On MetaFilter, I posted about a transparency case pending before a California appeals court; the EFF and ACLU have submitted amicus curiae briefs saying (to simplify) that the right to due process includes the right to inspect source code used to convict you. Evidently the creator of the closed-source DNA testing software doesn't think so. As is often the case on MetaFilter, there are very lucid explanations in the comments regarding complicated technical issues.
And I really like the photo I used to illustrate the potential for algorithmic bias.
On Friday finally managed to write up my review of The Residents concert from March last year. On Saturday attended Software Freedom Day and the LUV AGM, where I have found myself on the committee for yet another year. Afterwards went to usekh's memorial birthday at the Back Bar. Kudos are due to damien_wise for doing most of the organising of the event. Today visited St Michael's to hear Rev. Ric Holland's impressive service on forgiveness, also taking the opportunity to introduce Shupu, to the location. I hadn't been for several months and was never a regular attendee, so I was quite surprised to discover a few people remembered me. The Rev. offered to catch up for coffee some time and I certainly intend to take up that invitation. Afterwards made my way to university, and stumbled upon the a protest against racism and fascism which I attended; the media of course, concentrated on a very minor disruption, ignoring the important message that the Rohingyan refugee speaking was presenting at the same time.
Seanan McGuire event in Silverdale. We brought tribute, and were briefly Seanan's favorite. (Diet Dr Pepper and candy corn. Seanan is a being of predictable tastes.)
Mini muffin tin quest!
Partner made a note they should chat with our mutual friend in London about stuff. Hooray, viable communities.
Dinner for the extended polycule, with many dishes thanks to Trader Joe's. (Rice, orange chicken with extra zesty sauce but no carrots since we ran out, BBQ pork buns, pot stickers, spring rolls, and green beans. The rice and green beans weren't pre-packaged, and I do a little customization to the chicken by adding orange peel and scallions. The gyoza and bao steam over the rice, and the spring rolls could bake with the chicken. The green beans start frozen and get gently fried with seasonings. Usually it's butter and Montreal steak seasoning, but Stray Puppy Girl is very lactose intolerant, and Leopard Girl dislikes red pepper. So I went for sesame oil, garlic, onion, pepper, salt, ginger, a packet of soy sauce that needed using, and the excess teriyaki sauce from the other night. It turned out well. To my immense gratification, my partner really likes all the iterations of the green beans that I have made so far. Generally they disappear immediately.)
Club night. Without going into excessive detail, one of the groups near the people I was with were having a hilarious time, and kept setting each other off giggling. That prompted our group to giggle. The glee was infectious.
Everyone is spending the night. We hauled the camping pads out of the alleged guest room (it is currently not in a state for guests as my textiles have exploded all over it) and they're set up next to the futon in case it turns from cozy to crowded in the middle of the night. Things are well set up for breakfast, and there should be cheesecake at some point (thus the mini muffin tins).
Will made the Scholar's Bowl team at school, and practices start next Tuesday. I don't expect to hear anything about Math Team until October, but those practices have been on Wednesdays, so he shouldn't have a problem doing both.
Connor's after school Spanish class isn't meeting this year because not enough students enrolled. I've found an alternate activity for him on Wednesdays, some sort of board game club, but it only meets twice every six weeks. He has a field trip next week to some sort of environmental preserve, so I signed up as a chaperone in order to tag along and investigate.
Symphony chorus rehearsals start back Monday. Sadly we are no longer scheduled to participate in the Harry Potter soundtrack performance, but we do have the tribute piece and the Bach Magnificat to look forward to learning.
I've just acquired some of the latest LEGO Dimensions expansions, although I had to go to my local Best Buy to find them - surprisingly, Amazon hasn't stocked them. I'm hearing rumors that LEGO is going to quietly stop releasing new expansions, which is too bad, but I can understand why if the game wasn't successful enough to justify the continued expense of developing new content. And the update process is still very frustrating - my console has been trying to download and install the latest updates for over an hour now, and I had to free up system storage again before it would even get started.
I need to sign off now - I have a meeting in 45 minutes with one of Will's teachers and I haven't eaten anything yet.
( Rosemary and Rue )
In regard to the audiobook itself, Mary Robinette Kowal did a great job. I don't think I can imagine Toby as sounding like anyone else, now. Of the other voices she did... I love Tybalt the best.
So I went on to "A Local Habitation". Audiobook again. Chores become so much more pleasant when one is listening to an urban fantasy mystery. ( Massive SPOILERS for A Local Habitation )
Yes, more audiobooks of this series are on their way to me.
