[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall

What color is Pluto? The answer, revealed in the first maps made from New Horizons data, turns out to be shades of reddish brown. Although this is reminiscent of Mars, the cause is almost certainly very different. On Mars the coloring agent is iron oxide, commonly known as rust. On the dwarf planet Pluto, the reddish color is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface.

via Pluto: The ‘Other’ Red Planet | NASA.

New Horizons is a NASA probe launched years ago when Pluto was still the ninth planet. It will make it’s closet approach on Tuesday July 14th, but we’re already learning new things and confirming previous suspicions. Somehow I had missed that Pluto is red like Mars, but for different reasons.

I had thought to take July 14th off, but after reviewing the list of announced media activities, decided not to. No flyby images will be released that day. It looks like New Horizons will send a “I made it!” signal expected to be received around 4:15pm Alaska Time on July 14th, so I will look for that. As of this writing, flyby images are expected to be released sometime in the afternoon of the July 15th. Tune into NASA television when that happens.  I’ll let you know if I hear about a more precise time for the image release.

In terms of space exploration, I think it’s a good time to be alive.

Filed under: astronomy, space exploration Tagged: pluto

Quick James Sallis passage

Jul. 4th, 2015 07:32 pm
[personal profile] yendi
"I need a detective, Lew. A good one."

"I don't do that anymore. Hell, I never did it very much. I sat in bars and drank, and eventually guys I was looking for would stumble by and trip over my feet. I'm a teacher now."

"And a writer."

"Yeah, well, that too. Once you've lost your pride, it gets easier, you know: you'll do almost any damned thing. You start off small, a piece for the local paper, or maybe this tiny little story about growing up, something like that. That's how they hook you. Then before you know it, you're writing a series for them."

--James Sallis, Moth

He's rapidly becoming one of my favorite contemporary crime writers.
[personal profile] jazzyjj
I would first of all like to wish all those celebrating today, a most happy and joyous Independence Day. I think we deserve it, especially following last Friday's US Supreme Court victory in the battle to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. I'm leaving out ObamaCare simply because it's become a more controversial thing than LGBT(Q?) rights, and because I for one don't have a clear understanding of it yet. But in addition, this is my first post to AO3 so I hope it makes it to the site eventually.

Love Wins

Jul. 3rd, 2015 11:44 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
I took the train west to Open Source Bridge and AlterConf, crossing in and out of states that supported or prohibited same-sex marriage. And then, a week ago, the Supreme Court's ruling changed that landscape. I crossed a freer country, on my way back home.

Nine years ago I wrote a now-obsolete newspaper column asking how long the waiting period would have to be. I am so glad that period is over. Consider reading the full opinion, and the dissents.


Jul. 3rd, 2015 07:57 am
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
I made out like a bandit in Remix and Remix Madness. Four gifts, and each has made me very happy. (And cumulatively, given me a case of emotional whiplash.)

An extension of my “Joan tells Mary about the kidnapping” fic, covering the events of S3. It made me cry, as all the best Joan & Mary fics should do.

Lighthouse (The Lost in the Fog Extended Mix)
Elementary, Joan & Mary Watson
“People who are in grief come to Mary Watson like birds to a lighthouse. Joan is no exception.”
based on Lighthouse

A sequel for my Joan & Sherlock handcuffed together story, providing excellent answers to the questions I left hanging in that story, along with just-right Joanbell:

Palliative Care (I’m FINE Remix)
Elementary, Joan/Marcus
“Sometimes Joan did just need a quick break from too much Sherlock, but Marcus thought it was more, this time.”
based on Preventative Medicine

An elaboration on exactly how Joan's Euglossa watsonia came to be Charlotte’s Webb fans:

Procession of the Species (Reading the Bees Remix)
Elementary, Ms. Hudson & Euglossa watsonia
“Although THE BEST BEE FIC EVER has EXACTLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PLOT one or two details remain an exercise for the reader. But who likes to exercise all the time, am I right? So here’s a little something for all you lazy slobs who can’t be bothered to do your own homework once in a while. sheesh.”

And a remix of one of my vids into a fic! Everyone has been ignoring this one because the fandom is so obscure, but hey it has lesbian sex and also trapeze, what more could you possibly be looking for?

