Site Meter
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The final argument why I could never vote for Mitt Romney

It's because of the Romney "Jeep/Chrysler/Fiat is taking jobs to China" ad (and now it's two ads from what I understand). Here is an NPR story about the ad with it's history and progress.

It started a comment in a campaign stop where Mitt Romney said he read an article in Bloomberg saying Fiat, who owns a controlling stake in Chrysler, was moving the Jeep jobs in Ohio (Toledo) to China. Okay, I can accept that in the rush of the campaign he read, or was told about, the article and how Jeep was going to add jobs to their production in China and it got all twisted around. It's a fast passed campaign.

But then Chrysler came out and clarified what they were doing. No, in fact they're expanding production in Toledo. The China jobs were always China jobs and the Chinese production is for sale only in China.

The Romney Campaign persisted in saying, "ZOMG, jobs to China. Your bailout money!"

Then Bloomberg issued a clarification saying, that's not what our article said.

And then the Romney Campaign released the ads (this is the TV ad).

Then the fact checkers weighed in. Another pants on fire rating. Last I checked, not only was the Romney Campaign leading in false claims, their ratings for those ads skew to the worse end of the rating scales.

And then the Romney Campaign doubled down with more ads. They've adjusted how they say it but while grammatically not saying the same thing, the difference isn't noticeable by more than grammatical enthusiasts. The ad reads the same to everybody else.

Like I said, I can understand misreading an article. I've seen that a lot. "That word you're using. I dunna think it means what you think it means." Oh yeah, I've had that conversation a lot. It's even happened to me enough times that I try to double read things, verify with other sources (when I have time), etc. So, at the campaign stop, okay, it was wrong but understandable. Fair cop.

But to continue to use the line that has been proven wrong, been proven wrong to your campaign, been proven wrong to your face, been proven wrong in the public sphere, to continue that argument is either a sign of complete incompetence, being whipped by the process, or a complete, sneering contempt of the American public. This ad is aimed at the low-information voter, which typically tends to fall into the same demographic as the 47% Romney doesn't care about (in the Veen diagram of both of those, there is significant overlap, for some very obvious reasons that when your at the lower end of the economy, your attention is being spent living, it's basic Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs).

It's because of that (the contempt, the inability to admit mistakes, and the shameless ability to lie) that I could never vote for Mitt Romney. I wouldn't even trust him (as the saying goes) as dog catcher. How he is polling as high as he is points to a moral failing as a nation.

As I've said before, I was really looking forward to this election as one based on ideals and vision. A challenge of ideas of how to make a stronger country. Instead we got this shit. Mitt isn't the first conservative (or liberal) I've come to this conclusion about. When John McCain started his presidential bid by speaking at Jones University, he lost my vote (in 2000, McCain's bid was based on getting the GOP out from under the yoke of the religious right). Mitt Romney's campaign hasn't gone twice as bad, they've described a hyperbolic curve in how far they've veered away. What's worse is that either way the election goes, the GOP won't learn the lessons they should. If Mitt Romney is elected, his strategy will be vindicated. If Mitt Romney loses, the GOP will rationalize the loss by claiming voter fraud, and that they hadn't chosen a candidate that was sufficiently conservative.

Linkee-poo, BOO!

There's lots of polling news, but do you really want to hear about it? Yeah. I didn't thinks so. Although the polls at this point probably do have a closer correlation to the final vote, there's too much of the "we're up/down 1 hurrah/zomg!" going on. In Florida, conservatives are worried that the liberals are getting the majority of early voting done. Doesn't really matter except for the "it looks a lot like 2008" (which all those voter ID laws were supposed to stop) worries.

One interesting application of an ebook, Horrible Hauntings. That's a video trailer for the book which has a companion augmented reality app that "brings the book alive" as they used to say. Very cool implementation. Heard about this on NPR the other day.

Jim Hines wants to pump you up. For NaNoWriMo that is. I'll just point to two of his points, "Give yourself permission to write crap" and "Watch out for scams". As it should surprise none of you, when I write the crap is about 50% these days. That's down from 80% crap when I started. And money flows toward the writer (Yog's Law).

Penguin and Random House set up joint venture. I still vote that they should have named it House Penguin. So besides the various teeth gnashing going on, now that Pearson and Bertelsmann have shaken hands, I bet the conspiracy theory people are apoplectic. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Maybe this dates me, but (other than the Windows OS) this MYST linking book hack is totally cool. (Pointed to by Dan)

"According to two separate studies, recent laws that limit smoking in public places are contributing to fewer tobacco-related hospital visits and deaths… Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF…, has argued previously that smoke-free laws work to improve health… because they protect non-smokers from harmful health effects of secondhand smoke, but they also protect smokers, by discouraging them from smoking as much, or even encouraging them to quit." I'm sure it was all that market-based initiatives and freedom loving Americans that helped bring about this result and not some evil government regulations. And before anybody talks about "freedom" etc, the "freedom to smoke" is the same as religious groups complaining about how Obamacare is restricting their religious freedoms. Sorry, your rights don't get to trump mine. And if you want to argue about how government shouldn't be involved in this, I've got two words for you. Medicare and Medicaid. Guess when people start having major health problems, where those younger people who have problems end up and who is paying for it. Want to lower government spending, support the anti-smoking laws. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Wind power surpasses hydro power generation (for a few hours) in the Northwest. You know that whole, "wind can't supply hardly any power" meme? Turns out with a critical mass of turbines and a good windy morning (where other electrical generation is down), you can now see wind surpassing other forms of generation. Not exactly a hoop-de-doo, but still a milestone. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"During the storm last night, user @comfortablysmug was the source of a load of frightening but false information about conditions in New York City that spread wildly on Twitter and onto news broadcasts before ConEd, the MTA, and Wall Street sources had to take time out of the crisis situation to refute them." Turns out @comfortablysmug is a conservative political consultant. Ain't that happy news. I guess spreading disinformation gets this guy off. (Grokked from Phiala)

Fred Clark with a little history on the antiabortion movement. Yeah, the religious right has pretty well rewritten history to claim they had always been at war with Eastasia. "Have white evangelicals in their 50s and 60s really completely forgotten the 1970s already? I don’t think so. But they are willing to pretend they have — en masse. Not for religious reasons, and not for ethical reasons. For political reasons." In case you ever wondered what Jefferson and the Methodist and Baptist preachers of his time meant about making sure religion and politics never mixing because bad things could happen, this is what they were talking about.

Good thing global climate change isn't happening or we'd get cyclones the size of the US. Sandy from space, at night. Those lights at the bottom left, that Florida. That light blog up at the top in the middle, I believe that's Toronto. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Steve King, the representative form Iowa, doesn't want any Sandy' Relief Money to go for Gucci Bags or massage parlors. Does this happen? I don't know how they do it in Iowa, but the rest of the country isn't so hung up on those things when homes and infrastructure need rebuilding. Why is this idiot still in a position of power?

"Before he became a fiscal conservative hero in the last two years, Ryan was a typical Bush-era Republican with all of the considerable baggage that goes with it. The idea that we can trust a Romney administration to be better fiscal stewards than most of their Republican predecessors is to ignore everything we know about how Republicans typically act once in power." And that is from The American Conservative. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Linkee-poo is not sure you're a boy or a girl

Hope you're all safe, dry, and warm. Unless you don't want to be. My own personal schedule is still all a flutter, so disjointed is my surfing as Yoda might say.

