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

Monday, October 31, 2016

Linkee-poo was working in the lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight

How bad is the NoDAPL getting? Amnesty International has sent observers. Also, "Protesters said that those arrested in the confrontation had numbers written on their arms and were housed in what appeared to be dog kennels, without bedding or furniture." I'm sure they're no racism going on here. You know, "Injun Hunts" aside. And now there are reports that Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers have been dispatched to help law enforcement efforts. I'm sure that will help calm things down.

Some Halloween folklore. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

Apparently there is also an attempt to remove Halloween from Samhain. (Grokked form Dr Caitlin Green)

As a reminder, the Pilgrims banned Halloween because it was too Catholic, and they banned Christmas because it was too pagan. It's not like Christianity hasn't coopted many of the pagan/heathen traditions in an attempt to "Christianize" the holidays (which the people continued to celebrate, even after their "conversion").

Apparently Metformin may delate or prevent Alzheimers and dementia.

NASA's Scout program tracking near-Earth asteroids.

"By every measure, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton's five year run as governor has been a stellar success: while Tim Pawlenty, his tax-slashing, 'fiscally-conservative' Republican predecessor presided over a $6.2B deficit and a 7% unemployment rate… Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to the Minnesota economy, brought Minnesota down to the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the country, and brought the average Minnesotan income up to $8,000 more than the median US worker, while posting a $1B budget surplus… How did Dayton do it? He raised the state income tax on individuals earning more than $150K, from 7.85% to 9.85%; he raised Minnesota's minimum wage and guaranteed equal pay for women." Again, there are real world labs which have tried many of the economic philosophies. Now, while it's somewhat disingenuous to compare economics during the 2007 economic collapse, we do have other experiments in "conservative fiscal ideology" to show the difference. Take for instance Kansas.

"There needs to be a hell of a lot of hate in your heart to think lynching people on Halloween is funny. And yet, here we are, Miami. A homeowner… is celebrating the holiday by lynching two black-looking dummies in his or her yard… It's also impossible to ignore what's just in front of the display on the same lawn: A 'Trump/Pence 2016' sign." Although it turns out the sign is in a neighbors yard (it's one of those communities that the "lawn" is not as large as some people's gardens), the homeowner who put up the display refuses to say which candidate he's supporting and is telling everyone to get over it, because it's Halloween. Yeah, still not cool. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Instead, throughout his life in the spotlight, whether as a businessman, television star or presidential candidate, The Post found that Trump had sought credit for charity he had not given — or had claimed other people’s giving as his own." In the olden days we called that "a braggart." (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Donald Trump suggested in a speech at a Colorado rally on Saturday that election officials will throw away mail-in ballots if they don't 'like' them." Sweet Jesus, how does that low-power brain send enough signal to his legs to walk?

And there there is this. "Donald Trump is not letting up on his claims that the election could be rigged against him… During a rally in Greeley, Colorado, on Sunday evening, Trump opened the event expressing skepticism of mail-in ballots in the state. He encouraged people to get a new ballot, even if they have already sent one in, and vote again." I swear if you wrote this as a novel it would break the bonds of credibility. You have a major political candidate not only saying the election is rigged, stoking fears of voter fraud, but actually encouraging it. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"'He has refused to condemn in a very serious way his racist and anti-Semitic fans,' (CNN Jake) Tapper said, arguing that Conway and Trump’s running mate Mike Pence have taken a more forceful approach." To which, of course, Kellyanne Conway said that he had and that he didn't approve of the press intimidation. Except, you know, he hasn't and he's encouraged the intimidation of the press.

"In a stunning political move, conservatives are already strategizing on how to block any future Supreme Court nominee from moving forward during Hillary Clinton's presidency before the election even happens." You may remember when the RNC held a conference after the 2008 election on how to block the agenda of President elect Obama, and to label him a socialist. And while Ted Cruz is technically correct, the Constitution does not enumerate how many judges sit on the SCOTUS, he ignores all historical president. Also, this is basically just sour grapes over losing the election and potentially losing a conservative SCOTUS. This is the senatorial version of holding their breath until they turn blue.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Happy Halloween

Tonight was trick or treat in little town.

In case you ever wondered what $100 of candy looked like.

This year's decorations were ready.

And then the mobs descended. Actually we didn't get as many as I though we would. This year was warmer than most, and dry (although humid). And I think we were the only local community with trick or treat tonight. My neighbors give out 1 piece of candy each and keep pretty close track, so we know it was about 500 people (many really too old and a number of way too young).

Linkee-poo, give a little bit, give a little bit of your love to me

Need some NaNoWriMo inspiration? Well, okay.

A video of a music typewriter in action. (Grokked from John)

"As part of Airbnb’s latest promotional contest, the short-term rental company is offering two lucky individuals the chance to stay in Dracula’s castle on Halloween night." I smell a GoFundMe coming on… (Grokked from Alex C. Renwick)

"Over the past several years, the health of Americans has deteriorated—particularly that of middle-aged non-Hispanic whites. Among the culprits are drug overdoses, suicide, alcohol poisoning, and liver disease… Partly as a result, the life expectancy for 65-year-olds is now six months shorter than in last year’s actuarial study. Longevity for younger Americans was also affected: A 25-year-old woman last year had a 50/50 chance of reaching age 90. This year, she is projected to fall about six months short… Baby boomers, Generation X, and yes, millennials, are all doing worse." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

A Jack Chick Goes to Heaven cartoon done in the style of Jack Chick tracts. (Grokked from Dan)

When prosecutors felt they didn't have enough evidence to continue a sexual assault charge against one Democratic Missouri House candidate, he then sues his accuser, who is also a Democratic Missouri House candidate, for defamation. Proving there are assholes on all sides of the political debate.

"Duterte has vowed to stop using (swear words) because God threatened to crash the airplane he was flying home from Japan in if he didn't cut it out." I'm pretty sure that will last as long as it did for the rest of us.

"'It's the consumers' information. How it is used should be the consumers' choice.' So said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler as the commission adopted rules requiring Internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon to get customers' permission before selling the data they collect to marketers." Don't worry, ISPs, just include it in your 20+ page Terms of Agreement that you can sell and share user data. Nobody reads those.

The problem with how Duterte has ben prosecuting his "war on drugs." At some point someone says won't someone rid me of this troublesome priest. A week after Duterte fingers a local mayor as involved in the drug trade, said mayor turns himself in, says he's actually fighting drugs, but then is gunned down (along with some of his followers) by police as they're driving through town. Governments can't trade in lawlessness, because it invariably leads to purging of different levels of dissidents. (Grokked from Brandie Tarvin)

"'The military expert Donald Trump previously said he could teach 'a couple things' responded in kind Thursday, repeating his original claim to the New York Times that the Republican nominee 'doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy.'"

"Rurality does not create the fever swamp we’re now in. Fifty years of the GOP’s 'Southern strategy,' however, does." On the many think pieces about how the disaffected rural people are driving the Trump bus. Nope, they're just getting suckered all over again. (Grokked from Christopher Moore)

"For the past month, Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he will personally contribute more than $100 million to his own campaign by Election Day, but now Trump will not commit to reaching that goal." Of course not. He lies about things easily disproven by a google search. Actually calling him on this means gathering public documents and doing the math. He's not used to people actually doing that.

