Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Exporting our vices to weaken our competitors is worse than launching plague-ridden corpses over the city wall with a trebuchet.

Japanese anime has conquered China. In Chinese, the term “2D culture” (erciyuan wenhua) describes both the television shows, video games, anime (cartoons), manga (comic books), music, and movies inspired by Japanese pop culture and the millions of Chinese who consume these products every week. This “second dimension” is one of the fastest-growing industries in China—with more than 200 million consumers, the market is projected to reach more than $30 billion by 2020. 
But the runaway success of Japanese pop culture among China’s youth has caused confusion, shock, and anger in a country still bitter over historical grievances. Many Chinese see this as a war for the hearts of their children—one they’re losing.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Going to step out of my lane here and post a bit of music I just found and enjoyed: Rebecca Clarke's Morpheus.

Friday, January 25, 2019

This is fantastic!

by A. E. Housman

CHORUS: O suitably-attired-in-leather-boots
Head of a traveller, wherefore seeking whom
Whence by what way how purposed art thou come
To this well-nightingaled vicinity?
CHORUS: Go chase into the house a lucky foot.
And, O my son, be, on the one hand, good,
And do not, on the other hand, be bad;
For that is very much the safest plan.

That μέν/δέ right there is just the best. This is Prawne family level stuff.

From Twitter, someplace.

It's hardly news at this point, but it's amazing what sort of things can fossilize. My current examples: Iridescent structures in feathers and squid ink (common element: melanin, which apparently deals very well with fossilization).

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Consider the hagfish, at length if you think you're hard enough. Choice hagfish tidbits:
Typically, a hagfish will release less than a teaspoon of gunk from the 100 or so slime glands that line its flanks. And in less than half a second, that little amount will expand by 10,000 times—enough to fill a sizable bucket.

You could inject a hagfish with an extra 40 percent of its body volume without stretching the skin.

The entire hagfish is effectively a large gut, and even that is understating matters: Their skin is actually more efficient at absorbing nutrients than their own intestines.

[Last but not least, a photo caption:] A car is covered in hagfish, and slime, after an accident on Highway 101.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

I have never gotten better writing advice than that from Steve: read your drafts aloud.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

On the independent recommendations of some friends whose taste I now esteem more lightly, I have started The Name of the Wind. I can say without exaggeration that this book is the worst commercially successful fantasy novel I've ever read--and I've read every Dragonlance novel ever written. The prose is atrocious, the plot non-existent, and the protagonist is the literary equivalent of Lin-Manuel Miranda, possessor of the world's most punchable face. IThe last character I hated as much as Kvothe was Dolores Umbridge. He is Thersites's self-insert Gary Sue.

I will probably blog more about this once I have cleared the taste from my mouth with strong drink.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Polyphonic pitch-shifting.

Want to hat-tip but can't remember where I found this; please comment if it's you.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Just read a review of someone's writing that described it as "like a schoolboy's timed in-class translation of Xenophon."

Life goals!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

A quick bit of corvid behavior for the new year:

Two crows, one up on a telephone wire and the other below. The one above dropped a largish piece of gravel on the one below, then flew down. The one below siezed the gravel in its beak, flew to the other's place on the wire, and then dropped the gravel on it. They exchanged places several times while I watched, before they flew off startled by a car.