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Posted by Cliff Mass

A deepening marine layer this morning resulted in a period of very light drizzle, producing a trace (less than .01 inches) of precipitation at Seattle-Tacoma Airport.

As a result, we have lost the chance for a big record:  the first July or any month without any precipitation at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, a location with data back to 1948.

The visible satellite imagery this morning at 9 AM shows marine clouds over western WA.


And the Seattle Space Needle Panocam shows a very moist, drippy lower atmosphere.

The hourly observations shows the precipitation event (L- indicates very light rain and T means trace). Drizzle started at 6:42 AM and ended 7:29 AM).


Since we had only a trace of rain, we still might beat the big record--the record number of days in a row without measurable rain  (51 days).  

Today, we are at day 40.  The latest European Center model ensemble forecast prediction for 24-h precipitation suggests we are on the edge for beating the record, particularly with a potential light event on August 31st when the ensemble mean reaches .012 inches.


Keep your fingers crossed.

Shortlinks

Jul. 27th, 2017 06:47 pm
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Posted by jwz

Shortlinks are terrible for all kinds of reasons, but this post isn't about that. But let me get that part out of the way first:

  • They obscure the destination you're about to click on, making them a primary tool for phishing attacks.
  • They train people that not looking at their link destinations is a reasonable thing to do.

  • Each shortening "service" introduces a new point of failure: when, not if, they go out of business, they have broken a vast swath of the web equivalent to their market share.

  • The real reason that link shorteners exist is not actually to save typing, or reading, but as a tool of surveillance: the shortening "service" wants to interject itself between your mouse and the destination site to sell those hit statistics to other people.

  • Twitter, who inflicted this blight upon the world in the first place, won't even respect the shortlinks that sites provide on their own, but instead double-encode them using their own shortener. They say this is for "security" reasons but that's a bald-faced lie that I'm sure I don't have to... unpack... for you.

So, all that aside -- it's still an interesting numerical / bit-twiddling problem, on a purely technical level.

Back when I switched to WordPress, I noticed that the "shortlinks" it generated for every post were terrible. They really weren't that short at all, just appending the base 10 numeric post ID to the blog's base URL. They were barely shorter than the long URL that includes the post's whole subject. So I wrote a plugin to do better. For example, the blog post:

    https://www.jwz.org/blog/2011/08/base64-shortlinks/

has this default shortlink:

    https://www.jwz.org/blog/?p=13240780 (35 bytes)
Other services give us:
    http://tinyurl.com/3et9fw7 (26 bytes)
    http://bit.ly/qbFuII (20 bytes)
    http://goo.gl/xraFX (19 bytes)
    http://t.co/jJAv1SQ (19 bytes)
    http://dnklg.tk/ (16 bytes)





My code gives us:

    http://jwz.org/b/ygnM (21 bytes)

I did that by just encoding the post's ID number in base64, which is the same thing those other shorteners do, except that the ID in question is intrinsic to the post. Other shorteners either just increment a global variable, or pick a random non-conflicting number. Of course the smaller that number is, the more traversable the space is, which can be a problem.

But since the post's ID number isn't a secret maybe it could be shorter? Could it be fewer than 4 bytes? Sure, if your post IDs were smaller. By default, a brand new WordPress blog gives its first post the ID 100, which encodes as "ZA". This blog currently has 9469 posts, so that would have still been way down in the three-byte space, "JP0". The post IDs don't increase quite monotonically (the number increases every time you do a preview, among other things), but it still would have fit in three.

Unfortunately, I used to host my blog on Livejournal, and only migrated it here in 2010. The tool I used to import the blog preserved Livejournal's post ID numbers in the WordPress database. Those were already four bytes: "FDWn" was the last one. And then immediately after that, something went wonky with the import, and subsequent WordPress IDs jumped by eleven million for some reason, all the way up to "ygO-". If I had noticed it at the time, I could have done surgery to pull that number back down, but since then there have been almost 5,000 more posts, and I suspect that WordPress might lose its mind if post IDs are non-increasing. It doesn't matter, though, because these IDs will still fit in 4 bytes for the next 3.5 million posts.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided to waste some time making shortlinks for the DNA web site. Since there was no Livejournal fuckery, the WP blog over there already had nice and small IDs that fit in three bytes, so its shortlinks looked like http://dnalounge.com/b/FAM. But I thought it might be interesting to make shortlinks for the various other pages on the site, too. Most of those pages are date-based, so that suggests a way to generate unique IDs that are predictable and do not require a global counter: just use the date! But a time_t is a big number that takes six bytes to encode, so that won't do.

