monanotlisa: (notebook)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
In the first novel, Rivers of London aka Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch, there are vampires. Spoilery details, and QUESTIONS! )

On a tangent, the whole encounter made me rethink my Nightingale Theory )

sunnymodffa: Face of Loki, adorable kitten (Loki & Lokitty)
[personal profile] sunnymodffa posting in [community profile] fail_fandomanon
 
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New Rule updates:
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PEDTM: Day 27

2017-03-27 09:29 pm
mirabile: (Hug)
[personal profile] mirabile
What a long couple of days we've had. But! The contractor and his partner came out today and tore down two walls and the ceiling ACK. We have an electrician coming out, though I'm not sure when because first the county has to give permission for him to do the work, and on Friday someone is coming out to bid on insulation -- a special foam for sound proofing. It's really scary, isn't it? The whole remodeling bit. I guess I'm glad we've started but I'll be even gladder when it's finished.

It will be finished, right? One day? I mean, it's only one room.

I just finished watched the third season of Grace and Frankie. I enjoyed the heck out of it! It's wonderful to see the characters again and watch them change and grow. Plus it's funny. Plus wow, what a gorgeous lifestyle they have. I am deeply envious of that house on the beach in San Diego.

Time to sleep. Tomorrow is a mother's day for me.

Feasts and Feats of Drinking

2017-03-28 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Loretta Chase

Midnight Modern Conversation ca 1732
Loretta reports:

Though Easter Tuesday comes rather later this year, I’m working with Hone’s date, since it seems equally applicable to all feast-days. I think, too, this offers a good example of phrases that sound modern, but actually have been around for a long time. Unlike so many other expressions, “hair of the dog” is as familiar to us as it was to Hone’s readers in 1826.  The OED traces it to the 16th century.

As to the “feats of potation”—given the level of drinking in Hone's time, one can only imagine what his ancestors might have consumed, to impress him so deeply.
Easter Tuesday

Image:
Unknown artist after William Hogarth, A Midnight Modern Conversation ca. 1732courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Accession No. B1981.25.351

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

[ SECRET POST #3736 ]

2017-03-27 06:21 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3736 ⌋

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

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 28 secrets from Secret Submission Post #533.
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.

German in America

2017-03-27 10:08 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

There's a Germantown in Philadelphia and a German Village in Columbus, Ohio.  in Fredericksburg (the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz) and in New Braunfels, they speak Texas German, and in Amish and Old Order Mennonite communities in many states, they speak  Pennsylvania Dutch / German (Deitsch, Pennsylvania Deitsch, Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch, Hinterwäldler-Deutsch).

From a German friend who worked for the American military government in Germany after WWII:

While working for Military Government in 1948 I had occasion to get together various materials for a seminar held somewhere south of Munich.  For that purpose I had authorization to request a military motor pool car.

However, getting down to the garage there was only one car left and an American Colonel ahead of me.  Being a very considerate gentleman he inquired about my need of a car and said, since he was not having far to go, we should share it.  In exchange I was trying to be helpful by translating to the German driver where he needed to go.  Instead of responding to my attempt, the man began rattling off where he needed to go and which route to follow — in the thickest Schwaebisch dialect!

I was absolutely astounded because up until then I had always found Americans bewildered in dealing with the German language, and this chap did not appear to have been German-born. In response to my surprise he quipped:

"ha no, da muss ma halt ma a bis-cha schwaetza kenna"

("ha no, da muss man halt mal ein bischen schwatzen koennen")

translation:  "Well (or why not)  one must, after all, you know, be able to gab a bit".

When I asked him how he was able to speak Schwaebisch so fluently, he said he was a native Philadelphian and merely picked this up on the street while growing up.  He had no clue about  the German language, Schwaebisch being all he knew.

I guess he was in his 50s in 1948, which might give you a timeline on where you might have had a Schwaebisch-speaking neighborhood in Philadelphia in the half-century before that.

Many's the time that I heard tales about German almost becoming the national language of America* (just as one of the southern Sinitic topolects almost became the national language of China rather than Mandarin**), but — despite living in Philadelphia since 1979 — until I received the story from my friend recounted above, I had no idea that German was still a living language in parts of my adopted city during the first half of the twentieth century.

—–

*

Supposedly, though, that's an urban legend.

**

David Moser, A Billion Voices: China's Search for a Common Language (Penguin, 2016).

S. Robert Ramsey, The Languages of China (Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 7-8.

See "How Mandarin became China's national language" (7/31/15)

(no subject)

2017-03-27 04:35 pm
nowhere: (Default)
[personal profile] nowhere posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
96 | boys over flowers
92 | justice league
21 | wonder woman


209 icons @ [community profile] insomniatic.
monanotlisa: (action - resist)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
OH HELLS NO!

Call to action copy/pasted with some edits from this post over yonder at [community profile] thisfinecrew:
The ACLU just emailed me asking me to call the Representative Member of Congress and ask them to protect online privacy. I just spoke to my own Representative; her staffer told me that it had passed the Senate already and that the House bill is Resolution 86.

The house is scheduled to vote on this tomorrow, Tuesday March 28, so if you're going to call or fax, there's not a lot of time.

Here's a script from the ACLU:

"I’m calling to demand Congress protect my online privacy and keep FCC broadband rules intact. Do not pass House Resolution 86. I do not want internet service providers to sell my data without getting my permission."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation aka EFF (where I personally know a bunch of people I admire greatly) has more information on H.J. Res. 86.

