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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

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Linkee-poo weekend

The Fyre Festival all the kids are talking about.

"Female dragonflies use an extreme tactic to get rid of unwanted suitors: they drop out the sky and then pretend to be dead." Yeah, I've seen that at parties.

I wrote a story (unpublished) about a congressional hearing where the person testifies with a beaker of cloudy water (microbes) talking about how we've changed the environment and by doing so irrevocably alters some of the bacteria at the base of our food change so within a few decades the entire ecosystem was going to collapse. "The question of how Trichodesmium cyanobacteria are reacting to the changing ocean makes a big difference in predicting how other marine life, from whales to mere specks of floating plankton, will react, too." Yeah, that'll do it.

So a little while ago I followed Snopes on twitter because I thought it would be a hoot. Except it's actually damn depressing realizing what stupid shit people would need to have disproved. But then there are things like this, "The former executive director for the Foundation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is to be appointed 1 May 2017 to serve as the ombudsman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. Julie Kirchner headed the controversial anti-immigration group for a decade before this appointment, ProPublica reports." Yea, not everything snoops covers turns out to be false.

On the new NYT columnist that's causing some waves. "Stephens seems to be arguing that, because a person he knows, who is a climate change activist, just had a baby, it somehow disproves climate science." Stellar logic there, Buzz. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Twenty state attorneys general and the District of Columbia this week sent a letter criticizing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for revoking federal protections for student borrowers." No level of consumer protections are too small to be ignored by this administration.

(Reposted because I apparently forgot to include the link a few days ago. Not sure it's the same article, but there you go) "'You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap," (Rep. Markwayne Mullin - R-Okla.) said at the town hall in Jay, Okla.… 'I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.'" Do you bank the check Rep. Mullin? If so, your constituents (and everyone who pays federal taxes in the US) pay your salary. Taxes aren't a bank account, and you don't get to direct where your money goes (no matter what conservatives say). That's not how they work. As a representative and business owner you are wildly ignorant of the work you're doing. I suggest you retire back to your businesses. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Well, at least he realized he actually had to sign it before going off to his weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Linkee-poo three make a post

I keep hearing Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Trump talk about getting GDP growth over 4% and how "it hasn't happened for the past 10 years." Nope, it's been much longer than that. "Since 1980, Clinton's years came the closest, but they were just shy of the 4 percent mark on average — closer to 3.8 percent, to be exact. Reagan was next at about 3.5 percent growth, followed by George H.W. Bush, who was slightly above 2 percent. Obama comes in just below 2 percent, and George W. Bush is behind him, at around 1.7 percent." That's from an article from the campaign when Jeb! was talking about getting over 4%. Basically, since we've entered the era of "trickle-down economics" and "tax cuts" we have not had sustained 4% GDP growth. Ever. Hell, I remember Reagan saying that 2% GDP was the new normal. So when they say "10 years", they're lying to you and attempting to frame the argument that Democratic economic principles are bad for the economy.

So a long time ago Congress decided that Medicare couldn't reform itself and rid the system of fraud, so they outsourced the billing processing. How are they doing? "While these improper claims now comprise 11 percent of all Part A and B claims, as recently as 10 years ago, it was only 4 percent. In short, there are more bad actors today." And they cost more. Privatization never reduces cost or increases efficiency of government. Never.

"In this morning’s edition of Mike Allen’s not-Playbook from Axios he introduces what seems to be Ivanka Trump setting up something that sounds a lot like the Clinton Foundation, only in this case run from within the White House by a top presidential aide who is also the President’s daughter, who also runs her own large international company and who also has two brothers who are currently running the President/Father’s company and trying to rake in as much money as possible on the fame and power of the presidency. Also, let’s be honest, the Trumps are a notoriously corrupt family, especially when it comes to running foundations." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Linkee-poo is all about the Quality

Author of the seminal Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M Pirsig has died. ZAMM is one of the few books I've read several times. Each time I've gotten something different out of it. Although I've only read Lila once (and wasn't as wowed, but it's still an interesting exercise). And so it goes.

"Britain went a full day without using coal to generate power, reports the BBC. It's the first 24-hour period of inactivity there since 1882, when the world's first public coal-fired power plant was stoked at Holborn Viaduct in London." Sounds nice, but isn't the full reality. See, coal plants don't shut down except for yearly maintenance. It takes several hours (sometimes days) to get a coal plant up to temperature to efficiently generate electricity. Electricity is bought second by second. While natural gas can be turned on and off quickly (which is one of the reasons it's replaced coal plants), coal plants have to keep running to be able to generate electricity to feed the grid. So while the grid didn't buy from any coal plants, those plants were still running.

And in the US, solar power, once considered a joke, is becoming more of a problem to central generators. Point-source, wave of the future.

"'Ten times Trump asked [German chancellor Angela Merkel] if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany. Every time she replied, "You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU,"' the official said." Slow dogs learn faster than that. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Sure Republicans aren't mean and only what what is best for people. And yet, "In comments that were first reported by Shareblue, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) told a woman at his recent town hall event that her Medicaid expansion-eligible son’s 'skills' were the reason he is at risk for losing his health care under the Republican repeal plan, and that health care is something to be earned." Republicanism, the Dickensian dystopia plan. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"In a dramatic response to a power-grab by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature, a Republican judge resigned today to circumvent efforts to strip power from the Democratic governor." Pointed to as an example that not all conservatives are rapacious dick weasels, some of them are actually concerned about the character of the nation. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Given Trump’s erratic temperament, his war-mongering comments on nuclear weapons and his interest in increasing the nuclear arsenal have alarmed experts. But there is a longer-term, quieter threat, one that was hurting Americans well before Trump came to power: the threat of environmental devastation." Teen Vogue goes there again. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"An article on a State Department website about President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort has been removed after criticism that it was an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds."

So remember when Mike Flynn was outed as having failing to register as a foreign agent and we were all "whew, it was Turkey. At least it wasn't Russia." Well, yep, it actually was Russia or near enough to not make a difference. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Linkee-poo eeks out another one

So you may be wondering how the new job is going? Well, we're a month in and I'm told that we've never been busier and I am (somewhat) keeping up to pace. The hard part, of course, is all the things that are deep tribal knowledge that everyone just accepts as "the way it's done." Well, no. Before everyone knew their parts from years of doing it and negotiating their actions. This is like the night job were we have plenty of "this is the way we do it… except in this case (note 5 different cases, some of which involve knowing the specialties of many local doctors)." Of course, none of it is spelled out in any consistent format to refer to. But, over all, the new job is going well. Unfortunately there is no time at work for recreational surfing. So as you can tell the Linkee-poos have been suffering. Add to that some personal family health issues and there's just been no time to catch up in the evenings. There has been some small progression on the secret projects, but not enough of note. Also add in that the universe has decided to throw in some expensive repair jobs on the home as well as having to be on COBRA for 3 months and it's also been a very expensive start of the year.

Story telling through the use of Rube Goldberg devices. (Grokked from John)

No, you shouldn't eat moldy bread even if you "take the mold off."

