Poetry I actually like

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:58 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Yet the gods do not give lightly of the powers they have made
And with Challenger and seven, once again the price is paid
Though a nation watched her falling, yet a world could only cry
As they passed from us to glory, riding fire in the sky


I skippped out of the Dreamwidth meetup at Loncon for a half hour, making apologies to [personal profile] liv and [personal profile] starlady and others, to see Jordin Kare's filk concert. It left me weeping in sadness in places, and laughing in delight in others. I bought a CD from him afterward and thanked him for his music.

For the engineer sighed as he studied those plans
And he read the demented designer's demands
Then he called in his techs and he said to his crew
This guy seems to think that there's jobs we can't do
And parts we can't build so let's give him a thrill
We'll build his machine and then send him the bill


I'm sad to hear Dr. Kare passed away the other day. His music and his science inspired me constantly.

Wednesday Book Meme

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:44 pm
wendelah1: Sally from Peanuts looking at a shelf of books (book geek)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Because of all of the kids' books and quickie romances I've been reading lately, I am nine books ahead on my Goodreads challenge. I'm going to have to up the ante by ten books, at least, to compensate.

What I've finished

All the President's Men (1974), Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I began reading it because of (1.) this article in Newsweek: "The Eerie Similarities Between Alleged Trump Scandals and All The President's Men, and (2.) because we'd just watched the movie based on it. (Note that the Newsweek story was published back in March. Imagine if they'd written it this week.) The book is award-winning journalism but honestly, the movie makes for a better story. Go rent the movie. Download it. Whatever. (We checked it out of the library). You will not be sorry. The movie gets five stars. The book gets four stars. These reporters, their editors, and their publisher are all American heroes.

Beany and the Beckoning Road (1959), Lenore Mattingly Weber. Beany believes that she has lost boyfriend Norbett to another girl: Cynthia. She and Johnny plan to drive from Denver to California to return their nephew to his parents and advertise for passengers to share the travel expenses. What a surprise for Beany when she discovers that one of the passengers is Cynthia. What will happen to a mismatched set of passengers with very little money and a tomato plant in the back seat?

This was better than the previous book in the series. Beany flies off the handle one time too many for my taste but whatever. Three stars for retro-charm and that tomato plant. I haven't decided if I'm going to continue on with the Malone family, but this book was funny and engaging.

Girl in the Water (2016), Dana Marton. I took a chance and purchased (I know!) this book because of how much I liked Secret Soldier. The online reviews were enthusiastic, but I was not impressed. Marton tried to weave together three stories, and multiple points of view, and couldn't quite pull it off. spoilers ) I applaud her attempt to write something more ambitious than your run of the mill romance but this didn't work for me at all. I give it one star.

I returned Sugar and Other Stories (1987) by A.S. Byatt to the library after reading just one story. Actually, I didn't make it through the first story. I can't recall the title. It was about an unpleasant little girl, attending an atrocious boarding school, with nasty classmates and an appalling, sadistic headmistress, who I've decided in retrospect might be a stand-in for the writer. Byatt enjoys torturing her characters in much the same way that her headmistress character enjoyed torturing her students. Halfway through, I found I wasn't liking anything about this story. Enough was enough. I skimmed through the next two stories and they were more of the same. No, thank you.

What's next?

I borrowed another book in the time travel porn series from the LAPL. I think this one is called "The Slayer" but it has nothing to do with vampires.

I'm still rereading the series for my kidlit fic exchange, titles withheld.

I unearthed an old novel of Margaret Drabble's which I'd never read, The Peppered Moth.

I'm carrying around Mirror Dance from the Vorkosigan saga in my purse.

There's a stack of time travel novels from the library at my bedside.

Entering Space: Creating a Space-faring Civilization by Robert Zubrin is sitting around somewhere, too. I got it out of mothballs because there is a chapter on mining asteroids, which is relevant to my interests. Speaking of space-faring civilizations, season two of The Expanse arrived yesterday!

black kitty

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:43 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret


When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

~Walt Whitman



I first encountered this poem in high school English, and I come across it again every few years. I can't explain entirely the rage it summons in me.

But maybe this is the point I wish to make. A friend mentioned the Randall-Sundrum model of the universe and I went to that wikipedia page to try to learn what that was. Pretty soon I was desperately linkhopping- I have a basic education in relativity and differential geometry, but pretty basic, and even the vocabulary I did learn at some point, it's been a decade since and I needed to refresh my memory.

So I clicked on anti-de-Sitter space and from there to Lorentzian manifold and from there to Riemannian manifold, and I want to point out something about these four articles.

The article on Randall-Sumdrum model begins "In physics" The article on Anti-de-Sitter Space begins "In mathematics and physics." The articles on Lorentzian Manifold and Riemannian Manifold begin "In differential geometry." There's that tricksy slippage between physics and mathematics Whitman is writing about. Are the learn'd astronomer's "proofs, the figures," his "charts and diagrams" a meaningful and interesting representation of the actual stars, or are they just lifeless mathematical models that lack the "mystical" potency of observing the stars with the naked untrained eye? Aside from answering this question, though, the distinction is, I think, actually important to doing physics. Because if you theorize that spacetime takes a certain shape that can be modeled by a particular manifold, and then your measurements in an experiment don't match the manifold, you have to consider two different possibilities: One, that spacetime doesn't match your theorized model, and two, that your measurements were inaccurate. But if you're a mathematician working with a manifold and it doesn't match your expectations, only your math is wrong.

So this distinction Whitman writes on matters. There are the mathematical models of the stars, and there are the actual stars themselves, and if you forget this you end up confusing the manifold with the spacetime. A physicist needs both to do their work.

