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Posted by Robert McCrum

Darwin’s revolutionary, humane and highly readable introduction to his theory of evolution is arguably the most important book of the Victorian era

When Charles Darwin first saw On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life in book form, he is said to have remarked that he found it tough going. Actually, the book, composed in a hurry to forestall his rivals, after 20 years of research, and aimed at that mythical beast “the educated general reader”, is extraordinarily accessible, sometimes even moving, in its lucid simplicity. That’s all the more remarkable for a revolutionary work of scientific theory, arguably the most important book published in the English language during the 19th century.

From a 21st-century perspective, Darwin’s Origin has two roles in this list. First, it is a profoundly influential work of biology, argued in astonishing, and compelling detail. For example, one famous passage (too long to quote in full) describes the ecological benefits to “a large and extremely barren heath” derived from the planting of Scotch fir: “I went to several points of view, whence I could examine hundreds of acres of the unenclosed heath, and literally I could not see a single Scotch fir, except the old planted clumps. But on looking closely between the stems of the heath, I found a multitude of seedlings and little trees, which had been perpetually browsed down by the cattle. In one square yard … I counted 32 little trees; and one of them, judging from the rings of growth, had during 26 years tried to raise its head above the stems of the heath, and had failed. No wonder that, as soon as the land was enclosed, it became thickly clothed with vigorously growing young firs.” [pp 123-24]

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Mar. 27th, 2017 04:25 am
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Posted by frejasface


Kristen Stewart showed off a pair of strategically ripped jeans as she walked around New Orleans. She was in NOLA with rumoured girlfriend Stella Maxwell, who also sported jeans ripped under the ass cheek. It might have been a wardrobe malfunction, or it might just be KStew's notoriously grungy style.




What do you usually wear?


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Mar. 27th, 2017 04:01 am
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Posted by neile

Since SFF Net is closing any minute now, I have a new website, www.neilegraham.com. Actually I've had the site for many years, but it took the imminent closure for me to actually edit the pages of the site I had designed for me many years ago and move the files over. It's still not complete but there are things there.

The Clarion West Class of 2017 has just been announced, and I'm excited to get to know them a little and am really looking forward to meeting them in person in June.

So, a poem of mine is one of 99 nominated for the short form Rhysling Award. On April 29th, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association is going to be featuring it. I'm very pleased to be shortlisted.

I have not done our taxes yet.

Yesterday morning, Batgirl Luna found her way into our bedroom ceiling. We don't call her Batgirl for nothing. We have since taken steps to block her access. She may still prevail, though I hope not as the (aged) ceiling tiles really can't take even her weight and threatened to land on our bed. Possibly to land her on our bed.

Happy spring, all.

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Mar. 27th, 2017 03:48 am
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Posted by michaelswanwick



As always, I'm on the road again -- this time, making a pilgrimage to Kitty Hawk, where human heavier-than-air flight had its humble beginning.

A long drive through grey and brown countryside brought Marianne and me to Wallops Island, site of one of  NASA's five main launch facilities. It's humbling to stand here, on the shores of space at the slender instant in time during which life leaves the planet.

When I was born, most people would have told you flat-out that human beings would ever walk on the Moon. Yet it happened only sixty-six years after that first fifty-nine second flight that it happened. That's roughly one human lifespan!

Long after Apollo 11, people commonly said that a computer would never beat a human grand master at chess. Then, in 1997, Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov in a six-game match 3 1/2 to 2 1/2. So, as people will, the doubters redrew the goal lines and said that a computer would never beat a human go master.

On March 15, last year, AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol in the last game of a five-game match. Final score: AlphaGo 4, Lee Sedol 1.

Something to keep in mind next time somebody tells you we'll never have a true AI or a colony on an extrasolar planet.

Above: One of the rockets outside the Wallops Flight Facility. I probably had the plastic model back when I was a teen.


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Mar. 27th, 2017 03:25 am
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Posted by kaffyr

Things I Learned This Weekend

1. I'm really not Buddhist, not in the least. I tried to read a book I picked up at the library, which had been recommended by a friend. It was written by a Buddhist nun, and it was about how to try to approach, or in some way deal with, difficult times. It's something I need to learn how to do, so I wanted to read this book, this very slim little book.

I managed about five pages of it and ended up yelling at the book. There was no way I was going to make it to the end, slim or not. The language made me roll my eyes, I kept arguing with individual sentences. Individual sentences, people; I was arguing with words on a page.

BB, who has a much more Buddhist nature than I have had read a bit of the book; when I told him the book made me extremely angry (and that's the thing I'm trying to deal with), he sighed and said "This isn't the book I'd have suggested for you to read." He was right.