So I computed the number of days since the Epoch instead of the number of seconds (no, you can't just divide, because of leap years and daylight savings). Then there's the matter of the directory (is this a blog post, a calendar page, a flyer page, a gallery page?) and the room suffix (is this a daytime event in the main room, a nighttime event in Above DNA, etc?) So I use 3 bits for each of those, adding 6 bits to the 15-bit day number, and a 21-bit number still handily encodes as 4 bytes.

So here's a gallery: http://dnalounge.com/b/G0O6 and its calendar page: http://dnalounge.com/b/C0O6 and flyer: http://dnalounge.com/b/E0O6 and a blog post from around the same time: http://dnalounge.com/b/AUPC. That they start with low capital letters means there's plenty of space left.

Of course those aren't actually all that short, since unsurprisingly, whoever was squatting "DNA.com" back in 1998 never answered my email when I tried to find out what their price for it would be. But if someone wanted to buy me "dnaloun.ge" from the Registrar of the Great Nation of Georgia, I wouldn't say no.

BTW, autocomplete keeps changing "shortlink" to "chortling", which is what I think we should call them now.

Previously.

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Posted by Ali

"Some people don’t like how many queer characters or NPCs are in our campaign, or when either of the women on the show talk too much. Anyone feminine in our society is still expected to be quiet, subservient, and apologetic. Of course I’m not going to make myself or my character more palatable for anyone else’ sake."
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Posted by Jenna

There are characters with different racial backgrounds, characters with disabilities, characters with a variety of body types and sexual orientations. It doesn’t seem forced or unnecessary; it feels totally natural, like a reflection of the world around us.
[syndicated profile] autostraddle_feed

Posted by Carolyn Yates

"You are so so soft and just achingly warm and good and I’m just dying with the urge to pin and grind and tease and make you even wetter for me, taste you in your bed."
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Posted by Jim C. Hines

Doctor to Dragons - CoverI met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.

In April of this year, his humorous fantasy novelette A Doctor to Dragons [Amazon | B&N] came out.

I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).

Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:

Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.

The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.

I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)

There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:

“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”

“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”

“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”

I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.

One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.

I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.

The Big Idea: Adam Christopher

Jul. 27th, 2017 12:33 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

Congratulations! Your book was a success! Now do that trick a second time! In discussing Killing is My Business, author Adam Christopher talks about doing the thing that you did so well all over again — but different this time.

ADAM CHRISTOPHER:

You know how it goes, the difficult second album: a band spends years meticulously crafting a collection of songs, polishing them through endless live sets until they shine, and these songs form their incandescent debut album.

Then they need to produce the follow-up and essentially come up with an entirely new repertoire on demand. That second album can be a difficult one indeed.

Now, I didn’t spend years crafting the Ray Electromatic Mysteries – Made to Kill, the first full-length novel after the Tor.com novelette Brisk Money, came out in 2015 and was something like my seventh published novel – but somehow the series has a certain kind of weight, just like that debut album of your favourite band. I think it’s because that original big idea was very big indeed – I was writing Raymond Chandler’s lost science fiction epics, a series about a robot assassin working in Chandler’s near-future Hollywood of 1965. That idea sprang from Chandler’s own letter to his agent in 1953, in which he complained about sci-fi, saying “people pay brisk money for this crap?” Clearly, this was a front, the famed hardboiled author conducting a fishing expedition, seeing if his agent would bite.

Sixty years later, I wrote a story named for Chandler’s letter – Brisk Money. The idea was everything – a whole world was open to me, enough not just for a novelette but for a trilogy of hardboiled novels and another in-between novella, Standard Hollywood Depravity – the title, again, taken from Chandler’s letters.

