There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Monday, February 28, 2011

Linkee-poo has had a long weekend.

Neil Gaiman's NANOWRIMO 2007 pep talk. I fortunately didn't have this with Bladesman.

The Tolkien estate has officially jumped the shark. edited Nope, seems Zazzle's people don't know that names of famous people aren't protected (and in either case, was a clear fair use). That's okay, there's some politicians who don't know this either. (Grokked from Dan)

Some weird vintage ads. Don't' pass up the "wife" ads. Ah, those pleasant old days when all was right with the world. If only the conservatives could take us back there (sorry, I tried not to be political, and yes, they are trying their hardest). Understand, these weren't fringe ad placements, many of these ran in major markets. It's easy to forget the world wasn't all that rosy colored back then. (grokked from Jay Lake)

Snakebots with lasers! I, for one, welcome our Skynet Overlords. (Grokked from John)

The Straight Dope with an evil genius plan to melt the earth's ice caps. Yeah, nobody would ever buy that as a movie premise.

An article on the invisible dead. Do the poppies still grow in Flander's Fields? On how far we've come, mostly. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Frank Buckles, 1901 – 2011

So passes the last American Veteran of the Great War (WWI for those of you not old enough). Another world shaping even passes from living memory (there are two other WWI veterans living).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Linkee-poo has the feeling it'll be doing the driving from now on

All political for this post. I'm really trying to break my habit, but the other side is like pushers who just won't let me.

To my conservative friends who like to shout about rights being taken away, the over reach of big government, and that government should listen to the people, this is why I don't believe you. You support the party that does exactly those things you're railing against. The vote in WI was opened and closed before most people had a chance to get to their seats. This is democracy?

I'm all for expediting the process, and 60 hours of floor debate can be grinding. However, there are rules for ending floor debate (such as saying, "we all have 3-5 minutes to say out peace and then we'll vote"). You gain the floor, call the question, have it seconded. Have the vote to end debate, and then conduct an orderly vote. This was a railroading, plain and simple.

Well, so much for that corner halal falafel cart. Really, banning religious law, or allowing judges to take into account those religious laws? Remember that link I had earlier talking about Jewish Law in America, and how one congressional aid went through a divorce and his custody begins Friday nights. However being strict jewish, he can't travel then, so he's losing one of his custody days because of that. And how all (or at least most) of us agreed it was a pretty dicky move by that judge. Understand these laws would make that perfectly acceptable and, in fact, preferable. But only, you know, if we would just says judges can't take into account all those community/religious laws we have, instead of just singling our Sharia. Land and the free and the brave. Although it's hard to tell with us restricting everybody's rights and cowering behind our walls. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

This is a part of the Right-to-Life agenda, to make every sperm sacred as the song goes. You might remember this isn't the first time that a law to make miscarriages both an investigable and prosecutable offense. This is one of the reasons that while I believe abortions should be rare (and safe) I think the RtL movement is an abomination. They are not compassionate. They are not on the side of right, they're throwbacks. Including the double-think of the only moral abortion is my abortion.

Another article showing the inequity of economic distribution. It's a fairly long page from Mother Jones, however it's almost all graphs and graphics. I would like to point you to the "Share of Federal Tax Revenue", "Average CEO Pay vs Average Worker Pay", and the "Change in Share of Income" charts.

Another point in the how the conversation and use of violent words are different argument. 1) That was pretty much an illegal comment (and I'm sure the Secret Service will follow up) and 2) Even McCain had the class to correct a questioner when she spouted off that Obama was a muslim. Thanks, TP, for getting these people elected. Oh, but wait, he's walking it back now, you know, after the meeting and once he was called on it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Godspeed Discovery

As the news reports have said, Discovery holds a special place in some of our hearts. I remember watching her loft into the sky after the long, dry spell following Challenger.

Go far, carry our hearts with you.

Always wanted to witness a shuttle launch. Guess I'll have to settle for a space shot of some kind.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Linkee-poo takes those long nights, impossible odds

Didn't have internet connection today. At first it was panic, and a pain in the butt trying to get work done. But then it was oddly soothing.

John Scalzi has great new about Old Mans War the movie. Yep. There's going to be a movie (or at least they're going to get real close). That's great news. I guess I can't go around anymore singing, "I know a secret I won't tell. I won't tell. I won't tell."

And speaking of cool news. The Nebula Nominees for 2010. And I know a number of people on that list. That's so very cool.

Tobias points to a chart on the relationship between union membership and state deficits. Pretty much isn't one. There is a trend, though, that higher membership correlates to reduced percentage shortfall, but it's not a strong one. Tobias also links to a discussion about if unionized public employees make more or less than their private counterparts. More people agree that for comparative education levels and job descriptions, no, they don't. However, as the article Tobias points to says, it all comes down to where you draw the lines.

Then there is the pranked Koch phone call. You know, just another phone call the Gov. may take. At least that's the way they're playing it. Really?

The craziness surrounding this push by conservatives to break unions, some on both sides (although, it seems to have more coming from the conservative end of it). There are people saying with straight faces some of the most horrible things imaginable. Of course they crouch their language to appear reasonable, but when you work through the practical side of it, you begin to see the insanity. And I'm not even talking about the "Fire them" and "Live ammunition" comments.

Rick Santorum, you know, the guy who supposedly sparked the TP movement with his rant, thinks the crusades were just ducky. There are almost no words. Both historic, religion, and ideology epic fail. Also, with both his leadership and the coming fight over DOMA, I think we'll see the TP move openly into the social conservative fight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I dream of trains

I rarely have these kinds of dreams, or at least I rarely remember them. Last night there was a big convention in Cincinnati. The cost of high speed rail to and from Cincinnati was much less than the cost of the hotel (including transport to the hotel). So I went to the convention and then commuted back, slept 3 hours on the train, went home, slept a few more hours, showered and got back to the convention by 10am. Woke up with a, "Well, that'll never happen," feeling.

Morning is broken

Because of the ice. Some people bore you with their cats, I'll bore you with my morning commute. As always, click to embiggen.

Linkee-poo cuts bait and runs

After tring to get one together myself, just go read Jay Lake's blog. Or more specifically, his link salad from today. We're not worthy.

(Includes links for "Liberals can be Assholes Too", Haze Over China for the "humans can't affect the weather that much" crowd, and an update on Mark Williams and false flag operations)

I might have to negotiate syndication rights with that man.

Monday, February 21, 2011

One Man's Riot Is Another Man's Revolution

Spent most of the day offline, somewhat enforced by lots of errands and class, somewhat willful. There will be more about that later.

However, I did have a major comment I wanted to get out regarding both the N. Africa and Middle East uprisings and he marches on state capitols. I believe in both circumstances we've changed from watching history happening to watching an historic happening. At that's about as much as they are related (although there are subtle connections, the motivations aren't the same).

