Cadbury bunny - eyes ahead

Miso-glazed salmon

I thought I should poke my muzzle back in, and confirm I've remained safe during the pandemic. ^_^ I've now received two doses of AstraZeneca magic, as of last Saturday, leaving me in a relatively privileged position.

I've also been getting back into anime quite substantially. ^_^ Two ongoing series I ought to highlight include:

- Odd Taxi, named for the taxi driver at the heart of it all. It's a very slow-burning story, with an exceptionally unusual approach to dialogue, feeling uncommonly natural. You'll find an anthro noir tale featuring a taxi driver, a wannabe idol group, a missing girl, two yakuza hoodlums, one wannabe hero angling to deal with one of the former, a programmer who got caught way too hard by gachas, a nurse who wound up stealing patient records for that hoodlum, and more; if that might appeal, this is very well worth checking out. It's currently up to ep.9, so, not long to go until it all wraps up.

- Vivy: Fluorite Eye's Song, about the first autonomous AI, who winds up being accosted by an AI from 100 years hence, who informs her she needs to help avoid an apocalypse in which all humans are very efficiently relieved of their respiratory duties. There's a great deal of character development involved, moreso given she winds up developing a second personality to accommodate this new duty. It doesn't all work out so smoothly. Last was ep.10 of 13.

Others I'm following this season include: Shadows House, Eighty Six, The Saint's Magic Power is Omnipotent, Let's Make a Mug Too, Mars Red, The World Ends With You (which includes a new mix of Twister that absolutely slaps), So I'm a Spider, Dragon Goes Househunting, and I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years. And I'm also gradually going through Penguindrum, an anime that makes Utena look straightforward. =:)

A Masto friend came up with a rather beautiful version of the modern Pride flag, which includes brown & black for BIPOC, and the trans colors, made using photographs of flowers. ^_^ (Did you know there are brown and black sunflowers?)

A rather cool, brief sci-fi story: Miles Away.

Did you know Peggy's made the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn available as a free download? But, there it is!

If you enjoy Doctor Who, you might get a tickling out of Xinjinmeng's answer to a rhetorical "You wake up as showrunner of Doctor Who. What do you do?". =:D

Finally, for now, I must share this truly glorious track by Mira: Make that Skirt Go Spinny. Naturally, it was my request on the next Ear Candy on CHIRP Radio, after which Nicole commented, "if that didn't make you get up and dance, I don't know if I can help you". ^_^ They've got plenty of other good DJs, but Nicole remains my favorite - her shows just have that energy I love. You can hear her twice a week, if you're so inclined, on Wednesdays noon-3pm, and Fridays 9am-noon Central (ie 1800-2100 Wed and 1500-1800 Fri BST),

I'll likely have plenty more politics to vent on in my next entry (not a year's wait this time, promise), but for now, here's an intriguing avenue to preserve UK citizens' freedom of movement in the EU. It's not merely a proposal, but a case that's indeed slowly grinding its way through the top layers of the judicial system. Needless to say, I'd be absolutely delighted if they prevail. It wouldn't undo the blitheringly awful move the Tories advocated for so strongly and destructively, but it'd at least reopen personal avenues.

So, I mused "As a cybernetic being, one would have to forego the simple pleasure of rubbing one's eyes. I think I'd substitute a similar sensation, accompanied by a degauss effect on my faceplate and sfx speakers.". Xinjinmeng provided an illustration. =:D

Porsupah SatW

Golden-blue nails

First off, a huge thank you to jayblanc for making it possible for me to enjoy She-Ra Day appropriately. ^_^ It's a little sad knowing this is indeed where it all concludes, but I feel they've paced it well. As with MLP, there's no shame in bowing out when you feel your song is done, and everyone can leave happy. ^_^

I was drawn again! =:D This time, by Didn't they do a lovely job? ^_^

Another webcomic over on Webtoon that may be of interest: Bodies, a sci-fi strip with plenty to say on humanity and cybernetics. ^_^

A friend over on Masto pointed out a comic of interest - by an artist whose style strongly suggests it's Mamabliss under their RL name - but which was cited as being available for free using Hoopla. Unfortunately, it's only supported by North American libraries, but it does indeed work - and with my shiny new San Francisco Public Library eCard (albeit temporary, for now), I've been enjoying both the title and their setup. Login is simple enough: select your library, then enter your card number and PIN. As one might expect, titles can be read in a browser, or their iOS or Android app. Nicely, it transparently maintains your place in a title, so I can pick up on the iPad, then back on Hazel, and I don't need to manually keep track of where I've got to. The title itself? Unnatural, set in an anthro world under authoritarian rule, which enforces species and gender purity - no marriage or sexual activity outside your species, and only hetero sex. And if you reach 25 without having married, then the government steps in, with a mandatory dating programme, and heavily increased taxes as an "encouragement". Trouble is, our hero's just hit 25, and she's having repeated dreams about passionate love with a white wolf, and she's a blue-haired pig - not just a fantasy, but one that'd be hazardous to even discuss beyond her friends. On being inducted to that programme, her roomie begins sniffing around to find out if there might be some kind of significance to these dreams, given how repeated - every night - and unusually clear they are. There's more, oh yes. It's rather good, and I'll certainly be checking out the other volumes. Be warned, it's not a gentle ride.

(I'm now into a new - for me - series, The Wicked + The Divine, with an interesting premise: gods exist, and every 90 years, they incarnate into new hosts, young adults. You have godly powers, yes - but, in two years, you'll be dead, and then the cycle repeats)

Cheetolini was recently touring a Honeywell factory in Arizona, watching masks being made, when some employee thought of the perfect soundtrack for his visit..

Yet another reason I wish I still had the Rift setup: there's a Little Witch Academia VR game on its way. =:D (LWA's from the same studio as Beastars and their newest release, Brand New Animal)

Meet a dominatrix offering their services in AC:NH. ^_^

A Masto friend just finished a major, geeky cross-stitch project. =:D "I finished it! After 1 year of stitching (with a break for a minor WoW stint), I finished converting this pixelart scene to crossstitch. It’s the biggest stitch I’ve ever done, 8x10 inches on 18-count Aida, bringing it in at over 25,000 stitches. I stabbed this piece of fabric over 100,000 times." The original, and their version:

The excellent Bones UK: Unplugged is now free on YouTube! It's been available for purchase on iTunes and BezosCo for a couple months, but Sumerian Records have kindly uploaded it for everyone's enjoyment. If you like their album, this is well worth catching in addition - they've done a superb job of rearranging several of the numbers there, for an almost entirely acoustic performance in a small venue.

