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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Linkee-poo is just a poor boy from a poor family

Writing when no one gives a shit. Yes, that. At Confusion a number of pros that I had just met told me they knew me. It was both humbling and exciting and frightening. But sometimes just being out there is enough to gain notice. Try, fail, try again, fail better. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

New agent DongWon Song is looking for manuscripts.

Ask the agent. Ask Jennifer Laughran, Senior Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, questions. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Chuck Wendig with 25 more hard truths about writing and publishing.

Saladin Ahmed's Boston Globe editorial on fighting back against xenophobia and Islamophobia in particular.

How to get better at tuning your bullshit detector. Mostly focused on the self-help industry, but might be useful for the coming election.

So, there's this highly virulent dog virus spreading around the country. Wait, wasn't that the plot line of how the Planet of the Apes started? The classic one, not the reboot.

Even for the normal corruptness of big league sports, this year's Super Bowl seems to be hitting a low note.

Jim Wright on the Clinton email news. Jim had way more experience in this area than most people I know. This is a Facebook link, for those that like to keep Facebook at arms length.

So, how's Texas' plan to defund Planned Parenthood going? It's a disaster for women's health care? Why, who could have seen that coming. Dear conservatives, this is your war on women.

About that famed champion of US veterans, Donald Trump. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Remember when I said that there could be some alternative version of events in that video showing LaVoy Finicum's death? Well, that didn't take long. When Finicum is shot and drops to the snow, I think I'm on pretty good grounds that he's reaching under the left side of his coat for something. That dance he's doing before hand, part of that is finding his footing and part is the adrenalin rush. And I've noted (offline) the Venn Diagram overlap of people who believe that many of those black people killed over the past year deserved it, and those who think Finicum was shot in cold blood, and that overlap is pretty large. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Students unveil "Trump Makes America Hate Again" banner at Trump rally. The Trumpster's biggest crime is that he doesn't know how to dog-whistle. So he is peeling off the voters the GOP has cultivated since Nixon who are angry at the loss of their unearned dominance is society. These are the voters draw by the Southern Strategy, who are angry at their perceived power loss and at the fact that once in power the GOP leaders they helped vote into office haven't moved fast enough (for them) to curb their perceived "social ills." (Grokked form George Takei)

Tweet of my heart: @iscoff The reason Latin is a dead language is because they kept accidentally summoning demons during regular conversations

Double Dip: @KameronHurley Folks think gov has too much regulation, but let me tell you: its actually so lax that only a handful of WORST offenders ever get slapped

Friday, January 29, 2016

Linkee-poo where in hell can you go, far from the things that you know

Trigger Warning: The unedited helicopter video footage of the chase and shooting of LaVoy Finicum. The time in question starts at about the 9 minute mark. I'm pretty sure some of those officers have body cams. I expect we'll see edited footage from those at some point. So much for the myth that Mr. Finicum was on his knees with his hands up when he was shot. It does show the moment he was shot (as well as the initial stop of both vehicles, the chase as Finicum attempts to flee the scene, and the surrender of the other people in the truck and clearing of the truck afterwards). My guess the initial shot was taken by the officer behind Finicum, who emerges out of the tree, whom Finicum probably did not see until the last moment. It's easy to ascribe motivations and intent in this video, but the video isn't the whole story. It's my personal believe that Finicum was looking to go out "in a blaze of glory" and didn't understand that drawing and firing a gun is an art that must be practiced to get right (this from his jumping out of the vehicle, notice no one else did, and where he chose to stop and his stance, all classic movie gunfighter tropes). It is possible, though, he intended to surrender and was shot at (or believed he was shot at) and then attempted to draw his gun in defense. I don't give this a high-probability of being the case. Without experience, most people would grasp at the area they had been shot and not think of anything else or act confused by being shot at. Also those officers most likely had high-power weapons, notice how fast he drops when shot (at the one point you can safely assume someone shot him). Until we have video from the ground, with audio, it's impossible to be sure. The video does seem convincing that after he got clear of the truck and surveyed (what he thought was) the situation, he attempted to draw his hip weapon, failed, raised his hands again, then tried to draw his shoulder/pocketed weapon twice. This, of course, fits the official version of the story (and I'm guessing a major reason why they released the video so quickly).

The Book of Kells is now online. I'll be in my bunk. (Grokked from Fran Wilde)

It's exploding manhole season. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

President Obama directs the Labor Department to gather information from more businesses to make sure the equal pay act is being enforced. Well, that only took seven-years.

Heinous fuckery. Apparently the FBI has been using the immigration process (normally slow and convoluted, hence there's a whole legal industry devoted to it) to force muslim immigrants to become informants. Just like torture, this is the worst possible way to do this work. Why? "Michael German, a former FBI agent who is now a national security expert… says wide-scale coercive recruitment produces a surfeit of false leads… The result is so much useless information that agents cannot focus on the most important leads." That's why. Coercion is the absolute worst way to get reliable intelligence, despite what the entertainment industry likes to show us. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

When you see the world repeating the same mistakes, sometime you need to speak up. "Eva Schloss -- the stepsister of Anne Frank and herself a survivor of Auschwitz -- compared Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler in an op-ed in Newsweek about the challenges that refugees are facing around the world." Or as a friend's mother said, "I know a brownshirt when I see one" (not about Trump, but I'm sure it applies here).

"(B)ut the base isn’t taking guidance the way it used to." Paul Krugman is wise. I'm not sure I agree with everything he is saying here (his op-ed on the meta-questions of this election), but it's an interesting theory. (Grokked form Jason Sanford)

So, the Speaker of the Tennessee House has "told interns not attend legislature receptions or events and not to give their cell phone numbers to members of the legislature" on account of how creepy (as in creepy, sex-crazed old man) the members of the legislature are. That ain't good.

"Renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky declared this week that the GOP and its far-right front-runners are 'literally a serious danger to decent human survival.'" Lest you think the left makes it out alive, he also says that basically the Democrats and the Republicans are the same in their servitude to big money, and he calls Bernie Sanders "'basically a new dealer.(sic)'" The New Deal is a proper noun. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Linkee-poo goes with throttle up

Catherine Schaffer has similar thoughts about Confusion. I think I got to spend about 10 minutes in total in her company, as a part of a larger group.

Fellow VPXIII alum Miranda Suri has an agent! w00t!

Aw fuck, I wish I had seen this job opening. The National Parks are hiring a staff photographer… but not the type that takes the "birthday celebration in the lunch room" photos. We're talking large format camera work out in nature, the Group f/64 stuff. Oh man, yea, that would be a dream job. It would mean a vagabond existence, which I don't particularly favor, but it would be so, so worth it. Unfortunately not only is the application process closed (thanks NPR!), I wouldn't have the book to get it (although I do know how to use large format cameras, and loved using them in school). And I disagree, there are some digital processes that are the equivalent to an 8x10 image (ultra-high-resolution digital imaging), but right now they wouldn't work well in these environments (and are prohibitively expensive).

So, you've probably seen those videos of high-altitude balloons taking objects to the edge of space and then falling back to earth (then recovered). And you've probably thought, "that would be cool, but where am I going to get all that equipment?" Well, for the low, low price of $500, you can send something to the edge of space (within reason) and support solar radiation research and support kids learning about science. (Grokked form SpaceWeather.com)

A "coyote (or coyotes) has been attacking cars along Highway 1 in a manner so bizarre it has residents scratching their heads. The attacks are weird enough that one seemingly outlandish explanation, that the coyotes are eating hallucinogenic mushrooms and vision questing their way into interactions with drivers, is being considered." Hahahahah (although it's bad for the coyotes, the cars that is). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Twenty things you probably shouldn't say to someone with depression. (Grokked from George Takei)

That $1m+ potato photo everyone is talking about. Look, I understand the whole, "hahaha that rich dope paid so much for a photo of a damn potato, what a dope" knee-jerk reaction. But seriously, it is art. Look at it, have you taken such an image? No you have not. I agree that $1M is way too much to drop on it (especially when Kevin Abosch usually only fetches half a mil for his portraiture), but it wouldn't be unreasonable to fetch a quarter or half as much. My guess is that a part of the deal is that Kevin Abosch doesn't make any more prints of it (there are only 3). Yes, I know, your kid was coloring Jackson Pollock like paintings since they learned what a finger in a diaper could do. But have you sold even one of those? There's a hellalota stuff to laugh about in the art world, but this isn't one of them. That's a damn gorgeous photo.

