silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
[ profile] smallfandomfest has closed prompting and is accepting claims/writers are posting already! Here is the post for claiming, though you're not obliged to claim in order to fill.

For this round I put up a bunch of wildly different prompts (I can never remember what I wanted when it's time to prompt!) they're visible under "Kushiel's Legacy (Jacqueline Carey) here.

Review of Freakonomics is delayed because I need to read this paper first: "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime". It's accessible here. Levitt's idea about the landmark Roe v. Wade decision affecting the drop in crime rates in America during the 1990's is one of his biggest, most important statistical analyses. They have been thrown into doubt by two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (C. L. Foote and C. F. Goetz), but I haven't read the paper yet. Reserving judgement.

From [community profile] dreamwidth_meta is this post on "Why Google+ is still not working for humans", a fascinating look into social media and how we interact with it. He writes about how Google+ is just not designed for people to be comfortable with, and expands outwards into social media in general.

There is a high entropy factor in social networks. New groups are forming all the time, and old groups die out. Creating a group or adding people to a group is driven by a positive emotion. I care about my new friend, or my new Guys Night Out group, so it feels appropriate to spend the energy it takes to create the group or add the person to my friend list. But then later – when the person is not my friend, or the Guys Night Out plan has run its course – I no longer care about it. And because I don’t care, I don’t want to spend any energy on it - not even the energy to remove it. In fact, spending the energy to delete the group might inadvertently make the other group members think I cared about it, and make them feel bad for letting the group die, etc.

This is why social networking sites tend to decay over time. Because I never remove people, my Friendster or MySpace or Facebook account has a smaller and smaller percentage of meaningful relationships in it, and as a result it becomes less relevant over time. This is also why a new social network always feels somehow better than the last one. It has smarter people, more relevant conversations, etc. It is all because your social network in the new space has not had time to decay.

He touches on a lot of different subjects; I think it's well worth a read, even though the post was made several years ago when Google+ launched. The point he raised about like vs +1 makes me wonder about LJ's "friends" and DW's "subscribe/give access". This was a deliberate decision to remove the emotional connotations, but honestly, social media networks are called social for a reason. What's the phrase? Skin in the game. You don't make friend without putting some skin in the game. DW's method is more like a feed of someone's blog; I just absorb their stuff invisibly.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Link to misogyny and ignorance. Click with caution.

I made it halfway down the first page of comments and then gave up.

My reaction, helpfully summarized:
DEAR EVERYONE ON THE PLANET (minus those already armed with The Clues):

1. Words have meaning.

2. Words have two types of meanings: one is a dictionary (or scientific, or otherwise defined meaning). There is a second meaning, connotation. These are associations attached to words.

3. Generally connotations are the most important.

4. Pulling dictionary definitions when people are clearly talking about the connotations is neither helpful nor clever.

5. We are not separate from our history. Even if you think there's no misogyny in your world*, by using words that historically** carry misogynistic intent to describe someone you don't like, you are using the term in a way that is misogynistic. Even if you don't mean it. I'm sorry, this is the legacy we've been handed down with.

6. Live with the awareness that yes, while you wish you could totally throw around "whore" and "bitch" and all the rest without worrying about PC POLICE***, don't.

7. For the last time, the history is why words like "dick" do not garner such reactions. No, really. You're not pointing out anything that has not been brought up before in these conversations.

8. Please for the love of all that is holy stop telling anyone they're overreacting or oversensitive.

9. If you know nothing about this issue, I would advise your library or Google or another person who knows you well and this issue.

10. This applies wonderfully to just about any -ism you can think of; just change some of the words! 


**They still do, by the way.
***Someone forgot to send me the uniform, obviously; I still don't have any weapons for these things...

tl;dr: *puts head on desk and thinks of happy thing*

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Bee)
Author Jennifer Rardin passed away on Sept 20th.

Your Jaz Parks series had, oh glory be, a really, strong female character. One that didn't always need rescuing, and in fact did the rescuing most of the time. It was fast paced, fun, and I devoured all of the stories.