In... order of posting, either L to R or Top to Bottom or something depending on where you're viewing this, but. (Click on them for full size.)
1. Just some random blue heron from a ref on pixabay. Turned out surprisingly well for a sketch that took about an hour, using markers I have no idea how to use with a very limited color selection.
2. My mouse on Mouse Guard is named Sorrel, and a friend of mine was talking about planting sorrel, the plant, in pots, and it just made me think of "potted Sorrel" so. I keep trying to color this and failing.
3. My Asuran mesmer on Guild Wars 2, Tykket. Someday I'll try to tackle the armor but I was just trying to work out how to customize her hair a bit to make her less generic.
4. An iris I decided to try to make a value study of using... ballpoint pen. It took me basically a full day, it was kind of ridiculous, and I regretted the decision one petal in, but it did turn out pretty neat.
5. WIP of fanart of Atomic Blonde that I'm failing to figure out how to actually color. I wanted to watercolor it, but I really am not good enough at watercolor yet and also still couldn't figure out how I actually wanted to color it, so I'm trying digital. Someday I'll finish it?
6. Left-handed drawing in ballpoint and colored pencil. Started out just as a doodle of fungi, then I got lazy about finishing the trunk and put a face on it instead.
I kind of hilariously got a couple more paints so I could have a better range of colors for watercolor and then... haven't managed to do anything.
(ETA: ughhh browser incompatibilities rendering flexbox, I'll try to fix the wrapping again tomorrow, sorry for the overflow.)
(ETA2: fixed, I think, hopefully isn't overflowing on anybody's system now... unless you're still on IE11, then I'm sorry)
These awesome photos of Sloane Stephens!
Some useful information on the General Data Protection Regulation which will affect many of us starting May 2018.
"ProPublica would like to hear from people who have expertise in some facet of the health insurance industry." And then they will do investigative journalism on it!!
Upcoming New York City Council bill on algorithmic transparency:
g. Each agency that uses, for the purposes of targeting services to persons, imposing penalties upon persons or policing, an algorithm or any other method of automated processing system of data shall:
1. Publish on such agency’s website, the source code of such system; and
2. Permit a user to (i) submit data into such system for self-testing and (ii) receive the results of having such data processed by such system.
(If Legistar's RSS feeds work, nyc_algo_bill_feed should let you track further actions on it.)
After returning late on Friday night, Saturday was spent in the company of Kerrie H., and Brendan E. Although in good spirits, Kerry has found herself in a situation where she has to sell her house and downsize, so we went to deepest suburbia where I could make use of my skills at moving heavy objects quickly. Afterwards we went back to Brendan's to have dinner at the local Indian restaurant and followed up with a few episodes of the second season of Black Jesus. I think a number of self-described Christians could learn a lot from this series, especially Australia's own Lyle Shelton whom I have cause to respond to this week. On a related matter, wrote (or rather co-wrote) Pansy Division: Notes on a Certain Petition based on events from the previous week which covers matter of the current marriage equality debate and how 'free speech' isn't an absolute right (and nor should it be). Further, have just released a newsletter for the Victorian Secular Lobby with an upcoming meeting with Lesley Vick from Dying with Dignity Victoria on the impending voluntary euthanasia legislation.
Read Sacha Lamb's 'Avi Cantor Has Six Months To Live', which is a very sweet YA boy-meets-boy short story about transness, Judaism, single parents, same sex parents, found family, suicidality, witches, and demons. My reaction amounts to: yes, good, more like this please.
Read that interview by Paul Chance with Ivar Lovaas. You know the one. (If you don't: tw for ableism and graphic descriptions of child abuse from the self-congratulatory perspective of the perpetrator.) All I'd read of it before was that one paragraph that always gets quoted. It is not any better in context. I didn't expect it to be. I don't know what I was expecting to get out of reading this, only that I had to know. In summary: Dead Dove, Do Not Eat.
Finished Max Gladstone's Four Roads Cross, which took me an unreasonably long time considering how good it was. I love Tara so much. The big battle was amazing, and I don't even usually care much about big battles, but this one pulled together so many narrative threads and had so many twists and emotional resolutions and it was just really satisfying. Also, I liked the cameo by Ashleigh Wakefield from Choice of the Deathless. (Ashleigh is male or female in that game depending on your character's orientation. In Four Roads Cross Ashleigh fights all the way through a major supernatural court case without being hit by a single third person pronoun. Role model.)
