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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Linkee-poo hits Wednesday

Apple is being held ransom because of hacks of their Apple ID accounts. Good time to reset the password. (Grokked from Dan)

The art of pre-suasion. Or how you don't realize you're being manipulated. Note, works for marketing and politics (and oddly enough, writing). I got 78%.

"The silicon-based cells that make up a solar panel have a theoretical efficiency limit of 29 percent, but so far that number has proven elusive. Practical efficiency rates in the low-20-percent range have been considered very good for commercial solar panels. But researchers… have built a solar cell with a photo conversion rate of 26.3 percent, breaking the previous record of 25.6 percent." Zing. And the clincher, "… the company will continue to work with NEDO to bring the levelized cost of solar cells down to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour by 2030." (Grokked from John)

Why am I progressive? Reason number #3, I'm all for reducing government spending. But I know how to actually do that. "A full-day preschool program with all this staff doesn’t come cheap. For a typically developing child, it’s $252 a week. For a child with special needs who requires more staffing, it’s $387… And 90 percent of the families in this neighborhood need financial help. Many pay based on what they can afford. But research shows the return on that investment is high. Every $1 spent on early education returns $13 in savings down the road." So, not only do we help kids, help parents, help the neighborhoods they live in, create jobs, and improve the lives of those around us (and, incidentally, our own lives as those kids eventually enter the workforce), we save a shitload of money. But, this is spending money upfront, which conservatives don't want to do even though it costs them more in the long run and generates misery all around.

Just like yesterday's story about treating people with opioid addiction. It's significantly cheaper to help them get off opioids with treatment programs (that aren't 300-500% overbooked) and community economic intervention (which often curbs drug use) that paying out half a million to replace someone's heart valve (and that's not the only expensive complications from drug use). It helps people live "better" lives, it helps them be self-reliant, and it costs significantly less.

"But farmers need to get their crops in, and they expect to be able to go on fixing, tuning and modifying their (John Deere) tractors as they've done since tractors were invented, and so they are turning to the Ukrainian black market." Don't worry, I'm sure EULAs will be hitting the car market soon. So we're all going to need to know how to hack our own equipment. (Grokked from John)

Why Mussolini's fascism is a more apt simile for Trump's (advisors) version. And there's a healthy dose of crow in their for all us progressives. (Grokked from Sheila)

"After the president issued a budget last week slashing and burning environmental, labor and educational programs, the guy responsible for the thing, Mick Mulvaney, contended those financial massacres are the heart’s desire of the 'steelworker in Ohio, the coal-mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit.'" Turns out he was completely wrong about that. And people are now telling him exactly that. To bad, Micky, but it was a self-inflicted wound. Unfortunately for the rest of us, that wasn't the real reason for cutting off funds to many of those programs. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

The Trump Budget explained in a video. Yep. Good if you're the military, sucks if you're below middle income. Notice how many blocks are transferred to the Pentagon come from programs that help the poor, elderly, and disenfranchised people. Much of what is being cut I use daily, I know people who are dependent on those programs, and gosh darn it I'd like to see medical and basic research continue (even at the reduced levels they are currently), because that means life and progress in the future. Cutting such programs may save a few pennies, but they'll cost us significant fractions of the GDP in the future. Don't believe it? Okay how about this article that highlights other programs being cut and the benefit we all get from them. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (Grokked from Sheila)

In politics, there are lots of forms of currency. The most potent is reputation. And, yes, you spend it like any other currency. The current president is squandering his. And some people are trying to tell him to knock it off. Because at some point, our lives may depend on it. (Grokked from John)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Linkee-poo is not in the swing

Ferret Steinmetz would "like to hire someone who is wheelchair-enabled who can tell me whether I’m making any obvious insults and/or errors to wheelchair-enabled users." See post for details.

"Over the past few months, Black Twitter has noticed an increase in the number of white trolls creating fake Twitter accounts." Yes, Virginia, there are poser trolls out there. They're organized and have a mission. And it's not just Black Twitter.

