siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Constant readers will recall that I wrote a three-part post titled, "Why You Can't Find A Therapist, No, Really". I posted Part 1 on Sept 1st and Part 2 and Part 3 on Sept 30th of last year.

The clinic I work for as a contractor recently paid me, for my last pay period, an amount of money that was four times my typical earnings. Admittedly, how much I actually get paid fluctuates pretty wildly, but I figured I would have noticed having either 4x in arrears or having seen 4x as many patients as usual. But I'm paid via direct deposit, and the corresponding statement saying what I was getting paid for is put in my mail box at the clinic, so I had to wait till I was back in the clinic – today – to pick it up and find up why I was getting all this money.

The statement mystified me when I got it. It was two whole pages of pairs of canceled previous payments and replacement payments and at first I couldn't make heads or tails of it, and then I realized that I was looking at a statement where almost all the patient sessions listed had happened in 2016.

As I mentioned, last month, for the first time in decades, we got a raise. A big raise. Not big enough to be adequate, but big enough to be astounding. It was, we thought, effective starting May 1.

No. Turns out the raise was retroactive. To – apparently – Oct 1, 2016...

...The day after I posted the final sections of "Why You Can't Find A Therapist, No, Really".

Rumor has it that the raise – more properly, the increase in rate paid by at least two of the Medicaid providers – happened because MassHealth (Massachusetts Medicaid) leaned on them to do so, to fix the emergent strike.

Um.

MassHealth? Are... are you there? Are you reading my journal?

If so, thank you! (If not, still thank you!)

I have a few other suggestions for things you could fix!

For instance: I'm currently doing an amazing job (or so my chart reviewer wrote) doing care coordination with a big medical team involving four clinics, three hospitals, and family all involved in the care for a patient with an emergent psychotic illness. I can do that because the patient has MBHP, and MBHP pays for case coordination if it's extramural. I'd like to point out that it's insane that if I have a 15 minute conversation about the diagnostic formulation for a challenging and high-risk case with an in-house psychiatrist, I don't get paid for it (and neither do they), but if I do the same thing with a psychiatrist at a different clinic, I do. How wack is it that I literally wouldn't be able to afford to spend the sort of time on this case that I did (and continue to!) if the patient hadn't coincidentally decided he didn't like my clinic's available psychiatrist and went and found himself another one through his PCP. Surely this can't be the incentive system you want me or the patient (or the psychiatrist) to be functioning under – one where patients are incented to get their psychiatric care from an entirely different facility from their therapist.

And thank goodness that he had MBHP, as pretty much an amazing fluke. No other MassHealth payers pay for care coordination at all. If this guy had been on NHP or Tufts/BMC when he came down with schizophrenia... I shudder to think. Do you realize how much I've been on the phone with MGH's ER and APS and social workers and psychiatrists at local mental hospitals in the last six months?

Don't you think there should be some sort of provision for what happens when someone presents with a psychotic disorder? Like, when a provider slams the big red "R/o Schizophrenia" button, the payer has to start paying for some case coordination? (I'd also recommend that for substance abuse cases, where patients can manipulate providers around meds; and in mandated reporter cases, where you should probably have payers pay therapists for their time filling in DCF/DPPC/DES or whatever.)

I have to think that the time demands of handling such a high-risk case are part of why some – maybe many – therapist are leary of working with psychotic or other high-risk patients. I've been there. I've twice spent four hours – half a work day – keeping a patient in crisis calm and coordinating with the BEST team and then the hospital, and never saw a dime for any of it. Who wants to bring a patient onto their caseload, for whom the total compensation divided across the total hours of work for that one patient come to less than minimum wage?

And I'm just talking about care coordination – I'm not even talking about CPT 90839 and 90840 which last I checked were still universally unfunded. Funding that would be way cool.

