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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Linkee-poo got no kick against modern jazz

In case it needs to be said, #StandwithPP.

I'm big in Mexico. That's where Beakman's World still is in reruns. "The show is still beloved in Latin America, where the performance artist who played Beakman tours a stage version of the show to audiences of thousands."

I did a panel once on the use of narcotics and hallucinogens as standard medicine. I was on the "hold your horses, these are dangerous things to play with." In that category is Ketamine, which is used as a anesthesia. It's one of those drugs the late Michael Jackson took. However, it looks to be effective for some people with depression. Note there's a lot of caveats in there, as well as the point that most anti-depressants don't work much better than placebos (this is why, if you do take drugs for depression, you might need to try a number of them, as well as different dosages of them, before finding something that works, note I'm not saying they are just placebos). Although now, just like with botox, thousands of sites are popping up to offer ketamine to patients. Insert standard cautions about fad science here.

Ever want to try your hand at old style computing, but really don't want to haul all those boxes out of the attic (or buy an old computer of dubious operating capability off ebay)? Well, try these emulators that run in your browser. (Grokked from John)

Surprise, turns out concealed carry laws don't decrease crime when you look at all the data. Also, "The study also reports that the presence of gun dealers — not fear of being victimized — most often prompts people to obtain concealed carry permits." Strange how that works. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Humans like to win. But it turns out, we also like to almost win. Trust me, this is old news to the gambling industry. And yes, the games are designed accordingly.

Shell Oil, after years of beating the drum for "We Wanna Drill In the Arctic Sea!" says, "Meh, not so much." They blame a dud of an exploratory drill (one well) and a "challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment." Yea. That's why they're going to abandon a project that has cost them $7B. My money is on this being a political feint to try and eliminate regulations and to reduce next years protest flotilla. After all, oil isn't fetching very much these days, and Alaska oil is very expensive to produce. What will really tell the tale is if Shell tries to sell their leases, or allows them to lapse.

Of course, this is bad news for Alaska which lives in fear of the day they need to start an income tax. So, expect the next big Keystone XL type fight over ANWR (again). Remember, Exxon drilled several test wells in what became ANWR, and chose Prudhoe Bay instead.

In other oil news, Exxon Mobil was pretty spot on with their global warming predictions back in 1981. From documents leaked to the press, there's a chart showing that with the CO2 release from fossil fuels, your temperature gradient kinda goes up, almost like a hockey stick. Also note that in 1981 Exxon scientists had already detected global temperatures had shifted out of the natural variation pattern. (Grokked from Seanan McGuire)

"The most popular political entity in the new NBC/WSJ poll is… Planned Parenthood (like it was in July)" Why, because they do good work and touch the lives of a lot of people. Although, you'll see that 31% hold a negative view. Gee, what could that 31% represent? (that's rhetorical) (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

The continuing problem of the echo chamber. The right has a problem in that it only listens to its own farts and thinks it's wisdom. First it's Carly Fiorina not understanding the videos she's watching, and now it's Chairman Chaffetz who doesn't remember where he gets his data. I would say they should be ashamed, but they have none.

John Oliver on framing and the refuge crisis in Europe. Or how Fox News lies to you and how to treat a refuge crisis. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Even the Senate GOP is tired of Ted Cruz being a dick. That's sort of what happens when you decide to berate your comrades. Eventually they tire of the antics and just wish you'd go away. Ted Cruz is the anti-team player. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

As predicted, Trump tells Fox News, "I just can't quit you."

The mugs game of simplifying the tax code by reducing the brackets.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Your Million Dollar Idea

Weather-proof pet doors with a camera and wifi connection so you can remotely unlock/open or lock/close the door. Better yet, a camera with pet recognition software. This way you only let in your pet, not the neighbor's kitties, not the raccoons or squirrels. Should have the ability to recognize at least 10 different animals for approval. Maybe also have software that can tell you if your pet is in or out.

As far as I know there are ones that can respond to a micro-chip that you can place on a collar, but not a door that can allow you to say, deny going out because it's too cold. Or if your pet is near the door and another animal tries to get through, you'd want to stop that.

So far I see hobbyist stuff, but nothing really commercially available.

Linkee-poo, but tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun

Being respectful of the Native American culture and stories. (Grokked from someone, sorry)

"A 4-year-old was allegedly forced by his teacher to write with his right hand, even though he’s left-handed… According to KFOR, the child was sent home with a letter about how left-handedness is often associated with evil and the devil." Oh Great C'thulhu take me now. Before you comment, yes, I know "sinister" means "left handed". I am left handed. I had to deal with this crap when I was a kid. Fuck the religious liberty arguments, forcing a child who is left handed to be right handed has been shown to have dire psychological effects. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

No, seriously, it's time this country had a sit-down discussion. It didn't happen when doctors refused to save their patients' lives when they required an abortion. It didn't happen when pharmacists refused to dispense birth control (Plan B, daily pills, and condoms). It didn't happen when that teacher burned crosses into kids' forearms. It didn't happen as the Religious Right banned Playboy from store shelves because they were offended by seeing it(actually it was because of the temptation, if they had fought on the objectification of women I might have supported it), and now there is this fight with Kim Davis and then this shit (not to mention giving public funds to sectarian schools and some of the heinous fuckery that goes on there). Your religious rights stop at the end of your body. You can believe whatever you want, really. Even to dancing with poisonous snakes if you want. But you don't get to impose your religious values on others. If your religious freedoms threaten the life of someone below the age of majority, we're going to impose societal norms to save their life. If you're a professional, do the gorram job already.

How the world would look if everybody was an asshole. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Hey, you know how security people kept on saying how biometrics would be the ultimate security feature? Yea, still vulnerable to hacking. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"With a slightly different setup, a thermal gain of 2 is reached, thus clearly above break-even for all neutronicity values possible." Or, in other words, fusion reaction. Also, this is how we'll learn about it. Not from an evening news report, but through a boring scientific paper published in a journal. In this case using lasers to induce a fusion reaction in ultra-dense deuterium. It's not much, it's under very controlled conditions, it's indirectly observed, and it's not been replicated in other labs yet. But this is how it starts. (Grokked from Karl Schroeder)

A new book on the history of DARPA. It's the ever present question of how far should science go, and just because we can shouldn't mean that we do. Then there's the opposite Cold War mentality of "if we don't the other side will."

"According to a source briefed by US officials about Friday's announcement, the new cap-and-trade program will cover 'the lion's share of China's emissions.'" Another domino falls. Well, at least President Obama's leadership helps convince other countries to do what's right, even if it has little effect on our Congress. (Grokked from Dan)

John Scalzi on the John Boehner stepping down. John Boehner was a politician, I don't agree with many of his positions, but at least he knew how work should get done. He just thought he would be able to harness the energy of the tea party and channel it, not understanding those new congressmen had no intension of getting in line. He was also hampered by having one of the best deal making levers being no longer available (ear marks). However in both of his terms as speaker (the gavel passed from him to Pelosi and then back to him) the Congress was known for it's "do nothing" functioning. The record run of CRs started in his tenure, and it continued into his second term. But we all know that whomever comes next is going to be worse. Even if a moderate is able to get the votes, the lunatic wing of the party feels they won a victory in forcing Boehner out. They're now emboldened and will fight even harder. It's the fruition of the Ronald Reagan compromise (of bringing the social conservatives into the voting pool and for the GOP).

Friday, September 25, 2015

Linkee-poo, that's the difference between whiskey and you

So, Speaker Boehner shouts "I am hurt. A plague o' both your houses! I am sped. Is he gone, and hath nothing?" and exits stage left. Speaker Boehner was probably the last guy in the GOP house who could actually do that job (since Cantor got the boot in the primary). He looked level-headed, moderate, and capable, but remember that he was contrasted with people who make the Three Stooges look reasonable in comparison. By all accounts, however, he was a skilled politician. I think he truly believed that he could control the wave that brought him into power because new congressmen tended to look to old congressmen for mentorship. He didn't realize his looney-fringe of the party had no interest in compromise, politics as usual, or competency (that last one is the real kicker). They couldn't be reasoned with because being unreasonable was what got them elected and kept them in office.

More on that Authors Guild survey quoted in the NPR story with the Barry Eisler quote that got some action here. Kameron Hurley on the cold, hard truth about units sold per book (and other things in the publishing industry). Yes, that (pointed to by the other two people here). I'll note it was when I actually realized these numbers that I had the first thought, "Hell, I could write a book that could sell that many." Also Chuck Wendig and John Scalzi.

It's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers! McSweeneys with a holiday classic (NSFW if people can read your screen, or you read with your lips. (Grokked from Julie)

"The ongoing war in Syria has led researchers to make the first withdrawal of seeds from a 'doomsday' vault in an Arctic mountainside, to protect global food supplies." Don't worry, it's just because the seed vault in Syria was damaged. They're replacing stock. Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Rut Rho, the FBI has recovered those emails on Hillary Clinton's email server. Things are about to get real (boring). Wake me when they find the email telling us where Hoffa is buried.

The Trumpster swears off Fox News. Next week's Trump quote, "Oh, Fox, I can't quit you."

Stephen Colbert punches his geek card with this take on the 2016 Election/Hunger Games. (Grokked from TPM)

Ted Cruz disagrees with the Pope on the death penalty, saying that it helps protect the sanctity of life because he's seen the worst of us. "'I spent a number of years in law enforcement dealing with some of the worst criminals, child rapists and murderers, people who’ve committed unspeakable acts,' Cruz (said)." The problem, Teddy, is that child sexual abuse isn't a death penalty crime.

"There are, it turns out, people in the corporate world who will do whatever it takes, including fraud that kills people, in order to make a buck. And we need effective regulation to police that kind of bad behavior, not least so that ethical businesspeople aren’t at a disadvantage when competing with less scrupulous types. But we knew that, right?" Paul Krugman on heinous fuckery. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"A white Florida Republican suggested knocking a black, longtime Democratic congresswoman out of her seat by gerrymandering more prisoners into her district, according to audio obtained by Politico and published on Wednesday." Part of the Southern Strategy laid bare. I'm sure racism has nothing to do with it, and it's merely a GOP/Democratic Party issue. But we won't know because after trying to say she was just repeating what had been said in a meeting, she's now saying because it involves a pending court case she won't talk about it anymore (which, if she was a litigant, would be valid, but is bs when you're not involved directly in the case).

"A Pennsylvania lawmaker objected to accusations that he had invited a white supremacist to testify in front of a committee by clarifying that the witness was merely a white nationalist." There aren't enough faces and palms to handle a statement like that.

"'Our message is one of hope and aspiration,' (Jeb! Bush) said, according to the Washington Post. 'It isn't one of division and get in line and we'll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting -- that says you can achieve earned success.'" Oh look, it's the 47% again. From the same article, and to catch up with The Jeb!, "'We're pluralistic,' Bush said on Thursday. 'We're not multicultural. We have a set of shared values that defines our national identity. And we should never veer away from that.'" I don't think he understands the words he's using.

Tweet of my heart: @downwithtyranny Want to know what the Republican health care plan for America really is? Martin Shkreli is the personification of it

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Linkee-poo ain't over until it's over

The Hidden Brain podcast with Shankar Vedantam. On our society and how we actually act, instead of how we wish we acted (you may know Shankar Vedantam from reporting about economics/sociology research on NPR).

Say, you know how we're all crawling with bacteria, viruses, amoeba and all the other little things (you're itching right now, aren't you). Well, it turns out we also have our personal cloud of microbes around us. "Our results confirm that an occupied space is microbially distinct from an unoccupied one, and and demonstrate for the first time that individuals release their own personalized microbial cloud." Yea, so no more blaming it on the dog, eh. And the researchers found it's almost like a fingerprint (note, for various values and validity of fingerprint analysis). The world is weirder than you think. So the next time someone gets all up in your grill, tell them to back off or you'll release your noxious cloud… of bacteria. Also, if you remember in Star Trek where they investigate crimes looking to find DNA evidence to link to someone, you don't even have to go that far. Just sniff the cloud left behind. (Grokked from Dan)

"NASA-supported researchers have found that ice covering Greenland is melting faster than previously thought. The action is happening out of sight, below the surface." We're boned.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday you rascal you, happy birthday to you. Judge rules lyrics of Happy Birthday are in the public domain. (Grokked from Dan)

Ever wonder why learning history is important? It's so you don't make an ass of yourself. A TV station uses stock art of the yellow star Nazis forced Jews to wear to tell all their jewish viewers, "Hey, happy Yom Kippur." Plus, um, I don't think you understand the importance of the closing of the gates of heaven.

"'The right-wing Marxist [sic] have teamed up with Pelosi. They’re the ones who always team up with Pelosi. They are the Pelosi Republicans,' Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), a Boehner ally, told The Hill." Note that this group that is planning for the shutdown are always described as "hard-right." Communists to the left of me, communists to the right, stuck in the middle with Boehner. Dear Rep. Nunes, really, dude, take a history lesson already. Those words you're using, they have meanings.

"On the other hand, human beings have built a 2,000-mile-long frontier wall exactly one time. Once. And it was accomplished only through a centuries-long building campaign that necessitated the forced labor of millions of Chinese peasants." About that wall that the Trumpster (and much of the GOP) would want built with some hard numbers. That's a hellalotta concrete. (Grokked from Dan)

"Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush today pledged to 'repeal or reform the most onerous Obama rules and regulations,' and net neutrality would be one of the first things on his chopping block." Hey, remember when his brother came into office the the slam-dunk anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft kinda just fell into pieces? Again, remind me of who they're supposed to be working for, 'cause that joke just never gets old. (Grokked from John)

"Fox News was found in breach of British broadcast code that says, 'Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience.'" Uh, oh Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do. See, other countries still have laws on their books that require programs that say they're news to actually report news instead of speculation and rumor.

Tweet of my heart: @AcademicsSay Behind every uncomfortable syllabus clause lies an even more uncomfortable teaching experience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Linkee-poo, tell me what can I do, baby is in black, and I'm feeling blue

Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and others discuss Orpheus in the Underworld. Yes! Also of note that's the working title of the 3rd act of the WIP. Also the start of the "never look back" meme. A radio interview on BBC4 with links to articles. Listen to it while you can. Also, much musings on the meaning and purpose of the artist, the journey of the shaman (although they don't call it that), and the reinterpretation of the myth through the ages. Also why I totally dug a part of a book by a friend that unfortunately was cut before publication, it was like this. So totally want to get the audio of this to listen many, many times in the years to come. MORE LIKE THIS, PLEASE.

We're just going to leave this here. The Banksy Coke Ad, or, "People are fucking with you." As he says, "They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you."

If you've gone to some SF/F cons and wondered into the vendors' room, you've probably met Larry Smith. He's the one with the fantastic books. Apparently after attending a con he and his wife rolled their van. There's a GoFundMe page to help they get back on their feet.

The Medieval Technical Support/Help Desk video. I think this is fairly old, and I believe I linked to it before (but I also think that was a pirate copy and it got taken down). This one is from the broadcaster. Books. Whatcha gonna do. (Grokked from John)

Where 35 of your favorite fast food restaurants got their start. (Grokked from Dan)

Remember when I mentioned that suing Rolling Stone, the reporter, and the alleged victim of serial rape was a Bad Idea™? "The Department of Education found that the University of Virginia mishandled complaints of sexual violence…" Also, "The DOE also cited a 'hostile environment for the affected students' at the university, according to the release." But that investigation started before the article was published. I can't wait to see what happens to the fraternity in court. While I don't have any data, I'm guessing it won't be a good day for them when they try to prove their reputation had been damaged and the defendant's council starts introducing countervailing evidence.

