Thank you, anonymous writer(s)

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 02:46 pm
jae: (yuletidegecko)
[personal profile] jae
It is amazing how much better I feel about being on the defaulted-on-after-the-deadline pinch hit list when I can see that there's a gift for me in the Madness archive.

Thank you so much, whoever you are! You have already made my yuletide.


For my eventual pinch-hitter, though: thank you, too, for stepping up to the plate!

I'm quite aware that I'm hard to match (because my small-fandoms-of-choice tend to be pretty atypical fannish fare). So let me clarify that even though my "dear yuletide writer" letter specifies a preference that you work with or jump off from the established canon in some way, I absolutely will understand if that turns out to be too tall an order on such short notice. Honestly, whatever you can give me at this point is something I'll be grateful for, given all the difficulties. And I really do appreciate so much that you were willing to give it a shot.


Come revealtime, I will owe you both cookies!
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by admin

Collage-DC-EM-NC-NF (1)

LAB lead now 7% with Opinium

YouGov has LAB 2% ahead with, as per usual, CON in the 30s

We are almost there – the final polls of the 2014. Generally there’s a complete break over the holiday period and the polling schedule returns to normal in the New Year.

Tonight I’m only aware of Opinium for the Observer and the usual YouGov for the Sunday Times. I’ve heard some rumours about one set of data but I’m not reporting anything till things are published.

This post will be updated as the numbers come in.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

Unreview! The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 04:29 pm
[syndicated profile] alix_mortimer_feed

Posted by Alix

UoL Goldsmiths has a department with the promisingly Mulder-esque name of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. They run a glittering speakers series whose link I am sharing reluctantly, because they’re free and up the road from my gaff and nobody seems to know about them and I don’t want them clogged up with Other People.

No, it’s fine really, come on down. A couple of weeks ago I went to hear Jamie Bartlett talk about his new book The Dark Net, which I haven’t yet read owing to its lying full fathoms five in a cardboard box in a secure unit somewhere in Beckenham. Bartlett is a great speaker, and has that ability to create controversy by disclaimer that is catnip to non-fiction publishers. We were going to find some of these topics, he told us, uncomfortable. The more he investigated drug dealing, child pornography and far right political activism on the internet, the more moral ambiguities he found, and meeting some of the people involved prompted a sympathetic response that unnerved him. This schtick made me wonder if absolutely everyone embarking on research for a thoughtful bestseller table book subconsciously designs a neat personal growth process for themselves, so that they can finish up by saying, “I went into this expecting to find that x, but in fact I was struck by y.” It shows you’re open to ideas, man. What kind of unreflective moron would you be if you found roughly what you expected to find and were pleased about it? Well, a research scientist, I suppose.

I’ve not bought drugs from the Silk Road, so for all I know Bartlett is right that the operation of a review system and a dazzling array of choice is driving up customer service standards and product quality (what, drug dealers aren’t motivated enough to investigate ways of gaming a website review system and search facility? Really? Even Amazon has astroturfing.) But one thing I have dabbled in is online political activism, and about this I think Bartlett was wrong in a fairly important respect. He is impressed with the passion that far right online political activism generates, and the fact that a Facebook group was used to organise an EDL march thousands strong in Waltham Forest. The Labour Party, he said by way of counter-example, never managed that sort of turnout, and mainstream political activism online had a lot to learn from the far right if it was going to survive.

Now, I am first with the custard pies when it comes to attacking our uninspiring political culture, and yes, membership of all political parties is in decline. But Labour, like other major parties, quietly gets high dozens or low hundreds of people onto the streets every single Saturday, and they certainly use Facebook among other things to achieve that. They’re just not doing anything that attracts Bartlett’s attention. Mild social democrat delivers Labour leaflet is not news. Racist delivers BNP leaflet is an ominous indicator of well-organised hatred in the heart of our political system. Actually, the far right are pretty unremarkable in the tools they use and the way they use them. Elsewhere in politics, Bartlett was spot on about the pedestrian nature of the techniques used by the ISIS Twitter account to create publicity, which have been hailed as technical wizardry in some corners of the press. It’s odd that he doesn’t see how the same applies to other political groups in the spotlight.

But then, if your thing is to turn a given picture through 90 degrees and be satisfied with the first counter-intuitive angle you find – paedophiles are sometimes nice people, political extremists are pretty successful campaigners, online drug dealing is a perfect free market in harmonious operation – you are going to finish up with contradictions. It’s controversialism that, in spite of the serious-minded warnings at the beginning, isn’t going to frighten anyone or get to the bottom of anything. I was entertained and informed – did you know that the biggest selling item on Silk Road before it closed was fake £20 Tesco vouchers? – but there were no true 180 moments when you realise the world is actually the other way up from how you thought it was. For those, presumably you have to take a look at the dark net for yourself.

One way to tell a story: drunkenness + Tesla + Franklin

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 03:02 pm
[syndicated profile] improbable_research_feed

Posted by Marc Abrahams

The folks behind the video series Drunk History honed a particular way to tell a story, using drunkenness as a frame that makes the picture more interesting. In these episodes, they tell the basic story of Nicola Tesla:


Saturday, December 20th, 2014 02:48 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
Part of my (what [ profile] barakta calls) "criptax" was paid today by me not noticing in Asda that one of the things I'd bought didn't make it into my bag until I got home.

