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SMQ
11 October 2014 @ 09:08 am

So look, I have no cred, no audience, and am in no way a "hardcore" gamer—I'm not putting much at risk by posting this—but even from this far out on the sidelines I can't be silent anymore.

For two months now an organized group of Capital-G-Gamers have made it their mission in life to harass, intimidate, and bully a number of prominent women in and around the gaming industry. Zoë Quinn made a game about depression. Anita Sarkeesian makes videos talking about how women are depicted in popular games. Leigh Alexander writes op-ed articles about games and the people who make/play/review them. Brianna Wu develops and talks about games. Kathy Sierra teaches programming. All of them, and many others, have had their personal information—addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, dating history—splashed across the internet. All of them have received rape threats, death threats, bomb threats, some of them gruesomely detailed. They've had their families, their children, their parents, threatened by strangers on the internet, on the phone, and in person. All for daring to be women on the internet with an opinion about a traditionally-male pastime.

This Shit Has To Stop

I don't know that there's anything I personally can do to stop it. But by this point not saying something—even something ultimately pointless—feels like being complicit in the abuse.

And I don't know if any of the women dealing with this vast torrent of filth will ever read this, but if you do, I'm listening. I hear you. I believe you. And I will do everything in my power to ensure my son doesn't grow up to be like the shitsticks who are doing this to you.

#IStandWithZoe


--SMQ

Tags:
 
 
Current Mood: Pissed-off
 
 
SMQ
27 January 2017 @ 09:52 am

I haven't posted one of these in a few years, as it came to feel performative rather than sincere, but since this is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire I think it's weighing more heavily than usual. Once again we're entering a week of rememberance—that weird confluence of anniversaries—when I, and other proponents of human exploration, take a few moments to reflect that pushing the boundaries always comes at a cost—a cost sometimes paid in lives painfully ended.

As I've noted in previous years, our best understanding is that each of these 21 people had time—from tens-of-seconds to a few minutes—to realize that death was inevitable. That said, they also knew the danger going in, and took up that risk willingly ("If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business [...] The conquest of space is worth [it]." —Gus Grissom). May they now rest in peace.


50 years ago today:

Roger Chaffee
 
Gus Grissom
 
Ed White
 
Apollo 1 (AS-204)
lost January 27, 1967 due to a crew cabin fire during flight readiness testing

31 years ago tomorrow:

Grego Jarvis
 
Christa McAuliffe
 
Ron McNair
 
Ellison Onizuka
 
Judith Resnik
 
Dick Scobee
 
   
  Mike Smith
 
 
SS Challenger (STS-51-L)
lost January 28, 1986 due to exhaust gas leakage from the left solid booster rocket during launch.

14 years ago this coming Wednesday:

Mike Anderson
 
David Brown
 
Kalpana Chawla
कल्‍पना चावला
Laurel Clark
 
Rick Husband
 
William McCool
 
   
  אילן רמון
Ilan Ramon
 
 
SS Columbia (STS-107)
lost February 1, 2003 due to failure of the thermal protection system during atmospheric reentry,
caused by damage sustained during launch.


Finally, though much less remembered, the four cosmonauts who also died on active space exploration missions:

   
  Влади́мир Комаро́в
Vladimir Komarov
 
 
Союз 1
Soyuz 1
lost April 24, 1967 due to parachute deployment failure during atmospheric descent

 

Георгий Добровольский
Georgi Dobrovolsky
 
Виктор Пацаев
Viktor Patsayev
 
Владислав Волков
Vladislav Volkov
 
Союз 11
Soyuz 11
lost June 29, 1971 due to a cabin oxygen leak during atmospheric descent


--SMQ

Tags:
 
 
Current Mood: somber
 
 
 
SMQ
29 January 2010 @ 09:11 am

"If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business [...] The conquest of space is worth [it]."
        —Gus Grissom


 

Here we are again: NASA's week of rememberance. It's a little creepy that the aniversaries of all of the United States' fatal space missions fall within a few days of one another, but it provides a stark reminder that the cost of exploration—of pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and understanding—is sometimes paid with the lives of good people, painfully ended. May they all now rest in peace.


43 years ago this past Wednesday:

Roger Chaffee
 
Gus Grissom
 
Ed White
 
Apollo 1 (AS-204)
lost January 27, 1967 due to a crew cabin fire during flight readiness testing

24 years ago yesterday:

Grego Jarvis
 
Christa McAuliffe
 
Ron McNair
 
Ellison Onizuka
 
Judith Resnik
 
Dick Scobee
 
   
  Mike Smith
 
 
SS Challenger (STS-51-L)
lost January 28, 1986 due to exhaust gas leakage from the left solid booster rocket during launch.

