buttonbush

23 Jul 2017 09:31 am
asakiyume: (glowing grass)
[personal profile] asakiyume
The Ashley reservoir is now one of my go-to places to take people when they visit. I took my old college friend and her husband there, and learned that the water-loving plant that I had thought looked very mangrove-y is buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), which grows up and down the Atlantic coast and as far inland as the Mississippi, and is indeed a species in the mangrove biome!

Buttonbush

button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Yesterday I took [personal profile] osprey_archer there (and we read aloud to each other--so much fun), and lo and behold, the buttonbush was in bloom! I didn't have a camera, so she obliged me with a photo:

Buttonbush in flower, by [personal profile] osprey_archer



The flowers look like how pollen looks under a scanning electron microscope:

Buttonbush flowers....

buttonbush flowers

Pollen, much magnified:



(source)

Or, um... like an influenza virus...



(source)

It smells nice, though, and bees and butterflies love it. AS DO I.


Dear Niantic,

22 Jul 2017 03:29 pm
green_knight: (Abandoned)
[personal profile] green_knight
We have received reports that Trainers haven't been able to collect their Defender bonus after the Gym update. We’ve investigated many of these reports and have not been able to reproduce any bugs related to this issue.


(as posted here) is not a good conflict resolution.

If you're unable to reproduce the bug, that just points to it being intermittent. Fair enough. Doesn't mean you should stop looking. However, you have the stats: you can compare pokemon activity and gym rewards, and if they don't match what they should be, you can fix.

Signed,
Trainer of a Pokemon which stayed in the gym for 10 days, got fed a lot of berries, was kicked out this morning, and brought home 0 pokecoins.

How I've missed you friends

22 Jul 2017 03:50 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art - guitton housework)
[personal profile] wayfaringwordhack
 Here I am, in France, settling in to our new home, while my beloved is back in Egypt, finishing up his contract. We were well on our way with the unpacking when I fell down the steps leading to the kitchen. I was looking at a broken knife in my hand and not where I was going. Fortunately, I didn't stab myself, only sprained my wrist and elbow. My mother-in-law is here to help me with the kids.

Even one-armed/handed, I'm doing my best to plant a winter garden, and the ER doctor would wince to see me trying to lug the chicken tractor from one garden bed to the next. C'est la vie, and I plan on living it to the max.

So, yes, things are going more slowly than planned, boxes are piled everywhere, and my Pinterest-inspired dreams of a well-decorated house are still but dreams. BUT! Walks in the woods have yet-ilded wild raspberries and mushrooms. Hidden in the garden, under cardboard and oak fence posts, we've uncovered asparagus, strawberry plants, raspberries, onions...

Yes, c'est la vie et c'est bon.

I will be in touch more once typing is easier. 
 

Doubts

21 Jul 2017 09:35 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“A writer must never speak of his doubts regarding his creation. It would be too easy to answer him: “Who is forcing you to create? If it is such constant anguish, why do you endure it?” Doubts are the most intimate thing about us. Never speak of one’s doubts, whatever they may be.”

—Albert Camus, Notebooks 1942-1951, tr. Justin O’Brien

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Did you ever play the authors card game? We had this when I was a kid: 13 authors--a pretty random assortment of 19th-century English and American writers, all men with the exception of Louisa May Alcott--with four works for each author. You play it like you play Go Fish, with the goal being to get as many completed sets of authors' works as possible. Wakanomori and I enjoyed playing it the other day, but I thought it would be fun to make up a set of YA fantasy works. [personal profile] osprey_archer is visiting, and we created a set. It's a fairly random assortment, only two male authors (CS Lewis and Lloyd Alexander), and two authors I follow here one LJ/DW (that would be [personal profile] sartorias and [profile] pamaladean). The authors had to have four works or series of works; we tried not to list individual works in a series, and we decided all the works should be fiction.

The original Authors game features portraits of the authors...



But we are not good at portraiture, so we used symbols for each author. [personal profile] sartorias, you're a fan! [personal profile] pameladean, you're a sprig of rosemary!

(click through to embiggen)
DSCN6425

DSCN6426

DSCN6427

DSCN6428

DSCN6429

Just now [profile] wakanomori, [personal profile] osprey_archer, and I played it. Very satisfying!

Magical

20 Jul 2017 10:28 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“In almost everyone’s childhood there is some magical spot; some nexus where the everyday world touches another universe.”

—Robert J. Howe, Introduction, Coney Island Wonder Stories

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Prayers

19 Jul 2017 09:50 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’ A woman I know says, for her morning prayer, ‘Whatever,’ and then for the evening, ‘Oh, well,’ but has conceded that these prayers are more palatable for people without children.”

—Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

witness bears

18 Jul 2017 07:48 pm
asakiyume: (nevermore)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Out of the corner of my ear I was listening to a Cornell West lecture from the 1990s, and in it he said "witness bearers," but I heard "witness bears," and I know bare-bear-bear wordplay is low-hanging fruit, but here is a witness bear.

witness bear

In other news, Wakanomori and I are nearly done watching Person of Interest. I *really* have liked this show. Not every single everything--I'm not into gangster plotlines--but all the characters, intensely, and the care with which the overall story arc was handled, and the AI, free will, ends-means, creator-created stuff, very much so.

Rescue

18 Jul 2017 11:15 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“No one saves us but ourselves,
No one can and no one may.
We ourselves must walk the path:
Buddhas merely teach the way.”

—Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada, tr. Paul Carus

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

The Red Shoes

16 Jul 2017 02:47 pm
asakiyume: (Iowa Girl)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Today in church one of the altar servers was wearing red ballet-slipper-style shoes with sparkles.

red shoes

They were beautiful, and I was thinking, wow, church has come a long way since Hans Christian Andersen's time (different denomination, too, but let's sail by that issue), when the poor protagonist of "The Red Shoes" eventually HAS TO HAVE HER FEET CHOPPED OFF for the sin of indulging in vanity by wearing her red shoes to church. And then, even after she's repented and had her feet cut off, her bloody feet, dancing in the shoes, keep her from entering the church!

I have vivid memories of the illustrations accompanying this story from the version of HCA's fairy tales that we had when I was a kid--particularly the one of Karen, the protagonist, her hair a wild golden tangle, pleading with the executioner to cut off her feet. With much searching (a zillion people have illustrated HCA, including famous people like Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham), I found that the edition we had was called Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by twin sisters, Anne and Janet Grahame Johnstone. They had an overly pretty, slim, stylized way of drawing people that I was fascinated by. I couldn't find the one illustration online, but I did find the one of her going into church all in white... but with the offending red shoes on. Unfortunately the person who took the photo cut off the feet (LOL), so you can't see the shoes, but you can see the glow from them:


(source)

If you click on the source link, you can get more of a sense of the illustrators' style. They had a great illustration for "The Wild Swans" of the prince who ends up still with one arm a wing, but I thought you might like this fairly hot (in an overly pretty way) picture from Tales of Greeks and Trojans:


(source)


It's a wrap!

16 Jul 2017 07:46 pm
green_knight: (teh end)
[personal profile] green_knight
My WIP is no longer a WIP, it has graduated to 'finished first draft' and I am in that strange space where all the characters who have been taking up residence in my head have moved out, swept the floor, painted the walls in a neutral colour and are now looking into every drawer and under the bed to see whether they've forgotten anything.

274,696 words, including scene titles, placeholders, and 'the end', so call it 275K.

It will be either two or three books, though I am tending towards two, since there's a definite change of pace/location in the middle. This thing started as a comedy-of-manners, and was my go-to book for a while when I wanted something light and fluffy.

About the book and the writing of it )

And now it's half a day later and the book is still done: of course it will need a second draft, and I need to sort out the timeline, and I'd love to know how all of the loose threads will work out, and I am holding my breath just a little whether [redacted] will double-cross [redacted] but it's over, the characters have moved out, and while they might visit from time to time, the book. Is. Done.

After spending literally years with the compulsion to write down so many seemingly unimportant events in my protag's life (which all came together in unexpected ways), there is an empty space in my head now, and it feels weird. Other characters will move in - I have a fragment which isn't as complete as I thought it would be, so I'd like to write down the extra bits I know before finishing _something else_, but for now, I am WIP-less, and that's just a weird place to be.


Thanks for sharing your life with me, Firtal. I wish you all the best.

A surfeit of algorithms

15 Jul 2017 08:55 pm
green_knight: (Eeek!)
[personal profile] green_knight
100 days, 100 algorithms

I'm somewhat in awe of this project - that's more algorithms than I could have listed, even with some research, and the discipline of implementing a new one every day for months is impressive.

However, it also shows a systemic weaknesses of programming: understanding the problem domain. I can't say much about the other 99 - some of them are algorithms I've never heard about, and at the very least I would need to make an effort to understand the python code and read it carefully, if not implementing the same thing in Swift, but this one, I spotted immediately:

Day 18; Monopoly

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me to help him with this problem.
Playing Monopoly, what is the probability that you step at position #24 during the first round?

