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Avsnitt 2 av vår podd: Martys frågor

from Joachim Elsander

Här är avsnitt 2 av min och Lydias podd. Under veckan kom nyheten att Marty Sampson, en känd lovsångsledare/författare är på väg att lämna den kristna tron. Som skäl anger han att svåra frågor aldrig lyftes i det sammanhang han fanns i. Marty hade tunga frågor om ledare som faller, om helanden som inte sker, om svårigheter och motsättningar i Bibeln och om helvetet.

Så vi bestämde oss för att ta oss an dessa frågor i detta avsnitt.

Lyssna och reagera!

Kolportören finns nu på följande plattformar:

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Tyvärr väntar vi fortfarande på ett godkännande från iTunes.

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August 18, 2019

from jabberlope

When it has never happened before, we wake up and we look at the world and we dream that we will we will be quoted well; then we go to bed and we sleep and dream dark nightmares after eating too much bad fish or drinking too much strong beer we dream that we will be quoted poorly, captured in some moment of insecurity or fear or smallness. After some time, we wake up, and greet the morning with a cup of strong coffee, and we breathe deeply and express our desire simply to be quoted accurately, realizing that that in itself will be enough.

August 18, 2019

Anonymous

ㅡ hurts seeing you in pain.

days become different since 5 years ago. since the inseparable siblings need to live in different houses that leads them to total different worlds.

living like this giving them distinct way of thingking. yeonjun, the oldest, puts freedom at the top of everything. he neither cared about how he scored in every school subjects nor he cared about what people would say about that. he loves painting and making music, and he's just being just the way he is. no one can control him, including his mother who's never make a presence in his eyes anymore or even calling his name ever again.

but for taehyun, life is a whole strict rule that tied him up to the extent its hard for him to feel happy, or even to simply just breathe in peace. he tops every classes and everyone in the school knows it. he's academically unbeatable so is him in some of sports club like soccer. he loves soccer the most, he won in some of big tournaments and bring home the trophies also the loud compliments from people around. but again, he isn't happy with that.

their parents divorced 5 years ago that made them live in two different environments. but unfortunately none of them living a good enough life. yeonjun used to feel lonely without any affections from their mother, and taehyun... well their father is really caring towards him. the more caring their father be, the more pain he has to received.

that man, who they assumed to be their father is a whole dictator piece of shit they both hate the most. and when the law decided taehyun to follow their father, yeonjun couldn't help himself any longer to stood up and shouted that he wanted to keep taehyun away from their father and just let himself be the one who follow their father instead of taehyun. but that wish couldn't be granted. the decision couldn't be changed. and eversince it happened, they both live in misery and hellish life.

after that, the relationship of the siblings started to loosened. taehyun who used to pass by yeonjuns class to ask him if he wanted to come with him to the cafetaria is now not again in yeonjuns sight. the only news he heard about his brother is about him winning many competitions and annouced as the best student for 2 years straight.

he must've felt really proud, but he is too overwhelmed by the worries of his brother being corrupted by his cruel father. he is sure that behind all these achievements his brother got, his brother was in total force and living with such bad treatments from his father. it suffocates him everytime he thought about it. he wants to do something but taehyun himself always abandoned him to even come visit his current house.

until one day, yeonjun, without any warning, comes to the front door of his father and brother's home.

door isn't fully closed, and in that moment, yeonjun take the chance to sneek in into the house without any sound. he suddenly flinched when he reached the wall that seperated the front part of the house and the living room. he heard shouts and cries of pain.

'no no no' yeonjun mumbled slowly wishing his imagination didnt come out being true.

“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO BE SCORED AS BAD AS THAT!! DIDNT I TELL YOU THAT I WOULD BE MAD IF YOU DIDNT OBEY MY RULE AND SCREWED UP LIKE THIS?!” that was their father followed by 2 times punches voice afterwards.

it hurts yeonjun so much. his heart stings. hes still standing there watching the views of taehyun being kicked and punched numorous times until he can see bloods splattering across the floor.

he cant take it anymore. he's totally pissed, “DAD STOP. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO TAEHYUN!”

both taehyun and their father are totally surprised by yeonjun sudden presence.

“yeonjun hyung...” yeonjun heard that low voice of taehyun who was already on the floor unable to move.

“i can call the police and get yourself arrested soon after doing these shitty things to your motherfucking son.” yeonjun sounded so mad like he was about to punch his fathers face.

but not so fast when his father immediately slapped yeonjuns face really hard. not long after that, he punched yeonjun's face and stomach hard until he broke down. taehyun keeps shouting the words 'hyung', 'no', and 'stop'. but his weak condition doesnt allow him to do things to prevent his fathers dirty hands to touch his precious yeonjun hyung. things becomes worse when his father dragged yeonjun to the dirty bathroom at the backyard.

in front of him now is a big pool of water from nowhere he could know and his father forcefully dipped his head to the water. his hands are tied up several moments before he came to the backyard so he can do nothing now but trying to catch his breath. after 5 minutes, his father finally pulled his head by the hair and let yeonjun breathe. yeonjun is now hyperventilating and desperately normalizing his heartbeat.

