the_siobhan: (What Would John Constantine Do?)
Somebody on Face place linked to this article about "normalcy bias". Which is kinda sorta related to what I was talking about in my last post, so here you go.

It claims that in an emergency or disaster, 10-15% of people will keep their heads and respond appropriately, 10-15% of people will panic, and 70-80% of people will do nothing - just carry on as if nothing unusual is happening.

I know when something happens that I don't expect, I go through a couple of minutes of "Wait, what the hell is that? Is that supposed to be doing that?" before I react. During which I usually look around to make sure other people can see what I do. Because, while I'm not usually prone to random hallucinations, you can never be too careful.
the_siobhan: (What Would John Constantine Do?)
An article I was reading this morning referenced the "Y2K bug". I found it enormously amusing that the writer felt the need to explain to his audience what the Y2K bug was because of course it happened so long ago that many people reading would have been too young to understand and remember. I r geezer. Anyway, it was just a throwaway reference, but what I thought was interesting was the way it was framed. I'm paraphrasing, but the writer basically said that companies spent millions of dollars on fixing it, but it ended up being a big waste of money because "everything was fine".

I had to go back and read it again to make sure I understood what he was saying. After all the investment and work of armies of programmers updating code to accomodate a four-digit year, he's claiming that it was all a waste of time and money because - well, because their work was successful?

I'm trying to tease how why this bugs me so much. He doesn't give any reason for why he thinks that the work was unnecessary other than the fact that most systems successfully made the transition. His entire logic seems to be based on, "This is the way things are now so this is the way they would have been anyway, even if we had done nothing."

I'm wondering if that kind of thinking is behind so much of science denialism that I see. When nobody sees kids catching polio, they think "polio isn't something that happens" instead of "we are actively doing something that makes polio not happen ".

I don't know, I'm still chewing on this. What do you think?
the_siobhan: (save hockey)
So I mentioned I've been reading books about investing.

It has been pretty educational. One particular piece of advice that sounds like it makes a lot of sense is that in times of good economy you want to invest in discretionary spending. When people have extra money companies that make that things that they want tend to do well - entertainment, travel, "stuff". In a recession, on the other hand, you want to invest in necessities, things that people have no choice but to spend money on. Things like food and fuel.

So I'm not talking about a lot of money here. I'm going to be able to afford a handful of shares a year. It makes sense to stick to things that are likely to do well. And in Canada, that means we are probably talking about the tar sands.

Well fuck me.

Just in case anybody doesn't know about the Canadian tar sands project, it is a massive filthy health & environment nightmare. A doctor who treated aboriginal people in the area was fired by the province for filing a report about how often his patients show up with rare cancers. It has resulted in the world's second highest rate of deforestation after the Amazon Basin. The EPA estimates the greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil is approximately 82% higher than conventional oil and we are talking about a shitload of dirty oil here. And the whole ting is operating with the legal and financial blessings of a Conservative government that is pro-oil, pro-Alberta, pro-"environmentalists are terrorists", and pro-big profits for the 1% and fuck everybody else. This is a project that prints money.

So before you say anything, I get that I don't have to give the oil companies my paltry few dollars if I don't want to. But if the goal of this experiment is to see how much money I can make on my own, there is a very good chance that this going to result in putting funds into things that I have a real ethical problem with simply because those are the things that my government is currently supporting. (Harper is planning on privatizing jails! I could in on the ground floor of that!) Plus I already have an RRSP, so I'm pretty sure that when I go home tonight and look at what the funds manager has done with that money I'm going to find some stuff in there that makes me wince.

So that is the thought process that led to me finally figuring out that I am in the position that some of my retirement money going to be made off of things that I am simultaneously voting against, signing petitions against and occasionally donating funds towards groups to work against.


Like I needed another reason to hate the Conservatives.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)

Well OK, maybe one comment.

Guys, take my advice. Talk to the people who put together "The Package" tour. They know how to do advertising.
the_siobhan: (BOOM)
Let's propose a hypothetical situation. Pay careful attention, there's a quiz at the end.

Unidentified individual #1: Engages in inappropriate behaviour at a work event that is specifically prohibited in his employer's code of conduct.

Unidentified individual #2: Responds to and also participates in inappropriate behaviour at a work event that is specifically prohibited in his employer's code of conduct.

Unidentified individual #3: Notifies a corporation that behaviour is taking place that is specifically prohibited in their (the corporation's) code of conduct.

Unidentified individuals #4 - #1000: Send online threats of assault and murder to a single targeted individual. Members of this group also engage in harrassment by launching DOS (denial of service attacks) to one or more online service providers.

Unidentified corporation #1: Fire one of their employees for engaging inappropriate behaviour at a work event that is specifically prohibited in their (the employer's) code of conduct.

Unidentified corporation #2: Fire one of their employees for receiving online threats of assault & murder and for being targetted by DOS attacks.

