proper pronouns rather than inanimate ones, the diversity of life in a small amount of seawater, a film festival of viral cat videos, the colors of peacock feathers, seen up close, using cats in urban areas to control the rat population, the evolution of incredibly powerful venom, a cat that believes the fish in the table is for him, a slow-motion capture of the body twisting cats go through to land themselves on their feet, and a museum cat that is the official greeter, much like the stationmaster cat, Tama II, in Japan.

Last for tonight, the many flavors of potato chip in Canada, next to an embroidery-icing technique to make cookies that are too visually good to eat and the explosion of Peeps that threatens what were quaint candies.

A Make guide to choosing the right adhesive for your materials.

The Setup Wizard, an ongoing story in Tumblr posts about Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry's first Internet Technology department, from the perspective of those that work there.

An intricately detailed construction of the Batcave and Bat-vehicles out of Lego bricks.

And An attempt to create a secret society that fell victim to the same problems that plague social media.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
I think I understand a little bit better about the heartbreak that happens when characters you are invested in change or leave. Monty's gone, far too early and tragically, which is the only reason I'm not going to write a full-on post about the fact that my primary RWBY ship got sank and I'm still not very happy about it. Instead, have a lovely piece about why shipping is integral to the process of media conversation.

The story you have is unique and should be told - even if there are other stories that look like it or other stories on an archive that take the same characters and setting.

Look at this! We found gravity waves! More of general relativity is right! SCIENCE!

The amount of information you have available to you influences what kind of decision-making processes you bring to the table. Being able to switch between modes is important for coming to a good conclusion.

There exists an International Men's Day, too, people who think there's only a women's day.

I have been looking for something that confirms my suspicions about how the current primaries in the United States are going, and Vox has published a lovely thing that helps - Donald Trump is popular with voters that have authoritarian tendencies and those scared into behaving like authoritarians. This basically is the confirmation I wanted - Trump is popular because he promises what the conservative movement wants, and is willing to say so in terms that the conservative movement believes. You can see the effects most clearly in children, who reflect the culture of their environment. Trump also follows in the tradition of those who pander to the people just above the benefits line and tell them that those receiving benefits are lazy and could be working instead - which they apparently believe, because they want to distance themselves from the place they may have just been.

There are people with mental illness that have violent tendencies - but instead of erasing them or trying to lock them away, why not insist on the provision of social services for them?

Sometimes, you find the right phrase to make everything work - in this case, it's "threat multiplier" applied to climate change issues.

Regardless of what you think of her ideologically, Hillary Clinton has more than proven that she has the ability to weather political attacks and be competent. Which may be the best thing at this juncture - what's needed to get someone who will enact your agenda is to have built the coalition at all levels that will enact your agenda over time - which suggests Senator Sanders' role is to try and pull the party leftward, rather than getting elected. The current coalition to tap into for getting your agenda done is unmarried women - what they want will help a good many more people than just them, and you'll get major liberal accomplishments done, too, if you can manage to get that coalition into power. Women no longer needing marriage for economic security has opened up a new path, much as the forces that want to keep women married don't like it. So marrying later, if at all, is the preference of today's women.

If you intend on voting, realize that in many states you have strict requirements in what you must present to be able to vote, laws put in place likely to prevent you from voting, should you be sometime who might prefer liberal candidates.

Finally, if you're interested in recruiting across classes for your causes, minimize the inessential weirdnesses that you put into your presentation.

The lack of social safety net still means that you find sixty year-old mothers living in their cars because there's no affordable housing anywhere near where the infrequent work is.

The practice of taking opinion polls may be interfering with both getting accurate opinions and with getting useful data from surveys.

The consolidation of media companies into media empires generally means there is no "liberal media" for a conservative to rail against, except in their own minds. The problem is, when you note that conservative zealots have committed acts of terror and violence against those they think are harming the country already, it's a problem if they decide that the "liberal media" and its supporters are similarly a problem.

Victorians and their nipple ring fashions, compared with the strong women of the early Christian Church, who we know about only through the men that mention them, so all of these women fit a particular mode. When the women get to write about themselves, things both change and stay the same.

Romantic comedies tend to portray very bad behavior as positive, which might influence people who see romantic comedies to see that bad behavior as not bad.

I have known that there are multiple bakeries that make Girl Scout Cookies, but I didn't realize the bakery rivalries were so intense.

The Harvard Business Review has a study that suggests paying executives based on their "performance" only funnels money into executive pockets and doesn't do anything to improve company performance.

Orgasm as meditative focus, with the intent being to achieve the state where everything else is simply pushed out. One can take classes on this idea, it appears.

Barbie is getting some new figure sizes in new dolls, including both petite and curvy models.

Harajuku, the street fashion capital of Japan, is becoming less the street fashion capital of Japan because worldwide, everyone knows it as the street fashion capital of Japan. (And because Japan is being gentrified in anticipation of the 2020 Summer Olympics.)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has many publications for you to download free, including several full length books.

Hunger is a sign that it's time to eat. And, funny thing, the body gets really good at fighting off starvation.

A group that intended to entrap Planned Parenthood into admitting to the sale of fetal tissue is instead going to be indicted, since they helpfully recorded themselves illegally offering to buy fetal tissue.

When dealing with relationships that involve more than two people, and faulty information, the best way to act appears to be starting nice, not being envious, not striking back at the first sign of an issue, and being willing to forgive. Sounds like winners to me. Because Envy and jealousy can poison a systematic mind and make it impossible for them to trust again, as it did to Iago and Othello.

The basic problem of publications intended for men and those intended for women. And that's before the erasure that happens to women that do write in various fields, whether directly or because stereotype says certain disciplines are by men for men.

The 100 chose to kill a lesbian, and has no real good reason to have done so, especially considering how much yay there was over canonical queer relationships in that show. The story of tragic queer deaths is one that has been tread far too often. Maybe it's time to start something else? How about some comics? Or take the idea that Deadpool is officially a Hufflepuff and run with it. (Here are some basic comics terms.)

Hey, men. Culture that glorifies violence and attacks against women can be defeated by culture that encourages nurturing and emotional connection in men. For this, though, men need role models and people to talk to about this kind of culture and nurturing and their own emotional states. And tips about being more aware of themselves so that they can practice meaningful consent. And stories of how people responded to violence in their communities and lives.

Groups such as Philly's Pissed and Philly Stands Up work to find alternatives that help survivors in what way the survivors want. This often involves using a community-based model of accountability and reparation, as many times going the path of law enforcement is ineffective or causes more violence and trauma to survivors. It can mean providing tools that allow abusers to be accountable.

It should not matter what the color of the person's skin is - if they are a cop and their actions caused someone's death, they need to be prosecuted for it, not shielded.

Methods to become an oral historian and capture the accounts you are interested in. you may not think it important at the time, but then someone will see how important it is, like finding photographs of the Vietnam conflict taken by the North Vietnamese. Or having a collection of photographs of some of the few remaining traditional folk performers of Japan.

We find ourselves reflected in the media we consume. Which allows us to see the clear PTSD narrative in Harry Potter. Or use sentence fragments to make the conversations and pacing be more real. We get to enjoy the details of the costumes and the stories they tell (even as we see what the costumers are doing to make it look right, even if it's not fully accurate). We divide the characters according to our own categories, sometimes in defiance or difference of the categories imposed upon us. We allow that since it's never explicitly said one way, that it could be any way we choose. We see fragments of the past taking on bigger significance. Sometimes, we only see the skill and craft at work long after we have developed easier ways to do the same thing.

Ritual may be an excellent way of filling a perceived void in one's life. It can be created, or others' ritual used, but the point is to create sacred space and time in an otherwise profane world, to create groups of people marked by their shared ritual experience, and to mark the transitions of life and use them as anchors later on, all of which then require The triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. Being in the ritual space, even for a little while, helps draw the mind and the body back to the place where it should be - centered and not chasing.

Having rituals can also help with stress busting. Like spinning cotton in a bar. And rituals can be used to create spaces and reasons to feel good about oneself and participate unabashedly in things that make you happy.

Getting into places and situations that would get you out of poverty often requires having the status symbols of not being poor, even though those objects are often prohibitively expensive. (And thus, the need for expensive shoes.)

Creative work rarely survives to publication without compromise or editorial demand interfering. Additionally, to do creative work full time requires the ability to set aside the ordinary responsibilities - thus, patronage and retreats. It's a very ritual thing. The creative impulse, however, should not be forced or fans told that they have to make the things they want themselves.

What do novels look like with only the punctuation?

if you ask women went they don't apply for jobs, a disproportionate number of responses are related to the belief that job qualifications sights are the actual qualifications needed for the job, and not a fantasy list of the ideal candidate. This, convinced with the heavy social structures that reward women for following rules, puts a lot of women who would otherwise be qualified for the job through the interview process of of the running before they would even start.

Yet, others would have you believe that the widespread distribution of tools that allow us to share are turning us into narcissists. As we compete to have our message heard against the messages of everyone else, that is, and deal with the attendant envy that comes from seeing someone else do what you're doing, but better. The idea that we are all leaders, or that leadership is some sort of ineffable quality, makes it difficult to separate wheat from chaff when it comes to selecting leaders and who we listen to. This becomes even more difficult in a media environment that feeds and profits on providing as much energy as it can to publicizing things that are damaging to those involved in it, happily parroting one side if the other doesn't have the energy or the desire to perpetuate what is ultimately draining and hurting them. There's also the culture that works to monetize every experience had online, sometimes with terrible disasters following what looks to be very profitable ventures.

Tsuneko Sasamoto is putting on photography exhibitions at 100 years of age, which is excellent.

A short comic about how privilege, or its lack, adds up over time, without necessarily blaming anyone for their privilege. Being visibly and outwardly queer is still more likely to lead to a lifetime of poverty and discrimination. And not necessarily the kind of legally provable stuff, either.

Language can acquire pejorative meanings reasonably swiftly, even if they were originally not so. Thus, be careful in praising things you think are virtues, when they promote invisibling women. Similarly, twisting language in knots to avoid making a statement like "men generally commit sexual assaults" ends up making crimes appear to just happen to victims.

Have we mentioned as well that the sex ed received in United States schools, if it exists, is more often than not going to be useless and possibly untrue?

Introducing men by emphasizing their sexual characteristics, in the same way that many women are introduced.

Women engage with men that harass them because it's safer for them to do so. Which puts the onus on men to not harass. Because demanding respect isn't really easy, or even possible. The tools available for enforcing boundaries are few. If you're not willing to grant sometime else the right to enforce their boundaries, don't start a conversation with them.

101 information about disability, formatted for con goers and speculative fiction enthusiasts. Which also has the ways in which the neurotypical enjoy privileges by not being visibly disabled. And ways in which making things accessible to the disabled draws unthinking ire from environmentalists.

