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[links] Link salad has been telling you it’s a genius since it was seventeen

Omega Coaxial Ad — Which very much puts me (and others) in mind of my novel Mainspring. (Via OldMiser.)

Amazing potato salad minus the WOW factorJersey Girl in Portland on her potato salad and mine.

20 of the world’s most beautiful World Heritage Sites — Bucket list stuff, if I had time and money for a bucket list before I die.

Army Airship: 1922 — A cool photo from Shorpy.

Crystal Puzzle Solved with Sea Squirt — The story’s interesting in its own right if you’re into biology or materials science, but you have to love the headline regardless.

Memory ImplantsA maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories.

Privately Financed Spaceship Roars Closer to Space — SpaceShip Two breaks the sound barrier.

ESA: Herschel space telescope blinded by heat, retires for good

The World’s First Website Gets Its Original Web Address Back — It’s not often you can follow something back right to the beginning.

Your Mac, iPhone or iPad may have left the Apple store with a serious security risk — This is mildly boggling. (Via [info]goulo.)

Seattle Police And Phoenix Jones – A New Chapter — Because, um, reasons. Nope. Come to think of it, I got nothing. (Thanks to my brother.)

About HistoryShortpacked is making fun of a specific subset of geekdom, but this pretty much captures the conservative mind in general.

Report: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s repeated requests for a lawyer were ignoredThere is zero legal or ethical justification for denying a suspect in custody this fundamental right Because reasons! After all, we treat white conservative terrorists exactly the same. Or we would, if there were any white conservative terrorists. “Patriots” like McVeigh and Rudolph certainly had a right to counsel. (Via David Goldman.)

Congress tries to reset science grants, wants every one to be “groundbreaking”If lawmakers get their way, research like recent Higgs findings could disappear. That’s what happens when you put anti-science willful idiots in charge of national science policy.

Justice O’Connor: Maybe Bush V. Gore Was A Mistake — Gee. Ya think? Note: If you don’t know who John Ellis is and when and why George W. Bush called him on election night, you really don’t understand what happened in Florida and why people like me are still pissed about it. And believe you me, if the situation had been reversed, and a cousin of Al Gore’s was involving in the media calling the election results prematurely in Gore’s favor, this would still be a daily topic on conservative media over a decade later. Meanwhile, back in the reality-based community, Your Liberal Media never covered Ellis much, even at the time.

House Republicans Eyeing New Hostage OpportunityThe House Republicans are contemplating a new budget-hostage strategy, the the Washington Post reports in a story that is both highly useful and inadvertently Onion-esque. The hallmark of Onion news reporting is conveying insanity as if it were sane in a completely deadpan way. The Republican party isn’t even pretending to govern any more, and no one cares. At least no one conservative. And they call themselves patriotic?

Maker of Useless Dowsing Rod for Bombs Convicted for FraudThere are an infinite number of flavors of this sort of nonsense, from astrology to homeopathy, from the antivaccination movement to global warming denial. While you might think some of these are harmless, they all have very serious ramifications: they lead to magical thinking. They tell people it’s OK to stop putting their trust in reality and science, and instead abandon it for nonsense. And that’s my fundamental objection to the Republican party. Not to the theoretical foundation of conservatism, which in many ways is an admirable philosophy, but to the conservatism that requires the magical thinking of evolution denial and climate change denial and supply side economics to function politically, while proudly and explicitly rejecting the evidence-based world. How can you possibly make useful policy decisions when your entire intellectual infrastructure is a fraudulent house of cards? Yes, magical thinking is everywhere (the anti-vax movement is not a conservative fixation), but only in the Republican party and its annexes such as FOX News and Tea Party has such magical thinking been institutionalized and glorified.

QotD?: Are you quite sure what it means?


4/30/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (WRPA editing work on METAtropolis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 247.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block helping welfare recipients buy cell phones and big screen tvs: 0
Currently reading: The Truth by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad likes to talk about fiction

Punk in Burma: Cultural Appropriation & Resistance

First Enzyme-Based Memory Created in the LabSome clever biochemistry has led to the world’s first enzyme-based memory capable of learning, say biochemists.

Questions over Gene Patents Shake Diagnostics IndustryThe impending Supreme Court ruling on gene patents is creating uncertainty in the fledging genetic diagnostics sector. I have never understood the logic of allowing patents on genes. That’s like allowing patents on minerals or seawater.

