Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad will strain once again to the sound of the gulls

Tor Books has provided some very generous support to JayWake — Thank you Tom, Beth and everyone.

Deadlines — Writers talking about their own deaths. (Thanks to AH, via [info]tillyjane, a/k/a my mom.)

The Intoxicating Fear of Language Immersion — Ta-Nehisi Coates continues to wax brilliantly on his time in Paris.

The N-word on the 4th of JulyThe flight home to see my family for the holiday was a tearful, shameful affair. I had to say something. But what? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Physics and the birth of the emoticonCarnegie Mellon University alumni trace the origin of the smiley to a group of computer scientists discussing a physics puzzle in 1982. (Via David Goldman.)

What’s Your Social Media Genotype?Your pattern of behaviour on Twitter can be defined by a simple “genotype” and used to predict your future behaviour, say network researchers.

The Scrotum Is NutsWhy are testicles kept in a vulnerable dangling sac? It’s not why you think.

DNA analysis suggests Lake Vostok harbors animal life — This is cool. So to speak.

Parts installed “upside down” caused Russian rocket to explode last week — Umm…

Why the insurance industry won’t save us from climate change — As Fred Clark says, “Insurers and reinsurers have too much skin in the game to mess around with the lies and legends and delusions of climate denialists. They can’t afford to play partisan games with the data because their whole business model depends on getting the facts right.” (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

FBI Discriminates Against American Muslims & lets White Terrorists Off the HookRight-wing extremists have committed far more acts of political violence since 1990 than American Muslims. That law enforcement across the country hasn’t felt similarly compelled to infiltrate and watch over conservative Christian communities in the hopes of disrupting violent right-wing extremism confirms what American Muslims know in their bones: to be different is to be suspect. Duh. Any Republican will tell you it’s not terrorism if conservative white men do it, it’s patriotism. Eric Rudolph, anyone?

An Egyptian boy explains the politics of his country — This kid is awesome. (Via [info]danjite.)

Indiana GOP passes law making it a crime for clergy to perform gay weddings — That whole separation of church and state thing is clearly for liberal pussies. The strict Constitutionalists in the GOP have made it so. Are you proud of your Republican party?

QotD?: Will you beg for strength? For gentle power?


7/10/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (vacation)
Hours slept: 5.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 250.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block building mandatory gay marriage halls: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Snuff by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad loves a parade

Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal — Cool stuff. She is always sharp. (Via Marta Murvosh.)

Photoshopped Covers Of Book Titles With A Letter Missing Make My Books-And-Wordplay Loving Heart Go Pitter-Patter — Hahahahah. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Oldest Grave Decorated With Flowers Discovered In Israel

Scientists Coax Brain to Regenerate Cells Lost in Huntington’s Disease — Wow. (Via David Goldman.)

Eight Toxic Foods: A Little Chemical EducationCouldn’t anyone be bothered to look anything up? There are facts in this world, you know. Learn a few. Another place where liberal-progressives can be as fact-blind as conservatives. (Via David Goldman.)

Mysterious Bursts of Cosmic Radio Waves Detected from 11 Billion Light Years Away

Most common flag colors

Excitement in Russia as ex-spy offers marriage to Snowden

What the Leadership Change Means for Egypt’s Future and the Region

Republicans Have Tough Choices On Voting Rights Act — It’s tough to be intellectually or politically consistent when you’re a conservative. Too bad the rest of us have to get sucked into their paranoid fantasies.

The importance of Republicans with life experiencesListening to Cantor argue that he supports increased funding on medical research in part because of his ailing father reminded me of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) arguing in support of marriage equality because of his gay son. And Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) changing his mind about Medicaid because of his own interactions with the program. Or any number of Republican policymakers changing their mind about federal disaster relief after it’s their constituents who are hit with a brutal storm. As I argued in March, it seems the key to American social progress in the 21st century is simple: more conservatives having more life experiences. I’ve said for years, contemporary American conservatism embodies a serious lack of both empathy and imagination. Cantor could neither imagine the problems nor empathize with their sufferers until he personally experienced it. Likewise Kirk, and so forth. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

QotD?: How many trombones?


7/5/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (vacation)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (away from home)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block building mandatory gay marriage halls: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Snuff by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad heads for Seattle and Norwescon

Bibliotheca Alexandrina: The Great Library of Alexandria Reborn? — This is rather a wow. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Lower your IQ permanently! — Hahaha! Ok, this is tacky. But hahah! (Via [info]willyumtx.)

A Tireless Connoisseur of Texas Barbecue Gets Ready for the Main Course — Full time barbecue editor? (Thanks to Dad.)

French students launch anti-dog poo mobile app — Hah! (Via [info]threeoutside.)

First Love Child of Human, Neanderthal Found — So to speak.

