There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thing I've learned in the reboot, part 2

There are many things I've learned throughout the process of the reboot, not the least of which is how the body works (or what we know of it), all the bones of the body, and how to generate x-rays. There's a lot of specific information that you probably don't really care about (like the ideal target material for general x-rays is Tungsten with Rhenium because of Tungstens high melting point and appropriate atomic number and how we get a spike of x-rays produced in the 74 kVp range because of Characteristic Radiation). But hopefully I can pass on some things that might be helpful.

Medicine, the best lies we know.

Not everyone has the same level of competence, but most can get you through with what you need. Not all ED (emergency department) doctors and nurses are the same. As with any profession you have a wide range of capabilities and skills. Working in the ED is its own unique form of medicine. I've seen doctors (and physicians assistants and nurse practitioners) completely screw up an order, and I've seen doctors perform at top level.

The reputation doctors have for cursing in surgery is well earned. There's a few notable exceptions, and I like working with them. It's not that they don't get upset, but they're much better at handling their emotions.

Not everyone in a hospital wearing scrubs is a nurse or a doctor. Not all men are doctors, and not all women are nurses. Just saying.

Almost every hospital or large medical office in a city is a learning institution. The person taking care of you may be a student or a resident. This isn't a bad thing.

It's your right to say no. It's our job to convince you. But if you really don't want a procedure done (such as CT scan, blood work, etc.) it your right to refuse treatment.

Weekend Linkee-poo got no deeds to do, no promises to keep

It's an old saw of advice, "write what you know." IMHO, people sometimes mistake what that advice is about, narrowing it into "what you have done". But that's not all you know. Jeff VanderMeer discusses the very real basis for SF/F stories. And not in the "researchy" kind of way, but that people are human, and most of us have a lot of experiences both being and being around humans. Also there's a lot in our world that can be made into the fantastic (almost any link I would put with the tag line, "proof our world is weirder than we think"). (Grokked from

So, every think it was totally impossible to build Ikea furniture with their directions and the supplied hardware? Would it surprise you to know that 75% of their catalog images are CGI? Probably not. (Grokked from Dan)

Jim Hines talks about those moments of despair you'll encounter as a beginning (and sometimes even a successful) writer.

A mellified man. Mmmm, mummy candy, just in time for Halloween.

This this article is mostly a stealth ad for Crypto-phone the information on Interceptor towers is good. There's one out by us. Nobody knows whose tower it is, nor will any of the local providers identify the tower as theirs. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"In February Carson suggested that liberals could turn the country into Nazi Germany." And he's not sorry about it. Sigh. You know, I always hear about the PC Police, but you can never find a cop when you need one, you know. Also, I don't seem to remember people being thrown into jail for free speech (exceptions for those inciting violence, yelling "fire" when there wasn't any, and those exercising their free speech when under police order - aka like Ferguson). I don't seem to remember any conservatives claiming PC Police getting thrown in jail. And while we say they were "pilloried" for their comments, I don't know of an example when that was literally true (locked in stocks on the public square where people can throw rotten food at you, etc).

In Chile's Gault's Gulch "(t)hey take Bitcoin and everything. You know, to take your Randian dreams and make them a reality. Wow, who could have possibly seen that as the scam it was? But just think of all the jobs that influx of money created? Except they owe "'hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to hardware stores [and] service providers' in the nearest town, 'ordinary Chileans who are acutely harmed by the project's malfeasance.'"(Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

And in this week's fear mongering, will ISIS/ISIL strike America? Oh noes, a "terrorist" group claims they will strike back at a America and bring death to our shores. Yawn. Ever. Single. Group says this. Now, ISIS/ISIL is a somewhat different threat than, say, the Tamil Tigers, Shining Path or 1st of October. They're now somewhat well funded and they exhibit a good form of organization and can field and limitedly effect force on the field. But most of the "ZOMG they're coming fer our wimen' folk" type banter focuses on the fact that about 100 to 300 US Citizens have gone to fight in Syria and some of them maybe in ISIS/ISIL (like some kids went to fight for al Shabaab). Um, this is what the "no fly list" was made for folks. And if you think we don't know who is there, I'll point out that with only the basic metrics the Brits were able to identify the "man with the accent" in the beheading video in less than 3 days. People returning from the fighting in Syria are being prosecuted (some are being let go when it becomes apparent they had no contact with fringe groups). It is damn expensive and dangerous to operate in the US. While ISIS/ISIL is approaching being a successful guerrilla army (which they really are, but we no longer use that term), they aren't able to project power. They'll strike something of ours that's within a day or two's drive from their territory (my guess would be a concerted attack on the former Green Zone in Iraq), but as threats to targets in the Lower 48, Alaska, or Hawaii, they don't have the discipline or resources. The question is, how do we defeat them without aiding Assad. It would be much better if we could insulate Free Syrian Forces and point Assad and ISIS/ISIL at each other.

Bring out your dead! A story on the body collectors in Africa who gather up Ebola victims.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Linkee-poo really needs to brush up on listening to music

Still way behind in reading. You'd think that without classes (which, BTW, surprise, taking classes again) or clinicals (yes, those will come later) I'd have all this time. Screw it. I've been trying to catch up with everything. Hell, finally scheduled getting some quotes for our roof that was damaged in the hail storm we had back in June. One of these days I'll get caught up. Maybe.

