Thursday, October 6, 2022

Poems

Poems I've seen shared on Twittter in the last month or so.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

WSJ publishing anti-trans articles (2022) in context of bomb threats against hospitals and libraries

Screenshots collected by:

The latest from WSJ

These are the earlier screenshots:


This, in the UK, is also crap.

Monday, September 12, 2022

How to find where you used a particular font in a Microsoft Word document

While making an ebook in the Calibre program, Calibre asked me if I'd like to embed the "Cambria" font. Hmm — I didn't use the Cambria font in my Word file. Or did I?

The document is hundreds of pages. Let's go back to the document in Word and find where I used the Cambria font.

Screenshots are from Word for Mac 2016.

#1: When you do a "Find," there should be an option to do an "Advanced Find and Replace."

#2: Select the font you want to search by. This option is at the bottom of the pop-up: Find -> Format -> Font.

#3: Once you've selected the font and run the search, Word finds the text that's in that font, even if it's only a single letter.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Bio-pots: Avoiding single-use plastic pots for houseplants

In CNN today:

According to the USDA, large growers and nurseries use tens of millions of plastic pots in a single season. They are not recyclable in many places, and 98% wind up in landfills. In 2009, the USDA calculated that the container crop industry had produced 4 billion units, equalling 1.66 billion pounds of plastic.

"That piece of nature is wrapped in one of the most toxic materials for nature," said Andreas Szankay, a plant-shop owner in Brooklyn. "It doesn't really have to be that way."

The alternative is biodegradable pots, which Szankay and his wife Stephanie aim to popularize with their shop, Pollyn. They replant all their nursery plants into bio-pots, which are made of materials including coconut fiber, cow manure, and paper pulp.

Bio-pots keep plants healthier because "they allow for more air and water exchange," Andreas explained, and can help fertilize a plant's roots, depending on the material.

"How green is your Pinterest-perfect plant collection?" Jacqui Palumbo. CNN. September 1, 2022.

I added the link to Pollyn in the quoted passage above.

green plant with purple flower

Monday, August 22, 2022

The eunuch Mithredath in the short story 'Counting Potsherds'

"Counting Potsherds" is a story by Harry Turtledove, originally published in 1989 and included in his 1993 collection Departures. It’s set in an alternate version of Greece in the early 2nd century BCE in which Greece had lost to the Persian invaders several centuries earlier.

Mithredath is introduced to the reader as a eunuch who speaks in “a nameless tone between tenor and contralto” that is “cool, precise, and intelligent.” He also introduces himself to others as a eunuch — a saris. He is the servant of Khsrish, the Persian king who defeated the Greeks, and a worshipper of Ahura Mazda. He has learned to keep his cards close to his vest. On this journey, he is served by a Phoenician captain named Agbaal.

When Mithredath meets Lord Vahauka, he is introduced to the “clean-shaven” Hermippos. Hermippos is not “his own kind” (i.e., he’s not a eunuch), and Mithredath reflects on how rare it is for him to meet a clean-shaven man: “Not being the only beardless person present made him feel extraordinarily masculine.”

Vauhaka sends away the scantily clad girl musicians, saying publicly that his guest Mithredath “will not miss them in any way.” Mithredath recognized this as “a sly dig at his condition,” and since “eunuchs’ memories for slights were notoriously long,” he might have his revenge on Vauhaka, but during this hearing, “Mithredath remained the soul of courtesy.”

One of Vauhaka’s men, Polydoros, who is bilingual in Aramaic and Greek, leads Mithredath uphill to an akropolis that Khsrish destroyed. Mithredath sacrifices a sheep by cutting its throat, explaining to Polydoros that the god Ahura Mazda doesn’t require any special ritual and lets people keep all the meat from the animal.

