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Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:41 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] jesse_the_k tells me all the cool kids are doing this:

what boxofdelights likes to talk about

row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;

I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.

Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Sean Gallagher

Enlarge / Hardly anyone is buying these. (credit: Crackberry)

BlackBerry Ltd, the company that once led the world's "smartphone" market and ruled the corporate mobile e-mail world, posted its financials today for the most recent three months, and they were not pretty. Software and professional services sales were down by 4.7 percent, totaling $101 million for the quarter, and as a result the company missed analyst expectations for revenue by a wide mark.

The news comes as a blow to investors, who had pumped up the price of BlackBerry's stock by about 60 percent over the past three months—largely because people were so bullish on BlackBerry's software sales exploding. Today, the company's share price fell by over 12 percent before close. In fact, the company only turned a profit because of a $940 million payment from Qualcomm to settle arbitration over royalty payments.

In 2016, BlackBerry completely outsourced manufacturing of its phones. Since then, revenues from phone sales have collapsed—totaling $37 million for the quarter ending May 31, compared to $152 million last year.

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Posted by David Kravets

Alexandra Elbakyan.

Alexandra Elbakyan. (credit: Alexandra Elbakyan)

The operator of a searchable piracy site for scientific research papers has been ordered to pay $15 million as fallout from a US copyright infringement lawsuit brought by one of the world's leading scientific publishers, New York-based Elsevier.

The award doesn't mean the six-year-old Sci-Hub site is shuttering, though, despite being ordered to do so. The site has been engaged in a game of domain Whac-a-Mole ever since the case was filed in New York federal court nearly two years ago. And it doesn't mean that the millions of dollars in damages will get paid, either. The developer of the Pirate Bay-like site for academic research—Alexandra Elbakyan of Russia—has repeatedly said she wouldn't pay any award. She didn't participate in the court proceedings, either. US District Judge Robert Sweet issued a default judgement (PDF) against the site this week, but Sci-Hub remains online.

Elsevier markets itself as a leading provider of science, medical, and health "information solutions." The infringing activity is of its subscription database called "ScienceDirect." Elsevier claims ScienceDirect is "home to almost one-quarter of the world's peer-reviewed, full-text scientific, technical, and medical content."

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Road trip

Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:26 pm
mildred_of_midgard: (Aragorn)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
My best friend and I have a road trip planned for the second half of September! Sadly, he will not be moving in with me this year, because of the illness and death of a close friend of his that caused his dissertation to be delayed, yea unto the fifteenth year.

But! At least the road trip is happening. We're not going to have as much time as I'd hoped, but it should be good nonetheless. If he can get a couple days off work, we should be able to extend the trip until we have about as much time as we had last time.

We leave the 15th, and return either the 24th or 26th, depending on whether he can find someone to cover for him. I have offered to comp him for lost income (ah, the beauties of a tech job).

We are not going anywhere exciting. The goal is to check off the remaining continental states we haven't been to, aka the boring ones (sorry not sorry).

For him, lucky bastard, this is just Arkansas and North Dakota.

For me, this is Arkansas and North Dakota AND ALSO *deep breath* South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. And DC, the only vaguely interesting place we're going.

My family's rules for states (or countries) visited have always been: flyovers don't count, but any on-the-ground technicalities count! My mom putting one hand/foot in each of the states at the Four Corners counts. My dad's 15 minutes in the Detroit airport count. Layovers where you don't get off the plane count! My friend's and my 15 minutes in a car passing through the tiny southwest corner of Montana between Idaho and Wyoming on the way to Yellowstone counts.

So we will be doing a lot of border-tagging. If we pass the "Welcome To" sign, it counts!

Here are our current plans, assuming he gets the time off work.

I fly to meet him in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he will have been visiting family. We rent a car and head off into the sunset.

We pass through SC, AL, and MI on the way to Louisiana. We were going to visit New Orleans, but given that he's already been there and the main attraction for me was seafood, and given how tight on time we are, we're planning to bow to my shrimp allergy and give it a pass, which will buy us another day or so for the rest of the trip. So we'll just tag the LA border and head up to Little Rock, where he wants to visit the Clinton Presidential Library.

