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Searching for "self-publish" or "ebook" or something on Kickstarter, and looking at the projects that didn't get funded.

The stuff by teenagers doesn't bother me - excitedly asking the internet to fund a print run for your awesome book that's almost a whole hundred pages long! strikes me as a pretty healthy thing for a kid to do. But the adults...
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I found the best thing on Etsy.

These beautiful rings were part of a week long spell casting that was conducted during the Transit of Venus!

This rare occasion has been marked in history as the beginning of the BIG SHIFT.

WHAT IS THE BIG SHIFT?

The big shift is the awareness that is permeating our World. Humanity is undergoing a fundamental evolutionary change in consciousness, that is raising us to new levels of awareness.

According to numerous sources, the Earth plane experiences some sort of vibratory shift, or evolution in conscious awareness, approximately every 2,000 years. THE TIME IS NOW!


The time for something. For things. To, happen?

Inexpensive-looking ring with a blue stone

If you lack love, money, ambition, motivation, or resources...... this is the item for you!

This ring will help you to revive strained relationships and help you form new beneficial ones.

It will aid in normalizing your bodily functions and help you to finally lose weight and become healthy.


Translation, "my business preys on the mentally-ill and scared."

I appreciate how they're expending all these words on how magical the ring is, but never explain who or what is haunting it. That was the most important word in the title! You can't leave us hanging! Is it haunted by a person, or an animal, or are we talking a fire elemental or incubus? You're charging $80 for the thing, you need to provide a genus or Pokemon type.

This one's $200: Haunted Ring djinn genie jinn Goddess Freyja Love sexuality beauty fertility and WEALTH.

Freyja realizes that wealth can also play a tremendous part in making your life easy and happy, so she draws forth riches in your name.
She is not a stingy Goddess. She will reward you over and over with the deepest desires of your heart.

Beautiful Clothing
Expensive Jewelry
Shiny Cars
Lavish Vacations
Gormet Foods

Are given abundantly by this Beautiful, Goddess!

Please do not delay your purchase!


Excuse me, but I see no explanation of how and why Freyja ended up sharing a ring with a djinn. That story deserves a fucking novel. Probably by Marjorie Liu.
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which is, of course, a work of fiction. The blog is part of an ARG, which so far consists mostly of IRIS throwing out encrypted files leading to clues elsewhere on the internet. So far two other AIs have been discovered.

But a lot of the people following and commenting on the main blog still think it's real. I don't think that's going to last much longer, but right now I'm simultaneously horrified and fascinated by the reactions this blog's getting from gullible people.

I've been posting about this a lot on Tumblr, but will probably not be crossposting that stuff over here.
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This poor guy. And there are so many Kickstarters like this - people who got a deceptively-worded letter from a vanity press, who are now desperately trying to raise money to get their book "published."

I kind of want to come up with a form letter to send to people like this, suggesting that they just start a blog. Or at least go to a PoD or online press, that's not going to lie to them about what kind of transaction this is.
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Stop it. Stop. The New York Times is not somebody's Tumblr, they don't get to get away with unsourced-GIF-set-based reporting.

I'm pretty sure the original source for their "69% of extra-virgin olive oil is adulterated" is this single 2010 study from UC Davis, which did not cover the entire country. I'm also pretty sure that the NYT doesn't know that this was the original source. Because there was a 2011 follow-up that gave even more alarmist numbers, which they (and everyone else writing panicked articles about olive oil) would doubtless prefer.

Also, apparently it is a Bad Thing that some olive oil comes from countries other than Italy? (Do we trust Italy to behave itself all of a sudden, is it a bastion of consumer faith now, when did that happen.) That big study about the effectiveness of a Mediterranean diet in preventing heart disease - the one that is the reason a lot of people care so much about this in the first place - used only Spanish olive oil.

And I'm going to stop researching olive oil now because I need to go to bed and it is a stupid thing to be mad about.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
I continue to be fascinated by this sort of stuff.

The unkindly-named Sheep Marketplace is gone, taking all the money in escrow down with it. Its creator claimed that they'd been hacked, but the online stoner consensus is that he/she is the actual culprit. Its name had long been a source of suspicion as to the owner's motives, but that didn't stop people who wanted drugs from using it when Silk Road went down. Addiction: not good for your risk-assessment skills.

