liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
([personal profile] liv Oct. 16th, 2017 08:16 pm)
Sexual violence against women and girls is endemic. There's an absolute mountain of evidence that this is the case, from the experiences of my friends to any number of posts on social media to rigorous studies. A big part of the reason I decided to identify as a feminist is because women are routinely denied bodily autonomy and feminism seems to be the only political movement that cares about this.

links and personal observations about sexual violence against women )

I absolutely believe everybody else's experiences, people I know and strangers writing brave, brave columns and blog posts. I am just a total outlier, and I really shouldn't be. So I'm signal boosting others' accounts, because I know that I needed to be made aware of the scale of the problem, and perhaps some other people reading this could also use the information.
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([personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait Oct. 16th, 2017 01:39 pm)
Finished a languishing application for an audio transcription job. Not sure whether I'll get it or not, but at least it's done now. Applied (successfully) for a website testing job. Both of these are self-employed, no guarantees that I'd get actual work from them but worth a try. Boggled at the adverts for 'work from home' jobs many of which are prison officers.
You know that weird feeling where your tests sometimes pass and sometimes don't, and you eventually realise they're not deterministic? But it took a while to notice because you kept changing things to debug the failing tests and only slowly realised that every "whether it succeeded or not" change didn't follow changing the code?

In this case, there were some failing tests and I was trying to debug some of them, and the result was the same every time, but only when I ran a failing test by itself and it passed did I realise that the tests weren't actually independent. They weren't actually non-deterministic in that the same combination of tests always had the same result, but I hadn't realised what was going on.

And in fact, I'd not validated the initial state of some tests enough, or I would have noticed that what was going wrong was not what the test *did* but what it started with.

I was doing something like, there was some code that loaded a module which contained data for the game -- initial room layout, rules for how-objects-interact, etc. And I didn't *intend* to change that module. Because I'm used to C or C++ header files, I'd forgotten that could be possible. But when I created a room based on the initial data, I copied it without remembering to make sure I was actually *copying* all the relevant sub-objects. And then when you move stuff around the room, that (apparently) moved stuff around in the original copy in the initialisation data module.

And then some other test fails because everything has moved around.

Once I realised, I tested a workaround using deepcopy, but I need to check the one or two places where I need a real copy and implement one there instead.

Writing a game makes me think about copying objects a lot more than any other sort of programming I've done.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
([personal profile] liv Oct. 12th, 2017 02:40 pm)
Another song category I disagree with: A song by a band you wish were still together. A band breaking up is like any relationship coming to an end: if the people involved don't want to be together any more, who am I to wish they stayed in a situation no longer good for them?

It's also partly another example where I don't have the relationship with music that the meme seems to assume. I don't really have any bands that I follow in the manner of eagerly anticipating a new release, therefore none that make me sad if they split up and there won't be any new material coming. The existing songs that I like are still there for me to listen to. I do occasionally go to live gigs performed by ageing rockers, and that's cool, but it's not something I wish for more of in my life.

So I'm going to pick Joy Division. I wish at least that Curtis had lived for the band to split up due to creative differences, rather than coming to an end with his death. He'd be 60 now, and it's hard to imagine what Joy Division might have done if he'd had even one more decade with them let alone four. A lot of other bands from that sort of era, if they have carried on, have tended to get more bleepy and less raw noise, and New Order certainly went in that direction, but Joy Division were something else, and I imagine that they might have continued to innovate musically, maybe not all the way through to the 2010s but through the 80s and 90s at least.

Here's something a bit more gentle and thinky than their big hits like Love will tear us apart: Passover, by Joy Division.

video embed (audio only) )
liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
([personal profile] liv Oct. 11th, 2017 05:15 pm)
Things that are not helpful to a [personal profile] liv recovering from an asthma attack: Cab drivers who smoke in their cars. I took a taxi to work yesterday because I wasn't sure I was up to cycling, and the cab smelled of smoke and air freshener, which maybe makes the smell less bad but also makes my breathing even worse than just stale smoke.

