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Can you believe that I've been online since the ARPAnet and yet, in 2017, do not know the nuts and bolts of domain-name management? Perhaps you, dear reader, will point me toward the clues, and I promise not to be offended that you're quietly snickering there.

The recent LJ upheaval is far from the first signal that really, if you care about durable links, you need to own your own domain, but it's the one that's finally gotten through to me. Instead of relying on Livejournal or Dreamwidth or Medium or whomever else to provide a durable path to my stuff, I ought to control that, so if a service goes belly-up, the old, public URLs still work (with content migrated elsewhere).

What (I think) I would like (please tell me if this is flawed): some domain -- I'll use cellio.org as my example, though that one is taken so I'll need another -- where www.cellio.org points to my ISP-provided web content (which I can easily edit), blog.cellio.org points to my DW journal, medium.cellio.org points to my Medium page, and I can set up other redirects like that as needed. So I can't do anything about links that are already out there, but I can give out better URLs for future stuff (stop the bleeding, in other words). Bonus points if the durable URL stays in the URL bar instead of being rewritten (unlike pobox.com redirects), but that might be hard.

I do not want to run my own web server.

Now I already pay pobox.com for, among things, URL redirection, but it's to a single destination. And it's not at the domain level -- www.pobox.com/~cellio redirects to my ISP-provided web space. It'd be ok, though a little kludgy, if I could manufacture URLs like www.pobox.com/~cellio/blog that do what I described above, but unless there's something I can drop into my own web space, without requiring access to my ISP's web server, I don't think I can do that. Also, this leaves me dependent on pobox.com; owning my own domain sounds like a better idea. pobox.com has been solidly reliable for 20+ years, but what about the next 20?

I understand that I need to (a) buy a domain and (b) host it somewhere, and if I were running my own server then (b) would apparently be straightforward, but I don't know how to do that in this world of distributed stuff and redirects. Also, I'm not really clear on how to do (a) correctly (reliably, at reasonable cost, etc).

So, err, is this a reasonable thing to want to do and, if so, what should I do to make it happen?

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/2017/02/19/domains.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

Me: What do we need, that is available from Amazon, that costs $4.02?
Dani: Is this what's known as a first-world problem?
Me: Not the most egregious I've seen, but yeah.

Free shipping: modifying buyer behavior since...whenever they started that. But it works because of their enormous catalogue; you can find something to fill out an order. (For personal orders this is pretty much never a problem, but I was buying house stuff and thus using shared money.)

(This post is a minimal test of Dreamwidth's Markdown support. Let's see what happens.)

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1997794.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
We have already discussed restrictions near a property line, if what you do on your property can cause damage to your neighbor's property. On today's daf, the mishna says that carrion, graves, and tanyards (tanneries) must be kept 50 cubits from a town (on account of the smell), and a tanyard must be placed only on the east side of the town. Rabbi Akiva, however, says it may be placed on any side except the west, provided it is kept 50 cubits away.

The g'mara then discusses R' Akiva's restriction. When he makes an exception for the west, is he saying that you can build closer there (the 50-cubit restriction applies only to the other directions), or is he saying you can't build there at all? The latter: R' Akiva says that the west is a "constant abode". Well, that just raises more questions -- a constant abode for what?

Shall we say it is the constant abode of winds? No, because there are four winds. No, it's the constant abode of the Shekhina (the divine presence), as it says in Nechemiah 9:6: "and the host of heaven worships You" -- meaning that the sun and the moon in the east bow down to the Shekhina in the west. R' Aha bar Yaakov objects, saying that this means when the sun and moon are setting, i.e. are in the west, so they bow to the Shekhina in the east. R' Oshaya objects to both of them, saying the Shekhina is everywhere, and R' Sheshet agrees with him. R' Abbahu then argues that the Shekhina is in the west because 'Uryah, a word meaning "evening", is equivalent to avir Yah, meaning "air of God". (25a)

Not addressed here: what about the next town to the east? Fine, I place a tannery to the west of my town to avoid putting it in my west, but haven't I then put it in theirs (if there's a town there)? And is it really unlimited distance, or is it more "out of sight (smell), out of mind"?

Also, the sun and moon might bow toward the west (according to some), but when we pray we humans bow toward Jerusalem because that is the "divine seat", so to speak. For me, that's eastward (and south some).

