I found myself in a number of conversations at WorldCon where persons were seeking my advice or thoughts on their writing, or seeking advice of a group in which I sat, and would say some variation on:
“People seem to have a problem with me calling it Warrior Wanda the Space Slut. But I mean slut in a positive or ironic way, because she is a powerful woman so she can have sex with whoever she likes.”
“I have a pretty graphic rape scene in my novel, but if I didn’t have it she wouldn’t have that motivation to get stronger from it and learn to fight that is so important in my story.”
These persons were clearly seeking someone to say, yes, that is okay.
And I engaged in these conversations in a calm, friendly, positive way.
Because I have the privilege to do so.
By this, I do not mean the honor, though really it is an honor to be asked my opinion on anything. Rather, I mean that had such questions been asked of someone who identifies as female, for example, such questions would have been understandably offensive and anger-inducing, and made the person feel unsafe, along with a host of other reactions.
I’m not saying I found the questions pleasant and encouraging, but I recognize that my con experience as a cis white male who presents as het is entirely different from that of anyone who is other than that.
So while I cringed internally, I did not walk away, or mock these persons then, or later with my friends. I gave them a clear but disgust-free expression of “Oooooo, I wouldn’t do that,” and proceeded to lay out in positive terms how they could improve their stories, and their chances of reaching a broader audience.
Here is an example of the types of thing I try to say in these cases, with the goal not being to score points or put him in his place, but to help guide the writer in the right direction where they will hopefully learn for themselves in time what cannot be forced into their understanding in a single argument (And to be clear, I am not in any way saying there are not other approaches, or that outright anger is in any way not a valid response for others to have):
( Collapse )Originally posted at my Mirror Blog at: http://www.randy-henderson.com/2016/08/talking-to-wordsluts/
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I’m tired of hearing about the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times tracking poll.
I’m tired of hearing about the poll from Donald Trump fans such as Reince Priebus, Matt Drudge and Donald Trump himself.1 They frequently cherry-pick that poll because it consistently shows much better results for Trump than the other surveys. As of Tuesday morning, for example, the poll showed the race as virtually tied — Hillary Clinton 44.2 percent, Trump 44.0 percent — even when the national poll average has Clinton up by about 6 percentage points instead.
This has been a fairly consistent difference between this poll and most others. Take the LA Times poll, add 6 points to Clinton, and you usually wind up with something close to the FiveThirtyEight or RealClearPolitics national polling average. What’s the source of the LA Times poll’s Trump lean? There are good “explainers” from The New York Times’s Nate Cohn and Huffington Post Pollster’s David Rothschild. Long story short: The poll’s results are weighted based on how people said they voted in 2012. That’s probably a mistake, because people often misstate or misremember their vote from previous elections.2
The poll does some other things differently also, some of which I like. For instance, it allows people to assign themselves a probability of voting for either candidate instead of saying they’re 100 percent sure. And the poll surveys the same panel of roughly 3,000 people over and over instead of recruiting new respondents. That creates a more stable baseline and can therefore be a good way to detect trends in voter preferences, although it also means that if the panel happened to be more Trump-leaning or Clinton-leaning than the population as a whole, you’d be stuck with it for the rest of the year.
But I’m also tired of hearing from the LA Times poll’s critics. I’m not a fan of litigating individual polls, for several reasons. First, in my experience, these critiques tend to involve their own form of cherry-picking. Clinton fans will pick apart the LA Times poll and find a few things wanting — in this case, with good reason (in my opinion). But they’ll give a free pass to a poll like this one that shows Clinton ahead by 16 percentage points in Virginia, even though it’s also something of an outlier. You can almost always find something “wrong” with a poll you don’t like, even if you might have approved of its methodology before you saw its result.
It’s probably also harmful for the profession as a whole when poll-watchers are constantly trying to browbeat “outlier” polls into submission. That can encourage herding — pollsters rallying around a narrow consensus to avoid sticking out — which is bad news, since herding reduces the benefit of averaging polls and makes them less accurate overall.
