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Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 12:36 am
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[personal profile] rmc28
I read half of Ancillary Mercy in my outpatient appointment in E10 and the other half at home earlier this evening.  I adored it.  It is a very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy; it had me metaphorically on the edge of my seat at times; and there was cuddling.  I APPROVE.  I will probably reread it shortly just to revel in it more slowly.  I should go see what kind of price I have to pay for Adjoa Andoh to read it to me as well, as I've adored her reading of the first two.  (Answer: too much, and it isn't available for another day anyway)

Outpatient appointments are going well so far: last week I had chemo every day Tuesday-Friday, and this week and next I have monitoring appointments Tuesday and Friday.  The day unit can't organise the week after next for me yet because it's dependent on the monitoring results ...

(more about appointments behind cut because medical detail)

Read more... )

It has slowly been sinking in since last Monday just how wonderful, delightful, etc it is to have got into remission, to be on the standard treatment path with its very high chances of success, to be most definitely winning.

Silver on the Road, by Laura Anne Gilman

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 04:54 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Cover: Silver on the RoadLaura Anne Gilman‘s new fantasy novel Silver on the Road [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound] came out today. But I got to read it last month, because of Author Perks! I love my job :-)

This is actually the third weird western fantasy I’ve read this year. (The others were Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory and Lila Bowen’s Wake of Vultures, which I provided a blurb for.) Gilman’s book made a three-book streak of good, fun, engaging storytelling.

Here’s an abridged version of the publisher’s summary:

Isobel  is a child of the Territory.  She grew up in a saloon, trained to serve drinks and fold laundry, to observe the players at the card tables and report back to her boss on what she saw.  But when she comes of age, she is given a choice….

Isobel chooses power.  Chooses risk. Chooses to throw her cards in with the Devil, Master of the Territory.

But the costs of that power are greater than she ever imagined; the things she must do, the person she must become…  And she needs to learn her new role quickly: pressures from both outside the Territory and within are growing, and the Devil’s Hand has work to do…

Izzy’s job as the Devil’s Left Hand is to travel the Territory, and to discover and resolve problems. Problems like an entire town killed by what may or may not be plague; like families slaughtered; like demons and wandering magicians, both of which can be equally deadly.

The Devil hasn’t had a Left Hand in a long time, but he knows something’s stirring. He makes a separate Bargain with a rider named Gabriel, who agrees to mentor Izzy and teach her the ways of the Road. Gabriel is older and experienced, but Izzy’s the one with the responsibility and the power. If she can learn how to use it.

I loved the worldbuilding in this story. I love that the Devil both is and isn’t the figure you’re used to. In some respects, particularly the Bargains he makes, he’s very familiar … and then you realize “Devil” is just a name, and you never truly learn what he really is. There’s power and mystery there. Is he evil? He seems to be scrupulously fair in honoring the Laws and Bargains of the Territory. I’m hoping to see and learn more about him in future books.

Then there are things like the danger of the crossroads, the power of silver to cleanse evil magic, the snakes that show up in the night to whisper cryptic warnings, the alternate history of the American frontier, with various nations fighting to control the land beyond the Territory the Devil has claimed as his own.

I also appreciated the relationship between Izzy and Gabriel. Izzy is only sixteen, and Gabriel is older and rougher around the edges. It’s not set up as a romance. Instead, we start with Gabriel as teacher and evolve first into a partnership, and eventually into Izzy stepping into her role as Hand and taking the lead in making decisions and facing the darkness.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say I really appreciated the way Gilman resolved things. It’s not necessarily what you’d expect, but it felt right for Izzy’s character, the story, and the world.

Also, the magician they meet is such a fun character.

I look forward to the next book in the series!

You can read a sample on Gilman’s website.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Six of the Best 543

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 07:55 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed
"It seems to me that the Left's narrative about neoliberalism is too naive to overcome it - it understands none of the appeal of its original ideas. It is somewhat vacuous - a fairy tale about nasty people overturning the great and enlightened Keynesian consensus of 1945." David Boyle says it is time for Liberals to read Hayek again.

Jonathan Fryer reviews a new biography of the Soviet spy Guy Burgess.

"[Joe] Orton’s ‘gutter’ was not the brutal and bustling industrial landscape of the North, but the drab monotony of a comfortable city whose council housing reflected its unimaginative mediocrity." Municipal Dreams on the history of Leicester's Saffron Lane Estate.

Morgan Jeffery asks if Doctor Who is in crisis.