Heinous fuckery. "A former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical businessman has purchased the rights to a 62-year-old drug used for treating life-threatening parasitic infections and raised the price overnight from $13.50 per tablet to $750." And then complains that he doesn't understand what all the fuss is. Maybe not first against the wall when the revolution comes, but in the first week. (Although I've heard a report he's returned the patent to the previous non-profit owner, guess he didn't think anyone would be upset). (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Content providers fight back against ad blockers. It's an arms race (I expect ad blockers will come up with some sort of selective blocking technology). (Grokked from Dan)

There's this meme about how the Moon's gravitational pull doesn't affect the Earth (actually, it does), but now we can see in more detail how the Earth affects the Moon. The Earth is deforming the Moon, evidenced by fractures in the crust. Also, you know, tidal-locked and all (also, the Earth is increasing the orbital velocity of the Moon which is moving it into a higher orbit, and the Moon is slowing the Earth's rotational speed). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Okay, so, some atoms can be induced into a state where they can't "tunnel." Wow. Quantum "Weeping Angels" (and yes, the article does make that comparison). Okay, fairly geeky, and I think the article broke my brain, but kewl! (Grokked from Dan)

Kim Davis speaks. That, right there, is what we call a violation of your oath of office and abdication of fiduciary responsibility. Except for the "so help me", I don't remember God in any of my (multiple) oaths of office. She has the right to believe as she does, but if that interferes with her responsibility of being Clerk, then she needs to make a choice, uphold your oath to serve or follow your God and resign your office.

Strangely enough, your viewpoint on if America has enough opportunity and equality for all depends on your race. Who knew?

The Huckleberries believes Obama is the most anti-Christian president evar. Nobody tell him about Jefferson's Qur'an. His head might explode.

Ben Carson was dis-invited from speaking at a Southern Baptist conference because of his religion (Seventh Day Adventist). Irony.

Tweet of my heart: @TeaPartyCat BREAKING: Koch brothers petition Supreme Court to reverse Citizens United “before we squander all our money on losers like Scott Walker.” (hat tip to Dan who pointed it out)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Those Thousands of Self-Published Authors Making a Good Living

To everyone else, Barry Eisler made a driveby comment (I doubt he's a regular reader) challenging me on my statement about his claim of "'I mean, there are lots of writers ... thousands of writers who are making a good living from self-publishing,'" in the previous linkee-poo. I haven't contacted him directly, yet, so I don't have his permission to post his comment on the top of this blog. You can read it here. Since my response to him is rather long, I've decided to make it a post of it's own.

Hey Barry,

Well, first my name is Steve. You don't even need to google for that, it's on the top of the right-hand column. It's right there.

So, okay, lets look at the articles you point to. Just as a reminder, my questions are about your contention, "'I mean, there are lots of writers ... thousands of writers who are making a good living from self-publishing.'" While it would help to define what "a good living" means, let's see what the articles you point to actually say.

First is the Atlantic Story, Authors of Kindle Singles Are Raking in Tens of Thousands of Dollars. The only quote I could find there for your statement was "A new report from PaidContent finds that… a few authors are doing quite well from their Kindle Single effort… PaidContent estimates that (Mishka) Shubaly has made about $130,000 from his three Singles. The other four writers in PaidContent's report have brought in amounts ranging from a bit less than $9,000 to $65,000. The Singles in PaidContent's round-up all sell for either $0.99 or $1.99 a pop, and authors see 70 percent of the revenue." Okay, well there are five, although the "bit less than $9,000" would qualify for "poverty" for a single person (as referenced in the original NPR story). So that article doesn't confirm your contention.

The Passive Voice's blog post KDP was my one shot at a lifelong dream we have an extensive reprint of Jeff Bezos' annual letter to shareholders (we'll pass by the obvious critiques of both "self-reporting" and "conflict of interest" here, as well as the fact that Amazon hasn't released the numbers as a legal disclosure). We have the personal stories of five Kindle Authors, all of whom are listed as Kindle Best Sellers, however not all talk about their income from those sales (who knows what it could be). Then Mr. Bezos' says "more than a thousand KDP authors now each sell more than a thousand copies a month, some have already reached hundreds of thousands of sales, and two have already joined the Kindle Million Club." Sounds good, except, again, no actual royalty statements included. All we can take away is that there are "thousands" of Kindle Direct authors (only one half of your contention) and that "some" are over 100,000 books sold. Mr. Bezos then goes on to say "A typical selling price for a KDP book is a reader-friendly $2.99", not the average, not the mean, but "typical", which means nothing statistically. So while this shows that there are plenty of Kindle Authors, there's nothing about how many of them are "making a good living." So this article is not only unverifiable nor does it have the imprimatur of an actual (verifiable) report it also doesn't prove your contention.

Next up is Digital Book World breakdown of Amazon's 2012 4th QTR revenue (the Christmas season) Amazon Fourth-Quarter Sales up 22% to $21.27 Billion. Here, at least, we have a quote from Mr. Bezos that "After 5 years, ebooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast…." So, that sounds pretty good. However, the closest actual numbers reported comes in as, "Amazon media sales worldwide (including ebooks, books, DVDs, CDs, music and more) grew in 2012 to $19.94 billion." Down in the weeds of the actual earning report we see that "Amazon’s digital media selection has grown to over 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games in 2012…" So for 23M titles, $20B isn't bad. But, again, no breakdown into actual e-books, profits, royalties, etc. But then we get to "Amazon announced that 23 KDP authors each sold over 250,000 copies of their books in 2012, and that over 500 KDP Select books have reached the top 100 Kindle best seller lists around the world." Well, the second half of that statement is meaningless, but the first part with 23 authors selling over 250,000 copies, that pretty good. But, alas, again no actual numbers on how much they made in royalties, and that's only 23 authors. So, again, doesn't prove your contention.

Next is another blog post from The Passive Voice, again they're quoting a press release from Amazon in their Over 150 KDP Authors Each Sold More than 100,000 Thousand Books in 2013. That title is a little poorly worded, but the relevant bullet point here is, "150 Kindle Direct Publishing authors each sold more than 100,000 copies of their books in 2013…" So, that's 150 authors, and again while they're "selling" books, no word on how much they made, and still no hint as to the average price of those books. But wait, "Kindle Direct Publishing authors sold hundreds of thousands of books in November through the new Kindle Countdown Deals…" wow. But how many authors, and how many each did they sell, and at what price? Still no word. So best scenario, 150 authors, but no indication how they're doing. This article doesn't prove your contention.

The next article is on Forbes (hey, okay, a news site), Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. That sounds impressive, for this writer, Mark Dawson. And hey, he's got what appears to be a decent series that has "sold 300,000 copies" of his series. However, "sold" isn't what it appears to be because "… Dawson had sold 50,000 copies of The Black Mile over the course of a weekend… But (he) made no money whatsoever from The Black Mile" because "He gave The Black Mile away for free. Amazon recommends this as a promotional tool, and it’s one that many try." There's no word on how many other books he "sold" for free, but if he made $450,000 on 250,000 other books (remember 50K were free), I'm assuming he charged for the rest. While that's great for Mr. Dawson, and I'll grant you that $450k a year is a "good living", again it's one author. So this article also doesn't support your contention of thousands making a "good living."

Then there is the Hugh Howey's Author Earnings Report September 2015 Author Earnings Report. And in there, things look pretty rosy for "indie, non-ISBN publishers" (most likely self-published). Both their market share, and the percentage of revenue they make have increased significantly until Mr. Howey states that the market has inversed (well, not really, traditional publishing for the big and small houses still takes the majority). "Today, indie self-publishers are taking home 24% of the gross $ publisher revenue coming out of the Amazon ebook store. Amazon-imprints and their authors are taking home another 13%. The AAP’s 1200 publishers account for no more than 50% of publisher ebook dollar revenue." Note those don't add up to 100%. But still, that's pretty nice. And their new model of pay per page has some nice numbers, "Today, 34% of indie author earnings from the Amazon store — over a third of indie Kindle revenue — takes the form of KU payments for pages read: in July, KU accounted for 2 billion pages (KENP) and $11.5 million dollars in direct author compensation." Not bad. But, again, no data on how many authors and titles are being compared (only market segments). While there may be more money being taken home by self-published e-books, is that being shared by the same number of authors that make up the other segments (there's no data, but my wild-assed guess would be there are multiplication factors of more self-published than traditional published, so their pie share may be growing, the number of people eating that pie is outstripping the growth, but, again, that's my impression from the growing ranks of self-published authors that are referred to in the other articles). Also, there's no data on whom is getting what. So there is no way, with this article, to confirm your claim of "thousands… making a good living."

