Preschool Pearls

Apr. 29th, 2016 06:03 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Just last week, I did a favor for a friend and watched his four-year-old daughter for a day. I’d forgotten how much work it is to be in charge of a preschooler. It’s also a true delight, but preschoolers certainly keep you on your toes—and also gently (or not so gently) nudge you to slow down and see the world in new ways. It probably goes without saying that I wanted to read her some picture books, and I found a small stack of brand-new ones that were surefire hits.
erika: (me: don't panic!)
[personal profile] erika
(subject line solely because Thom Yorke gives such a concise description of the torment inherent in human existence, no matter how limited and bland.)

More links! Again, I've done my best to have them from most recent to least. My reading list is all about our struggle to understand ourselves these days, y'all.

Apathy: the Curse, the Cure Psychology Today: that self-defeating attitude could derive either from early childhood programming, which led you to believe that no matter how conscientiously you applied yourself, you still couldn’t succeed...

New Procedure Allows Kidney Transplants from Any Donor NY Times

People with Anxiety May Be Hard-wired to See World Differently Reuters
Cautionary note: very small preliminary study!
On a basic level, the concept that people with anxiety overgeneralize fear-causing stimuli is fascinating. I wonder if that's why my anxiety levels only really dropped after I took up meditation and started taking care of myself—clearly a holistic issue even if Western mind-body duality keeps LYING to everyone. (Erika: outraged at the weirdest shit since 1985.)
Wonder what the limits of the brain's resiliency are, but really, no one knows and I'm (surprisingly to myself) comfortable with that uncertainty. BRAINS ARE SO COOOOOOOOOL.

11 Nutritionist Approved Midnight Snacks
for the Erika in your life who always gets hungry before bed! & with a headline like that, you know it's probs a listicle from Buzzfeed as is the next:

17 Expert Tips To Help Couples Actually Solve Rship Isuses
(Thanks to this article, I tried to nickname Travis. Do you know how hard it is to nickname the name Travis? Almost as hard as it is to nickname the name Erika! So instead I nicknamed the behavior, a particular type of snipe-y arguing I do, as "gremlin-ing." because you don't want to see what happens if you feed me after midnight.
For the record, it makes it wayyyyy easier to be called out when he uses that word, so yeah, thumbs up.)

Unconventional Productivity from Zen Habits, one of my favorite blogs
Once you’ve started to work with the discomfort, you’ll see that it’s No Big Deal. Nothing to worry about. It’s just a feeling, just energy. You’ll relax a little around it. Try to develop a friendly attitude toward it, instead of being harsh on yourself. Just notice, just smile, just breathe, just be gentle.

Why Speaking Up about Mental Illness Is A Privilege—some australian newspaper I don't know and am disinterested in learning more about, as I hoard spoons like a dragon, inclusive of firebreathing.
The only reason I'm able to share my experiences with mental illness is that I do so with little risk. I have a family who love and support me with full awareness of my illnesses. I'm self-employed in a dual-income household. I will not be out on the street, I will not be broke and I will not be ostracised by the people I love. I'm already ahead of the mental health game before I even start.

Ask Bear - I Don't Want to Spend 2016 Feeling Bad About My Looks | Bitch Magazine

whether you get picked up in bars may not be a good barometer of whether you’re attractive, it may just mean that you’re more of a slow burn than a quick hit.
Here, allow me to pause for a few words in praise of being the one who takes the initiative. It’s all very well and good to be noticed, but it’s totally possible that people are noticing and not acting—just as I imagine you have done on many previous occasions.

Sick Woman Theory Mask Magazine
I hope I've linked this before, but assuming I haven't, or you didn't read it the first time... enjoy this piece of genius.

I only wish to point out the presumptions upon which her horror relies: that our vulnerability should be seen and honored, and that we should all receive care, quickly and in a way that “respects the autonomy of the patient,” as the Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics puts it. Of course, these presumptions are what we all should have. But we must ask the question of who is allowed to have them. In whom does society substantiate such beliefs? And in whom does society enforce the opposite?

