good morning, it's 28 february 2017

Feb. 27th, 2017 11:55 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
As predicted, Sessions is reversing the Justice Department's course on voter rights protections - Texas, first. More will come. He's also laying off investigations into police abuses (dismissing the DOJ report on Chicago police as anecdotal despite not having read it) in favour of crackdowns.

In the house, Nunes is in hard denial; 'We still have not seen any evidence' of Trump campaign, Russia contact. Paul Ryan is ‘We Know Russia Meddled in the Election, No One Is Disputing That’ but it's all about nope nope nope on any investigation of meaning. Rep. Burr (chair, Intelligence committee) - who called himself "inseparable" from Trump - is yet another blocker for any actual investigation. As a fourth article says, "We No Longer Have Three Branches of Government."

First look at the budget proposal involves a 10% hike in military spending and huge cuts in domestic. Combine that with Slate's article on how the Trump administration is slowly taking apart the Federal government via attrition (failing to nominate people to hundreds of positions, etc) - "The Trump Administration’s Not-So-Benign Neglect" - and you've got a picture of unaccountability and hypercentralisation of power in the political administration. And, of course, you've got to have something to use that military buildup against, which is why Trump's ISIS-boosting rhetoric fits in so nicely.

In Trump's war against reporting, you've got a smear campaign against a reporter, and an update on intimidation which includes that report. Also, other countries are starting to use Trump's actions on Friday as an excuse/example in more severe crackdowns against their own journalist corps.

ICE agents are loving Trump's change in direction. The job is "fun" again. They can pick on whoever the fuck they want now and it's all good.

'The Religious Origins of Fake News and “Alternative Facts”' is one of those articles I keep pointing people to (and even writing myself). Maybe it'll sink in at some point.

On the state level: Ohio bill to outlaw marital rape gets zero support from GOP lawmakers; our governor Jay Inslee now ‘more concerned’ after meeting with Trump on health care, immigration; 'Plan A Protest, Lose Your House' Bill, SB 1142, Killed by Arizona House (but they'll try again, I have no doubt), and Mercer Island Jewish community center evacuated following bomb threat as at least 20 other JCCs and schools get bomb threats Monday.

It's February 28, 2017; this is the news )

Le Tarot d'Ambre: Le nombre clé

Feb. 27th, 2017 09:34 pm
yhlee: Amber Tarot Knight of Swords: Benedict (Tarot d'Ambre: Benedict)
[personal profile] yhlee
Le Tarot d'Ambre par F. Nedelec, cont'd

The key number

Unsurprisingly, more numerology.

Read more... )
dewline: (SpacingOttawa)
[personal profile] dewline
Noting my copy of that issue of that magazine as being among today's casualties. Help?

Checking in

Feb. 27th, 2017 08:42 pm
catherineldf: (Default)
[personal profile] catherineldf
Patreon posts are done and posted for my current pledges - recommendation lists of bookstores and comics and graphic novels, and for my patrons pledging at the $6 level, an additional bonus article about woman's bookstores and feminist science fiction and fantasy that I wrote for Women In Science Fiction and Fantasy: An Encyclopedia. February's donations are going to NCLR, which provides legal support and representation for LGBTQ folks dealing with a whole range of issues. I'll be donating to a different nonprofit every month and there will be different rewards each month. Sign up and help me do good works!

Apart from that, working on new stories and getting stuff moving along for Queen of Swords Press (Emily L. Byrne's new collection Knife's Edge comes out soon). There'll also be a new print edition of Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories coming soon. I also just got interviewed for the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast and that'll get posted soon. And I've added a Tea and Ghost Stories Reading at Bingley's Tea Room in Minneapolis in April. More updates coming soon!

Currently watching When We Rise around getting other things done. On the one hand, there's too much going on. On the other, holee shit, they're doing this on primetime for a mainstream audience with kissing and everything. So, thanks, ABC. This is kind of cool and I'm really glad to see it.

Whoops

Feb. 27th, 2017 09:36 pm
dewline: (Default)
[personal profile] dewline
Needed to clean off almost 100 CDs after getting home from the doctor's office after work. In trying to avoid a puddle, I stepped on what I thought was solid snow and earth and landed in a slough. Water, and bits of plants from that soaked through the storage case I was using to take the CDs between work and home.

