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Now John at the bar is a friend of mine. He gets me my drinks for free.
And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke, but there's someplace that he'd rather be.
He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me," as a smile ran away from his face.
"Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place."

Friday, May 6, 2016

Linkee-poo likes Sir David Attenborough but thought Boaty McBoatface was bitchin'

Agent DongWon Song is open for submissions.

Not feeling it? Okay, here's a Writer's Block Supercut from 53 movies. Now are you feeling it?

So, uh, oil sands can't burn, can they? Although, all that processed oil stored on the surface sure will. Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada is where the oil sands are, the very place the US still imports the majority of it's oil from. Yeah, it's on fire. IIRC the oil sands can't actually catch fire on their own. But if I'm wrong our largest source of imported oil may experience something like a coal seam fire. Is it time to panic, yet?

I would say this is completely an unintended consequence of strict adherence to center based design. But I know designers. Somewhere, one of us is giggling madly. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

"With the rules that were more than two years in the making, the (FDA) is expanding its authority over e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, in much the same way it already regulates traditional cigarettes." Just in case you thought the government over regulated business. No, not really. It's playing catch up.

Two in a row. SpaceX sticks the landing, again.

"Apple executive Phil Schiller gave Apple users a grammar lesson on Twitter yesterday afternoon, explaining that it isn't necessary to pluralize Apple product names." Actually this is to protect trademark and branding and is quite common. That is, they aren't Kleenexes, but Kleenex facial tissues. I say we need to develop plural names like gaggle or murder. (Grokked from Dan)

Because, yeah, if you let kids walk past abortion clinics on the way to school they may think of them as normal places. Which is at odds with what stuffy old white men want them to think. Because we want the kids to think of abortion services as bad places they may need to shoot up in the future. So we'll stop talking about it as well.

The Planet Money podcast on the insidious problem of tax rebates offered to businesses. Why should you care when you're business isn't one of those that often relocates to keep from paying any taxes? Because your taxes need to go up to cover those tax breaks (or suffer from cut services, or have your government go into debt). And it's just one state or city poaching jobs from other states and cities.

Computerize everything, they said. Nothing could go wrong, they said. What could it hurt if the device you're using to supervise heart catheterization decides to reboot in the middle of a procedure because a networked computer's anti-virus software was scanning a hard drive? (Grokked from Dan)

"It's not that Kaiser doesn't enjoy her job, which pays a decent salary after 10 years and even provides small raises every year. But like many millions of Americans, she finds that the raises she gets are pretty much eaten up by rising expenses, leaving her with a standard of living that's essentially flat." What wage stagnation is and looks like, why it's feeding the Trump and Sanders candidacies, and the problems that come with it. I know, I have a feeling I'm preaching to the choir here. At 50 I have a day job that pays well and did give me a decent raise (when they realized I could make as much at my new career as they were paying me). However, for the past 3 years my "raise" has been folded into our so-called "profit sharing" plan. Which, if we were at 100% target revenue would be very nice, but we've never been at 100% since they instituted the plan which basically means, no raise for the past 3 years. At the night thing the hospital realized they were losing good people and couldn't attract good employees to replace them, so they recently did a bump to the bottom minimum wage (which trickled up and gave us new people a nice raise, which hasn't been reflected in our checks yet, it'll be next month), but didn't move the top-line of the pay categories (which means their "best, long-term" employees are still wage locked). BTW, with my CT certification plus the hourly raise, plus a hopeful cost of living bump, a potential "full-time" recruitment bump, and the shift differential (for working afternoons and overnight) I've effectively evened out the "good raise" the day job gave me (and my current bosses aren't looking in the same direction my previous bosses were, so I doubt they'd either know or care). From my experience, the best pay increases only come with changing jobs. Let that be a lesson to the kids, and to the management. If you don't increase you pay with more than cost of living, you're going to lose the people who can get other jobs and the game of suppressing wages though "comparison rates" is about to break down.

"The first Navy drone ship is… known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these 'robot ships' could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States." Or, you know, taken over by Skynet.

Why are low-information voters/citizens a Bad Idea™? Because with low-information citizens shit like this happens. A police officer is called to a school cafeteria when a 13-year old tries to pay for lunch with a $2 bill. Cop then has to go to store and bank only to be told that, yeah, $2 bills are legit (and have been for DECADES now). Oh, and then the cop never apologized to the kid even though he caused her to miss lunch and threatened her and her grandmother with counterfeiting charges. That's special.

"'We will take no action by Monday,' (North Carolina state House Speaker Tim Moore (R)) told reporters… 'That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.'" Actually, yeah, that is how this works.

The Trumpster wants to bring Joe Paterno back (we're assuming here he means to bring the statue back to Penn State, Joe Paterno being dead and all). Yeah, that might not be a good idea. According to Penn State's insurer, Paterno knew about Sandusky's proclivities toward children all the way back to the 70s. So, no, they're not going to pay out for the lawsuits.

Tweet of my heart: @ivan_hernandez I'm proBernie but would vote Hillary as I am a one issue voter and that issue is not opening the seventh seal and ushering in the apocalypse

Double-dip: @shawnp0wers While art is rarely the "how" behind the progression of a society, it's almost always the "why". #DeepThoughtsByShawn

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Linkee-poo remembers when, remembers when I lost my mind

Five easy pieces tricks to better storytelling. (Grokked from Daniel J. Hogan)

The carnyx. It's sort of a bronze-age, Celtic, musical vuvuzela complete with soft pallet and tongue. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

One of the many reasons I don't use many "cloud services", you don't really own the data. In this case, Apple's Music service, to be helpful, deletes files from your hard drive to store what it considered the "real version" in the cloud. Uh, no thanks. Being an old school kind of person, I am always leery of storing data I need to use (or own) on media I don't have immediate control over. Backups? No problem. Original files? No fucking way. As a personal note, I looked at Apple Music, being a long time Apple fan and said, "Nope." (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"The implication here is that when it comes to very short time scales, even before we think we've made a conscious choice, our mind has already subconsciously decided for us, and free will is more of an illusion than we think." Wow, that's a whole lotta bullshit in one sentence. Newsflash, all your choices are subconscious, your conscious self just engages in reinforcement and justification. In case you think I'm making this up, google "monkey-brain" and "lizard-brain". This is humans coming to grip with being those "damn, dirty apes" we always were and hitting the wall of Aristotelian dynamics (which tells us to divide the world in twain, and that both sides can't be like the other). (Grokked from Dan)

Quantum computing debuts on the internet of things. "The actual quantum processor is stored at IBM’s research center in Yorktown Heights, NY. in a complex refrigeration system that keeps the chip cooled near absolute zero, which is required for quantum activity to take place. Users can interact with the machine through the Internet much like they would access cloud software like email." (Grokked from Dan)

Why are "religious freedom" bills a bad idea? "South Carolina tow truck driver said God told him to leave a disabled Bernie Sanders supporter stranded along the interstate… The conservative Christian suggested he had a religious right to refuse service to Sanders supporters." I hope she sues the fuck outa this asshole for refusal of custom. Oh, and Mr. Shupe, your god is kind of a dick. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"Police destroy legally painted mural of Mike Brown, because it sent the wrong message." Community policing, you're doing it wrong. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

"The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Republican National Committee staffers were told that if they could not embrace Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee they would need to leave by the end of this week." And the purge begins. Just wait until the blackshirt purge the brownshirts. That'll be fun.

What happens when you can win? "The move is being called a naked power grab and an obvious example of court packing -- an accusation seemingly backed by the fact that the five current justices have said there’s no need for additional justices." Yeah, you do things like that.

@paolobacigalupi When we look at Trump, we should realize that we're looking in a mirror. The real horror is that a good chunk of America likes what it sees.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Linkee-poo, let it rock, let it roll, let the bible belt come and save my soul

I'll have a lot to say about the pharmaceutical business in a little bit, but "At some hospitals, posters on the wall in the emergency department list the drugs that are in short supply or unavailable, along with recommended alternatives." One of those drugs? Saline solution. Salt water. Sure, it has to be sterile, but damn, saline solution. If you think it's a joke about how much bottled water costs compared to gasoline, yeah, you don't want to know how much saline costs. If I would stop all this other stuff and go into business it would be to make sterile saline. "Changing the economics of these drugs could help, said George Washington's Pines, noting that profit margins are thin and there's not a lot of extra capacity in the system if one manufacturer stops producing a drug." He's right about the second part, but I call bullshit on the thin profit margins line. This is just big pharma colluding to drive up prices.

Time lists their fifty most influential gadgets (majority digital incarnations, but oddly they don't include micro-transistors). (Grokked from Dan)

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. Unfortunately we really don't track those things.

Water has memory. Okay. The world is stranger than you think. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"A biotech company in the US has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury, to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life." What could possibly go wrong? (Grokked from Dan)

The George W Bush initiative to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa was actually quite successful. Except for the third of the billions we spent that was earmarked for abstinence only education. That part pretty much tanked. Just like it did in the US.

And then there was one. We're living in an Agatha Christie world. Or the GOP race was just the most open form of Highlander competition.

Well, the Trumpster saying things doesn't make the world more dangerous… except brownshirts always make the world more dangerous. Oh, and dear police officer who said the woman was within her 1st Amendment Rights with what she said, let me call bullshit on you. Hate speech is not protected speech.

In other Trumpster news, conservatives figure out Fox News isn't really a news site after all.

What I really love is all the talk about "real conservatives." Dear GOP, Donald Trump is appealing to all those who for the last 4 elections have been screaming for "a real conservative who will fight for our values." It's just you thought you knew what those values were, but they weren't those of your base.

Tweet of my heart: @TheWeirdWorld Depression is like when your mind and heart stop loving each other but still eat at the same dinner table together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Linkee-poo, all I want is a remedy, if I had some remedy I'd take enough to please me

As if you need another reason to own a Tesla, results from testing the HEPA filter and the bioweapon defense mode. Makes you wonder just WTF Elon Musk is really up to, doesn't it? Oh, and because my day job sells actual military CBRNE defense materials, that the time of the test is listed in minutes, and it takes about 1 minute to drop concentrations down below 200 micrograms/meter cubed means you really won't survive. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

The temple complex at Angkor Wat appears to be more extensive than originally thought.

Reverse engineering an ATM skimmer found in the wild. Yep. (Grokked from Dan)

Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, who researched the genetic diversity of the human 23rd chromosome and specifically the Y variant, said… “Half of the Western European population is descended from just one man." That may sound astonishing, but this stems from a person who lived about 190,000 years (or approximately 9,500 generations) ago. There is also significant evidence that one in every 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan and he was only 780 years (or 39 generations) ago. It's also speculated (looking at mitochondrial DNA) that all of humanity emerged from a Mitochondrial Eve who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. This may be difficult to grasp until you realize that more people have been alive on this planet since the 20th Century than have ever lived since we can say Homo sapiens became a distinct species. But the most interesting quote in the original article is "In Europe there was huge population expansion in just a few generations. Genetics can’t tell us why it happened but we know that a tiny number of elite males were controlling reproduction and dominating the population." Remind you of anything happening today? (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

Most likely water flowed on Mars in ancient times. Well, maybe not so ancient times. And it's boiling as it flows. Boiling salty water. (Grokked from Dan)

Is there a better way to pay for our schools. Not when people are bug-fucked about "new" taxes. "The achievement gap between this nation's wealthiest and poorest students is growing dramatically, not shrinking. Something's not working." And that, friends, is a recipe for not only disaster, but cultural and political extinction.

If it isn't actually a problem, make it a problem. "But… conservatives are trying to invent the problem to justify their barbaric solution. For an obvious example, look no further than designated hate group American Family Association, whose director of governmental affairs, Sandy Rios, just admitted that her organization has been sending men into women’s bathrooms at Target in the hopes of eliciting a reaction." Here's the thing, is the US we don't have police stationed outside of restrooms. It's only social convention that keeps people using the bathroom of their choice. But, because there really has never been a problem before (well, yes there was but it wasn't because of transgendered people and it was usually dealt with existing laws) the asshat idiots of the American Family Association, a nominally religious organization, has taken it upon themselves to creep on women. What a fabulous idea. So, basically, what we should take from this and the ongoing scandal of religious peoples using their positions of trust within their religion to sexually abuse children is that you can't trust religious people. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley, among others)

So, what happens when you allow the "religious freedom bills" to proliferate hate? "A dollar store chain in Louisiana is investigating – after a video spread in which an employee allegedly refuses to serve a gay woman." Yep, the dumb is contagious. It's not just about "baking cakes for gay weddings." It never was. (Grokked from George Takei)

"Established after the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, the Marine Corps’ crisis response unit is tasked to rapidly reinforce U.S. diplomatic outposts in Africa and Europe that come under attack. The Ospreys allow the Marines to arrive at hard-to-reach places in Africa on short notice." And now six of the twelve MV-22B are being redeployed back to the US. "Marie Corps Times recently reported that the mission-capable rates for Marine rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft has plunged in recent years due to budget cuts." History may not be repeat, but it strongly rhymes.

The political calculus of Marco Rubio. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

"This is not how things unfolded in 1964, when prominent moderates in the party loudly protested Goldwater and everything he stood for, up until and after the GOP convention… In the end, Johnson crushed Goldwater, winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote and by a 486-52 margin in the Electoral College. It was the staggering defeat moderate Republicans had warned of, but it didn't doom the GOP to political oblivion. Nixon, who ultimately campaigned for Goldwater, won the White House four years later." And that sums it up and also exposes my worse fear about Trump. The GOP will remake itself (it's done so 4 times in my lifetime) and come back. While there are not many moderates left (and those who are called "moderates" are what would have been called "staunch Republicans" back in the 80s), the political class will reassemble and readjust the mask they've worn for so long and begin the process of duping the gullible and dog-whistling their way into office.

