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[links] Link salad knows that everything is awesome when you’re part of the team

How my husband forgot sexWhen we were younger, he was the one who taught me to explore. Then he had cancer surgery — and came out a virgin. Sigh.

A Rainbow Pileus Cloud over Zimbabwe

Why Mount Hood’s next eruption will be like a big blob of toothpasteMixing of hot and cold magna can bring a volcanic eruption in as little as 60 days. Volcanic eruptions at Mount Hood occur when cold magma, stored like ‘peanut butter in a refrigerator,’ mixes with hot magma from deep within the Earth’s crust, say researchers. That would be Portland’s friendly neighborhood volcano.

Kitties teach scientists a thing or two about geneticsCats, the patron saints of the internet, are typically not thought of as being at the forefront of genetic research. Their lack of opposable thumbs really limits their ability to run a proper DNA sequence, after all.

Hole-y Phobia May Have Evolutionary Origins Images that induce trypophobia, the fear of holes, share visual features with images of certain venonmous animals, implying that the aversion has an evolutionary basis. Trypophobia?

After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes

“Don’t Buy Shirts in Herat”: the Lost World of the Hippie Trail — Oh, man, to have lived this.

Rethinking a Zero Tolerance Approach to “Female Genital Mutilation” — Wow am I having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Drug site Silk Road wiped out by Bitcoin glitch

World’s Smartest Company: Illumina — These guys did my Whole Genome Sequencing.

Capital One says it can show up at cardholders’ homes, workplacesThe credit card company’s recent contract update includes terms that sound menacing and creepy. Not “sound menacing”. “Are menacing.” World’s creepiest company.

National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear — There’s always the GOP congressional delegation to draw from as deep bench. (Via [info]danjite.)

Who Believes that Astrology is Scientific? — A paper on the correlations between belief in astrology and political affiliation. Which, surprisingly, show liberals to be the bigger idiots. Just what this country needs: further validation of non-evidence-based thinking. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity

Obama’s Tea Party Cousin Who’s Running for Senate Compared President to Hitler — Running on the Godwin ticket, I see.

The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality — Fascinating.

May a Man Marry a Man? A Medieval Debate — The alleged logic of opposition to same-sex marriage hasn’t really changed since. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Kansas Gets Their Hate OnBut don’t call it discrimination.

Noose tied on Ole Miss integration statueThe FBI on Tuesday was helping investigate who tied a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith, who, in 1962, became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white Southern college. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

What Information Are Stun Guns Recording? — It’s sort of the equivalent of putting serial numbers on bullets. I wonder how long the reservoir of these tags lasts. (Via David Goldman.)

After background checks were scrapped in Missouri“This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed.” Moar guns, to make us all safer!!

VW workers may block southern U.S. deals if no unions: labor chief — I find this whole ongoing VW-in-Tennessee story a little weird.

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society

America’s First President Was The Tea Party’s Worst Nightmare — But, but, tricorn hats!

Remember that thing called the Unitary Executive Theory, Republicans? Obviously not.

UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law — A proud day for civil liberties.

?otD: Are you living the dream?


2/19/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad checks into the Tabard in Southwark

35 Nerdy Cards Against Humanity Cards To Add To Your Deck

Digital Steamboat Willie — Uh…

Lincoln Blimp: 1930

A Map of the World’s Most Dangerous Countries for Drivers — The headline is misleading (the headline editor clearly did not read the whole piece), as this article draws an inverse correlation about cause of death around the world that is fascinating.

The Shrink & The Sage: Should we fear the worst?‘People cope with what they consider disasters much more positively than they would have guessed’

Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events

Intel’s Sharp-Eyed Social Scientist

For Mice, and Maybe Men, Pain Is Gone in a FlashResearchers find a way to turn pain on, and off, with a beam of light.

Glass, DarklyFor its wearable computer to be accepted, Google must convince people that the device isn’t creepy.

