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, December 31, 2014

Linkee-poo closes out (2014) with a whimper

To say things over the holiday have been hectic is to give new meaning to understatement. I hope you all have had a better holidays. To give you an example of just how it's been, Bette and I still haven't had our Christmas, yet. The gifts are still wrapped under the tree. Since I doubt I'll have time today to do much more reading, we'll just close out here. See you all on the other side.

Fifteen ways to write a novel. Read everything, keep what works for you, toss the rest.

A BBC Theme Park? Were you too kind rise the Downton Abby, um… something. And wait, isn't that a Star Trek Emblem in that one rendering? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Trains. Trains with frickin' lasers. Using lasers to clean the tracks for high speed trains. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Oh, Michelle Bachmann, don't you ever change. You'll always be Crazy Lady to me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Century Ago



IIRC, the "Christmas Truce" lasted longer than one night, and it took forces on both sides rotating their troops out and replaced with fresh ones to start the war again. It's hard to kill the other when the other is a real person to you.

Linkee-poo, 3 things make a post version

Lots of things happening today, so probably not much time to read or gather posts (actually the same is true until the middle of next week). Hope you have a great holiday.

Interesting, Charles Dickens' notes on how to perform his A Christmas Carol. Even back then artist understood the performance of their written work was necessarily different from the written word. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

And, speaking of Neil, his I, Cthulhu. For your holiday enjoyment. (Grokked from tons of people)

One of the reasons progressives like the President. Of course girls like basketballs and Legos. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Everywhere you'll find pieces of Cupid and Comet



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Linkee-poo clears the baffles before Xmas

Just saw the last Hobbit movie. WTF? Okay, I understand that movies are different than books (why the Battle of the Five Armies needed to be longer than in the book). But by the third "poetic justice end" it was getting a little boring. Just like we used to only have unrealistic gun combat with the unending number of bullets, now we have completely unrealistic hand to hand combat. Seriously, I (again) understand that we're dealing with Hero Level characters, but come on here. Plus it's damn obvious that Bob Anderson is dead (really, there aren't other weapons masters out there that can help directors understand just how sword play and knife fights actually work). And lets not get started on Legolas jumping on falling stones until he could reach solid ground. Yea, not happening. But then, much of that fight sequence was completely unbelievable. And then there's the anatomy problems. Apparently Orcs' fontanels never close. And how is it Galadriel and Elrond can go anywhere without their army or at least some retinue? Let's not talk about how the Wizards weren't sent to directly fight, but inspire Men and Elves to fight (and slightly tip the balance in their favor). Oh, and Galadriel does that whole "evil green light thing" just a little too much.

And let us not discuss the coming attractions which seemed to be going for the Award for Most Times the BRAM Sound Could Be Inserted in a Trailer (one had music that was mostly BRAM). Also, pretty boring movie line up. Can we all agree that the "loser schlub who can't tie their own shoe laces is actually the child of a secret agent and they also have super secret agent fighting skills" is the movie version of the fantasy trope "farm boy is actually the king".

So, you think you're having a tough time breaking into writing? How about these stories from well established authors about their worst moments. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

To dudebros everywhere. On how to learn empathy from reading period romances. Hahahahaha. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Ferlinghetti should be read as a subversive act…" Hells Fucking Yea. (Just a hint that I love me some Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and now I might have to dig out my books of poetry).

What tidal-power turbines look like, out of the water. Well, here's a green power technology Bill O'Reilly can get behind. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

A quick history of American-Cuban relationships. As for a certain senator bashing the Obama administration for coddling dictators, just WTF do you think Batista was? Sure, he was "Our Man in Havana", but he was a dictator.

North Korea's internet connection is having problems. They must have switched to Comcast. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I'm sure one side of the "us vs them" argument over cops versus the public isn't just making shit up. Nah, they wouldn't do that. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

And Darryl Issa's fishing trip to find the connection between the IRS BOLO lists and the Shite House comes back empty. Surprise. Well, not really.

Christ Child Lullaby

Friday, December 19, 2014

Linkee-poo is dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones at Fox News

Cheap shot, I know. But looking to leave the day thing early, and then it's Two Weeks of Vacation, Baby! Two weeks where I get to work most days at the hospital or have family obligations (more days at the hospital). Hope you're having a good holiday.

Neil Gaiman's Nicholas Was poem. Also, a video with Neil narrating. And while I love Mr. Gaiman's voice, I prefer this video narrated by Craig Ferguson. And God bless us, everyone.

The four minute crash corse on the mythology of Middle Earth. You know, if you don't want to read The Silmarillion. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Need a character for your epic fantasy? How about using the 5th Edition D&D character generator? Come on, you know all those characters are just your D&D pals run amok, right? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The story of how NORAD Santa Tracker began. Sometimes I love my fellow airmen (and women). Also pointed to because of the misprint in advertising, and that just because someone looks straight-laced in their dress blues doesn't mean they don't have a sense of humor and a warm heart underneath that uniform. Thank you, Col. Harry Shoup. Stands and salutes.

Of somewhat a concern to me as I'm trying to lose weight, given the first law of thermodynamics, where does that fat go? (Grokked from Janiece)

For luck, there is no Chapter 13, just this Christmas photo album. When holiday card photos go bad. To brighten your heart as you read the 12th "Annual Wrap Up" letter that makes you jealous and want to start drinking (because it obviously worked for those other people). (Grokked from Jim Hines)

NASA's Venus atmospheric mission. You can long for Mars all you want, but Venus has everything we need (it's just not cool and all red-soily as Mars), and it's just around the corner (as it were). And speaking of Venus Cloud City, I know this guy… (waves at Geoff Landis and Tobias Buckell). (Grokked from Pablo Defendini)

You know that moment when your talking with friends or coworkers and you totally forget they have cancer or just lost a parent and you crack that insensitive joke or say something you thought was witty, but really wasn't? Don't worry, it also happens to news anchors. And then there's that moment when they're on your show and you say something asinine to them. Seriously, WTF Fox News? Totally Unexamined White Privilege. Wow, how can you be so clueless and get paid so much? Basically Bill is saying, "Why aren't the Blacks more grateful for the crumbs they've been given, instead of being upset our police are killing them?" So totally ignorant of their own position. You're insulted? Fuck, dude, you've been insulting my intelligence for the entire time you've been on TV.

Let me play Devil's Advocate here… A comic on why you shouldn't (or at least what it really means). (Grokked from Janiece)

The Instagram Rapture. Instagram makes good on the threat to delete SPAM accounts. (Grokked from Dan)

Vermont's single payor plan gets put on the shelf. I expect to hear this being beaten by the various conservative news outlets as proof it could never work in the US. Although note, those increases aren't total percentage increases, but the percentage of increase on the current tax rates (ie. the 11% payroll tax increase wouldn't be Current Tax + 11%, but Current Tax x 111%, which is lower). Also note that the plan wouldn't work because of the loss of Medicaid funds (fixable, especially at the national level) and some other federal grants.

And just because it aired this morning, we have the best healthcare system in the world (when it comes to suing poor people for their outstanding bills, which should be covered under "charity care", for which we pay for with our taxes). Sure, the healthcare system didn't need changing. I'm sure we all agree that non-profit hospitals should have $45 million dollars in profit.

So, "dog-bites-man" stories won't run which is why we get "man-bites-dog" stories all over the place. How about "dog-shoots-man" stories?

