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Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford

Mostly retired library person/researcher/writer/speaker. All original FF contributions CC0 (public domain).
Today's SFChronicle has several letters on the measles situation, most of them decrying the anti-vaxxers. But one stands out, saying that it's a LIE that people die from measles, that it's a LIE that vaccines work, that herd immunity is a LIE...and gives us The Answer. You can guess the answer once you see the signature: the writer's a chiropractor
Yep: That's his solution to measles and pretty much everything else: have your chiropractor fix it all. - Walt Crawford
Gotta admit, as I sit out here praying for a little precipitation, it's...amusing? read messages from all the people (in the eastern half of the U.S.) who seem terribly disappointed that the latest Snowpocalypse isn't entirely paralyzing the eastern half of the U.S.
Yeah, I know: Praying to Gaia. Does that help? Which is just as likely to respond as any other entity. - Walt Crawford
We saw Les Miserables yesterday (local repertory company production in Livermore's wonderful 500-seat theater). Three hours 20 minutes (including 15-minute intermission). Long...but good, other than too-loud orchestra at times. But, as a "sung-through musical" (never any spoken dialogue) where almost all the major characters die... raises a question: What's the difference between an opera and a sung-through musical? "It's in English" is not an answer. Anybody? - Walt Crawford
Maybe the era in which is was originally produced, and/or the style of music? Because really, no, no difference except in current popularity. - Kirsten
I thought about era, but new operas are being commissioned/performed. - Walt Crawford
(Not a real answer, more of an amusing anecdote.) Someone asked Sondheim about the difference between a musical and an opera: "It's about the expectation of the audience. When it's on Broadway people expect mediocre singing and good acting; when it's in an opera house people expect mediocre acting and good singing." - bentley
Elsewhere, someone called Les Mis a "pop opera," or "the bastard child of pop and opera." - bentley
I like the anecdote, and maybe that's the truth: There really is no difference except in setting audience expectations. (I'd say calling Les Mis "pop" anything is a bit off the mark, but...) The singing was generally very good, albeit in most cases without over-the-top tremolo and Drama. - Walt Crawford
Just looked through the cast bios; a handful of them are also in the local opera company. There's also the term "light opera" but there's precious little light about Les Mis... (well, OK, two major characters *do* survive, so I guess that counts). - Walt Crawford
Walt, I'll ask my niece, Jessica Sternfeld Shockley. She literally wrote the book "The Megamusical" about such things. The cover picture is from Les Miz. - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
A book that I should read, probably. Thanks. - Walt Crawford
Walt here's your answer: Jessica Sternfeld Shockley Ah, a common question! Lots of answers but the main reason is venue. It's a musical because it ran on Broadway, 8 shows a week, not in an opera house 5 times in a year. Also, although a few of the voices in the show are sort of opera-light voices (like grown-up Cosette), they mostly sing in Broadway/pop style, not opera style. Totally... more... - m9m, Crone of FriendFeed
Thanks. So it's not the piece itself, it's the casting and the venue. - Walt Crawford
(So I suddenly find myself thinking of opera singers who are also great belters and pop singers, but never mind... ) - Walt Crawford
I'm not a parent, but I sometimes wonder whether things get too protective (in many areas). Odd example, in a recent Magazine of F&SF: a short story where the about-the-author paragraph ends "Adults might want to vet this one before sharing it with younger readers." Not for violence--I never see that notice above stories with violence, torture, etc
AFAICT, it must be for one of two passages. The first: "It's about actual sex, real sex, between real people, not circus freaks playing to the camera. Sex is different from porn. Usually. If you're lucky." The second in the next comment. - Walt Crawford
"How was it?" Peebles asked... "Good. Great. Strange," Chris said. "Not like masturbation." (para) "Yeah, they're remarkably different." (para) "I kept worrying about her, what she was feeling, and she kept worrying about how she was doing, how I was feeling, I could tell. Toward the end, though, we sort of forgot to worry. We stopped thinking. I think." - Walt Crawford
