Site Meter
Something something something

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keep your ears open

After a maddening day at the day job, in the middle of class a writing thunder bolt from the blue. One of my classmates works in hospice. She told the story of one old man who had a "I see dead people" t-shirt. He wore it everywhere, she said. Around the hospice, to dinner, and even to mass.

That t-shirt would oh so work in the next novel. And I know exactly where it is and how it fits in. This is why as a writer you need to get out and interact with other people gaining experiences.

Yes, I told her that story was soooo going to be in my next novel.

Linkee-poo girds for the Great Troll Wars of 2012

N. K. Jemisin with an important public service announcement regarding Wheaton's Law. A post filled with serious "You all look alike" and privilege arguments from the recipient side. And then there is also this post from Shawna James Ahern. It's two similar sides of the same damn coin. The first is, "You all look alike, can I interrupt you for my magical negro moment of the week?" The second is, "Women should know their place, and, by God, we'll make sure you keep in that little box." As a white male, I like John Scalzi, don't get inundated with these mental games. It's an example of privilege. Growing up the son of a single mother (divorced in the 70s, before it was cool) and my wife earning her PhD in a hard science, I've had to deal with the backwash crap of it. Another reason I'm a liberal. Seriously, people, just stop this crap. Okay? (Yes, I know you all aren't doing it, it was a general cry to the universe) (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The agenda page for DARPA's 100 Year Starship Study. Lot's of good story bones in there from just the titles. (Pointed to by Dan)

On the value of vacations/breaks improve over all productivity. From the opposite end (in the past year, I've taken exactly 3 of my 10 days off, 2 of those days broken into 2 hour "go to the doctor" moments), I can say, "Yes, that." I need to remember to take vacations. In case you haven't noticed, it's not currently in my make-up to do so. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Hey look, Gov. Walker might be right that the new Wisconsin law will reduce costs. You know, with all those teachers retiring, if they hire any replacements they'll come in at the lower end of the scale. You know, we saw this when our Police Chief gauged the winds and decided that he wouldn't have a better time to retire than right away. If we did the math right, because we promoted from within, and then hired a rookie officer to replace the patrol officer we made chief, we're saving about $400 a month. You know, until you factor in the retirement costs (his accumulated vacation and sick leave, some of which is due right away, some to be paid out over 4 years). The wages of the sin of SB5. So, retirements are up in Wisconsin, which should help them save money on salaries. Until you get to the "… $10.9 billion short (fall) in meeting its obligations (retirement funding) just to teachers," part. D'oh! We shall not talk about the value of all those years of service that are now going to the side-lines. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Another Conservative Ideal Bites the Dust When Conservatives Control the Higher Office

So, I guess smaller government isn't the way to go. Yes, our beloved Governor is floating the idea that municipal tax should be collected by the state. Apparently, when conservatives say, "That should be a state's issue," they also mean that from the bottom up as well as from the Federal Level down. That is, everything should be handled at the State level. So their argument is, "all these differing communities and their tax codes, it's really complex and hard" (read that in Barbie's voice, "Math is hard. Let's go to the mall").

Are local taxes a pain? Ask anybody who has had to deal with RITA or CCA (the two major tax collection services in NE Ohio) and they'll tell you, "Hell yes." But that's not from actual compliance (the "it's complex and difficult to keep track" argument), it's from pissy customer service that doesn't know their rear-end from a hole in the ground (and if you think it's that bad as a citizen, you haven't even begun to scratch the surface as the municipality that uses their services - which is why we went to collecting the tax ourselves). But "confusing" and (here's that word again) "uncertain(ty)"? Nah. You've got CPAs, that's why you're paying them.

And now we have the state wanting to collect to "simplify" the system. Bull. The state just wants the money. I doubt they'll collect this without taking a "processing fee" (just like RITA and CCA, another reason we left, it's cheaper for us to do it ourselves - note this to the "let's outsource government functions" people, we're saving about >5% of our tax collection or around 60% of the former fee - I didn't do the math yet, but we were paying 10%-18%, depending on the month, we now spend <6%) by doing it ourselves.

Hey Tea Party, here's a big power and money grab going on by the people you helped elect. They're trying to shift local control to state control (and making government larger and more intrusive to boot). Remember your promise to hold them accountable? I do. I'm watching.

Also, the same arguments work for a national level. It's difficult for companies that have operations in different municipalities? Imaging how difficult it is for companies that operate in different states? I mean, it's a factor of 50x more complex. So, why shouldn't all taxes be collected by the IRS and then State of Local get apportioned out from the Federal. And actually, this makes a little more sense. Imagine the cost savings to companies to only file with one organization and cut one check. The same goes for individuals. Why fill out 3-5 form and follow the same processes (depending on your work and local laws). Now you'd only have to do one simple tax form and you're done. Image the power of scalability that can occur at the federal level. Instead of 50 administrative burdens, you only have one (although somewhat larger than the individual) burden. More of your tax money could go to actual benefits than to bureaucracies. Also imaging the savings that would be to the state and local governments (individual departments having to have tax offices, etc). It's staggering.

Sound like a great idea? No?

Which is the same reason why having the state do this is bullshit.

It always amazes me that conservatives love to say, "we should decentralize and push out decisions and actions to the local level" or "that's a states/municipal rights issue" except when they hold power at a higher level. And then the argument gets reversed. This is why I say that conservatives aren't about service or holding to their ideals. They're about control of power, and consolidating that power into fewer hands (their own hands, BTW).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tool-Man Tim I ain't (but I do a good grunt)

It's a little hard to see in this picture (and I was too lazy to fetch one from last winter), but the cement pad tilts in toward the house. Not good.


This is the reason we're replacing the support posts first. One, wood into soil, not a good idea. Two, wood on/up against concrete even worse idea. (there will be metal between the new cement footers and the wood).


Holes are just caves on their side. I think I mentioned what a pain in the tuckas these things were. Should have been easy, but ended up costing me a whole lot (rental on auger that wasn't all that useful in the end and broke 1 shovel).


Cement tubes in place, level, and plumb. Ready for cement (which took until about 8:30pm, after dark.


Here are the cement tubes filled, the bolts in place, and covered for curing.


So this is what I'm dealing with now. How to redo the permanent supports. I need to either figure a way to get the post out between the two cross beams (that actually hold up the deck), or to replace it all (which will be a whole lot more work because of 8 nails)



Cement posts should be at full strength this weekend, so I need to figure it out and solve it by this Friday. Any ideas?

Linkee-poo tries to catch its breath

How others see us (SF/F people), future fires on a graphic design blog. "Fahrenheit 451, the book by Ray Bradbury and film by Francois Truffaut… is the most prescient sci-fi work ever written and produced." Only if you only read that book. Don't' get me wrong, I love me some Ray Bradbury and especially F451. But it wasn't about the future. It was about what was and still is happening, a present-day dark-satire set in a future world. Although with Ohio SB5 and the nation-wide assault on education, I predict the "College Professor Hobos" who memorize texts will come to fruition before the mechanical hound than sniffs out your DNA signature does.

Mark Lawrence on the Clarion Blog about writing because you love to write. It sure as hell balances out all the crap if you love writing.

I've always had a love for illuminated manuscripts. So, when an art student chooses his final project to make an illuminate Silmarillion, all I can say is, "F'ing Yes! Rock on, dude." (click through to the interview for even more goodieness) (Grokked from matociquala)

Looks like we've caught up to China in exports of solar power tech. At least numerically. Yeah, good thing we didn't start this whole "green tech" initiative sooner. I mean, who knows, it could have been China catching up to us this year. And that would have been bad. (yes, those last two were irony, I thought your diet was getting a little thin on the irony side).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Linkee-poo runs in and out of the room, not stopping to chat

You know, unless you want to comment and then I'll chat. Very busy day, including work backlog that's finally catching up to people I tried to light a fire under and it being the first day of class. This semester is Microbiology 2700.

