UBC: Sides, In the Kingdom of Ice [audio]

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 08:19 am
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[personal profile] truepenny
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS JeannetteIn the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was extremely entertaining, and taught me a great deal about the WACKED-OUT science of the late 19th century, with its paleocrystic seas and thermal gateways. It also provides excellent competence porn, as George De Long, his chief engineer George Melville, and the ship's doctor James Ambler were all insanely good at their jobs, and had plenty of opportunities to show it in the two years the U.S.S. Jeannette was trapped in the Arctic pack ice. (There's a fabulous piece of CSI: Jeannette as Dr. Ambler tracked down the cause of the lead poisoning that was slowly killing the crew.) 20 of the 33 members of the crew, including De Long, died in Siberia after exhibiting more epic heroism than should have been allowed to end in failure (but history, unlike fiction, does not care about your heroism), and the Jeannette's voyage remains eclipsed by the Erebus and the Terror

Trigger warning: aside from the ghastly deaths of De Long, Ambler, and most of the crew, horrible and cruel things happen to sled dogs, polar bears, and innumerable Arctic birds.

The audio book reader was competent and mostly a pleasure to listen to, except for his habit of raising the pitch of his voice when quoting women's writing and lowering the pitch of his voice when quoting men. This makes all the men sound excessively MANLY, and makes Emma De Long sound like a simpering idiot, when it's clear she was anything but.

View all my reviews
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[personal profile] waddiwasiwitch posting in [community profile] su_herald
KID: Help me! Call the police!
VAMP: Get outta here, girl. (turns back to the kid)
BUFFY: (emerging from the doorway) You guys havin' a fight? 'Cause, you know, fighting's not cool.

~~The Gift~~

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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 03:19 pm
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[personal profile] marina
Productivity is a distant dream today. So instead, I'm going to start documenting my London trip, which was amazing (A-M-A-Z-I-N-G).

3 days )

(no subject)

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 09:13 am
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[personal profile] starandrea
“So that’s it, the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century. As I said, not until August 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world at peace.”

--Frank Reynolds
26 February 1979

Prompt for 2017-08-20

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 09:15 am
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[personal profile] brewsternorth posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
Today's prompt is "a day of roses".

FFA DW Post # 720 - Placeholder

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 02:53 pm
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[personal profile] sunnymodffa posting in [community profile] fail_fandomanon

New Rule updates:
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UBC: Reis, Damned Women

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 07:51 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New EnglandDamned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England by Elizabeth Reis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I hate starting a review with "this book was meh," but . . . this book was meh.

Reis' thesis is that in seventeenth-century Puritan New England, when everyone was obsessed with scrutinizing their souls for signs of damnation or salvation, and when a central event in a person's life was likely to be their conversion testimony (you stand up in front of the church you want to join and tell the church members how you came to realize that (a) you were a sinful crawling worm and (b) God had chosen you to be among the Elect regardless), while men tended to say that their sinful actions corrupted their souls, women were much more likely to say that their corrupted souls led them to sinful actions. She talks about how this led (or might have led) to women's confessions of witchcraft--if you view sin as a continuum, and if your corrupted soul means you cannot deny that you are sinful at heart, then how can you be certain that you aren't a witch?

Reis proves her thesis, and it's a subject I'm quite interested in, but the book itself just . . . meh. It was a book. I read it. If you're researching the subject either of Puritan witchcraft or the experience of Puritan women, it's definitely worth reading. Otherwise, not so much.

View all my reviews
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Posted by Charles Chu

They call this the Information Age.

And for good reason.

If I take all of the information we have today, load it into CD-ROMs (who even uses those anymore?), and stack them, one by one, on top of each other, the pile I make would reach past the moon.

In The News: A User’s Manual, philosopher Alain de Botton claims that “more data flows into the building [of one major global news organization] in a single day than mankind as a whole would have generated in the twenty-three centuries between the death of Socrates and the invention of the telephone.”