Which I put next to anger at people who believe paper is the only medium by which books can be read for no apparent reason.

The story of a very successful con man, who sold the Eiffel Tower to unsuspecting marks at least twice. This, along many other reasons, is why reputation is a terrible currency.

The show is called Hamilton, but the hero is Burr. (Okay, the real hero is the creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda) Here's a reason why you should have a listen, or, if you are lucky, go see. if that's not convincing, perhaps a taste of what happens before the ticket lottery will help. Here's another write-up on why Hamilton is such a smash. And another. And why they're so well loved. If none of that works, well, this is how it opens. Now, here's the complete cast recording and the handy follow-along lyrics sheets.

(If you're already a fan, have some meta. And some information about the mixtape, an excellent fanart poster, the cast as a reference drawing sheet, some Martha Washington love, the historical treatment, Finn and Poe looking ready to step into that world, and an interview about the show and the difficulties of reaching the intended audience.)

Speaking of things to watch, here's a convincing case why you wanted to pay better attention to Beyoncé doing Formation at the Super Bowl. And, in fact, why you want to pay attention to Formation in general, because it is unabashedly about being a black woman and the legacy of being black in America. A legacy that your least favorite white supremacists want to appropriate and claim that white people were treated worse than black ones.

Biography break - read up on the first regular black woman newspaper columnist.

Minorities do not have to give white people the benefit of the doubt or accept that intent is magic when it comes to hurtful things, even unintentional ones. Language needs to change so as to avoid causing harm to minorities with its usage.

Fantasy authors should steer clear of appropriating cultures they cannot represent well, if at all. (And then, things get worse.) The accessories worn by a person often have cultural significance that needs to be respected.

Exploiting a loophole in the immigration law meant to keep out Chinese laborers allowed those who, say, opened a restaurant, to bring in their families as immigrants to help with the shop.

Being supportive when someone comes out to you involves steps that should be simple. Admittedly, at the end of that article, where someone says that they feel honored when someone comes out to them? Honored is an excellent thing, yes, but I admit that when I've had people come out to me, I'm both honored that they told me and fucking terrified that I'm going to fuck it up in a "never come back here again" sort of way. Because it's really easy to see how people who claim to be allies try to control the narrative about the people they're supposed to be allied with, at the expense of actually letting people speak to their own experience, or to invalidate someone's lived experiences because they don't fit the mold am ally had constructed of the world.

Performing couples on what it's like to be partners in more than one sense. Yoko Ono is now back in musicians' good graces, having basically outlasted her detractors. The translation of works from Japanese is more writing a story that captures the essence instead of trying to replicate the words exactly. The recreation of Edgar Degas paintings by Misty Copeland, and Star Trek's vision of the fashions of the future.

Manga for fans of Neko Atsume. And page markers that are adorable cats. The toys of Neko Atsume, for actual cats. Also, the Cat Museum of San Francisco is offering to help your cat gain the protection of Bastet, unto whom cats are sacred animals.

This is what some of our foods look like in their natural forms. And this is what pasta derived from insects looks like.

The Internet is designed to remember everything, so all the skeletons come out in data breaches. Or when someone goes digging into your past online. Wendy's is the latest place hit by skimmers and malware, in case you've eaten there recently. The United States Public Interest Group recommends that people freeze their own credit accounts to avoid thieves opening new lines of credit in their name.

The ideal of the war between attackers and defenders regarding methods of authentication. And the ways in which ad blockers are making money for themselves by offering companies the ability to unblock their ads.

Amazon's latest Fire OS for their tablets removes the ability to encrypt files. Windows 10 is Microsoft being the evil empire is several ways. And then there are all the things to keep in mind for upgrading or installing and post-installation to Windows 10.

Facebook's new emoji are meant to help resume their desire to tailor content so that you're surrounded by what you like.

The person whose voice became Siri has had to assist to that reality...and the part where Apple doesn't pay her anything for the use of her voice.

A complaint about the ubiquity of online shopping from those who want to physically see and feel a product. And their complete dislike for the self checkout machine.

Knuckle-cracking doesn't lead to arthritis - it's gas bubbles popping.

There are different forms and degrees of being unable to recognize faces.

The optical illusion of a dress has the benefit of allowing scientists to study how the brain processes visual tricks.

An early Newberry honor book set in France skillfully teaches sufficient French through the novel that the reader can follow along as the novel concludes with for pages of written French and no English at all.

The colorful world under the water, the ways that venom could be used selectively as pain blockers, how animal structures could become human structures, An interesting fish collected, Death Valley in bloom, new protected lands, capturing a volcano in eruption at the precise moment of a lightning strike, capturing the point in time where a waterfall appears to be spilling lava, a fishing village in fog, some of the unpublished work of National Geographic magazine, photographs of weather and natural phenomena, photographs of very strange natural phenomena, rats and other animals trained to detect tuberculosis infections and other diseases,

Cats shaking themselves dry, a giant rabbit needs a home, bookstores with cats, pictures of polar bears exiting their winter dens, the new Senior Pest Controller at Huddersfield Station, a program of getting kids to read to shelter dogs as a way of encouraging the shy and calming the excited (which also gives the kids reading practice with a non-judgmental partner), cats on Instagram, The dogs of the American Ballet Theater, a cat with very large eyes, treats with cat and cherry blossom themes, the abandoned and for sale dinosaur-themed amusement park, dog breeds that no longer exist,

Last for tonight, playing Monopoly as The Landlord's Game, as it was meant to be played, will not only allow you to win, but show why Monopoly is meant to be a demonstration tool, not a fun game.

After that, using sand and variations of speed on a pottery wheel, an artist makes great patterns.

Finally, a visual guide to proper sushi etiquette, along with what training to be a sushi chef would be like.

And young children imitating the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
silveradept: An 8-bit explosion, using the word BOMB in a red-orange gradient on a white background. (Bomb!)
There have now been two states registering their preference as to which candidates they wish to see stand as candidates for the Presidency of the United States. I have been mostly silent on that matter, because I was waiting for the serious candidates to appear, but this does not seem to have been the case. There are now only a few left in the Republican nomination, and there have always been two in the Democratic nomination.

The Republican side seems to have many a person that have far too much working against them to make them qualified candidates. Mr. Trump's comment about trying to exclude Muslims from the country should have sent him away immediately. Mr. Cruz keeps the company of people that believe the deity should smite the country because it tolerates gay men and are unafraid to say so. (Other candidates can be tarred with this brush as well). Mr. Rubio seems unwilling to work toward a solution to handle immigration without deportation. Yet none of this seems to have been a fatal strike against any of their candidacies, and for some of them, it appears to have made them more popular. There are others, but they've become rather easily erased by the media's own hunger for people to say explosive things.

For the Democrats, I harbor judgment against the Clinton candidacy because of past performances of both Hillary and Bill with regard to their fidelity to liberal ideas that sit to the left of the standard Democratic candidate. Mr. Sanders has a better record on more liberal issues, but much of the conventional wisdom that I see says that unabashed liberalism makes Mr. Sanders likely to have to fight a heavy fight against any Republican, no matter how poorly the Republican would run the country.

I'm still waiting for the serious, respectable candidate to take over on the Republican side.

The other major politics element is the completion of Antonin Scalia's lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States, leaving a vacancy that requires filing on the highest court.

There are qualified candidates to sit that vacancy, if any proposals actually ever get through. But when it comes to lifetime appointments, the gridlock and stubbornness that comes from a division between houses of Congress or between Capitol Hill and the White House magnifies to the point where it would need a change of government to break the jam. For the Republicans, a year of waiting to see whether or not their preferred candidate can capture the White House is very easy - they've already committed to obstruction where possible since recapturing the House, and they have enough votes to sink a candidate on pure spite when it comes to Senate approval.

There may also be an extra edge of desperation on this candidate, considering that so many things that liberals take as basic human rights only exist because of narrow Court decisions, including the one that happened in 2015 preventing any state from deciding that marriage was to be reserved only to persons with particular genital configurations. Or that the gradual chopping away at the guarantee of Roe that is coming to a head soon. Or the Affordable Care Act and its ways of getting insurance into the hands of people that can't afford insurance. More than a few things that are hard-fought may burn away in the presence of a different Court, and the option of getting the legislators to do it instead isn't available with the divided legislature. Blargh.

Then there's the thing that really should be getting the national attention, and should have been getting it from the very beginning: The city of Flint, Michigan was poisoned with lead from their water pipes after untreated water from the Flint River was used as the primary water supply - the initial decision to switch from Detroit to a Genesee County cooperative resulted in Detroit's water department serving a termination notice that left the city of Flint with no alternatives.

But then things got messed up. And then the state tried to cover it up by lying to the people of Flint, and making sure state employees had fresh bottled water to drink from as opposed to the tap. But children with rashes and signs of lead poisoning do not get covered up easily, and neither does contaminated water.

Except then there's the part where majority-black cities, including Detroit and Flint, have been under the control of state-appointed officials and their city councils and elected representation have no actual power to do anything, so if there are people to blame, it's the emergency managers, and then the state officials, including the governor, and everyone involved in the cover up and the slowness to declare emergencies and switch back to safe water. Because those managers ostensibly don't care about anything other than being the cities back into some form of financial solvency.

Because of this, it's not hard to speculate that someone did this deliberately, or that once the crisis was underway, they deliberately drug their feet even more before engaging with the coverups. Because who would care about black people dying in Flint? The state has been trying to get rid of them anyway. If they could do the same to Detroit and other places that are so financially strapped and get away with it, surely they would.

The current solution in Flint right now is to collect bottled water from the fire station, assuming that you can get to the fire station. But that's just for drinking. There's still not water for bathing or washing or other things that are related to hygiene. And, even with federal aid coming in, the state is claiming they don't necessarily have to spend that federal money on helping people in Flint.

The state of Michigan makes very little secret of how much it hates its minority residents. And while there have been resignations at all levels involved in the crisis so far, the governor hasn't resigned and has no intention to. Even though his administration did this, from authorizing the switch to covering up the disaster, and probably did so with his direct knowledge.

Such is the state of our politics - the people who are unfit contest for office, the people who should receive fair consideration will be mired for reasons unrelated to them, and those who deliberately commit evil go unpunished, at least for the moment.
silveradept: A young child with a book in hand, wearing Chinese scholar's dress. He's happy. (Chiriko)
Let's start with the public domain collections of the New York Public Library, free for use for anyone, along with The sounds of space and instruments measuring space, also available for free.

A manga-style avatar generator, next to a concept for tights that would allow for cosplaying characters with short skirts while not displaying anything underneath.

The signs of Japan, in Toyama Prefecture. Neat places of Canada.

Black Girl Nerds is looking for interns and volunteers to contribute.

The Woodland Queen, Rey, as portrayed by Lupita, and A Late Night Painting. Also, dolls with black skin and features, including frizzy hair.

