To do, ta da

Oct. 14th, 2017 12:33 am
ailbhe: (Default)
[personal profile] ailbhe
 Ta da
On Friday I...
- Got out of bed to eat dinner, which is EVERY DAY THIS WEEK
- Played a tabletop game with the children
- Started planning how to have a stash of sensible food in the house in case of floods, snow, Brexit etc
- Supervised children through housework including making them understand that this is a necessary contribution to the well-being of the family
- Ate and drank properly all day
- Remembered morning and evening meds/supplements

To do
This weekend we must:
- Get bedding to laundry service
- Collect co-op food order
- Clean house (subtasks to be determined)
- Print Autism talk for Thursday
- Make meal plan and shopping list
- Shower and hair washing for everyone
- Paint or draw

This week I hope to:
- Paint or draw or write or sew
- Finish elasticating the hem on a rain cover for my mobility scooter
- Help Rob and a professional declutter in the attic cupboards

National anthems and flags

Oct. 11th, 2017 08:47 am
[personal profile] swaldman
Given the kerfuffle between Trump and the NFL at present, it seems pertinent to trot out a little thing that I've mentioned elsewhere before, but I don't think on here: Subjects of national anthems.

Most of the national anthems in the world are about the countries concerned, or about people (sometimes The People, sometimes a monarch, and so forth). A few are about battles, or about military prowess in general. There are only five in the world (four, if you don't count Somalia as really being a state at the moment) that are specifically about flags. Not nations, not people, not great deeds, but sheets of cloth. It's quite unusual for the flag itself to be revered in this way, rather than it just being seen as a symbol of what is actually valued.

There's a neat map here.

Climate comms continued.

Oct. 10th, 2017 08:13 pm
[personal profile] swaldman
A rather belated followup to the previous post (I would say that I've been busy, but I haven't. I've been reeling in just-finished-thesis-draft and end-of-contract at the same time, and chilling instead).

To recap: After publishing their original paper, one of the paper's authors published an article on Carbonbrief explaining it in non-technical language, in which he said that his findings showed that we probably have a bit more leeway in the emissions budget to keep below 1.5 degrees of warming than we thought. Basically everybody in the world except climate scientists took this to mean that the climate models had been overpredicting temperature rise slightly, and the usual suspects went off on a "IT WAS ALL A HOAX" trip.

A day (?) later, the authors of the paper put out a press release saying that this interpretation is incorrect. Carbon Brief posted a new article trying to explain this in more detail. For anybody with time to read it carefully (I didn't), here's RealClimate on it.

I've only read these fairly quickly, but not in detail. I don't fully understand the distinctions between what seemed to be said, and what is actually said. I suspect it may be a difference between the results of a single model, and a full ensemble of different climate models. But I'm not sure - and that's fine, because I trust the experts here.

But I'm a relatively well-informed, if time-poor, reader, who doesn't doubt the existence of anthropogenic global warming, and even I read the original Carbonbrief post and came away thinking that the models were overpredicting (by a small amount - the situation's still dire, however one reads it, but slightly better is slightly better). If I can read the article and get a misleading impression, then most of the population - and, importantly, the press - will too. And they did, and the deniers had a field day. And I bet we'll still be hearing about this "admission that the models were wrong" for years, because the subsequent clarification will never see the light of day in denialist outlets.

So IMHO this was a major failure by the author. Sure, one can expect the journal article to be technical and not to spell things out for laypeople, but to write a non-technical version that is so misleading? He needed to stop for a minute, and think "what will a layperson understand from this?". And if unable to step that far back, get somebody else to do it. No, media management is not his job, but for somebody working in such a (outside science) controversial field, I think some responsibility applies. And frankly, writing a non-technical article that is misleading to laypeople is rather missing the point of doing the non-technical version in the first place ;-)

(I still feel bad about having a strong opinion on this without fully digesting the various things I've linked and understanding the detail of what was and was not said - but I guess that's kind of the point. Most people won't do that, and the impression that they come away with is important)

EDIT: This is not directly related, but is worth a read anyway: Interpreting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature limit. CarbonBrief seems to be becoming a rather excellent site for thoughtful and scientifically-literate lay comment / discussion.

