bunneh, _support

LiveJournal

Please be aware that this blog is hosted by LiveJournal. The hosting company may display adverts within my journal. I have no choice in this matter; I've paid LiveJournal money not to display adverts, but they have revised the deal they offer so that they have the right to do so anyway. I also have no control over the adverts; I can't even see them, let alone screen them for content or security. I don't endorse any product or political opinion that may be advertised near my writing. I don't know whether any adverts displayed here may harm your computer or even you in some way. I would advise you to use an ad blocker and take other appropriate security measures.

Also, LiveJournal operates in Russia under Russian law. I don't claim to understand the implications of this but many people believe that there are circumstances where the Russian authorities may ask for identifying information about people who post content on this site.

I am choosing to continue posting to LiveJournal because some of my friends strongly prefer using this site to keep in touch with me, in spite of these issues. However, this entire blog is a mirror of an original version. As of April 2017, I will be posting only to a journal hosted by Dreamwidth. Dreamwidth is hosted in the USA under US law, and the owners are committed to user privacy as far as legally and practically possible. Dreamwidth is also entirely funded by user subscriptions and there are no adverts anywhere on the site. There is some tracking of user interactions, partly directly by Dreamwidth and partly as a service provided by Google, but no additional trackers placed by advertisers.

If you would like to continue reading, you can subscribe to my Dreamwidth. You don't need a Dreamwidth account to do so, since my journal is available via RSS, and I accept comments from people who are not logged in at all, or people who log in via OpenID from other sites.
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    Kate Rusby: Who will sing me lullabies?
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bunneh, _support

Change your LJ password!

I have seen pretty good evidence that a bad actor has all the logins and password details from LiveJournal, including old, deactivated passwords and including accounts that have been deleted.

Change your LJ password now.

If you use that password anywhere else, change it there too. A really nasty blackmail spammer has it, and I find it credible that This isn't a series of lucky guess. This is inside information, either from someone at LJ sniffing passwords when you login or some serious breach of security from outside.

I probably should in fact delete my LJ. I am happier since I stopped posting here just over a year ago, and the number of friends I have left who post regularly here and not to DW or other blogs is so small I probably might as well just add the RSS to a feed reader. I think it's down to owlfish, woodpijn and atreic. I do care about you three and I don't want to miss your locked posts, so eh, maybe I should stick around.

But anyway, it seemed worthwhile to post a warning.
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    Sisters of Mercy: Some kind of stranger
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bunneh, _support

Leaving LJ

As most of you know, about a month ago LJ suddenly changed its terms of service, in a really nasty way, with no warning and forcing people to accept the new terms in order to interact with the site at all. I confess I was not too bothered at first.

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So having started out thinking, well, it's annoying but nothing much will change, I might as well carry on cross posting, the reality has been that there's basically nothing keeping me on LJ any more. I just unticked the box, and I've only now got round to making a post about it. I think I will not delete my old LJ because it's convenient to have an account for reading the last smattering of posts, and because I don't think my old stuff is particularly contributing to whatever evil Putin's government may be up to.

For people who want to stay (exclusively) on LJ, I certainly don't think badly of you. After all I very nearly stayed myself, and I know there are many reasons to continue with problematic sites. If you would like to follow my Dreamwidth, there is a feed at liv_dw, or you're entirely welcome to put that RSS into your feed reader of choice. You have to click through to comment; I won't see comments on the feed itself. You don't have to log in to comment, but please do write your name or handle, because I've had problems with an annoying anon guy so I want to know you're not him. I also very rarely lock posts, so you're not missing much.

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    Ghost Buffalo: Ruin everything
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letters

New-old games

I took a couple of days off so I could have a four-day weekend, and didn't commit myself to excessively many social things, so I was able to spend lots of time gaming.

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    Concrete Blonde: Violent
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letters

Reading Wednesday 22/03

Recently acquired:
  • Can neuroscience change our minds? by Hilary and Steven Rose. Steven Rose was a big influence on getting me into bioscience, so I'm excited to learn that he's written a new book about debunking neurobollocks, a subject close to my heart. And that he's written it in collaboration with his wife, a sociologist of science.

  • Three non-fiction books to give as belated bar mitzvah presents: I went with A history of God by Karen Armstrong, 1491 by Charles Mann, and The undercover economist by Tim Harford in the end. I reckon that gives a reasonable spread of perspectives, periods and cultures to get a curious teenager started.

  • A whole bunch of mostly novels for a not-very-sekrit plot.

Recently read:
  • This is a letter to my son by KJ Kabza, as recommended, and edited by [personal profile] rushthatspeaks. It's a near-future story about a trans girl, which has minimal overt transphobia but quite a lot of cis people being clueless, and also it's about parent death among other themes.

  • Why Lemonade is for Black women by Dominique Matti, via [personal profile] sonia. Very powerful essay about intersectionality between gender and race. I've not actually seen Lemonade yet, because everything I've read about it suggests it's a large, complex work of art which I need to set aside time to concentrate on, I can't just listen to the songs in the background. And I'm a bit intimidated by the medium of a "visual album".
Currently reading: A Journey to the end of the Millennium by AB Yehoshua. Not much progress.

Up next: I am thinking to pick up How to be both by Ali Smith, which has been on my to-read pile for a while. We'll see.