Then the scenic route through the Ozarks, and a lot of weaving across the borders to check off midwestern states for me. I was going to just do this for North Dakota, but he wants to visit Bonanzaville ("a pioneer village with 12 acres, 43 historic buildings, 400,000 artifacts, and millions of memories. Bonanzaville is operated by the Cass County Historical Society, with a mission to collect, display and interpret artifacts relevant to the history and cultural heritage of the Red River Valley.")

Then we detour to Wisconsin, because his family has a timeshare near a lake there, and he coauthored a volume on the local history of the lake and the surrounding community, which delayed his dissertation by at least three years ago, and he wants to show me the area. I imagine it will be scenic, am hoping for good hiking, and will try not to get eaten by bears.

Depending on how we're doing on time, maybe a quick visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthplace, in WI not far from his lake. If we don't have time, though, I don't mind, as the only place she lived I really wanted to see was De Smet, and we did the tour there on the big cross-country road trip.

Then south, to catch Kentucky and WV on the way to DC. We'll actually spend a day or two in DC visiting museums, and then we'll check off my remaining eastern seaboard states on the way back to Boston, where he will catch a plane back to LA.

Stay tuned for any impromptu detours and sightseeing we come up with along the way! (Last time, it was the fortuitous* realization that Niagara Falls was totally on our route.)

* And I do mean "by chance"--we passed a sign for a Niagara Cave in Minnesota that made me decide to look up exactly where Niagara Falls was, on the suspicion that it was near our route, and it turned out we were passing through Buffalo, so we gave it a visit.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_feed

Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Wikimedia Commons/Maria Joner)

In his final days as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama authorized a covert hacking operation to implant attack code in sensitive Russian networks. The revelation came in an 8,000-word article The Washington Post published Friday that recounted a secret struggle to punish the Kremlin for tampering with the 2016 election.

According to Friday's article, the move came some four months after a top-secret Central Intelligence Agency report detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin's direct involvement in a hacking campaign aimed at disrupting or discrediting the presidential race. Friday's report also said that intelligence captured Putin's specific objective that the operation defeat or at least damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and help her Republican rival Donald Trump. The Washington Post said its reports were based on accounts provided by more than three dozen current and former US officials in senior positions in government, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In the months that followed the August CIA report, 17 intelligence agencies confirmed with high confidence the Russian interference. After months of discussions with various advisors, Obama enacted a series of responses, including shutting down two Russian compounds, sanctioning nine Russian entities and individuals, and expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the US. All of those measures have been known for months. The Post, citing unnamed US officials, said Obama also authorized a covert hacking program that involved the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the US Cyber Command. According to Friday's report:

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Posted by Beth Mole

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Chris Ryan)

Alphabet Inc.'s Google has now added personal medical records to the list of things it’s willing to remove from search results upon request.

Starting this week, individuals can ask Google to delete from search results “confidential, personal medical records of private people” that have been posted without consent. The quiet move, reported by Bloomberg, adds medical records to the short list of things that Google polices, including revenge porn, sites containing content that violates copyright laws, and those with personal financial information, including credit card numbers.

The policy change appears aptly timed. Earlier this month, a congressionally mandated task force—The Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force report—reported that all aspects of health IT security are in critical condition. And last month, the WannaCry ransomware worm affected 65 hospitals in the UK.

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Posted by Peter Bright

Enlarge / The Windows 10 S default wallpaper is a rather attractive simplified version of the Windows 10 default wallpaper. (credit: Microsoft)

The major premise justifying Windows 10 S, the new variant of Windows 10 that can only install and run applications from the Windows Store, is that by enforcing such a restriction, Windows 10 S can—like iOS and Chrome OS—offer greater robustness and consistency than regular Windows. For example, as Microsoft has recently written, apps from the Windows Store can't include unwanted malicious software within their installers, eliminating the bundled spyware that has been a regular part of the Windows software ecosystem.

If Windows 10 S can indeed provide much stronger protection against bad actors—both external ones trying to hack and compromise PCs and internal ones, such as schoolkids—then its restrictions represent a reasonable trade-off. The downside is that you can't run arbitrary Windows software; the upside is that you can't run arbitrary Windows malware. That might not be the right trade-off for every Windows user, but it's almost surely the right one for some.