"Physicists have created a fluid with 'negative mass', which accelerates towards you when pushed." Well, technically, they've created a few atoms that act like that. (Grokked from John)

"It turns out that escaped pet birds, namely parrots and cockatoos, have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity -- and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few expletives." How we influence our environment in ways we don't understand. (Grokked from Dan)

Wag the Dog or Pysch? Oh, and whatever it was, it didn't stop them from attempting two launches.

"There is no virtue in ignorance." Jim Wright on why having an incompetent in office is a Bad Idea™. I'll also offer a story about Pres. Carter. He was pained as weak and fearful. Did you know that in 1952, Lt. Carter was part of the team at Chalk River that brought there failed nuclear reactor under control and in the rotation of the men lowered into the reactor to try and get the control rods back into the pile? And that experience directly helped formed his views of nuclear power and weapons. Yeah, I also didn't learn about that until later in life.

Stephen Colbert releases the White House visitor's log. (Grokked from Dan)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Linkee-poo is late

Yes, he killed himself once he realized he wouldn't get away. Who could have seen that coming?

John Scalzi on the performance side of writing. Ann Leckie also has some input on this subject. This is something I learned from Scalzi early on during a koffeeklatch at Confusion a long time ago as I was getting serious about being a writer. It also came up during a panel at the last Confusion were I was asked directly by the moderator if I was giving a performance. Yes is the answer. If I'm in front of a crowd (different from being in a group in the bar) I am "on." If you've come to a convention and paid money at the door, or if I ever do a book tour you've come out and possibly have purchased my book, you damn well bet I'm going to make it worth your while. You should damn well expect it. Am I lying? In a sense, yes that I'm being "false." But not in the sense that I'm going to tell you something untrue or violate my core self. John calls this his "public face." And as I said on the panel, "Writer Steve" is 97% the real me, but with different aspects emphasized. That remaining 3% are things about me I'm not going to share with a crowd (note, this percentage may increase in the future as some projects head to launch). There's also probably about 15-20% of me you won't get to know unless we're friends. I expect you're also the same with people whom you barely know (and this is where there is a difference, some people will tell lies directly to your face if they don't know you, not everyone, but you know what I'm talking about. I won't do that, those lies will always be exposed and frankly I don't have enough energy or memory space to keep track of such lies). Now, if you ask me a direct question about that 15-20%, there's a chance I might tell you. However, that 3% is mine. The people who know those things about me can be counted on my fingers with room to spare. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"'If you'd just answer my question, I'd be grateful,' (newly seated Supreme Court Judge) Gorsuch said, flashing frustration." I think I can speak for a lot of people here, Judge, but we also wished the same thing of you. (Grokked from Lisa Morton)

Hey, remember during the 2016 election (I have to specify since the current president has already formed his campaign committee and is holding campaign events for 2020) how Trump supporters, despite obvious signs and symptoms, claimed their support of Trump wasn't about being racist? "In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics." Yeah, the majority of analysis is coming up racists. Racial anxiety is a soft form of racism. These are the people "who don't hate anybody", but their scared of people who don't look like them and they're also scared of losing their perceived privileged position. Add in religious people who want to roll back societal openness (sexual revolution and breakdown of class and racial barriers) and the upper class longing for "tax relief" and there you have his political coalition. But it was mostly racism (that was the most reliable predictor). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"(Trump's) bargaining chip is the government subsidies paid to insurance companies so they can reduce deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers — seven million people this year… In an interview with The Wall Street Journal this week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold the subsidy payments as a way to induce the Democrats to bargain with him." So basically this president is taking the country hostage and saying if he doesn't get his demands, he's going to shoot us all.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Linkee-poo had a supper

A photo of all the Dr. Pepper knockoffs. I know a few others they're missing. Noted because before my diagnosis, I was a staunch Dr. Pepper fan (still am, pissed they stopped making the real sugar version available at the local market, yes, I know about Texas). (Grokked from Dan)

Apparently the sculptor of the "Charging Bull"/Wall Street statue is upset with NYC for allowing "Fearless Girl" to remain. One, you argument of "artistic copyright" is bullshit. Dude, seriously, when you release your art into the wild people will respond to it (and reinterpret it) in ways you can't control or imagine. And then there's this part, "Di Modica had installed the massive bronze in front of the New York Stock Exchange after the 1987 stock market crash, without a permit, in the middle of the night — as a symbol of America's financial resilience. The city eventually responded to the public clamor for the artwork to be allowed to remain in the Financial District, steps from Wall Street." As one artist to another, fuck your protest and drop the uber-macho dream in your head. It's not helping you. (Grokked from Dan)

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. Next up for the political oubliette swan dive, Steve Bannon. Go for gold, buddy, go for gold. (Grokked from John)

"'You say you pay for me to do this? That’s bullcrap," (Rep. Markwayne Mullin - R-Okla.) said at the town hall in Jay, Okla.… 'I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go.'" Do you bank the check Rep. Mullin? If so, your constituents (and everyone who pays federal taxes in the US) pay your salary. Taxes aren't a bank account, and you don't get to direct where your money goes (no matter what conservatives say). That's not how they work. As a representative and business owner you are wildly ignorant of the work you're doing. I suggest you retire back to your businesses. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Trump is now threatening a first strike if North Korea continues to work toward another nuclear test. I'm sure this will turn out well.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Linkee-poo why waste your breath moaning at the crowds

So passes Don Rickles. A master of the insult form, Don showed it was possible to get laughs by punching down (although he punched up a lot). It's because people accepted it as an act, and not personal. The rumors were if Don picked on you during his show, he'd buy you dinner afterward.

A dead bat found in prepackaged salad. I don't remember that on the ingredient list. As someone who eats a lot of salad, I'm more worried about bacterial contamination. Also noted in the "sure we don't need regulations" category.

"Winkler was involved in a survey that found that people do want the government to help farmers adapt to climate change, especially when asked during record hot weather." The that cherry crop is being affected, but the farmers (as a whole) don't want to talk about it.

"Today, when the question of loyalty of immigrants has again become contentious, what happened a century ago has special relevance. World War I inspired an outbreak of nativism and xenophobia that targeted German immigrants, Americans of German descent and even the German language." During WWII my grandfather had to be careful to not be recognized as German (the Marpes were silver smiths from the Alsace-Lorraine area, so for a time we were French).

Speaking of Nazis, "… (Richard) Spencer said what happened was that Antifa (anti-facists) disallowed him to get in his 'getaway' car and the police instructed him to get in a cab. Once he was in one the cab driver (who Spencer mocked for being of Indian origin) got out of the cab, frightened of the ensuing protesters, and Spencer had to take off running." Brilliant. Okay, I'm not really okay with incitements to violence, but not being able to make a getaway because he mocked the cab driver for being foreign is just fucking hilarious. Seriously, dude, maybe tamp down the racism to save your own ass… nope, gotta make fun of the cab driver. Also, fuck nazis. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

Now that Trump has shown his unstable side by launching a cruise missile attack in Syria, (which may have not be legal and there's no word if even the Gang of 8 had been informed) every move the military makes is subjected to scrutiny for more signs of attacks. In this case, a carrier group repositioned into the Western Pacific near the Korean Peninsula. If we had our lifelong staffers in the State Department, or political appointees running some Pentagon offices, they might inform the president that playing crazy with crazy is not a good formula. Also, just because it needs saying, war (or warlike actions) don't bolster foreign policy and diplomacy. They're the fail state of such.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Life has a way

Sorry. Day thing, night thing, and family all conspiring to keep me offline. Will resume irregular schedule when we can. Expect maybe sometime next weekish. Sorry for the interruption.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Linkee-poo plows into the weekend

I'd expect next week to be similar to this week, but for different reasons.

