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Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Linkee-poo is not good, is not nice, is just right, I'm the witch, you're the world

"To outside eyes, the struggle over the Hugo can be confusing. It involves the arcane details of a complex nomination procedure, and factions with names like Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies. But the ruckus makes a lot more sense in the context of science fiction's historical lack of diversity, and there's perhaps no better illustration of that problem than the career of Samuel R. Delany." History may not repeat, but it sure as heck rhymes. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Galaxy Quest moves forward as a TV show. I think something got lost in the translation. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The jeweled skeletons of European Catholicism. This is something that sets my dials to 11. Plus, the Smithsonian article accompanying the photos is fantastic and a really good introduction to this macabre artwork, why it was done, the trade in relics, and what these skeletons meant to the people who purchased and revered them. I personally love the tail of church psychics dowsing catacombs for saints and martyrs. (Grokked from Merrie Haskell)

And so it goes. An interview with Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician and angel of the Good Death. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

World's largest USB drive (video). Just in case you lost the wonder over your smart phone. Remember, kiddies, you weren't the first generation to use computers. Ah, hardware from when we all wore bearskins and used flint knives. (Grokked from John)

Behold, the genius behind the aluminum beverage can. (Grokked from Dan)

The changing face of palm oil production.

Normal children who are very comfortable and at ease – in Western Art History. Might be slightly NSFW due to penises (penii?). Here's the weird part, there are even stranger things out there (he said with 24 credits hours of art history and a love of museums and old etchings). (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"Calling the situation 'a complex and ongoing multistate outbreak of listeriosis occurring over an extended period of several years,' the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has traced eight related cases of Listeria: five in Kansas and three in Texas. Those cases span a time period from 2011 to 2015." Good thing we have a slate of presidential candidates pledged to reduce business regulation and government over site. After all, we don't need the government involved in business. "'All eight case patients are adults, and three deaths have been reported from Kansas,' the FDA says." I mean, it's only Listeria. Note this has been going on for four years, and it's only now we have Blue Bell recalling all their products. But the worst part isn't in the story. With all those factories idle waiting for cleanup and recertification, all those people on the shop floors are out of work.

You'd think they would be a little more circumspect about showing their true natures so early in the electoral process.

Christ would not vote to raise the minimum wage. Wow. Such ignorance. Much stupidity. This is a prime example of how people read the Bible and only see what they want to. Donny Boys quotes Matthew 20: 1-15 (which he miss marks, BTW), but misses entirely what this story is about by leaving off the first and last lines of this parable. This is a story about how people can gain the Kingdom and has nothing to do with pay issues. "'Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16 'So the last will be first, and the first will be last.'" He also entirely misses the context of this story by ignoring Matthew 19 where Jesus is discussing how to obtain the Kingdom. It's a story telling people not to be dicks to late comers to the Word, because all will receive entrance into the Kingdom because God is generous. Also in the previous chapter is where Jesus states that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle that it would be for a rich man to enter heaven. "Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Hey, Donny, have you done as the Christ commands you? But then he completely misses that it's John the Baptist speaking in Luke 3:14, not Jesus. And also, two lines before John admonishes the crowd, "'Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same'" which completely contradicts Donny's statement about how rich people with money don't owe anyone a job. Seriously, Don, go back to Bible School with the 3rd graders, 'cause you didn't learn the first time. Also, follow Wheatons Law, "Don't be a dick." (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Linkee-poo gave up smoking, women and drinking last night, it was the worst fifteen minutes of my life

Monday was the 101 anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre. It is my deepest fear we need to go through those times again. I'll note that all the pieces of that struggle are now present in our modern times.

A bookstore dedicated to self-published titles opens in Florida. "Self-published authors rent shelf space for three months for $60, plus a $15 set-up fee, close to what they might spend to exhibit a single title at a day-long book fair." Although they then get 100% of their sales. Let's see how this plays out. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

Live cam of a corpse flower in bloom. (Grokked from Phiala)

In case you forgot, how to download your Google search history. I use Google as a spell checker so often, I really don't want to. But you might. (Grokked from John)

The lesser known Trolley Problem variations. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Some more good news on using the body's own immune system to attack cancers. In this case, melanomas. But before we blow the trumpets, understand what this article is all about. It's about inflating the companies' stock values, not about curing cancer. "Even in the Opdivo-Yervoy study, 126 of 142 patients did not see their cancer vanish entirely. And even with the best studies of CART therapy in leukemia, two or three out of every ten patients are not helped, and are likely to die." Also, "the combination of the two drugs had unprecedented cancer-fighting potency, but also caused toxicity: 50% of patients had side effects that were severe or life-threatening. But an amazing 22% of patients – 16 of them — had what’s called a complete response." Yes, almost half the patients could have died from the combination of drugs. But on the silver-lining, almost a quarter of them had complete reversals (or a little less than half of those who almost died). That's a big ethics and efficacy issue. While a 22% response is amazing in drug research (really, most responses come in under 10%), that "half the people who take this may die" is a big stumbling block. And it might turn out that it's the toxicity of the response that affected the cancers, not exactly the treatment. However, the big part of this article is buried about halfway down, "The combination of immune-boosting and genetic tools, (analysts at Piper Jaffray, an investment research group) argue, could in 20 years make the market for cancer treatment as big as all of health care is now: half a trillion dollars a year." And the costs of these drugs are not insignificant. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

