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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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Linkee-poo lives with the October People in Grover's Mill

So, Michael Dell has given his investors their money back. I wonder if now he intends to close up shop? Yea, Mr. Dell is a tool. You can imagine me flipping the bird every time I say his name. Not only because he made that comment about Apple back in the day, but because of his business practices (which most PC makers adopted), you now really can't be sure of the hardware configuration of the machine you buy (unless you spec your own machine for a custom build). In the 90s I would set up on-site projection systems for corporate business training. We had 12 Dell laptops, serial numbers were sequential, and they all had different video cards which required us to adjust the adapters for the projectors. It added about half an hour to each setup for no really good reason except Mr. Dell was cheap. After the 6th set up, we bought packaging to keep the adapters with the laptops. We still occasionally had issues (because the video cards and other components were the cheapest he could buy at any given time). Dell computers in my head equate to PoS. Can you tell I'm bitter? Yea, I know they supposedly got better, but they still sold because they were cheap. (Pointed to by John)

Gandalf the Black. Gandalf as imagined if he had taken the temptation and relieved Frodo of the One Ring. I love the commentary and all the learned opinions, but they're all bullshit because they forgot one thing. The Ring is tied to Sauron, there is a part of him in the Ring (this is why as long as the Ring survives, Sauron can not be killed). The Ring has it's own mind (in case you ever wondered why Gollum fights with Smeagol, here is your answer, when Gollum/Smeagol travels to Mordor and Sauron captures him and tortures him, he makes the split between Smeagol and the Ring more explicit which is how that character has two personalities, which is something that was changed in Tolkien's later notes, which is the basis for the movies "The Hobbit"). So, while Gandalf would fight the mind of Sauron, by using the Ring he has already lost. Gandalf more than likely would have replaced the Witch King of Angmar or the Voice of Sauron (more than like the Witch King because of his duties). So, yes, Gandalf would have been a tool of Sauron. This is something Galadriel missed because she had not come close enough to the Ring to understand its true nature (the Ring may also have blinded her through her own Ring of Power which she used regularly and while free of the control of Sauron wasn't free of its tie to the One Ring, which is why it lost its power when the One Ring was destroyed). Take that all of you who like to quote from the Silmarillion (which I love is in the apple dictionary). (Grokked from Tor.com)

The Ohio State Marching Band. 'nough said.

In Maine, turkeys are causing a problem. Every year I normally get turkeys in my yard (I haven't seen any yet this year). I could see them being a pain, but here's the thing, you can eat them. As for turkeys spoiling an apple crop, uh, yeah Bob. While turkeys do nest in trees (yea, I know, some people don't even know that wild turkeys fly… they don't go far but they can fly)I don't see them liking apple trees (normally dense brush). See the line about most crop damage being done by other animals which is then blamed on turkeys (because you can see them). Also "Only Alaska is turkey-free"? Um, I think I know of one and she's on the TV all the time. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Science! Space born jelly fish have problems when they're introduced to gravity. Which could mean human children born in free fall or microgravity may have difficulty copping if they return to the gravity well. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Denmark is considered the happiest country. I've been there, people do seem to be happier, in general. And the reasons why they are happier, here in the US there's one party dead set on making sure we don't have. Many of the reasons we can't have nice things. And there's no real reason why we can't do these things ourselves. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Speaking of happy, Vince points us to the Happy Rooster. A combination alarm clock and sex toy. Um, yeah, Bob.

"Japanese scientists successfully test asteroid-blasting space cannon." The article actually talks about the mission it will be used on (blasting a hole in an asteroid and scooping up the debris to return to Earth). So, before we do the kaiju jokes, wasn't this the plot opener for Andromeda Strain? (Grokked from Tor.com)

"North Dakota, the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said." I'm sure you won't see that in those oil and gas "is safe and good" commercials.

And you thought the idea of a tape worm was bad. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"So when does the Tea Party end? In the simplest terms, it ends whenever the next Republican president takes office. When that happens, there will be no more government shutdowns, no more cries of Washington tyranny, no more debt ceiling standoffs, no more Republican obsession with deficits. The tricorner hats will be put away. But the fears and resentments that created and sustained the Tea Party will fester, waiting until the next Democratic presidency to burst out. And it will begin all over again." And isn't that a pleasant thought. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Paul Solomon talks about how our economy works. Unfortunately the people who really need to learn this will never read this Q and A session (people like Ron Paul, his son Rand and their acolytes). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Whackaloon. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo ain't heavy, he's my brother

"For whatever reason, the average person seems to think of writers and artists as aimless dreamers, unwilling or incapable of buckling down and getting even the simplest tasks done. They dream that pursuing a career in the arts might be fun to do, but not practical, and the workplace is all about practical." On being a writer and getting a day job. While he talks about the perception of writers as being idealist dreamer instead of hard working, he also doesn't mention that employers don't really like it when you're not 100% dedicated to your job (see later link on at will employment).

Random Michelle with more on they have always fought.

Tobias Buckell with some thoughts on the coming transportation paradigm. As someone who has often had a commute longer than 45 minutes, I have had the fortune to also use the train and the bus as parts of those commutes. Even with the drawbacks of such transportation, I would far better prefer those than a self-driving car. When I was able to take the bus or train I burned through books at a furious rate. I had some interesting conversations with people I would have never met otherwise. Yes, give me a good public transportation system anytime.

Jason Sandford with some thoughts on some local political advertising. Yea, no reason to actually make the judge green, the designer could have used green in other ways to be memorable.

Terri Windling with a story for the birds. Wait, I mean of the birds (lots of cool bird mythology in there).

So, you may be asking yourself, what's new in death? Well, that's a good question. And in case you want to see the award winners for the annual Design for Death, you can check them out here.

The SEP Field that surrounds the rise of antibiotic resistant strains of diseases. Yea, not like this won't bite us in the arse at some point. For those who don't believe in evolution, this isn't a problem. For those of us who live in reality, this should be a matter of concern (because nobody is really working on new or advanced antibiotics, because there's no money in them). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

A CT scanner at full speed without its cover on. Stick your head in there. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Phil Plait wants to eat your brains. Wait, he's not a zombie. I mean he wants to bend your brain around a few visual illusions. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I can't say I haven't been waiting for this fight. Watching the rise of the "Religious Right" and the other evangelical movements involvement in politics I've been waiting for the inevitable schism as the "true believers" descend into squabbling amongst themselves. Surely this isn't a new thing (Enlightenment anybody?), but it had appeared that I may have been indulging in wishful thinking as the groups maintained an uneasy alliance through troubled times. But lately the voices of "I'm the apostle of the True Word and you ain't" have been growing stronger as proponents start their squabble for ever shrinking pieces of pie. This is why religion in government is not chocolate in peanut-butter. Eventually one sect gains an upper hand and uses that toe-hold to whip the other sects. For modern day examples I give you the sectarian squabbles in the Middle-East.

Eric points out the troll. Yes, Virginia, there are trolls in the media.

A Finnish group thinks they've found a vaccine for Type I diabetes. Well, to the virus that can destroy Pancreatic Islets which produce insulin.

And you thought the black death was no more. Actually, IIRC, bubonic plague kills about 7 people in the US every year. As that NPR report describes, it's much more rampant in small mammal populations. It's baaaack.

In case you ever wondered why I'm doing 80 hour weeks on this reboot. "Most people seem to think that First Amendment-ish freedoms—the freedom of not merely speech but of expression, of personal style, etc.—apply in the workplace. They don’t… Unless you have a union, which ensures that you can only be fired for just cause, you’re often screwed." It's called "at will employment." Which means as long as your boss wants you to be hired, you're hired. And the moment they no longer want/need you, you're gone. I'm not a brony, but it could be that my boss just doesn't like beards. Sure, they'll have to pay unemployment, but that's little comfort. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"So, the next time you hear a Republican talk about how the individual mandate simply must be stopped, or at least delayed. Ask them why they’re so opposed to a plan that they came up with in the first place?" An article on the Heritage Foundation's original proposal for health care, from 1989, and it includes the individual mandate. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