Sure, there's no sexist behaviors in STEM careers. (Grokked from Janiece)

Hey, you know that plot device Lovecraft (and others of his literary lineage) often deployed about hidden cities, crypts and labyrinths beneath houses? That's just silly stuff, right? Right? Oh damn. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Ten great pie charts. I'm particularly in love with 9 and 10. (Grokked from George Takei)

Yea, I'm sure it wasn't a "driving while black" incident. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"In Culture of Honor: the History of Violence in the South, psychologists Richard Nisbett and Dov Cohen make use of historical crime data, survey responses, and lab experiments to lay out the case that honor culture is responsible for higher levels of violence." Ah honor. Honor is for the dead, as a character in my first book said, count no man honorable until he's buried. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Hey, you know that theory that the universe is actually an elaborate holographic projection? Think people watched The Matrix too many times while stoned? Well, we've begun testing that hypothesis. The holographic projection one, not the watching The Matrix stoned. (Grokked from Dan)

Hey, ho, way to go, Ohio. Not only go we have screwoffs in out legislature who believe they need to repeal Common Core (after the initiative failed in both Education Committees, now they're trying through the Rules Committee), but they want to make it illegal to teach the scientific process. Say, which party has this fetish against critical thinking skills (Texas, and also part of the reason behind Common Core) and the scientific processes? Why, that would be the party that can't justify their positions logically or with actual historical evidence (otherwise known as the conservatives). (Grokked from Dan)

In other Ohio news, let's go to the video. Or maybe not. The video of a black man being shot by police in Walmart kinda disagrees with the official police version of the shooting. Strange that. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"But behind the bravado, owners (of gun ranges that offer the "touristy" experience of firing full-automatic weapons) acknowledge they are one errant movement away from tragedy." Like allowing a 9-year old to handle an UZI. At 9 they're still playing t-ball, okay. They're not allowed to pitch. So maybe a fully-auto submachine gun is probably not a good choice. Just FAIL all around with this one (parents, instructor, range, NRA pushing "kids and guns" at ranges, and the general gun culture). The only one I don't blame is the 9-year old. She has to live with this the rest of her life (just like the family of the instructor).

"'Somebody could have been killed from this. This could have been a real tragedy,' (Detective Sergeant Jim Shumway) said… One officer involved in the struggle suffered a shoulder injury and was taken to the hospital… (the suspect) faces charges including assaulting a public safety officer, unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest." Don't worry, even though the white kid was admittedly high on 'shrooms (he told the police officer at the desk that and asked for help, before the scuffle), wrestled with officers, took their gun and discharged it, he's okay. The white kid is okay. (Grokked from CC Findlay)

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lays out his strategy if he becomes Majority Leader. Not as good as the "49%" remark, but still insightful. Just in case you were starting to believe their rhetoric about taking over the Senate and then getting everyone back to work.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Linkee-poo is telling us this and telling us that, says it doesn't matter

A pastor in Texas wants books that "have creatures that aren't human" (among other things) banned from the local library. Let's see; Seraphim, Cherubim, Elohim… Yep, got one right here. (Grokked from Vince)

PSA, warning signs someone is in an unhealthy relationship. :: points :: As an added bonus, some tips on things you can do once you (and your friend) realize it.

"Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests." Just in case you're ever prevaricating when asked if the US has a culture of violence, the voices in your head may disagree. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Water ATMs in India. Still question if we're living in a dystopian future? The Water ATM is an improvement in the situation. The opening scene in that story could pretty much be the opening scene in any post-apocalyptic movie. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Well, at least they didn't blame an intern. And I guess that statement sums up the difference between American Politics and the rest of the world. Frankly, I think people are only upset about the British Embassy's tweet concerning burning the White House (although the joke was, "we only brought sparklers this time") is because Americans don't know their history to realize the British burned the White House in the War of 1812. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

In Ohio we have these great ads to re-elect Gov. Kasich which start with a statement of, "Well, sure, he was an ideologue bastard, but then he got better." Not sure that's a way to victory, John. But just in car you started to believe the shit Kasich is slinging, another clinic which provided abortion services in Cincinnati shuts down, and the two others in the area may also close. The problem? "Last year, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) signed into law new state rules prohibiting publicly funded hospitals from having patient transfer agreements with abortion clinics, while at the same time upholding an existing Ohio law that requires clinics to have patient transfer agreements." So, not only an asshole Catch-22 law to end safe and legal abortion in Ohio, but this is also the guy who is using over-regulation to kill it. Seriously, this is no conservatism I know of, except the social conservatism that wants to return to an idealized world which never existed outside of their bubble. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

The Koch brothers spin up another "grass-roots" movement, this time to stop net neutrality. This kind of thing is becoming a cottage industry for Koch Industries. However, lately, whenever I see the Koch name applied to a position this song goes through my head:

(Story Grokked from Dan)

Texas Supreme Court rules it's okay to lie to employees in schemes to get rid of them. In this case they were told a subsidiary was a good job choice, transferred a lot of employees there, then sold off the subsidiary that was then closed by the buyer. They employer was telling people it was a great job to get even as they were negotiating the sale. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Say, in all the brouhaha, whatever happened to Benghazi? Oh, yea, that. To paraphrase Jim, after all this intense looking you'd think they'd have found at least one blow job in there. Instead, nothing. It's like the administration isn't corrupt at all.

Well, I haven't seen this story come up in the whole immigration debate. ICE isn't supposed to detain pregnant immigrants, but have been with the obvious result of the poor conditions of the detainment centers. And I would suspect that we would hear this from the Pro-Life crowd. Instead it's the "feminists" who are bringing it into the open. So, bad on our government, and two, shows the true colors of the Pro-Life crowd. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"But that honor begins to seem much less honorable once we make the fateful decision to look."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Things I've learned for the reboot (part 1 of I don't know how many)

X-ray radiation is nothing to be trifled with. In the past x-rays have been used for everything from killing off children's enlarged thymuses (important to your immune system, and normally enlarged in children compared to adults), as a treatment for acne, and to properly fit shoes. And there is no excuse for these issued. Clarence Dally died from his exposure to x-rays in 1904 (he was Thomas Edison's friend and glass-blower, he also was the subject of Edison's demonstration of fluoroscopy at the National Electric Light Association exhibition in 1896 and sat for 8-hours each day under the fluoroscope). X-ray radiation damage profile is mapped in what's called a Linear, Non-threshold chart which means there is no exposure level which doesn't have some risk.