A secondary comment about the state capitol thing. As a result of the errands I got to listen to a lot of radio I don't normally listen to. And one thing that struck me was the focus on pensions, and specifically pension plans. I didn't hear this connection being made, but I kept wondering at the overwhelming focus on the pensions, and wanting to dismantle them. I did hear one of the union leaders making a salient point about how the union members have kept their end by making their contributions, however many of the pension plans are in trouble because the government didn't keep up their end with the contributions, and this is why many pensions are underfunded (so basically, with the "expected cost rise", it was self-inflicted by the elected representatives who failed to live up to their end of the contract).

However, the major reasons businesses hate pension plans, at least big businesses, is two fold. One, the investment plans don't generate much profit for the banks and brokers (larger pensions have in-house brokers and fund their own transactions internally). And two, pension plans are the largest institutional investors and lately they've been pushing for corporate reform (executive pay, corporate oversight, and independent boards). All things big business doesn't want to do, and the institutional investors have the clout to force them to.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

OPERS and Social Security

Since it came up, here's some more info (law was adjusted in 2004).

1) If you're in a state employee job, you're exempt from paying Social Security (at the very least, for elected officials).

2) When you retire, your Social Security benefit will be reduced (bottom of that PDF file, Page 42, although it only gives an amount of reduction for spouses).

3) State employees are exempt from paying Social Security, so their benefits are reduced by the wind-fall elimination program. That page gives links to charts and workbooks.

4) Here's an STRS page on it.

5) The OPERS site is less than helpful on this matter.

Keep in mind that this only covers people who have paid into both the Social Security program long enough to be vested (full benefits after 40 continuous quarters or 10 years) and also work in a job that exempts you from paying SS and provides another pension benefit (ie. you've worked various jobs, or are currently working 2 or more jobs, one of which is a federal, state or local government job). The time you're working in the OPERS or STRS job, you're not having Social Security withheld (so those quarters don't count - at least for the pay you get from that job if you have 2 or more jobs).

As always, it's best to consult with your financial planner, or the retirement coordinator at your place of employment.

Hope that helps.

The Myth Working

Since I'm watching the news all day and am tired of this.

You may have heard that unless there is some budget compromise in 12 days, the government will run out of money.

This is bullshit.

1) The government will not "run out of money", what will run out is it's authority to spend money (or write the checks). It's being stated this way to feed into the whole, "We're broke" meme.

2) This isn't a budget, this is an appropriations bill. They are different. The budget is a "wish" list that is a very long term plan. An appropriations bill says, "We have this money this year, and these people can spend through this budget line." It's the appropriations that gives the authority for the government to spend money. Unless Congress passes either a Continuing Resolution (which means, "for this amount of time, the government is allowed to spend at a prorated basis of the previously approved appropriations") or a new appropriations bill (which this is) departments and the treasury don't have the authority to cut checks (no matter what the actual revenues are).

So if nothing is done in 12 days, the government (except for essential services) will shut down, because the individual departments and the treasury no longer have the authority to spend money. Essential services are kept running on IOUs (you may remember when California needed to do this a few years ago).

Your liberal media at work.

The Assault on Public Employees and Unions

Some food for thought regarding the Wisconsin Troubles. (Grokked from Janiece)

Some more food for thought, I don't know about Wisconsin, but here in Ohio public employees (teachers, street workers, etc) don't qualify for Social Security. Instead they have their pensions though STRS or PERS. For my time working for the Village, Soc. Sec. is not deducted, but we pay into PERS. When I leave, I'll pull my money out (all $1-2000 for 10 years of work) because in Ohio, if you accept PERS/STRS you can't receive Social Security (even if you earned benefits through private sector employment), and if you accept Soc. Sec. you can't receive PERS/STRS payments (at this point you forfeit the money, also you don't qualify for their medical insurance). In our case, we'll get my Soc. Sec. (if it's still intact) and the pizza money STRS will pay my wife (in case I should die before then, she will inherit my Soc. Sec. and will need to make a decision when she retires). The same for medicare.

So before you get all righteous about "they get so many more benefits than we do," understand that you aren't getting the whole picture. Some of the benefits you get, they don't.

When you go into financial planning sessions for retirement you'll hear about the 3-Legged Stool of Retirement; your 401k/pension, savings, and Social Security. In case you haven't been paying attention, most people only have 2 of those, and in some cases only 1 (Social Security). Public sector employees only get 2 to start with, and given their lower than private sector payment, mostly it's just the pension (as is the case with many of my neighbors).

It's a trade off.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Diet Pop Conundrum

The things you learn in class. Well, this week we went over digestion and the blood flow into the liver. Your liver, in case you don't know, is the major filter and processor of your body. It gets first crack at anything you digest (called "first pass", and here I should state, this is if you have a healthy liver). This is why many (most) drugs can cause liver damage. Before the drug can get to it's targeted tissue, it must pass through the liver. And here's the secret, most drugs are poisonous to some extent (the trade off is that hopefully it will help more than it hurts).

So, we had a discussion about digestion of certain "new foods." One of those is aspartame (formerly known as Nutrasweet) which is found in a lot of products. No, really, go look. I've tried to eliminate it from my diet for over a decade now (it gives me headaches, one of the side effects, it also lead to a loss of memory in my case, but that's another story). But this is not a good chemical for you to ingest.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (which means it doesn't occur naturally). That's not the bad part. It's composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine dipeptide, connected by an ester bond. So far, okay, better living through chemistry, right? However, some people have a reaction to phenylalanine, so those might want to avoid it. But this still isn't the bad part.

Here I'm not going to go into the various medical side effects and proposed health issues (like MS and other diseases). Our discussion just kept to how your body processes nutrients (read a chemicals in the blood stream). You body does process aspartame (unlike other artificial sweeteners, or other "made" foods like olestra). And when it digests aspartame, that's when the problems occur.

Digestion is a process of breaking food down to usable chemicals. So the first thing that happens is that the ester bond is broken which releases the two amino acids (and here I won't follow those anymore, although, not all amino acids are good, but that's another discussion). That leaves the ester that was used to hold them together. That's an alcohol. Specifically, it's methanol (or at least, that's what your body turns it into). You may remember methanol by another name, wood alcohol. (Also, there is now some evidence that aspartame starts breaking down in the can/bottle, so you ingest the ester as methanol)

Now, this is a pretty small dose, so it's not going to make you blind (methanol attacks the optic nerve and it's connections). And it's for this reason that aspartame is considered safe. That is, you don't drop over dead or have serious immediate medical problems. (Or, at least, most people don't, see my comment about headaches, it also makes me feel like I'm drunk, but without the euphoric effects of alcohol)

We're not done, because your body, well, your liver, keeps on trying to package the methanol (because it's a poison, so the liver deals with it). Methanol processes to formaldehyde and then formic acid. The major liver damage comes at this point. Formaldehyde, as I'm sure you know, is an embalming fluid (used because it slows tissue breakdown and kills bacteria).

