citrakayah: (determined)
Well, one way or the other, the nightmare that is this election will end tonight. Unfortunately, our nightmare will probably only begin.

I'm not going to be watching the election, both because I'll be in ceramics class at the time and because they don't allow alcohol in the dorms--and I'd desperately need it, because no matter who wins I don't want to confront the implications while sober.

I am worried that Trump supporters might commit violence if he doesn't win (and even if he does win, for that matter). I don't think Clinton supporters would, though if they think Trump can actually do what they think he will, it'll be interesting to see what sort of tactics they think are justified.

I'd be a little less pissy about them, as a group, if they hadn't raised money for a firebombed GOP office. Condemn violence against fascists or not, raising money so they can better organize to pass bigoted legislation seems a *little weird*.


It's been a while since I posted; I'll post an update explaining why later today or tomorrow morning. My apologies for my absence.
citrakayah: (Default)
Summer is going well so far; I actually have work experience now. Currently I'm not being paid because the university has no money because Certain Individuals Who Shall Not Be Named defunded Illinois (university budget is getting slashed by 40%, IIRC). Everyone's pretty pissed about it.

My internship itself is pretty awesome. Right now we're doing an experiment to determine how heavy metal pollutants affect fish larva survival if nighttime cooling is eliminated. The fact that some of the fish die is pretty horribe, but the survivors are released after their most vunerable stage and I'm hopeful the data will be of use to bluegill populations.

There have been a couple BLM demonstrations recently, and there's one scheduled for tonight. At one of them some asshole tried to run a protestor over and carried them a good few hundred feet before stopping. That particular asshole currently has a smelly car and got punched.

I'm going to the one tonight.
citrakayah: (Default)
Been a month since I last wrote anything. School has been difficult, to say the least. My brain feels like it is full of fog, and doing anything not school-related that takes actual thought and willpower is hard. I could be doing worse, no question about that, but I have a good deal of inertia keeping me in place. The more I'm inactive--anywhere--the harder it is to get the ball rolling again. I'm a creature of habit, after all. And currently the habit is "crawl into bed, blow up enemy ships, and do absolutely nothing."

Which I hate.

I did get a review paper on isopods done, which was interesting to do. Had to do a lot of reading, and learned a lot as well. Among other things, I learned that Bergmann's rule has a long and checkered history, that most people think giant woodlice are cool, and that deep-sea isopods are not nearly as terrifying as old nacho cheese Doritos.

Other students in ZOOL 215 are doing their projects on feral cat colony management, the role of venom and bacteria in Komodo dragons, and turtle evolution. The first and last did fairly well, the middle one did not do enough research. I say that because in the question-and-answer session I asked about a possible test for bacteria uptake that seemed sort of obvious, and she said that that would be a good idea and someone should do that test. When I got back to my dorm, five minutes on Wikipedia linked me to a paper that had that very setup.

Despite the season, it's been cold lately, and it rained heavily today. I was caught outside at the beginning of it; I let volunteer hours slip away from me and I'm having to do a whole bunch at once. And because I'm an idiot and I suck, I missed the bus, so tried to walk over to the Science Center to volunteer. Naturally I got completely lost, but ultimately I did manage to get there... so good for me, I guess. Even if volunteering at the Science Center isn't the most pleasant task, what with all the loud children, it's something.

Formally changed majors from architecture to zoology, and have an appointment on Monday to talk about the possibility of doing field/lab work for graduate studies. I'm skeptical of my chances, given my lack of training, but it can't hurt.

Read some good books lately. The Virals series, which I've always liked, had two books I hadn't read, and some guy named Charles de Lint wrote a trilogy called Wildings which was pretty interesting. Also found some pretty... interesting... music by a person named Vertigo Fox. I usually hate the genre he works in, but the lyrics and general feel are interesting enough to overlook it.


Oh, and apparently we have MRAs on the Werelist. Granted I wouldn't expect anything different from the person who believes that plants "evolved beyond the use of brains," but still, it's rather frustrating.
citrakayah: (Default)
So we were presented this scenario in my history discussion section.

