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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn


cropWell, Friday has become my de facto link roundup day, but the desktop was overheating from all the [ads in the] many open tabs, so I closed the whole mess in disgust—we'll see how many I rescue for today's intro.

Ever since I read the futurist Sarah Robinson on Orcinus I have—with perhaps just enough knowledge to be dangerous—been observing parallels from the Victorian age to now: strictly speaking, that would mean running the 90s (which are now 20-30 years ago, or a generation) but, as I said, dangerous: so now I can add bikes then, scooters now to the list of comparisons. —Much of the info in there (about bikes, at least) isn't new to me, though there are links to several books about early cycling and its impacts on society that look worth checking out; and I'm seeing the squabbles over the scooters playing out, not so much in my town, but the big university town next door.

Personally, e-bikes are more of an issue on my personal horizon, because the scooters top out at 16 mph or so—plenty fast enough to hurt someone, but not outside the bounds of a regular cyclist's sprinting speeds; ebikes, however, are (or can be) significantly more heavy, and get up to 25mph, plenty fast enough to really hurt, should one hit you. Yet every non-car type vehicle on the road makes it safer for everyone from pedestrians through motorcyclists, so I'm inclined to support ’em all, annoying as some can be.

Oh yeah, art. Here's a beadcurtain strand. Enjoy.


cropHappy Thanksgiving (for those of you who celebrate it... Evidently a lot of elementary teachers are still teaching that Indians saved the settlers malarkey because of their own ‘fond childhood memories of being taught’ about the holiday that way. In fact, Thanksgiving is mostly a 19ca creation, as so many of the holidays celebrating our ‘noble’ history seem to be. Pffffft.)

And for those of you traveling around this time, an explanation as to why airport gates are so far apart. The video is fairly interesting, and I was surprised to see how much the gate scheduling still relies upon folks sitting at computers making decisions. Couldn't help noticing, either, that the various managers were all slim white men, some surprisingly young, whereas the operators they supervised were often PoC who not surprisingly reflected the sedentary nature of their work.

I have no doubt that all of the statements in the video are true; also that politics and money play a huge and mostly unspoken role: airports vary in their functionality, and at least some of that comes down to political influence unwilling to sacrifice cash for customer convenience—not just getting gate to gate, but from car to building, which is a mess at my local airport because, evidently of the various taxi companies.

How about an appropriately orange beadcurtain strand instead?


cropThere are many things I like about Japan, but orange-chocolate flavoured kitkats is not one of them.

To be fair, a) I'm not a fan of regular kitkats b) katkats, even the Japanese kind, are manufactured by an american company (Nestle) but c) those dark chocolate oranges that are wrapped as slices are oishii! (Delicious)

Actually, I've always felt shard beads are delicious too, like a sort of visual hard candy in glass:) So, enjoy.


cropI'm no great shakes as a business person, but macroeconomics fascinates me, because I really do think money makes the (human) world go ’round. Or rather, not [enough] having money makes for a great deal of misery, and I find it more than a little fascinating that there's an excellent argument to be made that money is a creation—like poetry, or digital photography or a perfectly executed dance/sport move.

I happened to find both David Graeber's Debt and Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century fascinating; this review by Graeber of Robert Skidelsky's Money and Government: the past and future of Economics looks interesting.) —the boingboing link has the teal deer version, which basically that money does no good sitting in a hole in the ground (or squatting in the wealthy's giant funds) but rather is of use only when it circulates, that is, gets spent: this is what ordinary people do with their money.

Our library has an older title by Skidelsky, which I figured I could sample before deciding whether to encourage them to a) buy the new book or at least b) order it through interlibrary loan. In the meantime, another (relatively) recently completed project, a disk braid.


cropI promised a break from those everlasting mice, so here ’tis: kumihimo.

Also, I found the uber cool link on the chopstick piano which is actually sort of hand-made cross between a piano and a koto (Japanese zither) —which I guess is entirely appropriate. Here's another vid, this time calling it an earpick? piano that shows the mechanism a little more clearly.

Interestingly enough, the maker of the chopstick piano is Western, (as is the maker of this braid...) which I guess is why it's a chopstick piano instead of an ohashi-piano...


cropToday's Friday, my traditional day to post fuglies. (I'm sure I have some lying around, just need to track'em down...) Well, today's mouse isn't so ugly, but the news—sheesh!

Cory Doctorow excerpts a Hong Kong protester, who says ever more of that country's residents do so because they must: the alternative is worse, and so though protesting terrifies them,

Aren’t you afraid? I [Zeynep Tufekci] asked, gingerly. “We are afraid,” they quickly admitted. They even giggled, but it got serious quickly. This is our last chance, they said very matter-of-factly. If we stand down, nothing will stand between us and mainland China, they said. They talked about Xinjiang, and what China had done to the Uighur minority. I’ve heard about the fate of the Uighurs from so many protesters over the months. China may have wanted to make an example out of the region, but the lesson Hong Kongers took was in the other direction—resist with all your might, because if you lose once, there will be a catastrophe for your people, and the world will ignore it.

The two women weren’t sure whether they would win. That’s also something I’ve heard often—these protesters aren’t the most optimistic group. No rose-colored glasses here. “But we cannot give up,” one insisted, “because if we do, there will be no future for us anyway. We might as well go down fighting.”

Two—no three—observations: F2tY's Japanese otousan has been following these protests in Japan, as I have (to a lesser extent) here, excepting we can't seem even to run our own dumpster fire of a country, and when we do intervene on the world stage, it only makes things worse; and, all of the folks above are women. We tend to think only men protest, but protesters are usually marginalized, and female more often that you might think. I need to remember that.

Love, courage and hope to them.

Ah, you're still here? Ok, a link to today's mouse, then.