Library irony

Sep. 18th, 2017 06:17 pm
madfilkentist: Scribe, from Wikimedia Commons (writing)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
The Nashua, New Hampshire library has a prominent "No place for hate" sign on its door and a "Banned Books Week" display inside.

There's a certain incompatibility here. It's not a library's role to decide which ideas are emotionally correct. If it isn't a place for "hate," it has to exclude materials which express that feeling. The term is intentionally slippery; people can claim anything they want about the emotional content of views they oppose, and how do you prove them wrong?

Perhaps they mean that patrons whose research goals are "hateful" have no place there. It's not the library's job to decide which kinds of study to help patrons with. Can librarians even draw conclusions from the materials people ask for? I did some web research on the AfD (a German political party whose leader has said Germans should be proud of its soldiers in WWII) earlier today. Would a Nashua librarian decide I must have a "hateful" purpose in researching the AfD and refuse to help me? Even if people really come in seeking to support bad ideas, research could be the best cure for their errors. Turning them away would only reinforce their sense of being persecuted.

Banned Books Week has long been Bland Books Week, with lists mentioning only books that no one could object to. The Nashua Library was unusually daring, with Gone with the Wind among a collection of otherwise innocuous books. There was no sign of The Anarchist's Cookbook or The Satanic Verses. If you look carefully at lists of "banned" books, what they usually mean is that someone unsuccessfully tried to get the book removed from a school library as age-inappropriate. Books that make their holder a criminal or a target of violence never are included.

Maybe that's what they mean by "No place for hate"; if possession of a book inspires hatred, the Bland Books list has no place for it.

Addendum: I was curious where and how Gone with the Wind was "banned." Several sites say that a school district in Anaheim banned it because of "the behaviors of the main character, Scarlet O’Hara, and the depiction of slaves." I don't know whether all use of the book in the schools was in fact prohibited.

However, I did find that in 2000 the Anaheim school district "removed" a biography of John Maynard Keynes partly because "it could cause harassment against students seen with it." The hooligan's veto.

Muddling...

Sep. 18th, 2017 02:34 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (kei frown)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I did, eventually, sweep up the conkers late on Wednesday afternoon, and went to a radio club committee meeting in the evening.

Thursday morning's Morse practice was a bit more of a struggle than usual, partly because I wasn't particularly awake, and partly because of the odd HF propagation. The rest of the day mostly followed a similar pattern. I managed to get a little preparation done, but not much else.

Friday followed the same sort of muddled path, mostly, and I got less done than I'd have liked. On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend for gaming, and we spent the evening chatting.

There was the first day of a Foundation radio licence course on Sunday, so I had some preparation to do on Saturday. I managed to get it done, well enough, but other things I might have done fell by the wayside.

The course day on Sunday seemed to go well enough. The clubhouse we use is no longer being used by a pre-school, which meant we didn't have to work around piles of stuff. Just as well, as the course was full. Also just as well we didn't need my laptop, as I managed to take it but leave its mains adapter behind, so it would only have run for about half the day. I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of the day.

This morning's been another slow one. I've spent some of it trying to get FC preparation done. It's yet another day of sunshine and random heavy showers.

I still havn't managed to get out to that geocache or the nearby SOTA summit. I have, somehow, managed to keep Duolingo and Ingress streaks alive, but yesterday was a close call...
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

It pretty much kills any real social media time, especially longer-form stuff like DW. I could probably do more if I turned the computer on at night but I really try never to do that when I'm on a project. There's no reason to.

Maybe things will even out a little. I'd made a commitment to myself to write here regularly, and I haven't quite been able to do it for the past few weeks.

On the bright side, Baltimore is a nice town so far. I'm sure there are parts that aren't nice, but that's true of every city, isn't it?

How to create monsters

Sep. 15th, 2017 06:31 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Yesterday I was reading a rather skillfully done propaganda piece. It got me to thinking about basic techniques for creating monsters — not in the Frankenstein sense, but in the Maple Street sense.

First, you need a group or category of people doing something bad. It helps if they've actually done something bad on a measurable scale, but it's not strictly required. It's enough if they could do something bad. What's important is that you can get your target audience to think of them as "the other."

Next, you need a larger group to equate with the actually bad group. The method can vary. It can be people who look like them, people who share some of their ideas, or people who are defending their rights. If all else fails, outright smears will work. This lets you inflate the threat so people see enemies everywhere.

To insure best results, you need to invoke causes and symbols that people will rally around. Patriotic causes invoked with false analogies will often serve the purpose.

Do all this, and you can accuse lots of people of being members of the seriously bad group. Best of all, anyone who questions your reasoning is automatically part of the baddies.


Keep this pattern in mind. You'll see it in lots of places, promoting lots of different campaigns.