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1997529.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

A few days ago I wrote about the first session of a class applying talmudic reasoning to modern legal cases. The first class covered cases of unintended benefit: somebody, in the process of committing a crime, accidentally causes benefit to the victim -- does he deserve leniency? I noted that the class gives CLE credits and wondered in passing how that worked; why would the American Bar Association care about Jewish law, interesting as it is?

I've now had a chance to read an essay that was an appendix to the class materials, and that essay did a good job of drawing connections. I also learned a new term from it, "moral luck", which I gather is a term of art in some circles. (I'm not sure why "moral" exactly.) Example: a driver recklessly races down the road and hits a pedestrian. Another driver, equally reckless and speedy, almost hits a pedestrian but the pedestrian manages to jump out of the way. In both cases the drivers had the same intent and behavior; it's only that the second one got lucky and didn't hit anybody. But even though the drivers were the same, one will be punished much more severely than the other; the one who didn't hit anybody benefited from "moral luck".

We saw this in the case of the fisherman who saves a child from drowning. The sages in the talmud disagree about whether he is nonetheless liable for violating Shabbat (he didn't even know about the child so had no intent to save him); later the halacha is determined as I described in the previous post.

The essay then contrasts this with how US criminal courts operate. Courts deal in crimes, the author notes, and not primarily in outcomes (caveats to follow). It notes that in criminal law the interested party is the state; criminal law doesn't much care about victims per se. Because a criminal case is prosecuted on behalf of the whole community (bundled up into the state), a positive outcome for the victim isn't very important. Laws are about establishing the rules of society, in which smashing car windows to steal laptops from inside just isn't ok. (Smashing a car window because you saw the dog that was going to die from heatstroke is different, and not addressed.)

However, the essay goes on to note, prosecutors have discretion in whether to bring charges and which charges to bring. Further, there is wiggle room come sentencing time (assuming a conviction), and victim impact statements are often allowed.

While it appears that intent is secondary to action -- we prosecute for what people do, not what people want to do, and that's how the one reckless driver evades penalties -- the concept of punishing intention isn't absent from American law. We have laws about "hate crimes", which is purely a matter of judging intent. (I have, I think, written in the past about how I think these well-intentioned laws are nonetheless flawed. Thought-crime laws give me pause, and laws that seem to value different victims of the same crimes differently seem pretty iffy to me. But they're a thing, and they're a thing that's probably not going to go away.)

That's all about criminal law. The essay then turns to torts, which are between people (not the state) and involve the payment of damages. It uses the legal principle of "reasonable foreseeability" to argue that the thieves get no leniency for saving the dog because they didn't reasonably know about the dog, but then contrasts this analysis with the "eggshell skull" case, in which if you accidentally gravely injured/killed someone because of his unusual medical state (which you could not foresee) when you only meant to hurt him a little, you're held liable nonetheless. It appears that under American law you can't benefit but can be liable if consequences are not foreseeable.

The essay, written for the class and with many citations, is by Menachem Sandman, an attorney from New Haven, CT.

It's possible, perhaps probable, that the lawyers taking this class for CLE credits knew all that already, but a lot of it was new to this non-lawyer and I'm glad to have the additional context. It looks like each lesson has an accompanying essay of this sort -- cool!

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1997136.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
I've taken a few classes put on by the Jewish Learning Institute (they teach concurrently in many locations worldwide) and am currently taking this one. The title is "The Dilemma", and they describe it as: modern dilemmas, talmudic debates, your solutions. Each class looks at a group of real incidents around some theme, after which we discuss what principles ought to apply before delving into relevant texts (talmud and later commentaries). It's a pretty neat class, though I keep identifying aspects of the problems that aren't the core point of the lesson and thus get set aside.

In the first class, the theme was cases where someone in the process of committing a crime does unexpected good -- should he be treated more leniently because of that? The cases were:

1. A terrorist attacks someone, stabbing him in the gut but not killing him. The victim is rushed to the ER, where doctors find a cancerous tumor that would have killed him within the year.

2. On a hot day, thieves smash a car window to steal the laptop sitting on the front seat, allowing a dog inside to escape the heat that would have killed him.

