Oh Dear, I Fear This is So True....

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:13 pm
sallymn: (muppet 3)
[personal profile] sallymn


(click to enlarge)

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:12 pm
jekesta: Peter (from Franklin and Bash) sprinkles sparkling lights over Jared's head (sprinkle)
[personal profile] jekesta
djlKSJDFOIJEWOIFHSODIFSDFS. OH.

Spoilers for my book. )

I can't tell you what a gift these books are in the midst of 2017. You should all have your pairings of 14 years ago come back to soothe you. Or not soothe, but whatever this is. Maybe if we all make it to 2028 Franklin and Bash will miraculously suddenly return and deal with all their issues from the end of s4 in emotionally wrought ways that at least slightly distract from all the wars and total lack of civil liberties.


(Seth Green is making a thing and Breckin Meyer is going to be in it. WITH HIS ACTUAL FACE. I thought that was never going to happen again.)


My MP has written back to my email about the DUP, and he says that actually he has a lot of friends in the DUP and that although he understands 'concerns from the lgbt community' he feels sure that they can work together for the good of everyone in the country. I hate him so much. And obviously I would really like it if we didn't destroy lgbt rights and everything, but I didn't even mention them. My email was about abortion, it wasn't just vaguely about abortion, I literally told him that he couldn't appropriately represent me in parliament if he didn't think that safeguarding my rights to a clean and safe abortion was important. But no, no reassurances there. I mean LGBT stuff, that's quite political isn't it, and we wouldn't want to mess up and lose votes. But denying basic rights to women... that's a bit more debatable.
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

“One of the things we are figuring out is have these guys been off the coast and we haven’t seen them? Are they moving inshore for a different reason?” said Sorensen.

YES AND I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Let me know when they reach Washington.

They're known as the "unicorn of the sea", apparently, so should clearly be claimed as a symbolic animal by you (glowing) asexual people out there.

yes I know it's not the same kind of asexual okay

ETA: Wikipedia just provided me with this beautiful quote:

"I have just watched the moon set in all her glory, and looked at those lesser moons, the beautiful Pyrosoma, shining like white-hot cylinders in the water" (T.H. Huxley, 1849).

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:36 pm
skygiants: Drosselmeyer's old pages from Princess Tutu, with text 'rocks fall, everyone dies, the end' (endings are heartless)
[personal profile] skygiants
I recently reread Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death. It remains an onslaught of a book, although being somewhat braced for the barrage of ANGER INJUSTICE GENOCIDE GONNA DESTROY A WHOLE CITY NOW does allow a little more time to, uh, stop and appreciate the occasional non-fraught thing that happens along the way? Onyesonwu makes friends with a camel at one point! That's nice!

(...for the record, my review from 2010 seems to indicate that at the time I understood and appreciated what happened at the end. Well, good job, past self, because my present self has no idea. Spoilers ))

Anyway! Rereading Who Fears Death got me thinking about the kind of books that are constructed around an ancient lore or a knowledge of the world that turns out to be fundamentally wrong, cultures constructed around poisoned lies. The Fifth Season is the other immediate example that springs to mind of a book like this -- not that there aren't other parallels between The Fifth Season and Who Fears Death. It seems to me that I ought to be able to think of more, but since I can't I'm sure you guys can.

When I mentioned this to [personal profile] genarti, she immediately said "YA dystopia! Fallout!" and that's true, a lot of dystopias are built around a Fundamentally Flawed Premise that has been imposed upon the innocent population by a dictatorial government. Those feel a little different to me, though, maybe just because that sort of dystopia very clearly grows out of our own world. We know from the beginning how to judge truth and lies, we're WAY AHEAD of our naive heroine who believes the color blue is evil because the government put an inexplicable ban on it. But Who Fears Death, while it may be set in our future, is in a future so distant from our own that there's no particular tracing back from it, and The Fifth Season is another world altogether, and we don't have any home court advantage over the protagonists as they figure out where the lies are except a belief that something that poisonous has to be wrong; maybe that's the difference.

CORRECT ACTION

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Grenfell Tower families to be rehoused in flats at luxury complex

This doesn't cover all the displaced families. And the flats are part of the "affordable" quota developers are frequently required to build along with the luxury flats, with the usual segregation (not being allowed access to the swimming pool etc. -- in quite a few instances, developers have created buildings where the people in the "affordable" flats have a separate entrance to the building ...), so it's a lot less "luxury" than the headline implies.

