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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Linkee-poo prays that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth

Kameron Hurley's storified tweets on the hard truths of publishing. "(Failure) And that's OK. You get up. You write another one. Careers can withstand a failure or two. But not many more than that, & you start over"

I know most of the writing links lately are either Kameron Hurley or grokked from her. The reason for that is she's being open about it, and it's easy to find. I still haven't gotten back into reading my RSS feed (where I have lots of writing sites linked in - yes I do see the irony there). There's just only so many hours in the day. So this is another truth in publishing. I refer to Kameron Hurley because 1) she's good and 2) she's easy for me to find and lots of other people in my feed point to her good stuff when I miss it. There's a lesson in there.

The benign violation theory of humor. Okay, but I've seen some of those "best home video" shows (before I can find the remote to change the channel), and most of what people laugh at isn't benign at all. Or, as Mel Brooks said it, "Tragedy is when I stub my toe. Comedy is when you fall into an open manhole and die." Plus, there's this thing when you explain a joke.

"But even with the emphasis on being a tech company, it's still hard to shake that nagging feeling that writers should get paid for their work if advertising is being sold against it… Burns says part of what this $25 million investment is for is to build out the monetization of Odyssey, both for the company itself and for writers." Exposure kills. There's an often repeated piece of writing advice to start writing for radio or "for the love" markets, because the bar to entrance is low and you might get some editing. If you're just starting and can afford to give away your time for free, that might not be a bad way to go. However, those markets typically don't make much money (although radio can). When a market is making money (even if it's still VC), they should pay you. Exposure isn't the same as building a brand/audience. Exposure returns very little. I suggest this path only for those who don't feel they could get all the crappy words out some other way. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Neil Gaiman responds to a letter on the importance of grammar and what it's really all about. Notice I broke one of the "grammar rules" in that last sentence.

Heck, the sad/rabid puppies have even made slashdot. I know people are gnashing their teeth again, and there's some consternation about their movement gaining ground, and I might totally be ignorant of all the politics and whom was on their slate, but the list doesn't look all that bad to me (mostly because, as I understand it, the S/RPs chose some popular works and authors this year, some of whom don't necessarily line up with their own politics or claim affiliation, but were chosen to ensure the "we win" argument won't be as hollow as it was last year). Sure, there are people on there who shouldn't be, but isn't there always (at least to some people)? And there are enough "legit" candidates that I don't think the "no award" will be necessary. (Grokked from Dan)

Science-themed quilts. Makes grabby hands. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Why can't we remember how a bike is constructed? Well, because most people don't engineer bikes (many of them don't even assemble them anymore). Also, this is an example of how your brain takes shorthand for what you see and how the models in our head are more silhouette shapes than technical drawings (requires less storage and processing time). Most people get there are two wheels, a cross frame, handle bars, pedals, and seat, and get the general configuration. People also don't read words by reading the letters, they read words by the shape of the words (more accurately, by the shapes of 2 or 3 words together). (Grokked from Dan)

The AnBot. China's new riot-control, anti-terrorism robot looks a lot like an egg on wheels, or a smooth Dalek. My guess is it doesn't have jump-jets in the base, so, yeah, stairs are going to be a real problem.

"The fact that women can get periods in space was once used as an argument that women shouldn't be astronauts. However, we now know that periods don't impair an astronaut's ability." Something I've thought about while world building. Good to know I got it mostly correct. Weightlessness doesn't affect a woman's flow (it's mostly muscular anyway). (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

New commercial facial recognition technology in Russia makes it easier to harass women. This is my shocked face. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

What's it like to go down with the ship. Yeah, I've been there. Think I am there now with the day thing, although the market dynamics of the government being your major customer is slightly different. Lots of ideas, lots of tactics, none really focused on giving the customer what they want, how they want it. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

BoingBoing! is giving away 5 years of Adobe Creative Cloud.

Good news, everybody! "Global emissions have now flattened for a second year in a row, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris. The finding is both encouraging and plausible, given the astounding changes taking place in how the world uses energy." To read the whole thing you need to be a Prime member, which I'm not. But basically it's mostly China's fault.

The Junior Doctors in Britain's NHS are striking, and the ruling class is having a shit-fit over it (hell, I'm surprised it hasn't come up in our domestic debate over Obamacare). "I sympathise a little with (Jeremy) Hunt – he was born into military aristocracy, a cousin of the Queen, went to Charterhouse, then Oxford, then into PR: trying to get him to understand the life of an overworked student nurse is like trying to get an Amazonian tree frog to understand the plot of Blade Runner. Hunt doesn’t understand the need to pay doctors – he’s part of a ruling class that doesn’t understand that the desire to cut someone open and rearrange their internal organs can come from a desire to help others, and not just because of insanity caused by hereditary syphilis." For some reason I'm reminded of this skit by Eddie Izzard, "Hello, what do you do? Oh, you're a plumber, what on Earth is that?" (Grokked form Terri Windling)

So, as politicians and ditto-heads deride Common Core, how's our current educational standards doing? About the same as before. "According to research… just under 40 percent of students score at college and career ready levels on NAEP… While overall results are barely changed, it seems that the nation's struggling students in particular are doing slightly worse than they were two years ago, while higher achievers are doing slightly better." Have I ever mentioned that while professors at colleges hate the level of zero-level courses (aka "remedial") their students have to take, college administrators love them, because most grant programs won't pay for them and students must pony up the cash.

"Virginia McLaurin, the 107-year-old dynamo who danced with President Obama but couldn’t obtain a District photo ID, can get one now, thanks to a new regulation announced Tuesday by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser." Well, at least someone in government knows what their job is (waits for Congress to overrule the new regulation).

And in another example of Alabama leading this country (down the drain), Oxford, Alabama, passes a law that makes it a crime to use a public restroom assigned to a sex different from that on your birth certificate. Good luck enforcing that one. Well, I guess it'll be easy when the only public restroom left will be that in the town hall or police station. I can't see any way this could be abused or misused by public servants (expects the bathroom channel feed to go live in 3… 2… 1…) (Grokked from Fred Clark)


Random Michelle K said...

Re the 107-old-woman who couldn't get an ID, we had an issue getting my grandmother's ID when she moved in with us, because she didn't have her SS card, just my grandfather's, and she didn't have a "proper" birth certificate (I forget the details). Luckily the folks at the SS office accepted the birth certificate she had, along with her MD ID, and issued her a new SS card, which then let her get a WV ID.

My dad worked with a guy who not only didn't have a birth certificate (the doctor who delivered him had drinking problems) but his family actually forgot the year he was born. Not out of maliciousness, but just because the farm got busy, and they lost track.

So yeah, it's an issue for more people than you'd think.

Steve Buchheit said...

Yep, it's another one of those general privilege blind-spots, "Well of course everyone has these things." Even these days that's not true. At nite job just had a patient mis-represent their age, but knew their birthdate, had to finally say, "Okay, it's 2016, do the math." They were genuinely shocked they were two-years older than they thought. Patient was fully conscious and not confused. And they weren't over 25. There's a good chance my own birth certificate is no longer available (hospital fire before required live-birth registration at the county level, never double-checked to see if my record was one of the ones lost - it's $25 to check and I have a copy of my own). Even with online tools with backups it's possible to have documents go missing or get mixed up (I've caught several instances where the patient had a similar name with someone else, so software said they were that other person, but obviously weren't the other person, some human error, some database errors).