I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Linkee-poo gears grinding

After two weeks of vacation, having a little trouble starting back up (plus all the madness at the day thing after 2 weeks of me not here and trying to correct their "stop gap" measures). So a short one today.

Just in case you thought the VA screwing over veterans was a new thing. "Last year, an NPR investigation found the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to notify thousands of mustard gas test subjects of their eligibility to apply for compensation — and that it routinely denied claims from veterans who qualified. In many cases, the VA has said veterans don't have enough evidence of their participation in the tests to get benefits — even though the tests were kept off official records." And you thought I was going to go for the Agent Orange scandal, didn't you. Note, I didn't go back to the "Bonus Army" (note the long history of promised compensation which never materialized in that article).

So, after two weeks of vacation, how far has the Trumpster gone in being "presidential." Ah, still at the same point when I left. Good to know. In case you might not see it, this is a classic move of enforcing codependency. By calling the press "shameful" and saying he "wanted the donations to veterans groups to be 'private' and that he didn't want 'credit' for the money he raised…" he is entangling the press (and by extension how much time and air he consumes daily) in an abusive relationship. And that it'll probably be close to the lead (if not the actual lead) in the nightly news is an example of why the abused spouse/child/SO doesn't leave and will eventually defended the abuser. You're watching it play out in our national press right now. And yes, I am serious about that comparison. You might remember that the Trumpster was overjoyed by press coverage of his fundraiser and how he was taking TV share from the Fox News debate.

Tweet of my heart: @Olivianuzzi To recap: Trump said he raised $6 million for veterans. He didn't raise $6 million for veterans. He believes pointing this out is dishonest.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Back June 1

This is one of one unscheduled blogging lulls I talked about earlier. Everything is fine. Spending money like a drunken yuppie. Hope you're having fun as well.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Linkee-poo weekend edition

Sometimes public outcry works. That London agency that fired a woman for not wearing high-heels changes its policy.

Hillary Clinton floats the idea of allowing those over 50 to buy into Medicare. Meanwhile, on the other side of the island, Karl Rove dusts off his stack of anti-HillaryCare mailers.

"Facebook, the IRS, and the GOP’s bullshit feedback loop… Republicans can't resist a good anti-conservative conspiracy theory." Yep. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

It's getting harder to act like whiteness isn't shaping our politics.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Linkee-poo, how do you think I'm going to get along without you when you're gone?

NPR celebrates 50 years of Wes Wilson's psychedelic font/posters. Note because man, I dig his art. I've done a few homage pieces based on his work during my career. I think he's the only single artist I've done that with, although I've also done a lot of Swiss Type which is sorta diametrically opposed to his vision.

Shakespeare's head is missing. Someone must have done a spectacular Hamlet Act II opening scene somewheres. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

Using x-rays to read fragile scrolls. SCIENCE!

What happens when you have a country with industrialization that refuses to enforce environmental laws. Well, you could look a the Yamuna River in India as an example. But don't look to closely. Don't want to get any of that on you.

Against the corporatization of the university and what it does to the professors and scholarship.

Because it'll be relevant this election season, Spurious Correlations. Lies, damnable lies, and statistics. (Grokked from Dan)

So, after the exposés of about 10 years ago, how are working conditions in the chicken houses for the workers? There's a report that because they're afraid to ask for bathroom breaks some have resorted to wearing diapers on the job. So, about the same as it was. Good think the major producers who own the chickens, own the feed, own the houses and force the farm owners into onerous contracts to supply them don't actually hire the employees that gather the chickens into the trucks and clean the houses. They engage outside firms to supply them with employees. That way they can avoid all these workplace issues and the pesky problem of undocumented workers doing the hard stuff.

Fuck cancer.

More on the Facebook allegations. And more here. So far, it's "anonymous reports" against Facebook, and the Senate is looking into it. Sort of like how the Benghazi Committee was forcing the Pentagon to look into allegations of someone who called into some radio talk show. It's the 1% Doctrine but applied to news organizations. Also, surprise, the GOP actually is concerned about a fair and open internet. You know, when they feel they're on the fuzzy end of the lollipop. I expect this to go the way of the IRS allegations (which is one of the topics the anonymous whistleblowers said was suppressed), a lot of smoke and heat about nothing once you find out more liberal groups were selected out to provide extended documents than conservative groups were.

"The researchers say this is the first example of any eukaryote that completely lacks mitochondria." Get out the whiteout, correction tape, and erasers, everybody. It's going to be a long night.

So, since I ding ad agencies when they make ad fails, here's a home run swing. A PSA to stop texting while driving.

The fire that set off the explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant is deemed a criminal act.

The middle class is going bye-bye. "Pew defines middle-income households as those having three people and an annual income between about $42,000 to $125,000, adjusted for the cost of living in a metro area and the number of household members." The good news is more communities are seeing people escalate up, but only by less than 10%. However, they don't state how populous those areas are.

