[sticky entry] Sticky: Sticky post

May. 23rd, 2009 06:05 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Now that I've got some actual content here, I guess a need a sticky post, to link to the following:
My bio
Why Dreamwidth
Circle (and comment) policy

Not AFK

Aug. 9th, 2014 10:08 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I doubt anyone expects me to post here, but I do post comments sometimes, except for the past few weeks I haven't been, for a few reasons including that my internet access suddenly went from adequate to terrible. This was solved by decommissioning the old extension kit with which I first got on line, and keeping the router downstairs next to the phone instead; only possible because I finally got everything-I-use-the-internet-for working on my "new" laptop (Windows 7, has wifi) as opposed to the old tower (XP, no wifi). But that solution relied on a lashup with extension leads and wires everywhere. Today I got a socket installed in a sensible place, so I can reach the switch and get the wires off the floor. Hurrah!

The same builder patched the ceiling over the stairs, so there isn't a hole in it and also no more is going to fall down. That was one of the other things that happened: sudden crash late at night, rubble everywhere. Still some cleaning to do!

New laptop

May. 12th, 2014 05:53 pm
susanreads: a field full of spring flowers (wildflowers)
Hello Dreamwidth, it has been ... mumble ... weeks since my last post.

This one is being written on my new (well, reconditioned) laptop, which I'm still trying to get to work in a usable manner. At the moment, if it's connected to the router and the charger, the router loses its internet connection. It's taken me most of a week to work out that those are the failure conditions, and I still don't know why. It wouldn't be so bad if the battery life was the 3 hours it's supposed to be instead of more like 1½. At some point I'll turn on the router's wifi and see whether connecting that way makes any difference; I know how to turn it on (in theory), but not what all the other parameters on that page mean. Any wifi experts out there?

Something I can recommend: DuckDuckGo. I've seen people recommend it on account of privacy, but the thing that persuaded me to give it a go was this:
Our intention is to not auto-correct searches. That is, we intend to completely respect the query you type in, and (in some cases) display a 'Did you mean?' link at the top when relevant.


In other words, I can search for "obscure thing that the poster expected readers to recognise" without wading through pages of "much commoner search term that happens to start with the same letters". Hurrah!
susanreads: wrapped presents (xmas)
My favourite corporate card received this year (from Shared Interest):

FESTIVE HOPE FOR A HAPPY AND FRUITFUL NEW YEAR

(in which I might actually post occasionally! Who knows!)
susanreads: barcode of my username (barcode)
Today I got photos for renewing my passport. The requirements are much pickier than they used to be - I couldn't have done it without the help of the Post Office employee. ♥Post Office♥

With my glasses off I look about ten years older, and also as if I hadn't slept for a week. I know I haven't been getting enough sleep but this is ridiculous. *Waaaaah*

Also my hair is a haystack. I washed it on Saturday! I know it's a haystack the day after washing it but it should be under control by now! /cry moar

ETA: fixing typos apparently introduces more typos dammit
susanreads: Pooh with his head stuck in a honeypot, "Oh Bother" (oh bother)
I've been watching Operation Snow Tiger (it finished a week ago, but I built up a bit of a backlog during Springwatch).

The researchers are trying to find a particular tiger in the reserve, and Liz Bonnin says they're splitting up to improve their chances, and I hear "Let's split up, that way it's bound to get one of us." and sure enough ... they were checking a camera trap and found that it had been triggered by one of their colleagues, on foot on his own, and the very next shot was a tiger (not the one they're looking for). And then they were going to pick up their colleague before sunset, which is when tigers like to hunt apparently, but they had trouble with the vehicle.

*sigh* Didn't any of you people ever play D&D? Don't you watch movies, for crying out loud?

*needs a headdesk icon*
susanreads: One Red Drop: Cuts hurt when its you thats bleeding (benefit cuts)
I've had this earworm stuck in my head all day. Oddly, I managed to avoid it yesterday, but this morning, there it was. It might be less annoying if I could remember all of it - even after looking up the lyrics this afternoon, I forget what comes after "Below, below, below" ...

