morgandawn: (Fanlore Our Story)
[personal profile] morgandawn
The Media Fandom Oral History Project is in its 5th year. This  summer we were graced with a wonderful intern, Megan Genovese who was able to dedicate full time to the project. . Megan is returning to school and we would like to find 2-3 more interviewers to help interview those fans who were not able to schedule a slot with Megan over the summer. The interviews would be conducted over the phone using a dial in conference call system.

The commitment is modest - we're looking for someone to do 2 interviews a month over the phone. You would be responsible for contacting the fans, collecting the permission forms  and  scheduling a time to be interviewed. The interviews are 1-2 hrs long.

If interested, please email me at morgandawn @ gmail.com

Read more about the project here:  http://fanlore.org/wiki/Media_Fandom_Oral_History_Project

Please feel free to forward this info to anyone who is interested or link to this post.

We're also looking for fans willing to transcribe the summer interviews.


t-shirt crossover (not for me)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 07:33 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I was looking at a catalog today and found the most frightening t-shirt I've seen in a while.

The design was meant to be patriotic and comforting -- a kitten looking out from under a draped American flag. I can't fault the idea, though it's not to my taste.

However-- on a shirt? The kitten is all head and it's huge -- the size of a small leopard. And with the shading, it appears to be emerging from the wearer's chest, confidently searching for more food...

Facebook Kittens/Alien.

Not for the win. ewwww.
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
This morning I signed and initialed four copies of a contract, wrote a deposit check, and shoved it all into a FedEx envelope so it can arrive at the seller's attorney's office tomorrow morning. Keep your fingers crossed that it goes better this time than it did the last.

L keeps saying she has a good feeling about this, but I had a good feeling about the other one right up until I didn't, so I am not doing any premature celebrating at this point. I mean, I think last time everything went so smoothly and I was basically carried along feeling incredulous and lucky and we saw how that worked out so. Back to cautious optimism and trying to manage expectations. And looking at potential furniture and paint colors, of course.

Gosh, the carpeting is so bad. I mean, first of all, I don't like carpeting but secondly, why white shag? why brown? These are not appealing (to me, and given that the apartment was still available when I got to it, to a lot of other people). If you are trying to sell your apartment, maybe make better aesthetic choices! Don't even get me started on the number of really terrible photos I've seen. I realize that taking pictures is a skill, so if you don't have it, find someone who does to take your pictures and then - protip! - upload them in the right orientation. I closed out of so many potential listings because the photos were a. terrible and b. rotated 90° counterclockwise, making them impossible to parse without a lot of neck craning. Don't do that!

I mean, re: the ugly carpeting: I'll have money left to rip it up and sand/polish/seal the wood floors beneath, but I've seen apartments in the same neighborhood and price range that already had that done, and they look so much nicer. *hands*

Anyway, now the seller just has to sign and we can officially be "in contract" and move on to the next step in the process.

*yawns*

I'm so sleepy. I want to go home. All day I've thought it was Wednesday and that I would be off work for 6 days (I'm taking Thurs/Fri/Mon/Tues off), but no, it's only Tuesday. Stupid Tuesday. Always the worst.

***

what's getting (re)moved, what's not

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:35 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Some Confederate statues are being removed, some covered, some may be moved, and some won't go anywhere.

I have no problem with the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. They mark the locations where people stood or died when stuff happened; they are largely markers saying this unit was here, sometimes with names, sometimes not. They assist with understanding what happened in the battle. I don't recall offhand that there was anything glorifying the South there, in the way that there is elsewhere; but it's been a few years since I walked the entire battlefield, tracking troop movements.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I'm rereading Georgette Heyer's 'These Old Shades' and I just came to the place where it mentions, in a phrase in one sentence, Justin Alastair's secret efforts to put Charles Edward Stuart on the throne instead of George I. And that made me imagine a fanfic crossover that I have brain enough to write, though I'd love to read it. The other source would be Outlander, specifically the second volume where Jamie and Claire are in France attempting, subtly, to stop the Stuart uprising because Claire knows its outcome and wants to save the lives that would have been lost at Culloden, not to mention the destruction of the Highlands. The main problem in writing it would be viewpoint and style -- These Old Shades is written in a very mannered style, and the Outlanders, which are mostly from Claire's viewpoint, are a modern view of a past era. If it were from Justin's viewpoint -- he would not be quite the cynical onlooker that he is in 'Shades', at 45. He'd be a bit more like young Rupert, and I'm not sure how to do that. If it were from Claire's viewpoint, he might come out looking like a younger version of St. Germaine, which would not do. But what I would love to see is Justin's reaction to one of Claire's famous set-downs, whether aimed at him or at someone else. I suspect they would end up good friends, though I have no idea what Jamie would think of that.

Unfortunately, Leonie would not be able to be there in 1745 -- and her next appearance is in 'Devil's Cub', which I think dates to something like 1775 or 1780. By that time Jamie and Claire are in the Colonies, and I don't think they visit Paris together again for a while, though Jamie is there before that with his print shop. So the dates don't line up for a confrontation between Dominic, Leonie and Justin's son, and Bree, Claire and Jamie's tall, outspoken, red-haired daughter who wears breeches (Leonie would like that, though.)

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:03 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
My close friend, G (who has been featured in these pages a lot), just flew out to Washington state to be with her family. Her father had a stroke last night while riding his motorcycle, and was in a serious accident. He's now in an induced coma while they work out the scale of his injuries and the necessary treatment. Things are touch and go.

If you are the good thoughts/energy/praying sort, if you could direct them toward G and her family, it would be so much appreciated. G is Jewish, so a special thank you to all my Jewish friends and their communities.

Thanks, my loves. ♥
la_rainette: (Default)
[personal profile] la_rainette
Today I contributed to two radio shows in Toronto*, experienced a total solar eclipse on a beach in Tennessee, and tomorrow I’m off to see Elvis.

Somehow my life took a surprising turn but I am not complaining. I think I am still less confused than the poor bat that went hunting in the middle of the eclipse just to find itself back in full daylight a minute later.

