LJ Tos Changes - Poll

Apr. 10th, 2020 03:55 pm
kruel_angel_lj: (Default)
[personal profile] kruel_angel_lj posting in [community profile] spnstoryfinders
LJ recently moved it's servers to Russia and changed it's Terms of Service. There's an article on Gizmodo here and on another site here. I've had some people ask if we are going to move the Comm to another site. At the moment, no we don't. But I wanted to get opinions on the matter.

[Poll #2066125]

Trip to the dog races

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:58 pm
sasha_feather: Road and thunderheads (big sky)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Yesterday I went with my new friends to see some Greyhound races in Dubuque, Iowa. We were curious what it'd be like as we are all greyhound owners (ours are retired racers).

Dubuque is an hour and a half away, a gorgeous drive through Wisconsin's "Driftless" area, where the glaciers didn't come through and plow down the hills like they did in other areas of the Midwest. So there are rollling hills and steep valleys, dotted with farms and forests.

The casino is right off the highway and easy to find. The greyhound race area is technically not part of the casino, so you can be under 21 to enter that area. Indeed, we saw kids and teenagers watching the races. It's nice that there is no fee to enter, and you don't have to bet. The only thing we spent money on was food. There was a crowded upper observation area, and we went down some stairs to the outside part. It was almost hot yesterday, 76 degrees F (24 C). The benches were shaded by the casino building and the track was in bright sunlight.

The dogs were beautiful and lively. We watched about 4 races, each 10-15 minutes apart. We didn't place any bets but picked out the ones we thought might win based on how they acted and looked. Teenagers (presumably summer workers) brought the dogs out and lined them up to be looked at before leading them to the starting blocks.

I took some pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sasha_feather/tags/dubuque/

We drove around town a little bit and had some ice cream before heading home.

My friends asked me, can you imagine your out here dog doing this?
I think Abbie would have hated it. She's so anxious and scared in environments that are loud and chaotic; her preferred environment is quiet and calm. She doesn't seem to have a competitive spirit.
My last dog, Sorcha, was a winner though, and I imagined she enjoyed it at least somewhat.

Racing is controversial and people often ask me what I think of it. I still don't know what I think of it! It was cool seeing the dogs run. I think that when gambling and money enter into it, they tend to corrupt. I don't think racing is inherently bad, but making it into a big business means the animals' welfare isn't put first.
lilysea: (Indignant)
[personal profile] lilysea posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
Q: I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid in a very conservative wedding. I said yes a while ago to a friend that I’ve always “agreed to disagree” with. But since then I’ve come out as bi/pan to most people in my life and I have a girlfriend. The bride doesn’t know because it seemed safer to tell her after the wedding because I’ve heard her say homophobic things about sin and hell.

But things have gotten more complicated. I injured my leg and when I told her about it and asked if I could sit for the several hour long ceremony she told me I shouldn’t be a bridesmaid anymore. I’m hurt that she would kick me out of her wedding because I’m injured and I’ve already spent a lot on her gift, a flight there, etc. I’m not sure I can change my flight either (I had to be there several days early as a bridesmaid and I’m supposed to share a hotel room with her, I don’t think I can afford a room myself). My friends said if I don’t go to her wedding at all now I’m probably throwing away the friendship. I feel like she’s the one doing that by kicking me out over something I can’t control.

More than that, I’m afraid that if I go as a guest or try to suck up the pain to stand during the ceremony as a bridesmaid, that she will ultimately reject my friendship anyway when I do come out to her and I don’t want to put in all this time for nothing. If she rejects me for an injury it seems easy enough to reject me for being queer too since I know she thinks that’s a sin. I don’t know what to do.

A: Ayyyyy. I humbly submit that your first order of business is calling about your flight. Just see what the deal is there.

And wow yeah, she does sound like the kind of person who would reject you because of your queerness! What do you want to do? Like what feels like a decision you could live with. If I were in your position, I would slap a shipping label on that gift and take myself out for a milkshake. If I were in your position and feeling especially obligated for some reason, I’d change my flight to arrive closer to the actual wedding date, get my own hotel room, and be the cutest happiest friendliest son of a bitch at that party, where I would talk openly about my darling girlfriend and share my thoughts on a single-payer system and how abortion bans are class warfare, then leave with an air of smug superiority the likes of which that town had never seen.

Do what makes you feel like the best version of yourself, whether that’s protecting your feelings by not attending, or taking one on the chin to avoid a fallout. Make the decision you can live with, but above all else please know that you deserve friends who care more about your injured leg than the optics of a wedding party. Also, you know who has ceremonies that last for several hours when that shit can easily be handled in 45 minutes or less? Showboating assholes, that’s who. THERE I SAID IT.


Voice recognition for inputting

Oct. 23rd, 2017 12:25 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

When I'm with my sister Heidi, whether it be in Seattle or northeast Ohio or anywhere else in the world, she's often talking to Siri.  She asks Siri to look up information about trees, about food, about traditional medicines, about Yoga, about genealogy, and anything else she wants to investigate.  Above all, when we're driving around, she asks Siri for directions about how to get where we're going.

To me, who doesn't even own a cell phone, this is all quite miraculous.  A few days ago, at the conclusion of my "Language, Script, and Society in China" class, however, a new (for me) dimension of voice recognition was demonstrated by one of the students.

During the class period, we had been discussing the relative merits of phonetic inputting (e.g., Hanyu Pinyin) vs. shape-based inputting (e.g., writing on a pad or glass with one's fingertip) — cf. "Easy versus exact" (10/14/17).  As the class was disbanding, Ben Roth whipped out his cell phone, and demonstrated how efficient it was at entering Chinese text through speech.  Of course, everything he said was simple and routine, things like "wǒ ài nǐ 我爱你" ("I love you"), "tā shì wǒ de péngyǒu 他是我的朋友" ("he is my friend"), and so forth, but it did immediately and accurately turn Ben's spoken words into Chinese characters.

Krista Ryu, who was standing nearby, joked about writing a whole paper that way.  But would that be practical?  One thing that immediately comes to mind is how one makes corrections or revisions in what one has "typed" via voice input?  How do you backspace?  How do you delete?  How do you revise?  How do you move things around in the text (cut and paste)?

Voice inputting of Chinese characters has been around a long time.  I remember visiting the home of a Peking University professor about 25 years ago.  He showed me his new toy, which was some software that enabled him to input text via spoken language.  He had just gotten the software and he said that he was still "training" it to understand his unique accent (he also spoke with a noticeable stutter).  I watched him play around with it for about half an hour, but I don't think that he succeeded in entering even one complete, correct sentence.

I'm told that more and more people in China nowadays opt to enter text via voice, especially for very short messages on WeChat and similar social media applications.  That certainly is the EASY way out for dealing with the challenging writing system, but it may not be the most EXACT.


"Chinese character inputting" (10/17/15; includes references to earlier posts related to inputting)

"Stroke order inputting" (10/30/11)

"Voice recognition for English and Mandarin typing" (8/24/16)

"Voice recognition vs. Shandong accent" (3/1/15)

bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
Funny, I had assumed no one would be interested in this one. Should have known better.

contains talk of negative body image, weight and fitness )

Is this weird to post about? It feels weird to post about in a mainly fannish/media space. And this is only the summary version of things.

I'd better do it before I think twice. Or ten times, heh.


Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:02 pm
settiai: (D&D -- settiai)
[personal profile] settiai
Wow. This weekend has been an absolute roller coaster when it comes to D&D. Rambling under the cut. )


Oct. 22nd, 2017 07:34 pm
settiai: (Keyleth -- settiai)
[personal profile] settiai
So... as those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I accidentally adopted a new cat last weekend. Oops?

Long story short: one of my coworkers has a teenage son who's in college. Said son adopted a cat back in the spring, decided over summer vacation that she was too much work, and left her with his parents when he went back to school. His mom is severely allergic to cats. They tried keeping her for a few weeks, but my coworker's wife ended up in the emergency room unable to breathe because of it, so the cat ended up with me somewhat unexpectedly.

