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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is late as usual

Best. Writing. Advice. Evar. It's hard work that creates change. (Grokked from Janiece)

A series of podcast on the Short Story Masterclass. I haven't listened to them, yet. But I intend to. I wanted to post the link before I forgot where I got them.

"What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it." An article with seven questions to help you define your life purpose. (Grokked from Janiece)

Six gifs that demonstrate the drought in California. Note most of those first images were from 2011, when California had already been in drought for a few years. In case you think this won't affect you, guess where a lot of your food is grown (and the food given to the animals that become our food). (Grokked from Rae Carson)

"Ipas estimates that 47,000 women still die each year around the world from complications related to bungled, illicit abortions." An NPR story about abortion and how the advent of the "illicit trade in misoprostol has cut the rate of maternal deaths in El Salvador significantly". Just in case you're wondering just where our country is going. And it looks like the world wide conservative movement is switching to social conservatism over fiscal conservatism. Great.

Fox's Bolling calls first female UAE pilot that bombed Islamic State "Boobs On The Ground". Nothing sexist and demeaning about that. (But then they've been apologizing for that comment) (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

Hey, remember when the military just hated the media? Now they run their own YouTube channels. Good times, good times. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

Tweet of my heart: (this was multiple tweets, I've brought them together here) ‏@AlexSteffen We should deeply mistrust asymmetrical secrecy (where someone can see our secrets, but we can't see theirs): it's core to 21st C oppression. Reducing us to isolated individualism—believing we are on our own & if we fall no one will help us or care—is how oppression takes root. A tyrant does not care if he is hated, as Machiavelli noted, so long as his subjects do not love one another. Think of that, the next time you hear some rich white guy explain how it's your lazy neighbors who are keeping you down.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo was killed by a cellular-phone explosion… the water was used to make baby lotion

Where have all the McGuffins gone?

So, I finally caught up on my Tor.com RSS feed.

"Accessing that shadowy territory really requires the physical act of writing. That’s what makes it so frightening and exhilarating. Sometimes, when you’re writing sentence by sentence, you’re not really sure what footprints you’re going to fall into, or what ghosts might appear." An interview with Karen Russell on writing. (Grokked from Tor.com)

I'll just leave this here for later. The updated D&D readings list. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Patrick Rothfuss bags on the lamentable state of fantasy. There's actually some pretty cool new stuff, but there are lots (and I mean lots) of books that are mostly Tolkien fanfic.

Bill Hader has an impressive list of 200 Essential Movies Every Comedy Writer Should See. Well, I'd say they were just good films to watch, but then I'm not Bill Hader. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Feynman on the internet. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"Rooting for an establishment candidate isn't ideal, but trying to get supporters to defeat Hagan is better than the alternative, Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund communications director Kevin Broughton told TPM." So much for the vaunted "we're going to change politics" idea. So, basically, can we all just now acknowledge that whatever the composition in those first weeks, the Tea Party is just the ultra-right wing of the GOP. "We will not wait several years to wake up and realize we’ve been duped." Won't get fooled again, huhn. Let me know how that works out for you.

"Since 2011, drought and heat waves contributed to $US 52 billion in economic losses in states from the Ohio River basin to the Pacific coast." What, me worry about climate change? "Yet as the (the Western Governors Association) forum kicks off this week in Norman, new challenges have emerged. With more people and more users, the tightening of water supplies cuts deeper than before. As the atmosphere accumulates more heat-trapping gases, future droughts will likely be even more severe. And austere budgets at the state and federal level have whittled climate monitoring and data collection systems, the core of any effective drought response, to the bone." Well, that's gotta suck. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

There is now such a thing as an unemployment truther. You just can't make this shit up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Linkee-poo, it is the summer of my smiles, flee from me Keepers of the Gloom

Here we go again. Next week I start a PRN job at the hospital. It involves training for two weeks. Expect disruptions of the schedule until afterwards. BTW, did I mention the first test in Sectional Anatomy is the 27th and the mid-term in Intro to CT/MRI is on the 7th. Plus, roof inspection on the 29th. Fabulous. In case you ever see me whinging about the Universe trying to kill me, now you know why.

"What I wish I knew about creativity when I was 20." I quibble a little with some of the points (like the creative output being low stress, I know how to build furniture, yea, it can be stressful when you realize you just made $200 worth of kindling), but still some good advice."11. Surround yourself with greatness" - points at you all. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

They're more like guidelines. There's eleven rules from the Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts pirate code. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Lego Academics twitter feed (lots of photos). Pretty funny stuff, even if it might be a little inside football. (Grokked from Sheila)

decoding Russian prison tattoos. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Aeroscraft has been under development by Aeros Corp… And with the successful launch of its half-scale prototype… the investment looks to have paid off. The future of lighter-than-air travel looks to be imminently upon us." As with many "oh so cool future tech that's just about to…" I'll believe it when I see them flying over me. But in general, this is very cool. The main thing, though, is at what cost? How much does it cost to ship a ton of material from one place to another. If that's not cheaper that truck travel, it doesn't matter how damn cool it is, the Ice Road Truckers will still have a job. If, however, it can be cheaper, then, yea, I love seeing airships. It's one of the (many) things I miss about college at Akron U. We were always seeing blimps in the sky. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Uh, no. your property caused harm to another's property by your neglect. Mr Bundy, that makes it your liability. See, the cows this person let lose, some made their way onto a freeway, where someone crashed into them. That's causing a hazard. But of course, it's never the Bundy's fault. See, that's a state problem, not his. Just in case you needed more insight into the minds of these people. It's never their fault, they are never in the wrong.

Because it's getting close to Halloween, Buzz Feeds' 14 creepiest places to visit with another nod to the Mutter Museum (that seems to be trending in the gestalt). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

For everybody who likes to bash other cultures (cough Muslim cough) for being "backward" when it comes to women's rights and tolerance of those who aren't like themselves, I say remove the plank from thine own eye first. See, there's this teenage owned donut shop in Front Royal, Virginia, called Naughty Girls Donut Shop. Apparently the Good People™ of the town don't particularly cotton to a girl (gasp!) running a business that gives back to the community, that also has the audacity to call itself "Naughty Girls" (faints onto conveniently positioned couch). So, obviously, the Good People™ feel the need to threaten and throw garbage. And, yes, this is about a juvenile as that sounds. "Tiana intended the store to be a refuge for those who are bullied at school, dress differently, or feel out of place in society." I have a feeling that is a major part of the problem. I'd like to say this is unbelievable, but sad to say, with everything I've seen even in my little town, highly believable. (Grokked from John)

Hey, ho, way to go Ohio. "This week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6-1 to potentially allow part of a state wildlife area to be strip-mined for coal." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, I guess Senator Sessions is upset about possible executive action by the President when it comes to immigration. So to that point he's going to float a bill to stop him and roll back what he's already done. But it doesn't have a chance of passage (unless we have a surprise). So, if the bill does go down to defeat (this article makes it sound like they will have an actual vote on it), the twist of all this is that it could be interpreted as a defacto approval of executive action in this area. I doubt that will occur to Sen. Sessions, or he'd withdraw the bill, which I don't see happening because those who support the bill will be using it in their campaigns.