So here's the quiz part.

Question: Who in this cast of characters behaved in such a way that they should receive the most public criticism for their actions and choices?

Answer: The woman.
the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
Remember this? Last year the BBC published their choices for newsworthy women and it was so groan-worthy it was linked to all over the internet by people saying WHAT THE HELL A PANDA I DON'T EVEN.

So this year they seemed to have learned their lesson somewhat. As in, no non-humans and this time they put their most relevant choices in the headlines and buried the fluffy ones in a sidebar. Their top three are all great choices; Reporter Marie Colvin who was killed in Syria, 14 year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai who shot by the Taliban, and boxer Nicola Adams who is the first woman gold medalist in Olympic boxing.

Their honourable mentions are Claire Squire a triathelete who died during the London Marathon, sombody named Laina who did a popular youtube video about Justin Bieber, Samantha Brick who is famous for writing an article about being pretty, Marissa Mayer who was made CEO of Yahoo while 6 months pregnant, Rachel Onasanwo for being in an article about Olympic volunteers, Pussy Riot for a protest against Putin that landed them in jail, Gina Rinehart for becoming the world's richest woman, Lydia Callis for her ASL translations of NYC Mayor Bloomberg's speeches after Hurricane Sandy, and Paula Broadwell the "mistress" in the Skyfall scandal.

I'd agree with Pussy Riot and Gina Rinehart. Mayer falls into the category of "this shouldn't be news" but unfortunately being treated like a human being while pregnant is still noteworthy. I'm ambivalent about Squire and Callis. Laina no, Onasanwo no, Broadwell no and Brick whatthefuckever no.

People I would add;

Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation who is on day 16 of her hunger strike and has become the public face of the idlenomore movement in Canada.

Sally Ride died this year. Her obituary revealed that she had been in a 27-year relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy (how's that for an Irish name?) making her the first known LGBT person to have served as an astronaut.

Adela Hernandez, a 48-year-old transgender woman who made history by becoming the first openly trans person to be elected to public office in Cuba.

Park Geun-hye was this year elected first woman President of South Korea.

The 2012 elections in the US resulted in a record number of women in Congress. Including Mazie Hirono, the first Buddhist and also the first Asian-American senator, Tulsi Gabbard the first Hindu in Congress, Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator, Kyrsten Sinema the first openly bisexual woman in Congress, Tammy Duckworth the first disabled veteran in Congress. Stacie Laughton also became the first open transgender person elected as a state legislator.

Who else you got?
the_siobhan: (Brighter Blessed Than Thee)
I'm not having my most productive day ever at work today. Go figure.

For some reason thinking about colonies on other planets and satellites sent me down the rabbit hole of thinking about intentional communities. I've met a number of people who lived in communes just from hanging around with pagans. (One I can think of in particular had been going close to 50 years at the time I met one of the members, and didn't show any signs of stopping. And that was at least 10 years ago.)

All the ones I've stumbled over or read about always seemed to be "on a piece of property somewhere out of the city" and that started me wondering if all intentional communities are necessarily rural. So I stuck a couple of terms into a search engine and started looking around.

Turns out that no, there are lots in cities. Including several in Toronto, which is kind of neat.

Just judging from what I found online it looks like Pagans and people interested in eco-housing seem to run about neck-and-neck in terms of wanting to start new communities. And that there is lots of overlap between the two, as you might expect. But that the real front-runners are Christians, who can list more active co-housing groups than everybody else put together.

And it also turns out that The International Church of Satan is starting a commune in Halifax. So there's that.

[ETA] I also found one called Lothlorien but I can't actually open the website because my work security deems it "suspicious". I'm finding that highly amusing.
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
  • I made my RFTC goal - $809.23. I am therefore bald. I got my head shaved in the cafeteria in front of a beiberillion people. I will get around to posting a picture as soon as I remember. Ha.

  • You know what this means - Fester costume for Halloween.

  • I'm now in the market for a decent wig so I can stealth at work. I want something that looks reasonably authentic - any locals know of storefronts that sell ones that are supposed to look like your actual hair as opposed to fun wigs? I know I can order them online but I want to try some on first and figure out what I want.

  • I had my final MRI done on Friday. To celebrate I got 6 of the old holes in my ear replaced. Being poked with needles so much for medical stuff had made me forget how much I love being poked with needles in a recreational context, so that part was pretty cool. Having some of my jewelery back also makes me very happy, although I now wake up very abruptly if I happen to roll over onto my left side in my sleep.

  • The Gin Palace is at the stage of unpacking art and hanging things on walls. I swear this part is taking as long as the actual construction. Axel & I are considering a combined drink-all-our-booze & take-away-all-our-books party.
  • the_siobhan: (wiccan permit)
    I had a discussion on Facebook yesterday about the BBC's "Faces of 2011 - the women" article. Their list consists of one singer, one athlete, three politicians - one who is the list by dint of having been shot - two sexual assault victims, two brides, one bridesmaid, one woman who went on a date and a female panda.

