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

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Linkee-poo, how long before your broken heart starts giving in

My Write Club an online writing tracker (for word count), where you can also create writer groups and watch each other's word counts in real time. Okay. I love writing with groups of people. In that setting I can lay down an egregious amount of wordage in a short timeframe and I love the communal space and energy. I'm not sure this supplants that "in the company of other writers", but it seems interesting. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

A Howard Taylor tweestorm storified on panel moderation, I mean moderating panels. Good points all. I will also add that as a moderator it is your job to entertain the audience. It is a performance. Those people who come into your room have paid cash money (for the most part) to be there and to see the panelists you're moderating. Help the audience have a worthwhile experience (and that may mean being contrarian if need be to spark discussion, it may also mean shutting down a panelists who is monopolizing time, which I failed once and won't make that mistake again). Yes, I've also let my own opinions come out as a moderator, including a comment "apparently this horse isn't dead yet, so let's keep whipping, shall we?" and in another instance seeing a connection no one else was making (but were all dancing around) so stepped out of moderator, made the connection, and then handed it back to the panelists to discuss. There have been other sins, but those are the big two I remember. Oh, and if you're the moderator, do your homework. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

The Ivy Lee method of using a to-do list. Yeah. That works if you're in charge of your schedule and workload. Like if you're a manager or executive. Doesn't work so much when you work someplace that the only difference in the fire drill is whom is being burned out and just how much in involved in the fire. When everything is last minute, scheduling this way doesn't work (except in rare circumstances). But maybe it'll work for you. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

"A spokesman (for HAV which developed the Airlander 10, the hybrid airplane airship) said: 'The flight went really well and the only issue was when it landed.'" Yea, but that's the part that hurts the most. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

How drug companies miss-use the patient laws to keep drugs covered for much longer than intended. This has the effect of keeping pharmaceutical prices higher than they should be. And another article on the continuing payola schemes pharma and medical device makers engage in. Tell me again how the medical industry doesn't need stricter regulations.

And why the EpiPen cost so damn much. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

The last commercial tea plantation in the US.

"In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour." Yet in the US solar energy is considered a bedraggled and failing business even when it's growing 100 fold over the last decade. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"A new report… says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article… the scientists explain: 'The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.'" This is Skynet just fucking with us. Or "Clippy's Revenge." (Grokked from Dan)

A man raised on the premise that catcalling women was normal learns the truth about it. There probably won't be a transcript of this NPR story, but I highly recommend listening to it. First up, catcalling is not about "appreciating women", but is about proving to other men that you're "manly" and to make sure women know the street is not for them.

"The only problem is that the emails in question reveal nothing of the sort. What they actually reveal is that a few foundation donors wanted access, but didn’t actually get it." That has been my take as well. Oh look, international movers and shakers who have business with the US government also saw the Clinton Foundation as a worthwhile organization to donate to. And some of those people tried to use that connection to get special favors. But so far nobody has been able to say, "because of this donation this person got special consideration or personal favors from Secretary Clinton while in office." It's pretty much ho-hum business. What's really sad is that most people know this happens (it is, after all, part of the Trumpster's "rigged system"). But now we all act surprised that it happens. But so far there's been a lot of heat and friction, but no smoke or fire. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

A Fred Clark tweetstorm on the Clinton Foundation.

And the shoes keep dropping. "This week's lawsuit by Andrea Tantaros against Fox News depicts the network's public relations department as a dirty tricks operation, one that will stop at almost nothing to smear enemies, including Fox employees." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

As Aetna pulls out of some of the Obamacare exchanges, it only fuels the call for a "public option." On the odd political side, the Trumpster's candidacy makes that an actual possibility (right now the smart conservative money is fighting to keep from losing the Senate, and there is some talk about the GOP losing the House this fall, which seemed all but an impossibility until after redistricting in 2020). And while we're advocating, let Medicare Part D negotiate with pharma (right now it is intentionally and explicitly illegal for them to do so). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Just a reminder that appeals courts also get it wrong with it comes to voting rights. You might remember that GW Bush stacked the courts as quick as possible and that the Senate has blocked as many Obama appointments as possible (not just Merrick Garland). In this case they overturned a lower court ruling re-establishing Ohio's "Golden Week" (where one could both register and vote within the same week). "While the court can't predict how African-Americans will turn out in future elections, he said, 'It is reasonable to conclude from this evidence that their right to vote will be modestly burdened' by the law… More than 60,000 people voted during golden week in 2008, while over 80,000 cast ballots during the period in 2012, Watson had noted in his decision." Oh, well, if it only "modestly" impairs the African-American vote than I guess that's okay. Not. Asshole.

Yes, Trumpster supporters in Pennsylvania, a state which hasn't voted for a republican president since 1988, think if Trump loses there, even through he's down my 8+ points in all the polls, that the election would be rigged. Can't fix stupid.

"It’s clear that Donald Trump’s 'black outreach' isn’t actual outreach to black communities. A Trump who wanted to reach black voters would speak to black churches, black colleges, and organizations like the NAACP or the Urban League… In Akron, Trump didn’t describe life for black Americans as much as he described a white supremacist fantasy in which blacks live miserable, brutish, and nearly subhuman lives in cities dominated by feckless Democrats. And he punctuated that fantasy with a call to vigilance for his audience, asking them to watch out for 'fraud' in those same neighborhoods." Racist is as racist does. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"'You would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions on things that they know nothing about,' Eric Trump said on CNBC, describing what would happen if Donald Trump released his tax returns." We all aren't working on your Dad's policy teams, Eric. There are plenty of people who know taxes, and those are the people we'd ask. And the government already has all your tax information, there is absolutely no reason to not release them (unless your betting that the IRS won't find anything that would result in a fine or adjustment, but someone else would).

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