Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Story Bones

Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl. So many in there it was hard to count. Including the thoughts about what happens when a space colony's attempt at terraforming fails. Going to California with an achin' in my heart.

Linkee-poo cashes in his bad luck

Not only should money flow toward the writer, there should be money to start with.

The opposite of the philosophy that "if you're a novelist you should write novels." There's plenty to learn writing other forms; shorts, flash, radio, comics, novella, comedy, whatever.

Tobias Buckell talks about Blue Heaven and how it's changed over the years. Even the smaller retreats are good, which is why I'm carving out a weekend soon to go to one. Even though it'll leave me exhausted for the start of Summer Session (which will be exhausting to begin with). It also still kills me that I had to say no to one earlier this Spring. If you have the opportunity to join one, do it.

On prejudice and writing the other. You know, if writers aren't able to explore the other, we end up with Friends, know what I'm saying. Now, there are lines out there, but if I include "otherness" in my story, even write from their prospective including cultural references, I don't think we've cross the line of cultural appropriation. However, if you pull something like Asa Earl Carter did with The Education of Little Tree, well, you've probably crossed a line there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

But this only works when you know the lessons of John Scalzi's blog post "Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is".

It's getting to be time for local carnivals, and Jim McDonald has a post about an old scam. Forewarned is forearmed. Also, he has a link to a carny lingo site.

And the saga of Apple wannabe's who design an impressive campaign with celebrity endorsements, only to be sabotaged when those celebrities use Apple products to tweet about the products, continues. (Grokked from Dan)

You know that whole meme about "running government like a business"? Well, sometimes the government sells infrastructure assets to private companies. And then they go to crap. That's what happens when you run public assets and projects like private businesses. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Algae blooms on the rise. A NatGeo article with several pictures of the big lake in our own back yard, Lake Erie. Yea, nothing us human do affects the natural world; like runaway use of fertilizers or increasing CO2 levels, yea, I'm sure there's some other explanation. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Fred Clark winds up the irony engine. "Once again, those progressive, mainline Protestant and liberal Jewish types are teaming up with the Obama White House to defy clear biblical teaching… In explicit denial of the authority of scripture, these postmodern, anything-goes folks are calling for a 'Global Fund to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery.'” And then I hit the line, "This is how things started in Germany" and fell out of my chair.

The rise of cancer in China. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Vince runs the numbers on the cost of our war on terror.

"Pathological Democratic weakness is the only way to explain Senate Democrats voting to exclude FAA furloughs from sequestration." Yep. Not to mention the meat inspectors. Screw the poor. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The amazing return of the Lahontan Cuttroat Trout. Environmentalism works. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @mightymur: Do you or someone you love have Book Finishing Syndrome? Symptoms include OMFG THIS SUCKS, tears, and copious drinking. #themoreyouknow

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo, shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Some agents talking about what they don't want to see in the opening of your novel.

The impostor syndrome. Yea, I feel like that all the time.

Tobias Buckell talks about rejection. As in the "submit, get rejected, wash, rinse, repeat."

Justine Larbalestier on finding those words you overuse. And then cutting back on overdosing. "Back" is one of mine. As in "getting back" or "going back", that kind of thing slips in a lot.

Mindy Klasky on the synopsis.

Amazon wouldn't think of itself as the only place in the wide world that people could obtain reading materials, would they? (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Reading printed material versus reading on a screen. Yea, I think I've said as much before. Also notice, our abilities and preferences are changing. Lots of deep nepery in that article, but good fodder for the "Dead-tree vs Pixel" debate. There's also a lot in there for why shopping online isn't as satisfactory as going into an actual store (note the rise of "showrooming"). (Grokked from Victoria Strauss)

Research finds (well, one research project) that employees who surf the web are more engaged and productive at work. Ummm… (Grokked from Dan)

You want to see a map of those who Tweet, don'tcha. Sure you do.

Eric reminds us we're all going to Hell just because we played D&D. Right behind ya, pal. Right behind you.

