Bleah.

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:14 am
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
Last night was humid and oppressive, and I barely slept. Not surprisingly, I am in a vile, vile mood this morning.

I could seriously handle having the farm sale actually go through. (After damn-near five years, the lawyer is actually working on it. Nevertheless, these things, even when they are apparently at last proceeding, proceed at a stately pace.)

Coming into possession of a significant amount of money wouldn't actually get rid of any of the things that are currently making my baseline mood less than perfectly serene. It wouldn't make my poor brother magically healthy again, and it wouldn't make the state of the internet in general any less bitter and rancorous, and it wouldn't remove the pestilential butt-pimple on the body politic that is our current president . . .but it would by God at least make all of them easier to put up with.

Cool Stuff Friday

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:31 am

Free Speech and Nazis

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.

But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:

  • Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
  • Making/distributing obscene materials.
  • Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Now, here are some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

No more cakes and ale (race edition)

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:20 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I follow an excellent curated list of reporters. Thrown in as the token conservative is Salena Zito. Zito's claim to fame is that she called Pennsylvania and thus the nation as going for Trump early, and she was right. She has positioned herself as the voice of Forgotten Non-Urban America. (This reached hilarious levels when she toured "non-urban America" and counted in, not only a commuter suburb of Gary, Indiana, but people who actually commuted to Gary.)

Today, Salena retweets a 1994 post in which she explained it all to us, race edition. (Save for nausea before clicking.)

Briefly, the essay says that a black family moved into her white neighborhood in 1969. I'll let her explain it.

Race in Pittsburgh, as in many industrial cities, was volatile in 1969. Society was changing rapidly for whites and blacks and, as with most change, some people reacted with fear, others with anger, and many with no brains at all.

In typically horrible timing, government-enforced integration coincided with Lyndon Johnson's “Great Society,” which bulldozed iconic ethnic neighborhoods — tearing apart lifelong experiences, communities and ways of life — in favor of public housing.

It was supposed to compensate for past injustices but it merely punished one community to make amends to another.

No mention that the "iconic ethnic neighborhoods" included black neighborhoods, of course, or the neighborhoods -- almost certainly including Zito's -- whose sale contracts forbade the owner to sell to a black person.  No, that neighborhood just mysteriously grew up all-white.

Thanks to my parents, the Chatmans weren't considered “black people.” They were just new neighbors, and we did what we always did when someone new moved onto the block — baked chocolate-chip cookies and delivered those to their home.
Three months later — after spending our days jumping rope, playing tag and all of the other things that 9-year-old girls do — a brick shattered the Chatmans' front window; another smashed their car's windshield, and the perpetrators, a couple of teenage boys, tried to burn a cross on the lawn.

“Your dad chased those young teens ... he caught all of them, single-handedly, and held them for the police,” Carnisa recalled. “I remember him telling them how ashamed he was of them.”

And everything was okay then! And Carnisa, her black friend,  repaid her by saving her from a black riot in high school! And therefore:

So the solution to our nation's racial discourse should be handled by us individually, one person at a time — and not by exploiting bad deeds done by both sides that only further the hatred.

Note that it never occurs to Zito that Carnisa had to go to school with the brothers and sisters and friends of those boys who burned a cross.  Or that there were other people who put their resentment of "tearing apart lifelong experiences" into words and action.  No.  Zito made friends with Carnisa and they're still close friends and that's what everybody should do!  And nobody (among Zito's friends) considered the Chatmans black, so that made everything better!

You won't read an essay that better encapsulates the belief that individual virtue is better than collective action.   With a triple scoop of  white privilege.

e:  Chaser.  Mother Jones finally does what nobody else is doing and interviews rural black voters.

Turner’s mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after [the election], and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before—Turner’s mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. “Well, you might as well come and live with me now,” the employer said. “You gonna be mine eventually."

Haec Sunt Mea Ornamenta

Aug. 16th, 2017 08:42 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
My offspring, they have a podcast:

No Story is Sacred

It's up at all the usual places.

("Art in the blood, Watson . . . .")

Maybe It's Just Me

Aug. 16th, 2017 07:53 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
But I swear, these days the typical Atlantic article might as well be titled, This Thing You Like? Here's What's Wrong With It.

Case in point: "The Moral History of Air Conditioning."

I can't help but wonder, sometimes, about who the Atlantic's target reader is assumed to be. Not me, I'm fairly certain.

Sunspots

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:05 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.

As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots!  (Those dark spots in the upper left.)

Sun with sunspots

Click to embiggen.

For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.

I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.

Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Magic ex Libris: The Next Chapter

Aug. 14th, 2017 09:30 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Some of you might remember me talking about a 15,000-word novelette I was working on between wrapping up Terminal Alliance and starting on Terminal Uprising.

That novelette is called “Imprinted,” and it’s the next Magic ex Libris story.

It’s about Jeneta Aboderin, and it’s set roughly eight months after the events of Revisionary.

I haven’t set a publication date yet. There’s a bit of work left to get everything ready, and with Terminal Alliance coming out in November, I’m guessing it will be available in January or February.

I also haven’t set a price. $2.99 would be ideal, because that’s where ebook royalty rates jump from 35% to 70%. What do you think? Does $2.99 seem fair for a 15,000-word story, or should I bump it down to $1.99 and take the royalties hit?

Finally, as long as you’re here, what do you think of the not-quite-finalized cover?