*the francophone community is tiny, as in, we all know each other, pretty much. A facebook friend I met through the school our kids attended together saw my post about going to Nashville. She works for Radio-Canada (the French side of the Canadian broadcasting company), and she messaged me with a kind request to call the morning program in Toronto to share my experience, which I did. And then they asked if they could call me again after the eclipse and I said yes. (And then I got emails and messages from good friends who heard me on the radio, because the community really is that tiny).

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Back from Paris

Aug. 21st, 2017 06:28 pm
marinarusalka: (Default)
[personal profile] marinarusalka
Thanks to everyone who congratulated me and The Boy on our engagement. You guys are awesome and I love you all.

We haven't set a date or made any concrete plans yet, but we're working on it. I'll post the details here as they come up, natch.

Here, have some pictures from our day trip to Giverny, where Monet lived and painted all those water lilies. It's an amazing place, and really does feel as if you've stepped inside an Impressionist painting.

ten pictures behind the cut )

Test post

Aug. 21st, 2017 03:03 pm
gorgeousnerd: #GN written in the red font from my layout on a black background. (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousnerd
I heard that if you post an entry via email, you can upload a picture to your entry? I'm trying a regular post via email before I try the post with the image.

With bonus cut text. )

Edit: Post worked! I wonder why the text was aligned so oddly?

It eclipsed!

Aug. 21st, 2017 03:58 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
We had an 85% eclipse, which means it got a little darker and the birds weren't singing though the insects were -- nothing shuts up a cricket. I have some phone photos of the light coming through the leaves in crescents on the sidewalks. And then it poured rain for ... 10 minutes? And the sun came out again, starting to strengthen. So, not the biggest deal -- but we were out on the front steps with our homemade cereal box viewers and so on, and the neighbors on either side came over and hung out and watched it with us, which was very cool.
musesfool: Batman + A BABY driving a BUS (just like driving a really big pinto)
[personal profile] musesfool
You know, if I had known that viewing the eclipse via the selfie camera was okay, I might have done that rather than watched it via the NASA livestream on youtube, but I only just found that out. Boss3 got a cool picture that way.

Anyway, we had it set up on a screen here in the conference room, so people could wander in and out, rather than having 400 people trying to stream it individually. I was outside in the beginning of it, but it didn't seem to be getting darker or anything (we didn't get the totality here), and I had no glasses or pinhole viewer, so I just came back inside and ate my bagel.

The only real downside is that I have had "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in my head for at least a week. Even listening it to a few times hasn't cured the damn earworm. That video remains super creepy.

In other news, last night, I finally watched Lego Batman, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I'm always a sucker for Bruce learning to be a good Batdad to his Batkid(s). The one thing I didn't care for was the Bruce/Babs insinuations, but at least she didn't seem into it, so that was fine. (Also, yay for Rosario Dawson, bridging that MCU/DCU divide!)

***

Outlander Forum -- new community!

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:55 am
jo: (outlander)
[personal profile] jo posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo
Calling all fans of the Outlander books and/or TV series!

I don't have any clever graphics because I am not a clever-graphics person, but with the season 3 premiere fast approaching (September 10!), I invite all Outlander fans to join [community profile] outlander_forum, a discussion community for fans of the Starz TV adaptation and/or Diana Gabaldon's books. Please note that at this time, this is aiming to be purely a discussion forum, not a forum for fanworks (icons, fanfic, etc.) as there are other venues for that. This might change down the road, but for now, the focus will be on discussing the show, the books, and related issues.

All welcome!

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:17 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
I watched an episode of Hawaii Five-0 on Friday evening for want of anything else to do. I haven't watched the show in a couple of years because its traffic in stereotypes and jingoism just made it too hard to watch, but Friday I figured I'd give it a go.

Holy moley, it's still the gayest show on TV that thinks it's not gay at all.

Steve and Danny's storyline was the B-plot (or was the case the B-plot? Hard to say). It was Valetine's Day weekend, and Steve and his girlfriend were headed to a hotel to spend a romantic weekend together. Steve cracks open a beer and wanders onto the hotel balcony . . . and discovers Danny already drinking a beer on the next balcony over.

Danny stares at him for a long time and says, "Why?"

INDEED, DANNY. INDEED.

Ends up Danny and Steve's gfs have decided they all need to hang out together, so they got adjoining rooms at the hotel. Danny is particularly perturbed by this as he doesn't think his romantic game is strong and it'll be particularly hard with Steve there with his "judgey" face. So they bicker and then have a conversation about . . . safe words. I kid you not.

*hands*

The rest of the S/D storyline includes:

* Everyone playing volleyball (not gay, right? Their gfs are there!) . . . to the Kenny Loggins song that played during the volleyball scene in Top Gun (aka THE GAYEST)

* Steve and Danny going out for a swim together and wading back from the water together

* Steve and Danny breaking and entering into someone's hotel room in search of Danny's sunglasses

* Steve and Danny having facials in the spa. The camera eventually widens to show the gfs are there, but then Danny decides he can't stand spa-ing a moment longer and leaves, and Steve goes after him to check he's okay.

* A romantic dinner on the beach for the four of them, but Steve and Danny sit beside each other, and Steve throws his arm around Danny and caresses his ear.

I just . . . are the writers trying to send a message? Do they all have secret RL crushes on their friends? Who puts the volleyball music from Top Gun to a scene where Steve and Danny (or for that matter their gfs) are playing a game and thinks "that will read straight"?

I am so looking into the camera like Ben Wyatt right now.

My day has gone a bit cockammie. I was supposed to see my psychiatrist at 9.20 but there are storms the whole way between there and here (an hours drive) and I just cannot. So now I have to squeeze it in next week between various work things. Fun! It frees up some time for me to do other things, but I'm so flummoxed by the order of my day being thrown out of whack that I don't exactly know what other things I want to do. Brains.

A program I've been working on all summer starts up this Wednesday with training days for everyone involved, and then our participants arrive on Saturday. I usually look forward to the participants arriving, but I am so utterly over this program after working on it the past three months that I feel no anticipation. It was supposed to be a program run by me and one of my bosses, but then she left, and everyone assumed I would just pick up the slack. But it is a two-person job, and there is only one of me, so I am left very tired, frustrated, and out of fucks for the whole thing. It'll get done, but oy. I have an email in to my other boss about extra compensation for all my work, so I hope they come through on that.