Watching the process of a book becoming a movie is hard on the emotions. Elsewhere, though, roadside serialization of novels is putting feminism and other ideas into the plots of popular books.

People who think that literary tends are new are remarkably a-historic in their perspective.

A Jewish man gave birth to his daughter and will raise her as a single father.

Finn is, perhaps, the most interesting character of The Force Awakens, imbued with both empathy for others and a complete character arc.

Before being on screen as Doctor Crusher, Gates McFadden developed choreography for puppets and humans, including the movie Labyrinth.

A train in honor of the work done by Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. rode again, after worries that it might close due to a lack of subscribers.

There are new things even in gymnastics - a new balance beam mount, successfully done, will now carry the name of the gymnast that invented it in the rulebook from here on out.

Designers are making fashion that takes into account chair users who are younger, to give them options that will be both stylish and comfortable.

another set of empathy cards that ditch the saccharine for a much better message, one that's more in tune with what someone is thinking.

Because they seem uninterested in all the ways that intercourse is different for each person, the United States Government is rather slow in allowing and testing new condoms, as well as updating their testing procedures. Which sticks everyone with materials and dimensions that may not work at all for them, making them less likely to use condoms in the first place.

What constitutes literacy in this current era is much different than what was literacy in the time many standards are developed.

Mmmm, pie.

The current crop of Disney Princesses may have Ariel to thank for their existence, as it was the smash success of The Little Mermaid that brought Disney back into the forefront of animated movies.

Peer inside some of the inner workings of the IKEA store, including accounts of some of the fun the employees get up to. (Totally the right place for laser tag.)

Gillian Anderson reminds us that Hollywood still had a lot of sexist bullshit when it comes to women acting and being paid for it.

The Force Awakens does provide great role models for who gets to be a hero, though.

If you don't get through a manga in its initial run, the way that licensing works, it's quite possible there will be no way of returning to it later, as licenses expire and companies go out of business.

There is a family of possible symptoms of a heart attack, but not everyone gets all of them, or even the ones most heavily associated.

Minorities tend to get less sleep than white people, increasing their risk factor for various diseases, possibly bright on by sleep apnea and the extra stresses often brought on by living in neighborhoods deliberately designed to be poor and stressful.

The human brain may have the memory capacity of the World Wide Web, with research from the Salk Institute suggesting synapses have a greater data storage capacity than previously thought. Human eyes and non-human eyes are often complex items specially evolved for the environments that creatures all their homes.

Advice on writing books where the primary conflict is internal, sorting and filtering revision and critique, along with trying to figure out whether a work needs to be declared a loss and moved on from and utilizing the combine documents function to collect all the feedback into one place.

A series of posts on worldbuilding. Unsurprisingly, the geography of your setting impacts a lot of things that your characters will encounter.

Undersea museums filed with sculptures designed to promote marine life using them.

Images of LGB men and women, and pictures of Victorian women of color.

To maintain balance in the Force, there needs to be a lot more explicitly-marked asexual and demisexual romance novels. There's plenty of market for it, as well as the needed visibility. While fanfic can close gaps and give people knowledge about themselves, it shouldn't be incumbent on fic writers to do all the lifting. Everyone writing needs to think about how they are portraying characters that aren't in their experience. Then, we need to move beyond mere diversity as lip service and into a world where all artists of color have the same system of champions and marketers that white artists do. And where things like zombies retain their tragic history, instead of being convenient shortcuts for fantasy writing, much like how robots should retain some of their history. It shouldn't take an apocalypse to make queer representation a non-starter, after all.

Comics like Faith, where the protagonist is visibly fat, can help. (Weight loss is not a universal thing, it may be counterproductive in otherwise healthy people, there's a metric fuckton of concern trolling about weight, diets do not work at all, because, well bodies change. Take the pictures anyway. Go see the installation dedicated to curvy women's clothing. And get your Girth Guides patches.) Because a diversity of experience is a necessary part of capturing all the perspectives.

If you read the ways that men and women write love and marriage, there's a striking difference in what men are looking for (mostly beauty and domesticity) and what women are looking for (intellectual simulation and companionship) - a miniature reflection of the society in which both writers and readers live. An advice columnist suggests to a woman that her real strength appears when she's not trying so hard to appear perfect, which strikes me as odd - the letter-writer wondered why a person that seemed to match her well fell out of passion with her, and the columnist says it's because the woman is trying to make herself an always-on badass, as opposed to it being about the guy who was only interested in her as a novelty instead of as a badass woman. The advice is good, but it seems misplaced for the question.

A useful expansion of the standard pain scale offered in medical facilities. Among with people who are unafraid of helping someone make plans and directives for their deaths, and then spending their final time with them.

Useful things that can be said to people with chronic illnesses. And people with disabilities request that you not use them as inspiration porn and that you avoid using mental illness as your metaphors of choice.

People with disabilities do not choose to be disabled, as if they could choose to stop being disabled. They are, instead, navigating a long string of tradeoffs and decisions about energy and ability. And whether or not they feel they can talk to their doctors and get a meaningful and effective response.

If you're going to cross the streams of the humanities and data, do the research on what things might be perverting or poisoning the data wells. The humanities scholars have probably already done it and can tell you whether any given data source is usable.

Finding the reason you write, and managing to have an existence outside the writing, helps a great deal when nobody apparently cares about the writing itself. Which I'll put with the first part of an author detailing how they made their sales and the second part of this author detailing how they made several sales, because sometimes encouragement comes in many forms.

Learning to like and love the Mary Sue archetype has benefits - and having more of them might help normalize women characters of all types. Choosing diversity means more than choosing people writing about diverse experiences. It also means not being idle when a review publication admits they only review works by white people and committing to accuracy in your cultural portrayals.

Common, yet nonsensical, reactions to being called out on white privilege. Reasons why everyone needs to be able to contribute to productive conversations about race. And, finally, remembering that allyship is a process, and not an identity.

Fanfiction serves an important purpose - foregrounding minority voices and giving them a place to be that doesn't exist in mainstream media.

Persons claiming to be sovereign citizens of the true United States, acting as the well-regulated militia, are neither citizens nor militia, and their dreams of defeating the government are laughable at best. If for no other reason than that militias die when professional soldiers are set against them.

Actually reading papers and their claims makes it easy to spot when the popular claim and the actual claims don't line up. Of course, that means you have to have access to the papers themselves, which isn't always possible on your local public library's subscriptions.

A study shows that caregivers in lower-income families can still have their children form secure attachments, even if the caregivers aren't trained on optimal technique and even if the caregivers mess it up almost half the time. Even after that, It's still possible to form secure attachments through the use of proxies, visualizations, and being mindful of one's own state of mind. With the caveat that knowing one's mental state may be more problematic than being ignorant of it.

Playing to your strengths is a valid life choice. Even when it seems like everyone else is more interested in your perceived weaknesses. Sometimes, as a trusted adult, your job is to take the venting, complaining, and externalized emotions of your teenage charges, which sometimes means having to sit on your hands while they talk to you.

Women with autism are much harder to diagnose by outward behavior, and may need a different kind of test of social skill to be correctly diagnosed. With an extra piece on doctors who were studying autism before it was formally named.

Despite claiming the contrary, the very system the TSA uses to scan bodies is discriminatory against trans people. And that's before you have the agents that treat trans bodies as security threats. And the way that trans bodies are often excluded from conversations they need to be part of - including ones about menstruation. And then, there's always the specter of the bathroom debate, which is used very successfully, if oddly, to defeat equality measures. At least Planned Parenthood is helping trans people that want it get their hormone therapy.

Being bi involves a lot of dealing with stereotype and with being able to choose how much of being bi you want to show to others.

Even with the revelation of more magical schools, there aren't enough schools for sufficient representation of the world in the Wizarding World. (Also, is it me, or are these new school name revelations basically "Magic School" in a language where they are situated?)

113 attorneys shared their stories about their abortions with the Supreme Court in support of overturning Texas' stringent abortion requirements. Elsewhere, the choice of motherhood is one that every woman should have for themselves, even though it gets improperly substituted for matters of substance, even when discussing women with lots of substance.

The current system of dealing with the severely mentally ill falls them and offers them almost zero solutions - and the ones being offered are usually awful, horrible ones. Being able to talk about mental illness requires some amount of privilege - so there are a lot of people who need the help that aren't able to talk about it. Even more so if your disability is basically medical word soup.

Dancers without performance space and costume to hide them, snapshots of ordinary history, pictures of a celebrity doing ordinary things,

Ko-fi, a way of asking people to purchase you a coffee as a donation method.

In tech, thinking about the platform you are building a port for will help you build a better port, as demonstrated by the app version of Exploding Kittens.

A possibly encouragingly inexpensive prototype tablet that displays full pages of Braille or raised lines.

The Internet is ephemeral. Archive your work in ways that can be recreated later on. This often means having a version of your content that needs nothing more than a text editor or a straight-up HTML browser to see everything.

if you want to have women in technology and gaming, you must treat them in a way that doesn't minimize their expertise and doesn't focus on the superficial at the expense of the real.

Boredom is quite interesting, it appears - as a thing to study.

Biologically speaking: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Don't eat clay laced with lead that claims to be detoxifying.

The difference between economy class and higher classes on twenty airlines.

The presence of particles like um and uhh during speaking may be signifiers of expertise, rather than its lack, as the particles indicate that the brain of the speaker is still thinking about how to finish their sentence, processing a lot of information in a short amount of time. Qualifiers in our speech have been there for a good long while, and not just as things people want to thump women over the head for using.

The cultivation of new antimicrobial agents may start with the use of repurposed equipment in natural environments instead of lab dishes.

Trying to rush a launch with new, bug-riddled technology and software causes failures in more than just computer software, as Target found out trying to expand into Canada.

The beginning of a series about bringing a standard definition series like the X-Files into a high definition era.

The money in advertising is, at best, a bubble that will eventually explode, and then things will settle back down into what advertising used to be.

The next time a corporation with a vested interest in making copyright more about monopoly than limited, check to make sure they aren't breaking the laws they've helped inflict on everyone else. Because they're likely halting the ability of others to put the works considered most important of the current eras into the public's hands to analyze and make more work of.

The idea of sleep as a thing to be cured away neglects much of the research that suggests all of the housekeeping, organization, and memory storage tasks that go on during low-power mode - the kind of stuff that make it possible to stay balanced and alert.

As technology advances, preparations should be made for the possibility of automation producing a class of people without work who cannot necessarily get steady work. It's not necessarily going to be Doctorow's Makers, either. There's a good chance it will be work doing the things that machines cannot do well. The Basic Income Guarantee might be a place to start. Also, many of the things in that article are things that libraries could help with the pivot and transition to. assuming we had the funding and the partnerships and a management that was ready to embrace this as a possible future.