Nonetheless, I feel a great rage when I read Whitman's poem, a rage at the idea that the untrained eye bestows a more exciting and therefore truer reality than the subtle delver into the measureable mysteries of the cosmos can attain through experimentation and analysis. This may be dogmatic scientism on my part, but if so, let it be!

gratitude and a great salad

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:02 pm
cofax7: Iroh eating noodles (ATLA - Iroh)
[personal profile] cofax7
I really need to work on gratitude.

1. New medication for the dog, which means she no longer pees in her sleep. (Yes, it's a thing.)

2. Talking my oldest niece into reading the Montmaray novels. Which I then re-read over the weekend, and yes, I cried at that one point. (Oh, Carlos.)

3. Finally getting through to the VA about Dad's life insurance policy.

4. Making my awesome "Oceanside salad" and eating two bowls of it for dinner. [recipe below]

5. Borrowing ebooks from the local library.

*

Oceanside salad )

In other news, I really enjoyed the final Raksura novel by Martha Wells, enough to want to reread them all, except the last Court of Fives novel by Kate Elliott is coming out soon, so I want to reread all of those, but I really shouldn't.

Also, the Narnia fic exchange is up for signups this week, and I cannot decide...

(no subject)

Jul. 13th, 2017 03:04 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Feel like it's worth saying that after a week in which Facebook was utterly brutal and soul-crushing, this week Facebook has been so affirming and it's worth reminding myself why I don't quit. Pictures of friends' weddings and kids and animals and summer trips. And two threads in particular on the Frum Fandom group I'm a part of: one discussing the halacha of whether Hogswarts ghosts, if Jewish, can be counted toward a minyan, and one debating whether roleplaying a character who worships the D&D pantheon is avodah zarah.

Sometimes Facebook is terrible. Sometimes it's pretty great.

Books Wednesday

Jul. 12th, 2017 07:51 am
wendelah1: quote: take these broken wings and fly away (take these broken wings)
[personal profile] wendelah1
If I seemed overwhelmed and overwrought yesterday, I was. I am. I hope and pray that the democratic institutions in my country are strong enough to withstand the onslaught of avarice and deceit that has been set in motion by this corrupt, incompetent, evil administration and its supporters. Democrats are patriots, too. Believe me, this is the last thing I wanted to be told, the last thing I expected to have happened during the last presidential election.

Okay, so, books. I read more books than usual last week because of my quest to find a suitable romance blurb on which to base my Timeless story for [community profile] unconventionalcourtship.

Before I stumbled onto that treasure-trove of scifi porn, the Time Raiders series, I looked at a number of possible choices.

Secret Soldier by Dana Marten

Read more... )

Sundial by Carrie Lofty

Read more... )

I checked out three of the nine books from the Time Raiders Series.

Read more... )

Leave it to Beany by Lenora Mattingly Weber

Read more... )

This week needs more cats. Did you know that there is a Pinterest board devoted to books and cats?

Cat sitting on a bookshelf

This is Bartleby who resides at my favorite bookshop in San Diego, California.

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2017 05:02 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
holy shit

Last night I was like, nah, you're seeing things, wishful thinking, etc, but after treatment #2? The cords really ARE shrinking, dramatically so.

"Stops progressing" would have been a good outcome. Actual reversal happens in a minority of cases, almost always in patients who treat it very early. I'm SO FUCKING GLAD I insisted on going as aggressive as possible. Even if I wind up with more chronic pain out of it, I'll keep use of my hands for a fuck of a lot longer, thank ANYTHING THAT WAS LISTENING

(no subject)

Jul. 11th, 2017 01:25 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
First dose of radiation done, out of five (once per day this week). Aside from 20 minutes of "shitting cockgoblin fuckmuppet" pain levels just now, which did die down to just a slightly elevated from normal "ow ow ow ow ow", it was fairly uneventful! Holding the position required for the treatment is worse than the actual treatment, which is basically "the machine goes click whirr for 45 seconds".

So curious to see what happens in six weeks. The way this works, you see, is by activating all the dormant spots so the second round can nuke them in 12 weeks...

It worked!

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:32 pm
wendelah1: Scully smailing at Mulder, text "I'm happy now" (I'm happy now)
[personal profile] wendelah1
Thank you to [personal profile] amindamazed and [personal profile] monanotlisa, for suggesting that I use Dreamwidth for image hosting. Thank you to [personal profile] thatwasjustadream for oh so tactfully explaining where "manage images" was located (under Organize--who knew) and how it works. I have had trouble for years using the scrapbook at LJ. For some reason, the upload button only works if I access it from the LJ Help Page. WTFLJ.

I have 1024 GB of storage in my scrapbook at LiveJournal. I have no idea what that number means, by the way. Is that a lot of storage, a little bit of storage? Medium amount? Apparently, I can also upload videos there, although I bet that uses up the space faster. Video sure uses up...whatever it is that smart phones use faster.

Long story shorter, I managed to upload my journal banner to the scrapbook and changed the link in the custom CSS. It worked, as far as I can tell. My LJ [livejournal.com profile] wendelah1 has a "Permanent Package of Service," as the Russian ownership now calls a permanent account. I figure if Livejournal goes down for good, I won't care if my banners go down, too, and I would rather save the limited storage space at DW (500 GB) for DW.

I will still need to find a free and simple-to-use graphics program, and, you know, figure out how to use it. But, as Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan (gratuitous mention of Timeless for the win!) likes to tell his time-travelling teammates, "One problem at a time." It sounds better when he says it, I swear. Next on the list, locating the banner for [livejournal.com profile] xf_book_club. I know I have it saved...somewhere.
Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 08:35 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios