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January 5th, 2016 03:52 pm - 2015 In Review: Books!
I've decided the new year doesn't start until my sister goes back to Illinois, so we're doing more end-of-year posts before I'm back to business as usual. :p Y'all ready for statistics?

I managed my Goodreads reading challenge, which was for 250 books, but only by reading two little Running Press Miniatures in between turns while board gaming on New Year's Eve. Still, pretty good.

Not quite as impressive as it seems, because of those 250 books: If it's not quantitative it's not real )
The total number of books on the owned-and-need-to-read list currently stands at ~2100 (I don't track it to closely, it would be scary.) I also for the first time started keeping not-owned-to-read lists, mostly to keep myself from putting them on hold at the library, now that I'm constantly at the library. I keep a list on the library website of books the library owns; it's at 359; Goodreads has the 69 the library doesn't own. So my total to-read list is now about 2500 books.

Which is good news! It means that if I stop adding stuff to the lists, I will be finished in exactly ten years! Totally doable, right? (...especially the not adding stuff to the lists.)

My reading goals for 2016 are :
200 total books (which is what I started at last year, and had to increase because I was getting too far ahead, but I don't think that'll be the case this year.)
Finish the rest of the started-but-not-finished and review copy books
Before Hugo noms close, read enough Hugo eligible stuff to be comfortable nomming
After Hugo noms close, get through some of those comics you own but haven't read

So far this year, I have read one (1) Running Press miniature, about animal tracks.

Average page count for last year was 208 pages/book, which is pretty good given all those comics and picture books. Average rating is about 3.8, which is a pretty good average rating, I think. I reviewed 68 of them, one way or another, even if two of those reviews just consisted of the word "Sloths!"

That's a better number of reviews than I'd expected but less than I'd like, so next up I'm going to try to do some short reviews of books from last year that really materially changed something in my thinking. (Knowing me they won't be short and I won't finish the post until next year, but I'll try.)

Here is my list of 250 books from 2015 (minus a few that didn't import to LibraryThing for some reason and I can't be bothered to go looking for).

My goodreads account is linked to work people but if you'd like to add me there, pm me or something.

(5 comments | Reply)


November 6th, 2014 12:01 am
Today I

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May 27th, 2014 06:16 pm - How to graph the spread of a Tumblr post
A while back, I posted a graph on Tumblr illustrating the spread of my most popular post ever via reblogs (it's currently at almost 4500 notes, which is just weird. why, tumblr).

Several people have asked for instructions on how to do the reblog graph, so here they are. I realize this is a post that's all about tumblr but I'm posting on DW. That's because while Tumblr is *great* for virality, I still refuse to use it for long or complicated text posts, at which it is terrible.

This isn't necessarily the best way, but it's the way I can do it at work, with no expertise, without downloading any software. (If you want to play with really powerful network graphs, download the open source package Gephi - as a bonus its sample data set is a network chart of Les Miserables characters!) But Gephi is hard. Here's how to do it with just Notepad, Paint, and Google.

As my example, I decided to use a post from someone who is authentically popular on the internet, unlike me - friend and artist Kevin Bolk of Interrobang Studios. Specifically, his Sexy Astrophysicists Art Card Set (As of a mid-April 2014 when I started writing this post). I've made the Google Fusion link public if you want to play without starting from scratch: kbonetwork.

Here's how to start from scratch:

Step I: Acquire and clean the data )

Step II:Make a spreadsheet )

Step III: Load the data into Fusion Tables )

Step IV: Make the graph )

Step V: Share )

Result:
network graph of sexy astrophysicists

If you try this and have issues, drop a comment to this post, and I'll do my best to answer.

(12 comments | Reply)


January 1st, 2014 05:58 pm - New Year!
Yuletide Reveals!

I got two stories, both of which were really good:
Five Time Enjorlas Dropped a Barricade On Someone (1594 words) by Bobcatmoran
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Arm Joe, Les Misérables - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Enjorlas (Arm Joe), Ponpon, Police (Arm Joe), Marius (Arm Joe)
Summary:

Dropping barricades from the sky is not a skill that is mastered in just one day, nor is it one to be taken lightly.

ARM JOE FIC WITH AMAZING WORLDBUILDING. Unfortunately this failed at accomplishing the main thing that I was hoping requesting it for yuletide would do - which is to say, sating my mad desire for Arm Joe fic, because this is so PERFECT and WONDERFUL that I now want ALL THE ARM JOE IN THE WORLD even more than I did before because there is hope some of it might be as good as this. I'm not going to rec this at length because really if ARM JOE FIC about ENJORLAS DROPPING BARRICADES with WORLDBUILDING doesn't do it for you than you're probably beyond hope anyway. Thanks, bobcatmoran.


a good song to sing you to sleep (1267 words) by elithewho
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Otzi the Iceman RPF
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Otzi the Iceman
Additional Tags: Religion, Death, Yuletide Treat
Summary:

Yew for love, yew for death, yew for the names no one would ever speak.