A Russian may be the first recipient of a whole body transplant. I know they're calling it a "head transplant", but the goal is the head is the patient and they're getting a new body. Not exactly sure where I come down on this. And I'm not even thinking about the slippery slope arguments yet and already I think there are a lot of ethical issues with this surgery (which is mostly likely why it will be done in Russia). This is another one of those achievements where we technically could probably pull it off, but should we? (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

"As the first black female mayor of Parma, Mo., took office last week, five of the town's six police officers resigned… Former Mayor Randall Ramsey told KFVS that in addition… the city's attorney, clerk and water treatment plant supervisor resigned due to 'safety concerns.'" Uh, yea, safety concerns. I'm sure it has nothing to do with any possible nepotism (the previous mayor was in office 37 years) or racism. Having been a locally elected official, when it comes to "safety concerns", you don't resign. You fight like hell to keep your citizens safe. That is, after all, what you swore to do when you took office. But, I guess if you were a dick to relatives of the new mayor then you may think the new mayor would be a dick with you. Hint to most people, the rest of us don't think that way. But, to be a little fair to the cops, when you are fired from a police department, that is a signal to other police departments to never hire you (which is why most officers will resign or find another job).

What's at stake if the Supreme Court rules against Obamacare subsidies. It's the conservatives' worst nightmare, people actually like their Obamacare and realize it's a good deal for them.

"'I’d be glad to discuss the issue and see if we need a hearing, but it (Ted Cruz has been pushing for hearings on military personnel carrying their own weapons on base) came as a complete surprise to me that he had been pressing me,' (Sen. John) McCain told reporters, according to The Hill." Well, it could be that Sen. McCain is getting a little forgetful, or that Sen. Cruz is lying. It could also be that there is no love lost between the two of them. And the walk back begins.

The Koch brothers make their opening bid. They lay a few chips on Scott Walker, although part of me is expecting this to be an obscuring move and not a final or true endorsement. But I've been wrong before.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Linkee-poo has gone to Carolina in my mind

Tobias Buckell shares his early experience with fandom.

A book of creatures. Says what it does, does what it says. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

While nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet, in case you're worried about your tweets, the Tweet Delete service. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

You may have heard me state that I believe good design should stand on its own. During presentations I can do the dog and pony show and give all the reasoning, blahbity blah blah. Doesn't mean squat because I won't be there (nor with corporate executives receiving the "briefing" sales pitch) with their customers to "explain" it all in loving detail. Take the new HP Enterprise logo for example. There's a whole story behind every little design decision. Case in point, the two "t"s at the end of "Hewlett". I'm sure they're to represent a "connection… symbolic of the partnership we will forge with our customers, partners, and our employees – what we will do together to help drive your business forward" and not just a friggin ligature, which is good type design. I'm sure their customers will be all "Well, I was going to go with IBMs offering until I saw the commitment behind the two "t"s in their logo and then I decided that HPE was for us." Yea, I'm sure that will happen. The stories we tell ourselves. (Grokked from John)

Contrarily, we humans put a lot of emotion into images, and those images tell stories. In this case, a post debate photo from the English election. This is the fundamental issue in design, we tell stories if we mean to or not. We should mean them, be in direct control. However, just like every other creative endeavor, people will bring their own baggage along with them and tell their own stories. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

A middle-school airbrushes a teenager's t-shirt to remove the word "feminist" from the class photo. "Yes, we live in a society where the word 'feminist' is still, apparently, controversial." Hey, ho, way to go Ohio. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

As Douglas Adams wrote, "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." (Grokked from John)

One nation, under cancer. "The research focuses on the most common — and preventable — risk factors for cancer, with some cross tabulations by gender, age and other variables." Fuck cancer.

"So, yeah. The surprise closing of five (Wal-Mart) stores Monday probably isn’t a mystery. And it probably ain’t about plumbing." Strange how all five stores were the sites of organized labor.

Ted Cruz shoots himself in the foot attempting to do wing nut service. "But Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is arguing that the Second Amendment includes a right to revolt against government tyranny, a point of emphasis uncommon for mainstream presidential candidates." So, okay, let's play this game. In the past 200 years in this country, when has this been successful? We've had plenty of revolts (big, small, and in-between). So far, not one has had much success (outside of the Civil War, and we all know how that played out, although one side likes to "keep on believing". Remember when the right pilloried then Sen. Obama for making the "god and guns" argument?

