azurelunatic: Monkey King swings his cudgel  (monkey king)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
The call to lunch is not quite like the call to adventure, as it usually doesn't bring with it risks of gangrene and decapitation. I have also not yet refused the call to lunch.

At some point I will work out a better custody arrangement for my lunchtimes, as it were. Perhaps even something with a schedule. While I am not by any means required to eat lunch with my team, it is good for bonding and morale to do so on occasion.

The move is forcing some organization, so while I keep feeling like I did nothing, in fact there was a lot, and paper getting recycled, and there's my spare set of highlighters and that notebook, and I'm building procedures and things are making sense again. My Overlady has plots for improving things, and I am happy to get behind that, or in front of it, or in whatever direction I would be most useful.

It was an off week for the company togetherness, so there was unofficial togetherness. Read more... )

(no subject)

Apr. 19th, 2014 12:59 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
I follow Everest climbing season on and off -- my ex's father and sister are mountain climbers, and that got me into following mountaineering, especially the 8000-meter big ones. Today, news broke of an ice fall in the Khumba Icefall, on the South Col route -- historically one of the most deadly spots. Initial reports are saying anywhere between 12 and 16 dead, all Sherpas, with over a hundred people stranded above the Icefall (where they were trekking gear to Camp 1 or Camp 2), and unconfirmed reports that the ladder in the Icefall has been damaged or destroyed.

If the ladder is gone and can't be repaired, that pretty much drops the bottom out of this year's window -- maybe 10% (or less) of people who are trying to summit Everest these days have the technical skill and high-altitude mountain climbing experience to handle that area of the climb without the help. It's going to be an ugly season.

I can hold forth for a while on the state of Everest these days. I have a lot of opinions for somebody who would never dream of getting anywhere near it myself. Long story short: Everest climbing has turned into a perfect storm of the Western world marketing "climbing Everest" as one of those 'hardcore life-altering experiences', a number of unqualified people setting themselves up as guides to cash in on that marketing, a 'free market' for guiding where there's no regulation or objective standard of quality guiding so clueless hardcore-sports-tourists have no means by which to evaluate the capabilities of the expedition leaders to handle shit if shit gets ugly, a tendency to try to compete on price because aforementioned clueless mountaineering-tourists balk at paying what the non-shady expedition leaders charge, and over it all, the driving motivations (and associated ethical complications) of the Nepalese government depending on that Western money for support, thus creating incentives for them to maximize the number of people who buy permits every year. There's a lot of additional factors, but all of those combine to create a perfect storm of completely unqualified climbers being led by completely inadequate expedition leaders who rely on the Sherpas and don't give them anywhere near enough credit -- or pay -- which leads to resentment that's been bubbling for a while, to the point where last year there was a confrontation that nearly turned deadly. Everest is full of people who are trying to commit suicide in the messiest way possible and take a lot of people with them, and the honest and capable expedition leaders not only have to clean up the mess on the mountain but also deal with the market forces and the fallout later.

The fact is, though, that nobody would climb Sagarmatha (which is what the Sherpas call the mountain, although that's a recent coinage; before they used the Tibetan name, Chomolungma) without Sherpa aid and Sherpa knowledge. The Sherpas set the ropes up the entire mountain ahead of any other climbers, carry supplies up the mountain from camp to camp before any climbers start behind them, serve as porters for climbers throughout the process of climbing, and pack out all the trash (and I do mean all the trash, including human waste) behind. They're the first ones in at the beginning of the season and the last ones out at the end. Every person who's summitted the mountain in modern times has done so relying on the work of a Sherpa, and -- although this is changing somewhat (but not fast enough for a lot of the Sherpas) -- often without giving any credit to the Sherpas that make it possible.