Law of total probability says that the chance to step on certain position is sum of disjoint events of how we could get there. In this case, we get at #24 if we tossed 1 while standing at #23, or we tossed 2 while standing at #22, … or we tossed 6 while standing at #18. This leads to a recursive formula.


Any of my genteel readers who have ever played Monopoly will spot the most obvious problem here: You play Monopoly with two dice, so you can throw 2...12, so this is someone who hasn't done the most fundamental homework.

The less obvious problem is that you're trying to specifically solve _Monopoly_, rather than 'a board with x fields throwing 2D6'. Monopoly has a couple of extra rules: if you throw a double, you get to go again, but if you throw three doubles you go to jail (field 10); once you come out of jail you get another chance to land on field #24; and you have a chance to step on several fields where you may draw a card that moves you to a different field (named or 'three fields back'; IIRC that could even end your round!). In other words, the probability for 'step on field x' is partly determined by the dice, and partly by the game and its very specific rules; if you wanted to give an _precise_ answer, you'd have to calculate by how many routes you can reach each field including the 'go to jail' mechanism which gives all fields after 10 a higher probability and which means that there are ways of reaching #24 from every field between 2 and 35 (double-one, double-one, double 1...6, jail, and try again.) Heck, you could even go to jail several times until you run out of starting money, but if you get _both_ get out of jail free cards....

So, yeah.

This also illustrates why board games are not just the sum of straightforward probabilities: once a system becomes complex enough that you cannot simply do the rough calculations in your head, it becomes much more interesting, surprising, and, at a certain level (and given an appropriate mechanic), that rarest thing of all: a creator of narrative. It's no longer 'then I drew card x and rolled y on the dice' but 'so here I was, going about my business curing sick sheep and setting broken limbs when those pesky elves turned up right in front of me and–' (Terry Pratchett's The Witches. Brilliant short game for 2-4 players.)

Consequences

14 Jul 2017 10:46 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“A lot of human behavior is based on the belief that consequences always happen to someone else.”

—James A. Hetley, Twitterfeed, 10/12/12

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

shy like a pigeon

14 Jul 2017 10:18 am
asakiyume: (miroku)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Eve Shi introduce me to this great phrase, shy like a pigeon. It means someone who seems gregarious, but flies off if you get too close. I really understand that! I can be really sociable so long as there's a certain distance built in, like with .... drumroll .... social media!1 Specifically, the sort of interaction that you can get on LJ/DW. You can share all sorts of thoughts, chat, enthuse about whatever it is you want to enthuse about, even give or receive comfort and consolation--but you can also retreat, and by and large people won't mind too much. It reminds me of something [personal profile] sovay said about a writer's characterization, that his characters were "on the whole are drawn more vividly than deeply." It's that type of friendship, vivid but not deep.

Of course you can *make* it deep. I bet anyone who's been online for more than a few years has had serious, lasting friendships blossom from their online interactions. I know several people who've gotten married to people they met online. But when it gets deep, most probably you're no longer interacting solely through LJ/DW. Probably you're meeting up in person, sending private messages or emails, maybe exchanging paper letters, maybe phoning--you're getting to know the person through more than one medium.

But once a friendship is a deep one, you can't convert it back into a shallow one. You can drift apart as friends--that happens--but you'll never not have shared a deep friendship. And if you have a social-media space made up of people who are mainly close friends, that's very different from a social-media space made up of strangers and acquaintances. Speaking for myself (but I'm willing to bet this is true for many people), it changes how you interact. You have responsibilities in a way you don't if you're interacting with strangers and acquaintances.

Musing on the nature of online interactions and in-the-flesh interactions, and what friendship is, etc. etc., has gradually led me to the conclusion that I haven't been a very good real-life friend to very many people. I **haven't** done that thing that gets talked about in every movie and every essay on friendship: I haven't been there as a supportive presence for people in hard times. Not very much. Part of me wants to say that it took my mother dying, and having to be there for my dad, for me to understand what being there for someone really means. Kind of late in life to learn that stuff.

But I'm trying harder now. Still in a very limited way, because, see above, shy like a pigeon. (Or maybe I shouldn't blame shyness. Maybe it's just selfishness.)

I thought I might segue into talking about how being in a social-media space composed of actual friends lends itself to certain types of posts and inhibits others, but as I think about it more, I think a lot of that comes down to personal styles--it's actually hard to generalize on. Maybe what I could talk about would be my own feelings on that--but another time.


1And not just social media. Acquaintanceship through some shared activity can be like this; my interactions with people in my book group feels similar. Warm, friendly, but not too deep.