I often hear people talk about how progressive we've become and that sexism/objectification in business is a thing of the past. Oh really? Dear fellow advertisers and marketers, this kind of shit is the low hanging fruit to sell your product. I challenge you to do better, and to educate your customers to let them know you can do better. YEs, when I was young I did it too, but 1) that was the early 90s and 2) I learned better (and became more successful). You want to make things sexy without objectifying women? Go study Edward Weston. It's called "sensuality". It works, and there's no need to degrade humans to make things sexy. Now, can we talk about "meth body" aesthetics in fashion? (Grokked from George Takei)

There's this movement out there, we'll call it the "Sweet Jesus, Anybody But Trump" coalition. Several members of which have been trying to get Michael Bloomberg to run. And these are top people, like Rupert Murdoch. Serious people with serious intent and serious money/clout. And they're all seriously brain dead. Seriously, look at the chart and notice all the filing deadlines that have passed. Entering now and winning may technically be possible (I'd really have to do some serious math to figure it out), but is highly improbable for anyone not already declared to win the nomination. Too late, suck chows. We're about to top the first hill. If you ain't on board by now, you're gonna miss the ride.

Is that what you get for the money. I find the fascination with life style in the article to be both a fascinating cultural check and completely disingenuous. "'There is no return on investment on the (jeb!) Bush ad buys, zero,' said one high-dollar donor…" Funny how people realize the worth and function of advertising only after they spend the money. But that's the rich for you. They want another Bush in the White House, after all the previous 2 times were great for them. and the rest of the country is saying, "Darling, if that's moving up, then I'm moving out." (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Linkee-poo made a pilgrimage to save this human race, never comprehending the race was long gone bye

I guess the Bundy's aren't big Star Trek fans, or they would had known to not put all the command staff in the same shuttle craft. Apparently the remaining 7 to 12 people on the reserve are vowing not to go down without a fight. As of this morning (when I'm typing this), the Feds have left a "golden bridge" for them to leave the Malheur Wildlife Refuge unharmed. My guess is that offer won't last long. At some point the negotiators will just say, "well, if that's what they want…" Also, apparently the FBI has told reporters that the FBI won't offer them protection. So many of them are removing themselves to a safer distance. This is the difference between your local weatherman standing in the rain and snow and what a war correspondent does.

Seanan McGuire reposts robotmango on why you can find so much Boba Fett stuff but gru-help you if you want Leia or Ren stuff. Points to, yes this. (Grokked from Mer Haskell) (edited to give credit where credit is due)

Kameron Hurley aims to misbehave. Well, to get you to misbehave when you have a book contract in negotiation. As she says, most people (especially without agents) don't know they're in a negotiation. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Is Abe Vigoda dead? Yes. Fuck. (Reminded of site and grokked from John)

Old woman wakes up to kinkajou sleeping on her chest. That ain't a cat. Oh, and she lives in Florida, not South America where they're normally found. Yea, that would have kinda creeped me out as well. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett, who apparently has a new book out, or something)

There's this whole thing about people in the West who are pissed that people in the East are telling them how to work their land. It's a part of the whole Malheur standoff and the movement behind it (among other things). Well, there's a reason we in the East and telling you folk how to handle your land. It's because we fucked up our own environment, and we want to make sure you don't make the same mistakes. "According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, children, pregnant women and women who might one day want to be pregnant should not eat any fish from most of the waters in New Jersey. It's safe for men to eat a small amount: about one catfish or one eel per year." Note, there's a similar limit (but not an exchange) on eating fish in Ohio (also note, these restrictions are very lax because sport fishing in Ohio is a big business, and it would be decimated if the EPA were allowed to apply scientifically sound standards). Around the wildlife refuge one of the former big industries was timber. Note what you don't see in most of the photos from the standoff, mature trees. Sit down, shut up, and pay attention.

"'As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female.'" Well, Sen. Inhofe is out playing in his snow fort. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"The Cleveland Police Department announced Tuesday that six of its officers involved in the 137-shot barrage that killed an unarmed pair after a car chase have been fired." Well, some justice at least. Being fired as a police officer means never working again in civil law enforcement. (Grokked from Dan)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@Stonekettle It's one thing to play soldier, whole 'nother thing to go up against ACTUAL professionals. No matter how it shakes out, you lose.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Linkee-poo, it's closer to the truth to say you can't get enough

Our culture of information overload. Boy howdy do I grokked that. And NPR wants to help. And they'll send you some more damn email to help you break your habit. Isn't there a Naloxone type shot I can get for it?

Just because the stupidity of "look, snow, global climate change is a lie" has started back up (now that we have snow), just a reminder that last year was also the warmest year on record.

"A new study argues that student evaluations are systematically biased against women — so much so, in fact, that they're better mirrors of gender bias than of what they are supposed to be measuring: teaching quality." As a general note, in the mean, student evaluations matter for exactly squat. Unless the college is trying to get rid of a professor, then they matter a great deal. YMMV.

In the uniform you can get away with a lot of abuse of power, "(b)ut never, ever embarrass your fellow police officers." Especially if they're your superior officers. Tell me again why you should automatically defer and give respect to a police officer. Cause shit like this makes me not want to. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

There's a movement to get medical researchers to release all of their data, not just publish their results. Good luck with that one. The current medical establishment likes to talk about how "scientific" they are. There is some truth to that. But only some. It looks scientific, in the way Mythbusters looks scientific. And the researchers know it. And that's why they won't release their data (also, there's money to be made in that there data stack, they ain't givin' it away for free).

You know the line, "when people look at all the evidence they'll see the truth of the matter" (typically deployed where one side is called liars)? "A Houston grand jury investigating undercover footage of Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing Monday by the abortion provider and instead indicted anti-abortion activists involved in making the videos that provoked outrage among Republican leaders nationwide." Yea, the truth does come out. It usually doesn't go the way those who make that claim think or want it to. Unfortunately, as you can read later in the article, the actual facts don't sway them. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Remember that article/story about Ted Cruz and his BC/BS healthcare policy? Well Politifact looked into Teddie's statement "Blue Cross canceled all policies in Texas (including his own)" and rated it pants on fire. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

If only Chris Christy can win a sumo match against this Oregon land squatter can we call this national nightmare over. Wait. WHAT?! Yes, I am beginning to believe that this whole wildlife refuge takeover is a long-form performance art piece. (Grokked from Dan who made me actually read that article)

Such a quality crowd they're drawing to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. "Law enforcement arrested a man on his way to join the standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon on Monday who appeared to be intoxicated and told officers that he was going to kill them." Oh, and he was spec ops who had his record sealed by Ronnie Reagan, and he's also gonna kill all those sons a bitches who put cuffs on him. Except the state troopers, who are our last line of defense. Or something.

But then, Ammon is just doing it for the rest of us. Dear Ammon Bundy, you can count me out of your group. Thanks. Go home, asshole. The only good part about this whole thing is I expect most of them will end up behind bars.

Tweet of my heart: @clmazin When I met Ted in 1988, I had no word to describe him, but only because I didn't speak German. Thank you, Germans, for "Backpfeifengesicht." (ht to Dan who also says, "'Backpfeifengesicht,' by the way, translates to 'face that should be slapped.'")

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sometimes I scare myself


Well, that strap is awfully annoying.


There. That's better.