I shouldn't be celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West, not because that's icky (she did enough damage not to be forgiven for a hundred years), but because her legacy is still with us. Her current heirs and assigns are doing their best to finish the job of destroying the society she didn't believe in ...
digression about that )
... and in her wildest dreams, I don't suppose she imagined they'd get away with privatising the NHS, but here we are.

I found a site about positive things we can do to remember the people her government attacked, but I can't get that song out of my head ...
Sing it high
Sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead.
susanreads: snow-covered houses at night with lit window (snow (night))
I looked out this morning, and what did I see? That all the horizontal surfaces were covered with solid water, again. (I wasn't sure it was snow rather than frost until I opened the door.) That's the fourth time this year! In Fourth Month! After Easter, i.e. northern-hemisphere-spring festival! What the f*** snow!
susanreads: Julia set (detail, bright background) (maths)
My contract with my ISP includes 40GB data usage per calendar month (over the used-to-be-BT landline; I don't have one of those fancy phones). It's a big increase from my previous contract, where I was always paying by volume for extra usage. This summer I started paying attention to the figures on the bill.

have some statistics )

I just had to update the software again (disabling the Java that's already running? That's a bit extreme isn't it?), so I'll get some idea how much difference that made when I get my next bill.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
So, a lot of things have happened since I last posted anything like regularly! And if I wait till I've Caught Up With Stuff, that'll be ... actually it might never happen. In lieu of a longer post that is ... not going to happen today, here are some brief notes, without links or anything.

My shoulder got better. I had shoulder pain that was identified as a rotator cuff injury early in the year, and it just kept getting worse until I had the steroid injection in May, then it gradually got better. I'd just stopped taking Paracetamol for it a few weeks ago when I fell over and hurt my back! But all my joints are back to their usual state of unreliableness now.

My new windows went in at the beginning of October, just in time for the nasty weather. I now have double-glazing in the kitchen for the first time, "obscured" glass in the bathroom for the first time, and windows I can open in the other rear-facing rooms for the first time since I gave up taking down getting somebody to take down the secondary panels in summer. Bye-bye, unfeasibly heavy secondary glazing, I won't miss you.

My benefits got sorted out. It felt like I spent the summer wrestling with the benefits agency's assumptions, but when I'd paid for the windows and did the change-of-circumstances form again, they got it right first time, for a change. So I'm back on full job-seeker benefits, yay! (Well, an actual job would be more yay, but you know).

In displacement activity news, I finished Gemcraft chapter 0.

Now I hit Post before I get distracted again:
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
I don't know how to start, so I guess I'll just start. I've been more-or-less keeping up with reading, but not writing anything here, for months. It started with a whole lot of offline things happening early this year, and now the stuff that specifically kept me from writing doesn't apply, but there's this inertia, you know?

I've made some, mostly slow and inadequate, progress with everything, but nothing is resolved! Agh! There are two things I'm willing to write about here that have made progress, though: the windows and my shoulder.

tl, dr )

In a couple of days the Proms, WOMAD, and the Olympics will all be on at the same time. Don't expect to hear from me for a while.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day.

I don't think I can write anything coherent for it. I had my first SALT (Speech & Language Therapy) appointment today, and maybe I used up all the words? ... no, actually I've been lurking for weeks if not longer and it's not because of that (my speech problem is intermittent and physical, except for where I get anxious about it) ... it's more Living With Pain (, Dammit), Too Many Distractions and possibly some lack of cope. I'm sure I'll start "talking" online again sometime!

So: BADD links:
Master roundup post at Diary of a Goldfish - more links than you can shake a stick at, and probably more to come;
The Exploitation of Home Health Workers at This Ain't Livin', because May 1st is also Labour Day.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I doubt anyone reads me who doesn't already know about the Tories' plans, in the Health and Social Care Bill, to destroy the NHS. 38 Degrees have put up billboards to publicise the danger, and you can download posters and leaflets at their blog. It appears that the govt. will try to push the Bill through the Lords tomorrow (19th March), then back to the Commons for the last time. A lot of Lib.Dem. and cross-bench Peers, and Lib.Dem. MPs, seem to have been bought off with minor changes that don't affect the crucial elements of the Bill: privatisation, postcode lotteries and even more red tape getting in the way of staff doing their jobs. The TUC's Going to Work campaign has a tool for you to "adopt" a member of the House of Lords, to ask for their support for an amendment delaying the Bill, as well as the usual write-to-your-MP mechanisms.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I know, I've been quiet for a while. I've mainly been preoccupied with a couple of things in my off-line life, but here are some things I've been pointed at online.