We don't use much radiation in x-ray these days. With digital we use a little more than the last film technology (90s), but much less than the 70s and 80s (and you don't want to know about before that). Fluoroscopy uses a little more. If you need fluoro, be careful, ask questions, and ask if they can put the machine on "pulse". Most radiologists will only do intermittent fluoro-ing (not have the beam on all the time). CT (or CAT) scan gives you a much higher dose. If you've had recent CT scans (in the past year or two) and the doctor is asking for more, let that doctor know (especially if they hadn't ordered the earlier scans). Understand that there is no official top limit to the dose you can receive for diagnostic and therapeutic x-rays (CT included), but you should limit it as much as you can. We are happy to make copies of your scans for you if you ask. If it's a personal copy there will be a small charge, but just tell us its for your doctor (wink) or have them put it on the order. If your scan was done at an allied health care provider (in Cleveland we have University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic) if you stay within one system, the doctors should be able to see your previous scans). Let them know one was done. Unless something has changed, they may be able to use your prior scans.

This next point is very rare, but worth noting. It is uncommon for you to have "reddening" of the skin after x-ray treatment. If after a CT scan or fluoroscopic procedure (especially catheterization or arteriorgrams) you have red skin (like a sunburn) or an ulceration, even if you think it's not where you were x-rayed, see a doctor immediately (if they weren't involved in the procedure, let them know about it). Erythema is a direct cause of 300 rem of exposure. Three-hundred rem (Roentgen equivalent man) is also the LD 50/60 number which means that of a population that experiences a 300 rem full-body dose, 50% will be dead in 60 days. With treatment, you can survive. Like I said, these days this is very, very rare, but still can occur. Immediate diagnosis and treatment is the key to surviving this. If you're having standard x-rays, even for complicated procedures (like a bone survey (not the same as "bone density" or DEXA scan) or having an l-spine/t-spine/c-spine series) you won't get anywhere near this dose unless the machine explodes over you, and even then more than likely not.

If you're under 21 keep a record of all the x-rays you've had. Go to, they have some helpful publications.

X-rays interact at the atomic level. We actually are concerned with which electron (well, actually their shell) we knock out of its orbit. This is also how x-rays are produced, but we'll probably cover that later. This is also what makes them dangerous, because we're changing the electrical charge on the atom (ionization). That can disrupt your organic chemistry. We're also creating a lot of free radicals (which can cause damage). Fortunately the most common effect of these, even for "direct strikes" (when we hit your DNA) is either no appreciable damage or cell sterilization (it's unable to successfully divide again).

The human body is an amazingly beautiful, complex and robust system that can handle a lot of injury and still remain functioning. Contrarily, the human body is a disgustingly smelly, simple and fragile system that the tiniest of disruptions can cause catastrophic chain-reaction failures.

Things that you might think are just annoyances, or aren't important are, in fact, exceedingly important to correct diagnosis and treatment. Say, having a shellfish or seafood allergy for instance. Yea, if you have one, never forget to tell your healthcare worker (because you're most likely actually allergic to iodine, which is in a lot of things). That pain in your toe just might be related to that pain in your back or rear you've been having. If you might have a pinched nerve in your neck your doctor will do ask you to do things you might think aren't related, like rolling your eyes around, but are actually important to the diagnosis.

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, if you have neuropathy, it is vitally important to visually check where you have a lack of sensation. Every. Single. Day. No, you don't what to know why, just trust me on this one. Okay, well, I've seen enough necrotic toes on diabetics. You don't want to have to deal with that (and I really don't want to x-ray them, yes, your x-ray department should have spray to help clear that smell, but sometimes it doesn't work so well).

Oh, and try and keep your toenails clipped and your feet clean. I know your Mom told you to wear clean underwear, but seriously, clean feet are way, way more important to me. Okay, let's just say clean everything. Make sure you're clean. Because, damn.

X-rays don't just show your bones. We see everything. Fat. Edema. Some muscles. Major organs. So you may be x-rayed to show some of these soft-tissues (and it's a part of our protocol to show them clearly to make sure we have a good exposure). For hands and fingers, we should even see your fingernails.

We will ask you very personal questions (especially if you're female). We don't do this to embarrass you, we're trying to protect you. If you may be pregnant, you really need to say so. If it's been more than 28-30 days since your last cycle, we may ask for a pregnancy test. If you are female, you're x-ray technologist (the person who takes the x-ray) should ask you directly about this unless you're coming from the ER/ED and had a pregnancy test already, or you're older than 50 or so (everybody's department has a different cut-off, if you're older than 45 I'll ask if you've gone through menopause).

If you know you have something in you, or you have situs inversus, or had things removed, let your technologist know. Don't leave it as a surprise for us, we get enough presents as it is. Fortunately one patient did let me know he had his patella removed before I took a sunrise (without a patella, there's no need for a sunrise view).

And while we're at it, try and keep track of your prothesis, okay? No, really, if I ask if you've had a hip replacement or surgery, you think you'd remember that. You'd be wrong about it, too. If you have permanent metal in you limbs, back, neck, or head, let us know. We have to show all of it on the x-ray and if you don't tell us you have a 12 inch plate along your distal ulna, we may need to retake 3 of the 4 views of your wrist to include it. Let us know. We're here to help.

No, x-rays won't bother your phone, but it has to be out of the x-ray (so don't leave it in your pocket). I have funny stories about these, but I can't share them here. Let's just say some of you have your phone in weird places, okay.

If you have a doctor's order to limit your movement (say, like a recent pacemaker implantation), let us know that as well. With HIPAA we don't see all of your history, only the doctor's order and their diagnosis to support that order. Also, your doctor (or their assistant) may have lied to us (or the insurance) or not told us the full story, so you gotta let us know. For example, with that pacemaker, you shouldn't be raising your left arm above your shoulder, but your doctor is doing a 2 view chest x-ray to check for pneumonia. All the order says is "pneumonia", not "possible complication from surgery to implant pacemaker". And if it's been long enough that you're no longer in the sling, I may ask you to raise that arm up to take the lateral. You shouldn't do that. Let me know and let me know why (not just, "it's stiff").

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Union Issues

So, Lakeland Community College and their full-time faculty hadn't come to agreement over a new contract (news is they came to a tentative agreement on Friday night). The union had a pro forma vote and agreed to allow a strike as early as Monday. There's just a few problems here, classes actually started on Saturday (I know, my class started on Saturday).

So as the sides attempted to, well, for a lack of a better term, negotiate, they administration sent a letter to the adjuncts asking them to cross any potential picket line, and all for the whopping sum of substitute pay (about the same as adjunct pay, which isn't much).

There's also an Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association. Which, I don't know, pretends to act in the interest of adjunct faculty (which is definitely needed, wish they would actually effect some change). Anyway, they had a post on how the adjunct faculty of Lakeland should support the full-time faculty union's picket lines, if it came to it. Because, I don't know, all the faculty is in it together or something.

Now, at some colleges while the adjuncts aren't members of the union, the unions fight to make their lives a little easier. The offer some protections (through advocate offices), negotiate raises for adjuncts, and in general work to make sure adjuncts are neither to attractive to the administration (in case you don't know, even non-tenured positions are being eliminated in favor of adding adjuncts… also putting classes on lines) or considered by the full-time staff as "lesser". Not at Lakeland. Or if they are trying, it doesn't show in any meaningful way (adjunct faculty pay hasn't changed in over a decade, and while they depend on the adjuncts to make their staffing numbers, adjuncts are considered "as good" or driven as the full-time faculty).

So, I just had to respond. Since they haven't released it from moderation, I thought I'd post it here as an open letter.

I know a few adjuncts at Lakeland, and I have to ask just what the full-time staff and union have done to earn the trust and loyalty of the adjuncts? Adjuncts who don’t have the protections the full-timers have and can be dismissed at will, or (as more commonly happens) just not be invited back the next semester. Who now face a choice between putting food on the table, alienating administration who may be able to hire them full-time or block their adjunct contracts, or alienating the faculty who would sit on hiring committees.

While crossing a picket line is never to be taken lightly, unions are formed and function on respect. From my secondary experience, I haven’t seen much respect coming from the other side. It helps to build these relationship before you have to call upon them.

What can the full-time staff and union do to earn this? Support the adjuncts, help curb the trend of shifting full-time positions to adjuncts (creating more full-time opportunities), extend workplace protections and maybe negotiate raises for adjuncts along with their contracts. Maybe add provisions to support hiring from within instead of viewing the adjuncts as “people who only want to work part-time.” It’s a tall order and from what I can see from the outside is going to require a cultural change, for which there is currently no pressure on the full-timers to make that change.

Not that the administration did themselves any favors by offering only substitute pay (if they were smart and wanted to really threaten the union, they should have offered full-time equivalent pay).

So, yes, I know a few who are struggling with this matter this weekend. It would have been good if the full-time staff had built the relationship of trust and respect beforehand. It would have made some of my friends decisions easier.

Edit 08-28-2014 19:30 Just rechecked that Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association, comment is still listed as in moderation. Look, if you don't want comments, turn them off. I understand I'm not always the most intelligent or rational person, but really? Still in moderation.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is a little short but hopefully will make it up later

I'm not going to say it's because of my snark (and my alter-ego Asshole Avenger™ - now in comic book stores), but I noticed that the promoted twitter feed for Diablo III has changed their second line to "Face death on next-gen console" right after I replied "And in #Ferguson they have to go into the streets to get that thrill. MT @Diablo Face death in your living room #adfail".

Also started new classes today for CT.

Stewart Sternberg gives an anecdote regarding story ideas. Yup.

"Whatever happened to writing for love not money" asks the article in the telegraph. Ah, new writers, they're so precious when they're that young a naive. Let me stomp all over your dreams now. Publishers Weekly tweeted this out (and I saw it first from Katheryn Cramer) and it caused a pretty interesting discussion on twitter. So let's be clear on this, yes some "artists" make art without regard to commercial value or even attempts to sell or monetize that art. Most of those people have another source of income (stipend, already rich, a spouse that earns enough, etc), or also do art with the intent to sell. The "starving artist" isn't starving because they want to or it's some pathway to sainthood. They're starving because they can't make a living from their art. That's not the same as "making art for the love of art." That's, "why won't these money-grubbing bastards buy my shit." I'll note here that yes, artists have starved to death, and it's part of the "stories that we tell ourselves" that artists should be hungry and that "suffering" leads to better art. Let me call bullshit on that right away. People also die with the Great American Novel in their desk drawer. Why don't you ever get to read these masterpieces? Because that's now how you publish because nobody gives a damn about the novel they've never seen or heard of. That said, one of my responses sums it up, "I write because I love writing & story. I edit & work 2 get better because I want the money." Also, please note, I haven't made much money from writing (and zero dollars from fiction writing, although there are other rewards like the friendship of smart people, which I value highly). And when my future ability at making a living become overwhelmingly under threat 5 years ago, the first thing to go was the writing (okay, maybe not first, but I haven't done a lot in the past two years compared to the decade before that). Also, please note, this isn't an argument about what publishers and the public pay artists (which includes writers). That is a whole different kettle of worms.

"Honestly, it's less about Showtime and more about these hack crowdsourcing campaigns that certain agencies are selling to them. There are lots of folks doing very cool things with user-generated content, but to ask professionals to compete against each other for potential 'exposure' is completely different. It's demeaning, and it lowers the value of everyone's work." Standing slow clap. (Grokked from Eric VanNewkirk)

You know all those people in 2008 and 2012 who talked about this "Oh noes, class warfare" stuff? Well, yea, it's been going on for some time now. It's just the losing side has finally woken up to knowing that there is an actual war going on.