Furthermore, the trend from LA Times poll still provides useful information, even if the level is off. Before the conventions, the poll had Trump ahead by an average of 2 or 3 percentage points. Trump then got a modest convention bounce in the poll and pulled ahead by 6 or 7 percentage points. But Clinton got a bigger bounce, and she’s been ahead by an average of 1 or 2 percentage points in the poll since the conventions, although it’s been a bit less than that recently, with Trump narrowly leading the poll at times. All of this follows the trend from other polls almost perfectly, as long as you remember that you have to shift things to Clinton by about 6 points.
And that’s pretty much what FiveThirtyEight’s forecast models do through their house effects adjustment. A pollster’s house effect is a persistent lean toward one candidate or another, relative to other polls. House effects are not the same thing as statistical bias — how the poll compares against actual results — which can be assessed only after the fact. Nor do they necessarily indicate partisan bias. For example, Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, has a very mild pro-Trump house effect this year.
Calculating house effects is simple, in principle — you compare a poll’s results against the average of other surveys of the same states (treating national polls as their own “state”). In practice, there are a few challenges, which you can read more about in our methodology primer. One of the important ones is defining what the average is. In the case of FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts, the average is weighted based on our pollster ratings.
Put another way, the house effects adjustment seeks to determine what the best pollsters are saying and not just what the most prolific ones are saying. In 2012, that made a difference: the higher-quality pollsters generally projected better results for Obama than the lower-quality ones. This year, any such effects are very minor,3 and neither Trump nor Clinton benefits much from the house effects adjustment overall, although it can matter more in individual states. Polls in Nevada happen to be a Trump-leaning bunch, for instance, so the house effects adjustment slightly helps Clinton there.
Which polls have a big house effect?
In the midst of an election, I’m sometimes reluctant to fixate on the house effects for individual polling firms because I don’t necessarily want to imply that a poll with a strong house effect is wrong. A house effect is sometimes the sign of a problem and sometimes not; it’s hard to know for sure until after the election has taken place. I also don’t want to encourage herding. Instead, I’d rather pollsters stick with what they’re doing, even if they stand out a bit, than to change methodology in midstream, as at least one pollster (Ipsos/Reuters, which previously had a Clinton-leaning house effect) has already done.
Nonetheless, we talk about polls being Clinton-leaning or Trump-leaning all the time — so here’s some more detail about what that means. In the table below, you’ll see the house effects for all firms that have conducted at least 5 national polls this year or conducted surveys in at least 5 states. A couple of technical points: First, although it’s not shown in the table, our models calculate house effects for Clinton and Trump (and Gary Johnson) separately. A poll could be deemed to have both a pro-Clinton and a pro-Trump house effect if it tended to show few undecided voters, for instance. The numbers in the table are net figures. Also, you’ll see the house effects presented in two ways: as a raw figure and a discounted one. The raw figure reflects the magnitude of the house effect so far, while the discounted one is essentially what the model predicts the house effect will be going forward. The less data we have from a given firm, the more the raw house effect is discounted, since it may reflect statistical noise rather than anything systemic.
Here’s the data,4 with pollsters sorted into three major groupings based on their methodology: internet polls, automated polls (robopolls) and traditional live-caller telephone polls:
As you can see, the LA Times poll has the strongest house effect of any major pollster: a raw house effect of about 6 points in Trump’s direction, or a discounted one of about 4 points. Other Internet-based polls have been a mixed bag. The UPI/CVoter tracking poll has also been Trump-leaning. Ipsos/Reuters formerly had a strong Clinton-leaning house effect but, after a methodology change, it has pretty much gone away.5 Other prolific online polling firms, such as Morning Consult, YouGov and SurveyMonkey, don’t have strong house effects.
All the major automated polling firms6 have Trump-leaning house effects, ranging from moderate to severe, especially in the case of Rasmussen Reports and Gravis Marketing, which have longstanding GOP-leaning house effects. You might also notice that the various daily and weekly tracking polls, which are either online or automated polls, are mostly a Trump-leaning bunch. We haven’t had a lot of national polls lately other than the tracking polls, so that’s one reason our national polling average and others that adjust for house effects show a slightly wider margin for Clinton right now than those that don’t.
By contrast, traditional landline telephone polls have been Clinton-leaning as a group, although not uniformly. Quinnipiac University polls had a strong Trump lean earlier in the cycle, for example, although it has dissipated recently. It’s worth keeping these patterns in mind when you evaluate new surveys. Accounting for house effects, our model thinks a Quinnipiac poll showing Clinton up 8 in Colorado is roughly equivalent to a Marist College poll showing her up 12 there, since Marist’s polls have been Clinton-leaning while Quinnipiac’s have been Trump-leaning.