And this accident happened en route TO the doctor.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
In this weekend's Historicist feature, David Wencer describes for Torontoist an early protest in Toronto against Nazi anti-Semitism and fascism.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 11, 1933, people began gathering in the park at Wellington and Bathurst Streets. Most of the men and women in attendance were labourers, and many were there to represent Toronto’s predominantly Jewish garment industry unions. Some were there to represent various left-wing Toronto political organizations, which were ideologically opposed to Adolf Hitler’s fascist policies and treatment of German workers. Others were motivated to protest by local newspaper reports of pogroms in Hitler’s Germany. Carrying signs and banners reflecting a variety of interests and causes, the crowd paraded up Spadina to Dundas, then east to University Avenue, and finally up University to Queen’s Park, where thousands of others joined. The protest brought together Torontonians of many affiliations, united in their determined opposition to “Hitlerism” and the events unfolding in Germany.

In the early months of 1933, the Toronto press reported regularly on the developments which were taking place in Germany following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. These articles ran not just in the Yiddish-language Der Yiddisher Zhurnal and in radical leftist newspapers, such as Young Worker, but also in the four mainstream Toronto dailies. They described the increasingly restrictive conditions in Germany, and included reports of concentration camps and attacks on Jews in the streets. In their book Riot at Christie Pits, Cyril H. Levitt and William Shaffir write that Toronto’s newspapers “carried horrifying front-page reports of the atrocities against Jews during the first months of Hitler’s rule…In fact, because of the censorship of the media by the Hitler regime, Torontonians probably knew more about what was occurring to Jews in Germany during those fateful months than did most Berliners.”


A Jewish market on Kensington Avenue, January 14, 1932. City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 26172.
A Jewish market on Kensington Avenue, January 14, 1932. City of Toronto Archives, fonds 1266, item 26172.

April of 1933 saw the formation of a new Toronto group, the League for the Defence of Jewish Rights (not to be confused with today’s Jewish Defence League), whose leaders included Rabbi Samuel Sachs and Shmuel Meir Shapiro, editor of Der Yiddisher Zhurnal. The League soon emerged as Toronto’s leading Jewish protest group, and co-organized a massive meeting at Massey Hall on April 2. This meeting, which drew the support of numerous non-Jewish politicians and organizations, included the development of a strategy for countering local antisemitic sentiment, and the organization of a local boycott of German goods. The League was also instrumental in the formation of a new incarnation of a national-level Jewish organization, the Canadian Jewish Congress.

In 1933, Toronto’s Jewish population numbered around 46,000, and was heavily concentrated downtown, near the city’s many clothing factories. In her 1992 book Sweatshop Strife: Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Jewish Labour Movement of Toronto 1900–1939, Ruth A. Frager writes that, by 1931, approximately one-third of Toronto’s gainfully employed Jewish population worked in the needle trades, and that “Jews constituted roughly 46 per cent of the people employed in this sector in this city.”
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
The strength of discount retailers like Giant Tiger and Dollarama, as described by the CBC's Dianne Buckner, reflects underlying weaknesses in the Canadian economy including falling wages.

Whenever Anna Maria Afable travels from British Columbia to visit her friends in Ontario, she makes a point to stop in at a Giant Tiger store.

"We don't have it in B.C.," says Afable, as she browses through the fashion section at a location in Barrie, Ont, the newest of the discount chain's 200 stores across the country. "When we see a Giant Tiger, we drop by and see the price. They have very good prices, very low, affordable for middle-class people."

Ian Ferguson lives in Barrie and is a Giant Tiger regular. "The prices are awesome," he enthuses.

Shoppers like Afable and Ferguson are driving a boom in discount retail. Giant Tiger — better known in rural and suburban Canada than it is in big cities — will add 10 to 15 stores this year, with more to come. Meanwhile, Costco is midway through a seven-store expansion. And the biggest of them all, Dollarama, is adding 60 to 70 new locations this year to its 1,000-store national network.

"At Christmastime you're going to put gold balls on your Christmas tree. Does it matter if they're Ralph Lauren, or the ones you get from Dollarama?" asks Marvin Ryder, a professor of business at Hamilton's McMaster University. "They both look the same."
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
CBC News' Kate McGillivray wrote about the risk of high rents driving young pepe out of Toronto.

Young people across the income spectrum who would like to build lives in Toronto are choosing to leave rather than pay the city's ever-increasing rents.

For 27-year-old Arthur Gallant, that's meant moving from Etobicoke, to Burlington, to Hamilton in search of an affordable apartment for himself and his mother.

