The most dangerous man in the world

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:46 pm
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[personal profile] thnidu
From Newsweek



ON 9/27/17 AT 8:00 AM

After the American Psychiatric Association expanded its so-called Goldwater Rule into a gag order on mental health professionals, the forensic psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee organized a conference at Yale with the title, "Does Professional Responsibility Include a Duty to Warn?" to discuss the rule and its relevance during the increasingly alarming Trump presidency. While only two dozen attended physically in an atmosphere of fear, the conference tapped a huge groundswell of interest in the forms of hundreds of communications from mental health professionals: just as football players don't give up their right to free speech when they take the field, they agreed that the moral and civic duty to warn about the president's dangerousness should supersede professional rules about neutrality. This led to Dr. Lee editing a new book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Professionals Assess a President. Here are excerpts from four of the essays in the book.

read the article )

Golf and Television Won't Make America Great Again
trump nfl
Trump’s Bullying Tactics Are Backfiring Spectacularly
Steve Bannon, on '60 Minutes,' Fights Trump's War
How Republicans Came to Win Just About Everything



Oct. 21st, 2017 09:36 am
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[personal profile] nancylebov

Ex-KGB guy lecturing about subversion in 1983.

The beginning is ... amusing. He claims that the Soviet Union is immune to subversion because it's closed off from outside influences. It might also be amusing that he claims religion is the only thing which holds a society together, but fails to notice that the USSR tried to weaken religion.

However, his claims that it's possible to take a society down by amplifying its internal disruptive influences might be true.

The part that catches my attention is that cultivating no-compromise attitudes among people is very destructive. And that if you're looking to punish the other guy rather than get a good solution for the both of you, you're heading for trouble.

Unfortunately, it takes two to cooperate.

I'm wondering whether the world is worse than it needs to be, not so much because people are personally rotten as because there are organizations encouraging bad behavior for reasons which have nothing to do with the self-interest of the obvious culprits.

I suggest that malice is not adorable. Even if it's from people you agree with against people you don't trust. And that tear-it-all-downism might actually be bad for you.

There's a challenge here because hunting for negative foreign influence can also be a destructive force.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Look for people of good will. Don't make things worse. giveaway of Winter Tide

Oct. 19th, 2017 04:13 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights is giving away the ebook of Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys until midnight October 20.

It is a response to Lovecraft, but Kirkus describes it as "essentially a story about identity, found families, wrapped in a cozy mystery. With magic. And monsters. Except the monsters are not exactly who you expect them to be."

Put down that phone!

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:25 am
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[personal profile] thnidu
Intensive smartphone use may be harmful to our cognitive capabilities, study suggests

ERIC W. DOLAN  October 10, 2017

A new study published in the journal PLOS One provides preliminary evidence that smartphones are linked to reduced cognitive abilities. The researchers found intensive smartphone use was associated with reduced math performance in particular.

Click title for story.

(Of course, you know how I'm posting this.)

reading wednesday

Oct. 19th, 2017 02:19 am
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
[This is actually from last Wednesday but I'm just going to post it now anyway]
• What are you reading?

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy, by Erin Wunker. It's a bits-and-pieces book, but all the bits are in conversation with other writers, and with reality; even its bittyness recalls how Tillie Olsen would carry a sentence in her mind, polishing it in scraps of time between interruptions, through a day of women's work, a day of no peace, no privacy, no silence, no solitude.
When I started this book, I wanted to write something unimpeachable. Something so clear and objective, it could be a little dictionary or translation phrase book for how to speak a feminist language and live a feminist life. I wanted what many other writers -- the many-gendered mothers of my heart -- had already written. I wanted A Room of One's Own, Sister Outsider, Willful Subjects, Islands of Decolonial Love. I wanted Feminism is for Everybody and The Dream of a Common Language. I wanted No Language is Neutral.

I wanted books that had already been written by people whose experiences of moving through the world are different -- often radically so -- from mine.


