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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is late as usual

Best. Writing. Advice. Evar. It's hard work that creates change. (Grokked from Janiece)

A series of podcast on the Short Story Masterclass. I haven't listened to them, yet. But I intend to. I wanted to post the link before I forgot where I got them.

"What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it." An article with seven questions to help you define your life purpose. (Grokked from Janiece)

Six gifs that demonstrate the drought in California. Note most of those first images were from 2011, when California had already been in drought for a few years. In case you think this won't affect you, guess where a lot of your food is grown (and the food given to the animals that become our food). (Grokked from Rae Carson)

"Ipas estimates that 47,000 women still die each year around the world from complications related to bungled, illicit abortions." An NPR story about abortion and how the advent of the "illicit trade in misoprostol has cut the rate of maternal deaths in El Salvador significantly". Just in case you're wondering just where our country is going. And it looks like the world wide conservative movement is switching to social conservatism over fiscal conservatism. Great.

Fox's Bolling calls first female UAE pilot that bombed Islamic State "Boobs On The Ground". Nothing sexist and demeaning about that. (But then they've been apologizing for that comment) (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

Hey, remember when the military just hated the media? Now they run their own YouTube channels. Good times, good times. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

Tweet of my heart: (this was multiple tweets, I've brought them together here) ‏@AlexSteffen We should deeply mistrust asymmetrical secrecy (where someone can see our secrets, but we can't see theirs): it's core to 21st C oppression. Reducing us to isolated individualism—believing we are on our own & if we fall no one will help us or care—is how oppression takes root. A tyrant does not care if he is hated, as Machiavelli noted, so long as his subjects do not love one another. Think of that, the next time you hear some rich white guy explain how it's your lazy neighbors who are keeping you down.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo was killed by a cellular-phone explosion… the water was used to make baby lotion

Where have all the McGuffins gone?

So, I finally caught up on my Tor.com RSS feed.

"Accessing that shadowy territory really requires the physical act of writing. That’s what makes it so frightening and exhilarating. Sometimes, when you’re writing sentence by sentence, you’re not really sure what footprints you’re going to fall into, or what ghosts might appear." An interview with Karen Russell on writing. (Grokked from Tor.com)

I'll just leave this here for later. The updated D&D readings list. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Patrick Rothfuss bags on the lamentable state of fantasy. There's actually some pretty cool new stuff, but there are lots (and I mean lots) of books that are mostly Tolkien fanfic.

Bill Hader has an impressive list of 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See. Well, I'd say they were just good films to watch, but then I'm not Bill Hader. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Feynman on the internet. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"Rooting for an establishment candidate isn't ideal, but trying to get supporters to defeat Hagan is better than the alternative, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund communications director Kevin Broughton told TPM." So much for the vaunted "we're going to change politics" idea. So, basically, can we all just now acknowledge that whatever the composition in those first weeks, the Tea Party is just the ultra-right wing of the GOP. "We will not wait several years to wake up and realize we’ve been duped." Won't get fooled again, huhn. Let me know how that works out for you.

"Since 2011, drought and heat waves contributed to $US 52 billion in economic losses in states from the Ohio River basin to the Pacific coast." What, me worry about climate change? "Yet as the (the Western Governors Association) forum kicks off this week in Norman, new challenges have emerged. With more people and more users, the tightening of water supplies cuts deeper than before. As the atmosphere accumulates more heat-trapping gases, future droughts will likely be even more severe. And austere budgets at the state and federal level have whittled climate monitoring and data collection systems, the core of any effective drought response, to the bone." Well, that's gotta suck. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

There is now such a thing as an unemployment truther. You just can't make this shit up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Linkee-poo, it is the summer of my smiles, flee from me Keepers of the Gloom

Here we go again. Next week I start a PRN job at the hospital. It involves training for two weeks. Expect disruptions of the schedule until afterwards. BTW, did I mention the first test in Sectional Anatomy is the 27th and the mid-term in Intro to CT/MRI is on the 7th. Plus, roof inspection on the 29th. Fabulous. In case you ever see me whinging about the Universe trying to kill me, now you know why.