"You can only move so far west until you hit water and there's nowhere left to live," he said in an interview with CBC Toronto.

Gallant is one of hundreds of people who reached out to CBC Toronto as part of our No Fixed Address series, which explores the city's rental housing market.

Among the stories that have poured in, many are from native Torontonians like him, who would like to live in Toronto but find that apartments cost more than they are willing or able to pay.

"It's a code-red, sirens-blaring kind of issue because we need to recognize the degree to which the standard of living is in free fall for younger demographics," said Paul Kershaw, a University of British Columbia professor and the founder of Generation Squeeze, a campaign that raises awareness about the economic pressure faced by younger Canadians.

"Housing prices are squeezing younger people out."

(no subject)

Feb. 27th, 2017 08:25 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
InsaneJournal has had a hardware failure that means their service is temporarily offline. To avoid sending traffic to them while they're down, we've temporarily disabled them as a crossposting and importing source. We'll re-enable them when they're back up.

Good luck to [insanejournal.com profile] squeaky with the recovery!

Nikon and the Future of Photography

Feb. 27th, 2017 04:59 pm
lovelyangel: (Mamimi Camera 2)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
PicTitle
NW 21st Ave • Portland, Oregon
AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Nikon’s failure to keep up with social and technology trends, leaving the manufacturer in a poor place, creating unwanted products and losing market share. (Refer to posts at Thom Hogan, Nikon Rumors, Fred Miranda, and Digital Photography Review) The rise of the smartphone and the rapid iterations of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras have obliterated the low end of Nikon’s market. The company announced dismal results for the last quarter, including a large writedown and corporate restructuring. (Nikon Rumors, Thom Hogan)

For years Thom Hogan has been trying to get Nikon to move in the right direction, but the deeply insular Japanese company isn’t interested in outside advice. The future of cameras for the masses is smartphones and inexpensive multi-lens/sensor computational photography. Like film cameras, DSLRs are slowly becoming a niche, and volume sales will continue to decline.

Nikon is starting to figure this out. The latest report is that Nikon is ceding the low end and focusing on Medium to High-end DSLRs and Lenses.

In short, DSLRs are a new kind of dinosaur, heading for extinction – much like film cameras that have all but disappeared. Given that, one could question my decision to invest in new lenses. But I’m pretty sure that I’ll always be a DSLR shooter, even after most folk have moved on. My style is old-school – someone who prefers DSLRs to Instagram and Snapchat… someone who prefers Dreamwidth / LiveJournal to Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Until computational photography catches up, it’s hard to imagine any inexpensive camera matching the image rendering capability of my new 105mm f/1.4 lens. Laws of physics require the glass to be huge. That much glass has to be balanced by an equally weighty camera body, otherwise handling would be awkward. I can’t ever see it becoming obsolete – not in my lifetime, anyway. Even if Nikon exits the consumer photography market, the small, professional market should remain. How Nikon copes with being a much smaller company will be interesting to see.

There’s no reason to think that Nikon will not survive in some form into the 2020s – catering to an aging generation of photographers. They might not get much more money out of me, though. I think I’m set for equipment for a while.

–––––

In migrating from DX to FX over the past two years I’ve 1) experimented with a wide range of focal lengths and 2) accidentally positioned myself in the portion of Nikon’s portfolio that should survive the company’s shakeout.

My work with wide-angle lenses has been interesting and educational… but I always return home to my favorite range – short telephoto (85mm to 135mm). All of my favorite photos were made in this range. I’m betting that 105mm is going to be my home for a long time.

The Nikon D810 is a powerful, versatile camera – yet it’s not a true replacement for the venerable D700 that I once lusted after. Rumor has it that Nikon will put the D5 sensor into a D810 body – and that would be close to a true D700 replacement. As great as the D810 is, I push its limits for high ISO, and I’d love to have good performance at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800. At conventions ISO 3200 is as high as I go on the D810. But I’m a bit conservative. You can be certain I’ll watch with interest if the D900 (or D820h or whatever) is released. The D5 performs well at high ISO but suffers a little bit at low ISO. I’m not sure that I’d notice or be concerned. A D900 would be the only thing that Nikon could release that might get me to break my cap on spending. And at this time the camera is more rumor than threat.

While Nikon gets its act together, I am going to work at getting more out of the gear I already own. I still have a lot to learn.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Natalia Manzocco writes for NOW Toronto about how Bloor Street West is going to soon host a First Nations restaurant.