Ken Schneyer on jealousy, envy and regret in regards to the writing life. (Grokked from Dr. Phil)

Jim Hines and the death of print now with numbers on his book sales.

A WSJ article on the changing economics of the book publishing business. There's some inside baseball stuff there, as well as the usual "digital books Rulez!" hype (I always love the "forecast" type graphics, note to futurists, past performance is not indicative of future performance). IMHO ebooks have room to grow, but I don't think they're going to grow as much as some starry-eyed people think they will (for various reasons, including how people interact with material). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A clip from an article on cyberwar (not much to the article, just a "Oh look, it's happening"), "Industry needs to develop new security technology that is not based on malware signatures." Yes, that.

Hey Tea Party, oh look, they can't hear you now. After championing your cause to storm the town halls of democrats in the previous two years, your conservative wave doesn't want to hear from you. Remember your promise to vote them out if they didn't hold true to your political views. We're watching.

Rick, you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. No, really, if it was a "jihad" you wouldn't be standing, seriously. Words have both denotative and connotative meanings, and boy are you trying to shift the connotative meaning of jihad. Oh, and it's a self-inflicted wound, BTW. Your mouth is running, better see to that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Linkee-poo is late to the ballroom blitz

To all my friends on the East Coast, stay safe folks. Just remember that not only is the storm serge that does the most damage, the effects of the storm after it passes (draining water sheds) can also cause a lot of damage.

Some older links, I don't remember if I posted some of them.

For all of you futurist writers out there, drone swarming tech demoed. Mix in the news of DARPA creating hummingbird and dragon-fly sized drones. I wonder where you'd by OFF for those?

Edmund Schubert on the short story versus novel argument. As he says, whatever works for you.

Ken McConnell on writing before promoting. With a link to some video interviews about the publishing industry.

Another 10 year anniversary, but this one is about GW (in Crawford, natch, it's August, remember the former Pres. set the record for time on "vacation") and how the disappearing budget surplus was a good thing. Hey, Tea Party, where were you then? Of course he was stroking some of you (no surplus meant federal government wouldn't grow anymore, so how did that work out?). Also, just to repeat, since I didn't have kids, there was no tax break for me (went from a W4 with 3 deductions and got refunds to having only 1 deduction, married hold at higher single rate, and an extra $20 each pay and I hope to break even this year - I haven't had a federal refund since 2001). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Because I'll want to point to it later, the Slactivist
outlines the full scope of the "climate-change" conspiracy. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ow, ow, ow, ow

I spent today working very hard on the back deck project. With the help of my sister-in-law, I made a lot of progress. We finish the temporary re-supports of the deck and cut the main pillars.

And that's when the problems started. See, the idio who build out house was severely inconsistent in what he did well and what he punted on. He also did some very stupid things. See, for the cross-beam support of the floor joists, he toe-nails then on the ends. So it would be a pain to remove them (which was part of the original plan). When I saw that two weeks ago I searched the rest of the support structure to see what other crazy stuff he did. Well, I missed some things. The connection of the pillars to the cross support not only had a carriage bolt (which it's supposed to have), he also nailed them. SoB!

So I tried using the reciprocating saw to cut the nails. I got some of them, but obviously missed some (or he did some other crazy thing). At this point I had already rented the post auger. So I was on the clock. Instead of working through the problem, I cut to the chase and cut the pillars off at the top as well.

Then came digging out the remnants of the wood posts from the soil. Okay, 9' of wood on top so I thought there would only be about a foot below grade. Nope, apparently he decided to splurge for the 4x6x12 beams. So I drug down two and a half feet before I could loosen them up to pull them out. So that took us down to out 3 feet, a little deeper. Then we got the auger out to finish the holes to 4 feet (frost line).

But, he put some concrete below the wood pillars. The auger just kinda loosened up the dirt for us. Argh!

Took the auger back to the rental place and cleared out the rest of the dirt. Then, making adjustments for plum and level put in the cement tubes, filled with cement (colored cement, btw) and set bolts. So now we wait for at least 5 days to full strength before setting up the new permanent supports.

In the mean time I need to figure out if I can get the 4x6s out of the cross supports or if I need to just redo the whole damn thing.

Like I said, The builder skimped on so much and screwed up other things (the reason why I need to do this is he then poured the cement pad out our back door right up against the wood posts, which started rotting them out - the wood below the cement was fine) and then on the things I would think he would have done this, instead he went the whole way. Wish he would have done that for the upstarts plumbing and fixtures (downstair half bath is fabulous, upstairs full baths, not so much).

Thanks to my sister-in-law we got all the cement poured. So that was great (as I expected to finish up tomorrow). But I'm going to hurt. Yes, there are pictures, but they're on the good camera so it'll take a little more to process.

How's your weekend going?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Linkee-poo of one for a Friday, troll baiting edition

Since it's full on election season, the trolls are back in season. While whack-a-troll can be a fun game, just like whack-a-mole, you put in a quarter and they all come back again form the same starting point. Instead, play troll bingo. Here's a handy-dandy site to help make your bingo card. Onlinesmanship with the various argument and commenting strategies. Enjoy. (Grokked from Making Light)

eTextbooks

This Fall I'm taking Microbiology. The course textbook is $186 new. However, I recently downloaded the app for "Kno" which is an textbook ebook service. I can rent the book as an ebook for $75 (or purchase for $95).

Has anybody had any experience with this company? Or with using eTextbooks?

Linkee-poo stocks up for Irene

Justine Larbalestier talks about writing her novel Liar using Scrivener. Pretty cool. I'm using an app called Index Card (on the iPad) to organize Post Rapture Industries (I've also put in some ideas I have for other novels). I have to admit the ability to shift those cards around is like magic. I don't think I'll end up writing the final this way, but it's a great way to organize, put thoughts down, see where you're lacking and where you're overflowing. Who knows, maybe I might write it all in there.

Tobias Buckell and pigeons/writers and pellets. One of the strongest reinforcement techniques in behavioral science is random rewards. That is, if you're pushing a lever, while the reward is based on pushing a lever, the number of times varies wildly. This leads to obsessive compulsiveness in the study animals. So it doesn't surprise me that decoupling the reward from the action (after conditioning for reactions) would drive subjects a little crazy.

The Nanmcy Coffey Literary agency will be completely honest with queries submitted Monday morning 7-8am. Or at least Joanna Volpe will be. See link for details. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

The women fighters in reasonable armor tumblr the hip cats are all abuzz about. And a sublink to the discovery that many archeologist misidentified viking burials as "male" because of the grave materials, when in fact by looking at the actual remains (bones) shows half of them to be women. For me, however, the rethinking of "well, maybe they were married colonists instead" is just as wooly headed thinking as "it's got a sword, must be a guy." Female warriors are not as rare as our modern culture pretends they were. And the ones that made it in weren't all cross dressing fakers either. Welcome to lingering cultural identity issues and the vestigial echoes of the Victorian Sensibilities. Think I'm overstating it? The first gods of war were really goddesses of war (search Morrigan, Athena, Kali, etc). While men also worshiped the goddess at those times, understand that it wasn't strange for them to accept a woman in the warrior role (the male warrior role model at the time was that of "companion" to the goddess). (Grokked from Tor.com)

Some font resources. The designer who dies with the most fonts wins.

Crazy Uncle Pat is up to his old wacky self wondering if the crack in the Washington Monument is a sign from God. Considering on the day of the earthquake the Super Committee started it's work to slash the federal budget and roll back social programs while Obama was miles away on Martha's Vineyard, maybe.

There will be no charges filed in the Wisconsin Supreme Court "Who Choked Who" case after everybody and their uncle recused themselves from investigating it. As an FYI, "no charges filed" is not the same as "no wrongdoing found." It's more of a "the trial would be hell, and we don't have a high degree of confidence in winning the case." So I guess we'll never really find out what happened.

