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([personal profile] rowyn Aug. 17th, 2017 04:58 pm)
I've been a car owner for 15 days now. My car's name is Ardent Purr the Adoracar, because decision is for other areas of my life. As of the 14 day mark, I'd driven her about 500 miles. This seems like a ridiculously high number. I checked and it's below average for an American driver. Americans are crazy about driving.

Lut was supposed to be moved to a rehab facility today, but I just called the hospital and he hasn't been moved yet. Given that it's 4:30 now, I don't think it's happening now. Assuming it happens eventually, my miles-per-day will go down, because the new facility is a little closer. It's about the same time to get to, though, because it's all street driving instead of a highway option. If he does well in rehab and can come home, my average driving will go down a lot more. Please pray for us, things are not looking great. v_v

I am tired all the time now, even when I get a full eight hours of sleep. People keep saying "don't forget to take care of yourself" and I wish I could. I'm eating as much and as well as I did before Lut went to the hospital. The main thing I gave up was exercise. I do not have time to commute 90 minutes a day and work full time and see Lut for a few hours each day and still exercise.

I am still editing. I've hacked about 12,000 words out of the manuscript now. I am startled by how much of that is just "saying the same basic thing more concisely". I still need to add a few things, but I'm just changing stuff as I get to it at this point.

I've written a little fiction, but only a little. I miss the #PollRPG -- I was thinking about it when I did the first title poll this week -- but I am not sure what to do with that. Writing a story where people shape the results as I go means I can't build a buffer or plan out the story that much, and "write when I feel like it" doesn't work that well if I want an audience to follow it at the same pace. Editing and writing at my own pace works okay with the cancer lifestyle. Not so much on a schedule. :| Maybe I will do a poll about it at some point.
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Monday is my birthday, and to celebrate Jane is going to show me around Paris for a long weekend. We're off tomorrow morning, and arriving back on my actual Birthday (Monday), which is _also_ the anniversary of the first time she hugged me (after she came to the airport to meet me off the plane back from my trip around the Southlands).

I arrived home to discover that she had made this wonder in the living room:


And I am looking forward to being allowed to open any of the things underneath it!

(Jim is being left with strict instructions that he is not allowed to eat any of the boxes. Or the tree. Or be sick on any of them. Or peek inside.)
I thought of an easier way to explain why the eclipse shadow travels west to east, even though the moon travels east to west through the sky.

First, here's the general picture from the perspective of the sun, when looking down at the solar plane from above:
The earth revolves around the sun in a counter-clockwise direction, completing a full circuit about every 365 days.
The moon revolves around the earth in a counter-clockwise direction, completing a full circuit about every 28 days.
The earth rotates around its own axis in a counter-clockwise direction, completing a full turn every 24 hours.

Here's the general picture from the perspective of a spot on the earth at the equator, when looking up at the sky:
The sun revolves around the earth in an east to west direction, completing a full circuit every 24 hours.
The moon revolves around the earth in an east to west direction, completing a full circuit about every 24.5 hours (I hope I calcuated that right)

Now to explain why the solar eclipse shadow goes west to east:

Imagine you are standing on the north side of an east-west street, facing south.
The moon is a person walking on that street from east to west.
The sun is another person walking on that street from east to west, except that they are walking slightly faster than the moon, and emitting a bright light.


When the sun is still a fair bit behind the moon, the shadow that is cast from the moon due to the sun's light will point towards the west.
As the sun starts overtaking the moon, walking behind the moon compared to the observer, the shadow that is cast points towards west-northwest.
As the sun continues passing behind the moon, that shadow changes direction, towards to the northwest, then north, then northeast, then east-northeast.
So even though both the sun and moon are going east-to-west, the shadow goes west-to-east.

Maybe that is totally obvious to other people? I mean, it seems pretty obvious to myself now that I've explained it.

.

It's actually more complicated than that, of course.

The sun's path does go from east to west rather consistently, even though during the summer, the path is higher in the sky (northeast -> northwest) than during winter (southeast -> southwest).

But the moon's path is more dynamic, as it doesn't revolve in the plane of the equator. It may rise in the southeast and set in the northwest. Or it may rise in the northeast and set in the southwest. (right? I haven't ever really paid much attention to the moon's path, but I must have learned that somewhere.)

Because of that, based on the images I've seen, instead of the moon crossing the sun from right to left, during this eclipse, it will cross it from lower right towards the upper left.

So in the above example, the moon would be on a different street, at an angle to the other street, and the streets would happen to cross each other right at the point where the sun was walking behind the moon.
(although what angles the streets need to be at, and which direction the moon is going on its own street is a bit difficult for me to visualize right now.)
..

I guess it's time to create a new eclipse tag for all these entries, and to rename the eclipse tag I used on a single other post in reference to the software called "Eclipse".
What the fuck have I been doing? Well...

