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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Linkee-poo is dropping the ball early

Here is to hoping your 2014 is better than your 2013. Sincere hopes we all see 2015 relatively healthy and more prosperous. The year is already underway and is coming like rolling thunder across the ocean.

All those who wander are not lost.

Some scientific jokes. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh those stoner kids. In this case, dolphins are found to use puffer fish toxin to get high. Wonder if they got footage of the puffer fish saying, "Hey, first chew is free"?

What I don't want for Xmas, the the "Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your life." For those people who want the ultimate deadline. This countdown watch counts back from your average life expectancy, so you can watch your mortality tick away. Although the effects of such a watch are not always positive. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older…

Frozen bubbles. Neat. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"It's like a whale traffic jam right now off the coast of Long Beach, Calif. — the nation's busiest commercial port. That has scientists puzzled, and whale watchers thrilled." I expect they're gathering for the charge.

The techno-panic timeline. Although it's a bit simplistic (how many people do you know sing or play instruments for their family and friends, how many speeches or text do you know by heart, when was the last time you had a congenial conversation with a stranger face to face). All those things changed the world and how we interact, somethings for the better, somethings for the worse.

There's been a few article on Mayor Bloomberg leaving office, and there's a wealth of interesting information in there. Like this gem, which I offer for anyone who wants to talk about "sin-taxes" and "the nanny-state". "… 60-year-old Elizabeth Lane… said, 'Is this right? Can he really tell people what to do and how to do it?'… Lane had smoked for 40 years and couldn't quit… Lane says family pressure and a lot of prayer moved her to put on a nicotine patch. It worked. She quit, which has helped her indefinitely postpone surgery to open her blood vessels and reduced her risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease. It has also potentially saved taxpayers tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars." (Emphasis mine) This is the real case for those things. Not only has Mrs. Lane saved money, we as a community have saved lots of money. This is why cigarette taxes are so high, because they cost us, the community, so much. This is also why he started working on obesity and diabetes (his push for a maximum size for soft drinks). Yes, it sounds horrible and it can be seen limiting "freedom", but it's mostly about reducing your taxes.

While that article on Bloomberg is mostly positive, here's a more balanced perspective.

And noted as another "ZOMG, government is telling us what to do by outlawing light bulbs and making regulations for business", electrical use in the US has approached 2001 levels. I'm sure having an economy still in recovery has helped, but the fact that it's better this year and we still reduced electrical use year over year. While the electrical companies will tell you this is a bad thing (because they aren't making as much profit), this isn't a bad thing.

"We're either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we're going to keep going the way we're going, at which point there's going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody's going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there's always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I'm losing faith." I've felt that way for a while now. I know the Tea Party thought it was the brick, unfortunately they were just cheerleaders for the status quo (yea, I know they don't think so, but that's basically their major motivation, "this guy is changing everything we've taken to be True, and we won't stand for it"). At some point the revolution will come, IMHO, the big question is will it be a velvet revolution (I hope), or a bloody one. Because someone is going to pick up a brick. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Need an example of the above? Okay. "According to (the owner of Home Depot), an anonymous, 'potential seven-figure donor' for the Church’s restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is concerned that the Pope’s criticism of capitalism are 'exclusionary,'" threatening to take his little red ball and go home. "'I’ve told the Cardinal… 'Your Eminence, this is one more hurdle I hope we don’t have to deal with."… Cardinal Dolan told CNBC that he had, in fact, spoken to Langone, and had told him that 'that would be a misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s message.'… He then thanked Langone for bringing this anonymous donor's concerns to him, and insisted that '[w]e’ve got to correct — to make sure this gentleman understands the Holy Father’s message properly.'" Dear Cardinal Dolan, just buy the donor a copy of The Bishop's Wife. I suggest the 19547 version with Cary Grant so there's a chance they'll watch it.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Linkee-poo is getting set for another week

Alex Haist on converting the fight or flight approach to writing to a sideways approach. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A good primer on character descriptions.

"The new research, carried out at Emory University in the US, found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory." More fMRI studies. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

A reversal on the "Iron Maiden used bit-torrent data to plan convert venues" story I linked to earlier. Also note, this piece is also poorly done. There's a lot of post hoc going on and a lot of assumptions that Musicmetric is the only place people can get analysis of bit-torrent streams. (Grokked from Matt Staggs, I think)

Children's books and workplace segregation. You have to be carefully taught. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

American internal checkpoints where government agents can ask you, "Papers, please." Hey, Tea Party, you're always screaming about the Constitution and your rights being tamped, here's a really great cause for you. It's very libertarian. Yea, I don't think they will either. (Grokked from Will Wheaton)

Body language gender and power. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The reprinted six harsh truths that will make you a better person. Or not. I agree with the central premise, which is a harder restatement of "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." Also, "People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can't figure out that the process is the result." Pretty good writing advice if I ever heard it. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that is evolving…" Only this one is about time. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Nine important things that happened in 2013 that nobody is talking about. Well, some people are. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Tracking temporary worker safety. Think there's a reason for the heavy pushback? Probably the same reason for the shift to temporary workers.

An accidental map of the doldrums. Plotting the travels of all ships on the oceans. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The blog is dead. Long live the blog. Johns Scalzi on the recent declaration on the death of the blog.

They're more like guidelines. How the rash of "threatening clowns" in England goes against the code of clowning. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"As the old lawyer’s line says, if the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if the law is on your side, pound the law; if neither are on your side, pound the table." The humor test. Also offered as a pre-buttal, name calling isn't humor, it's peevishness. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

The soldier who asked the Republican Presidential candidates about Don't Ask Don't Tell. Let's see, it's been how long now, and it looks like the military is still holding together. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

You know that theory that solar activity has more influence over climate change than our recent man made interference? Yea, so much for that idea. See, that's the difference between science and ideology. Science actually tries to verify the scientist's ideas. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is just trying to relax

Read to win the war. Propaganda posters from the American Library Association during WWI, WWII, and the campaign for the "People's University." (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

If we use Moore's Law and extrapolate the complexity of life back along the curve we find that life first occurred before the Earth was formed. While not noted in the article, the first major problem with this is that there is no evidence that life follows Moore's Law (in fact, one of the new ideas gaining a lot of traction is the concept that evolution occurs in spurts, not as a continual function). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saw this on my trip to the Rock Hall of Fame this past week. Purchase a "Legacy Brick" that will be installed on the circle in front of the hall. Would probably use two lines for "Really don't mind if you sit this one out/My words but a whisper your deafness a shout". Just because I'm that way (yes, I looked, 15 characters per line, sucks). Also would be more apt to do it if it came with a lifetime membership.

What does a million flamingos look like? Well, now you know. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Table held up by the weight of objects resting on the table. You know, just in case someone asks you to solve the puzzle. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

It's not just about the size, it's the thickness that counts too. In this case we're talking about Arctic Sea Ice.