In December of 2014, one of the remote provinces of our nation (the Republic of Tanzarundi) became a zone of conflict with the discovery of a key mineral used in portable communication devices. This resource can be sold internationally for huge profits, and the extraction of this mineral will provide many jobs for citizens willing to work there.

Here’s the problem: People already live in the part of the province where the mineral is located. These people include a few small bands of foragers, who rely on gathering, hunting, and fishing. Transforming this province into an extraction enterprise will certainly disrupt the environments these people need to live as they do now. In fact, it will possibly destroy many of the resources they need (local water supplies and animal habitats, especially) and ruin places they consider sacred. Once the valuable mineral was discovered last November, speculators quickly moved in with the provincial military force somehow getting entangled with different groups of speculators. This led to violence between speculators competing to access the mineral, as well as violence against the local forager groups. When folks throughout our nation heard about this, many went to protest and to create human shields to try to protect the foraging groups and the places where they live. It’s messy with the potential to get really violent soon. But there also appear to be possibilities for defusing the conflict without more violence.

As the advisory council to our national government, we need to determine the course of action for this crisis. Right now the people of our nation are not sure what we should do, and most are likely to support whatever policy we set forth as our course of action. But we have to persuade them that our course of action is ideal for this to work and ensure that we do not set off responses that could lead to widespread disorder and conflict.

Let’s be honest here. This is not really about “jobs/profits vs. environment.” We can let the less civilized nations squabble over such simplistic binaries. And this is not even about protecting the foragers who live there, although we have their most sacred animal as our national symbol on our flag (the irony is just too much, isn’t it?). This is really about us, all the people of the Republic of Tanzarundi, and who we are as human beings. Are we people who satisfy our wants and needs through violence and war because it is a normal (maybe even "natural") thing for human beings to do? Or, are we people who are not prone to make war and can come up with non-violent ways to solve our fundamental problems?

The history of humanity is complicated when trying to determine this matter. We can see conflicting interpretations in the scholarly readings we have to help us craft our policy. This advisory council has designated you as the lead member to define our policy. First, read the scholarly writings on this topic. Second, compose an argument that insists on a military solution using three ideas from Keeley’s writing, or compose an argument that insists on a non-military solution using three ideas from Wells’ writing. Do your best to convince our people that your policy is a true reflection of who we are and who we can be as human beings.


Guess what people in my class defended?

The "Trail of Tears" solution. Because obviously the lives of the tribe doesn't matter compared to the jobs and money.

That was literally their reasoning.
citrakayah: (Default)
So, college has started. I’m taking multiple architecture courses, a biology course, and a course on speech communication. So far, the biology couse seems to be the most interesting, even if I will have to negotiate my way out of dissections. Because, if there is one thing I can’t really do, it is dissections of animals. Plants are quite fun to dissect, especially if you can laugh maniacally while doing so.

Went to Philadelphia, and met up with Mobius and Lindiel, who are awesome, at the Philadephia Zoo. Got up to various wacky adventures, ranging from establishing that ducks experience rebellious teenage years to hating Victorian architecture. Also, we are all united in a hatred of small loud children. Also in Philadelphia, discovered the wonders of pub fries with spicy ketchup, high quality gelato, and pistachio cream sauces. *licks lips* And I have found blueberry vanilla goat cheese.

Back home, my mother developed a strange obsession with canning things, which is why there are currently a whole bunch of pickling green beans. I personally doubt it will end well. I also found a whole bunch of vegetarian recipes, which I would dearly love to try cooking.

------------

Found Souls, joined, and have found it to be a great deal of fun. It’s a post-apocalyptic setting where you play a werewolf (canine changed by a virus, not a human altered—humans don’t figure in the roleplay because they’ve been almost entirely wiped out) called a Lupercai. I’m not a huge fan of the limited lifespan—Lupercai can live maybe 18 or so years at most—but you can hang around as a ghost indefinitely, so there’s that. Aside from the ability to transform, the presence of ghosts is the only magic allowed in the setting.