There were three Ötzi stories in Yuletide this year, and they were all really good (especially the one for me though, of course) - I really recommend reading them all together, because even though they were all for different people and by different people, the Ötzi requests were all basically the same, and they make a really good set. Not to say that the fics themselves were at all the same - one thing that makes reading them together so neat is that they all went in completely different directions, which is what I was hoping would happen if this fandom got fic written!

I really like the one that was for me because, where the other two both tell a fairly straightforward story, extrapolating from the evidence we have to build an answer about how Ötzi came to die on the mountain, my author went in a much less concrete direction, trying to build a picture of Ötzi and his world and more than that, the way Ötzi's worldview shapes his world, without really setting out to answer any questions. It really effective drew me back to the same reactions I had when I was little, reading the first media stuff to come out about Ötzi's discovery, the combination of the creeping horror and the comfortable coziness that are all mixed up together in the story.

I wrote two stories, both of which I really enjoyed writing:

What I Did On My Summer Vacation in "The Bronx" (8432 words) by melannen for [personal profile] waywren
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: PINKWATER Daniel - Works, Alan Mendelsohn the Boy from Mars - Daniel Pinkwater
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Alan Mendelsohn/Leonard Neeble
Characters: Alan Mendelsohn, Leonard Neeble
Additional Tags: Mars, Alien Cultural Differences, Pre-Slash, Teenagers, POV First Person, Summer Vacation, Friendship, Bookstores, "The Bronx", Comic Book Collecting, 1970s, documentary fic, grandparentshipping, Post-Canon, fleegix
Summary:

Welcome to another great year at Bat Masterson Junior High School. For your first homework assignment, you will write a two-page composition about what you did on your summer vacation. Some of you may get a chance to share them with all of your classmates! Due Monday.

Extended Notes for Pinkwater )


Girl Of My Dreams (1051 words) by melannen for [personal profile] stellar_dust
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Lil BUB, Dinosaurs (Anthropomorfic)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Lil BUB/Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex
Characters: Lil Bub - Character, Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex
Additional Tags: Dating, Hot Air Balloon, Dinosaurs, theropod paleopathology, Bub Ub Bub, visiting in dreams, Science and Magic, Post-Episode: s01e05
Summary:

Lil BUB and Sue finally go out to dinner. Nobody gets eaten (except some fishes!) GOOD JOB BUB

Extended notes for BUB )


I haven't had time to read many YT stories - I feel like I've been going nonstop since Thanksgiving and no end in sight - but I did manage to read all the Madness stories over 500 words that were in fandoms I felt like reading, and bookmarked the ones I liked in the yuletide_recs collection, so they are in my bookmarks if you care. Next step is to get caught up on post-YT tag wrangling, so my goal is to read all YT fics in fandoms I wrangle and bookmark-rec in those too. :P By then it'll probably be mid-February.

Current Mood:: flat

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October 20th, 2013 05:06 pm - Yuletide + SCIENCE OTP
...I realized only after re-reading my letter multiple times that my yuletide requests this year basically come down to SCIENCE!!! (or arm joe). Ooops?

So, speaking of SCIENCE!!, four years ago, when Dreamwidth was less that a year old, I sampled the list of Yuletide letters to see where fandom-as-represented-by-Yuletide was living at the time.

I thought it'd be fun to do it again this year, especially with all the talk about DW and LJ being dead and fandom moving to Tumblr.

The Procedure )

The Results )

Analysis )


In 2009 I included a rant about people linking to their letters with a link text of "here" or "my letter" and how annoying that was. There was considerably less of that this year, and considerably more of people linking with the bare URL. I'm not sure if that's due to a greater awareness of accessible link text, something in the instructions biasing people toward a bare URL, or fandom's greater comfort with that format due to anon communities where most links are bare URLs due to spamblocking on anon comment. Whatever, I appreciate it!

(also, random helpful people who were going through the post reply to comments with non-linked URL with linked versions: do your browsers not have a built-in right click-go to URL option for those? What chintzy kind of browsers are you using??)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] SCIENCE

(11 comments | Reply)


February 18th, 2013 11:52 pm - Five whatsits
Hooray I just finished the Things I Have Not Been Doing (okay, two of the four, but I promised myself that if I wrote up this DW entry, I would immediately do the other two.) You can bet that if I unexpectedly go several weeks without posting here, it is because there are Things I Am Not Doing (That I Need To Get Done Before I Write A DW Post.)

...it works like that with everyone, right? <_<

Anyway, here are some neat things that I have been wanting to post about while I have been busy Not Doing far more important things:

1. Les Miserables fandom! So, in case you haven't noticed, today there was a Miracle worthy of Monsieur le Maire, and somebody has gone in and finally wrangled a bunch of tags in the Les Mis fandoms on AO3. )

2. Janet Stephens, Forensic Hairdresser! She is a local stylist who has been reconstructing ancient classical hairstyles in completely new ways and gaining academic acclaim for it, despite no formal qualifications.

This is awesome and I have been trying out some of the styles she demonstrates on her youtube channel; I have been searching for years for updoes that work well with long hair with my texture and not a lot of goop or constant fussing, and this is really the first time I've found any. Stephens' main innovation is the idea of sewing the styles together with a large needle and thread instead of trying to work with pins, and it makes so much sense. She talks about how sewing hair is very difficult to do on one's own hair, but (so far) I haven't found it any harder than doing anything complicated with bobby pins (it is, however, much harder to adjust once it's up than bobby pins - you have to get it exactly right the first time.)

Anyway, so far I've tried two of the styles )

I was thinking about cutting my hair really short this summer but this may change my mind... (also today I bought about thirty yards of linen, wool, and woven-in cotton plaids suitable for making garb. Why did I do this...?)

3. Colin Wright, Mathematical Juggler! I discovered this guy through the BBC's statistics-for-the-people podcast, More or Less (which is also awesome, by the way) and then went and looked up his full juggling talk on Youtube. And suddenly, I am understanding juggling way better than I ever have before! It's all sine waves. Why did nobody ever graph it for me before?

SO anyway I've pulled out my old practice juggling balls and have been practicing whenever I have idle hands. I still can't juggle three, but I can already keep 420 going for quite some time! Blindfolded! Which given my general physical skills is actually a fairly dramatic improvement.

4. I have started a secondary tumblr! It is called SleepyEST. Here is the story of SleepyEST:
Not that I actually understand tumblr or anything, and you can tell I still haven’t figured out things like “about” pages, but: a few weeks ago right about the time I should have gone to bed, somebody reblogged one of those yawning sloth gifs (you know the ones) and every time I checked my dash, there was the yawning sloth! Making me go “aww” and yawn and reminding me it was bedtime! And it actually made me close tumblr and go to bed.

So I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be neat if someone would conveniently reblog a cute sleepy animal at bedtime every night?”

And then I thought, wait, this is tumblr, it would be incredibly easy to make it do that.

So, yeah. Here is a tumblr that reblogs something adorable and sleepy at sometime around midnight, US Eastern time, every night. That is all it does. Enjoy. It as actually been working for me - not that I go to bed every night as soon as the post appears, but I usually at least stop randomly surfing tumblr and start thinking seriously about bed.

(I realize that if you are not on a schedule similar to mine, it might not be helpful for the bedtime thing. But it is still a blog full of adorable sleepy things? Also, anybody is welcome to start a sleepypst or a sleepygmt or whatever one at whatever time is useful for there to be sleepy things on their dash, and just re-reblog everything.)
So, yeah, if anybody might find that useful, feel free to follow or copycat or whatever.

5. Psychic wolves! ...er, yeah. I did not finish my Lupercalia story. Even after various people wrote good crack at my instigation. Oops. (Ironically, that was not one of the Things I Have Not Been Doing, becaus I have been doing it, just not in a way that resulted in a complete story by the end of Lupercalia. I am over halfway through! It will get finished! I hope!

...In the meantime there are all of these other beautiful Psychic Wolves for Lupercalia stories you could be reading!

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(61 comments | Reply)


January 6th, 2012 09:14 pm - Statistics! Statistics.
Because sometimes a girl just has to get her spreadsheets out on a Friday night.

In 2011, I:

Added 418 items to my LibraryThing catalog;
of which 289 were new acquisitions;
acquired from at least 25 different sources;
and completely failed to track my reading (but it was a lot fewer books than 289.)

Went yard sailing on 14 Saturdays between March and November;
bought things at 29 separate sales;
spent $150 almost exactly (assuming my spreadsheet is finally right);
on 220 separate items;
for an average cost per item of 68¢ (this is why I say my standard of pricing is very, very off)
of which 140 were books, at an average price of 50¢ (this is why ebooks are not yet in my price range);
with an average total spent per sale of $5.17;
had a ridiculous amount of fun making the spreadsheet.

Posted 23 complete works to AO3;
With a mean/median word count of 3533/1729;
Including about 35 different fandoms;
With a mean/median feedback ratio ((kudos+comments+bookmarks)/hits) of 7%/6%;
With two stories over 10,000 words (for the first time ever!)

Worked on 35 distinct fanfic stories (plus Nano, several long bits of not!fic, some original fic, lots of journal entries, and some fragments too short to be separately counted);
for a total of 164,658 fannish words written;
of which 31 stories were posted, somewhere;
26 stories are complete, 4 are unposted works in progress, and 5 are languishing as WIPs on some kinkmeme somewhere.
4790 of those words are het; 14246 are slash or femslash; 9825 are gen; and 88924 are things I don't feel confident about putting in any one of those categories.
14 are crossovers; 6 are on the borderline of being crossovers; 15 are not crossovers;
which allows for me to have written 30 fandoms this year (I count fandoms differently from AO3.)
19 of the posted stories, and 79,000 of the words, were originally posted anonymously.
The average length of a story, finished or not, is 4207/1991 (mean/median) words; the mean length of a finished story is 3053 words; of an anon meme wip is 5277 words.

And there is much more data to be mined from the spreadsheets. What else would you like to know? :D

ETA: OMG, we took down the holiday decorations today, and the Three Wise Men left a ridiculous amount of cash in my stocking last night. :O We need to stop Mom from learning about other Christmas traditions, it's dangerous. I guess that's my 2012 yard sailing money.

And while I'm at it, might as well post, this year for Christmas I got: )

Current Mood:: [mood icon] calculating
Current Music:: We Three Kings of Orient Are

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June 1st, 2011 11:02 pm - Heiligenschein
So, as you might've guessed if you saw my last entry (offers still open, btw! We might actually end up getting a half-dozen or so internet people together on Saturday, or something) Mom and I were going to fly up to Boston for a week starting today in order to go to [personal profile] stellar_dust's graduation and things. It was going to be my first plane ride in about twenty-five years!

I say "were", because the flight was cancelled so we're home again already. I should have expected this. The thing you have to understand, see, is that my mother has magic powers. We've known this since I was pretty small: our family likes camping and hiking and such things, and every time Mom goes camping, it rains. It started to be a running joke once we got into Girl Scout camping, and if Mom went, it rained; if we couldn't go, it didn't. I didn't really think it was much more than an observer bias sort of thing until I got old enough to go on a few camping trips with no parents along, and I scoffed at the boys who brought sleeping bags with no tents assuming they could sleep under the stars, and then it didn't rain.

My whole life I'd just assumed that part of planning a camping trip was assuming that, regardless of forecast or length of trip, you would spend at least one day and/or night dripping and miserable (not counting that time it snowed. In April.) I've had to readjust my entire packing strategy now to the idea that if I am going camping without Mom, there is actually a possibility that it won't rain, that if I plan ahead the weekend might actually turn out clear, that if the forecast a day before says dry it actually will be.

Well, we are slowly discovering that Mom's magic weather talent extends to plane trips, too. As in: if Mom is flying, her flight will be delayed substantially, and even odds you'll have to switch flights at some point. While we were sitting in the terminal tonight waiting to see if they'd ever let us board I asked her if she'd ever been on a flight where something didn't go wrong, and she couldn't come up with any.

On the plus side, we got to spend four hours sitting in the air-conditioned terminal rather than sweating it out in 97° at home.

Also, it gave me a chance to pull out my diffraction grating to take on our rescheduled flight tomorrow morning!

I decided that since this is my first flight since I've been old enough to really enjoy it, I was going to, and screw acting my age. So I pulled out my copy of Science from your Airplane Window by Elizabeth A Wood, and had enough time while waiting through delays that I read the whole thing this evening. Now I just wish the flight was going to be longer! (Also unfortunately having to switch flights means a later boarding and small chance of a window seat, but I can hope.)

Science from Your Airplane Window )

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March 24th, 2011 02:35 am - DINOSAUR ATTACK
I have been getting really cranky about all sorts of minor things for the past week or so (maybe once the cramps let up it will improve?) ranging from why the lay/lie thing makes me angry to why Sherlock fans annoy me to evo-psych hate. I got out the Sherlock gripe on [community profile] asexual_fandom, and we're probably all glad the essay on lay vs. lie is staying safely on my hard drive, but then there was this one, which I decided was best expressed as Dinosaur Comics fanart, see below:

Dinosaur Comics. With Feathers.
ETA: This image is freely available to anyone who wants to repost or remix!

Because we have known about feathered dinosaurs for longer than I've been alive, we've known that nearly all theropods probably had some sort of feather-like structures for at least a decade, and yet young kids are still learning it the wrong way from new books, there is positively no excuse for people to be doing new illustrations of these creatures and ignoring that. It goes beyond 'Wrong on the Internet' to 'What Is Wrong With Humanity'? Grrr. Arrgh. Hisss. (And yes, Sue in the Dresden Files is part of the problem, though I can fanwank it that she was at least 90% a construct and shaped by what Harry expected her to look like.)

Trancript )

Some scientific notes )


In other news, I was attacked by a dinosaur last weekend! I was lying in my tree, taking a nap, and listening to my mp3 player, when this dinosaur just swooped down at me from above, all feathery and stuff! It landed right next to me, and then jumped onto my chest and just sat there, right on me, and stared at me for awhile with its cold eyes.

I think it was one of these. Possibly simultaneously one of the most awesome and terrifying things that has ever happened to me. :D


In possibly related news: TetZoo is my current favorite blog. If only because, if someone as amazing as Darren Naish can get constantly distracted by shiny things and keep promising to do a certain post for years before he finally gets around to it, there's hope for people like me. Also, as witness my dinosaur attack earlier, I am ashamed to say I am really ignorant on common passerines. TetZoo almost manages to make them interesting.

(Here's Naish on feathered dinosaurs from 2007, already somewhat out of date but a good overview of the work coming out in the last decade.)

(42 comments | Reply)


January 13th, 2011 04:33 pm - Nine things make a post?
Between getting things done in RL while listening to Dresden Files, and finally making those two recs posts, I am in that place where I've done too many of the things that had been sitting for ages on the top of on my procrastination list, and now I am at the loose ends of maybe having to do the really scary important stuff. So, instead, here is a very scattered post of things-I-have-not-been-posting-about in the form of a list:

1. I still need to write more of [personal profile] fenellaevangela's yuletide fic. Because she deserves better than she got. ): I know exactly what to write, I even bought myself the offline version of write-or-die with Christmas money, I just need to make myself sit and *do* it.

2. I also need to post at least another couple of pages of How The Master Stole Christmas, but I appear to have lost my copy of the original in the post-holiday cleaning, so I get to defer that until I find it again. :P

Instead, I drew an illustration for [personal profile] philomytha's Vorkosigan fic The Earring, featuring Lord Regent Aral Vorkosigan going slightly native on his first visit to Beta Colony. (Going slightly native in this case = wearing nothing but sandals, a tiny clingy sarong, earrings and body glitter.)

image under cut )

Want Dresden Files/Vorkosigan crossover fic now

3. Way back before the holiday, I posted my second entry in the Ace Manifestos Project on [community profile] asexual_fandom: Charlie Weasley, the closest we will get to canon, and I don't think I ever linked it here, so here it is.

The ace manifestos project is still chugging along! And still taking sign-ups; we just had people claim John Sheppard and Castiel (finally!) but there's plenty more to go. I am debating what I want to claim for a third one, but all my first ideas would be hard, and I want to keep doing something I can just chuck out a few paragraphs of meta and some links on. The rest of you should sign up though, if you haven't yet!

4. I've seen that audio/dialect voice meme going around, so I thought I'd link to this: North American Dialects Survey, a study being currently run out of Yale that's looking for voice samples from people all over North America. It's just about as simple as the meme version, only For Science! And then you can do the meme one and share with your reading list. :P

5. I'm still behind on catching up with various fandoms I'm in that have current canon (the BBC RPS ones in particular. Ten o'clock live starts next week!!) I just started catching back up with lolitics, and OMG, the role-players have been on a roll since Christmas!Cut for British Politics RPF stuff )

Also I want a Dresden Files crossover where Mandelson, Bercow, Cable, and BONE are all on the White Council together

6. RE: posting to the lolitics comm on lj: apparently I have been over on DW long enough that I have officially forgotten how to do lj tags. I had to actually look up how to do an lj user tag after failing on my first four tries.

7. CENTRAL MARYLAND IS GETTING CHEATED OUT OF SNOW. Like, three times so far this year, they've predicted a major storm in our area, and then gone "well, actually, it looks like the heavy stuff will be to the north, south, east, and west of us." !!! Not fair.

...on the upside, though, they are starting to talk about the Chesapeake Bay freezing over, and if that happens, I am okay with lack of snow.

(I know, I realize that severe winter weather can be very difficult and even disastrous for a lot of people - especially a major bay freeze, which can paralyze the ports, lead to shortages on the islands and Delmarva, and damage infrastructure - but it's also part of the climate and the culture here, and something we need. The Bay regularly froze over every 10-50 years, and it's something of a needed 'reset' button for the ecology. And, given climate change, I never expected it to happen in my lifetime - this may be the last time this interglacial that it does.)

8. Still listening to Dresden Files! Still enjoying in that trashy genre fiction sort of way! (The audiobooks also let me drag it out, since there is no more pairing!fic left for me to read, sigh.) Apparently, listening to Dresden Files right before sleep makes me have dreams about Pennsic War, and no, idk either, but it's consistent so far.

(Although, the night I put up [personal profile] stellar_dust's recs post, instead of Dresden Files I read two new Merlin AUs I'd missed before. One of them was about Medieval LARPing, which you'd think would trigger SCA dreams if anything did, huh? But instead I dreamed about the one with Sedoretu instead, which is okay, because I will take dreams about Le Guin poly marriages anytime.)

9. Here are some longer posts that I want to do soon, if I ever manage to find my round tuit. )

...okay, I suppose now I need to go work some more on the actual scary stuff, mutter.

(11 comments | Reply)


December 1st, 2010 09:20 pm - On categories of things.
I've been messing around on LT a bit - I did some things I'd been putting off, and rewarded myself with some book cataloging (is a book on saints' cults in medieval Christendom religion, mythology, folklore, history, or magic? And how does that have to affect where I put similar books that aren't Christian-flavored? Arggh.) And alongside the usual grey areas of cataloging, I ended up wading into an argument on how we should list gender in the drop-down on the crowdsourced author pages for trans authors. (I don't have all the answers, but at this point I'm at least confident to know when I can say: No, sir, you are wrong.)

Anyway. Right now I'm sick of all this categorizing of things that cannot be categorized. You know what is much nicer? Numbers! And [personal profile] espreite just posted a v. v. serious entry about privilege and oppression among numbers. So I have made a poll! Which numbers describe your identities most accurately? )

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November 20th, 2010 01:12 am - Yuletide letter appendices
...shut up, appendices are totally not going overboard.

A Mobile Phone from 1912 )


Years of all Halloween full moons from the start of the Gregorian calendar to the 22nd century. )


...and now I feel like this post belongs as a missing chapter of Areas of My Expertise. A theme, I has one.

And since Bucketeers and Hodgman are feeling left out, here is an mp3 that will do for both: Jonathan Coulton sings Furry Old Lobster

(Reply)


November 12th, 2010 05:58 pm - love, awesome, and sparkles
1. I refuse to write, or post, or even start, a dear yuletide letter when nominations aren't even open yet. Sorry! (Well, I did do the relevant astronomical calculations, but that doesn't count.)

I have gone through and figured out what I'm offering, though. Since the time is significantly shorter this year, I decided I'm only offering fandoms that make me go "Ooh, yes! I want an excuse to reread/rewatch that in a hurry!" (as opposed to the usual criterion, which is "Ooh, I wish that had more fic, I bet I could acquire canon by the deadline." As a result, I'm only offering somewhere around 115 fandoms this time (depending on how the final list handles duplicates.)

2. A couple of days ago I got my sign-ups and induction stuff to be an AO3 tag wrangler. Which, yay? But I thought they weren't signing anyone up until after yuletide? And in fact wrangling is closed until after yuletide? So other than read through the docs, I am not sure what I am supposed to be doing about my new tag wrangler status. Other than continuing to lurk the chatroom, obvs. (Oh, AO3, your communication skills at the moment are so inspiring.)

3. I don't know how helpful this will be, but the long-running rift between two segments of fandom (with other segments chiming in from the sidelines) which has suddenly broken off the scabs and started bleeding again, hurts. I see it in a split down fandom communities; down my own circle of friends; and down my own self. So, I want to do this, if only for myself; and I would love to see other people do it, too; I don't know if it will help heal the rift, but it might help some of us across it.

I am a fan, I am a geek. I have always been. You may, reading this journal or my comments, get the impression that I am a slash fan and/or a media fan - and I will admit, my primary allegiance is to that community. But that's not all I am. That is the last, and in some ways the least, of my fannish IDs. What else am I? Well, in roughly chronological order:

I am a fan of genre fiction. )

I am a math, science, and tech geek. )

I am a science fiction fan. )

I am a comics fan. )

I am an anime/manga fan. )

I am a media fan and a slash fan. )


...wow, I totally didn't intend that to be the effect, but I am kind of filled with love and awesome and sparkles now after writing that. Love and awesome and sparkles to all fans everywhere, regardless of what kind of fans you are!

(27 comments | Reply)


May 8th, 2010 10:31 am - Not Exactly Follow Friday (Again)
It says ... something ... about just what kind of a dork I am that I went to see Iron Man II, and while there were many things about the movie that I liked and would enjoy discussing, the actual squee!OMG! moments?

TESSERACTS!
DOUBLE PENDULUM!!!

...I guess I am still a math geek at heart.

Also, a double pendulum (aka "Chaos Machine") is the best symbol for movie!Tony ever. I could go on and on about the scene with Tony and the double pendulum.

If I was the sort of person who could make things like that, I would figure out how to make a wind-up clock with a double-pendulum tick. I have wanted to for years. Since I can't, I am so tempted to go down to the cave tonight and build me just the pendulum, counterweighted to swing a long time like the one in the movie. With a box of scraps.

(Note: this is not cut because neither the pendulum nor the tesseracts have any actual spoilery significance whatsoever; they were set dressing. Thus my enormous levels of geekery.)

***

Click on this cut if you would like to see some racy vintage postcards of silent-movie era Hollywood Bathing Beauties. )

If you are not interested in racy vintage postcards of women wearing bathing costumes I would dearly like to own, then we clearly have very different tastes in postcards. But perhaps you would be more interested in one of these posts I have recently made on dreamwidth communities:

At [community profile] sca_attire, photographs of me wearing nothing but a period linen shirt! I understand some of you are interested in that sort of thing. Also featuring: discussion of crossdressing while re-enacting, and me whining about how sewing is hard.
At [community profile] topgearslash (locked) and [community profile] crossovers (unlocked), Part One of the Top Gear/Dr. Who(/Torchwood/Sarah Jane/Big Finish) crossover of doomy doom! (Featuring: men who love their cars and/or spaceships too much, and also bonus multimedia enrichment downloads.)
At [community profile] poetry, this week I am posting an elaborate four-part stealth argument-by-example for poetry as fanwork: NASA RPS from 1970, three variations on Dover Beach, and about a Flemish tapestry. And also some very silly things.
And at [community profile] common_nature, an account of a trip to the beach, in which there are kites, hidden treasures and fossil-hunting.

****

Also, overcome by election coverage (OMG, I have discovered that it is possible to be fannish over election results for countries that *are not mine*! So exciting: all the fun, 75% less stress. Hooray!) I have started writing up a post - probably to be posted to [community profile] punditfic - entitled "A Guide To British Fake News for Americans". Are there any British persons reading this who would like to look it over before I post it, for blatant errors?

I also now really, really want the alternate future where David Mitchell started the revolution, Charlie Brooker led it, Andy Zaltzman ended up Home Secretary, and mtf!Patchula J. Oliver spent years in prison after Bristol Palin was elected President of the USA. (They write these things *for* us, guys.)

And finally, if you would like to be on my "obsessing over diversity, privilege and appropriation re: my original characters as an excuse to not actually write anything in their universes" filter, first post to go up soon entitled "wow I have a lot of trans* characters", please click here:
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 38

I would like to be on the original fiction filter:

Yes!
38 (100.0%)


(28 comments | Reply)


January 18th, 2010 02:04 am - More Science!
So first! Apparently the poll numbers about most slashers being queer struck a chord with people. (yay!)

As a result I have acquired numbers for several more polls now, with no effort on my part!

four more polls with numbers on slashers' sexuality )

Also! I have been corresponding in email with Anne Kustritz ([livejournal.com profile] theorynut, she who wrote the 2003 paper that Wikipedia cites. She wrote that paper while working on her Master's, has since gotten her doctorate, and wishes it to be known that I was far kinder to her 2003 paper than she is to it. Her doctoral dissertation was titled "Productive (Cyber) Public Space: Slash Fan Fiction's Multiple Imaginary," and it used an actual, rigorous ethnographic survey to argue, among other things, that, er, THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

The diss isn't published (yet), or freely downloadable, but you can read some of the front matter of the dissertation. She was also kind enough to send me both a full copy of her dissertation and the numbers for the two polls cited in the 2003 paper, and give me permission to post about it all! And I had a wonderful write-up, but then my stupid computer crashed and DW didn't save the draft and it is far too late to write it up again coherently! I will try to do justice to it soon, but I cannot guarantee it, because there's this job-type-thingy I am starting tomorrow afternoon at short notice, and I will probably not be online much as a result.

(Which also means that I will probably be very, very slow at both modding and answering comments for awhile: be warned. But have fun without me!)

Here is the short, short version of that post. )

Anyway! That in no way does justice to the data, but it's what you're getting, because I sleep now and don't know when I'll be back.

(31 comments | Reply)


January 16th, 2010 03:46 pm - Science, y'all.
ETA early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA

I was going to wait and post this later, with a much more elaborate stastistical work-up, population variables and meta-analysis - because I think it's interesting in its own right - but the ongoing conversation I'm seeing, and the extremely clear result I'm getting, is making me think it's more important to get the facts out there, than to make them pretty.

So: Are slashers straight?

I spent an afternoon and evening finding all of the polls & surveys of slash demographics I could that included a question on sexuality. Some I already had bookmarked, some I found through google, delicious, and following citations in academic papers. I'm sure there are more out there, and if you have links to more more polls I would love to add their data to my analysis. But you know what? The results of the ones I've found are pretty consistent, across a large range of survey population. And it is, to be quite honest, not the result I was expecting, even as a slasher who does not herself identify as straight, and is used to finding people like her in fandom.

Are slashers straight?

Over half of slashers self-identify as somewhere on the spectrum of lgbqqa. )

So, over 9 polls, in a variety of slash subfandoms from the late-teens yaoi set to the mid-thirties meta fans set, dates ranging over 7 years. Only onetwo polls had less than 50% queer participants, and that wasone of them the earliest one, and even they were at 37% and 47%. The median percent of queer participants was 59.7%, and the mean was 61.5% 60.8%.

SO when people say things like "slash fans are appropriating queer experience", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't real" or "male voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the queer community."

I think the question of how queer women can appropriate queer men's identity, and the damage that can be done when gay men speaking about themselves are drowned out by women, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

And SO when people say things like "slash is a legitimate way for straight women to express their sexuality", what THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER hear is either "you aren't queer enough, your queer identity isn't relevant" or "straight voices are the only ones qualified to speak for the slash community".

I think the question of how straight women's sexuality interacts with queer sexuality, and the ways straight women's sexuality defines slash, are valid discussion topics, and worth addressing. That is not a conversation that is going to happen as long as THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS, WHO IDENTIFY AS QUEER, are being erased from the discussion. fyi.

Can I say that one more time? I like saying it. Science makes me happy.

THE MAJORITY OF SLASHERS IDENTIFY AS QUEER.

ETA: People in comments have pointed out math errors that change the numbers slightly: I've added corrections in the relevant places. The conclusions still stand, however (for now.)

ETA 2 early morning jan 18: a short follow-up with more poll numbers + things /ETA 2

Current Music:: mc hawking - what we need more of is science

(263 comments | Reply)


November 20th, 2009 10:26 pm - Let's Talk About Science! (Or possibly not!science, as it were.)
...after all, the universe may be ending soon.

That's right - the Large Hadron Collider officially started up again today! And I just happened to have wandered into researching it anyway and noticed when I checked Google News. Who wants to take bets on when it's going to break again? :D

You see, there's a theory that the LHC will never be properly operational, because the fact that at some point in the future it might function means the entire universe wants it to fail. Which is why it has so far spent most of its time broken.

No, really.

Holger Nielson and Hayao Ninomiya, two otherwise respected physicists, have published quite a few papers on this theory. Alas, I have not actually read those papers, because the combination of high-level physics and far-from-perfect English very quickly defeated me. Sean Carroll explains the Nielson-Ninomiya theory (and links to his original papers) in his discovermagazine blog in a way that laypeople might possibly be able to understand, at least a little bit, although it involves imaginary numbers applied to physical properties, which I have not yet figured out how to make comprehensible.

But a) this theory is awesome and science-fiction-y, and b) I think it might actually solve a plot hole in my pet form of fictional ftl travel, so I have attempted to understand it anyway.

Actual physicists do not read, it will just make you try to explain things to me that I do not understand. )

Okay, this is theorizing *way* in advance of the data and out in left field, but it is (according to above real-physicist's-blog and a few others, and my own vague attempts at understanding it) not *completely* off the wall, and in fact it doesn't contradict anything currently known. And all revolutionary scientific theories theorize ahead of data. The way to tell if a pie-in-the-sky theory is worth considering or not is to see if it is *predictive*: 'we don't have any evidence yet, but if our theory is true, this particular piece of evidence will turn up soon."

The Nielson/Ninomiya papers predict only one verifiable result: that the Large Hadron Collider will be plagued with difficulties, delays and "bad luck," and never actually generate significant numbers of Higgs bosons. The theory was first published in 2007, a year before the collider was scheduled to begin operation, and when everything seemed to be going smoothly for it.

Since then, full operation has been pushed back repeatedly due to difficulties, delays, and "bad luck", and the time at which it will be ready to generate Higgs bosons is not known....

(Do I actually take this theory seriously? About as seriously as I take the theory that the moons of Mars are spaceships that arrived in the Solar System in the mid-19th century. I'm pretty sure even the authors don't take it too seriously, considering the experiment they proposed is to set up an *actual*, calculated million-to-one chance, and bet the operation of the LHC against it, and if that million-to-one chance does come up, well, you've simultaneously proved their theory and the existence of the Higgs boson, and you can shut down the LHC and save a lot of money...)

(But it *could* be real, and that sort of playing around is important in science and nobody does it enough anymore, and also it's dead fun.)

(Plus, I can define magic as being the high probability of the occurrence of apparently unlikely events, which by this theory would be quantified as the effect of "imaginary action". And that's *lovely*.)

(Also, I think it proves Niven's Law backwards. And possibly that the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is nonfiction.)

Current Music:: symphony of science - we are all connected

(11 comments | Reply)


November 14th, 2009 12:54 am - Statistics!
SO the thing to do while waiting for yuletide assignments to go out, apparently, is statistics.

(Have I mentioned lately that I love fandom?)

And since I requested dreamwidth/fandom fic, I thought I'd run some numbers on Dreamwidth and fandom. I moved here at beta, and settled in pretty quickly, and it's been really hard, from my cozy little spot here among you all, to tell what actually *was* going on, in respect to fandom moving here.

But when I was going through all the Dear Writer posts being linked in the [livejournal.com profile] yuletide community over at lj, I kept noticing that there were actually quite a *lot* of people who were linking their letters from their DW accounts instead of their LJs, and I was wondering if there really were a lot, or if it was an illusion based around what I wanted, and was expecting, to see. And then it occurred to me that this might actually be a pretty good metric of how fandom actually *is* moving: yuletide participation is probably as close as we can get to a real cross-section of people who are active in the sort of fandom that is on journal sites, and it seems like the site people link in their letters would be the site they consider their primary home, regardless of whether they crosspost and how.

So, since I was looking at them all anyway, I starting tallying which sites they were each on. And then I gave in and took a more-or-less proper random sample.

The Procedure! )

The Results! )

The Analysis! )

The Raw data! )

And, of course, the other thing that became inescapable is people really *suck* at writing accessible link text. Opera (my browser of choice - which btw worked perfectly with both yuletide signup & ao3, unlike other browsers I can name) has a built-in tool that will pull out all the links in a page, sort them by either text, location, or url, and let you do various things with them. It is very useful; I use it a lot around this time of year, in fact, because I can download large amounts of fic from index posts very quickly in order to read offline.

I am so glad I don't have to use something similar all the time, like people with vision, processing, or dexterity impairments often do. I'm not always perfect with writing useful link text, but I'm trying to remember to be better; someone on my reading page recently linked to a survey saying uninformative link text is the #1 internet accessibility issue, and I believe it now. I didn't run as strict statistics here, but the Opera tool made it very easy to run rough numbers: guess, on average, how many fans out of 25 on a page used link text that actually gives any useful information out of context. Go on, guess!

Something like 80% use some direct variation on "here". Nearly all the rest are something equally unhelpful, along the lines of "My letter" or "Dear Writer" or "on my journal", with a few that are just bare urls with no link text at all, and maybe, if you're lucky, *one* per page that actually says something like "fanwriter1's letter" or "fandom 1, fandom 2, fandom 3" that would actually maybe let someone identify it out of context.

I knew link text was a problem: I'd just never quite been smacked in the face with just *how* useless so much of it is. Put something in your link text that will let people identify it out of context, folks!

(22 comments | Reply)


September 29th, 2008 10:08 pm - Logcat is Log
Today's XKCD was awesome, as usual, but it was Missing something. )

Why yes, that is what happens to me after a whole weekend spent at cons and then another whold day of con autopsy stuff.

(6 comments | Reply)


July 16th, 2008 03:48 pm
You do know what CAPTCHA programs are for, right? They give Humanity an *economic imperative* to develop ever more sophisticated Turing-test-passing AI systems.

The first true artificial intelligences on Earth will be spambots.

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

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