Remarkably enough, there may - once the current global fire's been contained - be actual progress on the UK's abominable Gender Identity Clinics front! Whilst much of this story about trans people self-medicating in the UK - due to current waiting times for a first appointment running around 2.5-3 years, plus another 1-1.5 for subsequent ones, largely thanks to gatekeeping - is all too familiar, this paragraph stood out: "Happily, some progress is being made. 56 Dean Street has been aware of the struggle to access treatment and medication for years, doing whatever it can to improve the situation by providing advice, support and blood tests. It wants to go further and recently approached NHS England for support in prescribing hormones in a safe fashion until patients can be seen by the GIC. 'After lots of discussions, NHS England has awarded us a contract to open a pilot gender clinic with strict inclusion criteria later in the year,' Tara tells Refinery29. 'The NHS is very, very aware of this problem and they wanted to rectify it so, later in the year, we will be the first new gender clinic in England for decades. A different type of model, more sexual health model than a psychiatric model.'"

Now that Steven Universe Future's run its course (I finally watched March's episodes, including the grand finale, a couple days ago), and with it, all of SU, I was delighted to find out about quite the trippy show now on Netflix, Midnight Gospel, from the creator of Adventure Time.

Now, a girl on a bike might not sound all that special. But.. take a look. It's impressive riding. =:D

With the sharply reduced pollution in the air, the Himalayas are now visible from much further away than mere weeks ago - quite an awe-inspiring sight.

The publisher Springer currently has 408 books available for free, on various scientific and technical topics, including cosmology, FPGAs, neurology, and much more. No account or registration required - just follow the links, and select the PDF or EPUB download.

Back in 2007, Ramón Pérez started a comic strip, Kukuburi. I followed it as I'd really njoyed his style on a previous strip he'd been involved with. And then, in 2012, it fell under the web cartoonist's curse: hiatus. And now, it's back! (Of course, just in time for the lockdown to interrupt progress on the strip, which he normally finishes at a shard studio)

Perfectly normal cat noises. *nods*

The "worm" NASA logo is back!

If you've ever been curious as to just what lies under the hood, so to speak, of Bluetooth, here's a superb article going into considerable detail about all that goes into making it work. Encouragingly, one of the comments notes that the next bump in Bluetooth will improve audio noticeably, including - finally - official support for one device to send to multiple recipients, so one phone could drive your headphones and a friend's, or a gym could broadcast streams to everyone.

Here's the fascinating story of the Alameda-Weehauken burrito tunnel.

Japanese animation studio TMS has been uploading entire series on YouTube, including Sonic X, Cybersix, Virtua Fighter, Sherlock Hound, and Little Nemo. =:D

Want something relaxing to listen to? SAG-AFTRA's Storyline Online offers a large selection of children's books read by their members. ^_^

Here's a really bad joke. ^_^
Pink bunny by Shalonesk

Fusilli Baharat

Holy carp. This music video is downright amazing.. but then, it does push a few buttons for me, not least that it's all about cybernetic (transhuman? Synth?) furries. And it's as perfectly produced as anything a big studio might put out. Seriously, watch this as soon as you can. =:D Night Runner ft. Dan Avidan "Magnum Bullets".

All the factual information and current data you could want on Coronavirus-19, c/o Oxford University's World in Data.

Want to help change LGBT law in Japan for the better? Contribute to this crowdfunding campaign. "We — Elin McCready and Midori Morita — have been married for 20 years, originally filing paperwork in Japan, where we live. Elin filed a petition to change her name and gender in the US in October 2018 and changed this information on her passport. However, Japan has refused to recognize her gender transition on some documents, because doing so would result in de facto acceptance of same-sex marriage, which Japan doesn’t currently allow. This means that some of Elin’s paperwork says M and some F, even just within Japan, which is as far as we know a unique situation, and our marital status is ultimately unclear."

Here's a rather lovely old piece of fan art that Xinjinmeng did for SuperCee back in 2006, illustrating a Suzanne Vega song. ^_^

Rather encouraging..
"Here's a thought you may find heartening:

I work for a company, Carbon Lighthouse, that addresses climate change by retrofitting commercial buildings to use less energy. For most its existence, CL has had a very clear understanding that investors absolutely NEVER wanted to hear the "C-word." WE track impact in terms like "equivalent to taking X diesel power plants permanently offline" but to THEM we sold it exclusively in terms of utility bills.

But... In the last 18 months or so, that's abruptly changed. The big Business-y people actually want to hear about climate impact now. They volunteer questions about their carbon footprint. We can even sometimes sell to customers who are going to see dollar savings they would not invest in.

There's a real sea change happening in attitudes here."

The fascinating story of a feminist who continues to be erased from history, Alexandra Kollontai: "How the socialist behind paid child care and parental leave was erased from women's history. Alexandra Kollontai also helped liberalize divorce, gave women access to their own earnings and advocated for women's right to sexual autonomy."

You may recall that color laser printers overlay a tiny array of dots on every page they print, uniquely identifying the printer used to produce the document. Here's a tool to decode and conceal them.

This is a project I'd love to copy and improve on: make a faceplate with a projector, so you can internally project any visuals as your face. =:D

An interesting read on laziness: "I’ve been a psychology professor since 2012. In the past six years, I’ve witnessed students of all ages procrastinate on papers, skip presentation days, miss assignments, and let due dates fly by. I’ve seen promising prospective grad students fail to get applications in on time; I’ve watched PhD candidates take months or years revising a single dissertation draft; I once had a student who enrolled in the same class of mine two semesters in a row, and never turned in anything either time. I don’t think laziness was ever at fault. Ever. In fact, I don’t believe that laziness exists."

