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And no one sings me lullabyes
And no one makes me close my eyes
So I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Linkee-poo is do do da do do, living in the USA

You know, I keep thinking I've hit the limit on just how busy I can be and keep sane. And then we blow through another wall.

Chuck Wendig on how to push past the BS and write that gorram novel. The less said about the time needed to write the blog, the better.

The seven deadly sins of freelance writing. Also applicable to fiction writing.

Kameron Hurley on learning how to write again. Some people tell you it's like falling off a bike, but it really isn't.

Dr. Doyle with how to use the "y'all."

John Scalzi talks about the libraries he has known. I thought it was mostly a "tales from the heartland" kind of thing until I discovered that some idiot author made the mistake (again) of equating library loans to lost sales. I guess this is a conversation we need to have every three or four years. Sigh. There is now ample evidence that if consumers can sample your work for free in some fashion, this increases overall sales (mostly from the negative, when you close down those "free" avenues overall sales decrease). This isn't to say that you want to allow pirate sites full reign, but when you have institutions like libraries, or concerts in the park, radio, TV, and the various rental places, you really should support them. You know, if you're actually worried about sales. Whenever I get to "published author" status, I would love it if my book would be in as many libraries as possible. Because when somebody plunks down their hard earned money to buy my book, I want them to enjoy it. If you can try me out in the library (or "first few chapters for free") and know you will enjoy my stuff before you buy it, that's a more positive experience. The world still operates on the old sales axioms: Positive experiences = increased word of mouth = increased sales; Negative experiences = increased negative word of mouth (positive word of mouth times 3)= decreased sales.

Elizabeth Bear on some recent infringements of unrecognized privilege on her psyche. Most often these kind of comments are just tossed off the cuff, but by those who don't see their own privilege and how that puts down others.

Um, wow. A street photographer is approached to use images in display. He asks for more money than they initially offered and is turned down. However, DKNY still uses his photos. The guy seems pretty nice about it. Me? There would be lawyers. Seriously, If DKNY thinks his asking $100,000 for the Y is too much, just wait until a lawyer tallies up all the copyright infringement going on there. It wouldn't just be one usage, every single photo is another instance of infringement. I wouldn't normally think this of window dressers from someplace like DKNY, but… amateurs. Rank amateurs. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Lost micro-continent found in Indian Ocean. Anybody check to see if the stars are aligned? "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." (Grokked from Dan)

Of relation to the sub-conversation on death and dying, the RadioLab short episode on the Bitter End. Do you want to have intervention medicines (CPR, ventilator, and the various "heroic" efforts to save your life), or do you have a DNR? And do you really know what happens when doctors try these things?

In case you didn't see my single post with the video embeded, coronal rain. Wow. Just fargin' wow. (Pointed to by John)

Quad copters throwing and catching an inverted pendulum. Okay, that's impressive. (Grokked from Dan)

"For that purpose they sometimes keep a large amount of fat in their livers, so maybe No. 1 still has a source of energy in its body, and that’s why it still has no appetite." A giant isopod (basically a deep sea louse) hasn't eaten in 4 years. More proof the world we live in is weirder than we can think. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Physicists create a multiverse in the lab. Okay, my brain hurts. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A response to the NYT article on the cost of medical care. "You want a market-driven healthcare economy? You’ll get it when the payer has as much clout as the biller does. And as Yglesias notes, the name of that payer is (in this case the) government. Anything else, and walking into a hospital is like jumping into a shark tank covered in blood. Good luck negotiating." Yes, that. (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Coronal Rain

Was going to wait for the linkee-poo, but ZOMG! (Pointed to by John)


You can read the explanation at the youtube page here. It's raining plasma along lines in the magnetic field of the sun.

They should have sent a poet.

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)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Linkee-poo went on, took the money, and ran

Genreville with the Nebula list. Note the refrain, "Zero self-published stories." Also, because I guess the trolls have come out in force, "@EllenDatlow: For those who feel there are female and 'non-white male' cooties all over the Nebulas: Shut the fuck up." Yea, I think that about sums it up.

Chuck Wendig gives pointers on how to read like a writer.

Beth Wodzinski on the magic that is writing retreats. What she said.

Students correctly identify the Achilles-heel of the grading curve. By boycotting the test, they spiked the A's. (Grokked from Dan)

Steam-powered robots and other hacks. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The problems of living in the future, two people born from artificial insemination who married each other find out they're siblings. There's another letter farther down that questions the legitimacy of the situation, and I have to say it hit all the points that also had me questioning it, but as the help columnist points out, it is very possible. (Grokked from Dan)

How inhouse designers can work with the outside agency, when the rest of the company doesn't realize you should. Not like I've ever know about that, especially the "getting the agency to work with you" part.

Eric with some more of the insanity that prevailed during the Cold War. I hope the Russians love their children too, as the song goes. Also, I have been thinking about one of the points Eric brings up, "I don't have much idea what kids these days are afraid of." Or as I said to someone who was young back in the early 2000's, "Sure, Saddam is a bad actor on the world stage, but is it worth screwing over your generation to remove him?" It's also but gnawing at the edges of my conscious of what we did to the next generation forcing them to deal with the fallout of our misbegotten adventures (what had become of Afghanistan). This is also why we need to finish the job there. I don't want to mess up another generation.

"No matter how wrong Dorner may or may not have been done, nothing justifies his actions." I've thought about making a post regarding Christopher Dorner, but Jim Wright beat me to it. As usual, Jim pretty much explains my position as well. The only thing I will add is that I do blame Dorner for the LAPD shooting the civilians in the two trucks. See, Dorner went down the path of the terrorist. The goal of a terrorist is not so much the killing they do, but provoking a disproportionate response from the target (and the target is always political), which then breaks the social contract. Dorner engaged his target, the LAPD, in such a way it put them all on notice that they, as individual officers, may be next. And they would have no warning. Dorner knew what that would do to their psychology. Cop killers get special attention from the police. That the LAPD would draw their weapons and shoot first given any perceived threat is exactly what he wanted. And the public reaction Jim points out is exactly the reaction Dorner was hoping for. It's the reaction all terrorists hope for, that the public will be injured by those sworn to protect them, which generates anger, which then turns the public against the terrorist's target.

