Dec. 20th, 2014 01:42 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Rigamajig is a large-scale building toy, like a cross between playground equipment and an erector set. It has wooden boards, pulleys, giant nuts and bolts, etc. It's pretty cool.

Read more... )


Dec. 19th, 2014 10:53 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Use this onscreen program to create beautiful designs.  It's nice for stress relief when you just need to look at something pretty.
ysabetwordsmith: (gift)
 [personal profile] thebonesofferalletters is holding a gift-giving prompt session where you can leave a prompt and get fic or art as a present.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Consider the physics of Cinderella's slippers.  Note that they could be made much safer by lowering the heel.  "Slippers" are usually flats or shoes with low, wide heels.  High-heeled shoes are different.  Also they were worn by men, not women, until more recent times.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer just posted Part 1 of 7 for "Chance Meeting."  Mallory meets someone new on campus.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] brides_koneko is hosting a prompt call on the theme of "joy and connection."  A linkback guarantees something will get written for your prompt.  You can donate for more goodies too.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about grafting fruit-bearing branches onto sterile trees in city landscapes. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
For you alt-history mavens, here are 20 maps that never happened.  Feel free to use any of those as prompts in a suitable prompt call.  The high-speed rail looks a bit like an early, truncated version of the robust mass-transit system that Terramagne-America enjoys.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This new device shoots fireballs using flash paper.  To the description I will add two things:

1) Flash paper is a tool for experts, and it is finicky damn stuff.  Don't even bother trying gizmos for it until you can handle it fluently barehanded.  None of the gizmos are exactly easy to use, and I'm sure this one is more challenging than the basic ones any good magic shop will carry.  So learn those before you think about something like this.

2) Flash paper is also designed not  to burn anything but itself.  It's stage fire.  Yes, you could hurt yourself if you're careless and you might manage to light something else, but for the most part, it's fire "lite."  Nothing like superhero fireballs.

That said, it still looks awesome.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Sung and played, it's very pretty.

According to my farmemory, this is a credible rendition of the court/temple style, you know, classical stuff.  The popular music was, um ... earthier.  Louder, faster, ooga-chaka stuff.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I love this "Dreidel" song for its playful camaraderie.  Culture is a living, growing thing.

Also, why don't we use these as four-sided dice?  A pyramid doesn't roll well.  A dreidel spins perfectly, delivering a perfect random result.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a thoughtful (and explicit) look at how movies and video games present torture as fun and effective.  Yes, I said "fun."  People play game and watch movies for pleasure.  If they are doing that with torture on the screen, particularly in these examples where it is shown in an approving tone, then they find torture to be entertaining rather than appalling.  If heroes are portrayed torturing people, then torture is rendered as heroic.  It's torture pr0n.

This is troublesome.  It makes torture seem okay.  It's not okay.   It is possible to get usable information out of people with torture, but that's extremely difficult.  A majority of victims will, sooner or later, say anything to make the torture stop; it's hard to sort out usable facts from that.  Most of the time, even if information is the purported goal, it's really about personal gratification for the torturers and terrorism -- those things are very easy to get once you have a helpless victim.  Torture harms the victims, of course, but that's "their problem and they deserved it."  Catch is, torture also distorts the personality of the torturers, making small personal flaws into much larger ones.  Those people don't stay in small rooms torturing "legitimate" victims.  They come home.  Maybe they have a spouse and kids.  Maybe they lose their temper, and hey, they think that manipulation and violence are acceptable problem-solving methods.  Look at the rates of domestic violence among police and military families.  Well, now it's everyone's  problem.

I don't often write about torture.  It's challenging to present realistically without squicking the audience, especially if like me you grew up reading hardcore history books, because people have done some ghastly things to each other.  When I do write about it, then it typically causes more problems than it solves.  Some of my villains are really into it -- Jasp, for example.  You will note that it is not portrayed as acceptable behavior.

If you are torturing people, you are not a hero.  Period.  You are doing something evil.  You may attain your goal.  It is still not good.  The end does not justify the means; the means determine the end.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was thrilled to find this post about holiday carols in Native American languages.  

"Jingle Bells" in Woodland Cree has the lyrics written out as well as the singing.  "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in Ojibwe has no lyrics, but a lovely photo collection of native creche scenes.  "Little Drummer Boy" in Navajo has the lyrics written out, and you should look at them closely -- it's not a colloquial version, but a linguistic version, and it shows some of the differences between the languages.  This sounds to me like a really great translation because it captures the Navajo culture; for instance "beautifully" instead of "I play my best" evokes the Blessingway Ceremony.  "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee just has random graphics.  "Silent Night" in Arapaho has the artist's album cover throughout.  

Of course, I am most fascinated by the ones with lyrics included.  The more information a recording contains, the more useful it is for learning, using, and transmitting a heritage language.  If I had made these, I would've wanted to include both native and English lines for comparison -- but that's my linguist instinct talking.  I can see why people would want to have just the native lyrics, and that is fine.

If you play any of these to the end, look and you'll find more links to other native language videos.
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
This jigsaw puzzle has 1000 pieces, each of them a different color.  That's all.  No picture, just the color scale.  It's gorgeous, and a perfect gift for puzzle fans or artists.  The site has a video of people assembling the puzzle.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted Part 2 of "Private Chat," now complete.  Halley's online friends help thon consider the pros and cons of graduating from high school early, and what alternative education options there are.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has a post discussing what she likes in writing, and asking what you like in writing.  My likes and dislikes are already in a comment below that post.  Yay, meta!
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is an interesting page where you can experiment with bias

Me, I prefer diversity.  I am quite strongly xenophilic.  I'm not willing to move, though, being rooted where I am.  But given a chance to interact with a group of people, I'll gravitate toward those who are different and interesting.  I actively cultivate those connections.  I like some common ground.  I don't like homogenous situations.  So while I don't help geographic diversity, I do help group diversity.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] haikujaguar has written a couple of posts on artistic business, "The Serpent's Whisper" and "I Am an Indie Midlister (and That's Okay)." These look at some ups and downs of alternative publishing and personal goals.


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