sapphire2309: (Kate)
[personal profile] sapphire2309
[ profile] manue7a just did part of a giant 100 days meme to kill time, and i guess i'm doing it now?

1.when you have cereal, do you have more milk than cereal or more cereal than milk?

more cereal, always. i mean, i like my cereal a little soggy, but also i REALLY don't like milk? (i don't like the taste, and also it gives me gas.) so i just let the cereal sit around in JUST enough milk for a little while, and once most of the milk is absorbed, go forth and nom.

(also, cereal first, then milk. i don't know how anyone does it the other way round without cringing.)

yes, i'm still hooked to This Too Shall Pass. it's a beautiful song with a lot of lyrics and a lot of layers, all of which i haven't properly listened to and analysed yet. ugh this song has SO MUCH to it i am dying. i want to be able to write like this. (i'm remembering what i love about writing! this is good!)

(for anyone who wants it, i'll post the entire meme in a comment below because i don't want it clogging up this (or any) entry, and also like for my reference?)

i picked the kate icon because that's pretty much what i look like when i'm neutral-happy. <3


Oct. 19th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people." -- Prince (Prince Rogers Nelson, b. 1958-06-07, d. 2016-04-21)

reading wednesday

Oct. 19th, 2017 02:19 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[This is actually from last Wednesday but I'm just going to post it now anyway]
• What are you reading?

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, by Erin Wunker. It's a bits-and-pieces book, but all the bits are in conversation with other writers, and with reality; even its bittyness recalls how Tillie Olsen would carry a sentence in her mind, polishing it in scraps of time between interruptions, through a day of women's work, a day of no peace, no privacy, no silence, no solitude.
When I started this book, I wanted to write something unimpeachable. Something so clear and objective, it could be a little dictionary or translation phrase book for how to speak a feminist language and live a feminist life. I wanted what many other writers -- the many-gendered mothers of my heart -- had already written. I wanted A Room of One's Own, Sister Outsider, Willful Subjects, Islands of Decolonial Love. I wanted Feminism is for Everybody and The Dream of a Common Language. I wanted No Language is Neutral.

I wanted books that had already been written by people whose experiences of moving through the world are different -- often radically so -- from mine.


I got stuck.
I read some more.
I remembered that I tell my students that reading and writing are attempts at joining conversations, making new ones, and, sometimes, shifting the direction of discourse.
I sat down at my typewriter again.

• What did you recently finish reading?

George & Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl.

Lizzie agreed. "I remember reading a novel in which one of the characters, a college professor, was writing a book on the influence of Emily Dickinson on Shakespeare and how his colleagues always misheard it and thought it was the other way around. I wish I could remember the title, because talking about it now makes me want to read it again. It's so interesting to think about. Do you think we read Shakespeare differently because of Dickinson's poems?"

I remember reading that too! It was by David Lodge, I think Changing Places? I read it about the same age Lizzie did. Not at the same time: I'm maybe ten years older than Lizzie. But, like Lizzie, I grew up in Michigan and went to UM and struggled with depression most of my life and, as a young woman, tried to claim my sexuality in ways that were bad for me and for the people I interacted with. Lizzie feels real to me, is what I'm saying, and I'm okay with the fact that the people around her are kind of one-note because the problem this book is about is: if you can't stop being sad about your shitty childhood even though your life is no longer shitty, if you can't stop punishing yourself for bad choices that you made long ago, if you can't stop trying to change something that happened long ago and wasn't in your control even then. . . then how do you stop?
[Lizzie says] "They're your thoughts, right? How can you not think them?"
Marla struggled to answer. "I don't know, but people do it. I think I let go of things, or at least try to. You have to, really, otherwise you're weighted down with all those cumulative bad memories. James and I used to talk about that baby missing from our lives, whether it was a boy or a girl, whether we could find out who adopted it, whether we'd ever forgive our parents, why we didn't just say 'Screw you' to them back then and get married after I got pregnant. I mean, you know, it was so present. It was always there in our lives. But if we kept that up there'd be no place for anything else. And now we just acknowledge all that awful stuff happened, that maybe we made the wrong decision, that we were just kids. We were just kids. You have to forgive yourself eventually, right?"

Lizzie's husband George got famous by explaining that, while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, but his explanation doesn't work for Lizzie. George doesn't seem to understand that, for some people, that's liberating, but for others, it says that your suffering was your choice and therefore your fault. I'd offer Lizzie Season of Mists, because "you don't have to stay anywhere forever" worked for me, but how a story works depends as much on the reader as on the story.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to write good stories. This one has a stupid editing oversight that dumped me right out:
[Marla:]"I love you Lizzie, and always will. And I will always, always, keep your secrets. But this, what this means to you and George, is an important secret. It's not the equivalent of a little white lie. It'd be like me not telling James about the abortion."
[Lizzie:]"But James knew about the abortion, he was with you when you had it."
"Don't be deliberately naive, it doesn't become you. You know what I mean: some other James I was involved with."

What abortion, I wondered? Was there an abortion as well as a baby given up for adoption? When?

No, it must have been changed from an abortion to an adoption at some point. Which was a good change: it's believable that Marla would find it harder to move on with her life after carrying the baby for nine months, while knowing that there was a person out there that she felt responsible for but had no ability to protect. But leaving evidence of the change in the story made me notice how flat all the other characters are, how they are the way they are in order to serve Lizzie's story.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft.


Oct. 19th, 2017 08:02 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), an American science advocacy group known for its stance against global warming, would like to inform us all of the dastardly behaviour of the fossil fuel companies.

The UCS’s recent paper links global climate changes to the product-related emissions of fossil fuel producers, focusing on the oil, gas and coal producers as well as cement manufacturers. The paper criticises those companies for their impact on climate change, such as the rise of sea levels and the increase in global temperatures.

The point of the paper is to assign responsibility – and thus the potential job of clearing it all up – to those who dug and pumped up those fuels.

The problem with this is that the basic contention is tosh. For whatever responsibility there is for emissions lies not with those who made the supply, but with those who demanded it. It’s you, me and our grandparents and our selfish desires for transport and warmth in winter to blame here.

Ah, yes, well, senior lecturer

Oct. 19th, 2017 07:28 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

A dream of a world where economics is the liberating and not the dismal science

The source of the name being Carlyle, who was most upset when it was proved to him that paid labour was more productive than slave found that his ideas about who how and why there should be slavery were proven invalid.

All of which makes that an entirely valid dream for the Senior Lecturer, doesn’t it? I dream of an economics which can ignore reality.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Liberal and progressive sites appear to be among the victims of a policy Google announced on April 25, designed to boost “reliable sources” of information, after Google and other technology companies were criticized for allowing low-quality and even fraudulent websites to proliferate during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Utilizing tools from Google, a web analytics company called SEMrush and other methods, Damon calculated that since April, search result traffic to the World Socialist Website has dropped 45 percent as of Sept. 16. He found similar declines at several other left-leaning sites, including AlterNet, Democracy Now!, Common Dreams, and Truthout, all of which have editors who review articles before they are published.

