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, August 22, 2013

Linkee-poo knows it was a pleasure to burn

Dr Doyle on what to send to an agent. Follow the guidelines.

Elmore Leonard's rules for writers, the verbose edition. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Elizabeth Bear on why we still are writing in the world that Lovecraft created. Just because HP was a racist and sexist SOB, doesn't mean we need be when we write in his world.

Nine common movie mistakes. And while we're talking about scabbard noises, let's talk about sword and knife fighting. Clashing swords like they're rapiers is completely insane. With rapiers it works because they're all point and no fuckin' blade. Clash blades like you're fencing? You're going to ding up some pretty expensive steel and make the blade worthless (this is why samurai prized the single-draw and strike). Also endlessly taking a stone to the blade. Um, you know you're 1) not sharpening it and 2) just wasting steel, right? I guess if you're beating your blade to hell and back you're going to need a stone to put the edge back on, but you're losing a heck-of-a-lot-a steel doing it. Know how to set an edge (after you get an edge to begin with)? Clay embedded in leather. A strop just like granddaddy used to use on his cut-throat razor. Also, yea, don't touch the blade. Bad skin oils and you don't want to disrupt the oil you have on the blade.

When retelling fairy tales, how to keep them fresh? Ziplock bags help, I'm told. (Grokked form Tor.com)

Failing to get a passing grade in the Bechdel Test, are we lowering the bar with the Mako Mori test, just because geeks happened to love a certain movie? And while I agree that passing the Bechdel Test is not necessarily a hallmark of feminism progression, it is admittedly a low bar to pass (he said, quickly avoiding the topic that my own first book does not in fact pass). (Grokked from Tor.com)

Like we all need this, but 23 signs you may be an introvert. "22. You’re a writer." Hahahaha. Hey, wait a sec… (Grokked from Jer)

So, what would happen if you stuck your head into a running particle accelerator? This is one of those stories like Phineas Gage's. Basically they're both very, very lucky. (Pointed to by Dan)

Using augmented reality on an iPad to assist in liver surgery. Warning about the surgery photos now given. This is what many health care givers now do anyways (if you think we're all the same on the inside, I've got news for you), but this is a way to both help that visualization and codify it. Right now, when I take an x-ray, I'm using standard landmarks, but then adjusting for what I perceive is your body's differences, but sometimes you get surprised when you see the final x-ray. So, yea, this tech is very, very useful. (Pointed to by John)

A vintage video guide to the internet (including the obligatory, "Adjust tracking" screen). It's totally serious, and so totally wrong. Well, not so much wrong, but painful. This is what videos were like back in the day, including the horrible soundtrack, obvious reading of cue cards and periodic summary conversations. Think public health movies only without the charm. Plus boys (rolls eyes at the overriding inherent sexism). And now you can understand the culture that gave us a Star Wars Christmas Special. (Pointed to by Dan)

"In the most recent bit of Russian bizarreness, a 550-ton military hovercraft carrying sophisticated weaponry casually pulled up onto a crowded, seemingly public beach." Well, that's something you don't see every day. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

How not to win a photo contest (link is a google translation). Yep, stealing a photo and doing basic manipulation won't save you. Good information for those who think, "well, of course it's free to use, it's on the internet." Nope, copyright still exists. (Pointed to by Dan)

As with many civilizations, Vikings sailed out into the northern oceans west of Briton only to find the Celts had been there first. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Until now, Hubble always produced the best visible light images, since even large ground-based telescope with complex adaptive optics imaging cameras could only make blurry images in visible light. The core of the new optics system, the so-called Adaptive Secondary Mirror (ASM) that can change its shape at 585 points on its surface 1,000 times each second, counteracts the blurring effects of the atmosphere." SCIENCE! Wow. (Pointed to by Dan)

"Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) reportedly called 911 when a relative was in jail and tried to use his influence to convince officials to release her. According to CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth, Dewhurst made the call on August 3, four hours after his niece was arrested…" Even having been a councilman of a small village I've had to deal with this crap (including the backlash when I wouldn't use any influence to intervene - which I was chairman of the Safety Committee at the time and if I had heard that my police chief had bowed to such pressure he would have been in serious trouble, so why would I do that). "'What do I need to do to not circumvent anything, follow the law, because this is ridiculous,' Dewhurst insisted… A spokesperson for the Allen Police Department… said that neither his department nor the lieutenant governor did anything wrong…" Au contraire, if he did call 911 that's a violation (although the recording of the call doesn't sound like it's 911). Still, dude, very dumb. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The clerk at the Atlanta school that talked the gunman out of killing kids. Well, that pretty much shows what a complete load of BS that line from Wayne LaPierre is. (Grokked from Morgan J. Locke)

Fred Clark sums up pre- and post-millenial eschatology and how it affects people's outlook on society and politics.

"Many young women use the 'pull-out method' for birth control, and they tend to have more unintended pregnancies than other women, a new study suggests." I'm just being handed a note… turns out water is wet. Wait, condoms have a failure rate of 15-24%? Um, someone is doing this wrong (last I remember, it was more like 4%). (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Yes. Any person of any identity can be an asshole to any person of any other identity. But that doesn’t make it oppression. It doesn’t even make it racism or sexism or heterosexim or any other -ism." A pretty good blog post on the whining of the privileged class (of which I am a nominal member being a straight, white male). Look, there's inequality to spare (even if you're in the 1%, there's always someone with more money than you). But just because "other people" want the same rights and opportunities you have doesn't put you under attack. I could probably write a book about this, but go read the blog post, it's a good one. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal, who has her own excellent post on the issue)

"That was the day I realized that God help me I hate rightwing Republicans. Hate them. Not what they do, but them personally. I know it’s wrong. But, if you’re willing to sacrifice a man and little children on the altar of morality and judgement then I chose to freakin’ hate you." I guess it could have been worse, they could have refused to say anything to save a football program any embarrassment.

Tweet of my heart: @LIFECOACHERS First and foremost, forgive yourself. Someone has to. Asshole.

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