11 July 2002

I'm sad. Future Orbits is suspending publication indefinitely. They were nifty, and they bought "The Handmade's Tale," and I liked them, and Tom the editor was a careful reader and appreciated things that weren't spelled out in all caps. Ah well. It works that way sometimes.

I'm also rolling my eyes. The Sierra Club sent me a plea for money yesterday. Proclaimed themselves "America's most effective environmental group" on the envelope. And used how many pieces of paper in their plea? Ten. Ten. Maybe I'm being totally unreasonable here, but it just seems that they could attempt to use fewer resources when making this claim? Maybe?

Michelle wrote to me yesterday that she was concerned about Yucca Mountain. And I think most of us are, concerned that the standards set will be appropriate and all of that. Nobody with more than half a brain goes skipping along singing, "Tra la la, nuclear waste!" On the other hand, there's a big difference between "concerned that it be handled reasonably well" and "concerned and hoping that it won't be done at all." This is what makes me wary of pollsters. If they went around asking people, "Are you concerned about Yucca Mountain?", I might well say yes. But then it would, of course, be reported as "87% of Americans worry about Yucca Mountain nuclear disaster!" or even "only 2% favor plan!" Actual questions are pretty important. I keep trying to remember that when statistics disturb me, although sometimes there just doesn't seem to be any way around it.

Timprov and I have already been for a walk, and we've shut up the windows and turned on the AC, because it is getting hot here. (And overheating computers are just not what we need. Never mind overheating M'rissas.) Despite the AC, yesterday was pretty hot and sweaty, and today may be as well. It's summer here. Yay!!! Seriously. I missed it, this seasons thing. I like getting a little of the warmth. I hear enough about sunny California, it might as well get that way. And I already have a box of ski sweaters under the bed that won't get worn until we move home again. I don't feel like I should have to stuff my bikinis and tank tops in there, too.

I've been getting some feedback lately on entries, which is always nice. (HINT HINT -- oh, sorry.) Timprov points out that the unspoken request example in yesterday's entry isn't limited to women, and that's true. The example he gave was a good one. Same situation: man and woman on a road trip. The woman is driving. The man says, "Are you getting tired? Would you like to switch?" For some men, that really means what it explicitly says, but Timprov pointed out -- and I think he's right -- that for many men, this translates as, "Wanna drive!" So it's not always one way on the "unspoken rules" stuff. Of course it isn't. That's just a good example.

And Columbine was concerned that the brightest kids learn to communicate effectively with others, when I wrote about tracking. I'm concerned about that, too, but I think that ability-integrated same-age classes are not achieving that well at all, and that they'd have to be so radically restructured as to be unrecognizable if they were. As it stands, that type of classes seems to promote resentment in both directions and a rampant anti-intellectualism. And while we're figuring out how to actually make it work the way we would like it to, I think we still have to educate the kids we've got.

Well. I finished Hunter's Death -- entertaining high fantasy, and if I got in the mood for more of that style, I might get more of Michelle West's stuff. Might not, though -- it's not that outstanding for me. I'm reading Where Monsoons Meet now. It's from 1956, a collection of writings about British Malaya. Some of it is even earlier stuff, some quite unintentionally funny. There was a bit where a British guy from the 1920s was going on about how inferior Malay gender relations were, that their women treated their men like gods instead of like incompetent children, which was the proper state of gender relations. The incompetent children thing, I mean. I was quite astonished that it would be that explicit for him.

It's back to work on the book for me. Take care.

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