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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linkee-poo weekend

The Fyre Festival all the kids are talking about.

"Female dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead." Yeah, I've seen that at parties.

I wrote a story (unpublished) about a congressional hearing where the person testifies with a beaker of cloudy water (microbes) talking about how we've changed the environment and by doing so irrevocably alters some of the bacteria at the base of our food change so within a few decades the entire ecosystem was going to collapse. "The question of how Trichodesmium cyanobacteria are reacting to the changing ocean makes a big difference in predicting how other marine life, from whales to mere specks of floating plankton, will react, too." Yeah, that'll do it.

So a little while ago I followed Snopes on twitter because I thought it would be a hoot. Except it's actually damn depressing realizing what stupid shit people would need to have disproved. But then there are things like this, "The former executive director for the Foundation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is to be appointed 1 May 2017 to serve as the ombudsman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. Julie Kirchner headed the controversial anti-immigration group for a decade before this appointment, ProPublica reports." Yea, not everything snoops covers turns out to be false.

On the new NYT columnist that's causing some waves. "Stephens seems to be arguing that, because a person he knows, who is a climate change activist, just had a baby, it somehow disproves climate science." Stellar logic there, Buzz. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Twenty state attorneys general and the District of Columbia this week sent a letter criticizing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for revoking federal protections for student borrowers." No level of consumer protections are too small to be ignored by this administration.

(Reposted because I apparently forgot to include the link a few days ago. Not sure it's the same article, but there you go) "'You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap," (Rep. Markwayne Mullin - R-Okla.) said at the town hall in Jay, Okla.… 'I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.'" Do you bank the check Rep. Mullin? If so, your constituents (and everyone who pays federal taxes in the US) pay your salary. Taxes aren't a bank account, and you don't get to direct where your money goes (no matter what conservatives say). That's not how they work. As a representative and business owner you are wildly ignorant of the work you're doing. I suggest you retire back to your businesses. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Well, at least he realized he actually had to sign it before going off to his weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Linkee-poo three make a post

I keep hearing Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Trump talk about getting GDP growth over 4% and how "it hasn't happened for the past 10 years." Nope, it's been much longer than that. "Since 1980, Clinton's years came the closest, but they were just shy of the 4 percent mark on average — closer to 3.8 percent, to be exact. Reagan was next at about 3.5 percent growth, followed by George H.W. Bush, who was slightly above 2 percent. Obama comes in just below 2 percent, and George W. Bush is behind him, at around 1.7 percent." That's from an article from the campaign when Jeb! was talking about getting over 4%. Basically, since we've entered the era of "trickle-down economics" and "tax cuts" we have not had sustained 4% GDP growth. Ever. Hell, I remember Reagan saying that 2% GDP was the new normal. So when they say "10 years", they're lying to you and attempting to frame the argument that Democratic economic principles are bad for the economy.

So a long time ago Congress decided that Medicare couldn't reform itself and rid the system of fraud, so they outsourced the billing processing. How are they doing? "While these improper claims now comprise 11 percent of all Part A and B claims, as recently as 10 years ago, it was only 4 percent. In short, there are more bad actors today." And they cost more. Privatization never reduces cost or increases efficiency of government. Never.

"In this morning’s edition of Mike Allen’s not-Playbook from Axios he introduces what seems to be Ivanka Trump setting up something that sounds a lot like the Clinton Foundation, only in this case run from within the White House by a top presidential aide who is also the President’s daughter, who also runs her own large international company and who also has two brothers who are currently running the President/Father’s company and trying to rake in as much money as possible on the fame and power of the presidency. Also, let’s be honest, the Trumps are a notoriously corrupt family, especially when it comes to running foundations." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Linkee-poo is all about the Quality

Author of the seminal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M Pirsig has died. ZAMM is one of the few books I've read several times. Each time I've gotten something different out of it. Although I've only read Lila once (and wasn't as wowed, but it's still an interesting exercise). And so it goes.

"Britain went a full day without using coal to generate power, reports the BBC. It's the first 24-hour period of inactivity there since 1882, when the world's first public coal-fired power plant was stoked at Holborn Viaduct in London." Sounds nice, but isn't the full reality. See, coal plants don't shut down except for yearly maintenance. It takes several hours (sometimes days) to get a coal plant up to temperature to efficiently generate electricity. Electricity is bought second by second. While natural gas can be turned on and off quickly (which is one of the reasons it's replaced coal plants), coal plants have to keep running to be able to generate electricity to feed the grid. So while the grid didn't buy from any coal plants, those plants were still running.

