M's Surgery

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:20 am
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus
M had surgery today to fix 3 vertebra in his neck.  Six hours of surgery which apparently went very well.  He has been unable to feel his fingertips for the last 4 months due to bone spurs growing into the spinal column, blocking half or more of the space the nerves are supposed to use.  The problem had begun to affect his balance.  This is, we are told, a very common thing.  Many people have a lot of pain with it.  M didn't, thankfully.  The surgery isn't fun, they make an incision on your throat, shove your esophagus and windpipe aside and work on the spine.  If you don't do the surgery you decline, gradually or not so gradually, to the point where you can no longer hold a pen, or mug and are wheelchair bound.  So he had the surgery done. 
I was very relieved to see him after the surgery.  It is never a sure thing to take a 70 year old into lengthy surgery, but he seems to have come through it with no issues.  He thought (while still half under anaesthetic and high on pain meds) that his hands were better.  We will see what tomorrow brings.

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:43 pm
dolari: (Default)
[personal profile] dolari
Question for transfolk on progesterone.

I've come into a supply of progesterone pills, and would like to start on them. That said, I know progesterone is the hormone that makes women irritable before their periods, and most of the folks I know who have taken it daily were....not pleasant to be around 24/7.

Any advice on possibly cycling it, or effects of using it along side estradiol pills and making sure I don't turn into That Person? I'd ask my doctor but she will only monitor levels and not prescribe them.

Current doses: 6mg estradiol, 400mg spironolactone a day.

view from a distance

Aug. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm
cellio: (hubble-swirl)
[personal profile] cellio
We didn't travel to see the total eclipse. Here in Pittsburgh we got just over 80% coverage, so some coworkers and I went to the roof of the parking garage armed with minimal tools to see what we could see. The pinhole cameras were mildly interesting but low-res; none of us had thought to bring interesting things like collanders to make eclipse art on the pavement. One of the other people there lent us glasses for a few minutes, which was nice.

The view through the glasses was very neat -- just a sliver of sun. The picture I took through the glasses shows a much fatter sliver than was really there. I think the yellower sliver inside the larger orange-yellow sliver might be real and the rest bleed-through or something:

It was still pretty bright and sunny out, even with only 20% of the sun directly visible. It's not like you get dusk-quality lighting. I did notice that it wasn't *as* bright as usual; in particular, not only did I not have to squint like I normally do when outdoors on bright days, but I could even *take off my glasses with transition lenses* and not have to squint. That was pretty neat!

I took a quick photo without the glasses (I figured my phone could handle a very brief exposure). It shows no occlusion. Is that what people foolish enough to look with the naked eye would see? So they'd endure vision loss for... not a whole lot of anything?

These people improvised a pinhole camera that worked better than the one I'd prepared in advance:

short fiction

Aug. 21st, 2017 05:57 pm
cellio: (writing)
[personal profile] cellio

I wrote a short short story (~500 words) inspired by today's celestial events. Check it out on Universe Factory, the blog of the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange community.

I got the idea a few days ago and, well, I just had to.

Tired covers it

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:28 pm
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
In the spirit of solidarity with Charlottesville, I went off to laugh at neo-Nazis with 20,000-40,000 of my closest friends, and get labeled an anti-police agitator by our Very Own President, today.

The general idea, as transmitted in one of the orientation sessions I went to, was to show up, stand tall, and nnnnnot let ourselves get drawn into confrontations by the white supremacists, who would be trying their darndest to make this happen.

So I got decked out in my "I stand by my Muslim neighbors" t-shirt and wandered down to Roxbury Crossing, found fairly organized Socialists a-plenty, and got the best poster off them ever. Picture with a new friend from much later in the march, slight content warning for concentration camp imagery:

One cuts pictures. )

They also had lynching ones, but basically I'm squicked by blood and gore, whereas the concentration camp one might well be triggering to some, but it also had people pausing to look at it, nodding to me soberly, and moving on. (I also got several high-fives for the shirt.)

Anyway, I eventually found the actual Black Lives Matter march leaders, plus Tito Jackson (candidate for mayor) doing his best preachin', and then we got started late. (Because, it is a march and it is required.) Soon enough, I stumbled onto my brother and his wife, or more accurately he stumbled across me while admiring my poster, and had marching partners. (I was going to hook up with Dedham Unitarians, but I couldn't find them.)

Since we started late, and because 20,000 marchers move slowly, we missed the so-called "Free Speech Rally" entirely, since they got shuffled off at 1:30 or so, and I wasn't even to the Common by that point, I think.

I did encounter some AntiFa-plus-BLM activists around 3:30 or so down by Park Street T stop, who had found some of the white supremacists who (for agitation reasons) had stuck around. One of them got pizza thrown at him (which almost hit me as I ducked into the convenience store), and then another one was rather literally surrounded by people *entirely* willing to argue with him until the cows came home, so I figured that was pretty much covered and bailed. As it turns out, there was a little bit of violence after that, but not much at all.

About 25 arrests for minor things, and a white supremacist arrested for carrying a gun without a permit or something similar. There were also some people throwing rocks (and bottles filled with piss, wtf?) at the police, sigh. Overall, the police were incredibly helpful during the march, and then got somewhat violent as the day progressed, but they were only slightly more pissy than I expected. Overall, worth thanking.

Link smatterings: Scale of the so-called "Free Speech Rally", as compared to counter-protestors. Roxbury Crossing area, around when things started, some Globe photos.

