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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
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It is so strange the way things turn

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Linkee-poo, close your mouth, you're drawing flies

Are we fucked, or are we fucked?

"In other words, millennials didn't go for it, and the regulars got turned off. In fact, Applebee's isn't the only big restaurant chain struggling." ZOMG, millennials are killing Applebees… only, not so much. Basically, they failed at their rebranding (if it was chasing a market that wasn't there, or they just didn't hit the right note, that's for someone else to determine). All the restaurants in that category are hurting, Applebees was the one that spent a shitload of cash to rebrand, so they're hurting the most. Plus, you know, given my personal experience there, I'm not all that hep to go back anytime soon.

"The jury in the Taylor Swift assault trial ruled in favor of the singer and her mother Monday, rejecting a radio DJ's claims that they unjustly had him fired from his job after allegedly groping the singer during a 2013 backstage meet-and-greet." While the media focused on her performance during the cross-examination, if felt a lot like it was more prurient than praiseworthy. Waiting to see how many times they could say "ass" on the air. But still, good for her. Hopefully that symbolic victory can lead to better outcomes and lives for everybody.

"The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025." Because fuck the environment. Look, the auto industry always fights these and says they're impossible and they could never make it work… and then there's an oil shock and suddenly they're able to meet the standards and find a way to make it work for consumers. Other countries are discussing how soon they can get to all electric vehicles, we're still squabbling about getting to an average 40mpg. And here's the odd thing, as Americans we love larger and more powerful vehicles, the ideal platform for and the performance ratio of electric engines. the only things holding us back are infrastructure (easily remedied) and 40 years of the American Auto Industry marketing and hype that makes the public wary of electric engines. Doesn't mean gas is going away soon (we also like to drive long distances), but vehicles like the Volt, Bolt, and Prius demonstrate how we could integrate electrical engines and keep to our love of the car. All that's missing is the engine growl.

"Nearly 100 previously unknown volcanoes lurk beneath Antarctica, and scientists still don't know how many of these volcanoes are active." I believe that's the opening line to a disaster movie. "However, as climate change warms the continent, thinning the ice, some of the now-dormant volcanoes could roar back to life, the scientists said in a statement." Okay, it's been decades since my last Earth Sciences course, but I don't think volcanoes work that way.

Speed bumps filled with non-Newtonian fluids. Well, okay then. Going slow they're like liquid. But the more force you hit them with the more solid the bump. (Grokked from Dan)

"The organization suggests keeping passwords simple, long and memorable. Phrases, lowercase letters and typical English words work well, Grassi tells NPR's Audie Cornish. Experts no longer suggest special characters and a mixture of lower and uppercase letters. And passwords never need to expire." Yeah, tell that to the IT Departments. At the day job we have a little issue with passwords, but at the hospital, boy howdy. At the hospital I have a desktop computer login, logins for each of the X-ray machines (4 of which I use on a normal basis), then there are the software logins. During a typical day that means being logged into 4 pieces of software (IDX/RIS, EMR, PACS, and a patient tracker), all of which have separate logins (for EMR, I have to log into a software launcher, and then into EMR as well… yeah, I don't get that one either). On a bad day, at 2 or 3 more pieces of software. And all those things time out quickly, requiring us to keep re-entering our passwords. There is a badge swiping system, but it hasn't been rolled out for us yet.

"A recent study found that women preferred the body odor of men who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. Whereas men who ate a lot of carbohydrates gave off a smell that was less appealing… Men who ate a lot of meat did not produce a sweat that was any more — or less — attractive to women. But meat did tend to make men's odor more intense." You are what you eat.

"Earlier this summer, a modest little startup in Barcelona, Spain, unveiled its newest product — a biodegradable, Internet-connected funeral urn that turns the ashes of departed loved ones into an indoor tree." Uh oh, someone forgot to water Grandma while we were on vacation.

I'm developing a theory of whyTrump keeps reposting racists' tweets. He or someone he knows and trusts follows a shitload of them. You know, for purely platonic reasons that aren't related to their rampant white nationalism or conspiracy theory promotion. (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

"Texas A&M has canceled a white nationalist protest planned in September, citing safety concerns." I have thinky thoughts about this. But, it appears as if no campus organization actually invited the group, so, yeah, buh-bye.

"Originally published by The Daily Caller and later syndicated or aggregated by several other websites, including Fox Nation, an offshoot of Fox News' website, it carried an unsubtle headline: 'Here's A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road.' Embedded in the article was a minute-and-a-half long video showing one vehicle after another driving through demonstrations." But now those websites are trying to scrub their postings. To bad the governments that enacted laws to help indemnify drivers who hit protestors aren't as contrite. (Grokked from Tobias S. Buckell)

"In a stunning reversal from comments he made just one day prior, President Trump said on Tuesday 'there's blame on both sides' for the violence in Charlottesville, Va." That's just one of the ignorant statements he made, but then if you're in the news you've only got so much space. "Alt-Left"? Okay, seriously, given the prevalence of the "well, people kept calling them Nazis, what did you expect them to do" arguments online, I'm about half-way to accepting that gauntlet. I was going to joke about the President going full-bore on the "crazy, racists, conspiracy toting Uncle at Thanksgiving Dinner," but really that's just too damn depressing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quoi!?

Wow, that's interesting. After making a comment about all my Russian friends yesterday, Russia (the country) drops from #2 to #8 in traffic. But whoa boy, look at all that traffic from France, Belgium, Philippines, and Kuwait (US numbers look the same, but the US is now #2 in traffic). Oddly enough, those numbers from France look exactly like the numbers from Russia last summer. I'm sure it's just a coinkidink.

I'm sure that suddenly, just like Jerry Lewis, I'm big in France. Not like it might be people tunneling through routers, spoofing addresses, or using zombie servers. I'm sure it's nothing like that.

:: waves to all my Russian friends::

If there was some sudden surge in my popularity on The Continent (as they say in the UK), and I was called out in some fantastic French Press (oh, please let it be le Monde) maybe one of my many admirers there could drop a link (same for Kuwait and the Philippines).

Friday, August 11, 2017

Linkee-poo hopes the Russians love their children, too.

If you're on Twitter and aren't following my friend, Jim Wright, YTF not? Jim did a great service this past week exposing troll tactics, how to recognize a bot, and what to do about it. His final analysis? The US is currently under an information warfare attack. Guess who it's coming from (why, it might be the people who monitored this site last summer :: waves to all my Russian friends ::)

The entire Star Wars Episode IV in one graphic. It's a very long graphic. (Grokked from John)

Patagotitan mayorum, the new kid on the (old) block.

NPR story on an experiment in Zambia about just giving poor people some money instead of goats, or medical care, or food. Note, Africa has the same problems the West has with cash assistance. Namely, "ZOMG, they might spend it on something we don't approve of!" Memo to ignorants, mostly they don't. Say, know how much of our welfare budget is actual cash assistance? How much to we restrict what SNAP benefits can pay for? So what does the researcher tracking the economic impact of this cash assistance have to say about it? "I've never seen impacts so large in my life."