3. Civil law prohibits possession of alcohol, but someone nonetheless keeps a private stash. A disapproving neighbor smashes his kegs. Later that day, the civil authorities conduct a surprise inspection but find nothing with which to charge the person.

I noted that the three cases had different types of unintended benefits -- saving a human life, saving an animal's life, and saving money (the fine that wasn't paid). (On the transgression side, one is against a human life and the other two are against property. We were mostly focused on the benefit side, not this side.) I also noted that there were three types of culpability on the part of the victim -- the guy with the alcohol was knowingly violating local laws, the guy with the laptop recklessly endangered the dog, and the terror victim was an innocent bystander. I thought that both of these axes of variation would be relevant to the discussion, but that's not where the class went.

We then talked about some other cases, most significantly a passage from the talmud about a man who goes fishing on Shabbat and inadvertently catches in his net a child that had fallen into the water, thus saving the child from drowning. Fishing is not allowed on Shabbat, but saving a life takes priority over Shabbat laws. Does saving the child bring him any leniency for violating Shabbat? If he knew about the child there would be no question; pikuach nefesh trumps Shabbat. But in the case of an accident? The talmud rules that it's pikuach nefesh, saving a life, even if you didn't intend it, and so the fisherman is not guilty of violating Shabbat.

(Rabbi: "What do we learn from this?" Me: "If you're going to fish on Shabbat, have a child on hand to throw in." Rabbi: "..." What? It reminded me of always mount a scratch monkey. But I digress.)

From there we talked about applications, and learned that if the act itself causes the positive outcome then there is leniency -- for example, breaking the window to steal the laptop and freeing the dog -- but if the benefit comes only later, it doesn't. So the knife-wielding attacker doesn't get any leniency for the cancer discovery, and the person who destroyed his neighbor's alcohol stash owes him damages.

There was more, and also some material in the book that we didn't get to and that I haven't read yet. I don't claim to have learned all the answers, but it was an engaging class.

The second class was about taking the law into your own hands -- for example, you know that that guy right there is the one who just stole your iPhone and he's about to hop into a cab, so can you physically intervene? More on that later, I hope. (I had to miss the end of this class so I'm waiting for the recording, plus there are materials I need to read yet.)

This class gives CLE credits, which kind of mystifies me, so a lot of the students are lawyers. Apparently I fit in with them, dress aside. I'm not sure how talmudic studies help one be better at practicing Pennsylvania law, but if I were a lawyer I'd be tickled to be able to satisfy a professional requirement through torah study.

I was discussing this class in Mi Yodeya's chat room and somebody mentioned the book Veha'arev Na, which collects things like this -- real, modern question with Jewish-law interpretation. That sounds like something I would quite enjoy.

Followup post

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1996860.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
The talmud now turns to things that, while done on your property, can encroach on your neighbors and so are further restricted. The mishna lists several things that must be set back at least three handbreadths from your neighbor's wall, including ditches, olive refuse, dung, salt, lime, and flint-stones, unless he plasters them. (In the case of the ditch it means plastering the sides so it can't erode and undermine the wall; it's not clear to me how plastering would apply to the others.) The g'mara then asks: it says his wall; does this mean that if there is no wall he can place these right up against the property line? No, they still have to be set back, but the mishna mentions a wall because these are all things that can damage a wall if in contact. The mishna also lists mill-stones; here the reason in the g'mara is that the vibration from milling can cause damage (and there is no plastering contingency). Ovens, too, because of the heat. The g'mara then adds that one may not open a bakery or a dyer's shop under another's storehouse, nor place a cowshed there, though if the cowshed was there first he may keep it. (17a mishna, 18a g'mara)

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1996707.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

Hey, Dreamwidth folks... I've syndicated Universe Factory, the blog of the Worldbuilding Stack Exchange community, here on DW. We started the blog late in 2015; you can see a complete list of posts, including some from me.

Some specific links:

- Fight Earnestly and Hit Them in the Gaps, two articles from a HEMA (Historic European Martial Arts) student.

- Articles on generating rivers, using cellular automata to generate terrain (yes, like in Game of Life), and using distortion fields to generate continents. I believe the author of this series is our first contributor who found us via Medium instead of via Stack Exchange.

- An article on calculating political power.

- Building a Truly Alien Alien.

