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Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:38 pm

[admin post] Admin Post: Nominations guidelines

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Here's the breakdown for how nominations to the tagset should work this year. I'll post a link to the tagset tomorrow, please use this post to ask about any questions related to the nominations process or regarding metafandoms. As we approve tags and have questions related to your nominations, I'll start a new post with those questions.

Nominating fandoms:

For Marvel and DC, generally we end up with nominations for the top-level All Media Type tags (which are Marvel and DCU respectively), mid-level metafandoms (eg MCU, DCU (Comics)), and specific fandoms (eg Hawkeye (Comics), The Flash (TV)).

For things like video game series (Final Fantasy, Fire Emblem) and TV shows with rolling continuity (Doctor Who and Torchwood, Buffy and Angel) it’s preferable to nominate on a metafandom. If you’re planning on nominating something like this, feel free to discuss in comments, otherwise we’ll ask for clarification as they come up in nominations. Fandoms with mostly rolling continuity but some bumps (Star Trek as a whole vs AOS, X-Men movies, etc) usually get grouped into multiple metafandoms in the same way as Marvel or DCU, but there’s less need to get as detailed (ie Star Trek and AOS as the only two categories is fine, no need to specify TNG vs DS9).

Nominating fandoms in this way also helps cut down on the need for crossovers. If you’re nominating a relationship that is a crossover, it gets nominated to the fandom Crossover. But if you’re nominating within a metafandom, that’s not an issue (see below for more details).

Generally speaking, if one media format AND the All Media Types format of a fandom are nominated, we’ll select the AMT type, though we will try and ask for clarification if it happens (since directors can make movies very different from the books).

Nominating relationships:

Please make sure it has three characters, and uses the / symbol instead of the & symbol between all characters.

Please always nominate to the highest applicable metafandom. If you do not disambiguate while nominating a relationship, it’ll be placed in the highest applicable metafandom. If you have multiple disambiguations in one relationship, it will be placed in the highest applicable metafandom.


James "Bucky" Barnes/Steve Rogers/Sam Wilson: gets assigned to Marvel, since it could mean comics or MCU.
James "Bucky" Barnes/Steve Rogers/Sam Wilson (MCU): I assume this means one disambiguation for the relationship as a whole, and put it in MCU.
James "Bucky" Barnes(Ultimates)/Steve Rogers (MCU)/Sam Wilson (MCU): there is a comics disambig and a movies disambig so it gets assigned to Marvel, which covers both.
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Posted by Shawn King


How does Apple ship iPhones around the world on launch day? We got a behind-the-scenes look with head of retail Angela Ahrendts.

It’s a superficial look but has some interesting details like the UPS sorting facility in Kentucky. Don’t like the little dig about the lack of lines at Apple Stores though. There’s no proof that “no lines” equals “lack of

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:23 pm

Uber London loses licence to operate

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Posted by Jim Dalrymple

Uber will not be issued a new private hire licence, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

TfL concluded the ride-hailing app firm was not fit and proper to hold a London private hire operator licence.

I really don’t understand this decision. Uber and Lyft and wonderful services for the consumer and should be supported.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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Jane and I went up to Nethy Bridge, near Aviemore, and stayed at the Lazy Duck in one of their Eco-Lodges. Which is a cabin built for two, with electricity, gas cooking, and (distant, wobbly) wifi, right next to a large duck pond full of a variety of different species of ducks.
Loads of photos and four videos )
Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:46 am

The Friday Five: Emotions

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 This week's Friday Five comes to us from LJ user juke128, the letter F, and the Roman numeral V.
1. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?
2. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
3. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
4. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
5. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DW or LJ. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so please feel free to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**
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Posted by Valentina Palladino

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Fitbit has a lot riding on its new $300 Ionic smartwatch. Analyst reports suggest the smartwatch category will continue to grow over the next few years, and Apple and Google already have well-established devices and operating systems. Being one of the top players in the wearables game, Fitbit is unlikely to build a device that runs Android Wear (much less watchOS), so it designs its own devices from the ground up. The Ionic is Fitbit's serious attempt at a smartwatch, far more so than the $200 Blaze that came out last year. Running Fitbit OS, the Ionic combines the most crucial fitness features with what Fitbit believes to be the most crucial smartwatch features.

