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

Friday, March 30, 2018

Linkee-poo for a Friday, possibly Good

"I have seen numerous reports on Facebook, KBoards, and elsewhere that Amazon has adopted a new policy where some romance titles, most notably those titles that Amazon has identified as erotica, have been removed from the Kindle Store best-seller list." Amazon may be about to learn the hard lesson of never fucking with romance readers (although this supposedly only effect "erotica"). (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"Across several experiments which involved showing volunteers photos of people farting in public, the researchers determined that feelings of embarrassment could be noticeably reduced when participants put themselves in the shoes of an outside observer, rather than imagining themselves a victim of an embarrassing situation. According to the researcher, this may be easier said than done." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, was found in more than half of overdose deaths last year in 10 states including Massachusetts. Now, there's concern as it creeps into cocaine." Because the drug of choice always changes. So if drug culture is switching to cocaine, people will be relieved that the heroin epidemic is over, not realizing that we still have the same problem. It doesn't go away. The lacing of cocaine has been slipping under the radar because most users (so far) have been black.

"Now female senators are demanding to know what’s behind the delay. All 22 women of the Senate have signed a letter addressed to Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, expressing 'deep disappointment' that no action has been taken on this (sexual-harassment) bill." (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

"In the wake of a string of deadly bombings that shook Austin, Texas and surrounding areas in recent weeks, the city's police chief called the suspect a 'domestic terrorist,' even though the incidents have not been formally labeled as such by the feds." Well that took long enough.

"Outlandish former Texas congressman Steve Stockman resurfaced last spring when he was arrested by federal agents while trying to board an international flight and subsequently slapped with a 28-count felony fraud indictment, which he said was the work of the 'deep state.'" That's a story. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Addressing a crowd in Ohio on Thursday, Trump said construction had begun on his promised border wall, but he was referring to pictures of construction that began in 2009." Our Fake News Anchor-in-Chief.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Linkee-poo hears the talking of the dj, can't understand, just what does he say

Today was moving day for the office, as in I was moved into a new office. I haven't had an office for almost 3 decades. I don't know if I know how to act in here. But not much new for the links, sorry.

"Using observations from several telescopes, Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum and colleagues studied 10 bright clumps of stars within the galaxy, known as globular clusters, and measured their velocities. The more mass there is in the galaxy, the faster the clusters should move around it. So if dark matter were present, the clusters should cruise at a relatively rapid clip. Instead, the clusters were moving slowly, indicating a dark matter–free zone."

"Authorities in Florida are asking for help in finding a commercial real estate agent who owes more than $500,000 in child support and has mysteriously vanished while paddleboarding on the ocean, according to police and court records." This is like the start of one of those cottage-detective mysteries. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Few except the cognoscenti knew the modernizing language was even there when Congress passed it last Friday. Titled the CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data), the statute was attached to the 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill."

"'Further, Cosmo targets young girls by placing former Disney stars on its covers, despite the enclosed sexually erotic articles which describe risky sexual acts like public, intoxicated, or anal sex in detail. Customers should not be forced to be exposed to this content when they are trying to check-out at the store.'" And there we get to the heart of it. The corruption of the youth. Those poor kids are getting brainwashed. And I understand, and in some ways I agree that the content can run to the "try these 21 new sexual positions" in bold type (also, there really ain't nothing new, just new to you). The glamor shots for the cover do bend toward the "sex sells" side (and are heavily photoshopped). But frankly, for "morality content" I have a lot more problems with the National Enquirer, the Globe and the like which are often more explicit with their rumor mongering, but have less provocative photography.

Government should not be outsourced. "Some early red flags were raised a few years ago by the Government Accountability Office. The GAO investigated the TEACH grant program and noted that teachers were improperly having their grants taken away. At least 2,252 grants were erroneously converted to loans by the servicer." Gee, I wonder if the loan servicer had a financial interest in converting these grants (which they'd get only a few dollars a month) to loans (which I'm guessing they then get to service for a much better return). Government should not be a profit making enterprise.

"Schools in the UK have been put on lockdown amid a major safety alert after an email threated to 'run down and shoot' children." (Grokked from Emma Audsley)

Let's put up more cameras, let's allow the government to scan our faces at ports of entry, what could possibly go wrong? "Last April, the industrial capital of Shenzhen installed anti-jaywalking cameras that use facial recognition to automatically identify people crossing without a green pedestrian light; jaywalkers are shamed on a public website and their photos are displayed on large screens at the intersection." How's your AR-15 going to help with that? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Supreme Court justices seemed to grasp the problem of gerrymandering in oral arguments Wednesday and that it will only get worse, as computer-assisted redistricting gets even more refined… But they appeared frustrated with what to do about it — without becoming the constant police officer on the beat." There are now two cases with both parties in the crosshairs (for one of the suits). The arguments for each, however, differ between equal protection and free speech.

"As a cognitive scientist, one of the questions that most fascinates me is whether and how fake news affects people's attitudes and behaviors. This is a question for social science, with a particular role for social and cognitive psychology."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Linkee-poo run away

"Valuable atlases, maps, and large plate books that show the colorful breadth of Western civilization have been stolen from the rare books room of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland, right under the gaze of Andrew Carnegie’s portrait." Round up the usual suspects. (Grokked from Vincent O'Connor)

"The University of Sydney acquired the coffin 150 years ago and a series of academics incorrectly classified it as empty… Their error was only discovered by chance late last year when more recent academics removed the lid to the coffin and discovered the tattered remains of a mummy." Oopsie.

"Parts of the Amazon previously thought to have been almost uninhabited were really home to thriving populations of up to a million people, new research shows."

"Twenty-five years ago, brown bear mothers in Sweden rarely spent more than 18 months raising their cubs. Today, it's not unusual for moms to devote 2 1/2 years to their cubs before they go off on their own… What's behind this new passion for parenting? Researchers attribute it to a hunting regulation that protects mother bears and their cubs."

How gerrymandered is the US? "Because of maps designed to favor Republicans, Democrats would need to win by a nearly unprecedented nationwide margin in 2018 to gain control of the House of Representatives. To attain a bare majority, Democrats would likely have to win the national popular vote by nearly 11 points. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have won by such an overwhelming margin in decades. Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps." So NDCC, it's time to up the "Get Out The Vote" drive. Also, you better have a good plan to take back the state houses in 2020. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"But one other organization that has ready access to Facebook’s trove of personal data has a much better track record of using such information effectively: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A question about citizenship status will be added to the 2020 US census, for the first time since 1950… US officials say the move will help the federal government enforce the Voting Rights Act and give it the data it needs to allocate resources." Let's call bullshit on that. See, the Census doesn't just do one census every decade. There are continuing censuses that drill down into some of the deep demographics, the 2020 census (of which there will be smaller census tallies run concurrently) is for enumeration, the intent is to count every person here (regardless of immigration of citizenship status). I worked on the 2010 Census and I can't tell you how important it is to accurately count everyone. But here is the other thing with the Census. With the decacentennial census whatever you answer on the questions is meant to be taken as the truth. The rules for the 2010 census were "if the respondent tells you they are a 'Purple-American Non-Hispanic who believes in the Jedi faith,' that's what you write down in the appropriate boxes" (the census I worked on didn't ask religious affiliation). There are legal ramifications for lying, though. So I wouldn't tell you to lie on your census forms by saying you're a citizen when you're not.