WSW is owned by the International Trots so that seems like a good set of nutters to down play.

But, of course, that’s not what the snowflakes have been calling for. We want the other set of nutters banned, not us!

Interesting definition of optimism

Oct. 19th, 2017 04:39 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Well no. Get real. This strategy has failed. Without an analysis of the “p” word, patriarchy, we remain powerless to change it. Either a) men are just naturally aggressive because of testosterone, women are passive breeders, and this is biologically determined, or b) there is a power structure in play here that can be challenged.

I am going with b) because I am an optimist. The concept of patriarchy is overarching and universalising, it is trans-historical and nowhere near cross-cultural enough.

Hmm, well, yes, could be

Oct. 19th, 2017 04:15 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

A female medical student who began treatment to become a man has warned how encouraging children to undergo such procedures could create one of the “great medical blunders” of our time.

Kate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had injected herself with hormones causing her voice to drop and her face to grow prominent hair. However, she later abandoned the treatment after deciding she was not transgender.

Explaining how she had been encouraged to undergo the treatment after visiting online forums, she warned that “great harm” could be caused by groups eager to coax parents and their children into believing a child struggling with their sex was simply born the wrong gender.

In an interview with Radio 4, Kate, who began her treatment in her early 20’s, said she believes that had her confusion over her sex happened today she could well have undergone treatment but later regretted it.

“I’m very concerned that if I was a teenager now or even younger that I or my parents would be pushed to consider me then as transgender,” she said. “I would have welcomed that at the time. I wanted to be a boy when I was younger because boys were allowed to be assertive and confident. A young person may now take hormones or have surgery and later regret it.

“By giving treatment to young children we may be perpetrating a great harm. And we might look back on this in 30 or 50 years and see it as one of the great medical blunders of the 21st Century. I don’t know. If someone had offered me that as a child. I would have taken it and I would have ended up regretting it.”

This is a surprise, eh?

Oct. 19th, 2017 04:12 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Christy Turlington, one of the world’s most recognised supermodels, has accused the fashion industry of being “surrounded by predators” as it braced itself for a slew of sex harassment claims in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Ms Turlington broke cover to denounce the business for leaving vulnerable young models – both female and male – at the mercy of “some creepy playboy type”.

Vast numbers of would be wannabes, all chosen for looks, and a limited number of places…..

Christopher Robin, hello

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:18 pm
calimac: (Default)
[personal profile] calimac
There's a movie coming out called Goodbye Christopher Robin, one of those modern historical dramas so popular recently. It's a genre I'm very susceptible to, so I'll go see this one.

But before I have to throw in a comparison of the movie with reality, I'd better triangulate reality with the general impression of it. For The Enchanted Places, Christopher Milne's memoir of his childhood and the story behind the books, is the most seriously and comprehensively misread book that I know. This is pervasive; it's not just one or two cases. People read it, but what they get out of it isn't there.

You know the basics. A.A. Milne, successful dramatist and humorist, published between 1924 and 1928 four children's books of fanciful poetry and stories inspired by, and using the real name of, his small son Christopher Robin and his collection of stuffed toy animals. They became huge and lasting successes, to some irritation of the author who preferred to be known for more serious or adult work, and to his son, who, as the end of The House at Pooh Corner points out, did not remain a small boy playing with stuffed toys.

That part's true, but a mistaken emphasis on the irritation has created false stories of a bizarrely dysfunctional, but imaginary, family out of the memoir that Christopher Milne, as in adulthood he preferred to be known, published half a century later in 1974. (I'm citing the 1975 US edition from Dutton.)

False story #1: That A.A. Milne was a cold and distant father with no interest and little contact with his son as a real person.

Partial truth to this: That as a small child, Christopher was largely raised by a nanny. This was absolutely standard practice in upper and middle-class families in Britain at the time, and for many generations earlier. Some parents were cold and distant, some were warm and loving. They all had nannies. You can prove nothing from this. The Milnes, at least, were not the kind of parents who only see their child for a few minutes at bedtime and allow no real interaction then, though they've been falsely accused of that.

Another partial truth to it: AAM did not have a gift for playing with and relating to small children. (Not the only renowned male children's author of whom this was true: Dr. Seuss was positively uneasy with small children in a way that Milne was not.)

But CRM is not resentful. He calls his childhood "happy" (p. 5) and is sympathetic to his father: "Some people are good with children. Others are not. It is a gift. You either have it or you don't. My father didn't. ... My father was a creative writer and so it was precisely because he was not able to play with his small son that his longings sought and found satisfaction in another direction." (p. 36)

But CRM also says that this applied only to nursery days. "Later on it was different, very different." (p. 36) And he proves this with extensive anecdote throughout the book. First, AAM did have the courtesy to arrange for the nursery visits of an acquaintance whom the boy called Soldier, who did have that knack with children (ch. 4) Even from when CRM was still small, the book tells some remarkable anecdotes showing AAM as a father of both sensitivity and wit. My favorite is this:

Once, when I was quite little, he came up the nursery while I was having my lunch. And while he was talking I paused between mouthfuls, resting my hands on the table, knife and fork pointing upwards. "You oughtn't really to sit like that," he said, gently. "Why not?" I asked, surprised. "Well ..." He hunted around for a reason he could give. Because it's considered bad manners? Because you musn't? Because ... "Well," he said, looking in the direction that my fork was pointing. "Suppose somebody suddenly fell through the ceiling. They might land on your fork and that would be very painful." (p. 120-21)
That's the species of wit I'd like to show with small children, and have very occasionally had the luck to come up with. And that was in the deprecated nursery days! Read the father gently correcting a factual error the son had been taught in school (p. 119-20) or the truly extraordinary way he weaned his son, then aged about ten, from an interest in shooting (ch. 21). And the cherished family holidays (ch. 22). The son says he and his father were very close for many years, and there's plenty to back this up. When CRM was in his 20s, his father sent him philosophical books, hoping the son would share his beliefs but not pressing him to do so (p. 142-44); this is discussed in CRM's third book, The Hollow in the Hill, which is not really a memoir but, as its subtitle states, "The search for a personal philosophy." In his second book, The Path Through the Trees, which is a memoir and a sequel to The Enchanted Places, there's lengthy discussion of AAM's role in helping CRM join the Army in WW2 and in his positive enthusiasm in helping the son realize his aptness for and to qualify for his post as a sapper, a combat engineer; and post-war pulled strings in the book industry to help CRM get set up as a bookseller.

A further warp, and yes I've actually seen this claimed, is that "his dad bought him Tigger because he wanted to see what personality young Christopher gave him -- in other words, A.A. was not being a thoughtful dad but seeking copy as a writer." That is an unjust insinuation worthy of a cruel prosecutor. Here's what CRM actually says: "Both Kanga and Tigger were later arrivals, presents from my parents, carefully chosen, not just for the delight they might give to their new owner, but also for their literary possibilities." (p. 77) So the charge is as if it was just his father. As if the parents couldn't have both motives, of being thoughtful and generating ideas. As if there's anything wrong in AAM's hoping he might get a story out of this. People post amusing videos of their children on YouTube all the time, and I hope you can tell the difference between the ones who are actually exploiting and abusing their children and those who are just delighted to share something amusing.

