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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

Friday, April 29, 2016

Linkee-poo is a killer queen, gunpowder, gelatine, dynamite with a laser beam, guaranteed to blow your mind

Had checkup today. Apparently I'm still alive. Need to get the 100,000-mile timing-belt change (colonoscopy), and maybe the tires rotated. Also might need new spark plugs. The doctor said, :So for low PSA scores we no longer do digital rectal exams." Never so happy to have scored low on a test in my life. But this old horse is still running.

A chart of toddler vs CEO. So very much this. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

I've always been a numbers guy. Here's 15 interesting mathematics facts. I won't say "coolest" like the headline, because there are many more "cooler" things about numbers. "3. The guy that proved the existence of irrational numbers was murdered for his finding." As well he should have been. (Grokked from George Takei)

Eat less, exercise more. It's this type of article and this type of science that infuriates me. "We tested the myth that exercising more leads to weight loss." I understand this is a common thought in the populace, but none of my doctors have ever said that (except in a "you need to start exercising/moving" manner, which is also the point of the First Lady's "Move" initiative, get them moving first, then start talking about diet because the moving part is the hardest). Eat less, exercise more. There's a lot of cluelessness going on in this article and it's hard to tease out if it's really the scientists or the reporter's angle that leads to this. Eating less will not lead to permanent weight loss (except for extreme restrictions, like Adkins, and then once you get off that diet there is a high degree of rebound weight). Your body will adapt. We've have millions of years of famine to compensate (traits from our non-human ancestors). Exercise alone will not lease to permanent weight loss. We've had millions of years of fight-or-flight responses to compensate. Your body will always compensate, this ignores the other aspects such as not having as much activity because your dieting, or eating more - and resting more - because you're exercising. Your body wants to be fat, it's been the cultural norm for "healthy" throughout human history except for the last 60 years). Fat helps your digestion in the short term, it's also good for the lean times. Fat is a protective mechanism that leads to successful reproduction. Evolution doesn't give a shit if you look good in skinny jeans. Eat less, exercise more. Can you lose more by just dieting? Sure. That's why there is a whole very vocal industry devoted to that proposition (and it makes a ton more than the exercise industry which is why there are more people in it) that is very willing and successful in taking your money. But exercise will increase your basal rate (which this article says it doesn't because the studies it quotes are not really measuring to see the difference here, but only to see the difference in stress exercising, i.e. the increased calorie burn from the actual exercise). Actual exercise burns minimal calories. As you diet your basal metabolism will decrease (because your body is going into famine mode). As you exercise there is a top limit you'll hit (this is where your basal metabolism won't increase any more because you'll damage yourself, which is why the see a "plateau"). And you're body will want to eat more (because one, more calories out and two, you may need it because you might not be able to eat again, or at least digest as the leopard is chasing you). Eat less, exercise more. Moderation. Go extreme in either direction and your body will react in ways most people don't understand (look at Kwashiorkor babies, huge swollen bellies, which are actually their liver storing fat as their bodies consume theirselves, which leads to cirrhosis, which you wouldn't think would happen because Kwashiorkor Syndrome is the result of starvation). Also, while looking at all those charts in the article, notice the time lines. If your study is less than a year, I wouldn't give it much credence. Oh, and any diet will work as will any exercise, as long as you stick to that diet and exercise. Sticktoitiveness is the factor with the highest degree of success. Eat less, exercise more. "The researchers behind the study (that tracked people for longer than a year) found that people who have had success losing weight share a few things in common: They weigh themselves at least once a week. They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. They also exercise regularly." Eat less, exercise more. Also note that for some people, the eat less, exercise more mantra doesn't work, but for most people it does. As you exercise more, and your body becomes more "efficient" (not really, but it's also a good shorthand term) at using calories (and as you lose weight) your basal metabolism will start to lower again (this is why they'll tell you, after a while of exercising, you need to ramp up again). Which kinda sucks. Also note, BMI isn't a measurement of health or ability, it is a very loosely tied metric to total body fat. But it's cheap and easy to measure, which is why it's used. The same thing for the CO2 tests they looked at. (Grokked from Tania)

"In the southeastern Chinese city of Quanzhou, a well-known Buddhist monk named Fu Hou has been mummified and encased in gold leaf." Like you do.

"A new study, which sampled xenon from carbon dioxide-rich mineral spring gas from the volcanic Eifel province in Germany, points to an asteroidal origin for part of the volatile elements trapped in Earth’s mantle—planetary bodies whose remnants now lie between Mars and Jupiter. The mysterious xenon in the atmosphere came from elsewhere, possibly comets." It wasn't me (points at the dog). The world is weirder than you can imagine.

Preppers are still big money. Given the recent numerous conversations about peoples' "fears", it's easy to see why (also, it's easy to see who is driving the market).

To counter my narrative of humans never discovering time travel because we still have Trump, "The Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile superconducting machine designed to smash protons together at close to the speed of light, went offline last night. Engineers investigating the mishap found the charred remains of a furry creature near a gnawed-through power cable." Well done future masters of Earth, who appear as weasels. Well done. Skynet has been averted. "Although they had not conducted a thorough analysis of the remains, Marsollier says they believe the creature was 'a weasel, probably.'" As they want us to believe. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"'I think when Donald Trump debates Hillary Clinton she’s going to go down like Monica Lewinsky,' (Chairman of the Broward County GOP Executive Committee Bob)Sutton told the Post." What the fuck?! Seriously, WTF?! I would say he's an ignorant hick who doesn't know exactly what he's saying, but I'm pretty sure he does. This is what happens as you throw poorly thought out metaphors together with an attempt to tar the other person with a past event. Your mouth runs faster than your conscious brain can keep up. Your unconscious brain, however, is perfectly fine with it.

"If we can’t puncture some of the mythology around austerity, politics or tax cuts or the mythology that’s been built up around the Reagan revolution, where somehow people genuinely think that he slashed government and slashed the deficit and that the recovery was because of all these massive tax cuts, as opposed to a shift in interest-rate policy — if we can’t describe that effectively, then we’re doomed to keep on making more and more mistakes." President Obama on his economic legacy. Short answer, did some great things, didn't fight hard enough for others, missed some opportunities, some people who should know better are pretty whiney.

"Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) acknowledged in a Wednesday radio interview that voter ID laws help elect 'more conservative candidates.'" This is one of the problems of political chicanery like this, people tend to spill the beans before it's too late to reverse the game.

"Establishment Republicans have tried to counter (Trump's) appeal by shouting, with growing hysteria, that he isn’t a true conservative. And they’re right, at least as they define conservatism. But their own voters don’t care." Paul Krugman on what happens when the conned get fed up.

Say, remember the consternation about how protests against the Trumpster at his rallies were stifling his free-speech rights? Yeah, it was bullshit then and it's bullshit now. In Southern California, that anti-rally protest was even more violent than Chicago's, but Trump went on to speak. Funny how someone with the microphone can often speak no matter what the protest.

Tweet of my heart: ‏@mightymur I'm pessimistic in anticipating if Hillary wins, we'll hear a lot of "sexism is dead; there's a woman in the White House. So STFU bitch."

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Linkee-poo was there and saw what you did, saw it with my own two eyes

Brandon Sanderson on being nominated for a Hugo and the S/RP thing. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

But Thomas Mays has already withdrawn from the nomination. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

And the often puppy target John Scalzi has a few thoughts.

Yeah, I'm sure the river near a Australian fracking site was just naturally flammable. Been that way for years. I'm sure the process of fracturing the bedrock in the area had nothing to do with methane leaks in the river. Nothing at all. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Freedom of speech is under attack, but it's by the people who say their freedom of speech is under attack. Trying to out do itself and make more legislation that the country can be pissed at, NC's "Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is proposing that the state's 17-campus public university system create a policy that includes punishments for 'those who interrupt the free expression of others.'" Because free speech means those in power should never have to hear our disdain.