So far, so good. Made to Kill was a blast to write.

And then came book two.

I wouldn’t call it a sophomore slump. Far from it. The three novels were pitched together, right from the start, so I knew what I was doing and where the books were going. But there was one thing in back of my mind while I was working on what became the second novel, Killing Is My Business.

What would Raymond Chandler do?

That mantra, in essence, became the big idea of the book.

The concept of the Ray Electromatic Mysteries is simple: the robot revolution came and went in the 1950s, and Ray is the last robot left in the world, designed to be a private eye working in Hollywood. The only snag to this is that his supercomputer boss, Ada, was programmed to make a profit – and she quickly figured out you could make more money by killing people than finding them. A little tinkering with Ray’s CPU and Ada turns him into an accomplished hit-robot.

Simple enough, and, importantly, an open-ended concept. You could write a hundred stories about a hitman.

Which was actually the problem – because while I could easily write endless hardboiled, noir-ish stories set in Chandler’s seedy LA underbelly, a world full of wiseguys and dames and crooked cops and the mob, that’s nothing that hasn’t been seen before a thousand times. Hell, that’s basically Chandler’s oeuvre and people have been calling him a genius or a hack for the last seventy-plus years.

No, what I had to do was to write science fiction. There was no point in Ray being a robot if that wasn’t vital to the story. Ray had to be the central player in the trilogy – he’s unique, literally, and that has to drive the story arc that stretches across all three books.

So: what would Raymond Chandler do?

More specifically, what would Raymond Chandler do… with a robot?

In Killing Is My Business, Ray’s unique character is used to rather unsubtle effect when he uses his virtually indestructible chassis to protect a mob boss from a drive-by shooting, literally placing himself between the crime lord and his would-be executioners. This is something that only Ray could do. It’s a key scene, the first piece of the story that I had thought of.

And it was also a scene that I knew had to happen – if Ray is a robot then being a robot is the story. With that thought foremost in mind, I could write book two and I could make sure the series as a whole is more than just a set of pastiche crime novels, it was something original.  

Now, if he only Ray Electromatic knew what I torment I had in store for him in book three…

—-

Killing is My Business: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow him on Twitter.


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Posted by Knute Berger

Aurora Borealis is seen in the night sky above Steamboat Rock State Park on Banks Lake in Eastern Washington.

 

Waterville — Coming out of the Wenatchee Valley, you wind up rock hills along the Columbia River and suddenly emerge on top of the Waterville Plateau where coulees, cliffs and canyons give way mostly to wide open spaces and undulating wheat fields as far as the eye can see.

It’s a dramatic shift along Highway 2. Up until this point, the road has led you through forests, mountains, orchards, and across the Columbia River. Now, it’s all one vast, mammoth space. In Seattle, we lament the loss of open space, but here there’s a glut of it. A “neighbor” might live two or three miles away.

The plateau is a dry, hot place in summer. The first town you come to is Waterville, so named because finding a well here was such a big deal the name attracted parched settlers. There’s little shade on the plateau, and though they had a wet year—farmers told us the wettest since the late 1940s — it gets only about 11 inches of rain a year. Seattle gets nearly 40.

Along the road photographer Matt Mills McKnight and I see distant dust devils — those short-lived mini-twisters that appear and disappear like a prairie hallucination. Dust-raising farm equipment in the fields creates clouds that can hang like a haze of topsoil. Remote farms dot the distance. Small roads off the highway seem to lead into eternity.

Here and there rough geology intrudes. Ungraspable titanic geologic forces shaped the landscape and evidence of this interrupts the tidy fields where farmers have had to work around giant boulders or piles of lava rock too thick to move. These sit like islands surrounded by wheat, reminders of untamable, immoveable forces.

This dry, amazing landscape was once shaped by catastrophic floods that scoured it during the last ice age. Glacier melt filled a lake behind an ice dam in Montana, and when the would dam burst, which happened more than once, enormous quantities of water — the so-called Missoula floods — cascaded over the region. Boulders and soil from the floods can be found as far away as the mouth of the Columbia and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. They left their mark here, too.