And as I plan a vacation that requires several flights (one connection where I have to collect my bags and recheck-in for the next flight), "TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight." Fuck me. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Linkee-poo think maybe manager wanna write goddamn login page himself

May on the moors.

Mary Robinette Kowal on having sensitivity readers and the importance of their feedback. It's one way to try and avoid the most common of pitfalls when writing about "the other."

K. Tempest Bradford on fears of writing the other and how to get over it. Originally posted in 2013, there have been some updates. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Nikki Steel gathers a list of 100 must read SF/F novels by female authors. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

George RR Martin responds to John C. Wright's objections over his statement about last year's Hugos. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

For your nightmare fuel, the Rat King. (Grokked from Dan)

A vending machine for books. Okay, well, if done right I wonder if this could bring back the dynamic of the spin-racks of books everywhere? It's often true that vending machines are owned by someone else than the business property owner. I made the comment before about how the industry sold more books when books were available everywhere. Some romance imprints keep to this trend, but few others do (although you can buy some books in WalMarts now). But, merging this technology, with traditional vending routes, may actually bump up sales (and make a tidy profit for the person who implements it). (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Some cool science photos. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

A trio of stars around a nearby dwarf star means "(t)he dwarf star’s size and brightness make it particularly suitable for 'transit spectroscopy', perhaps with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope." Living in the future. Oh, and all three are in the Goldilocks Zone.

"But in the years since, more than 100 pounds have crept back onto his 5-foot-11 frame despite his best efforts. In fact, most of that season’s 16 contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost so arduously. Some are even heavier now." How the experience of the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" sheds light on the dieting and weightless craze, despite everything else, most people gain all their weight back. Why, because here's the secret, once you start a diet and exercise regime you need to keep dieting and exercising for the rest of your life. "'The key point is… you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can’t get away from a basic biological reality,' said Dr. Schwartz, who was not involved in the study. 'As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back.'" Ain't that a pisser?

Good news, everyone! "Three years ago, Canavero, now 51, had his own Dr. Strange moment when he announced he’d be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion)." Uh, yeah. Look, I think we have enough Fox Network executives to make Torgo's Executive Powder and just have heads in a jar. (Grokked from Dan)

"Philip Kives, master of the infomercial, has died… Kives started reeling in customers when he founded K-Tel International in the 1960s." I wonder if he'll be buried in the Vault-o-matic 2016?

So after we somewhat fixed the school lunch programs to not shame poor people (and maybe do actual good) the Republican Congress wants to say, "Nope." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

The Pentagon gets a little testy with the Benghazi Committee's fickle and bizarre requests. But the election isn't over yet and Hillary still is showing strongly in the polls. So yeah, if some anonymous person calls unto some third market conservative radio show claiming to be an expert and that they heard some radio traffic that totally proves Hillary Clinton was responsible for Chris Stevens' death by probably pulling the trigger, well we should have the Pentagon use all of its resources to track that person down. Well, at least while it's hot in the news.

https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/04/29/wayne-simmons-right-wing-media-s-benghazi-expert-pleads-guilty-fraud/210145 And then one of the "experts" who testified at the Benghazi hearings, and then went on as an "expert" at Fox New just plead guilty to not really being an expert. I'm sure he was an expert at those other things, no worries. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Tweet of my heart: @JohnFugelsang The Amurkans who once berated you for not supporting W are the same Amurkans now berating you for not supporting Trump.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Linkee-poo is a killer queen, gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind

Had checkup today. Apparently I'm still alive. Need to get the 100,000-mile timing-belt change (colonoscopy), and maybe the tires rotated. Also might need new spark plugs. The doctor said, :So for low PSA scores we no longer do digital rectal exams." Never so happy to have scored low on a test in my life. But this old horse is still running.

A chart of toddler vs CEO. So very much this. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

I've always been a numbers guy. Here's 15 interesting mathematics facts. I won't say "coolest" like the headline, because there are many more "cooler" things about numbers. "3. The guy that proved the existence of irrational numbers was murdered for his finding." As well he should have been. (Grokked from George Takei)

Eat less, exercise more. It's this type of article and this type of science that infuriates me. "We tested the myth that exercising more leads to weight loss." I understand this is a common thought in the populace, but none of my doctors have ever said that (except in a "you need to start exercising/moving" manner, which is also the point of the First Lady's "Move" initiative, get them moving first, then start talking about diet because the moving part is the hardest). Eat less, exercise more. There's a lot of cluelessness going on in this article and it's hard to tease out if it's really the scientists or the reporter's angle that leads to this. Eating less will not lead to permanent weight loss (except for extreme restrictions, like Adkins, and then once you get off that diet there is a high degree of rebound weight). Your body will adapt. We've have millions of years of famine to compensate (traits from our non-human ancestors). Exercise alone will not lease to permanent weight loss. We've had millions of years of fight-or-flight responses to compensate. Your body will always compensate, this ignores the other aspects such as not having as much activity because your dieting, or eating more - and resting more - because you're exercising. Your body wants to be fat, it's been the cultural norm for "healthy" throughout human history except for the last 60 years). Fat helps your digestion in the short term, it's also good for the lean times. Fat is a protective mechanism that leads to successful reproduction. Evolution doesn't give a shit if you look good in skinny jeans. Eat less, exercise more. Can you lose more by just dieting? Sure. That's why there is a whole very vocal industry devoted to that proposition (and it makes a ton more than the exercise industry which is why there are more people in it) that is very willing and successful in taking your money. But exercise will increase your basal rate (which this article says it doesn't because the studies it quotes are not really measuring to see the difference here, but only to see the difference in stress exercising, i.e. the increased calorie burn from the actual exercise). Actual exercise burns minimal calories. As you diet your basal metabolism will decrease (because your body is going into famine mode). As you exercise there is a top limit you'll hit (this is where your basal metabolism won't increase any more because you'll damage yourself, which is why the see a "plateau"). And you're body will want to eat more (because one, more calories out and two, you may need it because you might not be able to eat again, or at least digest as the leopard is chasing you). Eat less, exercise more. Moderation. Go extreme in either direction and your body will react in ways most people don't understand (look at Kwashiorkor babies, huge swollen bellies, which are actually their liver storing fat as their bodies consume theirselves, which leads to cirrhosis, which you wouldn't think would happen because Kwashiorkor Syndrome is the result of starvation). Also, while looking at all those charts in the article, notice the time lines. If your study is less than a year, I wouldn't give it much credence. Oh, and any diet will work as will any exercise, as long as you stick to that diet and exercise. Sticktoitiveness is the factor with the highest degree of success. Eat less, exercise more. "The researchers behind the study (that tracked people for longer than a year) found that people who have had success losing weight share a few things in common: They weigh themselves at least once a week. They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. They also exercise regularly." Eat less, exercise more. Also note that for some people, the eat less, exercise more mantra doesn't work, but for most people it does. As you exercise more, and your body becomes more "efficient" (not really, but it's also a good shorthand term) at using calories (and as you lose weight) your basal metabolism will start to lower again (this is why they'll tell you, after a while of exercising, you need to ramp up again). Which kinda sucks. Also note, BMI isn't a measurement of health or ability, it is a very loosely tied metric to total body fat. But it's cheap and easy to measure, which is why it's used. The same thing for the CO2 tests they looked at. (Grokked from Tania)

"In the southeastern Chinese city of Quanzhou, a well-known Buddhist monk named Fu Hou has been mummified and encased in gold leaf." Like you do.