One in four Americans want their state to secede from the Union. Fortunately they're a polyglot of concerns. Unfortunately, they could be united. "By the evidence of the poll data… the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt… This should be more than disconcerting; it’s a situation that could get dangerous… (S)eparatist movements can take hold around contempt for incumbents and the status quo even when protesters have no ideology in common." I could write an entire book about this, but the union has always been in near collapse. What's different is people don't understand this and understand why it's better together than apart. If you think taxes are high now, just wait until you have to support your own State Department and Military with only the tax revenues of your state (or, your state and local taxes will swell enough to make you long for the days of FICA taking all your money). "And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent." Not surprising. (Grokked from John)

And having avoided theatrics on their return from summer break the House calls it quits early.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Linkee-poo, so much depends upon a red wheel barrow

Strange Horizons is looking for reviewers. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Yog-blogsoth. An artists blog about drawing Lovecraft creatures and the various mythologies' gods. They pull source material from a variety of places, so I'm not sure how cannon their representations are. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"(R)esearch out of the UNC Gillings and JHU Bloomberg schools of public health shows industrial farm workers are carrying livestock-associated, multidrug-resistant staph into local communities…" Rhut R'ho Raggy. (Grokked from Dan)

Have you been hearing about this college debt problem and wondering just what the hell it's all about. I mean, most people who have graduated college come out with debt. But we dealt with it, right? Except that college tuition has increased by almost 12x in a generation. Although, with the advance degrees, we were in more debt that the current average by the time my wife graduated. And the interest rate wasn't much less than the top number they give in the article. But then, we didn't "own" a house until our late 30s (late home ownership is also causing it's own societal economic ripples). (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"It is perhaps ridiculous to suggest that economists do what they do only because of the prospect of consulting gigs or think-tank stints. Economists are human beings, with diverse motivations. But it is definitely ridiculous to suggest that such rewards have no impact at all. Economists are human beings, and human beings respond to incentives. Right, economists?" Who watches the Watchmen. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

I've said it before, artificial sweeteners are bad for you. That's a study that found "that a subgroup [four of the seven people] developed significant disturbances in their blood glucose even after short-term exposure to artificial sweeteners…" It's a small study. The effect is that they alter the microbe environment in your intestine which can lead to glucose intolerance (a disorder that can lead to Type II diabetes).

Uh oh. One pollster disses another. Fight, fight, fight, fight. No, I don't believe either. But I will make a prediction, the next Senate will be gridlocked by a recalcitrant minority leader.

That's when, you're Honor, the wheels came off the bus. Hannity on Peterson. First, a defense (based mostly on the "But I turned out okay" argument, serious Sean, might want to re-exam that premise), and then a moving of the goal posts to, "who is the government to tell us how to raise our kids" with examples of how he wants to raise his kids to "hate the same people their parents hate." Get a life, Sean. Oh, BTW, have you moved out of New York, yet. I believe you promised us you would.

Ted Cruz, I name thee Troll. Dear wing-nut conservative, I know you're wingnutty, but could you have picked a candidate to cheer that didn't look so much like Sen. McCarthy, even if they're just as paranoid and out of touch with reality?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Linkee-poo finds itself at the end of the day and not a dollar richer

I'm stacking up the writing links that I want to read before I post. Because I want to read them all the way through before I post them. It's what I like to do with all the posts. Unfortunately, not enough time. Soon, my precious, soon.

Authors United's open letter to the Amazon Board of Directors. What I think is hilarious is all those "open market" people who support Amazon for "driving down prices" probably 1) don't understand the problem of deflation and 2) don't get that Hachette has the same right to set their wholesale prices as Amazon does to set their retail price. (Grokked from MrsTad)

Merchandising The End. I may have to get a t-shirt, just for promotion purposes (of course, I should finish the WIP first). By that time, I suspect there will be a sale.

There are so many good links in the Slactivist's Labor Day post that it just makes sense to link to it instead of all the stories.

Sure women are treated exactly the same as men in the workplace. Would love to tell you I've never seen this dichotomy of how men are perceived in performance reviews and how women are treated. But I don't want to lie to you. I've seen it nearly every place I've worked, and even from female managers. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray." Uh, yea. So, how do you explain the red dots on the wall behind the shirt? Also, I seriously hope you licensed that art, because copyright and trademark infringement suits are a bitch. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"'It's not controversial to say human activity is contributing in some way to change,' (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal) said. 'In terms of how much it is and how serious it is, I say let the scientists decide that. Let's not have politicians decide that.'" And he says this as com paining that the Obama administration is full of "science deniers" because they won't approve the Keystone XL pipeline without taking into account the environmental impact, and the EPA's new emission rules that require the coal industry to develop actual Clean Coal technology (like they've been saying for about 15 years now) or shut up and close down. Okay, Bobby, I'll take that bet. Just what does science say about anthropogenic climate change? That's right, it's pretty well settled that it is all our fault. And, while we're talking about science denialism, how do you feel about evolution, Bobby? "The reporter interrupted Jindal, a Rhodes scholar who studied biology and public policy at Brown University, to press him on the original question of whether he believes the theory of evolution reflects the best scientific thinking about life on Earth." To which he then prevaricated. Remove the plank from thy own eye, Governor Jindal. And while we at that, how about acknowledging that you helped develop Common Core standards, helped lead the charge, until people found it had Obama cooties on it. Seriously, Bobby, go back to Louisiana. If you try a national campaign, your opponents in the GOP will leave you tattered and bruised by the roadside before it ever gets to the question "are you moderate enough for a general campaign." The crazy, it's about to sink a lot of people.

"The answer is in much more comprehensive, inclusive, accessible sex education." It's a lesson we as a culture need to learn again. And now the hard data is starting to roll in. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Just us and Somalia. Okay, that's an article on "whooping" (or spanking) a child and it's history, especially in the South. But that line about the only two countries that haven't ratified the UN convention on the Rights of the Child. And here we're talking about Adrian Peterson and his "switching" of his son. And we could get into a discussion of what is and what isn't child abuse, what is discipline, and the role of "punishment" in parenting. And, at least IMHO, there is a gray area there. But that gray area isn't that large. If the pain you've induced, and any redness or swelling persists longer than an hour, look in the rear-view mirror because the line is back there somewhere. "(S)ome media outlets got a hold of the police report in which Peterson said he gave the child a whooping. The child's mother took him to a doctor afterwards. The doctor told investigators the (child)… had cuts and bruises on his thighs, lower back, buttocks, groin area… The police report says the doctor described open wounds." I want to be very clear here, bruises on the "groin area" and "open wounds"? That isn't discipline. That isn't a "whoopin'". That's an adult who isn't in control of themselves. We've passed child abuse a long time ago in this case.

"This change threatens both the pocketbooks, but even more particularly the status of rich people. You know, a 15 percent tax rate on capital gains, a 15 percent tax rate on carried interest massively advantages people like me. Working people pay 39 percent. Investors pay 15, justified by this idea that the more money people like me have, the better off you will be." A discussion on the economy moderated by Paul Solomon of PBS between Nick Hanauer and Richard Epistein. One of them continues to cling to trickle-down economics, one doesn't and sees the coming danger. While this is all one side says this, one side says the other, we now have 30 years of data on trickle-down. It hasn't worked. The side promoting it says there's still too much regulation in the way, to which I say bullshit. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A composition of the comments on every single article about campus sexual violence. Never read the comments. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @terriwindling "It is never too late to be what you might have been.⁰" - George Elliot

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Struggle

What follows is probably incoherent whinging, but maybe I can work this problem out. Or maybe you can.

Okay, so I really want to get back to work on the WIP, Post Rapture Industries. I'm afraid I'm getting too far down the line from the story and it won't make as much sense if I don't get it out soon. Sure, I know, I can update it, whatever. But it feels as if the moment is slipping.

Also, there's a big wall there in my head. And it won't budge. So I'm not getting words out. In fact I'm not getting any words out (you know, except for here on the blog), which is a problem. The next month is going to be insane time wise. I already feel like all my spoons are spoken for. But I want to get back to writing fiction.

So I think about this short story I had that I really liked. It needs rewriting. I probably should start over fresh and rewrite it from scratch. It has the potential to be good. It has that feel of a live wire, you know. It's also pretty scary (not as a horror story, as in scary to write because what will people think of me if I do write this).