Also here I'll point out that Dorner had weapons, weapons training, motivation, and "survival skills" that a lot of people would admire. Not to mention police procedure training. So, for those gun supporters who like to talk about how owning lots of guns will keep the government "afraid" to… well whatever they're afraid the government is going to do, how did all of that work out for Dorner? Sure kept the government in its place, didn't it? Also note that this was all handled by local police. The Federal Government didn't need to bring any of its forces, technology, or skills to bear. The cabin more than likely caught fire from a tear gas container. Not like they needed a Predator or Global Hawk to toss a Hellfire Missile into it. Just something to think about as you try to keep your fantasies alive.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Linkee-poo, they say he's got to go… go, go Godzilla

This one is for John. "Okay, seriously, these guys have no idea that litter laws apply to them, too, do they?" An article exploring chat rooms on where to leave religious tracts. (Grokked from the Slactivists)

"'I thought I could prove I wasn't really ill if I could get off the medication…'" Elyn Saks on living with schizophrenia. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

My friend, Dan, does his yearly crazy by jumping in a cold lake for charity.

Fred Clark reminds me that it's not too late to write my book with a list of End of Times thought in current events. Including how there are those who are actively waiting for the Rapture.

Optical calibration targets. Only these are big ones. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Guess what else? Depression is not a sin… I'll say it again, Jesus is not all you need… Sometimes you need a Doctor. Sometimes you need medication. There's really no crime in that." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Radio Lab "Sperm" episode. Quite fascinating on several levels, and it includes some human reproductive knowledge I had never heard about before (which changes a part of my post about how sperm only get the energy they bring with them, turns out there's a "sweet spot" in the fallopian tubes which will hold sperm for a few days, bathe them in glucose, all while waiting for ovulation). It also touches on the history, theology, animal biology, artificial insemination… really just fascinating stuff. Note: adult themes throughout the podcast, as you might expect.

Jay Lake on the journey down the final path. There's a secret language of babies, twins, and the dying. A language only they know and share. It's not a language you can study in school, it's one you need to live.

More examples on the inherent sexism in our culture where being male is normative, and being female is the exception. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh look potential voter fraud, and this time it's a Democrat. After scouring the nation, the conservatives have finally found one. And while some reports have her being subpoenaed, and Melowese Richardson does have several subpoenas in her name I couldn't find one for this case (sorry, the web link doesn't keep the search parameters). It also appears that the Hamilton County Board of Elections is investigating 80-90 cases of voter fraud. For reference, Hamilton County is a heavily Republican County. So it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, if it does at all.

A funny thing happened on the way to the revolution. In this case the gender equality revolution. It's strange to see the time you've been alive become history that people research. There's a lot in there about feminism, the stall of equality, who did what, and how it all leads to unmet expectations and intra-couple struggles, and (again) how America was once a leader, but has now fallen behind the curve. I'll let you guess why and who is to blame. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Why Regulating Legal Weapons Purchases Affects the Weapons Criminals Have

What gets lost in the gun control debate is how criminals get their guns. There is some international gun running into the US, but it's relatively small compared to the normal way criminals get their firearms.

Unfortunately, because of strictures put in place by NRA Congressional Champions, it's difficult to actually know how guns flow in the economy. But here I'm going to give a scientific wild-ass guess based on both the fears of gun owners having their addresses published and police reports.

Most guns that end up in the hands of criminals start as legal purchases. These can be straw man purchases were someone with a clean record makes the initial buy from a dealer. They make these purchases with other people's (the criminal's) money, or they sell the weapon right away. The next way is secondary sales, where the criminal (or conduit) makes a private firearm buy (gun shows, classified ads, whatever). The third way is to steal them from legal gun owners.

This is why the claim that regulating what "legal" gun buyers can purchase will have no effect on the weapons criminals get their hands on is complete bullshit. The vast majority of weapons used in crimes or seized in raids started their life in the economy through a legal sale. If you can choke off the supply there, at the first sale, you can affect the weapons criminals have access to.

The NRA and gun proponents don't want you to know about that. Which is why the ATF and FBI can't keep gun purchase records (or they'd notice the straw men and bulk purchasers). It's why no records are allowed to be kept at all. Not so much from the fear of confiscation (although that's what the NRA and it's gun manufacturing drivers use to keep the pressure on).

It's also why you hear in the news that the weapons used by most mass murderers were owned legally by someone (either the murder themselves or a close relative the murder can steal them from). Limit the access for these "legal" purchases and you'll keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo was scared and fearing for its life

In Germany Amazon supposedly hired neo-Nazi guards to intimidate and control their mostly immigrant workforce. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I'm not sure it's so much a publisher issue as it is a bad corporate policy issue to limit the amount of items that could be shipped to a store. Especially when the store tells you, "we've already sold them, I'm willing to pay you upfront and wave the return clause."

Chuck Wendig with 25 things on narrative POV. He explains the various schemes quickly and well.

If you can get away to a writers workshop quickly, Paradise Lost has a few seats still open. As an added bonus, Jay Lake will be there this year.

In case you thought I was a little overboard about my comment the other day regarding keeping human parts as trophies, here's some more. While those are mostly examples from the 1600s, it's not like this practice has disappeared. For example I give you Einstein's brain. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Cracked tries to figure out just what is going through those Russian minds as they watch the meteor streaking down and exploding. Just keep in mind, Russian winters are hard. It's not like Russians haven't seen their world end before. And Russians are of solid stock. So, yea, I'm sure it's all, "Oh look, the end of the world is streaking towards us. Again. I wonder if we'll have sugar for the coffee today?" (Grokked from David Kletcha)

And you may be wondering why there is so much dash cam footage of the meteor in Russia. It turns out that because of rampant corruption and terribly bad driving most Russian motorists have dash cams. I guess there is also a subculture that regularly posts crash videos and watches them. If you're faint of heart, I don't recommend watching that video.

That meteor in Russia you've probably heard about. With video.

Remember when I talked about the insanity of the Cold War mindset? How about this example, using abstract art as a propaganda weapon. Unfortunately the rifts it caused domestically are still with us, mostly because the CIA was more concerned with opposition to Stalin's realism than in actually promoting the concerts of abstract art. Although note that many of these artists are now considered American Masters. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"You simply cannot reason with unreasonable people, it’s really just that simple… Both rebuttals, or prebuttals whatever, were messages of despair, of depression, and hopelessness." Jim Wright is insightful on the current state of politics, the State of the Union, and the responses to some other speech, because they certainly weren't responses to the President's speech.

