Post-eclipse complaining

Aug. 22nd, 2017 01:54 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
So, prior to the eclipse there were FAQs and news reports about people who didn't want to go out on the day of the eclipse - even before it started! - for fear that they'd go blind, or didn't want to walk their dog because the dog might go blind (not knowing not to look at the sky on eclipse day, of course) or not letting the kids out at all during recess because, you got it, they might freeze in place, stare at the sun, and go blind.

And then Trump looked at the sun without glasses. And everybody is throwing fits about what an idiot he is. I commented on one article that no, it's not likely you'll go blind if you just glance at the sun for a second*, and one person replied "but this isn't the sun, it's the eclipse!" like that's a winning argument. I mentioned to another, who claimed you couldn't see anything without the glasses until totality anyway that I'd been staring at the cloud cover impatiently before the peak, and when the clouds parted I'd gotten an unprotected glimpse of the sun and yes, I could see the bite of it - and that person went "Well, you do permanent damage at 20 seconds, so you might've been lucky". How long do they imagine it takes to see the sun when the clouds break and then look down again?

I think I've figured this out.

The rule is "You should not stare at the sun, even during an eclipse". This is a sensible rule that nobody has ever needed to tell anybody over the age of, say, six weeks. We don't stare at the sun. Even infants know better - if the sun shines in your eyes, you squint, put your hand up, and turn away. Aniamls are even smarter! No matter what happens, they don't need to be told.

But humans think we're cleverer than animals, and during an eclipse we sometimes break that rule and look at the sun because it's cool. And because the light seems dimmer, we can look longer. But it's not really dimmer - it's just as bright, it's just that some of it is blocked. So for the past year, we've had it drummed into our heads that you shouldn't look at the eclipse without glasses. Consequently, many people have internalized the rule as "You shouldn't stare at the sun, especially during an eclipse". But the sun isn't any more dangerous then. It's only our behavior that changes!

If you look for up to five seconds, you're probably fine, just like when you turn a corner and find yourself driving toward the sun. (Or look up at a flock of birds just as the clouds part and find the sun glaring in your eyes, or wake up with the sun in your eyes.) According to the only study on the subject, you're not likely to have visible damage unless you look for 15 seconds or longer... and even then, most patients improved with time.

So don't stare at the sun, but if you did catch a glimpse, whether on purpose or not, it's probably no more harmful than when you catch a glimpse of the sun on regular days.

(As for Trump, this was a dumb move, but not because of the potential eye damage. It was a dumb move because everybody and their dog, literally, knows better but he still did it on national TV. Doofus. And if he's getting any flak from it he probably blames the aide for calling attention to his behavior rather than his own foolish decision to do something everybody knows, from the very day they're born, not to do.)

* Turns out it was more like 30 seconds in his case, which is really way too long. Not that I give a fuck what that person does to his eyes.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
[personal profile] avevale_intelligencer
We've been binge-watching The Mentalist, which is very good, and we're on the last season now. In the season we just watched, around about the sixth or seventh episode, the show's Big Bad, Red John, was unmasked, and James Hibberd in Entertainment Weekly had some thoughts about that here: http://ew.com/article/2013/11/24/the-mentalist-red-john-review/

I think he missed the point. (Next bit won't make much sense unless you've read the article.)

Read more... )

Well, it could've gone better

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:56 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I wanted to be there right when the museum opened - missed that by about an hour.

DID get the glasses. Boy, those were something. They seemed completely opaque until you looked up at the tiny, orange, dim sun. (The kids sold theirs to people even later than we were!)

Missed the lecture due to some miscommunication. Didn't see other exhibits, same reason.

But we did enjoy looking at the sun through the (shared) glasses, and the kids really loved making pinhole projectors on index cards. I'd expected they would - they wrote their names and all!

One thing that was not explained to me in the documentation, but in retrospect should've been obvious: The dimmer the light got, the closer the index cards had to be to make a clear image. At the beginning, having one on the ground and one in your hand was good enough. By the midpoint, when it was 70% covered and dark (and when we were done) they had to be right next to each other.

Several people, hearing me launch into another spiel on how "our eyes work the same way" and "the image is backwards and upside down - look, compare it! - but when it happens in our eyes our brains automatically flip it" asked if I was a teacher or a scientist! LOL. Only the former in a very *literal* sense, but this is something I've known since I was six or so. I had a book on the structure of the eye. (I didn't say that. I just said I homeschool and I made the kids listen to me talk to them about it.)

And then on the way back we talked about the Statue of Liberty and all. I heard a tour guide the other day say that the original model for the face was the sculptor's girlfriend, not his mother as in the finished version, but I don't know if that's correct. Still, "she looked too sexy" is obviously a story that's hard to give up!

Not the response I was expecting...

