And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo is cutting like knives in a fist fight

Cat Rambo on rewriting a novel.

Mary Robinette Kowal on the passing of Jane Henson.

How far is Mars? Well, if the Earth were 100 pixels wide… (Grokked from Dan)

A short film on women and heart attacks. Know the signs.

In defense of slave Leia. She will cut you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Cthulu microbes. Kewl. (Pointed to by Dan)

A response to the NPR story on disability. While I didn't hear Ira Glass's piece on disability, I did hear the broadcast of Chana Joffe-Walt's story. While in the middle of the story I did get a vibe form it that tracks to this criticism, but by the end of the story I didn't have that impression. The main negative impression I took from the story was that states are doing everything they can to get people off of welfare and Medicaid (paid for by the states) and onto disability and Medicare (paid for by the federal government). It may be because I know people who have tried to get disability and so know just how difficult it can be to actually qualify. But then I'm also not disabled myself (although I do have tenosynovitis and a pinched nerve because of a bulging disc) and am not as tuned into that side of the argument. And most of the disability reporting I've seen up to this point has been the "public employee gets disability, but look, here's undercover footage showing they can do exactly what they claimed they couldn't (most often lifting heavy weights)." So I can see where this is coming from. And I will admit I found the Chana Joffe-Walt story a little lacking in the "why are all these people qualifying for disability" category (because I do know how mind bogglingly difficult it is), but my own mind filled in "it's not like ergonomics actually ever took off in the US" (except for those people who have been injured or a company facing serious workmans comp claims). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

How to be a friend to someone with a serious illness. (Grokked from Phiala)

"No pious jackasses sit around pondering 'Should Christians Take Insulin?' (No one) pretend(s) it would be deeply spiritual if they said, 'Rattlesnake anti-venom can help, but it can also hinder our reliance on Christ.'… Yet when it comes to any kind of mental illness, evangelical Christians suddenly turn into Christian Scientists or Scientologists — preferring 'spiritual' treatments over medicine… This hurts people. This kills people. This needs to stop." Yes, this. The sad thing is there are people who do say "God will heal" instead of getting chemo, heart surgery, insulin, anti-biotics, whatever. But you do see it a lot more when people talk about depression or any other mental illness.

Why "living fossils" are a misnomer. Yea, that. Also the same thing about the widely held belief that humans have stopped evolving. Life doesn't stop. It may slow down or speed up, but never stops. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory. Zhang’s method can be performed using any source of biomass." And that's the game. We have cheap storage using baked chicken feathers. Now an inexpensive (cost, energy and byproduct) method for getting hydrogen. All that's left is a less expensive filter medium for the fuel cell. (Grokked from Dan)

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