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On the side of a hill in the deep forest green, tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground,
blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain sleeps unaware of the clarion call.
On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves washes the grave with silvery tears,
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions, generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo dreamed he met a Gallilean

Ferrett sells a novel. If you're a writer who hasn't broken through yet, go read his post. Heck, even if you have, go read his post.

"'It's a staff issue, so we're taking care of the staffing error,' (District spokeswoman Mary Kay Roth) said. 'It wasn't supposed to be sent home.'" Um, how about it should never have been written let alone copied. Seriously, don't tattle on bullies? Exact opposite of what kids should be doing.

So, there was this whole thing after the 2012 election when conservatives both failed to take back the White House and the Senate, and also lost seats in the House, about making sure that next time conservatives would hew to the message and not stick their collective feet in their mouths again. How's that working out? Well, I'm sure that's just one candidate speaking out of their ass. Okay, well, at least they're not engaging in the war on women any… Yea. At least in the manner of sticking ones foot in ones mouth, they don't seem to have much control there this year. So, how's the whackaloon count going? Oookaay. How about the other hate thing? Sigh.

Well, there's one life Obamacare helped save. (Grokked from Steven Gould, I think)

"What you’re doing is attempting to limit my choices, and I don’t appreciate that… There are young women my age who are extremely smart but they hide it because they get messages from women like you that if they are too smart or successful, boys won’t like them. They get messages from women like you that pleasing a man should be their number one goal." A 12-year old sees through Phyllis Schlafly's comments (linked to above). The unfortunate thing is, not many people do (although I'm heartened that more are). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The lawyer who argued for California's Prop 8 in front of the Supreme Court has an adopted daughter who is gay and wants to marry her partner. And Charles Cooper is adjusting his views on the matter. So, good on him. Although I'll note here that 1) not every lawyer believes every argument they make and 2) it took a close family member for his to re-evaluate his stance. It's strange that once people actually realize they actually know actual gay people, they're no longer afraid of "the gay agenda." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Republicans have absolutely no intention of letting go of Obamacare, their No. 1 campaign issue in 2014. The positive new sign-up figures unveiled by the White House -- including 5 million on non-exchange private plans, 3 million on Medicaid, 3 million young adults on a parent's policy -- won't change that because the issue animates the conservative base like none other." Again, if they lose, they know they'll lose the Congress for another decade or two. Conservatives, beating dead horses to dust since 1980.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Linkee-poo without a title

Wanna win a cool book, of course you do. (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

No time to read On Writing by Stephen King? Here's his top 20 rules for writers. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Essential tremors. When I'm under great stress and very tired, my hands shake like I have palsy. I wonder if I have this? Also note, this is different than the normal movement of your body from your pulse.

Jim Hines talks about some new technology to help diabetics.

Some social history on the beard. Last year you may have chuckled at the story of a splinter Amish sect cutting off the beards of other Amish. It wasn't all that long ago that anyone wearing a beard was considered strange and a challenge to social order. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Get offa my lawn, you hippie. Why older men are grumpy. It happens at around 70. I'm just practicing.

Best economy in the world, my ass. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Fred Clark with history in the making. We have always been t war with Eastasia.

"'We understand that change can be confusing and that Boonstra was annoyed at having to sign up for a new plan… But it appears (Boonstra) jumped on television without trying to understand the basics about her new coverage... In any case, one cannot claim that a plan is "unaffordable" when over the course of the year it will provide you with substantial savings.'" Another Obamacare horror story ad goes down the drain. Also note that even with proof that 1) she's paying less in premiums, 2) her drugs are covered under her plan (instead of a prescription card) and 3) her out of pocket will be less, she still thinks she's getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Why? Because people are telling here she is and she believes the people exploiting here more than the people trying to help her.(Grokked from the Slactivist)

I want to be very clear about this, Cliven Bundy is a thief. His family are thieves. The people supporting him don't understand that while he is using the words of patriotism, he's a crook. And he is stealing from all of us. His arguments are cockamamie. Pure bull. He signed the contracts after bidding to use Federal Lands. He knew exactly what he was getting into. His argument about the Federal Government not being able to own land is complete and utter bullshit. His argument that the lands can't belong to anyone outside the State of Nevada is complete bullshit. His argument of being grandfathered in is complete bullshit. The land doesn't belong to him. The rules change. It happens. His argument is the same as if someone went speeding past the new school while kids are crossing the street and getting on and off of buses because, hey, they've been speeding down that road since they were 16, some 40 years before. It's the same level of argument. Ryan Bundy says, "We will do whatever it takes to protect our life, liberty and our property. And that's what every single American should also say also." Hey, that's great. Only, it's not your property. If it were, there wouldn't be court orders against you. If it were, you wouldn't have had to sign contracts with the BLM. Keep your cattle on your land, pay the back rents you owe, and this will all go away. But that isn't what you want. The Bundys are criminals, the people they're robbing is everyone else in this country, and all the people supporting them are enabling and abetting criminals and criminal behavior. They aren't patriots. They're a mob. We're a country of laws.

