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The woman who saved the space program, the woman who was the Nazis’ most wanted person, the woman who chartered a bank in 1903, and more September 27, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Lamarr wanted to join the National Inventors Council, but was reportedly told by NIC member Charles F. Kettering and others that she could better help the war effort by using her celebrity status to sell War Bonds.” Instead of…coming up with the technology that Bluetooth and wi-fi are based on.

“The three women pictured in this incredible photograph from 1885 — Anandibai Joshi of India, Keiko Okami of Japan, and Sabat Islambouli of Syria — each became the first licensed female doctors in their respective countries.”

“Much of her work was top secret and she was a very private person – she actively avoided the press. Barely anyone knew about what she did for the space programme. It was only at her funeral did her colleagues begin to share her story. ‘Mary [Sherman Morgan] single-handedly saved America’s space programme,’ he said, ‘and nobody knows but a handful of old men.’

Maggie Walker: first woman of any race to charter a bank in the US. As the daughter of a former slave. In 1903.

Antoinette Perry: the actress and director after whom the Tony Awards are named. Started acting in 1905; got into directing in 1928.

Martha Gellhorn: “Women weren’t allowed to serve in combat in those days – that restriction wouldn’t be lifted until 50 years later, in 1994. So how did a female slip through the cracks and land on the beaches with the boys in uniform? Two reasons — she was a journalist, and she was a stowaway.”

Nancy Wake: the Gestapo’s most-wanted person, parachuting, recruiting, taking command of battles, killing an SS sentry with her bare hands, and generally earning that 5-million-franc price on her head.

“Preparing the animators’ vision for camera required the inking and painting of thousands of fragile, combustible cels with perfect refinement. During Snow White, it was not at all unusual to see the ‘girls’—as Walt paternalistically referred to them—thin and exhausted, collapsed on the lawn, in the ladies’ lounge, or even under their desks. ‘I’ll be so thankful when Snow White is finished and I can live like a human once again,’ Rae wrote after she recorded 85 hours in a week.

Monday Roundup, 9/22 September 22, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, But I'm A Cat Person, Fic, Hellsing, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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But I’m A Cat Person
Starry Scarf Bianca (art | Bianca | worksafe)

Hellsing
Alucard (and Integra) (pixel dolls | Alucard/Integra, Bondagecard, Riocard, Puppycard | worksafe)
Seras and Pip (and the Cannon) (pixel dolls | Seras/Pip | worksafe)

Thrilling Adventure Hour
The Algonquin Four (art | Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Houdini | worksafe)
Bon Viv-Haunt (art | Frank/Sadie | worksafe)

Thrilling Adventure Hour/Welcome to Night Vale
Investigateen Alert (comic | Steve, Phillip Fathom | G)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 44-46 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapter 17 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
GO TO YOUR SNAKE PIT (comic | Cecil, Cecil’s sister | G)
Your Boss Is On My Side (sketch | Carlos, scientist family | worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
A challenge is issued! Aren’t cliffhangers great?

Monday Roundup, 9/15 September 15, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, Comics, Fic, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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His Dark Materials
The Subtle Knifebearer (art | Will | worksafe)

Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars
Hero’s Quest (art | Sparks, Red, Croach | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 41-43 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapters 15-16 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Get In, Loser (sketch | Carlos | worksafe)
Intern Dana, meet Mayor Dana (art | Danas | worksafe)
The circles and the dotted lines (art | Steve, Janice | worksafe)
World’s Foremost Cecilologist (comic | Cecil/Carlos | worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Jany’s in a bind, and has to make a smart decision — fast.

NiceaConOne and other links September 12, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“Pope Francis says the issue of gay marriage should be studied and not dismissed out-of-hand, a senior Roman Catholic cardinal has revealed. “

Every time I see it, it’s a reminder to call him,” Mr. Gelles said of the number. “I find it kind of hard to relate to people I don’t know and places I haven’t been to and this thing called the Holocaust. The thing I relate to more is my grandfather.”

The descendants of the secret Nazi master-race-building breeding program. To the surprise of no one, they’re a completely ordinary bunch of people, united mostly by being freaked-out when they uncover their family history.