I got stuck.
I read some more.
I remembered that I tell my students that reading and writing are attempts at joining conversations, making new ones, and, sometimes, shifting the direction of discourse.
I sat down at my typewriter again.

• What did you recently finish reading?

George & Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl.

Lizzie agreed. "I remember reading a novel in which one of the characters, a college professor, was writing a book on the influence of Emily Dickinson on Shakespeare and how his colleagues always misheard it and thought it was the other way around. I wish I could remember the title, because talking about it now makes me want to read it again. It's so interesting to think about. Do you think we read Shakespeare differently because of Dickinson's poems?"

I remember reading that too! It was by David Lodge, I think Changing Places? I read it about the same age Lizzie did. Not at the same time: I'm maybe ten years older than Lizzie. But, like Lizzie, I grew up in Michigan and went to UM and struggled with depression most of my life and, as a young woman, tried to claim my sexuality in ways that were bad for me and for the people I interacted with. Lizzie feels real to me, is what I'm saying, and I'm okay with the fact that the people around her are kind of one-note because the problem this book is about is: if you can't stop being sad about your shitty childhood even though your life is no longer shitty, if you can't stop punishing yourself for bad choices that you made long ago, if you can't stop trying to change something that happened long ago and wasn't in your control even then. . . then how do you stop?
[Lizzie says] "They're your thoughts, right? How can you not think them?"
Marla struggled to answer. "I don't know, but people do it. I think I let go of things, or at least try to. You have to, really, otherwise you're weighted down with all those cumulative bad memories. James and I used to talk about that baby missing from our lives, whether it was a boy or a girl, whether we could find out who adopted it, whether we'd ever forgive our parents, why we didn't just say 'Screw you' to them back then and get married after I got pregnant. I mean, you know, it was so present. It was always there in our lives. But if we kept that up there'd be no place for anything else. And now we just acknowledge all that awful stuff happened, that maybe we made the wrong decision, that we were just kids. We were just kids. You have to forgive yourself eventually, right?"

Lizzie's husband George got famous by explaining that, while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, but his explanation doesn't work for Lizzie. George doesn't seem to understand that, for some people, that's liberating, but for others, it says that your suffering was your choice and therefore your fault. I'd offer Lizzie Season of Mists, because "you don't have to stay anywhere forever" worked for me, but how a story works depends as much on the reader as on the story.

Which is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to write good stories. This one has a stupid editing oversight that dumped me right out:
[Marla:]"I love you Lizzie, and always will. And I will always, always, keep your secrets. But this, what this means to you and George, is an important secret. It's not the equivalent of a little white lie. It'd be like me not telling James about the abortion."
[Lizzie:]"But James knew about the abortion, he was with you when you had it."
"Don't be deliberately naive, it doesn't become you. You know what I mean: some other James I was involved with."

What abortion, I wondered? Was there an abortion as well as a baby given up for adoption? When?

No, it must have been changed from an abortion to an adoption at some point. Which was a good change: it's believable that Marla would find it harder to move on with her life after carrying the baby for nine months, while knowing that there was a person out there that she felt responsible for but had no ability to protect. But leaving evidence of the change in the story made me notice how flat all the other characters are, how they are the way they are in order to serve Lizzie's story.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, by H.P. Lovecraft.

Simply the most...

Oct. 18th, 2017 03:14 pm
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
[personal profile] thnidu
... jaw-dropping "Anywhere's Got Talent" performance I've ever seen.

And another pretty darn amazing one.

Dear Google...

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:22 am
thnidu: A maze. (maze)
[personal profile] thnidu
How can I grant RW permission to an app? SaneBox has modified its code and says that to change from the full access that it formerly required to RW, which is all it needs now, we have to revoke access and then grant RW. If we can do it thru you, please tell us how; if we have to do it through the app (in this case, SaneBox), please say so. Either way it won't take much work or space.