I have many other fine suggestions – I swear many of them even aren't just suggestions you pay me more money! I'm happy to talk more about reforms in mental health care.
minoanmiss: Minoan lady holding recursive portrait (Recursion)
[personal profile] minoanmiss posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Dear-Abby-Serial-father-keeps-chummy-11237805.php

Dear Abby: I recently met a 28-year-old father of three I~Rm interested in. He seems wonderful. He's a hard worker, takes care of his responsibilities and is an amazing father to his children. They~Rre all still very little, but they're great kids. The only thing that~Rs been on my mind lately is he has a lot of baggage. Those kids are from three different women. He gets along with all of them very well, to the point that they sometimes do stuff together with the children. They go out to places, or sometimes he invites them over to his place to swim in the pool. I understand that he has to maintain a healthy relationship with his exes for the sake of the children, but I never thought it would be this 'healthy.' I have never experienced something like this. I appreciate him being up front about everything, but I can't stop thinking about it. Am I overreacting?
Three's Company


Dear Three's Company: I don't think so. While I admire the man's devotion to his children -- not to mention his skilled diplomatic ability -- it does appear that he has a problem making a lasting commitment to a woman. Unless you would seriously consider joining this 'harem,' I urge you to religiously practice contraception. If you would like children in the future, it would be better to approach it with someone who isn't as marriage-phobic as this young man appears to be.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Oh god I didn't know it was possible to be this wet without actually wading into a body of water.

Vicariously Disabled.

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:07 am
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I doubt he even remembers enraging me. But I almost screamed at him.

I’m still not sure whether it was his fault.

But let’s rewind. I have a friend who has pretty severe walking issues – he gets only so many steps in a day before he collapses. Most days he can get to nightfall without needing a walker – and he works hard, very hard, not to be seen as a burden.

More so, he struggles to be seen as a person. If you’ve never friended someone with a disability, you don’t quite understand how a visible handicap can eclipse someone’s personality. People tend to assume that everyone in a wheelchair acts the same – they talk a little louder, a little slower, they’re quicker to dismiss their opinions because really, do they know what they want?

Disabled people struggle to be seen. And my friend, well, he worked really hard to be more than his disability –

– which meant he pushed himself hard at conventions. Lots of covert sweating, casually leaning on bars, sitting down when they could. Because if he displayed weakness, the conversation would shift from all the happy things that made his life worthwhile and would focus on “Are you all right?” – which is a question he asks himself entirely too damn much as it is.

He wanted the con to be a vacation and not an explanation. Which was why his disability was, largely, not quite a secret among friends but something where the extent wasn’t entirely revealed unless you were in the know.

And my friend had held up well during the day but was starting to fade in the evening. He was looking for, well, let’s call him The Guy Ultimately I Wanted To Yell At, or Tguiwtya.

He was looking for Tguiwtya. Because he was good friends with Tguiwtya, and and wanted a few moments to hang with Tguiwtya to hang out before he collapsed. And my friend texted Tguiwtya to say “Hey, I’m on my way,” and Tguiwtya had said “I’m in the back of the ballroom.”

Tguiwtya was not in the back of the ballroom.

I ran into my friend, looking exhausted, who asked me if I’d seen Tguiwtya. I knew he’d walked all the way down from their room to meet Tguiwtya, exhausting the very last of his daily steps, and getting back up to the room would be an effort. I said I hadn’t.

He plopped into a chair, sweaty, miserable, waiting for Tguiwtya to show. I kept him company, brought him water. But Tguiwtya wasn’t responding to texts. And eventually, my friend said, “Well, let’s see if I can find him,” and staggered off, leaning heavily on his cane.

I wondered if he was going to make it.

I left. And lo, a couple of hallways down, there was Tguiwtya! Merrily laughing with a bunch of his friends. I collared him.

“Hey. Our friend’s walking the halls looking for you.”

He looked puzzled, as if unsure why I’d bring such a trivial thing to his attention. “Yeah,” he said. “That’s fine.”

I almost screamed.

What I wanted to yell was, “Do you fucking realize how much effort it takes for my friend to find you? You said your dumb ass would be at the back of the ballroom, and they exerted themselves to get to you because they like you, and now they’re straining themselves to find you again, and your answer should not be some pudding-faced ‘that’s fine’ but ‘Yes, sir, I will get right on that.'”

Then I saw Tguiwtya’s friends, crooking their necks at me.

Did I want to make a scene?

Was it worth looking like a fucking maniac in front of all these people, just to make a point about someone’s condition? Because they didn’t know. They couldn’t understand unless I literally barged into their conversation, twisted it, made it about this, and….

Oh.

Shit, that’s gotta be what it’s like all the time, isn’t it?

Let’s be honest: Tguiwtya should have fucking known how much effort it took my friend to walk all the way down to meet him. I know for a fact that my buddy had talked to Tguiwtya about his illness. He was one of the inner circle, one of the folks who’d pushed a walker for my friend.

But how many times do you want to call some able-bodied person out for not comprehending something that they cannot experience? For Tguiwtya, “walking to the ballroom and back” was such a trivial effort that I doubt he even contemplated it as an effort.