“Constantine was a Roman emperor, and a military man. So he said, ‘Right. Figure it out and tell me. I’ll believe anything you say, but get it all in one sock.’ He called NiceaCon One, and invited all the BNFs and SMOFs of the Christian world to have a business meeting and hammer it out.

“Divorce is higher among religiously conservative Protestants – and even drives up divorce rates for other people living around them, a new study finds.”

oh no, not this again September 12, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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Laptop had a major does-not-want-to-be-a-computer-anymore failure a couple of days ago. Tried to run chkdsk /f on startup, it errored out and said it wanted to go back to an earlier system restore point. Tried to do a system restore, it errored out and said to fix the drive by running chkdsk. Tried to reinstall the OS from scratch, the reinstallation media wouldn’t even boot. That was the point when tech support said “okay, we’re sending you a new hard drive now.”

The good news is:
1) it’s under warranty, so replacement hard drives are a free thing
2) the computer was still operating enough to back everything up (it just wouldn’t run half of its programs anymore…I’ve got my Firefox settings, but not my Photoshop ones)
2) I was able to keep up with reading on the Internet, using Previous Laptop, in the meantime.

(Previous Laptop is…serviceable. All the programs run. It just bluescreens once every couple of weeks, and the frame is literally held together with duct tape.)

I’m typing this from the new laptop with the even-newer hard drive. All my data is back in place; still working on reinstalling programs. At this point the number of installs-from-scratch this purchase has gone through is as follows:

1) New machine, first installation
2) New machine has bizarre sound/freezing error, hard drive replaced
3) Bizarre error returns three months later, hard drive replaced as part of a sequence of trying to replace basically all the parts
4) Tech support gives up, sends a whole new machine with new hard drive
5) New hard drive gives up the ghost a few days ago, is replaced

…At the beginning of the installation process, Windows asks you to give the computer a name, which is used to identify it on things like your wireless network.

This computer is now dubbed HOMURA.

Using italics for second-language words? September 8, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Meta.
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What is your opinion about the use of italics for “foreign” words in fiction in general? How do you determine which words to italicize? To what degree it is a stylistic or political choice?”

The article there has a bunch of opinions from pro writers. Fic writers, what do you do?

Me, I’m thinking I’ll keep using italics, and there’s one reason carrying most of the weight: because on the Internet, not all your readers are going to have English as their first language, and ESL fluency levels will vary. If the second language coming up in the fic is one that they speak, great. But if it’s not, they might just end up lost.

Anecdote 1: One time I had on Radio Junior, a kids’ radio/streaming station that broadcasts primarily in French. My brother and I were both taking French in school at the time. The station changed songs, and he said, “You know, I was recognizing some of the words in that last song, but now I’m not getting anything at all.” The new song…was in Italian.

Anecdote 2: Another time I went to the wordreference.com forums seeking help with a word I couldn’t find in any dictionaries. Turned out it was a typo.

So it seems polite to signal “hey, don’t stress about not recognizing this phrase, or not being able to find it on your translation website of choice — it’s a different language from the main text, and there may even be a translation at the end of the chapter.”

Other fannish people, how do you handle this? Especially those of you who regularly read in a second language: what do you prefer?

Gun studies and statistics. In spite of the best efforts of people who don’t want us looking too closely. September 8, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, have begun wearing body cameras after weeks of unrest over the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white officer and sharply differing accounts of the incident.” Good. More of this.

Op-ed by Ronald Reagan from 1991, explaining why he supported the Brady Bill to establish waiting periods and background checks for handgun purchases.

“We know virtually nothing about the relationship between guns and crime because that whole research agenda has been basically shut down for years.

“If only Sandy Hook’s principal had been packing heat, the argument goes, she could’ve stopped the mass killer. There’s just one little problem with this: Not a single one of the 62 mass shootings we studied in our investigation has been stopped this way.

“For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.”

“No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.”

“CNN amends its prior reporting that there were 74 school shootings since the Newtown Massacre — a number calculated by gun violence prevention group Everytown for Gun Safety — and concludes that there have instead been just 15.” Apparently because of pressure from weapons dealers who are worried that the facts might scare people.

The Onion nails it with the statistics: 30,000: Number of people who will very unwillingly enter the national gun debate this year.

