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How should we regulate and fund academic publishing? This petition was launched by librarians who are fed up of publishers price gouging UK libraries for academic ebooks.

I can see the other side, as many academic books can't expect a big audience. But books aren't *that* expensive to produce, and we should be doing all we can to make knowledge, especially academic knowledge, available students, and also to the general public.

Test and Trace, UK 

SERCO are sending out texts to lots of people asking them to download the App. I got mine this evening.

It comes from NHSTracing, and I suspect they're going out as a blanket text to every phone in the UK, whether you've downloaded or not, and whether or not your phone is compatible.

The Social Dilemma throws up interesting questions for those trying to build a new kind of social network that's less awful than Facebook. It highlights the mental health issues and stats, and that people are addicted by constantly coming back for that dopamine hit from likes, shares, and attention.

How do you dampen that dopamine oversaturation, without removing the social aspect? Would it help to ration some notifications to daily or weekly? I hope @Gargron is considering

uk pol 

so it seems Dominic Cummings wants to shred data protection laws

why has this not been more widely reported? even the guardian is only covering it from a Brexity perspective

does anyone really think that letting this government go "ALL UR DATA ARE BELONG TO US" is a good idea...? *shudder*

This one of those rare things, an online quiz actually worth doing. It’s a test to see if you can identify which social media accounts are real, and which were set up by disinformation organisations. And it explains the signs you should be aware of… 👌🏻 Can you Spot the Troll?


There are bonuses to most conferences being online now. As someone living in Lincolnshire, with long distances to travel and poor transport links, I've been able to "attend" far more events this year than would otherwise be possible.

uk politics, jobs 

I signed a letter in support of the Alliance For Full Employment's campaign to get the UK government to rethink the furlough cliff-edge.

Life is one thing, it's almost easy with enough time and hydrothermal vents. Complex multicellular life is another, a freak event that may or may not happen in several billion years and the odds are stacked against it. That's the takeaway I have from just having read Nick Lane's The Vital Question - which is excellent.

Still, it's good news there are signs of life on Venus.

I don't know why I didn't think to code this at the start of lockdown, but I made a randomly-generated addition worksheet with answers at the bottom that prints out pretty cleanly. Some other parents may find it useful, so here it is:

Gutenberg has a new website. I was hoping that meant you can finally search by date, or at least the author's dates which are definitely in their database, but not yet.

Food, keto, fasting 

I've been doing intermittent fasting for the past month. Mixed in with this is a move to a lower carb diet, although not completely keto yet because we have too many apples.

It's too early for definitive results, but I feel less bloated, less hungry, and on fasting days I usually sleep better. I've done the whole calorie-restricted diet thing, which works for losing weight but is hella tedious and is easy to drop when you're stressed. Fasting is way easier.

A Dream So Dark, the sequel to A Blade So Black, is a worthy sequel that makes me keen to read A Crown So Cursed when it comes out. It's Wonderland, but with a lot more martial arts and love, um, pentacles? More tangled than love triangles, anyhow.

When the Abyss stares back make sure to wink at it, this will let the Abyss know you like it.

@a_breakin_glass fursonas are actually only fursonas when they're from the french region of furry. otherwise they're just sparkling anthropomorphic animals

Smudge approves the enzymatic cat toothpaste, as in he licks it off my finger then bites my finger in case there's more. Success! But, of course it's the more expensive brand - the cheaper one he'll tolerate, but could take or leave.

I have a working fridge! Or at least, I hope it works - I have to wait 4 hours before turning it on. I'm looking forward to rejoining the 21st century after a fortnight without.

I don't have a fridge until Friday, so of course it's a heatwave.

Double World is quite pretty, in a video-game-to-film kind of way, and quite a lot of fun. My full review is here:

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Wandering Shop

The Wandering Shop is a Mastodon instance initially geared for the science fiction and fantasy community but open to anyone. We want our 'local' timeline to have the feel of a coffee shop at a good convention: tables full of friendly conversation on a wide variety of topics. We welcome everyone who wants to participate, so long as you're willing to abide by our code of conduct.