"A new study by the Pew Research Study shows that viewers of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report have the highest knowledge of national and international affairs, while Fox News viewers rank nearly dead last…" Next up, water is wet. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

It's one thing for constituents who oppose the views of their elected officials to not contact those officials. It's another thing entirely when the elected office refuses to meet with those who oppose their views. This is not a sign of strength, it's a sign that you know your beliefs can't withstand scrutiny. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

So, apparently this is a thing now. "However, it seems the apology (for hanging a sign saying "Celebrate Your White Heritage in March, White History Month" on his deli) was not enough to keep Boggess in business. Boggess closed his deli and has started a GoFundMe page for his deli in hopes of raising money to reopen." So, now we make ignorant, un self-aware statements and then expect the people to give us money because we're being all put upon. Say, isn't this "market forces"? And this is what I was talking about in regard to another political issue that if we allow businesses to discriminate (I'm not saying this deli discriminated, but making a larger point here), the business should be forced to post that. In this case, this business decided to post their joy in unexamined privilege and tagged onto what is a very racist and offensive statement. As my grandma once told me, "everyday is grandkid day". In this case, every day is white privilege day.

"(Warren) Buffett’s 'Clayton Homes' is not a business that sells housing. It’s a pretext for high-interest loans to milk families dry before expelling their penniless husks and moving on to the next victim." A billionaire who makes his money on the bent and broken backs of the poor? Shocked, shocked I am…

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Linkee-poo has seen so much in so many places, so many heartaches, so many faces, so many dirty things you couldn't even believe

The Ohioana Book Festival, Saturday, April 25, 2015. That's my Sectional Anatomy II final, and I work at the hospital at 7am the next day. Note to self, must put this on calendar for the next few years. (Grokked from Lucy A. Snyder)

25 tips on writing violence. Not exactly what I thought when I saw the link, but good advice. If you follow my twitter account, you've probably seen me rail against poorly written violence and fight scenes. And don't get me started on the talkative nature of most of the violence in movies. If my stories ever get published you'll see that doesn't hold any water with me. When you've determined to do violence, you don't give the opposition a chance. And that includes telegraphic your moves or stopping to talk.

Since it's after Easter it must be time to torture Peeps. Finding the speed of light using Peeps. 'Cause SCIENCE!

How to survive a close encounter with a black hole. Also, new word, "peribothron (closest approach to the black hole)". Many bothrons died to bring you this. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

The coming home battery revolution. Or, what is it that Tesla is going to announce at the end of the month? Likely a home battery. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

I think it was Kansas that asked, "So, how long to the point of no return?" Or as I say, there is controversy in the science of climate change, of that the GOP/Fox News is correct. However, the controversy isn't "is it happening" or "is it our fault", but instead is, "are we already boned?" Shakes the Magic-8 ball, "Signs point to Yes." Okay, well, not yes exactly, maybe "Close" is the better answer. But I'm sure we have a few more snowballs to be thrown by Sen. Inhofe. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The Japanese town increasingly populated by life-sized dolls. (Grokked from Dan)

Fuck cancer. And this time, it's because of the cost of treatment. "High-deductible health plans and soaring drug prices are to blame, (Dr. Neal Meropol) says… 'We went from drugs that cost a few hundred dollars for a course of therapy… to drugs that were costing $10,000 a month.'" Which then put people into collections, destroying their credit and lives. Obamacare hasn't helped much with this problem (which is where half of the people who disagree with Obamacare come from, because they feel Obamacare didn't go far enough and include a "public option"). And now the question before ethicists is, "Do we discuss cost with the patient." And that's a hard nut to crack. However, for those who advocate for the "FREE markets!", the answer should be a simple "Yes." But then, how do you tell someone that they might not be able to afford the treatment that would allow them to live? Does the patient then have to make the choice between living longer and spending all of their nest egg to do so, or dying sooner and keeping their money. Yea, that's a hard nut. (Full disclosure, I work PRN for University Hospitals, and it's where I'm doing my CT clinicals)

"'That does not bode well for the IRS,' (John) Oliver said, 'because a government agency should not have the same age ratio as an Eric Clapton concert.'" On a few issues that have come up in the past year which are worrying a lot of people. They're chronically understaffed, and what staff there is are aging out and approaching retirement. As it was said in an NPR story, our tax code is complex, and it takes more than a few years to learn it all. All that knowledge is about to retire.

Remember an article I linked to a while back (like, last summer or so) about what it's like to work part-time in retail? About how stores are requiring employees to be available 24/7, but only work when they're called in? Apparently, that might be illegal. At least if they don't pay the employee for 4 hours.