(I'd volunteered to take her, on the condition that WWIII didn't break out in my apartment when I tried introducing a third cat to the mix, but it was something that was tentative and wasn't planned for at least several more weeks. Then I got a phone call last Saturday night asking if my coworker could come by the next morning.)


Everyone, meet Keyleth (also known as Kiki.)

Garrus and Percy have been fine with her from the beginning. They've definitely been more curious than anything else. She, on the other hand, has been a little more wary. At this point, she's just starting to get used to being in a new environment with two much-larger-than-her cats around. (Kiki's approximately two years old, but she's tiny. Even smaller than Tali was, which is saying something.)

So far, so good. I left them alone without shutting anyone up in the bedroom for the first time earlier today, while I played D&D over at the game store near my place, and the apartment was still standing when I got home. Kiki's still somewhat wary of Garrus and Percy, but the worst she's done is hiss and go pout under the bed for a little while before coming back out. And neither of them seems to be taking offense to it, so they're just leaving her be for a bit when she gets to that point.

Don’t Sanctify Us

Oct. 22nd, 2017 10:44 pm
[syndicated profile] linguafranca_feed

Posted by Lucy Ferriss

To many of us, it seemed John Kelly took a tangent in his recent speech defending the content of Donald Trump’s phone call to a Gold Star widow. After complaining about recent political debate, Kelly segued into nostalgia: “When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor.”

I’d like to take some space, here, to womansplain the shock waves these words sent through the feminist community. It’s not simply that Kelly works very closely with a man whom we have witnessed denigrating women again and again. It’s not simply that the initial protest against the content and tone of the president’s phone call was issued by both the widow herself and a black female congressional representative. It’s not just that the recent executive orders on health insurance and workplace protections will hit women harder than men. It’s the words themselves: sacred and honor.

As many who have responded to Kelly’s speech have pointed out, the childhood about which he’s reminiscing would have been in the 1950s and early 1960s, when, as MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell observed in a blistering rant against Kelly,

You know what wasn’t sacred when he was a kid growing up where he was growing up? Black women or black people. And, oh by the way, women were not sacred either. They were not honored. In John Kelly’s neighborhood in the Catholic parish he grew up in, women were getting beaten by their husbands, their drunken husbands as a normal weekly occurrence. And their parish priest would tell those women, you can’t get divorced or you’ll be ex-communicated. You are just going to have to bear it and bear it for the children. It’s nothing you can do about it.

You find discussions of sacred most often in conversations about religion. It’s distinguished, for instance, from the term holy in being used primarily for objects, places, or happenings: sacred space, sacred relics. Saints may be holy, but they are not sacred. Philosophers like Emile Durkheim and Mircea Eliade have discussed the notion of the sacred at length, opposing it to the idea of the profane, not as some good-versus-evil dichotomy, but as a way to understand the complementary nature of religious and mundane experiences. To be sacred, then, is not to participate fully in the human experience, to be a symbol or an object more than a person. To experience something (or, in this case, someone, since we are talking about women) as sacred is not to experience them as individual and quotidian.

I’m hard put to think of this status as being appealing to anyone. There are movements, led by women, that generously employ the term sacred, but for the most part their aim is to reduce violence in the lives of indigenous women. The term sacred in American Indian communities, according to the Lakota writer Vine Deloria Jr.,is a profoundly difficult concept for many people to understand, especially from an Indian perspective. … Sacredness, in its first and deepest encounter, requires that a boundary of respect be drawn around our experience and/or knowledge of this personal energetic presence.” It’s fair to say, I think, that Kelly’s use of sacred has little to do with an essentially political plea by writers like Deloria (and, by extension, the indigenous activists who claim the term for women) to forge respect for and within native communities.

The second part of Kelly’s statement on women is an agentless passive: “and were looked upon with great honor.” Presumably the agent here is men. But Kelly’s leaving that out, and his going on to talk about “the dignity of life” and “religion,” implies that we are the ones failing to look on women with honor — that women are not themselves part of this we, this body politic.

The word honor itself reinforces what many feminists would call this “othering” of women. Several years ago, doing research in Pakistan, I learned that according to traditional Pashtun tenets, honor was a quality reserved to men. Women carried with them the honor of the family, generally lodged in their namus or sexual chastity. But women could not themselves possess honor. Instead, what they possessed was shame. And their shame, presumably, would keep them from giving away the honor of their family, the honor that belonged to men.

We’re not quite so doctrinaire about the term in the west. Yet according to Google’s N gram viewer, even today, the term honorable man appears 15 times as much as the term honorable woman. There is nothing wrong with our all honoring each other — honoring our humanity, our decency, our efforts to do the right thing. But to be looked on with honor is to accord honor itself to the men who are doing the looking. I can’t say that’s an entirely comfortable feeling.

Finally, let’s not even talk about switching the genders to make the sentence “Men were sacred and looked upon with great honor.” No one says that. If anyone did, it would sound distinctly weird. Which is exactly how it sounded, to some of us, when General Kelly made his statement.

I have become a podcast addict

Oct. 22nd, 2017 04:02 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Apart from everybody's favorite (right?) comedy/D&D podcast "The Adventure Zone", I mostly prefer history. 

There are a lot of bad -- and beloved, in some cases -- history podcasts in which the author postures, makes bad jokes, and assumes you don't know much and only want to know a little more.    Two exceptions to this are "The History of the Mongols", which is excellent and clear and takes a fair amount of concentration, and "Revolutions",* which takes an in-depth look to various European revolutions starting with the English Civil War.   I've just gotten to Charles I leaving London for the last time (although he doesn't know it).

If there were ever a more shining counterexample to the Divine Right of Kings than Charles I, it has to be one of the monarchs who was actually insane or intellectually disabled.

* Revolutions' podcaster, Mike Duncan, is known for an earlier history of Rome, which I haven't listened to but hear is excellent.

If you like true crime that is dispassionate rather than overblown, I highly, highly recommend "True Crime Japan".   The podcasters are gaijin living in Japan, and they do an excellent job of explaining Japanese customs and cultural aspects that are relevant to how crimes took place.   These are not crimes that have been rehearsed over and over in English-speaking media -- no Ripper, Bundy, Lizzie Borden -- which makes them all the more engrossing.

All of the above are, of course, available on iTunes and other aggregators; I'm linking to the authors' sites.

Word Wars?

Oct. 22nd, 2017 04:09 pm
muccamukk: Diana as a child, riding her horse through a field. (WW: Horse)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Does anyone know a place to have word wars/sprints that isn't irc (which I can't get on) or Discord (which I'm avoiding)?

I have write or die, but some how the other people factor is really better for my productivity.

This week in writing, 10/22

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:10 pm
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
[personal profile] dira
This week included my birthday (and I am still in mid-birthday-weekend-trip) so… less writing. (And I have concluded that I need to let Kinktober go because I’m just picking away for days and days at one day’s story, and missing working on other stuff, so I am pretty decidedly not in The Kinktober Spirit.)

WIPs currently active: 5, since as of this moment I’m not counting the Kinktober thing I was working on.

Words written this week: 1,725

WIPs that got no words this week: 0

WIPs that did get words this week:

Codename: Aluminum Bastard (aka broken dick epic): 142

Born in the Blood: 187, and then I got to a scene break and now I have to figure out the next scene. Oh dear. 

Slavefic #6: 176, although I may have to walk back some of it, because it’s possible I got carried away writing things in direct refutation of a frustrating comment on a previous story. Oops.

Wildly Unmanageable Ace!Bitty Longfic: 194

Jack/Bitty angsty happy ending kidfic: 734

Kinktober Day 9 (Sam/Grant, abandoned for now): 292, and finally I have to admit that writing fanfic of an original thing I wrote is crossing some wire in my brain that is making it weirdly difficult to write a PWP?? idek.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2z00y2K
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Eric Kurhi

SAN JOSE — A snaking procession with frenetic, feathered Aztec dancers for a head and a somber mariachi outfit for a tail wound through downtown San Jose on Sunday, honoring ancestry and tradition in the 20th annual Dia de los Muertos procession and party.

