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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Linkee-poo, no justice, no peace

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

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

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

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

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

Jim Hines on #CandyGate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Don't Panic

Says what it does, does what it says.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Linkee-poo gets a little smile when the pain comes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Linkee-poo is sitting in a sea of tranquility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Linkee-poo, are you safe Miss Gradenko

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, Sen. Hatch, the feeling is mutual.

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thanksgiving not so much

Yea, ran out of space. D'oh!



Linkee-poo never mentions the word addiction in certain company

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

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

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

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

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

The deny and defend response in health care.

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

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

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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

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

Strange Horizons' fund raiser.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Holiday Cards

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

Linkee-poo shorty without a good title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Drawing Type

As some of you know, to relax I do math in my head. Also, I doodle. And when I doodle, I sometimes go back to my schooling and thumbnail layouts of projects I'm working on. Lately I've been drawing type, like I also used to do in school. Although, my repertoire has grown stale and mostly it comes out as a form of intermediate type (think Baskerville). So, I'm hoping if I share this I'll start branching out reestablish my skills in a wide range of faces. So here's one to start.

Weekend Linkee-poo should have jumped out of that airplane after all

Elizabeth Bear on the "Howie" World Fantasy Award. In my own personal opinion, had I won (or will win) one, I would cherish it as the accomplishment it represents. But I agree with those who champion changing the award, except in one thing. I don't think it should be a bust of anyone. Everyone gets all knotted up when discussing whose bust it should be. As humans we are all flawed (to various degrees and extents - even Tolkien can be limiting to Northern European mythos and a disturbing racism streak as well - just look at the First Men and the Wild Men for an example), so anyone chosen for that honor would be found wanting in some manner. So we should remove that part from the equation.

"The only answer to all these questions is to keep writing and see. Keep trying to get better. Keep your eyes on your own paper." Your path is your own. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

You know how we think planets form around new stars accreting from the disk of material left over from the star's formation? Yea, it's all just been a theory. Until now. The first view of a new star (only a million years old, give or take) showing tracks through the accretion disk material. (Grokked from Dan)

Massachusetts heath insurers publish data on the cost of procedures. I basically applaud this move, but I have a concern. Many of the tests highlighted in the article fall into my sphere of knowledge (bone density, MRI, CT - aka CAT). Yes, there are great differences in pricing between institutions, but not all institutions are the same. They don't have either the same equipment, or the same skill levels of their practitioners, or even the various checks and balances. And the public doesn't have the information to make an informed decision. Take MRI for instance. Do you know the difference between a 1.5 Tesla magnet and a 5 Tesla magnet? Do you know that the 5T magnet will generate demonstrably better images, faster, and with finer detail? That might not mean much if you're looking for a torn meniscus, but it will make a great difference in the treatment of such, or if you have a cancer they're trying to identify (MRI grew out of MRS, which is a spectroscopy, which can tell us the composition of the cells within a certain voxel by their chemistry, which will aid in diagnosis). If it's a CT scan, are you on a 16 slice or 64 slice scanner? While a scan with a 16 slice device will be cheaper (because the machine should be fully depreciated), it'll be slower and you'll receive more radiation for a scan that doesn't have the detail as compared to the 64 slice. Also, operators make a huge difference. But, if we want to cut costs, I do approve of publication of the cost of the procedures. They just need to add a whole lot more information to the mix (and there needs to be a lot of public education). We won't even go into the "why are you taking a chest x-ray when it's my feet that are swollen and painful" discussions (hint: your feet may be swollen because of congestive heart failure).

The psychology of irrational fear. (Grokked from Janiece)

There's this psychiatrist on Fox News that apparently doesn't know the meaning of irony. So, having not interviewed the President, but able to make a diagnosis from his public statements he then can't comprehend how another psychiatrist can then diagnose him on just his public statements. Irony is dead, and they keep whipping its poor body into the dust.