Globetrotting Giant Squid Are All One Species

Dinosaur-killing impact set the world on fireResearchers argue forcefully that the ensuing heat set off global forest fires.

Saturn Rings have been Around for about 4 Billion Years: NASA

Opinion: Life as a TargetAttacks on my work aimed at undermining climate change science have turned me into a public figure. I have come to embrace that role. Michael Mann talks about death threats etc. As I’ve observed for years, angry liberals write letters to the editor. Angry conservatives bomb clinics, shoot doctors and make death threats against scientists.

Go Gay — Girls are discovered first. Ah, classic advertising, how we love your unintentional recontextualizations.

Bill O’Reilly: Gay Rights Advocates Have ‘Compelling Argument’ — Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Boston College professors group backs students who may face discipline for distributing condoms — Because STIs and unwanted pregnancies are much more in keeping with Catholic tradition than contraception.

‘Rude’ lawmaker Louie Gohmert pulls rank on cops over parking ticket — Conservative class showing itself once again.

Local Airport Closures Cause GOPers Sequestration Anxiety — Once again, nobody likes conservative policies when applied to them personally. Especially not conservatives.

Elena Kagan’s DOMA ‘gotcha’ moment — Chief Justice Roberts can pretend to principle all he wants, but anti-gay bigotry is still anti-gay bigotry, however high minded Republicans like to believe themselves to be. Justice Kagan quoted GOPers in their own words. There simply is no objective, reality-based stance against gay marriage.

Politicians Overestimate their Constituents’ Conservatism — This is thanks to the Republican stranglehold on Your Liberal Media these past few decades. And yes, there’s a typo in the headline. Preserved from the original.

Republicans not liked, even by 25% of . . . Republicans — He’s being far too nice when he says GOPers “look unfair” and “look narrow-minded and selfish”. The correct phrasing is “demonstrably are unfair” and “demonstrably are narrow-minded and selfish”.

QotD?: Where will you be this weekend?


3/28/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (taught online course instead)
Hours slept: 7.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

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[links] Link salad has no fear for atomic energy, ’cause none of them can stop the time

The Ghastlycrud Zombies — An interesting and entertaining Kickstarter. (Pointed out by [info]rekre8.)

Egyptian princess’ tomb dating from 2500 BC is discovered near Cairo — Cool.

Old Media, Digitized, Make New FormsComputers are changing art in unexpected ways.

Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction — This is wild. Very SFnal. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Lenticular Clouds Over Washington — I have seen this, in roughly the location photographed. They are mighty strange.

A Convenient Excuse — On the real meaning of climate change, and the complete failure of American media and political culture to come to terms with that.

It’s Time for the Poor to Come Out of the Plutocracy’s Closet of Shame — As I’ve said before, Calvinism is a deep stain on the American soul. From that cesspool of belief rises up our deep social judgments against the poor and the needy, who we tend to believe must somehow deserve their lot as it is evidence of moral failing or lack of sufficient hard work. No one works harder than the poor, but you will find vanishingly few wealthy or middle class who are willing to understand this. To put it in reverse, we have a deep seated cultural belief that if you are thrifty and hard working and virtuous, you will prosper. The more politically and socially conservative you are, the more likely you are to see this as a basic truth. Logically enough, if you do believe that, it’s easy to see people who have not prospered as insufficiently thrifty and hard working and virtuous. This is a nasty, vicious cycle of thought so deeply engrained in our social assumptions that almost none of us ever see it for what it is — a pleasant, self-valorizing middle class fantasy that justifies our individual wealth and privilege while relieving us of any responsibility for the infrastructure or class issues faced by others. This is the thinking that allows otherwise sane, moral conservatives to speak with a straight face about “eliminating a culture of dependency” when they propose to put millions of people out of healthcare, eliminate early childhood programs, cut nutrition benefits, or deny people public assistance of any form — starving the poor, the elderly and the children of America for the sake of tax cuts for the virtuous high-earning. Conservatives simply refuse to see the toxic implications of their own beliefs.

The Insane Defense of the “Castle Doctrine” Gone WildA tragic killing in Montana proves once again that these laws do more to encourage violence than to prevent it. Thank God for the NRA or the GOP, or this poor man might have been prosecuted for running home, getting a gun, then waiting to shoot his lover’s husband dead. Man, I love the American right to defense of essential liberties through widespread private gun ownership. That almost 200 30 people a day die from gun violence is a very small price for you to pay for your right to own a firearm, am I right? 200 30 people who mostly wouldn’t die if guns weren’t so freely available. Small price to pay, all those human lives snuffed out every single day so you can feel good. God Bless America. Personally, I think an email listing the names of every American killed each day and a short biography including their age and the names of their family members should be sent daily to every gun owner in America, and that as a condition of gun ownership every gun owner in America should be required to acknowledge that they approve that message. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

IRS Not Enforcing Rules on Churches and Politics — Ywp, Obama’s definitely suppressing the Christian Right. Yeppers. Nothing to see here, citizen, you may continue to panic about Kenyan Muslim socialism as normal.

