andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Germany just got a 13% vote for the populist anti-foreigner party. In 2015 Britain also got a 13% vote for their populist anti-foreigner party.

In Germany that will result in them getting some MPs in a separate party, and their centre-right party will do a deal with someone more central (their centre-left party last time, probably the Greens and the liberals this time around). Total influence of the far-right: almost zero.

In Britain this resulted in the Conservatives basically implementing the manifesto commitments of UKIP in order to stop their party fragmenting. Total influence of the far-right: Brexit.

This is _entirely_ down to the voting system. Germany has basically had the equivalent of a Lab+Con coalition for most of the last ten years, and the parties are constantly moderated by having to work with each other. Even France's two-tier presidential elections allowed people to vote for a relative outsider.

In Britain you end up with two main parties which spend all of their time scrambling to keep both wings together. It's a political system which, frankly, encourages extremism by making the more central politicians reliant on the further-out wings of their parties.

Got My First Personalized Plates

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:30 pm
whitebird: (Default)
[personal profile] whitebird
I got my first set of personalized plates on Friday.

I thought that the California 1960s commemorative plates, which are yellow text on black background would look better on the Miata than the blue text on white regular plates. And seeing as I was already spending extra money for the special plates, I may as well get personalized ones.

It helps to know that I have a Mazda Miata RF. (For retractable fastback.)

Big image here... )

Weekend uncluttering

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:00 am
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How did your weekend go? Did you sneak some stealthy uncluttering in to a spare few minutes, or did you go all out on something you've been eyeing off for a while?

Me? I spent most of my weekend at an ice-skating competition (apart from my kid competing, I'm also in training to be the set up person for the new judging tech). So my decluttering was limited to a bit of paperwork here and there. ...which actually, has been the theme of my week, although the amount of paperwork dealt with each day has varied from 'a couple of pieces of paper' to 'filled the inside bin three times over'.

Done

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:51 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb posting in [community profile] qec
* bit of tidying
* books to charity shop
* ordered sewing pattern
* fixed O's jacket
* fed cats

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:15 pm
vvalkyri: (Default)
[personal profile] vvalkyri
It has been a good afternoon at Fair. Whether or not I get to Glen Echo later remains to be seen, but I probably will. Very much enjoyed first Albannach then Cu Dobh then Stary Olsa - not bad for parking at 3. Cooling down, now. Was way hot before.

Uber alles?

Sep. 24th, 2017 03:30 pm
vampwillow: skyline graphic (Default)
[personal profile] vampwillow
So TfL have declined to further extend Uber's licence to operate in London. They gave them an extra four months, but Uber declined to get its act together and operate legally.

Personally, I don't trust Uber the company or Uber the concept - too fraught with danger of multiple types, but I accept that some see it as an easier answer to calling a minicab (don't they realise mobile phones can actually be used to _speak_ to people? Seems not...) but they way their 40,000 vehicles cruise around touting-but-not-touting just creates traffic problems, fumes, and blockages in local areas such as Heathrow environs, so making them toe the legal lines that other companies must do seems only right. Too many empty vehicles on the road, frankly.

I noted on BBC news channel yesterday a bloke saying that he'd been driving a minicab for 15 years and didn't know what he'd do for a job if Uber close down. Begs the question what he did for the first ten of those years - and why he's unhappy about doing the same again.

Interesting Links for 24-09-2017

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Freeways (cpatain games)

Sep. 24th, 2017 09:36 am
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
https://captaingames.itch.io/freeways

Yesterday andrew ducker's links got me addicted to this little game. Each level is a screen with some roads coming in and some going out, and you need to join them up so the traffic can flow freely. Some connections need high traffic and need direct connections. Sometimes there's small or medium levels of traffic but lots of connections.

It's really cute how the separate screens join together to make a city with coast and mountains and houses and industrial areas. When you do all the levels in the initial 3x3 grid it expands to 5x5, then 7x7. And maybe further, I don't know.

I don't really understand the score, it clearly correlates with how good the network is, but I don't know exactly what contributes to it.

It makes some real-world motorway engineering make more sense. There's lots of situations where roundabouts work really well. Sometimes there's a couple of really busy routes which need direct connections, but then everything else just needs to be connected *at all* so you can use normal cross-roads with no flyovers at all.