False story #2: That Christopher Milne spent his life in burning resentment of his father exploiting him as a literary character.

What people who purvey this are thinking of is a passage in the epilogue to The Enchanted Places in which CRM recounts a shadow that came between him and his father in the post-war years when he struggled to find a job and a career. "In pessimistic moments ... it seemed to me, almost, that my father ... had filched from me my good name and had left me with nothing but the empty fame of being his son." (p. 165) Emphases added. CRM is not fully endorsing this bitter view, even for the time period that he had it. Eventually he realized that "If I wanted to escape from Christopher Robin, so, too, did he." (p. 166) AAM's burden, of course, was being known just for that, or having his other works judged only in that context.

As a boy, CRM would sometimes be teased by other boys over Christopher Robin. But that wasn't a heavy burden. If it weren't that, they'd find some other excuse to tease. CRM is clear that this was no more than an occasional irritant: Its "appearances at school were few. Mostly we were occupied with other things ... mostly I had other things to think about ... it never occurred to me that perhaps I ought to be blaming somebody for it all. ... My relations with my father were quite unaffected." (p. 163-64)

In adulthood, he retained continued discomfort with Christopher Robin, but it's something he came to terms with; it could hardly have been otherwise once he settled on a career as a bookseller (as was pointed out to him by his mother, "who always hit the nail on the head no matter whose fingers were in the way," p. 167). All he says about its place in his maturity is that "posing as Christopher Robin does today make me feel ill at ease" (p. 5) and "he still fills me with acute embarrassment ... after years of practice I am still terribly bad at this sort of thing" (p. 168). That's only acceptance insofar as he was willing to tell the story in his book, instead of hiding out altogether; but it's far removed from the kind of burning resentment, especially of his father (to whose memory he dedicated both his second and third books), of the brief spasm of 1947 and of the false story.

I hope, probably in vain, that we can have done with the misreadings of the book, before whatever misreadings generated by the movie descend on us.
ironymaiden: (Rebels)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
i was cranky last night, so i watched some tv to cheer me up. it kind of worked.

the new (final) season of Rebels started this week. looks like they're going to be releasing two episodes a week for the next month or so.

spoilers for Star Wars Rebels through season 4 premiere, and The Clone Wars re: Mandalore )

They also serve who only

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:39 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
As I write this, Karen’s in surgery. By the time I can post it - for I have no wifi at this hospital - we’ll be back at the apartment, and she’ll be fine. Drowsy, maybe. It’s a minor procedure, to connect a port to her bloodstream so that she can be a cyborg for a few days; local anaesthetic and a sedative, no more, but they say she’ll go to sleep.

We have a room that is ours for the duration, and all I have to do is sit in it and wait. Half my task here is waiting. (I have never liked waiting, and do it poorly.)

Outside our room in one of those windowcleaners’ cradles that hang on cables from the roof. Two men are in it with all the tools, and they are doing all the things to the wall at my back: hammering, sawing, drilling. It’s like being in the apartment, transposed to a minor key: for there they are building another tower block just next to ours, and that affords us all the noises of major construction.

I am in a weird mood, I find. I feel ... pent. Potentially eruptive. Popacatepetl in miniature. It’s just the waiting. Karen will be fine, and so will I.

I’m rereading an old favourite novel, Elizabeth Lynn’s “A Different Light”. I still hope to meet her one day, for I know she’s local and we have friends in common. (I’m also rereading “The Count of Monte Cristo”, though I have no hope of meeting Dumas. That’s on the other Kindle, back at the apartment. Reading different books on different Kindles may seem perverse, or contraindicated, but really it’s just about power management. This one, the original, a full charge lasts for weeks; t’other is a tablet-in-embryo and I only get a few hours out of it, less than my phone even.)

I thought I’d be doing more work than I am, but apparently a man can just read and shop and cook and watch TV. Maybe after this week is over, when the procedures are behind us and Karen’s just apartment-bound in neutropenia, I’ll find the mindspace again. These next few days are going to be rough: apharesis and chemo and then at last the transplant. At the moment she’s in a lot of pain - or would be, but for the shots - which they tell us is a good thing, a sign that the process is working as it should. Her bone-marrow is sending lots of stem cells out into her bloodstream, ready to be harvested, yay: but this is a painful process, and her bones ache. Tonight’s going to be the worst of that, and she’ll have the discomfort of today’s operation to deal with also. Plus a lot of stress about tomorrow, when we’ll be all day at the clinic.

Now there are weird noises happening just outside the door. Power-tool of some kind, I think. I’m not going to look. They said I can go down to the cafeteria and get some coffee, but I think I’m just going to sit here and wait till Karen gets back.
pozorvlak: (Default)
[personal profile] pozorvlak
I am only about a hundred pages into this book, but it had paid for itself after fifty. I wish I'd read it ten years ago. Actually, I wish I'd read it nineteen years ago when I started my first programming job, but it hadn't been written then. Techies, if you haven't read it, I strongly advise you to do so at your earliest convenience. It's about how to deal with a Catch-22 that's come up over and over again in my programming career:
  • I can't safely modify, or even understand, this code, because it has no tests.
  • I can't test it without modifying it.
Feathers describes techniques for bringing code under test with the minimal amount of disruption, then refactoring it towards maintainability. Some of the advice I'd worked out for myself, but having names and a structure to hang ad-hoc insights on is great. The book concentrates on object-oriented and procedural languages, but a lot of the techniques should generalise to other paradigms.

Check out this book on Goodreads:

Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers

Texas Gothic...

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:01 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
...that liminal time that happens every Wednesday at 1PM when they test the
tornado sirens.

Err, you whut?

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Richard Murphy says:
October 18 2017 at 2:06 pm
No we have not used up all our fiscal tools

Nor have we used up all our monetary tools, by a long way

We have just delivered low interest rates that reduce rentierism in the economy

When looking out of the other stump holes The Sage tells us that low interest rates have just increased asset values increasing the value of the rentiers’ capital stock.

And we have all noted how buy to let has fallen alongside those low rates, haven’t we?

News Post: Interior Decorating

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:35 pm
[syndicated profile] pennyarcade_feed
Tycho: Gabe has managed to spread this Battle Royale disease to Kara, and it infected all the people I used to play Destiny with.  I’ve told him repeatedly: this is not the cool game to play.  He doesn’t have the receptors to collate this kind of data.  So if I want to play a game with…  anyone, I’m playing this. Gabe and I found a very nice house with a very nice view, right in the middle of the circle, so we thought hardening it might be a strong play.  What this meant as a course of action was very distinct for each of us, and we both set about doing…
[personal profile] ron_newman posting in [community profile] davis_square
Bernie Sanders is coming to ONCE Lounge, 156 Highland Avenue, next Monday, October 23, at 9:30 am. He will be endorsing progressive candidates for local office in Somerville and Cambridge. RSVP here.