"Batgirl… is getting her own standalone movie from filmmaker Joss Whedon." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Thylacines cynocephalus may still be out there." Okay, that could be interesting. But then there are many extinct animals who are "sighted" in the wild.

"SpaceX launched a communications satellite from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida using a rocket stage that had already been to space and back. SpaceX is betting that this kind of recycling will lower its costs and revolutionize space flight" And they stuck the landing.

"Trolls dominate online discourse, according to Pew Internet research, and there may not be much we can do about it. To come to this conclusion, Pew asked one key question of 1,537 tech experts, academics, government leaders, and so on. It appears to have avoided talking to the trolls themselves — understandable but a bit of a shame." And what did you do in the Great Troll Wars? :: waves to my friends in Russia :: (Grokked from John)

"Transportation officials in Georgia are scrambling to cope with a crisis, after a huge fire caused a bridge on Interstate 85 to collapse in Atlanta on Thursday night."

"Are you an urban police force thinking about how to control your fellow humans? Look no farther! Your pals at Bozena have an all-new RIOT system, a crowd-control killdozer for all your protest-suppressing needs!"

"Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact." That can't be good. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"North Carolina has repealed portions of the state's controversial 'bathroom bill,' including the requirement that trans people use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate, member station WUNC reports." Not enough. But I understand the politics of it. If I were a state legislator, I would probably vote for it. If I were a local politician I would be lobbying against it. If I were the NAACP, I'd still impose the boycott because this repeal isn't very much of a repeal.

"I'm sure Pence would say that he's just being careful. But I wonder if he realizes the discriminatory consequences of his rule. Over his career, he has had many colleagues and employees. With the men, he can have complex relationships that traverse work and social contexts, build trust, and eventually help their careers. A woman who hoped Pence would be a mentor to her, on the other hand, wouldn't be able to avail herself of those opportunities, since he can't even have lunch with her." Yep. It also doesn't say much for his maturity and self-control (the former helps with the problems of the lack of the later). (Grokked from John)

Rep Nunes story keeps getting more and more amateur hourish. The kind of amateur hour that makes community theater look like Broadway by comparison. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The president walks out of his own executive order ceremony without signing the order. I'm sure whatever he said to Pence made absolute sense. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three things makes a post

So, apparently Michael Flynn has offered to testify… as long as he gets immunity first. Whenever I hear of someone "willing to talk with the committee" I often think, "I wonder if they're getting immunity first?" So far no one has accepted that offer, with good reason. Flynn is swimming in the deep end at the moment looking at not just being disgraced, but real jail time. And he's looking for any ladder to get his ass out.

Chairman Nunes' story keeps getting weirder. So apparently he had to "emergency" brief the president on information he learned from a White House source. At least it was a short trip after learning the info. But, the call is coming from inside the house.

And Mike Pence keeps getting stranger and stranger. Beginning to think the white hair is related to Geert Wilders' and Julian Asange's white hair.

Been very busy between the new day job, the night thing, and the family thing. So, sorry, no link-poo for a while.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sprung!

Linkee-poo AWOL

"The US Senate has voted to overturn Internet privacy rules introduced last year by the FCC – and to prevent the FCC from passing any further such rules in the future." Tell me that there is no difference between the parties again. That one never gets old. (Grokked form Dan)

"'It seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats,' (Steven Curtis the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party) told KLZ 560." Are you going to be surprised that he's the only one being prosecuted in Colorado for voter fraud during the 2016 election? If so, you haven't been paying attention. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"In his second hastily called press briefing on Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) did little to quell a storm of speculation he kicked up hours earlier by divulging that the intelligence community 'incidentally collected' information about President Donald Trump and his staff during the transition… Nunes did offer a few new concrete specifics to reporters gathered outside the White House, where he had just briefed the President. These included a firm assertion that Trump’s own communications were caught up in intelligence community reports that were 'widely disseminated' among intelligence agencies—a claim he hedged on earlier this afternoon." Read that line about briefing the president. He hadn't even shared this with his committee first. Separation of powers my ass. That's straight up ass kissing in an attempt to curry favor. Jesus, people, there's an entire press corps in Washington DC watching what you do. Well, I guess he figured he couldn't just call the president, as that would probably be recorded. Oh, and our intelligence agencies acting on FISA warrants investigating foreign intelligence operations intercepted (legally) "Trump’s own communications." There's a whole shitload of dots to connect there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Linkee-poo hits Wednesday

Apple is being held ransom because of hacks of their Apple ID accounts. Good time to reset the password. (Grokked from Dan)

The art of pre-suasion. Or how you don't realize you're being manipulated. Note, works for marketing and politics (and oddly enough, writing). I got 78%.

"The silicon-based cells that make up a solar panel have a theoretical efficiency limit of 29 percent, but so far that number has proven elusive. Practical efficiency rates in the low-20-percent range have been considered very good for commercial solar panels. But researchers… have built a solar cell with a photo conversion rate of 26.3 percent, breaking the previous record of 25.6 percent." Zing. And the clincher, "… the company will continue to work with NEDO to bring the levelized cost of solar cells down to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour by 2030." (Grokked from John)

Why am I progressive? Reason number #3, I'm all for reducing government spending. But I know how to actually do that. "A full-day preschool program with all this staff doesn’t come cheap. For a typically developing child, it’s $252 a week. For a child with special needs who requires more staffing, it’s $387… And 90 percent of the families in this neighborhood need financial help. Many pay based on what they can afford. But research shows the return on that investment is high. Every $1 spent on early education returns $13 in savings down the road." So, not only do we help kids, help parents, help the neighborhoods they live in, create jobs, and improve the lives of those around us (and, incidentally, our own lives as those kids eventually enter the workforce), we save a shitload of money. But, this is spending money upfront, which conservatives don't want to do even though it costs them more in the long run and generates misery all around.

Just like yesterday's story about treating people with opioid addiction. It's significantly cheaper to help them get off opioids with treatment programs (that aren't 300-500% overbooked) and community economic intervention (which often curbs drug use) that paying out half a million to replace someone's heart valve (and that's not the only expensive complications from drug use). It helps people live "better" lives, it helps them be self-reliant, and it costs significantly less.