"The Power Tool Institute has already invested tens of thousands of dollars this year to lobby Congress against the CPSC rule…" that would make table saws much safer. One of the first lessons I learned with woodworking is that companies make tools cheaper by removing safety features. But, yes, table saws are dangerous (not as dangerous as jointers, but fewer people have those). Here you see industry fighting to keep their products as cheaply manufactured as possible and damn the public safety concerns. The free market does not work.

"Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has suggested fellow Republican Sen. John McCain’s brain tumor and the after-midnight timing of the vote were factors in McCain’s decisive vote against the GOP health care bill." Hahahahahahahahahaha :: breath :: hahahahaha.

What's the worst that could happen if we close our borders and cut back on all immigration? "Vegetable prices may be going up soon, as a shortage of migrant workers is resulting in lost crops in California." Yeah, that might have an impact. Who could have foreseen it (someone shows you results of Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia crop losses after those states enacted tough immigration rules). (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

While we hear about the Epi-Pens and Daraprim, there's a lot of drugs that have experience extreme price hikes (and unexplainable shortages) in the past few years. Tell me again how the market will fix this, cause that never gets old.

"Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, migrants who came to the U.S. from across the globe — Syria, Congo, Haiti, elsewhere — arrive here where Roxham Road dead-ends so they can walk into Canada, hoping its policies will give them the security they believe the political climate in the United States does not." Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Except those people. Screw them, Trump's right-wing nationalism (and nativism) would like to add. "The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are adding electricity and portable toilets. A Canadian flag stands just inside the first tent, where the Mounties search the immigrants they’ve just arrested and check their travel documents. They are also offered food. Then shuttle buses take the processed migrants to their next destination. Trucks carry their luggage separately… The Canadian military said Wednesday that about 100 soldiers began arriving to prepare a site for tents to accommodate almost 500 people. The soldiers will also install lighting and heating equipment." Compare that to our southern border.

Lousiana, Lousiana, they're trying to wash us away. They're trying to wash us away.

Walmart.

And let's go to the weather. "The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe." But the good news is 2017 is shaping up to be cooler. It looks like it'll come it at number 2.

"Wisconsin’s top conservation official promised Wednesday that regulatory rollbacks in Gov. Scott Walker’s incentive plan for a giant Foxconn plant won’t harm the state’s environment." Oh, I'm sure they won't. That's why you waived all the requirements.

"State and local Republicans have expanded early voting in GOP-dominated areas and restricted it in Democratic areas, an IndyStar investigation has found, prompting a significant change in Central Indiana voting patterns." I'm sure it's all… okay, I've got nothing. Heinous fuckery abounds. (Grokked from Michele)

This is how you do it. "But most of Brar's mental energy was expended on figuring out the chicken's best camera angles… He said he spent hours studying CNN and other cable news channels that used the same shot with the White House in the foreground and the Washington Monument in the background… 'I understood that if I positioned it correctly and got the permit for the correct place, I would be in full view of the cameras. And, I did it in such a way that the White House wasn't blocking it, which I knew would be what would take it viral globally,' he said."

Remember when he said he'd make insurance cheaper? "Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many people, according to a nonpartisan study." Trumps statements, tweets, and actions (and by extension Congress' and the Senates' actions) are creating instability in the markets, to which the insurers are responding to by increasing insurance rates… by a lot. Oh, and if you think this will only affect the private market, you haven't been paying attention (especially to the recent CBO scores on how Obamacare influences and controls the employer-based-insurance market). Oh, and your tax dollars will be paying for the majority of that increase, by the by.

"Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly one in five patients have been discharged from hospice before they die, according to government reports."

What happens if the President gives the launch order to our nuclear weapons forces? Specifically, what if you don't trust the President to be in their right mind at the time? The article makes it seem a little simplistic, having faced this conundrum personally while in the Air Force I have some experience here (no, I was not in the silo, this was a part of being inducted). Could I turn the key (FailSafe is a little more involved with that, but it's an easy metaphor)? Yes. And I say that with full knowledge of what turning that key would set into motion. Would I turn the key? That's a little more complex. Given the right conditions, yes. Knowing it might mean my life (and the missile being launched anyway), given the wrong conditions, no. There were experiments done in the 80s. While I didn't see the hard data the rumors were that up to 30% of the officers refused to turn the key (fortunately the side arms had been loaded with blanks, still painful in the confined space of the silo launch room - those guns were for more than if your silo buddy went the big nutty). This was at a time of heightened tensions with the USSR, when a nuclear exchange seemed plausible. So this wasn't a "nice day with blue skies above, lets see who would initiate nuclear Armageddon" test. (Grokked from John)

Repeat after me. "There is no such thing as a 'limited' nuclear exchange."

The Memo. Or paranoia strikes deep…

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Linkee-poo is searchin' in the sun for another overload

NPR asks the question if sugar in fruit is the same as sugar in candies. Short answer, no. Even if you take away all the extras in the fruit (the fiber, vitamins, proteins, fats and flavonoids), processed sugar is made in a way to be easily absorbed by your body (this is why "sugar in the raw" can be better for you). Now, chemically it's the same, but there are slightly different shapes of sugar. Glucose (what your body needs), fructose and galactose are all C6H12O6, but they are all different shapes. Remember, the engines of your cells are enzymes, and enzymes are all about the shape (and electrical charges, but mostly shape). Maltose, ribose, lactose and a few others have different chemical compositions (but they're all Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen), and then fats are basically these sugars stacked together with some extra bits to hold them all together. But not only are the shapes important (your body needs to convert fructose to glucose before using it), the composition and mixture of all of these is important.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending $275 million to upgrade defenses against an invading force. The enemy? A fish. Specifically, Asian carp that are threatening to break through to the Great Lakes." For those of you who don't live near the Great Lakes, this is a Very Big Thing™ and it's also something the Trump Administration has proposed cutting funds for (actually for anything to do with the Great Lakes).

And then this asshole. Male jogger pushes woman into path of oncoming bus.

"President Donald Trump, who constantly rants about 'leakers' and warns his Twitter followers to be wary of anonymous sources, on Tuesday morning retweeted a Fox News report that cited anonymous intelligence community officials."

Someone needs to get Steve Forbes to adjust his medication. "When it comes to communications, Republicans too often are cowardly and incompetent." He then goes on a tear that's basically,"screw the CBO, screw the pundits, for Tax Cuts go big or go home." Because blah blah Reagan (and now Kennedy, it's a nice talking point meant to diffuse Democratic opposition) give rich people more money and somehow magic happens and we have a better economy with more jobs and higher incomes. Well, Steve, hate to break it to you but Reagan's cuts tanked the economy, which he then had to raise taxes to get back on track. And since Reagan's time a 2% GDP growth has become the norm. It was his (and conservative) policies that drug us down (and making sure banks broke their "boom/bust" cycle). Also, we've had several "tax cuts" meant to bring us more jobs and higher wages and not a single one worked (except for the Social Security holiday, and because that was Obama it was never extended or renewed). And then he ends with "So make simple cuts now, and go for major tax reform after next year's elections." Seriously WTF, Steve.