But if that protection is flawed—if the bad guys can somehow circumvent it—then the value of Windows 10 S is substantially undermined. The downside for typical users will remain, as there still won't be any easy and straightforward way to install and run arbitrary Windows software. But the upside, the protection against malware, will evaporate.

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Five for Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 04:36 pm
lunabee34: (Default)
[personal profile] lunabee34
1. Emma's baby fan musings crack me up. Yesterday, she told me she hates incest pairings (although she has to admit it makes a great deal of sense for SPN), and that while people should be able to write what they want, they should do it away from her. LOL I told her that's why God made the back button. She also told me she doesn't get why people ship pairings that don't have a lot of subtext or canonical support, especially the characters that don't interact in canon. She has gotten waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay into Undertale--as in Undertale is all she's been able to talk about for what seems like our entire lives at this point--and she cited some examples from that video game. I told her she'd have to just take my word for it that those stories can be a lot of fun.

She told me she's not really looking for fanfic right now because she'd probably have to wade through too many fics written by 11 year olds with horrible SPAG.

And then she closed by telling me that one time she accidentally found some drawings of skeleton porn where they had ectoplasm genitals which is the funniest thing ever.

2. Downton Abbey watch continues. spoilers )

3. Fiona's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be four!!!!!!!

4. I am exhausted in the last two weeks, like way more than usual. My energy levels have been good for awhile, and I'm wondering if my thyroid levels have dropped. I hesitate to move up my August 31 endocrinologist appointment; I've done so every year for the past three years when I've had worsening symptoms, and the tests have always come back with a "Nah, not sick enough for us to do anything" verdict. I'm on the verge of starting my period, so I'm wondering if that's a factor. If I don't start to feel better in the next week, I guess I will up the appointment. I just feel so beat, and working out is a chore. :( This is definitely not normal.

5. I am done teaching for the semester! Whoooo! Grades are turned in, and now all I have to do is relax and work on the novel.
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elucubrare:

we all love you too, honestly

ok i’ve kept a tab with my dash open to this for three days or so so that I could answer with more than a “no you;” I know I did a compliments meme recently but I want to say everything I said then and add that I really, truly, genuinely admire you and am astonished and overwhelmed every time you like one of my posts. you are so elegant and incisive and wise and I am sure you’ll be wonderful in your career. 

and i am glad that you responded thus! 

@chthonic-cassandra

We could just circle around with the ‘no, yous’ forever, couldn’t we?

But, honestly - thank you for this, I am holding to it, and to every other kind thing people have been saying lately.

[syndicated profile] assimbyachthonictum_feed

I haven’t posted from it yet because I’ve been debating which quotes would be best to showcase its manic hilarity, but I did want to share with you all that the other day I read a work of criticism that made a claim for the utter centrality of magic lantern imagery (or, as the author calls it, “lanternicity”) as a signifier of sexuality in gothic fiction, and argues that all of us previously have been reading it wrong by not noticing.

(It’s his explanation for Stoker’s water-glasses thing, through a convoluted argument.)

It’s really not ultimately persuasive, but I have to admire the author (who is himself a creator of modern day magic lantern shows) for really going for what he likes and believes in.

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Posted by Caperton

Our world is a disaster, and it’s easy to get the feeling that everything is bad and nothing will ever be okay. But that’s not entirely the case, and I know that because here’s an adorable girl in a car…
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Posted by Caperton

New from the "Fox to Hold Town Halls About Henhouse Security" Department: Bill Cosby, recent recipient of a mistrial in the sexual assault case against him (prosecutors intend to retry), plans to host a series of town halls about not committing sexual assault. Hahaha, no, the town halls will be about sexual assault and the legal system, or specifically not being the victim of lying bitches accusing you of sexual assault.

Chinglish with tones

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

4th tone – 3rd tone, it would appear:

Well, maybe not; the diacritics are probably meant to indicate vowel quality, but I don’t know what system (if any) they are using.

Ben Zimmer writes:

The diacritics may be intended to evoke pinyin tone marks, but they’re also reminiscent of dictionary-style phonetic respelling and stress marking. The grave accent on “ì” could be intended as an indicator of primary stress, though that’s more typically marked with an acute accent. And the breve on the “ĭ” is a common enough way to represent /ɪ/ (the macron is used for long vowels and the breve for short vowels — see, e.g., Phonics on the Web). But this use of diacritics as typographical ornamentation is never very consistent — recall the styling of the play Chinglish as “Ch’ing·lish”.

