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

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Linkee-poo should have known this right from the start, only hope can keep me together

Five ways to keep writing when life intervenes. As someone who has had a major life interruption disrupt writing, yes, this. I tried not to get too derailed only to find myself wondering just what the hell those tracks were doing over there.

Sarah Pinsker on the World Fantasy Convention programming list which was just released. Um, yeah, it is that bad. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

SFWA Chat hour #5, how to sell books at conventions.

You're not meant to do what you love. This is a troublesome article for me. On one hand, I see what they're getting at here. Sure, you may "love" something ("People usually can’t differentiate what they really love and what they love the idea of." - yes, that), but that doesn't mean you're good at it or a good fit for it. I also agree with the doctor example (and frankly there are many doctors out there who really shouldn't be in medicine). Or, my wife's family has a saying, "God made ditch diggers for a reason." What I see out there in the culture is a lot of people expecting they should be something and that they will love it. I should probably write a blog post just on this with my career change. On the other hand there's a lot of determinism and "talent" discussion in this article that I also don't agree with. Everything is work, as they say here (and which sounds a little like their own frustration poking out), but because eI love what I do, it's not so much "labor" as it would be when I don't like what I'm doing. So for writing (which this is about), I do it because I love putting words together and making up stories. It's work. Lord howdy is it work (which I am also struggling with). And after so long, following the advice in this article, I should have put it up a long time ago. Also, I write because I love it, I want to be published because I'm a little mercenary at heart (Hi, I'm a graphic designer, I'm artistic for pay). And I have had the internal conversation about "I'm not seeing a return for this trouble, why am I still doing it." Well, it's because I love it. But it's not my job. Yet. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

You know people talk about Elon Musk as some sort of modern-day Lex Luther, the stereo-typical rich man villain. But he's got nothing on Peter Thiel. "More than anything, Peter Thiel, the billionaire technology investor and Donald Trump supporter, wants to find a way to escape death. He's channeled millions of dollars into startups working on anti-aging medicine, spends considerable time and money researching therapies for his personal use, and believes society ought to open its mind to life-extension methods that sound weird or unsavory… (like) the prospect of having younger people's blood transfused into his own veins." I debated about keeping the Trump connection in there, but I thought it added a nice spice the election season. (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

"While research has shown that betting against global warming is generally a great way to lose money, this particular bet was especially foolish." Although the winning scientist in this case, understanding statistics, made a counter bet to make sure he'd come out ahead. (Grokked from Dan)

"Scientists have puzzled over, and sometimes even questioned the existence of, a phenomenon that appears to have no physical effect on conception. While a male orgasm is crucial to impregnate a female, it is not obvious how a female orgasm affects whether she is impregnated." While it is true that in other mammals, organism is related to ovulation, it's not entirely 1 to 1 (and other mammals have more conscious control of their reproduction than humans). As always, the simplest answer is probably correct; the possibility of orgasm makes sex more pleasurable, which increases frequency of copulation, which increases frequency of reproduction. That the human clitoris is farther from vagina can also be explained by how our upright gate also changed how we have sex (note, yes, there are lots of sexual positions, but our upright gate allows us to have some positions which our mammalian cousins can't duplicate). On a more juvenile-ish note, there are scientists who study orgasms? What are they called, and how does one land such a position? Asking for a friend.

"A backfire was set and burned over the top of Rattlesnake Mountain on Sunday night, the only way fire officials could see to keep the fire from spreading to the Hanford nuclear reservation and Benton City." Nuclear power, the "safer" option. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

So, MTV Classic, eh? Still not focused on music videos, though.

The return of the kiosk in Portugal. These always seemed a good idea to me, but living in the frozen wastelands of the Lake Erie Snowbelt, it probably wouldn't work here (plus, as I remember them in Denmark, they mostly sold cigarettes). But I think a place you could get a paper, wifi (hey, there's an idea), coffee/pop/water, maybe some ice-cream or a nice snack, that would go well in some parts of the cities here in the US. You can see this same dynamic with the rise of food trucks. Also pointed to for this paragraph, "When Salazar came into power in the 1930s, the kiosk culture started to fade, she explains. Salazar's right-wing, dictatorial government… discouraged the cafĂ© culture, intellectual debate and public gathering that has long been a mainstay of life in the city. The Salazar regime urged people to stay out of public life, stay home, drink your wine, eat your bread, and don't come to the plazas and have a coffee or agitate." The first thing repressive governments go for are the libraries, jazz music, and cafes.

The John Cleese Official Youtube Channel. Oh productivity, you were fun while you were here. Also, there's a Michael Palin Official channel. (Grokked from Dan and John respectively)

Yes, my friends don't want me to write anything anymore, why do you ask?