In case you doubted Jim Wright and his post that shared his thoughts on optimism and just exactly where Elon Musk was going, "SpaceX plans to send its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018, the company announced today." Shoot for the Moon, and even if you miss you'll end up among the stars. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

How do you know how much to save for retirement and how to structure the payouts from your 401k? Well, you could think about making sure there are defined beneficiaries in your plan (so if you die before it's all paid out the money will go to someone you want it to) and then plan for the long run. That, of course, means less money to live on. So some people are buying an annuity that kicks in later in life. It's an insurance policy that you'll have money when your money runs out. Of course, these things are not inexpensive.

Using rice husks to make silicon anodes for lithium-ion anodes. Silicon has superior energy storage capabilities, but so far has been more expensive to produce, has some impractical limitations, and doesn't have the cycling capability (the number of times it can be recharged) needed. Silicon nanoparticles, however, do much better.

"…the gravitational field of the sun can focus light. Place a telescope at the focal point of this giant lens and it should become possible to study a distant object in unprecedented detail. But how good would such a lens be; what would it reveal that we couldn’t see with our own telescopes?… Today we get an answer to these questions thanks to the work of Geoffrey Landis at NASA’s John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Landis has analyzed the resolving power of the solar lens and worked out just how good it could be." Wow, Geoff, that's some seriously good stuff. Also, noted for the public, Geoff Landis has done a lot of fantastic science (like floating cities on Venus because breathable air is a lifting gas there, you might remember such an idea from Tobias Buckell, guess who helped him with it) and it's good to see him getting a lot of attention for this paper.

"In an unofficial experiment, Greenman tested scabbed and unscabbed Parma apples, a high-sugar variety native to southwestern Virginia, and found the scarred apples had a 2 to 5 percent higher sugar content than unmarred apples from the same tree. More sugar means a higher alcohol content once fermented, producing a tastier hard cider." Gods but I love science. Also noted in case someone around you says the tired line of "nobody has ever proven organics are better for you." My guess is it isn't just the anti-oxidants that are more plentiful in organic and scarred fruit.

The biases shaping the sharing economy. Or AirBnB while black can lead to not getting a room (or a car from Uber, or…).

White kid in ski mask with fake guns running around a neighborhood, police respond to urgent calls, nobody dies. Why? Well, the police officer said the kid immediately complied with his orders to drop the gun and get on the ground (and the article then goes on to say, "always comply with police orders", thanks). My guess is because "…this took place in a really nice neighborhood", and that had a lot to do with it. Also note, the officer approached on foot, from a distance, not driving up over a curb and over a lawn. Yeah, I think that also helped. You know, like the original officer report in the Tamir Rice case stated they did (which the video shows they absolutely didn't, also note no prosecution for falsifying official reports). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

In other Baltimore "kid with a toy gun" news, police shot the boy. He's expected to make it. Which is good, since they arrested his mother because she asked if he would live. Or for some reason.

A long, but well written article on being caught in the hype. This is very much like working in an art/ad/design studio. You have to have the same mental tricks. "It will be months until I call uncle and quit; it will take almost a year to realize I was gaslighting myself, that I was reading from someone else’s script." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Not like it'll make a bit of difference but, "'And to all those lawmakers out there who are so obsessed with who's using what bathroom and what plumbing they got downtown: Newsflash — you're the weirdos!' (Stephen) Colbert said."

"Prosecutors and legal experts were outraged and angered by a recent Oklahoma court ruling that determined state law doesn’t criminalize forced oral sex with an unconscious or intoxicated victim… 'There is a recognition that social mores have changed, that the law should now try to protect sexual autonomy as opposed to sexual morality,' (assistant district attorney Benjamin) Fu said." Good thing there weren't any activist judges hearing the case or who knows what kind of dystopia we may be living in.

Note to Self's podcast on eye in the sky. On technology developed for the war coming home and finding new applications. In this case, a specific development to help stop bombing in Fallujah coming back to the states to help fight crime. A persistent eye in the sky, that the operators can then rollback the video footage to locate vehicles or people and follow them. The camera isn't good enough to make out details at the level it needs to fly at (after all, you're covering whole cities with 1 camera), but that's a technological fix (I remember an article on the cameras used, they are incredibly good, top-end tech, but their resolution is much greater than their processing capability). So, to solve some crimes are you willing to be watched 24/7?

"Walid Phares, one of Trump's foreign policy advisers, said: 'There will be no details in this speech.'" This just in, water is wet. So, basically, it's just like every other speech the Trumpster has given.

Sure the Trumpster isn't misogynist, he just thinks Hillary is a little shrill when she shouts. I'm sure at the debates he's going to recommend that she "give us a smile."

There are a few things I learned serving on council and writing laws that affect my community, in this case indirectly (which is the best way to learn these lessons). Never introduce a law (or amendment) meant to be ironic, sardonic, or sarcastic, always have the commitment behind your actions. Because if you don't, sometimes you get your ass handed to you. In this case, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) though he was being so smart about offering an amendment to have women register for the draft (because he hates the idea of women in combat, see how those go together?). Oh how the people on the committee would see what a ridiculous idea it was to allow women into combat roles. Except that his amendment passed the committee vote (my guess is it won't pass a full house vote). Because when you confuse a straw-man for real people you expose yourself as an ignoramus.

Tweet of my heart: @HooklandGuide 'The mythic never knows how to be uninterestring.' - C.L. Nolan. #FolkloreThursday

Double dip: @NateSilver538 Take: Trump invalidated a lot of beliefs held by centrist elites about the GOP base, but validated beliefs held by liberal elites about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Linkee-poo prays that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth

Kameron Hurley's storified tweets on the hard truths of publishing. "(Failure) And that's OK. You get up. You write another one. Careers can withstand a failure or two. But not many more than that, & you start over"

I know most of the writing links lately are either Kameron Hurley or grokked from her. The reason for that is she's being open about it, and it's easy to find. I still haven't gotten back into reading my RSS feed (where I have lots of writing sites linked in - yes I do see the irony there). There's just only so many hours in the day. So this is another truth in publishing. I refer to Kameron Hurley because 1) she's good and 2) she's easy for me to find and lots of other people in my feed point to her good stuff when I miss it. There's a lesson in there.

The benign violation theory of humor. Okay, but I've seen some of those "best home video" shows (before I can find the remote to change the channel), and most of what people laugh at isn't benign at all. Or, as Mel Brooks said it, "Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die." Plus, there's this thing when you explain a joke.

"But even with the emphasis on being a tech company, it's still hard to shake that nagging feeling that writers should get paid for their work if advertising is being sold against it… Burns says part of what this $25 million investment is for is to build out the monetization of Odyssey, both for the company itself and for writers." Exposure kills. There's an often repeated piece of writing advice to start writing for radio or "for the love" markets, because the bar to entrance is low and you might get some editing. If you're just starting and can afford to give away your time for free, that might not be a bad way to go. However, those markets typically don't make much money (although radio can). When a market is making money (even if it's still VC), they should pay you. Exposure isn't the same as building a brand/audience. Exposure returns very little. I suggest this path only for those who don't feel they could get all the crappy words out some other way. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Neil Gaiman responds to a letter on the importance of grammar and what it's really all about. Notice I broke one of the "grammar rules" in that last sentence.

Heck, the sad/rabid puppies have even made slashdot. I know people are gnashing their teeth again, and there's some consternation about their movement gaining ground, and I might totally be ignorant of all the politics and whom was on their slate, but the list doesn't look all that bad to me (mostly because, as I understand it, the S/RPs chose some popular works and authors this year, some of whom don't necessarily line up with their own politics or claim affiliation, but were chosen to ensure the "we win" argument won't be as hollow as it was last year). Sure, there are people on there who shouldn't be, but isn't there always (at least to some people)? And there are enough "legit" candidates that I don't think the "no award" will be necessary. (Grokked from Dan)

Science-themed quilts. Makes grabby hands. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Why can't we remember how a bike is constructed? Well, because most people don't engineer bikes (many of them don't even assemble them anymore). Also, this is an example of how your brain takes shorthand for what you see and how the models in our head are more silhouette shapes than technical drawings (requires less storage and processing time). Most people get there are two wheels, a cross frame, handle bars, pedals, and seat, and get the general configuration. People also don't read words by reading the letters, they read words by the shape of the words (more accurately, by the shapes of 2 or 3 words together). (Grokked from Dan)

The AnBot. China's new riot-control, anti-terrorism robot looks a lot like an egg on wheels, or a smooth Dalek. My guess is it doesn't have jump-jets in the base, so, yeah, stairs are going to be a real problem.