The Queen pardons Alan Turing. Well that only took 60 years. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The 4-year slump. An excellent summation of labor and management relations and the intersections of politics and economics. Must read. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"After yet another PR headache, McDonald's has taken down its employee resources website following what it deemed 'unwarranted scrutiny and inappropriate commentary.'" In other words, "People were mean to us for not actually managing the site properly to keep from being embarrassed." It could have been a wonderful resource, except for the fact that McDs doesn't pay their employees enough to actually live so giving them "financial" advice that isn't focused at their economic level was kinda dumb and out of touch (on the corporate level). McDs, you reaped exactly what you sowed. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

What happens when you cut unemployment? You increase the burden on social services. No data in the article on how many people have applied for medicaid, food stamps, and the various forms of welfare. Not to mention the shrinking of the workforce. In other words, not exactly an improvement in the situation. But there are other studies which link the rise of minimum wage jobs replacing middle-class jobs to the increase in other forms of welfare. "Annual cost of public assistance to families of fast-food workers: nearly $7 billion." That's all those "makers" paying their taxes to support low wages. How's that working out? Then there's the increasing perverse mentality of some people to think, "There is a reason why people are poor and it’s not systemic, it’s the fault of the person." This is also known as the "… if they would prefer to die, let them do so and decrease the surplus population" mentality. Where did that get Scrooge? (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The new manufacturing. "As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers." But fewer jobs than had been lost, also requiring a higher degree of training pre-hiring and only paying slightly higher than before.

"As it is, however, working a 40 hour week at minimum wage won’t bring in enough money to afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the country… (It's) below the federal poverty line for a family of two or more. But bringing the wage in line with inflation by increasing it to $10.10 an hour would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty, many of them women and people of color." Which then means that according to Republicans it should be eliminated. Wrong side of history, wrong side of justice. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

On why gold would be useless in an economic apocalypse. Yes, that. You know why gold is being hyped? For the same reason you get emails about penny stocks. Same con game. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"On one hand, it means that you are so clueless that you need to be pitied. And on the other, it means that you are such a brazen liar that perhaps the Old Testament plagues of frogs, locusts, boils, and gnats should all bombard you at the same time." On Mike Huckabee claiming his history of tolerance towards the LGBT community, This is about the new narrative that complains about people fighting against intolerance of being guilty of intolerance themselves. Look, A&E pulling Duck Dynasty (which they only really said that they didn't want Phil in the show, the rest of the cast said "then we're all out", and it wasn't a permanent ban) isn't a violation of your 1st Amendment Rights. Why? Because A&E is the market, they aren't the government. They made an economic decision. For all the conservatives who like to talk about "market solutions" then to come out and whine and moan when the market doesn't go their way, they're hypocrites. For Mike, I think you may need to revisit your seminary training, because I think you've forgotten a lot of it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"In 2005, Utah did a study that found the average annual cost for emergency services and jail time for each chronically homeless person was $16,670. The cost to house them and provide case management services was only $11,000 per person." Damn socialism, saving us money while providing a better quality of life for everyone. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @RobDenBleyker Don't feel bad about not reaching your 2013 goals. Earth spent the year travelling 585 million miles and ended up in the same fucking place.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Linkee-poo is wondering why all the egg nog is gone

You may have to know my family to get that joke.

"We’re writing stories… And stories are for everyone." Kameron Hurley ostensibly talking about how we talk about SF/F books, but also making the point on how we should talk about books amongst ourselves. There's this thought out there that one of the reasons why SF is dying (it's always dying, BTW) is that the entry level is too high. You need to have read some previous works to understand the new ones. Complete elitist bullcrap. If I need to have read 15-20 books of canon before I can really read your book, you're doing it wrong. Now, if I have read those books, if it makes the experience of reading this new book richer, I'll buy that. I'll even buy that I need to read your series in order, although I think that's a market limiting move, myself. But if I need to have amassed previous knowledge of other works (or, say, have at least a masters level understanding of physics) to understand your story, I don't think you know how to tell a story.

It's somewhat of an open secret that genre writers have been involved in writing porn. In case you ever wanted to know why, "I was putting my daughter through college with the profits." From an article on how Amazon is cracking down on "cryptozoological erotica." "'The crackdown was meant to target the obvious offenders — ebooks… that fetishized incest and rape — but in their fervor to course-correct, the online bookstores started deleting… 'not just the questionable erotica but [also]… any e-books that might even hint at violating cultural norms.'" Want to make a quick million? Launch the Amazon of erotica (since Amazon seems bent on eliminating it from their shelves, but only the "bad" stuff they say, not the "literature" which sells. Also note, Amazon's not offering to give up any of the money they made from those earlier sales. There's a lot to this conversation that I'm going to skip over, though (such as, when all the participants are characters in a book, can we even talk about the concept on "consensual sex"? But over all I do support the impulse to ban incest and rape pornography/fantasy). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The dialect quiz map. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Cleveland Public Library just discovered it owns an original first edition of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I might need to take another trip downtown. (Grokked from

"The Kids’ Right to Read Project… says attempts to remove books from classrooms and libraries went up 53% this year, based on 49 attempts in 29 states." (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

The Krampus.

The five things photography has taught me. "When a graphic designer spends 15 minutes explaining the thinking behind a magazine spread and the hidden beauty that lies deep within—yep, you guess it: I don’t care. You won’t be there to explain your design to my readers, so you don’t get to explain it to me." You wouldn't believe how many times I've had to explain that philosophy when clients don't understand my presentation style. Can I do that dog and pony show? Sure. Are you going to hire me to do it for all your customers? Also, all these points are pretty good for writers as well.

Using Star Trek for evil. A man sells investors on tricorder technology, which doesn't exist. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Or you can use my phrase, sometimes the movie ain't about you. The ring theory when it comes to who one can dump their emotions on. "Comfort IN, dump OUT." (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The eight ways jellyfish are awesome and terrifying. Not to mention, some of them are huge.

The Yellowstone magma reservoir is larger and fuller than initially thought. Just another thing to keep you up at night. Also note, with a 640,000 year cycle, being 1000 years off is an error of less than 0.2%. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"But Chief Judge Theodore McKee, writing for a three-judge 3rd Circuit panel, said that 'in a world where air passenger safety must contend with such nuanced threats as attempts to convert underwear into bombs and shoes into incendiary devices,' the decision to detain George was reasonable." Let me just say that form an actual security standpoint, this is complete and utter bullshit. While I'm first to admit most criminals (and, yes, I'm a bleeding heart liberal because I believe that terrorists should be tried as common criminals, but mostly for the political message it sends) aren't the brightest (and thank the gods for dumb criminals), I don't think many terrorists use flash cards to learn Arabic. Call me naive if you will, but I think I'm on pretty solid ground here. This is security theater at its worst. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

The Edward Snowden interview. After all this and the people involved still don't get it. "Led by Google and then Yahoo, one company after another announced expensive plans to encrypt its data traffic… It was a direct — in some cases, explicit — blow to NSA collection of user data in bulk. If the NSA wanted the information, it would have to request it or circumvent the encryption one target at a time." That's so cute they think that. I really hate to say this, but for those people who watch and are attentive, what Snowden "revealed" was not news (including the tapping of Chancellor Merkel's phone). One bad website launch and people call for the repeal of Obamacare, but the revelation of an organization gone crazy on authority and there are no calls to repeal the Patriot Act (the foundation cause which started us down this path, there's been other laws since then), but only "modifying" laws to counter-act some of the things that have been revealed. Priorities, Congress doesn't have them in correct order. For long-time readers of this blog know my position on this, that President Obama hasn't rolled back these programs is my greatest critique of his presidency. There was an implied promise to do so. Screw all the other crap, this is the most important thing he could do. This is also why some of us, right after 9-11, argued vociferously against giving the government this power. It's crack to governments and once they get hooked, it's a hard, cruel cold turkey program to quit. And the cure is dangerous, and we as the people need to accept the danger it requires. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"Iron Maiden hired a(n)… analytics company… to determine where piracy of their music was highest, then scheduled tours of those countries. They made millions touring Central and South America." And that, friends, is how it's done.