"What I wish I knew about creativity when I was 20." I quibble a little with some of the points (like the creative output being low stress, I know how to build furniture, yea, it can be stressful when you realize you just made $200 worth of kindling), but still some good advice."11. Surround yourself with greatness" - points at you all. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

They're more like guidelines. There's eleven rules from the Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts pirate code. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Lego Academics twitter feed (lots of photos). Pretty funny stuff, even if it might be a little inside football. (Grokked from Sheila)

decoding Russian prison tattoos. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Aeroscraft has been under development by Aeros Corp… And with the successful launch of its half-scale prototype… the investment looks to have paid off. The future of lighter-than-air travel looks to be imminently upon us." As with many "oh so cool future tech that's just about to…" I'll believe it when I see them flying over me. But in general, this is very cool. The main thing, though, is at what cost? How much does it cost to ship a ton of material from one place to another. If that's not cheaper that truck travel, it doesn't matter how damn cool it is, the Ice Road Truckers will still have a job. If, however, it can be cheaper, then, yea, I love seeing airships. It's one of the (many) things I miss about college at Akron U. We were always seeing blimps in the sky. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Uh, no. your property caused harm to another's property by your neglect. Mr Bundy, that makes it your liability. See, the cows this person let lose, some made their way onto a freeway, where someone crashed into them. That's causing a hazard. But of course, it's never the Bundy's fault. See, that's a state problem, not his. Just in case you needed more insight into the minds of these people. It's never their fault, they are never in the wrong.

Because it's getting close to Halloween, Buzz Feeds' 14 creepiest places to visit with another nod to the Mutter Museum (that seems to be trending in the gestalt). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

For everybody who likes to bash other cultures (cough Muslim cough) for being "backward" when it comes to women's rights and tolerance of those who aren't like themselves, I say remove the plank from thine own eye first. See, there's this teenage owned donut shop in Front Royal, Virginia, called Naughty Girls Donut Shop. Apparently the Good People™ of the town don't particularly cotton to a girl (gasp!) running a business that gives back to the community, that also has the audacity to call itself "Naughty Girls" (faints onto conveniently positioned couch). So, obviously, the Good People™ feel the need to threaten and throw garbage. And, yes, this is about a juvenile as that sounds. "Tiana intended the store to be a refuge for those who are bullied at school, dress differently, or feel out of place in society." I have a feeling that is a major part of the problem. I'd like to say this is unbelievable, but sad to say, with everything I've seen even in my little town, highly believable. (Grokked from John)

Hey, ho, way to go Ohio. "This week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to potentially allow part of a state wildlife area to be strip-mined for coal." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, I guess Senator Sessions is upset about possible executive action by the President when it comes to immigration. So to that point he's going to float a bill to stop him and roll back what he's already done. But it doesn't have a chance of passage (unless we have a surprise). So, if the bill does go down to defeat (this article makes it sound like they will have an actual vote on it), the twist of all this is that it could be interpreted as a defacto approval of executive action in this area. I doubt that will occur to Sen. Sessions, or he'd withdraw the bill, which I don't see happening because those who support the bill will be using it in their campaigns.

One in four Americans want their state to secede from the Union. Fortunately they're a polyglot of concerns. Unfortunately, they could be united. "By the evidence of the poll data… the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt… This should be more than disconcerting; it’s a situation that could get dangerous… (S)eparatist movements can take hold around contempt for incumbents and the status quo even when protesters have no ideology in common." I could write an entire book about this, but the union has always been in near collapse. What's different is people don't understand this and understand why it's better together than apart. If you think taxes are high now, just wait until you have to support your own State Department and Military with only the tax revenues of your state (or, your state and local taxes will swell enough to make you long for the days of FICA taking all your money). "And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent." Not surprising. (Grokked from John)

And having avoided theatrics on their return from summer break the House calls it quits early.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Linkee-poo, so much depends upon a red wheel barrow

Strange Horizons is looking for reviewers. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Yog-blogsoth. An artists blog about drawing Lovecraft creatures and the various mythologies' gods. They pull source material from a variety of places, so I'm not sure how cannon their representations are. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"(R)esearch out of the UNC Gillings and JHU Bloomberg schools of public health shows industrial farm workers are carrying livestock-associated, multidrug-resistant staph into local communities…" Rhut R'ho Raggy. (Grokked from Dan)

