Just One Thing (25 July 2017

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:34 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

OK it's Tuesday but it's still music

Jul. 25th, 2017 11:55 am
drwex: (VNV)
[personal profile] drwex
This will likely be the only music post this week. Next week I'll begin chipping away at the backlog. But this week I found something enjoyable enough I jump it to the head of the queue.

https://soundcloud.com/user-457571129/ummet-ozcan-presents-innerstate-ep-142
Start with another of Ummet Ozcan's "Innerstate" sets. I have a few of these sets marked that I might say a word or two about but in general these haven't excited me too much. Like a lot of the things I've been listening to they're often overrun with pointless glitch and wub and I click off about halfway through. This one I stuck with and that's a good thing.

I recommend listening - midway through there are two of Ozcan's own tracks - the "You Don't Know Switch" and "Something Just Like This" - that I think are quite good but I couldn't find separate linkable uploads for.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccfEUIhxKvs
The real payoff is at the end, though because you get back-to-back goodies. The first is this edit by Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike based off of "Renegade Master" a track popularized by Fatboy Slim (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyWqeJ1vLWo) though it was originally created (but never released possibly due to copyright issues over samples) by a DJ known as Wildchild. This new edit is actually based on a recent mash done by two other producers. It's a fun bouncer of a track and a study in how music travels and mutates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJhn-sicZgU
Then finally stuck on the end like an afterthought - or maybe saving the best for last? - is this gem. "Mariko" by Sagi Abitbul (https://www.facebook.com/sagiabitbulofficial and also https://soundcloud.com/sagiabitbul). Near as I can tell, Abitbul is an Israel-based DJ with origins in eastern Europe (Serbia?). The track is a hot crash of modern EDM sounds with traditional east-European vocals and instruments - can anyone identify the stringed instrument shown briefly at 1:19?

I love this kind of thing - mining a variety of traditional styles for modern inspirations. Damned if I can figure out the language, either; Google thinks it's Bulgarian. Anyway, that led me to find this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NejMwMeZyag
Sagi Abitbul again in collaboration with Guy Haliva (https://www.facebook.com/Guy-Haliva-670327543003366/ and also https://soundcloud.com/guyhaliva) another Israeli. This one I recognize the sounds as being more Israeli/Middle Eastern but the lyrics are likewise a mystery. I've seen claims of Bulgarian, Serbian, and Turkish but damned if I can tell those apart. Still a fantastic sound and I'll be following both these guys to see what else they do.
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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- The most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis is expected to make his first court appearance in Australia on Wednesday, as he vows to clear his name in a scandal that has rattled Rome....
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Posted by Fizz

In These Games, Death Is Forever, and That's Awesome [Wired] ""Permadeath" has been growing in popularity among game designers in recent years. Although it can take different forms depending on which game you're playing, the message is always the same: Mistakes have consequences. [...] The games today that use permadeath as a feature are something of a hybrid of old and new. They have more storyline than Pac-Man but the emphasis is not on a heavily scripted Hollywood-style narrative. Rather, the game's fictional worlds set the scene, establish a strong sense of place, but give the players more leeway to imagine their own personal stories."