"'I went up there and talked to him. I told him, "I support you and I appreciate what you’re doing. It’s your right, but you’re going about it the wrong way here." The election code has very specific rules,' (Bulverde, Texas Police Chief Gary) Haecker told the Herald-Zeitung. 'These are the rules and you have to abide by the rules.'" A man is arrested for wearing a Trump hat (which he did removed on request) and not turning his "Basket of Deplorables" shirt inside out (which he claimed 1st Amendment rights). Wondering if lot of those "2nd Amendment Is Our First Freedom" people are going to discover that we go have laws that limit the rights outlined in the Bill of Rights? I'm sure it will come as a shock. Waiting for the "they're surpressing the Trump vote" outrage in 3… 2… 1…

"A Des Moines woman has been charged with Election Misconduct, a Class D felony, after allegedly voting twice for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Terri Rote says she was afraid her first ballot for Trump would be changed to a vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton… 'I wasn't planning on doing it twice, it was spur of the moment,' says Rote. 'The polls are rigged.'" Dear conservatives, please note that she was caught. This is what happens when you try to vote twice. Also note that if she's convicted, as a felon, her franchise will be removed from her and require her to reapply to gain it back. Given what she would be convicted of, it's doubtful she'll be able to vote in a public election ever again. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker has asked Florida election official why nearly 25,000 people who've applied to vote haven't had their registrations completed.

Wiccans for Trump. There's always a few in the crowd, and they have the same denial mechanisms as a lot of the Christian conservatives. (Grokked from Dan)

"FBI Director James Comey has notified members of Congress that the FBI has reopened its investigation into the handling of classified information in connection with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state… He added, 'the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work.'" My guess is it'll take them until Nov. 9th to come up with, "meh, nothing here." Although, less than a few hours after I typed that, it appears to be a few emails, not from Clinton, not from her server, but somehow related but discovered in the investigation into Anthony Weiner's sexting. My money is that suspicion that the word "blowjob" is somewhere in there.

"A newly surfaced video shows Donald Trump grabbing and kissing a former Miss Universe onstage." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@matthewamiller Comey refused to even tell Congress if FBI was investigating Trump camp for Russia hack, but regular updates on Clinton are apparently A-ok. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Scenes from a Commute

Sunrise from the opposite side. If you're in NE Ohio I hope you enjoyed this past week when going outside, cause I think that was Peak Leaf Peeping.

Linkee-poo will live now cause the bad die last, dodging bullets with your broken past

And now I will give my annual "Get out and vote" line. Get out and vote. No, I don't really care whom you vote for (well, yes, I do, but not enough to stop anyone from exercising their franchise). If you're eligible and registered to vote, please go and vote. I understand there are more hurdles this time, but if you don't vote there will be even more next time.

"The end of the six-week trial for seven people who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon can be summed up in two words: not guilty." Seriously, Oregon? It was an exceptionally low bar you were asked to cross, the charge of carrying firearms on a federal facility. There are fucking pictures that the defendants took (and posted to the internet) themselves showing them breaking the law. However the Bundy brothers weren't set free (as their lawyer protested to the point of being determined to being out of order and then being tased) as they're still wanted for extradition to Nevada to stand trial there.

Teri Windling on Godfather Death and the personification of death through myth and fairy tales. From the section about the Danse Macabre, "This (morality play) was paired with sermons stressing that death could strike anyone at any time, exhorting the audience to prepare themselves and live free of sin." And I thought, wow, the Rapture has replaced Death in many evangelical lives.

Can't do NaNoWriMo but think some structure like that may help? Okay, how about some alternatives?

Just in time for Halloween, brains. Dinosaur brains in fact. "What's different about this particular example, (Alex Liu of the University of Cambridge) says, is that the outer millimeter or so of this fossil 'is actually mineralization of some of the soft tissue structures that were preserved before they decayed away within the original dinosaur brain case.'" Brains.

Rocket cats (and birds) of history. That siege warfare scene in your book? Yeah, you're doing it wrong. Think that's a one-off? How about flaming pigs used to panic war elephants and break a siege? (Grokked from Dan)

"When catering a prestigious event, any waiter may fear clumsily dropping a plate or spilling a drink on an eminent guest. Few will suffer the indignity of accidentally knocking a thumb off a priceless Roman statue with their head." Note they're not inviting that caterer back, but not rethinking the idea of holding high-priced soirees in the galleries of the museum. That would not do. (Grokked from Tania)

"By genetically sequencing (HIV) samples from people infected early on, scientists say they have figured out when and where the virus that took hold here first arrived. In the process, they have exonerated the man accused of triggering the epidemic in North America." Patient Zero was actually "Patient O" for "outside of California". But America need a villain (at the time people realized that AIDS/HIV wasn't just for "teh Gayz"), and for most people he fit the bill.

"It’s easy to see why the Overton Window holds such appeal. For one thing, it offers a universal theory of change in an age of polarization and fracture… For another thing, it has the virtue of simplicity: Overton did little more than repackage the basic negotiating principle that if you ask for a lot, you will likely get more than if you ask for a little. And although the window offers a theory of change, its central element—the window itself—actually describes the norm from which reality has deviated." The flaws of the mentality of an Overton Window mechanism driving the current election. Instead of moving what we consider "normal" or "acceptable", Trump on the right and Sanders on the left only appealed to an installed base with ideas they already held. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

So, how our ubiquitous "black friend" faring in these "post racial" days? "A black 15-year-old in Mississippi shook in fear as he described how white schoolmates put a noose around his neck and pulled it tight, leaving no physical scars but perhaps a life-changing emotional wound, his mother said Thursday." Fuckstockings!

Sure the GOP isn't a festering racist abscess on Democracy's behind. Except last night US Sen. Mark Kirk (R) mocked his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. (and US Army veteran) Tammy Duckworth (D) by saying he had "forgotten (that her) parents came all of the way from Thailand to serve George Washington" during a debate. To which I believe some people in the audience had the thought, "he does realize this is being broadcast live, right?" Dear Sen. Mark Kirk, please fuck off and die at your earliest convenience.

What harm could come from those "religious freedom acts"? An Indianapolis woman's lawyer argued Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act gave his client the right to discipline her children according to her "evangelical" beliefs. Apparently in the evangelical Bible is doesn't say "suffer the children to come unto me" but "make the children suffer with a coat hanger." I'm pretty sure my Bible didn't say that.

"Since then, though, the Koch operation has decided to sit out the presidential race, reduced its spending goal to $750 million, failed to maintain the support of some top donors including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, announced that it was consolidating or eliminating some of the groups and initiatives in the network, and irked Republicans by opting not to advertise heavily on television in the final month of the campaign." The after shocks of the Trumpster's candidacy are starting. But don't worry, even through the Kochs are cutting back and realizing they don't have much impact on the national level, they know they're highly effective at the state and local level. That's a dangerous lesson for them to learn (as in dangerous for the rest of us). Although it's interesting to see that they don't understand their own role in helping Trumpster get nominated (or they are denying it so as to hope to avoid blowback). (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"'We call on you to form up incognito intelligence gathering and crime spotting teams and go out into public on election day, dressed to blend in with the public, without any Oath Keepers hat or T shirt on, and with video, still camera, and notepad in hand, to look for and document suspected criminal vote fraud or intimidation activities,' (Oath Keepers founder Stewart) Rhodes wrote on the group’s website." We have met the enemy and he is us.

