Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Generation Ships & morality

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:43 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

I went to a panel at Worldcon on the morality of generation ships, and have been thinking about it since.

(I’m also going to take this opportunity to recommend this Jo Walton story set on a generation ship, which is great and has something to say about choice and decisions.)

So, the question under discussion at the panel was: is it morally acceptable to board a generation ship (i.e. a ship that people will live on for multiple generations on their way to another planet), given that you are not just making a decision for yourself, but for your future children, grandchildren, etc etc. The two main categories of moral problem that the panel identified were:

  • the risk of the voyage itself;
  • the lack of choice for every generation after the one that gets on the ship in the first place.

The ‘risk’ issue seems reasonably strong. It’s very unlikely that anyone would have a really clear idea of what the planet was like that they were going to. If you’re using a generation ship at all, then you probably don’t have any other form of fast travel, so any information that exists about the planet will be scanty, very out of date, or most likely both. (See Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, which is also great.) So it’s not at all a reliable bet that your descendants will truly be able to settle where they’re headed to, even if it looks good from here.

There are also the risks of the voyage itself, including but not limited to radiation issues, the possibility of running into something else, and the likelihood that the ship will genuinely be able to maintain a workable ecological system. We don’t have good on-Earth comparisons for small closed systems; what experiments have been conducted have been very short-term and not terribly promising. What about the social dynamics? What are the risks of, say, a totalitarian system arising? If the risks on Earth are very high, or humans on Earth are facing imminent disaster, then this might be an acceptable trade-off, but how high is ‘very high’ and how disastrous does a disaster have to be? Does it need to be Earth-wide? If your current home is, for example, sinking under rising waters, and you know that any alternative will mean becoming a refugee in poor circumstances — how much risk is ‘reasonable’ to accept then?

Which brings us on to the issue of ‘choice’. One could argue that a kid living in a refugee camp without enough food or warm clothes has, notionally, some future ‘choice’ or ‘opportunity’ to escape that. A child on a generation ship is stuck there.

But why is “can’t leave generation ship” morally different from “can’t leave Earth”? Which is of course a situation into which all children are currently born and which we do not consider morally problematic. And how realistic is the ‘choice’ that the average Earth-born child has? This was where I thought that the Worldcon panel fell down a bit. They threw the word “choice” around a lot but didn’t at all interrogate what realistic “choice” is available to which children in which situation on Earth. There are many kids born without very many realistic ‘choices’; children who are unlikely to go more than a few miles beyond where they were born, children whose projected lifespan is short, children whose lives are likely to be very difficult. How different is that, in reality, from a generation ship? In fact, if the generation ship does work, it might be a better life than on Earth: guaranteed food, shelter, and useful work (making the ship run).

The panel talked about limiting the choices of children born on the moon, because they might not be able to go back and live on Earth — but why is Earth necessarily better than the moon, or Mars, or the asteroid belt? Why isn’t it immoral of us to have children who are stuck down here in the gravity well?

More generally: we’re constantly making choices for our children, and through them for generations beyond; we’re constantly giving them some chances and removing other options, every decision we make. Is that immoral? It’s not avoidable, however much privilege you have, although most certainly more privilege generally means more options.

Would I get on a generation ship? Well. Not without a really good perusal of the specs. But I’m not convinced that it’s immoral to do so.

Poem: "The Bamboo That Bends"

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:05 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the August 1, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "family portraits" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

Saturday Yardening

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:50 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is mostly sunny and hot.  :P  We picked up three piles of grass, and I filled the trolley with sticks to dump in the firepit.

Lots of butterflies out, though, and bees.  Yay bumblebees, boo sweat bees. 

Poem: "As Couples as Possible"

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:12 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the August [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "hobbies" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.


"As Couples As Possible"


A dancer fell in love
with a mathematician,

their affection stymied by
his love of all things body,
her love of all things brain,

until they discovered
square dancing.

* * *

Notes:

"As couples as possible" -- Work as a couple whenever possible. Re-evaluate the formation after each part of the call.
-- Square Dance Dictionary

Dance is a popular form of artistic exercise.  Geometry is the mathematics of shape.  Put them together and you get the math of square dance.