Sure, all cops are wonderful people who only want to serve and protect. Yea, cops, just like our armed forces, are made up of people just like the rest of the population. Most of them are really nice, some more of them just want to do their job and go home, and then there are the assholes. And while most cops are good (or at least not overly biased as compared to the standard population), just like pyromaniacs are drawn to be firefighters so they're around fires and get their kicks, there's a lot of assholes who want to be cops so they have the power to be assholely to other people.

"She adds that the Satanic Temple is hoping the holiday display episode will serve as an example to the state Legislature, where the Michigan Religious Freedom and Restoration Act has stirred debate over allowing people and businesses to claim exemptions from state laws owing to their religious beliefs." I think I'm beginning to like these people. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Davy stole a Christmas Tree from K-Mart last night



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Linkee-poo turned and looked at you and all but the bitter residues slipped away

Incidental decorations, notes, scribblings and other miscellany on medieval manuscripts. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The modern "child raised by wolves" story. In this case, a child kept off the grid by a parent hiding out, has access to a 20 year old computer and writes his own games and a GUI interface. (Grokked from Dan)

Say, did you know that Ewok song at the end of Star Wars, Episode 6 had an actual English translation? Now you do. (Grokked from John)

Neither brother needs to tattle to Mother when you are arguing on CSPAN, because she's watching you (all the time). Now, that is epic. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

In a previous life I used to manage partner-level meetings and training sessions for our company. So when I say, "this is some cool shit and I wish my customers would have given me the resources to pull something like this off" you can be assured that's a professional assessment. (Grokked from Dan)

"Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a clam shell." Well, that answers a few questions. First off, is creativity and decoration a uniquely "human" quality? Apparently not. Also, it answers the age-old question of who originally looked at a clam or oyster and thought, "I'd eat that." It was Homo erectus. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"One would think that when the state incarcerates a pregnant woman in order to “protect” her fetus, they’d at least do everything they can to ensure a healthy pregnancy — that is literally the only supposed purpose of such a law, after all. You’d be wrong." (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

When a man loves a horse very much… I'm beginning to worry about this sexual preoccupation conservatives have with beastiality.

The epidemic you haven't heard about, yet. I wonder how soon before some TV or radio talking head confuses Chikungunya with Chanukah.

The US Army is prepared to launch an aerostat that will monitor most of the mid-Atlantic seaboard. What could possibly go wrong? (and another more in-depth article about them) (Grokked from Dan)

And, a signal boost for Fred Clark who takes the news of the weekend and serves up a healthy dose of truth to power. In this case the truth about how we do have a culture of violence, but it isn't terrorists, it's men killing their partners (wives, girlfriends, etc). One side in this argument doesn't want to hear it, because they can't admit to anything being wrong with the American Family.

"'It's absurd, and it's part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,' (Marco Rubio) said." Oh, these young people and their silly ideas. Dear Sen. Rubio, let me introduce you to the 80s.

And now for some JS Bach



Monday, December 15, 2014

Linkee-poo woke to the sound of drums, the music played, the morning sun streamed in

Need that refill of piss and vinegar? I recommend listening to Animals by Pink Floyd. It does wonders. "The Lord is my shepherd…"

Random Michelle K has a good example of how the cover makes the book. MY guess is the publisher went with the other cover to try and trick the bodice-ripper contingent (and they are mighty, if I haven't said that before) to pick up the book.

Ever wanted to play Zork again? Well, now you can on an Altair 8800 clone you can access from the internet. You're in a forest where all the trees look the same. (Grokked from Dan)

Janiece pretty well sums up my feelings about looking at my Facebook page. Add in the "being majorly disappointed in both the political leanings and inability to logically parse the news from people I once respected" and that about wraps it up.

So, the American who helped write the Ugandan "Kill All the Gays" law now faces being tried for crimes against humanity. So, 1) obviously, in this country we do know what constitutes "crimes against humanity", 2) we can pursue charges and 3) but we still think drowning and recovering someone multiple times in a row isn't torture. (Grokked from Dan)

The GOP to Acorn, "We just can't quit you." You know what the good thing about slaying the monsters under the bed is? You win every time. 'Cause they were never there to begin with. Or, as the old joke goes, "You don't see any elephants here, do you?" (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Fred Clark puts the icing on the cake, as it were, on this social discussion on white privilege and institutionalized racism when it comes to police in enforcement.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hosed for the holidays

Well, a little down time here at the hospital (working, not a patient), and I tried reading some s for a linked-poo post but with e latest iOS I'm kinda hosed for copy/pasting things in blogger. I'm sure it works fabulous with the blogger app, but I don't want to hog bandwidth on the public wifi to download it, and I shouldn't have to use it.

But I wanted to give you all a heads up that with the holiday coming up, I'm massively over scheduled. So things may get light again until after the new year. Yea for extra work. Boo for not having any free time.

Yea, chalk up one more thing that is a hassle to do on a tablet.

I'm not sure how this will layout because I'm having a lot of problems behind the scenes so am trying a different scheme.

Hope your holidays are a little less hectic.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Linkee-poo dreamed you had left my side, no warmth, not even pride remained

Kameron Hurley talks about being a corporate copywriter and being a novelist. Note to new writers, all the writers I know who make their living writing do corporate copyright as their main source of income. Just food for thought. Also, she has great advice on how being a copywriter changes how she views the various travails and garment rending that goes on in "literary circles."

Why you can't catch your own typos. Brain science. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

What if Earth had a ring system like Saturn's? For your interest and world building conundrums. Imaging how fast we would have invented ocean navigation if we had those? (Grokked from John)

For your world building enjoyment, Peruvian skulls intentionally deformed because of "beauty". (Grokked from Steven Gould)

The graves of Polish vampires show evidence they were residents of the towns that buried them with special accommodations. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Wanna use non-approved k-cups on Keurig 2 coffee makers? Well, there is a way. Note, using these techniques will make Keurig mad at you and may violate warrantee and licensing agreements you made when you purchased the Keurig 2. We take no responsibility for how you use this information and it is only provided on a "this is hilarious that you have to hack your personal small-appliances these days" basis. (Grokked from John)

Fred Clark schools Rick Perry for the Gospel quote he used recently, "the poor you will always have with you." Just like many other quotes thrown out by supposed "Biblically Living" people, Ricky gets it wrong. I'll note here that Mr. Clark is performing that grievous sin against the Church that my grandfather taught me, "you have to read the whole thing", not just the verse they reference in the program. You should read at least the whole chapter that verse appears in so you can understand the context of the verse.

And Ben Franklin said, "Fart proudly." Also, you should know, your sphincters (anal, pyloric, and the pseudo cardiac sphincter) aren't air tight. You're leaking gas all the time. And it's a good thing. If you didn't, your intestines would inflate like twisted balloon animals. No. Really. I've seen it in x-rays. (Grokked from Rae Carson)

Jim Wright goes and does it again by saying was I was going to say about the Torture Report. Although I will add that the goal of terrorists is to make the targeted government respond by breaking its own laws and violating its own moral code in a way to show the citizens how corrupt it really is and to sever the social contract, sparking revolution. Glad the Bush Administration let the bastards win. Good for us that we are a nation of barbarism, hatred, and intolerance of the other or this report could really be damaging (on top of the realization that our police force has become militarized and still has institutional racism at its root). Keep rooting for it Fox News.