"Cementing her role as a powerful White House influence, Ivanka Trump is working out of a West Wing office and will get access to classified information, though she is not technically serving as a government employee, according to an attorney for the first daughter." Note Ivanka Trump has not really divested or handed off her responsibilities in the Trump Organization (although there appears to be more light between her and the organization than her father). Although, in truth, this is the role of the First Lady. And someone has got to keep an eye on Daddy so nobody else realizes he has emotional and memory problems. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"According to the rules newly issued by President Trump's administration, passengers must check most electronic devices — including laptops, cameras and tablets — into their checked baggage. Travelers will still be allowed to carry their mobile phones in their hand luggage." I guess we've forgotten about altitude and pressure triggers.

The problems with false attribution mostly stem from an ignorance of people. "Among the people who enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion, about 13 percent might be considered able bodied but not working right now. Of those, the great majority said the reason they weren't working was because they were taking care of family members. If you look across the nation, it might be millions of individuals who receive Medicaid benefits at the moment but potentially could be required to work under the rules Congress is considering."

America's opioid problem is more economically widespread than most people think. "Milford had endocarditis, which is essentially an abscess on one of his heart valves. He spent seven weeks in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics. Eventually, he went back home. But he kept injecting drugs, and he got endocarditis two more times." A hospital considers the ethics of treating patients with drug addictions. This is why insurance needs to be more than catastrophic care. If we had a robust addiction therapy response, we would save millions. Note, the patient above had to have heart valve replacement three times at a cost of about a half-million a throw (and that's not the only health issues these people have). By treating drug addiction as only a criminal offense, and making a paltry effort to show compassion and get these patients the treatments they need, we are costing ourselves billions more than running needle exchanges and getting more facilities and doctors in the drug rehabilitation field.

"At an hours-long public hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he pushed back against President Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama." Imagine how different the world would be if that was the letter Comey sent to Congress the weekend before the election.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Linkee-poo for Sunday

Chuck Berry has gone on. And so it goes. Do you like Rock and Roll? You owe a debt to Chuck. Like a song with "power chords"? Chuck Berry. Rock stage performers dancing while playing? Chuck.

"According to a report in The Siberian Times, a team led by archaeologist Andrey Gusev of the Scientific Research Center of the Arctic has uncovered plates of armor made from reindeer antlers at the Ust-Polui site in northwestern Siberia. The armor dates to between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Trump administration has gone to court to try to bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under its control. The bureau is an executive branch entity, but the president doesn't have direct control over the six-year-old agency." Screwing the little-guy. That's what he campaigned one, wasn't it?

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar? "Most members of President Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The former Texas Republican was jailed on Thursday and accused in federal court on Friday of conspiring with two former employees to violate federal election laws." I'm so glad the conservatives were hell-bent on investigating election fraud. Without that, we wouldn't know how corrupt the GOP and conservatives are when it comes to election law. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Linkee-poo asks for help, still gets the shaft

So long and thanks for all the fish. "Humpback whales are normally pretty solitary—scientists used to call groups of 10 to 20 'large.' Now they’re congregating in groups of 20 to 200 off the coast of South Africa." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government… In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them… Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes." You calls may be monitored and recorded for quality control. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The Republican plan would block $178 million in Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood in 2017." Well, if PP is named (or specifically outlined) in the bill, that's a cause for legal action (the Federal Government can neither endorse or prohibit an individual company by law - regulation and implementation however is another thing).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Linkee-poo becomes the night owl

Some conservatives say income inequality isn't a thing in developed nations, or at least doesn't cause any issues. "Girls in the UK are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, a charity has said… Freedom4Girls was contacted by a school in Leeds after it became concerned about teenage girls' attendance… The group provides sanitary products to women in Kenya - but is now doing the same in West Yorkshire." Yeah, they're wrong. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"The Senate on Tuesday sent President Donald Trump a measure to expand the number of applicants for jobless benefits who can be drug-tested." Well, I'm sure that will work out well.