Meet the new GOP, same as th old GOP. Never get fooled again.

Oh, Indiana. Sure it wasn't about discrimination. Once the cameras are gone, though, it's all about making sure they can discriminate. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

It's called false attribution. So while conservatives may see visiting Chipotle as Hispanic Outreach, those of us in the real world know what it's like to drive cross country and to stop and get some food to go. We'll overlook the misattributed libel (twitter users said they looked "hung over").

And we will know they are Christians by our love. Or something like that. (Grokked from John)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Linkee-poo closed my world and never opened up to anything that could cut me at all

Elizabeth Bear's plotting the narrative lecture from Viable Paradise.

On the shape of stories. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd I think)

Note to self, must go back and read both of those and take notes.

The top ten short story titles submitted to Clarkesworld. (Grokked from CC Findley)

HAWKMAN! "Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving, and revolving at 900 miles an hour…" Stephen Hawking covers the Monty Python Galaxy Song. "And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth."

The myth of the Golden Ratio is bullshit. An interesting take, which is also bullshit. This is the design equivalent of fantasy geeks arguing if Tolkien wrote the LotRs in response to the horrors of WWI, or if Frodo's journey is a mirror of the Christ story. And it fails for exactly the same reasons (these are filters from which the LotRs can be viewed, and they popup in the zeitgeist of the human experience, but it wasn't written with those things consciously in mind). Note how the author admits that the Golden Ratio keeps showing up everywhere, but not with mathematical precision. That is, the numbers don't actually come out to the irrational number that the Golden Ratio stands for. This is because nobody divides their canvas by the Golden Ratio, or sets up their floor plan by it (because they're more worried about the roof falling in) or any of the other arts. But it's all close. Why? Because artists don't use rulers, asshole. When you're setting text and you center a line of type, you're probably satisfied with it, right? As a designer I can tell you that while I use the centering function (especially when I'm in a rush), for most applications I center by eye (especially for headlines and poster type). Why? Because artists don't use rulers, asshole. Okay, I'm being smarmy, but in truth visual art/communication is all done by how it looks to the eye (see previous discussions about what you "see" isn't exactly what's there). Also, if you're a master at the art you realize that the flat canvas is not how people see your art, it's all distorted to them (look at a statue meant to be displayed above the crowd's eye-level, then look at it straight on, yea, the proportions are out of whack). You can define music as numbers (because everything can be defined by numbers), but most music composed that way sucks. Now, I've never swallowed the whole "it's the perfect form of beauty" argument that some add to it (let me tell you about column widths in the ancient world… note, they all don't have the same proportions but differed as the concept of beauty differed over the ages), but to obliterate the whole theory because not everything that is beautiful comes out to the exact number is a straw man argument that makes the author feel superior and makes him look like a smart guy to people who really don't know what they're talking about. So, while overlaying the Golden Ratio over everything won't show an exact match, why are most things that are pleasing to our eye round about the same proportions? Because our brains are pattern recognition machines, and because the Golden Ratio is pleasing to our brains, so it keeps showing up. (Grokked from BoingBoing)

"These adjuncts are among the finest, longest-serving instructors in many universities, and it’s well known that their lasting contributions can transform the lives of their students… It’s also no secret that they are getting a raw deal. Overworked and underpaid, they often struggle to get by…" Yes, this. Also, full-time faculty, if you really want to help your positions (because guess whom isn't getting hired because the institution can just hire a few adjuncts for a savings of over 50%), you'd fight like hell to get the adjuncts into the union (and unions, you'd be wise to do so as well). Yea, I don't see that happening anytime soon. (Grokked from Dan)

"According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 16 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. Of that number, many struggle with whether and how to talk about their depression in the workplace." I spent almost 4 years in a deep depression at a former job. While it was caused by external pressures, it left a lasting imprint on my brain so that I now deal with occasional bouts of it. The drugs help me get through that and get to the end quicker. And every time I realize, "Why did I do that? I must be depressed again…" it makes me nauseated. Especially because 1) I thought I was getting good at seeing the oncoming storm and 2) I let it happen to me and 3) Depression is a fucking liar.

Jim Hines testifies. (while I read Jim's blog, this was grokked from Janiece)

"Some of these stress inducing thoughts are what Clinical Psychologists call Cognitive Distortions. These stress inducing thinking errors can exacerbate any stress we are under and it is important to identify and challenge them." A checklist of faulty thinking that will come in handy in the coming year and a half. Also, as full disclosure, yep, I recognize a lot of those from my own depression based mind. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

A deconstruction of the whole "Obama's plan to nuke Charleston" comment that Ricky Santorum wasn't able to say, "that's just crazy talk." And instead he said he tried to pivot and reiterate that Obama is a "tyrant." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid. Usually, this means the country… is about to be treated to another round of backward time travel, to the supposedly idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Libertarians, they're all for freedom when it's their interests on the line, but often take a "screw you" attitude for anyone not in their group. An article on asking Rand Paul why he doesn't support gay marriage.

