Site Meter
Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves
An echo of a distant time comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine.

And no one called us to the land
And no one knows the where's or why's
Something stirs and something tries
Starts to climb toward the light.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Linkee-poo will climb that hill in my own way, just wait a while for the right day

Kameron Hurley's writing income report. Don't quit the day job, kiddies.

Naziya Mahmood, space mission planner, martial artists. Also, she likes the Jain, gotta love a woman who love sharp, pointy things. (Grokked from a thousand places, but I think it was Janiece that finally got me to check it out)

Fuck cancer. The PBS multi-part documentary, "Cancer, the Emperor of All Maladies."

"'The Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction' a workshop at the Joint Quantum Institute." Wow. Sort of like Launch Pad, except for Quantum Physics. Must consult vacation schedule. (Grokked from SFWA blog)

What it's like to have face blindness. For your world building toolkit (or curiosity). (Grokked from Dan)

Vatican Astronomer equates Creationism with Paganism. Don't worry, Evangelicals, the Pilgrims you venerate also equated the celebration of Christmas with Paganism and you survived that.

"In an effort to remain financially solvent by keeping payroll expenditures in check, executives at the Banford Group announced Tuesday they would have to start hiring more female employees." I want to have the Onion's babies. (Grokked from Steven Brust)

Sure you can trust the police. To my friends in law enforcement, you and I know what this officer's history means. Protecting these cops is going to get a lot of good officers killed. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"(W)hile LGBT Americans are the current target of this effort to repackage prejudice as “religious liberty,” they are hardly the first." A little history on the use of religion to promote political ideology and hatred. And this is why we should not be "a Christian Nation" or a nation founded on any religious sect. First, because it isn't the truth (exactly 2 colonies were founded by religious orders, and 2 colonies were founded to get away from the nut cases in those previous 2 colonies - and technically 1 of the colonies founded on religious grounds, Connecticut, was set up because they were also getting away from the nut cases in Massachusetts), and secondly, as our Founding Fathers knew and wrote about in great detail, we shouldn't commit the same errors and atrocities Europe did. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Fred Clark brings some historical information about the history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and how it has morphed from its original purpose when the states begin passing their own acts.

Boom to bust. In this case, the Texas Miracle loses it's shine. But they have all those wonderful, business friendly laws there. Well, so much for much of Rick Perry's arguments for being President. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

On selling God, capitalism, and the American Way. Or how business, scared about the rise of unions, brought the money changers back into the House of God and got the ministers to shill the concept of America as a Christian Nation, and capitalism as the most divine form of economics.

I love the insanity of the "Pro-guns Everywhere" crowd. "See, your little sign wouldn't stop me, now imagine I was a crazy person…" Way ahead of you there, Charles Heller.

Just how the Indiana law is not like all the other laws they've been comparing it to. Because there's nothing like integrity. (Grokked from someone, sorry, forgot the link)

"The average American believes that the richest fifth own 59% of the wealth and that the bottom 40% own 9%. The reality is strikingly different. The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined." Yea, that won't come back to bite us. Well, the good thing is most people don't have a good grasp of numbers and their meaning. America, the best economy in the world… if you already have money. If the American Deal (get an education, work hard, get ahead) was still functioning my wife and I would be a millionaires by now. "(T)he United States is now the most unequal of all Western nations. To make matters worse, America has considerably less social mobility than Canada and Europe." (Grokked form Elizabeth Bear)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Linkee-poo

Oh Gov. LePage, Stephen King wouldn't use you as a villain, but as an easily disposable comic foil. Oh, and he wouldn't have to pay you royalties for it, either. Public figure, fair use. It's now up to Mr. King to decide if he really want to, and if he believes that even a straight up portrayal of such a cartoonish governor could be believable to fans who demand verisimilitude.

"Fusion broke down sales figures compiled by ComiChron, and it turns out that feminist Thor is selling significantly better than old school dude Thor." Reality 1, Trolls -20,000 (a month). (Grokked from Tor.com)

Looking for new music? Try NPR's All Songs Considered Austin 100 SXSW 2015. Link to download songs goes away April 2.

Computer ads these days are boring, not like the computer ads from the dawn of the computer age. (Grokked from Dan)

I don't know about you, but I never get tired of looking at photos of the surface of other planets. In this case Mercury, as our probe, Messenger, gets ready to plow into the surface. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Opportunity sees its shadow. I guess that means four more months of winter on Mars. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The Rings of Charon is a great short story title. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"'The true inspiration [for the program] was, frankly, seeing all the waste on farms,' says Claire Cummings, a waste specialist for Bon Appetit who created the Imperfectly Delicious program." Lots of vegetables are thrown away because producers don't think they can sell them because they don't look perfect.