And I know, I know, that's what I should be doing. I should be writing the things that scare me. The things that aren't easy. The things that people will look at me on the bus (if I still took a bus to work, which would be kinda cool again, but, yea, the buses don't go where I need them to) and if they recognized me they would move to seats far away from me. The kind of writing that my Mom would say, "Oh honey, you had such talent…"

And then there's the novel. The idea that came to me early in the summer is like a siren signing on the shores and I'm not tied to the mast, yet. It's pulling me. But I have a feeling it's because I don't know the story. I've got the ideas, I sorta know the direction. But how I get from A to B to C to Z isn't all that clear. And I know that's part of the big draw of it. I wanna know that story. I need to know that story. And it could be very good or could be very mediocre, it's that kind of thing (this is part of my "feel" for my writing, sort of like how I know what are short story ideas and which are novel ideas, and roughly how many words they'll take). So there's a challenge there. Which is also drawing me.

And I've already gone off the WIP to write a novel. Maybe that's the secret, though. The current WIP is "that story", the one that got away that was This Big. Yea, that's a little too depressing to think about.

But I want to get this other story out of my head. At least the crappy first draft. So I can start restructuring and pushing all the right buttons for it. But that's also hard. There's that wall there, remember.

I've always felt that writers block happens when the conscious writer's mind is rejecting what the subconscious writer's mind is trying to tell it. When you know what you should write, but you don't want to. And then both sides take their little red wagons home. And that's sort of what I feel like here. And since I know this, you'd think it would be easy to push around it. I. Keep. Banging. My. Head.

Argh. I'm not sure I've come to a decision. It could be related to being out of spoons. I know that happens, but (insert long chain of curse words here) I want to get back to writing fiction. I need to get back to writing fiction. With the day thing, the reboot, the coming PRN position (have I forgotten to mention I've been hired PRN as a Rad Tech, yea, that happened, and it's causing stress, not because of the job, but because of all the hoops I've gotta jump through first), getting the roof fixed, all of that is just sapping all my spoons.

Still not a decision. Not sure I feel better. Maybe I need to sleep on all this.

And then there's the thought that if I wasn't spending some spoons on this blog, I might have some to write fiction. But I like this. I like this blog. I like the ease (yea, right) of writing it. Well, okay, I like the outlet. I like putting the words together, I like sharing things I find interesting, I like seeing my readership numbers go up since I've been publishing more regularly (waves to all the new people). Yea, I'm vain in that way. You all get me high. Just saying it here (why not).

But I know people who have gone off their blogs and they all seem to have success at writing after they did that. Some of them started writing for publication after I did. And I'm wondering if that's part of the success, channel my time into fiction writing (there was a typo of "function writing"), writing for pay ("Why did I go to someplace that I didn't know if they spoke English, 'cause the check was FAT. And I'm a little whore." - Gabriel Iglesias) Yea, welcome to the voices in my head.

And I thought about just deleting this. But the Muse is saying it needs to be out there. And we do as the Muse asks (for those of you new to this blog, following the Muse's orders is why there is a blog to begin with).

End author whinging (but I reserve my remaining time).

Damn. Now if only the fiction would come that fast.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo tried so hard to let you go, but some kind of madness is swallowing me whole

I've got to find some time to read all this stuff. But I have to admit that I've been slacking off and I've actually watched TV with my wife for a few hours this week. That may not seem like such a miracle, but that maybe tells you what these past two years have been like. And it's not over, yet.

Visual design is not a thing. Pointed out here because, well, it explains some of the day thing for people who don't know. Maybe it clarifies things when I say "designers are not artists". Also because we're redoing the website at the day thing and I want to print this out on Monday and stick on the boss's desk. This is why at my school we had big fights over "graphic design" vs "visual communications". We're in visual communications. It goes way, far beyond the "making it pretty." Unfortunately not a lot of graphic designers understand this part. It's about story. It's about what's in the viewer's head and helping that viewer get the information they need in a form they can comprehend it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Random Michelle's Labor Day post with pictures of why Labor Day is important.

"The amount of money employers had to pay because they were found guilty of wage theft is nearly three times greater than all the money stolen in robberies, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI)." That's a somewhat clumsily written statement that says when you compare the amount stolen from employees by "wage theft", that amount is 3x the amount stolen from everybody else in all other types of robberies. Tell me again how businesses must have less regulation to be successful, 'cause that never stops being funny. (Grokked from Matt Staggs, I think)

A small town in Kentucky decides to open its own gas station after years of price gouging by businesses. Don't worry, government can't compete with the private sector, we all know that. But in all seriousness, this isn't socialism, unlike what the frustrated gas station owner thinks. Socialism is when they use the power of government to take his business away and run it themselves. This is competition. And having paid the "not born and breed here" tax too many times, I say bravo to the town's mayor. "The Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association has warned surrounding towns not to follow Somerset’s lead." To which I would tell those other towns, give them the finger and do it if it makes sense for your residents. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Rubio has often felt the competing pressures from the Hispanic community and the conservative activists who elevated him to the national stage." Unfortunately Sen. Rubio has decided to side with the conservative activists, turning his back on his own immigration reform bill. Dear Sen. Rubio, you would have done yourself a better favor by sticking to your own ideals and telling the party to get with the program. I understand how much that would have taken, but lots of us moderates would have respected you for it. Now, you're just another wonk. And don't think the DNC won't capitalize on that if you're able to get the nomination or even a VP pick. Not to mention the ads when you run for re-election as a Senator. And you'll deserve it all.

And now is the time on Linkee-poo where we check in with how the GOP "we won't shoot our own feet as we try to take the Senate and increase our lead in the House" plan. So, how's it going? "Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) tried to deflect charges of sexism by Democrats by pointing out that he lives with five women and asking if Democratic opponent Gwen Graham has ever been to a lingerie shower." We won't talk about the mens only fund raiser where the invite read, "Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many." Yea, that's one way to do it… wrongly.

"'What’s the harm of bombing [ISIS] at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens?'" Ah, William Kristol, why are you invited to speak to anyone about anything anymore? I understand some people's distrust and anger and President Obama's response to ISIS, but while it mean more WAR!, at least I have the feeling that the adults are in charge this time and that we're responding to an actual problem instead of using a problem to advance our pre-determined (cough New American Century cough) policy.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Linkee-poo came back as a bag of groceries accidentally taken off the shelf before the date stamped on myself

Today I note the passing of Graham Joyce (not that I just heard about it, but so far haven't commented here). I met Mr. Joyce and have read many of his books. I still remember his performance during his interview as the GoH at World Fantasy. That performance (and it was one, as are most of those events) has had a heavy influence in how I present myself at cons. I always wanted to write him and ask what advice he had for new writers. This dove tailed into a wonderful story he told about his own experience learning the craft, but just never got around to it.

Thirty-seven pieces of life advice from the dying. I'm working on number one. I'm working on it hard. (Grokked from Janiece)

Solar flare on video by SOHO. That static you see, that's the radiation hitting the satellite. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Fuck cancer. "'A Mother’s Journey': 20 photos of a Mother’s love for her dying son." Don't view if you cry easily and your somewhere you can't let that emotion out. Just a warning. (Grokked from Janiece)

Ted Cruz finds out that only American Evangelicals have this fetish for Israel. Say, here's something people want to hear as they're being killed for their beliefs, "You may have it bad, but not as bad as these other people that we love. Don't mind me as I hijack your political movement for my own pet project."