(Argh! When did "disable auto-formatting" become the default on Dreamwidth?)

Just another manic Caturday

Sep. 13th, 2017 12:20 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
The population of the kitten room was down a bit this week, with some cats adopted and not a lot of new ones. Bongo is coming down more than he used to, instead of always finding the highest places to sit. He was very hungry, and I had to bring out seconds of canned food for the free-roaming cats.

Hawkgirl, Sagittarius, Sansa, and Baratheon have been adopted. Salinger was still there, hissing at us. Placido and Domingo continue to make chaos of their cage and are very shy of people. Orchard and Belladonna are eating very little.

A sample copy of the 2018 MRFRS calendar was out for viewing, and Carl is on the January page! The caption says "World's hungriest cat."

Veni, Vidi, Filki

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:03 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
I've made a start on my book project on song transformations. Yesterday I borrowed a book on Parody in the Middle Ages from the UNH library. At the same time, I got a UNH library card, which cost me only $48 for a year's borrowing privileges. Nice deal. The book is mostly about prose parodies in Latin, but it should provide a few clues.

Yesterday evening I found the Holy Grail — with my GPS! It's a restaurant in Epping, New Hampshire, where the Seacoast Libertarian Party held the first of what hopefully will be a tradition of monthly dinners. It's a church converted into an Irish restaurant. We sat in what might have been the organ loft.

Dropped...

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:35 am
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
There are days and days...

I've not slept that well the last few nights, for a variety of reasons including lack of sufficient exercise during the day, and the weather. Last night's sleep suffered from both of those. It was another blustery night, sufficiently so that I felt the need (around 03:30) to get up and go around the house making sure all the windows were firmly closed, and then making sure there were no gaps in the bedroom curtains through which the neighbours' wretched motion-triggered lights could shine. In windy weather they turn themselves on and off frequently and erratically. (I have spoken to the neighbours concerned, but they've not done anything useful as a result.)

I had planned a local outing for this morning, primarily to attend to a geocache of mine, but also, possibly, to activate my nearest SOTA summit. However, the late slow start to my day and a deterioration of the day's weather forecast have put paid to that. I should get to walk as far as the shops, and I have to go out this evening on radio club business, but that's about all I have energy for. If I can, I'll find the energy to sweep up all the conkers the wind has brought down, but I'll do that after the afternoon schools exodus, as there's a fair chance I'll end up with quite a bit less to sweep up...

Juggling...

Sep. 12th, 2017 01:51 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
About lunch-time on Saturday I decided to experiment on the new antenna with the mast only partially raised. I put just two sections up. That meant I had to do a little fiddling with the guys, and I'll have to figure out something less fiddly if I repeat the exercise. HF conditions were not great.

On Sunday morning after the radio club Net I took a look at the weather forecast and lowered the mast. Then I headed for Epping for an NMC rehearsal. I chose the Blackwall Tunnel route because traffic reports indicated sever problems on the M25. I arrived a little later than planned, but it could have been worse. The rehearsal was quite hard work, but usefully so. By the time I headed home the weather had turned wet, but the M25 (or at least the part of it I needed to use) was in better shape, so the drive, though somewhat longer, was also somewhat quicker. It seems there had been another fairly large X-class flare from the Sun early in the afternoon. The HF bands were not exactly humming in the evening. That and the wet weather made me doubly glad I'd lowered the mast in the morning.

On Monday I tried to fit a walk to the shops in between the rain, and mostly succeeded. Most of the rest of the day went into preparing a radio club newsletter. In the evening I managed to catch the Morse practice broadcast from Essex. Unusually, it was a mostly good clear signal, and I didn't do too badly.

I was awake in the middle of the night, and ended up spending awhile kicking my weather system back into action. Sometimes problems seem to be because the computer's USB has got itself into a strange state. Other times it's because the weather system's console is in a muddle. On this occasion it seems both problems were evident. Power down and reboot computer? No change. Reset weather system console? No apparent difference. Power down and reboot computer again. Communication re-established. Go back to bed.

I was awake a little later than planned this morning. The weather's fine but windy. There's laundry on the line outside getting dry. I, however, don't have much energy...

The sound of silence

Sep. 12th, 2017 06:32 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
What happens when you quit and no one notices? The NEFilk combined con project is truly dead.

Surprising connections

Sep. 10th, 2017 05:45 pm
madfilkentist: Bat drawing with text "Fledermaus Freundlich" (FledermausFreundlich)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Today the lady who has organized several short hikes in the Kingston area invited people to one in the town forest, across the street from my house. I was the only one who showed up, but we went in anyway. In the course of the discussion, it turned out her parents were from Wernigerode, where FilkContinental will be held in a few weeks! Her family coat of arms can be found in the Liebfrauenkirche. We sang a bit of "Brüderchen, komm tanz mit mir" from "Hansel and Gretel" but didn't run into any witches in the woods.

