July 20th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 20/07/2017 under

Lion Nudibranch_5

The wikipedia page for the nudibranch boasts the only occurrence of the phrase “Apparent production of sound” on the entire site.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:00pm on 20/07/2017 under

Giant Acorn Barnacle

In case you ever wondered what was inside a barnacle.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 20/07/2017 under


In reading about these guys, I learned that, like all* butterflies, it can’t chew so it has to suck fluids from through it’s proboscis. Unlike most butterflies, this one lives off of “rotting or fermenting fruit.”

That means you’re looking at a photo of a carrion eater.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
July 19th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:48pm on 19/07/2017
I'm seeing some people feeling bad about making jokes about Sen. John McCain's health now that news about his tumor has been made public.

Here's the thing ...

Every one of us is going to, at some point, die - all of our friends, our family, everyone we know. It not a fun thing to acknowledge, but it's inevitable. McCain represents a bunch of people who are publicly taking a stance that if you don't have enough money, you somehow deserve to die sooner, and with far greater pain and suffering, than everyone else. McCain having a brain tumor does not change this fact.

Cancer sucks whoever gets it, but just as pre-existing conditions do not indicate moral failure, getting sick also does not absolve past sins. Every Republican "repeal and replace" option that's made it to a vote has been designed to systematically kill people, if not you, then people you know ... people you love.

If we were living in a story, this would be the point in the narrative where one powerful man comes to a realization, has a change of heart, and switches sides. Alas, we do not live in a story. We are not characters, despite the attempts by ideologues to turn us into bit players in their self-aggrandizing stories about how life should be. We have some control over our lives, not everything of course, but some things.

McCain will either recover or he won't. We have no control over that.

The healthcare bill will either pass or it will not. We do have some control over that. If pointing out the hypocrisy between our representatives' words and deeds helps to save lives, if using irony to make a point reduces suffering for all, if dark humor can help us avoid dark fates ... say what you will and don't feel guilty about it.

We do still have free speech in this country. Use it.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 19/07/2017 under


Because they all hatch at the same time, mealworms have to share their birthday.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:01pm on 19/07/2017 under


TFW that interesting person you’ve been talking to for the last hour suddenly shows their true colours.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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I confess, I hadn't a clue Postmates was a thing until a couplefew months ago. Maybe you aren't familiar with it either.

Basically it's a service where people will deliver things to you. From restaurants to stores, all sorts of places. Fast food! If you've occasionally wished Dairy Queen would deliver, this might be the thing for you (though how well it works may depend on how close the DQ is and how hot it is outside and what you order). The service is available in a bunch of cities, check their website to see if it'll work near you.

Lots of places have menus available in the app (I sometimes wind up checking out the restaurants own websites for more detail if I'm not already familiar with the place). Stores might have a list of frequently purchased items with prices (I know Apple Stores do). You can also request items that aren't listed. Or have them get things from places that don't have such details in their system. I've always just purchased things that were listed so I'm not sure how well it works if you go rogue. ;-p I've had good luck with delivery people for the most part.

When I first used it, it was with a credit worth $100 of delivery fees for a week. So I was able to get things without paying for delivery so stuff just cost what they would at the restaurant/store + whatever I tipped the delivery person. Not a bad deal. That week I went a bit wild and got lunch from various fast food joints most days and that was novel. We're pinching pennies so it's hard for me to justify this when there is a delivery fee, though they do have a limited number of places where there's a set delivery fee that's cheaper than usual. Plus they seem to run deals fairly often where you get free delivery.

When that Unicorn drink was A Thing I remember seeing people using Postmates to get the beverage so they weren't the ones waiting in line but instead it was a Postmates person (one hopes they tipped well if it took a while).

Anyway. I'm mentioning it in case you want to get in on one of those $100 in delivery fee credit for 7 days deals. Use my referrer code of "FZYD2" to get that deal (I'll get a delivery fee credit of up to $10 after your first order). They've been warning me that this deal isn't gonna last much longer, thus my mentioning it. (Sneaky, Postmates. I bet they offer yet another referral deal after this one expires, no idea if it will be better or worse.)
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 19/07/2017 under

Giant Tiger Beetle

This is a giant tiger beetle.

A giant TIGER beetle.

You see the resemblance, right?

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
July 18th, 2017
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:01pm on 18/07/2017 under

Monarch Caterpillar

Apparently the bits in the middle taste bad.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 06:01pm on 18/07/2017 under

Egg Yolk Jelly_5

I think we should stop calling certain types of people “snowflakes”.

The term “jellyfish” is much more apt, as it seems they just spend their time floating around the Internet stinging people, but whenever they encounter anything that isn’t exactly like themselves in their specially-designed jellyfish-bubble of safety, they start falling apart – whining about how unfair life is.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 02:01pm on 18/07/2017 under

Metallic Frog Beetle_3

It’s pretty clear that these beetles are not ferromagnetic, but the zoo didn’t let me bring in the right equipment to test for para- or diamagnetism.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
July 17th, 2017
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kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 09:04pm on 17/07/2017 under
I went with Practicality on [personal profile] jesse_the_k's suggestion; technically the theme is "Calculated Risks" but I changed all the colors and a lot of the decorations so I'm not sure it counts as the same theme any more.