When Tacos el Asador vacated their perpetually-packed corner unit on Bloor for roomier digs across the street earlier this year, it turns out they were making space for a cuisine that's hugely underrepresented in Toronto: First Nations eats. The new tenant at 607 Bloor West is NishDish, a cafe focused on Anishinaabe recipes, as well as products from First Nations and Metis producers.

At the helm of the new cafe is Anishinaabe chef Johl Whiteduck Ringuette, who's been catering under the NishDish banner for some time, offering dishes like wild duck and hominy corn soups, venison stew, buffalo chili, baked bannock and wild rice. Ringuette promises the "marketeria" will include "Indigenous sourced coffee, quick meals, or check out a vast selection of goods and food products sourced from First Nations, Inuit and Metis people."

Angel’s Month Indulgence #11

Feb. 27th, 2017 02:33 pm
lovelyangel: (Ayu w/taiyaki)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Today (Monday) is my day off from work to celebrate my birthday – even though my birthday was yesterday. As promised, I treated myself to a special lunch at Golden Crown Restaurant. Between Abby’s, Nonna’s, and Golden Crown, I have enough leftovers for three lunches and two breakfasts!
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Michelle Da Silva's brief article in NOW Toronto notes that Queen Street West in Toronto will finally get some free public WiFi--indeed, already has it. Now for the rest of Toronto to follow suit!

Accessing free WiFi in Toronto can often mean ducking into a McDonalds, Starbucks or other fastfood chains. In “world class” cities, such as Tel Aviv, New York City, Seoul, Barcelona, Bangalore and Osaka, free Internet access is readily available everywhere.

The neighbourhood of West Queen West is hoping to change that. Starting February 23, anyone walking along Queen West between Niagara and Markham streets will be able to access free WiFi by logging onto FREE WQW WI-FI.

The service is being offered by the West Queen West BIA and Besify, a Markham-based Internet firm. This stretch of Queen West marks the first phase of a project. Rob Sysak, executive director of the WQW BIA, says that phase two of the project, which includes Queen West between Gladstone and Dovercourt, will launch in March.

Angel’s Day 2017

Feb. 27th, 2017 02:27 pm
lovelyangel: (Aoi Delighted)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Crunchyroll has been having problems in the evenings, so I hadn’t been able to keep up with the weekly anime broadcasts. With Saturday devoted to photography, I deferred anime until Sunday. The best time to watch anime without streaming problems is early in the morning – so anime is the first thing I did after an early breakfast. Once caught up, I was able to do my weekly anime post.

–––––

A newer tradition dictates that I take a self-portrait on my birthday. However, I wasn’t really in the mood… and also I didn’t want to do it with other people in the house. This is not a problem on a weekday birthday, as I have the house to myself. I thought about places I could go – but it was raining hard, so most outdoor venues wouldn’t work… and I didn’t want to pack up a bunch of gear and take it to the office. What was a quick out? I decided I could convert my bedroom into a makeshift studio, and I reused my gray backdrop from 2015. Normally I go with natural lighting, but my bedroom is dark, so I used my LED lights.

For some reason I couldn’t get the D300 to autofocus on me properly, so I swapped out the D300 for the D810. I used the new AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E already mounted on the camera. I bumped up ISO to 800 but in retrospect I should have gone 1600 or 3200. I started with aperture at f/2 but ended up going to f/2.8. Obviously my head wasn’t in the game otherwise I would have checked and seen that the shutter speed degraded from 1/45s to 1/15s to 1/10s. There’s a slight blur/softness to the photos… yet… maybe that’s not a terrible thing when photographing a wrinkled 62-year-old woman. Ah, well. Given how half-hearted I started, I felt fortunate to come away with a photo at all.

–––––

Lunch was my favorite pizza from Abby’s.

Personal activities included watching non-scheduled anime (Naruto Shippuden episode 496; elDLIVE episode 8) and catching up on anime sites and Metafilter.

I received emails from friends. Katie and Daniel gave me my gifts. Even my ex came by and gave me a gift – a rainbow umbrella. I opened cards and gifts that had come in the mail. It was a bountiful day.