A longer-running site, Black Market Reloaded, is down for an ostensibly temporary break due to security concerns. You will be unsurprised to learn that it was preceded by another defunct site called "Black Market." A third, Silk Road 2.0, was open only briefly before their servers were overloaded with traffic fleeing the other two.

This site's owner, who I guess I'll call the Dread Pirate Roberts 2.0, put up a note blaming the Tor protocol for the problem. This is plainly not the case. If it were, then the original Silk Road, which must have had much greater volumes of traffic, would not have existed.

What's especially fun about all this is that the absconding Sheep owner suggested that their users move to yet another newly-minted alternative illicit marketplace, Tormarket. Tormarket quickly posted an unhappy-sounding message saying that they had nothing to with Sheep and asking that Sheep take that recommendation down: "This is the worst PR we can get right now. Please admin remove the link. Please."

The subreddits on the subject are, as when Silk Road was seized, a tragicomedy - lots of people trying to figure out where to get their next hit, other people mocking them, others muttering darkly about conspiracies and assassinations. There's a debate raging as to whether Tormarket is the Sheep owner's latest con, or whether it's actually a fifth site called Pandora, and the link to Tormarket a strategy to blacken its competition's eye.

My pretend internet money's on Pandora as the honeypot, if you were wondering. Similar aesthetic sense in terms of names.
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From james_nicoll:

Rob Ford goes berserk

Toronto City Council broke into chaos Monday afternoon after Mayor Rob Ford seemingly charged towards a spectator in the galley, knocking over a city councillor in the process, after his brother Doug Ford screamed "scumbags" at the public.

The mayor took off running after his brother got into a verbal argument with the crowd, hitting Councillor Pam McConnell, knocking her backwards, before catching her and helping her steady herself.


Me: I think Toronto is actually somebody's Dwarf Fortress session, as this is a common problem with my dwarven mayors. We'll know know for sure if Ford takes off all his clothes and runs gibbering into the very teeth of a goblin invasion, but I'd advise Toronto to cast him down into the unexplored caverns which lie below it before things get to that point. More efficient use of resources.

And if no vast unexplored caverns happen to lie beneath Toronto, then, well, that's an example of poor urban planning, right there.

Someone Else: There are indeed vast caverns beneath Toronto, but they're mostly pretty well documented.

And human-built, too, if memory serves.

Me: Dig deeper, and more greedily.

Another problem I'm seeing is that they chose a mayor with a really inconvenient material preference. Cocaine is an import item, and it's not cheap! This could have been avoided had the city chosen to elect a pot-smoking or alcoholic mayor, given that both of those products can be produced locally, and at minimal cost.

It might also have helped to make certain that his tables, chairs, and weapon racks were made of his favorite sort of wood/metal and adorned with his preferred jewels, that he always had a supply of his favorite food easily available, and that caged animals of which he was fond were placed where he could easily see them.

That is, if he wasn't a mosquitomen kind of guy! I don't think those are local, either.

And this should be obvious, but your mayor should always be kept indoors, well away from sunlight and rain.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
because some of it relies on Tumblr-reblog formatting and I have been too tired to convert it, upload the images to my own server, etc. So if you want to know every time I lose my shit about fake health facts and cruel video games, you may want to go over there.

In the interests of having some exclusive content over here, too, I will tell a story about my tiny dog. I have a tiny dog now. I found her at the school - someone had dumped her there with an injured leg and her ribs showing. So, she lives here now, and if I ever find out who did that I will injure them. She's good at calming down Dad's big neurotic dog, and likes to sit quivering in people's laps and look at them with wide trembling brown eyes.

However, she is still not full-grown, and still likes to chew things she shouldn't. She ruined my one good pair of flats, Mom's favorite slippers, Dad's sneakers, and somehow a dog bed that weighs more than she does.

As a result, Mom and Dad got her some toys. One of them was a white stuffed yeti that squeaks. Being a determined and inquisitive tiny dog, she decided that she had to get at the squeaky thing and put a stop to its plans once and for all.

The thing is that the squeaky thing, which is a little rubber ball, was sewn in place with bright red thread. This had to have been intentional on the manufacturer's part. I'll be walking through the living room, see a little white thing, and go "oh my god someone's killed a white cat - oh, never mind, it's just the yeti." She's carried some bits of the toy's filling to corners and stuff, and I'll see those, think they're feathers, go, "oh my god someone's killed a white bird - oh, never mind, it's just the yeti."

