elf: Petalwing, singing (Petalwing Singing)
[personal profile] elf
Oh good. Back to song topics that don't make me want to rip my hair out.

Had to stop and think about this one, because "love the voice" is not high on my priority lists for songs I enjoy most. But for a long time, I listed my favorite type of music as "anything with a baritone voice and acoustic guitar."

What You Need | Dance Magic | I'm on Fire | Love Is Chemical | Holly Holy | Wherefore and Why | Stay Young | The Warrior | Rainy Days & Mondays | Delta Dawn | It's So Easy

And one where the vocals are so pretty, I almost forget that I love the lyrics, too )

Meme list

Mags' War

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:12 pm
mildred_of_midgard: (Aragorn)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
The other big accomplishment I was hinting at is that I've finally started to post Mags' War, my 300,000 word sequel to my first Hunger Games fic, which was only (!) 120,000 words long.

"Starting" to post, one chapter at a time, because I'm still touching up a few remaining chapters.

Now that this 3-year saga is nearing its end, there's a chance that my blog here will become more interesting as I read and think about things other than Finnick/Annie/Cashmere/Johanna hurt/comfort. There's also a chance that I'll start writing some of my other Finnick/Annie/Cashmere/Johanna/Mags plot bunnies. Who can know such things?

Meanwhile, have the first chapter of the first part of the second (volume? installment? not sure what to call it) of the Mags-verse series.

Mags' War, Part 1 (4992 words) by thankyoufinnick
Fandoms: Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
Rating: Mature
Archive Warning: Rape/Non-Con
Relationships: Annie Cresta/Finnick Odair, Mags & Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason & Finnick Odair, Annie Cresta & Mags
Characters: Finnick Odair, Annie Cresta, Johanna Mason, Mags (Hunger Games)
Additional Tags: Hunger Games-Typical Death/Violence, Implied/Referenced Rape/Non-con, Alternate Universe - Canon Divergence, Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD, Agoraphobia, Chronic Pain, Implied/Referenced Child Abuse, Forced Prostitution, Dubious Consent, Implied/Referenced Drug Use
Series: Part 2 of the Mags-verse series

Recovering from a stroke, Mags isn't expecting to live to see the revolution she's cultivated for so long.

Finnick is prepared to pay any price for her life, even if it means marrying a Capitolite and never seeing Mags, Annie, or District Four again.

President Snow is deciding on an appropriate punishment for District Four's transgressions.

Along comes Katniss Everdeen, to turn everyone's plans upside down.

Er... second nostalgia post

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:16 pm
author_by_night: (cool_large)
[personal profile] author_by_night
For Deathly Hallows. And I can't really think of anything to say. :/

I guess I can ask a few questions! 

1. If you've been re-reading (or have re-read recently enough to remember), what are your impressions now versus then? 

2. Did you have any fan theories that came true, OR that were the exact opposite of what happened?

3. Did you write or read any fics that were eerily close to DH?

4. Anything else?

I am eventually going to do a Buffy/HP caption crossover. Or another one, I should say. Maybe over the weekend. :) And I will get to those drabbles eventually.
[syndicated profile] city_lab_rss_feed

Posted by Linda Poon

When a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck the Chinese province of Sichuan in 2008, entire towns were wiped away. Some 70,000 people died, and nearly 1.5 million had to be relocated. But with the summer Olympics were right around the corner, China’s government tried to reconstruct everything in as little as three years.

Not surprisingly, quality suffered. Rural residents lost their livelihoods as the government relocated them to urban areas. Others wound up in oversimplified villages that ignored basic things like road access. And because national officials ignored local knowledge of hazards like landslide zones, high-profile developments came undone before completion.

Compare that to the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake that devastated Japan’s port city of Kobe and knocked down a network of highways. There, local governments led recovery efforts, with national leaders providing funding and resources. Kobe today is filled with new, earthquake-proofed development, though 20 years on, the city acknowledges that the rebuilding progress has been challenging.

Both events present useful direction and cautionary advice for how to rebuild communities when calamity strikes. In fact, there’s no one right way to do it. “It’s hard to say that any disaster is a complete disaster,” says Laurie Johnson, an urban planner and disaster planning consultant. “There are lessons to be learned in all recovery efforts.”

In a new book, After Great Disasters, Johnson and co-author Robert Olshansky, head of urban and regional planning at University of Illinois, draw from decades of research to examine how six countries navigated the complex process of shelling out funds and leading action in times of panic and confusion. In examples from China, Japan, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, and the U.S., balance—of speed versus deliberation, short-term rebuilding versus long-term planning, centralized approaches versus grassroots efforts—turn out to be key.

The world faces all manner of environmental threats. Cities, in particular, are vulnerable to calamity—but can also be particularly prepared. CityLab spoke to both authors to find out how.

What is a common misconception about disaster recovery among leaders?

Olshanksy: The [top-down] method is seen as a way to accomplish physical reconstruction quickly, which a lot of governments see as an indicator [of success].