Have you been hearing about this college debt problem and wondering just what the hell it's all about. I mean, most people who have graduated college come out with debt. But we dealt with it, right? Except that college tuition has increased by almost 12x in a generation. Although, with the advance degrees, we were in more debt that the current average by the time my wife graduated. And the interest rate wasn't much less than the top number they give in the article. But then, we didn't "own" a house until our late 30s (late home ownership is also causing it's own societal economic ripples). (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"It is perhaps ridiculous to suggest that economists do what they do only because of the prospect of consulting gigs or think-tank stints. Economists are human beings, with diverse motivations. But it is definitely ridiculous to suggest that such rewards have no impact at all. Economists are human beings, and human beings respond to incentives. Right, economists?" Who watches the Watchmen. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

I've said it before, artificial sweeteners are bad for you. That's a study that found "that a subgroup [four of the seven people] developed significant disturbances in their blood glucose even after short-term exposure to artificial sweeteners…" It's a small study. The effect is that they alter the microbe environment in your intestine which can lead to glucose intolerance (a disorder that can lead to Type II diabetes).

Uh oh. One pollster disses another. Fight, fight, fight, fight. No, I don't believe either. But I will make a prediction, the next Senate will be gridlocked by a recalcitrant minority leader.

That's when, you're Honor, the wheels came off the bus. Hannity on Peterson. First, a defense (based mostly on the "But I turned out okay" argument, serious Sean, might want to re-exam that premise), and then a moving of the goal posts to, "who is the government to tell us how to raise our kids" with examples of how he wants to raise his kids to "hate the same people their parents hate." Get a life, Sean. Oh, BTW, have you moved out of New York, yet. I believe you promised us you would.

Ted Cruz, I name thee Troll. Dear wing-nut conservative, I know you're wingnutty, but could you have picked a candidate to cheer that didn't look so much like Sen. McCarthy, even if they're just as paranoid and out of touch with reality?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Linkee-poo finds itself at the end of the day and not a dollar richer

I'm stacking up the writing links that I want to read before I post. Because I want to read them all the way through before I post them. It's what I like to do with all the posts. Unfortunately, not enough time. Soon, my precious, soon.

Authors United's open letter to the Amazon Board of Directors. What I think is hilarious is all those "open market" people who support Amazon for "driving down prices" probably 1) don't understand the problem of deflation and 2) don't get that Hachette has the same right to set their wholesale prices as Amazon does to set their retail price. (Grokked from MrsTad)

Merchandising The End. I may have to get a t-shirt, just for promotion purposes (of course, I should finish the WIP first). By that time, I suspect there will be a sale.

There are so many good links in the Slactivist's Labor Day post that it just makes sense to link to it instead of all the stories.

Sure women are treated exactly the same as men in the workplace. Would love to tell you I've never seen this dichotomy of how men are perceived in performance reviews and how women are treated. But I don't want to lie to you. I've seen it nearly every place I've worked, and even from female managers. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray." Uh, yea. So, how do you explain the red dots on the wall behind the shirt? Also, I seriously hope you licensed that art, because copyright and trademark infringement suits are a bitch. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"'It's not controversial to say human activity is contributing in some way to change,' (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal) said. 'In terms of how much it is and how serious it is, I say let the scientists decide that. Let's not have politicians decide that.'" And he says this as com paining that the Obama administration is full of "science deniers" because they won't approve the Keystone XL pipeline without taking into account the environmental impact, and the EPA's new emission rules that require the coal industry to develop actual Clean Coal technology (like they've been saying for about 15 years now) or shut up and close down. Okay, Bobby, I'll take that bet. Just what does science say about anthropogenic climate change? That's right, it's pretty well settled that it is all our fault. And, while we're talking about science denialism, how do you feel about evolution, Bobby? "The reporter interrupted Jindal, a Rhodes scholar who studied biology and public policy at Brown University, to press him on the original question of whether he believes the theory of evolution reflects the best scientific thinking about life on Earth." To which he then prevaricated. Remove the plank from thy own eye, Governor Jindal. And while we at that, how about acknowledging that you helped develop Common Core standards, helped lead the charge, until people found it had Obama cooties on it. Seriously, Bobby, go back to Louisiana. If you try a national campaign, your opponents in the GOP will leave you tattered and bruised by the roadside before it ever gets to the question "are you moderate enough for a general campaign." The crazy, it's about to sink a lot of people.