    So for the entire month of November, the only woman who did anything of note was a marine who went on a date with Justin Timberlake and in April Pippa Middleton wore a dress that made her bum look nice. December didn't manage a single human woman at all.


    So I proposed a new list. Michele Bachmann (even though I hate her) should probably stay, and Dilma Rousseff definitely. Personally I don't think sports and entertainment count as news, but Adele and Li Na both made a major impact on their respective fields so let's keep them too.

    I'm still debating with myself whether or not Gabrielle Giffords, Nafissatou Diallo and/or Eman al-Obeidi should stay. Certainly Gifford's shotting and recovery was newsworthy. Diallo and al-Obeidi showed great courage in stepping forward publically to speak about what was done to them. But I'm really uncomfortable with the idea that a full quarter of a list of the most notable women of the year are famous for having been the victims of violence. So I dunno yet. I'm still thinking about it.

    Now the people I would definitely add;

    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkol Karman who shared the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011.
    Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the first woman Prime Minister of Denmark.
    Anna Grodzka, the first transgendered MP in European history.
    Angela Zhang, who at 17 developed a particle to deliver chemo drugs directly to a cancer site.
    The thousands of women in Egypt who marched against the military in Cairo.

    Who else? Who would you add?
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    I was telling somebody this story recently and it reminded me that [ profile] the_axel initially said he was going to post about it, but has never gotten around to it. So I'll do it instead.

    A couple of years ago the two of us were driving from Toronto to Montreal early on a Friday afternoon and we picked up a hitch-hiker. He said he was going to a small town about an hour down the road called Napanee. (If you’ve ever heard of it it’s only because Avril Lavigne grew up there.) Once we got there he directed me to drop him off at a Tim Horton's by the highway. "I'm going to jail," he said, pointing out a concrete building across the street from the coffee shop parking lot "But they're not open yet."

    I wouldn't have thought anything of it but Axel thought the whole incident was hilarious. Both because the guy was hitch-hiking to get to jail and the idea that he might actually have to wait until they opened to be let in. I suggested that he was probably doing weekends, which was something Axel had never even heard of. So I explained it to him.

    Serving time on weekends is an option that is available to the courts when convicting somebody of a non-violent crime. I've known quite a few people who've done this, and every single one of them was arrested for selling drugs. The logic is that if they have a full-time job putting them in jail for an extended period of time will potentially result in them being unemployed when they get out - which may lead to them doing something illegal to support themselves, like say, selling drugs. On the other hand being in jail every weekend is really going to cut down on a person's party time which might be seen as a good idea if your end goal is to get a small time drug-dealer to knock it the hell off.

    The disadvantage to you if you're the one being convicted is obviously that it drags a sentence out for friggin' ever. The advantage is not only that you get to keep your income - and therefore your place to live and other possessions - but that you actually spend less physical time in the bucket than if you were doing straight time. Intake is usually early Friday evening (hence his comment that they weren't open yet) and you get released early Sunday. This is counted as three days served.

    It's made very clear that serving your time on weekends is a privilege that could be yanked at any time if they think you’re screwing around. I've never known anybody who didn't show up on schedule.

    Axel had never heard of such an arrangement. His theory was that it is just so practical that it could only have been invented in Canada and more importantly, that it would only work in Canada. Casual polling of friends from other countries seemed to indicate that they had never heard of it either, but most of the people I’ve talked to about it so far have been fine upstanding citizens who spent their formative years in less erm, colourful company than I was doing.

    So I put the question the source of all wisdom; my Livejournal friends list. Have you heard of this practice in your country?
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    You know I've really liked a number of Roman Polanski films.

    That doesn't in any way change the fact that he's a fucking asshole.

    (Woody Allen,Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, Tilda Swinton - that makes you assholes too.)
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    Anybody on my flist ever been to the Vegetarian Food Fair? What did you think?

    I'm debating going, but I'm not interested if it's just a bunch of companies trying to market their version of the soy burger.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    Talking to [ profile] theevilchemist elsewhere on LJ I mentioned that one of the things I want to do to reduce my gallbladder symptoms is to eat less meat. It's something I've actually wanted to do for years anyway; getting the cattle prod of physical pain is a pretty effective kick in the butt to get on that. So to speak.

    So the reason I say "wanting to" as opposed to "trying to" is that I really suck at changing my eating habits.

    For one thing I hate cooking. I hate digging through recipes and trying to figure out from the description what might appeal to both Axel and me. I hate searching for the one elusive ingredient that always seems to be impossible to find. I hate left overs moldering in the fridge because I couldn't get it together to use up the last of something or because I can't figure out how to combine the left-overs from three previous experiments into a single meal just to get rid of them. Meat is mindless, you slather in garlic and slap it on the grill and there's dinner taken care of.