Would I be damaging Tguiwtya’s friendship with my friend by explaining what an accidental asshole they were being?

That was, I realized, a brief window into being disabled. People don’t see your illness, even when you make it clear to them. They can’t comprehend that this background static of their lives could be a deafening uproar to anyone else.

And you always get to choose: make an embarrassing fuss and maybe get accommodated, maybe get rejected – or keep the peace and keep a friendship that means less but at least you get to keep it?

To this day, I’m still not sure if I should have yelled at him. Maybe I should. But he wasn’t my friend, and even if he was, I’m not sure I wanted to dress him down in front of a crowd of people.

What I do know is that I doubt Tguiwtya even ponders that moment. If he does, he thinks of me as the asshole who gave him a vicious side-eye when he didn’t break off his amusing anecdote to rush to meet our friend in the ballroom.

But I remember.

I learned something that day.

I hope I learned to listen.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Music meme: day 10 of 30

Jun. 27th, 2017 12:43 pm
liv: bacterial conjugation (attached)
[personal profile] liv
A song that makes you sad. It's hard to find anything sadder than one of my friends who posted a video of a scratch orchestra playing the European anthem Ode to Joy the day after the UK voted to leave the EU. But the song most likely to make me cry, personally, is the aria Voi che sapete from Mozart's The marriage of Figaro.

break-up sadness, plus video )

Music meme and gaming

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:00 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
Day 9 of the (in my case very slow-running) music meme asks for a song that makes you happy. And I have quite a lot of those, making me happy is a big reason I have a music collection at all. I think I'm going to go for Complex person by The Pretenders. The lyrics are not all that cheerful in some ways, but I love the bouncy tune and I always hear this as a song about determination and not letting things get you down.

video embed, actually audio only )

Also I've had a good week for playing games: mostly list with short comments )

"Ugh, troll bogies!"

Jun. 26th, 2017 01:05 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

[This was the review of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” I posted on June 8th 1999, shortly before the release of “Azkaban”.]

It's been quite a while since I enjoyed a previously unread children's book as much as I enjoyed HP&TPS. At first, the book did seem to skip through genres quite jerkily: I think the introduction, an ugly-duckling story as with the start of, say, James and the Giant Peach, was a bit too long for a section so separate from the rest of the story. But the mystery part was excellent and I never guessed the secret. (It's an interesting point that there's no way you can be really evil if you have a stammer.) Considered as a school story... I'm not sure I can tell: the conventions for stories about boys' schools and girls' schools are so different, and good stories (such as this one) about co-ed schools are correspondingly so rare. Perhaps this is just my limited experience.

Incidentally, I wonder how much she was influenced by DWJ. The idea of the Ministry of Magic is very similar to Chrestomanci's department (though with different motives); you could perhaps draw (a few) parallels with Witch Week.

The description of the first few days at the school did get slightly irritating, because your attention kept being summarily drawn to a rapid succession of things which were (or seemed to be) just for show, without any obvious use in the story (e.g. the Choosing Hat): it was rather as though the author had invited you over to show you her holiday snaps. This is one of the places where I'd draw unfavourable comparisons with the subtle way DWJ has of doing the same thing; nevertheless, there are lots of good little ideas used well, with Diagon Alley and the Every Flavour sweets being especially memorable.

A few oddnesses: I'm sure Hermione's logic puzzle has more than one solution. The bizarre HM turned without warning into a bizarre moralist beside the Mirror of Erised (though you could draw comparisons with his behaviour by Harry's sick bed). Quidditch was rather run to death. Were there really no half-decent people in the whole of Slytherin? And by the way, I'm fairly sure I remember reading in Brewer that the Philosopher's Stone was pink and crumbly, not scarlet... hmm!

But it's also been a while since I've slowed down towards the end of a book because I know I'm going to miss the characters (cf. the Neverending Story). So I think I'll look out for the sequel... besides, I want to know whether Harry & Hermione get together :) . I'll certainly be recommending this to people I know who are sensible enough to want to read it.

[And a small claim to fame: AFAIK I was the first person to try to create a Harry Potter newsgroup.]

Interesting Links for 26-06-2017

Jun. 26th, 2017 12:04 pm

We're back

Jun. 26th, 2017 05:32 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Tomorrow)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
Two weeks of roses and playparks, museums and public art, wide open avenues, petunias and rolling hills. Two weeks of Tom and he has failed to notice that I am fundamentally unlikable. He, of course, is perfectly delightful.