"… a PublicMind survey out of Fairleigh Dickinson University found that 'people who said they consumed no news' fared better on a current events questionnaire than people who had been using Fox News to find out what was going on in the world… People who categorically don’t watch the news know more than people who watch a network whose primary function is ostensibly to relay the news." Just going to leave this here. (Grokked from Nathan Gendzier)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Linkee-poo doesn't give a damn about its bad reputation

When and how pantsing may go wrong and how to avoid it.

"Last spring, a group calling itself We Need Diverse Books launched a Twitter campaign to press for greater diversity in children's books." That's NPR's Code Switch story about diversity in publishing. Also pointing to a recent NPR story on the lack of diversity in MFA writing programs.

"Canadian government orders scientists not to disclose extent of polar melting." I'm sure they have a good reason for it. Like not wanting to be embarrassed or having to change their world view because of actual facts. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

A new breed of transparent solar panels. Who said that we have to convert visible light into electricity? While it's only at 1% efficiency, it's also the first swing (or proof of concept). Now that could be interesting. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

It is a truism of the world, there's always a bigger fish. That a video of a goliath grouper swallowing a 4-foot shark in a single go. And you thought you weren't able to sleep after Shark Week. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

A reminder that there are all types, some women enjoy catcalls. (Grokked from John)

And the attendant snark regarding the attempt at hijacking feminism. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

And I'll just point out that the woman whom Ray Rice punched in the face and knocked out married him afterward. It's called "identifying with the abuser" and is a major component of codependent behavior.

"Over $100,000 has been raised for Darren Wilson. But man, why must liberals bring RACE into this?! It's about...oh." Some comments gleaned from those who gave money.

"And this history of our country should be taught, because we’re repeating it right now in Ferguson. Anyone who says that this situation is unprecedented isn’t paying attention." Mary Robinette Kowal with links and citations.

Eric gives the "weary defense lawyers" advice. And if you don't think this is exactly the advice many parents of color give their children, I think you're not paying attention. As Gabriel Iglesias says, "I know when to quit, especially around cops, when I hear (sound of gun cocking) the joke is over."

"'The truth is that 91 percent of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. Ninety-one percent,' (Bill) O'Reilly said (coming off a vacation to do a "special show"). 'Yet that woman tried to mislead folks by accusing American law enforcement of shooting down young black men in the streets. It's beyond belief.'" Um, Bill, I know you think these two things contradict each other, but they don't. Both are examples of overwhelmingly white law enforcement forces' negligence of the communities and inability to see African-Americans as people they should be serving and protecting. That thing where you like people to treat you as a well-mannered, intelligent human being? Yea, you're failing that test, Bill. Please fuck off and die. And since we're talking about Fox News cluelessness (well, actually Roger Ailes' warped reality that he enforces on his network), you can fuck off and die too, Hannity. "Innocent before proved guilty"? Really? Say, what about Michael Brown's right of "innocent before proven guilty." You seem to be missing that point here. But then you're also just a Tool™ spouting your ignorance for all the world to see.

And the official "lalalalalala, can't hear you"s have begun even before it's over. In Ferguson, parents took their children to see the protests, to see the burned out quick mart, to where "looting" went on, because they wanted their children to know (what was happening and why, also as a part of "black education" as I've heard it called, see earlier post from Eric for another example). But if we smile and make nice sounds, and change the subject to how George Washington could never tell a lie, I'm sure these kids will turn out all right.

"'Yes, Senator McConnell is pledging nothing but more gridlock and confrontation and doubling down on the exact same tactics that led to the shutdown last year,' (a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) told TPM. 'It's true, I'm just surprised he's saying it out loud.'" Third time is a charm? Noted just in case anybody was starting to buy the conservative BS they've been slinging this summer.

You know what's so great about all these opportunities to get involved in conflict overseas? We get to test out our new toys.

Quote of the day: (From my friend John) "You know, I figured out the other day why outsourcing got so popular so quickly: you could hire foreigners to do work cheaply yet not have them cross the border into your country. It's a Republican wet dream."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Linkee-poo is such a slacker

Yea, I've had a list of things to do, and have been roundly ignoring them. Say, have I mentioned CT classes start this Saturday? I did have a vacation, right. It's hard to remember. Actually, that's worrying me a little at the moment. Anyway, I need to get off my ass and start writing and being alive.

Jason Sanford on not cliche-ing yourself into a hack. Mostly about writing advice. Not all advice works for everybody. Established writers often "violate" the rules new writers are expected to abide by, and there are reasons for that.

Birds burst into flames over solar plant. Yea, I've never liked the idea of solar concentrators (either for water or liquid salt).

I know a lot of people don't understand when I tell them that taking a vacation, especially planning a vacation, is a skill I just don't have. "Research shows that one out of seven workers entitled to paid vacation time didn’t use it this past year." Unfortunately you'll have to listen to that story, as it seems Marketplace doesn't want to do a full transcript. But, yea, vacations are hard for some of us, and then we see people who don't take vacations get promoted, and it sends all the wrong signals (unless you're a corporate bean counter, and then it sends all the right signals). And, as the article says, according to all empirical evidence, taking breaks makes one more productive (and happier). But then facts never work on bean counters (yes, experiencing this right now with day jobbery, why do you ask). I'm working hard on that skill of taking a vacation. It ain't easy.

"There's no 'law of capitalism' that says that companies have to pay their employees as little as possible. There's no law of capitalism that says companies have to 'maximize short-term profits.' That's just a story that America's owners made up to justify taking as much of the company's wealth as possible for themselves." And that, Virginia, is why there is no Santa Claus. Or, actually, why the economy is stalled. You don't need to take it from me or any of my dirty, lefty hippie friends, that's Business Insider saying that. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

There's too many articles to link to here, but I just want you all to notice the new meme that if the Congress votes on Impeachment, it's only because Obama dared them to/brought it on himself. If the right hadn't been talking about impeachment before he even took the oath of office, they might have a better case. It's like they're making the argument of, "Please, Briar Rabbit, don't make us throw you into that briar patch."

Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Many people not involved keep asking when it will get back to normal in Ferguson, so let me make this one statement. Only one side is interested in "getting back to normal", and that's the side with the tear gas. For the other side, "normal" isn't much less worse than the current situation. The perceived pain of change must be less than the perceived pain of the status quo for any organizational change to be successful. What you're seeing is the one side for whom the pain of the status quo has been too great trying to increase the pain of the status quo of the other side until the pain of change is perceived to be less. Are there other actors in there? Sure, there always are. But so far they haven't been able to gain much traction (thanks to the people of Ferguson, not the law enforcement side). The Tear Gas Brigades haven't realized that they need to change, they see no reason or point in changing. What they haven't come to grips with is the people of Ferguson won't let it go back to the old status quo. And each week this progresses, the more change they will demand. No justice, no peace. Know justice, know peace. At the beginning of this there was very little asked. We (all of us on both sides, and even people who don't think this affects them) will need to pay a larger price now because a bunch of yokels didn't know how to act properly in the post 1865/1942/1964 world. And even after the streets are quiet, the change will occur. The Tear Gas Brigades haven't learned that yet.

History may not repeat, but it often rhymes. I wonder if sticking your fingers in your ears and singing "lalalalalala" rhymes enough?

And this is why you need to vet candidates.

The problem with the argument of "just send them back where they came from." Have I mentioned before how much of the drug violence problem in Central America is directly related to the US? Not only through our drug addiction/interception problems, but because many of the gang leaders once served time in US jails before being deported. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kill Your Darlings

The death of human. Remember a dream of fire on rain, oceans into desert, of sentient sands consuming a garden Earth. An echo of laughing vanity born of dry winds.

For whom the gods would elevate, first they drive mad. A light shown into the darkness and the darkness coveted it. The fire of creation technology, rearrangement on atomic scale, was a siren song so attractive that childlike we grabbed and ignited the match. The extinguishment of the flower of life, a fall from which there is no grace, a prophesy of echoing absence filled with an anguish of angels. The apple promised to be so sweet. The taste of hubris so bitter. And we dove madly into the abyss. A diaspora of life fleeing a planet dying of gangrenous technology. The fluffed seeds of a virulent dandelion blown on the winds of angry, reddening Sun.

Once fallen, man was forever fated to fall again.
And that one goes into the cut file.

Linkee-poo dreams of rain, I dream of gardens in the desert sand

The Hugo Award winners. Including Kameron Hurley a pair, because that way she won't walk lopsided or something, but one was for her "We Have Always Fought" essay, which is damn well deserved.

Kathryn Schulz on the greatest punctuation marks in literature.

And now comes the time of night where we sing murder ballads to our children.

"There is a small percentage of college students who are sex offenders. They are behaving like sex offenders. They are sex offenders." The problem is that they don't think of themselves as sex offenders because they don't wear ski masks and use knives to rape women (the stories we tell ourselves). The solution? All those people who say, "not all men", now is the time to step up. These men think it's "okay" and "perfectly normal" what they're doing because of the silence of the rest of us.

And just in case you missed it, the Daily Show piece on the fault in our schools (about rape on campus).

Janiece has some good advice on just what constitutes a "professional emergency." Or as I stated in a tweet this summer, having just helped on a Code Blue before lunch kind of makes the day-job's urgent emails seem like the BS they are.

The first brain scanner in 1882. :: points :: Note commentary at the time, and relate it to current endeavors to scan the brain. "The brain is not that simple."

John Oliver on Ferguson and the militarization of the police. It's a little ironic that I'm pointing out a white person commenting on the situation, but Larry Wilmore's show isn't up yet. I'm sure once Larry Wilmore's show is live, and if there hasn't been another major racial incident for him to comment on (what do you think the chances of that happening are?), I'll point out his video commentary (if he doesn't have a bit on the Daily Show first). (Grokked from Gabriel Novo)

Tweet of my heart: @SamSykesSwears Write what you know is weak advice. Write what you love is how you make good stories. Write what you're afraid of is how you grow.

A Fae with the ability to change aspect, appearance, and temperament

Dear Great Internet Brain,

Is there a type of fairy/fae that changes according to human belief, or an old story of this happening? What I'm looking for is similar to have Brownies and Boggarts are related (Brownies are beneficial or at least neutral, Boggarts are malevolent, but one can turn into the other depending on how they're treated), but in a larger sense. I'm looking for a type of fae that morphs based on the preconceptions of the humans living in their area (tall/short, handsome/grotesque, beneficial/malevolent, etc). I mean the Brownie/Boggart thing might work, but I was trying to find out if there were other instances of that type of relationship. American Indian, European/English or even Russian traditions would work here. Also, any references you could point to would be fabulous.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo wants breather

The RSS feed is still over 800. Sigh. With your kind indulgences, I think I'm going to skip a lot, so there might be some grade-A excellent content out there that I don't link to. But then, that's normal.

Look for editing services? Here's Dr. Doyle's. Here's Saladin Ahmed's.

Terry Pratchett answers some questions. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"Either too many writers have been conditioned by the publishing market and society in general to believe that writing has no monetary value, or, they just have yet to see the irony that they actually agree with Epstein’s insanity (arguing that there should be no minimum wage and businesses should be able to pay whatever they want to)." An interesting piece, even while I disagree with the basic premise of "work vs art = pay vs non-pay" (this is an extension of our cultural mindset that art is "play" and has no connections to the "commercial" world, this is a falsehood - a position which they explain or moderate in the followup post).