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:46 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I texted a friend to say that we were planning to go to the Natural History Museum tomorrow to do their presentation on the eclipse, and you know what she said?

"What is the eclipse?"

...

When I was a kid

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:45 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Wise produced a variety of chips called Crazy Calypso. And they were delish. And then they went off the market :(

But! Later Wise produced an extremely similar flavor called Mambo Mania. These were also delish, and may have actually just been the first chips with a new name. Those too, alas, went off the market.

Since then, I've spent a ridiculous amount of energy trying to find a chip with a similar flavor profile, to no avail. But if anybody ever produces one, I'm going to stock up.

Nomnomnom.

***************************


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conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
(And I swear, the next person to talk at me about "erasing history" is gonna sorely regret it.)

*****


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conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
(This always happens.)

I'll work my way up to it. I just get antsy thinking people will sneer.

(And now I'm thinking people will sneer because I didn't reciprocate. I can't win.)

On the plus side, my TBR list is full for at least a month. So thanks :)

****


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When Astronomers Chased a Total Eclipse in a Concorde (I'm realizing now that I should've saved up these eclipse stories and then posted them all at once. Darn.)

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Trump Is Just Six Senate Votes Away From Impeachment

Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon fired

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Well, if Nanila can do it... =:o}

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:24 am
pbristow: Paul looks straight into camera, chin in hand, eyebrow raised. He is shaggy haired, boss-eyed, & his glasses are askew. (_Boss-eyed)
[personal profile] pbristow
Poll #18714 Dat Ass
Open to: Access List, detailed results viewable to: Access List, participants: 7

Which

Donkey (from Shrek)
1 (14.3%)

Eeyore
4 (57.1%)

Benjamin (Animal Farm)
0 (0.0%)

Delaney's Donkey
2 (28.6%)

Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey
0 (0.0%)

El Rucio, aka Dapple
0 (0.0%)

Balaam’s Talking Ass
0 (0.0%)

Ya’foor, Muhammad's talking donkey
0 (0.0%)

Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
0 (0.0%)

Jimmy, the WWI orphan
0 (0.0%)

ot: Huge Heyer Sale

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:26 am
filkferengi: filk fandom--all our life's a circle (Default)
[personal profile] filkferengi posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
There's a huge sale on Georgette Heyer novels over on bn.com and amazon. Lots & lots of screens of e-books for 2.99 each.

Squee!

Shards of Time

Aug. 18th, 2017 09:39 pm
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[personal profile] tcpip
It's been a strange and disruptive past few days, and one which I am at peace with a certain resilience to stich things together and still have the opportunity for other actions. Initially the most serious problem was the discovery early Tuesday morning that Spartan had crashed. I quickly diagnosed it as a networking issue; the home, project, and scratch directories had all been lost and along with it, every running job screamed and died. As others came on board and I fielded users, we eventually narrowed it down to what appears to be a bug in a Cisco switch that was sending duplicate packets. Congratulations are due to Nhat, NinjaDan, Linh, and Mark M., for their efforts here. Making good of the opportunity we restarted all the nodes with a kernel upgrade as well, which were intending to do anyway, and brought nearly all the partitions online. Overall the detection, investigation, and recovery took the better part of two days, and I cannot help but be impressed by how calm and smoothly the operations ran under such apparent disaster. Arguably the degree of panic in situations like this is an indication of experienced versus inexperienced sysadmins.



The following day went to the hospital to visit Rick and also to see the social worker and doctor to discuss his situation. I signed myself up to pay for his transitional care until VCAT approves my application to receive power of financial attorney in addition to medical attorney. Six months ago he was giving presentations on the admixture of modern humans with archiac hominids, and the peculiar differences between reptilian and mammalian brains. Now, due to rapid onset dementia, he doesn't know what suburb he'd lived in for the past thirty years, the fact he has a brother, or where he was born, and his vocabulary has been reduced to probably less than a dozen words. He'll be spending his days staring out the window or at the television in his room, and that's all there is to it. I'll visit his flat and see if there's any music for him, based on prior studies. It's terrible witnessing such a clever and diverse mind disappear so quickly.

There have been other activities in the past few days. I have preparing heavily for the Isocracy AGM on Wednesday evening which will be addressed by Kos Samaras, assistant state-secretary of the Victorian ALP, speaking on The Reawakening of the Working Class. My own latest written contribution to Isocracy in the past few days has been a piece of the advantages of proportional representation. On Wednesday night we caught up with old university science fiction friend and now Greens activist, Tom S. and friend to see the director's cut of Dark City, the noir SF film which still well holds over the years. Finally, to finish things off last night went to a meeting of Free Software Melbourne at Electron Workshop; whilst it was supposed to be a games night we were distracted by the presence of Margaret Gordon, a documentary maker who wanted to know more about this Linux thing.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
This is factually untrue - I just finished a new book yesterday - but it does feel that way.