Non-Cornish pasties

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...

Crowdfunding Creative Jam

Aug. 19th, 2017 04:11 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam is now open with a theme of "Moving the Body."


What I Have Written

"As Couples as Possible" is today's freebie.


From My Prompts

Poem: "The Whole of Civilization"

Aug. 18th, 2017 05:05 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette.

Read more... )

Bust of Lincoln Destroyed

Aug. 18th, 2017 04:27 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
So this happened

The same principle behind this leads to this and this.

I told you so.  I have been saying and saying that when a society starts pulling down statues, it tends to mushroom, because people get it in their heads they can destroy all the art they dislike.  Sure it's tempting.  Everybody loves to pull down something they hate and stomp on it.  That's very gratifying.  But it's a bad idea because it destroys the past and then nobody has nice things for a long time.  It also sucks when other people pull down stuff that YOU like just because THEY don't, and there is probably not one piece of art on the planet which is liked by everyone.  

Seriously, people, stop doing this shit.  Unpopular art can be moved to a place where it won't annoy folks, but destroying it is counter-civilization.

Poem: "Lycoris"

Aug. 18th, 2017 03:31 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette.


"Lycoris"


In spring, the strappy green leaves
emerge from the fertile earth
but bring no blossoms.

The leaves turn yellow,
then brown, and fade away.

In summer, surprise!

A sudden resurrection
out of the dry bare ground
raises flower stalks like magic,
pink lilies spreading themselves
in the sun like naked ladies.

* * *

Notes:

Lycoris is a type of lily with many different names including resurrection lily, surprise lily, and naked ladies.  Both my parents and I have these, and they're beautiful flowers.

[Art] Hospital Firebird.

Aug. 18th, 2017 04:20 pm
moonvoice: (t - will the sheep punch me? maybe)
[personal profile] moonvoice
I started this on Monday, with a Kilometrico ballpoint pen.
I was waiting to see the Radiation Oncologist.
I kept working on it on Tuesday,
in a waiting room,
while waiting to see the ENT Surgeon.
And then I finished it on Wednesday,
in another hospital waiting room,
while waiting to see the base of skull Neurosurgeon.

All ballpoint pen.

Today's Adventures

Aug. 17th, 2017 11:13 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
We went up to Champaign today with family.  Mild weather, nice day for an outing.  :D

World Harvest keeps improving their stock of tea and spices.  \o/  Regrettably the cumin and ginger bottles don't fit in our spice rack. >_<  But I found some other stuff I haven't seen in a while so I'm happy.  Also the food selection on the Strawberry Fields side is improving.  The beef pie is a tasty little thing.



My partner Doug and I tried the gansito split at El Oasis. Gansito is a Mexican junk food similar to a chocolate-covered twinkie. I imagine it would be awful by itself, but is quite good with ice cream, either mixed in or like this, split with several scoops of ice cream in between.  Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla topped with whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry.  <3

Barnes & Noble continues to grow more annoying.  Twice I had someone stop and ask if I needed help finding anything.  Well no, you already broke the bookstore, so you can't fix that.  I need to browse by looking at a batch of similar things arranged by topic.  Now that you have dispersed the new books among the old books, this is impossible, unless you want to go hand-sort the new ones for me.  The cookbooks are splodged together, some by topic, others by author or title.  So instead of having all the special diet books together, organized by name of their theme, which would be easy to browse, they're all scattered over a couple of bookcases.  Someone actually asked me if I knew the titles I wanted.  Well if I knew the titles, I'd be able to find them myself! It was yet another damning example of how the store is catering not to bookworms, but to people who don't usually go into bookstores.  I guess they've been hyping electronics often enough that they're getting a lot of traffic that can't even find a help desk.  0_o  It's gotten to where just being asked is an irritant, another reminder that I'm no longer their target audience.  Jesus, lady, I was helping shelve library books when I was four.  >_<  I did find a couple of books to buy, but it's not fun like it used to be.  Bah.