A Google Cloud powered AI defeated a world-class Go player. The AI apparently learned to play from no preconceptions and a lot of watching and analysis of games.

A method for being a cat into a workplace for a day, various properties of wool, light-up unicorn slippers, getting up and close with large colonies of mating snakes, a surfing cat in Hawaii, a cat that has their very own ball pit, many helpful posters about animal behaviors and busy language, the cats that came from coffee cups, the ways that tourists wanting to see turtles affect whether the turtles themselves appear, a list of parrot facts, funerals for cats in the Victorian Era, the winners of the underwater marine life photography contest for 2015, photographs of cats from underneath, the feral chickens of the Hawaiian Islands, crows observed using tools to build nests, and the neonatal kitten unit.

Last for tonight, using very cold weather to make art and comedy with frozen pairs of pants, easy to create origami bookmarks, lamps that create great art on the walls once light is inside them, a coffee table that looks like it is supported by balloons, and storyboards for the 50th anniversary survival of Doctor Who that would have included Christopher Eccleston.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
We begin with the importance of reading things again - the second read often reveals more about the book than the first. Additionally, the ability to write plot that doesn't have a conflict.

And then, the wonders of evolution...that produce drug-resistant STIs.

Also important, useful information for those who menstruate.

Also, people that believe modern expression has taken away from the Platonic ideal expressed in older times. To which, for spite and malice, I present classic dance sequences set to Uptown Funk.

The Dead Pool double-whammied us with Ziggy Stardust / Jareth, King of the Goblins, at 69 years and Hans Gruber / Severus Snape / The Metatron at 69 years, both to cancer. (David Bowie and Alan Rickman)

If you want to visit the national parks of Canada, go in 2017, when admission to the parks will be free.

Having an extensive vocabulary of curses is an indicator that someone's vocabulary outside of curses is pretty good, too. which goes with more of the idea that putting in practice at something improves skill to match taste and a book to assist in building fantastical creatures using anatomy and what follows from there.

A short comic about coming to the realization that someone is ace, along with a peek inside what happens to the partner whose husband transitioned to be a man during their relationship and a partnership where both people are pregnant at the same time.

The women's versions of products, otherwise identical, are often significantly more expensive. This is just one of the ways women get shut out - there aren't nearly enough women making culture and media without the aid or oversight of men. And media is only slowly coming to appreciate works with "unpleasant" women in them, while qualified veteran pilots are excluded from a national cemetery because they are women and powerful celebrities amass significant amounts of accusations against them and still manage to keep the benefit of the doubt because they are men.

Having enjoyed the ability to consume and dispose that comes with perceived economic good times, many are now returning to the idea that products should last for an extremely long time, and be made repairable for further longevity.

Peek in at a game writer for Bioware.

There are more stories about women falling in love with other women than there are movie plots about it. Because real people have intersecting identities, like queer and Muslim.

People also have to deal with other people doing shit and the emotional damage those attacks cause.

Some things that may help prepare you for and get you through the next depressive episode, along with other things that might help blunt the impact of emotions.

There needs to be black Hermione, because black Hermione represents so, so much to many more people.

A TEDx talk about trying not to take it personally when someone tells you the thing you said or did is -ist, which covers the thing that grates the most on hearing it - it's not that you are a bad person because you said a racist thing, it's that you're a good or bad person depending on what you do afterward.

One should not have to rehearse a process that likely ends in death - instead, one should try to do something about the situations that lead to those deaths.

Finland had changed the educational system to focus on clusters of things together in a topic, rather than disparate subjects with no admitted relationship to each other.

A rape account was handled incredibly poorly, including charging the woman reporting with a false report - when it turned out her account has been true, and she had been victimized by a serial rapist. To the credit of the city involved, the police department received additional training and the city apologized, cleared records, and settled with the victim.

The X-Files can still exist in a world that had 11 September 2011, because it was ultimately a story about the characters. Characters the show creator said were in a strictly platonic relationship.

Fans see actor roles in relation to each other, such that similar characters at different points in the actor's career often end up with fanon about one transforming into the other over time.

One of the most famous bridge collapses of the United States happened not from resonance, but from flutter and a cable that failed.

That which is billed as easy and quick cooking is only so if you are a chef or aspire to be one.

Selling used books on the Internet for a cent plus shipping can turn a profit, so long as your sale volume is big enough.

Opera singers on taking care of the vocal instrument and avoiding sickness.

Wonderful photographs from a collection called "butch" that celebrates those who choose masculine appearance and/or identify as male.

A founder of the Pirate Bay points out that the Internet is replicating a toxic society instead of overthrowing it, and says it is a better idea to let the society be destroyed and take the Internet with it, so that whatever comes next will be built on a better society. He's probably also not happy about the way that streaming sites have taken up most of our bandwidth.

A segmented worm toy for preschoolers will change its behavior based on the way the segments are assembled, giving preschoolers the opportunity to learn about robotics programming. The rest of us get things that Star Trek did well and paved the way for others to do the same with. And The understanding that video games can help with depression and anxiety, by forcing focus or allowing for low-risk interaction.

Here are some things you may want to disable in Windows 10, which we put by An algorithm that generates a passpoem of excellent entropy and iambic pentameter, trying to make passphrases that are both secure and memorable in the xkcd vein.

By changing the category number on the end of a Netflix URL, it's possible to access the many incredibly specific categories Netflix uses to tailor movie recommendations. If you use services intended to make it possible to watch Netflix offerings in other countries, Netflix intends to make it harder for you to watch content not licensed in your country, because the copyright holders think their distribution deals and ideas will be less effective if people can just watch it.

In a different societal failure, striving for your ideal does not require sacrificing everything in pursuit of it, but it can require that you do your best not to shut out genuine allies and people on the same path you are. Of course, even people who are allies can screw it up pretty easily.

There's ways to notice when privilege is at work, understanding that those who benefit from the privilege won't give it up, not after being systemically told that's the only thing they have. And then they protect that small thing with great violence, while abdicating the responsibility to educate and mentor children and the ways they can be thoughtful and appreciative without appropriation.

A founder of The Toast talks transparently about the finances of running the site and the luck they have had so far about profitability and not having lots of debt incurred and the general ideas behind much of the content on The Toast.

Staying on writing, a profitable ghostwriter tells young writers to do the same if they want to make a steady income, instead of gambling that their own prose will be saleable.

The current backlash against non-white, non-male protagonists appearing in media everywhere is a tantrum being thrown by people who don't want to have to share and who are now getting a taste of what all the other reindeer have been experiencing the whole time. By focusing too much on the past and the future, they cause great harm in the present. And even if they thought were being worse for them, understand that women start out with the same ambitions men do, but lose that ambition faster than men do, due to many aspects of patriarchy, like a lack of role models, the Smurfette Principle, and, oh, yes, the copious amounts of misogyny in the workplace.

The way the current War on (Some) Drugs is structured, life expectancy in developing countries is going down due to the step up in violence.

Princess Leia is, by far, the most important character in Star Wars, for reasons in the universe and out of it.

A very useful guide of ingredient weights and volumes. Also, common things that should be recyclable, but aren't.

There exists a corps of people who volunteer for the tricky task of detangling yarn that had knotted itself horribly.

Pictures of life in New York City in the 1950s, discovered many years after they had been taken. Also, color footage of Toronto in the 1940s, the best pictures taken by drone, and the same apartment floor plan ten times, with different furniture inside.

A digitized lift the flap book from the 17th century, covering the subject of anatomy. Contains crotch demons.

See inside a cave that has developed an entire ecosystem of its own, since the top of it collapsed early enough to allow in vegetation and waterfalls. Then, wood cut and painted like gemstones. And then, pictures taken by things and people in space. (Additionally, heliocentrism makes maths calculations a lot easier.)

Yes, there is a network of scientists who help films and television shows make their science fiction more science-y.

Following the chain of vendors for solar projects sometimes leads to prison labor paid less than a dollar per hour for the work, monkeys have been trained for a long while to pick coconuts from trees, and current formulations of sunscreen are causing coral reef damage. Oh, and while they aren't now, it's possible that the manufacturers of personal trackers could sell your health data to other parties.

Vegan cheeses are pretty competitive with dairy cheeses for taste, texture, and behavior, although more than a few cheeses produced in the world cannot be imported to the United States, since they are made with unpasteurized milk.

The story of a dog's life, illustrated. Very heartstrings-yanking, especially if you've ever lost a pet if your own. Recommend against viewing unless you really want to cry. Same for Rhianna Pratchett remembering her father and his accomplishments.

A leash-trained cat takes excellent vacations, tiny animals taking baths, more wildlife photographs, rescued owls, elaborate cat perches and walkways, what magpies actually do,

and animals think and be social, sometimes like, sometimes unlike, sometimes in cooperation with, humans.

Last for tonight, musings on the reality of Canada and pleasant surprises of the immigrant experience.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
In your own space, talk about what you're taking away from this challenge. Did you learn something? Did you interact with new people? Or did you try out different fandoms or formats or relationships? What's changed between Day 1 and Day 15 of this challenge?

Well, in both cases, it was an experiment, seeing if this landscape calling itself fandom had a place for someone who writes less of pairings and threes and more of reasons why vampires playing baseball would look very different than humans. I'm pretty sure there's a place for me in there, but it seems like me and my fellow travelers are the nomads of the universe, wandering about and staying in the various cities of fandom, but not necessarily building houses there.

I did learn of the presence of podfic, which seems like an awesome thing and I salute the people that can carve out enough time to actually perform works. I can only guess at the amount of time needed for things of multiple chapters and hundreds of thousands of words.

I got to see a pretty good range of major fandoms at work, with not too many things mentioned that I hadn't seen or at least knew what was going on. I got to read some neat fiction bits in things I didn't expect, like incompetent time-traveling saxophone haters or planetary bodies and science instruments.

Most of the people participating were user names that I had never seen around, so that was neat. I don't think too many of them would take a look at me and think of my journal as a place to follow, but I did get some nice comments on the Night Vale ficlet I wrote on day four. That was encouraging, at least.

And I had to write the exercise of things you like about yourself, which is one of the hardest things to do. So, all in all, I'd consider the whole thing a success, even if I didn't find the secret enclaves of Meta and the group that are all about analyzing the same shows that I'm watching. I'm sure they're there. Of course, it would probably help if I ever actually said what kind of shows I was watching. Or books I was reading, or albums listening, and all of that stuff that helps build a community. Maybe I'm afraid of people making fun of me for it. (That would be a holdover from teen years - I've been away from that for a long time, but it was during that perfect time when you form your opinion of yourself and others using the people around you as the template.)

Anyway, still not sure that I'm that far up on the canon of the more popular things to participate in exchanges...or that I have time for it, but maybe I'll keep peeking in for things that aren't that demanding on the time.
silveradept: The emblem of the Heartless, a heart with an X of thorns and a fleur-de-lis at the bottom instead of the normal point. (Heartless)
In your own space, share your love for something fannish: a trope, cliché, kink, motif, theme, format, or fandom.