Monday Roundup, 9/1 September 1, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Art, Fake News, Fic, Hellsing, Miscellaneous, Night Vale.
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Fake News
I Love You – I Know (art | Jon/”Stephen” | worksafe)

Hellsing
Hellsing Ambigrams (word art | worksafe)
Renaldopuff Knows Karate (art | Father Renaldo | worksafe)

The Property of Hate
RGB, Q (meme art | RGB | worksafe)

Welcome to Night Vale(/His Dark Materials)
Night Vale: The Musical, tracks 38-40 (fic, song parodies | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | T)
A Blinking Light Up On The Clouded Mountain, chapters 12-14 (fic | Cecil/Carlos, HDM crossover characters, WtNV ensemble | T)
Entirely Personal (still ver.) (art | Cecil/Carlos | worksafe)
Vacation (Had To Get Away) (fic | Cecil/Carlos, ensemble | G)
Gourmet Night Vale Daemons (art | Hannah, Lucy, Earl | worksafe)
Do you ever miss…? (art | Dana, Kevin, Carlo | NSFW, blood)
A microphone and a cat (art | Cecil, Khoshekh | worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Who let Jany in the basement? Jany isn’t supposed to be in the basement.

Five happy things August 31, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fake News, Meta, Night Vale, Personal.
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1) Finally landed a Colbert Report reservation! I’ve only ever seen one taping, about seven years ago (!!), and was starting to worry I wouldn’t get to see it again before it disappears. Not so! I’ll be there October 14 — and getting a reservation this early meant I could get a Megabus round trip to NYC for under $10. Sweet deal all around.

2) This maple cookie recipe. Found it while looking up something to make for a book club where half the members are vegan, liked it so much I just used the leftover ingredients to make another batch, purely for personal snacking purposes.

3) The Mel Blanc Show, from 1946-1947, one of the vintage radio series provided by Don’t Touch That Dial. (Downloads available via The Internet Archive.) It has a great way of stacking one awkward circumstance on top of another to make solid comedy stories, plus good one-liners along the way, and they take full advantage of Mel’s vocal range — he plays the main character and one of the ensemble members, plus he keeps getting into situations where he has to be in disguise, new voice and all.

4) Mo’ne Davis. This cool kid. (Anyone out there who’s having trouble picturing Tamika Flynn, here’s an excellent 13-year-old to base your mental image on.)

5) The flashback episode of Fringe where they do a retro 1980s version of the opening credits. (Second one in this opening-sequence compilation.) Frankly, almost everything about Fringe is making me happy (the details deserve a post of their own), but speaking as someone who has watched a lot of sci-fi from a lot of decades, this OP was a special geek joy to watch.

Neat stuff. (Paralysis implants, a Bill Watterson art cameo, cool maps, language stuff, diamond planets.) August 27, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“The Neurobridge technology combines algorithms that learn and decode the user’s brain activity and a high-definition muscle stimulation sleeve that translates neural impulses from the brain and transmits new signals to the paralyzed limb. In this case, Ian’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and move his hand.

“Now if you had asked me the odds of Bill Watterson ever saying that line to me, I’d say it had about the same likelihood as Jimi Hendrix telling me he had a new guitar riff. And yes, I’m aware Hendrix is dead.” Pearls Before Swine gets the most awesome guest artist imaginable.

A globe laid out by Voronoi diagrams, where all the territorial lines are drawn based on which national capital the land is closest to. Overlaid on our world’s current borders, so you can check out the difference.

US language maps, based on Census Bureau data. Most commonly-spoken languages in all the states based on different parameters, starting with “other than English” and “other than English or Spanish.”

Constructive reduplication, found all over the world, from English to Finnish to Hungarian to the Bantu languages. (Or, the linguistic explanation for the difference between “salad” and “salad salad”.)

A bunch of awesome animals (as well as some terrifying lamprey pictures; be ready to scroll; they’re after the Tufted Deer). Teeny armadillos, skinny canids, deer with awesome horns and hind-legged stances, and what looks like a rabbit-capybara.

Python swallows a three-foot-long crocodile whole. Nature is awesome.

The most amazing of the 3500+ exoplanets we’ve discovered, including the diamond one, the burning-ice one, the one with a day-long year, and the incredibly dark one (lit by a sun, though).

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