Linkee-poo, it's a brand new day

Kameron Hurley on kindness and opening the circle. I love going to ConFusion because that is my experience, people open up the circles and invite others in. It's been so welcoming it's now almost impossible to spend as much time with everyone as I would like. As ConFusion gets larger, the dynamic is changing slightly. Thursday nite was the best (it was a small enough crowd that it felt very much like those first years I went). And I'm happy for the folks that throw ConFusion that it's getting bigger (there were a number of overheard conversations that described the con as "the winter WFC"). I used to tell people ConFusion made a great first con to go to. I still tell them it's a great con to go to, and I know the concom has been working hard to accommodate the expanded guest lists, but this year (which I had a fabulous time, BTW, a few social foibles on my end, and I think my own paranoia about social interactions flared up hard during barcon) it feels different. Not worse, just different. ConFusion is now a big con. People come with their groups already established (that is, the whole group comes as a group and experiences the con as a group). This year might have had a spike in pro attendance (which did give it a very WFC feel, and may not be repeated next year, these things tend to be cyclical), but I don't think it'll ever be that small con again.

"This week, NASA is set to reach a milestone on one of its most ambitious projects. If all goes to plan, workers will finish assembling the huge mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope — an $8 billion successor to the famous Hubble telescope." I'll be in my bunk.

"The water treatment operator in Sebring, Ohio, is facing a criminal investigation from the Ohio Environmental Protection agency after elevated levels of lead and copper were found in tap water, reports CBS affiliate WKBN in Youngstown." Hey, ho, way to go Ohio. For Sebring, the problem doesn't seem to be the source, but old infrastructure (they way they describe it I'm guessing it's a flow rate issue and lack of back flow regulators in consumer lines). Although it is actually the same issue as Flint, the source of the water. While the water itself doesn't have lead, it's chemically/mechanically reacting with older pipes, leaching lead into the system. Note this is not how the article frames the story, though.

Sure, when you have a gun culture mentality, an armed society is a polite society. Because they'll shoot you over a $25 service fee. Or, say, you're going to the Benghazi movie and are paranoid about being involved in a mass shooting and someone grabs for your crotch (one of the stories this mastermind told police).

What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here. Teens volunteer (or were volunteered) to be pallbearers for an unclaimed body. This happens (burying unclaimed bodies) often. In fact, most of the "social organizations" have a specific function of attending other members funerals and have their own funerary language (including specific iconography for gravestones). And scratching the surface of society and you'll find one of humans biggest fears is dying alone. When I was a councilman, we had to handle a number of these. In some cases there was family, but they were unwilling or unable to arrange funerals for their dead. One even had the chutzpah to be upset at our solution (paid for partially with your tax dollars, partial donation of the funeral home, partial grant from local service organization), even if they were unable to even attend the internment.

A followup to Sen. Cruz's statements about his own family's health care insurance woes. Like most other GOP "Obamacare horror stories" it's also self-inflicted problems. Also, he lied about not having coverage.

Why so angry? "'For the Republicans, the anti-elite focus is on government and professional experts of all kinds,' Galston said. 'And for the Democrats… the focus is on economic and financial elites.'" There's more about it, but that sums it up pretty well. Also, for most people, life is not "getting better." One side is upset at the actual causes, the other is upset at the people their leaders tell you to be upset at. Where you're at on the political spectrum determines which is which.

"'I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now,' Bush said on CNN's State of the Union. 'He's going through the challenge. And he's fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this.'" Sometimes the cluelessness just kinda gobsmacks you, doesn't it? And it's true he's accepted responsibility to fix it. As long as the federal government bails him out, you know (of which he is pissed that President Obama hasn't declared Flint a "disaster" area, noting that it's not a natural disaster). Also, he still hasn't taken responsibility for creating the problem in the first place. But then, to do so, means repudiating some fundamental conservative governance ideals.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Linkee-poo saw the world thrashing all around your face never really knowing it was always mesh and lace

Things are going to be light here until Monday. Plan accordingly. We're off to Detroit.

Kathryn Cramer on losing David Hartwell.

Take heart folks, we're nearly to the Iowa Caucuses (February 1) and Super Tuesday is two months and a few weeks (March 1). Given we started almost a year and a half ago that's practically around the corner. After Iowa and NH (February 9) things should get into some regular order. Not that it'll be much better (hello robo calls), but at least the polls will actually mean something and the field should shake off the outliers.

A nickel-embeded plastic may help stop Li batteries from catching fire? As I remember, there were other concerns about impact damage, but shutting off the flow of electrons to reduce heat is a nice idea.

My God, it's full of stars. A 212 hour exposure of Orion. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

The $9 computer revolution.

Apparently, regular order wasn't followed during the Tamir Rice Grand Jury deliberations. Just fucking amazing. Seriously, did Prosecutor McGinty think that his Dec 28 press conference would be the end of it? In cases like this, you need to follow the book to the letter. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

PBS Newshour report on the Flint Water Crisis. So, let's see, wanted to save money, immediately noticed problems, dismissed first health reports on elevated lead in children, continued to drag feet. Gov. Snyder, it's time to fix the problem your people created. And you're going to have to do it with your money, because this is not a natural disaster. It's a man-made one, which was wholly avoidable. So the question comes down to this, do you stick to your conservative ideology, or do you suck it up and do what is right for the people. Your sword is ready for you to fall upon it.

We don't need no stinking regulations. "When employers opt out (or workers comp programs), they avoid state regulation and write their own workplace injury plans, which make it easier to deny and cut benefits, control medical care and limit appeals of their decisions." Sure, there's a Federal Law (ERISA) that's supposed to protect workers, turns out, not so much. Gee, I wonder why employers may be dumping Workers Comp and self-insuring? I mean, they really wouldn't screw over their workers, would they? "In Oklahoma, almost every opt-out plan includes mandatory settlements. Employers alone decide when to cut off benefits and pay lump-sum settlements. They also decide how much to pay. And if workers refuse to accept, they lose all their benefits"

Tweet of my heart: @BetteMidler 62 mostly white men own more wealth than half the people on earth. Trickle down? About as much as when they shake their dicks at the urinal.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Linkee-poo hopes your brother’s El Camino runs forever

Patrick Nielsen Hayden on David G. Hartwell. I met Mr. Hartwell, and was kinda gobsmacked that he talked to me and took me seriously as a nascent author and proffered advice in both direct and obtuse ways (this was many moons ago). We talked at several cons (although none recently). As of this writing his body still lives, although he isn't expected to recover from his brain bleed (I haven't seen if it was trauma or an burst aneurism). While the spirits may, and his heart still beats, thank you Mr. Hartwell. Thank you for taking me seriously and offering advice to a no-name wannabe. Thank you for all the great works you helped bring forth. Thank you for making SF/F stronger. Now wishing Kathryn Cramer (who is also an amazingly wonderful person) strength and comfort while she deals with this. I'm sorely tempted to buy a loud tie and checkered sports coat to wear this weekend.

Why aren't there more women authors in bookstores? Mary Robinette Kowal tracks it down. "It’s the result of a ton of decisions, each of which is probably fueled by unconscious bias and then reinforced by a feedback loop." Also, she calls for crowdsourcing a solution including a list, which you could also use to expand your reading selection.

The Creative Pen podcast with Joanna Penn and Jane Friedman on 2016 publishing trends. YMMV. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

That Atlantic article on the age of stories (or how long ago we started telling fairy tales) that all the cool kids are pointing to. I disagree somewhat with the methodology (what parts are explained), including the application from biology to anthropology/sociology, but that's happening a lot these days. (Grokked from a lot of people)

Think our children should eat healthier in our (government funded) schools? The Senate is about to say, "Hell no." Let's feed them the same crap we've been feeding them since the late 70s. I'm sure our obesity/type II diabetes/hypertension epidemic won't mind.

That moment when your asked for your design rational and you realize "because I wanna" isn't a good enough answer. In this case, the NSA tries to defend their planet-eating octopus mission-patch. Yea, I know BS when I see it. So sure, in most stories it's the Nazis or Soviet Union that makes a deal with the Elder Gods. However in most political thrillers there comes the time when you realize the "good guys" organization has been suborned. Could it be, Cthulhu?

More on the bullshit response from the toy industry, Disney and Lucasfilms on the absence of Rey from many toys. Let me also comment that retooling a game within the first year is a sign of "opps, we fucked up" because it's hideously expensive, and of the first release wasn't marketed as "limited" you've now just created a collectable that hardly anyone will collect. Also, toys normally have half-a-year or longer lead times (orders are now being made for next Xmas). This "rush" is costing them extra money. (Grokked from Yanni Kuznia)

How far to the right has the whackaloon contingent dragged the GOP? So far that John McCain, the one-time presidential nominee, is now too liberal for some in his home state.

"The lawyer for a California man sentenced to one year in jail for making threats towards the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Tuesday that his client was provoked by alcohol and a week of binge-watching Fox News, local TV station KFMB reported." I'm sure there's more to it, but it says something that a lawyer is going to try this tactic.

"In the latest video (from the whackaloons in Oregon) two men with vastly unmatched lung capacities blow their horns in a callout to 'CHRISTIANS.'" Pretty sure those are shofar, not battle horns. Just unbelievable.

See, it's really for their own good and for their home-country's good that we export all the illegal aliens. At least according to Ricky "Don't Google That Number" Santorum. I really try not to draw Hilter/Nazi parallels, but damn they're making it hard not to. See, the holocaust started by "euthanizing" the mentally (and physically) handicapped because "if they were in their right minds they would really want us to." It's a blessing. I think I'm going to need to make a Godwin Stamp graphic to use for the coming 10 months.

"Washington state Rep. Mary Dye (R) asked a group of teenagers visiting her office in Olympia for a Teen Lobbying Day if they were virgins, according to a Tuesday report from The Seattle Times." Seems kind of inappropriate. But "(t)he students, who were accompanied by a Planned Parenthood representative, were advocating for expanded insurance coverage for birth control, according to the report." Gee, I wonder if that had anything to do with it? "'In hindsight, a few of the thoughts I shared, while well-intended, may have come across as more motherly than what they would expect from their state representative,' Dye said." Um, no. Neither well-intended, nor motherly. More like creepy old-lady thinking "why you must be whores for lobbying for birth control." Even though the students said yes they were virgins, she insisted at least one of them wasn't. Can we have grownups in government, please?

Sarah Palin endorses the Trumpster. One low-class trash recognizes another. I hate talking like my grandmother, but in this case I feel it's on point. And thanks for Sarah jumping back in the spotlight, just in time for us to hear about Track's arrest for domestic violence.

Tweet of my heart: @TheGladStork It's so cold out that if you throw a VHS of "Waterworld" in the air it turns to a DVD of "Frozen" before it hits the ground.

Double dip: @wilw Rick Snyder is the guy who gives the exhaust port contract to a crony, then blames the destruction of the Death Star on Stormtroopers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Linkee-poo, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

On writers being asked for things for free. And not just their writing. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley, I think)

Bob Mondelo pisses all over our geek parade saying while the Force Awakens certainly has raked in the cash, it doesn't have the attendance numbers as other films. However I'll point out two things. One, SW:TFA has only been out for a month. Two, back when those other movies (except for, what, 3 of them) were released there was no real alternative for your entertainment. You had the movies, plays, radio, or maybe TV if you were lucky.

"Univision will acquire a 40 percent, controlling stake in The Onion, which includes the site, its influential sister popular-culture outfit The A.V. Club, the social media satire site Clickhole, and various book and video projects. Univision also will have the right to buy the humor company outright." Okay, Onion, this isn't exactly what I meant by never change. Okay, while there's various "OMG Univision buys…", but what this story actually is the Onion gets a nice injection of cash and Univision gets access to the market it's chasing.

Amazon demonstrates delivery drones that can go 10 miles in 30 minutes. Okay, closer. Now Amazon just needs to build major distribution centers every 20 miles (more than there are WalMarts). Of course, this will only work in dense populations, but then there is a large population segment that doesn't have porches or lawns to call their own.

"Another way to think about this is that while white, working-class voters are now only about a third of the overall electorate, they're about half of the Republican electorate… a candidate can no longer win a general election with their support alone, it's also nearly impossible for a Republican presidential candidate to win a GOP primary without them." What's not stated in the article is that many of those "blue-collar" jobs from Reagan's 80s now require a bachelor's degree. So the overall numbers might not have changed (note that whites with degrees also lean GOP, until you get to post-grads), but the makeup of "white, working-class voters" may have changed. But it is true, over all, the white demographic is shrinking in the US. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

In case you were wondering about the government strategy regarding the Oregon stand off, here's a pretty good explanation of half of it. The other half is the knowledge that in the face of presumed inability by the government, the militia becomes sloppy and takes chances. Such as members driving vehicles off the refuge and being arrested and having the vehicles taken into custody without a fight. Without a defined opposition people naturally become lax. They don't pay as close attention to details. So what started as a somewhat disciplined occupation becomes a group of guys camping out, forgetting that there are bears and other large animals in the woods.

Mommy, why can't the pot and the kettle just get along?

Dear LaVoy Finicum, that's our land, and yes you will pay the rest of us to use it. Also, talk about your entitlement mentality. Here is the American with his hand out wanting government to give him something.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Old Men and Fish

There was once an old man and a fish. Every humdrum weekend the old man went to the sun-drenched lake and caught the fish. One cloud-swimming Saturday the fish asked, "Why, old man? Why this routine? We share the worms, you snare me on your line only to let me go. What's up with that?" The old man extracted his hook from the fish's cheek and dropped him back to the water. He watched the ripples fade against the canoe. And the old man said nothing because old men can't talk. Can they?

I've mentioned before that when I read some authors stories pop into my head. While reading Neil Gaiman tonight at the mechanic's garage the line, "an old man and a fish" jumped into my head. As as I wrote it down the rest of the story just flowed out. I had no idea what was waiting behind that fish. I never really know until I start writing. This is why you should write down ideas. I think this is my first competent flash story. Thanks, Neil.

Hey look, time might be coming back to my side

So the question is, which project do I work on:
  • Post-Rapture Industries - the current WIP, thinking of dumping Scrivener and going back to text edit. At the point where I hate the book. Know it needs lots of rewriting, thinking I might just start with a blank page.
  • In a Company of Ravens - Glenn Cook homage, this is the one that kicked my ass
  • The Return of Lars - elf in a human world, conscripted to kill a god, blood oaths, sleeping dragons, small magics, trickster gods, buckles swashed, a classic Hero's Journey tale
  • Requiem for a Phoenix - Future dystopian space opera, reiteration of the human drive which is to survive, history and current times told in parallel, how humans just can't help themselves
  • Sands of Qa'am - alternative middle-eastern desert world, political intrigue, cloak and dagger, jinn and magical warriors
  • Shankhill Butchers - exurban fantasy police procedural, fairy serial killer, exploration of coming home
  • Bladesman II - a continuation of my first (unpublished) novel, an internal family struggle
  • Something completely different - there have been disjointed lines coming into my head. Not sure if it's fiction or not. Not even sure if there's a story there.
Each one of these has a distinctly different feel to them. I can see (well, intuit) how I should write each, what research is needed (I've done a little on all of them) and how I will need to write them (or what I feel is the best way to get them written).

Of course, I may be just deluding myself. The calendar is filling up with work days, and there is the increase responsibilities at home while my wife takes a heavier course load. There's also a metric shit-ton of work to do around the house.

But I can't tell you how my heart sings that I might be able to start writing on a regular basis again. I've written very little the past few years. And all of that has been scattered among a lot of stories (like partial chapters for all of the above). I was damn happy I could go through and revise the story I submitted to Writers of the Future. I really like that story. However I started from a decent base (I had already rewritten it once) and much of the edits were along the lines of strengthening the story (trimming everything that wasn't story) and language usage as I already had the story in the order I wanted it.

Linkee-poo, teach me some melodious sonnet sung by flaming tongues above

Just a note that I'll be at this weekends Confusion in Detroit. I'm even on a few panels. This con looks to be spectacular with an amazing attendance. If you're going, say hi. Or don't. Thinks are gonna be busy. I don't know if I'll have time enough to catch up with everyone.

Chuck Wendig on five storytelling lessons from Star Wars The Force Awakens. Here's a little more advanced class on structure and world building.

Remember that star with the weird dimming sequence? How that dimming could have been cause an alien megastructure or lots of comets? Well, it just gets weirder all the time. As scientists delve into it's mysteries, they've found that the star had been dimming since the late 1800s. And one of the researchers has calculated it would take 648,000 comets all 200 kilometers wide to cause such dimming. To be fair the scientist also thinks that an alien megastructure also couldn't be behind this (how could they have built something to cover one fifth of a stars light in just a century). Something that scientist believes to be an improbability. That's not to say it couldn't be something else; some new life cycle of a star, or some new version of a star. (Grokked from Dan)

Turns out Michigan state officials new much earlier than they've admitted about problems with Flint's water supply. In this case suspecting a Legionnaires outbreak was tied to the river water. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A fact checker who has vetted all of the 2016 Republican Presidential debates was hospitalized for exhaustion during the sixth G.O.P. forum in Charleston on Thursday evening." Bwahahaha. Yes, it's satire, no actual fact checkers were hurt. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"'They can’t achieve what Obamacare has achieved with any of things that are in the standard arsenal and they’re running on resentment of spending money on lower income and middle income people and that’s what you have to do to spread health insurance.'" Yea, that pretty well sums up the last five years of the GOP shouting "Repeal and Replace."

"Harney County, Oregon—the site of a two-week long, militia-led standoff against the federal government—is 'the most government-dependent county in Oregon,' according to a report from the New York Times." According to the report, 60% of income is from "the public sector." Of course, that wasn't always the case. They used to have a large logging industry. I'm sure they'll blame that on government over-regulation and the EPS. Look at the photo at the top of the page. Notice anything not there?

Tweet of my heart: @KagroX The Republicans haven't got a single candidate who could survive a Willie Wonka factory tour.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Linkee-poo hopes your life without a chaperone is what you thought it would be

The evolving rules of Twitter. (Grokked from BoingBoing)

The PBS Newshour report on age discrimination, especially for women over 50. I so have the feels for this. No, really, this is what the reboot was all about. Because while women do suffer it more (and it begins at 35), it also hits men (just a little less proportionately). And it has deep roots (they say "evolutionary" but it's actually "cultural"). And some more on it.

So, now that congressional staffers have been exposed to lead (from paint removal in their cafeteria), can we now have a serious discussion of the crisis in Flint? And by "serious" I mean having arrests, and getting those people more help than filters and bottled water (note, showering and bathing with the water can also cause problems because of accidental ingestion and aerosols).

Hey, remember that gas leak in California which may be our nation's worst chemical spill? Turns out it's probably worse than we thought.

Fast construction, Chinese style. A train truck that helps build the train tracks as it goes along, dropping precast concrete sections to build the elevated track. Amazing, until you remember the devastation of some natural disasters that completely destroyed some buildings, or that in one warehouse they stored volatile chemicals too close together and took out a few city blocks. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

A super bright supernova. The light thrown off by this dying star is some few hundred billion times brighter than our own sun. The only reason you can't see it is that it is also incredibly far away. The brightness level, if it holds up, is way above the theoretical limits for how we think these things happen. So that means New Theory is needed! Science! (Grokked from Steven Gould)

"Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) mistakenly called South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) an immigrant in a radio interview posted on his YouTube account Wednesday…" Yea, I'm sure that's not a racist flub.

"'There probably has not been a more racially divisive, economic divisive president in the White House since we had presidents who supported slavery,' (Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)) said on Alabama radio show 'The Dale Jackson Show,'…" Uh, yea, right. Look, just because he brings out the racist in some meagerly minded people, doesn't mean it's him being divisive. This is what's known as blaming the victim.

Turns out there are a few thousand artifacts stored at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and a lot of archeological sites spread around. So while this article is interesting for that part, and for the complete ignorance on the part of the occupiers about real life and history, I just loved where it ended. "'We also recognize that the Native Americans had the claim to the land, but they lost that claim,' Bundy said. 'There are things to learn from cultures of the past, but the current culture is the most important.'" OMG, that is so ironic I think I hurt something reading it.

Just how slimy is Sheldon Adelson? Well, he once sued a reporter for a book that casually linked his rise in Boston vending at a time where that industry was mob-controlled. And he offered not only to settle his lawsuit, but pay the reporter's healthcare bills for his child (who had cancer and the bills were enough to drive him to bankruptcy), and all that reporter had to do was admit he intentionally libeled Mr. Adelson. Which would have ended said reporter's career.

Well, things aren't going well for the Bundy clan. First, one of Ammon Bundy's bodyguard, Brian Cavalier (aka Fluffy Unicorn) is arrested in Arizona on outstanding warrants. Turns out he also isn't the war hero Marine he told everyone. And then one of his men is arrested for driving a federal vehicle just outside the refuge. So far, neither were federal arrests, but I have a feeling the feds were involved. A second vehicle was also recovered, although no one else was arrested.

Friday, January 15, 2016

RT (R)(CT)

Well, yesterday I took my CT registry exam. I know I haven't said too much on the blog about it (more so on Facebook and twitter), but I was pretty concerned. For the practice exams I was fairly well stuck at 80 (while it is a percentage, they don't call it a percentage). That was better than the 64 I had when I first took a practice exam. But it's a lot less than I'm used to getting. So yesterday as the test started I was pretty nervous. I do well on standardized tests, always have. And I was fairly certain I would pass. The question was by how much. You need at least a 75. There are about 180+ questions (for our test you have to answer all the questions or let time run out, this is compared to the nursing registry where once you achieve a 75 they stop asking questions). So, after an hour and 15 minutes (we have 3 hours), I scored a 93. Booyeah! Which is slightly less than the 96 I got on the X-ray test, but I'll take it.

So, for now I'm done. In the future I may look at getting MRI (their pay is pretty good, but it's also a much different pace and a lot more actively controlling the scan). I would love sonography, however the limitations of a man going through the program are a little high (there are some highly invasive scans, for my practice/job I would need to have a female tech with me during those scans, a little cost prohibitive on the employment side). So it's an RT(R)(CT) for me. Reboot is done for now.

Which means it's only the CE credits (24 every two-years), hospital education (there is A LOT of that), and recertifications of the licenses I hold (which is also a pain). No more evening/Saturday classes, clinical time (internship), and stupid student hoops to jump through. Just the regular employee hoops.

Not that it frees up that much time, however it does free up some head space (I had to do all of those things before, and go through school and study for the registry, etc).

I don't want to jinx it, but I might be able to have a life again.

Now, as to the writing… I've had discussion about how day jobs affect and inform the writing. Working in health care is doubly so. I have experience working in a factory, working as a pro designer, working as a politician, with various levels and responsibilities in those, you'd think I'd have a lot more. But it's my experiences working at the hospital that I think have added to my ability to tell a story. It might be because those other areas were so well entrenched in my head by the time I decided to get serious about writing and that health care has all been upfront and new. I don't think that's all of it, though. Time (and the words) will tell.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Linkee-poo's brains are on the floor

Saladin Ahmed's twitter conversation about not being too old to make it in writing.

"The problem of writing is always the problem of who you were." That's an interesting thought. There's a two prong argument in that one paragraph. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Coal, it's hard to quit you. Considering how well it paid, it was probably the best job many could find. It's really no wonder why people gave up other career paths to go into the mines. But for decades they've been cutting miners out of the loop. For the past five years with the fracking boom power plants have switched to cheaper natural gas, including retrofitting some plants. But sure, coal's demise is all because of President Obama's policies (most of which are still held up in court).

"'Local school boards shall develop and implement policies that require every school restroom, locker room, or shower room that is designated for use by a specific gender to solely be used by individuals whose anatomical sex matches such gender designation,' the (proposed VA law) states." Uh, yea. What could possibly go wrong? "Civil rights advocate Tim Peacock noted that 'adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom' for the legislation to be enforceable." Yep, pretty much that. If I were cruel and mean I would just say let's skip the intervening steps and make all school religious schools. Do I need to mention this is being proposed by the GOP? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Turns out Texas' open carry law is having an unintended consequence for concealed carry permit holders. As a part of the open carry law, Texas lawmakers also expanded where people could carry firearms. They also stated that if private property owners didn't want people to carry firearms in their establishment, they'd have to post restrictions. And they are. In large numbers. Which now also affects concealed carry people, barring them from carrying in those places.

Aw, John Ritzheimer is upset that after asking for snacks and whatever else they needed to keep them feed and busy people aren't sending him what he wants Apparently people think they need dildos and candy dicks. Sometime I despair about the apathy of my fellow Americans. And then there are times I love you all. And isn't this a pathetic cry for more? Seriously, dude, if you had kept quite the avalanche about to be delivered wouldn't have happened. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Linkee-poo, it was a god-awful small affair

Apparently, in the Victorian age nipple piercing was a thing. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

"The 2,200-year-old remains of a man with a deformed knee attached to a prosthetic leg tipped with a horse hoof have been discovered in a tomb in an ancient cemetery near Turpan… China." The hood was used because of its friction coefficient, since feet are a tricky thing (we're still trying to get it right), but I'm sure it also made an interesting conversation piece. (Grokked from Chia Lynn)

The whackaloons holdup at the Masher Wildlife Refuge demo a fence to allow rancher to graze their cattle. So that's vandalism and destruction of federal property added to the charges. Also, how much you want to bet that rancher isn't paying grazing fees (which are normally charged at about 7% of what a private land owner would charge).

US bombs ISIS cash horde. Also pointed to as an example of what war is like. "U.S. commanders had been willing to consider up to 50 civilian casualties from the airstrike due to the importance of the target. But the initial post-attack assessment indicated that perhaps five to seven people were killed." And this, kiddies, is why war is not lightly made.

"All five paid staffers in New Hampshire for a Super PAC backing Ben Carson's presidential bid have left the organization to volunteer for Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) presidential bid." Welp, that's gonna leave a mark. Not sure of their choice in presidential candidates, but you gotta admire solidarity.

In case you're wondering just what the Supreme Court case on Unions and fees is all about, "But, (the challengers' lawyer Michael Carvin) added, in a moment of puckish clarity… 'It may impede their ability to become the largest political contributors to the Democratic Party.'" So, what it's meant to do is starve the opposition party by knee-capping any potential supporters.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie on Maine Gov. Paul LePage's verbal diarrhea, "'He's a good man and he's apologized,' Christie continued. 'Everyone of us — me and everybody else who's in public life — says things at times they wish they could take back.'" Well, the thing is, he didn't actually so much apologize as say, "I didn't say that, that's not what I meant." But is Christie still the leader of the GOP Governors Association? I think so. So he sorta has to come to LePage's defense. Don't worry, Gov. Christie, other people are coming to LePage's defense as well. People like David Duke. Yep, great company you're keeping there Gov. Christie.

So, the house finally approved spending caps for the former Presidents' expenses. I would say it's a good move, except I have a feeling it's finally come to the fore because a certain President is about to retire.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Linkee-poo puts on its red shoes and dances the blues

I had to phone someone so I picked on you. Hey, that's far out so you heard him too! Switch on the TV we may pick him up on channel two, look out your window I can see his light…
Let the children lose it, let the children use it, let all the children boogie

Bye, Bowie, bye. Thanks.

Medieval church door flanked by trees, probably inspired the Gates of Moria. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

So you may have heard about the Rey not in the Hasbro Star Wars Monopoly set brouhaha. I even re-entered the Great Trolls Wars about it (you'd be surprised just how many "strong men" have codependence issues, well, maybe not) wondering why the hell Rey doesn't have more figurines and toys. To all those who say it was because of "spoilers", JJ Abrams (the supposed "anti-spoiler" person) want you to know that's complete bullshit. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

That moment you know you're going to make a great team, when your navigator/radioman keys the mic before you can to do a ground-speed check to put an F18 Hornet pilot in his place. Yea, that one never gets old. Also, in case you're ever wondering, the Blackbird has always been my favorite jet. (Grokked from Dan)

We don't need no stinking regulations or government oversight. A hospital in China is partially demolished before realizing that doctors, a patient, several corpses in the morgue, and expensive equipment were still inside. (Grokked from Chia Lynn)

Why are we working so much? Well, for those of us who have work. Basically we're not making as much per hour, so we have to work more. Also, gee, what started in 1973 that caused this change? Finally, there is more money being made, it's just not going where the money is actually being made. (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

Even in healthcare there are huge numbers of people who don't understand addiction. Maybe this will help. It's not a moral failing. Opioids rewire the brain to need them. The physical addition to opioids, alcohol, psychedelics, all of it gets hardwired into our heads. While the brain is plastic, reversing these structures (including what chronic pain does to the brain) is very difficult.

Because education and charter schools is going to come up in the election, this is what it looks like when you actually have a culture that values education. Japan's rail authority keeps train station used by one person open for years, because said person used the train to commute to high school. They even adjusted the schedule to accommodate her commute better. So you know the difference between supporting students and giving public money to private companies. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

The problem with crazy is it tend to draw other crazy to it. In this case, after Ammon Bundy's group made a plea for all good militias to come to their aid, one did show up. But the Ammon Bundy group doesn't want them there and has asked for them to go home. You know, just like the residents around the wildlife sanctuary asked Ammon to go home. So basically nobody wants anybody to be around there. Okay, this is getting fun. Munches popcorn, waits for the inevitable crossfire accident. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Linkee-poo if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes

"You know that book that is really popular and loads of you like? You know how the author has garnered praise for their writing? Well I don’t like it and/or them." In case you haven't been able to see the script for trolling, here is one. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

So, how about those wellness programs, eh? "Promising workers lower health insurance premiums for losing weight did nothing to help them take off the pounds, a recent study found. At the end of a year, obese workers had lost less than 1.5 pounds on average, statistically no different than the minute average gain of a tenth of a pound for workers who weren't offered a financial incentive to lose weight." And now they're trying to figure out if it was how they structured (and the amount of) the payment program (for those who would be paid, or given discounts). Pretty much like every other workplace program out there. Why? Because they're bullshit, because they only focus on the worker, not on the environment around the worker. Same with offering gym memberships for free to the workers, doesn't change their life's timing so they could go workout, nor does it change all the other parameters to actually help the employee get to the gym regularly. Note to businesses, our time off the clock is our time. We barely have enough of it now. Maybe try proper staffing levels, reduced stress, or higher-salaries so your employees can structure their own lives in a way that allows them to live healthier. For me, that would mean affording to live less than an hours commute away (that really sucks out the time and makes me less able to do something "after work").

NPR with more on last year's wild weather. Why is it an issue? "All this weather led to 10 extreme events that each did at least $1 billion (each) in damage. These events included drought, flooding, severe rainstorms, big wildfires and winter storms. That's a wider variety of different types of $1 billion-plus weather events than usual." Yea, that. Noted because of hailstorm last summer which damaged my roof, for which my insurance company denied the claim. After appeals. One of the times I'm glad I have a small house (roof was <$6k, and that was upgrading the materials).

You know how conservative like to say you can't create jobs in Washington? "The (renewable energy tax) extension just passed by Congress will add $30-$40 billion in incremental investment in the industry and bring the industry’s job total to 420,000 by 2020, according to SEIA President/CEO Rhone Resch." And then there was also this tidbit, "Given price trends, Honeyman said, utility-scale solar contracts will likely come in regularly over the next two years at less than $0.04/kWh." Now that is "utility-scale" not "roof-top", but still, damn. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Arizona is looking to criminalize videotaping a police officer from less than 20' away. Of course this isn't to stifle journalistic activity, or protect the rights of citizens. Not at all. It's about safety. Yea, and I have some prime Florida swampland I'd like to sell you. (Grokked from TPM)

Jeb! "Bush's welfare reform plan, which will be unveiled Saturday in South Carolina, would end the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as well as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, according to The Washington Post." Now, he's replace it with a state grant program, but have work requirements. Haven't we played this record before? But I'm sure he'll leave Social Security and Medicare alone. Like his brother did.

A more legalistic response to the whackaloon Texas Governor proposals to amend the Constitution. Besides not understanding how government actually works and instead embracing on right-wing conspiracy theories, just say "nope." (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

Hey, remember when the wildlife whackaloon occupiers said they'd leave if the locals asked them to? Turns out, not so much. You can add that in to your thought process when they say they're "peaceful" and only have their firearms for "personal protection."

So much for the "we only toss out trouble makers" line. "A Muslim woman wearing a hijab was escorted out of Donald Trump's campaign event on Friday by police after she stood up in silent protest during Trump's speech." And then there's this part, "Despite her silence, Trump supporters around her began chanting Trump's name -- as instructed by Trump campaign staff before the event in case of protests". That doesn't mean that once there were being escorted out people didn't shout other things at them. And of course it's never Trump's fault. "'There is hatred against us that is unbelievable,' Trump said. 'It's their hatred, it's not our hatred.'" Because no one is ever the villain in their own minds. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"And he said, 'All these Muslims, they’re making problems for us.'" And then they guy who said that came back to the store on Xmas Eve and started shooting. Yea, it's the muslims who are the problem, not the idiots committing hate crimes against muslims. Just like it's not Trump's hatred, or the "peaceful" armed takeover in Oregon, or… (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

Tweet of my heart: @pie_r_round The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Linkee-poo has seen things you people wouldn't believe; attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

I really have to use shorter titles for these things. It really messes up my working view of blogger.

The 2016 (Ohio) Governor's Award for the Arts recipients. Hey, I know people on that list! Congrats John Scalzi. We knew you'd make it big, one day.

The SF writer's hierarchy of doubt. Just in case you think you're the only one who worries about this stuff. "Why is Neil Gaiman disappointed in me?" More like "Why does Neil Gaiman act like he doesn't know who I am?" (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Philip Pullman pens an open letter saying that authors need fairer terms from publishers. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

So, you've probably seen the whiskey named "Writers Tears". But have you seen the salt made from those tears? (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

Richard St. John gives you his 8 secrets to success. While most of what he says is true (you should love what you're doing, and you should persist in chasing your dreams), I've been re-evaluating the TED Talk universe. Mostly because of a conversation I had recently about someone discussing a "self made (rich) man" and how that person's father took him to board meetings when he was your so he learned business early. My response was, "Wait, if his Dad was taking him to board meetings, I don't believe he one: started at the bottom without resources and two: was 'self made'." There's a lot of other things in TED, but a lot of what I've been seeing have been those same "self made men" whose Daddies took them to board meetings when they were young so they cold learn business. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"According to a study covering more than 880,000 births in Denmark, the overall rate of birth defects was consistent for women who had never taken the pill at all, for those who had used it before getting pregnant and for those who continued on the pill in early pregnancy." Also pointed out to demonstrate some of the fallacies of medicine.

The social media arms race. It's a long advertisement for a site, but a pretty good allegory of what happens in social media (at least from the corporate side of it). And here I will just state that I love you all, but I'm gonna publish what I'm gonna publish because I wanna publish it, not because I'm trying to track my numbers up. Seriously, see any ads on this site (if you do, they're not from me and I'm not getting anything from it, you better check your security settings)? That said I have done the mental gymnastics over the question "why the hell did that post get so many hits? What did I do there people liked?" Most of the time I chalk it up to picking lyrics that people are searching for (or if I get a mention on someone else's site).

And the numbers are in! "The United States saw its second-hottest year on record in 2015, federal scientists announced on Thursday." Hoopla! Note that's just the US, we're still waiting on the international numbers. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

Boy, talk about your entitlement mindset. TransCanada is suing for $15B over the Keystone XL. Their basic claim is "The President can't deny us our permits, also because other projects had been approved we were certain this one would be." Uh, no. One, after lobbying the President to approve the project you don't get to say he didn't have the right. And two, past performance is not indicative of future performance. Also, I'm sure this has nothing to do with the price of oil being in the dumpster. Not at all.

Well, Chris Christy, when you lie for political expediency, it's pretty easy to forget what you said previously.

Did you know that there's actually a law that requires healthcare facilities with emergency rooms to accept any patient in an emergency and stabilize them all without regard to their ability to pay? Apparently Liberty Calhoun Hospital hasn't heard of that. And I get it, I have had my share of patients who are faking it (pain, disability, health status). And talking with the sheriffs who we deal with often, they've commented that it's customary to complain about a health problem to gain advantage. But here's the thing, until you can confirm that it's not the case, you should proceed with accepting that what the patient is telling you is truthful. Because if you don't, you have this problem (also note the case of Freddie Grey and Eric Gardner).

"Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson asked a group of fifth graders Thursday at a campaign rally in Iowa who the worst student in the class was and the students responded by singling out a classmate…" Of course, you know, he was making a point about how he was once the worst student in his class (which has been debated if that was true). He also talked directly with that student one-on-one after the rally. But seriously, how tone-deaf was that? "Hey kids who are at an age where everyone is self-conscious to the emo-extreme, who's the weirdo in your class?"

"…Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) finally addressed the hubbub surrounding a pair of his black leather boots that took the Internet by storm this week, wondering Thursday whether people have 'lost their minds.'" Hi, Marco, I see you're new here. Let me introduce you to the GOP News Machine and its expectation of behavior, demeanor and strict adherence to social norms that have been out of style for more than 4 decades.

Sometimes I'd like to see Trump as president, but only to see his face when someone he can't fire tells him to fuck off. Seriously, this is the mindset you have when you don't understand grade-school level civics.

Jeb! Bush blames "bad parenting" for crime in black neighborhoods, but not his own kids problems with crimes. To remind you, his daughter was arrested for both pill shopping and for impersonating a doctor, forging prescriptions on a stolen pad, and then attempting to fill those prescriptions. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Maine Gov. Paul "… LePage responded to a question about how he was tackling substance abuse in Maine. He began talking about how much of the heroin is coming into Maine from out-of-state drug dealers… 'These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty … these types of guys… they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,' LePage told a large crowd. 'Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.'" Now now, wait. "Peter Steele, the governor’s communication director, said in a written statement Thursday night that LePage’s remarks were not about race, but about the emotional toll drugs have on children." Yea, not so much. I mean, Peter gave the good ol' college try to spin that, but seriously, dude, that didn't even polish the turd. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Linkee-poo, what's love got to do with it

14 agents seeking SF novels. May need to cross reference to those I've already tried and have been rejected. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Kate Elliot promises a series on world building. (Grokked from someone, sorry)

Giving up on the Great American Novel (and succeeding at writing). (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

Kameron Hurley Simon Owens on making short fiction pay through Patreon. Kids and their new-fangled ways. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Wanna compute like it's 1979? Of course you do. Here, have a web based Apple II emulator. And you can play Oregon Trail and die of dysentery just like your forbearers did. (Grokked from John)

Remember that jetpack video of people flying around NYC? Your jetpack is ready. Okay, you can't actually buy one, but they're trying harder. (Grokked from Dan)

Can't wait for the jetpack? Okay, how about a human-size quadcopter drone? Note, may not be legal in all jurisdictions (also it's pretty damn expensive). (Grokked from John)

Instructions on how to open a new, hardbound book. Pointed to as an example of how, yes, these things we take for granted are actual tech that requires a user's manual. I remember seeing this as a kid the one year we had new textbooks in class. (Grokked from Christine Daigle)

I'ma gonna just leave this here. "Police shot and killed a California man who opened fire on an apartment building Tuesday night while ranting incoherently about President Obama’s new gun control policy." Crazy people, huh. What can you do?