Antarctic ice shelves, which hold the land based ice/glaciers, at bay from flowing into the ocean, are melting faster than we thought.

And, on the other side of the planet, the Winter Maximum ice coverage of the Arctic is the minimum ever recorded. No need to worry. Especially if you get your campaign money (and personal grift) from fossil fuel producers. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A Congress member asks constituents for their Obamacare horror stories, people share why the actually like Obamacare. Strange that. Doubt it'll change their mind (because their objection to Obamacare has nothing to do with how it works, who it helps, the cost savings, etc and everything to do with whom it is who is perceived to help Americans live their lives and how that impacts political control of governments). Also, it goes against the grain of government actually being able to help people. The conservatives hate when that happens because it breaks their world view and myth building.

Eating their own. Dear Rep. Peter King, I wouldn't be so sure about the supporters of the other potential candidates. I suggest you do an experiment by bad mouthing all of them, individually, and see what kind of response you get. (Sits back, munches popcorn, waits for the fireworks)

"In an interview on Saturday with The Indianapolis Star, (Indiana Gov. Mike) Pence, a Republican who served in Congress for a decade before becoming governor, said: 'I just can't account for the hostility that's been directed at our state.'" Kinda sucks when someone hates you without giving you a full hearing, doesn't it Mikey. If only there were protections against that kinda thing. All snark aside, I'm sure it is surprising to find out that your insular world view isn't actually shared by, you know, the rest of the world. Other states and other conservatives take note, your ideology isn't mainstream, and there are soon to be consequences (YMMV in gerrymandered "safe" districts).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Story Bone

A submariner's tale, one of the people who man the sonar on a nuclear submarine starts to hear sirens in the deep. An as all who hear their call, desired to join them. The other crewman are put in peril because of this and attempt to stop him from sinking the boat in order to get out.

What kind of creature would an underwater siren be like? What would they sing and how do they sing?

Okay, now place this during World War II in the North Atlantic.

Got that? Okay, now place it in space.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Linkee-poo would stand in line for this, there's always room in life for this

"Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?" The Onion AV Club invites the original voice actors for Pinky and the Brain to do their routine, only with swearing. NSFW. "Just say it, people have been wanting this for years." (Grokked from Yanni Kuznia)

Cory Doctorow on Clear Reader. This isn't the first time such a service has debut (that is, removing offending passages from e-books so people don't get naughty all over themselves). And it's just as silly as when the video service (I forget it's name) cuts out all the bad words, violence and sexual situations from movies. There is a difference here, though. Those video services were then releasing those remastered films (which is a violation of copyright). Here, the application is running on your own copy of the e-book. So, how is this different, exactly, from me skipping over all the songs and epic poems during my last read of the Lord of the Rings?

I normally don't do product placement, but 1) was interested in the idea of office space rental ever since Tobias Buckell brought it into my consciousness, and 2) they handled my snakiness on twitter pretty well. So, if you're looking for shared office space on the east side of Cleveland, there's CUBE Cleveland. And they have space right down from where the day thing is. I probably won't rent space to write because 1) I'm notoriously cheap and 2) I like at least being able to see my wife for a few hours each day. Yea, I'm weird that way. But if you need it, there you are.

Adding a virtual nose to the VR display helps with user vertigo. Yep. It's as plain as the nose on their faces. Want to know how this works? Look straight ahead and close one eye. See your nose now? That's how this works. I know the computer people are all agog over this, but anyone who has studied how our vision actually works knows why. It's not "blindness", your individual eyes see your nose all the time, but when your brain converts stereo vision into the simulation in your head (note, again, what you "see" in your consciousness is a construct of your brain, not exactly what your eyes are seeing), since the nose is so close and isn't seen by both eyes in similar places, your brain edits that out of the simulation (however, it's still processing it, which is how this VR trick works)). Want to test that? Okay, look straight ahead, hold your palm up to your peripheral vision area to create a similar flesh colored mass in the same place in your vision (ie. if you hold up your right hand, place it in the vision of your right eye that you see your nose in using only your left eye, or vis a vis - it helps if you use the hand opposite your dominant eye). Viola, your nose will appear in you vision on the side you're holding your hand up (it's a little fuzzy, because the shape isn't the same, also, your brain knows it can't be the same object). I wonder when they'll realize that some of the motion sickness (and some other problems) can be due to the difference in disharmony between screen refresh rates and your brain's vision refresh rates (everyone is slightly different)? (Grokked from John)