"La Shrubsole ... is, in the parlance of the men’s game, quite a “Big Unit”, but light on her feet with an attractive habit of placing herself in the field by skipping from side to side, with her hands extended horizontally, as though dancing to a rendition of 'Nymphs and Shepherds Come Away' only she can hear." Backwatersman bids farewell to the 2015 cricket season and incidentally explains a famous quotation from F. Scott Fitzgerald.

A London inheritance climbs the Caledonian Park Clock Tower.

Bishop Peter Ball and Elizabeth Butler-Sloss

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 06:54 pm
[syndicated profile] liberal_england_feed

BBC News reports today:
Sex abuse victims of former Sussex bishop Peter Ball are suing the Church of England for hundreds of thousands of pounds. 
Ball, 83, who admitted offences against 18 teenagers and young men in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, is being sentenced at the Old Bailey on Wednesday.
I am not a believer in conspiracy theories - you don't have to be when evidence of the extraordinary unwillingness of the establishment to see Bishop Ball suffer for his crimes is openly available.

When Peter Ball resigned as Bishop of Gloucester in 1993, after receiving a police caution for committing an act of gross indecency against a teenage trainee monk, he was given a grace and favour house by the Prince of Wales.

In the current court case, a deal with struck with the Crown Prosecution Service. By pleading guilty to the offences for which he will be sentenced tomorrow, he avoided more serious charges.

As the Church Times reports:
Bishop Ball pleaded not guilty, on Tuesday, to indecent assaults on two boys aged 13 and 15 in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided not to proceed with these charges. 
Phil Johnson, who first made allegations against Bishop Ball in 1996, claims that he was abused at the age of 13. He told The Guardian that he had been “silenced and denied justice”. He has lodged a complaint with the Director of Public Prosecutions and with the Crown Prosecution Service.
You can hear Phil Johnson in the audio recording above.

The other person taking part is Baroness Butler-Sloss, who had conducted an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse in the Chichester diocese. Peter Ball was Bishop of Lewes before he went to Gloucester.

As you can hear, Butler-Sloss does all she can to persuade Johnson to agree that Ball should not be mentioned in her report.
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by Mike Smithson

The money continues to go on George

This is a story that is probably going to go on for the next 3 to 4 years. Who is going to be the successor to David Cameron and will the prize go to one of the top two favourites?

Those are, of course, the Chancellor George Osborne and the mayor of London Boris Johnson. Until three months ago it was the mayor who occupied the favourite slot. Since then all the sentiment has moved to George. When the election eventually happens both have got very different problems.

    Boris could struggle to secure enough votes from CON MPs to make the final two. George could find it hard in the final ballot of members.

The interesting feature of the past 24 hours is that Boris has chosen to use the controversial tax credit changes as a stick to beat George. With the Sun in full throttle now on side in that battle you have to wonder whether there might be an Osborne U-turn of the type we saw repeatedly after his 2012 budget?

Mike Smithson

Henning Mankell

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 05:55 pm
[syndicated profile] anders_hanson_feed

Posted by Anders Hanson

Henning Mankell. By David Shankbone (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Henning Mankell has given me two significant things over the last few years – reigniting my love of reading and making me feel more in touch with my Swedish roots.

As a child I read avidly and writing was something I’d always wanted to do as a career (that dream still exists, but at 40 already feels less likely), but I reached a point in my 20s where I read little. Discovering Henning Mankell however helped get me reading avidly again, not just his books but many others too. Sadly, he is the second of my favourite authors who rekindled my love of reading to die in the last few years following Iain Banks in 2013.

Crime fiction has always been one of my favourite genres, but what makes Mankell’s stand out is the normality and humanity of the extraordinary events he writes about. Although he has written books with other lead characters it is of course the Kurt Wallander books that really stand out. As a character Wallander is a true human being with strong feelings about the world around him and the crimes he deals with, but this is conveyed in a way that is natural and not forcing you to take a particular view. The writing style of Mankell also really fits well with this and, like my other favourite crime writer Ian Rankin, is straight forward and easy to read even when you’re in a setting where it’s hard to concentrate. The plots are cleverly put together and he brings the people to life with a simplicity that I wish I could achieve myself.

Mankell was one of the first in a wave of Nordic crime writing that has been popular across Europe, and that also helped lead to the unlikely popularity of foreign language dramas on BBC4. But for someone who was born in Sweden and whose ability to speak or read Swedish is pretty poor, the availability and popularity of his books in English made me suddenly feel a lot more close to my roots. Reading great stories set in the Sweden of today has rekindled my sense of Swedishness and being able to truly understand my home country, and for that I’ll always be grateful. It’s not just the day to day life of Sweden and explaining how the country is, but for all the popularity they’ve had in the rest of the world there are still elements of Mankell’s books that have made me realise how much I understand about its culture that isn’t entirely obvious unless you have a connection to the country.