“hear me out kid, if you dare to come and touch my businesses, which are this house and all the things that happen inside, youll see me ruining taehyuns life completely as soon as possible.” that was the last thing he heard from his father before he's being left like that with his hands still tied up perfectly.

10 minutes has been passed until he sees his brother tries to run with all his remaining energy towards him.

“hyung im sorry... you shouldnt have came.” taehyun said with eyes full of guilts and drenched with tears.

his look is a mess, bloods and cuts everywhere, his hair is also drenched in sweats, as well as his white tshirt that some of its parts already stained red of the blood.

yeonjun was too focused on his brothers condition until he didnt realize that his hands are already been released. taehyun immediately hugged yeonjun tight. saying sorry numorous times with tears never stop falling from his eyes.

“what are you sorry for, taehyun? youre being treated terrible for a long time and it cant be compared with how my condition now. i just want to protect you. i want you to be free. i want you to be happy, taehyun.”

“hyung, if youre living well and healthy, im happy. so please dont come ever again.”

that moment. the pain strikes through yeonjun's heartbeats as how he really wants to take all the painful days away from his brother. he wish he could reach taehyun's hands, hold it as tightest as he could, and get him closer to him. closer to what always taehyun assumed as the safest place.

yeonjun, no matter what, will make it happen.

Mid-Sentence Music

I wake up to John Coltrane every morning. He's my alarm clock. I choose Coltrane because he attacks with his saxophone. In many songs he roars in the first few seconds. My favorite release from Coltrane by far is the four part A Love Supreme because he's a little more restrained. It's an album that sounds and feels like a monumental achievement in music history, even to these untrained ears of mine.

Today, in a passage from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz, I found out why Coltrane jumped into songs like he did. It reads:

Throughout the year and a half that he stayed with Miles, he worked on his style, trying, as he later told Wayne Shorter, to start in the middle of a sentence and move in both directions at once. In effect, the result was an outrush of arpeggios and semi-quavers spiralling up from the line.

That explains so much about how Coltrane played the saxophone. His time with the Miles Davis Quintet informed and honed his approach to music. It makes me reflect on my own scattershot approach to learning music. Instead of starting in the middle of sentences, I'm reciting the ABCs. It's been a humbling process.

I look forward to being able to communicate intelligently with music. To finding my own voice.

Want updates on this and other projects I'm working on? Kindly subscribe to my newsletter.

The inescapable higher value of working for it

from inquiry

If you're a forward thinking hopeful of internet possibilities, but not yet read any CJ Eller, you've hours of thought-provoking reading pleasure ahead of you.

Take Stumble Upon Conversation, for example, wherein I found the following:

And that brings up a question – is there a need for notifications? Shouldn't we know whether we are quoted on a post? Wouldn't that facilitate more conversation? It might.

Part of me immediately went “Yes! I want to be notified when I've been read and – even more so – quoted!”

But I soon enough realized that would wreck the lion's share of the fun.

I get that modern blogging is somewhere between people being really in-the-moment about where they're at, and people writing articles informative about topics they consider themselves experts (enough) on.

So I want to peruse them all.

But it does feel like a special day when simply rummaging through the latest leads to not merely litter, but words me-myselves-and-I cobbled into what are hopefully complete – if not interesting – sentences.

And I'd much rather find those instances by having to comb through it all (and learn lots of stuff about both others and things they know) than to be notified someone read/quoted me – and therein/thereby possibly wind up missing out on the nuggets encountered only through the combing.

What A (Lame) Day

from tmo

Just gotta be perfectly candid on here real quick, I was bored senseless today, and there was nothing to do, so I ended up just falling asleep after what seemed like (and was) hours on Twitter. Lame, indeed.

But it is night time now, and that means I am getting a jolt of energy and ready to write write write! I still haven’t written the conclusion to MMMhub, yet (no rush), but I did make a hell of a lot of progress with jotttt(.co) notes last night by watching a “coding on iPad” tutorial, got some app suggestions, and of course wrote the jotttt Wiki. So those are all good things.

Anyway, be back in a bit!

Why I love shopping lists

from inquiry

While some in these parts might consider shopping lists “litter”, I think they make quite the statement – if not commentary – on inner state, potentially covering both immediate and longer term wants and needs.

How does that possibly not rise to the level of blog-worthy material?

I happen to have much simpler tastes than, for example:

• prawn cocktail
• cheese and onion
• salt and vinegar
• smokey bacon
• tai sweet chilli
• frazzles
• chipsticks
• hula hoops
• kettle chips
• pom-bears

So my list would be a lot more like this:

• eggs
• cheddar cheese
• salsa
• corn chips
• sausage
• sauerkraut

I mean, I can see why my list might bore the living reproduction out of some.

But that original list? Totally captivating.

In fact, before the anonymous pronouncer that shopping lists are necessarily evil on read.write.as showed up, I was completely fascinated by Sober Thoughts' shopping list.

For starters, I'd never heard of these items:

• tai sweet chilli
• frazzles
• chipsticks
• hula hoops
• pom-bears

So not only do I now know that much incrementally more about Sober Thoughts, but some retailers won't even know who to thank for my searching for and purchasing such items, completely and utterly because I found them on someone else's “litter” – aka shopping list.