While testing the Ionic, I asked myself two main questions: does it provide the best fitness experience for the price? And does Fitbit thoughtfully incorporate smartwatch features into a primarily fitness-focused device? It does—but there may be better solutions out there.


It was hard to be excited when the first images of the Ionic leaked months before its debut. Those images confirmed many of our worst fears: Fitbit stuck with the core design that influenced the Blaze fitness watch, which is chunky and unattractive at best.

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Posted by Valentina Palladino

Enlarge (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple announced the arrival of more 4K content to iTunes when it introduced the new Apple TV 4K last week. However, those who purchase the new set-top box will be limited in how they can enjoy 4K titles. According to an Apple support document, 4K content from iTunes can only be streamed, not downloaded directly to a device.

"You can download a local copy of an HD movie, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions, but you can't download a 4K version," the support document states.

It appears the only guarantee customers have is downloading an HD copy of purchased movies to their devices. Apple also announced last week that it will upgrade customers' previous purchases to 4K free of charge. But, judging by this support document, you won't be able to download the 4K version of the titles you already purchased—only the HD versions.

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Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:55 pm

Mathew’s Musings 22 September 2017

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Posted by Mathew Hulbert

I’ve been to the vast majority of both spring and autumn party conferences since I joined the Lib Dems back in March 2010 and I can honestly say I enjoyed the one that ended in Bournemouth, on Tuesday, the best.

I think I’m finally starting to work out the ebbs and flows of conference; when best to put in a speaker’s card with a chance of actually being called; when to take time out with friends and not fill your whole rota with yet another fringe meeting (as good as they almost always are); how to network with like-minded fellow travellers to push a cause/campaign, and so on.

Like many of us, when I first went to Conference (Birmingham, Autumn 2011) I was overawed by seeing MPs (we had more of them then) and Ministers (yes, we had them too) I’d only previously seen on TV…and you could actually go up and talk to them (and the nicer ones would even reply.)

I was pleased, in Bournemouth, to grab a few words with Tim Farron in the Conference bar on one of the evenings.

I told him how sorry I was that he’s no longer our leader and that he’s a good man with much more to contribute to our cause.

His ex-leader’s platform speech reminded me (though I didn’t need to be) just what a talented orator he is

And, yes, as ever with a Tim Farron speech, I shed some tears whilst in the hall listening to it.

Tim has the ability, when speaking, to touch people’s hearts…that talent must continue to be put to the good of the party.

Vince Cable’s speech didn’t make me cry, but it was statesmanlike, full of vision and direction, but also with a clear economic message which-unique among our current Commons team-Vince is perfectly placed to provide.

There is always a danger, especially for us, that our Conference sees us talking to ourselves but getting little to no coverage beyond the Conference walls.

I hope Vince’s speech, at least, got and gets a wide airing.

It is a message that will inspire liberals and social democrats across party lines and those with, currently, no party affiliation.

The road back, for us, is a long one…but, with Vince at the wheel, we have steady hands and a sensible head to take us along the next part of the journey.

And, the bad news…<

After such a great party conference, it was disappointing to see our latest Party Political Broadcast.

I know some members like it…and it may play well in hipster London, but in vast swathes of the country, I venture, people will be left untouched

The whole appeal of Vince Cable is that he’s a serious man for serious times.

We should be redoubling on that message at every opportunity, not seeking ways to ‘promote’ what he’s not.

He’s not (particularly) hip or ‘down with the kids.’

He’s serious, he’s statesmanlike, he’s an ideas man.

I’m all for ensuring voters know about the rounded personality of leaders…such as Vince enjoying dancing and skiing, but basing a whole PPB around the hat that Vince wears, I personally think is just a bit naff.

That we (I assume) spend not inconsiderable amounts of money for ‘professionals’ to  come up with such guff, really does make you wonder.

The new PPB is like a clique which most people don’t belong to and end up just feeling alienated against.

I repeat, it may go down well in London…but not in formerly industrial heartlands such as the North and the East and West Midlands.

I give it one out of five.