That’s a lot of data.

But, as we all learned as kids with homework and Halloween candy, more of something does not always make it a good thing.

We humans are not built for today’s information-ridden, fast-paced world — there was no Instagram or cryptocurrency to be found out on the African savanna.

What does all this information do to us? In exchange for what we have gained, what is it that we have lost?

Source: XKCD

Information Fatigue

In the 1990s, the Oxford English Dictionary added a new word to its collection — information fatigue.

One commenter on Hacker News, I think, describes the feeling quite well:

My mind is in a constant racing state. It’s calm but not calm … My mind seems to have multiple levels. One of which is directed to what I am actively doing and one below it which seems to process information in a never ending manner. … Articles and books to read, shows to watch, things to do in my personal life and at work. Career advancement. All of these things just never stop … They just linger in the background. Shooting around saying me me.
It’s getting exhausting.

I know people who cannot stand to be separated from their phones, to be disconnected from the flood of information that spills out from the Internet. A simple human conversation leaves them nervous. First their legs start to twitch. A few minutes later, their eyes start to race around the room.

They have become cyborgs, and only another glance at their phone or smart device delivers a moment of false peace.

Stressed, Sick and Stupid Too

Overexposure to information doesn’t just stress us, it also makes us stupid.

We like to think more information means more knowledge and that knowledge, in turn, leads to smart decisions and a better life.

But this is not always the case. In Antifragile, ex-trader and philosopher Nassim Taleb writes:

“…in a natural environment, a stressor is information. Too much information would thus be too much stress, exceeding the threshold of antifragility.
“In medicine, we are discovering the healing powers of fasting, as the avoidance of the hormonal rushes that come with the ingestion of food. Hormones convey information to the different parts of our system, and too much of them confuses our biology. Here again, as with news received at too high a frequency, too much information becomes harmful — daily news and sugar confuse our system in the same manner.

In the past, information was rare and information was valuable. If a lion chases you, you pay attention.

But now, in the attention economy, everyone is fighting to be novel, to flash headlines at you, to shout that their bauble, trinket, or widget is more useful (and will make you sexier) than the next company’s… Everyone, everything wants to be a lion.

We are awash in a vast ocean of noise. Where has the signal gone?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
- T. S. Eliot

Some Solutions

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” -Lao Tzu

Most of us, myself included, chase information without ever asking ourselves if we truly need it.

If overexposure to information often leads to worse decisions. If consuming it does not help us, our family, our community or our work, then perhaps it is okay to pause and take a break, to leave the ocean and spend a few moments alone in the sand.

Like the dieter that must be smart about where he gets his food, what he eats and how much of it, we can make smart decisions to limit and improve the quality of the information that enters our life.

What follows are some things that have worked for me.

Some tips:

  • Fast. Spend a weekend (or a week, if you can) away from technology. Give your laptop and phone to your grandmother and make her promise not to give it back. Go to the park. Roll around in the grass. Drink some wine. Chase the pigeons. Whatever.
  • Take long walks. I walk for 2–4 hours a day. This helps clear my mind after a long session of reading or writing. Even 30 minutes, I hear, works wonders.
  • Meditate. Don’t take it too seriously (don’t need the mumbo-jumbo), but spend some time alone with your own mind. Just 5 minutes is enough. If you cannot sit still for 5 minutes, that tells you a lot.
  • Journal. Take some time each day emptying your thoughts onto paper. Morning, evening doesn’t matter. I feel refreshed and more level-headed after I do.
  • Quit the news. I have avoided news and TV for the better part of 7 years now. The important stuff always makes it to me anyway.

And for consuming data:

  • Choose “high-signal” sources. The quality of the information you get will depends a lot on the source. Try to choose information sources that are actually useful to you (say, The School of Life over BuzzFeed)
  • Limit yourself. Accept that your brain can only take a certain amount of information per day. Make decisions with that in mind.
  • Read old things. The most useful, long-lasting ideas survive the test of time. Seneca’s Letters are just as practical today despite being nearly 2000 years old.