And make no mistake, the atmosphere was upbeat albeit reverent and not exclusive to the Mexican holiday. The Aztec dancers were joined by a taiko group, Chinese lion dancers, Middle Eastern belly dancers, a Filipino ensemble and a host of spectator-participants of all stripes underneath black-and-white death’s head make-up.

“When I first saw a Day of the Dead event, it was in San Antonio more than 30 years ago,” said Robert Robins of San Jose, “and I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it was a bunch of skull-worshippers. Weirdoes. We didn’t know any better, we were just a bunch of white people.”

Robins said it was visually striking, but once he learned about the meaning behind the Halloweenesque displays the Day of the Dead became something much more poignant.

“It’s not political, just spiritual,” he said. “You see so many people with these elaborate shrines; it really is a beautiful thing.”

Arlene Sagun of the San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild that puts on the event said it has steadily grown over the years, but that it’s snowballing as of lately. They did a Facebook social media push this year and logged more than 8,000 followers, and on Sunday she estimated that about 500 people either joined the parade or the festivities that followed at San Jose State University.

Participants were urged to wear muertos apparel, and bring photos or other offerings for a community altar. Those who came unprepared could get a quick makeover by one of the face-painters in attendance, or purchase Day of the Dead apparel and memorabilia.

Magali Gonzalez, who has been doing traditional Day of the Dead dances for half of her 27 years, was bopping along the parade route with her 4-month-old daughter, Cuauhtli, nestled in a sling on her chest. While Cuauhtli may have been the youngest dance troupe member on Sunday, Gonzalez said it wasn’t her first boogie.

“This one is a dancer,” Gonzalez said. “She’s been dancing since she was in my tummy.”

Xochitecpatl, another feathered Aztec dancer who goes by one name, said that while interest may now be escalating, it’s a tradition that’s “nothing new” for those who delve into their roots.

“It’s something that’s been around for thousands of years,” he said, “but now more people are starting to learn more about our culture.”

The 40-year-old from Salinas said it’s welcome attention from all corners.

“Underneath the skin, we are all skeletons,” he said. “And to celebrate death is to celebrate life. If you love the people who are living you need to love the people who have died. Otherwise, you have nothing to celebrate.”

Drabble: Playtime

Oct. 22nd, 2017 05:35 pm
alisanne: (HD bring it)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Playtime
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Rating: PG-13
Word count: 100 x 2
Characters/pairings: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy.
Challenge: Written for [community profile] dracoharry100/[livejournal.com profile] dracoharry100's prompt 502: High.
This is part 84 of my H/D Auror Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
It starts at part one: The Beginning (LJ/IJ/DW).
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and emynn.
Authors Notes: Draco ups the stakes.

Playtime )

Book about a changeling child

Oct. 22nd, 2017 05:55 pm
soundofsunlight: Poppies at sunset, my default icon. (Default)
[personal profile] soundofsunlight posting in [community profile] findthatbook
There are folk tales of fairies stealing human babies and leaving a changeling in their place, and in this book, that was exactly what happened. The changeling is the main character, so the story is from her point of view. She is a thin and sickly child, and she has an unhappy childhood because everyone is suspicious of her being a changeling (and they are correct). She does have one friend, though; I can't remember why he is friends with her when everyone else shuns her. He might be an orphan or something?

Anyway, since she's so unhappy in her life, she decides to run away and find the land of the fairies, and her loyal friend goes with her. They rescue the girl who was stolen to be a servant to the fairies, and take her home to her parents, and then...I think she and her friend continue traveling, since they don't really fit in anywhere, except with each other.

Based on other books I was reading at the time, and what I remember of the physical book, I think the book I'm looking for would have been published somewhere between the 1940s and 60s. Maaaybe 70s at the latest.
neotoma: Loki from Thistil Mistil Kistil being a dingbat (Loki-Dingbat)
[personal profile] neotoma
Nittany apples, potomac, magness, and bartlett pears, head of cabbage, celeriac, snacking peppers, and a chicken empanada.

I also picked up a quart of vegan mulligatawny soup, caramelized onion and mushroom sandwiches, and pretzel challah from Soupergirl! because [personal profile] fabrisse came over to watch movies with me. We got most of the way through Too Late for Tears before my DVD player started glitching. I think I may finally have to get a new one, as this one is literally decades old -- anyone have a recommendation for an affordable model I can get locally or get from Amazon?

I was hoping to have a watching party for Over the Garden Wall and other Halloween-themed media next weekend, but I'll have to see.

Also, I'm almost finished with [personal profile] fabrisse's Kraken Knuckles, and need to decide what to do next. Probably Anneal (I have some sparkly green yarn for it), but maybe the Wonder Woman wrap (knit? or crochet?), or maybe one of the Morehouse Merino critter scarfs for the Knit-Along (giant alligator? school of fish? pile of lab rats)?
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rick Hurd, Joseph Geha

FREMONT — A 48-year-old Fremont man died after being shot late Saturday, police said Sunday.

Late Sunday, police said officers had arrested three suspects in connection with the shooting, but declined to provide additional information. Police also said they found a crime scene in one of the hotel’s rooms. The homicide is Fremont’s first this year.

Police did not immediately identify the man, whom they found just outside the lobby of an Extended Stay America hotel at 5375 Farwell Place after being called there around 11:35 p.m.

The man had a gunshot wound in an undisclosed location, and officers immediately administered first aid and used an automated external defibrillator as they tried to rescue him, police said. An ambulance rushed him to a trauma center, but he died there, police said.

Police did not initially release any information regarding a suspect but said the shooting appears to be an isolated incident and that the victim may have known his shooter.

A man who asked to remain anonymous told this newspaper the man who had been shot was in the lobby hunched over with a towel pressed against his stomach and asked for help. Another person in the lobby called 911, and told dispatchers that a man had been shot and to hurry.

Crime scene tape is seen inside a trash bag at the Extended Stay Americahotel at 5375 Farwell Place on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Fremont Police said a man was shot at the hotel Saturday night, and later died. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group)
Crime scene tape is seen inside a trash bag at the Extended Stay America hotel at 5375 Farwell Place on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Fremont Police said a man was shot at the hotel Saturday night, and later died. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group) 

“I looked into his eyes,” the man said in an interview Sunday. “He looked scared, but I didn’t think he was going to die.” The man described the man who was shot as “a working man.”

“He looked like … not a gangbanger or anything like that,” he said. “I don’t know the dude, but I feel bad he died.”

Some Fremont police detectives were still at the hotel on Sunday afternoon, speaking with employees and examining the building where the shooting took place.

Sgt. Ricardo Cortés of the Fremont Police Department would not elaborate about whether the suspect had been captured on video surveillance cameras at the hotel or elsewhere but did say police are canvassing for surveillance video that could help their investigation.

Just down the street from the hotel, the police department has multiple surveillance cameras mounted on a light pole, pointing in different directions.

Cortés said the department mounts cameras such as those in areas considered hot spots for criminal activity, though he couldn’t say when or why those specific cameras were installed there. He did say they will likely be checked for footage related to this incident.

Surveillance cameras are seen mounted on a light pole on Farwell Place onSunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Police said department-operated cameras like these are sometimes installed in hot spots for criminal activity. These are mounted near a hotel where a shooting Saturday night left one man dead. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group)
Surveillance cameras are seen mounted on a light pole on Farwell Place on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. Police said department-operated cameras like these are sometimes installed in hot spots for criminal activity. These are mounted near a hotel where a shooting Saturday night left one man dead. (Joseph Geha/Bay Area News Group) 

“That’s the whole point of setting those things up,” he said. “At times they serve as an investigative lead, an investigative tool.”

Employees at the hotel said the shooting took place on the second floor of the hotel’s building “B” and that the man had come into the lobby after being shot. As of Sunday afternoon, no arrests had been made, but Cortés said police believe there is no threat to public safety.

“There seems to be some indication these people knew each other. So it was not a random person just staying there walking around who all of the sudden got killed.”

Police encourage anyone with information about the shooting to call the Fremont police investigative unit at 510-790-6900. Anonymous tips can be texted to 510-888-777 with the label TIP FREMONTPD followed by a message. Check back for updates.

