Anyone who clings to the historically untrue and thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never settles anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.
In general, I think we need to move away from the premise that being a good person is a fixed immutable characteristic and shift towards seeing being good as a practice. And it is a practice that we carry out by engaging with our imperfections. We need to shift towards thinking that being a good person is like being a clean person. Being a clean person is something you maintain and work on every day. We don’t assume “I am a clean person therefore I don’t need to brush my teeth.” When someone suggests to us that we have something stuck in our teeth we don’t say to them “What do you mean I have something stuck in my teeth—but I’m a clean person?!”
Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think — and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking — that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.”
So the Genesis story gets written as a justification for why women are they way they are, of how they’re the ones to blame, and of why it’s right for men to take charge, because when a woman decides for herself… well, isn’t that how everything ended up so terrible? But what the story really says, this story men made up to hold women down, is that women have the power to change the world. Women have the power to throw the world into chaos and they do it because the world as it is isn’t good enough. Adam is content and Eve is proactive. Women see God’s world and think, this could be better. Let’s make it better. And if that’s called sin than it’s the best sin there is because without change nothing would ever happen. Without women, the story doesn’t even begin.
Saved here for my own reference, and possibly others’ if they should stumble across it: the easiest workflow I’ve found yet for converting DVDs or Blu-Rays (if you have a Blu-Ray reader, of course) for personal use on OS X, including OCR conversion of subtitles in either VOBSUB (DVD) or PGS (Blu-Ray) format to text-based .srt files suitable for use as soft subtitles, either as a sidecar file or included in the final movie file.
- Use MakeMKV to rip the DVD or BluRay disc to an .mkv file (if I run into a stubborn DVD, or one with a lot of multiplexing, I’ll use RipIt first, then run its output through MakeMKV). When doing this, I generally only select the primary audio track for inclusion, though you can select others if you want commentary tracks archived as well (I played with this for a while, then decided that I’d rather conserve the storage space, and just pop the physical media in if/when I was in the mood to listen to a director’s commentary). I do select all available English-language subtitle tracks, though, as some discs will include both standard subtitles and subtitles for the hearing impaired or closed captions, which include some extra information on who is speaking and background sounds, or occasionally even director’s commentaries.
- Use Subler to OCR and export the subtitle files. This takes two runs through Subler to complete. First run; drag the .mkv file onto Subler, and only select the subtitle track(s). Pop that into the export queue, and after a few minutes of processing (this is when the OCR process happens) Subler will output a tiny .m4v file. Second run; drag that file back onto Subler, click on the subtitle track, and choose File > Export… to save the .srt file(s). The tiny .m4v file can then be deleted.
Now, the OCR process is not perfect, and the resulting .srt file(s) are virtually guaranteed to have some errors. How many and how intrusive they are depends on the source. BluRay subs seem to come out better than DVD subs (likely due to the higher resolution of the format giving better quality text for the OCR process to scan), DVD subs are also affected by the chosen font and whether or not italics were used. For correction, I use one of two methods. For a quick-and-dirty “good enough for now” run, I use BBEdit (but just about any other text editor would work) to do a quick spellcheck, identifying common errors and using search-and-replace to fix them in batches. For a real quality fix, I use Aegisub to go through line-by-line, comparing the text to the original audio, adding italics when appropriate, and so on. Of course, these two processes can be combined, done at different times, or skipped entirely; right now, I’m just living with the OCR errors, because I can always go back and use Subler to extract the .srt files for cleanup later on when I have more time.
- At the same time as this process is going on, use HandBrake to re-encode and convert the .mkv file (which at this point will be fairly large, straight off the source media) to a smaller .m4v file.
- Finally, use Subler to combine the files into one: Drag the .m4v file from HandBrake on to Subler, drag the .srt file(s) into the window that opens, and then drop that into the queue for final remuxing (optionally, before adding the files to the queue, use Subler’s metadata search tools to add the description, artwork, and other metadata). Then run the queue to output the file.
And that’s it. Now, you should have a .m4v file with embedded text-based soft subtitles for programs that support that (VLC, etc.), or you can just use the .srt file(s) created by Subler earlier as a sidecar file for programs that don’t read the embedded .srt (Plex Media Server, at least at this point, as far as I can tell, unless I’m doing something wrong).