However, the spread between traditional telephone polls and online and automated polls has been larger recently, with traditional polls generally showing a larger bounce for Clinton. This difference in methodology may explain some of the seeming difference between state polls and national polls. For whatever reason, online and automated polls have mostly concentrated on national surveys this year, while most swing states have at least a couple of recent, high-quality traditional telephone surveys. Since the conventions, Clinton has done better in state polls (which are in line with a national lead of 7 or 8 percentage points) than in national polls (which show a lead of more like 5 to 6 points). In essence, that spread between national and state polls may reflect a sort of house effect that the model is not fully adjusting for.
Overall, Clinton has an 85 percent chance of winning the elections according to our polls-only forecast and a 76 percent chance according to polls-plus. Neither figure has meaningfully changed over the past couple of days. Looking at the polls as a whole — and adjusting for house effects — Trump seems to have gained 1 or 2 percentage points from his post-convention lows, but probably not more than that yet.
Individual polls might give you a different impression, of course — and that’s OK. This is an unusual presidential election and a somewhat challenging time for the polling industry as a whole; we should expect and encourage a bit of disagreement. If you’re going to browbeat a pollster, do it to a pollster who is doing things cheaply — some of the robopolls qualify — and not one that’s trying to move the ball forward, like the LA Times poll. Besides, every now and then, one of the “outlier” polls proves to be right. But if you want to play the percentages and get the best gauge of where the election is headed, take the average, adjust for house effects if you like, and relax.
Popular app Instapaper, designed to allow users to save notable news articles to read at a later time, has been acquired by Pinterest. Created by Marco Arment in 2008, Instapaper was one of the first apps that implemented read-it-later functionality, and it was certainly one of the most widely used and well-known apps in the genre.
Instapaper, available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and the web, was first sold to Betaworks in 2013 and now it belongs to Pinterest. Pinterest plans to use Instapaper to encourage Pinterest users to save more articles to the site, a feature that's existed for several years but isn't often used, and some of Instapaper's search functionality will be integrated into Pinterest. In a blog post, Instapaper said the acquisition would also give it the resources to grow its core mission -- "allowing our users to discover, save, and experience interesting web content."
Instapaper provides a compelling source for news-based content, and we're excited to take those learnings to Pinterest's discovery products. We'll also be experimenting with using our parsing technology for certain Rich Pin types.
Instapaper will continue to operate as a standalone app and service, and no changes are expected for end users. The company will, however, be ending development on Instaparser on November 1, 2016.
As the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus approach their second birthday, a growing number of users are suffering from what appears to be a latent manufacturing issue that presents as a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen and a display that's unresponsive or less responsive to touch.
In a new blog post and video, repair site iFixit says a number of third-party repair outlets have seen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models affected by the bug, which appears to be very common. STS Telecom owner Jason Villmer says he sees faulty iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models multiple times a week, while another repair tech in Louisiana sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices that don't respond well to touch.
"This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up," says Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom--a board repair shop in Missouri. [...]
iFixit is calling the problem "Touch Disease," and says Apple appears to be aware of the issue based on dozens of complaints on Apple's support forum, but isn't "doing anything about it." Multiple people who brought their iPhones to Apple Stores were told that Apple doesn't recognize it as an issue and nothing could be done as their iPhones were out of warranty.
Putting pressure on the display of an affected iPhone or twisting the device appears to reverse the issue for a short period, but the gray bar returns and touch functionality grows worse and worse until the touchscreen stops functioning entirely.
Replacing the display doesn't work as the problem is said to be caused by the touchscreen controller chips soldered to the logic board of the phone, and it's possible the damage is caused by the same structural design flaw that caused the major "Bendgate" controversy.
In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls--"like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board.
"At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."
According to iFixit, the only way to fix the problem is to replace the iPhone, replace the logic board, or replace the Touch ICs on the logic board, something Apple's in-house repair staff is not able to do. iFixit recommends users who are experiencing early symptoms of Touch Disease -- an intermittently non-functional touch screen or hints of a gray bar -- get their iPhones replaced outright if they're still under warranty.