There's plenty of back and forth over what aspartame may or may not do, what it may cause or enhance, etc. That's not where I'm going right now. I'm going to talk about something else.

As your liver processes methanol (well, any alcohol, but more so with methanol) it stops packaging fats into triglycerides (which makes them usable by your body) and instead stores the fat (for later processing, but the liver never does get back to it, ever).

You may have heard of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis means you have a fatty liver. This is one of the problems that alcoholics have when their liver shuts down. Also, while there is no direct link shown, I can tell you that there is a rise of NAFL (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).

This also means that your body stops processing or metabolizing fats while digesting aspartame. Aspartame is widely used in dieting materials. Why? Because it's cheap and it isn't sugar. However, it directly contributes to greater fat storage and lower fat processing.

How many people do you know trying to lose weight, who drink the diet pop and complain they can't lose the weight? They can't. Now you know why. What they're consuming is affecting their ability to metabolize fat, and increases their storage of fat.

As we were told, the tipping point for having problems is comparable to drinking a quart of diet soda a day. Understand that that point doesn't meant that the methanol isn't causing problems before that. Also, a quart sounds like a lot. There are over 2 quarts in a 2 liter bottle. How many kids do you know who drink a 2 liter bottle a day?

So why does industry still use it? Because it's cheap. Why doesn't the government stop them? Welcome to deregulation. See, the government did try back in the 90s, but then it was government interference. And people aren't dropping over dead from consuming it (yeah, that's pretty close to the standard). Some other governments have banned or controlled its sale. Does the industry know it affects you this way? Yes. That's why they have a PR campaign to stop having it pulled from the market (and to win you over, you can compare this to the tobacco PR of the 60s-80s). So why do they still use it? It's cheap.

Another example of when people tell me how companies only have the best interests of their customers at heart I just laugh.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Linkee-poo attempts to flush it out

Jim Wright says it better than I could. I think the teeth gnashing of the conservatives who were shouting to high heaven that Obama's budget didn't address the "entitlement" programs should be ashamed. They, after all, were the ones who ran on the platform, promised everybody they would do it, say we can't balance anything unless we cut them, and when the President says, "Okay, you go first," they revert to the 5 year-olds they are. To paraphrase Dean Vernon Wormer, "Put Christie on it. He's a sneaky little shit just like you."

Hmm, well that's interesting. I guess WI wasn't going to have a budget deficit at all until the recent tax cuts pushed through by the very Governor who is now bemoaning his outcast state. In fact, their own budget office was predicting a surplus. So, tax cuts, payouts to friends and acquaintances, and then crying wolf over not having enough money to pay the people who get the work done. Gee, sounds like our own governor. How long does it have to go on before we can use the term, "corrupt"?

And related to that, while it's not as large as WI, we've had our own marches on the statehouse. Didn't see much of that on the local news last night. Your liberal media at work. Also, yes, there was a counter protest by TPers. However, as the report states, they were outnumbered by those protesting the new proposed rules. And really, I still have difficulty wrapping my head around people who believe that removing workers' right is a good thing. SO not only do we have to refight the culture wars of the past half century, we also need to go back to the late 19th century and fight those again.

edited to add more links

Some more on the Ohio protests. I love that people think government workers get paid too much because their public officials get paid too much. For our own Village, we had several people over the years who complained that we councilmen are paid "way too much." When we explain that we only get $400 a month, that story quickly changes (when I started, we were paid $200 a month, which PERS considered too low to be considered a full year's salary, so our time in office as recorded for the state pension was listed at 0.5 years for each year of service). And you wonder why we pay all of their health insurance and pension? It's because we don't pay them squat to begin with. I've tried to help with that, and I think we now pay livable wages, but none of our employees are getting rich. Last year we also started to require them to pitch in for their health insurance. We're starting small and increasing the percentage each year. Our employees, however, haven't had a pay raise in three years. (Grokked from John)

Some opinion about the submerged state. You may remember an earlier link to a survey that showed how people who receive government benefits don't realize they are a part of the welfare state, and so rail against the welfare state. You can add in to this thought process those that believe their food comes from "the store" and have a complete disconnect that those cows they drive by are either supplying the milk they had poured on their Cheerios that morning, or will be the hamburger they eat at lunch (let alone the corn growing in that field will go to feed those cows so they can have the milk and meat). (Grokked from Eric)

Swelled with the confidence of Egypt, nations around the middle east are seeing uprisings to some degree or other. The difference, no major media support and some of these rulers aren't so interested in dialog. He had to (fairly) peaceful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt that got (mostly) what they wanted. However, as the investment saying goes, past performance is not indicative of future returns. I also think it's interesting that the various talking heads who were all about bringing democracy to Iraq tacked on the form of an M1A1 Abrams, and all agog about how this will begin a tidal wave effect that will change everybody into democracies are now saying, well, maybe that wasn't such a good idea after all. As I said before, I'm all for people demanding change and marching, I'm just not sure we're ready for the fallout (of them getting what they want, which may not be what we want - which is okay - or of people dying to try and get that freedom). This is where the real world trumps idealism.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A quote from Confusion

Sorry that I'm just getting around to this. While at cons there are tons of quotable verses people says (strange when you get groups of writers together how they try to crack each other up, or let fly with the witticisms). This one, however, I kept giggling over during the whole panel.

Jim Hines, "Don't we just pull it out of our asses?" (Talking about where the writing comes from)

Jim Frenkel, "Well, I pull it out of other peoples asses. I'm an editor."

Jim Hines, "I thought editors just said, 'Here, put this back in.'"

Linkee-poo returns for another helping

Had two blog articles planned in my head as I drove in, and they're both gone. Hopefully I'll remember them. Until then, some more links for today.

The Ferrett has some thoughts on American Exceptionalism. He doesn't use that word, but that's what he's talking about. I think I've pointed to the various data showing how we're being left in the dust by the investment other countries are making in new tech. Hell, the Germans have a larger installed solar power base than the entire US. And Germany is a higher latitude than most of the US, and it's a lot cloudier. And he doesn't even go near the investments in education. China is innovating now (they've made the leap past just duplicating). India is close on their heels (the myth than Indian engineers only have book learning is blinding us to the fact that some of their Universities have changed). We may scoff at Iran's "guided missile" (basically buzzbomb tech from WWII), but then we fear they almost have The Bomb.

Miranda Suri waxes philosophic on the sting of critique. I come from an art school background where we were critiqued every single class. Having someone critique my writing isn't stressful to me (although I'll admit sometimes going through Miranda's stages). As I've told people at work who have tippied-toed around telling me they don't like something I've done, "You don't have the tools to hurt me, just tell me what you think." My soft, vulnerable points are very deep, and just like Mal, I had that nerve plexus relocated during the war.