Promoting Public Policy Programs…with Puppets

Woman Arrested Nine Years After Failing to Return Rented Video

Kerry Blasts Climate Denialists, equates Climate Change with Terrorism, WMDs

This is what actual ‘religious liberty’ looks like

The Changing Face of Christian PoliticsAmong 16- to 29-year-old non-Christians, Christians were viewed as “anti-gay” (91 percent), judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), sheltered (78 percent) and—surprise—”too political” (75 percent). In 2010, respected academics David Campbell and Robert Putnam’s landmark book, American Grace, concluded that partisan politics was directly to blame for the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. Interesting read. Unfortunately, this article is far, far too kind to the Christian right and measured by its words and deeds, such as the recent Kansas anti-gay bill.

Breaking the DichotomyIn the wake of Prop 8 and the LDS church’s continued political involvement opposing same-sex marriage in several states in the US, a lot of members find themselves in a very difficult position. It’s more than just embarrassment, and it’s a question that a lot of people outside the church have asked with varying degrees of reasonableness. If you disagree with what they’re doing so much, why do you keep supporting them? A similar question comes, regrettably, both from outside and inside. Why don’t you just leave? A reflection from Feminist Mormon Housewives on a question I’ve often (as an outsider, obviously) wondered about.

Black Boy InterruptedOn the unfinished life of Jordan Davis. Ta-Nehisi Coates is bitterly brilliant, again.

George Zimmerman Refuses to Say Whether He Regrets Killing Trayvon Martin“Certainly, I think about that night and I think my life would be tremendously easier if I stayed home.” You mean like the 911 operator told you to? I doubt Zimmerman ever reflects how much easier, and longer, Trayvon Martin’s life would have been if Zimmerman had stayed home. Ladies and and gentlemen, your gun culture, where the power to conduct your summary execution can be tightly gripped in anyone‘s hands.

I’m anti-carThere are people who really love their cars too but don’t think that having to pay to have a license plate means that the government has become a fascist dictatorship determined to take their vehicles away from them — yet otherwise intelligent people will use that exact same argument when talking about guns.

GOP operative asks judge to delay trial until after electionsClaiming key GOP campaign strategies could be “exposed” before this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races, a Queens Republican operative wants his federal corruption trial delayed until after November’s elections. Wow, does that take some stones. What do good, honest, moral conservatives have to fear from the light of justice anyway? Look, over there, ACORN! Well, never mind. I made the mistake of expecting better of non-conservatives, but the Democrat involved has also asked for a delay for the same reasons.

Congressional Republicans focused on calming their divided ranks“We don’t have 218 votes in the House for the big issues, so what else are we going to do?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), an ally of House Speaker John A. Boehner. “We can do a few things on immigration and work on our principles, but in terms of real legislating, we’re unable to get in a good negotiating position.” Poor GOP. Trapped in the majority, stuck with controlling the House, and unable to advance their agenda. Why would anyone vote for a political party this utterly dysfunctional?

?otD: Will you tell your tale?


2/18/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad wakes up in its own bed for a change

Arriving late to the Sous-Vide partyJersey Girl in Portland on cooking.

The Singularity is Still Closer than it Appears — A response to Ramez Naam.

Effects of bullying may add up in kids: study — Also, this just in: water is wet! Bullying sure played a huge part in my 1970s childhood, and the adult response was largely what we would now call victim-blaming. It’s shaped my whole life. Luckily for me, I wound up in a high school where I could hold my own.

Twenty-five percent of Americans don’t know the Earth revolves around the Sun, survey finds — Sigh.

Following a long road to ancient DNASvante Pääbo, the man behind the Neanderthal genome, tells his story.

How Wolves Change Rivers — I’ve run into this before. It’s still damned cool. (Via David Goldman.)

Santa’s revenge: Arctic ice may be putting US in a long, deep freezeEvidence is mounting that a warming Arctic has set the jet stream loose.