Birthday Cards and Gifts
Birthday Cards and Gifts

In the evening I picked up Jenni at her home and we went to Nonna Emilia’s for my traditional birthday dinner. We kept the dinner and chat to two hours as she had to work over the weekend, but any amount of time with my dearest friend is a treasure and a delight. On top of that, my birthday gift from her was a beautiful set of Silver and Amethyst Earrings to go with the stunning Pendant Jenni gave to me two years ago. Coincidentally, I wore that pendant to dinner and could model the new combination of jewelry. Pretty awesome! The dinner was a fitting cap to Angel’s Day.

Silver and Amethyst Earrings by Verbena Place Jewelry
Silver and Amethyst Earrings by Verbena Place Jewelry
Birthday Gift from Jenni
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
NOW Toronto's Susan G. Cole notes how independent bookstores in Toronto are upset by a grant of money by the Toronto municipal government to a literary festival.

A grant from the Toronto Arts Council to the International Festival of Authors, bestowed last fall, has outraged programmers for the city’s independent bookstores.

“The decision to fund IFOA feels like a nail in the coffin for indie bookstores and shows the Arts Council’s lack of concern for the financial health of independent booksellers,” says Another Story event organizer Anjula Gogia, representing other indie stores and festivals as well, including Pages Unbound and Glad Day Books.

The IFOA’s new program called Toronto Lit Up has received close to $300,000 over three years and is designed to assist publishers in launching new books by Toronto authors.

IFOA director Geoffrey Taylor explains that a committee – comprised of himself, author Dionne Brand, Quill and Quire’s Allison Jones and Hazel Millar, representing the Literary Press Group – has been formed to allocate the monies and is accepting applications from publishers and authors seeking funds for launches.

The problem, according to Gogia, the former programmer for the now shuttered Toronto Women’s Bookstore, is that indie stores could very well be squeezed out of the launch scene that’s so crucial to their businesses. Books sold at launches represent their bread and butter.

Our Favourite Media of January 2017

Feb. 27th, 2017 07:44 pm
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Favorite Media (favorite media)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Each month, we look back over the media we loved in the previous month, from books to film to video games and more. There's still lots of art out there to love. ♥


Read more... )

(no subject)

Feb. 27th, 2017 07:11 pm
shark_hat: (Default)
[personal profile] shark_hat
I went to Barcelona, because I have worked out that if I have a long weekend somewhere with longer days in February it us a good thing all round, and it was brill. Looked at the Med, and went on a tiny boat trip that got all of about a quarter mile outside the harbour; also looked at cathedrals, alleys, ironwork, gardens, hills, markets, Roman walls, etc. Ate lots of tapas and seafood (yum, cuttlefish) and cream catalana (creme brûlée with cinnamon and/or lemon zest in). Was pleased by the many places selling small paper cones of Iberico ham to eat as you stroll.
It tipped it down one day but otherwise there was lots of lovely DAYLIGHT.
And I found out about Eusabi Guell, who was a 19th C multibillionaire (in today's money) who was a bit of a religious nut and also quite into Catalan nationalism. So what he did was fund literary magazines and be a patron for lots of musicians and artists and sculptors and this weird architect who wanted to meld Art Nouveau with traditional Catalonian materials and craftsmanship, and what I'm saying is that if CERTAIN PEOPLE spent a shitload of money on the arts then maybe CERTAIN COUNTRIES would be a lot better off than other forms of nationalism will leave them, because over a hundred years later Catalonia is still doing very nicely thank you from Gaudi tourism. So well done el Sr. Guell.
(Guell's townhouse was Gaudi's first commission, and it is a mixture of rich-people-odd, like the ground floor being designed to drive your carriage right in (the stables are in the basement) or there being five salon rooms of various degrees of intimacy but only three rooms for the ten children and their nurses, arts-patron-odd like the whole house being designed round a 50-foot-high room with perfect acoustics and a gallery for choir and orchestra, and Gaudi-odd like the random wiggly closets in the corners of the master suite. It is very lavish and strange. The family only lived there for a few years as apparently Guell's wife never liked it.)
renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Revenger had all the things that sounded directly up my alley:
  • sisters leaving home to have adventures
  • ladies learning cool new things about the world
  • heists at dangerous locales
  • pirates!
  • ominous tales of a ruthless captain
  • bloody revenge
  • team ups
Friends, it is true that this book contains all of those things and they were wonderful. Not only did I get those, Alastair Reynolds read my mind and gave me the following:
  • robot pals
  • grudging partnerships
  • ladies being brutal in order to save people they love and themselves
  • cool gadgets
  • mysterious worldbuilding
Read more... )

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