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:02 pm
thornsilver: (cozy)
[personal profile] thornsilver
Yesterday I had a 6:45 pm doctor's appointment. I did not get to see him until 7:30 pm. He prescribed me medication that might help with weight loss. I am not sure yet if I am going to take it. I don't really want to. But my knees and my feet are bothering me lately. It would help to be less fat. If it helps? And of course I don't have the medication yet and I do not remember the name so I can't google around and see what people say about it.

I had So Much Trouble getting out of bed today you guys. I wanted to call in so bad.

And yet I am here, being all dependable office worker.

I'd rather be at home with the cat watching TV or something.

CamelChicken (humpday check-in)

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:39 pm
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[personal profile] artsyhonker
It is Wednesday, and here we are.

A breath for Wednesday.


I got my scholarship report form done, and some composing, and wound down the thing I was going to wind down, and poked at the Cecilia's List database and website some more, and did a bunch of planning.

The Hard

There is not enough sleep in the entire world. I could say this is partly due to a nutrtional change, or the weather, or the diminishing daylight, and that would all be true, but it's mostly due to the really obvious: staying up way too late, even though I know I don't sleep well in the mornings. Some of this was warranted, some of it was... not wrong timing, exactly, but after a run of late nights it feels odd and tricky to get back onto earlier ones again. Things feel really hard when I don't give the perishing meatsack enough sleep. A breath for snoring.

There is a Social Situation that is so concerning, I'm considering writing to Captain Awkward about it. I'm not going to go into the details here, but it involves in-person interactions and keepng myself and a friend safe. A breath for trusting my instincts. A breath for asking for help.

I am getting different messages from different places about my PhD requirements, and it is freaking me out. I suspect either I've been automagically added to the wrong mailing list, or there are some new requirements for PhD students as a result of a faculty merger thing which are not really on the radar yet for my supervisors; in any case, it's basically a case of Schrödinger's Research Paper, ie I don't know whether I have to write and present one. A breath for it's just one paper, not an entire PhD. A breath for calm down and find out which information is correct.

Frustrating paypal-related admin is frustrating, and blocking my access to (already paid-out) income from Patreon. The timing of this -- while my spouse is changing jobs and we have a gap in our income -- is... unfortunate. A breath for slow bureaucracy taking as long as it takes.

I didn't meet any of the composing competition deadlines this past weekend.

The Good

I caught the staying up too late and have made some progress toward shifting it, though the test wll be this evening when I have a rehearsal until 21.30 and don't get home until at least 22.30. A breath for feeling a bit better already.

I am trying a much-simplified morning routine: 7am wake/wash/dress, 8am breakfast, 9am walk/cycle/movement, 10am work until lunch (with wifi off, no less). That's... a long time for each of those things. But it also recognises that realistically, after I shower I hate getting dressed immediately and prefer to sit around in a towel and dressing gown until I'm quite a bit more dry and it isn't always appropriate for me to do that while eating breakfast. It recognises that on a bad jointcrap day, everything takes longer and I may need to either walk slowly, or abort the walk and do physio instead. It recognises that having exactly 17 minutes to eat my breakfast doesn't play well with my anxiety about getting things done. It recognises that afternoons are wiggly and appointment-ful. So far, this feels kinder than some of my previous routine attempts. We'll see. A breath for experimentation. A breath for noticing what I need and what I don't need.

I have e-mailed one of my supervisors to ask for clarification re: Schrödinger's Research Paper. A breath for seeking clarity. At the moment I'm not yet in trouble over this: a gold star for not letting it get that bad. Worst-case scenario looks like: I have to Do the Thing and Nobody Knew. So, I submit a topic by 1st November, make an extra trip to Aberdeen mid-December to present. This is not actually terrible in terms of how it interacts with my other deadlines and financial stuffs. A breath for perspective.

Someone made a donation to help get Cecilia's List up and running, which means that once the frustrating paypal-related admin stops being frustrating, there is money to spend on a proper domain name, and some adverts in things like Choir and Organ magazine. A breath for encouragement.

My maybe-bricked smartphone isn't. Another customer on the support forums gave me useful information about the magic button presses to get to recovery mode, wipe the data, and start over. Would that the actual tech support people had done so a week and a half ago; but a breath for all timing is right timing. I spent some time yesterday getting it set up again with my various preferred apps and aids, and will in due course give the borrowed Nokia 3310 back to the friend I borrowed it from. A breath for technology. A breath for easier connectivity on my own terms. A breath for not exacerbating jointcrap by pressing buttons to type.

I have realised it may be possible for me to get cheap-ish "spare" spectacles from one of the online places, and that extended-wear contact lenses are a thing, and a rather better one than they were last time I tried contact lenses around fifteen years ago. Given my current specs are held together with superglue and it's been over three years since my last eye test, it's time to do somethng about this, but I had been putting it off because of the expense, and then worrying my glasses might break. But now I can visit the optician, get my prescription, and order glasses online -- relatively cheaply -- and if my glasses break I will not be as badly off as I had feared. And if it looks like contacts are a thing, then I may only ever need the "spare" glasses. All this depends on my prescription (which may be too strong for the online glasses ordering, let alone the fancy shmancy contact lenses), but it no longer feels overwhelming and terrible. A breath for relief.


Composing! Phd-related: St Lawrence's Tears. Chapel choir commission. Some competitions for end of October: three I'd really like to enter, a further two I could enter. Of the first three, one is a Canadians-only one that I've done some of the groundwork for (for another competition, not entered); one is a set-text hymn tune (I can crank these out fairly reliably); one is Canadians-only and fairly prestgious, but also postal entry which can pose some practical challenges. Of the "could enter", one is a set-text carol which could be done hymn-style, and one is a carol which would be ideal for "Like Silver Lamps". There are things already-written I coudl put on Patreon, and I might opt for that this time, simply because I have so much other composing to do. None of these have to be done this week, but this week will be important in laying groundwork to get them done.

Cecilia's List: keep working on the database. E-mail some more composers to ask for catalogues of their sacred works (yes, eventually I'll just get them to fill out a form and it will be automagical, but for now it's all hand-picked). Write a press release, or pay someone to write one for me. Keep poking at the website.

Maintenance: book an appointment with the optician, and another with the dentist. Attempt some kind of catch up on filing and tidying.


Basically? Keep going with the daly routine I have now. Tomorrow I'm meeting someone mid-day-ish, so my walk gets replaced by a commute, but then there is somewhere quiet I can work. From Saturday to Wednesday, I'm away in Salisbury with ULCC. We're singing the services Monday-Wednesday. I'm intending to use the time as a sort of composing retreat, hiding away in my room (or a quiet corner of the cathedral) as much as possible in the morning and early afternoon, and doing more social stuff in the evenings. This will take a bit of negotiation with people who may have assumed I'll be treating it as more of a holiday, but I have a PLN on how to handle that.

I need to make sure I get enough laundry done to get me through, before I pack.

How are you?