The wind map. A real time info graphic about wind speeds in the US. (Grokked from Jennifer Crusie)

Look what Sandy did. (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

So now that you've upgrade to CFL or LED lights and are realizing that it's really not that bad and you're using less electricity you think you're the bee's knees, eh? Not unless you're controlling those lights via an app you aren't. Okay, I love technology (for the most part), but at $60 a bulb, uh, no. (Pointed to by Dan)

"Since being elevated to second-in-command of the nation by his father in September 2010, Kim has reportedly been behind the dismissal of at least 31 senior officials." That's a nice way of saying Kim Jong-un had them offed. In this case, firing squad using mortars. (Pointed to by John)

You know, most states have varying laws about elections (who can and can't vote, what ID is required, same day registration, etc), but a campaign should have enough savvy to put together correct poll watcher education materials. Yep, the Romney campaign's poll watcher materials contain falsehoods. Considering their candidate, it's not so much of a surprise. Although the one of not identifying oneself properly could lead to a falsification charge. And those documents poll watchers sign in on? Yeah, those are official forms. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

And speaking of liars, Romney surrogate Norm Coleman said that if Romney were to be elected, Roe v Wade wouldn't be in jeopardy. Uh, yeah, Bob. Look, Ginsberg and Kennedy will probably retire in the next 4 years. If a conservative is appointed to their seats, that will tip the total balance of the court (right now, Kennedy is a moderate conservative, so the court is only "mostly" conservative). Yeah, you can expect a challenge to Roe v Wade to come up quickly, and then good bye safe access to abortion and privacy (Roe v Wade was actually a privacy case). So either Sen. Coleman is a blithering idiot, or he thinks we are. (Pointed to by Dan, who says "BULL SHIT")

I'm just astonished at the amount of blatant lying coming form the Right these days. Sure, there has always been stretches and pandering, but this year we've gone beyond the Obi Wan's admonition, that "It was true… from a certain point of view." It is just dumbfounding.

And, because it's being pointed out everywhere, remember Mitt Romney believes FEMA and government disaster relief is "immoral." I know he meant "unethical", but still. (this link grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Well, that didn't take long. Whackaloon preacher says hurricane Sandy is God's wrath for teh gay. Of course this preacher also thinks Romney is in the gays' pocket as well, because if it's one thing they're known for, the Mormons love teh gayz. I am seriously starting to blame the push in the 80s to close state psychiatric hospitals. Wait, I know what it is. See, with all the Gayz it's getting hot in here (or is it just me?), and that's driving global climate change. I get it now. (Pointed to by John)

Alligator Quotient: With frickin' lasers, man.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Linkee-poo

Something happened to the blog, and I lost some posts. Sorry about that.

I had linked to the photo going around about the Sentinels guarding the tomb of the unknowns, Phiala corrected me on it, then I had a link to a current photo. But all that seems to have gone away.

Eric gives his reasons for why he voted straight democratic ticket this year. I can't argue with his logic, even if you come at it from the opposite proposition. And yeah, I agree, not all Democrats are sparkling examples of humanity. The thing is, I think they other side would be worse. Now I do think that the Democratic Party should stop allowing idiots to run, but I know how hard it is to get anybody to do anything, let alone trying to get 200+ people to volunteer to get trounced in elections (and that's just at the national level). And yes, I've already considered running for congress myself. Hell, if I was still a councilman and not rebooting by career, I might have this year after Steve LaTourette announced his retirement (full disclosure, I've voted for Steve in every election since I moved to Orwell). But that wasn't meant to be.

"This, at least, is what we hear every time it appears that the right's historical racist element is bubbling back up to the surface of American conservatism thanks to the race-baiting dog-whistle campaigns being conducted by mainstream Republicans…" Yes, I'm sure it's all those evil liberal's doing (let us not talk about just what a "Southern Strategy" really means). Because, after all, conservatives aren't extremists. It's called "projection" and your doctor can help you with that. Although there's some light left in the Republican PArty. Too bad they're busy snuffing it out like Scrooge snuffed out the Ghost of Christmas Past. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Let's all embrace the future. Stop pretending we care about each other. And start hoarding canned goods." The Whedon On Romney endorsement video all the kids are a twitter about. Hahahahahaha.

"When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romny… Since sifting through and decoding massive amounts of data was his work for decades on behalf of the National Security Agency, he wanted to understand why this was ONLY happening in large precincts." I'm sure it's just all an unfounded conspiracy theory that Republicans are using electronic voting machines to steal elections. And all those public pronouncements by those involved in making or programming those machines about their particular political leanings and how they'll "deliver" elections for their candidates are just misunderstands and hopeful yearnings. Nothing to see here citizen, move along. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Tweet of my heart: @xeni: Don't worry, if it's a legitimate hurricane, you won't be damaged. Just sit back & relax, because this is something God intended to happen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy's the Girl from Ipanema

I know a lot of people are concerned about Sandy, and she is a pretty big ass storm. But the storm of the century warnings aren't just because of Sandy. It's because of Sandy meeting up with the storm that just passed over Ohio and a third storm from (mostly energy and humidity, not so much the raining part) from the South. Although Sandy has become a monster storm, let's not forget that part.

The last time this happened, at this time of year, it snowed 2 feet along the Apalachin Trail catching thousands of people off guard during a late season camping and hiking binge. It also rained a buttload and flooded the east coast. So, to all my friends on the coast, stay dry and safe. And just remember this tweet: @@OldHossRadbourn: For those in the storm's path, a handy and topical cannibalism guide: rump, thigh, belly, back. Bon appetit. (shared by Paolo Bacigalupi)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo isn't a 'fraidy cat

The busy-ness that ended the week has carried over to the weekend. Add in trick or treaters (we had about 450 kids and others begging for candy,and I went through about 100 pieces, because I like to give more than one, turn out was depressed because of the rain) and general house stuff, continuing work, et al and so I didn't have much time to study or write.

David B Coe withsix non-writerly things that can help your writing. Or, in other words, all work and no play makes the writer very dreary and dull.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Except they shove genre in a corner, so we can all jam together looking for some new fix and not sully their perfectly empty aisles of mainstream fiction. I just wish they'd clean the carpet more often. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

An artificial leaf that's really a fuel cell and water hydrolizer. If it proves out, could alter the energy equation. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

How the Chinese and Greeks saw the same sky. A little on the astrological differences. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Well, at least one elected Republican admits that their election observers can influence the polls. And now Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott wants to make sure no foreign election observers will be in his state for election day.

You know how Mitt Romney is talking up his 12 million jobs in 4 years? Turns out, that's what economists are predicting as well. Unfortunately for Romney, they're predicting that growth if he wins or loses.

"For all those reasons, conservative legal activists anticipate that a Romney win would be the culmination of their decades-long project to remake the country’s legal architecture."And now you know the reasons for much of the vitriol. Conservatives are very close to grabbing victory. And they know if they miss this chance, they might not have it again for another generation.

John Scalzi's exceptionally triggery post on a fan letter to certain conservative politicians. In this case, an exercise in satire and irony about a rapist loving the cover he's given by some conservative politicians. It seems this year the GOP is getting their frequent flyer miles by inserting their feet in their collective mouths regarding women's issues. But some people just don't get it.

A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote to deny health care for the sick. There's a number of people I could add to that list. Of course that isn't the only thing you'll be helping to usher in.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Linkee-poo meet in the summer, Indian Summer, I love you the best, better than all the rest

Live in fear of the baby care bear costume.

Dave talks about Ferrett talking about the concept of the writing career. Wise friends have I. Says the Ferrett, "All it ever does is make me feel like shit for not hitting arbitrary goals." Oh my yes.

And then there's the five ways for writers to overcome self-doubts. So, you know, there's a different point. (Grokked from Catherine Schaff-Stump)

Or, to paraphrase Nike and channel a little Chuck Wendig, "Just fucking do it."

The power of color. Although I will note that many in science have removed "indigo" from the rainbow spectrum. I don't know why. Probably because ROYGBIV was too easy and was driving up test scores or something.

"A siege… was reportedly broken when the Megarians poured oil on a herd of pigs, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy’s massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming squealing pigs often killing great numbers of the army the elephant was part of" Oh yes, that's going in a story somewhere. Kinda makes "cracklins" a little more interesting now, doesn't it. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Where people live longer. There is something about people living in their place. The Cherokee for instance. In the Carolinas they live quite long. On the OK reservation, not so much.