Related somewhat to that, the world's most expensive typeface. Well, that depends on what you're defining here, but for a single cut of a face, in modern commerce, yea it is. The arguments here hold up well in the discussion of print vs e-book publication. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Life hacks before there was a (Grokked from George Takei)

Pinocchio, Inc. Ha! (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Help wanted, humans need not apply. Although they get some of their history wrong (life for horses in cities were horrible). Although they are correct that when it comes to humans vs technological advances, humans always lose. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"But sometimes when you’re out there, in the middle of longstanding policies denying minority men and women the most basic human rights, you must take decisive measures." Oh Onion, don't ever change. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called out the Republican National Committee (RNC), the national organization of the Republican Party, on Thursday for endorsing efforts in some Western states to seize or sell-off of America’s parks, forests, and public lands." You would think that the attempts to decertify national monuments and sell off national parks and lands was made up. But then you'd be wrong. There are people out there who place no value to these things and would continue to rape the continent in the pursuit of a few more pennies. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Hey, remember when Establishment Republicans were going to take their party back from the lunatic fringe and try and get all the candidates to be professional and not shoot off their mouths and lose elections by self-inflicted (unforced) gaffs? How's that going? Yea, I guess they forgot their bread-and-butter beliefs and rank-and-file conservative hold some pretty extremist, idiotic, and plan ignorant views. And they've also forgotten they need to win the Latino vote.

Impeachment bait? Oh noes, the President is waving his magical Negro powers again and forcing the Congress to impeach him. I guess they forget that they want to impeach him for the high crime of being black while in office. Optionally, they're basically saying, "Please, Mr. President, don't force us to throw you into that briar patch."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Linkee-poo, there's a man with a gun over there, tellin' me I ought to beware

"The wife of an anti-gay activist divorced him to be with a woman just before he started as president of a Texas anti-gay group." I'm just going to leave this here. (Grokked from Dan)

I want to live. :: points :: (Grokked from John Scalzi)

And now seems a good time to put this here. Dar Williams, After All. "And when I choose to live, there was no joy. It's just a line I crossed… So I was not lost or found." I still tear up whenever I hear this.

The controversy of Germany temporarily lowering the retirement age for some older workers. A lot of interesting social issues packed into that article. Also, keep in mind that the US's 65 year retirement age isn't a century old, yet. Once of the reasons it was set there was to free up positions and employment for younger workers. Also a reminder that for my generation, that age is now 67. It's also openly speculated that we will never actually be able to retire (look at the current "retired' generation and you can see what they're talking about). BTW, for full disclosure, I've been working for a paycheck for 32 years now. If you add in the time where I hustled doing lawn work and show shoveling (with an actual, steel shovel) and that grows to 36 years. And I have 19 more years to go before reaching retirement age. Yea, I'm a little tired.

"When a woman at work experiences breast cancer, does that make her colleagues more likely to get mammograms and be proactive about their own health?" And the survey says?! No. In fact, it has the opposite effect.

You know, if you're going to rage against the machine, it might help to remember exactly which machine you're raging against. Sure all Satanists look alike (just like all Santas) (especially when you're an idiot), but it would help if you really knew who "the enemy" was instead of making an ass of yourself (and opening up the State of which you're the governor of to lawsuits for defamation). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Nixon's newly revealed records show for certain that in 1968, as a presidential candidate, he ordered Anna Chennault, his liaison to the South Vietnam government, to persuade them refuse a cease-fire being brokered by President Lyndon Johnson." We have a word for that. Just something to keep in mind as the current political circus hikes up it's pants and gets marching. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Rep. Steve King, I name thee "troll." Wow, just when you think a guy can't crawl any lower and be less self-aware. As least it's somewhat better than the obvious straddling the line that Ted Cruz does.

"'We can’t just abandon the field right now, you have to vote Republican even if it’s for a crap-ass Republican,' (Ann) Coulter told Hannity during a spot on his radio show." That. Is. Hilarious!

Obama wants impeachment?! "It's a trap!"

Uh, yea, Rush. Sure.

Dear RNC, you mustn't haven't paid attention in your history classes, because, yea, what the AP is focusing is accurate. Manifest Destiny (or Carving a New Life Out of the Redskin as Firesign Theatre put it) was pretty much a racist event motivated by an attitude of cultural superiority (just ask your local Native American). Our Founding Fathers did accept the concept of the "morally superior British". And you might want to research the history of that "Shining City on a Hill" and it's racial and cultural overtones. But I understand that it hurts when all the lies you've been telling yourselves for years (and worked so hard to indoctrinate in the classrooms) are smashed by the hammer of reality.

And Rand Paul does the (safe) right thing. Waiting for the media to find all those votes where he approved the spending to transfer military equipment to local police departments. Although I might have to wait for The Daily Show to get back off of hiatus.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Linkee-poo, roll on up for the price is down, come on in for the best in town

"That, my friends, is the market: publishers are not delivering penicillin to the Arctic; buyers are not heroin addicts who have no control over their actions… Amazon remains mostly concerned about Amazon, a reflexive behavior engaged in by most businesses." Some reasoned thought on the Amazon vs Hachette dispute.

Scrivener for iOS is coming, real soon now, honest. Well, yes, okay, they could throw more people and recourses at it, but then it wouldn't cost less than a $100, would it? And here's the bite of it all, even when it ships, there will be problems. Just so you all know what to expect. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Some commentary on pain, comedy, and suicide. :: points to that :: (Grokked from someone, sorry, Twitter has decided to disable page searching, the fuckers)

"Anomalous Thrust Production from an RF [radio frequency] Test Device Measured on a Low-Thrust Torsion Pendulum" Huhn. So the Q-Drive works, eh? That'll cause a stir, I bet. (Grokked from Dan)

OnePlus, fire your marketing director. No, seriously, having a "contest" for women to put your logo on their bodies and then post the images to be voted on to have a chance to buy your phone at full price? Seriously, what drugs are you all doing over there in China? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Would you like fees with that? I wonder if they'll add a "lost profits" fee when their trade goes into the toilet? BTW, handy number, it'll take a little less than 28,600 transactions to recoup that $10,000 "extra" charge. That sound like a lot, but only if they're dead slow (seriously, they should have that within a month or two). (Grokked from George Takei)

And in other horrible customer service news, "The New York Post reports that the Union Street Guest House in Hudson, New York, fines couples $500 for every negative review posted online (on any website) by one of their guests." Uh, yea. I'm sure that'll work out well. Just look what it did already? (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Rush Limbaugh, did it hurt when you sold your soul? I mean, you probably weren't using it anyway. And I'm asking for a friend. (Grokked from Vince)

What town (in a given state) matches my politics? A little light on the questions, IMHO, but you might find it handy. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"(R)esearchers at Stanford University report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades – design a pure lithium anode… What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency." (Grokked from Dan, I think)

If Disney Movie Posters were honest. (Grokked from George Takei)

Tweet of my heart - WTF?! Edition: ‏@bobpowers1 Nurse talking to my dad about his garden: "Oh you got a green thumb huh? Wish I had that trait. I'm not good at keeping things alive." Nice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

O Captain! my Captain!