We can and must do better
Light-ing up down under

So, you’re a social liberal party in New Zealand

You’ve been in government (as part of succeeding Coalitions of both centre-left and centre-right) since 2002…but with only one Member of Parliament.

That MP, Peter Dunne, has decided to step down at the next election (being held today) and you stand next to no chance of retaining his previous electorate or gaining the required 5% needed to get some list MPs into Parliament under New Zealand’s MMP electoral system.

What do you do? Give up, right?

No, not if you’re Damian Light, the new and young (he’s in his thirties) and very enthusiastic leader of ‘United Future.’

He knows what an uphill struggle he and his party faces, but he’s thrown himself into the recent election campaign with gusto and made a name for himself in a very short space of time.

He’s been christened the Ryan Gosling of New Zealand politics.

The likelihood is still that our friends in United Future won’t return an MP this time, but I’m sure that Damian Light will continue to ensure his party’s flame continues to flicker.

Whether in our out of Parliament, New Zealand needs its social liberals to talk, as Damian has done so well, about drug law reform, the need to tackle climate change, to have a focus on future generations, and so much more.

Damian stepped up to the plate, when others might have run for the hills.

That is true leadership.

* Mathew Hulbert is Vice Chair of Bosworth Constituency Lib Dems and a former Councillor.

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:55 pm

Prompt for 2017-09-22

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Today’s prompt is “long time no see”.
Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:41 am

Cool Stuff Friday

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Friday has been having trouble keeping up on the blogging lately…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:50 pm

On New Political Strategies

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Posted by Andrew Hickey

This post is a political one, and discusses party strategies, but I think it has more applicability than just to Lib Dem partisans (which means that unlike the internal-fighting posts of last week, I’m going to charge for this on Patreon).

One thing last week’s Liberal Democrat conference showed was that, to the leadership of the Lib Dems at least, being in the moderate centre seems to be an idea that has a great appeal. It doesn’t appeal to me, and so I have an instinctive dislike of the idea, but I also think that right now it’s the wrong idea from a purely strategic point of view, and I think the other parties are starting to realise this.

The problem is that right now there is no centre of British politics, at least in any way that we would have talked about the centre a decade ago. And what centrist politicians of all parties have to realise is that, in the long term at least, and while we have the system that we do, that is the case more often than not.

British politics has had, in the last hundred and twenty years or so, roughly three stable periods in which it was sensible to talk about a political centre. In the period up until World War I, all the parties were, roughly speaking, in agreement on ideology — they were for imperialism, for a franchise limited to adult males, and for a hierarchical world-view in which white English rich men were the apex of the human pyramid. There were, of course, differences in ideology between the Liberals and the Tories (and the new Liberal Nationals and the tiny Labour party that was just starting to become known), but to anyone from outside that paradigm the differences look non-existent.

The same thing happened again in the period from roughly the end of World War II to the late 60s/early 70s. There, both the Tories and Labour were agreed on the philosophy known as Butskellism. This involved a mixed economy with high levels of taxation on higher incomes, most major industries nationalised, a strong welfare state, and the country run by what amounted to a three-legged stool — government, capital, and the unions all having roughly equal decision-making power, and government being by consensus among those three powers. Civil liberties, in this period, were slowly increased, though with a rather paternalistic aspect to this in which the lower classes needed to be educated in the responsibilities that came along with extra rights.

And then from about 1990 until very recently there was neoliberalism — the policies put forward by Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband. With some differences in nuance, all of these believed in low levels of taxation of income, even lower levels of wealth taxation, and that the role of the government in the economy should be that of a contractor, with all implementation to be done by private organisations paid by the government. There was also a rough consensus that international movement of capital and goods was a good thing, and that immigrants should be made into the scapegoats for any problems caused by other problems. All parties with any kind of power were also agreed that civil liberties were completely unimportant, and that universal rights could be abolished (though rights could still be granted to particular groups, so in this time life became immeasurably better for gay men, for example, than it had been pre-1990). In general, more even than the previous periods of time, those things which led to corporate profit were valued, and those things that didn’t were considered anathema to the political consensus.

All those periods of consensus definitely created losers, but they all sort-of worked for enough people (in Britain — they all caused a great deal of harm to other countries), and on the whole even though they harmed some people, most people in the UK were OK with them for a reasonable period.