{"write down your thoughts and feelings" has disappeared into "just keep track of your movements", because really, who wants to know if I think or feel? I am straining everyone's patience here by breathing}

Tuesday: saw me a SCI FI EXHIBITION, (photos begin here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0VB9GhFSo/?taken-by=derekdesanges although they're better on Lindsay's phone and also doesn't include the inspiringly odd film installations that were scattered about as part of the same media/art retrospective - there was a neural network replication [haha] of Bladerunner, which was. Why do we do these things.), which was Very Interesting, and walked with Lindsay most of the way to Soho to meet Ruthi for RAINDROP CAKES (https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0rsJOB5BL/?taken-by=derekdesanges), travelling via the Garden of the Order of St John and also via the discovery that the Japanese Art Gallery on Old Street (where the McQueen store used to be) sells those kintsugi kits; the second part of Angels in America was even longer, stronger, and more magic-realism-y. In the curtain call, they brought out the stage crew for applause, which is good, because I'd been saying in the interval that god DAMN they work them HARD in that production, there is a LOT for the tech team to be doing. And yes maybe there was a certain irony in seeing a play which ends with the blessing "more life" on the anniversary (the first of many, hoo boy) of my stupid dead friend's wake, but there we go. We get what we get.

Wednesday: ah, the stress dash to Stratford-upon-Avon; ah, the Starbucks kerfuffle, where my name went from Derek to Derrick to "Derm...mia? Derria?" thanks to someone's handwriting. Ah, the surprisingly luxurious train to Leamington Spa, significantly nicer and with more reliable Wi-Fi than fucking GWR (I have to go back at the end of the month on the HELL TRAINS and lord I am Not Thrilled). Naturally S-u-A is very PICTURESKEW, as the Discworldian has it, and reassuringly Normal ("They've got a kebab house and Eastern European groceries and people not speaking English, it's okay, this place is Normal") alongside the chocolate-box "this is how England Looks, Honest" guide book half-timbered town centre. There was a barge selling ice-cream and one selling baguettes. There were gay statues and swans of indeterminate sexual preference. There was a big goddamn theatre with a cafe selling individual tiny tubs of hummus for 25p because why the entire fuck not.

We saw Salomé, and it was easy to see why it was very much For Lucian; it was signficantly less For Me (I indignantly remarked on the way home, as I bounced up and down on Ruthi's one remaining nerve like a ping-pong ball of blithe irresponsibility, "Even the blood wasn't RED"), and on the whole felt like an immature production for an immature play (I periodically forget that I hate Wilde's writing and I hate it even more when he's trying to take himself and the world seriously, as he was here), albeit a play with a troubling fixation on people's feet and entire windy world-long passages which make it abundantly clear which classical and renaissance authors Wilde was comparing himself to and failing to emulate in euphony or in interest. I HAVE SAID MY PIECE, GOOD DAY TO YOU SIR.

Otoh, a naked Matthew Tennyson is appreciated, although to be honest other members of the cast were appreciated more on account of them not having the physical composition of a sparrow skeleton. (I DID like Herdodias as a character because, you know, I can Relate ™ to Bitter Old Queens).

We had afternoon tea, I introduced Ruthi to a frankly mediocre example of a lardy cake, by dribs and drabs we trailed toward the station, the trains on the way back were packed and rather less comfortable, Ruthi went to sleep and I went to iPod; on the other hand, as we walked towards the exit at Marylebone a familiar face and gait passed us - ah yes, Mr Tennyson, on his way home. (Jess informs me he "probably lives somewhere around Muswell Hill - I used to see him up there a lot", so it's a good thing I waited for Ruthi to top up her card etc because man would it ever have looked like stalking otherwise.)

Today: I have hated quite virulently on the gym and I am seriously contemplating throwing off the instigation to go to trans/nb cabaret tonight partly because I'm very tired of all forms of theatre now (like, for the rest of the week, not FOREVER), partly because I am B R O K E as F U C K (and likely moreso after yesterday), partly because I have A Lot To Do, having not really tackled writing/editing of the trench story in my brief trip to le cafe with Jess (I did get complimented on my terrible whorish outfit by a very elderly man so THAT'S NICE); however I also partly want to go the fuck out and stay the fuck out because CHRIST IN HEAVEN I AM TIRED OF LOOKING AT NAZIS.

... I guess no one's forcing me to be on the internet and if I just did all the other goddamn things I am supposed to be doing I wouldn't be looking at them.
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([personal profile] jack Aug. 17th, 2017 01:34 pm)
I went to Helsinki for worldcon.

It was lovely to see osos and liv.

I always find travel a little stressful but I have got better at not worrying. It's still feels like more of a hurdle than travelling locally, even if it shouldn't, but less so.

