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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Linkee-poo has to turn my head until my darkness goes

Trophic cascade. Or, on the need of predators in an ecosystem demonstrated by the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone. The park became heather and fuller of all kinds of life. Even the rivers changed how they flowed. Also pointed to because I've heard the arguments, tainted with hubris, about how man can manage the wild better than having a diverse biosphere. Remind me to tell you what happened to my lawn when we introduced worms (our soils in Ashtabula County are notorious for being poor ground to find worms, it's very heavy clay). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"The accident may have happened because owners have to pay for a special feature known as 'pedestrian detection functionality', which costs extra." Oh, you wanted it to NOT plough into people. Well, that'll be another few thousand. Frankly, I think we just saw Skynet's birth wail. And now, not only do you have to keep upgrading your computer, your tablet, your phone, your thermostat you now have to keep upgrading your car. Fantastic. (Grokked from John)

You have a face for radio. NPR uses software to just listeners voices. Damn, I missed this open call for samples. I've been told I have a voice that could put rocks to sleep.

"In a study published in the journal Environmental Psychology, the University of Melbourne’s Kate Lee and a group of colleagues found that interrupting a tedious, attention-demanding task with a 40-second 'microbreak' — in which one simply looks at a computerized image of a green roof — improved focus as well as subsequent performance on the task." Although it has also been shown that small breaks (of any kind) improve focus, and it might be that viewing images of concrete negatively impact performance. But given the choice, I'd take the grass and flowers image every single time. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Bill Nye on the Universe talking to you (from "Inside Amy Schumer"). Hahahaha. Wait a sec, I use that line! Damnit! Bill Nye is cussing ME out. Okay, but, yea, I've seen others use it exactly (well, close) to how it's demonstrated in the show. For me, typically a theme needs to come up about 3 or 4 times from different vectors before I see it as the Universe trying to tell me something (it's mostly a shorthand for synchronicity). (Grokked from Dan)

The truth about that McDonald's Coffee Lawsuit that you've heard about. I don't know about you, but I hear it referred to as least once every other month (no, I'm not employing hyperbole here, it's probably more often, but just a quick mental check and I think I can prove the 6 times a year) from many different sources. What they don't talk about is why those McD's were serving coffee at 180° (which will scald your mouth, which, BTW, is illegal in most states, food can not be served at a temperature that will cause damage). But that's a whole entire post. But, yes, McD's has been very active in spinning this story, as have been the GOP. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"The Briefcase, premiering on CBS at 8 p.m. Wednesday, features 'American families experiencing financial setbacks,'… The family is given a briefcase with $101,000 in it, and then they're shown another family who's 'experiencing financial setbacks.' They have to decide how much money to keep and how much to give the other people, or whether they want to keep it all for themselves; neither family knows both families have in fact received a briefcase, and that their counterparts are also deliberating over if and how to share the money." Well, that sounds like fun. Hey, CBS, why don't we skip the human interest side and get straight to showing starving rats fighting over pieces of cheese, or if you want actual human interest I hear probate courts are just filled with it. Hell, you wouldn't even have to put up $202,000. And why am I reminded of the line from Drew Carry, "Why $68? Because we spent millions to find out that's what you people think of as 'a lot of money.'" I thought that with "reality shows" we already had the shark jumping moment, but I guess we now have to jump sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads. (Grokked from Kameon Hurley)

"The CEO of one of the world’s largest oil companies downplayed the effects of climate change at his company’s annual meeting Wednesday, telling shareholders his firm hadn’t invested in renewable energy because 'We choose not to lose money on purpose.'" Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, the heat wave in India has killed over 1000 and is melting the asphalt roads. No need to worry. "The company recently sent a representative to lobby the Vatican over an encyclical Pope Francis plans to deliver this summer on the impact of climate change. Exxon reportedly fears that such an encyclical could damage its business." Okay, maybe worry a little. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi and Morgan J Locke)

"Potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said in an interview on Friday that mandatory ultrasounds for women hoping to get an abortion was 'just a cool thing.'" He seems nice. Well, to be fair, his actual quote is that having ultrasound pictures of your children are kinda cool. But the implication that forcing a woman to look at an ultrasound before we allow her to get an abortion because then she'll choose to not get an abortion goes to the very poison in the minds of the pro-life movement (that they think women willy-nilly get abortions and that the women just don't understand what they're doing with their bodies). While this will play well to the conservative base, my response is, "Okay, thanks, we're done here." Go home, Scott Walker, you're drunk.

In the wake of the derailment of their train from speeding through a corner, Amtrak will now install cameras inside the control department of their trains. Because that'll help. You know, instead of using those funds and time to finish installing Positive Train Control along their routes.

What should come as little surprise, Fox News devoted less than 2 minutes for the Duggar story between May 21 and 25th. "The revelations drew widespread criticism in the media, with many outlets pointing out the Duggar family's reputation as a torch-bearer for conservative values and strong involvement in Republican politics and anti-LGBT activism." The friends we keep. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

Okay, most police officers are actually good people doing a tough job while trying to maintain their humanity. And then there are the assholes. Seriously, didn't they learn anything from Abu Ghraib? Posing with hunting rifles, over a black man (supposed drug dealer) on the floor with antlers on his head? Oh, you guys are so fucking fired (although one is appealing). To the good guys, you can't protect these people and retain the respect and trust of the populous. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Ricky don't lose that number. Just when we think he's out, Ricky Santorum pulls himself back in. Yea, actually if you've followed me you know I knew he would. Also, Ricky, unless he flames out will probably be the nominee (if history is any guide to go by). I would have, you know, Googled to find Ricky's website and his announcement, but, uh, you know.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Linkee-poo told you so many times before, you're gonna come back, baby

Happy birthday to Dashiell Hammett.

The comprehensive map of Clichea. That is excellent. (Grokked form Tor.com)

"Navy veteran Ron White honors fallen U.S. service men and women by writing their names on a wall, all from memory." White has won the USA Memory Championship twice. Now he's taken the skills he has learned and memorized the more than 2,300 military who have lost their lives in Afghanistan. And then he sets up his platform and writes every single one, in the order of their deaths. Stands and salutes.

"To some social observers, petting parties of the 1920s were a natural, post-First World War outgrowth of a repressed society. To others, the out-in-the-open hug-and-kissfests were blinking neon signposts on the Road to Perdition." Those damn kids with their hipping and their hopping.

Robert De Niro's NYU/Tisch School of the Arts graduation speech. "'Tisch graduates, you made it… and you’re fucked… The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start.'" Also, "Rejection might sting, but my feeling is that it often has very little to do with you."

You have a face for radio. NPR uses software to just listeners voices. Damn, I missed this open call for samples. I've been told I have a voice that could put rocks to sleep.

Good news, everyone! Bonuses for everybody! The rise of bonuses over getting, you know, actual pay and actual raises. Been here (part of my pay is tied to performance bonuses, and my "cost of living" raise for 2015 is now tied into those bonuses). Remember when companies actually paid people for their work? And why? "'It’s so much easier to not give a bonus than to cut someone’s pay,' Ms. Barrington said." Yep. BTW, no bonus for 3rd quarter 2015, no notice if the bonus plan is still in place (because that wold involve actual communications).

As someone who works in the industry that uses a lot of paper, it may be boring, but paper isn't dead yet. What is dead is the market for speciality papers (not all paper is the same, how you make toilet paper is different than making paper for cartons and for printed materials). In the 90s as we moved toward the "paperless office" we saw a decline in specialty sheets, but a sharp uptick in copy paper. Now copy paper has leveled out (note, copy paper isn't on their chart), but newsprint and book paper have declined. The much scarier chart is the decline in mid-market print shops.

The Planetary Society Lightsail Kickstarter. The prototype is currently in orbit, however that cubsat is just a proof of system (it will deploy a lightsail to test the mechanics, but is it too low an orbit to escape Earth's gravity and will burn up in the atmosphere. You may also remember that the original Lightsail cubesat was set to launch from a repurposed Russian submarine ballistic missile, which never made it to orbit. (Grokked from John)

"Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Falcon 9 Launch System for national security space missions." Okay then. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Finally, after years of reporting on the corruption, FIFA gets the knock on the door from law enforcement. Also noted for how reach people are treated when they're arrested as compared to the rest of us schlubs.

