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([personal profile] selenay Jul. 21st, 2017 01:22 pm)
It's Friday and Jodie Whittaker is still playing Thirteen. I TOLD YOU I WOULDN'T BE OVER THIS SOON.

Anyway, my requests are teeny tiny ones. Apparently now that I've given up on LJ entirely, I've lost the good icon sources.

Can anyone point me to some Thirteen icons? I know ya'll have them, because I've seen some, so point me that way?

And if anyone has some good Bill icon sources?

Actually, if anyone knows where the Doctor Who icon makers are posting to on DW that would help *so much*.

I have posts I need to write. Posts about England/Worldcon trip plan (less than two weeks, OMG!) and arranging meets, an AMA post, probably MORE Doctor Who thoughts. But right now it's hot and humid and my ridiculous big fluffy cat keeps sitting on me and so my brain is too fuzzed out to make them.
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([personal profile] malkingrey Jul. 21st, 2017 11:55 am)
Jordin Kare has died.

He liked the SCA songs that Peregrynne Wyndryder and I wrote together, and filked a couple of them, which was an honor.

This is not being a good year for fandom.
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([personal profile] jhetley Jul. 21st, 2017 11:00 am)

Great blue heron preening on the grass near the cemetery pond. I deduce it had already speared breakfast. Same bird (?) in the water weeds hunting when I came back, plus a possible second in the far part of the pond.

One squashed and leaky raccoon about four miles into my ride, looked like a second-year critter. That's near a cafe, and I suspect the lure of a ripe dumpster was involved.

Not totally lethal out there, yet (82 F now), so I got out on the bike. Did not die.

15.25 miles, 1:13:12

For anyone who might be interested, Pixar has Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy.

It's primarily directed at film writing, but I think it can be used for all types of narrative storytelling. I've been listening to The Art of Storytelling video series.

It starts out with "We are all storytellers," (I'm there still) which I think is an admirable point and has a number of their creators talking about their amateur efforts and how they got started, like Betty and Veronica fashion fanart. :)

It leads to characterization and story structure, and while I don't know that visual language is going to be terribly helpful to us print writers, it might give good ideas for descriptions of scenery to go around dialogue. There are also lessons and activities that you can do, should you choose.

(I can't find closed captions on Khan Academy, though. That's my one quibble thus far.)

One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is still this graphic: Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling.

No, I'm not saying they have to be YOUR rules too. I'm just saying I find the list as a useful set of way to help me go through one of my stories and figure out what's not working and what I need to do to make it work. Or sometimes, for me to just let go and stopy worrying at something, and maybe come back to it later.
The Grand, Unified Map of Gneech's Campaign World

Then, the world changed. Continuing from part five...

I was going to finish the recaps with the discussion of last weekend's session here, but I got to talking about the map (as one does) and realized the last recap would have to wait for one more post.

Once I realized that Storm King's Thunder was a "build your own campaign" framework and not a straightforward adventure module and embraced it, that meant that I had to build out the world in order to make room for it all. I went through the module from front to back and placed every location important to the campaign somewhere, and then set myself to the task of filling in as much of the blank space around that as possible.

I discovered that the Silver Coast was waaaaay too small... )

It took several days and the project pretty much ate my brain the whole time, but now that it's done I'm really happy with the result. This is a game world that I can see going pretty well forever, with enough detail and history to feel "lived in" while still having plenty of room for expansion as needed (I tried to leave myself lots of open spots). It's not suitable for publication or any such thing– it's got chunks of Greyhawk, chunks of Faerûn, bits of Lovecraft's Dreamlands, and of course the Middle-earth nations of Rohan, Arnor, and Angmar with the serial numbers shaved off. But it is a cool place for me and six friends to visit every Saturday night.

It also taught me a lot about world-building in general, which is valuable for creating original works. I will probably use a very similar process to build out Calypsitania and the Fortress of Tears world for writing novels in next.

Next time, part seven, in which we finally catch up to the campaign!

-The Gneech
Mister Universo


The Italian directors Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel’s hybrid of a film follows a young man on a sort of odyssey across Italy.
By GLENN KENNY
NYT Critic’s Pick
Directors Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel
Writer Tizza Covi
Stars Tairo Caroli, Wendy Weber, Arthur Robin, Lilly Robin
Running Time 1h 30m
Genre Drama

The Girl Without Hands


In Sébastien Laudenbach’s animated adaptation of a Grimm fairy tale, after her father’s deal with the Devil, a young girl loses her hands and must navigate the world without them.
By MONICA CASTILLO
NYT Critic’s Pick
Director Sébastien Laudenbach
Stars Anaïs Demoustier, Jérémie Elkaïm, Philippe Laudenbach, Olivier Broche, Françoise Lebrun
Running Time 1h 16m
Genre Animation

