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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo is caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender

Kalayna gives a good demonstration about word choice and rewriting for effect.

John Scalzi on writing with an iPad. Yep. My thoughts exactly.

An NPR story on the use of fast and cheap genetics testing and how it's altering medicine. They've been running the series all this past week about how we're approaching a full genome report for less than a $1000 and in under an hour. You may remember the first 3 full genome reports costing billions and taking over a decade, and that was only about 15 years ago. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Want to know how we produce and consumer energy in lots and lots of detail? Of course you do. And here's a quick primer for 2011 with a pointer to the full report from the US Energy Information Administration. You know, for Obama doing all these horrible things by keeping companies from exploring and generating energy and fuels in the US, our production seems to have gone up anyway, and we seem to be exporting more (that's the vagaries of oil production, it's a world market after all). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Paul Krugman on how this wasn't the election anyone was expecting. Unemployment over 8%, approval ratings starting below 40%, negative news cycle after negative news cycle, an ambassador killed, this shouldn't even be close. The thing is, the president isn't so much winning as conservatives are losing. Part of it could be that enough people realize one side isn't playing with reality. But I think it's more of just how far to the right the Republicans have gone. You know, not to mention dissing 47% of the US public when a large percentage of those people actually vote Republican. Reliably. We're still a month out and there's a reason there is a term "October Surprise." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I often use the phrase "freeze dried whackaloons." You may wonder just exactly what I'm talking about. Well, Jim Wright has some excellent examples of this. And, again, the freeze dried whackaloon quotient goes up.

"… (Romney) missed the deeper truth. It is not just that most of the 47 percent… do pay payroll taxes and that many of them have paid income taxes in the past. The reality he glossed over is that nearly all Americans have used government social policies at some point in their lives. The beneficiaries include the rich and the poor, Democrats and Republicans. Almost everyone is both a maker and a taker." The problem is most people don't even see it that way. And one thing I've been thinking about a lot lately as we talk about the various deductions Romney will eliminate that would turn a majority of people against his plan, most pundits talk about the home mortgage interest deduction as an example of people using a government program that they won't want to lose but often don't think of as a government program. I have one better. The deduction for dependent children. You know, the backbone of the Bush Era tax cuts for the middle class. I understand this most because I don't have kids and those "tax cuts" mostly passed me by. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Linkee-poo lays his body down, like a penny on a railroad track

I keep trying to read them all, and usually get blocked after a few. But here is Chuck Wendig's 25 things you should do before starting your next novel. Number 24, oh so number 24.

The humble scroll bar through the ages. Someone should probably do a mashup of the Ascent of Man and these things. (Pointed to by Dan)

What not to say to people who have cancer. While it's focused on the Christian community and cancer, it's a good primer for all of us for any chronic condition. What do I normally say when someone tells me they (or someone they love) has cancer? Well, they do have a list of what you can say. I normally go for their number 2, "This sucks." Because it does. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The (not so Medieval practice of) trying animals in capital and other crimes. Just in case you're ever suffering from the delusion that humans are rational beings. (Grokked from ChiaLynn)

Bath salts, not the kind you take a bath in, the kind that will drown you. A lot on the new drug, potential bad responses, and how incredibly weak our regulatory system is (in contrast to what people say in political speeches).

"I’m not telling you who to vote for, but you’ll burn for eternity if you don’t vote for Romney." That's a paraphrase of the Bishop of Springfield, Illinois. Dear Bishop, it only proves to me that God has abandoned your church that he hasn't struck you down when you try to do the Eucharist. You worship your God with that mouth? (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Unfortunately he isn't the only bishop or church leader forgetting what the church is all about. Look, I appreciate you all want to blow your tax exempt status, but really? Nobody is forcing you to recognize marriages. Hell, I'm not recognized as married according to the Catholic Church. But refusing communion because your parishioners aren't out there fighting same sex marriage? And now you see just why the church had to reign in those rebellious nuns who wanted to do Christ's work instead of spouting off on abortion, birth control, and same sex marriage. You all really need to read Fyodor Dostoyevsky's parable "The Grand Inquisitor" in his novel The Brothers Karamazov. The Bishops are making the same mistakes. But then, "give them bread" is a powerful political action. But it's an incredible indictment that the Church is abandoning the teachings they say they're for, and accept the Devil's bargains when the Christ was tempted in the wilderness.

Oopsie. The DNC shows Russian warships during a salute to the military and veterans of the US. This is why it's important to not snerch your images off of a google search. Just saying. Also, know the gorram subject matter, or ask someone who does. Basic pro tip #12. (Pointed to by Dan)

Helmet cam of US soldier under fire in Afghanistan. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism." That's JK Rowling on why, when she became rich and famous (and here, there's no hyperbolicity in those words) she remained in England, bought a humble castle, and continues to live there. (Grokked from ticia42)

John Scalzi reminds you to both get registered to vote and to vote. Also, you may want to make sure you have the proper IDs and that you're still registered to vote (ie. some freeze dried whackaloon hasn't tossed you off the voter rolls because they couldn't google search your house).

The skyrocketing surveillance statistics. Probably won't hear about this on the campaign trail because 1) The Obama campaign really doesn't want you to be thinking about how they've expanded the surveillance of citizens and 2) it was the ACLU that forced the release and conservatives wouldn't a) want to credit the ACLU with anything and b) have to acknowledge they opened the flood gates. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

You know how conservatives love to say that Obama hasn't created "a net gain" of jobs during his Presidency (you know, skating over the whole "economy in freefall as he took the oath of office" thing). Well, can't say that anymore.

Liz Cheney says of President Obama "…he’s abandoned some of our key allies like Israel, Poland, Czechoslovakia…" There was a briefing I once attended, it was given by a full-bird colonel as I remember. He was discussing the various trouble spots in the world, and naming names of the leaders of those countries. Unfortunately, his mental list of leaders was about 15-20 years out of date. Fortunately for him, and to our comic relief, his aid would correct him as he went on. Unfortunately for Liz Cheney, Czechoslovakia hasn't existed since 1992. It dissolved into smaller republics, you know, during the fall of the Iron Curtain. And it's not like this is the first time this talking point has come up. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

"In a speech where he also called President Barack Obama 'a Teflon president who seems to win favorable press coverage no matter the circumstance, Trump counseled Liberty students to 'get even' with those who wrong them in business… The comment was met with silence from more than 10,000 students…" That's actually the usual response when you realize the person who has been brought before you as an example of how to live you life reveals themselves to be the Satan of your culture. Typically you can hear the audience blink in unison. "The school's chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr., closed Trump's remarks with… 'You know, it's not too late to get back in the presidential race is it?' Falwell asked Trump as he dismissed the students to their classes." Just amazing. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @tinybuddha: "A man is not old until regrets take the place of his dreams." ~Proverb

Double dip @historyweird: 1628: Charles I's gunpowder-makers apply to dig under church pews because the "women piss in their seats, which makes excellent saltpetre".

Oh great internet brain

Part of a plot came today, but I have a question. The one twist that feels most strong, well, I'm not sure if it's become cliche yet or not.

Is the meme of a child of someone who is wronged (killed, framed, shamed, emotionally destroyed, whatever) growing up and engineering themselves into a position to extract vengeance for their parent over done?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Linkee-poo is caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender

Also not a lot of time today. Went to the doctor so they could tell me I had a hole in my head. Well, I could have told him that. Actually, it's a hole in my ear drum. I'm getting awfully damn tired of these ear infections.

The New Yorker interview with JK Rowling on the eve of the release of her first novel for adults. Like adults didn't read the Harry Potter books. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The ever delightful Rae Carson is interviewed by Giselle, the resident pink sock monkey about The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Here's a Tor.com review of her book.