Recommend something to me! Especially nonfiction - I really don't read much of that, so I can promise that I'll never have read whatever you recommend! (Whereas if you recommend anything kidlit or YA there's better than even odds that I've read it.)

Later I'll post up my own list of random recommendations for everybody, but right now I really must dash.
aunty_marion: Heaps of blue cats (Smokey Mountain Cats)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
Did YOU know there's a right and a wrong way to sit on a sofa? No, nor did I till I started this cat-sitting gig. Now, Caz's mogs are obviously either less or more classy, because they don't much care as long as you're providing a warm lap. Horizontal/lengthwise is probably top-notch for them - more room to stretch out on, and an easily-reachable face to purr in. Zanda & Janet's cats are much the same, though sometimes they barely wait for you to sit down - they're there, waiting imperiously. Also, once ensconced, you're not allowed to get up without due care and attention, and will be immediately cat-lapped again once you've sat back down.

Smokey, however, is having none of that. When Ruth sits on the sofa, Smokey will get on with her, walk across her, sit next to her (if not quite ON her). When I do it? I get this look of horror and disgust. "UR DOIN IT RONG!" it shrieks. I've tried using the footrest, not using the footrest, knitting, not knitting, reading, watching TV ... nope. I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm a different shape from Ruth, and not as tall, so I'm inclined to slide. But still - "UR DOIN IT RONG!"
No, I don't know either.

Today she has been also disgusted that I didn't have steak, I had smoked haddock risotto, and didn't offer her any, and Felix Tuna flavour cat food with dentibits is no fit substitute. Hard cheddar, Smokey, my lass. She'll get a few more bits of *whisper* Thrive if she comes and asks nicely.

In other Far East news, I arrived this morning, dumped my bags, got my breath back, set the laptop up (for some arcane reason it had forgotten this wifi - probably something to do with the software upgrade earlier this year...), had coffee & a snack, and then went out to Westfield. I returned, somewhat knackered from stairs and a bit infuriated that the signs direct you to Central Line - Eastbound, and not till you GET there do they say 'step-free access via the other corridor' by which time you'd have to turn round and walk twice as far as you already have. So I struggled slowly up the steps, and by the time I'd got down the ones at Leytonstone, my knees were killing me. Also now my right ankle is sulking. However, I got what I went for - another backpack from Claire's, this time in plain beige fabric, a slightly different construction; it's got a stiffened top opening with free ends to the zip, and the front pocket is a full U-shaped opening rather than just a rounded-corner straight-across; also, no detachable pocket inside, just a padded internal pocket. £15, reduced from £35, which is OK. I've transferred everything over, and as far as I can tell, all the pockets are a bit larger, which is good - means I may be able to fit three knitting projects in instead of two! Also I got a bag of soft brown sugar, which is what I like on my morning cereal - I'd been meaning to bring a small jar of it from home, but forgot. That's OK, I'll open this carefully, seal it back into a ziplock bag to go home next week, and it can go off the shopping list for a while longer.

ot: Ursula Vernon in Iceland

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:31 am
filkferengi: filk fandom--all our life's a circle (Default)
[personal profile] filkferengi posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
Ursula Vernon, who just won the Best Novelette Hugo, stopped in Iceland en route to WorldCon. She was with her husband Kevin, his cousin, Amy, & their friend Tina. They storified the trip, here:

https://storify.com/RebelsHeart/ursula-vernon-and-friends-vs-iceland

There're lots of gorgeous photos & great snark.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
It's not my favorite ballad - if I wanted to sing The Murdered Brother I would and often do. Floaters are a thing, sure, but I still think it's cheating to basically steal 90% of the verses from one song and tack on a different framing story.

But it does have one advantage over The Murdered Brother, and that's that the framing story makes sense. I can see how you might chop your sister up after you've knocked her up. I mean, I wouldn't do it, but I wouldn't do half the things people do in ballads. If I had no moral compass, though, then I might well look at murder as the solution to everyday social problems like an inconvenient pregnancy. Even in a ballad, though, killing your brother because he cut down a withy wand that might've been a tree is just strange.

(And their mother doesn't give a damn, it seems, no matter who killed whom and why. There's some seriously messed up family dynamics here. Sometimes you really have to wonder about the people who wrote these things.)

************


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My goodness!

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:13 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Somebody really has made a recipe for Time City's butter pie!

Upon re-read, I realize that there is a small problem with the timeline in the book. Not in the usual time travel sense, which would be more or less okay, but in the educational calendar.

Vivian arrives in Time City during their half term, which I understand to be a short vacation in the middle of the semester - like midwinter recess in NYC. She attends school for two or three days, maybe as long as five - and then the whole city shuts down for two days of ceremonies! (And also the dramatic conclusion, but nobody knew that yet while the ceremonies happen every year.)