So I'm saddened to hear that a dozen (or more) Sherpas died yesterday on the mountain (because the moutain will kill you as easily as not; it will not notice, it will not care), but I'm even more sad that they were there on that mountain because of alpine adventure tourism and Western demand. I've been pleased to see several news articles about the icefall include and acknowledge some of the ethical quandaries and the stark realities of Everest tourism. I wish this could help make meaningful change in how the commodified "climb Mt Everest" industry runs these days, and helps to get some of those unqualified people being duped by unethical expedition leaders off the mountain until they're at least a little more qualified, but I doubt it will.

after all

Apr. 18th, 2014 08:40 pm
mmegaera: (Much Ado in Montana)
[personal profile] mmegaera

The blog description does say, “and the occasional cat.”  So here are two occasional cats.  The solid is Ivan, and the stripes (tabby) is Ted.

Ivan and Ted

I have a number of photos of their predecessors snuggling together in that chair, but this is the first time I’ve been able to catch Teddy and Ivan together like that.

Mirrored from Repeating History.

Your weird animal of the day

Apr. 18th, 2014 10:09 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
The Saiga Antelope. Looks like a Star Wars character.

http://www.arkive.org/saiga-antelope/saiga-tatarica/

Sent from my Apple ][+
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
[personal profile] snarp
Second Life is still pretty much the only thing like Second Life out there, and it is still a complete fucking mess.

From the vasty deep

Apr. 18th, 2014 10:11 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"GLENDOWER
I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
HOTSPUR
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?"

They do if you use the magic words David Brin Glory Season. Or one will, any, from the deeps of the interwebs.

Holy Saturday

Apr. 18th, 2014 11:44 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

(originally posted in 2010)

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.

– Reinhold Niebuhr

This is my favorite day in Holy Week, this Saturday, this unrestful Sabbath, my favorite day in the whole of the liturgical calendar.

Well, actually, “favorite” is the wrong word. It’s not that I like this day so much as that I understand it. It’s recognizable, familiar, lived-in.

Abandoned church in Louisiana, photo by Rick Galvan.

This day, the Saturday that can’t know if there will ever be a Sunday, is the day we live in, you and I, today and every day for the whole of our lives. This is all we are given to know.

Easter Sunday? That’s tomorrow, the day after today. We’ll never get there in time. We can believe in Easter Sunday, but we can’t be sure. We can’t know for sure. We can’t know until we’re out of time.

Here, in time, there’s just this day, this dreadful Saturday of not knowing.

There are some things we can know on this Saturday. Jesus is dead, to begin with, dead and buried. He said the world was upside-down and needed a revolution to turn it right-way-round and so he was executed for disturbing the peace. He came and said love was greater than power, and so power killed him.

And now it’s Saturday and Jesus is dead and we’re all going to die and everything I’ve told you about him turns out to be in vain and everything I’ve staked my life on turns out to be in vain. Our faith is futile and we’re still hopeless in our sins. Jesus is dead and we are of all people most to be pitied.

That last paragraph is a paraphrase from St. Paul. What he actually says there, in his letter to the Christians in Corinth, is “if …” What he says, specifically, is:

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. … If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead …

But that’s Sunday language and Sunday certainty and it doesn’t make much sense here on Saturday. Here on Saturday, we can hope it’s true and we may even try to believe it’s true, but we can’t know “in fact” one way or another. Not now. Not on Saturday.

And to be honest, it doesn’t seem terribly likely, because Saturday, this Saturday, is all we’ve ever known. Yesterday was this same Saturday, and so was the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that.

Why should we expect that tomorrow will be any different?

Seriously, just look around. Does it look like the meek are inheriting the earth? Does it look like those who hunger and thirst for justice are being filled? Does it look like the merciful are being shown mercy?

Jesus was meek and merciful and hungry for justice and look where that got him. They killed him. We killed him. Power won.

That’s what this everyday Saturday shows us — power always wins. “If you want a picture of the future,” George Orwell wrote, “imagine a boot stomping on a human face — forever.”

“But in fact,” St. Paul says, everything changes on Sunday. Come Sunday power loses. Come Sunday, love wins, the meek shall inherit, the merciful will receive mercy and no one will ever go hungry for justice again. Come Sunday, everything changes.

If there ever is a Sunday.

And but so, this is why we hope for Sunday and why we live for the hope of Sunday. Even though we can’t know for sure that Sunday will ever come and even if Saturday is all we ever get to see.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Local running spots?