Dunkirk


In his brilliant new film, Christopher Nolan revisits a harrowing, true World War II mission in a story of struggle, survival and resistance.
By MANOHLA DARGIS
NYT Critic’s Pick
Director Christopher Nolan
Stars Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Lee Armstrong, James Bloor
Rating PG-13
Running Time 1h 46m
Genres Action, Drama, History, War

-- Of Possible Interest --

The Untamed
A slimy, many-tentacled alien has sex with several unhappy residents of the Mexican city of Guanajuato in Amat Escalante’s movie.
By A. O. SCOTT
Director Amat Escalante
Writers Amat Escalante, Gibrán Portela
Stars Kenny Johnston, Simone Bucio, Fernando Corona, Jesús Meza, Ruth Ramos
Running Time 1h 40m
Genres Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Valerian


If you can summarize the plot of Luc Besson’s film adaptation of the graphic-novel science fiction series, you weren’t paying attention.
By A. O. SCOTT
Director Luc Besson
Stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke
Rating PG-13
Running Time 2h 17m
Genres Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

The Midwife


Not Rated Drama Directed by Martin Provost
Two great French actresses, Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot, share the screen in this film about forgiveness and redemption.
By GLENN KENNY
Director Martin Provost
Stars Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot, Olivier Gourmet, Quentin Dolmaire, Mylène Demongeot
Rating Not Rated
Running Time 1h 57m
Genre Drama

Posted by Jen

I was perusing the Cake Wrecks Facebook page the other day (where every follower gets a free invisible puppy!!) when I came across a rather unusual request:

Ahh, so you want to pop open the hood and take a gander inside the wrecks, is that it, Jennifer?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

BEHOLD!!

 

And BEHOLD!!

 

KEEP BE-HOLDING!

 

Hey, Jennifer, you ever wonder how cupcake cakes (ptooie!) keep their icing from falling through all those big gaps?

NOW YOU KNOW.

 

We just saw last week how a gender reveal cake failed to actually reveal anything - other than plain yellow cake - but here's the opposite problem:

The cake was blue inside with pink icing.

Oy.

 

Now I'm going to show you my absolute favorite cake cake wreck of all time, Jennifer, and which I've been hanging onto for just this moment.

First, though, let me explain what (we think) happened:

A bakery was unable to sell a Halloween cake in time, but they didn't want to throw it away or reduce the price. So instead, they simply flipped the entire cake over, icing side down, and re-decorated the other side to make it into a generic birthday design.

CW reader Shannon had no idea of the skullduggery at work until she cut the cake, and found this:

That's a whoooole lotta icing, right there.

(And think how fresh!!)

 

And finally, I know I posted the video of this over on FB a week or two back, but here's a quick .gif reminder of the importance of proper wedding cake support:

OUCH.

(Watch the original video here to see them both continue to laugh hysterically, which is just adorable. Cutest couple ever!)

 

Welp, I hope that satisfies some of your blood lust for caketastrophe, Jennifer!

And hey, for the rest of you, the request line... IS OPEN.

 

Thanks to Cherie O., Leann S., Jaunna, Fribby, Sarah, & Shannon G. for reminding me of those times bakeries accidentally left scissors, a paring knife, and other various cutlery in their cakes - because that was a HOOT. (And also because "TRAUMATIC BIEBER" *still* makes me snort-laugh.)

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

In the next pair of episodes, as Mei Changsu begins his campaign to take down the corrupt court, we start getting to know a couple of very interesting women, both challenging.

And MC is walks into another emotional gutting.
Read more... )
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([personal profile] jhetley Jul. 21st, 2017 08:10 am)
People running around the internet, blithering about names I've never heard before . . .
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([personal profile] jhetley Jul. 21st, 2017 07:59 am)

Air temperature 72 F, west wind about 7 mph, clear/hazy. Need to get out on the bike before it gets worse.

Posted by James Fallows

By midnight on July 20, 2017, it seemed increasingly likely that Donald Trump will fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

Mueller embodies what is admirable in U.S. public service: a wounded and decorated Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, longtime prosecutor and U.S. Attorney under both Republican and Democratic presidents, 12-year director of the FBI under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, unconnected to scandal or partisan suspicions at any point.

Donald Trump embodies the reverse.

Yet for now Trump has the legal power, directly or indirectly, to dismiss Mueller, if the investigation gets too close to Trump’s obviously sensitive financial concerns. And Trump himself, unaware of history and oblivious to rules, norms, and constraints, has given every indication that this will be his next step.