Shooting the messenger. "Arkansas state Sen. Bart Hester (R) told local TV station KFSM that he believed Springdale Police Chief Kathy O'Kelly compromised the identities of the eldest Duggar's alleged victims by releasing the police report." Except "… In Touch Weekly on Thursday published the offense report, which it obtained through a public records request. The names of the victims, as well as Josh Duggar's name, were redacted." I'm sure this has nothing to do with being embarrassed by having one of those "Family Values" shows being exposed for harboring a rapist.

A municipality in Oklahoma decides it wants to restrict fracking within its borders, state government freaks out and bans them from banning. Because it's all about local control, folks. Just like Texas. Except when the GOP led state government disagrees with local decisions. Also note, in Ohio our "home rule" rights have also been taken away by our GOP led state government.

So, let's take those "parental consent" laws and make it even tougher for teens who can't go to their parents but need a judge to approve their abortion. Because that seems fair.

A Texas Militia leader tries to be recognized by the county as a back up contingency force (a reserve militia). My country continues to look like a 3rd world hell-hole as these idiots gain more and more notoriety. If they weren't given cover by the right, it would be easier to dismiss them.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ad Fails for the End of May

There's this State Farm commercial, "Never" that just annoys the heck out of me.


Everything the guy says is turned around in the next scene (or near the end of the scene) and he ends up doing exactly what he says he'd "never" do. And then the ad ends on him saying he's "never" going to leave this. So, what do you think happens in the next scene? Yea, that's why it drives me crazy. Logical constructs, they'll bite you in the ass.

So, do they mean when you drive a Mercedes-Benz, it's like being eaten by a t-rex? Or it drives like a dinosaur? Or that it takes a whole boatload of dinosaurs to fuel this puppy? Or, "we're afraid you're too stupid and might miss our product placement in the movie"?



And call me "sensitive" if you will, but WTF?



Take the pledge… to allow the NBA to market to you directly. Where is the conservative outcry about this? They took the Pledge of Allegiance (and we could have a whole discussion about that, but let's skip that for the moment) and twisted it for commercial purposes, but they're also asking the consumer to pledge allegiance to the NBA. Dear Oathkeepers, not keeping up your end of the deal here. There's a benefit to companies (and the NBA is a company, have no doubts about that) wrapping themselves in the flag and patriotic fervor, but then subverting that to suit your corporate greed… ah, no. You lose. Ad agencies, don't do this. Just don't.

Linkee-poo is proud to be an American, 'cause at least I know the corporations that own our government think I'll work for free

Sure, it may be a holiday for You. Okay, yea, I at least got to sleep in today.

I say ye, John Scalzi. Wow, $3.4M for 13 books over the next 10 years. Well, of course the real meat is in how the deal is structured (equal payments over the decade, or as books are delivered, edited, and then released). But this is excellent news. For John, of course. I know John, have met him, and dined in a group with him, he was an instructor at VP XIII and agreed to offer a critique of my story. As long as he keeps producing, this pretty well sets him for the next ten years, not that I expect this is the only thing he will be doing for income (let that one sink in a moment). John is good with finances so I have a feeling his daughter's college education is now paid for. But this is good news for all us other genre writers and wannabes toiling in the word mines. John is a cash cow to us as well, because Tor wouldn't be making this deal if they didn't know he can produce the cash. While he and PNH have this Zaphod Beeblebrox and Ford Prefect buddy movie going on (and both are hoopy froods who know where their towels are - makes notation I've fulfilled my Union and Guild obligation on International Towel Day), John is making Tor a metric boatload of cash. This cash, while John will get some (and the printers, editors and art directors/illustrators), will leave Tor with enough left over to take chances on us newbies and mid-listers. John is a river to his people, as it were. It also means we're going to have 13 more cool books to read. So, John, congrats, well done and well earned. Now get crackin' McGee (okay, I'm taking the "John skips class for the next nine years, then pulls a year-long all-nighter to write 13 books before the final exam" in the pool).

Eva "Kor says that when a victim chooses to forgive, they take the power back from their tormentors. But that it is their choice to make." A mighty woman. Also note how she delineates between forgiveness and forgetting. She doesn't think the "Accountant of Auschwitz" should go free, but "(s)he'd make him travel the country to talk to young neo-Nazis, and tell them what he saw and that the Nazi regime should never come back."

"A new paper by a team of researchers from Duke University, University of Georgia, and University of Colorado looks at not only how extremely competent people are treated by their co-workers and peers, but how those people feel when, at crucial moments, everyone turns to them. They find that responsible employees are not terribly pleased about this dynamic either." OMG. Fuck. Yes. If you've ever worked with me, you've probably heard me say something similar, or to the effect of, "I've done management before, don't ever need to again." There's a reason for it. Also, this is the reason that I work hard, damn hard, to not be that guy everyone goes to. Because I have been for much of my professional life. I want someone else to be the God-damn expert and mentor me (which, BTW, is one of the many reasons I love writing fiction and being a radiographer). Also note, these people are often overlooked (or specifically looked at and rejected) for promotions because the management wants them to stay where they are doing good work (and are often doing management's job for them, also won't do that again). (Grokked from Debbie Morrow)

How to solve the antibiotic problem (few companies are researching, let alone producing, new antibiotics in the face of ever increasing resistance)? One proposal is to give pharma companies that develop new one guaranteed profits to the tune of $2b. That would be one way. However, I have to disagree with the authors of the research, this is exactly where government research an involvement works best. Low profits, little incentive, but necessary service/product, this is ideal. The Post Office is an excellent example of this. The NIH already does amazing basic research (of which for profit companies benefit). Governments could develop a limited non-profit corporation (like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac) that works with NIH to develop new antibiotics and vaccines. The profit model would be based on continuing development of new drugs. Such a proposal has zero chance in a GOP controlled legislature (which distrusts big government or government interference, but man they love the profits Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are plowing into our treasury). But then, increasing government spending by $2b also has zero chance as well. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Linkee-poo, when Irish eyes are smiling

The Pencilsword comic "On A Plate." How privilege works, or doesn't. (Grokked from practically my entire twitter feed)

Consumer Reports video on effect mosquito repellent. The mosquitos around here can sense my sweet New Jersey blood (note, actually born in Pasadena, but grew up in Southern Jersey until 6th grade) and so while my wife and other friends can go unmolested for a long time while I'm being drained like a Gelfling. (Grokked for the Slactivist)

"Actually, I don't know whether or not he wanted that. That's not the point. The point was nobody could talk about it." On how medical people talk in code when we can't legally talk openly. It sucks, but remember, it's our livelihoods at stake. One ethical misstep and we can be excluded, for life, from working not only in the jobs we've trained for, but in the healthcare field as a whole. And now, sometimes it means never working anywhere again. For example, everyone will ask us if we see anything on the x-rays we take. We can tell you we took good x-rays, we can tell you they're diagnostic quality, and that the radiologist will read them and then call their doctor (or the ER doctor). We can't tell you, "Damn, but you really broke that good" or "Yep, there's a big honking kidney stone right there." That's practicing medicine by diagnosing you. It makes for awkward conversations, but that's the game we must play. (Grokked from Janiece)

NPR wants to know what's on your road trip playlist.

It's noctilucent cloud season in the Northern Hemisphere. More about them here (note SpaceWeather completely replaces their home page with every update, so this is time limited). Now that we're observing them closely, they aren't behaving as we expected.

When I was a kid, parents started worrying about the kids learning on the street about sex. I'm not sure they meant this. Former teacher sets up a cardboard sign offering to talk about sex.