Part of Oxfam's food security campaign: Help farmers in Gutu end the hunger months

rally banner
Save the NHS: the TUC are organising a rally against the Government's plans to destroy the NHS, on 7th March at 18:00-19:30, at Central Hall Westminster and live online. You can book a place for the rally, if it's not full yet, or pledge to attend online, at Save Our NHS.

Protect refugees: sign the Refugee Council's pledge, to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention, calling on the UK government to make the asylum system fair, humane and effective.

Protect people-with-uteri's right to choose: I might post about this again, but not every day for 40 days! Apparently some people are, though. 40 Days of Choice is an online campaign offering positive ways for pro-choice supporters to counter anti-abortion activity and clinic protests during Lent.

WWF's Earth Hour this year starts at 8:30pm (in all time zones, so it moves round the world) on 31st March. Earth Hour is not about saving an hour’s electricity, it’s much bigger than that. It’s about realising that the actions we take, from the energy we use, to the food we buy and water we drink, has an effect on the world.
susanreads: a gate covered in snow (snow (gate))
It goes: Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

Until the past week, this winter has mostly been fairly mild. Anything approximating snow would more-or-less melt once it hit the ground. The last few days have been f- f- f- jolly cold, and some time after it got dark yesterday, it started snowing farreal.

Looking out of the windows today, there's snow lying everywhere. Anything vaguely horizontal is covered with a white blanket, and the compost tumbler looks as if it has a furry hat two feet high. It's pretty to look at, but thank FSM I don't have to go out in it today. I do have to go out, if only to buy food, in the next day or two, so I hope it goes away soon! Brrrrrrr.

People from or in Scotland, or anywhere where it's been snowing for weeks, can laugh now.
susanreads: Dreamsheep with UK flag (UK sheep)
I posted in 2010 about Lost Kingdoms of Africa, a BBC(4) series, presented by art historian Gus Casely-Hayford, about pre-colonial centres of civilisation in Africa. A new series starts tomorrow evening, repeated late at night and on Thursday night. (I love BBC4's system of repeating things hours and then days later, now that digital switchover makes it harder to watch one while recording another.)

Update

Jan. 22nd, 2012 06:24 pm
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
So, that posting every week thing kinda fell by the wayside at Xmas, and since New Year I've barely been keeping up with my reading page. Then yesterday I didn't get to log in at all - a social event expanded to take up the whole day, which was fun, but now my left arm hurts as well as my right arm which has been hurting for 10 days or more. Why doesn't my doctor have any internet-bookable slots before the Saturday after next?
susanreads: wrapped presents (xmas)
Happy winter (/summer, depending) festival of your choice! if I haven't already missed it.

With the dark and cold, I've been getting less time on the computer (because the room it's in doesn't have its own heater). This might have meant I'd get further with off-line reading in the cosy living room, and/or housework, but apparently not, alas! If there's anything I've missed in the shopping, it's too late now ...

Keep warm or cool depending on your climatic zone, and if I don't get around to posting again, Happy New Year.
susanreads: galaxy with planets in foreground (blue on black) (astronomy)
I didn't think it would take me all year to post these! Unfortunately, recently it's been as much that I've missed weeks as that I've had other things to write about.

She is an astronomer, December:
Paris Pismis

1911-1999

An Armenian born in Istanbul, Pismis was the first woman to attend university in Turkey, obtaining a degree in mathematics in 1937. When she moved to Mexico in 1942 she became the first person, male or female, to become a professional astronomer in Mexico. She worked at the National Astronomical Observatory of Tacubaya, part of the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM in Spanish). There she started teaching the first official classes in astronomy in Mexico. Pismis died on 1 August 1999, leaving as a legacy a community of over a hundred of astronomers currently working at UNAM. She discovered 20 open clusters and 3 globular clusters and worked on the first explanations for the spiral structure of galaxies.