When Night is Falling, Camille/Petra
150 words, no summary provided
based on Glitter in the Air 

Cats and Ponies and Pigs, Oh My

Jul. 3rd, 2015 12:38 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
I’ve got a wee menagerie in my picture-book round-up this week—pigs, cats, ponies. If you’re looking for other creatures, you’ll have to look elsewhere, but these are three books that won’t let you down.
[syndicated profile] diceytillerman_feed
If you have or know young kids who have a loved one who is in prison, or if you have or know young kids who know other kids who do, or if you have young kids in your life who you want to know that some kids go through this, I'd like to recommend Jacqueline Woodson's picture book Visiting Day. James E. Ransome illustrates it in rich acrylic paintings. The cover looks like this. This book is warm, loving, serious, and layered. It has sweetness and it has mournfulness. Ransome does a lot of that, using visible brush strokes and stark value contrasts, and painting complex and nuanced emotions into his characters' faces and bodies.

In her author's note, Woodson mentions her beloved Uncle Robert, who went to prison when she was young. There's more about Uncle Robert in her 2014 verse novel Brown Girl Dreaming, which, if you haven't read yet, you should. It's a gorgeous middle-grade book that's also friendly to teens and adults. Get it. Get them both.

Choosing a Little Red Riding Hood

Jul. 3rd, 2015 06:21 am
[syndicated profile] diceytillerman_feed
There are so very many picture book versions. Over many years, I've been trying to look at as many as possible. I'm quite fond of this particular one: Little Red Riding Hood by Jerry Pinkney. Just look at this art: Cover. LRRH when the wolf is in bed. This blogger has scanned in many of the pages very large.

software release accomplished!

Jul. 2nd, 2015 05:54 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I am done, sort of! at least, it shipped!

Cool huh?

I'm so very very very tired and brain-fried! I hope for a good long weekend with some swimming involved!

Revisiting the RTE

Jul. 2nd, 2015 04:37 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj

Hi folks. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. I just realized that I was using the RTE on here incorrectly. Not sure why I just realized that now, but there you go. So I hope this works out. I am going to copy and paste this entry from TextEdit, and see what happens.

My Readercon Schedule

Jul. 2nd, 2015 11:40 am
[personal profile] yendi
I'll be at Readercon next week, and on four panels (which is just the right amount -- programming at Readercon is more intense than at any other con I've been to, especially since it's one where panelists really do have to do some advance planning). Here are my panels, along with their awesome descriptions (note that I actually challenge the description of "Ghostbusting Lovecraft" a bit, and noted this in my response when I expressed interest in it.) The letters represent room names (possibly confusing, since both my Friday panels are in "F"). It's a wonderfully small con -- if you attend, you won't have a problem finding these panels, and if you're someone I know online, you should say, "hi." I'm an introvert, but do like chatting with folks at cons (and when I don't, I'm adept at making that clear).

Friday July 11
11:00 AM F Mystery and Speculative Crossovers. Meriah Crawford, Chris Gerwel, Greer Gilman, Nicholas Kaufmann, Adam Lipkin. There are many books that draw from both the speculative fiction and mystery toolboxes, in both macro ways (China Miéville's The City & the City and Peter F. Hamilton's Great North Road are catalyzed by hard-boiled murder investigations) and micro ways (urban fantasy was initially defined by its relationship to noir, now often more evident in tone than in plot). Where is this crossover most satisfying? How do magic and advanced technology open up new avenues of investigation or methods of befuddling the detectives? How have trends, tropes, and developments in each genre influenced crossover works?

7:00 PM F The Plausible Normal in Future Societies. Chesya Burke, John Chu, Sarah Langan, Adam Lipkin, Scott Lynch.
According to author Charles Stross, "If you're not doing [far-future extrapolation] to the cultural normals as well as the setting and technology, you're doing it wrong." Many far-future SF stories are set in a universe with an interstellar polity, advanced transportation technologies, and familiar political structures. The planetary civilizations they tend to portray, however, are middle-class white suburbias that barely exist now. Where are the far-future stories that explore novel and radical gender politics, religious frameworks, ideologies, fashions, and cultural attitudes? What are some tools authors can use to get out of their here-and-now mindsets and imagine a truly transformed future?

Sunday July 13
10:00 AM CO Ghostbusting Lovecraft. Mike Allen, Gemma Files, John Langan, Adam Lipkin, James Morrow. In Max Gladstone's blog post "Ghostbusting Lovecraft," he writes: "Ghostbusters is obviously taking the piss out of horror in general. But while the busters’ typical enemies are ghosts of the Poltergeist persuasion, the Big Bad of the movie, a formless alien god from Before Time summoned by a mad cultist–cum–art deco architect, is basically Lovecraftian." Unlike typical Lovecraftian protagonists, however, the Ghostbusters prevail over the eldritch horrors by exploiting the power structures and emotional connections that exist between people. Is the Ghostbusters story arc an alternative to the standard horror tropes, one that replaces fear with humor, defiance, and camaraderie? How else does it subvert our expectations of the conflict between humans and horrors?

