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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Linkee-poo on a sobering Monday

With the time gone this weekend and having Friday off of work, Busy Steve is busy dodging 8-balls on what feels like a bumper-pool table.

The Auto Critique Wizard. I haven't played with it, but I'll agree with Jay Lake (from whom the link is grokked), that this is something that has been sorely needed. I do have a lot of trepidations, however, that it's not going to be much more than a "Microsoft Word Grammar Check" and "Wordle" analysis, maybe on steroids. There is a free level of membership, but it's very limited (3 submissions of less than 400 words per day). Four-hundred words is barely two pages of text, and while the "pacing" and other checks might work, it's not a very helpful level for a novel (even if you're only producing 1000 words a day). Looking at a manuscript narrowing your focus to 2 pages doesn't help much (of course, they offer to critique more for actual money). But it's there to let you see if the tool is worth your while. If you're having a problem finding a critique group, this may be a good option (again, I haven't tried it). But I'll restate my ever standing luddite status regarding tools of this kind (you may remember the "Are you a Man or Woman in writing" tools a fe wears ago). What they state it will check for can be reduced to some simple metrics (active verbs, word frequency, sentence length and prevalence of conjunctions, passive constructions, etc). If that's all they do, I wouldn't recommend using it (other than the free level). If there's some actual AI going on underneath, it might be good. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"The House of Representatives just proposed to cut more than $169 billion from SNAP, formerly the food stamps program. Some representatives argued that feeding hungry people is really the work of the churches… These representatives are essentially saying that every church… needs to come up with an extra $50,000 dedicated to feeding people — every year for the next 10 years — to make up for these cuts… each congregation will have to spend approximately $50,000 to feed those who would see a reduction or loss of benefits." You know that whole sub-argument going on about how "charity and social help is the providence of churches" which started with G. W. Bush and his Faith-Based initiative/cabinet post? Here's the check and the fiddler is tapping his foot impatiently. So, America's Churches, are you up to the task? Here is the bed you made (okay, not all of the churches held to this idiocy, but they didn't really speak out about it either), now lay in it. And for everybody else, this is why the government is involved in the social network, because churches aren't up to the task. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I'm awfully sorry you're having a heart attack, but would you mind paying your outstanding hospital debt before we treat you? Okay, it may not be that bad, but embedding debt collectors in the hospital? Doesn't the phrase "shake-down" bring shame to these people? I know, I know, gotta make those deadbeats pay and it's the result of the rise of the MBA in management. Nope, the health industry doesn't need any stinking help or regulation (note, some of these non-health related people may have had access to healthcare PII because of where they are physically located - that's a violation of federal law). Also, please notice some of the industry inside information on there. "As hospitals struggle under a glut of unpaid bills… financial pressures are altering the collection landscape so that they are now letting collection firms in the front door… To achieve promised savings, hospitals turn over the management of their front-line staffing… and their back-office collection activities… The more than 5,000 community hospitals in the United States provided $39.3 billion in uncompensated care — predominately unpaid patient debts or charity care — in 2010, up 16 percent from 2007…." I wonder if the Churches can help pick up that bill (see link above about hunger)? And definitely read the second page of the article. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: They didn't even miss me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Con Ho!

Okay, we'll, I'm actually there already. We're (the royal we're) at Penguicon on the outskirts of Detroit. Enjoying a bunch of good talks both formal and barcon. Got to hang with friends last night. Penguicon is an interesting mix of tracks from literature (where I'm on the docket), coding, environmental, personal development, costuming, gaming, and a few lectures. So it's got an unique vibe.

Right now I'm sitting in a panel on fanfic, something that's always fascinated me.

Just a thought in passing on fandom, if you're a fan and you have doubts about how going to a con to see your favorite author or scientist or whatever, or want to dress up as one if their characters, and you think it doesn't affect that author or mean anything, perish the thought. While the object of your "affection" (for the lack of a better word) may have some trepidation (as in, who is this stalker, and do I have a lawyer to get a restraining order kind of way) they totally get geeked and stoked on such things. It's like a level up moment. This was a sub-discussion at dinner, so you're hearing this second-hand.

Conversions are good for several other things, on the attending side. If you think your the only one who likes certain things (computers, sf/f, horror, comics, dressing up as yor favorite characters, dressing up fantastically, have a fuzzy love, whatever) here is your community. And if you like parts of that and other parts squick you out (fuzzies still give me a weirded out feeling, but it's not so pronounced any more - do what thou wilt, dudes), cons normally have clauses on participation and consent. Currently in this room the ages span from probably late teens/early twenties to fifty, there are three code-heads (one of whom made a comment about soldering before the panel) there's a person with a staff, one Leia (white princess dress), numerous "normal" people, and one proto steam punk. Nobody is judging. This is your tribe.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Linkee-poo is driving through the city tonight, through the lights in a hot, new rental car

Depending on the wifi and my schedule, I'll probably be gone for this weekend, too. If you're in Detroit, come out to Penguicon and see me there. Or not. Or come to see the other cool* people I'll be hanging out with. (*for certain values of "cool" which equated to geeky and nerdy)

Mur Lafferty finally put up the critique template (well, a while ago when I bugged her about it, but the page is finally working for me so I could check it out). So if you ever felt yourself stumbling for what to talk about during a critique of someone's writing, here is a good start (look for the link "critique template from producer Patrick"). Thanks, Mur. Also, just a general note, don't forget to find at least one positive thing to say about the work, and not in the "this book can stand next to any other on the shelf" vein. Even on a devastating critique I had to give where I explained that I knew where the person copied their story from (slightly less than outright plagiarism, but cribbed enough that it was the exact same story - not derivative), I found one thing nice to say. And that was hard.

And speaking of Mur, yes, this. Writing, the actual putting words on the screen, is a lonely job (even when done in the presence of others, 'cause unless you're lips move while you write, nobody knows what's going on in your head). In our loneliness, we sometimes forget there are people out there who are having the exact same types of thoughts that you are, that they may be in the exact same hell. To quote the end of the story, "You: 'Why did you jump down, now we're both in the hole?' Friend: 'Because I know the way out.'"

Because you'll need a handy guide heading into the November election… once Romney is able to "relaunch" himself in a way that sticks (I'm up to 3 "relaunching the campaign" moments in the past week - it might be a born again thing, I don't know), here's one on rhetological fallacies. Make up your bingo cards early, kids, there's tons of prizes to win. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But these (people demonizing people who disagree with them) aren’t just fringe characters telling us that liberals are Nazis who murder babies and love the Satan whom they serve. These are Roman Catholic bishops, state governors, influential clergy and elected officials saying this… So either the threat of the Satanazis is real, or else we’ve reached the point at which Roman Catholic bishops and Republican state governors have become indistinguishable from the lunatic fringe." I'll take, "Who Are the neo-Whackaloons" for a $1000, Alex. Oh look, it's a daily double.