Oliver North, you're a jerk. A complete knee-biter. Seriously, dude, going off your meds isn't helping anyone. And if you aren't on meds and still want to think that nobody died because of your actions, and that the Reagan Administration didn't try to cover up Iran-Contra, you've obviously are suffering from some sort of stroke damage. Get help soon. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Mind over food.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is just too tired for words

I'm wondering if anyone in the media is doing a study on when "the people" in Washington started to be referred to as "these people" in Washington?

Jennifer Cruise on characters wanting and bodies in motion. It makes more sense when you read it than I make with my description. She also gives some software tips on getting organized.

Five tips for telecommuting.

The list of most popular books by state according to Scibd. Not sure about the source of his data, but interesting none the less. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Jim Hines on the "choosing to be offended" gambit. What I think is hilarious is usually those making the statement "you're just looking for something to be offended by" are often the ones I also end up correcting when they are offended. Take this past weekend. Long ago friend was upset by something handed to him by his media outlets. He changed his tune as I proved to him that what he was upset about wasn't really what was happening. It's easy to do in some circumstances (mostly debunking the lies of certain media outlets, often able to do with a quick google search). But then there are things to be offended by. For as much as I know Jim, the things he chooses have proven out to be true, and basically horrible things that should be dealt with.

Chemo-mouth explained.

As you may have noticed, I get pretty snarky about my first career (design, communication, advertising and marketing). I'm not the only one. Here's a McSweeney article called This Is a Generic Brand Video. Yes, this. And then, in case you think this is hyperbole, Dissolve (a video clip service) produced the video from their stock. While it's a somewhat cynical ad for their services, still pretty good. Even AdWeek commented on it. "Watch below, and have a great self-hating rest of your afternoon." (Grokked from Dr. Phil)

On repetition in music and advertising. Why? It works, that's why.

In case you weren't paying attention, the drone war is still going on in Pakistan. Although, recently, I think it has been going a little better (like since the CIA was removed and command was returned to the Pentagon). But even though our missiles are "smart" is doesn't mean our targeting is, nor is it able to remove one person from a crowd, it just removes the crowd and we hope we get that one person. I have complicated feelings about the drone war, mostly boils down to I agree it's necessary (and a good way to fight an asymmetrical battle against a widely dispersed enemy), but damn, it could've been managed so much better. There's also the question of using drone strikes in targeted assassination. Most people point to Anwar al-Awlaki, but frankly, he wasn't the first American to die in a Predator drone strike. But here is something interesting. See, from a drone's camera (and from most aircraft), you don't see faces too often. Here's an art installation that shows drone pilots the faces of people whom their actions have affected their lives. It's in the form of large portraits on the ground in northern Pakistan. I also agree with this kind of activism. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

On the rise of environmentally sound aquaculture.

Quote of the day: "It is harrowing for me to try to teach 20-year-old students, who earnestly want to improve their writing. The best I can think to tell them is: Quit smoking, and observe posted speed limits. This will improve your odds of getting old enough to be wise." - Barbara Kingsolver

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo shakes its puny fists at an uncaring sky

Yea, this won't keep you up late at night. Now for an even worse thought, image this posted in the various ethnic communities.

Jim Hines with depression, anxiety and creativity. Yea, that also pretty well tracks to my own experience.

What would happen if you dropped a tungsten countertop into the sun? Because SCIENCE! Anyway, at the end of that XKCD what if piece he mentions that for health safety you should get normal granite countertops. I would recommend a different material than granite. (Pointed to by Dan)

Skydiver nearly hit by meteor gets what is possibly the first ever images of a meteor in its dark flight phase. (Grokked from Dan)

Steven Seagal thinks Putin is a great leader and may consider moving to Russia. The friends you keep. This really isn't news, except many conservatives have been spinning the same line. There is a population that reacts strongly to a strong handed "leader". There are many people who would rather have kings than democracy. And then there are people who want to be submissive in the face of domination. And those people seem to be inordinately clustered on the conservative spectrum. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Good Judgement Project. Taking citizens and seeing if they can be better predictors than our "experts" staffing the country's intelligence agencies. If you want to know what "spooks" really do, it's just as humdrum as this is. "First, if you want people to get better at making predictions, you need to keep score of how accurate their predictions turn out to be, so they have concrete feedback." There's so much in there I could discuss (coughFoxNewscough). Also a little on "the wisdom of crowds" which is always an interesting subject. "What's so challenging about all of this is the idea that you can get very accurate predictions about geopolitical events without access to secret information. In addition, access to classified information doesn't automatically and necessarily give you an edge over a smart group of average citizens doing Google searches from their kitchen tables."