Another of the Freshman Republican class trying to say that making $174,000 a year (with other benefits) isn't all it's cracked up to be. See, he has to have "security" in the room, you know, just in case. What can I say? Didn't you realized just what you had to do as a Congressman before you threw your hat into the ring? Obviously another proud know-nothing. You may remember Sean Duffy's verbal diarrhea earlier. As for "'[I]f you took the hours that I work and divided it into my pay,' the $174,000 salary would not seem so high." Okay, hey, I love math. At 80 hours a week (a pretty healthy workload of 11.4 hours a day), 52 weeks a year, that would be $41.82 an hour. Let's take an extreme case, there's 168 hours in a week, lets say you sleep/eat/pee for 56 of those (8 hours a day), that leaves us with 112 possible hours to work. That still means $29.87 an hour (or $62,142 for a 40 hour work week, like the rest of us, if you still only work 40 hours a week).

And another (really? two paragraphs with the same opener, it's almost like an epidemic) of the conservatives running from their record and embracing the "benefits for me, none for thee." This is also known as, "Got mine, screw you." Oh Rubio, VP fodder, can we tone down the hypocrisy?

So, the muslim "terrorist" wanted to attack the Xmas tree lighting, but the Christian "arsonist" who set fire to a mosque isn't one? Also, please note his quote on Obama and Muslims. Tell me again it isn't racism? But then, real racists support Al Qaeda.

What's in a name? Well, sometimes you just need to taunt the trolls.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Linkee-poo is one more day closer to the weekend

Looking at my numbers, it seems like a number of you who came over from Jay Lake's link salad link to my post on cancer are still about. Welcome. Glad you found something worth your while here. Thanks.

Jay Lake is open for questions.

The poem from today's Writers Almanac is especially funny (in regards to writing/being an author).

Teresa Nielsen Hayden does a good job of outlining the Jane Yolen/Ron Johnson brouhaha.

During this Saturday's performance of Context 24, L.E. Modeste will be played by John Scalzi. I went to Context last year and thought it was a nice little con. I'm avoiding them this year in my quest to "Not Be a Poser" or I might have gone back.

The Onion AV Club on long-running fantasy series. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Stephen King throws his hat into the ring of left-wing radio (okay, well, Green Radio). "LaMarche (the host of the show, apparently Stephen looks like he's footing the bill on his radio station) said the show would be targeting politicians who bully Maine residents – in particular those struggling with the welfare system… King (said,) 'There are some people who deserve to be taken to the woodshed from time to time.'" Yes. That. (Grokked from Eric)

The Beloit College mindset of the class of 2015. (Grokked from Dr. Phil, the original one, not that poser on TV)

School funding in PA cut so much by the conservative Governor they're turning to sheep to keep the lawns cut. "You know, nothing says '21st century global superpower' like schools turning to sheep because they can’t afford lawnmowers." (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Because I'll want to point to it later, the Bad Astronomer on the closing of "Climate Gate." There's lots of links in there regarding the actual, you know, science based evidence on global climate change. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

In case you're belaboring under the delusion that global climate change just means that here in NE Ohio we'll have Florida weather (which we won't, BTW), an NPR story on how El Nino/La Nina events relate to conflict. Correlation is not causation, but the evidence is now starting to look a lot stronger that the two (climate change and conflict) are related. A statistical doubling of a chance/instance is very significant.

A link to the actual story that I gave a bookmark for yesterday, the Fresh Air show on the new Dominionism (in the guise of the New Apostolic Reformation) and it's connections to Rick Perry (and Sarah Palin). Yes, Virginia, there are freeze-dried whackaloons who want to turn our country into a Theocracy. Of course, their outward story is they want to bring about the End Times (hint to dispensationalists, we already are in them, Nero has been dead for centuries).

What could go wrong with creating a hybrid PAC that can act as a regular PAC and a Super PAC all by just keeping separate bank accounts. Because, you know, when they spend the Super PAC money it'll be completely independent of the candidate/issue, but when they spend the PAC money they can work closely with the candidate. I mean, everybody is able to compartmentalize like that.

This is the problem with the modern conservative movement, they never learn from their mistakes. Instead we end up fighting the same political battles over and over (and over…).

It's just like that

For those who may be wondering, the storm last night was exactly what I was describing in "A History of Lightning." As it approached, the lightning was coming so fast that I could walk through my house at midnight without having to turn on a light or use a flashlight. The only thing that broke the constant roll of thunder was the louder reports of strikes that were ground-to-cloud and right near us. I know some people have never experienced such a storm and thought that what I was describing was part of the "fantastical" nature of the story. Except for the thunderhead at the front of the storm with the front wall of a skull (or with the internal lighting our main character thinks it looks like a skull), everything else in there (related to the storm, not so much what the characters do in the storm) I've seen before.

And yes, I watched it closely to make sure I could describe it better later.

Mother nature can be awesome, she just has to remind us sometimes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of those days

I don't often do a whole post on the day jobbery, but today was bad. And for no real reason except some people are upset they got the grand pee pee whack yesterday. It was a self-inflicted wound. It really was a minor correction, basically saying, "No, that isn't correct, you will do it this way."

Well, some people are not much more emotionally advanced than 2-year olds, especially in business. Today was the corporate equivalent of, "I won't eat my peas, I will show you just how horrible I can be about it." It also has to do with corporate change management.

What they don't understand is that what happened was only a minor correction and they're spoiling to have an elbow thrown.

"Look," I wanted to say, "you're out of your weight class here. No, this isn't because of your communication issues (of which they've blamed problems on before), this isn't because 'I don't know your business.' This is about your deliberate attempt to sabotage the work. I have your emails to prove it. Say, like the train where you're looking at the same piece of art, and it's wonderful, but you think I missed adding something. When I explain, 'No, it's right there," (a "tag" line which doesn't need to be in anybody's face, it's just a corporate requirement) suddenly you don't think you can approve the design because you don't like it? But thanks for asking the third party for us. Oh, BTW, this 3rd party (another company) isn't doing us any favors by allowing us to showcase their tech in our booth. We purchase their product and offer it as an extension to our own offerings. We're helping them out. And this is our booth."

Yes, they were all ready to "approve" the art when they thought is was "wrong." Then when they discover that I did it correctly, suddenly they don't like it. All in the space of 10 minutes.

I'm sure they didn't like it when, after they cc'ed some of their executive chain (who, BTW, were also involved in the correction) gloating on how I missed a standard communications piece, that I also included those executives in my response where I proved they were wrong. But thems the rules they set up. I thought I was very polite in correcting you.

Sometimes you need to throw an elbow. Their mental problems are not my fire drill.

Linkee-poo is feeling kinda low about the dues it's been paying

The literary education Venn Diagram. How very true. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

A dash of reality with what to expect with the first book (sale). (Grokked from Absolute Write)

And as a counter to that harassing of the mellow, how to write a book in 6 months. Your first draft is allowed to suck. (Grokked from Catherine Schaff-Stump, from Ferrett Steinmetz, etc)

Because it's an influence on my design (not so much "overlooked", maybe in the school the author went to), some Swedish Modernism posters. Related to Swiss Type (Helvetica School) with some Soviet Minimalism (especially that last one) thrown in for taste. Crunchy goodness.

The animals that adapt to city life. "…what evolutionary impact are our cities having on animals long term? Selection for ingenuity could dramatically change the animals we know today." I smell a story bone in there (although it's been done, but mostly with a "human experiment gets out of control", not so much evolutionary forces). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Turns out, gravity is not an emergent property. Real science! Someone says, "Hey, it looks this way to me, this makes sense" and then someone else says, "Well, we can test for that, in fact we already have the data and it doesn't show what you're hypothesizing." That is how science is done in the real world. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Hey, there's another report on the investigation into "Climate-gate." Oh look, it's now the fourth study to find no wrong doing or "falsifying data." That makes 4 studies and 3 lawsuits IIRC. All of which found nothing was wrong or faked. Quelle surprise.