"Not even Republicans want to go back to the Bush years, which is why you will hear Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or All The Rest talk about the Bush years approximately never, plus or minus one 'when hell freezes over.'… The first rule of Republican Fight Club is that you do not talk about George W. Bush." But we'll talk up the exact same economic policies that got us into the mess in the first place, and talk about them like we had never tried them before. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Here's an interesting story about a state test and a talking pineapple. Can I get a "harrumph"? Anyway, what I think is hilarious is that people are upset about the question, in which I think their problem is the improbability of an actual talking pineapple and completely gloss over the talking animals with gambling problems (queue the "would you look at that, a talking horse" jokes now). But here's the thing, the state basically threw up it's hands and said, "We can't come up with a good test, you do it, here's some money." And then they get pissed when that company comes up with a test. Maybe it's confusing because the teachers, principles and parent "contacted by The News" aren't all that bright to begin with, and so it's no wonder they're also confused. But probably it's because they didn't know the question was there and so didn't drill their students in the ethics of talking animals and fruits. (Note, I'm soon to take a test administered by the testing company detailed here) (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: They're probably wondering where I went. Don't worry, guys, I'll be back in the pile Monday.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Linkee-poo takes its protein pills and puts its helmet on

It may be the 9 year old boy in me, but I love this video Random Michelle K pointed to. Who hasn't thought of what would happen if you drop a can of cream on a running lawnmower blade, or sugar on a candle, or popped an over filled water bed?

John Cleese on creativity. Thirty plus minutes on something that he says can't be done. Now, that's creative. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Justine Larbalestier shares some juvenilia.

Diana Peterfreund on revising versus rewriting.

More from Mer on those last edits (that I linked to earlier), asking if it was "worth it."

Twenty-five things writing Blackbirds taught Chuck Wendig. (note to self to go back and read this deeper)

Pixar to make a film based on Day of the Dead? Dangit. My long time reader(s) know I love to decorate for Halloween, and for the past three years I've been wanting to shift to a Day of the Dead theme, but haven't had the time or been able to find the right decorations to do it. And now I'll just look like an "also ran." Sigh. (Grokked from Tor.com)

I don't often do online petitions, but here's one I support. Rick Ferrel Moore has started a petition to define plagiarism for profit as consumer fraud. In case you're wondering, Rick has a dog in this fight (several, actually) having discovered he was being ripped off by the plagiarist David B. Boyer (note: there are two David Boyers who "write" - as far as I can tell, this one is legit and this one who ain't).

So glad this dick didn't make it very far in the primaries. And I say this as someone who wished for the disruption that Gringrich and Santorum made. (Pointed to by Dan)

The camera that gives you a description of your photo. (Pointed to by John)

The current presidential election Game of Thrones mashup. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

Tweet of my heart:
@ANNELAMOTT: You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better.

Alligator Quotient: Wondering if I should teach them to waltz or to boogaloo?

The other Washington DC photos

It wasn't until last week that it really dawned on my that I'd be in Washington to see Discovery. There were NASA booths and tables all over the museum, and one of the Imax movies was the shuttle repair of Hubble. And I'll admit, during the launch sequence, I cried.

They have the shuttle in the Space Hanger, and it looks like there were still putting things back in order that weekend. But right next to the shuttle wing is the Freedom 7 capsule, which sat on top of a Mercury Redstone rocket. The whole capsule, including retro-rocket package and parachutes, would fit in my cubicle. So that made for an interesting comparison.

I still want my jetpack (damnit!).

Here is one of the original anthropomorphic robots used to test space suits.

Just in case you ever wondered about the impact SF/F has on the sciences, there was this display.

A corner of computers used for the early space program. That cabinet in back? That's 4k of memory. Not 4 meg or 4 gig, 4k. The iPod Touch I carried in my pocket held more memory and raw processing power than all of the computers displayed… combined. Heck, the camera I used to take this photo had more computing power.

And I include this shot just so everybody know that rocket scientist also have wicked senses of humor (this was a "green room" for the NASA engineers). You'll have to embiggen to get the joke.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Linkee-poo is only willing to hear you cry because I am an innocent man

Way, way behind in my reading, and it doesn't look good for catching up anytime soon. But here's some cool things I've come across.

Mer Haskell talks about the "last" edit in the process of publishing a book. And for those of you who don't know, Mer's a damn good writer. She knows more about sentence structure and grammar in a few languages than I know about my own. Just in case you're still wondering why books cost so much when the actual paper version costs so little to produce.

James Gurney of magical light effects. Or how to focus attention on what needs attention, and sketch in the rest for impressionism. For which I'll also recommend the paintings of Goya and Valazquez. (Grokked from Jay Lake - which whom I agree, there's much for the writer to learn in that short post)

And because I liberally rip off his ideas link to his posts, a little link lovin' to Chuck Wendig who's latest, Blackbirds, went on sale yesterday.

And there's another shoe dropping in the ebook wars. Yes, some publishers are starting to "get it". In this case Tor and Forge (imprints of Macmillan) are going DRM free. (Grokked from matociquala)

Continuation of the top ten things you should know about your own book, nine through seven and six. I haven't read them yet, but working through my backlog.

Vince shares with us the Eye of Sauron cake. Hmmm, cake. So, I guess that would answer Eddie Izzard's infamous question with, "Both, please."

Jim Hines, having won fame by contorting himself to match the portrayal of women on the the covers of books, now takes a whack at the men. Please note that while there is some male beef cake being portrayed, what is being shown of men is not equivalent of how women are displayed (notice no bulging "Sticky Fingers" images, nor any assess chaps). Also note how Jim doesn't need to see a chiropractor after this session.

The source code for Apollo and Gemini programs. Some cool computer nepery there. (Pointed to by Dan)

The list of climate denialism and the truth. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

All righty then, I'll go to hell. That's the Slactivist on the morality of "good christians" praying and wishing for people to go burn in hell.

Because not all religious people in the abortion debate are completely insane, some of them remember the actual gospel. And can I say with some pride, it's the UCC (my old church) that stands up for what is right, again. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Slactivist puts my thoughts about last week's Ohio campaign trips into better focus that I could. The only thing I would add is it seems strange that the presumptive nominee of the party that espouses "Government can't create jobs" and "Government shouldn't pick winners and losers" is the exact one who is saying not only could he create more jobs if president, but that the government should have reopened that specific gypsum factory. The double-speak, it burns.

Oh noes! Fox News is biased?! So says Gingrich and Santorum? Oh noes! To quote Inigo, "YOu keep using that word. I donna think it means what you think it means." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart:
@FearDept: Have the heart of a CIA interrogator and the integrity of an FBI informant. Be drone pilot brave.

Alligator Quotient: Does anybody know if there's a Milkbone product for alligators? Their breath is really bad, being carnivores and all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And now is the time on Sprokets…

Where we ask, how's those austerity programs working out? Not so well, eh? Who could've guessed?

Um, everyone who isn't a right wing ideologue?

Linkee-poo is your hookah smoking caterpillar

P. K. Dick on seeing a promo for Blade Runner. Note, SF has always been "dying", we have always been at war with Eurasia. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I know there's the whole, "Life imitates art because art intimidates life" back and forth thing, but the end result is, your life should contain art. At least that's how the proponents of Art Nouveau felt.

Another step close to synthetic DNA. Also interesting because of how they showed evolution by implementing an artificial selection pressure (being able to cling to certain proteins). And there you have it, creationists, evolution shown in a laboratory. Again. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The twenty worst tramp stamps. Warning, lots of butt-crack and whale tale to be seen there, may be NSFW. As my friends comment, Dan: "The entire 1st Corinthians? wtf?", John: "And with a typo in it, too… but nobody ever notices it because they're too busy being horrified by the concept." Yea and verily. (Pointed to by John)

Because yesterday was not only Pixel-stained Technopeasant Wretch Day (and I forgot to dress up for work), it was the day we celebrate Shakespeare's birth day, how Shakespeare changed everything. Love him or hate him, or think he was just a front for someone else, there's no denying how the world shaped to his vision. (Grokked from Tor.com)

US measles cases reached 15 year high in 2011. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

The Slactivist on the LCWR sanctioning. There are times in the world that I fear we are falling into another dark ages, where learning and critical thought diminishes to only that which conserves the established powers and orthodox dogma. And then there are times you can see the dark hands move to instill such a regime.

