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My D&D character 

This is Laetitia Ralliade, my DnD character. She's a human fighter (champion)/ranger.
Drawn by our amazing DM Zein Okko, who unfortunately isn't on the Fedi, but you can find his Twitter profile here:

Check him out, play his games Code 7 and Typoman, and watch the amazing stream/podcast Sword and Quill I'm now a part of!

Stream (tabletops on Sundays, at 4 PM CET):

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Game recommendation: Code 7 

This is my favorite game, so my profile would absolutely not be complete without a mention of it. It is a shame there aren't that many video games striving for this level of accessibility -- but at least we have great exceptions like this one!
In Code 7you play as a hacker trying to save humanity from complete annihilation. Gather information, hack everything, guide your partners through dangerous situations and earn their trust. Beware the AI that REDACTED
It is a text adventure, but with voice-acted dialog and pretty good music. It has autocomplete, subtitles and a mode for blind players.
If you like story-driven games with complex characters and plenty of twists, this might be the right game for you! Episode 0 is free, so how about you find out? :)
Steam (the only option with achievements, unfortunately: (DRM free):
Humble Bundle (if you want both):

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Why I delete old toots 

Nothing I post is so unprecedented that people will still find it useful several years later. There are enough wonderful toots posted every day that there's no reason to backread through my entire profile instead, except perhaps for doxxing purposes.
So, since I like keeping things tidy, I use Forget to delete every post of mine older than 4 months, except for the few that I've decided to keep. If you'd like to do something similar yourself, you can learn more here:

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3 cool projects I think you should contribute to 

Are you annoyed by the bad quality of current speech recognition software, and would like to help developers make something better? Perhaps you can, by contributing your voice and your ears to Common Voice. Hopefully, with the help of their datasets, we'll one day have a live captions solution that doesn't suck.

Even if you aren't a scientist, you can still help out with research. For example, would you like to search for black holes, identify wildlife, or save endangered animals? Then you'll love Zooniverse!

Would you like to improve the world without actually doing anything? That's impossi ... oh right, BOINC exists! With it, you can donate unused computing power to science projects that investigate diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, etc.

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This is the day when my account will be deleted (after sending a request, they give you some time to change your mind).
It's a really fun game, and I'm happy for those that enjoy it! However, despite it mostly being a ZGP, I spent far too much time checking it, waiting to send that encourage, activate that bold artifact, get the right combo of items for bingo, etc. This is of course entirely my fault -- nobody's holding me at gunpoint to play this -- but still, if I'm so easily distracted by games like this, perhaps it's best I don't play them.

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@Defectivetrxgedy generally any image is impenetrable to screen readers.

Always put a good description in the alt text (writing a good description is an art too!) And you will help screen reader users, those on slow connections, etc.

There do exist some solutions to OCR text from images, but they are variable in quality, availability, and accuracy.

Avoid putting any text in an image, put real text and use CSS if it needs style.
You will help many users this way.

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please caption your images so that i may boost them thanks

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What’s Mastodons help page called? 

The Tootorial

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> If we do care about privacy as a collective value, then it cannot be an
individual burden. Right now, privacy is essentially a luxury good. If you can
afford not to use coupons, you don’t have to let retailers track your shopping
habits with loyalty points. If you’re technically savvy, you don’t have to let
Gmail see all your emails. Not only does that make access to privacy incredibly
inequitable, it also affects our collective understanding of what is a “normal”
amount [...]

It's been some time since my book poll ended, but I am actually obeying it! Just as the Fedizens ordered, I have started my journey; specifically, with the novel Mort.
I wish I could say I did careful research as to which order these things ought to be read in. But I did not. Instead, I just opened the first result my favored search engine gave me, found a list of the novels by theme, and figured Death must surely be a charming fellow. :ms_grinning:
I'm only a couple pages in, admittedly, but I'm not disappointed so far! :ms_smile:

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"Can you help me with my speech? I feel I have too many clichés in it."
"Let's see... Okay, yeah, here for instance: "I don't take no for an answer". Replace that with just "I take." instead."
"Are you sure? That sounds like something a robber or rapist would say."
#TypoCorrected #MicroFiction #TootFic #SmallStories

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#UK #petition: Make #nonbinary a legally recognised gender identity in the UK

"Have non binary be included as an option under the GRP (Gender Recognition Panel)/ GRC (Gender Recognition Certificate)"


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I noticed Zxyaat's fronds glowing green, a sign they were fascinated.
"What's up?"
"You were humming a song."
"Sorry, I do that when I think."
"I like it."
"Well, I'm not very good."
"Good? You humans sing, dance, make art and music when you are. You don't need to be good to be."
#MicroFiction #TootFic #SmallStories

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socialism, USSR, long (from drafts) 

It seems that some people tend to idealize USSR based on some memes (e.g. that "anti homelessness architecture" meme where under capitalism you have spikes on all flat surfaces and under socialism you have that beautiful modern social housing).