How the 1 percent has it's own 10 percent. While the article likes to say that we shouldn't vilify all of the 1%, because it's only 10% of that 1% that is really seeing their wealth grow, I'd point out that the 10% keeps cycling through the 1% and even the laggardly 1% still have gathered more wealth to themselves (and fought to keep it there) than most of the rest of the country. So, no. I don't buy it. What this shows, as I've stated before, is that there is always someone with more money. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And with more attention to the nuances of the top, we're also getting a more nuanced picture of the bottom. As many of us have know, being poor doesn't always mean living below the poverty line (that line is set artificially low, BTW).

Why we hate corporations (a pie chart). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The career reboot. Apparently being older and working as unpaid interns isn't all that unusual anymore. Pretty much what I've been doing. It beats being long term unemployed.

The basic human impulses that lead us astray when it comes to our nest eggs. A little on retirement strategy.

Hobby Lobby, after arguing before the Supreme Court about how as a corporation they should be allowed the religious exemption to not cover birth control in their corporate healthcare policies now finds out their retirement plans including investing in those same companies that make birth control. While a lot of people are pointing fingers and saying "hypocrisy", I don't think so. What I think is this shows how incredibly hard it will be for these companies to claim and enforces their religious decrees. After all, who reads the full prospectus? Of course there are investment companies that screen those out. This is just egg on their faces which I'm sure they will now quickly change the company that handles their 401(k) plans. This isn't like the Catholic companies that screamed bloody murder only to discover the diocese office workers health plans that they've had for year already covered birth control. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Remember that whole, "don't let the government get between your doctor and you" thing? Well, not only do insurance companies get between your doctor and you already, so do the large health care conglomerates. Yep, business directives will drive your doctor's decisions interfering with their judgement and practice. And this has been going on for a long time. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I have often felt this way in corporate meetings

Sometimes called, "The Expert", sometimes labeled as "What Meetings Feel Like to Engineers." But change some words and basically it becomes "What business meeting are like to those people who don't hold MBAs as their only qualification."

Yea. I've so been there. (Grokked from Dan)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is studying for yet another test

One trick to becoming a better writer, copy the works of writers you admire. Nothing can get you closer to the words than to copy them out.

Competitions and fellowships for screenwriters.

Twenty-one horribly inappropriate children's books. Um, yea… (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Why I write. Twenty-three authors share their reasons. Why do I write? Because if I didn't, the words would choke my soul and kill me.

The digital sandbox. Wow. Now this is a cool application of virtual/augmented reality that I can get behind. (Grokked from @thc1972)

Killer Whales wake ridding behind a speed boat. Quite amazing, until you remember these are wild killer whales, not the ones in Sea World. And these whales are probably not too much smaller than the boat these people are ridding in. So while I would think that would be an amazing experience (yea, I would be geekgasming more so that they were), a part of my brain would also be thinking about why those whales were there in a sea-lion colony and relative sizes of the whales, sea-lions, and myself. We're gonna need a bigger boat. (Grokked from Janiece Murphy)

How we won the war on D&D. For a little historical perspective. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Remember that obnoxious Cadillac "pool" ad? Well Ford does a pretty good parody. Good on you, Ford. If you read my twitter feed, you'll know I love this stuff. (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke, I think)

"The reach of so-called 'astroturf' campaigns—where lobbyists manufacture fake grassroots support—is also magnified thanks to the web." An article on how corporate PR is altering the way we get information on the internet. Also of note, I've been targeted by one of their campaigns before (in a mild sense, they haven't yet tried to do character assassination). Fortunately, I argue better than the PR firm the company hired and they realized that attempting to "correct" me only allowed me to expose their lies to a greater degree. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The burial site that is possibly Attila the Hun. What sometimes gets lost in popular history is that while we focus on some of the big people, there were lots of big people lost in the records of that time. (Grokked from AbsoluteWrite)

Using facial recognition software to detect people's emotions and if they're experiencing pain. What could possibly go wrong here? Also, yes, those of us in healthcare have also been able to detect that (yes, we can tell when you're faking). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The return of Nemesis. More data showing the possible presence of a large rocky planet outside the orbit of Pluto.

