[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Kyle Orland

Enlarge (credit: Activision)

In a US patent filed in 2015 and approved yesterday, Activision outlines an online matchmaking system designed to "drive microtransactions in multiplayer video games" and "influence game-related purchases."

Patent #9789406, for a "System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games," describes a number of matchmaking algorithms that a game could use to encourage players to purchase additional in-game items. "For instance, the system may match a more expert/marquee player with a junior player to encourage the junior player to make game-related purchases of items possessed/used by the marquee player," the patent reads. "A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player."

An Activision representative told Glixel (which first unearthed the patent) that the filing was merely an "exploratory" effort from a disconnected R&D team and that such a system "has not been implemented in-game" yet. But the patent itself shows a decent amount of thought being put into various ways to maximize the chances of players purchasing in-game items based on their online gameplay partners.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Samuel Axon

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Samsung's annual developer conference at Moscone West in San Francisco doesn't always get a lot of public attention; in past years, it has often focused on things like Tizen app development. But at this year's conference, the company focused on launching a new platform for connected devices in the home, the car, and elsewhere—or, at least, a collection of previously existent platforms that are getting updated and combined into a new one.

That new platform is called SmartThings Cloud, and it unites existing Samsung IoT services like SmartThings, Samsung Connect, ARTIK, and Harman Ignite. Frankly, Samsung's offerings have been a confusing mess of different platforms and services with overlapping functionality and purposes. SmartThings Cloud is mostly a rebranding, which could mean little, but developers may be hopeful that it also means an actual restructuring of resources and products to unify what Samsung is doing across all of these.

Within that umbrella, you have a couple new products that are more interesting than just a rebranding. Consumers and developers alike are already familiar with Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant answer to Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It replaced S Voice, a lackluster offering on previous phones, when it launched this year. Unfortunately, Ars found Bixby to be frustrating and unfinished. It's telling, then, that Samsung has already moved on to announce Bixby 2.0 at the conference just a few months after the initial launch.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Peter Bright

Enlarge (credit: Adobe)

At its Adobe MAX conference, Adobe announced a big shake-up for its Lightroom photo processing application. The current Lightroom CC is being renamed to Lightroom Classic CC, and a new product with an old name, Lightroom CC, will take its place.

The new Lightroom CC offers most of the photo processing features of Lightroom Classic but with some key differences. The interface is simpler, and it's shared between both the desktop versions (for Mac and PC), the mobile versions for Android and iOS, the Apple TV version, and Lightroom CC for the Web. It offers both a common look and feel and common capabilities across the range of platforms.

That cross-platform consistency ties in strongly with its other, likely contentious feature: it uploads all your photos to cloud storage. A $9.99-a-month Lightroom CC subscription—just as is already the case with Classic, the software is only offered on a subscription basis—comes with 1TB of cloud storage, with additional space available in 1, 5, and 10TB increments.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Linkdump 19-10-2017

19 October 2017 10:00
gominokouhai: (Default)
[personal profile] gominokouhai
[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Peter Bright

HP

Imagine that you're a digital artist. You like the idea behind Microsoft's Surface Pro—a good touchscreen with pen support, tablet form factor for convenience, but adaptable into something like a laptop for when you've gotta write an e-mail—but you want something with a bit more potency. Perhaps you need to do 3D modeling, perhaps your Photoshop files are a bit too big and complex, perhaps you use Chrome so the Surface Pro's 16GB of RAM is too limiting.

Boy, does HP have the answer for you. The ZBook x2 joins HP's line of Surface Pro-like hybrid tablets, but as the Z in the name will indicate (at least, to those who are overly familiar with HP's product naming terminology), this is positioned as a workstation-class machine, sitting alongside HP's other PC workstations.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Google has booted eight Android apps from its Play marketplace, even though the apps have been downloaded as many as 2.6 million times. The industry giant took action after researchers found that the apps add devices to a botnet and can perform denial-of-service attacks or other malicious actions.

The stated purpose of the apps is to provide a skin that can modify the look of characters in the popular Minecraft: Pocket Edition game. Under the hood, the apps contain highly camouflaged malware known as Android.Sockbot, which connects infected devices to developer-controlled servers. This is according to a blog post published Wednesday by researchers from Symantec. The malware mostly targets users in the US, but it also has a presence in Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and Germany.

