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For the record, AFAIK, PZ is still blogging at the old site, it's just that since National Geographic took over Science Blogs, he's moved the political and other non-science stuff to the new site. Actually, he posts everything at Freethought Blogs; the science stuff gets crossposted to Science Blogs.
You can sugar Coke in the US without the whole "import it from Mexico" business if you stock up in the 2-3 weeks before Passover. I find the Ashkenazic definition of "leavened" to be a bit odd, but it does mean that Kosher for Passover Coke and Pepsi don't contain any corn syrup.
Pardon me if I seem a little cranky, but I attempted to mention the Internet censorship bills about three weeks ago. Also, technically, it's not Congress that would do the censoring. If one of these bills passes, it's copyright holders that would do it. YouTube, to name just one site, would be in big trouble.
I would like to point out that Amazon is far from the only company with an affiliates program. In fact, becoming an Indiebound affiliate would support independent bookstores. Perhaps, affiliate programs would be a good approach to financing the site, but we could branch from Amazon and look for affiliate programs that the community can support.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2011 on Taking care of business at The Slacktiverse
I am thankful to the Amtrak ticket agent who got me a discounted rate on the Acela after I missed my originally scheduled train to Boston. I am not thankful for the cold I've been nursing for over a week.
MercuryBlue: It might be a valid concern. I think there was a link to an article or post about that issue on a previous "This Week in the Slacktiverse." Also, I visited the local Occupy site a few weeks back, and there was a "comedian" on stage making some seriously unfunny sexist jokes. The woman working the information table apologized to me, and said that if she weren't stuck at the table, she'd do something about it.
I can't seem to get through to right now, but we need to take action to stop Congress' (and Big Media's) latest attempt to censor the Internet. There's more information at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a discussion at Making Light.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2011 on Board Post, November 17 2011 at The Slacktiverse
"Oh, just LOTS AND LOTS OF PURE SUGAR" Echoing Brin's *headdesk*. I have never understood why people seem to feel the need to add more sweetness to sweet potatoes, and that was before I was diagnosed with diabetes. My mom isn't quite that clueless. She's an MD; she better not be, but she does seem somewhat confuzzled by my carefully scrutinizing the nutrition information panel on every prepackaged food item we get in the supermarket. I've also had to explain to her that having orange juice and a banana at the same meal is not a good idea for me. Either one is fine, but not both.
Possibly for next's weeks Board business, author Seanan McGuire discusses why we still need print books. Basically, it comes down to access for people who can't afford e-readers and don't have net access.
Actually, while the Norns go way back in Norse mythology, my understanding is that the idea that there are three of them is a direct result of Hellenic influence, specifically the Fates. Also, there's been a discussion at the Other Site of how Vetinari would handle the Two Prophets. I'm wondering if the person who started the Discworld Rapture story might be interested in the topic and/or picking up the fic again.
My understanding of the difference between light and heavy rail is that heavy rail runs entirely on dedicated right-of-ways while light rail runs part or all of its routes in the street. So, subways and els are heavy rail, and Philadelphia's Subway-Surface is light rail. Note that the Subway-Surface is actually running trolley cars. The Norristown High Speed Line is weird. It runs on a dedicated right-of-way, but uses trolley sized cars, although sometimes two of those cars are hooked together. I ride SEPTA far more now that I actually live in Philadelphia than I did when I lived in the suburbs. I only ever recall riding the suburban trolleys when I had jury duty and didn't want to deal with parking at the County Seat. I hate driving (and more to the point trying to find parking) in Center City though, so if I have any reason to go there, I'll take transit. I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to mass transit where I live. I live between two north-south bus routes, and between the eastbound and westbound legs of an east-west route. I'm also a short walk from the Broad Street subway. This makes using transit incredibly easy. For all the people dissing Amtrak, there's a reason I tend to refer to it Amcrap. Nevertheless, it's my preferred method of getting to Boston for three reasons: 1) my mom lives within walking distance of the train station, 2) she doesn't cope well with the traffic around Logan Airport, and 3) much less security theater than the airport(although not none, they have dogs patrolling and check IDs at 30th St Station. I've never seen that level of security at Back Bay though.) Oh, and having driven to Boston, I can assure you that Amtrak is faster, at least if you're riding on the Northeast Corridor. Assuming that you don't pack your own, the food's better if you drive, though. Seriously, the café car provides overpriced crap, and the only place I've ever seen with soft drink prices even close to what Amcrap charges is Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I've been known to get off the train at New Haven to buy a soft drink because the vending machines on the platform charge less for a 20 oz bottle than the café car charges for a 12 oz can. If you're driving, well, the food at the service plazas is both cheaper and tastier than anything I've ever found on the train if you're on a toll road, and if you're not on a toll road, you can usually find some decent local food, especially given highway signs flogging the local eateries.