You know that joke where the Trumpster fails so bad he just quits where he is and declares victory? "Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump… unveiled a new campaign strategy on Thursday ― simply calling the whole thing off and declaring himself president." Yeah, I thought it was faked to, but there's video. There's always video. (Grokked from Brandie Tarvin)

Yes, the numbers on 538 are moving in favor of Trumpster, but it was expected the race would tighten, and my guess is we'll still be at 80/20 come election day. Note those are percentages of winning the electoral college vote, not popular voting numbers.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Linkee-poo, a child of sacrifice, a child of war, another son who never had a father after Leningrad

"Paul Beatty wins Man Booker Prize with The Sellout, a sendup of race in America"

Writing advice from Joe Lansdale. Standard disclaimer, use what works for you, toss what doesn't. YMMV. Everybody writes differently, and even books by the same author demand to be written differently than other books by that same author. See "tweet of my heart" below. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

What do witches eat? Pretty much what everyone else does. Although cakes and ale is nice.

Remember when companies would offer free child care? Does anyone do that anymore? 'Cause that would be a great thing for working parents. And it would certainly help out their budgets.

"Its critics, including in industry, say the way IARC evaluates whether substances might be carcinogenic can cause unnecessary health scares. IARC assesses the risk of a substance being carcinogenic without taking account of typical human exposure to it." At least that's the excuse of industries facing having their products labeled as carcinogenic are using to force scientists to release emails and draft documents. Because it's so totally not an attempt to frighten anyone away from doing that research or find cheap talking points. Not at all.

"Oxehealth’s software uses camera data to measure heart rate, respiration and blood oxygenation from a distance. The company is now trying out the technology in the real world, in hospitals, psychiatric wards and police stations. Now that would be interesting… except for "police stations"? WTF? But, yes, not having to disturb patients at night would be excellent. I think I see a major fault though. "The Oxehealth software watches for the tiny changes in video frames as a patient’s chest rises and falls when they breathe, for example. It also tracks subtle changes in the pinkness of their skin, using that to infer their pulse."

"Some Chinese iPhone owners are giving their old models a makeover to look like the latest iPhone 7, rather than buying new… Online sites offer shoppers makeover kits, false cameras and even dust plugs to hide the removed headphone jack to give their iPhone 6 or 6S the appearance of the iPhone 7…" (Grokked from John)

"Forget garlic. In real life, a tomato can defeat a vampire. And researchers have now figured out the first step to vegetable triumph." Actually it's an article on plant parasitism/predation and how tomatoes have developed resistance to a certain strain of "vampiric" plant. It's not deep science, but could give you some story ideas or at least a primer on how weird the world we live in actually is.

Remote controlling robots with thought for those paralyzed. Interesting, but I'm not sure that's what they really want… until it becomes as immersive as in John Scalzi's "Locked In".

"Sounds, particularly those made by other humans, rank as the No. 1 distraction in the workplace. According to workplace design expert Alan Hedge at Cornell, 74 percent of workers say they face "many" instances of disturbances and distractions from noise." White noise generators were supposed to help, but just like in clubs when people start talking louder than the music, they turn the music up. And while I don't have an "open" space, I've worked in cubicles most of my adult like, two jobs that were open space officer, and only once with an office and a (insert angelic music here) door. At the current day job I have several shouters and loud talkers nearby.

"The polar vortex in recent years has brought the kind of miserable cold to northern states that made it hard to breathe outside. We’re probably in for more of the same… That’s the finding of a new study published yesterday in the journal Nature that finds that as the Arctic warms, it is shifting the polar vortex to Europe. That in turn will bring more bursts of frigid cold to North America." I'm going to stock up on my "Weather Is Not Climate" expressions now, before the storms hit. Which, BTW, last night was the first Lake Effect snow event, which meant ice pellets.

Microsoft is about to release it's Surface Studio. And actually, that looks like some pretty good tech there (not in the way they use it, but for it's potential, which we'll see if it lives up to). (Grokked from John)

Using fMRI to study long-term fear responses. In this case a simulation close to the "jump-scare" but using pictures and mild electric shock. Not exactly PTSD area, but the research could be relevant. However, all those centers they identified as active during "fear response" are exactly the same areas involved in pain response (I did a paper on fMRI research into pain detection). And it's already been shown that the body does remember pain (to some extent). So this might just be seeing the same response, but because they're research is filtering for fear, they interpret a pain response as fear response. fMRI research is still in "infancy" and there isn't much cross-sharing of data.

The jury is asking some interesting questions in the Malheur Case. And then Juror 11 is gone.

The Gallup Election 2016 tracking polls. Interesting where there is any movement. Note that last week only 42% of adults were paying close attention to the election, just so you can judge your own online echo chamber. What I see is a lot of dissatisfaction going on.

"The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP sent a letter to the state's board of elections Monday after voters complained that machines had flipped votes in five counties. The group noted that, in each case, the voter was able to correct the error before the ballot was cast. But it asked the board to remove malfunctioning machines and to post signs reminding voters to check their ballots before submitting them." Touch-screens are notorious for having user error. I'm a pretty tech savvy kind of person, and at the hospital we use a lot of touch screens in our radiology department, especially for logging into the portable X-ray machine (the machines in the department all have keyboards we can use). Every night there are multiple times I have to try to login several times before getting it to recognize I'm hitting the right key. Mostly it's parallax issues between where I see the key, and where the machine thinks the key is.

This just in, Rep. Jason Chaffetz is a tool. "House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is gearing up for 'years' of investigations into Hillary Clinton’s record should she win the presidency on November 8." So, basically, he's got nothing better to do because the Republicans won't do any actual work anyway if Clinton wins the White House. And then there's "Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Wednesday joined the ranks of a handful of Republican lawmakers who pulled their endorsements of Donald Trump but who later said they would still vote for the Republican nominee." In other words, "I can't endorse him because that could be politically damaging, but I'm sure gonna vote for him." My, what solid values and integrity you have there.

"The Los Angeles police say they are investigating the smashing of Trump's star following a report that the sidewalk tribute was destroyed with a sledgehammer." Don't do this people. I appreciate the emotion, I empathize very much, but it's still criminal. This is what they want. They are trying to provoke a response (not that this is the only reason behind their hate speech). It fits the narrative they're trying to create. (Grokked from Dan)

The PBS Newshour story on the political influence of twitter bots. And the BotorNot tool that statistically analyses a twitter feed to give a probability score of it's a bot or not. Good news, there's only an 8% chance I'm a bot.

The Hidden Brain podcast on what billionaires are really like, by interviewing their wealth managers. They're just like you and me, except only if you remove social consciousness and concern.

"There are no people backing Florida’s deceptive solar amendment. Only corporations… Money and misinformation could give Florida utilities a big win in November." Or why if I ever go solar, I'm also going off-grid. (Grokked form Robert J Bennett)

And in the vein of "it takes an asshole to recognize another asshole publicly" "Donald Trump interrupted his Wednesday speech announcing the grand opening of his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. to congratulate Newt Gingrich for his contentious and off-the-rails interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly."

And speaking of assholes, former Congressional chew toy, Joe Walsh, he who couldn't control his mouth during a State of the Union speech, obviously continues with his verbal diarrhea. Yeah, Joe, you go grab your musket. You can march up and down the square in your tri-corner hat.

"Donald Trump's campaign is reportedly trying to shrink the electorate to secure a victory for the Republican nominee… 'We have three major voter suppression operations under way,' a senior official told Bloomberg News." Typically people don't talk so candidly about that kinda thing. That just shows their level of contempt for the American voter. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The DNC filed papers saying that the RNC, through Trump’s actions has already violated the consent decree, and asks for another 8-year extension." Yes, one side has been trying to affect voters and how they vote, and it's the side that's crying the loudest about the election being "rigged." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

CNN's analysis of the limited data for early voting. At this point all you're judging from these numbers (how many of which party, if tracked, have voted) is who is scared and who is motivated. It remains to be seen if these numbers are merely time-shifting when people would have voted (or did vote in 2012), or if they're genuine increases in voter participation.