"Eager to attract good help in a tight labor market — and unsure of the future of the Affordable Care Act — large employers are newly committed to maintaining health coverage for workers and often for their families, too, according to new research and interviews with business analysts… That's a marked change from three years ago, when many big employers… contemplated ending medical benefits and shifting workers to the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces." When I was being poached for the new job I started in March my first question was about their health plan. And then there's this, "Employers expect health costs to increase 5.5 percent next year, up from 4.6 percent in 2017, according to the Willis Towers Watson report." Compared to the increases we saw in the late 90s and early 2000s, that's hellasmall increases. Also note their comment about double-digit increases in the Obamacare marketplace isn't true everywhere. Ohio, which expanded Medicaid, has seen similar 5-8% increases.

"Cairo, Ill., is one of the fastest depopulating communities in the nation, with abandoned buildings throughout the river town. The federal government plans to demolish two public housing projects where many of the remaining residents live." Dr. Carson does the "Hi, I'm from the government, we're here to help," line in Cairo.

"President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer on Tuesday claimed Trump has sent special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, private messages of 'appreciation and greetings.'" Pictures or it didn't happen. Actually this is a blunt attempt to get opposition to Trump's potential firing of Mueller to soften. It's the ol' "don't throw me in the briar patch" gambit by saying, "Oh no, we really like Mueller and think he's doing a bang-up job."

In a fantastic diplomatic move President Trump tries the one strategy every former president and diplomats have eschewed, he threatens North Korea. Here's his own red line, which North Korea promptly overstepped. Just to remind everyone, Clinton did reach a multilateral agreement with the prior Kim Jung to stop his nuclear arms program. A deal the GW Bush administration immediately broke by turning around the tankers carrying heavy fuel oil to North Korea when they took office. Literally turned them around.

"FBI agents raided former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort's home… the raid reportedly took place in late July, one month after Manafort registered as a foreign agent."

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Linkee-poo can dim the lights and sing you songs full of sad things

Lots of NPR links this time.

"Around 2012, I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviors and emotional states. The gentle slopes of the line graphs became steep mountains and sheer cliffs, and many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear. In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it." The report on the next generation and cell phone use that everyone is talking about. Kids these days.

Post-pregnancy abdominal wall separation or "mummy tummy." And a new exercise to help your muscles return to "normal." Basically isometrics to the rectus abdominis muscle.

"Wealthy San Francisco residents lose private street over tax bill." Shocked, shocked they are to discover they 1) needed to pay $14 tax on the road and common areas and 2) now owned by someone their original land covenants would have prohibited in the neighborhood. Oh, and residents of Presidio Terrace, your land association sucks.

The BBC airs a cartoon about Roman Era Britton that has a black protagonist, and the right-wing goes looney. Tell me again how the right is not about racism. So now that actual historians are coming out saying, "Yeah, having a African Roman officer is not an anachronism" I expect that historians will be thrown onto the pile with Biologist and Climatologists.

Speaking of climatologists, "The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited." Gee, I wonder why the draft report was leaked?

Wither the American Nuclear Power Renaissance?

On the affect NAFTA has had on our industries. "Whether or not it was the primary culprit, NAFTA certainly hasn't altered the steady rise in farm concentration. Trade expanded the total size of the pie, as the Farm Bureau points out: U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada jumped from $8.9 billion in 1993 to over $38 billion today. Yet, critics point out, the largest farms control most of the slices, with 20 percent of farms operating 70 percent of U.S. farmland." These trade deals aren't for the little guy, they're for the multi-national companies.

The conservative attempt to bend the world to their view. See they need to make liberals the "elite" and out of touch with the common man. Okay, anyone think any of the people in the top levels of the White House ever flipped burgers for a paycheck, or hustled lawn work? Does anyone think that the promised "middle-class" tax breaks will mostly go to people who make less than $300,000? Yeah, me neither. But they need to convince those people that the Grand Ol' Party has their interests at heart. So in the Zero Sum world they live in, that means they need to paint Liberals as the rich people who only look out for the rich. It's the old displacement game.

Like I said, let the law suits begin. "Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing back against the federal government." And the Sessions gets a little unhinged in his response. Look, even so called Sanctuary Cities will hold someone who has broken the law (no matter what their immigration status). But if they can't prove a case, or there is no case and no outstanding warrant, the city will release the prisoner because they have no other option. It's a 6th Amendment issue. So Session's ranting about "criminal aliens" is just being a blowhard. If the person has an outstanding warrant, or if the police department can charge them with a crime, they will hold the suspect. Without that, they have to let the person go. In other jurisdictions there are lawsuits because the police/sheriff whomever has held a suspect longer than allowed by law to see if ICE can come and pick them up. What these so called Sanctuary Cities have realized is if they behave the way Sessions wants them to, the local police have no connections into the community, and (unreported) crime goes up.

"Now, just because an investigation is indeed very real doesn't mean we know its conclusion. It could take months, even years, to finish, much less come to a conclusion about whether Trump colluded with Russia to win the White House. But with each passing day, it's increasingly clear this investigation is neither made up nor built on fake news." I remember an early troll tweet about how, other than Manafort and Flynn, nobody in the Trump administration had any Russian connections. Well, in this article there is a very handy chart of a lot of the connections.

"The White House has not released a daily schedule of Trump’s activities and, unlike past presidents, has refused to say whether he is playing golf… The only glimpses of Trump have come from videos and photos posted to Instagram and Twitter of him riding in a golf cart and glad handing with club members and wedding guests, fueling mockery of his claim that his New Jersey jaunt is 'not a vacation.'… The knocks on Trump has been heightened by his attacks on former President Obama over his commitment to the job and his claim he wouldn’t take vacations as president." Yes, it's a "working vacation", but then, Trump doesn't seem to work all that much at the White House either.

Who is Nicole Mincey? And interesting story on networking, wanting to "do the right thing", and being taken advantage of because your identity sold more product.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Linkee-poo extra late edition

Ah, summer trips and time for the annual trip advisories of where you shouldn't go unless you're willing to accept the danger. You know, places engaged in wars, or sponsors or frequent victims of terrorism, or repressive regimes, or Missouri. "The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for the state of Missouri, citing recent "race-based incidents" and new state legislation that would make it harder for fired employees to prove racial discrimination."

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is suspected of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two cases, Israel Police confirmed on Thursday when it requested a gag order on the ongoing talks to recruit a state witness." Man, my shocked face is sure getting a workout this week. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"President Donald Trump's nominee to be the Department of Agriculture's chief scientist, Sam Clovis, wrote a personal blog for years on which he accused progressives of 'enslaving' minorities, described black political figures as 'race traders,' and said then-President Obama was a 'Maoist' with 'communist' roots." Tell me again how us Lefties are mean and divisive.

Linkee-poo is going to take a long weekend

To say this year has been draining is to make a colossal understatement.

"This week, NOAA announced that this year's dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it's adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms." I'm sure it's fine, we're all fine, how are you? And this is why the Federal EPA is necessary.

"A legal motion the Department of Education filed yesterday could have big ramifications for half a million teachers, social workers, police officers and other public servants. The motion asserts that there has been no final decision on whether these people will have their student debt forgiven, as they had believed… Public Service Loan Forgiveness was created a decade ago… describe(d)… as a 'broad, employment-based forgiveness program for federal student loans.' Anyone who works for the government or a nonprofit can have their loans erased after 10 years of on-time monthly payments… that means the first group of borrowers should have their loans forgiven this fall." Or not. Foxes are in charge at the hen house, in this case people with vested interests in the private student loan industry are now running parts of the Department of Education.