We wanted to see one of the most spectacular geologic relics of this flooding. Just off Highway 2 near Coulee City, we stop at Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park. There’s an observation point where you can look into a massive hole some 400 feet deep and three-and-a-half miles long. In the bottom are small lakes and wetlands. Once, the ancient floodwaters turned these cliffs into a massive series of waterfalls three times the size of Niagara Falls. Think of the hydropower that could have been generated!

It’s late in the day when we arrive, but the low sun lines the yellow rock with shadows that highlight the rugged formations surrounding the wetlands below, which look like a kind of oasis. One of the lakes at the bottom is called Deep Lake, carved out where the falling waters blasted the soil. We wend our way down a series of roads to reach it. As the sun sinks we see a flock of wild turkeys and a couple of mule deer with their huge upright ears lit by the sun. At the lake, flycatchers are having a field day hunting bugs at the water’s edge.

Water also gives life here. Dry Falls marks the southern end of Grand Coulee, and the dam is just to the north. It’s waters back up to Coulee City in the form of the reservoir, Banks Lake. As you enter Coulee City, Highway 2 runs along an irrigation dam that’s part of a regional system providing water and power to farms and ranches. This would be desert otherwise. The government runs a massive reclamation project here to turn Eastern Washington’s sagebrush into crops.

The biggest structures are massive power transmission towers, also the result of federal government investment in the region, carrying that energy where it’s needed throughout the West, from Seattle to Southern California. Just as the Missoula floods shaped this country, the Columbia continues to do so still with the force of melting ice, snow and glaciers.

Another new aspect connecting land and electric power: This summer, Highway 2 became the “first electric-vehicle-friendly scenic byway in all of America,” according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review. Electric car charging stations have been placed a strategic intervals like gas stations and drive-in espresso stands along the road from Everett to Spokane. The effort, pushed by Plug-in North Central Washington, is designed to attract “the automotive version of ecotourism to the region.” This is a place where you can now road-trip with assurance in your Leaf or Bolt. We saw charging stations, but never a car charging up. Note to Tesla owners: Hit the road.

The spatial shift in these parts is also dramatic. Being one small person in a vast space can be humbling and also mind-clearing. I ask Howard McDonald, a wheat farmer near Coulee City, if he feels anything like that. “There are times when I’ll just come out and set here, to clear the mechanism,” he answers, an apt reference to clearing his mind for a man who fixes his own equipment.

Mechanism-clearing can occur at night too. I remember years ago attending a local festival in Wilbur, down the road from Coulee City in Lincoln County. We celebrated at the legendary Deb’s Café in nearby Creston. It is now closed, but was then run by a legendary rodeo cowboy named Deb Copenhaver. Coming out one night I was bowled over by the sky.

Light pollution in Pugetopolis has all but obliterated the heavens. Here, though, the clear summer skies, darkness and vast spaces open them up — the gushing starlight of the Milky Way, the pure abundance of stars, streaking meteors.

Adding to the sky drama, we heard that there was a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights due to solar activity. My colleague Matt was determined to photograph the phenomenon so we set forth one night after dark to find them. Near 1 a.m., after following a road along Banks Lake up to Steamboat Rock near Electric City by Grand Coulee Dam, we spotted a glowing, shifting green curtain hanging in the horizon. Such sightings are rare at this latitude, and almost impossible to see with the naked eye where city lights wash out the sky.

It’s no wonder that people in places like this feel closer to divine influences, and the need to be self-sufficient in light of our relative smallness. For all the virtues of big cities, losing connection with the cosmos is a huge price to pay. Here in plateau country, you can plug in your electric car, but it also feels easier to plug into something bigger than yourself.

Next: Near Davenport, We Went Looking for an Outlaw and Found a Wildfire.

 

 

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Posted by Chris Vance

Protest against U.S. President Donald Trump in New York.