But there's a lot more to recovery. Public involvement and citizen empowerment are really critical. In China, [the government] was just really focused on physical reconstruction, and it was done at the price of not fully considering the social and economic issues.

Governments need to think in terms of information management and transparency—and to listen. Really, the citizens need to be treated as full partners.

The metaphor I use is the masses with torches and pitchforks outside the castle, all wanting to have their houses rebuilt. The natural response is to hunker down and figure this out quickly so we’ll close the castle doors. But the people get shut out like that. You’re better off to open the doors and let them be a part of it. Ironically, you may actually end up doing things more quickly because you won’t get bogged down with excessive lawsuits and protests.

Personally, I really like the Indonesia case; they had very much of a emphasis on owner-driven housing construction and community driven processes.

Going back to the idea of transparency, Indonesia really embraced the idea of sharing data following the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami. They set up a public database tracking 500 recovery organizations and their projects, as well as where the money was coming and going. And this was back in 2005.

Olshanksy: When you award reconstruction money, you want announce it publicly [to avoid] corruption and redirection of funds. That was [Indonesia’s] stated purpose.

It takes resources and intention to do that. You have to have the budget and people designated to do that. And if you don’t have that pre-stated as a goal—that you want to be transparent, and you want to list all of the grants and all of the contracts online—it won’t happen.

But I think a lot of places are doing that now. It took a while in New Orleans [after Hurricane Katrina], but eventually, everything was getting posted.

How should the roles of the national and local governments be divided for maximum efficiency?

Olshansky: The national levels of government are really good at providing resources, which is money and technical guidance. But because of that, they tend to want to micromanage everything. That's where you start to run into problems, because they don't really know what the local circumstances really are.

To me, the best way to do this is to is for them to provide large amounts of flexibility to local governments. Sometimes you just need to be willing to take risks, in terms of fears about how the money is being spent.

In Japan, the national government is requiring that the local governments had to have at least 80 percent of [private landowners] agreeing to [government land acquisitions for post-disaster redevelopment]. But some people were dead, and some of them [moved] far away. To hold up this whole process, it would take forever. And so [local leaders] just went and they fought it. Sometime it’s just about local governments pushing back and making the case for themselves.

Japan is no stranger to large-scale disasters, like the 1923 earthquake that nearly wiped out Tokyo. The mayor then had a grand vision for its long-term recovery to transform the nation’s capital into an ultra-modern city—which didn’t happen as quickly as he had hoped. You often hear that the silver lining of disaster is that it offers a blank slate for a city to reinvent itself. What are the lessons to be drawn from this ambition?

Olshansky: A city is a complicated self-organizing system, and there's no one body in charge. After a disaster, businesses are starting to organize themselves, individuals are starting to figure out how to rebuild their homes, and utility districts are figuring how to fix their sewage. The idea that everything can be completely reinvented is not really realistic.

But the goal [for leaders] is figuring out where you might intervene in that system to make its come back better and smarter. That’s where it helps to have more information and better transparency so that all of those individual actors cooperate.

You argue that, in the U.S., 9/11 was a turning point for disaster recovery, in that it changed how the national and state governments coordinated recovery policies.

Johnson: In a way, the first U.S. disaster policies were agrarian—thinking of crop disaster and floodplain management. With 9/11, you've got tremendous infrastructure needs in a dense, concentrated area. You couldn't you couldn't just slowly repair one piece of infrastructure without repairing another [as you would in a more rural town]. You need to have money come swiftly, and coordinated.

Congress [was already] beginning to use Community Development Block Grants for disaster recovery provisions. [In post 9/11 New York,] that really went on steroids for the community-scale housing and commercial support that was needed. That set the precedent for using CDBG after Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and for the way the program is structured—now, the grant recipient is the state, instead of HUD-entitled communities. That just wasn't efficient for the standpoint of creating [coordinated] action plans. It was also easier to manage the money.

One similarity across the countries is the creation of new federal entities in the midst of a disaster. You have the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority in New Zealand and the national Reconstruction Agency in Japan, for example. What have you learned about why these emerge, despite the fact that recovery is usually best left to local leaders?

Johnson: The process of recovery is very localized—it's putting your house and livelihood back, repairing our roads and infrastructure. But with large-scale disasters, demands for money raise the stakes for financing the recovery. They need to make sure that the money is well spent. So I think these organizations emerged to manage a part of that conundrum.

So for recovery to go smoothly, you can’t just pursue a centralized management approach, or a decentralized one. You need a bit of both. How do you strike that balance?

Johnson: Well, you can have multilevel governance. You can have a centralized process, but still have a process by which you're gathering information and input into that process in a more collaborative way.

It's really interesting, the way New Zealand is set up. If they're going to revise a national act, they make the announcement and then collect input for a period of time. Some policy guys go and write the draft, and then that goes out for another round of public input. That's with local governments, with the public, and with special interest groups—they all sort of get treated this kind of equally as a submission.