And they're being bought by the Corporation of London (as opposed to paid for out of RBKC's £274 million reserves?).

Still, it's a start.
spiralsheep: Martha laughing (Martha Laughing)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Once upon a time I threatened to post a cap of Funko Four for every fourth Doctor serial....

The Fourth Doctor and Robot

- Sounds more like a fic prompt than a science project: "Why suitcases rock and fall over - puzzle solved". "Scientists crack the problem of why two-wheeled suitcases can rock from side-to-side and turn over". (Source: BBC News online feed.) P.S. In case you're wondering the scientists' solution is, "one should accelerate rather than decelerate to attenuate the amplitude of oscillations", and not "zomg there's an alien in mah luggages!!1!!"

- Saintliness is next to Greavsieness: I earnestly believe that each part of the UK has the patron saint they deserve. You only have to look at what they're most well known for....

Cry God for England and St George: hunter of endangered species, and battler against imaginary wrongs. 'Nuff said.

Scotland (when it's pretending to be one country), St Andrew: martyred on the wrong sort of cross.... *cough cough*

Ireland, St Paddy in the green: fractious with fellow human beings, but doesn't actually like nature either. Be gone all you serpents and gerroff my lawn!

Wales, St David: good at community politics, and an excellent role model for Anglican bishops (which is probably not what this Cymric Catholic intended).

Cornwall, St Piran / St Perran, whatevs, as if he'd care about spelling, lol, and as he's the one you're least likely to be aware of I shall enumerate further:
1. Most famous for the miraculous RE-discovery of tin (no, rly, "rediscovery"), because someone else had already discovered it, obv, and if you're going to claim a miracle then it's best to set the bar low for maximum believability. This is the miracle commemorated in the Cornish flag of a white (tin) cross on a black (hearthstone) background.
2. Could swim, and was kind to wildlife.
3. Miraculously lived to be 200 years old... and then died by falling down a well while drunk (no, RLY). :-D
4. In conclusion, BEST PATRON SAINT EVER in the UK.

[Disclaimer: the preceding ethnic stereotypes have all been tested on persons of the relevant background and agreed to be accurate, although the Scots tended to alternate swearing with laughing and the Welsh contingent tried to force me to admit that I'm secretly "spiritually" Welsh, lol.)

The Fourth Doctor, I want to believe

long hot summer just passed me by

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:40 pm
electricwitch: (Default)
[personal profile] electricwitch
 8: A song about drugs or alcohol

TBH all I want to listen to right now is Long Hot Summer, but whatever, meme.

The guitar part for this is INSANE and I love it. 



Just for fun I'm going to give you my favourite Bollywood sharab song, too. Man, I'd be like this in a car with Shashi Kapoor with or without being drunk and/or stoned. Especially if he was going to tie me to things with his scarf, good lord.


Oh, my heart (again)

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hundreds of Londoners showed up yesterday evening to hand roses to worshippers at the Finsbury Park mosque as they went in to pray:

https://www.facebook.com/jocoxmoreincommon/videos/408448636222639/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40343485

(no subject)

Jun. 20th, 2017 04:36 pm
jekesta: Paul and Dylan love each other SO VERY MUCH. (neighbours pairing of yay)
[personal profile] jekesta
01. I think Rita is slowly improving but now I've written that down she'll likely stop. (Edit: She has a new raised red patch just developed. I'm taking her to the vet again in the morning.) I'm shampooing her twice a day because she has long fur so it's the only way to get things to her skin. I have to shampoo her then lock her outside for ten minutes covered in shampoo. Luckily it's good weather for that. She's out there now. Standing at the door. Staring at the door handle. I love her a lot.


02. As though just intuiting the world's lack of care, dreamwidth has eaten up my drafted post of great emotion about my book. Which is fine. But I love it so much I can't really manage, and I was doing well at reading slowly until yesterday I binged loads of it and now I feel sick. Some spoilers. )


03. I am bored. Like a child.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.”

Invisible 3 CoverDawn Xiana Moon is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which comes out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can preorder the collection at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

(It will be available for Nook as well, but we don’t have that link yet.)

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

#

Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon

We have always existed.

In the early days of the internet, back when we were on Prodigy or CompuServe and email addresses were long strings of numbers with a comma in between, I was answering distress calls on derelict starships. America Online (because it wasn’t yet AOL) launched an ad campaign that envisioned an internet with graphics; I dodged Borg at Warp Six. I outsmarted Q when he appeared on my bridge, launched photon torpedoes at Romulans, and flirted with fellow Starfleet officers in Ten Forward. I was thirteen. And like a good overachiever, I wondered if I could list being second-in-command of the CompuServe sim group Fleet 74 on lists of my activities and accomplishments, right next to years of piano lessons, parts in theatre productions, dancing and singing in the community show choir, and the environmental and video game clubs I’d started (and of course led as president).