An actual sentence from this novel: "Umar's face looked like saws fucking." Context is that there were serrated patches of light shining on him, but who needs context?
I missed the deadline for trickortreatex, but there are plenty of fandoms there that I like enough to request or offer, so that's good. Yuletide nominations are open now, and I'm determined not to miss that.
Read st_aurafina's long-awaited Sentinel AU Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Person of Interest, Finch/Reese, Root/Shaw). Worth the wait. I really liked the worldbuilding, always one of my favourite parts of fusion fic -- figuring out how Canon A works in Canon B's setting is so much fun.
Goat fandom: pipistrellus (who has awesome goats) opened my eyes to how sometimes livestock classifieds are hilarimazing rather than just depressing or enraging. From an ad on Gumtree: "free goat, male, Railton, Tasmania. can be tethered, very friendly. He ate all the blackberries and now I don't have any use for him." It's poetry. Goat poetry. Goatry.
Decided I want to do Fringe this year. Went to the website and opened a tab for every event that looked interesting. From there I longlisted 39 events. From there I medium-listed 25 events. Reminded myself firmly that Fringe is 21 days, therefore the maximum practical for a person who can do one big outing per day is 21, and I am not such a person, not to mention budgetary considerations, NOT TO MENTION that I have volunteer commitments and housekeeping and cats and friends and am currently not even managing to get through one book a week, and that doesn't require going anywhere at a given time and then staying there the full time.
TV and Movies
Finished watching the BBC Watergate documentary, which took forever because my TV stamina lately has mostly been limited to very small bites. It was so good, and a great relief from present day politics.
Watched the second episode of Black Sails, then gave up on the grounds that the DVD set was seriously overdue and I don't want to think about what my library fines are going to be like. I have heard such good things about the relationships in the second and later seasons, but right now I have lots of other things to watch/listen to/read and am putting this aside.
I made my first ever mash-up.
Listening-wise, re-listened to some albums I already owned and hadn't played in a while. The Opera Australia highlights CD of Julio Cesare with Yvonne Kenny as Cleopatra, the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs, and the soundtrack of Keating! the musical. I now have 'The Arse End of the Earth' lodged very hard in my head. (There's only 50 seconds of it on YouTube, and it doesn't really get the flavour of Gareth Evans' verses, although at least it includes the ABC bit. (The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, our equivalent of the BBC, used to have this little three note motif, do'-fa-sol, at the end of its ident (here's an example from the early 90s) and if you watched public broadcasting here in the 90s then just hearing it probably made you draw the ABC logo in the air with your finger. It was iconic. The guitarist quotes it after Gareth mentions them.) (I cannot emphasise enough how odd and wonderful this musical is. It's a musical. About Australian politics in the 90s. How.)
Mini Metro was at half price on Steam, so I yoinked that. It's hard but very soothing (minimalist visual design, and the sound is limited to quiet sound effects, no sountrack.) The object of the game is to design an efficient public transport system. There are eighteen different maps, each of real places (just the basic geographic features, not the town etc. Pretty much just rivers and lakes.) The stations randomly appear. They come in different types, representing different passenger needs (e.g. some passengers arrive at a square station and want to go to any circle station, some passengers start at a circle station and want to go to any triangle station. Some stations are stars or rhombuses and there's only one of them, so if your line doesn't connect to it, the passengers can't get there.) You get a limited number of tunnels/bridges, lines, locomotives and carriages, with a new carriage or locomotive every week (different places have different resources, like Osaka has the Shinkasen as well as regular trains, and places with lots of water have more tunnels.)
For some reason Melbourne's map is the tramways, not the trains. irl Melbourne's train map is reasonably logical, but its trams... well, they look like someone was playing Mini Metro and wasn't very good at it and also had a huge Eastern suburbs bias and hate poor people.
Beat the second-last boss in Super Star Path. Getting this far took eight hours of gameplay, and there are only six levels, and they're not long. Suffice it to say I'm not great at shooters.
Listened to episode 1 of Dylan Marron's Conversations With People Who Hate Me. Dylan Marron is a social justice podcaster (and a gay white cis man), and this is a project where he interviews people who've sent him hate mail and tries to have serious, productive, good-faith conversations about their differing opinions.