Healing the Shame of Childhood Abuse with Self Compassion Psychology Today again
"Self-criticism [will] trigger the fight-or-flight response—[...] mobilizing the strength and energy needed to confront or avoid the threat. Although this system was designed by evolution to deal with physical attacks, it is activated just as readily by emotional attacks—from ourselves and others. Over time, increased cortisol levels deplete neurotransmitters involved in the ability to experience pleasure, leading to depression."

the 36 questions that lead to love NY-Times
full PDF of study
"practical methodology for creating closeness in an experimental context"

The New Rules of Relationships Psychology Today
Because people's needs are fluid and change over time, and life's demands change too, good relationships are negotiated and renegotiated all the time.

Thinking about the internet... Nobody knows how to deal with an asshole disturbing others like a librarian, so why aren't they designing the comment systems? Has anyone in tech ever asked a bunch of librarians what they think about the problem of curating access to culture when we want as many people to enjoy the culture as possible?

Librarians are some of my favorite people. Yes, they were super nice to little girl Erika, but I'm not entirely speaking from my cronyism. It's their instinctual dislike of most people as well as the mandated desire for complete quiet that pleases me so greatly.

We Are Softies

Apr. 28th, 2016 11:26 am
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
At his job, Leonard is having trouble getting SQLAlchemy to do what he wants with regard to automated testing. Today he's going to construct a tiny app and test to validate his understanding of the problem so he can fix it or get help.

As I was seeing him out the door this morning:

"Good luck, honey, with SQLAlchemy! I hope you vanquish it!"
"That's what I hope too."
"Actually, I hope you learn to work together better, in a peaceable manner."
"That is, in fact, what I actually hope too."
"I love you, nonviolent Leonard."
"I love you, nonviolent Sumana."

erika: Text: A traditional troll saying, from WoW. (games: wow: kill two dwarves)
[personal profile] erika
In Spanish, and particularly in Venezuelan Spanish, there's an expression I love. It's "echar para adelante" (eh-char [like fire charred], pah-ruh ah-deh-lan-teh, I need to learn IPA notation) or echa' pa' lante' for short. It means, roughly, "to be knocked forward", to bounce—not back—but ahead, the opposite of being knocked down. A set-forward.

With echa' pa' lante' in mind, I'm delighted to announce I'm moving to the Bay Area!

Congratulations, condolences on the rent, and advice all accepted with a mere press of your comment button. Please give me all your responses about how much you totally believe that this random internet stranger can accomplish this near-impossibility, too.

From having this topic brought to my attention in various places, I'm noticing I use a lot of ableist language in day to day speech. Often, I grit my teeth and reclaim language related to mental illness with deliberate nonchalance, a habit from work, but I've slipped into and/or never gotten out of the common problem of using terms in ableist ways too.

Realizing this, I feel super disappointed in myself. Treating people with respect is one of the things I strive the hardest to do. Tolerance is one of my most important virtues. It sucks that I haven't been reflecting that in my language.

I know that I can change. And I will, because I *also* know I'd rather give people respect than stay comfortable. I fucking hate that I've said things that way in the past, and I'm going to try harder not to say them that way in the future.

#lifegoals, all about the importance of continued progress. SIGH turns out being an adult is all about routine fucking maintenance tasks y'all! WHO KNEW

but hey get a good schedule/routine going and you can almost set yr self-care on autopilot
(unlocking that was like realizing the secret mystery level up easy mode option does exist, as long as you schedule it properly and then actually do it)

Links, from most recent to least:

Finding Life after Abuse - Beyonce's LemonadeI wonder if a Black woman called a narcissist is merely just a Black woman who dares to step up and say she matters.

Self Care Ideas for a Bad Day

How to Politely Have an Amazing Threesome

27 Super Easy Ways to Eat more Fruits & Veg
27 Bad Bitch Anthems That'll Bring Out Your Inner Goddess

19 Naturally Curly Hairstyles for when You're ALready Running Late

Benefits of ADHD

When Forgiveness Isn't a Virtue

Executive Function Primer Part 4 I link to part 4 because the other three parts are linked from there.

Access requests

Apr. 28th, 2016 02:59 am
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
[personal profile] deborah posting in [site community profile] dw_accessibility
I'm having a med reaction that's left me exhausted but jittery and sleepless, so I might as well do something productive with the time. It's been a very long time since I asked people for feature or bug requests for accessibility issues.

What do you wish, in a perfect world, dreamwidth would fix or implement? Note that I'm more clueless about cognitive accessibility, magnification, and visual processing, so I especially welcome clarifications on places we fail on those. No request too large or small, as long as it obeys the laws of thermodynamics.