And it what comes as a shock to no one, the Senate fails to move the Citizens United Amendment forward. Actually what's shocking is that the GOP filibustered at all. Because that means it still active, it just can't come to a vote. They had the votes to send it down into the trash heap, but then they would have to be on record as opposing it. This way, they can continue to say with one hand, "We think the little people should be in charge" while with the other hand they masturbate the corporations that are flooding cash into their election coffers. (Grokked from John)

Apparently the the US Air Force has changed the regulations regarding the oath and now a sergeant will be taking the government to court over being forced to swear, "so help me God." Seriously, how did this change pass muster through the chain of command? Full disclosure, I was in the Air Force Reserves and had to make several oaths (including one to turn the key killing millions of people in the process), and I never had to say that phrase. Hell, there were even alternatives to say, "swear" since some people have religious convictions that forbid them swearing (mostly they would say, "affirm"). If I had an AF t-shirt, it would be going in the recycled clothing bin right now. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Linkee-poo spent the last year, Rocky Mountain way

Stephen King on teaching writing. If you didn't know, Mr. King taught school grade English while trying to break in to being the damn famous author he is. "Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex." Yes. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Phil Plate describes how we measure how far stars are form the Earth. Well, first we get this really long yard stick… (No, that's not how we do it). Also how we measure brightness. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. The swimming dinosaur.

"Perhaps this decline also speaks to how much women pretending to be men really is one of the clearest symptoms of a segregated society so dysfunctional that it inevitably must change." A story of the Afghan girls who choose or are forced to live life as boys (at least until puberty) with a little on how this has happened in many societies. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

Whelp, so much for me ever giving money through GoFundMe. They've decided on their moral code, which somehow includes raising money for (or at least from) racist-bastards who perform extra-judicial killings, but not to help a women obtain a legal abortion. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmentz)

"As part of the growing GOP effort to save Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mitt Romney is now making robocalls on the incumbent senator's behalf." So that would be Romney himself making those phone calls (ba-dum-bump!). For all the supposed bluster in the media about the conservative take over of the Senate, this shows just how tenuous their leads are. It's anything but certain.

What the Pro-Life movement is really about. "'Getting this level of care has always been available to rich women,' (Dr. Lester Minto, who just had to close his clinic in Texas) points out. 'They can always go somewhere else — another state, another country. They can go to their gynecologist and get a menstrual extraction or something that's not called an abortion. So they're OK.'"

Ohio's own Senator Portman, "I don't know what's going to happen specifically on votes on Obamacare… I suspect we will vote to repeal early, to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it's hurting our constituents. And we think it's going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had." Tell ya what, Rob, how about you develop that replacement plan and sell the country on why it's better first, instead of removing people from the insurance they just got for the insurance plans that are no longer offered. Obamacare (in the "sign up for insurance" part) will be over a year old by that time. Seriously, Rob, the horse is dead. Stop whipping.

There this thing in progressive circles where we talk about "zombie arguments". These are the things that no matter how many times they're are disproven, in a week they'll be popping back up somewhere else. Rand Paul shows he's full of them. As well as full of other things. The first one? Congress has never taken back the President's authority to wage war in Iraq. It's still open. And his things about the minimum wage 1) who is asking for $25 (not anyone I know of) and 2) no, the data pretty well shows that higher minimum wage doesn't decrease jobs or disadvantage minorities (bonus points for someone worried about disadvantaging minorities, but who believes there shouldn't be any regulations on businesses, like whom they can serve or decide not to serve).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Linkee-poo's life is out of control

For those about to go to Viable Paradise, we salute you. Here's some tips. "Everyone is telling you not to go in sleep deprived: DON’T GO IN SLEEP DEPRIVED." That one needed emphasizing. (Grokked from Viable Paradise)

The Islamic roots of Science Fiction. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

John Oliver on student debt and the private college problem. "Our leaders have decided that while education is incredibly important, it is not important enough to actually pay for."

Researchers find fish use visual clues to recruit interspecies help with hunting. Best line, "But not all morays are equal." Some are more equal than others. Also "It was 'one of the very few observed examples of innovation and tool use in fish.'" There's others? (Grokked from Morgan J Locke, I think)

One of the benefits of global climate change, we've found one of the ships from the Franklin Expedition. In case you need it, more about the Franklin Expedition. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Have you ever wanted to see a spaceship burn up on re-entry… as viewed from space? Sure you have. This is a video of a returning supply capsule, loaded with trash, which is allowed to burn up on re-entry. I think it's a waste of a good capsule, but probably cheaper than adding a heat shield. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Here's some things you won't see in the Mutter Museum. The Mutter is a museum of medical science. Most major cities have one stuffed away somewhere. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Every time I write another addition to this series, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always another murder. Always another angry lunatic with a hard-on and a gun and score to settle. Always. It never ends. Welcome to America." If that isn't the most damn depressing line I've read in a long while, I don't know what other line could be it. Jim Wright with Bang Bang Crazy, Part 10.

Gee, why doesn't President Obama ask Congress to work with him and to get authorization to go into Syria? Because the Congress of No always says, "No." If President Obama personally was trying to rescue the Congress as the Capital was on fire, they GOP would take a vote and say, "No. We don't want your water and ladders."

Oh Fox News, you're delightfully political and insane. "Fox News host Andrea Tantaros wasted no time during Monday's episode of 'Outnumbered' directing anger at President Obama and the Democrats over a video reportedly showing NFL star Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an elevator… Tantaros went on to demand action from Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL)… 'Debbie Wasserman-Schultz should come out and condemn this, and if she doesn't, she's an apologist for domestic violence,' the Fox host said." There's any number of responses here, like "should the President have to comment on every criminal transgression that happens in the US, he'll run out of paper if he does." But I think the most appropriate response to Fox News is "look to thy own wounds."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ah, we meet again, my old scourge

Oh gods, not this again. Okay, so I just went through investigating a few potential good links to include in a Linkee-poo post. Only to land on another post that references and links to a further post, which is the meat of the matter (supposedly), without either a discussion or inclusion of relevant points. And then that link isn't actually to the material being discussed obliquely, but to another post with another link… I stop at 3. Hey, I understand we all link. Look, here I am actually doing it myself. And I know sometimes I'm vague about the content of certain links (and I know a few other people who are as well and I use their material all the time, but I'll admit, I don't look at all their links and so am probably missing stuff I would like, but hey, life is finite).

But here's the thing, I try with all my linking to take you directly to the final piece, or to a commentary on the piece that I think is the most interesting (because sometimes it's not the event that's the thing, but someone's take on the event that is either the most enlightening or the most entertaining). But after a few links of "OMG, you need to read this" only to link to another site that says the same thing, that links to another site that says the same thing… that's where I stop. See, this is why I say where I get my links (the "grokked from" statement, yes, I know, I'm not using that term correctly, but my site and I like it). The person (or site) I mention there is the first person (or site) I have seen mentioning whatever it is I'm linking to. Note here that the link I'm providing may or may not have been their original link (sometimes I dive past the commentary to get to the original, or I find a better alternative). I've thought about using that grokked tag to link to the item that sent me to whatever it is I'm pointing to, you know, good referencing of source material, but that's way too much work and I do this for fun and my own enjoyment (notice there's no advertising on this blog, I hope to keep it that way).

I also don't mind the link to a piece that "sparks my interest to know more" and then I go searching out other material like it (or gives a different perspective). That's the great fun that is the internet and the many to many communication is can provide.

But back to my peeve of the day, link to link to link to link… without any real form of commentary or distillation. This form of Russian-nesting-doll links drives me insane, and in the early days of the internet it was all over the damn place. It's something I thought we have matured out of. But like I said, I just went down that rabbit hole once too often this morning. Seriously, folks, cut it out. If you want to give credit to the person you got the info from, all fine and dandy (hey, I support that in fact, I love the people who point me toward interesting and entertaining material and you deserve the shout out). But after the 3rd link to the "this is what we're talking about post" and I've kind of lost interest.