When the researchers ran an infected app in their laboratory, they found it establishing a persistent connection based on the Socket Secure (SOCKS) protocol to a server that delivers ads. The SOCKS proxy mechanism then directs the infected device to an ad server and causes it to request certain ads be displayed.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Rich Smith

Theresa May has given her word to the UK's EU migrants that the process to say in the UK after Brexit will be easy and cheap, promising this won't be like all those other assurances that she's given in the last couple of years.
[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Cathleen O'Grady

Enlarge (credit: Kelly Sue DeConnick / Flickr)

Theoretical biologist Philipp Mitteröcker is intrigued by the puzzle of dangerous human childbirth. Unlike other species, human babies are often too big for the birth canal, leading to dangerous—and possibly fatal—obstructed labor. Last year, Mitteröcker and his colleagues published a mathematical model that showed how the mixture of evolutionary pressures acting on humans would inevitably lead to an ongoing risk of obstructed labor in our species.

The model also suggested that C-sections are changing the rules of the game by increasing the likelihood that large babies and their mothers survive childbirth and pass on genes that promote this head/pelvis mismatch. The model predicted that we'd see an increasing risk of obstructed labor (and need for C-sections) over generations—but there was no real-world evidence of that happening.

Now, in a new paper, Mitteröcker and colleagues have published empirical evidence that this is indeed the case: women who were born by C-section seem to have a higher risk of needing a C-section themselves. And the real-world increase in risk is similar to what their model predicts.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] newsarse_feed

Posted by Arabin Patson

Without a hint of regret, the members of Google's Deep Mind AI project have cheerfully announced that their newest creation has taught itself how to master Go, a zero-sum game where the objective is to wipe your opponent off the map.
[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by John Timmer

Enlarge (credit: DeepMind)

While artificial intelligence software has made huge strides recently, in many cases, it has only been automating things that humans already do well. If you want an AI to identify the Higgs boson in a spray of particles, for example, you have to train it on collisions that humans have already identified as containing a Higgs. If you want it to identify pictures of cats, you have to train it on a database of photos in which the cats have already been identified.

(If you want AI to name a paint color, well, we haven't quite figured that one out.)

But there are some situations where an AI can train itself: rules-based systems in which the computer can evaluate its own actions and determine if they were good ones. (Things like poker are good examples.) Now, a Google-owned AI developer has taken this approach to the game Go, in which AIs only recently became capable of consistently beating humans. Impressively, with only three days of playing against itself with no prior knowledge of the game, the new AI was able to trounce both humans and its AI-based predecessors.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] complicity_blog_feed

Posted by Zoe O'Connell

Last night, I gave a talk at Pembroke College as part of Cambridge Hub’s Michaelmas Series. The topic was censorship.

This morning, I woke up and saw that the headline story in The Times is Jo Johnson, the Secretary of State for Education, wanting to “guarantee free speech” at universities.

It is worth noting there is already a law that ensures freedom of speech at universities, but it would seem that Johnson wants even more extreme guarantees. The existing law is not invoked or referenced when we have one of the regular fusses about high-profile figures having their right to free speech violated. That is because they are not being censored.

Despite existing free-speech laws, there is already quite a bit of censorship at our Universities, and it comes from two sources. Neither form is good, and neither should be extended. Paradoxically, increasing the latter of these two forms of censorship is precisely what Johnson’s proposals will do.

The first is the PREVENT duty. That duty is supposed to target all extremism that leads to terrorism. Controversially, it usually ends up targeting Islamic and other non-white forms of extremism. In a university context, it is used to question room bookings and the nature of invited speakers. I doubt Islamic societies at universities will be welcoming Johnson’s statement today. It is unlikely the duty will be relaxed in support of “free speech”.

The other source is the de-facto censorship of students and student protest against influential media figures.

Wikipedia says censorship is “the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information”. I have mentioned PREVENT, and there’s no doubt that duty involves censorship even if there is disagreement over the desirability of PREVENT overall. China censoring WeChat is an example of that most in the West would regard as negative, and we have also seen cases within LGBT+ communities of censorship gone wrong with unintended consequences.

