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August 23rd, 2017next

August 23rd, 2017: One time my friend Joey Comeau of A Softer World dot com and I recorded a game we played so that we could share it for posterity and everyone could see how amazing we were, but after the game we destroyed our notes because it was A REAL EMBARRASSING GAME

– Ryan

Talking Meme #8

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:40 pm
lost_spook: (s&s - silver)
[personal profile] lost_spook
For the Talking Meme, from [livejournal.com profile] persiflage_1: Since you write a lot of Silver/Liz Shaw fic, which other Doctor Who character would you put into an adventure with them?

I'm not entirely sure I have written a lot of Silver/Liz fic, but to my great joy and pleasure I have somehow caused a lot of Silver/Liz fic to be written, which is the best outcome, really.

(Well, actually, I probably have written a lot of Silver/Liz ficlets - 1 make it 4 out of 11, with 4 authors making up the total - but I would like to point out that most of mine were prompted by Pers, so I'm not sure which of us is mostly to blame for that.* ;-p OTOH, I think all of the others were written for me, so...)

Anyway, Liz/Silver was an accidental pairing that came up in a meme where you sorted your icons and paired them off, with fairly entertaining and improbable results, and then next thing you knew [personal profile] john_amend_all had written a ficlet, and then so had I... and then people were giving me Silver/Liz in [community profile] fandom_stocking and the ship is a thing. \o/

I'm unsure how to answer this question, because this is me. I would put any DW character I felt capable of writing in a fic with Silver and Liz, so narrowing it down is hard!

Three or the Brig would be natural, given Liz's era and both would probably have a lot less patience for Silver than Liz does (in the fic; she is scientifically interested in him, he is a curious part of the universe that naturally she would like to explore), so that would be fun. (I feel Three, finding an Element, would be rather like a human discovering an unexpected rat or something. It'd be at least five episodes later before he could admit that one was okay and actually kind of interesting, he'd have to be locked up in a cell with Jo before he admitted that he found them unnerving, because different Time thingies.) The Brig could end up in a very bemused OT3 situation that he would never ever mention again. It did not happen. Liz humours him kindly. She has some sympathy for being bemused by Elements.

But then there is the whole wide universe of Doctor Who! I wouldn't put Adric in it (it would not be the sort of place Adric would be of any use, unless Silver and Liz needed some mathematical calculations doing, I suppose), and Dodo wouldn't be my first choice, and I can't claim to have watched The Dalek Masterplan enough to write much Katarina or Sara Kingdom, but otherwise the Whoniverse is pretty wide open.

Who do people think would be an interesting/good/hilarious addition to a Liz/Silver (or Liz & Silver fic)?

* Well, all right, me, probably. But Pers is definitely to blame for plenty of other things! ;-p (In the good way.)

Eclipse!Trip Day 3 (recap)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:41 am
marcicat: (dreamsheep rainbow)
[personal profile] marcicat

Nashville was HOT. So hot. I crashed hard after the zoo and slept for something like 9 and a half hours. Woke up feeling good, and we did some walking (mostly inside).

(A passing guest took our photo inside, where I look basically awake and like I can handle being a person who does things. Then we meandered outside, and another guest took our picture there — after just a few moments in the heat I am visibly wilted and look like I’m about two minutes from a complete meltdown.)

That was pretty much my pattern for the travel day, actually. I alternated between ‘this is fine, I love everything!’ and ‘I need air conditioning and chocolate or I’m going to freak out just to get out of this line.’ (There were a lot of lines. Huge kudos to starandrea for being so amazing!)

But we arrived safely home (where it is also hot, but not *nearly* as hot as Nashville), now I have a day to recover and dote on the cat before I head back to work on Thursday!

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

Eclipse!Trip Day 2 (recap)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:30 am
marcicat: (badger stream)
[personal profile] marcicat

Eclipse totality was amazing — worth the trip, absolutely!

Being part of thousands of people who showed up to look at the sky legit made me so happy there were tears in my eyes. I loved that we weren’t surrounded by scientists or serious photographers, just a whole bunch of people who thought ‘yeah, this is cool, let’s go look at the sun!’

And so we showed up and ate barbecue and watched parents make paper plate masks for their kids and saw the sun go out and come back, and it was really, really cool.

(PS: And I got to pat a kangaroo!)

Mirrored from The Marci Rating System.

legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
I'm in general pretty sceptical about the Honours system, but over recent days I've become a believer. The Honours system justifies itself by continuing not to give a knighthood to Geoffrey Boycott and by very properly giving them instead to the likes of Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose, Wes Hall and Gary Sobers (and why the hell has Clive Lloyd not appeared on that list?), something that has recently prompted the mouthy Yorkshire rhubarb obsessive to observe that the honour was handed out "like confetti" to Windies players and that "Mine’s been turned down twice. I’d better black me face.”