Becoming A Moral MinorityJim Hinch tracks the decline of conservative religion.

Snake Salvation pastor dies from snake bite — Uh, yeah. That’s what happens when you convince yourself that faith trumps reality. Reality doesn’t care about your sincerely held beliefs.

Dear GOP: Top 5 Biblical Marriage Moments far worse than Gay Marriage — Ah, Biblical marriage. Conservative America really doesn’t read its own faith text at all.

Seriously, what is wrong with Kansas?It’s all about ginning up feelings of persecution among so-called “values voters” … over having to surrender the long-held prerogative to persecute. Lacking any grace or humility, these demagogues won’t leave the scene until they’ve discharged all their poison into our politics.

It’s the gunsHumans get into arguments, they get in each others faces and they sometimes come to blows. There is no way to ensure that will not happen. But these minor beefs — like texting in a movie theater — would very rarely be deadly if people weren’t packing heat! That’s the real issue here. The gun nuts like to say that an armed society is a polite society. That’s just another way of saying that if you are carrying a gun you can make people do what you want them to do — stop texting, stop playing music you don’t like, stop walking through the night with with some candy and a drink from 7-11, even “that’s my parking spot.”

Stand Your Ground is simply an invitation to more killing, not less crimeWe found that homicide rates in states with a version of the Stand Your Ground law increased by an average of 8 percent over states without it. Actual research, with actual “facts” and “data”, firmly backing what I and many other liberal-progressives have long thought about Stand Your Ground laws. This will of course mean nothing to gun rights enthusiasts, whose right to use deadly force at their sole discretion trumps my safety and yours.

White Men’s Freedoms and Black Men’s LivesThe research found that [Stand Your Ground] laws increase the likelihood that a homicide will be considered “justified,” but only in cases where a white person is accused of killing a black person.

A Bitter Valentine’s Day — A letter from inside Guantanamo Bay prison. Your tax dollars at work. (Via [info]danjite.)

?otD: Sleep well?


2/17/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful and in pain)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad has a full life, if a trifle banal

A Non-Binary Person’s Guide to Invented Pronouns

This Movie Works Whether You Play It Backward or Forward — A visual palindrome. (Via David Goldman.)

Sartre & Peanuts — Huh. (Snurched from David Wilford.)

San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers

A Winter Olympics Venn Diagram — Hahahahah.

How to Design an Interstellar Communications System If we want to communicate with other civilisations, it turns out that the laws of physics, the nature of interstellar space and a little common sense place surprisingly strict bounds on how this communication can take place.

SETI at the Particle Level

Satellites Spot Whales From SpaceThis new method could help researchers remotely count and keep track of whale populations. Mmm, space whales.

Giant leap for nuclear fusion as scientists get more energy out than fuel put in150 picoseconds of scientific breakthrough, though “ignition” remains a distant goal.

Probe to use Prehistoric Pigment Shield for Solar PlungeEuropean scientists designing the upcoming Solar Orbiter — a mission that will swoop deep inside the sun’s atmosphere (the corona) to carry out an unprecedented solar observing campaign — didn’t turn to science fiction for help, however. They’re using a technology that was available during prehistoric times to protect the spacecraft from the sun.

This is why we have two nostrils, rather than a single, large hole in the middle

Ancient native boy’s genome reignites debate over first Americans — And then there’s Kennewick Man.

Southeast U.S. Battered by Another Winter StormThis storm doesn’t disprove global warming any more than it getting dark at night disproves the existence of the Sun.

Planet, Oceans Burning Up: There is no “Pause” in Global Warming

Dear Creation Museum, all science is “historical science.” Here’s whyThe sort of selective reasoning—miracles don’t happen when there’s lab equipment nearby, but they have made anything more than a few centuries old completely inaccessible to scientific analysis—quite reasonably raises questions about whether researchers who hold this view can be relied on to do solid science, as does their lack of self-awareness that keeps them from recognizing that they are doing historical science. Their apparent willingness to throw the scientific method under the bus as soon as it conflicts with their personal beliefs is concerning as well.