General notes, not all articles differentiated between self-published and traditional published e-books (except for the Author Earnings Report). Also, not all self-published books are e-books. There's six other notes I had, but it's late, and I'm tired, and you aren't compensating me for this research.

So, I've read all the articles you've pointed to, Barry. Most of which have troubles with sourcing, but none of which support your contention. At best, there are thousands of self-published authors out there. Given. If we add all the numbers up from the different articles over different years we get less than 500 self-published (well, actually e-book authors selling on Amazon which include traditional published authors as well) authors who are "best-sellers." Amazon considered books sold for $0 a sale. Conclude what you will. There are less than a handful who can be considered "making a good living" (again, from the articles you yourself pointed to).

Again, Barry, as I posted in my commentary on the linkee-poo, "I now want a list of those 'thousands of authors' that make a living form (SIC) self-publishing." You haven't provided. Not even close.

Also, you state that you couldn't find any evidence to support my contention that you overstated your numbers. That's a nice try, Barry. One, logic fallacy here in that you're the one making the extraordinary claim, you're the one that needs to prove your statement. I don't need to prove that I think you're shoveling BS here, as that's my opinion. Also, can't prove a negative, Barry, basic argumentative theory. You get no points for that cheap shot (and I'm going to take it as a cheap shot instead of thinking you were insulting my intelligence).

Barry, I know you're supportive of new authors. And for that, thank you. But you don't have the research to back up your position of "thousands of writers… making a good living from self-publishing." I know for you, self-publishing has been a fantastic boon, and good on you. However I'll note you had a following before going that route. Most authors who have done well self-publishing also have that first step up (having a following from "traditional" publishing) or write erotica (I know, I've done the research). Both sides of that require a hellalotta work from the author (either in promotions, or the number of titles published) to make a living. Very, very few have made a good living (for various values of "good") solely on self-publishing. Many have had "success", but that doesn't equate to making a good living (even with "traditional" publishing), which I know you also acknowledge.

Yes, Barry, I know who you are. For being an advocate for "publishing options," a lot of reporters get that wrong and call you an evangelist for self-publishing. Strange how that happens, every single time. There might be a reason for that.

If you wish to point out any discrepancies or facts I may have missed in the articles you linked to, please do. Note, I am asking your permission to post content from any such commentary to the top of the blog as a regular post.

I've noted how you haven't proven your point. I'm calling bullshit on your thousands of self-published authors making a good living. Since you haven't defined it, I will. A "Good Living" means writing income from self-publishing that's above poverty level for the circumstances the author has (single, married, married with children). No including income from other writing sources (such as commercial writing/freelance sources). I want to see that someone can support themselves without help (including the ever famous "spouse with a real job with real benefits"). That's my definition. Ball is in your court now.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Linkee-poo is he, as you are he, and you are me, and we are all together

Short one, but don't want to go into next week with a backlog, and about to go do work I tried hard not to do.

Book selling success. The numbers are surprisingly low (including the payout). With he obligatory salute to self-publishing and the subsequent overstatement of their numbers (really, Barry Eisler, I now want a list of those "thousands of authors" that make a living form self-publishing). Also a nod to the "three and out" rule.

The FBI considered retweeting as endorsement. To be fair, most of mine are, but sometimes I do it from the point of, "can you believe this shit?". (grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The so-called war on police. Yea, not really. I love how there are police chiefs and politicians who state, "I've never seen relations so hostile…" What a load of BS. Let me channel the 70s here, "Listen, pig…"

"In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, the mighty state of Texas was asleep… Out in the desolate flats of West Texas, the same wind was turning hundreds of wind turbines, producing tons of electricity at a time when comparatively little supply was needed… And then a very strange thing happened: The so-called spot price of electricity in Texas fell toward zero, hit zero, and then went negative for several hours." Wind power, it works (well that and come select strangeness in the Texas grid and power auction system, plus tax breaks). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

It's always amazing to me that for a party that so embraces the Constitution, they really don't understand the basic parts of that document, nor why it was drafted that way. In this case, Dr. Ben Carson says that being a Muslim would be inconsistent with being President of the United States because it wouldn't be consistent with the Constitution. Showing in one thought that you can love this country, and be against it's founding principles and be a smart person but also be incredibly ignorant. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Linkee-poo, take my hand, we're off to Never-never Land

I've noticed lately that my reserves of piss and vinegar have been topped off. I apologize for my crude words, but sometimes you have to use them.

"The earnings of more than half of American authors fell below the US federal poverty level last year, according to a survey from the Authors Guild." Keep the day job. Next up, water is wet. the ocean is filled with the tears of authors. "The biggest decline in income over the period was for traditionally published trade authors, at 28%;" but wait for it… "earnings for self-published authors were down 25%." (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

The Slactivist blogroll. I'm name checked (or at least my blog is, thanks man), but there's a lot of interesting places to go there.

"Students are paying higher tuition than ever. Why can’t more of that revenue go to the people teaching them?" A great article covering more than our universities' moral failures of increasing the ranks of adjunct faculty, for which they barely pay minimum wage (if it even rises that far), but covering a lot of the crimes against the American Worker, all to benefit a few. But the majority is about just what it means to be an adjunct. Speaking from personal experience, they aren't focusing on the negative, this is exactly what it's like. (Grokked from Sheila)

The Red Cross attempted to shut down GOA investigation, instead winds up with a law for more stringent oversight. "Rep. Bennie Thompson… says, he received a letter from (Red Cross CEO) McGovern. She wrote to Thompson, ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and asked him to 'end the GAO inquiry,' according to a copy of the letter obtained by NPR and ProPublica. McGovern gave the congressman her private cellphone number and asked that he not communicate with her in writing." Good on you, Rep. Thompson. Good on you.

CSS can kill. Hahahahahaha. Every web developer I know can relate to that (graphic showing airline seats outside of airline fuselage). (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

It isn't just Red Green who loves duct tape. Or, who knew Red Green was practicing for a space mission? (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"After a hospital in rural Kansas announced last week that it will have to close, Republicans in Kansas may reconsider expanding Medicaid in the state." Strange what happens when shit gets real. Of course, it helps that the Senate VP is from Independence, where the hospital closed. Dear Sen. Jeff King, too late.

About those fantasy sports game sites… Actually was wondering this the other day, how much is "skill" and how much is "chance" in these "daily games." For me, it's mostly because the ads are so annoyingly "Bubba-masculine" fantasy trolling, and it's mostly targeted at kids who don't really understand how the world makes money off them. For the politicians, they see a new source of revenue. Because if there's anything worse, it's the greed of politicians who see a good opportunity to rake in money off the rubes, while giving the 1% more tax "relief".

So, how much can religious pastors make before we can start calling them the money changers in the temple? Apparently it's a hellalotta money. (Grokked for the Slactivist)

"In 2012, nearly three-quarters of Asian-American voters went for President Obama. But… 20 years prior… fewer than a third voted Democrat." While a lot of ink and air-time has been devoted to the Hispanic-American vote, the GOP has been losing minorities on all sides.

And the punking begins. In this case, a Jimmy Kimmel fan punks Donald Trump's fan and speaches. (Grokked from Dan)

"But Trump's supporters aren't with him because they want to hear the wonky details. They want someone to channel what they feel… And, right now, no one's doing that better than Donald Trump." So, if you want a clear insight into the soul of the GOP right at the moment, there's the spokesman.

And then there is the phenomenon that white nationalist groups find what the Trump is saying is quite aligned with their own position. While that doesn't make the (s)Trumpet a racist (not openly at least), but what he stands for matches to those who are openly racist.

An you know it's bad when Anderson Cooper loses his cool. This over the blatant (and poorly executed) attempt to spin Donald Trump's not countering a man who claimed President Obama is a muslim and not an American citizen. The real truth, the Trumpster doesn't really listen to anyone who isn't making him money or blowing sunshine up his ass. Seriously, it's like no one else has experienced an asshole, narcissistic CEO before. Also LOVE the "'You may laugh it off, but there are potential reports of Muslim radicals,' Dean said…" Potential reports! We're writing them right now! Also, remarking that he didn't spend "much time visiting "the Muslim world, because I don’t want to get killed," should be the next "Hope I don't get AIDS, just kidding, I'm white."

