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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Linkee-poo is gearing up for the downhill run to graduation

And, then, of course, came the start of a brand new novel thought. Sigh. Brain, I wish you'd get with the program.

Nineteen rare recording of famous authors. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Wait, Ready Player One is going to be a movie? Cool. I mean, sure, it's a Willie Wonka story, but it's a good one. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Dolls can just be creepy (it's that whole uncanny valley thing), and they often feature in horror for just that reason. But in real life they can also freak people out. That's a doll found by the side of the road in Singapore with a blindfold inscribed with "bismillah". Apparently someone removed the blindfold and the doll followed them home. Or, you know, it could be a hoax. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

The world's largest underground trampoline park opens soon. Because reasons. (Grokked from Tor.com)

While some people learned everything they needed to know in life in Kindegarden, I learned what I needed to know hanging out with Senior Chiefs. Things that are none of my business, a non-comprehensive list. (While Janiece's site is on my reading list, groomed from Phiala)

While I disagree with their classifying Russia in with Europe (while St. Petersburg may have had a European focus, much of Eastern Russia focused on Asia and Asia Minor), but still a nice map of areas controlled/colonized by Europe. So when someone talks about "Western cultural hegemony", now you know what they're talking about. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The problem with creating beasts is the often turn on the hand that feeds them. Some part of me thinks there is an attempt to re-establish Fox New's creds going forward, but that's just the conspiracy theorist in me.

Want to know why people have been beating the drum on climate change? Most people think meat comes from the grocery store. These two things are connected. In other words, a lot of what is discussed (warmer temps, ocean rise, stronger storms) aren't really the problem. It's what those things mean for our civilization that's the problem. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"Isn’t it fun when you can discover a new wing nut… What we’re gathering from this is that Joy Pinto thinks birth control is the original sin or some such nonsense." Well, I guess we're going to make it a game, then. Given the Supreme Court this week striking down "safe buffer zones", I'm really going to hate what is coming in the next few years as we refight for abortion. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Standagainstspying.org, a coalition that includes The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and other groups, flew a 135-foot thermal airship over the million-square-foot NSA facility in Bluffdale, Utah today." Frankly, I think an army of those wavy arm blowups would have been better, but that's me. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Linkee-poo is burning through the sky, 200 degrees, that's why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit, traveling at the speed of light

Mary Robinette Kowal on finding, accepting, and processing critiques and how to train your internal editor. Also gives a good example of why starting writers should try to ignore the internal editor as you are writing.

"The researchers… observed a broad network of regions in the brain working together as people produced their stories… (T)here were notable differences between the two groups of subjects (experienced and novice writers). The inner workings of the professionally trained writers… showed some similarities to people who are skilled at other complex actions, like music or sports." This is your brain on writing. (Grokked from Christine Purcell)

The Rockford Files title sequence deconstructed. Also noted for it's character building qualities. (Grokked from Dan)

A hue angle of 270 degrees, saturation of 50, and a lightness of 40. (Grokked from John Scalzi with a nod toward Ferrett Steinmetz)

The science of pigments and poison, with examples from paintings. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

How not to do it. A company that will send you a $10 roll of quarters every month for the low, low price of $14.99, monthly. You know, so you have quarters to do your laundry. Okay, I thought selling water in a bottle was hutzpah. (Grokked from Dan)

"Conceding the time has come to limit the proliferation of new movies that simply rehash old ones, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. have entered bilateral talks to reduce their considerable stockpiles of unproduced reboots, sources confirmed Wednesday." Oh, Onion, how I love you. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Well, fuck. "Another kid lies dying at the hands of SWAT teams looking for drugs via no-knock warrant." So glad we're "tough on crime." Look, I'm very pro-police. I had direct overview of our local force once upon a time. I know their job is tough, and I know what they face is a difficult job with little thanks for it. But, seriously folks, using these tactics for low-level people and without active intelligence is just stupid. While the street cops will take the heat for this, it's really a management issue. This is a failure of planning, failure of judicial overview, failure of intelligence gathering, and failure of execution. Unfortunately the wrong person has to pay for it.

So, if fracking was bad, shouldn't we have lots of reports about the health risks by now? Sure, unless your state health department has a system to ignore calls about it. Remember folks, the ads say, "Safe and proven technology" not proven safe technology. More about the hidden costs of your "cheap" energy. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"The flurry of stock trades in major health care companies that followed has since caught the eye of federal law enforcement as well as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has made investigating the matter one of his pet projects… In his search, Grassley… cast suspicion on the Obama administration as the source of the leak… But in a twist, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that federal regulators… have now focused their attention on a Republican health policy staffer in the House." Sucks when that happens, doesn't it.