"The fact that women can get periods in space was once used as an argument that women shouldn't be astronauts. However, we now know that periods don't impair an astronaut's ability." Something I've thought about while world building. Good to know I got it mostly correct. Weightlessness doesn't affect a woman's flow (it's mostly muscular anyway). (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

New commercial facial recognition technology in Russia makes it easier to harass women. This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

What's it like to go down with the ship. Yeah, I've been there. Think I am there now with the day thing, although the market dynamics of the government being your major customer is slightly different. Lots of ideas, lots of tactics, none really focused on giving the customer what they want, how they want it. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

BoingBoing! is giving away 5 years of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Good news, everybody! "Global emissions have now flattened for a second year in a row, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris. The finding is both encouraging and plausible, given the astounding changes taking place in how the world uses energy." To read the whole thing you need to be a Prime member, which I'm not. But basically it's mostly China's fault.

The Junior Doctors in Britain's NHS are striking, and the ruling class is having a shit-fit over it (hell, I'm surprised it hasn't come up in our domestic debate over Obamacare). "I sympathise a little with (Jeremy) Hunt – he was born into military aristocracy, a cousin of the Queen, went to Charterhouse, then Oxford, then into PR: trying to get him to understand the life of an overworked student nurse is like trying to get an Amazonian tree frog to understand the plot of Blade Runner. Hunt doesn’t understand the need to pay doctors – he’s part of a ruling class that doesn’t understand that the desire to cut someone open and rearrange their internal organs can come from a desire to help others, and not just because of insanity caused by hereditary syphilis." For some reason I'm reminded of this skit by Eddie Izzard, "Hello, what do you do? Oh, you're a plumber, what on Earth is that?" (Grokked form Terri Windling)

So, as politicians and ditto-heads deride Common Core, how's our current educational standards doing? About the same as before. "According to research… just under 40 percent of students score at college and career ready levels on NAEP… While overall results are barely changed, it seems that the nation's struggling students in particular are doing slightly worse than they were two years ago, while higher achievers are doing slightly better." Have I ever mentioned that while professors at colleges hate the level of zero-level courses (aka "remedial") their students have to take, college administrators love them, because most grant programs won't pay for them and students must pony up the cash.

"Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old dynamo who danced with President Obama but couldn’t obtain a District photo ID, can get one now, thanks to a new regulation announced Tuesday by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser." Well, at least someone in government knows what their job is (waits for Congress to overrule the new regulation).

And in another example of Alabama leading this country (down the drain), Oxford, Alabama, passes a law that makes it a crime to use a public restroom assigned to a sex different from that on your birth certificate. Good luck enforcing that one. Well, I guess it'll be easy when the only public restroom left will be that in the town hall or police station. I can't see any way this could be abused or misused by public servants (expects the bathroom channel feed to go live in 3… 2… 1…) (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Linkee-poo says it's your birthday, it's my birthday too

Ann Leckie on omniscient POV. One POV to rule them all, one POV to bind them, one POV to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. That's a response to how she talks about limited 3rd and a commentary on it's preponderance in SF/F. But limited 3rd is the same advice as "verbs in past tense." There are great examples that break those rules, but much of what you'll read fits into those categories. This is sort of why here in the US we like to read text with serifs (although that's changing) whereas in Europe they like sans serif. Why? It's nothing more than how they've been trained to read and what they read the most of. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

Mary Robinette Kowal announce the next Writing Excuses Workshop/Cruise.

Rampant Islamaphobia, it's not just for mosques or no-fly-lists. In this case several communities are opposing Muslim cemeteries.

A robot joins an ad agency as an art/creative director. Well, it's about as useful as most ADs I've worked under, which "Its one arm is being programmed to write out briefs in Japanese calligraphy – typical of a creative director to write out directions and leave the rest of the work to younger employees, he says." Copy to fit. Note that it doesn't come up with a creative solution, it's just aggregating aspects of winning campaigns. If you can't do that as a first year junior designer you might need to rethink your career choices.

You know the Right-to-Life people try to portray themselves as reasonable? In Oklahoma they're about to pass a law that makes it illegal to renew the license of a doctor who performs an abortion. No, these people are not reasonable and they are waging a war against women.

And the Bundy's legal defense boils down to, "Well, actually…" Sigh. It's one thing to use that argument style on Twitter, Facebook or blogs, but I have a feeling in Federal Court that'll lead to a pretty quick spike by the prosecution. Although it may lead to leniency, after all we try to accommodate for the mentally challenged.

"Apparently about a third of Americans are sleep-deprived. And their employers are probably paying for it, in the form of mistakes, productivity loss, accidents and increased health insurance costs." I so have all the feels for this.

So how's that new "proof of citizenship required to vote" initiative going? Seems like everything is going according to plan (which means "badly").

Remember that 107-year-old grandma who danced with the Obamas? Apparently she's unable to get a replacement photo ID that would allow her to travel (and in some places, vote). (Grokked from TPM)

And former Sen. Jim Webb places himself off the list of VP potentials. Yes, ignorance and racism aren't really confined to one party, it's just a preponderance.

So, Tom Delay (among others) thinks the court should be lenient on Denny Hastert because "he's a good guy." You know, except for those times he sexually abused boys in his charge (note here there are more allegations than the several people who he has paid hush money to, like setting up a chair to watch the boys shower and pee). You remember Tom Delay, he's the former House GOP Leader who was found guilty of money laundering to avoid campaign finance rules (later his conviction was overturned by the Texas Supreme Court, that bastion of non-partisan legal jurisprudence). Ah, the company you keep.

Dr. Carson says, "Let us not disgrace Harriet Tubman by symbolically linking her with a nearly bankrupt instrument of slavery and debt." Just how mind-fucked do you need to be to think these thoughts?

Opps. So, after publicly declaring that Cruz should take Indiana and Kasich will take New Mexico and Oregon, in Oregon the state sent out a pamphlet for voters that "includes Kasich's name among the 2016 GOP hopefuls in the table of contents but notes he chose not to submit a statement." And these people want to run our country. That's just fucking brilliant.

Tweet of my heart: @DelilahSDawson Querying writers, a reminder: No matter how great your query and story, that literary agent is gonna Google you. So don't be a shitlord.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Linkee-poo and Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones

What makes a good writing day. With pictures of loverly writing places.

The stories we tell ourselves. On the meta-narrative, literary study, and the way stories have worked and changed within the culture. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner, I think)

Quotes from the Arthur C Clarke Award Judges as they developed the short list. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

A map of world mythologies. (Grokked from Christopher Cornell)

Unscrupulous fucks are gaming the Amazon Kindle Unlimited game? Shocked, shocked I am to find out gambling is going on here. Buy my book to find out how shocked I am. Although I now have a new favorite term, "Crapflooding scammers". (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

Twenty-five smiling animals. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Researchers accidentally discover how to make rechargeable batteries last 400 times longer. The major questions are, will this work with other conductors than gold nanotubes (which are boku expensive) and can they make it into a production friendly process. (Grokked from John)

"Rocks on the surface of Mars have yielded the best clue yet that the planet once had an atmosphere rich in oxygen." Or, why we go there. Oh, and yes, that's more evidence that Mars once hosted life.