Why can't the people who actually did watch the Planned Parenthood video find the scene Carly Fiorina described. Because like most of the rest of the scandal (and a lot of what the believe), it's only in their little heads.

If my police chief wrote a post like yours, he wouldn't have even made it to the Council Meeting. Don't let the door hit you in the ass, fucktard.

Tweet of my heart: @POTUS Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Sorry, had to get that out.

Eighteen authors share their daily routine (or lack there of). (grokked from Rae Carson)

Nichelle Nichols goes (pretty close) to space. And people wonder why I love NASA. (Grokked from Rae Carson)

Also, another moon with a global ocean beneath its icy surface. (Grokked from Dan)

When hunting goes wrong. A great horned owl ends up in a liquid manure pit and is fortunately rescued. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"'We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,' (police spokesman) McLellan said. 'He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.'" That's because he made a clock. He made a Clock. HE MADE A FUCKING CLOCK you moron. But because his name is Ahmed Mohamed, instead of "Hey, that's pretty damn cool," he was arrested, put in cuffs, led from school to juvenile detention, finger-printed, and suspended for 3 days. Do you want to know why some claim that the actions of America in the world is driving people to the extremist? This right here is an example. And you know what, this kid is smart. This kid is industrious (when was the last time any 9th grader you know made something). This kid has everything the extremists are looking for. And the actions of these Islamophobic fucks just told this kid, "We don't trust you because you don't belong." Great work, Sparky. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

The industry that generates this fear. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

I usually put this kind of story father up the chain, but I think it should go here today. "Lt. Col Merryl Tengesdal, a Bronx native, has become the first African-American female to ever pilot the U-2…" (Grokked from Steven Gould)

What happens when the lunatics drink the Kool-Aid. Here is the thing, though. The last Presidential election saw this struggle between establishment and "grass-root" conservatives and the grass-roots buckled under and nominated an "establishment" candidate for electability. Unfortunately they mis-read the electorate and believed their own press and lost. After the election they did an post-mortem and came up with good ideas on how to win elections. And then 2014 saw the "grass-roots" sweep the elections and those plans were shelved. And now we're seeing the same fight. Only this time they may actually nominate a "true conservative" (read: angry white man). This is called "eating your own." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Tweet of my heart: @fordm "They don't build ships like this anymore," says Donald Trump on the battleship USS Iowa, which became obsolete thanks to aircraft carriers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Other Peoples' Names

Sometimes I'm in awe
of how other's lives are filled with names.
They remember
their kindegarden teachers name
and not only for the class, but years later
they fondly prattle off the role call
and talk of them as intimates.
I have few names.
Not for a lack of people
We all have our dole
But for a lack of memory
and attentiveness.
Many high-school teachers I could name
but few before that.
I remember a Mrs. Hawthorne,
but didn't we all know
a Mrs. Hawthorne at one time
or another.
Someone who lovingly corrected
our errors
and fed our need for books.
She told us we were important
and had something to contribute.

Linkee-poo, Boney was a warrior, way hey ya, a warrior, a terrier, John Francois

Why should you go hiking? Because you never know when the wind if going to blow over an old tree revealing a middle-ages burial. Yea, that's why. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd, I think)

Ever think you're getting screwed over by your ink jet printer? For the high-end Epson printers, it turns out they report that the cartridges are empty when they really have 20% of ink left. And when each cartridge costs several thousand dollars, that's a lot of money left in that ink. (Grokked from John)

John Oliver on the sorry state of our Public Defender system. That's the "if you can not afford (a lawyer) one will be appointed for you" part of the Miranda Warning.

And what will come as a surprise to no one, apparently that "take a baby-asprin" isn't needed for everybody. Also, there are complications to taking aspirin daily. "But the potential benefit is smaller for adults between the ages of 60 and 69. And it's unknown for adults under 50 or over 70. People should talk with their health care provider to find out if they have health problems that would justify taking aspirin, according to Dr. Douglas Owens…"

Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos' space launch company) moves to the Space Coast (Florida). I'm surprised we haven't heard about Amazon delivering from spaceships. "Nuke 'em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

A group of Texans want a ballot initiative on the GOP primary to make a non-binding resolution on succession. Were do I fucking sign? Please, Texas, I love parts of you (and some people who live there), but stop faking it. Go. Leave. You're a drain on the nation's resources.

"On the surface, the trends (of the College Scorecard) aren’t surprising — students who enroll in wealthy, elite colleges earn more than those who do not. But the deeper that you delve into the data, the more clear it becomes how perilous the higher education market can be for students making expensive, important choices that don’t always pay off." Unfortunately for women, the differences between colleges aren't all that great (yet another blow against the "but women are less skilled so they earn less" argument). And the line of "… you can’t pay your student loans back with citizenship — only dollars will do" is only true here in the US. IIRC most countries have various ways of rewarding good citizenship by either paying for university, or erasing debt from university. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"'Mr. Walker could only be making these type of proposals to satisfy his most backward-looking, wealthy contributors, just as he pursued, as governor, policies advanced by these people that sought to destroy school teachers and other public employees' rights in Wisconsin,' (Lee Adler, a labor law expert at Cornell University) said… 'His campaign is floundering and so he does what he always does when he can't think of real solutions, he attacks workers,' said AFL-CIO spokesman Eric Hauser." This is the political hail-Mary, unfortunately if he's successful, it'll hurt everyone he's trying to get to vote for him.

I oh so hope this letter from Gov. Jerry Brown to Candidate Dr. Ben Carson is real. Because SNAP! (Grokked from John)

Ah, remember hanging chads? That technology had been around since, I don't know, at least the first time I saw my Mom vote back in the 70s. And it worked great (as long as they cleaned the machines out each year). Now, you've got about 10 years between needing to replace all your voting machines. That'll only cost a few million. Oh, and the new ones are just as vulnerable as the old ones were (it's just no black hats have bothered to try yet, because they aren't out in the wild). And then there's this, "And the Brennan Center found a similar pattern… where wealthier counties are getting new equipment, while poorer ones are not… Cortes and other election officials said they're not really worried about losing votes — most systems have paper ballot backups — but they do worry about maintaining voter confidence if broken machines mean longer lines and confusion at the polls." Gee, I wonder if there's any causality happening there?

Oh sweet Mother No! (Ahem, there is now a function in twitter where you can directly donate to candidates for political office) This is how Skynet started, you know. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The history of our ever evolving Pledge of Allegiance.

Idiots everywhere. I'm so tired of the "Obama will be the worst President, ever, you'll see" meme. GW was the worst president of my history (not the worst ever), and that includes Nixon. I have the metrics to prove it. Don't make me break out the statistics. As for President Obama being weak, come closer so I can laugh in your face.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Story bone

Deadman Grey had aways known his fate in this dust filled world. His father had been sixty-three when he was born, a desiccate-apple head wrapped in a collarless shirt and wool waistcoat. His mother, the target of an old-man's lust, he could only remember the six-petticoats she wore in the furnace of that first summer. She had been sent to a home for disrespectable women soon after Deadman could walk on his own. Educated by taciturn nannies in severe black dresses smothered in floral perfumes, he had grown up watching his progenitor navigate the mansions of death until his father passed in silent senility, his toothless mouth shouting without noise, eyes fixed on the stained canopy above his bed. Deadman had been sixteen when he sold the house, strapped guns to his waist, and rode westward on the best horse he could find. He was eighteen when Death settled in as his constant drinking partner.


Deadman Grey knew his fate in this dust-filled world. His father, a desiccated-apple head wrapped in collarless shirt and wool waistcoat, had reached sixty-three before having a son. His mother, the target of an old-man's lust, remembered for the six petticoats she wore in the furnace of that first summer; interred in a wayward woman's home soon after Deadman could walk. Educated by taciturn nannies in severe black dresses and smothered by floral perfumes, he had endured sixteen-years watching his father navigate the mansions of his death before passing in silent senility, his gaping mouth shouting, eyes fixed on the stained canopy above his bed. Deadman burned the house, strapped sixs-guns to his waist, and rode West on the best horse in the stable. Death sidled in on Deadman's eighteenth birthday and never left his side. Business was brisk.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Next GOP Debate Preview

Just a little preview of the upcoming GOP debate.