"Got that? Republicans want to spend money on defense that the Defense Department doesn't want, and it wants to pay for the spending by slashing aid to struggling families -- because they have it way too easy right now… Say hello to The Sympathy Gap." This was one of the things that changed for me after I left the GOP. I used to be a strong proponent of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps", until I noticed many people not only didn't have bootstraps, but didn't even have socks let alone boots. I've also been one to talk about how I worked all the way through college, but I also graduated with debt. So did my wife. And college has only gotten more expensive (outpacing inflation) since then. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: I'll never get the smell of alligator out of my clothes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Thoughts about the Memorials on Mall

Both of which have to do with the people, not the memorials themselves.

One, the memorials are way more crowded than they appear to be in the movies. There are people, almost literally dripping off of them. The steps of the Lincoln Memorial were packed with a mass of humanity. And they great part about that is the diversity of people there. I hear German, Japanese, Korean (I'm pretty sure), Russian, Italian, and a slew of other languages. About the only languages I didn't hear were any African Languages. People were still amazed by the Lincoln statue. There was for moments, and almost reverence about approaching it.

And then there were the other times. When I couldn't walk around without stepping into someone's photo of their kids, parents, family, friends, class groups, etc. Eventually to get the closeup photos I just barged ahead, because they were just taking so long. I just wanted to shout, "You aren't a damn fashion photographer, the image isn't going to get better by waiting longer, take the damn picture and move on." No, really, taking two minutes to focus (with point and shoot cameras, or cell phone cameras), way too fucking long. The people asking, "which button," okay, I can kind of understand. Somewhat. But all you all are blocking the rest of us. Also, posing? No, really, you aren't fashion models. I've worked with fashion models, and with fashion shoots, you aren't close. Just saying.

Maybe a third thought. All you geeks taking photos with your iPads? You aren't fooling anybody. The iPad camera stinks. You're just doing it because you think you're impressing the rest of us (including the people taking photos with their cell phones that were just excuses to flash their expensive iPhones and Androids).

Photos of Steve's Weekend

I was here (click to embiggen).
To see these. Of which the nice guard walking toward me let me know, "No photos allowed.

In the National Gallery Sculpture Garden there was this weird tree growing.

And then we went to see the Titanoboa at the museum next door. Some little place called the Smithsonian.

And if you ever wondered if seeing the big museums are worth it, this is the quality of the fossils the Smithsonian puts on display.


Yeah, it's worth it.

And then, you know, because you're there you have to go see the big pointy thingie.

Linkee-poo is having a rough Monday

This are still very busy at the day thing.

If you're wondering just what the phrase, "the first draft is allowed to suck" means, Mer Haskell is showing some early drafts of her novel, The Princess Curse. Not that they're full of suck, but you can see how a novel changes as you draft.

Neil Stephenson on the pessimism in near and far future SF. A mix of mundanes, loss of sensawonder, and some navel gazing going on there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"That’s why this list exists — to gather up the foamy bubbles of nuance and slurp them into our greedy info-hungry mouths." Chuck Wendig with 25 things you should know about transmedia storytelling.

The difference between being an agent and a writer. As told by an agent who became a writer.

Just what good is Twitter. (Grokked from Victoria Strauss)

Breathing batteries, what'll they think of next. Please note last line, "the max energy density of lithium-air batteries is theorized to be around 12 kWh/kg, some 15 times greater than li-ion — and more importantly, comparable to gasoline." I still want my jet pack. (Pointed to by Dan)

Shoes are dropping in the "often thought dead" story about G. W. Bush's stint on the Texas Air National Guard. So much for that liberal bias of media. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: I need a titanoboa of my very own.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Peeling off my boots and chaps, I'm saddle sore

Back in the real world. Too late to do much. Hopefully you'll have more this week. I got to geek out a number of time, got caught in the rain (without a pina colada), I have blood blisters on my feet, my ass it sore from driving so much, and the bank account is crying for mercy.

So, it was dark when I got back in. I didn't see any zombies, so I'm assuming the zombie apocalypse hasn't occured while I was gone. Did I miss anything?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Because I'm a total geek

Where will Steve be this weekend? Well, if you check this web cam on Sunday you may see him. He'll be the total geek having a geekgasm on the floor or holding up his die-cast Discovery to the real Discovery to have a photo taken.

Linkee-poo is short

With everything at work, school, and the trip tonight, not enough minutes in the day. Also, blogging this weekend will be rare, if at all. The hotel we're at is one of those that likes to charge an arm and a leg to give you shared dial-up experience. So unless I can snag a wi-fi signal somewhere and ignore Bette, there probably will be radio silence here on Story Bones. Regular programming will resume on Monday.

Fifty-three reasons there should be a new Star Trek on TV. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The Slactivist with a post on the re-re-renaming of a Marine Fighter squad to "Crusaders." Dear Lt. Col. Wade Wiegel, besides being incredibly tone-deaf, the "Werewolves" name is your heritage. It is your squad's original nick-name. With all due respect, sir, buy a clue, will you?

So long, Facts, we hardly knew ye. The GOP stuck a fork in it, and it's done. (Grokked from Catherine Shaffer)

And in regards to the death of facts post, the top ten tax facts. Void where Fox New or GOP campaign or fleecing fundraising is concerned. (Grokked from Slactivist)

Alligator Quotient: I got my alligator beating stick right here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Linkee-poo is late

Elizabeth Shack on finding writing time, how to and how not to.

Not that a I would classify "Romance" as "Smut", but here's an interesting chart that'll put starch in your socks. And now you also know why Christian Science Fiction Thrillers are such a big deal. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Live streaming ghost hunts." (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

Those uppity women in habits are challenging doctrine again. The Vatican has now censured the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for focusing too much on social inequality and the poor, and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage. Glad we settled that it was Obama's War on Women, and not the War on Women perpetrated by study, conservative, white men. Those darn nuns and their wanting to follow the actual words of the Christ, and not the hot political button of the Church.(Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

History, it's a steel-wool bastard. Just in case any remanning "originalists/constitutionalist" still hold the belief that our Founding Fathers were totally against any purchasing mandates (and in specific, health care mandates). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Greenland's ice sheets' melt lake may turn the glaciers "into a Slip N Slide, lubricating the ice sheet’s glide into the ocean." That damn pesky, well known liberal bias of reality again. Although, largest Slip 'n Slide EVAR!. Weeeeeee! (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: It's like a total eclipse of the sun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Linkee-poo, will you let me show you what I mean?

I hope to have more time starting the middle of next week. Just in the middle of a bad conflagration of work, school, and personal life at the moment (including the last minute trip to DC - which is for pleasure, and should be fun, but is a big chunk o' time - I should write more about that - note to self).

Colleen Lindsay is dusitng off the swivel and want's to know what you want to talk about.