"But farmers need to get their crops in, and they expect to be able to go on fixing, tuning and modifying their (John Deere) tractors as they've done since tractors were invented, and so they are turning to the Ukrainian black market." Don't worry, I'm sure EULAs will be hitting the car market soon. So we're all going to need to know how to hack our own equipment. (Grokked from John)

Why Mussolini's fascism is a more apt simile for Trump's (advisors) version. And there's a healthy dose of crow in their for all us progressives. (Grokked from Sheila)

"After the president issued a budget last week slashing and burning environmental, labor and educational programs, the guy responsible for the thing, Mick Mulvaney, contended those financial massacres are the heart’s desire of the 'steelworker in Ohio, the coal-mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit.'" Turns out he was completely wrong about that. And people are now telling him exactly that. To bad, Micky, but it was a self-inflicted wound. Unfortunately for the rest of us, that wasn't the real reason for cutting off funds to many of those programs. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

The Trump Budget explained in a video. Yep. Good if you're the military, sucks if you're below middle income. Notice how many blocks are transferred to the Pentagon come from programs that help the poor, elderly, and disenfranchised people. Much of what is being cut I use daily, I know people who are dependent on those programs, and gosh darn it I'd like to see medical and basic research continue (even at the reduced levels they are currently), because that means life and progress in the future. Cutting such programs may save a few pennies, but they'll cost us significant fractions of the GDP in the future. Don't believe it? Okay how about this article that highlights other programs being cut and the benefit we all get from them. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. (Grokked from Sheila)

In politics, there are lots of forms of currency. The most potent is reputation. And, yes, you spend it like any other currency. The current president is squandering his. And some people are trying to tell him to knock it off. Because at some point, our lives may depend on it. (Grokked from John)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Linkee-poo is not in the swing

Ferret Steinmetz would "like to hire someone who is wheelchair-enabled who can tell me whether I’m making any obvious insults and/or errors to wheelchair-enabled users." See post for details.

"Over the past few months, Black Twitter has noticed an increase in the number of white trolls creating fake Twitter accounts." Yes, Virginia, there are poser trolls out there. They're organized and have a mission. And it's not just Black Twitter.

"Cementing her role as a powerful White House influence, Ivanka Trump is working out of a West Wing office and will get access to classified information, though she is not technically serving as a government employee, according to an attorney for the first daughter." Note Ivanka Trump has not really divested or handed off her responsibilities in the Trump Organization (although there appears to be more light between her and the organization than her father). Although, in truth, this is the role of the First Lady. And someone has got to keep an eye on Daddy so nobody else realizes he has emotional and memory problems. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"According to the rules newly issued by President Trump's administration, passengers must check most electronic devices — including laptops, cameras and tablets — into their checked baggage. Travelers will still be allowed to carry their mobile phones in their hand luggage." I guess we've forgotten about altitude and pressure triggers.

The problems with false attribution mostly stem from an ignorance of people. "Among the people who enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion, about 13 percent might be considered able bodied but not working right now. Of those, the great majority said the reason they weren't working was because they were taking care of family members. If you look across the nation, it might be millions of individuals who receive Medicaid benefits at the moment but potentially could be required to work under the rules Congress is considering."

America's opioid problem is more economically widespread than most people think. "Milford had endocarditis, which is essentially an abscess on one of his heart valves. He spent seven weeks in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics. Eventually, he went back home. But he kept injecting drugs, and he got endocarditis two more times." A hospital considers the ethics of treating patients with drug addictions. This is why insurance needs to be more than catastrophic care. If we had a robust addiction therapy response, we would save millions. Note, the patient above had to have heart valve replacement three times at a cost of about a half-million a throw (and that's not the only health issues these people have). By treating drug addiction as only a criminal offense, and making a paltry effort to show compassion and get these patients the treatments they need, we are costing ourselves billions more than running needle exchanges and getting more facilities and doctors in the drug rehabilitation field.

"At an hours-long public hearing on Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he pushed back against President Trump's allegations that he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama." Imagine how different the world would be if that was the letter Comey sent to Congress the weekend before the election.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Linkee-poo for Sunday

Chuck Berry has gone on. And so it goes. Do you like Rock and Roll? You owe a debt to Chuck. Like a song with "power chords"? Chuck Berry. Rock stage performers dancing while playing? Chuck.

"According to a report in The Siberian Times, a team led by archaeologist Andrey Gusev of the Scientific Research Center of the Arctic has uncovered plates of armor made from reindeer antlers at the Ust-Polui site in northwestern Siberia. The armor dates to between the first century B.C. and the first century A.D." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Trump administration has gone to court to try to bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under its control. The bureau is an executive branch entity, but the president doesn't have direct control over the six-year-old agency." Screwing the little-guy. That's what he campaigned one, wasn't it?

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar? "Most members of President Trump’s Cabinet do not yet have leadership teams in place or even nominees for top deputies. But they do have an influential coterie of senior aides installed by the White House who are charged — above all — with monitoring the secretaries’ loyalty, according to eight officials in and outside the administration." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The former Texas Republican was jailed on Thursday and accused in federal court on Friday of conspiring with two former employees to violate federal election laws." I'm so glad the conservatives were hell-bent on investigating election fraud. Without that, we wouldn't know how corrupt the GOP and conservatives are when it comes to election law. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Linkee-poo asks for help, still gets the shaft

So long and thanks for all the fish. "Humpback whales are normally pretty solitary—scientists used to call groups of 10 to 20 'large.' Now they’re congregating in groups of 20 to 200 off the coast of South Africa." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"A culture of paranoia is consuming the Trump administration, with staffers increasingly preoccupied with perceived enemies — inside their own government… In interviews, nearly a dozen White House aides and federal agency staffers described a litany of suspicions: that rival factions in the administration are trying to embarrass them, that civil servants opposed to President Donald Trump are trying to undermine him, and even that a “deep state” of career military and intelligence officials is out to destroy them… Aides are going to great lengths to protect themselves. They’re turning off work-issued smartphones and putting them in drawers when they arrive home from work out of fear that they could be used to eavesdrop. They’re staying mum in meetings out of concern that their comments could be leaked to the press by foes." You calls may be monitored and recorded for quality control. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The Republican plan would block $178 million in Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood in 2017." Well, if PP is named (or specifically outlined) in the bill, that's a cause for legal action (the Federal Government can neither endorse or prohibit an individual company by law - regulation and implementation however is another thing).

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Linkee-poo becomes the night owl

Some conservatives say income inequality isn't a thing in developed nations, or at least doesn't cause any issues. "Girls in the UK are missing school because they cannot afford sanitary protection, a charity has said… Freedom4Girls was contacted by a school in Leeds after it became concerned about teenage girls' attendance… The group provides sanitary products to women in Kenya - but is now doing the same in West Yorkshire." Yeah, they're wrong. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"The Senate on Tuesday sent President Donald Trump a measure to expand the number of applicants for jobless benefits who can be drug-tested." Well, I'm sure that will work out well.

"The CIA has reportedly been given the power by President Trump to launch drone strikes against suspected terrorists." Oh for fuck's sake. The CIA has proved how incredibly crappy they are at running that program (actually on directing any, any military action). But the one thing the CIA has over the Pentagon, the CIA doesn't have lawyers making sure all operations follow relevant laws, including international treaties. They also don't have to report shit to anyone and have no compunction against lying about it. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"State safety inspectors wouldn’t inspect West Virginia’s coal mines anymore. They would conduct 'compliance visits and education.'… Violations of health and safety standards wouldn’t produce state citations and fines, either. Mine operators would receive 'compliance assistance visit notices.'" Wow, and it only took one col executive being sent to (very minimum security) jail to get a complete capitulation of government. But, in truth, the operators rarely pay fines and treat the regulations as "suggestions" anyway. The good news is that there's still the federal rules… which are treated with the same contempt as the state rules. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"At a town hall last week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told an attendee to 'shut up' after the crowd took issue with his response to a question about legislation protecting women from violence."