And here I'm granting you all permission that if I link you to another site that is basically, "ZOMG this is so good, I just… you gotta click here" without adding anything to the conversation, you can call me out on it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Linkee-poo tried to change, but I changed my mind, think I'll have another glass of Mexican Wine

HarperCollins misses the point when it comes to ebooks and libraries. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

Rejected Princesses. "This week we celebrate Tomyris… When the aggressive ruler of the world’s largest empire set his eyes on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, crushed his armies, and defiled his decapitated head in a manner so humiliating she was a household name for centuries." Winner, winner, chicken dinner. (Grokked from Dan)

A meteor creates a 39 foot crater in Nicaragua over the weekend. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"When Congress returns this week, House Republican leaders' mission will be to act swiftly to fund the government and avoid the drama of a shutdown confrontation." Let's watch and see how this turns out. Anyone got popcorn? This shouldn't take long. "Congress has 10 scheduled working days to act before the government shuts down."

"'Why tell the truth? It’s not like she’s rich enough to check me.'" Sure, money isn't corrupting our politics. (Grokked from CC Finlay)

"The Charlotte Observer published a blistering editorial hitting House Speaker Thom Tillis, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, for recently announcing his support for over-the-counter birth control." I guess not everyone got the memo about being nicer to women and minorities. And so begins the eating of their own children.

Say, remember those cargo aircraft that delivered pallets of shrink-wrapped US currency to Afghanistan and Iraq during the wars? You know, the ones the Bush Administration was in to much of a hurry to put adequate accounting and tracking protocols in place that would allow us to audit where it all went (and a lot of it when unaccounted for)? I think I see where some of it ended up. "Zalmay Khalilzad, who served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations under President George W. Bush, is being investigated by American authorities for suspected money laundering…" Of course, it's not under investigation by us.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is sliding into second

Tolkien on fairy-stories. "Like Sendak and Gaiman, Tolkien insists that fairy tales aren’t inherently 'for' children but that we, as adults, simply decide that they are, based on a series of misconceptions about both the nature of this literature and the nature of children…" (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"This is the most detailed map yet of our place in the universe." The Total Perspective Vortex. "Hey, didn't ya hear me say, 'I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox,' baby." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

What's wrong with the evening news? So many things (including local news that isn't local), but first, kill the stand up. And then we can talk about the "man on the street" segments. It's for all of these reasons I don't regularly watch my local news anymore. Also, radio news, you're getting just as bad with the "ambient sounds of the world" thing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it's just a distraction. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

Cold Front spurring migration. Let's see, those red dots are right over us. Looks out window. Nope, still rainy. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Thousands have been jailed in Berks County for failure to pay truancy fines, but court fees and other fines have put thousands of others behind bars across the country." Ah, the war on crime. I'm sure this is unintended, like the woman who died while serving a weekend because she owed $2000 for her kids' truancy. Because we don't have debtor's prison in this county, as the Judge said. Except that judge has sent a lot of people to prison for their debts. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

There's this common thread in many of the campaign-finance regulation rollback discussion about how it's a big pie and nobody really would or could give to everybody and it won't warp our election process. Yea, they lied. What most people don't understand is just how vastly wealthy the 1% actually are (hint, if you make less that 7 figures, you're not in that club). "'I would think everybody would be for more money in politics like I am, because we’re just spreading speech,' (Shaun McCutcheon) said." Well, Mr. McCutcheon, you're spreading something there. I'm not sure I'd call it speech. (Grokked from Tania)

"The most basic of economic theories would suggest that when supply isn’t enough to meet demand, it’s because the price — in this case, truckers’ wages — is too low. Raise wages, and an ample supply of workers should follow." Nah, I'm sure if we increase the salaries of the executives, that would solve it as well. I've been making this point for years. Manufacturing is highly specialized now, requiring a great deal of post high-school education (of which the factories are loath to actually do), and many positions go unfilled. Well, here's the thing, raise the pay of the workers and more people would be willing to take the gamble on more education. But then that requires understand actual economies, instead of blithely mouthing ideologue positions that sound like economics, but aren't. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Indeed, the empirical evidence indicates that increased or already high taxes appear not to put a damper on jobs, posing new challenges for those who argue that tax cuts are the primary and perhaps sole elixir for our economic woes and that tax increases always and everywhere spell doom for job seekers." See point above. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Say, you know the complaints of business owners, especially big businesses, like nationwide franchises… you know, "If we pay our workers more, it'll raise the cost of the burgers/pizzas/churros/whatever"? Yea, right. If fast food was such a "low margin" industry, how can they increase executive pay by 3x in a year, including the golden parachutes for the former CEO's retirement? Just in case you ever wondered why I called BS on all those claims. Food makes a ton of money (even the little local stores, although they have it harder). Hell, McDs had one (1!) month of decreased revenue and they fired the guy in charge of sales (I'm sure he also had a golden parachute). This is what the industry is really like. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A prominent pro-life activist has called to ban all public nudity because he said that topless dancers who protested at his church had committed an 'offense to God.'" Wow, it's like Sharia, only it's not being called that because it's a "Christian" pastor leading the call. And, he thinks banning women going topless with help with another bugaboo of his, because (wait for it), "'The gay pride parade in Columbus is 500,000 strong – why? Because the women go topless,' he insisted on Facebook." I'd like to say this wing nut s rare in Ohio, but he ain't. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"'Looking across the broadband landscape, we can only conclude that, while competition has driven broadband deployment, it has not yet done so in a way that necessarily provides competitive choices for most Americans,' (FCC Chairman) Wheeler said Thursday during a speech…" And this year's nominees in the Captain Obvious category are… Actually it is a good thing the FCC has finally recognized this. Thanks to all your comments about Net Neutrality. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The Economist apologizes for their review of book on slavery. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"John Johnston, who is challenging Democratic state Rep. Chuck Moseley for the 10th District seat, said during a social media discussion on poverty that 'no one has the guts to just let them wither and die.'" And the GOP wonders why the left calls them heartless. Also, it doesn't take "guts" to let people die, it takes good people doing nothing (aka evil). It takes guts to help people. Anyone who has done so knows this. Also, "'I was not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings,' Johnston said. 'I saw the opportunity to say something.'" Well, I see the opportunity to say you're a jerk, Johnson. A complete knee-biter. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thing I've learned in the reboot, part 4

"Why do you need to hurt me?" Well, that's not the actual question we get, it more like, "Ow! F#$kers, why did you do that?" or "I can't move that way."

Let me just say to that last one, yea, you probably can. I've seen people all stiff and immovable while on the table. Then once I say we're done, suddenly get all flexible and lose while they walk out of the room (yes, we call you names after you leave). I should also point out there are patients I try not to move at all (especially if I can see that they have a broken hip/femur before I even x-ray them). But mostly people can do what we ask.

By why do I need to move you, touch you, get you at just the right angle? Because I need to demonstrate your anatomy in the proper position with the proper relationships of parts so the Radiologist can diagnose you correctly.

Okay, first there's such a thing as anatomical position. Everything relates to anatomical positions. Why, when your hip is hurting, why do I need you to go pigeon-toed? Because the neck and head of your femur are at specific angles entering the acetabulum and I need you to be in that correct anatomical position for the x-ray. Is it important? Well, if say your hip is broken (I can tell by how your foot is laying on the table, even if I can't see a clear dislocation in the leg) I won't make you (warning FEMORAL ARTERY!), but for everything else, yea, I need you to do that.