Yesterday she finally succeeded in entirely removing the squeaky ball from the yeti's body, all covered in red thread like fresh blood, tearing out its heart. In a wild display of triumph, she ripped off her doggy sweater, and moved a pillow off Mom and Dad's bed to sit on like a queen. She then started shivering and tried to climb inside my sleeve, because she doesn't have enough body mass to keep herself warm in cold weather.

Me, cleaning up the yeti guts: Well, at least that fluff's not from the pillow.

My dog has killed the last yeti, and I find this preferable to most of the alternatives.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
Preserved here for posterity.

'HighQualityKratom.com review, by ljc79 )

At this point, I noticed that the ljc79 account had been deleted. I wonder why.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
Every newspaper headline on this story that does not consist of those exact words is a waste.

Fuck your scare quotes up there, Forbes, I don't care that he's some dot-com asshole ineptly putting out hits on people in the general manner in which one would expect a dot-com asshole to put out hits on people. You interviewed the guy as the Dread Pirate Roberts, and you will darn well keep calling him that.

The /r/silkroad discussions on this are pretty interesting. Key themes:

"I lost my money!"
"Whew, glad I didn't lose my money!"
"I lost the mob's money and will probably be killed!"
"LOL yalls fucked."
"Wait, what is this PGP thing we were supposed to be using?"
"LOL yalls fucked."
"Okay, but let's get serious - where do we order our drugs now?"
"No, don't buy any internet drugs right now, you will go to jail! Just be patient until it blows over."
"Are you telling coke addicts to be patient. 'cause that is some shit."
"I have something to say about cryptography and economics."
"Bitcoins are plummeting in value! Better buy more Bitcoins."
"Bitcoins are plummeting in value! I'm selling all mine right now."
"You guys suck, just get a dealer, support the local economy!"
"I would like to defend the Dread Pirate Roberts' decision to put a hit out on a guy, because he shares my political views."
"I have something to say about the government shutdown."
"Get out of this thread, we are all way too sober for this right now."
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
The CEO of Simon & Schuster:

What changes with digital is that you can sit at home and if you have a library card you can order any book, you never have to go anywhere. And if you could get every book you wanted free, why would you ever buy another one? That’s the question we had about it in our first meeting. … That is the danger. You could literally undermine the market for every author and for [the publishers]. … Obviously, there is some discovery through libraries. There’s also some ability for who people who aren’t ever going to buy books to read them and be a part of the conversation. We’ve always believed that the cultural contribution of libraries is important.


[personal profile] coffeeandink, in response:

We believe in the cultural contribution of libraries and we think people who read but don't buy books are important, but we only arrange for them to borrow from libraries out of noblesse oblige and really they are all thieves.

Libraries are not a necessary evil. They are one of humanity's greatest accomplishments. I don't care if you think they're cutting into your bottom line (you are wrong about this, by the way), if you don't love libraries, I don't know what you're doing in a career related to books.


Maybe the publishing industry doesn't get this or something, but they do make money when a library buys an ebook. They do not, however, make money when people choose to pirate that ebook instead, because the library either couldn't afford to buy it, or is permitted to offer it only encumbered by DRM which makes it unreadable.

And when I want to read a book but don't yet know if I want to own a copy, I pretty much do choose to pirate stuff these days. Because my local library's written the whole thing off as a loss: the books are expensive, and no one checks them out because the process is a mess.

It's sad and hilarious that people associated with publishing are constantly saying that they've "learned from the mistakes of the music industry" - yet every major publisher seems to believe that DRM can prevent piracy. It can't! That's why the music industry stopped using it! That was the biggest mistake that they made.

Here's a recap for those individuals working in publishing who may have been out with a bad cold for the last fifteen years: The record industry threw massive quantities of time and money away on a technology that potential customers either hated or simply couldn't use, thus pushing them into piracy - which had the effect of normalizing the practice, even among people who might otherwise have had qualms about it! It was pretty dumb.

So they gave up on it, but not before building up levels of ill-will best measured in sieverts. Americans under the age of 35 react to the term "record industry" with a level of revulsion which one might expect us to reserve for "BP," "Halliburton," or "a company staffed entirely by deadly black mamba snakes."