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yum

Full

So this weekend I went to two synagogue services (in two different cities) and one church service, and I had a quiet going out for lunch and talking date with [personal profile] cjwatson and a bouncy metal gig date with Ghoti. And went to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast and just about managed to squeeze in a little bit of time talking to [personal profile] jack. Um, it is hypothetically possible that I may have over-scheduled myself a bit.

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    The Pretenders: Complex person
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bookies

Book recommendations for teenaged boys?

So my two former bar mitzvah students want to carry on with Hebrew now they've both completed their ceremonies. They've said they'd like to do a bit more conversational modern Hebrew as well as just practising prayerbook reading. Does anyone have any recommendations for textbooks?

The boys are 13 and 15, both reasonably academically able and reasonably committed. They can read fairly fluently, but have very little vocab or grammar at the moment. They're also extremely busy and probably won't have huge amounts of time for practice in between their fortnightly lessons. My options at the moment are:
The textbook recommended by the GCSE exam board. I'd generally like the boys to be thinking about GCSE sort of level, not that they hugely have to pass exams but as a streching, but attainable, target. The problem is that the book looks incredibly dated and dull and I don't feel inspired to teach from it!

Or Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew. I think this is basically aimed at beginners, but beginners who are university students or otherwise quite advanced in general language skills. It's really quite heavy on grammar, and might be overkill for a couple of years of informal lessons for teenagers.

I can't find anything I like better than these two options. I don't want a course that is primarily audio for self-learning, because I'm going to be there teaching and keeping up reading fluency is a big priority. And I don't want just a vocab list or beginners' dictionary. The younger boy suggested using a tourist phrasebook, which might work but ideally I'd like something more like a textbook and less like lists of phrases to rote learn.

Secondly, I still have not succeeded in giving the younger lad his bar mitzvah present, because everything I could think of is out of print and not for sale for reasonable money. I would like to give him a good work of popular non-fiction, something enjoyable to read but also informative. He's quite interested in politics and world affairs, which is a subject I know little about. And he's pretty bright but not especially precocious, I think he'd get more out of something accessible or even aimed at teenagers, than something hardcore academic.

I'm thinking something about the level of Jared Diamond's Guns, germs and steel, except not that because I'm now aware that Diamond not only plays fast and loose with scholarly accuracy, he conducted some rather unethical ethnographic research and published identifying stories about his subjects without their permission. And I have in mind that there used to be a journalist who did short programmes on Radio 4 about US politics and culture, and that he died a few years ago (?) and that prior to that he had written a book of anecdotes that this young man might enjoy, but that's not enough information to shake his name out of Google, does anyone have any clue whom I'm talking about?

So. Anyone who's taught conversational Hebrew, any recs? And in a less specialist query, what's the most interesting popular non-fiction book you've read lately?

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    The Weakerthans: Diagnosis
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words

Interfaith

I think of myself very much as someone who does interfaith, but I haven't really had any opportunities for it for ages. And then two came along at once:

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So basically I'm full of enthusiasm and really energized by getting a chance to do interfaith again. And I've been babbling at my partners about stuff that they're not very familiar with, so hopefully this post is a bit more coherent.

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    Travis: Battleships
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bookies

Reading Wednesday 8/03

Recently acquired: A second hand book stall appeared right in between my flat and work, and it ambushed me and somehow I ended up with Downbelow Station by CJ Cherryh and Tales of Nevèrÿon Samuel R Delany.

Recently read: In honour of International Women's Day:
The reality of women by Karen Pollock. The article addresses, in order to refute, the idea that trans women aren't real women, lesbians aren't real women, etc. Very erudite piece, and I've always wanted to quote impeccable feminist foremother de Beauvoir's On ne naît pas femme : on le devient at people who somehow think it's "feminist" to make a distinction between women-born-women (ie cis women) and trans women.

Even more internationally speaking, here's Sumita Mukherjee on the rhetorical use of *That* Indian Suffragettes photo.

In reference to the Nation of Internet, [personal profile] siderea makes a very interesting case that moderation is a feminist issue.

Currently reading: A journey to the end of the Millennium by AB Yehoshua. I kind of wish I'd finished it before IWD because it's really quite phallocentric in addition to being written by a male author.

Up next: Not sure. Recommend me something by an author known to be female? Any length, and I'll try to suggest a similar work in return. (International Nonbinary Day is July 17th and International Men's Day is November 19th so if I remember I shall try the same again for those genders on their respective days.)

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letters

Film: Hidden figures

Reasons for watching it: As soon as I started seeing this talked about on the internet, I knew I had to see it. What a brilliant idea to make a film about the African-American women involved in the technical aspects of the US developing manned space flight!

Circumstances of watching it: I wasn't at all sure I was going to find time to go to the cinema while this was on, and indeed the first date I set aside to see it turned out to be before it was showing locally. And then ghoti suggested taking Judith, who is really into space exploration and all things astronomy. I had thought the film would probably be too talky and generally not interesting to a child, but lots of Ghoti's friends said similar aged children had enjoyed it. And she also managed to squeeze some time when we could go to a matinée together the last weekend it was in cinemas, yay.

Verdict: Hidden figures tells a great story really well.

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    Inkubus Sukkubus: Away with the faeries
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