Why we can't have nice things. "Addressing scientists… UW-Madison science communication researcher Dominique Brossard reported the results of a study showing the tone of blog comments alone can influence the perception of risk posed by nanotechnology, the science of manipulating materials at the smallest scales." Also known as the Troll Factor. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Arctic hysteria, a variant of cabin fever. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Linkee-poo lies down on Broadway

"This is why people hate editors." Hahahaha. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Signal to noise, or why even radiologists miss the gorilla. Working wiht radiologists, yeah, they are pretty amazing. But here's the thing, they know what to look for and how it looks because they've seen it all before. I've been looking at abdominal x-rays for several months now and I'm just getting some things. I still don't see what some of the other techs see, but I'm getting better. But it does involve separating the signal from the noise, or the layers of signal which can appear as noise. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You may have heard about the latest way to treat many diseases of the colon and intestine by using what's actually a fairly old therapy of fecal transplant. And if you think that is just way to gross, science is on your side with the new fake feces. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The 20 coolest things made out of Lego. Do they even sell buckets of legos anymore? (Grokked from Tor.com)

Armed, pro-gun protestors occupy Oregon State Capitol. What could possibly go wrong (although notice the chamber is empty)? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Pushing it forward, ever forward like a shark. That’s the only way to sustain the perpetual outrage the Christian radio audience wants." Fred Clark on how James Dobson is just phoning it in these days.

Vince with some excellent sarcasm regarding the whole sex and abortion debate.

Paul Krugman lays out the case for why conservatives are being willfully ignorant (and they want you to be also) fairly well. It's the preponderance of evidence that helps make the case. Or you can think that the GOP actively hates America. Again, it's not what they say but their actions that betray their true mindset. And they've realized that education will show them for what they are, so they hate education. Reality disproves their ideas, so they create the bubble of Fox News to shelter them. Hell, they are the ones trying to destroy the USPS because it flies in the face of what they think Unions and unionized workers are. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Kansas, with it's own GOP Governor and Hard Conservative GOP super majorities in the state legislature is going to become and experiment in GOP tax philosophies. There already are a few (Arkansas for instance has a "flat" tax). And Ohio is toying with its own change to tax law (essentially giving income tax breaks, but then taxing everything you consume, which is called "retrogressive"). But notice in Kansas how taxes will actually go up in the short term (anybody really think those new consumer taxes will go away?). It's called reality. Kansas had to raise taxes once they figured out just how much money they were going to lose by giving everybody (but mostly the wealthy) income tax breaks.

And, as evidence for the above noted "bubble" of Fox News, the "minimum wage increase" debate as seen by Fox. What I want to know is, for the majority of jobs that pay minimum wage (which aren't all part-time jobs, BTW), how many actually have structural pay increases in their minimum wage employee pool? For all the jobs I had in that category, there were no raises. The only pay increases would come if you changed job category (typically going into "management"). Say, and remember when minimum wage went up in the 90s, we seemed to have a lot of jobs back then, IIRC. Also, if the raise in the minimum also causes raises up the tier of workers… isn't that a good thing given how wages for those workers have been stagnant for decades? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Infinite Monkey Postulate

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your gripixlemate quenterian."

Just one more monkey at one more keyboard.

Did you ever wonder why writers tell wannabe authors that to write you must put butt in chair and hands on keyboard? I mean, it sounds good, right? You gotta write to be a writer and you really can't "write" if you're not in the chair and pounding away at the keyboard. But did you ever think there could be another reason? A nefarious reason?

Like maybe gambling that you, sitting at your own desk pounding on the keyboard are not that "one more monkey". That the millions upon millions of wannabe writers sitting at their own desks pounding away at their own keyboards every day aren't the ones who even get the "Friends" part out. See, nothing really says that the infinite monkeys need to be in the same place for the effect to happen.

There ain't a coffee shop big enough. You know what I'm saying?

But if they, the cabal of infinite monkeys, can convince enough other monkeys to hammer away on the keys in their own place, they, the secret cabal members, might cannel the universe and become that infinite monkey able to hammer out the modern version of Julius Caesar.

Another sinister brain worm is the saying that "you have to write a million words of crap" first before you can get anything good. What better way to keep those "infinity minus one" monkeys continuing to type? The wannabe writers at their keyboards continue to soak up the almost infinite waves of authorial suckitude like some sort of literary wetlands so those of the cabal can lurk on the fringes and drink the freshened waters of art.

It's a mug's game I tell ya. All designed and perpetrated by that secret cabal of infinite monkeys to channel their own muses and soak up the precious few infinite monkey slots and become successful authors… all due to the other "infinity minus one" monkeys' hard work. Not to mention all the keyboards that are pounded into dust to perpetrate the social fraud that is the basis of their success.

Just a thought. Sleep well.

If I ever become a successful author I'm going to have to get a t-shirt that proclaims me that infinite monkey and wear it to all the cons, signings, and author appearances.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Linkee-poo is afraid that she might think of me as plain old Jane

Karl Schroeder on the difference between habitable and colonizable worlds when it comes to exoplanets. Lots of good thoughts for SFinal world building.

Carrie Ryan on structure and the promise of the premise.

To put it all into perspective for you: (from the Writers Almanac) "It's the birthday of novelist Georges Simenon… He's one of the most prolific writers of all time, best known for his detective novels featuring Inspector Maigret. He wrote some 400 books, which sold more than 1.4 billion copies from 1935 to 1997. Each book took him on average eight days to write." So at that pace even Stephen King (at whom many jokes have been made about the speed at which he turned out novels) is a slacker. Just saying.

"'There is no way that we are going to win the cybersecurity effort on defense,' says Steven Chabinsky, formerly the FBI's top cyber-attorney. 'We have to go on the offensive.'" Oh look, it's one of the plot bunnies from my novel, Bladesman. Yea, what could go wrong with private companies enacting their own offense (which, IIRC, is a plot line of many 60-80's SF novels).