For me, and I imagine most Americans, the election of Donald Trump raised a host of disturbing questions. Now, six months into this new political era, all the questions but one have been answered: How are we going to rebuild our political system?

To say that I have been an outspoken Trump opponent would be an understatement. As a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, I came out against him early on. Still, immediately after the election I did say that I was willing to give him a chance.

By early February, however, any hope that Trump would become presidential had lapsed. Trump meant every word he said during the campaign. He is a protectionist, an isolationist and a nativist. He has the instincts of an authoritarian who would silence the mainstream media with new libel laws if he could.

I urged Republicans to directly oppose Trump, but to little avail. Today, there are two types of Republican politicians: enthusiastic Trump supporters, and those who submit through their silence. If you dare oppose Trump you are attacked and threatened with a primary opponent.

Republicans have abandoned traditional Reaganite policies such as free trade because their base voters agree with Trump. I have come to accept that I am now the one out of step with Republican voters. It truly is Trump’s party now.

Even my hopes that Washington state Republicans could maintain their traditional moderate identity and work with Democrats to get big things done have largely been dashed.

To be sure, the gridlock and dysfunction in Olympia is not nearly as bad as it is in Washington, D.C. Significant bills were passed this year, including bills on paid family leave and greater protections for victims of sexual assault. But by Olympia standards, the 2017 session was a disaster. After three special sessions, the longest legislative meeting in state history, Olympia melted down in partisan rancor.

Republicans demanded that Democrats pass a bill on water rights in rural areas. When Democrats refused, Republicans retaliated by not passing the capital construction budget for the first time in state history. Republicans and Democrats had six months to make a deal on water rights. Because they failed, rural residents face the loss of their property values, and $4 billion in needed projects, including $1 billion in school construction projects, are now on hold.

And what about the agreement they reached on school funding in response to the McCleary case? The legislature did deal with one of the major issues by capping school levies, thus eliminating the inequity between rich school districts and poor school districts. But they failed to fund the salaries of thousands of school staff, and instead gave districts the authority to continue to use levy dollars to pay staff. This is a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s 2012 order in this case.

Everywhere you look, our political system is breaking down. No major legislation has passed in Washington, D.C. The debt is still rising. Social Security and Medicare are still going broke. The government will run out of cash in October. Every year sees interminable special sessions in Olympia and vicious mudslinging campaigns.

A recent poll showed that only half of Americans have faith in “American democracy.” Horrifying as this is, it’s no great surprise: Why should anyone have faith in a system that is clearly failing to produce results?

But there are glimmers of hope. Not long ago I received an email from a respected, bipartisan national group that is working to create an offshoot to focus on “the brokenness of our political system – one which will examine and elevate a discussion as to the causes of, and possible solutions to address, the deteriorating state of our politics.”

And there are efforts afoot to reclaim the political center. For the past 160 years, the Republican and Democratic parties have monopolized political power because one was a center-right coalition, and the other was center-left. Third parties espoused fringe ideas and attracted little support. Today it is the major parties that are pushing fringe ideas, and that creates an opportunity.

In Washington, D.C., recently, a new group promoting the election of Centrist Independents met with the national media. The Centrist Project aims to appeal to the voters Rs and Ds have left behind: fiscally conservative, but socially moderate.

Where does this all lead? Frankly, I don’t know. Perhaps one or both parties will regain their sanity and move back toward the center, although that seems increasingly unlikely. Perhaps a centrist third party will form. Perhaps one of our two major parties will fade away as the Federalist and Whig parties did in the 1800s. Perhaps more and more candidates will choose to run as independents.

Whatever happens, I believe we are at one of those moments in American history when our political system is beginning to go through major realignment.

Like the shifting of tectonic plates, these changes happen gradually. It took eleven years of British abuses before our founders finally agreed on independence. It took 14 years of agitation over slavery to finally cause the creation of the Republican Party. It took several elections for the South to go from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican.

New political movements take time to mature, so don’t expect the end of the current party system to happen overnight. But something is stirring. The last six months were just the beginning: 2018 and 2020 are going to be transformational.