Staff writer George Kelly contributed to this report.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by The Associated Press

By Daisy Nguyen

SAN FRANCISCO — Friends and relatives of a couple whose bodies were found in Joshua Tree National Park say they believe the two got lost while hiking in the sprawling desert park and struggled in the searing heat with little food or water before they died in a “sympathetic murder-suicide.”

Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 22, had been missing for nearly three months after going for a hike in late July and failing to return to their bed-and-breakfast. Their disappearance launched an exhaustive search. Crews spent more than 2,100 hours scouring the rugged terrain before finding their bodies in a steep canyon on Oct. 15.

Autopsies found both had gunshot wounds and evidence at the scene led detectives to believe Orbeso shot Nguyen and then himself, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement Friday. The stunning announcement came days after Orbeso’s father, who was with searchers who made the discovery, said the bodies were locked in an embrace.

The Orange County Register reports there was evidence the pair had been battling the elements. The bodies were under a tree, with clothing covering their legs to protect them from the blazing sun. They appeared to have been rationing food and had no water.

Nguyen’s family said investigators told them that based on the circumstances and positioning of the bodies, they believed the two died in a “sympathetic murder-suicide.”

“We hold no grudges against Joseph or the Orbeso family,” they said in a statement and offered their condolences.

“We thank God that we’ll be able to give Rachel a proper burial and lay her to rest.”

As for authorities, Orbeso’s actions remained under investigation, though his motive may never be known.

“Since we don’t have any evidence (note, message) to tell us why the shooting occurred, we are left to speculate,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said. “Knowing that they rationed food, had no water and were seeking shade certainly sheds a different light on the apparent dire circumstances.”

Orbeso and Nguyen had once dated and he took her to Joshua Tree to celebrate her birthday, his best friend Austin Young told the newspaper.

A gun found near the bodies was registered to Orbeso. Young said Orbeso worked as a security guard, and may have carried the gun to protect Nguyen.

“I think they got lost and were suffering in 100-degree heat,” Young said.

“They had a choice of a slow and painful death or a quick death,” he said. “And they made the choice of a quick death.”

The Joshua Tree Search and Rescue team said on its Facebook page that it’s easy to get lost in the vast park covering more than 1,200 square miles of the Mojave and Colorado deserts, 130 miles (209 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

“You can take a short hike and lose sight of the road, and, if you didn’t pay attention to what the landmarks look like, in the opposite direction, you could start wandering,” the team said.

Sale ends tomorrow!

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:17 pm
gwyn: (beaten cap shield)
[personal profile] gwyn
The [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico auction ends tomorrow, just FYI. Is that popular writer too expensive to bid on? There's a ton of us also-rans who are still available with either low or no bids, and it all goes to a very good cause.

I have both a fic writing offering (2k minimum) here, and a vid making offering (1-1/2 minute minimum) here.

There have also been some new offerings like art from Puerto Rican artists, and merch from NYCC with some newly lowered prices. With over 350 creators, there's a lot to choose from! You can also, if you don't have much in the way of money, get together with other fans and bid on creators as a bidding cabal--people do that all the time in the Vividcon auction.

Fic: House-building

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:16 pm
beatrice_otter: Uhura and Uhura Prime (Too awesome for one timeline)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Title: House-building
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Characters: Original Female Characters,
Author: beatrice_otter
Rating: kid
Summary: When choosing a spouse, there are many things to consider.

Sequel to: The Desert Between
Nyota's Choice

At AO3 and tumblr

Read more... )

Next Fic: Children of the Desert

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 09:21 pm
jekesta: Franky Doyle's prisoner picture (Franky)
[personal profile] jekesta
Spoilers for the latest episode of MacGyver. )

Food from Gousto )

The gousto website is here if you want to try them yourself. My code is embedded in there. If you use it you'll get 50% off your first two boxes, and I get a bit of money off my next box too. The cheapest boxes have two meals for two, and will cost about £25, so at half price you'll get four meals for £13. Which is not bad, and honestly the food is Very Lovely.

It looks at first a bit like one of those things where you have to sign up to get food all the time every week - you very much don't. I just get a box now and then, when I can't think of ANYTHING to cook or when there is money in my account. (Delivery is really easy because they come in boxes that stay refrigerated for anywhere up to 24 hours. They just leave mine in the back garden for me for when I get home from work.)

Harvey Weinstein

It's so frustrating watching some of the reactions to the whole Harvey Weinstein thing. Because obviously it's brilliant, and I do think it might make a tiny start to a slow steady change in a fucked up fucked up fucked up industry. But oh god you can just see and watch in real time as it doesn't quite stick and people shy away from it.

People go 'oh wow that man is TERRIBLE' and you wait, and they go '...and if he's terrible, oh god, maybe, you don't think, might, maybe might those other three men be terrible too??????' and you wait, and you get '...oh my god I can't believe it's so many men, like that entire section of men over there is awful, I'm so shocked...' and you wait, and you're hopeful, and you're waiting. 'I've really loved seeing all the wonderful things some guys have been posting on twitter, it really gives me hope...' No. Stop it. Fuck off. They're doing a bare minimum and they probably don't mean it, that's literally the whole point of the story, that men support this whole system, it's dicks all the way down. You can't just hate the three men at the top of a pyramid of terrible men, and then feel like you achieved anything. I know 'feminists don't hate men' sounds all very good and everything, but...

I'm too tired to write this properly. I just don't know why women find it so hard to hate men. Men find it so easy to hate women.

I'm too tired to disclaim.
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rick Hurd

CONCORD — The search for a stolen gray 2004 pickup truck and its driver continued Sunday, a day after a wrong-way highway crash critically injured one person, the California Highway Patrol said.

Three other people were injured but not as severely in the Saturday wreck.

It all happened happened around 1:40 p.m. when the CHP said a reportedly stolen gray Ford F-250 pick-up truck slammed into a red Ford SUV while going west on the right-hand shoulder of eastbound Highway 4 just west of the Willow Pass Road exit.

Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office deputies pursued the truck after it was reported to be stolen and drove west on eastbound Highway 4. Witness reports stated the vehicle was going about 60 mph when it crashed into the SUV.

The suspect remained on the loose Sunday after running from the crash as the truck burned. The CHP said the crash is considered a felony hit-and-run causing injuries.

A 69-year-old Richmond woman who was a passenger in the SUV suffered major injuries, according to a statement from the CHP. On Sunday, the CHP said the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

A 43-year-old Richmond man driving the car received minor injuries, as did a 43-year-old Richmond woman who also was a passenger.

A 43-year-old Pittsburg woman also received minor injuries after the crash also damaged the 2015 Nissan Versa she was driving, the CHP said.

The CHP urged witnesses to the crash or anyone with information about the driver to come forward. Anyone with information may call the CHP’s Contra Costa division at 925-646-4980.



Rainbow snippet - Lessons in Love

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:23 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Very excited that the first Cambridge Fellows book is available once more, in kindle format from Endeavour Press. And with a snazzy new cover (see below.) Seems right to share an excerpt from it today:

Jonty had been right. The food at the Bishop’s Cope turned out to be hot, tasty and in splendid quantities. The two men could only manage the barest soupçcon of apple pie for pudding before admitting defeat. They stretched their legs and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
“Did you have a favourite pub in Oxford, Coppersmith? I always loved this one, and the Mackerel, when we weren’t in disgrace with the landlord.”
“I rarely went to any pubs, Stewart. Always too much studying to be done.”
Jonty slammed his pint onto the table. “And you a rugby player? Surely you allowed yourself a bit of refreshment after a match?”
Orlando sipped his beer, deep in thought. “Sometimes—but not habitually.” He sighed and looked around him at the glowing pots and friendly faces. “Perhaps I made the wrong decision.”
Jonty clapped him on the arm. “Never too late to learn to appreciate life’s pleasures. Let Dr. Stewart lead you astray.” He laughed and finished his beer.
Orlando watched his friend relishing his pint. There had been some scant hint in the last remarks that he couldn’t work out. It reminded him of what had happened the previous evening, before the porter knocked at the door—that fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach. And he couldn’t fathom that out, either, despite applying all his powers of logic.