The illustration appears at the top of this article:

It turns out that the image used by the People’s Daily originally appeared as a promotion for the play Chinglish that Ben mentioned, specifically for its performance by the Singaporean theater company Pangdemonium in 2015. See the Pangdemonium website, as well as local coverage by PopSpoken and Today. So the People’s Daily may have searched for a “Chinglish” image online and borrowed this one, without giving proper credit. (Credit should go to Olivier Henry of MILK Photographie.)

The six individuals in the picture seem to be aspiring to some idealized form of Chinglish in the sky above, overlying the cloud shrouded five star design of the Chinese flag, leading them on.  The thrust of the People’s Daily article, however, is anything but adulatory of Chinglish:

Chinese authorities on June 20 issued a national standard for the use of English in the public domain, eradicating poor translations that damage the country’s image.

The standard, jointly issued by China’s Standardization Administration and General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, aims to improve the quality of English translations in 13 public arenas, including transportation, entertainment, medicine and financial services. It will take effect on Dec. 1, 2017.

According to the standard, English translations should prioritize correct grammar and a proper register, while rare expressions and vocabulary words should be avoided. The standard requires that English not be overused in public sectors, and that translations not contain content that damages the images of China or other countries. Discriminatory and hurtful words have also been banned. The standard provided sample translations for reference, and warned against direct translation.

There are perpetual plans for eliminating Chinglish in China, but they are unlikely ever to materialize unless professional translators are sought after for their expertise and paid accordingly.

Earlier calls for the elimination of English more generally are no longer heard from responsible persons:

Now the goal is more reasonably just to get rid of Chinglish, but that will not happen on December 1, 2017 when the new standards go into effect.  Although it will take many years for their full implementation and realization, the standards are admirable goals to aim for.

See also:

[h.t. Jim Fanell, Toni Tan]

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Posted by John Scalzi

Hey, did you know I’m currently writing a novel? I am! It’s called Head On, and it’s coming out in ten months. Also, it’s not done yet, and the deadline is real soon now. I need to make some real progress on it in the next few weeks or else my editor will give me highly disapproving looks. Which would be no good. My problem is that whenever I make any real progress and take a break to see what’s going on in the news, it looks like this:

 

And, well. That’s not great for my focus.

The world is not going to stop being like this anytime in the near future, alas, but I still need to get my work done, and soon.

So: From now until the book is done, my plan is to avoid the news as much as possible, and also, to the extent I do see news, to avoid writing about it in any significant detail. Tweets? Maybe. 1,000+ word posts here? Probably not.

Note that I’m going to fail in avoiding the news entirely — I live in the world, and next week I’ll be at Denver Comic Con, which means that at the very least in the airport CNN is going to come at me, and anyway whichever way the Senate plan to murder the ACA falls out, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna know about it. Be that as it may I’m going to make an effort to keep as much of it out of my brain as possible.

Incidentally, yes, just in case you were wondering, this is confirmation that at least one of your favorite writers — me! — finds it hard to get work done in these days of the world being on fire. “The art of the Trump era is going to be so lit!” people have said. Dudes, when you’re worried about friends losing access to health care and American democracy being dug out from below because the general GOP attitude to the immense corruption and bigotry of the Trump administration is “lol, as long as we get to kick the poor,” just to list two things about 2017, the creative process is harder to get into, and stay inside of. I’m not the only one I know who is dealing with this right now.

But the work still needs to get done — and not just for you folks. I like getting caught up in my work. It feels good when the writing is moving along.

So, again: News break.

This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer Whatever posts over the next few weeks, since I’ll have July Big Idea pieces and other posts in the pipeline. It does mean the posts that show up probably won’t touch much on world/national news or politics.

I mean, I hope they won’t. But I also know this is a thing, especially with me:

So. I will try to be strong.

Also, when the book is done, oh, how I shall opine.

In the meantime, I don’t suspect you will have difficulty finding other opinions on news and political events. It’s called “the Internet.” You may have heard of it.


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