Helsinki was nice. I didn't do a lot of exploring, but some. I love water, and enjoyed going to another city based on the sea. Helsinki itself isn't on as many islands as Stockholm, but the harbour is covered with them and several tourist attractions are on one island or another.

We went to the zoo, and I went out to the island fortress Suomelina, both nice ferry rides. Suomelina was originally fortified by Sweden when Finland was part of Sweden, and later controlled by Finland and by Russia, with modern fortifications added to the older ones. The original fortifications are incredible to see, vast stone walls dozens of feet thick with tunnels at the bottom surrounding grassy courtyards, and at the main entrance, stone steps swooping down to the sea from a giant gate that frames the sun.

When we flew back, I realised what Liv had already told me, but not previously realised the extent of, that there really are continuous islands all the way from Finland to Sweden.

Zoo pictures are slowly being uploaded on twitter :)

Food was expensive but fairly easy. Few places had good vegetarian options already on the menu, but everyone I spoke to was eager to to be flexible and make up a cheaper price for a plate full of all the side dishes, without me needing to explain or anything.

Part of the expense is being in a foreign conference centre when the pound is getting weaker, but as I understand it, Finland *is* typically more expensive. I don't know enough about it, but my impression is, partly due to needing to import more food, and partly due to higher taxes and wages. But I wish people would acknowledge that latter part when complaining.

Worldcon was fun. Registration was incredibly quick with a computerised "scan barcode and print label" system, and everything was well organised apart from being over-full on the first two days.

Most of the panels I went to were decent but none stood out to me as amazing.

I loved seeing authors I cared about, at the steven universe panel, at the wild cards panel (and winning hugos). The quantum computing panel didn't tell me a lot about the theory but was fascinating for telling us about what computers had practically been built -- and apparently IBM have one you can run programs on online!!

I had a better balance between different sorts of things, I did some panels, some meeting people. I met up with people, but didn't feel like I was constantly missing out on fun things just round the corner. I got some books I was excited by but not too many.
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([personal profile] andrewducker Aug. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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([personal profile] miss_s_b Aug. 17th, 2017 11:00 am)
The local news mentioned that the downtown population could double to a million people, from all the people coming here for the total eclipse. And that cell phone service may be affected, due to bandwidth problems from all the extra people. That's something that wouldn't have occurred to me. They advise people to text instead of calling, to save bandwidth.

.

One thing I'm curious about is whether during totality, it will be dark like during the middle of night, or only somewhat dark like when the sun has just dipped below the horizon at dusk, or if it won't even be as dark as that.

I could look it up. But that would be like watching spoilers :-)

I wonder if the street lights will come on.

I wonder how many people will be driving vehicles during totality. I wonder how many people have to work and won't even have an opportunity to go outside to look. I wonder if store employees will have to stay inside. I wonder if people are going to be shopping instead of watching it. I wonder if employees and even managers are simply going to abandon their posts for a few minutes, in order to experience this once in a lifetime event. I wonder if surgeries and doctor's appointments have been scheduled during totality. I wonder if some people just don't care about it. I wonder if some people think it's too hot to go outside just to look at the sky.

I wonder if it will be raining... :-(
As of now the forecast indicates a clear morning, then partly cloudy til 2pm, then a 50% chance of thunderstorms. Totality here is at 2:42pm.

.

This morning I looked in the sky and found the moon in the general area I expected it to be. This afternoon during my lunch break, I looked and wasn't able to find it again. I wonder if the sky is just so bright during midday that a crescent moon is very faint and hard to see. Or whether it was hiding behind one of the clouds.

.

Aaaannnnd I just noticed that I wrote "left to right" a couple times in my prior post, when I meant "right to left". As if it wasn't confusing enough without me flubbing the words too. I fixed it now.

.

Hah. I found another reason it's good I decided to work from home on Monday. At my home, totality will last 20 seconds longer than it will at my work, because my workplace is further from the center line.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 16th, 2017 09:23 pm)
I have made a heap of all my spoons and then set the heap on fire.

Which is to say, I am at a conference. So far it's been a really good conference.

Imma gonna fall over into my bed momentarily.

ETA 8/17/17 21:16: Still conferencing. I move that henceforth anything called a "BBQ" must serve something cooked with barbecue sauce; absence that criterion, it is a "cookout".

Someone at the conference gave me copy of this drawing which I hadn't seen before, and which made me tear up.

Bootstrapping problem: I still have to decide whether or not to try to get there in time tomorrow for the morning talks, or catch some additional Zs; the problem is I am now so exhausted my judgment is not just impaired but kind of non-functional. Normally, I'm pretty good at blowing things off to get more rest. This is, however, effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, of which I would like to make the most.
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liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
([personal profile] liv Aug. 16th, 2017 12:28 pm)
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
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    ([personal profile] andrewducker Aug. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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    ([personal profile] jack Aug. 15th, 2017 07:45 pm)
    Does anyone understand pilot wave theory even a little bit?