I find it funny how, with all this talk of "we need to cut government spending," there's not one proposal to cut the salaries of elected officials. Just cutting the federal Congress' pay to $150,000 would save our government almost $9 M (I don't have the time to work out what that would really mean over a decade, because there are multipliers and compounded this and that). Of course, it's easy to cut other people's wages and take away their benefits (notice the arguments in Wisconsin talk about how the government employees have it so good because they pay less than their private employee counterparts for their benefits, but no where do you see a comparison of what a government employee makes compared to their private employee counterparts, yeah, there's a reason the gov employee pays less).

Linkee-poo gets it out of its system

To quote some of my friends, can you hear us know? How about now? I expect to see more workers marching soon. I think it's hilarious in Ohio that the executive side of the Unionization issue is now bemoaning the binding arbitration clause they helped instigate in the 90s. You may remember the fight that was to get Unions to agree to it (well, basically they had to back down, people don't like their police and firemen to strike). At the time it was hailed as a victory by the executive side to help speed along negotiations. Strangely enough, the management side has lost most of the arbitration rulings, even though the rules already favor their positions. Yeah, strange that. It's almost as if a person who looks at the issue independently can see how the workers are being screwed. I bet it's that damned well known liberal bias of reality. Do I need to remind us all how our Ohio Gov. raised the pay rates for his political appointees (by 10%+) and cut the salaries of the career staffers?

edit What's happening today. Can you hear us now? (Grokked from Tobias Buckell).

Hmm, I wonder if conservatives will so proudly declare they're doing what the people want (CBS poll showing a majority - not just a plurality - disapprove of defunding the health care law). Aw, who am I kidding. It was a lie when they use it before, they'll continue to lie about it. Well, to them it's not a lie, but then they have different definitions of who is a person/citizen (those that agree with them) and who isn't (those who disagree).

I guess TP sweetheart Michelle Bachmann isn't for every tax break. Really, if you read that quote from her and don't come away with, "Got mine, screw you" I'm not sure you're paying attention. And she's against helping women breast feed their babies by saying that breast pumps and equipment shouldn't be deductible under the IRS code (and how many people have enough medical expenses to really have this make a difference here? It's a "we support this" measure, not really anything more)?

And speaking of, "Got mine, screw you," Boehner is ready to cut 1 million jobs, and put in an earmark for his home district (funding a project most other people say is not necessary, and the Pentagon has said they don't want). But on the positive note, maybe our earmark for our stop light at the school isn't dead after all (note to self, check with mayor). updated I wrote this yesterday. I guess there was a vote last night, and this earmark went down in flames. So, now I'm not wondering if it was a head fake so Boehner could claim, "Hey, I'm not immune to these cuts." You know, before anybody can say, "You were against earmarks, but then your tried this." Anyway, there go another 7000 Ohio jobs. Bye-bye.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For I have sinned against the gods of design and must to ablutions for absolution

There's a big program going on at work

Well, first up. My sin.

Yes, I have used Zapfino to set sappy text. For this I will be punished by serving time in PowerPoint purgatory, I'm sure.

But, there is a good side. I also got to do this.

(text reads, "You message was spot on, but your delivery was…")

The good and the bad at the day thing.

Linkee-poo wonders if it's too late to self medicate

Working on several issues. I've been toying with getting to work earlier so I can take a full hour lunch and maybe get some writing done. There are two problems here, 1) I'm in an opened cubicle that backs into a main hallway (lots of traffic and people stopping by willy nilly) and 2) means more time at work. Also, while the Fall is usually a time of past recriminations (the arguments in my head, as well as reliving past failures of conscience or embarrassments), this time now seems to be migrating to late winter (was the same last year). And I'm dealing with things I thought long put to bed.

But other than that, it looks like Maple Syrup season will be early again this year (note to maple producers, I don't see your buckets out yet, better get a move on or you'll miss prime time like last year). And I wonder if all the idiots who spouted off that "Global Warming can't be happening with all this snow!" will amend their positions now that it's warming into Spring earlier than normal. Yeah, I'm not holding my breath. And general note, Weather /= Climate.

John Scalzi goes on about the science fiction, science fantasy folderol. My thoughts pretty much track to his on this. Basically it's a bunch of people who want to say, "That drivel doesn't belong to us." For anybody who would want to argue about what is drivel and what isn't, let me just remind us all that 1) J. K. Rowling can't hear your criticism for all the money she has stuffed in her ears (she can afford to waste it that way), 2) Dan Brown, the same 3) Romance, prints more titles, sells more copies, and makes more money than any other book category (they're also leading the way with ebooks, BTW).

At Confusion there were a number of Steampunkish costumers there (I'm sure to celebrate the Reigning Queen of Steam, Cherie Priest). I don't get a lot of the ray guns and small hats, but I have to admits I'm a sucker for gear works and fine brass and copper contraptions, as well at the art nouveau aesthetic. And who doesn't like a good pair of googles? Anyway, even though steam isn't my bag (although I have a few stories ini the works), this Alt Living Expo/Con in Philly looks like it could be pretty cool. (see also the page about it).

Janiece muses on getting older. Yeah, what she says (you know, except for the hot flashes thing, I've always run on the hot side).

The South Dakota law that really does legalize the homicide of abortion providers (or even though who speak in favor of abortion, because the language is so vague, although most commentators haven't gotten that far into the argument yet) has been discussed over a wide swath of the blogosphere. Really? Thanks TP for ushering in the new social conservative wave. Yeah, I know, wasn't your focus and you all don't care for that side of the politics, blah blah blah. I know you like to shout, "Can you hear us now?" Okay, how's this, the SD people soundly defeated two attempts by the legislature to outright ban abortion (by a 10+ point margin, both times). So you just understand where I'm coming from when I call bullshit.

The numbers on the spending cuts sound pretty big, but a pie chart helps put it in perspective. Yeah, I know, the Republicans have come back with $100 billion in spending cuts. So double that green wedge. Still, not much. And then there is also the accounting fun to inflate the real amount of the cuts to $100 billion.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Linkee-poo is getting tired of carrying the water for this blog

This week is turning out to be fairly crappy. But not for the links, for the other parts.

Cat Rambo continues on with her series of writing posts. Both 5 things to in your first 3 paragraphs and 3 strategies for snaring the sense should be read by all those wanting to write.

Curveball finally admits what a lot of of already knew, he lied to instigate the Iraq War. He's but the last in a long line of outsiders who instigated war that caught up America, starting with Half King and the French-Indian War.

Hey, look, a conviction for voter fraud (although it's called voter suppression). Oh, wait, another conservative. Never mind. Move along, citizen. Nothing to see here.

The on going, got mine, screw you campaign continues. At this point Boehner inflating the government employee increased rolls by 1000% doesn't even register shock anymore.

Aw, conservatives are upset they'll have to go first on their own election promises to cut entitlement spending. That's such a shame.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Linkee-poo wants to be yours

Cat Rambo on why titles matter. I am infamously bad at titles. Often times just blurting out what the story is, or the genesis, or something otherwise inane.