The Philadelphia Police Department is shocked, shocked to find someone put a Google Maps Streetview Car sticker on their surveillance equipped SUV that photographs people's license plates to develop travel patterns of the citizens. So they took the sticker off. Note, not that they said anything about gathering up thousands of license plate numbers and storing them. (Grokked from Dan)

So, the GOP (and the Trumpster) have one major idea for health care reform; removing the barriers to interstate sales. "In the first of a series of videos about health policy promises that sound like a good idea but maybe aren't, Julie Rovner explores why increasing competition in health insurance by allowing sales of policies across state lines might not be such a hot idea after all." Yeah, pretty much not.

Senator Chuck Grassley posts an article on the refusal to proceed with hearings on Judge Merrick Garland and touts what a wonderful job he's doing. In the comments he's quickly taken to task for both his reading of history, his own statements to the contrary of his current positions, and simple mathematics. Sometimes it's okay to read the comments. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

A new worldwide report estimates that "(r)estrictive laws do not appear to lower the number of procedures, but do increase the likelihood of health risks to women who must seek unsafe procedures. Around $300m a year is spent treating an estimated 7m women who suffer complications after unsafe abortions." Yep. I'm sure the abstinence education pogroms will helps fix this. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Why does there seem to be a disconnect when talking about politics? "43% of voters think the unemployment rate has increased while Obama has been President, to only 49% who correctly recognize that it has decreased. And 32% of voters think the stock market has gone down during the Obama administration, to only 52% who correctly recognize that it has gone up. In both cases Democrats and independents are correct in their understanding of how things have changed since Obama became President, but Republicans claim by a 64/27 spread that unemployment has increased and by a 57/27 spread that the stock market has gone down." Yeah, that could be it. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

Tweet of my heart: @KameronHurley At the very least, many "full time writers" aren't full time novelists. They freelance many other kinds of corporate writing projects.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Linkee-poo lost myself in a familiar song, I closed my eyes and I slipped away

The Hidden Brain podcast on the power of positive thinking (not) and the WOOP method. For your writer's block times.

Open air, full scale demonstration of the Hyperloop. So, you may remember that Hyperloop is the brain child of Elon Musk (also of SpaceX and Tesla). So, anyone want to speculate that the Hyperloop is actually a first step in a rail-based launch system? (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

No no no, in my day history was in black and white. Artists and colorizers add color to vintage photos of monuments being built. There's at least two anomalies in there, but mostly because the color studies they went from (I'm assuming here) were done long after the finished construction. Damn you, Ted Turner! (Grokked from Dan)

"Now scientists think they have an understanding about how Zika causes these severe brain malformations. The findings come from a series of mouse experiments, published Wednesday in three leading journals." Pointed to because until this year we thought of Zika as daily benign (there actually was research on it, but it was dropped to look at other diseases). Think of what else we may think is benign but is actually changing out brain structure (every time I hear/read about Zika I'm reminded of John Scalzi's Locked In and its Hayden Syndrome). Just a note here, while there's been a lot of attention paid to babies born with microcephaly, that's only because those make for sensational photos. Zika also causes Guillain-Barré Syndrome in adults.

More guns means we're more safe, right? Nope. Besides all the stories about toddlers killing/shooting their parents or siblings or themselves there are stories like this. A barber pulls a gun after refusing to "cut black hair." No mention of the race of the customer. And it's not the first time for this barber (although the other run ins with the law were over pepper spray). I'm sure he has some deeply held religious convictions, no doubt.

Before you rip off that tweet or blog post about how backward less developed countries are when it comes to women's rights, in the UK a company fired a woman for not wearing high heels, as they asked her to. And there might be very little recourse. Remind me to tell you about the time a coworker wore a pants suit to our Dallas office (this was in '93 I think). (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"While (NC) Republican state leaders have complained about being 'bullied' by the federal government over House Bill 2 (the "bathroom bill"), lobbyists in Raleigh tell WRAL News they and the businesses they represent are being bullied by state lawmakers seeking to silence business opposition to the new law." So, let's see, one side believes they're being bullied because the Federal Government says, "wait a minute, you're in violation of the law here" while at the same time those very same people are telling businesses and lobbyists to STFU or face punishing legislation. Which side is the bully, again? "'That's not a threat,' Hager, R-Rutherford, explained (about asking if a lobbyist really wanted to work with the majority)… 'We want people that'll work with us. We don't want people that'll go out there and bash us on Twitter and bash us on Facebook'…Hager wants to remove state tax breaks that currently benefit American Airlines, NASCAR, Google, Apple and Facebook, all of which have taken public positions against House Bill 2. But he said that's just a coincidence." Uh huh. Sure it is.

The natural gas economy, now killing the environment only half as much as coal. Okay, well, it might be more than that. Methane is tricksy it is. Say, know what is released when permafrost melts? (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

More in the politicians feel they are "special". In this case, in the Oklahoma Capitol, GOP lawmakers walk through the metal detectors setting them off, but aren't called on it. Laws, after all, are for the plebes.