Where to start? (The Beginning.) I think I'm always going to have a soft spot for the newspaper comic style, even though I haven't regularly read any sort of comic, save Unshelved, xckd, and Girl Genius, all delivered to me, regularly. If I think about my comfort reads in comics, they tend to be slice-of-life style stories. What that life consists of can be plenty weird, as it is in Calvin and Hobbes, Ozy and Millie, Sinfest, early College Roomies From Hell!!! (the three exclamation points stand for quality), xkcd, Yotsuba&!, and Lucky Star, but it tends to be serial, slice-of-life, and drawn in a four-panel style with bigger sets on occasion. There's something about the format that's good for me, like it isn't demanding too much time, there's usually going to be a joke involved somewhere, and a lot of the subjects touched on there do so without sliding off into the darker places. (Not universally, of course - there are plenty of serious subjects that happen in strip form.) Maybe it's just my nostalgia filter being tripped, and comics in that style recall memories of a previous, happier, less responsibility-burdened time. Even as I was reading about Watterson battling his syndicate and dove headfirst into Dana Simpson's political spinoff (I Drew This), the adult concerns expressed in those places weren't as real as they are now, having lived without the protective shields put in place to make sure I could get to adulthood safely.

If I keep going like this, I'm probably going to harsh someone's squee about the things I've mentioned so far. Happier thoughts, happier thoughts, like the independent spirit on display in those comics. Calvin, Millie (and Ozy, on a much quieter delivery), Yotsuba, Konata, Ayamu, Chiyo, and most of the cast of these comics are doing their thing, regardless of social pressures. Those pressures, when presented, tend to take the form of comedy, even if it wouldn't be quite as funny now to watch a character obsess about their weight and others their cup size. And my fingers still wince in sympathy for Saki. None of the characters in the comics receive severe and permanent consequences for their decisions to be who they are. They might have sheep for rivals, and the visual metaphors might be a bit much from time to time, but their stories don't reflect the reality around them, just outside their universe, where the readers are.

I wonder if that's part of the draw of fanworks - to be able to set up the world in such a way where sometimes, everyone lives. Or gets the person they are happiest with, or finds their happily ever after, villains included. To build the world we want to see, fully realized, as a break or a counterweight to the world outside, which is nowhere near fully realized and still needs a lot of work.

Oy. Melancholy again. I like comedy, and to laugh, and clever wordplay and pratfalls, and my stories as a relief from the world outside, as Pratchettian little lies and big ones, and to see heroes defeat villains, for the reasons that are right to them.

I like my stories happy, because I've had more than enough of my fill of depression and anger and negative self-talk, and those things will just keep coming, so what I like in my stories is the ability to set that aside and pretend, even if for only a little while.

What I get fannish about, most of the time, is a world that isn't this one.
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
I've been a little light on the politics lately - you could probably call it burnout, although in my case, it's more that my usual daily politics dose got put behind a paywall in the visual form and now only exists as an audio daily form. And, perhaps, that one can only read so much about the deliberate injury that a major political party intends to inflict on people you know and are friends with before you start wanting a buffer.

Plus, it seems that everyone agrees that it is election season since the middle of last fucking year. I don't want to cover candidate shenanigans until those candidates start acting like serious people or they start winning their contests. Which extends most importantly to the current media trainwreck. So, I've probably missed some important things over the last few months by going media-light on current affairs. Self-care, though, is still a valid life choice. Maybe I'm ready to get back into things now, starting with this.

As required by the Constitution, "He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." So, on the evening of January 12, 02016, Barack Obama gave his eighth State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. I'll be using The official enhanced address from The White House and its associated official prepared remarks for the speech.

To start off, I think we all have to admit that Barack Obama is a master of the self-deprecating joke. He's had to be, since he's been the subject of attacks based on perception of who he is as much as the policies that he's been espousing. He's also acutely aware that since the control of one house of Congress changed to control of the Republicans, the citizens of the U.S. have basically assumed, and been proven right, that the law-passing branch of the government would be unable to get its act together and actually govern.

The actual speech begins with the idea that, as it always has been, we live in a world of great and accelerating change, and that the spirit of the United States takes on new challenges instead of retreating to the past. Thus, the recovery from the recession, the Affordable Care Act, more green energy, better military personnel care, and marriage equality are a direct result of embracing the change of the future head-on.

That's great rhetoric, but for each of those things, there's a metric ton of trench work involved in bringing them to fruition. Saying the stimulus worked is accurate, but the recovery also involves the private sector. Marriage equality is decided by a court case, not an actual law. So there's a lot of that Hufflepuff work ethic outside your Slytherin rhetoric.

The four questions that the President proposes as long-term ideas are also the structure of his speech. Question one - "how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?"

Before actually addressing the question, the President hammers hard on the idea that the recovery and economy are going excellent and the government deficit is going way down. (Which they are, both of them. The data on the economy and the deficit back up those claims.)

Then comes the prime objection to looking at the country in this way - the economy doing well means the rich are doing well, and means nothing at all for the grand majority of people who work. In those areas, the President starts with the idea of universal pre-K and enough STEM work so that graduates of high school can take technology jobs right out of the gate. The President adds in to this the student loan reform already implemented and his proposal for two years of free community college for "responsible students", essentially extending the public education phase of life for two more years.

I would like to know how that idea would apply to those accepted to four year universities - would they also receive two years free, or an equivalent amount of money to be spent on the credit-hours of their university?

More importantly, though, would there also be a requirement that the four-year colleges accept the credits in transfer from the community colleges? Some places, including the University I attended, made it policy that they don't accept credits from other institutions they deem not up to the standards of their instruction. I'm sure this could all be detailed in a bill, were one ever to originate. Since the House controls spending...

There's also the big tenants of the Democrats - Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act, transitioning into how much the President wants a robust private sector and that there is bureaucracy to be trimmed, which is the best applause line he has from both parties. Being at least a nominal populist, rich, he has to mention the truth that the rich and corporations don't trickle down, and that immigrants and the poor don't cause financial collapses.

He certainly doesn't go any father than that, though, and as we'll see, he's not aligning himself with Anonymous, the Occupy protests, or other people who think that the wealth and power of the rich and corrupt needs to be broken and redistributed.

Question Two is "how do we make technology work for us, and not against us -- especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?" The name-dropping about innovation are gender-balanced, at least, and all in science and tech (Grace Hopper, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride), but then the President says he protected an open Internet. This is not true. The President supports the methods of the copyright cabal and their treaties intended to subjugate other countries to the laws of the United States. He supports the ways that those cabals keep things out of the public domain. He should stick to the environmental things, as he does in the next passages, rather than champion himself as a supporter of an open Internet.

After putting Vice President Biden at the helm of finding cancer cures, the President shifts to climate change, where green jobs and inexpensive energy resides.

From climate change and cheaper, cleaner energy, the President transitions into bellicosity about the strength of the United States. This is his introduction to question three: "how do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?" There's an awful lot of chest-thumping about military might and protecting freedom and citizens and a nonzero amount about how militant fanatics should not have their view of the world reinforced through the actions of the United States.

The President wants to highlight his ability to work with other countries to solve problems, regarding the coalition in Syria, the lack of nuclear Iran, preventing the ebola outbreak from becoming significantly more widespread, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, one of those vehicles of the copyright cabals, and the normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

And he dangles the possibility of curing HIV/AIDS and malaria within the near future, juxtaposing it with the need to close Guantanamo Bay.

That's also the transition to the last question, "how can we make our politics reflect what's best in us, and not what's worst?" The President goes for the low-hanging fruit to start with, that politicians and citizens that attack Muslims do the country a disservice and help the radicals that claim to be Muslim. He pivots to the need for compromise to make the process of government move forward, which requires believing others are acting in good faith, instead of calling them unpatriotic or claiming they hate America...or proving that elected representatives act in the interests of their people, instead of corporations and wealthy donors.

For the President, that means reforming money in politics, making voting easier, standing up for those who are weaker, and being engaged in the political process and public life. Serious reforms about money in politics would be welcome, as would rolling back all the Republican-led efforts to make it harder for segments that don't vote Republican to vote. Handing off the redistricting process to true nonpartisans would also help get representative districts properly drawn.

And it might also not hurt to have people other than career politicians in the roles of government for a change.

The closing statement is the ritual incantation to the state of the union being strong and the other incantation to The Being Represented By The Tetragrammaton to show favor on the United States.

The President is a skilled orator, and always has been, but action would be the loudest thing to say for either side to indicate their support, or at least a willingness to commit to getting a bill put together.

What we got, instead, was the official Republican response, with accompanying transcript of the 2016 Republican response accompanying.

Governor Haley of South Carolina was tapped to deliver the response, which seems calculated as a way of trying to make the Republicans seem less the party of White Men. Governor Haley had her own big thing this year, when a black activist scaled a flagpole in a state cemetery and removed the Confederate flag flying there.

The opening of the speech makes a strong assertion that the President's record falls short of his oratory, especially on the matter of the economy and health care. Which seems like waltzing through a minefield to me, as the Republican Party can pretty easily be tagged for the failures of both, since they insisted that the health care reform reward the health insurance companies, they have trouble passing budgets, and their usually bread and butter constituency are the people responsible for the economic meltdown.

After that somewhat rickety start, Governor Haley shifts to immigration, first by recounting her own immigrant heritage, then declaring that immigration had to be fixed by stopping illegal immigration, requiring vetting of immigrants, and refusing refugees whose intentions can't be determined. The idea of reforming the system by closing off parts of it doesn't seem to be one that would hold water, not to mention the difficulty of figuring out what a refugee's intent actually is.

The governor engages in a non-sequitur about a different tragedy from this year involving a man shooting others in a church, and the response that came from it meant to heal the area, instead of...listening to the loudest and angriest voices. If that really were important to the GOP, Donald Trump would not be at the top of the candidates' list, as he qualifies on both counts.

After this, Governor Haley is ready to go down the list of high-pitched whistles to the base. Observe:
If we held the White House, taxes would be lower for working families, and we'd put the brakes on runaway spending and debt.
Once again, the deficit is shrinking for this year, as it has been for the many years before it. And if the government really wanted to get serious about paying down debt, it could probably add a significant amount of income and debt reduction just by removing various methods that the richest use to avoid their taxes.

We would encourage American innovation and success instead of demonizing them, so our economy would truly soar and good jobs would be available across our country.

We would reform education so it worked best for students, parents, and teachers, not Washington bureaucrats and union bosses.
I'm not sure where the talking point about demonizing innovation came from. So I can't say much about that.

