sippin' cuervo with no chaser

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016): usually I have trouble finding a title for a book post. This time, three came to mind: the one I've used, "the tactics of mistake," and "experimental procedures." Anyway. Kel Cheris begins as captain of a unit that gains strength and combat benefits from keeping rigorously in formation. After she attempts to solve a losing scenario creatively---and heretically---she's disgraced, but a bit more creative thinking makes her abruptly into a brevet general, the host-body to a dead mass murderer, Shuos Jedao. (Consider that many heads of units in wartime are mass murderers; though it isn't glorified here, it is ...quite present.) Kel command wants Cheris to subdue a heretical outbreak and retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles. Sort of. Well, the hexarchate, of which the Kel are one-sixth, doesn't like heretics because it messes with their calendar, but everyone (except Cheris, at first) is playing an extremely long game. Pass the metaphorical popcorn.
a bit more--not destructively spoilery (I think one cannot discuss this book at all without being *slightly* spoilery) )

As for this subject line, you know, don't you?

If you'd prefer an actualfax review to my untidy noodlings, try James Nicoll's, and if you don't mind implied spoilers for how Gambit wraps, here's his review of book two.

Going back to Garching

Jul. 18th, 2017 12:09 pm
purplecthulhu: (Default)
[personal profile] purplecthulhu
I'm currently at a conference at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, near Munich. I lived and worked here for 2 years in the mid-90s and the last time I visited was in 2012.

It's nice to be back. I'm pleasantly reminded what a quiet, sleepy little town Garching is, and this makes a great contrast to London. ESO itself has also bloomed with 3 huge new buildings, a lovely new auditorium that we're using, and a new outreach centre, Supernova, currently being constructed.

The sun and the beer also help!

fiber monday

Jul. 16th, 2017 08:04 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Though I don't remember which day, I taught myself from books to knit about ten years ago this month (and to crochet ~21 years ago likewise). yay.

The ghost shawl has been bound off and washed, and its upper edge has been reinforced. Reason adores its colors and shape, whereas I feel awkward however I drape it, but it seems a bit too nice for her current age. Pondering. In any case, its shape---a triangle so wide and springy that one could block the upper edge as a curve or V---is instructive when tied onto me or Reason: if I ever knit Shore Hap, as I mean to, I'll need to enlarge it. Shore Hap's span is given as 125 cm = 50 in; the ghost as knitted is ~6'6 = nearly 2 m across. Even so, my sticklike and short torso can barely tie on the ghost shawl in the Shore Hap photo's manner. Inconvenient shoulders, again---but I'm learning. (Someone with my shoulder circumference "ought" to be much taller for something the ghost shawl's shape/size.)

Viajante's yarn ball is too large for my business trip. Heh. It's the size of a small adult head---1600 m = 400 g at fingering weight. When I have a 32L-capacity daypack (a bit under 2000 in3), I don't want to choose between yarn and some me-compatible snacks. Instead, the current office project will travel (Rendezvous), since it's in the first of its slated two 100g skeins. Its complexity is restrained by my having placed a marker every other motif-repetition; at least it's motif-driven, not two long segments of lace to either side of a center stitch. Those are my two projects on wooden circular needles---that's the other consideration, of course, wood needles short enough to pass muster as non-weaponry. Who knows whether Rendezvous will be large enough for the shoulders of doom, frankly, but I chose the largest size for which I have yarn....

The cardigans are on hold due to summer heat, though I ought to start my mother's soon regardless. Lena is about 15 cm high---round and round we go.

It's a wrap!

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:46 pm
green_knight: (teh end)
[personal profile] green_knight
My WIP is no longer a WIP, it has graduated to 'finished first draft' and I am in that strange space where all the characters who have been taking up residence in my head have moved out, swept the floor, painted the walls in a neutral colour and are now looking into every drawer and under the bed to see whether they've forgotten anything.

274,696 words, including scene titles, placeholders, and 'the end', so call it 275K.

It will be either two or three books, though I am tending towards two, since there's a definite change of pace/location in the middle. This thing started as a comedy-of-manners, and was my go-to book for a while when I wanted something light and fluffy.

About the book and the writing of it )

And now it's half a day later and the book is still done: of course it will need a second draft, and I need to sort out the timeline, and I'd love to know how all of the loose threads will work out, and I am holding my breath just a little whether [redacted] will double-cross [redacted] but it's over, the characters have moved out, and while they might visit from time to time, the book. Is. Done.

After spending literally years with the compulsion to write down so many seemingly unimportant events in my protag's life (which all came together in unexpected ways), there is an empty space in my head now, and it feels weird. Other characters will move in - I have a fragment which isn't as complete as I thought it would be, so I'd like to write down the extra bits I know before finishing _something else_, but for now, I am WIP-less, and that's just a weird place to be.


Thanks for sharing your life with me, Firtal. I wish you all the best.

