Corbyn and electability

Jul. 31st, 2015 06:33 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I don't give a damn whether Labour is electable under Corbyn-- the next election's too far off to worry about. What I *do* care about is having an effective Opposition, and that's something I'm certain he can provide. Six PM's questions a week, the chance to choose who's on the front benches, and a guaranteed place in almost every political TV show-- given a year or two, he'll move the Overton window enough that today's estimations of who's electable will be irrelevant.

I don't believe for a moment that Labour can't gain power with Corbyn as leader-- we can't know, because there hasn't been a Labour Party that was much distinguishable from the Tories since the nineties.

No, I don't think Corbyn is the second coming of Marx. I don't think the Labour party is going to do a great deal of good for ordinary people any time soon. I don't believe electoral politics will deliver enough change to fix the system. But I do believe that the parliamentary Labour Party can do more good in the world than they're doing right now.

Linkspam Does Health By the Numbers

Jul. 31st, 2015 12:19 pm
jjhunter: Anthropomorphized numbers 4 and 5 are having too much fun (statistics)
[personal profile] jjhunter
John Timmer @ Ars Technica: Ebola vaccine trial in Guinea suggests it’s 100% effective
Today, The Lancet released the results of a large field trial of a vaccine against Ebola [...] The results were so good that the trial itself has been stopped, and the vaccine is now being used to control the spread of the disease.

Atul Gawande @ the New Yorker: The Score
The question facing obstetrics was this: Is medicine a craft or an industry?

Stephen Engelberg @ ProPublica: Editor’s Note: ‘Dr. Abscess’ and Why Surgeon Scorecard Matters
[Surgeon Scorecard] marks ProPublica’s first attempt to make data available about surgeons.

Jaime Lowe @ NYT Magazine: ‘I Don’t Believe in God, but I Believe in Lithium’
Scientists say it took three minutes following the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, for the first three elements to emerge — helium, hydrogen and then trace amounts of lithium, atomic number 3.

Peter Watts @ Rifters: No Brainer.
Lewin’s paper reports that one out of ten hydrocephalus cases are so extreme that cerebrospinal fluid fills 95% of the cranium. Anyone whose brain fits into the remaining 5% should be nothing short of vegetative; yet apparently, fully half have IQs over 100.
lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
A poem on the beginning of spring by the Nijô Empress (KKS I.4)

    Spring has indeed come,
though snow is still around us.
    So will it be now
that the bush warbler's teardrops,
long frozen, finally melt?

yuki no uchi ni
haru wa kinikeri
uguisu no
kôreru namida
ima ya tokuramu

Fujiwara no Takaiko (842-910) was niece and adopted daughter of Fujiwara no Yoshifusa, the regent of Emperor Seiwa (ruled 858-876). She married Seiwa in 866, and their son succeeded him as Emperor Yôzei in 876. As an emperor’s mother, she was called the Nijô Empress from the palace where she resided, and was a power behind the throne until Yôzei was deposed in 884 for mental instability. She was stripped of the title Empress in 896 because of a scandalous affair. The uguisu or Japanese bush warbler (Cettia diphone) is one of the first songbirds of spring, often heard before other signs of thaw.
kaberett: Toph making a rock angel (toph-rockangel)
[personal profile] kaberett
Well honestly less about LFS and more about the various links I've been following having just finished it - THE NEXT BOOK IS GOING TO BE BACK IN ALT COLOUMB (though I really want more about Mal and Caleb, augh, why is it that I am so invested in more about those two, oh right it's because the books are about the tension between integrity and human relationships and the ways the world runs on contracts built of Craft). But also here's Max Gladstone talking about LFS at SFSignal (spoilers! -- but also note that Max, in that article, once again uses "she" as the generic and default pronoun just as he does in the books, in stark contrast to that review at Tor), and oh but I have feelings.

Some spoilers. )
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Posted by ineptshieldmaid

Close-up of a capital in Kirkstall Abbey church, I think near the west end. Another view down the nave. View out of the east window - it’s not known what the stained-glass looked like (it disappeared in the dissolution), but the archaeologists have determined that it wasn’t the original window- a smaller pair (or possibly triad, I can’t recall) of Romanesque windows originally occupied the east wall.

The south-west intersection of the nave and transept has that weird tower thing on it - that’s not original, it was part of the late 19th c restoration. Our guide gave us his name, and was very excited about this fellow’s work -  it’s apparently very good quality, and easy to spot: far removed from what a modern archaeologist would aim for but not inelegant. Except for that weird tower thing - the arch was sinking and apparently that was the way chosen to prop it up.


Siren Song - Margaret Atwood

Jul. 31st, 2015 09:01 am
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Posted by ineptshieldmaid

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:

the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls

the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can’t remember.

Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?

I don’t enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical

with these two feathery maniacs,
I don’t enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.

I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song

is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

at last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

Public service announcement

Jul. 30th, 2015 10:35 pm
gominokouhai: (Default)
[personal profile] gominokouhai

For those of you who don't know, Jehane and I are no longer a couple. We met on 24th April 2003, and I ended it on Thursday, 9th July, 2015. I love her to bits and I always will, but she's got stuff that she has to do that doesn't include me.