Telegram bridge bot is back up!

from Werefox Software

I’ve finally gotten around to getting the mautrix-telegram bridge bot back up and running, so you can now join the general chat at this link on Telegram once again.

I’ve set up daily backups for Gitea, GitLab, Mastodon, and Matrix now. Keep in mind that I in no way wish to “archive” any data, it’s simply in order to ensure I can get things back up and running in the case of a failure (yes, I meant to make that jab in light of recent events).

After thinking it over some more, I’m a little hesitant on running PeerTube and Pleroma instances. I have been really strapped for time lately, and since it’s really only me managing all these services, with my own funds as well, I don’t really want to expand too fast or at a rate that causes me to feel burned out.

I’m now shifting my attention to focusing on improving the services I currently host. I’m looking into “upgrading” the Mastodon instance to use “glitch-soc” and I’m looking into hosting a client for Matrix, that way potential community members can have a way to try out Matrix and communicate as a guest if needed on our own domain rather than being forced to register at Matrix.org or having to mess with client settings in order to register on Werefox Software.

That’s all for now. I’m hoping to provide more more quick updates in the future in order to make the monthly ones less word-y!

-Alexis Werefox

Book Review: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

A+ | A beautifully rich and addictive fantasy novel that has everything I could want in a book: magic, a protagonist and a deuteragonist who I can connect with and who have solid characterizations and development, side characters that are well developed and whom you can fall in love with too, a super well developed romance that is so utterly believable and that I completely supported, on point writing that grips you from start to finish, a world full of wonder and spectacular imagery, and a plot that is fully fleshed out and refuses to let you go even at the end.

So I got my hands on this book at BookCon when EpicReads was doing one of their ARC drops. It was a totally last minute decision to go and I’m so glad I made that decision because I was able to get this.

But yo. Holy moly this book. THIS BOOK. How do I even start this without sounding like a fool rambling?

I love this book. Let me repeat that: I LOVE THIS BOOK.

Lou and Reid are our protagonist and deuteragonist respectively and man, I completely and utterly enjoyed reading their POV chapters equally. I never felt like rushing through one character’s POV chapter over the other because they both are so well written and fleshed out. They felt so utterly human. The fact that I was able to connect with the both of them speaks to Shelby Mahurin’s writing abilities and how well she fleshed out and developed them.

From the start, I could connect with Lou and adored her. She’s blunt, she’s passionate, she’s profane, she’s obsessed with food (especially buns which is such a damn Mood), she’s ridiculously funny, she’s intelligent, and she’s tenacious. She will do anything and everything to survive, even if it means entering into a marriage with a Chasseur — her people’s enemy. She’s brave. She’s fearful. She’s quick to annoy people like Reid but she’s even quicker to defend her friends. She’s loving and hateful. She’s ruthless. She’s compassionate.

Layers, man. Lou is so layered those green tea crepe cakes from Lady M are jealous.

And it’s the same with Reid!

Reid has a stick up his butt. He’s loyal to the point of blindness. He sticks to his principles. He’s tall and strong. I mean — he’s a capable fighter and a believer. He is passionate. He is tenacious. He is ruthless, too, but he’s also oh so utterly human with conflicting emotions, especially once he grows closer too Lou.

Most importantly, despite the initial dislike and distrust he holds towards Lou, he makes the commitment to stick to his vows. He attempts to be a good husband towards her, despite the fact that their marriage is a forced union. He’s respectful towards her despite the fact that they both say rude words to each other.

But you know what? The relationship that develops between Lou and Reid feels so utterly real and natural. It truly develops from enemies to friends to lovers. There was this scene that truly got to me where Reid shares a secret with Lou and it just made me squeal like a fangirl because they were growing to like each other and Reid was starting to trust Lou.

Aside from the characters, the worldbuilding is just stunning. It’s so easy to fall into this world and to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste everything in Lou’s world. I could imagine myself in Cesarine. Hell, full disclosure, I didn’t read the back of the book where it states that this is “set in romantic seventeenth-century France” and I honest to God immediately imagined Paris.

In this universe, magic has a smell to it and a price must be paid to keep the balance. Vision for vision. A broken bone for a broken bone. A life for a life. I love seeing a developed magic system in books. I love to see magic in books have their rules, rituals, and how things work. It makes things so much easier to immerse myself in the world. It also makes it so much more believable. This magic system is complex and intelligent. It takes numbers and kicks butt.

In this world, magic flows in the blood of women — witches. The Church is well, just like the Catholic Church — need I say more? Although this world is different from our own, we have similarities: the brutality the Church uses against witches, the lengths the oppressed will go to defend themselves against their oppressors — even if it means using violence, the ever struggle of men being unable to stand women being stronger than them.

This world is gray. It is neither black or white. The witches may use cruel means to harm their victims, but the witches are victims, too. They struggle to survive in this cruel world filled with people who hate and fear them to the point where they would sell them out to the huntsmen to be burned alive. However, we can’t forget that the witches, too, employ cruel means against their victims.

I love it. I love worlds and books where the line between good and evil is blurred, where it is multiple shades of gray and what you are taught is good isn’t necessarily good.