And in other Trumpster news, the Donald takes credit for your good bowel movements. I mean he takes credit for the Budweiser/Amurika thing. Hey InBev marketing pros, you gonna sit down for this one? (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Linkee-poo, when the night has come and the land is dark and the moon is the only light we'll see

For the 20th anniversary of Viable Paradise, they're running a reunion on the island. Just for the record, I attended VP XIII. (Grokked from MacAllister Stone)

One of the joys of reading to kids, messing with their little heads. I mean, revealing plot twists. Yeah. That's what I meant.

http://distractify.com/animals/2016/01/30/mark-female-shark-eats-male-shark (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Oh Florida Man. Florida man shoots himself, but doesn't notice until two days later when he changed his shirt. When the satire writes itself, it's time to give up. (Grokked from TPM)

And in the healthy weight food fight, another shot is fired. "The body mass index, or BMI, associated with the lowest risk of death has increased since the 1970s, a study finds, from 23.7, in the 'normal' weight category, to 27, which is deemed 'overweight.'" Take that, Dr. Adkins! This is the point most people throw their hands in the air and shout, "Fuck it" and then go to Dairy Queen.

"On Sunday, May 8, Germany hit a new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at one point… the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity." Yep, renewables will never been major players… except in many other countries they already are (note Germany still has gas, coal, and nuclear powered generation). (Grokked from CC Findley)

Apparently, the Senate has some time on it's hands. So it's going to investigate Facebook to see if they've been keeping topics of concern to conservatives off their "trending topics" queue. Facebook did their own investigation and found no misdeeds, but just like the IRS scandal, because conservatives see conspiracies everywhere, apparently they think Facebook is against them. Really? Fuck, I don't use Facebook that much because of all the conservatives there who muck up my feed. (Grokked from Xeni)

Gross alert, astronomer demonstrates with a pig's eyeball what happens if you stare at the sun with a telescope (without proper precautions and masking). Includes direction of said eyeball after he burns a hole through the retina. You know you can just burn ants with a magnifying glass to make this point, right?

"This summer, the Crystal Serenity—a 820-foot-long, 13-deck cruise ship with a casino, a movie theater, six restaurants and a driving range—is planning to steam through (the Northwest Passage) in less than a month." Some see Global Warming as a catastrophe, some see it as a business opportunity. I guess that means that Greenland is soon to be the next "cruise island." See, I've read some of the early exploration journals, so this gets an immediate "nope" from my brain. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

How could the water crisis in Flint get any worse, you may be asking yourself. "Today in a district court in Michigan, ex-Flint City Administrator Natasha Henderson alleged that she was fired from her position after reporting that Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had directed underlings to divert money intended for a clean water charity to her personal campaign PAC." That'll do it. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A North Carolina school board decided on Tuesday that students should be allowed to carry defensive sprays and razors — with one member suggesting they might need these tools in light of HB2, the controversial state law that requires students using bathrooms in public schools to use bathrooms according to the sex on their birth certificate." What could possibly go wrong? Hey, remember kids getting suspended because they brought aspirin to school? (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

So, any business commentary on the Presidential election? "Budweiser is renaming its beer 'America' for the summer. The special cans and bottles will be available May 23 through the presidential election in November." Well played, Anheuser-Busch. Say, why didn't you mention you're actually owned by InBev in your press release? Not that I would drink a Bud ever again (this is a long standing rule, not something new). Which gives me an opportunity to point to this Monty Python skit the Philosopher's Song. "We find your American beer is a little like making love in a canoe." Fortunately the American beer market has changed since then.

Shocked, shocked the GOP is that anybody would have a problem with the NC law that not only says people need to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex indicated on their birth certificate, but that removes local government's authority to permit it and strips several layers of protection away from not only the LBGT community, but anyone who may be discriminated against.

Okay, who had "Ted Cruz is actually a zombie" in the office pool. If the Tedster wins Nebraska he says he'll come back in (newsflash, he didn't). And this is part of the reason people "suspend" their campaigns instead of outright ending them (that and monetary reasons). No, Ted, just go. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Linkee-poo turns to her and says, don't switch the blade on the guy in shades

A fifteen-year old uses available satellite imagery to discover a new Mayan city covered by the forests. Oh look, it's a new generation of the wunderkind story (sorry, pet peeve of mine, but cool story of how the democratization of data is a good thing). (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

Some ideas to enhance twitter. I agree with some, disagree with some. I also disagree with the assertion that Twitter is just a bunch of dancing monkeys (they don't put it that way, but it's really what they're saying). If the 140+ format would remove all of the photos and vids that clog up my stream (and put a mandatory line brake after 140) or the "here's 6 tweets in a row which are a conversation" I might consider it, but part of Twitter's appeal is the 140 character limit. But, yeah, when every goddamn tweet is a jpg of text, it really defeats what twitter is all about. Also, blogging is dead, long live the blog. (Grokked form Joe Hill)

"As we gather in Portland to begin the 10 day discernment of God’s leading for The United Methodist Church known as General Conference, we, your Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, and Intersex (LGBTQI) religious leaders–local pastors, dea-cons, elders, and candidates for ministry–want to remind you of our covenant with you." One-hundred and eleven clergy in the United Methodist Church come out before their synod. Fly that flag. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

So, which side embraces thuggery?

"Private Medicare Advantage plans treating the elderly have overbilled the government by billions of dollars, but rarely been forced to repay the money or face other consequences for their actions, according to a congressional audit released Monday." Whose idea was it to privatize a portion of Medicare? Yeah, I know the answer, the same side that wants to increase the privatization. The same side that says they're going to release a healthcare plan for the rest of us Real Soon Now. What's not stated in this story is how Medicare also needs to follow the laws, so their audits of plans need to follow the law as written. If you've worked in healthcare you know what Medicare has NEVER been reluctant to audit the hell out of providers to get its money back. But their hands are somewhat tied when it comes to Medicare Advantage programs.

"For some of these (Trump) surrogates, their previous statements don’t always square with what they say on behalf of the candidate now, and it can be hard to avoid the perception that they saw an open market for Trump sympathizers and sold out. Not necessarily for money — they aren’t paid by the campaign or, with the exception McEnany and Lord, by the cable channels — but for fame that could eventually lead to a payday and in the meantime represents its own kind of currency." The word you're searching for is "toady." It's also why the "news" is in such a bad state. Also pointed to for when you hear that the MSM is pulling for Hillary, you'll know that to be the bullshit it is. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Yeah, we should let a court decide on the NC Bathroom Bill! After all, the judiciary is known for their composure in areas where "sexual identity" is concerned. In other news Arkansas Cross County District Judge Joe Boeckmann was forced to resign after the state judicial commission charged him with new allegations of sexual misconduct with defendants, including photographing them naked and paddling them in exchange for lighter sentences. Okay then, next idea.

And the conservative Senate is starting to get testy about being asked about the Trumpster. Aw, poor guys. They just can't catch a break.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Linkee-poo sings the songs that remind him of the better days

"Writing on his blog, Mr Whiting - head of the independent Acorn School in Nailsworth, Gloucester - said fantasy books can be bought without a 'special licence', despite damaging the 'sensitive subconscious brains of young children'." Aw fuck, not this shit again. Time to play whackamole. (Grokked from several people)

"But this study is just the latest example of research showing that in the long run dieting is rarely effective, doesn’t reliably improve health and does more harm than good. There is a better way to eat." Oh yeah, it's a full-on food fight again! For those of you who grew up in the 70s and 80s, you remember this dance. Diet won't do it alone, exercise won't do it alone. If you lose weight fast, you'll gain it back, fast. Eat less (like, hey, have the small fries instead of the large) and exercise more (as in, you walk on average 5000 steps, up that to make 6000 your average). And being "fit" is more important than weight and BMI. Heck, the CDC recommendation is for seniors to get 6 minutes of exercise every other day (because they usually don't). "Relative to chronic dieters, people who eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full are less likely to become overweight, maintain more stable weights over time and spend less time thinking about food. Mindful eating also helps people with eating disorders like binge eating learn to eat normally. Depending on the individual’s set point, mindful eating may reduce weight or it may not. Either way, it’s a powerful tool to maintain weight stability, without deprivation." Keep moving, keep learning. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

"The Air Force plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35. Instead of flying with six or seven missiles on an aircraft, a directed energy weapons system could fire thousands of shots using a single gallon of jet fuel." Wow, I didn't know fighter jet power plants could produce that much extra energy. Pew pew. (Grokked from Dan)

How the Trumpster works, change the subject and call the interviewer stupid. First of all, Donald, nobody needs to kiss your ass.

What I didn't see, all these "bathroom bills" are just a get out the vote operation. Like all the "ban same-sex marriage" laws were in 2004.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Linkee-poo twist and shout

Seven things that will doom your novel. Collect all of them! I have most of those, working on correcting them. The time problem is still my doom. I don't have much time (my fitbit already tells me I'm only sleeping 5-6 hours a night most nights) and when I do I'm so mind-blasted from sleep deprivation that I'm barely able to accomplish basic chores before running out of spoons. With several people going on FMLA at the night thing, that doesn't look to change much anytime soon (although we are hiring more people in, supposedly, which I have to be careful doesn't cut my hours entirely).

Building a solid writing practice one goal at a time.

Building a career as an indie-author. We'll see if this turns out to be a good introduction, or another alter to worship the Amazon Kindle store. The main site is hosted by a company that sells indie authors services. There are two people I know who are a part of it (including the person whom this is grokked from), so I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. (Grokked from Christine Daigle)

While it's more accurate to day "Florida Man", I really like the "Jupiter Man". "Joshua James, the Jupiter man who threw a live alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru window last year, has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges in his case." Dear idiots, life is not an episode of Punked.

