Posts Categorized: tidbits

Sometimes a Miracle

“Sometimes it seems to me a miracle that so many worlds exist on the same planet and don’t fall inside one another and collapse. How do we do it? Even more so in the age of social media, where everything exists all of the time.” – Deepti Kapoor, in the essay – My Indian Passport is a Bitch

Sunday Tidbits: Storytelling has a Shape

“Storytelling has a shape. It dominates the way all stories are told and can be traced back not just to the Renaissance, but to the very beginnings of the recorded word. It’s a structure that we absorb avidly whether in art-house or airport form and it’s a shape that may be—though we must be careful—a universal archetype.” – John Yorke, All Stories are the Same

“That is why I like novels: instead of heroes they have people in them.” – Ursula Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction

“The anthropologists got it wrong when they named our species Homo sapiens (‘wise man’). In any case it’s an arrogant and bigheaded thing to say, wisdom being one of our least evident features. In reality, we are Pan narrans, the storytelling chimpanzee.” – Terry Pratchett, The Science of Discworld II

The Absolute Best Disposal of Wickham in All of JAFF-dom

From London Outskirts by Kent:

“But what of Mr. Wickham, who had been the means of uniting the Darcys that day in London’s outskirts? To escape gaming debts, he deserted the militia when they traveled to Brighton in the summer, and eventually made his way to Lyme where he was killed when a young woman jumped atop him from the upper cobb.”

Inquiring minds would like to know if Louisa survived unscathed from her fall in this AU?

Sunday Tidbits: After a bit of a lull – Apple says Game On!, Sharanya, Mie, and Fusion!

A quick round of Sunday tidbits and links for you…

1) T’would appear that Apple is waking up from its rather sleepy mobile photo lull and is declaring game on to the newly minted Microsoft Mobile (entity formerly known as Nokia Device and Services) in two sweeps with the declaration of:

Apple Patent Shows Off Unique Use of OIS for “Super Resolution” Photos

and the defection of a certain Mr. Ari Partinen from the top ranks of the Nokia Camera team

Now it should get interesting. One wonders if a certain Mr. Alakarhu and a certain Ms. Björknäs will stay put at the newly signed building in Espoo? Will Google / Samsung up their mobile camera game or will we have round ___ of the Apple v. Microsoft tech brinkmanship?

2) The ever amazing Sharanya Manivannan has published a short story, “Sweet”, in the debut issue of The Affair and is interviewed in “A Q&A with Sharanya Manivannan on her story ‘Sweet’, published in the inaugural issue of ‘The Affair’

If you aren’t already following Sharanya on Twitter or reading her blog, go do it now.

3) In my searches for good recipes for various Japanese recipes, I have found myself at Cookpad and a bit baffled by the translations that Google gives me. Thus, when I read that Mie is now the North American office / staff member for Cookpad En, I was very excited. Not only for a great position for Mie, but also that means that Mie’s excellent abilities in blogging, cross cultural exchange, and blogging will mean the opening up and un-confusing a great wealth of contemporary Japanese foodways. So EXCITED. Go Mie, Go!

4) 3QuarksDaily asks: When are you Past Your Prime?

5) Charlie Stross has two great blog posts for thinking about technology, now, the future, and the world, read the comments:
a) The Snowden leaks; a meta-narrative – A call for the internet protocol to be rebuilt before it is too late:

The trouble is, the success of the internet protocols created a networking monoculture that the NSA themselves came to rely on for their internal infrastructure. The same security holes that the NSA relied on to gain access to your (or Osama bin Laden’s) email allowed gangsters to steal passwords and login credentials and credit card numbers. And ultimately these same baked-in security holes allowed Edward Snowden—who, let us remember, is merely one guy: a talented system administrator and programmer, but no Clark Kent—to rampage through their internal information systems.

b) The prospects of the Space and Freedom Party reconsidered in light of the crisis of 21st century capitalism – Given that the U.S. spent over $4 Trillion on the most recent Iraq War, what is a few fusion reactors at $100 billion a pop?

I’ve got two candidates for such investments: (a) commercial thermonuclear fusion reactors, and (b) colonizing Venus.

Fusion: we are not fifty years away any more. We’re about thirty years and $100Bn away. Or we’re about 8-10 years and $200Bn and a Manhattan Program level of urgency away—it depends on the political and legislative framework. However, building tokamak fusion reactors (like ITER) is never going to be cheap; to get 1Gw of electrical power out implies a 5Gw thermal reactor (and a third of its power is going to go into maintaining the fusion reaction). More realistically, tokamaks will come in 5Gw power output and larger sizes, making them an order of magnitude larger than today’s big-ass 1Gw PWR, AGR, and AP1000 reactors. We’re looking at startup costs of $25-50Bn per reactor, and a requirement for up to 1000 of the suckers if we want to roll it out globally as a major energy source.

