The Blood is the Life for 28-06-2017

Jun. 28th, 2017 11:00 am
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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
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Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Wera Hobhouse, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb, Ed Davey
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Christine Jardine
Probably standing:
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

... Oh arse.

Look, coronations are bad. The "candidate" does not get examined, does not get their feet held to whatever fire the membership is stoking, does not have to state any positions before the crown is lowered. Recent political leaders who have had a coronation rather than an election include TMay, Arlene Foster, and Gordon Brown. We do not want to be in that company.

But even if coronations were ok, the coronation of someone who's published views are 1, so often at odds with the membership and 2, so changeable depending on who he is talking to... Lads, this is really, really, REALLY not good. And given the article I linked to in the very first piece I wrote on potential leadership elections after the GE, this whole situation smells really fucking funny and I do not like it one bit.

I'm in conversation with a bunch of other senior Lib Dems members of the awkward squad to try to do something about this. I mean, if there was a proper election and the members decided that Vince was the best person, that's one thing, but this is just a subversion of party democracy, and I hate it. Eurgh.

But if we can't do something about it... I don't know. The scissors are feeling very close to my membership card right now.

ETA: OfC given the legendary efficiency of the LDHQ membership department, if I were to cut up my membership card and send it back we'd probably have had another 2 general elections before they got round to processing my resignation...

Atlantis

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Atlantis_3


I promise I’ll get back to posting animal photos soon. In the meantime, here’s this.


This is a space shuttle orbiter. Back before the United States became afraid of aliens*, we used to send these things up fairly regularly. We made six of them. As of a couple months ago, I’ve seen them all.


1) I saw the Enterprise when I was very young and the family visited the National Air and Space museum in D.C. I barely remember it.


2) I saw the Columbia from afar one evening while at an outdoor concert. It was long enough ago that I don’t fully trust my memory, but I remember it going overhead on the back of a plane, the musicians and audience going silent as it flew by.


3) I saw the Discovery a few years ago at the National Air and Space museum annex in D.C.


4) I saw the Endeavour earlier this year at the California Science Center in L.A.


5) In early May, I saw Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, which I visited because it was too windy to go kayaking that day**.


6) The only launch I saw was Challenger. I was eight years old. My mother and brother went off to school, my dad staying home with me. Since I felt awful, my dad decided to cheer me up by letting me watch the shuttle launch. I was pretty interested in space, and we had been paying attention to this particular launch because it was to be the first in a line involving civilian teachers. My mother had told us about the program and mentioned that she was going to apply, but that she’d withdrawn her application because my brother and I were so young. She hoped to try again when we were older. I was excited as I watched the launch prep on the TV, thinking about how cool it would be when I got to see my mom go to space and see a real-live launch.


Through the static of our small television, I watched the launch begin. Minutes later, I saw something that, at the age of eight, had never crossed my mind as a real life possibility.


A few months after that, NASA canceled the teacher in space project.


My mom never went to space.


She did, however, come home from school later that afternoon.


Fair trade.


———

* Yes, I meant it that way too.

** Kayak photos from the following day to come later.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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[personal profile] laurel
Hey look, it's [personal profile] kevingaustin! (My husband, who rarely posts things, but showed up because I pointed out I was posting here from time to time. Some of you know him and may want to grant access and/or subscribe to him.)

Tree

Jun. 27th, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

DSC_6029


I really didn’t expect the dappled bark to show up in infrared.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Infrared stop sign

Jun. 27th, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

DSC_6016


Driving in infrared can be quite dangerous.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

State of the SB

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:22 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Drama queen)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Hate everything.
Having cashflow problems, some of which are my fault, and some of which are other people's fault, and all of which are beyond my control and therefore incredibly frustrating.
Cashflow problems meaning I am having to cancel on commitments, which I hate doing.
Politics in general is full of arseholes who keep arsing.
Work is frustrating, because I can't do the things I need to do for various stupid reasons (also beyond my control).
Have had no sleep and lots of pointless arguments with members of household, which means I am dangerously low on spoons, grumpy and frazzled.
And to top it all, my right tit is a big scabby painful mess.

Here's hoping you lot are all a bit happier...

Infrared Bronx

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:00 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

DSC_6944


Even in the concrete jungle, life finds a way.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

NYC InfraRed

Jun. 26th, 2017 05:52 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

DSC_6851


This photo has nothing* to do with animals. I just wanted to show you that, in infrared, Times Square is off.


* Well, little to do, anyway. NYC does have interesting similarities to a termite mound.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Thought for the Day

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:57 pm
bcholmes: I was just a brain in a jar (brain thoughts)
[personal profile] bcholmes

Lately I’ve found myself spending too much time arguing with “allies.” Whether it’s explaining to them, as a black gay man, why racism in the Gayborhood is a serious issue or why nondiscrimination laws should be statewide, it feels as though I’m having to defend myself to those who should be advocating by my side. What I have realized is that too many allies conduct themselves as service providers: They show up only when there’s an immediate need, they require me to explain the problem again and again, and they may or may not actually fix anything.

