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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 17th, 2017 11:57 pm)
It was just brought to my attention that per the date traditionally held to be the one on which Luther nailed the 95 Theses to a church door, this Hallowe'en is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.
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In selecting this picture I became completely distracted by trying to figure out what Daphne Ashbrook (the actress who played Grace in the Dr Who TV Movie) is standing in front of. I mean, the TARDIS obv., but what is that thing on top of it? It can't be an actual TARDIS prop (because of the thing, unless there's some Big Finish publicity which involved a thing on top of a Tardis) which makes me think it must be a genuine Police Box. But I'm fairly sure this photo was taken some time in 2004 and I'm also fairly sure there weren't any police boxes still around in 2004 (outside Glasgow, where they don't look like that anyway). So I'm guessing maybe this is a genuine police box that some Who fan managed to get hold of?
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([personal profile] xela Oct. 13th, 2017 01:22 pm)

It's almost a pleasure these days to hear someone in the media says something utterly baffling — and that person isn't the President of the United States. In this case, a reporter for France 24 English, in a YouTube video entitled "Video: Dried-up Aral Sea springs back to life"

Up until the 1950s, it was a sixty-eight thousand kilometer square mile lake.

Yeah, it makes me feel a little guilty to make fun someone presumably not a native speaker for a bit of fractured English. But it's not just the on-air guy: This is the polished product of a news network. With English in their name. I think that makes it fair game for pointing-and-laughing. A cheap shot, yeah. But at fair game...

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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 12th, 2017 01:23 pm)
I have a domain for which I don't have any sort of privacy protect - it's for my business, so I have my business info attached to it and am happy to have it public (free advertising!).

But when at the commandline I do whois mydomain.tld the record that comes up is very terse, and has no information about me or how to contact me at all:

   Domain Name: [mydomain.tld]
   Registry Domain ID: [REDACTED]
   Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.enom.com
   Registrar URL: http://www.enom.com
   Updated Date: 2015-10-[REDACTED]
   Creation Date: 2011-10-[REDACTED]
   Registry Expiry Date: 2021-10-[REDACTED]
   Registrar: eNom, Inc.
   Registrar IANA ID: 48
   Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
   Registrar Abuse Contact Phone:
   Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
   Name Server: [REDACTED]
   Name Server: [REDACTED]
   DNSSEC: unsigned
   URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/


That's what I get from both my mac terminal and the shell at my hosting company.

Adding "--verbose" doesn't change anything.

When I go elsewhere, say to whois.domaintools.com, I get the whole record I expect to see.

What's going on here, does anybody know? Is there some way to convince my local whois to return more full records?
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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 12th, 2017 02:52 am)
If you want input into Dreamwidth's API, it's under discussion over on [site community profile] dw_dev for imminent development work.

If you have an interest in that, go check it out immediately, and chime in.
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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 12th, 2017 12:47 am)
Years ago, I came across a passage that I seem to recall was attributed to Einstein, from a private letter written to a young mathematician, about how the world is filled with more seductive scientific/mathematical problems than a person can tackle in a lifetime, so one has to be careful to chose the right problems to work on.

I cannot find it; it doesn't seem to be in the books that I had thought I'd seen it in. I'd like to find it again. I tried googling "einstein's letter to mathematician" and discovered that he apparently carried on a voluminous correspondence with every living mathematician at the time. Brute force searching isn't going to work.

Does anybody happen to recognize this passage by description?
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([personal profile] xela Oct. 10th, 2017 02:32 am)

I'm floored — totally floored — by this TED talk. I just finished watching it and now I'm sharing it immediately — without taking time to think analytically about it or write a considered introduction. I never do that. But I feel compelled to share this immediately. If you're an adult with ADHD, watch it. I wasn't able to pause it or take my eyes away or be distracted by anything around me. I don't even think any distractions got enough conscious attention while I was watching it for me to be aware of pushing it aside.

And now I'm going to go to sleep and let my unconscious mind roll it around awhile.

Via [personal profile] conuly: "We Don't Do That Here", by Aja Hammerly:
I have a handful of “magic” phrases that have made my professional career easier. Things like “you are not your code” and my preferred way to say no: “that doesn’t work for me.” These are tools in my interpersonal skills toolbox. I find myself uttering phrases like, “right or effective, choose one” at least once a week. This week I realized I had another magic phrase, “we don’t do that here.” [...]
Short, highly recommended.
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There's a class of questions where I don't ever want to know the actual answer. Like, what do you call m/m bandfic featuring the Guns N' Roses lead guitarist?
purplecat: Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor (Who:Five)
([personal profile] purplecat Oct. 7th, 2017 11:12 am)
From The Key To Time: A Year-by-Year Record which was the second of Peter Haining's large format Doctor Who non-fiction books. I adored this book as a child because of the huge amount of fan art it contained.



