kaberett: Clyde the tortoise from Elementary, crawling across a map, with a red tape cross on his back. (elementary-emergency-clyde)
[personal profile] kaberett
I have been meaning to write this up for a while and have just had cause to do so elsenet; ergo, have a copy of Alex's Algorithm For Choosing A New GP. It has served me pretty well thus far.

Comments and additions welcome, as ever. :-)

Read more... )

Dear Niantic,

Jul. 22nd, 2017 03:29 pm
green_knight: (Abandoned)
[personal profile] green_knight
We have received reports that Trainers haven't been able to collect their Defender bonus after the Gym update. We’ve investigated many of these reports and have not been able to reproduce any bugs related to this issue.


(as posted here) is not a good conflict resolution.

If you're unable to reproduce the bug, that just points to it being intermittent. Fair enough. Doesn't mean you should stop looking. However, you have the stats: you can compare pokemon activity and gym rewards, and if they don't match what they should be, you can fix.

Signed,
Trainer of a Pokemon which stayed in the gym for 10 days, got fed a lot of berries, was kicked out this morning, and brought home 0 pokecoins.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Second of the Spatterjay (sub-)series in Asher's Polity universe. Takes place about ten years after the end of the previous book. We do, again, follow several different viewpoint characters, on all sorts of moral sides of any situation that may happen in the book. Some are returning characters, some are new.

I'd definitely recommend starting with the first book in the series, but all in all an eminently readable book.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:13 am
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
More things I have learnt from physio - mainly notes to self. I suspect [personal profile] hagar_972 and [personal profile] taennyn may have useful experience here, where I'm just starting out on the same journey they've already been on.

Muscles in the thigh - VMO, lateralis, the big quad one, the sartorius one across, adductors on the inside, abductors on the outside. VMO needs extra strengthening due to hypermobility. The small stabilising muscles tend to give up, then the big muscles compensate, and that's why my hamstrings get tight all the time. Then the hip/bum ones like glute max and glute mede also need help, particularly the latter.

Making sure things activate in the right order is hard. If the lateralis activates before the VMO instead of at the same time, then my kneecap slides sideways and that's one of the reasons it hurts. Trying to activate the VMO first will retrain it so they both go at the same time.

WEDDING QUILT OMG SO HAPPY

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:11 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
A few years ago, I watched my BFF, [twitter.com profile] amymariemason, spend a year making a beautiful wedding quilt for a friend of hers. I’m not saying my jealousy was the only reason I married [personal profile] such_heights, but I coveted that quilt, oh my goodness I coveted it so hard.

So when [personal profile] such_heights and I got engaged in August 2014, I asked my BFF if she would, maybe, perhaps, make us a wedding quilt, too?

It’s now July 2017, the wedding quilt is finally finished, and OH MY FUCKING GOD IT IS THE MOST AMAZING THING IN ALL EXISTENCE COME LOOK HOW TALENTED MY BFF IS SHE’S THE GREATEST THIS IS THE GREATEST COME LOOK COME LOOK COME LOOK OMG!

Many photos of the world's greatest quilt )

an amusing confluence

Jul. 19th, 2017 11:03 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
1. Mr Men In London (press release); official merch; Londonist.

2. The Tube is dropping "ladies and gentlemen" as a passenger greeting.


Ergo: 3. Who do I gotta hassle to make e.g. "Mx Cool" and "Little Mx Stubborn" etc happen?

It's a wrap!

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:46 pm
green_knight: (teh end)
[personal profile] green_knight
My WIP is no longer a WIP, it has graduated to 'finished first draft' and I am in that strange space where all the characters who have been taking up residence in my head have moved out, swept the floor, painted the walls in a neutral colour and are now looking into every drawer and under the bed to see whether they've forgotten anything.

274,696 words, including scene titles, placeholders, and 'the end', so call it 275K.

It will be either two or three books, though I am tending towards two, since there's a definite change of pace/location in the middle. This thing started as a comedy-of-manners, and was my go-to book for a while when I wanted something light and fluffy.

About the book and the writing of it )

And now it's half a day later and the book is still done: of course it will need a second draft, and I need to sort out the timeline, and I'd love to know how all of the loose threads will work out, and I am holding my breath just a little whether [redacted] will double-cross [redacted] but it's over, the characters have moved out, and while they might visit from time to time, the book. Is. Done.