Holiday Playlist - Raise the Dead of Wintertime

Not my favorite rendition, but I can't find the Voices of Winter on that youtubie. But still a good song.

As we work, we'll sing a rhyme and raise the dead of wintertime.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Christmas Morning

Happy Christmas. Here's Loudon Wainwright's Christmas Morning for you to unwrap. Hope your day is fantastic, if you celebrate or not.

A week from today we begin a brand new year
Let us all be hopeful, men & women of good cheer
And resolve to fight against stupidity and fear
It's Christmas morning

Holiday Playlist - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Arrangement by the fabulous Leo Kottke.

If I started playing guitar again, this is the style I want to learn. I'm somewhat good with finger picking (and the other techniques he uses), but this is style (house) is very particular and difficult. Sort of like how there's banjo finger-picking, and claw-hammer style. Also, note, that's not layered tracks. That's how he sounds in concert.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Hallelujah Chorus

Happy Christmas. Now, have the Roaches singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Linkee-poo ain't gettin' nuthin' for Xmas, 'cause it ain't been nuthin' but bad

Hope you have a marvelous Xmas, if you're so included to celebrate and observe it.

Santa shot in the back with a pellet gun. Why we can't have nice things. (Grokked from Tania)

Fifty of the worst and weirdest nativity sets. Included mostly for the cement duck set. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Want to boost your understanding of Old English? This has been a banner year for you, then, with the digitization of many ancient texts. The latest is The Vercelli Book. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

Irene Gallo and picturing the Solstice. It seems strange, but I've seen a number of these in person. Also, more polar bears than you can shake a stick at.

"Generation X is used to disappointments. Generation X knows you didn't even read the whole thing. It doesn't want or expect your reblogs; it picked the wrong platform." Generation X is sick of your bullshit. (Grokked from AbsoluteWrite)

It's not pretty when a web server cries. Hahahaha (Grokked from the Slactivist)

First they lift the dinosaur tails from the dust and make them move fast, and now Neanderthals have hyoid bones. The hyoid is a free floating bone in your neck which enables human-like speech. It also is (for those people writing mysteries) the tell-tale sign of strangulation when it is broken. It's very delicate, so it's no wonder for all this time we thought they didn't have it. Sigh. Next you're going to tell me the world ain't flat. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The people of Iceland want you to know it was environmentalists who saved the lava fields, not the elf-lobby. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Curing the common cold. Or not. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Hmm, this Duck Dynasty Disaster is beginning to look interesting. First, it's exposing both the crafted lies and manipulation that is reality programming. If you want the quick primer, see the comparison photo midway down of the boys before the TV show, and the boys after the TV show. Very telling. And the fight doesn't seem to be going down. And it's exposing the cancer that is eating America from the inside out. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And speaking of racism as the continuing root of many social problems, the Republican Party and Conservatives continue to back the wrong horse. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Hiring a hit man. In case you ever wondered where all those people being arrested for hiring hit men come from.

About that Target data theft, "'The most infuriating thing about this massive carelessness with customers' data, he says, is that the technology to prevent such data theft already exists and is being used in most other countries." Which we could all use here, if it weren't for the Satan lurking in the technology. No, really. I wish I could make that up.

"I grew up in a middle-class America where we pretty much knew life was an escalator. You got on the bottom step and if you behaved yourself, paid your dues, went to work, worked hard, you'd end up at the top of the escalator. And I think that escalator's broken now. It's a tougher scramble." The NPR series on the decline of the middle class.

"Behold, an anti-Obama smear so silly, even the NRSC’s Brad Dayspring and his team couldn’t muster the will to defend it." My guess is that dog didn't hunt, and so didn't pull in enough outraged contributions. So in a business move, they just forgot all about it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Hey look, there actually is a climate change conspiracy. Unfortunately for the conservatives it's on their end. Yea, lots of money helping to skew the debate on the side of "oh, no, nothing to worry about." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Also, last November was the hottest in 134 years. And before you ask, "There were no parts of the world with record cold temperatures last month, but parts of Australia and North America were cooler than average." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Red and Green

Maddy Prior's Red and Green. A retake on the holly and ivy.

Linkee-poo of Orient are, bearing gifts we've traveled this far

John Joseph Adams is running a contest to name his Military Fantasy anthology. You have until the end of January.

An interview with Saladin Ahmed regarding food in his stories. Actually it's about culture and how details of culture can make a story real and relevant.

Five lies you were told about grief. "You are a character in a story that is over, and since this never happens in the fairy tales you were fed in your most formative years, you are lost. You no longer fit in the world, and there is no star that can grant your truest wish." Also, talk about death, before it's too late. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Ten extreme weather events from 2013 in photos. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The origin of the "welfare queen." Cited here because of the return of the myth. The woman was a serial criminal, not an example of how people on welfare actually behave.

"'Christian organization cancels Duck Dynasty event because Robertsons have wine deal'… Cries of faux lamentation over 'censorship': Zero." That famed conservative moral constancy.

Some amazing shadow sculptures. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sex (as in gender) is not as nearly binary as everyone thinks it is. This is but one of the problems I have with conservative moral stances on sexuality. Sex isn't a this or that situation, it's often a long and wide spectrum of grays. And that's only when we talk about the physicality of it. If we add in the cultural, sociological, and personal preferences, the diversity is definitely mind-boggling. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The Cubli. A cube that can roll, jump, and balance on a corner. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In fact we went back a few weeks ago to see if this was a phenomenon that was confined only to the women, and we actually found a few virgin fathers as well — which is a little harder to get your head around." That's the zinger to an article that starts with "One in every 200 young American women says she became pregnant while still a virgin." And people say miracles don't happen anymore. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Once they turn 62, veterans would receive a cost-of-living correction that would restore retirement payouts to the amount they would have been without the cuts. Still, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said those cuts show how insensitive the nation has become." Let me call bullshit on this. Yes, it's wrong to cut the retirement benefits of those who have already retired (or who are close, like less than 15 years). But notice that conservatives have been leading the charge to cut teacher, public employee, and everybody else's pensions (note, Wisconsin, Ohio SB-5, Detroit, etc, etc). So for them to make this claim about insensitivity is complete and utter horse-shit. Not to mention, it's part of the deal that came from Rep. Paul Ryan. Kinda sucks when you're own policies and ideologies are given solid form and brought before everyone. Also note how these articles focus on the Senate and absolved the House of their overwhelming vote.

Hey look, real voter fraud (fraudulent statement while applying, registered in two states). Oh, wait, it's another conservative. "Liz Cheney’s husband has been registered to vote in both Virginia and Wyoming for the past nine months, even though he signed a document in Wyoming saying he was not registered elsewhere." Never mind. And I'm sure all those new voter laws will help. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

G"Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens is no friend of the Affordable Care Act…" Apparently he's also no friend of learning how insurance works or what the terms of insurance, such as "pre-existing condition", mean. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Of course, using data to drive hiring decisions has its problems. Employers guided by data could wind up skipping over promising candidates. But Barbara Marder of the consulting firm Mercer points out that the way companies hire now has its own flaws. We like to hire people who are like us. People who went to schools we know. People who were referred to us by our friends." Actually this is a little behind the times. Back in 2010, we had to design/write our resumes to be machine read. Welcome to your new hiring manager, the computer.