You know, if I ever get published, I think I'd rather be interviewed by the sock monkey.

Imagine the book that never existed. Except that it did. Also more on how and why books disappear from the stream and what that means in the era of the ebook. You can almost hear the sounds of them airbrushing Trotsky off the podium. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Eric is very wise on the meanings of fame, fandom, being to young and being too old. "What if God was one of us, just a slob like one of us." Days of futures never achieved and roads never travelled litter the deserts of our pasts reflected in our idols with dreams as big as their hair. And eventually you need to stab the Caesar of your personal history so you can live today.

Early concept art for the Space Shuttle Program. Illustrations of our own Gernsback Continuum, or futures that never were. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Zombie lawn gnomes. Bwahahaha. These would be great in Parma. And if you don't know that joke, there's no point explaining. (Grokked from Dan)

Well, Moby Dick was a sperm whale. But hey, albino humpback whale, not a bad substitution. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Ever wonder what would happen if the Earth stopped spinning? Well, now you know. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Hey look, here's something about the Romney campaign I can get behind. Mike Rowe joins Romney on stage while campaigning in Ohio. He puts in a plug for the working stiffs of this country. Good on you Mike. But then Mike doesn't say Romney's name. The video is a little messed up (at least when I played it). And Mike's open letter to Romney. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Romney is just going to keep talking, isn't he? That's rhetorical. It's a business meeting thing. Some managers believe if they just keep talking, to mix our metaphors here, they'll skate fast enough to get over any thin ice. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Why sex ed is important. Because real sex ed wouldn't lead to that ridiculousness. You know, they used to talk about how my generation was all screwed up about sex because we often didn't have sex ed. I'm not sure those 26 examples of sex ed are really helping anyone. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Fred Clarke has a wonderful roundup of the Religious Right's apoplectic and apocalyptic conniption fit over the possibility of President Obama winning a second term. I have a not so serious deal for them. If President Obama does win a second term (it's still too far out for me to believe the reliability of the polls, along with other things I should write a post about), and that means the apocalypse is upon us (oh, look December 21, 2012 is right around the corner), will you go all Heaven's Gate on us? Yeah, I know, my big meanie slip is showing again. But frankly, I expect them all to blow a gasket is he is reelected, so the problem may solve itself.

A century of voting patterns. There's a video of how the states have voted. Very interesting. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh sure, the True the Vote and other voter legislation has nothing to do with intimidating voters and suppressing the vote. You know, except that this is what it's all about. Stay classy conservatives, it's what you do best. Oh, you might want to learn something about the actual law you're trying to use. And here I'll interject, I'm really concerned that this years vote is going to lead to violence at the polling places. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I think I joked yesterday about having a critical shortage of foreheads and desks this election season. Jon Stewart wraps it all up in a nice tight wad of head bangingly goodness. Including Romney's statement about if he paid more taxes than he really needed to, how that would be a disqualifying moment… and then how he didn't take all his charitable contributions this past year because that would have put his tax rate below 10%, instead of over 13% which is what he had said earlier (also, less than 10%, that would have been interesting).

"In August, The New York Times wondered aloud what the rest of the political world wanted to know: Does Sheldon Adelson's effort to put Mitt Romney in the White House have anything to do with the federal criminal investigation into his company's business practices?" You may remember that name from almost single-handedly floating Newt Gingrich's supporting SuperPAC. I'm glad he's not donating all that money to defeat President Obama for a nefarious reason or anything. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Figures don't lie, but liars figure. Why does anybody watch Fox News except for those intrepid souls who wade into the muddy levels of Dante's hell to do the fact checking? Bubble support, that's right.

Oh look, real possible voter registration fraud. Oh, wait, yeah, it's the Republicans again. Never mind. Nothing to see here citizen, move along.

Alligator Quotient: Alligators? What Alligators?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Linkee-poo, what do you love more than love

Sorry, haven't had any time today to scour for various links. So, a lot of these are from Jay. Hopefully do better tomorrow. Not saying these aren't good links, but I like to give a variety of voices.

Setting up for November 2013, comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) - probably will be referred to as Nevski-Novichonok by the press. She's a sun diving, and this is probably her first pass. And if she does go all spectacular, she'll be visible in the northern hemisphere. Glad you have that telescope now, aren't you Jim Hines (not to sell, get yours ready, or better yet, upgrade now before the buying season)?

Practicing irrational medicine at the end of life. Can I get an amen. This is a really tough place to get to, and it's been my experience that only people who have had the experience of someone's long journey to passing on that grasp it. As the songs say, no one is getting out of here alive. Doctors often look at the problem and solve it, instead of solving for the whole person. Our healthcare systems encourages that process. And we (doctors and the direct healthcare workers) often use terminology that the patients don't understand fully (like my dermatologist calling something "sun damage" when they mean cancer). one of things we're learning is how to talk to patients. Also, many patients don't understand they can tell the doctor no. We just went over this in class, actually. If a patient (a competent one I should say) refuses a procedure, if you bully the patient into accepting the procedure that's assault. If you perform the procedure (one that they may need) against their consent, that's battery. Both of which are actionable as civil and criminal complaints, and they're against the ethics of our profession. IMHO, zooming the patient and not allowing them to fully understand their choices is also a violation. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

Somewhat related, young cancer survivors often don't get continuing medical car even when they have insurance because of the cost. Ah, the greatest healthcare system on earth. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A little history of the voter disenfranchisement and intimidation game. And who is at the center of that? Seriously, you need me to state it again? But this time it's from the grass roots. Yeah, you should read the article so you can understand the context of what is about to happen this Nov. 6th. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Good news! Science has figured out how to stop the fear response being part of our memories. The bad news? It's hair of the dog therapy. Which, you know, might not work so well for everybody. Spiders anyone? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'I don’t mean to be terribly partisan, but I kind of am,' Romney joked. 'In case of the Democratic Party, the largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers’ unions. And so if they can elect someone, then that person is supposed to be representing the public vis-a-vis the teachers’ union, but actually most of the money came from the teachers' union. It’s an extraordinary conflict of interest.'" Um. Hey, Mitt, you know who caused those teachers in Chicago to go out on strike? Rahm Emanuel. You might want to have someone in your campaign do your homework for you from now on. You know why Unions support progressives? Because while we have our differences with policy, at least the progressives aren't trying to strip us of our rights and dignity as workers. And that's something the conservative party reminded a large percentage of union workers who were life-long Republicans.

A little roundup of political news. I loves me some Randy Newman. Representative David Rivera could do with a little watching of the CSI. Seriously, covering your name in Wite-Out? And these are problems that gerrymandering was invented to solve. And do I need to say it, "Oh look, real election tampering… oh, wait, another republican. Move along citizen, nothing to see here." Florida Republicans just aren't doing well. Although I'll give the guy credit, he just folded once his name came out in the racketeering and prostitution case. Unlike other conservatives who drag it out or continue to win elections after being outed. And I'm glad someone else did the research. For a while I've started a count of the various fact checking websites to come up with this score and just gave up. Time, I just don't have the time to do the research. It appears that conservative politicians, and Mitt Romney's campaign, lie twice as much as liberals and Obama's campaign do, although fact checker check progressive quotes more often than conservative. Not that either side comes out clean, but still interesting to know. But then when your headline candidate offers these kinds of solutions, maybe it's better to lie. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Story Bone

Woke up with this in my head. And now it'll be in yours.

"It was like some mashup with an After School Special and Rosemary's Baby."

Linkee-poo, the other night you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me

David B Cole on coming back to writing after a lull. Yep, fear seems to be meta this year.

Nine frequently asked questions regarding querying agents. Hmm, I never thought about requerying after rewriting.