"It's easy to get cynical about politicians. Remember the story of Andy Dinniman when people tell you that none of them are worth a damn or make a lick of difference." Sen. Dinniman of Pennsylvania helped push a rule forward that allowed PA firefighter, EMS, and police to be trained on how to administer Naloxone (Narcan). I can't imagine the shit he is taking for that from people who believe our War on Drugs is still winnable. But I see heroin overdoses almost every weekend I work at the hospital. I typically have to take a chest x-ray to make sure they didn't aspirate something while they were going down. None of them are people you'd expect (given popular culture). None of them behave the way the TV and movies portray. Most of them are very depressed. And I watch the parents and love-ones come in and cry and lose their shit. I wonder how many of them quit (relapsing increases your chance of overdose), and how many times they tried. And I wonder how many of those overdoses were accidents, and how many were done in the hope to finally get away from the drug. Naloxone saves lives. Allowing first responders to both have and be able to administer the drug (it comes in the same form as an EpiPen) is, IMHO, what governments are supposed to do. Now we need to expand our rehab centers to deal with everyone who wants to leave the drug. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Sure, it's only radical Islamic extremists that commit acts of terror. A list of some of the other people who have committed acts of terror, recently. (Grokked from Janiece)

Just how scared is the right of a Hillary Clinton presidency? This scared. "Impeach Clinton" feels almost nostalgic.

Sweet Zombie Reagan, asked the question, "Who is the greatest living president", most of the current batch of GOP hopefuls answer "Reagan." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Also, it makes you the rudest Canadian we've ever run across." Hahahaha. A humorous Pentagon response to Sen. Cruz and the Jade Helm hysteria. (Grokked from Janiece)

Why are Israeli settlements a problem for future peace? "Settlement construction in E1 would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state… almost impossible." And now you know why there are "settlements" (like the West Bank is the Wild Wild West of America, with the same irony). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Linkee-poo laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream, in the morning the parking tickets were just like a flag stuck on my window screen

If I don't get to talk to you all before then, I hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend if you're in the US. If you're not in the US, have a great weekend and then back to work on Monday (or Sunday for those of you in certain parts of the world) you slackers. Yes, I'm working all weekend (after working 50+ hours Mon-Friday). Sucks to be me.

Linked to in the comments on the previous post, the Rejected Princesses list of women in combat. Note how many led women warriors. Also, nobody becomes a war leader or general overnight. For every one of these historical figures, there are hundreds to thousands of others we don't know because they didn't make a name for themselves (just like you don't know the names of all 4,000+ soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan).

The poem on the Writer's Almanac for Friday, May 22, 2015, was especially good. May Opens Wide by Marge Piercy. Nice. She has two other poems used for the WA, The rented lakes of my childhood and Hard rain and potent thunder. Those last two were on Saturdays, so I missed them the first time. I might need to get that book of hers (it has a 4 outa 5 on GoodReads).

The jagged, golden script of scars. On what composes us, and accepting of who we are and not whom society expects us to be. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"'I’ve been LARPing as a competent person for over five years. I’ve only broken character a few times.'" On turning impostor syndrome into a superpower. (Grokked from Dan)

It's amazing what they're doing with robots these days. Well, actually it's an interactive male rectum so doctors can practice prostate exams. I will note here, while the PSA test is a good indication, manual manipulation is still the gold standard for diagnosing prostate problems. And just like heart doctors need to know what the different types of heart murmurs sound like and what they mean, for the prostate the size and texture also are diagnostic.

"Pains Pipeline, the large Texas-based company responsible for the pipe that ruptured in Santa Barbara County, has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records." But, hey, they made a bucketload of profit. Oh, and it get's better form there. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Would be President Gov. Walker believes in pre-emptive war, doesn't understand the war powers act, and by trying to John Wayne around the stage, gets tangled up in his father's shoes. But using "Islamic Extremists Terrorists" tagline he thinks he's gaining points.

"All four of the GOP governors with 2016 ambitions are facing budget shortfalls back home that their critics would argue are disasters of their own doing." Unfortunately, economics makes bad TV. Also, I'll note GW Bush was able to skate out of office fast enough to not get saddled with his disaster. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Eric on the circular, backended genius that is Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Nazi stuff. And sure, it's not about racism.

Fox News requires presidential candidates to show photo ID before being allowed on stage, conservatives get pissy. Okay, they're asking that you are polling above 10%, but same thing for a candidate. Show us you're who you say you are, or that you have a legit chance of making it through some primaries, and then we'll let you vote or participate in the debate.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just a comment

Can you tell we were on the two week break between classes? Note, back in clinicals tomorrow. Need to complete 16 hours per week until August. Just a warning.

Linkee-poo sees a red door and I want it painted black

"And that difference comes down to the dividing line between plot and plot device."

John Scalzi on using rape as a plot device.

Vindolanda and the Roman Fort three generations of Birley's have been excavating.

Did shield maidens exist? While the article equivocates, they do provide answers that most scientists would. Also a pretty good explanation of "well, we expect this because of our culture, so we see this" which is a plague on many sciences. Also to note that recently a number of viking grave sites (and other grave sites of antiquity) were reclassified from male to female (because of the aforementioned problem). Also, one does not mess with shield maidens, they are favorites of the gods. And finally, of course there were. Women have always fought (even in our more patriarchal society where women disguised themselves to fight). Our concept of sex roles (hunter or gatherer) determined by biological differences and which genes you have is a relatively modern concept.

But what if yeast could brew morphine from sugar? Well, that would be a game changer. If we were a rational species this would be fabulous. Until you think about people being able to brew their own high-quality heroin the same way (or just morphine, it would sell just as well). Also I'd like to leave you with the lesson I learned from having a kidney stone. If the nurse asks you if you would like one more dose of morphine before going home, say "Yes."

A paper thin 55" display that you can hang on the wall with magnets. Note I didn't say TV, because the actual guts of the device are elsewhere, but the screen is thin, light and flexible. (Grokked from John)

Frank Deford on Tom Brady. This is also why I believe Pete Rose should never get into the Hall of Fame. He was the greatest player, but he also committed the greatest sin you can in baseball.

What exactly will the X37B Space Place being doing during this launch? Well, the Air Force has released some of the experiments it will be conducting, including testing 3 new propulsion technologies and a satellite TCP/IP server. So, they're totally not running guns to our alien overlords. (Grokked from John)

Designing better workspaces by observation. Or, as I like to think about it, designing a better maze by watching the rats run the maze. And, speaking of running rats, more on the ruse of the robots. In this case, software (not exactly a robot) can write a news story faster than a reporter, albeit with less style and informative language.

"Michigan pastor who railed against same-sex marriage resigns after being caught seeking men on Grindr" Puts another mark on the board, notices board is getting quite filled with marks. The church also is circling the wagons, deleting social media accounts, telling their members to be wary of reporters, and "Should a member of St. John’s church come across information on the Internet pertaining to Makela’s Grindr travails, Kempin urges them not to panic, not to respond to media wanting to 'generate traffic to their website,' and to alert church leadership with “any information the members need to have.” You know, separatist movements had the good sense to move to the wilderness. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Oops. "'Plains (All American Pipeline) deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,' the company said in a statement." You'd think something named "All American" wouldn't hurt us. And don't worry, Plains, I'm sure you'll get the bill (that won't really cover the recovery costs that the tax payers will pickup).

Oops. That's the problem when you crowd source information, especially for something like Google Maps. Not all people are Good Actors. (Trigger warning for the n-word)

Conservatives believe in local control of political decisions. Except when the local governments don't do what they want. Then they're all for taking the rights of self-rule. In this case, Texas kneels before the oil/gas industry and not only overturns all local laws banning oil and gas exploration (fracking), but wiped away local regulations on the oil and gas industry. Yes, the poor little gas and oil industry were being picked upon. Tell you what, okay, let's remove all regulations on a heavy industry and allow them to drill anywhere they can, but let's also invalidate any NDAs the industry has signed with land owners regarding the effects of drilling.

But, on the other hand, look at government working for you. "After the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a complaint against PayPal today, the company quickly agreed to refund $15 million to customers it ripped off over the past few years… PayPal will also pay an extra $10 million in fines to the CFPB, so the total settlement is $25 million." Remember which party didn't want the CFPB, attempted to filibuster any nomination until the President watered down their power, and which party runs Texas. Just remember it when it comes to election time. Although "It’s telling that the company ponied up the money within a day of the complaint." Makes you wonder just how much they made illegally. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Linkee-poo knows where you've been, it's all been a pack of lies

Apparently the writers of the HBO take on Game of Thrones pissed in the punch bowl again. There are so many enabling comments on my twitter feed (mostly from friends and people I know taking heat for saying, "This was a stupid thing for HBO to do" and retweeting the worst of the trollage). I understand rape is a convenient shorthand for may things in our culture (as is kicking or killing a dog - I erased and rewrote that line 3 times, so I'm keeping it in as an example of "things to do to make the character despicable", not as to make an equation of the seriousness of the crimes). But it's easy, and it changes things (both in real life, and it should in the story). Now, they could turn this into something that makes Sansa a stronger ruler, but my money is on "not". They will use it to cripple her. I don't have HBO, so I haven't seen the scene, but they say that the scene turned into character development for Theon and shifted off of Sansa. If so, this is a fail. Full disclosure, there are a number of rapes in my first book, but they're all implied (the aftermath of the last one is shown) and for an actual plot reason in the storyline. Because they didn't happen with a main character, there was no reason to have them on stage. I'm not proud of that, I'm sharing to say, "Yes, I fell for the easy route as well." I've learned from that. The runners for GoT should have learned from last season. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

Seth Godin on avoiding the custom bully. Good advice for anyone working freelance (also for anyone working in an office with an overbearing boss). "Part of the challenge of selling custom work is that it sometimes seems that everything is up for grabs." Your talents and time (i.e. your work) are for sale, not your life. In this day and age, that's often forgotten. (Grokked from Jer)

"The obvious truth about global warming is this: barring miracles, humanity is in for some awful shit." We're boned. I might have posted a link to this article before. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Terrorist. Gee, I wonder which party this asshat ran under?

The rise of the white-collar robot. Remember when They said, "hey, increase minimum wage and we'll develop robots"? Yea, they already were developing them.

And a little history on the Luddites. Just in case the robots come for your job. Same as it ever was.

Ever wonder what happens to you when you die? Well, for your physical body, we do know a little bit about that process. If you have very active imaginations and a weak stomach, you may want to avoid that article (no pictures). (Grokked from John)

The LA "Witch House." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, right after a major (school) shooting incident, that's not the time to talk about gun control. But apparently, in Texas, it's the perfect time to talk about expanding gun rights for open carry. Or at least pass laws that expand the right to open carry. Dear Texas, if you ever wonder why the rest of us think you all are nuts, here's an example of why.

"Two open-carry activists. One white, one black. Two very different police responses." Because REASONS. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"The IMF… says the figure is an 'extremely robust' estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments." The hidden cost of fossil fuels, or what you have to pay because they're screwing up the world (also, there are some direct subsidies). This is exactly the same argument about Obamacare, what most people missed were the hidden costs to all of us by having so many of us not being insured. So, for fossil fuels, here are the costs of cleaning up after them, mitigating climate change damage (which is already happening), as well as health issues and other costs which come out of your tax dollar ($700b of that amount is what the US subsidizes). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

It's called fucking with your enemy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. On telling the tale about the Abu Sayyaf raid. Every now and then, it can backfire (classic arms race, you get a better sword, they develop a better shield). The key is to keep the scam running. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Remember when Bristol Palin got pregnant during the 2008 presidential election cycle and us lefties pointed at the righties shouting J'ACCUSE! 'Cause, you know, pre-marital sex, unmarried mother, yadda yadda all the things the right likes to say are causing the collapse of Western Civ. But, hey, it's okay, she's gonna get married. That guy is going to do right by her. Only that didn't work out. And her most recent try of getting to the altar has fizzled out. So, yea, say, what's the right's word for that?

The paper on "How Fox News Changed American Media and Political Dynamics." I haven't read it all yet (it's an academic paper, which means it takes a little bit of time to work through), but I'm told on good authority that it's a worthwhile read. Pointed to here because you may need it to talk to your parents about the subject. I'm my quick look, there are some problems with the paper (such as the author claims that the general public held the belief that the news was "too liberal" when Fox News started, the footnote points to surveys done mid 2000s, but Fox New started in 1996). Also, there are plenty of "this is just the way it is" (typically the conservative view of the world and liberalism) without any proof or backing (note, no footnotes to these bald statements of "facts", such as "And even in cases where the dominant morning paper was the conservative one, loss of competition tended to push it toward the left; that is, leftward toward the center from a position on the right." whereas the author believes that with the consolidation of the newspapers, the liberal papers got even more liberal). There are also a few times where the subject of the sentence changes radically from beginning to end. (Grokked from TPM)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Story Bone

"When things go bump in the night…"

"Yea, we bump back, right?"

"Bumping is for dancing. We unleash hell on them."

Linkee-poo met a gin soaked, bar-room queen in Memphis

The issue of theft and mutilation of rare books in the world libraries is trying to rise in the public consciousness so maybe someone will do something about it. And the gods know we don't want to impose Vatican Library restricted section rules everywhere. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

The title of this article, Poor Little Rich Women is highly troubling (for it's implied denigration), but for the fact it misses exactly what that culture is like. The 1% of the 1% are just like us, not. Instead they live in a highly competitive world where birthday parties and "backyard bar-b-ques" are graded and social status assigned by their perceptions. Next up, the sexual mores of the rich aren't like the rest of us, nor close to what they're pushing on the rest of us (sort of like how Wisconsin just passed a law to keep SNAP recipients from buying certain foods, like ketchup). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Lindsey Graham comes out in favor of extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Note he said, if "you're thinkin' about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL." Not that you joined, not that you fought for them, but just thought about it. Welcome to drone wars in America. The conservatives in attendance laughed and applauded that sentiment. I didn't hear one voice raised saying, "Wait, WTF are you saying here?"

Dear police officers, this is why you're being pilloried. "Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty says he's run into a blue wall of silence." You want the public to stand behind you? Then you must enforce the law, especially when it comes to your own. Most especially when it comes to your own. If not, they we will consider you as McGinty portrayed you. "In court documents, he likened their silence to the actions of an 'organized crime syndicate.'" And in the "us against them" you will lose in the long run. Every. Single. Time. Because there are more of us than there are of you, and you need our help. (Grokked from John)

Professor Jerry Hough wants someone to tell him where he is wrong in his racist comments. Okay, it's a basic dipshit argument point and attempt to get away from people calling you racist, but for this once I'll provide. Dear Professor Jerry Hough, you're wrong when you think blacks, asians, and other immigrants aren't already a part of this culture we call America. There's no need for them to change their names so they'll be accepted by white people like you. Also, most of those Asians who "adopt" western names, only do it because they're tired of hearing us westerners butcher them. Also, that practice started by assigning them names, i.e. white people giving them names they could pronounce. I'll refer you to this scene from the Roots Miniseries in case you're still confused. Any more questions… I think I'll call you "Asshole" because "Hough" could be "houg" or "hoff" or even "how" and I don't want to be confused. So, anymore questions, Asshole?

Oh, Jesus H Cthulhu, seriously? A politician, speaking to Native Americans, makes the childish "injun whoop" including hand to lips motion, to designate American Indians. Just fucking don't do this. Well, maybe it is progress she didn't start addressing them by raising her right hand and saying, "How." I will give her points that her apology, why maybe not profuse, was on point. She accepted responsibility for making the offending motion, and didn't try to pawn it off on, "I'm sorry you were offended."

The FBI is now claiming that their Stingray's NDA doesn't say what it actually says about disclosures. Apparently, at the request of the FBI, the NDA requires law-enforcement officials to drop cases that were effected by Stingray use, rather than disclosure their use or functions and features. Stingrays, you may remember, are the tech that mimics (actually it is) a cell tower to gather information from a target's (and everyone else's) cell phone including location and other data. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, a positive outcome of the Citizens United case is the vast right-wing conspiracy against the Clintons is now more out in the open. In this case they're working hard to cripple Hillary before the primary season really even starts. So, hey, kudos for finally learning how to use social media, conservatives. But boo for doing it so badly and openly. Also note, it's way too early in the season for anyone but us wonks to actually be paying attention. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The right like to talk about the entitlement mentality of the left, but then there is the victimization mentality of the right. Seriously, Allen West couldn't buy his beer in one line at the Wal-Mart because he thought it was creeping sharia and all of a sudden it's the collapse of the Western World! Instead, it was an underage clerk who can't legally be involved in the transaction. But REASONS! Wal-Mart. Sharia. Try and wrap your head around that one (and also noted for the "but he was a weird name" meme). Yea, he's the head of a "think tank." I think that tank has lost its treads if you ask me. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Linkee-poo, the thrill is gone away from me, although I'll still live on, but so lonely I'll be

Toshiba releases the NS-5 more lifelike robot for customer service. Not exactly out of the uncanny valley for me, but starting to fool some people.