Education, however, seems to be a matter of funding a way to make sure that the poorest districts have enough money to be able to conduct operations. "Bureaucrats and union bosses" are the whistle, there, because if seems to be a matter of dogma that public school teachers are lazy is uninspired because the security of their union job makes them complacent. To that, I say the Republicans should shadow public school teachers and then ask again whether they are lazy. And that they should note that for-profit charter schools will create tiers of education, where the inability to provide the tuition for a private education will give a student a second-class designation for years.

We would end a disastrous health care program, and replace it with reforms that lowered costs and actually let you keep your doctor.
You've had long enough to produce the plan. Put up or shut up.

We would respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a cornerstone of our democracy.
"We wish the icky gay men and lesbians were forced to stay closeted and barred from getting married, and align ourselves with the most conservative of churches and denominations."

We would recognize the importance of the separation of powers and honor the Constitution in its entirety. And yes, that includes the Second and Tenth Amendments.
"Guns and 'States' Rights' forever.

We would make international agreements that were celebrated in Israel and protested in Iran, not the other way around.
if you think Israel isn't thrilled at the prospect of a non-nuclear Iran, you are very much mistaken.

And rather than just thanking our brave men and women in uniform, we would actually strengthen our military, so both our friends and our enemies would know that America seeks peace, but when we fight wars we win them.
"War forever, maybe with even more money and hardware put into it."

And with the ritual invocations to the Past That Never Was and the Being, that's the end of the response. It was light on substance - take advantage of your hypertext and start cracking on the specifics. Plans are what drives the legislative process. Without that, the country won't take your party seriously.

Worth mentioning at the end, there are more than a few people in Twitter putting lyrics from the musical Hamilton to images and ideas from the speech. It might be the most tweeted thing about the speech.

And there's your speechmaking. Into the election year we go from here, I suppose.
silveradept: Criminy, Fuschia and Blue (Sinfest), the girls sitting or leaning on stacks of books. Caption: Read! Chicks dig it! (READ Chicks)
In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create.

One way to level up today's challenge is to try to rec any of the following: tiny fandoms, rare pairings, fanworks other than stories, lesser known kinks or tropes. Find fanworks that have few to no comments, or creators new to a particular fandom and maybe aren't well known or appreciated. 

And, a last quick bit of advice: if possible, do your fellow fan a favour and give warnings for triggery fanworks (deathfic, noncon, etc.) You'll get good fannish karma in return. :)
Solid advice with regard to this challenge - recommendations should come with the possible issues accompanying. It makes it easier to decide whether to forge ahead or shelve the recommendation.

As for my own, first, I want to highlight a couple items using the technique of psychocronography to analyze various media in their contexts. The Near-Apocalypse of '09 is looking at episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, with the idea that Batman, despite being a vigilante operating outside the law, is always a character working to uphold the structures of order and society in the face of more chaotic figures such as the Joker. The Super Nintendo Project (link is to first post in the series) uses the various games of the platform as a reflection on an idealized past, the one populated by various Puppies, Gamergate adherents, and others who believe firmly in the nerdy version of The Past That Never Was. Since the subtitle is "A Sixteen-Bit Ritual to Destroy Gamergate", you can see where it will be going.

The very first fandub I saw was Evangelion Re:Death, a blisteringly funny send-up of Evangelion, where Gendo intends to become the Uber-Pimp. Since it came out in 2000, you can probably expect less progressive views on sex and sexuality, and a lot of things about the women characters get sacrificed in favor of the broad satire characterization of Misato as a drunkard, Rei as an ice queen, and Asuka as butch (with bad Schwarzenegger-accent).

On the pure fiction side, however, I can thank the Snowflake challenge to introducing me to On the Mating Habits of Muggles & Naturalist Witches (OR Muggles in the Midst), which tickled my funny bone with the way that it portrayed Luna. (Admittedly, Luna became more crystallized for me from the movies, but the actress portraying her nailed it.) The way that she his about attempting her studies makes me hope for a sequel where Luna and Arthur Weasley compare notes about the Muggle World and its inhabitants.

As for fanart, I have a lot of it stashed. But, for a single piece that I like, here's Konata doing what she does best - trolling everyone.
silveradept: A head shot of a  librarian in a floral print shirt wearing goggles with text squiggles on them, holding a pencil. (Librarian Goggles)
What makes you fannish? And by that we mean, what is it about a tv show/movie/book/band/podcast/etc that takes you from, "Yeah, I like that," to "I need MOAR!!!" Is it a character? A plotline? The pretty? Subtext that’s just screaming to be acknowledged?

In your own space, tell us what it is that gets you to cross that line into fandom.


As it turns out, non-main characters and the ensemble in ensemble cast often spark the fannish idea. I'm not sure whether it's that we only see into their lives a little bit, whether they're allowed to be written a little bit more loosely, or what it is, but the presence of a good cast can make a lot of difference.

Compare, for example, Warehouse 13 and Haven, shows aired on the same network. Both have meh main characters in Pete (The Warehouse's everyman chauvinist jock) and Nathan (the man afflicted with a trouble that prevents him from feeling anything with his skin). Where the Warehouse shines and Haven flops, in my opinion, is in their other characters. Myka, Claudia, and Helena are all far more competent Warehouse agents, and Jinksy is Pete's foil on toxic masculinity. Nathan has Audrey, who is useful in that she is immune to Nathan's troubles and far more empathetic than he is, and Duke, who is mostly there to snark at Nathan and occasionally use his own Trouble. It's a very different dynamic, and I like 13 better, despite the violence the showrunners did to their own universe by putting Pete and Myka together as the Official Couple, when Myka and Helena are clearly the correct call.

I like lower decks episodes and beach episodes and stories that pause a bit or shift perspective off of Our Hero(es) so that we can see the world around them and learn what passes for normal around there. I like to see villains with logical reasons and well-built relationships last.(Joss Whedon, I'm giving you the biggest side-eye ever on this.)

Show me that your world has more dimensions and give your characters more to do than relate to the protagonist, and you're well on your way to making me a fan. (Doesn't hurt if you can hang a lampshade or two along the way, too.)

I'm not busily pairing characters in the background, though, which is why a lot of fandom can sometimes feel a little orthogonal to the way I'm viewing / reading. Playing matchmaker isn't necessarily a thing I'm interested in. Evaluating whether a relationship presented in the text / screen is a good one is. I like looking at the world and poking it to see if it falls apart. And, in many ways, seeing if I can build it better.

Which is, I suppose, one of the core fannish impulses.
silveradept: The letters of the name Silver Adept, arranged in the shape of a lily pad (SA-Name-Small)
In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself.

Well, that didn't take long. Goal 2, called up to account already. So, here it goes, I guess.

Thinking of things that you like about yourself raises a few spectres. If you read the guest post I linked to in an earlier Snowflake (about Twilight as a story of a girl desperately trying to get away from all the attention focused on her), there's a really big strain of perfectionism, and it's accompanying binary thinking, baked into my being as a defense mechanism against children that exemplified Tall Poppy Syndrome. If they can find no fault, then I'm safe. What that also does, though, is set up the duck problem (those placid-looking waterfowl gliding on the surface of the water are actually paddling furiously underneath it - everyone else looks like they're gliding along effortlessly on the river of life, while you know you're just trying to stay afloat) in such a way that things that might be good things about you are discounted or qualified, because you know that you're not all those things.

Incidentally, this is the best illustration of the duck problem that I have seen.

The other issue is the one of scope. With our communication methods and worldwide connectivity, we have the idea of "local celebrity" or "Internet celebrity" - the making explicit the domains by which sunshine can become a famous person, with general worldwide fame as the pinnacle and a place in the history books as the ultimate goal. Since very few people actually make it to that point, it's very easy to discount everything you do because you're not like those people who have the world hanging off their every word.

And then, of course, there's feedback. Many of the talents and skills we have are great, but without someone else noticing them, how will we know that they're good and have had impacts on someone's life? I got a very nice piece of feedback last week about a young woman that had come to a beginner choosing class I had put on. Apparently, she caught the programming bug, to the point of her parent enrolling get in camps taught by a local company. Without that conversation, I wouldn't have known what happened. Now I can be confident I put at least one child on the programming path, and I hope that nobody and no society dissuades her from it.

These things all run interference with trying to find good things about yourself. I've been trying to fight them off with daily ([community profile] awesomeers) and weekly check-ins ([personal profile] synecdochic, among many others) that challenge is to talk about the good things that have happened and what we are proud of. Some days the proudest thing we have is that we were still here the next day. Other days are happier. I don't know if it's causing big changes, but I stare at that prompt every day, trying to see what I can come up with that was a good thing. And sometimes I'm supporting others more than talking about myself.

So, here are three things that I can say I like about myself:
  1. I'm a wizard. Seriously. I make magic every day with finding useful material, doing programming, making recommendations, presenting, and learning. It's very Hufflepuff magic, the kind that doesn't create a lot of flash and that doesn't anyways generate a lot of feedback, but it's magic all the same. For as much as I get aggravated and annoyed with the way The Organization runs the place, I can see the magic happen regularly, whether by me or by others in the same profession.
  2. I'm creative. That's...surprisingly hard to write, but if I stop thinking about creativity in a narrowly-defined zone of "stuff that produces a product" like art, writing, code, and the like, and include the things I do actually do, like essays, teaching, troubleshooting, technological and code adaptation, documentation, problem-solving, and engineering, as well as the fantastic grades obtained all throughout schooling, then there's creativity in spades at work in my head and all around me. It takes some perspective to get it, though, when you've been raised on the idea that creativity only has a limited domain. If I actually think about it, when younger-me wrote a noir detective spoof, the audience laughed when I read it aloud. Current-me still gets people having a good time at Story Time. These are creative endeavors, and they need to be acknowledged as such. As is the practice of arranging links next to each other such that their context days more than their individual selves, or that they tell a story despite being from disparate sources.

    Remind me of this frequently, please. It is difficult to remember.
  3. I'm making an effort. I often describe my upbringing as provincial for a reason - the state is not particularly friendly to people who don't fit in the boxes, and the town I was in did not particularly find compassion for people who expressed something other than the ideal of provincial normal - cis, straight, and very interested in "traditional" gender roles. One teacher had their classroom destroyed as part of a malicious prank while I was attending - I now don't think it a coincidence that she was unmarried, teaching advanced maths, and took no shit from anyone. Since then, she did get married, but that was the only change. There are lots of homophobic jokes, rumors about various acts that would actually satisfy one of the more outspoken feminists, and the stereotyping that accompanied any students that weren't white. I thought things got better at University, and they did, somewhat, just by exposure and by being in a culture that valued a more diverse experience. Now that I'm working on my community, I get the full thing of navigating an entire body of possible identities and cultures, and am charged with providing good service to all of them. And I'm friends with a very diverse group of people that teach me more about the experiences of their lives every day. Rather than throwing in the towel and declaring that my brain is full and I'll never be able to understand, I'm making the effort. I'm going to fuck it up, probably spectacularly, a lot in my life, since I already have before. So long as I can keep making the effort, though, I can be proud of that.
That's a really hard exercise for me. I'm much more comfortable talking about flaws and foibles than things I consider strengths. Possibly because I'm still holding on to the defense mechanism against those that want to cut down the smart and talented kids so as to make themselves feel better.