Awakenings

2017-03-27 09:25 pm
raven: (misc - inside the box)
[personal profile] raven
I am rereading Awakenings, the Oliver Sacks book about encephalitis lethargica and L-DOPA. I first came across the story as a teenager and predictably found it completely fascinating. But I bounced off the book a bit the first time, probably because I was too young for it and also it has a lot of quite boring prefaces. But this time I found it entirely compelling, prefaces and all, and have been talking about it quite a bit, so here we are.

The story in brief, for those who don't know it (and also to give me an excuse to tell it again): after the First World War, there was a worldwide outbreak of Spanish flu, which killed more people than the war did, but has mostly been forgotten. And following that - and yet more forgotten - was an epidemic of an illness later called encephalitis lethargica, also called sleepy-sickness. It was prevalent between about 1918 and 1928, and has never really been seen since (beyond isolated cases). People who got it tended to fall asleep - for weeks or months. And then, when they woke up, they were changed in some deep, indefinable way: neither asleep nor awake, but something in between. They sat motionless in chairs and stared into space. They could be "posed", their arms outstretched, like living statues. They couldn't be woken, and some of them didn't appear even to age - so forty years later some had been frozen in place for decades, still looking largely as they had in the late 1920s when initially struck down by the disease.

In 1969, the neurologist Oliver Sacks - who was one of the few clinicians with responsibility for a large number of post-encephalitic patients, about forty of them, in a hospital in New York - hit upon the idea of giving them L-DOPA, which at the time was a brand-new drug. (It's a chemical precursor to dopamine that can pass through the blood-brain barrier.) So without a great deal of knowledge of what would happen, but that something would, he started giving L-DOPA to these patients who had been out of the world for four decades.

And they woke up. This is the amazing part of the story, and Sacks writes about it like a dream: this glorious New York summer, in which these people not only woke up, and spoke, and moved, but became the people they had been. Sacks mentions one patient who had been a flapper, and the nurses going to the NYPL to look up the people and places she spoke about. He mentions another who had been a young Jewish emigrée from Vienna in the 1920s, and startled the staff because they had never known it until she spoke with an Austrian accent, and asked for a rabbi. It's just incredible to read about. And heartbreaking too, because L-DOPA turns out not to be quite the miracle that it promises. There's a honeymoon period, where Sacks and his colleagues are convinced it's just teething problems and they'll figure it out - and then the realisation that they can't stop the effect of the drug wearing off with time, or giving the patients side-effects that are too much to bear. So while some of the patients stay "awakened", others slip back into their pre-L-DOPA state, or into a coma this time. It's tragic and has an awful inevitable feel but it doesn't take on the feel of a Greek tragedy - you never lose sight of these people as real, individual human beings, not archetypes or fairy tales. I am not always convinced by Sacks' theoretical approaches, which draw a lot more from straight philosophy than I'm accustomed to seeing in a book that also purports to examine the scientific method. And it's also a book of its time and place, and a medicalised book - it doesn't always shine in a good light when considered through the lens of disability activism and theory - but Sacks is always interesting, always humane, and always interested in individuals and their stories.

The coda to this is that I hadn't really gathered, the first time I read this book, that Sacks was queer (although I was reminded of his lifelong friendship with WH Auden, which is the kind of historical congruence I love). And then [personal profile] happydork linked me to this beautiful article: My Life With Oliver Sacks, by Bill Hayes, who was Sacks' partner at the time of his death. It's one of the loveliest things I've read in ages - a snapshot of queer work, a queer life, as well as a love letter and obituary. I adore it. i've been rereading a lot of formative things just recently - all the best-beloveds of teenage crazies, so The Bell Jar and Prozac Nation - but also Slaughterhouse Five, Gender Outlaws, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, and Wild Dreams of a New Beginning. (The last of which because I read a poem: Lawrence Ferlinghetti Is Still Alive.)

I feel like there ought to be some sort of conclusion to this thought, something about my foundering mental health, but actually I think it's just, there are always books, and that precious kinship of inquiring queers.
monanotlisa: (justin! - ub)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Y'all who recommended Rivers of London (aka as Midnight Riot in the US for some unfathomable reason) by Ben Aaronovitch to me, I LOVE YOU! ♥ The first book is exactly what I was looking for to keep me entertained during long drives and rides -- it's snarky! It's suspenseful! It's got mystery and magic and a marvelous protagonist; I'm seriously into Peter Grant and his deadpan humor.

I laughed out loud several times, and I'm not even deep into the novel. Here's some choice quotations! )
isis: (quill)
[personal profile] isis
I wrote something! Actually this is the first thing I have written in a year that wasn't written for a fic exchange, if you count polishing and posting a longfic that I had mostly written the previous year as "writing". And it's in a fandom I don't think any of you are in, but I'm going to link it here anyway:

The Mark of the Year (3801 words) by Isis
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon/Astrid (The Witcher)
Characters: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, Astrid (The Witcher)
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Witcher!Ciri, References to game events, Sauna
Summary: One year after burying Skjall and facing the Wild Hunt, Ciri returns to Lofoten.

This story came about entirely because there is a scene in the game involving Ciri going to a sauna. (In this game, the player usually controls Geralt, the titular Witcher, but there are quests in which the player character is Ciri, Geralt's sort-of-adopted-daughter who he spends the first part of the game searching for.) Astrid, whose brother has a crush on Ciri, asks Ciri if she likes him; one possible player response is, "To be honest, I prefer women." But if you choose this response (and I did!) nothing racy happens, alas, which is sort of surprising because Geralt has several romantic scenes (or at least the possibility of them). SO I HAD TO WRITE SOMETHING.

