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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Linkee-poo stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change

"There are new regulations being proposed through the National Park Service to seriously curtail the ability of Americans to peaceably assemble and protest their own government, directly adjacent to the White House and throughout the Washington, DC area." You have until Monday to comment on the new rules. And now you know some of the reasoning behind the recent conservative mantra about "angry mobs" and "potential for violence." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"What is the point of writing?" Terri Windling on why we write. Here's some advice to the new writers out there, hold this in your heart, but never write from that standpoint. It's impossible folly to write to affect others (unless you're writing editorials, not stories). But if you strike at what is true, the resulting spark will ignite another's mind. A thousand people may yawn, but the Buddha knew as he raised the flower and all but one in the crowd looked blankly back at him, there will be one who gets it. Who needed it. Who didn't know they yearned for it. Think of all the books you've picked up on a whim or seemly at random that left your mind afire. Be that writer. And it starts by putting one word after the other.

"My straight talk about writing and finances is what I get the most pushback about. Everybody wants this to be the million-dollar Scalzi blog, but yanno: there is the 1% of writers, and then there is… everyone else." Kameron Hurley with your daily dose of reality. Don't quit the day job, kids.

"But I continue to think that artists — all artists — should be treasured as alarm systems." Kurt Vonnegut on the value of the arts, artists, and writers. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"So the dragon-slaying myth is a metaphor trying to say something about the nature of the universe and the political force that kept order on earth. But what is a dragon? It is a monster–but 'monster' is a symbol of something unpredictable, something that is beyond our thinking, just like the sea. Many societies with dragon imagery–India, the Hurrians, Hittites, Israelites–were never seagoing people, so for them the sea was terrifying. The sea is huge, and you don’t know what’s out there, and when it (or she) gets kicked up into a storm, the result is utter chaos." I really hope to write my "elves in a human world" book, because it has a dragon that is pretty damn awesome, although it doesn't come out and play in the first story, I know it will by the 3rd. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Today, the president signed the Music Modernization Act into law with various celebrities, including Kid Rock, Mike Love and John Rich, present. This is one of the largest reforms to copyright law in decades, and it focuses on updating music copyright law to be current with the streaming era. It also will hopefully mean more royalties for artists and songwriters." History shows that it probably won't.

"Rates of caesarean section births almost doubled between 2000 and 2015 – from 12 to 21 percent worldwide - new research has found, with the life-saving surgery unavailable to many women in poor countries while often over-used in richer ones." I wonder how much the rates of induced labor have increased in that time.

"An estimated 100,000 young children have not had a vaccination against any of the 14 diseases for which shots are recommended, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Thursday."

"The US Air Force has just awarded three aerospace corporations contracts worth $2.2 billion in an effort to ensure that it can rely on domestic partners for launch vehicles. One of those companies is the Jeff Bezos-owned private space company Blue Origin, which will receive $500 million for the development of its New Glenn heavy lift orbital rocket. New Glenn was designed to have a reusable first stage and have the power to fly a 50-ton payload to Low Earth Orbit or a 14-ton load to geosynchronous orbit." (Grokked from Dan)

"The team used 'electroencephalograms' (EEGs) to record electric impulses from two human brains and 'transcranial magnetic stimulation' (TMS) to deliver information to a third brain. The end result: an interface that allowed three human subjects to collaborate and solve Tetris problems using brain-to-brain communication." Sounds really neat until you realize you could have done the same experiment by blindfolding the 3rd person and have the other two dope slap them to get them to rotate the piece (and it probably would have been more successful). And it sounds neatly technical until you realize that's basically what they did. (Grokked from Lara Kristin Herndon)

"A newly discovered long and craggy rift is splintering across West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier, satellite images show." Here we go again. you might remember that a large iceberg calved from the same glacier last year. It's almost as if the ice sheet is breaking up, or something.