Making of Europe unlocked by DNA

Pictures: Extreme Algae Blooms Expanding Worldwide

Understanding the brain of a man with no conscious memory — Of course, my immediate question on reading this article was to wonder how the heck they ever got informed consent to perform all these tests. I think I’ve been a patient too long.

China’s cancer crisis — Wow. Sigh. (Via [info]mikigarrison.)

About the Obamacare ‘train wreck’Insofar as the Republican Party has a strategy on Obamacare, it’s goes like this: The law needs to be implemented. The GOP can try and keep the implementation from being done effectively, in part by refusing to authorize the needed funds. Then they can capitalize on the problems they create to weaken the law, or at least weaken Democrats up for reelection in 2014. In other words, step one: Create problems for Obamacare. Step two: Blame Obamacare for the problems. Step 3: Political profit! That’s the GOP’s strategy on everything. Remember, these are the same civic-minded solons whose number one legislative priority in the face of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression was to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Delaware House passes marriage equality — And another step taken in rolling back the arrant, unthinking bigotry of homophobia. Not mention Nevada, France and other places.

Today’s Political Thought — Andrew Wheeler on the Second Amendment. Yup.

Why Should I Care That No One’s Reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev His Miranda Rights?When the law gets bent out of shape for him, it’s easier to bend out of shape for the rest of us. We used to have this thing called “the rule of law”, before the fear-based conservative narrative about terrorism took over our national consciousness.

QotD?: What’s the title of the most recent short story you read (or wrote)?


4/24/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,300 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (very carefully on the stationary bike)
Weight: 248.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for climate change: 0
Currently reading: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad knows the cider’s laced with acid

Magazine Monday: Subterranean, Spring 2013 — Including a review of my Green novelette, “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura”. I liked this bit: Green’s voice is, as always, sharp and clear and pitiless. She is a haunting character.

Lois Tilton reviews “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura” — She didn’t like it quite so much.

Cancer Centers Racing to Map Patients’ Genes — Welcome to my life.

What’s Tylenol Doing to Our Minds?The same pathways that help with physical pain seem to moderate existential distress. Wow. (Via [info]danjite.)

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It: Ancient Computers in Use Today — (Via @daviddlevine.)

Inside the Race to Build the World’s Fastest Bitcoin Miner — Stories like this are making me feel like a tech dinosaur.

Two-Track MindThe MTA’s “track geometry car” slides around through the New York City subway, using “a variety of sensors, measuring systems, and data management [software] to create a profile of the track being inspected.” This is cool.

Microraptor: A 4-Winged, Fish-Eating Dinosaur

Fellowship of the Tree RingsNew Zealand researchers probe history and climate science by looking at wood. It’s pretty amazing how liberals have planted evidence for climate change even deep inside ancient trees. Thank God we have Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party to keep us focused on the truth instead of that pesky old reality.

Exploring public concerns about geoengineering the climateUK researchers talk about pumping reflective aerosols into the atmosphere. What could possibly go wrong?

Terrorism and the other ReligionsIt takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as “nice” and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll.

Actual 4th Grade science test in South Carolina — I hope to Ghu this is a spoof. Thanks to Poe’s Law, it’s impossible to separate conservative willful ignorance from parody of conservative willful ignorance. I simply do not understand how any parent would want to so dreadfully miseducate their child. (Via [info]goulo.)

2nd Child of Pa. Couple Dies After Only Praying — Religion really can make you stupid. Fatally stupid. The deliberate miseducation and intellectual stunting so beloved of religious conservatives is bad enough. Those poor kids died of abuse and neglect privileged under the mantle of faith.

FMH Podcast Episode 52: Women That Leave Because of Gender Inequality — What I find fascinating about the blog Feminist Mormon Housewives is the intellectual train wreck always in progress there. Most of the post and comments on that blog are from intelligent, progressively-minded women who are struggling mightily to reconcile what their education and identities tell them with what their faith demands of them by way of subservience, submittal and acceptance of discrimination and flat counterfactuals. To my atheist outsider’s view, almost all of them would a lot happier listening to themselves rather than their faith.

GOP Ex-Congressman Testifies About Struggle Getting Visa For His Gay Partner — Words fail me. You do remember you’re a Republican, right? Further proof that no one likes conservative policies when applied to them personally.