The Rejection Generator Project. You've heard how real writers rack up at least a hundred rejections before they start selling? Well, now you too can get all those rejections, but without that nasty writing part or actually having to submit to several markets. How great is that? The kids these days, they have it so easy. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

To help rid the world of the concept of colonialism helps poorer countries. (Grokked from Catherine Shaff-Stump)

So, Romney is getting in trouble when he mentions specifics. Quelle surprise. See, in Ohio we have a governor that played the same game, "Oh, we'll give you the specifics once we're in office." And then everyone could vote for him knowing that their ox wouldn't be gored. The the governor acted, and his approval rating dropped so low, the polls started asking the question, "If you had to do it over, would you vote for Kasich," and, again surprise surprise, he would have lost by 20 points. That's the major problem for all of these proposals, when you talk about shrinking government, or reducing regulation, or eliminating departments, or "making our (state, city, nation) more business friendly," everybody says, "Yes, go do that." Until you tell them which parts you need to shrink, which regulations you want gone, what departments to cut, and how you're changing things to be more "business friendly", and then people realize that they really don't like those proposals after all (or they discover just how much government helps them). But don't worry, Romney can say, "I was giving giving some examples in answer to specific questions, these really aren't my plans" and lull the people back to sleep. Only if he gets in and then makes those changes. Then the news will be, "But he said he would do this, and now he's making good on his promises." Not my first time to that particular rodeo. And it's not like Mitt and Ann would be all cynical about it. Not at all. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart:
@annagenoese: If you are surprised ebooks cost 10% less than print books to produce, you don't know how book publishing works.

The supporting evidence. (Grokked from Rae Carson)

Alligator Quotient: In so deep, I might as well head down, I'll eventually be on top… on the other side of the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stamping my Geek Card for 2nd QTR CY 2012

This weekend I'll be in DC. We'll be going to the Jakuchu silk scroll painting at the National Gallery.

But as a side trip on the way home, we'll probably be stopping at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy. Were there just happens to be a new guest that will be installed tomorrow. And, actually, I'm kind of sad it won't be Enterprise (although there's a chance she may still be there, outside waiting for transport, but I couldn't find out for sure). But, yeah, Discovery, baby! She's the oldest of the Shuttles and I have a die-cast model of her (I might take it with me, just because I'm a total dork as well).br>

Linkee-poo, twice as hard as the first time I said goodbye

Still slammed. Hope you're doing better.

Having a crappy day? I dare you to look at these animals with their stuffed counterparts and not smile. Especially #10 or #31. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Mur Lafferty and her letter to her daughter. Just as a side note, the best pitcher I ever had to hit against in a long little league career was a girl. She was the fastest throw, and had more accuracy than any of the boys. Still remember it to this day.

"'There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime,' said John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor who has also tried counting the number of new federal crimes created in recent years. 'That is not an exaggeration.'" Good thing we have that whole, "reduce onerous regulation on businesses" campaign to distract us from that fact. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

That holographic Tupac concert (because it's Tupac and Snoop, you can safely assume it's NSFW). Sign of the things to come (and now, Justin Beaver as a 14 year-old, World Tour 2028), or zombie apocalypse? This just in, Holographic JRR Tolkien releases "Return to Middle-Earth" where all the ring bears come back from the Gray Haven's for a reunion tour. (Grokked from Tor.com and NPR)

Photos for Tuesday

The redbud Bette got me for my birthday a few years ago is a climax bloom (maybe a little past).


And, do I have the coolest library system or what?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Linkee-poo for a hurried Monday

Still busier than a cougar in a phone booth (that phrase may have passed out of current knowledge because I can't remember the last time I saw a phone booth).

Jim Hines' fundraiser for Rape Crisis Centers is going better than previous years. Congrats, Jim, on your work for a good cause.

Chuck Wendig with a good treatise on showing, not telling. In case you were struggling with that concept.

The Slactivist has a very poignant and apropo quote for the day. Matches into one of my currently favorite Jesus quotes (didn't know I wielded them, did ya, hey, I went through catechism - the protestant version), "Render unto Caesar…".

Apparently, while Google was doing their "Street View" drive-byes, they were also war driving. And they were collecting the data being sent over those wireless networks. Just a reminder to turn on that encryption, ya all. Not that it'll help against a determined hacker, but it'll keep the mildly curious away. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart:
@joe_hill: Don't ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out. - the always tasteful Charles Bukowski

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The taxing post

Because I've complained about it before, I thought I'd let you all know the result of this year's taxes. Oh, and I submitted my returns last month, in case you're wondering.

This will be the first year in a decade that I'll be getting a refund from the federal government. And a good one at that. So after changing my W4 to "married, hold at higher single rate" with an extra amount withheld, I've finally gotten to the point where I don't owe at the end of the year. Compare this to 2000 where I claimed 3 deductions and received a refund. Now, I do earn almost 165% of what I did back in 2000, so part of that may have been working through the middle of that new tax bracket, but what really turned the tide was the Bush Tax Cuts. After they were passed, because we don't have children, we went from a net overpayment to a net underpayment. About every 2 years after that I would adjust my W4 to try and get to even.

What really made the difference? While I haven't fully reviewed the full numbers through the documents, we had a ton of deductible expenses last year. A mix of massive mileage on the car, donations to charity, medical expenses, and retirement savings all added up to take us beyond the standard deductions (which our tax account predicted we would be taking this year).

So we're getting a refund this year. Sometime this summer I work through the full numbers (taking these classes has really sapped my time and mental space).

Linkee-poo is always drunk on Sunday, trying to feel like I'm at home

Angry Robot Books is having an open reading period for high/epic/sword and sorcery fantasy. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Jay Lake's interview with the Oregonlive.com.

Illiteracy can be dangerous. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Sarah Pekkanen on what she learned about writing a novel. And I think what's she's discussing there, actually having a plot, is what is blocking from the novel I want to write. Sure, it's a pretty Christmas Tree I can hang all these jokes off of, but where's the tension, where's the plot? I get close to one, but never get it fully realized.

A highly intelligent woman speaks out. What she discusses there was a hard lesson for me to learn. After Bette got her PhD I loved to introduce her as "Doctor Beck", because I was proud of her accomplishment. She asked me not to do that, and for the longest time I didn't understand. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just incidentally, as I type this, I have Meet the Press on in the background. They're discussing "gender politics." The panel is four guys, including the moderator, and one woman. Well, at least it's one more than the Issa panel on birth control vs religious freedom.

Oh sure, it may be research using virtual reality to watch the neurological changes in animals today, but when you start losing HALO to a cockroach, you won't think it's so funny then. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Linkee-poo feels the wind blow, outside my door

Spending the weekend studying my brains out. It's not as fun as it sounds.

Linkee-poo is driving through the city tonight, through the lights in a hot, new rental car Chuck Wendig with 25 reasons he hates your main character. Lets see which ones I'm guilty of… And is it me, or does that picture of his baby remind you of Dr. Evil? He needs to be petting a white cat and saying, "Kill Bond!"

Scientists are finding that the same changes to chromosomes that happen as people age can also be found in people experiencing major stress and depression. We've known for a long time that Big D hits your immune system pretty hard. Now we know how it works (or at least a little more about it). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Slactivist pretty much mirrors my own thoughts regarding the whole Ann Romney kerfluffle. I'm sure the GOP is going to help rewrite the horrible divorce laws adding in considerations of just how much "work" a stay at home Mom does. Maybe we could include them in the unemployment compensation tables.