"The CIA has reportedly been given the power by President Trump to launch drone strikes against suspected terrorists." Oh for fuck's sake. The CIA has proved how incredibly crappy they are at running that program (actually on directing any, any military action). But the one thing the CIA has over the Pentagon, the CIA doesn't have lawyers making sure all operations follow relevant laws, including international treaties. They also don't have to report shit to anyone and have no compunction against lying about it. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"State safety inspectors wouldn’t inspect West Virginia’s coal mines anymore. They would conduct 'compliance visits and education.'… Violations of health and safety standards wouldn’t produce state citations and fines, either. Mine operators would receive 'compliance assistance visit notices.'" Wow, and it only took one col executive being sent to (very minimum security) jail to get a complete capitulation of government. But, in truth, the operators rarely pay fines and treat the regulations as "suggestions" anyway. The good news is that there's still the federal rules… which are treated with the same contempt as the state rules. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"At a town hall last week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told an attendee to 'shut up' after the crowd took issue with his response to a question about legislation protecting women from violence."

"'There are things we can do to tailor the tax credit in a way to make it more attractive to people and more helpful to people on the lower end, with a phaseout that's a little less steeper than what the House has,' Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told reporters Tuesday." So it'll take longer to screw you over, but it'll still screw you over in the long run.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Linkee-poo first day

"White men are an 'endangered species' in British boardrooms, says Tesco boss… Mr Allan is one of nine white men on Tesco's board of directors." Side-eye. Uh yeah, John. Sure. He then goes on to say white guys will have to work twice as hard. Dear asshole, you're on the board of a company and are paid a significant amount, you should be working 6x as hard as the rest of your employees. Get a grip. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Rep. Steve King drops the mask and goes full-bore white supremacist.

"The AHCA would increase the uninsured population by about 24 million people — which is more people than live in New York state. But the raw numbers obscure the cruelty of the choices. The policy is particularly bad for the old, the sick, and the poor. It is particularly good for the rich, the young, and the healthy." More people will be pushed out of the healthcare market than were added under Obamacare. It will screw over a lot of people with employer based healthcare. And if you're on Medicaid, you're screwed. How screwed, it's $800B in cuts to Medicaid to return only $340B savings over 10 years. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Linkee-poo before the storm

Now I can talk a little more openly about this. Tomorrow I start a new graphic design job. While I hope this will mean some major changes for the better in most aspects of my life (hell, I've already lost weight without really doing anything different), it might mean a reduced ability to write the linkee-poo during the day. Considering part of this is to allow more time (and brain space) to write at night, that probably means that the linkee-poos will be more like linkee-poo light. I'll be working in a bullpen configuration, which means everyone can see what I'm working on. Considering that they have increased the pay for this position to get me, they're definitely going to want to see me perform to get their ROI. The workplace is built around half-hour lunches (which is about what I've been actually taking for the past 5 years). So expect light posting for a while.

It's pierogi, it's a ravioli, it's a flying saucer, nope it's Pan.

"A team from the University of Twente and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences have published a paper demonstrating gross overbillings by smart energy meters, ranging from -32% to +582% of actual power consumption." Well isn't that just ducky.

"The U.S. Department of State asked the city in writing on Feb. 24 to not reveal the autopsy results, because Churkin’s diplomatic immunity survives his death… Churkin, who died Feb. 20 at a hospital at age 64, had been Russia’s envoy at the U.N. since 2006. He was the longest-serving ambassador on the Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body." Uh, yeah. Diplomatic immunity does not survive death. (Grokked indirectly from Wesley Chu)

"As of July 1, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will allow these first-year residents, also known as interns, to work 24 hours without a break — and sometimes as long as 28, if a particular transition between doctors demands it." Yeah, that'll work so well.

"Amazon announced this week that it was launching Resistance Radio as a companion program for The Man in the High Castle, an alt-history drama loosely adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel. The pre-recorded radio program is basically a bunch of people talking about how the Third Reich is bad and does bad things. For some, they thought that applied to America’s current president (and/or they didn’t bother actually listening to it). In response, several irate opposers flocked to Amazon’s sponsored #ResistanceRadio hashtag to complain about the station’s 'liberal agenda.'" (Grokked from Eric Kelly)

"But a second, previously unreported video from that same convenience store… is raising new questions about what happened in the hours before the shooting on Aug. 9, 2014… The footage shows Mr. Brown entering the store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, shortly after 1 a.m. on the day he died. He approaches the counter, hands over an item that appears to be a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. Mr. Brown is shown walking toward the door with the sack, then turning around and handing the cigarillos back across the counter before exiting." Remember, the owner of the store refused to file a report.