(Not that this fic makes sense without knowing the game, or that I expect anyone on my flist to read it, just that I wanted to tell the story of why I wrote it!)

(no subject)

2017-03-27 08:21 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

A NOTE TO ALL before we begin -- I will be traveling next Monday, and I'm not sure of how much access I will have or when I will have it. Radio Free Monday next week miiiiight be postponed to Tuesday. Thanks everyone!

Ways to Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for [livejournal.com profile] delaese, who is in the process of divorcing, moving, and setting up a new business, and needs funds to help with all three, as well as care for her animals. You can read more and help out here (and also look at fluffy pictures of baby chicks!).

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Con Or Bust, a nonprofit which helps fans of color get to conventions. They're starting up their annual auction fundraiser and would love to have people offer items to donate; you can read more about donating here. Deadline is April 23 so there's still lots of time!

[tumblr.com profile] liviconnor linked to Charity: Water, a charity which helps internatioanl communities get clean water, and one of their fundraising methods is to ask people to get donations for their birthdays instead of presents. The birthday person then gets a thank-you gift of pictures from the community their money went to. You can read more and help out here, and you can also donate to them through CharityMiles, which donates money for every mile you run.

Anon is fundraising for Families For Freedom, a human-rights organization by and for families and their loved ones who are facing deportation. They run a national hotline for those imprisoned in immigrant detention centers, and provide emotional and social support to families going through deportation proceedings, as well as raising community awareness of rights and abuses. You can read more and support FFF here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They literally have no money left until their next worker's comp check comes, which means no gas money for their car, so they can't get anywhere to do odd jobs for bill money. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

Since I managed to both put it in the wrong place and lose the link last week like a loser, a repost: [tumblr.com profile] kitrona is in her last semester of college before graduation, and for her capstone is researching the hypothesis that social support can ease mental health issues that trans* and nonbinary people face. She has a survey up and would appreciate trans* and nonbinary people participating; the survey doesn't collect any identifying information and she is happy to share the resulting paper with people if they're interested. She's planning to specialize in trans* issues, so this is not simply a class project but a foundation for future work in the field. You can take the survey here and please feel free to pass it on to people who could help contribute!

News to Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has updated its guide to protecting your private data when entering the United States, in response to recent events. You can read more and download the full guide here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] tzikeh is looking for a new roommate to share a 2br/2ba condo in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, available May 1. You can read more and reblog here or check out the Craigslist post here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

The Blahs

2017-03-27 08:46 am
cafeshree: woman sitting on chair reading a book (Default)
[personal profile] cafeshree
 This past week has been tough. Partly all the grey weather, partly stressful work situations, with added politics stress. 

I've been making some calls. I forget how easy it is and am surprised each time by how easy it is and how pleasant the staffers are to talk to. Mostly I've been using Resistbot which I love, and using Twitter. My Representative is now following me!

Had family night with just my Dad and we watched 2 episodes of a show called Striking Out, takes place in Dublin, and we were both undecided about it. Has potential but was a bit too soap opera-y for us. 

My reading has been suffering, I think mostly due to the politics thing, too stressed or feel blah about everything I try.

And now I've spent too much time online this morning and am running late for work! 
famira: (02)
[personal profile] famira posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
235x textless icons from Final Fantasy: Kingsglaive. Full movie, this is Batch B.

Examples



Rest of the icons here @ [personal profile] famira
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Tristan Bridges, PhD

Knowledge production is a collective endeavor. Individuals get named as authors of studies and on the covers of books and journal articles. But little knowledge is produced in such a vacuum that it can actually be attributed to only those whose names are associated with the final product. Bruce Holsinger, a literary scholar at the University of Virginia, came up with an interesting way of calling attention to some of women’s invisible labor in this process–typing their husbands’ manuscripts.

Holsinger noted a collection of notes written by husbands to their wives thanking them for typing the entirety of their manuscripts (dissertations, books, articles, etc.), but not actually explicitly naming them in the acknowledgement. It started with five tweets and a hashtag: #ThanksForTyping.

Typing a manuscript is a tremendous task – particularly when revisions require re-typing everything (typewriters, not computers). And, though they are thanked here, it’s a paltry bit of gratitude when you compare it with the task for which they are being acknowledged. They’re anonymous, their labor is invisible, but they are responsible for the transmitting men’s scholarship into words.

Needless to say, the hashtag prompted a search that uncovered some of the worst offenders. The acknowledgements all share a few things in common: they are directed at wives, do not name them (though often name and thank others alongside), and they are thanked for this enormous task (and sometimes a collection of others along with it). Here are a few of the worst offenders:


Indeed, typing was one of those tasks for which women were granted access to and in which women were offered formal training. Though, some of these are notes of gratitude to wives who have received education far beyond typing. And many of the acknowledgements above hint that more than mere transcription was often offered – these unnamed women were also offering ideas, playing critical roles in one of the most challenging elements of scientific inquiry and discovery – presenting just what has been discovered and why it matters.

One user on twitter suggested examining it in Google’s ngram tool to see how often “thanks to my wife who,” “thanks to my wife for” and the equivalents adding “husband” have appeared in books. The use of each phrase doesn’t mean the women were not named, but it follows what appears to be a standard practice in many of the examples above – the norm of thanking your wife for typing your work, but not naming her in the process.


