Rodin and Heinlein

Mar. 26th, 2017 10:48 am
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
[personal profile] snippy
A long time ago (more than 45 years) I read a book I was really too young to appreciate. It was Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, and while I rejected some of it, a lot of it stuck with me and along with other books influenced how I perceived life and social interactions, and how I formed a theory of what life was and what my life should be. One passage in particular that has stuck with me was about a sculpture by Rodin. That sculpture isn't named in the book, but it is described as a caryatid who has been pushed down by the weight of the rock she is supporting, and as a metaphor for the human condition: for a parent dying of cancer but staying at work long enough to ensure the family's stability, a first responder rushing toward danger instead of away, every human being who works on despite defeat. For many reasons I identified strongly with this passage.

Yesterday my son and I went to a touring show of Rodin's work at the art museum. I've actually seen a lot of Rodin; the Maryhill Museum is an easy day trip from here and has one of the largest collections of Rodin outside of Paris. There are castings of the Thinker and other major works, plus plaster studies and watercolors. But this touring show has pieces I've only read about. So we walked through the doors and there on the left, slightly larger than life-size, was the caryatid.

The caryatid I've read about so many times and only imagined: I never searched for a photograph because I wanted to preserve my initial reaction to reading about it, and then to someday experience it with my own eyes, walking around and examining details. I didn't know it was part of this exhibit! I was startled and suddenly my eyes welled up. My son asked what was wrong, and I tried to explain. Eventually we noticed that all the art was identified by a plaque on the nearest wall: not on the display stands, not on the floor, no looking down-there at approximate eye level was a plaque about each sculpture.

But this one had two plaques! It was the only piece that did. It had a second plaque explaining the Heinlein and quoting the paragraphs from Stranger, so I had my son read it and we shared the experience. And everyone who goes to see the famous sculptures has a chance to learn something that I thought I shared only with other readers and fans of Heinlein's work.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

This is a collection volume, containing Komarr, A Civil Campaign and (actually in the "previously unread" category), the short A Winterfair Gift. The title for the collection volume is very descriptive, as that theme starts in Komarr, continues through the entirety of A Civil Campaign and comes to some sort of culmination in A Winterfair Night.

As is the custom, these are all eminently readable. It is also perhaps not the worst place to pick up the Vorkosigan Saga books (but, I should stress, it is also not the best), since I seem to recall that Komarr was actually the first one I read.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

It's been a while since I last read any of the Expanse novels. Don't really know why, maybe the whole "TV hype" has put me off. On the whole, they're eminently readable, although one of my distinct memories of "oh, no, not again!" from the first four is mercifully not as prominent in this one.

All in all a pleasant read, although I have a nagging feeling that the acceleration required to cover distance in this book may possibly require higher sustained acceleration than what seems to be happening.

Announcing the Shim review process

Mar. 21st, 2017 01:29 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
Shim has been hugely successful, to the point of being used by the majority of significant Linux distributions and many other third party products (even, apparently, Solaris). The aim was to ensure that it would remain possible to install free operating systems on UEFI Secure Boot platforms while still allowing machine owners to replace their bootloaders and kernels, and it's achieved this goal.

However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.

To that end, we're adopting a new model. A mailing list has been created at, and members of this list will review submissions and provide a recommendation to Microsoft on whether these should be signed or not. The current set of expectations around binaries to be signed documented here and the current process here - it is expected that this will evolve slightly as we get used to the process, and we'll provide a more formal set of documentation once things have settled down.

This is a new initiative and one that will probably take a little while to get working smoothly, but we hope it'll make it much easier to get signed releases of Shim out without compromising security in the process.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Been a while since I read this one. Weirdly, i think it might be the Vorkosigan Saga book I've read the rest times.

Anyhow. It is shock fill of young Miles, in his second outing, i believe. Pretty much what you would expect from one of these books. It might be a good introductory point, come to think about it. All in all, a most pleasant read.

Buying a Utah teapot

Mar. 20th, 2017 01:38 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
The Utah teapot was one of the early 3D reference objects. It's canonically a Melitta but hasn't been part of their range in a long time, so I'd been watching Ebay in the hope of one turning up. Until last week, when I discovered that a company called Friesland had apparently bought a chunk of Melitta's range some years ago and sell the original teapot[1]. I've just ordered one, and am utterly unreasonably excited about this.

Update: Friesland have apparently always produced the Utah teapot, but were part of the Melitta group for some time - they didn't buy the range from Melitta.

[1] They have them in 0.35, 0.85 and 1.4 litre sizes. I believe (based on the measurements here) that the 1.4 litre one matches the Utah teapot.


Mar. 17th, 2017 02:41 pm
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Thanks to everyone who let us know that Photobucket images were not loading properly on some pages. The problem seemed to be mostly limited to HTTPS requests; Dreamwidth maintains a list of known high-traffic image sites that support HTTPS, so that our secure content proxy service doesn't cache them unnecessarily. Unfortunately Photobucket seems to have recently changed their site configuration such that HTTPS requests aren't being served as expected, and we've now taken it out of our list of "proxy-exempt" sites.

If you continue to have issues, make sure you're not using HTTPS Photobucket links. It's a bit counterintuitive, but if you use HTTP instead, it will be automatically transformed on our end to an HTTPS link that uses

Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...

It is spring.

Mar. 16th, 2017 05:57 pm
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
[personal profile] snippy
I don't care about the calendar or the meteorological date: it is spring because there are bugs flying about, accidentally approaching my nose and eyes.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is an odd one. Eminently readable, but odd. Definitely "far future", realistic (at least of sorts) space travel, aliens (mostly, but not completely, off-stage) and Deep History.

I quite enjoyed it on a first read-through. I wouldn't mind reading more in the same setting. But I can't really say what it reminds me of. Possibly Terminal World, maybe.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is another in Spencer's Elfhome (or possibly Tinker) series. It's basically a collection of character sketches, shorts, a novella or two and a couple of what-ifs, mostly spanning the time passed in the first three volumes of the series, but with a few "well into the past" segments.

definitely readable, if you've liked previous works in the series. Probably does not stand alone, at all.


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Mark Atwood

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