However, all those periods of consensus came to an end in gigantic crises — first came the ongoing crisis that was World War I, the Depression, and World War II, during which time the Liberal Party fractured and almost died, the Labour Party rose, fell, and then rose again, and everything about British society changed irrevocably.

The second crisis period lasted, again, about twenty-five years — from roughly the time of the devaluation of the pound in 1967, through the three-day week, the OPEC crisis, the Winter of Discontent, and the Miners’ Strike, and probably coming to an end around the time of the Poll Tax riots. Again the major progressive party of the time (Labour) fragmented and almost died, again everything about British society was irrevocably changed. By the 1992 election — and certainly by the 1997 one — there was a new consensus, a new reality tunnel through which anyone with pretensions to political respectability would look at the world.

And this pattern — a shake-up that involves the two main parties going to wide extremes, and then slowly converging on a “new normal” that lasts about twenty years or so — is built into the biggest-loser electoral system. The system incentivises false binaries and clustering when something seems to be working, and it also incentivises getting as far away from “the other lot” as possible when something stops working. It *also* means that when things stop working, it takes so long for the electoral system to respond to them that only catastrophe will cause a response.

And the introduction of referendums into the system, which managerialist centrists who think that everyone “really” agrees with them and that the system is really OK thought would be a sticking plaster that would fix this problem, only makes it much, much worse. The Brexit referendum accelerated the latest catastrophic shake-up, which had already been coming since the crash of 2007, which had proved that the neoliberal system was broken just as effectively as the OPEC crisis did with Butskellism.

The elections of 2010 and 2015 saw all three main parties led by people who were fervent believers in the old system, but we haven’t had an election with a decisive result since 2005, and don’t look likely to have one again any time soon. We’re in the part of the cycle that happened in the early thirties or the early seventies, with parties fragmenting and reforming, and with ambiguous election results and Prime Ministers relying on other parties to get their agendas through Parliament.

Now, for all progressives of whatever party, this isn’t a good thing even were the current government not doing everything they can to exacerbate the current crisis. Conservatives tend to dominate these periods of uncertainty, partly because they tend to prize party discipline over everything else, and partly because they’re willing to throw away any principles at all for power so adapt better to new electoral landscapes.

But the problem at the moment is that no-one is even putting forward a workable idea of what the next paradigm might be, and we can’t even begin to move on from this catastrophic system until someone does. Theresa May’s Conservatives are rapidly heading towards full-on fascism and becoming a party of the ethnonationalist right. It’s my worry that the whole country will end up going for that by default, but I don’t think we will so long as there is at least a semblance of Parliamentary democracy, because fascism offers easy pseudo-answers, but it doesn’t actually work.

Labour at least seem to have settled on a strategy, give or take some argument about whether they should also be incredibly racist or not. The problem is that the strategy they’ve settled on is basically to return to the Butskellite system. This is a less bad strategy than many in my own party would like to think — that system *did* work, and work well, for a time, and there are plenty of lessons that can be learned for it for whatever new consensus is reached. Just because a system eventually failed doesn’t mean everything about it was bad.

But it’s still, ultimately, a retrograde step. That system was designed for an economy based on heavy industry, two-parent families in which only one person worked, a demographically young population, and pre-existing strong unions, and a world in which most of Asia was still pre-industrial so couldn’t compete. There are lessons to be learned from it, but it won’t work without those conditions, and much of the Labour leadership seems to me to be too intellectually incurious and inflexible to adapt it to the world as it is today.

They do, though, have a decent (though incomplete) analysis of what’s wrong. They’ve pointed to some of the problems, even though they haven’t yet suggested good solutions.

And this is the problem for centrists, whether those be Tory centrists like Anna Soubry, Labour centrists like Owen Smith, or the centrists in charge of my own party. In times of crisis, centrism is a reactionary position to be taking. It’s defending an old, broken-down system, not looking for a new, better, one.

Of course, this is sometimes necessary, because there are things about the old order that definitely need to be retained. The EU would be a prime example, in my view. But if centrism at its best is something like the Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society, “Preserving the old ways from being abused/Protecting the new ways for me and for you”, at a time of crisis it seems to centre the former, when the latter is more necessary.