Maybe what publishers feel that they learned is this: Becoming passionately loathed is a natural part of the life cycle of a media industry. There is clearly no way for English-language publishing to avoid this, so they're going big! Step two will be a redux of the RIAA's relentless campaign of lawsuits against frightened thirteen-year-olds and their parents' rent money.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)


This is what the description actually says:

The rainbow rose is a rose which has had its petals artificially colored.

The method exploits the rose’s natural processes by which water is drawn up the stem. By splitting the stem and dipping each part in a different colored water, the colors are drawn into the petals resulting in a multicoloured rose.

A lot of research was done to find the best cultivar for this unique coloring process, with the result that the Vendela Rose is the only cultivar that absorbs all the different colorants perfectly.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
Every single purchase page in Square Enix's irredeemably badly-run online manga site includes a prominent link to a stern lecture about how scanlations are destroying "the future of manga".

There are even legal threats in there. "Oh, I see that you are considering giving us money. Well, I hope you're not also considering clicking away to read our titles for free on a better-designed site run by amateurs! Because if so WE'LL SEE YOU IN COURT YOU LITTLE SHITS."

The scanlations have been here longer than you have, guys, I really don't think they're the problem. The problem is a combination of technological incompetence on your part and the artistically stagnant and increasingly-irrelevant nature of your product. So, like DC Comics, only with more UST between dudes.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
I was trying to find the lyrics to the See Colin Slash song of this title, and discovered this amazing how-to guide:

How to Be Okay with Having a Communist Friend

Edited by Mike Massaroli, Sondra C, Mike Morris, Richard and 10 others

Worried that you are beginning to hate one of your friends or family members because they have told you that they are a Communist?

Steps

1) Understand that you don't have to agree with them. Many people are pro-capitalism, and that's fine.

2) Show respect to any Communists you know. Don't constantly criticize their beliefs. They have the same rights of opinions as you do.

3) Learn about the history of persecution of communists in the Red Scares[1] and McCarthyism[2].


Okay but like, what about the libertarians. What about those.

Tell those shitfucks to build Rapture at the bottom of the sea, here's a bucket.


Okay.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
it's basically this.

I set up a blog for my Homestuck fanfic, which is about a character blogging YA book reviews, on which I just actually reviewed some YA novels. I'm living the dream. I don't know which dream it is. Maybe the one where a robot teddy bear flies a plane.

I also wrote a short horror story based on a bad fish pun on "Wells Fargo."
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
So, I got my Jmanga reimbursement this morning. It was only a dollar on Amazon,but considering that I had less than a hundred points on the site and wasn’t expecting anything, a dollar is pretty generous of them. They weren’t obligated to reimburse me anything.

Actually, they were. That's why they did it.

They didn't give refunds for the manga people "bought" from them because there have been no really major court smackdowns about that sort of crap.

There will be some people who will point fingers and gloat about having not purchased any manga with JManga. To me, it’s about the equivalent of seeing a movie in the theater. I paid a price and enjoyed the media. In fact, reading a manga on JManga was less than half the cost of seeing a movie.

Ms. Friedman, you are a treasure to that internet demographic preoccupied with swordfighting lesbian schoolgirls (me), but this is bullshit. JManga was deliberately marketing towards people who didn't know enough about the internet to realize that the manga they'd bought was going to disappear on them.

"I knew this would happen. I’m so glad I didn’t spend money there."

And my only response is - of course they failed! You didn’t spend money there. If the amount of people I’ve seen said the above in some way shape or form used the service, it would still be running. Easily.

Services like this cost money to run, and if there are no customers - it can’t run.

I know folks complained about the points system, but it really wasn’t that bad - it even worked out to benefit when JManga ran sales and gave out free bonus points.

Supervillain Protip: If you need to disable an economist for long enough to, like, steal the economy? Make them read that crap right there. I learned this handy trick from Lex Luthor.

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The contents of this blog and all comments I make are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License. I hope that name is long enough. I could add some stuff. It could also be a Bring Me A Sandwich License.

If you desire to thank me for the pretend internet magnanimity I show by sharing my important and serious thoughts with you, I accept pretend internet dollars (Bitcoins): 19BqFnAHNpSq8N2A1pafEGSqLv4B6ScstB