Dark Money By The Numbers: 81% Has Gone To Republicans — When you can’t win on ideas, or the merits of your own party’s governing history, buy buy buy.

Last-Minute Ohio Directive Could Trash Legal Votes And Swing The Election — By amazing coincidence, the directive was issued by a Republican. By further amazing coincidence, the directive benefits Republican electoral interests and suppresses likely Democratic votes. This is what happens when conservatives can’t win an election on their party’s record or its ideas. They lie, cheat and steal; and suppress votes. More of that justly famed conservative principled consistency in action.

Southern Nevada woman is arrested on suspicion of trying to vote twice — Oh, look. More voter fraud. By a Republican again. Quick, suppress more poor people’s votes!

GOP candidate: ‘My opponent believes in global warming and has been to other countries, he is basically a monster’ — A classic example of everything that’s wrong with the modern Republican party and the conservative movement, in their own words. That a message like that appeals to even a single voter, let alone an entire state, is a very depressing statement on my fellow citizens. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Mitt Romney’s campaign insults votersMr. Romney, by contrast, seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain. By definition, any of these things are true of anyone who votes Republican these days. No memory of the Bush administration’s incompetence in foreign policy, domestic affairs and the economy; no comprehension of the math of what happened to the budget, the deficit and the jobs numbers under Bush; and a general inability to look either behind or in front of the curtain of Romney’s rhetoric. After all, the GOP isn’t even pretending not to lie anymore, and Romney still has nearly half the country behind him. Romney’s bet may well be the winning strategy.

?otD: How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?


11/4/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 222.4
Currently reading: Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

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[links] Link salad, in the scriptorium, with the marble bookend

Speculative Book Review likes Green — Quite a bit, actually.

A review of the recent ebook reprint of my short story “Hitching to Aurora” — I think they liked it.

Style is Story is Style — Jeff VanderMeer is wise.

Launch Pad 2011 is open for applications — Astronomy workshop for writers. I did this in 2008. It was an awesome experience.

From Lab to Red Carpet — Actors who are scientists. Fascinating. (Via David Goldman.)

History of Computers: An Infographic — In case you were wondering. (Via @glynmoody.)

A Window Into the Nuclear FutureTerraPower — with the backing of Bill Gates — has a radical vision for the reactors of tomorrow.

Peeking past RheaBad Astronomy with a ridiculously awesome Cassini photo of two of Saturn’s moons.

Blood Spatter Breakthrough For Forensic ScientistsWorking out exactly where projected droplets came from using their spatter pattern has never been possible…until now.

As Regimes Fall in Arab World, Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By — Al Qaeda and the current unrest in the Middle East. Interesting piece.

The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Taxpayers Actually Contribute Nothing To Public Employee Pensions — Facts are so inconvenient. Look! Bill Clinton!

More Bang, Less Buck than You ThoughtA Tiny Revolution on the stimulus and government spending. I especially like this bit: [W]e talk about government “spending” as though the dollars pour out and into a black hole. This is certainly true for a couple of holes in Asia, but in other cases it’s quite mistaken. There are many instances where government outlays may best be understood as investments – and we should talk about them in this way. If only this country had a reality-based political discourse.

The Vacuous Accusation of Elitism — Speaking of non-reality based political discourse. One of the most powerful men in the country, speaking to a group of Republican donors who probably paid thousands of dollars for a seat at the fundraiser, calls public employees unions the “privileged elite.” For that matter, does anyone remember John “I don’t know how many houses I own”/”Son of an Admiral” McCain calling Obama elite? “Elite” is another base-enraging scare word like “socialist” that the Right has redefined to mean “anyone I don’t agree with.”

?otD: Who done it?


3/1/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (3,000 words on Sunspin, a bit of WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 251.8
Currently reading: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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[links] Link salad jabbers in its hutt

Et si la crise de la Sf n’existait pas vraiment — Some French commentary on the current generation of SF.

Life in pictures — In which I make a guest appearance as an Ewok on Julie Ann’s blog.

You can draw, and probably better than I can — Another of Roger Ebert’s meditations on life. I especially liked this bit on sketching: Begin with a proper sketch book. Draw in ink. Finish each drawing you begin, and keep every drawing you finish. No erasing, no ripping out a page, no covering a page with angry scribbles. I have many times said an almost precisely analogous thing about writing first drafts.

A Young Reader Asks: Is There an Elitist Oligarchy in the Underworld of Knitters? — I know there’s a lot of knitters out there in fandom and writerdom. This article about Ravelry is for you. Bonus comparison of knitting to rock climbing.

