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Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Panic

Says what it does, does what it says.

Not my best, a little wonky, but I'm branching back out.

Linkee-poo saw its reflection in the snow-covered hills till the landslide brought it down

So, I'm wondering when someone in the news media and economics reporting will suddenly realize that with the shortened shopping season this year and the cold snap in the NE draining people's bank accounts to pay for heat, that this Xmas shopping season is going to be dreadful (compared to earlier estimates of it being better because gas prices are lower). Yea, probably won't hear about that except for a little quibble on Black Friday and then nearer to Xmas.

Tobias Buckell is running a kickstarter for a anthology of Xenowealth stories.

One of us, one of us, one of us. What Ursula K. Le Guin did at the National Book Awards.

"Scientists have confirmed the presence of organic compounds—the building blocks of life—in the atmosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Wall Street Jouranl (sic) reports. The exact composition of the molecules is still being determined." Pan-spermia just got a big boost.

Lewis Black on the extension of Black Friday through all of November. "So let me get this straight. You can't make a store open on Thanksgiving, it's just a poor helpless corporation. But people? Punch in and shut the fuck up. You can see your family in January." Yup, pretty much. I wonder which channel from the many video clips they show of different media outlets actually has those positions? That's rhetorical.

"US Attorney General Eric Holder recently said it was 'worrisome' that tech companies were adding default encryption to consumer electronics. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently pushed back at a WSJ conference, saying 'Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it. It’s not for me to do that.'" Or, as stated earlier in the article, they should get a warrant. This is an article on some of the negotiating tactics being used by the government to remove what protections you have from their over reach. In this case, "children are going to die because iOS 8 has strong encryption." It's a stupid argument, even when it was, "Then the terrorists win."

Again, for all the chest beating and shouting "were going to change government" you'll notice that no one is talking about restoring your rights that were taken away by the Patriot Act. Including the attempt to roll back the NSA from scooping up all our phone records which stalled in the Senate because (wait for it) the GOP filibustered it. Yea, which party is the party of freedom again? I keep forgetting.

And speaking of secrecy, a government that executes criminals in secret is tyranny. While this Ohio bill would just remove all mention of what drugs are used (or whatever is used to end the inmate's life), where they're purchased, what quantities, but also shield the public from knowing if and who any medical personnel are used in the execution, this is still a dangerous precedent. Why not just have everyone involved wear black hoods.

And then there's this. "In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in 'advisory activities' that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest." While making sure that someone sitting on a jury has no prior experience with a case might be a good idea, excluding experts from government testimony when it's on the subject of their research… that's just plain stupidity, gross incompetence, or knowing the world doesn't play by your ideology. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Remember all that talk of "second amendment solutions"? It's back. Sen. Coburn says that if Pres. Obama goes forward with executive action (similar to Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush), there could be violence in the streets.

Elizabeth Warren comes out swinging. "'The Republicans… they say if those at the top have… more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else… Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.'" To which I'm sure the conservatives will respond with Gov. Brownback saying, "but it's just about to start working." Let's see. Heard that in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Linkee-poo gets a little smile when the pain comes

Jim Hines with some links on people speaking about writer gate.

Seventeen things former bullied kids do a little differently. I think they're a little too hopeful and haven't studied abusive behavior before. Yes to these things if you've actually come to grips with having been bullied and worked through a few hells to get to the point they think everyone is at. Unfortunately many bullied people have learned that attention comes from being a target. And many people become codependent on the bullies (which turn into seeking abusers for relationships when they're adults). (Grokked from Steven Gould)

A mechanical computer that does Fourier analysis. I think my brain just broke. (Grokked from Dan)

Want to own a house? Move to Ohio. Yea, that'll fix it. I live in one of those small blue dots, but I think they really meant to just highlight Youngstown/Warren. While I'm not house poor, it has affected our budget greatly, and we were fortunate to have a rich relative that could help. It's also a very small house. And have I mentioned how we get fewer sunny days than Seattle? (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"But I have to mention that parallel because I understand part of where Day is coming from here. She’s a gamer who loves gaming. I’m not a gamer, but I know what it’s like to see a movement you love and identify with get hijacked by hateful, amorphously aggrieved people intent on twisting the entire thing into an expression of their hate and indignation." Fred Clark on Felicia Day's speech about GamerGate and how similar feeling apply to his own course through life. Also, it's a great summation of the many reasons why I'm no longer a Republican.