Most anti-abortionists are also strong anti-contraceptive people as well. Unless you're poor and on Medicaid, then they'll want to force you on it (if you're female). Oh, and they also want to check you for drugs and alcohol. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Linkee-poo, clean as a whistle, smelling like a rose, she got no dirty little fingers

Mary Robinette Kowal reiterates Wheaton's Law. Don't be a dick. If these shadows have offended, think on this an all is mended, that the Sad Puppies have just given an organization they disagree with a hellalottamoney to game the system. Doubtful they will actually show up at World Con. Doubtful the most heinous works will actually win.

I'll just drop this here to read and internalize a little later. How to manage those critical voices inside your head. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

An NPR story on how and why solar power got so cheap so fast. Basically China over built and forced everybody's price down. Notice the incredulity of certain quarters when supply and demand actually works to bring prices down. At the time I wrote this, there was no transcript yet, sorry.

"The last time oceans got this acidic this fast, 96% of marine life went extinct." Note, for various values of "fast" and most of life at the time was aquatic. Nothing to worry about. (Grokked from Dan)

Marketing to tween girls. Get 'em while they're young to get brand allegiance before the critical filters come down. It doesn't work, BTW, but whatevers. However they do talk about the trend of "we don't photoshop." "Last year, the underwear brand Aerie loudly proclaimed that it had stopped doing post-production on its photography. One ad read: 'The girl in this photo has not been retouched. The real you is sexy.'… 'It's still a construction,' (Emily) Long (of the Learning About Multimedia Project) says. 'They're still creating a shot… putting them in costumes and lighting and makeup. Just because they're not going back over it later on with something like Photoshop doesn't mean that it hasn't been manipulated.'" Yes, that. But that will never end (including with the coming fad of "the selfie-ad photo" which looks unplanned, but most definitely highly structured for success).

Yes, I'm sure Officer Slager was afraid for his life from the black man who was unarmed and running away from him. So, now will the deniers believe? Probably not.

"This provides a unique opportunity to observe how one police officer sought to avoid accountability for his actions… Between the time when he shot and killed Scott early Saturday morning and when charges were filed, Slager… was able to provide his “version” of the events. He appeared well on his way to avoiding charges and pinning the blame on Scott." And then the video surfaced. (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

Wow, Rand Paul just can't stop stumbling in the blocks. Dudes, really, when you announce you won't always be interviewed by Fox News. Also, you don't get to tell reporters what they should do. Well, to be fair, this is typical of candidates who thought they were on the national stage suddenly find that there was a whole 'nother level to go (actually, there's about 4 more to go before the end of this).

Sure, it's not about discrimination. How many times have I said that so far?

"Indeed, the notion that naloxone fosters addiction is as flawed as suggesting that having epinephrine available encourages people to eat foods they know they are allergic to." On one healthcare provider's view on the rising heroin addiction crisis. Also, needle exchanges are a good idea which doesn't encourage increased drug use. Both those just keeps people who are using drugs a little safer.

I love how conservatives talk about liberals "silencing speech" when it's actually conservatives that are doing the silencing. Notice the difference between one side criticizing what the other side says versus one side making policy and laws of "thou shall not discuss… or use the word…". That difference is the main reason why I believe political correctness was actually a conservative movement to discredit diversity.

Conservatives, really, you're embarrassing yourselves. There's Allen West who thinks the video of Walter Scott being shot in the back by Officer Slager shouldn't cause any outrage since "in this case… 'the justice system clearly worked.'" Um, no, Allen, it didn't. If it had, Walter Scott would be alive. "'At this time we need to once again focus on correcting that which ails the black community: strong families and economic growth,' he wrote." Way to move the goal posts there. This is the old, "we're in a fiscal crisis, this is no time to try and fix the fiscal system!" argument. Look, squirrel! And with Tucker Carlson, it's always just boys being boys. I don't know if he was ever in a fraternity, but damn he sure channels the worst people thought about those of us who were. But mostly he's saying, "you're not being upset about the things I want you to be upset about and instead are being upset with me." Hold your breathe until you're blue, Tucker, that worked when you were young. And then we're back talking about women with this. "'Men go through a lot more stringent process to have a vasectomy than a woman does, I would assume, on an abortion,' state Sen. Todd Gardenhire said." Well state Sen. Gardenshire, you know what happens when you "assume." Oh, and if your doctor actually went "whacking" on you down there, get a new doctor. Most vasectomies, even the more involved ones, are out patient procedures with a local and a minimal incision (the newest procedure is a simple snip of the scissors covered with a bandaid). Also, if you're inclined to say you're post-racial because you're "color blind", don't. Just don't.