"'There are things we can do to tailor the tax credit in a way to make it more attractive to people and more helpful to people on the lower end, with a phaseout that's a little less steeper than what the House has,' Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told reporters Tuesday." So it'll take longer to screw you over, but it'll still screw you over in the long run.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Linkee-poo first day

"White men are an 'endangered species' in British boardrooms, says Tesco boss… Mr Allan is one of nine white men on Tesco's board of directors." Side-eye. Uh yeah, John. Sure. He then goes on to say white guys will have to work twice as hard. Dear asshole, you're on the board of a company and are paid a significant amount, you should be working 6x as hard as the rest of your employees. Get a grip. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Rep. Steve King drops the mask and goes full-bore white supremacist.

"The AHCA would increase the uninsured population by about 24 million people — which is more people than live in New York state. But the raw numbers obscure the cruelty of the choices. The policy is particularly bad for the old, the sick, and the poor. It is particularly good for the rich, the young, and the healthy." More people will be pushed out of the healthcare market than were added under Obamacare. It will screw over a lot of people with employer based healthcare. And if you're on Medicaid, you're screwed. How screwed, it's $800B in cuts to Medicaid to return only $340B savings over 10 years. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Linkee-poo before the storm

Now I can talk a little more openly about this. Tomorrow I start a new graphic design job. While I hope this will mean some major changes for the better in most aspects of my life (hell, I've already lost weight without really doing anything different), it might mean a reduced ability to write the linkee-poo during the day. Considering part of this is to allow more time (and brain space) to write at night, that probably means that the linkee-poos will be more like linkee-poo light. I'll be working in a bullpen configuration, which means everyone can see what I'm working on. Considering that they have increased the pay for this position to get me, they're definitely going to want to see me perform to get their ROI. The workplace is built around half-hour lunches (which is about what I've been actually taking for the past 5 years). So expect light posting for a while.

It's pierogi, it's a ravioli, it's a flying saucer, nope it's Pan.

"A team from the University of Twente and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences have published a paper demonstrating gross overbillings by smart energy meters, ranging from -32% to +582% of actual power consumption." Well isn't that just ducky.

"The U.S. Department of State asked the city in writing on Feb. 24 to not reveal the autopsy results, because Churkin’s diplomatic immunity survives his death… Churkin, who died Feb. 20 at a hospital at age 64, had been Russia’s envoy at the U.N. since 2006. He was the longest-serving ambassador on the Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body." Uh, yeah. Diplomatic immunity does not survive death. (Grokked indirectly from Wesley Chu)

"As of July 1, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will allow these first-year residents, also known as interns, to work 24 hours without a break — and sometimes as long as 28, if a particular transition between doctors demands it." Yeah, that'll work so well.

"Amazon announced this week that it was launching Resistance Radio as a companion program for The Man in the High Castle, an alt-history drama loosely adapted from the Philip K. Dick novel. The pre-recorded radio program is basically a bunch of people talking about how the Third Reich is bad and does bad things. For some, they thought that applied to America’s current president (and/or they didn’t bother actually listening to it). In response, several irate opposers flocked to Amazon’s sponsored #ResistanceRadio hashtag to complain about the station’s 'liberal agenda.'" (Grokked from Eric Kelly)

"But a second, previously unreported video from that same convenience store… is raising new questions about what happened in the hours before the shooting on Aug. 9, 2014… The footage shows Mr. Brown entering the store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, shortly after 1 a.m. on the day he died. He approaches the counter, hands over an item that appears to be a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. Mr. Brown is shown walking toward the door with the sack, then turning around and handing the cigarillos back across the counter before exiting." Remember, the owner of the store refused to file a report.

"Roger Stone, President Trump's former campaign advisor, on Friday admitted to having private conversations with a hacker who helped leak information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during last year's campaign." Sure it was completely innocuous. Just like Mr. Stone's quickly deleted tweet about the completely legal back-door access to Wikileaks. Nothing to see here. (Grokked from George Takei)

"The Office of Government Ethics has informed the Trump administration that the White House has an 'incorrect' view of ethics laws." I know you are, but what am I?

"Former Trump campaign associate Carter Page is pressuring the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate whether his “civil rights” were violated by the Clinton campaign and Obama administration during the 2016 election, according to a letter Page delivered to the committee and sent to BuzzFeed News." I'm sure he's cooperator fully and only for the low, low cost of unconditional immunity from prosecution. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The Republican health plan is a huge betrayal of (all of) Trump’s campaign promises… And Trump’s voters will pay the highest price." Who could have predicted that? And who could have predicted Trump saying the Ryan bill is exactly what he wanted? (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"On Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it expected to run out of visas for Afghans who assisted the U.S. mission by June 1, and that, 'No further interviews for Afghan principal applicants… will be scheduled after March 1, 2017.'" I'm sure that'll work out okay.

"A recently retired FBI agent, Brian McCauley, was the fact witness at the center of yet another Clinton email 'scandal' which broke about three weeks before the November 2016 election… It turns out that about two weeks before that story came out, McCauley had been placed on retainer by Trump advisor Michael Flynn, a retainer/consultancy agreement which eventually totaled $28,000." I'm sure it was just coincidental. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Linkee-poo makes it to Friday

When it's a slow day at the bookstore. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

"Archaeologists working under difficult conditions in Cairo have discovered an ancient statue submerged in mud." Okay, it's just Ramses II, but still it's an interesting find. Especially since it was discovered in Cairo. (grokked from Matt Staggs)

Fiverr's ad for the gig economy. Are you a workaholic dweeb? Love stressing out and double-checking your double-check? Think the job is never done and love putting in more unbillable time than necessary? Fiverr maybe the solution you're looking for. Okay, well at least it's more realistic than the "people freelance because they don't want to work a 'real' job." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Your workplace Wellness Program is about to get more invasive. "A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information." Considering how the new GOP healthcare law also takes off restrictions regarding pre-existing conditions (remember, you could get insurance that covered pre-existing conditions, but those were typically in "high-risk pools", which cost about 5-20x as much as other insurance plans and were run by the states) this is exceptionally bad. Have BRCA1 or BRCA2, have genes linked to other cancers or heart disease, or any of the many conditions that we think we know the genetic markers for (which I'll note several of these markers have been disproved) and suddenly you're in the "high-risk pool", even without any symptoms. And you're on the hook for all that extra cost. Or your employer may just decide to fire you. Sure, they'll have to pay unemployment, but that's why most states have "employ at will" laws. And yes this is real. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Before abortion, the world was nicer and more polite. "Alone, often met with silence and obstruction from Church and state bureaucracies that held long-forgotten records, Corless eventually exposed the existence of a mass grave of babies and toddlers in a sewer on the grounds of the home." Yeah, bullshit. The world was meaner and a worst place to live. So, mass graves, sound like some third world place run by a dictator. Well, no, this is Ireland and we're talking about a home for wayward girls (unmarried mothers). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Gen. Michael Flynn belated registers as a foreign agent (aka lobbyist) for Turkey during the campaign. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Donald Trump's new FCC boss, Ajit Pai, has nuked an Obama-era rule that banned ISPs from selling off your browsing data, location, financial and health information, children's information, Social Security Number and contents of your messages, without your permission. The now-defunct rule also required ISPs to notify you when they got hacked and your sensitive personal information got out into the wild." Sure the parties are the same.