Worlds where these lines are blurred set a good stage for awesome plots and stories. Mahurin was able to combine this world she created with this awesome, gripping and thrilling story. This book is filled with layers, each intricately stitched together into a solid framework. Despite the fact that there are these layers, it never loses sight of the main arc. Yes, romance is certainly a thing here and so is mature scenes and elements, but so are the questions of loyalty and love and hate and oppression and truth.

My heart swelled with joy and sunk down to my stomach with fear throughout this book. I screamed with joy and laughed a little too hard in some scenes. It’s vulgar and full of cuss words, but God that’s the beauty of it because it makes it so much more realistic.

While the book doesn’t end in a major cliffhanger, it does leave me wanting more. I’m so excited to see what happens in the future and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Shelby Mahurin’s future books.

I absolutely recommend this book. It’s a wonderful fantasy with a gripping storyline, amazing characters who are well developed and fleshed out, and awesome worldbuilding that allows you to truly immerse yourself into this universe.

À Beira do Abismo (1946)

Após o sucesso surpresa de Ter ou Não Ter, a Warner Bros. pediu ao produtor e realizador Howard Hawks para repetir a fórmula e juntar de novo o par Bogard e Bacall. Hawks aceitou o desafio e viu no livro de Raymond Chandler The Big Sleep, a história ideal para o par romântico. Hawks pediu à Warner 50 mil dólares para adquirir os direitos cinematográficos do livro, tendo pago apenas 5 mil a Chandler. O restante dinheiro ficou no bolso do realizador e, de acordo com Chandler, Hawks mereceu todo o dinheiro já que transformou a história de um detective privado, numa engraçada, sensual e emocionante viagem pela Los Angeles dos anos 40.

A história original escrita por Chandler é cheia de referências a temas polémicos (estávamos em plena década de 1940) como drogas, pornografia e homossexualidade. Com o Código de Produção em pleno vigor, não era possível ao argumentista William Faulkner (Nobel da Literatura) ser fiel à obra de Chandler e o argumento sofreu muitas alterações (para as quais também contribuíram Leigh Brackett e Jules Furthman). Embora a história seja confusa (nem o próprio Chandler sabia quem tinha assassinado quem), o filme está longe de ser frustrante e essa confusão faz parte do seu charme.

Hawks tinha razão e À Beira do Abismo revelou-se perfeito para Bogard e Bacall colocarem no ecrã a química (e o romance) que existia entre eles. Se Bogard era já uma estrela de Hollywood, Bacall era uma jovem que dava os primeiros passos na sétima arte. O seu primeiro filme (Ter ou Não Ter) foi um sucesso, fazendo do casal um dos pares românticos de maior sucesso da América. No entanto, o seu segundo filme (Confident Agent, onde contracena ao lado de Charles Boyer) teve uma recepção muito fraca, o que deu mais força a um novo filme entre Bogard e Bacall.

O filme foi rodado durante o Outono de 1944, em plena II Guerra Mundial, e a primeira versão não agradou ao agente de Bacall que exigiu novas cenas (a enfatizar a excelente relação com Bogard) e uma nova montagem. A Warner acedeu e Hawks realizou novas cenas, com especial destaque para a cena dos “cavalos de corrida”: um dos mais tensos e espectaculares diálogos da sétima arte.

A primeira versão (apenas exibida às tropas americanas que combatiam na II Guerra Mundial) foi arquivada pela Warner, que estreou a 2ª versão do filme em Agosto de 1946 com grande sucesso (apenas chegou a Portugal em Janeiro de 1948). Em 1997, foi descoberta a versão de 1945, que a Universidade da Califórnia restaurou e tornou possível a comparação entre as duas versões: se na primeira a história é menos confusa e inclui uma cena em que o chefe da polícia explica os acontecimentos, apenas na versão de 1946 é possível ver as melhores cenas da explosiva relação entre Bacall e Bogard.

Para Howard Hawks, um dos grandes realizadores americanos, um bom filme é um que contém 3 boas cenas e nenhuma má. A comparação entre as duas versões permite constatar que à segunda versão foi adicionada uma das boas cenas do filme e eliminadas algumas das más, provando que o realizador tinha razão.

Resultado do trabalho de grandes profissionais, À Beira do Abismo é um excelente film noir (mesmo faltando algumas das características que definem o género) com um ritmo alucinante e um argumento com diálogos inteligentes que permite aos personagens deambular por uma atmosfera negra e diabólica.

Em 1978, Robert Mitchum interpretou o papel do detective Philip Marlow, num remake britânico de À Beira do Abismo, mas o filme, passado em Londres nos anos 70, está longe da frescura e atmosfera do original.

The Big Sleep. Warner Bros. / First National Pictures. Estados Undios, 1946, 114 min., thriller. Realizador: Howard Hanks. Argumento: William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett e Jules Furthman, baseado na obra de Raymond Chandler. Actores: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone, Peggy Knudsen, Regis Toomey

Um detective privado investiga um caso de chantagem e envolve-se com as filhas do homem que o contratou.

Univariate Linear Regression & ML Intro

from Danny Denenberg

In machine learning, there are two main algorithms to get your computer to act smart: supervised and unsupervised learning.