So, why does the control for the 30 kW laser aboard the USS Ponce look like a game controller? You have view the video to see it.

Dear conservatives, want to know why liberals think you're insane? Because this defense of torture, and "it's all political", and the refrain of "Democrats just hate this country" isn't either new or convincing. But apparently your media source believes these lies to their core. This is the example of "America, Fuck Yea!" that makes us wonder just what the hell traumatized you early in your life. And I know the psychologists who "consulted" the CIA on torture got $40M a piece for selling out their souls. How much did the people on Fox get for theirs? This is the country they love and want, not the one the rest of us love and want.

Dear Rep. Petey King, prove it to me by volunteering to go through "stress positions" and take the CIA's counter-interrogation training where they are water boarded as a part of that training. Do it and prove to me what you're saying that "it's not torture." After all, if it isn't, surely you could survive 4 hours of stress positioning and being water boarded twice. Do it, coward. I dare you. I triple-dog dare you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Linkee-poo contemplates the things done in our name

When I was but a young lad, Pink Floyd was one of those groups that I loved the hell out of. The musicality, message and structure of Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall were amazing. In my college years I seriously dug Wish You Were Here and Animals. But as I grow older, I've fallen in love with their earlier works, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn to Obscured by Clouds. But I mostly love Meddle. Just checking my iTunes list and I've listened to the various songs on that album (yes, album, get off my lawn!) more that all their other albums.

Justine Larbalestier on some common "writing facts." Everybody's career is different. The 2-3 novels thing is averages, it doesn't mean you'll sell your second or third novel.

The Apple eMate. I always wanted one of those. When people were going all agog over network appliances (Chromebook and the others), I kept on thinking of this little machine. To bad nobody designs computers like this anymore. (Grokked from Dan)

While we have electronics that will dissolve in the body, they dissolve too quickly for any real use. But, if you encase those devices in manufactured silk, the crystalline nature of the silk can make those devices last longer. (Grokked from John)

Because the "No Social Security for Nazis Act" has been getting a lot of press lately, it might be time to remember when we actively recruited dedicated Nazis to help our Cold War efforts. Space program, anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

"Whether or not you ever break the law, you should be prepared to protect yourself and your property just in case police become suspicious of you. Let’s take a look at one of the most commonly misunderstood legal situations a citizen can encounter: a police officer asking to search your belongings." Just say, "No." Ask them for cause. And if they say they have a warrant, ask them to show it to you. If there isn't a judge's signature, it's not legal. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Fred Clark with some interesting points on the crossroads between Pre-Millenialism and politics.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Linkee-poo throws the windows wide and calls to you across the sky

Well, I think I just found almost a whole hour of music to add to the writing playlist. I loves me some Floyd, and they're hitting all the thematic highlights of their career. (h/t to John Scalzi who tweeted about listening to it)

Jason Sanford wants you to know he's made every (I'd say most) mistakes you can while trying to launch a writing career. And he's still here to talk about it. So, young writers, if you think you've screwed the pooch over something, know that there is very little that can not be corrected for.

Neil Gaiman talks about the meanings of fairy tales. Add in a little history, and some musing on writing (not all from Mr. Gaiman) and pretty good. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The Diane Rehm who on the history and modern relevance of fairy tales.

Someone attacks a Furry convention with chlorine gas. (Can't remember whom I grokked this from, sorry)

What to do your senior year in design? Well, you can produce and illuminated text of the Silmarillion. You know, as you do.

Krampusfest? Between the "War on Xmas", keeping it "real", and white American Evangelical freakout over anything "fantasy" and especially anything with horns, there's just too much here. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Hey, remember when Mitch McConnell was striking a tone of cooperation during the election and saying while they may try to change Obamacare, that repeal was right out? Yea, so much for that.

Sure, there's no white privilege. Except there is.

There are no words. A Fox New host agrees with a commentator that "Enough is enough… (t)he general public needs to be trained to be more sensitive to the police and show them the respect they deserve." Respect is earned, not given. Most police are excellent, they try their best and sometimes die for what they believe. But then there are the others, the ones who abuse their office. Just as pyromaniacs are drawn to fire fighting, there is a group of bullies and reprobates who are drawn to law enforcement. And then there is the century of institutionalized racism that pervades the thinking of "the law and order" crowd. The Thin Blue Line has protected them. It shouldn't any longer.

Think it's not there? The Strange Fruit PR controversy. Seriously, how mind fucked do you need to be to think that would be a good name for a PR firm?

And every song we played was for the Late, Great Johnny Ace



Miss you, John.

Happy Xmas, War Is Over, If You Want It.


I thought hard about linking to another video, like this one. But sometimes we need a reminder that the cost of war isn't just borne by the soldier and their orphan and widow.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo surveys it's last fully free weekend until the middle of January

Well, it's not whole free, I have a final on Tuesday.

The Pantone color of 2015? Meh. Okay, the official name is "Marsala." But it's "Meh" all the way down. BTW, the Pantone color of the year is a very distinct marketing maneuver for Pantone. It bears no resemblance to what anyone will actually use or desire. Those colors are predicted about three years out, and are closely held trade secrets (and sold for big bucks). Don't believe me? Here's one for Spring/Summer 2016. It'll only cost you $700. Pretty damn cheap if you ask me (but then, that's only 2 years from now, so this is already a year or two out of date).

The Yota phone2. With a screen on the front and back. Okay, it sounds damn stupid, but I actually feel a little drawn to it. A nice solution for a few problems smartphones have. Still way, way too expensive. (Grokked from John)

OMG, the Obama re-election team used social media to reframe and shape the coverage and public perception of the election issues. Shocked, shocked I am… Actually I'm pointing to this just in case anybody doesn't get how controlled and managed public persona social media feeds are. This is all marketing, folks. Also pointed to because most marketing advice for writers on how to use social media is "don't just plug your book." Well, there are whole levels of marketing that you could be doing that would sell your book other than tweeting "Buy My Book". Also pointed to because this is going to be very, very relevant for the next two years (and, yes, it's already started). Finally pointed to to help dispel that myth of "oh, some staffer posted that horribly (racist, homophobic, insensitive, ignorant, pissy, just plain wrong) comment/tweet and we've fired them." Sorry. Nobody in the public eye runs their social media that way. And if they do, they don't deserve your time anyway.

And last point about that article, I've been in meetings where the suggestion to run a social media section of a corporation has been "consulted" to "hire some high school kid, 'cause they know about these things." Absolutely, positively not. Do not do these things.