"We wouldn't call a 30th place global ranking 'world-class' -- if US internet from private industry wasn't so terrible and expensive, the FCC and municipalities wouldn't have needed to intercede in the first place." Burn! The State of Tennessee is suing the FCC over their new Net Neutrality rules because those rules overturn bans against local municipalities running their own broadband service for residents and businesses. Why, because the State of Tennessee lawmakers get a lot of funding from the telecoms to make sure there's no actual competition. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), whose push to defund Obamacare led to a government shutdown, now plans to get insured through the federal exchange." Sen. Cruz's wife (from whom they had insurance) has stepped down from her job to help him campaign, so now they're on the market. He then made a statement about how "it's the law" that member of the Legislature have to buy from the Exchange… while completely ignoring his own advice to others to go without instead of signing up. (Must not make joke about needing healthcare to counter the poisonous effect of all that hair product)

Yes, the War on Women is the fault of liberal ideology. Maybe if you're a brain-dead neo-crustacean that lives in the world of men not being able, or challenged, to control themselves and accepting that "women were just asking for it." But for those of us who play with reality and responsibility, we know it's important for boys to take charge of their own lives and responsibility for their own actions and not use neo-conservative values to justify their Cro-magnon fantasy life (note, there's good evidence that Cro-magnons were mostly egalitarian).

I remember the good old days, when Agent Orange was so non-toxic air crews would thug glasses of it. Days of future past. A Monsanto lobbyist is offered a glass of the active ingredient in Round-Up to drink after proclaiming that it won't hurt you (to drink a whole quart). This is after the World Health Organization has cited it as a possible carcinogen. The lobbyist pulled the ripcord and bailed on the interview rather than drinking a glass of what he claimed was a harmless chemical. Wish the next person to say "CO2 is a harmless gas" is offered the chance to stand in a phone booth box filled with CO2. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Here's the thing, Sen. Cruz, Galileo actually had his new, confirmable observations under his belt. What you're forgetting is "the climate isn't changing" was the older interpretation and the "climate change" science is the new, confirmable observations. Also, we've already called you a Flat-Earther, it's whomever gets to the punch line first. You might have missed that part of the yearly talking notes briefings.

Back when people were freaking about what we could do to secure our airlines and there was all this push to secure the cockpit and give pilots weapons some voices said it was a bad idea, because we saw what might really happen. We really fucking hate to be right. The co-pilot may have died, it may have been intentional (it's now been surmised that it was intentional), but because the door was fortified and locked, the other pilot had no chance to save them (there's an override, which can be overridden from the cockpit). Can we maybe rethink the other "safety" measures before someone realizes that those pilots and air marshals are bringing weapons that can be used to hijack flights.

"Bill O'Reilly bemoaned the state of journalism on his show Tuesday night, telling his guest that when inaccurate reporting is left unchallenged, it 'hurts the country.'" Wow, that's meta. Sometimes you have to marvel at the distance Fox News host hold reality. It's like they're going for a world's record for "divorced from reality", or maybe the Olympic Event, the 100 meter Denial.

Echoes - the ice is going out


As I've mentioned before, Meddle is slowly becoming my favorite Pink Floyd album (it's 1970, dammit, music is still on vinyl). This is the B side of the record (the whole damn B side… go ask your grandparents). This is the quintessential song to play in your bedroom, with all the lights out, drapes drawn, eyes closed, soaking in the music. There is no outside world, just you and the music.

Do the kids listen to music that way anymore?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Linkee-poo knows although scary is exciting, nice is different than good

The historically inaccurate (in regards to diversity) fantasy world we create. But mostly about Dragon Age.

I'm just gonna drop this link to an Apple support page for using the Control Center, and I'll just point to the helpful screen grab of the iPhone. Either you're gonna get it, or not. (Grokked from Dan)

Shields up.

Some people rebuild cars or motorcycles. Some people rebuild computers. The pride, craftsmanship, and reasons are the same. (Grokked from John)

Mukbangs in Korea, where watching other eating can be entertainment. If you put this in your fiction, people wouldn't believe you.

Why "organic food just costs more to produce" is a falsehood. It cost most because they can charge more. And switching to organic feed these days wouldn't raise the price so much (unlike the 70s when much of our modern food culture was engineered).

"Today, hospital bills are so hard for patients to understand because they're not written for patients — they're written for the insurance companies that pay 97% of them." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"According to a new study just out in Nature Climate Change… we’re now seeing a slowdown of the great ocean circulation that… helps to partly drive the Gulf Stream off the U.S. east coast." Right now they're saying about a 15-20% drop in circulation. While it's not a "Day After Tomorrow" situation (the physics of that just can't happen) If it slows circulation enough and the Greenland Ice continues to melt at an accelerated rate, that, friends, is called "the tipping point." Fisheries, crops, forests, surface temperatures and a lot more will be thrown into kilter, not to mention a large sea level rise on our Eastern Coast. If it turns out to be true, we're all fucked now. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

So, on Monday the Supreme Court heard a First Amendment/Free Speech case from Texas where the state's motor vehicle department refused to issue a license plate with the Confederate Battle Flag. Um. Okay, this is weird that I find myself supporting the government of Texas, but when is it free speech is someone else refuses to speak? In this case, the Government refuses to issue a plate that people want, and because the government won't endorse a symbol they feel (rightly IMHO) promotes racism, the people claim it's restricting their right of free speech. What the… What? How is this not spiked at the lower court level?