"Last week, The Atlantic hired Kevin Williamson, a conservative famous for his flamboyant bigotry, a flair most famously exhibited when he wrote that women who have abortions should be hanged along with their nurses and doctors." What the FUCK?! Dear Atlantic. 1) Uh no. 2) Fuck no. 3) I think you've missed that progressive minded people may watch/hear sad things when we're sad (no, really, it's a thing, google it) but we don't rage watch/read/listen. It's not in our chemistry. Sure there are some, but there's a fine line that troglodyte minds like this crossed a long time ago. 4) The only good thing is that progressives are good at ignoring these things and just skipping them. But this really hurts your brand. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"While the NRA claims it does not receive foreign money for election purposes, the movement of its money among accounts could make it difficult, if not impossible, to track how the money is spent since it is not isolated or sequestered." Hey, remember the argument about not being able to fund Planned Parenthood (and other organizations) even though the "regular" health care and abortion services have a firewall because any money to PP for one side could release other money for the abortion side and therefore it's exactly the same thing as funding abortion? Apparently conservative causes magically can keep that from happening.

"Authorities arrested a man in Washington state on Tuesday in connection with a number of suspicious packages that arrived Monday at federal facilities around Washington, D.C."

"A white supremacist gang that rewards members for murder is in turmoil after its members allegedly killed one of their own at a house party… They tried claiming Hallmark was shot during a gas station robbery, but accidentally discussed the cover up while on the phone with police." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"'I’m also more of a hawk on immigration than even the president,' (Mitt) Romney said Monday when he was asked about his conservative credentials at the event at the Provo Library. 'My view was these DACA kids shouldn’t all be allowed to stay in the country legally.'" Why, it's almost like the GOP politicians realize they have to be more racist than thou to whoo the conservative base. So much for Mittens being a check on Trump.

"A Kentucky teenager was charged in court this week with making second-degree terroristic threats — and police say that he planned to carry out a school shooting using an AR-15 rifle that he bought with money that his mother had given him for a tattoo." His mother says she doesn't believe her son would commit a mass murder… you know, even though he lied to her about the need for money and bought the damn rifle. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Sheriff Anthony Wickersham says a 23-year-old CPL holder from Macomb Township was with a friend in the seasonal aisle when his gun went off. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"'When I say he was adjusting his holster, this is a statement that is coming from him and, obliviously, somehow pressure was put on the trigger and the gun went off,' Wickersham says. He says the bullet went through his foot… Now some are wondering if supermarkets should become gun-free zones like schools." You mean like they used to be? Guns, they may not kill people, but sometimes they just like to "go off." Sort of like how porn just shows up on your phone. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"President Donald Trump has privately floated the idea of funding construction of a border wall with Mexico through the US military budget in conversations with advisers, two sources confirmed to CNN Tuesday."

"Chris Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower whose revelations about Facebook data being misused for political campaigning has wiped billions off the share price of the company in recent days and led to the FTC opening a fresh investigation, has suggested the scale of the data leak is substantially larger than has been reported so far."

"'They don't care whether or not what they do is legal as long as it gets the job done,' (Chris Wylie) said. 'Broadly, this is a company that goes around the world and undermines civil institutions of countries that are struggling to develop those institutions. ... They are an example of what modern-day colonialism looks like.'"

"Alex van der Zwaan, who pleaded guilty to lying to special counsel (Mueller's) prosecutors and the FBI, is asking for no jail time." Good luck with that. Look, if you're negotiating a plea arrangement, you put all of it on the table to get it all taken care of. Coming back after the deal (which was also covering lying to investigators) is just bad form. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election revealed Tuesday night that prosecutors say they have connected former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates to a person with ties to a Russian intelligence service while Gates worked on the campaign." Here we go. Typically reveals start this way with a tenuous connection, and then you add cables to that suspension bridge showing more and more contacts, and eventually it's a huge structure. Also, not really sympathetic to his family situation. Is it sad? Yes. Is it mitigating circumstances, no. What's the phrase? "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Linkee-poo speak to me only with your eyes, it is to you I give this tune

"At least 64 people have died in a massive fire at a shopping center in central Russia, while others remain unaccounted for, a Russian official confirmed Monday." And mostly kids. Fuck. "According to news reports, the alarm system did not work and some fire exits were blocked." Because who needs competent government and only have inspections that are veiled attempts at bribery? I know I joke with you, my Russian friends, but we seriuosly send our sympathy and condolences to the young ones and their families. Life is hard enough without tragedies like this.

"Thousands of people gathered in the Siberian city of Kemerovo on Tuesday to express anger over a fire that killed at least 64 people, many of them children, as reports indicated that the building's alarm system had been shut off and exits blocked." And Putin is shocked, shocked this is happening. For a supposed reformer, he ain't reforming very much except his bank accounts.

Thomas Ricks on a hard editorial letter and the rewrite to make the book better. (Grokked from Myke Cole)

"Ohio State sociologist Natasha Quadlin set out to study the effect of high academic achievement on women's employment, so she created 2,106 fictional job applicants, half male, half female, across a spectrum of GPAs and college majors, and submitted them via common recruiting sites… Quadlin found that men with high GPAs attract more job offers than low-GPA men, but that women are penalized for having higher GPAs, especially women who major in math." As almost any smart woman can tell you. Sometimes we find conformational bias, sometimes we create it. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

"'Unpredictability, measured as the frequency of extreme errors in ... projections, has increased in the most recent decade,' according to an unusual new study by a team at Carnegie Mellon University that found analysts are getting worse at predicting both how much oil and gas will be produced and how much Americans will need."

"Women using these services in cities say they like the speed and no-hassle privacy they get by making a purchase through the app. And in some rural areas where women's health clinics are few and far between, being able to buy prescription contraceptives online — starting at around $15 for a month's supply — can be not only much more private, but much more affordable and less time-consuming than driving an hour or more to the closest clinic, or paying for a doctor's appointment." Buying birth control through an app.

"The U.S. Department of Energy on Friday withdrew from a 2016 agreement to partner with a private developer on a more than 700-mile transmission line that would have delivered wind power from blustery Oklahoma to Tennessee and beyond." The good part of this is that some of the reasoning is that the TVA thinks its customers are more interested in locally generated solar power than wind power from Tennessee. But it's still damn short sightedness and need to 1) upgrade our existing grid and 2) repurpose it for transfer of renewable energy sources. Although, in truth, I am all for point-source generation. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Firearms manufacturer Remington Outdoor has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in hopes of staving off creditors amid a slump in sales and public outcry over gun violence." We won't mention the possibility of a lawsuit that may tie liability for mass shootings to the manufacturer of the weapons used. It's also the result of a small market blip for companies owned by holding companies who then over leverage the companies they own to cash out with bonuses.

"… Mexicali Resiste, an activist group fighting the opening of a new brewery by the Fortune 500 company Constellation Brands. Constellation makes wines, spirits and beer, including Corona, Modelo and Pacifico as well as beers from craft brewer Ballast Point. The company has set up offices in the city, and is working with the local government to build a $1.5 billion brewery that will use local water to make beer for American consumers." Local water that is already in short supply. Welcome to the water wars.

"Authorities now say that a student in Maryland who fatally shot a fellow classmate and seriously hurt another died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a confrontation with a school resource officer." So much for that NRA fantasy.

"Two people have been arrested over the murder of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor in Paris that is being investigated as a suspected anti-Semitic attack, a French judicial source told CNN on Tuesday." Nazis.

"The FBI has taken custody of multiple suspicious packages sent to military locations and the CIA in the Washington, DC area, officials said Monday… A law enforcement official told CNN there were more than 10 devices. All were very crude, involving black powder, and would not have caused fatalities had they gone off, the official said."

"The massive spending bill President Trump signed into law on Friday includes enough money to replace voting machines that leave no paper trail, a top priority for many election officials and cybersecurity experts. But according to a new analysis, it seems unlikely that's how the money will be spent."

