Friday, August 1st, 2014 08:22 pm
In 2004, I attended ICFP in Snowbird, Utah. At the time, Paul Graham was on the schedule to give an invited talk entitled "Don't make the wrong mistakes: programming as debugging".

That might have been an interesting talk. The talk Graham actually gave was "storytime with Grandpa about the dot-com bubble" (which was all of three years ago, at the time.) I don't remember much about the talk, which was quite inane. I do remember the quotes I wrote down on LiveJournal at the time, which I approved of (shamefully... but it was ten years ago):

"It's no coincidence that I'm dressed like this... it's to make an important point. The coincidence is that I'm always dressed like this." -- PG
"Nerds dress informally as a prophylactic against stupidity." -- PG
"If you go to Google and search for 'nerd', I'm what you get." -- PG
"If your code miscalculates the path of a space probe, you can't dodge your way out of it by saying that your code is patriotic." -- PG

There is a liberally rewritten transcript of his talk on his web site. It still has nothing to do with the abstract he submitted to ICFP for his talk.

Anyway, what's not in the liberally rewritten transcript was the bit where, in the Q&A session afterward, someone asked him his opinion of outsourcing. And Graham said -- I'm paraphrasing -- that he thought outsourcing would be a self-limiting trend, because, "You can send things to India all you want, but eventually you realize you have to hire real programmers."

This is notable because while racism is thoroughly shot through Silicon Valley, it's rarely stated that overtly, that unashamedly, and by someone with some degree of social capital.

In any case, I guess Graham was namesearching on a Friday night, since out of nowhere, he replied to a tweet of mine that was about something else, giving me the occasion to post the tweet that is the pinnacle of my career.

Achievement unlocked: being told by Paul Graham that I should be ashamed of myself.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 10:19 pm
Because I actually wrote notes! GO ME. Little Sister Is Watching You and Channel Snow from Kabuki, and Adam, Diamond Star, Hal, In Templum Dei, Quintessence of Dust, There's Water Here, and This Is Your Wilderness from Only Lovers Left Alive
Reviews and final thoughts )
Friday, August 1st, 2014 05:17 pm
This poem was written outside the prompt calls. Musician and band name are by Trevor Edwards. It also fills the "road trip" square on my 1-2-14 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
Friday, August 1st, 2014 09:14 pm
I've applied for a job I probably don't want, but might be willing to take under the right conditions. The opportunity unexpectedly arose, so I'm looking into it. I won't go to any great lengths to pursue it; if they don't appreciate who I am by now and what I can do for their organization, I don't want to work for them,

I've started dating someone who lives about three hours drive away. Juggling this with the other commitments in my life is something of a challenge, and will be more difficult once choir starts back up next month.

I'm off OKCupid.

Work is stressful; one of the more frustrating things recently has been trying to get an air conditioner fixed on Block Island.

My father is still in rehab, and no one will tell me when he's supposed to get out. My brother is in Iowa attending a jazz festival.

A lot of miscellaneous things are upsetting me: Gaza, the Ukraine, Republican political vandalism in Washington and elsewhere.

Republicans are the gravediggers of democracy. No one should ever vote for these people.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 06:28 pm
Welcome to [community profile] dw100. Challenges are posted approximately once a week.

Challenge #513 is spindle.

The rules:
  • All stories must be 100 words long.
  • Please place your story behind a cut if it contains spoilers for the current season.
  • Remember, 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 513: spindle on any story posted to this challenge.
Happy drabbling!
Friday, August 1st, 2014 11:44 pm

