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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, December 13, 2016

Linkee-poo, when cold morning's radiant star shines over hill and plain

When I decided to use the lines from Winter's Grace for linkee-poo titles, I didn't know how well they'd fit. Arctic cold is a coming down tonight, folks. Bundle up.

Now this is an Xmas tree I can support. (Grokked from Dan)

FiveThirtyEight is looking for part-time and freelance political writers. Hmmm. (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

SF's special snowflake Theodore Beal is upset that someone called him a neo-Nazi. Not because he, in reality, isn't one (what's the difference between someone who espouses the rhetoric and social program of a movement and someone who is a card carrying member of such an organization is not very much except for maybe keeping up with dues and attending meetings), but because it could land him in legal troubles. It's the old issue of labeling. Theodore Beale seems to be adverse to being labeled, but is all to happy to label others. It's part of his supposed jester's game where he thinks he's the smartest person in the room because he berates, threatens and bullies until he gets some minor point and then crows about his grand victory. You can see echoes of the same in the President-elect claiming about his historic victory (where he lost the popular vote by the largest margin ever, and ranks around 46 out of 58 electoral college victories). It's symptomatic of the fragile personality. (Grokked from several people, this time from Jer)

"An incredibly luminous outburst that astronomers had previously classified as possibly the brightest supernova ever actually might have been caused by the explosive death of a star torn apart by a giant black hole, a new study finds."

"Scientists attending the American Geophysical Union's Fall meeting are worried Trump could have a profound effect on the effort to understand climate, and not in what they consider a good way. Peter de Menocal, dean of science at Columbia University says he's heard colleagues express 'feelings of rage, anger, confusion, fear — they're all negative emotions.'" For the record, I don't think Trump is sending "mixed signals" with his meeting with Al Gore. It's a smokescreen to say "I've listened to all sides" when he's already come to a conclusion. This is nearly a standard part of the playbook in modern US business.

"For many years, research on the relationship between spending and student learning has been surprisingly inconclusive. Many other factors, including student poverty, parental education and the way schools are organized, contribute to educational results… Opponents of increased school funding have seized on that ambiguity to argue that, for schools, money doesn’t matter — and, therefore, more money isn’t needed… But new, first-of-its-kind research suggests that conclusion is mistaken. Money really does matter in education, which could provide fresh momentum for more lawsuits and judgments like the Connecticut decision." Odd how spending on education actually helps people become educated. It's also odd how places of poverty fight for better funding, but are told by places of wealth that money doesn't help. Yeah, I'm sure all those kids in Orange Township (east side of Cleveland) are getting a crappy education which is why families are bankrupting themselves to get into that school. "They found a consistent pattern: In the long run… states that send additional money to their lowest-income school districts see more academic improvement in those districts than states that don’t. The size of the effect was significant. The changes bought at least twice as much achievement per dollar as a well-known experiment that decreased class sizes in the early grades."

There's this phishing scam/hacking method of making it appear like you're getting the phishing email from a trusted source (either spoofed or they hacked your friend's account). Now ransomware writers are going one step beyond. "'With Popcorn Time, not only can a victim pay a ransom to get their files back, but they can also try to infect two other people and have them pay the ransom in order to get a free key.'" So they're now actively "recruiting" your friends into hosing you. (Grokked from Dan)

Ima just gonna leave this here. "A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline… North Dakota officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek… It's not yet clear why electronic monitoring equipment didn't detect the leak… about 37,000 gallons of oil have been recovered." Except to say, I think 176,000 is more than "tens of thousands". Specifically it is 17.6 "tens of thousands". (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

WTAF, a headline on Breitbart (which, you may remember, the person formerly running that site is now the closest advisor to the President-elect) that says if a scientist brings up "peer-review" that's a dangerous enough concept that you should get your gun. This is equal parts horrendous, idiotic, so man-child fragile acting out that I can't suss them all out from each other. There's this voice in the back of my head from an earlier life that keeps saying, "some fuckers just need killing", and the other part of me is beginning to agree more and more. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Our President-elect isn't just a loose-cannon, he's playing with matches in the powder room. "President-elect Donald Trump took a swipe at Lockheed Martin's F-35 program Monday morning, saying the cost was 'out of control.'… Shares of the aerospace company dropped more than 4 percent in early trade, but then recovered some of those losses, ending the day about 2 percent lower. After the tweet, the company's market value initially dropped $4 billion." He may think this is a wise negotiating strategy, but that's only because he doesn't understand the contracting schemes set up by the Pentagon, mandated by law, which eschew actual "deal making" for rigorous proposal vetting (proposals being awarded on the basis of points awarded by several proposal judges). And my googlefu is failing me. Does anyone have access to overnight stock market performances? Would be damning if this proves out. "Someone started dumping Lockheed Martin stock just before Trump's tweet: Tweet was 8:26 AM EST, LMT dumping started 8:20 AM". (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

So, what exactly is the Presidential Daily Brief and why is it important.

"I spent last week in southeastern Kentucky talking to Obamacare enrollees, all of whom supported Trump in the election, trying to understand how the health care law factored into their decisions… Many expressed frustration that Obamacare plans cost way too much, that premiums and deductibles had spiraled out of control. And part of their anger was wrapped up in the idea that other people were getting even better, even cheaper benefits — and those other people did not deserve the help… I kept hearing informed voters, who had watched the election closely, say they did hear the promise of repeal but simply felt Trump couldn’t repeal a law that had done so much good for them. In fact, some of the people I talked to hope that one of the more divisive pieces of the law — Medicaid expansion — might become even more robust, offering more of the working poor a chance at the same coverage the very poor receive." And I've heard that a lot in the various political talking-head venues. "Surely they won't…". I've got news for you all, the GOP doesn't give a fig. Not because they don't care (although I'd argue that they don't), but because they can't tolerate another social program that works and benefits the vast majority of people (like Social Security and Medicare). They know that their opposition will be remembered, and that Democrats will get the benefit (although it doesn't appear that will happen in the short term). The GOP knows they lost the Congress for decades because of those other programs. Look at how much they've invested in the story line about Trump caring for "the little-guy" and how the Democrats have abandoned the white working-class. When you're in pain from them repealing Obamacare (and not replacing it with anything other than "the market will fix it") they will blame Obamacare and the Democrats for your pain. And many people will believe them. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"How to defeat an autocrat: flocking behavior." Or, the "they can't kill us all" method. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

One of the things I said during the campaign is that it might be interesting to see Trump as President to find out what happens when the first person tells him to fuck off because 1) they don't really need him, and 2) there are rules to protect civil service employees from retaliation. The Energy Department just told the Trump administration to go pound salt, they're not going to give them a list of people who worked on Climate Change and the social/economic cost of carbon. He'll bluster and bully, but my guess is the next move will be to declare "I am Spartacus" by the employees of the department. A department that he just nominated someone to lead who declared in the previous election they would dismantle. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Tweet of my heart: @Stonekettle You wouldn't let an amateur take the controls of a 747 or perform surgery, but Americans think any random citizen can run government

Double dip: @tannenbaumr "False flag" is devious GOP double-talk for "I'm rubber, you're glue." It's where evidence gets choked to death by agenda and lies. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Third time charm: @scalzi The next few years are going to be a test of character for everyone. You'll find out who you are. So will everyone else. So be the best you.

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