Apr. 18th, 2014 06:01 pm
j00j: rainbow over east berlin plattenbau apartments (Default)
[personal profile] j00j posting in [community profile] wiscon
So I'll be in Madison long enough this year that I might have time to take a run. Suggestions for a place near the Concourse or public transit accessible? Ideally this would be an asphalt running path where I don't have to worry about cars.

[ObMeme]

Apr. 18th, 2014 03:43 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Random links? I'm trapped at Joe's work. Foxes especially appreciated. Here's my linkcontribution: Vegetarian fox is just babysitting [Cheezburger.com].

Alternately, let's play shag, marry, toss off a cliff! Anyone?

Good Friday and Western Civ. 101

Apr. 18th, 2014 08:18 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

My older daughter had a paper due this week in her “Mosaics” class — which is what Temple calls its version of Western Civ. 101 (or Not Only Western Civ., actually, which is nice). The paper was a short, basic compare-and-contrast deal between any two of the figures/works on the professor’s list. My daughter chose to write about Jesus and Socrates.

The challenging bit was that her prof required they draw only from the primary sources on their reading list. In the case of Jesus, that meant the Gospel of Luke — and only Luke.

That became an interesting exercise. Jesus’ story is one we Christian types can — and often do — recite without thinking. It’s Holy Week, after all — a time of year we devote to retelling and pondering this very story. That intimate, ingrained familiarity makes it tricky to talk about the Passion without including all sorts of stuff that can’t be cited directly from Luke’s Gospel.

I found that it’s actually pretty tricky even to read Luke’s Gospel without thinking about all that other stuff as well — importing it into what I’m reading and reinterpreting accordingly. The comparison to Socrates meant that my daughter’s paper had to address the questions of why Jesus was executed and why Jesus was willing to submit to being executed. When you’ve spent years reciting “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate …” it’s difficult not to fall back into those creedal formulations, or to answer those questions with ideas from John or Paul or Matthew’s Gospel, or from any of the great theologians who have followed after them.

So I was surprised to realize that Luke’s Gospel doesn’t actually say much about “for our sake he was crucified.” Luke’s account of Holy Week portrays all of Jesus’ followers as bewildered by his arrest and crucifixion — as wholly unable to explain or understand what they were witnessing. They don’t understand it until Sunday, until Easter. The way Luke tells it, Jesus’ disciples might never have been able to answer those “why” questions if Jesus himself hadn’t returned to them to repeat what he’d told them earlier, back in Luke 9 when he first predicted all of this.

The final chapter of Luke is all about that explanation. It gives us three versions of it, each one presented in a somewhat chiding tone. First the angels at the empty tomb explain this for the women there, then Jesus explains it to Cleopas and his buddy on the road to Emmaus, and then, finally, back in Jerusalem, Jesus shows up and explains it to the disciples themselves.

But here’s the odd thing — and the thing that’s tricky to notice unless you’re consciously forcing yourself to stick exclusively to what only the Gospel of Luke has to say — there’s not a whole lot of explanation in this explanation. Here’s what we’re told in Luke about that encounter on the road to Emmaus:

“Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

And here’s the slightly longer version a few verses later with the disciples in Jerusalem:

“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Not much there in the way of “for our sake he was crucified.” Not really much there, even, in the way of an answer to those “why” questions. We’re told it was “necessary,” and that it was “written,” but neither of those is actually an answer.

The frustrating thing here in Luke is that we’re told Jesus had a longer explanation, and that he shared this with his disciples. “He interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.” Might have been nice if, you know, someone had written that down. Instead what we get is Luke just seeming to assume we already know what Jesus likely said in this survey of “all the scriptures.” It’s almost as though Luke is saying, “And then Jesus explained everything, you know, yada yada yada.”

Here, for example, is Richard Beck discussing “The Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.” Following N.T. Wright, Beck urges us to first try to understand what Isaiah 53 meant “during the time of Isaiah.” I suspect that Beck/Wright are on the right track here, but I’d really love to be able to ask Cleopas about that.