In general, we will probably take at least two x-rays of you (with some notable exceptions). And we may take up to six for any one study (like a cervical spine). If you have multiple studies that number can really add up. For one patient I had to do C-Spine, T-Spine, and L-Spine (that's at least 12 x-rays, if not more for repeats or to get specific cone down views). For everything we x-ray we need at least two views to determine exact location of anything that might show up. Also, not all problems show up in all views. Even broken bones. You'd be surprised how many breaks we see in one x-ray in a study and don't see in any of the others. For any bone we need two views, hopefully at 90° to each other. For any joint we need three views (sometimes only two, but that's depending on if you just have pain or if there was a recent injury). Your bones (and soft tissues) are complex. Nobody is exactly the same. I've taken AP (straight on views, beam enters Anteriorly, exits Posteriorly) views of forearms that look like Laterals (side view, typically lateral to medial sides). It's freaky. Then there's your spine. Sure, you may think it's just a bone, but we have to show the intervertebral joint spaces (either an oblique or lateral depending on where we are in your spine, these are where your nerves exit the spinal column) and the zygapophyseal joints (this is where the vertebra articulate against each other, either the oblique or lateral, not the same plane as for the intervertebral spaces). I need to show all of those, hence the numerous x-rays for what you think is a simple pain.

Why don't I focus in on exactly where your pain is? Well, I need certain studies for the doctors to diagnose you correctly, and where you think the pain is may not be where the problem is. Also I need to show the x-rays in specific order to the doctor. Every x-ray has distortion in it. This is because the x-rays come from a point source (5mm) and angle outward from there. I need to show the x-ray with the distortion the doctor has come to expect. If, however, I'm x-raying the wrong side, let me know (you wouldn't believe just how often doctors put the wrong side on their orders - heck, even we get it wrong because we're thinking about the last order we did, or mix up our anatomic positioning). Also, if we're x-raying the "wrong part", ask about it. I've had to (have the full tech) call the doctor's office to get them to change the order. For example, PT had obvious forearm fracture, doctor ordered a wrist thinking it would also show where the fracture was. Um, no. Would you like a forearm instead?

Why can't I just do the wrist and get the forearm (or vice versa)? Okay, one a wrist is typically 4 views for injury, and a forearm is always just 2 views. With a wrist I will get the distal quarter of your radius and ulna (the bones that make up your forearm), but I'm demonstrating the spaces between your carpels (wrist bones), so the radius and ulna will be distorted. While the forearm shows the elbow and wrist, because I'm centering on the forearm, those joint spaces won't be open. One is not the other (even if the doctor asks us to cheat - which we won't do).

And because of how your anatomy is put together I need to get you at specific angles to demonstrate the proper anatomy. Take your shoulder. For an injury we will get a view called a Grashey (named after the doctor who specified it). This is typically an AP (your back against the plate) and rotating the patient by about 45° (again, everybody is slightly different) onto the injured side (especially if you're lying on the table, this can be quite painful). I need to get this view to show the Glenoid Fossa (this is the "socket" on the scapula where the head of your humorous articulates) in profile (it's a cup, but I need it as flat as possible) and the humeral head and the space in-between them. There are a lot of injuries that can only be diagnosed with this view, and it needs to be done properly. So, yes, even if you're in real pain, I need you to do this. I may be able to get away without the Lawrence/Superior-Inferior Axillary (your armpit), for an injury (and that's the only time we take it) it's a very difficult position to hold. But I can't argue away not having the Grashey.

So, yes, I know you think we should only need one x-ray to see what's going on. But we need more. And we need you to hold in exact, specific positions. I know it's painful to hold your legs pigeon-toed on the table (yes, we have to do it ourselves for training) or to rotate your hand palm up and then palm down (AP and internal rotation for elbow and shoulder routines), but the doctor needs to see the bones and tissues in the relationship they're expecting. And know if I'm too far off, I get written up. So not only is it your health on the line, it's my ass and job on the line too.

Also, we will ask you if you've had a recent injury and exactly where the pain is. Be honest with us. If you've had an injury that may mean I need to get different views and your really don't want us calling you back to redo the study (yes, it's happened more than once). If you have a question, like "why are you x-raying my right shoulder when it's my left knee I twisted" ask away. I want to get the right study done (because I don't want to ask you back for another study) and the doctor may have ordered the wrong study (or I may think I'm x-raying someone else, this is why we always ask you to say your name and birthdate). Also, I should be able to explain why I'm doing all those x-rays or why I'm looking at your C-spine instead of your hand where you have the pain (probably looking for pinched nerves). It's your right to know.

But if you ask me not to do something because of the pain, I may be able to take the same image a different way, but I may need you to be at a certain angle, holding you hand a certain way, leaning on the bad side because I need that exact view to show the Radiologist so they can diagnose you properly.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get it outa my head and on paper

Last night I ran out of spoons and went to bed early, only to have a series of early dreams (I don't often remember my dreams on waking, and mostly those times I do remember dreams it's around 3 o'clock or later, so this was unusual). They were very vivid and involved telling a story of a journey. Only, while I told the first story, I didn't tell the second story. Jeff VanderMeer did. Why Jeff was narrating in my dream, and why him, I'm not entirely certain (although I've been dipping into his Wonderbook lately, so his voice has been in my head).

But it was so strange that when I woke, I hand wrote almost two pages of notes. Here's the epiphany. Here are my notes transcribed.

I wrote a story about secret passages and getting from A to B. Jeff VanderMeer told a story about the same, but made it about seven different levels of passages. He added danger, cultural relativism, trust between two people gaining in their relationship, of decisions on all levels and by people not mentioned in the story. I told mine in the paper, he told his on the radio. Mine was a boy and girl getting to class. He was a girl must trust a boy she doesn't fully know to take her hand and lead her through dazzling cultural events, college parties and the underworld criminal drug gangs and opium users to get to the end where they realize only together could they have escaped with their lives and sanity.

You win, Jeff! (editors note: as I remember I said this out loud in the dream)

(editors note: these are single sentences I wrote around the periphery of the first page) People wanting to thwart the couple, try to distract them off the path. Underground circus life. I made it about a path, Jeff made it about a whole world. I made it weird and strange, Jeff made it a mad midnight carnival.

(Editor's note, I laid back down here, but got back up to write another page, it's slightly redundant, but since I'm being honest here I'm including it)

I told a story about getting from point A to B. Jeff made a story about trust, of putting her hand in his. In mine, he was clever. In Jeff's he was out of his depth and likely to get them both killed. In mine she went confidently. In Jeff's she was filled wiht doubt. There were internal journeys and passages (ie. traveling) of the characters. Did I mention the stilt walker stalkers Jeff added? The feeling I gave (was) "They're going to make it." How Jeff's story was filled with "ZOMG they're not going to survive." In mine, if they don't get there they missed out. In Jeff's if they didn't make it they lost everything. In mine they were going to make it. In Jeff's (it was) anything but making it.


I grok some of that now, but there was a lot more I understood when I woke up. I certainly hope my subconscious remembers it and has internalized those lessons.

I don't remember dreaming the rest of the night.

Also, this is why you should have writing paper and a pen or pencil by your bed (well, at all times actually).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Linkee-poo has run outa spoons

Stick a fork in me, I'm done for the week. Way too much to catch everyone up on this week. But the "fun" part (i.e. stressful) isn't over. How am I going to get through tomorrow, my vinegar and piss stores are at low ebb?

"A new study from the German government, reported by The Telegraph, shows that more than one in three wild boar killed by hunters in the region are too radioactive to be safe for humans to eat." Ah Chernobyl, the gift that keeps on giving. BTW, had boar sausage during the vacation, it was excellent. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'It is a very sad story and really tragic, and it shines a light on what is a real problem, particularly for low-wage workers, today,' said Elizabeth Watson, senior counsel and director of workplace justice for women at the National Women’s Law Center." As is so in many cases, the true cost of policies remain hidden from those who make the policies. In this case, the life of a woman who was working several jobs and trying to catch some sleep in her car in-between her shifts.

"'In America wives take the names of their husbands,' the officer told her according to court papers." Look, I understand a lot of (conservative) people think we're still in the 50s. I mean, that was Reagan's whole schtick, after all. But, no. No they don't. This is said as the husband half of a team that is constantly fighting this battle. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

You know how some Islamic states (and local Sharia enforcers) make it a crime to convert people from Islam? It's because of fuckers like this. Convert of die? WTF is this, the Inquisition? And here's the thing, jackass, converting them won't change anything. Think of that as you put up your Christmas Tree this year. "'I'd much rather have a Bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ… however, if it's a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that's what they're looking for, I'm personally ready for either one,' Robertson later added." And we have a volunteer. I say give him a six-shooter and insert him in country.

Usually I love me some Jim Wright, but damn if his latest piece on the disorganization that is the modern conservative movement hasn't upset me something fierce. Hillary Clinton in a chain mail skirt ala Tina Turner as Aunty Entity riding like a bat out of hell after Mad Max with the flaming pig-shit hole of Bartertown in the background. Damnit, Jim. I now need a bucket of brain bleach to get that out of my head.

It's a little late (my link that is, not the post) for the Ferguson debate, but Jim Hines lays out the case of why minorities feel subjugated in America. Just in case you still have the notion that we live in a post-racial America.

Okay, so you need more proof, how about this slavery-apologist leaning review from the Economist of a book on slavery. Yea, I'm sure some of those slave owners were Good People and couldn't possibly have been evil and mean to the people they held as property. I mean, I'm sure they belonged to all the right clubs and churches and held the correct political view to make sure they could pass in polite society. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"However, it was not immediately clear how far along the pregnancy was, and the cause of the possible miscarriage was not known." Dallas police swarm school after a janitor "'found was what appears to be a fetus, or what has been confirmed to be a fetus,' Dallas Independent School District spokesperson Jon Dahlander told reporters." Those words you're using, I don't think you know what they mean. This is what happens when we don't have fact based sex education, continue to shame people for having sex (both outside and inside marriage), and have policies based on the incorrect thinking of Pro-Life activists. Seriously, pregnancy is not what it looks like on TV. Instead of realizing that the teen may not have even realized they were pregnant (even if the pregnancy was far along, see reasons outlined two sentences ago), and/or spontaneous abortions occur all the time, I'm sure they'll track down whomever did this (if it ends up being an actual fetus) and prosecute them. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"'I'm disgusted that we even need such a law — that parents can't be trusted to not give a machine gun to a 9-year-old girl,' (Arizona State) Rep. Victoria Steele (D) told the Phoenix New Times." Dear REP Steele, this is how the majority of laws are actually written. Someone somewhere demonstrates that people are idiots or assholes. Then we need to make a law about it. Compared to the typical NRA line of, "it's just a few bad apples, why punish the rest of us." That's the way it's always been from the top down to why you can't chew gum in school.

And because you needs this today, John Oliver and Cookie Monster broadcast the news with a special appearance of Al Roker. Plus check the outtake reel. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Tweet of my heart: @CiaraBallintyne A plot point is a moment of irreversible change, at which the character cannot return to the previous way of life #writetip

Double dip: @ChuckWendig Writing is a craft. Storytelling has shape, pacing, flow, architecture. Of fucking course it can be taught to those who want to learn.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thing I've learned in the reboot, part 3

"I've had so many x-rays I'll probably glow in the dark now."

"X-rays don't work that way."

I told the truth, and I lied. X-rays don't deposit radiation that way, it's not like you accumulate radioactive materials and then become an emitter (that's a different type of radiation). So I told the truth for what it was worth. But while the beam is on, you emit x-rays through scattering. So I lied.

Some quick notes. X-rays are high speed photons. So far, we haven't been able to detect matter in the beam (like we can with visible light). X-rays can't be reflected. They can't be focused. They travel in straight lines. You can think of them as very fast bundles of energy. They lose that energy quickly. We no longer think of x-rays and gamma rays as being different, it only depends on the source and a little bit of the energy levels.

Here's how we create x-rays. There's this tube, think of it like a large arc light. On one side we accumulate electrons (mA) and for a (usually) small amount of time (s, mA * s = mAs, this is how many x-rays we're going to make). Then we hit that filament with a high voltage charge (kV, this is how energetic and penetrative the x-rays will be) forcing those electrons across the gap to the anode. Then several things happen, but mostly we make a hellalotta heat and a little bit of x-rays (something like 98+% to less than 2%). See, there's a lot of friction when the electrons slam into the Tungsten (used for general diagnostic x-rays, mammogram machines use molybdenum - the metal is chosen for the specific binding energy of the K-shell/inner shell electrons and the ruling energy profile of the beam and their ability to handle high heat). Most of that friction is transferred to heat.

Here's where the fun part begins.

The x-ray beam is heterogeneous in energy. Remember kV? Okay, energies of the x-ray will start around 10 kV and go up to the maximum kV we selected (most machines can go up to 120 kV). A small percentage of electrons, however, either are slowed down by the nucleus of the target material and that energy loss is transferred into creating an x-ray photon (this is called Bremsstrahlung or "braking"). These x-rays are typically of the higher energy levels. The electron could knock an outer shell electron out of it's orbit. This will create an x-ray of the same energy as the binding energy of the electron (lower in outer shells) and propel the electron with the force of the remaining energy. These are typically around 10 kV or so and aren't useful for diagnostic x-rays (sometime called Grenz Rays). The original x-rays could knock a K-shell (the innermost shell) electron out of orbit. For tungsten this creates an x-ray in the 50-70 kV range (what we use for most diagnostic imaging). Then, as electrons cascade down the shells we create even more x-rays at lower energy levels.

Okay, so we now have a whole bunch of heat (which will be handled by the tube vacuum, the oil the tube sits in, the rotation of the anode, etc., but this is also important, it is possible to overload the tube this way and then Bad Things Maynerd™) and a heterogenous bunch of x-rays heading out in all directions. Now, the tube case handles much of the x-rays heading in directions we don't want them to (lead lined, although there is an allowable "leakage"). There's a window at the bottom of the tube which lets the x-rays out in the direction we want. We then have aluminum shielding to remove all the lower energy rays (10 to 50 kV). These can't give us anything diagnostic so if we let them in you would be receiving a high skin dosage of radiation without any benefit (here we talk about half value layers, and you don't want to know). After this filtering we now have collimation (best thing ever) which helps us "cone down" the beam to where we need it. That is, no need to expose a full 8"x10"cassette if we're just x-raying your finger. We "cone down" to the finger and that's the area where the x-rays are (mostly, we'll get to that in a moment).

The x-rays now enter your skin and start doing a whole bunch of other interactions. As you change the beam, this is called "attenuation" and it's what gives us the image. Most x-rays will pass right through you without interacting. Your body can do a number of things with the x-ray that don't pass right though. They can absorb the entire x-ray photon (photoelectric effect). This then can produce scattering. It's basically the same results as creating x-rays. Some will "break", some will eject k-shell electrons, some will raise electrons to higher energy states. And here is where I lied. These interactions can also create new x-rays which typically travel within a 15° cone of the original x-ray path (classical scattering), but others (depending on energy levels and interaction states) can travel back the way the original x-ray came (back scatter) or head off in new directions (Compton scattering, this is the most dangerous for the x-ray techs and why we can't be in the room with you or we have to wear lead shielding). The ones that continue through then hit the cassette or digital imaging plate (CS, direct, and indirect). And here's the thing, most of the x-rays will pass through that without interacting as well. But some of them will hit luminescing crystals (indirect digital and film screen - for these types of devices 90% of the exposure will be from this photoluminescence and 10% from direct x-ray exposure) or the PSP (CS, or digital cassettes, this raises electrons to higher energy states which we read to make the image) or direct digital receptors. After that we have lead backgrounds in the cassettes or in the floors or somewhere and the x-rays (most of them) are exhausted.

For those x-rays that continue (and scatter) they conform to the Inverse Square Law. That is, the intensity of the beam diminishes by the inverse square of the distance. Or, in the space it takes the x-ray to travel from 2' to 4' the beam is 1/4 the intensity than it was at 2'. At a distance of 6' the beam is pretty weak.