Hey, remember when conservatives were so incredibly pissed about people contacting Marvel (I think it was Marvel) about Orson Scott Card writing for them? Remember their comments about how that was stifling free speech, let the market decide, blah blah blah, typical touristy stuff? Good times. Good times.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dante's Prayer

As Jim Wright says, "Second Clown has exited the car! I repeat, the second clown is out of the car!" The 2016 Presidential Dance is getting into full swing. So it may be time to remember that it's always darkest before the dawn (well not really, refraction being what it is, but it's a saying, okay, go with it). We're all in this together. We shall meet on the other side.



Loreena McKennitt's Dante's Prayer came through my playlist and seems just so incredibly prescient.

Linkee-poo, come down off your cross, we could use the wood

A primer on how the "No Award" category works on the Hugo ballot. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Writing an apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) story? Here's some historical research for you. Those interviews at the beginning of Interstellar? Yea, those were real. Also, not to Sen. Inhofe, the Dust Bowl, a wholly man-made disaster, affected your state. Just keep that in mind as you start throwing snowballs. (Grokked from Tor.com)

On the political journey of Robert Heinlein and the effect of his hagiography. (Grokked from Mrs Tadd)

It's the new way to teach poetry. That is, it's exactly the old way where poems are didactic and there is an accepted (acceptable) meaning to the poem and there is no individual response to art. You know, the complete bullshit mannerisms of insecurity and an attempt to sanitize a force that could change the future. "So, what we have here is a mini-syllabus in how to wreck poetry for five- to eight-year-olds. Thank you, Ms Morgan." (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

Coming full circle. "What is most interesting about the HarperCollins initiative to sell their own e-books (and not signing a new contract with Amazon) is one of the formats they support is MOBI. This is compatible with the Kindle line of e-readers and what is most notable is that if you buy them from HC, the MOBI files are DRM-Free." Notice the chain of "we got these people to sign, won't you?" Yea, one of the worst sales pitches ever made, but people still try it. Now, what would be interesting is if HarperCollins went the same same as Tor/Macmillan did with Tor.com. HC has the deep pockets, Amazon has the platform, but they're not the only option. (Grokked from Mrs Tadd)

The Brontosaurus is back, baby! Now, about Pluto… (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Hey, vat-grown burger beef is now getting cheaper. Well, it's sort of like pharmaceuticals, the first pill costs you $4b, the second costs $0.01 (no, really, most pills are actually make for fractions of cents). Sure, it's not that cheap yet, but you get the point. Also, please note the other issues with vat-beef listed at the bottom of the page. (Grokked from Steve Gould)

Every year, non-Christian John Scalzi gives up something for Lent. This year, he's decided he is better off without the thing he gave up (ego-surfing). To which I say, "Good on ya, John" (he was also just in Australia, so I thought I'd go for that phrase, you're welcome). But the comments (ed. note, never read the comments… there are a few exceptions) makes me want to write about what Lent was all about and what it meant to give something up for Lent. Hint, chocolate or "sweets" are what children do. You're already supposed to fast for Lent, so giving up "food" is redundant (see Chocolat for more about this). You are supposed to change your life because of Lent. Doing something for only the Lenten Season is a symptom of our current view of Christianity, so well summed up by a childhood "friend" who informed me that "Once you're saved, you're always saved" (one of my first experiences with radical evangelicalism). That's not how it works. Sin isn't so much a prescribed action as a falling away from God (you know, the Big Yahweh). Our actions are a "sin" and the results of "sinning" lead to that falling away (or absence). The things themselves are not sin (since things and actions have no soul of their own). And once you renounce the sin, you are to ask for forgiveness (being saved), but then you must not sin again. It's one thing to be sorry for hitting your brother and then asking God to forgive you. But the follow on to that is to have learned a lesson and not hit your brother ever again. But Christianity no longer emphasizes that last part (because it's the hardest part, also CALVINISM!). So we now have a larger Christian culture where people fall in and out of sin (sung to the tune of Amy "Falling in and out of love with you"), but think they're continually saved (if you're Catholic, you might see the problem here). It's a nice idea. It's wrong, but it's a nice idea. The point of giving up something for Lent is "letting go and letting God". You're giving up the things that put distance between you and God (the clenched versus the opened hand). Yes, I know in this era of Prosperity Theology (re: echoes of CALVINISM!) that we no longer see Christianity as a separation from the worldly (because THINGS™), but it's a long tradition in Christianity (and other religions) to reject the worldly to be closer My God to Thee, as it were. And that means no more Keeping Up With the Joneses™ and rejecting worldly goods, possessions, and attachments. This is the concept of Giving Up Something for Lent. Bringing those things back into our lives after Easter (Maundy Thursday, Holy Saturday, Clean Monday, whenever) misses the point of the lesson. Now, let us discussed Engagement Christianity (Buddhism, etc) wherein one must be of and involved in the world to effect change…