- When Am I? Navigation for Time Travelers

That's all in the last two months. Among older articles, you might enjoy:

- Building the World of Pangaea, an interview I did with Michael Burstein ([personal profile] mabfan) about the worldbuilding behind a shared-world anthology he was part of (edited by Michael Jan Friedman). That reminds me: wasn't book 2 supposed to be out around now?

- Nature's Oven, a short story.

- Worldbuilding As You Go: A Case Study, which is about how I approached writing The Sisters' War (Chapter 1, summary of the story so far).

- What if the world was (completely) round?

- My Revelation for RPGs series (link is to the index).

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1996317.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
The g'mara spends a couple pages discussing tzedakah and charity. On today's daf we get the following story: it is said of King Monobaz (a foreign king in the first century CE who embraced Judaism) that he distributed all the hoards of wealth he accumulated, and also the hoards he inherited, in years of scarcity. His brothers and other members of the household objected, saying "your fathers saved money and added to the treasury, and you are squandering it". He answered: my fathers stored up below and I am storing up above. My fathers stored in a place that can be tampered with, and I store in a place that cannot be tampered with. My fathers stored something that produces no fruits, while I have stored something that does produce fruits (reward in the world to come). My fathers gathered treasures of money, but I gather treasures of souls. My fathers gathered for this world, and I gather for the world to come. (He brings proof-texts for each of these statements.) (11a)

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1996223.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

Cool! I made the Stack Exchange Year in Review. :-)

If you enjoy analyzing data about the Stack Exchange network, 2016 was your year. Community member Monica Cellio wrote a tutorial about our data explorer, which is maintained by another community member, Tim Stone. A resident data scientist, David Robinson, released StackLite, a lightweight version of community data. To see it in action, consider scripting language trends on Stack Overflow. In December, we connected our data to Google's BigQuery. People are already finding interesting results. Our data team has been posting analysis on the blog, if you crave more.
(There are other links in that paragraph that I didn't recreate in this post. You'll need to go to their blog post to get those.)

The link in the quote is to the blog post where they announced the tutorial (in June):

Have you ever wanted to get a statistic about your favorite Stack Exchange site, but been baffled by exactly how to do that? The Stack Exchange Data Explorer (SEDE) may be just what you're looking for. SEDE was created to make it easy to query and browse the public data that we release periodically for all Stack Exchange sites, but a lack of familiarity with SQL has been a barrier to many of you who would otherwise benefit from it. Now, thanks to friend of the company and moderator extraordinare Monica Cellio, you have a tutorial to guide you in using it!

[...] But even though SEDE is nicer to work with than a raw data dump, it can still be pretty intimidating to new users, especially those who aren't trained database engineers. Up until now, the Data Explorer's own help docs have been a little thin, and mostly covered very specialized, advanced features. We've wanted to expand the guidance there for a while, but never quite got around to it. Then Monica rewarded our procrastination by helpfully volunteering to take on the writing.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1995955.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
We now begin the last of the "Bavas", a trio of tractates related to torts and property claims. (I've been told that they were originally one very large tractate.)

Bava Batra begins by talking about fences. If joint owners of a courtyard (that is, the owners of the houses bordering it) agree to build a wall, they should make it down the middle and each should contribute half of the building materials. If in the future the wall falls, it is assumed that the place it occupied and the stones/bricks belong to both equally. In a place where fences are not customary, like in a cornfield, one who wants to build a fence cannot compel the other to share in the effort. If they don't agree, the one who wants the fence must build it set back from the property line, making a facing on the other side. If the wall later falls, we assume that it will all still be on his property and it will be clear that the land and the materials belong to him. (2a)

Today's daf is 4, and it's in the middle of the g'mara discussing this mishna.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1995750.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

We previously (2 days ago) learned in the mishna: if a man lends money to his fellow he may take a pledge (collateral), but only through the court and there are restrictions. If the debtor possessed two articles, the lender may take one and must leave one. He must return the pillow by night and the plough by day. However, if the debtor dies, he does not need to return the pledge to his heirs. The g'mara further expounds that the debtor retains his basic standard of living; a rich man must be allowed to keep the comforts he's used to.