And more generally, I was reminded that I'm not Buddhist in the least, as I said. I know that the dark is part of this world; I know that death is part of this world, but I'll be goddamned if I have to like it, or accept it.  I'm with Dylan Thomas; I'll rage against the dying of the light.

2. I was reminded, once again, of how much I love BB. 

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/656265.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here, but prefer to read over on DW. You can comment there using open ID if you don't have a DW account.

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Mar. 27th, 2017 03:10 am
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Posted by pikapika217

Almost 3 years after their last mini album & comeback 'Darling', Girl's day has comeback with 'I'll Be Yours' -


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Mar. 27th, 2017 03:02 am
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Posted by file770


(1) WUT. WIRED has a bad feeling about this: “Only You Can Stop The Expanse From Becoming the Next Canceled Sci-Fi Classic” Syfy’s epic space show The Expanse is a smash hit among science fiction fans, drawing praise from websites … Continue reading

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Mar. 27th, 2017 02:31 am
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Posted by cecilia_tallis

Adam comes to Hannah with surprising news; Jessa spends a day on her own; Shoshanna slogs through helping Ray with his oral history project until a run-in with her old boss, Abigail, infuses the venture with new energy. (airs April 2, 2017)


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Mar. 27th, 2017 02:09 am
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Posted by posnanski_rss



Hello,I read your blog named “JoeBlog | Joe Posnanski” on a regular basis.Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about proxy list.

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Mar. 27th, 2017 02:09 am
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Posted by mrissa

I have seen several people on Twitter trying to keep tabs on everything President Trump has done in a given week. This really, really highlights the problem with trying to chase trends and write to be topical: by the time your sharp, satirical story is available to the public–even if you self-publish on the spot with minimal revisions, the more so if you revise and find a traditional publisher–there will be three, four, ten fresher outrages. What was the scandal or gaffe in the Trump presidential campaign a year ago? Too late now, onward.

Which is not to say that there’s no room for political comment, but the more specific it is, the worse it will age. There are times when things start to look specific in context–I trunked a partial story that depended on the villainy of deporting ethnic and religious minorities. I still feel that that’s pretty villainous, but the rest of the shape of this story was not meant to comment on the current regime, and there’s no way it won’t look like it was trying under the current circumstances. And with a story I did sell, the editor and I worked on it to make sure that incidental things I came up with in January 2016 did not look like heavy-handed references to the current day. Instead they are light-handed references to the current day! Much better. Seriously. Much.

I guess what I’m saying is: big ideas weather better than small details. Principles weather better than current events in-jokes. “I am really mad at this current problem” is not the same thing as “I will cash in on this current craze”…except they lead to a lot of the same pitfalls, so tread warily.

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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Mar. 27th, 2017 01:29 am
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Posted by file770


Voting is open through April 17 to determine the five finalists for the 2017 Deutscher Phantastik Preis. The award honors speculative fiction published for the first time in German language during the previous year. The longlist is created by an … Continue reading

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Mar. 27th, 2017 12:50 am
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Posted by tempestdance

jopakka ✌🏻

steveyeun thanks. we are well. much much love.

Steven Yeun and his wife Joana Pak welcomed their first son on March 17.

Sources 1 2 3

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Mar. 27th, 2017 12:17 am
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Posted by laroseroyale

ONTD's second favourite white guy with a guitar explained that his biggest hit "You're Beautiful" is not the romantic song many think it is. It is actually about a guy who is high af, who should probably be put in prison for stalking a woman.

“You get labeled with these things like, ‘Oh, James Blunt. Isn’t he just a soft romantic?’ Well, fuck that. No, I’m not. ‘You’re Beautiful’ is not this soft romantic fucking song. It’s about a guy who’s high as a fucking kite on drugs in the subway stalking someone else’s girlfriend when that guy is there in front of him, and he should be locked up or put in prison for being some kind of perv.”

What are some other misunderstood song lyrics, ONTD?
Sources: 1 2

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Mar. 27th, 2017 12:06 am
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Posted by anna_karenina_x

United Airlines today stopped some teenage girls from getting on their flight in Denver because they violated some kinda dress code by wearing leggings. Their dad who was wearing shorts was allowed to board.

Edit: The airline says it was only bc the girls were flying on passes for employees etc, not paid tickets

Do you think leggings are scandalous, ONTD?
Source 1, Source 2

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Mar. 26th, 2017 11:49 pm
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Posted by dreamhost


Once upon a time, the majority of tech workers were women. But starting in the 1980s, the fields of computing and engineering became male-dominated, and female workers turned into something of a rarity. Today, efforts to teach STEM education in school and all-girl coding camps are beginning to turn the tide, but women working in technology are still treated as unicorns—and not necessarily in a good way.