What have you done? What are your quests? What is your favourite food? What is hard in your life? What is good? What is your PLN (or plan)?
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Couple caught having sex in takeaway pizza store banned from spending the night with each other

Wouldn’t we prefer them to spend the night together and not time together in public places?

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

As the FT reports this morning:

Rio Tinto and two former senior executives were hit with US fraud charges, and the miner with a UK penalty, on Tuesday for allegedly trying to hide a multibillion-dollar business failure by inflating the value of coal assets in Mozambique.

In a civil complaint filed in federal court in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission said that Rio, Tom Albanese, its former chief executive, and Guy Elliott, a former chief financial officer, had ignored proper accounting standards and misled investors in their valuation of coal deposits that the company had purchased for $3.7bn and later sold for just $50m.
As they also note:

In the UK, the company was fined £27.4m over the affair, the largest fine the Financial Conduct Authority has levied on a company for a listing-rules breach.
So, let’ ask the obvious question: where were the auditors?

The allegations largely relate to 2012. The auditors then were PWC, as they are now.

The sums now subject to investigation must be material. So where is the investigation into the audit? I can find no evidence that there is one.

Why not?

In the very same FT article it says:

“Rio Tinto’s top executives allegedly breached their disclosure obligations and corporate duties by hiding from their board, auditor, and investors the crucial fact that a multibillion-dollar transaction was a failure,” said Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division.

To avoid a similar black mark on the coal business, the executives hid the problems from the board, audit committee, independent directors and investors, the SEC claimed. In late 2012, they allowed the audit committee to review an estimate of the coal project’s value that had “no basis in reality”, according to the SEC charge.

The basic allegation is that they lied to the auditors. Why should the auditors have picked this up?

From the actual SEC complaint:

Instead, as the project began to suffer one setback after another resulting in the rapid decline of the value of the coal assets, they sought to hide or delay disclosure of the nature and extent of the adverse developments from Rio Tinto’s Board of Directors, Audit Committee, independent auditors, and investors.


Oct. 18th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
[personal profile] dglenn

"If you want to change the future, start living as if you're already there." -- Lynn Conway, 2013-07-14

[Though I think taking it too far and living as if "I don't have to work toward this because it's already done," might be counterproductive. Still work to make the change you want catch up to you.]

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Con questa app creata da più di 100 esperti linguistici riuscirete a parlare una lingua straniera in 3 settimane

Negli uffici di Babbel c’è un team di esperti linguistici che lavora per voi per creare la migliore esperienza di apprendimento possibile. Siete curiosi di sapere perché funziona?

That’s an ad which Salon has shown me. For those without Italian, a very rough translation.

100 experts have created this app which will teach you a foreign language in 3 months. The official Babbel team of linguistic experts have worked for you to create the best experience possible. And so on and blah blah.

OK, fair enough. But then, well, a reasonable assumption is that they’re looking at where I am and then showing me the ad in my local language. There’s not much point in showing an ad in Italian to someone who doesn’t speak that language (and no, recent surfing hasn’t taken me anywhere that might indicate I do speak Italian).

The local language where I am is Portuguese, Italy is 1,000 miles away.

And how much weight should we put on the value of a language app that cannot even show ads in the right language?

Universal benefit complaints

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:30 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

For many of Inverness’s universal credit guinea pigs, the past year has been exceptionally stressful. The many glitches of a malfunctioning scheme have already caused widespread misery in this city, which has been trialling various forms of universal credit since 2013. The problems unfolding here offer a taste of what is to come when the system goes nationwide.

OK, so, government’s not very good at doing things then.

At which point we’ve a suggestion that government should be cooking lunch for 2.2 million people. Your lunch will be organic, sugar, salt and fat free, and arriving in 6 weeks?

It just does always amuse that those pointing out how shit bureaucracy is at doing things insist upon bureaucracy doing ever more things.

[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

So, with real wage increases running at a negative rate of 0.9% based on this data and annual wage increases being 2.1% per annum the Bank of England is going to compound the misfortune of most people by increasing interest rates.

I don’t think this is by itself the tipping point which will make most people realise just how irrelevant they are to those who make decisions on economic policy in the UK, but it will certainly add to the sense of dis-ease that many will have on that issue.

As acts of economic folly go this one will take some beating. It is, after all, contemptuous of most people in the country.

Hmm. We’ve inflation. What’s the usual response to inflation? Raise interest rates. Get that inflation lower and nominal wage increases will translate into real wage increases.

Ah, but wait! This is not inflation in the sense of a general price rise in the UK due to capacity constraints. It is, instead, import led driven by the fall in the value of the pound. So, what does raising interest rates do? Raises the value of the pound. Thus removing, possibly even reversing, that import led inflation. And thus neatly returning us to our nominal wage rises leading to real wage rises.

Gosh, this international political economy is tough stuff, isn’t it? Quite beyond the ken of the Senior Lecturer in the subject at Islington Technical College.

The Senior Lecturer tells us!

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:02 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

To which the obvious response is the one O’Toole has to offer:

The cure for poverty is an adequate income.

And yet this is precisely what society does not want to offer. Just listen to the argument on universal back income – that it will permit the idle to do nothing – and all the prejudices O’Toole refers to are apparent.

There is no reason why people cannot have enough to live on in a country of plenty. That they don’t is a decision. And it’s not a decision the poorest made. In which case it’s the responsibility of those with money. And it’s they who have to face up to their responsibility to change that.

And yes, when I talk of peaceful revolution that is one of the things that has to change.


The median equivalised household disposable income in the UK was £26,300 in the financial year ending 2016 (2015/16). After taking account of inflation and changes in household structures over time, the median disposable income has increased by £600 (or 2.2%) since 2014/15 and is £1,000 higher than the pre-economic downturn level observed in 2007/08.

While median income for the majority of households has recovered to pre-economic downturn levels, income for the richest fifth of households has fallen by £1,900 (or 3.4%) in real terms. This has been largely driven by a fall in average income from employment (including self-employment) for this group following the economic downturn.

By contrast, the average income of the poorest fifth has risen by £1,600 (or 13.2%) since 2007/08. This is mainly due to an increase in the average income from employment for this group, reflecting increases in both the wages and employment levels of people living in these households.

We’ve had median household income growth (after tax, benefits and inflation), we’ve had a fall in top end household incomes and a decent enough rise in bottom 20% household incomes.

As it well know, inequality has fallen this past decade therefore the above must in fact be true. Low incomes must have risen relative to higher ones.

He’s spouting cock, isn’t he?

tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/81: Bellman & Black -- Diane Setterfield
What little there had been to frighten or pain him was left behind in the forgotten days of childhood: as a man he saw no reason to be afraid. Now some great hand had peeled back the kind surface of that fairy-tale world and shown him the chasm beneath his feet

Young William Bellman, aged ten, aims his slingshot at a distant rook and -- improbably -- kills it. He's full of regret: he didn't mean to ... but then a fever strikes, and he begins the process of forgetting.
not spoilery )
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

In The Guardian, of course, a reply to which being:

“The solution he proposed was what he called a “universal pension for life”, or what we now call a universal basic income.”