It costs money to save money. And not in that "buy more, save more" marketing statement. This is why poor people tend to stay poor, it costs too much to get ahead. I was lucky, still am in some ways. But those fears and lessons still haunt my steps. I live in a (small) house that's almost paid off, we own two cars that are paid off, and at least once a week I have a small panic attack about how I could lose it all. I'm still fighting the insurance company to cover hail damage over the summer. If necessary I could scrape together enough to replace the shingles (again, it's a small house), but then I worry that might be the domino that starts the Rube-Goldberg device of the downhill slide. So even if you're lucky enough to climb your way out, the trauma still lives in your head. (Grokked from Morgan J Lock)

When white people go bad. There's two links to share with any of your coworkers who wonder outlaid, "How come whenever I see a riot on TV, it's always black people?" We won't mention the times white people rioted, hauled black people from jails to lynch them or burned whole "black towns" to the ground. Nice people don't discuss those things. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The lesson here is that public shaming works. Especially among rich white people, especially in California. But it took a hellalotta work to do it. (Grokked from the Slactivist, who has this post with lists of links just like this one just in case someone you know believes we live in a society based on merit or equality)

"The federal government estimates that, every year, 1.6 percent of American women are raped… That number can feel small; it is, after all, a tiny fraction of the population. But when you put it human terms, as we do in the graphic below, it is astonishingly, overwhelming large." My, that's a lotta scrolling going on there. (Grokked form John Scalzi)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Linkee-poo welcomes Orion home

Not too much. Trying to balance time and deal with having twitter blocked at the day thing.

Wow, almost missed it this year. Patrick Rothfuss's annual fundraiser for Heifer International (and a chance to win great prizes) is now only open until December 15th. So if you've given to Worldbuilders before, or have thought about it, or give to Heifer International and maybe would like to win some prizes for being such a good person, there you are. And, yes, the Stardust ARC is back in the lottery.

The unfortunate part of finally charging CEO Blankenship with crimes for the safety violations in his mines (which you may remember the Big Bend explosion) is that the prosecution will need to be carried through to the next administration. Depending on whom is elected, and how, it might end up going nowhere. See Microsoft monopoly (about IE) case that the Bush Administration inherited, and then dropped the ball.

Jim Wright lets us know of the latest with Glenn "Shakes" Beck. The libel and slander suit is allowed to go forward.

When asked questions framed to condemn Muslims, Pope Francis gives an answer people weren't expecting. Yes, he went there and equated Radial Islamist with Christian Fundamentalists. (Grokked from Dan)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Linkee-poo paints her eyes as black as night, now, pulls those shades down tight

Things I've learned and need to internalize, more calories will not give you more spoons. In fact, eating a whole footlong sub for lunch may actually subtract from your spoon reserve.

The NPR Book Concierge best books of 2014.

Catherine Schaffer with some advice on handling trolls.

On writing evil. People in their own minds hardly ever consider themselves evil, and Shakespeare's only villain without a cause stands out in his cannon (Don John).

Ready for a world building tip? Strap in. There are stars in the universe that travel at a third the speed of light. And there's a lot of them. Your welcome. Hope you didn't get any brain cells on your shoes. (Grokked from Dan)

Orion. It's the next thing in space.

Life in the time of Ebola. A portrait of a village struck with the disease and how they, and the treatment unit that supports the village, responded and have learned to live with (and deal with the dead by) Ebola.

Killing the goose that laid the Golden Egg. A report on the death of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

And because sometimes it's claimed otherwise, no, rape is never "okayed" no matter who does it. "A former Democratic congressional aide has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two women who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol." This is exactly why we have sexual predator laws (which these, and the laws on rape, are too often ignored or routed around).

Fred Clark on the lies of State Lotteries. Some of you may be too young to remember this, but the argument he is making is exactly the same arguments made when the various states envisioned setting up those lotteries (yes, Virginia, there was a time when it was illegal for states to run lotteries). I know I joke about the lotteries often, but he's not wrong here. And, for truth in advertising, I do occasionally buy lottery tickets. And for exactly the same reason Mr. Clark outlines, sometimes no hope is better than absolutely no hope.

"… Republicans may be on the brink of avoiding a government shutdown fight, at least until March, and effectively permitting the executive actions by Emperor Obama,' as Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) office has dubbed him, with no pushback other than a symbolic vote of disapproval… How did things change so much?" That's the question. Where did all the piss and vinegar, the garment rending and teeth gnashing, and the "woe be us, we gotta impeach the SOB" grandstanding the GOP did before the election go after the election? It's a question that answers itself. We won't have another election for 2 years. It's called, "being played" and the American electorate (at least the very few who actually went out and voted) soaked it up. Oh, don't worry. I'm sure when the re-election and fundraising season restarts (sometime in January) it'll be back.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Local Girls Have a Way About Them

Ah, it's the holiday re-listening to:


A heartwarming tale of Christmas terror. Best money I've ever spent.

Linkee-poo ain't holding nothing back

It's been a long few weeks. Hope someone enjoyed a long holiday weekend.

Jennifer Crusie's editorial on writing being more than typing. What is shown in the movies, for pretty much everything, is never how it works in real life.

Online threats as performance art. Um, no. Note 2nd Amendment people, the Supreme Court is about to limit your First Amendment. Again. Tell me about the inviolable nature of the Bill of Rights.

A little more on that "how does Ebola spread" question. Just for clarity, yes, I've had to explain this very concept to some people who work in the health field who wondered why the N95 mask (and face shield depending on your procedures) was necessary.

Why we can't have nice things. "Janay Rice revealed Monday that the Baltimore Ravens suggested she apologize for her 'role' in the assault that later got her husband booted from the team and temporarily suspended from the NFL." I'm sorry I stood in the way of my fiancé's fist? Wow. I think for the first time I'm happy the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.

Boom over, man. Yes, OPEC is driving the world market, and they're going to try and drive our domestic production out of the market. As the price of oil falls, many US wells (and almost all of the new fracked wells) start to lose money. Canadian Oil Sand production requires oil to be somewhere north of $75 a barrel to remain profitable. Now, the problem will be as oil prices fall, and those wells go offline, supply drops. So in basic market philosophy, supply falls below demand, price will rise. Which can then bring those wells back online (it's not that easy, but let's say it is). More supply than demand, prices fall. Wells go offline again. Wash, rinse, repeat. However, markets don't actually behave that way. If OPEC is successful in keeping the cost of oil low and driving much of the new US domestic (and Canadian Oil Sands) production out of the market, the costs for restarting those wells becomes a much higher barrier than the current production costs (there's a whole supply chain issue here, as well as people might begin to rethink the value of fracking compared to the costs). There's a good chance that production may never come back online until prices rise dramatically. Basically it will take the price of oil to be so high, people's greed outweighs their logic. Sort of how it all began.

"As I said, maybe Wilson was just checking every box to convince the jury that he reasonably felt he was in danger and acted accordingly." Josh Marshall on Darren Wilson's testimony. Yea, I had the same thoughts reading it. Plus, the blocking of the fight doesn't add up. Also, his choice to not grab the flashlight sitting on the passenger seat, but going for his firearm, which was holstered at his waist, from a sitting position. And then the description of Michael Brown's final "charge". Nobody runs at full speed with one hand down and another jammed into his waistband. But, Officer Wilson needed to explain about how he "felt" he was in immediate mortal danger. So Brown needed to be going for a weapon. Also, as I remember, Officer Wilson was at the scene for several hours, but in the emergency room photos his "wounds" look pretty red, not purple (as they should be after a few hours). Also, it's clear he didn't have a blow-out fracture (one of the original stories floated).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Linkee-poo goes over the river and through the wood to work at the hospital

Dr. Doyle on symbolism, the collective unconsciousness, and cultural relativism. Who, by the way, offers he own editorial services. She also talks about plot and development here. Dr. Doyle was one of my instructors at Viable Paradise and is highly knowledgable editor and author in her own right as well as in collaboration with her husband.

Mary Robinette Kowal explains bad writing advice. Well, actually, she explains what some common writing advice actually means.