On the well-labeled hotel. Oh my yes. You can call it UI (user interface), or wayfinding (a designer term), but whatever you call it if your executive team can't walk into a hotel room and figure out the lighting scheme with the switches available, how the faucets work, how the tub works, how to plug something in on the table next to the beds (and think of having room for wallwart plugs, not just thin two prong plugs), how to adjust the heating/cooling without a briefing, then you need to change it. If your kid can't figure out where your checkin desk is, where the bathrooms are, and where the pool is without you walking them there, you need to change your layout. Seriously people, stop pissing off your guests. Oh, and maybe have a weekly or monthly check to make sure everything is working well. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"But the ad omits something that most consumers would like to know: There are many older and cheaper treatments that are just as effective." Why consumer advertising for drugs is a really bad idea. But that genie is out of the bottle. So here is a proposal to mandate actual data be given to patients so they can effectively and realistically understand the potential benefits. Yeah, doubt that's going to happen either. "Drug companies have little incentive to make these comparisons. Why? Because a vast majority of 'new' drugs are really not new at all; instead, they are minor tweaks and modifications of older drugs, and therefore unlikely to substantially outperform them." Just keep that part in mind when Pharma rolls out the aging argument of "how costly it is to bring a new treatment to market." Not so much.

In what I'm sure will be the next case of "Christian Persecution" in the US, the scam of Pastoral Medicine credentials. Well, I guess if they have a Bible on their desk that makes it all okay.

In what had been a poorly held secret, the concrete "sarcophagus" over Chernobyl Reactor 4 is deteriorating. It was, after all, hastily thrown up by Soviet Era engineers who had no time to actually design the thing let alone oversee construction. The new hull/superstructure that will go over it is almost ready to be shipped. If the sarcophagus fails before it's covered, the resulting release of radioactive dust is estimated to be 3x that of the original explosion (which was mostly directed upward). When it fails under the new superstructure, it's hoped that the vast majority of dust and debris will be contained and any leaks will only recontaminate the local area (which is already off limits). (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

"The death of a (Flint) Water Treatment Plant foreman, who was found dead at his home on April 16 by a friend who went to visit him, comes amid charges against three men involved in the city's water crisis." Bodies are piling up. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Turns out there might be a drug connection on those 8 people shot in Ohio. Yeah, I'm shocked. Not.

So, could you meet an unexpected $400 bill? On what is middle-class, and how most of us aren't in it (even if we think we are).

And on that note, "This idea, that sprinkling more dollars over troubled schools won't magically improve test scores or graduation rates, is a common refrain among many politicians, activists and experts. And they have research to back it up." Or, rich people don't think spending more money on poor people is really going to help and because schools aren't able to instantly turn around their districts with more money, well, that's a reason to say the experiment is a failure. Not how real life works. Education is a generational issue. If you want to see if more money will help, you need to fund schools for at least 2 classes (k-12, which would mean 26 years) before making that conclusion. Also, just because one school district spends more per student than the next doesn't mean the money is going to the same place. Such as, in richer districts, most students won't need subsidized meals, where as in poorer districts more students would need those meals (and might need more than just lunch during the week). Want another example? Okay, a local school district in my area raises money to send their kids to Mock UN and other events. At the school where I live, we raise money to buy kids underwear. And we suffer from the problem the NC schools in the article do, because our kids are considered "poor country kids" our school really doesn't challenge them to be better.

In the not-to-distant past, governments would give (or heavily subsidize the production of) bread to its citizen, forming the first half of the "Bread and Circuses" form of distracting people from their crushing poverty. So it's really not all that much of a stretch to just give people money. In this case they're calling it a "universal basic income." The Swiss are about to vote on a referendum on a domestic plan, and there is a plan to experiment with this in Africa (to see what really would happen if you had a long-term plan in place). So basically you'd roll back most other social welfare programs and give everyone a similar amount of money (regardless of income or employment status). It really isn't against our values as Americans (except for the legacy of Reagan, which continues to screw us over even 4 decades removed). And we already have a form of it in the Earned Income Tax Tax Credit. And while it would be political suicide to try it now in the US, this would actually be a "rising tide that lifts all boats," just not a "market solutions" based one. It's also a way to solve the problem of what do we do when all our jobs are taken by robots. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

Even Chris Wallace see that the various bathroom bills "seems to be a solution in search of a problem."

The Cruz campaign tries to relaunch their candidate as human. Good luck with that.

So, that Trump aid that let the GOP elite know that Trump would be changing… he's now backpedaling as fast as he can. Kinda hard to take his words out of context when we have the tape. I think what he meant to say was that wasn't for general consumption. Because the Trumpster hasn't sown up the nomination, yet.

Well someone finally pays the price for disenfranchising voters and intentionally making the voting process confusing. Unfortunately it's in Brooklyn, NY and not in the many Southern States who have done similar things.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Linkee-poo, so when u call up that shrink in Beverly Hills, u know the one, Dr Everything'll-Be-Alright

I've tried to tell my wife this, mosquitoes really are more attracted to some people. It's my sweet, New Jersey blood they're homing in on. (Grokked from George Takei)

The NIH is refocusing on patient safety. In the past year several research programs were halted (including, I believe, the research program Jay Lake was involved in), not because they weren't producing promising results, but because safety and sanitary protocols were being skipped or overlooked in the rush to bring in the results and data. This is what happens when sterilization is considered someone else's problem (often relegated to a career officer who isn't involved in the "sexy" research). In health care, keeping the patient safe if everyone's job. As a Rad Tech, I am constantly cleaning equipment and washing my hands and we all know it's not enough. One of our fears is to have an infection traced back to us (which when patients get sick in the hospital, yes they do investigate to find out where the protocols broke down).

How the Em Drive may actually work. "At very small accelerations, the wavelengths become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe. When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next. In other words, inertia must quantized at small accelerations… McCulloch’s theory could help to change (scientist being wary against trusting things they don't have a plausible explanation for), although it is hardly a mainstream idea. It makes two challenging assumptions. The first is that photons have inertial mass. The second is that the speed of light must change within the cavity." I, uh, fuck my brain hurts. (Grokked from Dan)

The woman leading the lawsuit over lead in Flint's water is found shot to death in her home. I really want this to not be about what that connection makes it appear to be about. Well, really I want the women to be alive. But that kind of coincidence raises the hackles, if you know what I mean.

Suicide rates are on the rise in the US. Especially among girls between 10 and 14. In most of my shifts at the hospital we have at least 1 bed taken by someone who either tried or checked in before attempting suicide. One night we had 4. It is still my belief that a great many of the overdose cases we see are not accidental, although we don't list them as suicides.

As it will come up sometime this year (because it always does in an election year), when your conservative friends talk about how the ACLU is a tool of the left, ask them why, then, are they defending a man who is being fined for flying Trump-Make America Great Again flags? Some might have a convoluted conspiracy theory set up, but most won't even believe you.

Western NY wants to be like Southern California. "The study's authors say the mild temperatures might be one reason some people aren't so worried about climate change." Here in the US, out Summer temps haven't gotten too hot (for the most part, note, offer may not be valid for the south which has been hit by heat wave after heat wave), and it's mostly the Winters which have become "milder." People think this is a good thing because they aren't seeing the hit in food prices that are coming, nor are they seeing a connection to their water quality from lower snowpack levels. It'll catch up to us, don't worry. Unfortunately then it will be too late. There is no Command-Z for climate.