Texas wants federal disaster aid it refused to give others — Ah, the justly famed intellectual consistency of conservatives is once more on display. Of course, these are Sarah Palin’s “real Americans” in trouble, not undeserving East Coast liberals.

The Senate’s gun control fail: dead children and monied politicians — A UK perspective. A sane man’s contempt for the United States Senate must now be certain and complete. Given the inertia on even the most modest legislative response to the mass murder of schoolchildren, those still credulous enough to believe that our governance is representative of popular will are either Barnum-sized suckers, or worse, tacit participants in tragedies soon to come.

Jeff Flake’s Rhetorical Games On Background Checks Come Back To Haunt Him — Speaking of intellectual consistency. As ever, conservatives value their guns over your safety.

Arkansas county GOP is unhappy that we can’t shoot politicians, as the Second Amendment intended — More of that measured reason we have all come to expect from conservatives in the gun culture. I sure feel safer knowing people like this are exercising their Second Amendment rights to theoretical defense of essential liberties.

WSJ Columnist Taranto Uses Gabby Giffords’ Injuries To Silence Her On Gun Violence — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best. (Honestly, if I were a Republican, I’d die of shame.)

‘I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.’ — This is how Republicans respect our democracy. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

QotD?: What is the Holy Spirit crying?


4/23/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo day)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (very carefully on the stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for climate change: 0
Currently reading: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad wishes happy birthday to its mother

Debut author lessons: Hate mail — Mary Robinette Kowal Is Wise.

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy Available! — In which I have an essay.

Temple of the Autonomous Machine — Okay, this story about the intersection of robotics and archaeology is just fricking cool.

Happiness Inc. — What makes people happy?

Group kicks off planting of ancient tree clones

The chicken crouton recipe — For them what wants it.

Classifying a Killer Whale for Tax Purposes — Ah, lawyers. And to be fair, the IRS.

For young Soviets, the Beatles were a first, mutinous rip in the iron curtainThe band inspired dissidents and musicians and, a new book claims, meant more to youth in the USSR than in the west. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Jon Stewart investigates the Australian gun control “failure”

National Debt Graph by President[T]he Voodoo [Economics] failed just as Bush predicted, and the supply-siders turned a 32-year winning streak into a debt disaster that continues to this day. For 20 years, under Reagan and the Bushes, the national debt increased compared to GDP every single year. In most other years it decreased. Supply side economics never worked. It’s just another one of those counterfactual conservative political fetishes that they justify within their bubble of epistemic closure. Another example of reality’s well-known liberal bias.

Political rhetoric finds its way into post-bombing debate

QotD?: When is your mom’s birthday?


4/22/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (WRPA, plus some work on my archives which I didn’t include in the time tracking)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (injured foot)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for climate change: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad ate some damned good pork yesterday

The Game Of Thrones Is A Game Of Coins

Steven Greer ‘Sirius’ Documentary To Unveil Pictures Of Alleged Tiny Space Alien — Uh, yeah.

Sperm quality study a breath of fresh air for kilt-wearing ScotsmenMen who wear kilts have better quality sperm and are therefore more fertile, Scottish researchers claim.

Sex and the Pursuit of Happiness: How Other People’s Sex Lives are Related to our Sense of Well-Being — I know nothing, I say nothing…

Hilary Koprowski, Who Developed First Live-Virus Polio Vaccine, Dies at 96 — Ah, the Sturm und Drang of science. (Via David Goldman.)

Senators clarify the terms of the disagreement“Do we agree with Sen. Inhofe that global warming is a hoax and that we do not want the federal government, the EPA, the Department of Energy to address that issue? Because it is a — quote — unquote — hoax, according to Sen. Inhofe and others? Or do we believe and agree with the overwhelming majority of scientists who tell us that global warming is the most serious planetary crisis that we face, and that we must act boldly and aggressively to protect the future of this planet?” Being conservative means never having to listen to the evidence because in your heart, you know you’re right.

Boston Bombing Suspects Raise New Terrorism Questions

Shots fired at 4/20 Denver marijuana holiday rally — Yep. Guns definitely make us all safer. Think what might have happened if the Denver shooter hadn’t been in a position to exercise their theoretical defense of essential liberties? Some pot heads might have been left in peace, that’s what. We can’t have that! Everyone knows your Second Amendment right to bear arms trumps any rights I might have to live in safety and without fear.

QotD?: What did you have to eat?


4/21/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,200 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (injured foot)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad wasn’t fuzzy, was he?