This is something that, for all his faults as a leader, Tim Farron realised — he gave a great speech to conference in, I think, 2014, in which he outlined most of this and said the Lib Dems should be in the forefront of developing new political thought. And while his reaction to the EU referendum was, ultimately, the cowardly one of favouring a second referendum (which is basically just the “denial” stage of the stages of grieving, hoping that maybe everyone will come to their senses), he did prioritise trying to come up with radical new ideas.

Unfortunately, the snap election put paid to that, and we are now once again pivoting back to centrist defence of existing institutions, rather than radical rebuilding of them. The criticism the Lib Dems made of the other parties’ leaders during the election was the largely accurate one that “Theresa May wants to take us back to the 1950s, Jeremy Corbyn to the 1970s”. Unfortunately, we too have succumbed to the Boomer-led gerontocracy fad, and we have a leadership that wants to take us back to the 1990s.

Personally, I’d rather go back to the 1990s than the 1970s, and rather the 70s than the 50s, but if I had a choice I’d rather get into the 2030s. I’d quite like us to cut out the decade-plus of flailing around making bad choices and harming everyone that political history suggests lies ahead (optimistically taking 2007 rather than last year as the start of the crisis period). And we will only do that by accurately diagnosing the problems that led us to this place. We should not accept the false solutions of Brexit, austerity, and racism, and nor should we lazily push for ever more binary referendums based on false premises.

The Lib Dems were the last party to accept the neoliberal consensus (cleverly doing so right at the point it broke) and have historically always been the party of constitutional radicalism. And one of the few bright points of a fairly depressing conference was hearing Vince Cable say what the current Boomer gerontocracy deems most unsayable — that house prices need to fall.

One of the things I’m hoping to do as my Prometheans series progresses is to come up with some very precise definitions of the problems we’re facing (albeit from the unusual angle of looking at old science fiction books). I’m also pushing within the Lib Dems for more radical solutions to problems, through things like working with the Radical Association (join us!) But for everyone on the side of greater equality, greater freedom, and less conformity — whether in the Lib Dems, Greens, Labour, SNP, or Unaffiliated Other — there’s a task ahead, to try to define and shape a new political reality. We should not be shirking the task by pretending the problem has already been solved.

This blog post was brought to you by the generosity of my backers on Patreon. Why not join them?

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:20 am

Poem #22: Septmeber 1815

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September 1815

WHILE not a leaf seems faded; while the fields,
With ripening harvest prodigally fair,
In brightest sunshine bask; this nipping air,
Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields
His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields
Of bitter change, and bids the flowers beware;
And whispers to the silent birds, 'Prepare
Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields.'
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
To Nature's tuneful quire, this rustling dry
Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky,
Announce a season potent to renew,
'Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song,
And nobler cares than listless summer knew.

~~ William Wordsworth
Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:00 pm

Punk Rock Resisting Islamophobia

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Posted by Neeraj Rajasekar

Originally posted at Discoveries

Punk rock has a long history of anti-racism, and now a new wave of punk bands are turning it up to eleven to combat Islamophobia. For a recent research article, sociologist Amy D. McDowell  immersed herself into the “Taqwacore” scene — a genre of punk rock that derives its name from the Arabic word “Taqwa.” While inspired by the Muslim faith, this genre of punk is not strictly religious — Taqwacore captures the experience of the “brown kids,” Muslims and non-Muslims alike who experience racism and prejudice in the post-9/11 era. This music calls out racism and challenges stereotypes.

Through a combination of interviews and many hours of participant observation at Taqwacore events, McDowell brings together testimony from musicians and fans, describes the scene, and analyzes materials from Taqwacore forums and websites. Many participants, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, describe processes of discrimination where anti-Muslim sentiments and stereotypes have affected them. Her research shows how Taqwacore is a multicultural musical form for a collective, panethnic “brown” identity that spans multiple nationalities and backgrounds. Pushing back against the idea that Islam and punk music are incompatible, Taqwacore artists draw on the essence of punk to create music to that empowers marginalized youth.

Neeraj Rajasekar is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Minnesota.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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