Boom to bust. A woman truck driver is getting out of the Bakken Oil Fields. Note the societal issues implied in the article (well, more hinted at than implied) and the economic wasteland coming to the West as the price of oil falls.

How to shoot yourself in the foot without even trying. In this case, the cover for the University of North Georgia which brings to the fore the soft racism/sexism this country still has problems with. As a professional graphic designer I know how easy it is to fuck up like this (hey, at least they HAD a woman and a black man on the cover, in some cases you don't even get that). BUT (and yes, I meant that in caps because here's the "professional" part) you have to be consciously aware of the subconscious messages you are sending. There are many times I've rejected what I've considered "the better photo" because of what that photo was saying. You have to see the person in the back of the crowd flipping off the camera. When setting up the photo (in this case it's a stock image) you have to make all the decisions consciously and purposefully. Do I think UNG intended the message the cover gave? No, not really. However it exposes the unconscious nature of prejudice and the acceptance by the conscious brain of those assumptions. They just didn't see anything wrong because the message fit their unconscious and unexamined mental picture of the world. (Grokked from Dan)

So, apparently to get uber-conservatives to apologize for past bigotry we need to get GOP presidential hopefuls to speak at their places of power. Then it's a good thing there's going to be another long roster this time, because there's a lot of apologizing to get done.

Zombie Reagan.

Another example of a false flag operation. Why this is not labelled "terrorism" (because it has all the hallmarks of the same motivation and the intended results, not just because "BOMB") is still baffling to me (not really, my guess is the suspect is white and doesn't have an accent).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Linkee-poo gets it out of its system early

Mary Robinette Kowal on if you should quit your day job. I hate selling, so it's a day job for me.

There is no dark side of the moon, really, it's all dark. Some ten science myths and misperceptions that just keep going. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Bloomburg Business tries to get all "wooga wooga" on renewables with the recent solar eclipse. "While eclipses are relatively rare events, policymakers are concerned that further expanding renewables will make strains on the grid more routine." But you know what, essentially nothing happened. Some gas fired turbines had to work at 100% for a little time, and then as the sun came back "online", the power generated by oil and gas dropped down to having to be discounted. Again, we don't have a single source of power now, with renewables we also won't have a single source of power. The assumed argument (because it's easy to defeat) that it's all or nothing is a red herring. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke, I think)

The rich are just like you and me. Except, you know, not. In this case, paying to hunt genetically modified animals. It sounds almost too science fictiony to believe. (Grokked from Janiece)

I (and others) have often used the term,"false flag operation." You may wonder what that means. Here's an example. Where "reporters" for Project Veritas were sent in to specifically gin up trouble by asking leading questions, all to get people on tape saying what Project Veritas (and other conservative outlets) thought they should say so they're movement could be discredited.

The narrow gate. Jim Wright on the neoconservatives getting it on and banging a gong for war. Because for some people, war is the answer to any question. Especially if someone else has to do the fighting.

Paul Krugeman on the creative fantasies that are wrapped in the Republican Budget. (Grokked form Jeff Beeler)

Hey, whatever happened to Cliven Bundy? So, looks like some Nevadans will need to learn the lesson that Federal Law trumps State Law, and that the Federal Government already owns that land. And let say they're successful in changing the ownership and management of the lands back to Nevada, watch what happens to their economy when the Federal Government pulls their operations out of Nevada. No amount of gaming can make up for that.

Five signs America is heading toward plutocracy. That didn't work out so well the last time it was tried. Hopefully we won't have to go through the minor revolutions again. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Paul Ryan advises States to screw over their citizens if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare subsidies. That's just hilarious. Please Rep. Ryan, please keep going on the record about this so everybody knows which party to blame for all that pain. But, then again, Majority Leader McConnell is advising States to ignore new EPA rules. Well, you let those fine accumulate, we may be able to clear some of the long term debt when States are forced to pay. Unfortunately, they'll have to tax all of us to cover that bill. It's amazing how people can advance to these levels of political power and be so ignorant of how the law works. Well, it's mostly that they just want to thwart President Obama and they're now grasping at straws and encouraging others to lay the price.