Of course, these are only examples of anonymous women contributing to knowledge production through typing. Women’s contributions toward all manner of social, cultural, political, and economic life have been systemically erased, under-credited, or made anonymous.  Each year Mother Jones shares a list of things invented by women for which men received credit (here’s last year’s list).

Knowledge requires work to be produced. Books don’t fall out of people’s heads ready-formed. And the organization of new ideas into written form is treated as a perfunctory task in many of the acknowledgements above–menial labor that people with “more important” things to do ought to avoid if they can. The anonymous notes of gratitude perform a kind of “work” for these authors beyond expressing thanks for an arduous task–these notes also help frame that work as less important than it often is.

Tristan Bridges, PhD is a professor at The College at Brockport, SUNY. He is the co-editor of Exploring Masculinities: Identity, Inequality, Inequality, and Change with C.J. Pascoe and studies gender and sexual identity and inequality. You can follow him on Twitter here. Tristan also blogs regularly at Inequality by (Interior) Design.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Siri and flatulence

2017-03-27 10:16 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum

An acquaintance of mine has a new iPhone, which he carries in a pocket that is (relevantly) below waist level. He has discovered something that dramatically illustrates the difference between (i) responding to speech and (ii) responding to speech as humans do, on the basis of knowing that it is speech.

What he has found (fortunately on occasions when he has been alone with his phone) is that when he farts he will often hear Siri's voice saying, "I'm sorry Dave, I didn't catch that." (His name is not Dave; names other than Siri in this post have been changed to avoid revealing any individual's medical information.)

The voice recognition system in the iPhone operates entirely on the basis of acoustic physics, not at all on linguistic phonetics. It attempts to match sounds with signal types that it has been trained to respond to in certain ways, but beware of imagining that it knows when you are saying something, or even what "saying something" means. The truth is that it cannot tell the difference between a labiodental fricative and an anal fricative. Let alone distinguish between when you're saying something sensible and when you're talking out of your ass.

Dukes and More Dukes

2017-03-27 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] 2nerdyhistorygirls_feed

Posted by Loretta Chase

Loretta reports:

Because my computer hates traveling, and thinks every new WiFi it encounters is out to get it, my Casual Friday blog post comes on a Monday.

Warning: Unseemly boasting to follow.

On Tuesday last, while visiting the Atlanta Botanical Garden, I received word that my 2016 historical romance, Dukes Prefer Blondes, is a Romance Writers of America®  RITA® Finalist in the Long Historical category. The Rita is the RWA version of an Oscar, and being a finalist is like being an Oscar nominee. In short, it’s a very big deal, and I feel deeply honored.
You can find the other finalists here.

End of boasting; beginning sigh of relief.

Readers have asked about my new book. It’s finally done. A Duke in Shining Armor, the first of a three-book series, will be a December 2017 book. This means it will go on sale 29 November. I’ve been so busy trying to get it written and revised, that I haven’t yet updated my web page, but something will go up shortly after I get back home to Massachusetts. In the meantime, there’s a description on its page at
HarperCollins,

Amazon,

Barnes & Noble

… and I can’t find the link to iBooks.

At some point, my publisher will have a cover reveal. Meanwhile, you can stay updated on details about my books and related matters if you subscribe to my erratic website blog. It will not clutter your inbox. As you can see, months can go by. But this is where the news goes first, usually, unless I am on the road and my computer...(see above).

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


PEDTM: Day 26

2017-03-26 10:15 pm
mirabile: made just for me (Default)
[personal profile] mirabile
I am too tired to post anything! More tomorrow. Sleep well.
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Ben Zimmer

Monday's New York Times crossword is the handiwork of Tom McCoy, an undergraduate member of the Yale Grammatical Diversity Project. I wouldn't've thought it possible, but he's managed to make a coherent theme out of a nonstandard grammatical variant in American English.

I won't spoil it for people who want to solve it — subscribers to the Times crossword can download it in Across Lite format or as a PDF. But if you don't mind the spoilers, you can read the constructor's notes on the Times's Wordplay blog (Tom gives a nice plug for the YGDP there). And you can see the clues and completed grid on XWord Info.

Bonus: One clue mentions Google Ngrams, surely a first for the Times.

Update: For more, see the Yale Linguistics Department's news page.

(no subject)

2017-03-26 07:03 pm
baranduin: (Reading from sallymn)
[personal profile] baranduin
Books finished:
In Search of Buddha's Daughters: A Modern Journey Down Ancient Roads by Christine Toomey. vividly reports her two-year, 60,000-mile global odyssey in the company of exceptional women who choose to dedicate their lives to Buddhism. Pretty fascinating.

Medical stuff

2017-03-26 07:13 pm
mildred_of_midgard: Johanna Mason head shot (Johanna)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
1. A couple of years ago, I developed a shrimp allergy exactly like my mother's: we eat the shrimp, the shrimp comes back up that night. Okay, fine, I won't eat shrimp. Similar to pistachios: 6 years ago, I was happily eating pistachios, until one day I ended up with a couple hives on my tongue, so no more pistachios. Annoying, but fine.

Then, twice this month, I've eaten at restaurants that serve shrimp, and ended up with a milder version of my shrimp symptoms. Once was when I was in Nashville. I can only figure I consumed trace amounts of shrimp. Probably not food poisoning: I've had food poisoning, twice, and it was waaay worse than my shrimp symptoms. And my 'ate at restaurants' symptoms were in turn milder than my shrimp symptoms. So I'm guessing that's what it was. Also, getting mild food poisoned at two different restaurants (one Mexican, one Indian) in one month has got to be pretty unlikely.