Women In Tech

Photo via Visualhunt.com

As a result of this disparity, women in tech field a lot of odd and occasionally insulting statements about their occupation—statements from which their male coworkers are magically exempt. It’s an alienating rite of passage that makes women think twice about pursuing a career in technology.

As a woman working in technology myself, I initially thought of these comments as harmless. I even felt a little special, getting questions that my all-male team didn’t. But as I began to hear the same remarks over and over, I wondered if perhaps they were microaggressions designed to make me feel small. It’s always better to suspect ignorance over malice, but I’m coming right out and saying it: these are not acceptable things to say to women working in tech. Here are six of the things women in engineering, computing, and IT are sick of hearing:

“Excuse me, could you direct me to a developer?”

When I worked in an office as a web developer, I sat in a cubicle just like the rest of my team. But for some reason, passersby would regularly stop by my cubicle specifically and ask me where they could find the web development department.

“You’re looking at it!” I’d say, laughing it off.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t be so smiley about it. This question was clearly directed at me because, as people apologetically admitted more than once, they assumed I was the secretary. However, I think it’d be a far more appropriate mistake to accidentally assume that the woman working in the web department is a web developer. Worst case scenario: she’s a secretary who got lost and stumbled into a web developer’s cubicle for some reason. Best case scenario: you don’t insult her.

“You’re really cute for an engineer.”

I’d be rich if I had a nickel every time I saw this one in internet comments. Even if it’s a technology tutorial written by a woman, if her profile photo is there, commenters know what needs to be done: this woman’s appearance must be judged! And if she is deemed worthy, she’ll get comments like this that have nothing at all to do with the tech topic at hand.

And this is just one scenario. Heaven help a woman in tech whom men decide is unattractive. Either way, as long as she has a physical body, she is most likely going to hear about it in a number of inappropriate settings completely unrelated to her expertise.

“You’re amazing at this for a woman.”

It’s stunning how many people think this is a nice thing to say, even though adding “for a woman” to any compliment pretty much negates it.

An even more subtle version of this backhand compliment occurs when women in tech are praised for basic tasks. I once got told “good girl” for remembering to back up data before making changes to the server. If it’s something you’d expect a man to do easily, applauding a woman when she does the same thing can be insulting.

“I bet you’d rather be home with your family.”

When a man works full time, nobody sits around wondering how he does it all, juggling his work life, family life, and children if he has them. They assume his wife or partner does all that.

With a woman, it’s the exact opposite. Any time she spends at the workplace is assumed to be at the expense of caring for her partner and kids. Never mind that her spouse might be the primary caregiver, or she might not have or want children. The perception is so pervasive that experts warn women not to wear engagement rings to interviews if they want the job.

This is a comment that women in fields other than tech can relate to as well! But when you’re the only woman on the team, this kind of statement feels a lot more personal.

“That happens to men, too.”

When women in tech gripe about their struggles, well-meaning men sometimes pop up to point out that their issues aren’t unique. Men can also have bad bosses and get harassed at work. Men can be underestimated and belittled in their jobs, too.

However, study after study shows that women in tech are treated not only differently from their male coworkers, but worse. These subtle changes in treatment may be invisible to all but the women who experience them, but they have a big impact—women in tech are less likely to get hired, to get raises, and to be promoted.

If nothing else, men have the advantage of role models and mentors who look just like them. They may even have similar hobbies outside of work that women don’t often share. This is why mentorship is championed for girls and women in tech, because seeing somebody who looks like you succeeding can go a long way toward inspiring the same confidence in you.

“Sexism used to be a problem in tech, but it’s better now.”

Yes, gender equality has come a long way, but the fight is not over yet. Some people think that since women no longer have to endure the overt sexism of the ‘80s in which even a Human Resources Department couldn’t help you, they shouldn’t complain about little things like the wage gap or being tacitly assumed dumber than their male colleagues.

Yet even today, being a woman in tech is considered such a detriment that one expert suggested women go by only their initials, so they’ll get a fair shot from employers. The numbers seem to support this discrimination: as of 2013, only 6% of tech executives are female. Part of this divide comes from the fact that too few girls consider technology as a potential career, because they don’t see women working in the industry. And the cycle continues.

Sexism is still a problem in technology, and admitting it is the first step. Because the words people say have meaning—and women can hear them.

About the Author: Lauren Orsini is a writer, developer, and DreamHost user in Washington, DC.

With contributions from the Hippo Thinks research network.

The post Six Things Women in Tech are Tired of Hearing appeared first on DreamHost.blog.

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