Reviewing the Nebulas: The NovellasI’m not a fan of Lake’s writing. Generally, I find it hard to parse his stories, it’s something about my brain stumbling over his word choices. I’m also no fan of steampunk. So the fact that I enjoyed this story, that it’s the best thing of Lake’s I’ve ever read, is some sort of minor miracle. Heh.

My Reddit Fantasy AMA — Essentially an open source interview with me by several dozen questioners.

For Whom the Bell Tolls The inexorable decline of America’s least favorite pronoun.

Interactive map plots locations of more than 100 million species — This strikes me as being awfully useful for writers as well as scientists.

What Happens When You Wring Out a Washcloth in Space — Mmm, science. (Via [info]shelly_rae.)

Exploring the Grand Canyon — The view from space.

Dinosaur ‘fills fossil record gap’

Poor, cute bunnies likely to get eaten when the snow melts earlyHares change coat color for winter based on the calendar, not the conditions. Nothing to do with climate change, of course. Just ask any Republican.

Barcodes let scientists track every ant in a colonyA team of Swiss scientists glued barcodes to hundreds of ants living in six laboratory colonies and recorded all of their movements for more than a month. Now, there’s a job description.

Brain Research, as Only Vegas Can — Weird doings.

Psychedelic Portuguese Man-of-War Photos Prove God Is a Stoner — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

When tragedy turns to joy — People doing good. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

The Chosen Few: A New Explanation of Jewish Success — Congregationalism and individual literacy?

Fathers and Sons and Chechnya — Juan Cole on the heritage and family dynamics of the Boston bombing suspects.

Chechens, Czechs, whatever — This kind of ignorance drives me batty. This is basic knowledge about the world.

Building a Picture of the Bomb Suspects through Social Network AnalysisPolice can obtain huge quantities of social network data, but must sort out the junk to glean useful information. Hmmm.

Pre-Viking Tunic Found In Thawing Glacier Shows How Climate Change Aids Archaeology — Ah, a benefit of climate change. (Via [info]corwynofamber.)

How did Jesus come to love guns and hate sex? — One of many, many reasons I am an atheist is issues like this. Because matters of faith are heavily privileged in our society, religion has a vast power to make people very stupid without ever being challenged on it. Mind you, that’s not an inherent property of religion, and likewise people make themselves stupid in myriad other ways, but the confluence of faith and stupidity is toxic. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

LePage Spins Windmill Conspiracy TheoryIt’s hard to trust any policy stance of someone who is either so incredibly gullible or is willing to cynically and habitually lie in such a transparent way in order to advance his own agenda. Um, that would be every single conservative politician in the United States. At least every conservative who won’t condemn evolution denial, doesn’t stand up to climate change denial, won’t condemn Birtherism as arrant racist nonsense, believes in supply side economics, or supported the Iraq War. Like I said, every single one.

NH GOP back in news – for the wrong reason — Once more, conservatives in the gun culture exhibit their justly famed calm rationality in the face of perceived adversity. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Architecture review: Bush presidential library is fittingly blunt — Really, they could have installed it in a restaurant booth. How much room do you need to store My Pet Goat? That’s about all they have left after shredding the incriminating evidence.

QotD?: Did your bear have no hair?


4/20/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (1.25 hours and 2,300 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (injured foot)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad knows that the game never ends when your whole world depends on the turn of a friendly card

Reddit Fantasy AMA — On Thursday, April 18th (tomorrow), I’ll be participating in the Reddit Fantasy Ask Me Anything.

Badgers, Books and Bacon — Note what this badger is standing on. Heh.

What is the rule for adjective order? — One of those simple looking questions that is in fact fantastically complicated. (Snurched from @elfsternberg.)

Braving End of the Tunnel Blues — Fellow late stage cancer patient (and friend) Janet Freeman-Daily talks about “End of the Tunnel Blues”. Though perhaps they should be “Beginning of the Tunnel Blues”?

Hospital finances are broken. How to fix them.[D]etails about why hospitals might not have any financial incentive to follow best practices. A new paper from researchers affiliated with Harvard, Boston Consulting Group and nonprofit health care delivery system Texas Health Resources suggests that, in some cases, providing worse care pays off for hospitals. This has not been my experience at all, but I may simply be lucky in that respect.

Combat juggling — No, really. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Applicants wanted for a one-way ticket to Mars — Would you go?

