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Anyone interested in playing a game with neural nets? Particularly, in getting them to come up with rousing speeches exhorting us to stand firm and be brave during battle? Have any favorite books, plays, movies, or historical scenes in which such things happen?

I'm looking to put together a collection of rousing speeches before battle, historical or fictional, for Janelle Shane (for neural net knitting fame) to train a neural net on. This insanity will only work if we get enough contributions. The project is described more below - please share!


Attn Corvi

Aug. 31st, 2017 04:33 pm
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Holger Krapp gave a great presentation on flying insect vision cells and their sensitivity to optic field flows. Don't know if you have any interest, but it's pretty elegant.
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Anyone who is not aware of the macabre but wonderful best carcass hashtag trending on twitter right now is missing a hell of a show. (Biologists have the best twitter wars.)


(It is possible that I think I have too many friends and am trying to get rid of some. This is exactly what is sounds like, plus weird inappropriate biologist humor.)
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Pictures, as promised )

I am hugely greatful that DS stepped at the end and took over some of the finishing work (and then installation.) I was finally feeling up to it... but it was just such a load off my mind to be able to hand it off. Then A came and did the artwork adorning the peak. Now various folks are filling it up, and when I rode home yesterday it was to see a father and toddler aged child at the picnic table reading (apparently this is their evening ritual).

It's kind of amazing how Spirit Corner itself has gone from pretty unfinished to really looking quite lovely. I do wish my attempts to grow runner beans up the poles hadn't been so thoroughly thwarted be deer last year.

...Oh, and suggestions for appropriately subversive books, especially aimed at middle readers, will be much appreciated.
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Apparently I totally overlooked my 14th LJ-versary.


(I am still a firm believer in the LJ/DW renaissance. Also, I mostly post under filters - part of why I like the platform. So.)
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I have a number of filters. Some of them are conditionally opt-in -- if someone would like to be on a filter, I'll probably put them there, but no guarantees. Some of them are more of a mix of how well I know you versus how much stuff I think you want to hear.

So, wrt requesting be added to filters:

How much do you want to hear about the personal detail of my life?
How squeamish are you (you can define axes - most likely discussions of injuries, medical procedures or bodily function, but could be sexuality as well)
Philosophical musings?
Anything special I should know about things you may or may not want to hear about? (Say, health/fitness, medical, research, whatever - I don't promise to make sure you never see them, but I might at least use cut tags.)
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So since last time around I was just playing and having fun (the soup was awesome, and I enjoyed cups of it for the next few days, but it was composed, and not the most minimalist version of itself) I decided to focus on two things: getting a somewhat thicker consistency, and going for simple.

If you can chop vegetables, and have a soy milk maker, you can make this soup, and it is fabulous.

What I did:

Chop up two medium leeks1
Chop 6 smallish yellow finn potatoes2

Okay, really, I chopped up the leeks, and then I added potatoes until the chopped veggies filled the soy milk maker more or less to the water line.

Pour a generous amount of olive oil over the whole thing (1-2 T?)

Fill with water to the higher water line. Put on the cover/grinder piece, and start on the porridge setting.

When it beeps, add salt and lemon to taste, and garnish with fresh herbs if you're feeling fancy. (I add salt and lemon right before I eat it, not to the quantity, the rest of which is now in my refrigerator. Except I think I need a second bowl. Ah, bliss.)

1 Usually after I remove the rooty bits on the bottoms and the tough upper leaves, I'll cut them open lengthwise to see if any dirt has gotten inside, and then wash them further if needed.
2 I didn't remove the skins. Flavor and vitamins, I say! Also, laziness!

More Soup

Nov. 8th, 2015 08:37 pm
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I have a serious case of Autumn. By which I mostly mean nesting instinct. This is turning into all kinds of useful things like getting one of those portable radiator space heaters for the library (it's the room I work in the most, is kind of underheated anyway, and this is a good excuse to keep the rest of the house cooler, which I prefer for training) and proper curtains for my bedroom, and putting the air conditioners away for the year.

I decided to play more with soy milk maker as soup maker, this time seeing how far one could push a non porridge style soup. This was my first attempt at anything like this, but then I knew the device pretty well (well, and it's certainly not my first squash soup.)

