There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads

Monday, July 1, 2019

Linkee-poo, you're in the mud in the maze of her imagination

Luis Alvarez, and so it goes.

First, just want to point out I did a linkee-poo late Sunday.

DongWon Song on writer conventions. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

"A freak hail storm blanketed large parts of Guadalajara on Sunday, coating the southwestern Mexican city's roads with up to five feet of ice and snow."

"Five small Japanese whaling ships set sail for the first time in more than three decades Monday following that country's controversial decision to resume the hunt for the huge marine mammal." Truth be told they never really stopped, but they called it "scientific research". I think it was in Good Omens where Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet quipped that the research boiled down to "how many whales can a ship capture in a season?"

"Back in the 1800s, Charles Darwin was among the first to come up with what modern scientists further developed into the 'facial feedback hypothesis.' That's the idea that smiling can make you happier and frowning can make you sadder or angrier — that changing your facial expression can intensify or even transform your mood… But researchers are now finding that this phenomenon may be more complicated than they once thought. A recent study that reviewed around 50 years of data, including the results of nearly 300 experiments testing the facial feedback theory, has found that if smiling boosts happiness, it's only by a tiny bit."

"Scientists have long known about such properties of light as wavelength. More recently, researchers have found that light can also be twisted, a property called angular momentum. Beams with highly structured angular momentum are said to have orbital angular momentum (OAM), and are called vortex beams. They appear as a helix surrounding a common center, and when they strike a flat surface, they appear as doughnut-shaped. In this new effort, the researchers were working with OAM beams when they found the light behaving in a way that had never been seen before." The Ninth Ray? (Grokked from Dan)

"That's according to a study published Monday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, which found that in 2015, an estimated 53 million adults -- or nearly 1 in 5 -- said they had experienced at least one harm attributable to someone else's drinking in the past year. That harm ranged from property damage to physical injury."

"A study from Columbia University finds that sitting for long periods in front of the television is more dangerous than sitting at work." No transcript yet, but this. Also note that while sitting at work is less harmful (they think because you actually are moving around while doing work) that the human body was evolved to keep moving.

"Gene Kranz may be the most famous flight director in NASA's history. He directed the actual landing portion of the first mission to put men on the moon, Apollo 11, and led Mission Control in saving the crew of Apollo 13 after an oxygen tank exploded on the way to the lunar surface… The room where Kranz directed some of NASA's most historic missions, heralding U.S. exploration of space, was decommissioned in 1992. Since then, it had become a stop on guided tours of the space center, but fallen into disrepair. Kranz has led a $5 million dollar, multi-year effort to restore Mission Control in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20." Shiny.

"As thousands gathered in New York City for the world's largest LGBTQ celebration, some other events across the country were unable to proceed due to threats and safety concerns." Threatening story hours and events for LGBTQ teens. But the "Return to Order" is a new name to add to the lists. Apparently it is a "Catholic" conservative organization and is a special campaign of the American branch of TFP (American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property originally founded in Brazil) and they seem to want to reinstate Satanic Panic politics. The 20,000 signatures is a quite interesting figure, as it's the exact same figure of their petition to Netflix to cancel Good Omens (which they've not acknowledged their mistake and blame it on the intern). While I haven't done much research on them (are you surprised I do that kind of thing) I would guess that this 20,000 signature numbers would show up a few times more (some more research shows the 20,000 to be on the money, although they self-report between 20,000 and 30,000 signatures).

"But on Sunday, an inauspicious milestone was achieved: The yield curve remained inverted for three months, or an entire quarter, which has for half a century been a clear signal that the economy is heading for recession in the next nine to 18 months, according to Campbell Harvey, a Duke University finance professor who spoke to NPR on Sunday. His research in the mid-1980s first linked yield curve inversions to recessions." Insert dramatic music here.

"A Canadian cartoonist's illustration of President Donald Trump playing golf over the bodies of two drowned migrants went viral Wednesday. Two days later, Michael de Adder said on Twitter that he had been let go by a publishing company in New Brunswick, Canada." The publishing company has a different version of the story, saying they had already decided to hire a different cartoonist, that Michael de Adder was just on contract (which had expired), and that he never offered the cartoon in question to the newspaper.

"Protesters tore down protective fencing around Hong Kong's Legislative Council building Monday as demonstrations marking the anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule grew surly."

"A 43-year-old El Salvadoran man who crossed into the U.S. with his daughter collapsed at a border station and later died at a hospital, officials said Saturday."

It's a core tenant of "organization change management" that change only happens when the perceived pain of change is less than the status quo. "Some migrant families this weekend contemplated crossing the swirling Rio Grande from Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S. despite several recent drowning deaths… Cuban migrant Viviana Martinez was considering the dangerous crossing with her husband and 1-year-old son. She’s five months pregnant and has been in the northeast border city of Matamoros waiting to cross the border legally into Texas for more than two weeks." These migrants know very well what they're in for, but they come anyway. Because even the possibility of death is less pain than the assured death where they are at.

"The Trump administration's immigration policies have drawn condemnation, but increasingly the criticism has also turned to a web of companies that are part of the multi-billion-dollar industry that runs detention facilities housing tens of thousands of migrants around the country." As well they should.

And just in case you haven't been paying attention, "Note that the Pentagon, which warns of US destruction by Russia, is being weakened: there hasn't been a Secretary of Defense since 2018" and many top positions are unfulfilled. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The moment encapsulated the unusually prominent role Ivanka Trump has played during Trump's trip to Asia: a first daughter assuming the spotlight and duty beyond that of a senior aide on the world stage, the latest in her ongoing efforts to style herself as a diplomat… Back in Washington, national security officials bristled at the large presence Ivanka assumed while overseas. But those close to the President described it as business as usual."

"President Donald Trump has drawn fire after announcing plans to relax the ban on US companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant Huawei." So, he backed down with nothing to show for it.

"The Trump International Hotel in Washington, just five blocks from the White House, charged the Secret Service more than $200,000 in taxpayer money during the first year of Trump’s presidency." President Small Tight-fisted should have comped them, but then he wouldn't make as much money. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"After an eventful month and the conclusion of the first round of Democratic debates, there is a new top tier — and a sense among many campaigns and Democratic operatives that Biden and Sanders are suddenly within reach in a race that has broken wide open." And the media shows its preference for conflict.

"Last week, Republicans launched a new online fundraising tool called WinRed. It's a platform they hope will close the gap between the GOP and Democrats, even though the digital highway is littered with their several previous failed attempts." While Republicans have held a lead in developing talent (to mixed results) through their network of conservative think tanks, Democrats have held the lead on online campaign technologies. While I would like to be cynical and say when it comes to money sharing conservatives have a built-in conflict of interest, this one might work. Because it has to.

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