"This stunning ancient Greek floor mosaic was just excavated in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border." Wow. And four centuries from now archeologist will be uncovering photos of Kim Kardashian's butt. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"The National Bar Association is questioning how the Grand Jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted and tried for the shooting death of Michael Brown." Well, that's interesting. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

Still think it's not about race? Okay, how's this. In July a St. Louis County officer was charged with felony assault (actually assault is the threat of violence, battery is the actual violent act) after striking someone with his baton on their hand. The officer is black. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

It's a staring match! "Over the next decade, the Pentagon plans to launch satellites that offer a revolutionary leap in surveillance technology by persistently staring at targets from space for long periods of time, an official said." I know this is a major leap forward in surveillance technology (most spy satellites orbit circumpolar instead of geosynchronous), but the inner child in me imagines two satellites staring at each other until one blinks, at which point it blows up in a Monty Python fashion. "African or European? I don't know… AAAARRRGGHHH!"

"Richard Scarry's Busy Town in the 21st Century." Hahahahaha, oh wait. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Ted Cruze "said: 'I don’t think I’m all that conservative… Reagan never once beat his chest and said "I’m the most conservative guy who ever lived."'" Spit take. So, Ronald "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican" Reagan didn't revel in his midlife conversion to conservatism? Did Teddy take a trip to Colorado and smoke a little something before doing that interview?

Dear Rep. Peter King, shut the fuck up you ignorant, racist, piece of IRA apologist trash. Seriously, how does that pea of a brain generate enough electricity for you to walk upright when you hardly use it for anything? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Linkee-poo, no justice, no peace

Love how the derailments start. But this isn't about race. What about the women attacking men in gaming? Not all men. Secure the border first.

So, what do you do when you've finished a book and it's about to arrive on store shelves (yea, there's a whole big part in there that I skipped, don't think about it)? You market the thing. There's two pretty easy tips that don't including starting a twitter feed that you only post, "Buy my book!" or some variant on. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

I'm looking for various crutches and support structures to get my fiction writing flowing again. Here are two templates to help jog the creative parts. One is for scenes and on is for rewriting. There's sort of like the various character profile sheets out there, but with a better purpose (IMHO). And then there's the ubiquitous note card systems. One of the functions I use of Scrivener is the note carding system. Here's a way to do it in real life. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

I've also been looking at plot dissection. There's photo that was making the rounds last spring that was captioned something like "Hemingway's copy of James Joyce's Ulysses" (which someone pointed out that 1) not Hemingway's copy of anything and 2) wasn't Ulysses) which had a book marked up in various shades of highlighter. And that's been sitting in the back of my brain as something I should probably do, but I can't think of the rules for why I would use different highlighters and what I should be tracking.

The Joan Anderson letter goes up for auction. That's the letter that spawned the "stream of consciousness" writing of Jack Kerouac.

Jim Hines on #CandyGate.

There's a fundraiser to help repopulate the American Chestnut now that a blight resistant strain has been developed. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

NASA's Cube Quest Challenge to prove CubeSat capabilities for lunar and deep space exploration. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees." Not that I expect this latest report (number four, IIRC) to actually stop the insanity running rampant in conservative circles. Like this from Lindsey Graham. Because the insanity was never caused by information and data, but by belief and ideology. Those things don't respond to actual data and facts.

And then Jim Wright goes and fucking writes the post I was going to do on President Obama's executive action and the GOP going apeshit all over the news cycle. I wonder if they work out on a stationary news cycle? Anyway, I've also come to some of the same conclusions he has when it comes to the modern conservative movement. "You’re trying to reason with people who are just plain fucking nuts." So, yea, I'm tired of the bs. I remember hearing some conservative commentator saying that he didn't have any quibbles with what the President did, but that he did it "arrogantly." I think that was the first time the thought of, "wow, what a racist" immediately jumped into my head. For how ever many years now Fox News and the conservative bubble speakers have had a lust after Putin and complained that "if only Obama would lead, and would be strong, like that Putin guy." We'll skip the fact that Putin is an unreconstructed Soviet apparatchik that longs for the heady days of a Stalinist USSR for the moment. But now that the President has led, and has shown his backbone, they're all up in arms and going apeshit.

A little more on the history of executive orders and just what the Obama executive order on immigration actually does. (Grokked from Charles Oberndorf)

The problem with fracking. Besides watching the price of a barrel of oil dropping below production costs, apparently fracked wells don't have legs. Most wells see a fifty-percent drop in production over one year, and facked wells aren't cheap.

Kinda sucks when the politics of hatred experiences blowback. So, Geraldo Rivera thought the President's executive action on immigration wasn't the horror the rest of the GOP thought it was, and all the minions of hatred that Fox News has been goading on for years decided to let him know just what they thought of his idea. To which Mr. Rivera responds to with shock, and then threatens to tell Mother. In this case reporting to Facebook, which makes sense since his comments were on Facebook, and Fox News which, well, because REASONS - I was going to say because that's actually the real Mother in this circumstance and some of those commentators might actually feel ashamed that the mothership knows about them, but see earlier comment about how Fox News bread and nurtured such resentments in the first place. So, I don't know, maybe they'll get a gold star or something.

Looks like another GOP presidential candidate is going to be sabotaged by their father. Now it's Teddy Cruz's, turn. The problem, and Democrats really should listen to this, "I encourage Christians, pastors, run for school office, for school board, run for city council, run for mayor, run for state rep, run for state senate, run for every office in the land." And see, that's what they're doing. That helps generate a farm team of potential candidates for higher office, but it also helps turn local governments into ultra right wing nut case factories. It's easy to ignore local politics when the news is all about the national echo chamber, and that's when you have the Texas State School Board rewriting standards that affect school books all across the nation.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Linkee-poo has finally seen the light, and has finally realized what you need

Successful authors (of the SF/F variety) give their younger selves advice.

A post about Le Guin's acceptance speech and a video of the whole speech.

Ray Bradbury on failure, why we hate work, and loving what you do. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

A simple exercise to teach privilege. (Grokked form Steven Gould)

Finally got around to reading Jim Wright's election day wrap up. If you haven't already, you need to do so. I've been writing a blog post in my head that starts with, "Suck it up, fellow liberals. Put on the big peoples' pants and get back to work. We only have 5 years to win back State Legislatures or get Constitutional Amendments on the state ballots to change how redistricting will happen. And it's that important that you need to focus on it now."

Because it's been plot points in my stories (and probably some of yours), SOCOM is looking for tech that will "drain" and enemies computer (and I would expect, other systems like tablets and phones) of all its relevant information within 15 minutes. While I haven't looked at the proposal documents, I would expect that they are looking for something highly portable (like a large thumb drive sized device). Oh, and they want working prototypes by February.

"The APA said it would look into 'whether there is any factual support for the assertion that APA engaged in activity that would constitute collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate the use of ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques.'" Well, that only took 12 years and an embarrassing book to be published. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Presidential Lawsuit finally drops. I guess Jonathan Turley is a True Believer™. Wonder how far it'll go in the courts.

Fox News keeps up it's tradition of being the consolation prize. Well, okay, they're more like "let's keep these people employed until their no longer damaged goods." Scott Brown now joins the ranks of paid commentators.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Panic

Says what it does, does what it says.



Not my best, a little wonky, but I'm branching back out.