That Cultures of the Tea Party study all the hip kids are talking about. (Posted here because I've only read excerpts, like this and I want to see for myself)

It isn't posted yet, but here is a link where today's Fresh Air program on the "spiritual warfare" of the evangelical Protestant group New Apostolic Reformation. Yesterday I was asked why I had "gone over to the dark side" by becoming a Democrat after being a Republican. This is one of the reasons.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tripoli

Reports are Qaddafi’s compound has fallen. Before everybody starts cheering, it wasn't over when we pulled Sadam's statue down either. And it's not like the whole country is under Transitional National Council control. IIRC, Surt, Qaddafi's home town, has yet to fall.

Linkee-poo was called late to lunch

A slide show of horror genre (writing/movie) conventions. Or, in other words, these have been done to death. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

While I understand the sentiment behind the call, apparently Mitt Romney doesn't understand double jeopardy. I disagreed with the release of Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, even on compassion for his "advanced" cancer. But what is done is done. Again, those purporting to be champions of the Constitution and Law and Order obviously don't understand either.

Pictures of the MLK Jr. Memorial. "I was a drum made for justice, peace and righteousness." Rock on. (Pointed to by Dan)

How likely is a doctor to be sued for malpractice? Also, of note, Ohio is another one of those states that capped punitive damage awards in the hope that it would bring down malpractice insurance rates. It didn't work so well. (Grokked from AbsoluteWrite)

Dang, a writer or copywriter can give $5000 to a Senate campaign? I didn't know it was that lucrative. Hell, I might have paid closer attention in English classes. While there's no firm findings there, yeah, that doesn't pass the smell test. Oh look, campaign laws being broken. Oh, it's another conservative? Never mind. Move along citizen. (Pointed to by Dan)

A reporter's take on the Colbert Super PAC, Americans for a better tomorrow, tomorrow. Seems someone feels their toesies being crushed. Actually, the worry I see in there is the chance that some larger organizations may be caught out quoting AFABTT like they have Onion articles. You know what I really wish, NYT? I really wish reporters would get back to actual reporting instead of being stenographers at press events. If they'd do that, Stephen Colbert's schtick wouldn't work.

Yet another article on species movement in regards to climate change. Gee, it's happening faster than predicted. Also, links in there to show hardiness zones (what you should plant were) are also shifting. Just an example of the liberal bias of reality. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A story on NPR about all those silly science studies and projects you hear about (and will hear about in this election season). Conservatives twisting reality and words to give you the wrong impression? Wow. That almost never happens. Coming from a party that as a group rejects science, it's not surprising.

And, just because it's a stalking horse of the conservatives, Eric Holder sends in federal poll watchers to observe a special election where people were actually able to prove "white voter intimidation." (You probably didn't hear about this in the flack over the New Black Panthers case in Philly, which turned out to be much ado about nothing, but good video production).

Tweet of my heart:
@neiltyson: For geeks only. 2,000 six ways: Roman: MM; Scientific: 2E3; Binary: 11111010000; Octal: 3720; DuoDec: 11A8; HexDec: 7D0

Yeah, I'm a numbers geek. So sue me.

Ohio Mountains of Air



Who says Ohio doesn't have majestic mountains. They're just mountains of fluff. Well, actually clouds weight a lot (they're just dispersed).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rick Perry tries to run, run, run away from his Social Security statements

So, after he realized that he may actually run for President, Rick Perry wants to take back what he said in the book that he recently pounded the podium with to say how he's a presidential candidate. All because, you know, someone actually read it and said, "Hey, did you really mean this about Social Security being a Ponzi Scheme?"

In his book, Fed Up, Ricky Boy goes a long way to talk about how crazy SocSec is. Here's two quotes form the article linked above,

"This unsustainable fiscal insanity is the true legacy of Social Security and the New Deal. Deceptive accounting has hoodwinked the American public into thinking that Social Security is a retirement system and financially sound, when clearly it is not."
and
"If only the New Dealers had been kind enough to allow workers to make their own choice… As we know from experience, individuals would have done better on their own… Also, before the government padlocked the door in 1983, municipal governments were allowed to opt out… three texas counties -- Galveston, Matagorda, and Brazoria -- did so. In 1981, Galveston county employees… voted 78 percent to 22 percent to leave Social Security for a private option."

Sounds like Ricky Boy has got a point. Unfortunately it's on top of his head. So, how's that working out for Galevston? Or, really, any of the public pension plans? I mean, it's almost like it's everywhere. But Texas, to be fair, is doing better because of how they structured their plans and made the decisions locally (immunizing the state from having to bail them out) and are only $38.5 billion underfunded.

So, you know, we should switch everybody to a 401k, because you know how good they're doing (20% into a 401k, how much does she make?).

So, yeah, we should scrap SocSec because the alternatives are so much better. Plus with the wonderful economy people are filing record claims with the SocSec Disability fund (which is about to break under the strain). But, you know, SocSec is horrible, terrible, and only gives a 2% return on investment (because it's not really an investment but a "pay as you go" plan). We should remove that leg of the tri-legged stool because the other two legs will hold us up. If we balance just so.

I don't know if you talk with many retirees, but I do. If you cut SocSec for most of these people, they would starve and/or be homeless. Because that's the kind of society the conservatives, in their compassion, want.

And now you may understand why SocSec is the third rail of politics. As for the talk of "We won't change it for anybody over 55 because of our promises to them," WTF? I'm fully vested in SocSec (comes from working so long). I'm almost at my highest payout possible (it's a few dollars more a month). What about your promises to me? Want to see the economy crash, tell all of us that we have to "save more." Bye-bye consumer spending.

But all that's needed to fix the system is to remove the top cap of payroll deductions. Of course that would be "raising taxes" and the conservatives will have none of it because "it's not fair." Really? I pay SocSec taxes on all of my income, why can't they?

Well, because they give money to the politicians and help those politicians get elected. And now that Rick Perry finds himself in the spotlight, he's trying to run from his record and is stuck on the horns of the dilemma . So his choice is either to be gored by the long horn of his past statement or gored by the defection of wealthy patrons.

Linkee-poo hears voices all the time

Happy birthday, Ray Bradbury. May you be touched by electrified swords and told you will "Live forever." One of the best critiques I ever got was someone telling me my story reminded them very much of Ray's Green River stories.

Elizabeth Bear on the tagging of writers, and making them less that others. Yes, you shouldn't do that. For writers or anybody else. Also, yes, knowing things about the lives of writers (or the people we actually look up to or could look up to) that aren't "Hemingway drank, and then killed himself, like all writers do," would be amazingly helpful.

Jim C. Hines FTW.

The monorail's future past. (Pointed to by Dan)

And Patrick Stewart oversees an engagement. Which is why we love him. (Pointed to by Tor.com)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Linkee-poo takes pain pills

Finished up the cement project, or at least this part of this. If you ever get the notion to do demo of cement as a DYI project, just say no. I feel like I've been beaten with baseball bats. My knee is skinned up. I can barely get out of my seat. Moving in any direction elicits pain. So what should have been a full on work turned into a "get the bare minimum done. And even that kicked my ass. This week will be interesting.

Congrats to all the Hugo winners (and nominees). Also congrats to Jay Lake and Ken Scholes for hosting. It's amazing to me that I've met many of those people.

Alice Cooper to design Halloween maze at Universal Studios Hollywood. It's good to know he can still ride that gravy train (my guess is it'll just be his approval and name). (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg).

For all the breast beating and armchair generaling from the US about how we should be involved in Libya, then we were and the argument was we shouldn't be, the the argument was "how our president messed up by how he got involved", the insurgents are marking marching into Tripoli.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Linkee-poo is struggling

I spent the day copping up cement. Not done with even my reduced work goals, but I hit a wall. Still have a little to do. I hurt. Have difficultly moving. All writing links for today.