There is a common theme in those cases. Positive or negative and deliberate or accidental, it is those with power doing the suppression.

What is not censorship is selling only eight tickets to an event and having the venue cancel, as happened to Kate Smurthwaite. Smirthwaite seems to believe “free speech” means she can demand people listen and that venues give her a free platform. Consequently, she used her media contacts and influence to spin a story about how students were suppressing her free speech. The publication of her ideas was undoubtedly not restricted as a result. Quite to the contrary, the resulting media fuss and claims to martyrdom at the altar of free speech gave her an even more prominent platform.

Peter Tatchell was not censored when a student learnt he was due to speak at the same event as her and pulled out. She did not want to share a platform with someone she believed is racist and transphobic. Her withdrawal was not public, but Tatchell’s outrage at being unable to demand the energy of someone less powerful was. He used every possible media outlet he could muster to denigrate her.

A particular shout out needs to go to Julie Bindel at this point, who has repeatedly claimed to be censored herself but has just resorted to issuing legal threats against Brooke Magnanti, a.k.a. Belle De Jour. It is not surprising that Bindel’s claims have not received any media coverage condemning her attempts at silencing. There is a common theme running through these claims of censorship against media figures. Allegations are always targeted at those with less power.

There is a chilling effect hidden within these false claims of censorship, however. Those whom the allegations target become figures of derision in the press with no way of responding. They do not have their voices heard. I was at the event held in parallel to Greer’s Cambridge Union slot, and I know several of the students involved felt traumatised by resulting coverage. They are less likely to now engage in activism.

Media outrage is increasingly invoked to shut down legitimate free speech rights such as protest and running petitions. It happens merely because high-profile disagree with protests or feel threatened.

Ratcheting up that rhetoric will only increase the pressure on students to conform. Contrary to what Johnson believes it will not broaden the minds of young people. Instead, it will teach them that the powerful will not tolerate criticism.

The post Student speech to be censored at UK universities appeared first on Complicity.

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Mark Walton

Ultimate Ears, maker of fine portable Bluetooth speakers and custom-fit headphones, has hopped on the digital assistant bandwagon with the new Blast and Megablast Bluetooth speakers. Now with built-in Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa, the Blast and Megablast have the full suite of Alexa services, including voice control for the likes of Spotify and Amazon music, as well as for smart home tech like Philips Hue bulbs and Logitech Harmony remotes.

The Blast costs £200 and the Megablast £270. Both are up for pre-order today, with launch due in "late October."

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

On Wednesday, Amazon sent out another installment of payments relating to its “Apple eBooks Antitrust Settlement”—except this time, it was to settle related lawsuits brought by a group of state-level attorneys general.

In 2014, Amazon paid out based on settlements with book publishers—including Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster—which allegedly conspired with Apple to fix e-book prices in 2012.

As Ars reported previously, the case began way back in 2012, when Apple and five publishers (Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan) were sued by the Department of Justice and 33 states’ attorney general offices for conspiring to offer e-books at a higher price than Amazon’s loss-leading $9.99. The publishers all eventually settled for a total of $166 million to states and consumers, but Apple held out and eventually lost a judgement in Manhattan district court.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

[syndicated profile] ars_technica_uk_feed

Posted by Beth Mole

Enlarge (credit: Getty | JOHANNES EISELE )

Naturopaths and other gurus of “alternative medicine” love to tout the benefits of traditional herbal medicines. For instance, Aviva Romm—a Yale-educated doctor who publicly defended Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop then later called it a “caricature of everything alternative health for women”—sells her own line of unproven herbal remedies. Billionaire Susan Samueli—who donated $200 million dollars alongside her husband so the University of California, Irvine, could open an “integrative” medicine program—promotes homeopathy, naturopathy, and runs an active consulting practice versed in Chinese herbs.

Herbal remedies are often seen as harmless, soothing treatments that tap into the ancient wisdom of traditional healing. While that may be the case for some, there are also those that cause cancer—and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to tell one from the other.

According to a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, traditional components of herbal remedies used throughout Asia are widely implicated in liver cancers there. In Taiwan, for instance, 78 percent of 98 liver tumors sampled displayed a pattern of mutations consistent with exposure to herbs containing aristolochic acids (AAs). These are carcinogenic components found in a variety of centuries-old herbal remedies said to treat everything from snakebites to gout, asthma, and pain.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

I'm tilting at windmills today!