I guess I'm feeling frustrated overall that I never got a chance to have a summer. I did some very cool things - I loved getting a glimpse of Boston; my conference in Virginia last week was amazing - but save for four hours on a Michigan beach, I've had no real time off, and no time to take time off at that. So today I'm feeling very grumpy.

Boo on that. Perhaps I should bribe myself to do work and go to the coffeeshop? That would be a fun place to be even if the work I'm doing is not fun itself. Sounds like a plan.

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 05:22 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Sarah is raising funds to help save her family's house, where they are facing eviction. They are dealing with her mother's illness and recent unemployment, and they are trying to raise $100K to cover hospital bills and mortgage payments. You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for the legal fees for protestors in Durham, who pulled down the Confederate statue. You can read more and support their legal defense here.

[personal profile] spasticat has been unemployed since October of last year, and while she's been actively looking for work, her benefits and savings have run out; she's raising funds for utilities, medication, and rent. At the end of September she is also moving back home, and needs funds to cover the move. You can read more and support her YouCaring here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. You can read more and purchase them here.

Housing:

[personal profile] in_the_bottle is looking for a new housemate in London, in Fulham SW6, bordering Hammersmith. Two professional females, at least one fandom friendly. You can read more and get in touch here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/2fWV40z on August 20, 2017 at 08:19PM

Mysteries of the Force http://ift.tt/2x4mCVM

Tags:IFTTT, Fauxthentic History, DWCrosspost

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
amyvanhym: (goodnight)
[personal profile] amyvanhym posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo


Freedom of expression is increasingly under threat online and offline. Join [community profile] freedom_of_expression to engage in discussion of relevant news, viewpoints and personal experiences relating to free expression and the impediments it faces.
musesfool: Huntress being awesome (don't think cause i understand i care)
[personal profile] musesfool
I ended up marathoning all 8 episodes of Defenders last night. I enjoyed it. It doesn't have the same thematic cohesiveness that Jessica Jones does and the fights aren't as good as they were in the first season of Daredevil, but it's a fun ride if you enjoy the characters, and it helps that everyone else finds Danny Rand as annoying as the audience does. *hands*

spoilers )

So it was a good way to spend 7-ish hours, and it didn't leave me in a state of existential dread the way JJ did.

the other day, in anticipation of this show, I was making a list of ladies with robot arms, and I couldn't come up with many - Misty Knight, Nina Sharp, Lirael, Furiosa... who else is there?

***

clarification

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:05 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
When I ask you not to show images of that torch march, or of the Swastika, it's not because I think sweeping them under the digital rug will Solve All Our Problems about race in America.

We all have to work through our own mental crap, the stuff we inherited from parents and society and friends. That's our job. That's each individual person's job -- to figure out for 'self what is true and right and honest and compassionate.

But that doesn't mean we are obliged to take on what those symbols represent. We are not obliged to be on the side that believes that hatred, racism, and genocide will make a better world.

We know that's not true.

In the meantime, we do not have to do the Nazis' work by spreading their images, by giving them our minds. We don't owe them that. We don't owe them anything, not one thing.

In Second Life terms, they're griefers. They get their rocks off by causing trouble, by hurting people, by causing damage. Unfortunately, in real life, I cannot press two buttons and ban them from the US. I don't have that power here. Neither do you.

So we need to keep them out of our heads. And not allow them to add to the pile of stuff we're already dealing with.

It's important to know who your enemies are. It's also important to know when they are trying mind games and to not let them win.

(Apologies if this is not as thoughtful as usual. I have a hell of a headache.)
la_rainette: (Default)
[personal profile] la_rainette
As far as I can tell, Kentucky is pretty and people are very friendly. They keep talking to us even though we understand maybe 10% of what they say. We mostly nod and look benevolently confused and vague in return.

Waiter: where are you from?
Me: Canada.
Waiter: but where exactly?
Me: Toronto.
Waiter: oh, well, you’re not too bad. Them Quebec people, I can’t understand a word they say.

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twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Here's the thing. The point of the white supremacists' march in Charlottesville was to make us feel afraid and helpless. You know this and I know this. But there's a psychological bit in there that a friend on Facebook pointed out that I had missed.

It's this: the symbolism of them carrying torches. Something about that apparently goes back to a primordial bit of the brain that keeps the fear going. Maybe it's the shared ancestral memory of towns and cities burning centuries ago -- every one of us has, somewhere in our history, some ancient family member who was burned out of a home in some war or other. (I can tell you that my own ancestral fear of being burned out goes back two generations, to when my grandfather's blacksmith's shop went up in flames in midwinter, and it was a hard fight by the local fire brigade to keep the house nearby from going up as well. If both hadn't been next to the river, the family would have been homeless.) But the point is that something nearly primordial in us sees campfires as friendly (we cook over them) and torches as hostile, unfriendly and dangerous. And when it's a mob with torches? Especially dangerous and frightening.

And those of us who post and repost news items are spreading images of torches. We're doing the frightening for them and keeping it going. Think about what happened when we kept seeing the Twin Towers collapsing in the weeks after 9/11, when the horror and the fear just did not go away because those images kept feeding it.

So this is what I am asking you to do:

1. If, anywhere on any social media, you have posted a picture from Charlottesville with torches in it, please delete it. Or edit it so it's a bunch of ugly white men without torches. We already know what happened there -- everyone knows. We don't have to see that picture any more. We don't have to spread their message of hate for them. That's not our job.

2. Take extra care to keep your own mind free from that image, and from the fear that it and other images of the Charlottesville riot can foster. Make sure to spend time with loving pets, or out in nature, or with people you love or doing things you care about. Make sure to put joy in your life on purpose, not by accident, in whatever way pleases you. Take time to appreciate good things around you. Joy and appreciation are powerful weapons against fear; they set the ground for generosity, caring and peace.

Thank you.
rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
[personal profile] rivkat
Michael J. Yochim, Protecting Yellowstone: Details a series of conflicts about park management over the past few decades, including the reintroduction of wolves, the continued use of snowmobiles, gold mining, and allowing bison to roam beyond park boundaries. The bottom line is simple: politics always wins. But political coalitions can be built depending on the strength of the relevant science, as well as on the framing of issues as being about protecting nature, preserving access to the park, or promoting the economy of the surrounding areas.