Things that are even further unhelpful: colleagues who observe that I am coughing a little bit (due to the smoke exposure), and passive-aggressively tell me that I ought not to be at work while I'm sick. I mean, I agree with the general principle that people shouldn't come into work with colds and infect and annoy everybody else. But nobody realistically expects anyone to actually stay off work for the several weeks it can take for a cold to completely clear from one's chest, once past the stage of being actively infectious and unable to think clearly. And I'm annoyed at not being believed when I said that my asthma was making me sound sicker than I really am.

To be fair, I'm annoyed at busybody colleagues due to factors which are not entirely their fault. Not their fault that I'm sensitive about being told off (even gently) for having asthma, due to a miserable year when I was 9 and my class teacher was convinced I was faking not being able to breathe for attention. (I certainly didn't want the kind of attention that involved an adult in a position of authority standing over me and yelling my face and never letting me be absolutely certain she wouldn't hit me, though she never quite got to the point of physical violence.) Not their fault that work has an annoying policy where being allowed to work from home is reserved for people more senior than me. But the upshot is that I've been given special permission to work from home today, and I resent being made to look like a slacker, but there you go.

So I have a moment to catch up with the meme that I've entirely abandoned for a month and a half while in the middle of moving jobs. And I find that I'd stopped just before the section where I have philosophical objections to the questions. A song you think everybody should listen to: there's no such song, because everybody has different tastes in music! And I don't believe in a moral obligation to listen to music, because it might be very good, but people get to decide what to do with their own listening time.

But let me try and post something anyway, cos I am completionist even when I'm very slow. I have sometimes wanted to sit people down and make them listen to The house of Orange by Stan Rogers. It's a very good song, with a message I think is important. But by no means everybody should listen to it, only people who have managed to pick up the foolish notion that sectarian violence is romantic. And, well, people who appreciate well-written but hard hitting songs might get something positive out of it, but I wouldn't go as far as to say should.

I think if I have to pick one song that if not everybody, then at least lots of people who are generally in political and musical sympathy with me might appreciate, I'm going to go for Tam Lyn retold by The Imagined Village and Benjamin Zephaniah. Because Zephaniah is an amazing poet, and The Imagined Village is an exceptionally interesting and innovative folk project. And because it's a really brilliant reworking and interpretation of the Tam Lin story, which itself one of those core folk pieces. I recommend it even if you don't generally like folk music; it's not in the musical style associated with folk at all. And because it's musically great, it's nearly ten minutes long and I usually have to repeat it several times every time it comes up on my playlist. And finally because I agree with its pro-refugee and pro-migrant message, so if I'm going to impose one song on everybody, this is my pick.

video embed )
jack: (Default)
([personal profile] jack Oct. 10th, 2017 02:19 pm)
I've read several examples of sociopathic characters in several different books, and been left with a bunch of thoughts.

Read more... )
liv: oil painting of seated nude with her back to the viewer (body)
([personal profile] liv Oct. 9th, 2017 02:32 pm)
TL;DR: I had a medical problem, I got appropriate treatment, and I'm now safe and recovering.

includes breathing difficulties, but not gory )

At this point, comments I would find helpful are: expressions of sympathy; discussions of healthcare policy. I would prefer if you could skip telling me your own stories about asthma and breathing troubles, and I don't really want to hear any experiences with prednisolone right now. I know that's not very socially appropriate of me when I've just told you a long story about my asthma experience, but I find other people's descriptions of asthma triggering and my breathing still isn't quite right. And prednisolone has an effing scary side effect profile, so I'm trying not to scare myself into believing I have any symptoms, so I would rather wait until after I've finished the course to compare experiences.
Continuing our adventures in mainstream popculture, Andreas and I are baking cookies and boogeying to Little Mix. I'm having fun and I'm quite enjoying both the music and the dance and of course the cookies :) So he also asked to watch X Factor and we've set it to record, although it's a few weeks in, it turns out.

Cream 40g of marge, granny sugar and light muscovado, add a beaten egg and a few drops vanilla sugar, then 75g sr flour and 50g mixed dried fruit or chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls on a baking tray and 180c/gas mark 4 for 10 -12 minutes.
ceb: (xmas)
([personal profile] ceb Oct. 5th, 2017 12:26 pm)
Dear Yuletide author,

Thank you for writing for me! I love hand-made presents and I am easy to please. I hope you will find something you enjoy writing here. This is me at AO3.