John Oliver on our current political theater regarding municipal offenses fines paying for our local governments, how it impacts the poor disproportionately, and how morally bankrupt it makes our system look. It was often advanced that we should do this in our local community, to which the majority of us said "no fucking way." For exactly the reasons outlined here. We shouldn't be basing our local government's budgets on the minor criminality of it's residents. Our police forces should not be revenue generators. While debtors prison helped build our country (looking at you Georgia and South Carolina), we then had this revolution thingy just because of an English King pulling this kind of shit.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Story Bone

"'We found that if lunar lava tubes existed with a strong arched shape like those on Earth, they would be stable at sizes up to 5,000 meters, or several miles wide, on the moon,' Blair said."

Holy frak. I mean, besides the whole transformation of "hollow Earth" to the Moon, the early history of Moon creatures (all the way back to Jules Verne), and… just… wow.

Story bone grokked from Dan.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Linkee-poo can't sleep 'cause my bed is on fire

ED Sorry, didn't see that I didn't link the one article on gold buying, fixed now.

Well, today was a banner day for political news. Sorry about all the links to TPM, but they all hit at the same time.

So, does grabbing a flag pole as you're falling from a building actually have a chance of saving you? No. But the full answer, backed by SCIENCE! (or at least actual calculation) is more amusing. (Grokked from Dan)

"The plant is expected to produce batteries at a lower cost to power Tesla’s Model 3, the mass-market vehicle the company hopes to start selling in two to three years. Along the way, however, the 'gigafactory' will also reduce the costs of energy storage through sheer economy of scale." The real reason Tesla is building their "gigafactory" to build batteries. It's all about renewable power. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Orbital dust cloud and auroras spotted on Mars. Just when you think you've seen it all. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The latest global temperature reports from NOAA. Parked here, because I'm going to need to refer to it sometime soon. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Robert J Bennett)

"When he got out of the jewelry business and became one of the most powerful oil men in the country it was because he realized the scams he could pull in the oil business paid a lot better than those in the jewelry business." An article on the scam that is "jewelry buying." While much of it is from the 80s and before, don't kid yourself that this didn't/doesn't go in on the current "We Buy Gold" craze (or on the "buy gold, it's the best investment side of the business). (Grokked from BoingBoing)

It's a good life rule, never piss off clowns. They are mean drunks (I just kid, the majority of clowns I've known are nice people). (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"But suicide on the job is also increasing and, according to federal researchers, suicide risk changes depending on the type of work people do." I bet you won't see that list in Forbes. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'We play nice in Iowa,' Polk County Republican Party co-chairwoman Sherill Whisenand told the New York Times." Unless, you know, you criticize us and then we'll make sure you get your comeuppance. Like if you've tweeted mean things about Iowa and then a GOP front runner names you to their staff. In that case, my advice is "don't unpack your bags." Also, though shall not criticize Fox News.

"His analysis shows how family structure, parenting practices, schooling and health habits correlate with diminishing opportunities for poorer children." The land of opportunity, but only if you've already had success. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

And related, "Many parents of low-income high achievers didn't go to college, and, when they think of selective schools, they think of the pricey, East Coast elites: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc. The obvious conclusion: Out of our league." This is a little pie-in-the-sky-ish. Colleges have endowments that help low-income students go for almost free, but that doesn't cover their costs for moving and living where those selective schools are (which are also more expensive that cities and towns where state schools are). Also, form person experience (in 1984), I was selected to go to one of those schools, and would have had some great financial aid, but it wasn't enough for me to go, and I got even more financial aid from the state school I went to.

Whatever happened to that GOP Post mortem following the 2012 defeat? Oh yea, they clapped harder and forgot all about it. No worries, I doubt it will bit them in 2016.

Glenn Beck to the GOP, "I just can't quit you." Okay, he's saying that he is quitting, but he's said that before. Don't worry, he'll be back around July 2016. Until then he can revel in his "outsider" and "spoiler" fakery.

And in other Glenn Beck news, what happens when you allow the paranoids to run the show? They start eating their own. At Glenn's insistence on conspiracy theories, the NRA is now investigating Grover Norquist to ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Hahahahahaha. (Grokked from John)

"The story of Vote2ReduceDebt is an egregious example of what can happen in the absence of such controls, but similar scenarios have played out on a smaller scale at dozens of PACs in the last three election cycles." You know, if they had watched The Colbert Report, they'd know these things. Welcome to the SuperPAC, the wild west of campaign financing. The irony in this case, is the major mark donor wanted to help end what he saw as monetary corruption and the booming debt. If only there were regulations to help make sure all this money was spent the way the donors believe it should be spent… oh, wait, most of these are from ultra conservatives who don't believe in regulation (I bet they will now, but only for these, not for their businesses).