Pick the candidate of your choice, it's pretty much all the same.

Linkee-poo let's get together before we get much older

No, I'm not going to point to that supposed alter-Hugo awards thing. Back in my day, when idiots decided to circle-jerk they did so in private.

Neil Gaiman's tips on writing.

The SciFi Airshow. If only. Man, I'd buy a ticket so fast. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

You might be a feminazi if… (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Didn't reserve a copy of Windows 10 for your compatible device? Don't worry, if you have autoupdates turned on, Microsoft will push Windows 10 installers to your computer. Because they're nice that way. (Grokked from Dan)

So you may have heard about the Marine Corps assessment of women in combat units and how units of mixed-gender under performed all male units. I heard it, and then wondered about a certain qualification that might alter the results of the test. "The tests come with at least one important caveat: As the Marine Corps Times notes, many of of the male study participants had previously served in combat units, whereas female participants, by necessity, came directly from infantry schools or from noncombat jobs." That's the one. So, basically, what this test really confirmed is those Marines with actual combat experience out performed Marines without combat experience. To which most observers would say, "Duh." Experience will always trump training (both for combat honing skills by necessity, as well as time in practice/doing the job). And it's not like the Marines couldn't have tested teams with the same level of experience against each other. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

Conservatives are all about smaller government and not wasting federal money, unless it's spending in their state and then they'll sue you if you threaten to shut down a massively over budget project. In this case the SC Attorney General threatening to sue the Obama Administration because they're going to pull the plug on a breeder reactor to reprocess plutonium which is over due and over budget by a few billion. Just keep that in mind as the federal government debates taking the few hundred million in Medicaid dollars away from Planned Parenthood.

How the GOP plan to embarrass the President blew up in their lap. Usually this is the Democrats imploding over the differences of intensity. But having fed the trolls, riding their wave back into power they thought they could control the beast. They're not realizing they were wrong. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

So, conservatives, under the money lash of big carbon, are now actively trying to destroy climate talks. And this after they've seen the "Let's get Mikey to eat it…" strategy of saying "China will never agree to limiting their carbon output" fell through, because China can visually see the problem and has pledged to correct their ways. There's an old Sting song that says, "I hope the Russians love their children, too". While that was about nuclear war, it makes me wonder if the various GOP Senators secretly hate their grandkids. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

In the fight over defunding Planned Parenthood, the GOP seems to have forgotten that they had set up the "no-negotiations on our core-values" theme a long time ago. So they miss that those who have their undies in a bunch over killing Planned Parenthood have no interest in a middle-ground. Also that they think (in their own world view) that they won the last time they shut the government down. So the GOP leadership asking for calmer heads to prevail is spitting in the wind. (Grokked from Dan)

That's okay, they've forgotten how bad the previous shutdowns had been for them. Just like (our governor and) presidential aspirant John Kasich has forgotten (of course, he was one of the architects who set up the shutdown in 95, and while he'll say the balanced budget came out of that shutdown, remember that it wasn't a balanced budget that Clinton vetoed leading to the shutdown).

Oh sure, you might be happy that emojis come with several faces showing the panoply of the human race, but I'm more excited that Apple is about to ship an emoji that has more practical application. Yep, Apple will ship a "middle-finger extended" emoji. Now we just need it in tones that express the full panoply of the human race, because I know a number of my friends who aren't white who will want to use it. (Grokked from Dan)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Linkee-poo PLAY BALL!

In regards to my post about the show going on, apparently the lunatic fringe believes it shouldn't now that the Democrats in the Senate may be able to filibuster. Gov. Kasich proves he didn't get the memo. And while he gave himself a technical out (no, the Senate won't vote on ratification, only on disapproval, if it gets to that), oh please, Louie Gohmert, don't throw us in that briar patch!

And, hey, look, someone must read my blog. There's talk of a lawsuit against the Iran deal. Of course, "'I've talked to a number of attorneys, and all the folks I've talked to on that legal strategy [say] that we will not be successful in court,' Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) told reporters Thursday after the Boehner press conference."

"Avoid being jealous of other people’s success. It will never help you achieve the things you want. Focus on your own growth, not a scale set against someone else’s achievements or timeline… Does that sound obvious? It doesn’t matter. You still need to hear it. I still need to hear it." Can I get an Amen?! I can't tell you how many times I've seen the success of others, even some I consider my friends, and have felt that green monster rise up and try and take over my head. Sometimes he succeeds. I'm not proud of that. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Of great interest to everyone who has DMed, how to draw a map. This appears to be a great site (I haven't had time to explore it all, but pretty damn good so far). (Grokked from BoingBoing)

"Son?" "Dad?!" A private investigator hired to catch a cheating wife, finds said wife cheating, with the investigator's teen-aged son. Yea, that's going to be an awkward Thanksgiving dinner.

Long known, but now with new information from ground penetrating radar, the Stonehenge site is a part of a much larger complex of monuments. And, whenever I think of Stonehenge nowadays, Eddie Izzard suddenly appears in my head. "And the area of Salbury Plain where they built is is very 'ahhhahhhahhahhahooohahaha'." (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

"For decades, researchers have debated and argued about the long-term benefits of preschool, with little consensus." Well, mostly when it comes to spending public money on preschool for low-income kids. Outside of that, yea, everybody thinks preschool is a great way of getting a headstart to a quality, successful education.

Muslim flight-attendant refused to serve alcohol and is fired. No word yet when Mikee Huckleberries will visit her. Rest of the religious rights group oddly silent. He was actually asked directly about it. But punted. Wrong answer, Mikee.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The show must go on

The trains run on time.

The Iran nuclear deal must pass. And all sides know that and accept it. You wouldn't know it to hear them talk, but it's all a kabuki dance put on for the rubes at home. Ever since it came out that this was a five nation deal, they (the American Politicians) knew it was a must pass item. So, they set it up so they can vent and beat their chests and write to their constituents that they tried to stop Emperor Obama's Oh So Terribly Bad Deal with Iran from going through, but darn him and his magic African-American mojo!

This is why Sen. Grassley passed his resolution, so the Legislature can say, "NO!" but not have it stick. Of course President Obama has enough Senators to sustain his veto (I'm not sure they counted on him having enough to filibuster their "NO!" vote though, that'll take some steam out of them).

This was the way it was always going to be. The GOP knows the damage they'd take if they really did what they could to scuttle the deal. See, without the US, the deal will go into effect anyway. It's only that the US will be holding the bag when it comes to sanctions. And if we did end the deal, Iran will get the bomb, probably within a year.

But the GOP and conservatives 1) can't support anything President Obama does (they've tied themselves into rhetorical knots over that) and 2) can't appear to be "caving in" to Iran (because their rhetoric positioned them there as well).

So, they'll vote no (if they can). And when the President vetoes their disapproval they'll stamp and scream at Emperor Obama and his mad executive ways, all while relaxing a little that no one will call them on their complicity.

But what could they do, I hear some people ask.

Exactly what they did when they didn't like other Obama Executive Orders/Actions. Sue. Get a court injunction against President Obama from carrying out the terms of the agreement.

Notice the chorus of crickets when it comes to using a tactic they've successfully used twice and unsuccessfully used once. There has been no talk of a lawsuit (even if it would cause a Constitutional Crisis, a real one, not the fake ones they've been parading about). The would have standing, the President is going against the direction of some of the sanctions which were passed by the Legislature (even if the final actions were up to the Executive branch).

And here's the nuclear option (to coin a phrase), enact more sanctions against Iran. That right there, in and of itself would violate the agreement. And I bet they could get a veto proof majority for it as well. There was talk about that last Spring. Heard anything of it lately? Of course not.

Because this deal must go through.

That doesn't mean the GOP won't try and spin it in a negative sense (just like they've been trying to do with Cuba). But they know without this deal, Iran has the bomb in less than a year, and Iran remains belligerent.