A surfeit of algorithms

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:55 pm
green_knight: (Eeek!)
[personal profile] green_knight
100 days, 100 algorithms

I'm somewhat in awe of this project - that's more algorithms than I could have listed, even with some research, and the discipline of implementing a new one every day for months is impressive.

However, it also shows a systemic weaknesses of programming: understanding the problem domain. I can't say much about the other 99 - some of them are algorithms I've never heard about, and at the very least I would need to make an effort to understand the python code and read it carefully, if not implementing the same thing in Swift, but this one, I spotted immediately:

Day 18; Monopoly

Some time ago a friend of mine asked me to help him with this problem.
Playing Monopoly, what is the probability that you step at position #24 during the first round?

Law of total probability says that the chance to step on certain position is sum of disjoint events of how we could get there. In this case, we get at #24 if we tossed 1 while standing at #23, or we tossed 2 while standing at #22, … or we tossed 6 while standing at #18. This leads to a recursive formula.


Any of my genteel readers who have ever played Monopoly will spot the most obvious problem here: You play Monopoly with two dice, so you can throw 2...12, so this is someone who hasn't done the most fundamental homework.

The less obvious problem is that you're trying to specifically solve _Monopoly_, rather than 'a board with x fields throwing 2D6'. Monopoly has a couple of extra rules: if you throw a double, you get to go again, but if you throw three doubles you go to jail (field 10); once you come out of jail you get another chance to land on field #24; and you have a chance to step on several fields where you may draw a card that moves you to a different field (named or 'three fields back'; IIRC that could even end your round!). In other words, the probability for 'step on field x' is partly determined by the dice, and partly by the game and its very specific rules; if you wanted to give an _precise_ answer, you'd have to calculate by how many routes you can reach each field including the 'go to jail' mechanism which gives all fields after 10 a higher probability and which means that there are ways of reaching #24 from every field between 2 and 35 (double-one, double-one, double 1...6, jail, and try again.) Heck, you could even go to jail several times until you run out of starting money, but if you get _both_ get out of jail free cards....

So, yeah.

This also illustrates why board games are not just the sum of straightforward probabilities: once a system becomes complex enough that you cannot simply do the rough calculations in your head, it becomes much more interesting, surprising, and, at a certain level (and given an appropriate mechanic), that rarest thing of all: a creator of narrative. It's no longer 'then I drew card x and rolled y on the dice' but 'so here I was, going about my business curing sick sheep and setting broken limbs when those pesky elves turned up right in front of me and–' (Terry Pratchett's The Witches. Brilliant short game for 2-4 players.)

Plus ça change

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:37 pm
green_knight: (fragile)
[personal profile] green_knight
mathematical models allow experiments to be run on environmental systems, and generate realistic output which can be used as the basis for rational and informed environmental management policies. That, at least, is the hope. In practice, the irrational side of human nature seems often to Coe to the fore, as in the reluctance of the United States government to accept the reality of global warming as induced by 'greenhouse' gas emissions, despite the repeated warnings uttered by the climate-modellers.

R.J. Hugget (1993): Modelling the Human Impact on Nature. Oxford, OUP. p. 20.


This is very much in line with my recollections of being taught climate change as an accepted scientific consensus in the early 1990s.

Thwump!

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:14 pm
purplecthulhu: (Default)
[personal profile] purplecthulhu
Io story submitted to Apex.

God war story submitted to Deep Magic (after rewording of one profanity).

Cycling Diary: Day 138

Jul. 13th, 2017 11:00 pm
purplecthulhu: (Default)
[personal profile] purplecthulhu
Time in 52:30 (35:30 cycling), time back 53:00 (36:30 cycling), 679 Calories.

Hard work being back in the saddle - definitely some condition lost over the long period off. Some changes on the route - there's a hole where a building used to be - but mostly not so bad. The junction at the top of Exhibition Road is still a mystery for cyclists. Whoever thought that was a good idea must have never ridden a bike in London.

A little sore now.

How long is 28 days ?

Jul. 13th, 2017 02:41 pm
[personal profile] ms_cataclysm
On 12 June , Mum was referred to NHS continuing care to see if her care needs warranted her being funded by the NHS. Supposedly the review and decision have to take place within 28 days.

I have chased and no date has been set for the review yet. The contact centre couldn't even tell me how long the wait might be. And the school holidays are just starting.

Noticed that the local NHS website doesn't even mention the 28 day time limit or the requirement to backdate payments if it is not met for no good reason.

Despite Mum's complex and severe care needs, we don't know if she will qualify because they have to be "unpredictable" too . We know that she hits the top ratings on the first two but the third is where people come unstuck.

I have now read 300 + pages of NHS guidelines on the subject .

Because Mum's care is very good, it's easy to forget how difficult things can get if any small thing does not happen in the right way at the right time and with the right person.

huh, a meme

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:12 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
from a locked post

Read more... )

Life wrangling

Jul. 11th, 2017 11:14 am
[personal profile] ms_cataclysm
We're having one of those domestic periods when you have lots of stuff that needs doing in a short period.