I want to amp the signal on this. John Scalzi wrote, a couple days ago, about how this year has been affecting his creative output. Excerpt:
Complicated is not inherently difficult to write. It just takes attention to detail, which normally I’m able to do just fine. When I write on it — when I have those stretches of being able to write — it all works. The plot flows well, the characters are doing their thing, and everything chugs along. What I’m writing is good. There’s just so much less of it than usually happens for me.

I’m not trying to be mysterious about what it is about 2017 that is different. The answer is obvious: Trump is president, and he’s a peevish bigoted incompetent surrounded by the same, and he’s wreaking havoc on large stretches of the American experience, both in his own person and by the chaos he invites. But to say “well, Trump,” is not really to give an answer with regard to what’s different. We’ve had terrible presidents before — George W. Bush springs to mind — and yet my ability to create work was not notably impacted. When Dubya was in office I wrote five novels. The Dubya era was a crappy time for America (recall the wars and the Great Recession) but from the point of view of productivity, it was just fine for me.

The thing is, the Trump era is a different kind of awful. It is, bluntly, unremitting awfulness.
I recommend reading the whole thing, for anybody who has found their productivity impacted. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of writers, professional and hobbyist, have come forward to say, "me too".

Me too, me too. My word counts are public, and they speak – well, it's more of a whimper – for themselves. Much of my stress and distraction is personal, familial. But it's also true that the world being on fire is impacting me.

He writes:
It’s hard to focus when the world is on fire, and with novelists in particular, I suspect that sometimes it’s hard to focus when you’ve got the suspicion that your fiction is almost frivolous in the context of what’s going on right now. Well, and maybe it is. But, speaking as someone who spent an hour retweeting pet pictures today to break up the horror of mass shooting news in people’s tweetstreams, sometimes frivolity helps.
To which I would reply with a passage, from a novel, I have quoted before:
"Hazel, we'll have to stop here," said Bigwig, coming up between the panting, crouching bodies of the others. "I know it's not a good place, but Fiver and this other half-sized fellow you've got here–they're pretty well all in. They won't be able to go on if we don't rest."

[...]

Pipkin sat trembling under a fern, his ears drooping on either side of his head. He held one paw forward in an awkward, unnatural way and kept licking it miserably. Fiver was little better off. He still looked cheerful, but very weary. Hazel realized that until they rested they would all be safer where they were than stumbling along in the open with no strength left to run from an enemy. But if they lay brooding, unable to feed or go underground, all their troubles would come crowding into their hearts, their fears would mount and they might very likely scatter, or even try to return to the warren. He had an idea.

"Yes, all right, we'll rest here," he said. "Let's go in among this fern. Come on, Dandelion, tell us a story. I know you're handy that way. Pipkin here can't wait to hear it."

Dandelion looked at Pipkin and realized what it was that Hazel was asking him to do. Choking back his own fear of the desolate, grassless woodland, the before-dawn-returning owls that they could hear some way off, and the extraordinary, rank animal smell that seemed to come from somewhere rather nearer, he began.
And further, from later on:
[Holly] sat up with difficulty and looked around at them.

"You're Hazel, aren't you?" he asked. "And that's– oh, I should know, but I'm in very poor shape, I'm afraid."

"It's Dandelion," said Hazel. "Listen– I can see that you're exhausted, but we can't stay here. We're in danger. Can you come with us to our holes?"

"Captain [Holly]," said Bluebell, "do you know what the first blade of grass said to the second blade of grass?"

Hazel looked at him sharply, but Holly replied, "Well?"

"It said, 'Look, there's a rabbit! We're in danger!'"

"This is no time–" began Hazel.

"Don't silence him," said Holly. "We wouldn't bee here at all without his blue tit's chatter." [...] It took a long time to climb the hill.

[...]

"Hazel," [Dandelion] said, "I thought I ought to come and tell you about Holly. He's much better this evening, but he had a very bad night and so did we. Every time he seemed to be going to sleep, he kept starting up and crying. I thought he was going out of his mind. Pipkin kept talking to him – he was first-rate – and he seems to set a lot of store by Bluebell. Bluebell kept on making jokes. He was worn out before the morning and so were the lot of us – we've been sleeping all day. Holly's been more or less himself since he woke up this afternoon, and he's been up to silflay. [...]"

"Is he fit to talk to us, then?" asked Bigwig.

"I think so. [...]"

[...]

They found Holly with Bluebell and Pipkin, on the turf by the anthill where Dandelion had first looked ovr the down. Holly was sniffing a purple orchis. The head of mauve blooms rocked gently on its stem as he pushed his nose against it.

"Don't frighten it, master," said Bluebell. "It might fly away. After all, it's got a lot of spots to choose from. Look at them all over the leaves."

"Oh, get along with you, Bluebell," answered Holly, good-humoredly.

[...]

Bigwig came up, "I know it's not owl time yet," he said, "but everyone's so eager to hear you, Holly, that they want to go underground at once. Will that suit you?"

"Underground?" replied Holly. "But how can you all hear me underground? I was expecting to talk here."

"Come and see," said Bigwig.

Holly and Bluebell were impressed by the Honeycomb.

"This is something quite new," said Holly. "What keeps the roof up?"

"It doens't need to be kept up," said Bluebell. "It's right up the hill already."

"An idea we found on the way," said Bigwig.

"Lying in a field," said Bluebell. "It's all right, master, I'll be quiet while you're speaking."

"Yes, you must," said Holly. "Soon no one will want jokes."

[...]

"[...] Men never hurry, do they? Then one of them got a spade and began filling in the mouths of all the holes he could find. Every hole he came to, he cut out the turf above and pushed it into the hole. That puzzled me, because with ferrets they want to drive the rabbits out. But I was expecting that they'd leave a few holes open and net them: although that would have been a foolish way to ferret, because a rabbit that went up a blocked run would be killed underground and then the man wouldn't get his ferret back very easily, you know."

"Don't make it to grim, Holly," said Hazel, for Pipkin was shuddering at the thought of the blocked run and the pursuing ferret.

"Too grim?" replied Holly bitterly. "I've hardly started yet. Would anyone like to go away?" No one moved and after a few moments he continued.

[...*]

"After that we had the worst time of all. If it hadn't had been for Bluebell's jokes and chatter we'd have stopped running[**] for certain."

"Hraka one end, jokes the other," said Bluebell. "I used to roll a joke along the ground and we both followed it. That was how we kept going."
Watership Down, Richard Adams, from the chapters "A Honeycomb and a Mouse" and "For El-Ahrairah to Cry".

* Elided: the famous part about what happened to Sandleford Warren, which, when people say seeing the movie as children traumatized them, is the part they're talking about.

** A euphemism previously established.
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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 6th, 2017 02:09 pm)
Is there a canonical discussion of the meaning of "hlep"/"hlepy"/"hlepiness" as per usage on Making Light? I can't find anything. Can anybody point me in the right direction?

I think I've got a history of sorts. Apparently it was introduced to ML in 2007 with this comment. Responding to this (note #481, not #480 as she says) by user Bruce E. Durocher II:
After all this OS talk I have to gripe about something and ask if there's a polite term for it. Here's the setup: [...story...] My question is this: is there a term in English for well meaning advice that gives you the urge to walk out the backdoor, aim your face to the sky, and scream YOU'RE NOT HELPING! or do I need to start checking Yiddish and German dictionaries again?
user Lurking Maggie wrote (September 15, 2007, 02:44 PM):
#480, Bruce E. Durocher II: I'm delurking because I've actually used the word "hlep" to describe that phenomenon. It's superficially like help, it's meant to be help, but it totally fails to be actual help.

I'm sure this comment has been very hlepful.
It apparently didn't actually catch on until around 2011 or so, when user Bruce E. Durocher II re-introduced it in this Open Thread of June 2011, in which the term and several alternative terms are discussed in brief. At that point it seems to have caught on.

Since then, it seems there's been some shift in meaning. Originally it was specifically instructions – as an answer to a request for help – that don't actually address the problem meaningfully. The elided example above was Bruce E. Durocher II's asking someone how to get some videos to play on his Mac and being told to install Linux. Since then, it's broadened out to include into unsolicited "have you tried" suggestions, such as the unsolicited and often very unwelcome suggestions for remedies people with serious illnesses get (e.g. "have you tried drinking green tea for your cancer?"); and, if I understand correctly, even further beyond that, beyond the merely verbal responses to any behavior that is presented as "helpful" but which betrays an unconcern for whether it actually helps the ostensible beneficiary, e.g. doing someone the "favor" of doing their laundry, only damaging the clothes in the process – and not caring that the clothes were damaged.

Anybody know of a canonical definition or discussion?

Asking for, like, all my patients.
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Locals!

I just discovered the GlobeDoc Film Fest, which has some very interesting offerings that it looks like I will largely not be able to make, alas. But maybe you could.

I found out about it from hearing about Jennifer Brea's "Unrest". Anybody looking into the phenomenon of sexism in medical research and treatment will eventually find her TEDTalk, "What Happens When You Have a Disease Doctors Can't Diagnose". She has gone on to make a movie – largely from her bed – about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which won an editing award at Sundance. Trailer. It's showing Thursday Oct 12, 7:30-9:30pm, at the Coolidge Corner Theater. (This is the one I would most like to see, but I work Thursday nights.)

There are a number of other interesting showings. My interest is particularly piqued by
Circle Up, about a restorative justice project here in Boston, showing Saturday, Oct 14, noon-2pm at the Brattle, and I Am Evidence, about the rape-kit testing backlog, showing Sunday, Oct 15, 4:30-6:30pm. All are $15.
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