"In the wake of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that projected the planet had only a decade to prevent catastrophic global warming, ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods was reportedly feeling depressed Wednesday after realizing the Earth could end before they finished extracting all the oil." Oh Onion. See, I would have gone with the "depressed that the world will end before they have a chance to die." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"On October 9, 2018, law enforcement agents conducted a search of the Residence pursuant to a judicially authorized search warrant. In the basement, law enforcement agents found what appeared to be a functional explosive device weighing approximately 200 pounds (the “Explosive Device”). FBI bomb technicians removed the Explosive Device from the basement of the Residence and transported it to a safe location. Within the Residence, law enforcement agents also found, among other things, a fusing system for triggering explosive devices and what appeared to be empty canisters of black powder." JFC, you'd think this would be all over the news. Oh, he's a white guy. Never mind. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Washington has become the 20th US state to ban the death penalty, after its Supreme Court ruled the punishment was applied in an 'arbitrary and racially biased manner'." The pendulum swings back.

"More than 60 percent of Americans who have some European ancestry can be identified using DNA databases — even if they have not submitted their own DNA, researchers reported Thursday." And that's when I learned I love Big Brother.

"The remains of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old Wyoming man who was savagely beaten and murdered in a homophobic attack in 1998, will be interred at Washington National Cathedral."

"Video of 53-year-old Jeffrey Ziegler attempting to shoot 14-year-old Brennan Walker, a black teen who approached the man’s front door to ask for directions last April, was released Thursday in the midst of Ziegler’s trial for attempted murder." Ziegler claims to only be accidentally racists by slipping and firing. Except that's not what the video shows. The video appears to be from their own security camera. Ah, all them homeowners needing their guns to protect their property from :: squints at notes :: teens asking for directions.

"Sheriff’s Department in El Dorado, Arkansas, reportedly forced inmates to pose for their mugshots in Nike t-shirts. According to criminal justice reform activist Shaun King, who first posted the mugshots, it was meant to protest the company’s new ad campaign starring former football player Colin Kaepernick." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

How go the Trade Wars? "China recorded a record trade surplus of $34.13 billion with the U.S. in September amid intense trade tensions between the world's two largest economies."

"Ford is having a bad year in 2018. Its stock is down 29%, and the tariffs imposed by President Trump have reportedly cost the company $1 billion, as the company is in the midst of a reorganization. Now, the company is announcing layoffs." They're laying off 24,000 people. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The US has intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence."

"Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just over a week ago, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN."

"Here’s a troubling story out of Texas. Democrat Mike Siegel is running against Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R) in Texas’s 10th district. This evening I saw a tweet from Siegel which said: 'Just learned that my field director was arrested while delivering our letter. He told police he was working for me and the officer asked, "what party is he?" Now Jacob is under 48 hour investigatory detention in Waller County.'" He took a selfie of him delivering the letter to a county clerk, and somehow the police thought this was wrong. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Two young Arizona Republicans tried to make a donation to a Democratic congressman as members of the Communist party in an apparent attempt to tie him to the far left." While the article talks about how bogus donations to candidates has a long history in American politics (where it's a crime to falsify donation records), the examples are all conservatives trying to embarrass liberals. "Lindsay Coleman, the finance director for the campaign, then drove to the local Republican field office to return the money. Almost immediately, the man who identified himself as Rosales appeared from a room inside the office and was identified as Oscar. He accepted the money from Coleman." Second link is to a video of them returning the money. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"President Donald Trump’s aides are urging him to replace departing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley with another woman, hoping the move would help shore up support among female voters before the midterms, three people familiar with the matter told POLITICO." Gots ta keep them wymyn happys.

Tweet of my heart: @djrothkopf Something made a close US ally believe it was ok to seize, murder and butcher a columnist for the Washington Post without serious negative ramifications for the relationship. Whatever else happened, that is 100% on Donald Trump, Jared Kushner & Co. It's obscene. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Double dip: @lithub Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was published 61 years ago today, and since then has served as an excellent way to weed out potential romantic partners. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

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