With the deal, Iran won't be able to get the bomb (as long as everything works properly and everybody plays ball) for over 13 years. A decade is a forever in diplomacy world. Thirteen years means three Presidential elections here, and at least two in Iran. Over a decade of renewed interest in world affairs and Iran will probably be a very different country than it is now. If we can navigate the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia for the next decade, it will be a very different world indeed.

Linkee-poo fights for the users

"Robotic step training and noninvasive spinal stimulation enable (completely paralyzed) patient to take thousands of steps." Living in the future. (Grokked from Dan)

"Less than 24 hours after the end of China's massive military parade, Beijing is back to its usual smoggy self… Residents woke up Friday morning to find the crystal blue skies that graced the city nearly two weeks suddenly gone -- in their place, the familiar sight and smell of dour gray pollution clouds… (before the parade) Hundreds of factories were shut during this time, while half of Beijing's five million registered cars were banned from the streets." With photos. In case you still have relatives who say, "Nothing we do can affect the environment." As a teen, I remember seeing the air above Philly and Cleveland. And you could see it before you could smell it. Also, we're about to go back to dirtier gasoline as we head past Labor Day. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Every Twitter troll ever. ::points:: Yes, so very this. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Jim Wright reminds us of what the good old days were like. In this case, the good, old, 1915s.

Turns out the Naegleria fowler amoeba, which burrows into your brain, can be killed by chlorine, but knows how to hide in the biofilm that coats most water plant pipes to escape death. Yes, the world is more weird that you think. (Grokked from Dan)

Life in America, take a combat-firearms course for $525. You know, sort of like a combat-firearms course. And don't get suckered in by all those cheap knock-off courses.

The middle class still gets screwed.

In China, it's cheaper to kill someone with your car than to just injure them. So drivers are making sure anyone they hit is dead. Even if that means driving over them a few times. Another example of just how bad people suck. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

The Kim Davis thing is such a non-brainer, even lawyers on Fox News understand which side of the law she's on. Even if Mikee Huckleberries doesn't understand it.

"March marks five years since the Affordable Care Act was passed … amid Republican cries that the ACA was a job-killer… The private sector hasn’t lost jobs since Obamacare was officially created… Were Republicans wrong?" So begins the "think how many MORE jobs would have been created" line of argumentativeness in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Many internet sites have policies restricting ads on controversial subjects. Such as access to abortion. Because. So it bans those ads from sites like Jeezebel. Wonder if the the right, ever so concerned over free speech and the internet censoring voices, will take up the cause. (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

Not content with just screwing over the homeland, conservative senators are attempting to sabotage the international agreements on climate change. Because reasons, I'm sure. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

"Donald Trump believes that because he attended a military high school, he has an understanding of what it is like to be in the military, despite deferring the Vietnam War draft for medical reasons… "My number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number… but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people," Trump told Michael D’Antonio…" I really just don't have the spoons for this election. Note how he's trying to move away from doctor shopping to get a deferment from service and trying to say that he wouldn't have been called up because of his number. Plus, I think the Trump Campaigns theme song should be "Everything is Awesome." It fits in so many ways.

In the Great Depression, we forcibly removed "Mexicans", many of whom were US citizens. American Exceptionalism my Aunt Fanny. This is the dark side of the current discussion over immigration and the right's call for mass deportation.

For some people, all the world is a nail because all they have is a hammer. In this case, of course Dick Cheney believes we should just threaten war if Iran doesn't do what we say. In his mind, it's all about paddling the naughty kids.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day

A now begins my annual shout out to Unions. If you're going to have a long holiday weekend (and not everybody is), thank a Union member. They're the reason that most of us don't work 6-7 days a week (coughhacksputter) and the reason why we have a holiday that celebrates Labor (which creates value in the truest sense, much in the same way gold and silver have value compared to current monetary policy which is the equivalent and support of Wall Street Traders).

It wasn't an easy struggle. Many people died fighting for your rights as a worker. Hopefully in the future more people won't have to die to keep and enforce those rights (although it's looking less likely).

This week has seen several instances of me seeing people in management suddenly realize you can't treat people as being expendable. No, really, 2 I witnessed in person and 1 other was by indirect observation. And in each case it was approached in a, "Well, if we really have to…" manner. Seriously, these are people you're talking about, not FTEs (full-time equivalents, which was a term I thought we killed in the 80s, and apparently is back with full vigor).

So do whatever you do when you have time off (me, I'll be working on Monday, ironically on a Union freelance project). Have fun. Because that is the reason why we work.

Linkee-poo is only teenage wasteland

Catching up with Jim Hines' going for broke (as a full-time writer). First, he got his finances in order. The Harry Connolly's advice comes in handy (yea, I've been thinking the same thing for a while now). Diana Farrow Francis weighs in some excellent advice. This advice works well if you're going full time writer or not. AAAnnnnndddd Jim's off to a rip-roaring start. You go, Jim.

Tobias Buckell with some life-hacks on being ADHD (SQUIRREL!) and keeping focused on writing. I've thought of the multiple login approach, but he goes much farther with it. And I think his points are all to the good. I've done somethings like this, for instance some get time-sink sites I used to visit I took out of the browser history so I would have to type the whole URL in, from memory, if I wanted to go there. Substantially cut down the time I spent.

What is possibly the best Star Wars buildup, Adam Savage proves that Star Wars blasters aren't laser.

"Don't write action scenes. Write suspense scenes that require action to resolve." For the record, I write action scenes. They're fun. However, I don't believe in the fair fight. If it's a fair fight, my characters probably wouldn't engage. They either know they'll win, or it's a fight they can't run from. I personally hate the meme where the protag gets beaten down and is on the mat hearing the count when they remember their Grandma's advice in making pie, "Crush the nuts" and suddenly they have a turnaround/second-wind and beat the snot out of the antagonist (I call this the "Rocky Effect"). I really hate (with the fierceness of a thousand supernova) the meme where the good guy has the drop on the bad guy (like, they have a gun and the bad guy is defenseless) and then they even the fight up by giving up their advantage. It makes me scream at the screen. Fuck it, vent the fucking bastard (by either blowing a hole in them, or sending them on a spacewalk without a spacesuit). This isn't how the world works. If the bad guy is on the ground, either arrest them or put another slug in their head, don't give them the opportunity to get up (the only exception to this I can think of is the final fight scene in Serenity, but then Mal does something worse to The Operative, he destroys his faith by making him watch what happened on Miranda). If your characters are going to fight, have them take the advantage and keep it. But also, give the bad guys some credit. If they always lose, how did they get into their position of power in the first place?(Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

The world's greenhouse gas emissions by country in one easy graphic. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

One of the things I do is I notice people's tattoos, I used to draw flash in school for pizza money. When I'm x-raying someone, and they're a little frightened and I notice they have ink I'll ask them about it. "Tell me what your tattoo means to you." Many people get names (actually, I've been surprised about how many people get children, parents, and friends names and how few have their spouses names), some tattoos are coverup jobs for youthful indiscretions, others have what seems like little significance. But I've never felt the urge to actually get one myself. Here are 24 tattoos people got to combat mental illness. And now I'm wondering if I should get one. (Grokked from Janiece)

And we have a Darwin Award contestant. A teen shoot self while taking selfie with gun. Say, Texas, don't you have a strong gun culture which teaches people to respect guns?

Teach your children well. Or, nine rules for swearing for children. Rules 1 and 2, OMFG yes! Had to inform the nephews they were doing it (hilariously) wrong. (Grokked from Dan)

"Colorado's (long-term birth control) experiment was funded with a $23 million grant… And the results are striking: By 2013, teen births in Colorado had dropped 40 percent — compared with a 30 percent decline nationwide. The steep drop continued last year. Abortions among teenagers in Colorado were also down. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said the savings in Medicaid and government assistance far outweigh the up-front costs." And now that the private money is drying up, is the Republican controlled legislature going to continue the funding? Of course not, because this fight is not about reducing abortions and teen pregnancy, it's about control of women's bodies and ending the sexual revolution.