Some things are bizarre. Who designed this city so SOME roads drive on the left and some on the right?

A few of the screens have a menu item to open an aerial picture of a real-world junction with similar connections and see if you came to the same sort of solution. One was a diamond interchange, with a moderate traffic road crossing a high traffic road. Another was two low-traffic roads crossing, in the middle of some fields somewhere.

There doesn't seem to be an "undo" button, am I missing something? That's realistic for working with concrete, but with the interface so clunky it would be really nice.

Edit: Also, there's a directory called save but I can't find any option to save which disinclines me to play again. Anyone know where it's hidden?
fridi: (Default)
[personal profile] fridi posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
As per the monthly topic, Trump's UN speech comes just timely. If anyone had expected even a semblance of diplomacy and nuance in his address to the UN, they might've been struck by the depressing amount of predictability in the final product. Trump appeared before the UN session as a commander in chief rattling his nuclear sabres, rather than a statesman. And this failed to surprise anyone.

In his speech, he reiterated a Twitter jab he made the other day about Kim Jong Un, the Rocket Man. In the most important speech on foreign policy he has had since the start of his presidency, he told the world leaders that Rocket Man is on a suicide mission. Ha. Ha. Ha.

The insults in the speech of the president of the United States killed the last remaining hopes that he'd send an honest message to a regime that's been challenging its neighbors for years. It's time for NK to realize that quitting nukes is the only responsible future for them, Trump argued before the UN - which by itself may sound like a relatively rational requirement. Unfortunately, what would remain in memory from this speech is his choice of an Elton John song to irritate the fellow Dear Leader of a rogue state with nuclear aspirations.

Read more... )
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I've been paying attention to the many attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)* and what's been really obvious in the last year is that the Republican majority don't actually want to repeal it.

There seem to be three different groups:
1) Republican Senators who can see that Obamacare is actually about as right-wing a way to have universal healthcare as you can get**, and don't actually want to get rid of it.
2) Republican Senators who may or may not be in favour of Obamacare, but can see that their constituents are now attached to their healthcare, will be furious if they lose it, and only have a slim majority which they are terrified of losing at the next election.
3) Republican Senators who really are against Obamacare.

The problem here is that all three groups need to pretend that they're in category (3), because they've spent the last decade telling their supporters how terrible Obamacare is, to the point where there are voters who support all of the individual parts of the bill, and even the "Affordable Care Act" but will be will be against Obamacare.

And the longer the ACA exists, and the more that voters understand about it (as is happening the more Republicans talk about it) the more popular it gets. To the point where a majority of the public are now in favour of it***. But the Republican Party now has a central point of belief that "Obamacare is bad".

Which means that in order to be against it, but not actually remove it, we're left with a few Republican Senators taking it in turns to vote against repeal, on various largely spurious grounds. Being very careful to say "Oh no, I hate Obamacare as much as the next person. But I can't vote to repeal it this time, because of a minor provision. Maybe next time." - and then the next time a _different_ Republican Senator can do exactly the same thing.

None of which means that Obamacare is safe. It's balanced on a bunch of senators believing that if they repeal it they'll lose their jobs. So every time a repeal bill is put forward they have to be persuaded _again_ that the public still cares. And I am very grateful for my US friends who are involved in getting people to phone their representatives every time it comes up.

But I am moderately hopeful that we'll make it through to the mid-terms without it being repealed. Because I don't think that a majority of the senate actually wants it to be.****


*There were over 50 of these between 2011 and 2014, goodness knows how many we're up to now
**Not surprising, as it's very similar to RomneyCare.
***But only 17% of registered Republicans. It's the swing voters who have moved.
****But don't trust me. This is just my impression from what I've read from, frankly, a long way away.

Done

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:34 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb posting in [community profile] qec
* more washing
* tidying of spare room
* tidying of clarery
* yuletide tagmodding
* fed cats

I won another Crawl Sprint game!