"A new study, which sampled xenon from carbon dioxide-rich mineral spring gas from the volcanic Eifel province in Germany, points to an asteroidal origin for part of the volatile elements trapped in Earth’s mantle—planetary bodies whose remnants now lie between Mars and Jupiter. The mysterious xenon in the atmosphere came from elsewhere, possibly comets." It wasn't me (points at the dog). The world is weirder than you can imagine.

Preppers are still big money. Given the recent numerous conversations about peoples' "fears", it's easy to see why (also, it's easy to see who is driving the market).

To counter my narrative of humans never discovering time travel because we still have Trump, "The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline last night. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable." Well done future masters of Earth, who appear as weasels. Well done. Skynet has been averted. "Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was 'a weasel, probably.'" As they want us to believe. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"'I think when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton she’s going to go down like Monica Lewinsky,' (Chairman of the Broward County GOP Executive Committee Bob)Sutton told the Post." What the fuck?! Seriously, WTF?! I would say he's an ignorant hick who doesn't know exactly what he's saying, but I'm pretty sure he does. This is what happens as you throw poorly thought out metaphors together with an attempt to tar the other person with a past event. Your mouth runs faster than your conscious brain can keep up. Your unconscious brain, however, is perfectly fine with it.

"If we can’t puncture some of the mythology around austerity, politics or tax cuts or the mythology that’s been built up around the Reagan revolution, where somehow people genuinely think that he slashed government and slashed the deficit and that the recovery was because of all these massive tax cuts, as opposed to a shift in interest-rate policy — if we can’t describe that effectively, then we’re doomed to keep on making more and more mistakes." President Obama on his economic legacy. Short answer, did some great things, didn't fight hard enough for others, missed some opportunities, some people who should know better are pretty whiney.

"Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) acknowledged in a Wednesday radio interview that voter ID laws help elect 'more conservative candidates.'" This is one of the problems of political chicanery like this, people tend to spill the beans before it's too late to reverse the game.

"Establishment Republicans have tried to counter (Trump's) appeal by shouting, with growing hysteria, that he isn’t a true conservative. And they’re right, at least as they define conservatism. But their own voters don’t care." Paul Krugman on what happens when the conned get fed up.

Say, remember the consternation about how protests against the Trumpster at his rallies were stifling his free-speech rights? Yeah, it was bullshit then and it's bullshit now. In Southern California, that anti-rally protest was even more violent than Chicago's, but Trump went on to speak. Funny how someone with the microphone can often speak no matter what the protest.

Tweet of my heart: ‏@mightymur I'm pessimistic in anticipating if Hillary wins, we'll hear a lot of "sexism is dead; there's a woman in the White House. So STFU bitch."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Linkee-poo was there and saw what you did, saw it with my own two eyes

Brandon Sanderson on being nominated for a Hugo and the S/RP thing. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

But Thomas Mays has already withdrawn from the nomination. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

And the often puppy target John Scalzi has a few thoughts.

Yeah, I'm sure the river near a Australian fracking site was just naturally flammable. Been that way for years. I'm sure the process of fracturing the bedrock in the area had nothing to do with methane leaks in the river. Nothing at all. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Freedom of speech is under attack, but it's by the people who say their freedom of speech is under attack. Trying to out do itself and make more legislation that the country can be pissed at, NC's "Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is proposing that the state's 17-campus public university system create a policy that includes punishments for 'those who interrupt the free expression of others.'" Because free speech means those in power should never have to hear our disdain.

In case you doubted Jim Wright and his post that shared his thoughts on optimism and just exactly where Elon Musk was going, "SpaceX plans to send its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018, the company announced today." Shoot for the Moon, and even if you miss you'll end up among the stars. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

How do you know how much to save for retirement and how to structure the payouts from your 401k? Well, you could think about making sure there are defined beneficiaries in your plan (so if you die before it's all paid out the money will go to someone you want it to) and then plan for the long run. That, of course, means less money to live on. So some people are buying an annuity that kicks in later in life. It's an insurance policy that you'll have money when your money runs out. Of course, these things are not inexpensive.

Using rice husks to make silicon anodes for lithium-ion anodes. Silicon has superior energy storage capabilities, but so far has been more expensive to produce, has some impractical limitations, and doesn't have the cycling capability (the number of times it can be recharged) needed. Silicon nanoparticles, however, do much better.

"…the gravitational field of the sun can focus light. Place a telescope at the focal point of this giant lens and it should become possible to study a distant object in unprecedented detail. But how good would such a lens be; what would it reveal that we couldn’t see with our own telescopes?… Today we get an answer to these questions thanks to the work of Geoffrey Landis at NASA’s John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Landis has analyzed the resolving power of the solar lens and worked out just how good it could be." Wow, Geoff, that's some seriously good stuff. Also, noted for the public, Geoff Landis has done a lot of fantastic science (like floating cities on Venus because breathable air is a lifting gas there, you might remember such an idea from Tobias Buckell, guess who helped him with it) and it's good to see him getting a lot of attention for this paper.

"In an unofficial experiment, Greenman tested scabbed and unscabbed Parma apples, a high-sugar variety native to southwestern Virginia, and found the scarred apples had a 2 to 5 percent higher sugar content than unmarred apples from the same tree. More sugar means a higher alcohol content once fermented, producing a tastier hard cider." Gods but I love science. Also noted in case someone around you says the tired line of "nobody has ever proven organics are better for you." My guess is it isn't just the anti-oxidants that are more plentiful in organic and scarred fruit.

The biases shaping the sharing economy. Or AirBnB while black can lead to not getting a room (or a car from Uber, or…).