7 years ago this coming Monday:

Mike Anderson
 
David Brown
 
Kalpana Chawla
कल्‍पना चावला
Laurel Clark
 
Rick Husband
 
William McCool
 
   
  אילן רמון
Ilan Ramon
 
 
SS Columbia (STS-107)
lost February 1, 2003 due to failure of the thermal protection system during atmospheric reentry,
caused by damage sustained during launch.


 

Finally, though much less remembered, the four cosmonauts who also died on active space exploration missions:

   
  Влади́мир Комаро́в
Vladimir Komarov
 
 
Союз 1
Soyuz 1
lost April 24, 1967 due to parachute deployment failure during atmospheric descent

 

Георгий Добровольский
Georgi Dobrovolsky
 
Виктор Пацаев
Viktor Patsayev
 
Владислав Волков
Vladislav Volkov
 
Союз 11
Soyuz 11
lost June 29, 1971 due to a cabin oxygen leak during atmospheric descent


--SMQ

 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
SMQ
31 August 2009 @ 09:36 pm
ca. 1960 Wurlitzer 4100A Vacuum Tube Cabinet Organ

- Two manuals, 3 1/2 octaves each
- One octave pedal board
- 10 keyboard stops, 2 pedal stops
- multiple couplers, vibrato, sustain
- Fully Functional!
- Approx. 4' wide, 3' high, 2' deep.
- Cabinet & bench in good condition.

Free to someone to will play it; $50 if you plan to tear it down for parts.

--SMQ
 
 
Current Mood: calmcalm
 
 
 
SMQ
31 August 2009 @ 09:14 pm
1970 Ford F-100 Pickup

- Running, but just barely; not drivable as-is.
- 75,386 Miles, used as a farm truck until a few years ago
- V8 engine, automatic trans, electric carb
- Wheels and tires in good condition

- Needs brakes(!), piston rings, exhaust and electrical work.
- Grinding noise from rear may be related to brake failure, I haven't investigated it.
- Turn signals not working, headlights work high-beam only.
- Trans mounted weird -- flywheel is partly exposed!
- Leaks oil between engine and trans, probably bad rear thrust bearing in crank-case.
- Considerable body rust

Probably worth more in parts/scrap than as a truck; asking $200 or best.

--SMQ
 
 
Current Mood: calmcalm
 
 
 
SMQ
Here in my little corner of the U.S. we just experienced the coolest July on record. I've now heard about a bazillion people—some jokingly, some seriously—assert that this somehow "disproves" global warming. Actually, quite the opposite. Let me explain (no, there is too much: let me sum up):

Global Warming deals with average temperatures across the entire planet. The local weather (in a particular place) is only one data point of the thousands that contribute to that average. In places where the weather is fairly stable—the tropics and the poles—Global Warming indeed leads to consistently warmer temperatures, and these warmer temperatures have obvious large-scale effects. The polar ice is melting. The tropical coral reefs are dying.

But in the middle latitudes where the day-to-day weather is less stable, the primary effect of global warming is to increase that instability. Higher average temperatures mean more energy available to drive the global weather system. The greater amount of energy means local weather gets "pushed and pulled" more by the system. More chaotic, more unusual, more unstable. Here in the temperate zones Global Warming doesn't make the day-to-day weather warmer: it makes it weirder.

Anyone want to argue that the weather hasn't been "weird" the last few years/decades? Is this the weather you remember growing up? I thought not.

--SMQ
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
 
SMQ
13 April 2009 @ 11:27 am
If you've seen my car in the last year it should be no secret that I'm a supporter of gay marriage. I'm not much of an activist, as such, but I'll talk about it when asked.

From a religious perspective, I honestly don't feel convicted one way or the other. But from a civil perspective I have yet to hear a single secular argument against gay marriage which didn't come down to either "it's always been this way" or "I don't like it." In my book neither of those are good enough reasons for the government to (continue to) limit who is entitled to the rights and responsibilities of marriage under the law.

All of which is to explain why I find the following worth writing about:

Last week, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) launched a nationwide "grassroots" initiative named "Two Million for Marriage", and abbreviated (by them) "2M4M". There are a couple of problems with that:

1) In craigslist/online-dating/classified lingo, that abbreviation would signal two men looking for a third to join them in bed. Not exactly the image NOM wants to project.

2) NOM doesn't own the obvious domain 2m4m.org. In fact, cambler(may be NSFW) does (and did before NOM's announcement). And rather than put up a simple spoof site, he solicited help to instead actively rebut NOM's talking points. So now the obvious website for NOM's two-year-long national campaign is a pro-equality site specifically challenging their arguments.

This I find highly amusing. Good work, cambler!

ETA: (tl;dr 2m4m.org doesn't go where NOM wishes it did, thanks to cambler!)

--SMQ
 
 
Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
SMQ
27 January 2009 @ 04:18 pm

It's that week again—that weird confluence of anniversaries—when I, and other proponents of human exploration, take a few moments to remember that pushing the boundaries always comes at a cost—a cost sometimes paid in lives painfully ended.