"Open Carry Texas group calls off march in predominantly black neighborhood." While the news actually sounds like someone bought a clue, the march is officially being called off because of a scheduling conflict. Dear OCT, you know the KKK also marches through black neighborhoods and the Neo-Nazi's march through Jewish neighborhoods too. Just a little historical context there.

"Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) said he hasn't conceded to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) yet because 35,000 Democrats crossed over to vote in the runoff election for Cochran and claimed that it is illegal for voters to back one candidate in the primary but another in the general." Well, we will ignore that the obscure law he's referring to was found unconstitutional, but, hey, I's gots an idea! Seriously, okay, so if I'm "registered" as a certain party, I can't vote for the other party's candidate in the general election? By extension, all those who voted for McDaniel should probably not be able to vote for Cochran (or vice versa if he's successful, which he won't be). I'll take that. Please note reference to earlier link and the reading and interpretation of antiquated laws and opinions by a certain lunatic fringe of society. Well, here's a more high profile example of that.

"(O)ne Oklahoma congressional candidate took his accusation to a new level this week when he claimed his opponent was actually dead and being represented by a body double." Um, yea, Bob (reaches for the sedatives). (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Quote du jour: "You're not important enough to have writer's block." - Paul O'Dwyer to Pete Hamill (editor's note, I may need to write that on tape and put it above my monitor)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@haleshannon But I always loved the writing advice, "Put everything you have into this book. Save nothing for the next."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo will swear and kick and beg us that it's not a gamblin' man, then you find it's back in Vegas with a handle in its hand

WARNING: Triggery (child rape). The Moira Greyland (Marion Zimmerman Bradley’s daughter) letter. Sat on that link for a while (I don't even remember where I got it from, John Scalzi, I think).

"It's a huge pyramid in the middle of nowhere tracking the end of the world on radar". Does what it says on the tin. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Buy a two-pack for the privilege of paying $2.41 more than if you bought two singles. I hate to say I have been seeing more of this lately. Check the prices, people. Sometimes buying more means paying much more (this also goes for buying larger sizes). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Harley Davidson's Project LiveWire™ electric motorcycle. Harley isn't the first to market, but has the capability to change it and explode the concept of electric bikes into the public consciousness. Also, at a reported greater than 100 mile range per charge, makes it very exciting for casual and weekend riders. Note, this bike won't be available to the general public, but may lead to a real product. Although, given the look of the prototype, I'm surprised they didn't actually lead this out through their Buell line (it looks like it has the signature Buell Motorcycle look and frame technology). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Pope Francis excommunicates mafiosos. That's gonna leave a mark (and, yea, this is a major blow). (Grokked from Ferritt Steinmetz)

"For most of us… work is a depleting, dispiriting experience, and… it’s getting worse." And interesting article, but very much focused on the corner office and doesn't look deeper that white-collar work, which (as I explained in detail during a conversation about morale with other managers, is part of the problem). IF you happen to manage or own a company, why should this matter to you. For these very simple, easy to understand reasons. "In a 2012 meta-analysis of 263 research studies across 192 companies, Gallup found that companies in the top quartile for engaged employees, compared with the bottom quartile, had 22 percent higher profitability, 10 percent higher customer ratings, 28 percent less theft and 48 percent fewer safety incidents… Companies in the Towers Watson study with high engagement scores measured in the traditional way had an operating margin of 14 percent. By contrast, companies with the highest number of 'sustainably engaged' employees had an operating margin of 27 percent, nearly three times those with the lowest traditional engagement scores." Drops microphone, walks off stage. Although this line, "The most obvious answer (to why companies spend zero time and energy to increase employee 'engagement') is that systematically investing in employees, beyond paying them a salary, didn’t seem necessary until recently." Except for the employment markets of '88, '96, '02, you know, right after the last economic downturns when suddenly companies realized it's always been an employee's market. To prove this point, let me ask you if you've encounter in the past half decade the sentiment "buck up, little campers, at least you have a job"? Hell, I did a spoof Xmas card with that 4 years ago. This is something businesses constantly (and I mean, constantly) need to relearn because MBS programs don't care about it, executive training doesn't even broach the subject (most focus on "if you have good managers, everything works well"), and most companies don't understand that the focus shouldn't be investor dividends. If you focus on your employees, it's amazing how all the other "troubles" of business disappear. And if you're immediate answer to this problem is, "We'll hire a VP of Employee Relations" you're doing it wrong. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Fred Clark on the impending decision in the Hobby Lobby case and Justice Scalia reversing himself (again, if all the cards point to the truth). Also, one can read scripture in a way as to see a religious mandate to not pay any secular taxes (just ignore the "Render unto Caesar" passage). Can't wait to see that case come forward.