Book: Heavy by Derek Des Anges

Oct. 8th, 2017 04:26 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Finished 'Heavy' by Derek Des Anges.

I liked it a lot. I was surprised and happy that it had a hopeful sort of ending.
Given the dark things that happen in the book.

I liked the very distinct character voices, the pull of the story wanting to see what happens to them, the way people grow and change. The dark humour. The way it had poetic streaks once in a while. The way the world was big and had many and varied people in it.

It starts with a feel that reminds me of 1984, which is both a good book and a book I like. It has in it men who were boys who endured a Lord-of-the-Flies like situation. It goes deeper and wider than that: it is a large and interesting world.

I did pause in the middle and went to read a bit of gay erotic romance for fluff, because I got worried for the characters and I needed a bit of a break.

quotes, which may or may not feel like spoilers )

Content notes, possibly incomplete )

(no subject)

Oct. 5th, 2017 05:43 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
I did go to the lgbtq tour of the V&A!
I was disappointed that a statue of Mr Stabby - Pierce - I mean St. Sebastian was not included.
But there was an Antinous.

It was interesting and entertaining. And again, lots of walking.

There was an idea of going dancing later that day, but after I got home and sat down, when I got up I discovered that my feet hurt. So I did not go dancing.


This week I attended the Phoenix pub at Cavendish square twice, for two different evenings of comedy:

On Tuesday, Distraction Club with Mitch Benn and the Distractions, and lots of afpers. In the 2nd interval Mitch Benn asks for suggestions of news stories, I had the one about Scotland voting to ban fracking in my mind, as it had been talked about that day, and as it was a positive story. And since people didn't shout out a third story, and since I was in the second row - that is, close enough to be heard - I shouted it out. One: some people cheered at this news. Two: the song was entirely built around that, with a comedy scottish accent and short mentions of the other news stories.
(The beloved pointed out that it was the one happy news story, I said it was just fun to sing "There'll be no fucking fracking 'round here").
There were many and various acts. I especially enjoyed Flo and Joan, who I do not remember having seen before. Here is a song of theirs called Save the Bees on youtube.
Wait, there's a more slickly produced one here:

There was Andrew O'neill and he annoyed me, mostly because he did a song mocking 'Instagram Witches', which is both, what, how prevalent and/or harmful is it that it needs mocking, and two, even if it is that popular, wow, mocking a thing that young women do, how terribly interesting and not at all falling into sexist clich├ęs.
But also I know a couple of women who enjoy a sort of aesthetic which might be called that? and I felt kind of defensive on their behalf.

There were Johnny and the Baptists as surprise last minute guests, and they were good and funny.


There was the Pun Run, which was in aid of charity this time. A gardening mental-health charity.
It was fun and Bec Hill had her amazing flipcharts - they are full of visual puns and they are hilarious. One featured the scary clown from IT, and I thought "she got that done fast", and then she said, on stage, that she'd made it three years ago, and she's really happy it's relevant again.

There were many comedians and it was fun and funny. I'd say would you like to come with me, next time? But only about 6 people read journal websites nowadays, and some of them are not even in London. Maybe next time the beloved will not be on call and will be okay to be in a basement that only gets unreliable wifi for a couple of hours.


On the way home, at the tube station, there was a poster advertising a horror film. There are quotes praising how scary it is, a picture of people looking like they are going camping, heading into a dark forest, and a tag-line: "They should have gone to Vegas" .

There was a mass shooting in Vegas this week, a man shot into crowds and ~50 people died and hundreds were wounded. It is not a good time for this tagline. Poor little tagline, it was doing its best.

I am reading 'Heavy' by Derek Des Anges. 43% through the book, suddenly there are powered exoskeletons. It is surprising and intriguing. I would say it makes me worried for the main characters, but everything has me worried for them. It's set in that kind of world.

The start of the book feels a lot like the book '1984' to me. And it has people in it who are post a 'Lord-of-the-Flies' experience.