Excellent, we now have this. It’s called the welfare state. Wages for an unskilled worker in Dublin in 1900 were some 20 shillings a week. That’s, accounting for inflation, some £350 a week today. Obviously, a rough number. The benefits cap is some £390 a week currently.

Note that our unskilled labourer isn’t quite what Shaw was denouncing as that poverty, that destitution. But still, we’ve a guide there. Society today is so vastly richer that what, back then, was considered a basic working wage is today what people do get, around and about, as a universal income. No, I don’t say that everyone gets near the benefits cap today but there’s certainly no one at all living in Shaw’s poverty.

So, we’ve done it.

What’s left is relative poverty, not absolute poverty. Note that even Barbara Castle agreed, 40 years ago, that true penury had already been abolished back then.

People really do, as here, forget quite how poor the past was, quite how different their definition of poverty to our.

The economic terrors of Brexit

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:55 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Britain’s economy will continue to grow next year even if the UK is forced to leave the EU without a deal, an influential think tank has said despite comparing Brexit to the Blitz.

The OECD, an organisation part-funded by Britain, warned in a gloomy report that Brexit could “stifle growth for years to come” and suggested a second referendum would have a “significant” positive impacton the economy.

However the organisation’s own forecast suggested that even in the “least favourable scenario” of the UK leaving without a deal in 2019 the economy will grow by 1 per cent next year.

1% growth ain’t great but it ain’t a disaster, is it?

museum visit

Oct. 17th, 2017 09:06 pm
calimac: (Default)
[personal profile] calimac
Our friend E. recommended the exhibit on Teotihuacan current at the de Young Museum in the City. So, B. having the day off work today, we went. It's a pleasure to have such things within the range of doing on impulse without prior notice.

Most of the Mexican pyramidal sites that people know are in the Yucatan, but this one is in the central highlands near Mexico City. It predates the Aztecs, but whether it was built by their ancestors or someone else is unknown. It's been excavated for over a century, but a lot of valuable material has recently been discovered in tunnels.

I was most attracted to the carvings in serpentine, jade, onyx, and other stones, but there were also a lot of intriguing ceramic pieces, carvings on large conch shells, etc. One of their favorite images was the feathered serpent, sometimes depicted on wall murals at 6 to 8 foot length, and just begging to be incorporated into a fantasy novel. (It's been done, by Kenneth Morris and perhaps others I don't recall.) There were also feathered felines (the captions used the word feline for all such creatures, whether feathered or not, as their resemblance to what we'd call cats was elusive), birds with hands, and people with ghostly imperturbable expressions akin to those of moai statues, carved from stone but with eyes of shell or pyrite. It was all memorable and distinctive stuff.

We added a successful browse through both of the museum's gift shops, and then drove down, out of Golden Gate Park where the de Young is located, to Borderlands in the Mission district, passing by a whim past their future site on Haight a couple blocks east of Ashbury, to which they're in the process of buying the freehold; this turned out to be a better route to the current store than the one I'd been previously contemplating. There we had cider in the attached cafe - ah, fall! when the cider blooms - while waiting for the store to open at noon, where we bought more books.

Lunch at a Mexican place in South City where I'd been before, and then home, and that was our half-day out.

WoodRat of Leave

Oct. 17th, 2017 09:28 pm
[personal profile] ismo
Well, I'm still kind of a wreck. Slowly trying to get over it. Trying to stop being mad and wanting revenge. Helpless anger is a painful thing. I don't want assholes to control how I feel every day. "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." You betcha. I don't think about it all the time, but today the Sparrowhawk had another talk with HR, gave them his separation date, and got a contract, which he dropped off at the lawyer's office to be checked over. he said it made him feel sad. Also, he has to get Evil Boss to sign it once he decides it's okay. I got my hair cut, and it's tiring. It takes two hours, and it's all conversation! It's better than the dentist, though. I love my hair stylist. She is a great person and says she'd tag-team Evil Boss with me. But I would never do that. I'm non-violent. Anger leads to etc. etc. And attachment to anger is suffering even if you don't do anything about it.

One cool thing the Sparrowhawk gleaned from his parting hours was a so-called "leadership conference," which is a complete crock as far as I'm concerned, but which had, as a highlight, a speech by Mae Jemison! He said she mostly talked about the 100 Year Starship project. So that was a nice thing.

Tomorrow, I'm taking my mother to the doctor to give the Duchess a break. She did the hearing aid run on Monday, so I'm doing the PCP visit. My aspiration is to get home before rush hour/dark. Wouldn't that be nice! We'll see how it works out. I was going to make cookies, but did not have the spoons. I'm taking her a package of peanut butter crackers, a new Jan Caron book, and some stamps.

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 05:16 pm
ironymaiden: (Default)
[personal profile] ironymaiden

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

my hair was short, above the ears short, for most of my childhood. there was a mullet at one point, and it did once get just past my chin all over, but i didn't actually grow it out until i was about 17. it always wanted to stand straight up or stick out. mom was always trying to smooth it out and turn the ends under, and complained about all my "cowlicks". she also had a thing about stopping stylists from layering my hair. what i discovered when it got long enough all over was that it wasn't actually straight-but-unruly, it was wavy.

it's only in the last few years that i've made a genuine effort to embrace the curl, and accept that what it wants to do is be messy. i'm on curly girl method attempt 2.5, and it's finally doing things i like.

stuff i had to learn about my hair:

  • my hair hates added proteins - silk, coconut, all that (i have a little conditioner graveyard)

  • no towels for drying hair, only t-shirts

  • don't brush it

  • stuff that works for tighter curls will often straighten my hair

  • anything that seals moisture in also seals moisture out and has to be completely stripped, if used at all

  • too short and the curl pattern won't develop, too long and the weight pulls it out

i don't get knots in my hair anymore, and most days it doesn't get touched with a comb at all. my curl pattern is tightening up - i would have called myself 2a/2b when i started out, now i see more 2c and i'm starting to get a 3a ringlet falling over my right eye. i'm thinking more about what i'm doing, but i'm not spending any extra time.

the best part: after a bunch of faffing around, the 99 cent Suave conditioner that smells edible is better than any expensive stuff that i've tried. i do still have a bottle of everything-free fancy shampoo, but since i only shampoo about once a week, it lasts forever.

currently i'm trying not wetting my hair in the shower on at least day 2 and day 3 after a wash. i have a spray bottle of water mixed with a dollop of the aforementioned conditioner; a spritz of that all over and a little finger-raking conquers bedhead.


Oct. 17th, 2017 05:50 pm
yhlee: red and black tentacle heart pendant (tentacle heart)
[personal profile] yhlee
So Joe was at D.C. as a LIGO Livingston representative for the press conference on neutron stars gravity waves blah blah and just came home but that's not the part that's making me scream.

He stayed at a hotel four blocks from the White House, which is also not the part that's making me scream.

No: his hotel was ONE BLOCK away from a fountain pen store (Fahrney's) AND HE DIDN'T BUY ME ANYTHING AND BRING IT HOME AS A YOON-OFFERING.