And in the US, solar power, once considered a joke, is becoming more of a problem to central generators. Point-source, wave of the future.

"'Ten times Trump asked [German chancellor Angela Merkel] if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany. Every time she replied, "You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU,"' the official said." Slow dogs learn faster than that. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Sure Republicans aren't mean and only what what is best for people. And yet, "In comments that were first reported by Shareblue, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) told a woman at his recent town hall event that her Medicaid expansion-eligible son’s 'skills' were the reason he is at risk for losing his health care under the Republican repeal plan, and that health care is something to be earned." Republicanism, the Dickensian dystopia plan. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"In a dramatic response to a power-grab by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature, a Republican judge resigned today to circumvent efforts to strip power from the Democratic governor." Pointed to as an example that not all conservatives are rapacious dick weasels, some of them are actually concerned about the character of the nation. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Given Trump’s erratic temperament, his war-mongering comments on nuclear weapons and his interest in increasing the nuclear arsenal have alarmed experts. But there is a longer-term, quieter threat, one that was hurting Americans well before Trump came to power: the threat of environmental devastation." Teen Vogue goes there again. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds."

So remember when Mike Flynn was outed as having failing to register as a foreign agent and we were all "whew, it was Turkey. At least it wasn't Russia." Well, yep, it actually was Russia or near enough to not make a difference. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Linkee-poo eeks out another one

So you may be wondering how the new job is going? Well, we're a month in and I'm told that we've never been busier and I am (somewhat) keeping up to pace. The hard part, of course, is all the things that are deep tribal knowledge that everyone just accepts as "the way it's done." Well, no. Before everyone knew their parts from years of doing it and negotiating their actions. This is like the night job were we have plenty of "this is the way we do it… except in this case (note 5 different cases, some of which involve knowing the specialties of many local doctors)." Of course, none of it is spelled out in any consistent format to refer to. But, over all, the new job is going well. Unfortunately there is no time at work for recreational surfing. So as you can tell the Linkee-poos have been suffering. Add to that some personal family health issues and there's just been no time to catch up in the evenings. There has been some small progression on the secret projects, but not enough of note. Also add in that the universe has decided to throw in some expensive repair jobs on the home as well as having to be on COBRA for 3 months and it's also been a very expensive start of the year.

Story telling through the use of Rube Goldberg devices. (Grokked from John)

No, you shouldn't eat moldy bread even if you "take the mold off."

"Physicists have created a fluid with 'negative mass', which accelerates towards you when pushed." Well, technically, they've created a few atoms that act like that. (Grokked from John)

"It turns out that escaped pet birds, namely parrots and cockatoos, have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity -- and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives." How we influence our environment in ways we don't understand. (Grokked from Dan)

Wag the Dog or Pysch? Oh, and whatever it was, it didn't stop them from attempting two launches.

"There is no virtue in ignorance." Jim Wright on why having an incompetent in office is a Bad Idea™. I'll also offer a story about Pres. Carter. He was pained as weak and fearful. Did you know that in 1952, Lt. Carter was part of the team at Chalk River that brought there failed nuclear reactor under control and in the rotation of the men lowered into the reactor to try and get the control rods back into the pile? And that experience directly helped formed his views of nuclear power and weapons. Yeah, I also didn't learn about that until later in life.

Stephen Colbert releases the White House visitor's log. (Grokked from Dan)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Linkee-poo is late

Yes, he killed himself once he realized he wouldn't get away. Who could have seen that coming?