There are plenty of other snippets at the Rainbow snippets group.

Lessons in Love

recipe weekend

Oct. 22nd, 2017 12:18 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
[personal profile] kindkit
1) Something I've cooked recently

Yesterday, inspired by a pie that somebody (I can't remember who, Wikipedia isn't helping, and I'm too lazy to go back and rewatch) made on this year's Great British Bake Off, I made a butternut squash and blue cheese pie that turned out fairly well. The flavor is great, but I had some Onion Issues. details under the cut )

Today, inspired by a craving for soup, a craving for veggies, and a feeling that I should really use my bag of bonito flakes that is three months past its sell-by date, I'm cooking a soup of vegetables and eggs simmered in dashi. Right now I'm simmering the eggs in some dashi flavored with Japanese light (light-colored) soy sauce and some sherry (I didn't have mirin or sake). When the eggs are ready, I'm going to simmer yellow squash, some butternut squash chunks I didn't roast yesterday, a sweet potato, maybe some regular potato, and some Chinese cabbage in plain dashi and then add the simmered eggs--I'll keep their simmering liquid to eat with noodles another time--and some miso paste at the end. No tofu, alas, because I forgot to buy any, but basically this is a cross between a Korean soybean paste stew and a Japanese oden, and to further disrespect both traditions I'm probably going to eat it with soba noodles. I expect it to be deliciously wrong.

The last sweet baking I did was this upside-down pear gingerbread. I mostly followed the recipe, apart from adjusting the spices (more powdered ginger, no cinnamon, and a little nutmeg) and using blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap is the kind that recipes advise you not to use, because it's less sweet and more bitter and mineral-y than normal molasses. But I had some that needed using up, and I actually really liked the result. If, like me, you tend to find cakes too sweet, that's the way to go. The cake freezes quite well, by the way.

2) Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future:

This fantastic apple cake, probably next weekend.

3) Something I vaguely intend to cook someday:

More apple things, such as apple dumplings, which I have longed to make for years but never have because I did not own an apple corer. But I do now!

I need to figure out some kind of way to use the peach-and-cherry compote that's taking up space in my freezer. And I should make a pie with the jars of sour cherries I bought a while back because they were cheap.

Plus I want to make all the soups and all the savory pies. I'm feeling enthusiastic about late autumn and winter cooking.

Sunday Venting

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:17 pm
nineveh_uk: Picture of fabric with a peacock feather print. (peacock)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
I know that independent pattern companies aren't going to size exactly the same as the major companies. But I feel that I, a UK 12, should not be finding that this sweatshirt pattern runs so large that I would have to make a size (US) 2 not to swim in it. Are all the people on the internet who have made it kidding about their measurements, or possessed of very broad shoulders? Or posting from some dimension where the current fashion for wearing ease is very different, possibly the depths of Minnesota in 1990. I also suspect that I had not quite grasped just how much some of the people raving about making theirs had significantly altered the pattern.

On the plus side, I didn't try it in my best fabric, it wasn't really wasted time as I was having a quiet weekend with my visiting and cold-stricken Youngest Sister, and if I don't manage to get something ordinarily wearable out of this version, it may yet make be a warm pyjama top. But aargh! So this is a definite thumb's down for Grainline's much-vaunted Linden sweatshirt pattern and people being wrong (as far as I'm concerned) on the internet.

[ SECRET POST #3945 ]

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:06 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3945 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.


More! )


Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 47 secrets from Secret Submission Post #565.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 02:41 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I slept really, really badly last night. We went to bed a little after 11, and at 3, I was still awake. I think I slept through Scott getting up to go to work. At least, I don't remember him going. During the not sleeping part of things, I was in that state where my body was almost relaxed and my mind was too unfocused for getting up to do something else (I couldn't have kept my eyes open), but I couldn't get either mind or body to let go and actually sleep. If sleeping were falling, this would be the equivalent of getting snagged on something three quarters of the way down. I couldn't go back up, and I couldn't make it to the bottom either. (I know-- The analogy's not great since falling is painful and undesirable and sleep is beneficial. Just go with me. I can't think of anything better.)

This getting stuck at the almost asleep stage is really pretty common for me. It's why I always boggle at the folks who say that, if I can't sleep, I should get up and do something else and go back to bed when I can sleep. I have no idea how getting up to do something else would be possible when the only part of my brain that's functioning is the tense, anxious bit that says that letting go is dangerous and/or wasteful.

I end up spinning a lot of stories when I'm in that state. I can't tell, though, if the stories prolong the difficulty or just fill the time. Or, maybe, even are a beneficial side effect since my plausibility editors tend to be offline just then which can lead to me having ideas that I actually can turn into stories later.

Scott and I mostly just relaxed at home last night. We took a walk out around 7 p.m. because someone from the other side in Ingress hit the science and nature center. I was confused by the rhythm of how the attacks went and by what was attacked when, but all was explained when we got there and found the place full of people. There was a Halloween event for families, and pretty much all of the timing weirdness makes sense if the other player had a kid or kids and was following them and only playing when they stopped for long enough to be safe.

Scott made level 10 as a result, so it was all good. He sent a thank you to the other player over the game comms which we hope was taken as sincerely as it was meant. He doesn't get much chance to play, especially this time of year, unless something happens at the science and nature center.

I need to go back through my journal and check against the other records I've been keeping, but last night gave me a strong indication that the breakthrough menstrual bleeding I've been having for months might actually correlate with when I take long walks. I think that will be a project for tomorrow while Cordelia's at school. I'll be seeing the gynecologist on the 9th, and I don't think I need to have that checking done any sooner than that.
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Eric Kurhi

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — The Bear Fire that has burned nearly 400 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains is now 75 percent contained, as about 370 firefighters continue to knock down the blaze that erupted near Boulder Creek on Monday.

That’s less than the peak of 500 fire personnel that were committed to the Bear Fire earlier this week, before rain and cooler weather helped efforts.

Officials have said that they expect to have the fire contained by Tuesday, and on Saturday the fire was being confined to the area between Bear Creek Road and Deer Creek Road, where it is believed to have started. Containment increased from 66 percent on Saturday to 75 percent on Sunday.

Nine firefighters have been injured while battling the blaze in steep and treacherous terrain.

“Crews continue to establish and reinforce containment lines around the fire and conduct fire suppression repair,” reads an update issued by Cal Fire on Sunday morning. “Hazards from fire weakened trees and steep inaccessible terrain continue to present major challenges.”

Four structures have been destroyed, but no other buildings are currently threatened. Fire investigators, along with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, continue to look into the causes of the fire, but they have determined it started on a 30-acre property in the 800 block of Bear Creek Canyon Road.

Evacuation orders remained in place Sunday morning for Bear Creek Canyon Road, Deer Creek Road, Rons Road, Dons Road and their tributary streets in the fire area.

If you are an evacuee who needs somewhere to stay overnight, call 1-866-272-2237.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Eric Kurhi

BELMONT — A Los Gatos man was arrested on felony DUI and manslaughter charges after a fatal four-car crash on Highway 92 near Interstate 280 on Saturday night.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Arsen Tarkovskiy, 34, veered into opposing lanes of traffic around 8:44 p.m., colliding with three other vehicles.

Tarkovskiy’s 70-year old female passenger — who the CHP said is possibly a relative — was pronounced dead at the scene. Tarkovskiy suffered major injuries and was pinned in the Mercedes, requiring extrication by arriving rescue personnel. One other driver was also hospitalized with minor injuries.

“It appears that due to Tarkovskiy’s level of intoxication, he allowed the Mercedes to cross over the double yellow lines into oncoming eastbound traffic,” stated the CHP in a news release. “The Mercedes subsequently collided with the left side of the Honda and Pontiac and head on with the Volvo.”

The collision caused the closure of lanes in both directions while authorities investigated the crash, which happened about a quarter mile west of I-280. Lanes were reopened around 11:30 p.m.

