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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Linkee-poo and Mrs Jones, Mrs Jones

What makes a good writing day. With pictures of loverly writing places.

The stories we tell ourselves. On the meta-narrative, literary study, and the way stories have worked and changed within the culture. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner, I think)

Quotes from the Arthur C Clarke Award Judges as they developed the short list. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

A map of world mythologies. (Grokked from Christopher Cornell)

Unscrupulous fucks are gaming the Amazon Kindle Unlimited game? Shocked, shocked I am to find out gambling is going on here. Buy my book to find out how shocked I am. Although I now have a new favorite term, "Crapflooding scammers". (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

Twenty-five smiling animals. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

Researchers accidentally discover how to make rechargeable batteries last 400 times longer. The major questions are, will this work with other conductors than gold nanotubes (which are boku expensive) and can they make it into a production friendly process. (Grokked from John)

"Rocks on the surface of Mars have yielded the best clue yet that the planet once had an atmosphere rich in oxygen." Or, why we go there. Oh, and yes, that's more evidence that Mars once hosted life.

On the well-labeled hotel. Oh my yes. You can call it UI (user interface), or wayfinding (a designer term), but whatever you call it if your executive team can't walk into a hotel room and figure out the lighting scheme with the switches available, how the faucets work, how the tub works, how to plug something in on the table next to the beds (and think of having room for wallwart plugs, not just thin two prong plugs), how to adjust the heating/cooling without a briefing, then you need to change it. If your kid can't figure out where your checkin desk is, where the bathrooms are, and where the pool is without you walking them there, you need to change your layout. Seriously people, stop pissing off your guests. Oh, and maybe have a weekly or monthly check to make sure everything is working well. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"But the ad omits something that most consumers would like to know: There are many older and cheaper treatments that are just as effective." Why consumer advertising for drugs is a really bad idea. But that genie is out of the bottle. So here is a proposal to mandate actual data be given to patients so they can effectively and realistically understand the potential benefits. Yeah, doubt that's going to happen either. "Drug companies have little incentive to make these comparisons. Why? Because a vast majority of 'new' drugs are really not new at all; instead, they are minor tweaks and modifications of older drugs, and therefore unlikely to substantially outperform them." Just keep that part in mind when Pharma rolls out the aging argument of "how costly it is to bring a new treatment to market." Not so much.

In what I'm sure will be the next case of "Christian Persecution" in the US, the scam of Pastoral Medicine credentials. Well, I guess if they have a Bible on their desk that makes it all okay.

In what had been a poorly held secret, the concrete "sarcophagus" over Chernobyl Reactor 4 is deteriorating. It was, after all, hastily thrown up by Soviet Era engineers who had no time to actually design the thing let alone oversee construction. The new hull/superstructure that will go over it is almost ready to be shipped. If the sarcophagus fails before it's covered, the resulting release of radioactive dust is estimated to be 3x that of the original explosion (which was mostly directed upward). When it fails under the new superstructure, it's hoped that the vast majority of dust and debris will be contained and any leaks will only recontaminate the local area (which is already off limits). (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

"The death of a (Flint) Water Treatment Plant foreman, who was found dead at his home on April 16 by a friend who went to visit him, comes amid charges against three men involved in the city's water crisis." Bodies are piling up. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Turns out there might be a drug connection on those 8 people shot in Ohio. Yeah, I'm shocked. Not.

So, could you meet an unexpected $400 bill? On what is middle-class, and how most of us aren't in it (even if we think we are).

And on that note, "This idea, that sprinkling more dollars over troubled schools won't magically improve test scores or graduation rates, is a common refrain among many politicians, activists and experts. And they have research to back it up." Or, rich people don't think spending more money on poor people is really going to help and because schools aren't able to instantly turn around their districts with more money, well, that's a reason to say the experiment is a failure. Not how real life works. Education is a generational issue. If you want to see if more money will help, you need to fund schools for at least 2 classes (k-12, which would mean 26 years) before making that conclusion. Also, just because one school district spends more per student than the next doesn't mean the money is going to the same place. Such as, in richer districts, most students won't need subsidized meals, where as in poorer districts more students would need those meals (and might need more than just lunch during the week). Want another example? Okay, a local school district in my area raises money to send their kids to Mock UN and other events. At the school where I live, we raise money to buy kids underwear. And we suffer from the problem the NC schools in the article do, because our kids are considered "poor country kids" our school really doesn't challenge them to be better.

In the not-to-distant past, governments would give (or heavily subsidize the production of) bread to its citizen, forming the first half of the "Bread and Circuses" form of distracting people from their crushing poverty. So it's really not all that much of a stretch to just give people money. In this case they're calling it a "universal basic income." The Swiss are about to vote on a referendum on a domestic plan, and there is a plan to experiment with this in Africa (to see what really would happen if you had a long-term plan in place). So basically you'd roll back most other social welfare programs and give everyone a similar amount of money (regardless of income or employment status). It really isn't against our values as Americans (except for the legacy of Reagan, which continues to screw us over even 4 decades removed). And we already have a form of it in the Earned Income Tax Tax Credit. And while it would be political suicide to try it now in the US, this would actually be a "rising tide that lifts all boats," just not a "market solutions" based one. It's also a way to solve the problem of what do we do when all our jobs are taken by robots. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

Even Chris Wallace see that the various bathroom bills "seems to be a solution in search of a problem."

The Cruz campaign tries to relaunch their candidate as human. Good luck with that.

So, that Trump aid that let the GOP elite know that Trump would be changing… he's now backpedaling as fast as he can. Kinda hard to take his words out of context when we have the tape. I think what he meant to say was that wasn't for general consumption. Because the Trumpster hasn't sown up the nomination, yet.

Well someone finally pays the price for disenfranchising voters and intentionally making the voting process confusing. Unfortunately it's in Brooklyn, NY and not in the many Southern States who have done similar things.

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