Joan C. Williams, White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in AmericaRead more... )

Recipe Flail 3

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:19 pm
loup_noir: (Default)
[personal profile] loup_noir
Our greenhouse is filled with perfectly ripe eggplants right now.  Too full, actually.  While my guy has been making vats of what we call "greenhouse glop," I've been trying to figure out what else to do with them.  Luckily, Thug Kitchen had a great idea.

Grilled Eggplant with Soba Noodles

Read more... )
Would I make it again.  You bet!  This is the sort of recipe that begs to be mucked with.  I thought it wanted some peppers, whatever sort you can eat raw or briefly grilled.  My guy wanted chili sauce.  Might substitute cilantro for the basil, which disappeared in the mix.
goodbyebird: Xena: Xena with armor and sword in hand, ready to do some shit. (Xena strut)
[personal profile] goodbyebird posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo


small batch icons is dedicated to the idea that less is more.

Much like how the restriction of a hundred words can turn a drabble into a work of art, so our theory is that a posting limit of five icons makes the selected images shine.

For icon makers, this makes coding posts way easier. Plus, there's the bonus of getting to share icons more often, hot off the press.

For icon shoppers, it's the ultimate in browsing convenience.

come on by =)

it's the drunks singing 'my way'

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:45 pm
musesfool: close up of the Chrysler Building (home)
[personal profile] musesfool
I am intending to start watching The Defenders, but my internet has been dropping intermittently, which is fine if I'm reading fic but annoying when trying to watch Netflix. Who knows if this will even post? Not me!

eta: it did not post at 2:10 when I wrote it, but the internet seems to be working now at 3:45.

In other news, I was originally supposed to go my lawyer's office sign the contract on the coop on Thursday, but then he was like, "it's no different from the first contract for the other purchase, so I can see if they'll accept an electronic signature, or I can overnight the copies to you and you can send them on to the seller's attorney with the deposit check when you've signed." And I said, "great!" because it's not really convenient for me to get to his office. But the seller hasn't forwarded some of the documents he needs to review before I can sign, so that hasn't happened yet. Arrgh. So annoying. Because I need to forward copies of all of that to the loan officer as well, so she can proceed.

It's always something. Sigh. I'm still not sure I believe anything will ever actually happen, so I guess I'm more zen about it this time? Last time it went so smoothly right up until it didn't. Maybe this one going in fits and starts is more realistic and will have a better outcome? Idek.

***
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Dreamwidth will not allow me to respond to replies to comments in other people's journals now. It simply will not allow me onto the page.

Petra: when I was there, St. Bonaventure University was 1800 people in all, plus 200 or so grad students, so fairly small. Not without its bad behavior by some and a number of outright scoundrels, but I don't recall Paladino being one of them.

In My Fear And Flaws.

Aug. 19th, 2017 12:14 pm
rionaleonhart: okami: amaterasu is startled. (NOT SO FAST)
[personal profile] rionaleonhart
I recently had a conversation with my housemate about how extremely screwed up the Animorphs books were, containing the line, 'Yeah, that's not the first genocide in the Animorphs books.' It reminded me that I once wrote an Animorphs-inspired short story for school, and my English teacher called my parents because she was worried about my psychological health. (Look, we were prompted to write about nightmares! Were you expecting something nice?)

Seriously, though. There's one book where a kid's parents have been enslaved by mind-controlling aliens, so he goes, 'Well, I'll just murder this terminally injured kid and morph into him and go "look, I've made a miraculous recovery!" and then I'll have his parents,' and our heroes end up trapping him permanently in the body of a rat on an isolated island, which gets a reputation for being haunted because passing sailors can hear the rat-kid's psychic screams. One of our heroes, in rat form, is forced to chew through her own tail so their horrible plan will work. I was maybe ten years old when I read this.

Wait, are the Animorphs books the origin of my fondness for the Teenagers Suffering Horribly genre? They're definitely the origin of my writing style; the influence is really, really obvious when I reread my early Pokémon fanfiction. I've kept the 'very straightforward prose, lots of dialogue' aspects to this day. (And, on a content note, I'm still writing about teenagers suffering horribly.)


The theme of the inevitable Linkin Park segment in this entry is 'songs Linkin Park inexplicably never released on an album and don't have on their official YouTube channel EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE GREAT', because I went on a desperate hunt after hearing 'No Roads Left'. I've never heard Mike sing like this before! He usually raps or sings more gently; I had no idea he could manage something this desperate. And 'Across the Line' (warning for suicidal themes) is easily polished enough to be an album song; the buildup of the instruments is great. (The cats just had a DRAMATIC BATTLE while I was listening to it, and it made for the most incredible background music.)

Moving to some softer songs, 'She Couldn't' (again, suicidal themes) is also very good, although at least I can see why this one never ended up on an album: it was recorded in the Hybrid Theory era and wouldn't have fit with the harder sound of their other songs at the time, and the sampling might have created legal issues. And I love the instrumentation and singing on Blackbirds, although the lyrics hurt.

(Hard to think of any song from this band where the lyrics don't hurt. I'm doing a little better now (writing that horrible Until Dawn timeloop fic was incredibly cathartic and helped me claw myself out of a bad psychological dip), but it's been a really tough month. Chester's death in many ways feels like the death of my childhood, and it also got tangled up in my head with the death of a friend of mine under similar circumstances years ago, so I've been grieving on a weird number of levels.

WAIT, CURSES, I GOT SAD IN AN ENTRY AGAIN AND THE RULES SAY I HAVE TO POST SOMETHING CUTE TO MAKE UP FOR IT. Here are Chester and Joe putting on a stupid puppet show with puppets of the band members. I love the 'making fun of friends you know really well' feel of it. I also enjoyed Chester bouncing around ridiculously to a silly version of 'One Step Closer'.)

Never go on vacation, ever.