19 October 2017 01:26
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Emailed three different news sites asking when the hell they intend to start moderating their comments. Seriously, a free-for-all where everybody shouts as loud as they can is not conducive to free speech.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
But it's pricey! The total cost was going to be near $2000, with a six-day-a-week commitment.

Then I realized I can just pay for the labs, which is the only part I really want anyway, and that's a third the price and a one-day-a-week commitment.

She said she'll consider it.

It's not necessary for her to take a Regents in August (fully nine months earlier than any of her peers...), I'd just like her to.

Also, finally figured out what cake I'll bake tomorrow for her birthday. How does rosewater and ginger sound? If I ever find my rosewater, I mean. It's because I read this article, but anyway, it's a good idea. I've been rocking the rosewater lassi lately that I get at the supermarket.

**************


The Microbes That Supercharge Termite Guts

For ornery shelter cats, 2nd chance is a job chasing mice

What Star Wars taught scientists about sperm

Inside The Weird Texas Tradition of Enormous Homecoming Corsages

Book's challenge: Can you do squats like Justice Ginsburg?

Why a New Zealand Library’s Books Kept Vanishing, Then Reappearing (Happy ending!)

How Domestication Ruined Dogs' Pack Instincts

Star Wars themes, but with the major and minor reversed. (This is like the Mirror version of the music, I guess? I can just picture evil Tom Paris on classic movie night in the Holodeck, rubbing his beard as he watches this version of the trilogy, the one in which the mighty emperor defeats the puny rebellion.)

Hero dog: 'Animal guardian' saves 8 pet goats, orphaned deer from wine country fires

Filling the early universe with knots can explain why the world is three-dimensional

Baba Yaga on the Ganges

Why Parents Make Flawed Choices About Their Kids' Schooling (My experience tells me it's close to impossible to explain to people that a school that starts with high-performing kids and ends with high-performing kids is not doing as much as a school that starts with low-performing kids and ends with kids that are in or approaching the middle. They just don't understand, or want to understand. Also, Stuy is overrated.)

Judge orders government to allow detained teen immigrant's abortion (Only read this second link if you want to be stunned and horrified by the world's most ridiculous anti-abortion argument ever.)

Understanding the coevolving web of life as a network

Fish Depression Is Not a Joke (Sad ending. Journalist should've rescued Fish Bruce Lee.)

After victory in Raqqa over IS, Kurds face tricky peace

Despite potential trade sanctions, Kurds continue with exports

China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

Lawsuit: Bighorn sheep threatened by domestic sheep grazing

As anti-drug push's toll grows in the Philippines, so does church's pushback

The true cost of a plate of food: $1 in New York, $320 in South Sudan (Sorta - the prices are adjusted in a weird way to account for different spending power)

Leaked ICE Guide Offers Unprecedented View of Agency’s Asset Forfeiture Tactics

Why Are Prosecutors Putting Innocent Witnesses in Jail?

The Crazy Flood of Tech Revelations in the Russia Investigation

The Russian Troll Farm That Weaponized Facebook Had American Boots on the Ground

No, US Didn’t ‘Stand By’ Indonesian Genocide—It Actively Participated

The Trump Administration Is Letting Americans Die in Puerto Rico, Nurses Say

Trump’s Dangerous Spin on Puerto Rico’s Suffering

Hurricanes Make the Need to Dismantle Colonial Economics in the Caribbean Increasingly Urgent

The Danger of President Pence

A Gun to His Head as a Child. In Prison as an Adult.

Chilling Photos of the Hundreds of Thousands of Rohingya Fleeing Burma

A massive, violent star blooms

5 October 2017 18:16
[syndicated profile] badastronomy_feed

Posted by Phil Plait

Even before I was a professional astronomer, I had a fascination with over-the-top astronomical objects. Black holes, supernovae, colliding galaxies… the bigger the bang, the better.

And that’s why I love Wolf-Rayet stars.

