John Scalzi on how writing for audio performance helped improve his writing. This also goes to the old trick of reading your writing out loud, but takes it a few steps farther.
"National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is about to draw to a close. But this particular November, after a fractious and often devastating campaign season concluded, many folks had a difficult time writing anything at all. The stress, the sadness, the fear for the rights of many Americans in marginalized or oppressed groups to openly express themselves without being harassed and abused—these are very real concerns that have gotten in the way for many talented writers." I would raise my hand, but truthfully it's been a few years since I've written regularly and/or well. So, which Nov 8 did knock me for a loop, my schedule of 2 jobs pretty much soaked up any time and willpower. YMMV, though.
Y Fari Lwyd, the Grey Mare. Here we come a' wassailing… (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)
Nat Geo asked their photographers to capture climate change. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)
There's been a lot of news of using Schedule 1 drugs as therapeutic medicine (note, Schedule 1 drugs are deemed, as a part of the definition, to not have any legitimate medical uses). Theres a study about using Ecstasy for PTSD. And now, "magic mushrooms" for anxiety in cancer patients. "In both studies, psilocybin treatment had more effect on anxiety and depression than a placebo did. For example, by the day after treatment, about 80 percent of the treated NYU patients no longer qualified as clinically anxious or depressed by standard measures. That compares to about 30 percent for the placebo group. That's a remarkably fast response, experts said, and it endured for the seven weeks of the comparison."
"A report from the National Center for Health Statistics released Wednesday shows that the number of people whose families are struggling to pay medical bills fell by 22 percent, or 13 million people, in the last five years… And that's good news, according to consumer and health policy advocates." Good thing we're going to repeal that Obamacare, 'cause we wouldn't want it to be easy of low to moderate income people to have financial security. Yep, there's the real story, instead of the news being all about the increases in premiums. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)
Regulations? We don't need no stinkin' regulations. "For quake-prone parts of Oklahoma, the state ordered what is essentially a 40 percent reduction in injection of the saltwater that scientists generally blame for the massive increase in earthquakes. This year, before the new rules went into effect on May 28, Oklahoma averaged 2.3 quakes a day. Since then the average dropped to 1.3 a day, based on AP's analysis of U.S. Geological Survey data of earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger." And that sounds like good news, right? "But some of those fewer post-regulatory quakes have been large and damaging." Because some things, once set in motion, tend to magnify. Or, all that previous activity is still continuing to cause problems. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)
Remember that EPA study on fracking that said that we all didn't need to worry so much? "Top officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year made critical changes at the eleventh hour to a highly anticipated, five-year scientific study of hydraulic fracturing’s effect on the nation’s drinking water. The changes, later criticized by scientists for lacking evidence, played down the risk of pollution that can result from the well-drilling technique known as fracking." Yeah, maybe it wasn't so rosy after all.
It got lost in all the other news, but lawmakers actually did pass legislation to help the California National Guard members who were being forced to pay back bonuses they "earned" for re-enlighting. I use quotations there because many of them didn't actually qualify for the bonuses, but were involved (without their knowledge) in a criminal skimming scheme by from recruiters who have been sent to jail.
"By enabling the plant to stay open, the deal spares about 800 union workers whose jobs were going to be outsourced to Mexico, according to federal officials who were briefed by the company. This suggests that hundreds will still lose their jobs at the factory, where roughly 1,400 workers were slated to be laid off." So, yes, while everybody is "Oh, he saved jobs!" Nope, he lost almost half. And there is no word on Carrier's second factory, right next door, that was also slated to close and move the jobs to Mexico. Also, no word if there was anything more than what VP-elect Mike Pence could have done on his own.
Meanwhile, as everybody goes crazy over the national shitting the bed, in the backwaters of Ohio… "Ohio has revoked the operating license of one of the state's few remaining abortion clinics on grounds it failed to obtain a required transfer agreement with a nearby hospital for emergencies." Rust may never sleep, but neither do social conservatives miss a chance to push their hardline extremist agenda.
Chuck Wending tweet storm on the myths of the white working class. Very much this. Don't think so. I'm somewhere in the middle of that tweet storm. I've made it so far, but I can tell you the fear I might lose it all is very fucking real. But, I have seen that hand picking my pocket. That one of the legion of reasons I'm no longer a Republican. Think Chuck is a little over selling it? Really? Do you know how the Southern Strategy actually works? Hint: it was formulated just at the time that African-Americans started joining the unions. Why did more union households vote for Trump? Note that it was White union households who voted for Trump. The very same "Reagan Democrats." They're fucking scared that they're about to lose again, and Trump (and the alt-right) were telling them they had to be afraid of the brown people. So they voted for the guy who told them he was going to make them great again by getting all those brown people out of the country. Yeah, it's not going to happen. Coal jobs are never coming back (even if somehow they figure out Clean Coal - unlikely - automation is what was killing coal jobs before cheap natural gas plunged the knife in coal's back - and they just discovered new huge reserves that with fracking they can exploit just outside Midland, Texas - Coal. Is. Never. Coming. Back). We make a lot of stuff in this country, but all those jobs require training that the company isn't going to give you. Low-skill work is only going to be in service industries, which don't pay for shit. Note all of the people yelling, "(other 'important' job) only pays $12/hr, why do fast food workers think they deserve $15!". Maybe because those $12/hr jobs should be $18+/hr jobs. Crabs pulling each other back into the bucket. And it's easy for the oligarchs (yes, that class has been developed, look who Trump is nominating for Cabinet Positions) to fuel it. "The WWC don't need coddling. They don't need saving. They need an awakening. They need to see the hand that's hitting them."
"Trump voter explains how she knows millions of illegal immigrants voted." Dear "Silent Majority", you're just like "Christian Conservatives", you don't really belong to either of the two words that make up your supposed group name.
Tweet of my heart: @paulkrugman Another metric: Trump would have to do one Carrier-sized deal a week for 30 years to save as many jobs as Obama's auto bailout (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)