"Was the election interference a one-off deal where Putin vanquishes Hillary and then goes home fat and happy? Or was it part of something bigger, where Putin is using Trump — remember, the Steele Dossier, much of which is still unverified, alleges that Russia has been cultivating Trump as an asset FOR YEARS — to achieve much wider goals?" Again, the plot is over when the action ends. Russian trolls are still active. What the Trump people don't understand is they're only useful while they're useful. The Russians will drop them at the earliest opportunity. The goal is not to install Trump. And I agree, the goal is not the destruction of our democracy (that's just a happy side effect), they want us within our borders, they want is impotent. Everything else is gravy. And once they have us boxed in, they'll dump Trump (or whomever they're still supporting) if only to throw our system into more chaos. It's nothing personal. (Grokked from Michele)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Linkee-poo almost there

"A Montrealer who is a Canadian citizen by birth says she was barred from entering the United States and told to get a valid visa if she ever wants to cross the border." Well, I guess we know which government agency is auditioning for the role of Brown Shirts. So much for the worlds longest, peaceful border. Thanks, CBP. (Grokked from Geoff Landis)

"The next time you place an order at a fast food joint, you could see a robot behind the counter. Flippy is an AI-driven kitchen assistant that can flip burgers and place them on buns, and it debuted today at a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena, California." As with most industrial robots, it's not a complete solution and requires humans to do finishing tasks. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt begins (well, for him "continues") the rollback of actual science at the EPA. In this case, he's not sure that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that humans are behind the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is not just academic, this is suicidal. (Grokked from Charles Oberndorf)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Linkee-poo, time is not on my side

Just trying to get so much done, and not getting much of it accomplished.

Sure, you're saying, Jim Hines salary survey is all good, but it'd be nicer if it were all together. Say, like as a PDF. Well ask no more.

"One of the possible explanations for why Pluto is emanating X-rays would be that the high energy particles emitted by the sun are stripping away and reacting with Pluto’s atmosphere, producing the X-rays that are visible to Chandra." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Rabbit hole in England leads to 700-year old Knights Templar cave." And they can't keep the kids away.

"'When people talk about the Paleo diet, that’s not paleo, that’s just non-carb,' Weyrich says. 'The true paleo diet is eating whatever’s out there in the environment.'" Basically, the Paleo Diet was just the "ideal" of what some people want and their knowledge of paleo culture as exemplified by the Flintstones. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"In 2000, during a family dispute about the details of his father’s will, Trump, who was by then fabulously wealthy in his own right, cut off benefits from the family health plan that were paying for the medical care of his nephew’s seriously ill young son." Because in the president's eye, revenge is perfectly acceptable even when it mostly affects children. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Pizza gate redux, with a spicing of 80's Satanic Baby-killers. "End Times radio broadcaster and unhinged conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles dedicated his radio program yesterday to warning that a secretive pedophile ring is working to destroy President Trump before he can expose their murderous global network." Have you stopped beating your wife? (Grokked from Fred Clark)

It begins. "Mexico has canceled existing sugar export permits to the United States in a dispute over the pace of shipments, according to a letter seen by Reuters, in a flare-up industry sources said could temporarily disrupt supplies… The letter sent by Mexico's sugar chamber to mills on Monday partly blamed the situation on unfilled positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, which it said had led to a 'legalistic' interpretation of rules with no U.S. counterparts in place in Washington for Mexican officials to negotiate with." While not technically a "trade war", expect your food prices to increase. Mexico provides about one-third of US sugar imports. The dispute is over technical language as we try to renegotiate the Sugar Import agreement (started last year). Plus, you know that movement to use "real sugar" in foods instead of high-fructose corn syrup (or other sweeteners which are actually worse for you than proceed sugar which is already bad for you), yeah, expect that to die. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Trump’s budget would get rid of Energy Star. The government labeling program for energy-efficient appliances and consumer products is on the chopping block as the president tries to slash spending so he can steer $54 billion more a year to the military." I know this isn't on most people's radar, but fuck. When I buy an appliance I immediately look for the Energy Star rating. Sure, most products now qualify for Energy Star status, but it's that power usage rating that is most important. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"In other words, it's not exactly designed to pass and become a law that actually works. Speaker Paul Ryan might get the necessary 218 Republicans to close their eyes, hold hands, and jump over a cliff in order to get the bill to the Senate." While I agree this GOP Healthcare Bill is mostly about politics and ideology, and it's less about real policy, I'm not so sure it won't pass. But let's say it is just about the GOP saving face by passing something in the House that they know won't pass in the Senate, okay. I say then the progressives use this bill as a flog and never let the GOP forget it. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Hours after Republicans released their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, the most influential conservative groups in the country have come out strongly against it, setting up an expensive battle between a divided Republican Party on an issue they’ve campaigned on for seven years." Mostly because the GOP bill doesn't fully repeal Obamacare. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"MSNBC White House correspondent Hallie Jackson backed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer into a corner by asking him why President Donald Trump would call on Congress to investigate wiretapping information he already claims to have." Well, it's about separation of powers and adding validity… you know, complete bullshit. Actually I'm sure the president would rather Congress go on a wild goose chase after any wiretapping of Trump Tower instead of investigating Russian connections to the administration and their interference in the election. (Grokked from Michele)

Tweet of my heart: @zagbah I'm so sick of folk at no risk telling folk at high risk to allow the folk who want to harm them explain why they want to harm them. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Double dip: @DavidYankovich When your boss's income has risen 937% since 1978 and yours has increased by only 5.7%, it's time to stop blaming minorities for your woes. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Linkee-poo another rainy day

"Those first release photos show actor Finn Jones, the titular Iron Fist, to be using a shinai–the bamboo practice sword used for swinging and sparring, meant to represent a katana–which does not fit him. It is the size which would be handed to a ten-year-old child. Even though a practice sword is made of bamboo and leather it is held and swung like the real thing. There’s a dedicated 'cutting' edge. Jones is holding his child-sized shinai upside-down, with the edge pointed at his own face." Seriously, it's not that hard to do the work. As someone who has written a book involving Asian martial arts swordplay, it's really not that hard to do basic research. And with an actual budget, there are tons of experts available that could be on set, giving advice, training the actors, setting choreography, giving feedback. In the hands of the unskilled, a shinai is a dangerous thing. I'm surprised the insurance underwriters didn't insist on having onset experts. Also, for the record, yes I make it clear in my book that the "American" swordsmen are not close in skill to those from the old country. And the protagonist would have lost to an antagonist had he not "cheated." And that antagonist wasn't fully trained. There is nothing magical about the person, but there is a difference between cultures and training (and the dojo). Ask anyone who has met a master in any martial art. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Only about half of the medical findings reported in 199 English-language newspapers actually turn out to hold up when tested in further studies, the study found. And sorry, dear reader, you're not likely to hear about those refutations."