"She said I was the best she'd had. I said the same thing to her, obviously. But it was sort of nerve-wracking." - Walt Crawford
So: is it the word "masturbation"? The idea of premarital sex? Certainly not lascivious details--you've just read all the details there are. I'm stumped. (The "nerve-wracking" is because this guy hasn't been able to relate to people, but is now taking empathy pills.) - Walt Crawford
Ah, but then I'm one of those who finds it remarkable that a PG13 movie can have as much bloody violence as anybody could possibly want--but only one F-word and precious little if any visible "nasty parts." Because violence is healthy but sex is nasty, apparently. - Walt Crawford
I want to know how old they think "younger readers" are. Those passages are pretty tame by YA standards. - Katy S
That's my feeling. I don't think either of the other two of the "big three" SF/F magazines would have included that warning. ("Big three" in scare quotes because none of them have really good circulation, unfortunately.) I'd swear there was nothing in the story that was even remotely offensive or Adult. - Walt Crawford
Seems like the writing wouldn't attract those too young to read it?<maybe would have better if I left the autocorrect - Christina Pikas from iPhone
Those of you who've been to ALA in San Francisco may or may not know that there's a huge LED video screen that's *supposed* to travel back and forth along one side of the outside with various images--it's a public art project. Except that, in the 16 years since it was installed, it's only worked for one month. So now the city's taking it down...
...and architecture newsletters and the like are suggesting that SF's full of philistines and isn't a proper city because they're failing to appreciate, I dunno, the value of a big black hunk of metal and plastic stuck to the side of a building. That's worked one month out of 16 years--but it's by a local starchitecture firm. - Walt Crawford
Delighted to say that John King, the "Places" columnist (like an architecture critic, but not really) for the San Francisco Chronicle, basically called bullshit on this response today, suggesting that architecture has to actually *work*, not just look good. (Need we mention FLW and the virtues of glass joins in places where it ever rains, and wholly non-reconfigurable spaces?) - Walt Crawford
Interesting difference in email cultures: I have a Yahoo Mail account only so I can be in a Freecycle group. Checked the account today, including spam. Apparently "bigger Johnsons" are a big thing on Yahoo Mail--but not on Gmail (AFAIK). I dunno, I thought LBJ was as big a Johnson as we needed.
I sometimes wonder whether folks realize *what* they're being interviewed for...or just don't care. As in, Fortune--read by hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom aren't "whatever will make the most money I'll buy, regardless of what it is" investors--hosted a group of investment fund managers to offer 2015 insights. And...
...Rajiv Jain (Vontobel Asset Management) had this to say on where he's putting money right now: "We love tobacco. We have a lot of tobacco because the companies have tremendous pricing power..." Yeah, addiction will do that for you. - Walt Crawford
(I might expect that in Forbes or some hot investment newsletter, maybe even at WSJ. Not so much at Fortune. Of course, it was Jain's opinion, not Fortune's.) - Walt Crawford
Let's try this again: Just got an email invitation to review a book, and the book looked interesting. But then...well, here's my (redacted) response:
I looked at the first book's site...but then I decided to read one or two book reviews at [journal], to get a sense of whether I could provide an appropriate review. Imagine my surprise in finding that [journal] is not an open-access journal--that I needed to provide membership or subscription information in order to read a book review. That makes my decision easy: At this point, I do not write reviews for non-open-access journals. - Walt Crawford
[That wasn't all one paragraph, but it's not worth the time to get FF to recognize that...] Anyway: too bad I won't get the free book, but principles have to enter in at some point. "If I can't read it, I won't review for it"--seems pretty straightforward in 2015. - Walt Crawford
Come to think of it, it's the first time in a couple of years that anybody's *asked* me to review a book. Which probably says something... - Walt Crawford
Fun time: Called Kindle support (or, rather, they called me--that's how Amazon does it) because I wanted to know what we do when our Fire HD 8.9's battery stops charging altogether (it's losing charge somewhat faster than it used to, even after we deleted the battery-sucking Washington Post, and it's 25 months old, so not under warranty).