"Roger Stone, President Trump's former campaign advisor, on Friday admitted to having private conversations with a hacker who helped leak information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during last year's campaign." Sure it was completely innocuous. Just like Mr. Stone's quickly deleted tweet about the completely legal back-door access to Wikileaks. Nothing to see here. (Grokked from George Takei)

"The Office of Government Ethics has informed the Trump administration that the White House has an 'incorrect' view of ethics laws." I know you are, but what am I?

"Former Trump campaign associate Carter Page is pressuring the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate whether his “civil rights” were violated by the Clinton campaign and Obama administration during the 2016 election, according to a letter Page delivered to the committee and sent to BuzzFeed News." I'm sure he's cooperator fully and only for the low, low cost of unconditional immunity from prosecution. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The Republican health plan is a huge betrayal of (all of) Trump’s campaign promises… And Trump’s voters will pay the highest price." Who could have predicted that? And who could have predicted Trump saying the Ryan bill is exactly what he wanted? (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"On Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it expected to run out of visas for Afghans who assisted the U.S. mission by June 1, and that, 'No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants… will be scheduled after March 1, 2017.'" I'm sure that'll work out okay.

"A recently retired FBI agent, Brian McCauley, was the fact witness at the center of yet another Clinton email 'scandal' which broke about three weeks before the November 2016 election… It turns out that about two weeks before that story came out, McCauley had been placed on retainer by Trump advisor Michael Flynn, a retainer/consultancy agreement which eventually totaled $28,000." I'm sure it was just coincidental. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Linkee-poo makes it to Friday

When it's a slow day at the bookstore. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

"Archaeologists working under difficult conditions in Cairo have discovered an ancient statue submerged in mud." Okay, it's just Ramses II, but still it's an interesting find. Especially since it was discovered in Cairo. (grokked from Matt Staggs)

Fiverr's ad for the gig economy. Are you a workaholic dweeb? Love stressing out and double-checking your double-check? Think the job is never done and love putting in more unbillable time than necessary? Fiverr maybe the solution you're looking for. Okay, well at least it's more realistic than the "people freelance because they don't want to work a 'real' job." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Your workplace Wellness Program is about to get more invasive. "A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information." Considering how the new GOP healthcare law also takes off restrictions regarding pre-existing conditions (remember, you could get insurance that covered pre-existing conditions, but those were typically in "high-risk pools", which cost about 5-20x as much as other insurance plans and were run by the states) this is exceptionally bad. Have BRCA1 or BRCA2, have genes linked to other cancers or heart disease, or any of the many conditions that we think we know the genetic markers for (which I'll note several of these markers have been disproved) and suddenly you're in the "high-risk pool", even without any symptoms. And you're on the hook for all that extra cost. Or your employer may just decide to fire you. Sure, they'll have to pay unemployment, but that's why most states have "employ at will" laws. And yes this is real. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Before abortion, the world was nicer and more polite. "Alone, often met with silence and obstruction from Church and state bureaucracies that held long-forgotten records, Corless eventually exposed the existence of a mass grave of babies and toddlers in a sewer on the grounds of the home." Yeah, bullshit. The world was meaner and a worst place to live. So, mass graves, sound like some third world place run by a dictator. Well, no, this is Ireland and we're talking about a home for wayward girls (unmarried mothers). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Gen. Michael Flynn belated registers as a foreign agent (aka lobbyist) for Turkey during the campaign. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild." Sure the parties are the same.