PBS Newshour story onwhy white nationalists hear a political ally in Donald Trump.

The Yale Record does not endorse Hillary Clinton. Slow clap. (Grokked from John)

Tweet of my heart: @aliettedb It's interesting to be part of a little cloud of similar people, but ultimately: your writing process is whatever works for you. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Linkee-poo will send an SOS to the world, I hope that someone gets my message in a bottle

The Pseudopod's 10th year kickstarter. Hmm, I might need that mug for work. Bwahahahaha. (Grokked from Lucy A. Snyder)

"Antarctica's ice has been melting, most likely because of a warming climate. Now, newly published research shows the rate of melting appears to be accelerating." We're boned.

An "artist" takes video of people in public spaces engaged with their computers, and then calls it art. One person videoed finds themselves in the art, which is the first they knew about the video occurring. Nope, William Noland, this ain't art. As one art bullshitter to another I recognize your artist's statement as the cheap justification crap that it is. Also, boy howdy did you fail at being an artist. As it is, video and photography are still struggling to be considered "art", and this is an example of why. First, never take. This "art" is based on stolen property. Do you have the right? Sure, public space (although videoing without the permission of the owner of the premises is kinda shaky legal ground, even though it's a public accommodation). Engaging others in your "art" without their consent (not even an attempt afterwards so as not to "spoil" the "art") is questionable, especially since, in your artist's statement, you're peering (and inviting your viewers to peer) into the internal lives of your subjects. Sure, sure, Mona Lisa's smile… talk to the hand, buddy. This wasn't reference material, this was your final product. You stepped way, WAY over a line. You might think it makes you edgy, but it just makes you a voyeur. Sure, "people within a space", but that's not what you caught, and it goes against your artist statement. You've captured people who are engaged internally, and therefore have a reasonable expectation of not being exploited even if their body is in a public space. Art is your statement, not the statement of others. In this, you've failed. The people you videoed are the artists in your piece, you merely captured their art and are trying to peddle it as your own. You've completely missed the mark of the artist here, not subverted it. That you violated the trust between the artist and the public only compounds your failure. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

And a tweet storm surrounding the legality of capturing images in public spaces. (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

What was old is new again. "In a little copse of oak, hazel and willow trees, on the edge of a ploughed field in Cambridgeshire, a door is opening into a new way of death for 21st-century Britain: a brand new stone-and-earth round barrow, a burial mound of a type perfected more than 5,000 years ago." Death is the ultimate consumer product. "There must be tea and biscuits. Bring a brass band. Bring a bottle. Bring a priest. Bring a shaman. Death is sad, but it doesn’t have to be solemn." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"After a breast cancer diagnosis, many find comfort in connecting with family, friends and support groups — but some choose to live with their illness more quietly, keeping it private from almost everyone." Not everyone can live in the open, not everyone should. And no one should be required to if they don't want to. Everybody handles this differently. However, for those of us who can (and believe me, it was a struggle to post about my cancer), it's our job to make it normal, to remove any shame or blame that comes with a cancer diagnosis. We need to make it acceptable to talk openly about it. But as the article says, if you can't share with everyone, you should find some whom you can share with (and they should respect your wishes to keep it quiet). "Who you tell and don’t tell is up to you." So for all those out there fighting cancer and wanting to make sure the disease doesn't define you, you don't have to say anything. But if you decide to, even if it's just one other person, I hope they are supportive and strong for you. And I hope everyone who has talked openly about it has helped make that easier and maybe given you some hope or direction. You're not alone. Fuck cancer. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Yes, yes, Obamacare rates are going up. Let me tell you about my private employer-sponsored health plan increases…

"Among the complaints in pockets of Texas: years-old posters inaccurately describing the rules — more than a dozen instances in Bexar County — and poll workers who were reluctant to tell voters that some could cast ballots without photo identification." Tell me again who is trying to rig the election? I keep forgetting. (Grokked from TPM)

"But privately (a head election official) gave a different reason for opposing an early-voting site at UW–Green Bay, writing that student voting would benefit the Democratic Party." Who is the election being rigged for? (Grokked from Pat Rothfuss)

"Two homes near the Zionsville, Pennsylvania residence of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) were vandalized with graffiti smearing Republicans as racist fascists, local TV station KYW reported Monday." Don't do this. And if you feel the need, don't vandalize neighbors. That's the physical world equivalent of at-ing uninvolved people in a twitter conversation.

"In an interview with Newt Gingrich, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly suggested that Donald Trump might be a 'sexual predator.'… Gingrich, one of Trump’s most prominent supporters, become livid… 'You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy,' Gingrich… told Kelly." Newt, you're such a tool. It's like projection has become the disease of the conservative mind. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Vote Protectors, the anti-voter-fraud group hosted by Donald Trump ally and political dirty trickster Roger Stone, plans to send volunteers to monitor polling places… on Election Day, Stone said last week. Untrained poll-watchers have intimidated voters in previous elections. But Vote Protectors is going further…Stone’s group created an official-looking ID badge for its volunteers to wear, and its volunteers planned to videotape voters and conduct fake 'exit polls,' efforts that election experts say risks intimidating and confusing voters. Or at least that’s what the group was planning to do before The Huffington Post asked Stone about it… The controversial Trump ally, long known for his bare-knuckled political tactics, said that key proposals on his group’s websites were there without his knowledge, and assured HuffPost that he would operate within the confines of election law." You know, now that he was caught attempting to subvert the law. Those supposed re-education camps keep getting more and more appealing. (Grokked form John Scalzi)

The guy carrying the Blacks for Trump signs: "Though 'Michael' was charged for allegedly conspiring in two murders and his brother testified that he stuck a sharpened stick into one man’s eyeball, he was not convicted. In the following years, according to the New Times, he was charged with other crimes including grand theft auto, carrying a weapon onto a plane, and threatening a law enforcement officer. He was never convicted." The company you keep.


Quote du jour: "In Think and Grow Rich, (Napoleon Hill) wrote: 'Do not wait: the time will never be just right. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.'" (Grokked from the Writers Almanac)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Scenes from a Commute

It's getting near daylight savings time again.

Linkee-poo, all I know is that to me you look like you're having fun, open up your loving arms, watch out here I come

"Pete Burns, fabulous freak singer of 1980s dance-pop group Dead or Alive, died yesterday of cardiac arrest. He was 57." Shit, okay here's how old I am; whenever I hear that song I'm right back in the Townhouse in Akron (alas, no more, swallowed by the Plasma Alliance donation center that used to be only half of the complex). Stale smoke and beer atmosphere, cheap furniture and thankfully they keep the lights low, especially in the bathrooms. A dance floor maybe twenty by ten feet with forty plus co-eds and some of us more adventurous guys dancing like maniacs, barely enough room to take a full breath without rubbing against someone. The sound system loud enough to drown out our off-key, full lunged caterwauling even to the person you're dancing with. Recovering from that sauna by drinking dollar-a-pitcher nite beers (now you know part of my aversion to cheap beer) before diving back into that pool of humanity and sweat. You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record, baby, right round round round. Yeah, it was the 80s.

Strange Horizons has a new look. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

Captain Awkward on not quitting the day job immediately. Just going to highlight this part, "Maximize retirement contributions and anything your firm matches… Shrink your living expenses so that they’ll be manageable during the transition time when you might not be earning quite as much. If you’ve got fancy health insurance, take advantage of it and get every nice thing you might want done now." Yes, that. Also, from my own history (which I wish I could repeat), take the day job that might not be as rewarding (money, professional life) so you can do what you want. And trust me, I think about that one almost every day since last April.