So now I can't eat at restaurants?! Or rather, I can, but it's Russian roulette with my digestive system. It's not like the pistachios, where if I keep eating them I expect it will get worse and worse until my throat swells up and I die. And I haven't had *any* issues with pistachio cross-contamination in 6 years, so until further notice, I'm not carrying an epipen or anything.

But now this shrimp allergy is starting to affect my ability to eat other things! It's one of those situation where I could probably tell the server I had food allergies, but they can't promise there'll be no cross-contamination (the first restaurant at which this happened actually had a sign saying they do their best but they can't make guarantees).

Anyway, I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday, and I may mention it, although I doubt they can do anything but test me and get confirmation.

The good news is that I have experimented with other shellfish and seem to be fine. It's just the shrimp.

2) I have a doctor's appointment on Thursday because my back has plateaued, and my attempts to compensate have been leading to problems with other muscles: shoulder, neck, upper arm, side, upper chest. I would like a referral to an orthopedist.

3) The most important medical news is, 6 months after I last took birth control, I can safely say I have had exactly zero migraines. Hallelujah, they were a side effect and not some random new form of torture my body decided to inflict on me once a month! I have been holding out on saying this with any kind of confidence in case my body decided we were going to go a couple months without one, as it often did. But I think we're safe.

No more migraines! Hysterectomies rule!
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

"Congressional Republicans want to fight on, but the White House says Obamacare repeal is dead", Vox 3/26/2017:

But Mulvaney’s remarks raise a question: If “fixing the system” is a major legislative priority, why is Trump leaving it unfinished? Mulvaney’s answer — that Trump “is not willing to do what other politicians would do” — in that context actually sounds like a damning critique of the president who, it’s worth noting, went on his 13th golf outing since taking office on Sunday.

Sure seems like he's been president longer than that. But anyhow, 13 golf outings since Sunday shows amazing stamina for a man his age.

Obligatory screen shot:

[h/t Dmitry Ostrovsky]

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Hello everybody!

This month we’ve been super busy preparing for April Showers that start next week and we hope you are as excited for the event as we are. April Showers is an annual event where we celebrate fannish history by spotlighting a different fandom every day of the month. If you want to participate but aren’t sure how or where to start, we prepared a short help page with a lot of useful tips!

After a feedback period, we also implemented the Japanese version of Fanlore’s image policy and purpose aimed at non-English speaking doujinshi creators. It was a true labor of love and we’re really happy it’s finally online.

In other good news, we’ve mentioned in our February Update that the Wayback Machine stopped archiving AO3 links and now we are thrilled to let you know that the problem has been solved! You can learn more about the situation here.

After we implemented the new and improved New Visitor Portal, we started working on the new revamped Main Page. After brainstorming, we came up with a new draft, which you can see here. As always, we welcome any and all feedback as we work on the details. Feel free to leave your comments in the talk page of the draft or using our contact form!

As of March 26, Fanlore has 41,353 articles, which have undergone 719,987 revisions. If you're up for doing one more, why not log in? See you on Recent Changes!

[ SECRET POST #3735 ]

2017-03-26 04:02 pm
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⌈ Secret Post #3735 ⌋

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

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 35 secrets from Secret Submission Post #533.
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.

3/26/2017 The Nature Area

2017-03-26 11:42 am
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
I was up late (for me) and didn't set the alarm, but I woke as usual so I went up for a few hours, 7:30 to 11. I'd parked outside the gate and changed into my boots just as someone came to open said gate, so I changed to shoes, drove in, and changed yet again. Despite Friday's rain I didn't need my Raichles or my stick on Wildcat Creek Trail, as least not as far as I went, which was a bit past the park boundary and just past the madrone. I returned to the parking lot along Loop Road in search of three species but I only got two. Most of the usual suspects for late March: )

Bird of the day was Townsend's warbler; the trees in the parking lot were full of them, chipping and singing, and I heard them at Jewel Lake, too, but I did not get a good look at a single one. It was so frustrating! They were high in the trees and it was overcast, so I could only see the occasional silhouette.
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

We have the testimony of a colleague whose ability to write Chinese characters has been adversely affected by her not being able to visualize them in her mind's eye.  See:

"Aphantasia — absence of the mind's eye" (3/24/17)

This prompts me to ponder:  just how do people who are literate in Chinese characters recall them?

Of course, now that computers and cell phones can write characters for you, there's no longer a need to remember all of their strokes nor even their overall shapes:  just enter the sounds of the characters and your electronic device will convert them into characters.  You still have to be able to recognize that you got the right characters through this process, but at least you don't have to produce all of the strokes in the proper order and configuration from scratch.

But there is still a need from time to time to write characters by hand.  Furthermore, usually after an initial period of reliance on phonetic annotation (Romanization, kana, bopomofo, etc.), whether in China or elsewhere, if you want to become literate in characters, you will have to go through a period of practice writing them (and that includes the dreaded dictée exercises and tests).  Somehow or other, you have to work the intricate shapes of the characters into your memory and store them there sufficiently securely so that you can write, or at least recognize, them when necessary.

Two nights ago at a dinner party, I did a simple experiment in an effort to determine whether individuals who are literate in Chinese characters actually visualize them in their mind's eye.  There were about ten people present, half of whom were native speakers of Mandarin and half fluent speakers of Mandarin who had learned it as a second language.  All of those who were present are highly literate in Chinese.

