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June 5th, 2015
01:10 pm

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On not having a bra size
A woman goes to six bra stores-- the usual advice is that women don't know what their bra size is, and they should go to a store and get a professional fitting. This turns out to be as good advice as just saying "go to a doctor".

Even if you aren't especially interested in the subject, the article might be worth reading.

The author has a fine hand with her snark: "This bra itself is a Lilyette “infinity back smoothing minimizer,” which isn’t so much a description as it is just four words hanging together for dear life." "

"Upon closer inspection, I discover that the “push-up” mechanism of this bra is literally some air bags. Presumably this is a safety feature?"

One important bit is that women don't have bra sizes because (as with other women's clothing) there is no standardization in bra sizes. Bras that are labelled as the same size aren't the same size. The map is not the territory.

The conclusions, which (with a little generalization for some of them) apply to much more than buying bras:
1. You should be fitted for a bra every time you buy a new one. Just because you’ve recently had a bra that fit you in one size doesn’t mean that they’re all going to fit well.
2. Be honest with the person fitting you. They are human people like you who do not have the ability to read your mind, and they can’t help you unless you tell them your concerns — and if they totally ignore your concerns, then it’s time to go somewhere else.
3. Never buy anything you don’t love. At the end of the day, it’s my fault for buying a bra that I didn’t feel comfortable in, because I let myself be convinced that my instincts were wrong. Nobody threatened to strangle me with a bra strap if I didn’t hand over my credit card.
4. A good fit is what feels good to you. Do you feel comfortable? Supported? Can you put your bra on without having to adjust it 85 times a day like a crazy person? Does it make you feel your best in clothes? Then you’re wearing the right bra size, and everyone else can shut their mouths. Case closed.


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June 4th, 2015
11:06 am

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Political joke
Did you know, there's a Republican who isn't running for president?

Oh, nobody you've ever heard of.

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June 2nd, 2015
02:28 pm

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What does a muse look like?
I recently saw a rant about the unsatisfactoryness of the Spectrum sf art award, and when I looked at the award, my first thought was "That doesn't look anything like a muse", but I don't have a clear idea of what a Muse does look like. (I've got a negative imagination-- I'm sure I've never seen a satisfactory representation of a hobbit, but that doesn't mean I know what a good representation would be.)

A muse (a personal muse, not a goddess of an art) should look as though it will come in close and go away at its own will, but I can't think of how you'd express the idea in a single statue.

My muse (or at least something in the back of my head) has recommended a mass of swirling colors, and if you wanted a fantasy award statue, fantasy creatures could be worked into the colors. Still, anyone have a human or humanoid who looks either like your muse or who expresses the idea of a muse for people in general?

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May 29th, 2015
11:00 am

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Dissecting a (Komodo) Dragon
This is interesting in itself, but I think it's especially the sort of thing science fiction authors should know.

I don't think I've seen a dissection of a real full-sized dragon in sf. Sorry, but for those purposes, the Lady Trent novels don't count, even though I like them very much. Those dragons aren't big enough. They are quite satisfying, but they're basically big naturalistic predators. (I've only read the first two books-- if there's something different in book three, don't tell me.)

Dissecting a monitor lizard is quite enough trouble-- I didn't know they have bits of bone in their scales, so that the skin is very hard to cut through. Or that they seem to have venom, just in case the bacteria in their mouths aren't deadly enough.

Link thanks to andrewducker.

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May 28th, 2015
06:17 pm

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A conservative is actually funny
Cthulhu vs. the Sweet Meteor of Death
I should note that the claim that Cthulhu is evil has actually sparked some controversy on Twitter. Some of his devotees tell me that he’s beyond mortal conceptions of evil which, of course, is what evil people always say. Moreover, his campaign slogan is “Why vote for the lesser evil?” Is he lying? Will he be a flip-flopper, refusing to follow through on his platform of full-spectrum evil? The last thing this country needs is an EDINO — Evil Deity In Name Only. No, I take him at his word.

This rather reminds me of Dave Barry, possibly with hints of Mencken and/or Twain-- quite refreshing since I've gotten a little tired of Cracked's house style.

Link thanks to libertarianhawk.

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May 27th, 2015
11:09 am

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3 lost pages from A Wrinkle in Time
The desire for security is a lot of how Camazotz happened.

The pages themselves.

Links thanks to nwhyte-- I substituted my first link for his because the WSJ link was paywalled.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1069078.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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May 19th, 2015
10:08 am

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A new spin on self-reference


This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1068817.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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May 14th, 2015
02:11 pm

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The Bad Moon Rising Emotional Spectrum
Very sinister from Peter Dreimanis



Steady and reasonable advice from the original Credence Clearwater, included to prevent emotional whiplash



Absurdly cheerful, and including a chipper Scottish reel. An ideal modern version would include dancing zombies. And a werewolf band.


First link from Marie Brennan at swan_tower.

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May 13th, 2015
08:14 pm

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The Hot Equations-- a puppy worth reading
There's been a recent controversy about the Hugo slate, and unfortunately, there's a good piece of writing which might get lost in everything else that's going on. Ideally, people nominate for the Hugos based on their personal enthusiasm, but this year's promulgation of slates meant that there were a number of successful nominees which don't have huge amounts of personal support and a movement to vote all those nominees below No Award.

Most of what was on the slates was mediocre fiction (I've read some of it and "mediocre" was generous) or so famous (Jim Butcher, Guardians of the Galaxy) that the Hugos controversy isn't going to affect whether it will be seen.

However, The Hot Equations by Ken Burnside is by a new author (new to sf writing-- he's been a game designer for some time), buried down in Best Related Work, and important for the field. It's a tightly written piece about the thermodynamics of space combat, and has plot and world-building implications for hard sf. While I'm not qualified to judge the physics, it got the Seal of Approval from Project Rho, and I hope that's good enough evidence.

The article is built on the assumption of no new physics.

The main points are that stealth is impossible in space for anything that can carry humans. Hopeless, hopeless, hopeless. Give up on plots that depend on sneaking your soldiers into place.

I see some possibilities in subverting the opposition's instruments. I wonder whether there's anything worth doing with very small and nasty devices, but I'm not sure how much they can do if they're that small.

The rest is about the constraints caused by the limitations of rocketry. You need an advanced technological base for your rocket to take off. You can't just land on an uninhabited[1] planet and then leave. Sorry, Heinlein. You can't change your destination in the middle of a trip. Delta V is expensive.

Good orbits are rare-- Heinlein got that right with bunches of rockets relatively close to each other in The Rolling Stones. Everything has to be thought out long in advance.

You can read "The Hot Equations" for 99 cents at the link above (the money doesn't go to Vox Day). "The Hot Equations" will be included in the Hugo voting packet, which will also get you a bunch of other reading material (I'm not sure whether all the novels are included) for $40 from Worldcon.

[1] Corrected from "uninhibited'-- it took me hours to realize why people were making those jokes

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1068171.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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08:07 pm

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Medieval Chant and Polyphony by Anonymous 4


I liked it a lot, and if you're part of the "I don't need much melody if the harmony is good enough" club, you might like it, too.

Name of group found in the comments here, by way of Marginal Revolution.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1068403.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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