The Voynich Manuscript. A book from the 1400s, written in a cypher that so far remains impenetrable. Very cool. However, while the ink colors all relate to the appropriate period, you can only date the vellum. You can find images of the page on Google (as well as complete PDFs of the book). My guess, it might possibly turn out to be a cleaver palimpsest (although, I would have hoped they would have looked for the traces that it may be one). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tobias Buckell gives some insight into ebook sales. If Tobias is right, that ebook sales were above 9% of all book sales last year, they may have reached the tipping point. However, I can tell you, I have many friends with ebook readers (waves at you all), and many of them use them quit a lot. I also have a iPod Touch with the various software to read ebooks on it, and I've download a number of them. Even started reading some. But I haven't finished one (other than short stories, oh Andrew Lang, how I love you from a century away). While Tobias think that 2013 will be the telling year, actually I think 2012 will be. Can ebook sales keep that trend and hold or increase above 9%? If they can hold this year, it shows the market has a stability factor, if it drops below 6%, then the market may take longer to become entrenched. Overall, however, I don't expect ebooks, for fiction, to overtake 50% of the market (text and reference books are a different story).

Some people are just discovering, "Hey, Egypt's military are the same people who supported 30 odd years of repression." Surprise!

A Salon take on having a president that is a CEO (and running the government as a business). This is from the 500,000 foot view. There's a lot more from even the 100,000 foot view, let along on the ground. And, as pointed out in the article (and my first thought when I hear someone say these things), we've already had an MBA President who surrounded himself with captain of industry. Things didn't work out so good as I remember. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Parables for business execs

Back when I worked for business consultant, I worked with people who mostly had MBAs and PhDs in business. I worked with people who were hired by other companies to help them straighten out their businesses, or help them achieve some goals. I worked there for many years and had hundred of interesting conversations.

One of those conversations went like this (yes, this was a real conversation over bagels). This consultant held two PhDs in business.

Consultant, "If the top of the pyramid (this was before the age of the "flattened business hierarchy) is stable and sound, the whole pyramid flows from that and functions fantastically."

Me, "That's a faulty premise if I ever heard one."

Consultant, "Well, you as an artist should know you can draw a pyramid starting with any point. If you start with the top, the rest of the pyramid will work."

Me, "True, I can draw it from any corner. I wouldn't build it in the real world that way. Starting with the top, you're going to get awfully tired lifting it up to build the base after a while."

This is the basic argument about why we should pay executives massive salaries and bonuses. Because, you know, we need to attract and keep the highest quality people.

You may also notice that there's a concurrent movement to cut the wages of most of the people who work at the base level of the old pyramids. You can also see it with the move to break unions (here in Ohio and Wisconsin). Because you can just hire other people. It also proceeds from the myth of the blue color worker, the high work ethic they have. And how they'll work just as hard for any amount of pay.

Because business and government has forgotten what "bright sizing" means.

Also, four months after this conversation, we had a scandal involving our mail room personnel who had been skimming money on deliveries via a kick-back operation. It's estimated the activity had gone on for several years. Also same multiple PhD never could understand how I could get materials (binders, overnights, copies, etc) in less than one day, when it took them at least three days. Probably because I knew all my suppliers by their first name and talked to them about their lives.

So as our governor increases his appointed executives' salaries and cuts their staffs' pay, attempts to break the unions, and drives the government into a hole, just keep that story in mind. Some supposedly very bright people are attempting to build the pyramid from the top down.

Linkee-poo attempts to wake up

Hey, look, Mer Haskell's book available for preorder. Cool!

Hey, look, actual election fraud. Oh, wait. It's a conservative again. Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

Not everybody suffers in a down ecomomy. Oh yes, tell me again why we shouldn't regulate this industry, but instead give them the full rights of citizens (without the responsibilities)?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Linkee-poo raises a flag on the hill

Ideology comes and meets the hard reality of health care in the US. (grokked from Jay Lake). NPR did an interview with one of those new representatives, which you can read here. Sucks, doesn't it? Sure helps that Congressman make $170,000+, doesn't it? And just as an info for Rep. Nugent, because the company I now work for is so large, I didn't see an increase last year (even though our workforce is pretty much 35+). Although for my contribution, I'm not paying that much less than when I was with a company of about 150 employees (currently over 3000).

One of the side effects of all the hacking lately with Wikileaks and the various Anonymous activity, is the discovery that the US Chamber of Commerce was engaged in false flag operations. Of course, the Chamber denies it all. However, it's doubtful that they could have orchestrated and provoked the attack by Anonymous to have these emails buried deep. It's also doubtful that Anonymous would have planted such info. (also grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of false flag operations, this may be one. It plays into popular belief on the Left that Fox News just makes stuff up. But then, it may also be true.

Friday, February 11, 2011


No time for lunch today, so just a quick hit (because I've seen an overload of examples)

Dear Fellow Designers,

Just being offensive does not equal hip. It doesn't equal sardonic. It isn't even ironic. You have to do more work. You have to set up the joke. You've got to do the distraction thing until you let loose with the stomach punch.

At this point you're just trying to shout in our ear without whispering first, "Come here, I've got a secret." It doesn't work as well.

And just because you use the f-bomb doesn't make it funnier, better, more adult or sophisticated. Actually it just makes you look like the cheese in the Cheez-it commercials. I don't mind the f-bomb. Heck, I fucking use the fucked up fucking word all the fucking time, myfuckingself. But if it's the only joke in your quiver, it isn't funny. It's pathetic.

Thanks for your attention. Now, get back to work, because, obviously, you have way too much time on your hands.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's an ancient culture

Heard Mubarak's speech today. This isn't going to end well.

Updated Well, Mubarak stepping down is a good first step. And the people of Egypt are right to celebrate. However, before we all breathe a sigh of relief, it remains to be seen just what the Army and Suleiman will do.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Frontline digital_nation

Last night's Frontline "digital_nation" was very interesting. If you can see it on your local PBS, make the time. Or, you know, you could watch it online. If you can stay focused for 50 minutes. Part of the point of the show, is that if you're young, you probably can't.

And here's one thing I wanted to point out, some researching on multi-tasking. To give it away, no, you're not very good at it.

Unfortunately I can't find a link to the MRI scans of people reading a book versus people doing google searches. I know a lot of people don't believe me when I discuss that how we process images from transmitted light varies wildly from that of reflected light. Watch the show, you'll see the MRI maps. It's very striking. Also listen to the conversation about how "increased brain usage doesn't equal higher thought" (as was originally reported by the media). The brain doesn't work that way.

And some of the language segments they've been doing on NPR's news about how language structures our thoughts you should check them out.

Highly recommended.