At Wal-Mart I found a new pair of shorts.  Things that make me ridiculously happy: garments made of that silky, ventilated fabric that's almost never used on girl clothes, only guy clothes.  These shorts are lined and have contrasting trim around the edges.  I first got gray with pink trim to go with some tie-dye shirts I bought.  Then I got the turquoise with white and tonight the black with white.  I wanted the cobalt blue, but so far everyone's been out of that in my size.  I'd be happier if these had pockets, but I like the fabric enough to tolerate the lack.  They're really comfortable and really, really genderfucking awesome.  :D

Promoting a Better World

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:38 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Everyone's all in a lather about the mess in Charlottesville.  I generally prefer to sidle around the attack and then counterattack directly at the opponent's fundamental goals. In this case, they want to promote racism and violence. So I can undermine their efforts by promoting:

Conversational Skills
http://www.sandbox-learning.com/Default.asp?Page=152
http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Social-Skills

Tolerance
http://www.mmsa.info/sites/default/files/downloads/pages/Tolerance.pdf (teaching)
http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Tolerant-of-Others

Diversity
http://diversity.appstate.edu/celebration/why/
https://www.uww.edu/learn/aboutdiversity/approachdiversity
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241553

Nonviolence
https://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/listen-carefully-think-first-respect-everyone/
https://www.k-state.edu/nonviolence/Season/64ways.html

African-American Poetry
My favorites include Maya Angelou, Robert Hayden, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Phillis Wheatley.
http://www.theroot.com/20-black-poets-you-should-know-and-love-1790868612
http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets_african_american.html

If you want to poke a bigot in the eye, you can go shopping for things made by black writers or crafters, or you can buy multicultural-themed material from any author.  I've got a fluffy family dinner with multiple ethnicities in "Dinner at Donnie's" ($171) in Danso and Family.

Family.

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
azurelunatic: A red apple with a bite out of it, captioned in Star Trek font "What no-win scenario?" (what no-win scenario)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I am scared of my family right now.

My immediate family are largely good people who generally behave with kindness to all, and abhor the concepts of white supremacy and fascism like any decent person.

My aunts on my father's side are pretty awesome. Hippie Uncle is great, and Woodworking Uncle has good intentions and maybe a few distortions due to assorted experiences of privilege, but he does not appear to go out of his way to fuck other people over.

My aunt-by-marriage scares me. She's a doctor, and things she has said about transgender people, and gender in general, make me feel unsafe around her.

My uncle who is married to that aunt has good intentions, but does not appear to be in a position to temper his wife's attitudes.

"Racist Cousin Anna" has said some things about Mexicans that made me turn away from her. She's married to the older of that uncle's kids.

Both those cousins have posted things about guns and Muslims on Facebook that make me scared, like they wouldn't hesitate to support laws that would marginalize my friends, or might use one of those guns on someone.

I don't have the scariest family in the world. And I'm still skittish of saying anything that might prompt them to stop seeing me as their tame cousin and start seeing me as Other.
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
... is a Kickstarter-funded project that's almost over. I'm so lucky to be able to fund it.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lynnemthomas/disabled-people-destroy-science-fiction-uncanny-ma/updates

Uncanny Magazine -- whose editors have personal relationships to disability -- picked up the mantle of "create a wonderful anthology themed by marginal creators" from Lightspeed.

Even if you can't contribute money, Uncanny is posting free essays from SF writers about the connection between SF and disability. The essays are wonderful, and I've learned something from every one of them.

I kept meaning to post a highlight entry, and wowza [personal profile] beatrice_otter has done it for me!

So, go read this post and read wonderful essays

http://beatrice-otter.dreamwidth.org/354745.html

[food] Beans bourdeto, sort of

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:24 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
I went to Corfu! I was introduced to Corfiot bean stew! I was a fan. I am also struggling to track down a recipe that will let me recreate the But That's Amazing Though that I experienced there, because it's generally made with fish and there are relatively few recipes online, which means my ability to take the average of multiple recipes is limited. Nonetheless!

Read more... )

... which I served up with The Rice Of My People, which I'd apparently somehow not made for A before; he is a Fan. It turns out. Read more... )

Profile

jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
Ricky Buchanan