ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Black students are more inclined to enroll in black colleges now

Amazingly, if you shit on people then they don't want to be around you and would rather be around others like themselves. Also if you refuse to allow them safe space, they will seek to create their own.  

For black folks, that means don't expect white people to protect you; take care of yourselves.  And if their goals are not yours, then don't give them your money; keep it in your own cause.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Toy Like Me is a campaign for greater diversity in toys, focused on diff:abilities.  They have a Facebook page and a new website, the latter including a guide to diff:abled toys you can buy.  

It's kind of like a little slice of Terramagne, where such toys are now ubiquitous -- most lines have at least one diff:abled item.  You can thank Whammy Lass and Eugene Jacoby for sparking that trend with their wounded toy soldiers
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is a surprisingly astute article about surviving an earthquake which advises sheltering beside  large objects instead of underneath them.  Sure enough, look at the pictures: there are gaps beside things where a person could hide.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
At the current rate of loss, we have around 50 years of wilderness left.  O_O 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at diversity in Star Trek. I'm particularly taken by Armin Shimerman's experience regarding perceptions of the Ferengi.

However, I must note that "having equality" is a white perspective on Lt. Uhura. Whoopi Goldberg's reaction was, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ Dr. Martin Luther King's description was, "You prove that we survive."  Those are very different values in the character.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Water is life.  Protect it or die.  Here are some actions to support the Sioux protesters who are blocking a hazardous pipeline.  #11 -- Spread the word.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Apparently people think saving the Earth is for pussies.  Whatever happened to good old-fashioned "you fuck up my territory, I will tear your face off" protectiveness?  I mean really.  You jerks should turn in your cock and balls, you're embarrassing the rest of manhood.  >_<
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Some folks found an awesome new way to fight homophobia: when their lesbian neighbors were vandalized, lots of other people hung rainbow flags.  Not only is this a lovely show of support for the lesbians, and a discouragement to the vandals, it also provides protective camouflage.  Suppose a bigot drives by who doesn't already know where the lesbians live.  How's he going to find them now?  He'll run out of eggs pretty fast.  LOL

I saw this and immediately thought of the leprechaun story.

So pass it around.  We can sure use more techniques for turning all the isms into wasms.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Our nearest celestial neighbor, the Centauri system, used to be extremely popular in science fiction.  As astronomers learned more about space, it didn't seem as promising.  Surprise!  Classic SF writers may have been right after all.  It turns out that Proxima Centauri has at least one planet which is likely to resemble Earth in some key aspects. 

Aaaaaand now I want to go there.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This one is local to me, a new species of sedge has been named after a botanist at Eastern Illinois University. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
These are the four that humans are studying so far. Here's a hint about a fifth.

Now let's step outside what people have the math to explain, and just look at patterns.

Everything is connected. Some people don't think there is a "universal force" because they can't explain it yet. Others are avidly looking for it. The forces we notice are like the fingers on a hand -- connected at the base, yet capable of doing separate things. The fact we haven't found the hand yet doesn't mean it isn't there. We can infer its presence based on surrounding patterns and how the known forces behave in relationship to each other.   Just as we used to think of electricity and magnetism as separate, and now know they're different aspects of the same thing, so it is with the rest of this stuff.

It's very clever of people to go looking for more chapters of information by examining patterns of known chapters, such as observing that "the elusive “protophobic X boson" — a particle that only interacts with electrons and neutrons, instead of the electromagnetic combo of electrons and protons."  Now just go down the list of possibilities, and you will find a bunch more chapters.  What are the other combinations of particles that forces could involve?  If you find particles that are new to you, those can lead you to forces you have not yet explored.

Humanity is just starting to get into the less-obvious stuff.  Seriously folks, the easiest way to find that is to grid what you already have and then look at the gaps.  Where are you not seeing influences between combinations of things?  Those might well exist but they are less apparent so you will have to hunt for them.  It's a lot easier to find things if you have some idea where they would logically be.

Same with applications.  We base technology on electromagnetism and nuclear physics.  So too, it is possible to base technology on gravity.  I don't mind how slow this is going, because we don't have the social technology to handle that level of physical technology, and it's pretty easy to cause planetary-scale damage with lab accidents in that field.  Let's just not hand the blowtorch to the toddlers.  But it does work.
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
Kenny Baker, the performer who played R2-D2 in Star Wars, has passed away

Since Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) has already given the best possible eulogy, I will simply echo his here: "He WAS the droid I was looking for!"

I grew up watching those movies, but I always had a different perspective than most people, and one of the things I loved about them was seeing droids -- artificial intelligences -- portrayed as people,  even though they were often the butt of the joke.  R2-D2 helped save the galaxy, and I think part of that was made possible because he looked like a garbage can and talked like a machine, so people overlooked him as a possible spy.  We are the thorn in the foot, little buddy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article which lays out a modest string of examples why Trump is entirely predictable.  He is simply the natural outgrowth of the Republican platform.  It's not an accident.  I say "modest string" because they've been deliberately aiming in this direction for about 40 years.

I admire their ingenuity and patience in devising a long-term plan to alter American politics.  But the results are disastrous, and this was evident at the very beginning.  People called them loonies for a long time ... and then forgot how stupid and dangerous this nonsense is.  It's the ingenuity and patience of a five-year-old piling objects so he can climb atop the garage to jump off with an umbrella.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Harvard Republican Club has issued a ringing condemnation of Trump

Understand that the Republican Party has been building toward this situation for ~40 years.  It's not an accident or a fluke. They have had, and promoted, very long-range plans to radicalize and divide politics to their own advantage.  All the racist, misogynist, classist, etc. nonsense that Trump spouts is just the natural conclusion of the direction in which they have been pushing all this time.  They've been aiming to elect people along those lines, and when it all comes together, we find ourselves faced with this bombastic, testosterone-poisoned troglodyte.

Suddenly, now that the station is in sight, people are deciding they don't want to be on this train.  Well, better late than never. I just hope it's enough.

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