Rather a cool project if you're interested in astrophotography: OpenAstroTracker, a 3D printing & microcontroller project for an astro mount for a camera, so it can keep aiming at a specific area of the night sky, even as the Earth twirls - ideal for multi-hour exposures into deep space. It's currently only good for between the latitudes of 15N and 55N, however, as some of the printed parts are latitude specific, within a few degrees, so you need to build it according to your location.

How about a kaiju dating sim? ^_^

A brief (45s!) bit of nerdy amusement: "Why programming manuals aren’t on audiobook".

Okay, this was rather fun. ^_^ A few months ago, a furry commissions a pice of a fur squashing a boss, with a pro-IWW (labor union) message. The other day, the IWW reposted it to their FB page. =:D That's picked up by the Daily Dot, interviewing the commissioner. And most recently, the IWW Twitter stated "Furries are welcome as long as they're not cops or landlords :3c Join the one big uwunion" ^_^ Followed by suggested IWW affiliates for fursuit makers and furry artists.

Tech for good! These folk install remote microphones in rainforests, listening for signs of human activity - eg motorcycles - which doesn't belong there, with the aim of reducing deforestation. They also have an iOS & Android app which lets you listen in on rainforests worldwide.

I's got drawned again! ^_^ This time, by Mirima, who put out a call for OCs to doodle. I said I'd be tickled to see myself as a cheerleader, so.. =:D

Rather a cool YouTube channel: the Korean Film Archive, with hundreds of classic Korean films for free viewing!

This radio play series sounds rather fun, ne?
First season is actually one character sending communiques that tells a story. Each episode is fairly short. There is a version that is all of them together.

Season 2 gets more interesting with multiple voices from characters we've had described.

Of the characters we have:
- A gay man
- A trans man
- An Aro polyam woman
- A cyborg who's a member of a triad
- A character using xe/xir pronouns

It's like Mastodon in the near future! =:D

Here's a good report on how the UK can meet its carbon target for 2050, where it is now, and what needs to be done to get there.

The space industry's certainly gathering pace gently, with not just the larger players launching large payloads more cheaply, but smaller ones too, with quite different goals, like Astra Space, based in the Bay Area, which is aiming for microsat launches, with only around good reliability of around 95% - not a problem when you're making the satellites in bulk, so if you need to make another couple to make up for less than perfect reliability, the saving's more than worthwhile. And even more extreme, but seemingly entirely practical with current tech, is the idea of a lengthy coilgun to rapidly accelerate the payload at an acute angle. With the extreme forces involved - thousands of Gs - it's unsuitable for humans or anything else fragile, but perfect for bulk loads like oxygen, 3D printer material, or water. The company involved estimates around $50/kg, vs the lowest cost options currently at around $1400/kg.

The big caveat is it's not actually available yet, but, did you know there's a browser under development that isn't WebKit or Chrome based underneath? Meet Flow, originally designed for set-top boxes, but they've been working on generalising it for broader use.

Is this bunny latex mask by not gorgeous? ^_^ I mean, sure, I'm biased, but not only is it a rare representation of lapinity in latex, but it's also simply a beautiful example of the craft.

A fascinating bit of investigative journalism, looking at the professional lobbyists assisting climate change denialism. "We are tracking an international network of climate change deniers, ranging from conservative American billionaires to the German AfD. We want to understand their links and strategies. We tried to get the information by going through the normal channels, but we failed. There was only one way to get into the inner circle: We had to go undercover. That’s why we’re sitting at this table – and that’s why we’re nervous. We keep checking the hidden cameras, one of them in Katarina’s pen, which she’s wearing on her conference blazer. We try to keep the cameras stable while acting naturally and making small talk."

This sounds pretty much perfect: the Silent Book Club. "The format of a Silent Book Club meeting is simple: The group picks a time and a place, and everyone brings a book to read of their choosing. For the first half hour, people order drinks, share what they’re reading and get settled. Then, it’s an hour of uninterrupted quiet reading time. After the hour is up, people are invited to start chatting again — or, keep reading if they so choose. Informally, they call it “Introvert Happy Hour.” “It provides a space for people who want to get out of the house and spend some time with friendly-minded people, but don’t want to go through that whole awkward small talk,” said de la Mare. “You have a book in your hand, so it’s really easy to talk about what you’re reading. And when you get to that moment of not having anything else to say, it’s totally socially acceptable to go back to reading.”"

Riot Radio's blurb claims "This cross-gender and genre-defying channel celebrates those artists taking a stand for feminism. With Beyoncé, Austra, Warpaint, Missy Elliott, Sookee, PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill and many more." And indeed, an initial hour or so's listening checks all the boxes - mostly/all women/enbie/GNC, no ads, and station idents only occasionally. No DJs, unfortunately, but on the other paw, that does mean essentially uninterrupted music. Their official player is over here, but it's a bit finicky - you can just plug this URL into your favorite music player instead. ^_^ The downside is it seems to have a very small playlist, so it won't take more than a few days' listening to start hearing the same numbers.

Music video of the day is Poppy, with "X". It's not a very conventional track, nor is it a very conventional video. ^_^ Blood is shown, non-violently. I'll leave the rest to you. =:)

If you'd like some good places to donate to help with the aftermath of the Puerto Rican quakes - local, grassroots orgs, not the usual medical monoliths - here's a thread with some excellent suggestions.

Peggy came up with a rather cool tribute to Neil Peart.

Cadbury bunny - profile

The joys of sourdough

It's been a while since we did these, ne? ^_^ Here's the original map, and I've annotated it with L = lived (more than a month), V = visited (stayed at least a night), T = through travel only.

Did you realise you can use a tattoo removal laser for welding?

*giggle* "Someone tried to connect to my MUD via their browser and because of how character creation works right now, that kind of worked so there's now a player standing in Crossed Candles Inn with the user name "GET / HTTP/1.1""

Data Feminism is well worth a read: it's rich in facts, and connects the dots, which so much documentary writing fails in (hence why James Burke's "Connections" was such an engrossing series!) It's all free, downloadable in a variety of formats, including PDF, ePub, and Markdown.

[Serena] Williams wrote that “Black women are over 3 times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes.”