Maybe Ricky Santorum should read that passage about "Rendering unto Caesar." Nah, that would mean he would have to actually learn his professed religion and that might interfere with his self-righteousness. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

This is hilarious. Carbon County Utah (which, you may remember, is where the Bundy Ranch is located) passes a law saying that, basically, up yours Federal Government (from whom we get our jurisdiction, yea, try and parse that one). Well, actually they're saying that Federal Law Enforcement (and specifically the BLM) can't enforce State and Local criminal and civil law. Or that they first have to tell the Sheriff of the County. Or something. They're so endearingly cute when they're that ignorant. First off, the BLM is enforcing Federal Law, but never mind that. You know what vehicle can violate any and all traffic laws (including street lights)? Emergency vehicles? Nope. We allow those by custom. Only if you guessed Postal Vehicles would you have been correct. Why? They're a federal agency. Your piddly little local laws don't apply to them. Why can Census workers ignore your "Keep Out" signs? Because they're federal workers on federal business. If you harass them on their business (like threaten physical harm) you are committing a federal crime (as in jail time and/or fines). 'Rhut 'Rho, someone's gonna get a schooling in civics real soon now. Dear County Commissioners, can't fix stupid.

A story about the BLM shooting suspect, but one that breaks down some of the crazy. "'Sovereign citizens are studious. They do read documents from American antiquity passionately,' Lenz said. 'Bu(t) they're not trained scholars. They don't understand that American law is organic and it changes. What they'll do is they'll latch onto some principle or some legal precept… and declare that their reading of this is such, so this must be true and we're being lied to.'" Yea, I've seen this before, and not just for obscure rulings and not just for Sovereign Citizens, but all leading to the crazy.

And speaking of crazy, somedays it just depresses the crap out of me that we're still fighting this battle. Look, Christians, if you believe that everything in the world should support your religious view, but also hold the belief in the "Enemy" (aka Satan), and also hold that you must indoctrinate everywhere, your both doing it wrong and don't understand evangelicalism. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Linkee-poo is sharpening its cleavers and its knives and drinking all its whiskey by the pint

Always be branding.

Jim Carry's graduation commencement address. There's something I never thought I would type. (Grokked from George Takei)

With climate change we expect storms will grow stronger (storms are the Earth's way of dealing with excess heat/energy). Think it hasn't happened yet? How about tennis ball sized hail. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

George Will just doesn't get it. This time it's about his article stating that the sexual assault rate is overblown and can't possibly be 1 in 5 women.

Best healthcare in the world, my ass. There's two charts you won't see on Fox News (until a decade from now where they can decry how bad Obamacare has been for our country). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

You know that idea that came out of the GOP's port mortum of the 2012 election that they needed to be more inclusive and reach out to different demographics? As the narrative progresses that part of why Cantor lost was he was perceived as soft of immigration reform, there goes that demographic. And as Rick Perry defends Texas' GOP endorsement of "reparative" therapy for homosexuality it makes you wonder just WTF Log Cabin Republicans are thinking. Guys, seriously, the party you're trying to help hates you. Not in a "boy, they make me feel uncomfortable" kind of way, but in a "why can't we stone them to death like we used to" way.

"Get this: The Las Vegas shooting that killed two police officers and another person was just an act. (Alex Jones) said that it was, 'absolutely staged' by the federal government." Um, Alex, when your "mind exploded with hundreds of data points", yea, those are typically categorized as "hearing voices". There's medication for that now. So, any conservatives still reading this blog, do you understand where we progressives get our impression that the Right is whackaloon? These aren't minor players out there. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And speaking of whackaloon conspiracy theorists, have you heard about the capturing of one of the people involved with setting up the Benghazi attack? You know, how it was all planned out to boost Hillary's chances in 2016, or distract from Obama, or… something. Only the treacherous expect treachery.

And about that Bundy Ranch thing, it appears to be spilling over.

It's all about the victory, none about the issues. Plus, as an economics professor, he should know he's wrong about "All I know is if you take the long-run graph over 200 years of the wage rate, it cannot differ from your nation's productivity." For the first 150 years he's correct, for the last 50 he's way off. I would make a comment about the general disconnect from reality that both conservative libertarians and the GOP in general has, but any more that's shooting fish in a barrel.

Jim Wright on the possibility of going back to Iraq.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Taking a dive for the money and the glory

Warning, Conspiracy Theory Ahead.

So, the media is still all abuzz about Eric Cantor loosing his primary. Mostly because they were upset that the story so far (and everywhere else since) is the Tea Party is on the ropes and establishment Republicans were taking their party back (not really, because all those TPers who were in office also won their primaries). But it's all about the story. Remember, it's all about the story.