"Of course, this does not mean that the press has a Republican bias, any more than it had an inherent Democratic bias in 2012 when Akin, Angle, and Mourdock led the coverage. What it suggests is how deeply the eagerness to pick a narrative and stick with it, and to resist stories that contradict the narrative, is embedded in the culture of campaign journalism." Ever notice how when there's one airline disaster or major problem, all of a sudden you hear about a lot of other problems happening all at the same time? Or, as it was noted on Making Light a few years back, whenever there is one major bus crash, all of a sudden you keep hearing about bus crashes, like they occur in groups. It's all about the narrative. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Jairo Gomez is 17 years old and lives in a tiny apartment in New York City with eight other family members. He has grown up in poverty, like one-third of all kids in the city. With WNYC's program Radio Rookies, Gomez tells the story of how poverty has held him back, and how he's trying to overcome it."

And a chart on why the poor can afford "nice things" that many affluent people like to point to as an example about how these poor aren't as poor as the poor were when they were growing up. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Those states that went with Obamacare and expanded Medicaid/Medicare as proposed under the act look to see a 2% decrease in cost growth in Medicaid spending. Strange how that works. It's almost like Obamacare was designed to reign in healthcare spending by the state. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"'If you were president and Congress would pass whatever you wanted, what would you do about the 5 million, the 12 million who are in this country illegally now?' (Mark) Halperin asked (Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS))." Look, ISIS, Ebola! Yea, nobody in the GOP can answer that question (or the "what would you replace Obamacare with") is because they don't actually have a solution. It's all about the "NO!" Forget actual governance. Eventually we get the "'We’re willing to sit down and negotiate and compromise, but we’re not going to grant amnesty,'" answer. This is the "we'll negotiate and compromise, as long as you do it our way" stance.

"'The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values.'" I'm sure it's more about ethics in political journalism. Or something. Here I will note that the Tea Party has moved far beyond what many people thought they had joined and has been co-opted by the social conservative movement. I wonder if some of libertarian aquantances still consider themselves part of the Tea Party (when they all vehemently denied any racial motivation, but were always unable to answer my questions of why they weren't fighting the dismantling and evasion of the Constitution under the previous administration - actually many were very much in the "Pro-Bush" camp during those 8 years). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Linkee-poo is sitting in a sea of tranquility

Day thing has cut off access to twitter, so that'll affect some of the links here. Just so you know.

Wait, that wasn't in Bullet. Using a modified Mustang, precision driver Ken Block does his thing around LA. (Grokked from John)

Elizabeth Bear with a handy play at home harassment bingo card.

Because it's not about sexism. I'm sure the Uber executive meant that they should investigate all reports that were basing on Uber, regardless of that reporters sex. Yea, I'm sure he meant that.

NPR helps develop a pricing index for healthcare in California and finds similar results to what they saw in Massachusetts. And again, I'll give the same warning as before. Since they were looking at mammograms, there is a big difference between mamm x-ray machines, and there's a new tomography exam (that insurance here in Ohio doesn't cover). Some people only need 1 view, some people need 3 of each breast. Also, if your department is doing it right, some may have a sonogram followup. Also, there is a big difference in who views the images (although, IIRC, by law mamms must be viewed by an independent expert).

"So Gov. Nixon has good reason to feel nervous. The power structure of Missouri has addressed none of this, and now they will announce that they find Darren Wilson’s actions totally cool, and they fear the consequences." Points. You know, I wonder where all those Oathkeeper people went? (Grokked from Janiece)

Because Ferguson isn't about race, is it. "Pants Up, Don't Loot"? WTF?! Who at the National Review thought this was a Good Idea™?

And you think we have border problems. In between Ivory Coast and Liberia is the difference between an ebola outbreak and a clean bill of health. Note in the story that the border divides families, and that much of that traffic is because of the strong family ties the local tribes have.

The GOP is the dysfunctional party. There was a lot of hand worrying that went on after the election over if the Party of NO could actually govern. But, apparently, the GOP looked at Government Shutdown and said, "I just can't quit you." Ted Cruz doubles down on going off the rails. And an update on that Congressional lawsuit against the President, they're on their third lawyer now. On the plus side, this guy sounds like a True Believer™. Third time is a charm.