It's not just the Sierra Nevada mountains that are low on snow. And this isn't the first year. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

An opinion on why the smart money is on "Tesla Announces Home Battery" at the end of this month. Grokked from Dan)

"If you don’t want to serve pizza to gay people… don’t — which, by the way, is legal in Indiana and 28 other states, but even where it is illegal, you’re still free to do so and deal with the consequences of breaking the law. That, pizza shop owner, is your choice. And if you don’t want to deal with those consequences, well, no one is forcing you to be in the pizza business. You’re free to do something else." On the talking point of "government forcing" you to do something. Equally applicable to the talking point that someone is "limiting free speech" by telling you off for you comment.

BTW, IMHO I think the Arizona RFRA law (I think it was Arizona, my google-fu is failing me at the moment) amended to include language stating you must post if you discriminate and which groups you discriminate against, is excellent. Not just because it caused the law to be defeated, but because I want to know which businesses are discriminating so I don't give them any custom. Being a straight, white male who is mostly gender-normative, seeing who is discriminating is difficult (because I may not see the actual act of discrimination), however I don't want to give business to anyone who would discriminate on these grounds (this is different than people refusing to put hate speech on items they sell). Having that sign posted would help me know which businesses to patronize and which to avoid.

Just in case you still think there isn't a War on the Poor happening, a new bill in Maryland, introduced out of order and near the end of the legislative session "would target the poor — disproportionately people of color — as an unequal group without specific, court-determined due process rights; those who can afford an attorney can still have one at initial appearances, those who cannot would be out of luck." It would basically amend the State's Constitution to deny public defenders to people at their initial bail hearings. But, the paper did the numbers and "Given the numbers, it would appear that Mr. Miller would be better off putting together a study group to determine how Maryland can encourage more indigent defendants to turn to public defenders, in the hopes it would keep more of them free before trial and save the state even more money." My guess is someone just got a donation from the for-profit jail companies. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

Sure, it's all about religious freedom, not about discrimination. And the timing has nothing to do with the expected Supreme Court ruling to would make same-sex marriage available throughout the US.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Linkee-poo, but every word You say today gets twisted round some other way, and they'll hurt You if they think You've lied

Cat Rambo on being an older female writer. Also applicable (as are these things) to older male writers in many aspects, only with the extra cultural garbage we saddle women with. Which is also good for males to see so we cut that shit out.

Carrie Patel have five things to tell you about writing your first novel.

Annalee Flower Horne on glamorizing depression.

Jim Hines with some Hugo thoughts. My take? It's so nice the Sad Puppies wanted to give WorldCon so much of their money to try and make some point, which they will ultimately lose.

Jim Wright just has a few questions when it comes to religious liberties.

The National Climate Change Viewer. For your edification. (Grokked from Phiala)

Glowing green space clouds (and greasy, grimy gopher guts). The clouds glow from the light of long dead quasars. Because space is neat. (Grokked from someone, sorry,lost the link - very busy with lots of interruptions so there's been a lot of that lately)

Filing in the missing piece of the renewable power puzzle. On trying to install batteries on the grid and the regulator hurdles. "SolarCity, another venture by Musk, already has a pilot program in California that puts batteries in people’s homes." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

The internet makes us feel undeservedly smarter than we are. "Then… new questions were presented, and this time both groups were instructed not to search before rating their explanations. This time, even though neither group had actually searched for answers, the Internet group still rated their explanations significantly more highly than the control group." (Grokked from Dan)

"And the idea of shopping buttons placed just within our reach conjures an uneasy image of our homes as giant Skinner boxes, and of us as rats pressing pleasure levers until we pass out from exhaustion." A rumination on the Amazon Dash buttons. (Grokked form Brent Bowen)

So a Washington florist shop is fined $1000 for refusing to sell flowers for a same sex wedding, saying "same-sex weddings go against her Southern Baptist beliefs." I wonder if she has also refused to sell flowers for weddings where alcohol is served at the reception, because that's also against her Southern Baptist beliefs. And if not, they're going to lose their consumer action lawsuit.

"'I just think this is people who are chronically looking for ways to be upset about things instead of really looking at what it is,' (Wisconsin Governor and potential presidential candidate) Walker said during an interview with Milwaukee-based radio host Charlie Sykes on Wednesday." Well, he's since some good measure of success in the primaries, and doomed his chances in the general.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Linkee-poo was inspired, now I'm sad and tired, after all I've tried for three years, seems like ninety

It's nice when nice things happen to genuinely nice people. Mary Robinette Kowal gets to assist on Sesame Street for two days. Booyeah!