So, let's look at some of the facts here. In a year where TP challengers weren't able to gain much traction, the number 2 GOP operative in the House suffers not only a defeat, but a stunning defeat at the hands of his "inexperienced" opponent (see earlier link about how a lot of Dark Money was involved in this campaign, but similar to other campaigns). The same Republican who had his eyes on the desiccating corpse of John Boehner to time his own ascendancy to the second most powerful position in the country (Speaker of the House). A party operative who suffered through the cut-throat internal politics to rise up within the ranks in just a little over a decade of in office. This is the guy who apparently couldn't drive 30 minutes out of Washington on the weekends to spend time in his district. (and here I wonder if Mr. Cantor had an apartment in DC or if he commuted from home).

Okay, time to put on the tin-foil hats. Here it comes.

Eric Cantor wanted to lose.

Now, now, wait a second. Hear me out here.

Eric Cantor "wanted to be Speaker" as every pundit with a microphone was saying. The man who would be king. And that might have been true in the past.

But, really, to be speaker he would have to move Boehner out of the way. Boehner, who has already survived two internal coup attempts). Boehner, who has expressed his frustration with his own caucus. Boehner, who pretty much has a seat guaranteed for as long as he can stand for election. This is who he would have to wait his chance behind.

Now, Majority Leader is nothing to sneeze at. It's an amazing position most people would kill for (and many have figuratively done just that). But being in Congress means fundraising 24/7. No, really, when your Congress person isn't in committee, or on the floor voting, or attending appointments they are on the phone (there are party phone banks conveniently nearby) or attending lunches/dinners/breakfasts with lobbyists, donors, rainmakers, etc. Most congress members' offices are run by their staff (as most of the decisions, questions made in committee, speeches, etc are written by those staffers). It's a grueling lifestyle that will grind most people down. As Majority Leader, Eric Cantor had an even tougher schedule than most. Not only was he raising his own funds, he would raise those to donate to other candidates (to curry favor and "keep the right people" in office), and raise money for the party over all (including many of the party subcommittees). That's his real job.

So, Eric Cantor was looking at probably 6 or 8 more years in the Leader position. Notice I didn't say Majority Leader. There is a distinct chance, even with the intense gerrymandering that went on in 2010, that because of the supremely low approval rates that the GOP may lose control of the House (probably not this cycle, but if they win the White House in 2016, definitely in 2018, note the timing of that and when Eric may have had a chance to become Speaker).

Mr. Cantor is a smart guy. I disagree with him, but I can see he's got a mind working behind all those talking points he spouts at microphones. So he's looking at a low probability of being Speaker if he does his job correctly, because of the timing and the ability of Speaker Boehner. And then, look at the actual job. Eric has a front seat to all the internal struggles, the attempts to unseat, the inability to get anything done (including internally). Herding cats would be preferable. Cats that still had all their claws and thought of you as a scratching post. The Speaker may be powerful, but just take a look at what Boehner has been able to do with it. Not much.

Is that a job you would take?

Or, would you look at being in the prime of your life and able to make multiples more money by being a K Street Lobbyist? Leveraging his political savvy and connections to make a boat load of money, and maybe have time to see the kids and wife on weekends. Maybe take a vacation once in a while. Maybe not drive yourself and your reputation into the dust pile of politics (it's no longer a mud pit, it's been dried out). Maybe live a little.

And still have power. Still direct government. Still be connected. All the perks of being a player in DC.

Plus you have a full pension from the US Government for the service you've already given.

So, what would you do? Would you fight against the talking heads, spend your money, lose more time from family, suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune to keep the chance, the merest chance you might become Speaker. If your party can hold the House. If you don't screw up. If you aren't eaten by the insurgents in your own ranks. And just what would being Speaker mean? Look at Boehner. Want that?

Or do you think that the TP will continue to gain ground. Spend your time doing the things expected of your office and maybe not spend so much money or time in your district (note that all those "stake houses" the media is talking about, not in his district, those were all for other candidates). Maybe soften your position on some hot button politics (but in line with party goals). And then maybe fail in a wave of anti-incumbancy momentum which nobody could really blame you for. And then cash in.

The only thing he misjudged, I think, is that he would be the only incumbent to lose to a challenger. Yea, that doesn't look so good, does it. But note, he's the only one (so far).