The dismal salary of $140,000 a year. Yes, it sure sucks to make six-figures. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Linkee-poo of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown

"Because I used to be poor, overworked and overwhelmed. And I produced zero books during that time." On writing, the time, and some of the lies that are never fully explained. (Grokked from several people now)

Also, as a reminder, it ain't all tea and cakes, this writing gig. Also, just because those rich writers mentioned above felt they struggled when they had it easy, doesn't mean everyone with a struggle story is exaggerating or making it up out of whole cloth.

How I cured my impostor syndrome. Although it's about being a scientist, it's very relevant to writing. Yea, it seems like a writing meme today.

Just in time for Santa. Don't forget, kids, he moves fast. Remember to lead the target. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from to the tip of the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer. They fear disturbing elf habitat and claim the area is particularly important because it contains an elf church." Ah, Iceland. This reminds me of what feng shui is about when you think of "how would the dragon live here?" Turns out, if you think of how a dragon would live in your home or office, you create spaces that humans are quite comfortable in. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Real-time wind map of the Earth. 'Cause. (Grokked from

Sarah Palin continues to be the cheerleader that destroys everything they touch. She will do more to win the War on Xmas than the Festivus Pole ever could. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But on December 16, the FDA issued a proposed rule that would require companies to provide 'more substantial data to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps' before selling these products. The move is in response to the mounting evidence that triclosan might not be as effective as manufacturers claim… triclosan soap products are useless when it comes to most seasonal infections: They target bacteria, not the viruses that cause colds and flus. And they don't work any better on bacteria than standard soap—which also gets rid of viruses." The problem with "anti-bacterial" soap. Normal soap is anti-bacterial and work much, much better than those anti-bacterial soaps and hand rubs (such as, those hand rubs don't work on C. diff.). They work well when you don't have access to water, but if you can, wash your hands with normal soaps (although not all soaps are made the same). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The Chinese are on the moon. Hey, congrats, welcome to the club… wait a second. This is why you need to really look at the stock images you buy. (Grokked from

What's eating Seattle. I mean, what's blocking Big Bertha which is drilling a tunnel under Seattle. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

"Right-wing group The National Liberty Foundation, a Florida-based political collective associated with the conservative Tea Party, is posting anti-immigration propaganda from Bioshock Infinite, originally designed to satirize real-world conservative politics." I'm really hoping this is some kind of performance satire, but probably not. (Grokked from

Environmentalists arrested under terrorism charges to having too much glitter on their protest banner. Sigh. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"That is the death of the American Dream in a single chart. It is harder for the poor to get into the middle class, and for the middle class to become wealthy, in America than in almost any other industrialized country. Our income distribution is the most unequal of any industrialized country, and at the highest level since 1928." Merry Xmas. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Holiday Playlist - Christmas Bells

John Gorka's Christmas Bells. Reminds me of most of the aughts.

And in despair I bowed my head,
"There is no peace on earth," I said.
"For hate is strong
and mocks the song
of peace on earth, good-will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep,
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep.
The Wrong shall fail,
the Right prevail
with peace on earth, good-will to men."
Some days, that's harder to believe in than Santa Claus.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Winter Solstice

Now is the turning of the year, the darkest day, our long night before the dawns of Spring. Welcome, Solstice.

The Tea Party's Winter Solstice.

Holiday Playlist - Whoville

There's a whole bunch of talking at the beginning, skip to about 2:10 for the song.

Stephen Fearing's Whoville. If only I could find someone to help me learn to play guitar that way.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Christ Child's Lullaby

I love this version, sung the way lullabies should be sung (unaccompanied). Grace Griffith's voice is just amazing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Not Exactly Holiday Playlist - Code Monkey

Because of the events of today, I've been hitting repeat on this song for the past hour.

Code Monkey… much rather wake up, eat coffee cake, take bath, take nap, this job fulfilling in creative way such a load of crap.

How's your day?

Linkee-poo is going to see the river man, and tell him all about the plan

A first hand account of fencing with epees. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

Detroit's Write-A-House.

Twenty-seven holiday traditions explained.

Saladin Ahmed asked on twitter the other day something like "Why does everybody hate bitcoin." Well my answer was a little simplistic (as twitter answers must be), here's Charlie Stross's longer and wise answer. Basically, bit-coin is the pyramid scheme of prime numbers. And reading it, I'm starting to form an opinion that Libertarianism, as professed any Ayn Rand types, is pretty much a long con meant to funnel as much capital up the chain to a few at the head of the beast as quickly as possible. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

A Rainbow of Wavelengths. Our sun in all it's specular refractive glory. Cue the right-wing, whackaloon "Our Guberment is controlled by teh gayz" contingent in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Holy exploding pig shit. Literally. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The problem well stated, "We’ve never been on a planet with no Arctic ice, and we will hit the average of 400 ppm… within the next couple of years. At that time, we’ll also see the loss of Arctic ice in the summers… This planet has not experienced an ice-free Arctic for at least the last three million years." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh look, a decade on and internet filter software is still crap. "The BBC is reporting that Internet content filters being rolled out by major ISPs in the UK are failing to allow access to acceptable content, such as sex education and sexual abuse advise sites, while also still allowing access to porn." You know, unless blocking education and help sites while still being able to see boobies and cocks was really the secret objective all along. (Grokked from Dan)

"A Republican congressman from Georgia who is hoping to be party’s next Senate nominee said over the weekend that poor children should have to pay or sweep floors if they wanted to eat school lunches." The. FUCK. Didn't we rebrand Newt Gingrich as such a dick when he proposed this in the last presidential campaign so well that he lost every. single. state. What supreme douche bag of a brain can think that child labor is the solution? To anything. That's it, no more Mr. Moderate Nice Guy, it's time to throw the hand-grenades. You, Rep. Jack Kingston, get in the fucking sack. (Grokked from matociquala)

Well, the title of the article is a little misleading. See, you can't really "hack" another computer using sound, but you can create an audio network. This isn't really big news for any of us older kids you used acoustic coupling devices (pre-modem days). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

However, by listening to your CPU's sounds, you can extract a 4096-bit RSA key in about an hour. Now that is hacking by sound. (Pointed to by Dan)

"So Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit is based on the company’s 'firm, fixed, and sincere' opposition to contraception and abortion. That opposition is such an intrinsic principle that it would be impossible for Hobby Lobby to comply with the law’s mandate for gender equality in preventive health insurance… And yet this firm, fixed, sincere conviction has never hindered Hobby Lobby from building its business on a foundation of goods manufactured in China… To recap then, mandatory birth control in China is of no moral concern for Hobby Lobby, but access to voluntary birth control for American women is something it will fight all the way to the Supreme Court. The company has no conscientious objection to forced abortion in China if such objection would interfere with its ability to get kitschy rooster ornaments for pennies for the dollar. But preventive health insurance for female employees violates it’s deepest purported religious convictions." I wonder if the government's lawyer read the Slactivist?

Tweet of my heart: @KameronHurley If you think there's no stereotypical "affluent white people" behavior, come bask in the horror of this bingo card (WARNING - an Xmas Jammies Holiday Video Card - O.M.G.)