Terminal stupidity

Sep. 9th, 2017 08:16 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist

Equifax supposedly set up a website for people to check on whether they've been affected by its data breach. At least they've convinced CNN that it's a legitimate site. If you can get through to it, it apparently wants six digits of your Social Security number. Here's what it looks like on my browser:

Insecure connection warning for https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

It gets worse. Here's the whois information for the site:


whois equifaxsecurity2017.com
   Domain Name: EQUIFAXSECURITY2017.COM
   Registry Domain ID: 2156034374_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
   Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.markmonitor.com
   Registrar URL: http://www.markmonitor.com
   Updated Date: 2017-08-25T15:08:31Z
   Creation Date: 2017-08-22T22:07:28Z
   Registry Expiry Date: 2019-08-22T22:07:28Z
   Registrar: MarkMonitor Inc.
   Registrar IANA ID: 292
   Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abusecomplaints@markmonitor.com
   Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.2083895740
   Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
   Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
   Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
   Name Server: BART.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
   Name Server: ETTA.NS.CLOUDFLARE.COM
   DNSSEC: unsigned
   URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/
>>> Last update of whois database: 2017-09-09T12:15:37Z <<<

Whois records are supposed to have contact information. There's none. Is it in fact a phishing site? That's still not clear.

Three Equifax executives sold off a large amount of stock, after the breach was discovered but before anyone told them about it. They were just prescient.

A New Hampshire politician said in full seriousness that Clinton should be executed for her Internet sloppiness. I thought that was seriously excessive, but in this case I wonder (not in full seriousness, Equifax lawyers!).

madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
"I never realized they were right until they blocked traffic and made me late for work!" You can count the number of people who have said that on the feathers of both hands.

Yesterday I heard on the radio news that a few dozen people blocked traffic in Cambridge to protest the termination of DACA. I approve of the cause, but why did these people think they'd win anyone to their cause that way?

Of course, they weren't thinking of persuasion but of publicity. They did make the radio news, and I probably wouldn't have heard about the protest otherwise. But the point of protest is to promote a cause, not to get the activists egoboo. Blocking traffic isn't in the same category with beating people up, but it doesn't win over people who are on the fence, much less change the minds of DACA opponents.

A while back, there was a series of protests, blocking traffic and shopping mall entrances, by Black Lives Matter activists. Today unsupported claims of violence by BLM activists are rife in Trumpist circles. Mobbing shopping malls helped to make those claims plausible in many people's eyes.

The protesters who take their grievances out on random people in the street or mall call it "civil disobedience." It's not. Civil disobedience is the refusal to obey an unjust law. The protesters don't think laws against blocking traffic are unjust; they just think they should be allowed to block traffic because they're different.

Getting noticed for a cause is difficult, but that doesn't mean that anything that gets attention is automatically good. When the message people hear is "We're punishing you because of something somebody else did," which side are they going to flock to? Punish them enough and they might even elect a lying, crooked, jerk president rather than support the protesters' side.

I understood that reference!

Sep. 9th, 2017 11:21 am
aunty_marion: (caffeine-stream)
[personal profile] aunty_marion
Or, things that I dreamed where I know exactly where the components came from!

It felt like several mini-dreams, almost repeated, but that could have been an illusion and it was one dream where I simply saw the same thing again and again. I was watching Hamlet (yes, we know where THAT's from!), but only the Yorick scene (photo? what photo? *walks off whistling innocently*); but every time it was a different presentation of the skull - different lighting, different skull, and so on. The only one I remember clearly was where the skull was actually a hologram, just hovering in mid-air. But the colours of the lighting were all different (why, hello, Thor: Ragnarok posters...), though they didn't appear in 'rainbow' order. I think the skull-hologram was red.

And then I woke up & went to the loo, and went back to sleep (dreamlessly, as far as I can remember) for another three hours and so woke up late.

A Slow Week...

Sep. 9th, 2017 10:53 am
hrrunka: My garden in the summer (garden)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I got much less done over the last week than I'd planned. A few important jobs (like doing enough garden clearing to fill the garden waste bin) did get done, which, I guess, is something. The week's main distraction was a visit to the dentist on Thursday. Additional appointments have been booked. I am not looking forward to them.

I caught the club radio Nets on Sunday morning (top band) and Wednesday evening (VHF), and the Morse practice on Thursday morning went about as well as average, but not as well as the week before. I also went to a radio club meeting on Monday evening. The talk was an interesting one about the first trans-Atlantic under-sea cables.