Haven’t gotten any writing done in a while, so roleplaying in Souls could help stimulate that. I want to get work on Spiritwalkers done, as well as expand the game world for the Pathfinder campaign. Currently on the Australia sourcebook, which has:

* a civilization that spans the entire Indo-Pacific region and rides giant turtles large enough to support entire ecosystems
* the point where life began
* cults, cults, and more cults
* references to the Inferno

I hope to also provide:

* details of Sunhill, both its people and structure
* specifics on the Apocalypse Wars
* the full text of the pact between the greatest powers of the universe that prevents them from acting directly
* a discussion on how the Australian spirit world works (I’ll have to study legends of the Dreamtime to figure this out, though it’ll be in broad strokes—but I’ve been calling Australia the Dreamlands, and Aboriginal legends are too interesting not to include in some capacity)
* hints to the Africa sourcebook, as well as the Antarctic one
* details on how raccoons got to Australia

------------

Unfortunately I haven’t been paying much attention to the news, though I have heard what happened in Ferguson, and am naturally quite disgusted. Also rather unsurprised that there are the usual apologists saying, "Oh, we don’t know what happened" (okay, I suppose that if there’s no video of the incident that may be technically true) and "He lunged at the officer and the officer shot him in self defense." Of course, police in this country are pretty much immune from real consequences of their actions.

This is why every single officer should have a body camera attached when they are working. They’d be a lot less likely to do such things if they knew they had a camera attached to them, and we’d be able to point to close up video evidence in every single case.

Which is probably why in the places that did this, incident rates dropped like a fucking stone.

------------

Joined Atlas Obscura, which is full of interesting things, ranging from a bioluminescent bay, to a bioluminescent cave, to a field of lightning rods, to an abandoned missile base, to a place where they keep a bunch of snakes in big outdoor enclosures and use them to produce antivenom. I highly recommend it, and there are even a few locations in Kirksville. Lame locations, but still locations.
citrakayah: (Default)
Recently, I’d been part of a party of adventurers in a Dungeons and Dragons game that met every Saturday (though we were moving to Wednesdays and Fridays). Note the past tense.

Last night, I was taken aside and informed that group dynamics were “not working out.” Given that my character was straight-laced chaotic good and over half the part was chaotic/neutral/lawful evil (though I really think the chaotic evil character wasn’t that evil, since he was merely a sociopath who killed evil people), I can buy that. Or maybe I somehow managed to piss everyone else off and not notice it, and no one explicitly told me. And the GM is open to, perhaps later in the year, doing another campaign that I can participate in.

I’ll acknowledge that I was a bit upset due to the fact that I hadn’t noticed any such undercurrents, but I guess that’s the price one pays for being autistic and having few social skills. I’m a lot less elegant offline than online. Would have been nice for them to tell me what it was, though. On the other hand maybe it wasn’t anything specific.

In any event. This does give me more time to participate in things like the Wildlife Society (whose last meeting I missed), eskrima (last few meetings missed in part due to being unable to find the location), and various other things. But still, kind of unfortunate.

Would be nice to join another campaign, whether face-to-face, play-by-post, or IRC.

In other news:
  1. My echocardiogram was rather bizarre, at least in terms of my experience, though my heart was apparently normal. Also they won’t send me images of my echocardiogram, which is unfortunate because the video was kind of cool.
  2. I started a speculative evolution forum called Saecula Novae because the mod on Speculative Evolution did several things I disagreed with, including but not limited to: closing and deleting threads without formal notice, unevenly enforcing rules, and not creating forums for community projects like promised.
  3. Fuck anarchocapitalists. (Trigger warning: Sheer, mindblowing insensitivity to rape, which is used to score political points for a stupid ideology.)
citrakayah: (Default)
Been a while since I posted. Life in general is good. Summer’s coming, so I’m getting more time outside—and it’s nice and warm often, too, though I look forward to the nice and hot temperatures of July and June, and climbing on top of the car and stretching out. That feels good. And chasing squirrels, and birds, and maybe there’ll be a get-together over the summer that I attend.

I’ve been trying to get a job at ACE. So far I haven’t been hired… but I maintain some hope that I still will. Nevertheless, time to apply at places like Hastings and such, I think. And maybe I’ll finally manage to sell some glass beads over the Internet during the summer…

Gardening is happening. Tragically the cacti have not sprouted yet, even though I followed the instructions on the seed packet, but I predict that the other seeds packets will be significantly more successful. I think I’ll sow them over the weekend; apparently we have Monday off school so that’ll give me a bit of extra time. And we got some lovely poppies.