"Oxford University Press has announced that its new edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare will credit Christopher Marlowe as a co-author on the three Henry VI plays." Big data to the rescue. Unleash the conspiracy theorists in 3… 2… 1…

For your Halloween amusement… "Doctors sometimes removed the skins of infamous murderers and used them to bind books about their deeds—a fact well known enough to serve as a kind of deterrent. The most infamous case is the pocket-sized book bound in the skin of William Burke, half of the Scottish duo Burke and Hare, who murdered sixteen people in order to sell their bodies to doctors for dissection."

A fake BSoD error message in Windows from a piece of malware is a social engineering gimmick. "'Real error messages from Microsoft do not include support contact details,' Microsoft said on its Malware Protection Center blog, warning of the new threat. It also never asks for payment for delivering tech support." You're first clue with this being fake was a Windows error message that was helpful. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

Jack Chick, he of the ubiquitous "Satan Panic" comics or "Comics for Jesus" tracts, has gone to meet the great printer in the sky.

A Mother Jones article from the inside of a militia group. I haven't finished reading it yet, but so far it looks good. Basically groups pretending to be soldiers and helping because that's the ideal of manliness they have. Unfortunately they have dangerous ideas and are somewhat willing to act on them. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

John Scalzi talk about the productivity hit this election has been. Boy howdy that with a side of WTF cole-slaw. I'm really looking forward (with some trepidation to be sure) to November 9. My guess is the election will be called by midnight. Hopefully the after-party won't go in directions that I fear it might. But, yes, productivity and brain-capacity have been way down since February. You can see how much it has eaten up in these posts. I mean, I'm a political wonk, but damn this is deep shit. And I can't get away from it, even when I try. Which is why I said before that I'm going to take a break after this. I need it. You need it. We all need it. I keep telling myself, "only two more weeks." Of course the gremlins in my head keep shouting back, "Remember 2000?" Bastards.

"Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz vaulted suddenly and without any advance warning to the top rung of Democratic party megadonors with two unheralded tears through his checkbook in the past six weeks." Just so you know who they're talking about as the conservatives form their ranks to stop another Democratic Party mega-donor. (Grokked from John)

Trumpster may be touting how strong he is on the 2nd Amendment, but the 1st Amendment he'd like to change. In this case to specifically make it easier to sue the now 11 women who have come forward with sexual assault allegations. Also, he'd really like to hurt the newspapers who criticize him. Wonder if we'll see all the "You're Violating My 1st Amendment!" trolls come out against this? Bueller… Bueller…

"An anti-media smear favored by the Nazis and the alt-right wormed its way into headlines after a Trump rally on Saturday: 'Lügenpresse.'… The slur, shouted at BuzzFeed’s Rosie Gray by two unidentified men at Trump’s rally in Cleveland, pre-dates the Nazis and was used at first by the German government during World War I to designate foreign writing as propaganda, according to the Washington Post." But the Nazi's used it a lot. So, real, honest-to-God, fucking Nazis supporting the Trumpster. The friends you keep.

And an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic detailing both the magazine's endorsement of Clinton (only the 3rd endorsement in its history) and the daily anti-Semitic invective he faces on Twitter every single day. Honest-to-God, fucking Nazis. And just like he says, even if Trumpster is well and fully trounced in the election, I don't expect them to go away either.

"Basically, every time you saw Hillary land a blow or Trump muffle an answer, you saw the stocks start to rise. And so, through the course of the evening… they rose by nearly three-quarters of a percentage point… It absolutely spiked, and it wasn’t just a two-hour spike -- we were looking minute by minute. And, for instance, when Hillary took Trump to town on about not paying taxes, which was a moment that scored well with most audiences, it also scored well with the stock market. The S&P started to rally yet again during each of those little phases as well."

"'There's not a separation between me and Donald Trump. As a matter fact, there's an ad on TV saying I'm too cozy to him,' (Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) ) said at a rally for the Gaston County GOP, according to tracking video from the liberal group American Bridge."

And for some others… "Some Republicans are running so far away from their party’s nominee that they are threatening to sue TV stations for running ads that suggest they support Donald Trump." (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

Oh look it's one of those sting videos. "Undercover reporters posing as consultants acting for a Chinese benefactor approached specific pro-Trump and pro-Clinton fundraisers and groups after receiving information that individuals were involved in hiding foreign donations… The pro-Clinton organisations did not respond to initial approaches. But earlier this month an undercover reporter spoke by telephone to Eric Beach, co-chairman of the pro-Trump Great America PAC… He suggested the donation could be put through a social welfare organisation called a 501(c)(4) - or C4 - , which unlike a PAC is not subject to a blanket ban on receiving foreign money, and not required to name donors." Well, they didn't contact the campaigns directly, but only their Super PACs. I'm sure it's all okay. "In an initial call on October 4 the reporter explained that the benefactor wanted to donate to support Mr Trump’s campaign, 'but he’s not a US national.'… Mr Beach agreed that making such a donation to the PAC could be difficult. But he did, however, have a suggestion…" (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Trump TV launches on Facebook. "The hosts denied that this was some type of 'Trump TV,' a rumored endeavor from the GOP nominee if he loses to try to monetize his loyal base into a massive media influence akin to Fox News."

"(Trump) directed $300,000 of small donors’ money to the publisher of his bestselling business book 'The Art of the Deal' in the past month, according to a Monday Huffington Post review of the Trump Make America Great Again Committee’s most recent FEC report." Well, I'm glad he's not in it for himself (he's making the publisher some money as well).

"Donald Trump may be coming up short in the polls, but his brand of politics has sparked a movement. David Greene talks to Chris Buskirk, a conservative blogger and a talk radio host in Arizona." Another reason why I'm no longer in the GOP, noted for the immense double-think obvious in this interview. The overall theme is "Donald Trump is authentic and not a polished politician and tells us what he thinks unfiltered and that's his appeal and taps into what people want and are thinking… but he should script a little more, talk about it differently and still resonate with the base… and I don't really know what he stands for, I don't know him, but I'm voting for him." That right there. He tells you what he thinks, unfiltered, but then you don't know where he stands? His unfiltered speech taps into what people want, but maybe he should say what he says differently?

Tweet of my heart: @splashikins Today is the kind of day where my levels of done-with-this-shit are inversely proportional to my fucks-to-give.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Linkee-poo is human and I need love just like everybody else does

Using your gaming session to write your story.