Henning Mankell has left a great legacy with his own writing, (and I will now savour even more every one of his books that I have yet to read), but as importantly he’s inspired so many other writers and readers to take an interest in the Nordic Noir genre that is now so popular.

Linkspam Transport Protocol (6 October 2015)

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam


  • Closing a door | The Geekess (5 Oct): “I am no longer a part of the Linux kernel community. [..] The focus on technical excellence, in combination with overloaded maintainers, and people with different cultural and social norms, means that Linux kernel maintainers are often blunt, rude, or brutal to get their job done. […] I would prefer the communication style within the Linux kernel community to be more respectful. I would prefer that maintainers find healthier ways to communicate when they are frustrated. I would prefer that the Linux kernel have more maintainers so that they wouldn’t have to be terse or blunt. Sadly, the behavioral changes I would like to see in the Linux kernel community are unlikely to happen any time soon.”
  • Survey of Meeting Experience 2015 | S*Marts Consulting, LLC: “This survey of participants at meetings and conferences is being conducted by S*Marts Consulting, LLC. It is designed to solicit input on the experiences of gender-based or sexual harassment at those events. Our interest is in gathering data to inform meeting producers on the scope of the problem, and identify some of the main contributory factors to a positive or negative environment, both to encourage improvement and to identify future areas for research.”
  • [warning for discussion of harassment, abuse, and alcoholism] Enough is enough: Dark Horses Scott Allies assaulting behavior | Graphic Policy (1 Oct): “He is not alone in his inappropriate behavior nor is Dark Horse alone in being a publisher that opts to turn a blind eye towards problematic behavior by its employees. If Allie had made a one-time mistake this year at SDCC, it would be easy to feel bad for him. Routine behavior like this, however, is not acceptable. It exists in our industry because for too long we’ve treated these harassers and boundary-crossers as missing stairs — warning other people in whispers. If there’s only one lesson that comics pros learn from this situation, hopefully it is that our industry cannot continue to ignore it when people act this way.”
  • Codementor | geekchick77 (1 Oct): “Early this year, I created a profile on I wasn’t sure if I would actually get paid, but I figured I had nothing to lose! I had plenty of time, as I was searching for a job, and I like helping people. […] It can be a challenge to get started on a reputation-based site like codementor, and I wasn’t getting many responses yet, so I started altering my strategy. [Here’s] what I suggest, based on my experience.”
  • Some sexist tropes in The Martian | Sara Haider at Medium (5 Oct): “This isn’t a critique of the book, The Martian by Andy Weir. These are ‘tropes’, as I’ll call them, because we see them in STEM all the time. That’s why I can even call them tropes… they are so damned predictable. These tropes exemplify small or even tiny everyday actions that subtly shape perceptions and behaviors, and with repetition and time, they form biases. […] If you read this book and these tropes flew by you, ask yourself why. I’d like to challenge you to recognize it. Think about what it does to people who face it all the time.”
  • Women in Comics: Some Horror For Halloween | The Hub (2 Oct): “If you are a fan of scary stories or are simply looking for something to read on Halloween, this list will help you find the perfect horror story!”
  • Writing Better Trans Characters | Cheryl Morgan at Strange Horizons (28 Sept): “Quite simply, the most important thing cis people can do for the trans community right now is to accept us as fully human; not as something to be gawped at and whispered over, not as a clever metaphor with which to discuss gender, but as ordinary people just like you. For cis writers, that means putting us in their stories. I reject the idea that trans characters should only be written by trans people because cis folk are bound to get it wrong. While there are some really fine trans writers, there simply aren’t enough of us in the world to do what is needed. We have to be part of all fiction, not just fiction that we write ourselves.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Conservatives announce drastic cuts in honesty

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 03:44 pm
[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Editor

David-Cameron-ConservativesDavid Cameron has announced at the Conservative conference that there needs to be a significant cut in honesty if the Tories are to win the next general election.

Have Labour given up on the democratic process?

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 02:51 pm
[syndicated profile] peter_black_am_feed
There is an interesting article by Dan Hodges in yesterday's Telegraph in which he questions the direction of travel of Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party in light of the protests outside the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

He says that over the past 48 hours, delegates, MPs, journalists and exhibitors who are attending the annual gathering of the nation’s governing party have been punched, spat at, kicked, subjected to racist abuse, sexist abuse and other general threats of violence. He believes that fascist street-craft is being deployed in the name of the progressive majority.