"During a talk at a Greenville Spartanburg Republican Women meeting April 7, Wright called the NAACP and Ku Klux Klan racist groups. He was responding to a question about the Ferguson, Mo., officer-involved shooting." I blame it mostly on white ignorance of what racism really is. That is, on it's basic level both groups have a racial focus, it's just ignorance to believe a group dedicated to expanding freedoms and opportunities from a privileged class to others is equal to an organization that is dedicated to keeping other races repressed to continue their own unearned privilege. It's not the sheriff's only example of ignorance in that article. (Grokked from TPM)

National Security Letters, now less harmful to your Constitutional rights. Because after three years, the FBI is supposed to review the case and see if you can be told that the government was interested in your data. Maybe. If it no longer matters. (Grokked from John)

On the Trumpster campaign, "In a recording of the meeting with Republican National Committee members obtained by AP, senior Trump aide Paul Manafort said Trump would start to reveal 'the real person' behind his outlandish stage presence… While some committee officials welcomed the revelation, others said it raised concerns about Trump’s authenticity as a candidate, AP reported." You know, these new politicians are really bad at their jobs. This is Trump's "etch-a-sketch" line. Yes, we all expected a "shift to the center" and this "leak" is intended to signal to everybody who thinks the Trump Campaign is a dumpster fire that it's all been an act, and the Real Trump will be coming out now. So, let me put this bluntly, either he lied then, or he will lie now, but in any case he will be lying to get votes. To the Trumpster's base who wanted someone who will "shake everything up," you're about to be taken for a ride, again. Just like you've been taken for a ride since Reagan. And to the other people who may be swayed by this new face, I want you to compare this to everything you know about Trump since he entered the public stage in the late 70s, including his stint as a reality TV show host. And then think, this is just another mask he's putting on. No, the Trumpster really is like what he's been portraying himself as these past nine months. He's a mook, he just had a lot of money from Daddy. He is the self-centered supremacist that he's come off as.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Linkee-poo your eyes are blue like the heavens above, talk to me darlin' with a message of love

There is news that Dr. Phil (the real one) Kaldon has passed. I'm kinda in shock. His health wasn't good lately but it looked like he was getting through it. Dr. Phil made it to the Writer's of the Future anthology oh which he was very proud. And his short story in Apex and Abyss, Hail to the Victors. I always expected to see him again. He was an exceptionally kind and supportive person, always generous. I'm going to miss him.

So, Harriet Tubman on the $20. S'okay. Stands by for the battle of the documentaries (can't wait to see how people justify Andy Jackson's legacy). They have always fought.

Celebrating the change of seasons in the UK. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

The tradition of the hobby-horse. Note, correct for many definitions of "horse". (Grokked from Terri Windling)

NASA live feed from the ISS goes down as horseshoe-shaped UFO appears. Um, yeah, Bob. (Grokked from John)

Somebody going to emergency. Somebody's going to jail. "Three people — two officials with the state Department of Environmental Quality and a water official from Flint — are facing criminal charges as a result of an investigation into the lead-contaminated water case in Flint."

What do conservatives do when the magical rabbit doesn't appear after they enact their agenda? Why, they say it wasn't their's after all, and cut and run. In Kansas, in the face of a crumbling economy and plunging state revenues after Gov. Brownback pushes through his tax cuts for the rich, the Republican run legislature (that helped pass the tax cuts in the first place) says it's all the governors fault and he needs to figure out how to pay for the government because they're not going to cut the budget one iota. Also note what they've cut so far; education, payments for pensions (say, how do these pensions get underfunded in the first place?), and moving money for infrastructure repairs to other departments. Because all of those always work out well in the end (with stupid citizens who can't compete in the world market, having to "cut" pensions after people have retired throwing them into poverty after breaking your promises, and crumbling roads and bridges). And how have they tried to fill the budget chasm? They raised the sales and cigarette tax, which disproportionately affects the poor.

Because more guns are always better. Man is shot while videoing people using illegal firing range.

Suicides in Greenland and the communities, friends, and government's attempts to help.

The Hidden Brain podcast on Losing Alaska (why humans have difficulty accepting climate change).

Remember the San Bernardino iPhone that the FBI just had to get into? Turns out there wasn't any there there. (Grokked from Xeni)

Yougov.com poll shows "over of quarter of under-30s enjoy riling people up online." Damn millennials. Why in my day we'd just piss off our parents. But I guess when you live in their basement, that's not a winning strategy. (Did I make BINGO for someone?) (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Ricky Diaz, a spokesman for (NC Gov.) McCrory's gubernatorial campaign, wrote in a statement obtained by The Carolina Mercury that 'it is the height of hypocrisy for these Hollywood elitists to deny their service to customers over a political disagreement.'" I'm confused. Isn't there a law in NC that says if you have a deeply held conviction against providing services to certain people that you are allowed to?

"The consequence was a shift in liberalism's center of intellectual gravity. A movement once fleshed out in union halls and little magazines shifted into universities and major press, from the center of the country to its cities and elite enclaves. Minority voters remained, but bereft of the material and social capital required to dominate elite decision-making, they were largely excluded from an agenda driven by the new Democratic core: the educated, the coastal, and the professional." On the smug liberal ideology. Not sure I entirely agree, but I can see their point. What I think is mostly their point is that political discourse in this country has gone from standing up and mobilizing people to solve problems to the hashtag culture and pithy memes shared on Facebook that only are seen by the like minded. And with that I agree, even as I am a willing participant in it. But there is a difference between writing an open letter and going to a politician's office or stump speech and shout back or try to make the reasoned argument to the other side. In the hyper-polarized field we find ourselves on, taunting becomes our only option. And I will agree the Democratic Party has gone from the more productive "This is out position, this is why it's our position, and this is what we propose to do about it" to "you agree with us, right?" And in that rarified atmosphere of assumptions, our political body is dying from asphyxiation. But there is a part of this article that is based on "blaming the victim." Some of this is a direct response to the politics of Newt Gingrich and the GOPAC memo and Frank Luntz which forced Democrats into the defensive posture they've been in since the mid 90s. However, "The wages of smug is Trump," and that should send alarm bells ringing through the DNC. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"Donald Trump Jr. gave a scathing critique of the Republican presidential nominating process and the way delegates are assigned in a radio interview Monday, at one point comparing it to living in 'communist China.'" And that is really all you need to know to grasp the modern conservative mindset.

"Ohio Gov. John Kasich, normally known for his even-keeled demeanor, lost his temper Saturday when asked how he could keep saying he could win against Democrat Hillary Clinton if he’s only won his home state’s primary… The governor then snatched the reporter’s voice recorder out of his hand to ask 'What do you think?'" See, he can only keep up the pretense for so long, as we in Ohio know all to well.

"(Rep. Pete) King said… 'I think I'll take cyanide if (Cruz) got the nomination. I think you'll see Donald Trump scoring a big victory tonight. I did not endorse Donald Trump.'" Is there a charity set up to help this poor man get cyanide. I'll support it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Linkee-poo, it ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no

"The Authors Guild has been trying to get a court to shut down Google's book-scanning/book-search program for more than a decade… Today, the Supreme Court settled the question forever, by declining to hear the Authors Guild's appeal." Google Books is here to stay.

"In keeping with its ambition to become the world’s most open institution of its kind, the British Library has released over a million public domain illustrations and other images to the public through Flickr for anyone to reuse, remix or repurpose." I'll be in my bunk. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

There are two ways to respond when you're internet/crowd-sourcing naming event goes awry. The first is to graciously accept you were an idiot for even opening it up to the internet and accept your fate, and then there is the wrong way. So, no HMS Boaty McBoatface, eh? Well people will still call her that. Well I guess you could always call it the HMS Stephen Colbert.

It's easy, once you know how. "Human skin may be the ultimate multitasker… It’s no wonder, then, that it’s been tricky and expensive for scientists to create a direct analog for the stuff… But those scientists weren’t Muhammad Mustafa Hussain (who's) team just developed a dirt-cheap 'smart skin' that can multitask like the real thing, and they did it with household goods, such as Post-It notes, aluminum foil and tape." Note, while the "skin" is inexpensive there's no cost of what it would be to hook it up to the neural system or provide a processor for robotics. (Grokked from John)

Ohio man shoots up own home, jumps out second story window to run to neighbors to call 911. All because he thought there were burglars in his home. I'm sure the pot and other drug paraphernalia had nothing to do with it. Wow, Warren is just down the road. And, yeah, this doesn't surprise me at all. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Why did the FAA take so long to come up with rules for commercial drones and why are they so restrictive? "British police are investigating what could be the first known case of a drone colliding with a passenger aircraft, after a pilot told authorities that he believed his jet hit a drone as it flew into Heathrow Airport from Geneva Sunday." Yeah, that's why.