As I've noted in previous years, our best understanding is that each of these 21 people had time—not just seconds but minutes—to realize that death was inevitable. That said, they also knew the danger going in, and took up that risk willingly ("If we die, we want people to accept it. We're in a risky business [...] The conquest of space is worth [it]." —Gus Grissom). May they now rest in peace.


42 years ago today:

Roger Chaffee
 
Gus Grissom
 
Ed White
 
Apollo 1 (AS-204)
lost January 27, 1967 due to a crew cabin fire during flight readiness testing

23 years ago tomorrow:

Grego Jarvis
 
Christa McAuliffe
 
Ron McNair
 
Ellison Onizuka
 
Judith Resnik
 
Dick Scobee
 
   
  Mike Smith
 
 
SS Challenger (STS-51-L)
lost January 28, 1986 due to exhaust gas leakage from the left solid booster rocket during launch.

6 years ago this coming Sunday:

Mike Anderson
 
David Brown
 
Kalpana Chawla
कल्‍पना चावला
Laurel Clark
 
Rick Husband
 
William McCool
 
   
  אילן רמון
Ilan Ramon
 
 
SS Columbia (STS-107)
lost February 1, 2003 due to failure of the thermal protection system during atmospheric reentry,
caused by damage sustained during launch.


Finally, though much less remembered, the four cosmonauts who also died on active space exploration missions:

   
  Влади́мир Комаро́в
Vladimir Komarov
 
 
Союз 1
Soyuz 1
lost April 24, 1967 due to parachute deployment failure during atmospheric descent

 

Георгий Добровольский
Georgi Dobrovolsky
 
Виктор Пацаев
Viktor Patsayev
 
Владислав Волков
Vladislav Volkov
 
Союз 11
Soyuz 11
lost June 29, 1971 due to a cabin oxygen leak during atmospheric descent


--SMQ

 
 
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
 
 
 
SMQ
23 January 2009 @ 08:24 am
A relative of mine updated her Facebook status last night to read: S.G. "cannot describe how disappoint[sic] she is in people who 'are proud to be an American now that Obama is president'. Fair weather Americans..." I'm sorry, I can't just let that pass without comment.

Let me be clear: I'm happy to be a citizen of the United States. It's a good country, with good people, and I appreciate the opportunities living here offers. While it's not a word I like to use out-of-hand, I suppose I do indeed even love my country. But have I been proud to be an American these last few years? No.

We have always been a strong nation, but lately that strength has been showing itself in unflattering ways. Rather than the charismatic, measured inner strength of an inspiring leader — a Roosevelt or Churchill or Rev. Dr. King — we as a nation have been displaying the pushy, violent strength of a schoolyard bully — a Khrushchev or Capone or Jack Bauer.

We have been a strong nation, but in some important ways I believe we have ceased to be an inspiring one. In the past years we have hastily invaded two formerly-sovereign nations, the second one over the objections of our allies. We have allowed our executive to guide our country all-but-unilaterally, despite a constitution designed specifically to limit that power. We have been told that diversity is dangerous, that dissension is tantamount to treason, that those who are not with us are against us, and, because we are afraid, we have begun to believe it. We have spied broadly on our own countrymen in the name of national security, declared war on a tactic rather than on the underlying causes, and pointedly ignored or even mocked the growing reluctance of the rest of the world to join in our cause. We have tortured our prisoners.

Now maybe — maybe — some of these actions were truly necessary or the consequences would have been even worse. I'm not so naive as to think that we can get by without the occasional Jack Bauer moment — the world is a harsh place, and sometimes harsh actions are unavoidable. But violence, both personal and national, should be a choice of last resort once all other avenues have been explored and exhausted. The path of forceful expediency should be taken reluctantly and only in the direst need. Allowing ourselves to become a nation of Jack Bauers, then, is something to be deeply ashamed of, not something to be proud of.

* * *

So am I suddenly proud to be an American now that we have chosen an apparently-different sort of leader. A little bit. But voting for change is the easy part — it's actually changing that's hard.

Still, we did vote for change, and in his first days in office President Obama has ordered the closure (with due time and consideration) of our most infamous offshore detention center, revised our policy on "harsh interrogation methods", and opened the government up to greater scrutiny by ordering agencies to stop searching for reasons to deny FOIA requests. It's a good start, and it gives me some hope that we may be ready to start embracing again some of the qualities that make us an inspiring nation and not just a strong one — personal liberty, glorious diversity, and a reluctance to enter into a conflict without an iron-clad justification.

In short, I believe that, as a wise old monkey once said, "[We] are more than what [we] have become," but that maybe we're starting to realize it. If that makes me a "fair weather American" then so be it.

--SMQ
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
SMQ
05 January 2009 @ 09:16 am

Or somesuch. :-)

--SMQ

Tags:
 
 
Current Mood: awake