Linkee-poo has been running the marathon

So, a few things this morning that make me realize that I need to finish the book soon. First up is the news that last year smart phone sales overtook computer sales (which they believe were cannibalized by tablet - aka iPad - sales). The second is this thing, the noteslate. It's an e-ink technology notepad. If they're able to keep their promises, this could be very big. Imagine no longer carrying around a notebook. With a little tweaking, say like displaying PDFs, while allowing you to write on top of them like smartboard technology can do with Office programs, this could be a monster. And at $99, it's a good price.

When I first read about e-ink (what was it, a decade ago?) I could see devices like this in the future. Imagine what will happen when they make this 1) higher resolution, 2) faster and more capable processor, and 3) network ready. Imagine a thin client/tablet machine you can unroll, access any web-based material, and do most computing functions. All on a screen technology that utilizes deep memory functions (as in deep in your brain, the same areas books use) and… well, it's fargin' incredible. It is a grail technology. Plus, a week long battery life.

And from Eric, because it's Valentine's Day, and it's the subject after the current test (in 2 or 3 weeks), a real Valentine. If you're going to give your heart to someone, then by gadtree, give your heart to someone. Although now I'm rerunning Neil Gaiman's Harlequin Valentine.

Here's another article on just how clueless people are about their government and reality. Those number are samples of people who receive federal assistance who don't know it's federal assistance. YOu may remember the old fogies on medicare fighting against government run health care during the Summer of 2009. I'll add to this the amazing word twisting that happened the other night at a meeting of council where members refused to believe that the earmark LaTourette put into the spending bill that would send $225,000 to Orwell for our stop light at the intersection to our school, industrial sites, and state highway was an earmark. So I'm approaching the same conclusion that Bill Clinton came to, that there is a major portion of our population that are living in an alternate reality.

Speaking of that alternative reality, now that the canonization is over, a little reality on what really was Reagan's legacy. (Grokked form Jay Lake)

Elizabeth Moon wades in on health care. And she isn't exactly the raging liberal either. How many more times does this kind of thing have to be said before people get it. I know, how many roads must a man walk down. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Say, here's another example of the language people were talking about after the Arizona shootings. "The (GOP) won big, slaying Nancy Pelosi, wounding Obama, picking up seats in historic numbers…". Oh yeah, almost forgot this one. Someone please show me where the liberals who have such high contacts, were directly involved in politics, and could have been working for a Congressman (if not the Congressman themselves) have said such things?

Aw, hell, it might be worth it to donate, just to keep the comedians in good material. Notice the persecution complex going on here, as well as the pleading for money. It reeks of those various online, "we need money" requests. But see, now I'm thinking of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Christine O'Donnell touring the country as a political "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" type of event. Maybe they could get Sharon Angle to be the opener.

It's a little old, but we're heading back into that cycle again. The New Politics has brought the crazies out. Now that they're in the open, maybe we can see that we need state mental hospitals reopened. Oh, wait, that's exactly what these people are warning us about. Oh noes, the irony! (Grokked from Eric)

So, how's that lower taxes and business friendly atmosphere working out for you in Texas. I don't know if I posted about it before, Texas is having almost as much problem as California (relatively speaking). Yet, nothing in the MSM. Why? Because it doesn't fit the narrative. Your liberal media at work. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And it's good to know that the conservatives in congress are all about creating jobs. Well, no, they're about reducing taxes and getting government out of they way of you and your doctor making medical decisions. Well, no, in fact they're not about any of those things. Okay, I guess they are about cutting your taxes (maybe), you know, unless your insurance covers abortions. Well, then, you're going to have to pay more in taxes. After the whole "forcible rape" thing, and this, and the attacks against Planned Parenthood, you're seeing the real agenda. It's all about social control and government just small enough to crawl in your bedroom window. Thanks TP, for helping the social conservatives gain control. You didn't want a nanny state? Well, welcome to the nanny state. Didn't want the government in your healthcare? Welcome to government in your healthcare. What's next, "Homes for Wayward Girls"?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Linkee-poo is watching the river and thinking of the sea

Design stasis as applied to rocket design and its persistence. As someone once said, "If we were to design a car now, nobody would go near the internal combustion engine." However, it's the tech we've had for nearly a century, and only the fact of $4+ gasoline in the near future has been enough to shock us into alternatives (witness the evolution of both electric cars and batteries, which have gone through several generations of evolution in the past decade). Lots of good Skiffy stuff in that article. Geopolitics, physics, costs, insurance (of all things) and a good dose of reality. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tobias is selling signed copied of the hardcover Crystal Rain for a ridiculously low price. I've already got one, but maybe you don't.

Jim Hines jumps into the HCR debate with both feet. The money shot? "Basically, many of these countries with evil, scary, government-run health care appear to be kicking our ass when it comes to actually taking care of their people." Yes, that. For those people who fear "socialized medicine", I think you'd be more motivated to show how much better our system could be instead of supporting the overly costly, poor delivery system we have now. We have some of the best medicine available (although, that's not the forward trend, BTW, one example is SE Asia has become the health care tourism destination, when in the 80s and 90s it was the US), but only if you have the cash to afford it (even if you have insurance). Jim has lots of links and data to share.

Here's an article on some other Myths We Tell Ourselves™. It's about how we all want to cut the budget, but really can't agree what to cut. It's also about how we wildly overestimate some budget items, while wildly under estimate other budget items. I would go on a bender and talk about how we come to these conclusions given the debate over those items and intentional spinning of reality, and then tie that into our perceptions of wealth distribution and just say that as a society, we're basically clueless about the reality around us. And there are those who mean to keep it that way.

And, it's good to see the Dems in a progressive mode instead of wishy-washy at the edges. And I agree, we're at 3 bills up before the house, and not one on cutting the budget or about creating jobs. Glad to see the priorities of the conservatives haven't really changed. Just wish the people who voted for them would realize this. I just hope they figure out the sound-byte and keep repeating it, unlike the usually 20 point rebuttal (which are typically good, but nobody can remember).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Evening Tuberocity - And addendum

First test of A&P II class, endocrinology. For this one we only have the lecture test, and we only had one extra credit. My score? 98%. So I got 49 out of 51 questions correct.

And the thing is I know the two questions I got wrong. I initially marked the correct answer for them and then talked myself out of it.

So, still an A, but I have to work harder now to get back above 100%. And you know I need to do my best to get it there.

And I forgot to add, we just got an extra tax document. Seems that the benefit we're using to pay for some of the classes is taxable as income. Great. So, full tax, but with no withholdings. Guess we're going to be paying a good chunk in extra taxes this year.

But, hey, good thing we don't tax short-term capital gains at the full income bracket. 'Cause that would be bad and would be picking on those poor short term investors.

The boy who cried, "bullshit"

Here's something I expect to hear about, mostly on Fox News, as a part of the ongoing, "I'm the victim here!" tour of Sarah Palin.