Noted without comment. What PTSD and the disassociation that comes with it (sometimes) is like. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley among others)

Chuck Grassley needs to learn how to do a better Barbosa. They're not so much "rules" as guidelines.

"Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won’t be casting a vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton come November." Don't fool yourself, he'll pull the level (can we even use that phrase anymore) for the Trumpster because he knows the Donald will protect his interests are a rich, white man. Also note the obligatory compromise phrase of "both sides are just as bad." No. No they're not.

Sen. Lindsey Graham joins the "won't support Trump" camp. You may remember Sen. Graham from his previous stint as "GOP Presidential Hopeful" who signed a pledge to support the eventual nominee and even chided the Trumpster when it appeared he may have been signaling a third-party run.

"There were various arguments why Trump wouldn't win. His popularity would fade. He could only dominated a divided, overcrowded field. He had a natural ceiling at 25%, then 30%, then 40%. He'd finally saying something too outrageous. None of these arguments made much sense but they carried most punditry for months." There is no mystery here. I also believed the Trumpster would fade as we got to actual vote casting because I underestimated just how unsavvy and ill-informed the GOP base had become. I was sure they would think, "This guy will kill us by not being subtle." But, nope, as it went on it became clearer that the base was tired of dog-whistling and wanted someone they could manipulate (and yes, the Trumpster has his own problems, but he's fed on the feedback he received from his supporters). (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Today, Colorado Springs, Colo., and the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado announced a settlement that will end the practice of jailing people too poor to pay their court fines. The city will even give payouts to people who were incorrectly sent to jail." Because debtor's prison is illegal.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Linkee-poo likes Sir David Attenborough but thought Boaty McBoatface was bitchin'

Agent DongWon Song is open for submissions.

Not feeling it? Okay, here's a Writer's Block Supercut from 53 movies. Now are you feeling it?

So, uh, oil sands can't burn, can they? Although, all that processed oil stored on the surface sure will. Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada is where the oil sands are, the very place the US still imports the majority of it's oil from. Yeah, it's on fire. IIRC the oil sands can't actually catch fire on their own. But if I'm wrong our largest source of imported oil may experience something like a coal seam fire. Is it time to panic, yet?

I would say this is completely an unintended consequence of strict adherence to center based design. But I know designers. Somewhere, one of us is giggling madly. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

"With the rules that were more than two years in the making, the (FDA) is expanding its authority over e-cigarettes, cigars and hookah tobacco, in much the same way it already regulates traditional cigarettes." Just in case you thought the government over regulated business. No, not really. It's playing catch up.

Two in a row. SpaceX sticks the landing, again.

"Apple executive Phil Schiller gave Apple users a grammar lesson on Twitter yesterday afternoon, explaining that it isn't necessary to pluralize Apple product names." Actually this is to protect trademark and branding and is quite common. That is, they aren't Kleenexes, but Kleenex facial tissues. I say we need to develop plural names like gaggle or murder. (Grokked from Dan)

Because, yeah, if you let kids walk past abortion clinics on the way to school they may think of them as normal places. Which is at odds with what stuffy old white men want them to think. Because we want the kids to think of abortion services as bad places they may need to shoot up in the future. So we'll stop talking about it as well.

The Planet Money podcast on the insidious problem of tax rebates offered to businesses. Why should you care when you're business isn't one of those that often relocates to keep from paying any taxes? Because your taxes need to go up to cover those tax breaks (or suffer from cut services, or have your government go into debt). And it's just one state or city poaching jobs from other states and cities.

Computerize everything, they said. Nothing could go wrong, they said. What could it hurt if the device you're using to supervise heart catheterization decides to reboot in the middle of a procedure because a networked computer's anti-virus software was scanning a hard drive? (Grokked from Dan)

"It's not that Kaiser doesn't enjoy her job, which pays a decent salary after 10 years and even provides small raises every year. But like many millions of Americans, she finds that the raises she gets are pretty much eaten up by rising expenses, leaving her with a standard of living that's essentially flat." What wage stagnation is and looks like, why it's feeding the Trump and Sanders candidacies, and the problems that come with it. I know, I have a feeling I'm preaching to the choir here. At 50 I have a day job that pays well and did give me a decent raise (when they realized I could make as much at my new career as they were paying me). However, for the past 3 years my "raise" has been folded into our so-called "profit sharing" plan. Which, if we were at 100% target revenue would be very nice, but we've never been at 100% since they instituted the plan which basically means, no raise for the past 3 years. At the night thing the hospital realized they were losing good people and couldn't attract good employees to replace them, so they recently did a bump to the bottom minimum wage (which trickled up and gave us new people a nice raise, which hasn't been reflected in our checks yet, it'll be next month), but didn't move the top-line of the pay categories (which means their "best, long-term" employees are still wage locked). BTW, with my CT certification plus the hourly raise, plus a hopeful cost of living bump, a potential "full-time" recruitment bump, and the shift differential (for working afternoons and overnight) I've effectively evened out the "good raise" the day job gave me (and my current bosses aren't looking in the same direction my previous bosses were, so I doubt they'd either know or care). From my experience, the best pay increases only come with changing jobs. Let that be a lesson to the kids, and to the management. If you don't increase you pay with more than cost of living, you're going to lose the people who can get other jobs and the game of suppressing wages though "comparison rates" is about to break down.

"The first Navy drone ship is… known as Sea Hunter, which cost around $120 million to build. The military says more can now be produced for $20 million or so each. But some are concerned that with no humans at the controls, these 'robot ships' could be hacked, pwned remotely, and used by America's enemies to attack the United States." Or, you know, taken over by Skynet.

Why are low-information voters/citizens a Bad Idea™? Because with low-information citizens shit like this happens. A police officer is called to a school cafeteria when a 13-year old tries to pay for lunch with a $2 bill. Cop then has to go to store and bank only to be told that, yeah, $2 bills are legit (and have been for DECADES now). Oh, and then the cop never apologized to the kid even though he caused her to miss lunch and threatened her and her grandmother with counterfeiting charges. That's special.

"'We will take no action by Monday,' (North Carolina state House Speaker Tim Moore (R)) told reporters… 'That deadline will come and go. We don’t ever want to lose any money, but we’re not going to get bullied by the Obama administration to take action prior to Monday’s date. That’s not how this works.'" Actually, yeah, that is how this works.

The Trumpster wants to bring Joe Paterno back (we're assuming here he means to bring the statue back to Penn State, Joe Paterno being dead and all). Yeah, that might not be a good idea. According to Penn State's insurer, Paterno knew about Sandusky's proclivities toward children all the way back to the 70s. So, no, they're not going to pay out for the lawsuits.

Tweet of my heart: @ivan_hernandez I'm proBernie but would vote Hillary as I am a one issue voter and that issue is not opening the seventh seal and ushering in the apocalypse

Double-dip: @shawnp0wers While art is rarely the "how" behind the progression of a society, it's almost always the "why". #DeepThoughtsByShawn

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Linkee-poo remembers when, remembers when I lost my mind

Five easy pieces tricks to better storytelling. (Grokked from Daniel J. Hogan)

The carnyx. It's sort of a bronze-age, Celtic, musical vuvuzela complete with soft pallet and tongue. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

One of the many reasons I don't use many "cloud services", you don't really own the data. In this case, Apple's Music service, to be helpful, deletes files from your hard drive to store what it considered the "real version" in the cloud. Uh, no thanks. Being an old school kind of person, I am always leery of storing data I need to use (or own) on media I don't have immediate control over. Backups? No problem. Original files? No fucking way. As a personal note, I looked at Apple Music, being a long time Apple fan and said, "Nope." (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"The implication here is that when it comes to very short time scales, even before we think we've made a conscious choice, our mind has already subconsciously decided for us, and free will is more of an illusion than we think." Wow, that's a whole lotta bullshit in one sentence. Newsflash, all your choices are subconscious, your conscious self just engages in reinforcement and justification. In case you think I'm making this up, google "monkey-brain" and "lizard-brain". This is humans coming to grip with being those "damn, dirty apes" we always were and hitting the wall of Aristotelian dynamics (which tells us to divide the world in twain, and that both sides can't be like the other). (Grokked from Dan)

Quantum computing debuts on the internet of things. "The actual quantum processor is stored at IBM’s research center in Yorktown Heights, NY. in a complex refrigeration system that keeps the chip cooled near absolute zero, which is required for quantum activity to take place. Users can interact with the machine through the Internet much like they would access cloud software like email." (Grokked from Dan)

Why are "religious freedom" bills a bad idea? "South Carolina tow truck driver said God told him to leave a disabled Bernie Sanders supporter stranded along the interstate… The conservative Christian suggested he had a religious right to refuse service to Sanders supporters." I hope she sues the fuck outa this asshole for refusal of custom. Oh, and Mr. Shupe, your god is kind of a dick. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"Police destroy legally painted mural of Mike Brown, because it sent the wrong message." Community policing, you're doing it wrong. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

"The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Republican National Committee staffers were told that if they could not embrace Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee they would need to leave by the end of this week." And the purge begins. Just wait until the blackshirt purge the brownshirts. That'll be fun.

What happens when you can win? "The move is being called a naked power grab and an obvious example of court packing -- an accusation seemingly backed by the fact that the five current justices have said there’s no need for additional justices." Yeah, you do things like that.