Now on today's daf we learn: a man may not take a pledge from a widow at all, whether she is rich or poor. That is the mishna, but R' Shimon says in the g'mara that he can take a pledge from a rich widow but not a poor one. This is because you must return the poor person's pledge each night (for a garment). That's ok in the case of a male debtor, but if a man shows up at a widow's house every night to return her pledge, that looks bad in front of the neighbors, who won't know it's to return a pledge and just see a man visiting every night. Therefore we just don't allow taking the pledge in the first place for a poor widow, but a rich widow wouldn't need to have the pledge returned each night so that's ok. (113a, 115a)

The g'mara here does not consider changing circumstances. I speculate that R' Shimon would require the man to return the pledge (and then not retake it) if the rich widow had a change of circumstances.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1995377.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

Last week I went to the first session of Kulam Pittsburgh (warning: website design has, um, issues). "Kulam" means "all of us", and the goal is beit-midrash style learning for Jews of all flavors. I've experienced this style learning at Hebrew College, at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and select other places, but it hasn't been very available to me locally. The Kollel does this style of learning, but as a woman and as somebody who's not really part of the Orthodox community here, I have trouble navigating it. (Most classes are for men only, and many of the ones that are for women are on topics that aren't especially engaging for me. I'm not faulting them; I am not their target.)

What do I mean by beit-midrash-style learning? I'm talking about text-based study, with a significant part of it being deep dives in chevruta (partnered learning). It's a style where you look at text, what that text implies, how that squares with other text and what it implies... with the goal of coming out with a deeper understanding of whatever question sent you down that path in the first place. This kind of study relies on conversations, on back-and-forth, and on an inclination toward certain analytical styles. I'm not describing this very well, I don't think. Maybe you have to experience it.

The Kulam program is being led by Rabbi Will Friedman from the Pardes Institute. On first encounter I really like him; he's accessible, knowledgable, good at guiding a conversation, and seems like somebody who really cares about helping people learn. He's from the Boston area and flew down here for this; he'll do that monthly, and between those sessions there'll be other ones with a more local focus (he'll join by video call). The sessions stand alone, though each of those "local" ones is related to the previous one that he led in person.

The topic of last week's was: "Interpersonal Responsibility in a Global Age". Rabbi Friedman gave an introduction, including explaining the basic idea of chevruta study for those unfamiliar with it, and then had us pair up and dive into texts for about an hour. We were given a packet of materials -- a text, some questions to discuss, and then the next text and its questions, about a dozen in all. The first few texts came from torah, then talmud, then later commentaries. After the chevruta study Rabbi Friedman led a discussion that he used to draw out the key points he wanted us to take away. I found this last part very useful, as he picked up on some themes we talked about and drew out some things I hadn't figured out on my own. (Maybe I'll write more about the specific content some other time.)

But there's one big challenge of this sort of community-wide learning, and I don't know how we address it. Rabbi Friedman introduced chevruta study by quoting the passage in Mishelei (Proverbs) that iron sharpens iron, and said it's essential to study torah with somebody else and not alone so we can challenge and be challenged and, thus, be sharpened. I agree; well-matched chevruta study is really effective. This kind of study is traditionally done in Orthodox yeshivot where all of the participants have a common educational background. Some are more learned than others of course, and some are more skilled than others, and some specialize in particular topics, but everybody there has a good grounding and you can build on that.

Iron sharpens iron. But it dents bronze and splinters wood. Meanwhile, wood can ding bronze some and doesn't do much to iron. None of this is the fault of the wood or the bronze or the iron. But you really do want to try to match people somewhat. In a group where people don't know each other, don't have a shared context, and are encouraged to not just pair up with the people they came with, how do you do that? A good match makes for a great experience at any level; a poor match leaves both people frustrated, as one feels overwhelmed and the other feels hindered. And if the bulk of the session is the chevruta study, that can be frustrating. I want neither to frustrate nor to be frustrated by the luck of the draw.

I'm currently planning to go to all of the sessions where Rabbi Friedman will be here in person -- I really like him so far. But I'm not sure about the others (which will have an even higher proportion of chevruta study because it's hard to facilitate a discussion via Skype). I don't know if I should just recruit a well-matched chevruta to go with (BYOCh?), or if there's some way to -- without causing anybody to feel awkward -- do better match-making.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1994818.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
A Glassdoor review of a former employer includes these two bits:
Pro: You can get lost in the masses with over 90,000 employees. Great for under-achievers.