I fucking hate that Asda has been taken over entirely by self-service tills because I'm so shit at them and they stress me out so much. And today it was super crowded and I felt under pressure to get out of the way before I'd had a chance to notice I'd left something behind.

It only cost a pound and it was the least important thing I'd gone to buy, but I'm still unduly upset. Probably didn't help that the short walk to Asda and back was full of cars trying to run me over.

I'm feeling, somehow, particularly "blind" lately and it's really getting to me. I'm finding it really hard to manage how miserable I am about this objectively tiny thing.

But I'm about to go out to my own birthday party, and I've rarely been more ready for cake and friends and silliness than I am now. That'll be good.

Insurance Companies - a proposal for more transparency

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 01:38 pm
andrewducker: (The Truth)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I'd love it if insurance companies had to make it clear how much of the money they took in as premiums was paid out again to policyholders.

Because I don't object to pooling risk, but I do object to large rake-offs.

(The Affordable Care Act said that health insurance companies have to spend 80% of their income on medical care. I don't want to go so far as to regulate it. But if you make it public then people can at least take it into account when making their decisions.)

Via discussion here.


Saturday, December 20th, 2014 11:54 am
andrewducker: (The Question is not "Is She Gay?")
[personal profile] andrewducker
Looks like Virgin has finally upgraded our internet speed.

At the same time, one of the Powerline extenders I was using (to connect the study to the living room) was being intermittently dodgy. So I grabbed a new pair of AV500 (to replace the old AV200 ones), and did a before/after test with

With the AV200 ones I was getting around 50Mb/s. With the AV500 ones:

That'll do. For this week :->

(I really should plug a laptop directly into the router and see what speed _that_ gets. With our walls, and laptops that don't support 5GHz they max out around 32Mb/s over wireless.)

Challenge #531: alternate

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 08:51 pm
redwolf: (dw100)
[personal profile] redwolf posting in [community profile] dw100
Welcome to [community profile] dw100! Challenges are posted approximately once a week.

Challenge #528 is alternate.

The rules:
  • All stories must be 100 words long
  • Please place your story behind a cut if it contains spoilers for the current season
  • You don't have to use the challenge word or phrase in your story; it's just there for inspiration
  • Please include the challenge word or phrase in the subject line of your post
  • Please use the challenge tag 531: alternate on any story posted to this challenge
Good luck!

Latvia welcomes careful Europeans...

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 09:44 am
[syndicated profile] liberal_bureaucracy_feed

Posted by Mark Valladares

Next month, Latvia assumes the Presidency of the European Council and, to introduce itself to the world, this really rather charming video has been released. So, if you don't know very much about Latvia, here, in less than three minutes, is a Latvian view of themselves... 

Clegg - A force for good

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 09:18 am
[syndicated profile] peter_black_am_feed
Over at the Telegraph, Dan Hodges assesses Nick Clegg's seven years as leader of the Liberal Democrats and concludes:

But let’s step back and look for a moment at the New World Clegg has had a hand in shaping through his own eyes. He has lead his party into government. He has proved that coalition government can be stable. He has neutralised the more extreme instincts of his coalition partners. He has helped guide his country to a place of relative social and economic safety. I’ve been one of Clegg’s fiercest critics. 

As I wrote recently, he is no Gladstone or Lloyd-George. But looking at his record in the round, it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that Nick Clegg has delivered for his party, and delivered on the objectives he set himself seven years, and a lifetime, ago.
[syndicated profile] political_betting_feed

Posted by admin

Look at the very high proportion of non-voters

With Green growth being the polling story of the week I thought the time was right to look at where expressions of support for the party are coming from.

The chart above shows the breakdown from the last batch of Lord Ashcroft’s marginals polling where there’s a big enough sample to look at subsets.

For me the striking feature is the large number who did not vote for any of the main three parties at the last election.

I remain of the view that lack of a past voting history is not a good indicator that people will turnout at the General Election.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

Do You Wanna Build A Linkspam? (19 December 2014)

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 04:17 am
[syndicated profile] geekfeminism_feed

Posted by spam-spam

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, Delicious 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.

So many shows, so little time

Friday, December 19th, 2014 10:47 pm
darthfangirl: a cat watches a fish (bad kitty!)
[personal profile] darthfangirl
So, apparently I need to watch The Legend of Korra now. OK then. *adds to list*

This Year’s Holiday Mix

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 12:46 am
[syndicated profile] andrew_hickey_feed

Posted by Andrew Hickey

I was going to call this a Christmas mix, but given that there are songs about New Year and Hanukkah, and several generic “winter” songs, this is The Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! Generic Winterval Holiday Mix

I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas — The Goons
Happy New Year — Beverly
Back Door Santa — Clarence Carter
Blue Christmas (To Whom It May Concern) — Miles Davis
Snowflakes — The Honeys
We Three Kings Of Orient Are — The Beach Boys
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town — Little Richard
Rock & Roll Winter — Wizzard
New Year Carol/Residue — Waterson: Carthy
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day — Frank Sidebottom
Wonderful Christmastime — Paul McCartney
White Christmas — Charlie Parker
Shake Hands With Santa Claus — Louis Prima
I’m Spending Hanukah In Santa Monica — Tom Lehrer
The Santa Claus Crave — Elzadie Robinson
Auld Lang Syne — The Beach Boys

The spoken linking passages are all taken from I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Christmas Carol!

Last year’s mix is here, and 2012’s is here

Tagged: christmas, music

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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