"The U.S. economic recovery has gone on for eight long years, and the unemployment rate is at a low 4.4 percent. But wage gains have barely budged." Note, wages for middle and low income workers haven't really moved since the mid 80s (yes, they increased minimum wages in the 90s, but adjusted for inflation, they're lower now). Say, wasn't that the start of "trickle-down economics", "tax-breaks increase private sector money that will translate into jobs, jobs, jobs" and "lets get rid of the labor unions" movements? Why yes, I believe it was. I love how they barely touch on "rich people want all the money for themselves" and quickly throw up other excuses.

"Some courts offer participants a full range of evidence-based treatment, including medication-assisted treatment. Others don't allow addiction medications at all. And some permit just one: Vivitrol… One reason for this preference is that Alkermes, the drug's manufacturer, is doing something nearly unheard of for a pharmaceutical company: It is marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials."

"For years, anti-abortion advocates have used the claim that abortion is bad for women’s health to help justify restrictions on the procedure… Released on Tuesday, the report by the abortion rights legal advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights and the research organization Ibis Reproductive Health found that states with more anti-abortion laws also tend to have poor outcomes generally for women’s and children’s health compared with states that have fewer restrictions." This is my shocked face. One again for the new people, the anti-abortion movement has nothing to do with health or babies, it's an attempt to roll back the sexual revolution and place women into a roll social conservatives feel is their proper status (often shorthanded to "pregnant and in the kitchen" although it's a little more complex). The health of the mother and the fetus are not their priority, it's just a selling point. (Grokked from Julie)

Mothers who almost died give advice for expectant mothers. "The pregnant woman should be taught warning signs and know when to speak up so that she can be treated as quickly and accurately as possible." Yes that (also important for most other major medical events, not just pregnancy). Some of this is "not wanting to panic the patient", but a lot of it is not wanting to take the time with a patient and our cultural superstitions about "speaking evil" as well as the tendency of people to think since they know something, everybody knows it.

Brid forbid we use the military as a "social experiment", but let some new half-brained telemedicine idea pop up and that's the savior of the VA. Telemedicine can be great for some applications, but it's limited in its ability to do actual work. Of course, if it's the only thing available… well they've been walking people through tracheotomies for decades now. Just wait until they roll out the first fully robotic/telepresence surgical suite. At the hospital I work at we have 2 telepresence units for psychological exams. We also use ZocDoc to help with scheduling (I've tried it, not going to use it again).

"Scientists in the U.S. have released a paper showing that they have successfully edited human embryos to correct a mutation that causes an inheritable heart condition. The findings are hugely important as they demonstrate for the first time that the technology may one day be used safely to edit out many devastating diseases." Repeat after me, CRISPR is not as precise as the media is telling you. It is more targeted than previous methodologies, but then a rain shower is more targeted than a tsunami.

"Rising carbon dioxide levels could have an unexpected side effect on food crops: a decrease in key nutrients. And this could put more people at risk of malnutrition." So, a while ago scientists studied how a forest responded to higher CO2 content in the atmosphere in an attempt to see if reforestation could help sequester CO2. The trees loved the increased CO2, for the first few years their growth skyrocketed… and then leveled off. The lumber from the trees were found to be substandard and their leaves didn't sequester the CO2. So, yes, plants love more CO2, but that isn't good for us. Again, the question isn't if the Earth will survive a warmer climate, it's if humans can survive in a warmer climate.

AG Jeff Sessions is pushing ahead on his progrom to cut federal assistance to so called sanctuary cities. Let the lawsuits begin. Well, that's one way to air the dirty laundry of the government's immigration policies. Also, I love how conservatives have flopped from wanting "local control" of immigration to "yeah, it's the federalies' job."

"Two phone calls described by President Donald Trump that didn’t actually happen represent the latest chapter in a long-running series of disputes revolving around the president’s rocky relationship with facts… White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday found herself explaining that compliments Trump had described receiving in phone calls from the Mexican president and the Boy Scouts did happen — just not on the phone." The president is a liar. Although I now have an image in my head of the White House staffers holding their noses to change their voices and calling the President pretending to be other people. The worst thought of this is the president actually believes these things happened.

So what happens when you're a conservative, but you draw the line at enacting far-right wing nut agenda items? Even if you're the speaker of the legislature they'll try and force you out.

I'm so glad modern conservatism isn't about racism or isolationism because that would make the new initiative to limit immigration quite sinister.

I guess conservatives remembered they were still in charge of Congress, so I guess it's time to investigate the Clintons again.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Linkee-poo, but somewhere out in space there's another shining face that you might see some night up in the sky.

A little art nerdery, vector icon speed (drawing) runs. I'm not that good, and they use some tools I'm not familiar with, but I will get there. Again. Tools change. I don't always keep up with the new additions. (Grokked from Dan)

Why are more boys diagnosed with autism than girls are? "…(B)ecause the symptoms of autism are often less obvious in girls than they are in boys. Girls can be better at blending in, says Dr. Louis Kraus, a psychiatrist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who specializes in autism." There's some other hemming an hawing, but, yeah, my guess is 1) diseases display differently between sexes, and 2) most medical models are based on boys, and 3) there is still rampant prescription of antidepressants for women whose doctors can't find a quick diagnosis (or, to put it another way, our medical establishment continues the tradition of telling women "it's all in your head" instead of actually helping women).

"The research finds that the median warming is likely to be 3.2 degrees Celsius, and further concludes that there’s only a 5 percent chance that the world can hold limiting below 2 degrees Celsius and a mere 1 percent chance that it can be limited below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit)." So, yes, there is controversy in climate change science. However that controversy is all over "if" we can correct global emissions trends, future technology, and just how boned we are likely to get. But, make no mistake, we're already boned at this point.

With the upcoming solar eclipse, if you're buying "solar shades" you need to be careful, there's a lot of counterfeits out there. You can check out NASA's safety page on their official website for the eclipse for tips. My American Paper Optics glasses should arrive this week.

So, how secure are those voting machines? Yep. Okay, to be fair, many of these you need to be in proximity to the machines, however it's not just needing physical access as previously reported. So, I wonder if anyone has done a reversal to put the software on the machine remotely, and then when the legit election worker plugs in the USB thumb drive, the malware over-writes the "good" code on the drive to then be propagated throughout the system. Yeah, I'm sure that's not possible. :: rereads college paper on what was then a new phenomenon about internet "worms" while whistling nonchalantly :: (Grokked from George Takei)

And now for some NPR links about healthcare. First up, a video that explains the PBMs (pharmaceutical benefits managers) and what they do (and don't do) for your insurance plans. I once went through the training to be a pharmacy tech (I was even certified for 2 years, it was a backup plan). So I can tell you, pharmaceuticals… big money. Many of the drugs on your insurance plans cost much less than your copays. In many places (fortunately the places I shop) some pharmacies won't even run your prescription through your insurance and will charge you the over-the-counter price (which is typically less than your copay). This is a Good Thing™, except when it comes to meeting your deductible. An article on CSRs (cost-sharing reductions) and how they affect your insurance premiums. Note that even if President Trump stops CSR payments, your tax dollars will still be used to cover the increase in insurance premiums. CSR payments are a bargain.