Aug. 19th, 2017 12:58 am
aome: Me as a toddler (toddler ice cream)
[personal profile] aome
veggies081817.jpg

This is what happens when you go away for 10 days, your BIL/SIL only manage to check on the garden on the 10th day (both are workaholics and it also rained a fair amount), and it's another 4 days before you, personally, manage to inspect the garden. And this doesn't even count the zillions of tomatoes that spoiled on the vine.

It took another 2 days (during which I had to toss a few more tomatoes that started spoiling on the counter) but this evening my BIL (with Will's help) turned the cucumbers into pickles, and I blanched/froze the broccoli, cooked the beans for dinner, and made a giant pot of spaghetti sauce (still simmering, which is why I'm up so late). The large peppers can be turned into pickled peppers and Will uses the cayennes in his food. Still have the giant bowl of cherry tomatoes, will have to eat those right quick. (We did manage to give away a few tomatoes and cucumbers, but not that many.)

I spent the entire evening in the kitchen, actually, making LOADS of stuff, while Will zoned out )

Of course, the fact that it's now been 2 days since I was last in the garden (well, as of Sat, I mean, which it technically is), this means that produce has had plenty of time to re-spawn, and I can start the process all over again! :P

Checking in

NSFW Aug. 18th, 2017 08:04 pm
karaokegal: (hugh piano)
[personal profile] karaokegal
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

assorted stuff from a hell of a week

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:19 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
"Things won't change if the Grand Wizard remains in office." And he's running out of Republicans to alienate. Mitt Romney called on him to back away from his response to Charlottesville.

Since the police refused to protect the Charlottesville synagogue, the synagogue has hired armed security guards.

You'll never be as radical as this 18th Century Quaker dwarf. So you know: Quakers did not wear military uniforms or take up arms. This is relevant.

White pride is not a culture. And Southern pride in a time of terror, which talks about real Southern culture.

A social justice syllabus.

The entire US military has broken away from Trump and openly denounced racism.

The ACLU will no longer defend hate groups protesting while carrying firearms. This is a first.

A 21-year-old Nazi sympathizer who marched in Charlottesville is now whining that his life is over because he was identified as marching with Nazis and KKK. I don't have a violin small enough.

The real horror of Trump's response to Charlottesville.

A Charlottesville ER nurse talks, after a day of decompression.

Retracing Willa Cather's steps in the south of France.

Are we different writers when we move from longhand to a screen? I can say that I write poetry differently with a pen in hand, and essays differently, and I don't write nonfiction there at all.

The landscape of Civil War commemoration. 13,000 monuments, and descriptions.

Churches Uniting in Christ statement on white nationalism and white supremacism. The member churches of CUIC include the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

The president's Arts and Humanities Council, founded by Obama, has resigned over Trump's Charlottesville response.

Bannon's out of the White House; Trumpists are more afraid of him now.

3 major charities canceled Mar-a-Lago galas.

Charlottesville forces media and tech companies to draw a line on what they will allow.

In Oregon, rural Muslims fight for safety and inclusion.

In Iran, cracking down on journalists.

Ranking countries by their blasphemy laws.

New Dallas police officers face questions on how an ethical officer would act.

It's hard to find an impartial jury for pharmaceuticals scammer Martin Shkreli's
trial.
la_rainette: (Default)
[personal profile] la_rainette
So tomorrow we’re off to NASHVILLE, because there is no way we’re going to let a total solar eclipse pass this close without doing our best to set ourselves smack in the middle of its path. 

The first and only time I saw a solar eclipse was in 1999, in France. Froglet was four months old and like every new mum I couldn’t help fretting: what if she opened her eyes and looked directly at the sun! What if this hurt her eyes! (she slept through the whole thing). It was a slightly cloudy day and yet it was amazing. I remember the feeling of awe as we watched  the enormous shadow of the moon, swift and steady, moving across the fields. I remember how the birds suddenly fell still… and when the sun came back everyone just spontaneously clapped, because DAMN but that was a great show. :D I spent the following months/years checking websites to find out when/if I could arrange to see another one, it was that incredible. So yeah, we’re doing it again, only it’s a little further this time. Tadpole is very excited, she’s been counting the days for the past few months. 

And then we’ll visit Graceland. Don’t even ask. 

ANYWAYS: this should be fun. :D I’ll post pictures if I can. 

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2wpWKpD
via IFTTT
rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
[personal profile] rivkat
Robert H. Lustig, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and BrainsRead more... )

Richard S. Dunn, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and VirginiaRead more... )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
1. Look out the window and see how many demonstrators there are and how well armed they are. If you can't see them from there, go where you can. Take a picture with your phone - if you don't have a cell phone, get your aide to do it. Estimate the number of people in the group, their general ages and level of organization, and the visible armaments present. Is it signs on wood, not cardboard, posts? Is it flags on wooden flagpoles? Clubs? Swords? Is it pistols? Shotguns? Semi-automatic weapons? You should be able to tell from the photo. Are there insignia or symbols present? What groups do they represent? What is the goal of those groups?

1a. If there are fewer demonstrators than your available police and with less-able weapons, send the police to keep order. Or even if there are a few more but they are not heavily armed.

2. If there are more demonstrators than you have police, or they are better armed (though with all the gifts of military weaponry to local police groups this seems unlikely), get on the phone to call your State Police, local station or substation, and inform them of the situation and ask them for help. State police are well armed, generally extremely well trained, and just the people who should be there making sure things stay calm and the different groups of demonstrators stay clear of one another.

3. If for some reason (I cannot think of one but perhaps one exists in some alternate universe) you cannot call the State Police for help (or, in Virginia, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Police), get on the phone to the governor and ask for the local branch of the National Guard to be mobilized to protect the people of your constituency.

Dear mayor/supervisor/top elected official, it is your job to make sure that peaceful protesters are not beaten down either by police or by armed insurgents who consider themselves protesters although by being armed and hostile they do not come under the coverage of the First Amendment. It is your job to keep people safe. If you don't call out adequate police/state cops/Guardsmen, you are failing your job and your people, and you do not deserve to be in office.

Is that clear???
musesfool: anakin's lightsaber (this is your life)
[personal profile] musesfool
So maybe there finally is an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie in the pipeline. Ewan McGregor's been pretty vocal about wanting to do one and he's the right age for something set smack dab in the middle of Obi-Wan's sad desert hermit years, which is what I'm guessing they'll do. The comics have been delving into that time a bit, and I would love to see either a noir or an elegiac western (or a noir western!) featuring him fighting Hutts and bounty hunters while watching over Luke (who wouldn't be present onscreen) from afar.

And Disney's already got Rosario Dawson in all the Marvel Netflix shows, so slap some head tails on her and have Ahsoka show up, and maybe Bail Organa as well. (I mean, I would ALSO be super into them retconning Satine's death if it meant we could get Cate Blanchett showing up as Satine. Or I guess they could cast Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan for live action too.)

I feel like the only way I'd be interested in a young, non-Ewan Obi-Wan movie is if they give us the story of his year on the run with Satine, but then they'd have to actually make all that Mandalorian stuff make sense, and I'm not sure that 1. it does or could, and 2. that I care about anything except their angsty teen romance. It would mean bringing Liam Neeson back, which I'm not sure they'd do either. It would also require finding a young actor who could pull it off which could be difficult. Otoh, there's Tom Holland? He could maybe? idk.

And in conclusion, I think sad desert hermit Obi-Wan fighting Hutts and gangsters is the way to go.

***

Help!

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:41 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am having an extreme amount of trouble logging in and staying logged in. Dreamwidth is requiring me to log in every time I go to a different page for the last two days. I had to log in to go from my reading page to here. It doesn't recognize my login sometimes and asks if I want to start an account -- when I have been here since the beginning. It is ignoring me when I check 'remember me' at login.

I have tried to contact support, but it logs me out as I write the ticket, and then does the same thing when I write it again. And then tells me the entry is invalid and needs to be done over. For this reason I haven't been able to contact Support.

If anyone from Support is reading this, would you please do what you can to stop this frustrating situation?

Helping Charlottesville kids

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:17 am
sheafrotherdon: (Default)
[personal profile] sheafrotherdon
A good friend of mine lives and works (as a teacher) in Charlottesville, and her school librarian has put together a list of books to help kids in the city process what's been happening. If you have a little money, please buy one of the books at the link below and help Charlottesville's kids directly!

[here!]

Believe what you see.

Aug. 18th, 2017 12:01 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
From a Charlottesville resident:

"There seems to be a perception from people outside of Charlottesville that what is going on here is two opposing groups coming to town and fighting some ideological battle that has gotten messy. That is not what is happening here. What is happening here is that several hate groups from the extreme right have come together under the "unite the right" banner here in our town and basically started acting as terrorists. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's not...."
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Confederate-honoring statues are going down. In Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA. And Lexington, KY. And quite a few other places. And Nancy Pelosi wants them out of the Capitol. Here's a list across the country.

And whose heritage do public symbols of confederacy belong to, anyway?

Florida has more racist hate groups than any other state; I wonder how old the members are.

Texas A&M cancels a rally by white supremacists, because of the possibility of violence against students.

Congressman Will Hurd and others say Trump should apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville.

Not only did Trump's business leaders walk away from him, they're not quiet about why. Here's another statement of why, including the following: "To be clear, the council never lived up to its potential for delivering policies that lift up working families. In fact, we were never called to a single official meeting, even though it comprised some of the world’s top business and labor leaders. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. joined to bring the voices of working people to the table and advocate the manufacturing initiatives our country desperately needs. But the only thing the council ever manufactured was letterhead. In the end, it was just another broken promise."

It took quite a bit of behind the scenes discussion, apparently.

And a look into the past history of American racism in the other inconvenient truth. Note the role Nixon had in creating hatred and persecution that continues to this day.

The racist who organized the Charlottesville white separtists ran away from his own press conference. Another white separatist was stuck having a press conference in his own office after two hotels turned him down.

I am not sure I agree with this idea of how to handle Trump, by making him say only what is written down. Why? I'm not sure he's literate enough to deal with the concepts. Even when he writes things down, they're offensive, ignorant, ahistorical and just plain wrong. And he's as much of a racist in private as in public. It's not just for show. He's bad enough at being president that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is saying, publicly, Trump lacks the stability and competence to do the job. Is he about to go down in flames? The big question: What do you do when the President is unAmerican?

At this point, domestic terrorism is not a federal crime; that may change soon. Or we may have to consider if we are heading for another civil war.

Bannon doesn't understand about interviews. He should. He was a founder of Breitbart, and fell down their hole long ago.

And Silicon Valley is having an anti-Nazi purge. Twitter is shutting down white supremacist accounts. Can they shut down Trump now? Maybe the damaging myth of the longer genius nerd is involved.

The NYTimes has thoughts on how to roll back fanaticism.

***

Is there a better way to protest?

Malala is going to Oxford.

New Jersey introduces a fund to support local journalism.

A new poem by Sherman Alexie.

Trump's anti-abortion policies could keep girls around the world out of school.

Top journalists talk about the best job advice they were ever given. And 7 quick tips for conducting tough interviews.

When someone is hit by a train in the NY Subway, where do they put the body? In the MTA lunchrooms!

Some thoughts on signaling behavior and decisionmaking in government.

Buddhist wisdom: Everything we do matters, but two things are critical.

You don't know about Vernice Warfield, but you should.

Meg Wollitzer on feeling strong without a security blanket.

Talking with Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo.

hope for an answer some day

Aug. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
musesfool: toph (come with me if you want to live)
[personal profile] musesfool
TNT has optioned N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season! Which is great news!

I have questions though, because I can't imagine it being an easy novel to adapt. spoilers )

It'll be interesting TV regardless, I bet.

***

And down they come

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:34 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
In Baltimore, four Confederate statues were taken down at night and without prior notice, by order of the mayor. The City Council had called for their removal, also.

In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.

Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.

A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.

Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.

And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.

***

In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?

TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.

"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.

Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.

Libraries are the real punk rock.

100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.
rivkat: Dean reading (dean reading)
[personal profile] rivkat
Either my internet access is really bad or something is wrong with DW; either way, apologies for the lack of cuts.