General likes/dislikes:

DNW: Please no RPF or PWP

I would prefer gen fic for all the fandoms I've nominated, though plot-relevant sex is fine if that's where your plot needs to go. I don't mind whether I get a happy ending or not. I prefer bittersweet to crushing doom (though if you want to write appropriately epic crushing doom for Gloryhammer then knock yourself out :-). Bittersweet and/or ambiguous endings are a thing I love very much.

I like competence and the ability to think things through; I am annoyed by plots where a character does something out-of-character stupid just to advance the plot. I have no problem with in-character mistakes and if written well they can make the story.

I adore experimental and unusual formats (and, apparently, lists). Please, if you want to, tell me a story as a game or a series of drabbles or a shopping list or a puzzle or a 1-line fic with a very large set of intertwined footnotes or a poem or an ASCII map or half of a scribbled note exchange... if there's some crazy thing you've been wanting to try to write forever but aren't sure if it would work or if your recipient would get it, I am the right person to send it to. If you're not that person and just want to write a story, I will also be delighted, so please play to your strengths and don't feel you need to reach for a weird format if you don't want to.

All my specific suggestions are intended as idea sparks, I don't have my heart set on any of them and I will not be even slightly disappointed if you have a different idea you'd like to pursue. Run with them, or not, as suits your story.

AO3 Name: molybdomantic

Fandom 1: Powerpuff Girls
Characters: Space Towtruck

I am greatly enjoying the return of the Powerpuffs after such a long hiatus. I find I desperately need to know more about the girls' new favourite TV show, Space Towtruck. What is Space Towtruck's greatest secret? What other adventures has Space Towtruck encountered? Don't worry too much about canon though, I get the feeling this is the kind of show that has multiple reboots, comic versions, etc. Feel free to include the girls if you would like to (maybe they get sucked into a Space Towtruck story via the magic of plot, or have an argument about which is the best Space Towtruck reboot). I like Mojo Jojo too, especially in his wordier incarnation of the earlier series, but find many of the other villains a little irritating.

If you're not caught up on the new series, you can find 90% of the existing Space Towtruck canon in the first half of this episode:
and the theme song is at the start of this episode:

Fandom 2: The Order of the Stick
Characters: Vaarsuvius (Order of the Stick)

Vaarsuvius is an arrogant, overly-verbose, clever-clogs, pompous arse, but I love them anyway. They're learning humility as the full consequences of their misguided evil pact hits them. However I would be delighted if you took me back to those pre-humility days and showed me V. dealing with a lower-stakes problem in their own special way. Maybe escapades at Magic Academy (or wherever they learned) - I bet V. even managed to be insufferable in their lab book and exam papers. Or a tale from the early adventures of the Order where V.'s magic saves or hinders the party.

Fandom 3: Spambots (Anthropomorphic)
Characters: Financial Robot (Anthropomorfic)

Recently my spam has been full of Financial Robot. Financial robot guarantees everyone stability and income. Robot never sleeps. It makes money for you 24/7. Most successful people already use Robot. Do you?

I would like to know more about Financial Robot. How do they do it? Are they an inexhaustible super-being? Maybe they fight crime and then redistribute supervillains' loot, an electronic Robin Hood. Or perhaps they own a sinister and cruel number mine where lesser robots work their gears to the bone. All I know is, I can always rely on Financial Robot. Financial Robot is always looking out for me. for more Financial Robot facts.

Fandom 4: Agricola (Board Game)
Characters: Any

The characters in Agricola... are playing Agricola:

Do they know they're in a game? Are they trapped in some kind of hellish puzzle with no way to win, as a punishment for crimes past, Cube-style? Or is this the first of a new wave of Reality Board Games with a cult following? Maybe they don't know and live a comfortable, unsurprising life in the rhythms of the year/game. I just want to know so I can stop wondering :-)

Fandom 5: Tales from the Kingdom of Fife - Gloryhammer (Album)
Characters: Any

I am in love with this unashamedly epic fantasy metal. It's tongue-in-cheek but in a "let us take this and make it GLORIOUS" way, not a poking fun way. I was going to say it reminds me of the delightfully awful Victorian poet William McGonagall, but it turns out that's not even slightly accidental and he's a major influence.