Con: Lots of dead wood.

C'mon, pick a side. :-) Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1994519.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
If somebody wishes to sell his field, the talmud applies a law of preemption, giving his neighbors the right of first refusal. This is because it is easier to maintain adjacent fields, so there is more benefit to a neighbor getting a double field than there is to having two separately-owned fields. The g'mara on today's daf discusses several cases in which preemption does not apply, including the following:

If a stranger wishes to purchase the land to build houses, and the abutting neighbor wants the land for sowing, habitation is more important and there is no preemption. If a rocky ridge or a plantation of young palm trees lies between the fields, we consider: if the abutting neighbor can enter the field even with a single furrow, i.e. there is some place along the boundary where they connect and he could plow through, then the neighbor can preempt the sale, but if not, not. And if a field has four neighbors and one forestalls the others, it is valid, but if they all come together to buy, the field is divided along the diagonals (so everybody gets a wedge). (108b)

There is a diagram on the page of the division into four.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1994439.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

Dear Brain Trust,

The (local, paper) newspaper that I subscribed to recently shut down its print operation. I basically subscribed for three things: local news, grocery coupons (paid for the subscription easily), and the comics page. I'm looking for an online replacement for the comics page.

I've been using comics.com, which has many of the comics I want to follow. (Nobody's going to have all, I know.) Their interface is kind of clunky, though; you see the comics one at a time and have to keep clicking "next". I'd prefer to see all comics for a single date on a single page, like in the newspaper. But I was, nonetheless, forging ahead with that -- and then today they redesigned their site and nothing works any more. I've reported the problems, but that's also a prod to find something better. It can be kind of a race: will they fix their site before I find something better?

Is there something better? My Google-fu seems to be having problems today. Here are some things I am not looking for:

  • web comics
  • subscriptions to individual strips via email or RSS
  • something I have to host myself
I want to go to some web site, sign in, click on something akin to "my comics", and get a page with today's strips (with a "previous" link to get to yesterday's, and so on). Any pointers?

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1994106.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.

A lot of us now have OpenID accounts at Dreamwidth, which means we can log in to Dreamwidth using a Livejournal credential. This allows a Dreamwidth user to give a Livejournal user access to locked posts. These IDs are of the form "name.livejournal.com". For example, here is mine.

A lot of us also have native Dreamwidth accounts, which we log into with our Dreamwidth passwords and use to post entries. For example, here is mine.

These are not the same account.

That means that if you've granted access to "somebody.livejournal.com" (OpenID), but haven't granted access to "somebody" (Dreamwidth account), then "somebody" while logged in on Dreamwidth won't see your locked posts. Similarly, if you've subscribed to "somebody.livejournal.com", that doesn't mean you're going to see "somebody"'s posts in your feed. So if you want to read and grant access to your migrating LJ friends on Dreamwidth, you need to match up the accounts.

Currently, 32 people have granted access to "cellio.livejournal.com". Most of them have not granted access to "cellio", which means I won't see those posts. Maybe that's intentional (hey, intentions change; I'm not offended), but maybe it's unintentional.

I have two requests of my LJ friends:

1. If we're not connected there, and assuming you want to be, please add my Dreamwidth account to whatever lists you think appropriate. When I see email about new subscriptions/access, I check to make sure I've done the same. (If I've somehow missed you, please let me know. If I subscribed to you on LJ I want to do so on DW too.)

2. If you are not planning to use your LJ account to read posts on Dreamwidth, because you have a native account and will be reading that way, please let me know so I can remove your LJ account from my access lists. This isn't about not trusting you; this is about being able to manage my filters more easily -- if you're not using it anyway, I'd rather not be carrying it. Plus, you know, closing unnecessary security gaps.

Yeah, migration is a hassle. We'll get it sorted out.


Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1993770.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here.
The talmudic discussion has turned to renting property. A mishna on today's daf says: if one rents a house to his neighbor in winter, he cannot evict him from Sukkot to Pesach, while in summer he cannot evict him for 30 days (meaning he must give 30 days' notice). In large cities, the notice period is 12 months regardless of season. The g'mara asks why the season matters, and first answers that when one rents for the winter it's for the whole winter. But this is disputed (we do that in the summer too), and then it answers that houses aren't available for renting in the middle of winter (so he'd have no place to go). But then why should cities be different? Finally, the g'mara concludes that if ones rents his house for an unspecified period, then he can't evict in winter, but if the lease was for a year, he can evict at the end of the year. Further, just as the landlord must give notice that he will not renew the lease, so must the tenant or owes damages because the landlord didn't have the opportunity to find a replacement.