What happens then? Brian Beutler, of the New Republic, has just put up a bleak scenario, arguing that there really are no guardrails—or, as we observed in Mitch McConnell’s unprecedented stonewalling of a Supreme Court nomination, that the constitutional system’s real protections have been norms rather than formal rules. Someone unconcerned by those norms—McConnell last year, Trump now—can in fact blast right through them. “At the moment there are no reliable sources of accountability,” Beutler writes. “None.”

* * *

There are 52 Americans who have it within their power to prove that dark assessment wrong. Really, it would take a subset of just three of those 52. With the 52-48 current party lineup in the U.S. Senate, a switch of three votes of conscience is all it would take to have this branch of government fulfill its checks-and-balances function.

With three votes, a Senate majority could issue subpoenas and compel sworn testimony from Administration officials. It could empower its own thorough investigation, even re-hiring Robert Mueller to lead it. It could compel Donald Trump to release the tax returns about which he is so evidently nervous. It could act as if America in fact possessed a system of rule-of-law, rather than whim-of-one-man.

Ben Sasse could be one of those three, if he were willing to back up his lectures and essays about ethical public life. Lindsey Graham could, since he and John McCain have kept making the case about Trump’s recklessness. Chuck Grassley, who would be 89 years old the next time he’d have to face the voters. Dean Heller, who is in trouble anyway in a state Hillary Clinton carried, and whom Trump demeans and insults. Rob Portman, who has served in “normal” Republican administrations and could ally himself with his state’s governor, John Kasich, as forces for a principled future GOP. Jeff Flake, who in speeches has positioned himself with appeals to a more moderate politics, and who could take up the Maverick mantle of his colleague John McCain. Of course, McCain himself. Lisa Murkowski, who originally won without Republican Party support. Susan Collins, who drew a line at the rushed health-care bill. Richard Burr, who has made more-or-less common cause with his Democratic colleague Mark Warner on the Senate intelligence committee. Ron Johnson, who has just won re-election  and appears to be mad at Trump. Rand Paul, also just elected, if he believed his radical limited-government pitch. Ted Cruz, if he had the courage of his anti-Trump stand at last year’s GOP convention. Even—let’s imagine here—the likes of Tom Cotton, if he were willing to roll the dice and elevate himself as a national figure, for the post-Trump leadership contest against the likes of Sasse, Cruz, and the rest. There are half a dozen other conceivable candidates. I’d like even to imagine John Barasso, a broadly educated and broad-minded man who has for now thrown his lot in with Mitch McConnell.

It would take only three. Some—Grassley? Heller? McCain if he is able to vote?—might think: What do they have to lose? They might as well wind up with dignity. Others—Paul, Burr, Johnson, Murkowski—are so far away from re-election that a lot will happen in the meantime. And all of them are senators, part of a body self-consciously proud of its independence, its individual judgment, its role in defending the long-term principles of governance.

A country of 300-plus million people, with the world’s largest economy and most powerful military, should not rely for its orderly stability on the decisions-of-conscience of just three people. But the United States may soon be in that situation. These names will go down in history, depending on the choices they make.  

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([personal profile] mrissa Jul. 21st, 2017 06:32 am)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I’m back from Boston! I had a lovely time going to Readercon and writing and seeing friends and riding back and forth on the T and wandering up and down Mass Ave. I am now convinced that wandering up and down Mass Ave is a substantial part of what you do in Boston. Things are there. Also, every time you come out of the Harvard T, there is Greer Gilman, so it is written and so it must be.

But other, less eternal things are written, and you can read them! Such as this interview about my story in the July/August issue of F&SF. Interview with me! Things you might want to know! or maybe not, but there it is anyway.

I answered these interview questions in the spring, and one of the things they’re showing me now is that life moves fast. Well. I knew that. And if it’s going to move fast and smell all right while it goes, I’d better get a load of laundry in. More, much more, soon, now that I’m home for awhile.

([syndicated profile] bruce_schneier_feed Jul. 21st, 2017 11:23 am)

Posted by Bruce Schneier

The Segway has a mobile app. It is hackable:

While analyzing the communication between the app and the Segway scooter itself, Kilbride noticed that a user PIN number meant to protect the Bluetooth communication from unauthorized access wasn't being used for authentication at every level of the system. As a result, Kilbride could send arbitrary commands to the scooter without needing the user-chosen PIN.

He also discovered that the hoverboard's software update platform didn't have a mechanism in place to confirm that firmware updates sent to the device were really from Segway (often called an "integrity check"). This meant that in addition to sending the scooter commands, an attacker could easily trick the device into installing a malicious firmware update that could override its fundamental programming. In this way an attacker would be able to nullify built-in safety mechanisms that prevented the app from remote-controlling or shutting off the vehicle while someone was on it.