Another driver who was not involved in the fatal crash was arrested for driving under the influence at the same location, according to the CHP.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to contact the CHP at 650-369-6261.

The victim’s name was not released on Sunday.

Check back for updates to this story.

[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Ethan Baron

SUNNYVALE — When Teresa Hershey was told she needed a hysterectomy, her doctor recommended a novel approach: an operation performed by a robot, guided by the surgeon.

“She was just very persuasive,” said Hershey, 45. “I’d never heard of it.”

The doctor’s assertion that less invasive, robot-assisted surgery would mean seven to 10 days of recovery instead of six to eight weeks for a conventional operation convinced her, along with the prospect of less scarring: The da Vinci robots from Sunnyvale’s Intuitive Surgical need only small holes for inserting surgical equipment.

Now, seven years and 10 corrective surgeries later, Hershey is gearing up to fight Intuitive in Santa Clara County Superior Court. She says she has refused the firm’s offers to settle.

“I want to go all the way,” said Hershey, whose case would be only the third to go to trial amid a torrent of legal claims. “There’s just been too much with this company, and too many people hurt. I just want the world to know what they’ve done. I don’t want them to get away with it, to be swept under a rug.”

Teresa Hershey stands with her husband and two sons a few months before therobot-assisted surgery that led her to sue Intuitive Surgical of Sunnyvale. (courtesy of Teresa Hershey)
Teresa Hershey stands with her husband and two sons a few months before the<br />robot-assisted surgery that led her to sue Intuitive Surgical of Sunnyvale.<br />(Courtesy of Teresa Hershey) 

Since the da Vinci surgical robot received FDA approval in 2000, Intuitive’s devices — which are operated by a surgeon using joysticks, foot pedals and a 3-D viewer — have propelled the firm to a $35 billion valuation and world dominance in robot-aided surgery. But the legal claims that have come with Intuitive’s success showcase the serious risks that accompany the rewards new medical technology can bring.

Any kind of surgery carries risk: In high-income countries such as the United States, post-operative complications occur in up to 20 percent of all surgery patients, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Proponents say the benefits of da Vinci systems are clear: They can be more precisely controlled, need smaller incisions, and lead to less blood loss and quicker recoveries.

In a 2014 regulatory filing, Intuitive said it was facing 3,000 product-liability claims over surgeries taking place between 2004 and 2013 when its robots performed about 1.7 million procedures. The firm set aside $67 million to settle an undisclosed number of claims. Many of the early claims related to device components that ended up being recalled by Intuitive. Product liability claims can allow consumers alleging harm to negotiate a settlement with a company without filing a lawsuit and Intuitive notes that such claims are “inherent to the medical device industry.” Its da Vinci machines have been used in more than 4 million operations.

In its most recent quarterly report, the firm said it is still facing a “large number” of product-liability claims, plus 52 lawsuits alleging its machines were responsible for patient injury or death, and a multiparty suit covering 55 patients who had da Vinci Surgeries in 22 different states. Many complaints concern surgeries done in 2012 and 2013.

“Robotic-assisted surgery is an important surgical option that is safe and effective when used appropriately and with proper training,” the company said in a statement to this news organization.

“There are more than 13,000 peer-reviewed publications examining the use of the da Vinci Surgical System in various procedures. Within this body of evidence, many benefits of robotic-assisted surgery have been demonstrated compared to open surgery, including less blood loss, fewer complications, shorter hospital stay, smaller incisions for minimal scarring, and faster recovery and return to daily life,” Intuitive said.

In the first six months of this year, Intuitive put aside $16 million to settle legal claims, it reported to regulators.

Problems specific to robot-aided surgery may arise from hardware or software issues and human error, said Scott Lucas who, as director of accident and forensic investigation at the ECRI Institute, studies the da Vinci robots that dominate robot-assisted surgery.

The robots perform a variety of surgeries, including gynecological, cardiac, urologic and colorectal, according to the company.

Hershey, a mother of two adult children who lives near Palm Springs and owns a garage door company with her husband, felt fine after her hysterectomy, spending a night in the hospital and returning home the next day. Severe, stabbing pain started that night, and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital, she said. After more than a week of tests, scans and examinations, Hershey was left with “a lot of pain and no answers.”

Her surgeon advised another surgery to find out what was wrong, and it turned out that what was wrong appeared to be the same thing that many other da Vinci patients cited in claims and lawsuits: She had damage to an internal organ; in her case, a hole in her bowel.

Today, Hershey still can’t lift heavy items or even take out the trash, and she’s had to stop swimming because too much activity causes her stomach to swell and harden, she said.

“I was very active,” she says of her life before surgery. “All that had to stop.”

So far, just two lawsuits against Intuitive over the da Vinci robots have gone to trial. In April 2016, the company settled during the third day of jury deliberations in Santa Clara County Superior Court in a suit launched by Michelle Zarick, of Sacramento, over complications from a hysterectomy. A case in Washington State that hinges on claims that Intuitive failed to properly train a doctor who used a da Vinci robot is ongoing. Hershey’s case is scheduled to go to trial in June.

Intuitive has reached confidential settlements in “many” complaints against it, the company said in an April regulatory filing. Claims of hardware problems central to many lawsuits revolve around electricity allegedly escaping from instruments and causing burns, unseen by the surgeon because they occurred outside the view of the device’s remote camera. The company in 2013 recalled two instruments that were attached to the robot and operated within the body. Intuitive declined to discuss whether there were any changes to patient outcomes after the recalls.

Settling legal claims, even for tens of millions of dollars, probably wouldn’t threaten the viability of a company with billions in annual revenue, said UC Berkeley Law School professor Stephen Sugarman. Intuitive may have settled cases it believed it could win in court, seeking to avoid negative publicity from a trial, Sugarman said.

“On the other hand, it could be that they know they’re going to lose these cases, and what are they going to gain by trying to win?” Sugarman said.

Investors have been showing increasing confidence in Intuitive — the publicly traded company’s stock price climbed fairly steadily from 2009 to 2012, evened off, and then more than doubled between late 2015 and today.

It remains unclear how robot surgery stacks up to traditional surgery on results for patients, said the ECRI Institute’s Lucas.

“It’s not necessarily obviously better as far as clinical outcomes,” Lucas said. “This may improve over time.”

The devices are in regular use in the Bay Area. El Camino Hospital has four da Vinci robots at its Mountain View facility and two in Los Gatos. El Camino surgeons perform about 30 da Vinci surgeries per week.

“Because we’re a lot more precise with the movement of the robot, we do think the pain is a little bit less,” said Dr. Dwight Chen, who uses the robots for gynecological cancer surgery. “The patients actually get back on their feet quicker, they’re driving quicker, they’re going back to work quicker. They’re getting back to their quality of life quicker.”

But effective manipulation of the robots requires adequate training and continued use, Chen said. “If you do the surgery only once or twice a year, you’re going to start to lose muscle memory,” Chen said.

Any problems for patients from da Vinci surgery today likely arise from doctors not using the machines properly, Chen believes.

“You get these people who aren’t very good, who aren’t being watched over,” Chen said. “The robot doesn’t make a bad surgeon a good surgeon. The robot actually enhances what you can do. But if you’re a bad surgeon, you’re still going to be a bad surgeon with a robot.”


[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Lisa M. Krieger

BERKELEY — A highly contagious disease that has already killed millions of rural California trees is spreading into urban areas on the Peninsula and East Bay, according to a major new University of California survey.

The “Sudden Oak Death” pathogen, which emerged in 1995, was found in 13 percent of all samples in central coastal California, up from only 3.7 percent two years ago. That’s more than a three-fold jump — and the highest rate ever recorded.

But in the low-lying and urban eastern Peninsula, infection rates jumped far higher, reaching 36 percent in 2017, up from 2.5 percent in 2015.  At some East Bay sites, about 15 percent of samples were infected, up from 1.5 percent in 2015.

Several popular public destinations also have been found to have substantial infestations, including the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, the UC Berkeley campus and Botanical Gardens, the Presidio and Point Reyes National Park Visitor Center near Point Reyes Station.