The Devil made him do it. Punking Richard Nixon. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"(T)his is one of the things that's so pernicious about these outside groups. They can devote serious resources to spreading messages that are designed to do nothing more than blur lines, muddy waters, and sow confusion — even as the chief beneficiaries of their activities avoid any accountability for them… This is what it looks like when you don’t have any real arguments."

Friday, April 13, 2012

Linkee-poo will take you to your special island

How to write female characters. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Ever wondered what it would it would be like if you strapped yourself to a rocket and lit that sucker? Wonder no more. Now you can experience what a launch looks like from the Shuttle Solid-fuel Booster Rocket's perspective. With sound. Just when you thought the Shuttle Program couldn't give you chills anymore. (Point to by John)

If you've ever been tortured by my holding forth on Design, you may have heard me talk about how the brain is changed, physically, by the introduction of a written language. And how you process most visual images is different than how you process written language. A written language may have incidental connection points to the spoken language, but they are very different in structure and where and how we process them. And you may have thought, "This guy is full of bullshit." Well, here's a new study that shows how written language is different than spoken language (okay, well, technically it disproves the supposed link between spoken language assisting learning a written language). I don't know which "scientists" they think assumed both used the same brain circuits. It's been well established, and taught in design schools, that we don't.

How media (aka. advertising) affects girls and society. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

"But the 'centrists' who weigh in on policy debates are playing a different game. Their… professional selling point, depends on posing as high-minded types standing between the partisan extremes… (a)nd this leaves them unable either to admit how moderate Mr. Obama is or to acknowledge the more or less universal extremism of his opponents on the right." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

When being truthful begins to hurt, run away. Sure, there was no "War on Women", that whole committee meeting Darryl Issa held on birth control that was entirely populated with men, must have been a mass delusion. The Arizona law to allow employers to both pry into the birth control of their employees and then fire them if they didn't like what they were doing, bad dates I guess. And Wisconsin eliminating a fair pay statute, flash back from the brown acid. No no no, all you women folk who are now realizing what voting for a GOP candidate actually means, it was all a smoke screen thrown up by the Democrats. As Kaa sang in the Jungle Book, "Trust in me, trust in me, close your eyes, go to sleep." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: I wonder if stacked alligators will compost?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Linkee-poo, winter just wasn't its season

Still way, way far behind, and it doesn't look good for catching up anytime soon.

Jim Hines is running his annual fundraiser for Rape Crisis Centers. I've always been dubious about the "donate, and we'll raffle off something" money raisers (edited to add this thought – I'm leary of call to "base gain" proposals instead of "public good" proposals - but mostly on the people who are giving, the supporters of such things have seen that this approach works - so yeah, they'll use it - this isn't a critique of Jim or his cause). But hell, it's a good cause, and it's something that I already give money to.

A USA Today article on the government anti-trust suit against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin Group. Price colluding is a bad thing, but I don't think the government has a real case here. One publisher demanded the agency model, Amazon responded by refusing to sell their books (in any format) for a few days, but the publisher got their way in the end. Then the other publishers demanded the same deal. Cue the "E-books should be ($9.99, $0.99, FREE!)" crowd in 3… 2… 1… Release the Kraken! (Grokked from William Jones)

Ah, the 1950s, when companies sold products using radiation. In this case using radiation to prove how a cold cream cleans your face. We won't mention how shoe stores x-rayed your feet to get your size, and office x-ray machines were used to clear acne also during the 50s. We don't need no silly regulations, do we? (Grokked from Tor.com)

So, what has JK Rowling been doing lately? (Grokked from Joe Hill)

The Fox Mole wasn't that foxy. Dude, really, electronic trail? Um, it's the 90s calling, they want to let you know a few things about networked computers. (Pointed to by John)

Slactivist on the new idiocy in the already moronic idea of a war on religion. Yes it just goes to show that most conservative leaders haven't realized there is this thing called the internet, it stores a lot of articles, and it's very searchable.

Spain passes laws that could be used to arrest peaceful protestors. Well, that won't end well. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

New study gives evidence to old anecdotal concept, that social status is linked to immunity. Do I need to spell out the implication that 1) keeping people "down" is a bad idea for the group and 2) those who can afford health care the most aren't the ones who would need it the most. But then, us liberals tend to be overeducate and over thoughtful to the events which shape our perception. How else could you explain a GOP state senator rolling out ideas that Hitler and Stalin actually embraced (again, why do conservatives think there are conspiracies and "plans"? because that's how they roll). And not to mention the rolling out of the old canard, "because we sat on our hands and did nothing, we're all better off." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: to paraphrase Custer, "Where'd all these alligators come from?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Linkee-poo never felt like smiling, Sugar wanna' kill me yet

Busy steve is busy. Test tonight, so most of these are from yesterday. Hope to have fresher content soon.

Mur Lafferty points to Mary Robinette Kowal and her response to a misprint that for most people would have have them lamenting into their beers. Look and learn… and try to internalize. Excellent example of what to do.

And, Mary Robinette Kowal on writing an effective sequel. So, apparently, today's Muse is being played by Mary Robinette Kowal. Please adjust your programs.

Yesterday must have been a privilege review day. I didn't have it on my calendar, but Jay Lake did and looked at it in light of his own human experience (traveling the world, and now having cancer). Jim Hines also took a whack at it and reminds us that even if we approach privilege from an "enlightened" (self-aware) view point, you still can make some mistakes. Because that's how ingrained and insidious it is.

Well, because God, in some ways, is the very definition of the false consensus effect.

"Without the government assistance, many of the people who would be interested in applying for the driving jobs could not afford the $4,000 classes to obtain commercial driver’s licenses. Now Atlas is struggling to find eligible drivers." Dear Atlas, maybe you should start your own job training program. You know, like fiscal conservatives believe you should. And I have to admit, there's been several news programs like this lately. The "We'd like to hire more people but we can't find any good employees." "Good employees" in this case equals "already trained, and willing to overwork for the pittance we offer." And yet, these employers are often the very people who scream, "market forces" whenever some government program or regulation stands in their way of doing what is cheap, easy, and against the benefit of their employees or the people living around them. "Mr. Griffin said the company would consider training applicants itself if they would 'sign a piece of paper saying that when they graduate they will come to work for us for two years.'" Okay, and is the company willing to sign a paper saying that the employee will be employed by Atlas full-time for those two years? If not, you're whistling dixie. As I've told my own work place, "After 5 is my time, by our policy and by my interview. If you want me to stop going to school, offer me a job for life or a substantial raise." I haven't been offered either, in case you're wondering. Also from the article, "Training advocates say that paying for education yields a better return than simply continuing to pay unemployment benefits… every dollar spent on training dislocated workers in 2009 returned about $8.70 to the local economy…" But don't tell small government conservatives that. Okay, well, you could, but they won't believe you. (Grokked from the Slacktivist)

Tweet of my heart:
@MykeCole: Fishing for compliments/encouragement can be dangerous. If you keep telling people, "I suck," eventually, they'll believe you. Cowboy up.

Alligator Quotient: It's dark in here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ricky don't lose that number

Well, apparently I don't know just WTF is going on. Ricky Santorum dropped out of the race today. You know, to spend more time with his family. And actually, as is the fad of the day, he's just "suspending" his campaign.

Yes, I'm sure it had nothing to do with his dropping poll numbers in his home state and the very real possibility that we would lose PA by the same percentage that he lost his Senate seat by (16%, in case you wanted to know). And that his funding had dried up to the point where he couldn't field enough ads to change that. Also, typically when a candidate "suspends" their campaign, that's an indication that there are big debts that need to repaid (and by "suspending" instead of "ending" the candidate is still allowed to raise money to pay those debts). Also, it means his delegates are not free to vote for whomever else. Ricky also survived past the April 1st quarterly deadline (which I'm sure brings him some benefit, but I'm too tired at the moment to go look it up).

While I know some of my friends may be giddy about the GOP finally closing in on one candidate, so now we can start the real campaign and start slinging mud in earnest, I would caution a little patience. Anything played out at this point will fly over the heads of most of the electorate and be "old news" by the conventions, let alone the fall. However, what I do expect to happen is the rest of the GOP primary will now go into the dark. Which is only to the benefit of the GOP. As you can see by the recent polling data after the "contraception kerfluffle", the GOP does better when it keeps it's collective trap shut.

Linkee-poo thinks librarians rock

Back to busy beyond belief. So a short one for today as I don't have much time to play on the internets today.

Of potential to inform an upcoming panel, ion on military Sf. There's some about how the past philosophies inform the present within a culture. (Grokked from Karl Schroeder)

Since the peeps surgery links is getting kinda long in the tooth, how about geeky peep dioramas? (Grokked from Tor.com)

New Arizona anti-abortion law defines the age of the fetus to begin at the end of the woman's menses. Which settles the question. Yes, Arizona is going for "Most Crazy State Involvement in Personal Lives Evar!" in the Guiness Book of World Records. Two weeks before actual "conception"? So, with that "potential" is it "abortion" for a woman to not have sex? Are women now mandated to have unprotected sex so that all those unborn children have a chance? The crazy just gets deeper and deeper. (Grokked from Cat Valente)

Tweet of my heart:
@GeorgeTakei: 20% of adults now favor e-books over paper. The Trees agree to continue moratorium on random skiing accidents involving celebrities.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Story Bone

Okay, so you all know the issue with "Dances with Wolves" and it's SF evil twin, "Avatar." The short hand is, "White man arrives to save disadvantaged but noble savage/magical negro community from complete annihilation."

What if, for an invasion story, humans became that "noble savage/negro community" but couldn't win until one of the aliens (or a group of them) defect to help them. Only slightly covered by many stories, but in those cases it's mostly "alien gives human the key to winning, mostly unwittingly." Or the "two alien species fight for Earth, one species realizes it won't win unless it co-opts the humans onto their side." No no no. Do a full on alien goes "native" for their love of the "simple/magical" life that is being a human, and leads us to victory against their own race. Add in a romantic "human" interest (for double bonus points, make the alien nominally "female" and the love interest a guy, and "she" has to convince him, no Capt. Kirks boning anything green and in a skirt).

Linkee-poo knows you don't want to hear what he says, and that you'll keep turning away

XKCD for win. Love the David Bowie and Freddie Mercury tag. (Grokked from Dan)

Cat Valente is wise about the misogyny thing. having seen it first hand, she tells the truth and is not exaggerating. It is wholly disheartening to see boys and men lining up to be a part of the He-Man Woman-haters Club all these years down the line. Of course, if those same men were women making similar comments about men, they would be instantly labeled as "militantly lesbian." How do I know this? Because I've seen it happen with my own two eyes (a woman calling a man an "ignorant ass who should make the world a little less shitty by STFU").

How to ask a question. Having experienced similar scenarios described in the flesh, yes, this. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

A robot supply craft docks with the ISS. Now that is a damn cool photo. Retrorockets all around, plus the fires of civilization burning on the planet below, and a rarity for space photos, and actual star field. Okay, so maybe not an spaceliner matching the rotation of a hub spacestation to the tune of the Blue Danube, but this one is real. And if you're writing near time space opera, it's very cool. (Pointed to by Dan)

Representative Steve King on making vegetarians confess. You know, only the deceitful expect deceit. Also, Rep. King, please go back to high-school to learn the difference between omnivores, herbivores, and predators, also learn the difference between Vegan, vegetarian, laco-ovo-vegetarian, and omnivore diets. And thirdly, by the time the cow gets to you, while it's been feed grains, most of that has pooped out. I'm sure you think you're being funny, but you just come off as un-intelligent.

A timeline of computer maker Dell's fortunes. Just in case you were wondering why the American economy is shitty, here's part of your answer. I'm not blaming Dell for the economy, I'm saying the various practices and events outlined in that timeline, indicative of much of the business world happenings over that time (remember, Michael Dell is looked up to as someone to emulate). The last line is most telling. It reminds me of a friend who was trying to find steel stamping workers and could only get sheet metal workers. Why? Because all those steel stamping jobs were outsourced to other countries, and the skill set died in the US. American business wants to know why it can't find good workers. Because the good ones either have jobs, aren't willing to relocate (for a job that they know may be gone in 3 months, because they've seen that before), or aren't willing to work for the pittance you're offering. Here's the thing, supply and demand, right? The demand for good workers it up, but supply is low. That means their price should also go up (but don't hold your breath for that to happen). (Pointed to by John)

Why won't Ricky Santorum quit? Well, my answer to that is he needs to win Pennsylvania to sooth the wounds to his psyche from having his ass handed to him in the last election there. It's a way to validate himself. If he wins PA, he'll be internally a happy guy. If he loses, consider that the Loving Mallet of Correction to his self-importance. This is like how aging rockers get the band back together "one more time" to exorcise the evil ghost of that last stinker of an album and tell themselves they weren't just a flash in the pan, that they meant something and had something to contribute. But personally, I really think Ricky is in it for VP or a cabinet position (He'll make Romney an offer he shouldn't refuse - or he'll get a brokered convention). Just like Gingrich. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

When you can't win in the marketplace of ideas, buy the politicians and smear your opposition. Ah, that fun loving duo, the Koch Brothers. They're like the anti Hope and Crosby of the business world. And now, presenting, "On the Road to 2012 Election." (Pointed to by John)

The slactivist hits some of the refurbished accusations. Ah, the classics. And their real world consequences.

On the GOP's new found reverence for the Judicial Branch of government.

Watching the Ten Commandments

So, Saturday night the broadcast system rolled out it's hoary staple of Easter to flog that horse again. Of course I'm talking about "The Ten Commandments", the gem in Cecil B. Demille's Bible Epic phase. Unfortunately for the broadcaster and my wife, I had spent the day slaving in the snark mines and had an overfull bucket of the stuff. So here is my twitter feed from that night, without context. There was a big portion in the middle of the film that I had to study for a test coming up this Wednesday, so there's a big hole in the middle. Sorry about that.

How much has conservatism changed? Nobody asked Moses for his birth certificate.

Moses had it good, until displayed compassion. They labeled him EINO (EgyptionInNameOnly) & cast him into the desert

Oh sure, there was a whisper campaign that nearly brought him down. He had to prove devotion by conspicuous actions.

And now playing the role of Shadout Mapes, Memnet.

Wow, Moses was the secret Kenyan Socialist sleeper candidate. Now I expect they will ask for the birth certificate.

And so begins the attempted coverup.

Wow, Moses saved his own mother from crushing before he knew who she was. It's like a BC time travel paradox.

And now Moses recognizes his own white-male privilege, and goes native. But first tries to up the status of slaves.