Just a theory.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The sound of gunfire off in the distance, I'm getting used to it now



This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
This ain't no fooling around
This ain't no Mudd Club, or C.B.G.B.
I ain't got time for that now

Linkee-poo knows if you don't mind your mother's words a wicked wind will blow ribbons from your curls

Okay, ever wonder just what you may learn at writing conferences, like Clarion, Odyssey and Viable Paradise? Well, here's Elizabeth Bear's lecture of story structure (aka, plotting). I need to reread this, because at VP I was dog-dead tired and kind of slept-walked through the week.

Ten things hard core readers should stop saying to non-readers. And here we'll invoke Wheaton's Law, "Don't be a dick." At the hospital when I have a patient who is reading, I engage them and ask what they're reading and if they like it. So many people say things like, "Oh, it's just a cheap romance novel", or "this author is really easy to read." I then explain that reading for fun is what it's all about, but are you enjoying the story? Most people say yes. I then tell them that's all that matters. But if someone isn't a reader, don't get on a high horse you're going to have trouble dismounting later. (Grokked from David Klecha)

What if strangers talked to everybody like they talk to writers. Hahahaha. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

A potential warp ship. All to encourage STEM programs. Conveniently ignores the problem of just how much energy it would take to expand and contract space-time. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

There's something we need to talk about. "Death threats. Rape threats. Threats to kill my family, my pets. Detailed emails describing what it would be like to rape me, to murder me. Emails imagining what sex is like between my husband and me, and how he must hate it because I am disgusting. Hopes that someone else will hurt me. Admonishments to kill myself." Because this happens. It happens a lot. So, if we as a culture like to wage our finger at other "less developed" cultures because they make women wear burkas, bar them from driving or employment, or sexually mutilate them, we have our own crimes against women. This is happening in our (read: American) culture. Right now. Probably to people you know. If you want to say that because we don't make the women in this country (place whatever you're railing against in other cultures) we're better, I say "fuck that shit." Having dealt with abuse and abusers before, there is no comparison to say, "Well, be glad your abuse was just psychological because you could have been beaten" or "be glad your were just beaten because you could have been sexually abused." Because you could also say, "Be glad you were just sexually abused because you could have been killed." Notice the absurdity of that statement. There is no gradation, all abuse (psychological, physical, sexual) is the same. It inflicts similar levels of pain (and long term trauma) on the victim. That's why they're all classified as "abuse." It's time to end the culture of abuse (which, in case you aren't paying attention is rampant in the US). The time has come and the time is now. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Don't think this is a real problem. You aren't paying attention. That's a link talking about the WaPo article originally titled "One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married". This is what's known as 1) blaming the victim and 2) complete misunderstanding of the problem or issue. The two "geniuses" who penned that piece obviously have never heard that most rapes (of adults and children) and most abuse is done by family members. Most often spouses and fathers of the victims. "But only if women were married" (like that is actually a shield) and "it's calm down men". Heard it, talk to the hand. The authors are fucking ignorant. And, yes, people with doctorates can be astoundingly ignorant about social issues. Also note, this isn't the only socially deft article WaPo has published recently.

And then you have an Archbishop testifying that he wasn't sure that having sex with children was a crime. These are all current. This isn't in our dark past, these are all within this year.

No, no, no, you're not supposed to speak the truth. Even if you are leaving Congress and feel a little bitter on how you were leaving. This just won't do. (Note they didn't ask Heritage Action if they contributed) So, no, Congressmen (and Senators) don't vote to get better campaign contributions. That would be quid-pro-quo (which actually is against the rules). It's he walked back that comment about exactly that. And Santa Clause is going to reconstitute the polar ice cap.

(UPDATE) Doubt we'll see this candor from Eric Cantor. I have my own thoughts on just what happened in Virginia, and it doesn't mesh with the story line being promoted in the media (note, everywhere else in the country, the story has been the retaking of the GOP by establishment operatives, Eric Cantor is the only exception).

For another view on that… "The bottom-line here is Dave Brat didn’t beat Eric Cantor because Cantor’s campaign was poor or because of his immigration stance. And Brat’s victory over Cantor wasn’t just a fluke… What happened last night in Virginia was in the works for years, and it has dark money written all over it." Just in case you're wondering just where the left is getting their ideas about he Koch Brothers… hint, we have the paper trails. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Hey, remember the whole "Obamacare had Death Panels" and the progressive response that, no, really there aren't any. And if you want to complain about bureaucrats having a say over if you live or die, have you ever had to use your insurance? Here's an example of what we were talking about. BCBS has decided that for their patient, radiation therapy isn't medically necessary (when it really is the only thing that is both prescribed by best practices, and obviously necessary). Heinous fakery all around. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

Oh look, people actually support the new EPA rules on carbon emissions. Just in case you might have begin to believe the blowhards. Queue the "but they don't know the implications of this" argument from the usual suspects in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Speaker Boehner doesn't know what to call the Las Vegas shootings. He's confused (as is much of America) because the perpetrators were white, conservative, probably God-fearing people who wanted to bring down the government. And we can't call those people terrorists because we all know terrorists are brown and Islamic. Plus, that might alienate the Tea Party, which the GOP still needs to win elections. Remember that report our of DoH about having to watch ultra-conserative militias for possible terrorism? Remember how the GOP shouted that down. Ah, good times. Good times.

"'I think that the thing to learn from that is that I am a person who will stand up for what I believe in,' (Republican Senate candidate Dr. Monica Wehby) said Monday in response to the police reports (of her walking exes)… 'I'm a person who doesn't easily back down. I will fight for Oregonians with very strong conviction. I'm a very committed, determined person.'" Which I'm sure she would do in a totally non-creepy, stalker kind of way.

Tweet of my heart: @ChuckWendig And that's 3000 words down. Don't get excited, only four of them are any good. #writinglife4eva

Monday, June 9, 2014

Linkee-poo, it's the terror of knowing what this world is about, watching some good friends scream "Get me out"

Jay Lake's obituary.

More on Jay's demise. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Kameron Hurley On sex and sexism in advertising/marketing. Also, she doesn't discus it here, but I will. If I had a dollar for every time a boss of mine said, "make it sexy", I wouldn't have to do this reboot. I would be about $15 richer just this week.

"And so the Comics Code hacked and mangled comics until they fit into the patriarchal, conservative, white suburban social order that was taking over every other sphere of American life." Saladin Ahmed on the diversity of pre-Code comics, and how the Code destroyed it with a little on the post-Code adherence and disfunction.

The rat house of Palisades Park. An elderly pair of twins awaits God's coming by harboring rats (and here, were talking hundreds to thousands) in their home. And all the the while the locals government was unable to do anything. Posted here in case someone you know is trash talking zoning and health laws. Also, in case you need material for your own horror story. (Grokked from Neil Gaimen)

Shocked, shocked I am to find out the cable industry is trying to astroturf the debate over net neutrality. Yea, not so much shocked at them doing it but shocked at how easy it is to penetration the veil. When I was a kid… (Grokked from Will Wheaton)

A computer has passed the Turing test. Well, it pretended to be someone for whom English (which was the language of the test) was a second language. And it pretended to be a 13 year-old. Plus, this is the first time I've heard that it only needs to fool 33% of people. That's a somewhat low bar. I remember "psychoanalytic" programs in the 80s that probably could have hurdled it. (Grokked from CC Findley)

What happens when people get Unionized. Also note, the amount there were making before the unionization was higher than what we're looking at making the National Minimum Wage. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Screw texting and driving, don't drive and shoot yourself.

This is not how the revolution starts. More cost from the whackaloon brigade. Okay, but, seriously, I blame the movies. This is how it starts in the movies, one or two people shoot up a mall and pretty soon it's bedlam all over. In reality, a couple people kill some police officers and end up shooting themselves "before they can be taken." So, to the NRA, since the woman of the pair shot the other male shooter and herself ending the shooting spree, does that make her the "good guy with a gun" in this story? (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Linkee-poo looks to the west and gets a feeling

"Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children." An article in Slate. So let me answer in the most adult manner I can, because that's what you'll respect. Fuck you. Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I grew up at a time where reading, believing and taking seriously anything online was the height of childhood foolishness. You're getting into Dickens and Warton? Good for you. Know where they have people read those books, when they're YA (I read them in high school). Lots of people online are talking about how they're proud to read YA. Hell, I read Neil Gaiman's Instructions and loved that book. It's a wonderful story (yes, there is a story in there). Every generation has some self-selected, wooly-headed prognosticator who likes to mark the bright line between what is childish (what you like) and what is adult (what they like). Comics, cartoons, fairy tales, Disney movies, whatever. "You should be ashamed." Fuck you. You should be ashamed to confuse "adult" with boring, pedantic, and confused narrative disguising itself and "sophisticated" literature. It's not. It's just bad story. And if you've been reading my blog long enough you know nothing, nothing, trumps story. Hobble off and play with your adult toys, I'll be over here constructing whole worlds with my Legos and Lincoln Logs. (Grokked from so many people)

George Takei and and his take on the current insanity in the GOP. Yes, this.

Someone posts a woman's STD status on a slut shamming site. Someone is a-gonna pay a big fine and never work in the healthcare industry again. It's called HIPAA, and it's about to slap a lot of people around. (Note, I washed everything out of my post on working in healthcare, there's nothing in there you could tie back to a patient, this is how it works). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Fact checking recent claim on climate change. Guess who is on which side. No, go ahead and guess. (Grokked from Geoff Landis)

I've been wanting to write up my thoughts about the release of Bowe Bergdahl. Like many a military/political issue, Jim Wright beat me to the punch. Also read his counter point article. One thing not mentioned, though, is the war is coming to an end. At the end of hostilities you exchange prisoners. No matter how much I personally loath the Taliban (a bunch of presumptuous students with a penchant for administration whom the other Mujahideen left administer the territories behind the front because they didn't want the fuckers around at the front where they could get everyone killed, who got too big for their britches and thought everyone should think like they do), you also don't hold prisoners after hostilities are over. That's a war crime. Also note, the reasons people are upset we let five "high ranking" Taliban go are the reasons we should have tried the Gitmo prisoners in civilian courts instead of treating them as enemy combatants/POWS.

"US Marshals swept into the offices of police in Sarasota, Florida to whisk away records related to operation of "stingray" surveillance tools that the ACLU had requested." Look, an actual scandal. Probably won't see this anywhere.

"What I am saying, however, is that it is utterly inconsistent to claim the Framers as one’s moral foundation while parading around with the US Constitution one’s shirt pocket and then arguing from the anti-Federalist POV. At a minimum it shows that one does not understand one’s own arguments." On the insanity of willful ignorance of the right. Those that claim to know History, and the True Meaning of the Constitution are often the same types who claim to venerate the Bible but not understand that Jesus represented a new covenant with God. Can you read the Bible without accepting that? Sure, but then to base your arguments on the veneration of the document becomes meaningless. (Grokked from Janiece)

Random thoughts on the reboot - I'm sorry, dear

(Inspired by a conversation with a friend)

The small cuts are the ones that hurt the worst. I've seen people with bones sticking out of their skin, people whose bones have been shattered, missing limbs and digits that only recently gone missing, and while some of them have screamed as we positioned them for x-rays, the ones who scream the loudest and most often have been the ones with lacerations, abrasions and hematomas.

I can't blame them. When I shattered my fibula, I thought it was the worst pain in the world. Until I had a 6mm kidney stone. Yea, you don't want one of those. Trust me.

But it's also true in the reverse.

And then there are those who think we're unfeeling bastards because we make them hold their ankle at a certain angle, or we don't react when they tell us the most horrible thing they've experienced. Probably something that happened in the past two hours. Because we will make you move that hand that hurts so much you're thinking of just cutting it off and being done with it. When a nurse or other professional uses endearment terms, understand we are not belittling you. We are identifying (and in some small way, trying to protect ourselves). I used to hate it when other techs would call the patients "honey". But two years in I find myself following their example and saying, "I'm sorry, dear. I'm so very sorry."

There are times we just accept we can't get a certain view. "DUE TO PAIN AND PT CONDITION, UNABLE TO OBTAIN VIEW. BEST POSSIBLE FILMS." Most often this is for the axillary (shoulder) view, which is only performed on those who have injured their shoulder (hold your arm straight out, or up at an angle, while turning your head opposite of the injured shoulder, lean out to the side you're holding up, now imagine doing this when the humeral head is +1" out of position).

I'm sorry, dear. I'm so very sorry you are in pain or that I have to cause this pain. I'll try to go fast/slow.

We know some positions aren't comfortable. We know our tables aren't comfortable. But we also know we need to get the correct views on the x-rays so the doctors can correctly diagnose you. We'll give you the encouragement you need, show you the confidence you need to see, give you as much energy as we can to lean forward as we lift you up by the sheet. We won't wince when you wince. And not give you any sign that yes, you do smell rancid (I know you apologized for that, but damn). No, I've seen fingers bleed worse than that.

Haven't showered for a week? No problem. Three inch long, crusty, yellow toe-nails? No problem. The auto-sphygmomanometer reads 200/120 and you ask me if that's high? No problem. Not in front of the patient. Never in front of the patient.

Back in the workroom? Oh, yea, we talk about it. We cuss, we exclaim, we wonder just WTF these people were thinking (3 days before you came to the ER, have you seen your ankle, did you notice the blood in your urine, just how many times have you fallen and hit your head?). And we cry as parts of us die because we can't help our patient.

Everybody's pain level is different. Everybody's life journey is different.

There's an exam called the osseous survey. It's about 14 images and we see almost everything from your knees and elbows up at least in one view (thoracic and lumbar spine we get a lateral view as well). There's a few things that will cause a doctor to order one. The most common, though, is checking metastatic cancer. Most patients I've done this on have been late sixties and older. Some have been in their 50s.

And then there was the teenager. Fourteen images is a lot of x-rays. These days we don't use very many actual x-rays to take an image (in fact, we're approaching the threshold where we could go lower in dosage, but the resulting film would be full of quantum mottle/noise and not very good for diagnosing anything). We measure our doses in the ones and tens of millirems/microsieverts (as a comparison, it takes 300 rem for your skin to redden, radiation sickness syndromes start above 600 rem). And an osseous survey (I think) is still less than most CT scans. But we're still giving a high chance (comparatively) for cancer. So as I'm positioning this teen for the left humerus, image number 11, I'm thinking, "Geez, I'm giving them cancer." But when we're done I wheel them down the hallway for their infusion. They already have it. And another part of you dies as you smile at them and mumble some encouragement when you leave.

A part of you dies when you see friends in the waiting room and they tell you their spouses are in nuclear medicine getting staged for lung cancer.

And a part of you dies when you hear the doctors mention the patients you just x-rayed probably won't last out the week.

And a part of you dies as you think the patient you just worked on will never have the opportunity to legally have a drink or the option of declining it.

Do you want to see that pain as I x-ray your wrist because it's sore after you twisted it falling into a chair? Do you deserve to see it as I move your leg which I can already tell isn't broken and you just have a bad bruise? Do you deserve to see it as I hold your elbow and wrist so your ulna and radius don't go further out of alignment as another tech positions the film below because I can already tell your arm is broken in two places? Do you need to see it as you tell me that I'll see some spots on your lungs from the TB you had as a kid and you're afraid it might be back?

No, no you really don't want to see that. So I put on a smile and say, "Thanks for telling me that, now take in a deep breath and hold it"; "I'm not a doctor, I'm not allowed to diagnose you"; "You need to ask the doctor if that bp reading is high."

There are patients who are so skin and bone it hurts them to lie on the table. There are patients who aren't all there and can't tell you why they are getting an x-ray. There are patients who are scared at what an x-ray might show but even more frightened by not knowing. There are patients who are so used to doctors appointments they'll start undressing right in front of you because they have no embarrassment left in them. There are the patients you're on a first name basis with because you've seen them so often. You ask how their kids are doing. I still have to ask you your full name and date of birth, though. There are patients who are in so much pain, even after morphine shots, they can only nod or shake their head. And there's the little girl lying broken on your table because some fucker couldn't wait or couldn't be bothered to watch where they were going and clipped her with their mirror.

I'm sorry, dear. I'm so very sorry.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where were you when the wolves came to the door

Somethings in life we remember and still feel deeply, you are not forgotten.

Twenty-five years ago the Chinese killed reform coming from their people (note, the students still supported communism, they wanted an end to the corruption and oligarchy). And then the government has spent 25 years trying to erase all our memories.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Linkee-poo every song we played was for the late great Johnny Ace

Linkee-poo owes a great debt to Jay Lake. We're going to miss him terribly, and not just for the great material he pointed us to. It's no real secret that Linkee-poo owes much of its existence to Jay's Link Salad. There have been so many posts that I have intentionally gone out to find links other than the ones I found at Jay's blog just for the look of the thing.

We met Jay in the flesh twice. Once at World Fantasy where I sat on the outside of a group he was with while waiting to go to dinner. The other time was at Confusion where I got to spend a little more time around him. I will miss Jay. I will miss that I didn't get a chance to know him better. I will miss him for all he gave to the community and that younger writers won't experience him in the flesh.

Jay Lake stories for free. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

The Jay Lake Memorial scholarship to Paradise Lost.

Four steps to becoming a god(dess) of literary elements. Also, keep in mind at least half of the literary elements your high school English teacher forced you to memorize were complete BS, or the author only realized they had done after the fact.

Why do we love Apple, because they're "one of us."

The difference between what programmers say and what they mean. (Grokked from Annalee)

John Oliver on Net Neutrality. "What is being proposed is so egregious activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side. That's basically Lex Luthor knocking on Superman's apartment door and going, 'Listen, I know we have our differences, but we have got to get rid of that asshole in apartment 3b. He's too loud, Supe. He's just too loud." (Grokked from Steven Gould)

And then John Oliver crashed the internets.

A quick chart for when people claim the new environmental laws will destroy the economy. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Come Down Jehovah



Come down, come down from your mountain, Jehovah,
Oh, come down and be with us here.
Heaven and hell and the life ever after,
it's such a beguiling idea.
But our spell on this earth is much richer, Jehovah,
it's richer than you'll ever know.
And when it comes time to leave it behind,
we'll just close our eyes and let go.
If we've done our best we'll be ready for a rest,
we'll just close our eyes and let go

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fuck Cancer

This is what cancer does. It takes people we care about. Fuck cancer.