For all of you futurist writers out there, drone swarming tech demoed. Mix in the news of DARPA creating hummingbird and dragon-fly sized drones. I wonder where you'd by OFF for those?

Edmund Schubert on the short story versus novel argument. As he says, whatever works for you.

Ken McConnell on writing before promoting. With a link to some video interviews about the publishing industry.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Moment of Dissonance


Just wanted to remind you, as we approach the end of August and start seeing temperatures normal to the beginning of August, what's only a few months away.

Linkee-poo waits, waits, Mr. Postman

Kevin Brockmeier with a chronological list of statements people made to him at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1995-1997. All I can say is I'm glad I found a better set of writers to hang out with. (Pointed to by F.J. Bergmann)

How the Tea Party has changed, and their actual relationship to their purported ideals of small government and lower taxes. Wish they would have published the actual data instead of making it an op-ed. Basically majority social conservatives, former Republican activists, "concerned about putting God in government," just like the people they helped elect. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Senator Tom Coburn demonstrates the very worst of concealed carry laws. (Grokked from Vince)

Jon Stewart on the spills the beans about how Moody would bend their analysis to meet customer demands. See, rating agencies used to be paid by the investor, now they're being paid by the issuer of the bonds/stock. Slight conflict of interests, but a good example of how the free market actually works. Oh, and all three rate the US Federal Bonds for free, that's their only freebee. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Tweet of my heart
@Kurt_Vonnegut: I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of rewards or punishments after I'm dead.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

There are no new ideas

Dear Mr. Ridley Scott,

Put down the pipe and walk away. You already redid Blade Runner. Remember "Director's Cut" or "Extended Director's Cut" or "Extra-Special Extended Director's Cut." I do. It took me a while to find a good DVD copy of the original mix.

KTHNXBIE

Linkee-poo walks into a bar exam

An example of the insanity of healthcare costs in regards to billing. What's not mentioned is that the inflated price also covers the hospitals' costs of treating the uninsured (and unable to pay). There's lots of things in that article. Still think single-payor is such a bad idea? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Say, you know that "Texas Miracle" that the Perry Camp is trying to get us all to buy into. You know, smaller government, no stimulus, blah, blah, poot, oops, sorry. So, besides filling Texas' Budget Gap (did I mention, 2nd biggest compared to GDP) with Stimulus Money (ya know, after railing against the Stimulus and how he'd never accept that dirty cash), turns out the majority of those jobs he created were public sector jobs, with the stimulus money. How's that for small government? Okay, how about we compare job growth vis a vis population growth? Hmm. Texas comes in dead last. What you're witnessing, folks, it myth making in action. I'd rather buy the snake oil, it's cheaper and you can get over the stomach aches quicker than four years with that shyster. (second link grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Fareed Zakaria with an op-ed on conservatism losing touch with reality. I'll say it again, we actually have real experiments in these things (economy, social programs, etc), and the results all run counter to current conservative ideology. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Dear Gov. Kasich, the time to compromise was before you rammed SB down out throats. As for you're line about being a "believer in talking," sorry, gotta call bull on that. Say, here's an opportunity to learn, Governor. Maybe leading from the center might be a good idea. You could try that. Oh, and that bus you ran us over with. It's coming around, this time you're not driving.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why TV is bad for you

Watching "Legend Quest" on the Syfy channel, because I'm procrastinating (read learning how to repoint masonry for a home project). They're on a Grail Quest.

What pure, unmitigated crap. Seriously, I know sixth graders who could deconstruct your theory, dude. Let me see, so you think that the St. Clair family, priors of Roslyn Chapel, allowed the Pilgrims to sail to the new world with the Grail. At a time when ships coming over the N. Atlantic didn't have a good safety record (let alone the leaky ships the King of England gave the Pilgrims), do you really think the "keepers of the Grail" would take a chance of having it go to the bottom of the Atlantic? Or that colony settlements at the time had a 50/50 chance of survival.

Ha, ha, ha ha ha. Um, yeah. And no, that's not a chalice on top of the monument, that's an urn with a flame on top. Chalices don't have flames, but urns, in funerary iconography do.

We'll ignore the whole "Providence is where America was founded" bullshit you're pushing. Because, obviously, you have no grasp of history.

Serious fail. Aliens crashing at Roswell seems almost reasonable given the cuisinart blending of myth and conspiracy theory you're doing there.

Linkee-poo never gives you its number, it only gives you its situation

Creating the feel of the world. Yes, this. Metaphors? Oh yes. Ask people about the pithy comments a certain (dead) character in my novel makes. And symbols. Metaphors are really symbols in language. But symbols are all around us (they're so ingrained into our environment, we only notice them when they are absent). Everything relates. (Grokked from Morgan Locke)

Chuck Wendig on the life cycle of a novel. Bwahahahaha.

Unlike Eric, I don't post much about music here. Eric is more diverse in his tastes and experiences (hell, he goes to SXSW, which is sort of like the Hajj for US musical types). That doesn't mean I'm a slacker. Good friend Dan points us to new AV Club covers and The Decemberists and Bob Mould covering the same song (that Bob wrote), Sugar's "If I Can't Change Your Mind" (below). Compare and contrast that. I'm not typically a big fan of covers (although all bands should be able to do them), but that's how covers should be done.


One of the more mind-breaking optical illusions (or "optical delusions" as we called them in school) brought to life in a video at Bad Astronomy. In case you're wondering, notice the fill light which evens out the light on the board (look at the floor, notice the shadows on the floor are contrary to the board - the "spot" is pointed up and keeps the cylinder from casting a shadow from the "fill" light - also notice the two shadows from the woman, the shadow from the "fill" is stronger than the shadow from the "spot"). The shadow is printed, not cast. This is also how we perceive things as white or black which aren't either, but our brain must assign "comparative" values. It's one of the ways our mental processes are shorthanded so we can live in real time. Trust me that designers use these tricks all the time. (Pointed to by Dan)

In case you're still wondering why it's so hard to take Michelle Bachman seriously. Thanks for wishing Elvis a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death. You know, most serious candidates have handlers who can google. I suggest the Bachman campaign hire someone with a smartphone that has connectivity. Hell, maybe get both a Verizon and AT&T phone.

But then, why check facts when you can echo various conspiracy theories. Also, read that closely, the state wanted to require farmers/tractor drivers to have a commercial license, and the Federal Government shut that down. So, not only a show of echo chamber thinking by Rick Perry, but also a complete repudiation of his campaign kickoff speech.

Hey, TPers in SPAAAACCCEEE, look, SpaceX will doc Dragon with the ISS this winter (Nov 30 launch date). You're having a revolution for nothing and are about a decade late to the party. It's sort of like complaining about how you have to rip up lettuce and chop vegetables to have a salad at home because you haven't gone into a grocery store in the past decade. (Grokked from Dan)

An Oathkeeper in action. Now, I'm sure most aren't rapists and bail jumpers who are going to go all Ruby Ridge on the world, but somehow I think most of them sympathize.

Rick Perry, Manchurian Candidate (but now for Muslims)? This is the whirlwind you reap, conservatives, when you allow the crazies access to the microphone. Not to mention this kind of idiocy.


Edited to add this update to the "Sergeant Goes AWOL story link above, he was being processed for discharge. It just keeps getting weirder. Apparently they don't even have the backbone to stand up for the convictions they say they're standing up for.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Once more

Okay, so, I've been reading some commentary on Warren Buffet's op-ed on "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich." Take for example, this piece of propaganda disguising itself as "sensible argument."