[syndicated profile] crosscutnews_feed

Posted by Cambria Roth

Adam Langdon as Christopher Boone in the touring production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, playing at The Paramount through June 30.  Photo: Joan Marcus

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

It’s hard to describe the set design of this production but I’ll try: it’s like being inside a white neon Rubik’s Cube or, a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room. The neon pulses, the walls turn into giant chalk drawings or a map of the London Underground or an astronaut’s view of Earth. This is all meant to depict the brain activity of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old autistic boy who loves his pet rat, wants to pass an advanced level math exam, and is determined to solve the mystery of who killed the neighbor’s Golden Retriever, a dog named Wellington. Based on the best-selling Mark Haddon novel, this outstanding production is unlike any other in capturing what it might be like to be differently-abled and experiencing the world. Funny, sweet, charming and poignant; Adam Langdon as Boone is extraordinarily deft in the physical and emotional aerobics of this role. One giant squeeeee moment awaits 4/5th of the show in and a tip: stay put even if the show is over. Trust me.

If you go: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Paramount, Through July 30 (Tickets start at $30)–F.D.

 

WHAT’S POPPIN’ LADIEZ?!

How can you not get behind a a womxn-centered street dance convention?  Breakdancers and their fans are invited to witness female poppers battle it out and if you don’t know what a popper is, then you clearly need to do yourself a favor and partake in this multi-day cultural event. “Werkshops,” a film screening of the documentary Battle Grounds, a cypher queen competition and a whole host of dance crew performances. Locations vary. Check the website for specific dates and times.

If you go: WHAT’S POPPIN’ LADIEZ?! Locations include Washington Hall and the Waterfront, July 28-30 (Prices vary). — F.D.

 

Pista sa Nayon at Seafair

Back in 1990, King Councilmember Ron Sims approached Filipino American community leaders and asked for their support for a summer festival associated with Seafair, to give the growing Filipino American population a sense of partnership with the larger Seattle community. At this point, African American, Latino, Native American and other Asian American groups already had celebrations as part of Seafair. Since then, the Pista sa Nayon festival has grown to be the largest outdoor Filipino American event in the country. In a tradition that dates back centuries to rural areas and towns of the Phillipines, Filipinos gather for a fiesta to celebrate a good harvest, sense of community and hard work. There will be music by The Filharmonic, dancing, great food and sunshine.

If you go: Pista sa Nayon, Seward Park, July 30 (Free)—C.R.

 

Seattle Public Sculptors

Local author and Nordic Heritage Museum Collections Manager Fred F. Poyner IV comes to SPL to read from his latest book Seattle Public Sculptors: 12 Makers of Monuments, Memorials, and Statuary, 1909-1962. Spend an hour learning about the lives and careers of 12 important sculptors in early city history, and how the city’s public art policy came to be. While there are sure to be visuals at the talk, it’s afterward that the real adventure begins: go on a hunt for these public sculptures, whether they be tucked away in collections or on display in plain sight.

If you go: Seattle Public Sculptors, Central Library, 10:30 a.m. July 29 (Free)—N.C.

 

Freeway Park Walking Tour

Last year, seeking a shortcut from the Convention Center up to Town Hall, I passed through Freeway Park. It wasn’t the first time I’d been there but it was the first time I was struck by its beauty — and paused long enough to wonder how these five acres above the highway came to be a park. Who designed it? When? Get these questions answered and learn more at an hour-long walking tour of Freeway Park, the first park to ever be built over a freeway. The walk will be led by Seattle native and public media professional Beth Topping. What’s better than exploring and coming to appreciate the thought that goes into the many features that make Seattle unique, lovely and most of all, livable?

If you go: Freeway Park Walking Tour, Freeway Park, July 30 ($15)—N.C.

Metro Survey for SODO Commuters

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:00 pm
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Posted by Bruce Nourish

King County Metro has a survey up, aimed at people who work in the SODO area, which the agency defines as between Royal Brougham Way and Lucille Street. This is part of Metro’s Community Connection program, “in which Metro works with local governments and community partners to develop innovative and cost-efficient transportation solutions in areas of King County that don’t have the infrastructure, density, or land use to support regular, fixed-route bus service.”