@paolobacigalupi When we look at Trump, we should realize that we're looking in a mirror. The real horror is that a good chunk of America likes what it sees.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Linkee-poo, let it rock, let it roll, let the bible belt come and save my soul

I'll have a lot to say about the pharmaceutical business in a little bit, but "At some hospitals, posters on the wall in the emergency department list the drugs that are in short supply or unavailable, along with recommended alternatives." One of those drugs? Saline solution. Salt water. Sure, it has to be sterile, but damn, saline solution. If you think it's a joke about how much bottled water costs compared to gasoline, yeah, you don't want to know how much saline costs. If I would stop all this other stuff and go into business it would be to make sterile saline. "Changing the economics of these drugs could help, said George Washington's Pines, noting that profit margins are thin and there's not a lot of extra capacity in the system if one manufacturer stops producing a drug." He's right about the second part, but I call bullshit on the thin profit margins line. This is just big pharma colluding to drive up prices.

Time lists their fifty most influential gadgets (majority digital incarnations, but oddly they don't include micro-transistors). (Grokked from Dan)

Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. Unfortunately we really don't track those things.

Water has memory. Okay. The world is stranger than you think. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"A biotech company in the US has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury, to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life." What could possibly go wrong? (Grokked from Dan)

The George W Bush initiative to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa was actually quite successful. Except for the third of the billions we spent that was earmarked for abstinence only education. That part pretty much tanked. Just like it did in the US.

And then there was one. We're living in an Agatha Christie world. Or the GOP race was just the most open form of Highlander competition.

Well, the Trumpster saying things doesn't make the world more dangerous… except brownshirts always make the world more dangerous. Oh, and dear police officer who said the woman was within her 1st Amendment Rights with what she said, let me call bullshit on you. Hate speech is not protected speech.

In other Trumpster news, conservatives figure out Fox News isn't really a news site after all.

What I really love is all the talk about "real conservatives." Dear GOP, Donald Trump is appealing to all those who for the last 4 elections have been screaming for "a real conservative who will fight for our values." It's just you thought you knew what those values were, but they weren't those of your base.

Tweet of my heart: @TheWeirdWorld Depression is like when your mind and heart stop loving each other but still eat at the same dinner table together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Linkee-poo, all I want is a remedy, if I had some remedy I'd take enough to please me

As if you need another reason to own a Tesla, results from testing the HEPA filter and the bioweapon defense mode. Makes you wonder just WTF Elon Musk is really up to, doesn't it? Oh, and because my day job sells actual military CBRNE defense materials, that the time of the test is listed in minutes, and it takes about 1 minute to drop concentrations down below 200 micrograms/meter cubed means you really won't survive. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

The temple complex at Angkor Wat appears to be more extensive than originally thought.

Reverse engineering an ATM skimmer found in the wild. Yep. (Grokked from Dan)

Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, who researched the genetic diversity of the human 23rd chromosome and specifically the Y variant, said… “Half of the Western European population is descended from just one man." That may sound astonishing, but this stems from a person who lived about 190,000 years (or approximately 9,500 generations) ago. There is also significant evidence that one in every 200 men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan and he was only 780 years (or 39 generations) ago. It's also speculated (looking at mitochondrial DNA) that all of humanity emerged from a Mitochondrial Eve who lived 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. This may be difficult to grasp until you realize that more people have been alive on this planet since the 20th Century than have ever lived since we can say Homo sapiens became a distinct species. But the most interesting quote in the original article is "In Europe there was huge population expansion in just a few generations. Genetics can’t tell us why it happened but we know that a tiny number of elite males were controlling reproduction and dominating the population." Remind you of anything happening today? (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

Most likely water flowed on Mars in ancient times. Well, maybe not so ancient times. And it's boiling as it flows. Boiling salty water. (Grokked from Dan)

Is there a better way to pay for our schools. Not when people are bug-fucked about "new" taxes. "The achievement gap between this nation's wealthiest and poorest students is growing dramatically, not shrinking. Something's not working." And that, friends, is a recipe for not only disaster, but cultural and political extinction.

If it isn't actually a problem, make it a problem. "But… conservatives are trying to invent the problem to justify their barbaric solution. For an obvious example, look no further than designated hate group American Family Association, whose director of governmental affairs, Sandy Rios, just admitted that her organization has been sending men into women’s bathrooms at Target in the hopes of eliciting a reaction." Here's the thing, is the US we don't have police stationed outside of restrooms. It's only social convention that keeps people using the bathroom of their choice. But, because there really has never been a problem before (well, yes there was but it wasn't because of transgendered people and it was usually dealt with existing laws) the asshat idiots of the American Family Association, a nominally religious organization, has taken it upon themselves to creep on women. What a fabulous idea. So, basically, what we should take from this and the ongoing scandal of religious peoples using their positions of trust within their religion to sexually abuse children is that you can't trust religious people. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley, among others)

So, what happens when you allow the "religious freedom bills" to proliferate hate? "A dollar store chain in Louisiana is investigating – after a video spread in which an employee allegedly refuses to serve a gay woman." Yep, the dumb is contagious. It's not just about "baking cakes for gay weddings." It never was. (Grokked from George Takei)

"Established after the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, the Marine Corps’ crisis response unit is tasked to rapidly reinforce U.S. diplomatic outposts in Africa and Europe that come under attack. The Ospreys allow the Marines to arrive at hard-to-reach places in Africa on short notice." And now six of the twelve MV-22B are being redeployed back to the US. "Marie Corps Times recently reported that the mission-capable rates for Marine rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft has plunged in recent years due to budget cuts." History may not be repeat, but it strongly rhymes.