"I do sometimes wonder if the way learning is represented in popular culture—you study hard for about ten minutes and then magically you are perfected!—is part of why so many people give up when learning something new because they aren’t perfect at it within the space of a training montage. Could it be why so many people think they can just sit down and write a perfect New York Times-bestselling novel without having written so much as a haiku previously?" Yes and yes. Justine Larbalestier on exactly something that has also driven me crazy. This is why in Bladesman once our main character finds a new master, he continues to practice even though he's proven himself capable. The book starts out (after the opening action scene) with practice. This time by his lonesome. And after we defeat all the baddies at the end of the book, our main character is practicing with his master (actually a slightly different relationship). And probably getting his arse kicked by said master. It's the old koan, "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

Jeffery Ford on being profound in writing. As someone who is attempting a book that happens to be "profound" you have to know that the story is more important. The second thing, as I made a critique of another "profound" manuscript, satire is a delicate dance. You need to keep the victim laughing as you slip the blade in. When writing this novel, I have my fool's cap pulled way down (and, yes, I actually do have a real jester's cap, just in case you wanted to know, hmm, maybe I should wear that while I'm writing?). I want to make you laugh. And maybe, just maybe, at the end you'll say, "Hey, wait a second…" This is so very different from Bladesman. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

Leo Traynor on meeting the troll. Not exactly the Billy Goats Gruff, but as somewhat typical, in person the troll loses nerve. Although, being the son of friends it echoes some of the common threads of abusers. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Bells for Jay Lake. And now I have an image in my head of Jay donning a Jingle Dress to dance at the Pow Wow. Just remember Jay, toe first, then heel. And it's counter clockwise to drive the world.

"Maybe it’s hard to believe that in the end Big Bang Theory isn’t some sneaky plot by the jocks to make us all feel bad. We’re all geek versions of Carrie at the prom, just waiting for the pig’s blood." As a total geek, I have to saw I like BBT. Sure, it can be a little obvious sometimes, but you know, that's the slipping on a banana peel side of comedy. Sometimes what normally appear to be fully formed characters suddenly turn to cardboard, but, again, that happens in comedy. I'm not saying BBT is perfect, but it is fun. And isn't that what entertainment is supposed to be? (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

For Sheila, the clans and tartans of Scotland all on a postcard. Well, at least some that would fit. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Because the Bible is the True Word of God, we need to rewrite it to match our culture's current prejudice. In case you don't know, Fred Clark is engaging in irony, this is what the passage actually says. You know, if you didn't already know that passage (although, I prefer the KJV, 'cause that's how I roll)

"And remember kids, Jesus drinks Mr. Pibb." Bwahahaha. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Discover, the card tha repays you back… after fleecing you. Hey look, in the third major action by the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a few million consumers will be getting refunds of money a company scammed them out of. Yes, I have a Discover card, and it's only because I know better that I kept from being signed up for any of these, and yes, I was also given the impression that I would "just be trying it out" or that "I wouldn't be charged anything" for these services. All of this occurred over several years during which time I had 5 new discover card sent to me and had to navigate the mind field with each activation. Not to mention the endless checks (which, the one time I used one, it bounced) and the extra calls as "a Discover card user, don't you want this, and why aren't you using your card more?" There's a reason I don't use that card very much anymore. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Five "surprises" from Paul Allens Institute For Brain Science about human brains. Well, they're really only surprises if your a business major, I guess. But notice the search and emphasis on what makes us different (queue the Elephant Man's quote, "I'm not an animal" here) instead of things that really matter to consciousness. Also note that the one major difference between our brains and other primates or animals with complex brains similar to our own (that is the rigid organization of our cells into six layers on the cortex) isn't in here, whereas that seems to have a lot to do with what makes us different (other animals have similar depths to their brains, but so far we haven't found any that matches the cellular organization).

Want to know just what is happening the to the arctic summer ice? Warning, facts not valid for conservative consumption. Especially that volumetric measurement. I believe this is the point in the script where Bender says, "We're boned." (Grokked from Jeffrey Beeler)

You know, it must really suck when people point out the tragic fault in your politics. Especially when not only are you a governor, but one that has been giving the party spotlight. Yes, Gov. Walker wants the lockout of unionized NFL referees to end to that the scabs will stop calling plays against the Green Bay Packers. Yes, Gov. Walker, it is a damn shame that unionized workers don't get the respect they deserve. You rat fucking bastard. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen-Hayden)

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no - and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous." That's our presidential wannabe at a fund raiser in Beverly Hills. So 1) I see this new "let's open the fundraisers so we don't have any clandestine video problems" policy going right the fuck away. and 2) Seriously? You know, I don't know why they don't make the airplanes out of the stuff they make the black boxes with. Cause those always survive the crash (I think that's a Seinfeld joke). I hope the election is soon, 'cause we're running out of foreheads and desks over here. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Romney rolls out the emergency room argument, again. It's predicated on 1) we all pay the costs of the indigent (from direct payments to the hospital with our tax money, to increase insurance premiums to cover increased costs, to burring the indigent using your local tax money when things go pear shaped), and 2) that person who is in a chronic state actually makes it to the hospital to be treated in a timely enough manner to survive (typically in those cases, I hate to tell you this, but they don't because their medical condition is too far gone) (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Because it's not cool when anyone does it. That's an assistant to Sec. of State Clinton telling a reporter to fuck off. Look, here's the thing, if a reporter is asking you questions you don't want to answer just ignore them. Or you say, "I'm sorry, I think this has gone beyond my responsibility to the public and you're not representing them well anyway." ::click:: They write a story of how you're be obstinate, which you disprove by giving another reporter the story. Do we really need an orientation program for this stuff? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Senatorial wannabe Aiken keeps telling how he sees the world and keeps shooting himself in the foot. In this case, because some people are cynical about how Washington works, when they try to get there they take those preconceived of how they should behave with them. In this case, when you think your representative only pays attention to those who donate big money, you shouldn't be shocked when a co-conspirator runs and thinks the same exact thing. Only, it's a severe breach of ethics. But there seems to be a rash of that going around. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And just in case you're wondering, yes, people are gaming out a conflict with Iran. And it doesn't go so well. For anybody. Now, gaming out a scenario doesn't lead to things that will really happen. See the initial gaming of the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi navy, consisting mostly of a fishing fleet, beats back the US Navy in the gulf. But then notice how during our actual invasion that we moved quickly to diffuse that option (and this is the real point of war games). But all this posturing and "Oh, Israel will strike, blah blah" armchair quarterbacking in the press completely misses what will really happen. Notice how we stalled the Iraqi naval attack, but missed the fedayeen and quick involvement of al Qaeda. Something can always happen you haven't planned for. While it would take a full white paper, there are only 2 possible attack routes against Iran's nuclear program. The first is sabotage through cyber strike (already done) or by special operations demolition teams (highly risky, and involves giving casus belli to Iran). The other option is nuclear strike, which may not be successful (even with our weapons designed to obliterate re-enforced mountain fortresses, of which I don't think the Israelis have one of their weapons designed that way). And one possible outcome is an atomic counterstrike on Israel (either low-yield or dirty weapon). At that point, we can fold up the card table and go home, because all hell will break out then as we go down the path of treaty obligations that will make the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand look like a day in the park.

Alligator Quotient: They're at tradeshows, learning how to be better alligators.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Linkee-poo is dancing cheek to cheek

The Great New England Vampire Panic. So, how does one become a consulting folklorist anyhow? Lots of great story bone material in there. Also, some really good history of New England that gets glossed over with the focus on the Pilgrims and witch trials. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The new Laser Tag. That looks so totally cool, and yet, I have a feeling this will cause trouble. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"I believe America is great, because we fight for individual liberty. But we're also great when we pull together and help each other out. That's an important aspect of our national character too. It's what I just realized three or four hours ago, when I ran out of potable water." On the late realization of things. As Red Green said, "I'm pullin' for ya. We're all in this together." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Since the mid 1970's our food supply has been corporatized as a response to the growing cost of calories. It was an intentional move by the Nixon administration watching the rising tide of discontent because of their pocketbooks. And now we're seeing the long term problems of that strategy. That's Juan Cole with the top 10 problems with corporate food. We solved the problem of cheap calories, but now it's killing us and costing us more in the long run. That's what's known as cost shifting. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

So, just who is benefiting from government largess? Between the "makers" and the "takers", I think it's the "makers" that get the most. In this case, WalMart benefits from their employees getting SNAP (aka, food stamps). What's not in here is the ongoing scandal of WalMart helping their employees apply for Medicaid. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"According to a Boston Consulting Group survey and referenced by Obama, 48 percent of executives at companies with $10 billion or more in revenues said they plan to bring back production to the United States from China — or are considering it." A combination of higher wages in China, lowering wages in the US, higher cost of transportation and a lower cost of domestic energy all coming together. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

In case you're buying into the conservative argument that President Obama hasn't been doing anything, the list of Obama accomplishments. Probably not listed on there is the successful defense of if the president's kill list, winning an injunction so they can continue to hold people indefinitely without charge, and the continuing surveillance culture in our country. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Apparently on October 7th one thousand pastors will endorse a candidate for president (guess which one) from the pulpit. All in an effort to tell the IRS to go stuff it. Confidential note to those pastors, tax exemption is not a Constitutionally guaranteed status. Revoking your tax exempted status neither interferes or endorses a religion. And I have a feeling that someone could make the argument that endorsing a candidate is not a religious function, but a political one, which may require you to report donors to the FEC. But I do give you credit, processing 1000 revocations does bring about an economy of scale. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"'I'm grateful to (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,' Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti." I'm not a fan of missile defense systems, but, yeah, thanks Romney. Hey, has anybody ever explained how what you say from a position of power (or in your case, wannabe power) has the capacity to change things. There are ramifications. And because of your incompetence on foreign affairs, you're causing all sorts of problems even before the election. And if you consider Russia "our number one enemy" (hey, have you heard, the Cold War with the USSR is over, we "won"), this is what's known as giving aid and comfort to them. Might want to think about that (I know, who am I kidding). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @saladinahmed: "Attacking Obama strengthens the Republicans!" sounds a hell of a lot like "Attacking Bush strengthens the terrorists!"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo, John Barleycorn must die

Irene Gallo with picturing autumn. Welcome, Fall, my favorite time of year. She has quit a number of Wyeths, whose pallet works very well with fall. In my head, I can see the Ruritans Halloween Party Poster I want to do, but probably don't have time. It's a closeup of a Dia De Los Muertos skeleton in a flattopped part hat with little fuzz balls dangling, just the skull, a few vertebra, and the brim of the hat done like a black velvet painting. Yeah, that's about 8 hours of illustration and I don't have the free time. Oh, the things we designers see that never make it to paper.

And so begins the purges after the revolution. After the conservatives lead by Mitt Romney tried to paint the president with the brush of "ZOMG, they're killing our Ambassadors - it's Carter all over again!" I doubt you'll hear them say much about this. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

"'Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,' (Ann Romney) said," about the criticism of her husband. What. The. Fuck?! Really? Really? A campaign where people will actually take what you've said and run with it and you think that's the hard part? If she gets into the White House, I wonder how she'll take it when people think her choice of china pattern is de classe or criticize her choice of Christmas Tree ornaments as pedestrian? And while it may seem a little thing, it's not. This is their mind set. This is Sarah Palin resigning because there's too much negative press. If I didn't hold this position before, that right there would be the point that I say, "These people aren't ready for prime time." (Grokked from Jay Lake)(Edited to fix link, sorry about that folks)

Sandra Fluke, the Bill O'Reilly fetish. And that also shows a problem with conservatives, in the face of actual facts, they will cleave to their bubble story. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Texas Secretary of State said, "Weed out your dead (from voter lists)." Four voters come forward to say, "I'm not dead, yet." Four. In one county in Texas that more that any year's fraudulent votes nationwide. Also, forgot to get the DoJ approval for that change first. Oopsie. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Linkee-poo, it's just another day trying to make the rent

Catherine Schaff-Stump gives her notes from the Worldcon Panel on "How I Got My Agent."

Amanda Carlson on the agent querying process.

Neil Gaiman's advice to young writers.

"The election is not won. Vote." You know, the longer I know Jim Wright online, the more I continue to respect him and grow to like him. And in that post it seems like Jim is upset about something, but I just can't put my finger on it.

And then they came for people who owned books. And I did nothing because… wait a second. (Grokked from Absolute Write)

North Carolina Republican State Sen. David Rouzer said that he'd like to defund scientific agonies, like the Department of Energy, because the read books. Um, there aren't enough desks and foreheads in the world for that one. Dear conservatives, it may come as a shock to you all, but reading is often how people learn things. Especially when they're at the crest of the knowledge chain. You know, those people who give you briefings, someone, somewhere in that chain had to actually do the research and read papers, books, other briefings, all to distill the knowledge. But I guess his occupation is listed as business consultant, and that kind of insipid stupidity sort of fits into my opinion of many business consultants. (Grokked from Vince)

Before you talk to me about how wonderful corporations are and how we should have less regulation, and closer ties between government and business, you must listen to this Fresh Air interview with David Cay Johnston about his new book, The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use "Plain English" to Rob You Blind. Then you can tell me just how unfettered companies should be. And just as a reminder, government is there to prevent this kind of thing, not abet it. Hey, Tea Party, you want to be upset about something regarding your taxes, where's your protest about this?

What gender bias? This gender bias. Good thing we don't need that equal pay act, eh? (Grokked from Random Michelle K)

"One of the more common predictions of what will happen after a Romney loss is that Republicans will convince themselves that they will need a more ideological, more combative candidate in the next election. This could happen, but it seems doubtful for a few reasons. After their 1996 and 1998 losses, Republicans ended up supporting a relative moderate running on a “compassionate” conservative platform for their next nominee." That moderate, by the way, was GW Bush. Only in conservative circles is he considered "moderate." But I will give you that in comparison to, say, Sarah Palin, he's not flaming nut-job conservative. Also, their calculus doesn't take into consideration the rise of the Tea Party. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And the latest Romney thrust is to misquote the President and once progressives talk about how the RNC is both misquoting and quoting out of context, they then can say, "Well, they did it too with that video of Romney." This is a way of making an attack to put the other side on defense to structure your own defense without someone countering your statements (because they're busy defending).

And because we're interested in the truth, here's a handy little chart on the involvement of former Democratic administration staffers going to nice jobs at Monsanto. Ah, democracy, it's the best way for a few to reach the 1%… levels of earnings. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

I wonder how all those people who lined up that Wednesday feel about Chi-fil-a walking back their stance on anti-marriage groups? Although their statements give a lot of wiggle room, it appears the boycotters have won this round. So I guess for "good Christians" (as those who identify themselves as such) when it comes down to ideology or profit will pick profit. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @Pres_Bartlet: Why do we have tax breaks for children? Because it's not the children's fault they were born, and they deserve to be able to afford to eat.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Linkee-poo is trying not to be wrapped around its pillow like a prawn

Justine Larbalestier reminds us that our protagonists should have family and friends. This is something that I struggle with. Having moved around as a kid and living in several parts of the state over the years, I only have a handful of long time friends that I keep in touch. Also, my family ties aren't as strong as I've seen others. So it's difficult for me to write about these things from a deeply personal perspective and instead live vicariously through others to build my templates for these things.