Remember how Louisiana had to rethink their educational push to rape public school budgets shunt public money to religious schools, only to stumble when the realized that "religious schools" didn't just encompass Catholic or Protestant organizations but included some Islamic schools? Well, apparently a school board in Orange County, FL, decided it would be a good idea that since they weren't able to bring religion into the classroom, it was okay for religious organizations to hand out literature to their students. Because then the school wasn't actually "promoting religion" and there was some "atheist" literature available. But then the Satanic Temple got involved handing out coloring books and, well, then they have to rethink that policy. And moving the vote to next year is just acknowledging the damage done, but try to give some distance to the public perception that they would only repeal it because it wasn't just Bibles being handed out. "Though the Satanic Temple did not support the school board's original policy, Mesner criticized the boards decision to rethink the rule… 'It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices…'" No, they never thought anyone else would be interested. I'll bet they would have already voted if it was Islamic materials being handed out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Linkee-poo, are you safe Miss Gradenko

While I don't have this problem (cough cough sputter choke), the ten reasons to keep writing your blog even if no one is reading it. Mostly focused on business blogs (for the day thing they tried that, I tried to be helpful, nobody wanted to listen to me, know how many posts are on most of the blogs? One), but many of the points can be the same for personal or writing blogs. And just because it hasn't been such so much of lately (parse that sucker, Mrs. Crabapple) this is a writing blog. There just hasn't been so much of the writing these past two years. (Grokked from Cat Rambo, who also blogs here)

Why are so many artists going to kickstarter? Well, for musicians this is a pretty good primer. Remember when Spotify and all those other music streaming services came about and they were all, "get your music to your fans, find new fans, make money and gain exposure"? Yea. And this is why Taylor Swift is not on Spotify anymore. (Grokked from Charles de Lint)

The underground city of Derinkuyu. For your world building and gaming needs. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

An interview with Neil Gaiman from CBS this morning (about four years ago). I want that library. Actually, I just want to be able to roam it for a week or two taking notes. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

A glowing bike path inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night".

The decline and fall of the coal industry. Pres. Obama is always an easy way to shift blame. As they say in the article, it's hard to plan a different future when you're making so much money. It's also hard when you keep thinking the good days will return. "You should have been here (a decade ago, in the 80s, whenever)" is a phrase I've often heard in my working career. There was a lot of money to be made in the past. I wonder where it's all gone. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Think there's no sexism? "Karl Stefanovic wore the same blue suit every day for a year on Channel Nine's 'Today' program. And no one noticed until he went public with his hidden-in-plain-sight experiment." Let an onscreen female news person wear the same outfit twice in two weeks and watch all the hubbub.

And now for racism, "With Kids, I'm Dad. Alone, Thug"

And then, the disrespect shown to the President as seen by a Canadian. (Grokked from Janiece)

Elizabeth Warren comes out swinging. In this case, she's telling the truth about the composition of the courts, and how President Obama isn't helping much. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Maui County votes to suspend GMO crop planting. Monsanto (Dow Chemical) sees their major crop research site go bye-bye, sues to reverse local rule. If I were a betting man, I'd place my money on Monsanto winning. Not to everyone who thinks things should be decided on a local level (State, County, Municipality, local school boards), here's a case you can champion. Yea, I know, they only like local rule when Federal goes against their policy, and they like Federal rule when it goes in their favor. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Our election laws (and enforcement) are broken. "Republicans and outside groups reportedly figured out a way during the midterm elections to share internal polling information in a way that stretches what's allowed under election law, according to CNN's Chris Moody." Campaigns and outside groups aren't allowed to share polling data or coordinate directly, but this election season saw a ton of new work arounds for this issue (you might remember the infamous Mitch McConnell video posted without music or voice over so that other groups could use it in their "non-coordinated" efforts are re-election. But, hey, I'm sure these twitter accounts that just spewed strings of numbers had some other purpose in mind. (Grokked from Dan)

Donald Trump wonders if he should run for president again, or just keep shown yup on Fox News. I think every comedian in the western hemisphere just got turned on.

Oh, Sen. Hatch, the feeling is mutual.

Tweet of my heart: @ChuckWendig WRITING TIP: You're going to fucking die someday so write right now. #lifehack #blessed

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving not so much

Yea, ran out of space. D'oh!

Linkee-poo never mentions the word addiction in certain company

For your gaming or world building goodness, a thousand-year old Chinese tomb with photos. (Grokked form Matt Staggs)

"'For me it's just about putting people of color in every genre and making it become normal,' (Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood) says." Yea, that.

Some Kurt Vonnegut quotes. Rascally old man. (Grokked from

Just push through. I've lived most of my life that way. It's awfully tiring of late.