    It occurs to me as I'm typing this that I'd probably love cooking if it was something I got to do once in a while. It's the tyranny of having to feed myself every damn day that makes it exhausting and sucks all the fun out of it.

    So started off by buying a couple of cookbooks from restaurants where I eat once in a while, because I figure then I can try the food out and I'll know what I'm aiming at before I attempt to prepare it at home. That's step 1. Step 2 would probably be, you know, cracking the cover.

    But cookbooks are pretty general and restaurants have a team of people making food in large enough quantities that stuff doesn't really go to waste. So this is the part where I turn to people on my f-list and ask you all to throw in your two cents. I know a lot of people on my friends list are major foodies. Some of you are vegetarian or vegan. And whether you're working right now or not, I'll bet that all of you really get the, "I want to be able to come home from a 40+ hours work week and just stick something in my damn mouth without it turning into a major project, thanks."

    likes, dislikes and other stuff )

    So hit me. I'm sure other stuff will come up as I read your comments. Lets talk about cooking.

    ETA 1: Things we already eat are curry and pasta. Having said that, my current recipes are pretty straightforward tomato-sauce based so variation is good.

    Another thing I thought of after posting this; I'm not a big fan of "I Can't Believe It's Not Chicken" or whatever the call the current crop of meat-substitutes. I'm not morally opposed or anything, I just find them expensive.

    ETA 2: New icon!

    ETA 3: I should probably have mentioned that I'm looking for vegan rather than just vegetarian. I've developed an antagonistic truce with my lactose-intolerance but I'm the food prep for both me and Axel and he hates cheese. Also I want to watch my dietary cholesterol consumption since gallstones are formed directly out of cholesterol.

    ETA 4: I work nights. There is no "after work" for me. I eat my main meal of the day at work so that's why I need food I can pull out of the freezer for today's dinner.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    I've never understood why people denigrate getting old.

    There have been a bunch of times when I was pretty sure I was never going to get old. And I thought it sucked.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    Tomorrow is apparently Human Rights Day. Amnesty International is hosting a letter writing campaign for the day. I'm not sure how many I'll get done, but I signed up for it anyway.

    I also just sent an email to my Evil Overlords from the Climate Friendly Banking website. For some reason I'm finding it very funny. "Dear Boss. Thanks for the bonus. Please invest in sustainable energy. KThxBy."

    As if that isn't bad enough, I even did yoga today. My back hates me considerably less as a result.

    I'll be wearing patchouli next.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    Every friend I have who lives in Parkdale has made at least one comment about the fucking airshow. You can add mine to the list.

    I found myself wondering the other day if it was simple coincidence that led to events like the air show and the Molson Indy being held in what was traditionally one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Toronto.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    So yeah. That stalker thing;

    Don't Feed The Stalker.

    Item the One. I do think it's a good explanation of how a stalker's mind works and in that regard it's useful. Yes, it was written about the experiences of somebody who was exceptionally lucky in that her husband's work took the threats seriously and were willing to take steps to keep her family safe. That part of the story is definitely unusual and the huge majority of people who will have to deal with stalkers will never be that lucky.

    But even for those who are not in the position to leave town and stay in a hotel, who don't have the resources to move from their home or quit their job. Just knowing the "rat pressing the bar" metaphor is information, and all information is useful when you are trying to figure out what the fuck to do in a dangerous situation.

    Item the Two. My purpose in posting it before commenting was because I wanted to see if anybody on my f-list pegged it as victim-blaming before I expressed any opinions on it. Not because I think it is, but because the people I saw linking to it and praising it were some of the exact same people who were praising a trope that was going around a few years ago that said, "Any time you give a woman advice on how to avoid rape you are blaming the victim".

    I could not fathom how this blog post is any different than the stuff they were decrying as victim-blaming. I still don't get why they think there is a difference, but at least I know I'm not the only person who thinks their isn't one.

    Item Three I'm still mulling over, so I'll post it later. Maybe.
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    A few people have linked to this blog post - I'm mulling over my thoughts about it, so I figured I'd throw it up here for y'all to read first.

    Don't Feed The Stalker

    My take to be posted later.

    love bug

    Jul. 17th, 2008 07:21 pm
    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)
    Psychographic marketing techniques helped Raid roach spray marketers discover that the reason low-income Southern women were the heaviest users of roach spray was that "a lot of their feelings about the roach were very similar to the feelings that they had about the men in their lives," said an advertising executive on the account.

    They said the roach, like the men in the their life, "only comes around when he wants food."

    The act of spraying roaches and seeing them die was satisfying to this frustrated, powerless group.

    ~American Demographics, November 1991


    the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)

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