Posted by Andrew Hickey

This isn’t my normal kind of post, but I’ve seen a lot of people terrified about this over the last couple of days — people seriously worried that they are going to catch, and die from, ebola, because of the news coverage of it. People are worried about “pandemics”, “apocalyptic plagues” and the like.
So in order to do my bit for calming people down, I thought I’d present the facts, as simply as possible. Now, I’m not a doctor, but if you’re seriously worried about getting ebola, neither are you (unless you’re a doctor in Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia, in which case you probably need a better resource than my blog). This is not medical advice, just general reassurance.
The simple takeaway is this — you are not going to get ebola. If you want, you can stop reading now — that’s all you need to know. But you can also carry on reading and find out *why* you’re not going to get ebola.
Here are the facts. The only people who’ve caught ebola at present are in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. If you’re there, you may be in some danger. But not much. 728 people have died of ebola in those countries, combined, in the last five months. That’s a lot of people, dying in a very unpleasant way, but it’s 0.00364% of those countries’ populations. In statistical terms the total number of people in the world with ebola is a rounding error. On average, 6000 people a year die of lightning strike, so nearly four times as many people will have died from lightning in the same period that those people died of ebola. We simply don’t have words in the English language for how unlikely dying of ebola actually is.
That’s why it’s on the news, of course — if something hardly happens at all most of the time, then happens a little bit, that seems like a bigger news story than something that happens a lot carrying on happening.
But, of course, lightning isn’t contagious — you can’t catch “getting struck by lightning” from someone else. So are people still right to be worried?
No, because to all intents and purposes ebola isn’t contagious either.
This may sound surprising, but the fact is that ebola can only be caught by contact with the bodily fluids (things like urine, semen, blood, and vomit) of someone with ebola, and not just normal contact — you either have to get them in your blood (for example getting some on an open wound), or they have to get on your mucous membranes (areas like the genitals, anus, or eyelids).
In other words, the transmission happens in much the same way as HIV gets transmitted, and can be prevented the same ways — don’t have unprotected sex, don’t share needles, don’t clean up other people’s bodily fluids without wearing gloves, and if you *do* clean up bodily fluids, use disinfectant and make sure you clean them up properly. We know how to control this kind of infection. There’s a reason it mostly spreads in very poor countries — because those countries can often not afford high levels of health care, and the responsibility (especially in the early stages of the illness, when it seems like flu) falls on family members who haven’t had proper training in dealing with contaminated materials, or on hospitals which have no choice but to reuse needles because they can’t afford disposable ones.
But if it’s transmitted the same way as HIV, won’t it spread as widely as HIV? After all, there are tens of millions of people worldwide with that…
No, it won’t. And the reason is simple. On average, an untreated person with HIV goes ten years between getting infected and getting AIDS symptoms (and of course someone who’s being treated can go indefinitely without AIDS symptoms), but they’ve got the virus all that time. That’s ten years in which they can infect other people.
Ebola, on the other hand, makes sufferers sick within two weeks. Most of them die very quickly (and the rest get better within about seven weeks). This is, of course, a very bad thing for the individual sufferer, but it’s much, much, better for the population at large, because it means there’s not much time for them to infect anyone else, so ebola outbreaks burn out quickly.
Ebola is a horrible, horrible disease, and I don’t want for a second to suggest that concern for the victims is misplaced. Everything reasonable should be done to make sure the disease is eradicated. But don’t be concerned for *yourselves*. You’re far, far more likely to die from the stress you cause yourself worrying about ebola than you are from ebola itself…

Tagged: ebola
Friday, August 1st, 2014 08:19 pm
I'm having a little trouble believing this...

I recently upgraded to a step-through (aka "girl's") bike because my "standard" (aka "boy's") bike wasn't working well for me. I have some leg issues that made mounting by stepping through much more doable than by swinging a leg over.

I recently was given a used carrier so I could put my bike on the back of the family car.

The carrier instructions were remarkably useless. Strapping the carrier on and adjusting it took an engineer and a physicist and a lot of fiddling with straps to figure out.

And now I'm told that standard bike carriers depend on bikes having a top tube? In other words, standard bike carriers don't carry step-through bikes? WTF?

I've managed to get the bike on, ungracefully, a few times, tied down with extra straps, but I wouldn't trust it to remain on the rack if I went faster than about 30 mph.