A little on the history of the chapter.

Diane Peterfreund on countering the bad advice for writers that is out there. At the risk of making new writers more paranoid than they already are (and let's be honest, there is paranoia to spare as you start submissions), but not everyone out there has your best interests at heart.

"Should you find yourself near an atomic blast and run short of potable water, you can chug a Coke or a beer, but don't expect it to taste great." And some people think ant tunnels are wasting money on research. Beer!

When being personal is important. Amy Sundberg on the cost of putting oneself out there. If I told you I had never had those thoughts, the cost of sharing so much in such a public way, I would be lying. Just some things to think about if and when you meet in the real world people you know online. The best advice I can give is to be real, honest, and think of other people behind the blinking curser as real people as well. Personal note, see that green blob in the background, that's me. I'm famous, baby! (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What I expect will be an often linked to page (not as much as Poor, but my guess is it'll be right behind Bacon Taped to a Cat), John Scalzi explains how to be a good commenter. Oh how I wish I could tell you that I have never transgressed any of those rules. Although I try now to not read the comments on John's political posts and instead go for the jester role whenever I comment (depends on the post itself). But it is because I've transgressed that I avoid the political comments on the Whatever. It's too easy for me to slip into the Troll-Slayer/Asshat role.

Not only is the future exciting to explore, so is the past. That's about archeologist excavating a huge (149 square meters) poolside mosaic. "The floor is in 'pristine' condition, (Michael Hoff, a University of Nebraska, Lincoln art historian and director of the mosaic excavation) said in a university video about the dig." You know, except for the bits plowed up by the farmer. I hope he got a nice sum for his land. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

When I hear "Take our country back" these days, I now hear it as a whine about the end of WASP dominated politics and culture.

Three more graphics showing who is in that 47%. Please note the breakdown by income levels graphic which is interesting.

"Here is video of Mitt Romney's mother, Lenore LaFount Romney, talking about how his father George was on welfare relief after he was a refugee from Mexico." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"So when they hear that half of Americans aren’t paying federal income taxes, they’re outraged — even if they’re among the folks who have a net negative tax burden! After all, they know they’re paying taxes, and there’s no reason for normal human beings to assume that the taxes getting taken out of their paycheck every week and some of the taxes they pay at the end of the year aren’t classified as 'federal income taxes.'" I think I've made that point before (on other people's blogs, sorry), but it's why when my progressive friends talk about Mitt Romney shooting his campaign in the foot with his "47%" comment, I tell them to halt the celebrations. See, all those old people on Social Security and Medicare, they don't think of themselves as belonging to that group because, by God, they paid in and now they're getting their just reward. They aren't a parasite who thinks the government owes them something. Also, please read the whole article, especially getting to the chart at the end, which is the whole point of the piece. "That’s really what the American tax system looks like: Not 47 percent paying nothing, but everybody paying something, and most Americans paying between 25 percent and 30 percent of their income — which is, by the way, a lot more the 13.9 percent Mitt Romney paid in 2011." And there you have a perfect Democratic attack ad. (Grokked from thc1972)

And Jon Stewart frames the Fox News response (and hence the Romney Campaign response) to the Romney Tapes. If you think conservatives and Fox News in particular, have any intellectual capability, you need to watch that. It'll quickly disabuse you of your notions that they have any other function than to be tools of the machine. This is what I meant by throwing sand in the bull's eyes. And as you should probably be noticing by now, it's a machine that the rest of us will be feeding or be fed to, not one that works for the 99% of us.

And then you have what Romney wanted, the release of the full tape. "The final irony is that Romney called for the release of the full video, because somehow that was going to exonerate him… How'd that work out for him?" Turns out Romney (with some help) was also caught saying that he was hoping for a hostage situation like the Carter/Reagan election. And you may recall how the Libyan riots were initially portrayed in that light (former president Carter has been having his name tossed around a lot lately). So, how's it working out for Romney? Not very well so far. Except that his comment about the "full tape" wasn't made about actually reviewing the full tape (is it still okay we talk about "tape" when it was obviously a digital device? It's like "dialing" a phone). The comment was a bluff to his supporters. It was a "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" kind of statement meant to reassure them and attack his detractors with the "they took me out of context" thrust. All predicated that the full tape wouldn't be released, so no one could prove them wrong, and to put enough people asleep about the issue ("It's solved already, those bastard liberals just did careful editing, like we do to their tapes") that if the full tape is released, nobody is paying attention to the story anymore. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And in case you need more disabusing form the mindset in the Romney video, Ezra Klein takes on that "personal responsibility" thing. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Tweet of my heart: @MattFnWallace: My increasing suspicion is we're going to get to November and find out @MittRomney doesn't exist. He's been one sustained bit by @TheOnion.

Alligator Quotient: They must all be on planes today, or something. I expect thrashing frenzy later in day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Near + Far

All around hoopy frood Cat Rambo has a new collection coming out. In fact it's a happy book day for her (just barely sneaking it in under the wire). It's called Near + Far and looks really cool.

See, it's done in a format that used to be called the Ace Double. Some of you kids aren't old enough to remember these dual novels back from before the time that novels could double as black-hole crystalization seeds. Ace would combine two novels back to back with a flip orientation. Buy one book, and if it's not doing it for you, flip the book over and start another novel. I just love these look-back formats coming back into vogue (deckle edges, slip sheets, chapter page illustrations). And that's just the wrapper.

The very cool part, of course, are the stories. This is a collection of her SF work. Cat's an excellent story teller and this collects some of her rarer stuff into one place.

And there are plenty of opportunities to score a free book. Like at Goodreads and Cat's own blog. As an extra, Cat had some jewelry made up to go with the book and she's giving that away too. If you want a taste of some of the chewy goodness inside, here's a link to the audio of Zeppelin Follies.

Of course, if you just can't stand the uncertainty of winning the book, you could always go get the copy yourself, or maybe convince your library to get a copy.

Don't believe me that this is a cool collection? Here's a Tor.com review.

Linkee-poo don't know much about history

I expect that the term "White-Juday Warp Field Interferometer" will soon invade lots of SF. More on that warp drive story from yesterday. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette with their Cthulhu space story Boojum. One, very nice. And the world Elizabeth Bear is populating, this world of living with the monster, is interesting.

Well, I guess four years is "by the end of the decade." That's one researcher making the claim that Arctic summer sea-ice will collapse within four years. That is, at some point, in the summer there will be no ice for a time. Boy, I hope someone hasn't been dragging their feet on plans to combat this global warming thing. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Regarding "(t)he record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer… "We can’t make predictions yet … [but] I wouldn't be surprised to see wild extremes this winter,' (Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University)" said. And, oh look, the jet stream is slowing down. Not like that would cause any problems. And those "blocking" events… that's what's called "amplification factors" or multiplying effects. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Funny how it just 'clicked' in 2008." Yeah, that. Now, I do know some people in the TP, and I don't think all of them are racists. I made this argument at the beginning back in 2008, that the TP reaction was basically racists base and some of those friends made good arguments why it wasn't. And I think, in the main, their motives weren't. However, in the clearing light of hindsight and actions speaking louder than words, it's becoming clear that the movement certainly has a race problem. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh lookie, tax cuts don't spur economic growth according to a new study by COngressional Research Service. Time to pull out the press releases claiming this non-partisan research group is actually in the liberal's pockets. Up next, the sun rises in the East a new study will claim once all the data is in.

