How to get rid of your landlord and socialize American housing, in 3 easy steps.
 Homelessness, unaffordable urban real estate, devastating gentrification, and the housing bubble are all rooted in privatized housing.
- J. Myerson, writing for The Nation

Very, very interesting. Applicable to more than just U.S. residents.
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403: This is your brane on string theory. (String Theory)
( Jul. 28th, 2015 12:41 am)
From Mother Jones: Bark beetles are decimating our [conifer] forests. Maybe we should let them. (tl;dr - Surviving trees have superior tolerance of hot weather. Lots of trees will die, but the forests live on.)

Science surprise: Constrictor snakes don't kill by suffocation.

A macroscopic quantum phenomenon has been observed in water ice, at around 20 Kelvins.


On the more human-related end of things:

A great deal of feminist Win is taking place in this MetaFilter thread. The original article is interesting, but the MeFi discussion is where things are happening. If you just want the high points, people have been collecting their favorite quotes in the comments over [livejournal.com profile] siderea way.

The NYTimes has another update in its "Outlaw Ocean" series: 'Sea Slaves': The human misery that feeds pets and livestock

And I've recently run across a thoughtful article from 2011 titled Clinical Despair: Science, Psychotherapy and Spirituality in the Treatment of Depression, which is just what it says on the tin.
403: (The Human Condition)
( Jul. 14th, 2015 08:09 am)
Some Cambrian-era fossil comb jellies had skeletons. (Note that comb jellies are not actual jellyfish. Instead they're the oldest/most basal animal clade. True jellies are relative newcomers.)
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403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jun. 1st, 2015 06:42 pm)
Hiraeth beckons with wordless call,
Hear, my soul, with heart enthrall'd.
Hiraeth whispers while earth I roam;
Here I wait the call "come home."

Like seagull cry, like sea borne wind,
That speak with words beyond my ken,
A longing deep with words unsaid,
Calls a wanderer home instead.

I heed your call, Hiraeth, I come
On westward path to hearth and home.
My path leads on to western shore,
My heart tells me there is yet more.

Within my ears the sea air sighs;
The sunset glow, it fills my eyes.
I stand at edge of sea and earth,
My bare feet washed in gentle surf.

Hiraeth's longing to call me on,
Here, on shore, in setting sun.
Hiraeth calls past sunset fire,
"Look beyond, come far higher!"

- Tim Davis


The west that I long for is the American one rather than the authors' native Wales, but he captures the feeling well. I usually express it in some specific way--the mountains are too old, or the sun is always at the wrong angle--but what I'm missing is a more thoroughgoing sensation of place.
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I've had what appears to be the common cold for just about exactly a month, now. My dysfunctional asthmatic lungs, further irritated by the sub-freezing Boston air, can't kick it out. A week ago, I started trying to damp down the inflammation with my seasonal steroid inhaler. It couldn't keep up, but the only changes in symptoms were progressive exhaustion... and I stopped wheezing. I was initially naive enough to think that was a good thing. Oh so not.

I landed in urgent care Friday morning, with symptoms that were apparently minimal until I started coughing. Things I don't want to hear a doctor say again: "You're not wheezing... Oh. You're not moving enough air to wheeze."

They gave me four rounds on a nebulizer (another way of aerosolizing medication), which turns out to be intensely dislikable. Oh, and a chest X-ray. There aren't words for how happy I am to not also have pneumonia on top of it all. They sent me home with a bottle of prednisone, which is the 'stop that right there!' of steroids for suppressing immune response. I "should" start seeing the positive effects today. Still waiting...

Also got a peak flow meter, the relationship of which to my oximetry readings I'm still trying to figure out.

So far, so good? But God I'm tired.

[ETA 01:49, 2/10/2014 - Prednisone does seem to be having an effect. The little airways are synched up better with the big ones, rather than delayed (and making crackly-bubbly noises) from being nearly closed off as they were before. It's not magic, but it's something.]
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In class yesterday, we spent just about all of it discussing the poem "You and I are Disappearing" which was written in response to the iconic "Napalm Girl" photograph from the Vietnam War. (Warning: Cannot unsee.)