• Y'all Are Crazy With Permadeath In Fire Emblem [Kotaku]
"But for some of you masochists, that doesn't seem to be enough. You've just got to turn a fun game into something unmanageable. There seem to be a few ways to play Fire Emblem with permadeath on. The first is resetting the game every time a character dies. This doesn't add any real challenge to the game; it just wastes time. Sure, the stakes are raised a bit to ideally inspire better strategy, but the punishment is making the game not fun by having to replay the exact same part again. Any punishment in a video game that makes the game not fun is too steep. Others will decide to just carry on whenever a character dies. I do not understand this."
• Why permadeath is alive and well in video games [GamesRadar+]
"There's no perfect definition of a permadeath game. They vary from single player survivals like Don't Starve to shooter MMOs like DayZ. The concept drives low-budget roguelikes like FTL and big-budget blockbusters like XCOM: Enemy Unknown. There's even an iOS game called One Single Life that can't be played again once you've died (well, unless you delete then reinstall it). There are twists, too. Dark Souls and ZombiU let you retrieve souls / items from your own corpse to reverse failure, while the hacking game Uplink can see your computer permanently 'disavowed' from the fictional in-game network if you're caught. Permadeath can feature in various genres, then, but it can also be a genre itself. Essentially, permadeath is about being unable to rewrite the past--mistakes carry consequences."
• Someone Please Explain the Appeal of Permadeath and Roguelike Games To Me? [Forever Geek]
"I will just come out and say what a great many gamers think but refuse to say out loud because many gamers have become sensitive over last few years aka people who think what they think is right and any opposing view is wrong. A glance at the title of this article even says so much. Initially, it was "why permadeath is ruining gaming" and once I wrote it and realized how hypocritical I sound, I changed it to try to attempt to get some insight into what makes gamers like these games so much. EXTREME MODES and Permadeath games that seem to derive pleasure from torturing people are somehow the norm now? WHAT??!! It's right there in the description. Someone please tell me the appeal of punishing games? How is that fun?"
• Darkest Dungeon and Permanent Death in Video Games [Den of Geek]
"It's not natural for us to think of adventurers in an RPG as disposable, but in a roguelikeRPG, that strategy starts to make a lot of sense. Just as you would weigh the pros and cons of adventuring forward in a roguelike, in DD you weigh the pros and cons of keeping team members around and paying extra for their recovery or cutting them loose and starting anew. In this fashion, DD is similar to X-COM in that proper roster management is essential. Permadeath adds yet another dimension to this strategy. With permadeath, you can't rely on having only one "A" team of adventurers. As you expand your base of operations and expand the size of your complete roster, it's imperative to work on several of your favorite classes to ensure you have backup teams to send away when characters die off or when stress/impairments requires time away from combat."
• What can "permadeath" video games teach us about suicide? [New Statesman]
"The rise of permadeath in video games – whereby player characters die permanently in-game, or where a game must restart from the beginning should the player character die, in the absence of multiple lives or continues – has changed the way players approach games. In these instances, emotion is often the driving force when it comes to decision-making, and thus with permadeath mental state governs player action, as opposed to logical rationale. It's worth noting here that self-sacrifice – when players kill themselves to respawn or restart levels; or non-playable characters sacrifice themselves for the greater good/to save their companions – is different from suicide as portrayed in the above examples. Permadeath essentially forces players to consider consequence, permanence and finality within the bounds of digital landscapes."

The Thing in the Woods

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:33 pm
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Posted by twilightlost

In 1962 woodsman David McPherson Sr. found himself deep in the forest of Lutes Mountain, some 15 kilometres west of Moncton, N.B., staring upwards at a 181-kilogram white box with cameras and hanging from a tree by a deteriorated parachute. What began as a day of scouting timber would turn into the mystery of "the thing in the woods" that would stay with his family for the next 55 years.


Yay Mango Languages app

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:05 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
...so how do I type (what I presume are) hiragana with an American keyboard?

...wait

victory may be mine

こんにちは

\o/

Successful expedition

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:46 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Mum went with me to the shop where I get all my electricals, and I ordered a new dishwasher. It will be here two Fridays from now, because they couldn't get it sooner. I figured I would rather wait than trust the internet on next day delivery; this way it's the same usual people and I know they'll stay until it works.

Also I went to the usual computer shop and discovered mostly what they don't sell and can't help me with, but also what they can. And I bought another stick to store all my other sticks on, or maybe to be the one that goes in the TV. They only had one at the size I wanted, so, shall go back later.

And then went through the supermarket to try and buy disposable plates for a backup plan for if the dishwasher is too slow. Only very small quantities per money in there, shall try another shop later. Did get microwave chips though, so those will be nice.