I asked everyone to close their eyes and attempt to visualize the character 德, which I identified through the usual method:  "dàodé de dé 道德的德" ("the dé ['virtue'] of dàodé ['morality; ethics']").  I then asked them if they had actually "seen" the character 德 in their mind's eye.  Their replies were "not really", "sort of", "not clearly", "no", and so forth.

The question then becomes, if highly literate individuals are not clearly visualizing the character 德 in their mind's eye, how can they reproduce it when writing or recognize it when reading?  If we weren't at a dinner party and I had a lot more time to pursue the experiment with those who were present, I would ask them to attempt to visualize many other characters and explain to me how they recall the characters when reading and writing.  Since that wasn't possible last night, I simply interrogated myself, attempting to be brutally honest about how I write a character like 德.  Reading 德 is much easier than writing it, since in reading it the full form of the character is right before your physical eyes, whereas when you write it, you're starting with a blank space on a flat surface.  Consequently, in what follows, I will concentrate on describing how to write 德.

Here's what happens with me when I try to visualize 德 in my mind's eye.  Whether my physical eyes are open or closed, I can't really see the character 德 as though it were typed or written out.  If I try very hard, I can force myself vaguely and hazily to retrieve from my memory groups of strokes (⼻ ⼗ ⽬ [on its side] ⼀ ⼼) blurrily, but I cannot force my mind's eye to see them all together clearly as one neatly formed character.

Since I cannot visualize the character 德 clearly in my mind's eye, how then can I write it?

Here's what I do:

1. I want to write the character that is pronounced dé in Mandarin and means "virtue".

2. Since I've written it thousands of times, I know that it begins with ⼻.

3. I start the 德-writing motor.

4. Then, in a rush, yī kǒuqì 一口氣 ("in one breath"), I just let the four other components FLOW forth sequentially, until I reach the last stroke, the dot at the bottom right, after which the 德-writing motor shuts off.

Mutatis mutandis, I do the same thing with all the other characters that I am capable of writing:  jiǎng 講 ("talk"), jiāng 疆 ("border; frontier"), tīng 聽 ("hear; listen"), tái 臺 ("platform"), shùn 順 ("go along in succession"), and so on.  Shùn 順 ("go along in succession" — see here for about 40 other translations) is an apt character to focus on in this context, since it conveys well the sense I have when writing a character that it has a certain CONFIGURATION or PROPENSITY that you have to follow along with to successfully complete it.

This reminds me of a book by a French philosopher named François Jullien titled La Propension des choses: Pour une histoire de l’efficacité en Chine (Seuil, 1992); translated as The Propensity of Things: Toward a History of Efficacy in China (Zone Books, 1995).  The book is a disquisition on shì 勢 ("configuration; potential; tendency; momentum; inertia", etc.), which is a key concept in The Art of War:  Sun Zi's Military Methods (Columbia University Press, 2007).

See:

"Victor Mair on the Art of War" (8/7/08)

It's no wonder that Jullien engaged in a celebrated contretemps with the Swiss Sinologist, Jean François Billeter (Contre François Jullien [Allia, 2006]).  Although the debate engaged with larger philosophical issues, Billeter's emphasis on calligraphy (L'art chinois de l'écriture [Skira, 1989]) and Jullien's recurrent attention to shì 勢 ("l’efficacité") and other topics related to calligraphy ensured that it had inescapable implications for Chinese writing.  (See the Afterword below for additional details concerning the controversy between Billeter and Jullien.)

To return to the matter at hand:  to write a given character, I start at the top left (or top, if there is no top left), then work my way from top left or top to bottom right.  To write a character correctly, you have to know the total number of strokes and their proper order.  For most people, once you get started writing, you just have to keep going — almost as though you are in an automaton-like state.  You can't think about what you're doing, what the next stroke is.  If you start thinking about the next stroke, or if for some reason you miss / mess up a stroke, you usually fail to complete the character.  That is why you see so many scribbled out characters in handwriting (like this).

I have often reiterated that writing Chinese characters is a highly neuro-muscular act.  You have to etch the characters into your nerves and muscles so that you simply do not have to think about how to write them.  That is why Chinese children — hour after hour, day after day, night after night, week after week — write the characters hundreds and hundreds of times.  If you want to be literate in Chinese (to be able to handwrite Chinese characters), you eventually will have to do this too.  And keep doing it.  If you only want to be able to read Chinese, and not necessarily to write it by hand, then read as much of it as you can, with phonetically annotated texts when they are available. Now there are many wonderful electronic learning tools like WenlinABC, Pleco, and so on to ease and speed look-up of unfamiliar terms.

How to write Chinese characters? — practice, practice, practice!

How to read Chinese character texts? — read, read, read (while looking up as efficiently as possible unfamiliar terms).

There's no magic bullet for learning to read and write Chinese characters, and you don't have to be particularly smart to do it.  But you do have to be willing to invest huge amounts of time in practicing them.

"Good good study; day day up" (1/14/14)

A final observation

Some of the most brilliant people who start out to learn one of the Sinitic languages think it's not worth all the time and effort to master handwriting of Chinese characters.  For them, acquiring fluency in handwriting characters is neither fun nor a miracle; they view it as drudgery.  On the other hand, some artistically inclined individuals who know no spoken Chinese and can neither read nor write Chinese texts, take great pleasure in practicing Chinese calligraphy as an art form.

Different strokes (bǐhuà 筆畫 / 笔画) for different folks.