"Was the election interference a one-off deal where Putin vanquishes Hillary and then goes home fat and happy? Or was it part of something bigger, where Putin is using Trump — remember, the Steele Dossier, much of which is still unverified, alleges that Russia has been cultivating Trump as an asset FOR YEARS — to achieve much wider goals?" Again, the plot is over when the action ends. Russian trolls are still active. What the Trump people don't understand is they're only useful while they're useful. The Russians will drop them at the earliest opportunity. The goal is not to install Trump. And I agree, the goal is not the destruction of our democracy (that's just a happy side effect), they want us within our borders, they want is impotent. Everything else is gravy. And once they have us boxed in, they'll dump Trump (or whomever they're still supporting) if only to throw our system into more chaos. It's nothing personal. (Grokked from Michele)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Linkee-poo almost there

"A Montrealer who is a Canadian citizen by birth says she was barred from entering the United States and told to get a valid visa if she ever wants to cross the border." Well, I guess we know which government agency is auditioning for the role of Brown Shirts. So much for the worlds longest, peaceful border. Thanks, CBP. (Grokked from Geoff Landis)

"The next time you place an order at a fast food joint, you could see a robot behind the counter. Flippy is an AI-driven kitchen assistant that can flip burgers and place them on buns, and it debuted today at a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena, California." As with most industrial robots, it's not a complete solution and requires humans to do finishing tasks. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt begins (well, for him "continues") the rollback of actual science at the EPA. In this case, he's not sure that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that humans are behind the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is not just academic, this is suicidal. (Grokked from Charles Oberndorf)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Linkee-poo, time is not on my side

Just trying to get so much done, and not getting much of it accomplished.

Sure, you're saying, Jim Hines salary survey is all good, but it'd be nicer if it were all together. Say, like as a PDF. Well ask no more.

"One of the possible explanations for why Pluto is emanating X-rays would be that the high energy particles emitted by the sun are stripping away and reacting with Pluto’s atmosphere, producing the X-rays that are visible to Chandra." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Rabbit hole in England leads to 700-year old Knights Templar cave." And they can't keep the kids away.

"'When people talk about the Paleo diet, that’s not paleo, that’s just non-carb,' Weyrich says. 'The true paleo diet is eating whatever’s out there in the environment.'" Basically, the Paleo Diet was just the "ideal" of what some people want and their knowledge of paleo culture as exemplified by the Flintstones. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"In 2000, during a family dispute about the details of his father’s will, Trump, who was by then fabulously wealthy in his own right, cut off benefits from the family health plan that were paying for the medical care of his nephew’s seriously ill young son." Because in the president's eye, revenge is perfectly acceptable even when it mostly affects children. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Pizza gate redux, with a spicing of 80's Satanic Baby-killers. "End Times radio broadcaster and unhinged conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles dedicated his radio program yesterday to warning that a secretive pedophile ring is working to destroy President Trump before he can expose their murderous global network." Have you stopped beating your wife? (Grokked from Fred Clark)

It begins. "Mexico has canceled existing sugar export permits to the United States in a dispute over the pace of shipments, according to a letter seen by Reuters, in a flare-up industry sources said could temporarily disrupt supplies… The letter sent by Mexico's sugar chamber to mills on Monday partly blamed the situation on unfilled positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which it said had led to a 'legalistic' interpretation of rules with no U.S. counterparts in place in Washington for Mexican officials to negotiate with." While not technically a "trade war", expect your food prices to increase. Mexico provides about one-third of US sugar imports. The dispute is over technical language as we try to renegotiate the Sugar Import agreement (started last year). Plus, you know that movement to use "real sugar" in foods instead of high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners which are actually worse for you than proceed sugar which is already bad for you), yeah, expect that to die. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Trump’s budget would get rid of Energy Star. The government labeling program for energy-efficient appliances and consumer products is on the chopping block as the president tries to slash spending so he can steer $54 billion more a year to the military." I know this isn't on most people's radar, but fuck. When I buy an appliance I immediately look for the Energy Star rating. Sure, most products now qualify for Energy Star status, but it's that power usage rating that is most important. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In other words, it's not exactly designed to pass and become a law that actually works. Speaker Paul Ryan might get the necessary 218 Republicans to close their eyes, hold hands, and jump over a cliff in order to get the bill to the Senate." While I agree this GOP Healthcare Bill is mostly about politics and ideology, and it's less about real policy, I'm not so sure it won't pass. But let's say it is just about the GOP saving face by passing something in the House that they know won't pass in the Senate, okay. I say then the progressives use this bill as a flog and never let the GOP forget it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Hours after Republicans released their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, the most influential conservative groups in the country have come out strongly against it, setting up an expensive battle between a divided Republican Party on an issue they’ve campaigned on for seven years." Mostly because the GOP bill doesn't fully repeal Obamacare. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"MSNBC White House correspondent Hallie Jackson backed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer into a corner by asking him why President Donald Trump would call on Congress to investigate wiretapping information he already claims to have." Well, it's about separation of powers and adding validity… you know, complete bullshit. Actually I'm sure the president would rather Congress go on a wild goose chase after any wiretapping of Trump Tower instead of investigating Russian connections to the administration and their interference in the election. (Grokked from Michele)