White kid in ski mask with fake guns running around a neighborhood, police respond to urgent calls, nobody dies. Why? Well, the police officer said the kid immediately complied with his orders to drop the gun and get on the ground (and the article then goes on to say, "always comply with police orders", thanks). My guess is because "…this took place in a really nice neighborhood", and that had a lot to do with it. Also note, the officer approached on foot, from a distance, not driving up over a curb and over a lawn. Yeah, I think that also helped. You know, like the original officer report in the Tamir Rice case stated they did (which the video shows they absolutely didn't, also note no prosecution for falsifying official reports). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

In other Baltimore "kid with a toy gun" news, police shot the boy. He's expected to make it. Which is good, since they arrested his mother because she asked if he would live. Or for some reason.

A long, but well written article on being caught in the hype. This is very much like working in an art/ad/design studio. You have to have the same mental tricks. "It will be months until I call uncle and quit; it will take almost a year to realize I was gaslighting myself, that I was reading from someone else’s script." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Not like it'll make a bit of difference but, "'And to all those lawmakers out there who are so obsessed with who's using what bathroom and what plumbing they got downtown: Newsflash — you're the weirdos!' (Stephen) Colbert said."

"Prosecutors and legal experts were outraged and angered by a recent Oklahoma court ruling that determined state law doesn’t criminalize forced oral sex with an unconscious or intoxicated victim… 'There is a recognition that social mores have changed, that the law should now try to protect sexual autonomy as opposed to sexual morality,' (assistant district attorney Benjamin) Fu said." Good thing there weren't any activist judges hearing the case or who knows what kind of dystopia we may be living in.

Note to Self's podcast on eye in the sky. On technology developed for the war coming home and finding new applications. In this case, a specific development to help stop bombing in Fallujah coming back to the states to help fight crime. A persistent eye in the sky, that the operators can then rollback the video footage to locate vehicles or people and follow them. The camera isn't good enough to make out details at the level it needs to fly at (after all, you're covering whole cities with 1 camera), but that's a technological fix (I remember an article on the cameras used, they are incredibly good, top-end tech, but their resolution is much greater than their processing capability). So, to solve some crimes are you willing to be watched 24/7?

"Walid Phares, one of Trump's foreign policy advisers, said: 'There will be no details in this speech.'" This just in, water is wet. So, basically, it's just like every other speech the Trumpster has given.

Sure the Trumpster isn't misogynist, he just thinks Hillary is a little shrill when she shouts. I'm sure at the debates he's going to recommend that she "give us a smile."

There are a few things I learned serving on council and writing laws that affect my community, in this case indirectly (which is the best way to learn these lessons). Never introduce a law (or amendment) meant to be ironic, sardonic, or sarcastic, always have the commitment behind your actions. Because if you don't, sometimes you get your ass handed to you. In this case, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) though he was being so smart about offering an amendment to have women register for the draft (because he hates the idea of women in combat, see how those go together?). Oh how the people on the committee would see what a ridiculous idea it was to allow women into combat roles. Except that his amendment passed the committee vote (my guess is it won't pass a full house vote). Because when you confuse a straw-man for real people you expose yourself as an ignoramus.

Tweet of my heart: @HooklandGuide 'The mythic never knows how to be uninterestring.' - C.L. Nolan. #FolkloreThursday

Double dip: @NateSilver538 Take: Trump invalidated a lot of beliefs held by centrist elites about the GOP base, but validated beliefs held by liberal elites about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Linkee-poo prays that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth

Kameron Hurley's storified tweets on the hard truths of publishing. "(Failure) And that's OK. You get up. You write another one. Careers can withstand a failure or two. But not many more than that, & you start over"

I know most of the writing links lately are either Kameron Hurley or grokked from her. The reason for that is she's being open about it, and it's easy to find. I still haven't gotten back into reading my RSS feed (where I have lots of writing sites linked in - yes I do see the irony there). There's just only so many hours in the day. So this is another truth in publishing. I refer to Kameron Hurley because 1) she's good and 2) she's easy for me to find and lots of other people in my feed point to her good stuff when I miss it. There's a lesson in there.

The benign violation theory of humor. Okay, but I've seen some of those "best home video" shows (before I can find the remote to change the channel), and most of what people laugh at isn't benign at all. Or, as Mel Brooks said it, "Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die." Plus, there's this thing when you explain a joke.

"But even with the emphasis on being a tech company, it's still hard to shake that nagging feeling that writers should get paid for their work if advertising is being sold against it… Burns says part of what this $25 million investment is for is to build out the monetization of Odyssey, both for the company itself and for writers." Exposure kills. There's an often repeated piece of writing advice to start writing for radio or "for the love" markets, because the bar to entrance is low and you might get some editing. If you're just starting and can afford to give away your time for free, that might not be a bad way to go. However, those markets typically don't make much money (although radio can). When a market is making money (even if it's still VC), they should pay you. Exposure isn't the same as building a brand/audience. Exposure returns very little. I suggest this path only for those who don't feel they could get all the crappy words out some other way. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Neil Gaiman responds to a letter on the importance of grammar and what it's really all about. Notice I broke one of the "grammar rules" in that last sentence.

Heck, the sad/rabid puppies have even made slashdot. I know people are gnashing their teeth again, and there's some consternation about their movement gaining ground, and I might totally be ignorant of all the politics and whom was on their slate, but the list doesn't look all that bad to me (mostly because, as I understand it, the S/RPs chose some popular works and authors this year, some of whom don't necessarily line up with their own politics or claim affiliation, but were chosen to ensure the "we win" argument won't be as hollow as it was last year). Sure, there are people on there who shouldn't be, but isn't there always (at least to some people)? And there are enough "legit" candidates that I don't think the "no award" will be necessary. (Grokked from Dan)

Science-themed quilts. Makes grabby hands. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Why can't we remember how a bike is constructed? Well, because most people don't engineer bikes (many of them don't even assemble them anymore). Also, this is an example of how your brain takes shorthand for what you see and how the models in our head are more silhouette shapes than technical drawings (requires less storage and processing time). Most people get there are two wheels, a cross frame, handle bars, pedals, and seat, and get the general configuration. People also don't read words by reading the letters, they read words by the shape of the words (more accurately, by the shapes of 2 or 3 words together). (Grokked from Dan)

The AnBot. China's new riot-control, anti-terrorism robot looks a lot like an egg on wheels, or a smooth Dalek. My guess is it doesn't have jump-jets in the base, so, yeah, stairs are going to be a real problem.

"The fact that women can get periods in space was once used as an argument that women shouldn't be astronauts. However, we now know that periods don't impair an astronaut's ability." Something I've thought about while world building. Good to know I got it mostly correct. Weightlessness doesn't affect a woman's flow (it's mostly muscular anyway). (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

New commercial facial recognition technology in Russia makes it easier to harass women. This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

What's it like to go down with the ship. Yeah, I've been there. Think I am there now with the day thing, although the market dynamics of the government being your major customer is slightly different. Lots of ideas, lots of tactics, none really focused on giving the customer what they want, how they want it. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

BoingBoing! is giving away 5 years of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Good news, everybody! "Global emissions have now flattened for a second year in a row, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris. The finding is both encouraging and plausible, given the astounding changes taking place in how the world uses energy." To read the whole thing you need to be a Prime member, which I'm not. But basically it's mostly China's fault.