In space, no one can hear you singing. Unless something lands on you. "Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has detected a mysterious 'song' that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space." Pure space gas music, dude. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The deny and defend response in health care.

The "missing stair" concept of enabling bad behavior. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

This may be a bit too cynical, but, yea, that explains the election results. A cartoon about the effect of low information voters. Especially the ones who go to mid-term elections. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

"… Frein waived his right to remain silent and told police… he had shot the troopers 'because he wanted to make a change (in government) and that voting was inefficient to do so, because there was no one worth voting for,' according to a criminal complaint. 'The defendant further acknowledged taking action (shooting the troopers) to wake people up because it was all he could do.'" That, ladies and gentlemen, is the very definition of terrorist. But since he's white, and probably not a muslim, so we don't use that word to describe him, except in legal briefs. Note, "charged with terrorism" and "Eric Frein, noted terrorist" are two different things.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Linkee-poo doesn't want to spend the rest of its life looking at the barrel of an Armalite

My RSS feed is back over 600. Sigh. I remember a time when I would clear that out daily. It's almost like this "Blogs Are Dead" thing is a complete lie.

Strange Horizons' fund raiser.

The Oatmeal schools Ted Cruz on Net Neutrality. If only he could learn when it doesn't involve money in his pocket. But, it's a good primer in case you know people who may revere Theodore. (Grokked from almost everyone in my feed)

Remember Solyndra? Remember the "ZOMG we're losing money" argument? Well, not so much. I'm not sure I agree with the government making a profit, but will all their successes the Department of Energy loan program is making money for us. Betcha won't hear about that on Fox News. Also "'It literally kick-started the whole utility-scale photovoltaic industry,' (Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz) says." That's what governments are supposed to do. This is why whenever I hear conservatives talking about how great the "market" is, I chuckle into my sleeve. If "the market" were in charge, we'd all be riding horses and sending messages by carrier pigeon. "Still, when the Solyndra case emerged Republicans on Capitol Hill had pointed criticism for the Obama administration… Now that the loan program is turning a profit, those critics are silent. They either declined or ignored NPR's requests for comment."

"The city of Solon reimbursed local businesses with about $890,000 from employee's income tax as part of the city's jobs creation grant." I wonder how many of those companies are giving that money back to their employees? I kid. Of course none of them are. Hey, GOP, here is rank "redistribution of wealth". No, seriously. That income tax money isn't the companies' money. That's the employees' salary. While most people's employers pay the income tax to the municipality (state and federal governments), it isn't the company's money. Just look at your pay stub. Who is paying the income tax?

Kansas. In addition to being $1B in the whole next year, "(t)he estimates also said the state will use up $380 million in reserves and still have to cut another $280 million for fiscal year 2015 to balance the state's current budget. In addition, in 2016, revenues are expected to be $436 million short of expenditures according to the forecast." Just how the hell did Brownback win re-election? Books will be written. Politicos will study and cite.

This is what happens when you both don't regulate and/or make those regulations toothless. "A joint investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that thousands of mine operators fail to pay safety penalties, even as they continue to manage dangerous — and sometimes deadly — mining operations." Just keep that in mind whenever someone says, "the beleaguered coal mining industry."

The post mortem begin. "It's clearly a partisan divide, the study found. Eighteen percent of Democrats picked voter fraud while 64 percent picked voter disenfranchisement. By contrast 68 percent of Republicans picked voter fraud while 16 percent picked voter disenfranchisement." Guess who watched which news outlet.

"That means as Afghans evaluate economic and security conditions, the more uncertain or fearful they are about the future, the more they hedge by growing opium." Strange, this is how drug sales and use in the US increases as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Cards

Not entirely successful, but here's today's doodle. Guess what I'm working on… about six months after we should have finished (old-man designer tales).

Linkee-poo is just a girl with her head screwed on, is just a girl with a smoking gun

The poppies of the Flanders Field. In this case, 888,246 ceramic poppies planted in and around the Tower of London. A reminder to never forget what we have so often forgotten. War should never be wished for. War is never the answer. War is the failure of States.

A radio interview with Kameron Hurley with some really great SF/F writing and marketing advice. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Landing on a comet turns out to be more of a problem than initially thought. Reminds me of why Neil Armstrong landed in Tranquility Bay. When Neil made that broadcast that the Eagle had landed, what you didn't see on the cameras was all the controllers puzzled expressions as the wondered just where the hell their astronauts were. Because they weren't supposed to land there. However, as Neil came down he realized that where they were supposed to land was covered in boulders and they would have crashed and not been able to launch off the surface. So he used up almost all his fuel trying to find a safe place to put down. So it turns out that a comet also has cliffs and boulders on its surface. But, hey, SCIENCE! That's what happens and why we do it.