My father is an aerospace engineer; by the time we moved from Singapore to the US, I was five years old and already lived in a world where discussing wrap drive was normal. My AP Biology teacher was shocked when I mentioned a singularity in class one day, surprised that a high school senior would know the term (which she made me define in front of the class before she was satisfied), but I’d been raised on a steady diet of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and every science fiction and fantasy novel I could get my hands on—my father handed me Isaac Asimov books in elementary school and I read them, wondering why I didn’t have a robot nanny or automatic food-making gadgets. I am a native speaker of technobabble.

All that to say: I’ve always been a nerd. And proudly so. But growing up I rarely saw people that looked like me onscreen—sure, we had Sulu, but George Takei was closer to my grandparents’ age than mine. Asian characters were few and far between, and girls? Girls didn’t like Vulcans or computers. Girls especially didn’t like dancing and princesses and talking about the space-time continuum all at the same time. Or so I was told.

But I was Asian. And female. And I existed.

I was the girl who hung out at the arcade playing Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, first surprising boys who saw a girl in front of a fighting game, then shocking them when I won. I was the foreigner who walked into first grade in the middle of the school year, a Chinese kid from another country but a native speaker of English. I was the founding member of the high school forensics team who learned quickly that judges gave higher ratings to performances of minority stories by minority students than they did mainstream stories by minority students—so while the handful of black students I competed against performed passages from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, I lent dramatic flair to Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club. I often won.

And now? I’m the bellydancer, firespinner, singer-songwriter, and nerd who designs and codes websites. I obsess with sparkles and sequins and makeup and then wrestle with merge conflicts in GitHub. I flirt with audiences and shimmy to Balkan brass bands and then debate backstage whether Daleks or Cylons would win in a fight. I sing 19th century French poetry layered on piano parts in 7/8 time inspired by traditional Chinese folk music, Americana, and jazz. I break stereotypes into tiny pieces and eat them like candy. I exist.

#

Growing up, the few Asians I saw in media invariably fell into tropes: the martial arts master, the submissive woman, the uber-nerd/scientist, the Dragon Lady seductress. None of these matched my personality. While I was able to beg my way into flute and voice lessons—in addition to piano—my father refused to let me study tae kwon do on the grounds that it would be “like handing a kid a loaded gun and telling him not to use it.” People told me I was bossy—my heroes were characters like Princess Leia and Babylon 5’s Delenn, forces of personality who were fully themselves and didn’t need rescuing. I was more Captain Kirk than Yeoman Rand. I was a geek, but I had far more interest in music and dance than I did in math or chemistry; science interested me primarily as story. And I had no idea what it would mean to be seductive—my conservative evangelical church preached “modesty,” and Bible camp banned spaghetti strap tank tops, two-piece swimsuits, and short shorts on the grounds that they would evoke lust in the boys.

I didn’t exist.

I grew up around Americans who discussed race in black and white terms, expressing couched racism with the assumed understanding that I was one of them. Those were the same Americans who complimented my English, told me my face was flat, and pontificated about how eating Chinese food was great except that you were hungry again immediately afterward. After the last election, CNN disseminated a chart of votes with breakdowns by both race and gender: Black men voted this way, black women this way, Hispanic men and women these ways. Asian-Americans didn’t appear on the chart—we were literally “Other.”

As an Asian-American theatre major, so often I was cast as that literal Other: I spent two summers performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in college. The first year, I was one of the fairies. So were most of the black students. The one who wasn’t a fairy was cast as Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons. The second year, we reprised the show; I was cast as Hippolyta. All of the black students were fairies. The Greeks and lovers were uniformly white.

How often do we cast an Asian-American as the protagonist, the superhero whose origin story we follow? How often do we allow an Asian-American to lead a movie as a swashbuckling rogue, the resistance fighter who marries a princess along the way, the rockstar with thousands of screaming fans? Hollywood casts Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, Scarlett Johansson as Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, Mackenzie Davis as Mindy Park in The Martian—with so few roles available to begin with, we’re often denied even characters who should look like us. We’re over 5% of the US population, but only 1.4% of the lead characters in studio films released in 2014. According to Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, the majority of media features zero named or speaking Asian characters. Zero.