Archaeology on an Interstellar Scale — Cool post from Centauri Dreams. Damned cool.

Mt. Hood and a Lenticular Cloud — I have seen these. They are very strange.

What Happens When You Throw Some Glow Sticks into a Waterfall — (Via my brother.)

Ice Caves Around the World — Gorgeous. (Via Lisa Costello.)

An Illustrated Tour Of Australia’s Museum of Copulatory Organs — Ah, the bracing cut and thrust of museum science. (Via David Goldman.)

Study backs ‘hobbit’ island dwarfism theoryA diminutive species of human whose remains were found on the Indonesian island of Flores could have shrunk as a result of island dwarfism as it adapted to its environment.

Barbie Body Would Be Pretty Odd-Looking In Real Life — Whereas I closely resemble a Ken doll myself.

Death Test Reveals Strength of Social InteractionSocial ties between humans are stronger than those between fruit flies or ants but weaker than those between bees, according to a cheerful new ranking based on how quickly creatures die when they become isolated.

200 Strangers Respond To Facebook Invitation For Funeral Of Veteran With No Friends Or FamilyHundreds of strangers attended the funeral of a British veteran after a clergyman, fearing that the former Royal Marine would be buried without mourners, posted a message on Facebook asking people to attend. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Is the Grand Canyon showing its age?This is science in action—researchers debating a 65 million year conflict between evidence from traditional geological methods and new dating technology. A concept that’s hard to understand when your highest value is willful ignorance and rejection of the reality-based world.

Yes, Climate Change Is Worsening U.S. Drought — NOAA Report Needlessly Confuses The Issue — Much like O.J. Simpson’s defense team, in the face of an overwhelming preponderance of evidence, climate change denialists will seize on any anomaly in the pretense that it negates all the rest of the weight of the evidence. That’s not how science works, and most conservatives leading the denialist clamor know perfectly well better.

Multnomah County Sheriff Halts Washington Concealed Handgun Applications — I’m sure the gun nut conspiracy theories are already rolling, given the calm and rational nature of handgun advocates.

When Hacking Is the Smaller CrimeHere’s a fascinating article in the Yale Journal of International Affairs, by Paul Rexton Kan of the U.S. Army War College, about cyberwar between non-state agents — in this case, Anonymous versus Los Zetas, the Mexican drug cartel.

Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism — Pretty sure the Christian tradition does likewise, but that doesn’t stop clinic bombers.

The Boston Blasts and Terrorism: A Historian’s Take on What It Means

‘Toolbox’ that shut down Steel Bridge was actually a TriMet fare box — Portland’s own contribution to public safety. This is what terrorism does. It makes paranoid incompetents of us all. Viz the entire Bush 43 administration.

Rubio: Don’t Tie Immigration Reform To Boston BombingImmigration reform opponent Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suggested legislation should be delayed just in case the bombing is linked to a foreign suspect. In case you had any lingering doubt that Republicans were anything but complete buffoons, that should take care of it. The stupid, it burns.

Microsoft Excel: The ruiner of global economies?A paper used to justify austerity economics appears to contain an Excel error. Austerity economic is like supply-side economics: a mathematical fantasy that appeals to certain ideologies without any grounding in the real world.

The Willful Blindness of Bush LoyalistsRepublicans are very good at embellishing or inventing Bush’s successes, and they need no encouragement in this regard. What they plainly refuse to do is to acknowledge Bush-era disasters for what they are, accept that the public holds their party responsible for those disasters, and try to find some way to correct the errors made. I will submit that when your entire ideology and your party’s political fortunes are based on wholesale denial of objective reality (i.e. evolution denialism, climate change denialism, supply side economics, etc.), it becomes much harder to engage in honest self-reflection. Conservatives have deeply corrupted their own habits of thought. That’s the basis of the well-documented conservative epistemic closure.

QotD?: Who could have prevented the fall of the unwise?


4/17/2013
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (60 minutes and 1,500 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin, plus 60 minutes minutes of WRPA to produce 1,800 words of nonfiction)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 248.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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[culture] The Boston bombings

First and foremost, my heart sorrows for those caught in the Boston bombings of yesterday. The dead, the injured, their friends and loved ones, the first responders and volunteers; everyone. The date and venue of the attack is just a twist of the knife, I suppose.