Linkee-poo saw its reflection in the snow-covered hills till the landslide brought it down

So, I'm wondering when someone in the news media and economics reporting will suddenly realize that with the shortened shopping season this year and the cold snap in the NE draining people's bank accounts to pay for heat, that this Xmas shopping season is going to be dreadful (compared to earlier estimates of it being better because gas prices are lower). Yea, probably won't hear about that except for a little quibble on Black Friday and then nearer to Xmas.

Tobias Buckell is running a kickstarter for a anthology of Xenowealth stories.

One of us, one of us, one of us. What Ursula K. Le Guin did at the National Book Awards.

"Scientists have confirmed the presence of organic compounds—the building blocks of life—in the atmosphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Wall Street Jouranl (sic) reports. The exact composition of the molecules is still being determined." Pan-spermia just got a big boost.

Lewis Black on the extension of Black Friday through all of November. "So let me get this straight. You can't make a store open on Thanksgiving, it's just a poor helpless corporation. But people? Punch in and shut the fuck up. You can see your family in January." Yup, pretty much. I wonder which channel from the many video clips they show of different media outlets actually has those positions? That's rhetorical.

"US Attorney General Eric Holder recently said it was 'worrisome' that tech companies were adding default encryption to consumer electronics. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently pushed back at a WSJ conference, saying 'Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it. It’s not for me to do that.'" Or, as stated earlier in the article, they should get a warrant. This is an article on some of the negotiating tactics being used by the government to remove what protections you have from their over reach. In this case, "children are going to die because iOS 8 has strong encryption." It's a stupid argument, even when it was, "Then the terrorists win."

Again, for all the chest beating and shouting "were going to change government" you'll notice that no one is talking about restoring your rights that were taken away by the Patriot Act. Including the attempt to roll back the NSA from scooping up all our phone records which stalled in the Senate because (wait for it) the GOP filibustered it. Yea, which party is the party of freedom again? I keep forgetting.

And speaking of secrecy, a government that executes criminals in secret is tyranny. While this Ohio bill would just remove all mention of what drugs are used (or whatever is used to end the inmate's life), where they're purchased, what quantities, but also shield the public from knowing if and who any medical personnel are used in the execution, this is still a dangerous precedent. Why not just have everyone involved wear black hoods.

And then there's this. "In what might be the most ridiculous aspect of the whole thing, the bill forbids scientific experts from participating in 'advisory activities' that either directly or indirectly involve their own work. In case that wasn’t clear: experts would be forbidden from sharing their expertise in their own research — the bizarre assumption, apparently, being that having conducted peer-reviewed studies on a topic would constitute a conflict of interest." While making sure that someone sitting on a jury has no prior experience with a case might be a good idea, excluding experts from government testimony when it's on the subject of their research… that's just plain stupidity, gross incompetence, or knowing the world doesn't play by your ideology. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Remember all that talk of "second amendment solutions"? It's back. Sen. Coburn says that if Pres. Obama goes forward with executive action (similar to Presidents Reagan and GHW Bush), there could be violence in the streets.

Elizabeth Warren comes out swinging. "'The Republicans… they say if those at the top have… more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else… Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.'" To which I'm sure the conservatives will respond with Gov. Brownback saying, "but it's just about to start working." Let's see. Heard that in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Linkee-poo gets a little smile when the pain comes

Jim Hines with some links on people speaking about writer gate.

Seventeen things former bullied kids do a little differently. I think they're a little too hopeful and haven't studied abusive behavior before. Yes to these things if you've actually come to grips with having been bullied and worked through a few hells to get to the point they think everyone is at. Unfortunately many bullied people have learned that attention comes from being a target. And many people become codependent on the bullies (which turn into seeking abusers for relationships when they're adults). (Grokked from Steven Gould)

A mechanical computer that does Fourier analysis. I think my brain just broke. (Grokked from Dan)

Want to own a house? Move to Ohio. Yea, that'll fix it. I live in one of those small blue dots, but I think they really meant to just highlight Youngstown/Warren. While I'm not house poor, it has affected our budget greatly, and we were fortunate to have a rich relative that could help. It's also a very small house. And have I mentioned how we get fewer sunny days than Seattle? (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"But I have to mention that parallel because I understand part of where Day is coming from here. She’s a gamer who loves gaming. I’m not a gamer, but I know what it’s like to see a movement you love and identify with get hijacked by hateful, amorphously aggrieved people intent on twisting the entire thing into an expression of their hate and indignation." Fred Clark on Felicia Day's speech about GamerGate and how similar feeling apply to his own course through life. Also, it's a great summation of the many reasons why I'm no longer a Republican.

"Of course, this does not mean that the press has a Republican bias, any more than it had an inherent Democratic bias in 2012 when Akin, Angle, and Mourdock led the coverage. What it suggests is how deeply the eagerness to pick a narrative and stick with it, and to resist stories that contradict the narrative, is embedded in the culture of campaign journalism." Ever notice how when there's one airline disaster or major problem, all of a sudden you hear about a lot of other problems happening all at the same time? Or, as it was noted on Making Light a few years back, whenever there is one major bus crash, all of a sudden you keep hearing about bus crashes, like they occur in groups. It's all about the narrative. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Jairo Gomez is 17 years old and lives in a tiny apartment in New York City with eight other family members. He has grown up in poverty, like one-third of all kids in the city. With WNYC's program Radio Rookies, Gomez tells the story of how poverty has held him back, and how he's trying to overcome it."

And a chart on why the poor can afford "nice things" that many affluent people like to point to as an example about how these poor aren't as poor as the poor were when they were growing up. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Those states that went with Obamacare and expanded Medicaid/Medicare as proposed under the act look to see a 2% decrease in cost growth in Medicaid spending. Strange how that works. It's almost like Obamacare was designed to reign in healthcare spending by the state. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"'If you were president and Congress would pass whatever you wanted, what would you do about the 5 million, the 12 million who are in this country illegally now?' (Mark) Halperin asked (Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS))." Look, ISIS, Ebola! Yea, nobody in the GOP can answer that question (or the "what would you replace Obamacare with") is because they don't actually have a solution. It's all about the "NO!" Forget actual governance. Eventually we get the "'We’re willing to sit down and negotiate and compromise, but we’re not going to grant amnesty,'" answer. This is the "we'll negotiate and compromise, as long as you do it our way" stance.

"'The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values.'" I'm sure it's more about ethics in political journalism. Or something. Here I will note that the Tea Party has moved far beyond what many people thought they had joined and has been co-opted by the social conservative movement. I wonder if some of libertarian aquantances still consider themselves part of the Tea Party (when they all vehemently denied any racial motivation, but were always unable to answer my questions of why they weren't fighting the dismantling and evasion of the Constitution under the previous administration - actually many were very much in the "Pro-Bush" camp during those 8 years). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Linkee-poo is sitting in a sea of tranquility

Day thing has cut off access to twitter, so that'll affect some of the links here. Just so you know.

Wait, that wasn't in Bullet. Using a modified Mustang, precision driver Ken Block does his thing around LA. (Grokked from John)

Elizabeth Bear with a handy play at home harassment bingo card.

Because it's not about sexism. I'm sure the Uber executive meant that they should investigate all reports that were basing on Uber, regardless of that reporters sex. Yea, I'm sure he meant that.

