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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Weekend Linkee-poo, odds are he won't see tomorrow

Chuck Wendig with ten thoughts on Story. "If you don’t understand why a character does something, you don’t understand the character." Yea, that.

No one told me women don't write Science Fiction. (Grokked from Tor.com)

"There are few overnight successes and many up-all-night successes." Tobias Buckell on time and where you spend it. Something I've been giving lots of thought to.

"Take yourself lightly. You're not J.K. Rowling, darling." A writer's life list in the various stages of life. (Grokked from Catherine Schaff-Stump)

"The list below contains 100 pieces of short (science) fiction – short stories, novelettes and novellas – by women writers, published between 1927 and 2012." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Wil Wheaton explains what being a nerd/geek really means and why it's important while giving a message to a fan's infant daughter. (Grokked from Tor.com)

The epic epic-ness of the epic trailer. Pulls all the tricks and pushes all the buttons. As my favorite Doctor (Tom Baker) once said, "When in doubt, pull all the wires." I'm not sure if this trailer was meant to be satire and commentary on the current state of movie entertainment, but man does it hit the mark. (Grokked from tor.com)

Consider this pale blue dot. We're just a faulty pixel in the grand universe of, well, the universe. (Pointed to by Dan)

What might happen to you if you're swallowed by a whale. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The "science" of advertising. Nothing new under the sun. How and when the marriage of "psychology" and "advertising" came about.

Mastering the Landing Page. Filled with the necessary quota of eye-rolling concepts. But there are a few good points in there. Except for the big one, landing pages are dead. See, the "Landing Page" was a concept developed way back in the last Ice Age of HTML 2.0 as a good way to develop your "content is king" website. There were whole books written about this philosophy. And then people realized with deep links and the flexible nature of the web and how people actually like to navigate, the concept of landing pages was seen as a quaint, archaic throwback to when designers believed they could "direct your experience". Well, I guess it's better than resurrecting the "exit portal." Basically concepts like these are developed to sell books on how to do them (note numerous links to a book on designing websites which you can get for the low price of $80, which is a discount of some gazillion dollars so get 'em before we raise the price).

Turns out the Prisoner's Dilemma doesn't test out as well on actual prisoners. Or, in other words, prisoners are actually nicer to each other and cooperate more than those of us in the general population. Of course these are German prisoners, so YMMV. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

In case you're ever tempted to make editorial changes to your live website without having a developmental site to try things out on first, you need to read/see this. What goes wrong on the Chicago Tribune website stays on the internet forever. (Pointed to by John)

Jim Wright on the Bradley Manning verdict. And here I'll just say there's been lots of people talking about how "whistle blowers" are important to history and the role of Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon Papers in case you don't remember that). There are significant differences, including the fact that Daniel Ellsberg knew criminal prosecution was a definite outcome of his actions. Also, there is a difference between "keeping secrets" and "intentional lying" to the public. The Pentagon Papers showed the later was happening, and it was the reason why Mr. Ellsberg went down the path he did. Also, the papers were highly selected from the report on Vietnam relations and then washed through the analysis of the NYT. In Manning's case, much of the information seems to be just a indiscriminate data dump and there was very little analysis or selection in their publication on Wikileaks.

The problem: "But when it comes to a prescription for the party’s electoral ills, a majority of GOP voters said their leaders should move further to the right, not the center." Those cool, cool, considerate men. Always to the right, forever to the right, never to the left.

John Scalzi on Anthony Weiner and Bob Filner. Somebody really needs to go up to both of those asshats and saying, "That's it, you're done here." Both show that asshattery knows no political party allegiance.

"The 'numerous related assumptions' (about poverty) he says have 'fallen along the way' reads like a transcript form a 2012 Republican presidential primary debate." I think I've said this a few times that I can't believe we're still discussing some of this stuff in 2013, but people's world views are the hardest things to change.

Nuns, what can you do. "Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) indicted (nuns who were testifying before committee) and the Catholic Church for not doing enough to fix poverty on their own, asking, 'What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?'" What a wonderful human being. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The cost of getting the drone campaign wrong (which we seem to be doing with alarming regularity). I've come out before in favor of drone strikes, and I still hold my position. Collateral "damage" is to be expected in some cases (war is a very messy business, even in our "smart bomb" era - smart is a relative term, not a definitive one). However, if we get this wrong and launch against innocents (for various definitions of "innocent") even if it is a 1 in 100 event, this campaign will do more harm than good. Already the drone war is being portrayed as a war against Muslims, and that thought is gaining a lot of traction in the world. Hopefully the transfer of responsibility for targeting and approval to the Pentagon from the CIA will help eliminate these errors. There are people in the world who wish to help us, who are doing their own part in this "war" of ideology. Killing them is a Bad Idea™. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

Tobias Buckell with a NASA animation of 130 years of temperature data. Yea, what what climate change.

"All of this information, the primary order says, is dumped into something called the "corporate store." Incredibly, the FISC imposes no restrictions on what analysts may subsequently do with the information. The FISC's primary order contains a crucially revealing footnote stating that "the Court understands that NSA may apply the full range of SIGINT analytic tradecraft to the result of intelligence analysis queries of the collected [telephone] metadata." In short, once a calling record is added to the corporate store, anything goes." The ACLU on some of the recent revelations about NSA pulling in all that "metadata" (note section of the link to Jim Wright's blog about Manning where all this "metadata" is sometimes more valuable than the actual content). Just in case anyone tries the old "progressives always stick up for wach other and march in lock step." (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

Ah, well, at least they're no longer calling Obama the anti-Christ. Now he's just "preparing the way" as it were. And obviously this supposed reverend hasn't heard about how Obama is destroying his religious liberty by having passed Obamacare by fiat or something. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @austinkleon "Bread winner" is now "health insurance winner."

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