There's a whole bunch wrong in Jeffrey Miron's response, including the including the intentional confusing of the super-rich and those who own homes. But it's mostly a main contention for libertarians of the Cato Institute type that "Focusing on the super-rich also fosters a counterproductive attitude toward material success." Which, that line is really, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

Now Mr. Miron mixes in a few things that poll well, like people being against bail-outs for banks, but then equates that to making loans to the auto industry to help them get over a rough patch. He thinks the later is bad because it picks and chooses winners when we should just let those "bad" companies fail. I want you to think about that. What would this economy be like if GM and Chrysler failed? Remember what happened when Lehman Brothers failed? Yeah, stock market panic. What would have happened if just GM failed? Think the disruptions of the supply chain from the Japanese tsunami were a problem? That would be nothing as the parts suppliers major customer vanished. And who would be left standing making autos in this country? Ford, Toyota and Honda (along with some minor players). Millions more on unemployment. And now, 2 years later, both GM and Chrysler are doing well (GM more than Chrysler), so that actually turned out to be a Good Bet™.

But then Mr. Miron gets to, "Buffet asserts that taxing capital income has never deterred anyone from investing. Well, then he has never discussed the issue with me or many of my friends."

I want you to think about that. What he's saying is that because the tax rate on his investment gains would go from 15% (maybe) to being counted as regular income (25%-33% total, because it would also include State and Local taxes then) that they won't invest. Or, "I don't want to make a million dollars because you'll be taking $250,000 in taxes, so I'll stick with my $7.50/hr McJob. Would you like fries with that?"

That's his argument. Frankly, if that is your mindset, you shouldn't be investing because you don't have the mental capacity to judge risk properly, let alone cross the street without a light. And, no, I'm not being hyperbolic here. Mr. Miron wants you to believe that bald faced lie he just made. Either he's brain dead or he's lying, and I can't believe the Cato Institute would hire a moron as a consultant.

That, friends, is class warfare.

Don't think so, how about this next paragraph. "More importantly, taxing investment returns plays a huge role in what kinds of investments occur… These tax-induced distortions in investment choices then reduce economic growth. High U.S. taxation on capital income drives investment overseas. So raising capital tax rates will not make the super-rich pay their 'fair' share; it will encourage capital flight, driving factories and innovation abroad. The rich will still get their high returns, but U.S. workers will have fewer jobs and lower wages."

First up, we already have those distortions. Can you spot them? No, because we distort the market in ways to help encourage what we mostly want. There's no evidence, whatsoever, to support his claim that it reduces economic growth. Also, that claim is counter what investment is meant to do (maximize return by either productively enhancements or scale). And we now have a decades worth of experiments with "lower tax rates = higher revenues because the rich no longer hide their money or refuse to pay taxes." It didn't work. Revenues haven't increased (except by inflation and GDP growth, ie. higher employment and coming out of recessions). And lowering capital gains taxes didn't bring any new money into this country. No higher revenues. Why? Because the argument is complete bullshit. But it plays well to people who wouldn't risk $1000 on the market because they might lose it all. Understand that $1k is pocket change compared to the sums and people we're talking about.

Then we get to the great canard, "We'll take our little red ball and go away." Really? Where? Europe with it's socialized medicine? Japan with it's socialized medicine? Somewhere that has no real economic engine that has shielding from US taxes but also knocks you out of making a return on investments, not to mention bribery to keep what money you do have? Factories and innovation have been going abroad for the past three decades. Adjusting tax rates won't change that. What he's counting on here is your fear of the rich. "Think you have it bad now?" he's saying. "Attack out positions and we'll make it worse."

And then don't miss the not-subtle threat in that last sentence. And I hate to break it to you, we already have fewer jobs and lower wages. What he wants us to do is to preserve his own special status. Not for our good, but for his.

Dear Mr. Miron. Please, sir, just fucking go Gault all ready and leave the adults to discuss matters. Holding your breath until you get your way really shouldn't have worked since you were 2. Although you look real cute turning blue like that. Have fun paying European or Asian tax rates. Or don't forget to carry a few hundred for walking around money and make sure your abduction insurance is paid up, because that's what's left. Not to mention already paying some of the lowest tax rates in the world.

Linkee-poo is doing field studies on stress at work

The representation of women in fantasy (the genre, that is) by Juliet McKenna. Most modern people (including many feminists) have difficulty understanding that women's roles in modern life are largely defined by the warped historical lens of Victoriana (and the misunderstanding of "gender roles" as portrayed and enforced by male anthropologists). While certainly more limited than, say, the Golden Age of Greece (or the Goddess Europe), women's roles have had greater significance in world history than what most of us learned in school, or have seen through our popular media. Also, our fear of "women's sexual power" grew intensely magnified by Victorian Sensibility (and even in the West isn't that far beyond the insistence that women wear burkas for the sake of the poor men losing their minds in the presence of them - or do I need to bring up the idiotic meme of women being raped because of how they were dressed). Writing a "noir" where the female is relegated to the "fem fatale" or the "frail", as well as my own cultural blinders, it opened my eyes.

And while I usually save this for last, because it's relevant here:
Tweet of my heart:
@msagara: When responding to a blog about creditable female characters in fantasy novels, do not start your "good" list with Robert Jordan and GRRM.

Sam Butler on Do You Want to Be a Writer, or Do You Want to Write? This is a question I've been dealing with this past year. What is it I want to do? The good thing (depending on how you look at it) is that even in the face of my life being a whole lot easier (and probably happier in the short term), I still want to write. Or, look at it this way. Would I give up the fame, the fortune, the bikini chicks hanging out on the hatch if I could just write the next thing? Hell yes. It's a disease. Or a compulsion.

Rae Carson is giving away some cool ARCs, including Mer Haskell's The Princess Curse.

Dropping poll numbers. Not for anybody in particular, but for the Tea Party Movement. Seems as more people see the TP in action, the less they like it. The good news is there's a plurality of people who offer no opinion. Expect that to change in the next year as Americans start paying attention because of the Presidential Election. This basically mirrors my own experience. I was negative at first, but got talked off that position by a few friends. But now as I see whom the TP actually supported, and who has moved into "power" positions within the organization (I'm not really sure the TP can claim "widely dispersed/grass roots/floor up organization" anymore), and seen them in action, the less I believe it is about what was claimed, but more what I originally thought. Individuals may still hold their own values, but the organization is changing, at the very least the public face of it is changing, and not in a direction I think those friends would really support.

Also, as I said earlier, the Debt Default Crisis is going to be hung around the neck of the Tea Party. You broke it, you own it.

Nice guys do finish last (in pay). That's a PDF summary of a report soon to be published. Agreeable people get paid less (men more so than women, but that's because women, in general, are also paid less, even though that's against the law).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Linkee-poo goes deep for a Monday

Neil Gaiman on how to read Gene Wolfe. (Grokked from Tor.com - I think)

It's Noir Week at Tor.com. Oh yes, I will be reading these.

The RIAA, the 1978 copyright laws and termination rights. Another death knell for studios. Which, you know, couldn't happen to nicer people. Of course, now the music studios are wanting to claim that such music works were "work for hire" even though the musicians paid for studio time and were paid royalties. But I'm sure they'll fight it tooth and nail. (Grokked from Vince)

Look, the UN report on global warming was wrong! Wrong. Wrong in that it underestimated the thinning of arctic sea ice by a factor of 4. Whoops. "One of the results that surprised us all was the number of computer simulations that indicated a temporary halt to the loss of the ice… that we could see a 10-year period of stable ice or even a slight increase in the extent of the ice." Get the climate deniers ready for that one. I'm sure they'll have press releases galore, ignoring the fact that the "stable" period is still 1/3 less ice than 1979 levels. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of climate change denial, an article on the demographics of climate denial and how it's mostly about world view. It reminds me of when I was in the 1st grade, there was this bully. He thought nobody could touch him. And one day he charged me to knock me down and ran straight into my out stretched fist, knocking the wind out of him and throwing him to the ground. Even though he saw my fist, it never entered his mind that I would resist and that he could be hurt. Even after getting up he denied it ever happened. Worldviews, they're a bitch to change. (pointed to by Sheila)

John Scalzi mirrors most of my own commentary on the opinion piece by Warren Buffet, "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich. (opinion article Grokked from Jay Lake)

Eric on an error Paul Krugman makes and why the "Texas Miracle" will be great for all of us. I might have to post the internal funny corporate Xmas card I made last year (or the "Inspiration Poster" I did this Spring).