NPR helps develop a pricing index for healthcare in California and finds similar results to what they saw in Massachusetts. And again, I'll give the same warning as before. Since they were looking at mammograms, there is a big difference between mamm x-ray machines, and there's a new tomography exam (that insurance here in Ohio doesn't cover). Some people only need 1 view, some people need 3 of each breast. Also, if your department is doing it right, some may have a sonogram followup. Also, there is a big difference in who views the images (although, IIRC, by law mamms must be viewed by an independent expert).

"So Gov. Nixon has good reason to feel nervous. The power structure of Missouri has addressed none of this, and now they will announce that they find Darren Wilson’s actions totally cool, and they fear the consequences." Points. You know, I wonder where all those Oathkeeper people went? (Grokked from Janiece)

Because Ferguson isn't about race, is it. "Pants Up, Don't Loot"? WTF?! Who at the National Review thought this was a Good Idea™?

And you think we have border problems. In between Ivory Coast and Liberia is the difference between an ebola outbreak and a clean bill of health. Note in the story that the border divides families, and that much of that traffic is because of the strong family ties the local tribes have.

The GOP is the dysfunctional party. There was a lot of hand worrying that went on after the election over if the Party of NO could actually govern. But, apparently, the GOP looked at Government Shutdown and said, "I just can't quit you." Ted Cruz doubles down on going off the rails. And an update on that Congressional lawsuit against the President, they're on their third lawyer now. On the plus side, this guy sounds like a True Believer™. Third time is a charm.

Remember how Louisiana had to rethink their educational push to rape public school budgets shunt public money to religious schools, only to stumble when the realized that "religious schools" didn't just encompass Catholic or Protestant organizations but included some Islamic schools? Well, apparently a school board in Orange County, FL, decided it would be a good idea that since they weren't able to bring religion into the classroom, it was okay for religious organizations to hand out literature to their students. Because then the school wasn't actually "promoting religion" and there was some "atheist" literature available. But then the Satanic Temple got involved handing out coloring books and, well, then they have to rethink that policy. And moving the vote to next year is just acknowledging the damage done, but try to give some distance to the public perception that they would only repeal it because it wasn't just Bibles being handed out. "Though the Satanic Temple did not support the school board's original policy, Mesner criticized the boards decision to rethink the rule… 'It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices…'" No, they never thought anyone else would be interested. I'll bet they would have already voted if it was Islamic materials being handed out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Linkee-poo, are you safe Miss Gradenko

While I don't have this problem (cough cough sputter choke), the ten reasons to keep writing your blog even if no one is reading it. Mostly focused on business blogs (for the day thing they tried that, I tried to be helpful, nobody wanted to listen to me, know how many posts are on most of the blogs? One), but many of the points can be the same for personal or writing blogs. And just because it hasn't been such so much of lately (parse that sucker, Mrs. Crabapple) this is a writing blog. There just hasn't been so much of the writing these past two years. (Grokked from Cat Rambo, who also blogs here)

Why are so many artists going to kickstarter? Well, for musicians this is a pretty good primer. Remember when Spotify and all those other music streaming services came about and they were all, "get your music to your fans, find new fans, make money and gain exposure"? Yea. And this is why Taylor Swift is not on Spotify anymore. (Grokked from Charles de Lint)

The underground city of Derinkuyu. For your world building and gaming needs. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

An interview with Neil Gaiman from CBS this morning (about four years ago). I want that library. Actually, I just want to be able to roam it for a week or two taking notes. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

A glowing bike path inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night".

The decline and fall of the coal industry. Pres. Obama is always an easy way to shift blame. As they say in the article, it's hard to plan a different future when you're making so much money. It's also hard when you keep thinking the good days will return. "You should have been here (a decade ago, in the 80s, whenever)" is a phrase I've often heard in my working career. There was a lot of money to be made in the past. I wonder where it's all gone. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Think there's no sexism? "Karl Stefanovic wore the same blue suit every day for a year on Channel Nine's 'Today' program. And no one noticed until he went public with his hidden-in-plain-sight experiment." Let an onscreen female news person wear the same outfit twice in two weeks and watch all the hubbub.

And now for racism, "With Kids, I'm Dad. Alone, Thug"

And then, the disrespect shown to the President as seen by a Canadian. (Grokked from Janiece)

Elizabeth Warren comes out swinging. In this case, she's telling the truth about the composition of the courts, and how President Obama isn't helping much. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Maui County votes to suspend GMO crop planting. Monsanto (Dow Chemical) sees their major crop research site go bye-bye, sues to reverse local rule. If I were a betting man, I'd place my money on Monsanto winning. Not to everyone who thinks things should be decided on a local level (State, County, Municipality, local school boards), here's a case you can champion. Yea, I know, they only like local rule when Federal goes against their policy, and they like Federal rule when it goes in their favor. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Our election laws (and enforcement) are broken. "Republicans and outside groups reportedly figured out a way during the midterm elections to share internal polling information in a way that stretches what's allowed under election law, according to CNN's Chris Moody." Campaigns and outside groups aren't allowed to share polling data or coordinate directly, but this election season saw a ton of new work arounds for this issue (you might remember the infamous Mitch McConnell video posted without music or voice over so that other groups could use it in their "non-coordinated" efforts are re-election. But, hey, I'm sure these twitter accounts that just spewed strings of numbers had some other purpose in mind. (Grokked from Dan)

Donald Trump wonders if he should run for president again, or just keep shown yup on Fox News. I think every comedian in the western hemisphere just got turned on.

Oh, Sen. Hatch, the feeling is mutual.

Tweet of my heart: @ChuckWendig WRITING TIP: You're going to fucking die someday so write right now. #lifehack #blessed

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving not so much

Yea, ran out of space. D'oh!



Linkee-poo never mentions the word addiction in certain company

For your gaming or world building goodness, a thousand-year old Chinese tomb with photos. (Grokked form Matt Staggs)

"'For me it's just about putting people of color in every genre and making it become normal,' (Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood) says." Yea, that.

Some Kurt Vonnegut quotes. Rascally old man. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Just push through. I've lived most of my life that way. It's awfully tiring of late.

In space, no one can hear you singing. Unless something lands on you. "Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has detected a mysterious 'song' that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space." Pure space gas music, dude. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The deny and defend response in health care.

The "missing stair" concept of enabling bad behavior. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

This may be a bit too cynical, but, yea, that explains the election results. A cartoon about the effect of low information voters. Especially the ones who go to mid-term elections. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

"… Frein waived his right to remain silent and told police… he had shot the troopers 'because he wanted to make a change (in government) and that voting was inefficient to do so, because there was no one worth voting for,' according to a criminal complaint. 'The defendant further acknowledged taking action (shooting the troopers) to wake people up because it was all he could do.'" That, ladies and gentlemen, is the very definition of terrorist. But since he's white, and probably not a muslim, so we don't use that word to describe him, except in legal briefs. Note, "charged with terrorism" and "Eric Frein, noted terrorist" are two different things.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Linkee-poo doesn't want to spend the rest of its life looking at the barrel of an Armalite

My RSS feed is back over 600. Sigh. I remember a time when I would clear that out daily. It's almost like this "Blogs Are Dead" thing is a complete lie.

Strange Horizons' fund raiser.

The Oatmeal schools Ted Cruz on Net Neutrality. If only he could learn when it doesn't involve money in his pocket. But, it's a good primer in case you know people who may revere Theodore. (Grokked from almost everyone in my feed)

Remember Solyndra? Remember the "ZOMG we're losing money" argument? Well, not so much. I'm not sure I agree with the government making a profit, but will all their successes the Department of Energy loan program is making money for us. Betcha won't hear about that on Fox News. Also "'It literally kick-started the whole utility-scale photovoltaic industry,' (Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz) says." That's what governments are supposed to do. This is why whenever I hear conservatives talking about how great the "market" is, I chuckle into my sleeve. If "the market" were in charge, we'd all be riding horses and sending messages by carrier pigeon. "Still, when the Solyndra case emerged Republicans on Capitol Hill had pointed criticism for the Obama administration… Now that the loan program is turning a profit, those critics are silent. They either declined or ignored NPR's requests for comment."

"The city of Solon reimbursed local businesses with about $890,000 from employee's income tax as part of the city's jobs creation grant." I wonder how many of those companies are giving that money back to their employees? I kid. Of course none of them are. Hey, GOP, here is rank "redistribution of wealth". No, seriously. That income tax money isn't the companies' money. That's the employees' salary. While most people's employers pay the income tax to the municipality (state and federal governments), it isn't the company's money. Just look at your pay stub. Who is paying the income tax?

Kansas. In addition to being $1B in the whole next year, "(t)he estimates also said the state will use up $380 million in reserves and still have to cut another $280 million for fiscal year 2015 to balance the state's current budget. In addition, in 2016, revenues are expected to be $436 million short of expenditures according to the forecast." Just how the hell did Brownback win re-election? Books will be written. Politicos will study and cite.

This is what happens when you both don't regulate and/or make those regulations toothless. "A joint investigation by NPR and Mine Safety and Health News found that thousands of mine operators fail to pay safety penalties, even as they continue to manage dangerous — and sometimes deadly — mining operations." Just keep that in mind whenever someone says, "the beleaguered coal mining industry."

The post mortem begin. "It's clearly a partisan divide, the study found. Eighteen percent of Democrats picked voter fraud while 64 percent picked voter disenfranchisement. By contrast 68 percent of Republicans picked voter fraud while 16 percent picked voter disenfranchisement." Guess who watched which news outlet.

"That means as Afghans evaluate economic and security conditions, the more uncertain or fearful they are about the future, the more they hedge by growing opium." Strange, this is how drug sales and use in the US increases as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Cards

Not entirely successful, but here's today's doodle. Guess what I'm working on… about six months after we should have finished (old-man designer tales).



Linkee-poo is just a girl with her head screwed on, is just a girl with a smoking gun

The poppies of the Flanders Field. In this case, 888,246 ceramic poppies planted in and around the Tower of London. A reminder to never forget what we have so often forgotten. War should never be wished for. War is never the answer. War is the failure of States.

A radio interview with Kameron Hurley with some really great SF/F writing and marketing advice. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Landing on a comet turns out to be more of a problem than initially thought. Reminds me of why Neil Armstrong landed in Tranquility Bay. When Neil made that broadcast that the Eagle had landed, what you didn't see on the cameras was all the controllers puzzled expressions as the wondered just where the hell their astronauts were. Because they weren't supposed to land there. However, as Neil came down he realized that where they were supposed to land was covered in boulders and they would have crashed and not been able to launch off the surface. So he used up almost all his fuel trying to find a safe place to put down. So it turns out that a comet also has cliffs and boulders on its surface. But, hey, SCIENCE! That's what happens and why we do it.

"How bad is the gridlock in Washington D.C.? So bad that the nation's retailers are calling for federal legislation on cyber security and data protection to protect consumer information — even though they would bear the brunt of whatever legislation is passed… 'A single federal law applying to all breached entities would ensure clear, concise and consistent notices to all affected consumers regardless of where they live or where the breach occurs.'" And they can't get anything passed. Also it points out that most regulation is either welcomed by the industry, or formed in response to some industry wrong doing. (Grokked from Dan)

Reuters decides to close comments on their news stories. (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

"Fructose, a common type of sugar, can damage your liver more than other kinds of sugar — just like too much alcohol can." More on how our foods are killing us.

They have always fought. The women heroes of The Great War, some fought in secret, some fought openly. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

There's a theory that mitochondria are actually a separate life form that early cells formed a symbiotic relationship and incorporated that other form wholesale. The reason they believe this is that mitochondria has it's own genetics. We inherit all of our mitochondria from our mothers (the father has no input to this part of the cell). And just like people, sometimes the mitochondrial DNA can get errors in transcription. However, what you can do is transplant the human DNA from a zygote that has dysfunctional mitochondria to an egg with normal mitochondria. But remember all that "no human cloning" and "no chimeras" legislation? Yea, that gets in the way.

Glenn Beck announces that he has a disease that made him appear "crazy" on the air. While I do have sympathy for his disease, his actions aren't what made the rest of us label him as "crazy". It was his ideas and political positions along with the inherent victimization and persecution complex added into his conspiracy theorizing that made me label him as "crazy." Tell me your autoimmune disorder disrupted your thinking and that now you can see the error of your ways and I'll begin to re-evaluate my position. Until then, I name thee "whackaloon."

The things that give us pause. Poor Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky law prohibits him from being on a ballot twice. So in 2016 he'll have to decide if he's running for President (or a VP slot) or to rerun for his Senate seat. And since one half of the Kentucky legislature is controlled by Democrats, it's unlikely the law will be changed in time (although the Speaker of the House has a good excuse, that the constitution forbids him to make law that affects only one person).

What Speaker Boehner's "poison the well" comments were really about. And it's just stupid politics, as usual. Dear Speaker Boehner, if President Obama acts "outside his authority" then not only should you just take your little red ball and go home, you must act on impeachment. That's you're damn job. Get to work.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Linkee-poo shorty without a good title

On his birthday, Neil Gaiman would like to give you some free stuff.

Viruses are tricky. "Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and the University of Nebraska have discovered an algae virus that makes us more stupid by infecting our brains." (Grokked from Dan)

Who watches the Watchmen. An article on the people who keep your social media feeds (mostly) free of picture of dicks and beheadings. Isn't grand we live in a world that requires this? Ah, technology, pulling out the deepest monsters of the id. And while they scrub our feeds and dream of better lives, they find they're working for the monsters themselves. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Sure, it's not about racism. Except that when it is. Seriously, if you have to retreat to the 1st definition in a dictionary to defend yourself, unless you're a lexicographer, you've just made an ass of yourself. And the "I apologize if anyone was offended" is no longer good. And while we're at it, it's called a "Freudian Slip."

On how we're not saving for retirement. "According to the report, more and more consumers are beginning to realize the importance of saving early on." Unfortunately that realization is coming too late. "Of the survey respondents, nearly 72% say they should have start saving earlier, a significant increase for 65% who believed the same thing just a year ago." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Me? I plan on winning the lottery. That's John Oliver's Last Week Tonight on state lotteries.

And just in case you needed further proof that the GOP doesn't have your interests at heart, Ted Cruz believe Net Neutrality is a bad thing. Because businesses should be in charge of your internet access.

Tweet of my heart: @EgbertoWillies ISIS & Ebola disappeared from front page after election. GOP used 'liberal' media to scare folks to vote for them. #gullible