Double dip (because you need one after that) @dailybeckett We spend our life – it's ours – trying to bring together in the same instant a ray of sunshine and a free bench.

Holiday Playlist - Christmas in the Ashram

Another cross-cultural gem.

You can hear a cleaner version here. Or you can listen to Chris Rosser's original version here (on his The Holy Fool album). Singing ohm, hallelujah, hare hare krishnah, in excelsis deo, rama bolo rama bolo, gloria gloria, govinda gopala, oh noel, jaisiyaram, Christmas in the Ashram.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Linkee-poo tells me over and over and over again, my friend, ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

The "self-loathing" thing. Le sigh. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

On the Writer's Alamanc for Wednesday, December 18th, they have a poem by Mary Oliver called The Journey. While it's a great poem about coming into your own life, it also reads well as writing advice. Highly recommended reading. "One day you finally knew / what you had to do, and began, / though the voices around you / kept shouting / their bad advice". Yes, that. First rule of Write Club, writers write. (I haven't written much lately, but the words are still there and have been trickling out.)

"It’s possible that most of the women are incredibly difficult to work with, have no time to answer publishings’ phone calls, or simply refuse to leave empty space for type setting. It’s possible like it’s possible George R.R. Martin will release a book next year… What’s definitely not possible is that these women aren’t capable of doing commercial SF&F work. That’s just bullshit." Justin Landon on gender parity of genre cover illustrators. (Grokked from

How to cook for a hobbit. Or cooking for a Lord of the Rings movie marathon, including recipes. (Grokked from Jay Lake, I believe)

Ad execs in Australia agree to be subject to electrical shocks from the internet to raise money for charity. A real life Milgram Experiment, only with live video feed and for charity instead of "following orders." See, I'd be interested to see what ISPs those commands came from (the call is coming from inside the house). I'm not sure this would work in the US, as the subject may cross over into electro-shock therapy levels of audience participation. (Pointed to by Dan)

"Students who, by lottery, were selected to visit the museum on a field trip demonstrated stronger critical thinking skills, displayed higher levels of social tolerance, exhibited greater historical empathy and developed a taste for art museums and cultural institutions." A new art museum opens in an area that never had museum access to visual art before. This is what is known as a natural experiment, and social scientists took advantage of the opportunity. Turns out, visiting an art museum is highly beneficial both mentally and emotionally. It's not a surprise for those of us who visit museums. If you live in NE Ohio, you also have the benefit of living near a world class art museum, work class orchestra, nationally prominent natural history museum, a good science museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Maltz Museum, and a bunch of smaller institutions. Cleveland, we got class, by the butt-load. But, no, seriously, take you kids to the museums. Most art (public) museums are free at least on some days (special exhibits sometimes cost extra). (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

Why I use Apple products (even if I don't have an iPhone). "But once Apple introduced a 64-bit processor, all the other phone-makers wanted one too. 'Apple kicked everybody in the balls with this. It’s being downplayed, but it set off panic in the industry.'" Well, that and this. (Pointed to by Dan)

"'We would prefer to keep our capitol secular… but if the state decides to turn it into an open forum, they have opened the floodgates. We hope everyone takes advantage of this opportunity to advertise their own viewpoints, no matter how silly.'" I'm sure the whole "open forum" idea sounded great when most people thought it would just be Xmas trees and nativity sets. But now in Wisconsin there's a Flying Spaghetti Monster display and in Florida there's a Festivus Poll. The easiest way to stop the madness is to keep government out of religion and vice-versa.

Oh, and the Satanic Temple Monument. The case ands it's complexity "also sheds light on the very real privileges that Christianity is afforded from our nominally secular government." Yes, that. And if you want to argue that the Satanists don't have historical case (which a savvy lawyer would be able to run through with a stake to the heart), it'll be a lot harder to deny the Hindus on the same grounds. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Just for the silliness of it, the Star Wars Bohemian Rhapsody. (Grokked from, I think)

"Defining when an issue is about race and when it isn't can be a tricky dance. And too many people see slapping a racial category on an issue as a way of dismissing it from general consideration — placing the conversation in the realm of unjustified grousing about a marginal idea." On CBS playing Toto's Africa during the photo montage tribute to Nelson Mandela and the recent Fox News faux pas on Santa Claus and Jesus's race. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Despite many good intentions and initiatives, gender inequality is still rife in science. Although there are more female than male undergraduate and graduate students in many countries, there are relatively few female full professors, and gender inequalities in hiring, earnings, funding, satisfaction and patenting persist." A worldwide bibliographic research on gender parity in scientific publishing find significant disparity. Go figure. (Grokked from

When cowboys wore pink. Or, in other words, all this genderization of toys and society is a relatively recent phenomenon. Reminds me of the time I used purple for a Catholic Church recruitment poster which went very well until a t-shirt vendor said to the client, "Only gay people like purple." And then we had to redesign to change the purple, which, as you may know, is the color of many saints and the Christ. Sigh. Society has become so screwed up because of some people's fear of teh gayz. Have I ever mentioned some of the comments I would get when I wore a cardigan sweater to work back in the 90s? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Whackaloon. "'I don't care if he's from Lithuania or Laos, I don't care. Santa Claus is white,' Boortz said. 'He's been white for brown, black, white for ages.'… On Monday, while defending Fox News host Megyn Kelly on the issue, Boortz said Santa is white just like 'Martin Luther King is always portrayed as black.'"

"In recent years, increasing numbers of patients worldwide have contracted severe bacterial infections that are untreatable by most available antibiotics. Some of the gravest of these infections are caused by bacteria carrying genes that confer resistance to a broad class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, many of which are treatments of last resort. Now a research team reports that some wastewater treatment plants in China discharge one of these potent resistance genes into the environment." As Bender would say, we're boned. (Pointed to by Dan)

New research shows vitamins don't help you live longer. "Three studies published Monday add to multivitamins' bad rap. One review found no benefit in preventing early death, heart disease or cancer. Another found that taking multivitamins did nothing to stave off cognitive decline with aging. A third found that high-dose multivitamins didn't help people who had had one heart attack avoid another… 'Enough is enough,' declares an editorial accompanying the studies in Annals of Internal Medicine. 'Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements.'" See the problem there? Okay, some supplement companies have been touting their vitamins and herbals as wonder drugs that will make you fart rainbows and unicorns, but most people don't take vitamins to halt cancer (although I've heard people recommend it, which, don't, people, they just don't and they can cause more problems by altering the effects of the pharmaceuticals you're taking, same with "bombing" your system with super-hyper doses of vitamins) or prevent heart disease, but since research shows vitamins don't help with these scientists are saying "Don't Take Them Evar!". This is one of the problems with science. There is historical precedent for vitamin therapy. Those of us in NE Ohio have a deficit of Vit. D (note, not all Vit. D is the same, do some research). I could go on about just how "minimum" are those "minimum daily dose" recommendations are and what vitamins are good for you and how they work (and why some aren't necessary), but the scientists saying "Don't waste your money" are lying just as much as those supplement producers telling you they can cure cancer. If you eat a balanced diet, if you live on the coast, if you get plenty of sunshine, and if you're in good health, yes, your need to supplement vitamin and mineral intake is very minimal. But how many of us really fall into that category?