Just in case this got lost in the news avalanche, "Joe Arpaio, the Arizona lawman who once proclaimed himself to be 'America’s Toughest Sheriff' and was largely praised by conservatives for his hard-line policing tactics, was found guilty Monday of criminal contempt, bringing his tenure as a relentless crusader against illegal immigration to an end."

Sure you can trust Customs and Border Control officers. Especially since they're trying to wave the polygraph and background check requirements again. I mean, it's not like they booted over half the applicants when they finally instituted basic precautions for people we give guns to. I'm sure it's not a problem like drawing those who already have racist attitudes. Now that the sarcasm is over, really, can we have a professional government again? Please.

"However, an NPR analysis of data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request shows that hundreds of American citizens each year find themselves in a situation similar to [Lorenzo] Palma's. Those data show that from 2007 through July of last year, 693 U.S. citizens were held in local jails on federal detainers — in other words, at the request of immigration officials. And 818 more Americans were held in immigration detention centers during that same time frame, according to data obtained through a separate FOIA request by Northwestern University professor Jacqueline Stevens and analyzed by NPR."

"Ralph Drollinger, the founder of Capitol Ministries, says he leads a weekly Bible study with Cabinet members such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and CIA Director Mike Pompeo." Unfortunately Jesus didn't see them coming first. Oh, and the Prez get's the weekly reading, but obviously isn't attending. Something something the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others something something Matthew 6:5. I wonder when they'll get to that one.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/politics/white-house-officials-tricked-by-email-prankster/index.html Most hacking is wet-ware, which means you get the info you need through social engineering. It's a confidence trick. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"The Fox News Channel and a wealthy supporter of President Trump worked in concert under the watchful eye of the White House to concoct a story about the murder of a young Democratic National Committee aide, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday." There's a lot of talk about Fake News lately. But this is the real deal, a concocted news story promoted for propagandistic ends. And not by some wannabe spammer/click-baiter, but if not directed from the top levels, at least done with their tacit approval. This is how democracy dies. "The story, which first aired in May, was retracted by Fox News a week later. Fox News has, to date, taken no action in response to what it said was a failure to adhere to the network's standards." No action.

"White House senior adviser Jared Kushner offered an explanation to congressional interns earlier this week as to why it was not possible for the Trump campaign to collude with Russia during the election: It was too disorganized for such a conspiracy." Dude, seriously, "we're too incompetent to have colluded" is 1) missing the point, 2) not exactly a defense I would try and 3) shitty argument. The easiest rebuttal is because so much time and energy were spent coordinating with the Russians (which, in this scenario, are the only ones who really had to have their shit together to make this work) that you didn't have time or the ability to coordinate with your local offices. It's a time and focus problem.

Environmental regulations? What environmental regulations? DHS waives their need, by law, to file environmental impact studies on the construction of Trump's Wall. Isn't that lovely?

"The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times." Because that's a problem, I guess.

The Snopes article on "Author Ingersoll Lockwood('s)… books 'Baron Trump's Marvelous Underground Journey' and '1900: or, The Last President' in the 1890s." (Grokked from John)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Linkee-poo, if you open up the door we'll all come inside and eat your brains

The BEAM inflatable module has made it through a year in space in good order. So, there's an interesting technology.

"An international team of scientists analyzed data from nearly 43,000 men in dozens of industrialized countries and found that sperm counts dropped by more than half over nearly four decades." Mother Nature, man, she will mess you up. Oddly has some mention of increases in diabetes and stress, but oddly no mention of xenoestrogens.

"Gross domestic product increased at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the April-June period, which included a boost from trade, the Commerce Department said in its advance estimate on Friday. That was more than double the first quarter's downwardly revised 1.2 percent growth pace… There was, however, little inflation in the economy in the second quarter and wage growth decelerated despite a tightening labor market." So, no Trump Bump (note, actual numbers came in lower than the projected numbers in this article). Also, it's amazing how that second statistic (wage stagnation) affects the first.

"'There are so many qualified men and women who wanted to serve this administration and their country who have been completely demoralized and completely disinclined to do so based on the paperwork we have to put forward, divesting assets,' (Trump spokesperson Kellyanne) Conway said." So the ethics rules about disclosure are working as intended. Thanks for letting us know.

"More recently, the group has turned its attention to the books being used in Florida's schools. A new state law, developed and pushed through by Flaugh's group, allows parents, and any residents, to challenge the use of textbooks and instructional materials they find objectionable via an independent hearing." Yeah, I'm sure it won't be abused at all. "'We're not a democracy, we're a constitutional republic,' Flaugh says." Yep, he's "one of those." So maybe Inherit the Wind should be required viewing before these people are allowed to challenge a book.

Federal judge upholds fine levied again Kris Kobach for patter of misleading the court in cases of voter id fraud. You know, he's the guy the president tapped to lead the federal voter fraud commission. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

But, "Earlier this week, a federal court ruled that Kobach could proceed with his request for voter data because Trump’s commission was not an 'agency' of the federal government and was exempt from undertaking a privacy impact assessment before collecting such data. On Wednesday, Kobach sent a second letter to all 50 states, once again asking them to turn over voter information to Trump’s commission." So if I were a Sec of State, I would use this to rebuff his request. He's not acting with the force of government therefore his request fall under the state version of FOIA requests (in Ohio these fall under our Sunshine Laws). Most states charge a fee for such information requests and are limited in what data they can provide. Those states who already have sent data should now send a bill. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

And here's the lesson for the day, dictators and authoritarians often find willing stooges to advance their agenda.

"Much of Thursday's hearing was spent getting at the bigger question: Why is the Russian president so fixated on the Magnitsky Act?" A glimpse into Putin's Russia.

"Lahren said during a debate at Politicon Saturday with liberal comedian Chelsea Handler that she is on on her parents' healthcare insurance. The ability to stay on your parents' plan until 26 is a major aspect of the healthcare legislation." Okay, 1) yes, while bashing Obamacare she admits that she's actually benefiting from its reforms, but 2) she was debating a comedian. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Sunday said President Donald Trump will decide in the next week whether or not to end crucial Obamacare subsidies." Well someone is going to get a lesson in The Law real soon. Also, the Treasury will be on the hook for those payments. Expect lawsuits.

"On June 28, (2016,) federal cyber experts noticed that the network credentials of an Arizona county elections worker had been posted on a site frequented by suspected Russian hackers. The password and username discovered by the FBI could let someone access the state's voter registration system." And then the wheels came off the bus.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Linkee-poo is on pins and needles

We're down the end game. If you haven't called your Senators yet, you should.

"Wisconsin is about to shell out as much as $3 billion for the privilege of luring Foxconn Technology Group. At $519 per citizen, it would have been cheaper to buy an iPhone for every man, woman and child in the midwestern state." All this winning is sure getting tiring. And expensive.