There is an exception for hardship; if the landlord's own house collapses, he can say to the renter "you are no better than I" and evict him so he can move in. But if he needed it to give to his son upon marriage, we consider whether he could have given notice. If he knew he would need it in advance and didn't give notice, he can't evict, but if the need was unforeseen, he can evict. (101b)

All of this is about houses, by the way. Commercial real estate is different.

Originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1993671.html. comment count unavailable comments there. Reply there (preferred) or here. You can use OpenID to sign in on Dreamwidth.

If you've ever commented in a journal (like mine) that's ever been imported to Dreamwidth, then Dreamwidth has a stub pseudo-account with your name on it, with a name of the form username.livejournal.com. This is, I presume, so that if you use your LiveJournal OpenID to log in to Dreamwidth, you'll be able to see protected entries and suchlike. If you have, or later create, a real Dreamwidth account, one from which you can post entries, you might want to reduce the clutter by merging the stub account into the real one. You can do that.
For those reading this on LJ, yes I want to make that link at the bottom better, including modifying it to show how many comments are already present on DW. Figuring out the regular expression requires more caffeine. Or maybe somebody who's already done it will share. Anyway, this is a work in progress. This entry was originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1993227.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
The mishna teaches: if a man borrows a cow and borrows or hires its owner with it (i.e. the owner provides his service), or if he first hires the owner and then borrows the cow, and the cow dies, he is not responsible. This is in the torah (Ex 22:14). But if he first borrows the cow and only after borrows or hires the owner, and the cow dies, he is liable, as it is written "the owner being not with [him], he shall surely make good" (22:13). So "with him" doesn't seem, according to the talmud, to just mean "with him when it happened", but also "with him in the hiring". There's a lot of discussion in the g'mara about when exactly the owner has to be present for it to count as being "with him". The g'mara concludes that, to avoid liability, you need to acquire the services of the owner no later than at the same time you acquire those of the cow -- even if it's in the same conversation, if you borrow the cow first and then engage the owner's services, it's too late. (There is also discussion of the different kinds of bailees, who have different levels of liability.) (94b-95)

This entry was originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1992978.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

I'm posting this from Dreamwidth, with hopes that it will also show up on LJ. Let's find out.

One of the things you can't import to Dreamwidth is memories. It seems I have rather a few of them. A lot of them are to organize my own content (in ways that are orthogonal to tagging). It'd be really spiffy if there were some way to take my LJ memories, find the corresponding entries on DW at least in my own journal, and create those memories on the DW side. Any ideas on how to do that?

As a baseline, I guess I can save each page of memories as HTML and edit them together into one page for local access. Or stick it on the web somewhere, or something. That at least preserves the information, though with LJ links.

Oh hey, tagging is different here on DW -- no auto-completions or drop-down list to choose from. Hmm.

This entry was originally posted at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/1992897.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I have seen credible reports that the LiveJournal servers have been moved to Moscow, where they are now subject to Russian rather than US law. This does not give me warm fuzzy feelings for LJ's already-shaky future.

I've had an account on Dreamwidth, a site very similar to LJ (they forked the LJ code way back when) for as long as they've existed. I think highly of them, but for "social" reasons I haven't used it for posting, only reading, until now. I'm going to be changing that. My intention is to make DW my primary journal and mirror posts to LJ for as long as I have LJ-based readers.

The first step of this transition is to migrate my existing content. Some of it's there already (I tried this in 2012), but I need to refresh it. Migration involves giving the DW migrator tool my LJ username and password so it can fetch all my entries rather than just the public ones. I would prefer a client I can run locally that I use to log in to both sites, but it doesn't exist. I am told that the DW tool uses challenge/response authentication, which sends a combined MD5 hash of the password (does not send in the clear). Nonetheless, in theory the DW migration code could use that credential to see locked posts to which I have access from some of you, so: if you are concerned about that possibility, you should unfriend me here at LJ at least temporarily. I am not concerned about this possibility for myself as other people migrate, for what that's worth, but I am not you. I intend to file the migration request tonight, but in the past, migrations prompted by LJ issues have had long wait times and I'm late to this party, so it might not start for hours or days after I submit it.