John Scalzi on the performance side of writing. Ann Leckie also has some input on this subject. This is something I learned from Scalzi early on during a koffeeklatch at Confusion a long time ago as I was getting serious about being a writer. It also came up during a panel at the last Confusion were I was asked directly by the moderator if I was giving a performance. Yes is the answer. If I'm in front of a crowd (different from being in a group in the bar) I am "on." If you've come to a convention and paid money at the door, or if I ever do a book tour you've come out and possibly have purchased my book, you damn well bet I'm going to make it worth your while. You should damn well expect it. Am I lying? In a sense, yes that I'm being "false." But not in the sense that I'm going to tell you something untrue or violate my core self. John calls this his "public face." And as I said on the panel, "Writer Steve" is 97% the real me, but with different aspects emphasized. That remaining 3% are things about me I'm not going to share with a crowd (note, this percentage may increase in the future as some projects head to launch). There's also probably about 15-20% of me you won't get to know unless we're friends. I expect you're also the same with people whom you barely know (and this is where there is a difference, some people will tell lies directly to your face if they don't know you, not everyone, but you know what I'm talking about. I won't do that, those lies will always be exposed and frankly I don't have enough energy or memory space to keep track of such lies). Now, if you ask me a direct question about that 15-20%, there's a chance I might tell you. However, that 3% is mine. The people who know those things about me can be counted on my fingers with room to spare. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"'If you'd just answer my question, I'd be grateful,' (newly seated Supreme Court Judge) Gorsuch said, flashing frustration." I think I can speak for a lot of people here, Judge, but we also wished the same thing of you. (Grokked from Lisa Morton)

Hey, remember during the 2016 election (I have to specify since the current president has already formed his campaign committee and is holding campaign events for 2020) how Trump supporters, despite obvious signs and symptoms, claimed their support of Trump wasn't about being racist? "In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics." Yeah, the majority of analysis is coming up racists. Racial anxiety is a soft form of racism. These are the people "who don't hate anybody", but their scared of people who don't look like them and they're also scared of losing their perceived privileged position. Add in religious people who want to roll back societal openness (sexual revolution and breakdown of class and racial barriers) and the upper class longing for "tax relief" and there you have his political coalition. But it was mostly racism (that was the most reliable predictor). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"(Trump's) bargaining chip is the government subsidies paid to insurance companies so they can reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers — seven million people this year… In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold the subsidy payments as a way to induce the Democrats to bargain with him." So basically this president is taking the country hostage and saying if he doesn't get his demands, he's going to shoot us all.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Linkee-poo had a supper

A photo of all the Dr. Pepper knockoffs. I know a few others they're missing. Noted because before my diagnosis, I was a staunch Dr. Pepper fan (still am, pissed they stopped making the real sugar version available at the local market, yes, I know about Texas). (Grokked from Dan)

Apparently the sculptor of the "Charging Bull"/Wall Street statue is upset with NYC for allowing "Fearless Girl" to remain. One, you argument of "artistic copyright" is bullshit. Dude, seriously, when you release your art into the wild people will respond to it (and reinterpret it) in ways you can't control or imagine. And then there's this part, "Di Modica had installed the massive bronze in front of the New York Stock Exchange after the 1987 stock market crash, without a permit, in the middle of the night — as a symbol of America's financial resilience. The city eventually responded to the public clamor for the artwork to be allowed to remain in the Financial District, steps from Wall Street." As one artist to another, fuck your protest and drop the uber-macho dream in your head. It's not helping you. (Grokked from Dan)

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. Next up for the political oubliette swan dive, Steve Bannon. Go for gold, buddy, go for gold. (Grokked from John)

"'You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap," (Rep. Markwayne Mullin - R-Okla.) said at the town hall in Jay, Okla.… 'I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.'" Do you bank the check Rep. Mullin? If so, your constituents (and everyone who pays federal taxes in the US) pay your salary. Taxes aren't a bank account, and you don't get to direct where your money goes (no matter what conservatives say). That's not how they work. As a representative and business owner you are wildly ignorant of the work you're doing. I suggest you retire back to your businesses. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Trump is now threatening a first strike if North Korea continues to work toward another nuclear test. I'm sure this will turn out well.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Linkee-poo why waste your breath moaning at the crowds

So passes Don Rickles. A master of the insult form, Don showed it was possible to get laughs by punching down (although he punched up a lot). It's because people accepted it as an act, and not personal. The rumors were if Don picked on you during his show, he'd buy you dinner afterward.

A dead bat found in prepackaged salad. I don't remember that on the ingredient list. As someone who eats a lot of salad, I'm more worried about bacterial contamination. Also noted in the "sure we don't need regulations" category.

"Winkler was involved in a survey that found that people do want the government to help farmers adapt to climate change, especially when asked during record hot weather." The that cherry crop is being affected, but the farmers (as a whole) don't want to talk about it.

"Today, when the question of loyalty of immigrants has again become contentious, what happened a century ago has special relevance. World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent and even the German language." During WWII my grandfather had to be careful to not be recognized as German (the Marpes were silver smiths from the Alsace-Lorraine area, so for a time we were French).