Speaker Boehner promises a conservative healthcare plan to replace Obamacare real soon now. In case you don't get that joke, here's the definition of RSN. Note, they've been promising this for 6 years now (if we only count their promises during the Obamacare legislative effort, we won't discuss their answer to Hillarycare, which Obamacare was cribbed from - the conservative response, not Hillarycare). It's getting to the point we need to see if a groundhog sees its shadow to know if it'll be six month or sixty years from now.

There's no conservative War on Women. Uh, yea, Bob.

Were is the conservative outrage over the silencing of a public employee and the violation of the Free Speech rights? Oh, wait, yea, it's a Florida employee who mentioned "Climate Change" and expressed the thought that the KeystoneXL pipeline might not be the best idea. Never mind.

Wackaloon quotient reaches all new levels of crazy. Listen to one question another. Sen. Santorum, how can you have hearings when you said just a moment before you shouldn't convene Congress? I know, I'm looking for logic in the mouth of the crazy. Then, in response to Pres. Obama saying mandatory voting might be interesting, Fox News hosts admit they don't think everyone should vote (and we're not talking about their conspiracy theory of illegal immigrants voting). The English Only crowd is back at it. This time, an Arabic reading of the the Pledge of Allegiance during a high school program on foreign languages fires up the xenophobes. Just to repeat, the first language if the Americas, after Native American languages, was Spanish. The next was Portuguese. New York's first non-native language was Dutch. The new GOP presidential candidates are off to the same start as last time. In this case, Dr. Carson talking about how NATO should go to war if Putin invades the Baltic States. Well, yes, because they are already a part of NATO, we'd have to, wouldn't we. Bill O'Reilly thinks Pres. Obama had nothing to do with killing bin Laden. Well, truth be told, O'Reilly isn't so much a whackaloon as a self-serving opportunist shilling the gullible. But his argument that because Obama didn't pull the trigger himself he deserves no credit is just laughable on the face of it.

Gov. Bobby Jindal says, "You don’t have the right to come here and say, for example, that you think women should be treated as second class citizens." That's right, we don't need those "radical muslims" comin' over hear saying that. The social conservatives are frightened they might steal their fire. :: drops mic, walks off stage ::

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Linkee-poo is careful with the things you say, children will listen

The Joseph Eichler homes. While the look and esthetics are starting to fade from popularity, the concepts he injected into residential building have really informed what we considered "the modern lifestyle." While our houses look different, the concepts were still the same. This is what good design does.

The art of packaging. Form follows function. Although they make some mistakes when it comes to learned behavior and the power of brands and branding.

And speaking of branding, "The world's biggest beverage maker, which struggles with declining soda consumption in the U.S., is working with fitness and nutrition experts who suggest its cola as a healthy treat. In February, for instance, several wrote online pieces for American Heart Month, with each including a mini-can of Coke or small soda as a snack idea." Just in case you thought in the healthcare world that it was only doctors who took gratuities to push certain brands (of drugs). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Oo, what a cute little robot. OMG, are they fighting? The Antweight class of robot warriors. (Grokked from Dan)

While there are some errors in the article, here is a good primer on the dangers of CT and X-ray procedures. They're a little sensationalist by presenting the statistics in a ZOMG kind of way, and they get some of the details wrong (such as hardly any CT scanners use a "pencil" beam anymore). They also don't explain just what is changing with the new Medicare standards (one thing is every scan must also record your actual radiation dose) or that with the advances over the past two decades your medical exposure to x-rays is much reduced than before. They also don't make the distinction of why kids are more susceptible to radiation cell damage or that not all x-ray scans are the same.

In case you ever wondered, this is how we know what the brain does and how it works. We find people with "defective" or injured brains and study them. In this case, a man born without a cerebellum (that's the structure at the back of the cerebrum, under the occipital lobe). The cerebellum, or vermiform process (you have two, this is the second one, the other isn't brain related), is an older structure of the brain, and handles much of the fine tuning of our actions. But it now appears to do much more than motor skills (although I'll note, speech is a fine motor skill as well as language control, which seems to be missing in the discussion in this article).