Seeing the World with Helen Borten

Apr. 28th, 2016 06:09 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Author-illustrator Helen Borten, born in Philadelphia in 1930, describes the release of two of her books, which will arrive on bookshelves next month, as “an eerie kind of rebirth.” That’s not only because they are reprints of books she originally published over 55 years ago, but also because, after working in the field in the 1960s (even after a book she illustrated in 1956 won a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book), she set aside writing and illustrating for children with the publication of Do You Go Where I Go? (1972) to launch an award-winning career in broadcast journalism and producing.

Mariko Tamaki

Apr. 28th, 2016 05:03 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Chalk it up to another of life’s great mysteries: YA author Mariko Tamaki’s career consists of thinking about, writing for, and talking with teenagers—but she didn’t love being one.


Apr. 26th, 2016 05:12 pm
[syndicated profile] sumana_feed
As Leonard has blogged, he and I just returned from a weeklong anniversary trip to Paris, courtesy of my mom. I'm still a little jetlagged and I've said "Excusez-moi" when brushing past a stranger here in New York. But I'm awake enough to blog. In English.

Leonard's and my hands, joined on our wedding dayWe got engaged on April 18, 2006, and then married a few days later, on a spring day in the Shakespeare Garden in Central Park in New York City. That was ten years ago. It is the tritest thing in the world to be astonished at the passage of time, and yet, I remain astonished, because how can it possibly have been ten years ago that I went to that Macy's on 34th Street and bought those white trousers and camisole to wear, ten years since that Friday we came back home together and I felt like I could for the first time see decades away, as though atop a summit within my personal landscape and I could see the plains of middle age and old age stretching out beneath me?

Paris is a gratifying place to enjoy a vacation, gorgeous and delicious, and a humbling place for two Americans to celebrate Ten Whole Years of a marriage. The Celts and the Romans and Robespierre came and went before we ever paid a visit. The Arc de Triomphe has names carved into most of its sides, but then there are a couple of blank pillars, as though they're waiting. Versailles has a gallery of paintings celebrating French military victories that graciously includes a depiction of the Battle of Yorktown within the American Revolution.

I broke out my middle- and high-school French and found that French shopkeepers, bus drivers, and waiters and waitresses were friendly. They tried to speak with us in French and helped us get what we needed; one bus driver in particular went above and beyond in making sure I got on the right bus. Saying "Bonjour" upon walking in evidently sends the good-faith signal. Even the security personnel at the Paris (CDG) airport were friendlier than their counterparts at SFO or JFK.

I took a moment to visit a Hindu temple in an Indian neighborhood of Paris. The same smell of incense, the same chants, the same bellsong; a moment of home in a foreign land, even though I haven't been to a Hindu temple in the States since November. Familiarity is its own consolation, and a dangerous one. I can feel within me that impulse that would lash back against any change in the rituals, because even though of course there should be women priests and a less membrane-irritating alternative to incense smoke, I didn't grow up with them and the improvements would strike those synapses as jarring, off, ineffably wrong.

Paris's museum on the history of technology displayed not only a Jacquard loom but its predecessors; others had done programmable looms but their versions didn't auto-advance the program along with the weave, or didn't allow composability (replacing individual lines of code), and so on. Jacquard was Steve Jobs, integrating innovations. I need to remember that there are always predecessors. Leonard will probably blog more about our museum visits and meals and so on; I may not.

I now have almost three whole weeks at home before I leave to give my next conference talk. The summer's so full that I'm skipping Open Source Bridge for the first time since 2010, and even though CON.TXT and AndConf look amazing I will aim to attend them in future years.

I've been thinking about Ruth Coker Burks and role models, and Better Call Saul. I've been reading Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures by Betsy Leondar-Wright, In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri and translated by Ann Goldstein, Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer, Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown, and The Science of Herself by Karen Joy Fowler. That last one I read in the hotel room using the bedside lamp, next to my husband. Still such a strange word, "husband," or "wife" for that matter.

Kero Lantern Chronicles

Apr. 26th, 2016 12:38 am
shadowspar: A pixellated adventurer grooving in time to music (necrodancer: cadence)
[personal profile] shadowspar
So...our ski club hosts a lantern ski two evenings a year, so people can putter along enjoying the trails and the twilight. They used to use oldschool kerosene lanterns, but the club got rid of them a few years back. It sounds like they were getting dirty and rusty, and nobody was quite sure how to make them less so.