"Even prominent right-wing populists are beginning to worry that they invested their faith in an unstable leader." Won't get fooled again, eh buddies? Aw, is your pet-president not behaving the way you wanted? That's really too bad for you. Have you noticed that every single leader since Reagan (and if you judge by modern expectations, even Reagan doesn't match up) has been disappointing to you. Next up we'll hear the cry for "if only we nominated True Conservatives we wouldn't be in this mess. Hate to tell you all, but you did and we are. The fault is in conservative policies. (Grokked from Michele)

"Zinke's message, writes the Dispatch News' Erica Martinson, was that Murkowski's vote 'had put Alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy.'" So glad we're being adult about things. This is what crime families do.

"On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy." Oh look, it's amateur hour at the White House. Don't forget, this is the guy they hired to clean things up. The best part, the "((insert person commented on) declined to comment)". Do I need to make the comment that one of the side effects of heavy drug use is paranoia?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Linkee-poo ponders the future

Fifty years after the Detroit revolution. When I was a kid, it seemed it was a Summer event that some city would burn, either set by the rioters, or by the police (as in the Philadelphia MOVE fire). And the beat goes on.

"A Wisconsin company is offering to implant tiny radio-frequency chips in its employees – and it says they are lining up for the technology." Um, they're called "badges", they don't involve surgery. There's no implantation. And it works exactly the same.

On the same day the president goes against the DoD and bans transgender service members, "The US Justice Department on Wednesday argued in a major federal lawsuit that a 1964 civil rights law doesn’t protect gay workers from discrimination, thereby diverging from a separate, autonomous federal agency that had supported the gay plaintiff’s case." Dear Log Cabin Republicans, seriously, WTF are you waiting for? (Grokked from John Scalzi)

NPR asks if it really matters that Jr and Manafort won't be under oath. Well, yes, technically they still need to tell "the truth." But there's two big differences. "Should someone lie knowingly without taking an oath, they would be breaking the false statements statute. Should they lie after taking an oath, they run the risk of also being charged with perjury." Well that, and if they're under oath those statements are admissible in court. So even if they didn't perjure themselves, their testimony would essentially be depositions for the Mueller investigation. And that's why they're not under oath. Also, after issuing a subpoena for Manafort to appeal, there's word now that the Senate is withdrawing that subpoena.

"The House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday considered looking into President Trump's financial ties, particularly those linking him to a bank that had been involved with laundering Russian money." But then the Republicans shot it down. Because even though that's the committee's bailiwick, they say "other committees are looking into it." And that's why you have an independent council.

"Energy Secretary Rick Perry thought he was speaking to the Ukrainian Prime Minister about energy policy. Instead, a pair of Russian pranksters pressed the cabinet member on pig manure." A Cabinet Secretary. Pranked. Normally, Sec. Perry, one has a staff which can prevent this from happening.

"Senator Susan Collins was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday expressing concern over President Trump's mental health and questioning his understanding of the budget process." Dear Sen Collins and Reed, you aren't the only ones. And no, he has no clue as to the budgeting and appropriations process.

President Trump goes after Sessions again.

"The Senate voted Tuesday to begin debating a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. It remains uncertain as to what that replacement might look like. No formal legislation has been drafted. But senators moved to take the procedural first step, known as a 'motion to proceed.' The vote was 51-50, with Vice President Pence casting the tiebreaking vote." Right now they are operating under rules for reconciliation (which means no filibuster, but also all parts of the legislation need to be budget related). The parliamentarian has already rules that parts of the two plans floated by Mitch McConnell do not qualify for reconciliation. A full repeal also doesn't qualify. However a partial repeal (individual and employer mandate, taxes on higher incomes, tax on implantable devices) would destroy the individual markets and damage the ACA/Obamacare so much that they will have to do something. But from this point on, the Republicans own healthcare (even if they're unable to pass anything). The good news for them is if they do nothing, the Obamacare markets have been stabilizing. If Congress decided to actually fully fund all parts the markets would work as intended (and rate increases for most of us would be below 8%, which I can tell you is historically low).

Monday, July 24, 2017

Something new has been added



And here you thought they ran on hay and oats. Ha!

It gets earlier every year



Today at the local grocery store.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Linkee-poo starts another week

Yeah, the titles haven't been good lately. Sorry.

Elizabeth Bear on not falling for the extra credit stuff in writing.

Kameron Hurley on taking criticism and responding with resilience. "A lot of writers, even professional writers at ad agencies and, of course, novelists, are not good at taking criticism. Hence the circular roundabout I sometimes run into when getting feedback on pieces. It’s meant to soften the blow, but it often just means stuff takes more time, and because we aren’t communicating honestly, projects drag, and then no one is happy." I often tell people I've been through art school where we were critiqued on every part of the process and every. single. day. My skin is fairly thick, and as long as the critique is professional (that is, it's about the work) I'm good with it. Yes, it can hurt. But this is a "no pain, no gain" business. The trick is coming back for more.

Living in the future, time-lapse video of Phobos orbiting Mars as captured by Hubble. Really wish I could find a clean video of this without all the stupid text of "here's the history, and ZOMG!"

"New research by scientists at Michigan State University suggests that laptops do not enhance classroom learning, and in fact students would be better off leaving their laptops in the dorm during class. Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media, YouTube videos, instant messaging, and other nonacademic content." Whodathunkit. Although I see a few holes in their logic. Sure, students may only be spending 5 minutes on actual class materials, if you're downloading a powerpoint of the lecture slides, you'll be reading that the entire class, but it may only take a minute of server time. But, yes, much of the "technology in the classroom enhances learning" hype is bullshit. So are the sales pitches about how to increase student "learning" with online tools.

"Most Americans met Wednesday night’s news that Arizona Senator John McCain was facing a dire diagnosis of brain cancer with shows of respect for the elder statesman and former prisoner of war. But to some on the extreme right, the longtime Republican is a traitor worthy of scorn, presumably because of his willingness to work with Democrats, as well as his criticism of President Donald Trump." These are also the same people who talk about how terrible the discourse of the left is. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

A couple of lawyers on the rumors of president Trump going after Robert Mueller. Short answer, "Good luck with that," (eye roll).

"Third party candidate Jill Stein was a surprising addition this week to investigators casting an increasingly wide net in the congressional probe into Russian interference in the election." Unfortunately it's the Senate investigation, and not the independent council. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says eliminating a tax break that helps some people will help lawmakers lower tax rates for everyone." And that it screws over mostly blue leaning states that voted for Clinton, so much the better. Who said the GOP was against raising taxes. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Linkee-poo stumbles into the weekend

"Algebra is one of the biggest hurdles to getting a high school or college degree — particularly for students of color and first-generation undergrads… It is also the single most failed course in community colleges across the country. So if you're not a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, math), why even study algebra?" Hi, I'm a professional graphic designer. Artists are notoriously bad at math (ask me for stories). However, without algebra, I would find it hard to do my work. Most professions would find it hard. I've even used algebra to work on finance problems at home. If I remembered more trigonometry it would make my woodworking projects go easier (I still have my trig book, BTW). I know numerous business majors who hated Western Civ classes. And after all, it has nothing to do with their major. That I found them boring as shit in the grass to talk with I'm sure has nothing to do with their less than attentiveness to culture and life.