We spent one week in Almaty and one week in Astana, with a day in Bishkek and a train journey across Kazakhstan. It was every bit as wonderful as I could have imagined, and we had an amazing time. The people are so lovely and the cities so beautiful.

I am a rose

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:02 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel

This is the first of our rose plants to flower.
The plant's name is Sheila.


I've been growing roses all my life.
I wear a necklace of rosewood.
In many ways, I am a rose.

Roses aren't naturally climbing plants, like bindweed or grapevines. They must be cared for, and bound to a structure. And I've learned that I need to give myself a structure, or I can't naturally climb.

I am a rose.

Roses need work. They must be pruned. The pruning is painful, but without it they won't flower.

I am a rose.

Nobody cares about dog-roses, nobody notices them, but they grow wild wherever they please. The popular roses that everyone admires are sterile and can't spread: they survive because they're grafted onto a dog-rose root. The roses nobody cares about are the roses that keep the others alive.

I am a rose.

I grew up near one of the biggest rose nurseries in the country, so everywhere there was me, there were roses too. I fell into many a rosebush while I was learning to ride a bike. I carefully grew one up the side of the house, a yellow rose with a mind of its own: soon I had to leave it to its own devices because it had grown taller than my arms could reach.

I am a rose.

When I was about six I had a dream of a concentration camp. I had been imprisoned, along with many other humans, by gaseous aliens who lived on methane. The armed guards would float around our cabins and the parade ground, terrifying us as much as they intimidated us.

Of course when you're sent to the camps, they take everything away from you: all your property as well as your dreams and your name. But I'd smuggled in one memento: a small twig of rosewood. I kept it in the pocket of my grey uniform and squeezed it tight whenever I was homesick.

One day I realised that roses have thorns. And that was the day I used the rosewood to burst and kill the guards at the gate, and run free into the outside world. One small piece of reality had torn a hole in the nightmare.

I am a rose.

It's six years since I quit my PhD

Jun. 25th, 2017 03:57 pm
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
[personal profile] happydork
It’s nearly six years to the day since I got on a jet plane and flew away from the wreckage of my attempted PhD.

Quitting my PhD was the second best decision of my life (the best was marrying [personal profile] such_heights) and has brought me so much joy, happiness, and personal fulfilment.

I think a lot, on and off, about whether there’s anything that could have helped me quit it sooner. I suspect probably not, to be honest — all anyone could do was what they did do, which was love me, support me, and welcome me back with open arms when I did finally come home.

But for my past self, the one who got on that plane weighed down with ambivalence, here are a few things I’m glad you’ll learn:


Thoughts for a quitter )

Interesting Links for 25-06-2017

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm

Events of note

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:04 am
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Last weekend we made a family visit to the inlaws in High Wycombe, for some low-key hanging-out time together for the cousins to play together and the adults to gossip.  It was Too Hot, but at least every train on the way home had aircon, as did the taxi.  We experimentally departed from Cambridge North, as we are roughly equidistant from the two railway stations.  Advantage: not going through the centre of Cambridge. Disadvantages: only one direct train per hour to London on the weekend, no cafe or shops (yet), slightly more expensive by taxi.  But it was worth conducting the experiment to be sure.

We all struggled with the heat this week.  This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake.  We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.

I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who?  This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?".  The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.

Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.

Interesting Links for 24-06-2017

Jun. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

I was told the other day how true polyamory didn’t have rules. You just got to fuck whoever you wanted, and nobody could stop you or it wasn’t polyamory.

Okay.

Let’s break that down.

Because people forget rules weren’t inflicted on people wholesale by malicious bureaucrats. Rules are like pearls, which are beautiful to us but an irritant to an oyster. Oysters create pearls because they can’t get a piece of sand out of their tendermeats and layer it in nacre until they have a ball of Stuff stuck in their craw. That’s not great for the oyster, but it’s better than having sand ripping up their insides.

And like a pearl, every rule started with some Problem that was causing distress, and people decided to wrap a Rule around it – because as annoying as that Rule was, it was better than the initial Problem.

Now rules, as I’ve noted, are the failure state of polyamory. You’d be better served by utilizing expectations, which aren’t quite as brittle and lead to better understanding. But rules and expectations both are solutions to the same ultimate problem:

You’re hurting someone you love.