Still with me? Okay, so we mentioned scatter. This is why we do all our protection schemes. This is why we'll use lead shields when we can. It's also why we need to leave the room if we can. Not because of the central ray (the main beam), but the scatter from the patient. This is where the majority of our occupational exposure comes from.

And you aren't the only thing that produces scatter. Air is not a vacuum. Air between the tube and the patient will produce a small amount of scatter. You need to think in volumes here. The table will produce scatter. Anything that is lighter than lead will produce scatter.

Lead is used for shielding because of it's high atomic weight (x-rays are absorbed by the photoelectric effect without producing scatter) and it's pretty dense. Note, there are regulations on the thickness of lead that is needed, blah blah blah. It's also cheap. There are newer materials (plastics and nano materials), but they're pretty expensive. There's even a cream that's being tested to see if it'll protect doctor's hands.

But, when the beam is not on, there is no radiation (normally, there's leakage things, blah blah, so small it doesn't matter). There is no scatter.

So, does that explain it? X-rays will not make you radioactive, but you will actually produce other x-rays while the beam is on. Once the beam ceases, no more radiation.

Of course, this is the high level overview (and I think I got all my terms correct).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Linkee-poo is back in the graphic mines

Some stunning writing studios. Although I'm not so sure how good your writing would be in those. Hell, some of them are nicer than all of my house. Also, just a not to remember that all those writers you admire, more than likely they didn't have one of these when the wrote the works you love. Although I would be remiss if I didn't admit to thinking of creating a space for writing, although without winning the lottery, they wouldn't be anywhere as near as nice (more like a small barn in the back yard). (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

Handwritten notes are better for retaining subject matter. With the reboot I can wholeheartedly endorse that. Although I will admit having the powerpoint slides printed for class is nice. I then rewrite the notes for studying using cards I had specially printed (because the cards they sell in stores these days are crap). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tell me again how conservatives aren't trying to suppress votes. 'Cause that joke never gets old. Seriously, not only did they raid the offices of a voter drive, but did so while heavily armed. Smeared the name of the organization. And then, even though no crimes were uncovered, had their records and equipment (computers, etc) destroyed. And it all looks to have been done at the express orders of the man who hopes to succeed Rick Perry as the next Texas GOP Governor at the instigation of the Tea Party (remember them?). There's a word for things like this, and it isn't a very nice one. Texas, you can do so much better. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

You can all stop worrying now, Eric Cantor found another job. Whew. Good thing he didn't have to live on unemployment, because that program sucks now. And, hey, he won't even have to move for the job, "Cantor, who will continue to live in Virginia, will open a new office for the firm in Washington, D.C." Isn't that nice.

I mean, thank the gods he isn't a librarian in Chicago schools. But I guess he could have lived up to his potential by taking a job as one of the new Chicago Schools safety guards. They're hiring.

I'll try not to be cynical as I point out that some conservative may finally be "getting it" when it comes to women and minority positions. I won't hold my breath, though. But in Colorado, Bobby Udall (D) just isn't getting it, "(Udall) noted that through the Obamacare consumers can get birth control for free and costs would rise if oral contraceptives were sold at retail price over over-the-counter." Well, only if they work for a large corporation that isn't going to fight that they have "religious objections" to providing the pill. What's missing here is the whole panoply of "birth-control" (like Plan-B, Novo Nordisk, implantables, etc) and only about "the pill", which not all women can take. But, hey, small victories, right?

"The good news for Boehner is that unlike last year, when conservative fury over Obamacare reached a fever pitch during the summer, there's less of an appetite among Republicans for a shutdown confrontation so close to the Nov. 4 midterm election." Aw (turns off big band music). But I already bought the party hats and favors. (takes off pointy hat and puts down party horn) "There are the three landmines that could blow up the effort." Bwah?! (winds up Victrola) Party on, Wayne!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo wishes you a great day off, if you get it

"A Dorchester County, Maryland, teacher was taken in for an 'emergency medical evaluation,' suspended from his job, and barred from setting foot on another public school… As classes resumed, parents worried that their children were in danger, so police decided to remain on the premises to watch over them… What happened? The teacher… published a fiction novel." It just gets dumber from there. (Grokked form Lisa Morton)

And here I must come clean, in High School I wrote a play about how zombies took over the school and it became an apocalyptic world by the end of the play. We produced it as part of our play writing class. It did pretty well. Wasn't even called to the counseling office over it.

"They found that three out of four waste facilities were sited in African American communities or poor communities, and that the single most determining factor in the results was race, while income was second." And it's only gotten worse since then. Just in case you think we're living in a "post-racial" nation. And it's not just "oo, that smells bad" or "there's too many trucks on the road", there are real, long lasting health effects of this policy. Also noted in case you think Executive Orders are always bad things. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Irony is dead. After failing to stand for an invocation, which included a big shout out thank you for being able to pray and think what we want, and then failing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, a Florida man is escorted from a meeting of the city council. Remember that link about honor? The mayor "told the Orlando Sentinel that he felt Richardson's refusal to stand during the pledge was disrespectful to American troops."

On the need to make our (would be) criminals the most vile and our (would be) protectors saintly and how that it's all a bunch of hooha. I'll remind everyone that Trayvon Martin wore a (dare I say it) hoodie. Shock. Women fainting on couches. Strong men swaying. There's also this story about how the officer had an orbital blowout fracture. That would be amazing, because the bones in your hand are more fragile and it would be damn lucky and difficult to hit exactly the way you'd need to to do that. The nose and zygoma get in the way a lot (and they have different fracture profiles). Also, being that close the officer would never had been able to draw his firearm, he would have been protecting himself. Life is not like the movies. But then this is all about the "Stories We Tell Ourselves." It's how we sleep at night.

I'm sure I've linked to this before, but, yes, this. "Generation X is sick of your bullshit… Right now, Generation X just wants a beer and to be left alone." (Grokked form Jason Sanford)

The Antarctic Ocean is experiencing greater sea-level rise that the rest of the world. Mostly because freshwater coming off the glaciers is less dense than salt-water, but still just pointed out incase your on the fence about the latest in global climate change. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

"The lawsuit is part of a flood of recent cases… that accuse employers of violating minimum wage and overtime laws, erasing work hours and wrongfully taking employees’ tips. Worker advocates call these practices 'wage theft,' insisting it has become far too prevalent… Some federal and state officials agree. They assert that more companies are violating wage laws than ever before, pointing to the record number of enforcement actions they have pursued." This is also coupled with a move of outsourcing and re-categorizing workers as "independent contractors" that leaves the parent company with the excuse, "we didn't know". Yea, sure. Of course, the business say this is just extortion and is being used by government officials to show their union credentials. Well, I guess we'll see you all in court then. Say, remember when that other judge knocked aside the "protection" parent corporations had from the actions of their franchises? (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The elderly migrant worker. Welcome to retirement. Buy your RV and go around the country scrounging for manual labor. Great. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And to round up our labor related links, some charts that show just how bad the employment scene in the US really is. And now with that, I'll need to check my work email. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Kirk Cameron is going to be out with a new movie about the War on Christmas. I don't know why, but this is playing through my head at the moment:


Say, remember when we were all discussing that shooting at the Navy Yard and how all the idiots thought if we only had more guns that would solve the problem and a lot of us were all, "nope, because who would know who was shooting at whom?" Well, same thing with armed militia on the border. Good thing our federal officers are bad shots, eh?

Engineering the next October surprise. My guess is if this latest of Benghazi probes goes into 2016, it won't end until right before Thanksgiving (that way they can use the innuendo of possible wrong doing to its fullest effect before having to admit it was a bunch of noise and wind).