I hope that wherever you are, you have found Jaz and Vayl. For your family: I'm so sorry. Just--I can't even. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that she still shines through in her books. I'm so sorry for your loss.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
BIAS CHECK: I do not agree with lj's point of view. I am also not lj staff, nor am I one with flocked entries. Please read with these in mind.

I'm starting to see the privacy debacle on lj as a vast difference in the concept of who owns what.

It's obvious that for people with flocked journals or entries who are telling lj that they don't want this feature feel that it is their content. That the comments made on their account fall under their 'jurisdiction' (used in the non-legal sense). They want the ability to control what is seen and what is not seen: while copy and paste is always possible, it is an conscious, deliberate action that crossposting is not.

From lj's standpoint, the comments are the property of the commenters, and so they have control over what and where they post their comment. A crosspost of a comment to them is thus not the invasion of privacy that many lj users are calling it.

This seems to be a sort of Gaping Pit of Ideology that neither can cross. The ones who don't like lj's decision will lock down further or get out — to dreamwidth, to journalfen, to where-ever else — and the users who agree with lj's view or simply don't care will not be able to understand the fuss.

This reminds me of the state/federal rights fight in the US.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I saw this post come up this morning. I thought: "OK, it's not horribly bad; it looks like the OP, after some comments, could see why this is offensive and maybe it'll be okay!" This is the text of the OP's post, in case it gets taken down.

... )

I gave up trying to read the twisting comments of the OP after awhile. But seeing [ profile] saciel start to pull out the tone argument--again and again and AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN--I...I...I don't know. I remember zie from the last time [ profile] fanficrants went and got into a huge racefail, but seeing so many people--half-a-dozen, at least--try to explain, again and again, PATIENTLY AND CALMLY (Oh my God, the irony) why zie was wrong, it didn't sink in. And so all I can repeat is OW OW OW.

ETA: There's actually quite a nice little summation by [ profile] lil_utterance about why this post's comments are so very faily. Here.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Biggest spoilers blacked out; others (including link, and especially 3rd paragraph) are still spoilery. Crossposted from [ profile] bookish .

Nita and Kit are two wizards in Manhattan, but to become a wizard is difficult--every wizard undergoes his or her Ordeal to gain wizardry. One wizard, in particular, has been in his Ordeal for a very long time, causing the local Senior to become worried and send Kit in to investigate. Of course, when something untoward like this happens, it's always likely the Lone Power, the inventor of death, isn't far behind.
Usually, I really, really love these books.They're well-written fantasy, they have interesting and well-rounded characters (Carmela is really starting to grow on me) and I love the way Duane makes them fit into our real-live world--you can almost believe that maybe, just maybe, there are people who are wizards around you.

However. The wizard in question is also autistic, and I had some problems with the way Duane wrote this. She was pretty respectful, in my opinion, but (skip) in the end the wizard ditches his autism. First, this compares good (not autistic) and bad (autistic). [Also, I think she is conflating depression and autism.] I direct you to beccaelizabeth's dreamwidth entry here; this quote especially says what bothered me: I am autistic spectrum; you can't take the autism out and leave a me, so I'm not a me-with-autism, I'm an autistic me. It bothers me that A Wizard Alone is basically, as she paraphrases, (skip) a story about swapping autism with wizardry.   I suppose it's an identity thing--I am not on the autistic spectrum, and I hope no one takes this as me trying to speak for anyone on the spectrum--but I do see how removing parts of you aren't, you know, just casually and easily done.

Otherwise, though the story has definitely taken a darker turn after book 5, A Wizard's Dilemma (not like the first was terribly sunshine-and-daisies, anyway) I otherwise liked the book. 9/10
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

Because many people plainly don't get it, here's an analogy that hopefully they can grasp. If not, there is a serious problem which is beyond my power to rectify or help in any way.
To borrow it from someone's lovely post (author, unfortunately, forgotten; if you do find them, please pm me):

If someone steps on my foot and it hurts, I am going to say: "OW!" And the harder they step on my foot, the louder I will shout it. OW, OW, OW. I'm not at the moment concerned with the delicate ears of the other person, because OW their stomping hurts and no I will not be quiet.

