rivendellrose: (toaster)
I can't beat IO9's headline for this story: The Folks Who Made The Robot 'Big Dog' Are Building a Real Cylon.

...Is it too early to say that I, for one, welcome our new Toaster overlords? ♥

Also, snagged from [livejournal.com profile] deborah_judge:

In honor of All Hallow's Eve, I'm inviting trick-or-treaters to my 'door'.

Comment "trick-or-treat" to this post and I'll give you a treat. Treats can be anything that strikes my fancy (pics of fave actors or pairings, one sentence fics, graphics, a few words why I'm glad to have you on my flist, etc. etc.). The more "houses" to visit the more fun it'll be, so go ahead, open your journal and help spread the fun!

Can't promise I'll be prompt (y'all know usually happens when I do, after all... and I am actually at work, alas), but I'll try to get everybody!
rivendellrose: (flowers)
Seattle's 14 year-old superhero died this morning.

From the Seattle PI article:

Last April, hundreds of volunteers in Seattle and Bellevue came together to make Erik's superhero story come true, in an elaborately-choreographed event created by the Washington chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Wearing a handmade superhero costume that he helped design, and riding in a DeLorean sports car, Erik rescued the Seattle Sounders from "Dr. Dark" and "Blackout Boy." He saved a Puget Sound Energy worker stuck in a bucket truck, rescued a group of people trapped on the observation deck of the Space Needle, and captured the villains, played to the hilt by Edgar Hansen and his sidekick Jake Anderson, both of Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."

The story of his big wish went viral on the Internet. The foundation was swamped by people pledging money and offering to volunteer.

A group of independent comic-book creators inked and published a real comic book of his exploits. And the "Fans of Electron Boy" page, still active on Facebook, drew thousands of members — today, its fans number nearly 12,000.

I love my city, but that day last year was a particularly proud moment in my life as a Seattleite. We did good on that one. ♥ Bler, I'm all weepy thinking about the whole situation.
rivendellrose: (yay!)


Washington State, I hope you are planning to follow soon, damn it!
rivendellrose: (Attention Plz)
Sometimes I feel like all I do on the internet lately is signal-boost. Sorry for that, guys - I promise I'll be around for some actual updates sometime soon.

* A quick post with links to Help Japan, and the Seattle PI's current update on the situation with the nuclear reactors over there. Related to this: Phil Plait's take-down of the overreaction and downright asshattery going along with the problems over there.

* A post by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer, dealing with congressional climate change denial.

* Link to Forbes (yes, Forbes) gacked from from [livejournal.com profile] seachanges, discussing how the Governor of Michigan is setting dangerous new precedents in his actions against unions. An excerpt:

Snyder’s law gives the state government the power not only to break up unions, but to dissolve entire local governments and place appointed “Emergency Managers” in their stead. But that’s not all – whole cities could be eliminated if Emergency Managers and the governor choose to do so. And Snyder can fire elected officials unilaterally, without any input from voters. It doesn’t get much more anti-Democratic than that.

Except it does. The governor simply has to declare a financial emergency to invoke these powers – or he can hire a private company to declare financial emergency and take over oversight of the city. That’s right, a private corporation can declare your city in a state of financial emergency and send in its Emergency Manager, fire your elected officials, and reap the benefits of the ensuing state contracts.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stick my head under the sand for the last twenty minutes of my lunch break, and hope that things around the world start settling down and getting less awful soon.
rivendellrose: (sunny)
Royal Archivist has had its website face-lift and is live, with fun columns and an FAQ about the project and the universe!

The official guide book (source of recent comments about how much I love editing) will be available Wednesday, for free download. Because what better hook could there be for a new shared universe than a free guidebook?

Anyway, bookmark the page, sign up for their newsletter, and keep your eyes out for future developments - we've got a lot more coming up soon!

Now to finish my rounds on the net and get my lunch packed away before I'm back on the clock. ♥
rivendellrose: (city girl)
I may bitch about Facebook, but it was very nice, immediately upon waking up and hearing about the 8.9 earthquake in Japan and determining the worst of the damage was in the same part of the country that my two friends from college live in, to be able to pop over there and immediately find notes from people (in one case a mutual friend in another country, in another a 3rd party I'd never have known to check with) that they're both okay. Evacuated to an elementary school in at least one case, but okay.

In that, I'm luckier than the friends and family of at least 200 other people so far.

Not really awake yet, but I'll be thinking about everybody over there, and waiting to see what the most needed avenues of aid are. The teensy little 6.5 Seattle went through a few years ago was plenty enough for me - big earthquakes are scary, scary shit, and 8.9 is just unbelievably big. The Seattle PI has a good article if you want details - massive fishing boats riding the waves caused by the earthquake and hitting freeway overpasses, not to mention the fears of damage to nuclear plants. That right there is just terrifying.
rivendellrose: (water pistol)
Some of them are twerps, and some of them are totally annoying, but, you know, I really like some of the vigilante sides of Anonymous.

For instance: Check out this letter they sent Westboro Church (they of the infamous Fred Phelps and associated protests).

It won't really help much, of course. We've already seen that Phelps takes whatever counter-protesters throw at him and just moves on to something equally heinous in another spot. But I still enjoy every time we get to see his smug, hateful little group get pwned by good people who take a stand against hatred... and I kind of love when those good people happen to a) be on the internet, and b) have a really fantastic flair for the dramatic.

I'll be ready and waiting with the popcorn for this one, Anonymous. ♥
rivendellrose: (Seattle rain)
So, hypothetical situation:

You and your spouse/partner/roommate-thing go on a vacation to a nice, sleepy little island full of... oh, artists and writers and musicians and soon-to-be-out-of-work naval employees (...a whole other story, there...). While there, you go for a nice walk on the beach. And on that nice beach, you find... a human skull.

Do you:

a) Immediately turn the skull in to local authorities.
b) Leave the skull where it is and immediately report it to local authorities.
c) Take it home with you to your hoity-toity suburb and then keep it in a plastic bag in your garage for three months before turning it in to your local authorities.

If you guessed "c," you are apparently have a lot in common with the Mercer Island couple who really did find the skull of a murder victim whilst they vacationed on local Whidbey Island. And then brought it home with them. And didn't turn it in until months later. No, really. And I would really like to have a chat with you about a few things, primarily the concept that human remains are not ever to be removed from anywhere by non-professionals, and a little thing that archaeologists (and, I believe, also crime scene investigators) like to call "provenance." Seriously.

The mind just boggles.
rivendellrose: (stars)
First, my monthly "any time the technology is ready, I'll start packing my bags" post: Blue sand dunes on Mars. Yes, really - blue.

And, while I'm at it, Nautiluses in danger of being overfished into extinction. They're essentially octopi who are still too scared to come out of their shells. Of course I love them. ♥
rivendellrose: (yay!)
From [livejournal.com profile] irishninja: The absolute most awesome local news story, EVER. I recommend having tissues handy - it's happy, but it's a bit of a tear-jerker.

Many thanks to the Bellevue Police, King and Snohomish Coutny Sheriff's Offices, the Seattle Sounders, Puget Sound Energy, the Discovery Channel and the Make-a-Wish foundation (and a whole lot of awesome Sounders fans, as well as a bunch of other people) for helping Electron Boy have an awesome day in the sun. And making me sniffle with a big grin.
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
Of particular note to friends in Australia:

Church of Scientology Proposes Net Censorship in Australia.

Because if you can't convince people you're not a vicious, psychotic cult that ruins lives and rips apart families, why not just shut down the people who talk about it?
rivendellrose: (archaeological imagination)
'2,000-year-old feet found in Dublin attic 'closely resemble a bog body in appearance,' states reporter with a knack for ferreting out the blindingly obvious.

The feet are 2,000 years old. They're not a matched pair (one clearly came from an adult, one equally clearly from a child), and they're stained brown and, hey, really well-preserved for soft-tissue remains that are 2,000 years old. Just like a bog body. Funny that - do you suppose they might be - *gasp* - from bog bodies?

While this is an interesting story, there's no great mystery here, apart from whether these feet are from bodies we already know about, or whether there are two more bodies out there somewhere that we can find... if we can just track down whoever found them in the first place and make them lead us back to the place they were found. That's the problem with lack of provenance - we're not going to learn a hell of a lot from a pair of disembodied feet.

As to how they ended up in the attic, I should think that was fairly clear - personally, if I didn't know what bog bodies were and I was digging up peat somewhere for construction or whatever, and a pair of feet fell out, I can easily see how there might be a temptation to hide them to avoid potentially awkward questions. Not to mention the halting of whatever construction project brought them to light. So, that's my bet. And, sadly, I'm betting that'll mean we won't be seeing the full bodies that go with these feet anytime soon, either. Just my two cents of guessing.
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, mayoral candidate wants to put a creationist exhibit in the Tulsa Zoo.

There's some background to this, for me. Yesterday, I received a plea for money from the Secular Coalition for America, of which I am a member. I thought "well, maybe," because, let's be honest - I have a trip to Asia coming up, my tuition for the Museum Studies thing still needs to be sent in, and there are a lot of other charities that could use my money, particularly since my county is working on a serious budget shortfall this year, and I'd like to do what little I can to help out with that.

And then this showed up in my morning link-feed. A quote, for those of you who don't feel like reading the whole insane article:

"Today we are announcing that God will be glorified in this city. He shall not be shunned. Upon our election, we hereby commit to honoring Him in all ways that He has been dishonored," said Anna Falling.

Thanks, you flipping idiot. I needed a reminder of exactly what kind of wack-jobs the Secular Coalition exists to fight. They are officially the winner of my charity money this month.

In other WTF news, apparently 50% of Americans think it should be legally required for women to change their name to their husband's last name when they marry. They can get right on the "out of my country, you freaking psychopaths" wagon along with the afore-mentioned Tulsa politician and all the idiots who actually listen to anything Sarah Palin says.

It comes to my attention that I stupidly thought electing Obama meant that Americans were getting less stupid. This is clearly not the case.

But wait! There's more stupid out there!: Apparently some moron named John C. Wright (apparently a sci-fi author? I've never heard of him...) is upset that the Sci-Fi Channel is going to be including more homosexual characters in their shows. So upset, in fact, that he's coined a new word - "homosex."

Have a rage-inducing quote: Someone explain to me by what series of events persons with serious sexual-psychological malfunctions would somehow be awarded the status of moral arbiters, something like priests and confessors and sages -- except that the passkey to being a guardian of public conscience in our age is the absence of moral value, not the presence.

Fuck you, too, Mr Wright. I have never heard of you before today, but you can bet that I will be avoiding your books in the future, and working as hard as I can to convince everyone else I know to do so as well. Bigoted idiot.

* * *

Religion fail, sexism fail, and now homophobia fail, too - look, everybody, I've got a full house! *Seethes* I'm going to go read www.givesmehope.com for the rest of my lunch break, and try to remember that there's parts of the human race that are actually still worthwhile.
rivendellrose: (Politics!)
'The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.'

"In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a "policy," not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation."

This is apparently a Florida appellate court who made this decision, so I certainly hope this shit will soon end up on the Supreme Court's doorstep, because that kind of thing is just plain not okay. Yes, most of us here are smart enough to know that we can't trust a word out of the greasy, nasty mouths of anyone on Fox News, but there are people out there to whom their word is gospel. Not only is it not fair that they've won the legal right to outright lie on supposed news programs, but it sets a horrible precedent, not only for all other news outlets and media, but for advertising in general. I'm sure this very instant there are advertising firms salivating over the potential to use this to take down any kind of "truth in advertising" laws, and those laws are poorly policed to begin with.
rivendellrose: (birch grove)
Continuing from my rather random post yesterday dealing with the seemingly anomalous Pirahãs culture and language... I've got more links for people who are interested in slogging through with me. :)

So! Onward with the links and my own off-the-top commentary.

Keep in mind, here - I majored in anthro, not linguistics... and even that was only a BA and years of hobby-reading. If I screw something up, please do call me on it! )
rivendellrose: (Donna)
U-District folks who aren't students or on-campus anymore might not have caught this - A group of teenage girls have attacked and attempted to rob at least three women on the #73 bus line last Friday.

The attacks listed were at 58th and Cowen, 45th and 16th, and up North in Lake City, so it's probably worth being wary of girls (described as "well-dressed" by the victims... which to me says "jackass frat-girls, not the Ave rats, who would at least have a reason to mug people other than petty malevolence and a desire for more Abercrombie shit - more's the pity, IMHO) along that whole route for a while.

Anyway, for you folks who still go around that area a lot in the evenings, be careful!

Between this, shootings, a foiled stranger-kidnapping of a 5 year-old at Pike Place over the weekend, tourists getting beat up in Pioneer Square, the brainless murder/suicide of that guy and his 5 kids east of the mountains, and the moron who brought his little girl with him to rob a convenience store... anybody else feeling that Seattle, or, more likely, the whole state needs to get its head on straight? Bleh.

And, while I'm passing around warnings, an article about schemes using peer-to-peer software (which I'm sure no one here uses, of course) to steal personal information from computers. Especially pertinent for parents of kids who might be downloading, since that was apparently this asshat's special target - since the kids are using their parents' computer, it was a perfect bypass, sounds like. :P
rivendellrose: (Poke it)
It is supremely unfair that it's going to take at least 17 years before we get an orbiter around Europa.

I'm thrilled that we're trying to do it and all, but... 17 years, seriously? And that's not factoring in that it still has to compete with other projects for funding? I am stupidly, deeply disappointed by this. I really, really, really want to see scientific proof of extraterrestrial life before I die, and stuff like this reminds me that with the pace of space exploration, that's just not all that likely. I know I don't have any room to complain - generation upon generation hasn't even had the possibility of the discovery dangling in front of them, and awesome and interested people like Carl Sagan died before we could get as far as having a lander on Mars, which I had the pleasure of watching as the data came in. And of course it's awesome that we're going to send something there. I'm all for that. I know science moves slowly, and I understand all the reasons why, but... damn it, I want a time machine, or immortality or something, just to make sure that I can see all the cool stuff that we're going to discover.

The long and the short of it, I suppose, is "wah, I want a Tardis and my own personal Time Lord tour guide." :P

In related news, I'm probably lucky, in a way, that this mammoth skeleton was announced as having been found in Los Angeles, CA, this week rather than last week. I can just see myself being traumatized over having just missed potentially seeing it.
rivendellrose: (Gwen lost her blowfish)
I have no idea why, but some man SET HIMSELF ON FIRE in the middle of my alma mater's campus. What. The. HELL.

They think it's a suicide attempt (what else would you call dousing yourself in gas and lighting a match, I suppose?), but... umm... excuse me if I think that's not exactly a normal way to choose to go? I mean... and in the middle of UW campus? Why?

ETA: Campus chatter is that the guy was a former employee in the Facilities department. I'm going to take a stab in the dark and assume that Facilities is undergoing budget cuts and is letting some people go... damn.
rivendellrose: (omgwtf)
I am deeply amused by the British web media's tendency to break Doctor Who related news earlier than the almighty Beeb wants them to. You just know someone over at the BBC office is going "hey, I know I'm not supposed to be looking at the Guardian on work time, but... they just broke our story a few hours early."

I like to think that this kind of thing gives Russell Davies heartburn. That's payback for all the times he's given me saccharine overdose. ;)

People with no fear of spoilers can wander on over to [livejournal.com profile] doctorwho to see the remains of this pertains to... or you can just wait a few hours until the Beeb gets around to making one of its patented "oops, someone leaked the info, so we'd better do a press release!" posts on the official site. ♥

My Comments on the Supposedly Spoilerific News Under This Cut )

* * *

Edit: And now we appear to be playing a rousing game of "how many people can repost the news in the most annoying possible way?" over on [livejournal.com profile] doctorwho. Fantastic. I'll be over here, watching and waiting for us to turn up on Fandom_Wank. Again.
rivendellrose: (joy!)
Wow. New evidence for possible liquid water on Mars.

Call me a horrible geek if you must, but that just makes me so insanely happy!


rivendellrose: (Default)

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