Christian School Faulted for Halting Abuse StudyFor decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners. Tell me again how atheists are immoral? Help me understand why this version of the Christian worldview is somehow better than simple, honest humanism? ‘Cause I’m really not seeing it here.

Kentucky must accept out-of-state gay unions“Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons,” wrote Heyburn, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. The very same people who threaten to take up arms over every perceived possible slight to their freedoms ought to understand that. But they don’t. Even so, another bigotry domino falls, another step forward for freedom, justice and American values.

U.S. Takes a Sharp Drop in World Press Freedom RankingsThe United States took a nasty drop in the World Press Freedom rankings, released on Wednesday by the media group Reporters Without Borders, falling 14 spots to the 46th best country for journalist freedoms. Of the 180 countries ranked, the home of the First Amendment now sits snuggled between Romania and Haiti.

How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error — A crazy story about everything that’s wrong with our National Security regime. Headline is a bit misleading, as the problem started in 2004 in the Bush administration, but the Obama administration continued to cover it up. (Via David Goldman.)

How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying — Because security! (Via David Goldman.)

Senate passes debt-ceiling plan in blow to conservatives — The profoundly unpatriotic nihilists in the House GOP caucus take on on the chin. A very modest victory for good government and good sense.

Rand Paul v Barack Obama: A prelude to 2016 — As much as Rand Paul is a profoundly unpatriotic nihilist as well, he’s got a point about the surveillance state. Not that moderates and progressives haven’t been crying foul.

Is one of “the crazy ones” behind a threatening email sent to House Republicans? What makes “the crazy ones” crazy, in fact, is that they genuinely believe the cynical lies — about government debt, global warming, taxes, healthcare, immigration, Democratic Party fiscal policies and so on — that the non-crazy ones have been feeding the rubes for years. Mind you, “one of the crazy ones” is a description by a House Republican of other House Republicans.

?otD: Have any Cardassian laundry lists?


2/13/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad is a Melkotian object

Green, Book Review — Not so much with the liking of my novel.

It’s happening again! — My dear friend [info]garyomaha talks about the costs of segmentation in media and society.

Red Hong Yi renders Chinese scenes from makeup — Impressive. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Lego Hell — Oh, wow. Hahaha. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Chandre Oraon, Man With Tail, Worshipped As God (But Not By His Wife)

33 Powerful And Creative Print Ads That’ll Make You Look Twice — Some of these are amazing. Some are questionable. They’re all worth looking at. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Wildly detailed drawings that combine math and butterflies — Amazing stuff.

Photos by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji in Iran of mosque art — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Genome Surgery — Here comes the future.

NASA Mars Orbiters spots clues to possible water flows

Star Wars planets migrate into position around stellar pairsTatooine orbited two stars; now researchers believe planets like this actually exist.

Australian researchers say they have found the oldest star in the known universe, 6000 light years from Earth

Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? — Wow are there a lot of unexamined cultural assumptions embedded in this article, especially around the supposed natural inviolability of monogamy.

NRA Board Member: Bullied Children Commit Suicide Because Young Boys Have Been “Neutered” — Ah, the magical sense of social responsibility that comes with gun ownership.

My Baby and AOL’s Bottom LineThat “distressed baby” who Tim Armstrong blamed for benefit cuts? She’s my daughter.

Greenland glacier sets glacial speed recordWater pressure greases the skids for Jakobshavn, clocked at 2 meters per hour.

Business as usual + sea level rise = losses of up to 9% of global GDPBut losses should be less if we’re not dumb enough to keep building on coasts.