If that person continues to stay on my foot, I'm going to try to dislodge said person, because it hurts. It's not hurting you. It's hurting me.

When people say: "That's offensive, and x, y, z is why," it's not because they want to hurt you. It's because it's hurting them.

Why people who take my culture and twist it to suit their needs can't understand this, I don't know. OW. Go away. If I've linked you to this post after an argument/discussion/feeble parody of a discusion of racism, I invite you to educate yourself and read through this.

War may be inevitable, oppression may be inevitable, but @$#%^ no I am not going to take it lying down.  *snarl*

'pologies to f-list, who don't need this.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)

As is evident by the title, this book is about evolution: specifically, this book deals with creationist/intelligent design "theory" proposed by some. This is non-fiction, with a sizable bibliography and index.

*Bias Warning* I am: Atheist, accepts evolution completely, [add description here]

The greatest strength of this book, I think, is that it lays out so much research. I am reminded of my own education in biology--high school IB level, so certainly not professional--crumpled into a book-size. He lays out evidence from all sorts of scientific fields--not just the commonly-cited anthropology and paleontology, but also geology and the field studies of species that exist today. Many of the major contemporary discoveries--tiktaalik roseae (2003), for instance, are included, as well as the famous Rosemary and Peter Grant project that actually saw evolution in action. (!) Most fo the examples are indexed, but I wish he'd also referenced them to the appropriate paper.

However, I read this book as someone who knows and understand what the mechanism of evolution is about. There's so many people without  clue as to what evolution is (except it must be evil, right?) that an explanation of evolution at page one hundred seventeen is a bit of a problem, in my opinion. Only in the glossary is a succint description: evolution is the change in genetics of populations--special emphasis on genetic and on population. Furthermore, I will admit that the title made me twitch a little. Using the word 'true' in science is iffy, because there's no way you could possibly test every single occurence and see if something's true. Same with some of the language used in the book: really, many, lots. There is little quantitative data--understandable, as Coyne's not writing for the scientific community, which would demand that--but still, it makes me a little cautious.

I find it is absolutely absurd that scientist like Coyne are still trying to convince people evolution is well-backed, is verified again and again by many other scientific fields, and (this part gets to me) is really very intuitive. I find it absurd that there are idiots still trying to push intelligent design as a science (it fails the very first test: a theory must be testable, or else it's not science. It can be valid, but not valid science. ) I don't have an issue with people believing the Genesis stories, the Bible's words exactly, but I do have issues with people asserting that the earth is only a few thousand years old. I can't prove or disprove the supernatural, so I'm willing to let you argue with me on that one. 
It was a good enough read and I blazed through it (I admit, this is because I was running around the city all week, and consequently spent so much time at bus stops). Definitely déjà vu as far as the examples and contents went, and one of these days I have to screw up my courage and read The Origin of Species.

*draws breath* Well, sorry 'bout dumping that on you. This was supposed to be a normal book review, but it appears to have shapeshifted into a rant within a review.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Another mind-boggling thing, this link: another absolutely insane senator from Arizona wants to mess with how citizenship is granted. You know--if you're born in America, despite your parents' citizenship, you're American. Link here.

Mind-boggling because of the blatant racism (oh, I WONDER which nationality will be discriminated against here, hm? I am so very glad to be neither Latino nor American, thank God.) and also because I know there will be people up there nodding along with that sick politician, agreeing with everything he says. And thinking that all the "immigrants take our jobs" and "make it hard for our kids to get into university" and all that !@#$%^.

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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Actually, I change my mind. 300% of our personality. You can pick which one gets it.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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Maybe not "fundamental goodness of humankind" (ugh), but after seeing people pushing and fighting back against the Racefail '09, I felt like there might be some hope there. Incredible eloquence in the face of so much ugliness.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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Not outright bullying, no, but there've been moments where I've thought: should I call them out on a bigoted/racist/homophobic joke? Should I ask them not to say that? and often enough, I don't. I feel guilty for not doing so, but there you go. I think that we should call people out on stuff like that, but it is hard in real life, and I'd like to keep trying to make people aware. 