Oh looks, another idiot blaming Obamacare for something that isn't in Obamacare (the requirement isn't in Obamacare, as the article states that initiative was started a long time before, but Obamacare and the Stimulus provided funds to help doctors move into the end of the 20th Century). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Holiday Playlist - The Holly and the Ivy

Kate Rusby's The Holly and the Ivy, actually one of my favorite holiday songs.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Bells Are Ringing

Mary Chapin Caprenter's Bells Are Ringing.

I've always loved her music.
No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's the game here?

Random strange thought. Google has a satellite. There are those mysterious barges. Multiple barges. Google is attempting to get into our heads with glass. They control a large percentage of search and how people obtain information. And now comes word that Google has been buying up robotics companies, including Boston Dynamic which is fielding the Big Dog (as well as other military robots).

Do no evil, my ass.

Google is Skynet.

Not Exactly the Holiday Playlist - Carol of the Bells Brains

Jim Wright, this one's for you, buddy.

Wish I could remember who I got this link from. Whomever it was, hey, thanks.

Holiday Playlist - The Birthday Party

Another of my all time favorites, Peter Mayer's The Birthday Party.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is going to Wichita, leave this opera for ever more

Fifty narrative devices for non-fiction storytellers.

Delilah Dawson on leveling up your writing. Lots of good advice in there. (Grokked from Kelly Swails who will remind you to "gather as much writing advice as you can. Learn it by applying it. But never, ever let advice kill your mojo.")

In the War on Xmas, good thing Santa is actually Odin. Not really, but it's good enough. Hahahaha. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"We have gone from a war on poverty in this country to a war on the poor, in which poor people are routinely demonized and scapegoated and attacked, and conservatives have led the charge." Charles Blow on one of the many reasons I no longer am a Republican. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Could your electric blanket be spying on you?" Or running a spambot network? Charlie Stross with some interesting thoughts as we move toward "smart" devices and your electric kettle runs it's own server software which seeks out open wifi networks. Say, did you know most of the stuff sold through Wal-Mart is made in China. This article is so chock full of story bones, I don't even know where to start. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Imaging snowflakes as they fall. Cool. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

The rich are just like you and… Okay, well, the rich are out of touch and they have no obvious touch points with the people they hire to do the work that makes them rich. McDonald's is back at it with financial advice to their employees. Like how much to tip their au pair this Christmas. Really, I don't think even the shift managers would be able to afford au pairs, personal fitness trainers and pool cleaners.

Speaking of being rich and out of touch, the affluenza defense. It's basically the "insanity" defense, that the person who did the crime didn't have a concept of the right or wrong of their actions. But, and it's a big but, there is a main difference. For the insanity defense the person who was insane was incapable of knowing right from wrong at the moment the crime occurred For the affluenza defense, the person was simply ignorant of right and wrong. Ignorance, as it is said, is no excuse for the law. I'll accept the argument that in this country children of affluence believe they are different and out of contact with reality. I'll give you that because for large minority of them, their adults and media consumption reinforce that perception that they are apart and above (and isn't that another crime). But there is a difference between "bubble" living and being in the world. In this case, this kid has learned that his actions have consequences. Welcome to growing up. Now you go to jail. This really is a travesty of justice and is something that ignites revolutions. What we are saying here is that the rich are really capable of getting away with murder. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You know back at the beginning of the Tea Party movement, I had a number of friends who talked me off my initial positions of just what the Tea Party was, and for them, I think they were correct. For them it was a disciplined and ethical stand. But I don't think they realized just how easy their movement was going to be subverted by the criminally insane. I mean, the freeze-dried whackaloon brigades. It was a short trip, folks. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

When the idiots, like those mentioned above, like to spout off about how "charity should be the Churches' job, government should get out of the social safety net," they don't fully comprehend the magnitude and extent of the problem. There's a lot more poor people out there than you think. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

TheWashington Doomsday Prophecy. The budget agreement is about the lowest common denominator, not some grand master stroke of diplomacy. Has it really been that long, or has our politics become so poisoned that we've forgotten this used to be an every day event? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"These provisions have put an end to the days when insurance companies could raise health insurance premiums by double digit percentages with little oversight. Because of rate review, the report released today shows that consumers have saved approximately $1.2 billion over the past year in the individual and small group markets." Given all the blathering about how some people will be paying more for their insurance (most of which have turned out to be exaggerations, people retelling "things they heard", and people not understanding real insurance), it's important to note that Obamacare has been saving us money for the past two years. Also, with all the blathering about how the website doesn't work, look at that somewhat normal adoption curve. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Chuck Wendig gives us his own experience navigating Obamacare.

“What goes on here is not some occasional violations where most companies are in compliance and a few are not. You have across-the-board systematic, willful noncompliance with straightforward labor law by a large margin in a way that’s very destructive to workers.” Yea, we don't need no stinking regulations because companies always act responsibly and ethically. (Grokked form Jay Lake)

Dear Megyn Kelly, if that was a joke, you really don't know how to tell one. Or, let me just call bullshit on your excuse and save us all the trouble of the next two weeks of this.n You aren't that smart, nor are you that subtle. Although, contrary wise, it does make a whole lot more sense if you think of Fox News as performance art or one long improve comedy sketch. May be that is actually the way to think of the whole Roger Ailes empire. One, long, drawn out bad joke delivered poorly. Maybe a laugh track would help. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

And because, animals with stuffed animals. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Holiday Playlist - Christmas in Prison

What can you say about John Prine… damn. I wish my stories had that power.

Alternatively, Jesus, the missing years.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Christmas in Paradise

Here's one of those songs that always gets me – fuck that Christmas Shoes song the unimaginative radio playlist creators are in love with. Here's Mary Gauthier's Christmas in Paradise. And once you hear it, whenever that Shoes song comes on you'll curse the radio gods just like I do.

The radio plays Christmas Songs while we get high. And Davey shouts, "Merry Christmas, ya' all," at the cars passing bye.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Linkee-poo doesn't love him, winter just wasn't my season

Because it's Friday the 13th, the nine legendary monsters of Xmas. Ah, the good, wholesome holiday filled with characters just waiting to kill children. I note that here because most holiday giving seasons (when St. Nick, aka Santa Claus, has already made his rounds and now is the time when the evil twin is active punishing the bad children). So our current tradition gives presents at the wrong time, has sanitized Santa's activities, and basically ignores the deeply pagan roots of the celebration. There's your War on Xmas. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Cooking with plot and theme. Dr. Doyle with yummy food and a little instruction on how to structure a story. Also, Dr. Doyle would like you to stretch and scare yourself.

Neil Gaiman on where your story ideas come from. Me, I buy them in bulk. They're cheaper that way. And they don't spoil, for the most part.

Jennifer Crusie with a new drinking game, guess the book/movie from it's one-star review.

Terri Windling on the place of home in our stories.

That ol' miracle, cannabis oil. Say, have I ever mentioned how the monks kept cannabis product alive in Europe during the Dark Ages or how there were many people claiming healing powers back in the times of Jesus? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"And now comes the time in this bluegrass program where Union rules require us to play a train song or a 'she wouldn't love me so I had to kill her' song." Only this time, the women come back. The musical equivalent of retelling the fairy tale.