Sowing Seeds: An Ex-Christian’s Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debateee, there’s this stereotype in Christian culture (and elsewhere) that atheists are joyless, unhappy God-haters with hearts full of anger and lives devoid of purpose. That makes loss of faith a scary prospect, because who wants a life like that? Just by being himself, letting his love of science shine through, Nye demonstrated how joy, wonder, excitement, passion, and purpose — all things religious people tend to associate with service to God — can be a part of an atheist’s life. (To be fair, I don’t know for sure what Nye’s beliefs are, but Creationist fundamentalism does rather tend to lump together evolution belief and atheism, along with homosexuality, Communism, and baby-eating.) Yes, this. Atheists can be and often are moral, ethical, joyful people. Just as with any group of human beings. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

I’m a Member of the American ‘Used-to-Haves’Watching John Boehner and the Republican Congress during the past few years has been a stunning confirmation of their seeming disregard for the “Used-to-Haves.” As they pull down salaries of $174,000 a year, unparalleled benefits and the option of voting themselves a raise, their selfishness is unrivaled as they barricade health care reform, knowingly shut down the government, cut SNAP benefits and eliminate extended unemployment payments.

A commentor responds to my post on the 1% and hard work — Worth the read, as he has personal experience at multiple levels of the economy, unlike myself. I’ve never held those hard, low-end jobs, not even in my student job days. My first paid jobs were as a government clerk, then as a bank courier.

Tree Lobsters on economic inequality — Be sure to read the mouseover text.

Chastened G.O.P. Tries to Foil Insurgents at Primary LevelOne of the biggest challenges for Republican leaders in the 2014 midterm elections will be how to hang on to the Tea Party support that has been so instrumental to the party’s growth, while winning back voters alienated by hard-right candidates. I dunno. Maybe by not taking hard-right positions? Confidential to GOP in America: Try the evidence-based worldview for a change. You’d be amazed how differently things look when you factor in facts, data and actual history instead of an “unskewed” ideological narrative.

Tea Party Ain’t Over Yet: How Conservatives Still Control Congress — It seems like not so long ago that people in my end of the blogosphere were angrily defending the Tea Party as an independent, non-partisan grass roots movement. How’d that work out?

Leave The Poets AloneTrey Gowdy is a member of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives. As such, Trey Gowdy is dedicated to working the job of governing the country as little as possible. When you elect people who think government is a failure, is it any surprise when they work for the failure of government? That such nonsensical thinking has achieved such political prominence in America is one of the great shames of our time.

Welfare StateWashington’s Republican counties depend on Western Washington’s money. How can they survive the state budget cuts they demand? Welcome to conservative America, where evidence-based thinking is proudly rejected. And yes, this phenomenon of rural conservatives opposing the very tax structure that benefits them most based on counterfactual ideological beliefs about the direction in which the money flows repeats within many states across the US, as well as at the state/Federal level. As the article comments, The irony here is not that those who benefit most from state spending are paying the least; that’s kinda the way these things are supposed to work. No, the irony is that those rural communities that are most dependent on the state—whose roads and schools and other essential public services couldn’t possibly be maintained without generous state subsidies—are also those least likely to vote for the tax dollars necessary to sustain these services. (Via David Goldman.)

CBO: Guys, We Didn’t Say Obamacare Would Cost 2.5 Million Jobs — Hmm. Unthinkable that the GOP should substantially misrepresent an important ACA point in a way that casts an unfavorable light on the president. Conservative intellectual honesty and moral probity would never permit such a thing.

?otD: How many to beam up?


2/11/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 15 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad evolves, descending from the trees to gaze across the savanna

Someone has made fake London Underground signs, and whoever did it is a ruddy genius — (Via [info]garyomaha.)

Bionic hand feels real, says amputee

The Terraced Night — A wonderful APOD image of the night sky in China.

Questions of preservation after ancient village found in downtown Miami

Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell ShortThe sell-off of synthetic biology pioneer LS9 goes to show that making biofuels from genetically engineered microbes has yet to deliver economically.

Is there a way to exploit the metabolic quirk of cancer? — (Via Philip Brewer.)