"How bad is the gridlock in Washington D.C.? So bad that the nation's retailers are calling for federal legislation on cyber security and data protection to protect consumer information — even though they would bear the brunt of whatever legislation is passed… 'A single federal law applying to all breached entities would ensure clear, concise and consistent notices to all affected consumers regardless of where they live or where the breach occurs.'" And they can't get anything passed. Also it points out that most regulation is either welcomed by the industry, or formed in response to some industry wrong doing. (Grokked from Dan)

Reuters decides to close comments on their news stories. (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

"Fructose, a common type of sugar, can damage your liver more than other kinds of sugar — just like too much alcohol can." More on how our foods are killing us.

They have always fought. The women heroes of The Great War, some fought in secret, some fought openly. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

There's a theory that mitochondria are actually a separate life form that early cells formed a symbiotic relationship and incorporated that other form wholesale. The reason they believe this is that mitochondria has it's own genetics. We inherit all of our mitochondria from our mothers (the father has no input to this part of the cell). And just like people, sometimes the mitochondrial DNA can get errors in transcription. However, what you can do is transplant the human DNA from a zygote that has dysfunctional mitochondria to an egg with normal mitochondria. But remember all that "no human cloning" and "no chimeras" legislation? Yea, that gets in the way.

Glenn Beck announces that he has a disease that made him appear "crazy" on the air. While I do have sympathy for his disease, his actions aren't what made the rest of us label him as "crazy". It was his ideas and political positions along with the inherent victimization and persecution complex added into his conspiracy theorizing that made me label him as "crazy." Tell me your autoimmune disorder disrupted your thinking and that now you can see the error of your ways and I'll begin to re-evaluate my position. Until then, I name thee "whackaloon."

The things that give us pause. Poor Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky law prohibits him from being on a ballot twice. So in 2016 he'll have to decide if he's running for President (or a VP slot) or to rerun for his Senate seat. And since one half of the Kentucky legislature is controlled by Democrats, it's unlikely the law will be changed in time (although the Speaker of the House has a good excuse, that the constitution forbids him to make law that affects only one person).

What Speaker Boehner's "poison the well" comments were really about. And it's just stupid politics, as usual. Dear Speaker Boehner, if President Obama acts "outside his authority" then not only should you just take your little red ball and go home, you must act on impeachment. That's you're damn job. Get to work.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Linkee-poo shorty without a good title

On his birthday, Neil Gaiman would like to give you some free stuff.

Viruses are tricky. "Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains." (Grokked from Dan)

Who watches the Watchmen. An article on the people who keep your social media feeds (mostly) free of picture of dicks and beheadings. Isn't grand we live in a world that requires this? Ah, technology, pulling out the deepest monsters of the id. And while they scrub our feeds and dream of better lives, they find they're working for the monsters themselves. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Sure, it's not about racism. Except that when it is. Seriously, if you have to retreat to the 1st definition in a dictionary to defend yourself, unless you're a lexicographer, you've just made an ass of yourself. And the "I apologize if anyone was offended" is no longer good. And while we're at it, it's called a "Freudian Slip."

On how we're not saving for retirement. "According to the report, more and more consumers are beginning to realize the importance of saving early on." Unfortunately that realization is coming too late. "Of the survey respondents, nearly 72% say they should have start saving earlier, a significant increase for 65% who believed the same thing just a year ago." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Me? I plan on winning the lottery. That's John Oliver's Last Week Tonight on state lotteries.

And just in case you needed further proof that the GOP doesn't have your interests at heart, Ted Cruz believe Net Neutrality is a bad thing. Because businesses should be in charge of your internet access.

Tweet of my heart: @EgbertoWillies ISIS & Ebola disappeared from front page after election. GOP used 'liberal' media to scare folks to vote for them. #gullible

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Drawing Type

As some of you know, to relax I do math in my head. Also, I doodle. And when I doodle, I sometimes go back to my schooling and thumbnail layouts of projects I'm working on. Lately I've been drawing type, like I also used to do in school. Although, my repertoire has grown stale and mostly it comes out as a form of intermediate type (think Baskerville). So, I'm hoping if I share this I'll start branching out reestablish my skills in a wide range of faces. So here's one to start.