but, of course, what "Judy" (probably in India, based on accent) did was go through half an hour of checking and changing settings... and, eventually said all they could do was offer a discount on a new Kindle, since the battery's not user-replaceable and they don't repair Kindles. My wife *hates* throwaway devices with a passion; this may be a problem. - Walt Crawford
And, sigh, the usual "turn off wifi" advice doesn't really work well since our primary use is reading the San Francisco Chronicle; without wifi on overnight, the new issue won't be there. - Walt Crawford
Just a grump...unless someone has useful advice. "Get an iDevice" does not count as useful advice. - Walt Crawford
Try charging it on a different electric plug. My iPod Shuffle (2nd gen) now will only charge when I connect it through a computer, not through a wall charger. My non-engineering theory is that too much power is going through the wall charger and charging through the computer is gentler. My husband thinks that's a bunch of %$#^& but it's working for me. - Jacquelin Siegel
We use the Kindle-specific charger, so I doubt that's it, but thanks for the suggestion. In any case, the *decline* in charge time indicates an eventual problem. I've now turned off WiFi (and will load the Chron each morning); we'll see if that helps enough. - Walt Crawford
Do you have enough evidence yet to conclude it's a throw away device? Seems equally likely at this point that you have an anomaly device that they're willing to replace. - lris from Android
Tablets in general don't have much that can be repaired. My iDevices and android device don't have replaceable batteries either as far as I know. - lris from Android
Iris: No, they said explicitly: won't replace, but will offer a discount (didn't say how much). And yes, I'm aware that this is common... Looks like the changes I've made may keep it going for a year or two more, then I have to convince my wife that throwaway is reasonable--a tough sell. (I thought Apple would replace an iDevice battery for a hefty fee. Am I wrong?) - Walt Crawford
in related news, what is UP with the WaPo being such a hog? It's 1.3 GB!! on a 10 GB ipad, and when we deleted content & downloaded new content … it went to 1.9 GB!! *deleted* - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
They keep installing the WaPo on my kindle automatically and I just keep taking it off. Ugh. - ellbeecee
*Very* related news, I suspect. The WaPo digital version appears to be very slick and visual. Which may also mean very large. - Walt Crawford
Maybe this is one of the reasons the thing doesn't cost as much as other tablets to begin with, then. - lris
i've not had trouble with mine, although i did have to replace the charging cable...mostly because my cats decided it was a good thing to chew on - Sir Shuping is just sir
ellbee: I think if you delete the *app* for WaPo, the daily will just show up on your Newsstand, not actually get downloaded. First day's experience with wifi off except to download: both of us read the paper (probably 1.5-2 hours total) and the battery's at 80%. So this is reasonably promising. (And it took, oh, 90 seconds to turn on wifi, get the network, go to the newsstand and get today's paper, and complete the download. Sunday will probably take a little longer.) - Walt Crawford
Bizarro message of the day, from LinkedIn: "Steve Dalton congratulated you on your work anniversary! "Walt, Linked-In tells me that you have now been self-employed for 31 years. Wow! I hope you like your boss. Congratulations! Steve"
Um. I've been semi-retired for not quite five years, "self-employed" never unless you count writing income. I suppose I should visit my LinkedIn profile and see what triggered this, but...why bother? (Something that happened on January 16, 1984? Seems unlikely...) - Walt Crawford
Pleasant surprise (and truly a surprise) this morning, when verifying Marquis Who's Who changes in my bio (back from the days I was listed, since you stay in the online version): I'm back in Who's Who in America for 2014 (and in Who's Who in the West 2011-2014). Not sure why, after 10+ years absence, but I'm delighted.
Before someone asks: Yes, I do know which Who's Whos are legit, thus the "Marquis" in the message. I got the invitation for changes a while back, and added a couple of books--change invites seem to happen every year or two. - Walt Crawford
SO TEMPTED to respond to a comment on a FB post that essentially said "freedom of religion does not imply freedom from religion." Well, yes, it really does: If freedom from religion is not an option, then there is no true freedom of religion. [Why, yes, I am a member of Americans United.]
Some of y'all may find this amusing--and I see that several commenters share my opinion that MP&THG is probably a far more accurate depiction of medieval times than any Arthurian retelling.