So: it’s a project that will plausibly soak up $25-50Tn and take 10-30 years to roll out while needing 30-60 years to break even and start to provide a return on the capital investment. A good way of making the Koch brothers atone for their sins while preserving the illusion of their wealth, right?

Naah, that’s small beer

Go read, people, go read. Then comment.

Sunday TidBits: Delete, A Class of her Own, Farming, and love letters to Nokia


Sun 09.15.13 – Various and sundry bits from around the internet that are worth your time:
1) She Makes War has a spot on layered vocals-only song & video (above) called “Delete” about one’s life online. After nearly 20 years online, I would like to delete bits of myself.
2) More Intelligent Life on Humaira Bachal’s fight for her own education and then schools for many others in her community of Moach Goth on the edge of Karachi, Pakistan. This is both a tear-jerker and absolutely inspiring story, go read it:

“Humaira was 13 when a crazy idea struck her. “My mother used to get us ready every day, tie two ponytails for us, put 2-kilo schoolbags on our backs and send us off. We would walk for 20 minutes–but on the way not one other child in this settlement would join us. One, they did not have money, and two, nobody considered girls to be anything. Those who didn’t mind sending girls to school couldn’t afford to, because of fees, and the cost of books and uniforms. By then I was in sixth standard [the equivalent of year eight in Britain]. I thought, I’m a big star, I know everything, so I will teach them myself!”
What would become the Dream Model Street School began in 2001, with one blackboard, at home. Humaira taught ten friends of her age, seven of them girls. She started with the alphabet, in Urdu and English, and proceeded to the names of things. She supplied blank pages from her own notebooks, until it got her into trouble with her teachers. Then the friends went round asking people to donate paper, or bought scrap.
Soon, Tahira, who was 11, and three other girls were teaching alongside Humaira. “We were militant about time. Time for study, time for play, time to eat–and time to go out and recruit. We didn’t have the sense to realise we didn’t have space, books, teachers, money. We went around to houses, telling people, ‘We’ve opened a school, send your children, you must send your children!'””

3) Mother Jones’ reports on how Ohio farmer David Brandt is having great success with the old trick of crop rotation with legumes as well as not tilling the soil between crops, sounds dull but it isn’t. The future of our food and topsoil depends on experienced farmers speaking out.
4) Jay Montano says Thank you to Nokia in “Kiitos, Nokia, and Nokia fans. Love, MyNokiaBlog.com“, which is a love letter to the last 6 plus years of Nokia’s mobile history.
5) C. Enrique Ortiz bets that Nokia’s future will be bright because they will be able to focus on the upcoming mobile lifestyle use case in “Betting on Nokia“.
Happy Sunday and may your upcoming week be delightful.

Sunday Tidbits: Scythians to Starbucks, the Dame of Dictionaries

Mutations : From a Scythian goddess to a Starbucks logo
The Dame of Dictionaries:

“Once, during a trip to London in those early days, she came across a tattered copy of The Ladies Dictionary at a bookshop. Printed in 1694 in Gothic script, it was the first dictionary that dealt solely with women’s concerns, she explains, with rules about dancing (it’s okay, but not wantonly) and clothing (low-cut gowns are fine, but not in church) as well as an essay on hair.
“I was so charmed when I opened the book and saw how to treat split ends,” she says. “I knew I had to have that book.” But she only had enough money for train fare to get to Nice, France, where she was visiting a friend before flying back to New York. Faced with this dilemma, she went ahead and blew her last penny on the book and hitchhiked to Nice. “That’s really dedication to a book,” she says.” – Madeline Kripke

Charlie Stross on Snowden leaks: the real take-home

“Are we ready? All together, now:
The big government/civil service agencies are old. They’re products of the 20th century, and they are used to running their human resources and internal security processes as if they’re still living in the days of the “job for life” culture; potential spooks-to-be were tapped early (often while at school or university), vetted, then given a safe sinecure along with regular monitoring to ensure they stayed on the straight-and-narrow all the way to the gold watch and pension. Because that’s how we all used to work, at least if we were civil servants or white collar paper pushers back in the 1950s.
But things don’t work that way any more. … Here’s the problem: they’re now running into outside contractors who grew up in Generation X or Generation Y.” – Charlie Stross

Read and enjoy having your brain tickled. Happy Sunday to you!