Here's hoping it comes easier later.
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Starting, as befits the time, holiday-related cheer, epic holiday music, a mash-up of ballet and burlesque, cats that are ready for holiday cheer, cookie recipes, and marshmallow cats.

Then a reminder that the festivities and their accompanying social obligations are not a universal good for everyone.

A lack of motivation may be due to inefficient brain connections causing more energy and work to be expended in the decision-making process.

The skills acquired in one's hobbies and fannish interests are potentially worth putting on one's resume and being used to acquire jobs.

Fanfiction is a great gift to give during the holidays, and plenty of other times, too. If your traditional role is the filling of stomachs, there are plenty of delicious projects to create.

Having read a lot of books in a year, a librarian learns a lot about the art of reading books. #1 is essential.

Surviving the dark means finding beauty in it - having a big social group to do things with doesn't hurt, either. It may involve discarding or modifying tradition to the point that it seems unrecognizable. or it might be taking refuge with the other people who aren't celebrating. It could even involve poking some gentle fun at half-hearted attempts to celebrate or finding a prediction from the past that looks laughable today. As it turns out, there may be a genetic component to how strongly you feel your emotions.

Methods of disposing of holiday trees other than the landfill.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar focuses on the similarities of the Christians and the Muslims with regard to their December celebration. The United States House of Representatives decided to focus on similarities, too, in passing visa discrimination that would bar people from getting approval if one of their parents is classified as from a forbidden area, even if that parent has never lived in that place and neither has the child.

Something very unhappy indeed - a grand jury did not indict the officer that shot a child playing with a toy gun in a park, because they believed the police saw a threat and reacted appropriately to it. Black Lives Still Matter, and protesters filled the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport.

Black women need a more diverse representation in video games.

After being refused the care she needed, and refusing to leave until she received it, a woman died in the custody of the police called to remove her from the hospital. The number of failures compounds exponentially.

Learn from the ways structure benefits those more privileged than you, so that you can avoid replicating their mistakes in your own space.

Pastafarians in New Zealand area now able to perform wedding ceremonies. Rejoice.

A blog that replaces guns in the hands of Republicans with dildoes. Makes sense to me why someone might want to put the sex-negative death dealers in a different light.

Because they could not talk about the film before it released, cast members of The Force Awakens had to resort to other things to get through their interviews. Carrie Fisher and her dog, Gary, acquit themselves very funnily in this Good Morning America interview. Which is good, because otherwise she would have to cut somebody for their insistence that weight loss was necessary for her to go back to Star Wars. Actually, several people might have to be sliced to ribbons for those body comments.

Carrie Fisher also gives interviews as good as she takes them.

Having been in a movie that was all about black bodies, and lots of conversations about beautiful black bodies, Lupita Nyong'o chose a role where it would only be her voice on display.

A style guide to various forms of grammar and capitalization with regard to the Star Wars franchise.

If you are so inspired, there are lots of academies to learn lightsaber as a martial art.

J. J. Abrams says The Force Awakens looks like A New Hope in the skeleton, but all the rest of the body is different.

George Lucas owes a lot of the success of his films to his first wife, but most of the official Lucas* data on her has been scrubbed after the divorce.

To understand and write in any genre, a grounding in the works considered classics is useful. I'm not going to say necessary, as the article-writer does, because I think there is something to be said about writing the book first, and then letting the agents wrangle what genre, if any, to sell it under.

Because emoji originated in Japan, the pictures follow Japanese grammar - which makes it more difficult for English writers trying to tell stories in pictures.

Many women suffer from issues of their pelvic floors moving, displacing their organs and causing pain and other issues. Also, the many ways that women avoided pregnancy and childbirth that don't involve hormonal birth control.

The care that Japan takes for all aspects of life includes significant thought about toilets and restrooms.

Gender politics in Panem - balanced representation and trope distribution, and quite a bit of characters behaving in the binary-opposite stereotype. Which is a lot better than the way television writes white women and casts minority women in those roles.

When observed from the outside, the United States has several obvious and glaring shortcomings in how it treats women compared to other nations.

The election of the Liberals to Canada's Parliament has a lot of people hopeful about the damage that Trudeau can undo.

Lots of countries other than the United States got goodies into their public domains this January. The U.S.? Bupkis.

For adults, a parody of Les Miserables. For children, a lesson on how you can tell someone's emotions by looking at their faces and bodies. This is the Sesame Workshop at work. They would probably also have a field day with words whose contexts determine one of their potentially conflicting meanings. And they might enjoy menu ordering by Venn diagram, which, I admit, looks really good.

How much do we give of ourselves out into the universe for others to appreciate? What do we keep tucked in close, and does it prevent us from doing what we love? How many of the things on this list are things we worry about daily?

Facebook fails to grasp that the name someone chooses for themselves is their real name, refuses to rescind their policy, despite meeting somewhere that has many reasons and examples to show them that they are wrong.

The high stress environment of poverty and neighbourhoods with high visible poverty make their residents heavier, because the stress triggers the survival instinct to hoard energy.

The downfall of the website known as the Silk Road, in a very longform piece from Wired.

The Kitty Convict Project asks indoor cat owners to put orange on their cats, so that if they get out, others will recognize the cats as lost rather than feral.

Popularity is the wrong metric to measure books by, as is great amounts of sales.

What we think of as clutter now may be priceless family and cultural artifacts to those who succeed us, which may mean that decluttering might not be the way to go. Decluttering does make you feel better about yourself, though.

The unexpected success of the KitKat chocolate bar in Japan, with chefs producing bars with different flavoring as a high-end chocolate. Also, chocolate slices. Which is nearly the opposite of food plating decisions that are, at best, strange.

Art from people-made beach debris, of which there appears to be a rather inexhaustible supply. Art of the waves that batter a lighthouse in Wales, which are pictures of the majesty of nature. As are the angry waves of Lake Erie.

An MIT hydrogel looks like it could be used to encase sensors, which could make for smart bandages. Harvard has a collection of historical pigments for art conservation. Ibuprofen patches for direct application of pain relief without some of the side effects of pills. London has a dedicated team of gaslamp lighting, extinguishing, and repair for the few remaining streetlights lit by gas.

The men who try to mansplain Lolita to a woman know not the way that they are totally missing the point of both the novel and their explanations. After all, books about women don't win awards, so taking that contempt into the world around them suits those men just fine, stupid as it is. There's plenty of bullshit to go around, anyway and lots of people looking for any reason to take someone out of context. Or to give reductionist advice about the presentation of women's speech (and packaging it as an app) while ignoring that it's women that are the problem for misogynists, not their speech. (To which no less a luminary than Albert Einstein offers advice on the matter, too one Mme. Curie: "Don't read it if you don't want to." We think he might also have said to not feed the trolls, too.)

Working at a job considered beneath most people helps get rid of the idea that there are jobs beneath most people.

A list of excellent graphic novels, all written and many drawn by women. Also, why you should read romance novels, and why doors are always important in stories involving children.

Jessica Jones suffers from the injury violating morals and social contracts inflicts on victims in addition to their physical trauma. Despite that, Jones never quite gets to go all the way into the kind of character she would be if her backstory was played out realistically. And the show itself engages in some problematic treatment of fat women.

To see someone have a take on the trauma of Steve Rogers, The creator of American Captain may have just the thing for you.

The cartomantic origins of the Tarot are a bit murky, but they definitely turned what are otherwise playing cards into something very different.

Lipstick - the history of, up until recently, poisoning yourself with lead to look prettier.

Human beds with pet beds built into their bases, the very rare sea sapphire, icons of television without their suits fully on, cat fish, cows at play, an egg candle that reveals a dinosaur as it burns, adorable pictures of dogs, a video of common holiday items that are not good for pets, a different video of a seahorse giving birth, the possibility of pet jellyfish, facts about hagfish, folding wetted paper to make animals with curved lines, a tiger-goat friendship, green turtles, a Maine coon and their small human, an unexpected sea otter gives birth, comedic wildlife photographs, smiling, happy cats, a herd of elephants that will walk through a hotel to get to the mango tree they have been eating the fruit of for generations, creatures named after Star Wars characters, and cats at kami shrines.

Random facts from books read, a mushroom trip can shift your personality, and advice on how to read aloud to an intimate partner.

Last for tonight, as befits the post, little lies are practice for big, necessary ones, a thing that only DEATH could know, which is contrasted with truths that are difficult to keep in mind. And Christmas has more than its fair share of those who punish the naughty as well as reward the nice, cats that devour the lazy who don't have anything new, as well as plenty of stories of ghosts and spirits.
silveradept: A dragon librarian, wearing a floral print shirt and pince-nez glasses, carrying a book in the left paw. Red and white. (Dragon Librarian)
In your own space, post a rec for fannish and/or creative resources and spaces. Tell us where you go to dig up canon facts for your fandom, or where you get all the juicy details about your favorite ship. Where do you like to hang out and squee like a squeeing thing?

Well, I touched briefly on this in Snowflake 02 - the Phenomenal Cosmic Power bit of being an information professional is that once you understand the structure and organization method of any given system, you can basically find anything, assuming that it's been indexed properly. The Internet being what it is, though, it may surface inferior resources at first pass when the search is just starting and generate a lot of frustration.

Here's a problem of the Internet and many other resources - keyword searching by itself is intuitive, but inefficient. Because keyword searches match the words themselves, and not their context. Natural language processing techniques and deliberate exclusion of common words from search results helps to make our keywords a little bit better, but for the most part, just typing in words isn't going to cut it, unless those words are in a unique combination that will point at a useful resource. Just typing in words will usually run a Boolean OR or Boolean AND search, looking just to see whether the words are there on the page and nothing more.

Google, for example, offers site search operators that will help you do more specific things with their engine. Which is nice.

What if, though, you could search the Internet in the same way that you can search academic resource databases like DIALOG? (Every librarian reading this is freely allowed to wince or make any other gesture of pain - many learned the power of searching on that system, often by cursing out the system for returning exactly what was requested and offering no help on how to make the search better. That DIALOG charges by how long you are connected in addition to any other elements you actually printed meant many hours of query construction went into building one excellent search, to be run and its records retrieved, selected, and printed as fast as humanly possible.) Some engines have wildcard or truncation support, most have "exact phrase" support, but very few, if any, handle proximity operations.

To supplement knowledge of the inner workings of search, it helps to know the terminology of what you're looking for. Sometimes, the whole point of the search is to find the right terms, which then yield the desired results. And for that, there are more than a few resources available.

Wikis tend to accrue lots of knowledge through their nature as "anyone can edit" devices. Any fandom that has been around long enough will likely coalesce around a few resources that manage to become encyclopedic and definitive through the luck of having an active group of contributors. In active shows and fandoms, the out-of-universe material is handled by Wikipedia, the in-universe material handled by a thematically-named wiki, and the meta handled by TVTropes. In older items, or finished series, both in and out of universe material may be handled or migrated over to static webpages, possibly with a forum attached for discussion, to archive the things that won't be kept on Wikipedia.

This isn't any sort of absolute rule, of course, but using those three items in combination with each other will probably net enough terminology to then go out to a search engine and sweep the wider world of fandom to find the details, speculation and fic that you want.

As for what engine I use, I've basically switched off Google as my primary search entity because I much prefer the bang syntax of DuckDuckGo that lets me search various sites directly instead of having to go out to their site, find their search bar, and then search that way. I also like that their results also include spaces for images and videos as well as text pages. DDG is a great engine with many helpful features, and can be best used in conjunction with learning a little bit on the Internet about how search engines work, so that you can structure your queries to include the most important information and use the appropriate operators to get the results you want. (Content creators: please don't neglect your metadata, your alt tags, or your semantic markup. It makes it easier for the engines to find you and put you in the place you want to be.)

As for hanging out and squeeing and actual fannish behavior, I'm pretty much Elsewhere, whether it's friends' spaces or websites devoted to deconstruction and review. The Slacktiverse has a nice list of assorted reviews and deconstructions.

So, mostly, my resources for you are things to help you search, wherever you may be searching, so as to more quickly find the perfect resource for yourself. Hopefully it's helpful.
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private.

Goals are tough things for me. They come with the possibility of failure if you set them at about the right spot, and failure is a thing that I haven't done well with in my life. That's a lot of privilege talking, but it's also the stark reality that all of that privilege hasn't actually been able to insulate or shield me from the realities of adulthood. The emotional crash hits harder when you realize that you've been playing on an easy difficulty and the game is still too hard to be able to succeed and thrive at. Goals are hard to create for yourself when you feel like just staying ahead of doom is going to take all your effort and resources. 

That's catastrophising, though, and hopefully, needed perspective will arrive to keep the brainweasels out when they threaten to get in. Preferably not, however, by having my friends get hammered harder and invite comparison of one's relative privilege. 

Another difficulty with goals is their scope. For some reason, hearing "goals" seems to invoke "major life choices and decisions", and, well, that privilege has actually got me to completion on most of those. Required education, check. Degree one, check. Degree two, check. Professional, full-time employment at a job I enjoy doing, check.

Become respected professional in field...insufficient data. How do you define respect? Publishing articles? Done. Giving presentations at conferences? Done again. Sparking a nationwide movement? Not so much. Being a well-known name with millions of Twitter followers? Not happening. Getting an idea approved at the workplace and having it come to fruition? Unlikely. (The Organization doesn't do a lot of solicitation of ideas from the front lines, and doesn't have a whole lot of process for dealing with them anyway.) Some other thing, then. Must be, and I'm sure I'll be happy to have it when it arrives.

So, goal-setting things that I see say that goals need to be small, measurable, attainable, and so forth. Think very directly, so that you can plot out the path to the goal, know when the goal will have been met, and take concrete steps on the path. If asked, though, I...tend to draw a blank. I don't want my goals to be "keep doing the things I'm already doing", but "do something new" is scary, because it's possible that someone might not actually like what I do. Or, people might like it, but it might not be the most popular thing ever, or there's someone else over there that's better than I am and I should just quit. This probably sounds familiar to a lot of other fannish people, who have each found their reasons to forge ahead anyway.

From talking about fears, worries, and processes in this entry, a few goals do all manage to appear.
  1. Try things that are interesting
  2. Be proud of yourself
  3. Support others where you can
The decision to do Fandom Snowflake was based on looking at a friend's page and thinking it was interesting enough to do. Maybe I'll see an exchange or a prompt fill request later on and decide to do it. And then I have to remember to be proud of doing it and that it will likely be just fine and well-received because I took the time to do it for someone else in a fandom and pairing they want. Supporting others on their way is always good practice - they might be the people that have something good to wipe that I'll enjoy, too.

So, maybe they're not the most concrete of goals, but they definitely have steps that can be taken to feel like I'm getting them accomplished!
silveradept: A green cartoon dragon in the style of the Kenya animation, in a dancing pose. (Dragon)
Comment to someone you haven't ever interacted with before or introduce yourself to someone you've interacted with and friend/follow them.

That said, what if you want to add more sparkle to the challenge? Well, how about leaving feedback on that one fanwork (fic, podfic, fanart, fanvid, meta post, knitting pattern, etc.) that you've always loved in a lurk-ey way? People love getting feedback on their creations--yes, even if it's something they posted way back in the pre-Geocities era. *g*

Another option is to follow/subscribe/grant access to someone you want to get to know better on whichever platform you prefer.

The point is to reach out to someone you normally wouldn't and connect with them, even if it's only for the briefest moment.


One could argue that the Internet is the world's largest and longest continuously running fan convention, given the amount of output and creativity that is posted on even a minute-by-minute basis, if YouTube's claim of millions of hours of footage being posted every minute is true. There's certainly more than enough panel discussion, workshopping, celebrity interaction, tournaments and contests, Artist Alley work, video programming, spontaneous glomping and more going on in each space.

The activity of the convention, though, isn't there for the sake of the convention itself - if it were, there would be no need for attendees and the amount of money they bring in. The real purpose is convention is twofold - it brings the fans together to be fannish with each other, because many fans have always corresponded with each other through whatever remote method is cheapest, and it brings the fans out in sufficiently large quantities that they can suspend some of the rules of the society around them and create their own society, even if only for the weekend.

Sometimes the rules suspended are ones that work better when intact, which necessitates codes of conduct and explicit reintegration and enforcement of those rules that ensure a good experience from everyone, but most of the time, the changes made are ones that benefit the community - it becomes normal, at convention, to wear costume, to adopt roles, to focus on the minutia, to engage in obvious squee, to admire craftsmanship, and to function on an economy that has room for sharing your Pocky or your animation while you wait in line. To take part in a community openly, among peers, rather than having to keep that identity carefully curated so that those who do not understand or will not accept it do not know. (Principle applies outside of fandom, as many kinksters are well aware.)

So, while this challenge is complete through the acts that have come before it, as a natural consequence of seeing things that are new and interesting, the point of the challenge is making the connection. The point of the convention is making the connection. It's just that the Internet needs better maps, signs, and helpful guides to get the attendees from the place that they are at to the spot that they want to be, talking with the people that are interesting to them. (See also: essayist in meta land feels like inhabitant on island of misfit fans) It needs space for the people that are bold and dive right in, and it needs ambassadors that will walk the walls of the room and introduce themselves to the people there, to encourage them to participate and to tend to their needs and self-care decisions. Because someone bold in one context may be a wallflower in others. New situations are both exhilarating and terrifying, and the presence or absence of people whose job it is to understand and empathize with the terror can mean the difference between participation and lurking. (As can the visible presence is people whose job it is to swiftly react to breaches of good behavior in the community.)

Finding someone new to talk to isn't very easy for me, unless I know beforehand that there's a common thread to pull on that can be used as an icebreaker or conversation starter. It's why I wear fannish buttons and floral print shirts at work - they help reduce the gap between me and others sufficiently that we can have a conversation. At convention, it's easier still to start conversations - you are rarely ever in a group that doesn't have a shared purpose of some sort. The rules have changed from the world outside.

At least for the weekend.
silveradept: Domo-kun, wearing glass and a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie, sitting at a table. (Domokun Anchor)
Share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favorite interview, a book, a scene from a movie, etc) and explain why you love it so much.

A thing worth noting, I suppose, is that even in strongly visual media like television, movies, and video games, I'm often listening more than I am watching. This makes me more typical than you might think - Leslie Nielsen, when talking about Police Squad!, the television show better known by its movie franchise The Naked Gun (the first movie has "from the files of Police Squad!" on it), he reflected that a lot of the homes in the show didn't work as well as they had hoped because during the daytime, even the show was on, the target demographic of at-home parents were usually doing something else while the television was on. Strictly visual gags didn't work because the audience wasn't watching.

Unsurprisingly, I also get glared at by other people in my life when it doesn't look like I'm watching a movie fully. I haven't yet figured out a way of saying "If I'm not watching the movie, it's because the movie is not doing enough things that will engage my attention." Usually, that translates to "the story isn't interesting enough and the main characters aren't, either." It also means "movies should be enjoyable by people with disabilities", including things like the descriptive video service and subtitles, but also that a movie should cohere pretty well if you removed the visuals or if you removed the audio. Paying attention to the details makes the experience better.

Here's an example, from a show I like a lot - Person of Interest.



This is the opening credits for the first season. Unlike other shows, the actors' names are not mentioned, and while the voiceover is of Harold Finch, the creator of the machine that gives him and his partner, John Reese, the numbers to investigate, the perspective is that of the machine itself, signaling who the main character actually is.

The credits sequence also foreshadows who will be the person of interest by inserting a small amount of episode footage into the credits. It's a small detail, easy to overlook unless you are watching many episodes next to each other, but since these episodes are from the perspective of the machine, it madness sense for the credits to include the person who is the target of the episode, in case later retrieval is needed.



This is Season Two, which introduced a rather neat trick into the opening - not only is there a new character on the "hunted by the police", indicating the arrival of Detective Fusco by this point.

At a certain point in Season Two, the Machine comes under attack from a computer virus. In other series, where credits and other such things are considered outside the universe of the show, nothing would happen to the credits even as the Machine continued to suffer. In Person of Interest, though, we get this:



And that's not the entire sequence, just what I could find available. Since the Machine is crashing, the credits are also crashing. The details are important.

Person of Interest does a lot of this in their opening sequences - swapping in new narrators, new looks, and occasionally messing with the flow of the credits sequence, depending on the status of the Machine and the humans. In some ways, it resembles the way that Fringe would also shift its title sequence around to give clues to the audience about the state of its universe. (I doubt this is coincidental, given that several names are in common between the two.) They all might also owe the idea to the short-lived Dilbert animation, which also changed things in the titles between every episode.

With the advent of digital recording technologies, season-at-once watching, and the ability for entire seasons and shows to be broadcast and financed at once, so as not to need to structure sorry around advertising breaks, I can only see this trend of titles tampering continuing as birth a way of informing viewers, but also as a way of getting a viewer not to simply fast forward or skip their way to the next chapter point.

Details are what help make fandom work. As creators and experiencers, we can both do well to pay attention to them.

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Silver Adept

June 2016

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