"President Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials from the United States and ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle, the White House announced Monday." Before you get all, "Well, maybe he can do something against Russia," also know that "Many European countries made the same move on Monday. Germany, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Estonia, Italy, Poland and Lithuania all announced that they would be asking Russian diplomats to leave." My guess is the UK called an Article 5.

"Daniels said she had sex with Trump, despite not wanting to or being physically attracted to him, because she felt trapped once she went back to his hotel room alone. Daniels was 27 years old at the time, and Trump was 60." In case anyone wanted to read about it.

"To start, the Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked the deputy press secretary Raj Shah to explain why Americans should believe what the White House says… Miller brought up a few recent instances in which the White House said things that were quickly determined to be untrue… 'Why should we in this room — and more importantly, the American people — trust anything this administration is telling them?' Miller asked." That's how it starts. Next is when they say something patently unbelievable, reiterate the question as a followup. Of course the next question is, "Is the president lying to you, or asking you to lie for him?" (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"A POLITICO review of public documents, newly obtained FEMA records and interviews with more than 50 people involved with disaster response indicates that the Trump administration — and the president himself — responded far more aggressively to Texas than to Puerto Rico." Which comes as little shock to people who pay attention. But hey, we're those paper towels the president tossed out great? (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"The balancing act for these Republicans is appealing to moderate voters enraged by Trump while trying to avoid alienating a party base enamored with the president." And as the "base" is considered more and more out of the mainstream, that will be harder.

"Records of President Trump's past depositions show a familiar pattern of boasting, sometimes battling opponents and giving little deference to factual details — pitfalls which could all come into play in various legal cases before too long." Basically he's himself, which could be a liability going forward.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Linkee-poo, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear, and it shows them pearly white

No, I didn't watch it. Why? Because for the most part it's a tempest in a tea pot. The evangelical right won't leave Trump as long as he appoints anti-abortion judges, continues to protect their businesses from having to comply with anti-discrimination laws, doesn't fight to change some churches' tax exemption status, and helps bring about the prophesies of the End Times. Hell, he could skewer and roast live babies on the East Lawn and eat them on prime time TV and as long as they got those four things they'll just smile and say, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." About the best that can happen is the $130,000 could be ruled an "in kind donation" and Michael Cohen and the campaign will be fined, but it won't touch Trump. Because evangelicals don't really care about piety despite what they say. About the only thing I can say is I thought the one episode of Friends where Monica almost catches Chandler watching porn, but he quickly switches the channel to Discovery which so happens to have been playing Shark Week so Monica thinks sharks gets Chandler's motor running was one of those, "What's the worst we could have him watch? I know, sharks eating seals!" writer room conversations. I guess I didn't know that was an actual thing. I need to update my "kinks people have" list.

The March for Our Lives.

An interview with S.A. Chakrabortty.

"Everyone knows… But everyone didn’t know." And older one recently repointed to by Kameron Hurley on the secrets in publishing. And it's true with much of life and many industries.

New theory on how the dinosaurs really went extinct. "A life size animatronic T-Rex caused quite the scene after a fire caused by an electrical issue at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience on Thursday." Spontaneous combustion. (Grokked from John)

Hey, remember that flat-earther with the steam powered rocket? "'Mad' Mike Hughes, the rocket man who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air Saturday before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. He told The Associated Press that outside of an aching back he’s fine after the launch near Amboy, California."

"Skiers and snowboarders were met with orange-tinted snow in Sochi, Russia, this weekend… The usually powdery white snow turned colors due to a sandstorm that blew across the Sahara Desert in North Africa." the world is weirder than we think.

"Los Angeles-based food entrepreneur Emily Williams is hoping that the next best thing since sliced bread is... sliced ketchup." Science. (Grokked from Dan)

Where does the fat go? A lot of interesting science here, but they get a lot wrong. Their survey of where fat goes dismisses a lot of the doctors, dietitians and personal trainers who say it's converted into energy, and instead want you to say it's converted into CO2 and water. This is true. But the CO2 and water is a byproduct of converting glucose into energy your body can use (ATP). It's not entirely true that fat is converted to CO2 and water, those are just the main exhaust functions from anaerobic glycolysis (CO2) and the Kreb's cycle (CO2 and free hydrogen) and electron transport chain (water). While you make ATP through all 3 of those, it's the electron transport chain (which is the cell walls of the mitochondria) is where you produce a hellalotta ATP. And while it's true you're not "creating" ATP, you're just putting the P back on the end, that's the real use of fat (well, actually glucose, of which most fats are basically stacked glucose molecules). CO2 and water are the waste products of that chain. In the end, though, they are correct. It's the respiration of CO2 (which is the main function of your lungs and hemoglobin, BTW) and water that reduces your weight.

Jim Wright's Bang Bang Crazy Part 13 on his questions about arming teachers. Anyone who has dealt with school systems, police, or government knows that what Jim is saying is correct. If you don't ask the questions now, and get the answers right, it means dead kids. And having read most of the responses he received to his tweets I gotta say, these people promoting arming teachers have no fucking clue. As a simple example one of these fine people talked about also giving police a radio so they can communicate with the police. So, you know, as the police storm the school they'll know who the good guy is, because, I don't know, it's the guy with the radio? Want to know why this is a bad idea? Read the after action reporting on the Parkland Shooting. The police couldn't talk to each other with their radios (sheriffs, local police, state police). In Ohio we've only partially solved this problem, and every channel cost $200 per radio (we have 4 in our radios; local, state, sheriff, and fire), and the radio themselves cost $1000 a year for licensing and connectivity. Schools can't even fund buying simple school supplies. And what if the teacher with the radio is the shooter? We're all fucked then.

What to do when the American Bar Association labels some of your judicial candidates as "not qualified"? "Senate Republicans have declared war on the American Bar Association." Yeah, shoot the messenger. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Wisconsin Republicans signaled Friday that they will hold a special election to change election law rather than face special elections in two heavily Republican legislative districts." Yes, they're so petty they will change their state law rather than hold special elections they may lose. (Grokked from Pat Rothfuss)

"The woman behind a series of videos pushing a conspiracy theory about Broward County, Fla., Sheriff Scott Israel has admitted that the content of the videos is false and that she was paid to make the claims." Why do the dirty work yourself, just hire a freelancer for $25 to smear someone for you. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"CNN commentator and former Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Rick Santorum on Sunday suggested students protesting for gun control legislation would be better served by taking CPR classes and preparing for active shooter scenarios." Dear Ricky, I've seen what happens when you perform CPR on gunshot victims. You're just pumping more blood out onto the floor. Oh, and they are doing something. They saw the intellectual logjam the GOP has instituted in Congress and the influence the NRA has and decided to fight for change themselves. If you weren't such a pusillanimous flea on the body politic, you'd recognize that.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Linkee-poo pushes it out

John Bolton, seriously? That guy shouldn't be given command of a dingy. By himself.

Lots of news I can get to, including clarification that the Dickey Amendment doesn't actually prevent the CDC from studying gun violence. But the rider is still attached to the latest spending bill. Because.

"Now, researchers say cooking red and white meat over an open-flame or at high temperatures — including grilling, barbecuing, broiling and roasting — might modestly increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure. The results were presented Wednesday at an American Heart Association meeting." Yeah, I'll risk it. And while the report quickly focuses on grilling, I'll note the actual study talks about cooking red meat at high-temperatures. The best way to make a medium-rare steak? Sear the outside quickly with a high temperature surface and the move to a lower-temperature setting. Also, the people who saw the greatest increases where "grilling" 15 times a month. That's over the recommended intake of red meat.

"Standards for how to investigate and report on overdoses vary widely across states and counties. As a result, opioid overdose deaths aren't always captured in the data reported to the federal government. The country is undercounting opioid-related overdoses by 20 to 35 percent, according to a study published in February in the journal Addiction." Who needs regulation?