I'm sorry for the short notice. I really should have figured out the "import, then DW primary and mirrored to LJ" thing a while back, as some of you have, but I haven't. I didn't want to split my community, with some interactions coming via LJ and others via DW, and I've casually observed that comment volume goes down when people have to click through to another site. I don't yet know if I'll direct comments only to DW because of that; I do value the interactions here. We'll see. DW now has good OpenID support, meaning you can log in there to post comments using your LJ credentials, so maybe that'll work out. Or of course you could create an account there (and let me know who you are so I can add you to access lists for my infrequent non-public posts).

You can find me on DW at http://cellio.dreamwidth.org/.
Our kitchen came with a wall oven, rather than a range (oven + cooktop together). And it's too small and some things don't work right, but every conversation that started with "we should replace that" ended with talk of remodeling the kitchen.

But we found a way to put in a bigger oven with minimal disruption of cabinetry. In fact, I might have gained more space than I lost, because it turns out there was nothing behind an expanse of wood below the oven. (I just assumed there were oven parts that descended way past the door. I'd never had a wall oven before.) So we now have a nice new wall oven, nominal 30" instead of actual 24", and it has space for more than two cookie sheets. Not that I bake cookies often, but it's a useful measure of space. The racks in my new oven can hold two cookie sheets each. More practically, this means I can cook a large meal (like for a gaming day, or a Pesach seder) without having to decide what can be held on a hot plate and what doesn't really need to be hot after all. And there's a new shelf where that wasted space used to be.

Also, convection is new. That seems useful.

Inspired by our glorious new oven, on Friday, Consumer Reports buying guide in hand, we bought a new dishwasher to replace the falling-apart, not-so-great-at-washing one we have now. We replaced the 1960s-era fridge that came with the house about a decade ago, and the washer and dryer about a year ago, so in a week the only remaining appliance that predates our ownership will be the stove. Which actually works fine, surprisingly, so we're not rushing to replace that.

The talmud has been discussing feeding workers, which led to a discussion of Avraham's visit from the three men (Gen 18). It is written there that Avraham said "I will fetch a morsel of bread" -- and then he ran to the herd to choose an animal to prepare a feast with. R' Eleazar says: this teaches that the righteous promise little and perform much, while the wicked promise much and perform not even a little. How do we know the second part, about the wicked? We learn this from Efron (Gen 23). First he said "the land is worth 400 shekels", and then Avraham weighed out "400 shekels of silver, current money with the merchants", meaning that Efron refused to accept anything less than centenaria, an official currency, which is a stronger demand. (87a)

And that's on top of the fact that Efron's land was overpriced to begin with. Someone in the minyan pointed out thatR' Eleazar does not here address the fact that Efron led with offering the land as a gift, though I've seen other commentaries say that that was never sincere and would have created indebtedness had Avraham accepted.

The mishna says: if a man hires a team (cow + plow + handlers) to plow on the mountain and he instead plows on the plain, and the coulter breaks, he is not liable. However, if he hired to plow on the plain and he plows on the mountain, he is liable for damage because those are harder conditions. The g'mara then asks: in the first case, where he is not liable, who is? There are two workers, one to drive the cow and one to guide the coulter, and the law is that the one who guides the coulter (which broke) is liable. But, the g'mara continues, if the place is known to abound in stony clods, both are responsible. (80a)

The g'mara doesn't consider the option that the owner, who I suspect is not one of the workers, just has to accept it as a cost of doing business. The worker, not the owner, is apparently responsible for inspecting the tools before starting the job. (The reason I suspect the owner isn't one of the workers is that in some other places where a borrower would otherwise be liable for something, if the owner is present he isn't -- the owner had a chance to object, take precautions, or whatever, so if he didn't he bears the liability.)

No supermoon here; the Pittsburgh sky is a giant snow-cloud. I'll just have to wait to see others' pictures.

While today's snow is not the first snow of the season, it was the first snow on a weekday during commuting hours. The roads were fine; other drivers were the usual beginning-of-season challenge. Ah, winter.