That very passage in Isaiah is the same one Luke mentions when he pulls this same frustrating stunt in the book of Acts. This is the passage the Ethiopian eunuch is reading when he meets our friend Philip the evangelist in Acts 8. Here’s all we get from Luke there:

Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.

You know, yada yada yada. But no, I don’t know. I think I know. I hope I know. But I’d know a lot more if I’d actually gotten to read what Philip said to the eunuch, or what Jesus said to Cleopas and his friend.

In the Gospel of Luke, we’re actually given less details about Jesus’ explanation for why it was “necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things” than we are about what Jesus had to eat on Easter Sunday. He’d arrived at Cleopas’ house in Emmaus right around dinner time, but skipped out before eating. The next time we see him is a long walk away, seven miles down the road back in Jerusalem, when he shows up among the disciples, greeting them with “Peace be with you”:

While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate.

I love this detail. Imagine all the shock and tumult, all the questions and emotions that the disciples must have had. But the man was hungry.

It’s only after Jesus finally gets to eat something that he settles in and “opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” No explanations on an empty stomach.

Maybe that’s why we don’t know everything that Cleopas and Philip knew, and that Luke seems to assume his readers would already know. Maybe we can’t expect to “understand the scriptures” until Jesus is no longer hungry and asking for food.

Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food?

… And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Food first, then explanations.

RAINN on Rape Culture

Apr. 18th, 2014 03:52 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Will Shetterly wrote a blog post asking if I had addressed “RAINN’s refutation of ‘rape culture’” yet. I’m writing this less to respond to Shetterly and more because I think there’s some good conversation to be had around RAINN’s recommendations. But I should warn folks that by invoking his name and linking to his blog post, I’m basically guaranteeing that Mr. Shetterly will show up in the comments. To Will and anyone else, please remember that trolling, refusing to respect boundaries, and general dickishness will get you booted.

The Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) released 16 pages of recommendations to the federal government. In his blog post, Will chooses to quote a TIME Magazine article by Caroline Kitchens about “Rape Culture Hysteria” that references a few select paragraphs from RAINN’s recommendations. Kitchens claims that by blaming rape culture, we “implicate all men in a social atrocity, trivialize the experiences of survivors, and deflect blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence.” She talks about the “thought police of the feminist blogosphere,” and how the concept of rape culture poisons the minds of young women and creates a hostile world for young men.

I’m glad to know Mr. Shetterly is looking for good, objective reporting to validate his crusade against those he dubs “social justice warriors.”

Let’s look at the primary source and talk about what RAINN’s recommendations actually said, shall we?

The paper opens with a discussion of how rape is alarmingly underreported on college campuses. Rape culture is mentioned on page two:

“In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campuses. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important to not lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.”

I absolutely agree that it’s important to hold rapists accountable for their choice to rape. I’ve been saying and emphasizing and teaching that for decades. I think it’s absurd to claim an individual has no responsibility for their crime … but it’s equally absurd to claim that crime occurs in a cultural vacuum, or that these two ideas are mutually exclusive.

Most of the time, when I see rapists being excused with little more than a wrist-slapping for “cultural” reasons, it’s judges and police blaming victims, or the old “boys will be boys” attitude that minimizes the severity of the crime and the responsibility of the rapist. Which is exactly what so many conversations about rape culture try to point out.

RAINN says it’s important to remember that the rapist is responsible for the choice to commit rape. I agree. They do not say that the concept of rape culture is invalid, only that it shouldn’t overshadow the need to hold individuals responsible for their crimes.

RAINN recommends a three-tiered approach to reducing rape on college campuses:

  1. Bystander intervention education: empowering community members to act in response to acts of sexual violence.
  2. Risk-reduction messaging: empowering members of the community to take steps to increase their personal safety.
  3. General education to promote understanding of the law, particularly as it relates to the ability to consent.

Bystander intervention includes educating people about what rape is, helping them see beyond rape myths and victim-blaming narratives, sharing the research that explains how the majority of rapes are committed not by strangers, but by people the victim knows, and so on. (Strangely enough, a lot of the points I made in a blog post about rape culture a few years back.)