"The answer is in much more comprehensive, inclusive, accessible sex education." It's a lesson we as a culture need to learn again. And now the hard data is starting to roll in. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Just us and Somalia. Okay, that's an article on "whooping" (or spanking) a child and it's history, especially in the South. But that line about the only two countries that haven't ratified the UN convention on the Rights of the Child. And here we're talking about Adrian Peterson and his "switching" of his son. And we could get into a discussion of what is and what isn't child abuse, what is discipline, and the role of "punishment" in parenting. And, at least IMHO, there is a gray area there. But that gray area isn't that large. If the pain you've induced, and any redness or swelling persists longer than an hour, look in the rear-view mirror because the line is back there somewhere. "(S)ome media outlets got a hold of the police report in which Peterson said he gave the child a whooping. The child's mother took him to a doctor afterwards. The doctor told investigators the (child)… had cuts and bruises on his thighs, lower back, buttocks, groin area… The police report says the doctor described open wounds." I want to be very clear here, bruises on the "groin area" and "open wounds"? That isn't discipline. That isn't a "whoopin'". That's an adult who isn't in control of themselves. We've passed child abuse a long time ago in this case.

"This change threatens both the pocketbooks, but even more particularly the status of rich people. You know, a 15 percent tax rate on capital gains, a 15 percent tax rate on carried interest massively advantages people like me. Working people pay 39 percent. Investors pay 15, justified by this idea that the more money people like me have, the better off you will be." A discussion on the economy moderated by Paul Solomon of PBS between Nick Hanauer and Richard Epistein. One of them continues to cling to trickle-down economics, one doesn't and sees the coming danger. While this is all one side says this, one side says the other, we now have 30 years of data on trickle-down. It hasn't worked. The side promoting it says there's still too much regulation in the way, to which I say bullshit. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A composition of the comments on every single article about campus sexual violence. Never read the comments. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @terriwindling "It is never too late to be what you might have been.⁰" - George Elliot

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Struggle

What follows is probably incoherent whinging, but maybe I can work this problem out. Or maybe you can.

Okay, so I really want to get back to work on the WIP, Post Rapture Industries. I'm afraid I'm getting too far down the line from the story and it won't make as much sense if I don't get it out soon. Sure, I know, I can update it, whatever. But it feels as if the moment is slipping.

Also, there's a big wall there in my head. And it won't budge. So I'm not getting words out. In fact I'm not getting any words out (you know, except for here on the blog), which is a problem. The next month is going to be insane time wise. I already feel like all my spoons are spoken for. But I want to get back to writing fiction.

So I think about this short story I had that I really liked. It needs rewriting. I probably should start over fresh and rewrite it from scratch. It has the potential to be good. It has that feel of a live wire, you know. It's also pretty scary (not as a horror story, as in scary to write because what will people think of me if I do write this).

And I know, I know, that's what I should be doing. I should be writing the things that scare me. The things that aren't easy. The things that people will look at me on the bus (if I still took a bus to work, which would be kinda cool again, but, yea, the buses don't go where I need them to) and if they recognized me they would move to seats far away from me. The kind of writing that my Mom would say, "Oh honey, you had such talent…"

And then there's the novel. The idea that came to me early in the summer is like a siren signing on the shores and I'm not tied to the mast, yet. It's pulling me. But I have a feeling it's because I don't know the story. I've got the ideas, I sorta know the direction. But how I get from A to B to C to Z isn't all that clear. And I know that's part of the big draw of it. I wanna know that story. I need to know that story. And it could be very good or could be very mediocre, it's that kind of thing (this is part of my "feel" for my writing, sort of like how I know what are short story ideas and which are novel ideas, and roughly how many words they'll take). So there's a challenge there. Which is also drawing me.

