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On the side of a hill in the deep forest green, tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground,
blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain sleeps unaware of the clarion call.
On the side of a hill, a sprinkling of leaves washes the grave with silvery tears,
a soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
War bellows, blazing in scarlet battalions, generals order their soldiers to kill
and to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo travelled the world and the seven seas, everybody is looking for something

Free-fall writing, a short restating of Brabdbury's "You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down," philosophy. What I do suggest now, and especially to writing pansters, is to have a decent grasp of plot and the kind of plot that moves a story forward is always helpful 9and this may just be a intuitive grasp that comes from extensive reading). It's sort of jumping off the cliff with feathers, bailing-wire, and glue.

Becca Puglisi with some writing advice I really need, how to put emotion into your writing. Call it a guy thing, call it a subtextual thing, but I often don't do emotion well in my stories. It's there. My normal routine is to show the affect and effect of the emotion instead of going directly at it. I think it works somewhat well with fear in horror, and it might be a part of the big-D thing, but I have a recurring problem of not addressing it directly in story. Try to look past the blatant hook for their online writing con.

David B Coe's list of best writing tips. You can't hear these too often, IMHO.

Also, don't quit the day job.

Some early typewriter advertisements from before the reign of QWERTY.

Hey look, I'm not the only one who thinks the Singularity is BS. The brain is compared to a computer because a computer is the most complex machine we have at the moment, not because of any real similarity to function. At one time, the brain was a teletype machines. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Are you a reader of independently published SF? Then Damien Walter of the Guardian is looking for your help.

It's a story bone I've already used, and also a continuation on the link to Karl Schroeder's article on habitability vs colonizability, but using ice dwarfs for colonization purposes. In my story they were used as extra-solar ships (basically embedding the Earth built structure of the ship into an icy body and then using that harnessed super comet as both shielding for near light-speed travel and as fuel and raw materials for the trip). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Some of earliest color moving pictures. Also probably one of the first uses of Kodachrome red, and samples of how poorly black-and-white movie make-up translated to color film. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Is a formal education in design necessary for practice. A recent debate on an aold chestnut. Unfortunately (or fortunately, however you want to look at it), the argument ran along the well worn lines of "well, there are always exceptions so no it's not, but it's a lot of work and you have to be a frickin' genius to make it without one." Note that the same arguments could be made for "do I need a traditional publisher or should I self publish?"

"'Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.'" A long but good article on the internal politics of processed foods and how they're engineered for addiction and how that relates to the obesity epidemic. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that's now being studied for its affects on humans. The reason why scientists didn't believe it affected us until now is because we don't see some of the same behaviors that other animals exhibit (specious argument, because it affects different animals in different ways) and, hey, we're humans, right? That sort of stuff doesn't work on us (note: heavy resistance to current research on how our intestinal flora affects our emotions and mental states). Except that it does. My main nit with this (light treatment Tor.com) article is that the author keeps saying the cat infected them. No, the T. gondii infected them, the cat is merely the carrier (and so far the only animal we know of that can host the breeding life stage of the protozoa). The cat gains limited benefit.

Apparently conservatives aren't just afraid of unrestricted vaginas, nipples are also a concern and require the a new that makes it a felony for exposing them. Note that there's a work around for covering the nipples with pasties or duct tape. So it's not free range breasts that are the concern, but just the nipples and associated areolae. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Huhn, the Universe may have a refresh rate. Although this isn't the first time the theory of vacuum instability has come around, although now that we're approaching knowing how much a Higg's Boson weighs, we can do the math more precisely. Of course, we could all go up in "fire-balls of doom." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A quick history of the personal computer. Wow. The sad part is I lived through all of that and played with most of those machines. :: waves cane in victory :: (Pointed to by John)

Jim Wright on the craziness that has infected John McCain.

Since President Obama made it a part of his SotU address, except all the usual bandits, I mean "business interests" to yell and scream about how raising the minimum wage will lead to more unemployment. You might remember that some people are advocating to repeal the minimum wage, and their argument is that doing so "will increase employment." Turns out that higher minimum wages don't correlate to unemployment. Fancy that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Yes, it's not just abortion, they really want to restrict all birth control. Seriously, the anti-abortion movement is also out there to stop access to birth control. Why? Because it's not about abortion, it's about feminism and the sexual revolution. They're still after your right to privacy and abortion because they don't understand how the human body works (if you listened to the RadioLab report on Sperm you'll see the obvious moral failure of "That union between the sperm and the egg is where life begins, and maybe where God places his spirit inside that child" as over half of fertilized eggs simply pass through the uterus without implantation, which means that God is killing all those souls and his own spirit). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Times article on health care billing practices and costs. The article exposes the myth of "letting the market" work. This is what happens when the market is just allowed to work. "Recchi’s bill and six others examined line by line for this article offer a closeup window into what happens when powerless buyers… meet sellers in what is the ultimate seller’s market." You might have seen the interview on the Daily Show about this article. Tell me again why this industry doesn't need either a single-payor or intense regulation (which the only current system is Medicare, which has it's own problems with how they set prices). It's a very long article, but worth it to understand what has not been discussed in this debate (also note that committee which Sarah Palin dubbed "the Death Panel" was actually the part of Obamacare that was meant to address this problem). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

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