The February 2015 Cites & Insights is now available. Some folks may appreciate the fact that there's only half a page of OA-related text in this 24- (or 46-)page issue. More info:
Sigh. Just read an OA-related piece that uses "we know for a fact" for something I'm pretty sure we "know" only if we accept Beall at face value--and, given that it's another piece that regards my work in the area as nonexistent, I'm not going to bother arguing with it. Feeling old and invisible; not a new feeling.
Not helped by the double whammy of Joe E. at Skitch writing a partly-useful piece on OA and societies--but one that (a) praises Beall and says we all should do so and (b) yammers on about OA article counts within subjects and, of course, doesn't recognize the existence of a major study of such counts. (Really? PLOS as the source of article counts in general?) Not a good Monday morning. - Walt Crawford
The only saving grace: I am starting on the ms. of the Formally Published Therefore Actually Exists publication that will see at least a few hundred libraries get some fact-based info about the state of gold OA in 2011-2014. (Well, it's not peer-reviewed, so maybe it's still imaginary...) - Walt Crawford
You are not invisible. - Joe
Nit-pick, but this lead--"Would you like paper or plasma? That's the question book lovers face now that e-reading has gone mainstream."--tries too hard for alliteration. Chances of you or anybody else owning a plasma ereader or tablet are, essentially, zero: unless you read your books on a big-screen TV, you're almost certainly not using plasma.
But it's alliterative, and about what I'd expect for The Takeaway. Geez, I miss Talk of the Nation, which used to air at the time The Takeaway and another hour of NPR HappyTalk now air. (Here and Now? Is that the name? I call it "Chirpy public radio.") - Walt Crawford
And, thinking on it, "Would like paper or pixels?" would have been equally alliterative and not, you know, dead wrong. - Walt Crawford
Yeah, but they probably thought "paper or pixels" was overdone. I used it in a story in 2000 about literary magazines online. - laura x from iPhone
I can almost hear the thought process at The Takeaway: "Paper or plasma is just wrong. How about paper or pixels?" "Nahh. NewRambler used that in 2000." "OK, then paper or plasma it is." - Walt Crawford
Starting the new year: Our traditional anniversary brunch (at Porter's, a good golf-course restaurant, although I'm not a golfer); last evening, excellent "leftovers" and Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs; followed by Frozen. A good way to celebrate 37 years (otherwise known as "a good start").
We started having our anniversary lunch at Porter's because it was one of very few restaurants in Livermore open for lunch on January 1--as are most golf course restaurants, I guess. Also, pretty good food at not-unreasonable prices. - Walt Crawford
Has anybody else been finding that Facebook frequently just goes into Permaspin mode, never going anywhere (but, fortunately, not freezing the browser)? For me, it means spending even less time on FB than I would otherwise (after 30-45 seconds I give up and go elsewhere), but there may also be negative consequences.
In the past, I explicitly called myself a feminist. Recently, some folks (mostly women) have in essence said men really can't be feminists and should just shut up and go away. So I stopped. But that's bullshit, as John Scalzi points out in the link. So: yes, I'm a feminist, and have been for as long as I can remember....
In case the link didn't work: - Walt Crawford
And if you want a clear example of why I stopped calling myself a feminist for a while, I give you this comment on Scalzi's post (which a number of women quickly disagreed with): - Walt Crawford
Women who say men can't be feminists are unclear on the concept, in my opinion. - Spidra Webster
In that stream of comments, she was a minority of one. - Walt Crawford
Just encountered on FB (no, I'm not going to link): "Anything worthwhile will get an article on Mashable. " Sigh... the bar just keeps getting lower.
Interesting (and tough) book review of Martin Eve's (oh, sorry, DR. Martin Eve's) OA book. (No, I haven't read Eve's book yet.)
Last night we watched the first 90 minutes of The Hobbit 2 (we'll watch the rest tonight). And other than "Spiders and barrels and orcs, oh my!" I'll be damned if I can remember anything about the movie. This does not bode well.