"'We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services,' Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska wrote in a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Based on my conversations with multiple sources close to the effort, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had indicated to congressional staff that the prior House framework could see at least 10 million, and potentially up to 20 million, individuals losing employer-sponsored health insurance. Further, CBO stated that that House framework, even after including a refundable tax credit for health insurance, would not cover many more people than repealing Obamacare outright." Emphasis mine. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The Republican plan to reshape the Affordable Care Act — what they call 'repeal and replace' — kills the requirement that everyone buy health insurance by eliminating the tax penalty for those who don't have coverage. It also makes significant changes in the financial assistance people can receive to buy a health plan." We're all boned.

Hey, remember when the Tea Party thought that passing Obamacare in about 6 months was "too fast". Yeah, word is Republicans want to pass their repeal by Easter.

A new travel ban is rolled out. And it reads like a legal brief and makes the same case they tried with the prior one (even with the differences).

Tweet of my heart: @joshtpm Now it's a race to see if GOP can pass repeal law before people realize that everyone loses their coverage. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Linkee-poo is late as predicted

Tobias Buckell soft-launches his Patreon. He joins a long list of other authors there, including Kameron Hurley, Jim Wright, Mur Lafferty, Mary Robinette Kowal, Fred Clark, Writing Excuses, and Uncanny Magazine among others.

Introducing the Enemies of the People according to our president. A remembrance that reporting is neither easy, or in many cases safe. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

The secrets of the dinosaur death pose. It's because as the body decomposes, the muscles in the chest and abdomen (such as the abdominis rectus) tear and rip from contraction (because they overlap with alternating grain). The more supple (and mostly oriented in one direction) muscles of the neck, ribs, and posterior spine survive longer and these contract pulling the animal into the classic pose. Your strongest and thickest muscle is the psoas, which connects from the lumbar spine to the lesser trochanter of the femur. Also as demonstrated in humans (who walk upright and therefore put greater stresses on their spines, welcome to why lower back and neck pain are so damn common) the spine has a natural S curve to it (lordotic for cervical and lumbar and kyphotic for thoracic). This is why it's easier for you to look straight up (extension), and harder to see straight down to your feet (flexion). This leads to the classic "holding the leg in a kick position to look at the toes" posture, slightly pronounced in those of us with larger body habitus. These muscles survive longer after death and because they're mostly pulling in the same direction (for humans, making us upright) they tend to have more of an affect. In humans we have another muscle few animals have, the diaphragm. The largest single muscle in your body (IIRC). When this contracts after death, it pulls our bodies into the classic fetal position. Dinosaurs (avians, and most other animals) don't posses this counter balance to the back muscles.

"The White House is proposing to slash Environmental Protection Agency funding that pays for Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97 percent, according to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies." We're boned. Hey, Great Lake Sports Fishing Industry, your livelihood is on the line here. "The plan also includes a $13 million cut in compliance monitoring, which the EPA uses to ensure the safety of drinking water systems. State grants for beach water quality testing would also be eliminated." Living next to a water body that often has its beaches closed because of bacterial counts, I'm sure this won't cause any problems at all. And that's before we start talking about places like Flint and West Virginia. Boy, I hope he has a plan on how to employ all the people that will be let go because of this. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Polls consistently show that Republicans are more likely to hold racial prejudices, and not just in the South. Nationally, almost one in five Republicans opposes interracial dating, compared to just one in 20 Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center. While 79 percent of Republicans agree with negative statements about blacks such as the one about slavery and discrimination, just 32 percent of Democrats do, the Associated Press has found." (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

"The Keystone XL oil pipeline won't use American steel in its construction, despite what President Donald Trump says… White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that's due to language in a presidential directive Trump issued in January."

"The healthcare industry is a well-known information security dumpster fire, from the entire hospitals hijacked by ransomware to the useless security on medical devices to the terrifying world of shitty state security for medical implants -- all made worse by the cack-handed security measures that hospital workers have to bypass to get on with saving our lives (and it's about to get worse, thanks to the Internet of Things)." Yes, this.

"Last year, when presidential candidate Donald Trump hammered the Affordable Care Act as 'a fraud,' 'a total disaster,' and 'very bad health insurance,' many Americans seemed to agree with him… Now that President Trump and fellow Republicans are attempting to keep their promise to get rid of the law, voters increasingly seem to be having second thoughts." That's because many of those Americans wanted a public option, and another large group wanted the law fixed so it worked better (and mandate Medicaid expansion to those states who refused). They're somewhat surprised to realize that "Repeal and Replace" mostly meant "Repeal".

"'Just like Jesus said, The poor will always be with us,' (Rep and doctor Roger Marshall) said. 'There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.'" A reminder that just because you're a doctor you can still be an idiot. Dear Dr. Marshall, you might want to brush up on that Bible passage (John 12:8, in case you forgot). To quote Inigo Montoya, "I don't think it means what you think it means." Medicaid is not a "free" program. You might want to brush up on just how bad off you have to be to qualify. And, yes, many people on Medicaid 1) don't have the habit of seeing their doctor because 2) they never had the money to regularly see a doctor and 3) have difficulty getting to a doctors office reliably and 4) really don't deserve your scorn. So take your advanced degree and crappy bedside manner and shove it. (Grokked from Seanan McGuire)

"FBI Director James Comey has requested that the Justice Department publicly deny President Trump's allegation that President Obama had ordered a wire tap of candidate Trump, a law enforcement official confirms…"

"Before heading off to his so-called 'winter White House' in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, President Donald Trump summoned some of his senior staff to the Oval Office and went 'ballistic,' senior White House sources told ABC News." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The White House asserted this week that broad swaths of federal ethics regulations do not apply to people who work in the Executive Office of the President. Ethics experts say this sets the Trump White House apart from past administrations." I'm sure that'll fly.

"Our own study of over 1.25 million stories published online between April 1, 2015 and Election Day shows that a right-wing media network anchored around Breitbart developed as a distinct and insulated media system, using social media as a backbone to transmit a hyper-partisan perspective to the world. This pro-Trump media sphere appears to have not only successfully set the agenda for the conservative media sphere, but also strongly influenced the broader media agenda, in particular coverage of Hillary Clinton." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Linkee-poo, moved on to another town, tried hard to settle down

Well, time to let some of the cats out of the bag. I'm leaving the day thing for another day thing. Still in design, and while it'll be as stressful (with deadlines), I don't think it'll be the same kind of stress. But it also means that I might not be able to do linkee-poos regularly. Well see. I know I've been mostly good with posting M-F at around noon. My guess is that'll be shaken up. Next week I'm off work, so expect sporadic postings (now watch me post two linkee-poos a day). Just wanted to give you all a heads up.

Win a stack of John Scalzi books. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"The deal, for a 4G LTE data plan, applies to cars sold in the US from 3 March and will cost $20 a month. It is being offered with the help of US carrier OnStar and will see vehicles fitted with a wi-fi hotspot that connects to the web via LTE." (Grokked from Dan)

What effect can hateful rhetoric have? "New Orleans' transgender community is on edge after two transgender women were murdered within 48 hours of each other." Yeah, people can die from it.

