(no subject)

Feb. 27th, 2017 08:25 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
InsaneJournal has had a hardware failure that means their service is temporarily offline. To avoid sending traffic to them while they're down, we've temporarily disabled them as a crossposting and importing source. We'll re-enable them when they're back up.

Good luck to [insanejournal.com profile] squeaky with the recovery!

Epiphany

Feb. 27th, 2017 05:43 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The orbit of the sole planet orbiting Sol's closest neighbor cannot be precisely determined. It's just a Proxima mate.

This is a stupid system

Feb. 27th, 2017 01:19 pm
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I opened a form letter from my children's school this morning, informing me that "Frederick"'s attendance is at 90%, significantly lower than the government target of 95%. It included this particularly threatening paragraph:

"You should be aware that regular attendance is a legal requirement and the Education Welfare Officer may become involved if there is no significant improvement in Frederick's attendance."

Now, I am absolutely a stroppy middle-class parent, whose response to bureaucratic threats like this is "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough". I am not at all concerned about seeing this off myself.  But that this is the system, that letters like this will be going out to parents without my resources and confidence, that the very first contact to parents on this issue contains implied threats of legal action and bureaucratic interference - that appalls me.

On closer inspection, it is not actually possible for me to "improve" my child's attendance in the remainder of the school year: they've calculated that 90% threshold assuming he has perfect attendance between now and July.  He cannot physically have any better attendance than he does now, the way they've calculated it.  So that threatening paragraph is also setting me up to fail.
ETA: I got that bit wrong - talking it through with my dad, I was getting confused between days-in-school-year and sessions-in-school year.  He's just completed 190 sessions, with an attendance rate of 90%; there's another 190 sessions to go, so if he achieves perfect attendance for the rest of the year, we'll get back up to that target 95%. Which together with the name thing makes me think this is some automated letter generation, because we've hit the halfway point.  It's still heavy-handed but it's not quite as awful as I first thought. /ETA

My child has a 90% attendance record, because I keep my children at home when they are ill, and he has been a bit more ill than usual this past school year.  It's stupid to pressurise parents to send ill children to school.  It doesn't benefit the sick child and it puts the rest of the school community at risk. Any children with lowered immunity will be much more at risk, and will then presumably have even worse attendance records. Lowered immunity is correlated with disability, chronic conditions, and poverty, so this is an access issue as well.

I know this is a system problem: government policy enforced under threat of poor Ofsted results.  I can't fix the system.  But I can try to make my local part better.  So I've got letters to write:
  • specific response about my child's attendance record 
  • letter to headteacher and governors about the wider issues of access, and the way parents are contacted
  • ... and then see what those result in, I suppose
[personal profile] mjg59
The Fantasyland Institute of Learning is the organisation behind Lambdaconf, a functional programming conference perhaps best known for standing behind a racist they had invited as a speaker. The fallout of that has resulted in them trying to band together events in order to reduce disruption caused by sponsors or speakers declining to be associated with conferences that think inviting racists is more important than the comfort of non-racists, which is weird in all sorts of ways but not what I'm talking about here because they've also written a "Code of Professionalism" which is like a Code of Conduct except it protects abusers rather than minorities and no really it is genuinely as bad as it sounds.

The first thing you need to know is that the document uses its own jargon. Important here are the concepts of active and inactive participation - active participation is anything that you do within the community covered by a specific instance of the Code, inactive participation is anything that happens anywhere ever (ie, active participation is a subset of inactive participation). The restrictions based around active participation are broadly those that you'd expect in a very weak code of conduct - it's basically "Don't be mean", but with some quirks. The most significant is that there's a "Don't moralise" provision, which as written means saying "I think people who support slavery are bad" in a community setting is a violation of the code, but the description of discrimination means saying "I volunteer to mentor anybody from a minority background" could also result in any community member not from a minority background complaining that you've discriminated against them. It's just not very good.

Inactive participation is where things go badly wrong. If you engage in community or professional sabotage, or if you shame a member based on their behaviour inside the community, that's a violation. Community sabotage isn't defined and so basically allows a community to throw out whoever they want to. Professional sabotage means doing anything that can hurt a member's professional career. Shaming is saying anything negative about a member to a non-member if that information was obtained from within the community.

So, what does that mean? Here are some things that you are forbidden from doing:
  • If a member says something racist at a conference, you are not permitted to tell anyone who is not a community member that this happened (shaming)
  • If a member tries to assault you, you are not allowed to tell the police (shaming)
  • If a member gives a horribly racist speech at another conference, you are not allowed to suggest that they shouldn't be allowed to speak at your event (professional sabotage)
  • If a member of your community reports a violation and no action is taken, you are not allowed to warn other people outside the community that this is considered acceptable behaviour (community sabotage)

Now, clearly, some of these are unintentional - I don't think the authors of this policy would want to defend the idea that you can't report something to the police, and I'm sure they'd be willing to modify the document to permit this. But it's indicative of the mindset behind it. This policy has been written to protect people who are accused of doing something bad, not to protect people who have something bad done to them.

There are other examples of this. For instance, violations are not publicised unless the verdict is that they deserve banishment. If a member harasses another member but is merely given a warning, the victim is still not permitted to tell anyone else that this happened. The perpetrator is then free to repeat their behaviour in other communities, and the victim has to choose between either staying silent or warning them and risk being banished from the community for shaming.

If you're an abuser then this is perfect. You're in a position where your victims have to choose between their career (which will be harmed if they're unable to function in the community) and preventing the same thing from happening to others. Many will choose the former, which gives you far more freedom to continue abusing others. Which means that communities adopting the Fantasyland code will be more attractive to abusers, and become disproportionately populated by them.