And although Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, and Jeremy Corbyn have both condemned the violence and intimidation, Mr. Hodges believes that is not enough. He says: 'It is not the Conservative Party that is under assault here in Manchester – it is democracy.'

He continues: Five months ago we had a general election, and David Cameron won it. His party secured 11 million votes. That is an inconvenient fact for some. But it is a fact all the same. That is how we resolve our political differences in Britain. Not with fists or boots or saliva. But via the ballot box.

Last week, at the Labour Party conference in Brighton, I was worried that the Labour movement was in danger of drifting to the political margins.

But at the Tory conference, I realise the real danger is that it is on the brink of removing itself from the democratic process altogether. It is not only losing touch with the British people, but also absenting itself completely from the basic electoral and parliamentary and political protocols which ensure a mature democracy can function and flourish.

The Left seems to be busily locking itself into a death spiral. It is a dance of the macabre that goes something like this: the Labour Party – which if you recall was established solely for the purpose of securing the Labour movement parliamentary representation – is saddled by the Left with a series of leaders and policies that make it utterly unelectable. So an election is held, and the Labour Party duly loses it.

At this point, the Left says “See, we told you. The ballot box is not the answer. We must take to the streets”. So the Labour movement takes to the streets. Whereupon it effectively reinforces the view that that Labour movement and its representatives are not a government in waiting, they are simply an unelectable rabble. And so the dance continues.

Just look at Len McCluskey. This man is not the villainous industrial brigand of media caricature. Many of his criticisms of the Trade Union bill are valid. It is indeed a vindictive piece of legislation. But last week he compared the Conservative Party to the Nazis.

Then, on Sunday morning, he claimed that it was the “duty” of trade unionists to break the law in defiance of the bill.

Then he marched his members up to the gates of the Conservative Party conference.

It didn’t take a genius to guess what was going to happen next. Nor does it take a genius to predict what will happen while Labour leaders such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell continue to say things such as “There’s three ways in which we change society. One is through the ballot box, the democratic process and into Parliament. The second is trade union action, industrial action. The third is basically insurrection, but we now call it direct action.”

Nothing the Labour Party has done over the past five years – not the deficit denial nor the welfare denial nor the immigration denial nor the Ed Stone nor the bacon sandwiches nor the self-affirming walks on Hampstead Heath – has done it more damage than the embrace of the direct action movement.

If you call for insurrection, insurrection is what you will get. If you call for law breaking, law breaking is what you will get.

Like Dan Hodges I support the right of people to protest. It is a fundamental democratic right. But violence and intimidation should not form part of that act, and if it does then the perpetrators should be prosecuted.

It is not the role of democratic political parties to call for law-breaking and insurrection, nor that of elected politicians to effectively encourage the sort of activity that has been witnessed outside the Tory Party Conference this week.

We live in a democracy, under the rule of law and we need to ensure that we abide by the conventions expected of us by those two institutions in expressing our views, no matter how frustrated or angry we get.

Aukey Quick Charge 2.0 USB Car Charger Review

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 02:25 pm
[syndicated profile] ryan_cullen_feed

Posted by Ryan Cullen

So having had enough of my Nexus 6 at best running breakeven whilst on charge in the car using the Sat Nav, and at worst loosing 1% every minute I recently decided to invest in a Aukey Quick Charge 2.0 30W 2 Ports USB Car Charger Adapter.

Not only does it support Qualcomm Quick Charge, but has a second 2.4A for your iDevices, allowing the wife to be able to charge her phone at the same time.

With the Quick Charge port, I can run Google Maps Navigation, Tune In Radio and still come out with a 20% lift on the battery after a 30 minute drive.
Have the screen turned off and the phone is reaching 80% battery in no time at all.

As someone who finds that their Nexus 6 needs to be near power most of the day, having a speedy option within the car for only £9.99 is a bargain any day.

[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Neil Tollfree

Theresa-MayHigh numbers of people with different coloured skin ‘make it impossible to build a cohesive society’ warned Theresa May.
[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Graham

England-chariotsFollowing England’s bitterly disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign, the sport’s governing body are considering trading in their symbolic chariot for a more conventional mode of transport.

Limousines to be rebooted

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 01:21 pm
[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Lucas Wilde

limousine-hen-partyLimousines are to be started again from scratch after being thoroughly tainted by hen parties and sixth form proms.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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