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[links] Link salad wishes it slept better

The spiciest meals in BritainA burger in Brighton is so hot that people have to sign a legal disclaimer before eating it. And a curry in Edinburgh has hospitalised two diners. Here’s a roundup of those and other extreme spicy eating challenges. (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Say bye bye to parmesan, muenster and feta: Europe wants its cheese backAs part of trade talks, the EU wants to ban the use of European names like parmesan and gruyere on cheeses made in the US. Cheese wars? (Via AH.)

Every Dog Has Its Data — Woof? (Via Lisa Costello.)

Baby Conductor: Children Absorbing the World Around Them

California pushes to finish driverless car rules

Body Odor ID: Your New Smelly Password — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. (Via David Goldman.)

Fukushima operator may have to dump contaminated water into PacificAs Japan marks the third anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Tepco is struggling to find a solution for hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water. (Via Susie Madrak.)

Coping with exceptional ice in the Great Lakes

Is the Senate’s climate change all-nighter more than a one-night stand?

By the Way, Your Home Is On Fire: The Climate of Change and the Dangers of Stasis — I am reminded of something a one-time friend with emergency services training said to me. “There are three kinds of people in a disaster. Those who run away, those who freeze, and those who run towards. The ones who freeze die.”

$600K Taken From Safe At Osteen’s Megachurch — So if this was an inside job, whose side was God on?

The Word – Pew! Pew! Pew!A Kentucky Baptist organization announces a 25-gun giveaway to lure men back to church.

8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance — (Via Lisa Costello.)

They’d rather die than be wrong about ObamacareYou know, I probably have as much disdain for Republicans as they have for me. But if one of them were to show me irrefutable proof that say, America has fewer gun deaths than other places due to our proliferation of gun ownership, I would have no choice but to believe it. These people simply put their fingers in their ears and sing “lalalalala”.

Is libertarianism taking hold of GOP? The big problem with the GOP is that its ideologies profoundly alienate vast swaths of the electorate. Gay rights and same-sex marriage — overwhelmingly supported by the young — are as thoroughly owned by Democrats as were civil rights two generations ago. Republicans’ harsh rhetoric on immigration puts off the rapidly growing Hispanic population. Democratic stances on choice and workplace equality attract women. And GOP opposition to a higher minimum wage drives working-class voters into Democratic arms. Must be nice being the party of ideas, GOP. How else do you generate all those angry white guys?

Young Republicans Find Fault With Elders on List of Social Issues — Given that social issues have defined the Republican party since Reagan’s ascendancy, if those things matter, why be a Republican?

Michele Bachmann Laments That ‘The Gay Community Have So Bullied The American People’“And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community, they have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and so they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.” What color do you suppose the sky is on Planet Bachmann? Paisley, maybe, if the Gay Menace has hacked their way in already.

Hey, Conservatives! Are You Winning or Losing?Palin combines whining and gloating into a message of vengeance that makes yesterday’s losers tomorrow’s invincible winners. And that may be the most satisfying conservative message of all.

Version 1.0 of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries — I always enjoy this inside baseball aspect of politics. (Via David Goldman.)

As Though Iraq Never HappenedThe short memory of Condoleezza Rice.

?otD: Yawn much?


3/12/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (badly interrupted)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad doesn’t like Mondays

Inside the Walls of Fez

Scientists Celebrate Century of Ice Age Fossils Unearthed in La Brea Tar Pits

Why are apes more genetically diverse than we are? — More ancestors?

New Titan Photos Showcase Lakes and Salt-Flats — Home by the sea.

What the Pollen Says — Death by climate change. See, even history is contributing its “facts” and “data” to the liberal hoax that is climate change.

10 Failed Climate Change Denial Arguments — Given the current overwhelming preponderance of evidence, no one comes to climate change denial based on the merits of the position. It always starts as an ideological stance in search of justification. (See the BEST project, which was the last stand of putatively evidence-based denialism, and wound up with completely the opposite conclusion even after a hostile review of the data.) As such, climate change denialism has all the credibility of evolution denialism, without even the dubious imprimatur of faith to cloak its intellectual bankruptcy. Much like evolution denialism, the only reason we are even having this discussion as a society at all is in service of the short term political interests of a failing minority party that somehow still dominates the media cycle. It’s ridiculous.