Speaking of which, I determined a way to improve my lemon poppyseed cookies—do not mix the wet and dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Oh, and I am now a commander in Star Trek Online.


Brave New World is moderately interesting, though I find many of Huxley’s ideas unlikely. Looking at the modern world, I would far more expect conformity to demand having a white picket fence and 1.5 children. Also his critique of promiscuity seems a bit of a strawman, in that the characters don’t even have any real liking for each other.

I know, it’s only fiction, but Huxley seems to expect us to take the book seriously as an illustration of the ills of society, and I don’t think it does that very well. Far more likely is that the future would be ruled by corporations relying on aggressive marketing campaigns to expand suburbia.


The state of the world is apparently Texas lately. Let’s see:
• The Boston bombing happened. This has emboldened our hawks. Not the birds. It has also emboldened the usual idiots who think that the solution to heavily armed terrorists running around is for everybody to have some model of AR (I forget the number after the dash).
• A fertilizer plant blew up in Texas. This was not done on purpose, it appears.
• Gun control was defeated by people who thought that universal background checks was the first step to government tyranny. The people who thought this were… get this… the government. Which can’t agree on anything anyway. And love their guns so much that facts fly out the window for them.
• Homophobic violence is widespread in France because the bigots there are idiot children who can’t deal with the concept of gay marriage. I don’t know if anyone’s been killed; hopefully no one has or will be.
• Zambia is being Zambia. By which I mean being an extremely homophobic country so blinded by hatred and bigotry that it must have inspired fucking Russia.

It never rains.

It only pours.


And the cats are being cute. Also the clouded leopards. Here are some pictures of clouded leopards from the Miami Zoo.






citrakayah: (Default)
I have discovered that I adore neopagan folk music, ever since someone was kind enough to post a link to ”I Don’t Speak Human” on the Werelist. Omnia is very, very good. So I bought some of their music off Amazon, while listening to my mother point out that if I plan on being an architect, I should probably not publicly identify as neopagan, at which point I reminded her that I am:

1. an atheist who is literally incapable of worship (which is, I suppose, not completely true)
2. am in possession of some degree of subtlety, so that if I did suddenly become neopagan, I would not feel the necessity to tell half the planet, nor (to address her other point) would I ever join any religious group without thinking about it heavily

After which she informed me that if I did join a neopagan group, she wanted me to know that my family wasn’t the sort to freak out about that. Which I already knew.


Debate.org is turning out to be rather fun. I won the debate on privatization of science, tied another on gun control (because no one voted), and am currently arguing that developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate climate change. Also discussing the election on the Werelist, where many people are apparently not voting, and we all got into an argument as to the merits of voting, and then someone raised the issue of the whole ‘Fair Tax’ nonsense, which basically suggests that the solution to all tax problems is a tax on consumption rather than income, and that this will somehow close the loopholes rich people use to evade taxes (by lowering them drastically while allowing them to spend vast amounts of money on foreign goods and thus avoid paying the tax).

Meanwhile, I’ve been mentally beating myself on the head ever since I heard Romney has a five point lead. Good grief; I thought this wasn’t going to be a close race, but Romney seems to be convincing people that he isn’t actually an absurd Tea Party extremist. Which he is. And which he will probably govern as, given that on average political candidates try to fulfill a fair number of their promises. Don’t know exactly how Romney will act, but currently he’s basically the equivalent of an existential threat if he governs at all like he’s said he will, despite being (on the Political Compass) literally a unit to the economic right to Obama. Of course, the Political Compass ranks people according to actions, not promises. And I’m not really sure Romney’s past actions will be a very good predictor of his future actions.

I hate politics here. What passes for the left around here is really quite far to the right. I mean, can you even imagine someone saying, “Yes, I favor socialism and redistribution of wealth, federal funding of arts and sciences, regulations, and single-payer health care” and getting elected in this country? The right’s gone so far right in the past few years… Obama’s individual mandate was originally proposed by the freaking Heritage Foundation, after all.

Wonder what people in Europe are thinking of us right now. Probably that we’re all insane.