Speaking of Nazis, "… (Richard) Spencer said what happened was that Antifa (anti-facists) disallowed him to get in his 'getaway' car and the police instructed him to get in a cab. Once he was in one the cab driver (who Spencer mocked for being of Indian origin) got out of the cab, frightened of the ensuing protesters, and Spencer had to take off running." Brilliant. Okay, I'm not really okay with incitements to violence, but not being able to make a getaway because he mocked the cab driver for being foreign is just fucking hilarious. Seriously, dude, maybe tamp down the racism to save your own ass… nope, gotta make fun of the cab driver. Also, fuck nazis. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Now that Trump has shown his unstable side by launching a cruise missile attack in Syria, (which may have not be legal and there's no word if even the Gang of 8 had been informed) every move the military makes is subjected to scrutiny for more signs of attacks. In this case, a carrier group repositioned into the Western Pacific near the Korean Peninsula. If we had our lifelong staffers in the State Department, or political appointees running some Pentagon offices, they might inform the president that playing crazy with crazy is not a good formula. Also, just because it needs saying, war (or warlike actions) don't bolster foreign policy and diplomacy. They're the fail state of such.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Life has a way

Sorry. Day thing, night thing, and family all conspiring to keep me offline. Will resume irregular schedule when we can. Expect maybe sometime next weekish. Sorry for the interruption.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Linkee-poo plows into the weekend

I'd expect next week to be similar to this week, but for different reasons.

"Batgirl… is getting her own standalone movie from filmmaker Joss Whedon." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Thylacines cynocephalus may still be out there." Okay, that could be interesting. But then there are many extinct animals who are "sighted" in the wild.

"SpaceX launched a communications satellite from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida using a rocket stage that had already been to space and back. SpaceX is betting that this kind of recycling will lower its costs and revolutionize space flight" And they stuck the landing.

"Trolls dominate online discourse, according to Pew Internet research, and there may not be much we can do about it. To come to this conclusion, Pew asked one key question of 1,537 tech experts, academics, government leaders, and so on. It appears to have avoided talking to the trolls themselves — understandable but a bit of a shame." And what did you do in the Great Troll Wars? :: waves to my friends in Russia :: (Grokked from John)

"Transportation officials in Georgia are scrambling to cope with a crisis, after a huge fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta on Thursday night."

"Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs!"

"Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact." That can't be good. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"North Carolina has repealed portions of the state's controversial 'bathroom bill,' including the requirement that trans people use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate, member station WUNC reports." Not enough. But I understand the politics of it. If I were a state legislator, I would probably vote for it. If I were a local politician I would be lobbying against it. If I were the NAACP, I'd still impose the boycott because this repeal isn't very much of a repeal.

"I'm sure Pence would say that he's just being careful. But I wonder if he realizes the discriminatory consequences of his rule. Over his career, he has had many colleagues and employees. With the men, he can have complex relationships that traverse work and social contexts, build trust, and eventually help their careers. A woman who hoped Pence would be a mentor to her, on the other hand, wouldn't be able to avail herself of those opportunities, since he can't even have lunch with her." Yep. It also doesn't say much for his maturity and self-control (the former helps with the problems of the lack of the later). (Grokked from John)

Rep Nunes story keeps getting more and more amateur hourish. The kind of amateur hour that makes community theater look like Broadway by comparison. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The president walks out of his own executive order ceremony without signing the order. I'm sure whatever he said to Pence made absolute sense. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three things makes a post

So, apparently Michael Flynn has offered to testify… as long as he gets immunity first. Whenever I hear of someone "willing to talk with the committee" I often think, "I wonder if they're getting immunity first?" So far no one has accepted that offer, with good reason. Flynn is swimming in the deep end at the moment looking at not just being disgraced, but real jail time. And he's looking for any ladder to get his ass out.

Chairman Nunes' story keeps getting weirder. So apparently he had to "emergency" brief the president on information he learned from a White House source. At least it was a short trip after learning the info. But, the call is coming from inside the house.

And Mike Pence keeps getting stranger and stranger. Beginning to think the white hair is related to Geert Wilders' and Julian Asange's white hair.

Been very busy between the new day job, the night thing, and the family thing. So, sorry, no link-poo for a while.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sprung!