Oh noes! Alert the right-to-life peoples, an 82 year old woman complains of abdominal pain, discovers she has a 40-year old fetus calcified in her abdomen. Doctors will remove it surgically. I wonder if they would count this as a late term, partial-birth abortion. It is, after all, basically the same procedure. In other news, no, the pregnancy process isn't exactly the way they show it on TV. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So there's this conjecture that all of the known universe is actually a holographic projection and we're living within some monstrously huge simulation. You may have heard of it. It's been on the Big Bang Theory once or twice (got Leonard laid once). Only, there's now mounting evidence that conjecture might actually be true. So, are we Zhuangzi dreaming we're the butterfly, or the butterfly dreaming we're Zhuangzi? And now you know why you haven't won the lottery. Time to hack reality like Cpt. Kirk on the Kobayashi Maru. (Grokked from Dan)

"Well, my friends, here’s your compelling argument: under the old system, rich investors didn’t get a piece of the action. Under this one, they most decidedly do." For the next time I hear an idiot conservative talking about how we should run government like a business or that privatization is the answer to all our woes. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

So, where do we come from. And by we, I mean all complex life forms on Earth. I love science. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And you thought Men Who Stare at Goats was fiction. (Grokked form Dan)

There are just so many ways to play this story. I think I'll go with Speaker Boehner announces his retirement. He finally figured out that the crazy part of his caucus was hell bent on political suicide and they were going to take him with them. Glad you finally figured that part out, Mr. Boehner. You might have come to that conclusion about 4 years ago.

Jon Stewart "There's just so much crazy going on here." And the second half of that segment. The War on Christmas, with so much unexamined privilege and actual lack of knowledge of your own cultural heritage, it's amazing that these people don't realize the world isn't so brown.

Holiday Playlist - The King

Not sure this is exactly holiday music, but I'm always reminded of the holidays when I hear it. Here is Steeleye Span's The King.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Treachery of Images

Of relevance to the day thing, it was time to revamp this classic.

Ceci n'est pas une author.

Holiday Playlist - Mr. Grinch

Slaid Cleaves, Mr. Grinch. Besides the original sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, this is probably my favorite cover.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Linkee-poo is almost done with Fall Semester

Mary Robinette Kowal's debut author series.

Andrew Stanton's how to tell a great story TED talk as a poster.

Whatever happened to Susan Pevensie. Fanfic comes in all sizes. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Tobias Buckell on Confusion in Detroit. The convention that is. Note to sell, plan to stay later on Sunday.

WANTS! Not only a nice looking house castle, but it's someplace I'd like to live (although the nearly $6000 property taxes might be a problem). I wonder if I could crowd source it? (Grokked from Rae Carson)

Logos gone bad. When I viewed the page there was an add for $5 logos. I think I see the problem. (Grokked from Dr. Phil)

The Lycanlibrarian on value of Christmas Ornaments.

The problem with stealing radioactive materials. A matter of discussion in my classes for the past few weeks.

Wormholes may be entangled black holes. Wait, what? :: brain exploded :: (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The largest true-color photograph ever taken of the night sky. Okay, well, it's a composite of 37,000 photographs, but still. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Just who is being helped by raising the minimum wage? Here's a quick graphic. Or, in other words, the talking points of the conservatives are at least two decades out of date. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

And why pay the low-income people more when you can continue to fleece them for the small amounts they make. Usury, it's not just for pay-day loan companies anymore.

"How do hospitals set prices? They set prices to maximize revenue, and they raise prices as much as they can — all the research supports that." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Being around death all the time makes you different." A mortician putting the fun back in funeral. Posted for both the in sites into the business and because of the WIP. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @AdviceToWriters There’s no point in writing about somebody unless they’re flawed. AARON SORKIN

Holiday Playlist - Ring Out Solstice Bells

Jethro Tull's Ring Out Solstice Bells Live.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Playlist - Christians and the Pagans

Dar Williams' The Christians and the Pagans.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


In the days of yore, giants walked the Earth. This past week another one passed from the living.

When a person reaches the level of influence that Mr. Mandela had, a simple recounting of their biography is wholly inadequate. Instead, the wake of their passage is an easier subject to quantify.

It's hard to explain Mr. Mandela's influence in my life. For me, Mr. Mandela was part of my personal journey. He was probably the first political mega-movement that I came to realize my first impression of had been entirely wrong. And because part of my impression was right, this realization caused me to re-examine everything. And that eventually drove me to change my personal politics.

It's easy to explain his influence on the world. His death dominated all news organizations not obsessed with Obamacare for the past week. Leaders from all over the world are traveling to South Africa for his memorial service. Very few people in the world have had such an influence on the world-wide zeitgeist than Mr. Mandela.

Mr. Mandela, if history has any righteousness, will be remembered in South Africa the same way we remember George Washington in the US. Political religions will be based around his hagiography. In a fifty years he will be mythic and the rougher parts of his life will be smoothed.

Nelson Mandela has left this world, and the rest of us are richer for his being here and poorer in his absence.

Holiday Playlist - Father Christmas

One of my all time holiday favorites.

The Kinks' Father Christmas.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holiday Play List - Arbolito

One of the favorites from my holiday play list.

Tish Hinajosa Arbolito.

Linkee-poo, give us your money, we've got no time for your silly toys

"You might think those five golden rings pushed up the prices. But in fact, the price spike was driven by a spike in the cost of lords-a-leaping and ladies dancing." Price of the 12 Days of Xmas is up 7.7% this year.

Just in case you're writing that medieval fantasy and you want to use the old lie of arrows being silent. They aren't. Oh, and hey, doppler effect for the win! (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Worldbuilders 2013 is off and running.

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." Irene Gallo and picturing The Hobbit.

Ah, the human mind. There's six modern playgrounds to unleash your inner child at. We won't speak of Pennsic Wars (which aren't listed, but should be). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Okay, so you may think I'm a little too intense when it comes to typography. Honestly this conversation about a recurring trend in type is probably a little more than I normally do in public, but not nearly as in depth as some of my professional conversations.

"'Shouldn't we demand higher quality hoaxes?'… I say to you, my friends: we should. And we can, and it's not that hard." This story about "winning Thanksgiving" from a series of tweets reminds me not only of some of my writer friends who get on airplanes and tweet about the experience (let us not talk about what is out on the wing), but also about late 19th century photographs showing ghosts in houses or fairies at the bottom of gardens. We should look at the web as a subjective experience. Not every one is a trustworthy narrator. Of course you all know you can trust me, though.

"Our present lives, however, are not forever. But to think: 'Death is the enemy' is totally wrong. Death is part of our lives. Of course, from the Buddhist viewpoint, this body is in some sense an enemy. In order to develop genuine desire for moksha – liberation – then we do need that kind of attitude: that this very birth, this body, its very nature is suffering and so we want to cease that. But this attitude can create a lot of problems. If you consider death is the enemy, then this body is also the enemy, and life as a whole is the enemy. That’s going a little bit too far." The Dalai Lama on death and living. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The sociopath in the corner office. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.' Proverbs 11:10" Alternatively, ding dong, another witch is dead. I know that being a good person means not taking delight in another's misfortunes or death, but sometimes I can't help myself. Paul Crouch, the founder of TBN (of which my local cable provides two channels - both of which I've blocked), is dead. Having watched TBN for the entertainment factor (like drinking games) when I lived in West "By God" Virginia, there's another quote in my head whenever I think of TBN, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." I think it was the teleplay that showed some very white indians celebrating the arrival of the Europeans because they brought them Christ. Never mind those European slaughtered most of them in the name of that same Christ.

The new normal when it comes to part time work. The employers are saying, "you need to be available full-time, but we'll call you when we need you."