"So, in trying to address one problem — heart disease — by cutting way back on fat, many experts we talked to agreed that the original dietary goals may have helped fuel other problems, like diabetes and obesity." A little on the long term politics of food and the ramifications that we are all dealing with now.

"… Jef Mindrup — who identifies as Buddhist — is suing Goodman Networks in federal court on the grounds that he was asked to violate his 'sincerely held religious beliefs' by printing the verses and was then fired for refusing to do so." I wonder if all those Christian Defense Fund fellows will rush to defend this person on his stand for his religious beliefs? Yea, I'm not holding my breath either. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The end of public funding for elections. This next election brought to you by Coal and Big Pharma. What I don't understand is why there isn't more outcry about this. This isn't tax money that is being redirected, you had to intentionally check a box to give to this fund. And Congress and the President are just going to "redirect" those funds. "The new legislation says the convention cash will finance research on cancer, autism, fragile X syndrome and other childhood diseases… Defenders of public financing note that the bill doesn't actually appropriate the money for NIH… the transfer wouldn't come close to making up congressional cuts in pediatric research, and would collide with NIH's congressionally imposed spending cap." Who is zooming who here.

That whole "Freedom of Speech and Religion" thing? You're doing it wrong. Some people just don't understand when they're told directly not to do this shit. Seriously, this isn't rocket science. So, instead of listening to the court this county commissioner says they're willing to go to jail for their right to open their meeting with a Christian prayer. Well, you're in luck buckaroo. It's called "contempt of court." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The ironies in this story are endless… We have Rand Paul who believes freedom means businesses denying services to black people, denying women the right to make their own healthcare decisions and denying non-Republicans the right to vote as a great civil libertarian fighting for privacy rights that were violated by the NSA solely on orders by fellow Republican, George W. Bush. We have Ken Cuccinelli who tried to regulate sex when he was Virginia’s Attorney General as the lead attorney in a suit on privacy rights. We have Larry Klayman, who tried nullify Barack Obama’s presidency with a birthed suit… (y)Yet, he filed his suit because he is concerned about privacy rights… It took these lawsuits against the Obama Administration to see court documents that reveal what a Republican Administration did to our privacy rights solely on the orders of then President George. W. Bush." Oh, what wicked webs we weave. Also pointed out that while conservatives love to shout about how "won't liberals ever stop blaming Bush", for a good many things he was responsible. And now we have the paperwork to prove it. (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke)

I think I posted an earlier link about how our culture has changes in significant ways to channel our kids into behaving and not acting out or questioning authority. In case you thought that was being hyperbolic, take this case of a 3rd grader being expelled for shaving her head in support of a friend with cancer. Still think we aren't choking our kids sense of empathy and desire to be their own persons? Okay, how about a young girls being tossed out of a Christian school for dressing like a tomboy? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tweet of my heart: @TheBaxterBean
GOP 2009-2013:
124 Religion Bills
56 Abortion Bills
76 Family Relationship Bills
149 Gun Bills
36 Marriage Bills
0 JOBS Bills

Friday, March 28, 2014

Too long for twitter

There are some days I just get tired of the BS.

Dear Speaker Boehner and several conservative members of Congress,

You say the President has broken the law. That he has gone beyond his Constitutionally given powers. You've said this multiple places and multiple times. Time to call the bluff.

If the President has gone beyond his Constitutional powers, if he has ignored the law, if he continues to break the law as you state, you have only one course of action. You must vote on impeachment for his crimes. You must. It's you fucking goddamn duty. It's your charge in the balance of powers. It's your duty under the Constitution of which you claim to uphold and know more than the rest of us and carry in the breast pockets of your suits.

You must (and let me reiterate that by shouting, "MUST") vote to impeach him.

If you don't, you are just as guilty of breaking the law and ignoring the Constitution. If you don't you are cowards hiding behind words. If you don't you're just using these words to pillage the bank accounts of the gullible for your own benefit.

Let me say this again. If you believe these things are true, as you have publicly stated many times, you MUST vote for impeachment proceedings. And if you don't, I am calling you coward, right here.

If what you say is true, there is no other explanation.

So I'm calling you out now. Vote. Or sit down and STFU. There's too much work to be done otherwise.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Anticipation of Summer

One of the things I love about my house in the woods is on summer nights leaving the drapes open and watching the fireflies dancing in the trees. One of my happiest memories is taking the backroad home from a trip with Bette and stopping by an Amish farm to watch the fireflies, thick clouds of them, weave above the drying hay mounds in the quarter moonlight. So this time-lapse video of fireflies is just so amazing. For all of you waiting for the end of winter and the snows, this one is for you.

(Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes

Apropos of nothing, listening to this today brings tears. Might be memories or longing for different times, or just missing George Harrison.

Plus I love the visuals on this video, and Rufus' voice. A mix of Magritte (whom I also love) with a little 99 Luftballons and Schindler's List thrown in for visual spicing.

And it's only now I realize I could have learned how to play this song. Might need to do that. You know, in all this spare time I have these days.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo remembers a day

Sorry, things are light today. Still way too much work to keep reading. The to be read list still hovers around 600 posts. It doesn't get much smaller than that these days.

The reboot is going. Things have kinda hit the skids since I've been put into rotation at an outpatient facility. And although Friday was very busy (with people coming in waves, and I mean BIG waves), but not seeing things I need. Although I did get to do two more skulls last week. I like skull work, have I mentioned that. So what I have left is 2 C-Spines (with obliques), Facial Bones, Manible, and my Terminal (3 routines, above knee and elbow). I need one more recheck for this semester. Still have 5 weeks to get it all. Still feel nervous even though it's a light schedule for clinicals. Classes, now that's another thing. I'll be in Cincinnati early in April for the OSRT conference defending my poster and probably playing pickup in the Academic Challenge rounds. But still a lot of material to get through and then there's the registry exam to prepare for. No pressure, justly future livelihood on the line.

Hope things are going well for you all.

Neil Gaiman talks about ghost stories and why they appeal to us.

There's this joke about flood waters rising and a guy praying for God to save him that ends with him in front of the Almighty who asks, "I sent you a truck, a boat, and a helicopter, what were you waiting for." Keep that in mind as you read this story about a guy suing his rescuers. Of course it's not about ingratitude, I'm sure it's about his $40,000 medical bills. "What is really awful is that Roy Ortiz has such high medical bills that he had to find a lawyer and initiate the process of filing suit against (the people who rescued him). Yet more proof that our health care system is in dire need of further reform." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

I'm sure you've also heard about how wonderful working in the tech industry is. Yea, not so much. "Confidential internal Google and Apple memos… clearly show that what began as a secret cartel agreement between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt to illegally fix the labor market for hi-tech workers, expanded within a few years to include companies ranging from Dell, IBM, eBay and Microsoft, to Comcast, Clear Channel, Dreamworks, and London-based public relations behemoth WPP. All told, the combined workforces of the companies involved totals well over a million employees." Still believe in the level playing field? (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Quote of the day: “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” — Thomas Mann

Tweet of my heart: @jchutchins For my writer peeps: KEEP CALM — TYPE TK AND CARRY ON

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It had been nailed there

Apropos of the day's news that Fred Phelps has passed on.

Before you want to tell me about not saying ill of the dead, etc, blah blah, look, mate, some people have been remiss in their dues to humanity. And then some people have been stealing from the humanity till and going through the pockets of everyone else. Fred's in that later category.

Linkee-poo is all breathless

Some of these may be time limited, so posting earlier than I would.

Ideomancer is looking for slush readers.

There's a new generation of blimps about to take off in Akron. And you can win a trip on it by entering the naming contest.

There's an auction of rare books of science and astronomy, and the auction house has shared some of the pages. I just love this stuff. Also, as a side note, you see the guy with the eyes all over him on the first page photo? Yea, he's in the WIP (ver minor character, but I love what he does in the story). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Sure, you've probably heard about how we saw tell-tale signs of gravity wave, which helps prove the Inflationary Theory of the Big Bang. But have you seen the video of when Dr. Andrei Dmitriyevich Linde, one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory, got the news? (Grokked from Leah Bobet)

Doctors are using 3D printers in healthcare. They just printed a tracheal splint to help a baby breath better.

In a move that surprises no one, science deniers go batshit over Cosmos. (Grokked from Jason Sandford)

Older workers are working longer. Because they have to.

As I've said before, I can't believe we're still fighting these battles. Way to go Michigan. Ohio had become the joke they wanted to avoid, but you've saved Ohio from being a statewide Cleveland joke by going off the deep end of bats hit insane. Thanks. Also, something to keep in mind the next time you hear a conservative talk about fiscal issues. They don't give a crap about that. The Republican party, today, has been taken over by the lunatics Ronald Reagan brought in as a reliable voting block.

Tweet of my heart: @OhNoSheTwitnt Once Fred Phelps dies how many horcruxes does Ann Coulter have left?