In recovery efforts, those actors are not all the same. But governments do better when they realize, “Here are your stakeholders, here are your key actors in recovery. We need to give them some sort of role in the decision making.”

[syndicated profile] science_daily_topsci_feed
Everyone knows that exposure to pollution during rush hour traffic can be hazardous to your health, but it's even worse than previously thought. In-car measurements of pollutants that cause oxidative stress found exposure levels for drivers to be twice as high as previously believed.

Sting Ray Skin

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:36 pm
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Today I learned that the original handle grip tape was sting ray skin. That's cause I went to a stunning exhibit of Samurai Weaponry at a local art museum. The design and crafting of the armor and swords was exquisite. The helmets have face guards, which look like they're molded from the wearer's actually face. These face guards also sport mustaches and soul patches. Altogether delightful. Also clear that "Art Deco" in the West was 90% ripping off 16th C Japanese design.
[syndicated profile] phys_breaking_feed
Optimization for self-production may explain key features of ribosomes, the protein production factories of the cell, reported researchers from Harvard Medical School in Nature on July 20.
[syndicated profile] phys_breaking_feed
Vodka tastes different from brandy, and connoisseurs can distinguish among different brands of whiskeys. The flavors of spirits result from a complex bouquet of volatile compounds. New colorimetric sensor arrays on disposable test-strips read by hand-held devices allow for their rapid, inexpensive, and sensitive identification by their chemical "fingerprints". They are based on novel sensor arrays that detect and differentiate among a diverse range of aldehydes and ketones, as reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

New Books and ARCs, 7/21/17

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:53 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

As we ease on into another summer weekend, here are the new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound this week. What do you like here? Share your feelings in the comments!

this red tape is made of blood

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:24 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Paperwork headdesking: a simplified transcript.

Warnings for major complications of the 'bureaucracy is literally trying to kill you' sort, systemic transmisia & ableism & classism, capitalism devouring its young.

Read more... )

FUCK FUCK FUCK. *sound effects of smashing things, ripping with vicious claws*

I'm going out. *doorslam*
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Here’s Sugar curling up with a good book, in this case the ARC of Don’t Live For Your Obituary, my upcoming collection of essays about writing and the writing life, which comes out in December from Subterranean Press. And you can win it! Here’s how:

Tell me in the comments which Beatles song I am thinking of right now.

That’s it!

The person who correctly guesses which Beatles song I am thinking of wins. In the case where more than one person correctly guesses, I will number the correct guesses in order of appearance and then use a random number generator to select the winner among them.

“Beatles song” in this case means a song recorded by the Beatles, and includes both original songs by the band, and the cover songs they recorded. Solo work does not count. Here’s a list of songs recorded by the Beatles, if you need it. The song I’m thinking of is on it.

Guess only one song. Posts with more than one guess will have only the first song considered. Posts not related to guessing a song will be deleted. Also, only one post per person — additional posts will be deleted.

This contest is open to everyone everywhere in the world, and runs until the comments here automatically shut off (which will be around 3:50pm Eastern time, Sunday, July 23rd). When you post a comment, leave a legit email address in the “email” field so I can contact you. I’ll also announce the winner here on Monday, July 24. I’ll mail the ARC to you, signed (and personalized, if so requested).

Kitten not included.

Also remember you can pre-order the hardcover edition of Obit from Subterranean Press. This is a signed, limited edition — there are only 1,000 being made — and they’ve already had a healthy number of pre-orders. So don’t wait if you want one.

Now: Guess which Beatles song I am thinking of! And good luck!

WTF: Ukraine Edition

Jul. 21st, 2017 11:09 pm
sabotabby: (coffee)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I feel like this needs to be a separate post from the OMG ODESSA IS SO PRETTY post. For one thing, these were taken on my shitty cell camera and not my iPad. But also they're pictures I've taken when I've seen something hella weird and immediately need to inform social media.

Let's just say there are some, uh, cultural differences between Ukraine and everywhere else I've ever been that take a bit of getting used to. FOR EXAMPLE:

What is this, some kinky sex thing? Maybe in that masochist bar that we didn't get into because your kink is okay but not my kink?

No! It is the café in the Lviv airport. Why do they have chairs like this? No one knows. But to answer a few questions:

1) Yes, we sat in them.
2) Yes, they are actually quite comfortable.
3) No, no one else seemed to think they were out of the ordinary in any way.

To answer a question no one asked:

1) Yes, the Americanos in that café are quite good, especially by airport standards, would totally recommend. Though, granted, it was like 5 am and I would have drank lighter fluid if it would have woken me up.

Our hotel in Lviv, while cute, had no elevator--a problem, since our room was on the 5th floor. (I may be an obsessive step-counter who never goes on an escalator when there's the option of a staircase, but at the end of the day when you've been walking/carrying bags? Less fun.) We were relieved to see that this hotel does have one. In fact, it has all of the regular floors you would expect to see in a building, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and crab.

1) Yes, I know what's on the crab floor.
2) No, you'll have to wait and see until tomorrow if it's any good.


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