Is annoying because also have pensions review on (huge time sink and big deadlines) and trying to chase up Mum's NHS funding review -already past the deadline for reporting and haven't even had our Multi Disciplinary Review yet.

And work . Work is so nice compared to domestic life and chores. Things get done. You get paid . You get thanked. They stay done. You can stop at the end of the working day. And it's a reason not to do domestic chores. I think I like work.

some things

Jul. 10th, 2017 08:52 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* In a summary of a promotional event about Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2 which was translated into English (DGS is a sibling game-sequence to Ace Attorney), there's mention of specific changes made for internationalization. Increasingly, "internationalization" is only anglicization, which makes sense financially but saddens me: this isn't like choosing a primary language for scientific scholarly communication. I remember being surprised to find that Maya likes hamburgers, and yeah, turns out it's miso ramen.

* I've begun keeping a food log (at partner's encouragement, nay, near-insistence) to help with tracking my body's protests, whether allergenically based or otherwise. It makes me grumpy. There have been a few other causes for grumpiness during the past week.

* OTOH, I've actually reached 80% in the novel I want to be reading, skimmed a fictionalized memoir (to avoid DNFing outright) and some scholarly essays that need to return to a library, and placed a library hold for Elliott's forthcoming Buried Heart. Though I'm wary of building too much of a queue, Las Anclas is nearby, too, assuming that my luck holds.

* It's funny that I used to read more while living in a pressure-cooker. Having less dayjob stress has mostly made it possible to take a weekend nap without guilt. My eldest aunt says that my third-eldest cousin (her second child) and I have (had) the same basic issue, an immune system splayed upon the floor---that's not her phrasing, translated or otherwise---and has suggested a remedy, which is agreeable enough for me to undertake. I'll forgo the impostor syndrome that accompanies the link, since that cousin teaches at Ewha University and I've only parlayed my insufficient fitness for playing professor into a couple of career hard-resets. She meant it kindly, anyway. I hope it doesn't take me equal time to recover from the dayjob I left a year ago, or I'll spend the remainder of my forties grasping after a better baseline; I was there for a bit over a decade.

* Manuscript illumination as a living practice. So good.

* A thesis I haven't read, on ki suryŏn as reconstructed tradition; ki suryŏn's Chinese reflex is qigong, perhaps a more recognizable term. Mostly I'm happy that someone somewhere has tackled this type of reinvention of pastness. I know something about inventio by medieval writers in Britain, and I'd surmised it for twentieth-century East Asia but lack the evidence to back it. The thesis's writer has had an interesting life so far: she's an ethnic Korean born in Leningrad as was, who finished secondary school and took a law degree in Jerusalem, then completed a master's degree at Sungkyunkwan; since then a doctoral student and a teacher of Korean as well as Russian topics in Den Haag.

fiber monday

Jul. 9th, 2017 09:13 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* Having realized that Reason has enough outer layers in her current size and possibly the next one, I've undone the second orange cardigan-in-progress, heh. (I try to cackle in rl every time I ravel a significant chunk of knitting.) Realistically, in the current pattern size it'd fit her through the coming spring at best, whereas I have enough yarn to make a 2018–2020ish cardigan. Here's to Sparsamkeit and practical making.

It's possible that knitting and unknitting things is not terribly practical, but I continue regarding the making of good-quality yarn as more effort than what I contribute to the overall process. Also, TBH, because my patience is finite and her acting up by hitting/biting/kicking occasionally (mostly just me, not her agemates and rarely another family member) is not finite so far, it's a way of postponing something she wants without lengthening further the period during which I knit nothing at all for her direct benefit. As petty reactions go, I think mine is confined fairly.

Thus she'll have her requested handwarmers (wrist-plus-armwarmers really) for this winter instead, and the completed See the Sea shawl plus the big-kid winter hat I've made already. My mother's cardigan is more important this year. My random interruptions of illness have been persuasive in reducing plans somewhat, too.

* Status: ghost shawl has been knitted except for the picot bind-off, but it needs an edging along the diagonal where I carried other colors. I dislike picots in both knit and crochet forms, so I'll crochet a bit along the diagonal edges; the current endeavor is to crochet a non-picot bind-off. hmph.

I've also added a bit to the ___Sand Cardigan and Lena. For the sake of rare upcoming business travel, I've begun Viajante. (Both Lena and Viajante are straightforward for long chunks, but Lena would break my don't-make-clothing-in-public rule.) Re: Viajante, it's nice to make something where 4000+ knitters have preceded you: I've sifted enough project notes to feel confident in modifying the vaguely conical shape for wide shoulders and a relative lack of height. Though my height's average, the designer is a North Sea German.

Trillium Park

Jul. 9th, 2017 10:48 am
chickenfeet: (canada)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
I like the new park that's been opened up on the Waterfront by Ontario Place. It manages to have a real lake country feel to it while obviously being in the city. It's just across from Island Airport after all. Also odd bits of derelict old Ontario Place are still weirdly visible.




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