Jan. 26th, 2012

I have thoughts about Newt Gingrich

Well, yes, I have many thoughts. Some of which are full of colorful language. These thoughts in particular about his whole 'space program thing'.

So, for my non-American readers, the Republican Party is currently trying to decide who they want to run as the official Republican nominee for President in November. Most of my thoughts on the candidates involve 'gentlemen, your policies are 99% bigoted garbage that I think will be horrible for America, and you seem engaged in a contest to see who can be the worst human being'.

But, Newt Gingrich, in an effort to distinguish himself from Mitt Romney*, decided he was going to be all 'Space is awesome, you guys!'.  )

Nov. 5th, 2010

Trying to decide if this is a feature or bug...

So, anyone who doesn't want to hear me complaining about my minor health problems should skip the stuff under the cut.

Otherwise, click here )

Planning on spending my Friday night coloring art, considering [personal profile] anke has extended more than enough patience waiting on me finishing my [livejournal.com profile] mrcaex piece. After that I have archives to update -- I got an account at Artician and PaperDemon, so I want to play around and see if I like them. (And engage in the quest of 'how far back do I keep art around before it's all crap I hate'.)

* I do have active research, but it is currently stalled in the 'I should ask someone about this code because it is both doing exactly what it is supposed to do AND not returning a useful answer'. Basically, I am trying to find the best curve drawn through some data, and the program, depending on what method I use, does one of the following:
1. Returns my first guess to me immediately as its best guess.
2. Takes one step, then returns that guess, despite the fact that, by my eye, it looks worse than the first guess.
3. Goes off on a wild goose chase to give me something that looks worst than the first guess AND means something that cannot be actually true.

Nov. 4th, 2010

Non-Election Fail

So, have some fail that has nothing to do with whose butts are in the chairs in DC (or Florida writing racist laws).

Fiction Ally, a HP fanfic archive, writes a grant for charity Includes such lines from the admins as "I've done the research and I'm here to tell you that there are far more sources of funding available to starving children in Africa than there are to fan-oriented websites." (Later edited out because most people were like 'Yeah, that's because feeding the hungry is more important than (over)-paying for your webhosting'.)

DeviantART displays massive ignorance about genderqueer/intersex folks... on Spirit Day Basically an almost willful misunderstanding about why someone might not want to choose 'male' or 'female', and that even the 'don't show gender' option still shows as pronoun usage. Someone seriously needs training on gender issues. (Also, seriously, it does not take much coding options to program in an 'Other'/'Unspecified' and have some (ugly) 's/he's and 'him/her's -- no one's asking to go down the list of third-gendered pronouns on Wikipedia. A small thing that creates goodwill with folks outside the gender binary.)

Cooks Source Magazine are Copyright-Violating Content Thieves Basically, writer writes an article on apple pies for her SCA site. Cooks Source takes it and publishes it, without permission or payment. Then the editor claims that anything on the interbutts is public domain (hint: it isn't unless it says it is) and she should be grateful for the exposure and that they didn't just slap on someone else's name (hint: you can't do that, even for public domain sources).

And, as a palate cleanser, have a story about my mother's cousin, who coaches high school football and is up for Boston.com's Coach of the Year. Because having his football team mentor a kid with Downs Syndrome is happy-making. I can also find you some kittens and bunnies, I guess...

Aug. 7th, 2010

Alien Thought

I'm currently reading C J Cherryh's The Foreigner. In a nutshell, it's about a human colony ship that gets marooned somewhere far from Earth and where they are supposed to be. With their constructed space station failing, they are forced to land on a planet with an Industrial Age civilization -- which goes fine, until some years in, they nearly get wiped out because the aliens don't think like humans. The meat of the book is about the human ambassador to the aliens and both the internal politics that are looking to get him killed, and his own tendency to anthropomorphize alien thought processes*.

Cherryh and Octavia Butler, and probably others are authors I enjoy for playing with alien psychology. I mean, if you want a little alienness, a lot of people just go for the Planet of the Hats approach and have the Logical Ones, the Honorable Ones**, the Sneaky Bastards, etc. while some SF authors question a lot of universals of human psychology -- what if we weren't a hierarchical species, or if we were more of a hierarchical species? -- which gets a lot of weird aliens.