The SKP Foundation cancelled an event featuring Sarah Palin giving their statement below (with my commentary in italics) on their Facebook page. Quoted here in an attempt to get the word out about the cancellation.
The Sharon K Pacheco Foundation (SKP Foundation) announced today the cancellation of the 2011 Patriots & Warriors Charity Gala, featuring former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, citing safety concerns resulting from an onslaught of negative feedback received by the organization after yesterday's announcement.
Wow, only one day and they received so much "negative feedback" they're canceling the whole event instead of replacing the keynote speaker. That's amazing they'd get so much feedback. Especially on a Friday. And so much so quickly you'd think 1) it was a very bad idea, or 2) there are people who have way too much free time.

"Due to an onslaught of personal attacks against Governor Palin and others associated with her appearance, it is with deep sadness and disappointment that, in the best interest of all, we cancel the event for safety concerns," says the Foundation's Director.
Uh, yeah, Bob. Hell, I'm surprised you could even get your board together for a meeting to cancel the event so fast. Unless they were all standing around doing nothing in the offices. Oh, I know, they were afraid to leave the building after announcing the event because of all the massive, negative feedback. There must have been Liberals in the streets, marching and chanting, I'm sure they were waving pitchforks and torches (we're a simple folk, we are).

He points out that no direct threats have been made against anyone, well, that's good, because if there were there would have to be a police report about it but the recent increase in negative rhetoric against the former Alaska governor "raises concern for her safety and the safety of others despite the call for civility in America," following the tragic Tucson shooting.
And this is where it kicks into, "I'm the victim here" that Sarah has been going with. Oh poor Sarah. If only all those nasty liberals would just let her be herself. Why, she'd be right as rain. And we'd be able to do all these good things. Oh, the humanity.

The organization deeply respects Sarah Palin, and appreciates her willingness to come and honor our military. She said yes, OMG, we can't believe she would be willing to be seen supporting military families and come to Colorado, a possible swing state in the next election (wait for it). It's almost like a win-win for her.

The organization plans to host the event at some point in the future, featuring another speaker.
We didn't have a backup plan, and obviously our fund raiser isn't that important. No, really, we just wanted Sarah, and now that those mean headed Liberals got all poppy pants about her coming, we'll, we're just not going to be able to help all those military families because we can't possibly go on with someone else. Oh, woe is us.

Because, you know, it has nothing to do with something so trivial as scheduling conflict. No. Can't be that. Poor Sarah. So vilified. It's a tragedy, it is. Poor victimized Sarah.

(This satire and parody brought to you by Sarah Bellum, when it's a good thought, it's a Sarah Bellum Production)

And everyday is the right day

Relistening to some Floyd thanks to Eric and his post. There are worse ways to start your day. So then I went to one of my favorite (and lesser known/played) albums (yes, damnit, albums, it's albums, get offa my lawn you kids) Meddle.

Meddle starts off with what is perhaps one my favorite "rock-out" tracks, "One of These Days."

And in an album (yes, damnit, album) full of great tracks like "San Tropez" and "A Pillow of Winds", my all time favorite is "Fearless". It always reminds me of what it means to be a creative.

Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd
Merciless the magistrate turns 'round
And who's the fool who wears the crown?
And go down, in your own way
And every day is the right day
And as you rise above the fear-lines in his brow
You look down, hearing the sound of the faces in the crowd.

That, friends, is shear genius. This song is about many things, but it's about not allowing small minded people to break you down, as they often try to do. It's about going forward and being yourself every single day. It's about facing the future, even against overwhelming odds, and daring to go beyond your comfort zone. And all the while knowing the crowd won't really appreciate what you've done. And not all hills you're meant to climb are physical mounds of earth.

You say the hill's too steep to climb.
Climb it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

What's so super about the Super Bowl

When I was a young the Super Bowl was in January and it was about the football. Now, because of cost of putting on the display, it's all about the corporate. People actually watch to see the commercials now, or to see the halftime show. And while there are still football fans who go to see the game, the stadium is filled with corporate guests and shakers. And now, quite frankly, the derivatives (Puppy Bowl, the interminable "best commercial" shows, and reviews of those commercials will take more news space than the game will) are more popular.

Things change, as they always do, but these past few years I've really had no desire to watch the Super Bowl. There's things I'm off doing instead (like the writing, or repurposing the baby monitor so my wife can hear the birds outside). It's no longer a "must see", and I guess I'm kinda sad about that. In fact, since the NFL let Modell move my beloved Browns (it was a love hate relationship, even from the beginning), I really haven't watched football all that much. When I was younger, that was what we had on the TV every Sunday in the Fall (and plenty of Monday nights as well). And while I do wish the Neo-Browns would get their act together, I don't find that I must watch them or pay attention.

People all around me (work, friends, even the Sam's Club receipt checker) seem to take joy form watching. I just can't get myself motivated to care. I think it's because, in general, and what was made perfectly clear by the NFL allowing Model to move the team, is that it's not about the football anymore. It's about the money.

There's also the subtalk about another work stoppage next year. Some of you probably don't remember the substitute year back in the 80s, when the teams hired substitute players while the regulars were on strike. Some how I don't even think that would get my interest in football again (because, while lots of people dissed the subs, they played like they meant it and gave it their all). And while I wish the player luck in their negotiations, I'd really rather see the breakup of the star system. But I doubt that will happen either.

So this afternoon, picture me with the Puppy Bowl on for background. And when people ask about the Super Bowl this week, that look on my face is "meh."

Linkee-poo keeps digging out

Still working. Well, mostly studying. I feel more prepared for this test now. So for right now, a short linkee-poo.

J. A. Pitts on doing the hard work (fitness and writing). So very true, if all you get is 15 words/reps, that's 15 more than you had yesterday. So get them down. This is a lesson I'm relearning. After trying in vain to find bigger blocks of time, I'm settling for smaller blocks. And trying to get as much as I can.

Thanks, Tea Party, for getting these kinds of people elected. Really, Rep. Buerkle didn't know that she only pays a (small) portion of her health care and the rest of us tax payers pick up the rest? Really? And lets not forget Andy Harris who wondered why his government provided health care didn't start immediately and why he couldn't buy into it, you know, after running a campaign based on fighting that exact same thing. I'm continually reminded of GHW Bush being wowed by check-out scanners when the rest of us had been dealing with them for years. I now have a new group of people, other than those you couples on HGTV who are buying their first house for $500k, that I wonder, just what they do that they don't know these things or can afford these houses. Really.

edited to add these late comers

This is just one of the reasons I feel the Right-to-Life movement is morally bankrupt. The RtL isn't about what you think it's about. This law would have changed the outcome of this story to be both the mother and the fetus would have died, instead of the rift within the Catholic Church. In this day and age, I really have a hard time believing we're still arguing this.