I don’t consume broadcast media other than the odd snatch of NPR in the car, or watching online videos of segments which for some reason have been recommended to me or caught my eye. My understanding of the bombings thus far has been from a mix of (mostly) liberal blogs and the some news Web sites, as well as secondary commentary from those sources.

While I have my own private views of what is likely to be uncovered about the perpetrators, I am the first to acknowledge those views are currently not grounded in any facts whatsoever. Therefore I decline to speculate in public pending reliable evidence emerging.

What I will say is this: I hope for swift justice tempered by mercy. I likewise fervently hope that we can avoid another national paroxysm of retributive anger like that engendered by 9-11. Despite our manifold imperfections, we are a nation of laws, and a people who value a moral and orderly world. Our internal disagreements are for the most part about what those ambitions mean.

Please, let America be lawful and orderly in our response to this terrible event.

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[links] Link salad sorrows for Boston

War of the worlds: who owns the political soul of science fiction?In the sci-fi genre, two diametrically opposed ideologies are battling it out as leftwing writers embrace otherness, while the rightwingers look up to authority. Although my personal sympathies should be blatantly obvious, why should anyone own the soul of SF, so to speak? Right wing fiction has as much to say as left wing fiction, regardless of my individual opinions. (Via an interesting linkdump from Cora Buhlert.)

Literature from Librarians: Great Reads Written by the Experts

Landfill Harmonic: An Upcoming Documentary About the ‘Recycled Orchestra’ in Cateura, Paraguay — People are amazing. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

This is your brain on music

Google Glass hits productionThe first Google Glass devices have been finished and are expected to ship imminently, the company has confirmed. I would love to have these, but even if I did, I couldn’t use them until they’re available with prescription lenses.

The Planetary Super-Surface of San Bernardino CountyBLDG BLOG gets interestingly weird about commercial architecture.

Is Nasa looking in the wrong place for life?

Dark matter experiment CDMS sees three tentative cluesResearchers have revealed the first potential hints of the elusive material called dark matter at an underground laboratory in the US.

Human cycles: History as scienceAdvocates of ‘cliodynamics’ say that they can use scientific methods to illuminate the past. But historians are not so sure. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Duplitectural Marvels: Exploring China’s Replica Western Cities — Wow. This is strange. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Margaret Thatcher and misapplied death etiquetteThe dictate that one ‘not speak ill of the dead’ is (at best) appropriate for private individuals, not influential public figures. This bit is especially to the point: Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms. (Via [info]goulo.)

Are there Any Solid Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage?The case against same-sex marriage seems, to me at least, muddled, odd and paltry. A Christian blogger talks about the opposition, and finds the same point progressives have made for years. When you take away bigotry cloaked in religious freedom as an excuse, there is no rational opposition to same sex marriage. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

The Limits of Good Faith — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Rand Paul. Rand Paul went to Howard University, lied, and then got his ass kicked. That’s not so bad. I got my ass kicked regularly at Howard. That was the reason my parents sent me there. But having gotten his ass kicked, his answer is to not to reflect but to make an allegation of racial discrimination.

John Kerry: Foreign Students Aren’t Studying In U.S. Because They Fear Guns — From a certain conservative perspective, I suspect this is good news.

Guantanamo Commander Orders Single-cell Living For Detainees — Lifetime imprisonment without charges or trial, in solitary confinement. Yes, America is definitely a beacon of liberty and the rule of law the world over. (Via [info]danjite.)

Patriots Day bombings in BostonSlacktivist Fred Clark with some modest wisdom.

PSA: Ignore the news — The brilliant Charlie Stross is wise about the Boston bombings in his own lateral way.

Boston Marathon Calamity Shows Value of Social MediaIt might be no surprise that immediately after the explosions at today’s Boston Marathon, social media sites became the best way for the public to obtain on-the-scene reports. But notably, it also became the best way for classic news media to report. Even more than that, the long minutes after the news broke showed just how superior social media is for finding answers to your own personal concerns. (Via David Goldman.)

Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?Terrorism has no nation or religion. But likewise its victims are human beings, precious human beings, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.

Trapped by the BaseI see little reason to believe that the staunch conservative bloc will wither away or splinter; it will remain a dominant force in the GOP and on the national stage. At the same time, however, I see no indication that its ideas about policy, governance and social issues will gain new adherents. They are far beyond the mainstream. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

QotD?: What do you think?


4/16/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (60 minutes and 1,700 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin, 15 minutes of WRPA)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 246.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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