Dear Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID), "civil disobedience" does not included "armed standoff." I thought you might like to know that little fact. Also, "peaceful" typically does not involved people with rifles, stating they're willing to "do whatever it takes" and possibly "I'm willing to put my life on the line." That's the difference the media is noticing that you're oblivious to.

So, when the Bundys and Hammonds claim that the "feds robbed us of our land", it's pretty much been settled law since the beginning of the 20th century that "Nope, the Feds own it, never gave up title to it."

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Linkee-poo turns me right around, baby, right around

So, Speaker Ryan, now that you've lead the GOP Congress in their 6th Annual Circlejerk, can you actually do some actual work and help the American People? Yea, I know, but I thought I would ask.

On when the song dies, collective memory, the weight of the past, and carrying the dead. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

The Ferrett takes up the gauntlet dropped by Robert J Bennett and gives writing advice to middle-agers who want to make a living off writing. Short answer, don't quit the day job. And he tosses out two good truisms. "The dirty secret… is that the people who succeed are usually the most tenacious, not the most talented." That goes for everyfuckingdamnthing in life, just a hint. Also, "(Y)ou gotta put in the work. And you’ve got less time."

Gratitude, the new self-help selfishness that started out as selflessness. But then, really, would we expect anything else from the self-help movement? Also there is a large body of research how things like charity, paying-it-forward, donating time, etc all are done mostly to please the giver and make them feel better about themselves (I made a difference). Now, this is not to say you shouldn't do these things, or practice gratitude, but being conscious of our motivations and what we receive from these interactions is an important part of self-awareness. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

So, there's this theory that ancient Greek sailors used snakes as projectile weapons. Adds "throwing snakes, maybe catapult" to the list that includes, "setting hogs on fire and drive them at enemy".

He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you are awake, he knows how long you've been using Windows 10, as in hours per day. (Grokked from John)

The mistake of using video of the Moroccan border in Trump's own commercial about the American border was "1000 percent on purpose." Yea. Sure. These are the people you want with the nuclear keys.

"'I have missed votes this year,' (Marco) Rubio said when asked about his voting record during an Iowa town hall. 'You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda, only a president can set the agenda. We’re not going to fix America with senators and congressmen.'" And this is why the GOP wants a King, not a President. Seriously. This is a grade school civic's class fail. This is your bright, rising star conservative? Go home, GOP, you're drunk.

Ah, those fine upstanding citizens the militia has decided to rally around. Let me just give this hint to the Utah/Oregonian separatists, when you sell land, take cash money for it, it's no longer yours. You have to stop thinking of it as still being your land.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Linkee-poo, a time when the corn is all into the barn, the old cow's breath so frosty white

Having difficulty generating story ideas? If only there was a helpful website that could auto-generate them. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Robert J Bennet's advice to aspiring writers looking to make a living off writing. Short answer, don't quit the day job.

Turns out, when people are drunk or in a rush, they tend to favor strict hierarchical thinking. While the report goes on to talk about how this is somewhat a reference to childhood (where we have "parental authority"), I'm gonna call bullshit on that. See humans are animals, and animals have hierarchies. This is most often talked about in "alpha" and "beta" members of the community, but that's also a great oversimplification. Each animal within any community knows their place and relative position to every other animal in that community. There is no "leader" and "group", there is a #1, #2, #3, and so on. And we can see it mostly in predatory animals, but it also exists in prey and herd animals (seriously, if you've worked with cows, you've seen this). And (I hate to break this to you all) we're herd and prey animals (this view of humans being "the top predator" is a falsehood because one, there isn't such a thing, and two, our biology proclaims it pretty loudly). So our brains have evolved to accept inegalitarian systems. Or, as stated in the movie The American President "Democracy is hard. You really have to want it." Also note, this is the real reason behind Donald Trump's numbers in the polls. Our brains for the most part are wired to see him as a successful strong person (no matter what the reality). That's appealing. I would go on to say that it's mostly from people who are drunk, but that would be unkind (and not necessarily truthful).

Yea, there's no problem here, no need for regulation. Philadelphia newsletter company forces employees to clock out when taking small breaks, like to go to the bathroom. I'm sure the free market will correct for that.

Big history? You mean, science class taught as history? Okay, I get it.

Yes, Virginia, being forgetful is a part of the natural aging process.

To make the news of the coming year more interesting, try these word substitutions from XKCD. They're probably more truthful anyway. (Grokked from Dan)

Gene Roddenberry's words finally recovered from his floppy disks. What those words are, however, we don't know. Yet. Part of the problem of the modern historian. See, the letters and journals of the pre-digital era still work. Getting the emails and e-journals of the digital era may need to be both recovered from disused media and converted into new file formats. It's an archivist's nightmare. (Grokked from John)

And in the world of synchronicity, NPR had a story about this problem (the transient nature of our records).

Boy, I wish the government would leave the Bundys alone. I mean, shit, they're costing us a fortune in benefits they receive from the government.

Tweet of my heart: @ClaireRousseau Wait, wait. Hasbro said no Rey in Star Wars Monopoly to avoid spoilers? What's the spoiler? That she's the main character? #WheresRey

Monday, January 4, 2016

Linkee-poo first Monday back, can't I just take up competitive drinking?

"The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is sending out William Shakespeare's First Folio to all 50 states to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard's death. Published seven years after he died, the First Folio is the first printed collection of all of Shakespeare's plays." They have 6 copies, so the dates overlap. It'll be at the Cleveland Public Library June 20 to July 30.

Something(s) new has(have) been added to the periodic table.

Because someone had to, the best electric toothbrush. (Grokked from Dan)

What happens to all that stuff people return. For stores these days it's basically cheaper to just not handle it themselves.

Reachers are testing to see if a lack of sleep leads to Alzheimers. Now they just need to find humans who can fall asleep in very powerful MRI. Good luck with that.

In December of 2014, a "… woman fired shots randomly at vehicles and continued to aim her gun at vehicles even while she was being chased by police. She also pointed her firearm at police officers, but she was eventually arrested and taken alive." Why yes, she is white. Why do you ask? (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Just how mindfucked are these "patriots"/idiots? Well, their sire, Cliven Bundy, filed a handwritten lawsuit against President Obama in 2014. It was dismissed because he forgot to pay the $350 filling fee (note to Cliven Bundy, pay your fucking bills, jackass). Among the jewels of this document are his claims "to have seen Bill Clinton cross dress in a burqa and claims to have seen Obama sell 'Muslim oils at a street vendor stand with a wig and mustache.'" And his son is leading the group at the wildlife refuge in Oregon. They aren't even in shouting distance of sanity. Well, technically "The lawsuit, which was filed by a man named David Rothrock and lists a Pennsylvania prison as a return address, was apparently sent by Rothrock in his and Bundy’s name." (Grokked from Annalen Flower Horne)

Also, when the guy with the eye patch calls your movement whackaloon, you might want to rethink. Also, it's customary to shore up your support before you go sporting for a fight. The "they made a stand and people woke up and joined them in their cause" is a Hollywood fabrication and a conservative wet dream. You line up support before you make the stand. Thank the gods for stupid criminals.

And having the guy who called Nathan Bedford Forest (of the Night Raiders fame) the first civil-rights leader call for support doesn't help.