"And just feeling less fit in comparison to others might trim away years of life, says Zahrt, a Ph.D. candidate in health psychology at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business." Well, doesn't that just beat all.

"Given the fact that 'New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee' has been marketed as a 'male enhancement' product, it might be fair to assume consumers who plucked the instant coffee off store shelves had a clear idea of its intended effects… But according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, they probably weren't aware of some of its key, undisclosed ingredients… which the FDA says is structurally similar to the active ingredient in Viagra, a prescription medication for erectile dysfunction." That's a stiff cup of joe. And if that isn't a part of the ad campaign for the next coffee product like this (no, this isn't the first) I'm going to be sorely disappointed. Also note, they're talking about "undisclosed ingredients" on product labels like "this happens all the time."

"Childbirth is one of the most common reasons women go into hospitals, and yet the American health care system handles complicated pregnancies with a stunning lack of preparation and precision. Put simply, women who give birth in the US have a greater risk of dying relative to other rich countries — and the problem has been growing worse at a time when America’s peers have continued to make pregnancy safer." But California had enough and decided to do something about it. With some explanations of how the GOP healthcare "plans" would increase maternal morbidity. So when we say "people will die," understand that we are not being hyperbolic. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Sean Spicer takes a knee. Not exactly unexpected, and he's probably glad he has a good excuse, but this mostly shows Steve Bannon gaining the upper hand over Reince Priebus. Kremlinology? Sure.

"A former head policy adviser at the Interior Department is accusing the Trump Administration of reassigning him to a lesser position for speaking out about the dangers of climate change." A major problem (other than the ethics of screwing us all over for just a little more profit) is that they're so damn ham-fisted about this whole thing.

You know, you try to get away from the Nazi allusions, and they keep pulling you back in. "Jack Posobiec, a prominent alt-right activist and promoter of right-wing conspiracy theories, on Thursday posted a video at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial in response to a list the Anti-Defamation League compiled associating him with the so-called 'alt-right' movement."

So after the president said, basically, he appointed Jeff Session as Attorney General to quash the Russia investigation, Jeff has no plans to leave the office. You know, until the president fires him. It would be a small gain of honor for someone who has traded a lot of it away.

"The political right has persistently used Obamacare as political fodder in elections. In the 2014 midterm elections, for example, Republicans used ACA messaging in 84 percent of their political ad spots, compared to just 15 percent of ads run by Democrats, according to an analysis by Kantar Media. That year, more than 1.3 million health insurance and political ads aired, half of them referencing the ACA." The political action groups on the right are up in arms over the Senate crumbling on the Obamacare repeal. Just in case you're wondering why they'll be bringing it up for a vote even though it looks to not have enough votes to pass. Keep calling.

"A conservative political consultant was on the payroll of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign this spring, while also defending the president in political commentary on the Fox Business Network." And it's not Lewandowski (but then he was two timing at CNN). It's almost like there was a media strategy or something. Second line, no no no, Fox. You have to wait until they're discredited before hiring them on.

"Contrary to the official White House line, Donald Trump engaged in a policy discussion with a U.S. adversary with no official witnesses or record." And just who is the source of this? Why that would be the president himself. (Grokked form Jim Wright)

Evidence #1328 that the president is clueless. "Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, 'I want my insurance.' It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of." He might have been talking about life insurance, but he wasn't. (Grokked from George Takei)

As reported elsewhere, president Trump is looking to see if he can pardon himself and his family and staff. Because that won't look bad at all (and it wouldn't really stop the investigation).

"In the days leading up to the election, the top federal cyber-security officials realized that, for the efforts they had taken throughout the election, our voting system was still vulnerable, not to interference with the actual vote count, but to undermining the credibility of the vote, the integrity of the vote, which is, of course, the purpose of voting to begin with, to reach a consensus that the democratic will of the people has been expressed." With some interesting data on what happened and when it happened.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Linkee-poo, welcome my friend to the show that never ends

In defense of Prog Rock.

The Acorn Archimedes, state of the art computing 30 years ago. In case you want to see how far we've come. (Grokked from Dan)

"Swiss police say they've formally identified two bodies found on an Alpine glacier as those of a couple missing for nearly 75 years… Valais canton (state) police said Wednesday that forensic experts using DNA analysis identified the two as Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine. They were 40 and 37, respectively, when they disappeared on Aug. 15, 1942." Their children, now in their late 70s and 80s, will finally be able to bury them. But then there was this, "Regional police have a list going back to 1925 of missing people. They note that, because of climate change, bodies of people missing for decades regularly emerge from receding glaciers." So, that makes this a benefit of climate change?

The LA ground speed-check story told by the pilot. Uno Ab Alto. (Grokked from Dan)

"The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates – possibly toxic, probably worthless… But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?" Turns out, yeah, mostly. Also note that drugs in pharmacies and hospitals are stored properly in temperature (and sometimes humidity) controlled settings. Unlike the drugs in your medicine cabinet exposed to your half-an-hour hot showers… or a I may be speaking about myself here. So, yes, expanding "expiration dates" could save money in healthcare, but the pharma industry has no incentive (and a lot of legal reasons to not) get extra testing to expand those dates.

As anyone who works in the medical field knows, you can't trust what you read on the internet. Even in those Google quick topic boxes.

"On May 12, the 1,000-foot-wide (305 meters) Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico detected 'some very peculiar signals' apparently emanating from Ross 128, a red dwarf star that lies just 11 light-years from Earth." Say, when did Tobias Buckell visit Arecibo? (Dun dun duuuuun). Now, they're the first to say it's most likely not aliens because it hasn't been repeated and there's no other evidence (like laser light emissions) from Ross 128 which has held the attention of SETI researchers before this. "'The signals consisted of broadband quasi-periodic nonpolarized pulses with very strong dispersion-like features,' Abel Mendez, director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico, wrote…." Say, what would our SETI signature look like in the early twentieth century as we discovered and experimented with wireless transmissions of increasing power?

Take trip and never leave the farm. "With OpenSpace, you can fly over Martian mountaintops and swoop through the deep canyons of Valles Marineris with the highest-resolution views from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), creating sort of a Google Earth for Mars. And that's just the beginning; the makers of OpenSpace said they aim to ultimately map the entire known universe with dynamic and interactive visualizations created from real scientific data."

"The questions are part of an approach to care aimed at giving people with memory loss and other cognitive problems a greater sense of control and independence. At its core is the idea that an individual with dementia should be treated as a whole person and not 'just' a patient." That sense of control and independence is very important. They may not have much, but even having a little is life affirming.

"State legislatures and city halls are battling over who gets to set the minimum wage, and increasingly, the states are winning." Unfortunately it's the cities who have been raising the wages and the states wanting to roll them back. And the battle of home-rule continues unabated or resolved.

"And the story kept growing stranger." Except there's not much difference between those who hold violence ideologies except for the excuses they give themselves to justify their violence. "It's important to note no one in these cases has been charged with terrorism." Guess at the complexion of the suspects. Oh, it isn't any fun unless you guess.