Solar roadways get a little more closer to real. (Grokked from John)

In case you doubted that McDonald's wants to kill you, but take your money first, a new store in Missouri is about to offer "endless fries" (as well as major customization on the sandwiches). (Grokked from John)

Tennessee lawmaker realizes that her "bathroom bill" would be disastrous, but can't come to tell her constituents that they're wrong. So they punt and say they'll introduce the legislation later. You know, like after the elections. Because they think the uproar will go away then.

"Rep. Steve King (R-IA) scolded pro-immigration activists on Monday for yelling over him as he spoke outside of the Supreme Court Building, asking them if they were 'an example of the America we can expect' if the high court accepts President Obama's executive actions immigration." Or in other words, "Gee, why won't these people I've railed against using my megaphone be quiet so I can continue to rail against them?" Fuck you, Rep. Steve King.

Donald Trump supporters take their little-red ball and go home. Or in this case, storm out of a party meeting in Georgia where most of the delegates up for grabs went to Cruz (even though the Trumpster won most of the delegates available in the primary election) and on the way out they grabbed the American Flag. Oh, it's going to be a fun summer in Cleveland.

"Live-streaming of alleged rape shows challenges of flagging video in real time." One, he was 29, she was 17 and can be heard saying "no, stop", I think we can dispense with the "alleged" part here. Two, no, that's not the real lesson we should take from this. Instead we should look at just how broken our society really is in that rape is so accepted that it's become part of our lives and that the disfunctionality on display here is normal, when it shouldn't be.

"Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Thursday blasted what he called the 'Yes Means Yes movement,' because it meant that men could be accused of assault if they touched women without permission." In other news, misogynistic old men are misogynistic. And yes, men, even to hold a woman's hand you should probably get some buy-in from the woman first. (Grokked from Emma Audsley)

Story Bone

You wore me like a knife.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Linkee-poo works in the grocery store, saving his pennies for some day

Pro writers respond with the three things that helped them become writers. Besides "skill." Note the commonalities. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"And there are two hypotheses to why notetaking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, 'the processing that occurs' will improve 'learning and retention.' The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people." A good look at why taking notes by hand is more beneficial than typing notes. What is missed is that typing notes doesn't provide an extra avenue to learning, whereas physically forming the words by writing (drawing the letters) you create an additional path to that knowledge. You have a physical memory of writing and when you read your notes, you refresh all of those memories.

"The international Cassini spacecraft has detected the faint but distinct signature of dust coming from outside our Solar System." Bwa?! Damnit, it's not like I don't have enough to vacuum already. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

Want to know how little we really understand about our food and our bodies? "A new study finds the the dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against Type 2 diabetes… And there's some evidence that dairy fat may help adults manage weight as well." And then they go on to say "Researchers can't fully explain these counter-intuitive findings." That's because we think we know things that we really don't. Our relationship with food is quite complex, but we have only a simplest understanding of it. We think we understand calories; carbs, fats and proteins, but there's a whole lot more to food that those (of which we lump most of rest in "flavonoids"). This is one of the reasons I'm highly suspicious of GMO foods. We really don't know how food works, but we're going to mess with it (note famous blunders like the introduction of corn to the European market or the more recent eggs and cholesterol research).

Sure, we don't need the Voting Rights Act to make sure that minority and low-income voters aren't disenfranchised. Because that would never happen.

"The legislation currently under consideration in the Republican-led Senate would cut in half a monthly housing allowance for veterans’ children who attend college on their parents’ GI bill." Fuckers. Pointed to just in case you believe the line about conservatives loving our soldiers.

Why school funding in this country is so screwed up. The short answer is we rely on local property taxes. So look at the first part of that story, one system spends $9,794 per student and the other $28,639, the national average is $11,841.What that means is more schools are spending closer to that bottom figure than those who are spending at the top. Conservatives call the deficit immoral because we're burdening our progeny with our debt, but what we're actually doing to the next generation is way worse. We aren't giving them the tools to actually succeed.

Part of the reason China claims most of the South China Sea, fishing rights.

"The ability to intercept (anyone's) cellphone calls through the SS7 network is an open secret among the world’s intelligence agencies — including ours — and they don’t necessarily want that hole plugged." Your government at work. (Grokked from Dan)

"The Pentagon misled Congress with inaccurate and vague information about sexual assault cases that portrayed civilian law enforcement officials as less willing than military commanders to punish sex offenders, an Associated Press investigation found." This is my shocked face.

What will be very interesting for this election cycle, is there has never been contested political convention in the age of the internet, 24/7 news cycle, and social media. So what had been back (smoke filled) room maneuvering is now out in the open. I wonder what this will do to those machinations.

"This isn't some back-in-the-day, old-folks-exaggerating type of story… the marsh of Louisiana's fragile coast is disappearing at a mind-blowing rate… A football field of land, on average, falls into the Gulf each hour." I'm sure it'll be okay. "Shortsighted government officials have strangled the Mississippi River with so many dams and levees that it doesn't deliver the soil that's needed to rebuild the marshes… Oil and gas canals and pipelines, meanwhile, have carved up what's left of the marsh… And global warming is delivering the knockout punch… Because as the marsh crumbles, the seas also are rising." I know, let's dredge up sand and rebuild, because that'll work. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Just in case you don't think Ted Cruz is a delusional whackaloon, he thinks he's have a productive relationship with Congress. You know, the place where people hate him. As in gone on TV shows to say how much they hate him. "Just four of Cruz's colleagues in the Senate have endorsed his presidential bid, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who once joked that the Texas senator could be killed on the floor of the Senate and nobody would be convicted." That place.

Reading the tea leaves on the electorate. And as an added spice, some consternation for what it means in the general. Note that almost any polling at this point means actually diddly for the general election.

NC Gov. Pat McCrory is confused and bewildered by this late 20th century life he finds himself living in. See, it wasn't the NC State Law that stripped protections from LGBT people that was bad, it was the city of Charlotte that passed a law that would enforce protections for them that was in the wrong. Also the "Human Rights Campaign" isn't playing fair. "'They are putting on a lot of pressure, instead of having good dialogue,' McCrory said." Dear Gov. McCrory, you're an idiot and an asshole. I feel sorry for the people who live in NC who will suffer the economic ramifications of your ignorant and homophobic ideology. The South is about to be left behind, again.

The House GOP is going to come up with their Obamacare replacement Any Time Now. "'Give us a little time, another month or so,' House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) told reporters…" Yeah, Fred, sure. You take as long as you need to. In the mean time, we have a working solution. It would be nice if you all were adult and we could fix some of the problems with it, but you keep puttering in your shed. I'm sure you'll get it done. Sometime. Maybe.

Dear Texas, just fucking go, already. You're like the libertarians always threatening to "Go Gault." Just do it. You're a drain on the national economy, and other states would love to have your military bases and wouldn't freak about Jade Helm. Just go. What would happen if they succeeded from the Union, and the rest of us just didn't care enough to try and bring them back in?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Linkee-poo will promise you more than the Garden of Eden, then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding

Ancient mass grave of 80 men, most with their hands bound in irons, uncovered in Athens. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

So don't become some background noise, a backdrop for the girls and boys who just don't know, or just don't care, and just complain when you're not there. You had your time, you had the power. You've yet to have your finest hour. Radio. iHeartRadio is circling the drain, CBS Radio is already in it, and Cumulus could also be headed down. I'm sure over-saturation with little differentiation (in my market, there are 3 stations that are within a 10 minute rotation of each other, so if I like a song, I can tune to the next station and hear it again). Also there is very little local market appeal (like there used to be). Much of commercial radio is programmed out of central offices while sharing talent and syndicating many shows that fill the hours. (Insert Old Man Rambling here) When I was a kid, you could call the station (local call) and talk with the DJ that was spinning the records you were listening to. I'm also sure that the business practice of leveraging the shit out of your company to reward the stakeholders (instead of building the product) wasn't involved here. Not at all. (Grokked from Dan)

"For the sixth month in a row, we’ve had a month that has broken the global high temperature record. And not just broken it, but shattered it, blasting through it like the previous record wasn’t even there." I'm sure it'll be fine. Welcome to the hockey stick. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Researchers have found a ‘striking’ new side effect from eating fast food… A few hours after publication, (the researcher) called to say that in reading her quote she felt… 'alarming' was too strong a word… Rather, she said 'striking' was more appropriate, because it conveys the magnitude of the findings without assigning a sense of urgency." And that's part of the problem. Also note, it's not just "fast food" by "highly processed food". (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"County officials across Mississippi are warning of job losses and deep deficits as local jails are being deprived of the state inmates needed to keep them afloat. The culprit, say local officials, is state government and private prisons, which are looking to boost their own revenue as sentencing and drug-policy reforms are sending fewer bodies into the correctional system." Hey, maybe this whole "privatize prisons" idea wasn't so hot after all. That and pushing responsibilities for state function down to the local level, yeah, that might not have been so wise either. Say, what is it called when someone derives an economic benefit off the backs of laborers in chains? (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"Sarah Palin went on a bizarre tear against Bill Nye’s qualifications to speak about climate change during an event Thursday on Capitol Hill, claiming that Nye 'is as much a scientist as I am.'" I googled "Dunning-Kruger" and it just came back with pictures of Sarah Palin. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Because that terrible future doesn’t ask one damned thing of us today." Jim Wright on optimism and selling our future for meager scraps.

SETI "Wow" signal may have an explanation. Hydrogen gas surrounding periodic comets. Yeah, that sounds a little "light from Venus refracted through swamp gas" to me, but it could be an explanation. (Grokked from Dan)

Neo-liberalism is blamed for all our ills in this Guardian article sounds an awful lot like Conservatism mixed with Libertarianism. But note the term was coined before the flip in political ideology (which, if you've argued on the internet before, you will note many people arguing the conservative ideology will say, "but the original definition of (the word) means (the exact opposite of what it does now)"). (Grokked from Robert J Bennet)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Linkee-poo wears my sunglasses at night so I can keep track of the visions in my eyes

Terri Windling on how every illness is narrative.

The 2016 Book Publishing Paths. I haven't had time to thoroughly read this, yet. But it might be good for you. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

Need some help with your book? Saladin Ahmed has some open critiquing slots.

Calling Dr. Langdon, the Vatican is digitizing their library. I'll be in my bunk. The Vatican wants you to know they're using cookies? Um, okay? That's going to make confession a little more interesting. And they have a pretty obnoxious watermarking scheme. They also seem to think everyone uses a laptop. So, you can take the Vatican out of the 14th Century… (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

A Consumer Reports article on making sure your 401k is working for you. Because I had a discussion last night we people at the hospital. Know the fees your funds are charging you, just a little difference could mount up quickly robbing you of a good retirement.

"This is a story we are all being fed. A story about overalls, rich soil and John Deere tractors scattering broods of busy chickens. A story about healthy animals living happy lives, heirloom tomatoes hanging heavy and earnest artisans rolling wheels of cheese into aging caves nearby… More often than not, those things are fairy tales." Farm-to-table restaurants are selling a fiction. In fact, most of what you think about food product is probably incorrect as well. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Solar Impulse 2 is about to resume its flight around the world using only solar energy.

Think you're having a bad day? Did you accidentally reply all when making a snarky comment to a friend? Did you forget to backup before removing files? Okay, take heart, at least you didn't delete your entire company's data (web hosting, so it deleted all 1000+ client's websites), including backups, with one line of code. (Grokked from John)

"Researchers have long known that there are rare people who stay healthy despite profound genetic defects. Friend and his colleagues decided to systematically identify such individuals." Is that you, Professor X?

As I've said, it's like a pogrom. (Yes, I've been spelling it wrong before this, I is a righter)

Jim Wright's 12th installment of Bang, Bang, Crazy (wherein I'm tangentially name checked). Sometime when I see Jim has a live one on the end of a twitter line, I like to jump in. He usually attracts the best trollage. It's a bad habit, I admit it. This guy was a wet noodle that if there were a national database as he proposed (and then backed away from when Jim made it more real for him), I'd have reported him to it.

Trump's campaign manager won't be prosecuted for battery. An article that shows much of what is wrong in the system and how perceptions leave us in a world of make-believe. First, just because he won't be prosecuted doesn't mean he's innocent. Also, violence against women is often accepted in our culture (she had visible bruising on her arm but the prosecutors don't believe he meant it to be "caustic" touch).

"In a Friday morning memo, the Republican National Committee reminded the presidential candidates that the rules for the presidential primary and delegate selection were set in October." :: cough :: Rule 40 :: cough :: Plus there is some delicious irony in the RNC having consternation about "voters" (delegates) for their national convention considering all the work they've done to disenfranchise potential Democratic voters over the last 8 years. I say we make them show ID.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Linkee-poo, everybody got to elevate from the norm, everybody got to deviate from the norm

William S Burrough's lectures on creative reading and writing. (Grokked from Mrs Tadd)

Inky makes a break for it. No word if the octopus took Nemo with him.

Not all financial literacy education is effective. Oh my, yes.

In the UK, solar begins to surpass coal for electrical production. As the article states, it's largely symbolic as both supply less than 10% of the UK's electrical load, but interesting none the less. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

And today is misogyny, "One of Harvard University’s 'final clubs'—an undergraduate secret society—has broken a 225-year public silence to argue that admitting female members would likely increase sexual assaults." Well, that's one reason to ban the fuckers. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The stories we tell ourselves. In this case, the story China has been telling itself for almost a hundred-years about the South Chinese Sea. Note, China sees most of SE Asia as traditionally parts of China.

Okay, everybody, let's not freak the fuck out here. "The incident began Monday with a pair of Russian Su-24 planes making 20 close passes over the Cook, coming as close as 1,000 yards at an altitude of about 100 feet, according to a U.S. defense official." The captain and crew of the USS Donald Cook kept their heads (as naval people tend to do) and attempted to contact the aircraft (in total 4 Su-24 Fencers and one heavy helicopter) to warn them off. While the aircraft came closer than normal, this used to be old hat during the Cold War. It's a way for Russia to say it didn't like us conducting flight operations 70 nautical miles off Kaliningrad (home of Russia's Baltic Fleet). So, yes they were close, but so were we (even if it's international waters). There are many problems here, though. What if one of the Russian pilots misjudges distance or course of the ship and clips it? What if one of our people lose their cool and illuminate the Russian craft with targeting radar? While weapon's systems have a lot of safeties built in to prevent accidental firings, they're also designed to be easy to intentionally fire.

Missouri is up next in the "we've got to protect religious freedom to deny rights to teh gays" bill parade (see, I told you it was a progrom that has a severe successions vibe). Sixty businesses join together to oppose that law. See, unlike Mississippi, Missouri has businesses that can apply economic force.

How much and just whom is helping developing countries more? "Developing countries got $131 billion in official aid in 2015… And they got $431.6 billion in remittances — money sent home by migrants who are working abroad." And now you know why xenophobic politicians like the Trumpster say they're going to stop that. Because they haven't a clue as to real economics and don't give a shit about anyone else.

And proving the adage that "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one", an Ohio newspaper publisher of local news says they won't print anything about LGBT people. That's special.

URL shorteners can enable brute force hacking into cloud servers (and since we're storing more in the cloud, and that info is often synced to your computers, that's a problem).

"A German train dispatcher was playing a game on his cell phone shortly before he misdirected two trains, causing a head-on collision that killed 11 people, according to prosecutors." I'll bet it was SmashBrothers. Too soon? Okay, so it's a little bit of correlation not equaling causality, so I suggest a test. Here, you play this game while we hold a trial on if we should send you to prison.

"The sensation that the boundaries between yourself and the world around you are erasing correlates to changes in brain connectivity while on LSD… Scientists gave 15 volunteers either a drop of acid or a placebo and slid them into an MRI scanner to monitor brain activity." Because inside an MRI is exactly where you want to be while tripping. One of the effects is like an artificial synesthesia.