And I've already gone off the WIP to write a novel. Maybe that's the secret, though. The current WIP is "that story", the one that got away that was This Big. Yea, that's a little too depressing to think about.

But I want to get this other story out of my head. At least the crappy first draft. So I can start restructuring and pushing all the right buttons for it. But that's also hard. There's that wall there, remember.

I've always felt that writers block happens when the conscious writer's mind is rejecting what the subconscious writer's mind is trying to tell it. When you know what you should write, but you don't want to. And then both sides take their little red wagons home. And that's sort of what I feel like here. And since I know this, you'd think it would be easy to push around it. I. Keep. Banging. My. Head.

Argh. I'm not sure I've come to a decision. It could be related to being out of spoons. I know that happens, but (insert long chain of curse words here) I want to get back to writing fiction. I need to get back to writing fiction. With the day thing, the reboot, the coming PRN position (have I forgotten to mention I've been hired PRN as a Rad Tech, yea, that happened, and it's causing stress, not because of the job, but because of all the hoops I've gotta jump through first), getting the roof fixed, all of that is just sapping all my spoons.

Still not a decision. Not sure I feel better. Maybe I need to sleep on all this.

And then there's the thought that if I wasn't spending some spoons on this blog, I might have some to write fiction. But I like this. I like this blog. I like the ease (yea, right) of writing it. Well, okay, I like the outlet. I like putting the words together, I like sharing things I find interesting, I like seeing my readership numbers go up since I've been publishing more regularly (waves to all the new people). Yea, I'm vain in that way. You all get me high. Just saying it here (why not).

But I know people who have gone off their blogs and they all seem to have success at writing after they did that. Some of them started writing for publication after I did. And I'm wondering if that's part of the success, channel my time into fiction writing (there was a typo of "function writing"), writing for pay ("Why did I go to someplace that I didn't know if they spoke English, 'cause the check was FAT. And I'm a little whore." - Gabriel Iglesias) Yea, welcome to the voices in my head.

And I thought about just deleting this. But the Muse is saying it needs to be out there. And we do as the Muse asks (for those of you new to this blog, following the Muse's orders is why there is a blog to begin with).

End author whinging (but I reserve my remaining time).

Damn. Now if only the fiction would come that fast.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo tried so hard to let you go, but some kind of madness is swallowing me whole

I've got to find some time to read all this stuff. But I have to admit that I've been slacking off and I've actually watched TV with my wife for a few hours this week. That may not seem like such a miracle, but that maybe tells you what these past two years have been like. And it's not over, yet.

Visual design is not a thing. Pointed out here because, well, it explains some of the day thing for people who don't know. Maybe it clarifies things when I say "designers are not artists". Also because we're redoing the website at the day thing and I want to print this out on Monday and stick on the boss's desk. This is why at my school we had big fights over "graphic design" vs "visual communications". We're in visual communications. It goes way, far beyond the "making it pretty." Unfortunately not a lot of graphic designers understand this part. It's about story. It's about what's in the viewer's head and helping that viewer get the information they need in a form they can comprehend it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Random Michelle's Labor Day post with pictures of why Labor Day is important.

"The amount of money employers had to pay because they were found guilty of wage theft is nearly three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)." That's a somewhat clumsily written statement that says when you compare the amount stolen from employees by "wage theft", that amount is 3x the amount stolen from everybody else in all other types of robberies. Tell me again how businesses must have less regulation to be successful, 'cause that never stops being funny. (Grokked from Matt Staggs, I think)

A small town in Kentucky decides to open its own gas station after years of price gouging by businesses. Don't worry, government can't compete with the private sector, we all know that. But in all seriousness, this isn't socialism, unlike what the frustrated gas station owner thinks. Socialism is when they use the power of government to take his business away and run it themselves. This is competition. And having paid the "not born and breed here" tax too many times, I say bravo to the town's mayor. "The Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association has warned surrounding towns not to follow Somerset’s lead." To which I would tell those other towns, give them the finger and do it if it makes sense for your residents. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Rubio has often felt the competing pressures from the Hispanic community and the conservative activists who elevated him to the national stage." Unfortunately Sen. Rubio has decided to side with the conservative activists, turning his back on his own immigration reform bill. Dear Sen. Rubio, you would have done yourself a better favor by sticking to your own ideals and telling the party to get with the program. I understand how much that would have taken, but lots of us moderates would have respected you for it. Now, you're just another wonk. And don't think the DNC won't capitalize on that if you're able to get the nomination or even a VP pick. Not to mention the ads when you run for re-election as a Senator. And you'll deserve it all.