And then mum helped me go through the box of Things To Go, and took them away. She has the knowing of charity shops and so forth. I'm annoyed one of my new shirts is To Go, but it turned me black and came off in bits, so that's gone for cloth rubbish. And one of my nice skirts went for charity, because I realised I hadn't worn it except at that one Buffy convention when Buffy was still on. It can be nice for someone who actually wears skirts.

And all this on Cleaner Day. Which also happened successfully.


Difficult day of steady progress.

Tuesday roadkill report

Jul. 25th, 2017 11:32 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley

Probable raccoon corpse across from the golf course. Only probable, being in the weeds on the far side of a US highway.

Nothing particular in the floral department. If you want to gather lupine seeds, the heads are dry now.

Got out on the bike, usual weekday route. No sign of the cemetery heron.

15.26 miles, 1:13:12

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The Rose Hill Cemetery, where Queen Kelly Mitchell is buried.

In February 1915, thousands of Romany people from all around the United States slowly but surely made their way to the town of Meridian in Mississippi. Their queen had died and they wanted to pay their respects to the head of the clan.

Queen Kelly Mitchell passed away on January 31, after suffering complications during the birth of her 15th child (some reports put the number at 14), while the family was camped out in Coatopa, Alabama. Her husband, King Emil, had sought local medical assistance and even offered a fee of $10,000 if doctors could save her, but the efforts were in vain. The couple were the leaders of the Mitchell clan of Romany people, one of the largest in America, and Emil, who was born in Brazil, had moved to the country as a child and had been crowned king in 1884.

Romany people are a traditionally nomadic group, thought to originally belong to the northwest of India. They were once commonly referred to as gypsies, but that term has now taken on a negative racial connotation. Widespread movement across centuries has led to their presence all around the globe, where they assimilated the culture of the different places they live in but also retained a distinct Romany identity.

After Mitchell's death, it was decided that she would be buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in nearby Meridian and her body was placed in state for 12 days, to allow time for more people to come and pay tribute.

Queen Kelly’s funeral was a distinctly Romany event, which nearly 20,000 of her people attended, creating a musical party atmosphere in the overflowing town. A newspaper report about the funeral read, “Her swarthy face with its high cheekbones is typical of Romany tribes and the head, the upper portion of which is covered with bright silken drapery pinned at the back with pins, rests upon a cushion of filmy silk and satin. The hair is braided Gypsy fashion and the dark tresses shine. The body is attired in a Royal robe of Gypsy Green and other bright colors contrasting vividly with the somber hues usual under such circumstances.”

Rumors that an extravagant coffin was crafted out of gold for her at a cost of $15,000, and that gold coins had been thrown into the casket at the time of the burial, took root, and the site was damaged several times by grave robbers before it was reinforced with better materials.

Despite these attempts, the gravesite is a festive corner of the cemetery, with its many trinkets that people leave, hoping that the gifts will please her and their problems will be solved. Crush orange soda cans also dot the grave, as this is rumored to be have been the queen's favorite drink. Beads, coins, whiskey, and cigarettes are some other common offerings to the deceased Romany leader. Her husband, who died 27 years after her, is buried next to her, along with some of the other members of the Mitchell family.

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The gates with Traquair House in the background.

The Bear Gates of the Traquair House—Scotland's oldest continually inhabited house—have been locked since 1745 on the instruction they remain closed until the Stuart Dynasty returns to the throne. We may be waiting a long time.

The last direct male descendent of the Stuart Kings died in 1807, so it doesn’t look like the "Steekit Yetts" (that's Scots for "stuck gates") will be unstuck any time soon. All entrants to the fortified 12th-century house, from tourists visiting its microbrewery to the current 21st Laird (Lord) of Traquair, have to use the side entrance.