Also, twelve years of performance bickering finally took its toll, and now she thinks I'm a bit of a dick :)

I'm a bit of a mess right now, and no doubt there will be further whining under access lock. Probably quite a lot.

I miss her. It sucks.

M’s visit

Jul. 30th, 2015 08:15 pm
nanila: (kusanagi: aww)
[personal profile] nanila
Recently, [personal profile] emelbe came to visit us, bringing glorious weather with her. She spent six days with us, lounging in the garden, going for runs and generally being a very relaxed hoopy frood. (She’s definitely the sort of hitchhiker who really knows where her towel is.)

She also took some pictures, which I’m sharing here with permission and much glee.

+8, Hanging in the garden on hot days )

We took M to a nearby Country Fair, because if you’re going to visit rural Worcestershire you might as well have a properly agricultural experience. With locally brewed cider. And a “guess the weight of the pregnant pig” contest.

+8, Pony ride, bouncy castle )

And finally, because M was here during 4 July, which perhaps understandably is not quite as big a deal in Britain as it is in the United States, we had a Revolting Colonial Day barbecue. The bloke retaliated by inviting a bunch of Brits to come over and help celebrate. We may have been outnumbered, but I think we made up for it with attitude. :D
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Posted by ineptshieldmaid

Views down the aisles of Kirkstall Abbey church. I *think* these are westward and eastward respectively. 8.7.05

lnhammer: animation of the kanji for four seasonal birds fading into each other in endless cycle (Japanese poetry)
[personal profile] lnhammer posting in [community profile] poetry
Shirome - Written while seeing off Minamoto no Sane at Yamazaki when he was traveling to Tsukushi to bathe in the hot springs (KKS VIII.387)

    If only our lives
somehow corresponded to
    our hearts' desires,
would separation still be
something so agonizing?

inochi dani
kokoro ni kanau
mono naraba
nani ka wakare no

Shirome (also called Shiro in Tales of Yamato) was a ukareme or female entertainer active in the reign of Emperor Uda (r. 887-897), but no other personal details are recorded. Minamoto no Sane had a career as middling courtier between 880 and his death in 900. Tsukushi was a province corresponding to modern Fukuoka Prefecture but could also refer to the island of Kyushu as a whole, and Yamazaki on the Yodo/Uji River (it's a waterway that frequently changes name), downstream from the capital of Kyoto at the border of modern Kyoto and Osaka prefectures, was the embarkation point for travelers to the western provinces. An ukareme (later called an asobi) could be commoner or of aristocratic birth, but either way she had more freedom of behavior than a court lady, which explains how she could travel so far with Sane. As for the poem itself, it's ambiguous whose life is being discussed, choices being hers, his, or both—hers is the traditional reading, reasonably enough given the poetic trope of the Lonely Lady, but the arduousness of the journey to Kyushu suggests the hot-springs are intended as a cure for serious health issues, making his also a topic of concern.

Inside Out

Jul. 30th, 2015 01:21 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Wow. I loved the way the emotions were characterised and worked together in running Riley. I wasn't as engaged by the plot as some people were or as I was in some other Pixar films, I was really interested, but I expected things to happen basically as they did.

There were lots of funny moments. There were a few things that really annoyed me, but not as many as I feared from the trailer.

I thought the basic message about how different feelings contribute to the whole person was really well done, more detail and caveats below.

And wow, it had a lot about feelings and depression and sad moments, which left me really thoughtful, but I suspect will not matter to some people and maybe hit other people like a hammer blow.

Spoilers )

Penric's Demon

Jul. 30th, 2015 01:04 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Bujold wrote a new novella in the Challion-verse! I was disappointed to see it wasn't about the Mother or the Father, but more about demons, but reading about demons is always interesting. I definitely enjoyed it, it had several of the lip-quirking deadpan-humour moments that I love finding in Bujold, and interesting and sympathetic characters. At first I thought it didn't really add much to the world or plot, but I find it more interesting as I think about it.

It also clarified the chronology slightly, the afterword says it was set one-two hundred years after Hallowed Hunt, somewhere in the same area (nobles are referred to as "kin someone" although it seems to have become more formalised, rivers are named after birds, there's a hallowed king somewhere although we don't know if he has any powers, some of the ecclesiastical power structures are the same), but that doesn't overlap with any of the places we were familiar with. And that's one-two hundred years before Curse of Challion.

Minor spoilers )
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Posted by ineptshieldmaid

A week in academic summer part five: what do we do when it’s too hot to crochet? Bright colours while listening to Wolf Hall. 18.7.15

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Posted by ineptshieldmaid

Views up the nave (westward) and across the transept of Kirkstall Abbey church (12th c, Norman Romanesque, leaning a little toward the Gothic at the east end). 8.7.15


Jul. 29th, 2015 07:49 pm
kaberett: A cartoon of wall art, featuring a banner reading "NO GLORY SAVE HONOR". (no glory save honour)
[personal profile] kaberett
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do.

Read more... )


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