The Junior Doctors in Britain's NHS are striking, and the ruling class is having a shit-fit over it (hell, I'm surprised it hasn't come up in our domestic debate over Obamacare). "I sympathise a little with (Jeremy) Hunt – he was born into military aristocracy, a cousin of the Queen, went to Charterhouse, then Oxford, then into PR: trying to get him to understand the life of an overworked student nurse is like trying to get an Amazonian tree frog to understand the plot of Blade Runner. Hunt doesn’t understand the need to pay doctors – he’s part of a ruling class that doesn’t understand that the desire to cut someone open and rearrange their internal organs can come from a desire to help others, and not just because of insanity caused by hereditary syphilis." For some reason I'm reminded of this skit by Eddie Izzard, "Hello, what do you do? Oh, you're a plumber, what on Earth is that?" (Grokked form Terri Windling)

So, as politicians and ditto-heads deride Common Core, how's our current educational standards doing? About the same as before. "According to research… just under 40 percent of students score at college and career ready levels on NAEP… While overall results are barely changed, it seems that the nation's struggling students in particular are doing slightly worse than they were two years ago, while higher achievers are doing slightly better." Have I ever mentioned that while professors at colleges hate the level of zero-level courses (aka "remedial") their students have to take, college administrators love them, because most grant programs won't pay for them and students must pony up the cash.

"Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old dynamo who danced with President Obama but couldn’t obtain a District photo ID, can get one now, thanks to a new regulation announced Tuesday by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser." Well, at least someone in government knows what their job is (waits for Congress to overrule the new regulation).

And in another example of Alabama leading this country (down the drain), Oxford, Alabama, passes a law that makes it a crime to use a public restroom assigned to a sex different from that on your birth certificate. Good luck enforcing that one. Well, I guess it'll be easy when the only public restroom left will be that in the town hall or police station. I can't see any way this could be abused or misused by public servants (expects the bathroom channel feed to go live in 3… 2… 1…) (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Linkee-poo says it's your birthday, it's my birthday too

Ann Leckie on omniscient POV. One POV to rule them all, one POV to bind them, one POV to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. That's a response to how she talks about limited 3rd and a commentary on it's preponderance in SF/F. But limited 3rd is the same advice as "verbs in past tense." There are great examples that break those rules, but much of what you'll read fits into those categories. This is sort of why here in the US we like to read text with serifs (although that's changing) whereas in Europe they like sans serif. Why? It's nothing more than how they've been trained to read and what they read the most of. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

Mary Robinette Kowal announce the next Writing Excuses Workshop/Cruise.

Rampant Islamaphobia, it's not just for mosques or no-fly-lists. In this case several communities are opposing Muslim cemeteries.

A robot joins an ad agency as an art/creative director. Well, it's about as useful as most ADs I've worked under, which "Its one arm is being programmed to write out briefs in Japanese calligraphy – typical of a creative director to write out directions and leave the rest of the work to younger employees, he says." Copy to fit. Note that it doesn't come up with a creative solution, it's just aggregating aspects of winning campaigns. If you can't do that as a first year junior designer you might need to rethink your career choices.

You know the Right-to-Life people try to portray themselves as reasonable? In Oklahoma they're about to pass a law that makes it illegal to renew the license of a doctor who performs an abortion. No, these people are not reasonable and they are waging a war against women.

And the Bundy's legal defense boils down to, "Well, actually…" Sigh. It's one thing to use that argument style on Twitter, Facebook or blogs, but I have a feeling in Federal Court that'll lead to a pretty quick spike by the prosecution. Although it may lead to leniency, after all we try to accommodate for the mentally challenged.

"Apparently about a third of Americans are sleep-deprived. And their employers are probably paying for it, in the form of mistakes, productivity loss, accidents and increased health insurance costs." I so have all the feels for this.

So how's that new "proof of citizenship required to vote" initiative going? Seems like everything is going according to plan (which means "badly").

Remember that 107-year-old grandma who danced with the Obamas? Apparently she's unable to get a replacement photo ID that would allow her to travel (and in some places, vote). (Grokked from TPM)

And former Sen. Jim Webb places himself off the list of VP potentials. Yes, ignorance and racism aren't really confined to one party, it's just a preponderance.

So, Tom Delay (among others) thinks the court should be lenient on Denny Hastert because "he's a good guy." You know, except for those times he sexually abused boys in his charge (note here there are more allegations than the several people who he has paid hush money to, like setting up a chair to watch the boys shower and pee). You remember Tom Delay, he's the former House GOP Leader who was found guilty of money laundering to avoid campaign finance rules (later his conviction was overturned by the Texas Supreme Court, that bastion of non-partisan legal jurisprudence). Ah, the company you keep.

Dr. Carson says, "Let us not disgrace Harriet Tubman by symbolically linking her with a nearly bankrupt instrument of slavery and debt." Just how mind-fucked do you need to be to think these thoughts?

Opps. So, after publicly declaring that Cruz should take Indiana and Kasich will take New Mexico and Oregon, in Oregon the state sent out a pamphlet for voters that "includes Kasich's name among the 2016 GOP hopefuls in the table of contents but notes he chose not to submit a statement." And these people want to run our country. That's just fucking brilliant.

Tweet of my heart: @DelilahSDawson Querying writers, a reminder: No matter how great your query and story, that literary agent is gonna Google you. So don't be a shitlord.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Linkee-poo and Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones

What makes a good writing day. With pictures of loverly writing places.

The stories we tell ourselves. On the meta-narrative, literary study, and the way stories have worked and changed within the culture. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner, I think)

Quotes from the Arthur C Clarke Award Judges as they developed the short list. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

A map of world mythologies. (Grokked from Christopher Cornell)

Unscrupulous fucks are gaming the Amazon Kindle Unlimited game? Shocked, shocked I am to find out gambling is going on here. Buy my book to find out how shocked I am. Although I now have a new favorite term, "Crapflooding scammers". (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

Twenty-five smiling animals. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Researchers accidentally discover how to make rechargeable batteries last 400 times longer. The major questions are, will this work with other conductors than gold nanotubes (which are boku expensive) and can they make it into a production friendly process. (Grokked from John)

"Rocks on the surface of Mars have yielded the best clue yet that the planet once had an atmosphere rich in oxygen." Or, why we go there. Oh, and yes, that's more evidence that Mars once hosted life.