Glenn Beck just gets weirder and weirder. If he wasn't so proud of having gotten sober I'd wonder just exactly what he's drinking. It's gotta be stronger than kook-aid.

"If the ritual of pledging allegiance to the flag is presented as an invitation to express one’s patriotism, then it might not be harmful. But if this ritual is commanded… then the whole business takes on an entirely different meaning — it’s… only an expression of compliance to a demand for obedience." Land of the free and home of the brave as it were. But if you don't do what we want you to, we'll take our little red ball and go home.

The top 10 reasons why the US may be the most corrupt country in the world. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Tweet of my heart: @mhoye Whenever I hear about a "skills gap" in the economy, my brain hears "people aren't taking the lowball offers", and I think well, golly.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Linkee-poo is on a procrastination break

Charlie Stross on what scared H.P. Lovecraft. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Picturing Ray Bradbury.

Novelist error messages. Bwahahahaha. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Elizabeth Bear shares some pictures of The Alnwick Poison Garden.

Make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys, kiss lots of girls if that's something you're into. Except UK couples aren't making lots of noise. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thirty must see powerful photos. The power of photography. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

I wish I had someplace to put this. A miniature printing press. So wants. (Grokked from Irene Gallo)

The good war for military design. Ah, World War II, the good war, as it were. But I've always loved these informational graphics, especially the silhouette recognition charts.

Patients given fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs) to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infections (RCDI) cleared the bacteria in just days, and their intestinal microbiota were restored nearly to a pre-C. diff state within a year, according to a longitudinal study published in PLOS ONE today (November 26)." I know lots of people think it's disgusting, but I've seen lots of other things considered normal medicine that are just as gross, if not worse. Also, while fecal transplants are being used for C. diff, they're also be researched for other diseases. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But I’ve learned a lot of lessons on the way to being 40. And one of those is that I don’t owe anyone an explanation for the way I look." It's a good lesson if you can internalize it. (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

"'Doctors do terminate the lives of children as well as adults, but today it's done in a gray zone or in the dark because it's illegal,' he said. 'This means that there's a lot of room to do things the wrong way.'" I find myself at both ends of this argument about allowing children with terminal diseases to choose euthanasia (actually, to have their parents choose it for them). Seeing people in the final, painful throws of life, I would never wish that pain on anyone. But then I also know that not all parents have their children's best interests at heart (that's a rough truth). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In August, Science published a landmark study concluding that poverty, itself, hurts our ability to make decisions about school, finances, and life, imposing a mental burden similar to losing 13 IQ points." Some times circumstances dictate behavior. Some times situations can only make sense if you're in those situations. (Grokked from Janiece)

From a Slactivist's 7 things post, "5. District court nominations by white presidents filibustered in U.S. Senate in all of American history: 3… District court nominations by black presidents filibustered in U.S. Senate: 20… Senate filibusters of executive nominees by white presidents since World War II: 20… Senate filibusters of executive nominees by black presidents since World War II: 54" Just in case you didn't have an idea why Harry Reid pulled the trigger on the nuclear option.

The growth of children living in poverty since the early 2000s. A rising tide tends to drown those who are tied to the bottom. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo goes into an extended set for an extended weekend

"Sadly, reports of violent altercations linked to holiday shopping have already started to trickle in." It's the most wonderful time of the year… my ass. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And it's all retail theater, anyway. Also, want to know another secret? Some of this "door buster" items aren't the same quality as the regular merchandise. Hint: check the part numbers and UPC codes.

In what I hope is a successful attempt to change the market, SFWA raises the pay rates for what they will consider "pro" markets. And the teeth gnashing and garnet garment rending begins in 3… 2… 1…

The emerging new adult market (for books).

Thirteen quote on writing from Octavia Butler. "You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence." Yes, that.

I'm pretty sure I've linked to this before, but authors respond to a questionnaire about symbolism in the novel. A lot of symbolism is subconscious (that is, after all, symbolisms playground). A lot of symbolism is unintended because everybody will bring their own thoughts, experiences, beliefs, and mind state to the work. You can't control that. In case you haven't noticed, about a third of the time the linkee-poo music quote is somewhat linked to something in the content. As a reader you may or may not see that, and I'll wager donuts to dollars that some of you have seen connections I've not intended. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Terri Windling with a good quoted passage about writing. I'll let you go read it there.

Here's 9 ways to undermine your character's best laid plans. Create people we care about, and then torture them.

Because the internet wasn't shiny enough, all things linguistic. Say goodbye to your productive time. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

While you're thinking about what to get the kids (your own, nieces, nephews, cousins), don't forget the books that will help warp form their little brains. (Grokked from Matt Staggs, I think)

How to work with a graphic designer, part two. :: points :: Also that graphic at the top, yes, that. You get to pick two.

Aw, aren't those sea horses so cute they're just swimming along and OMG what was THAT!. Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, sea horses gotta eat. And it turns out they're pretty good at hunting their prey.

Earliest evidence for a shine at Siddhartha's birthplace is uncovered. It's under several incarnations of the same shrine. Imagine the Catholic Church allowing archeologists to dig at Paris's Notre Dame to find out what shrine was originally there (there is some evidence it was a pagan worship site). All while holding services. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

An NPR story on the rise of cider drinks. I'm a part of this trend. Even with the commercial brands, I like the taste, I like how I feel at the end of a bottle (and I'm not talking about the alcoholic content). But then I think I have some problems with gluten (as we all do to some extent). If you drink have haven't tried ciders, I recommend you do. There is a wide variety of tastes (personally I like Magners, but it's also somewhat expensive, Woodchuck's Granny Smith, but don't really like Strongbow's, but they seem to be the most common brand in bars).

This is what happens when you have unexamined privilege. You end up saying stupid things. Unfortunately this past week was full of them (fortunately not mine). (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

A Mormon bishop disguises himself as a homeless man to see how his congregation would respond. And I hate to say there was a predictable response.

"When one of the Help Desk men answers a question or solves a problem, he’s put in for the weekly employee recognition even though he’s just doing his normal job. When the sole woman on the help desk does the same, she’s just doing her normal job and nobody thinks to put her name up for that recognition. Why is that?" Brandie Tarvin on the prevalence of sexism in the workplace. Yes, this. Also this is one of my blind spots in seeing it in the workplace.

"The empirical evidence finds that states with the most antiabortion policies are also the same states that have significantly lower indicators of infant/child well-being. This supports the contention by pro-choice supporters that efforts by pro-life supporters to protect the life of the fetus end at birth." Kinda sucks, doesn't it. But, again, the pro-life movement isn't about anti-abortion or the rights of the unborn and is instead about restricting women's rights and anti-feminist. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"There are fates worse than sleeping with the fishes." An Italian mob boss is fed to pigs while still alive in a revenge killing. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Boris Johnson, asshat Mayor of London is an asshat. That article keeps on talking about how, basically, he spoke an uncomfortable truth by saying that the smart people make more money and that's the way the world works. So let me just correct the record, it has been my experience that most people who have lots of money are not the brightest crayons in the box. Some are far from it. He isn't speaking the truth, he's living in a bubble of unexamined privilege. So while some are being hush hush and wondering why people get persecuted for speaking the truth let me say this loud and clear, he isn't speaking anything close to the truth. And if he was a s smart as he thinks he is, he would know he is making an unjustified comparison (aka "false cause"). (Grokked from Jason Sandford)