"But when a team of researchers at MIT unveiled their robotic fish Wednesday, one of the keys they emphasized was the graceful undulation of the prototype's tail — which, besides being rather eye-catching, serves a crucial role in the robot's ultimate mission: giving scientists the ability to unobtrusively observe marine wildlife remotely." One of the things they're worried about it that the robot might be seen a prey. Dudes, really, I'm sure you have some biologists there that can help you with that. Also, Woods Hole is right down the road. Note, sharks also hunt using electrical signals. More than likely your robot looks like a hot mess to them.

"What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown." Hmm, well that's a coinkydink. This is why some information needs to remain classified, and why people who can't pass a background check shouldn't have access to it. Say, where did the Kushner's get some recent financing? Just because Putin may have leverage on the president doesn't mean other people also don't have leverage on him and his family. And now foreign leaders are semi-openly talking about their control. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Police shot at a man 20 times in his own yard, thinking he had a gun. It was an iPhone." Bang bang crazy.

Who needs ethics? National Labor Relations Board Member William Emanuel (R) violated a White House ethics pledge by participating in a closely watched case involving his former law firm, the NLRB’s inspector general concluded in a report obtained by Bloomberg Law… Although Emanuel told Inspector General David Berry that he didn’t realize former firm Littler Mendelson represented a business in the seminal Browning-Ferris Industries case, he previously flagged the litigation for lawmakers as one that he might need to sit out, according to Berry’s report. Emanuel then joined the rest of the five-member board in directing its top attorney to ask an appeals court to drop the case." Ethics just gets in the way of getting your way. And now we're back to the "aw shucks, I don't remember" excuse popularized by Reagan. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"The F.B.I. investigated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for possible perjury last year over congressional testimony in which he said he had no contacts with Russians, according to three people familiar with the case." Guess who authorized the investigation. Aw, it's no fun unless you guess.

"Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday dismissed the controversy surrounding the purchase of a $31,000 dining set for Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's office, blaming the decision on the so-called deep state." Alert Snyders of Berlin, we've got an all new pretzel maker here. Take 2! Or, hey, I didn't know Ben Carson's wife was a part of the Deep State? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"John Dowd, the veteran attorney leading President Trump's outside legal team, has tendered his resignation… He declined to explain why he was leaving the team that is helping the president deal with Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation." Was it just last weekend that John Dowd said that Mueller should be fired? I guess we see who won that round.

"Former U.N. ambassador John Bolton recorded a video used by the Russian gun rights group The Right to Bear Arms in 2013 to encourage the Russian government to loosen gun laws." Like I said, they keep on saying there's no collusion, but damn there sure are a lot of Russians around here (waves to my Russian friends).

"But on one occasion, The Daily Beast has learned, Guccifer failed to activate the VPN client before logging on. As a result, he left a real, Moscow-based Internet Protocol address in the server logs of an American social media company, according to a source familiar with the government’s Guccifer investigation." Oops. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Even though the final report from the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee will find no evidence of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia, a new study by a Democratic-aligned advocacy group suggests the committee didn’t look very hard… According to the Center for American Progress’s Moscow Project, the House committee charged with investigating Russian involvement in the 2016 election obtained either no or incomplete information about 81 percent of the known contacts between Trump officials and Russians, or groups and individuals with strong Russia ties like Wikileaks." For there being no collusion, there sure are a hellalotta Russians around. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Linkee-poo hand trapping some art and my brain hurts

Writer's Digest best podcasts for writers. Hey, I listen to a few of those. Insert generic "writing advice" advice about how everything is not for you/won't work for you, what works for you won't with others… choose what works, discard the rest (but keep it in mind because it might work later, or might work for someone who asks you about writing advice).

And speaking of one of those podcasts, the recent Ditch Diggers podcast with DongWon Song and Jennifer Udden talked about #PitMad and #DVPit twitter pitching sessions. I had never heard of this, but there it is. Usually by the time I hear about these things it's in the "Oh, we're so over it" kind of way. But here are two Writer's Digest articles about them. As with all pitching and querying, follow the goddamn rules and maybe start researching how others have used it so you're ready for the next sessions.

So, sometimes people ask me why I love the SF/F community. This is why. "During Evan's proton beam treatment… the 8-year-old has to a wear a mask to cover his face so the beam hits the same spot each time… Being a 'Star Wars' fan, he decided to have his mask painted to look like that of a Stormtrooper. He also wears a Stormtrooper uniform to every proton beam appointment to accompany his mask." Two staffers also escorted him to his first therapy in full Stormtrooper gear (those are nice costumes, not some Drugmart Holloween thing). Giving a little kid the power to go through proton beam therapy, that's why I love this community. I'm not crying, you're crying. Shut up. I've helped fit those masks/blocks (depending on where the cancer is, there are different immobilizers). I don't know if I could do that. Fuck cancer. (Grokked from Mark Hamill)

"The thrusters aboard the Voyager 1 spacecraft just did what we thought was impossible. After 37 years of inactivity, NASA just received response from spacecraft 13 billion miles away, NASA said in a statement on its website." So now we might be able to extend her mission until basically the batteries run out. Not that she's near anything, but hopefully we might get more data about the inter-solar space she's flying through. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

"A longtime analyst for Fox News is leaving the network, saying that he could not 'in good conscience' remain with an organization that, he argued, 'is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit.'" What took you so long to realize that? Because, really, it's been a propaganda organization from day one. Maybe they finally just went too far to the right (because that's how conservatives operate, always moving the goal posts to the right).

"The ever-escalating Stormy Daniels saga took another strange turn Tuesday night when CNN brought attorneys for the porn star and Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, into its studios and let them rip into each other on prime time television." You know lawyers… bitchy little girls. For there being "nothing there" the Trump side sure is fighting tooth-and-nail.

"From time to time, transformational leaders take office. They show everyone else exactly what can be done and how to do it. That’s Larry Krasner right now – and he’s showing the nation how to dismantle mass incarceration from the inside out." Some will call him "weak" on crime, but that depends on how his memo is implemented and the actual results on the street. (Grokked from Julie)

"In the first major change to Section 230 in years, Congress is voting this week to make Internet companies take a little more responsibility than they have for content on their sites." This is why you need to be careful how you write laws, and why most people don't understand why some laws go to extreme lengths trying to define a concept.

"A secret 'gingerbread house' deep in a forest sounds like something from a fairy tale, but investigators in Seattle say the one they found was anything but. Now, 56-year-old Daniel Wood faces charges of possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, according to the Seattle Times." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is investigating possible campaign finance violations by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)." Not that these things come to any big conclusion or penalty. But still, for the party of supposed "fiscal responsibility" they sure do have their problems. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

More from the ACLU suit of Kris Kobach. "Kobach’s battle against the ACLU was supposed to be a showcase for his claims of widespread voter fraud… Instead, the trial devolved into a comedy of errors, with Kobach’s witnesses frequently contradicting his claims or getting humiliated by pointed questions they couldn’t answer." (Grokked from Xopher)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Commercial announcement

Well, I have enough t-shirts up on Spreadshirt that I feel I can shout it out a little louder. So I'm adjusting my policy about "no ads" to "ads just for my stuff." Now I'm a commercial blogger in an age where blogs are dead. Go me.

For those of you reading the RSS feed, you can find my t-shirt store on Spreadshirt. I have a few shirts on Zazzle, but so far I don't like the interface. More venues to come (there's some background work I need to complete first before adding those).

So if you enjoy my humor, work in allied health fields, have cancer, or looking for the odd t-shirt about NE Ohio, I'm here for you.