On the well-labeled hotel. Oh my yes. You can call it UI (user interface), or wayfinding (a designer term), but whatever you call it if your executive team can't walk into a hotel room and figure out the lighting scheme with the switches available, how the faucets work, how the tub works, how to plug something in on the table next to the beds (and think of having room for wallwart plugs, not just thin two prong plugs), how to adjust the heating/cooling without a briefing, then you need to change it. If your kid can't figure out where your checkin desk is, where the bathrooms are, and where the pool is without you walking them there, you need to change your layout. Seriously people, stop pissing off your guests. Oh, and maybe have a weekly or monthly check to make sure everything is working well. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"But the ad omits something that most consumers would like to know: There are many older and cheaper treatments that are just as effective." Why consumer advertising for drugs is a really bad idea. But that genie is out of the bottle. So here is a proposal to mandate actual data be given to patients so they can effectively and realistically understand the potential benefits. Yeah, doubt that's going to happen either. "Drug companies have little incentive to make these comparisons. Why? Because a vast majority of 'new' drugs are really not new at all; instead, they are minor tweaks and modifications of older drugs, and therefore unlikely to substantially outperform them." Just keep that part in mind when Pharma rolls out the aging argument of "how costly it is to bring a new treatment to market." Not so much.

In what I'm sure will be the next case of "Christian Persecution" in the US, the scam of Pastoral Medicine credentials. Well, I guess if they have a Bible on their desk that makes it all okay.

In what had been a poorly held secret, the concrete "sarcophagus" over Chernobyl Reactor 4 is deteriorating. It was, after all, hastily thrown up by Soviet Era engineers who had no time to actually design the thing let alone oversee construction. The new hull/superstructure that will go over it is almost ready to be shipped. If the sarcophagus fails before it's covered, the resulting release of radioactive dust is estimated to be 3x that of the original explosion (which was mostly directed upward). When it fails under the new superstructure, it's hoped that the vast majority of dust and debris will be contained and any leaks will only recontaminate the local area (which is already off limits). (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

"The death of a (Flint) Water Treatment Plant foreman, who was found dead at his home on April 16 by a friend who went to visit him, comes amid charges against three men involved in the city's water crisis." Bodies are piling up. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Turns out there might be a drug connection on those 8 people shot in Ohio. Yeah, I'm shocked. Not.

So, could you meet an unexpected $400 bill? On what is middle-class, and how most of us aren't in it (even if we think we are).

And on that note, "This idea, that sprinkling more dollars over troubled schools won't magically improve test scores or graduation rates, is a common refrain among many politicians, activists and experts. And they have research to back it up." Or, rich people don't think spending more money on poor people is really going to help and because schools aren't able to instantly turn around their districts with more money, well, that's a reason to say the experiment is a failure. Not how real life works. Education is a generational issue. If you want to see if more money will help, you need to fund schools for at least 2 classes (k-12, which would mean 26 years) before making that conclusion. Also, just because one school district spends more per student than the next doesn't mean the money is going to the same place. Such as, in richer districts, most students won't need subsidized meals, where as in poorer districts more students would need those meals (and might need more than just lunch during the week). Want another example? Okay, a local school district in my area raises money to send their kids to Mock UN and other events. At the school where I live, we raise money to buy kids underwear. And we suffer from the problem the NC schools in the article do, because our kids are considered "poor country kids" our school really doesn't challenge them to be better.

In the not-to-distant past, governments would give (or heavily subsidize the production of) bread to its citizen, forming the first half of the "Bread and Circuses" form of distracting people from their crushing poverty. So it's really not all that much of a stretch to just give people money. In this case they're calling it a "universal basic income." The Swiss are about to vote on a referendum on a domestic plan, and there is a plan to experiment with this in Africa (to see what really would happen if you had a long-term plan in place). So basically you'd roll back most other social welfare programs and give everyone a similar amount of money (regardless of income or employment status). It really isn't against our values as Americans (except for the legacy of Reagan, which continues to screw us over even 4 decades removed). And we already have a form of it in the Earned Income Tax Tax Credit. And while it would be political suicide to try it now in the US, this would actually be a "rising tide that lifts all boats," just not a "market solutions" based one. It's also a way to solve the problem of what do we do when all our jobs are taken by robots. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

Even Chris Wallace see that the various bathroom bills "seems to be a solution in search of a problem."

The Cruz campaign tries to relaunch their candidate as human. Good luck with that.

So, that Trump aid that let the GOP elite know that Trump would be changing… he's now backpedaling as fast as he can. Kinda hard to take his words out of context when we have the tape. I think what he meant to say was that wasn't for general consumption. Because the Trumpster hasn't sown up the nomination, yet.

Well someone finally pays the price for disenfranchising voters and intentionally making the voting process confusing. Unfortunately it's in Brooklyn, NY and not in the many Southern States who have done similar things.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Linkee-poo, so when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, u know the one, Dr Everything'll-Be-Alright

I've tried to tell my wife this, mosquitoes really are more attracted to some people. It's my sweet, New Jersey blood they're homing in on. (Grokked from George Takei)

The NIH is refocusing on patient safety. In the past year several research programs were halted (including, I believe, the research program Jay Lake was involved in), not because they weren't producing promising results, but because safety and sanitary protocols were being skipped or overlooked in the rush to bring in the results and data. This is what happens when sterilization is considered someone else's problem (often relegated to a career officer who isn't involved in the "sexy" research). In health care, keeping the patient safe if everyone's job. As a Rad Tech, I am constantly cleaning equipment and washing my hands and we all know it's not enough. One of our fears is to have an infection traced back to us (which when patients get sick in the hospital, yes they do investigate to find out where the protocols broke down).

How the Em Drive may actually work. "At very small accelerations, the wavelengths become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe. When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next. In other words, inertia must quantized at small accelerations… McCulloch’s theory could help to change (scientist being wary against trusting things they don't have a plausible explanation for), although it is hardly a mainstream idea. It makes two challenging assumptions. The first is that photons have inertial mass. The second is that the speed of light must change within the cavity." I, uh, fuck my brain hurts. (Grokked from Dan)

The woman leading the lawsuit over lead in Flint's water is found shot to death in her home. I really want this to not be about what that connection makes it appear to be about. Well, really I want the women to be alive. But that kind of coincidence raises the hackles, if you know what I mean.

Suicide rates are on the rise in the US. Especially among girls between 10 and 14. In most of my shifts at the hospital we have at least 1 bed taken by someone who either tried or checked in before attempting suicide. One night we had 4. It is still my belief that a great many of the overdose cases we see are not accidental, although we don't list them as suicides.

As it will come up sometime this year (because it always does in an election year), when your conservative friends talk about how the ACLU is a tool of the left, ask them why, then, are they defending a man who is being fined for flying Trump-Make America Great Again flags? Some might have a convoluted conspiracy theory set up, but most won't even believe you.

Western NY wants to be like Southern California. "The study's authors say the mild temperatures might be one reason some people aren't so worried about climate change." Here in the US, out Summer temps haven't gotten too hot (for the most part, note, offer may not be valid for the south which has been hit by heat wave after heat wave), and it's mostly the Winters which have become "milder." People think this is a good thing because they aren't seeing the hit in food prices that are coming, nor are they seeing a connection to their water quality from lower snowpack levels. It'll catch up to us, don't worry. Unfortunately then it will be too late. There is no Command-Z for climate.