And now is the time on Linkee-poo where we check in with how the GOP "we won't shoot our own feet as we try to take the Senate and increase our lead in the House" plan. So, how's it going? "Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) tried to deflect charges of sexism by Democrats by pointing out that he lives with five women and asking if Democratic opponent Gwen Graham has ever been to a lingerie shower." We won't talk about the mens only fund raiser where the invite read, "Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many." Yea, that's one way to do it… wrongly.

"'What’s the harm of bombing [ISIS] at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?'" Ah, William Kristol, why are you invited to speak to anyone about anything anymore? I understand some people's distrust and anger and President Obama's response to ISIS, but while it mean more WAR!, at least I have the feeling that the adults are in charge this time and that we're responding to an actual problem instead of using a problem to advance our pre-determined (cough New American Century cough) policy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Linkee-poo came back as a bag of groceries accidentally taken off the shelf before the date stamped on myself

Today I note the passing of Graham Joyce (not that I just heard about it, but so far haven't commented here). I met Mr. Joyce and have read many of his books. I still remember his performance during his interview as the GoH at World Fantasy. That performance (and it was one, as are most of those events) has had a heavy influence in how I present myself at cons. I always wanted to write him and ask what advice he had for new writers. This dove tailed into a wonderful story he told about his own experience learning the craft, but just never got around to it.

Thirty-seven pieces of life advice from the dying. I'm working on number one. I'm working on it hard. (Grokked from Janiece)

Solar flare on video by SOHO. That static you see, that's the radiation hitting the satellite. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Fuck cancer. "'A Mother’s Journey': 20 photos of a Mother’s love for her dying son." Don't view if you cry easily and your somewhere you can't let that emotion out. Just a warning. (Grokked from Janiece)

Ted Cruz finds out that only American Evangelicals have this fetish for Israel. Say, here's something people want to hear as they're being killed for their beliefs, "You may have it bad, but not as bad as these other people that we love. Don't mind me as I hijack your political movement for my own pet project."

And it what comes as a shock to no one, the Senate fails to move the Citizens United Amendment forward. Actually what's shocking is that the GOP filibustered at all. Because that means it still active, it just can't come to a vote. They had the votes to send it down into the trash heap, but then they would have to be on record as opposing it. This way, they can continue to say with one hand, "We think the little people should be in charge" while with the other hand they masturbate the corporations that are flooding cash into their election coffers. (Grokked from John)

Apparently the the US Air Force has changed the regulations regarding the oath and now a sergeant will be taking the government to court over being forced to swear, "so help me God." Seriously, how did this change pass muster through the chain of command? Full disclosure, I was in the Air Force Reserves and had to make several oaths (including one to turn the key killing millions of people in the process), and I never had to say that phrase. Hell, there were even alternatives to say, "swear" since some people have religious convictions that forbid them swearing (mostly they would say, "affirm"). If I had an AF t-shirt, it would be going in the recycled clothing bin right now. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Linkee-poo spent the last year, Rocky Mountain way

Stephen King on teaching writing. If you didn't know, Mr. King taught school grade English while trying to break in to being the damn famous author he is. "Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex." Yes. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Phil Plate describes how we measure how far stars are form the Earth. Well, first we get this really long yard stick… (No, that's not how we do it). Also how we measure brightness. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. The swimming dinosaur.

