What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

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).