Two years ago I attended a curated acoustic music showcase where every single one of the musicians was a white guy with a bushy beard. Most of them wore plaid. Producers often think of diversity in terms of instrumentation or musical style; I’ve released two albums of original music, toured 10 states, and performed hundreds of shows, but it’s rare to see another folk singer-songwriter of color. While the genre is dominated by white people, Asian-Americans are making this music. And making it well. We exist, but we’re not part of the narrative.

#

Living in a world where people who look like you are functionally non-existent yields odd fruit. As an ambitious elementary school kid, I wrote (what I considered then) a novel. Starring ninjas. Based heavily on the Ninja Gaiden video game. Of course I Mary Sued my way into the story. But I always envisioned my surrogate as white. And male. (Because, we’re told, the appropriate protagonist of an adventure story is white. And male.) Likewise, when I wrote other stories, every character—heroes, villains, NPCs—was white.

Bryan Lee O’Malley of Scott Pilgrim fame talks about how he never realized that he’d whitewashed himself out of his own story until seeing his comic in movie form and realizing that no one looked like him. As I’ve talked with other Asian-Americans, I’ve realized that I wasn’t the only one—many of us did the same thing. Even the excellent Ted Chiang—one of my favorite writers, and the first Asian-American I can recall encountering in science fiction—falls into this. We’re so conditioned to believe that white is the default that we write ourselves out of the worlds that we create.

#

I refuse to be invisible.

Faced with a culture that minimizes the existence of Asian-Americans in the arts, I’ve long created my own projects. In 2012, I founded Raks Geek, joining my love of geekdom and dance to form a nerd-themed bellydance and fire performance company that features a primarily Asian and LGBTQIA cast. While our society pigeonholes Asians as socially-awkward scientists, perpetual foreigners, and weak submissives, I’m determined to show Asians can be creative, tough, and unconventional.

“To dance is a radical act.”*

A body on a stage makes a statement. A female, POC body on a stage makes a statement. When I dance, I’m changing the narrative, the story of what an Asian-American woman is allowed to be. When I dance with Raks Geek, I’m making an audience laugh at the ridiculousness of a Wookiee shimmying, but I’m also bringing a new audience to an insular dance form, teaching them what bellydance looks like at a high level of technical and artistic proficiency, and defying a host of model minority and immigrant stereotypes.

Visibility matters. Few would conceive of an Asian-American bellydancer performing as a Wookiee. Or Mystique. Or the TARDIS. But I do, and I hope to challenge perceptions of who we are and can be every time. We exist, and we have always been here.

We exist.

_____

* “To dance is a radical act because doing so implies that there are forms of knowing that cannot be mediated to us in words, which give words their meaning.” -Kimerer LaMothe

***

Dawn Xiana Moon is a lifelong geek that has worked professionally in almost every area of the arts. She the Founder and Producer/Director of Raks Geek, a nerd-themed bellydance and fire company that’s garnered acclaim from WGN-TV, MSN, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Mail, and UK Channel 4 TV. As a singer-songwriter, Dawn has performed in 10 states and released two solo albums; her latest CD, Spaces Between, fuses elements from traditional Chinese music with jazz and alt folk pop. She performs with Read My Hips tribal bellydance, spins fire with Acrobatica Infiniti circus, works as a UX designer and web developer, and has written for Uncanny Magazine, The Learned Fangirl, and RELEVANT Magazine. Though she loves Chicago, she periodically needs to flee the US; her wanderlust has brought her to 20 countries (and counting!) thus far.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 07:54 pm
electricwitch: (Default)
[personal profile] electricwitch
 7: A song to drive to

I don't drive often, and when I do it's tiny distances so I don't think I'm really qualified to answer this one but I'm going to go for this one because of the bass:


So another morning in London happened

Jun. 19th, 2017 03:55 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Finsbury Mosque attack.

The attacker was wrestled to the ground by three members of the public; the imam of the mosque protected him (the terrorist who had just attacked his mosque) from the angry crowd until the police got there. That, I believe, is how you religion.

Grenfell dead/missing-presumed-dead now up to 79.

One of the dead is Khadija Saye, a young photographer on the verge of her big breakthrough with her work about to be exhibited as part of a group show at the Venice Biennale.

Here's the series being exhibited: Dwelling: in this space we breathe. Because it's astonishing, and pointing people to her art seems like a way to try to give at least one person a voice and identity as more than just a unit, one of 79.