When I came back from vacation I wanted to do another, different post, but in the boarding line at ORD I saw the fell news on the screen.

Fuck depression.

For you, my Captain! I shall miss all the future joys you would have brought. All we have left are the memories of happiness, the things that hid the darkness away.

You were not my dancing monkey. You were a muse wearing a clown suit. You were an inspiration that life was about something more than teary tedium. That life could be a celebration meant to be taken at full throttle.

Most of you know that to master dialog I've studied comedians who are masters at the art. Mr. Williams wasn't the first comedian I learned lines from, but he was the first one I realized that comedy was structured. He was the first I analyzed to see how he was making his jokes. And what a master's course that was, like trying to find the structure of water droplets coming out of a fire hose.

I'll miss his take on events of the future. I'll miss his dedication to the craft. I'll miss all the surprise appearances. Rest well, Robin Williams.

Good night, sweet prince. May hosts of angels sing you to sleep.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Linkee-poo, summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime

I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but I'm soon to go on vacation. During this vacation, I will also be taking a(n) (mostly) enforced hiatus from these here internets. So, if it seems like a long time between posts in the coming future, this is by design. Hopefully I have some great stories for you when I get back. We should be back to a more regular schedule by the end of August.

"One of the most interesting parts of working toward being a career novelist is watching how many of your peers stay in the game." It's too late for me, save yourselves. Kameron Hurley with facing the inevitable burn-out and how to go forward from there. This isn't the first rodeo I've been to. Design is exactly the same way. But, and good essay for someone who thinks they may want to be a writer. In every pursuit (every single one) there comes that moment where it takes real work to make it to the next level. In every pursuit (every single one) there comes that day when you wonder why you've spent your life getting to this point, which seems less of a point and more like pointlessness. People talk about showing their true character when tossed in the volcano. There's your volcano. It comes to us all.

An older RadioLab on getting out of your own way, with a section on being a writer when the words won't come. ED. Note, I don't recommend actually threatening yourself with suicide if you don't finish a book. But some perspective on negotiating with the Muse (I also don't think my Muse works that way).

Chuck Wendig on the Amazon Manifesto (as it should be called from now on). Read point number 4 very, very carefully. I now work in an industry that was forced off the "pricing at value" model and is now in a "pricing economy" model (i.e. no longer priced at "what is this worth to you", but in a "how cheap can I get that" way). You want $1 e-books, you deserve to read the crap that $1 will buy you (note, even McD's hamburgers are no long $1). Some of the points Amazon tries to make are just ridiculous. They're trying to zoom you. Hold on to your wallet.

The Slactivist with some Revelations and End Times links. Must read these before continuing with the WIP. Bookmarked here.

"This is a post that is designed to do one thing and one thing only: Tell people things to do on their historical romance cover to make sure the typography sucks." Let me say that as a designer who does know type, you just wouldn't believe what utter crap typography surrounds us every single day. It's so pervasive and insidious that sometimes I start thinking that only mildly objectionable typographic solutions are good, until I start to deconstruct them. And then I remember, "oh, yea, that's crap." (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

The three fan communities that hate their own members (or wannabe members). Oh, I think I could point out a few dozen more. Seriously, as a former Apple Evangelist I've slain many a "Dick about platforms" in my day, but then even Apple got rid of us because we were limiting the market too much. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Seriously? Fired for blogging about homophones because the owner of the Nomen Global Language Center, Clarke Woodger, had to "look up" what that was and become afraid that their students (who are ESL students) might think it was about gay-sex/marriage. Okay, first off, that's some serious irony there (yes, I know, irony is dead). And two, this is what happens when MBAs rule business (I don't know if Woodger is an MBA, but it's clear he's not an English or Language professor, and if he is, he should ask his alma mater for a refund). And three, you're a jerk, Clarke Woodger. A complete knee biter. That's some industrial-grade stupidity. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

What else is there to say, but, "Dude, that sucks." Two Texas Hold-em players get pocket aces, and one pulls a flush on the the River card. Wow.

BadUSB. No cookie. On how to use USB thumb-drives (and accessories like printers and keyboards) as a way to install malware. Note here not only because, "kewl tech", but because it was a plot point in my novel, Bladesman. One that some people questioned if it were possible. (Grokked from John) (And some more from Dan)

Tobias Buckell with some updates on the business gyrations going on in the electrical utility sector now that solar is becoming cheaper.

JPL develops new multi-metal 3D printer and process. Wow. Now that's some serious tech. (Grokked from John)

I'm glad we live in a meritocracy or else this would just be blatant sexism and racism. That's a charts that shows relative wealth statuses across race, gender, and marital status. Pretty damning, isn't it. Displayed just in case you're still belaboring under the lies of "a rising tide lifts all boats", "we're in a post-racial society", "we don't need affirmative action anymore." Although the data is only through 2007, right before the crash and President Obama. I'm sure it looks better now (your irony detectors should be pegging right about now). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Rep. Steven Palazzo… said that he would support deporting… children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States, according to the Clarion-Ledger." Seriously, these are the people who report to read, love and cherish the Constitution? I say this because, "Such a move would require amending the Fourteenth Amendment, which grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S." The stupid, it's gone past just burning. This is getting into thermal lance areas.

Trolls bring down ReaganBook. No comment. (Grokked from John)