I have several questions in to Metro about how these alternative services might be applied to SODO, and whether any changes to SODO’s fixed-route service could be possible. While I’m waiting for answers, I wanted to get this survey link out, as the deadline is tomorrow, the 27th, so if you’re a SODO commuter, go fill it out.

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Posted by Heather Hogan

Donald Trump decided to switch up his morning Twitter time today, putting the breaks on his relentless 140-character lies that he and his campaign didn't work with Russia to steal the White House, and moving ahead with a "plan" to ban all transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Leaving aside everything else that is wrong and immoral about this proposed ban, at the moment there are something like 11,000 trans people currently serving openly in the US services and reserves. They are there legally, and it is currently their right to serve openly. Trump’s ban, at first glance, appears to take away their right to serve their country, and takes away their jobs, their incomes, their benefits for themselves and their families — for no other reason than something which yesterday was not illegal nor an impediment to serving their country with passion and distinction.

Make no mistake: Trump is affirmatively and explicitly taking away a right from American citizens, a right they already had and enjoyed. This is a big right: The right to serve in one’s military openly, without fear of punishment for who you are.

If Trump will take away one right from Americans, he’s not going to have a problem taking away other rights as well. Why would he? Trump is the living embodiment of “If you give a mouse a cookie” — if he gets away with one thing, he’ll go ahead and try to get away with something else. He’s already trying, of course.

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that I support the right of transgender people to serve openly in the military, a thing they already have done, any more than it will come as a surprise that I support the rights of transgender people generally. But as important as it is for me to explicitly say I support transgender rights, I think it’s also worth asking people who oppose these rights, or other rights enjoyed by people not exactly like them, whether they are comfortable taking away fundamental rights these American citizens already have — and if so, what leads them to believe that their own rights, rights they already enjoy, are not also placed in jeopardy by that precedent.

If the answer boils down to “well, that will never happen to me,” as it inevitably will, it’s worth examining why they think they will forever be immune. The answer will be instructive for everyone.

And also, they’re wrong. If you can take away an existing right of an American simply because of who they are, then you can take away a right of any American simply because of who they are — or what they are, or where their ancestors came from, or what they believe, and so on.

I said on Twitter this morning, “Today, as has almost every day in this administration, offers each us of a chance to understand the dimensions our own moral character.” And so it does. And so it will, every day, I expect, until it is done.


My Worldcon Schedule

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:40 pm
[syndicated profile] not_a_blog_feed
The World Science Fiction Convention is only a few weeks away. This is the oldest SF con, the one that started it all, and though it is no longer the largest, it's still the one that matters, the heart and soul of SF fandom. And for me, it's home away from home.

Here's my schedule this year in Helsinki:

WEDNESDAY August 9
4:00 pm Tea & Jeopardy Podcast, w Emma & Peter Newman

THURSDAY August 10
12:00 NOON panel discussion: Invented Religions

2:00 pm autographing

FRIDAY August 11
8:00 pm HUGO AWARDS

SATURDAY August 12
2:00 pm panel discussion: Built Upon the Shoulders of Giants

4:00 pm autographing

SUNDAY August 13
1:00 pm panel discussion: Thirty Years of Wild Cards

Those are my official public appearances... but of course I will also be attending parties, checking out the art show, wandering the dealer's room, lunching and dining with editors, agents, friends, and colleagues.

For those of you who want books signed, please, bring them to one of my two listed autograph sessions. I will NOT be signing before or after panels, at parties, during lunch or breakfast or dinner, at the urinal, in the elevator, on the street, in the hall. ONLY at the autograph table. If the lines are as long as they usually are, I'll only be signing one book per person.

See you in Helsinki!

[syndicated profile] autostraddle_feed

Posted by Riese

Topics include OUAT and Riverdale announcing LGBT characters at Comic Con, a new One Mississippi trailer, everybody loving Girl's Trip, Atomic Blonde's steamy lesbian sex scene, Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz's lesbian romance film and so many more compelling tales for your day!

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