They feel abandoned when you don’t text them at the end of the night. They feel threatened when you cancel dates on them to go out with New Person. They feel exasperated when they’re spending their dates with you as a pseudo-relationship counsellor, picking apart the reasons you’re fighting with your other partner all the time.

But hey. You have no limits. So even if your partner’s cat just died and they’re desperate to not be alone tonight, fuck that! You had a date. And you’re not cancelling that because NO LIMITS!

What’s that?

That’d be cruel? You wouldn’t leave your partner alone during a time of need?

Well, I guess you have limits.

“That’s different!” you cry. “That’s what I wanted to do! I chose to do that of my own volition, not because of some stupid rules!”

Here’s the secret to rules, my friend:

Everyone chooses them.

There’s no legal contract for any poly relationship saying, “I have to stay with this person.” There may be consequences, divorce laws being punitive and all, but there’s consequences for any bad decision. You treat them badly enough that they refuse to talk to you, you don’t get the hot sex or the emotional support. If you’re really a shithead, you may lose friends over the breakup. There is no consequence-free decision.

As such, people may bitch about rules, but ultimately they chose to stay with the person who enacted them. Why? Because the irritant of the rules is better than losing that person entirely – or better than the less-critical problem of “I love them, so I don’t want to make them feel bad.”

You’re not better because you made a decision on the fly to alter your behavior to be with someone. That’s how relationships work. You negotiate, you compromise, you figure out where your elbow hits someone’s eye.

And in a lot of cases, you don’t do something that would bring you magnificent satisfaction because you know it would hurt someone. Unsafe sex. Taking someone else to the concert you promised you’d take them to. Disappearing for a two-week vacation with a new sweetie without letting them know where you’re going.

All those are limits.

“They’re self-imposed limits!” you cry – but now you’re changing the argument. Because polyamory was supposed to have no limits, man. Total and utter William Wallace-style FREEEEEEDOM!

…except that compassionate human beings, when given the choice to do whatever they want, will often choose not to do things that injure the people they love.

True freedom involves the ability to self-limit.

And so “Polyamory has no limits” often is a synonym for “I am a sociopath who is only out for my own satisfaction, and anyone who inconveniences me in any way will be shunted aside. I don’t give a fuck about you as long as I get mine.” It’s not so much an ethos as a warning sign that this person is not someone you want to date unless your Venn diagram of what you desire overlaps theirs perfectly.

And yes. It’s perfectly logical to stop dating someone whose feelings are so sensitive you can’t avoid bruising them; I’ve done it myself. But that’s not “I have no limits” so much as “Our limits were irreconcilable.” There’s nothing wrong with a hedonistic relationship based on pleasure, either, so long as everyone involved chose it honestly. It’s possible to have a relationship with such low limits that you never brush against them.

But I generally find that the people who bristle at any idea of limitations are the people who bristle at the idea of other people having needs. They want no limitations because really, anything that obstructs their satisfaction is an enemy to be destroyed.

Date these people at your peril.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Religion and sexuality

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:12 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.


This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )

Interesting Links for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Friday glee has a little adventure

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:15 am
rydra_wong: A woman boulderer lunges up towards the camera for a hold. (climbing -- puccio!!!)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] disobey_gravity
The Friday post of glee is where you get to tell us about your climbing-related happiness this week.

It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.

N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.

To enhance this week's glee: totally stealing from UKC, but this vid of James Pearson's new E10 7a really is great.

Reading notes

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:22 am
wildeabandon: (books)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Gosh, I've not done one of these for a while...

The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.

Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.

Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.

Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.

Lothian Transport are awesome

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:11 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.

REWE Marktplatz

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:06 pm
lethargic_man: (computer geekery)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
For anyone who's asked me in the last year what I'm doing at work, and I've tapped my nose and said, "I could tell you, but then I'd have to employ you," here's the answer.

Summary for anglophones: The supermarket chain I work for is launching something like Amazon Marketplace for products which are just outside the scope of what it sells in its supermarkets (e.g. pet food, specialist wines, kitchen equipment), to allow external vendors to sell through its online shop.

nieseln

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm
lethargic_man: The awful German language (Mark Twain's words, not mine) (Die schreckliche deutsche Sprache)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
German:
lachen = to laugh; lächeln = to smile
niesen = to sneeze; nieseln = to drizzle

Draw your own conclusions about what the ancient Germans thought God was doing when it drizzled.

