Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad wonders why some people bother

Explaining various linguistic fields using donuts — Hahaha.

The Death Bet In it’s pure form, the death bet is just that, a bet that when the bill comes due, you’ll be dead. If you live a good life and die owing millions, well, what do you care? But someone will pay that bill. Maybe it will be your creditors, who might even go out of business, unable to collect what they are owed. Perhaps it will be your heirs, if the millions adhere to property. Perhaps it will be someone you don’t even know. But someone will pay. The good life, bought by debt, is always paid for. Speaking as someone who is currently and rapidly dying, boy do I see this. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

How The Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are The friendship paradox is the empirical observation that your friends have more friends than you do. Now network scientists say your friends are probably wealthier and happier too.

Ancient fossil shows evolution of fins to feet on Ellesmere Island

Weighing particles at the attogram scaleNew device from MIT can measure masses as small as one millionth of a trillionth of a gram, in solution.

U.S. Long Range Bomber B-17E, “The Flying Fortress” — I have always had a soft spot for these old aircraft identification posters.

Making Jesus’ name a banner for jerksAnd that’s why the Duck Dynasty affair was a huge deal. It was a test for the Christian church. It was an incredibly easy test for the Christian church. And the white evangelical church in America failed that test. Completely, utterly failed.

The Very, Very Thin Wedge of DenialLet me make a none-too-subtle political point here. Climate change deniers in politics and in the media are overwhelmingly Republican (or “free market libertarians”, who have aligned themselves to virtual indistinguishability from the GOP, or more likely vice versa). When I write on the politics of this issue I get accused of being biased, which is ironic indeed. I didn’t start this fight, nor did I draw the partisan lines. I’m just shining a light on them. I know some pro-science Republicans, but the ones in elected office are few and far between. And no one comes to climate change denial based on a review of the evidence. It’s all ideology pretending to be sciencey enough to fool the rubes who vote Republican.

Victims identified in Portland strip club shooting — One of those rare stories where an armed bystander stops a potentially larger incident. The sort of thing gun enthusiasts tout hard in their rationalization for our rates of gun violence. Which given the actual statistics on gun violence, insofar as conservative restrictions allow them to be studied, is sort of like people who hate seat belts touting the “man thrown from burning car” stories. (Via D. Scott Frey.)

Retired officer arrested in Wesley Chapel theater shootingAn altercation between two couples at a Wesley Chapel movie theater Monday led to a shooting that left a man dead, authorities said. Over text messaging, no less. Because we are all safer with more guns. Ask any conservative, or any of the 30,000 people who die every year of gun violence.

Partisanship and DiplomacyWe just have to think back to the debate over New START in 2010 to recall how intensely Republicans opposed an utterly uncontroversial and modest arms reduction treaty simply because the administration wanted it to be ratified. The objections to the treaty were all spurious or wildly overstated, but getting enough Republicans to vote for ratification was absurdly difficult given the nature of the agreement. Remember, the Senate GOP’s top legislative priority was making Obama a one-term president. Not jobs or the economy, not national security, nothing in the national interest whatsoever. Just a partisan vendetta. And there you have the Republican political philosophy in a nutshell. In their own words.

?otD: Are other people real to you?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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