I repeat my link to the North Kensington Law Centre's Grenfell fundraiser. They're only going to get a tiny fraction of the donations going to the big funds, but any donations are likely to have a disproportionate impact (especially because I'm guessing the large funds can't/won't be used to pay for legal stuff).

RBKC have been officially relieved of responsibility for responding to the disaster because of being so fucking useless.

The chief Breitbart London editor (also former adviser to Nigel Farage) is spreading flat-out lies about Emma Dent-Coad MP in order to try to smear her and Labour as somehow responsible for the fire, despite the fact that all of his statements are provably false.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:12 am
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
I knew I probably should have written up A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet before I read the sequel, because I loved A Closed and Common Orbit SO MUCH that now there is no way I can do justice to the first book.

I mean, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is certainly a lot of fun! It feels a bit more like a season of television than a novel -- very much out of that genre of beloved, relatively lighthearted crew-is-family space TV, full of aliens and semi-incidental interstellar politics, with approximately one episode dedicated to each crew member's interesting alien culture or surprise dramatic backstory as well as episodes where Everyone Just Goes On A Shopping Trip. There is a Noble Captain, a Friendly Polyamorous Lizard Alien Second-in-Command, an Earnest Financial Assistant, a Manic Mechanic, a Caring Chef Who Feeds Other Species To Compensate For The Embarrassing Genocidal Tendencies Of His Own -- ok, some of the archetypes are more archetypal than others. In the dramatic season finale, our plucky band of space truckers reaches their long-haul destination at last and becomes involved in a major diplomatic incident, the outcome of which is the one thing in the book that rubbed me slightly the wrong way ) Anyway, if you like this sort of thing, you will almost certainly like this particular thing.

I like this sort of thing all right but the things A Closed and Common Orbit is doing appeal to my id MUCH more. A Closed and Common Orbit focuses on two characters who appear relatively briefly in A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: Sidra, an AI who, due to compelling personal circumstances but counter to interstellar law, has been installed in a designed-to-be-instinguishable-from-human artificial body; and Pepper, the mechanic who has volunteered to take on responsibility for her.

The main present-day thread of the story involves Sidra's attempts to figure out whether she can comfortably inhabit a body that she was never designed to inhabit - not just whether she can live permanently as something like an independent intelligent biological life-form without giving herself away, but whether she wants to do so. The plot is mostly comprised of small slice-of-life events like Sidra Makes A New Friend or Sidra Considers Getting A Tattoo, all interwoven into a really compelling and thoughtful examination of artificial intelligence, self-determination, and free will.

The other half the book delves into Pepper's backstory as an artificially created human being, designed to be cheap disposable labor. As a child, "Jane 23" mostly-accidentally escapes the factory where she labors, and is subsequently raised by an abandoned ship's AI in a junkyard. The backstory plot does a couple of things: a.) serves as an excellent example of the always-compellingly-readable 'half-feral child must make home in dangerous environment, survives with ingenuity and a box of scraps' genre; b.) works in dialogue with Sidra's main plotline to complicate ideas of 'human' and 'artificial' and 'purpose' and 'free will'; c.) gives me FIVE MILLION FEELINGS ABOUT AI MOMS WHO LOVE YOU. Sometimes a family is an AI mom, her genetically engineered daughter, the daughter's boyfriend, their AI roommate, and the roommate's alien friend who honestly didn't even particularly want to be there that day! AND THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.

I updated my "Disability Pride" Flag

Jun. 19th, 2017 06:32 am
capriuni: Text: If you want to be a Hero, be Good to the Storyteller. (Default)
[personal profile] capriuni
This is the original one, I came up with last year:
Disability Pride flag HD

Image description )

Symbolism )

A while after I posted it I posted it to Tumblr, someone asked that I put a fifth stripe in, to represent invisible illnesses (which I had folded in with both mental illness and physical disability, but she pointed out that people with invisible disabilities are often made to feel that they don't count, or are "faking," and being specifically acknowledged would help break that stigma, and as she is someone with an invisible disability, I took her word for it.

Well, yesterday, I was in the mood to work on something visual, so decided to take a bit of time to tweak this... Half a day later, I got this:
disability pride 2

Image description )

(The flag's symbolism is much the same as described above, with the fifth color [Purple] representing invisible illness.)

And, because I forgot to write this down the first time, and had to figure out how to do it again from scratch:

Method of construction )

In Borough Market

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
-- which is normally not open on Sundays, but was today because they're trying to make up lost days and also presumably picking up business from the Bankside Great Get Together --

-- there is a stall called Greedy Goat selling goat's milk icecream and they had liquorice-and-blackcurrant icecream and it is the best thing known to humanity. Yes very hipster I DON'T CARE.