And speaking of brains, ever had an MRI of your brain? Ever wanted a 3D model of your individual brain? Well, there's a company that will 3D print one for you. Livin' in the future. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

The Milky Way may have ripples and ridges. The better for dipping, or something. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

I usually do agree with the sentiment that the children of candidates are to be left alone for campaign issues (with a rare exception for egregious behavior that points to character flaws of the candidate). However, when you intentionally involve them in your campaign they become legitimate targets. "'When we started doing this, the longest a genetically-modified pig could survive in a bath of human blood was two hours and now that we are up to over eight days, it’s mind-blowing,' (Martine Rothblatt) said, in a wide-spanning conversation that drew an audience of hundreds at the South by Southwest conference." Ummm… (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

There comes that time when people are so fired up to go against a person that they jump the shark and stop making sense. Dear Fox's Outnumbered crew, seriously? A "war on men" because Hillary points out how the conservative lead US Senate is proving the liberal talking points about a "war on women"? That's not even up to the "I know you are but what am I?" level of discourse. Jesus Hopalong Cassidy, we need a better "opposition" group.

You know, during Jim Crow bigots were more than happy to advertise their bigotry. But then, if you have to put a sign in your window displaying your bigotry, that's the antithesis of a dog-whistle and we can't have that. Yep, while the Oklahoma legislature wanted to pass a law that allowed businesses the right to refuse custom because of religious beliefs (read this as "no gayz allowed"), they don't want to make people display their bigotry outright. So when a lawmaker adds an amendment that says, "if you're going to refuse custom, you must post a notice in your window of which custom you'll refuse". And then the bill dies. If that's really the case, then it's not a heart-felt religious belief. You should be proud of your religion and wear it on your sleeve. After all, I'm sure the same people would be all for putting Bibles back in classrooms (like Ricky Santorum stated this weekend). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Blaming the poor for abandoning social norms around reproduction and child-rearing makes our glass houses a bit comfier. It makes it easier to ignore our low tax rates and weak safety net. It makes it easier for us to ignore dramatic inequities in our education system. It lets us blame, and scorn the poor. And nothing gladdens the proud human heart quite like judging the weak… That’s how privilege works." Some people (especially on the right, and especially the well off) would do well to remember Maslow's Hierarchy. When you're struggling for just the physiological and safety tiers, it's hard to be worried about the rest of the pyramid.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Linkee-poo to close out a weekend

One of these days, I want a real weekend. I want to have two days in a row where I can sleep in, and don't have to be anywhere. On the plus side, got a 100% on the second test in Sectional Anatomy II ((85+100)/2 = 92.5 = A). Will find out grade on second test in CT Physics this Tuesday (not all that worried about this one). But before then I have a 2 page report to write. Another couple of days at the day thing. Somethings I feel I'm getting ahead on, lots of things getting left behind. Sigh.

When the phenomena of the "Fairy Door" goes too far. Their like dandelions, let one go and soon your yard is full of them. (Grokked from Tor.com)

You know how I say that the pro-life movement isn't ant-abortion, they're actually anti-sexual revolution? That's because they are, and they're coming for your birth control. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"(S)ources within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirmed Thursday that they now regret wasting doses of pancuronium bromide on innocent prisoners in 1997, 2000, and 2004." Why the Onion is very good at what they do. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

But they support him in email. Um, no, James Knowles III, Mayor of Ferguson, it's time to go. I appreciate the part-timeness of the job. I was a "part-time" councilman for 9 years. When I left I was paid less that you are (and that was after a struggle to double our pay). I understand how somethings can slip by you, especially recent happenings. But after being involved with council and being mayor and the length of time the city has been bilking its residents, if you didn't grok what was going on, you should leave on account of just that. Cluelessness on that level has no place inlace politics. Consider yourself lucky that Missouri doesn't have their own version of the Hatch Act (who knows, IANAL, they might). As a citizen, if your desire is to help transition the city into the civil rights of the 1970s, there are ways to be of service, but not in elected office. Here is your sword, sir. Time for the fall.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Linkee-poo doesn't care for sugar, honey, if I can't have you

Shannon Hale's experiences of giving talks at schools. Being a woman, many administrations believe only girls would be interested in what she writes and has to say. Yes, this sort of shit is still going on.

That Con Man Indygogo thing all the cool kids are talking about. (Grokked from John)

The scourge of the swear system, the wet wipe. At the hospital, they've tried to ban their "flushing" to some degree of success. The problem is (besides the fact that the flushable kind really aren't) is that the consumer doesn't really see a difference. To the end user, they are all flushable because one or two are. Plus, they're using them in place of toilet paper, which we flush. So in most peoples' minds, the wipes are all flushable. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The BBC has developed their own microcomputer and will give it away to kids in the UK in an attempt to relaunch a "programming culture." “The kids can do their main programming at school – they might have written a piece of code to scroll text and make the lights flash – but then you can imagine them being on the bus on the way home and reprogramming it from their mobile phone over Bluetooth to send messages from the back of the bus.” Yes. Yes I can imagine it. And just what do you think those kids will program it to send? What could possibly go wrong? I and my college friends we a part of that first programming culture with the advent of "cheap" computers and the BASIC language, so I actually do wholeheartedly support this attempt. To many younger people are labeled as "so technologically adapt" when they're mostly users (don't worry, kids, so are most of your parents and everyone else). But, at least from what I can see, kids don't have a strong fundamental on how technology works. They really should. Granted, you don't need to be able to diagram the structure of an internet packet, but they should know the basics of how packets are created and then reassembled (or even that data is sent in packets). (Grokked from John)

The killer USB drive. No, really, this would kill your computer if you inserted it into the USB port.