And, finally, whenever I start to suffer from information FOMO (fear of missing out), I return to the words of Michel de Montaigne…

“We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men’s wisdom.”

Need help sifting signal from noise? Join over 20,000 readers getting The Open Circle, a weekly dose of mind-expanding ideas. Plus, I’ll send you 200+ pages from my private notebooks. Get it here.

Information Sickness: How It Hurts Us And How to Escape was originally published in Better Humans on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:53 am
[syndicated profile] fanvid2tumblr_feed
A concept fanvid from cat k. featuring a song I adore: Polly by the Kinks. From the vidder’s description it’s a work about...

tw: blood,vidding,the kinks,fanvid.......

A concept fanvid from cat k. featuring a song I adore: Polly by the Kinks. From the vidder’s description it’s a work about exploring the world and oneself (gender, friendships,love,passions) but always having a place to come home to. .......


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(no subject)

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 12:28 pm
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[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gmh and [personal profile] ravurian!

Rhino Birth Viewed Live at Burgers' Zoo

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 06:02 am
[syndicated profile] zooborns_feed

Posted by Andrew Bleiman


As thousands of viewers watched via live webcam on August 10, Izala the Southern White Rhinoceros gave birth to a healthy female calf at Burgers’ Zoo.

Zoo staff members were anxious about the birth because Izala’s first calf was stillborn in January 2016. It is not uncommon for a White Rhino’s first pregnancy to be unsuccessful. Fortunately, this calf appears healthy and strong, and she was walking and nursing within just hours of birth.

The lively calf, named Wiesje, runs and plays in her large exhibit, with Izala usually trotting close behind.

LI9A9453Photo Credit: Burgers' Zoo


Seven Rhinos have been born at Burgers’ Zoo in the past 17 years, and around 12 are born each year in European zoos. Last year, 22 Rhino births occurred in European zoos, due in part to increased cooperation among zoos. This cooperation resulted in more Rhinos being transferred among zoos into more favorable breeding situations.

While other Rhino species live mostly solitary lives, White Rhinos live in small social groups which typically include adult females and their young.  Males’ territories overlap those of females. Researchers have learned that the hormonal cycles of lower-ranking females in these groups are suppressed, resulting in only higher-ranking females being bred.

In zoos, this research has a practical application: moving a young female to a new environment increase the odds that her hormonal cycle will be restored, which improves the odds that she will breed. Thus Izala, who lived at the Kolmarden Zoo with her mother, was brought to Burgers’ Zoo so she could successfully breed and rear her own baby.

Southern White Rhinos are the largest of all five Rhino species, and are also the most numerous in the wild, with about 20,000 individuals found mainly in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. 

Southern White Rhinos are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main threat remains poaching for the illegal Rhino horn trade. As prices for Rhino horn increase, hunting increases as well. Rhino horn, which is used for ornamental purposes and in Traditional Asian Medicine, is made of solid keratin, the same material in human fingernails.  It has no proven medical benefits, yet has driven some Rhino species to the brink of extinction: only about 60 Javan Rhinos and 200 Sumatran Rhinos remain in Asia.

See more photos of Wiesje and Izala below.


Been away for a while

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 12:59 pm
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
[personal profile] moem
I've not been reading or posting here because I was busy, mostly because of SHA2017 (the quadrannual hacker camp) which was a blast! Here's a very cool video that should give you a quick impression in less than 3 minutes, with no talking:
Below a cut because who wants a video to open on their reading page? )
Today I'm doing something else: a food experiment. I have tried soy milk once but found it too sweet; today I'm trying oat milk and I have to say it's pretty tasty! If you like oats, at least. Which I do. It does not contain calcium however, and that's one of the things I drink milk for.
Next up: almond milk with added calcium!