That fast food you've been eating? It's cost you almost $4 billion a year in taxes. How about that for an argument of why we should increase the minimum wage. Four billion is more than most programs that the Tea Party want to cut. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Sen. Inhofe says if he had been on Obamacare he would have died. Seems the good senator was discovered to have seriously clogged arteries when he went for a routine colonoscopy. I'll forgo my usual cynicism of saying, "and that would have been a bad thing?" and instead point out that not only does Sen. Inhofe qualify for Medicare, he was probably using his government supplied health insurance to get both the colonoscopy and the emergency surgery done. Now to be fair, that heath care insurance is probably a private company providing it, which is why he could have had arteries so clogged he was "nearly (dead)" by the time his problem was discovered. And if he could barely make it to the surgery table, but was going in for a colonoscopy, is that a ringing endorsement of his health insurance? The ironies of this story are just too great (not to mention, Obamacare is not socialized medicine by any measure. Not to mention, in all those countries with socialized medicine, if you have a medical emergency you would have surgery right away. But here in the US, with Medicare, our own form of "socialized medicine" I have a friend who couldn't get a heart valve replacement for 3 years. Not because of delaying the procedure, but because of "anti-fraud" measures and Congressionally mandated rules, his heart pumping capacity was not bad enough for him to qualify for the surgery. It nearly killed him twice. When he had those episodes, Medicare would have paid for his surgery, but his doctors deemed him too fragile for surgery. By the time he recovered, his heart flow was too good to qualify for surgery. So, Sen. Inhofe, why don't you fargin' fix that (I know the answer to that, the good senator would also like to end Medicare). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But (Rep.) Yoho didn’t listen to them about the shutdown. And look how that turned out." Well, look at how he thought it turned out for him. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Think about what he’s saying there, the next time you call for a policeman or a fireman, or listen to the hurricane track forecast from the national weather service, or you throw away some food in your pantry because it was recalled due to salmonella and you’re glad you heard the warning before you ate any of it. Think about it the next time you drive on the Interstate Highway System, or fly somewhere." Or just think about all the things that were protected during the shutdown and all those things the whackaloon conservatives wanted to open up quickly because people actually missed it when their government worked for them. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"'The president in no way, shape or form directed the Marine Corps to change our uniform cover,' according to the Marine Corps statement. 'We are looking for a new cover for our female Marines for one overriding reason: The former manufacturer went out of business'" But lets not let reality get in the way of a good whackaloon talking point. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"This is what happens when laws give officials the authority to treat fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses as if they are already completely separate from the pregnant woman…" Incarcerating pregnant women is only one of the many reasons this whole "rights of the fetus" and "unborn" children mindsets are complete insanity.

Oh look, real election fraud. Wait, it's a conservative. Again. Never mind. Nothing to see here citizen. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Linkee-poon has time sensitive material

Mer Haskell has a contest based around her new book where you can win some of her old books and, possibly, an ARC of her new book.

Jim Hines is auctioning off one of his Pose Calendars. When I looked at the post, it was already at $175.

The creative process and finding a way to monetize it. while this is mostly for comics, a lot of this goes for writing as we'll. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Some printing/publishing jargon explained. In case you're into that kind of stuff.

What would you do if your studio apartment had a dungeon attached? Well, not exactly a bat cave, but could be another secret hide-away. For some reason I'm now thinking of this guy hosting killer parties at the end of which his neighbors would be oddly reminded of a clown car as people left to go home. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Tea Party Insult Generator. That is an engine that generates insults you hear from TPers. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Salon fact checks Sean Hannity on Obamacare. The reporter actually contacts Sean's guests to ask them other questions. Turns out most of them only got their information on Obamacare from Fox and the GOP (aka the echo chamber) and are responding to things they've heard there instead of actually finding out about their options and responsibilities. Gee, low information people interviewing other low information people. What a surprise. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is ticking away the moments that make up the dull day

At the approach of NaNoWriMo, story first, writing second.

James Alan Gardner on writing comedy.

