Happy solstice, everybody.
Normally I don't put these things first, but this post kinda pulled a lot of triggers and is a sort of hobby horse issue for me. "All I can see in my head is a woman sitting in a corner somewhere wishing everyone would just be quiet about it because it’s all her fault and she doesn’t know where the fuck she’s going to put her feet." An excellent post on how abusive relationships start and how people are controlled in them. Warning, triggers, just saying. Considering this week I was talking with a coworker as she was relating a story that was very familiar. When I told her this person (who fortunately she wasn't in a relationship, yet) was playing on her emotions to get her to feel sympathy for him after his very inappropriate and creepy/stalker behavior she looked at me like I was insane. I'm not sure if I convinced her or not, but it makes me worry for her. (Grokked from ticia42)
Of related note, Kickstarter's apology. That is how you apologize. Lots of politicians could learn from that. (Grokked from Jim Hines)
The Summer Reading Programs are back. Sorry, I've been sitting on these for a while. But now that Random Michelle K is also having one, I had to post them. So that link was to Michelle's announcement. Here is Todd Wheeler's summer reading program to benefit the Prison Reading Program. And here is Janiece's summer reading program to benefit the Douglas County Library Foundation. Go forth and read. Read like the wind.
Twenty quotes from Stephen King on writing (most of which I recognize from his book On Writing). (Grokked from Tor.com)
A Clarion interview with Marie Vibbert. Full disclosure, Marie and I are in the same writers group (although I've been absent for to many meetings - like 3 years worth). She talks about how she actually swung going to Clarion this summer.
"Don’t just say, 'Oh, I need to work on that.' Say, 'I need to work on this element of that.'" Joss Whedon on being prolific. Lots of good advice in there, but it also helps to be kind of a workaholic (said as a relapsing recovered workaholic). (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)
Twelve famous authors on literary rejection.
"I don’t think Mormons are bigots because they regard drinking coffee as a kind of sin. But if the Saints suddenly lost their minds and began lobbying for laws denying coffee-drinkers like myself the right to marry, or insisting that it should be legal for employers to fire coffee-drinkers, then, yes, that would be bigotry." Fred Clark on the "conflict" between being obedient and following one's conscience. Although he makes the quoted point regarding coffee drinking, the post is about the persecution of homosexuals by the church (mostly Protestants, although somewhat by the Catholic Church) and some believers perceiving the choice between following the precepts of their religion and following their heart as being at the center of the matter. Also a little on the false sense of "persecution" some church leaders feel for being confronted on their views of homosexuality.
Not a designer, but need to develop a color scheme? Try Adobe's Kuler tool. Kind of fun to play with. And if you don't want to get into a lot of color theory, they offer the quick and easy Complimentary, Analogous, Triad and a few others (where the tool does the math and the matching).
Okay, here's where I rake on my fellow designers. The four design decisions to make your designs greener. "1. Specify a narrow typeface with a small x-height" except that such typefaces (narrow, small x-height) are no longer used and people aren't used to reading them, so unless you're designing with text you don't want anyone to read (or you're expecting a hostile response to them reading it), this is a really dumb idea. I'll explain this with the example of a motorcycle question, "If you knew you were going to be in an accident, would you wear your helmet?" The correct answer is, "No, because if I knew I would be in an accident I wouldn't ride in the first place." Although I do agree Verdana is stupid font to set your type in (this isn't to say there aren't better faces to use than others, but there are actual design trade offs that aren't taken into account here which would mitigate any benefit). Two and three, sure, no problems with those (although the use of non-volitile organic inks has removed much of 3's issues). "4. Choose pictures that don’t bleed" - unless you're designing for photocopying, you aren't doing squat here. This is because designers (as a group) don't understand print production anymore. But, no, unless you're photocopying (which if you design it right doesn't matter if the page bleeds or not), you're going to be printed on standard page sizes which will require trimming (there are only a few exceptions to this). But strangely there's no mention of spec'ing paper with a higher post-consumer recycling content (or higher cotton content, or even non-wood-pulp paper), not using varnishes, not requiring envelopes to be custom made, lower print volumes, and a host of other ideas that would actually make designing greener. So, "fail".
Using LIDAR to discover new structures around Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat has held a special place in my heart ever since I read about it in a NatGeo many, many years ago. The place is just beautiful and is one of the few items on my bucket list. And now with LIDAR, they're discovering a whole new layer (and expanding it's footprint). I'm sure at some point in the future it will show up in some of my fiction. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
"Can't innovate anymore my ass." I missed this last week, but introducing the new Mac Pro. OMG. Unified thermal core… hmmm.
"One kind of figured (derivatives) were financial instruments of mass destruction, now studies are saying they’re a drag on the economy. All they do is basically enrich the rich and fuck everyone else over." Then Brid forbid we regulate them at all. Don't want to impede the flow of money out of the economy into the coffers of the rich.
Director Mueller admits to the FBI using drones on US soil. Queue the radical right fringe to their weekly freakout. Not all drones are Predators or Global Hawks. In fact, most of them aren't much more sophisticated than the old gas motor model planes with a camera stuck on the front. (Pointed to by Dan)
I've also never understood how people who claim to be compassionate are always so gung-ho to cut programs for the most vulnerable in our society. Take SNAP (aka Food Stamps). One of the best run government programs. But all the opponents want to see "fraud and waste". "In fact, SNAP has a strong record of efficiency. It has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. SNAP error rates (benefit overpayments and underpayments) are at an all-time low; just 3 percent of benefits went to ineligible households or exceeded the allowable benefit for eligible households. Moreover, honest mistakes by recipients, eligibility workers, data entry clerks or computer programmers – not fraud – account for an overwhelming majority of such overpayments." Again, reality shows its liberal bias. But not really. I've been developing the theory that conservatives secretly want to create a subservient class of the poor to fulfill their dreams of monarchy and righteousness. The problem is that when that happens, it tends to ferment bloody revolution. See "History" and more recently "Arab Spring" for relevant examples. (Grokked from Joe Hill)
"Supplies of oil have been surging this year, and U.S. drivers, who have been switching to more fuel-efficient cars, are using less gasoline… That would seem to be the right economic combination to push down prices at the pump, but gasoline prices have remained stubbornly high this summer." What, "Drill, Baby, Drill" actually doesn't lower gas prices? Shocked, shocked I am… Repeat after me, people, oil is sold on a world market. But one of the reasons oil prices remain high which isn't covered in this article is the reason why oil supplies and drilling has surged. And that's because oil was expensive enough to make how we have to drill for that extra oil cost effective (that is, all this new oil supply isn't cheap oil, it's expensive to get at it).
Apparently the Supreme Court believes that the Fifth Amendment is like the 8-ball in a game of pool, you have to call the shot for it to count. Maybe we could get menus put on police cars an in interrogation rooms. "I'll have the Right to Remain Silent combo meal, and super size that." From the article, "The irony here is that the ruling is yet another reason to actually never cooperate with the authorities, ever, and add an invocation of the Fifth Amendment anytime you are put in a position to speak to one." (Pointed to by John)
"Even if implementation goes terribly, it isn’t like to rekindle widespread angst. Most people will be untouched by implementation—even a disastrous implementation—for the simple reason that they won’t be relying on Obamacare. As Bloomberg’s Josh Barro has explained, 78 percent of us get coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or our employers, a figure isn’t likely to change very much, or at least very quickly." On the GOP's unhealthy obsession with Obamacare. I think I said this last year, I'm so glad they came up with that name because it's now tied to a Democratic President, and when it works it'll be a political boost (as Social Security and Medicare was) for a few decades. Sure, it'll be updated and (hopefully) expanded, but I have a feeling that name will stick. (Grokked from Jay Lake)