While these disparities were well known to Black women-led reproductive justice groups like Sister Song, the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, and Raising Our Sisters Everywhere, as well as to feminist scholars across a range of disciplines, Williams helped to shine a national spotlight on them. And she wasn't the only one. A few months earlier, Nina Martin of the investigative journalism outfit ProPublica, working with Renee Montagne of NPR, had reported on the same phenomenon. “Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth,” the headline read. In addition to the study also cited by Williams, Martin and Montagne cited a second study from 2016 which showed that neither education nor income level-- the factors usually invoked when attempting to account for healthcare outcomes that diverge along racial lines-- impacted the fates of Black women giving birth. On the contrary, the data showed that Black women with college degrees suffered more severe complications of pregnancy and childbirth than white women without high school diplomas.

But what were these complications, more precisely? And how many women had actually died as a result? ProPublica couldn’t find out, and neither could USA Today, which took up the issue a year later to see what, after a year of increased attention and advocacy, had changed. What they found was that there was still no national system for tracking complications sustained in pregnancy and childbirth, even as similar systems have long been in place for tracking things like, for instance, teen pregnancy, hip replacements, and heart attacks. They also found that there is also still no reporting mechanism for ensuring that hospitals follow national childbirth safety standards, as is required for both hip surgery and cardiac care. “Our maternal data is embarrassing,” stated Stacie Geller, a professor obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Illinois, when asked for comment. The Chief of the CDC’s Maternal and Infant Health Branch, William Callaghan, makes the significance of this “embarrassing” data more clear: “What we choose to measure is a statement of what we value in health,” he explains. We might edit his statement to add: it’s a measure of who we value in health, too.

The lack of data about maternal health outcomes, and its impact on matters of life and death, underscores how it is people who end up affected by the choices we make in our practices of data collection, analysis, and communication. More than that, it’s almost always the bodies of those who have been disempowered by forces they cannot control, such as sexism, racism, or classism--or, more likely, the intersection of all three--who experience the most severe consequences of these choices. Serena Williams acknowledged this exact phenomenon when asked by Glamour magazine about the statistics she cited in her Facebook post. “If I wasn’t who I am, it could have been me—” she said, referring to the fact that she had to demand that her medical team perform additional tests in order to diagnose her own postnatal complications, and because she was Serena Williams, 23-time grand slam champion, they listened. But, she told Glamour, “that’s not fair.”

You know the setting for Phoenix Wright, ne? A bizarre system seemingly impossibly stacked against defendents, unless you have someone of his caliber on the case. Apparently, that's an intentional critique of the Japanese legal system. "If you are charged with a crime in Japan and brought to trial, statistics show that there is a 99 percent chance that you will be convicted." "Takashi Takano, professor at Waseda University and one of Japan's most prominent defense attorneys described it as "one of the toughest jobs in the world." In over 25 years, only five of his clients have ever been exonerated. Yet this isn't a bad record, many attorneys go their whole careers without winning a case."

This is rather special: Moments in Love, originally by the Art of Noise, here rearranged for piano by one of the original composers and co-founders of the group, Anne Dudley.

It's tricky to describe this little video of a demo, but imagine a Polaroid camera where your photos are fully 3D, and can become part of the scene being viewed.. repeatedly. ^_^

Here's a good place to download a fansub of Little Witch Academia. It's in the "school of magic" genre, with, for me, a world more fun and wonder than Harry Potter. ^_^

I've also been going through Another Life, a tale of exploration to find out what's going on, when a probe - of sorts, being a huge crystalline growth - lands/seeds on Earth. It opened very promisingly, suggesting that rare beast of TV sci-fi with the "sci", but.. well, we're continuing to enjoy it, but with definite caveats of the "why did they do that?" variety being fairly routine. A pity, as there's some good character writing, and some genuinely interesting concepts, dogged by a need to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Anyway, we're at the point of the final ep next time; at least, for now, as it's apparently received a second season.

Long peppers are indeed long

Sensibly, the EU's moving toward mandating electric vehicles make some kind of sound, to make up for the lack of the godawful racket internal combustion engines make. Here's what TfL's buses will sound like, when stationary, and then, when moving. It's surprisingly delightful. =:D

Rather a cool comparison of Chinese and Western wheelbarrows - no, come back, it's more interesting than you'd think! The key is the Chinese version places a large wheel in the middle, so the hauler doesn't have to bear any of the load weight, making them suitable for much heavier loads, or for far longer distances.

Water Is Life: Nick Estes on Indigenous Technologies is a fascinating insight, and as justly anticolonialist as you'd expect. Well worth a few minutes.

Interesting retrospective on its recent twentieth anniversary (egad!): the film's costume designer, Kym Barrett, talks about her iconic work in The Matrix.

mps-youtube looks like quite the handy cross-platform utility for managing YouTube playlists at the terminal, including the ability to view the resolutions and codecs available for a given video, and download your choice from them.

A while back, during one of her Ear Candy shows over on CHIRP Radio, the DJ described the most wonderfully bad TV ad. Of course, I had to check if it was up on YouTube - and lo, there it was. ^_^ Enjoy the magnificent acting in this 1995 ad for Illinois car insurance =:D (Still, I'll admit, not a bad eagle fursuit!)

Gah. Today in Low Customer Service Expectations: I wanted to find out what kind of ticket-sharing operates on a particular bus route, as I'd noticed mention of the other, main operator's passes being accepted. So, I sent a quick enquiry, hoping to receive an answer the following weekday. My hopes were.. dashed, when I noticed their auto-ack come back, including the disclaimer "We aim to reply to your email within 14 working days". ^_^; Ye gods and little fishes, I could order a paper-making kit, make up a few sheets, write the enquiry, and send it to them in less time.. =:/