In supervised learning, the computer is given data about the subject usually being inputs and outputs. The most common use of supervised learning is to classify objects. For example, I might give my computer a set of pictures of dogs and I want it to output 0 for Pekingese, 1 for Golden Retriever, and 2 for German Shepherd. To train this computer to recognize the dogs, I would give it millions of dog pictures with their respective numbers attached to each image. The computer would then learn, by the use of some ML algorithm, to associate pixel patterns with a certain breed of dog.

In unsupervised learning, the computer is given data that has no labels. An unsupervised learning algorithm has to find structure in structureless data. The most common tasks within unsupervised learning are clustering, representation learning, and density estimation. The following picture depicts the idea of clustering in which the computer takes images of cartoons and clusters them into their respective cartoon styles.

Just an FYI, linear regression is a supervised learning algorithm. Because of this, I will give some information about how some of the features of this algorithm will be represented mathematically.

In supervised learning and linear regression, you are always given a “training set” to teach ML algorithm how to classify new data.

Here are some variables and what they mean in context of training samples:

$m=$ number of training examples $x=$ “input” variable/feature $y=$ “output” variable/target $(x,y)=$ one training sample (input, output) $(x^i,y^i)=$ $i^{th}$ traning sample

DON'T WORRY (if you are worrying)! This will all make tons more sense in a bit.

Here is an example of how these variables can be used.

Let's say that you want to teach the computer to guess a house's price based on its size. Well, you would first have to give the algorithm a set of training samples that contain many different houses sizes and prices. Because we want to give the computer a size and have it guess the price, the size is the input and the price is the output. Or, in math words, the size is $x$ (input) and the price is $y$ (output). Here is an example of what the training data would look like (please note that in reality, there would have to be many many more training samples to get accurate results):

$i$ (training sample) $x$ (size) $y$ (price)
$1$ $1240$ $145000$
$2$ $370$ $68000$
$3$ $1130$ $115000$
$4$ $860$ $50000$
$5$ $1420$ $137000$

Now let's match some variables to this data set.

$m=5$ because there are $5$ training samples (denoted by $i$) $x^3=1130$ because it is the 3rd row size $(x^4, y^4)=(860,50000)$ because it is the fourth row x and y values

Hopefully, that clears up some complexities with the math representations.

Linear Regression

In linear regression, we use a training set to come up with an algorithm that creates a function “$h$” that maps $x$ to $y$. In the housing prices example, we need to use that data to come up with a function that maps the size of houses to their price ($x$ to $y$, inputs to outputs).

The function that we are trying to develop looks like this: $$h _\theta (x) = \theta _0 + \theta _1 x$$

This should look fairly familiar, right? Doesn't it resemble a line in slope-intercept form?

$$y=mx+b$$

That is because, linear regression is essentially the algorithm for finding the line of best fit for a set of data. Using the house data above, the graph below depicts the plotted training samples and the function (dotted line) that linear regression would produce for the data.

Let's take a look at that representation of the function:

$$h _\theta (x) = \theta _0 + \theta _1 x$$

The algorithm finds the values for $\theta _ 0$ and $\theta _ 1$ that best fit the inputs and output given to the algorithm. This is called univariate linear regression because the $\theta$ parameters only go up to 1. The univariate linear regression algorithm is much simpler than the one for multivariate. The function that multivariate linear regression produces, looks like this:

$$h _\theta (x_1, x_2, x_3, ..., x_n) = \theta _0 + \theta _1 x_1 +\theta _2 x_2 +\theta _3 x_3 + ... + \theta _n x_n$$

I plan to write an article on multivariate linear regression soon-ish.

This next piece of math I will show you is a way to find the average of the difference between the predicted values/outputs and the actual values/outputs. Given a numbers for $\theta _0$ and $\theta _1$ each, this function will essentially show us, how “wrong” the function ($h(x)$) is. Another way to say this is how bad of values were chosen for $\theta _0$ and $\theta _1$. Here is the expression:

$$\frac{1}{2m} \sum _{i=1} ^m (h _\theta (x^i) – y^i)^2$$

Let's break this down.

$m=$ # of training examples $h _\theta (x^i)=$ the predicted value. Remember, $h(x)$ is the function the algorithm is developing (the line of best fit), so the return value from that function is a “prediction”. $y^i=$ actual sample output.

Here is the goal for this expression: Find the numbers $\theta _0$ and $\theta _1$ such that the average of the sum of the predicted value ($h(x)$) minus the actual value is minimized (as small as possible).

This expression is called, the “cost function”. It defines how much error their is in the parameter values we chose. The one defined above is known as the “squared error function”. It is the most commonly used cost function for linear regression problems. Cost functions are typically denoted using $J$ as the name of the function.