Honestly, it's like a variation on Lewis's law*: Boycs' explanation for why he hasn't been knighted shows why he mustn't be knighted.

However, speaking of white knights, a whole bunch of Boycott supporters have crawled out of the woodwork on twitter, claiming that the only reason their hero hasn't had the respect he deserves is because of that pesky domestic violence conviction from 1998, and after all, that was in France so it barely counts and anyway, she was probably lying.

And since most of them are talking about "new evidence" I thought it was my public duty to do a little gentle fact checking, as a resource for others who may have to deal with these pests.

Read more... )

Anyway, as [personal profile] kalypso and I have known since the early 80s, the block to his knighthood lies not in his domestic violence conviction, his racism, his ban from Test cricket as a result of touring apartheid-era South Africa, his running out of Randall or his all-round painful personality. It lies in the deep dark reason everyone in the know knows, but no-one can talk about.

*"The comments below any article on feminism justify feminism".

REC POST: Multifandom vids

Aug. 23rd, 2017 02:05 pm
chantefable: ([justified] count down from ten)
[personal profile] chantefable
20 multifandom existential angst videos.

Hurt by Zurik23M
It Has to Get Better by Zurik23M
What Happened to Us? by Zurik23M
I Always Loved You by Zurik23M
Fade Away by Shainira
Insane Like Me by Grable424
Reflection by Shainira
The Preacher by Grable424 & djcprod
You Are Certainly Going To Die by SecretlytoDream
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Grable424
Map of Hell by MinimalistVideos
The Unloved Ones by Shainira
A Blade of Grass by Shainira
No Bravery by eemersonm
Neverending Jungle by Shainira
Flares by Grable424 & djcprod
Youth of a Nation by Grable424 & gabygal7
Just One Last Thing by Shainira
Soldier On by Shainira & LaurenMichelle
Tesselate by MinimalistVideos & Shainira
Take Control by MinimalistVideos & Ariane

More like this: multifandom zugzwang, joie de vivre, atmosphere, miscellaneous: festivids, dystopia & fantasy, spies & mystery, bamf, retro, adventure, bisexuality

Interesting Links for 23-08-2017

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

The Blood is the Life for 23-08-2017

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Wednesday is looking autumnal again

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:00 am
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Private Patient, which was readable enough, I suppose, but felt not exactly as if PDJ was phoning it in, just proceeding along well-worn ruts. Found it hard to believe in the characters. Also, while PDJ does have a sense that there is Modern Life, and makes a nod to it in Miskin, she still feels in a bit of a time-warp (unlike Rendell/Vine)

Read Ginger Frost's Illegitimacy in English Law and Society, 1860-1930 (2016), which was a freebie for reading a book proposal and I have been trying to get to for months, because Frost's work is always good and going into areas very under-explored. This one looks at illegitimacy from the angle of the illegitimate children (rather than the fallen mother) and is densely researched. Also more than a little depressing - illegitimate children had a very high mortality rate, if they weren't the victims of infanticide by desperate mothers they were subject to neglect or the general problems of poverty. Also the cruelty of the laws took so very long to change. But Frost does get the ambivalances: courts and local officials being sympathetic to the plight of unwed mothers and thus giving merciful judgments in infanticide cases, giving mothers out-relief rather than obliging them to go into the workhouse, demonstrating a certain flexibility; while thinking actually changing the rules would lead to the downfall of morality.

Also finished one of two books I have for a joint review, which also deal with a rather depressing topic.

On the go

Tanith Lee, Nightshades: Thirteen Journeys into Shadow (1993, and collecting some much earlier material). Some of these have been in other collections of hers I've read recently. Very good, if creepy.

Also, have started second book for the joint review.

Up next

If it ever arrives, the new Barbara Hambly Benjamin January mystery.

online book rec

Aug. 23rd, 2017 01:54 am
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Wandered across http://thefantasistmag.com/ and found some excellent novellas and short stories, if you like fantasy of varying sorts centering queer characters.
[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

NB: Instead of focusing on a particular book or author, Guest Ranter Emerentia wants to discuss the trope of academic, brainy heroines! Also, feel free to recommending so good academic heroines in the comments. 

Emerentia spent her teenage years ignoring the protest “but you’re a girl!” every time she mentioned her interest in physics, and went on to become an astrophysicist anyway. When she doesn’t study black holes, she is passionate about diversity and inclusivity in the science community, and can also frequently be found reading (and nitpicking) romance and science fiction novels.