"A five-year contract, originally valued at a fixed price of nearly $182 million, was repeatedly modified until the cost came in at $423 million. As a result of Pentagon inaction in correcting the situation, the Afghanistan Technical Equipment Maintenance Program will require investment of another $1 billion over the next five years, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in an audit released July 29." Yes, it's called "profiteering" and it's why contractors are subject to audits all the time. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Betrayal… That’s the way he felt when he opened a letter (form his former employer)… stating his health care benefits will terminate Aug. 1 — this Monday… A bankruptcy court judge approved the coal company’s request in May to cut worker benefits as part of its Chapter 11 restructuring agreement. Five months prior, a judge reportedly approved the company’s request to award 15 top-level executives metric-based bonuses totaling upwards of about $12 million, which it argued was necessary to retain its leadership team." Understand these are benefits these workers earned and to have the executives get a bonus for kicking them out of their pension and healthcare is just the system's way of saying, "fuck you." When candidates say the system is broken, this is what they should be talking about. "If you was a worker, you worked your tail off. But you knew if you made it to the end of the line and finished that race you was going to have your pension, and you was going to have your medical." These workers don't qualify for Medicare, because their employer was going to cover their medical in their retirement. And now our federal government is going to rob Peter to pay Paul to give these people something, not necessarily what they had, but something. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Some history on the "lizard people/reptilian" thing. Hijacked by neo-nazis (and maybe started by a confirmed anti-semite) it's now code word for crypto-Jew. Okay then, I guess we won't do that. But is using the Douglas Adams' allusion to "but they're our lizards" still inbounds? 'Cause, you know, he was talking about literal lizards, not lizard people. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Oh sure, the new voting restrictions and id laws have nothing to do with race. "…(T)the Times reports that the Hancock County (Georgia) Board of Elections and Registration has been 'systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180' black residents in Sparta, Georgia 'by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights.'" While much of the rest of the article talks about how they're not being denied their rights, that isn't the purpose of sending law officers to people's homes. It's intimidation, pure and simple. If I weren't already voting for Clinton (in case you didn't know) I would now just so the DoJ can go down there and do a little housekeeping. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Russia's troll factories were, at one point, likely being paid by the Kremlin to spread pro-Trump propaganda on social media." It's what I've suspected now for a long time (and more than just "pro-Trump"). "It's a brand of information warfare, known as 'dezinformatsiya,' that has been used by the Russians since at least the Cold War. The disinformation campaigns are only one 'active measure' tool used by Russian intelligence to 'sow discord among,' and within, allies perceived hostile to Russia." (Grokked from Xopher Halftone)

"Donald Trump's efforts to make the Republican National Convention 'unlike any we've ever seen' produced an unexpected first: the first time more voters came away from a convention less likely to vote for the party's nominee than they were to support him or her, according to Gallup." Well, we certainly haven't seen that before. So let the chants begin, "LOSER!" (Grokked from Dan)

"Vote fraud is clearly the aim in what is coming from Trump allies. But Trump's own comment - 'I'm afraid the election's gonna be rigged, I have to be honest' - seems to suggest some broader effort to manufacture votes or falsify numbers, to allude to some broader conspiracy. Regardless, Trump is now pressing this issue to lay the groundwork to discredit and quite possibly resist the outcome of the November election." My guess is they're seeing the same polls as everyone else and realizing their about to lose. And while this could be the opening salvo to delegitimize the next democratic president (this was the whole point of the birthers), this could be very much more serious this time. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"It is not clear that Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine ended with his work with Mr. Trump’s campaign. A communications aide for Mr. Lyovochkin, who financed Mr. Manafort’s work, declined to say whether he was still on retainer or how much he had been paid." The CV of Paul Manafort, who . That should be the cause for major concern both within the GOP and for anybody outside looking in. "According to State Department cables at the time and later released by WikiLeaks, Mr. Manafort and his colleagues… frequently pressed American diplomats in Ukraine to treat Mr. Yanukovych and his supporters equally so as not to risk being seen as favoring his opponents in the new elections. With Mr. Manafort’s help, the party was 'working to change its image from that of a haven for mobsters into that of a legitimate political party,' the American ambassador at the time, John E. Herbst, wrote." The company you keep. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Yeah, the Trumpster's comments about the Khan family we so out of line with the GOP politics. "A military mom was booed at a Nevada rally when she confronted vice presidential candidate Mike Pence about Donald Trump's recent attacks on the Khan family." Oh Christ. Look, people, there's a playbook here and you're not running the plays according to it (insert various conspiracy rants about how "She wasn't a REAL military Mom" cause I know they're coming if they aren't already out there). "Pence added that there is 'no one more devoted to the veterans in this country' than Trump." Hey, I didn't know Mikee Pence was a standup comedian. That's great ad-libbing right there. Say, has the Trumpster finished dolling out all the money he raised for veterans back whenever he skipped that Fox debate? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

And in case you needed more agains the Trumpster, apparently he thinks that over inspection is what is closing coal mines. Not that they are inspected so infrequently and with advanced warning, that operators routinely disable safety equipment, only to repair it just before inspection, which leads to health problems and death underground. But he also thinks solar requires windmills. I mean, besides both not knowing how good renewable energy is, the actual payback of building a new gas turbine generator, and thinking private land owners shouldn't have a say on what they put on their property. (Grokked from Hanna Bowman and Chuck Wendig respectively)

In light of the Trumpster's claim of the election being rigged, there is a real possibility of elections being hacked. And here I'll remind people of the persistent story of hacking in favor of the GOP supposedly directed and paid for by Karl Rove (who was infamously indignant and incredulous when Ohio when for Obama in 2008). Also a reminder of which side is being hacked and which side is not. So, you'd think with the GOP's intense focus and crusade against "voter fraud" they'd be all over this and funding even more secure systems. You'd think.

Tweet of my heart: @FoldableHuman I love how Free Market Libertarians like to pretend that the 1800s didn't happen, like we have no idea how unrestrained Capitalism works.

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