And food.. of course. =:) I'd originally planned on ox cheek braised in red wine and bone marrow, but, perhaps not entirely unexpectedly, when I got to Waitrose (the only supermarket that sells cheek, a beautifully rich and cheap cut; likewise marrow), they had no cheek - apparently they don't get that much in - and no sign of marrow either. =:P So, a bit of scouting through the ciders later, to reconsider my plans, I went for some silverside marked down to about the same price, and replacing the opulent richness of marrow, Sobrasada de Mallorca, something of a mild spreadable chorizo. And so it came to be - around 11pm last night, I thickly sliced several chestnut mushrooms, 2/3 of an onion, and 2/3 of a bulb of smoked garlic, added a bottle of cheap red wine, then the silverside cuts, wrapped in the sobrasada, with some smoked hot paprika dabbed on to point it more in the direction of its Italian 'nduja cousin, and left that to get underway overnight, adding some basil and freshly ground oregano buds last thing. Once I got back down again this morning, it was developing very well, and seemed to want a little sweetness to help balance the relative tartness of the marinade. I added a little maple syrup, and then, some freshly ground long peppers - like tiny pine cones about 2-3mm wide, 8-12mm long - which proved, I feel, pivotal. That managed to bring it all together, with a symphony of deep notes from the wine and smoked garlic, a robust edge from the sobrasada, and a gently feisty zing from the pepper. Really good. ^_^

To go with it: roast new potatoes & parsnips, brussels, and carrot batons. I rarely do roasted anything, given the amount of oil that's inevitably involved, but once a year doesn't feel excessive. ^_^ I may only have been cooking for myself this year, but it felt such a cozy meal, reminding me of ones past. So well worth it.

Whatever you're celebrating, I hope you're enjoying this time. ^_^
Porsupah head on arms

We are all made of furries

Did you know there's an open source project along the lines of Wolfram Alpha? SymPy Gamma awaits. ^_^

Very old, and furry, cave artwork found in Indonesia; at some 44,000 years old, the earliest of its kind discovered so far. '"The portrayal of multiple hunters confronting at least two separate prey species possibly suggests a game drive, a communal hunt in which animals are indiscriminately flushed from cover and directed towards waiting hunters," the scientists wrote. The hunters in question appear to be therianthropes,or humans with animal characteristics. Until now, the oldest piece of art thought to depict these characteristics is a 40,000-year-old ivory figure found in a cave in Germany that includes a human body with a feline head.' You realise, of course, that this means we are all descended from furries. =:D

Whoa! How's this for a mural?

You know, I can't believe I never thought to try a non-polar solvent to get rid of the tacky layer that remains after curing UV nail gels. For the past year or so, I've simply settled for vigorous rubbing with hand cleanser and letting it sort of wear off through the rest of the day. (It's a very thin layer, not really a problem - but it does prevent the gloss from showing until it's gone) But, on the suggestion of a friend, I tried a little nail polish remover (ie diluted acetone) - a quick wipe, and it's gone. ^_^

Quite a fascinating paper looking at just what causes death in alcoholic hepatitis cases - and it seems it may not be the ethanol itself, but a specific bacterium that happens to thrive in such environments. "There have been mouse experiments that suggested that Enterococcus faecalis (a common human-associated bacterial species) might be involved in alcoholic hepatitis, but this latest work provides a great deal of proof that it might in fact be a causative agent. Presence of the bacteria in human stool is strongly correlated with the disease. More particularly, it’s presence of the E. faecalis cytolysin, a bacterial toxin that’s one member of a large family of similar proteins." "One of the more eyebrow-raising takeaways from the new paper is that 89% of the patients with cytolysin in their stool samples died within 180 days of hospitalization, but only 3% of alcoholic hepatitis patients without it died over the same period. This situation can be recapitulated exactly in mouse models, using regular strains of the bacteria versus cytolysin-deficient ones and then adding alcohol to their diet. Even further, using gnotobiotic (germ-free) mice (expensive little beasts, those are) and colonizing them with human stool samples (with and without cytolysin) showed exactly the same pattern." Intriguingly, it seems phage therapy may be effective.

Wow. Despite seeing this story on a reputable site, I'm still boggling at it.. "A Hollywood studio executive once suggested the idea of Julia Roberts playing the iconic abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman in a biopic, according to Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard." '[...] when challenged on the casting, the Hollywood exec who allegedly floated the idea said, "It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference."'

Quite an interesting look back at radical activism in the 1970s in the Bronx. "In November of 1970, the Young Lords and the Black Panther Party seized a section of Lincoln Hospital, establishing the first drug detox program in the South Bronx, the center of the city’s heroin epidemic. The “People’s Detox” operated out of the old nurses’ residence under a coalition of Black and Puerto Rican left nationalists, socialists, and radical medical workers. Influenced by the psychological work of Frantz Fanon, they saw revolutionary political education as essential for overcoming drug addiction. Mutulu Shakur, Vicente “Panama” Alba, Cleo Silvers, Dr. Richard Taft, and others who ran the program innovated the use of acupuncture as a drug treatment modality in the US, a practice that has since become institutionalized and widespread. They won city funding for the detox program in 1971. They continued to run it until the police raided the detox facility in 1978, expelling the revolutionary leadership. These years were peak periods of political organizing for the Bronx, as well as the years that HIV — still unnamed and unnoticed by medical authorities — first started to claim the lives of injection drug users."

"The Lincoln Hospital Offensive, as the Young Lords called it, was one of their several health-related campaigns. The Young Lords held a sit-in at a health commissioner’s office demanding lead paint screening for children in East Harlem and the South Bronx, and hijacked a mobile X-ray truck to screen for tuberculosis. In this way, they anticipated the coming decades of crack addiction, the epidemic of HIV and AIDS, and the rapid growth of mass incarceration."

Say hello to Lanarkshire council's new vehicle keeping the roads safe in wintertime: Gritter Thunberg. ^_^;

If you're minded to get into FPGA development, this HN thread is well worth a look, with some good advice, and plenty of useful links to cheap dev boards, toolchains, and books.

Have you ever wanted a Wireshark equivalent to analyse cellular traffic? Here you go, if you have a rooted Android phone with a Qualcomm baseband.

This six minute short is quite beautiful: Fox Fires. Furry or not, you'll like this. ^_^

Some profound and inspiring, fiery thoughts from Pia Klemp.

Here's a long-form article from the New Republic on just how deep the rot is at Boeing, and how it gradually took hold, such that the lethal debacle of the MAX8 came about.