Well, I was born in USSR, I spent most of my life in ex-USSR, I heard enough stories from my family and from the families of my peers, I saw how we lived and how these peers lived, I can tell something about post-war and post-Stalin USSR.

So, homelessness.
USSR fought homelessness e.g. by making homelessness a felony, punishable by five years of labor camps. USSR fought perceived homelessness on 1980 Olympic Games by forcibly deporting all the homeless people from Moscow and dumping them on the streets of smaller towns.
USSR did not build any housing for homeless people, contrary to what these pictures would make you to believe. And the first shelter for homeless people in USSR was created by a NGO in 1990, when it became legal to set up NGOs. (The very same NGO in 1991 successfully lobbied for democratic Russia to remove that soviet-era provision and decriminalise homelessness.)

By 1990, the average floor area per USSR urban resident was less than half of what it was in Germany (BRD).
By that time, 10-20% of USSR urban residents still lived in so-called "communal apartments" (meaning one large flat with a single shared kitchen and a single shared bathroom, with every room, typically 15-25qm, occupied by a family with children; so e.g. 20 people from 5 families all living in a single 120qm apartment).
By that time, a noticeable share of people (including my wife's family) still lived in dormitories. Meaning you have a floor full of the similar 15-20qm rooms each occupied by a family (family of four in her case), with a communal kitchen, communal shower and communal toilet on the floor.
By that time, it was not unusual that three generations would live in a single 40qm flat with a single bedroom: the grandparents in their 50s, their children in their 20s with their spouses, and _their_ toddlers.

Guess it is enough to say that USSR single-handedly destroyed the entire sea (,_economy,_and_public_health ), and it was not an isolated incident. Oh, and USSR also became the world's largest oil producer by 70s, and one of the largest oil exporters.

USSR fucked up its agriculture so much that its productivity of land was at times a whole order of magnitude lower than the productivity of similar land of its capitalistic neighbors.
As a result, USSR was the world's largest grain importer, spending most of the revenue it got from selling oil to capitalistic countries on purchasing grain from the same capitalistic countries, just so that there would be no _famine_. (One could only wonder what would happen if there were no capitalistic countries to purchase grain from?)
Or fresh fruits. Apples were mostly available (although not everywhere and not always). Oranges, lemons, mandarines - quite rarely (depending on the city). Bananas - extremely rarely, a couple of times per year (not every year), and you had to stand a huge queue for them.
Or any fresh produce. It was of extremely low quality. Even the basic potatoes were usually almost rotten.

Non-food goods.
Toilet paper was in a huge deficit for the most of the time since its appearance (it was in 70s AFAIK), there were huge (literally, like kilometer-long) queues every time it happened to be in stock in some store. People had to use newspaper clippings instead.
But sanitary pads, tampons, or diapers were just unheard of (unless you belonged to a party elite). Women had to literally use rags for their and their children's hygienic needs. Economy planners just didn't think ordinary women would need anything like that. Especially considering that economy planners were elite themselves, and had special access to all the imported goods.

Indigenous people.
The whole indigenous populations were interred during Stalin's reign, their land plots and homes confiscated: e.g.
It was only during perestroika, right before USSR fall, that USSR finally admitted it might have made a bad decision back then, and allowed Crimean Tatars to return to Crimea. Of course they did not get their land or their homes back, and there were no reparations.

Oh, and Stalin's USSR, in addition to being built on prison labor, has also literally murdered a bunch of people from my extended family, just for their faith or ethnicity. During perestroika KGB admitted it was a mistake; there were no apologies though.

I'm not saying what we have now is not awful (it is). But USSR was just as awful.
All these problems are not inherent to the current system, they were just as present under the regime which called itself socialistic, and which a lot of people seem to take as an almost-perfect social order.

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USSR idealization rant, long (cities, greenery) 

"Look, Moscow is the greenest city on the planet, it's 50% green! That's because USSR built high-density housing so that there is more green spaces for its residents!"

Except that USSR did not build high-density housing in order for there to be more green spaces.
USSR built cheap housing, and high-density is cheap.
USSR built 5-story buildings when these were the cheapest.
Once it became cheaper to build 9-story buildings (I think it was 60-70s), USSR started to build 9-story buildings.
Once it became cheaper to build 12 or 16-story buildings (I think it was 80s), USSR started to building these, no matter what.

A small town in a middle of nowhere with a projected population of 2 thousand people?
Let's build five 5-story prefab buildings there, with one 40qm apartment per family, and put everybody into these buildings.
And USSR fans will later say it was so that there will be more green spaces.