In other words, allies are more trouble than they’re worth.

— Ernest Owens, “Why I’m Giving Up on ‘Allies'”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

Galapagos Tortoise

Jun. 24th, 2017 02:00 pm
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Galapagos Tortoise_5


It’s not that tortoises don’t swim. It’s that they *ordinarily* don’t swim.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:01 pm
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Alligator Snapping Turtle_1


It’s no use trying to get his attention. He’s got turtle stuff to do.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
dreamshark: (Default)
[personal profile] dreamshark
 If you play Pokemon Go you might have noticed that on Monday all the gyms closed down, replaced by pathetic little gray tables. Yesterday they came back up, refurbished and (more or less) ready to play the new gym system that Niantic has been hinting about for months. As usual, info from Niantic is deliberately sparse and cryptic, leaving the details to the Silph Road scientists to figure out. Like millions of other rabid players I spent yesterday afternoon and evening out there trying out the new system. 

There are some glitches and a few dubious design decisions, but on the whole I think I like it (aesthetically, if nothing else). Instead of flipping through successive panels of gym defenders, you are now confronted with a big glass dome with all the defending Pokemon just kind of hanging out inside.They all have little hearts over their heads representing their current level of "motivation," the new game mechanism that replaces the hopelessly confusing old "prestige" system. They lose motivation when they lose battles, but also just from boredom. You can feed them berries to perk them up. 

Things I like about the new system:
  • Gym badges, including the ability to track what's going on with your pokemon defenders in distant gyms
  • The demise of the "Gym Prestige" system, which I hated
  • Finally, something to do with all those useless nanab berries!
  • Defending Pokemon are no longer ordered by CP (so I don't have to be at the bottom of the gym all the time, getting whaled on)
  • New diversity rules are already making gyms more interesting to fight
  • Gyms now have built-in Pokestops. It's like when your health club opens a shop in the lobby for workout gear, but it's all free!
  • There are more gyms now - a lot of Pokestops were converted
Things I don't like
  • The algorithm for motivation decay is way too harsh, esp. if Reddit is right about Pokemon >3000 CP
  • Gym defenders are ordered first come first served - but backwards!  First guy in is at the bottom, must fight every attacker first. And last guy in gets his picture displayed on top of the gym, even though he probably just waltzed in and took the last empty slot without fighting. There should be a reward for taking down a gym, not a punishment!
  • A depleted Pokemon cannot be retrieved from a gym until it is defeated by a rival team. It should just come home when it hits zero.
  • The 100-coin daily limit on rewards for gym defense - especially awful combined with previous bullet
  • Players no longer earn stardust for defending gyms. So sad.
  • It's really hard to keep track of how many coins have been earned by gym defenders. The journal needs a major overhaul. Stop logging every stupid Pokestop and put some real information in there. 
I got into more than a dozen gyms yesterday, mostly by just zooming around the neighborhood dropping into empty slots. I was lucky enough to be fiddling around with my Pokemon menagerie when the gyms came up, and got out there before all the gyms filled up. I'm still not sure exactly how many gyms I'm still in, because for the first hour the gym badge/tracking system wasn't operational. I think it's 6, but I cannot figure out where that 6th gym could possibly be. I've had about 6 mons come home to me bearing coins earned in battle. They've earned 63 coins since yesterday, and potentially could earn as much as 80 more if they all came home right now. Except that if they did all come home now, that would exceed the stupid 100-coin daily limit, so I would lose a bunch of coins. I guess the ideal outcome would be if a couple more came home this evening and the other 2 or 3 (where IS that Exeggecutor??) came home tomorrow. But it's mostly out of my control, which is why the daily limit is so unfair. 

Spider Monkey

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Spider Monkey


After you make the mistake of reading the comments on a political think piece.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Ocelot

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Ocelot_1


“Folks on the Internet say that the end of the world is right around the corner, but I don’t see it.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

The Blood is the Life for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...

Marmoset

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:01 pm
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Marmoset_1


“And far away, as Frodo put on the Ring and claimed it for his own, even in Sammath Naur the very heart of his realm, the Power in Barad-dûr was shaken, and the Tower trembled from its foundations to its proud and bitter crown. The Dark Lord was suddenly aware of him, and his Eye piercing all shadows looked across the plain to the door that he had made; and the magnitude of his own folly was revealed to him in a blinding flash, and all the devices of his enemies were at last laid bare. Then his wrath blazed in consuming flame, but his fear rose like a vast black smoke to choke him. For he knew his deadly peril and the thread upon which his doom now hung.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Wood Duck

Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Wood Duck


You can’t tell because he’s in the water, but he also has killer rims and a lift-kit installed.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Egret

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Egret


Must be an adult




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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