Linkee-poo so this is Spring Weather (sung to the tune of "Happy Xmas, War Is Over")

John Scalzi is giving away an arc of his latest novel. All it requires is you to comment on his blog post (note, see link, commenting on my blog does not enter you). I'm sure John wouldn't sell our data to Cambridge Analytica. Kinda sure. Sorta confident. (Also, you just have today to enter.)

NPR's Skunk Bear delves into a high-school anatomy skeleton to find out more about it. Most new classroom skeletons are plastic, but many of the older ones are real human bones. And there was a massive trade from India in these skeletons. This is tied to burial practices. Why from the Ganges? Because that's where the bodies were disposed of. The skeletons of humans and animals would wash down stream and onto the islands that dot the lower flood plane of the Ganges. There are people who live there who would collect the bones and process them for resale either as whole skeletons, partial skeletons, or as bone meal or calcium, magnesium, and biological iron.

"The world's last surviving male northern white rhino has died after months of poor health, his carers said." And so it goes.

As it should be clear by now, whenever you hear Fox News decrying some action of "liberals" that sounds conspiratorial, you can bet it's because conservatives are attempting to do exactly the same thing. "A trove of e-mails obtained by House Democrats reveal efforts by top State Department officials — working hand in hand with the White House, outside conservatives and right-wing media — to sideline and demote career civil servants who are seen as disloyal to President Trump." The Trump administration is attempting to instill a Deep State culture in our government. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"'That's the one thing we don't have right now, is a motive behind this. We do not understand what motivated him to do what he did.'" Raises hand. I understand the reluctance to label this terror (both historically and how it causes white Americans to examine their own beliefs), but really? The police and FBI may also be bluffing here in an attempt to round up a wider circle of associates and accomplices (and not tip them off as to how far the investigation has progressed). And while there is a lot of unknowns being pushed around, "are there any more bombs waiting to be discovered" and "did he have anyone helping him", my main question is "was this guy the bomb maker, or just the delivery boy?" Supposedly we have a name. It hasn't been verified yet.

Just how crazy are gun nuts? "Carl Nett, a Republican candidate for Kentucky secretary of state, tweeted Tuesday a reference to shooting Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY), who was boasting about his F rating from the National Rifle Association. 'Move it over just a bit,' the tweet read. 'I was trained center mass.'" Triggered a little there, snowflake? (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A Minneapolis police officer is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case of an unarmed Australian woman who was shot and killed after calling 911 to report a possible crime." Gee, what's different in this case as compared to all the other cases of officer shootings of unarmed people? What could it be?

"President Donald Trump was infuriated after it quickly leaked that he had been directly instructed by his national security advisers in briefing materials not to congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin on his recent election victory during their call Tuesday morning, a source familiar with the President's thinking said." Dear Pres Trump, imagine how infuriated the rest of us are that you did congratulate a defacto dictator on a sham election.

Tweet of my heart: @xeni Part of why you feel anxiety here is because you are experiencing actual information warfare, and you are engaging in the stream of information at this time. Remember to tend to your own garden.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Linkee-poo is rushed

Apparently today is international "OMG we forgot and now need this tomorrow" Day.

"A new study I published with my co-author examines gender bias in student evaluations. We looked at the content of the comments in both the formal in-class student evaluations for his courses as compared to mine as well as the informal comments we received on the popular website Rate My Professors. We found that a male professor was more likely to receive comments about his qualification and competence, and that refer to him as 'professor.' We also found that a female professor was more likely to receive comments that mention her personality and her appearance, and that refer to her as a 'teacher.'" As the husband of a professor, yes this to a thousand. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

Second-hand marijuana smoke may have worse health effect than tobacco smoke. But here's the thing, any kind of smoke is fine particulate matter (including ash), which settles deeply in the lungs. That makes it hard for your body to expel.

"A self-driving car operated by Uber struck and killed a pedestrian who was walking her bicycle in Tempe, Ariz., Sunday night. The incident could be the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle." Well, that didn't take as long as people might have thought. So now all those hypotheticals are about to get real.

An e-paper smart calendar. Yes, wants. When e-ink was first developed it was thought there would be a lot of these types of items, sadly the only real use we've seen has been as e-book readers (I think there was a watch, but not much more than that). (Grokked from Rodney)

"A sheriff’s spokeswoman said three people were injured in a shooting at a high school in southern Maryland on Tuesday, including the shooter."

"A package destined for an address in Austin, Texas, exploded at a FedEx distribution facility near San Antonio early Tuesday morning, reportedly resulting to a slight injury to an employee." Well, there's a mistake. Using FedEx creates a long paper trail. And at least around me FedEx no long has drop-off boxes, you have to go into an actual store which have cameras. This is also why the police made the appeal to talk with the bomber, because in talking they begin to make mistakes. Mistakes lead to clues to identity, which leads to arrests. This is what gets most criminals. They escalate, they get cocky, they taunt police, and then they get sloppy and/or changeup their MO.

"'The enemy is forgetting': Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson on why we must remember the 2008 financial crisis." Unfortunately humans are really good at forgetting (or at least ignoring) things. BTW, that's a fabulous story title.

"Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers." Nice people. (Grokked form Katheryn Cramer)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Linkee-poo, yellow bird, you are not long in singing and in flying on, in laughing, and in leaving

A Fonda Lee tweet thread about being a debut author. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Scientists from MIT and Johns Hopkins University have now detected radio signals from the event that match very closely with X-ray emissions produced from the same flare 13 days earlier. They believe these radio "echoes," which are more than 90 percent similar to the event's X-ray emissions, are more than a passing coincidence. Instead, they appear to be evidence of a giant jet of highly energetic particles streaming out from the black hole as stellar material is falling in." Black Holes burp.

"The 9-meter-tall, 8.8-ton spacecraft - dubbed HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response vehicle) - features a modular design that would enable it to serve as either a kinetic impactor… or as a transport vehicle for a nuclear device. Its possible mission: deflect 101955 Bennu, a massive asteroid… weighing around 79 billion kilograms… circling the sun at around 63,000 miles per hour. Based on observation data available, Bennu has a 1 in 2,700-chance of striking Earth on Sept. 25, 2135, and it is estimated that the kinetic energy of this impact would be equivalent to 1,200 megatons…"

"A suspected link between abnormal breast growth in young boys and the use of lavender and tea tree oils has been given new weight, after a study found eight chemicals contained in the oils interfere with hormones." Again, preliminary study, based on cancer research (which is then interpolated to have this affect). Remember when herbals, supplements, and aroma therapy were all dismissed as hoodoo?

"Authorities in Austin, Texas, responded to an explosion in the southwest part of the city late Sunday, with the city's emergency medical service tweeting that it caused two serious but non-life-threatening injuries." That's the fourth package. This time, however, it's believe the package was detonated using a trip wire. If this is an escalation, improvement, or just a response to the heightened awareness of what is going on is unclear.

Ten years after the start of the Great Recession, as Congress is about to roll back many provisions in Dodd-Frank, Marketplace interviews Bernanke, Paulson and Geithner.

For "The Answer Is More Guns" crowd, "A 13-year-old girl has died after authorities say she was shot Saturday by her 9-year-old brother, local media reported… Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell said the girl would not give up a video game controller when her brother wanted it." I'm sure if the girl had a gun, this wouldn't have happened. Or something like that.

"'Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,' (D.C. Council member Trayon White Sr.) says (in a video post to Facebook). 'And D.C. keep talking about, "We a resilient city." And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.'" Conspiracy theories and non-fact based beliefs are increasing. And they can't even get their stories straight. It's the Bilderberg Group that control the weather. I mean, everybody knows that.

"Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support President Donald Trump because they believe he'll cause the world to end." Dear Israel, evangelicals are not your friends. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fuck Cancer

So a couple weeks ago I had my 1.5 year followup for my basal cell carcinoma surgery (Mohs procedure). And I haven't said anything here or elsewhere because many of my friends who have also had cancer were announcing good news at the time and then each time I thought I should say something. So I stayed quiet because I didn't want to appear to be pooping on their good news.

In November I had a scab at the edge of my surgery site. It was small, but bleeding for no apparent reason is not a good sign. The site itself looked red, like I had been scratching at it (which I tried me best to not even rub my head). It appeared to look a little better as I left it alone, but the skin started to feel dry again.

At my appointment I let my dermatologist know all this. She was going to do a whole body scan anyway, but she agreed that it was a dry, red patch right on the edge of the incision site. So we had it frozen off. She said that it was probably a small sarcoma made up of squamous cells (which still doesn't make sense to me as sarcomas are connective tissue cancers, and squamous cells are the outer layer of skin). It's her belief that cryotherapy is all that was needed.

However this is how the last one started. And while I go to her because she is an expert in skin cancers, she didn't believe that I had cancer before until the lab report came back (or she was just trying to be positive and not say "cancer" to her patient without having labs to back it up).

In the end she said that usually she would have graduated me to a year between scans, but felt I should come back in 9 months. Or sooner if I notice something developing.

Thanks, Doc. No nervousness here because of that. Well, actually, I would rather she be honest with me than blow sunshine up my rear.

In any event while I should still be cancer free my personal medical history is arguing against it. We'll know if it comes back. The last time it took about 9 months before I started feeling a dry patch in the area we had frozen off (with a different doctor). It was another year before I could see a new doctor.

Fuck cancer.

Linkee-poo found a picture of you, oh oh oh oh

WWND, What Would Neil Do? A podcast interview with Neil Gaiman. The text on the webpage ends with "(Our series about animals with jobs will resume next week.)" Which is just hilarious given that the title is "How Does Neil Gaiman Work?"

"For my new Lovecraftian followers, here's a fossil from R'lyeh. For my geo followers; a massive fossil crinoid with a brittlestar inside, along with other crinoids…" (Grokked from Marie Vibbert)

"In late 2017, word of a new iPhone unlocker device started to circulate: a device called GrayKey, made by a company named Grayshift." (Grokked from John)

"As drug giant Pfizer Inc. hiked the price of dozens of drugs in 2017, it also jacked up the compensation of CEO Ian Read by 61 percent, putting his total compensation at $27.9 million, according to financial filings reported by Bloomberg." How do you like your $1000 bonus now? (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The Finder program seeks to fill in the gaps in photo and video geolocation by developing technologies that build on analysts' own geolocation skills, taking in images from diverse, publicly available sources to identify elements of terrain or the visible skyline. In addition to photos, the system will pull its imagery from sources such as commercial satellite and orthogonal imagery. The goal of the program's contractors—Applied Research Associates, BAE Systems, Leidos (the company formerly known as Science Applications Incorporated), and Object Video—is a system that can identify the location of photos or video 'in any outdoor terrestrial location.'" This isn't new, what's new is its automation (they used to use experts in photographic recon analysis to determine the location). As an FYI, I try to remove all geo-location data from the photos I post here (lingering op-sec habits). (Grokked from John)

The Now This video on Fox News duplicity on presidents meeting with Kim Jung Un. Hell, Trump didn't even take time to see if the offer was real before accepting. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"An Alabama state representative on Thursday argued that the state should not arm its teachers because most are women." Look, if your misogyny stops you from making a bad decision… I'm not sure exactly how I should react here. So I guess I go with what Boon said to Otter, "Forget it, he's rolling." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The Associated Press reported Thursday that Marisol Carrera filed a report with the anti-corruption division of Panama's prosecutor general's office that stated she felt 'intimidated and threatened' when lawyers from a firm representing the Trump Organization berated her and her staff in her office after she ruled against the company."

"During a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke greeted a fourth-generation Japanese-American congresswoman by saying 'konnichiwa,' a traditional midday Japanese greeting." I'm sure it sounded better in his head. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Abortions in the United States are safe and have few complications, according to a landmark new study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine… Calonge says the researchers found that about 90 percent of all abortions happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. And complications for all abortions are 'rare,' the report says… But the report did find that state laws and regulations can interfere with safe abortions." Of course the other side is crying "Fake News." (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

"Russia, Facebook, Trump, Mercer, Bannon, Brexit. Every one of these threads runs through Cambridge Analytica. Even in the past few weeks, it seems as if the understanding of Facebook’s role has broadened and deepened. The Mueller indictments were part of that, but Paul-Olivier Dehaye – a data expert and academic based in Switzerland, who published some of the first research into Cambridge Analytica’s processes – says it’s become increasingly apparent that Facebook is 'abusive by design'. If there is evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, it will be in the platform’s data flows, he says. And Wylie’s revelations only move it on again." There are other routes of evidence, but making this connection certainly connects the dots. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"Spencer's admission of antifa's victory was part of a long, dull Youtube video he posted last Sunday, in which he announced the premature end of his 'college tour,' because "When they become violent clashes and pitched battles, they aren’t fun,' adding, 'Antifa is winning to the extent that they’re willing to go further than anyone else, in the sense that they will do things in terms of just violence, intimidating, and general nastiness.'" The leaders of these groups never want to get their own hand dirty, and that is their weakness. You will never convince racists their ideology is wrong. To admit that they would have to lose their own identity that makes them feel strong, and alter their worldview. Racist rhetoric always leads to violence against those they would discriminate against. Bringing the violence to them first, while not desirable, is an appropriate tactic. Here is what I expect to happen, Spencer will wait until he feels anti-fa has forgotten him and then he'll try again. Meanwhile he will attempt to grow in the shadows. The best disinfectant is sunshine. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"The Kushner Cos. reportedly filed false paperwork with New York City officials regarding the apartment buildings it owned… The company, which was run at the time by White House adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, then pushed people out and raised rents in the buildings even though many of the tenants were protected by rules that said developers couldn't raise rents or push them out to create a profit, according to the news service." Once you start lying, it's hard to stop. And now these people are running the government. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he opposed a proposal for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign team to meet with Russians has been contradicted by three people who told Reuters they have spoken about the matter to investigators with Special Counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees." Although another witness said he did, but this is slightly awkward and points to another possible Perjury before Congress charge. Jeff, however, is at least a competent lawyer and so many of his statements have been so vague that they might not stick. But it could definitely intended to mislead. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Linkee-poo TGIF

"In the claim, H&M said that Williams accused the retailer of copyright infringement, negligence and unfair competition… H&M responded by saying that Williams 'does not own or possess any copyright rights in certain graffiti that was painted on New York City property without the permission of the city of New York'." Assholes. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

There's this joke you might here from those of us who grew up around the "shadier" side of business that something fell off the back of the truck (either owning something ridiculously expensive and outside of your pay range or something of immense worth being sold for peanuts). "A Russian AN-12 transport plane carrying approximately 9 tons of gold blocks, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, lost a third of its cargo as it was taking off from the Yakutsk Airport in eastern Siberia on Thursday." What? This? It fell off the back of a plane. Do ya want it or not?

"Our ancestors in Kenya's Southern Rift Valley made some pretty innovative tools. And they made them far earlier than previously thought — over one million years ago." Our ancestors weren't stupid.

"Stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are commonly prescribed to kids with what's known as ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But recently, adults became the biggest users of these drugs." Legal speed. They don't really help with concentration, but they make you feel like they're helping with concentration. It's the same reasons why powdered cocaine was so popular in the 80s.