"The app allows you to do things like change LED colors, it allows you to remote-control the hoverboard and also apply firmware updates, which is the interesting part," Kilbride says. "Under the right circumstances, if somebody applies a malicious firmware update, any attacker who knows the right assembly language could then leverage this to basically do as they wish with the hoverboard."

oursin: Illustration from medieval manuscript of the female physician Trotula of Salerno holding up a urine flask (trotula)
([personal profile] oursin Jul. 21st, 2017 11:29 am)

Re the current hoohah about Boots the chemist charging well over the odds for the morning after pill, I was going to comment - when posting the link on various bits of social media, to go 'and Edwin Brooks must be spinning in his grave!'

Brooks was the MP who put through the sometimes overlooked but significant 1966 Family Planning Act: as discussed in that post I did some while back on 'why birth control is free under the NHS'.

However, I discovered from googling that - as far as one can tell from The Usual Sources - Brooks is still alive, but moved to Australia. I am profoundly shocked that the Wikipedia entry, under his political achievements, doesn't include that act. We wonder if, in the long history of reproductive rights, it got overshadowed by the more controversial 1967 Abortion Act, or, by the final incorporation of contraception into the NHS in 1974. If I had time on my hands (which at this moment I don't) I would go and try and edit that entry.

*I think this is a quotation from someone? but I can't find a source.

NOVELLAS

How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry by Alexander Jablokov

The Girl Who Stole Herself by R. Garcia y Robertson

I posted about the first of these as soon as read it, considering it worth the cover price on its own, https://beccaelizabeth.dreamwidth.org/3346818.html , but the other novella was also strong.

Central female character, mostly talking to girls and women, interesting career progression very swiftly, and a worldbuild that goes out in stages that make sense but sometimes managed to surprise me. Trigger warning for attempted rape, interrupted, and several different situations where sexual contact is implied or mentioned in situations cannot be freely consented to, like women in prison or slaves or attempted underage. It's all about how messed up all that all is. Protagonist is a 'closet princess' who spends all her time on the net, whose adventures in virtual reality have practical applications and real world political consequences. Interesting, but, see triggers.

Asimov's keeps being darker like that than is my preference.

Read more... )


So that's a couple I can't see why they're SF, a lot that are darker than I'd like, and a couple of very readable ones.

So, basically, I can see Asimov's is doing a thing. It seems like a competently written thing. But it is only sometimes an overlap with things I want to read.

Still, good when it is.
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([personal profile] ashkitty Jul. 21st, 2017 10:18 am)
I don't think I've kept updated here very well, so the short points:

I'm moving back to the US this week. The movers arrive tomorrow morning to retrieve half a dozen boxes of books and such, while I spend the week at a conference in Germany. Then I have one farewell day in London, an overnight in Iceland, and then I'll be back in the PacNW.

I'm obviously sad and frustrated, because I have been living a life and stuff and now it just all goes away because the country decided to wake up and be racist one day last summer.

But on the other hand, my mom's ill and about to start chemotherapy, so as timing goes, I should probably be there anyway.

I'll try to update better later and fill in the blanks - I'm still packing right now, and apparently going to just make up my conference paper as I go along on Monday.

Back to putting stuff into boxes!
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([personal profile] oursin Jul. 21st, 2017 09:12 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] kerkevik_2014 and [personal profile] coughingbear!
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
([personal profile] beccaelizabeth Jul. 21st, 2017 08:56 am)
If you think you have invented an ansible
instant, faster than light, communication
and you only have one planet to test it on

how would you test?

if magic is ftl, how would they figure that out?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
([personal profile] beccaelizabeth Jul. 21st, 2017 08:25 am)
The thing that makes conversations about gender and media difficult to have
is that, in an ideal world, I'd want gender to be a nonbinary system, a gender spectrum, with no particular weight or pressure to so much as pick a position on it, let alone be stuck there.

... but I am aware that this ideal world is based on what would make the world most comfortable for me, and other people want to do their own thing, so okay, I guess, they can play this two sided thing, if they particularly want.

Read more... )

We have to start by engaging with the dominant paradigm, but I get so tired of it when it is being a really intolerable paradigm.

There's no room for anyone in this thing, why even prop it up?




So what this adds up to is, the Doctor has potential to be my ideal character. All Time Lords do now. Because they can demonstrate in one continuous person the utter irrelevance of packaging.

But, because they are on the whole written by binary people in a binary system, it seems annoyingly likely they won't.

And yet it's still progress, because parity is at least twelve more Doctors away, so this is a place to start.



It's just kind of wearying knowing that saying this out loud is... pretty likely to start an argument on the fundamentals. Like, gender. What is even up with that?
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