The political calculus of Marco Rubio. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

"This is not how things unfolded in 1964, when prominent moderates in the party loudly protested Goldwater and everything he stood for, up until and after the GOP convention… In the end, Johnson crushed Goldwater, winning more than 60 percent of the popular vote and by a 486-52 margin in the Electoral College. It was the staggering defeat moderate Republicans had warned of, but it didn't doom the GOP to political oblivion. Nixon, who ultimately campaigned for Goldwater, won the White House four years later." And that sums it up and also exposes my worse fear about Trump. The GOP will remake itself (it's done so 4 times in my lifetime) and come back. While there are not many moderates left (and those who are called "moderates" are what would have been called "staunch Republicans" back in the 80s), the political class will reassemble and readjust the mask they've worn for so long and begin the process of duping the gullible and dog-whistling their way into office.

And as I plan a vacation that requires several flights (one connection where I have to collect my bags and recheck-in for the next flight), "TSA lines grow to 3 hours, snake outside the terminals, with no end in sight." Fuck me. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Linkee-poo think maybe manager wanna write goddamn login page himself

May on the moors.

Mary Robinette Kowal on having sensitivity readers and the importance of their feedback. It's one way to try and avoid the most common of pitfalls when writing about "the other."

K. Tempest Bradford on fears of writing the other and how to get over it. Originally posted in 2013, there have been some updates. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Nikki Steel gathers a list of 100 must read SF/F novels by female authors. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

George RR Martin responds to John C. Wright's objections over his statement about last year's Hugos. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

For your nightmare fuel, the Rat King. (Grokked from Dan)

A vending machine for books. Okay, well, if done right I wonder if this could bring back the dynamic of the spin-racks of books everywhere? It's often true that vending machines are owned by someone else than the business property owner. I made the comment before about how the industry sold more books when books were available everywhere. Some romance imprints keep to this trend, but few others do (although you can buy some books in WalMarts now). But, merging this technology, with traditional vending routes, may actually bump up sales (and make a tidy profit for the person who implements it). (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Some cool science photos. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

A trio of stars around a nearby dwarf star means "(t)he dwarf star’s size and brightness make it particularly suitable for 'transit spectroscopy', perhaps with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope." Living in the future. Oh, and all three are in the Goldilocks Zone.

"But in the years since, more than 100 pounds have crept back onto his 5-foot-11 frame despite his best efforts. In fact, most of that season’s 16 contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost so arduously. Some are even heavier now." How the experience of the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" sheds light on the dieting and weightless craze, despite everything else, most people gain all their weight back. Why, because here's the secret, once you start a diet and exercise regime you need to keep dieting and exercising for the rest of your life. "'The key point is… you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can’t get away from a basic biological reality,' said Dr. Schwartz, who was not involved in the study. 'As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back.'" Ain't that a pisser?

Good news, everyone! "Three years ago, Canavero, now 51, had his own Dr. Strange moment when he announced he’d be able to do a human head transplant in a two-part procedure he dubs HEAVEN (head anastomosis venture) and Gemini (the subsequent spinal cord fusion)." Uh, yeah. Look, I think we have enough Fox Network executives to make Torgo's Executive Powder and just have heads in a jar. (Grokked from Dan)

"Philip Kives, master of the infomercial, has died… Kives started reeling in customers when he founded K-Tel International in the 1960s." I wonder if he'll be buried in the Vault-o-matic 2016?

So after we somewhat fixed the school lunch programs to not shame poor people (and maybe do actual good) the Republican Congress wants to say, "Nope." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

The Pentagon gets a little testy with the Benghazi Committee's fickle and bizarre requests. But the election isn't over yet and Hillary still is showing strongly in the polls. So yeah, if some anonymous person calls unto some third market conservative radio show claiming to be an expert and that they heard some radio traffic that totally proves Hillary Clinton was responsible for Chris Stevens' death by probably pulling the trigger, well we should have the Pentagon use all of its resources to track that person down. Well, at least while it's hot in the news.

https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/04/29/wayne-simmons-right-wing-media-s-benghazi-expert-pleads-guilty-fraud/210145 And then one of the "experts" who testified at the Benghazi hearings, and then went on as an "expert" at Fox New just plead guilty to not really being an expert. I'm sure he was an expert at those other things, no worries. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Tweet of my heart: @JohnFugelsang The Amurkans who once berated you for not supporting W are the same Amurkans now berating you for not supporting Trump.