And you think you're having a bad day. "A Romanian court has rejected a man’s claim that he is alive, after he was officially registered as dead… A court spokeswoman said on Friday that 63-year-old Constantin Reliu lost his case in the north-east city of Vasului because he appealed too late. The ruling is final." Just another reason to call your Mom (or in this case, your spouse). (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Patients should take nothing for granted and ask about the cost of every new prescription. And, because costs can vary depending on coverage, they may need to contact their insurance carrier or the PBM that handles their medicine claims."

"Why are white men stockpiling guns?… Research suggests it's largely because they're anxious about their ability to protect their families, insecure about their place in the job market and beset by racial fears." Note that the first two relate to the last reason. You can also tie this fear to the retreat into a preference for authoritarianism (which has a lot to do with how Trump both got the nomination and won the election). Also note these are some of the very fears our friends in Russia (waves to my Russian friends) exploited in their social media campaigns. "A gun in the home is far more likely to kill or wound the people who live there than is a burglar or serial killer. Most of the time, according to every single study that’s ever been done about interpersonal gun violence, the dead and wounded know the people who shot them. A gun in the home makes it five times more likely that a woman will be killed by her husband. Every week in America, 136 children and teenagers are shot—and more often than not, it’s a sibling, friend, parent, or relative who holds the gun. For every homicide deemed justified by the police, guns are used in 78 suicides. As a new study published this month in JAMA Internal Medicine once again shows us, restrictive gun laws don’t prevent white men from defending themselves and their families. Instead, those laws stop them from shooting themselves and each other." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Austin police have received an additional 127 suspicious package reports in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 495 since Monday morning, when two separate blasts left 17-year-old Draylen Mason dead and 75-year-old Esperanza Herrera seriously injured… No other dangerous packages have been found in Austin, police said." The second stage of terrorism.

"The Pennsylvania man who yelled an anti-immigrant slur before he punched a man of Middle Eastern descent last year blamed his actions on alcohol." There's this joke Craig Ferguson does when he's talking about Mel Gibson and people saying that he wasn't really a Nazi but was just drunk. It goes something like this, "I was a blackout drunk for fifteen years and I never turned Nazi." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Several people died immediately when a pedestrian bridge collapsed over a roadway near Florida International university. Live video footage of the incident shows that 5 or 6 vehicles are crushed beneath." Shit.

Well, more like a slipper than a shoe (we kinda expected this would happen at some point). "The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has subpoenaed the Trump Organization to turn over documents, including some related to Russia, according to two people briefed on the matter. It is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding documents directly related to President Trump’s businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president." There's a lot of reasons to do it this way (other than through a search warrant), but this also obligates the Trump Organization to "protect and preserve" any material that might be related (and in all reality, that email to "protect and preserve" should have gone out last May). (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"The emails show that State Department and White House officials repeatedly shared such misleading information about Nowrouzzadeh, deriding her as an Obama cheerleader and strong advocate for the nuclear deal with Iran, which Trump had repeatedly denounced. Later, after Nowrouzzadeh was reassigned to another job, some State Department officials tried to mislead a POLITICO reporter about whether she’d completed her full tenure in Hook’s policy shop." Paranoia strikes deep. The damage these lunatics are doing to our government will last longer than a generation and take a lot of work to fix. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A conservative group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is turning its attention to a new front: promoting federal judges at the grass-roots level. Americans for Prosperity is willing to spend nearly $1 million to confirm judges this year. Those lifetime appointments could reshape the courts for a generation." This is what's called "lasting damage." The right has been preparing and grooming these judges since the 80s when they set up the Federalist Society. The Koches aren't dumb, they feel the change in the wind so they will attempt to ram through everything they can before next year. Expect a busy lame duck session of Congress.

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the federal government's first responder to floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters, has eliminated references to climate change from its strategic planning document for the next four years." I'm sure it's just an oversight. But oddly enough they're still planning as if climate change is happening, they just don't call it that.

"Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) is attempting to defend his proof-of-citizenship law in federal court, and it’s not going well. He and his legal team have repeatedly violated basic rules of evidence, causing the judge to raise her voice and reprimand them on multiple occasions. Now, in the past week, two of his prominent expert witnesses admitted there is no evidence to back up Kobach’s notorious claim that voter fraud swung the 2016 popular vote." Funny how in cross-examination their arguments fall apart. It's like they can only make a point when they're in an echo chamber. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"But what was especially striking in (potential top candidate to lead the next White House Council of Economic Advisers CNBC’s Larry Kudlow's) National Review piece was the assertion that the wealthy are incapable of corruption because they’re wealthy. 'Why shouldn’t the president surround himself with successful people?' he wrote, referring to the rich conservatives Trump has added to his incoming team. 'Wealthy folks have no need to steal or engage in corruption.'" For the blessed, all things are blessed. This is such an obvious lie (with counter examples in the new literally every week) it's astonishing. (Grokked from Chang Terhune)

"Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country’s most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday." I believe the word you're looking for is "emboldened." (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I think I've mentioned before that as a child of the Cold War I have a lingering institutional paranoia built in. This is just the darker aspect of my thoughts, the things that keep me awake at night (or would if I wasn't exhausted physically or emotionally). The major question on the table is how suborned is the GOP with Russian sympathizers and is there enough loyal GOP left that will actually hold to their oaths of office. Because this is an escalation that demands a robust response. Or is this purge of the "deep state" also an attempt to eliminate any residual government functionality that could oppose Russian aggression. But I'm sure this is just my own paranoia putting 2 and 2 together to come up with 22. But just a note to my Russian friends, Nazis don't share power. No matter what they might say up front.

Not exactly a tweet of my heart, but it makes sense in light of the "non-contested divorce" filing: @stonecold2050 Vanessa Trump files for divorce today… Is Vanessa filing for the split now to secure a financial settlement before the Mueller probe potentially puts her husband’s assets at risk? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Linkee-poo it checking his back for a knife

"The national organizers called for a 17-minute walkout at 10 a.m. local time in every time zone… But the actual details of the protest varied from school to school." I hope the kids can keep it up, or at least keep that fever of activism as they graduate and grow older.

Goblin markets. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"People might not think of winter as a fruitful season for foraging wild edibles, but nutritionist and expert forager Debbie Naha says there's actually a lot out there that you can find year round." The video, while educational, is produced in a way that makes it annoying.

Remember all the High Sierra snow they were celebrating last year? "In California, Colorado, and across the Southwest, the snowfall has ranked among the lowest on record. The last four months have also been among the warmest throughout most of the region, according to a report out last week. Parts of eight states are already under 'extreme' drought conditions." Good thing climate change isn't real or this might be a serious problem. Have I mentioned how South Africa is getting closer to Day Zero (when they run out of potable water)? California is the 6th largest economy in the world. While conservatives would love to see it collapse, the ripple effect through our economy (and the world economy) will make 2007-2009 look like a picnic. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Canada shows us up again. "Viola Desmond, known as the Canadian Rosa Parks, has been named as the first black person and first non-royal woman to be featured on regular Canadian currency."

"Using their ransomware, the researchers also proved that an attacker could go beyond simply disabling the robots. Apa explained how an attacker could load ransomware onto a robot and then display profane images or issue derogatory remarks to customers. If not addressed these types of attacks could be used to weaken consumer trust in companies that use the robots for services." Makes those Hollanders throwing their wooden shoes into the fabric mills look kinda quaint. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"A startup is claiming that it can invent a technology that can immortalize the human brain by digitally uploading its content into the cloud. However, in order for your mind to live forever, you have to die first… Nectome hopes that it can demonstrate a fully uploaded simulation of 'a biological neural network' sometime around 2024." One, it's a scam, not so much to sign up people, but to get startup capital. Their "process" isn't much more sophisticated than cryogenic freezing of your head (which frankly, probably has a better chance of you being "uploaded" into a computer later). But lets say, just for shits and giggles, they're on to something. That their process can somehow capture your consciousness by mapping your neurons (as that appears to be what they're attempting to do, note that even this is not technically possible right now). At this time and for the projected near future, there is no viable computer system that can run your consciousness. The brain is not a computer. It's just compared to a computer because that's the closest analogy we can make (the brain was once compared to railroads, to the telegraph, and to the telephone system) and the most sophisticated machine we have.