Univariate Linear Regression Review

Hypothesis $$h _\theta (x) = \theta _0 + \theta _1 x$$

Parameters $$\theta _0,\theta _1$$

Cost Function $$J(\theta _0,\theta _1)=\frac{1}{2m} \sum _{i=1} ^m (h _\theta (x^i) – y^i)^2$$

Goal

Minimize $J(\theta _0,\theta _1)$ by choosing the optimal values for $\theta _0,\theta _1$

Book Review: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

A- | A provocative, heart-wrenching book that documents the brave women who fought for their lives against major corporations who cared little for anything else except for the profits being made by the radioactive substance, radium. “Lip, dip, paint”. These women shined bright thanks to radium, but they also suffered its poisonous consequences after ingesting the paint containing the radioactive substance. This book goes into the girls’ lives, smiles, struggles, pain, suffering, and then eventual deaths. It is not for the faint of heart, but this book should be required reading in US History courses.

“Lip, dip, paint.”

This line is repeated over and over through the book. The companies instructed the women to use this technique to reduce waste and to give the brushes a sharper point, thus allowing the numbers to be painted better, basically. For those companies, it was all about the profit and the bottom line. They didn’t care about safety standards. They didn’t care that the women working in those factories had lives. What it came down to was money.

“Lip, dip, paint.”

Every day those women worked in those factories, they ingested radium, completely unaware of the dangers of the substance until it was too late and it became a part of their very bones. Then, they not only had to fight for their lives but for their rights and for compensation from the very companies who put them in danger in the first place. To make matters worse, these companies knowingly delayed the trials, hoping that the women would die before they had to make the payouts. They brought in their own people — including a fake medical doctor (he had a PhD, not an MD) — to examine the women on their own terms to ensure the women got as little money as possible.

I could not put this book down once I found the time to sit and read for more than ten minutes at a time. Kate Moore did a fantastic job all around. I could tell that she did a ton of research to write this book. She left no stone unturned.

The book ripped open my chest and left me with an open wound.

I’m glad I know now and I’m so glad that Moore didn’t sugarcoat anything. Even now as I type this review, my hands are shaking from the residual anger I felt while I was reading. No, this anger isn’t from the writing but from the actions of those greedy men from Radiant Dial Corporation and the United States Radium Corporation who ruined these women’s lives and tried to sacrifice them all for money.

Moore does a beautiful job in bringing these women and those around them to life. The writing was lively and full of emotions. Each chapter is filled with sentences that brought the past to the present not only due to the writing but due to the research that was put into this book. These women weren’t just names anymore. They were brave women who stood up for themselves and for each other against two giants. I came to admire them for their tenacity and their bravery. Some may say that it’s ridiculous that we had to read about what they were wearing, however, I completely disagree. Knowing what these women wore, what their favourite foods were, what they did in between shifts — details like this bring life to them.

I truly believe that this book should be required reading in US history courses. I think it’s time for US history teachers/professors to consider adding this book to their required reading list. Their actions lead to the foundations of OSHA and changed the lives of working Americans. They might not have fought a war. They might not have gone into the trenches. But these women started a revolution in their own way. They contributed to American society and yet, they’re not among the group of American women that we learn about. This should change.

Although this is not an easy book to read due to its content matter, it is well worth taking the time to read it nonetheless.

#bookreview #historybooks #fivestars

August 17, 2019

it is not true...that we observe best when we are entirely devoid of emotion. Unless there is a direction of interest, we do not observe at all. ~ Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making, 124

Self-Publishing with Pandoc and Latex: A Basic Guide

from hdansin

When I first started writing my novel it was in LibreOffice Writer, but I quickly realized that while it worked well for essays and even my thesis, it was not ideal for writing fiction. At least, not for me. I wanted something stable and flexible enough to handle tens of thousands of words of dark, realistic fantasy. In addition, I wanted to make sure that when those tens of thousands of words were ready for publishing, I could convert the manuscript fairly easily from a single master file.

This guide is what I wish I had when I started, and I'm putting it together in case anyone else is curious or wants to use free and open source software to write and publish their novel.

• Disclaimer: I am no expert, but this is what worked for me. Feel free to ask questions/reply with suggestions.

Step 1. Markdown

Markdown is a markup language with the goal of being natural to read and use. If you are familiar with HTML, it should be a quick start.

You don't really need to install anything to start using it, however I would suggest a dedicated markdown editor such as my personal favorite, Ghostwriter, to make the experience more streamlined. It's fairly minimal, but that's kind of the point. Writing requires focus, and Markdown does a great job of being practical and flexible while getting out of the way of the words.

Honestly, markdown is so streamlined you can use pretty much any program you want to write fiction in it. Here's a quick example:

Markdown:

# Part I

## Chapter 1

Once upon a time, there was a writer who wanted to write *in italics.* He felt, however, that the sentence was not strong enough *in italics,* so he wrote it **in bold**. Satisfied, he moved on to the next part by making a horizontal line.

---

*__Then he wrote the most important sentence he had ever written. So he bolded and italicized it.__*

>Then when it came time to write a memoir about it, he put it in a block quote.

# The End


Part I

Chapter 1

Once upon a time, there was a writer who wanted to write in italics. He felt, however, that the sentence was not strong enough in italics, so he wrote it in bold. Satisfied, he moved on to the next part by making a horizontal line.

Then he wrote the most important sentence he had ever written, so he bolded and italicized it.

Then when it came time to write a memoir about it, he put it in a block quote.