And having realized her son is the Kwisatz Haderach, Jochebed fails to change the water of life and dies.

Or, at least, that's how it would have been written today.

"… down into the never ending valley of toil and agony…" Moses has his college experience, finally.

Only chance to leave the drudgery & death in the mud pits is to be selected by 1 of the 1% because they want a toy.

Although Vincent Price did his best Newt Gingrich impression, and paid the price.

And now Ramseys employes the first opposition research council chairman.

Cecil could only have been less subtle had he put a giant sign, "God Answers Prayers and Fulfills Prophecies".

Moses does Jacob Marley with Seti, "You do not know the weight & length of the strong chain you bear yourself! "

And here is where I went to study, and came back in right at the Exodus out of Egypt.

Is this the point where we get the chariot race from Ben Hur?

And nobody notices the ominous clouds building in the clear blue sky. Not very observant these people.

Parting the Red Sea, suck on that EG Robinson.

And now a scene which inspired countless aquariums.

Lets pick up the pace, bearers of Joshua's bones. Increase the tempo.

General Akbar calling pharaoh, "It's a trap!"

Neffertiti, "So, how was the day at the office?"

So when all hope is lost in the desert, and the leader goes on holiday, it's obviously time to party.

And so Aaron made the Bull statue that's now on Wall Street.

40 days and 40 nights on the mountain, only to bring back 10 commandments, God is a slow writer, or a committee.

"The tablets? His 10 Commandments… the addendums would follow later, they're still at the printers."

And now God does his Indiana Jones on the island act.

Wait, I thought you would only get Heston's staff when you pried it from his cold dead hands… oh wait.

Now after 40 years, Moses unveils the addendum with it's couple thousand laws. That's a slow printer.

Now the Hebrews enjoy their freedom by crossing the river Jordan. Until Babylon comes along and enslaves them again.

Flower Pr0n with trees

Spent a good deal of time in the yard this weekend, did the first mowing as well. And, of course, it's supposed to snow tonight. Weather, gotta love it. I also ripped my hand pulling up buckthorn trees. I hadn't done that for a few years, so there were some bigguns. I only had to resort to the shovel once (for the about 50 trees I ripped out).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Linkee-poo contemplates going from the overbooked Inn to the Empty Tomb

Sorry, in a computer crash I lost a lot of links from yesterday. Fortunately, there were almost all political links.

Lucienne Diver on finding an agent. Since I just extended my search to include agents who only take (or prefer) snail mail submissions, of interest to me. Maybe to you to. The basics boil down to "Do your research" and "Wheaton's Law."

"Just as we must dance as if no one is watching, we must write as if no one is reading." On writers following their bliss and finding success (even if it's the 3rd phase of their career). Where ever you're at in your writing career, it's always good to know the lay of the land ahead.

The perennial question for writers, "do I write a novel right away, or spend some time building a track record as a short fiction writer?"

I'm not quite sure that's an elephant's face on Mars. It looks more like Cthulhu. Which, you know, being a semi-immortal demi-god from outerspace, it could be. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Although he remains deeply conservative, (Bob Lutz, developer of the Volt) told me that he has become disenchanted with the right’s willingness to spread lies to aid the cause." Yeah, that. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

And, for Easter, new theories about the Shroud of Turin. Much of which can be discounted by the historical fact that from even before the time of the Christ, the market for fake and mocked up relics was robust. Or, if all the splinters of the Holy Cross were brought together, the resulting reconstituted forest of trees would be staggering. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain

Look, I appreciate Gov. Nikki Haley trying to get all spiny and lead out the propaganda that "Women don't care about contraception" and that they're smart enough to see through the "media generated hype" surrounding "the war on women." She, and the GOP, want to make sure you don't see the ACA battle over contraception as anything more that just that issue.

You know, except this week, Gov. Walker signed a bill to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act. You know, for a guy facing recall, you have to wonder just WTF is going through his empty little head.

And then add in all the new laws restricting a women's right to her own health care decisions. That includes the Georgia law, that during debate, one representative compared women to cows, pigs and chickens while trying to make the point that these animals don't get abortions and neither should women (I think that was the point he was trying to make, forget the fact that they do when the farmer is watching out for the health of their animals, the others believe in acceptable loss if a pregnant animal dies because of a bad pregnancy).

And then there's the multiple front war on defunding Planned Parenthood (remember when conservatives were all about the "government not getting between you and your doctor", apparently there was an exemption clause with OB/GYNs). For many low-income women, PP provides the only healthcare they received. For even more women, PP is the only reproductive healthcare service they can afford. And now, because PP has separated out the abortion side of their business to comply with federal law, which is only 3% of the services they provide, (edited to finish thought> there's now a movement to just defund the whole damn thing.

So, yes, Gov. Haley, women are smarter than that. Which is why the gender gap is back in full force and growing.

Oh, and yes, it turns out they do care about contraception… especially since progesterone and estradiol pills are used for much more than just birth control. Even though since that's how they're categorized by the health insurance industry, no matter what they're prescribed for, the insurance companies consider any prescription to be just for birth control.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Linkee-poo was born from original sin, and if it had a dollar bill for all the things I've done, there'd be a mountain of money piled up to its chin

First, a personal link, "Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!" My friends, what would I do without them sending me links like this? Fortunately, the middle initial and b-dates are off. Also, doubt I'll have a sacred heart image on my stone. Except for irony. Hmm, someone just walked over my grave. (Pointed to by John)

Writing advice from CS Lewis. Say what you will, but he's still selling a ton of books. He must know something about that. (Grokked from Tor.com)

A Macintosh botnet. This is new for Mac users, who have skated along without having to worry about these things. However, note the issue is solved with a "free" OS update from Apple. No need to buy more security software.

8 Bytes versus 8 GB. Just how far we've come in computer memory. Seeing the copper wire with magnets, wow, that takes me back. (Grokked from Dan)

More parodies of the Google glasses concept, Windows Glasses. hehehehehehe (Pointed to by John)

So far, the closest thing to a real scandal. Note, however, by the time you probably heard about it, the heads that rolled had already cooled. Also note, the heads that rolled weren't just lower-ranked officials. They were political appointees who were fired (very rare) and several permanent employees put on leave pending investigation. Also, the department head signed her letter of resignation and left.

It's not cool no matter what party you belong to. And note, in heavily conservative Arizona, it was the democrats who brought ethics charges and an investigation on one of their own.

And now the the President has called out political bias of conservative-appointed judges, they prove his point by responding inappropriately. Thanks, conservative justices, for proving our point.

The text from Hillary tumblr. Bwahahahaha. (Grokked from matociquala)

A few memorable quotes from Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. "More than a thousand known asteroids are classed as 'potentially hazardous,'… it looks doable to develop an early-warning and defense system that could protect the human species from impactors larger than a kilometer wide. Smaller ones… carry enough energy to incinerate entire nations, but they don’t put the human species at risk of extinction." And, "And so (looking at the Earth from the Apollo Space Program) was a shift in the state of mind of our nation where not only was tomorrow possible, we came to embrace Earth for the first time as a collective ecosystem that it is… But there was no legislation inspired by it or traceable to it. All that (environmental) legislation came out while we were going to the moon… So the value of the space program is beyond science, it’s beyond military; it’s a cultural shift in how we think of our place in the universe… And that has consequences. For me, one of the most fertile consequences is… it stimulates people to innovate because they want to create a different tomorrow than what they’re living in today. And it’s that culture of innovation that spawns entirely new economies." And that’s what we need in this 21st century to compete. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Malaria is developing resistance to artemisinin. Good thing evolution is only a theory, or we'd have to worry about that. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Sure, it's not about race. Um, yeah, Bob. A 68 year old Marine veteran shot dead in his own house after his medal alert device accidentally goes off. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Alligator Quotient: They're obviously workaholics too. Don't alligators get vacation?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I Love the 80s

Okay, so there's that show on MTV. And there are plenty of novels that explore the sixties and even e seventies (nobody has a good picture from the 79s), but I'm blanking on novels based on a love of the 80s culture.