Dear Romance Author Who Writes About Academics,

I have a bone to pick with you. I like your books. They’re generally fun, witty and entertaining. They make me laugh or swoon and sometimes both. They give me an entertaining few hours.

But then you decide to make your heroine a scientist. By scientist, I mean “walking and talking collection of horrible cliches,” and suddenly I want to throw your book at the nearest wall.

Do I need utter realism in my romance novels? No. But I need to be able to empathize with the characters, and they need to be at least somewhat believable. The caricatures of women in academia I see described in your book embody exactly the stereotypes that, as a female physicist, I fight against every day in my real life. When I see the same stereotypes woefully exaggerated and glorified in books, it makes me feel so unbearably angry and sad and helpless that I can’t keep reading.

Representation in books matters. Books have the ability to shape our thinking and our ability to empathize with others. So here are a bunch of tropes that I can’t stand in a heroine who is also an academic. I’m not saying that none of them exist in real life, or that any of them are intrinsically bad, but the fact that all female academics I’ve seen described in romance novels so far basically exhibited the majority of these characteristics (and others) makes me think there’s something seriously wrong with how society views women in science.

1.) The heroine has four PhDs before she’s 25, and is clearly a “prodigy” or “brainiac.”

First of all, really? It’s either “Oh, I’ve never been good at maths, haha” (that pisses me off, too, but that’s a rant for another day) or “I’m so smart I did four PhDs and didn’t think of anything else, ever.” Nothing in between? Nobody who maybe started out struggling in school, but then ended up discovering a love for, say, chemistry, and persevered?

Here’s something that anyone with a PhD will tell you: intelligence alone is not a great predictor of success in academia. The main ingredients of a PhD are: (1) time, (2) perseverance. This is the thing that gets me with the four-PhDs-before-25 scenario: even in the best-case scenario, in science, a PhD will take between three and seven years (YMMV depending on subject). That’s a long time. And a lot of that can’t be cut short, because experiments take time, field work takes time, data analysis takes time, and writing papers takes time. Most of which is out of the PhD student’s control. Do we really have to settle for the lazy “she’s so super smart she could do it with her eyes closed with a snap of her fingers” method of heroine development?

2.) The heroine has “no time for anything outside of research” because she’s such a prodigy and brainiac that it never occurred to her to do anything else, ever.

Are most academics driven and often work long hours? Sure. “Publish or perish” is real. But the academics I know who are interested in a topic long enough to complete a PhD on it are generally also interested in other subjects – otherwise you wouldn’t see me writing rants about scientists in books! And if you make your character all about her research, how does that ever make for anything more than a one-dimensional stick figure? How can you ever actually add depth to a character when her defining characteristic is “does work”? How about also making a heroine an activist, or someone passionate about rock climbing, or running a cooking club for her friends? Literally anything that would show us she has a life outside of work and adds some dimensions to her character.

3.) The heroine is a virgin, because of course she is.

I have no issues with virgins, but somewhere on a blog, I read this comment about a heroine: ‘She has four PhDs, she has no time for anything outside work, let alone sex’. And that just made me sad. See also my point about “interests outside the lab” above, and yes, one of them could (and maybe should) be sex. I know there’s this idea that academics are all brainiacs who don’t think of anything other than science all day and all night, but seriously, we went through college just like everyone else. And not all of us knew at age four that we were going to cure cancer and henceforth did nothing but study microbiology all day and all night. It won’t diminish your heroine’s love for research or dedication to her work if she goes out on a date once in awhile. Many of my female friends in academia tell me they find dating quite frustrating, because apparently many men find women with PhDs somewhat intimidating. How about including that in a book for a change?

4.) The heroine approaches everything in life, including relationships and sexuality, as an experiment.

There actually is a tendency in particular among physicists to think that because they’re good at problem solving in one area, they’re good at solving problems in others (whether they actually solve problems in those areas or create more is a different question). This largely does not apply to daily life. I don’t approach cooking the way I do data analysis, nor do I set up experiments and control groups to figure out how the washing machine works. Honestly, it’s not nature, so doing experiments is stupid if you can just as easily read the manual or recipe or find a YouTube tutorial online. Your heroine, being super clever and all that, should probably know this.

I’m still waiting for the romance novel where the inevitable brainiac scientist virgin heroine has sex, hates it, and goes “Well, N=1 is not a statistically sound sample, and I’ll have to control for confounding variables, too,” so she goes out and has multiple sex orgies with a hundred different people in different positions. Then, of course, she performs multi-variate regression to figure out if she actually likes sex or not.

5.) The heroine is socially awkward.