Interesting Links for 22-06-2017

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

Hobbyish revival

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:51 am
wildeabandon: musical notes on a stave (music)
[personal profile] wildeabandon
Apparently it's the time of year for reviving old hobbies. I recently got to the top of the waiting list to join the London Gay Men's Chorus, so I'm going to be starting rehearsals with them in September. I'm a bit nervous about this, because singing in public is scary, but also really excited. I'm switching my piano lessons to singing ones for the time being, which should help with the nerves, and having external things to practice for will hopefully mean that I'm a more assiduous student than the last time.

Yesterday I also went climbing for the first time in years. I used to climb quite a bit when I was a teenager, and then about five years ago I tried going with [personal profile] emperor as a day trip from Ardgour, and found it depressingly difficult. Since then my strength to weight ratio has improved significantly, so last night I had a much easier time hauling myself off the ground. I was still distinctly conscious that the kind of strength you need in order to lift a heavy thing and then lower it five times before putting it down and having a break to recover is quite different from the kind of sustained effort you need to put in climbing a wall. I started with what was probably the easiest route on the wall, and then gradually increased in difficulty until I found a couple of routes that I made it up but just barely, and a couple more that I couldn't manage, but which are now on my target list for next time.

Reading Wednesday and music meme

Jun. 21st, 2017 06:06 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: Not reading much or posting much at the moment because [personal profile] cjwatson is visiting and I'm mainly paying attention to him. I'll update here later in the week, probably.

Currently reading: Nearly finished: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I'm really enjoying the resolution of the political intrigue plot, but I'm a bit annoyed by the sophomoric speculation on the philosophical implications of sadism.

Up next: All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders.


Music meme day 8 of 30

A song about drugs or alcohol

Two from opposite ends of the spectrum: my ex-gf used to sing me this ridiculously soppy song, Kisses sweeter than wine by Jimmie Rogers. Which is really only tangentially about alcohol but it's connected to happy memories for me. And I couldn't leave out the most explicitly druggy song in my collection, Heroin, she said by WOLFSHEIM.

two videos )

Interesting Links for 21-06-2017

Jun. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Uuuupdates

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:35 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
(1) I am a bit groggy and out of it post Minor Medical Procedure for Mystery Menstrual Symptoms; A was v good about shunting me around the hospital when I was too sore to particularly want to push myself/bringing me things/etc. Everything looked healthy; I was a Model Patient; biopsy results are unlikely to show anything concerning, so ??????????

(2) House viewing this morning was VERY CONFUSING. It has a garden! That contains a well-tended hydrangea, and rose bushes, and fruiting apple and plum and probably-cherry (there's definitely a cherry, I'm just not sure whether it's ornamental), and maybe a crabapple, and a vegetable patch, and a patio. And a nice kitchen. And the conservatory would be dining room/games room/music room and would be lovely esp. in the rain. So now I'm just trying to convince us (... myself) that we'd actually be able to fit the furniture into it, which is currently proving Difficult; I am intending to ask to have another viewing and actually take a tape measure this time. (Wider wheelchair just about fits in the front door. It's rampable. I should be able to get a powerchair in. There's an airing cupboard for letting dough rise in. Etc etc etc...)
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

Hey guys, I’ve got a quick-turnaround website to protest the AHCA – but while I’ve written the words and done the research, my web design looks like 2003 hot garbage.

If someone out there can commit to a professional, bare-bones web design to help me get out a three-page website this week, please email me at theferrett@gmail.com stat, along with a page or two that you’ve designed so I can verify you’re better than I am.  (It’s not hard, trust me.) And I’ll happily share details if you’re a professional who knows design and/or political protest and wanna email me at theferrett@gmail.com, because, well, it’s a last-ditch shot in the dark against the AHCA before it passes next week.

If you’re feeling volunteery, please email.  Thanks.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:36 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
hello everybody I know I owe a lot of you replies various and am working on it, my life should get a little less hectic for a while as of tomorrow morning unless we do make a snap decision to move house (~250m, positive reasons) once we've viewed a thing tomorrow morning, thank you for bearing with me, love meme is still open and is still getting a trickle of comments and I am working on responding to y'all, especially the folk I want to say thank you to for making me cry in a good way <3
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
Note: I changed the subject line a little to make it less pejorative. I'm also kind of stuck on the trigger warning, so I'm just going to call it a general clusterfuck and point to the subject line.

Points to subject line )

West wing, ep 1, first commandment

Jun. 19th, 2017 05:23 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I've bashed my head on this before but not got a specific answer. Now I read through it in some more detail.