I would love back-story fic for this. How did Zargothrax get so evil? Who froze the Frozen Princess? (These questions may be related.) Tales of the founding of the Kingdom of Dundee or the endless line of Angus McFifes, scandinavian saga-style. Or perhaps McGonagall's entire output is a Victorian reflection of events in this alternative universe, and the Tay Bridge disaster is merely the manifestation of the Fall of the Bridge of Krafnor in the Battle of Kinross in our more mundane world.

But remember, whatever you do, keep it epic. \m/

Some links you might find helpful:

Thank you again and I hope you have a fun Yuletide!
jack: (Default)
([personal profile] jack Oct. 4th, 2017 01:07 pm)
I really enjoy anathem. I enjoy the premise of organisations devoted to pure thinking. I enjoy a book which plays with practical implications of weird philosophy. I enjoy the general hopeful attitude. But every time I read it I also find MORE AND MORE which makes me incredibly cheesed off:

Rants )
Bitwise copy

I'd read this but not really thought about it before. Rust prioritises data structures which can be moved or copied with memcpy. That eases various things. But to achieve it you need to keep a very tight rein on many things which are used all over the place in most languages.

Notably, you can only have a pointer to a struct from one place, unless you specifically arrange to "borrow" it, but a borrowed value can't be changed or moved (either the original or any of the borrows). Rust blogs describe this as similar to the discipline needed when dealing with data from multiple threads, except to avoid mistakes like "I am in the middle of a computation using this value, and then call another function which changes this value, and forgot that created an implicit dependency between those bits of code".

This shows up in lots of confusing ways, like function parameters need to be borrowed or copied, else they are moved by default, and once moved, the original is gone and can't be accessed.[1]

I'm not sure if this will turn out to be really useful or not. I see the logic, and agree that can prevent mistakes, but I don't know if it's possible to write code to avoid those problems, or if in practice everyone ends up using one of the ways to work round this restriction, and then tracks any unfortunate implicit dependencies in their heads just like they used to.

The specific example I'm going to mention below is having owned structs which contain a pointer back to the owner, which doesn't usually work because someone else needs to have a pointer to the owner as well.

Interior mutability

This is only slowly making sense to me, I'm not sure how much sense the version I'm writing does.

A common pattern in some programs is "having a struct containing a bunch of settings which can be accessed and changed from multiple parts of the program".

This is particularly difficult in rust because having different pointers to an object usually forbids you from changing it.

The way round this is "interior mutability", that is, a value that can be changed even if it's part of a struct which is supposed to be immutable. It's a bit like "mutable" in C++ which is used for weird edge cases like caching calculated values in an apparently const class or allowing const functions to lock mutexes, etc. Except that you're apparently supposed to use it for any "normal" variables which you can read and write from multiple places. IIRC you can either use "Cell" which works on a normal value variable in other languages or RefCell which works like a pointer and has a lock at runtime which panics if you get it wrong.

This brings us back to the topic I was thinking about before, originally inspired by these features of rust. That a common pattern is needing a pointer to a owning class from an owned class. But you might not need that if you had the feature I discussed before, that whenever you access the owned object through a reference to the owning object, it carries along a secret pointer to it, like a second "this" pointer.

That could work for the case of "access some central object from several different parts of the program". If various parts are owned objects, that can access the parent object, but only when they're entered by code from that object, the parent object (including the settings object) is only accessed from one of the components at once, which borrows exclusive access to the parent when its member function is called.

However, the feature I wasn't sure of but would need to be added is, if you have a pointer to that owned object from anywhere *else* (notably, a callback of some sort), it needs a special pointer that wraps up a pointer to it and a pointer to its parent together. That does sound really hairy, although if you have a 64 bit pointer there should be lots of room to implement the sordid details somehow. Assuming you never need to nest this too deep. Although of course, at that point, you've given up any pretence these could be moved around in memory anyway, so maybe there's no benefit to this flexibility?


[1] I think explanations of this explain it really badly, in that most people encounter these errors before understanding why "move by default" is a thing at all, so don't find that a satisfying answer.