First Dose: "Now, Jeremy Durham, a Republican legislator from Tennessee who advocated for one of those anti-trans bathroom bills, has been dubbed a 'continuing risk to unsuspecting women' by the state’s Attorney General Herbert Slatery." Because "(a)n investigation found that Durham had acted inappropriately toward several women who work in the State Capitol to the point where they don’t feel safe in his presence." (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Second Dose: Speaker Paul Ryan, former Chairman of the House Budget Committee, having come into office on the heels of a two-year budget deal negotiated by Speaker Boehner, having criticized Democrats for not producing a Budget during the end of the Bush Administration, is now fast approaching the statutory deadline for approving a Budget without an ability to get one onto the floor for a vote.

Between the two of those, I think I have irony poisoning.

I'ma just going to leave this here, Periods for Pence. (Grokked from BoingBoing)

The University of California, Davis paid Nevins & Associates and ID Media Partners $175,000 to help scrub internet mentions of a campus cop pepper-spraying student protesters as they were staging a peaceful sit-in. So, how did that work out?

Guns don't kill people… oh yeah? "Police said the woman was standing by the vending machine and dropped her purse. The gun went off and a bullet hit the vending machine. The bullet bounced off the machine and grazed her daughter in the right side of her face." Okay, so the kid wasn't killed, but it could have gone so much worse.

The Trumpster is promising to bring back Joe Paterno. It's either the statue removed from Penn State's stadium after his involvement in the Jerry Sandusky child-sexual-abuse case was fully known, or he's talking about a Zombie Joe Paterno. That whole thing can pretty well sum up the Trumpster appeal.

Tweet of my heart: @ietyler America doesn't have a problem with being too lenient to rich white folks, it has a problem with brutalizing and dehumanizing everyone else.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Linkee-poo you're a boy make a big noise, playing in the street gonna be a big man some day

Alpha Centari in a few decades. "Together with a team of scientists, (Physicist Stephen Hawking and billionaire Yuri Milner) suggest that within a generation, humans could send a probe to Alpha Centauri — more than 4.3 light-years away, or 25 trillion miles — on a trip that would take just over two decades." Um, you're catching flies with that open mouth. Hey, look, light sails. I wonder if the Planetary Society is involved? Okay, while the concept is cool, we'll also need ultra-small power supplies, because while the laser may be able to "push" the vehicle, the inverse square law will prevent it from powering the vehicle and any really long distance. Also, you'll need a sophisticated guidance system because if you start with even the millionth of a degree off, if you're unable to correct, you're going to miss the target by a lot four light-years down the line. But, yeah, were's the fucking kickstarter on this puppy?

In case you thought the Sad (and Rabid) Puppies were just a US phenomena, I give you the rant against the London Book Fair. Someone needs a Snickers bar and a fresh nappy. I'm sure he's mostly pissed because he's not the first entry to come up in Goggle when I searched his name. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

"It's puzzling that so many Americans are choosing to arm themselves at a time when the FBI tells us violent crime and property crime have been falling dramatically for two decades." It really isn't puzzling. "'I pay attention to different people, weird people, maybe stereotype people,' says Sam Blackburn… What is he looking for, specifically?… 'Gangbanger-looking guys, maybe guys that look like they're up to no good or somebody that may think they're a Muslim extremist or something like that'." And that pretty much wraps it up. "A gun in the home? The owner may have it primarily for hunting or target-shooting. A concealed gun out in public? It goes with the explicit understanding that the owner may kill someone they feel threatened by."

A study finds almost half of Alzheimer's cases are due to hyperinsulinemia. Whoa. If this holds up, that could be big. As someone who was diagnosed with hyperinsulinemia, fuck. Yes, I use glucophage (metformin) to control it (we're back to normal levels). I think I was diagnosed very early (no other symptoms of Type II have shown themselves) as I went to the doctor within a month of noticing a change in my body. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

A small town in Italy, facing it's own demise, welcomes refugees from around the world. And by doing so, revitalizes their economy and the life of the village. Why? Because they played in reality instead of the politics of fear. Humans have been in a state of migration for the past few millennia. I keep waiting to see if Greece would discover this for themselves (many Syrian refugees hold advance degrees and are highly entrepreneurial). What they think of as a problem could actually be the solution to their other real problem (their economy).

"Whether you’re coming home from an airport fluttering with international germs, a daycare full of sticky-fingered toddlers, or just a grimy office building, scrubbing your hands with bacteria-busting soap seems like a great idea. But the data that have washed up on the cleansers in recent years suggest that they actually do more harm than good—for you, those around you, and the environment." And those Purell type hand "sanitizers" are worse. Hey, remember when we added lead to paint to make it last longer, and to gas to stop the knock? Good times, good times. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

"Warm, wet conditions rapidly kicked off the (Greenland) melt season this weekend, more than a month-and-a-half ahead of schedule. It has easily set a record for earliest melt season onset, and marks the first time it’s begun in April." I'm sure it's nothing to be worried about. "'We had to check that our models were still working properly' Peter Langen, a climate scientist at the Denmark Meteorological Institute (DMI), told the Polar Portal." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Democracy Spring. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, but I agree with their stated objectives (dark money out of politics, campaign finance reform, restoration of the full Voters Rights Act, and an end to gerrymandering to create "safe" seats). It will be interesting to see if they can keep the pressure on.

"I'm from Canada, so they think I'm slow, eh." That's one of my favorite quotes from The Simpsons, and I often repeat it in real life (including horrible Canadian accent). But it's not that far from the truth. "Imagine you're back in school, bored to death, with limited academic options. Because you're learning English, everybody assumes you're not ready for more challenging work. What they don't realize is that you're gifted." Very few "gifted" programs test English Learner students (hell, the barely test "non-whites" and those who "aren't the right sort of people" at all in my experience), although that may be (slowly, very slowly) changing. States still aren't fully funding these programs (they're barely funding education at all). And we wonder why our kids are having a hard time and why we're struggling to compete on an international level.

Fall out from the NC law, "'That's because the law virtually eliminated the North Carolina prohibition on discrimination based on, in Rick's case, age, disability.'" In case you may be wondering why people are calling it a law to endorse discrimination. (Grokked form John Scalzi)

What's fair and what could happen at this summer's RNC in Cleveland? I wonder when people will start looking into the rules for the Democratic Convention being contested?

"Longtime Republican activist Phyllis Schlafly says the group she founded 44 years ago to promote a conservative agenda is trying to oust her because she endorsed Donald Trump… 'It’s disloyal and it’s terribly shocking, and I’m completely depressed about it'…" Yeah, shoes are starting to drop all over. Although this could be rewritten to say, "Longtime GOP operative who pitted conservatives against each other in a race for ideological purity and preserving xenophobia is upset now that people question her ideological purity." This is what's known as having ousted the supposed RINOs and the other moderates, they have no one else to practice those policies and procedures on except each other.

What happens when the politics of a major party becomes uncoupled from the shared reality. This is what we used to call "the bubble." And it is one sure way to torpedo our future. And understand, while this story is just about that uncoupling within the US, our allies are also wondering just WTF is going on over here.

"From Indiana to Colorado to Tennessee, those involved in the delegate selection process are receiving harassment and even death threats from Trump fans who believe that the system has been 'rigged' against the real estate mogul." Kinda sucks when those political games are turned on the people who thought they were immune from such actions and that it was okay to do it to those other people. Or, the Röhm Putsch/Great Purge of the ranks is coming. Whom is on the winning side and how bloody it gets depends on when it happens. I don't really expect gangland style killings in the street, but the political aftermath might be as scorched Earth as if there were. History may not repeat, but damn this is a strong rhyme. And is there a difference if the threats of violence bring about the same result (removing internal dissent and making sure the proles keep to the party line)?

That time Ted Cruz defended the Texas law banning the sale of dildos. Won't that make a fun opposition commercial in the general election? (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Tweet of my heart: @leeflower Might I suggest that the generation that invented SNORTING PIXIE STIX kindly abstain from judging the youth of today.

Hahahahaha… wait a second…