RAINN acknowledges the difficulty in separating risk-reduction from victim-blaming. Personally, I have very little problem with a risk-reduction approach. I do have a problem when that’s the only approach, which seems to happen all too often. When people focus solely on what women/victims can and must do to reduce rape, then we put the responsibility on them. If your only idea about reducing rape is to tell women what to do differently, you’re the one who doesn’t understand that rapists are responsible for their decision to rape.

I’ve been pushing for education for ages, including education about the laws. And for improvement in those laws, based in part on a better understanding and definition of consent. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a very poor understanding of consent. We encourage things like getting prospective sexual partners drunk, pursuing reluctant or uninterested partners, and the myth that you should just magically know what your partner wants. (It’s almost like we have an entire culture that doesn’t really get how consent works.)

On the legal side of things, RAINN stresses that college advisory boards aren’t in a position to be deciding rape cases. I agree. I worked as part of a student justice program at Michigan State University. Rape cases went to the police. We tended to work with things more on the level of catcalling from the street, trying to intervene with behaviors and attitudes before they escalated to more serious crimes. The goal was early intervention and prevention.

But there’s also a culture (oh look, there’s that word again) of secrecy around sexual assault and abuse, and I certainly understand that many institutions do try to bury rape reports and pretend it’s not a problem for them. Steubenville is a good, well-known example.

The report then goes on to talk about:

  • The need for more education for everyone about rape
  • The need for the legal system to respond more seriously to rape cases
  • The need to provide support services to victims
  • The need for more research

In RAINN’s 16-page report, we find a single mention of “rape culture,” which is part of a paragraph stating that rape culture shouldn’t be used as a way to remove responsibility from the rapist. Sorry, Will. I see no “refutation of rape culture” here, just a call for a balanced approach, one which I generally support and agree with.

I get that Mr. Shetterly is mostly just interested in scoring points against those he deems “social justice warriors.” My advice to him would be that if your knowledge and understanding of rape is such that you believe “saying no usually works” to prevent it, maybe you should try talking listening to rape survivors and learning more about the topic before you try to have this kind of conversation.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
(not in relation to anything I mentioned getting)

Before sending your ebook out for review, take a quick look to make sure it's readable. Just had one that isn't. Looking at it, i would guess it was originally a pdf and someone fed it through Caliber without double-checking the resulting epub.
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

Let's stroll )


Like we're Walking' the Dog )


Or even Walking in the Rain )


(Though in that case, we might start looking for a Bus stop )


For the mad variety we might Walk Like an Egyptian )


Before we Walk Right Back )


for a nice sit-down.

writing: statistics

Apr. 18th, 2014 12:49 pm
yhlee: (SKU: Anthy/Utena (credit: sher))
[personal profile] yhlee
42 stories published at some point by my count.

Male main characters/protags: 14
Female main characters/protags: 28
Unspecified sex/gender/whatever: 2
Also, "characters" is meaningless applied to "A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel," which is doing the Olaf Stapledonian thing with civilizations, sorry.
Of those characters, one (Loi Ruharn from "Wine") is FtM; everyone else is defaulted to cis.

Het main characters/protags: 6
Lesbian main characters/protags: 2
Bi main characters/protags: 1
Everyone else defaults to unspecified. (Well. Shuos Jedao is bi in Ninefox Gambit but there is zero evidence for this in "The Battle of Candle Arc," so I have him listed as unspecified. I really doubt he had any time to think about sex at Candle Arc.)
Um. I have one gay male pair in "Echoes Down an Endless Hall," whom I managed to kill off, although I also killed off the entire rest of that squadron except the one dude who...escapes only to be brainwashed and cyborged by his own side.

Yeeeeeeeeeah this needs work, although I am super super super reluctant to write trans* characters not because trans* characters are evil but because I'm trans* and I really don't feel like bleeding onto the page for other people's freaking entertainment reading, thankyouverymuch.

cut for raw data )

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