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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Linkee-poo wonders just what is new about the year

Isaac Asimov predicts 2014 from 1964. Some right, some wrong, some close and some "yea, we can do that, but nobody does". (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

A little late for the season, but still a favorite, Nicholas Was animated poem by Neil Gaiman.

The writer's clothespin sign. It's a nice idea, but a locked door (if you can get it) works better (see step #5). I suggest the desktop trifold.

Cat Rambo talks up the benefits (And some of the drawbacks) of using Goodreads as an author.

Thirty-eight spectacular abandoned places. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But Covey, now 84, admits the technique he pioneered has made a mockery of the tax code." On how the rich avoid most taxes and have the money to hire the legal mind power to find it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I don't want to live on this planet anymore. That's a Futurama reference, in case you were wondering. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In the end, taxpayers lost $10.5 billion on the GM rescue — about 0.3 percent of the federal budget and about one thirtieth of what the country loses to tax evasion each year. But the GM portion of the deal actually saved the government money even though the stock sales didn’t recoup the full initial investment. Given what GM’s failure would have cost in terms of higher public assistance enrollment and lost tax revenue, 'the U.S. government avoided the loss of $39.4 billion in increased transfer payments and lost taxes in just two years: 2009-2010,' CAR note. That’s over three-and-a-half times the on-paper cost of the deal after Monday’s stock sales." But since those savings aren't realized in the same budget line, it's likely most people won't be able to see it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

In case you were wondering why the FDA was a little upset with 23andMe, here's an example of someone using a few DNA test sites and sharing the conflicting results. Why so much variation? Because we really don't know that much, yet. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"A plan to put shelters in schools after seven children died in 2013 from a series of devastating tornadoes has been scrapped because Republican leaders are pushing for corporate tax cuts instead." Not much more to comment here. Except that money where your mouth is time.

"Thou Shall Not Move is erecting the monument on church property. No atheist I know has a problem with that. We only object to endorsements of religion in public schools, public squares, courthouses, and the like. Want to put a massive monument in your church yard? No problem. Please enjoy." While I agree with this article's viewpoint, I'm not sure the author gets what is happening. See, Thou Shall Not Movie will be able to declare victory over the atheists because their monuments aren't being challenged. And in that way they can raise more money because "they're winning." What are they winning? More money. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

When it comes to brains, size isn't everything. Back in the heyday of ignorance, some scientists liked to say what separated humans from animals was the size of our brains. That lasted right up to when we discovered other species had larger brains than we did. Then it was all about the ratio. What it really is about is the layout of the brain, the organization of the neurons. As the article points out we have very specific areas of the brain responsible for specific functions. What they don't talk about is even the organization of these areas (how the neurons are stacked) is important. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'They don't have any money while they're working, so why would they have any money in retirement?'… Individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s work just fine for people with money, not so much for everyone else." That's because they were never meant for people without money, and here I'm talking about those who make less than $400,000 a year. "Social Security was never designed to provide real retirement security. It was conceived as one leg of a three-legged stool, supplementing pensions and personal savings. But traditional pensions are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by 401(K) plans… And while Americans socked away almost ten percent of their incomes back in 1970, decades of stagnant middle-class wages has made saving up for retirement much harder – by 2010, we were only saving around four percent of what we made." "This sorry state of affairs isn’t only hurting America’s seniors. It’s forcing many of them to remain in the workforce longer than they would otherwise, which is, in turn, hurting the job prospects of younger workers, who face a sky-high unemployment rate." All points I think I've made before. There's the main problem. Social Security was meant to solve the issues of the retired living in abject poverty, and to open more jobs for the younger generation. All sides benefit. And this is why there's a movement to not cut benefits, but increase them. "(A)n offensive strategy has one thing going for it: public opinion. A poll conducted for NASI earlier this year found that 70 percent of Americans support a reform package that raises benefits, eliminates the cap on payroll taxes and gradually boosts payroll tax rates. Support was strong among Democrats, Republicans and independents." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The real cost of your cheap(er) gas. Also part of the "we need to build a pipeline" argument (because, you know, pipelines never have problems). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Everything about the actions of the core Tea Party faction in the House suggests people who think they're living in heroic times, zero compromises, whole histories at stake - a right wing version of the world many New Left protestors were living in in the late 60s and early 70s, a mix of high histrionics, deep commitment and performance art." Yes, that. Although I'll go a little farther. GW Bush longed for the glory of his father's generation and was handed his chance in 9-11. The War on Terror took on the flavor and language of what thewar against fascism eventually became a decade after it was over. The Tea Party fetishism of the American Revolution is more than metaphor, IMHO these people believe they are in just as great a struggle. There are things in this world that are just as great of a struggle as those efforts, Al Qaeda and politics aren't in that list. Conservatives may wish to wash themselves in glory, but they're just getting themselves wet. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

"To see these same Beltway Svengalis trapped now in this crazy role reversal, denounced by the far right for being the same kind of condescending establishment snot-bags they themselves spent decades trying to find and campaign against – well, that’s just seriously funny." It appears Speaker Boehner's epiphany that some of his members "just ain't right" (as the saying goes) was the initial shot at establishment conservatives realizing their deal with the devil wasn't such a good idea after all. Now the big movers are throwing money at the problem hoping it will go away. This is very interesting considering the very well thought-out and planned conservative blossoming of the 80s (Heritage Foundation, various think-tanks and education programs which started delivering model conservatives, stepped in the true religion, in the late 90s). The things they didn't realize it those incubators they created, married with the rise of Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes, formed an intense echo chamber where people could only gain tracking by going farther and farther to the right. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

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