"The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday moved to delay, for at least two months, an Obama-era regulation called the 'fiduciary rule.' The regulation—finalized last year and scheduled to go into effect on April 10—required all financial advisors, including brokers with major firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, to act in their clients’ best interest when advising people on their retirement savings." Because who would ever want that? (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"During a press conference addressing the Russia scandal and Jeff Sessions' involvement in it, Rep. Devin Nunes issued a veiled threat to press… 'Look, I'm sure some of you are in contact with the Russian embassy… We start getting transcripts of any of you or any other Americans talking to the press, then we can -- do you want us to conduct an investigation on you or other Americans because you were talking to the Russian embassy?'" Rep Nunes seems confused on how this goes. (Grokked indirectly from Laura J. Mixon)

"Everything imagined above—and everything described below—is possible only if many people other than Donald Trump agree to permit it. It can all be stopped, if individual citizens and public officials make the right choices. The story told here, like that told by Charles Dickens’s Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, is a story not of things that will be, but of things that may be. Other paths remain open. It is up to Americans to decide which one the country will follow." Gee, why do SF writers mostly imagine dystopias? The Atlantic on "How to Build an Autocracy." "What happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American."(emphasis mine) (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"But Sessions isn’t the only one. At least four other cabinet members made statements during their nomination hearings that are contradicted by actual facts: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions used funds from his Senate reelection campaign account to cover travel expenses at last year’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland… where he met with the Russian ambassador… Sessions, who was then a GOP senator from Alabama and frequent surrogate for President Trump, has defended his meeting with Sergey Kislyak as perfectly normal for a member of the Armed Services Committee. But The Wall Street Journal said Thursday he used campaign funds for the travel, rather than than official Senate Armed Services Committee funds." Oh, and he was the only member of the committee to meet with the Russian Ambassador. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Seriously, this is becoming a self-stirring shit-pot.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Linkee-poo, don't give up, I know you can make it good

"When we reach out for an exciting new goal, our need for safety and security gets triggered. A part of us wants to move forward while another part puts on the brakes." The inner critic (or as I call it, "the gremlins") from a different perspective. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"One reason is that schoolchildren and classicists alike have read Greek and Latin widely for centuries. But hieroglyphics and the stories they tell have remained accessible only to a handful of trained scholars. That’s one reason Penguin Classics has published Writings from Ancient Egypt in Great Britain (it will be available in the US in January), the first literary English translation of some of the texts that cover thousands of square feet of monuments and tomb walls." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

Why Emma Watson avoids taking selfies with her fans. Very reasonable. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"And so, as we started to read the current round of internship applications, we have some advice for you… The problem we see, over and over and over again? Well, let's just say your cover letter needs some work."

"The observation that Icelandic killer whales are fluid in both their choice of prey and their group size surprised researchers studying the whales’ social structure. This behavior, discovered by Sara Tavares of Scotland’s University of St Andrews, was unlike that of the intensively studied killer whales of the northeast Pacific, which have more rigid and hierarchical relationships." Pointed to because one, killer whales (one of my favorite animals), and two, because not even whales are monocultural. No animals really are. Keep in mind for both political discussions and for world building.

"An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday." I'm sure it's fine. We're all fine here. How are you? (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"You know that sharp odor of chlorine from the swimming pool you can recall from earliest childhood? It turns out it's not just chlorine, but a potent brew of chemicals that form when chlorine meets sweat, body oils, and urine… But up until now, just how much urine has been difficult to measure, says chemist Xing-Fang Li of the University of Alberta. Li and her colleagues report they can now tell roughly how much pee is in a pool by measuring the artificial sweeteners carried in most people's urine. Certain sweeteners can be a good proxy for pee, she says, because they're designed to 'go right through you' and don't break down readily in pool water." So, no big blue coloring?

"This morning, the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs unanimously passed a bill on to the full Senate that would let the government decide what a pregnant woman deserves to know about the health of her unborn child." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"An international team of scientists has tailored special X-ray glasses to concentrate the beam of an X-ray laser stronger than ever before. The individually produced corrective lens eliminates the inevitable defects of an X-ray optics stack almost completely and concentrates three quarters of the X-ray beam to a spot with 250 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) diameter, closely approaching the theoretical limit. I, uh… wait, what? "An X-ray laser… generate(s) or amplif(yes) electromagnetic radiation in the near X-ray or extreme ultraviolet region of the spectrum." (From Wikipedia). Okay, that makes more sense now. Basically it's ultra-ultraviolet and the low end of Grenz rays laser. Because one of the properties of x-rays (that we use diagnostically)is they can be deflected, but not reflected or focused. I wonder if the energy produced is enough for surface radiation therapy. This level of light doesn't have the penetration power to make it too far under the skin, which is why we filter it out (using aluminum to adsorb them) for diagnostic x-rays (it adds nothing to the image but increases patient radiation dose). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

You may be wondering if everybody "hates" the EPA, how did it ever come into being in the first place. "Once upon a time, you could touch the air in New York. It was that filthy. No sensible person would put a toe in most of the waterways." And NYC wasn't the only place. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

What happens when you just throw away the pretense of who exactly is calling the shots in many places? "Police claimed they had 'authorization from the president of McDonald’s' to arrest protesting fast food workers, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed on Wednesday against the city of Memphis, Tennessee." Ever single police officer, and their chief, should be fired, and the mayor should be run out of town on a rail. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Iowa state Sen. Mark Chelgren (R) was forced to backtrack on claims that he received a college 'degree' after his alma mater was revealed to be the operator of a Sizzler steak house franchise… NBC News reported on Wednesday that Chelgren’s 'business degree' came under scrutiny due to a bill he is sponsoring which would limit the number of liberal professors that state universities could hire." And then he told another lie about his advanced education. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

Just in case you thought it was only "bomb scares." "A gunshot was fired through a Hebrew school classroom window at an Indiana synagogue… The bullet hole was discovered late Monday at Adath B’Nai Israel Temple in Evansville. The apparent attack was reported to police on Tuesday morning, according to reports." (Grokked from Leah Bobet)

How the media and the veterans viewed Trump's use of Owen's widow. (Grokked from John Scalzi who notes "that in both cases it's a curated list")

Fact checking the president's speech. Not for me, but you might be interested.

"The ratings are in, and President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of congress attracted fewer viewers than President Obama's in 2008." Oh, that's gonna leave a mark. If you're going to protest somewhere that there might be a chance the president sees your placard, I think I know a subject to get his goat.

"Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) spoke twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Justice Department officials said, encounters he did not disclose when asked about possible contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and representatives of Moscow during Sessions’s confirmation hearing to become attorney general." Okay, I'm developing a theory that people in NSA are leaking. Don't these politicians know that someone is always watching? Jeez, trade craft, people. Learn the trade. We didn't bring enough shoes for this. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Republicans on a House committee with jurisdiction over the Obamacare repeal legislation will be viewing the current version of the bill in secret in a basement room of a office building adjoining the Capitol Thursday, the Washington Examiner, Bloomberg and other outlets reported. GOP members and staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee will only be able to look at the legislation and will be prohibited from making copies, Bloomberg reported." No word on if you have to mount a broom and catch the one, special key to get in. Remember when Democrats did that with the ACA? Yeah. Me neither. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tweet of my heart: @TheAuthorGuy Okay, everyone who likes Trump thought it was St Crispins. Everyone who doesn't like him thought it was bullshit and gets the St Crispiness ref

Double dip: @LOLGOP Don't forget the Yemen raid seems to be a real life version of the GOP's Benghazi fantasy and instead of investigating it, they're cheering. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)