"'So yes, we're going to have to… get used to the fact that people can have three genetic parents…" Dartmouth bioethicist (Ronald) Green says.… "Socially… this would mean… we would be moving toward a world in which some people… would have either real or perceived genetic advantage,' (Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society) says." Scientists develop genetic techniques for humans that can be inherited. And so begin the blurring of another ethical boundary in the search for profits. (Pointed to by John)

Making electronics that can dissolved. And brother, when it disintegrates, it disintegrates. Could be interesting to create implantable electronics that would then dissolve after they're no longer needed. Although I now see people going down to use their washers only to find a blob of quivering jelly in the new planned obsolescence. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Ministry of Silly Walks Wallclock. Hmm, I might have to make one of those (yes, I've make my own clock faces before, you can buy kits for the actual clock itself). (Pointed to by John)

"'Many people hear my name in connection with the Christian Right and start to assume we are somehow aligned in some capacity, and I’m here to say, for the record, that we are not,' God continued. 'So let me just be clear: I don’t want women to get raped; not ever. I don’t think their resulting pregnancies are my divine will. And if a woman is raped, then she has the right to get an abortion, period. I do not agree with Mourdock. I do not agree with the Christian Right. End of story.'" Yahweh weighs in to disavow the wackaloon right. At least according to the Onion. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

And speaking of gods weighing in, Mr. Wednesday throws his hat in. He's got a great platform. Especially if you like that sort of stuff. Now if he could just move on from leaving damsels in forests with giant flame walls. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

While we can all point to countries (that many people have just heard about) that have horrendous practices when it comes to gender equality, let us not forget we haven't been that much farther ahead. That's a newspaper clipping from 1911 where a Providence, RI judge hearing a divorce petition advised the couple to reconcile and admonished the woman for going through her husband's pockets saying, "don't go through your husband's pockets again. A man is justified in slapping his wife for this." The beam in our own eye. (Grokked from Weird History)

Tweet of my heart: @Mozi_N: If ANYONE suspicious confronts you @ a voting location asking 2C your ID, pull out your camera phone,video them&interrogate them instead

Alligator Quotient: My alligators are all electronic the past two days. I'm slaying them as fast as I can.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Linkee-poo, it's just a shot away

"(Yvonne Reed of) the Maricopa County Elections Department admits they once again gave voters the wrong date of next month's election… (she) confirms… that bookmarks distributed by the elections department incorrectly listed the date of the general election in Spanish as November 8." But at least they got the English side correct. Sigh. Say, who else lives in Maricopa County? You know all those protests from conservatives that they're not trying to suppress the vote? Yeah, looking more and more like complete bullshit and if not a grand conspiracy, then a conspiracy of like minded individuals. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Conservative media ignore GOP voter registration fraud. Quelle surprise. "Republicans claim that the voter registration fraud was committed by a few bad apples and pales in comparison to the fraud committed by ACORN in 2008. But ACORN was never funded by the DNC. And the abuses committed by Sproul and Small were far worse than those attached to ACORN. Unlike Strategic Allied Consulting, ACORN never changed the party affiliations on fraudulent voter registration forms and self-reported suspicious materials to election officials. Nor did ACORN ever destroy valid voter registration forms, as Small is accused of doing."

An, no, it's not cool even when the suppression attempts look like they're targeted at Republicans.

So, do you need a roundup of some of the Romney position flips in the third debate? Yeah, probably don't need them listed. Practically all of his positions were reversals of earlier statements. Then there is more fact checking on Romney's political ads. Yep, gotta get one of my 401k funds invested in fact checkers if he's elected. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Dogs" seems to be a recurring meme in the GOP, comparing everyone they can to them. Of course, they only mean it in the most positive sense. Just like Steve King saying we should sort immigrants to get the "good bird dog(s)." Well, Steve, you're a dog. I mean that as a compliment. But not to dogs. They're pretty upset at that. And you know, you'd think the GOP would say, "Oh, no, they really didn't mean that." No. They come back saying it was exactly what they meant. I mean, it's so mind boggling. It's like watching alcoholics having an intervention, being shown all that's been going wrong with their lives, being asked to change for the good of all those who care about them, only to choose the bottle over humanity. (most grokked from Jay Lake)

Not that it means much, but there's a wave of large newspapers giving their endorsement to President Obama. Not so much for his own agenda (although they often give nods for that), but because they feel they can't trust Romney. On anything.

Tweet of my heart: @chuckwendig: Remember: that story ain't gonna unfuck itself. COMMENCE DEEP UNFUCKING.

Story Bone

The Hashishin, started under Hassan-i Sabbah in the mountain fastness of Alamut, are typically used as bad guys in stories. But for much of his life, Hassan-i Sabbah was considered a hero of great renown. His "assassins" were the ninja of the Middle East when the Crusades came rolling in to town. There was actually once talk of the Hashinshin converting to Christianity and forming an alliance with those same Crusaders, but then something or other happened and they went back to being an independent force in the area (actually making two attempts against Saladin as well as the crusaders and other important rulers in the area). I don't know if anyone has written the story from inside the Hashishin? Not that I'd personally like to live on Alamut (or in the general area for that matter, the Hashishin we're cold blooded murders after all and by all accounts ruled their territory with an iron fist), but that must be a fascinating history and study for a character driven novel.

Steve's crazy life

Hey, sorry things are getting off schedule. I am very far behind in my internets reading because of, you know, real life getting all uppity and demanding my time and everything. We're starting clinicals this week. Was supposed to have orientation yesterday, but that didn't happen. We go in for the real all day thing on Friday (don't expect a linkee-poo on Fridays for the rest of the semester, I doubt I will have any time at all as my clinical site is a busy hospital, not the busiest, but still damn busy - hopefully I can make it up to you with a longer Weekend Edition).

Anyway, I'm severely discombobulated right at the moment. If it weren't for the fact I labeled them with a sharpie this past weekend, I wouldn't know my ass from a hole in the ground. Just saying. Or, if you like, I'm busier than a man trapped in a phone booth with a cougar. The furry kind. Wait, no, I mean the animal. Yeah. Didn't want you all to think I was writing the 51st shade of grey right then.

Did I also mention that next week is cumulative mid-term exams? And we've just finished both chest, abdomen, KUB (kidneys, ureter, bladder) and upper extremities? All of that is going to be on the test, including being able to visually identify the carpals (your wrist bones)… individually (i.e. "here's a bone, which on is this?").

So now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to studying. Let's see, the hand bone is connected to the arm bone… but really that's the distal phalanges are connected to the middle phalanges by the distal interphalangeal joint (or dip), except for phalanges one (which is your thumb). Oh, doesn't that sound fun? Just wait until I get to talking about subacromial bone spurs and knowing which projection shows them better (Neer, if you're curious, I think, although it may be a Lawrence, but I'm pretty sure it's not a West Point, nobody does West Point projections anymore… they tell us).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Linkee-poo rebel, rebel, your face is a mess

"… (A)nd there were witches, too, I decided, for I had never managed to be scared of ghosts, but witches, I knew, waited in the shadows, and they ate small boys… I did not believe in witches, not in the daylight. Not really even at midnight. But on Halloween I believed in everything. I even believed that there was a country…where… people my age went from door to door in costumes, begging for sweets, threatening tricks." In which Neil recounts one of my favorite flash fiction of his (which I had been trying to find for the past week to share with you all). There's a few in there, take your pick.

And in other Neil Gaiman news (besides All Hallows Read), Neil, and others, read Coraline. While I like the animated movie, I like the book better (no icky boys help save her - see his opening quote for why). You are not my mother and I want to go home. (Grokked from Tor.com)

And thinking of strong female characters, Mer's next book is turned in. Unlike The Princess Curse I can't claim to have read this one (yet), but knowing Mer I'm sure it'll be a romp when it comes out May 28.

A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds younger adults are reading more than their parents. And they actually like dead tree editions (although they view them in the mix of all the other options). Good news, you know, for those of us who write. The book is dead! Long live the book. Oh, and they also use the library more than their parents. The Pew study summary.

The Cranky (Lego) Cave Troll. Yeah, that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A Japanese road construction sign that bows to you to apologize for the inconvenience. (Pointed to by John)

There's nowhere you can escape the long arm of Amazon. At least when you own a Kindle and they decide they don't like you. And then say bye-bye to all your books. And some more information on what happened. (Pointed to by Dan)

The first "pill" that revolutionized sex, penicillin. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Seems yet another animal has learned to mimic human speech. This time a crafty beluga whale. So next time you go swimming with the whales, check your wallet when you leave. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Dinosaur cells. Science is cool. You know, until they clone them and they eat us all up.

"'It is a sense of, you know, I deserve this,' (Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else) says. 'I do think that there is both a very powerful sense of entitlement and a kind of bubble of wealth which makes it hard for the people at the very top to understand the travails of the middle class.'" The Plutocrats, or the very wealthy, what can you do about them? Also note in the article of whom they feel real sympathy for ("… some friends who'd come to (this billionaire) for investment advice… 'They only had $10 million saved. How are they going to live on that?'") What isn't discussed in this article, or many others exploring the same ground, is what has happened to those Plutocrats in the long run. In the US, the last time this happened, most of the blood spilt was of the lower classes and the super-rich got away with just loosing a little money and influence. In the history of the world, that hasn't always been the case.

Some photos of unusual weather-related events. I've had my hair do the same thing on the first photograph. Here's a hint, when you see that, run the fuck away. Lay as flat on the ground as you can, preferably not right next to the high point on the landscape (ie, if there's a big rock or tree next to you, get away from it). (Pointed to by Dan)

Salt Lake City isn't Romney's hometown in any real sense. It is, however, his spiritual Goshen/Rome/Mecca/Jerusalem, so when the hometown newspaper endorses Obama because they don't feel they can trust Mitt Romney (and that Obama deserves another term), that's gotta sting.

Ever wonder what happens in the Mormon church? Well, here's some undercover video. Which probably will go down as a political hit job (but by which side?). (Pointed to by John)

Alligator Quotient: They're discombobulated because I was supposed to be in orientation this morning, but that didn't happen.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me

I've seen quite a few people (on both sides of the political spectrum) wonder how people can be undecided, even at this late date. They find it incredible that anyone hasn't been able to see the clear differences (at least to them) between the candidates and make their choice. Here's some perspective from having served 9 years in an elected position.

Most people just don't give a crap. They don't care about government until they can't avoid noticing government in their lives. This is likely to happen when the police give them a ticket, or they run afoul of zoning laws, or realize that yes, there are ordinances that keep them from being dicks to their neighbors or that they have to do things correctly instead of the cheap-ass way they want to. Not that these people are all dicks, many are very nice. They just want to go about their lives. They feel voting is a responsibility, but they really don't see a big difference between the parties and they don't see how these policies that are being debated have any affect to their lives.

I could go into a full psychological breakdown, but I won't. Why? Because it won't change them. As a councilman, we really could have done almost anything with budgets and the people just wouldn't care (and many wouldn't understand it, heck, I was involved in it an I don't think I ever had a full grasp of the intricacies of government spending). But let the streets not get plowed in the winter, or in our cases the sidewalks (yes, as a "favor" to our residents we plow most sidewalks, even though we have no legal obligation to do so, and the property owner does, but you try and tell them that, including their liability to both the Village and people walking), and the calls would flood in. Let us talk about anything regarding adjusting taxes and people wouldn't come into the meetings to talk about (that would be too direct), but we'll get the feedback through the grapevine. Or if their property floods, they don't want to hear, "No my job" from their elected officials (I could tell you stories. Lots of stories.).

If they're well fed right now, warm, and in general good health most people just couldn't care and don't want to give their time or energy to following politics. I know people who don't watch or read any news. I know, right?

Here's the thing, I sometimes wonder how much easier my life would be if I could follow that example. I'm not built that way, as you can tell. So it's only idle speculation on my part. Sometimes, however, I really long to be able to do that.

But here's the thing as well, you can't get the undecided engaged until they want to be. Nothing, nothing, nothing will get them off the stump until they feel they're threatened (personally) or they just can't put it off any longer. This is why yard signs do help candidates.

I will say this year the number of undecided in a Presidential race are much smaller than I ever remember them. These are people who won't really decide until they have to make their mark/pull the lever.

And nothing you say or do will get them to make the decision any sooner.

I will say, in general these people tend to break conservative. Not really because of any political conviction any deeper than "things are good right now (for them), conservatives will keep it that way."

Here I will also point out that people actually voting for Obama (in almost all his elections) runs at about 3 points less that his polling. Just wanted to get that point out there before the election so everybody understands what polling means.

Linkee-poo why can't you be true, you've started back doin' the things you used to do

I guess they're remaking the Left Behind movies. Must. Get. WIP. Finished.

Revising the DSM and changing and adding to the categorization of mental disorders among the young. As Lucy said, "If we can find out what you’re afraid of, we can label it." Actually, there's a lot of behind the scenes things going on in there. Make sure to notice how if it's in the DSM, not only does that allow people to get the correct treatment, it also affects what insurance will pay for. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Need a quick Halloween decoration? How about a fold it yourself paper skeleton. (Pointed to by Dan)

"You see, Portman doesn't like our reality, so he has no qualms about making up his own version of facts, and asking Americans to believe him – even though he's blatantly, shamelessly lying." That's our senator from Ohio. There's a difference between "from your point of view" and "just making shit up." Unfortunately one side has decided to go to the "just making shit up" version of things. It's like the new Romney line about "if you include all those people in th ejob force when this recession started and kept them in the numbers of people looking for jobs, our unemployment rate would be…" Sure, change the criteria used to generate a number and you can make it say anything you want. Not to mention that the numbers of people looking for jobs is always changing (people come in and go out of the market, the retire, they go to school, they move somewhere else, they have kids, they die…). To suddenly switch and say, "we're going to make it cumulative" is just an insane argument. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Residents said they saw a giant image of Mitt Romney's face hovering right above their households. And then that image crashed in the field behind me." An airship with a Romney ad crashes in Florida. The jokes nearly write themselves. (Pointed to by Dan)

Yeah, because it's not intimidating to have your boss talk to you about politics. Not to mention when they threaten your job if you vote "the wrong way." You know that meme of comparing conservatives to the bullies on the playing field? With all this you can kinda see their point, can't you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Don't let Mitt fool you about the auto bailout. Like many conservatives, he made millions on the deal. You know that whole, "wiped out the investors, saved the union" meme? Yeah, it's mostly bullpuckey. (Pointed to by John)

But then, many conservatives who benefited from the stimulus, which they roundly hate, are now giving to conservatives. Um, hey, guys, you might want to rethink that. But then most people I personally know who took advantage of the "Cash for Clunkers" program were also people who denigrated the program and hate President Obama. Go figure.

Apparently conservatives are upset their own VP muscled his way into a soup kitchen to have a photo op cleaning already cleaned pans. Although, maybe they were actually dirty, but the soup kitchen is nominally non-partisan, and the non-paid president of the organization wasn't consulted about his appearance. Only they're upset at the soup kitchen, not at the photo op chasing VP. They're upset because the people at the soup kitchen told the truth. So now donations are dropping. Hey, you know how conservatives like to talk about how we don't need all that social spending from tax money and that charity donations will be enough. Yeah, kinda proving the opposite here. But then, conservative hate to be proven wrong. And they also like to believe whatever small sacrifice they make is equal to the hell other people go through. It seems like they can't come clean and it takes smaller fish to tell the truth (and then those who told the truth become ostracized). It's just amazing to me that this party continues to draw the popularity it does. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Marco Rubio shows that conservatives still can't tell reality from their bubble thought. This time in regard to the Lilly Ledbetter Act. While I agree with the basic premise that just suing people won't get fair pay. Until companies realize that they may be sued and lose unless they actually pay women fairly. What I think it weird is that conservatives believe the death penalty and harsh prison sentences lower the crime rate (when there's ample evidence to prove they don't - ie. nobody plays the lottery to win the $2 prize), but then have a disjunct that lawsuits don't affect anybody's behavior (when there's ample evidence to that effect - ie. malpractice lawsuits and the overly defensive practice of medicine).

On how "American Exceptionalism" blinds us to the real problems we need to address. While the article blames both parties, I'll have to remind people the constant meme of "Why do lefties hate America" which is rolled out by the right whenever someone on the left points out something that needs to be fixed. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo can feel your love fading, I'm losing you

A short one because you should be out enjoying the fleeting fall. Okay, well, I should be, then.

Ivan Ewert on how to write horror. When writing one horror story I had a critiquer say, "How could you do that. Didn't you know that would hurt some people." It was at that point I knew I was on the right path.

What fears make for good horror? Your personal ones. Elizabeth Bear shares some of hers. Want real horror, find what your character can't live without, and then take it from them.

The richest people in history. Adjusted for inflation, Mansa Musa I of Mali comes in first place. Also William the Bastard/Norman/Conqueror and two of his compatriots make the list. I didn't know it would have cost so much to conquer England. (Pointed to by John)

A company is claiming they've figured out how to take CO2 and H from water and make the appropriate hydrocarbons found in gasoline. I'd want to see it work, first. Although it's not an impossibility to construct hydrocarbons, the hard part is to use either equal or less power in to produce stored energy (in the form of those hydrocarbons) heading out the back door. The linked to hyperbolic article is a little misleading as "fresh air" has lower CO2 and it won't so much "curb" global warming as slow it (as it's basically recycling carbon, but if it take more carbon to manufacture than the equivalent energy density of just pumping the stuff from underground, it doesn't do anything) because they're forgetting that as you burn that fuel you rerelease that carbon. (Pointed to by Dan)

In case you think that webzines and other "for the exposure" sites are just for writer wannabes, they're also invading the technical paper space. With similar results vis a vis quality. (Pointed to by Dan)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Scenes from a Morning Commute

Likee-poo thinks it had a black wallet in its back pocket with a picture of its baby inside

Took the final for Patient care this morning. Scored 58 out of 60. Pretty sure I got an A overall in the class. So maybe I won't actually kill anybody when I start clinicals next week.

More on the concept of that Story Bone the other day. "Computerized hospital equipment is increasingly vulnerable to malware infections, according to participants in a recent government panel. These infections can clog patient-monitoring equipment and other software systems, at times rendering the devices temporarily inoperable." Well, that could be an issue. "Software-controlled medical equipment has become increasingly interconnected in recent years, and many systems run on variants of Windows…" I think I've found your problem. Also, "The GAO report focused mostly on the threat to two kinds of wireless implanted devices: implanted defibrillators and insulin pumps." They also choose the most obvious device after pacemakers, sorry Jim. The companies claim the regulatory process for not being able to upgrade to secure their machines but I call bullshit on that. Basically, they don't want to pay the money to go through the process again. But it wouldn't be necessary had they done their jobs correctly the first time. This isn't something that couldn't have been seen. This is cutting corners to save money. And here's the thing, that's negligence (both a moral and legal failing). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

That Humble Bundle is changing how digital goods are sold. "What Humble Bundle has believed since their launch in 2010 is if you simply treat the customer with respect, then they will reciprocate in kind." Note this is different from the "I'll only pay $0.99 for an ebook" argument. Also, for anybody who has had to do sales, that pretty much works anywhere. (Grokked from Rae Carson)

Because you probably thought there wasn't an internet master switch. Have a picture. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

"'These changes are happening faster than plants can adapt, so we will see substantial impacts on global growing patterns,' said… a former senior scientist for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture… While there is still debate about how human activity is altering the climate, agriculture is already adapting to shifting weather patterns." Again, when it's your money on the line you can get awfully practical awfully quick.

"N to the 41st power" Ha! Math humor. (Grokked from Random Michelle)

"These are the people who are helping to set our country's science policy. The (House's Committee on Science, Space, and Technology) is currently considering bills on nuclear energy, rare earth metals, biofuels, cybersecurity, and a response to the current drought. It's also responsible for the budgets of groups like NASA and the National Science Foundation… In short, the committee can play a key role in setting the science and technology agenda, and help inform the entire House about key technological issues. Currently, nearly 10 percent of its members are on record as dismissing science, or being outright suspicious of the people doing it." And that's just the people who have spoken out about their views. If a cold shiver didn't just go up your spine, I don't think you're paying attention. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Calling (Rep.) DesJarlais a hypocrite (for forcing his mistress to have an abortion while shouting about "pro-life" to everybody else) is a fun way to spend an afternoon, but the sordid tale’s real value is in demonstrating what’s really going on with the anti-abortion movement. Anti-abortion politicians will often speak of abortion bans as “ending abortion,” even though everyone… knows that making abortion illegal simply drives it underground. As DesJarlais’s case shows, attacks on abortion (and increasingly on contraception) serve a different purpose: Putting men in a position of power over women. But that doesn’t sound as good as waxing poetic about 'life,' which would explain why they rarely talk about it in those terms." Also, it's hard to get a movement to actually support that openly let alone pulling in the political donations and getting elected. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Think the argument that conservatives (particularly social conservatives) are really trying to reinstate the misogyny so prevalent in the past (it's a sliding scale, and thinking back I found it difficult to say when it ended because, well, it never really did) is just folderol? Someone of them say it out loud because they think they're close to achieving their goals. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The fact checking of Mitt Romney continues. Including the continued analysis of his nonexistent balanced tax cut plan."Last month, the (Joint Committee on Taxation) asked its staff what would happen if Congress repealed the biggest tax deductions and loopholes and used the new revenue to lower tax rates. The staff started adding it up: end all itemized deductions, tax capital gains and dividends as ordinary income, and tax the interest on state and local bonds, along with several other revenue-raisers… ending all those deductions would only produce enough revenue to lower tax rates by 4 percent." You know, if he wins election, I'll have to invest in a affect checking organization. I have a feeling it'll be a growth business. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Clearly Ms. Costello isn’t too familiar with (the American Family Association) – lying (about Mix-It-Up Day) shouldn’t surprise anyone… It’s also interesting that when the topic of bullies comes up, the religious right immediately thinks of itself." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @Catrambo: Amazon is recommending my own book to me. Yay?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Linkee-poo, you thought nobody cared, but we did, we could tell

Only a couple days left of the MacHeist bundle which includes Scrivener and Evernote Premium for only $29. There's a bunch of other software in there, but just the Scrivener for $29 is a great deal. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

Mary Robinette Kowal on the difference between your audience and your market.

Eight movies made possible by incompetent background characters. Otherwise known as the plot motivators. See also if I ever become the Evil Overlord. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Voting is open in the latest Jay lake poll. As they say in politics, "Vote for me!" Actually, there's a lot of good captions there.

All our president's doodles. Who knew that doodling would be a presidential qualification? (Pointed to by John)

"The site was a covert burial ground where the unfortunates who died in the hospital, having been dissected illegally in the adjoining anatomy school, were buried by night." An exhibition of some of the darker secrets of the London Hospital. Also, in case you were wondering, those "grave robbers" were called resurrectionists (note, not to be confused with the Catholic order of the same name). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Rise and downward trend of Venice in the 14th Century and how it relates to modern America. Only, the article doesn't tell you how the story of Venice came to end that chapter. It wasn't pretty. As they say, history may not repeat, but it often rhymes. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Someone in VA threw out a bag of completed voter registration forms. Rumor has is, Strategic Allied Consulting is involved. Those wonderful people who have brought you election shenanigans for 12 years now.

Just some thoughts for 1) those people who think the President is doing nothing about Iran and 2) those people who think going to a gold standard would be a good thing. Seems Iran is running out of physical currency with their hyper inflation. And because they don't control their own currency printing, the sanctions are throwing a big monkey wrench in printing more (or getting presses to do it themselves). There's an easy fix, print money with standard lithographic techniques, but the results of that would be disastrous (and they know we'd take advantaged of the weakness in that plan). (Pointed to by Dan)

What happens to Medicaid under Obama and Romney. Look at that line dive. Just so you know, that diving line means people dying for preventable problems, all while driving up unrecoverable costs at hospitals (read: your tax money in direct payments). "This gives the lie to partisan claims that Romney would save Medicare from insolvency — his plan would hasten the exhaustion of Medicare’s part A trust fund by eight years, potentially triggering deep, automatic cuts to the program in 2016."

Turns out the other half of that "Binders Full of Women" line doesn't quite remember it that way. "Prior to the 2002 gubernatorial election, MassGAP approached the campaigns of candidates Shannon O’Brien and Mitt Romney and asked them both to commit…" Which they did. And then there's the way it ended. "'Subsequently, however, from 2004-2006 the percentage of newly-appointed women in these senior appointed positions dropped to 25 percent,'" MassGAP said. She he didn't quite "go out and find" women and women's groups, and then after the spotlight was off, he didn't keep the initiative going.

"The problem was that Republicans had a very strong point they could lean on heading into the debate… But because of Romney’s clear slip on the specific wording of an Obama speech, they were forced to either prove that Crowley was wrong on less-than-compelling technicalities or admit Romney blew it on the facts." Here's the damage control aspect, let it drop. However, conservatives think they have some fire here so they continue to defend their position without realizing the President's handling of the situation dosed the fire and now they just come across as peevish.

Also, I just want to point out again, it only took two weeks to correct that story. It took GW Bush a year to admit the WMD failure, and it took Mitt Romney a month to realize his 47% argument was "completely wrong" (which was actually something like 6 months after he stated it).