"Perhaps this decline also speaks to how much women pretending to be men really is one of the clearest symptoms of a segregated society so dysfunctional that it inevitably must change." A story of the Afghan girls who choose or are forced to live life as boys (at least until puberty) with a little on how this has happened in many societies. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

Whelp, so much for me ever giving money through GoFundMe. They've decided on their moral code, which somehow includes raising money for (or at least from) racist-bastards who perform extra-judicial killings, but not to help a women obtain a legal abortion. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmentz)

"As part of the growing GOP effort to save Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mitt Romney is now making robocalls on the incumbent senator's behalf." So that would be Romney himself making those phone calls (ba-dum-bump!). For all the supposed bluster in the media about the conservative take over of the Senate, this shows just how tenuous their leads are. It's anything but certain.

What the Pro-Life movement is really about. "'Getting this level of care has always been available to rich women,' (Dr. Lester Minto, who just had to close his clinic in Texas) points out. 'They can always go somewhere else — another state, another country. They can go to their gynecologist and get a menstrual extraction or something that's not called an abortion. So they're OK.'"

Ohio's own Senator Portman, "I don't know what's going to happen specifically on votes on Obamacare… I suspect we will vote to repeal early, to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it's hurting our constituents. And we think it's going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had." Tell ya what, Rob, how about you develop that replacement plan and sell the country on why it's better first, instead of removing people from the insurance they just got for the insurance plans that are no longer offered. Obamacare (in the "sign up for insurance" part) will be over a year old by that time. Seriously, Rob, the horse is dead. Stop whipping.

There this thing in progressive circles where we talk about "zombie arguments". These are the things that no matter how many times they're are disproven, in a week they'll be popping back up somewhere else. Rand Paul shows he's full of them. As well as full of other things. The first one? Congress has never taken back the President's authority to wage war in Iraq. It's still open. And his things about the minimum wage 1) who is asking for $25 (not anyone I know of) and 2) no, the data pretty well shows that higher minimum wage doesn't decrease jobs or disadvantage minorities (bonus points for someone worried about disadvantaging minorities, but who believes there shouldn't be any regulations on businesses, like whom they can serve or decide not to serve).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Linkee-poo's life is out of control

For those about to go to Viable Paradise, we salute you. Here's some tips. "Everyone is telling you not to go in sleep deprived: DON’T GO IN SLEEP DEPRIVED." That one needed emphasizing. (Grokked from Viable Paradise)

The Islamic roots of Science Fiction. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

John Oliver on student debt and the private college problem. "Our leaders have decided that while education is incredibly important, it is not important enough to actually pay for."

Researchers find fish use visual clues to recruit interspecies help with hunting. Best line, "But not all morays are equal." Some are more equal than others. Also "It was 'one of the very few observed examples of innovation and tool use in fish.'" There's others? (Grokked from Morgan J Locke, I think)

One of the benefits of global climate change, we've found one of the ships from the Franklin Expedition. In case you need it, more about the Franklin Expedition. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Have you ever wanted to see a spaceship burn up on re-entry… as viewed from space? Sure you have. This is a video of a returning supply capsule, loaded with trash, which is allowed to burn up on re-entry. I think it's a waste of a good capsule, but probably cheaper than adding a heat shield. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Here's some things you won't see in the Mutter Museum. The Mutter is a museum of medical science. Most major cities have one stuffed away somewhere. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Every time I write another addition to this series, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always another murder. Always another angry lunatic with a hard-on and a gun and score to settle. Always. It never ends. Welcome to America." If that isn't the most damn depressing line I've read in a long while, I don't know what other line could be it. Jim Wright with Bang Bang Crazy, Part 10.

Gee, why doesn't President Obama ask Congress to work with him and to get authorization to go into Syria? Because the Congress of No always says, "No." If President Obama personally was trying to rescue the Congress as the Capital was on fire, they GOP would take a vote and say, "No. We don't want your water and ladders."