Is there some magic that I am missing? I'm told that I can buy an adapter bar to attach to my bike, that pretends to be a top tube and will let me use the bike carrier. But all I can think is that if I wanted to strap something on to more closely resemble a standard man's piece of equipment, I would expect it to be a lot more fun.

Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 01:24 am
Okay so! Because Reasons (because science!) I am kind of after essentially an ammo box for .729 calibre (18.5mm) diameter rounds. Because sample vials that are 3.3cm/1.25" tall and 16mm max diameter. Consequently said ammo box would ideally be in plastic and definitely needs to not contain metal.

Or, you know, something that isn't an ammo box but that would fit this bill (ideally taking at least 36 vials, preferably up to 48, 24 absolute minimum). I have a friendperson offering to print me at least an interior grid for a pre-existing box, for which MANY GRATITUDE, but if there are commercially-available things that probably works out cheaper for everyone especially as the rest of my research group'll want them and at that point shipping from the US gets a bit silly?

halp halp I have failed to make ebay give me the thing I want
Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 12:17 am

Posted by Bridget Crawford

CFP: AALS Workshop on “Next Generation Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law”

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From the FLP mailbox, this CFP:

Association of American Law Schools

Call for Presentations and Papers

AALS Workshop on Next Generation Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law

June 24-26, 2015

Doubletree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Studios

Orlando, Florida

We are seeking proposals for presentations and papers for the 2015 Workshop: Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law, scheduled to take place June 24 – 26, 2015 at the Doubletree by Hilton at the Entrance to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

After more than forty years of formal sex equality under the law, this 2015 workshop will ask legal academics to look ahead to the future and identify, name, and analyze the next generation of legal issues, challenges, and questions that advocates for substantive gender equality must be prepared to consider. To this end, we seek paper and presentation proposals that not only pinpoint and examine future law-related concerns about gender equality but that also provide innovative new approaches to achieving equality for women and those who challenge gender norms in our society, with a particular attention to employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education.

Our hope is to build on the insights of the participants in the 2011 AALS Workshop on Women Rethinking Equality by exploring new and forward-looking ideas for scholarship, law reform, and advocacy that can bring about women’s equality. An additional expectation is that each session will address the ways in which characteristics other than gender, including race, sexual orientation, immigration status, socioeconomic class, and disability, impact women’s lives. We also anticipate that each session will analyze the institutional strengths and weaknesses of courts, legislatures, and administrative bodies for bringing about change and offer suggestions for legal reforms that can better meet women’s needs. Our final goal is to provide a rich and supportive atmosphere to foster mentoring and networking among teachers and scholars who are interested in women’s equality and the law.

The format of the workshop will involve plenary sessions, concurrent sessions drawn from this Call for Presentations and Papers, and a closing panel. The closing panel, also drawn from this Call, will consist of a brainstorming session to consider projects and proposals for proactive measures to bring about gender equality.

Concurrent Sessions

The concurrent sessions will feature presentations related to gender equality issues, with preference given to presentations by junior scholars and those proposals related to the topics of employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education. We will organize the presentations into panels based on the subject matter of the proposals. Each presentation will last for 15 minutes, followed by questions from the moderator and audience.

Interested faculty should submit a brief written description (no more than 1000 words) of the proposed presentation, along with his or her resume. Please e-mail these materials to by September 15, 2014. We will notify selected speakers by November 1, 2014.

Brainstorming Proposals

The final plenary session of the conference will consist of 10-12 five-minute presentations of ideas for future projects that will advance gender equality in the law. Each selected participant will be limited to five minutes to present his or her idea or project. The presentations will be followed by audience feedback and comments. Although we will grant preference to presentations by junior scholars and those proposals related to the topics of employment, violence against women, reproductive rights, women’s poverty, and women in legal education for the concurrent sessions, we welcome proposals for this brainstorming session on any topic related to gender equality.

Interested faculty should submit a written description of the proposed presentation (no more than 1000 words), along with his or her resume. Please e-mail these materials to by September 15, 2014. We will notify selected speakers by November 1, 2014.


Faculty members at AALS member schools are eligible to submit proposals.