The dreamlike quality of the poem cut through my habitual responses in a way that the image could not. Photos are by definition records of things past. But the words have a visceral present-ness that brings home an echo of what it's like for something you've seen to never truly leave you.

It is masterful: I am haunted.
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Paychecks for Pulses: Universal Basic Income in the NYTimes.
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403: Spiral of black and white stones, on a go board. (Spiral)
( Jul. 30th, 2013 10:53 pm)
Burka Avenger: A teacher at a girls' school (most likely in Pakistan, where the series will air on TV) dons a burqa and niqab to conceal her identity while she fights crime.

I love that this exists.
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403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jul. 23rd, 2013 01:09 am)
"All Books Have Genders", Niel Gaiman.

I had never thought of stories as being gendered before, and am going to need to turn the idea over in my head a few times in order to see if it fits anywhere.
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Yesterday, moisture from hurricane Sandy started arriving as tiny high-altitude ice crystals, much like this. It made quite a show. [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv and I stood out on the porch and watched it for a good while, but didn't take pictures because it was Shabbat. Here are some from other people:

Forwards (2) and backwards (1) rainbows over the Boston Public Library. (Credit: @madeinlowell.)

Both of the sundogs, plus halo and two backwards rainbows. (Credit: @robwright11)
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403: Fractal of nested rainbow curves. (Edges)
( Oct. 26th, 2012 03:33 pm)
John Scalzi has written a viciously satirical letter to the politicians whose comments about sexual assault have made the news recently. (Trigger warning: Rape.)
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403: Spiral of black and white stones, on a go board. (Spiral)
( Oct. 20th, 2012 11:55 pm)
Sherman Alexie, on Why the Best Kids' Books Are Written in Blood. I don't have words for how much it resonates with me.

ETA: After talking with [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv, I do have some words. I didn't learn most of my emotional skills from people who were actually present. I learned from the example of characters in books where terrible things happened, often to them. And it's an amazingly powerful experience to know that somewhere out there, another person Gets It.
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And that of any other account for which you've used the same password, of course.

LinkedIn's hash database seems to now be circulating on the internet, and it turns out not to be salted. That makes it easy for someone who knows what they're doing to simply brute-force compute hash codes and work backwards to individual passwords.

(h/t @mrkoot via @0xabad1dea)
403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( May. 28th, 2012 11:30 pm)
I hope those of you who celebrate it had a great Shavuot, and that Americans in general had a good Memorial Day.

I've been settling into my summer internship well, and it's keeping me busy with worthwhile tasks. (Unlike classes, which often seem to keep one busy with non-worthwhile tasks.) I went ocean kayaking last Thursday, and must say that it's beautiful out there. Hoping/planning to make that a weekly outing. Pictures may follow.

Back when it was an unfinished batch of songs, I linked to a few items from [personal profile] solarbird's Cracksman Betty. And then it grew up and became an album. :D You should go listen, particularly if you like rock, folk, or alternate history tales. (My favorite tracks are "Song for a Blockade Runner" and "Columbia", but YMMV.)
403: (The Human Condition)
( Feb. 3rd, 2012 02:13 pm)
I've been trying to adjust from my native schedule (sleep 02:00-10:00) to one compatible with this semester's classes (sleep 23:30-07:30). It hasn't been going well, so I've spent the past two weeks chronically sleep-deprived. Now the inevitable has happened and I've got the cold that [livejournal.com profile] zeightyfiv brought home.

Day 1 - Sore throat, leaden fatigue.
Day 2 - Sore throat, fatigue, joint aches, vertigo.
Day 3 - ???

I can't decide whether the vertigo is irritating or entertaining.

In the mean time, have a link: The Fibershed Project is really cool. If you like crochet or knitting, you should check it out.
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403: Listen to the song of the paper cranes... (Cranesong)
( Jan. 15th, 2012 02:35 pm)
How to Read a Scientific Paper. I wish more people knew how to do this.
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