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

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Linkee-poo bought a beat up six-string in a second hand store

Yesterday was book day for Jim Hines' latest. You go, Jim.

What 50 Shades of Grey can teach us… about writing. "It’s so poorly written, it’s so surface, it’s so… compelling people can’t seem to put it down." Insert any popular author who sells a bazillion books and you get the same sentence.

A lot has been said about Lisa Morton's 10 questions to see if your a professional writer post. As Jim Hines has said, if you write, you're a writer. As John Scalzi has said, if you're paid to write, you're a professional writer.

"'If petascale computers like the K computer are capable of representing 1 percent of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exascale computers hopefully available within the next decade,' Markus Diesmann of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at Germany's Forschungszentrum Julich said in the release." Note the synaptic connections were random, and all they simulated was the electrical flow through the matrix. And again I'll note, the brain is not a computer, we just use it as a comparison because the computer is the most complex thing we have right now. We barely understand where things occur in the brain, let alone how. And intelligence and consciousness is still in the realm of philosophy. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Tobias Buckell also runs out an interesting thought experiment. It's actually something I've thought about in a different way, that is how much of an endowment would be needed to run a small, local government. But Tobias' vision is grander, how to replace the welfare state with a program that provides a "citizen's dividend." The only fault I can see (besides the amazingly large political bar to cross) is that prices, despite lots of blathering to the contrary, aren't based on cost of production, but what the market will bear. So as income would raise across the board, prices would also raise to transfer that dividend to the 1% (or the 10%), which would negate any increase in income form the dividend.

That bastion of good GOP boot-licking, I mean propaganda, wait, that place that the GOP sends their talking points to first thing in the morning, Fox News, would like you to know about the Democratic War on Women. Here's the difference in these scandals. Those Democrats are assholes, and an offense to women. But while they're assholes they're not trying to rob women of their rights, violate their bodies in an institutionalized way, or discount them as a part of the human race. That's the difference here. Oh, and Dems have pretty much labeled these people as assholes. However, because we don't bow and pray to the iconic God of Party as the GOP does, our calls for them to leave are done without much note because they aren't done on national TV to make the person calling them out feel and look better about themselves.

"So I'm out of work. Again. And because healthcare in this country is tied to employment, we are out of luck. Again. I had cancer. My daughter was hit by a car and got a concussion and a fractured ankle. I know bad things can happen to me, to my family. We have to have health insurance. And we have to pay for it ourselves. And that keeps me up at night." The night terrors of the uninsured. So know that feeling. Also noted for heinousness of higher-education points. "Without insurance, we would have lost our house, decimated the college funds, spent every bit of savings we had, and, six years later, I'm sure we'd still be paying off those bills. Or we would have gone bankrupt. Some 700,000 Americans every year declare bankruptcy because of medical bills. The number in Japan? Zero. The number in Germany? Zero." Also noted for the failings of Obamacare and the lack of a single-payor system. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

A man in PA goes gunning for his local politicians. Yep, know the type. So now we enter that time period when people with guns think they're above the law. It is, after all, what the "ZOMG, Obama is comin' fer yer guns and daughters" crowd has been priming the pump over for years.

So, just how many people has God killed? You know, directly. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, one of two Pennsylvania judges who (were) paid bribes by a private prison contractor to send black children to prison and keep the for-profit prisons full… He was convicted of racketeering, and has been stripped of his state pension." His appeal was denied. Justice can be slow, but sometimes it does right. Unfortunately he ruined a lot of lives along the way. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"It's a great country for guys like me. People let you be yourself, you know? I get a real kick out of being here. Doing my part. Prowling around in the dark and making sure everything looks just the way it should. Just like I want it." This guy just wants to ask you a few questions. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Building a full-auto gauss gun. Not a lot of power yet, but enough to do some damage at close quarters. There's a 3D printing project to be worried about (although how you'd 3D print those magnets and circuit-boards, still a lot of things to buy and get right that doesn't involve 3d printing). (Pointed to by Dan)

Big Oil isn't so much anymore. Although they're still pretty damn big, but note the lowering of production numbers. Not a good sign in an upticking economy (world-wide). There's a lot of economics that are being ignored here (such as one of the reasons oil maybe at $94 is because of lowered production, whether that's intentional or a by-product of the end of oil is hard to say). (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

I guess Reince Priebus doesn't like anyone but Fox and feels they have to "control the referees" of the next election (2016 that is). CNN (and supposedly NBC) is putting together a documentary about Hillary Clinton and the GOP is having a freakout. I'm sure this has nothing to do with their candidates coming off as nut jobs trying to out do each others nuttiness during the last election cycle. Yea, I'm sure that has nothing to do with "controlling" the "referees". Like when you have a moderator having to correct your candidate who was speaking a falsehood. Or the (still playing on Comedy Central) performance of Texas Governor Rick Perry, "… I forget the third one. Oops." Plus, I'll just remind you that "Citizens United" was all about a hit job "documentary" about Hillary Clinton that was run for the 2008 election. Can't have any other narrative out there trying to compete with the echo-chamber world view of conservative politics, can we?

"(Some) say the secrecy has helped the industry resist more stringent environmental and health controls – by burying evidence of water contamination and health problems associated with natural gas operations. The Hallowichs' lawyer… told the court he had never seen a gag order imposed on children in his 30 years of practicing law, according to the released transcript." Sure, nothing wrong with the technology of fracking. Save as bugs in a rug being sprayed with a can of Raid. How many gag orders are there now? "…once that gag order came to light… the company told reporters it did not agree with Swetz's comments. 'We don't believe the settlement applies to children,' a Range Resources spokesman told the Gazette. He went on to tell the paper that there was no evidence that the Hallowich family was affected by exposure to gas development." Put it in writing, please. Also, it's easy to say that when you know you can sue the pants off the people who could provide concrete evidence to the contrary. If there was "no harm, no foul" as it were, why the gag order over everything to do with the case and not just the settlement part? (Pointed to by John)

Walmart can tell their employees to share "happy stories", but then you never know just what the employees are going to share. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I mean, who would want to see these kinda nuts being paraded on TV? Seriously, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), you could get whiplash going back and forth like that on birtherism. And then you have Peter "Hezbollah Comin' Over the Border" King.

Bread and Circuses, and we're only going to get the circus because the TP has announced they don't want to give away bread.


Jim C. Hines said...

Thanks, Steve!

Steve Buchheit said...

No worries, Jim. I hope it's a great launch. When I get back to being able to read for fun (hopefully before I die), I have the rest of your princess books and the libromancer books up near the top of the list. And, as you know Bob, I'm not an idle flatterer.

Disclaimer, while I know Jim as someone I hang out with at cons, I do hang out with him because 1) he pays it forward (except for drinks, those you pay for yourself) and 2) he is funny, finally 3) he writes good stuff. You should be reading him if you have an interest in fairy tales, goblins, or want an excellent urban fantasy/fantastic romp.