Squash Fennel Soup

500 ml (2 and a bit c) uncooked butternut squash, cut in small cubes*
3 10 cm (4 in) fennel stalks, chopped
5 large cloves garlic.
2 walnut sized scoops almond butter (okay, I used peanut butter, but I would have used almond butter if I could)
1/4 t fenugreek seeds
1/8 t corriander seeds
pinch vietnamese cinnamon
some aleppo pepper

Water to water line, hit porridge button, go do useful things until it beeps at you.

Salt to taste, garnish with a decent olive oil and a bit of lemon (if I hadn't been in a hurry to eat, there are a number of green herbs that would have both tasted lovely and provided pleasant visual contrast.)

I was a little worried about the correct mix between water and vegetables. This was a little more like a very rich broth rather than my usual thick soup - like, it was elegant and such. The kind of thing that gets you ready for a meal. (I can build absolutely lovely broths. I just happen to have peasant tastes. I could have added a bit of rice... but I might see how much more veggies I can get in there, because the brightness of the flavor is intriguing.)

Potato leek would seem like the obvious place to go next... though there were these sweet potatoes...

* A sturdy potato peeler will take the rind off of a butternut squash, or many other squashes of sufficiently smooth surface.
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A couple of days ago a friend posted about making juk (or jook, or congee - savory rice porridge goes by many names.) And I was reminded that my soy milk maker makes any entirely decent juk within its limitations, and its limitations work very well for me. It will not support all varieties of juk - it's probably best to think of it as a cooking blender. But as I'm making vegetarian versions anyway, and I'm just cooking for me, it's wonderful. I just finished a bowl made with this recipe:

Into the soymilk maker went

1.5 cups uncooked rice (brown basmati, because it was on hand)
a few cloves garlic
a couple of slices ginger
a couple of walnut sized chunks of miso
several fresh shiitake mushrooms.

Water was added to the marked line (About 1.5 liters total?) and the porridge setting on the machine punched.

When it came out, I added a handful of chopped jiucai, a bit of salt, a bit of lemon, and some pepper oil.

The big limitation is that you can't simmer things that you don't want pulverized (or, as in the case of ham bones, that the machine can't pulverize). And the texture of the rice is much smoother - you don't get that halfway dissolved texture that I so lovingly recall. I can imagine that a crafty person who lived alone could make stock some yummy broths, and then use them in place of water to make a nice fresh bowl of juk as needed, though. ...that it's so little work when I'm not feeling so great, or am short on time is just wonderful.
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A lot of people are posting their Planned Parenthood stories, and my initial thought is that I don't really have any, or that mine are just too boring. But then, thinking about it, in some ways, that's kind of the point.

When I was seventeen, and living on my own (or at least, renting a house with a number of friends, as I had been since I was fifteen) I thought I didn't have health insurance because I had been told that my father had removed me from his plan when I moved out.* So when I decided that I wanted to go on birth control pills, I went to the local planned parenthood.

And the people were just so sweet. They listened to me. They were really glad and encouraging that I was informed and proactive about my own sexual health. They answered all my questions. (That particular branch was only sometimes picketed, but the contrast between the sweet and encouraging people inside, and the really mean and nasty ones outside - who tended to make assumptions about me and call me names - is the kind of thing that stays with you.)

I worked out my insurance situation while I was back at the university, but then returned to Planned Parenthood soon after I left, before I'd figured out my new insurance (having been with Group Health all my life, Microsoft insurance was pretty confusing.) And I stayed with them from all my gynecological care for several years, just because I liked the people so much and I preferred to receive it in such a supportive environment - and I liked to be paying them full rates when I could afford it, having maxed out their sliding scale at the other end when I was younger.

So... it's really boring. And moreso because I was privileged enough to have other options (even when I didn't know it.) But an awful lot of what Planned Parenthood does is that kind of boring absolutely essential kind of stuff - and often for people who don't have other options.

* Actually, this turned out not to be true - he wasn't actually able to do that, but it's not like I tried to use health insurance I didn't think I had.
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I've noticed that once again there are an awful lot of posts talking about how awful April Fool's jokes are, and how they are cruel and bad, etc. etc. I've been seeing these posts cropping up, usually starting a couple of days before April 1st for the last several years. And I've seen a few instances - especially a decade or so ago when there was a bit less general social knowledge about how to both post and read in a manner that doesn't give or take unnecessary offence - when things got pretty out of hand and ended in tears.