So here I expose my cultural ignorance and As if you know of any (can not have been written during the 80s, preferably published after 2000 to qualify as a truly retro look).

I mean, the music I used to go get drunk to and try and pick up chicks to is now considered "classic rock" and is pillaged for musak. I'm not saying it was a wonderful magical time, far from it. Bt there was a lot of fun to be had back then. It was the last burning of free love before HIV came along and spoiled the party. There was decadance to be had for the taking. And big hair bands with screaming guitar solos.

Linkee-poo is a small man with a dream

Still crazy (after all these years) at work. So a light one.

In case you're still belaboring the myth about how the Stimulus didn't do anything to help our economy, here's another chart which shows its affect on unemployment. So, now you know that every time someone stands before you and says the Stimulus "failed" or "Obama's economic policies are a disaster", you have the proof that they're lying to you. (Grokked from Chang Terhune)

In response to the understanding viewpoints article I posted the other day. The response, of course, is actions speak louder than nice words. Looking at the actions of conservative who are in positions of power gives one the impressions that many liberals hold. And then you have the right who always complains about perceived "liberal bias" (this time in education, again). "To start with, if you call anything that does not meet your preconceived notion from the hard Right 'liberal' — including centrist positions a liberal might well call 'conservative' — you're going to get a rather distorted picture." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Google glasses which are only in prototype stage. Note to Tobias Buckell, there' your lamina. And, in this internet age, the commentary has already started. (Pointed to by John)

Copying is not theft. Another, "but the dictionary says…" argument. Following this rationality, a publisher isn't stealing from you when they print and sell 20,000 copies of a book, but only pay the author for 5,000. And, it makes a false equivalency between form and content. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: It's dark in here. And stinks of crocodilian breath.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Linkee-poo sees ya later, alligator

Sorry the the lateness. The day thing is pretty crazy right at the moment, and I'm attempting to figure out just what's going on. In the movie version of The Big Sleep, Humphrey Bogart's Philip Marlow has his first meeting with Gen. Stern and his butler. After the hothouse scene with Gen. Stern the butler, Norris, informs Marlow that the general has instructed him to give Marlow a check for whatever he needs. Their conversation ends with the exchange:
Norris: Are you attempting to tell me my duties, sir?

Philip Marlowe: No, just having fun trying to guess what they are.
Only I'm trying to guess what my own duties, reporting, and responsibilities are. That's not so much fun.

"After I have said all this, I am sure you are still ready to respond, in effect, 'Yes, yes–but it still remains our right and our responsibility to decide what books our children are going to be made to read in our community.' This is surely so. But it is also true that if you exercise that right and fulfill that responsibility in an ignorant, harsh, un-American manner, then people are entitled to call you bad citizens and fools. Even your own children are entitled to call you that." From Kurt Vonnegut's 1973 letter of response to Drake High School's school board chairman after that person ordered the copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, used to teach students in English class, burned in the school's furnace. Wish it were it only history. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Elizabeth Bear being very wise (of which she is often) on internalizing misogyny.

"The reason the Universe is so hard to grasp is that there's nothing to compare it to." - Douglas Adams. Or, a quote from the Bad Astromomer article that's a link to, "How big is the raw data from the survey? Why, it only has 150 billion pixels…" If you mind didn't just try to reboot, I don't think you really understood that last sentence. (Pointed to by John)

Want to know one of the reasons I like the current president? Here's one. Knowing the president it a total geek adds points in my book. And he likes to sing to his wife. (Grokked from Eric)

The myths of the Canadian Health Care System. Facts? Who needs facts when we have dogma to lead the way. "More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead."(Grokked from Jay Lake)

More pepper-spray of student protests. So, for all those who cry about losing your freedoms, you appear awfully silent on what's happening to other protestors. (Pointed to by John)

Alligator Quotient - A solid wall of alligator leather.

Quotes of Importance - "To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master." - Milton Glaser

Feeling Grownup

After a bad day, came home to make reservations for vacation. This is the first "vacation" (ie. not having to do something important and actually going someplace else) I've taken since Viable Paradise (what, 3 years ago now). And while I enjoyed that, and would do it again, it wasn't much of a vacation (not to mention being totally blown from lack of sleep heading up to it). Before that it would have been when we went to Gettysburg (9 years ago).

Hi. My name is Steve. I'm a recovering workaholic. It's been nine years since my last vacation…

And the good news is that by booking tonight, I saved about $300 than booking on Saturday when I did a rough run through. And in total I'm saving about $500 over my rough guestimate. So feeling better.

Now to do the "hey, I'm in your area" thing.

And go to bed. Tomorrow work starts early and there will be more fireworks tomorrow. I can't say much, but I can tell you Steve is a nervous little boy, dubious of certain changes "being for the better" ("No, Charlie Brown, I'll hold the ball still this time"), and watching the working life getting being turned over like a bucket of crabs.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Linkee-poo every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Still in the midst of major day job consternation, so not a lot today. Sorry. My reading list is back over 100.

In the sober light of day, I'm rethinking last night's lightning strike. The current thought process tracts to this line of reasoning, "You already have a red bicycle. When are you going to ride this one?"

Jay Lake gives a breakdown of the time required to write his latest novel. Just in case you're looking to measure up against someone. And, damn, Jay can write fast.

Think about fast, the speed of publishing. Fast it is not. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

You know, even after sever ridicule, and widespread condemnation, conservatives just don't give a shit. Remember how conservatives we all about "jobs" and "keeping guberment outa our lives" and "stopping the guberment from stealing our freedom", all they've really wanted to do is enact their social conservative agenda by making government more involved in our private lives, coming between a women and her doctor, and eliminating freedoms. If you ever wonder why I'm so passionate about politics, you only need to remember things like this. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

How to be a fan of problematic things. (Grokked from Cat Valente) And related, is "Game of Thrones too White?" by Saladin Ahmed. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A guide to carbon capture. Since I made the comment about Clean Coal, here is part of their initiative (note the actual working prototype for carbon sequestration is not a US company or initiative). So, there's some ways of doing it. Unfortunately the technologies discussed don't work economically on a large scale (as shown by our own Clean Coal project plants). (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke)

"Republicans for Environmental Protection" dropping the "Republican" part and becoming "ConservAmerica" - the jokes nearly write themselves these days. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Tweet of my heart:
@steveluvender: If Tetris has taught me anything, it is that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.

Double dip:
@GeorgeTakei: Women favor Obama over Romney in battleground states by 18%. In response, Republican leaders urge women to get out of the kitchen and vote.

Too late, the gender gap is back. Notice that social conservatism is not being talked about this week. It's an intentional shift. But guess what will be on commercials this Summer (Fall would be too late). But then, deploy the Ann Romney. (Grokked from Jay Lake)