I don't believe this is the intent, but it's an inevitable consequence of the priorities inherent in this code. No matter how many corner cases are cleaned up, if a code prevents you from saying bad things about people or communities it prevents people from being able to make informed choices about whether that community and its members are people they wish to associate with. When there are greater consequences to saying someone's racist than them being racist, you're fucking up badly.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Unlocked.

I haven't actually been trained for the job but I am somewhat better qualified than the other choice, because it was her first day.

(no subject)

Feb. 26th, 2017 12:50 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
LiveJournal has unblocked and whitelisted our webserver IP addresses, so importing, crossposting, and feed accounts should work properly again! Thanks for the quick fix, LJ.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Second of the Magic ex Libris series. Pretty much like the first, but with different things, words and stuff. But if you liked the first, you'll probably like the second. If you didn't like the first, you're unlikely to like the second. And if you swap "second" and "first", I think the previous two sentences are equally true.

Hidden Figures

Feb. 26th, 2017 09:16 am
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Tony and I were planning to see this last weekend, but every screening we could get to had sold out by mid-afternoon on Saturday!  So I was a bit more organised this week and got us tickets several days in advance to see the Saturday evening screening at the Arts.

I am so so glad we went to see it.  It's a really great film, with the excitement of SPACE and MATHS and ENGINEERING against the clock, clever use of contemporary footage, heartwarming scenes of family and friendship, dramatically climaxing with John Glenn's flight orbiting the earth and returning safely.  (I spent half the film thinking Chris Evans' looks had gone off a bit, but it turned out John Glenn was being played by a completely different handsome blond man.)  Also, because the film is focused on three black women working as computers for NASA during this period, there is a great deal of matter-of-fact depiction of racism and sexism.  I appreciated that it was so matter-of-fact, that the film is not about Overcoming Racism, it's about Getting Astronauts Into Space, and the racism and the ways in which it made Getting Astronauts Into Space harder is just part of the story.

I also cried a lot, because it is an amazing film, and I have come out with a burning wish to learn more about Dorothy Vaughan, who is shown teaching herself FORTRAN from a textbook, and spoilers )


I'm hoping to take Charles to see it, if I can make the time to do so before it leaves cinemas.



Two quick things

Feb. 25th, 2017 09:42 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance

Cloudflare


We've had people ask us about the Cloudflare leak reported a few days ago. We are Cloudflare customers, and it is possible that login cookies or passwords may have been exposed as part of the incident. We believe the risk to you is relatively low -- it was a small percentage of Cloudflare's requests that were involved over a relatively short period of time, and we haven't found any evidence that anything from us was among them. This is not an absolute guarantee that none of your accounts were affected, but we don't think the likelihood is very high.

Because we believe the risk to be low, we aren't automatically expiring everyone's session cookies and requiring you to log back in and change your password -- whenever we do that, it does lock some people who they can't remember their passwords and no longer have access to their confirmed email addresses out of their accounts, and we believe that will affect more people in this case.

Still, it's always a good idea to change your passwords regularly, and now would be a good time to do it, especially if you want peace of mind. We have a FAQ on how to change your password. If your browser logs you in automatically and you don't remember your password, you can reset it. If you've forgotten your password and no longer have access to your most recent confirmed email address, you can have the password reset email sent to any email address you've confirmed on your account by entering both your username and your old email address at the Lost Info page.

Unfortunately, if you've forgotten your password and no longer have access to any email address you've confirmed on your account, you probably won't be able to reset your password. In some cases, if you've previously paid for your account, we can validate your payment details to confirm your identity and reset your password. If you can't reset your password, but think you may have paid for your account in the past, you can open a support request in the Account Payments category and I'll check into it for you.


LiveJournal imports/crossposts/feeds


LiveJournal has temporarily blocked about 2/3rds of our webservers from contacting their site, presumably because they feel that we're requesting data from them too often. This affects the ability to import your journal, the ability to crosspost entries from your Dreamwidth account to your LiveJournal account, and whether syndicated feeds of accounts on LiveJournal will update on Dreamwidth. Those features will fail when they're unable to contact LJ because of the block.

It isn't every one of our webservers, so things will work intermittently -- if you crosspost two entries one right after the other, one might succeed while the other fails. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to resolve this other than contacting them and asking them to unblock us (which I'll be doing right after I hit 'post' on this entry).

EDIT 2249 EST 25 Feb: We appear to be down to zero unblocked webservers, so imports, crossposts, and feeds will all fail until LJ unblocks us.

EDIT 26 Feb noon EST: LJ unblocked and whitelisted us this morning, so all is working again!
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

First book in Hines' Magic ex Libris series. All in all, not a shabby read. There were things I recalled correctly, some that I recalled wrong and some things I had out of order. Pretty much what I was expecting, going in.

2017 - #18, "Dead Beat", Jim Butcher

Feb. 24th, 2017 06:58 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

What happens if you get blackmailed by a Black Court vampire? How powerful is polka music, really? And why would you want to have an unerring sense of rythm, if you're a necromancer? Well, the latter might be because you're looking to graduate to necrodancer, but that is a pun outside the scope of this book.

All in all, portents are laid, foundations upended and shit happens.

Post-show treasure hunt results

Feb. 24th, 2017 09:59 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Two quarters, an eerie glass disk and a Kleenex that might have been rolled in a shoggoth.

Someone else found the underwire from a bra but I don't think it was near where I found my trove of artifacts. I feel confident nobody was removed from this space-time continuum while trying to harness forces beyond their ken, leaving behind only a few bits of flotsam to indicate they ever existed.

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pvaneynd

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