I wasn't expecting him to buy me a fountain pen! (Among other things, Joe has not the faintest clue about fountain pens, let alone what I like.) But he could have bought me a bottle of ink! They would have had ink. And ink is relatively affordable.


Next time he goes to D.C. I'M COMING WITH.

I have informed him that my favorite colors are red and blue. I mean, I like a lot of colors, but this is Joe. He is confused by stationery supplies, so I want to keep it simple for him. He's only an astrophysics Ph.D, not expected to understand things like ink colors. ;)


(He read this over my shoulder then laughed at me. *shakes tiny fist* CURSE YOU, MY BELOVED JOE. CURSE YOU VERY MUCH. Imagine this said in the tone of Batman in the LEGO Batman Movie when he says, "I...hate you.")

In the meantime, I backed the Marigold Tarot (hat tip to [personal profile] pengwern) so I shouldn't complain. :p

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:21 pm
thornsilver: (Default)
[personal profile] thornsilver
I gotta go to a doctor appointment instead of going home. Bleah.

Cooking class in Kyoto, January 2015

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:01 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Posted by Toby from Glamorous in Retrospect |

(Resurrecting a post that’s been sitting in the Drafts folder for almost 2 years now, and testing a new crossposting plugin at the same time.)

We are not social people. Well, okay, we’re selectively social. We have our groups of friends that we see now and then, but we don’t generally seek out new acquaintances. This will become important in a bit.

But we do like to cook. When looking for things to do on this trip, Stephanie found this cooking class that covers several Japanese dishes, and includes a main dish of actual Kobe beef. We figured, “Sounds cool!” and signed up.

Read more... )

At Last

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
kevin_standlee: (House)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
It took about five more trips to the hardware/plumbing store than it should have done, but Lisa was able to get the toilet in the south bathroom fixed yesterday. It now properly fills (that was the original problem) and she also was able to replace the gasket that had a slow leak that had been getting steadily faster. So no more water waste through that route, either.
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
Day Minus Four, and this is the last of the easy days we get, this side of the countdown. Well, they're all fairly easy for me, obvs: all I have to do is shop and cook and wash dishes and keep an eye on Karen. But we've had a week of largely being in the apartment with no calls on our time; she's had injections morning and evening (when the doctors come to us), a regime of many pills, and that's been it.

Tomorrow morning, we go to hospital for a surgical procedure, to fit Karen with a port below her clavicle, a direct line into a blood vessel for both input and output. Thursday they tap her precious bodily fluids for a few hours, to filter out 117 million stem cells; then they immediately turn the tap the other way and pump in more chemo. And more yet on Friday. Saturday is Day Zero, when her stem cells are returned to her to start restoring an immune system, hopefully one with better discipline, that won't be trying to eat her hereafter.

These few days are going to be the hardest, by the doctors' own admission. After that it's a couple of weeks of recovery in more or less isolation. If you're curious, look up "neutropenia". Karen gets to eat astronaut food and/or very well-cooked meat & fish. No salads, no fresh veg, no fruits. We wear masks, and she probably doesn't leave the apartment. She probably won't want to.

And then we're done, or at least they're finished with us. We come home (and trust me, you have no idea how attractive those words sound), and spend the next year rebuilding Karen's health. Lots of home-cooked food (hah!), lots of rest. A degree of care in social contact [get your flu shots, people! Herd immunity is going to be our friend, for the foreseeable future]. An ongoing drug regime for a while, but nothing onerous. Oh, and making friends with the cats again, because we will smell of the vet.

The Newsletter Cometh

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:55 am
hrj: (Alpennia w text)
[personal profile] hrj

Having listened to the promotional strategy advice of a wide variety of people, I'm planning to accomplish two things this weekend. One will be to set up Hootsuite (or some equivalent social media manager, but that's the one people seem to prefer) to handle automated promotional reminders that I rarely have the emotional energy to do manually. The other will be to set up an opt-in (of course!) newsletter for fans and readers to provide both a direct way to communicate announcements and other information, and to provide special content in exchange for access to attention. I figure to aim for absolutely not more often than once a month except for things like unexpected special sales (which I never know about in advance). Maybe less often than once a month, we'll see. I have a hard time planning these things because I'm not a newsletter reader myself, so I have to figure out what works for people who are.

So what sort of content will the newsletter provide? A lot of it will be just basic information:

  • Upcoming/New publication information

  • Upcoming appearances

  • Current projects

But I'll also be offering some special content not available to people who don't subscribe to the newsletter. And that's where you come in. Here are some ideas of my own, plus suggestions people have made online. Which of these would entice you to sign up for and read a newsletter? What other content would entice you?

  • Worldbuilding information (Alpennian language, geography, history, etc.)

  • Snippets of work in progress (no spoilers!)

  • Exclusive previews of Alpennian short fiction (stories that will eventually be released either free or as a collection, but that I'm not trying to sell individually)

  • Discussions of my writing process (for example, I kept a diary of how the plot of Daughter of Mystery developed as I was drafting it)

  • Alpennia fan art (with the artists' permissions, of course!)

  • Access to Alpennia swag (there is none yet, but I have some ideas percolating -- what would you be interested in?)

Let me know what you think. I'm still trying to get my mind around the psychological aspects of doing a newsletter and how it would differ from my blog, other than providing me with a list of people who have expressed a particular level of commitment and interest to following my writing.


On cutting house prices

Oct. 17th, 2017 01:35 pm
[syndicated profile] chris_dillow_feed

Posted by chris

Ian Mulheirn, echoing Kate Barker, writes:

It is very unlikely that the perennial wish of housing commentators to simply ‘build more houses’ will make any meaningful dent in prices.

Many people think this is counter-intuitive, so I’ll try to explain why it’s not.

It’s because flows of supply are too small relative to the stock of housing to much affect prices. There are 23.7 million homes in England. In the 12 months to June, only 153,330 were completed. This means that even if annual housebuilding were to treble, we’d see a less than 2% annual increase in the housing stock.

There’s an analogy here with government bonds. Even before QE, government borrowing did not much affect bond prices. This was simply because the new supply of bonds was generally small relative to the existing stock.

It’s the same with houses. Houses are an asset, and the price of an asset depends upon the willingness and ability of people to hold the stock of it. Changes to the flow of the asset are generally too small to have much effect. For this reason, many economists have traditionally modeled house prices as if only demand matters; see for example this (pdf) or this (pdf).

This isn’t to say that increasing housing supply is a bad idea. It’s not at all. It’s just that it isn’t a magic bullet for solving the problem of affordability. Hpeilgy

If supply doesn’t affect prices, what does? Lots of things: demographics (pdf), incomes, debt levels, expected incomes and the availability of credit. My chart shows another influence: real interest rates. The lower these are, the cheaper is the cost of credit and hence the higher are house prices. (Or if you want to be fancier, lower interest rates mean a higher net present value of future housing services and hence a higher house price.)

All this raises a puzzle: if high house prices are due to high demand, and if they are a problem (as I think they are on balance), what can be done to help young people buy them?