Few Problems With Cannabis for CaliforniaCalifornia’s 17-year experience as the first state to legalize medical marijuana offers surprising lessons, experts say. Warnings voiced against partial legalization — of civic disorder, increased lawlessness and a drastic rise in other drug use — have proved unfounded. Conservative hysteria on every major social issue of our time has proven unfounded over and over and over. Yet there’s never any accountability in Your Liberal Media or in the minds of voters. The fear-based, scarcity-driven conservative mindset simply rushes on to the next set of sky-is-falling lies and hysteria.

America’s Secret 4th Branch of Government: The NSA kept even Obama in the Dark — This is Osama bin Laden’s true victory over America: the year’s long, trillion-dollar panic over terrorism while we knowingly gave away our civil rights wholesale in exchange for nothing much at all.

Public support for GOP continues to collapseBy a nearly four-to-one margin, Americans believe GOP lawmakers in Congress aren’t concerned with the nation’s best interests. That’s just astounding. Well, duh. They’re Republicans. They’ve always placed short term political self-interest over the national interest. When your answer to every problem is either “round up the usual Muslims” or “tax cuts”, you’re not serious about fixing anything except your donors’ bank balances. Especially given the utter failure of supply side economics to succeed in any way, shape or form over the past thirty years — recognizing that little issue would require evidence-based thinking, which is impossible for modern conservatives. Glad to see the general public is finally waking up to what’s been obvious to some of us for decades.

?otD: Is this just another manic Monday?


10/28/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement:30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking skills: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad limps into the weekend

Green, by Jay Lake — A tepid review.

Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois, ed. — Includes a nice capsule review of my multiple award-nominated novella, “The Stars Do Not Lie”.

Short Story Review Roundup: February – July 2013 — A round-up that includes a positive short review of my short story “The Speed of Time”.

Harvey Dunn on “Art for Art’s Sake”Art writing guru James Gurney on a topic which often stirs younger and newer writers to heated passion. And sometimes jaded old writers as well.

1960s KFC Commercial Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

Judge says Chubby Checker can pursue lawsuit against HP over penis-measuring app — Um… (Via [info]danjite.)

These Microscopic Balls Protect Insects From Their Own Waste — This is pretty cool nano engineering from nature. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Teleportation: Behind the Science of Quantum Computing

How to Catch a Liar on the InternetTechnology makes it easier than ever to play fast and loose with the truth—but easier than ever to get caught.

Witness to a Hanging: California’s Haunted Trees — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

El Al Goes The Extra Miles to Bring Cancer-Stricken Girl to Camp Simcha — (Via @deirdresm.)

Mouth bacteria may trigger bowel cancer — Hoo boy. (Thanks to David Shanahan.)

Bugger: Maybe the real state secret is that spies aren’t very good at their jobs and don’t know much about the world — Odd stories about MI5. (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Surprise! There are no quick solutions to our climate problemsA focus on reducing short-lived greenhouse gas emissions only takes you so far. Gee. Ya think?

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Portland’s Loaded Weapons Ban — A few courts in America are still sane. A few places in America still don’t want to be free-fire Second Amendment kill zones. I’m very glad I live in one of them.

Obama: GOP trying to ‘gum up’ ACA — The Republican hatred of the ACA is a combination of their irrational hatred of all things Obama (remember, the basics of the ACA were a Clinton-era GOP proposal) and their dread fear of the impact of the ACA’s eventual success on their political fortunes. I’m afraid that in this, as in so much of the rest of American culture, a minority of angry, misinformed conservatives will have the power to ruin a good thing for the rest of us.

QotD?: Got feet?


8/17/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 245.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing conservatives to enroll in Obamacare: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg

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[travel|cancer] Open letter to the woman sharing my flight from LAX to PDX

Dear woman who shared my flight from LAX to PDX this past Wednesday —

Hello.

I know you expected to board the plane first. You were proudly standing at the front of the First Class/premium status boarding lane when I limped up the economy lane with my cane, Lisa Costello and [info]the_child following close behind and juggling our bags.

I know you were suspicious of my coming forward at the call for passengers needing a little extra time in boarding. I saw you studying my cane, my plump-and-pink face and body. I could practically hear you thinking, He doesn’t look sick, is he carrying that thing for a prop?. I’m sorry you were suspicious, and I’m sorry I ruined your experience by getting on before you.

I know you were glaring at me when I walked down the aisle of the plane to the lavatory mid-flight, astonishingly enough, without my cane. Which I don’t need for short distances, especially with my shoes off, and which would be somewhere between inconvenient and dangerous to take into the tiny airplane lav with me, should we hit turbulence while I was voiding my bladder. Once again, I did not look sick to you. To you I looked like I was abusing the privilege of my disability to inconvenience the privilege of your premium traveler status.