"Gone are the days of having to be selected to put out a book. Gone are the days of having to go to a bookstore to see what is available. Now you can check online, with real time reviews, AND, real time 'bestseller' rankings. It’s unsurprising that as the barriers to entry for the book business went down, so did the quality of the books being produced. These days, over one million books are published each year, with at least half of these self-published. So it’s almost obvious that, given the volume, you could game your way to the top of a category with very few sales." How to be an Amazon bestseller with only $3. (Grokked form Chuck Wendig)

Authors muse on GRR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire and how it changed epic fantasy. Stina Leicht has some great notes about history and our fantasy reflection of it. If you take those statements with the historical notations pointed out by Django Wexler, you can see parallels between actual history and the growth of grimdark fantasy. One of the things I like about SoI&F (or at least the HBO rendition, as I haven't made it to A Storm of Swords, and I kinda lost track) is that the sword isn't the only weapon, and plate mail the only armor and there are hundreds of background people who don't have them. Few people could afford them, fewer still could afford the training required to use them properly (which is why mercenaries were so important). Also, I'm really grateful he gave us the real version of chivalry, which wasn't as clean as it had been made out to be, and a diversity of cultures and people. Also, no gorram stew and taverns every day's march. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"(W)hile I can assemble a quick list of writers who have said… that they expect award recognition for their work… it’s actually a very short list. And most of those you could guess just by having followed the events of the last few years… So, where does… the idea that dense, fancy, poetic prose is a bid for award attention? That if you, as a reader, find the prose difficult to process, then that must be because the writer is showing off? Pretentious, even?" Anne Leckie on "pretentious" versus "transparent" writing. In a critic of a Very Famous (as it goes) Author my main critique was that their prose was magnificent, but entirely too dense for my tastes. They responded by stating that's exactly the kind of prose their fans were looking for, and they were kind of known for it. Fair enough, you go with your bad assed self and sell your millions of copies. As to the contention that "pretty prose" wins awards, let me take this moment to laugh at that. These days I find it pretty hard to slog through Lord of the Rings (which I devoured every year from 16 to 24 years old) or Lovecraft (bless his archaic, little, racist heart).

"The U.S. Department of Energy is looking for the public’s input on what would be the country’s very first fresh water wind farm." In our very own Lake Erie.

Out coming robot overlords. Also noted in case you still think manufacturing jobs will rebound.

That's going to leave a mark. "This is probably the impact site of the Schiaparelli lander itself."

California National Guard members (as well as others) are being forced to repay sign-on bonuses (and college reimbursements) they received for re-upping during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. And all it would take would be a law to absolve them of this debt. You know, by the very people who are claiming the have veterans' best interest at heart. My, wouldn't that be a great lame duck session law (you know, like they were unable to do this past summer.

"Some races have shifted late in Democrats' favor, particularly in Republican-held suburban districts with high levels of voters with college degrees. Still, there has not been the wholesale move in polling that the party would need (to retake the House), even with Hillary Clinton's gains across the electoral map." This is why that initiative to win control of the individual states' governments to affect redrawing the electoral lines in 2020 is so important. And frankly what I don't want is the Democrats playing the Republican's game only harder, but a fundamental reform of how we draw electoral maps to eliminate rank gerrymandering.

"Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke has qualified to participate in the upcoming U.S. Senate debate at Dillard University, a historically black university in New Orleans." This should go well.

"But even if there aren’t hard statistics, the problem of racial bias among police isn’t new. In fact, it’s been a concern of the FBI for at least a decade. Exactly 10 years ago this week, the FBI warned of the potential consequences — including bias — of white supremacist groups infiltrating local and state law enforcement, indicating it was a significant threat to national security."

"Early voting kicked off on Thursday in the key swing state of North Carolina, and voters turned out to the polls in droves. Across the state, but especially in the urban centers of Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Winston-Salem, voters waited for hours to cast a ballot." In Ashtabula County, Ohio, we have to go to the county board of elections to vote early. That's a 45 minute drive from home, in the opposite direction from work. And we only have 2 weekends available. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

A breakdown of early voting. "While Democrats tend to do better in early voting, Republicans usually post an initial lead with mail-in ballots before Democrats surpass them during in-person early voting in mid to late October." With some information on the current election and early voting.

"The Pennsylvania Republican Party filed a complaint late Friday night asking a federal court to allow out-of-county poll watchers to monitor voting stations on Election Day." Apparently someone figured out the Trumpster's plan of sending people into "those places" would violate the law.

"Trump hotels say that the change to 'Scion' has nothing to do with the fact that their bookings are way down, claiming that the polls showing the decline are rigged."

"A CNN panel failed to maintain composure on Friday when Donald Trump supporter Gina Loudon insisted there was no evidence to back up claims that the Republican nominee has engaged in racist and misogynistic behavior."

So much for Junior's talk of allowing the kids at Liberty U their own right to speak. Yep, Jerry Falwell, Junior, is still a tool.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekend workout

Nothing like building furniture in 40 degree weather… while dodging raindrops. But I have other things that need done tomorrow. So, not fully fine furniture, but fine enough. I made a few mistakes, and ended up using more than I thought I would (because of one screwup). But for "common boards" (ie. #3 for anyone else), it didn't turn out too bad (I did lose track of which side should be which, so you can see knots where it's placed). I also wanted to bevel the molding, but just ran out of time.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Linkee-poo, and I ain't got no worries 'cause I ain't in no hurry at all

More digitized manuscripts. I may have posted this one before. It's hard to tell and there are so many. (Grokked from Dr. Caitlin Green)

An interview which ruminates on masks and mythology. The stories we tell ourselves. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"Just outside of the Medieval church of the Ostrów Lednicki stronghold in Poland, archaeologists have unearthed the strange burial of a giantess. The woman’s skeleton showed that she reached a towering height of 7'2" but also that her short life was full of traumatic injuries and disease." (Grokked from Brandie Tarvin)

How Snake lost his legs. The world is weirder than you think. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"Drilling into hot rocks to tap geothermal energy is one thing. Drilling deep enough to tap the energy from magma oozing into volcanoes is quite another, offering a massive increase in the potential to exploit Earth’s inner heat." What could possibly go wrong? Although this would be Iceland's second geothermal well to tap directly into a magma chamber.

The sugar water industry cribs from the tobacco industry's playboy to try and stop taxes on their products.

Because some people have been talking about abuse in my twitter feed (I don't know why they would, he said shaking his head in an ironic fashion). "A former Ohio mayor has admitted to repeatedly raping a child, prosecutors said — but the self-described Christian blames the girl for her own sexual abuse." About the only good part of this story is he's actually being prosecuted for it in a criminal court, considering that hardly every happens. (Grokked from John)

"(P)olice in Sacramento, California launched a death investigation after spotting a woman walking down the sidewalk with a skull perched on a stick." I guess that would make anyone suspicious. (Grokked from TPM)

"A recent Houston Chronicle investigation revealed that Texas, the state with the lowest percentage of children in special education, 8.5 in 2015, may arbitrarily be capping services, which are entitled by federal law to students with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mental illness and other special needs." Oh Texas, why do you hate actual, functional, and science based education so much?

What the Trumpster got wrong about abortion in America during the debate. You know, besides everything. "The vast majority happen in the first trimester: Ninety-one percent in 2012 occurred before the pregnancy reached 13 weeks, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 7.2 percent took place after 14 weeks gestation. Fewer than 1.3 percent happened after 21 weeks, late in the second trimester." And those later ones, typically the fetus has died in the womb, or it is finally obvious that should the fetus be birthed, the child would die shortly thereafter, often in much distress. And this is ignoring all the other problems that could happen which would require abortion (such as an ectopic pregnancy). (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"After Donald Trump fueled his warnings about voter fraud on Wednesday night by refusing to commit to accepting the results of the election, one Fox News editor pointed out that there couldn't possibly be enough voter fraud to account for the Republican nominee's significant lag in the polls." He then went on to suggest there's a lot of fraud in the election, but just not enough to account for Trumpster's slide. The amount of voter fraud is actually well below the margin of error in counting the votes (even electronically). The difference between Al Gore and G W Bush in just Florida was more than all the voter fraud in all the US in the past 20 years.