Unfortunately, the candle lanterns that replaced them don't work very well. They don't provide any substantial illumination, and in the winter, the candles burn out quickly -- they don't retain enough heat to melt their own wax well, and burn down the middle instead of across their entire width.

I went looking for a better solution, and was surprised to find that new kerosene lanterns are actually still a thing sold in North America. Like, ones for real use, as opposed to collectables or antiques that are just supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice. So I ordered one.
Read more... )
[syndicated profile] nara_feed

Posted by dominic

We’d like to introduce you to the National Archives’ online catalog API, a major feature of the revamped catalog. If you are not already familiar with the magic of APIs (or “application programming interfaces”), you can think of it this way. Underlying both the API and the browser-based catalog is the dataset of archival descriptions, authority records, web pages, and other information. And just as the web site you see in your browser is the interface which allows you, a human, to interact with and search our dataset, the API is the interface by which computer programs can interact with the dataset—by following documented methods to retrieve or alter the structured data in the system.

The dataset for our catalog API contains all archival descriptions, authority records, digitized records (the images, videos, and so on) and their file metadata, all NARA web pages, and public contributions (tags, transcriptions, and comments). The API will allow developers to retrieve all of this metadata in specified formats (JSON or XML) for any given record or search results set. This means it is much more flexible than the advanced search or refinement options in the user interface, since the API can search using keywords or any field in the system, filter based on type of record, search within ranges, apply sorts, specify only particular fields to return, or any combination of these options. You can also generate a bulk export of your search results (including digital media), just like you can do in the catalog. The API is also writable, which means you can use it to post tags, transcriptions, or comments to records. We believe it is one of the first public write APIs in operation at a cultural institution. In order to support these functions, there are also methods for user registration and login—though accounts are the same in the UI and API. We just rolled out in-catalog transcription last year and comments this year, and we think building it into the API from the beginning has the potential to take it to a whole new level.

National Archives API sample

This is what our catalog records look like as structured data! (Formatted by JSONView.)

In addition to being read–write, the API is open source and follows the principles of REST. In designing our API, we were strongly influenced by the Digital Public Library of America’s API philosophy, especially their principle of a “presumption of openness”. Following this approach, we designed a system not for any particular use case, but one that is as open as possible to accommodate the creativity of the public. No API key or account at all is required to do basic searching. All original API source code has been released under the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0), and you can find the it in our GitHub account. And, of course, all of our metadata and most of our digitized records are in the public domain, as works of the U.S. federal government, and can be freely reused and remixed without permission for any purpose.

We think this is a big deal. NARA’s recently revised mission statement affirms our commitment to “drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to high-value government records.” Our mission is bigger than just our research rooms and web sites. In a recent essay, museum theorist Ed Rodley writes that the “spread of digital assets is a key factor in delivering on museums’ missions to educate, inform, stimulate, and enrich the lives of the people of the planet we live on.” We believe that our API will become a major way in which users are able to access our records, because the fundamental purpose of open data is to make our data sharable and reusable in many contexts outside of NARA itself. For example, in 2013, OCLC noted that 98% of the usage of their Virtual International Authority File comes via its API. This means they are succeeding in making their data useful to the public where people already go on the web, undertaking projects like linking hundreds of thousands of VIAF identifiers from the Wikipedia articles for their subjects. We think there are several ways we might make use of the API ourselves, like creating programs to gamify transcription of our records, uploading all of our data and digital assets to Wikimedia Commons or Wikidata, or setting up automatically curated social media feeds with our content. However, what excites us most is the potential for creative and unexpected uses of our API by the public, for any purpose.

Our API is still relatively new. We have documented several known issues which are still being worked out. But we encourage you to give it a try and see what you can create with it. The API is located at, but we also recommend you start out by reading some of our documentation pages on GitHub, or playing in our interactive documentation feature to learn the ropes. And, also, be sure to give us feedback (whether questions, bug reports, or ideas for improvement) either in a comment below, in our GitHub repo’s issue tracker, or by emailing Let us know what you make!

Inspired by the Bard

Apr. 25th, 2016 08:06 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
When it comes to YA stories that retell or riff on classic works—and if we’re not counting the fairy tales compiled by the Grimms—more often than not, the inspiration comes from Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Nathaniel Hawthorne, or William Shakespeare. And while it felt for a while that every third book I picked up was a rewrite of Pride & Prejudice, I suspect that if we made a list, there would be far and away more Shakespeare rewrites than all of the others put together—if only because there is so much more source material!
[syndicated profile] w3c_dpub_ig_feed

Posted by Ivan Herman

See minutes online for a more detailed record of the discussions. (The headers below link into the relevant sections of the minutes.)