"It was about 10 years ago, after a colleague had died swiftly and peacefully, that Dr. Ken Murray first noticed doctors die differently than the rest of us." Most doctors have advance care directives, many people don't even know what that is, let alone tell the appropriate people. Most people don't do it until too late. At the hospital I've seen people die, and I've seen people who are already dead (sometimes the heart doesn't know to stop beating, until it runs out of oxygen). However it's our job, in the absence of specific orders, to work hard to save their lives. Only a doctor, or the family, has the right to say, "that's enough." Make sure yours (both the doctor and your family) know when you want them to say when. Because, like the article says, we won't tell you that "do nothing" is an option. Also, I will note here, it is your right as a patient to refuse treatment, or to ask for alternatives. The doctors, nurses, techs will try and talk you out of it (and we may not be able to help you fully if you do refuse), but you can say no and make it stick. (Grokked from Janiece)

And talking about jumping the shark, apparently the Trumpinator also cheats at golf. All he needs is a caddy/man servant called Odd Job and he's be a Bond Villain. Seriously, he cheats at golf. We don't have to dig that deep to find things against the guy.

"But a bad use of force call is not a good argument for less scrutiny of use of force." On the existing narrative of cop=good guy and person they shoot=bad guy. (Grokked from Janiece)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Story Bone

Painted war-zeppelins riding the bow wake of a haboob the way dolphins ride the bow wake of ships (if set in other than desert conditions, this could be a massive thunderstorm). One or two of the airships are torn to tatters by the fierceness of the storm. There's panic on the ramparts of the city as they see (through spy glasses?) the approaching raiders. As the zeppelins approach the walled city (in my vision, this is an oasis trading hub center) the raiders drop grappling hooks that snag against the walls (or houses) and the winds bring the airships down close to the ground. Raiders rappel into the city (or if the walls/houses were low enough, they just jump), fighting their way inside structures before the storm fully engulfs the area. The abandoned airships explode or set fires as they are demolished by the storm (depending on your world and how they are lifted in the air). By the time the storm leaves, the raiders are in charge of the city.

edit I realize this is very similar to the scene where Maud'Dib retakes Arrakeen. I didn't have that connection until I finished writing it. This is the steampunk version of that scene.

Linkee-poo is a bird on a wire

Commercial drones start getting the green light. Unfortunately many hobbyists are giving them a bad name. This is like watching the person who get a kayak because they think it's fun (which I actually do) suddenly realize, "What, you mean there are rules to water crafting?" Yes, Virginia, there are rules to how to use the sky.

"Dark ages can happen for many reasons, all of them are catastrophic. But what dies first is a vibrant civilization's knowledge: its treasure of methods and means; the record of its curiosity in art and science. Once that is gone, once that is forgotten, the long descent into brutality and suffering can begin… This is what ISIS is showing us. Dark ages begin with an assault on knowledge and memory." Tyrants and despots always attack culture, history, and science because all those things argue against their existence and power.

"Two-thirds of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's supporters nationwide said they believe that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to a poll released Tuesday." Proving two or three points with the same dataset.

Project Vertias finally jumps the shark. Well, at least in a way that other people are willing to call them out on it.

"For generations, Democrats and Republicans alike found ways to let individual lawmakers vote no if their votes weren't really needed… Today's partisan atmosphere leads to more dramatic tactics… It's a representative democracy, where the majority rules. Except when the majority agrees in advance that they won't." How our government actually gets things done now.

Progressives are having great sport in pointing out all the conservatives who were in favor of renaming Mt. McKinley (or at least called the mountain Denali). It's like shooting fish with a fish-gun. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Would Ted Cruz and Fox News lie to promote an impression of Christian persecution? Shocked, shocked I am… (Grokked from Steven Gould)

So, Fox News wants to label the Black Lives Matter movement a hate group. Because of course they would. By their reasoning, so it the Right-to-Life movement (and so are the police forces).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Linkee-poo soars with the draughts and balance on the wind, coal black and at ease

To counter the whole Fox News meme about how everything is against the Christians and nobody would ever say anything against Islam, "Scholars now believe that a copy Quran held by the Birmingham Library was actually written sometime between 545 AD and 568, while the Prophet Mohammad was believed to have been born in 570 AD and to have died in 632 AD." Well, technically the copy they have isn't a full one, and this only shows that the parchment it was written on is older (it was common to scape and whitened older parchment to reuse, parchment being damn expensive) it does have some interesting implications. Before anyone gets their wads in a bind, Christianity borrowed heavily from earlier religions (virgin birth and resurrection were quite passé in the day) and even Judism cribbed notes from the peoples around them. Saying the Quran was dictated to Mohammad by the angels is the same as saying the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is a test of faith, not of factual importance. (Grokked from Dan)

"McKinley Presidental Library just glad people are finally talking about him." That so totally sounds like an Onion article, doesn't it? That's because we have asshats like this who represent us and think this is an insult to all Ohioans. Speaking as an Ohioan, and a Cantonian (where Pres. McKinley's library and memorial is located, both of which I have visited several times) I'm not slighted in the least. Look, Pres. McKinley is from Ohio, why the hell is his name on a mountain in Alaska? He wasn't President when we bought Alaska from the Russians. He missed discovery of gold by a year. There really is no reason for it except conservative love to name big things after themselves. Or maybe President Obama did it as an attempt to promote or dis Karl Rove's book about Pres. McKinley.

There's a new book outlining the careers of Sandra Day O'Conner and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. Pointed to a social commentary on the shit they had to go through in their professional lives (both were top of their class in law school). This is living memory time. Also pointed to for the effect diversity (real diversity, with empowered members) has on decision making.

Ah, someone finally figured it out. Low oil prices spell the doom for the fracking revolution. Fracking and Canadian Tar Sands oil, not to mention deep sea exploration, require high oil prices to sustain development. Without those prices, it all grinds to a halt. Eventually companies will sell idle rigs for parts or to places where exploration is cheaper, welded tubing plants go offline, the sand quarries close (sand used for fracking is expensive) we lose the capability to restart the industry quickly.

And in Alaska, the oil industry is struggling in a state where climate change is the most apparent. Also, "A long-term problem is that oil production has fallen to a quarter of what it was in the 1970s." In case you were wondering what the fight about opening ANWAR and the north coast of Alaska to oil production was really all about.

President Obama calls for the US to expand it's fleet of heavy icebreakers as the Arctic comes into play. At this time, we have "the equivalent of just two 'fully functional' heavy icebreakers at its disposal, down from seven during World War II. Russia, by contrast, has 41 of the vessels, with plans for 11 more. China unveiled a refurbished icebreaker in 2012 and is building another." Queue the climate denialists with a cry "if the globe is warming, why do we need icebreakers" in 3… 2… 1… (Grokked from Chia Evers)

So, girls are bad at math, are they? Apparently it's the teachers who are bad at girls when it comes to scoring their math tests. Even the women teachers.

Supreme Court refuses to stay order forcing KY clerk to issue marriage licenses to all couples. Did anyone really expect any other outcome? So we'll begin the wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth over forcing a public servant to serve the public. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"Can Soviet-era fighter jets like… the twin-engine MiG-29 Fulcrum, or the bigger… Su-27 Flanker, outperform the newest American design, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?" Oh noes! Woe is us! Okay, look, it's been known for a long time that some of the Soviet jets can outperform out jets in certain tasks such as slow-fly and dogfight conditions. I remember seeing the MiG-29 at it's first US air show. We had been told the thing was a piece of pig-iron just waiting to fall out of the sky. What we saw was a damn capable dog-fighting machine (no, seriously, senior AF sergeants standing around with their mouths open as that sucker pulled 4G turn after 4G turn, then did a cobra, and then accelerated while going ballistic, serious fucking good performance). However, what the Ruskies don't have is a long-range capability. While we thought the dog-fight was dead in Vietnam (until the Chinese proved us wrong and we had to startup Miramar), with over-the-horizon weapon systems and fire-and-forget air-to-air missiles, unless things go pear-shaped, the Russian pilots won't ever see us as we blow them out of the sky. Also, Miramar is still turning out ace dog-fighters (and I believe Red Flag teams still use Phantoms, which mimic the capabilities of the Soviet era jets and they still beat the snot out of the kids the first few weeks, it's about the pilot, not the machine).