Earlier in the year, the Guardian ran a very good interview with Margaret Hamilton, who led the Apollo software development team. "G: 'Did your life as a software engineer and a mother ever collide?'
MH: 'Often in the evening or at weekends I would bring my young daughter, Lauren, into work with me. One day, she was with me when I was doing a simulation of a mission to the moon. She liked to imitate me – playing astronaut. She started hitting keys and all of a sudden, the simulation started. Then she pressed other keys and the simulation crashed. She had selected a program which was supposed to be run prior to launch – when she was already “on the way” to the moon. The computer had so little space, it had wiped the navigation data taking her to the moon. I thought: my God – this could inadvertently happen in a real mission. I suggested a program change to prevent a prelaunch program being selected during flight. But the higher-ups at MIT and Nasa said the astronauts were too well trained to make such a mistake. Midcourse on the very next mission – Apollo 8 – one of the astronauts on board accidentally did exactly what Lauren had done. The Lauren bug! It created much havoc and required the mission to be reconfigured. After that, they let me put the program change in, all right.'"

One of the outstanding music videos of 2019 has to be Eugene Lee Yang's "I'm Gay". It's an intense production, highly emotional, and backed up by some outstanding choreography. Seriously, don't miss this, but do be prepared.

A rather delightful little opening to how the apparently mooted remake of The Princess Bride ought to go. ^_^

Snouts Online

Gah. It's going to take an infinite amount of time for me to actually get the whole entry posted, so I'll just take a scoop and post that. ^_^ I feel I need to provide some definite proof that yes, my LJ is still alive, and so am I. ^_^

A friend pointed out that the director of Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and others has a new show out, again with a strong connection to music: Carole & Tuesday. It appears to be seeing some fansubbing c/o PA-Subs, and the English dub may be available on Netflix. The basic premise is a girl from the countryside heading to the city, meeting up with someone who turns out to be her future musical partner. Intriguingly, though I don't think there's more continuity than that, the setting is the same city as in the Cowboy Bebop finale, 18 months later. You can find the torrents over here.

Some encouraging news on the SF political front! Chesa Boudin wins the DA race. He "ran on a platform to end cash bail and dismantle the war on drugs, and was endorsed by Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders.". "Boudin is the child of Weather Underground activists Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who were both incarcerated when he was still a toddler."

Here's a handy site if you read many daily comics: Comics RSS, providing feeds for strips whose sites lack them, such as Heavenly Nostrils, Nancy, and Scenes from a Multiverse. So, not only do you not need to visit that site regularly, but you get the actual strips in your feed rather than just their front pages - previously, I had those strips in a Comics folder in Safari's bookmarks, and would open all of them in one go, but the site design means the main strip URLs then make you click through for the latest strip. Nicely convenient now!

Remember the dragonfly-like aircraft in Laputa? Someone's made a radio controlled model of one, and it flies astonishingly well. =:D

Here's a rather special font, being based on a typeface designed by one of the first Japanese publishers of English books, Takejiro Hasegawa. "For those of his publications made with the old methods (all hand-carved and hand-printed), he ran into a problem with the English lettering. The results on the printed page were not attractive, as the traditionally trained carvers fundamentally had no ‘feel’ for the strange (to them) angular shapes of the western letters. So he came up with the idea to work out a set of English letters in a style that could be drawn with a traditional Japanese brush, and which could thus be carved in a natural manner by his craftsmen."

You may, having spent some time on the net, be curious as to just where the internet comes from. Here's an illuminating documentary on the topic. =:)

Of course, I had to check this article out.. "Killer Rabbits in Medieval Manuscripts: Why So Many Drawings in the Margins Depict Bunnies Going Bad"

Did you know that Public Health England invites all members of the public to send them dead mosquitos?

A good webcomic to try: How to be a werewolf. It's ongoing, but there's not so much you'll spend years trying to catch up, à la Wapsi Square. You'll probably get a good idea if it's something for you within a few strips.

Ooh! And if you're familiar with My Dragon Girlfriend, here's a piece of myself and someone very special to me. ^_^

Bunny with tongue poking out

Pride in July

I was feeling somewhat pointlessly melancholic last Saturday night, and thought a good way to help fend that off would be to watch the second season (well, really the first half - the second season was poduced as thirteen episodes, but Netflix only released the first seven episodes, keeping the rest until Aug 3 2019) of She-Ra. Surprisingly, for me, I actually got through all of it in one night - I virtually never binge-watch! Oh, how much fun that was - I was delighted to see they've managed to out-queer Steven Universe. =:)

Here's a WIP track by Ice Foxx - personally, I'd say it's pretty much complete as is, but she may have grander plans.

This is good praxis. ^_^ Radiohead got hacked, with the would-be malefactor demanding $150,000 to avoid some eighteen hours of unreleased material from being leaked. Their response? Upload it all to Bandcamp and donate all the proceeds to Extinction Rebellion.

I was a little saddened to learn one of the DJs I enjoy listening to, DJ Stranger Waves, over on CHIRP Radio is leaving the station at the end of the month - life's apparently getting busy, so she doesn't really have the time to dedicate to a regular show. Still, I did hear another, Lady Amelia, who was subbing a couple weeks ago note she was going to be returning, so maybe that's the balance? I'd be delighted if so - when she's been around occasionally, I've really enjoyed her Girl Power Hours - as with the rest of the station, the selections aren't the same old ones you've heard a million times before. I'd actually enjoy finding more stations like CHIRP, but where are they?

Speaking of good radio, someone tipped me off to WFMU, which at first glance, does seem worth a listen. ^_^ I'm always interested in adding good stations to my playlist, if anyone has suggestions! Things I enjoy:

- not just the same stuff everyone's heard a million times. There's lots of music out there, new and old!
- no/few ads, with the exception of the occasional community announcement or local sponsor.
- either a wholly diverse playlist, or one that maybe emphasises electronic. I don't tend to be much into rap or hip-hop, but there are exceptions, like Azealia Banks.
- little repetition. I quite enjoy some of SOMA FM's offerings, but they tend to have relatively small playlists, to the point you'll start hearing the same tracks after an hour or two.
- bonus points for sites that don't require JS. =:)
- bonus points for sites that also offer up an actual stream URL, rather than burying it away in some embedded player, as I never listen to radio stations via their sites, only through external applications like iTunes or Audials. (Which is, unfortunately, a victim of the current iPadOS 13 beta - dies on launch, every time. Come to think of it, other than seeking out a good alternative, I could just use Audials on the iPhone, which is necessarily stuck on iOS 12)
- few station idents. Radio Tananana (yes, really =:) has an annoying quirk of insisting on playing its ident after every track. Rapture Radio (club/dance) is a bit ident-happy, though they've abbreviated it from the full blurb, at least.