Oh Fox News, you're delightfully political and insane. "Fox News host Andrea Tantaros wasted no time during Monday's episode of 'Outnumbered' directing anger at President Obama and the Democrats over a video reportedly showing NFL star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator… Tantaros went on to demand action from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL)… 'Debbie Wasserman-Schultz should come out and condemn this, and if she doesn't, she's an apologist for domestic violence,' the Fox host said." There's any number of responses here, like "should the President have to comment on every criminal transgression that happens in the US, he'll run out of paper if he does." But I think the most appropriate response to Fox News is "look to thy own wounds."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ah, we meet again, my old scourge

Oh gods, not this again. Okay, so I just went through investigating a few potential good links to include in a Linkee-poo post. Only to land on another post that references and links to a further post, which is the meat of the matter (supposedly), without either a discussion or inclusion of relevant points. And then that link isn't actually to the material being discussed obliquely, but to another post with another link… I stop at 3. Hey, I understand we all link. Look, here I am actually doing it myself. And I know sometimes I'm vague about the content of certain links (and I know a few other people who are as well and I use their material all the time, but I'll admit, I don't look at all their links and so am probably missing stuff I would like, but hey, life is finite).

But here's the thing, I try with all my linking to take you directly to the final piece, or to a commentary on the piece that I think is the most interesting (because sometimes it's not the event that's the thing, but someone's take on the event that is either the most enlightening or the most entertaining). But after a few links of "OMG, you need to read this" only to link to another site that says the same thing, that links to another site that says the same thing… that's where I stop. See, this is why I say where I get my links (the "grokked from" statement, yes, I know, I'm not using that term correctly, but my site and I like it). The person (or site) I mention there is the first person (or site) I have seen mentioning whatever it is I'm linking to. Note here that the link I'm providing may or may not have been their original link (sometimes I dive past the commentary to get to the original, or I find a better alternative). I've thought about using that grokked tag to link to the item that sent me to whatever it is I'm pointing to, you know, good referencing of source material, but that's way too much work and I do this for fun and my own enjoyment (notice there's no advertising on this blog, I hope to keep it that way).

I also don't mind the link to a piece that "sparks my interest to know more" and then I go searching out other material like it (or gives a different perspective). That's the great fun that is the internet and the many to many communication is can provide.

But back to my peeve of the day, link to link to link to link… without any real form of commentary or distillation. This form of Russian-nesting-doll links drives me insane, and in the early days of the internet it was all over the damn place. It's something I thought we have matured out of. But like I said, I just went down that rabbit hole once too often this morning. Seriously, folks, cut it out. If you want to give credit to the person you got the info from, all fine and dandy (hey, I support that in fact, I love the people who point me toward interesting and entertaining material and you deserve the shout out). But after the 3rd link to the "this is what we're talking about post" and I've kind of lost interest.

And here I'm granting you all permission that if I link you to another site that is basically, "ZOMG this is so good, I just… you gotta click here" without adding anything to the conversation, you can call me out on it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Linkee-poo tried to change, but I changed my mind, think I'll have another glass of Mexican Wine

HarperCollins misses the point when it comes to ebooks and libraries. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

Rejected Princesses. "This week we celebrate Tomyris… When the aggressive ruler of the world’s largest empire set his eyes on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, crushed his armies, and defiled his decapitated head in a manner so humiliating she was a household name for centuries." Winner, winner, chicken dinner. (Grokked from Dan)

A meteor creates a 39 foot crater in Nicaragua over the weekend. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"When Congress returns this week, House Republican leaders' mission will be to act swiftly to fund the government and avoid the drama of a shutdown confrontation." Let's watch and see how this turns out. Anyone got popcorn? This shouldn't take long. "Congress has 10 scheduled working days to act before the government shuts down."

"'Why tell the truth? It’s not like she’s rich enough to check me.'" Sure, money isn't corrupting our politics. (Grokked from CC Finlay)

"The Charlotte Observer published a blistering editorial hitting House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, for recently announcing his support for over-the-counter birth control." I guess not everyone got the memo about being nicer to women and minorities. And so begins the eating of their own children.

Say, remember those cargo aircraft that delivered pallets of shrink-wrapped US currency to Afghanistan and Iraq during the wars? You know, the ones the Bush Administration was in to much of a hurry to put adequate accounting and tracking protocols in place that would allow us to audit where it all went (and a lot of it when unaccounted for)? I think I see where some of it ended up. "Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under President George W. Bush, is being investigated by American authorities for suspected money laundering…" Of course, it's not under investigation by us.