These are monsters, from a dozen to several dozen times the mass of the Sun. The mass of the star is the key factor in how luminous it is; the amount of energy a normal star emits increases faster than the cube of the mass. That’s a steep relation. A normal star with ten times the Sun’s mass is 5,000 times brighter than the Sun, and one with 20 times the mass can be 50,000 times as energetic!

But that’s for normal stars. Wolf-Rayet stars (or WR stars for short) are massive, but they’re also evolved. That means that they’ve run out of hydrogen in their cores, and they’re now fusing helium into carbon, or carbon into oxygen. This produces a prodigious amount of energy, far more than normal stars do. WR stars can put out hundreds of thousands or even millions of times the energy the Sun does.

WR 124 is one such star, about 11,000 light years from Earth. I’m rather glad it’s that far away, because it blows out well over 100,000 times the energy the Sun does; if you swapped out the Sun for WR 124, our entire planet would be burned to a crisp.

Like many WR stars, WR 124 is surrounded by a huge nebula called M1-67, a gas cloud roughly 6 light years across. That’s 60 trillion kilometers, a vast distance. Despite that, the fierce light from WR 124 blasts through the gas, energizing it, and causing it to glow (literally) like a neon sign.

The huge nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR124. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA / Judy Schmidt

The huge nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR124. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA / Judy Schmidt

It looks like a flower, doesn’t it? That gas used to be a part of the star! Its outer layers, actually, which got blown off in a wind, like a super-solar wind, when WR 124 ran out of hydrogen fuel in its core, having converted it all into helium (and energy). The core contracted, got very hot, and the outer layers responded by absorbing some of that energy and blowing off the star. The actual process is pretty complicated, but it’s likely this wind blew for some thousands of years. Then a faster but less-dense wind of particles got blown off the star, which caught up with and slammed into the previous wind.

This collision can cause all kinds of wonderful and fantastic shapes to be constructed in the gas. In the case of the nebula M1-67, it created all those little bow waves and streamers and knots you can see throughout the cloud. Measurements of the nebula expansion show that the bulk of it (from the initial wind) is moving at about 40 kilometers per second — that’s fast enough to cross the continental U.S. in two minutes. Given its size, that means the nebula is probably something like 20,000 years old.

Mind you, some of the clumps you see in it are being slammed by the faster wind, and are moving at well over 100 km/sec. This is causing turbulence and chaos inside the nebula. That much is obvious from the image.

It’s funny; I remember when Hubble first observed this nebula back in 1998. The image they released was pretty cool, for the time. But looking at it with modern eyes, it’s not quite as spectacular:

The original release image of M1-67. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The original release image of M1-67. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Again, mind you, when this was released it was a big deal. Hubble had only been up eight years, and for four of those it was taking fuzzy images due to the mirror being the wrong shape. Astronauts went up and swapped out cameras, replacing them with ones designed to counter the out-of-focus mirror, and the images we got back were hugely improved. This was one of them.

What I find funny is that the image I presented first is actually the same data. The difference is that now we have software and techniques that are way better at processing the data, cleaning it up, and presenting it in an appealing way. The first one above was done by Judy Schmidt, who is a whiz at taking Hubble images and turning them into masterpieces of art and beauty. (Note: The missing part of the image in the 1998 version is due to the layout of the detectors in that Hubble camera; data existed in that part of the image, but it’s not displayed. In her version, Schmidt filled in that space using that data to literally present a more complete picture.)

This is of some interest to me. There are a lot of Hubble images — a lot of space images from many different observatories and space probes — that are free and just sitting in archives. What treasures are out there, even ones we’ve seen before, but without the benefit of modern processing techniques? What spectacular observations of spectacular objects are still waiting for someone to present them to the world?

We’re at an amazing point in astronomical history when there are more people with more access to more data than ever before. I certainly hope — I know — that we will be seeing ever more images like M1-67, and our understanding and appreciation of the Universe will grow from them.