Imprinted Cover: Draft

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 I was playing the admirable game "West of Loathing" when I had to solve a number puzzle where I had to add up pressing buttons with different values (411,295,161) to reach a specified total of 3200.  I button mashed, then said, to hell with this, this is a linear programming equation, plugged it into Wolfram Alpha, and solved for x,y,z.

God bless technology.

P.S.  If you enjoy puzzle games, silly humor, and combat that can be dialed back so that even the slowest-trigger-fingered in the West -- that would be me -- can play it, try West of Loathing.  I find it engaging, focusing,  and soothing, in times that need some soothing.

Sigh.

Aug. 13th, 2017 11:43 am
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
In a sane and rational world, it shouldn't be necessary to state for the record that I thoroughly disapprove of alt-right supporters neo-Nazis white-supremacists dirtbag racist whackaloons holding torchlit rallies, chanting racist slogans, beating up counterprotesters, and ramming cars into crowds of people with murderous intent.

It would be the sort of thing that any person of normal intelligence and good will should be presumed to be against until proven otherwise.

But that's not the world we live in, so . . . let it be known that I thoroughly disapprove of all of the above things.

Bleah.

Aug. 12th, 2017 07:13 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
Falling barometer. Thunderstorms to north and south of us, but not here. Internet wobbly. News full of dreadfulness. Online discourse full of hate and discontent.

Bah.

The Hugo Awards

Aug. 11th, 2017 06:33 pm
malkingrey: (fireworks)
[personal profile] malkingrey
Congratulations to everyone I know and like who got a Hugo!

And congratulations to everyone whom I don't know personally, but still like, who got a Hugo!

Looking over the results, I don't think there's anybody whom I know well enough to dislike who did get a Hugo (unlike some years past), so that's good, too.

It's good to see that science fiction's signature award is still doing well.

Cool Stuff Friday

Aug. 11th, 2017 10:42 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday thinks this next scene needs more elephants.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Summer cleaning 2017

Aug. 9th, 2017 09:32 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 Found in junk drawer while searching for Ex-Acto knife:  one pair of rounded-tip plastic Safe-T-Cut child's scissors.

My offspring are 26 and 23.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

ETA: Dragon Con has reconsidered.

“[O]ver the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind.”

ETA2: John Scalzi has also reconsidered, and will now remain on the ballot.

###

The Dragon Awards were created last year to recognize the best SF/F books, comics, games, TV, and films of the year. Nomination and voting are open to anyone and everyone, and the awards are presented at Dragon Con.

The ballot this year appears to be a mix of genuinely popular work and works where individual authors or groups campaigned hard to get nominated. File 770 published an analysis looking at Goodreads, Library Thing, and Amazon review numbers of the different nominees. I trust folks can draw their own conclusions.

On August 4, finalist Alison Littlewood posted that she was withdrawing her book from consideration. She notes:

“While this would normally be a great pleasure, it has also been brought to my notice that my book has been selected by a voting bloc who are attempting, for reasons of their own, to influence the awards outcome. Essentially, the same group who set out to fix the Hugo Awards are now encouraging their supporters to follow their voting choices in the Dragon Awards.”

Two days ago, finalist John Scalzi also withdrew his book from the award, saying in part:

“The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured ‘us vs. them’ vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.”

Rather, Littlewood and Scalzi tried to withdraw from the award. But according to a follow-up post from Littlewood, Pat Henry of the Dragon Awards is “declining” these requests. Both Scalzi and Littlewood’s books still appear on the ballot.

Henry’s statement, as posted on Littlewood’s blog, claims:

“We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.”

Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Theodore Beale, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Beale’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…

Henry might be right that, when and if the awards add enough voters, slates might become irrelevant. Or they might not. But in either case, that hypothetical future doesn’t change the fact that right now, the awards are a mess, some of the campaigning is ugly, nasty, and hateful, and some authors don’t want to be dragged into that cesspool.

I hope Pat Henry and Dragon Con will reconsider their decision.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Terminal Alliance: Chapter One

Aug. 8th, 2017 10:02 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Terminal Alliance Cover Art by Dan Dos SantosNewsletter subscribers got to see this last week, but for everyone else, I’ve posted the first chapter of Terminal Alliance for your reading enjoyment!

(At least, I hope you enjoy it…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

It's a Seasonal Thing

Aug. 8th, 2017 07:32 pm
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
It's Worldcon time, which means it's time for my annual sadness over the fact that a lot of my friends are at Worldcon, and I'm not, this year with added envy because they're at Worldcon in Helsinki and I'm not.

I can't say that I've never been to an out-of-the-USA worldcon, because I made it to Anticipation in Montreal . . . but Montreal, at two hours up the road, is closer to home for us than even Boston. Way back in the Dark Ages of the internet, when Himself was sysop of the Science Fiction Round Table on GEnie, we were poised to make it to the 1995 Glasgow Worldcon, but the GEnie gig died (in what turned out to be stage one of GE's slow strangulation of its own network) just in time to put paid to that idea.

Next year's Worldcon is in San Jose CA, which might as well be on the moon as far as our chances of traveling that far go. (Though maybe if we have the money, we could take a train . . . dream on, lady, dream on.) And as for 2019, the only bid I see right now is Dublin, and while that would be a wonderful thing, I can't imagine -- barring the usual Hollywood-related miracle -- having the sort of spare cash it would take to get there.

Sigh.
Page generated Aug. 21st, 2017 01:51 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios