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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Linkee-poo for a weekend

Lots of NPR stuff today.

Stephen King on how productivity doesn't have a relationship to quality. So being more productive doesn't mean lower quality and how only producing one or two doesn't mean higher productivity.

"Researcher catches AT&T injecting ads on free airport Wi-Fi hotspot" And they're not the only one. When did "scammer" and "malware" behavior become corporate best practices? (Grokked from John)

The problem with science. A massive effort to test the validity of 100 psychology experiments finds that more than 50 percent of the studies fail to replicate." For the same reasons many "hard" science studies also don't show the same results when repeated. Which they hardly ever are.

The stock market as music composition.

Oh great, now even the spiders are trolling us. Oh Charlotte, we loved you once. (Grokked from Dan)

How do you solve a (information) problem like a big black hole? Well, Professor Hawking has an answer.

Nazi gold. I'm sure this announcement of possibly finding the supposedly lost train of Nazi gold won't cause any mass excoriation of the countryside as people try to find it before the authorities get it in their hands.

"But Bush's comments raise questions about just how much money Planned Parenthood actually gets, what the group does with it, and whether defunding it would actually save taxpayers money." A little face checking (yes it's THAT season again). My take, it's cheap at twice the price.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Linkee-poo just watched the tv feed

The updated map of mass shootings since Sandy Hook. Remember Sandy Hook? It was 2012, December. Thinking it may take an article on "Why does Johnny kill?" before things change (like the "Why can't Johnny read?" article before it). (Grokked from Joe Hill)

America wears black so often, other countries are beginning to wonder if we're just that Goth after all.

Only the treacherous expect treachery. Or in this case, those willing to conspire expect and see conspiracies everywhere. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

Everything old is new again. "The high price for beef and substance abuse are behind the surge in livestock theft, and that's putting some ranchers on edge."

Something new has been added. Namely, a new sugar. It's all natural (but I'll be that's not how it's made). Also noted for the handwavium of what exactly happens to this sugar as it travels about the body. But, hey, at least it won't kill you right away.

"Researchers are scrambling to determine what’s behind the death of 30 whales in the Gulf of Alaska as unusually warm ocean temperatures continue to wreak havoc on the region." Currently the death toll is running about 3x normal rates. Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

I wonder what you call China Syndrome when it occurs in Asia? Muon images of Fukashima might indicate the reactor core is not in the building.

And David Duke thinks Trump is the best of the lot. Okay, everybody. Thanks. We're done here. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Graham said that Trump's views on immigrants and women do not reflect the modern Republican party." I could read that a number of ways, but mostly it boils down to, "Donald has not learned the dog whistles of our tribe." Lyndsey is also saying that Trump is tapping into the "Dark-Side" of the GOP for support. While it would be easy to do the Star Wars men to this (waits patiently for the internet photoshoppers to compose the original Star Wars poster with Trump's face in the place of Darth, Lynsey's in place of Luke and Carly in the place of Leia - yea, try and get that one out of your mind now). But I'ma gonna go a different way. Oh Lyndsey, "There is no dark side of the GOP, really. Matter of fact it's all dark."

From a story about white opposition to renaming a road after Martin Luther King, Jr., "'I’ve never had a racist bone in my body,' said one white resident. 'But if you keep pushing me, I’ll show you my racist ways. Mitch Landrieu can go to hell, praise to lord for Bobby Jindal.'" I don't know how my friends handle this, I just don't have the spoons.

I'm sure it's not about racism. Only, Jorge "Ramos, for the record, is a U.S. citizen." In this day of milksop reporting that relies on "he said, she said" storytelling, his actions seems aggressive and combative. I remember when that was actual reporting.

"Congress' official budget analyst projected Tuesday that this year's federal deficit will drop to $426 billion, the lowest shortfall of Barack Obama's presidency." So much for the "increased and out of control spending" meme the conservatives like to tout. Not that reality will make a difference in their rhetoric.

And what is it with conservatives and loyalty pledges? "The Republican parties in Virginia and North Carolina are both considering forcing candidates to sign a pledge that they will not run as an independent in order to qualify for the GOP primary ballot, according to Politico."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Linkee-poo went down the drain

Sorry, way to many commitments. Posting this early just to clear the baffles.

Of relation to the various political sparing matches over the Hugo, Ray Bradbury's FBI file. (Grokked from Dan and others)

Also, I will note here (since I didn't do much commentary on the blog about it) one of the supposed Cabal's leaders, John Scalzi, has been compared to modern day Robert Heinlein, one of the supposed Golden Age SF writers the puppies were all sad about because nobody can write like them and receive awards.

Curse words (bodily origin) through history. For your period correct cussing. (Grokked from Dan)

Looking for someplace to call home? I hear parts of Spain are up for sale. Cheap.

One of the things I loved about going to U of A was we got to blimps quite regularly. Including the day when four blimps flew in formation. "The last days are here to see an 'old school' Goodyear blimp in Northeast Ohio skies, perhaps forever." They're being replaced by new generations of semi-rigid airships. (Grokked from Dan)

A magnetic Eistein-Rosen Bridge. Living in the future. Although, since it requires a physical structure, I wouldn't be surprised to find this is actually due to a new novel form of conductivity (it's called the electro-magnetic spectrum for a reason). (Grokked from Emma Audsley)

"Daytona Beach city commissioners have given approval to an indoor shooting range that will include a restaurant that sells alcoholic beverages." What could possibly go wrong? (Grokked from Dan)

"The executive director for the Louisiana Republican Party said his email is a part of the Ashley Madison database because he used the cheating website for 'opposition research' that 'ended up being a waste of money and time,' according to a New Orleans newspaper." Uh, yeah, Bob. Sure. Also noted (but not linked), many official government email addresses and IP addresses were found in the database dump.

The Clinton Campaign is hit by undercover conservatives attempting to find corruption. They don't, obviously. But I'm sure with time they'll find someone who doesn't know the law that will try and be helpful. That's how these things work, probing attacks to find the weakest spot and then drive a wedge there. Unlike with the last election where what the conservative candidates actually said was what got them in trouble. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Linkee-poo think someday he have everything, even pretty girl like you

Kids these days. Why, back in my day we had special rooms for computers to exist in. Nine photos from the dawn of the school computer lab era. Spent both time in these, and monitoring them (when in college). (Grokked from John)

There's an underground amusement park in Transylvania. Because why wouldn't there be. (Grokked from John)

So, there's no conservative war on women, eh? Roll the tape. The super cut of sexism on Fox News. And this is what the conservatives broadcast to the world.

Beloit College's cultural touchstone list is out.

The Maple Syrup Mafia. Or not. Actually, it's a cartel which has benefitted maple sugarers, including the guy profiled who wants to sell his syrup on the open market (but probably at the price point set by the Federation). Again (you might remember the almond grower who is also in trouble) there will be people who believe in a "free market", but they always have benefitted from the organization they're fighting against.

Of some relevance to the Planned Parenthood debate, Gray's Donation. That's a Radiolab episode that talks about parents donating their child's body parts to science. A troubled pregnancy, the unexpected birth and then death of a child. Their eventual donation of tissues, and then following up with those institutions that received parts. While not fetal tissue donation, but this shows how these things actually happen and how the people who receive the tissues consider them, and the potential benefits for all of us.

The very definition of privilege, the exemptions being made for Rand Paul to run for both his Senate seat and to run for President. Also note how someone who is always for local control is now suddenly in favor of federal regulations and standardization. And that would be Sen. Paul himself.

"Iowa radio host and influential conservative kingmaker Jan Mickelson unveiled an immigration plan that would make undocumented immigrants who don't leave the country after an allotted time 'property of the state,' asking, 'What's wrong with slavery?' when a caller criticized his plan." I just don't have the fucking spoons for this election cycle. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

But then, Dr. Ben wants to use drone strikes to secure the border. Dear Doctor Ben, the quote is, "Nuke them from orbit, it's the only way to be sure." What's next, stick their severed heads on spikes to create the Eyes of the Morrigan along the border?

A parable for the current presidential election (don't forget, there's another general election between now and then). "Robie's Country Store, in Hooksett, N.H. has become an almost ritual stop on the presidential campaign trail… But don't actually try to buy milk and eggs here. The store closed for business in 2013… Even with Robie's closed, the place is still doing a brisk trade in would-be presidents. Five Republican contenders have already dropped by this year…"

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Star Wars Fandom

I've been quite (mostly) on the upcoming Star Wars movie and wading through the tides of squeedom emanating from the geek culture. And while I am happy to see that there will be familiar faces and we get to see how their stories played out, every time I hear someone new shout, "OMFG Han Solo!", this song plays in my head.


Christine Lavin Harrison Ford

And now it will play in your head too.

BTW, if you like her stylings, I suggest Getting in Touch With My Inner Bitch. "Some people have an inner child…"

Linkee-poo, what else could I write, I don't have the right. What else should I be, all apologies

Have $32K to $40K just floating around and need a retreat on your property (for maybe a writing shed)? The Podzook, or Archipod. Now made in Maine. Wants, but damn there are much cheaper options (like my larger shed which already exists, but is filled with bric-a-brac).

Disney/Lucasfilms release details of Rogue One. As Dan says (form whom this is grokked), "Many Bothans died to bring you this film." Or, as I say, "We call it 'Riding the Gravy Train.'"

Chastity belts started as a joke, then a hoax, and then as sexual fetish objects.

I know (and work with) people who are always wondering just what good NASA, the space program, and government are. Well, here are some NASA posters with how they've improved aviation technology. Your government dollars at work. They also have a general "Parts of an Airplane" poster as well. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

The EM drive. If it works, a potential for "30kN of thrust for each kilowatt of power dumped into the frustum." Zoom zoom. (Grokked from Dan)

People often ask me, "What music do you listen to?" And then they think I'm blowing them off when I say, "everything except things with 'gangster' or 'death' in the titles." But it's true. Just look at a sampling of the song lyrics I use (which tend heavily toward "Classic Rock", which I know of as "Rock" because I'm damn old now). But I also like a wide range of music from orchestral to Genuine Space Music. So, here's Kacey Musgraves' tiny desk concert. I love her voice and she writes great songs.

Two women (possibly 3) have passed Ranger School training. The last is retaking part of the course (and yes, lots of men have to retake parts of the course).

If only we had science to help tell us if carrying/using a gun in self-defense was actually beneficial. Oh, wait, here it is. "Of over 14,000 incidents in which the victim was present, 127 (0.9%) involved a SDGU (self-defense gun use). SDGU was more common among males, in rural areas, away from home, against male offenders and against offenders with a gun. After any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after SDGU, 4.1% of victims were injured. In property crimes, 55.9% of victims who took protective action lost property, 38.5 of SDGU victims lost property, and 34.9% of victims who used a weapon other than a gun lost property." So, basically, no. I'm sure the NRA will look at the 0.9% and say, "See, we told you more people need to carry more guns!" But then, they're just shills for the gun industry. Their answer for everything is "Buy More Guns!" (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Man standing guard over a "muslim-free" gun shop shoots himself accidentally. So much for that "guns don't kill people" line (although this man only hit his wrist and is expected to survive).

Two of the most terrifying words in politics, also the distillation of Orwell's 1984, "I remember." "Yet, (George W. Bush's) deafening silence is indicative of not only his disastrous administration, but the GOP’s attempt to erase him from the country’s memory." History is speaking, G. W. (I also remember his "history will be my judge" comment, although he wasn't as eloquent Tony Blair). It doesn't have nice things to say.

Mickee Huckleberries, not content with mansplaining, is now whiteplaining. These people really have me hoping the Iowa Caucus is coming soon because, damn, they need to cull this herd real quick.

The rich are just like you and me. "A millionaire property developer who used children's gravestones to decorate the historic mansion which inspired All Things Bright and Beautiful has been ordered to pay £300,000… Kim Davies, 60, took tombstones from a derelict chapel and cemented them to the walls of Llanwenarth House in Abergavenny, South Wales…" I admit that I do like walking old cemeteries and that some of those stones are works of art, but seriously WT ever loving F? I mean, there's the perception of the 1% building their fortune by driving their employees into the ground, but it's another thing to decorate your home with their tombstones. (Grokked from BoingBoing)

Tweet of my heart: @RaqiyahMays Notice how we never knew #TrayvonMartin went to Space Camp. how media shapes black boy narratives. #GeorgeZimmerman

Quote of the day: "When you screw up your op-sec, can we refer to that as oops-sec?" - John

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

With the Gods, Nothing Is Left Undone

Oh Great Internet Brain, I'm looking for a mythology reference with dates (even if relative). Not in a "Greek Mythology as we know it started in…", but more granular. See, I know that Greek Mythology (sorry, but it's the mythology I know best) evolved over time. It started (or at least became codified) as a matriarchal system that didn't include Zeus or many of the male gods we know now to be part of Greek Myth. For many hundreds of years Hera was the prime deity, and her daughters ruled the cosmos. It was only after the northern Greeks (who did not have an island culture, but lived up toward the Alps) invaded the islands that Zeus and his sons became the dominate culture (but Hera worship was so strong she and her daughters survived until Roman culture supplanted Greek and appropriated the various gods into their pantheon). I know other religions also evolved in this manner (you can look at Christianity and what their focus through the ages have been, for example the concept of the end of the world isn't new, it presaged and pervaded the thoughts of the middle ages European Christianity, but the concept of the Rapture, which is strong in the evangelical community in America, is less than 200 years old). The stories change. In Egypt the mythos constantly changed as the power struggles between the priests ebbed and flowed. But I'm looking for a reference that shows how they've changed and when. There's plenty of "we've got the Gods, all the Gods, on discount" sites, but I haven't found one that gives the provenance and history of the individual mythologies. And I haven't seen any that say, "at this time in history, this was the prevalent belief system within this mythos."

Anyone know of any?

Linkee-poo, because the sky is blue, it makes me cry

Chuck Wendig on how what flows from our minds is never as perfect as it is in our minds. There are many reasons for this. Most of this has to do with how the mind works. The mind is a six (at least) dimensional imaging device. You can ascribe feeling and memory to ideas which come fully formed. Those ideas in your head exist in all those forms, but the words (or pen marks) on the paper are all there is to transmit this to others. It's a function of downsampling. If you do it well, you can match frequencies and come away with a good facsimile of the original signal, but even at blu-ray data depths and sampling rate it's never as good as the original.

For your world building toolkit, the cultural iceberg. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Death is just the beginning. I mean, "Siri is just the beginning." Computers have been able to write technical papers and even newspaper articles for a while now (as long as they have data feed to them, they can't actually go out and do reporting or research, but once they have the raw data they can assemble a cogent article), but they haven't done fiction very well. Now there's an algorithm that can at least determine suspense and tension (for a very narrow definition).

On living the examined life. But that phrase is trite, so we have to call it living wisely. Or how to set priorities. These past 6 years have been a struggle of what is most important for me. I really want to write stories that sell. But what I really want is to have financial security to do it and provide for my wife. Now that I'm almost there, I've been focusing and fighting for writing time.

Because it came up once (I think on twitter, but it's been a while), Wren Day. Celebrated on St Stephen's day (which was moved by 1 to allow for Christmas once the Church figured out it needed to co-opt mid-winter/new year's celebrations to extend their control), a group of men (now children, although adults now take part again) hunt the wren, to hang about the king's (tribal leader's) head. While the wiki page doesn't really come out and talk about it, this was from a time when the ruler (king, queen, lord, whatever) was responsible for pleasing the gods and ensuring the tribe's survival and a good harvest. It is magic, and it is the same as lighting fires on the equinox or bringing evergreens inside, it is a way of giving energy to the world as it is dying. Think of it as the world's defibrillator of the ancients. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

Neolithic massacre discovered. It's not the first site to be unearth that shows mass killings, but it tends to stun people as it flies in the face of our preconceptions of a idyllic early human settlement. Instead, it is for me just more proof than man is a rather violent animal at heart. It is only through cultural norms and progress that we become less violent (after all, many early cultural norms were based on just controlling and channeling violence into acceptable forms of behavior). And I don't buy the line about hunter/gatherer societies just moving to avoid conflict. Those societies would have been very dependent on the herd animals they followed (at least in Europe). One couldn't just "move away" from that food source. (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

More news in the "you don't own what you purchase" theme. This time it's farmers fighting against the DMCA. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a crime to "break" a software lock. Since everything is now run by computers, including farm equipment, fixing those things requires breaking those locks. Manufacturers are fighting to keep their customers from breaking those locks (which aren't hard to break) in the name of "safety", but I think we can all agree it's about the most profitable part of the chain, sales of repairs and replacements. Farmers are long accustomed to fixing things themselves (Yankee, after all, is a term for a type of farmer, the one who never throws anything away because they may need it).

The fake Target customer service account. This is why the world wide web was conceived, creative anarchy. (Grokked from George Takei)

The Safer Car government site. Enter your VIN to see recalls.

Hey, remember that article that disputed the theory that humans were responsible for the megafauna die off and that it was actually climate change? Well, another group of scientists in the back just stood up and shouted "BULLSHIT!" Ah, science. I say we settle this Jets and Sharks style. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

John Oliver on televangelists and setting up the Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. While he mostly bags on Robert Tilton, he does make fun of the whole thing. Living in a community with a cable system that has 2 channels dedicated to these mendicant priests, yes, this. (Grokked from Dan)

The NLRB denies Northwestern University football players forming a union. Well, that can't be good.

A new litmus test is born. End the birth-right citizenship. That way we can make the entire US be just like California. "How long have you been in California?" "Two weeks, and I wish all these newcomers would leave us alone!"

"Now a groundbreaking new study absolutely confirms much of what we've believed to be true for decades about African Americans being denied a jury of their peers in districts all over the country… Make no mistake about it, this system is not accidental, but is as purposeful as it gets. Welcome to the New Jim Crow." (Grokked from Julie)

"After the owner of a Florida gun store came under scrutiny for declaring his shop a 'Muslim-free zone,' George Zimmerman decided to help the store with a fundraiser selling Confederate flag prints." Just in case there was any confusion about the racism part of the the Stars and Bars, or George Zimmerman.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Linke-poo your time is gonna come

The Miss American competition now includes a social media component. What could possibly go wrong. (Grabs the popcorn, waits for the fireworks).

On the prevalence of male circumcision in our western culture. Slightly NSFW due to illustrations of penises. Also pointed to as examples of how this practice (circumcision for male and female) us related to culture, and not some religious aberration (as has been touted much in the call to end forcible female circumcision in African cultures, which are often mislabeled as Islamic during the fallout from 9/11). It's a very long article, BTW, packed with information. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Just in case you still believe we live in a post-racial meritocracy, "'White and Asian college grads do much better than their counterparts without college, while college-grad Hispanics and blacks do much worse proportionately.'"

Sometimes it's easier to see the problems when they happen to someone else. That is, after all, the basic premise of the original Star Trek. "According to a report released on Friday from research group Berkeley Earth, air pollution is contributing to an average of 4,000 deaths a day, or 1.6 million a year, in China." Yea, I'm sure it's not doing anything to us. Our air is exceptional. Notice our domestic coal industry has finally dropped the Clean Coal charade. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Apparently, not satisfied with screwing over it's hourly/warehouse employees, Amazon is also a shitty place to work in the white-collar side. As a recovering workaholic (who is currently struggling with falling off the wagon this Summer), I know form where I speak. If you've ever seen me work, you know that I'm continuously striving for better. Being adequate isn't enough for me. So I know from where I speak, the practices outlined in the article are poor business practices designed to enable a co-dependency type relationship with its employees. In the short run you can get excellent results. In the long run, it is the weight which will drag a company down and drown in it the sea of competition. OF course there are plenty of people who think there's nothing wrong with it. There are also people who think beating and raping their children is perfectly acceptable as well. And yes, I mean that comparison. It's the same psychology. It's the same relationship dynamic. And it engenders the same long-term ramifications. Also, to anyone who thinks this is a new way, it isn't. This kind of crappy business model has always been out there. And, as I said, it can be made to be wildly successful in the short term. It is always disastrous in the long run. And it is often done by people who don't know any better.

An animated GIF on the volume of 200 commuters in different configurations. Or why I support public transportation (and when I worked downtown, used it everyday). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

New Orleans a decade after Katrina. With especial focus on the schools.

On the importance of being cognizant of the power differential when it comes to small requests. I experience this all the time at the day job. It is also my personal opinion, this is often not done ignorantly. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The birthers are still at it. This time, however, they're turning their sites at their own. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Because the uncompromising position always paints one into a corner, especially when it's a crazy position. In this case, Mikee Huckleberries has to defend decision to force a 10-year old rape victim to carry her rapist's child to term. Warning for both intense stupidity and because it's a Facebook page. Because, besides the trauma of the rape, the reminder of that rape by seeing the child, a 10-year old's body, even a well-developed 10-year old's body, isn't prepared for delivery of a child. But, when you believe a fetus to "be a child", then you must agree. That's the stupidity here, that the Pro-Life movement has redefined fetus as "child". But then, the same people (for the most part) can then define a child as an "adult" and throw them in solitary confinement for crimes committed before they hit puberty. (Grokked from Lizz Windstead)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Linkee-poo is the joker at your gate

Mary Robinette Kowal shares tips for reading your work in front of people.

Even in the age of online gaming, D&D is still the best. Because it is an actual engagement of the mind, is a collaboration, and is social. Sort of like the beginning of video gaming when peopled parties (and then network parties) to play them. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

How exactly does one gird one's loins? And an update. Because you wanted to know. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

One of the most interesting, recently confirmed atmospheric phenomenon, and sprites, or "giant jets." This is lighting that reaches upward from a cloud to the upper limits of the atmosphere. And here's a video of sprites caught over Hurricane Hilda as it passed Hawaii. (Grokked from Spaceweather.com)

Okay, so, this is how I was taught to do graphic design. Before desktop computers, before WYSIWYG, before all of that. Paste-up. There were production classes that we as students would be a little high afterward because of the use of rubber cement (and not having adequate ventilation). And cutting ruby, OMG that takes me back. I graduated just at the cusp of the digital revolution, so most of my professional experience has been using the computer. I think as a professional I've completed projects as outlined in that video maybe two handfuls of times. I have cut ruby for projects. I have done color breaks. Sometimes I miss that (it was much more creative, and much more a process than it is now). But I am glad we have desktop computers and all the cool tools. Even just for the often repeated refrain about what we had to do to get type.

"And in Florida, you can be fired (from being a cop) when people find that out (you're a member of the KKK), but still squeeze through background checks and get hired to work at an elementary school."

"'Gov. Jindal opposes the tearing down of these historical statues and has instructed his staff to look into the Heritage Act to determine the legal authority he has as governor to stop it,' Jindal spokesman Doug Cain said… But… no such 'Heritage Act' exists in Louisiana." Reality bites.

And so begins the season of fact checking. In this case, NPR fact checking Dr. Carson's (echoed) statements against Planned Parenthood extending the myth that they're just there to kill black babies. Turns out, not really. But then did you really expect the truth to be told by political candidates trying to make a point about a controversial issue? Especially when it's conservatives and anything to do with sex, birth control, or abortion?

Some veterans speak out about Ferguson, a year later.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Linkee-poo is on the highway to Hell

Research finds, low-carb or low-fat, either diet will help you lose fat. Although I disagree with the researchers, I think it's the 30% cut in calories that actually did the trick (eat less, exercise more). But, as I said before, extensive research has shown it's not the actual (balanced) diet that works, it's sticking to it over the long haul that works.

I can confirm for you, our emergency room has bolt-cutters. They have a whole toolbox of industrial tools (as well as the medical ones). I'm sure we've encountered titanium rings before, but I have seen them use the bolt-cutters to remove necklaces, cut fishhooks, and a link of chains that had been drug through an arm (released the weight of the chain on the wound, before attempting to remove the links that were in the muscle).

Here we go again. Someone is using Federal Lands and not following the rules. When the government (protecting our interests) tries to clamp down, the Oath Keepers show up. Sorry, guys, you're on the wrong side of your oath here.

It looks like CGI, but no, this fish actually has a transparent skull. Because the world is much weirder than you can think. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Some followup video and photos following the Tianjin warehouse explosion. Better living through chemicals. (Grokked from John)

Curbing sexual assault on campus is now a big business. This isn't a new phenomenon. Whenever a business figures out some process, they often write white papers and sell solutions to other companies.

Annnnddddd… John Kasich is out. John didn't get the memo, the GOP doesn't like "illegals", so they couldn't have contributed anything. "'A lot of these people who are here are some of the hardest-working, God-fearing, family-oriented people you can ever meet,' Kasich said to a smattering of polite applause." He later backtracked.

You'd think this would be the end of Dr. Ben Carson's presidential bid, but knowing conservative politics probably not. "Before GOP 2016er Ben Carson was slamming fetal tissue research, the neurosurgeon was conducting studies on fetal tissues himself… According to a blog post by OB/GYN Jen Gunter that was highlighted by Buzzfeed, Carson participated in a 1992 study that relied on 'two fetuses aborted in the ninth and 17th week of gestation.'"

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Linkee-poo, hey, wait, I've got a new complaint

For your world building toolkit, an animal's pupil shape may be determined by knowing their ecological niche.

They ban books, don't they? Only in this case, they (a principal) didn't follow the rules. I wonder if I can get the Bible banned from Churches because of the incest, rape, and violent content? I mean, all of those are worse than "this book may question religion" objection. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

This is what the ocean might look like in a century. No coral, lots of algae. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"The deadly infectious diseases that were eradicated in America during the 20th century are now roaring back, thanks to growing poverty, failing sanitation, and underinvestment in science and health research and regulation." It's almost like there's a connection between them. Like, the more we hurt the poor, driving them deeper into poverty with debt, and ignore basic science, both what the past has told us as well as continuing basic research, it affects us all. Well that can't be. It's like all those conservatives who embraced the "Got mine, fuck you" philosophy were only sowing the seeds of their eventual ruination.

There's movement in biological circles to reclassify life on this planet by using genetic markers instead of phenotype (i.e. how you and I probably learned the animal and plant kingdoms). This has lead to several competing classification schemes (forming species into groups and supergroups). It is my uneducated humble opinion this is because a few people have gotten carried away with the technology of cheap and fast DNA extrapolation and have forgotten a few very basic principles (especially when it comes to single-celled organisms). It's also my humble opinion that some post-doc will write a paper on Epigenetics and large number theory and make . And then there's the octopus, which is kinda blowing people's minds because of it's complex DNA. "Surprisingly, the octopus genome turned out to be almost as large as a human’s and to contain a greater number of protein-coding genes — some 33,000, compared with fewer than 25,000 in Homo sapiens." That's astounding, but only because people are still trying to classify humans as the most evolved, bestest species on Earth (and we keep failing at it; we tried brain size, we tried tool usage, we tried language). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Schools should be controlled locally. You know, until progressives actually start focusing on the small elections and try to wrest control from the ultra-conservatives who have made their way onto school boards. Well, then screw your local control, national conservative groups will get into the fight.

A judge in Ireland finds the US prison system too inhumane and blocks extradition of a person wanted on terrorism charges. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Channeling the spirits of dead artists to create new works. Yes, the world is stranger than you think it is.

As municipalities across the nation enact stranger laws against homelessness (note, only against the homeless, not to actually correct the problem), the Justice Department states it’s unconstitutional to ban the homeless from sleeping outside. "Such laws, the DOJ argues, violate the 8th amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment, making them unconstitutional." (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"The Texas litigation, whose details were unsealed by the court in June, is just the latest of at least a half dozen whistleblower cases that have been filed in the past five years alleging billing fraud and lax government oversight of privately run Medicare Advantage plans, which have proven increasingly popular with the elderly." Private industry would over-bill the government for services provided? They say that like it's a bug and not a feature. It's almost like the legislation was written to just give lots of tax-payers' money to private industries.

"Analysts at ADP (one of the largest 3rd party payroll companies) studied the payrolls of the firms' clients, about 75,000 U.S. firms and organizations. They expected that as businesses prepared for the (Obamacare) mandate to take effect, they would adjust their employees' schedules, limiting them to no more than 30 hours a week. Yet ADP found no overall change in employees' weekly schedules between 2013 and last year… According to ADP's analysis, shifts in scheduling were trivial in every sector of the economy, even in industries that rely heavily on part-time work, such as leisure and hospitality." And two other studies back up that conclusion. Why, it's almost as if conservatives were lying or simply don't know WTF creates or kills jobs, despite their assurances that they do know. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Oh look, another libertarian project to form their own community. This time, it's in Europe and they are claiming their own country.

The demise of the term RINO and the rise of cuckservative. "The phrase has caught on among a segment of disaffected Republicans, some of whom hold white nationalist ideologies and who feel many of the party’s presidential candidates are not conservative enough. And they are frustrated by the willingness of Republicans in general to compromise on a variety of issues, like spending or the Confederate battle flag, or they accuse them of being beholden to their donors." There is so, so much to unpack in that. Also, it's not surprising (at least to me), that ultra-conservatives/ultra-nationalist appropriated a term (cuckold) that has pornographic connotations and are portraying their party in the terms of dominance/subservient (in the BSMD sense). Also not surprised that the racists in the party are feeling emboldened and are coming out of the closet.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Submission

(Edited to remove title and description of story, was thinking about it later last night, with all the people I now know it's possible a few are readers or judges, and as Dr. Phil reminded me, the contest is meant to be anonymous, so posting the title was stupid of me. See, it's been so long since I've done this I've forgotten the basics.)

Submitted to Writers of the Future because 1) I still qualify (dammit), 2) They pay big and reply quickly, 3) Would like to make it past Finalist Stage (3 time finalist, 2 time honorable mention), 4) still anxious by submission process even at this age 5) easing my way back in 6) it's a nice feather in the cap.

I think that's enough reasons.

I've loved this story for 6 years now. Stopped writing and working on short stories to work on novels. The ending, I think, is wonderful. I just hope I nailed the start to get the reader to the end. First story where I think all the characters want something. The antagonist also wins by giving the protag what they want, but not really how they wanted it. Both protag and antagonist are changed at the end. I never explicitly state exactly what is really happening (the subtextual themes), but hope I left enough clues. Maybe I made it too easy? Doesn't matter, the story is about the manipulation and culmination of wishes. Language plays into my wheelhouse of Biblical/Lyrical prose. We have failure, rejection, and eventual victory. So I'm babbling. Did I mention how I subvert several tropes?

And so begins the OCD of checking on its status.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Linkee-poo, you never give me your number, you only give me your funny paper

There was this initial thought that Donnie Trump's campaign was a stealth progressive attack. I'm working on the theory that it's actually a false-flag operation from the GOP so the eventual candidate looks sane and moderate by comparison. That way people will vote for them because, "at least it wasn't THAT dick."

Using Photoshop for 3D printing. In my head I hear James Doohand saying, "When will ye ever learn, use the right tool for the job."

Because everyone was talking about it, Salads… In… Space! (space, space, space) It's like the Food Channel meets NASA TV. "This lettuce could be just the tip of the iceberg." Don't, NPR, just don't.

In other space news, the Universe is dying. Which we will reach the eventual death of the Sun first. But then, it's easy to dismiss because it's so far in the future and then you end up with potholes and crumbling bridges before you know it because you didn't plan well. (Grokked from John)

Suicide isn't a natural cause of death. I've dealt with far too many patients who have tried to commit suicide, and about 5x more who come in with "suicide ideation." Not to mention my personal believe that many overdoses (especially of heroin) are not "accidental". It's a hard subject. I have to ask patients why I'm doing an x-ray on them, it's part of our practice to make sure we aren't just irradiating patients for no good reason. I have you diagnosis on my order requisition. I know why you're in the ER. But I need you to tell me. I might lead you a little, "are you having difficulty breathing?" or "are you having pains in your chest?". No patient, so far, as said "I tried to kill myself and I may have aspirated something." Not one. I've seen parents, spouses, and children crying, angry, confused, and in denial. I've seen medical pros have those same reactions. And in the past year and a half, I've known 4 people who have had to deal with suicides. Big-D is a liar, and a bastard. I fucking hate it. And I hate I have no answers.

Desert aquifers may be holding a lot of our CO2. And while the article is correct, water can hold a lot of CO2, here's something not discussed in the article, (as we said in anatomy and physiology class) carbon is an acid, man. You have to say that last in a stoner's voice. See, CO2 and H2O, when they combine, make H2CO3. Which is carbonic acid. And water can only absorb so much before it won't absorb any more (not just slow down, but no more, that's how buffers work). And nothing is forever, eventually that carbon will be released. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"For the past nine years, some of America's biggest producers of fresh salad greens and vegetables have been waging a quiet war on wildlife surrounding their field, all in an effort to keep your veggies free of contamination from disease-causing bacteria." So, how did that work out? Apparently, not well at all. I'm sure the original contamination wasn't from people in the processing of the food (or from surfaces in the food processing plants). You know, like where most food contamination comes from.

A strategic (and cynical) use of flags. In this case, creating the myth of the MIA/POW for political expediency. Or how the POW/MIA flag came to be an excuse for bombing the North Vietnamese and Cambodia. Our enemy has always been ravaging, blood-thirsty beasts. That's what makes it easy to kill them.

Just imagine the police response if these Oath Keepers who showed up armed at the Ferguson protests were black. Sure they're there to protect the protesters and property. I wonder which one they would shoot to protect (and just whom would be shot)? Because people with openly carried guns in bullet proof vests always calms the situation down. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

And in Ohio, the judiciary is warned to not try and side-step their obligation to marry all couples by either feusing to marry gay couples or simply refusing to marry any couples. "The Ohio Supreme Court’s professional conduct board says it’s unethical for judges to refuse to perform the ceremonies because of their personal, moral or religious beliefs." Well, at least someone remembers their Civics class.

Dear Southerners, you know how you keep on thinking us Yankees think you're all ignorant Bible thumpers? Stop feeding the stereotype. Okay?

"In an apparent case of bad blood between old friends… an Alabama mayor was attacked Saturday allegedly by the baseball bat-wielding former co-host of his TV show over a supposed sex tape… Barton is running for his fifth term overall as Talladega mayor. He was elected mayor in 2011, after being convicted of defrauding the city in 1995 and serving three years in prison." Ah, the moral South. Thank you, friends, and good night.

You'd think with their financial woes and tightening austerity Greece would be anti-migrant. Instead they see people in desperate need fleeing their homes for something better (like a chance to stay alive). Dear Americans, we can (re-)learn from this. Instead we tend to be like this guy.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Linkee-poo is too tired for a clever title

Had a long weekend. That was my summer. And I ended up being called back to work (at the hospital) to cover a shift, but wasn't told the entire truth about it. So, that was their one. Hopefully we're seeing the end of the 70+ hour weeks (mostly 80+). But, because of some much working, I didn't get much extra time in clinicals, so I'm at about 94 out of 125 needed. Which means classes this fall. Sigh. I had a life once. I miss it. I hope it's been having fun without me.

"Which is to say a writing career is not at all unlike a stock portfolio — diversify for long-term success." John Scalzi talks numbers and marketing with advice.

"Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new 'science-based' solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories." Shocked, shocked I am… I'm sure the rise of high-fructose op drinks and the co-rise of obesity is just a mere coincidence.

Nine points on the Animas River Spill. Well, at least the river ain't burning, you know. One good thing that might come out of this is that people may remember just how jacked-up our environment was (and still is in many ways) and they might remember just why the EPA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act were all passed in the first place (okay, probably not, but I can still hope). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

It's called redlining. And while it was made illegal in the late 1960s (many decades after the letter in the article was sent), it was (and still is) being practiced in many cities for many decades on. You might remember a fight a few years ago about the distribution of bank branch offices in various communities. The problem still exists, and has (for any practical matter) gotten worse.

"There's a hidden cost to Walmart's low costs, and we all bear the burden of those hidden costs. ChangeWalmart.org estimates that Walmart costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion per year subsidizing low wages and benefits." The leaked Walmart anti-union video. "While we can't tell you how to act toward Unions, we'll all be very disappointed if you even talk to one of those people trying to destroy our great company and want to enslave you to the Union Bosses." Or something close to that. Wow. That might not be entirely legal. I also love the talking point about how "Unions are businesses, multi-million dollar business. Who make their money by giving them your money." And you can trust the multi-billion dollar company telling you that the million dollar company doesn't have your best interests at heart.

See, Virginia Wesleyan College doesn't want to shame the woman filing a civil lawsuit for a rape that occurred on campus. Oh no. See, it's about the $10m dollars she's asking for. That's why they want the names of all her "boyfriends and sexual partners since her rape in August 2012." They just want to talk with them. You know, to see if she really was traumatized. I'm sure they won't try to say she actually enjoyed the rape, or any sex afterward. No, they wouldn't do that. John Oliver on sex ed in the US.

You know that saying, "The customer is always right"? Well, as anyone who has worked directly with "customers" know, that's complete bullshit. Say, like this driver taken off a Lowe's home delivery because he's black and the customer requested no blacks. "Lowe's corporate office told the news station that the manager who honored the customer's racist request has been fired because he should have never taken Bradley off the delivery." At least there is that. Now, what the manager should have said was, "I hear what you're saying, ma'am, but we don't discriminate at Lowe's and I can't guarantee that any of our workers who may make a delivery won't be African-American. Would you like us to refund your money?" (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

General Wesley Clark gets stupid. Internment camps? That, sir, isn't speaking truth to power, that is "appealing to a base", the kind of base that Donald Trump is sewing up. (Grokked from Catherine Schaffer)

"A mathematician at Wichita State University who wanted to check the accuracy of some Kansas voting machines after finding odd patterns in election returns said she is finding out how difficult it can be to get government officials to turn over public documents." I'm sure there's nothing to be concerned about. Say, who's the governor of Kansas? (Grokked from BoingBoing)

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. The Shakespearean guide to the 2016 GOP primary. Hahahahaha. Especially Ricky Santorum as Dogberry. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"The tea party Michigan lawmaker who faked being involved in a gay sex scandal said on Monday he did so to expose people who were blackmailing him and that he had no plans to resign." So, how did that work out? :: Facepalm ::

"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Monday directed Fox News viewers to his campaign website to see where he stands on certain issues, yet his website appears to lack a clear landing page where supporters can read about the presidential candidate's policy stances and proposals." Well, that pretty well states exactly what Scott Walker's positions are. He doesn't have any. But that's okay, most of the GOP candidates don't have position papers, yet (they say). Why? Because they'd lose votes if they outlined their positions. It's easier to give vague platitudes and let people think, "oh, yes, I agree with what they'll do" because they filled in details with their pre-existing stories.

The rise and fall of Trump on Fox. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

For her part, Megyn Kelly believes she's doing the job of a journalist.

Tweet of my heart: @poniewozik Fox News vs Trump is like mad scientists trying to find the off button on the killer robot they built

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Linkee-poo clearing baffles

Can't remember if I shared this. Remember that technology to get more life out of your batteries, the Batteriser? Here's it's Indiegogo page.

Chuck Wendig with 100 random storytelling thought and tips.

John Scalzi on Lifehacker answering some questions. Like you do. (Grokked from Christine Daigle)

The British Library has also released a lot of images into the public domain. All, all those Mens life covers. Because nature will always attack you.

As the nation's population gets older, long term elder care is becoming even more important. That's why the quality of nursing care homes is going to be very important. Too bad that after cleaning them up in the 90s, we're now back to shoddy, profit over people, barely staffed, negligent fuck-holes. But, you know, I'm sure the market will sort it all out instead of having government regulation. On the positive, the majority of our elected officials are of an age where this will be an important issue to them (either for themselves or their spouses, or for their parents). And let me say that while some patients do inflict pressure ulcers on themselves (mostly because they've lost sensation in those parts), pressure ulcers are the hallmark of neglect. There is no reason why in a well run nursing home any patient would have them except for them being ignored. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Oh thank God the GOP has something else to fire-up the masses now that people realize they actually like Obamacare. It's almost like it was made for it.

Satanic killings (scares) are back. "The blue moon, a rare second full moon in a single month, occurred on Friday, July 31, three days after the killings. The sheriff did not explain the discrepancy, and it was not addressed in a news release issued Wednesday morning." But we know it's tied to it. 'Cause reasons.

Boom! Drops mike. Walks off stage. A dentist's office sign, well played, sir. Well played. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Tweet of my heart: @lizzwinstead "I wanna make America great again" is the new "We're gonna take this country back."

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Linkee-poo just wants some shelter

I continued following that link from Justine Larbalestier with William S. Burroughs lecture and damn there's a lot of interesting stuff there.

Homme de Plume: What I learned sending my novel out under a male name. You'll never guess what happened next (click-bait attempt). (Grokked from CC Findlay)

Which makes me wonder, since my real name is Stephen, if people aren't reading it as "Stephanie". Wouldn't be the first time. Stop it Buchheit, this is like "woe is me", your novel and query letter just weren't good enough, get back to writing the next 3 or 4. (This rant brought to you by my own sick mind, I thought about just deleting it, but then figured it might be instructional; guys, while you might think these kinds of thoughts, keep 'em to yourself)

"What Shall I Be: The Exciting Game Of Career Girls". A roundup of really creepy girl's games (all of which were produced in my lifetime). 'Cause I felt you were feeling a little too positive about our societal progression lately. But then, I also remember a time where sexual predation in the workplace wasn't frowned upon (in general) and someone always had a bottle, porn, or both in their desk.

Even when you go to the moon, there are forms to fill out. In triplicate. Because. (Grokked from Dan)

What is it like to land on a comet? Okay, how about this animated gif from Philea. That'll do. (Grokked from Dan)

Random Michelle K points out that waterless towns in California isn't a new thing. In West (by God) Virginia, many towns are left in wrecks when the coal runs out. The mining companies leave the small towns with water systems that are too expensive for them to maintain and operate without the company. "'Those people would get out in the middle of the night older people you know 70 and 80 years old in the middle of the night they’re out digging up a water lines trying to fix a leak. It’s not supposed to be that way in America.'" So taps run dry, and often the residents have to resort to cisterns.

KFCs are installing "bone-phone" tables in their restaurants. Because having your customers with their elbows on the table and hands over their ears is exactly what you want in a restaurant. (Grokked from Dan)

If only this video of an actual illegal act got half as much promotion as the Planned Parenthood video we might actually have a better country. Instead, we're just going to punch down and put 8-year olds in restraints. Because we're Americans.

So, how are things going with that whole "we're gonna watch you, Jade Helm 15" thing going? Oh. Well, certainly no one ever saw that one coming. Now I'm wondering what the Venn Diagram of the large group of patriotic Amerukins who are all upset and willing to stand outside of recruitment centers to protect them soldiers, sailors and marines from people shooting at them, and the large group of patriotic Amerukins who think the idiots who fired on our troops during Jade Helm are "protecting us from tyranny"? (Grokked from Dan)

Again.

"North Carolina is not one of the states where the U.S. military training exercise dubbed 'Jade Helm 15' is taking place this summer. Nevertheless, three men from Gaston County were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover…"

The whackaloon quotient is sky rocking fast this early in the election.

Woodward County, OK, where people believe in the Bible, and not some fancy out-of-towners. They most certainly don't believe in climate change. Here's the thing about science, it doesn't take your belief to be true. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"With a mix of aggression, boffo self-assertion and nonsense, Trump has managed to boil modern Republicanism down to a hard precipitate form, shorn of the final vestiges of interest in actual governing." Josh Marshall on "teh crazy". (Grokked from Dan)

And so, the time honored GOP practice of dog-whistle/"Oh, I 'misspoke'" (but not really) begins anew. Okay, Jeb, so just what other organizations help low-income women with their health other than Planned Parenthood? I'm waiting for the list. (twiddles thumbs) And since we're counting one person in one video over lunch, not making policy or referencing it, saying something that they never do and not actually being empowered to speak for the organization, you'll accept that they might have misspoke as well, yes? Or we can reference Trump's positions to yours, correct?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Linkee-poo if you try, you'll find me where the sky meets the sea

Well, that light at the end of the tunnel was and oncoming dragon.

William S. Burroughs class on writing sources, July, 1976. Not the best recording (some feedback and background noises, but still. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

Penn and Teller on their 40 year partnership, showmanship, and incidentally story telling. You may have heard me go on about how if you want to learn dialog, study comedians. And while the best comedians tell stories (and I'm not talking about the gags), magicians who act is story telling.

And this is why I love NASA, because they do great science, and they going to fly Nichelle Nichols on one of the stratospheric telescope flights. (Grokked from Walter Hunt)

What happens when the police demand the law be enforced? In this case, for cyclists to obey the full letter of the law. The answer is chaos.

Jim Wright on Donald Trump and the outrage of the GOP.

Isn't this a Fawlty Towers gag? London pub owner gets into scuffle with a Rich American, believing him to be homeless, which ends up with the American dead after being pushed into traffic. Not that either is an excuse for the behavior.

The stories we tell ourselves. "Charles Koch told attendees of his California summit this weeked that he and his brother's conservative activism is akin to the anti-slavery and civil rights movements…" Um, yea, Chuck, sure. They're like a very well funded Civil Rights movement that has exception political connections, clout, organizations, lobbyists, super PACs, advertising strategies, they're the hand that grasps the microphone and they own the presses, and did I mention more money than God? So very much like the Civil Rights leaders.

I'm sure church bombings weren't actually domestic terrorism… Also wondering when those who claim Christianity is under attack will actually start talking about these events and the church burnings.

Oh

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Linkee-poo works the late shift so you don't have to

Advertising companies are deliberately slowing web page load times to game the advertising auction prices. (Grokked from Dan)

So, how is it going at that company that raised (in the process of raising) wages to a base of $70,000? A little rocky, actually. But that's actually normal for a company that changes some of the core business practices.

Tulare County, where the residents don't have running water. In case you've been thrilled that most of the water districts in California met their 25% reduction goals. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

In case you didn't know, scientists armed with quick and affordable DNA sequencing equipment have been taking random samples of environments (like a forest, lake, ocean plot, etc) and teasing out all the DNA they can to see if it matches to known populations. And interesting things have been found, like an expanded range for cougars, migrating bob-cats, and the largest known organism (a fungal growth/mushroom in Michigan IIRC). So, what happens when you sample an urban setting, like a subway? Lots of bacterial we know, and the surprising result of less than 1% human DNA and over half of the DNA samples are unknowns. Catacombs indeed. (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

The Jamestown elite. Now unburied.

"Phil Gramm, a former three-term Republican senator… who once ran the Senate Banking Committee, told the House Financial Services Committee yesterday that 'it was an outrage' that his friend Edward Whitacre, the CEO of AT&T, only got '$75 million' when he retired in 2007… 'If there’s ever been an exploited worker' it was Whitacre… Gramm appeared genuinely aggrieved by Whitacre’s shabby treatment and literally pounded the table while speaking… Whitacre actually received a retirement package totaling $158 million." Or, why we can't have nice things. This, friends, is our elected government. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

How war breaks out over drone use in the US. I wonder when either of the lawyers and/or the police remember that the FAA is still highly restricting drone use in the US. (Grokked from Dan)

Nope, Ted, the Mittster didn't get clobbered because he didn't "speak the truth". He got clobber because he got caught speaking his truth, the story the GOP tells itself, the 47% lie.

The tv watches you watching the tv. (Grokked from Dan)