"In what could be the first glimpses of a Trump-branded TV network that many have speculated could be the ultimate goal of Trump's presidential run, (Cliff Sims and Boris Epshteyn) anchored a half-hour pre-debate show and an hour-and-a-half of post-debate coverage, right on Trump's Facebook page." Trial balloon for TrumpTV? Are we all just being punked? Because, as in conservative politics, you can never go too far to the right, and there's always room to go ever farther.

"'Hillary is so corrupt, she got kicked off the Watergate Commission,' Trump said, citing a false Internet rumor as the crowd turned on him and started to boo, something that simply doesn't happen at lavish charity dinners at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The face of one the guests sitting on the stage behind him was suddenly struck with horror." A report from the Trumpster trail from the debate to the Al Smith Dinner. No, I have little sympathy at this point. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

For the evangelicals, Trump or Jesus. (Grokked from John)

"Donald Trump’s national political director will 'step back' from his role overseeing the Republican nominee’s ground game with less than three weeks to go before Election Day, Politico reported Thursday." That can't be good.

"Tens of millions of Americans gathered around TV sets to watch the debate (Wednesday) night. But how they thought it went may depend upon which networks they watched. That's because post-debate coverage can sway viewers' opinions, as a new study suggests." What should come as no surprise, those who watched Fox News thought the Trumpster did much better than any of the other viewers (although it didn't swing those who identified as Democrats). "Moreover, (the researcher) points out that while Fox News has been studied a lot for its effects on voter attitudes, MSNBC perhaps also warrants some new attention." This is because they found that Republicans who watched MSNBC's post debate discussion moved off of their support for the Trumpster. Well, first, it's not like people came into the debate without preconditioning. Also it's not like the debate was an even contest. So I think that may throw some of these answers in the direction they saw. But, yes, Fox and MSNBC are considered the diametrically opposed viewpoints.

Tweet of my heart: @xeni “It’s rigged,” says the wealthy white supremacist man whose entire life has been “rigged” for success, failing ever upwards.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Linkee-poo's last name is Control, no my first name ain't baby, it's Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty

Nick Mamatas on writing and privilege. I'm pretty successful, but not at writing because I do prioritize. If it were just me, the calculus may have been different, but I have someone who depends on me making a good living and to provide decent healthcare. I have family and friends that benefit (somewhat) from my ability to provide (I have a feeling in the coming decade that will increase). I'm not able to give to every cause I want to, or give at the level I would like. But I also like to take vacations were we go places and see/experience things (I really can't tell you how much). Shit, I'm writing a blog post. Shortened, I made my choice, which is different than others. I'm still writing. I hope to increase the time and output I address to it by the end of the year, but until I can see a ROI (other than good friendships and interesting living) it will get the short shrift if there is opportunity to make money. I have sacrificed for it, I will sacrifice more, but I can't ask others to make the same levels if sacrifice for me. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

A visual breakdown of the big 5 publishers. (Grokked from Justin)

Why do good AIs go bad? "But AI-enabled machines are only as smart as the knowledge they have been fed. Microsoft learned that lesson the hard way earlier this year when it released an AI Twitter bot called Tay that had been trained to talk like a Millennial teen. Within 24 hours, however, a horde of Twitter users had retrained Tay to be a racist Holocaust-denier, and Microsoft was forced to kill the bot." ProPublilca on Breaking the Black Box with learning machines and the databases of our humanity. Okay, with the search function at the bottom, "Baltimore" was kind of interesting. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"IBM reported some pretty impressive stats this week. Not least among them the fact that 73% of IBM employees – the company whose personal computer division was once almost synonymous with Microsoft – want a Mac as their next PC… Indeed, IBM Japan has gone as far as making Macs standard-issue: any employee wanting a Windows machine instead has to make a special request justifying their need." Ouch. Anybody know where Michael Dell is at the moment? (Grokked from John)

No, you really can't multitask. Your brain isn't built for it. "But, take heart, Gazzaley said. You don't have to opt out of technology to get some of that brainpower back. In fact, there's a time and place for multitasking. If you're in the midst of a mundane task that just has to get done, for example, it's probably not detrimental to have your phone nearby or a bunch of tabs open. The distractions may reduce boredom and help you stay engaged." Confession here, most of the time I have at least 4 browser tabs open (and probably multiple windows and browsers) at the same time.

"Methane is gushing forth from hundreds of newly-discovered deep-sea vents all along the US’s western seaboard." It's fine. I'm sure it's fine. Everything is fine here. "In all, 500 new seeps were discovered by submersibles operated from the trust’s ship…" We're boned.

Unrest in Academia. "Faculty at 14 Pennsylvania state universities went on strike Wednesday morning, affecting more than 100,000 students, after contract negotiations between the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the faculty union hit an impasse."

The Czechs arrest a Russian hacker that "the US is looking for." While they don't name names, anyone taking bets on Guccifer?

"A Maryland police officer was suspended Tuesday after a woman snapped a photograph of a hat promoting the Oath Keepers militia group displayed on the rear deck of his police cruiser."

"Closing arguments are underway in the trial of seven people accused of illegally occupying Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last year." They're throwing themselves on the mercy of the jury, although their closing argument is more in the terms of, "Help us Obi-Wan, you're our only hope!"

"Unbeknownst to Mr. Salads, someone shot video of of Mr. Salads staging upthe incident, and posted it to Twitter, exposing Mr. Salads as a fraud. The "vandals" were accomplices following Mr. Salads' instructions to damage the car (which had been parked in a 'black neighborhood' by Mr. Salads)." Ah, the James O'Keefe School of "Journalism" strikes again.

"Some parents at Franklin High School claim their kids have been singled out, after the school distributed a letter to its African American students… The form is titled 'Keepin’ it 100.' It is basically an agreement for students to sign to fulfill their responsibility as 'an African American scholar,' come to school on time every day and work toward completing high school." Um, yeah, that's totally not inappropriate or racist as all. "One student posted on Facebook, 'As a Franklin student we're not mad about what (the principal) is trying to do we're mad about the approach.'" (Grokked indirectly from Annalee Flower Horne)

REDMAP, the story of the intense gerrymandering after the 2010 elections. "People say Obama lost 700 seats in the House of Representatives over these years. Well, yes, but he only had one horrible election in 2010. After that, the lines were changed to ensure that those seats stayed in Republican hands, despite the fact that Democratic candidates in a lot of these states got more votes." With a graphic representation of how you can win a majority with a minority population. (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"Project Veritas, which has carried out several damaging video sting operations, has posted several videos in recent days purporting to show Democratic operatives bragging about inciting violence at Trump's campaign events, and appearing to detail how they could bus out-of-state supporters in to commit voter fraud." Note that James O'Keefe has not posted the raw footage, which has in the past completely contradicted the "documentaries" he has put out. So, yeah, I'm going to hold judgement on this one until we have the raw footage to review. Because this isn't the first, second, or even third time he's done this.

"The Indiana voter registration problem surfaced when voters contacted the secretary of state's office after discovering through the online system voters can use to check their registration status that their dates of birth or first names were incorrect, the office said. That prompted the office to run a report in the statewide system and it found that thousands of registrations had been altered. The office declined to provide a more precise number." The plot thickens. "Julia Vaughn, policy director for the nonpartisan government watchdog group, Common Cause Indiana, said that before (Secretary of State Connie) Lawson makes allegations of possible fraud her office 'should make sure the voter file records haven't been altered through software snafus or human errors made by people in county or state agencies.'"