You know those frogs with all the extra legs? Turns out at least some of them are caused by a parasite which uses the frogs as a way station. Pretty interesting parasitology in there. But also read all the way through to see that, yes, one of the reasons we're seeing more frogs with these deformities is because biodiversity is dropping. Also note it doesn't explain why frog species are crashing.

On the repatriation of human remains that were collected as anatomical specimens. Although there's no word on the various trophy taking (a practice which didn't end all that long ago). There is an issue here, however, that there are many valid scientific reasons for keeping unique specimens in medical colleges and museums. In some cases they do provide needed education for surgeons, doctors, and other medical students. Although lately many of those museums have made their money from offering "freak shows" without calling them such. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'The prime responsibility for doing this (meat inspection) lies with retailers and food producers, who need to demonstrate that they've taken all necessary actions to ensure the integrity of the food chain in this country,' ( Environment Secretary Owen) Patterson said." So, how did that self-regulation work out? People in England (and the rest of Europe) are shocked to find horse meat having been mixed in to their "beef" products. Look, it's a real life experiment on self regulation. Do I really need to point to The Jungle to remind us here in the US that these things happen. What's not in the transcript (but was on the broadcast story) is the real culprit is consumers wanting cheap food. So companies find ways to keep their costs down to make a profit. So what of there's a little (60% in some cases) horse meat in there? I mean, the other option is to have regulation that is enforced by a strong government. And in case your squeamish, don't go looking for how our own food inspectors have been gutted for the past 30 years.

Oh look, TDR (total drug resistant) tuberculosis is spreading in South Africa (and the world). Fantastic. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Rand Paul takes the train off the rails discussing low-flow toilets. (Note, this isn't a new video). Let us first ignore the abortion-baiting going on. Look, this is how it works. Let us say Rand Paul gets his wish of anybody can buy any flow of toilets (or light bulbs that use more electricity, cars that guzzle gas, etc). For water, this is how the market works. There's a limited supply of potable water. The more people use the water, the scarcer it becomes, the higher price it becomes (also, we'll ignore the effects of scarcity for this). If people like Rand gets his choice and gets a toilet that uses more water, and there's several people like him who do so as well, that will raise the price of water for everybody. You may be using less, because you like saving the environment. But his "choice" affects what you pay. The same is true for gasoline. That Hummer sucking down the gas next to you contributes to the high cost of gasoline that you pay. However, here's the real thing. You can buy whatever manufacturer of toilet, and style of toilet you want (but they all use less water). Some toilets work better than others (even with the high flow toilets the same was true). Shouldn't Paul's miraculous market forces come to the fore here and weed out the poor toilets? After all, he's upset with his toilet. Why doesn't he buy one that works? The manufacturers of the poor functioning toilets go out of business, and all that's left are the good manufacturers. The problem is, this doesn't work in real life, never has. So the problem isn't his choice of toilets (seriously, go to a Home Depot, they have an aisle of nothing but toilets), the problem is his personal choice of that individual toilet which didn't work for him. That's not the government's fault. How would he feel if the government came up with the design and forced all toilets to be built exactly the same so that they all worked? You can also apply this logic to the light bulb argument (more energy use raises the cost of energy) and all the rest. Rand Paul, you're a tool. And for a doctor, you're an idiot (or you think we are). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Oh, and who did this terrible libertarian treachery and made them buy low flow toilets and shower heads? "The low-flow (1.6 gallon) limit on toilets was instituted with the 1992 Energy Policy Act, signed into law by George H.W. Bush."

The professional hair stylists and amateur archeologist who has shown how ancient hairdos were accomplished causing the books to be rewritten. There's so much in that article to unpackage. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Recent and near-retirees, the first major cohort of the 401(k) era, do not have nearly enough in retirement savings to even come close to maintaining their current lifestyles… And that's for people who actually have a retirement account of some kind. A third of households do not." Yep. And even those of us who have had 401(k)s for most of our careers don't have enough in retirement savings. Why? Please see how middle income salaries have been stagnant for three decades now (the entire run of the 401(k) history), and there's more lower-income jobs in the mix. Welcome to the real entitlement bomb about to go off. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Don't believe that? Okay, how about… "Increasingly, people are continuing to work past 65. Almost a third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 70 are working, and among those older than 75, about 7 percent are still on the job." And in case you don't see it, this is a problem. One that was somewhat fixed with the creation of Social Security.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Linkee-poo could be, dare I say it, Pope?

(Been searching like a mad man for that Bloom County strip to share, but, alas, my googlefoo fails me)

Amazon has filed a patent to re-sell digital media, including e-books. Some of the responses have followed down the expected lines of "Seriously, WTF?" And seriously, WTF? First people argue that e-books should cost pennies because there is no physical object being sold. Then there is the kerfuffle over Amazon pulling the copies of 1984 off of people's Kindles with the reminder of, "Well, you don't actually own what's on your device, you're just leasing it." So I guess Amazon could set up a scheme where you cancel your lease to receive a refund and then they resell the lease to someone else. But doesn't that negate much of what Amazon (and others) have been telling us about what e-books are? See, for reselling your dead-tree book involves quite a number of laws, including the rights of the first purchaser. However, IANAL and could be completely wrong about this, but I don't think that applies to sale of object (or leases) which don't have a physical presence. It would be interesting to see if the agency model (or whatever model the companies are running under) allows subletting the lease or if this would be even remotely legal.

Kristen Lamb with the Land of Good Enough being the enemy of the Art. I'm not sure I agree with everything she is saying here, but I agree with enough of it. Maybe it'll help you. That said, living in a garret above the Seine is only romantic when you're in Europe. Know what I mean? Within various "artistic" endeavors you'll find similar philosophies. It's a modern incarnation of the "you must die to the world before you can live". As someone with a Design background, part of me wishes to shout, "BS!" at it. I was once told/instructed/encouraged that whatever relationship I was in at the time would need to be destroyed before I could find someone who would be "supportive" to my art. The person telling me this had no idea what my relationship with my SO (at the time) was like. However, in their life all the designers they knew had divorced their first spouse, so that must be what everyone must do. There does come a moment where you must commit. It's that point you approach where talent will no longer work and to get any better requires hard work, time, and focus. At that moment, you have to ask yourself what you want. The people who succeed commit that work, time and focus. That said, a one dimensional life isn't a fertile ground for art (even when that one dimension is Art). At least IMHO.