And the Blu-ray leading off with a promo for Hobbit 1 EXTENDED EDITION! on Blu-ray.... nah, not going there. - Walt Crawford
So Saturday we watched the rest of the movie, and I can add to my memories of the plot and especially the nature of its "ending" with "...and Benedict CumberSmaug." - Walt Crawford
It's always about Blake. Isn't it?
I have mixed feelings about Facebook's autogenerated "my year" thing (mine was incredibly boring, didn't make it public)...but Google+ managed to outdo it with what I assume are autogenerated photo collections that...arggh...autoplay when you get to them in the stream in a frenetic manner. Thus encouraging some of us to avoid G+ for a few days...
I edited the one Facebook made quite a bit. - Katy S
Mine had two (count 'em, 2) pictures, one identical to the one I use here and one posted by my brother with me tagged in it. This accurately represents my photo activity in Facebook, but is even less interesting than 2014 actually was. - Walt Crawford
While the map is interesting, the instruction in the upper left hand corner is even more so...because it's flat-out wrong. (At least in Firefox, hovering over a state yields the number and percent of new jobs, NOT the unemployment rate.)...
Best guess: Somebody reused a previous illustration template and replaced the data but didn't even look at the text. - Walt Crawford
Great warning on an American OA journal site: "Note: For best viewing of this web site, use Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari." As opposed to...
Opera! - Meg VMeg
I had entirely forgotten that Opera still exists. It must have, what, <1% market share? (flock? whazzat?) - Walt Crawford
Hmm. As much as 1.5% (or 3%!) depending on whose statistics you believe. - Walt Crawford
Flock was/is a social media based browser. - Joe
Tor? - Hedgehog
Dolphin. Boat. - Eivind from Android
Netscape, duh. - Joe
I guess I think of Netscape as having disappeared (or at least stopped having any support) so long ago that it wouldn't show up in something like that. Essentially, Netscape has become Firefox, right? - Walt Crawford
Once again at Skitch, somebody equates share of dollars in journal publishing with share of journal publishing/article publishing--this time J.Esposito comparing Oxford University Press to all of OA. I hope somebody else will point out how ludicrous the comparison is; I'm only rarely willing to take on Skitch in the comments.
A bit disturbing: in the mail today was yet another Catholic-group mailing for the previous owner (hey, it's only been 5.5 years). Thomas More Law Center. Which wants donations to help it fight Obama's insidious plan to have Islam take over America. I am not making this up. (The letter. TMLC is, of course, making up the Conspiracy.)
Most Catholics I've known have been very reasonable but I guess there are crazies everywhere - Christina Pikas from iPhone
Christina: I agree--this was about an extremist law center, not Catholics in general (except that virtually all of the mail that still comes for her--all bulk rate, of course--is from Catholic groups or publishing houses). My wife was library director at a Catholic college, and loved the nuns.... - Walt Crawford
I suppose it's good to know what the extremists think. but: ick. - Stephan!e•CogSc!L!brar!an
Followup to last week's trojan brouhaha: The same "offer" of a Flash update came up today--but this time I remembered that Adobe doesn't offer updates that way (as unexpected browser pages) and, about the same time, Malwarebytes blocked three attempted downloads. I think I'll keep Malwarebytes running...
I'm pretty sure the malicious code was in an OA journal site, both times--this time, if I'm right, one from Eastern Europe--an .sk domain. (Slovakia, but I could be wrong about which journal it was.) - Walt Crawford
Oh, and I figured out *why* the Trojan was doing something seemingly stupid--slowing down the browser and displaying fixed ads. Namely, two of the ads were always warnings that I had outdated DLLs or that something was wrong with Windows, naturally offering to fix it. - Walt Crawford
If I had clicked on any of them, I'm sure I would have gotten *serious* malware--but, y'know, Microsoft doesn't alert you to outdated DLLs with flashing multicolored boxes, in my experience. - Walt Crawford
As I go through more OA journals that aren't primarily English, I am impressed by the number where it's been concluded that only PhD holders can possibly do proper research. Does simplify matters a bit.
[Not a majority, to be sure, but a significant number of them.] - Walt Crawford
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