On that note, someone over on Masto pointed out 4ZZZ, a community radio station in Brisbane, that's very much my kind of thing - in particular, I'd have to highlight Kids with Class Kicking Arse, on from 1000-1200 local time on Saturdays, 0100-0300 BST. Their player doesn't work for me, but you can find the stream over here, which your own player will be fine with. As an example, their playlist this weekend included Sloppy Seconds "You Got A Great Body But Your Record Collection Sucks", Iron Reagan "Fuck the Neighbors", Supersuckers "Born With A Tail", and the brilliant Gutter Birds "Bag of Dicks", which, sadly, doesn't yet exist as an official release - I checked with the DJs, and they said this was only a preview, but they do play around town sometimes. Another thing which strikes me with 4ZZZ is they seem to often pair DJs up, leading to some genuinely interesting conversations between dedicated musicheads - one earlier today was looking at some outstanding female bassists, giving examples of their works, and in a couple cases, writing as well; this definitely isn't the usual megastation vapid chat!

An interesting call for exhibits with funding of between 1K-4K€ available: "What is real, and how are you sure it is so? How can you determine which experiences are "real" if they are digital, virtual or influenced by the chemistry and architecture of your brain? Scientific research uncovers ways that our minds and senses conspire to produce gaps between the actual and the perceived. How do we navigate these blind spots, which can be exploited by trickery like fake news, but then embraced willingly to escape reality, for pleasure in fantasy? And is our concept of the real transformed by biomedical science, which brings us new understanding of mental conditions like synesthesia, dementia, or phenomena like the placebo effect?

Science Gallery Rotterdam invites artists, designers, and researchers to explore how our concept of “the real” is destabilized by science and technology by proposing projects to be part of its first exhibition on site at Erasmus MC. The theme (UN)REAL addresses the questions above and also seeks to link them to the ongoing activity and cutting-edge research in biomedical science at the university medical center."

Quite an interesting look at how terms will migrate between languages, sometimes relieved of their weight in the original tongue - in this case, Angela Merkel using a term justly brought to prominence with Brexit, "shitstorm". ^_^
Porsupah by Marshykip

Optical tweezers

So, half of Powderpaint shared their first vlog, and it's all about Mastodon. It's a really good little intro, providing not just the dry facts, but the real attractions over birdsite. Of course, the two needn't be mutually exclusive - plenty of folk maintain accounts on both, and wind up using them very differently, for the kinds of reasons you'll hear about. ^_^

A rather energetic - and typically brief - chase. ^_^

Here's rather an unusual electronic track, somewhat reminiscent of the opening theme to Ghost in the Shell: Holly Herndon "Eternal". (Note: if you're susceptible to flashing lights, this would be one to avoid, with some rapid cuts amounting to the same thing)

I was quite disappointed the other day to realise Virgin Atlantic's split its "economy" fares into two, with the lower end one now lacking any checked baggage, yet still at the higher end of the price range for LHR-SFO. As is, whilst their service is generally very good, I'd be more likely to go with United again, which seemed to've improved markedly from ten years ago. BA - eh, much as I enjoyed getting to see and fly in an A380 at last, the seat pitch was too narrow for comfort.

A fiction anthology of note: Transcendent 4, "The Year's Best Transgender Themed Speculative Fiction" - someone I know on Masto wrote Ghosts, featured therein, and if the rest are of similar quality, this will be a work not to be missed.

A voop made an appearance! Thankfully, nobody came to harm - they were aware immediately, and there's a warren entrance just in front of the buns, so they were able to make good their (hasty) departure in plenty of time.

Well, poop. Looks like Mojave is the end of the line for Aperture. =:P For now, I'll probably just stick with Mojave - there's plenty I'd like to play with in macOS Catalina, but migrating multiple terabytes of Aperture libraries would be a pain of an exercise, even if I had a replacement application lined up. That said, I'll likly futz around and see if it can be unofficially cajoled into working, as invoking the application manually does start successfully - Aperture itself is a 64-bit application - but dies on being unable to locate a framework, not helped by, in my case, the OS booting off one drive, and the Aperture installation being on another - a fast thumb drive and Hazel's internal SSD respectively. Worst case, I may see if I can set up a Mojave VM within Catalina.

The aforementioned visitor on their way out, contemplating an exit route.

As for the rest of the WWDC keynote - well, obviously, one of the stars of the show was the new Mac Pro, a veritable beast of a machine: if you genuinely need serious power, the top-end with a 28-core Xeon with 1.5TB RAM will likely suffice. =:) I did, of course, enjoy the fact iPad got some love on the main stage for once, not just relegated to being iPhone's big sister. Interesting they've split the OS names apart, so there's now iOS for iPhone, and iPadOS for iPad. Whether that's a technical decision or more marketing - probably more the latter, so devs aren't put in the position of having to explain the iOS version of their app does do thing, but only on iPads; easier to just be able to say the iPadOS version does this, and the iOS version does this other thing instead. Needless to say, I got iPadOS installed on the Pro straight away. ^_^ At first blush, it looks good - the grid layout shifting from the old 5x4 to 6x5 with smaller icons is a very welcome enhancement, with other tiny refinements like the volume control widget now appearing discreetly at the top of the display, rather than right in the center, where whatever you're watching is briefly obscured. Application launching and resuming feels quite a bit faster, too, apparently due to the use of compression everywhere. It's definitely a beta, needless to say - I've noticed WiFi drop out a few times, and occasionally Preferences will crash. For the most part, it's at a usable condition, but certainly not release ready.