Oceans are everywhere. We once thought Earth was special for life because water appeared to be rare everywhere else. Turns out we were wrong about that. This is how science changes its mind, by actual data and methods developed by people motivated to help us understand our universe and ourselves better. It's not done by political process and people throwing hissy fits. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A documentary of "Japanese people who live in Internet cafes because they can't afford apartments." Fuel for your novel of a dystopian future.

Just one of the things I came away with from the Apple event earlier this week. "In the end, it’s not really enough. Mac laptops are going to go crashing to the ground in vastly greater quantities than they have over the last several years. I’ve heard it said since Monday morning that MagSafe was the single best hardware feature Apple invented for its laptops, and I’m hard pressed to deny that—although extra-long battery life is nice, too." Having had laptops (and other devices) without MagSafe and one with, I can't tell you how much better MagSafe is. What will probably happen, is someone will come out with a USB-C with a MagSafe breakaway on the cable. If I have to get one of these Macs, I would so buy one. Hell, I'd buy one made for the thunderbolt connection right now. (Grokked from BoingBoing)

Two articles on the fight to protect all health care for women. The first talks about the work of the clinic escorts, the second is about survivors of rape and incest sharing their stories to debunk and shame other politicians into doing the right thing. And the sad truth is at the end of that second article, "This bill, I predict, will pass. This bill will traumatize people, and it will put doctors in danger, because one of the provisions of the bill will make it so that doctors' personal information, like their address, will be made public."

"I left the Dollar General realizing that dictating what you can buy with food stamps is the kind of thing that only sounds good to people who don't actually have to survive on a poverty income… SNAP recipients already eat more virtuously than the rest of us. A 2008 USDA report found that they are less likely than those with higher incomes to consume at least one serving of sweets or salty snacks per day. More recently, a 2015 USDA study concluded that, adjusting for demographic differences, people who take SNAP benefits don't consume any more sugary drinks than their low-income peers who aren't in the program." Funny how you don't hear about that during the debates of who much to cut from social welfare programs. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Hey, you know how conservatives love to talk about how efficient and cost-effective the private sector is and how we should just hand everything over to private companies. Sort of like we did with Medicare reform that brought in private insurance companies to handle Medicare Advantage accounts. So, how's that working out for us? "But overspending tied to rising risk scores has cost taxpayers billions of dollars in recent years, as the Center for Public Integrity reported in a series of articles published last year. Earlier this week, the Government Accountability Office estimated 'improper payments' to Medicare Advantage plans at more than $12 billion in 2014." Well, I bet if we go after all that other fraud out there, like stopping individuals from getting heart valve transplants before their natural heart valves completely fail (yes, I know someone in that situation), yea, that'll save us some money. And I'm sure conservatives are fighting to make sure we reform this part of Medicare. "The Medicare Advantage industry is lobbying hard to block budget cuts sought by the Obama administration."

"The Congressional Budget Office expects that the federal government will spend $849 billion on Affordable Care Act insurance subsidies — $209 billion less than the scorekeeping agency expected a year ago. That works out to the federal government spending 20 percent less than expected… CBO also expects the federal government to spend less on Medicaid… $73 billion less than expected between 2016 and 2024." Just in case you hear someone spouting off about how much more the ACA is costing us. As I said at the time, what Obamacare was mostly going to do is cost shifting, taking what we spent occultly on covering the healthcare of everyone and bring it out into the open. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"We even have three states with pending bills that would make it nearly impossible for transgender students and citizens to even use a public bathroom. Business owners who let transgender people would face fines and lawsuits. Individuals who turn in transgender students would receive $2000 bounties according to the latest bill in Texas." What the total fuck?! Okay, I'm approaching the edge of tolerance and am approaching the "maybe if we burn the whole world down the roaches will do a better job at civilization" line. And if you don't think I don't know how to burn the world down, you don't know me very well (also, no, this wouldn't be an "internet" thing). At this point, maybe we'll start with Texas and see how that plays out. Seriously conservatives, if you think I've been mean before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Putting bounties on people is so far over the line, I don't think there's a chance we can bring you back. And since you ask others this question, I don't see any conservatives denouncing this, so you all must agree with it. Something about living by the sword. (Grokked from CC Findley)