"Elizabeth Holmes, the 34-year-old founder and CEO of the health technology company Theranos, had a compelling story of dropping out of college to launch a multibillion-dollar Silicon Valley venture to revolutionize the blood-testing industry… But on Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused the company, Holmes and its former President Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani of "an elaborate, years-long fraud in which they exaggerated or made false statements about the company's technology, business, and financial performance" to raise more than $700 million from investors."

"As of a new paper's release today… the phenomenon has been dubbed STEVE… short for 'Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.'… According to the new work, the distinctive ribbon of purple light with green accents — which can occur at lower latitudes than normal auroras do — gives scientists a glimpse into the interactions of Earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere." The International Secret Cabal of Steves strikes again.

"Scott’s telomeres (endcaps of chromosomes that shorten as one ages) actually became significantly longer in space. While this finding was presented in 2017, the team verified this unexpected change with multiple assays and genomics testing. Additionally, a new finding is that the majority of those telomeres shortened within two days of Scott’s return to Earth." Whelp, so much for going to space as a longevity project.

Early reports are often wrong. "Police say a teacher in California accidentally fired his gun in a classroom, injuring three students." It's now 3 students. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"A report released this month by UNICEF has been cause for celebration in India, the country with the highest number of child marriages in South Asia each year. According to the newly released data, the annual number of child marriages in the country has dropped by nearly half in the last decade." But there might be some problems with the report and the numbers might not be what they appear to be. And before you waggle fingers, remember the Family Foundation blocked the Tennessee law outlawing underage marriages and many US states still allow them.

"The U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that lets private individuals own the minerals under their land, a policy that dates to the founding fathers as they sought to elevate private interests over those of the British Crown… But as U.S. production reaches record levels… a complex web of laws and court rulings is evolving over how these royalties are distributed. That's creating vast differences in how much money property owners actually get, and prompting a number of lawsuits accusing energy companies of shortchanging them."

"How many opioid overdoses are suicides?" That's a question I've been asking for years as someone who sees patients after their overdose. I'm somewhat certain a whole lot more overdoses are suicide attempts.

"Relatives say the teen had gone to an urgent care clinic a few weeks ago complaining of cold symptoms and a headache. Doctors reportedly diagnosed Brumley with a 'viral infection' expected to run its course without intervention." The sinus infection invaded his brain and he died. What I'm wondering is why they didn't do a CT scan for either of his ER trips. Yes, I've seen this. Early on it's easy to dismiss as just the flu or a cold. But these things can develop into more serious conditions. And yes, an infection can break though the facial bones and attack the brain.

"White nationalist Matthew Heimbach was arrested this week for assaulting his wife and her stepfather, who also happened to be his hate group's chief spokesman." He seems nice. Whelp, so much for that suspended jail sentence. (Grokked from John)

Race in America, "'When people talked about it, it was often the notion of suddenly being outnumbered — that's a word that I heard over and over and over again. Going to the doctor's office and suddenly looking around and realizing that everybody else is Hispanic. Going to the local Wal-Mart ... and realizing that, "boy, the things they're selling in the produce aisle are different," or "there's a whole aisle where everything is in two languages, and I never noticed that before." ... "Suddenly it feels like this community that I knew so well" — so what they were saying is that they don't feel like it's "theirs" anymore…" It's all about fear.

"A man who registered as a Green Party candidate for Montana’s U.S. Senate race was on the state Republican Party’s payroll and heads a newly formed anti-tax group, according to a review of election documents… Timothy Adams filed as a challenger Monday against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who faces a tough re-election campaign, in a race where a Green Party candidate could siphon votes from the Democrat." I'm sure it's all legit and above board. I mean, the GOP wouldn't stoop to such underhanded tactics as running a red herring candidate? Say, remember when Jill Stein went the Russia and sat at the same table as Putin and Michael Flynn? Remember when Nader sucked away votes in Florida? Fuck the Green Party. Yeah, yeah, read my timeline and you'll see I agree with much of the Green Party platform, but you've been had by stooges. Talk to the hand. We'll get our third party out of the implosion of the GOP. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire the former F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, just days before he is scheduled to retire on Sunday, people briefed on the matter said. Mr. McCabe was a frequent target of attack from President Trump, who taunted him both publicly and privately." That's how petty our President can be. Note that, "Mr. McCabe has described himself to friends as a lifelong Republican voter." To other Republicans, you're only useful so long as you toe the line. One step over, one missed chance at a full-throated defense of the ideology, and under the bus you go. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

"During his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, President Donald Trump made this confounding claim: 'The state of California is begging us to build walls' along the border." Yet another pants on fire rating for the president.

"The U.K. is expelling 23 Russian diplomats as punishment for a chemical weapons attack that took place in England. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia was likely behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy who, along with his daughter, was exposed to a lethal nerve agent that was developed in Russia." A first step.

"'We may even have a "space force,"' he added. 'Develop another one: We have the Air Force, we'll have the space force.'" Um, Mr. President, we 1) already have a Space Command, it's a part of the Air Force, 2) we shouldn't militarize space (in fact, we've signed a few treaties that say we won't), and 3) why do idiots always want to militarize space?

So Trump stated the other day about imposing the death penalty for drug dealers (or at least everyone thought he was talking about the dealers). It's not a new idea, and it's completely wrong headed. Case in point (and probably where he got the idea): "Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of over 12,000 people allegedly using and dealing drugs, has announced that the country will withdraw from the establishing treaty of the International Criminal Court… His statement comes about a month after the ICC launched a preliminary investigation into those deaths." Now Duterte is wanted because of his super legal killings (which he may or may not have committed himself). SO far no report of that, but remember this president also talked about "taking the guns and getting to due process later." That's the old "shoot them now, ask questions later" rhetoric the right loves. The problem with vigilante justice is it never stays focused, the scope always grows, and you create more people who feel free to operate outside the constraint of law.

The president is woefully unprepared, and that's the way he likes it. "Donald Trump bragged that he made up facts in a meeting with the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, according to an audio recording obtained by the Washington Post… The US president – notorious for making false claims on countless issues – admitted he told Trudeau that America has a trade deficit with its neighbour when he 'had no idea' if that was true." Unfortunately his base will never believe it. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

And then there's this. "'The young man last night that ran, he said, "Oh, I’m like Trump. Second Amendment, everything. I love the tax cuts, everything." He ran on that basis,' Trump said. 'He ran on a campaign that said very nice things about me. I said, "Is he a Republican? He sounds like a Republican to me."'" The president has no concept of reality except for the world he makes up in his own head. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

And "'It’s the bowling ball test. They take a bowling ball from 20 feet up in the air and drop it on the hood of the car,' Trump said of Japan. 'If the hood dents, the car doesn’t qualify. It’s horrible,' he said. It was unclear what he was talking about." (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

"Two members of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee have been convicted of financial crimes, and a third — the committee’s treasurer — was an unindicted co-conspirator in an accounting fraud." The crimes didn't involve the inauguration, but there's some irregularities in the committee's records. And the inauguration set a record for the money raised. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"President Donald Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, contributed more money last year to the president's re-election campaign than is legally permissible." He seems smart. (Grokked from Katheyrn Cramer)