The Blood is the Life for 23-05-2017

May. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Britishness: Tea)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The police have confirmed it as a terrorist attack, although not the stripe of terrorism.
But we know what terrorists want, don't we?
The clue is in the name.

They want us to be afraid.
They want us to cower in our homes, afraid to go to gigs or theatres or sports events.
They want us to give in to fear and authoritarianism.

FUCK THEM.

There's already lots of people sharing practical ways you can help in Manchester today - three examples here - but what if you are nowhere near Manchester? And what about the future?

One way you can show your defiance today?
Buy a ticket. Buy a ticket to a gig, or a football match, or a play, or anything else where lots of people gather to enjoy themselves and be human. Let today be the biggest day for ticket sales to fun things the UK has ever seen.

There but for the grace of God...

May. 23rd, 2017 08:03 am
miss_s_b: (Britishness: Tea)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Manchester is less than an hour from my home. I have lots of friends there, and I visit there often. The station I most often arrive at is Manchester Victoria.
Less than a fortnight ago I took my little girl to an arena concert in a big city.
So yeah, this is hitting home hard.

BUT.

But.

The arsehole who blew himself up with an IED full of nuts and bolts at a concert full of little girls was one man.

The people who immediately took to the streets with bottles of water and cups of tea? The people who opened their homes to strangers for a sit down or a phone charger or a phone? The taxi drivers who offered free rides home when the trains were cancelled, the hotels who offered free rooms and respite and drinks to those affected, and the absolute heroes of the emergency services? Those people are legion. Those people are the ones who we need to talk about. Those people are the peak of humanity.

Love, not hate.
Helping, not hurting.

No party politics today, people. No Yorkshire/Lancashire joking. Today we stand together. Please?

The Blood is the Life for 22-05-2017

May. 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

well that was a thing

May. 20th, 2017 08:15 pm
nostalgia: (twissy touchy)
[personal profile] nostalgia
My main thought is basically extremis )

Weekend Recs

May. 20th, 2017 11:02 am
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Fangirling: Columbo)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
If you're not a Lib Dem (or political activist of another stripe) then I have heard that weekends are a time for relaxing. I vaguely recall this being the case from before I got into politics... Anyway, it seemed to me that the weekend might be a good time for a recs post.
  • Book: Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. If you grew up in the 80s, this book is such a powerful kick up the memories. If you didn't it's probably less so; similarly, if you're less of a music geek than me, you might bounce off it. With those caveats in place, though, this is one of my favourite books of the last few years.

  • Film: They Live (1988 - John Carpenter). Laugh at the 80s guitar 'n' synth rock soundtrack. Giggle at the crazy conceit of it. Try to stamp down the growing paranoia that we are actually living in that world right now...

  • DW account: [personal profile] hollymath, whose posts are always thoughtful, often thought-provoking, and full of love and humanity.

  • DW comm: [community profile] weekly_food_challenge. Yeah, I know, it's one of mine. However! I feel like we passed a benchmark this week: someone I don't know posted a recipe, and it was good! It feels like a proper (albeit small) comm now, and not just me and some of my mates recipe-swapping.

  • Other website/blog/twitter/tumblr/RSS feed: Postcards from the Frontiers of Science (on DW as [syndicated profile] lewis_and_quark_feed). Utterly hilarious yet strangely compelling blog about the travails of teaching neural nets various things.

The Blood is the Life for 20-05-2017

May. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Model-Making: Warhammer 40K Predator

May. 19th, 2017 10:38 pm
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[personal profile] major_clanger
Recently my brother R gave me a bunch of model kits to practice on. He's into Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 gaming system (universally known as '40K') which if you're not familiar with it can be summed up by its tagline IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR. From their fearsome redoubt outside Nottingham - you get a good view of it on the train - GW flog a vast ecosystem of miniatures, models, rulebooks and accessories, all defended by intellectual property lawyers only marginally less terrifying than 40K's legendary Space Marines (very definitely TM).

One of the kits was a Predator tank. I should note that armoured fighting vehicle design in 40K is low on pragmatic realism and rather higher on GUNS and RIVETS and MORE GUNS, preferably painted in rather spectacular livery. R actually has a relatively subdued scheme for his models of black with yellow highlights so I've gone with that, but I decided that this would be a chance to practice weathering techniques (i.e. making your model look dirty - see this post) so this would definitely be a tank that had quite literally been in the wars.

Read more... )
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/44: Thunder in the Sky -- Elizabeth Peters
"It isn’t always easy to distinguish right from wrong, is it? More often the choice is between better and worse . . . and sometimes . . . sometimes the line between them is as thin as a hair. One must make a choice, though. One can’t wash one’s hands and let others take the risks . . . including the risk of being wrong." [loc. 1941]

no detailed spoilers )

The Blood is the Life for 18-05-2017

May. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
(to read this post in a more usual colour scheme, click here)

Because we Lib Dems believe that LGBT+ rights are human rights, a lot of the LGBT+ content in the manifesto (.pdf link) is spread out in the policy topic areas the manifesto covers. I like this, it means that LGBT+ rights are integral to our policies, not tacked on as an afterthought. However, it can make things easy to miss. In lieu of an index, therefore, I am going to draw it all together in one handy blog post, starting at the beginning*:
  1. Our young people are bright, creative and want a world that is clean and green and that the rest of us haven’t wrecked. They want jobs, good health and the chance to choose who they love and how they live- Introduction by Tim Farron, p7, emphasis mine.

  2. Defending social rights and equalities: Many important protections such as the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and rights to annual leave are currently based on EU law, and many of these rights have been upheld at the European Court of Justice. Liberal Democrats will fight to ensure that these entitlements are not undermined. - Europe section, top of p12 - while this doesn't mention LGBT+ rights specifically, there are a lot of LGBT+ rights that spring from European law or case law.

  3. Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support - NHS section, p20

  4. Make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention available on the NHS. - NHS section, p22

  5. Introduce a curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. This will include Personal, Social and Health Education: a ‘curriculum for life’ including financial literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). - Education section, pp29-30

  6. Include in SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content. - Education section, pp29-30

  7. Challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects - Education section, p30

  8. Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity or gender expression. - Education section, p31

  9. Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps. - Justice and Equalities section, p71

  10. Campaign to reduce intolerance, including anti-Semitism, and hate crimes alongside organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card, the Anne Frank Trust UK, and Kick It Out - Justice and Equalities section, p71

  11. Ask the Advisory Committee on Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs periodically to review rules around men who have sex with men and other related groups donating blood to consider what restrictions remain necessary - Justice and Equalities section, pp71-72

  12. Introduce an ‘X’ option on passports, identity documents, and official forms for those who do not wish to identify as either male or female, and campaign for their introduction in the provision of other services, for example utilities. - Justice and Equalities section, p72

  13. Strengthen legal rights and obligations for couples by introducing mixed-sex civil partnerships and extending rights to cohabiting couples - Justice and Equalities section, p72

  14. Extend protection of gender reassignment in equality law to explicitly cover gender identity and expression, and streamline and simplify the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, for example the intrusive medical tests currently required. - Justice and Equalities section, p72

  15. Remove the spousal veto, and abolish remaining marriage inequalities in areas such as pensions, hospital visitation rights and custody of children in the event of bereavement. - Justice and Equalities section, p72

  16. Ensure that trans prisoners are placed in prisons that reflect their gender identity, rather than their birth gender - Justice and Equalities section, p76

  17. Offer asylum to people fleeing countries where their sexual orientation orgender identification means that they risk imprisonment, torture or execution, and stop deporting people at risk to such countries. - Immigration and Asylum section, p79

  18. Develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world and advancing the cause of LGBT+ rights - International policy section, p87

  19. Introduce legislation to allow for all-BAME and all-LGBT+ parliamentary shortlists - Democracy and Devolution section, p91
I'm hoping that someone else can do this for other things - feminists are going to be happy about our commitment to scrap the rape clause for example, or ending period poverty, and there's lots of good stuff in there about other areas I care deeply about, like racism, disability, immigration, drugs, domestic violence, digital rights, and poverty. It's almost like a manifesto is a whole programme for government...

Any volunteers to do this for other topics?



* yes, this does mean I have read the entire manifesto. Mostly I have done this to get cross at the bits that don't go far enough for me - our Immigration policy is still a coalition era compromise and I hate that it is not shouting from the rooftops about the awesomeness of immigration, for example.
spiralsheep: The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity (ish icons Curiosity Cures Boredom)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Missing you already! Yes, I've been called away on another urgent holiday and am unlikely to be around next week. I'm informed that this booking also offers us discount entry to the "Flambards Theme Park", lol! Although not, alas, any holiday attractions with equally inappropriate names that I'm now imagining: the Poldark Experience... Frenchman's Creek Watersports Centre... Jamaica Inn Pony Trekking... My Cousin Rachel Gardening Courses (or should that be cookery?)... Zennor in Darkness Watercolour Weekends... Tristan and Iseult Speed-dating.... Any further suggestions, o flisty ones? Rebecca? Camomile Lawn? Penmarric? The Dark is Rising?

- Having received a complaint about the lack of lighthouse photos from Berry Head, I shall attempt to rectify my lapse with SIX photos of Flat Holm lighthouse and foghorn on the Welsh island of Ynys Echni in the Bristol Channel. The lighthouse was built in 1737, the gun emplacements followed in 1860 (and were still in use during the Second World War), and the foghorn was added in 1908. The island also has some locally rare flora including wild leek, which amused me by growing abundantly near the toilet block, lol.

1 Flat Holm with lighthouse, Ynys Echni 10-16

2 Flat Holm lighthouse, built 1737, Ynys Echni 10-16

4 more small images for lighthouse enthusiasts. )

The Blood is the Life for 17-05-2017

May. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/43: The Falcon at the Portal -- Elizabeth Peters
‘We are only demonstrating the qualities for which our superior caste is famous,’ Ramses drawled. ‘British phlegm, noblesse oblige, coolness under fire . . . What have I left out?’
‘Don’t be hateful,’ Nefret snapped.
‘That’s the part I left out,’ said Ramses. ‘Hatefulness.'[loc. 5871]


At the beginning of this novel (set in 1911-2) Nefret is finding great amusement in reading from a 'true memoir' penned by Amelia's vile nephew Percy. mildly spoilery )

The Blood is the Life for 16-05-2017

May. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/42: The Ape Who Guards the Balance -- Elizabeth Peters
Nefret had been Priestess of Isis in a community where the old gods of Egypt were worshipped, and I had a nasty suspicion she had not entirely abandoned her belief in those heathen deities. Perhaps she shared the views of Abdullah, who was something of a heathen himself: ‘There is no harm in protecting oneself from that which is not true!’[loc. 3470]


Set in London and Egypt in 1906-7 -- another big gap in the timeline, which I wish had been filled. (There are allusions to events during that period in this and later novels.)

The Ape Who Guards the Balance begins in London, where Amelia has, of course, joined the Women's Social and Political Union.slightly spoilery for overall arc )

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