Okay, so you may have heard me drone on and on about how your visual system works with your vision not being exactly… zzz zzzz zzzz zzz. Yea, I know. Okay, how's this? That's a neat little gif that as you change your blinking rate it will reveal different structures which relate to how your brain processes images, its refresh rate, and the physical structure of your eyes. Now is it neat?

John Gruber - In praise of Pac-Man. On good game design. "The more you got into it, the more the game repaid obsessiveness." (Grokked from Dan)

Designing for lefties. 'Bout damn time! And here is the obligatory side-glance and the whispered fact of, "You know, 'sinister' means 'left-handed,' right?". BWAHAHAHA!

"'For the first time we've really made it crystal clear how to self-diagnose your own bacterial sinus infections without going to the doctor, with a high degree of accuracy,' says Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, lead author of the practice guidelines published Wednesday by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery." This is an attempt to keep you all from bugging your doctors for antibiotics (which the over use of is leading to even stronger, more resistant bacteria). Just try and tell that to someone with chronic sinusitis.

"Seeing a complete reliance on the utilities' grids as increasingly troublesome, rooftop solar distributor SolarCity has decided to begin selling its own power distribution systems." Lead, or get out of the way. In this case, because the central power generation corporations are trying hard to protect their monopolies (how many of the states who cut regulations in an attempt to open up the market to competition are still served by monopolies?) the point source companies are going to do an end run and completely cut them out. (Grokked from Dan)

"Snowpack levels across the entire Sierra Nevada are now the lowest in recorded history — just 6 percent of the long-term average." And why, besides noting it's going to be hard for California, should you care? "And it has huge implications for… the nation's most productive farming region, the California Central Valley." Yea, it's going to be an expensive year for fruits and vegetables. Oh, and "Groundwater reserves are getting lower and lower as farmers and towns drill deeper and deeper, sucking out more water than there is coming in." You know how some conversations about climate change are "in the future it'll be harder…"? Welcome to the future.

"Now, new data from the Australian Department of the Environment reveal that whether or not you liked the carbon tax, it absolutely worked to slash carbon emissions. And in the first quarter without the tax, emissions jumped for the first time since prior to the global financial crisis." Strange how that works. I wonder if we taxed higher incomes more if that would solve the income inequality problem? Yea, probably not. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

See, women and gays shouldn't be upset about this real thing they may actually encounter in real life, but should be upset about this totally bogus scare tactic we made up. It's hard to make fun of Sean Hannity when he does it to himself. Say, Sean, move out of NY State yet? Nope, not yet. Remember, you promised.

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." On whom business can refuse to serve and why.

"'The past five days have been emotionally draining for the members of the JTTF dealing with their fellow detective's health. Despite what some people think, cops have feelings too,' (president of the Detectives Endowment Association, Michael) Palladino said." And that's why God gave us middle fingers, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, Michael Palladino. And I appreciate that Officer Patrick Cherry was stressed and a little overwhelmed at his friend's ill health. However, it doesn't excuse this behavior. If Officer Patrick Cherry can't control his emotions while threatening to illegally cite and arrest a citizen after he, himself, violated the law, he doesn't deserve the badge. There is no excuse for his xenophobic, derogatory, and abuse of power conduct. I know you feel the police are under attack, it's because of officers like Patrick Cherry that people have lost respect.

"The rise of these two groups — the working poor and non-working rich – is relatively new. Both are challenging the core American assumptions that people are paid what they’re worth, and work is justly rewarded." Robert Reich spells it out for you. (Grokked from someone, sorry)

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Why? Because it's good for business and the economy. Just ask Dayton, Ohio.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. "Last night, historian Gerry Cooley told the Herald that an old cellar discovered in the (sink hole that opened up in the middle of a Dublin street) could be part of a "long-rumoured tunnel" used by 19th century politicians to go to brothels." (Grokked from CC Findley)

So, if we called the fear of Ruskies and China operative infiltrating our society and warping the kiddos the Red Scare, what doe we call the irrational fear and subsequent fear mongering surrounding muslims (corrected to "radical muslims" which they say are 10% of muslims) infiltrating our country, government, society? Black Scare (nope, that's the irrational fear the Black Panthers are keeping white voters from voting in all minority precincts)? Brown Scare (Latinos coming across the border to kill us with low cost lawn maintenance)? Koran Scare? I mean, xenophobia scare is a little to generic (although probably more definitive).

Tweet of my heart: @DaveHolmes If you were wondering why a pizzeria would make a public stand on catering a gay wedding: their GoFundMe page has raised $250K & counting. (Followed up with "@DaveHolmes To review: they publicly withheld a service nobody asked for, closed down due to threats they won't specify, and are raking in donations.")

Which side of the political spectrum has a "victimization" culture?

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).