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:55 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
Cut for boringness for many people. But I won a Line Sprint, pretty vanilla Minotaur Fighter of Uskayaw
Read more... )
shapeofthings: (Default)
[personal profile] shapeofthings
P1000606

In the last week I have tried three new things:
  • Cross country skiing
  • Bell ringing
  • Bouldering

Skiing, it turns out, might not be for me. I grew up in the sub-tropics, by the beach, and never saw snow until I was 30. I've hiked in it a few times and earlier this year I went snow shoeing, but this was my first time on skis. It ended in a melt-down of tears. Partly, existing knee and ankle injuries make technique difficult and gave me the fear (of serious further injury). The rest? I'd been sick with some awful virus for 6 weeks, working too much, and very low on emotional resilience after a few rapid-succession hits in what's already been quite a challenging year.

On day 2 of the trip I waved my friends off and took myself for a walk in the snow. I'd like to try cross-country again one day - it opens up all the back-country for winter camping - though it will be a time when I have physical and emotional reserves in spades, and even then the dodgy joints might mean it's just not possible

P1000598

Bell-ringing, however, is more my cup of tea. Wonderful new friends invited me along, and although we lowered the median age by a few decades, the people were kind and noise-making was fun. When you get a good ring going the whole tower shakes most delightfully. Thank you H & L.

Today I went bouldering, using a date as an excuse to get out and do some work on my climbing skills. I'm internet dating, here and there, as I continue rebuilding my sense of self and recovering from a relationship that went badly wrong. The climbing part of the whole affair was a lot of fun, particularly as absence from the gym due to work and sickness these last two months means my stamina for wall climbing is currently shot to pieces, and bouldering is short-burst stuff. The rest of the date? Man, some people really can just talk about themselves, can't they? Still, I got to try something new and it's good for me to get out and meet people, make some friends and have a few adventures.

P1000616

Gently does it though. I've been rather run down and an angsty and subdued version of myself of late. This year hasn't been the easiest and there's much I need to sort through and settle out yet. The stupid marriage equality postal survey has me quite worked up recently: I've come out as bi at work and to the extended family in an effort to sway votes and it's left me feeling quite vulnerable. Then there's learning how many people hate you for simply existing. Coming home from a long day at work to find homophobic hate materials in your letterbox is pretty confronting. Why the hell should I have to draw attention to and defend an aspect of myself that is as much a choice or achievement as my damn hair colour?

It's one more stressor in a year of many and it's getting me down but it won't keep me there. Like skiing, the fight will keep until I have the energy for it. In the interim I've a life to get into order and more adventures to plan and enjoy. Warm, sunny weather is returning at last and I'm making sure I have time and capacity to enjoy it.

P1000618

Smooch Update AGAIN

Sep. 22nd, 2017 10:54 pm
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
Talked to the vet again, at much greater length, and I have my feet under me, I think.

Here's what we are looking at:

EXPENSES 6-12 MONTHS
$120 for the next round of bloodwork, either in 12 months or if he starts declining again, whichever comes first.
$100 for in-office euthanasia if necessary (I always want to have this amount on hand, even if he seems totally okay)
$60 for tending to his body respectfully.
$120 for what I think should be 3 months' worth of dry AND wet foods, and kidney-safe treats. (I'm having trouble with this math, since I don't know exactly how many servings are in this bag, or how much he will eat.)
$70 for his regular anxiety meds and lysine treats.

= $470 as a cushion against the most likely expenses over the next year or so, plus the non-negotiable meds and food, and the mercy fund in case he needs to be put to sleep.


PLUS OPTIONAL
$230 for an "optional" X-ray, which I very much want to get so we can check for other things like tumors. I REALLY want this quite badly, but it IS optional.
$400 for a full-body clean at Skulls Unlimited, like I did for Tazendra. This is genuinely optional. I'm not expecting this. Just the skull is $60.

= $630 extra, for stuff that would be good or cool to have.

TOTAL, that would be $1,100.

That is doable with a head start and help from y'all.

If you are comfortable donating a few bucks outright, I take paypal at naamah@gmail.com.

If you want something concrete, I will be posting some art stuff, listing some ponies on eBay, and maybe taking some small art commissions. I will try to get that stuff up on Monday, as well as bumping this post.

I am very optimistic after my talk with our vet today. I have a lot of hope, and overall this isn't looking too bad right now. I just want to build up a cushion so that we can keep him safe.

Thank you all for your kind words of support, which have been worth my stupid cat's weight in gold. It's good to see that there's hope. <3

Thank you for having my back, and his.

Here he is being stinky and beautiful:


Smooch is so pretty!

He says thank you.  <3

this week. month. season.

Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:20 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The weekend was alright-to-good. I'd moved my dentist appointment to Monday from the middle of next week, and that went fine except for some gumwork that I'll need to have done in a couple of weeks. Then come Tuesday night the stress stacked up again. Emily's successfully located a subleaser, at least for a couple of months: yay! I won't have to pay half the mortgage in addition to Vancouver rent, and I might even not be dipping into savings. At least for that couple of months.

Trouble was, the subleaser wanted in on 1 October, and I was scheduled to leave Thursday evening and not get back 'til next Sunday. The first. Panic ... did not exactly set in, though stress certainly did.

Over the course of Wednesday I:
  • Got a couple of friends to hang out with me Wednesday night and help finish packing, which otherwise would have been a) slow, b) frustrating, and c) generally sad-inducing.
  • Acquired a small storage unit on short notice.
  • Decided to just call in exhausted on Thursday due to not sleeping well (this is not a lie), and just go in for my early-morning meetings.
So that happened and the packing went fine, and the move itself went fine. I left the bookcases and coffee-table there for the subleaser's use; the bookcases might fit into the storage unit if necessary. I'd intended to find myself a new better bed and move the old one to the condo so the subleaser could use it but given my state the last week or so, finding a decent bed was Not Happening. I'll throw money at Emily to find a bed. And then I guess I'll have two low-end beds.



After all that I made it back to my basement apartment about an hour before I'd expected, with plenty of time to pack for ten days up north. Indeed, I managed to leave about an hour early to get to the airport, so I'd have plenty of time to grab a leisurely dinner before my flight.

Except that when I got to the airport I realised I'd forgotten my viola, which would make it difficult to a) practise and b) have a Skype lesson on Tuesday. So, half an hour transit back out to the apartment and half an hour back to the airport, and there went all the extra time I'd built in for dinner. I did manage to grab something to eat anyhow but it was a close thing.

I then discovered, once I got here, that I'd left my glasses at home as well. This is deeply frustrating, as it rather limits my late-evening options. It's also gonna make things interesting if my contacts self-destruct again.

(I briefly thought I had lost my Nexus card, but it turned up again. Still not sure what happened there. I'd blame my lack of glasses except that I generally find things by touch and not by sight, so.)



But the weekend was pretty good: reconnected with Erin, went out to a couple of events to start trying to make connections in the local kink community, generally got a little more sociable and a little less stuck in my own head.

And today's the equinox, so maybe the horrificness has just been the fault of summer and it'll start to settle out now. I can hope, anyway.

Done

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:25 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb posting in [community profile] qec
* tagmodding
* washing
* fussed cats
* paid I
* paid B
* paid D

Off-topic: Backpacking.

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:45 am
nairiporter: (Default)
[personal profile] nairiporter posting in [community profile] talkpolitics
Do you guys like hiking/backpacking? Which are your fave spots and trails that you've done? Care to share a pic or two?

Same about wild camping. You like that sort of thing? Do you have some tips regarding the most efficient organization of the luggage, what are the most essential things I should bring along? Thanks!

New Forest otters!

Sep. 22nd, 2017 07:51 pm
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
[personal profile] hilarita
And some other things that aren't otters. But mostly, otters.

Before going to the Lib Dem party conference, Drswirly and I went to stay in Christchurch, because of its proximity to the New Forest Wildlife Centre, which has a lot of otters. Did I mention the otters?
I found Christchurch a bit stultifying, and the kind of place I don't at all feel at home in, because it's quite clear that I'm not really their type of person. Christchurch was the kind of place that had a UKIP office prominently on one of the main streets. (It's now shut, which is definitely an improvement, but Christchurch was definitely a UKIP heartland.) It was next to a curry house, which I found mildly pleasing, though I'm not so sure the curry house owners would have agreed. We went to otters first, and then later wandered round the town. (I haven't posted pictures of the town; it's not that interesting. There's a mildly interesting bit of castle, and a mildly interesting Norman church (in places), but it's not really a particularly notable example of the genre. I may upload some bits to wikimedia commons, if I can be arsed to manage their categorisation system.)

I'm going to put a cut in, because there are a lot of otters.
Read more... )
For those people who didn't wade through the pictures of mustelidae, you should at least look at:
a gif of a contact-juggling otter!

and a short video of a giant otter squacking on command.

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