The problem with the media, in an attempt to appear "non-biased" or "equal time", the demonstrate their ignorance of the issues. No, "implicit-bias" is not a dog-whistle, CNN. It's a technical term. Clinton is using it to say, "I'm up to date on this issue." "Criminal illegal-aliens" is also not a "dog-whistle." He's being direct. And you completely missed the call to "take fraud and abuse out of the system" as a dog-whistle saying, "those people (also a dog-whistle) are living high off the hog on your dime." And "law and order" does not mean "People of color -- and liberals -- are lawless." It means, "we're going to keep those people in their place because they forgot what their place is." I mean, in an attempt to be polite you've missed the mark on all of them. Jesus in a popsicle, CNN, have they burned you all out?

Last night's debate with fact checks. Over all, Trumpster had a better night than previous debates. It took 33 minutes for Clinton to get under his skin and then the wheels came off the bus. And then the bus crashed and burned. And then the train jumped the tracks and crashed into the burning bus. And then the Trumpster said that he would keep us in suspense about whether or not he would accept the results of the election. At which point I think everybody's brain just shut down because the voices inside their heads keep shouting "HOLY SHIT!"

"Donald Trump Jr. said it would be a 'step down' for his father to become president." And so begins the sulking and claiming, "I didn't want it anyway." Now if we could only be assured he would actually go the fuck away. See, the major problem with last night's, "keeping you in suspense" is that there are groups who take that as a call to arms, even if it's not intentional (which I'm not entirely sure it wouldn't be). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Linkee-poo, it's a sin that somehow light is changing to shadow and casting its shroud over all we have known

Tonight is the last debate. And the villagers celebrated.

"The next Weekend Intensive (for Writing the Other) is coming up on November 4 – 6. There are four (4) scholarship spots available for this class made possible by many generous donations to our scholarship fund." Ooooo, pretty. "We’ve set aside one scholarship spot specifically for students who identify as POC or Native." Nice. (Grokked from Julia Rios)

The next class of musicians and bands are up for fan votes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I'm not sure if I've talked about it here, but I've come up with a measure of diet control. I like pop, part of the problem, but have gone off having regular drinks of it (long story, I drink mostly unsweetened green tea these days, I have maybe 1 or 2 sodas a month, maybe). So lately I've looked at my food choices with this in mind, a soda has about 120 to 160 calories in it (mostly from added sweeteners). Does the snack or food I'm looking at have more or less? And I make a choice based on if I would want that food or a drink. It can be quite effective (since I know I can resist having a pop, yeah, it's a cheap mental trick, don't spoil a good thing, okay). "… Pepsi says that by the year 2025 at least two-thirds of the drinks in its global beverage portfolio are expected to contain 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12-ounce serving. Currently a 12-ounce can of Pepsi has 150 calories, all of which come from sugar." Whelp, I'm going to have to lower the calorie number I use as a guide. Also, when I do have a pop, I try to make sure it uses real sugar, not cane syrup or high-fructose corn syrup. It makes a big difference in both how it tastes and how I feel afterward.

"Compared with physically ill patients, people with mental health conditions rely more on the emergency department for treatment and are more often admitted to the hospital from the ER, the scientists found. Also, they tended to be stuck in the ER longer than people who show up in the ER with physical symptoms." Boy howdy do they. Much of the delay is getting them into someplace where they can be helped.

"U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden's Cancer Moonshot initiative to speed the develop of cancer treatments has made some important strides such as increased information sharing among researchers but still faces challenges in many areas, according to a report out Monday… The White House is still seeking about $700 million from Congress for the project. With Democratic President Barack Obama leaving office in January, it is also unclear how much of the initiative will continue under a new administration." There's so much good research out there, but most of medical research is 1) never published and 2) what data is remains severely controlled by the researcher performing the experiment (there's money to be made, after all - see BRCA-1 and BRCA-2). Science works best when knowledge is shared. Information wants to be free.

We don't need no stinking government regulations or interference in business! "The White House is proposing a new rule that would require airlines to refund the checked baggage fee if luggage is 'substantially delayed,'… Another target is travel websites that offer comparison-ticket shopping. Such websites commonly rank airlines higher or lower based on undisclosed payments or other business incentives… A new rule proposed by the Transportation Department would require such websites to be neutral 'or disclose their bias upfront so consumers can truly comparison shop when booking flights…'" Nope, we definitely don't need any of that. Noted for the kids who haven't experienced anything other than the GW Bush and Obama presidencies, this is how government used to work before one party decided that they didn't want government to work for the people so they would think it was broken.

George Takei is optimistic about the future. And admonishes the kids to go out and vote and help build that better future.

"Using a broad set of keywords to identify anti-Semitic language, an ADL task force found that only 1,600 Twitter accounts were responsible for directing 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets at some 800 U.S. journalists… out of the 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets directed at journalists during this election year, the report found 83 percent of the attacks were directed at just 10 Jewish journalists…"

What could be so wrong about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte calling for the deaths of drug users and dealers? I mean, they're criminals who are hurting others, right? Besides the violations of human rights, it creates an atmosphere were police believe this is correct behavior. "Outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila, a protest against the U.S. military presence in the Philippines ended with a violent police crackdown, including a police van ramming into protesters." No, it wasn't a "mistake", the police van intentionally ran over protestors. There's video. This is why some of Trumpster supporters' language is disturbing. Violence begets violence.

"Three Kansas men with ties to an extremist, hard-right militia movement were formally charged Monday for domestic terrorism connected to their alleged plans to bomb the day after Election Day a Garden City housing complex that was home to much of the town's Somali Muslim population, as well as a mosque." Words matter. They give people license, they give them ideas. Words are the viral infection vector of both hate and love. Unfortunately much has been given to hate lately.

"Poll workers across the country are on high alert after the recent firebombing of a Republican Party headquarters in North Carolina and reports that two armed men lingered for hours outside a Democratic campaign office in Virginia. Some feel that Donald Trump's claim that the election is rigged, and his suggestion that supporters and their friends to go to polling places to 'watch,' are rhetorical time bombs… 'You know, it's unfortunate that we have to do this, but we want to be overly prepared,' said Amber McReynolds, the director of elections for the city and county of Denver. 'We have added in an active shooter training into our election judge training.'" (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Voters across Ohio might be heartened to know that for all of Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, his campaign managed to find at least one man of Muslim faith to advertise his support of the Republican nominee… But Grinder Singh Khalsa is not Muslim. He is not a Trump supporter. And he says he did not give the Trump campaign permission to use his image on a mailer."

"It’s worth noting that the Republican National Committee has been under a three-decade-old consent decree… barring it from engaging in any sort of 'ballot security' efforts targeting minorities. The decree is the result of RNC activity decades ago… that Democrats alleged amounted to voter intimidation." So it remains to be seen if Trumpster can be considered as a spokesman for the RNC.

The GOP proves itself to be gullible fools with fake tweets of voter fraud. Well, I believe the evidence that started the whole Voter ID push was even flimsier. And our own Ohio Sec of State John Husted followed the joke tweet down the rabbit hole. Yep, that's life here in Ohio. We shouldn't be too hard on them, they can't even accept their own reports about how Hillary isn't guilty of anything they've accused her of. Multiple reports.

Ooookay. "CORRECTION: A previous version of this article quoted a party official as saying completed absentee ballots might have been destroyed in the attack on the Orange County Republican Party office, which was incorrect. The North Carolina Republican Party and its county organizations do not collect completed absentee ballots." Which is a felony offense of voter fraud. I think it's time someone FOIA/Sunshine law requests the official reports and photos from the fire department. (Grokked indirectly from Fred Clark)

Tweet of my heart: @joss You know, I think people are just pissed they're rebooting the Clinton administration with a female lead (Grokked from Christopher Moore)