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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Linkee-poo, because the sky is blue, it makes me cry

Chuck Wendig on how what flows from our minds is never as perfect as it is in our minds. There are many reasons for this. Most of this has to do with how the mind works. The mind is a six (at least) dimensional imaging device. You can ascribe feeling and memory to ideas which come fully formed. Those ideas in your head exist in all those forms, but the words (or pen marks) on the paper are all there is to transmit this to others. It's a function of downsampling. If you do it well, you can match frequencies and come away with a good facsimile of the original signal, but even at blu-ray data depths and sampling rate it's never as good as the original.

For your world building toolkit, the cultural iceberg. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Death is just the beginning. I mean, "Siri is just the beginning." Computers have been able to write technical papers and even newspaper articles for a while now (as long as they have data feed to them, they can't actually go out and do reporting or research, but once they have the raw data they can assemble a cogent article), but they haven't done fiction very well. Now there's an algorithm that can at least determine suspense and tension (for a very narrow definition).

On living the examined life. But that phrase is trite, so we have to call it living wisely. Or how to set priorities. These past 6 years have been a struggle of what is most important for me. I really want to write stories that sell. But what I really want is to have financial security to do it and provide for my wife. Now that I'm almost there, I've been focusing and fighting for writing time.

Because it came up once (I think on twitter, but it's been a while), Wren Day. Celebrated on St Stephen's day (which was moved by 1 to allow for Christmas once the Church figured out it needed to co-opt mid-winter/new year's celebrations to extend their control), a group of men (now children, although adults now take part again) hunt the wren, to hang about the king's (tribal leader's) head. While the wiki page doesn't really come out and talk about it, this was from a time when the ruler (king, queen, lord, whatever) was responsible for pleasing the gods and ensuring the tribe's survival and a good harvest. It is magic, and it is the same as lighting fires on the equinox or bringing evergreens inside, it is a way of giving energy to the world as it is dying. Think of it as the world's defibrillator of the ancients. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

Neolithic massacre discovered. It's not the first site to be unearth that shows mass killings, but it tends to stun people as it flies in the face of our preconceptions of a idyllic early human settlement. Instead, it is for me just more proof than man is a rather violent animal at heart. It is only through cultural norms and progress that we become less violent (after all, many early cultural norms were based on just controlling and channeling violence into acceptable forms of behavior). And I don't buy the line about hunter/gatherer societies just moving to avoid conflict. Those societies would have been very dependent on the herd animals they followed (at least in Europe). One couldn't just "move away" from that food source. (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

More news in the "you don't own what you purchase" theme. This time it's farmers fighting against the DMCA. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 makes it a crime to "break" a software lock. Since everything is now run by computers, including farm equipment, fixing those things requires breaking those locks. Manufacturers are fighting to keep their customers from breaking those locks (which aren't hard to break) in the name of "safety", but I think we can all agree it's about the most profitable part of the chain, sales of repairs and replacements. Farmers are long accustomed to fixing things themselves (Yankee, after all, is a term for a type of farmer, the one who never throws anything away because they may need it).

The fake Target customer service account. This is why the world wide web was conceived, creative anarchy. (Grokked from George Takei)

The Safer Car government site. Enter your VIN to see recalls.

Hey, remember that article that disputed the theory that humans were responsible for the megafauna die off and that it was actually climate change? Well, another group of scientists in the back just stood up and shouted "BULLSHIT!" Ah, science. I say we settle this Jets and Sharks style. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

John Oliver on televangelists and setting up the Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption. While he mostly bags on Robert Tilton, he does make fun of the whole thing. Living in a community with a cable system that has 2 channels dedicated to these mendicant priests, yes, this. (Grokked from Dan)

The NLRB denies Northwestern University football players forming a union. Well, that can't be good.

A new litmus test is born. End the birth-right citizenship. That way we can make the entire US be just like California. "How long have you been in California?" "Two weeks, and I wish all these newcomers would leave us alone!"

"Now a groundbreaking new study absolutely confirms much of what we've believed to be true for decades about African Americans being denied a jury of their peers in districts all over the country… Make no mistake about it, this system is not accidental, but is as purposeful as it gets. Welcome to the New Jim Crow." (Grokked from Julie)

"After the owner of a Florida gun store came under scrutiny for declaring his shop a 'Muslim-free zone,' George Zimmerman decided to help the store with a fundraiser selling Confederate flag prints." Just in case there was any confusion about the racism part of the the Stars and Bars, or George Zimmerman.

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