I mention this because something today made me realize that we don't always have to go into SF literature to find alien thought patterns.  )

--
* Doesn't help that he's the only human living off the island humans settled. Personally, I'd think that's a horrible setup and rife for trouble, but the aliens might not have agreed to multiple humans, and they probably wouldn't have gotten why humans would need a group.

** Actually read an interesting Star Trek: The Next Generation spinoff novel. One of the side plots advanced the idea that the Klingons were one of the few naturally-solitary species*** that achieved starflight without killing themselves, and the whole TNG-era strict honor code was essentially a cultural adaption to allow people who evolved from violent predators to get along without killing one another (too much). Not sure if I buy it, but it's at least an attempt to think about Klingon psychology other than Honorable Warrior Race or Those Guys that Shoot at Us.

*** Read: if humans are lions, Klingons would be tigers. Lions raise their young in groups, and even low-ranked males without a pride will sometimes form small groups. Tigers on the other hand, are rarely found in groups, outside of a mother and her cubs.

**** Okay, poorer and living in the United States, where poor means uninsured or underinsured.

Jan. 7th, 2010

Lazy Martyrdom

Today on the news, there was a report of a shooting in Egypt outside of a Coptic Church getting out of Christmas Mass (traditionally celebrated on the 7th, not the 25th as Catholics and Protestants do). Six people died, and more were injured when a riot started when the bodies were picked up from the hospital. In November, there were riots, and the destruction of Christian-owned property. The motive was that a 12-year-old Muslim girl was raped, and the suspect was Christian. The Copts are a minority sect of Christians in Egypt that date back to the early Christian Church, and there have been complaints about discrimination in mostly-Muslim Egypt.

Just now I read a summary of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission's summary of the Top Ten Anti-Christian Attacks of 2009. You mentally can insert 'Fundamentalist' before 'Christian' in both cases -- they make it abundantly clear that they don't speak for all Christians. I won't bore you with the list, where a dissection can be found here, but allow me to summarize:

1. All events took place in America, a country where at least three quarters of the population, including the politicians, identify as some sort of Christian, and one party seemed to think 'secret Muslim' was enough to persuade folks to not vote for the current president.
2. There is constant conflation of 'Christianity' with 'anti-abortion' and 'anti-homosexuality'. The most egregious example was the listing of Episcopalian Bishop Eugene Robinson's role in Obama's Inauguration Ceremony. For those of you playing at home, the Episcopalians are a Christian denomination that came from the Anglicans. Bishop Robinson happens to be the first (edit: non-celibate) gay bishop ordained by the Episcopalians. So, one of the Top Ten Anti-Christian attacks of 2009... was letting a Christian participate in the inauguration of a Christian President.
3. There are several cases in which something happened but there is no proof (or significant counter-arguments) that the victim's religion played a role. A pastor is shot by a mentally ill man. One victim of a murderer who killed three people was protesting abortion. A woman's child is put into public school after her home-schooling attempts were revealed to be 'sit the kid down in front of a computer in Mom's room' and the child's father was getting upset about this.
4. There's also the standard scare-mongering about protests, like lionizing a man who broke the law keeping all protesters a set distance from health clinics, or complaining about hate-crime legislation.

It just makes me think... Look. We live in a world where six people died coming out of religious services, that they are being harassed because one single person of their religious group committed a crime, and you complain because you can't intimidate women getting abortions and that the president invites gay people to the Inauguration?

I know that there is this idea of being like Jesus -- about caring so much for an idea or a group of people that you are willing to martyr yourself. But bitching about how you have to share your pie with the heathens is not martyrdom, it's whining.

Also, cut it out with the no true Christian crap.

Sep. 4th, 2008

This is my country too

Politics depresses me. Perhaps moreso because my own conscience won't let me slide into the Benjamin-esque sentiment of 'things will continue like they always have -- badly'. I want to do something, to encourage the evolution of a system in the way I want to to go, or at least prevent it from getting worse. I just don't know how to go about doing this.

Warning, political talk ahead )
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