Riba Rambles:
Musings of a Mental Magpie

About the author: Elisabeth in early 2007, photo by Todd Belf
Elisabeth "Lis" Riba is an infovore with an MLS. This is her place to share whatever's on her mind, on topics both personal and political. [more]
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Where no man has gone before
Posted by Lis Riba at 8:36 PM

You know, I am really sick and tired of science fiction stories set in the far-off future which still portray childbirth as a sweaty woman screaming in pain.

In all this time, at the very least somebody will have invented better analgesics which won't risk the newborn.

This is a universe which has transporter technology, for frink's sake! Given it's ability to lock onto individual lifeforms, the applications seem obvious once a fetus is viable.

It's sloppy worldbuilding, and feels like the guys in charge couldn't be bothered to expend the slightest effort in extrapolating about girly stuff.

[I seem to recall a similar point made regarding the attitudes towards artificial uteri in David Weber's Honorverse as compared with Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga.]

Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Fees? Fie!
Posted by Lis Riba at 8:45 PM

A few weeks ago, NPR brought a credit-card expert in for some Q&A.

And I learned something new, worth knowing by anybody planning a trip to Canada:

Credit card companies have almost universally charged 3 percent on transactions that were made outside the United States in another currency.

They've recently changed their policy so that any transaction made in another country -- even if it's made in dollars -- also incurs that same charge.

Capital One is actually the only major credit card company that doesn't have a surcharge, and most of the credit unions only charge a 1 percent fee.

More on this from Consumerist.

The user from Nantucket?
Posted by Lis Riba at 7:35 AM

Given all the talk of writing requirements in the form of user stories, I started wondering about other narrative forms.

How about limericks, or haiku, or even zen koans?

So I tried writing a few of my requirements as limericks.

Not sure I can share them, since they are about ongoing projects, but they worked disturbingly well, and the rhyme makes them more memorable than prose.

Maybe I can write this technique up and get it published for next April 1st...

Monday, May 11, 2009
Twist and Shout
Posted by Lis Riba at 7:15 PM

This morning, I successfully put my hair up into a French twist, and it stayed up the entire workday.

For me, that's a major triumph.

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