0

Logo Format

Light Logo

Listicle Format

No Markers

Featured Post

Standard

Article Type

News

Is News

Breaking News

Normal

Standout Article

News Keywords

Bad Astronomy, massive stars, Nebula, Hubble Space Telescope, Wolf-Rayet, WR 124, M1-67
Image icon hst_mr167_judyschmidt_hero.jpg

Hide Comments

Listicle

Video Hero Autoplay

Show the Media Gallery title

Show on Hero

Hero Image
Hero Caption: 
The huge nebula M1-67 around the Wolf-Rayet star WR124. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA / Judy Schmidt

(no subject)

18 October 2017 19:40
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
I didn't deliberately read up on seventeenth-century English history history in preparation for A Skinful of Shadows; it was just a fortunate coincidence that I'd just finished Aphra Behn: A Secret Life right beforehand (thanks to [personal profile] saramily, who came into possession of the book and shoved it into my hands.)

The thing about the English Civil War and everything that surrounds it is that it's remarkably difficult to pick a team, from the modern perspective. On the one side, you've got Puritans and repressive morality and NO PLAYS OR GOOD TIMES FOR ANYONE, but also democracy and egalitarianism and a rejection of the divine right of kings and the aristocracy! On the other side, you've got GLORY IN THE DIVINELY ORDAINED KING AND THE PERFECTION OF THE ESTABLISHED SOCIAL ORDER, but also people can have a good time every once in a while and make sex jokes if they feel like it.

Anyway, one fact that seems pretty certain about Aphra Behn is that she grew up during the Interregnum and wrote during the Restoration, and was very much on Team Divine Kings Are Great. Would Puritans let a woman write saucy plays for the stage? NO SIRREE, NOT AT ALL, three cheers for the monarchy and the dissolute aristocracy!

There aren't all that many facts that are certain about Aphra Behn, especially her early years -- the first several chapters of this book involve a lot of posed hypotheticals about who she might have been, how she might have got her start, and who might have recruited her into the spying business. It does seem fairly certain she was a spy: code name Astrea, Agent 160. (Me, to [personal profile] aamcnamara, after seeing Or last month: "I don't know that I buy all that Agent 160 business, there's no way that was something they did in the 1660s!" I apologize for doubting you, Liz Duffy Adams.)

Admittedly she was the kind of spy who spent most of her spy mission stuck in a hotel in Antwerp writing irritated letters back to King Charles' intelligence bureaucracy, explaining that she would happily continue with her spying mission and do all the things they wished her to do if only they would send her enough money to PAY HER DANG HOTEL BILL. (They did not.)

Besides her unpaid expense reports, most of what is known about Aphra Behn comes from her context and her publications, and the things she wrote in them -- only some of which can absolutely definitively be traced to her at all; several of her short stories and novellas are disputed, including one of the ones I found most interesting, "Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister." This early three-volume novel is extremely thinly-veiled RPF about a wildly trashy historical trial involving King Charles' illegitimate son, his best friend, the best friend's wife, and the best friend's sister-in-law. All of these people then went on to be involved in a major rebellion, which the second and third volume of "Love-Letters" cheerfully fictionalizes basically as it was happening, in the real world.

One of the first English novels ever written by a woman [if it was indeed written by Aphra Behn], and arguably the first novel written EVER, and it's basically one of Chuck Tingle's political satires. This is kind of amazing to me.

OK, but back to things we think we're fairly sure we do know about Aphra Behn! She wrote a lot about herself talking, and about men judging her for how much she talked; she wrote a lot of things that were extremely homoerotic; she also wrote a lot about impotence; she was often short on money; she cheerfully stole other people's plots, then got mad when people accused her of stealing other people's plots; she rarely wrote anything that was traditionally romantic, and most of her work seems to have an extremely wicked bite to it. She did not read Latin, which did not stop her from contributing to volumes of translations of things from Latin. She was almost certainly not a member of the nobility, but she believed in divine right, and divine order, and divine King Charles, even though it seems likely from her writing that she did not believe personally in religion, or God, and the King probably never did pay her bills. An extremely interesting and contradictory person, living in an interesting and contradictory time.

And now I think I need to go find a good biography of Nell Gwyn - she's barely relevant to this biography (Aphra Behn dedicated a play to her, but there's no other information available about their relationship) and yet Janet Todd cannot resist throwing in a couple of her favorite historical Nell Gwyn one-liners and they're all SO GOOD.

Profile

missdiane: (Default)
missdiane

October 2017

S M T W T F S
123 4567
8 9101112 1314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Most Popular Tags

Page Summary

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 19 October 2017 10:40
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios