Sunday WTF?

Aug. 2nd, 2015 11:40 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

1 Timothy 2:11-15

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.

Enclaves

Aug. 2nd, 2015 07:07 am
supergee: (klein)
[personal profile] supergee
Border dispute ends before achieving fractality.

Thanx to [livejournal.com profile] andrewducker

Zine

Aug. 2nd, 2015 04:54 am
supergee: (Default)
[personal profile] supergee
The latest issue of my zine, Nice Distinctions 27, is now available at Bill Burns's excellent efanzines
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
I just want an RC car that has a USB controller and some sort of scripting, so I can set it to turn on at intervals and wander around at random to entertain my hyperactive cat.

I do not want to learn how many ways I can fuck up an Arduino to accomplish this! I don't have the energy for that right now. I just want to get the thing and set it up and watch my cat pacing suspiciously around a robot that's stuck in the corner.
bibliogramma: (Default)
[personal profile] bibliogramma

Traitor's Sun (pub. 1998) - the last Darkover novel published during Marion Zimmer Bradley's lifetime - is now generally credited to Adrienne Martine-Barnes, working with notes from Bradley.

It is this novel that changes everything about Darkover. In all the novels set in "present" time to this point, one of the key themes has been how to maintain a relationship between the technologically-based, galaxy-spanning Terran Empire/Federation and the planet-bound, laran-using, low-tech culture of Darkover. There have been changes, but for about a century, this dance between independence and reliance has been a major concern for both Darkovan rulers and Terran administrators. Now everything is changing.

The novel opens fifteen years after the events of The Shadow Matrix. Hermes Aldaran, the Darkovan Appointee to the Federation Senate, wakens out of nightmare - which he quickly realises is in fact a manifestation of the Aldaran gift. Trying to focus on the details, he "hears" the leader of the Expansionist party making an announcement that he knows will pose a serious threat to protected worlds like Darkover:
“I cannot permit the functioning of the Federation government to remain at a halt any longer,” Herm heard at last. “Since it is clear that the opposition is determined to hold the legislature hostage to their own inexplicable and selfish goals, I have no choice but to dissolve both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies until such time as new elections can be held and order restored.”
As Herm tries to determine for himself what this will mean, his thoughts reveal to the reader that much has changed for the worse over the past fifteen years. Both the living conditions and travel rights of both ordinary people and politicians have been curtailed - in fact, even Senators are only allowed one trip home every five years, for elections. All citizens are subjects of constant surveillance: "Like every other person on the planet, he was subject to constant observation. And there was nothing he could do about it, since disabling the spy eyes that watched and listened was a serious offense." Infrastructure and social and cultural programs are being ignored, while military spending is increasing: "New taxes had been passed for all member planets of the Federation, to build a fleet of dreadnaughts, great fighting ships, when there was no foe to defend against. Some worlds had protested, and even tried to rebel, and combat troops had been sent in to 'keep order.'"

Herm knows that this spells the beginning of a time of political and upheaval, perhaps even civil war, for the Federation, and that he, his family, and all of Darkover are in danger: "A handful of worlds were simmering on the edge of rebellion, and when the Premier disbanded the legislature, at least one of them would use it as an excuse to try to break with the Federation. He understood that, but he could not be sure that Nagy did."

Long aware that he might need an emergency exit strategy, Herm triggers the hidden programs that will enable him to leave at once for Darkover, when he realises that his gift has one more disaster to reveal - something has happened to Regis Hastur.

Herm and his family reach Darkover safely, only hours before Regis succumbs to the stroke which had incapacitated him a few days before - news which is being kept from both the populace and from the Terrans on Darkover, now commanded by Station Chief Lyle Belfontaine. Belfontaine has been plotting since his arrival to find a way to force Darkover into becoming a full member of the Federation - a change which he hoped would lead to his appointment as Planetary Governor. But now his plans are threatened by orders from Terra, announcing the closure of the spaceport in thirty days.

As the Comyn gather for Regis' funeral and burial at the rhu fead, Marguerida and Mikhail's oldest son Domenic (called Nico) discovers, purely by accident, that the Terrans have placed spies among the Travellers, that the Terrans now know of Regis' death, and that they are contemplating an attempt tp assassinate all of the Comyn during the burial procession. When Mikhail learns of this, he dispatches Herm - the least likely of his advisors to be recognised - to join Nico and continue surveillance.

Herm and Nico find further indications that the Terrans are planning some kind of intervention with the intent of destabilising Comyn rule. Mikhail calls a Council meeting, at which several members, including his own mother Javanne, question his fitness to succeed Regis - a conversation cut short by the remarkable appearance of Regis' spirit, returned from the Overworld with the aid of Varzil. Mikhail then informs the Council of the likelihood that the Terrans will attack the funeral procession on the way to the rhu fead.

The day following the funeral of Regis Hastur, the funeral procession set forth for the Rhu fead, leaving behind a group of defenders - including Lew and the telepaths of Arilinn Tower - in the event of an attack on the Castle. Mikhail and Marguerida ride with the procession, the long line of coaches carrying not the women and children of the Comyn, but armed Guardsmen, in addition to those riding openly with the procession.

The attacks come as expected. In Thendara, the telepaths, working through Lew and his gift of forced rapport, amplified by giant matrix screens embedded in the walls over the front gates, overwhelm the minds of the force arrayed against the castle, so that each soldier is faced with what he fears most. Thus made vulnerable, the Terrans - including Lyle Belfontaine - are easily taken captive by the Guardsman. The battle on the Old North Road is bloodier and more deadly. The Terrans, dressed as bandits, attack with blasters. Marguerida and Mikhail are able to protect most of the Darkovans with their combined power, but there is fighting, both with laran, and hand-to-hand, with deaths on both sides.

Afterwards, Lew and Marguerida use the Alton gift to blur the memories of the surviving Terrans, and when the last of the Big Ships finally comes to evacuate them, they leave without remembering how they were defeated. And for a time, the relationship between Darkover and the other children of Terra is ended.

Good things

Aug. 2nd, 2015 12:49 am
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
1. I've really enjoyed seeing my pals lately. I went to the cheap seats to see Mad Max (for the 3rd time); saw some friends and acquaintances at Comics Club today, and saw the film Mr. Holmes yesterday. Gabby is back in town which is great.

2. I got an awesome haircut which was a collaboration between Jesse and my neighbor Devyn, both of whom own clippers.

3. I read Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley and loved it. It features a talented, flawed woman as the main character. Katie is the main chef at a successful restaurant called Seconds, where she also lives. She wants to strike out on her own with a new restaurant, but is having trouble with that venture. Her ex-boyfriend is hanging around and things are awkward. When a young co-worker gets in an accident, party due to Katie's negligence, a house spirit appears and gives her the opportunity to fix it. Katie then gets addicted to fixing all the mistakes she can, and things start to go bad. This book is funny, charming, affecting. I loved it.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp

I dreamed that there had been some sort of deal made that Andrew Hussie had to finish Homestuck by the end of the year or all the apocalypses would happen. All possible apocalypses.

Since the apocalypse needs prep time, things had been going subtly wrong all year, but in June everything went pretty much to shit. List of problems I observed Homestuck to have caused:

* Everything’s genetic structure is janked up, and a lot of people are like, part-bear, or can only eat this specific ambiguously-sentient parasitic flower or they die of allergic reaction, but the flowers don’t fill all their nutritional needs so they eventually starve anyway. The flowers are very pretty.

* Sea level is rising dramatically in some places and dropping in others; the English Channel is dry.

* The passage of time is fucked up, so while in some places this has all only been going on for a month, in some it’s been apocalypsing for eons.

For example, the English Channel has been dry for long enough that new intelligent species have evolved there, formed a peaceful civilization, and barred all outsiders from entry using their advanced magitechnology. This civilization... is Redwall.

* Agriculture and weather are glitching out and there’s widespread famine and drought.

Annnnd bunch of competing sets of aliens of varying levels of hostility have invaded, including:

  • the ones from The Screwtape Solution

  • Homeworld gems

  • elves (???)

  • Team Rocket (fine, I guess we're doing this)

  • the cast of Disgaea

  • angels (unaffiliated with Disgaea or Homestuck)

  • horrorterrors

  • no trolls, conspicuously!

I had a small RV, and had formed a temporary alliance with Lapis and Jasper. I would not ordinarily have allowed Jasper inside my small RV, but her gem had been worn down by the sand at the sea-bottom, making her smaller - she was now only seven feet tall - and also extremely passive, gentle, and depressed.

So the relationship just wasn't working for Lapis anymore, and when their body of water had dried up due to a non-gem-related apocalypse, they'd unfused, and were on their way to Beach City to ask Steven to heal Jasper. I was taking them as far as the southwestern edge of Screwtape territory, which I wasn't prepared to enter.

(Since they're on their way east, I guess Malachite made her way to the Pacific Ocean eventually.)

We'd been travelling with a caravan of Homestuck Cultists, who had stopped in a roofless abandoned town overgrown with beautiful but creepy mutant plants. They were very sure that Homestuck would end by the end of the year - however long a year lasts - and that the world would be saved. I had doubts and was planning to move to outer space pretty soon.

Read more... )
deirdre: (Default)
[personal profile] deirdre

ellora's cave blog header

I got word about a week ago that Ellora’s Cave’s headquarters were for sale. This building isn’t owned by EC, but by sister company Brannon-Engler Properties, Ltd. Per Dear Author’s Curious post, one of the things alleged in the Brashear case was that the property was rented to Ellora’s Cave at inflated prices.

I had other things going on, so I’m a little late in reporting on it, but I think you’ll agree it was worth the wait. The other day, I got an anon tip containing Tina Engler’s latest missive:

For the past year we’ve only been releasing information on a need-to-know basis because it feels pointless to make announcements when we know that anything we say will be twisted, redistributed, and broadcast in a false light by a select minority of authors who (a) don’t know what they’re talking about and (b) have agendas. That said, here are my responses to the latest rumors:

  1. Yes, the building EC currently inhabits is up for sale. As we no longer print books and have downsized to boot, it makes no sense to keep such a large facility with 3/4 of it being unused space. When the building sells we will be moving into a commercial area that is zoned for retail; the offices will be in the back and our (upcoming) bookstore will be in the front. We’re actually very excited about this and have been working toward the goal of getting the Home Ave building up for sale for months; it is now (finally) on the market.
  2. No, we did not spend “tons of money” on our new website. It was created in-house by Darrell King who is already on payroll.

  3. We are not filing for bankruptcy. (This rumor is really getting old.) We are further downsizing where we need to, upsizing where we need to, and getting EC back to where we were before… and then some. This process takes time, but it’s definitely happening. We’ve got several irons in the fire and look forward to furthering the careers of our loyal, professional authors. (More to come on that later.)

I think that’s it for now. Have a wonderful week.

Tina

Additionally, there was another followup from Tina:

EC should have informed you that the old links to your books do not work on the new site. I didn’t realize this either until a week ago after spending two hours updating my links. I am truly sorry for the oversight.

So I’m going to respond point-by-point:

  1. First, all authors have agendas. All businesses do too. This is a very us vs. them kind of statement that has no constructive purpose.
  2. On the building sale: good for the most part. Tina basically echoed what I said a few days ago on Twitter: they don’t print their own physical books any more, and thus the building is too large a space for their current needs. My only criticism is that this feels like it’s happening significantly later than it should have. My understanding, which may be in error, is that they stopped printing their own physical books around the time of the POD printer lawsuit, which dates to 2011.

    Note that this doesn’t mean EC will stop having print versions of books, just that they will no longer be printing and stocking them in house. Switching to a just-in-time POD production company (e.g., CreateSpace) makes sense. (I’m actually a big fan of just-in-time manufacturing. More on that in a later post.)

    On the other hand, a bookstore? When so many are closing? So, they’re selling off their book storage space so they can move into a smaller space where they’ll need book storage space?

    Ellora’s Cave is not going to get significant foot traffic unless they’re somewhere with really high retail rents. After all, the space they have right now has a front office space that could be a bookstore. It has window space, though too many divided lights to make it a display window. Also, anywhere with a lot of window space will be expensive to heat in winter.

    Also, having worked in a bookstore, I’m pretty sure this will be a huge rude awakening for EC. The US lost ~20% of its indie bookstores between 2002 and 2011. In addition, a bookstore requires continual staffing, and Ellora’s Cave doesn’t have that kind of staffing level right now.

    But, you know, romantic ideals about bookstores. Whatevs.

  3. Despite other criticisms about the new website, I think moving to WordPress with WooCommerce on WPEngine is a huge improvement. And, thank God, no more blinding red. Also, they’re using WooCommerce for their shopping cart, and that is what I would have suggested had they asked.

    That said, I’ve given it a few weeks to settle in, so I think I can make some real criticisms now.

    • The way the migration was done killed Ellora’s Cave’s existing SEO (search engine optimization). All the inbound links from everywhere are now broken. When those links bring up 404 errors (page not found), what happens is they then lose the inbound link as adding to the value of that site. They might as well have bought a brand new domain and started there.

      The right solution is to add a bunch of redirects, one for each author and each book. Unfortunately, the tools for doing so on WPEngine aren’t super great because it doesn’t use Apache’s .htaccess format for it.

      There is exactly zero reason that this should be on authors (or reviewers), though.

    • Not migrating customers and their libraries is amateur hour. I can understand libraries taking a while, but then you’d have to shut off e-commerce until you worked the old libraries into the new table structure.

      Here’s my constructive suggestion: if EC can’t migrate people except by hand, migrate people’s libraries in the order they sign up for an account on the new site. It would also be nice if there were some time frame given for when customers’ libraries would be migrated. (And totally unprofessional for them not to be migrated.)

      Over time, that will reduce customer service requests, and it will also give EC a goodwill boost it desperately needs. Plus, many of us—myself included—have bought books off of EC’s website and we’re basically cut off from our libraries. Apparently, this is not the first time EC’s done this; I’m told they also did so when they upgraded to the red site from the previous incarnation.

      Not only that, but Tina was encouraging authors to encourage their readers to buy books directly off EC’s site, so now EC’s throwing those authors and customers under the bus?

      Can you just imagine the outcry if Amazon did this for Kindle books?

      If you want Amazon’s business, Tina, you have to be at least as good as Amazon. Not amateur hour.

    • I know default WordPress search isn’t the world’s best, but visit the new EC site and search on, say, Paris. One of the many titles found has Paris in the title, but not all of those books have the search term even in the description. I don’t know how they managed that, but my WordPress searches don’t work that badly. Logic suggests that author matches and/or title matches should be ranked first, though, and they’re not.

    • There is no information on the site about how to submit to the publisher. That’s probably a good thing, though.

    • Others have noted that there is no physical address. Given that their building is for sale, that may well be temporary, but I’m more likely to do business with a site that actually lists their physical address.

  4. While I’m glad Ellora’s Cave isn’t filing for bankruptcy, part of me wonders how much of this is sheer stubbornness. Several people have reported that they haven’t received a check since May, which paid for royalties due up through January.

Ellora’s Cave v. Dear Author Lawsuit Update

It’s been a quiet few months, and the only thing to happen in the last six weeks is another status update (docket item 39) from the defense. Status reports are supposed to be filed every 45 days by both parties. Only two things happened since the last status report:

  1. On June 15, 2015, Plaintiffs served responses to written discovery.
  2. On July 15, 2015, Plaintiffs and Defendants served their witness lists.

What’s interesting, though is that there’s only been one plaintiff status report (on April 28th, docket item 35) and there have been four defense status reports. Normally, things filed with the court by the parties are a matter of public record, so I’d expect to see them on the docket.

Now, granted, the discovery period is a time when the parties are incredibly busy, but there may not be a lot of court filings. So, from an outsider’s perspective, this can appear to be a very “quiet” period, even though it’s anything but.

Originally published at deirdre.net. You can comment here or there.

Gencon, interim report

Aug. 1st, 2015 02:12 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
I am at Gencon! I have needed much napping. Read more... )

Delia has jewelry for sale!

Aug. 1st, 2015 04:10 pm
pegkerr: (Default)
[personal profile] pegkerr
Some of you may know that Delia has been studying jewelry design with [livejournal.com profile] elisem (fabulous teacher) for nine years now. She started out as an apprentice but now has achieved the status of journeyman.

Elise is having an online sale, and a little over a dozen of Delia's creations are included (including three wandering wire necklace crowns). Please go admire and buy! Remember that you are helping a very bright and beloved daughter with her college expenses.

Thanks!

(And if you like the work she's doing, please leave a comment here for Delia. Creators can always use artistic encouragement!)
minim_calibre: (Default)
[personal profile] minim_calibre
I have no idea why I'm sharing this. It's totally oversharing, for the record. Which is why the cut tag exists and is going to be used! I mean, I'm as bad a judge of TMI as I am of how I should rate a story, but I don't think this winds up too detailed. Just, you know, forewarned and all that. Mentions include body hair, relative thickness of thighs, and my SPECTACULAR ability to run with things for no good reason.

Read more... )

Flying free

Aug. 1st, 2015 01:03 pm
wcg: Rocket Scientist (pic#826519)
[personal profile] wcg
I mentioned this a few days ago over in the book of faces, but since I don't ever cross the streams, I'll mention it here too so those who don't follow that datastream will know.

On July 29th, 2015, the 57th anniversary of NASA's creation, I set in motion the process for my retirement from the NASA community. I'll be turning in my badge and heading off into the sunset on September 30th.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Aug. 1st, 2015 09:52 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] br3nda !  Happy day!  Even if it is winter!

Augh

Aug. 1st, 2015 12:14 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I have a whole sequence of reviews ready. But not on the device in my hands.

More on Walter Palmer

Aug. 1st, 2015 10:33 am
pegkerr: (Default)
[personal profile] pegkerr
Here is the text of the email that Rob received from his dentist, Walter Palmer )

And here is an analysis of why it is an incompetent apology. (Notice, too, that he didn't kill the lion. He 'took' it.)

(no subject)

Aug. 1st, 2015 11:30 am
twistedchick: (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I know I linked this 3-part documentary about the history of coffee a few days ago, but now I am watching Part 2, and it is explaining to me why the Maxwell House coffee that I had at work tastes like it should be used for stripping furniture, and why the Chase and Sanborne that my parents drank tasted a bit better -- and why all the canned coffee that is mass-marketed tastes slightly stale: it's pre-staled. If you drink coffee, you owe it to yourself to watch at least Part 2 of this, which talks about the ways in which coffee has been roasted, marketed and sold during the last 100 years or so -- and why Tim Horton's coffee is better than a lot of American coffees.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Aug. 1st, 2015 09:40 am
wcg: (Default)
[personal profile] wcg


Happy Kalends of Sextilis!

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