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

Friday, January 3, 2014

Linkee-poo is wondering where all the temperatures have gone

Lightspeed is looking for slush readers.

How to write a picture book. (Grokked from Jason Erik Lundberg)

The book you didn't know about. When people talk about buying everything online (or put all communications only online) I often think about this problem. Once someone is able to solve this issue for the internet, it'll be that brave new world everybody talks about. Until then, the internet is great for finding things you know about. It's very bad at discovering things serendipitously. Although twitter and Facebook (pinterest, etc) help with that, it's not really the same thing.

There's this thing in almost all professions where people from the outside looking in see writers/performers who have made it big think that success becomes blasé for the successful. I've been fortunate with my friends that I've seen them when they have new success (another book deal, movie option, getting in a "best of…" list, etc) and let me tell you, success doesn't dull the happiness of new successes. On point, Mary Robinette Kowal gets accepted to the Sesame Street Puppetry Workshop.

Passing the Bechdel Test is good for the bottom line. Might not be more than a post hoc thing, but still interesting.

Not everyone is a writer, and the vast major it of writers are readers, so what can readers do to support the writers the love? It's fairly simple advice, but I'd like to add one more point, because (and I know this personally) not everyone can afford to buy books (or at least all the books they'd like to read). Request that your library buys the book and then put it on hold and check it out when it comes in. (Grokked from Joshua Palmatier)

Bill Nye (the Science Guy - I'm contractually obligated to say that phrase) debates Ken Ham at Ken Ham's Creation Museum. Two phrase come into my head. 1) Walking into the lion's den takes great courage and 2) wresting with a pig only gets you dirty and the pig enjoys it too much. While the video is bad (handheld video of a TV screen) I imagine it'll be pretty close to this. (Grokked from Dan)

Some people are finally waking up to the fact that we aren't in the lead when it comes to arctic exploration. As Tobias Buckell says, to bad there's no discussion of why this is happening (both the opening of the Arctic Ocean and the politics and economics behind our lagging exploration and exploitation).

"If I would tell you that there is a skilled – highly skilled – workforce being exploited more than fast food workers in the US, would you believe me? Would your reply be that a worker cannot be highly skilled and still get below a living wage?" The plight of the adjunct professor. Most people don't believe me when I tell them about this. How do I know about this? My wife is an adjunct. Dr. Phil is an adjunct (IIRC). One thing not pointed out in this article is that in Ohio, the STRS program (state teachers retirement system) has very stringent rules on what is full-time work and counts for a full year of time in. My wife has been teaching for over 25 years and I believe STRS only counts her as having worked 9 years (you need 15 before being vested in the program). (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

A VP at "… In-N-Out told KCET…that because of their payment policy (one of the highest in industry), they have a relatively low turnover 'and that, of course, leads to a more experienced team working in our restaurants. The raises that our associates earn for mastering different positions makes it possible for them to earn more as they gain that experience.'" Look, someone gets it. Also note, the owner is still a billionaire. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"The leader of the neighborhood association, Junior Pataud, offered a conflicting defense. 'In Haitian culture, it’s normal to beat a child,' he said. 'But that’s not the same as mistreatment.'" This is from an article on human trafficking in Haiti (of mostly tween girls). Although I've heard the same sentiment here in the US as well. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Theanti-vacinator's body count. Not entirely accurate (because even with vaccines, some people still got sick and died, but the numbers were much, much lower), but good enough for statistics. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

What's that in the road, a head. Not a typo. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Noted here because I'll want it later, a funeral director's wedding dress is totally badass.

Tweet of my heart: @Stonekettle Sitting in a coffee shop watching Joe Gland try to pick up two girls by lecturing them on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Massive Fail


Random Michelle K said...

Oddly, I think my experience re books may be the opposite of what you're thinking here.

When I would walk to the used bookstore by my house, I'd look at the new fantasy books, then I'd seriously browse the used fantasy and used mystery, and... that was it.

When we'd go to a big city, I'd search out book stores, and plant myself in the SFF section and... that was it.

Of course I had friends who would recommend or loan books, but not that many, because, well, genre books.

Then came the internet and I suddenly met lots of people who read similar things, and recommended lots of books to me. Then I discovered book blogs, and if I really liked a bloggers writing (see: Smart Bitches Trashy Books) I'd keep reading.

And then I'd find myself interested in a book that was a romance. Or a YA. And then suddenly I'm reading books that I was never interested in--ok, I admit it, I even looked down upon, "Oh, romance books. No thank you!"

Now, I still could do without the boinking bits, but I've found that certain kinds of romance I really enjoy. And there is a LOT of YA out there I really really like.

And I know that some people won't like the idea of it, but I actually check out most books in Amazon's Daily Deal, and have found books outside my "comfort zone" there, that I'm willing to take a chance on, because they're only a couple bucks.

And I've found some authors I really like that way.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Random Michelle K, well, that's sort of what I was referring to with the twitter/facebook/pinterest comment. The internet, if used as a proper social network, can replace word of mouth evangelism. And I've seen that as well. There are many books I probably would never had read if I hadn't seen glowing reviews on the internet (continuing to read Neil Gaiman, for instance). I guess I was going for trying to explain how being in a store, or looking through a catalog, there are chance experiences the type of which you don't find doing online shopping.

I've found the various algorithms that try to match likes to be woefully inadequate for me (but that could also be that I don't fully fill out my profiles, or do the networking things, but then I'm a tin-foil hat paranoid when it comes to that stuff). So maybe if I did that and gave up all that information I would get better recommendations.

I've also tried to brainstorm how to put catalogs on the internet. There's a lot of information you can get from an industrial products catalog that you lose in an online format. It's similar to looking through the used book shelves and stumbling on a book you either hadn't heard about or knew about. But then this argument could go down the "what is a cover for/why doesn't the cover really represent the story" arguments. There are happy accidents that can happen when a human is presented with an overload of information and the subconscious kicks into high gear to sort everything out for your conscious mind.

One of the problems I've tried to solve is this one. Let's say you're a factory manager and you have to revamp your factory floor. If you're recording the same bulb, no problems. Online, catalog, doesn't make much difference as long as you know what you're looking for. But (situation 1) let us say your new and can't find what bulbs were used before, but you know the electrical needs. A catalog would work faster for you (having multiple searching through the data can get tricky very fast, although I do have some solutions for that, keep in mind this isn't the only parameters that someone may be searching on). Or (situation 2), you know exactly what you're looking for but don't know the order numbers. Again, fast to find in a print catalog (scanning the page - some people may doubt this, but a well designed catalog can take less time that forming a search function, one major difference is where the catalog physically is), also you may notice that the bulb that was purchased before may not have the same selection characteristics that you would prefer (say the earlier bulb was selected on base price, where two items down is a more expensive bulb, but it provided a better spectrum, longer life, and lower overall energy use).

So my main exploration went along the lines of, "how can we gain that serendipity experience on the internet"? So far I haven't found a satisfactory experience (and it maybe just a bandwidth and screen field of view issue at this point).