Ron Formisano, American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class: This cri de coeur about corruption has a lot of outrage, but it’s short on definitions and thus on solutions. At times, Formisano suggests that anyone with a state, local, or federal government job is part of the oligarchy, as well as doctors, people in positions of authority at nonprofits, think tanks, and businesses. There is a lot of corruption in the US; the chapter about the abuses in Kentucky, where poverty, pollution, child mortality, and other indicators of suffering are extremely high, should make anyone angry. I understand getting mad at nonprofit CEOs who are compensated like for-profit CEOs—but the problem is not the parity (I don’t like the argument that “you chose a helping profession, you should accept less pay because of how good it feels to do good”; not only is it a trope usually used to justify paying female-dominated professions less, it positions doing good as something you ought to have to pay for, when really you ought to have to pay for acting solely in your own self-interest) but the fact that anybody can get paid as much as for-profit CEOs do, with so little tax. It is appalling that CEOs of nonprofit hospitals are paid hundreds of millions while the hospitals garnish the wages of poor patients who can’t pay—but that is true of for-profit hospitals too.

Formisano also points out that our federal legislators get perks that let them live like millionaires even when (as is increasingly unlikely) they aren’t; during the 2013 government shutdown, Congresspeople stopped National Airport from closing because it served them and also deemed their own gyms and pools “essential” enough to stay open, though the workers there still didn’t make very much. These privileges, he suggests, corrupt even the people who moved up in class, so that a visionary leader at Brown University speaks eloquently about admitting more students from poor backgrounds but also doesn’t want to interfere with alumni preferences because she has a granddaughter. The elites funnel money to themselves and their families by self-dealing, whether in government (remember Kim Davis?), nonprofits, or business. Disgrace, if exposure occurs, is ameliorated by a soft landing—a pension, positions on other boards, and soft words from one’s co-elites. Even nonprofits are in on the game, and they increasingly replace grassroots activism with palatable-to-elites causes that are organized from the top.

Formisano quotes Robert Borosage’s criticism of liberal focus on “opportunity” instead of equity or punishment for elite cheaters as “passive voice populism,” to good effect. Defunding tax collection is just another mechanism of harm—creating more loopholes for cheaters, who are subsidized by ordinary wage workers whose taxes are collected automatically. Though it’s relatively easy to cherry-pick from history, this John Adams quote seemed apposite: “civil, military, political and hierarchical Despotism, have all grown out of the natural Aristocracy of ‘Virtue and Talents.’ We, to be sure, are far remote from this. Many hundred years must roll away before We shall be corrupted.”

James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law: Repeatedly, Nazis looking for inspiration looked to the US system of racial discrimination, primarily in the treatment of immigration, the rights of those in non-state territories, and anti-miscegnation laws. Whitman emphasizes that the Nazis’ crimes were their own and that they also rejected liberal and democratic parts of American law. They also appealled to racist practices among other European colonial powers. Still, Whitman argues that, because the Nazis didn’t envision the Holocaust when they started out, they found compelling analogies in American discriminatory practices, even though these practices were often not aimed at Jews. As with everything about America, it was possible to be selective, and the Nazis had no problem claiming that New York City had “very little to do with ‘America’” because of all its race-mixing and Jews.

Hitler was able to see the US as a model of Nordic supremacy, and he wasn’t alone; a Nazi historian described the Founding, in what Whitman says was the received wistom of the time, as “a historic turning point in ‘the Aryan struggle for world domination.’” One detailed scholarly work, Race Law in the United States, had as heroes Jefferson and Lincoln—Jefferson because of his insistence that blacks and whites couldn’t live under the same government if both were free, and Lincoln because of his early calls for black resettlement outside the US. Similarly, “Nazi expansion eastward was accompanied by invocations of the American conquest of the West, with its accompanying wars on Native Americans…. Indeed as early as 1928 Hitler was speechifying admiringly about the way Americans had ‘gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand, and now keep the modest remnant under observation in a cage’ ….”

Jim Crow segregation, Whitman contends, wasn’t all that important to the Nazis, but citizenship and sex/reproduction were, and it was there that they took lessons from the US. In fact, “Nazis almost never mentioned the American treatment of blacks without also mentioning the American treatment of other groups, in particular Asians and Native Americans.” American immigration and naturalization law was, almost uniquely, racist and race-based, and Hitler praised it for being so in Mein Kampf. And there were various forms of de jure and de facto second-class citizenship for African-Americans, Filipinos, and Chinese, to which the Nazis could look as they created second-class citizenship for Jews—drawing on, for example, the distinction between “political rights” and “civil rights” that American whites offered to excuse segregation. Indeed, some Nazis considered openly race-based laws to be more honest about keeping “alien races” from getting the upper hand; they had no need for grandfather clauses, and they devised the Nuremberg Laws in part to “institute official state persecution in order to displace street-level lynchings,” which offended the facist need for state centralization.

The US was also unique in anti-miscegnation laws, with careful rules about blood quantum—in fact, there were no other models for such laws for the Nazis to consult. And it mattered, Whitman suggests, that America was seen as a dynamic country—confirmation for the Nazis that the future was going in their direction. Among other things, American creativity on the definition of race showed that one didn’t need a purely scientific or theoretical definition of race, despite the leanings of German law; one could proceed with a political, pragmatic definition in enforcing anti-miscegenation and other discriminatory laws. Indeed, that’s ultimately what the Germans did when they defined Jews as including people with one Jewish parent if and only if they practiced Judaism or married Jews (rejecting, along the way, the even more aggressive American one-drop rule). Whitman concludes that we have to acknowledge that the Nazis practiced a particular kind of Legal Realism, whereby the law was supposed to assist in the process of social transformation, throwing formalism aside and recognizing reality—and reality, in both countries, was racist. “[T]o have a common-law system like that of America is to have a system in which the traditions of the law do indeed have little power to ride herd on the demands of the politicians, and when the politics is bad, the law can be very bad indeed.” Whitman finds the most prominent modern manifestation of this in the US in its harsh criminal justice system.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First -- you need to know that the March for Racial Justice has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, excluding anyone Jewish who might want to participate, and the organizers refuse to reschedule: behind cut for length )

ETA: They changed the date.

Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: behind cut for length )

Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )

Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:

1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/2wgwi1t on August 16, 2017 at 04:30PM

Tags:not a reblog, quotes, activism, PDWCrosspost2

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
morgandawn: (Cat How... Interesting!)
[personal profile] morgandawn
 I need help calculating upload speed times.

Our home connection uploads at 5 Mbs (bits).  In the fall a friend will have access to a 1 Gbs (bits) upload speed.

If I have around 1 TB(ytes) worth of data to upload, the math looks like this


1. Upload from MD's home = approximately 20 days (rounded up)
2. Upload from friend's location = 2-2 hrs

Now here's where it gets tricky. Some online backup servers cap the data flowing into their servers. Ex Sync.com caps it at
5 MB(ytes) or 40 M(bits)

In which case my math looks like this

1. Upload from MD's home = approximately 20 days (rounded up)
2. Upload from friend's location = 55-60 hrs (2+ days)

Did I get this correct?

I used this calculator
https://www.broadbandsolutions.com.au/business-centre/viewpoint/understanding-connection-speeds-megabytes-megabits

 

Nonfiction

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:46 pm
rivkat: Rivka as Wonder Woman (Default)
[personal profile] rivkat
Peter Weisz, Puzzle Tov!: Short book of Jewish-themed brainteasers, some of them based on pretty old jokes and some requiring mathematical cleverness. I enjoyed it and was stumped by more than a few, but had the appropriate head-slapping reaction when I read the answers. For a puzzle-loving kid (or even adult) in your life.

Alan Dugatkin & Lyudmila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution: Short but fun book about the Soviet/Russian project to breed tame foxes. Wolves and foxes are related enough to make the attempt plausible, but zebras and horses are also closely related enough to breed, and zebras haven’t been successfully domesticated despite numerous attempts, nor have deer except reindeer (even though they live near humans and aren’t usually aggressive towards us, not to mention being important food animals, all of which suggests domestication would be favored if it were feasible). The Soviets picked the least reactive and aggressive foxes and bred them; calmer foxes appeared within three breeding seasons. And slightly greater tameness also shortened their breeding cycle and raised fertility a bit higher, bolstering the theory that in-bred tameness had complex effects on the whole animal. (Unfortunately, these shorter mating cycles didn’t allow multiple fox generations within the same year—although the scientists had sold the project to the Soviet government on the promise of increasing fur production, the shorter cycles meant that the mothers didn’t produce enough milk for their pups, whom they ignored. The scientists hypothesized that a longer transition might have let milk production catch up with increased fertility, as with dogs and cats and pigs and cows.)

Later generations began to exhibit tail-wagging, whining, licking hands, and rolling over for belly rubs—still later, some of the tame foxes’ tails curled, again like dogs. Tamer foxes retained juvenile behaviors longer than wild foxes—wild fox pups are “curious, playful, and relatively carefree when they are very young,” but that changes at around 45 days, when they become more cautious and anxious. After only a decade of breeding, tamer pups stayed curious and playful twice as long.

Tame foxes began gazing into humans’ eyes, which for wild animals is a challenge that can start an attack. Humans themselves, though they weren’t supposed to interact differently with the foxes, couldn’t resist talking to them, petting them, and loving them. When dogs and owners gaze at one another, both see increased oxytocin, leading to increased interactions/petting, “a chemical lovefest.” Adult foxes began to engage in object play—extended play with objects that are known—which wild animals don’t do. (Birds, chimps, and even ants play (with mock fights), but play is usually skill practice.) The tamest fox one year lived with the main researcher for a while, like a dog, and when she returned to her group, she began seeking out caretakers when other foxes were being aggressive toward her. Tame foxes began to demonstrate loyalty to particular caretakers (unlike simply being calm around humans) and jealousy of other foxes who might take their favorites’ attention. They began to bark like guard dogs when strangers appeared. They learned social intelligence: tame fox pups were as smart as dog pups in interpreting human behavior, and smarter than wild fox pups. So selection acting on tameness brought social intelligence along with it, suggesting that there was no need for humans to have bred dogs to be smarter: it could just happen.

The Soviets also tested their work by creating a line of incredibly aggressive foxes using the same selection procedures. Workers were terrified of the new line. When aggressive fox pups were swapped with tame fox pups and raised by mothers from the other line, the pups behaved like their genetic mothers. Genes clearly played vital roles, though tame foxes’ bonds with individual people also showed the role of learned behaviors. The genetic changes worked by changing production of hormones and neurochemicals, like oxytocin. These chemical pathways might help explain why the changes could happen so fast. Tame foxes had higher levels of serotonin than their wild cousins, as dogs have more than wolves.

The evidence supports a theory of destabilizing selection—genes may be similar, but the activity of those genes is very different as between wolves and dogs, chimps and humans. The dramatic changes of domestication seemed to come not primarily from new genetic mutations that were then favored by selection, though that played a role, but from changes in the expression of existing genes that led to very different results. For example, tame foxes started being born with white stars on their foreheads, which happened because the embryonic cells responsible for coloring hair had been delayed in migrating to their places by two days, causing an error in the production of hair color. The expression of the relevant gene was affected by the other changes caused by selecting for tameness. We may even have selected ourselves for tameness using similar mechanisms—we have lower levels of stress hormones in groups than our chimp cousins, we can breed all year round, and our kids stay juvenile longer, like those of other domestic species. And the bonobo may be in the process of doing the same thing, though I’m not sure they’ll have a planet to inherit when their brains get as big as ours.

Speaking of which, the collapse of the Russian economy nearly led to the fox project’s demise. Many foxes starved or nearly starved; others were selected for sale for fur to keep the project alive, a process that also deeply traumatized their caretakers. In 1999, however, a popular science article about the project came out in the US, and they received enough donations to stay afloat, because humans are sentimental. Maybe someday you’ll be able to get your own tame fox pup.

Duncan Green, How Change Happens: Green works in international anti-poverty programs, and argues for a systems approach in which one iteratively works with groups at different levels of the system, leveraging elite points of entry while taking direction from people on the ground. I thought the concept of “positive deviance” was useful—find people in the group you’re trying to help who’ve overcome the problem you’re trying to solve, and see if you can help other people do the same thing, using the positive deviants as the model.

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