After spending literally years with the compulsion to write down so many seemingly unimportant events in my protag's life (which all came together in unexpected ways), there is an empty space in my head now, and it feels weird. Other characters will move in - I have a fragment which isn't as complete as I thought it would be, so I'd like to write down the extra bits I know before finishing _something else_, but for now, I am WIP-less, and that's just a weird place to be.


Thanks for sharing your life with me, Firtal. I wish you all the best.

dispatches

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:13 am
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
So far today I have spontaneously woken up before 9am, un/loaded the dishwasher, and made myself pancakes (using batter from the freezer; thank you, past Alex). I do not feel a pressing need to immediately go back to sleep.

Yesterday, I swapped over which brand of fexofenadine I was taking (Chanelle Medical to Dr Reddy's, self), had an afternoon nap, and woke up feeling actually refreshed.

I don't care if this is entirely placebo effect, I'll take it.

(I'm pretty sure it's not, though -- I think my post-nasal drip is also reducing again. So.)
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the, what, ninth? eighth? book in Stross's The Laundry Files and the wheels on the hand-basket are truly on their way out, along a radial trajectory.

This book sees the return of many faces from previous books, as we slowly see things unwind around Bob. I am trying real hard to not let anything slip here, you see, as I feel that approaching the book spoiler-free is the most, ah, enjoyable? way of reading it. Surprising at least.

Anyway, Laundry Files, if you've read some of them before, you know what to expect. If you haven't, might I humbly suggest that this is perhaps not the best starting point (although it may well work as an intro novel). We do a fair bit of POV shifting in this book, even if it's primarily a "Bob" book (we also follow Mo, Mhari and Cassie, as well as the occasional follow-the-baddies).

All in all, a gripping read. I shall blame technology (and not being completely done with the previous book in time for the release) for taking this abysmally long to finish off something that was released a whole 4 days ago.
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
I watched A Very British Sex Scandal last night — it’s a great docu-drama made in 2007 about the Wolfenden Report and the Montagu Affair, largely following Peter Wildeblood. The Montagu Affair was a very high profile case in the 1950s in which three men were tried for “homosexual acts” — it’s credited with helping to change public opinion and, eventually, the law. Wildeblood was one of the men tried.

I strongly recommend the film. The docu bit is fascinating — the contributors are queer men born in the 20s and 30s who watched this all play out, including, rather amazingly, Lord Montagu himself.

The drama bit is sweet, compelling, understated, and doesn’t take too many liberties. I was also particularly touched by the context-setting voiceover, which provided us with such gems as, “In 1952 The Daily Mail was a serious establishment newspaper. Its opinions were highly respectable.”

After watching the film, I immediately bought Peter Wildeblood’s Against the Law, first published in 1959, which is largely about Wildeblood’s experiences of being gay, the Montagu Affair, and Wildeblood’s subsequent time in prison. In it he argues equally hard for the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and for penal reform in general. It’s reckoned to be the first sympathetic book about male homosexuality to reach a wide audience in Britain.

It’s hard to overstate how brilliant and brave this book is, and I would have loved it for that no matter how it was written — but it’s also such a clear, spare, honest, witty, engaging piece of writing, one that leaves me feeling both in breathless awe of this hero of a man and, at the same time, like it’s only an accident of space and time that we aren’t friends. When I finished it, I missed him.

Yes, so, I fucking love this book and I recommend it even more strongly than the docu-drama. (I think there’s a new docu-drama coming out pretty soon, actually, called Against the Law? AVBSS was made for the 40th anniversary of decriminalisation, and AtL is for the 50th anniversary. So if you’re only going to watch the one docu-drama, you’ll soon have a choice.)

My version has an intro written by Matthew Parris which I liked a lot and found very interesting but at the same time ended up disagreeing with quite strongly in places. (Which is, tbf, my normal reaction to Matthew Parris.) If you get the same version, I’d suggest not reading the intro until after you’ve read the book itself.

I also wanted to share with you the absolute gut punch I got when reading the very opening paragraph of the book.

Sometimes, when a man is dying, he directs that his body shall be given to the doctors, so that the causes of his suffering and death may be investigated, and the knowledge used to help others. I cannot give my body yet; only my heart and my mind, and trust that by this gift I can give some hope and courage to other men like myself, and to the rest of the world some understanding.