This bit of the SLOG’s analysis of last night’s State of the Union address just disgusts me:
Here’s an incomplete list of things Republicans refused to applaud last night: equal pay for women, the end of torture as an American interrogation tactic, easier access to community college, tax breaks for the middle class, a higher minimum wage, affordable childcare, the rejection of “offensive stereotypes of Muslims,” and the “condemn[ation of] the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” That’s some cartoon villain bullshit, right there. They basically refused to cheer for anything but straight white Christian businessmen.
And then, of course, there was this wonderful bit:
It’s a little strange when you think about it: Just about every American ninth-grader has never lived a moment without astronauts soaring overhead, living in space. But chances are, most ninth-graders don’t know the name of a single active astronaut—many don’t even know that Americans are up there. We’ve got a permanent space colony, inaugurated a year before the setting of the iconic movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a stunning achievement, and it’s completely ignored.
I’ve been seeing a lot of excitement about Obama’s announcement last night of his proposal to make community college free for as many students as possible. And yes, in many ways, the excitement is warranted. Higher education is a great thing, and absolutely should be made more accessible to as many people who are interested in it as it can be. So on that level, I entirely approve of his proposals.
Unfortunately, I’m highly skeptical that it is likely to do much good for people here in Washington State.
The part of Obama’s plan that stands out to me is the requirement for states to share the burden of picking up the tuition costs for students (emphasis in the following quotes is mine):
This proposal will require everyone to do their part: community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate.
Ensuring Shared Responsibility with States: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. States that choose to participate will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate community college tuition for eligible students. States that already invest more and charge students less can make smaller contributions, though all participating states will be required to put up some matching funds. States must also commit to continue existing investments in higher education; coordinate high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions to reduce the need for remediation and repeated courses; and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance, not enrollment alone. States will have flexibility to use some resources to expand quality community college offerings, improve affordability at four-year public universities, and improve college readiness, through outreach and early intervention.
It’s perfectly reasonable, really. But here in Washington, higher education is not a current funding priority, and is constantly facing more cuts:
Double-digit tuition increases. Class cuts that would make it harder to finish a degree in four years. Enrollment cutbacks that would make it more difficult to get admitted to a state university.
Washington’s public college and university presidents, warning that a hypothetical 15 percent cut to higher education would be devastating to public colleges and universities, are in a standoff with the state Office of Financial Management (OFM) over fiscal planning for the next two years.
About two-thirds of the state’s budget is protected by constitutional and federal requirements — categories such as K-12 education, pensions and mandatory Medicaid. Budget cuts must come from the remaining one-third of the budget, which includes higher education, state prisons and social services. And some of those categories — prisons, for example — are very difficult to trim.
Since the beginning of the recession in 2008, one of the hardest-hit segments of the state budget has been higher education. It’s the principal reason why state college tuition has increased so fast.
In this financial climate, I’m extremely skeptical that Washington will be participating in this program, should it move forward. We simply don’t have the money, and won’t until the voters realize that we actually need to be willing to pay for all these services that we think we should have.
I think Obama’s general idea is a good one, and I support it and the thinking behind it. I just wish I could be more optimistic that students in Washington would actually have a chance to take advantage of it.
There has been a tendency to mock people that want to buy products simply because a certain company makes them. Some will say this type of buyer is being guided by marketing, or is just a follower, but in reality it comes down to trust. Many people trust Apple. It is this very important connection with users that will likely get people to at least try the Apple Watch, and for Apple that is the best outcome they can wish for.
There is a better than 50% chance that I’ll be ordering an Watch on the day they’re added to the Apple Store.
From Sociological Images: Why do the Japanese draw themselves as white?
Why do the Japanese draw themselves as white? You see that especially in manga and anime.
As it turns out, that is an American opinion, not a Japanese one. The Japanese see anime characters as being Japanese. It is Americans who think they are white. Why? Because to them white is the Default Human Being.
If I draw a stick figure, most Americans will assume that it is a white man. Because to them that is the Default Human Being. For them to think it is a woman I have to add a dress or long hair; for Asian, I have to add slanted eyes; for black, I add kinky hair or brown skin. Etc.
The Other has to be marked. If there are no stereotyped markings of otherness, then white is assumed.
I came across this in the context of people not understanding the dissatisfaction with the whitewashing of Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johanssen being cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi, but I believe it’s important in a lot of other contexts as well: we need to realize that our concept of the “default human being” is highly dependent upon our own culture and ingrained biases.