You might ask, why this experiment? Well, while I like milk, I'm wondering whether I could happily use less of it. I don't like the idea of cows being exploited for it, even if we try to get most or our milk at a dairy farm. The whole system as it is is pretty unnatural. I can't see myself quitting cheese, but I figure every bit helps!
Have any of you tried a non-dairy milk? Which one, and what did you think of it?

BH: II pt. iv

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:34 am
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[personal profile] sealie
continues directly from the previous post.

all warning continue to apply.

writing update

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 10:59 am
roseveare: (plotbunnies)
[personal profile] roseveare
Okay, so here's where I am, writing-wise. I'm on chapter 4 (of 7) adding the edits from the paper printout to Lost County, Book 1 of the original fantasy series. I'm planning on going on from that to edit #2 Carnshire's Most Haunted and #3 Chaos Theory and get working readable versions with stable continuity so that I can approach publishers with all 3 initially and say THIS IS A 6 BOOK SERIES. Because I'm not interested if I can't get them published as a block with the possibility of adding more in the future. I'd rather self publish and keep my own control over the work.

Meanwhile I'm also working on #4 which is the interlinked short stories, hoping to work on the opening story in the next few weeks, and I'm planning to work on one or two novellas from that for this year's NaNoWriMo (depending how long they turn out). I'm also still picking at #6 which was last year's NaNo, and will probably attempt to finish that one as well by the end of the year. That leaves me with #5 which has about 60k written but may not yet be halfway through, and hopefully that won't be too difficult to pull together with the rest already complete, but we'll see.

No idea what this means for the fanfiction, some of which I have completed or partial drafts of and may intermittently post or work on if the impulse takes me. Things have not really settled down yet, even though it's now been over a year. I'm kind of feeling it as this being the time to get the original stuff out there, else it might never happen. Book 1 especially has a technology-dependent plotline and actually the last decade has kind of aged into the premise of the story more with the advance of interconnected technology and WiFi, I think, rather than dated it since I first started writing. But I don't want to leave it too much longer and risk it looking out of date by the time it's published.

I'm really hoping I can finally be getting somewhere with this in the early half of next year. Fingers crossed.


Sunday, August 20th, 2017 10:21 am
[syndicated profile] fanvid2tumblr_feed
video,fanvid,quantum break,i'd love to change the world,sorry i know its late but i just got recommended this by youtube,youtube knows i cant sleep lol,mod sigma.......



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reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
Rare and Beautiful Things Giselle Fox
Lesbian - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 1585 KB
Print Length: 197 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Amazon: Rare and Beautiful Things Giselle Fox

The rarest prize might be buried deep … or hiding in plain sight.

Amber Greyell knows a lot about jaguars. A virgin at 32, the willowy, redheaded PhD finds romance far more baffling. So when she meets gorgeous, athletic shipwreck diver Nikki Sharpe off the coast of Belize, her curiosity is mixed with a strong dose of caution.

Nikki can’t help being intrigued by Amber’s innocence and intellect. When the pair discover a long-lost journal preserved in a sunken ship, the unexpected story in its pages sets them on their own journey toward intimacy.

But Amber doesn’t want to get her heart broken by a woman who won’t be around for long. Can Nikki overcome Amber’s doubts and show her there’s more than one kind of hidden treasure?
reviews_and_ramblings: (Default)
[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
All the Way to Shore CJane Elliott
Bisexual - Contemporary Romance
File Size: 2538 KB
Print Length: 204 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press; 1 edition (November 23, 2016)
Publication Date: November 23, 2016
Amazon: All the Way to Shore CJane Elliott

Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woefully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humiliation behind. A year later and forty pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week—Jonah Rutledge—someone good enough to be loved.

Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business success, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation—including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life—Jonah Rutledge—on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.

Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.

The Blood is the Life for 20-08-2017

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
One-Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin Michael Schreiber
Gay - Biography / Memoir
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 21, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 197371888X
ISBN-13: 978-1973718888
Amazon: One-Man Show: The Life and Art of Bernard Perlin Michael Schreiber


Bernard Perlin (1918-2014) was an extraordinary figure in twentieth century American art and gay cultural history, an acclaimed artist and sexual renegade who reveled in pushing social, political, and artistic boundaries. His work regularly appeared in popular magazines of the 1940s, fifties, and sixties; was collected by Rockefellers, Whitneys, and Astors; and was acquired by major museums, including the Smithsonian, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern. His portrait clients included well-known literary, artistic, theatrical, political, and high society figures. As a government propaganda artist and war artist-correspondent, he produced many now-iconic images of World War II. From the 1930s on, he also daringly committed to canvas and paper scenes of underground gay bars and nude studies of street hustlers, among other aspects of his active and dedicated gay life.
Socially, he moved in the upper echelons of New York gay society, a glittering "cufflink crowd" that included George Platt Lynes, Lincoln Kirstein, Glenway Wescott, Monroe Wheeler, Paul Cadmus, Jared French, George Tooker, Pavel Tchelitchew, Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins. He also counted among his most intimate companions such luminaries in the arts as Vincent Price, Clifton Webb, Ben Shahn, Samuel Barber, Gian Carlo Menotti, Aaron Copland, Christopher Isherwood, Don Bachardy, Martha Gellhorn, Betsy Drake, Muriel Rukeyser, Carson McCullers, Philip Johnson, and E.M. Forster. Yet he was equally at home in the gay underworlds of New York and Rome, where his unbridled sexual escapades put him in competition with the likes of Jean Genet and Tennessee Williams.

In One-Man Show, Michael Schreiber chronicles the storied life, illustrious friends and lovers, and astounding adventures of Bernard Perlin through no-holds-barred interviews with the artist, candid excerpts from Perlin's unpublished memoirs, never-before-seen photos, and an extensive selection of Bernard Perlin's incredible public and private art.
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[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
How We Love Michael Ryan Webb
Gay - Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 298 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 21, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 197371888X
ISBN-13: 978-1973718888
Amazon: How We Love Michael Ryan Webb

Mark and Adam had been happily married for five years and together for over 15. Things were going well for them. But when Mark spiraled into mental illness after his father died, their marriage was strained in a way that Adam can no longer bear. Now separated, they have to learn to live life alone for the first time. Faced with uncertain futures, can they overcome their differences and learn how to love each other again? Or has their tie to each other been severed forever? From alternating perspectives, join them on their journey of love, loss, heartache, and healing.

2017 Rainbow Awards Submission: Beneath the Layers

Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:38 am
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[personal profile] reviews_and_ramblings
Beneath the Layers Caitlin Ricci, CL Mustafic, Elizabeth Coldwell, Sita Bethel, E.M. Hamill, Sydney Blackburn, C.A. Blocke, Asta Idonea
LGBT - Anthology / Collection / Historical Romance
Paperback: 184 pages
Publisher: NineStar Press (April 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 194595292X
ISBN-13: 978-1945952920
Amazon: Beneath the Layers Caitlin Ricci, CL Mustafic, Elizabeth Coldwell, Sita Bethel, E.M. Hamill, Sydney Blackburn, C.A. Blocke, Asta Idonea

Eight stories of men who like a little satin and lace. A Linebacker in Lace by Caitlin Ricci This ex-linebacker is impossible for his friend to resist. Satin Secrets by CL Mustafic Sometimes secrets are better when they’re shared. Backwards and in High Heels by Elizabeth Coldwell Tonight he has the chance to live out his dream. Angels in Delaware by Sita Bethel When one finds two partners, it helps to dress for the occasion. All That Entails by E.M. Hamill A gender-fluid prince with a penchant for gowns finds his unlikely match in an arranged marriage. After the Dance by Sydney Blackburn Sometimes happily ever after requires a pretty frock. A Secret Shared by C.A. Blocke One sweet secret shared—and a spicy one returned. Ruffle My Feathers by Asta Idonea Sometimes love can be found behind a feather boa.


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