===========================

Afterword

Wikipedia:

François Jullien's reply to the charge that he portrays China as "an alterity" appears in Chemin faisant, Connaître la Chine, relancer la philosophie. There he argues that the unreferenced quotations used by Jean-François Billeter are fabrications and that Billeter attempts to construct an imaginary version of François Jullien's work to argue against. The crux of the matter for Jullien is that exteriority and alterity are not to be conflated. China's exteriority, Jullien's point of departure, is, he argues, evident in its language as well as in its history, whereas alterity must be constructed and, as internal heterotopia, is to be found in both Europe and China. Rather than relegate China to a separate, isolated world, Jullien claims to weave a problematics between China and Europe, a net that can then fish out an unthought-of (un impensé) and help create the conditions for a new reflexivity (réflexivité) between the two cultures.

Jullien has dealt with the question of criticizing Chinese ideology several times in his work: La Propension des choses, chapter II; Le Détour et l'accès, chapters I to VI; Un sage est sans idée, final pages; etc. He thus separates himself from those who, out of fascination with strangeness or exoticism, have upheld the image of China as an "other." He separates himself also from those who, like Jean-François Billeter, permit themselves to dip into a "common fund" of thought and thus miss a chance to benefit from the diversity of human thought, which for Jullien is its true resource. He argues that we must reject both facile universalism (which springs from ethnocentrism) and lazy relativism (which leads to culturalism) in favor of a "dia-logue" of the two cultures: the "dia" of the écart, which reveals the fecundity of multiple lines of thought, and the "logos," which allows these lines to communicate through a common intelligence.

For a collective reply to the criticism of Jean-François Billeter, see Oser construire, Pour François Jullien, with notable contributions from Philippe d'Iribarne, Jean Allouche, Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Wolfgang Kubin, Du Xiaozhen, Léon Vandermeersch, Bruno Latour, Paul Ricœur, and Alain Badiou.

(no subject)

2017-03-26 09:23 am
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
[personal profile] lannamichaels
I mean, sure, I woke up at 2:40 this morning and took aleve and then ate 3 cereal bars, but no really, my meal times are totally not fucked up... oh god i don't care what's in it, if i'm eating it before 10am, it counts as breakfast, not lunch.

like, thanks to sleeping pills, no real jet lag issues from the trip, but oh my god, meal times.

but, like, i can't blame the trip for all of this. i spent the early days of this cough (oh god it has early days and later days, that's how long this has gone on) with no real apetite and forcing myself to eat, so i guess now that i'm hungry for all of the things (but only certain textures, naturally) that's good.

fuck imma need to go out and buy more cereal bars. i don't wannnnnna go outside. i went outside yesterday.

Age, sex, and f0

2017-03-25 07:56 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

I've recently been working with Naomi Nevler and others from Penn's Frontotemporal Degeneration Center on quantifying the diverse effects in speech and language of various neurodegenerative conditions. As part of an effort to establish baselines, I turned to the English-language part of the "Fisher" datasets of conversational telephone speech (LDC2004S13, LDC2004T19, LDC2005S13, LDC2005T19), where we have basic demographic information for 11,971 speakers, including age and sex. These datasets comprise 11,699  short telephone conversations between strangers on assigned topics, or 23,398 conversational sides, with a total duration of 1,958.5 hours. The calls were recorded in 2003.

For this morning's Breakfast Experiment™, I took a look at age-related changes in pitch range, as quantified by quantiles of fundamental frequency (f0) estimates. We have time-aligned transcripts, so after pitch-tracking everything, I can extract the f0 estimates for each speaker, combine them across calls if the speaker was involved in more than one call, and calculate various simple statistics. Here are the median values for the 90th, 50th, and 10th percentile of f0 estimates by decade of age from 20s to 70s. Values for female speakers are in red, and for male speakers in blue:


Here's the same data presented as semitones relative to 55 Hz.:

The basic trend is clear: pitch polarization by sex decreases with age, with male pitch quantiles going up and female pitch quantiles going down.  The effects are moderate in size, with female quantiles being 8-9 semitones above males for speakers in their 20s, whereas female speakers are about 5-6 semitones above males for speakers in their 70s.  This 3 semitone change is equal to about 19% ((2^(1/12))^3 ≅ 1.189).

Here are the Female – Male differences, in semitones

     20s  30s  40s  50s  60s  70s
Q90  8.40 7.64 7.05 6.87 6.52 5.47
Q50  8.93 8.23 7.63 7.67 7.15 6.10
Q10  7.82 7.26 6.85 6.61 5.93 5.00

Of course, the summary graphs above hide a lot of individual variation. Here are all the individual data points plotted for the same three quantiles as a function of age, with lowess lines added:

The more extreme scattering is probably due to octave errors in the pitch tracking — I set the minimum F0 to 50 and the maximum to 500 for all speakers, which permits or even encourages period doubling and halving.

As usual with data that shows age grading, we might be looking at a life-cycle effect — the behavior of individuals changes as they get older, whether due to biology or to culture — or at a historical development — gender polarization decreases over the decades, but the behavior of older people continues to be influenced by the norms they grew up with. The fact that the age effect for females and males goes in opposite directions makes it unlikely that some simple physical explanation like loss of tissue elasticity will work, though change in hormone levels remains a possible story.

Further technical details: I used a variant of the get_f0 pitch tracker, based on David Talkin's RAPT algorithm, set to generate 200 estimates per second. Widely varying amounts of speech were available per speaker, ranging from around 21 seconds (4156 frames) to about 38 minutes (460,832 frames), with a median value of 9.9 minutes (119,169 frames).

