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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Linkee-poo for a Monday

David Koch, ding dong, motherfucker. Unfortunately we still have to live in the world he helped construct. And he created a whole machine to continue his political progroms. Sometimes I list deaths because they're people who affected me personally or are a part of my zeitgeist. Sometimes it's because they're prominent in their spheres of influence and existence. Sometimes, like now, it's because I'm joyous. That may make me a terrible human and I may be committing a sin against "judge not least ye be judged", but I'm okay with that. This dude reneged on his humanity payments a long time ago. When this was pointed out to him, he was given a chance of redemption that he consciously, and with fore-malice, walked away from. Was he entirely "evil"? No one really is (and he would make an excellent study for writers attempting to grasp the concept that villains are heroes in their own minds). Yes, he used his money on some good things. They were personal causes that could not but help other people. But as I stated in a prior tweet about someone else, he was attempting to buy his salvation. He used more money to leverage his soul away. In the Hall of Two Truths, Thoth may put his thumb on the scales, but I believe in this case it wouldn't be enough.

The D23 Rise of Skywalker teaser all the cool kids are talking about. I know people are wigging about a potential Dark-side Rey, but that's a head-fake. And I love me some Rey. I gotta say John Williams pulls out all the stops and goes overboard in almost an imitation of his style, but somehow makes it work. But for me, the best is Hamill's voice-over. How he changes from crotchety, disillusioned Old Luke to Palpatine :: chef's kiss ::. Gives me shivers in the same way the young Anakin's shadow did.

"Ultimately the issue is not the inclusion of Irish or Irish folklore in fantasy, the problem is treating Irish and Irish culture like it only exists as a reusable fantasy product." Totally. Which seems a little strange because Grandfather Tolkien based his elvish languages on various Germanic languages (okay, and one on the Welsh), but for American's Irish seems strange enough. It's like collateral damage from the Celtic awakening that gave us Riverdance. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

"Taylor Swift says she plans to re-record her earlier songs." Content creators should be paying attention to this story (of which this is just the latest installment), no matter what you think about Taylor Swift. Always keep control of your IP (or in music's case, the masters). The actual recordings are a conglomeration of rights and a product of many people's intellectual, emotional, and physical work. But Taylor Swift (or the author) is the brand (no, really, don't argue with me on this, you'll lose) and the final work goes out in her name. She should control the masters, but that's why the music companies want you to sign over your rights to them. And many young artists make the mistake of not negotiating that.

"A team of German scientists has used a combination of cutting-edge physics techniques to virtually 'unfold' an ancient Egyptian papyrus, part of an extensive collection housed in the Berlin Egyptian Museum. Their analysis revealed that a seemingly blank patch on the papyrus actually contained characters written in what had become 'invisible ink' after centuries of exposure to light." The article is a little misleading mistaking the technique of axial image reconstruction for the type and amount of x-ray radiation being used. While "micro-computed tomography" can be used in oncology, the type of radiation being used here would never be used on a living subject. Okay, I shouldn't say "never", but the "micro" part means increased time and amount of radiation being used, the partial accelerator gives these x-rays higher energy states than what would be used. Or in other words, this is a hellahigh dose that would kill living tissue. And why they say this examination doesn't "harm" the papyrus (or the parchment it is also used on), that's a little bit of an overstatement. The damage this creates is not visible to the naked eye. But in any case this is still frickin' cool. (Grokked from John)

"An unpiloted Soyuz spacecraft carrying supplies and an experimental robot attempted to dock with the International Space Station early Saturday, but the spacecraft, unable to lock onto guidance signals, began slewing widely about its long axis, prompting Russian flight controllers to order an abort." Come on guys, you can do it (unless the humanoid robot on board has decided to go HAL9000)! (Grokked from Dan)

"NASA astronaut and Spokane native, Anne McClain is accused of stealing the identity of her estranged wife due to McClain accessing her bank account while in space." If things like this aren't incorporated into mystery literature, we aren't doing our jobs properly.

"A gigantic floating raft of volcanic rock that emerged from an underwater volcano eruption in the Pacific Ocean is slowly drifting towards the Australian coast, heartening hopes it could benefit the imperilled Great Barrier Reef." Yeah, sure.

"The Caribbean islands are bracing for impact as Tropical Storm Dorian moves their way." Here we go.

The free market is great, until you have to pay the bills. "Wyoming, which is among the reddest of Republican states and a bastion of free enterprise, thinks it may have found a way to end crippling air ambulance bills that sometimes top $100,000 per flight… The state's unexpected solution: Undercut the free market, by using Medicaid to treat air ambulances like a public utility." Now do the rest of healthcare.

"Signalling (sic) the possibility of more interest-rate cuts, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank will 'act as appropriate' to sustain the economic expansion as the trade war with China takes a toll on global growth and the U.S. economy." So, same as yesterday, and last week, and the month before that…

"Israel said Sunday that it stopped the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from launching 'killer drone' strikes from Syria, Reuters reported." They're having an election soon, aren't they?

How go the Trade Wars? "President Trump lauded his Chinese counterpart on Monday and said Beijing was actively reaching out to Washington to resume trade negotiations and 'make a deal' to end a spiralling trade war." Now it remains to be seen if they actually did call.

"State news agency Xinhua said in a commentary on Saturday: 'The United States is paying the price for launching a trade war, as China is forced to announce the levy of new additional tariffs on U.S. goods.'" This probably won't make full sense unless you lived through Vietnam, but it's looking like this is all about "saving face."

"China is willing to resolve its trade dispute with the United States through 'calm' negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, Vice Premier Liu He, who has been leading the talks with Washington, said on Monday."

"Does President Trump have a political strategy for dealing with a downturn? It appears that he does. He’s trying to turn the economic issue into a social issue. How? By hyping the divide between his populist base and educated elites. He is warning his supporters about a conspiracy of elitist anti-Trump forces trying to bring him down by bad-mouthing the economy and undermining economic confidence." Great plan there, Sparky.

"President Donald Trump said Monday that he is 'possibly' looking at hosting the next G7 summit at his Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort." It's called "self-dealing" and most reputable people, those with actual scruples, don't do it.

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has just completed three weeks of radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court disclosed Friday."

"Concerns were subsequently laid out in a Dec. 18 memo, detailed below, titled 'Structure of the Republican Main Street Partnership, affiliated entities and potential concerns,' that was circulated among a small group of lawmakers, congressional aides and RMSP board members. The memo was sent to NPR by an anonymous source and was then authenticated by a former Denham aide… 'And then it all started to fall apart,' recalled one source with direct knowledge of events." Breaking the law, breaking the law.

"President Trump promised to respond Friday after China said it will slap tariffs on $75 billion of autos and other U.S. goods. And he 'ordered' U.S. companies to stop doing business with China." The president doesn't have that power.

What happened in Russia? "Russian state officials admitted Monday that radioactive gases with isotopes of barium, strontium and lanthanum were found in test samples following an explosion at a military test site but insisted there was no danger in the area." A second explosion? The cat won't come down off the roof.

"Americans place less value on the importance of patriotism, religion and having children than they did two decades ago, a shift driven largely by the changing views of younger Americans, according to a new poll." Oh those whacky Millennials.

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