If they know, as they must know, that the kids will all have two days off, why not schedule their break a few days later so as to encompass the holiday? Instead of this on-again, off-again nonsense, which can't be good for their learning.

(Of course, I'm saying this from a city which only a few years ago started school on a Wednesday and then immediately took the next two days off for the Jewish New Year. Which, okay, it's an important holiday, but still. Start the year on a different day then!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


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WorldCon Helsinki 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:23 pm
elfbiter: Default icon (Default)
[personal profile] elfbiter
So there was first WorldCon in Finland. In Helsinki, of course.
Entrance to the Pasila Conference Center
(Entrance to the Pasila Conference Center)

Five days of Finnish WorldCon )

Programs I did not manage to go to in time )

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:15 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Scientists Make Food From Bacteria, Water, Electricity, and a Whole Lot of Patience

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Raccoons Riding a Bike Wheel ("Trash panda", that's a good kenning)

Plants 'hijacked' to make polio vaccine

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Why U.S.-Trained Surgeons Often Aren't Ready For Humanitarian Work Abroad (Crippling overspecialization)

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White Supremacy (Overt & Covert)

Texas A&M cancels white nationalist rally set for 9/11

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‘We have drawn a different lesson from history’: How the world is reacting to violence in Charlottesville
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
We used to spend summers in Belgium with our grandparents. Our grandparents had a nice patch of land, with red currants and black currants and gooseberries over here, and roses over there, and a field, and a little copse that, as a child, seemed more than large enough to house a few bears (oh my!) and I used to think all that land nearly went on forever. I'd go through the woods, avoiding the nettle at the entrance (or not) and wander until I hit the neighboring farmland. I'd stand there a while, carefully not stepping onto the field, and look at the Wallaby balloon in the distance, and then I'd get lost on my way back.

There were two houses on the property, the big one they rented out and the little one they lived in. The little one had outside stairs to a small attic, covered in ivy. I loved to sit on those stairs and pull off the ivy bit by bit and pretend I was a princess in a tower, right up until Bonne-Maman called me in and gave me an ice cream cone. Which I thought we were supposed to eat from the bottom up, so you can see why my face got messy.

The first year we went, when I was just leaving kindergarten, we had no bedroom of our own, but afterwards they added a small studio and an extra bedroom next to the attic. Jenn (Ginger, back then) and I had beds right next to each other, touching and there were two windows with a small patch of wall in between them.

And one night, quite randomly, we woke up when it was dark (and you know it gets dark very late in Belgium in the summer) and that little patch of wall was glowing. Pale, bright green. I eventually sat up and touched it, and the glowing patch was colder than the rest of the wall, and I swear Jenn saw it too or I'd never believe it now that I'm grown.

I have no idea what caused it. To this day, it is absolutely the weirdest, creepiest thing about my childhood. The only explanation I can think of is "practical joke", but not only are the logistics wildly out of character for my grandparents (painting on the wall!?) but there is no way they'd take a joke this funny to the grave. So I've got nothing.

Any explanation that isn't "aliens" or "ghosts" would be much appreciated, because I'm baffled. We both are.

************************


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Meet the teenager who stole Queen Victoria’s panties

A Brief Tour of European Wedding Cake Traditions (I don't know how accurate any of this is, but it's interesting!)

Men, Listen Up: Women Like The Smell Of Guys Who Eat A Certain Diet

Lower-income children raised in counties with high upward mobility display fewer behavioral issues

Hungry Venezuelans turn to Colombia for a plate of food

Battery Theory: For when the Spoon Theory is too confusing

Women Are Dying Because Doctors Treat Us Like Men

Feeling bad about feeling bad can make you feel worse

Gratitude Lists Are B.S. — It Was an "Ingratitude" List That Saved Me

70 years after Pakistan-India split, Sikhs search for home

Hindu Today, Muslim Tomorrow

Without air conditioning, America’s prisons can be unbearable — and sometimes deadly

High-tech US plants offer jobs even as the laid-off struggle

Invasive earthworms at the root of sugar maple decline (Raise your hand if you've ever met anybody, no matter how green, who knew earthworms are non-native in the Americas.)

He’d been shot at 15. Now, amid Chicago’s relentless gunfire, he had one goal: Stay alive.

How Students' Brains Are in Danger on the Field

Kenya post-election deaths raise questions over police brutality

One third of Syrian refugee kids not in school, despite pledges

Killings of Black Men by Whites are Far More Likely to be Ruled “Justifiable”

America is hooked on the drug of white supremacy. We're paying for that today

White Supremacists Are Waging a War Against Public Space

A New Generation of White Supremacists Emerges in Charlottesville

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