"President Donald Trump said Monday that he doesn’t like 'Pinocchios,' referring to the Washington Post’s metric for pointing out politicians’ lies in fact-checking columns. Minutes later, he delivered a whopper of an untruth." I think I see the problem. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"House Republican leaders have whistled past questions about the practicality of the spending levels (in the budget) they are proposing and instead have made the case to rank-and-file House members that passing the budget resolution — because of the reconciliation instructions — represents the only way to ensure a successful tax bill." Or, we'll fix it in rewrite. Although, technically (IIRC), this isn't a "budget" bill (which is typically passed in the Spring, I could be wrong, it's been a very distracting year), this is the appropriations bill (which is needed for the government to actually spend any money). The media tends to call each the "budget", which can make it confusing. So this is the real deal. Although they talk about "future spending", which isn't usually a part of appropriations (which is a "from Oct 1 of this year to the end of September next year, you can spend this much on these things" bill).

On the "Repeal and Do Our Term Paper the Night Before" healthcare plan now rising like a zombie to ravage the Senate. Yeah. They're going to kill us all.

And what this failure means for the Republican brand. Note, it's not Trump's fault. It's never Trump's fault. That's why he's known as the deal maker and successful businessman because none of his fuckups are his own fault. It's always someone else's fault. Because he doesn't understand that when you're in charge, when you're the leader, every fuckup is yours and yours alone (especially in politics). Victory has a thousand parents, failure is a solitary business. Except Trump sees that in reverse.

"According to Tuesday reports, in their second conversation, Trump spoke with (Putin) for roughly an hour, joined only by Putin's translator. The meeting had previously gone without mention by the administration." You know, you try and dismiss these collusion rumors, and then they pull something like this. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Linkee-poo slogs into the week

"Actress Jodie Whittaker will portray Doctor Who in the next season of the beloved BBC series, becoming the first woman to play the role." And the fake fanboys lose their minds. Look, when the Doctor regenerates, most often the character has talked about it being a good thing of being bipedal, having two arms and hands, and a face (although the character mentioned it didn't like its nose the one time). So if you happen to think that regenerating as a female humanoid is totally against the grain of the show, natural history, whatever, let me just point to you and say you're a fake fan who hasn't been paying attention. As stated by somebody on twitter, for every wounded male who vows to not watch the show five women are willing to give it another chance.

An interview with Keegan-Michael Key including a section on growing up in the Mid-West and never believing you deserve success.

Quantum unmeasurement. Um, sure. (Grokked from Dan)

"In Sonoma Valley about an hour north of San Francisco, there are many reminders of the immigrants who built California's wine industry: tasting rooms that look like Italian villas or signs bearing French names. But you won't see any vestiges of the group that made up an estimated 80 percent of the workforce that first put Sonoma vineyards on the map: the Chinese." The lingering effects of institutionalized racism.

(Breaking in and) Visiting the Buran (the Russian space shuttle) factory. (Grokked from Dan)

"Certain hormones at times tell our bodies whether or not to create fat cells, and hormone disrupting chemicals can confuse those messages. Such chemicals are found in chemicals such as pesticides, flame retardants, and plastics. They also turn up in house dust, and new research from Duke University found that typical amounts of household dust spurred the growth of mouse fat cells in a lab dish." Son of a…

"After looking at two types of scientific research, the authors conclude that there is no solid evidence that sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose help people manage their weight. And observational data suggest that the people who regularly consume these sweeteners are also more likely to develop future health problems – though those studies can't say those problems are caused by the sweeteners." While they talk about many reasons why artificial sweeteners really don't help with weight loss, they miss one important (probable) fact - those "non-calorie" sweeteners may not actually be "non-calorie" after all (and what we count as a calorie may not be the whole picture).

The hidden costs of industry. "People who live in and around Clairton, about 15 miles south of Pittsburgh, are suing US Steel, claiming air pollution from its Clairton Coke Works has lowered property values. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant visited Clairton to understand how this source of good jobs could also be the cause of health and environmental problems." This would be the only way to make industry pay for the environmental and health damage it causes. Or, you know, we could tax them and regulate them, to either recover the costs of that healthcare (although then we get into discussions of just what a human life is worth - which has already been calculated) or push them to change. See, polluting (and paying the fines) is cheaper than being responsible. Unless you make that business pay for all the costs of that decision.

"The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials." The other fake news. So why would Qatar's neighbors hack to leave evidence that gave cover for those countries to isolate Qatar? Qatar is the little brother of the Arab monarchies, with a long history of coming in last because there is little oil in Qatar. But Qatar developed the technology to liquify natural gas, which they do have a lot of (their main gas field is also shared by Iran). Qatar also supports (and launched) al Jazeera, which tends to annoy the other monarchies by telling the truth.

And speaking of natural gas, have you heard of FERC? That's our federal supposed regulatory commission that oversees natural gas pipeline (among other things) production.

Facebook fights for the right to tell users when there's a warrant for their social media information. (Grokked from Charles Oberndorf)

Scrambling to find the votes to even just open debate. Keep calling. Also, you have a little more time to make that call.

"There was a break-in over the weekend at the Las Vegas office of Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), a Republican senator who could be a critical swing vote on the GOP health-care bill." Not cool, people. It's repugnant when the right does this shit, it's doubly so when the left does it.

"Ohio Gov. John Kasich's (R) office has flatly rejected Vice President Pence's claim that nearly 60,000 disabled Ohioans are on waiting lists for Medicaid’s home and community-based services." Is there a waiting time as you apply? Yes. But that's because of the paperwork needed to complete the application and not enough workers to process, and it's not 60,000. The cure for that isn't taking people's Medicaid/Medicare away. It takes about 2 to 3 months after the initial application to get an determination if you're going to be covered or not. And yes, if you ever want to see red tape and bureaucracy in action, just apply for Medicaid/Medicare. And all of it is driven by laws, mostly sponsored by conservatives, to "cut out waste and fraud", which don't do that at all but help deny people benefits and and attempt to make the programs worthless.

So how's that "best healthcare system in the world going? We're number 1 (in mothers mortality rates during or just after child birth). You'd think right to life would be all over this and (checks again) nothing. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

Lining up the dots in preparation to connect them. A timeline of last Summer, the Trump campaign, Russian interference, meetings and tweets. Well, when you put it that way, it all starts to make sense.

The plot thickens. "A former Soviet counter-intelligence officer, now working as a Russian-American lobbyist, was also in the room last June during a controversial meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Russian lawyer that was purportedly aimed at getting dirt on the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, NBC News reported Friday."

So who is the "Russian Lawyer" Jr met with? "In fact, (Natalia) Veselnitskaya was already a key figure for the defense in one of the most notorious money-laundering scandals in recent memory, encompassing $230 million in public funds allegedly stolen from the Russians by a network of corrupt bureaucrats and routed into real estate sales, including some in Manhattan, through ironclad Swiss bank accounts. And she was accused of lobbying U.S. officials for a Russian NGO that sought to overturn the Russian ban on U.S. adoptions, according to a complaint filed with the U.S. Justice Department and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)." Oh, and did we mention, "The United States settled its case against Prevezon and its associated companies in May for $6 million, a fraction of the judgment a guilty verdict would likely have brought." That case was settled after Jeff Sessions became the Attorney General. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Have I mentioned the other ties Trump's administration has to Russian money-laundering and a certain Cyprian bank?