Okay, that's a good way

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:33 am
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[personal profile] kestrell
Okay Google gives Halloween costume ideas. I tried it twice and the first suggestion was pretty bland, but I did really like the second suggestion about being an entire ecosystem ("It's all in the hat: try making it a tree canopy or a cloud layer"), but really, it's the short intro and the survey you get tht make it fun.

Movie review of "Gerald's Game"

Oct. 15th, 2017 11:30 am
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[personal profile] kestrell
Alexx and I have been big fans of the director Mike Flanagan ever since we saw his first full-length movie, "Oculus," so when we saw that his newest film, "Gerald's Game," based on Stephen King's book, had just become available on Netflix, we jumped on it.

Flanagan quite literally outdid himself on this film, to which I give a jaw-dropping "Wow."

Most people know the set up for the plot: Gerald and his wife Jessie arrive at an isolated cabin for a romantic weekend in hopes of reviving their marriage, but after Gerald's sex game of handcuffing Jessie to a bedpost ends abruptly with Gerald dropping dead of a heart attack, Jessie is left helpless to deal with various dangers, not least of which are her own disturbing memories.

I've mentioned before that I don't watch movies which include the emotional and/or sexual abuse of women and children, but I am qualifying that in regard to this movie:

Jessie's experiences of emotional and sexual abuse are seamlessly wowven into her story, they are part of who she is. Her sense of powerlessness at the beginning of the story is a kind of psychological and emotional impotence which mirrors Gerald's sexual impotence. Throughout the movie we see Jessie develop into a different kind of final girl, one whose hardest battle is to learn to confront and conquer her inner demons. This film made me aware of how little credit Stephen King gets for creating such complex female characters as Jessie, and how little attention is given to his novels featuring female protagonists, such as _Doris Claiborne_ (which has narrative links to _Gerald's Game_), _Rose Madder_, and _Lisey's Story_ (another Mike Flanagan favorite). Btw, if Carla Gugino, who plays Jessie, doesn't get nominated for an award for her performance in this film I'll be very disappointed.

Perhaps you've heard the William Faulkner quote: "The past isn't dead; the past isn't even past." I mentioned that Jessie's past and present are seamlessly woven together, and Flanagan's technique for accomplishing this is one of the most stunning aspects of the film. He did it before in his film "Oculus," but in "Gerald's Game" he does it on a much larger, more intricate, scale. In a GQ article, Flanagan mentions how Stephen King's book _Gerald's Game_ was his favorite book, and he tried to pitch it as a movie for years, despite people repeatedly telling him that it was unfilmable.
I'm bemused by the thought that it might well have been his mental exercise in attempting to solve the problem of filming his favorite book that led to his ability to present multiple timelines not just happening simultaneously, but interacting with and influencing each other.

One of the things I love about horror movies is that the sound design often speaks for itself, and "gerald's Game" is going to become one of my favorite examples of this.

I've mentioned before how horror directors often use sound to make scenes more scary, and Flanagan has fully embraced this. I have a pretty simple test for how good a film's sound design is, which is that I can tell what's going on solely by the sound of the movie, without Alexx describing it. There is this one infamously horrifying scene in the story, and when we got to it, Alexx was too grossed out to describe it in detail, but trust me, it was just as horrifying to listen to.

I'm tempted to go on and gush about how great the script is, but this review is already too long, so I'll just settle for saying that Stephen king novels tend toward having lots of words, but Flanagan chose all the best ones for this film.

Now I'll just be impatiently anticipating Flanagan's next work, a Netflix series adaptation of Shirley Jackson's _The Haunting of Hill House_, which will also star Carla Gugino.

Witchy spice jars

Oct. 13th, 2017 02:18 pm
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[personal profile] kestrell
This has been a fun week for checking out the Halloween aisles for spooky stuff. TeenyBuffalo and I went to Michael's on Sunday, where I picked up a couple of ceramic jars labeled "Organic Filtered Poison" and "Bat Wings." I put lemon drops in the poison jar, and just filled the "Bat Wings" jar with the small rubber bats that Alexx found for me. I already had a couple other plastic jars with witchy labels (the "Eye of Newt" jar is my button jar, though there is also a crocheted human eyeball in there), so now it's a collection.