(The Great Get Together was charming {rather like a church fete on a nationwide scale, lacking only the Church of England and the tombolas}, and exactly what we need right now, Crossbones is extraordinary, and my brain is fried by the heat and I'm going to bed now.)

Today

Jun. 18th, 2017 01:10 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Brexit negotions start tomorrow even though we don't actually have a government, and those theoretically in charge are still pushing for leaving the customs union, ending freedom of movement, etc..

The Guardian: Big business leaders press Theresa May to rethink hard Brexit

David Davis, the Brexit secretary, says on Sunday that he would head into Monday’s Brexit talks aiming to “secure a deal that works for all parts of the United Kingdom”, but signalled that the plan was still to leave the customs union and reduce immigration.

So, still "contact your MP" time.

Grenfell:

https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/grenfell is still doubling all donations until match funds run out (and have also started releasing funds in emergency cash via the groups that have established themselves on the frontline, i.e. not via RBKC who are apparently continuing to fail to provide co-ordination, organization, or much of anything)

The Home Office are helping Mohammad Alhajali's family get to the UK, so no more need to sign that petition.

https://grenfellsupport.wordpress.com looks very useful.

North Kensington Law Centre are providing legal education and support to residents affected by the fire: their donations page -- this would be a good thing to donate to as there may be issues with the general funds being used for legal support.

RBKC have £270 million in reserves. As far as I can see, that means they could afford to buy nice property in North Kensington at market prices to rehouse the survivors.
spiralsheep: The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity (ish icons Curiosity Cures Boredom)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
As ever, feel free to skip the commentary and just enjoy the pictures.

I was lucky enough to be in Torbay again so I committed June challenge flan III(d) first right/second left from the front door of my B&B, and then from the same starting point tried first left/second right. I shall claim I did both out of thoroughness and not because after seven years I still can't remember which way around it's officially supposed to go, lol.

1. First right down the residential street brought me to a six or seven way road junction, which consequently resulted in two choices of second left depending on whether I relied on my visual judgment or the topographical map. Both routes took me past Torre Abbey, pronounced Torr, which was an influential local medieval Abbey then a private house and is now a museum.

1 Torre Abbey, Torbay, Devon 06-17

1a. I then turned second left along the seafront, which I followed for nearly one kilometre until the first opportunity to turn right led me out along the pier and breakwater. There was no second left so I sat on the end of the pier to enjoy the sunset.

2 Sunset from Princess Pier, 1890, Torquay, Devon 06-17

Variation 1b and walk 2. )

(no subject)

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
jekesta: Stay with your vehicle (Stay with your vehicle)
[personal profile] jekesta
1. Apparently people (directors) are outraged that 'aeroplane' versions of films are being made available for download by Sony. Pff. How hard could they get over themselves and their artistic fucking vision? Very very very hard. Like it matters if people want to show their children your film without your groundbreaking meaningful very very clever wank joke? Come on now. (!) I have so much nostalgia for the versions of films that used to be shown pre-watershed with the swear words dubbed over and the awkward cuts to take scenes out. I honestly never enjoy Jumping Jack Flash as much as I used to because I miss the weird low voice that used to interrupt every now and then which we honestly didn't even realise was meant to be part of Whoopi Goldberg's lines, we thought it was a fault on the tape. And I'm always a little bit upset when there is swearing in Die Hard. Basically Seth Rogen is all outraged about artistic integrity and I am happy to be on the opposite side of any argument from Seth Rogen.

2. It's always nice when the internet takes time out to hate Joss Whedon. And I know it's not like we lack people hating Joss Whedon any more, but it still feels vaguely reassuring to me when it happens.

3. Day 7: A song to drive to

Immediately on reading this I was trying to pick my favourite car song, and it was going to be difficult, because I love a lot of them but I do think the best one is absolutely Little Deuce Coupe and I also think that's a bit obvious and I might have had to pretend to have a better answer. (I really like 455 Rocket by Kathy Mattea, which is about her wrecking her beautiful car and I love the line 'as we skid I thought I heard the angels sing... it sounded like the beach boys'.)

But then I read the actual question, and the best song to drive to is this, without question:



Because INSTANTLY you are amazing, and every gear change is the coolest you have ever been, and cornering is a dream, and you are basically dancing.

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