At the UCSC Arboretum, seven manzanita species — all rare and endangered — were severely affected by the disease and had extensive dieback.

The trend is worrisome, forcing once-untouched areas “to face disease impacts and management decisions,” said forest pathologist Matteo Garbelotto, who heads the Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory at UC Berkeley. While it does not mean that all oaks in those areas will die, it indicates that they are at elevated risk.

Prevention is the best strategy. Regulatory measures such as strict quarantines on nursery plants from infected counties seem to be helping, but more needs to be done, he said.

“Novel strategies and a strong educational effort need to be deployed if we are to successfully address the ever-increasing intertwining of people and this pathogen,” Garbelotto said.

Dead trees become tinderboxes of highly combustible wood, warned Garbelotto, who led the survey by 300 volunteers, called a “SOD Blitz.” They surveyed 15,000 trees in 17 counties and submitted leaf samples for lab testing from about 2,000 sick trees.

The spread of the pathogen, a fungus-like foreign invader that came to California from Asia called Phytophthora ramorum, is linked to moisture, according to previous test results.

Last winter’s exceptionally wet conditions boosted the number of contagious spores, he said.The pathogen spreads naturally through water, such as rain splashes and contaminated creeks, usually within a three-mile range.

There is a second reason for its surge: Because so many areas of California are now infected, the pathogen has a secure foothold in the state and proliferates more readily.

The high rate of infections puts these Peninsula communities at risk for the first time: Palomar Park and Emerald Hills in San Mateo County, and Los Altos Hills and Saratoga in Santa Clara County. Other Peninsula communities that were already at high risk — Burlingame Hills, Hillsborough, Woodside and Portola Valley — remain at high risk.

In the East Bay, infections were found in Pacheco, Martinez, Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and Moraga.

Infection rates were lower in 2014 during the drought, his survey found.

Meanwhile, the drought was deadly for different forests: the expanses of pine in the Sierra Nevada. Stressed by lack of water, they have been attacked by bark beetle populations.

An estimated 66 million trees have died in the Sierra Nevada there since 2010, according to David Rizzo, chairman of plant pathology at the UC Davis. Five million to 10 million trees in coastal central California have died because of Sudden Oak Death.

There are more than 60 different species of versatile Phytophthora, whose name means “plant devourer.” They attack everything from potatoes to soybeans to strawberries. One species caused the Irish potato famine in the 19th century.

The species that is sweeping Bay Area forests is believed to have been introduced in two sites: a rhododendron nursery on Bean Creek Road in Scotts Valley and another spot on Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, where there are several large homes with extensive landscaping.

In a genetic analysis, scientists have found that pathogens at both locations – separated by 62 miles – share identical DNA footprints, indicating that they are related, probably through the nursery trade.

Bay laurel trees are hosts of the infection — and can spread it — yet don’t sicken. Camellias and rhododendrons also spread the disease; it weakens but does not kill them.

But the microbe can be fatal to coast live oak, black oak and tanbark oak trees. Like humans, plants show wide variability in their vulnerability to disease.

Homeowners can assess the risk of their cherished old oaks simply by walking and measuring their property, Garbelotto said.

“The big thing is: It depends on how closely bay laurels and oaks are intertwined,” he said.

There’s no need to hire a specialized arborist. “If you have a few big old oaks, but they’re fairly spaced and you don’t have them next to bay laurels or tanbark oaks, it may not turn into a significant source of infection for oaks,” Garbelotto said.

“But if bay laurels are with your oaks,” he said, “you should be extremely alert.”

To learn more, a SOD Blitz workshop is being offered from Oct. 25 to Nov. 17 to discuss Blitz results as well as new recommendations for protecting oaks. The workshop is intended for the general public, tree care professionals and land managers. See www.sodblitz.org for more information, or call (510) 847-5482.

More information is also available from the SOD Blitz map at www.sodblitz.org, as well as a map of affected areas at www.SODmap.org. A free “SODmap” mobile app can serve as an informative management tool for those in impacted communities.

Diagnosing Sudden Oak Death

Accurate disease diagnosis can be difficult because the symptoms are very similar to those caused by other fungi, insects or adverse environments.

The most obvious and useful symptom to look for on oaks is a canker on the trunk. Cankers have red-brown to black discoloration. They usually develop three to six feet off the ground, although they can also be at soil level, or as high as 4 meters or greater. They do not extend below the soil line.

The cankers seep dark black, red or amber sap. This bleeding sap initially appears on intact bark, absent any obvious holes or wounds. In later stages of the disease, the bark may split.

The only way to confirm an infection is to take a sample and analyze the affected plant tissue in a laboratory.


[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rick Hurd

LIVERMORE — An investigation into a stolen vehicle ended with officers shooting a 26-year-old woman Saturday night after they say she drove the vehicle into two patrol cars.

Police did not identify the woman immediately but said she was expected to survive. An ambulance took her to a hospital after officers rendered first aid, according to a statement from Livermore police. She remained in stable condition there Sunday morning.

The encounter happened just before midnight when officers on patrol in the city’s northwest area of saw a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a business in the 1000 block of Airway Boulevard, police said. The officers then conducted a records check of the vehicle and found that it had been reported stolen Thursday.

According to police, several officers arrived at the scene and ordered the woman out of the vehicle. But police said she ignored commands, started the vehicle and drove it into two patrol cars.

At least one officer fired at the woman and hit her, police said. Police did not say where the gunfire hit the woman. None of the police officers were injured.

Check back for updates.

One dead in San Ramon crash on I-680

Oct. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
[syndicated profile] sjmerc_local_feed

Posted by Rick Hurd

SAN RAMON — One person died early Sunday in a crash that involved a Honda and a semi truck, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Full details of the crash were not available immediately, but CHP Officer Kevin Bartlett confirmed that one person died. The crash happened at 7 a.m. on southbound Interstate 680 just north of Alcosta Boulevard.

The gender, name and age of the victim were not known immediately. Police closed northbound San Ramon Valley Boulevard from Alcosta Boulevard to Pine Valley Road to investigate and didn’t reopen it till about 1:25 p.m. Sunday.

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The Grip of It, by Jac Jemc

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:36 am
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
The Grip of It, by Jac Jemc:

Normal feels like a performance today, but we fake our way through, hopeful we'll grow into our actions.

That line comes from the end of the book, but even from the first page this story feels performative rather than sincere: The happy couple, moving into their first home. The happy couple, buying paint at the hardware store. The happy couple, being happy. It's superficial and uninteresting, as are the characters. The book is in first person, and husband and wife take turns as narrators, but it's impossible to tell who's in charge of what chapter unless one spouse specifically mentions the other; they're basically interchangeable for most of the book.

But maybe, I said to myself as I continued to read against my better judgment, they become more real when forced to confront the—

No. That did not happen. If anything they become even harder to relate to once the house starts acting up.

So they're useless, but the house? The house has all the hallmarks of being haunted: Ooh, who moved that vase. Ooh, what's that moaning noise. Ooh, the stain on the wall is spreading. The author ticks all the boxes on the checklist, but never builds on them. A misplaced vase, on its own, isn't scary. It's a signifier that doesn't signify anything. It's only half the equation. It's like being handed a fake cobweb and a plastic spider and being told it's a haunted house.

This book filled my hands with plastic spiders but failed to make a cohesive—or even engaging—story out of them. There's nothing meaningful at stake here. The house, for all its antics, is only slightly menacing, and its two indistinguishable narrators never made me feel anything but irritation.

Contains: Body horror, relationship horror, suggested domestic abuse, mental health issues, addiction (gambling), suicide attempts.

Murdered Gods

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:50 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] books
Murdered Gods by Marina Finlayson

Book #2. Spoilers ahead for Stolen Magic

Read more... )

New York February 2003 4/4

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:22 pm
turlough: Gerard Way being his usual adorkable self, autumn 2006 ((mcr) gerard way is adorkable)
[personal profile] turlough posting in [community profile] mychemicalromance_daily
The last pics from their performance at Irving Plaza in NYC, New York, on 6 February 2003.