It’s. I don’t know. I read that, and I was struck by how very different it was from David Wojnarowicz’s If I die of AIDS - forget burial - just drop my body on the steps of the FDA — but at the same time, by how strong the thread is that connects them.

A surfeit of algorithms

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:55 pm
green_knight: (Eeek!)
[personal profile] green_knight
100 days, 100 algorithms

I'm somewhat in awe of this project - that's more algorithms than I could have listed, even with some research, and the discipline of implementing a new one every day for months is impressive.

However, it also shows a systemic weaknesses of programming: understanding the problem domain. I can't say much about the other 99 - some of them are algorithms I've never heard about, and at the very least I would need to make an effort to understand the python code and read it carefully, if not implementing the same thing in Swift, but this one, I spotted immediately:

Day 18; Monopoly

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me to help him with this problem.
Playing Monopoly, what is the probability that you step at position #24 during the first round?

Law of total probability says that the chance to step on certain position is sum of disjoint events of how we could get there. In this case, we get at #24 if we tossed 1 while standing at #23, or we tossed 2 while standing at #22, … or we tossed 6 while standing at #18. This leads to a recursive formula.


Any of my genteel readers who have ever played Monopoly will spot the most obvious problem here: You play Monopoly with two dice, so you can throw 2...12, so this is someone who hasn't done the most fundamental homework.

The less obvious problem is that you're trying to specifically solve _Monopoly_, rather than 'a board with x fields throwing 2D6'. Monopoly has a couple of extra rules: if you throw a double, you get to go again, but if you throw three doubles you go to jail (field 10); once you come out of jail you get another chance to land on field #24; and you have a chance to step on several fields where you may draw a card that moves you to a different field (named or 'three fields back'; IIRC that could even end your round!). In other words, the probability for 'step on field x' is partly determined by the dice, and partly by the game and its very specific rules; if you wanted to give an _precise_ answer, you'd have to calculate by how many routes you can reach each field including the 'go to jail' mechanism which gives all fields after 10 a higher probability and which means that there are ways of reaching #24 from every field between 2 and 35 (double-one, double-one, double 1...6, jail, and try again.) Heck, you could even go to jail several times until you run out of starting money, but if you get _both_ get out of jail free cards....

So, yeah.

This also illustrates why board games are not just the sum of straightforward probabilities: once a system becomes complex enough that you cannot simply do the rough calculations in your head, it becomes much more interesting, surprising, and, at a certain level (and given an appropriate mechanic), that rarest thing of all: a creator of narrative. It's no longer 'then I drew card x and rolled y on the dice' but 'so here I was, going about my business curing sick sheep and setting broken limbs when those pesky elves turned up right in front of me and–' (Terry Pratchett's The Witches. Brilliant short game for 2-4 players.)

2017 - #72, "The Skinner", Neal Asher

Jul. 15th, 2017 01:55 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the first book in the Sptterjay series, set in Asher's Polity world.

Time-wie, the Spatterjay books fall well after the rest of the series (bar, possibly, Transformation), but as the first two books takes place entirely (or almost entirely) on the planet of Spatterjay (see how the planet meshes with the name of the series...), it's not massively important exactly how it lines up timewise.

We follow a couple of different viewpoint characters. Ehrlin is a Hooper (that is, someone who's been infected by the leech virus, present in most (if not all) lifeforms on Spatterjay), who's been away from Spatterjay for a while, having adventures. Janer is employed by a sentient hornet hive, that he (some decades ago) spent two years indentured to, for killing one of its bodies at a football match. Sable Keech is a reif (basically a cyber-enhanced walking corpse), and ECS monitor. Sniper, a war drone. And Windcatcher, which I shall say nothing about. And a few more, who get walk-on POV roles.

Fundamentally, this is a story about loss and revenge. And how these things change, as time passes. I guess there's some talk about life and what immortality may mean for the human condition.

Again, this is a Polity book so it's kinda grimdark, in places.

Plus ça change

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:37 pm
green_knight: (fragile)
[personal profile] green_knight
mathematical models allow experiments to be run on environmental systems, and generate realistic output which can be used as the basis for rational and informed environmental management policies. That, at least, is the hope. In practice, the irrational side of human nature seems often to Coe to the fore, as in the reluctance of the United States government to accept the reality of global warming as induced by 'greenhouse' gas emissions, despite the repeated warnings uttered by the climate-modellers.