And in case you want to ask, those critical commitment points keep coming. For writing this was when I decided to spend the money on Cons. When I committed to weekend retreats to write. When I committed the time and money to Viable Paradise. And just this past year when I weighed the time and physical energy it would take to go to Confusion and said "Yes, I will." I've had to say no to another writing event, but I tried to see a way to make it work. But the exhaustion I would feel the time out of studies coupled with the knowledge that I would have spent most of that spinning my wheels getting back into the mindset of writing, only then to lose it the next day. And this choice is because I've hit that "commit" point with the Rad Tech program. While I love writing, it's not bringing money in the door. And it's hard to be an Artist when you can't eat or sleep indoors. The Rad Tech program needs to be my focus now.

Using Twitter lists to organize your feed.

What interactive books or books with multimedia content should be like. A living map on Ankh-Morpork, from Discworld.

Jim McDonald with some of the various common scams and how they work. He includes this link to a list of grifts.

Overly-honest product stickers. Hahahaha. Although I do take issue with their claim about "All Natural", they should read Fast Food Nation. (Grokked from Random Michelle K)

Fred Clark with a glimpse into the future if Evangelicals get their way with remaking the US into a "Christian Nation." And here you can read "Evangelical" as "those supposedly Godly people who have traded in what is due God for what is due Caesar."

"…they are afraid that a girl with a guitar might just be more powerful than a man with a gun….and they are right…" An all girl band in India disbands in the face of death and rape threats after a Islamic cleric issues a fatwah against them. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

The "why isn't there a White History Month" brigade strikes again. To paraphrase the old quote, "Because every month is White History Month." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Well, time to dust this one off

Pope Benedict XVI resigns and re-becomes Cardinal Ratzinger, it's time to dust off the pipes.


Sorry it has a splice in the middle where the one mouse gets eaten, I couldn't find the full clip.

Unfair? Unfeeling? Harsh? Yes. Yes it is. And while Pope Benedict XVI did many great things, this is also the Pope who chided American Nuns for not focusing on abortion and birth control, they had instead decided to do that horrible thing of bringing comfort, peace, and joy, not to mention the Word of God, to those who were dispossessed and disenfranchised. You know, the people the Christ ministered to.

So for everything he may have done to bring the church to its teachings, there were plenty of things he did to ride the same church off the rails, IMHO.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo isn't selling any alibis

I know there's a lot of sturm und drang about GRR Martin's new HBO contract (Grokked from Jay Lake). But I just want to remind everyone, "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch." You know what I think? I think it's damn frackin' fabulous he has that contract. While I'm not entirely into the Song of Ice and Fire thing, I do understand the write like the wind sentiment. And yeah, it would totally suck for everybody if GRR didn't find the time to get that story out of his head and on paper before bitting the bullet (well, maybe except for Brandon Sanderson), but you know what? "Hey, look, it's a writer being highly successful for being a writer." And nobody should poop on that parade.

The Con or Bust auction. As it says, "Con or Bust, Helping Fans of Color Attend SFF Cons." I have to say, one of my impressions of Confusion this past year was more diversity. Not saying it's big, most cons are a sea of white people, but I did notice more non-white con goers this time. Which in my book is a Good Thing™. (Grokked from just about everybody)

"The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing." George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language", 1946. The more things change, the more the stay the same (which is exactly the type of phrase ol' George is railing against). (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

Calvin and Hobbes wallpaper. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Looks like that free wi-fi hope is just hype. Sigh. Dreams crushed. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tobias Buckell with some new, lower cost, space exploration options for low Earth orbit.

The five mistakes design studios (and freelancers) make.

"By a unanimous vote (last month), Chicago’s City Council passed one of the strongest 'wage theft' laws in the United States." There are a lot of statistics in there about the current state of labor relations. Just in case you think there isn't a class war going on (and has been going on since the 70s). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Of somewhat importance to the WIP (whenever I get back to it), a large portion of the population seems to be locked into the left-behind fiction mindset and adjusts their reality to fit that perspective.

Maybe it's a good thing, but in their rush to condemn Fox News uses a photo of a same sex couple to top their article on why hetero marriages are better for America. Irony, it's what's for dinner. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

While it's meant as a social/political statement, it's still interesting that an entrepreneur in China is selling canned "fresh" air. Kinda puts bottled water to shame, doesn't it. I guess there's no better time than now to point out that here is an example of a country that doesn't have an EPA or much in the way of environmental regulation. You know, the kind of country certain wing-nut conservatives want us to have. I still remember being able to "see the air" in Cleveland (and Philadelphia). This is a point that the green movement should point to in a most dramatic way and say, "All those people who want to disband the EPA and change our Air Quality Standards and bitch about ethanol in their gas during winter time, there but for the grace of God (and environmental activists) goes the US." I'm also wondering when some scientist on the West Coast decides to start looking for traces of this particular "fog" to show up on our shores. And since it's pointed to in the the article, President Screw would be so proud. (Grokked form Tor.com)

"The wrong side of history has its landmarks in those who have cultivated a fear that any change in a culture's way of thinking will result in a loss of something sacred." The article asks us to question our positions fro the viewpoint of 10/20/50 years on to see if we're making the right decisions. That's a good sound byte, but both sides tend to justify themselves that way. However, I think the above quote is more important. But then fear is what tends to drive us, not rational thought about the issues. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @NestoHogan: You call me a halfbreed mongrel like it was somekinda bad thing…

Friday, February 8, 2013

Linkee-poo, are you safe, Miss Gradenko?

The Venezuelen Poodle Moth. Wow. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tobias Buckell shares a map of a potential US high-speed rail system. Oh, what our future could have been.

Caustic engineering, or designing products (in this case glass or reflective surfaces) into architecture which have built-in secondary properties. The problem I see for this is that, 1) not all reflections are welcomed (especially if you're suddenly blinded by one), and 2) it adds to the cost of construction. But still, interesting stuff. I've also seen caustic engineering used to affect the visual and transmissive properties of glass. In one case the glass itself became its own shade in direct sunlight, but became more transparent in indirect sunlight without the use of an electrical current (just by how the glass was etched). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Anonymous strikes at the Federal Reserve. This could get interesting. (Pointed to by Dan)

Somewhat related to by post on what to expect when someone is expecting death, more people are choosing Hospice over "heroic efforts" at extending life. "That fact helped spur a proposal encouraging physicians to discuss with their Medicare patients what kind of care they would want if they were terminally ill. But that provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was scuttled by those who feared that such discussions would lead to 'death panels' that limit care for the dying." If you've been down this road before, you will see what a god send Hospice is. But there is still this cultural belief in the US that we will live forever, if only we can find the right pill. Ventilators are painful, patients often try to pull them out when they "wake up" (some of that is because the brain says, "ZOMG, there's something in your throat that's blocking us from breathing!"). But a lot of the problem is summed up in the final paragraph, "Doctors often fail to be clear about a patient's poor prognosis and to plainly state the likely consequences of continuing painful, aggressive care. Patients and their family members are often unwilling to give up…" Make your wishes known to anyone who may be involved with medical decisions. Tell them several times. Get a living will. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

As if you needed more proof that Fox News just flat-out lies about stuff. And even when they're interviewing someone, their hosts are so deluded on the subject matter they can't even counter when someone states such a boner like Germany has just "got a lot more sun than we do." See, this would be a slightly innocent mistake if the proponents of solar energy haven't used Germany as an example exactly because they have less sun than we do. Not to mention, IIRC, Germany is at a higher latitude that most of the US. (Pointed to by Dan)

Good thing we're not going to do anything about the gun culture in the US so in case your upstairs neighbors won't stop letting their pitt-bull piss on their balcony, you can just take matter into your own hands. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Roger Shaywer EmDrives could "produc(e) perhaps a ton of thrust per kilowatt of power" without propellant. And after having been laughed out of all the polite science clubs in the West, the Chinese have taken an interest. Wow. (Pointed to by Dan)

"We were at a policy meeting. They were planning new ways of cheating." That's not a quote from that article on how the GOP isn't changing their actual policies, politics, or belief systems, but how they think, but instead are changing the words they use. In other terms, they're going to try and lie better this time. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Also, don't miss the Daily Show's segment on the GOP Whisperer (which, didn't he promise he was getting out of that business?), and the second half, winning through process innovation." I wish I could say this was The Onion material, but it's the reality we live in.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Linke-poo is flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup

"I’d be impressed if you had to… I dunno, throw a trash can through a window and grab my book off the shelf before the ED-209 police-bot tromps over and fires a photon torpedo up your slurry-chute — at least then I know you really wanted that goddamn book. But file-sharing is so… simple, so effortless, even careless it feels like it dismisses the entire thing we do." Chuck Wendig with some very salient and cogent thoughts on piracy.

Dr. Doyle offers interesting world-building thoughts on the use of technology and how those buggy-whip manufacturers didn't all disappear. Hell, I'm doing a brochure for a guy who also sells buggy-whips (although that's not his main business, but he still has them on display).

The Sony World Photography Award winners. Wow. (Pointed to by Dan)

Study finds that noisy sex is better. While the article sounds a little, "D'uh!", there's a lot about the sexual politics of sound. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A seven-year old gets suspending for throwing a pretend hand-grenade at an empty box. You know, I understand why the school's policy was written the way it was. I fully grok that. But the implementation of it sucks the wazoo. Seriously, no harm no foul in this case. Although there could be extenuating circumstances the change the whole story. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

A belated Valentines Day present from the universe. In this case, an asteroid that will pass within the orbits of our geosynchronous satellites. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Sort of like this story about an Akron, Ohio veteran who bought a house that had been condemned. The City of Akron told him he could make repairs (which supposedly he started) or they would demolish the house. Sounds horrible, terrible, ZOMG the guberment is crapping on this guy. You know, until you get to the part of him threatening police, city workers, and city council with actual weapons (including the loaded gun removed from him during his move out, which the city gave him extra time). Personally, whomever did the deed should be taken to court for allowing the house to be sold with all those violations (and, in Ohio at least, deed insurance is a normal part of the contract, and that should compensate this veteran for his purchase price). And if the previous owner (and their Realtor, if they used one) did not disclose those violations, I believe that is another legal course of action (including civil and criminal IIRC, but IANAL). So, yeah, one story up until you get to the sixth paragraph and then it turns.

Everybody is worried about the large drones being used by our military (*cough*CIA*cough*) overseas being brought back to the US. But drones aren't always big. And some of them small ones would be more troublesome domestically.

"The best evidence shows that half of all the clinical trials ever conducted and completed on the treatments in use today have never been published in academic journals. Trials with positive or flattering results, unsurprisingly, are about twice as likely to be published — and this is true for both academic research and industry studies." Strange how that works. Science for profit doesn't work all that well. Also complicating the problem, and not discussed in this article, most "peer-reviewed" scientific journals are pay for play. So if your data is not good, there's even more financial incentive to not publish (albeit, compared to the cost of research, it ain't that much). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Fred Clark on the essential problem of both conservative politics and Christian conservatism and how they mix in strange ways (and end up being about neither).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Linkee-poo is on a low budget

The best shot for and against the Oxford Comma. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ira Glass on storytelling. Specifically in the beginning. While he's mostly talking about radio and TV, it also goes for all creative endeavors. This is the third of a 4 part series you can start on Youtube here.

The Bogosty Generator concept of handwavium. (Grokked from Dan)

The Speedball Textbook. Ah, Speedball pens. Good times. Good times. Back before we had computers to set our type and draw our lines. You know, when dinosaurs roamed the land.

The NRA's enemies list. You know, people who actually compile such lists aren't entirely stable. And strangely enough ti includes many organizations that represent people we are supposed to respect; like doctors, nurses, police, teachers, etc. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Free wifi for everybody. If this comes to be, it will be amazing and will change almost everything. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

A legal analysis of The Contract in the Hobbit (film version). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A spiral staircase as inspired by a whale's vertebra. Very cool. (Grokked from Tor.com)

How do you know we're living in the future, when some home hobbyists in the US can use a 3d printer to create a robotic hand for a kid in South Africa. Now you're living in the future. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

From How, 5 tips for handling high-pressure situations for in-house designers (I'm sure it also works nice for writers as well). That's nice. Although numbers 3 and 4 aren't available at the day thing. Sigh.

Tweet of my heart: @UnvirtuousAbbey: For those who think God alters the outcome of a football game while today 30,000 children die from preventable disease, we pray.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Skinny on Into Super Bowl Darkness

Okay, well, yeah, I missed the blackout. But I didn't miss the Star Trek Into Darkness ad. With the exchange of that ends with Cumberbatch being better at everything, I'm willing to go with the villain being Khan.

Also, I just can't watch the Super Bowl. Every time I hear them say Flacco, this is all that runs through my brain…

You can skip ahead to the 2:10 mark to get the joke if you don't wanna watch all of it. It's a long joke, but it's a good one.

What to expect when someone is expecting death

Jay Lake, fresh out of the surgery fog, posted this past week about his thoughts about what the extra metastatic tumors means to his life and then about the response to his post.

Dude, let me just say up front that cancer fuckin' sucks.

Also, Jay hasn't been given that terminal diagnosis. He just feels it'll be likely sooner rather than later. There's still plenty of things that can happen between now and then.

So, what do you say to someone you know who is facing the end of their life? How to you act around them?

Well, if you've been down this road before, you realize that we are all in the process of dying. Okay, when you're young, like 16-21 or less, you're technically in the process of becoming alive and growing. However, once past 25 or so, you've hit the top of the first hill on the roller coaster of life. The whole ride may be in front of you, and there are plenty of other hills and loop-de-loops to look forward to, but no other hill will be as high as that one.

I've had a few friends that I said goodbye to fully expecting to see them the next day (or Christmas) only to have them die before our paths crossed again (car accident, suicide, cancer, fire, undiagnosed heart defect to name a few). So what's really the difference between health states? Not much. Except that with terminal diseases you get to hit the snooze button after the life alarm goes off. Only you don't know just how long until the next alarm comes. You know it will come, though. And that changes things a little.

Some people don't handle death very well. Part of that is our culture, which doesn't deal with death. Although our culture has at other times been more "accepting" of the only true outcome of being alive. Another part of it is millions of years of behavior. While death isn't contagious sometimes what causes death can be (heck, people in the US still die because of the flu) and death brings other things which you can catch. So, yea, there is a very human response to avoid death and the dead.

When someone gets that terminal diagnosis, it means a lot of things. One of them is that all your relationships are probably going to change. Some people will just consider that terminally ill person dead already. They'll get emotional (because they are in mourning) and then cut off contact. Some will deny the terminal diagnosis and they'll instead latch on to tales of outliers. Those people will be highly optimistic and grasp at any of the lottery winner anecdotes (miraculous cures, longevity, whatever). But a lot of that is they just don't want to deal with someone close to them dying. Some people will look for their own advantage (isn't that always the case?). Some people will leave because they're not able to deal with the pain of loss. Some people will get closer because they want to help.

So, what will happen? Who knows? They're are so many variables. Some people with terminal diagnoses will pass quickly, some will take years and decades.

But they're the same person they were before the diagnosis. They're still your friend, relative, coworker, whomever. There is a difference though.

They've hit that snooze button. And that tends to change things. They'll be sad, they'll be happy, they'll be needy of friendship, and they'll want to be left alone. They may want to talk about it, they may want to ignore it. And they may want or be all of that in the same afternoon.

Because of that snooze button you have an opportunity. You now have an opportunity to say all those things you may have been holding back. You can be more truthful than you've ever been before. But just keep in mind your friend, relation, whatever who got that diagnosis can have the same responses as other people. They may not be ready for you to be so open. They may not want to talk. And sometimes they'll think of themselves as already dead and disengage from everyone and everything.

So what can you do? Here's my advice. Recognize that we are all dying. This time you're with that friend or relation may be the last. Heck, even terminally ill people get hit by buses, you know. So be as honest as you can be with everyone. If you love someone, let them know. Forgive others as best you can. Try not to be judgmental. And live in the moment. Be fully alive while you can. Because we're all dying. Some people are lucky enough to know with more certainty about the how and when.

Be yourself. Be a friend. Cry, laugh, joke, mourn, talk, listen. Life is a terminal diagnosis. But we're not dead, yet.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is a house on fire too, but it has four alarms

Win all of Jay Lake's Green series.

The trill is gone, baby. But it really hasn't. That'a Marjorie Liu hitting the point where The book (ie. WIP) hits that wall that separates champaign and caviar from water and dry toast. But she turns around at the end. Yea. Writing is like that. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

I feel like calling up Eric and saying, "Eric, you're a luck man. You just blogged that at one of the three people in this country that could possibly follow that conversation."

"Any personal trainer will tell you that if you repeat the same workout over and over again, your body adapts to it and you stop improving… To continue to gain you have to push yourself to do things that are a little uncomfortable… But you also have to know your limits. Because if you push yourself to the point of exhaustion every day, all you get is diminishing returns. Your body and mind get weaker, worn down--not stronger, fiercer, sharper, more capable." Elizabeth Bear is wise in the ways of working out and writing.

I bet the Pentagon doesn't have anything like Henry VIII's wine cellar buried within its walls like the British MoD has. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The insanity of gendered washroom signs. I'm pretty smart, but there's been one or two places that it took me a little to figure out which door to go through and was only relieved when I saw urinals. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"My guess is that (those who identify as both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice) would be approximately in favor of the old Clinton formula: safe, legal and rare…" This is something that many on the far edge of "Pro-Life" really don't get. All their polling tells them that the majority of people poll as "Pro-Life" so "they must believe what I believe." It's a common mistake. What is actually shows is most people are "Pro-Choice" (I would believe that as it's my stance, wouldn't I… irony, I'm not safe from it either) because, and this is my guess, most of those people are "I personally wouldn't want to get an abortion, but I'm not going to force *that* person to agree with me." This is the majority of the "Pro-Choice" movement. Unlike the "Pro-Life" movement (which has an actual lobbying body politic to speak for its positions and states) that says all abortion should be outlawed, the "Pro-Choice" side of the argument says we need to keep it as an option. And in that blue and purple bar you will find people who vary from the "only if the life of the Mother is in jeopardy" to "abortion available for any reason, all the way through full gestation." My guess is a sizable portion of the red bars also contain many who agree with the former statement, and just vehemently disagree with the latter. The problem for them is there is this official organization for "Pro-Life" that they've never really looked closely at, but will identify with in any event because it "represents" the majority of their individual opinion. They don't get that the organization is more radical (on abortion, birth control, sex ed and a variety of other points) that they are. And they don't get that the organization is not willing to compromise any of it (because, again, IMHO, "Pro-Life" isn't about abortion, it's about rolling back feminism and the sexual revolution).

"Checking the numbers, however, for last year you find that in terms of aggrevated (sic) assault per 100,000 people, Miami and Houston (few gun restrictions) have a rate of 361 and 329 respectively (third and fourth in the nation after Detroit and Baltimore). Chicago weighs in at 222 and DC at 154. (higher gun restrictions)" But that's okay, the claims that "crime is less" where "criminals fear the victim may be packing" is just more made up conservative lunacy. It's just fun for the rest of us to see that thinking destroyed by actual, you know, facts. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"What I'm getting at, or trying to get at, is that the whole "conversation" or "fight" or whatever-you-want-to-call-it over gun ownership is basically borked (in the vernacular sense) outright from the start." Eric is insightful into the 2nd Amendment. What I think is somewhat humorous is how far the "gun debate" has come as I've been alive. When I was young it was "all about the hunters, proving for their families" and is now all about "keepin' the damn guberment outa our Social Security and Medicare."

Gayle Trotter pretty much makes the case for why some of us intelligent people with a memory think conservatives have gone full loopy. For someone warning us about trying to take guns away from our women folk so that they can't protect themselves, while last year that same person wrote against the Violence Against Women Act, it comes of as startlingly "situational ethics" and "grasping at whatever supports their view that day." You know, the thing all those good Christian Conservatives say us heathen Liberals are guilty of. Well, hello Kettle, the Pot is holding on line 3 for you.

And Jon Stewart's send up of the Senate Hearings on gun control. Also exposes the massive double think conservatives must engage in to support their ideology. The other explanation is they'll just fling poo at the wall until something sticks. "So, we need guns to protect us from a government simultaneously on the verge of fascism and impotence." Or as I saw tweeted the other day, for some Congressman shouting that President Obama is a Marxist Dictator they don't get that if he were, they would be disappeared or shot in the street for saying such.

And, it's all fun and games until lawmakers, who support "gun rights 100%" are confronted (well, not even confronted, but "around") a guy who carried a sidearm while on a tour of the Idaho State Capital. "As for the Cub and Boy Scouts, there’s an easy solution to the creepy factor here. Just arm the kids too. And any of the legislators who were creeped out about their own personal safety should simply carry guns as well. Then the entire building would be armed to the teeth and picture-perfect safe." But then the Senate President Pro-Tem asks "'What happens when six people come and sit in the front row of the gallery with shotguns across their laps?' Hill said. 'I sure as heck am not going to leave my senators in there with that.'" So, it's all right if the rest of us have a creepy guy with a gun following us around in the grocery store, but it's not all right for those Senators that gave that person the right to also be subject to such an event. Seriously, I wish I could say the hypocrisy is hard to find here. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I know they're using other words, but all that comes out of the wacky conservatives these days are the typical school yard reposts of "nu uh", "no way", "you're not a true fan", "you don't do it often enough", and "I bet I could beat you at it." Seriously, the question was if the President had ever fired a gun. And the answer was, "Yes." I'm sorry Mr. Obama doesn't conform to the cartooned version of him in your head. But get over it. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Linkee-poo, hey, you've got to hide your love away

Miranda Suri sings the praises of writer retreats and Las Vegas. And I have to agree with her.

Fifty collective nouns to bolster your vocabulary. A "Worship of Writers", I'll have to remember that collective noun for the next convention. and a kindle of kittens sound silk you should be able to rub them together to get a spark. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Kameron Hurley on her own hitting bottom and crawling back up. What she says is very true, especially the part about having some success and feeling on the cusp, and there is so much more to lose now.

Teri Windling reminds us what fairy tales tell us.

Misty Massey on writing stand-alone novels in a world where everyone has series and trilogies.

"Kids are so much braver than adults, sometimes, and so much less easily disturbed," (Neil Gaiman) says. "Kids will make their nightmares up out of anything, and the important thing in fiction, if you're giving them nightmares, is to demonstrate that nightmares are beatable." Neil Gaiman on NPR. I had a chance to meet Neil a very long time ago. I had read his "Neverwhere", which was new then. And a friend had a free ticket to a speech by him. I've always wondered how different my life would have been had I gone.

Nine SEO quirks. If you know what SEO is, cool. If not, no need to read. (Grokked from WannabeWriter06)

Why being slightly tired makes you a better programmer (and possibly, for those of us starting out, a writer). (Grokked from Christopher Cornell)

So, you know the NHS, that socialist, horrible, unresponsive and unwilling to spend money to save lives health care service in Britain that all the conservatives like to rail about. For an organization that, according to conservatives, wouldn't spend a farthing to save anyone's life and is just cutting costs, blah blah… yeah, well, they're creating a database of cancer genomics. Cancer patients will have their cancers fully sequenced to help them overcome some of the pitfalls of chemotherapy. Too bad our "best healthcare system in the world" doesn't do this, even to the point of having out government research gathering this kind of information, except for hideous amounts of private cash (see: Jay Lake's "Acts of Whimsy" fundraiser). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"There’s a lesson in here somewhere about the Market and Meritocracy and how much money ends up being available for rewarding management when you don’t actually have to pay your labor force." Note that it's also applicable to low-wage jobs as well. Having worked at one of those fast food places mentioned (well, the Canton, Ohio franchises), you wouldn't believe the money they make. I saw the "hourlies", which is the profit calculated by the sales per hour minus CoB and wages. That's the profit that goes to the franchise owner (and to pay for the less profitable hours, like the prep work in the evening). But then you have the Congress forcing the Post Office to prefund their retirement plan for the next 75 years. Now. Forced by the GOP, you know, those people who are "good at business". Yeah. Tell me again how Obamacare, taxing the rich, and estate taxes are class warfare and are just so terrible to the rich. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"In other words, guns are not evenly distributed across the U.S. population, they are concentrated in the hands of a minority. Most people that don’t own a gun are never going to buy one, so the best strategy for gun manufacturers is to convince people that they need lots of guns." Let me tell you the name of the game, boys. We call it "riding the gravy train." (Grokked from Jay Lake)