The real trope here is “I study the universe/mathematical equations/bacteria/X so I don’t understand people.” There certainly are socially awkward scientists. I don’t at all pretend to be the most suave person on the planet. But that doesn’t mean we’re all incapable of finishing a whole sentence without stammering, or generally act like a grown-ass human being in the company of others. I suppose it’s difficult to write an interesting conversation if “intelligent” and “science!” are the heroine’s only characteristics and interests, so it makes sense in that case to describe her as socially awkward. But let’s call it what it is: a cop-out.

6.) The heroine dresses like a nun, has the worst haircut ever, and never wears make-up.

That’s one I have mixed feelings about. Because there’s a kernel of truth in some of that, but not for the reasons authors seem to think. In books, the heroine is usually too busy thinking about her world-changing science, so she doesn’t have time to think about trivial things like clothes or hair or make-up. I guess that makes for a good Cinderella-type story, and that’s a trope that seems to be universally popular (because women are only worth their looks, <insert eye roll here>). I’m sure there are scientists like that, but I also know a scientist who runs a successful fashion blog aside from stuff like, you know, figuring out how black holes work. I have another scientist friend with whom I trade YouTube links for make-up tutorials.

The sad reality is: appearances matter, and they matter all the more for female academics. I’m a physicist. I have to work quite hard to be taken seriously by men at all, so I’m actually very conscious about all of my appearance in a work context, all the time. If I dress too casually, will my students take me seriously? If I wear a skirt at work, will the visiting professor think I’m the admin and ask me to bring him coffee? If I wear this blouse at a conference, will my expertise in the subject wrote my thesis in be challenged even more often than it usually is? I wish I could just not care and wear whatever I want, but I can’t, not if I want to keep having a career. I feel like there are probably interesting stories and topics to explore here, but that sadly never happens, because that wouldn’t fit into the whole make-over narrative.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of that trope is that on the one hand, it may seem modern and progressive to write a heroine who is smart and in a stereotypically male profession. But at the same time, any progress is negated by giving her a storyline that literally tells the reader the heroine’s worth depends solely on her looks and ability to attract a man. Yes, because that’s the real reason someone spends their entire twenties in higher education on abysmal pay.

I don’t want this to get any longer than it already is, so I’ll stop adding gripes here. My point is, there are lots of interesting topics and (romantic) conflicts to explore for a heroine who is in academia without making her a walking, taking assembly of tropes. Pop culture hasn’t been very good at this, so you have a real chance here to write something new and different. Please write a book with a heroine I can actually identify with, and who I don’t want to take aside, shake really hard and then spend some serious time mentoring. If you need advice on what academia is like, or what real scientists are like, please talk to us! I for one would be happy to help.

As I said above, representation matters. Representing female academics in this one-dimensional way, as hapless brainiacs with no life experience and no character traits outside of “does research” perpetuates harmful stereotypes, and those of us in academia spend a great deal of time and energy fighting exactly those cliches every day. While I don’t think a romance novel will be the deciding factor in a woman’s decision not to go into academia, it’s yet another piece in the larger puzzle of societal expectations about what professions women choose and how they conduct themselves in these professions. Please allow us to be real human beings in your books, so that for a change, I can enthusiastically recommend them to all my scientist friends!

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 04:30 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Achieved today
  • version 2 of CV finished and sent to person who requested it
  • sudden realisation as to what the next paragraph of my report has to say. Written it, stalled at n+1.
  • Piano tuner came, tuned piano. I had remembered to organise cash.
  • moving all the crap out of the music room, so the piano tuner had space to move. Sadly, now there is too much Stuff in my bedroom
  • ironing!
  • progress on block a day quilt, finishing Feb 12 & 13.

Not achieved today
  • data analysis. Must find data first.
  • driving lessons for either of middlest or eldest (although as I've just made an arrangement with middlest, that might still happen)
  • World Peace

Right Now, I'm going to get up off the couch, and work out what I need to cut for the next few blocks.

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] natlyn!

tillin' the wasteland sands

Aug. 23rd, 2017 01:08 am
alexr_rwx: (Default)
[personal profile] alexr_rwx
You know who's inspiring? MF DOOM.

Go read his origin story.

After the death of his brother, Dumile retreated from the hip hop scene from 1994 to 1997, living "damn near homeless, walking the streets of Manhattan, sleeping on benches". In the late 1990s, he left New York City and settled in Atlanta. According to interviews with Dumile, he was also "recovering from his wounds" and swearing revenge "against the industry that so badly deformed him".

DOOM. The supa villain.

We have probably not been wounded as badly as he has. That does not mean we can't rise up and take (metaphorical) (lyrical) revenge.

Unrelatedly, I was talking with my therapist today about thinking about my PhD process like one might think about personal loss.


seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)

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