Plus ça change

13 Jul 2017 11:37 pm
green_knight: (fragile)
[personal profile] green_knight
mathematical models allow experiments to be run on environmental systems, and generate realistic output which can be used as the basis for rational and informed environmental management policies. That, at least, is the hope. In practice, the irrational side of human nature seems often to Coe to the fore, as in the reluctance of the United States government to accept the reality of global warming as induced by 'greenhouse' gas emissions, despite the repeated warnings uttered by the climate-modellers.

R.J. Hugget (1993): Modelling the Human Impact on Nature. Oxford, OUP. p. 20.


This is very much in line with my recollections of being taught climate change as an accepted scientific consensus in the early 1990s.

Forgotten

13 Jul 2017 12:59 pm
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“Day by day and night by night we were together—all else has long been forgotten by me…”

—Walt Whitman, “Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Vantage

12 Jul 2017 10:42 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“The disadvantage of men not knowing the past is that they do not know the present. History is a hill or high point of vantage, from which alone men see the town in which they live or the age in which they are living.”

—G. K. Chesterton, “On St. George Revivified,” All I Survey

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Sacred

11 Jul 2017 10:58 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little or make a poem that children will speak for you when you are dead.”

—Tom Stoppard, The Real Thing

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Down Portalville Way – Tolls

10 Jul 2017 02:58 pm
pjthompson: (bigfoot)
[personal profile] pjthompson

(1/27) Let me thread you a story…(1/27)
(2/27) Portalville was prid near shut down to outsiders in the days leading up to and after the 4th of July.
(3/27) We had our annual parade, featuring the Alouette High marching band, a float for Miss Firecracker, & Zombie Drill Team, like always.
(4/27) But visitors to Portalville had trouble getting here. There’s plenty ways to Portalville. You can go through the Imogen Mountains,
(5/27) east of town, and then on through the Rokoko Valley. And there’s Route 40 which passes north-south through town.
(6/27) But the main way most outsiders get here is from the west, over the Wynotte Bridge on the Wynotte River.
(7/27) Folks approaching Portalville from the bridge might notice a strange structure nestled under the eastern end of the bridge.
(8/27) It looks kind of like a condo clinging there. The impression only gets stronger once they get close because it is, in fact, a condo.
(9/27) It connects via a staircase to the toll booth right above. And it’s where Dennis the Toll Troll lives.
(10/27) People might not think he’s a troll. He usually dresses in a red plaid flannel shirt (summer and winter), black gabardine trousers,
(11/27) with a “Portaville Toll Authority” baseball cap. ‘Course, he is ten feet tall with two lower jaw tusks curlin’ over his lip.
(12/27) And he also has a tendency to take the fifth of Hiram Walker whiskey out of his back pocket to take a slug while collecting tolls.
(13/27) Generally, though, Dennis is peaceable. He collects the tolls, pockets half, and to the best of our knowledge never eats anyone.
(14/27) Wasn’t always so. Wynotte wasn’t always a toll bridge. Dennis freelanced. If someone came across the bridge when he was peckish,
(15/27) that person might not be heard from again. The town had to do something. A mob with torches formed, but Dennis is a powerful troll,
(16/27) not only strong as a whole army, but with mesmerizing magic. The mob didn’t have much luck. Dennis had a full belly, though.
(17/27) We didn’t have Sheriff Limonada back then or she might have defused the situation. As it was, Mayor Begay had to negotiate.
(18/27) The town finally agreed to let Dennis collect tolls officially on the bridge, half of which he could keep, half for the town,
(19/27) but under no circumstances was he to eat people. He didn’t like that. “I’m a humanitarian,” he protested. “I only eat humans.”
(20/27) So the town agreed to supply Dennis with a steady stream of hogs & cattle if he’d agree to let people alone. No more mobs would
(21/27) trouble him. He reluctantly agreed since the mobs were a nuisance & not having to hunt & fight was a perq.
(22/27) We even built him the condo to sweeten the deal. AC, a chef’s kitchen with an island & granite countertops, & a killer master bath.
(23/27) Things were good for a long time. But Dennis had him a backslide this week. Far as we know he didn’t kill and eat anyone, but he told
(24/27) the sheriff that the human-eating jones was so strong he decided to close the bridge rather than risk it having his way with him.
(25/27) She said he belched a meaty belch at her, excused himself, & said, “I sure would miss my AC if you had to force me to move.”
(26/27) The bridge is open again and outsiders are moving over it unmolested. Dennis seems to be calm and happy again.
(27/27) We’ve received no missing persons reports. So far.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Risk averse

10 Jul 2017 10:36 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“One of the reasons mature people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.”

—John W. Gardner, “The Ever-Renewing Society,” Saturday Review, No. 46, 1963

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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wayfaringwordhack

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