R.J. Hugget (1993): Modelling the Human Impact on Nature. Oxford, OUP. p. 20.


This is very much in line with my recollections of being taught climate change as an accepted scientific consensus in the early 1990s.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
This week I finally got around to seeing what happened if I tried making Kardemummebullar, seeing as I tend to want to eat them more often than I'm in Sweden. Recipe taken from BBC Good Food, and archived against that august institution's eventual demise.

Read more... )

Wheelchair recs

Jul. 13th, 2017 07:22 pm
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
Your first wheelchair by [personal profile] kaberett was brilliant for helping me upgrade from Shopmobility's hire chair to something designed for active use and being pushed by the person in it rather than a carer.

The Spinal Cord Injury Empowerment Project by the University of Washington has excellent videos on wheelchair skills. The American accent and cheery tone grates after a while, but it's very useful info and nicely bite-sized.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

First book in Jansen's Ambassador series. I must've confused this with another "interstellar ambassador" book, since my distinct memory was "ugh, do not like". This, as it turns out, is wrong.

Where was I? Ah, yes, Cory Wilson, our intrepid viewpoint character, is just about to start his job as ambassador for Earth to the gamra assembly, part of the interstellar crowd that run The Exchange (basically, what enables interstellar travel). And as part of the upcoming travel, he's talking to the president of the UN (well, it's called something else, and it seems to be an actual ruling body, and, you know...) when the unthinkable happens. And the unthinkable is taht there's a direct attack on said president, while our POV character is in the office.

And from there, things start unravelling at a frightening pace.

All in all, eminently readable. Now I'm vaguely interested in chasing down my previous post about this one.
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
[Content notes: living with trauma, basically]

A thread that keeps coming up in speculative fiction I'm reading at the moment (which is probably more indicative of what I'm seeking out than any publishing trends?) is the necessity for artificial intelligences to have emotions, in order to facilitate making arbitrary choices (the Imperial Radch; the Wayfarers; ...). Logic alone isn't adequate for a complex responsive intelligence: they'd stall out agonising over minutiae.

I've also been having a fair few (they say, wryly) conversations around emotional reactions and responses to contexts and events. I've known for a long time that going "okay, but that's not what's going on, here's a coherent model for my actions and behaviour and motivations that demonstrates that the thing you're scared of isn't actually happening" doesn't actually seem to have as much effect on most people's decision-making and behaviour as I'd (naively) expect. And then yesterday my interlocutor said: doesn't impact how I feel about the thing ;-) just what I logically conclude

... and -- oh. oh. Between the BPD or c-PTSD or whatever and the depression, I've in fact had to spend a lot of time working on... precisely that, right? I have to spend a lot of time and energy directing myself away from reacting based on compelling emotional "truths" and toward responding based on logical frameworks. I don't have to act as though people I'm close to want me to vanish absolutely from their lives unless they directly tell me that in fact they have changed their mind and they do*. For me, having a logical framework that contradicts my emotional understanding of the world doesn't stop me having feelings. It just -- informs what I do with them? I can free up a lot of processing power because I stop "having to" worry about how accurate they are, how much I should be taking them into account, whether I should be acting based on them. The solution to the feelings then becomes self-validation ("wow yep feeling like this is pretty rubbish, have some hot chocolate and do some stretches"), rather than their being an additional constraint I have to try to solve for, that's usually mutually exclusive with what other people are actually telling me they want.

"This information changes what I logically conclude about the situation" seems to be pretty powerful for me in a way that, as far as I can tell, it perhaps isn't for many folk? And I'm just... amused by having fitted together a model for why "no, that's not what's happening" doesn't do what I expect, that is superficially such a contradiction to the fiction.

I think it isn't, of course: this is how emotion interacts with making big decisions, not trivial ones. I'm simultaneously (still) exploring the potential of having unjustified or arbitrary preferences, particularly in the context of modern art. Just: goodness, but the inherently contradictory nature of existing. Think, two things on their own and both at once.

* Yes, we're aware that puts them in potentially awkward positions, but we've negotiated this very carefully in specific instances where I get the strongest compulsions to Just Vanish.
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