This and That

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:18 am
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus
It has been a very low energy week. I'm on "jury duty" which means I have to call in at 4:30 every day to see if I need to report the next day.  I can't work (no way to -get- a one day job with no notice), so have been taking it easy.
Tazlina's paw is healing and she is beginning to actually walk on it a bit.  I've gone through two rolls of vet-wrap trying to keep a bandage on it.  The paw is currently encased in vetwrap and athletic tape. 
My hip is still comprehensively bruised and sore.  Everything else is healing well.

Got a new extension ladder yesterday so I can finish power washing the shed.  The old one was about 4 feet too short.  Saturday should be wash day.  Need to find some plastic sheeting so I can wash the back steps and not splash the neighbours freshly painted house.

Cooked up some Dragon Tongue beans, oh, my are they tasty!

Ate the first apple from the tree here in SF.  Yum.  We are also getting ripe raspberries.  The blueberries are done producing for this year, but the bushes are very happy.

Vacuumed out the car yesterday and checked all the fluids. 

Looked at plans for making "bee houses".  Some of our 1,600 kinds of bees in California like to nest in the right size hole.  Drilling holes in a chunk of scrap lumber forms a nice home.  I think I'll make a couple.

Ok, time to go pick up the house, it's a mess.

policing the Internet

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:35 am
cellio: (avatar-face)
[personal profile] cellio

Yesterday Cloudflare, a service that increases reliability (and speed?) of web sites, shut down the Daily Stormer web site. Daily Stormer, if you haven't heard, is the site for the a hate group with broad impact in the US, most recently in the violence and murder in Charlottsville.

Their CEO's blog post announcing the termination isn't just a "they're evil and they're gone" announcement like you sometimes see. It's a thoughtful post that explains the dilemmas faced by the organizations that, by and large, make the Internet work, and what dangers this decision opens up.

Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.

Now, having made that decision, let me explain why it's so dangerous.

[...] Someone on our team asked after I announced we were going to terminate the Daily Stormer: "Is this the day the Internet dies?" He was half joking, but only half. He's no fan of the Daily Stormer or sites like it. But he does realize the risks of a company like Cloudflare getting into content policing.

I also found this tidbit interesting:

In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: "Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the Internet."

After finding that post I found this post on Gizmodo that, among things, quotes from internal email he sent.

This was my decision. Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough.

Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. It was different than what I’d talked talked with our senior team about yesterday. I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. I called our legal team and told them what we were going to do. I called our Trust & Safety team and had them stop the service. It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company. [...] No one should have that power.

I don't have a coherent opinion yet. On the one hand, policing content is a dangerous game and why I support net neutrality. On the other hand, private companies (and individuals) should be free to act (legally) in their own interests; companies have been refusing service to unacceptable customers on a case-by-case basis for years. On the third hand, there are differences between competitive markets and monopoly markets. (Within monopolies there are government-sponsored ones and we're-big-and-drove-everybody-out ones too.) Balancing all of that is hard.

daf bit: Sanhedrin 32

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:57 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

The mishna begins a chapter with an overview of how civil and capital cases are conducted:

  • Both civil and capital cases require inquiry and examination of witnesses. (This is done by the judges; there are no lawyers.)

  • Civil cases are tried by a court of three; capital cases are tried by a court of 23.

  • When the judges deliberate on civil cases, they may begin with arguments for either acquittal or condemnation. When they deliberate on capital cases, they must begin with arguments for acquittal.

  • Civil cases may be decided by a majority of one; capital cases may be decided by a majority of one for acquittal, but require a majority of at least two for condemnation.

  • In civil cases the decision may be reversed in either direction (for example upon the discovery of an error). In capital cases the decision may be reversed from condemnation to acquittal but not the other way around.

  • In civil cases, all present (including the pupils who are observing) may argue for or against the defendant. In capital cases, anybody may argue for acquittal but only the judges may argue for condemnation.

  • In civil cases, one who has previously argued for either acquittal or condemnation may then argue for the other side (for example because he realized his argument was faulty). In capital cases, one who has argued for condemnation may then argue for acquittal but not the other way around.

  • Civil cases are tried by day and concluded by night if necessary.
    Capital cases are tried by day and must be concluded by day. Civil cases can be concluded on the same day (either way); capital cases can be concluded on the same day for acquittal but not until the following day for condemnation. Therefore trials are not held on the eve of Shabbat or a festival.

  • In civil cases we begin with the opinion of the most eminent of the judges; in capital cases we begin with the opinion of the least ("those on the side benches").

  • All types of Jews (presumably they mean men) are eligible to try civil cases, but converts and bastards cannot judge capital cases.

(32a, which begins chapter 4)

Shouldn't I be panicking about now?

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:21 pm
kshandra: The Burning Man effigy, lit in blue neon, arms by his sides; an orange half-moon is visible over his shoulder. (BurningMan)
[personal profile] kshandra
Had the lovely realization yesterday that, if someone were to call us and say "you need to pack up and bug out NOW," we could do it. There are a few more things left to pick up that will make things better, but we could absolutely get by on what's ready now.

I'm probably going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop until we're finally on Gate Road.


Aug. 16th, 2017 08:49 pm
kayre: (Default)
[personal profile] kayre

My daughter spotted this very small, very quiet green-backed heron on our walk tonight.

four more )

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 04:44 pm
dolari: (Default)
[personal profile] dolari
"Why are you such a proud Texan? They're former Confederates, and there are so many stories about racism and anti-LGBT stuff out of there."

"Because, in the Texas Hill Country, where I'm from, this is still an important thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treue_der_Union_Monument."

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 04:34 pm
dolari: (Default)
[personal profile] dolari
"If the Doctor actually existed on Earth...who was he?"
"Carl Sagan."

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 04:34 pm
dolari: (Default)
[personal profile] dolari
"Between Mage, Power of the Dark Crystal and Robotech, I'm buying more comics than I have in decades!" "That's...just...three...."
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