The prevalence of "ancient" computers still in use today. Say, remember Y2K? Back in the 80's, when I was in computer programming we considered COBOL a dead language. All those COBOL programmers were in hot demand after 1995. Also, most space based computers are base on the 486 chip design. You may remember that from the Windows 3.2 days. Pentium replaced the 486 design. But we know they work well in space and aren't as susceptible to radiation. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Poppies. Poppies will make them sleep. Sleep." I don't seem to remember Dorothy and the Scarecrow making crop circles though. "'The one interesting bit… in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,' Lara Giddings told the hearing." Ah Australia, what would we do without you. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

A followup to the Duffys Cut Massacre where 57 Irish railroad workers were killed. Now some are being repatriated and/or giving them proper burials. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"We think that (acetaminophen) is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain, because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress." Another insight into how science works. Or, maybe, how our governmental regulations work. Just because something doesn't kill you doesn't mean it doesn't have other affects on you. Hell, Viagra was initially being test for people who have blood pressure problems. It was only when Lilly saw the reports of how prevalent the side-effects were that they changed the study's direction. Also, and here's the secret, while we're getting better at it, we still don't know how many drugs work. Oh sure, we have theories, but not actual hard data. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Is there life out there? Some scientists are wondering is there more life here that we don't know about. This is also one of the blind spots of most of science, we are still very anthropocentric. We don't think animals are smart, because they don't think like us, or have emotions like us. We place our moral values on what we observe in the wild. Now, you may read that article thinking "certainly we would have seen this "shadow biosphere" in our microscopes." And if that life was organized as we are, with cell membranes with organelles, yea, we should have. But here's the thing. To view a lot of microorganisms, like viruses, we grow a lot of them first. And life, when it started on this planet, was not organized the same way. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Eric talks a little about Miranda and the search for answers in the wake of the Boston Bombing. I'm not sure people will be all that happy knowing why the brothers did what they did. After all, we were all ready to accept that Columbine was about bullying and wearing duster jackets and not about undiagnosed/treated depression and a persecution complex. Look, these two weren't rocket geniuses. Seriously, they couldn't even schedule car maintenance successfully to fit into their plans so they ended up carjacking which lead to their demise and arrest. However I will say I'd rather hear their reasons instead of the mother claiming it was all a frameup job, or the breathless take of the guy who got carjacked, or their third grade classmate who can't believe the kid who ate all the paste grew up to plant a bomb.

North Carolina State Senator Tommy Tucker just doesn't get it. "I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet." Um, no, you asshat. You've got that relationship backwards. And because I normally bang on conservatives, at least some of the other conservatives are proposing legislation that would make it easier to find public notices. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Good thing he wasn't in Arkansas. Sigh. Can't fix stupid. Look, let me address this here (and I think I'll do it again at length), if you think guns are gonna keep the "guberment" from coming after you, the two suspects in the Boston Bombing were posted as "considered armed, violent, and dangerous". How much did that stop the government from going after them? No one bit. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Linkee-poo's sun in the same in a relative way, but I'm older

Jay Lake is looking for someone that can help with a medical billing question. In this case, about the CPT code for Whole Genome Sequencing.

A Scrivener tutorial. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

While it wasn't his goal, Fred Clark reassures me it's not to late to write "Post-Rapture Industries. I have some relatively new thoughts on the End of the Worlders and Preppers. Those thoughts aren't fully formed, yet. And some part of me thinks it's bull, but the idea is compelling. I blame the end of the Cold War.

A slide show of vintage WPA posters for libraries.

Researching the art and science of happiness. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Speaking of happiness, Cookie!" (Grokked from Chia Lynn)

Watching magnetic putty eat magnets. This is what the internet was created for, not all those pictures of cats. (Grokked from Dan)

The Nova program called the Retirement Gamble. Yea, that. Think entitlements are a big problem. I think you have the argument the wrong way around. It's something people finally got in the early part of the 20th century and by the end we conveniently forgot. Society works better when people can retire. And not just for the lucky people who survive long enough to retire, it also means the people in the work force have a better life. Also, thinking of which, I need to relook at my 401k. You know, once I'm not going 60-80 hours a week.