*Edit: I've found one. Emotions pending.* And on a tangentially related topic--does anyone have a transcript of the conversation between Gillian Duffy and Gordon Brown? When I read the news over here, my first thought was to wonder if she was really being bigoted, because I don't think people throw those kinds of words around lightly. And if she was talking about immigration, I can hear the alarm bells ringing wildly. 
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Being pro-life is unpopular on livejournal. However, fortunately, livejournal is not an accurate representation of society as a whole.

No. It's not unpopular; the reason why you are getting (justifiable, may I add) flak is because of the way you're trying to project views onto other people. And putting blame on people. And being hypocritical. Oh, and for saying that one should/can disown his or her daughter for having an abortion.

And your illogic: Sometimes killing humans is good and sometimes it's MURDER that requires disowning! does not help your credibility. 
Good God, there is a point where you should just stop replying.

I was angry, then I got to your reply to this comment (which is beautifully logical), and I started laughing. *speechless*

I thought I was going to write a rant. Never mind. The commenter has such a twisted-into-a-seventeenth-dimension-tangle of beliefs and opinions that I'm not even going to try to rant about it.

Here's the link to the actual post  and comments. The thread is frozen, unfortunately.

(Edited to fix html. I forgot I was in Rich Text editor again...)
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
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As quite a few people have now pointed out, this was not the original question, which concerned sex-change. In this new question, which is constructed in a parallel manner, changing genders has been, in essence, equated to a serious crime.

Talk about nasty. And even if it was an unintentional thing: LJ, you need to wake up and realize how offensive some of this garbage is. Yuck. (Not to mention the second question is so irritatingly vague that just about everyone's prefaced it with "define serious crime".)

Here, and here are two people who've said it better than I can. Here's a bit of a summary.


Mar. 15th, 2010 09:21 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Because my reading comprehension falls to approximately Grade 1 levels when I try to read on the computer, let me state this bluntly: I am pro-choice.


Alright. Here's why.

Someone on [ profile] wtf_sexism  said awhile ago (paraphrased) that they were pro-choice because it's not their place to make others' decisions. And that's it, spot-on for me: the choice, and the individuality.

Firstly, I dislike the pro-life movement because it throws a big, generalized solution over what is actually incredibly variable circumstances. There isn't room for a what-if scenario. No abortion. Regardless of the thousands of factors that affect who we are: wealth, position, education, relationship with significant other, family, friends, peers, geographical location, belief systems and world-views--a pro-life stance puts a "Don't do an abortion" action on it.

And for me, someone who's been raised in a society that values the right to a fair trial, to an impartial judge, to punishment that is adjusted according to the act, and most specifically, to treating each case individually, the pro-life stance jars me. There are no two identical cases, and I believe that because of that, we cannot apply the same action to both blindly. If after considering both cases, the same action--say, $300 fine--is deemed to be a the best idea, then by all means apply it. But just slapping on "action A happens and triggers action B automatically" doesn't cut it for me. Pro-choice, though, leaves two roads open. There is room for flexibility and individual case-by-case analysis.

This does link back to the feminism post I made: that feminism, in my mind, can be summed up in one word: choice. (As in, a housewife is just as much a feminist as a career woman, as long as they've chosen that path.) You either have choice, or you don't. Having restrictions on what you can choose makes it not a choice. I do not want to make choices like this for other women because you know what? It's not my life. I will not be dealing with repercussions, whether it comes from others or from within yourself. It won't be me who has to explain to others, to go out everyday having decided to or not to carry a child. It's not my life. Therefore, I don't see a justification that would allow me to waltz in and pluck that choice out of someone's hands. Who am I to make a life-changing choice for someone who I may not even meet, when passing laws about this topic?

That is why I am pro-choice. This post, you may notice, refers Not At All as to the sanctity of life as a fetus/zygote.


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