And speaking of Rick Perry, is he a Manchurian Candidate? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A little Spy vs Spy (for this day and age), the Chinese may have been granted access to our stealth helicopter that crashed and was demoed in Abbottabad before the Pakistani's returned it to us. With a side note about the Chinese getting access to the F-117A that the Serbs downed. Our friends the Pakistanis and Chinese.

And the Daily KOS on government being the solution. Insight into the progressive mind. "The key to the nature of progressivism is the realization that the size and scope of government and the freedom of the individual do not stand in diametrical opposition." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Late summer Sunday slog

The good news? The Ames Straw Poll is less than 50% accurate as to the final Republican candidate (and one of it's "successful" picks was actually a tie). For me, the current Republican line up is a choice of "which one would screw us over the least." While at this point polls are meaningless, it is noteworthy that given all of the conservative rhetoric and vitriol against Present Obama, he's still polling higher than any declared candidates against him.

Why is it when PBS goes into fund-raising mode, they play shows I really don't want to watch. And then, while they're showing the special programming, they talk about how your pledge helps support programing "like this." Well, no. Because you don't play those shows except when you're fund raising. Here's an idea, create episodes of your regular shows that are designed for fund raising (timing of breaks, faster presentation, etc). About the only regular shows that I know that do this is the News Hour and Travels with Rick Steves (which it would be nice to have some newer episodes).

As a followup to my linkee-poo post on Rick Perry, now that he held a prayer meeting to "cure the woes of the nation" Texas is finally getting some rain. Or, now that he's no longer praying for it, the rain has come. What does that mean, it means we're all screwed because he's praying for the national economy now. Let's hope God loves the rest of us more than he does Rick Perry and doesn't decided to get all "sins of the fathers" on us. Also, did I forget to mention how Ricky balanced his Texas budget by taking all the stimulus money he railed against? Six-billion dollars worth? Such principled hypocrisy he has.

Did too much rootin and scrutchin yesterday. so today the muscles hurt. But there's one more project done. However the major project still needs to be more than "started". Especially if I want to do the solar tubes in the living room this fall. Which I wanted to do.

We haven't done really anything summery fun this year. Except for last week's Arts Fair at the West Woods. So now I'm going throw the "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" syndrome again. I thought I had kicked myself out of that rut. It's a little depressing to find I'm right back in there. Heck, I haven't even made a root beer float yet this summer.

I find it interesting that many people are commenting on the unusual weather we're having in August. Many parts of the country are still in Heat Wave City, but here in Ohio at least, we're having slightly cooler temperatures. Exactly at the time we should be having higher temperatures. The other day when I went out for my noon time speed walk (15 minutes of fast walking, followed by 15 minutes of stuffing food in my maw before getting back to work) I thought, "Those clouds look like fall." But really, all this weather feels like fall. Of course I know why people aren't talking about it, it's relatively pleasant. However, it's wrong for this time of year. Corn should be drying in the fields right now, and I don't think we're there yet.

This morning I woke up thinking about work. There's something wrong about that. It's Sunday morning. I'm not supposed to start worrying about Monday until around 6 or 8 tonight. Sigh.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Linkee-poo shot Liberty Valance

Susie Townsend with tips on the evil synopsis. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Today seems to be review day:
Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse at Publishers Weekly. Also at the Newbery Book Club (you have to scroll down).

Cherie Priest's Ganymede at Publishers Weekly. With a star.

John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation at the Book Nook.

Stress at work can kill you faster. Science once again corroborates what all of us know already. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Since Rick Perry has officially thrown his hat into the ring, and he's openly advocated for prayer to the Jebus to save us from all the federal government evils, how that working out for Texas? Going dry and burning, all while racking up the pollution. Did I mention the tropical storm that was on target to relive some of the drought that petered out before Galveston? Yeah. Hey Rick, I don't think God likes you so much. Must have been all those years when you denied that religion should really have any bearing on governing. But that was before your policies drove your state into the ground. The dry, dusty, cracked, polluted ground. Oh, and did I forget that compared to GDP, Texas had the second largest state budget deficit last year? I'm sure we'll hear about "the miracle of Texas" over the next year. And let us not overlook that Perry once said that Texas may just "opt out" of the union. So, he's a traitor to boot. Great guy. And I'm sure he'll make the rest of America just like Texas. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Forward

Writing goal was modest this week. With Tuesday's fun I didn't think I would meet it. However, I did make it. Two chapters rewritten. The last chapter I worked on got a good restructuring. Action moved around a little, some information changed, characters hewed closer to their character instead of sounding the same. All in all, deleted about 600 words, but ended up over 400 words more than it was before (so about 1000 words for today).

Linkee-poo double Friday

Some information on the cutting social security debate. Really, remove the top cap on taxes and bingo, problem solved. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Okay conservatives, you can stop it. We all get there's a lot of you in the closet. But really, not only voting against gay rights, but then engaging in prostitution to get your gay fix? It's not funny anymore.

Jon Stewart takes Megyn Kelly to task for her stance on entitlements. One thing not mentioned here, if it wasn't for the Family Medical Leave Act, Megyn Kelly would have to had quit, as people did before. But, yes, those things that benefit us are right and proper, everybody else's rights are shit and we need to take them away. I wonder if she remembers there was a time you didn't see any female faces in the TV newsrooms (except for the "weather girl")? And yes, in my lifetime. Match this up to the "Yes we had an abortion, and it saved our lives, but all of you shouldn't have that chance" social conservative.

Next stop for the ACA/Health Care Reform, en ban or Supreme Court? So far, it's still been upheld by more courts than have struck it down, but we all knew it would make the Supremes for their say.

Linkee-poo is running for the tape

I know some of you are on Linked-In (so am I), if so you might want to opt-out of "we can use you for advertising" policy. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

If Romney actually wins the nomination, I expect this will be the first attack ad. (Late update, the DNC already started last night with thead) Complete disconnect. Also, no, the money isn't going to "people", it's sitting on the corporation's balance sheets.

Some context on how the economic downturn and all the "reforms" are working for America's working poor. Once you see these things first hand, it hard to reconcile some people's world view with reality. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

While I think most of the various conspiracy theories about government suppressing information or trying to control us are tin-foil hat worthy, there are some exceptions. While the focus of that article is "processed meats" are bad for you, it's mostly what happens while that meat is being processed that's the problem (the addition of nitrates, mostly), not the chopping of meat. When it comes to food and safety issues, the government tends to forget it has some studies that shows there are problems (arsenic in the water, anybody?). Things like processed foods, food additives, food processing, and types of food are often found to have dire effects (hot dogs? 10% increase in colorectal cancers, 10% is a large difference when it comes to health studies, most are 5% or less). You can also add in here the research on artificial sweeteners (really bad for you, Stevia is about the only exception), as well as processed sugars (refined sugar is the wrong form for your body to use), not to mention the various "plastic" foods out there. The major problem? One is regulation (try and regulate Nutra-sweet/aspartame, they tried) as in "we don't need the Nanny State telling us what to eat" (when in reality they already do because…). Two, back in the 70s the nation was facing a dire crisis, inflation on food was skyrocketing and "economic" starvation was becoming a reality. So Nixon set his HHS Secretary to fix the problem. Corn and corn subsidies were a major part of that solution to get "cheap calories." Fast food took off. Other "cheap calories" were found (snacks, highly processed foods with additives and fillers). And now we have epidemic obesity and health problems. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Augmented reality gets closer to "good". With a cool video. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

It looks like the tactic of forming a company only to funnel money to a (particular in this case) candidate is becoming a trend.