Hyundai has an annual competition for their engineers. This year it was based around personal transport. (Grokked from Dan)

Tobias Buckell shares the latest SpaceX Grasshopper rocket test. Wow. I have to say, the little boy SF fan in me has goosebumps.

The ISS spacewalk from last Friday. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The conspiracy flow chart They don't want you to know about. Also, Nazis. Just saying. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

The National Debt graph. A pre-election look at just who exploded the debt. Hint, if you remember "voodoo-economics" you have a real good chance of knowing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is walking a line, visiting houses in motion

Well, not exactly a coherent or complete list, but then I'm working my tail feathers off. Still. Also, I should be studying, but haven't found the time.

Mary Robinette Kowal shares one of the debut author issues. Haters gonna hate.

The free people of Syria want us to know they're with us. Now if we could only be with them more. (Grokked from WannabeWriter06)

Back when the Tea Party was finally deciding the deficits do make a difference, and that they had already given up enough of their freedoms and didn't want them back, there was this economics paper circulating that said that high public debt correlated to low GDP growth. It was touted everywhere and often about why countries, including the US, should immediate start austerity programs. Only it turns out the paper's authors made a mistake in Excel. Oppsie. And once that mistake was corrected for the correlation was a lot murkier to the point of being non-existant. There were also a few other problems with the data set which essentially ignored or minimized any evidence to the contrary. (Heard on NPR, but that like was grokked from Jay Lake)

Sometimes, Senior, the bull… he no lose. Jay Lake gets the full DNA test results back. Fuck cancer. Also, two posts by Jay about how to talk to someone in his situation. Be honest. Listen well. Don't avoid.

You know that study showing organic food not having any health benefit (for certain values of "health")? Well, not so much for fruit flies. Which, of course, measured different values of "health." Strange that.

Aquageddon. Those pesky facts and really are messing up the conservative narrative again. I mean, if there's no global warming, those islands in Chesapeake Bay shouldn't be disappearing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In Australia, which began use of the HPV vaccine in 2007, cases of genital warts in young women aged 12 - 26 dropped 59 percent, and 39 percent for men. Not only that, but cervical abnormalities dropped as well—a glimmer of hope that for these vaccinated women, their chance of getting cervical cancer is dropping as well." Can't have that here, though. 'Cause of the sex. Because the chances of getting HPV has decreased the amount of pre-marital sex so much.

Why do we have taxes. Why let a little history get in the way of a good conservative 10th Amendment myth. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"The Texas fertilizer plant that suffered a massive explosion had not been subject to an OSHA inspection for many years. The current American obsession with deregulation and ending inspections has claimed yet more victims, as The Nation shows. And Texas has also cut funding for first responders like firemen." Yet more freedom for all those people who lost family and their houses. We don't need no stinking regulations or funding first responders, I'm sure the free market will take care of it all. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Linkee-poo some nights says fuck it all and stares at the calendar, waiting for catastrophes

Charlie Stross' PSA about watching the news. And I have to agree. Speculation, rumor, and eyewitness interviews are not actual news, they're filler. Now, I am a news junkie (does it show much?), but much of what is passed off as news is just violence or sex wallpaper. It's people slowing down as the pass a bad wreck on the road, not so much because they're being safety conscious, but because they think they'll see something gory.

"The responsible thing to do here, the grown up rational adult thing, is to acknowledge that we don’t know anything. We will, eventually. But at the moment we don’t. And it’s going to take time before we do. And that is just the way it is." Jim Wright on that news frenzy and what it does to us.

In response to that Myke Cole article of just writing novels in your a novelist, Elizabeth Shack explains that writing shorts can help your novels. Like Elizabeth says, there's plenty to learn writing short stories that can translate to novels. I would add that short stories can also give you confidence as a writer. And that confidence comes in amazingly handy when writing novels.

Random Michelle K outlines the disadvantages of e-books and why consumers may balk at paying prices equivalent to physical copies. More perturbations or growing pains as books transfer to a digital presence.

Four reasons you didn't get that job. The main thing that sold my current day job on myself, besides my stellar qualifications (ahem!), was that I did a lot of research on the company. I knew our debt positions, I knew our previous recent history (acquisitions, major sales, new products), and I could take about it intelligently. It sucks that we're now back to the "I always wanted to work, uh, here" lines, especially given current business practices, but thems the cards been dealt. (Grokked from thc1972)

A calligrapher creates an illuminated Bible. And it only took him 12 years. And now yo know why the press is such a great thing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

While it's due to many factors, such as lower usage and favorable environmental factors, the fact that for the last 3 month Portugal's mix of electricity generation included 70% from renewable sources. Also, it may have been hydro-electric that supplied most of that, but wind power wasn't too far behind.

Finding the elusive traces of dark matter. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Little Red Riding Hood or assault weapons, choose the one that was banned in schools. (Pointed to by John)

Building new kidneys. If you needed any more proof we're living in the future. If this holds up, it'll just be amazing and change the world (especially if they're able to transfer the tech to other organs). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo would rather be a blue-collar man

Bookshelf porn. Or 11 amazing bookshelves. Whatever. Although I doubt the sturdiness of some of them (like, take one book and watch the rest fall to the ground).

Some simple ways to help organize your kitchen (helps if you have the power tools). (Pointed to by Dan)

Want to hack and airplane? There's an app for that. Say, did you ever hear that we're trying to replace the current trafficking system based on radar to one based on self-reported GPS? (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

24 things you didn't know about beer. Because beer. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Making brains as clear as Jell-O. You know, for research purposes. (Grokked from Dan)

Photos of children around the world with their most prized possessions. For those people who need pictures. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you've probably seen one of my Adobe rants. I think this XKCD panel says it all. (Grokked form Dan)

This is what I mean when I say abortion should be safe, available and rare. Just in case people need a reminder of what the world was like before Roe v Wade. The major difference is the guy running this clinic actually was a doctor (although he didn't have the qualifications for Ob/Gyn work). Yes, because the wonderful Pro-Life movement, women no long feel safe to go to Planned Parenthood, so instead are forced to clinics like this one. I'm sure the PL people don't se it that way, but really, this was the world before Roe v Wade, the world they want to return to. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Field trip! In this case, Tobias Buckell visits an Ohio wind farm. There's a lot of incidental data in there. The major thing that struck me, though, was this wind farm constructed by one of America's brave, entrepreneurial, risk-taking business people? Nope, it was constructed by a Spanish company.

Say, heard about the Mayflower, Arkansas oil pipeline spill? Know why you haven't heard of it? See how the pipeline runs "near" the reservoir that provides drinking water for 400,000? Did you know the proposed Keystone Pipeline would run through the Ogallala Aquifer which not only provides drinking water for a lot of people, it also waters the crops that feed the country.

"(W)hat was really happening was a simple transfer of wealth, more often than not from the less intelligent and informed to the more so." Tell me again how the free market works. 'Cause I love a good fairy tale. This is why many people will steer you away from indexed mutual funds to funds that have higher fees because they "have the potential to perform better" (when they often don't, they just cost you more).

Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. Wow. What the hell are they teaching in churches these days? And if you think the article is whacked, just read the comments. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Speaking of paranoia. Jim Wright keeps on out doing himself. I'm afraid one of these days he's going to break a sarcasm bone or something. BTW, you heal broken sarcasm bones by applying an irony cast.

More on what happened with the same-sex couple in the Missouri hospital. Note the couple had all the paperwork that conservatives like to talk about as being the equal to marriage, and it still didn't help in this case. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The real reason the NRA fights so hard to keep universal background checks and registries out of the consideration of the law. One small gun shop, 500 violations since 2007. Unfortunately the NRA has also been successful in making all those laws they violated toothless as well as gutting the ATF of any real ability to both investigate and prosecute such problems.

"Our threat to attack Austin, Texas resulted in a paroxysm of confusion and dismay as Rick Perry dominated your news cycle as planned. The spectacle of this ridiculous man jabbering nonsense about foreign policy surely chilled your spirit and made you doubt your strength." Hahahaha… wait a sec. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Ten pro-gun myths fact checked. Strange how they all fall down when put under scrutiny. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Linkee-poo keeps getting later and later

Way behind in everything, sorry folks.

Elisabeth Weed on finding an agent.

Sarah Goslee on the importance of good rejections.

Dr. Doyle on deciding on what's action and what's stage dressing.

A while back I made a comment about typewriters and how they could be a good focusing device. Well, now there's a USB typewriter but I'm not sure that would actually work as well. There's something impermanent about typing to a screen and something very tactile and visceral about putting ink on paper. Maybe it's a commitment kind of thing. Anyway, at $800 I don't see this in my collection anytime soon (I'd rather have the 128gig iPad 3). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of the iPad, here's one transferring games to an Apple IIe. Am I a total geek because that looks cool? (Grokked from Dan)

Tobias Buckell points to a survey of 1000 self-published authors. Like Tobias says, data, data, data. While the report is for sale, on the linked site there are a few infographics which tell part of the story.

The differences between truth and truthiness when it comes to disease, specifically cancer. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Navy makes ready to deploy a laser weapon.

You know how the conservative media all like to talk about how climate change is the gimmick developed by Al Gore and his buddies to make it rich with their rock-bottom investment? Well, this is actually about money, but not Al Gore's money. Say, what is the main industry of Koch Industries? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"(T)he Mexican Barbie doll comes with documentation and a passport." :: head-desk :: (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Why we have stopped seeing UFOs. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

"Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been tapped to deliver the weekly Republican address today… he will talk about how, while Washington remains a mess, GOP governors are straightening things out… Unfortunately, some of what Brownback says in his address… is exaggerated or misleading." Sort of how Ohio's current governor likes to taut his job making skills while ignoring how Ohio was 3rd in the nation for job creation the month before he took office. While some spin is expected, when you have to ignore reality to make your point, you really don't have a point. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @grok_: Look, I think we can all agree that the best use for autonomous vehicles is to put dogs in them and send them on joyrides.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Random thoughts

So, last night I had several intense dreaming sessions. This is unusual for me as I don't often remember my dreams. Last night there were three dreams about writing. Not of me actually writing, or stories I would like to write, or hitting the lottery as a semi-famous writer, but three dreams about carving out time to write and constantly being thwarted. I have had a few hours here and there where I could write. Mostly I stared at the screen and tinkered around the edges of things.

Friday was the first time I messed up on the schedule. I forgot to bring home the hard drive with all my work on it. Fortunately there was enough work in email to complete the week with 40 hours.

The reboot is stumbling a little. For one class I'm pretty sure I'll get an A without too many issued. The positioning class I'm again struggling right at the border line between B and A. And I think for clinicals I'm smack in the mille of a B. Clinicals is where I'm really struggling. About a month ago I had a talk with one of the tech about how I was doing. And from that talk I stepped back a little from the course I was on (see the technique, pre-comp, and then try for comp) and worked on the basics, getting a rhythm, and just tightening up my skills. For the past week and a half I've tried to get back into finishing up comps (this summer's schedule is going to make it tough, and I want to start with a few in the bag). It didn't go well. But last Thursday was actually very good. Hopefully the next few weeks will see breakthrough.

For some reason this year is a banner year for freelancing. I have two new clients, one of which is a recurring customer (I've already completed two jobs for them since the beginning of the year, and I have a feeling there's a lot more being lined up). Both of these came through word of mouth from other clients. And now that I've knocked those projects out, there's two more in the wings from my existing customer base (recurring projects on schedules).

Still trying to figure out how I'm going to get yard work done during the early summer.

Weekend Linkee-poo is cutting like knives in a fist fight

Cat Rambo on rewriting a novel.

Mary Robinette Kowal on the passing of Jane Henson.

How far is Mars? Well, if the Earth were 100 pixels wide… (Grokked from Dan)

A short film on women and heart attacks. Know the signs.

In defense of slave Leia. She will cut you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Cthulu microbes. Kewl. (Pointed to by Dan)

A response to the NPR story on disability. While I didn't hear Ira Glass's piece on disability, I did hear the broadcast of Chana Joffe-Walt's story. While in the middle of the story I did get a vibe form it that tracks to this criticism, but by the end of the story I didn't have that impression. The main negative impression I took from the story was that states are doing everything they can to get people off of welfare and Medicaid (paid for by the states) and onto disability and Medicare (paid for by the federal government). It may be because I know people who have tried to get disability and so know just how difficult it can be to actually qualify. But then I'm also not disabled myself (although I do have tenosynovitis and a pinched nerve because of a bulging disc) and am not as tuned into that side of the argument. And most of the disability reporting I've seen up to this point has been the "public employee gets disability, but look, here's undercover footage showing they can do exactly what they claimed they couldn't (most often lifting heavy weights)." So I can see where this is coming from. And I will admit I found the Chana Joffe-Walt story a little lacking in the "why are all these people qualifying for disability" category (because I do know how mind bogglingly difficult it is), but my own mind filled in "it's not like ergonomics actually ever took off in the US" (except for those people who have been injured or a company facing serious workmans comp claims). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

How to be a friend to someone with a serious illness. (Grokked from Phiala)

"No pious jackasses sit around pondering 'Should Christians Take Insulin?' (No one) pretend(s) it would be deeply spiritual if they said, 'Rattlesnake anti-venom can help, but it can also hinder our reliance on Christ.'… Yet when it comes to any kind of mental illness, evangelical Christians suddenly turn into Christian Scientists or Scientologists — preferring 'spiritual' treatments over medicine… This hurts people. This kills people. This needs to stop." Yes, this. The sad thing is there are people who do say "God will heal" instead of getting chemo, heart surgery, insulin, anti-biotics, whatever. But you do see it a lot more when people talk about depression or any other mental illness.

Why "living fossils" are a misnomer. Yea, that. Also the same thing about the widely held belief that humans have stopped evolving. Life doesn't stop. It may slow down or speed up, but never stops. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory. Zhang’s method can be performed using any source of biomass." And that's the game. We have cheap storage using baked chicken feathers. Now an inexpensive (cost, energy and byproduct) method for getting hydrogen. All that's left is a less expensive filter medium for the fuel cell. (Grokked from Dan)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Well I've got a bird you can watch

Sometimes, I just love YouTube for finding new artists. Like Kacey Musgraves.


Sure, it sounds like a simple song, but what a great story for one. Also, she's doing some pretty complex stuff in that song.

Kacey Musgraves is an example of why I no longer dis on country music. I remember when rock had that kind of sensibilities. Somewhere between the Stones and Garth Brooks rock gave up the ghost and country put the paddles to the chest.

And this song isn't a fluke. I'm just going to have to get that disc.

Linkee-poo caught a rattle-snake, now we've got something for dinner

Two views of writerly development. First Myke Cole on the "short story first" myth. Yea, I also saw that path as the accepted form when I started writing. And I did get okay at writing short stories. Myke is also correct that many of the skills of short stories don't translate well to novels. I went that route to learn how to tell a story, hammer out my "voice", and just get better at the granular sentence and paragraph level which do translate. Next up is Kristen Lamb on the progression of writers. What she says goes for almost anything, but especially for the "arts."

Tangental to those, Sean Craven on learning story telling.

Then there's Chuck Wendig on the story line. As in an actual line. If you don't see what he's doing, he's defining plot. The shape of the story.

Donald Maass discusses the costs for wanting what we want. And then reminds us that as much as we've paid for our desires, our protagonists should pay at least as much.

And I've been long remiss in telling you Ken McConnell is blogging his Starforgers book on his site.

Tobias Buckell gives a nice roundup of post about the Night Shade Books thing (I'll have to read more of them later) including Joshua Bilmes' take on the history and the offered deal as a publishing insider and agent. And then there's Kameon Hurley's take on it as a Night Shade published author.

The Creative Process infographic.

io9 has a round up of evil AIs. I can't believe they missed Durandal from Marathon. I still hate that fargin' bastard.

Using old shark-toothed weapons from Pacific cultures to discover that some species were in places we didn't know they were (and are not now). Cool if only for the picture of shark-toothed swords. I love how the various cultures around the world who never developed much metal working finesse would use other materials to create slashing weapons. So what's to do when you can't find enough iron and obsidian is in short supply? "Hey, that fish has really, really sharp teeth. I think I'll have them out of its mouth." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Well, the conservatives passed a spending bill that lessened the harm of the sequester on the military and meat packers, but conveniently forgot about Medicare cancer patients. "Thousands of Medicare patients are being turned away from cancer clinics, that were previously conducting their chemotherapy, because of the sequester’s cuts to Medicare." That and the cuts to Head Start, public defenders, health and science research, national parks and the IRS (which ironically could cause revenues to drop farther). Tell me again how they're the "responsible" and "fiscally adept" people, cause I keep forgetting. And don't worry, I have enough bile for progressives as well regarding the sequester, but their problems are based around thinking conservatives were rational actors. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Target Manatee Gray brouhaha. To be fair, if you search Target.com for the color name it does pull up a few hits. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The ocean is a huge CO2 and heat sink. So, guess where a lot of heat has been going. Again, it's a very bad thing when buffers hit their limits. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"However, (History) has consistently held its tongue, waiting until the right time to conclusively weigh the positive and negative aspects of the Bush administration before delivering its ultimate verdict." Hahahahaha. the Onion on the oft repeated phrase (of 12 to 5 years ago) of "history judging" the Bush Administration as a success.

"Still, Tinetti said the findings do echo recent research suggesting talking to patients on a regular basis about their end-of-life wishes should be considered part of routine care." Unless you're in the US where such conversations are labeled "death panels." Also, these kinds of discussions shouldn't be delayed until great age. It's not like young people can't find themselves facing these issues either. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Since it's looking likely that white supremacists are behind the recent assassinations of judges and prosecutors out west, I was going to do a post reminding people of the blinding ignorance of conservatives who deep-sixed a report from the new (the) Obama DoHS about the rise in the threat of terrorism from homegrown white supremacy groups. But Jay Lake did it for me.

Why universal background checks would reduce gun crime. Yep. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Linkee-poo, they've given you a number and taken away your name

Sorry so late, things are very hectic at the moment. Not a lot of me time lately.

Gabriela Pereira on killing your darlings. It's an oft repeated phrase that causes a lot of confusion. She gives a very good explanation and how to description.

In a somewhat related case to the used ebook selling thingie, a federal judge says nuh-uh to reselling MP3s.

Mary Robinette Kowal shares some bloopers from her recent audiobook. You know, she even makes the bloopers sound excellent.

PW on the Night Shade Books thing. Wow, I have to admit I'm completely out of the pocket on this one. Last I knew NSB was a pretty nifty small publisher.

The Gates of Hell. In the Greek manner (which is different than our Christian/Western view of Hell). (Grokked from Mrs Tad)

The Brain Mapping Project. Very cool. Although I think it will be helpful for a great many things, I don't think it will do much for the supposed coming Singularity. I will be surprised if we find that consciousness is a discrete property of the brain instead of an emergent property. Computers are very good at discrete functions but very poor at emergent ones.

Eric maps out the stupidity of NC declaring a state religion pretty well. Oh, and these kinds of things have often been proposed, but until now there was a modicum of intelligence left in the leadership that kept these things from leaving committee. Now they're passed on for a general vote without too much consideration. It makes me wonder if people have forgotten what pigeon-holing means.

Oh lookie, a shooting in my own back yard. And strangely enough, I heard nothing about this on our local news (although I don't read the Star Beacon). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Roger Ebert 1942-2013

Two thumbs way up.