So, to add to the new bag of tricks, such as the new tweet dog whistle of posting inflammatory material and then deleting it, we also have the correction at the end of an article that basically says, "Oppsie, sorry, wrong person." That the Beitbart site with an article on Obama's nominee for Attorney General who they claim was one of the Clinton's defense attorneys for Whitewater. Then at the bottom, "Correction: The Loretta Lynch identified earlier as the Whitewater attorney was, in fact, a different attorney." Ain't that grand. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

You know how we think planets form around new stars accreting from the disk of material left over from the star's formation? Yea, it's all just been a theory. Until now. The first view of a new star (only a million years old, give or take) showing tracks through the accretion disk material. (Grokked from Dan)

You'd think conservatives would be all over this. The For Profit colleges are suing the government over new rules about how many of their students are able to get employment and how much they make being tied to their ability to get Federal Financial Aid. I mean; frivolous lawsuits, people demanding government handouts, means testing, reduced government spending, looking at the problem from an ROI perspective - it hits all their main talking points. So, where do they stand? Oh, yea, the new regulation is just like the Nazi's invasion of Poland. Or at the very least, "Whatever they're for, I'm against it." Just some good ol' fashion political integrity right there.

Tweet of my heart: @splunge2000 Your restaurant can have a special called We Can Be Gyros, but just for one day.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Linkee-poo wants to guard your dreams and visions, just wrap your legs 'round these velvet rims and strap your hands 'cross my engines

I know I should spend more time with this, but things are awfully busy this week. But I've been seeing things in my twitter feed on #readergate. Well, I think this is all related, but here is Elizabeth Bear on some of it (also offering a very good tutorial on how abusive people behave and their internal rationalization), and Laura Mixon with some more information.

Adding blackbox capabilities to implantable devices to leave telltale traces if the device is interfered with (which may cause death). And so dies a thousand murder mystery plot lines. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

The Rolling Stone Stephen King interview. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Joe Hill on the place of horror in our modern consciousness.

The funniest blimp story you will ever read. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Did you ever want to know what kind of demographic information marking companies have for you? Well, here's just a little bit. You can type in your zip code and see some basic demographic information. Understand that with marketing, we can look at your street and get this kind of detail. And that detail goes much, much deeper than what you see here. (Grokked from John)

Another evolutionary gap filled. This one exists between sea and land reptiles. And now is the time when Dr. Banjo states, "Well, that only proves Creationism because you haven't shown the link between…" (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Microsoft must have thought it had pulled off a nice piece of product placement when it gave CNN election commentators a bunch of Surface Pro tablets to help with their coverage. CNN dutifully covered its desks with the devices… There was just one small problem… a closer look revealed that hidden behind the Surface tablets were the iPads that commentators were actually using." This is like when Samsung gave Galaxies to all those celebrities and while their tweets and posts all sung the song of the Samsung, the meta data showed they were posted from the celebrities iPhones. (Grokked from John)

Everybody on the conservative side is all hot over the Keystone XL pipeline, but no one is really fighting for the pipelines we need.

"After soaking up all the glory of the 2014 GOP wave, the editors of the conservative National Review issued a stern warning to Republicans: getting too much done could come back to haunt you." As the headline said, getting actual governance done, showing you can govern, and being competent to govern… "It's a TRAP!" Instead the new GOP majority should take symbolic votes to show the voters back home how much they care about their core values. You know, like what worked for them this last election.

Oh look, it's the Permanent Majority talk again. Be careful, GOP, there were others who talked about the longevity of their politics. It didn't go so well for them (and not much better for everyone else). And then there's Reince "Take No Prisoners" Priebus. Plus, you'll have the Tea Party all up in your grill. That's hilarious, BTW, how they howled and wailed during the primaries that "establishment" Republicans were getting the nod, and now they say that the GOP won on "Tea Party Principles."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Linkee-poo says "Don't drive like my brother"

Well, that was disappointing. And how the hell did Brownback keep his seat? Seriously, Kansas, just how much does he have to fuck up before you toss him? Anyway, as I said in a tweet last night, apparently we all as a nation, and as the State of Ohio, need another lesson in just what it means to have conservatives run a government they so loath. At least the comics and late night show hosts will have great material for another few years.

Neil Gaiman on scaring children. Or, to paraphrase an early quote from him, yes, fairy tales tell you dragons exist, but they also tell you they can be slain. (Grokked from Christine Purcell)

"Yes, $75,000 sounds like a lot, but when it takes five years to complete a book and your agent is taking a cut of 15 per cent, you’re still below the poverty line if this is your sole source of income." And now that NaNoWriMo is off and going, here come the reality checks. A little bit about the writing life most writers live (YMMV, but you often don't hear about this in the media, you know, the place where you blithely rip the last page of the novel from the typewriter and a publisher shows up at your door with bags of money to take it away from you). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

And the economics of being a writer. And, once again, I'm in the wrong business. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

XKCD is excellent about language. (Grokked from Dan)

Sugar, by any other name, would taste just as sweet. And it does. And the food manufactures use an awful lot of names for sugar. Even though I know most of these, I've been caught off guard by some (evaporated cane juice was the most recent). (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

You know how some of us talk about our democracy for sale in the era of dark money? "This is the year of the mega-donor: just forty-two people are responsible for nearly a third of Super PAC spending in the 2014 election cycle. That's pretty much what we're talking about. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

I always love how some people want government to run like business. This is how business is run. That's some quotes from the MCX representative on why some of their members shut off the function that allows ApplePay on their cash registers. Funny, shutting off that function also shuts off their competing software. This is just stupidity on so many levels it's hard to comprehend. I certainly don't want my government to behave in such peevish ways. (Grokked from Dan)

"It is the nature of our profession." The head of Naval Warfare Special Command reminds his SEALs of their vows to keep mission information confidential.

Turns out that "armed felon" in the elevator with President Obama wasn't actually a felon. He's still fired, though.

"At least two electronic voting machines in a North Carolina county have been taken out of service after early voters reported that the machines repeatedly registered their Democratic choices as Republican votes in Sen. Kay Hagan's contentious reelection bid." Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stags Bellow

Not exactly holiday music, but definitely Autumnal.


Martha Tilston's Stags Bellow.

Can you come around again.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Linkee-poo gets out the vote

I would love to say that after tomorrow we can all go back to sleep, but you do realize we're already engaging and have already seen the opening moves in the 2016 Presidential Race. And you thought hearing and reading scary things were over because it's after Halloween.

But go out and vote. And if you're not registered to vote, and you're qualified to vote (mostly, you're not disqualified, everyone else over 18 is qualified), register now. It's never too early.

The truth is, every vote counts. That's an article on some of the more common attempts to suppress the vote. So, exercise your franchise, go and vote (if you haven't already, I did weeks ago by absentee).

I'm not saying Ricky Santorum is a bottom-grubbing low-life who would use the fears of people to raise money and increase his political prospects, but it could happen.

Sure, guilt and shaming may work to get people to the poles, but it's still a dick move. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

What might happen if the GOP gains control of the Senate. Hint, not much besides optics (which may not work well for the GOP).

What's wrong with American politics? I think John Oliver pretty well sums it up in this video.

Rand Paul hasn't learned you can't have your cake and eat it, too. So, he supports voter ID laws, which suppress the vote (mostly of minorities and the poor), but thinks the GOP shouldn't, like, be proud they helped promote all these laws.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo bites into the sweet cakes

If we don't talk before then, and you haven't already, go and vote on Tuesday.

While everyone conflates Halloween, Samhein, and Dia de Los Muertos, they're actually on different days. Like Nov 2 is actually the day of the dead, and when you should feed them. Noted because this has been plot points in some of my stories. Not also that it's not only a mid and South American custom. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Thirteen writing prompts from McSweeny's. Ha! (Grokked from Christine Purcell)

St Cuthbert Gospel sells for $9M. The Gospel is Europe's oldest surviving, intact, book. It apparently survived by being buried with St. Cuthbert and so avoided being pillaged by vikings. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Thirty household uses for Coke. Note, some of these are apocryphal. (Grokked from George Takei)

Space is hard.

Corporate lobbyist tells how he creates fake expert groups to sow doubt into the public's mind. Just in case you ever wanted to know how it's done (and where Fox News gets their "experts"). (Grokked form Matt Staggs)

Proof that conservatives aren't dealing with reality. Seriously, Mitt Romney, it's the Democrats blocking legislation? They have drugs to help with this. But he is correct that the GOP lead House did look at the Senate immigration bill and thought waiting to see if they could win the Senate and get something more in line with their ideology.

Tweet of my heart: @DjangoWexler Vote against the guy who hasn't filled out his website's metadata, so Google lists it as "My campaign site info here!"

The Holly and the Ivy

Since it's now past Halloween, it's somewhat okay to start playing holiday music. Yes, I know you purists believe it should wait until after the giving of the thanks in late November, but I'm going to need this whole time to hopefully be in the mood by the time Wintertide arrives. Heck, I'm still amazed it isn't August, okay?


Kate Rusby's take on The Holly and the Ivy. It's one of my favorites ever since I first heard it (yes, the song I love, but her version, I think, captures the mood of the song nicely).

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown


That's some old timey religion right there.

And since it's not that far from Halloween, did you know that not any wooden stake can kill a vampire? It must be either a stake of holly, or live oak. There's a reason for this.