For those without a warranty, iFixit suggests taking an affected iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to an electronics repair shop able to replace the chips. Apple doesn't approve of third-party repairs, but it may be the only solution until the problem is officially acknowledged by the company.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are not affected by the same issue as Apple strengthened the body and changed the position of the Touch IC chips in those devices.
While its parent company Walmart remains one of the most notable Apple Pay holdouts in the United States, British supermarket chain Asda now appears to be testing the mobile payments service at select locations in the United Kingdom.
The supermarket chain, which has 626 stores across the U.K., recently confirmed on Twitter that Apple Pay is something it is "currently trialling in a few of our stores," but it remains unclear if the testing will lead to a wider rollout in the future.
A few Asda customers have recently tweeted about the newly enabled Apple Pay support at superstore locations in Aberdeen, Scotland and Ferring, a small village located about 60 miles southwest from London, England.
@Hyperglaucoma Thanks, I believe this is something we're currently trialling in a few of our stores. Thanks, Beth
As recently as August 12, a support representative tweeted that Asda does not currently accept Apple Pay, but that it does accept contactless payments in some of its stores. Apple Pay generally works where contactless payments are accepted, but some retailers have specific policies against accepting Apple Pay.
In 1999, Asda was purchased by Walmart, which recently completed a nationwide launch of its own QR code-based mobile payments solution Walmart Pay in the United States. Walmart was initially committed to the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) consortium and its now indefinitely postponed payments service CurrentC.
In related news, Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank, and digital banking service B introduced Apple Pay support for cardholders in the U.K. last week.
Recently I have read several articles about disabled people by non-disabled writers. The authors have clearly projected their own fears and prejudices onto the subject of their piece, and spoken for them from that place. If I could say one thing to those authors it would be this: Do not assume that empathy equals experience. You might think you know what it’s like, but you don’t.
For example, if you think that using a wheelchair would make you feel trapped, isolated, broken, and shunned, you might assume a wheelchair user regards themselves as trapped, isolated, broken, and shunned. But they might not. For some of us, a wheelchair represents freedom, the ability to get out and about autonomously; it is a device that makes more possible a life full of friends and work and opportunity—on our own terms.
In other words, one’s empathy can be unreliable. I offer these guidelines to help you find your way beyond it. They are general guidelines for non-disabled writers who may have occasion to write about a disabled person or people. They are (mostly) formulated to apply to all genres and categories of writer, for example, journalists, novelists, bloggers, critics, poets, essayists, academics, and dramatists.
Spent the weekend at WorldCon in Kansas City, MO. Saw lots of old friends, made some new ones. Networked a little, possibly picked up a little business.
(BUSINESS PLUG: Next cover workshop starts September 7th: http://www.KRPWorkshops.com)
Though my doctor tells me that according to my blood work, I’ve been getting younger every year for the last three years, I still take more time than I used to in order to recover from something like flying and attending a huge con with OMG so many people. (Was smart this con and took serious downtime every day. Think that’s the only way I survived, and why though I’m tired, I’m not exhausted or sick.)
There’s just no juice in the battery today. I can do what I need to do, like cleaning the vacation rental, then I need to sit down and rest. Plus, not many words.
It’s another sign that I’m getting older.
One of the other signs that I’m getting older is that I’m pretty much out of fucks to give. WorldCon isn’t what it used to be. It’s declining. The fans are older, aging out, dying off. It can’t keep up with any of the comic cons, or the other cons that have diversified and are more inclusive.
I wish WorldCon well.
I may or may not attend another one. I’m much more likely to attend Convergence or ECCC. Places where the audience is younger. Where I’m more likely to connect with my readers. If money were suddenly no longer an issue, I probably would go–but it would be for connecting with friends, not readers.
In addition, I’m really not the intended audience of WorldCon. I’m an indie writer. I’m not looking for an agent or a publisher. And WorldCon is very much still focused on trad pub. (One of the main reasons we went to WorldCon was to visit my sweetie’s family, who live near KC.)
So as I said, I wish WorldCon well. I realize that it’s me, not them.
And though I have other thoughts about agents, people practicing law and advising on legal matters (like contracts) without being licensed and such, it’s time for another cup of coffee and possibly some words.
Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.
I started out authorial life as a horror writer. I still feel, in my darkest corners, like a horror writer (although not of the slash-and-gore variety).
The best example of my horror work (currently in print, anyway), is DRAGON VIRUS. Seven connected stories, or a linked-piece novella, however you want to consider it.
It began soon after the Millennium. Reports of newborns with strange malformations, too weak to live . . . caused by a single genetic mutation. Or, as the press quickly dubbed it, the Dragon Virus. Scientists predicted that it was an evolutionary dead end; that the mutation would burn itself out quickly; that it was nothing to be worried about.
They were wrong.
Every racial type. Almost every continent. No known cause. Human-created, maybe. Or just God, throwing the dice. Infecting us, warping us. Tied into our genetic code, from here on in. No known treatment. No idea where even to begin.
Everything was about to change.
With an introduction by Walter Jon Williams.
“Stunningly successful…A potent ride through a changing future, exploring themes and ideas that resonate as much in the modern day as in her darkly evolving future.” —SF Signal
“A gripping adventure from start to finish, Dragon Virus is highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Review
“What would happen if a new, genetically linked virus should spread through the world? Laura Anne Gilman takes us on a tour of the aftermath of a change in the very nature of human society….with colorful characters and situations and an innovative slang to set the atmosphere.” —Critical Mass
Kanex today made its GoPower Watch, one of the first MFi-certified portable batteries for Apple Watch, available for purchase for $99.95. The cordless, portable 1A/3.70V charging solution has a built-in 4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery that can charge an Apple Watch up to six times before it needs to be recharged itself.
GoPower Watch has a built-in magnetic charging puck, the same one that comes with the Apple Watch, and a USB port for simultaneously charging an iPhone with a Lightning cable. It has pass-through charging while connected to power via Micro-USB, meaning that Apple devices charge first, and then the battery pack recharges.
To charge an Apple Watch or iPhone, simply press the button on the front of the GoPower Watch. The LED indicator displays battery levels and charge status.
GoPower Watch is available in Space Gray for $99.95 on Kanex's website. The portable battery works with all 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch models.
LG recently unveiled a trio of new Bluetooth speaker collections ahead of the IFA 2016 tech conference taking place in Berlin September 2-7. The new speakers are called the PH2, PH3, and PH4 and "run the range from casual to audiophile grade" in order to suit the listening style of each LG customer.
The cheapest speaker starts with the small PH2, measuring 3.8 inches in diameter and just 1.5 in thickness, along with 2.5W of power inside. It also comes with a strap that can attach the speaker to "a variety of surfaces," making it ideal for listening to music on the go. The PH3 offers an iterative improvement with 3W of power and a more robust frame measuring in at 3.5 by 4.9 inches. This middle tier also includes a candle-like top half that includes "five different multicolored light modes."
"LG's new line of Bluetooth speakers combine powerful sound performance with compact, portable design," said Tim Alessi, senior director, product marketing for home entertainment at LG ElectronicsUSA. "Understanding the busy lifestyles of many of today's consumers, we sought to create a diverse lineup of audio products that deliver a seamless listening experience in any situation or setting."
Finally, the taller and cylindrical PH4 introduces the most features of LG's new bluetooth speaker lineup: water resistance, 360-degree sound, and a longer battery life with 16W of power. Concerning battery, both the PH3 and PH4 will last up to ten hours, while the PH2 is said to get up to six hours of consistent music playback.
Each speaker uses LG's 360-degree omni-directional output to deliver consistent audio to any room or outdoor space, with the single and dual passive radiators in the PH3 and PH4 "giving them audio abilities that far exceed most speakers their size." All of the new speakers also come with the standard auxiliary input ports and include an "advanced multipoint connectivity" feature that lets them connect two different Bluetooth-enabled devices at once, so two users can control audio output to one speaker simultaneously.
Because the company revealed the speakers ahead of their official debut at IFA 2016, the price and release date for the new line wasn't disclosed. LG did say that customers in the United States can expect a launch sometime this fall, however.
Facebook on Tuesday began a limited test of new video autoplay technology for its mobile app, including a version that begins playing audio automatically as a person scrolls past a clip in their News Feed.