Tweet of my heart: @zagbah I'm so sick of folk at no risk telling folk at high risk to allow the folk who want to harm them explain why they want to harm them. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Double dip: @DavidYankovich When your boss's income has risen 937% since 1978 and yours has increased by only 5.7%, it's time to stop blaming minorities for your woes. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Linkee-poo another rainy day

"Those first release photos show actor Finn Jones, the titular Iron Fist, to be using a shinai–the bamboo practice sword used for swinging and sparring, meant to represent a katana–which does not fit him. It is the size which would be handed to a ten-year-old child. Even though a practice sword is made of bamboo and leather it is held and swung like the real thing. There’s a dedicated 'cutting' edge. Jones is holding his child-sized shinai upside-down, with the edge pointed at his own face." Seriously, it's not that hard to do the work. As someone who has written a book involving Asian martial arts swordplay, it's really not that hard to do basic research. And with an actual budget, there are tons of experts available that could be on set, giving advice, training the actors, setting choreography, giving feedback. In the hands of the unskilled, a shinai is a dangerous thing. I'm surprised the insurance underwriters didn't insist on having onset experts. Also, for the record, yes I make it clear in my book that the "American" swordsmen are not close in skill to those from the old country. And the protagonist would have lost to an antagonist had he not "cheated." And that antagonist wasn't fully trained. There is nothing magical about the person, but there is a difference between cultures and training (and the dojo). Ask anyone who has met a master in any martial art. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Only about half of the medical findings reported in 199 English-language newspapers actually turn out to hold up when tested in further studies, the study found. And sorry, dear reader, you're not likely to hear about those refutations."

"'We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services,' Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Based on my conversations with multiple sources close to the effort, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had indicated to congressional staff that the prior House framework could see at least 10 million, and potentially up to 20 million, individuals losing employer-sponsored health insurance. Further, CBO stated that that House framework, even after including a refundable tax credit for health insurance, would not cover many more people than repealing Obamacare outright." Emphasis mine. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The Republican plan to reshape the Affordable Care Act — what they call 'repeal and replace' — kills the requirement that everyone buy health insurance by eliminating the tax penalty for those who don't have coverage. It also makes significant changes in the financial assistance people can receive to buy a health plan." We're all boned.

Hey, remember when the Tea Party thought that passing Obamacare in about 6 months was "too fast". Yeah, word is Republicans want to pass their repeal by Easter.

A new travel ban is rolled out. And it reads like a legal brief and makes the same case they tried with the prior one (even with the differences).

Tweet of my heart: @joshtpm Now it's a race to see if GOP can pass repeal law before people realize that everyone loses their coverage. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Linkee-poo is late as predicted

Tobias Buckell soft-launches his Patreon. He joins a long list of other authors there, including Kameron Hurley, Jim Wright, Mur Lafferty, Mary Robinette Kowal, Fred Clark, Writing Excuses, and Uncanny Magazine among others.