The drone wars in Pakistan and counting the civilian death toll. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Alligator Quotient: Well, at least they're taking turns today. I expect that to change by tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Story Bone

Hacking pacemakers to delivery deadly shocks remotely. The perils of adding too much technology without thinking through the consequences.

And there's plenty of other implantable devices this could work for. While I haven't fully researched it, I would guess that programable insulin pumps might be vulnerable (it would depend on how one connects to update the programing, and how the switch that delivers the insulin operates - the later in case you could just electronically brute force it). Then add in all the "future tech" (like Google Glasses - blue screen of death, yah, you betcha) coming on line.

Oh, and bluetooth added to devices also provides a gateway to this kind of attack, just saying.

This was pointed to by Dan. I was going to put it in a Linkee-poo, but that just screams "plot point" or even a Sherlock twist.

Linkee-poo doesn't need to be forgiven

Sorry for the lateness of the post. Today has been a crazy day.

What would happen if we dumped 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean? Well, i guess we're gonna find out. Hey, I've got an idea, let's get Russ George up on a stage somewhere with a noose around his neck. If there's no large fish kill in next ten years, we let him walk. Before anybody decides to say, "Well, he was just doing the experiment because it should work and should take a lot of carbon out of the system," just think about how he has permanently altered a large swath of the Pacific Ocean without regard for future consequences. Remember the story the other day about dumping all the extra explosives and chemical weapons from WWII in the Gulf of Mexico was just now starting to look like a Bad Idea™?

"I believe in the free market system. I believe in capitalism. I don't think hard working tax payers should have their money taken away from." You know, except for Farm Subsidies, that's a safety net and a part of National Security. But part of it is wasteful. So since she wasn't there when Farm Subsidies were started, for some reason I don't think she was there when Social Security or Medicare was passed either. More of that famed "intellectual consistency" we hear is all the rage in conservative circles these days. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Ah, finally the details of the Romney Tax Plan. Yep, that's pretty much it. (Pointed to by John)

"One of Mitt Romney’s top surrogates (Sen. Marco Rubio) acknowledged Tuesday that the GOP candidate’s tax plan will only be revenue neutral if it sparks a degree of economic growth most economists regard as wildly implausible." Well, so much for his rising star. Or in other words, Sen. Rubio admits that no amount of clapping is going to bring TinkerBell back from the brink.

The Slactivist has some interesting links about the various dog whistleing this campaign season.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Linkee-poo shouts we don't like it

The He Said / She Said dialog tag problem with a quick solution. (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

And ten writing tips for writing better writing dialog. Yeah, I tried to fit "writing" in there one more time. Each time I tried that the universe exploded.

So, sure, you've heard about the proliferation of cyber attacks on systems, and maybe even the rise of automated systems that continually scan and attack machines through known vulnerabilities, but you may be thinking to yourself that it can't be all that bad, right? Well, here's a live map of attacks from the Honeynet Project. What you're seeing is the result of what are known as "Honey Pots". Computers set up with the sole intention that eventually someone is going to attack them. So typically they don't show any major security. The Honeynet Project has a number of these configured to trace back attacks and report them in real time. Those red dots are where attacks are coming from (or the GPS locations of the machines, which isn't always accurate). Just watch it run for a few minutes and realize each one of those blips is a new attack (not a sustained assault) and that the vast majority of these are automated attacks. (Pointed to by John)

Okay, well technically these are like jetpacks, but they aren't "Meet George Jetson" jetpacks. Or Thunderball jetpacks. Sure, Earth is more water than land, so that means you can go more places with these. I'm not sure they're all the places you want to go though.

Ahh, Bacon. So many recipes and still there is nothing better than crispy off the griddle. Although bacon tofu? Doesn't that defeat the purpose (of bacon and tofu)? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Most cancer patients don't understand the purpose of their chemo. It's not surprising. One of the things we've been stressing in classes is what to tell patients (and what not to tell patients - there is a contractual obligation given in the "promise to cure" that needs to be avoided). But even with my training, sometimes talking to my own doctors is confusing, and there's no real reason for it (other than academics and the culture of exclusion). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh look, the Kaiser Family Foundation looked at the plan of giving people vouchers for Medicare and it found that if that had been in place this year, most seniors would have had to pay more. Anybody think that without major structural changes anything will be different in 2023 (when the Ryan plan would be fully implemented)? Also please note the potential future problems for "traditional" Medicare outlined at the end of the article.

Our hatred makes us strong. And, apparently, a little high. "Now combine what we know about the addictive nature of hate with the biological need to see our team "'win' and you have what might be the most addictive human emotion possible: self-righteous indignation." Kinda explains a lot about this election cycle, doesn't it. I'd love to say David Wong is very wrong (see what I did there), but I've lived to long to disagree with him. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The temporary shift in Gulf Stream path observed last fall potentially has significant longer-term implications. Studies have shown that temperature increases of 2°C have caused major shifts in silver hake populations, for example, and in spring 2012, migratory bluefish and striped bass were observed off the coast of Cape Cod much earlier than in previous years." I'm sure there's some logical explanation for this, something about the tides come in, the tides go out no doubt. Say, remember a few years ago when it was reported that warmer water fish in the Pacific were being spotted farther north that usual? I'm sure this isn't connected. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'We feel the bishops are abusing their power in attempting to direct Catholics on how to vote on this civil matter and impose their position on all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic,' the former priests said in a statement." There seems to be a lot of that going around this year. The good thing, though, is the blatant over reach seems to be developing an internal discussion of just where the Church (Catholic and Protestant) should be in regard to the teachings of the Christ. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"And if that was the case, and the poor and black were more likely to lack IDs, then how could those laws not be aimed at them?" And there's the sound of the shoe dropping. Another story of a former Republican awakening to just what the GOP is all about. And before I forget to mention it here, you know how "everybody" talks about how "everybody" has a photo ID… for you fans of Big Bang Theory, it's very possible that Sheldon does not have one, and if he does, it's one that isn't acceptable for most voter ID laws (employment ID). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Steve Inskeep interviews Dan Shore, the former spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and now a top Romney advisor on foreign policy. If that interview doesn't make you very worried if Rommney gets elected, I'm not sure what will. Seriously, do they think Iran doesn't know exactly what our issues would be if we would invoke a military response to their nuclear program? This is what happens when you underestimate your opponent. Also note while they keep on saying how different Romney would handle the situation, he wouldn't actually handle it any differently when you get them to say what they would do. The only difference would be they would have done it with more feeling, or something.

"If Romney had fully retired from (Bain), why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?" You know, not to mention, profiting from abortions (and other medical "waste") while knowingly exposing their employees to diseases. Also, more ammo for the "no, Romney didn't fully leave Bain in Feb. 1999" argument. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Buying the election. Sure glad Citizens United didn't open up the flood gates for influence peddling and corruption in elections. But here's the major problem I have with all the spending, aren't these the same self styled Job Creators spending this money? Shouldn't they be, you know, creating jobs with it?

Alligator Quotient: They're here, but so far are busy in the conference room. No doubt a policy meeting to plan new way of cheating.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Today the Universe…

has been giving and taking. More on the taking side. I can't really explain the incredible frustration of the day job gyrations. The alligator quotient was higher than Fearless Felix's leap. And no matter how many times I slew them, they just kept on coming like some crocodilian zombie apocalypse. (Yes, it's still on going.)

And then there were two other moments. The first was a clear understanding of the motives of a character in one of the WIPs (Return of Lars) that I had been struggling with. I did have a motivation for them, but it was kind of a dickish motivation. This one is much better. There's at least 3 twists and several reveals that can happen with it. And one is a major turn which, if I handle it right, would be one of those "Holy crap, I need to rethink this whole story" moments for the reader when it's revealed. So, yeah, thanks.

The other moment concerns the main WIP (Post-Rapture Industries). Since I haven't had the time to actually, you know, write the words down I've been overthinking the themes and what I really want to accomplish. It started out mostly as a way to poke fun at the pre-millenialists, but there's only so far that can take you. I've come to several conclusions about just what the theme really is. I mean, sure, it's a "true love" story. It's about finding home. Lately I've been thinking of the eschatological meaning of what is going on. There's a lot of bits that have been falling from the muse, and I've been wondering what all it means. Well, this song (Grokked from Terri Windling) sums up the message quite well and fits very close to my own internal beliefs. Sometimes the muse has someone else's voice.


The great thing about Scrivener is I can copy all these things into it, and not be worried about where they go or how they fit together. I can jumble them in and organize it later.

So, thanks again, Universe. Next time could we do it without all the alligators? You know, just for a change.

Happy 3000

This is the 3000th post on Story Bones. To celebrate, have a poem written just for you.

Autumn burns
trees to nakedness,
a bonfire
of maturing night.
The twilight of days
turns the veil translucent
like a window in candlelight.
Faces on each side
searching the gloaming for kin.

Summer's heat wanes to
waxing moonglow
as our guiding
stars magnify,
driving the songs in our chests.
And our imaginations ignite
the cold fires consuming
the northern sky.

A time of revelry
and masks descends
in sparks. A feast
of famines and jest,
a rollicking table of bounty
against the skeletal time to come.
Harvests past echo in snickering blades
and susurrus of satedness.
Et in arcadia ego.
We dance away from
the scythe, knowing soon
our own reaping will
place us in transposition
of the veil.

Linkee-poo will be proper and prim; go to St. James so often I will call it St. Jim

Catherine Schaff-Stump's open letter to Viable Paradise XVI which has just concluded. What she said. Are you listening my brain? What she said.

Jason Sanford's Million Writers Award Anthologies on sale for $2.99. Get 'em before the pixels turn cold.

"This festering disappointment we sometimes feel is the elephant in the room among writers. We’re not allowed to talk of it lest we come off as ungrateful. We also can’t talk about it because so much of publishing ‘success’ is smoke and mirrors—it’s about creating the illusion of being in demand in the hopes it will make us actually in demand. So if we talk too openly about how our career is really going, well, we’ve just let the cat out of the bag, and everyone will know our true numbers and our career will sink even faster." Is there a web cam on me or something? The seven stages of publishing grief. I'm somewhere in the 5's and 6's.

Think feminism is not needed? Here's a children's book page form the 70s. I know people who still think this way. Well, overtly they don't but let them go on for a while and eventually it creeps out. For our clinical training we've often heard the story of a female doctor and a male rad technologist coming into the room. The patient will pretty much default that the rad tech is the doctor. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

Jim Wright on a lot of things, but mostly labels, Libya, and the VP debates. And here I'll address a little bit about the flow of intelligence from Libya. That the Obama Administration changed it's story within a week as more and better intelligence came to late is 52 times faster than the Bush Administration admitted to lying on WMDs in Iraq.

Ever wonder why the "environmentalists" get all worked up about how we're treating the Earth, when obviously what we're doing isn't killing us (because we're not falling right over)? Well, here's an example. Seems the US (and other countries) disposed of a lot of ordinance in the Gulf of Mexico (and other bodies of water) after WWII. Only now, where they thought they had disposed of it 1) isn't where it was actually disposed of and 2) now is becoming a hazard as the containers of chemical ordinance begin to fail, and 3) is right where we need to drill to get more oil. Good thing we didn't have any silly EPA or other regulation agencies back then. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But, then, it’s easy to be skeptical when your economic interests aren’t on the line." See, people who must actually deal with the effects of climate change, pretty much agree that it's happening. In this case it's the insurance industry. As storms get stronger and more frequent, insurers and reinsurers are seeing their claims go up as well. While looking at decade numbers can be misleading (such as, in the 80s we had some earthquakes, but for the insurance industry not much comes close to Katrina), still the trend is going up. When it's your money on the line, you tend to be more practical. See earlier stories of coastal communities dealing with rising waters (even if they have to "never say global warming") and the Pentagon planning surrounding the issue. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Jay Lake on the Romney tax thing. Although I disagree a little. It isn't so much that people took their eye off the tax returns as much as it is so much other stupid stuff has gone on since then (47%, nobody dies from not having insurance, the bald face lying during the first debate, the pro-life or pro-choice position swaps, etc) that the tax returns got drown out. Sometimes I think it's intentional. The Romney campaign is in such a bad position they're forcing out issues one after the other in an attempt to down out real debate on the issues. It's like trying to take a sip of water from a firehose.

Tweet of my heart: @mjp @jasonsanford a corollary is Ira Glass's great quote: "Great stories happen to those that can tell them."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

Okay, so I promised to do this the next time I shaved my beard off. So I took the plunge last weekend. I start clinicals in two weeks. Since long beards are unhygienic (shedding both follicles and microbes), I had my choice of scratchy short, the Amish Cheesemaker hairnet (includes the beard), or going for full shorn.

I've mentioned before that with only a mustache I look like an Italian porn star from the 70s, so we're not going for that look. But while shaving my face, I took the time to take a picture of Evil Steve With a Goatee.



Yeah, that's the look that has parents clutching their children as I walk through the grocery store. I haven't cut my hair yet, so no pictures of the completely shaven Steve.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Linkee-poo, but it's Saturday night, I can't sleep and we're watching the news

Spent the day working outside. My yard is full of mushrooms and wooly bears. The mushrooms are diverse from patches of toadstools to clumps of puffballs to indian paintbrush and everything from death pallor white to deep purple and orange. The wooly bears are crawling everywhere this year. There's at least a hundred I uncovered out there. This year their stripes looked to be equally balanced (the black ends together are about as long as the red middles). But on the good news, I have mushrooms and woolybears in my yard. When I moved in the soil was way to poor for mushrooms, and I only had slugs in the yard. Now I've got real worms plowing in the soil, healthy loam a few inches down, and what was almost a fairy ring of toadstools. I really credit Bette for making this all happen. And it happened without replacing all the dirt in the yard. We added some, but mostly as our flower beds. So, yeah!

Always wanted to try Scrivener and, like myself, are a cheap bastard? Well, with NaNoWriMo coming up, Literature and Latte, the people behind Scrivener, are offering an extended trial and 50% off if you win NaNoWriMo and 20% off to everybody else. Just in case you wanted to know.

And speaking an NaNo, some tips on preparing yourself so you'll avoid some the traps waiting for you. And some plotting tips.

An Episcopal Bishop explains how the Church invented Hell and some other doctrinal issues to keep the worshipers in line. As I remember, Hell is not in the Bible itself. Now, one Bishop's thoughts do not a whole church make, but somewhat mirroring much of what I've learned over the years. Of interest to the current WIP. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

How can graphic designers make more money? "Since more employers are requesting hybrid candidates—those with creative and technical skills—it’s important for these individuals to round out their skill sets." That's a quote from a director at the Creative Group, which is one of the two major professional staffing firms in the US for design. To which I say, no fucking shit. Been that way my whole damn career (23 years now). When I get in the door people respond really well. But even just 7 years ago the Creative Group had trouble placing me because I do have that rounded out skill set (pegged their software competency tests, not very hard, at least to me). The problem is most hiring managers don't see someone who is 46 as having all the "technical" stuff together, because they didn't.

Why yes, the fall colors are normally peaking later in the year. Although this is a strange year. I have trees that are almost barren, but also trees that haven't started changing yet. Over all I think NE Ohio is at it's peak this week. I was able to commute home in the waining daylight two times this week and the colors look marvelous. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Even Bloomberg isn't buying Romney's tax plan and budget. And out of those "six studies" Romney keeps touting, I guess four of them are either op-ed pieces or blog posts. Not exactly a study. That link takes apart each of the six and points to their critical failures."Finally, I would note one item that the Romney campaign does not cite in support of its tax plan: Any analysis actually prepared for the campaign in preparation for announcing the plan in February. You would expect that, in advance of announcing a tax plan, the campaign would commission an analysis…Why don't they release that analysis? My guess is because the analysis doesn't exist, and the 20 percent rate cut figure was plucked out of thin air for political reasons without regard to whether it was feasible." More unobtainium, please. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

And Paul Ryan was for the pork spending before he had to be against it. And while it's true that every congressman should try and get as much for his constituents as possible (sorry people who spent money on the project before they actually got the grant, but thems the rules, having deal with it myself, no sympathy). But then you don't get to rail against the spending. Unless you're a weasel. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @neilhimself: .@fablor & I just bottled another 40lb of honey, & I rendered another 5lb of Beeswax. Now off into the mist to kill nice people in stories.

Friday, October 12, 2012

More Cowbell



I'm bad, bad boy.

Linkee-poo walked right out of the machinery

Sorry for the quick links. It's a hell of a day.

I've been wondering how to say this about the debate last week. Why was Obama so passive? Well, 1) he was at a lectern and that kicks in his professorial mind and 2) retweeting "@thc1972: MT @evilrooster: Want to know what privilege is? It's the fact that a white man can be angry on tv & not trigger dismissive stereotypes."

Irony is dead. The tumblr "Literally Unbelievable." When Facebook takes Onion articles seriously. Some part of me wants to believe this is very meta, a site creating fake outraged Facebook posts about fake Onion articles… but I don't think so. (Pointed to by John)

Memos from the desk of Nick Fury. See, this is what the internet was created for. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The tunnels at Bauae, ceremonial journey into the Greek underworld, complete with Styx? And interesting article on the not so ancient world, mystery cults, and just how much has been lost. Of intense interest to me because of the WIP. (Grokked from Tor.com)

A short animation called The Maker. Interesting treatus on the necessity of creativity, and the relation between the artist and their art. Metaphorical in all sorts of ways. (Grokked from Tor.com)

You know what happens when you lessen regulation? Well, you get the financial crisis of 2007-2008 for one. And you get this kind of event. That and this article are about the fungal meningitis outbreak. This is why I laugh when people say that all we need is to end all these onerous regulations.

Mitch McConnell says we need a VP who is under control. What he means to say, "Who is under my control," but whatever. Notice Hannity trying to outspin the spin masters of the after debate. That dude must be able to sleep on his feet from the gyroscopic effect of all that.

Tweet of my heart: @DRUNKHULK: DEBATE GOOD! BUT HATE SEEING SCREECH AND MISTER BELDING SO MEAN TO EACH OTHER!

Alligator Quotient: Pretty damn high.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Linkee-poo doesn't ask you about your business, don't ask me about mine

Today the semester's schedule is catching up to me. I'm walking dead on my feet. I apologize for all the typos I'm sure are in here, but it just makes me even more tired to think about proofing it one more time.

Because it's gaining buzz again, All Hallows Read.

Emma Thompson revives Peter Rabbit. The stories around Peter are one of the few things I remember being read to and reading early on. Love that rascal. (Pointed to by John)

Photos of writers hanging out together. As a veteran of barcons, this isn't surprising. But still interesting. Like Roald Dahl and Earnest Hemingway walking together. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

I haven't heard the audio of the performance, but this is what comics do. They take the pain in their lives and pass it through their internal forge to hammer out comedy. I've heard a few people talk about Tig Notaro's performance (in my various news feeds) and they're saying it's amazing. Here's a preview. Fuck cancer.

Boy Scouts accused of covering up for child sex abuse. I'm sure they have a reasonable answer why they didn't protect kids. Or they'll go with their number one answer for the past decade, "Look over there, gay people."

"I have watched my country accept, mostly quite complacently, along with a lower living standard for more and more people, a lower moral standard. A moral standard based on advertising. That hard-minded man Saul Bellow wrote that democracy is propaganda. It gets harder to argue with him when, for instance, during a campaign, not only aspirants to the presidency but the president himself hides or misrepresents known facts, lies deliberately and repeatedly. And only the opposition objects." Ursula K. LeGuin on how the country has changed just while she's been alive. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee a "pro-life, family-values congressman… (and) doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion…" Ah, those good family values. And if abortion and fidelity in marriage were not issues brought up in the election and part of the GOP platform, he would be correct in saying that this isn't relevant to the election. Unfortunately they're both in the national GOP platform and part of Rep. DesJarlais' campaign. Unfortunately, this is an example of "for the Good People™, everything is blessed." Or to put it another way, many conservatives will brush this aside with the thoughts, "Well, he was doing what he had to do to try and save his family. But all those other underserving people, they're going right to hell for killing babies." And while it isn't as bad as psychologists dating patients, I have a feeling the medical board of Tennessee frowns on doctors dating patients as an breach of professional ethics. But, hey "No More Taxes!" Right? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Think I'm being too harsh about or spinning the criticism of lying in public after telling your close supporters what you really think and winking and nodding to those supporters that what you're now saying in debate, to the press, in an open meeting or whatever isn't what you really believe? "… a spokeswoman for (Rep. Paul) Broun…tells CNN Broun will not comment on his remarks (about how embryology, evolution, and the Big Bang theory were 'lies straight from the pit of Hell.'). But she added that they weren't meant for public consumption and that Broun was 'speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.' The church group posted a publicly available video of his full speech on YouTube after the event." Yes, see, he wasn't speaking to you and me, he was speaking to his close friends in that church about his convictions regarding science. And just because the church then posted the video themselves doesn't mean that it was meant for "public consumption" (you can read that as, "wasn't meant for the dopes outside of the inner circle"). Wouldn't be so much of a problem if he didn't serve on the House Science Committee. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Or how about the conservative Congress which cut State Department security funds now decrying how security at the Libyan consulate (not the embassy) wasn't up to snuff? Not to mention the fog of war issues. And who was one of the lead attack dogs on cutting funding? Why, would that be Daryl Issa? Nah, couldn't be. EIther these conservative Congressmen are blithering idiots who have never lived in the real world, or they think we are. I started writing a full post on this last night but dumped it because my brain was so filled with contempt and loathing I could neither make it funny or pertinent. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Pointed to by many people, the PM of Australia standing to respond to charges of misogyny and sexism by and about a member brought by the Leader of the Opposition. I fully recommend it. This is what's known as "being taken to school on the issue."

How can you keep them down on the farm once they've seen Paris? More on the crack down on US Catholic Nuns and the walking back of Vatican II.

Gee, all those True the Vote people, they wouldn't be instructing their poll observers with false information, would they? I'm sure that's just a mistake. Because that would be potential vote tampering. And we all know conservatives would never do that.

"Mitt Romney doubled down… suggest(ing) that uninsured Americans can find the care they need in emergency rooms… people will always receive the treatment they need, and do not die or suffer because they can not pay for care." Frankly, I'm starting to think this is a part of moving people's attention away from his 47% comments. Because to be that fucking ignorant on a topic when it was the very impetus that drove him to push through Romneycare (the cost to the system for covering the uninsured through emergency room care) is just mind boggling. "Emergency rooms serve as a place of last resort, but 45,000 Americans still die every year because they lack health insurance, or one every 12 minutes… Hospitals may treat patients for emergency medical conditions… but patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference are often unable to access needed care." Seriously and truly folks, this is Scrooge saying, "Are there no work houses? Are there no prisons?" While I usually am of the mind that if the opposition gets in, at least they can't really fuck up the system. I have to take that off the table. We can't let this person get close to the levers of power. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A little more on the performance of Massachusetts while Mitt Romney was governor. And let's see, that would be MA loosing jobs for the first year he was in office, and one of the lowest recovery rates in the country after that. Mmmm, let's have more of that, please. And speaking of more, even some conservatives are becoming a little leery of Romney's foreign policy he laid out in the VMI speech. Although, I'll admit a small bias on my part here. Working for a defense contractor, war is good for our bottom line. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Then there is the supporting proposed legislation that he has no idea what was in them. In this case criticizing President Obama for not supporting the Wyden-Bennett healthcare bill… which also had an individual mandate in it. Oopsie. But sure, you know, you may have gotten Bennett to vote for it, so it would have been bipartisan then, I guess. Oh, and then Sen. Bennet lost in the Republican primary for another go around in the Senate, because he supported universal health care legislation. And then there was Mitt's meeting with the Des Moines Register editorial board where he said he wouldn't advance abortion legislation. The anti-abortion people aren't worried. Of course they aren't worried. Again, he's assured them, and they figure he's now lying to the rest of us, which they feel is perfectly okay, so he can get elected. And then help appoint more ideologues to the Supreme Court that will reverse Roe v Wade.

Finally, Jon Stewart takes the Romney Ryan ticket to the woodshed. You should watch until the first commercial break. Look, what they're saying is just simply impossible. But as I've stated before, and above, they're just lying. The numbers don't add up, they're policies don't make sense, and basically they're not playing to or dealing with the reality based world.

Tweet of my heart: @Pres_Bartlet: Every time Mitt Romney speaks, I'm reminded that he is pretending not to understand the real problems facing our health care system.

Alligator Quotient: Apparently I've been faming them out to friends. Sorry about that. Just stamp them "return to sender" and they'll all come home. To roost or something.