Scientists have likely found Charlemagne’s skeleton

Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors — Speaking as an atheist, I wouldn’t describe the Bible as full of errors. It’s a faith text. The errors arise from trying to interpret a faith text as having empirical reality, taking it literally, but those are errors of interpretation, not of the book itself.

22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In EvolutionI asked 22 self-identifying creationists at the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate to write a message/question/note to the other side. Here’s what they wrote. Interesting piece, misleading headline. Evolution isn’t a “belief” in the sense that creationism is a “belief”. It exists, demonstrably and provably, independently of whatever your or I might understand or hold faith in. Believing in evolution is like believing in gravity or weather.

The Creation of DebateThe people who are attacking evolution are doing so because they think evolution is attacking their beliefs. But unless they are the narrowest of fundamentalists, this simply is not true. There is no greater proof of this than Pope John Paul II—who, one must admit, was a deeply religious man—saying that evolution was an established fact. Clearly, not all religion has a problem with evolution.

Google Earth Shows You a Warming PlanetThe facts are in, and the science is clear: The planet is getting hotter. The Google Earth app will help make that even more obvious. I urge folks to get it and play with it. Facts don’t speak for themselves, but this app helps give them a voice.

The Inefficiency of Long Hours — Having worked in fields heavily dependent on punishing amounts of white collar overtime (advertising, software consulting), I understand why individual managers and executives ask this of their teams, but I have never understood why the industries as a whole, not to mention their clients, tolerate the resulting errors and inefficiencies.

The day a Special Olympian stood up to Ann Coulter for calling Obama a “retard”

Vatican ‘Regrets’ Damning UN Report On Sex Abuse — Note that the Vatican does not regret the content of the report, only that it was issued. The games continue.

A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter – With Ties to Wall Street Investigations

‘America The Beautiful’ Author Is Rush Limbaugh’s Favorite Lesbian Socialist

Paul Ryan Fact-Checks Republicans On Obamacare Job ‘Costs’ — I never thought I’d say this about Paul Ryan, but good for him. Of course, the usual walkback from reality to conservative talking points will start in 3… 2… 1…

Why Jeb Bush Isn’t Going To Be the Next Republican Nominee — A conservative analysis of a question that hasn’t much yet vexed me.

?otD: Monkey around much?


2/6/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad watches the Atlantic

Intimate Portraits of BeesResearchers take advantage of photography technology developed by the U.S. Army to capture beautiful portraits of bees native to North America. (Via Marta Murvosh.)

A Valuable ReputationAfter Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.

New rule allows patients to get test results directly from labs, without doctors’ clearance

Fighting cancer isn’t all about personal lifestyle but the environment we live in

Cancer cases set to rise by half by 2030: UN — Yeah, well. Some days I know I’m just another statistic in a government chart.

Older than oldest of 7 Wonders: 4,600 year old step pyramid uncovered in Egypt

New laser-printed material is lighter than water, as strong as steelAn internal structure like that of bone keeps the material porous but tough. This article also includes an incredibly cool chart of material strength and density which ought to be of interest to anyone writing hard SF.

Soon, the Coldest Place in the Known Universe Will Be on … the International Space Station“We’re going to explore temperatures far below anything found naturally.”

Atlanta Storm Was a Government Conspiracy? Snow Way!Unless folks can learn from their mistaken ideas, this kind of thinking is dangerous. We know that political parties and ideologically based “think tanks” will spread disinformation that gets absorbed by the public through various media. That’s no tinfoil-hat theory, that’s fact—you only need to read about the history of the tobacco industry (and now the fossil fuel industry) to see this. I draw your attention to the Texas Republican Party platform in 2012, which explicitly opposed teaching critical thinking skills.

Winter Heat Swamps AlaskaIn January 2014, record-breaking heat left Alaskans dealing with unseasonable bouts of rain and avalanches.