Introducing the Enemies of the People according to our president. A remembrance that reporting is neither easy, or in many cases safe. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

The secrets of the dinosaur death pose. It's because as the body decomposes, the muscles in the chest and abdomen (such as the abdominis rectus) tear and rip from contraction (because they overlap with alternating grain). The more supple (and mostly oriented in one direction) muscles of the neck, ribs, and posterior spine survive longer and these contract pulling the animal into the classic pose. Your strongest and thickest muscle is the psoas, which connects from the lumbar spine to the lesser trochanter of the femur. Also as demonstrated in humans (who walk upright and therefore put greater stresses on their spines, welcome to why lower back and neck pain are so damn common) the spine has a natural S curve to it (lordotic for cervical and lumbar and kyphotic for thoracic). This is why it's easier for you to look straight up (extension), and harder to see straight down to your feet (flexion). This leads to the classic "holding the leg in a kick position to look at the toes" posture, slightly pronounced in those of us with larger body habitus. These muscles survive longer after death and because they're mostly pulling in the same direction (for humans, making us upright) they tend to have more of an affect. In humans we have another muscle few animals have, the diaphragm. The largest single muscle in your body (IIRC). When this contracts after death, it pulls our bodies into the classic fetal position. Dinosaurs (avians, and most other animals) don't posses this counter balance to the back muscles.

"The White House is proposing to slash Environmental Protection Agency funding that pays for Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97 percent, according to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies." We're boned. Hey, Great Lake Sports Fishing Industry, your livelihood is on the line here. "The plan also includes a $13 million cut in compliance monitoring, which the EPA uses to ensure the safety of drinking water systems. State grants for beach water quality testing would also be eliminated." Living next to a water body that often has its beaches closed because of bacterial counts, I'm sure this won't cause any problems at all. And that's before we start talking about places like Flint and West Virginia. Boy, I hope he has a plan on how to employ all the people that will be let go because of this. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Polls consistently show that Republicans are more likely to hold racial prejudices, and not just in the South. Nationally, almost one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center. While 79 percent of Republicans agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found." (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"The Keystone XL oil pipeline won't use American steel in its construction, despite what President Donald Trump says… White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that's due to language in a presidential directive Trump issued in January."

"The healthcare industry is a well-known information security dumpster fire, from the entire hospitals hijacked by ransomware to the useless security on medical devices to the terrifying world of shitty state security for medical implants -- all made worse by the cack-handed security measures that hospital workers have to bypass to get on with saving our lives (and it's about to get worse, thanks to the Internet of Things)." Yes, this.

"Last year, when presidential candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act as 'a fraud,' 'a total disaster,' and 'very bad health insurance,' many Americans seemed to agree with him… Now that President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to keep their promise to get rid of the law, voters increasingly seem to be having second thoughts." That's because many of those Americans wanted a public option, and another large group wanted the law fixed so it worked better (and mandate Medicaid expansion to those states who refused). They're somewhat surprised to realize that "Repeal and Replace" mostly meant "Repeal".

"'Just like Jesus said, The poor will always be with us,' (Rep and doctor Roger Marshall) said. 'There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.'" A reminder that just because you're a doctor you can still be an idiot. Dear Dr. Marshall, you might want to brush up on that Bible passage (John 12:8, in case you forgot). To quote Inigo Montoya, "I don't think it means what you think it means." Medicaid is not a "free" program. You might want to brush up on just how bad off you have to be to qualify. And, yes, many people on Medicaid 1) don't have the habit of seeing their doctor because 2) they never had the money to regularly see a doctor and 3) have difficulty getting to a doctors office reliably and 4) really don't deserve your scorn. So take your advanced degree and crappy bedside manner and shove it. (Grokked from Seanan McGuire)

"FBI Director James Comey has requested that the Justice Department publicly deny President Trump's allegation that President Obama had ordered a wire tap of candidate Trump, a law enforcement official confirms…"

"Before heading off to his so-called 'winter White House' in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, President Donald Trump summoned some of his senior staff to the Oval Office and went 'ballistic,' senior White House sources told ABC News." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The White House asserted this week that broad swaths of federal ethics regulations do not apply to people who work in the Executive Office of the President. Ethics experts say this sets the Trump White House apart from past administrations." I'm sure that'll fly.

"Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)