Some relevant earlier posts:

"Nationality, gender, and pitch", 11/12/2007
"Mailbag: F0 in Japanese vs. English", 11/13/2007
"How about the Germans?", 11/14/2007
"Sexy baby vocal virus", 8/15/2013
"Biology, sex, culture, and pitch", 8/16/2013

Update — Anne Cutler sends in a link to a longitudinal study: Alison Russell,  Lynda Penny, and Cecilia Pemberton. "Speaking fundamental frequency changes over time in women: a longitudinal study." Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 38, no. 1 (1995): 101-109. The abstract:

Archival recordings of the human voice are a relatively untapped resource for both longitudinal and cross-sectional research into the aging voice. Through the availability of collections of old sound recordings, speech pathologists and voice scientists have access to a wealth of data for research purposes. This article reports on the use of such archival data to examine the changes in speaking fundamental frequency (SFF) in a group of Australian women's voices over the past 50 years, and discusses the benefits and problems associated with using archival data. Recordings made in 1945 of women were compared with recordings of the same women made in 1993 to investigate the changes in SFF with age. The results demonstrate a significant lowering of SFF with age in this group of Australian women. The implications for the interpretation of cross-sectional data on the aging voice, the use of archival data in voice research, and the need for further research using archival data are discussed.

And here's their Figure 1, presenting the results:

The ages are comparable to the span in the Fisher data — in 1945 the women recorded were 18-25 years old, so in 1993 they would have been 66-73.

But the change that they report is much greater. The mean F0 for our 20-something women is 208.9 Hz, and for the 70-something women 190.1 Hz. Their "mean SFF" ("speech fundamental frequency") was 229.0 Hz for the 1945 recordings, and 181.2 Hz for the 1993 recordings.

What might explain these differences?

There are a few obvious candidates. The Australian women were reading sentences, not participating in conversations; and the 1945 recordings, dating from before the advent of tape recorders, were made on "acetate-coated steel discs". We're not told anything about the microphone placement and other recording configuration issues, but it's well known that physiological arousal, background noise level, and perceived interlocutor distance are associated with changes in vocal effort and thus fundamental frequency (see e.g. "Raising his voice", 10/8/2011;"Debate quantification: How MAD did he get?", 10/29/2016; "MLK day: Pitch range", 1/16/2017).  In 1945, the experience of reading into a fancy microphone in a sound-treated booth connected to a high-tech steel disc recorder would have been novel — most likely the subjects had never been recorded before and had never even seen recording equipment — and the effect might well have been exciting enough to raise F0 by 10% or so.

There might also be relevant cultural differences — see e.g. "Nationality, gender, and pitch", 11/12/2007. And the very different methods of F0 estimation might also have some consequences.

But anyhow, the direction of the effect is the same. And there are some other longitudinal datasets (e.g. LDC2013S05) that would be worth consulting, some other morning…

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PEDTM: Day 25

2017-03-25 08:38 pm
mirabile: made just for me (Alice & the White Queen)
[personal profile] mirabile
Oh my goodness, I'm pooped. But it was a good day. Had a leisurely morning with Webster, then spent several hours with Mother. I had made Smitten Kitchen's Tiramisu and, although not the best I've eaten, it was pretty tasty, so I brought Mother a cup of it. She loved it! So I will make it again, that's for sure. (Webster also liked it, which surprised me since it has alcohol in it, though admittedly not very much.)

I left Mother around 1 to do a little Trader Joe's shopping, and then home for the rest of the day. I took a long walk and then sat in the hot tub this evening. Very pleasant.

Tomorrow we meet with the contractor at nine in the hopes of finalizing the plans/contract/timeline. I'm nervous about that, but less so now that I've heard from some of you about your experiences and have read what I could find online about such things. I don't feel quite so ignorant. Thank you!

Poor Fantasy_fan asked me about a good starting place for Kim Stanley Robinson's novels + climate change, since he's written so much about it, and I kind of went overboard; if you too are interested, here's what I told her.

I can't remember how I found this article about sequoias, but I enjoyed reading it (though I also wanted to edit it): In the Land of Giants: The branches often seem to have nothing to do with the sequoia they're attached to; they are trees themselves. In 1978, a branch broke off a sequoia called the General Sherman. It was 150 feet long and nearly seven feet thick. All by itself, that branch would have been one of the tallest trees east of the Mississippi.

Earlier tonight I read a poem over at the Great Poets LJ that I want to share: Prayer at Sunrise. I love the images in the poem, and think the second stanza in particular would make a lovely and meaningful meditation. Fill me with light! Fill me with joy!

Prayer at Sunrise, by James Weldon Johnson
O mighty, powerful, dark-dispelling sun,
Now thou art risen, and thy day begun.
How shrink the shrouding mists before thy face,
As up thou spring’st to thy diurnal race!
How darkness chases darkness to the west,
As shades of light on light rise radiant from thy crest!
For thee, great source of strength, emblem of might,
In hours of darkest gloom there is no night.
Thou shinest on though clouds hide thee from sight,
And through each break thou sendest down thy light.

O greater Maker of this Thy great sun,
Give me the strength this one day's race to run,
Fill me with light, fill me with sun-like strength,
Fill me with joy to rob the day its length.
Light from within, light that will outward shine,
Strength to make strong some weaker heart than mine,
Joy to make glad each soul that feels its touch;
Great Father of the sun, I ask this much.


And now it's time for bed. Sleep well, dear sisters of my heart!

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