Accessibility Note

Charles LaPierre reported about the latest editorial round on the upcoming accessibility note. There were only administrative and editorial issues to be discussed; the group has agreed to publish the note, as an official W3C IG Note, on the 3rd of May.

Notes in HTML

Shane McCarron and David MacDonald presented a draft they are busy with on adding a note element e.g., footnote, endnote, etc. to HTML in some way or other. This is very early work, though also based on an earlier discussion thread on the Interest Group. The intention on the group meeting was, primarily, to see if there is an interest, from the publishers’ point of view, on having such a set of elements (specifically: note, noteref, and notegroup). There were lots of question and discussion on the group call, but it is clear that such HTML elements would be of a great interest for the publishing community, in view of the widespread usage of footnotes, endnotes, references, etc, that is used in publishing.

Beyond clarification questions the discussion on the call covered issues like whether the way forward is to use the route of bona fide HTML extensions or HTML Custom elements; whether there is anything to discuss with the CSS Working Group on this, the relations to the annotation work, and the general way forward and how this IG can help it.


Apr. 25th, 2016 06:27 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Papa penguins are dedicated to incubating eggs, while grizzlies aren't opposed to eating their cubs if a snack attack strikes. The devotion of dads in the animal kingdom is as varied as the spectrum of human affection. Though there isn't the threat of patriarchal cannibalism in Avi's The Most Important Thing: Stories About Sons, Fathers, and Grandfathers, there is a solid devotion to capturing nuances in the relationships among grandfathers, fathers, and sons. The apparition of a beloved dead father, the desperate hopes of a son to lure his dad home, and the interview process a would-be stepfather is subjected to are only three of seven short stories in this anthology. When I call Avi, fast at work in his Rocky Mountain neck of the woods, I cut to the chase. What was it like with his own father?

Little Red

Apr. 22nd, 2016 07:46 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
There’s a lot to like about British illustrator Bethan Woollvin’s debut picture book, Little Red, for which she evidently won the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition while a student at the Cambridge School of Art.

Circumventing Ubuntu Snap confinement

Apr. 21st, 2016 06:31 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Ubuntu 16.04 was released today, with one of the highlights being the new Snap package format. Snaps are intended to make it easier to distribute applications for Ubuntu - they include their dependencies rather than relying on the archive, they can be updated on a schedule that's separate from the distribution itself and they're confined by a strong security policy that makes it impossible for an app to steal your data.

At least, that's what Canonical assert. It's true in a sense - if you're using Snap packages on Mir (ie, Ubuntu mobile) then there's a genuine improvement in security. But if you're using X11 (ie, Ubuntu desktop) it's horribly, awfully misleading. Any Snap package you install is completely capable of copying all your private data to wherever it wants with very little difficulty.

The problem here is the X11 windowing system. X has no real concept of different levels of application trust. Any application can register to receive keystrokes from any other application. Any application can inject fake key events into the input stream. An application that is otherwise confined by strong security policies can simply type into another window. An application that has no access to any of your private data can wait until your session is idle, open an unconfined terminal and then use curl to send your data to a remote site. As long as Ubuntu desktop still uses X11, the Snap format provides you with very little meaningful security. Mir and Wayland both fix this, which is why Wayland is a prerequisite for the sandboxed xdg-app design.

I've produced a quick proof of concept of this. Grab XEvilTeddy from git, install Snapcraft (it's in 16.04), snapcraft snap, sudo snap install xevilteddy*.snap, /snap/bin/xevilteddy.xteddy . An adorable teddy bear! How cute. Now open Firefox and start typing, then check back in your terminal window. Oh no! All my secrets. Open another terminal window and give it focus. Oh no! An injected command that could instead have been a curl session that uploaded your private SSH keys to somewhere that's not going to respect your privacy.

The Snap format provides a lot of underlying technology that is a great step towards being able to protect systems against untrustworthy third-party applications, and once Ubuntu shifts to using Mir by default it'll be much better than the status quo. But right now the protections it provides are easily circumvented, and it's disingenuous to claim that it currently gives desktop users any real security.
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