Obviously, some possibilities would do more overall harm than good. A recession would cut house prices, but it’s a lousy idea. I suspect the same would be true of tougher immigration controls. And other policies to help buyers would do no good because they’d be offset by price increases. Help to Buy, for example, seems to have pushed up prices. And I’d expect cuts to stamp duty to have a similar effect; yes, there’s a strong case for reforming property taxation but we shouldn’t hope it’ll much help first-time buyers.

That said, there are some demand-side policies that might reduce house prices, such as restrictions on owning second homes or housing as investments – in short, reversing the financialization of housing. Instinctively, I’m not over-keen on these; they would be abridgements of freedom. As ways of reducing house prices, however, they might be worth considering.  

havocthecat: amy pond of doctor who with a magnifying glass (dw amy pond investigates)
[personal profile] havocthecat
I usually ignore the salt measurements except when baking, and just salt to taste, but that's because I've been cooking since I've been old enough to drag a chair to the stove and push vegetables around on a skillet. This is potentially disastrous to people who don't know as much about cooking!

Sometimes your recipes call for a specific type of salt - and there could be an actual reason why. Not if it's trendy salt, usually, but if it's "sea salt," Diamond kosher salt, or Morton's kosher salt, there's a specific reason and you should actually pay attention. Who knew?

I mean, I've been cooking for multiple decades and I had no fucking clue before this morning, so if you didn't know, don't feel bad! Hell, Bon Appetit magazine didn't even know until 2013, and they're goddamn Bon Appetit gourmet magazine.

This is going to make a world of difference in my pickling, that's for sure. No wonder my pickled turnips always turn out too salty.

The Kosher Salt Question

Tagline: Prized for its purity and flaky texture, kosher salt has been a home-cooking standard for decades. But the two major brands, Diamond Crystal and Morton, are very different products. Your ruined meatballs can attest.
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

Despite having no parliamentary majority, and do having no mandate for fundamental constitutional change, the government is permitting work to continue on the reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

This is a fundamentally undemocratic move. I know all the arguments about supposedly delivering proportionality. If that’s the desire then my answer is simple: deliver what we really need to create that, which is proportional representation.

But if instead we are to have first past the post and the continuing pretence that one person can represent all the interests of the people in their community, even if many would never have voted for them, then at the very least there has to be a very profound dedication to the principle that constituencies must represent real communities, and not gerrymandered blocks of the population who happen to fit a geographically based, statistically consistent, model that has no bearing to the places where people live.

Amazingly we’ve been doing this for a couple of centuries now. One of the great Parliamentary irruptions of the Enlightenment being those reallocations away from the Rotten Boroughs. And today’s allocations work upon, roughly enough, the following rules:

The boundary commissions are required to apply a set series of rules when devising constituencies.

Firstly, each proposed constituency has to comply with two numerical limits:

the electorate (number of registered voters) of each constituency must be within 5% of the United Kingdom electoral quota. The electoral quota is the average number of electors per constituency, defined as the total mainland electorate divided by the number of mainland constituencies, where “mainland” excludes four island constituencies: Orkney and Shetland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles), and two on the Isle of Wight.
the area of a constituency must be no more than 13,000 square kilometres.
There are a small number of exceptions to the numerical limit on electorate which are specified in the legislation:

the four island constituencies are permitted to have a smaller electorate than the usual limit;
a constituency with an area of more than 12,000 square kilometres may have a smaller electorate than the usual limit; and
constituencies in Northern Ireland may be subject to slightly different limits under certain circumstances.
Having satisfied the electorate and area requirements, each commission can also take into account a number of other factors:

“special geographical considerations” including the size, shape and accessibility of a constituency;
local government boundaries;
boundaries of existing constituencies;
local ties which would be broken by changes to constituencies;
inconveniences resulting from changes to constituencies.
It is evident that the other factors can to an extent be mutually contradictory, and therefore each commission has discretion on how it applies them. In so doing, each commission aims for a consistent approach within a review.

We should take this whinge for what it really is, nakedly political. Labour, as has been true for many a year, has a preponderance of seats in those areas losing population. Meeting exactly Ritchie’s criteria means they lose a few safe seats.


Oct. 17th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood." -- William Penn (b. 1644-10-14, d. 1718-07-30), +++verify source&work+++

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[personal profile] trailer_spot
Black Panther     HD720p 83MB   HD1080p 159MB
Second trailer for another movie set in the Marvel Comic Universe, which, for a change, doesn't star "another white dude". It follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, his mettle as king - and Black Panther - is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis are also part of the cast. Directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station).

The New Mutants     HD720p 72MB
First trailer for another addition to the ever expanding X-Men universe, this time in the form of what looks like to be something very close to a horror movie. Info available so far reads: Five young mutants (Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt), just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. Directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars, Stuck in Love).

Wonder Wheel     HD720p 60MB
Trailer for the annual movie written and directed by Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris, Magic in the Moonlight, Irrational Man). This time it's a drama set in Coney Island in the 1950s. A lifeguard (Justin Timberlake) tells us a story that just might be filtered through his vivid imagination: a middle-aged carousel operator (James Belushi) and his beleaguered wife (Kate Winslet), who eke out a living on the boardwalk, are visited by his estranged daughter (Juno Temple)—a situation from which layer upon layer of all-too-human complications develop.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties     HD720p 26MB
Coming of age movie directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Shortbus), based on a short story from Neil Gaiman. Strap yourself in for a cosmic ride, because the aliens have landed ... in Croydon. One night in the 1970s, fanzine-toting teen Enn (Alex Sharp) and his punk buddies crash a party only to find a house full of groovy extra-terrestrials in skin-tight clobber. One alien, intergalactic megababe Zan (Elle Fanning), is spellbound by Enn. She swiftly ditches her species for a suburban safari with the homo sapien, and on their odyssey they encounter cockney svengali Queen Boadicea (Nicole Kidman). Matt Lucas and Ruth Wilson are also part of the cast.
Many festival reviewers were just as confused as I was after watching the trailer.

78/52     HD720p 53MB
Documentary that takes a look at the iconic shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The screeching strings, the plunging knife, the slow zoom out from a lifeless eyeball: in 1960, the film changed film history forever with its taboo-shattering shower scene. The title refers to the 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits over the course of 3 minutes.
Now in limited release in the US and available on streaming platforms.

Tom Watson should lose weight, yes

Oct. 17th, 2017 08:40 am
[syndicated profile] tim_worstall_feed

Posted by Tim Worstall

I’m going on hunger strike from today. I’m not allowing myself anything but sips of water.

Why? This is not some George Osborne-inspired weight-loss plan. No. I’m following the Guantánamo diet in solidarity with two men who are being slowly starved to death by President Trump.

His administration has changed its practice towards detainees who choose to refuse food in protest at their incarceration. Previously they were force-fed, a cruel and inhuman punishment in itself. Now they are no longer fed at all. Make no mistake, these men will die at the hands of Donald Trump if nothing is done.

Perhaps the clarity of mind that hunger brings will aid his logic. Not force-feeding someone is not killing them.


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