Summary

In West Wing episode 1, Josh insults some evangelical christian leaders. In a meeting trying to resolve this, the following happens.

* One of them proposes a radio address (presumably by the president) on a topic important to them, including public morals, school prayer or pornography. Apparently meaning "people in school should not have access to condoms", "people in school should be forced to perform christian prayer" and "we don't quite know what we want you to do but we're very upset about pornography".

* There is a muddle of people speaking at once, and he cuts in again, saying, "I'd like to discuss why we hear so much talk about the First Amendment coming out of this building, but no talk at all about the First Commandment."

* He says, "The First Commandment says 'Honor thy Father'."

* Toby breaks in, and says that's wrong, that's the third commandment. He is very long-suffering.

* He says, what is the first then?

* The president enters the room and quotes: "I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other God before me."

Analysis

I'm fairly sure the intended impression is, talk show guy spoke without thinking and screwed up something basic, Toby and the president correct him.

But firstly, the first commandment seems SO basic, it's hard to see how he could get it wrong. Whether or not he's a good Christian overall, quoting the commandments, especially the first one, seems like the sort of thing he'd do all the time.

Secondly, when I first heard it, I assumed this was "honor your father and mother", but now I wonder if it's supposed to be honoring *God* thy father. Although that doesn't quite fit any of the specific sentences either.

I'm not sure if the commandment he was quoting was supposed to be directly related to the previous discussion or not. Either of the possibilities doesn't seem directly relevant to the school stuff, but it's possible it is in a way that's only familiar if you know the usual arguments people make.

Several people point out that all the people involved have *different* traditional commandment numbering. Toby is Jewish. The christian leaders are protestant. And the president is catholic. I assume in America the protestant version is widely known and often considered canonical? I spent some time on wikipedia checking the different traditions for how to break up the commandments into ten.

But that doesn't seem to fit much better. The president could be quoting the protestant version (or possibly a slightly abbreviated catholic version?)

There's no way to make "honor thy father and mother" into 1 or 3, it's 5 for both protestants and jews (and 4 for catholics).

It could instead be "have no other god" or "don't take God's name in vain" but that doesn't quite fit, either the numbers or the quote.

My best guess is that someone wrote an exchange that worked, probably based on the traditional protestant numbering[1]. And then it got edited for various reasons, and ended up in a version which sounded good but didn't actually make sense.

The best alternate explanation is (a) Christian leader guy genuinely didn't know what the first commandment was (or forgot in the heat of the moment) (b) Toby was trolling by deliberately making something up, knowing no-one could call him on it as he had a different numbering anyway (c) the president (an intellectual catholic) knew the confusion of the numbering, but quoted a first commandment that would be expected to protestants and wasn't exactly wrong by his own tradition.

But to me that seems too complicated, if all that was supposed to be there, there'd be more indication. The mistake would have been one where it's more clear how he came to make a mistake. Toby would have sounded different if he was blowing smoke than if he was correcting people. There'd be some acknowledgement that SOMEONE would have known the first commandment, that this isn't exactly an obscure piece of theological trivia the president researched.

[1] West Wing does much better at research than most shows, but they seem to research a particular topic, it still seems like minor things not the main theme of an episode get overlooked sometimes.

Transcript: http://www.westwingtranscripts.com/search.php?flag=getTranscript&id=1
reddragdiva: (geek)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

Dear Lazyweb! How do you manage keeping spring boot applications up to date?

We run an arseload of Java webapps. Our devs have taken a strong liking to spring boot, where everything including the Tomcat is uploaded as a JAR. A delight for them, but somewhat of a concern for the sysadmins who are the people first dealing with security issues.

So I've been asked to come up with recommendations to deal with this, and I haven't a clue as to how to do this other than laborious iterative checking, or automated versions thereof. Nor can I find recommendations.

Has anyone else got this problem or one like it? (Where applications are uploaded as a package that then runs.) What do you do?

More tv/books

Jun. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Community. Rewatched first two series. Got bored in series three. I think there was still a lot of good things after that, but I wasn't as excited by each episode.

Rewatching s1 of west wing. Still very good. See twitter for running commentary. It's strange that WW made so many things famous you can't look up if they're true or not, you just find they were in the WW.