It is gradually revealed that the purpose of Mithredath’s journey is to discover the name of a king of Athens. He’s hoping to find it on an inscription on the akropolis. He didn’t want to fail in his expensive quest. “Nothing was more dreadful for a eunuch—for anyone, but for a eunuch especially—than losing the favor of the King of Kings.” He’s almost ready to give up, but they find names written on pieces of broken pottery scattered around, and he begins to piece together a political history.

Back at Vauhaka’s court, he’s taunted as “no-stones” and “no-balls.” Vauhaka tells him that a rival, Kurdish, had “overthrown and slain your worthless Khsrish the day you left...Now we have a real King of Kings again, and now I don’t have to toady to a half-man anymore, either.”

colored pencil sketch of a eunuch

Monday, August 15, 2022

They don't want people of any age to transition

Bethel McGrew's essay "Mutilating Our Bodies" appeared in the Christian magazine First Things (July 1, 2022).

McGrew (no pronouns in this article, but uses "she" according to her bio at World, another Christian outlet) names five people who regret their gender transitions. She also deadnames someone who doesn't regret transitioning, and she flaunts the term "deadnaming" in that sentence to show awareness of doing it. She suggests, as a remedy, criminalizing trans people's surgeons.

She warns of "vulnerable, disturbed individuals of all ages hastily ushered into procedures that are nothing short of medical malpractice. Justice demands a reckoning in the form of penalties and strictures..." (emphasis mine). She calls these transitions "trans 'medical' experimentation on children," and although she appeals to the idea of "minor boys and girls who are socially brainwashed into making catastrophic, self-harming decisions," she also includes adults. She cites David Berlinski who argued in 2019 that "society has a duty to enforce certain taboos" for collective wellbeing. A blanket prohibition on gender transition would apply equally to all people — those who would never consider it anyway, along with those who do want it — in which case, as McGrew phrases it with a shrug, "some individuals can’t satisfy all their desires."

McGrew says the correct anti-trans position, in her view, ought to avoid libertarianism (i.e., letting people make their own choices) and instead be "grounded in metaphysical sureties and animated by a passion for the common good."

She compares gender transition to intentionally disabling someone, using the real-life example of one "woman who 'identified' as blind and found a psychologist willing to pour drain cleaner in her eyes....how are his [this psychologist's] actions different in kind from those of the surgeon who amputates healthy breasts or male genitalia?" I want to point out that she's basically saying eyeballs are just like boobs and dicks and putting the burden of proof on trans people to explain why these body parts are different. I am not falling into that trap and would instead reply that the burden of proof is on McGrew, as she brought it up, to explain to us how an eyeball is exactly like a boob in all relevant ways.

Her rhetoric takes this tack: "We are talking here about the full removal of healthy sex organs, which is if anything a deeper physical and psychological trauma than the amputation of a healthy limb." She simply asserts this without backing it up in any way, and of course a relevant point would be that everyone's psychology is different, and that if someone seeks out a particular kind of surgery then it is, for them, likely not a deeper trauma than a surgery they don't want.

If anyone is experiencing psychological trauma here, I think it is the theocrats who realize they don't have control over this area of people's lives in the 21st century.

Except when they do find ways to accomplish that control.

Under a section called "Gender Dysphoria," Medicaid in Florida is going to drop coverage for puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery, beginning August 21.



FYI:


flowering plant

Testosterone: In the US, it's a Schedule 3 controlled substance

@testosteronejew on Twitter shared a couple articles yesterday, re: testosterone is a Schedule 3 controlled substance in the US. I'm passing on the links:

S.2195 - Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004

"How the Criminalization of Testosterone Attacks Gender Variant People." Adryan Corcione. Filter Mag. December 2, 2021.

"My Story Is One of Many": The Criminalization of Testosterone HRT." Stann Fransisco. Folx. May 31, 2022.

quilt pattern

In case you missed it

Have you seen inside the book 'To Climates Unknown'?

The alternate history novel To Climates Unknown by Arturo Serrano was released on November 25, the 400th anniversary of the mythical First ...