Here's the custom CSS, which is largely ditching a lot of small-caps and extra lines, and making it more boring color-wise. (Edit) Though, if anyone wants to fiddle, there's a thing that's been commented in the code.


Thanks for the feedback, all!
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 11:00pm on 17/07/2017 under

Leaf Cutter Ants_6

Leaf cutter ants take leaf bits down into the colony where they cultivate a particular sort of fungus that grows on the leaves.

So you’d think these two ants would be moving in the same direction.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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posted by [personal profile] guppiecat at 08:51pm on 17/07/2017 under

Hornyhead Turbot

This hornyhead turbot is somewhat untrusting of my new wide angle macro lens.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
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Lydy was kind enough to bring back some medium oatmeal from England. I've tried Andy Leighton's parkin recipe with other forms, and none was ideal. (The steel-cut oats were a particularly interesting failure; they never softened, so I ended up with something crunchy and more candy-like.) Unfortunately, if there's a place to get medium oats locally, I haven't found it.

Anyway, I had a kilogram of medium oats, so I made parkin according to Andy's recipe. It's unlike most in that it doesn't call for flour, only oatmeal. I don't know what Andy would say about the results, but I was very happy with it, and gave some to Lydy, who also approved.

But the recipe (as originally posted at my request in rec.art.sf.fandom, IIRC) has a note at the end: "This version keeps very well, and is very nice after a couple of weeks wrapped in greaseproof paper (don't keep it in a tin or plastic container it dries out)."

Why should greaseproof paper (which I assume is equivalent to waxed paper) be more desirable than an airtight container? Is the high sugar content supposed to cause it to suck out moisture from the air?

This batch is just over a week old, and I haven't seen a noticeable change after storing it in a tin. If I make another batch, I'm tempted to experiment by leaving some open to the air, some wrapped in waxed paper, and some in the tin as usual. Assuming it lasts that long, of course. This recipe makes parkin with the approximate density of very tasty neutronium (so I cut it into small pieces), but it's very moreish.

I'll add the recipe below, just in case anyone is curious. I don't own a 7x10 pan (I think I converted all the units from the original when I put it in my recipe file), so I use a 9x9 one -- and that overflowed a bit. I might try a 9x13 one next time, and cook it for a shorter time.

(By the way -- back to that common language thing -- I was always curious why black treacle was an optional ingredient if it was treacle parkin. Then I saw an episode of Great British Bake Off where the technical challenge was treacle tart, and it called for golden syrup. Apparently golden syrup is considered light treacle in the UK, and molasses is black treacle.)

Andy Leighton's Treacle Parkin

16 oz Golden Syrup
8 oz Butter
24 oz Medium Oatmeal
8 oz Brown Sugar
2 tsp Ginger (if you like lots of ginger add another tsp)

Warm the Golden Syrup and butter until just melted and then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Grease a medium tin (about 7" by 10"), and throw the lot in a low oven (gas mark 2, 300F) for 2 hours. It is done when it springs back when touched, although don't be worried if it is a bit underdone and gooey in the middle.

Note: the above recipe is more or less how I (Andy Leighton) make Parkin, although sometimes I use less sugar and a bit more oatmeal -- I just throw approximate measures in and go from appearance. You can use half golden syrup and half black treacle if you want a more treacley taste. This version keeps very well, and is very nice after a couple of weeks wrapped in greasproof paper (don't keep it in a tin or plastic container it dries out).
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White Spotted Longhorn Beetle_1

Turns out it was a cookbook.

Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 08:18am on 17/07/2017 under
I cannot figure out how to navigate the DW style chooser thing at all.

Is there an out-of-the-box DW style that has comment pages with bigger usernames on the comments listing than Tropospherical? Or, are you using an out-of-the-box style, and does it play nice on small screens? If so, which one?

(This is part of my project of trying to be on DW more.)
July 16th, 2017
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I made a couple long comments elsewhere and I should archive them somewhere less ephemeral, for reference.

on defining fanfic )

on deciding whether to become a parent )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at 09:21pm on 16/07/2017 under
I bought the cheapest 8" Amazon tablet on sale this week for $50, because my fairly-new unloved tablet had problems and I had determined to save it only for reading comics and watching video, but it was getting worse and worse, and it was only $50. [*]

So far it's about what I expected--lousy screen, flimsy (the door for the SD card is not going to last the week--but it works. I will report back in more detail later.

The real point of this post is to link to two things:

1) how to install the Google Play store, so you can keep your paid-through-Google apps, which works just fine and does not use require use of adb or anything more complex;

2) how to install a launcher of your choice (I'm using Nova Launcher). I believe I had to power the device off and then back on before the home button detection option came on, but now it works just fine.

[*] It was a NVIDIA Shield K1, which has recently been discontinued; though old, it got good reviews across the board even in current roundups, and so I suspect I got a lemon, because it was a piece of shit from day one. Rebooting itself nearly daily during ordinary use, this exciting nonsense on a system update, etc. etc. Then a hairline crack on the screen edge dramatically expanded, rendering the area containing home and recent buttons unresponsive in the ordinary orientation, so use required constantly flipping, plus once you've got that much of a crack it's just a matter of time. I'll be putting it up on eBay for parts soon.


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