Twenty-five scary stories to read for Halloween. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Lord of the Rings art done in the style of stained glass. Wow. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Reinventing the bike to include trunk space. Nice solution. (Grokked from Dan)

They have always fought. A 2,600 year old tomb with two skeletons, one with a lance and one with jewelry, pulls a gender switch on archeologists. The one with the lance was a woman, and a guy had the jewelry. This also points out a glaring knowledge hole when it comes to researchers (hint: this isn't the first or only time this has happened, sometimes the error of gender assignment has persisted for decades). (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

How a magnet travels through a copper pipe. Very cool demonstration of diamagnetic effects. Also, damn that's a lot of copper. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

How do you create solar power at night? Store the solar heat as molten salts or ice. Just in case someone asks you, you now have an answer. Also, bet you won't hear about that loan guarantee at Fox News, even though the company name is very close to that other one they talk about incessantly. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Making the glass building be the solar cell array. Material sciences continue to grow and astound with their ability. Also note the last paragraph, "Solar power worldwide reached 100GW installed capacity last year for the first time, up from 71GW in 2011 and just 40GW in 2010…" And yet, here in the US there is considerable political opposition to implementation of solar and wind technologies. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Groundwater radiation levels spike at a holding well near the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Color me unsurprised. Say, have I mentioned the recent research into thyroid cancer around Three Mile Island? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Everybody else is crazy, everybody else is selfish, and the rest of the government, the rest of government spending, is all waste and abuse… Except them." A story from S. Dakota about how much the ranchers there have lost in the freak blizzard and how most of them support the government shutdown, but are pissed that government isn't there to help them. Sort of like how Sen. Cruz had the insanity (as in documentable, verifiable and probably prosecutable) to go to the WWII Memorial and talk about how this shutdown and closure was all President Obama's meanness and now one had the either the brains or balls to tell him to go get stuffed. You might remember Sen. Cruz's non-fillabuster and his vote against any reasonable bill (ie. one that didn't include whackaloon ideology) to open the government. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You might be hearing all this talk about how after the shutdown and the drubbing the GOP took for endorsing their lunatic fringe of their party that "the reality caucus" is back in charge and that they're going to learn from this mistake. Don't you believe it.

"America deserves a far better conservative party than this mewling insanity."

You know, it seems incredible to me that politicians still don't understand the simple rule that someone is always filming a video and the microphone is always hot.

Also that they're still learning that the internet never forgets. Words having meanings is older than dirt, but I'll give them a pass on not understanding that the rest of us understand what message they're sending to their followers. Never interrupt an enemy when they're making a mistake. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"… American has enough immediate and deadly dangerous enemies without adding hobgoblins." Except when you want to raise funds and political capital, and then the lunies will start coming out of the walls. Over 50 years of fright tactics (mostly perpetrated by a particular side of the political spectrum). Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

That old saw about Obama's spending being out of control? Yea, it's as much a lie as the rest of the crap. And you can see it with this easy to understand graph of government spending increases during the past Presidential terms going back to Reagan. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Re: my party and crying et al.

The new class of Viable Paradise graduates has made it through the horror that is "Thursday Night." An my friends are at the lake. I miss them all.

Me? I'm working at home slicing together a video for the day job. Will be cleaning it up tomorrow. I can barely stand the excitement.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Linkee-poo doesn't give a damn about its bad reputation

Dr Doyle on this intricate dance of story. She also has links to various plot generators (in case you need them). Also from Dr. Doyle, the character with a vulture on their shoulder. "If the book is a heartwarming memoir about a boy and his dog, for example, the dog is going to die at the end."

Chuck Wendig on the fast approaching NaNoWriMo and how you might prepare yourself.

Terri Windling on the fox in lore and legend. I've always loved the trickster, but mine is the coyote. The fox can be bloody and deadly, while coyote is always hungry he is as often the victim in his jests than he is the instigator.

Dr Phil makes some point about some advertising. I've been wanting to do a long post about the lamentable state of advertising these days (seriously, wtf are all the art directors on?).

Gettycritics. Ah, the joys of stock photography. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Counting coup when it comes to fascists. When grandmothers can (and feel they must) steal your flag, you might want to rethink your strategy. (Grokked from Janiece)

And thinking of Lakota grandmothers (which is a whole essay in and of itself) and the "500 Years After", the Oatmeal's well deserved take-down of Chris Columbus. This isn't the first take-down, but it's one of the better ones. How do I celebration the day? I sing The Great Nations of Europe. "… there were natives there called Guanches. Guanches by the score, but bullets, disease, the Portuguese they weren't there any more." And don't get me started on the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving. Just do a google search on Tisquantum (aka Squanto) and if you get the full story try not to tear your hair out in grief (why did he help the Pilgrims, because he was serving the ghosts of his people, Tisquantum was the last of his tribe). "Hide your wives and daughters, hide the groceries too, the great nations of Europe coming through."

Well, that's a depressing thought. "(T)hese right-wingers aren’t using the threat of debt default to undo the Affordable Care Act — they’re using the threat of undoing the Affordable Care Act… to get what they really want: putting the United States of America into default." (Pointed to by Dan)

"To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the… Affordable Care Act… waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig who posted his own thought about the long con of the TP)

The things that remind me

Going through some of my reading list and Terri Windling's usually magnificent "Tunes for a Monday Morning" posts I hit this. I now have the opening pull quote for Act III (the Orpheus in the Underworld part) of the WIP. And let me say, I love Rufus' voice, always have.

There are things in our lives that we've known and martyred to the necessity of living. Dust strewn, dimly lit figures flutter though our consciousness, and then we are by chance reminded of our former selves and all that revelatory light burns through our cobweb shroud.


Most people like to quote the first part of Sonnet 29, but I love the end.
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

To put in the modern vulgar parlance… all I need is you, babe, and the rest of the world can go fuck itself.

I may have to sing this to Bette tonight. Or at least recite it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

For those long time readers, you know I often refer to October as Writetober. October is chock full of writing experiences and this is the time of year my writer brain kicks into fourth (not much to do outside, so time starts freeing up, however many years of living on a school calendar, it's my favorite time of year, etc).

This week is the start of the next Viable Paradise workshop. Four years after my own experience and a lot of my class mates have made break throughs. I'm still on the mailing lists so I get to see all the hope and excitement of the new class and the well wishes of those of us who have been through it. Thursday night on the island and you'll never be the same.

Next weekend is also a writers' retreat with a bunch of friends, the first of which I won't be able to attend since I started to be invited (it's not the first retreat I've had to say no to, but this is the retreat I was first invited to and I worked hard to go to all of them, including one when I was out of work and it's not an entirely inexpensive experience). I already miss everybody that will be there. And I miss the 10,000 words or so I normally get out during the weekend. There is this feeling of homesickness when I linger on not being able to go.

This summer when I was looking into MBA programs, another course of action I was seriously considering was to drop this reboot thing all together and throw myself deeper into writing. The unfortunate thing about that, and what keep coming up, is that while I've had minor successes, no money has flowed in from my writing. And this reboot is about keeping money (and benefits) flowing. Our lives weren't supposed to be like this. We actually planned for my wife's job to provide most of the income and security which left me to be able to take the risks I would need to grow my career. When life decided to kick us down I had to shift to a more safe path (well, I didn't have to, but facing low probabilities of success and lower-income made those risker propositions even riskier).

Writing is my risky proposition. There is a low chance of success, and (at least at the beginning) the high possibility of low returns even if there is success. But it was something I could attempt and find some success. And I miss it. I miss it terribly.

Weekend Linkee-poo is your only friend, I'm not your only friend, but I'm a little glowing friend, but really I'm not actually your friend, but I am…

And the reading list keeps growing. Weeee…

Ricky Gervais on how to tell a story. Or about what a story really is, or what you should be writing, or his pivotal point in story telling, or whatever.

Cate Kennedy's to 10 (actually 11) tips for writers. Some stuff you normally don't hear about. Number 7 is particularly good and sometimes my worst hurdle. And a great many writer (And designer) wannabes get taken out when they encounter number 9.

Why don't writers have a lingo? Actually we already have one, but some of these are pretty good.

Need to get away to write? (Oh boy, do I ever) Here's nine writing residencies from around the world. Is it just me or does the Iceland, Mexico, and Arctic Circle ones sound the best?

"It’s with very real regret that we must inform you that your petition to play devil’s advocate has been denied." Actually, I'm waiting for the Vatican to reinstate the office Promotor Fidei (Promoter of the Faith, aka the Devil's Advocate) so I can get a t-shirt. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Just in case you think that the current insanity among conservatives is a new phenomenon, a recent book about the "civic hysteria" in Dallas in the early 60s (which lead to the assassination of JFK. "In a new history, Dallas 1963, (the authors) explore the city in the years leading up to the assassination — and they describe an angry place, a stew of superpatriotism fueled by anti-Communist paranoia, fierce racism and anti-Semitism." Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Another one of the new jobs. Note "ability to work flexible schedule" and it only being 20-25 hours a week on a contract basis. That means, "be available full-time, but we'll only need and pay you when we need you."

"Here’s to safe, legal, effective contraception for all." Because humans will use some type of it anyway, even if it kills them. Here is an opening to the code of advertising. In this case, the 50's and the Lysol Douche. And if you don't think the same idiot stuff happens today, you really aren't paying attention (the recent use of "bath salts" which aren't either). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The new $100s are here! The new $100s are here! "Over the next year or so, the Federal Reserve will release $350 billion in $100 bills into the money pool, as it pulls the old ones out. But where, exactly, all those bills will go is one of life’s great mysteries." It's not a mystery, especially once you know the c-note is the lingua franca of the black (and grey) market. And that market is huge. When the Fed last released a new $100, most of their advertising over it was done in Russia and the Horn of Africa countries. Because that's where most of the bills are.

"Without the government data that produces that formula, producers are forced to use private source data to set the rate. And since that data is only based on different cuts of the hog -- hams, loins, ribs -- packers and producers are having to work backward in order to set prices." Yea, the government does nothing for businesses. Except it does everything for them by creating the playing field and making sure everybody stays "honest", as best it can.

"If you like the work being done by those private churches and charities — $4 billion in food assistance! — then listen to the people doing that work. They’re not able to do 24 times what they’re doing now." Fred Clark is very smart about charity and the scope of the work before us. This is good to keep in mind as the stories of "private" money (or state money) helping to open up small slices of the federal government.

Also, if you missed this links post by the Slactivist you really ought to go read it. Seven links to opinions about the causes of the shutdown. Same ol' politics. I was commenting today to a person I work with at the hospital that it seems like all those bad habits from the 80s (when I started working in professional jobs) and before have come back with a vengeance. It's almost as if the 90s never really happened (except for computers on everybody's desk). And it's not by accident.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Linkee-poo watches the stags in the Royal Park

"(A)n ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

J002E3 is the prodigal space trash. Probably the 3rd stage of Apollo 12 which took a few trips around the Sun and then got caught in the Earth's gravity well before going back around the Sun. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Man fails to cross Atlantic using a helium balloon cluster. Um, yea, Bob. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just in case you think the GOP is very concerned about this shutdown. Nope, just good ol' fun to them. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The largest study of gun violence in the United States, released Thursday afternoon, confirms a point that should be obvious: widespread American gun ownership is fueling America’s gun violence epidemic." Shocked, shocked I am… (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Well, at least the Governor of Kentucky knows what being a public servant means, even though Kentucky's two state senators have forgotten. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

And some are more equal than others. A two-tiered voting system in Kansas and Arizona… say, which parties control those states? Oh yea, never mind. Next up, literacy tests and poll taxes. (Pointed to by Dan)

Think the mortgage crisis is over? Not if you still have a mortgage. Because the bank, while protesting that they'll lose money, won't and actually just wants your house. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Japanese media say the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) reported lower than actual levels of radioactivity in waters around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for nearly two years." Like we didn't really expect that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

History is repeating when it comes to paying people excessively low rates. Not like violent rioting would ever happen here in the US when it comes to employment laws, pay rates, and respect at work. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The illustrated Book of Bad Arguments. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo without a title

Four scary things writers must learn to embrace. Some information for those just starting out.

John Joseph Adams is answering publishing questions on his blog. That one explains his slush process.

Why is this fight so important? Well, I've explained the GOP side (loss of power), here's the other side. Which boils down to helping people. I can tell you how many times this past week I've heard of people who want to sign up for "Obamacare", but can't because they already have insurance through their employer (but don't like it) and people who have said they've stayed in bad jobs simply for the heath insurance. Kinda makes you wonder just what and who the GOP wants to save.

Lake Natron's desiccated birds. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Fred Clark has a money-making offer for you. Just as long as you're willing to lie and prey on the fearful and gullible. Unfortunately what Mr. Clark isn't telling you is the field is already pretty crowded. On the plus side, it means I've still got time for the WIP.

NPR on the surveillance state and your Forth Amendment rights. And yet you didn't see the TP protest all these small cases that have actually worn away our Constitutional Rights. I recommend the whole series.

A tale of two positions. First up, the design assistant for $12 an hour and only needing a HS diploma and the Graphics Divisional Manager who must have several years working in exactly the same position for someone else to get the job. That pretty much sums up the work opportunities for designers. Dear business people, you need to have several positions inbetween these or you won't ever be able to fill the later.

But where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother, they're here. November 19th, a day that will live in… yawn. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tobias Buckell reminds us that US healthcare has already been socialized, by Ronald Reagan. I remember that time. I also remember the dire warnings that ERs would shut down (and many did).

Wil Wheaton makes the best comment about "Arizona appears to be the only state to have stopped cutting welfare checks during the federal government shutdown, the Arizona Republic reported Friday."

Jim Wright on the current deadlock.

You know that well-trodden cliche about, "sure what we're doing is bad, but They did it first?" Fred Clark reminds us a little of just exactly how that worked. I'll also note here that I've heard about the various "liberal attempts to roll-back the Bush Era tax cuts." And, as one of those people, I'll say, yes we did try. But what we did, rather than passing 40 attempts to repeal his taxes that had no chance of ever being signed or even passed in the other chamber of Congress, was attempt to halt the re-authorization when those bill sunset (a sunset initially included because the long term damage to our budgets and economy was too much to bear at the time, but conveniently forgotten over the course of 7 years).

The money laundering in the 2012 election gets a little clearer. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stephen Colbert gives the best writing advice

Unfortunately the only youtibe clip I could find looks like a video of a TV screen, so here is a link to the Colbert Nation with the closing clip from 09-30-2013 with Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad. Colbert Nation doesn't allow embedding. If you have a muse and if they haven't done this to you, you aren't getting your money's worth.

If I had the time, I'd make it an animated gif or a LOLcat image.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Linkee-poo for a shutdown

One the reasons we are here (in shutdown as I write this), these idiots don't know their asses from holes in the ground. Why was the WWII Memorial Closed? Because that's what a shutdown means. Why would they do that? Because no one is there to staff the memorial, and if someone should fall, there's no one to respond (I'm sure the ambulance sent from 911 dispatch would go onto the property, but they would be violating numerous agreements). So, Rep. Gomert, why don't we also open the parks to visitors? After all, nobody needs help to touch trees. And Rep. King once again shows his vast ignorance. It wasn't a personal decision by the President, he's following the operations manual on what is essential and what isn't. What isn't is closed. And once again the conservatives are going to try and roll back the uncomfortable ramifications of their own decisions. What a fucking bunch of clowns. Sad clowns.

BTW, I hope all those clowns show up tomorrow with some brooms and dust bins, not to mention garbage bags. They might also want to brush up on keeping water fountains running. But of course, these idiots have never seen the support that needs to happen to keep things running.

And now there's word that the GOP wants to fund all those parts that will affect them first. Okay, game over, screw the CR. Dear GOP, your homework is late. Partial work will no longer be accepted. Please deliver a full omnibus spending bill for FY2014. Every day it is late is another full letter grade. Think I'm being too harsh? This is Congress' actual Constitutional function. For people who like to carry the Constitution in their pockets, maybe it's time to actually read the blasted thing. When you learn how to act like adults we'll treat you like adults.

Jim Wright with a little perspective.

Mary Robinette Kowal shares an interesting photo link from her site.

Catherine Schaff-Stump interviews Jay Lake about his "story a week challenge."

So, all those fencing terms in the Princess Bride are from actual history. But I'm pretty sure all the scams named in Ocean's 11 (12, and 13) are still bogus. (Grokked from Tor.com)

So, it's almost Halloween and every castle is turning up haunted. Fortunately they won't make you run the haunted house gauntlet naked. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Vince shares a list of resources for depression, suicide, and other emergencies.