What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Linkee-poo runs it up a flagpole to see who salutes

Here's a lot of catching up, and a lot of interesting things happening all at once.

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer with an open call for their anthology on feminist speculative fiction. The reading period starts tomorrow and runs through August 5. Per their post, "Any English-language story (or translation into English) previously published since 1970 on a website or in a print publication is eligible for consideration. Looking for reprints only (standard reprint rates apply). Prefer works under 10,000 words."

Some authors are finally fed up enough with PublishAmerica to file a class action lawsuit. Good on them. Even from my small experiences among fledgling authors, the name of Sauron PublishAmerica has come up way too often as someplace to avoid, usually followed by a story of personal woe. Also, PA has been trying to go viral with their "satisfied" customers. Finally, much of the banner waving around "Traditional Publishing Is Dead!" can trace its roots back to PA's marketing schemes.

A new group writing blog, All Rights Reserved, which has a few people I know writing for it. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack, who is one of the writers)

Nisi Shawl on writing postcolonial SF/F. (Grokked from matociquala)

Todd Wheeler and the lessons he has learned from his rediscovered past (stash of scribblings).

Some explanation on #9 from the Story Basics list. "When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next." As a side note, a search for "story basics" brings up some links I may need to check out. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

Write or Die is now shipping desktop apps (hey, I didn't even know they had an iPad app, might have to check that out) for Mac/Win/Linux, and it's only $10 ("only" depends on both your personal finances and personal expenditure levels). The web app is still free.

Paleolithic cave paintings animated by torchlight. And not a mouse to be seen. Actually the use of technology and "stage magic" can be shown to have its roots in religious ceremony. And I have a feeling that this is what we are seeing here. Add in the possible use of mild psychotropic herbs during ceremonies, and these paintings would be truly awe inspiring. (Grokked from Camille Alexa)

One of the most powerful female pirates in history. (Grokked from Phiala)

Providing better customer service is good for business. "But this wisdom (chasing the bottom line, paying employees less, not having an effective training program, all to cut costs) may not be so wise… Zeynep Ton teaches management at M.I.T.'s Sloan School… she did a study that looked at successful, low-cost retailers like Costco, Trader Joe's, the QuickTrip convenience stores. And what she found is that these companies spent more on labor than their competitors with higher wages and more money for training -- and these companies were more profitable." Strange how that works.

Apparently a dummy head of former President GW Bush was used in the filming of "Game of Thrones." More than likely, if it wasn't called out in the commentary on the DVDs, nobody would have noticed. Still, not classy. (Pointed to by John) But then, with a VP "represent(ing) the pervert side of the audience," as an explanation for all the nudity, who knows it if was intentional or not. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"Imagine… the domino effect… if liberals and moderates simply tuned out the demagogues. Yes, they would still be able to manipulate their legions into endorsing cruel and self-defeating policies. But their voices would be sealed within the echo chamber of extremism and sealed off from the majority of Americans who honestly just want our common problems solved." That's from a long article titled "Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One." There's a lot of food for thought in there. And there's a lot of bullshit. While I agree that we should starve the incessant beasts of 24/7 media, and that just having (as John Stewart put it), "our nightly 21-minute, 30-second wise-ass-athon," doesn't amount to much more than the 5 minute hate. But the author falls for the classic liberal problem. We believe the opposition may have a point (even if we disagree), and that in the end they're honest actors and we'll all come together to solve the problems. That opposition party is dead, my fellow liberals/progressives. It's been replaced by a movement that considers our philosophies as an abomination that must be "re-educated" out of society. "Ignore them and they'll go away" or "they only hate you because they're jealous" are things we tell children and are in the same vein as Santa Claus. We passed the middle-ground a long time ago (if this were the 80s, President Obama would be considered a conservative and only the most lunatic reactionary fringe could say he was "the most liberal president ever" without being laughed off the stage). The opposition party (and here, I'll note, this is not a monolithic entity, and many conservatives do actually want to help, and we can have a discussion with them, however the beast that is the current Republican Party is neither conservative nor a rational actor) has no interest in common cause or negotiation, the last 6 years should have instructed us all in that. They are currently engaging in a scorched earth initiative (only part of which is their campaign to stop potential progressive voters from getting to the polls). The choices now are to jump off a cliff with them, or to realize we need to call them on their war and fight to bring us back from the cliff. At least, that's IMHO. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Think I'm being hyperbolic in my rhetoric? Here's just a sampling of what I've read today, comparing pro-choice with eugenics and the Holocaust, then there's the Republican held congressional districts literally burning while the representatives are cutting federal fire fighting funds (not to mention the all out assault on their unions), the debunking of the persistent myth of voter fraud along with more people seeing it's just an excuse to disenfranchise "liberals", John Major testifies that Rupert Murdoch used his news empire to try to bully him (as a reminder, John Major lead the Conservatives), not to mention the daily ignorance and filth promoted by Brian Fischer, Rush, Hannity, and all the rest. (links grokked from numerous sources, but a lot of Jay Lake)

"Domestic proliferation (of drone bases and the drones themselves) isn’t the same as domestic spying, however. Most… of these military bases would make poor surveillance centers. Many of the locations are isolated, far from civilian populations. Almost half of the bases… only with the relatively small Raven and Shadow drones; their limited range and endurance make them imperfect spying tools, at best. It’s safe to assume that most of the bases are just used for military training." That's an article on identifying 64 drone bases on American soil. It's interesting, although they get some things wrong (like Posse Comitatus doesn't prohibit the military from operating on US soil, but it does prohibit them being used as a law enforcement tool). So, a little hype, a little "ZOMG! Drones!", but some good info to have. (Pointed to by John)

Well, that didn't take long. On the re-emergence of "violence, guns and shooting" imagery and metaphor in political campaigns. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Imposing a tax on people still using IE7? Okay, well, yeah, as a sometimes web developer I understand the frustration, but I see Kogan getting in a lot o' trouble over 1) calling it a "tax" (when it's clearly a hassle fee) and 2) being smarmy about it. Hey, here's a thing, you know that websites can snoop your browser and it's common knowledge that many top shopping sites have used dynamic pricing (ie. price determined for specific customer) in the past (*cough*Amazon*cough*), they could have just put the two of those together and included a line in their terms of service about it (like, "Users of IE7 will be charged slightly more for products because of the higher costs of supporting their browsers"). (Grokked from lnmorton)

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