Many great houses and castles in Europe are approached by an impressive tree-lined driveway. The Traquair House had such a feature until the bear-topped gates at the end of the driveway were closed indefinitely behind "Bonnie Prince Charlie" Stuart as he rode away in 1745 to restore the Stuart Dynasty to the throne. This lead to the Bear Gates being given the nickname of "The Steekit Yetts." 

The house has been owned by relatives of the Stuart Royal Dynasty—a dynasty including Mary Queen of Scots and her son James VI who became the first king to hold the throne of both Scotland and England— since the 15th century.

James VI's great-grandson, James VII & II, was the last king of this dynasty. He was exiled from Britain for being Catholic and replaced by an imported Protestant king. Fearful of Catholic superpowers in mainland Europe, the English Parliament then passed laws to prevent any Catholics taking the English throne ever again.

This did not stop the exiled king's grandson, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Charlie, who had grown up in Rome, landed on Eriskay (an island in Scotland's Outer Hebrides) in 1745 and raised an army of clansmen who were sympathetic to his cause. They marched south through the recently United Kingdom to attempt to retake the throne.

It was during this advance that Bonnie Prince Charlie visited his distant cousin and staunch supporter, the 5th Earl at Traquair (also named Charles Stuart). It was this earl who ordered the gates at the top of the avenue to be shut after him until the Stuarts returned to the throne.

Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Traquair, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highland Army were defeated in the Battle of Culloden mere months later, and, though he escaped back to mainland Europe with his life, his dynasty never returned. 

This is question #1000.

Jul. 25th, 2017 01:54 pm
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Posted by JenniferP

I know people have been anticipating what I will answer for reader question 1,000. Thanks for the emailed suggestions and the hype, it’s awesome that people are excited! Milestones are cool!

It’s also way too much pressure and I’ve started answering people privately the past week or so because it’s like “Well, this is a great question, but is it QUESTION NUMBER ONE THOUSAND?” “Shouldn’t QUESTION ONE THOUSAND sort of sum up everything I think about conflict and awkwardness?” (Answer: No, that’s a book. A book that I am trying to figure out the shape of. A book that will happen.)

So, here is question #1000. It’s a placeholder. I choked. I’m sorry. What I’ve got is that writer’s block trick of “okay if you don’t know how to write the next thing, try writing a next thing and figure out where it all fits later.”

I’ve got some It Came From The Search Terms to knock out this week and then we’ll be back sometime with #1001, which will be a normal question with normal significance and normal amount of (pretty damn interesting!) interestingness.


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A herd on the beach.

Wild horses were abundant in the Americas until about 13,000 years ago. Luckily, they had already spread around the world by the time they became extinct within their native land. Thanks to the Spanish conquistadors from whom they escaped in 16th century, horses returned to the continent, though they’re now considered feral instead of wild.

Corolla, North Carolina is one of the best places to see the Banker horse, a rare breed that descended from the escaped Spanish stock. The Banker strain of the Colonial Spanish Mustang lives on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks. It’s one of the oldest horse breeds in the United States.

They’re a small, hardy stock—so small, they should technically be classified as ponies and not horses. Their short backs and low tails make them distinctly different from other types of American mustangs. Because of their relative isolation, the Banker horses around Corolla haven’t had a change to mix with other breeds and dilute their Spanish lineage.

How the horses actually arrived in the area is still a bit of a mystery. Some suspect they swam ashore after surviving shipwrecks. Others think they were simply left behind when the Spanish conquistadors abandoned their North Carolina colonies. The mysterious origin story adds to their allure.

Horse tours are one of the main economic activities in Corolla. Because of the hordes of visitors each week hoping to catch a glimpse of the herd, authorities became concerned about the well-being of the few hundred feral horses roaming about the area. There are now beach patrols in charge of educating people about the equines and how to coexist with them. It’s illegal for anyone to come within 50 feet of the horses.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots Tuesday near an Iranian vessel that came close to it during a tense encounter in the Persian Gulf, an American defense official said....
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