    Prodded by several recent articles, I've been trying to follow what it says, and am still quite unsure of the realities.

    The analogy usually presented is, if you have a small oil drop on the surface of water, and the water container is subject to a regular pattern of vibration, the water forms standing waves in shapes affected by the edges of the container and any obstructions in the surface of the water. And the oil drop tends to move across the surface of the water following the paths in those waves.

    If you look solely at the oil drop, you can't tell which of two equal paths it would follow, but you can predict it will take one of them with equal probability, and predict its motion probabilistically. And if you couldn't see the standing water waves, you could deduce something in that shape exists.

    You can even get some analogies for weird quantum behaviour like the an electron passing through two parallel slits and experiencing interference with itself: the water waves form possible channels for the oil drop, and the oil drop goes through one slit or the other, but ends up only at certain places on the far side.

    However, the analogy to actual quantum physics is still unclear to me. Not whether it's true, but even what people are suggesting might happen.

    Are people suggesting there's some underlying medium like the water? In that case, isn't there some propagation speed? The water waves exist in a steady state once all the obstructions are set up, but they don't respond to changes instantly. If the water trough were miles long, the oil drop would set off following water wave paths that existed at the point it passes through, not the paths corresponding to the obstructions that are going to be in place when the oil drop passes through them.

    And yet, as I understand it, no-one expects a propagation delay in quantum experiments. People keep checking it out, but there never is: it always acts like an electron propagates just like it is itself a wave.

    I agree, if there WERE some delay, if you changed the slits at this time, and got one result, and changed them at another time, and got another result, that would be massive, massive, evidence of something, possibly of something like pilot wave theory. But AFAIK proponents of pilot wave theory aren't advocating looking for such delays, and don't expect to find any.

    Contrariwise, if this is just an analogy, and the quantum equivalent of the water waves (equivalent to the wave function in other interpretations of quantum mechanics) propagates at "infinite" speed, then... that is undetectable, indistinguishable from other interpretations of quantum mechanics. But it raises red-flag philosophical questions about what "infinite speed" means when all the intuition from special (or general) relativity indicates that all physical phenomena are local, and are influenced only by physics of nearby things, and "the same time" is a human illusion like the earth being stationary. Even if you don't expect to detect the pilot wave, can you write down what it should be in a universe where physics is local? Does that in fact provide a way to make QM deterministic and independent of observers, even if you change the reference frame? Because it doesn't sound like it will work.

    FWIW, those are very superficial objections, I don't understand what it's saying enough to actually evaluate in depth. But I don't understand why these don't show up on lists of "common objections and rebuttals". Common objections have confident rebuttals in several places, and I've *seen* articles about them, but not understood well enough. Can anyone explain better?

    Digression

    I do agree, the idea that QM equations are an emergent property of something else, ideally a statistical interpretation of a deterministic underlying reality, would be very nice in clearing up a lot of confusion. But AFAIK, the closest candidate to that is Many Worlds, which doesn't appeal to many people who want to get away from QM unpleasantness.
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    ([personal profile] rowyn Aug. 15th, 2017 12:43 pm)
    After posting yesterday's poll, I came up with a few new possible pairings. So I'm narrowing this down some and splitting out the Book 2 possibilities because there's more of them.

    Poll #18700 Great Unnamed Fantasy Duology Part 2
    Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 15


    Which title do you like best? (These are for book 1)

    View Answers

    1. Silver Scales
    12 (80.0%)

    1. Dragon's Scales
    1 (6.7%)

    1. Warlock's Birthright
    2 (13.3%)

    Which title do you like best? (these are for book 2.)

    View Answers

    2. Golden Eggs
    6 (42.9%)

    2. Golden Birthright
    3 (21.4%)

    2. Golden Legacy
    1 (7.1%)

    2. Dragon's Birthright
    1 (7.1%)

    2. Dragon's Legacy
    3 (21.4%)

    How do you feel about articles in the title?

    View Answers

    Use definite article (The Silver Scales, etc.)
    1 (6.7%)

    Use indefinite article (A Warlock's Birthright, etc.)
    2 (13.3%)

    No articles (as titles are shown in poll questions above)
    12 (80.0%)

    Are polls fun?

    View Answers

    Yes
    3 (23.1%)

    HECK YEAH
    2 (15.4%)

    Please just pick your favorite title already like you're going to anyway
    2 (15.4%)

    I like to click it click it
    6 (46.2%)

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    ([personal profile] andrewducker Aug. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm)
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