‘In God We Trust—but We Have Put Our Faith in Our Guns’Florida teenager Jordan Davis was shot by Michael Dunn after an argument over music. His mother, Lucia McBath, talks about losing her son and her fight against Stand Your Ground laws. Read this, especially if you’re one of those people who believes guns make us all safer.

Everything Is Like Slavery, Except Slavery — If it wasn’t so grimly sad and offensive, this conservative fixation with comparing pretty much every political initiative they disapprove with slavery would be funny. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Republicans, Democrats, and Trust in the Government

Coca-Cola’s Multicultural Super Bowl Ad Really Angered Conservatives — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

Coca-Cola Critics Have Never Heard of ‘E Pluribus Unum’The rage directed at the Super Bowl ad with “America the Beautiful” sung in foreign languages shows some people can’t get on board with the future.

Times Are A-Changin’: Republicans Now The Key To Gay Marriage Fight — I find this piece to be wildly optimistic, given the GOP’s core electoral strategy of generating angry white guys, but I hope I’m wrong.

Republicans Are Advancing Their War on Public Education — Old news here, but it never stops.

Trick Websites Dupe Democrats Into Donating To RepublicansWhen a crop of mock sites cropped up last month, the NRCC defended its actions as perfectly legal. Character counts, as some political party or another used to frequently remind us.

?otD: When you stare into the ocean, does the ocean stare back at you?


2/4/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad misses Philip Seymour Hoffman already

His Friends Know Him as Petroswickonicovick — On names and naming traditions in Brazil. (Via Dad.)

Ashes to Ashes, but First a Nice Pine Box — On building your own coffin. (Via Reynardo.)

Nine Treasures — Mongolian folk metal. Yo. (Thanks, I think, to [info]danjite.)

In China, ‘Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone’ — Changes in culture. (Via Dad.)

Lunar Time Lapse Panorama including Yutu Rover

How the Media Missed the Story of the Millennium: One Climate Blockbuster after AnotherThe fact that 97% of scientists who have weighed in on the issue believe that climate change is a human-caused phenomenon is not a story. That only one of 9,137 peer-reviewed papers on climate change published between November 2012 and December 2013 rejected human causation is not a story either, nor is the fact that only 24 out of 13,950 such articles did so over 21 years.

Hillary Clinton: ‘fun to watch FOX when it’s someone else being blitzed’

The Cheapening of American Politics: Why did Obama reward O’Reilly with an Interview?Fox cheapens our lives by reducing respect for human rights. It pushes homophobia, the restriction of women’s choice, Islamophobia, xenophobia (irrational fear of “foreigners”) and white and Christian triumphalism. It is hypocritical, in that it slams Muslims and Arabs while being 6% owned by Saudi billionaire al-Walid Bin Talal.

4 Ways Tunisia Is Now More Progressive Than The United States — (Via [info]danjite.)

Go Ahead, Try it That Way”We’re in this mess for a reason, and it’s because GOP leaders either doesn’t understand the conservative ideal (which is why they can’t articulate it), or they do understand it and simply don’t like it.” If that’s true, it’s probably the only thing “GOP leaders” and the American people have in common.

?otD: Life is precious and short enough already. Why go too soon?


2/3/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad is Friday, Joe Friday

Drilling surprise opens door to magma-powered electricityWell hit magma at unexpectedly shallow depths and used it to generate steam.

Bose-Einstein condensates used to emulate exotic magnetic monopole

Weather-Mapping a Brown DwarfAstronomers using a novel technique have mapped a brown dwarf’s visible surface — even though they can’t resolve the object in telescopes.

Is Google Cornering the Market on Deep Learning?

The Famous No-Memory Brain That Is Getting Plugged In Online

Acid bath turns cells from any tissue into stem cellsScientists borrow a trick from the plant kingdom.

Collectively, humanity’s genomes carry a fifth of a NeanderthalIf you have lupus or trouble quitting smoking, it may be their fault.