Found out that I was looking along the wrong lines if I wanted life in the Sun, and am now looking into plasma-based life, since the kilometer-long solar dragons I originally was planning at the request of [personal profile] siliconshaman  spent most of their life outside the Sun, moving into it as part of their orbit of it. And had to somehow evolve silica aerogel and a biological thermocouple. Which would be fine if these were genetically engineered lifeforms, but they aren’t.

Also, the corona is apparently too hot even for silica aerogels. I’ve heard of substances capable of withstanding the heat there, but they are metals, which are unacceptably conductive to heat.


Currently looking into technoshamanism, mostly to determine what it is, because so far I don’t think I’ve found any really good resources on the subject. Anyone know of good resources?
citrakayah: (Default)
I want everyone to read this.

Then read a summary of each party platform.
citrakayah: (Default)
Apparently, the Heartland Institute, that bastion of insanity in a world increasingly populated by analytical thinkers, has proven, by some of the most insane logic available, that, without a doubt, global warming is false.

Yes, science and analysis is evil, these new billboards have proven that beyond any shadow of doubt! The most famous proponents of global warming are not, as you may have thought, Bill Nye, or various scientists, but actually Charles Mason and Ted Bundy. Yes, these rather nasty individuals believe in global warming, and therefore global warming is evil and degenerate. But they aren’t suggesting that all global warming proponents are like that, oh no!

Some say this goes too far. I say it doesn’t go far enough. What about Mendelian genetics? Many criminals believed in Mendelian genetics. What about gravity? John Wilkes Booth certainly didn’t believe in intelligent falling, a revelation given to me by the all-powerful Flying Sphaghetti Monster, Ramen! My friends, we have an important moral duty to actively disbelieve anything that such individuals as Osama bin Laden or Ted Bundy believed in, even if that would require not believing anything! The sky is not blue. Water is not wet. The Earth is flat and orbited by the sun. And we cannot denounce something until a Ted Bundy or Osama bin Laden has stated that they believe it, because the universe alters what is right and what is wrong based on its natural desire to be the exact opposite of what they think is true, even if that means being two contradictory things at the same time! God exists and does not exist. Various religious texts are true and are not true. True is false and false is true! Truly, this is the world in which we live today, where reality flips on a dime. Today, global warming is false, because Charles Mason believes it exists. But tomorrow, it could... depending on who performs the next horrendous act that gets national attention! Reality is reversely democratic, and your votes are tallied by your body count!
citrakayah: (look to your left)
St. Louis was pleasant. Firstly, it was warm there. That’s not actually entirely a good thing, given that this is Missouri we’re talking about, but on a personal level it was pleasant. Or not unpleasant. Point is, I didn’t need to wear a jacket.

Met up with the grandmother on my father’s side, went out to the Olive Garden, where I tried to enjoy myself but realized in the midst of what might count as a panic attack (about exactly what I forget, I do remember it was sparked by a political discussion resulting in me saying that I have an obligation to all sentient beings resulting in me realizing that my very existence has killed many of them and doomed others to misery, all the moreso because I’m in St. Louis three hours from home about to consume a fairly large meal) that I had not taken Zoloft the previous night. Whether that caused it I don’t know but it certainly didn’t help.

Day after that we went to the botanical gardens, which were quite pleasant, especially with the orchid collection being exhibited. I took notes on a map of the place but unfortunately lost the map with all my notes. No surprise there. I also took some very nice macro photos that should also provide tools for drawing.

Next day was the zoo, which was brilliant. It seemed bizarrely warm, though St. Louis is south of here and in the city, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Furthermore, the zoo blocks a significant amount of the wind chill. Naturally, my first action was to wander off and find the cheetah enclosure. The zoo has two males on display, and they were fairly active in the morning. Active enough that I spent thirty minutes or so watching them. Later in the day I had to wait about twenty minutes for them to come out; my imitation of a cheetah’s chirp, while not very good, may have helped worm them out of hiding. I also discovered that their big cats are on contraception. Including some of the same brands humans use. No word yet on if they’ve gotten angry letters denouncing the evils of taxpayer-financed feline contraception. And while they’re at it, the evils of exhibitionist insects. And cohabitating male cheetahs.

