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Continuing Technological Upheaval [21 Apr 2017|02:47pm]

[ mood | unwell ]

Well, I have Orac back, with an OS reinstalled on him and all.

Problem is, while I asked for Windows 7 Home, what I got instead was Windows 10. Hoo-fscking-ray. So now I'm in the middle of reinstalling everything (at least I managed to get my Firefox bookmarks salvaged) and getting all my programs re-sorted and such. Have to re-download an email client (no, I don't want to be trying to use Outlook, thanks very much) as well as setting that up again.

All of this is complicated by the fact I've been suffering from the latest upper respiratory bastardry to be going through - it kicked in with a sore throat on Tuesday; I spent Wednesday being the snotmonster from forty thousand fathoms (or something close to it - going through an entire box of tissues in a single day is something of a nuisance); yesterday was spent in bed being feverish alternated with periods of attempting to cough up a lung; and today I've got the best bits of all three, plus sneezing. If you get a chance to pass on this thing, I'd strongly suggest doing so!

But at least I have Orac back, and I can download stuff and get things working and all the rest. It's better than nothing, even if I am going to probably spend the next few weeks re-installing things and doing the "download, install, restart, lather, rinse, repeat" polka. I'm looking forward to the fun of trying to get Steam to behave, since the re-install didn't wipe the existing partition with some of my Steam games in it, but did wipe out a lot of the others. So that's going to be more fun and games... quite literally. Plus, of course, I have my stuff that I'm supposed to be doing for uni (but which I've been disregarding due to lack of mental resource spoons - for some reason my brain does not wish to brain today).

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World of Warcraft: Legion [19 Apr 2017|04:06pm]

[ mood | excited ]

The overall gameplay this expansion may be so-so, but the 7.2 cinematic at the Broken Shore has exploded my soul. Oh, Anduin.

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Unending Technological Upheaval [19 Apr 2017|11:06am]

[ mood | cranky ]

(aka I love it when my life goes right... which may be why this happens so very rarely).

My main laptop, fondly nicknamed Orac, has decided today it has aspirations toward being a boat anchor. It starts booting Windows 7, gets as far as loading avgidsha.sys, and then just stops dead. I am currently writing this on my backup machine, Elfadunk, which is the little laptop which I bought for uni purposes - it's barely got the grunt to handle Chrome as a browser, and definitely isn't up to the sort of load I usually put on a main machine.

A bit of googling determines this is a known error (damnit) and the wretched thing is a problem with the intersection between AVG antivirus and Windows 7 (and higher, it appears). Given I've been using AVG for years without issue, I'm just a tad irritated. Steve's busy attempting to fix Orac now using a couple of fixes found via the interwebs, and we'll see whether we can get Orac to actually boot and work properly. If this doesn't work, I'm going to have to head out and clean out my bank account attempting to find myself another PC which will be a reasonable substitute.

Needless to say I'm just a little irritable about the whole mess. If nothing else, I'm going to have to try to re-create my entire bookmarks folder from Firefox via memory and guesswork (as well as trying to remember things like my actual ID for so I can report my employment income tomorrow... why do these things always happen at the most inconvenient time?). I swear, I get Orac booting again, and the first thing I'm going to be doing is transferring my bookmarks to a separate spreadsheet of their own, taking an HTML copy of the Firefox bookmarks file and stowing it on the terabyte drive, and keeping regular backups of same!


(Updates as they occur. At present, we've managed to get Orac to "startup repair" mode, and we'll see whether this allows him to actually boot).

Update 11.54am: Steve's going to try making up a repair/reinstall disk to see whether we can get Orac to behave. Whatever happens, I'm going to be trying to find a different antivirus program. Any suggestions for free/cheap reputable antivirus gratefully accepted.

Update 1.22pm: Repair or reinstall disc failed. Called out Geek Mobile to get a backup, nuke and repave done on the OS. It's apparently going to cost me about $200, which seems a bit steep, but is about half the price of even the most basic new computer (well, aside from another Elfadunk equivalent). I have never been so glad I got into the awkward habit of keeping my files and documents stored on the terabyte backup drive, because at least I'm not going to lose any documents from this. Plus, of course, I keep the original download & install files for most of the software stored on the backup drive as well, so I can get the majority of my software reinstalled fairly easily. Still. Curse, swear, mumble.

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What Went Right - 17 APR 2017 [17 Apr 2017|10:58am]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Well, this is the final "what went right". It's been a fun four months, and I'll be sorry to see the series go in some ways, but unfortunately, go it must. So let's make this last one a good one.

Secret tomb containing bodies of former archbishops of Canterbury found under London museum by AP/ABC (uncredited)

The Garden Museum, located in the former St-Mary-at-Lambeth church, next to Lambeth Palace, has been closed for renovations since 2015. During the renovations, one of the things they discovered was a hidden crypt, containing the bodies of five former archbishops of Canterbury (Lambeth Palace is the Archbishop of Canterbury's London residence), among others. Given the former church's proximity to the Thames, the discovery of the crypt was a complete surprise.

Tasmanian mural competition challenges artists to look 'through the eyes of a child' by Sallese Gibson (ABC Tasmania)

Tasmania's MuralFest, hosted in the north-western Tasmanian town of Sheffield, kicked off on Sunday morning, with the theme of "Through the Eyes of a Child".

Giant pumpkins on show as locals compete at the Cadell Harvest Festival by Brittany Evins (ABC South Australia)

The annual Murray River Giant Pumpkin competition at the Cadell Harvest Festival has been held for the seventh time. It includes prizes for the ugliest pumpkin, the best dressed pumpkin, and the heaviest pumpkin.

So there's the final three for this series. It's been fun doing these, and I'm going to miss it, but unfortunately, I need the spoons it uses for other stuff. Thanks to everyone who's been reading along, and a big thanks to everyone who shared anything in the comments over the last four months. The good stuff is out there alongside the bad stuff - it's all a matter of where you direct your attention.

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What Went Right - 16 APR 2017 [16 Apr 2017|09:31am]

[ mood | busy ]

Second last one of these, so let's see it's a good one. Here's three articles about "what went right" from my mainstream news feeds.

Developmental Coordination Disorder: Exercise help gets WA teenagers up and about by Tom Wildie (ABC Western Australia)

This article is a profile of the AMPitup program, run by the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, for teenagers with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD).

Texting bays offered to WA drivers tempted by mobile phones in bid to limit road toll by Sarah Whyte and AM Staff (AM, ABC Australia)

A trial of special texting bays, where drivers can pull over and check their mobile phones and respond to messages and such, is being undertaken on the Forrest and South-West Highways this year, to see whether this has any effect on the road toll during the school holidays. The trial runs until April 28 this year, and results will be reviewed by the WA Road Safety Commission.

Tasmanian recipes video offers new dietary ideas for chemotherapy patients by Harriet Aird (ABC Tasmania)

Lily Trewartha has survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and is putting her experiences with chemotherapy and her skills as a chef together in a video presentation for the Cancer Council. The presentation is aimed at helping chemotherapy patients maintain good nutrition, a healthy weight, and sufficient muscle mass to be able to handle higher doses of chemotherapy, and thus a shorter overall treatment time.

So there's my three for the day. If you've spotted any stories about "what went right" out there, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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What Went Right - 15 APR 2017 [15 Apr 2017|10:54am]

[ mood | calm ]

Third-last day of these. So here's three stories about "what went right" from my news feeds.

Cape York town of Coen finally gets its own ambulance station amid rising visitor numbers by Kirsty Nancarrow (ABC Queensland)

Coen, 200km north of Cooktown on the Cape York peninsula, is a town of about 400 people, which sees about 1500 visitors during the dry season. Prior to now, it's been reliant on a bare-bones service consisting of a shed storing emergency equipment and a paramedic field officer; the nearest ambulance service would need to make a 10 hour round trip to get to Coen. The Queensland state government has committed funding for an ambulance station and extra staff during the busy dry season.

Placenta research could help doctors treat premature babies with chronic lung conditions by Katherine Gregory (ABC Victoria)

A study from Monash University and Monash Children's hospital offers the hope of better diagnosis, monitoring and treatment for the conditions bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH) - conditions which can seriously affect babies born prematurely.

Shooters offer assistance to deal with growing feral deer problem around Canberra by Nick Haggarty (ABC Australian Capital Territory)

Feral deer are starting to become a problem for farmers and pastoralists around the Australian Capital Territory. However, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia have offered to extend their Farmer Assist program to farmers in the region. The Farmer Assist program consists of farmers inviting qualified shooters onto their properties to deal with feral animals.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found a story about what went right, why not share it in the comments and boost the signal?

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What Went Right - 14 APR 2017 [14 Apr 2017|08:35am]

[ mood | sleepy ]

Happy Good Friday to any Christians reading. Today, for them, is the commemoration of the creation of the new covenant between God and humans, born out of tragedy as the first one had been. For the rest of us, it's a public holiday and an excuse for a long weekend. Either way, have three items from my news feeds about what went right.

Perth Zoo Easter egg hunt: Crickets, meerkat bedding among the mouth-watering treats by Briana Shepherd (ABC Western Australia)

Animals at Perth Zoo continue to have seasonal enrichment activities - for easter, various animals will be getting treats inside paper mache eggs, to encourage them to forage for their food. A trial run was taken out among the zoo's meerkats, hyenas and sun bears earlier this week.

Embattled West Australian dairy farmers could make extra cash by breeding Wagyu beef by Tyne Logan

The head of the Australian Wagyu Association suggests that dairy farmers in WA who are having trouble getting milk supply contracts might want to consider breeding Wagyu/Freesian F1 cross cattle instead. These cattle fetch a high price at market.

Adelaide United players helping new arrivals from war-torn countries feel welcome by Sowaibah Hanifie (ABC South Australia)

A program run by the Uniting Church Wesley at Port Adelaide and Life Without Barriers is helping boys with their social, physical and mental wellbeing through playing soccer. Many of the boys are new arrivals to Australia from places like Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and various African nations.

So there's my three for the day. Enjoy your Easter weekend (where applicable), and if you find any links to stories about things going right, why not share them in the comments, and boost the signal?

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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What Went Right - 13 APR 2017 [13 Apr 2017|09:07am]

[ mood | mellow ]

Well, we're well into the final week of this project - as previously mentioned, it winds up on 17 April - so let's get on with the three stories about what went right" from my newsfeed for today.

Indigenous influence on AFL creation confirmed by historical transcripts, historian says by Malcolm Sutton (ABC Victoria)

Professor Jenny Hocking, a historian with Monash University, has found transcripts which point to an indigenous origin for the Australian Rules football code - most specifically, a game now referred to as Marngrook.

Researcher hopes to use brain's natural response to music to aid stroke recovery by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth, Western Australia)

A researcher at Murdoch University is looking to recruit "stroke patients to participate in a study of a music-based, individualised therapy program using smartphone app GotRhythm, which was developed by exercise scientists at the University of Western Australia."

Open-air dinosaur museum opens in outback Queensland, 100 million years in the making by Nicole Bond (ABC Western Queensland)

A new permanent open-air exhibition has been added to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum at Winton, Queensland.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about what went right, why not share them in the comments and boost the signal?

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Gems from the "Origins" course, part 4 [12 Apr 2017|04:59pm]

[ mood | exhausted ]

Oh, I never posted this? I'd better push it out.

The final week covered biodiversity. The lecturer, Jon Fjeldså, is godawful again. His specialty seems to be passerine birds, and he uses them to illustrate his points.

-- The prevailing theory of how biodiversity evolved on planet Earth: through most of its history for the past 300 million years, Earth has been a warm, wet planet covered with tropical rainforests almost from pole to pole. Thus, the ancestors of most living major clades of animals evolved in tropical environments. It was only in the last 50 million or so years that colder environments became widespread, and so most biodiversity originated in the tropics and spread toward the poles.

-- With some stuff about phylogeny trees, Dr. Fjeldså described how the passerine birds probably evolved. The first ones most likely evolved in Antarctica! At this time -- probably near the late Cretaceous-early Tertiary boundary -- Antarctica was warmer than it is now, with lushly forested coastlines.

-- With South America, Antarctica, and Australasia (he wouldn't use the word Gondwanaland) connected, the ancient passerines spread throughout each continent. Then they were temporarily stuck, until continental drift separated Australia from Antarctica and Australia's northern coast, previously under water, tipped up to rise above the ocean. Simultaneously, vulcanism threw up a bunch of islands and island chains off the coast of Asia. Now, passerines could island-hop over a mass of lushly forested tropical paradises into Asia and thence to the rest of the world. Meanwhile, ancient passerines evolved in splendid isolation in South America and Australia itself.

-- You would never, ever guess this just from passerine diversity in these places now. Antarctica, needless to say, has low diversity in general (I am not even sure there are still any passerines even on the coasts). Australia also has low diversity of passerines. In both cases, climate is probably to blame: Antarctica of course got too cold around 35 million years ago, and Australia is arid. The deteriorating climate started when Antarctica became isolated, and ocean currents changed to turn on the freezer.

-- As he discusses how the orioles began in the New Guinea region, spread into Asia and back-colonized Australia, then suddenly appear all over the rest of the world, he's yanking open drawers full of preserved bird specimens, all these feathered corpses just lying there motionless. I imagine most non-scientists would find it creepy. ;)

-- Islands are supposed to be dead ends, more or less, according the the MacArthur and Wilson theory of biodiversity: animals colonizing remote islands with no predators soon lose their predator defenses and become naive and rather helpless. Yet, there's abundant evidence to the contrary. Repeatedly, we see clades hopping through islands, evolving there, and then colonizing mainlands. It's speculated that if a population has spent less than two million years or so on an island, it can undergo major evolutionary shifts and innovations that allow it to disperse even further. (It doesn't hurt that the clade he's talking about now, the paradise flycatchers, have exceptionally large brains to start off with.)

-- You see a really odd pattern of diversification and loss of diversity in some birds in Pleistocene Eurasia. These birds spend the summer in cold northern regions, and the winter in central Asia. But for the past few million years, northern Eurasia has been covered by ice sheets much of the time. Species had to recolonize it from central Asia again and again, whenever an interglacial happened. They'd diversify into different populations, maybe even full new species. But when the ice returned, their ranges contracted back to central Asia, and the newly diverse populations would be forced to share territory again. They would hybridize, becoming one species once more. Fjeldså pointed out one species of bird that exemplifies this, the redstart. Two populations diverged for two million years, but then they started to hybridize and now throughout Eurasia most populations are these hybrids. One probably diverged somewhere in western Asia, while the other likely evolved in the mountains of southern Europe, but now they are back to being one species again. (Mitochondrial genes show what really happened. But the two lineages look and behave alike.) "[The] phenomenon of secondary introgression may be a quite widespread phenomenon of unstable climate zones," he says. Wonder how many mammals might be affected? Bison, quite possibly!

-- About extraordinary endemism: Endemism is a term for where there are a number of species that are native to a region, or part of a region, and are not found outside it. One of the questions of biodiversity is why certain regions are hotspots of endemism, where there are more (often far more) endemic species than sheer chance says there should be. According to some computer work done by a postgrad student, the thing that best predicts these hotspots is having an ocean area within 300 kilometers where the surface temperature is unusually stable. It doesn't matter if the water's temperature is cool or warm, just that it has been stable through the Pleistocene. Good examples are places with an "eastern boundary current", such as off the coast of Chile and the southern Cape of Africa. Interesting. It correlates even better than the land's local climate does!

Sadly, these are also exactly the areas where humans have most densely settled the coast.

-- In the Andes, the very spots that have the highest endemism and most stable climates were also the hotspots for local farming cultures in pre-Columbian times. The same stable climate that favored endemism among the birds also favored the development of complex cultures, possibly because of the predictable climate and abundant water for irrigation.

-- One lesson from all this: if we really want to conserve biodiversity and allow life to continue evolving new species, it's not enough to protect and preserve pristine wilderness areas such as mountain hotspots. We also need to figure out sustainable development in some of humanity's favorite areas to settle in.

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Update [12 Apr 2017|11:30am]

[ mood | uncomfortable ]

First, the good news: I finished the Origins course with a 96.3% grade on their quizzes. Better yet, I learned a fair bit.

Now, the bad news. I need to decide what to do with my LiveJournal account. Given that this beast dates back to 2000, there's a lot of stuff to import into Dreamwidth, so I'm not convinced I want to do that. Besides, I have some unanswered questions about the process:

-- When you import all that stuff, does it push back the Dreamwidth content? In other words, do all your previous Dreamwidth posts get pushed back to the beginning of the archive? Or is stuff posted in chronological order based on its date of posting on LJ?

-- Supposedly the process imports the comments as well. What happens to comments by people who don't have a DW journal, at least not under the same username? Do the comments not get posted? Or do they simply get posted with a strikethrough to show there's no DW journal by that username? What?

Also, given just how overloaded DW is at the moment, I will probably wait at least a week or two for the main crush of importers to pass.

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What Went Right - 12 APR 2017 [12 Apr 2017|10:38am]

[ mood | busy ]

So, back on track again, pretty much recovered from whatever the lurgi was, and caught up on my sleep. Here's three things about "what went right" from my mainstream media feeds.

The Warriors: Kimberley teen Gordon Churchill scores leading role in upcoming TV series by Kelly Williams (Back Roads, ABC Australia)

A profile of Gordon Churchill, one of the lead actors in upcoming TV series "The Warriors".

Seven small West Australian citrus farms join together to gain entry to export markets by Bridget Fitzgerald (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

A group of seven citrus farms based around Gingin in Western Australia have joined together as a co-operative (Western Citrus Alliance) in order to be able to more readily access export markets.

Artificial insemination program successfully produces Black Angus calves by Lucinda Jose (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

Tony Sudlow's Angus stud has produced seventy-five new Black Angus calves so far this year, with the males being destined to be sold as stud bulls, while half the females will also be sold to breeders.

So there's my three for the day. If you've seen any stories about "what went right" in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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What Went Right - 11 APR 2017 [11 Apr 2017|10:35am]

[ mood | awake ]

Today's excuse for why this is late is a simple one: it's a non-teaching week at uni, and I decided to sleep in. I'm running late overall. Apologies for the delay. Here's three items about "what went right" from my news feeds anyway.

Perth Swans netball team shoots for gold at Australian Sikh Games by Emma Wynne (ABC Radio Perth, Western Australia)

The Australian Sikh games are happening in Adelaide this year, and the Perth Sikh Swans are hoping to bring back gold in the Junior Girls Netball competition.

Western Australian farming community comes together for annual shear for breast cancer by Tyne Logan (WA Country Hour, ABC Western Australia)

The annual Yorkraine "Shear for Liz" event went off without a hitch this year, despite a freak storm ripping the roof off the shearing shed where it's usually held. The event is held in memoriam for Liz Roberts, who died of breast cancer in 2014, and consists of shearers donating a day's wages from shearing toward breast cancer research. This year, they raised over $20,000.

Rare tropical ribboned seadragon bred in Geraldton gives students unique access by Christopher Lewis (ABC Mid West and Wheatbelt, Western Australia)

A chance event has resulted in the Batavia Coast Maritime Institute becoming the host to a large colony of ribboned sea dragons (about 170 babies, and two adults). The Institute's staff and students are looking on it as a phenomenal learning opportunity.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories about what went right in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal?

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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What Went Right - 10 APR 2017 [10 Apr 2017|10:06am]

[ mood | still unwell ]

Sorry this is late again today - I'm still down with whichever lurgi was making my life a misery yesterday, so I've been spending a lot of time sleeping. Hopefully I'll be back to what passes for normal by tomorrow. In the meantime, have three articles about what went right from my news feeds.

Shalom House says hardline approach at Australia's 'strictest' drug rehab centre delivers results by Caitlin Shea (Australian Story, ABC Australia)

A profile of the Shalom House rehabilitation centre, near Perth. The centre runs a very tough program, which isn't government-sponsored, and which centres on getting the residents detoxed, working in the community and then working in paid employment. Residents are expected to pay for their own rehabilitation.

Art on Prescription helps Iraqi refugees begin recovery from trauma, anxiety and depression by Amanda Hoh (ABC Radio Sydney, New South Wales)

A profile of the Arts on Prescription program being run by the Hammond Care aged care facility at the Liverpool Migrant Resource Centre in Sydney.

Melbourne's Burke and Wills statue removed from display to make way for Metro Rail by James Hancock (ABC Victoria)

The statue of Burke and Wills which was at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets in Melbourne has been moved to make way for construction work on the Metro Rail project. This is the fifth time the monument has been relocated since it was presented to the City by sculptor Charles Summers in 1865.

So there's my three stories about "what went right". If you've found a story about what went right in your news feeds, why not share a link in the comments, and boost the signal?

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.

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Current contact info [09 Apr 2017|12:35pm]

Don't think that anyone's still following me exclusively on IJ, but current contact info is below. I'll continue to crosspost things here from DW, since DW handles that automagically.:

--All current fic (and old fic) is best viewed at my Archive of Our Own page.

--My Dreamwidth account was cloned from my old LJ account in 2007, so it has all my old fic and usually gets new fic. I don't post much there, but it is active for the foreseeable future.

--For general thoughts, random reblogs, etc, you can also check out my Tumblr.

--You can follow my Dreamwidth journal on IJ (or via any RSS reader) through this feed.
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What Went Right - 9 APR 2017 [09 Apr 2017|01:47pm]

[ mood | unwell ]

Sorry this is so late today - my body decided to object strenuously to last night's dinner, and I've been dealing with that. So, three things from my news feeds about what went right.

Surfing as therapy for autism: Ocean Heroes charity helps children find connection by Eliza Laschon

A short profile of the Ocean Heroes charity, and their work with kids with autism.

Basque separatists give up weapons in 'historic' peace move by AP (uncredited)

The Basque separatist group, ETA, has revealled the locations of eight caches of weapons, through the mediation group "Peace Artisans". This is the second-to-last step of a process of of peace creation in the Basque region demanded jointly by France and Spain.

Minecraft morphed into game to help kids and parents deal with onset of diabetes by Nick Wiggins (ABC Queensland)

Josh Wulf has adapted the popular game "Minecraft" to help kids who have been newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes learn the rituals of monitoring their glucose and insulin levels.

So there's my three for the day. Again, sorry about the delay.

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