1:00 PM G Transformative Works and the Law and You. Max Gladstone, Toni Kelner, Adam Lipkin, Sarah Smith. Let's discuss the state of transformative works today. Copyright law and case law in this area is changing rapidly, as is the way big publishing treats transformative works. Remix culture is the cutting edge of 21st-century creativity, and we are all postmodernists. Is the law finally catching up with that, or lagging far behind? Will the fate of copyright and transformative works ultimately be decided by the whims of corporations and powerful literary estates?

Day 1: Celebrating Marriage Equality

Jul. 2nd, 2015 04:02 am
[syndicated profile] alaskanlibrarian_feed

Posted by Daniel Cornwall


My “Write Every Day” process hit a snag in June. I traveled twice. Once to Anchorage on business for a week and a vacation/American Library Association business in San Francisco. I find it hard to write from the road, so I let my streak lapse.

Today we resume with the photo above. The American Library Association Annual Conference coincided with Pride Week in San Francisco. The picture above is from a bar in San Francisco’s Mission District the day that the US Supreme Court proclaimed marriage equality the law of the land. The mood everywhere we went that night was jubilant. So many people were so happy. The mood continued throughout the weekend. It was a great place to be regardless of sexual orientation.

I felt privileged to be there and happy that the Court found that any two consenting adults could marry. I firmly believe that is the right choice in a secular society.

Filed under: current events Tagged: marriage equality
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Most people don't know that I had not 1, but 2 successful kidney transplants. At least I don't think many people knew that. But if you already did know that, you know it again! Most people don't know that I used to be scared to death of my first elementary school's fire alarm. Most people don't know that my next-door neighbors just had a baby girl. I think lots of people knew it though.
[syndicated profile] nara_feed

Posted by usnationalarchives

Today’s post comes from Suzanne Isaacs of the Digital Public Access Branch in the Office of Innovation. 

Recently I met Alex Smith through an email he sent to catalog@nara.gov. Through our correspondence I learned that he began transcribing our records as a retirement project. I was really interested in transcription through the eyes of a Citizen Archivist and Mr. Smith was kind enough to answer my questions.

If you would like to become a Citizen Archivist and tag, transcribe, subtitle or upload and share visit http://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/

Tell us a little about yourself – What did you do before retirement?


I was a college administrator before retirement. For 30 years I was the registrar at Susquehanna University (so on a small scale I am used to dealing with records), and prior to that I was the director of continuing education. I received a B.A. in English at Bowdoin College and an M. A. in English at the University of Chicago. I have always loved history, but I have never done much work involving primary documents before.


How did you find out about transcription in the National Archives’ Catalog?

Late last year I read a brief newspaper article about the transcription project (I think that it was in the New York Times arts and entertainment section), and it immediately got my attention. Like many people on the verge of retirement, I was increasingly concerned about how I was going to handle the void created by no longer having to go to the office, and this project seemed fascinating to me. It really appeared to be an ideal option – I could do it from home or from the library at whatever pace I chose, I had the opportunity to pursue topics that interested me (a common question I get from friends is “Do they send you documents to transcribe?” and I explain that the transcriber is in complete control of finding whatever material which he or she would like to do, whether it’s Al Capone, Harry Truman’s diary, or First Ladies’ recipes. The same flexibility pertains to the length of the document. If I have a quarter of an hour of free time with no particular way to fill it, I can log on and transcribe a telegram or a couple of menus or one of the index cards for the Office of Indian Affairs and have a sense of productivity rather than of having just wasted time), if I needed to take time off for a vacation or for family matters I would not inconvenience anyone, and the project allowed me to go on learning (and in an entertaining manner at that). When I logged in for the first time this June I found that the reality was even better than my expectations had been.

How many have you transcribed?

According to the My Account feature which your website has, I have entered 576 documents during the month of June, which is the first month I have worked on this project.

How do you select your records for transcription? Do you have a favorite subject area?