Well, Romney is promising actual specifics about the programs he says he has specifics for but hasn't let the rest of us in on the plan. "'I will send a number of programs that have been growing uncontrollably fast back to the states where I will limit their funding to the rate of inflation, or in the case of Medicaid, to inflation plus one percent,' he says in the remarks. 'I will look to sharply increase the productivity of Washington by reducing federal government employment by 10 percent through attrition, by combining agencies and departments to reduce overhead, and by linking government compensation with that of the private sector. These things combined will reduce spending by $500 billion a year by the end of my first term.'" What that translates to is this. The first part, sending back to the states, is saying, "I've got no fucking idea how to fix it. Here, it's now your problem. Hot potato!" The second part show a willful ignorance about government work and pay scales. Many government jobs require advanced degrees, but they're often compared to jobs where no degree is necessary. Also, there often isn't a corresponding private sector job to compare to. Also, "combining agencies and departments" requires legislation and legislators willing to give up oversight committee control. Good luck with that. Also, after demolishing pay for private sector jobs, of which public sector jobs have been one of the last remaining positive factors for working people (here I would point to all the studies showing "real wages" for those making under $80,000 a year stagnating for the past three decades, but that would be several pages long), instead Romney's plans are to basically say, "screw the working class." Also quoting the article, "Romney has mentioned all of that before." Not to mention I believe this is the third time the Romney Campaign has promised "more specifics" only to not say anything new. There's a story about a boy and a wolf that applies here. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"The true test of character is how a person acts when they think nobody is watching." Jim Wright on the Romney Video.

Juan Cole does more dissection on the leaked Romney videos. There's too much in there to pull out a salient quote although this one was particularly nice, "I thought Romney was all upset when Ann Romney was accused of never having worked a day in her life because mother and homemaker is *work*. But now stay at home mothers are leeches and suckers for Obama because they don’t file an independent income tax form?" Intellectual consistency my Aunty Fanny. Also, with the fallout being labeled as a disaster for Romney and the Republicans (if I were a progressive strategist I would try to paint every single Republican with this brush), the talk has now shifted to what will happen in the GOP is Romney doesn't win. For me, that's not a foregone conclusion yet, there's plenty of time between now and Nov. 6 and, again, a majority of people aren't paying attention yet. While I agree that a civil war will happen, I disagree with some of their predictions. Rick Santorum will be the 2016 nominee (if I had to lay money right now), Jeb Bush may make second (and wind up VP or the 2020 nominee). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Poking the bear with a stick

"I don’t understand why… this happened to me, when all I wanted to do was pursue my acting career." That's from a letter from a scared actress posted on Neil Gaiman's journal. It's quite a read about someone who was duped into making hate speech. And I think it's a good thing we know this, because it starts to frame the narrative of the story that has lit the muslim world afire. This isn't the only piece of evidence, but it is the conclusive nail in the coffin.

The Innocence of the Muslims was made for one purpose.

And while the end result may not be what was intended, the resulting chaos was intended. Because bringing that chaos is exactly the goal of a terrorists. And what they hope to do, is ride the crest of that chaos to achieve their other goals (which are always political, but not always easily discernible). Because not only did it take the filming, post production (filling in the green screen and over dubbing the actors) and setting up the structures of distribution and screening, all of which was done in a way to both fool most people involved and screen the people responsible, it also took the careful plantation of the seeds to foment the riots.

There's been a lot of comparison to the muslim world's response to the Danish Cartoons, but that's a false equivalency. Those cartoons were political speech (crass as they may have been and hateful in their own manner). the cartoons were published openly in a relatively large market exposure vehicle. This "movie" was intended to cause riots. It most certainly was. While else mask the people behind the movie with double and triple layer misdirections from the very onset? Because they knew that with their final product they would be targeted once the violence erupted.

So we're left with a lot of questions. For a low-budget "thriller" with the intent to insult muslims worldwide, why the deception with hiring real actors, directors, and one expects all the other people behind the camera? Even if the "producer" behind all this is an Egyptian Coptic Christian (which, again if I had to lay money, really isn't the final story either, just like the "it's all a Jewish conspiracy" line turned out to be phony), there's enough of a population in that minority to put on a fairly competent production (certainly to the level we now have with this "film"). Even if we limit it to "those who hate muslims." Why spend the money on real production with a director and paid actors? The current story is the production company is run by a Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is known for trouble making.

So, how did this nothing film suddenly explode onto the scene Northern Africa, and why did it do so on the anniversary of 9-11. Both of which point to al Qaeda. Northern Africa has experienced a large influx of AQ actors after the Arab Spring, note some of the violence that was already happening because of "religious hard liners." And N. Africa is now AQs major recruitment centes. About the only other place that they're having much activity is Syria (AQ in the 3 Rivers has been pouring fighters over the border from Iraq). Of the literally millions of videos loaded onto youtube servers, how did this one break out of the pack when it had been posted months ago? There's anti-islam stuff uploaded every day.

That's not to say the people behind this are related to AQ, but they could also be tracking events and willing to provoke AQ and give them the casus belli to stir up trouble. In the resulting chaos created by an organization already dedicated to revolution and willing to be the front-line soldiers, who is to say someone isn't playing them for shock troops and pawns.

But I'm left asking myself, to what purpose? What would Coptic Christians (another oppressed minority in Egypt) stand to gain? Who was the actual target of the provocation (muslims, the US, AQ)? Who could win from instability and what's the next shoe to drop?

It could be a case of extreme naivety, but with the carefulness of the planning it doesn't seem like that would be the case. Although supposedly the movie was already screened and flopped. Is that one of the cards in the rouse, or going back to the naivety angle did they expect to just make money from the controversy ("there is no bad press as long as they spell your name correctly")?

There's just something about this that feels wrong. It feels manipulated and forced, but through the smoke on the field is difficult to tell who is zooming whom. Or maybe with all the other stuff going on I'm just getting distracted by shadows.

Linkee-poo always gets the replay, never seen him fall

Partial solar eclipse on Mars caught by Curiosity. It's really small, but OMG! If that just doesn't give you a geekgasm right there, I'm not sure you're getting the most out of these links. (Pointed to by Dan)

New adjustments to the Alcubierre warp drive concept reduce the power needed to warp space time by a dramatic amount, making it probable. Or, in other words, Warp 10, Mr. Scott! Of course, as with any great fall, it's the sudden stop at the end that's killer. So, yeah that with a portable mass we might achieve FTL travel, but because of the way the drive works, when we slow down, the release of energy would pretty much sterilize the space around us. But that'll make the Klingons happy, especially Capt. Kruge. (Pointed to by John)

First an artificial bladder, and now a "bioartificial" trachea. Just in case anybody tells you we aren't living in the future. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view." Lemony Snicket with thirteen ('natch) observations on Occupy Wall Street. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Boy it's a good thing that global climate change is a hoax. 'Cause if it weren't, all the things happening this summer, from the crop failures to the dead deer and disappearance of fish eating birds would be quite alarming. Oh, and because they're not discussing it for the presence of salt water in taps as the Gulf of Mexico attempts to replace the waters of the lower Mississippi, drinking salt water is not a good thing to do (exceptions made when directed by a doctor, but salt water is hypertonic and will draw water from your body instead of refreshing your parched tissues). Oh, and pay no attention to that sea ice in the arctic. Obviously the liberals in Greenpeace are just punking us and hiding the ice behind Greenland. Please note the part about how sea ice creates highly salted cold water (extra dense in other words), which sinks and helps drives the oceans currents. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Does Mitt Romney believe that almost half the citizens in the US are shiftless grifters sucking the government, and by extension the rich people who pay all the taxes, dry? Why yes he does. You know all those ubber secret, high priced fund raisers he held, the ones with no press allowed so they wouldn't sully the millionaires with their presence? Well, I guess someone there knew how to run their smart phone's video camera. Here you see the inside, Romney without the mask. If it doesn't make you upset, you're not listening to what he's saying and to whom he is saying it to and how this differs from what he says when he knows the cameras are on. Before these are attempted to be taken down by lawsuits, you should watch them. And that's what we call "shooting yourself in the foot." However, compared to how much you've heard about the video that ignited the protests around the Muslim world, I doubt these will get as much press attention. Also, this is another reason why I'm no longer a Republican, I've experience too many of these types of conversations with conservatives. The unfortunate result of this will probably be limited to the frisking of the help and metal detectors at the next event. (Grokked from Jason Sanford and just about everywhere now)

Or as I tweeted last night: @steve_buchheit: to my progressive friends, yes the Mittser suffered gun-to-foot disease today, let's not drink the champaign yet. It's a long way to Nov. Even now, not a lot of voters are paying attention.

A reality check on the Mittsters claims, the mind set of "makers and takers" and why it's Reagan and GW's fault. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

And now watch as the Romney Campaign tries the excuse of "I didn't state it as eloquently as I could have", as if it's the words that are offensive and not the thought process and belief systems behind the statements that is what is the problem. This has become "damage control 101, throw this statement out first" procedure. Like Rush believing we were upset that he called Sandra Fluke a "slut" and not that we were upset that he thought Sandra Fluke was a slut no matter what word he used. And they'll throw enough sand in the bull's eyes to try and distract us ("did you know they had sex parties at the same venue?"). Not to mention, "you have to watch the whole tape to see the real story." Unless there's Mitt saying, "And that's what those liberals believe we think, but we'll have to show them how were not elitist and care for the least among us," or a "gottcha, I'm just kidding folks" somewhere in there, I don't think the full tape will really help. But it'll be enough of a muddying the waters to keep the enthralled chattel from abandoning ship so that they'll have less work truing and regain their poll numbers between now and November.

"'I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.' Mitt paid some guy to write this insipid pap." I believe this is the point where CJ Cregg says Oh meo, oh mio, oh Cleveland, Ohio. But then there's a general murmuring about the competency of Mitt's team. But I agree that I don't think that's the real problem. "The Romney campaign has a messaging problem because it has a policy problem…The problem isn't the campaign leadership; it's the party's followership… But voters do care about the q: what will this presidency do for me? And 'dick you over' is not a winning answer." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Ah Fox News. Here's a story about how after the titular President of Libya his condolences on the death of Christopher Stevens. But what is the headline on Fox Nation? "Obama calls Libyan President to thank him after US Ambassador murdered." That's what's known as framing. Or in other terms, they're lying because they can get away with it. Fuck Fox News. (Pointed to by John)

But then, when Fox News is desperate for the narrative, they don't care about anything else. Really, they didn't even do enough homework to find out he this guy wasn't old enough to vote in 2008? I mean, that's pretty basic stuff. Also note, they went out looking for this story with the spin already determined, and got what they deserved. They got punked. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, President Obama goes to the mat to defend indefinite detentions. Um, not what I voted for him to do. And while I'm thankful for his signing statement, it means exactly squat and only addresses the issue of while he's President, while the law will be "forever" (until we either repeal it, go out of business, or replace it with something else). (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

So now conservative leaders in conservative states are stuck between a rock and a crazy place when it comes to setting up health exchanges. Yes, it appears there's a stealth plan to have these states, which love their state's rights, set up state run exchanges to avoid having the federal government come in and do it for them. So that's avoiding the rock of the Nov. 16 deadline to show that they can set one up. There's still the crazy place waiting for them. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @tnielsenhayden: Mitt Romney's the kind of guy who thinks motivational workplace posters are genuinely inspiring.

Alligator Quotient: They're agitated today, and swimming just below the surface.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Linkee-poo is going to pack its bags for the Misty Mountains

A survey of Victorian and Edwardian SF. (Pointed to by Dan)

Lisa Cron with what story is.

Erotica may not be your cup of tea, but for a seven figure deal I'd reconsider coffee. Just sayin. (Just a note for people not in the business, those seven figures don't include the decimal point)

The words you're looking for are "that's a metric butt-load of cash." This PSA brought to you by the "Whoopa, that's a lotta moolah" commission.

The Great Maple Syrup Heist. I wonder if it was Grade A or B? Cause it makes a difference. But, yeah, hey there is a global strategic maple reserve. THat just makes the world all the more weird, don'tcha think? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Dear Bankers, thanks for wrecking our lives. Happy birthday, Occupy Wall Street. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"'We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country,' Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, told the audience at the Omni Shoreham hotel. 'We will never have the elite, smart people on our side.'" You said it Rick. There's a reason for that. (Pointed to by Dan)

Jim Wright has his own take on it.

And just in case you need an example of all that, "According to a PPP poll of likely Ohio voters, 15 percent of Republicans in Ohio think Romney is 'more responsible' for bin Laden’s death than Obama, while 47 percent of Republicans are 'not sure' whether Obama or Romney deserves more of the credit." Yeah, I would say being conservative and having a modicum of intelligence is quickly becoming a mutually exclusive proposition. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Tweet of my heart: @SamSykesSwears: If "girls are icky" forms the crux of your philosophy and you are five, that is okay. If you are 50+ and running for president, it's weird.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Three random thoughts make a post

If you ever want to understand just how amazing and flexible human skin is (your integumentary system) put a large bandage on your upper, inner thigh (near the groin). I had a skin tag removed this week and so have to keep a bandaid on it for a week. It's… unique how it pulls on the skin once you're done.

Lost another large chunk of time to the game. Must. Not. Do. That. Again.

Wait, seasons of Sherlock are only three episodes long? WTF?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo is driving around like a crash test dummy, all over the map

For your entertainment and edification, Cthulhu is obviously lemony fresh. Mmmm, lemon tasting madness. Well, when life gives you lemons… (Pointed to by Dan)

Karl Schroeder responds to a critic of his short story, but by doing so brings into focus the trend of declinism and SF. Of course his response to the critic is that he's not in that crowd of people who believe our best times are behind us, but I'm not sure that's really relevant to the critique and Karl's defense is based on the "yeah, but…" clause of "you have to read it in the context of all my other stuff." Which really doesn't matter because the critique was of the stories in the context of the anthologies. Anyway, Karl helps outline a trend in SF.

A radioactive cylinder that Halliburton just sorta lost in Texas is "'not something that produces radiation in an extremely dangerous form,' said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. 'But it’s best for people to stay back, 20 or 25 feet.'" Uh, let's see here… "The (International Atomic Energy Agency's) explanation of a Category 3 source… reads: 'This source, if not safely managed or securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled it or who was otherwise in contact with it for some hours. It could possibly… be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of days to weeks.'" Fabutronic. Say, this container wouldn't just happen to be the exact size and shape that kids would want to play with it, would it? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Just in case you thought it was over. "A Wisconsin judge on Friday struck down nearly all of the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers." Queue the standard, canned responses. (Grokked from vidensadastra)

Sigh. Birtherism again? Although this one includes the "had to be born of two American citizens" canard, which you would think for people who shout "The Constitution!" so often would, you know, read the actual document once. Kansas Secretary of State Krish Kobash, you're a tool for not spiking this right off. It's not credible. Frankly I'm beginning to change my opinion from laughing at elected officials who believe such idiocy and non-factual bullshit to tossing them from office for incompetence. And then claiming you're the "intellectual architect" of anything just becomes and even funnier joke. (Grokked from Vince)

Apparently, not only has GW Bush been excised from living Republican memory, so has his war of choice. Here you see the bubble being made. Those things that exist the contradict "conservative world views" are relegated outside the bubble. Even something as easy as knowing Catholic Charities receives a lot of their budget form the government. Which, as a practicing Catholic, Bill O'Reilly really aught to have known. But accepting that would mean allowing into the bubble a fact that had the potential to burst open the carefully constructed walls that isolate him form the world and allows him to maintain the fiction that growing up without air conditioning means he struggled and suffered. And what happens when the bubble gets burst by being immersed in the "reality based culture" (ie. the real world)? It becomes impossible to remain in the bubble and stay "conservative." Yeah, my experience wasn't as dramatic as that story, but I've had experiences like that. Also continuing this election year's meme of Republicans who realize they're really Democrats. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of the reality based community, Obama by the numbers. It's not all rosy for the President, but it does show just how out of touch and willing to overblow the situation the current Republican nominee is. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @danieljhogan: That moment of panic when you hit Command+W instead of Command+S.