The End

You can refer to a guide for more detailed information, but as you can see, it's fairly easy to get the hang of – especially since fiction writing does not require complex formatting. In addition, Markdown let me use a cool digital typewriter to do most of my drafting. Sometimes you have to go to extreme measures to avoid distractions.

Step 2. Pandoc

Markdown would not be that useful for authors if Pandoc did not exist. Pandoc allows you to convert your glorious manuscript.md into pretty much any file format under the face of the sun. Follow the installation instructions for your OS/distro and let's roll.

Keep in mind Pandoc is a command-line program, which might be intimidating if you have never used a command line before, but their documentation is top-notch and with a little patience you'll be generating .epubs and .pdfs like a real hacker.

E-book

The .epub file type is the standard for e-books. Amazon has .mobi, but since you can upload to KDP with .epub it's not really worth it to generate with Pandoc unless you have a kindle that you want to export your manuscript to.

Generating .epubs is fairly simple with Pandoc, as the formatting requirements are not as strict as print-ready .pdfs, but it is not without its challenges. If you feel confident you can skip my guide and go right to Pandoc's guide for creating .epubs. Otherwise here's a basic step by step:

First, navigate to the directory where your manuscript is located, then open a terminal/shell. On the command line type:

pandoc yourmanuscript.md -o yourbookname.epub


Then press enter. Boom! You now have an .epub. Well done!

We're not done, however. Something useful to include is a table of contents, and fortunately, Pandoc can handle that. Simply add --toc after Pandoc.

Another option I used is --top-level-division=part. This will tell Pandoc to define the highest level heading in your manuscript as a part rather than a chapter. If you don't use parts, you can skip this because it is set to chapter by default. Altogether it will look something like this:

pandoc --toc --top-level-division=part yourmanuscript.md -o yourbookname.epub


Before you upload and become a self-published millionaire, make you sure you take care of your metadata. This is pretty easy with Pandoc. Just add a yaml metadata block to the top of your manuscript. It'll look something like this:

---
title:
- type: main
text: My Awesome Title
creator:
- role: author
text: My Awesome Name
publisher: My Awesome Publishing Company
identifier:
- scheme: ISBN-13
text: 978-0-57-855858-5
rights: © Year My Awesome Name
---

• Note: identifier: is only necessary if you actually have an ISBN. Even then, you don't need an ISBN to publish just an e-book.

With the yaml block at the top of your document, Pandoc will be able to read it and attribute it to the .epub. For more documentation click here.

Step 3. Latex

Here's where it gets juicy. Pandoc does a pretty decent job of outputting .pdfs by default, but figuring out how to format them for print on demand took me a lot longer than I thought it would.

Pandoc uses a default template to format the .pdfs, and while they look okay, they were not adequate for print on demand. I decided the easiest way to get the .pdfs I wanted was to modify the Pandoc Latex template and tell Pandoc to use that template. Fortunately, you don't have to sit through the long hours of tinkering it took me to get that working.

First, make sure you have latex installed. Latex is a .pdf engine that is capable of making beautiful print-ready documents. On most linux distributions, there is a handy “texlive-all” package you can install to get all the dependencies and extensions. On Windows and Mac, Pandoc recommends installing latex via MiKTeX.

Next, let's copy the default Pandoc template so we can modify it. The easiest way to do this is to tell Pandoc to output its default latex template into our custom template with:

pandoc -D latex > custombook.latex


Alternatively, you can go to the directory where Pandoc stores the templates, find “default.latex”, copy it, and rename it.

Next, open your custom template file and add these modifications after line 7:

% DEFINE DOCUMENT CLASS HD
\documentclass{book}

% DEFINE PHYSICAL DOCUMENT SETTINGS HD
% media settings
\usepackage[paperwidth=5.5in, paperheight=8.5in]{geometry}

% FORMAT CHAPS AND HEADER HD
\usepackage{titlesec} % make chapters start on a new page, and remove auto-generated chapter headings HD
\titleformat{\chapter}[display]
{\normalfont\bfseries}{}{0pt}{\Large}

\usepackage{tocstyle} %make the TOC pretty HD
\usetocstyle{noonewithdot}

\usepackage{fancyhdr} % make the headers pretty HD
\pagestyle{fancy}
\fancypagestyle{plain}{%
}

\makeatletter % remove header from chapter pages automatically HD
\def\cleardoublepage{\clearpage\if@twoside \ifodd\c@page\else
\hbox{}
\vspace*{\fill}
\vspace{\fill}
\thispagestyle{empty}
\newpage
\if@twocolumn\hbox{}\newpage\fi\fi\fi}
\makeatother

• Some notes:
• I am not an expert, but this is what worked for me. If you run into problems, check the forums and documentation.
• Make sure to delete the other \documentclass{} definition before replacing it with \documentclass{book} .
• Under %media settings make sure to input the dimensions you desire.
• If you get errors, read them. They can be very useful in figuring out what went wrong. Sometimes it's as simple as a missing {.
• Latex is very powerful, and I am sure there is a lot more you can do with it. Feel free to experiment and improve upon these modifications.
• Documentation is your friend. Sometimes sitting down and reading it is a lot more efficient than searching the forums, plus you learn more.