Short-wave radio conditions were very variable over the week. I spent a bit of time trying to chase SOTA activators, at least partly to see how much of an improvement my new antenna has made, but the Sun has been surprisingly active, given we're close to sunspot minimum. On Wednesday one of the large sunspot groups produced two X-class flares. The first one, which happened shortly after 10am, seemed pretty big and caused a short-wave blackout for a while. The second one, which happened at about 1pm, made the first one look like a minor event. It was followed by a somewhat deeper radio blackout, and an associated coronal mass ejection hit the Earth very early on Friday morning, so it travelled 93 million miles in 36 hours. It produced some fairly impressive auroras, I'm told.

On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend. We played Ticket to Ride Europe, which Lissa won. We ended up heavily contesting a small part of the board, and at the end I think there were only five points between first and last.

During the week there's been a bit of rain, some of it quite heavy. The weather today looks a bit brighter, but it's definitely a bit chillier. Autumn is, clearly, on its way.

August 2017 Bookpost

Sep. 8th, 2017 10:00 pm
gorgeousgary: (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousgary
79. A View from the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman

80. Sister Mine, Nalo Hopkinson

81. Genius Loci, Jaym Gates (anthology)

82. The Hike, Drew Magary

83. The Wild Harmonic, Beth W. Patterson - Yes, that Beth Patterson. As in, our Beloved Blonde Bouzouki Babe, now turning her writing talents to short fiction and novels. The Wild Harmonic stars a bass guitar-playing werewolf in New Orleans. The discerning reader will spot a few Rush references. This is Beth we are talking about (*grin*).

84. Apex Magazine #99 (August 2017) - I usually don't comment on the magazines, but Issue #99 of Apex is notable as it is guest-edited by - and entirely comprised of stories and essays from - an Indigenous American editor and authors.

85. Clarkesworld #131 (August 2017)

86. Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire (novella)

87. Lightspeed #87 (August 2017)

88. Nausicaa: The Ultimate Collection: Vol 1, Hayau Miyazaki (graphic novel/manga) - I had picked up a set of the manga in a Con or Bust auction a few years ago. A few recent mentions of the anime (which I have seen, but not in this millennium) in various blogs finally moved them to the top of my reading pile.

89. Nausicaa: The Ultimate Collection: Vol 2, Hayau Miyazaki (graphic novel/manga)

Just interesting...

Sep. 6th, 2017 10:59 pm
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
I just read that Shiva Ayaddurai, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, just lost a lawsuit where he tried to intimidate his critics. He claims to have "invented email" and sued Techdirt for calling him a liar on that count.

This doesn't justify the way he was treated in Boston or make him a "Nazi," but it certainly casts doubt on his commitment to free speech.

Did he invent email? This article looks like a pretty good analysis of his claim, and it rejects it.

Deer little kittens

Sep. 6th, 2017 01:59 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
As I was driving to the cat shelter, a deer ran across the road, close to the place where the practice house fire I'd previously mentioned was. There was no danger of my hitting it, but it certainly got me wide awake!

Ginger Spice and Posh Spice Some of the kittens have been adopted. Aquarius is gone, leaving Sagittarius alone. Barry Allen and Hawkgirl aren't there; they're off somewhere fighting dog supervillains. Sansa and Baratheon are both healthy. Two new kittens are Ginger Spice and Posh Spice (picture). They're rather shy but can be petted. We had a couple of cage compartments to clean and disinfect, so some of the cats must have gone very recently.

Bongo is still there. He's one of my favorites, and I wish someone would adopt him. Someone who likes big kitties.

It was raining hard on the way home, and the combination of rain and fog killed the visibility, but I made it home without any real problems.

I've got prospects

Sep. 6th, 2017 12:00 pm
filkerdave: (h2g2)
[personal profile] filkerdave

This is kind of cool. I decided that it's high time I read some of John Le Carré's books. I've been meaing too for several years, since the film of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" came out a few years back. I started with "Call for the Dead" and then "A Murder of Quality" and now I'm reading through "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold"

About a quarter of the way into the book is this bit: "He was as ready to drink tea at Fortnum’s as beer at the Prospect of Whitby"

This made me smile because The Prospect of Whitby is a real pub in London, and I was there a few times when I was living in London. It's right along the Thames in Wapping (maybe a mile and half east of the Tower of London for those who want a better landmark). There's a long pewter-covered bar inside and really tasty food and beer inside. Since you're right on the river there are great views.

Just a little unexpected moment that brightened my day.

Dreambits

Sep. 6th, 2017 09:16 am
filkerdave: (spiders!)
[personal profile] filkerdave

Well, not really dreambits other than I had someone invade my dreams last night that I haven't spoken to in *years*, just out of the blue. There's no reason I can think of for this to have happened. Usually I can find some trigger to drams in what's going on during the day or in my life. But this? Nope.

Color me confused.

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