When I was being excited by Natural History of Dragons #3, I forgot to say, they investigate translating an ancient syllabary language. made me think of rochvelleth :)

Watched Doctor Who "Veritas". Some things are tedious: that's not how computers work, and that's not how random numbers work. It's almost the opposite. But overall I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Read the latest wild cards. Weird that it just happens to be set in Taraz (Talas) in Kazakhstan when ghoti et al are visiting that country. Although it unfortunately doesn't include much actually specific to Kazakhstan.

There's so many things that are really interesting about the wild card books. Partly that lots of famous authors show up writing a really different style of thing to what they usually write, often more straightforwardly engaging. Partly that main characters in one story thread show up as minor characters in other story thread, and you get a good triangulation on them, how they think of themselves vs how different people see them -- often with no Word-of-God on which is more accurate.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
http://cartesiandaemon.livejournal.com/1030046.html

OK, I'm going to assume everyone who wanted to think about the original problem unspoiled has probably done so, and assume comments have rot26 spoilers from here on.

Read more... )

Lothian Bus App - a feature request

Jun. 18th, 2017 02:06 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I love the Lothian Bus app - it allows me to really quickly find a bus from my current location to wherever I want to go in the city, using current locations of buses (as opposed to the bus timetable, which can be error-prone during rush hour).

However, it has one feature which could do with some work. If I want to get the bus to the Morrisons supermarket where my Amazon parcels are delivered I get a search results screen like this:

Which is completely useless, because I have no idea which of those Morrisons it is that I want to go to.

I'd actually like a search results screen like this:

(Yes, I know I've got East and West the wrong way around. Can't be arsed fixing it, and it's not important to the feature request.)

So I figured, why not spend two minutes writing a blog post, and then forward it to them over Twitter and see if I can get it on their backlog :-)

A Cordelia's Honor plotbunny

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:26 pm
beatrice_otter: Aim high--you may still miss the target, but at least you won't shoot your foot off. (Aim High)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter posting in [community profile] vorkosigan
Thought up by Royce Day on the Bujold mailing list:
Honestly, there's a fanfic to written about what the poor Betan
Ambassador to Barrayar was doing during the whole mess with Cordelia's
defection to Barrayar, marriage to a war criminal, and then bringing
back Vordarian's head at the climax of the coup.
That is a fic I would love to read.

(no subject)

Jun. 18th, 2017 02:23 am
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
I am grumpily insomniac; I have given up on sleep for the time being and have curled up in a blanket with some hot chocolate and a book; and probably this would be working better if The Fifth Season (which I am belatedly reading for Hugo purposes) wasn't Wrong about both geology and horses.
karen2205: Me with proper sized mug of coffee (Default)
[personal profile] karen2205
The fire at Grenfell Tower is amongst all sorts of other things, a reminder of something I learnt on 9/11.

Sometimes people, seemingly in authority, get it wrong and give out advice that is wrong for the situation. Blind obedience to advice can kill. Equally, in other circumstances, not following good advice can also kill. I know if I'd been in one of the World Trade Center Buildings and had been told to stay where I was I'd have done that. I'm older and less compliant nowadays. What would I have done if I'd been in Grenfell Tower? I don't know:-/

So, my advice, for what it's worth goes like this:

1. Nearly always you are the best judge of the situation on the ground, because you are there. There's an amusing pseudo-safety sign I've seen online that says something like "in the event of fire, evacuate the building before updating Facebook" and it's right. In an acute situation don't phone/email/poke the internet for help from friends or family instead of acting to get yourself somewhere safer. [Phone/email/internet for getting help if you *can't* help yourself to somewhere safer without help is different]
1.5. Teach children autonomy by stages as they can cope with it; the correct response to fire is to get out of the building and phone 999 before contacting a parent. You don't want your children not knowing how to act without your assistance, because there may be circumstances when you aren't there.
2. Advice from authority figures who are physically present with you vs. being on the phone stands IMO, a better chance of being accurate to your situation, but should still be subject to critical evaluation. Part of that critical evaluation might be that it's best to go along with for now, but that you need to keep the situation under review.
3. Advice can be perfectly good advice for most situations and still be wrong in your circumstances. Assume good faith, but remember they're people too and they make mistakes/don't have the same information you've got.

Interesting Links for 17-06-2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
rydra_wong: Angelica Lind stretches for a hold during a bouldering competition (climbing -- reach)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] disobey_gravity
The Friday post of glee is where you get to tell us about your climbing-related happiness this week.

It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.

N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.

To enhance this week's glee: Boulder Classics: Midnight Lightning

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