I don't think I've been directly involved in one. My one personal, and occasional, April first tradition is to write something about my father. (It's his birthday. Sadly, the things I've are neither jokes nor tricks.)

But for whatever reason, the outrage density has kind of gotten to me. I mean, hey, I respect that you have your tastes.

I have my tastes. I haven't yet seen an April Fool's joke today that struck me as cruel. Some were a little tedious (maybe they would have gotten better if I read them all the way) many made me giggle. Pac-Map is fucking brilliant. (And playing it centered on the house I grew up in is *really hard*. Like, darn.) The Polyamorous Misanthrope had me guffawing between forms this morning. (ETA: Abe's Market's "Vegan Lip Balm for Meat Lovers" was pretty good, too.)

YoungestLabmate and I kind of missed our chance when we switched the direction of opening of the lab fridge a couple of weeks back - he made me swear that it had always been that way (and we made predictions about which labmates would notice and which would not.) In practice, when people showed signs of being actually upset, we told them the secret, then made them swear it had always been that way. But the whole lab was in on it before today.

(OTOH, the piece I designed and printed to replace the piece he broke in the handle came out beautifully and fit perfectly on the first time... and will never been seen again, most likely, because it's internal. But hey. We know.)

So... Hey, you get to have your tastes. I have mine. But think for a moment that because it's possible for a prank to be cruel doesn't mean that all pranks are cruel. And an awful lot of them seem to be pretty hard to read that way. Maybe the problem is cruelty, or even just not thinking things through, and not pranks? Maybe the solution is thinking about it a little harder?

I'm pretty happy we have a day of more or less official silliness.
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I really love book release days. Yay, books!

I really, really hate DRM.

Seriously, I know this is not something most authors have control over* but dealing with DRM on books I've legally purchased is a giant PITA** and it just makes me so sad.

I mean, I'm lucky. I am physically capable of reading books from a proprietary reader. It's just not my preferred way of doing so, and hugely inconvenient. (I do most of my fiction read via TTS. Because then I can read books while doing all kinds of other tasks. Otherwise I just don't have time to read very much fiction at all.)

But again, I'm lucky, because I have a lot of friends where it's not a matter of preference or convenice but of accessibility. And for the record, no, I don't think "just buy the audiobook" is a reasonable answer. Though it's an answer that I might choose for some circumstances. (Nor, admittedly, is this the only problem I have with DRM. But it's the one that I run into on a near daily basis and it drives me up a fricking tree.)

* Or at least, not beyond the level of "publish with major publishing house or not" and seriously, just not going there.
** There is a better tool chain for removing DRM from most kindle based ebooks, but I go out of my way not to buy from Amazon.
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I'm almost embarrassed to post this, because it's so darn positive, really, I guess. Far more than the personal stuff. This morning while eating breakfast I read a random story about women dealing with their history of abuse, and one of the comments was from a woman just starting to deal with her own, and how much she felt like she couldn't even talk about it. So I wrote this.

And then it either didn't post, or went into some kind of approval queue, and I felt a bit silly.

It gets better )
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Sometimes the best thing about working in a *nix environment is the selection of big hammers that it gives you. (No, really, I thought I had my modelling environment entirely working before going to bed last night. In fact, I just had all the parts I actually care about working, as opposed to silly things like dropping movies.)
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1. Okay, so it was flaky for me to leave putting my studden tires on until this morning. But to have the only tube in that size - and a new tube, and so far unpatched, to really, I wasn't totally insane to think I was good to go - split along the inside seam? Bah.

Not to mention that the cold weather side of putting the tires on is always kind of annoying, as it's either work in cold weather, or haul it into the house. This was all done in the kitchen, which is actually pretty great but only works when no one else is around. (I only just managed to finish up before K got back.) Hauling the 'bent in and out of the basement either involves really annoying indoor access, or really annoying outdoor access.

Anyhow, so there I was, with an unrideable bike, and the bike store not opening until 11. Which is to say that I didn't go to the farmers market. (OTOH, I did pick up my special order of 25 lbs of dry organic soy beans, which has got to count for something.)