Originally from Turkey, she met her husband at Harvard Observatory, with whom she moved to Mexico.

With a profession that lasted more than 50 years, Pismis published over 100 scientific papers.


On the calendar there's also a photo and an artist's impression.

The Wikipedia article is short, but has a bit more about her work, and I notice that she had several names: she was born Mari Sukiasyan, a clearly Armenian name, but the surname Pismis (in which the esses should have cedillas, as seen in the Wikipedia article, which I can't find an HTML entity for) is presumably Turkish. The change of name must be something to do with anti-Armenian racism; she would have been a child during the Armenian genocide.

If your Spanish is better than mine - because the Promt translator isn't up to the job - you can find more info, from her University education onwards, at Venezuelan astronomy site Tayabeixo.
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks, mainly on the Tuesday before last.

That morning, when I tried to check my email I found that my internet wasn't working. It turned out that my phone was dead (the internet is via the originally-BT landline), so I had to find somewhere to call the Phone Co-op (who are also my ISP) from. They were great, I didn't have to talk directly to BT myself at all, which was a big plus, but I did have to find somewhere else to phone from later to find out what was happening (yes there are still people who don't have mobiles). Openreach (the BT spinoff that do the infrastructure maintenance) had said the engineer was on his way, so I went home to wait.

In the meantime, because there was a job application I needed to finish, I'd put the draft version on a memory stick and gone down to Ingeus (the "Work Programme" company) to use their internet. Thank FSM they moved to an office I can easily get to! I also got some feedback from my advisor, including the advice to ID as disabled and ask for the "Two Ticks" thing (which guarantees an interview to people with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria).

So that afternoon, the Openreach engineer turned up, did some tests indoors and determined that the problem was outside and went out to fix it. It took him about an hour while it got dark and started raining. Rather him than me! I was worried he'd be climbing poles in those conditions, but apparently not. Then he had some trouble testing it afterwards, but it worked! Hurrah!

A few days ago I got an email inviting me to an interview for that job. Of course because of the "Two Ticks" thing I only know they don't think I'm completely useless, not that I'm necessarily near the top of the list. It's at a reasonable time of day, but wearing interview clothes in this weather won't be fun, by golly.

The Xmas Radio Times double-issue arrived days ago, and I've barely thought about supplies; I need to start doing cards today, and I'm not sure I'll bother with decorating since there won't be anybody here but me.

Summary: interview this coming Thursday panic panic ah! Xmas in 2 weeks panic panic ah! *distracts self with free browser games*
susanreads: galaxy with planets in foreground (blue on black) (astronomy)
She is an astronomer, November:
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

1900-1979

Born in Great Britain, Payne carried out her scientific work at Harvard University in the USA. Her Doctoral thesis (the first astronomy thesis ever carried out by a woman in Harvard) demonstrated that hydrogen is the main component of stars, something taken for granted nowadays but which represented a real change of paradigm in 1925. In spite of working at Harvard for almost two decades, she was not considered as an official astronomer until 1938. In 1956 she became the first female professor at Harvard.

A scholarship for women in science allowed her to move to Harvard Observatory in 1923.

The verification of Einstein’s theory of relativity with the solar eclipse in 1919 stimulated Payne’s interest in astronomy.


On the calendar there's also an old portrait photograph and a painting of Cecilia lecturing.

The fannishcodex tumblr quotes Jeremy Knowles: Every high school student knows that Isaac Newton discovered gravity, that Charles Darwin discovered evolution, and that Albert Einstein discovered the relativity of time. But when it comes to the composition of our universe, the textbooks simply say that the most abundant atom in the universe is hydrogen. And no one ever wonders how we know.

UCLA's site CWP (Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics) quotes from a book: Payne-Gaposchkin helped forge a path for other women scientists because of her struggle against sex discrimination at Harvard College Observatory and by her example.

Her Wikipedia article is better than most of the earlier astronomers', with more about her life, career and research.

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