"During a talk at a Greenville Spartanburg Republican Women meeting April 7, Wright called the NAACP and Ku Klux Klan racist groups. He was responding to a question about the Ferguson, Mo., officer-involved shooting." I blame it mostly on white ignorance of what racism really is. That is, on it's basic level both groups have a racial focus, it's just ignorance to believe a group dedicated to expanding freedoms and opportunities from a privileged class to others is equal to an organization that is dedicated to keeping other races repressed to continue their own unearned privilege. It's not the sheriff's only example of ignorance in that article. (Grokked from TPM)

National Security Letters, now less harmful to your Constitutional rights. Because after three years, the FBI is supposed to review the case and see if you can be told that the government was interested in your data. Maybe. If it no longer matters. (Grokked from John)

On the Trumpster campaign, "In a recording of the meeting with Republican National Committee members obtained by AP, senior Trump aide Paul Manafort said Trump would start to reveal 'the real person' behind his outlandish stage presence… While some committee officials welcomed the revelation, others said it raised concerns about Trump’s authenticity as a candidate, AP reported." You know, these new politicians are really bad at their jobs. This is Trump's "etch-a-sketch" line. Yes, we all expected a "shift to the center" and this "leak" is intended to signal to everybody who thinks the Trump Campaign is a dumpster fire that it's all been an act, and the Real Trump will be coming out now. So, let me put this bluntly, either he lied then, or he will lie now, but in any case he will be lying to get votes. To the Trumpster's base who wanted someone who will "shake everything up," you're about to be taken for a ride, again. Just like you've been taken for a ride since Reagan. And to the other people who may be swayed by this new face, I want you to compare this to everything you know about Trump since he entered the public stage in the late 70s, including his stint as a reality TV show host. And then think, this is just another mask he's putting on. No, the Trumpster really is like what he's been portraying himself as these past nine months. He's a mook, he just had a lot of money from Daddy. He is the self-centered supremacist that he's come off as.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Linkee-poo your eyes are blue like the heavens above, talk to me darlin' with a message of love

There is news that Dr. Phil (the real one) Kaldon has passed. I'm kinda in shock. His health wasn't good lately but it looked like he was getting through it. Dr. Phil made it to the Writer's of the Future anthology oh which he was very proud. And his short story in Apex and Abyss, Hail to the Victors. I always expected to see him again. He was an exceptionally kind and supportive person, always generous. I'm going to miss him.

So, Harriet Tubman on the $20. S'okay. Stands by for the battle of the documentaries (can't wait to see how people justify Andy Jackson's legacy). They have always fought.

Celebrating the change of seasons in the UK. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

The tradition of the hobby-horse. Note, correct for many definitions of "horse". (Grokked from Terri Windling)

NASA live feed from the ISS goes down as horseshoe-shaped UFO appears. Um, yeah, Bob. (Grokked from John)

Somebody going to emergency. Somebody's going to jail. "Three people — two officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality and a water official from Flint — are facing criminal charges as a result of an investigation into the lead-contaminated water case in Flint."

What do conservatives do when the magical rabbit doesn't appear after they enact their agenda? Why, they say it wasn't their's after all, and cut and run. In Kansas, in the face of a crumbling economy and plunging state revenues after Gov. Brownback pushes through his tax cuts for the rich, the Republican run legislature (that helped pass the tax cuts in the first place) says it's all the governors fault and he needs to figure out how to pay for the government because they're not going to cut the budget one iota. Also note what they've cut so far; education, payments for pensions (say, how do these pensions get underfunded in the first place?), and moving money for infrastructure repairs to other departments. Because all of those always work out well in the end (with stupid citizens who can't compete in the world market, having to "cut" pensions after people have retired throwing them into poverty after breaking your promises, and crumbling roads and bridges). And how have they tried to fill the budget chasm? They raised the sales and cigarette tax, which disproportionately affects the poor.

Because more guns are always better. Man is shot while videoing people using illegal firing range.

Suicides in Greenland and the communities, friends, and government's attempts to help.

The Hidden Brain podcast on Losing Alaska (why humans have difficulty accepting climate change).

Remember the San Bernardino iPhone that the FBI just had to get into? Turns out there wasn't any there there. (Grokked from Xeni)

Yougov.com poll shows "over of quarter of under-30s enjoy riling people up online." Damn millennials. Why in my day we'd just piss off our parents. But I guess when you live in their basement, that's not a winning strategy. (Did I make BINGO for someone?) (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for (NC Gov.) McCrory's gubernatorial campaign, wrote in a statement obtained by The Carolina Mercury that 'it is the height of hypocrisy for these Hollywood elitists to deny their service to customers over a political disagreement.'" I'm confused. Isn't there a law in NC that says if you have a deeply held conviction against providing services to certain people that you are allowed to?

"The consequence was a shift in liberalism's center of intellectual gravity. A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional." On the smug liberal ideology. Not sure I entirely agree, but I can see their point. What I think is mostly their point is that political discourse in this country has gone from standing up and mobilizing people to solve problems to the hashtag culture and pithy memes shared on Facebook that only are seen by the like minded. And with that I agree, even as I am a willing participant in it. But there is a difference between writing an open letter and going to a politician's office or stump speech and shout back or try to make the reasoned argument to the other side. In the hyper-polarized field we find ourselves on, taunting becomes our only option. And I will agree the Democratic Party has gone from the more productive "This is out position, this is why it's our position, and this is what we propose to do about it" to "you agree with us, right?" And in that rarified atmosphere of assumptions, our political body is dying from asphyxiation. But there is a part of this article that is based on "blaming the victim." Some of this is a direct response to the politics of Newt Gingrich and the GOPAC memo and Frank Luntz which forced Democrats into the defensive posture they've been in since the mid 90s. However, "The wages of smug is Trump," and that should send alarm bells ringing through the DNC. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"Donald Trump Jr. gave a scathing critique of the Republican presidential nominating process and the way delegates are assigned in a radio interview Monday, at one point comparing it to living in 'communist China.'" And that is really all you need to know to grasp the modern conservative mindset.

"Ohio Gov. John Kasich, normally known for his even-keeled demeanor, lost his temper Saturday when asked how he could keep saying he could win against Democrat Hillary Clinton if he’s only won his home state’s primary… The governor then snatched the reporter’s voice recorder out of his hand to ask 'What do you think?'" See, he can only keep up the pretense for so long, as we in Ohio know all to well.

"(Rep. Pete) King said… 'I think I'll take cyanide if (Cruz) got the nomination. I think you'll see Donald Trump scoring a big victory tonight. I did not endorse Donald Trump.'" Is there a charity set up to help this poor man get cyanide. I'll support it.