While some specialized information can't really be learned until your in a position, at least you could grasp the basics. But then, there have been politicians and those willing to fleece the masses who have lied for so long about cutting spending and taxes. So now we have a class of a certain age who don't quit understand how their government works, it isn't all that surprising.

The NPR 100 Meme

Since all the cool kids are doing it.

I've read it
I started it, didn't finish (or for a series or corpus I haven't read all of them)
* I have on my shelf

1. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien Wore out the original copies I had
2. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams Also wore out the originals
3. Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
4. The Dune Chronicles, by Frank Herbert (but not the new ones by his son)
5. A Song Of Ice And Fire Series, by George R. R. Martin
6. 1984, by George Orwell I've worn out two copies
7. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
8. The Foundation Trilogy, by Isaac Asimov Meh, but I felt I had to finish
9. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
10. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
11. The Princess Bride, by William Goldman* (and I love the movie)
12. The Wheel Of Time Series, by Robert Jordan He lost me around book 8
13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
14. Neuromancer, by William Gibson
15. Watchmen, by Alan Moore
16. I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov
17. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
18. The Kingkiller Chronicles, by Patrick Rothfuss
19. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
20. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley After reading, the movies suck.
21. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
22. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood*
23. The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King
24. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
25. The Stand, by Stephen King*
26. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
27. The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury
28. Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
29. The Sandman Series, by Neil Gaiman Just haven't wanted to gather them all
30. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess*
31. Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein*
32. Watership Down, by Richard Adams
33. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey
34. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein
35. A Canticle For Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller
36. The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
37. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne
38. Flowers For Algernon, by Daniel Keys
39. The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells
40. The Chronicles Of Amber, by Roger Zelazny Read so long ago, I barely remember them
41. The Belgariad, by David Eddings
42. The Mists Of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
43. The Mistborn Series, by Brandon Sanderson
44. Ringworld, by Larry Niven
45. The Left Hand Of Darkness, by Ursula K. LeGuin
46. The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien Yeah, I'm a Tolkien geek, but bugger if I can remember much of it.
47. The Once And Future King, by T.H. White
48. Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman My gateway drug to Neil's work
49. Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
50. Contact, by Carl Sagan My wife likes the movie where they blow up the first device, but mostly because Drumlin buys it then. The book has greater social commentary.
51. The Hyperion Cantos, by Dan Simmons
52. Stardust, by Neil Gaiman
53. Cryptonomicon, by Neal Stephenson*
54. World War Z, by Max Brooks
55. The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle
56. The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman*
57. Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
58. The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever, by Stephen R. Donaldson Read before LotRs, so I like this a lot more than most people.
59. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold
60. Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett*
61. The Mote In God's Eye, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
62. The Sword Of Truth, by Terry Goodkind
63. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
64. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
65. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson
66. The Riftwar Saga, by Raymond E. Feist
67. The Shannara Trilogy, by Terry Brooks
68. The Conan The Barbarian Series, by R.E. Howard* I have the collected stories (I don't think it's all of them).
69. The Farseer Trilogy, by Robin Hobb
70. The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
71. The Way Of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson
72. A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, by Jules Verne
73. The Legend Of Drizzt Series, by R.A. Salvatore
74. Old Man's War, by John Scalzi
75. The Diamond Age, by Neil Stephenson*
76. Rendezvous With Rama, by Arthur C. Clarke
77. The Kushiel's Legacy Series, by Jacqueline Carey
78. The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin*
79. Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury
80. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire*
81. The Malazan Book Of The Fallen Series, by Steven Erikson
82. The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
83. The Culture Series, by Iain M. Banks
84. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
85. Anathem, by Neal Stephenson
86. The Codex Alera Series, by Jim Butcher I'm digging his Dresden Files, this is on the radar
87. The Book Of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
88. The Thrawn Trilogy, by Timothy Zahn
89. The Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldan
90. The Elric Saga, by Michael Moorcock Probably my first introduction to sword and sorcery, probably not the best place to start because it certainly warped me. Fortunately I read Fritz Lieber's Fafard and the Grey Mouser right after. Yeah, I played D&D afterward.
91. The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury
92. Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
93. A Fire Upon The Deep, by Vernor Vinge
94. The Caves Of Steel, by Isaac Asimov
95. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
96. Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
97. Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis
98. Perdido Street Station, by China Mieville
99. The Xanth Series, by Piers Anthony
100. The Space Trilogy, by C.S. Lewis

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why, it's almost like the stock market this week

Okay, so, remember when I said I had a plan regarding my ranting Tuesday night?

Yeah, well, late developing news, after the late developing news of the next morning, has put those plans in doubt. While one course of action would certainly help me, it has the possibility of screwing more than a handful of other people. Not to mention scuttling some plans already in motion.

Imagine me as a profane sailor Donald Duck.

I believe this is what they mean by "caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea." So, tomorrow I'll try and take a moment and check some of the potential fallout victims to see how they feel.

Linkee-poo waits for it

NPR releases the results of their 100 best SF/F poll. Lots o' good stuff there, Maynard. Glad to see most of my picks (8 out of 10, only Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series and Glenn Cook's Black Company series didn't make it) made it to the final list. Also glad to see that I've read a lot of them, and had plans for the rest. Also glad to see in an unscientific sampling that Neil Gaiman was most often cited (although, other authors were placed there for their series of books). As I've said before, if you're not reading Neil, why the hell not? (Grokked from John Scalzi, which, congrats on making it)

The speech all (new) writers need to hear. (Grokked from Morgan Locke)

And, just when all hope is about to be extinguished, ticia42 shares what's in the back of her blank composition notebook. Mmmm, composition notebooks. (Singing) It's that time of year… T'was brillig, yes it was, my precious.

Chuck Wendig with what it's like being a writer. Oh my, yes. Hell, I'm not published yet, but I've been through all that and a bag of chips. Some of it is what it's like to be in the world, and some of it is the internal life. Especially the "weird shit goes through our head in a swiftly-moving, never-stopping stream" part. This is why writers often refer to the poor, long-suffering spouse/companion/cousin/pets. Sometimes the crazy just needs to get out, and Brid help whoever is within hearing distance. As with all Chuck Wendig stuff, would be NSFW if your read it out loud. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

As what comes as no surprise to many of us, the rich are different. Now with scientific/psychological studies. As with all psychological studies, we're talking about percentages, I'm sure the people you know aren't this way, YMMV, yadda yadda. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Oh, and you know how creationists like to point out, "You don't know it all, but I do" when they talk about "missing links" or "how did this come about"? One of their (lesser known) contentions is about how if life started out as single cell, how did we get complex animals. Well, we now have a strong clue. Yeast cells, when clumped together, process food more efficiently (and also share food, which is an important part of the next step, differentiation). I'm sure this will end up in the Dr. Banjo and Professor Farnsworth argument. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Subverting the subversionists using t-shirt subversion. Oh how I expect to see this copied in other venues. Who knew there was a use for that t-shirt ink that washes out the first time you wear it other than to part you from your money? (Pointed to by Dan)

Seeing how well it worked in Congress, other executives hold their breath until they get their way. Really, Delta will "fly the coop". Hey, good luck with that. Oh, and maybe we can change Atlanta Hartsfield into an airport people want to go through once they're gone.

Ah, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. It smells like victory. Just remember, Ames, Iowa, you ain't the boss of us.

Say, remember when conservatives were bashing President Obama for his stand on Green Energy, about how that couldn't produce any jobs? And I would be remise to mention the often repeated canard of "government spending can't create jobs" that's all the fashion with conservatives. Oh look, those conservatives were wrong. Fancy that. Don't worry, I'm sure they've been right about everything else. (Pointed to by Dan)

Tea Party congressman says the bank should have know he wouldn't be able to repay his loan. Really? I'm sorry, that's… I don't know if there's even a word for how duplicitous that is. Hey TP, proud of your accomplishments yet? Tell me again why I should pay attention to you when you nominate people like this?