Toggle Commented Jul 13, 2011 on No one rides the bus at The Slacktiverse
Given that, IIRC, Nick Kiddle is in the UK, the ACLU isn't going to be of much use in this case. Is there a British equivalent? That might be worth contacting.
Fire and Police budget cuts cost a man's life as firefighters and police watch a man drown, unable to take action. We have the obligatory anti-government rant in the comments, and at least one person who completely failed to understand why the rescue personnel didn't do anything. One of the first things I learned as an EMT was that you don't take stupid chances on the job. If the scene isn't safe, the paramedics don't go in at all, and firefighters and cops don't go in without the proper protective gear. Basically, this is because if something happens to a rescuer, not only is zie not doing anyone any good, but zie is also tying up resources that should be used to help the original victim(s). Well, if they haven't been getting the proper training and the equipment hasn't been maintained, then attempting the rescue is taking a stupid chance.
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2011 on Board Business, June 2 2011 at The Slacktiverse
@Lampdevil: I don't know the new WoD well enough to comment, but old WoD? Edward would have to be a 15th Gen vampire to be able to get Bella pregnant. That means he wouldn't be able to turn her because 15th Gen vampires and a significant number of 14th generation vampires can't. It also means that as far as vampires go, Carlisle is a relative wuss, and his childer are complete wusses. OTOH, some thin blooded vampires have oracular abilities which would explain Alice, and apparently some thin blooded vampires are able to invent their own disciplines which might explain several of the rest of Carlisle's little coterie. Are Carlisle and Esme ever explicitly given special abilities? If you stick to the standard oWoD disciplines, I think Carlisle must have at least a couple of dots of Presence (at 14th Gen he'd max out at four dots). One more thing, 15th Generation vampires can tolerate limited amounts of sunlight; sometimes they even tan. So, if we give all of the "kids" the Light Sleeper merit, or perhaps a unique to them Daytime Wakefulness discipline, then they can go to school in Forks just fine as long as they don't come in on the rare sunny days when their limited sun tolerance would be exceeded by going outside. Bella presumably has the Merit Iron Will which protects her against magical mental intrusion, and also makes her stubborn as all get out. The offspring of a vampire and mortal is functionally a revenant that ages normally until puberty when their aging slows to normal revenant rates. Such a child is called a dhampir. So, Bella would have to put up with the normal nine months of pregnancy, and the kid would grow up at the normal rate, but she'd be unusually strong, and have a few other ghoulish characteristics. I don't have a good explanation for why she smells so good to Edward and Edward only. Potent Blood would make her smell that good to any vampire that got in range. Maybe this is at least a partial explanation for the coterie's "vegetarianism." It may be partly a moral stance, but it may also be a way of avoiding the attention of the larger vampiric community. Princes don't likes strange vampires hunting in their towns without consent. As very weak vampires, they could get way with it. Note that in the oWoD, vampires can feed on each other, and the most powerful ones don't have a choice in the matter. The Quileute werewolves, are of course, Wendigo, well, mostly anyway. I suppose there might be an Uktena or two among them. I'd expect to see a wereraven (Corax) or two around as well, but of course, there's no mention of them in the stories.
The Japanese story would be about someone doing dirty dancing and telling jokes to lure Amaterasu the sun goddess from a cave where she was hiding.
Toggle Commented May 12, 2011 on The Mysteries at Eleusis at The Slacktiverse
Joanna Russ has also died. And it looks like I got the first comment.
