ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the May 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by LJ user My_partner_doug, who prompted with a reference to the "three Rs."  It has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll.

"3 Rs and 1 L"

The evolution of education
has been a long and winding road.

For a time, people thought in terms
of Recitation, Repetition, and Repression --
a focus on the techniques of teaching.

Then the litany switched to
Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic
(but not, evidently, Spelling yet)
and the emphasis changed to
the topics that were taught.

In the end, though, there is
only one fundamental thing
that students must discover --
not what to think, not how to think,

but how to learn.

They don't actually need
a school for this, or even a teacher.

It's hardwired.
It's built into the DNA
of every animal species,
albeit some more than others.

But success in school depends on
people not  knowing that   fact.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I found this article about city shapes and just ... had to laugh.  "Only" is a dangerous word.  

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other city shapes: hexagonal, radial, and vertical.  

Now hexagonal was never common, so I'm not surprised they didn't include it.  It's super efficient for space but not very convenient for traffic, and humans figured that out fairly fast.  But I did find a hexagonal example on a search.  

Radial is a spiderweb, with straight crosslines and straight or curved perimeter lines around a focal point.  You see it in cities butted against an edge like a lake or mountain, or cities that grow up around a central point like a castle.  Here's a nice one with concentric circles, and a bigger one done all in straight lines.  This huge one is a bit more gridlike, but you can still follow the pattern of radial and perimeter lines.

Vertical cities go up the side of a mountain or cliff, such as pueblos.  Sometimes they have a vertical grid if they are built, other times a more organic pattern if they are stuffed into whatever holes people can find already there.  This cliff city basically has a front (the air) and a back (the cliff) and its access ways are mostly stairs and ladders  instead of streets.  This mountain city seems to have a central access for boats  and most of the rest is tall buildings jammed right next to each other.  Once again the prevailing direction is up/down and the primary transit is probably stairs, as it looks older and poorer than the kind of city that puts an elevator in every building.

And of course, not everyone cares about efficiency.  Here's one based on circles with houses in wedges, which totally do not pack well.  This one uses ovals around each house.  Very retro, that's what got people trying hexes and later square grids.  But if you want  that green space in between housing clusters, suddenly these models make a lot more sense.

Another division is between manmade and organic.  Grids are manmade, using straight lines and regular patterns.  Organic shapes are more random and curvilinear, like some subdivisions, and rarely work as well.  (See Stupid Street Design and Stupid Lot Shapes.)  In the article, the grids are over-represented in their set of four, and curvilinear shapes -- which do exist -- only somewhat.

Then there's the question of navigation.  Modern cities are pretty much built to be easily navigated. They want people to get in and out and around them easily.  This was not always so.  Once upon a time, cities were sometimes built for defense so that the streets were either a completely chaotic maze, or later on, deliberately designed to slow progress from the rim to the center.  It's how you discouraged invaders.  You got a similar effect if people just built stuff wherever they felt like it and/or followed natural features such as rivers.  Then the Romans popularized the grid.  Rome!  By firelight!  <3  You could charge an army right down those streets on a straight run.  For centuries, in fact, barbarian hordes had great fun doing that.  Here's a fascinating comparison of which cities have a regular grid and which are tangled.

Come on, math dudes, get your heads out of your cultural bias.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Alas, it is 21 volumes long, so not practical for me to read.  But I am happy that it exists.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 "Sport" is an episode of the very NSFW comic "Oglaf."  <3
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
 Using biology to study folklore to study sociogeography.  I love how science sticks to itself!  This is like a hot fudge brownie delight of scientific goodness.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Based on an audience poll, this poem has been sponsored by the general fund. It is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mdlbear, [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart, and Nsfwords.

"Looming Futures"

It was during the Industrial Age,
when machine looms were common,
and Zeus had gotten bored with mortals
ignoring him and gone off with his latest conquest,

when the Moirai quietly switched to a jacquard loom
with its silken threads of Fate laid out in patterns
determined by lengthy chains of paper cards
punched full of holes to control the hooks

and Ada Lovelace suddenly thought,
What a clever idea that is.

* * *


The Fates are also known as Moirai.

A jacquard loom is actually a type of card-commanded computer.

Ada Lovelace is the mother of computing.

ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] capriuni. It also fills the "welcoming" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the November 3, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I am all asquee over this bit of linguistic news that archaic words are regaining crowd appeal.  Why?  Because it's a triangulation point helping to confirm my hypothesis that the frame has popped off and English is in one of its phases of rapid evolution, like the Great Vowel Shift.  Whenever that happens, there's a big uptick in archaic resurgence because as the language retools itself, people check the attic for things that might be usable to fill gaps they're finding that inspired such a major change in the first place.  It's a time when the usual rules are suspended enough to permit drastic revisions of practice.  So you see certain words appearing and disappearing from common use, like skipping a stone across a lake, if you track them out over centuries.

*chuckle*  Slightly marred by those of us whose farmemory and taste in literature have always led us to use "alas" as an everyday word.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is something I'd been thinking about for a while, particularly after writing "The Lights Behind Us." Then we watched a performance and that cemented it. This poem also fills the "exhausted" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones and Voices Bingo Fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Granny Whammy and SPOON thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem touches on some sensitive issues. Highlight to read the details, some of which are spoilers. It contains historic references to racism, classism, and possibly also mistreatment of people with special abilities -- the results of which are fatal. Plus some other angst like floundering through a task not really suited to one's skillset and dealing with loneliness. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. Also, this poem is written in two parts, one set in 1955 and the other in 2013, so keep an eye on the timing.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
 Thanks to a donation from LJ user Ng_moonmoth, you can now read the first 23 verses of "The Most Powerful, Master Emotion."  This belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics and features environmental cleanup in postwar Japan.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the October 6, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth.  It also fills the "humiliation" square in my 6-16-15 card for the Hurt/Comfort Bingo fest and the "suicide" square in my 9-4-15 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

WARNING: This poem features intense topics that many readers may find disturbing.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It contains war imagery, reference to suicide missions and other suicides, nuclear issues, conflicted attitudes about disability and aging, serious illnesses, assorted medical details pertaining to same, corporate malfeasance, severe environmental damage, problematic attitudes about superpowers, issues with honor and shame, graphic descriptions of several failed suicide attempts, depression, and other challenges.  If these are touchy topics for you, consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth

230 lines, Buy It Now = $115
Amount donated = $85
Verses posted = 43 of 56

Amount remaining to fund fully = $30
Amount needed to fund next verse = $1.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $4

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
Here is today's freebie, based on prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and LJ user My_partner_doug.

"The Curse of the Red Baron"

It is the nature of humanity
to combat horror with humor.

Thus Charles Schulz took
Manfred von Richthofen and
pitted him against a flying beagle.

Even when the Bloody Red Baron
shot him down, Snoopy just
shook his fist at the sky and cried,
"Curse you, Red Baron!" or
"Curses, foiled again!"

Comic strips led to movies
and a series of pop songs,
continuing the adventures of
Snoopy vs. the Red Baron.

The catchy melodies spoke of
conflict and persistence and even,
in the Christmas special,
the strange chivalry of
"the knights of the air."

In the end, Snoopy finally
got his revenge and shot down
the Red Baron, only to see him
standing atop a hill, swearing
ferociously in German.

Long after World War I
has faded into history's
relentless march of battles,
the Red Baron stands out
as a vivid personage and
the curse of the skies ...

exeunt, pursued by a beagle.

* * *


Snoopy is a cartoon beagle drawn by Charles Schulz.

The historic figure Manfred von Richthofen appeared as Snoopy's nemesis, the Red Baron.

Their combat began in comic strips such as this, followed by songs.  The Royal Guardsmen started with the lyrics for "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" and later "The Return of the Red Baron" and "Snoopy's Christmas."

Exit, Pursued by a Bear is an entertainment trope with its roots in the Shakespeare line "Exeunt, pursued by a bear."  It is a traditional way of indicating defeat or death without actually showing dismemberment onstage.  It also belongs to the comic tradition due to the sheer incongruity, and has often been played for laughs.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 It turns out that J.R.R. Tolkien drew a lot more illustrations of Middle-Earth than previously shared.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (neutral)
[livejournal.com profile] djinni sent me these two handsome icons for Beneath the Family Tree:

Cobble Front View
Cobble Front view

Cobble Side View
Cobble Side View

Which one do you like better?

Also, these icons show a character who is explicitly gender-nonconforming in canon. Cobble has a female body and a male spirit. Local custom sorts that as "one-between" but Cobble disagrees -- he considers himself a normal man with a body that just looks like a woman. So if any of my fans want a genderqueer icon, I'm happy to share. I already chipped in a donation for these. :D


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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