What's for brunch?

Oct. 12th, 2017 11:05 am
thnidu: X RATED Food Porn. The X is a crossed fork & knife (food porn)
[personal profile] thnidu
Until I get my permanent dentures, I only have temporary ones, which are there to help my gums heal into a proper shape, to look better, and to speak more clearly. For conversation I take out the top one: maybe TMI ) Since I have no teeth at all now, I can't chew and I am eating only foods that don't require chewing – at most, that I can squish between my tongue and my palate.

This has forced me to be rather creative in the kitchen, which is a new situation for me since I am very little of a cook. Lots of use of scrambled eggs with cheese, or instant oatmeal cooked by microwave, often with an egg or two dropped into it (gotta have that protein!).

Today's breakfast was a new multiple combination: two large eggs scrambled with: a lot of Fontina cheese that I just grated fine, some of the red quinoa that I cooked a few days ago, and riced (chopped/diced very fine) cauliflower from the bag of it that I bought at Trader Joe's. The result? Novel, and pretty good. B+.

Meme time: Amendment

Oct. 11th, 2017 02:26 am
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[personal profile] mneme
Migrated from Miles Vokosigan of FB (who is apparently nolonger in the LJ/DWverse?)

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT: If you could add one Amendment to the US Constitution, what would it be?

Here's mine (warning: it's a mouthful).

Every citizen of the United States of the age of majority is guarunteed an equal vote and an equal share of representation for senators, as well as for federal, state, and local representitives. Accordingly:

1. No Citizen of the country at or above the age of majority shall be denied the right to vote for any reason save an act of rebellion.

2. The states are required to make sure that all citizens are eligible to vote have the ability to vote in both semifinal and final elections, facing no bars such as unreasonable waiting periods, unnecessary voter registration, or unreasonable demands for identification beyond that needed to prove that they are a citizen of the United States (or for local elections, if that is not required, a local reseident).
a. This also means that a means of voting shall be made available to any citizen who might otherwise have problems voting due to residency, illness, disability, or incarceration.

3. Henceforward, the President and all other top executive offices of cities, states, and the country will be elected via direct popular vote of the populace.

4. No bar should be allowed to an equal exercise of the franchise based on any basis except that listed out here -- including location of residence, except that one must be resident within an area in order to vote for their executive officer or representative body or bodies. As such, the practice of Districting for the purpose of determining voting areas is hereby banned; instead, states and all other territories of the United States must use a voting system that apportions representitives in a manner proportional to the voters preferences.

a. All citizens must be able to vote in national elections and to elect representitives to the governing bodies of this nation, so non-state-resident citizens shall be considered as living in the non-geographical state of United, which shall be given Representitives and Senators as any other state.

5. In order that no cartel should henceforth control the choices available to our fellow citizens, all elected offices will also have their final candidates set via public and open semifinal elections, which like final elections, must allow choice of multiple candidates and produce fair and proportional results. Thus, there shall be one set of finalists for the Presidency and Vice Presidentcy throughout the nation, rather than separate and potentially contradictory sets of finalists in the several states. Congress shall make laws determining how this election proceeds, and whether the President and Vice President are elected and/or nominated together or separately.

6. All election days shall henceforth be national holidays, that no ciitzen be prevented by hardship or financial burden from exercising their rights and duty.

The Wikidata symbol

Oct. 10th, 2017 10:56 pm
thnidu: cat staring out at you, photoshopped into wild colors (Pow Wow cat)
[personal profile] thnidu
Looking at Wikidata just now, I noticed something about their symbol that I had never realized before.

That isn't just a random pseudo-barcode. It spells "WIKI" in Morse Code:
 .-- .. -.- ..
  W  I   K  I
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