Child peanut allergy treatment ‘breakthrough’

Absurd Creature of the Week: Pink Fairy Armadillo Crawls Out of the Desert and Into Your Heart — (Via David Goldman.)

Rains Spurred by Climate Change Killing Penguin Chicks

Side-Channel Attacks on Frog Calls — Hahahahaha. (Via David Goldman.)

Fifty States of FearIn total, 54,000 Americans die every year due to work-related illnesses and accidents. This is the equivalent of 148 deaths each day; in terms of fatalities it is roughly a Boston Marathon bombing every half hour of every day. But while we spend more than 7 billion dollars a year on the T.S.A.’s national security theater in which over 58,000 T.S.A. employees make sure we are not carrying too much toothpaste or shampoo onto airplanes, the budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is under $600 million per year. It seems that our threat assessments are flawed. (Via David Goldman.)

Oh, the tyranny! — A short history of presidential use of the Executive Order. Obama is issuing orders at the slowest rate since Grover Cleveland is a great line.

Jon Meacham Says He Was Wrong About Lincoln, FDR And Executive Orders — So this guys makes a flat misstatement about Obama and executive orders on national television, an anti-Obama lie alleging presidential overreach seen and believed by millions of viewers. The retraction will be seen by 1% of that number, maybe, if we’re very lucky?

Rep. Cathy Rodgers Exemplifies GOP: Benefit from Gov’t yourself, Deny Benefits to Others — As usual, conservatives in their own words and deeds.

Lunches seized from kids in debt at Salt Lake City elementaryBut cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained. The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another. Addendum: After being called out in the press, the school district has apologized.

PerkinsnachtLiberal vituperation makes our letter writer’s point. In which the Wall Street Journal proves once again that it is the FOX News of country club Republicans.

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?Upward mobility has stayed the same the past 50 years despite skyrocketing inequality. But it’s lower in the South (and Ohio) than anywhere else in the U.S.—or the rest of the developed world. Interesting to note the overlap between the opportunity map in this article and a Red state/Blue state political map of the United States. Startlingly similar to the overlap between a tax map (i.e., which states receive the most net inflow of government funds as compared to tax burden).

At Retreat, GOP Aims to Erase Its “Obstructive” Image — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. And mind you, this is a story whose author was careful to be sympathetic to the GOP.

The state of the union speech Barack Obama would never give — Huh. (Via Lisa Costello.)

?otD: Just the facts, ma’am?


1/31/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad see them every night in tight blue jeans in the pages of a blue boy magazine

The Allure of the Map — Map, meet territory. (Snurched from Scrivener’s Error.)

The History of Smoked BrisketIt’s definitely not what you’d expect. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Grand Canyon ‘formed recently’

Holocaust Told in One Word, 6 Million Times

Audi Bets on Bio Gasoline Startup — Gas in a jar someday, grown in your own home.

Climate scientist’s defamation suit allowed to go forwardCalling a scientist a fraud could be defamatory. If climate change skeptics had good attacks on the data, they wouldn’t need to resort to ad hominem attacks on the investigators. If you know someone who’s on the fence about climate change, point that out to them.

Double Homicide Victims’ Names ReleasedDeputies say he admitted to shooting the two men because he thought they were trespassing on his property. Sheriff McComas says the land actually belonged to Garrick Hopson. He had just purchased it and was showing his brother where he and his family were planning to build their new home in the coming weeks. Yup. Guns definitely make us all safer.

Colo. GOP propose election law changesColorado Republicans are taking aim at a new requirement that every registered voter get a ballot by mail. A system which has worked very well here in Oregon, with voter fraud rates almost immeasurably low (though there has been registration fraud, oddly perpetrated mostly by Republican operatives) and improving turnout. I cannot imagine what the GOP would have against fraud-free, high-turnout system.

?otD: Do you want to go out with a lion’s roar?


1/27/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: n/a (in hospital)
Weight: n/a (in hospital)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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