Double dip: @jay_lake: Am now reading the documentation for my chair. Yes, this is what the twenty-first century has come to.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Linkee-poo is just lucky that way

Todd Wheeler has released an ebook of his short stories called Dreams Like Snowflakes.

Chuck Wendig's 25 writing mottos. "Note that the lesson here isn’t don’t care. You should care. But you should also calm the fuck down a little, is all I’m saying." Yeah, Chuck, easier said that done.

Kameron Hurley on plotting our ways out of a paper bag. "Plot is something I’ve worked hard on, but not enough for it to come easily." :: raises hand ::

What the pros wish us newbie knew about publishing. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

The caves of Nottingham. So fargin' cool. Pointed here to I can look at all those photos again and follow some of the more interesting links. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And in other interesting English archeology, the body of Richard III may have been found. Because we know you were worried. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The price of hugging the President. Stay classy, conservatives. It's what you do best. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Desperately seeking scandal. What is missing is that there's no real attempt to make a factual case, just throw enough innuendo that by the time the truth eventually comes out, nobody is listening. The conservatives will believe they have their scandal because they won't change their minds from what they believe (the left isn't that much better, but at least we don't have one news organization hell bent on slander). And while we have the ten bad signs for the Romney Campaign, the people they're talking to aren't listening.

Tweet of my heart: @1dan: Tech support is applied trivia. #quoteoftheday

Alligator Quotient: I'm not sure they're keeping up with the latest schedule.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Linkee-poo is surely a victim of its own desire

If you're looking for writing work, Publisher's Weekly is looking for a copy editor.

Dealing with the inevitable burn out. I can't count how many times I was willing to chuck the day thing. It's just too hard. The constant education of the bosses, the deciphering of critical comments from clients that make oracles look positively direct and to the point, the hours, and the constant ego slamming (not to mention the "you wouldn't know about the hot new thing because you're too old" - to which you have to come up with a diplomatic way of saying "fuck you"). But I love design, I love visual communications. Huhn, does that make this a dysfunctional, codependent relationship I have with the day thing? (have to think about that)

Wait, someone claims to have proven the abc conjecture? Oh, of course it involves reading four "long" papers which themselves are based on other "long" paper and include a number of new insights into numbers theory. Well, that explains it. Okay, actually I did know about this mathematical problem (one of those that Really Smart People™ kind of intuit, and then write it down, and then have the audacity to die before they give the proof of it). And here I will admit that I got lost near the end of the description, but then it's been a Very Long Time™ since I've done that deep of math. What they don't talk about in the story, that if true, factoring large primes becomes easier. (Pointed to by John)

For those blimp/airship lovers, another airship based weapons platform, in this case a high-rez defector array.

No, it's not cool when either side does it. However, please note that Holder was not treated with any more respect by Malkin when they've been together before. There's something about living by a sword… (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The mind boggles." Romney, knee-jerk reactions, a lack of nuance, and the inability to fathom international relations. There's some leeway I can see given to a candidate on the issue of "foreign relations," but to be completely 1) wrong, 2) shown to be wrong and 3) shown to just not get it… really, why is Romney running again? More here. And then some historical perspective that invokes the name of Saint Ronald Reagan. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi, jgbarr and Joe Hill)

Eric's reaction to Mitt's knee spasm. And Jim Wright's response to the Mittster mistakes, because nothing says, "Oopsie, shot off my mouth before loading my brain" like doubling down and then going on the next morning talk shows to talk about how you was right all along (yes I meant that grammar faux pas as you should read it in the same voice of "we was robbed!" with the same outrage and pouty face).

Tweet of my heart: @joe_hill: Romney's trap: if Obama is for it, he has to be against it. So all Obama has to do is talk common sense & Romney immediately embraces lunacy

Double dip: @GeorgeTakei: Overheard: Wanna freak out your neighbors? Name your WiFi "FBI Surveillance Van."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Story Bone

Ghosts that behave like non-Newtonian fluids.

I have dreams where this happens. The standard dream imagery dictionaries classify this as "hiding something from yourself." Not sure what that would be. I think I've explored a lot of my psyche. So I think the dictionaries are winging it.

Linkee-poo, because the sun still shines in the summer time

John Picacio shares a rundown of Hugo award winning art. Niiice. (Grokked from just about everybody at this point)

Writing is a team sport. Yes, this. Whenever I do actually get a novel published I'm sure the acknowledgement section will rival JRR Tolkein's appendices. And even then I'll have to put the line, "So many people I can't thank personally. If you helped me out and aren't listed above, consider this the paragraph that talks solely about your contribution to my success. Thank you." Because even when you're alone in your cocoon of writer's focus driving for the wall, all your coaches, supporters, critics, fans, and general detractors are shouting encouragement from just outside your hearing.

More on how not all calories are made the same.

Jsniece shares some more of the intimidation that women face when they speak up. In this case, it's from the skeptic/atheist side of things. Among other things, there's been this running meme that misogyny is tied to religion (Taliban and their treatment of women, the prevalence of honor killings, acid throwing, and genital mutilation). As I've stated, it has nothing to do with religion, or the lack there of, but with culture. Religion informs culture (and vis a vis), but it is separate from it. Misogyny may be closely wound into it's fabric, but it comes from the outside. In any case, guys, just fucking stop it. There is no excuse.

Tobias Buckell shares some good thoughts on the Chicago teachers' strike. And in general, the strike isn't about pay at all, it's about reforming the review process which the teachers feel will be discriminatory. But you don't hear much of that in the press.

Alligator Quotient: They're emailing it in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bad writer, no biscuit

Okay, I'm going to say this here as a way of publicly shaming myself so maybe I'll not do this again.

You may remember a long time ago me posting about finally buying Neverwinter Nights II and it not working on my wife's iMac (at the time the most advanced platform in the house) because of the graphics card. Well, on a lark Sunday I downloaded it into the new machine (which reminds me, I should do a post about how, after 12 years or so I finally upgraded my personal laptop a few weeks ago). Anyway, it's been working great the past two nights as I've sunk about 7.5 hours into the game and stayed up way past my bedtime to do so.

Argh!

That time would have been better spent writing. Hell, I've got the gorram notes to key in if nothing else (a nice stack of scraps of paper). But instead I've put my head down and escaped.

I would blame Saladin Ahmed for sharing that link about Baldur's Gate being rereleased, but that's a cop out. I know how I am with these games, which is why I don't normally seek them out. I let myself get sucked in. The first few minutes are free, to paraphrase. The rest suck your life away.

And the worst part is I should have been reading and studying for classes. The first test is tomorrow for Grue's sake. I can't let this suck away my school like Bard's Tale tried to do. Put down the mouse and get back to work, damnit.

So, what do you think, self? You've dubbed up good by putting that software on your machine. Bad writer, no biscuit. Just don't let it suck up so much time again. Set a timer, or better yet, do it after you've done the writing/studying.