This way... )
cyberghostface: (Right One 2)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily

“The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems scarcely possible for any true aesthete and civilised cynic to do other than worship it.”
- H. P. Lovecraft

This is an adaptation of Lovecraft's story from Jason Thompson.

Warning for animal cruelty.

Images under the cut... )

Inktober - Day 21 (Furious)

Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:48 pm
goss: (Paint Palette)
[personal profile] goss
Yes! Managed to finish my 4th piece for this week. \o/

Title: Furious(a)
Artist: [personal profile] goss
Rating: G
Fandom: Mad Max: Fury Road
Characters/Pairings: Imperator Furiosa
Content Notes: Created for Inktober - Day 21, word prompt: Furious. Furiosa. Of course. I had to! *g* This was done in three layers: first a pencil sketch with a bit of shading, then a wash of acrylic paint, then India ink over all of that.

I wasn't really sure how this would turn out, so I stopped and took pics at every stage, just in case I ruined it in the next step. :b So I've included a couple of the WiP photos under the cut tag as well. :)


Click here for entire artwork, and WiP pics )

Pre cleaning person cleaning

Oct. 22nd, 2017 11:59 am
celli: a bed and bedside table, with a journal lying open on the bed (home)
[personal profile] celli
I folded and spindled my budget to add a cleaning person for three hours once a month for various physical and mental reasons. Of course, there's some decluttering etc that needs to get done before she gets here in two hours:

* load dishwasher
* declutter kitchen counter
* toss nonfunctional cat feeder
* garbage/recycling off windowsill
* empty cat food cans in recycling

* declutter misc surfaces
* hang up hoodies
* get dressed

* clothes on bed to be done while she's here
* wipe down sink (it's a little embarrassing)
* garbage & recycling out
* hit a nearby ATM for tip and laundry money

Totes doable, right?


Oct. 22nd, 2017 09:49 am
monanotlisa: (rock - vm)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Movement and Stillness (1761 words) by lilacsigil

Fandom: Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Relationships: Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq/Seivarden Vendaai
Characters: Justice of Toren One Esk Nineteen | Breq, Seivarden Vendaai
Additional Tags: Unrequited Love, Drug Use

Seivarden feels like she is still in stasis while Breq rushes onward, but there are two sides to every coin.

[personal profile] lilacsigil gives utterly great Imperial Radch.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’ve been dating this guy for 3 months now. He has this pattern of disappearing for a couple of days and then come back. At the beginning he was all super flirty on text and showered me with compliments and sent each other snaps and nudes and said all the sweet things like he wants to treat me like a princess and make me his. Lowkey I knew he was a fuckboy* because most of the time he wanted to sext and talk about fucking me. He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship but if we become more than something then sure but if we don’t then we continue being friends. I came out of a 4 year relationship couple of months ago so I have been out of the dating game for too long and I moved in here to California from a different country so the concept of dating is way here is new to me. He was showing all signs of “fuckboy*” but my mind ignored it and I got led on and I started to get feelings for him. I know, you must be thinking if I knew he was a fuckboy* the how the hell did I started to like him?

Well, first of all he is really charming and good looking. He is really smart and does all the gentleman things like open the door for me and pays for the food. He actually seems like a genuine good person when I’m with him. I forget every annoying stuff and red flags when I spend time with him.

I realized our relationship will not go anywhere and he will continue to play with me. Once I told him that I had feelings for him and this is getting too much for
me so I’m gonna end the “friends with benefits” thing and remain friends and he gave a simple response “okay your choice.” After 2 weeks he hit me up on snapchat after he saw a selfie of mine and said he wants to come over to my house in the weekend. I couldn’t say no. We had an amazing time and after that he ghosted on me again. He is emotionally unavailable and does not share much about his life. I want to end it with him but I’m too weak to do it. Every time I pull back, he then wants to chase me. recently I texted him ” are you ghosting on me or something going on with u?” then he replied with ” i’m just damn busy :/” .

I’m really confused what he actually wants. If he doesn’t like me anymore then why doesn’t he just tell me or stop texting me? The relationship is hurting me. I don’t blast him with lots of texts nor do I nag. I always try to stay civil and calm even when i’m hurt by him. I’m having a hard time opening up to him of what exactly I feel. I wanted to take the relationship to another level and spend more time with him getting to know him. I wanted him to be my boyfriend. But I didn’t demand it. I did not expect anything in return when I told him I liked him. Because I can’t force him to like me back.
What should I do Captain Awkward? Even though I make myself busy with things. But I can’t seem to not cut him out of my life for good.

Sincerely Confused

*Fuckboy = the letter writer is using it as a term to describe a man who is unreliable and untrustworthy around sex. It has a history as a descriptor of prison rape victims and attaching men who aren’t traditionally masculine and is therefore a word we’re not going to use anymore at CaptainAwkward.com enterprises. I’m not telling anyone they can’t ever use it, but I’m also going to personally stop. Not least because I am a big ol’ white lady and “well it’s more complex than that in AAVE” isn’t really the hill I want to die on in my comments section. Not every word that exists is an ok word for me. Cool? Cool.

Dear Sincerely Confused:

You say you’ve been dating for about 3 months and that you’re “confused about what he actually wants.

He said he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Ergo, what he wants is what is happening right now. He wants to flirt and have your attention and have sex with you sometimes. And then he wants to drop out of sight sometimes. He wants you to want him but he doesn’t want to be your boyfriend or have any obligation or deeper emotional connection. He wants you when he feels like it and he wants to be able to go away and ignore you when he doesn’t feel like it. He wants this. This thing that you say is hurting and confusing to you is the best this is likely to get.

You will never have a loving monogamous relationship with him where he is your boyfriend. If he wanted that, he would have said “Yes!” when you asked him about it. He would have made it happen. If you stay friends, or, um, “friends,” he will sometimes want to have sex with you, but it won’t mean anything has changed. Paying for dates and opening doors for you isn’t deeply meaningful. You’ve known/suspected this from the start, and he’s done every possible thing to confirm it.

It’s one of life’s great tragedies and comedies that we can have amazing chemistry and fun sexy feelings with people who aren’t actually good partners for us. That “omg this is the BEST” way he makes you feel should be illegal, right? Charisma isn’t the same as character.

The good news here is also the bad news: All the power to end or clarify this situation lies with you. You can stop this any time you want to.

You could decide “You know what, it’s worth it to me to have a fun diverting time with him when he pops up a couple of times a year, and I can safely ignore him the rest of the time, because I know 100% that it’s not going to turn into anything else.” To be clear, I don’t think this is where you are right now because you say that this is all hurting you. But I also know that there have been times in my life when a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency-need-for-uncomplicated-known-quantity-good-makeouts-dude has come in handy. No one would judge you if you changed his name in your phone to “Handsome Dumpster Fire” and didn’t delete it just yet. Winter is coming.

You could also decide “Hey, I really want a devoted, reliable boyfriend who loves me and I’m gonna hold out for that and not waste time on charming, unreliable dudes” and then deploy your new best friend, the block button. You’ll be sad and miss the thrill of the little roller coaster you’ve been riding for a while, but then you’ll feel better after a while of not being jerked around and there will be room in your life to meet someone else.

Back when she dated men, the lovely Samantha Irby (rocking it today in the New York Times btw) made a policy to protect her heart and reclaim her time. If she didn’t hear from a dude within a couple days of a date/sexy stuff/or simply her texting him, she deleted his number from her phone. That way she could resist the urge to keep pinging him or checking to see if he’d reached out, and if he did get in touch eventually she could legitimately be like “Wait, who is this?

If this sounds cynical, think of it as Sam deciding what she needed: Someone who, at minimum, texts back. Someone who pays attention. Someone who treated her like she was important and not some big interruption to the more important things he had going on. You can’t control your feelings but you can control how many times you leave a door open for someone who isn’t walking through it.

Letter Writer, you want love that shows up for you. You want love that is playing on your level. That’s not silly or “nagging” or annoying or needy, and the person who deserves you won’t see it that way. He also won’t act like it’s some chore to keep in touch except when he’s bored or wants something.

Sometimes the answer when someone ghosts on you, is “ghost harder!”




April 2017


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