I know I don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation. The airline does not require me to present a doctor’s note. (Though I in fact have one for certain purposes, satisfying your suspicions not being one of those purposes.) You weren’t in the gate area when I arrived by cart, which are hard to get unless you have a very good reason, so you didn’t see that. You don’t seem to understand there are disabilities which can make it hard for a healthy-seeming person to walk. You had no way of knowing I’d just flown across the Pacific, which would leave even a fully abled person pretty run down and worn out.

But you know what? Fuck you. Fuck you and your petty little suspicions and your glaring eyes and your privilege of health and premium traveler status. I’m sorry that one of the fringe benefits of terminal cancer is that I get to board your shiny, empty airplane before you. It’s not like we get to pick seats based on our boarding order. My disability costs you absolutely nothing, lady, while it costs me my life. So if an otherwise largely indifferent air travel industry is willing to extend me the courtesy of not having to stand elbows deep in a slow-moving line on my aching, painful feet, I will take advantage of that courtesy.

You’re dying too, lady. Just somewhat more slowly and obliviously than me. Next time, try to find a little more human compassion and little less suspicious judgment. Who knows, you might even have a better day for your trouble.

Much love,

Me.

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[personal] I have not yet begun to catch up

Home. Jet lagged. Weeks behind on email and postal correspondence. (Though I have kept up the bill payments.) Weeks behind on blogging, all the way back to San Diego Comic Con at the least. Since then I have been to JayWake, a very important wedding, about which more anon, and New Zealand. Thousands of photos to sort and upload. Doctors’ appointments to keep. People to catch up with, including out of town visitors.

Plus needing to take today to (mostly) recover and get over the trip.

Glad we went to New Zealand. Glad we’re home.

And my thanks to [info]danjite and [info]khaybee for making it all happen.

Home.

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[photos|conventions] San Diego Comic-Con day 3

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[culture] Social invisibility and mobility

I’ve written about social invisibility before, here and here at a minimum. Being at Comic-con while using an electric scooter for 99% of my mobility needs has introduced me personally to another long-standing form of social invisibility: visible disability.

Not that this is news in the slightest to anyone dependent on a scooter or a wheelchair. It was hardly news to me in the intellectual sense. But experientally, wow…

Let me say first and foremost that the vast majority of people here, both inside the convention and on the streets of San Diego’s Gaslamp District, were either actively helpful or genially indifferent. Almost no one was deliberately rude or obstructive. Which, in a crowd of this size, speaks well of the folks at Comic-con and the citizen of San Diego. Certainly the law enforcement and security personnel connected with the convention were extremely observant, polite and helpful to me.

However, the amount of sheer cluelessness in the standing and walking behavior of my fellow human beings is deeply astounding. When I’m on foot, I don’t suppose I notice the people walking backwards, suddenly sidestepping or reversing direction, walking in one direction while looking the other, or staring at their cell phone as they walk. I mean, they’re present, but I can route around them with a step or two without difficulty, and tend not to even remark on what I’ve just seen.

But when cruising along in a powered chair that weighs over a hundred pounds and does not actually have brakes, these people are a menace to themselves and me.

Likewise people standing in curb cuts, or in narrow passages between (say) a street lamp and a piece of sidewalk signage, or clumping in groups amid a right-of-way. A danger to themselves and others.

The only open rudeness I’ve encountered is those people, the ones standing around, who seem offended to be asked to get out of the curb cut or to please step aside from the middle of the sidewalk. This is the same social philosophy that prompts people to take offense at being asked to stop talking in a movie theater: If they are being inconvenienced, the person inconveniencing them is unspeakably rude. I’ve had a couple of people say in disparaging tones, “Where are you going to go?” The answer to which, if I were feeling confrontational, is “Same place I was going before you got in my way.”

The idea that they could step off the curb, or go around the other side of the lamp post, while I cannot do those things, is just too much for some people. It inconveniences them.

I recall some of these issues when [info]the_child was still of stroller age. But a stroller can be maneuvered off a curb or around an obstacle much more readily than an electric scooter. And the adult pushing the stroller isn’t socially invisible. The guy sitting well below eye level is.

It’s very strange. This is a world I’ll participate in for a few weekends of my life, renting a scooter here and at Worldcon, and that’s about it. But my experience in this powered chair has convinced me that everyone ought to spend a few days in a wheelchair or scooter, just so they can see what we all do and few us ever recognize ourselves as doing.

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[photos|conventions] San Diego Comic-Con day 2

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[photos|conventions] San Diego Comic-Con day 1

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[travel|events] San Diego Comic-Con International, here we come

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