Judith Miller and Jame O'Keefe discussing ethics in journalism is like having "Whitey" Bulger and Pablo Escobar discussing law enforcement. "'That's what journalism is, trial and error,' Miller said to O'Keefe in the interview." Um, no, that's actually not what journalism is. "Trial and Error" is what those guys who set up the third-person skiing rig were involved in.

"Earlier this week the federal government clarified that insurers can't charge people for anesthesia administered during a free colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer." 'Bout damn time. They've already clarified that if polyps were removed, that was part of the screening procedure and also couldn't be billed directly to patients. Tell me again why the health insurance industry doesn't need to have it's own GoLYTELY® course of government intervention, 'cause I keep forgetting. (Yes, just went through another round of "you need pre-cert first", get pre-cert, receive letter asking "do you have any other health insurance that may cover your costs" as a part of their completely random updating, only to have claim denied because "it's experimental" - so I'm a little bitter)

Sure, humans can't impact the Earth, it's too big. I thought that first photo was a still from Wall-E. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Amry tests tracked robot that can not only target remotely, but can reload itself. What could possibly go wrong? Full disclosure, day job has a robot that can also use the CROWS, we also make a containerized version of the CROWS.

Wow. Okay, in case you think feminism isn't needed and misogyny isn't a real thing, you should see this Hannity segment with Tamara Holder and Gavin McInnes. This is what is known in the trade as a train wreck. Also noted for mansplaining, men telling women what's best for them and what they want, and just general WTF is going on and why didn't Hannity shut this down? Why? Because he doesn't disagree. Also from Fox, "Fox News contributor and former actress Stacey Dash said on Friday's 'Outnumbered' that female actresses should stop complaining about gender bias and be 'grateful' for being cast alongside famous male actors." Or, "'There's no problem,' said the pretty, young thing." Oh Great Cthulhu, take us now.

So, I guess a Westboro "Light" Church forgot to renew the web domain they've been using and someone picked it up and uses it to redirect to a hardcore gay porn site. That is hilarious. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

The US moves to block Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and the Arctic is once again a cross roads of surveillance of cloak-and-dagger maneuvering. Man, I missed the Cold War, didn't you?

And in other news, right-wing conservative lawmaker who consistently voted against gay rights is outed for using Grindr. He says he's still attracted to women, so I guess that actually makes him bisexual (which, frankly, whenever I hear someone say "it's a choice to be gay", I'm now automatically labeling them as bi). But I guess sending dick pics to guys he's trying to pick up may not be the best idea. Dear politicians (and everyone else), sending dick pics is a Bad Idea™, except if you're sending them to your doctor asking "what is this red spot?" (insert jokes here) Seriously, stop doing it. (Grokked from John)

Well, obviously he wants to stop other guys from being a dick like him. Congressman who pressured ex-wife and mistress to get abortion votes for 20 week abortion ban and, as his spokesman, "Robert Jameson, told the Free Press… that DesJarlais had a '100 percent pro-life voting record' and that, during his five years in office, he has always advocated for pro-life values.'" 'Cause the only moral abortion is the one he forces women in his life to have.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Linkee-poo, and there's a creepy doll that always follows you, it's got a ruined eye that's always open

"So spare me your whining about the exceptions. They didn’t RULE. The rule was that, until shamefully recently, the track record of science fiction when it came to social justice stank to high heaven. A genre that claimed to be in advance of society was actually trailing far behind, on issues of race, gender, or anything that involved 'social justice.'" Eric Flint on the brouhaha. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

Fantasy writers choose their favorite sword and sorcery stories. Which reminds me I've really been wanting to re-read Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. Read them in high school, something like my freshman year. Don't remember much of them. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Collecting Shakespeare First Folios. "His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing."

Something new to me, Blank on Blank. Audio interviews that are then animated. Started from Ray Bradbury on Madmen, Writing, Driving and Flying. Also liked Gene Wilder on the Truth. (Ray Bradbury grokked from Tor.com)

ABC is relaunching the Muppet Show as a mockumentary. I'll be in my bunk (was that inappropriate?). (Grokked from Dan)

"Last year at this time, I was harping about the 'monster' El Niño that seemed to be brewing in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It didn’t pan out. But from the looks of the latest data, I was just one year too early." Queue the scary little girl pointing to a no-longer-possible-static-filled TV, "It's baaack." Say, did you notice we've already had our first tropical storm of the year… at the same time it was snowing in the Rockies? The Good News People™ part is that means Southern California will get more rain than normal, more than likely. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Third-person skiing. Or, you are the video game. Highly not recommended (although if you like poorly produced videos of idiots doing things that will possibly get them killed because they don't understand how the real world works, by all means, enjoy). The world isn't a video game. Theres plenty of data you can get from your own senses, that are very important to successful navigation in the real world, that you won't see this way. Also, video games are designed, everything is purposeful. The real world isn't. That that tree stump you're about to plow into that your own body is masking. (Grokked from Dan)

"A new study suggests that for children with attention disorders, hyperactive movements meant better performance on a task that requires concentration." Huhn. For those of you that have met me in person, you might have noticed that I am usually fidgeting. Except for when I'm deep inside my own head (like writing, etc). But even at those times I need distractions, like music (although the music can't have words or I focus too much on those words instead of my own). It's always helped me focus on what I'm doing (the music, or background noise, can calm parts of my brain that want to jump around and go look at the shiny).

Do better-paid workers equal better business? Shocked to find the answer is "Yes".

Here is a classic example on how racists don't understand their own racism. It isn't about the words you used, former Principal Gordeuk, it was what you were implying. It was your judgement, because that's where prejudice lays. Sometimes is can be the words, when they're pejoratives. However, in this case, it was your perception that "of course the Black people would want to leave and not listen to a speech." That's the racist part.

When it comes to the "In Retrospect About the Iraq War" question, John "the 'Stash" Bolton is the fifth dentist. Of course he is. He was advocating for war even before GW Bush was elected president as a Chairman of the Project the New American Century. So he's been an asshole for a long time, if he steps back from that position, his SuperPac would lose all it's meager funding. And John just isn't getting paid all that much for his speaking fees, or appearing on Fox, so he has to make money somewhere.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Linkee-poo without a clever title

Black Angel, "a 22-minute short film attached to The Empire Strikes Back's European and Australian theatrical runs in 1980." Long thought lost to the ravages of time, now found and restored. (Grokked from John)

The Northwest Indian College Space Center. There's the story about how the US spent a few million to com up with a ballpoint pen that would write in zero-g, the Russians just used a pencil. Note, people who say that never tell you want they did with the shavings. In this case, a poor, reservation community college competes against the well funded, well heeled schools in NASA competitions. "That resourcefulness, borne out of poverty, has helped the Northwest Indian College Space Center outperform some schools with far greater resources. That gumption is what caught NASA’s attention." These are the people who will help solve the next Apollo XIII. Also, not all the students (not all are kids) are going into STEM areas, but the program has shown them what they can be.

I guess all those hours playing tetris when I was younger weren't wasted after all. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Gov. Brownback may have a lotta ideas, but he ain't sharing. All while his state continues down the economic drain because of his enactment of "strict" conservative economic ideas. Dear Kansas, the rest of the country is doing better.

And because we still need to pick on the poor, "The Texas state House on Monday passed a bill that would add a label to the insurance cards of individuals who purchased health insurance plans via an exchange established through Obamacare." With a special addition if you're getting subsidies. The explanation doesn't hold water. "'Other than creating a group that you’re going to discriminate against, I don’t see any purpose for indicating that people are getting a subsidy,' Jose E. Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, told the Texas Tribune." Yep, that.

Well, here's an interesting way to handle health insurance costs when an employer goes on a self-pay plan. "When hospitals send invoices with charges that seem to bear no relationship to their costs, the (ELAP) tells its clients, generally medium-sized employers, to just say no." Well, actually they figure a reasonable cost based on Medicare payments and then sending that. Note, this isn't without risks. "Normally customers who don't pay bills get hassled or sued… (the hospitals) hire collection agents and threaten credit scores." Now, "ELAP agrees to handle all hospital bills for an employer and to defend workers from collections in return for a percentage fee tied to total hospital charges." Note, while they have lawyers and all, and are winning some successes, nothing is guaranteed. And most times you got to a doctor or to a hospital, you sign an agreement to pay any part of your bill that your insurance doesn't cover (just read those documents healthcare providers have you sign, usually now once a year). Note also, some healthcare providers can refuse certain types of insurance. I expect to see ELAP customers join the list of those insurance companies on the bad list.

Seymour Hursh is saying that the Osama bin Laden raid wasn't exactly what we were told.

Or maybe not. And interview with Seymour Hersh about his article. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Ah, those lovable Oathkeepers. Well, they seem nice. Seriously, we've gone from wanting to relive our own Revolution, now we want to re-enact France's Reign of Terror.

There was this meme where as people called President Obama a socialist, that may people said, "Nope, he's pretty much in a centrist right position" (John Scalzi talks a little about how far to the right the country has skewed and where that leaves many of us centrist). You know, somewhere around Nixon. They laughed and laughed. Okay, how about this? "The FBI breached its own internal rules when it spied on campaigners against the Keystone XL pipeline, failing to get approval before it cultivated informants and opened files on individuals protesting against the construction of the pipeline in Texas, documents reveal." Let's see, when was the last time the FBI was put on the trail of domestic opposition? Yea, that's when those rules the FBI violated were put in place. And, yes, I expect President Obama will approved the Keystone XL right after the 2016 election (unless there are other major oil spills between now and then). (Grokked from Vince)

Tweet of my heart: @Stonekettle You know, one or two more gun incidents involving George Zimmerman and I'm gonna start thinking this guy might be the problem...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Linkee-poo is trying to get out of this place

A lifehacker interview with Warren Ellis. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Wither the library, and its books. Why in our beloved SciFi is the library and books so often denigrated and considered merely "antiques"? (Grokked from Tor.com)

Well, at least one of the Kellogg's Avenger Flyers has Black Widow on it. Too bad the ad agency promoting it decided not to include a "daughter" in the family who could become a super hero.

Ten world building tips for "The Worlds of Tomorrow." You know, those future histories you're gonna write. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Just in case you thought we knew everything, a newly discovered stone circle on Dartmoor. Well, okay, it was discovered in 2007, but is still pretty recent. Plus, I love this sentence, "Mr Crabb said the circle was discovered by Mr Endacott after undergrowth was destroyed in a controlled burn by commoners, exposing the stones."(Grokked from Terri Windling)

"Like many viruses, measles is known to suppress the immune system for a few weeks after an infection. But previous studies in monkeys have suggested that measles takes this suppression to a whole new level: It erases immune protection to other diseases…" "Well, say you get the chicken pox when you're 4 years old. Your immune system figures out how to fight it. So you don't get it again. But if you get measles when you're 5 years old, it could wipe out the memory of how to beat back the chicken pox." Well, that sucks. But, Good News People™, we have a vaccine. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

I like his products, that doesn't mean I like the man. Elon Musk writes an email to an employee who missed a business event to witness their birth of their child. Yea, that's a dick move. As one recovering workaholic to another unexamined workaholic, nothing, Elon, nothing is more important that those we love. Unless you're a complete narcissist. In which case you will be constantly disappointed to find out the movie ain't about you. No one dies thinking, "Damn, if only I had made that one meeting." Also noted because of having to attend business meeting today while wife is recovering from surgery. I'm still a little steamed about it.

"Fracking wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region are disproportionately located in poor rural communities, which bear the brunt of associated pollution, according to a new study." Shocked, shocked I am than an exploitive industry who choose to operate in areas where people are more desperate and/or unable to defend themselves (money and legal access). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Making $15 an hour work. Or not, as the case may be.

"(M)andatory gay marriage…". Well, I guess we now know why conservatives are so dead set against extending basic human rights to everyone. They believe once gay marriage is legal they must then have a gay marriage. It's just like I said before, it's Soviet Union thinking. "What is not against the law is mandatory."

What I really think is hilarious about the conspiracy nuts ("ZOMG, America is about to take over Texas!") is the miss the actual "conspiracies" going on. An article about your government buying hacking tools to bypass your encryption schemes. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

So, the Texas lawmaker(s) (I put the "s" there because there's gotta be more than one on this) who was arrested for carrying a loaded pistol into a TSA checkpoint is trying to pass a law to make it okay to carry a weapon into the airport. But only if you walk away once you're discovered. This is the point in the story where the person throws the book at the wall and says, "that's just no believable." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

How we count the poor children. We used to use the enrollment list of the student lunch program (full disclosure, I was on the student lunch program), but changes to that program, whom is eligible, whom chooses to apply (and not to apply), and getting it right.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Recent Ad Fails

There's a reason I probably never made it in a major ad agency. I'm an asshole. No, really, I'm an asshole when it comes to the story. There are just many things that ad agencies think are fabulous that I want to shake people and say, "WTF were you thinking? Don't answer that, because I know you weren't. Because if you had knowledge of the actual world, you'd never have come up with this." One of the all time crappy things was the Coke ad with polar bears and penguins.

THEY LIVE AT THE FUCKING OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE WORLD.

See, that's why I never made it. I want to shake they people and say, "SCIENCE, bitchs, learn it."

For instance, the Pizza Hut campaign for Big Flavor Dipper Pizza.



The scene that gets me, the one that in almost all of those cuts, is where the hatchback window breaks. From a strike to the center of the window. Do you know just how fucking stale that crust needs to be to do that? Let me answer this way, you're gonna need a jack hammer to separate those pieces (not slices, slices are wedge shaped and the size of a personal pan pizza), cause they're rock hard. I appreciate that tailgate windscreens aren't the most stable, but it's still safety glass. I can hear the giggling in the ad agency conference room. "That's just so cool, with the double take. WIN!" Nope, that's a fail. You made the customer's product look bad. Don't worry, the customer didn't get it either.

Then there is this Scion commercial, "Driver for Nick."



So, uh, is he using Uber or Grindr? Because there's something totally non-homoerotic about that commercial. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just not sure that was exactly what they were going for. Or maybe it is.

So, yea, now you know why I never made it in a big ad agency.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Linkee-poo is going to California with an aching in my heart

That diet article I thought I had linked to earlier. Now with an actual link. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Keurig CEO Brian Kelley blamed a 23% drop in sales on his decision to use DRM to stop people from buying their coffee-pods from his competition." Strange how that happens.

How a whale can swallow more water than it's body volume (pre-swallow). Folding nerves. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Woman Spitfire pilot aged 92 takes to the skies to mark VE Day." They have always fought. While not assigned to a combat unit, Mrs Lofthouse (the article doesn't mention her rank, but makes sure to mention her two marriages and children) flew planes between factories and from staging areas to the front. My guess is, just like "non-combatant" units today, she saw some action (which probably wasn't never officially recognized) when she flew to those forward air stations. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"The numbers are impressive. In the first few days of reservations since the battery announcement on April 30, Tesla took orders worth roughly $800 million in potential revenue, according to figures compiled by Bloomberg Business." You know, the same business news outlet that wondered aloud just who the hell would buy one of them, and that they weren't all they were cracked up to be. I can only assume that BB editors are either ignorant, were unable to increase their position in Tesla (at $250+ per share) fast enough, or just didn't know what the fuck they were talking about. Now looking at you, Forbes. Oh, but wait, "Before anyone gets too excited, it's important to note the biggest caveat: reservations don’t necessarily convert to sales. That’s especially true for the home storage batteries sold under the name Powerwall." I guess they still haven't been able to increase their position. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

In other news, Tesla is "burning through it's cash" building and expanding (like building that all new battery factory in Nevada, the one that will make the Powerwall and others). "Jonas says Tesla is leaving itself very little margin for error with the release of its Model X SUV. The company could have less than $1 billion in cash on its balance sheet by mid-year, he says, on the eve of what is shaping up to be an incredibly important new vehicle launch." Read that again, they're worried because Tesla may only be left with $1 BILLION in cash (not short term investments, not "liquid" assets, that's the bank, cash in the bank). I just don't have words. How fucked up is our American business environment when having only $1B in cash is a horrible thing? OMG, Tesla is DOING SOMETHING! That can't be right, can it? Jesus H Cthulhu, American Entrepreneurialism is dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. "There’s something missing in the logic of criticizing most companies for hoarding their cash, and then turning around to criticize Tesla for investing its cash. Especially when, in the long run, Tesla’s investments are geared toward bettering society." Well, OMFG, we can't have that. Then everyone will expect companies to actually fucking do their jobs, take risks, make things better. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Most people think a miscarriage is rare, and many believe that if a woman loses a pregnancy that she brought it upon herself. Neither of those things is true, but the enduring beliefs cause great pain to women and their partners." Strange thing, lawmakers also have that same perception and have been working hard to treat women who have a miscarriage as criminals. "In fact, between 15 percent and 20 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage, defined as a pregnancy loss earlier than 20 weeks of gestation." Well, we're legalizing pot, so I guess we gotta fill those for profit jails with someone. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Our nation's richest Congressman tells our nation's poor they are the envy of the world's poor. Because that always goes over well when a rich person tells a poor person they've got it good. Here's the thing, Congressman Issa, we're the richest country, we supposedly have this American Exceptionalism, why do we still have so many poor people?

Tweet of my heart: @FrankUlvestad If it hadn't been for double standards, some people would have no standards at all.

Double dip: ‏@lilithsaintcrow And for Mother's Day I want healthy school lunches, citizenship for those trapped in the shadow economy, and a little less fucking misogyny.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Linkee-poo has seen your face before my friend, but I don't know if you know who I am

Ricky Santorum has said he will later announce what everyone knows he's going to announce and figured he would since 2012. If history is any guide, Ricky will be the GOP nominee for 2016 (he was #2 in 2012 - yea, I had to crack that joke).

Of interest to any con panel moderator, every question in every Q/A session, ever. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"If Lokiarchaeota and eukaryotes do in fact share a common ancestor, as this work suggests, then many of the eukaryotic cells' complexities—notably a cytoskeleton and the ability to form membrane-bound vesicles—may have been in place before eukaryotes split off from archaea, roughly two billion years ago." A little more on some of the things I was talking about yesterday (also in case you thought I was joking about mitochondria), but in light of tying eukaryotes to archaea (either we have a common ancestry, or archaea was in our past). (Grokked from John)

Everything but the oink. The modern pig.

Not sure if this is computer science, sociology, or linguistics research, but new research on trolls and their behaviors. (Grokked from Phiala)

When graphic design goes horribly wrong. I'm going to tell you that's a seed held pinched between finger and thumb, but that's not what you're going to see at first. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"But largely overlooked is the rampant exploitation of those who toil in the industry. The New York Times interviewed more than 150 nail salon workers and owners, in four languages, and found that a vast majority of workers are paid below minimum wage; sometimes they are not even paid. Workers endure all manner of humiliation, including having their tips docked as punishment for minor transgressions, constant video monitoring by owners, even physical abuse. Employers are rarely punished for labor and other violations." No government regulation and intervention needed here. Not at all. Don't need any immigration reform either, to prevent the exploitation of these workers. Also, just in case you hear someone talking about how we don't need a minimum wage because of business reasons, understand what they really want is all of us to have this work (and life) experience. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Fred Clark on the ridiculous argument about "religious freedom" and "making priest/ministers marry gay people." Nobody can force any minister/priest to marry anyone now. It's a red herring. An easily disprovable one at that. Now, most clerks also can't marry people. They just process the paperwork. So there's no religious violation there either (I don't remember Jesus saying, "That shall not do paperwork", if he did, I'd really like to put that up at my cubicle). County judges, mayors or justices of the peace, however, do officiate marriages. As I remember, Mayors have the right of refusal, and I think judges do as well. So it's just the justices of the peace who would have to uphold their oath of office to treat everyone fairly in the eyes of the law. And frankly, if you can't do that, you shouldn't be in that position.

You may think I'm being hyperbolic about conservative wanting to roll back all worker protections and improves made through the hard fought struggles (read that as mini-insurections) of unions. I'm not. "You’d think Wisconsin Republicans would reward themselves with some rest after pulling off—via a great deal of misdirection from Scott Walker—the enactment of a southern-style “right to work” law banning union shop agreements reached via voluntary free-market contract negotiations. But no: as The Nation’s Moshe Marvit explains, Badger State GOPers are back with a bill to revoke the right to a day off after seven days of labor." Oh, and don't like your treatment at the hands of your financial betters (i.e., your bosses), don't complain to any reporter about it. And finally, when they drive you down to the poor house and force you on to SNAP (while complaining about paying taxes for it), they'll tell you what you can and can't eat.(Grokked from the Slactivist)

The NFL finally determines that the Patriots intentionally deflated footballs after officials checked them. I'm sure nothing will come of it, except for some low-level people losing their jobs. Just like when the Patriots were discovered to have used communications that violated league rules, and had people spying on the opposition coaches during the game… (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"The fact is that any claim that the estate tax is killing family farms is a lie… How many of America’s 2.2 million farms have been sold to pay estate taxes? None." Conservative lie about taxes? Shocked, shocked I am… (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Stephen Colbert agree to fund every South Carolina teacher's grant request on Donor's Choose. Begin the right wing denigration based on, "But he didn't do it for all teachers everywhere" in 3…2…1… (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Ben Carson looks smart. To bad he isn't. Or, just because you're smart in one area, like brain surgery, doesn't make you smart in other areas, like Constitutional Law. Sorry, Dr. Ben, it's Three branches of government. The Supreme Court (no matter how we may disagree with them) is the final arbiter of the law. The Legislature can pass a new law, the Executive can nominate new justices. Those are the balances of power on the Supreme Court. You can't just ignore them. And this guy, who doesn't understand 11th grade civics, wants to be President (not like the other candidates are any better).

Whenever people talk about "it should be up to the States" when making a policy argument, it's this kind of thing I think about. Man flees "for-profit Medicaid Kansas for life saving surgery in Memphis, TN. What could go wrong? (Grokked from the Slactivist)

You know how us progressive say that conservatives are mean and in the pockets of the wealthy business owners? This is why. Hell, it's already hard enough to file a workmans comp claim, let alone get a doctor to process one. And now the assholes in Illinois want to cut back benefits and give the benefit of the doubt to the company and the insurances' (read, the companies') doctors.

"Yes, on the House floor yesterday (well, a while ago because I'm just getting around to it), the GOP lawmaker (Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Rules Committee,) not only failed to do his math homework before speaking, he presented his false argument in a surprisingly condescending way for someone who didn’t know what he was talking about." "I’m no mathematician, but when I put 12 million into $108 billion, I get $9,000, not $5 million. Sessions’ $5 million per-person estimate was only off by $4,991,000." And "Rep. Louise Slaughter… added, 'Mr. and Ms. America, these are the people you’ve entrusted your Congress to. They’re the people who are writing your budget.'" (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Linkee-poo drinks a whiskey drink, drinks a vodka drink, drinks a lager drink, drinks a cider drink

"Her findings, chronicled in her newly published book Secrets from the Eating Lab, offer a fascinating explanation for why dieting over the long term is actually impossible." Once you start a diet, you will always be on a diet for the rest of your life or you will gain the weight back. And research tells us that the actual diet doesn't matter all that much (if it's a well thought out and balanced diet), but your ability to stick to the diet that actually matters. Also, your body will eventually compensate for the diet (which brought about the concept of programmed "cheating days"). But, as the article explains, most diets are about getting your money. Eat less, exercise more (said the guy who hasn't been on his Wii in three years). (Grokked from Kameon Hurley)

Add Clippy to any website using javascript. The trumpet sounds, and the seventh-seal is broken. (Grokked from Random Michelle K)

Coast Guard called out to oil spill, finds jellyfish instead. The jellyfish appear like oil slicks, but the problem is there are now more jellyfish (gee, I wonder why). But for me the interesting line was "Titchen estimates the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River responds to approximately 250 pollution hazard calls in a typical year." Two-hundred fifty calls on spills a year. Tell me again how "safe" fossil fuels are. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Time is the fire in which we burn.

When government regulates business it's horrible, terrible, outdated, Soviet quality, oppressiveness that lead to poor customer experiences. Not. Note that's a photo of 1960's Economy Class seating. Sure, it's a promo pic, but still. I don't think you have that much room in first class these days.

A different take on the shooting at the "Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest" arguing that it's a clear case of free speech than Charlie Hebdo. While I disagree with the main premise (see previous Linkee-poo), there's still a lot of good points in there. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The sweet potato is a natural GMO. Well, not exactly. And this is a part of the agenda of big agra to make you feel comfortable with GMOs ("look, we've been selectively breeding for millennia, this is no different" and now, "look, Nature does it too"). I mean, if you're going to go that far, most procaryotes (bacteria is a simple definition) are as well. They tend to "share genes" quite easily. Also, all eucaryotes (cells with organelles) are as well. We humans are an example of this. You might have heard of mitochondria. Those are the organelles within our cells that provide the majority of energy we use to live (this is where the Krebs cycle ends by feeding Hydrogen ions to the free-electron transport chain, which is also were we actually "make water", and a lot of our cellular energy as ATP). Did you know that mitochondria have their own DNA, and it ain't human? Don't worry, a lot of animals have mitochondria. It's assumed that at one time they were their own life form which an early eucaryote cell "swallowed" and incorporated. Also, after we eat and digest food you can find that food's DNA in our blood. And did you know those viruses that you catch can insert their (manufactured) DNA (because viruses are actually RNA - it'd take too long to explain) into your DNA? That doesn't make us a GMO, though. What it means is most of life is symbiotic. To say we are human is to miss our biome (the bacteria and viruses that live on and in us - all the time). Calling that "GMO" is a marketing campaign.

The list of scientists who became creationists after studying the evidence. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

Some black women in St. Louis are now wondering if the children they were told had died during or shortly after birth were actually sent into foster care or adopted out. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

Oh sweet Cthulhu, I'm in agreement with Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump. Look, if this was an actual thing (contest for drawing the Prophet Muhammad) I would agree this is a free speech issue. But this event was a direct provocation. It was designed to provoke a response. In that way, this is incitement to violence, not free speech. Its one thing to speak truth to power, it's a completely different thing to pick a fight (that would get people killed). If there were some benefit here (even if I disagreed with it) other than having a few people say, "See, we were right, Islam is horrible and prevents us from doing what we want to do (which we never would have done had we not wanted to provoke a confrontation)" or even a commentary on the prohibition against drawing Muhammad, I would say it was free speech. There is no benefit beyond self-aggrandizement, and there is no political or cultural benefit.

"Abstinence-only Texas High School hit by Chlamydia outbreak; 1 In 15 students affected." How's that "hopey-changey" thing working out for you all? There's just way too many good nuggets in this story, but "Diana Martinez, a Crane resident and parent, told NewsWest 9 her kids are too young for her to worry about; otherwise, she'd sit them down and have a talk… 'Honestly this happens in any town… Parents need to be aware of the situation and make sure they tell their kids to be safe and practice safe sex.'" Or, you know, because they don't, they could get actual scientific information from their school. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Why should you have professionals handle you're printed communications? To be fair, we make our own mistakes which sometimes make it out into public, but not normally in the headline. Also, a pro would have spotted the whole "propped up by" error (there's a whole lotta "propped up by" going on in that "erection day") and the missing of crucial (and possibly legally required) language.

There's this story of a person sitting in a barber's chair sees a mob outside running down the street. This person jumps up and shouts, "There go the people. I must follow them, for I am their leader." I give you Louie Gohmert.

Rick Perry, get in the fucking sack.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Linkee-poo seen the lights go out on Broadway, I saw the ruins at my feet

Free e-books don't help poor kids. A great article on why free ebooks won't really help the kids these publishers think (and tout in their press releases and shareholder meetings) they will. This is what's known as "middle-class-to-rich people not understanding the lives being lived all around them." (Note, not all "publishers" are "rich", and most certainly not all people involved with publishing are rich or even middle-class). (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"Ak Ohum Oktay Weez, Barsoom." (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

Well, there's a bunch of URL shorteners (bit.ly, etc) that can help you post things to Twitter, or to simplify long URLs. But how about a service that can make those URLs look menacing and dodgy? (Grokked from John)

Sepsis, it's a killer.

"The woman who was arrested for tearing down a holiday display set up by the Satanic Temple in Florida has launched a crowdfunding campaign so that she may continue to wage her Earthly war to 'keep Satan out of our Capitols and out of our schools.'" Here's the thing, if "christians" weren't so hell bent on putting Jesus in schools, the Satanists wouldn't have a chance, but that's irony for you. And obviously irony is dead. Oh, and "GoFundMe has become a hotbed for Christians who feel they are being persecuted…" I guess it's not just me who noticed that. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And in other Satanic news… "The Satanic Temple… is seeking a religious exemption from Missouri’s 72-hour abortion waiting period on the grounds that the law violates their sincerely held beliefs about bodily autonomy." Yea, I'm starting to like these people. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

When "reporters" forget what their job is. A Fox News reporter "said that he and his news crew witnessed what he described as a 'young, black male' being shot by a police officer in Baltimore while running away on Monday afternoon." That isn't a mistake, that's making shit up. This wasn't a "I think someone has been shot, OMG there's a guy on a stretcher…", that's a mistake. "I saw" could be marked up to "eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable", except that this is coming from someone who (supposedly) is a professional with training. If I were cynical I would say they were trying to "make news" by ginning up emotions, fanning the flames, and then pointing people at each other. But that would be cynical of me.

What should come as a surprise to those "haul yourself up by the bootstraps" people, "In two new studies, Harvard economist Raj Chetty and his colleagues found that where poor kids grow up has a huge effect on how much money they earn as adults." Actually they're reexamining an old study that gave some people vouchers to live in better neighborhoods and left some people in "projects." The initial results published said that there was no difference where poor people lived (for the adults or the kids), and solidified a perception of "it's just their fault." Well, when new researchers looked at the data, they discovered that there actually was a difference in the earning potential of the kids who moved to better neighborhoods. The transcript for the story is very poor (and isn't the story that was broadcast), I suggest listening to the actual story. When poverty isn't concentrated, the poor have a better chance of moving up the economic ladder. Nurture is a better predictor than nature.

Ted Cruz first rejects, then endorses, Mitt Romney's "47%" comment. He also rehashes the 90s conservative mantra, "Hispanics (like everyone else) supports conservative ideas, but don't vote that way for some (weak minded) reasons." Well, at least he's upgrade to the 90s.

I'm developing a theory that the reason why conservatives can readily accept that FEMA re-education camps, UN soldiers in black helicopters, and that Jade Helm 15 is a conspiracy to attack and subdue the South (and all the righteous conservatives who live there) is that they themselves want to use the government to coerce people to agree with them and jail those who are recalcitrant to embrace conservative "values." It's a psychosis called "displacement" IIRC.

There was this time in college that I played flag football. One night, a team on the next field over was playing the Black Student Union team. A skirmish broke out. I didn't see the start of it, (I heard that the white fraternity was playing dirty the the BSU students got tired of it), but I saw the end of it. The president of the fraternity was being chased by a large, black student. The white guy turned and started shouting, "What are you gonna go about it, hit me? I dare you to hit me. Hit me, dammit!" So, the black guy laid him out with a single punch. I'm pretty sure the white guy lost consciousness. The campus police investigated and when they asked me I said I missed seeing what actually happened after the white guy was cussing and daring the black student to hit him, but I assumed the white guy tripped on and fell over his ginormous ass all by himself. The cop laughed and said that was pretty much what everyone else was telling him. Moral of the story, don't pick a fight and then get all pissy and play the victim when a fight comes your way. This wasn't a "free-speech" event, this "cartooning contest" was a provocation. This is about as close as you can get to shouting "fire" in a theater. And they knew it. This is fundamentally different from what Charlie-Hebdo and Kurt Westergaard did (satire and political commentary). That was the moral equivalent of "Draw 'Clippy' And Go to Hate School." If conservatives back this narrative of the "free-speech is under attack", then they don't get to defund the National Endowment for the Arts because of Serrano's "Piss Christ."

Okay, Chuck Norris, get in the fuckin' sack.