Fellows at AALS member schools are eligible to submit proposals along with current curriculum vitae.

Visitors without faculty status at an AALS member law school and adjunct faculty members at AALS member schools are not eligible to submit proposals. Faculty at U.S. non-member law schools are not eligible to submit proposals. We do welcome your attendance at the workshop.

Proposers and panelists pay the registration fee and expenses.

Please direct questions regarding this Call for Papers and Presentations to

Planning Committee for the 2015 Workshop on Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law:

Angela Onwuachi-Willig, University of Iowa College of Law, Chair

William Eskridge, Yale Law School

Aya Gruber, University of Colorado School of Law

Kimberly Yuracko, Northwestern University School of Law

Rebecca Zietlow, University of Toledo College of Law

FWIW, I’m thrilled to see that this AALS program is using a broad call for participation.  Too many AALS programs are insider-driven and characterized by a kind of “clubbiness” that can be off-putting to newcomers.  Great to see that this Planning Committee is doing things differently!

I admit I find the program’s title a bit awkward…not sure what “Issues on Sex, Gender and the Law” (emphasis mine) are, but it looks like the organizers struggled a bit with the wording, too, because the call later refers to the “Planning Committee for the 2015 Workshop on Next Generation Issues of Sex, Gender and the Law” (emphasis mine).  “On” or “of”…whatever.  Equality matters, regardless of prepositions.  Looks like a great program.

-Bridget Crawford

Feminist Law Professors

Friday, August 1st, 2014 06:26 pm
Fever dreams...or that's what they feel like. I tried to nap. I haven't been sleeping well, so I lay down after running around with Cassie, (errands she needed done, at Dad's request), but the sleep was fitful....woke up with a headache. Felt as if I'd been running through thousands of years of dreams, half of what didn't even feel like mine, all the while feeling as if I'd been half-awake the entire time.

Someday we will figure out the brain. When we do that, we will figure out the mind. And people will sleep easier.

Like, literally.

I want pie. Apple pie. Apple pie with caramel drizzles, with crumbles on top. I really wish there were a pie delivery service here in Kansas City. I would use that.

A lot.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 06:50 pm
My cousin Brian, who is a better family historian than I am, sent me some new-to-me information about our mutual ancestors who once populated the upper Hudson valley when it was a Dutch colony. So I've been entering a lot of Dutch names into my family history database. Lots of Van Schuyler and Van Rensselaer,and Van Slechtenhorst, and Van Cortlandt people all intermarrying across multiple generations. It's enough to make me feel as if I've been dropped into The Age of Innocence or The House of Mirth.

Fortunately, my direct ancestors moved to the wild frontier of Sodus, on the shores of Lake Ontario, and left the old New York society behind. Their grandchildren would migrate again, eventually ending up in Michigan. But that's a tale for another time.
Friday, August 1st, 2014 05:25 pm
AV Club: Hawkeye 19 uses Deafness to help a Broken Clint Barton to find his Voice

Has a bit of ableist language; otherwise a good article.

The easiest way for readers to see more diversity is to support titles that feature diverse casts and creative teams. Larime Taylor is a disabled comics creator born with arthrogryposis, and he writes, draws, tones, and letters his work with his mouth. His Top Cow series, A Voice In The Dark, is a chilling psychological thriller featuring a primarily female cast, and it returns in September with a new first issue in full color. Valiant’s Harbinger stars a disabled cast member in John “Torque” Torkelson, a teenage boy that is paralyzed from the waist down, but can project solid psychic holograms that turn him into a powerful superhero. Gail Simone introduced a new disabled superheroine to the DC universe with Vengeance Moth in The Movement, but low sales prompted that book’s cancellation after a year.

Bleeding Cool: How Hawkeye #19 Portrays the World of a Deaf SuperHero to a Hearing Audience, for Next Year's Eisner Awards

Has some images of the comic; does not appear to have image descriptions. If anyone has the wherewithal to put descriptions in the comments there or here, that would be cool. There are also several typos in the article, FYI.