After you modify the custom template, you have to tell Pandoc to use it with --template=custombook.latex. Make sure your template is in the same directory as Pandoc's defaults. If you don't know where those are you can search for the file “default.latex”.

Now we're ready to generate it. Here's what your final command should look like:

pandoc --toc --template=custombook.latex yourmanuscript.md -o yourbook.pdf


In order to format the table of contents satisfactorily I had to remove the numbers from my chapter headings in my manuscript because --toc numbers the sections and it looked odd. Your mileage may vary but if you figure out an easier way to do this, let me know.

Step 4. Publish

Congrats! Now you can upload your manuscript to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Ingram Spark, and just about anywhere you want. I won't bore you with a tutorial for those because if you got this far, you can figure out those web interfaces pretty easily.

For a cover, I used Canva and a vector drawing of the moon I did with Inkscape. I was able to use the same .png for all e-book platforms, but for print, I downloaded the .pdf templates for each one and used LibreOffice Draw to modify them. There are myriad cover tutorials out there if you need help, or you can hire a designer at a marketplace like Reedsy.

Thanks for reading! I sincerely hope this helps.

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My book, Dawn Must Follow Night, is a fantasy novel set in a realm where terrifying beasts converge every century from the Black. A group with a connection to the Black known as The Blades of Dawn are the only ones with the power to fight them. When a powerful lord decides to establish an empire, he targets the group, forcing them to battle not only the impending convergence, but also human ambition. It features magic inspired by theoretical physics and Lovecraftian horror, and realistic depictions of historical weaponry and combat.

August 17, 2019

from veronica.

I never realized how strangely cathartic it is to review books. I always knew that talking about them, in general, is a fun experience, but this feels like a purge. It’s sort of soothing almost to scream into the void that is the internet my feelings about a book. I was never the type of person who would join book clubs or whatever because I could never get into those sort of settings. When I read for pleasure, I read the books I want to read when I want to read them.

Honestly, everyone I know is too busy to read for pleasure. Hell, I’m too busy to read for pleasure for most of the year because I have 50+ pages of readings for my nursing classes every week during the semesters. And even when I find the time, I tend to read books that my friends aren’t exactly interested in which makes it hard to keep the conversation going. But when we do get to read the same books, man oh man, it feels so good.

Maybe I should join a book club. Or — nah. Book clubs are time and time isn’t something I have much of these days with nursing school.

Besides, it’s more fun and purifying to scream into the internet. I can take the time to type out everything I want to say, to research other materials to add weight to my argument, and to polish/edit what I’ve written so it’s not an incoherent mess. It gives me time to cover all my bases and hit every spot I wanted to it — and even if I don’t necessarily get to all the points I want to touch, I can hit the majority of the things I loved and/or hated about a book.

It’s word vomit except it's a more eloquent version of what I would say if I was rambling about a book.

Anyway, make sure to check out my reading blog or my Goodreads when you get a chance.

#digitaljournalpost

Communication Breakdown — We're sorry

from Florence

Content Warning: this post discusses abuse and transparency. It also mentions Laurelai Bailey, a past member of the ForkOff/ForkTogether initiative (which later transformed into the Florence project).

Thank you all for your patience with us as we’ve taken the time to process this. We wanted to make sure to cool our heads, have a proper conversation between each other, figure out what had gone wrong, and figure out how to avoid doing anything like this ever again. We also took almost a month to write and edit this post, which shows that we honestly didn’t know how to approach this subject, apology, or situation to begin with.

What Happened

In July, a thread on the fediverse featured abuse of Laurelai Bailey, as well as a heated argument involving a few members of Florence, namely maloki and lightdark. While it is tempting to recount everything that happened leading up to this event we decided to keep this post short and to the point.

First, we would like to apologize to Laurelai, for how this incident came about and where it came about. We spoke out about an issue in absolutely the worst possible place we could have done it, and although we can't change what happened, we're going to try and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Second, we would like to extend an apology for our lapse in communication about the issue from the start. We have yet to reach a point where our process is transparent enough about these sorts of decisions, and we want to acknowledge and improve this.

We completely understand if we’re not forgiven for this incident, and we understand if this has destroyed any trust in the project we're working on. However, we've always been open to give people second chances in this project, and we hope that one day you can to do the same for us.

How We Want to Do Better

We recognize that we do not have a lot of the processes in place yet to handle communication regarding events like these, nor have we had time (even if we've been working on this project for the past eight months at a baby-step pace) to internalize some of the previous decisions we have made. We did lapse in judgement, and it's possible that this is growing pains, and it is also possible that we are just human.

Currently there are some quirks involved with team communication, both internally and externally, which we hope to be able to iron out over the next few weeks and months by clarifying to ourselves what we respond to, and how. We're finalizing the Code of Conduct, and while we agree on its general content, we've been putting off actually saying “this is our current draft, and this is how we’ll handle reports”. We need to continue figuring out how our entire outreach process should work, especially in regards to responding to certain types of comments, and we hope that you'll stay with us along the way.

Sincerely,

Florence Team:

@maloki@elekk.xyz @1011X@mastodon.social @jhaye@social.libre.fi @lightdark@toot.cat