The zoo has been doing some renovation; currently they’re working on a new sea lion exhibit which looks excellent, from what I could see of the construction. Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to them (the construction workers, not the sea lions), so I couldn’t ascertain what company designed the exhibit. If they even knew. In their position, I wouldn’t really care enough to remember.


I’ve been reading various stuff on the Ennegram lately. I estimate half of it is wrong or bad generalizations and the other half is pretty accurate. Considering that it is a theory of psychology based on a geometric shape, that is actually pretty decent. It says I’m a type five, which is pretty damn accurate, but not accurate enough for my tastes. I do need to pick apart my mind at some point.


Politics over here are... interesting. It seems that we’re refighting the sixties, what with people seriously talking about contraception like it’s a mortal sin and such. More worrisome is the possibility that the United States will declare war on Iran, which of course all the candidates are behind because not doing so would result in them getting called anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, which of course is bullshit.

Howlidays

Dec. 25th, 2011 12:32 pm
citrakayah: (Default)
Been a while since I updated.

Seems that over the holidays, quite a few people from the Werelist that I haven’t seen in months have shown up again. Bit of a ‘howliday’, and it’s always nice to see old faces. Don’t know how long all of them will stick around, but still... nice.

Primal Productions appears to be continuing its efforts to sensationalize therians. Naturally, this is rather unacceptable, so I’m drafting a letter to Animal Planet’s ethics department, which is probably the most underfunded department after ‘scientific accuracy’. And it’s probably one dude in a cubicle who spends most of the day playing solitare.

Politics over here have been interesting. The Occupy movement continues. SOPA will probably pass and will probably not break the Internet. NDAA doesn’t get enough Internet attention and, even in the unlikely event that it is constitutional, is flat out wrong. I oppose it just as I do Gitmo, though I understand that as an attachment to a budget bill, it is difficult for politicians to fight.

The holidays are turning out fine. Got a few giftcards and am using them on books- one Clare Bell and two Andre Nortons. I would buy Tomorrow’s Sphinx, but the cheapest copy I could find is a bit less than sixty dollars. And it’s nice to spend more time with the cats and my family. Today we’re making these lovely jelly donuts, which aren’t as fatty as normal donuts.

The algae is hopefully doing well over winter break, and my other projects are in various states of being finished up. I’ll probably revise ‘Therianthropy as a Process’ (for those of you who don’t know, it makes the point that therianthropy doesn’t have to be from a single root cause), finally finish up ‘Voyage to the Deep’ for the Serpent’s Hand, finish uploading the bloody art (not actually bloody in the American sense of the term)... Haven’t been able to spend as much time on things like that recently; I was writing a paper on the link between the counterculture of the 60s and the modern environmental movement, and I do have to read On the Road, but I can always read On the Road on the road.

Terrorism

Sep. 12th, 2011 04:32 pm
citrakayah: (Default)
Terrorism is a very odd thing. It claims relatively few deaths but has a profound cultural impact. Granted, I suppose having a group of people who have stated that they want to destroy your culture and replace it with a much less pleasant one (when someone comes around trying to replace American consumerism with laid-back hippie-esque culture, let me know) does that to you. But I think that the very rarity of terrorist attacks makes it have such attention. If it happened a hundred times a year with individual body counts staying low (one or two people), I suspect that people would get use to it. After all, bee stings and car crashes kill lots of people but don’t receive the attention and money that terrorism does. Of course, 9/11 changes that significantly, because a lot of people died.

It’s still interesting, though, that as humans we so often pay the most attention to what is least likely to kill us. Very irrational as well, but mass reactions rarely are. But I think as a culture, we need to rethink how we rank dangers: we ought to do it by number of people killed rather than what is most visible. There are a whole host of other dangers: global warming changing weather patterns, disease, starvation, really lousy aim by drones, and the murder rate all come to mind.

Of course, it's one thing to say that we should rethink our priorities and another thing to say that we should simply ignore something. I don't think the latter. Terrorism is indeed a threat and does indeed need to be countered. But there is the question of how much time and effort diverted to fighting terrorism is effective, and how much is not or would best be used someplace else.

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