2. Socks!

Okay, so it's serious sock season. When I was last in Seattle I randomly picked up some Darn Tough Vermont hiking socks, because I'd hiked too much in not fully broken in boots with inadequate socks, and got some fairly awful blisters. The new socks impressed me to no end - I mean, seriously, I got all the good blister sticky pads and suck, but I hardly needed them. They're really dense, and fine textured, and my feet adore them.

So, I got a couple more pairs of them... and then realized that I'd totally missed that these socks had a lifetime replacement guarantee. Like, seriously, who does that? I can put a hole in a pair of smartwool socks with casual use* in a single season. So, of course, I am now on a quest to wear holes in my durn tough socks. This might be thwarted by the fact that they have a lot of socks that I like. I mean, they have socks with bees. Bees. And spirals, and vines, and just plain well made hiking socks in cool colors.

* By casual use I mean "not heavy hiking" and not doing anything extraordinarily mean to them. I mean, I still wear them, and my feet do a lot.
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I gave someone my LJ address, saying I was going to post all these pictures there... and then decided the ello photo handling interface was easier to deal with considering. So I give you, People Hiding Alone at Neurosciences. #SfNretreat

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As promised, giant slugs. Read more... )
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So, how many of you are on Diaspora? Do you use it? Why or why not? (I'm tylik on http://diasp.org )

(as posted elsewhere...)
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Also? The incredible animus that has been being expressed towards geek women over the last bit? Is terrible. And depresses the hell out of me.
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(I've thought about writing something like this many times. It's possible I already have. If so, sorry.)

Y'know, folks (and I see a lot more of this on facebook, but I don't write longer format posts there, because facebook) could you maybe think a bit before posting your introvert are actually the bestest chosen people comments? Because there's a lot of extravert hate in there, and I'm really getting tired of seeing it. (This has generally been fading, but I just saw a few more of them recently.)

Apparently extraverts prefer small talk to talking about anything substantive, and are poor listeners, aren't socially sensitive, and like conflict. Also, they jabber all the time and dominate any gathering, and follow their poor introverted friends around and try to force them to interact. (Rather than spending a huge amount of time and energy taking care of their special snowflake introvert friends who apparently want social interaction, but only specific kinds of social interaction, and can't seek it for themselves.) Oh, yeah, and introverts are super rare and chronically misunderstood.* This is not even to get into the "introvert or extravert" quizzes that are all "Are you a good, sensitive, caring introvert? Or a brutal, clueless, and mean extravert."

Um, really?

One of the funny bits here is that I'm not really that extraverted. I mean, there isn't an agreed set of definitions here (so almost all of this involves someone talking out of their asses) but while I like my social time, you don't have to know much about my life to know that it's not really structured around social time. I'm fairly outgoing, I'm socially confident, and as least some of the time I'm reasonably socially clueful. None of these things mean that I'm an extravert. (Of course, enough people have told me that I'm *such* an extravert that I'm pretty sure when they post this stuff they mean me.)

Even assuming there's a good way to measure introversion, there's a lot of stuff being conflated here. And you want to watch those conflations, because even if there's some kind of measureable difference in the probabilities of this or that, on a population basis, that doesn't mean they are predictive for any given individual. For instance, men are fairly likely to be sexually interested exclusively in women. That's a way stronger association than most of the tendencies that are being discussed wrt introversion. And yet, I think most people get why generalizing along those lines is fucked up. When we're talking about the more common "this population is slightly - but statistically significantly - more likely to be inclined in foo direction" the generalizations are not only problematic, they're also really weak.

There are awkward, socially clueless extroverts. (Quite a few, really, especially in geek circles.) There are uncreative, oblivious introverts. I've had friends who insisted that they were introverts (and that I'm an extrovert) repeatedly try to drag me to parties when I just wanted to stay home and study. (Which is not to say I always want to stay home and study.)

I get that introvert pride is a thing. And I'm good with that. (Though most being in introvert majority communities, it's sometimes a little odd.) There are a bunch of different axes, here, that are at least partially independent. Also, putting people who are different from you down doesn't really reflect well on you.

* Depending on how you define it - and I distrust all the definitions, frankly - introverts are somewhere between a third of and slightly more than half the population. Of course, introverts might seem more rare if they don't talk to eachother very much. Though, people, isn't that why there's an internet?
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