Rather tragically, it's been announced that Maker Media is ceasing all operations, bringing with it the current end of Make magazine and the Maker Faire. The hope is to be able to revive the company somehow, but with that market being so difficult to sustain financially, I'm not overly optimistic, unless some deep-pocketed sponsor were willing to continue it essentially out of goodwill.

If you have a paid SL account, be aware the rates are rising in June 2019. Billed annually, the price goes from $72 up to $99; if you're on an account old enough to receive L$500/week, that means the cost isn't quite covered, with L$26k currently coming to about $96 after fees. Even though these are, as they note, the first Premium account price rises in a decade, it's a bit of a surprise to spring. =:P Still, they do also note that they'll let people pay ahead of their usual renewal date at the current rate.
Fluttershy sparkly eyes

Lingonberry jam, peanut butter, and a Gold Bar

The Ose sex toy came into the news a few months ago, when, having won an innovation prize at CES, the organisation behind the show, the CTA, soon revoked it on rather specious grounds. I'm delighted to see the CTA's reversed that decision. ^_^

If you ever have a need for OCR, consider Project Tessaract, a highly effective OCR engine in JS, which can run in the browser. Bearing in mind it's made for print rather than handwriting, it's remarkably effective, and entirely free. (If you're on the fediverse, you can also tag in a toot containing an image, and the bot'll use that engine to parse the text and reply with it, for easy transcription)

Not that I see abandoning LJ any time soon, but Blot does look interesting, and supposedly very straightforward to set up and use.

Consumer Reports appears underwhelmed by Tesla's self-driving capabilities.

Woohoo! On Thursday or so, SmugMug migrated Flickr away from Yahoo's infrastructure to their own, and the difference is striking! Pages now load immediately, and reliably, where before I'd often have the page first load inscurely, only succeeding with SSL on reloading, and sometimes with thumbnails missing/slow to load. And, they've got their own login system now! They're still supporting the old Yahoo logins, so nobody's left stranded, but they're no longer required, so there's no need to touch Oath and their awful attitude to the GDPR. An auspicious new start!

And here's a recent photo of the buns to celebrate. ^_^ Amazingly, I completely spaced on adding this last time around. Suffice to say they're faring very well indeed, I'm delighted to say, with up to thirty visible in my usual meadow. Better still, they're re-established in spots which had previously held activity, but not in a while, and in one spot, where I'd occasionally seen one loner, there may now be a full warren, with good photographic visibility. ^_^ Even the spot where I took Momentary seems to've reawoken, with about four out when I passed by.

Do you have stories within you itching to be written? Here's a rather fun sounding call for submissions. ^_^

The theme of the eighth annual Bikes in Spaces, the galaxy’s only series of feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies, is in the works! This volume’s theme is… cats.

House cats. Ship cats. Lions. Strays. Anthropomorphic talking cats. Feline deities. Familiars. Wherever your imagination takes you, we’d love to read your story.

Please send us your short stories that feature both cats and bicycles or bicycling in a way that is essential to the story; be fundamentally feminist, even if they aren’t explicitly addressing feminism as a topic; and fall somewhere in the science fiction and fantasy spectrum (sorry, no fanfic, but all other fantastical and speculative genres are welcome). Black and white illustrations are also sought.

On that note, Who Pays Writers lists xactly that: companies and sites that pay for writing, with a capule summary for each entry, eg Esquire (online) says "$0.15/word, paid in 1 month; 2000-word opinion, editorial, column or essay; little to no reporting; Cold pitch (no pre-existing relationship)".

I was idly looking around for what sci-fi filmage might be coming along in the rest of 2019, and happened upon this listicle. Some are fairly routine, some could be quite good fun, like Artemis Fowl, but it's the entry at 16 that particularly caught my eye, simply called Warning. "There haven’t been a lot of plot details revealed about the movie Warning, aside from its futuristic setting and exploration of the meaning of life. However, we do know it has an interesting young cast, starring Mena Massoud, Laura Harrier, Lana Condor, Alice Eve and Alex Pettyfer. The film will be directed by Agata Alexander, who has received attention for her work on a number of HARD music festival trailers. Warning will be her eagerly anticipated first feature film and our curiosity was piqued even more upon visiting the About section of Alexander’s website, which simply reads “I’ll tell you in another life, when we are both cats.”"

Did you realise just how many forms of ice there are? They've now been joined by Ice XVIII - superionic ice - effectively representing a new state of matter, which could be the most abundant form of water in the universe, existing within the cores of ice giant planets.

Amazon bought the smart doorbell company Ring for $1b. Their strategy for making that pay off appears to be to make you more afraid.

Did you know amateur radio astronomy was a thing? Apparently so! And such an amateur just detected a pulsar glitching. =:D

Here's quite a novel desalinisation approach - it doesn't involve reverse osmosis or evaporation. "TSSE utilizes a low-polarity solvent with temperature-dependent water solubility for the selective extraction of water over salt from saline feeds. Because it is membrane-less and not based on evaporation of water, it can sidestep the technical constraints that limit the more traditional methods. Importantly, TSSE is powered by low-grade heat (< 70 C) that is inexpensive and sometimes even free. In the study, TSSE removed up to 98.4% of the salt, which is comparable to reverse osmosis, the gold standard for seawater desalination. The findings also demonstrated high water recovery (>50%) for the hypersaline brines, also comparable to current seawater desalination operations. But, unlike TSSE, reverse osmosis cannot handle hypersaline brines."

I missed in cinematically (unsurprisingly =:), so I've been wondering what's happened to Alita's home release - usually, even without an actual date announced, iTunes will have a preorder listing up even while it's playing on the big screen, typically giving the release date three weeks ahead of time. But Alita? No sign of it for the longest time! Same on Amazon, and other retailers - there'll be the odd hopeful date, but nothing solid. Anyway, The Digital Bits is claiming it's coming on Jun 25 2019. I wouldn't have minded seeing it on a big screen, actually - it looks like it would've benefited from such. Still, it'll be great fun at home. ^_^ Thankfully, that looks like it'll finally come! Last Tuesday, iTunes and Amazon both listed it for pre-order, albeit at a rather later date than TDB: July 23 2019.