I'd love to go too, but I get to Boston about twice/year, usually sometime in late summer and either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I might manage three times this year since I've already been up on Arisia weekend. Sadly, I can't make it up there this weekend, but since my mom actually lives just off the Prudential Center, maybe a get together in the Pru Center might be possible later in the year.
mmy: Why has no one taken them to court over this? Hi, Philadelphia resident here. Actually, AFAICT, the only person who really looks at them other than the customer is the salescritter dispensing them, and you can ask for a specific gender. In fact, hearing someone do just that is how I found out what the little colored stickers with a single letter on them meant. At that point, I'd been getting passes for several months. My housemate once got a Transpass that had the wrong gender on it from some under the table source. On the subway, you swipe the pass in a slot on the turnstile and no one sees it. On buses, well, the drivers I dealt with never paid any attention whatsoever. Well, they're planning on upgrading the payment system in the next few years. Maybe they'll get rid of the stupid gender stickers.
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2011 on Frakking Bathrooms at The Slacktiverse
Okay, the embedded pictures showed up in my previews, and I thought they'd shown up when I posted. Where'd they go? The links go to the relevant album.
First, piccies! From Cat Past & Present From Cat Past & Present Yes, those are two different torties. Anyway, from what I understand, the tortie pattern is developmental rather than genetic which is why a clone of a tortie won't have the same pattern as the original. Basically, what it comes down to is that only one X chromosome is active in any given cell, but different X chromosomes may be active in different cells in a given individual and which cell has which X chromosome is active is determined during development. BTW, is Typepad prone to signing people out? When I first tried to preview this comment to make sure the pictures embedded properly, I got informed that I wasn't signed in.
Suzette Haden Elgin had a lengthy discussion of "Ask vs. Guess" culture in her LJ. Somewhere along the line, the terminology morphed into "Ask vs. Hint." I think I prefer "Hint" to "Guess" because that way the focus is on the initiator in both cultures. "Guess" puts the focus on the respondent.
My understanding of phantom limbs is that it's not so much the brain inventing input where there isn't any as referring input from a part of the body that still exists to a part of the body that doesn't. People may be familiar with the concept of "referred pain" where a part of the body that lacks pain receptors takes damage and the patient feels it in a part of the body that has pain receptors. Something similar seems to happen with amputees. These cases depend on the fact that sensory inputs from different parts of the body are processed in different parts of the brain. So if Brain Section A would normally handle inputs from limb X and limb X is missing, then Brain Section B which is next to Brain Section A might start using Brain Section A to process some the inputs it normally handles. The patient experiences the processing in Brain Section A as sensations in the missing body part.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2011 on Charles Bonnet Syndrome at The Slacktiverse
I used to own a New Age store, and I still have a lot of the inventory. This includes a bunch of books about Wicca. I don't think I have Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, largely because that's one of those books we sold out of regularly. I may have a copy of Living Wicca, but I'd have to go to the storage unit to physically check the inventory. I may have The Truth About Witchcraft Today, also by Cunningham which is intended as an introduction to Wicca for non-pagans. Silver Ravenwolf, I have rather a lot of. She wrote a sort of trilogy of which To Ride a Silver Broomstick is the first volume. The other two are To Stir a Magick (yes with a "k") Cauldron and To Light a Sacred Flame. Anyway, she wrote those before she got really annoying. I may have copies of Teenwitch and her angel book, but those are definitely into her annoying phase. I'm sufficiently broke that I don't want to just give them to people, but I'm willing to let them go at wholesale (that's a 40% discount off retail) plus shipping. I'll try to get a more complete list in the next couple of weeks. Also, I have one or two copies of a CD of a radio interview that Gardner did. Actually, there may be more than one interview on the CDs; I haven't listened to them. They'd come as part of a set with the Gardner books mentioned upthread, but we somehow managed to sell the books without the CDs. I'd be willing to sell them for a couple bucks each. Anyone interested in buying anything off me is welcome to email me at Apologies if this comes off as spamming.
Toggle Commented Mar 21, 2011 on Seeds of love at The Slacktiverse
Given that we have at least one admitted person with celiac on the thread, I will now post the obligatory sei-tan warning. If you didn't already know, the stuff is a commonly used meat substitute in Chinese restaurants and it's almost pure wheat gluten. I'm aware of at least two people with celiac who've made themselves sick because they didn't know that.
Toggle Commented Mar 19, 2011 on At Patheos: TF: Trust-busting at The Slacktiverse
Sheila: Please note that the guy in question was trying to duck responsibility for something he'd done by denying being his brother's keeper. Fred's saying that you don't get to duck the responsibility.