Hey, I like Apple, and have been debating an iPad since last fall, but this idea is ridiculous. I'm all for tech, but it's not there for replacing text books. See, not everybody learns the same way, but we've increased on modality (lecture/oral) over all others (like kinetics). And now we'll reduce the successful student to even a smaller subset. It's the equivalent of chasing a shrinking demographic. We should, instead, be expanding educational modalities to increase the pool of successful students.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Linkee-poo is trying to catch its breath with a butterfly net

Still trying to get back into a groove since before Confusion. Tired as all get out. Spent much extra time this week on freelance. Shifting to studying for this weekend (test originally on Wednesday that I was unprepared, I'm still unprepared for it's snow delay to Monday). Hopefully soon will be getting back to regular posts as well. Before I do, I will be back to writing (either new, or editing... thinking new for lunches, editing for home). Need to take hour lunches to help, instead of the half hour legally mandated (and often ignored).

An interesting new book on grammar. Super heros, grammar, what's not to like?

Rick lays out the guidelines for his new magazine. Steampunkery mystery and suspense. If that isn't a call for a new Sherlock re-envisioning, I don't know what is.

Michelle Argyle over at the Literary Lab on the lies you believe. I think the one writing panel I was on discussed this a little. Also, to fit with this post, "listen to all the advice, try it out (if you need to), discard what doesn't work." The hard part is figuring out what's hampering you and what's helping, at least at first. (Grokked form Jay Lake)

I have words for this, but none of them are nice (the death of Melissa Mia Hall from a preventable heart-attack, she didn't have insurance and felt she couldn't afford to go to the doctor, who probably could have diagnosed her in 5 minutes or less). There's some personal stories in here that I'm not sure I can share, but Melissa Hall isn't the only one who delays seeking treatment because of the consequences (often ending up in a more expensive therapy track, which is then put on the tax and insurance payers to carry the bill). But, hey, we have the best system out there, don't we? You know, except for living in fear of losing everything because you had the temerity to be sick. (grokked from Jim Hines)

Absurd Overheard. I've had those moments.

Hi Contrast blog, a look at an exercise every designer should be able to do with their own logo solutions. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered logos that would fail this simple test. Really, Corporate ID 101 here, folks.

And some damn nice type.

And a little on point source generation. Expect to see more of these things.

What music videos should be like. (and what they were like once upon a time) Get offa my lawn!

A SF take on political rhetoric. This could be meta in many different ways lately. Including the "bipartisan" aka "do it our way and nobody gets hurt" bs that's going around. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Linkee-poo is going to Wichita, far from this opera for evermore

Jill Corcoran on researching agents (with lots o' links). Yes, I'll be needing this sooner than later (I certainly hope). And on that thought, something to avoid. Yog's Law, "Money flows toward the author." (both links grokked from Absolute Write, retreated by several friends)

When people talk to me about cameras I state my preference for having full control over the beasties. Not that I need it for everything, but I would certainly like as much control over my next camera as I did over my beloved (and dearly departed) Minolta T250. When they ask why I would want such things (long shutter speeds, full control over aperture, focal length, etc), I can now point to this. Yeah. That's why. Because I miss creating images like that. (And, yep, I know, the rig I really want will run me about $1k, they're coming down in price, but I'm still a cheap bastard)

The political stuff. While I'm concerned over what will happen with Egypt in the future, I'm not certifiably paranoid over it. Didn't we learn the lesson in Afghanistan that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend? Apparently not. I guess not all conservatives are tone deaf. I'd be happier if I didn't get the feeling the removal of the "forceable rape" language was just a "we'll do it later, when nobody is looking" thing. And history and race relations have never been his strong point. Bu then, when has reality ever trumped talking points?

Damn socialists.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Linkee-poo feels fooled again

Classes cancelled for tonight, which is good. I wasn't ready for the test. Not ready at all. Do give you a hint of how much I've been running and been busy, the "not read yet" list of the regular blogs I read is approaching 100 again.

Because I'm a total geek, things like this and this totally get me geared. Those are two self-funded, low-tech space launches (using balloons to get to the middle stratosphere). Of course, it's only cameras going up, but still damn cool. Somehow I feel like this will be the "egg drop" experiment (can you drop and egg from two stories up, onto concrete, and have it survive using only 45 straws and a role of tape) of the future. Really. Want. To. Do. This! (pointed out by Dan, both times, because I'm sure he's going to do it).

Thinking geeky, how to do your own SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Brad Torgersen on on how writers don't quit. Having gone through this argument with myself over the past three months, yes. And Stacia Kane on the language of sex (writing sex scenes). Not work safe (no pictures though). Must read this when home. (both grokked from Miranda Suri)

In case it ever gets down to a your wackaloons are wackier than our wackaloons argument. Speaking of such, really (birther bills in CT and AZ), really (Huntsman shows some sense, and misses the point)? Well, we still have the high ground on duplicity. It's these kinds of things that make this satire possible. If only for the humor factor I would be secretly pushing the conservatives to greater heights. Unfortunately it may not be an asteroid that's coming for us, but their vision is just as devastating in the long run.

It's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out. (moment by moment courage of Egypt's turn for the worse)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heinous Fuckery

To all my "free-market" friends who like to go on about how companies are really good at heart and wouldn't ever hurt or take advantage of their employees or customers because that would just be wrong for business, I submit this for entry into the record.

And this is a lot more prevalent these days. This wasn't the only flyer offering "real world experience" for no pay on that board, but it was the one that got me. Also, notice that these postings have to be "approved" before going up (and really, why didn't the approval people catch this).

Say, isn't there a law forbidding unpaid internships? Why, yes there is. I believe this position fails on all 6 of the criteria. Fuckers.

Linkee-poo in the morning sunshine on this day of Ice-apocalypse

Tobias points out some food for thought regarding passenger rail systems. With some "just were does your tax money go." And to reiterate the point, I'd like to thank the taxpayers of Ohio for generously helping us repave 3 roads this coming summer. Trust me, they need it.

The ever delightful Catherine Schaffer talks about the perils of the writer being successful too soon. As I commented there, "Whew, dodged that bullet."

BIll O'Reilly on magical thinking. Okay, well, it's Bill O'Reilly giving a prime example of magical thinking, the God of the Gaps, being taken to school by Phil Plait. Not that Bill will actually notice. It's becoming a hallmark of the conservative movement to go beyond the "Know Nothings" and indulge in willful ignorance (IMHO) to maintain their world view. There's nothing like reality to either give one an object lesson in a low coefficient of friction (a lesson many people across the great white north are relearning today) or have the leopard take a hunk out of your haunches. Understand this isn't an argument against religion (of which, I'm sure, the full-on spin master O'Reilly will portray it as), it's about viewing the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Bill is being willfully ignorant to maintain his world view. I'm willing to give anybody the benefit of the doubt when it comes to personal belief, but when it goes to this level, it's something else. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

But then it also helps when you forget forceable relocation of the Indians to "Indian Territory". Or that you've committed the same infraction you blame others for in a massive campaign to redefine yourself and you forget you have a past that is all too google-able.

Dudes, about the kool-aid, just say, "No."