Also whatever street greenery is there is predominantly female populus (almost all street greenery in USSR was female populus), and trust me, you do _not_ want to be there for that month while it is blooming, even if you're not allergic.

Not to mention that "the greenest city on the planet" is a lie, 50% seems to come from some official statistics which is a lie and is not in any way related to reality, I lived in Moscow and near Moscow for 15 years, it's not in any way 50% green.
I've been in quite a lot of cities of Western Europe, and they all were much greener than Moscow.
The greenest city I've ever been in? Hong Kong, which is like 90% covered by forests, not mentioning all the urban parks.

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USSR idealization rant, long 

Oh, and I forgot to say that all these arguments have nothing to do with socialism.
Germany has free education.
Germany has (almost) universal healthcare which is by any measure much better than whatever USSR had.
Nurnberg is surrounded by forests and its urban parks are much better than whatever there was in Moscow ten years ago, and whatever is now in other large cities in Russia.

But I don't see people saying "look how Germany is great, let's further improve that!"
Instead I see "look how USSR was great and now Russia is bad, that's because socialism rocks and capitalism sucks, and there is capitalism in Germany and therefore Germany sucks!" (Despite the poorest 10% in Germany having quality of life higher than the average resident of USSR)

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trans, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, a deep dive 

Many of you will be familiar with the term Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, popularised in 2018 by a paper by Dr Lisa Littman, and subsequently seized upon by trans haters and opportunists of various stripes as grounds for invalidating minors' assertions of being trans.

It's less well known that her paper exclusively considered the *parents'* reporting; there was no investigation into the timeline as experienced by the minors themselves,

Here, Zinnia Jones goes into a three part examination of the paper's methodology, its flaws, and papers that *do* ask the trans youth for their timeline - and offers another which /also/ asked their caregivers for /their/ impressiond of when they felt the points of self-recognition and coming out were.

Would you like to guess if the two viewpoints matched?

Bonus coda: the company ROGD has since enjoyed, and the variously bizarre assertions it's been used to uphold, including the famous (non-existent) decline of the cis lesbian, and assigning Elliot Page as another ROGD victim.

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I can't recommend Aaron Reed's (free to read) "50 Years of Text Games" newsletter enough.

As an example, here's his write-up regarding "A Mind Forever Voyaging", a remarkable 1985 Infocom game that used interactive fiction to project the devastating societal effects of right-wing policies:

Many of Aaron's write-ups include in-game excerpts, source code quotations, & other meticulously collected details from many sources.

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A corollary of children being their own people and not extensions of you is that sometimes you're not going to like them or love spending time with them, and that's okay. Sometimes kids are just annoying as fuck and you need time off or to set some boundaries, which is perfectly normal!

That doesn't mean you're allowed to be shitty to kids, of course. It does mean parenting isn't all sunshine and roses and you should make whatever arrangements you can to rest and spend time away from them to avoid burnout, from respite care to, like, YouTube.

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COVID-19, vax study, menstruators needed 

Heyo! If you are a person who menstruates and you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, there is a STUDY OPEN NOW to track the side effects associated with menstruation, and how the vaccine affects periods! You can participate here:

It is NICE AND GENDER-AGNOSTIC, all of the language seems to be inclusive, so!

Spread the word if you are comfortable doing so! :)

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Why am I just finding this out now?? This makes me so happy. There's going to be no more gender marker on my next ID card!

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necromantic book recommendation 

Another recommendation, in case you still did not read it for some reason.
It's about badass lesbian necromancers in space. You can find it by entering "lesbian necromancers in space" into a search engine of your choice.

Its first paragraph is: "IN THE MYRIADIC YEAR OF OUR LORD—the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death!—Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth."

Its second: "She didn’t run. Gideon never ran unless she had to. In the absolute darkness before dawn she brushed her teeth without concern and splashed her face with water, and even went so far as to sweep the dust off the floor of her cell. She shook out her big black church robe and hung it from the hook. Having done this every day for over a decade, she no longer needed light to do it by. This late in the equinox no light would make it here for months, in any case; you could tell the season by how hard the heating vents were creaking. She dressed herself from head to toe in polymer and synthetic weave. She combed her hair. Then Gideon whistled through her teeth as she unlocked her security cuff, and arranged it and its stolen key considerately on her pillow, like a chocolate in a fancy hotel."

Its middle paragraph:
“Nonagesimus,” she said slowly, “the only job I’d do for you would be if you wanted someone to hold the sword as you fell on it. The only job I’d do for you would be if you wanted your ass kicked so hard, the Locked Tomb opened and a parade came out to sing, ‘Lo! A destructed ass.’ The only job I’d do would be if you wanted me to spot you while you backflipped off the top tier into Drearburh.” “That’s three jobs,” said Harrowhark.”

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