...Yeah, I'm not going to listen to another episode. Not soon, anyway. It's a very brave thing he's doing, and I agree with it in principle, and I think that the people he's interviewing are most likely to change their minds incrementally, one careful, kind, gentle conversation like that at a time, but if I listen to said conversations I'm gonna burn out even faster.
The BPAL imps I bought from kaberett arrived. I'm spacing them out, but have smelled two so far. ( cut for length )
Got around to putting my yarn in ziplock bags within the knitting bag, so they don't all tangle together. This has the advantage that everything isn't a tangled mess in there, but the disadvantage of sorting through a maze of plastic bags all alike in order to find the one specific ball I want. I am a slow knitter, and it takes me an hour or more to knit one 15x15st mitred square. My mitred square blanket is now an 8x8 block of these squares (it's been I can't remember how many years, but looking through this tag, it was 6x6 around this time in 2014. So, it... nearly doubled in size in 3 years?)
Baked brownies (the Alton Brown cocoa brownies recipe.) Made a large quantity of red lentil dhal (winged it, but bothered to dry-fry the spices instead of just dumping them in with the oil and onions, or worse, in with the water, like I have in the past. It made a huge difference. Am doing it this way from now on.) Baked bread. This recipe, which I've tried before with success. This time I tried a variation, swapping wholemeal flour for one of the cups of plain flour, and honey for the sugar. It was too dry after I added the water (not all of the flour would mix in) so I added half a cup more water, and that must have been too much, because it was gummy. Alas.
I've been having fun with tech.
So. I'd been thinking about wanting to watch DVDs in bed (as opposed to ripping DVDs and putting the file on my phone/tablet, the problem with which is that it adds another step every time I borrow a DVD from the library, not to mention all the DVDs I own and am not using because I haven't bothered to do that yet.) I thought about various solutions to this (small TV screen and DVD player, cheap secondhand portable DVD player, cheap-ish secondhand laptop, somehow figure out how to get my phone or tablet to connect to my external optical drive), and then realised... I have a RasPi. I could connect that to the external optical drive, and make it my media centre. The only component I don't already have is a spare monitor. And guess what? My local Linux-based computer recycling organisation sells those at a price I can afford.
As a proof of concept, I downloaded OSMC, flashed it to an SD card, and tried booting the RasPi up on my actual TV (which I have not used in literally years and should probably donate or sell.) I managed to remember: a) how to power on the RasPi, b) where to plug in the TV so it can connect to an external antenna. I did not manage to get the TV to display the RasPi, and remain unsure whether the RasPi is booting at all or not. I know I got it working back when I got it, but I can't remember if that was with the TV or if I have an HDMI to DVI converter somewhere and can't remember where (my computer monitor doesn't have HDMI, and the RasPi doesn't have DVI.)
But while I was hunting for RasPi components, I found where I'd put my old EeePC. The one I got in 2009. The keyboard doesn't work, but that's what USB keyboards are for. Long story short, I installed Crunchbang++ on it, and now it's usable again (except for the keyboard.) It plays DVDs. And now I have something I can take to NaNoWriMo write-ins this November.
Dorian's been making fetch happen again. He's discovered that I will throw the toy for him to retrieve many more times if he jumps up onto my knee with it in his mouth and then drops it in my hand, rather than drop it on the floor near me and wait expectantly. This is fun for both him and me, but does have the slight downside that he then launches himself off my knee after the toy as though rocket-propelled. And, not in fact being rocket-propelled, uses his claws and my leg for the traction needed to achieve lift-off. The scratches are quite impressive. I am sufficiently insensitive to that kind of pain, and sufficiently lazy, that I'd still rather he did it that way than wait for me to bend down and pick up the toy every time.
Beatrice has been grumpier than usual, and instigated enough cat fights with Dorian that I took her for a vet checkup. The verdict was that she seems fine but if problems persist bring her back for bloodwork.
Dorian's been digging... okay, that needs a little unpacking. As mentioned before, Dorian enjoys the water feature in the smallest room in my apartment. Keeping the lid down whenever I am not using said water feature myself seems to have put a stop to this where closing the door did not (he learned to jump up and turn the handle) but he still tries to get in there whenever possible. And I have a little pot of cacti on the windowsill in there, that being the one room I thought the cats would not get into. So yeah, yesterday I walked in there and found Dorian standing on the cistern with his front paws up on the windowsill, investigating the cacti.
I had an "aha!" moment recently, during a discussion on Twitter. (yes, very unwise to try to discuss anything on Twitter, but it was initially a cordial and respectful discussion, I think.) There are two classes of moral rules: those that apply to everybody, and those that only apply to some people. I think we can agree that things like "don't murder" and "don't steal" apply to everybody. The usual rule of thumb is "if it harms someone else, it applies to everybody". The ones that only apply to some people (I think?) are in the form of a promise made by a person to do or not to do something. Like promising to be faithful to your spouse; doesn't apply to those who don't have a spouse. My "aha" moment was the realisation that non-believers in (
( Read more... )
The basis of any cordial discussion of differences is the assumption of good will on the part of the participants. Without it, there is no discussion, just an acrimonious argument.
I'm leaving comments on for the moment, because I am interested in what you think, but the moment someone starts engaging in verbal fisticuffs, I will turn commenting off; I can't deal with the stress.
Also Sunday: drive to uncle's lake house! No one was in the mood to swim, but we took Connor on his first boat ride. He hated it for the first 10 minutes and then LOVED it after that. Invited to stay overnight, but had to return home so that Robby could do a Scheduled Work Thing.
Monday: Mom asks to come over for lunch and share leftovers from lake gathering. Then she takes the kids so Robby and I can go choose the new dishwasher his parents have been wanting to buy for us. Dishwasher is chosen, but will not be available for pickup for another 2.5 weeks. While at the mall, I check the LEGO Store and buy their last Apollo Saturn V Rocket set, because it is my
Also Monday: Red Sox play a 19 inning game against Toronto. I conk out on the couch after about 13 innings.
Tuesday: kids back in school, Robby back at work. My morning walk is up to 2 miles, about 2/3 of what I need for a 5K. I have a much needed chiropractor appointment and spend the afternoon finishing a book, then cleaning the living room (so that I can assemble the aforementioned LEGO set), then conking out on the couch again. After Robby gets home from work, I have to go to an overdue parent meeting at Connor's school, which is less informative than usual. Most of the other parents are focused on planning for the DC trip in the spring, which I've already decided to skip.
Wednesday: Robby takes the day off work to go car shopping. I have to take Will to school early to audition for the Scholar's Bowl team before classes start. Instead of returning home, I go to Panera for breakfast (free bagel!) and buy the kids some new shirts at Target, then check in with Robby, who took a test drive of a Subaru he saw advertised on Craigslist the night before. That car didn't work out, but he has another lead to check out at a dealership downtown. I have a 9:00 dental cleaning followed by a Genius Bar appointment at the Apple Store to see why Connor's iPad is having trouble charging. (Answer: inconclusive. Hardware checked out fine, told to upgrade to iOS 10, which does seem to have helped at least somewhat.) After that, I meet my mom for our usual Wednesday lunch date, interrupted by texts from Robby telling me how much he loves the second Subaru (a 2011 Outback) and asking for advice about financing. We realize he doesn't have the checkbook since he wasn't expecting to buy it on the spot, so I say goodbye to Mom and drive downtown to bring him a check for the down payment. YAY CAR.
Also Wednesday: we have church choir rehearsal in the evening and Will has a writing assignment that keeps him up past his bedtime. I'm not a fan of middle school teachers using Google Classroom to assign homework that is due at midnight on a school night. Thankfully, Will was able to finish by 10pm. I also somehow managed to do three loads of laundry before dinner time.
Thursday: After putting the kids on the school bus, I immediately drive to my in-laws' house so Robby can return the borrowed car he's been driving for the past month, then drive him downtown in rush hour traffic to retrieve the new Subaru, then drive to the Toyota dealership for the 25k maintenance on my car, which thankfully doesn't take long, so I'm done by 10:00. Then I run a bunch of other quick errands, returning home around lunch time. While Robby is waiting on our insurance agent to send him a proof of insurance, I get a phone call saying I have books waiting to be picked up at the library, which is near the registration office, so we decide to combine errands, leaving together around 1:45. Unfortunately there is a long wait and by the time Robby is finally finished an hour later, we have to rush home to meet Connor's 3:00 bus. Once the kids are settled, I decide I'm toast and am going to lie down the rest of the day. I do turn on the TV to watch the Pats game, more out of idle curiosity than any sort of enthusiasm, and fall asleep sometime during the fourth quarter, on the couch, again. I don't think I've slept in my bed since Sunday. The one night I tried, Robby got paged at some ungodly hour and I couldn't get back to sleep.
Which brings us to today! And now that I am finished chronicling the week's adventures, I am going to find lunch and read a book and when the kids get home it will be LEGO TIME.