When I started I thought that I was going to select records by favorite topics (e.g. I have a long-standing interest in the Titanic, so I entered that as one of my first topics). However, I have found that one of the major pleasures of this process to me is coming upon the unknown. I began by entering the topic “telegram,” since I thought that most telegrams would be relatively short and in printed form, so they would be a good choice for easing my way into transcription. In the course of transcribing telegrams, I came across one from prohibition agents in the 1920’s, and it made me curious about their work so I entered “prohibition.” This led to an intriguing series of documents from a couple of agents who were investigating the seemingly corrupt mayor of Tacoma Washington, who appeared comically inept at defending himself against their questions. Another telegram came from Cordell Hull, in whom my father had had an interest, so I entered Cordell Hull’s name as a topic and found a large number of letters between Hull and Franklin Roosevelt. For me the process has become sort of like those lucky-dip booths which they used to have at county fairs, where you threw a fishing line behind a screen and discovered what surprise prize you pulled out. I enter names of public figures from books I have been reading (e.g. Jeffrey Frank’s study of the relationship between Nixon and Eisenhower led me to enter Sherman Adams, John Bricker, Meade Alcorn, and Ann Whitman, among others), but sometimes now I will just enter a first or last name like “Edith” or “Chapman” and see what sort of documents appear. Similarly, I will enter a broad topic like “family” or “tax” or “execution” or “treason” and see which of the results most interests me. This makes sure there is a lot of variety in the process and keeps my interest level high.

You mention you’ve convinced friends to start transcribing too. What do you tell them? We’d love to hear your pitch!

I honestly don’t have a pitch which has recruited others to the site. The process really seems to sell itself to my friends who are in my age group. I just start telling them enthusiastically about the sort of things I am discovering in the archives and they get intrigued. I say that I have transcribed a telegram of congratulations to Jack Kennedy on getting the Democratic presidential nomination from Harpo Marx, who wrote, “1. Congratulations. 2. Do you need a harp player in your cabinet?” I tell them that I have transcribed the WWI draft registration documents for Ty Cobb and Fred Astaire, a petition to Woodrow Wilson from Jane Addams protesting the deportation of Emmeline Pankhurst, the FBI interview with Jack Ruby’s sister, the last telegram to the Secretary of State from the Saigon Embassy saying, “We’re evacuating at midnight,” some of Alger Hiss’s deposition (he probably was unwise in closing with “I believe my record in government and outside speaks for itself.” ), and the correspondence from the mayor of Kent, Ohio asking the Ohio National Guard for assistance in quelling the student protests, which includes the unfortunate phrase “I leave the mode and means of execution to your discretion.” Even seemingly dry documents may include a happy surprise. After the flu pandemic of 1919 the U. S. Navy came up with a list of recommendations to prevent contagion. In among the usual statements about staying in well-ventilated areas and not coughing in public was the injunction “Don’t expectorate promiscuously.” Hearing about such things seems to make the past more vivid and to intrigue some of my friends, who become interested in finding out what they might discover among the tens of thousands of documents to be transcribed. There also is an interest in seeing what indeed qualifies as a historical document. When I was talking with our university archivist about my surprise at finding scores of Bess Truman’s menus in the archives, she quickly told me that these could be very interesting to a historian in a couple hundred years in the same way that the university archivist would really love to know the daily menus of Martha Washington or Abigail Adams.

The other appeal to my recently retired friends is the chance to do something useful. Retirement gives many opportunities for leisure pleasure – reading, gardening, travel – and for helping with family activities. What many of us who are retired lack, however, unless we are active in civic or church groups, is any sense of worthwhile activity beyond the realm of the family. If our jobs have been important to us, this is a serious loss, and I think that finding a sense of purpose becomes one of the major challenges of old age. A couple of the people who have expressed an interest in this project were quite explicit about the pleasure it would give them to be doing something that matters for an organization as important as the National Archives.

O, Canada

Jul. 1st, 2015 12:26 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
The bees are buzzing, the summer winds are soughing, so it must be time for that annual celebration of national identity: Canada Day. Although Canadians typically don’t make as much noise as we Americans do, I have found that they make excellent books, and this year is no exception. Join me for a quick tour.

Dream of spies and leather

Jun. 30th, 2015 10:28 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
My friend Beth was in my dream last night. we were spies. it was pride week in London and we were in full leather and discussing its cultural meanings. I could walk during most of that and then suddenly things shifted and i remembered I had a wheelchair and then i was in it for the rest of the dream and wondered how I could have walked so far in my spying job! We said wry things and slinked around. Things were very industrial.

Three Things Chicagoans Love

Jun. 30th, 2015 08:18 pm
[personal profile] jazzyjj
People from Chicago love deep-dish pizza. I'm including myself here
even though I'm not originally from Chicago. People from Chicago also
love road rage. Finally, people from Chicago love hot dogs without

Rocket Is Back!

Jun. 30th, 2015 09:41 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Adorable Rocket the dog and his many pals (including a moonlighting Goose) are returning in R Is for Rocket: An ABC Book, out on July 7. Author Tad Hills explains a bit about Rocket and his friends in this irresistible new video. We feel so sorry for Goose, who finds walking a little difficult. Check out Tad Hills’ new video!
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