British Interplanetary Society: Then and Now

A Romp Into Theories of the Cradle of Life

Do Mysterious Forces Dictate Our Travel Patterns? — A curious squib from Freakonomics on the human propensity to travel.

You’re ooonly cheating yourself — Sniffer dogs and lie detectors as observer effects. Security theater, anyone?

Will Egypt’s Revolution Be in Vain? — An Egyptian human rights activist in exile speaks up.

Quantifying Wisdom — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the economic value of the elderly, and incidentally on why society as a whole is not a business.

Back home, GOP freshmen find fiscal responsibility can be tricky business — See, what the Tea Partiers actually meant was for Congress to cut wasteful giveaways that benefit undeserving liberals elsewhere, not critical programs in their own districts. It’s all so simple!

?otD: Are Jawas just undead Ewoks?


2/26/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (off)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 251.4
Currently reading: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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[links] Link salad is running low and slow

McSweeney’s reviews Good Night, Moon — Snerk.

Mammatus Clouds Over Olympic Valley — I’ve actually seen these in real life once, in Texas. It makes for a very weird sky.

Locomotive Breath: 1906 — A cool shot of Salem, MA from Shorpy. Mmm, trains.

Switchable Metamaterial Makes Itself InvisibleA metamaterial that turns itself off could dramatically improve magnetic resonance imaging. Not in the casual, everyday sense of ‘invisible’, but this is sill extremely cool. Yes, we are living in the future. Any questions?

Water, Water Everywhere — A new view of the solar system.

Top Five Myths about the Middle East Protests — Juan Cole is interesting and informative.

?otD: Got sleep?


2/20/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (revisions on a short fiction project)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (interrupted)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Currently reading: Dead Iron by Devon Monk

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[links] Link salad has a lust for life

The trade paperback edition of my novel Green goes on sale this week — Maybe time for some book love?

Marissa Lingen comments on Green — Including, unusually, critiquing the dedication. Also, the comments section is interesting.

Anyone Home?Salom Futura on last-man-on-earth stories, including my own Sunspin short “A Long Walk Home“. I find her comment about female protagonists in this subsubsubgenre mildly ironic given the prevalence of female protagonists in the Sunspin universe as a whole, albeit as she correctly points out, absent in this particular story.

Experts determine age of book ‘nobody can read’ — More fun with the Voynich manuscript. Personally, I suspect Jeff VanderMeer and a time machine.

Dunbar’s Number — How many people can you be connected to? I suspect my Dunbar’s Number is unusually high. How’s yours looking? (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Watching a Video Shot in 2,564 Frames per Second is Mind Numbingly Amazing — This is some intensely cool, strange stuff.

Gene tests inadvertently exposing cases of incest — Sad and strange. The sociology of medical progress.

Do Anonymous Leaks Have a Future?Successors to WikiLeaks are springing up, but they face a range of obstacles.

Doonesbury on gun violence — Um, yes. Common sense, where have you gone? (Via [info]markbourne.)

Communique No. 5 Suspends Constitution, Prorogues Parliament — Juan Cole on current events in Egypt, also providing me with a new vocabulary word.

What’s good for CEOs isn’t good for AmericaMitt Romney says the United States needs a president with private-sector street cred. Here’s why he’s wrong. Wasn’t part of the GOP sell job on Bush 43 that he was going to be a ‘CEO president’? Look how well that worked out. (Snurched from Dispatches From the Culture Wars.)

?otD: Ever hypnotized a chicken?


2/14/2011
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (copy edits on Endurance)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (solid)
Weight: 254.2 (waaaay too good a time this weekend, not enough exercise)
Currently reading: Between books

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[links] Link salad fires up the weekend

[info]talekyn reviews my book The Specific Gravity of Grief

Another review of METAtropolis: Cascadia

An interview with me and Cherie Priest on the Wizards of the Coast site — By Christopher Dinkins & Jeremy Jones.

A Dog I Did Know — Chris Johnson with a short, emotionally intense story.

Goodbye to all that — Roger Ebert with a very moving personal meditation on the social costs of cancer in his life.

FOX News Insider: “Stuff Is Just Made Up” — Also, this just in: sun rises in east, liberal conspiracy suspected. But it’s fair and balanced!

How Anti-Jihadists Lose All Credibility — But hysteria sells air time and buys votes so much better than facts.

US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents — When you can’t win on ideas, lie, obfuscate, fear-monger and cheat. That’s been the great lesson of modern Republican politics, and the US Chamber of Commerce has certainly taken it to heart.

Insurance reality hits House GOP — Sadly funny. I was struck by this passing remark at the end of the piece, though: Regardless of lawmakers’ reasons for accepting or declining federal health benefits, Gardner said the decision shouldn’t be used for political potshots. Right. Because no Republican has ever taken political potshots at a Democrat for personal decisions they made.

?otD: Saganaki or bananas foster?


2/12/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (took the day off)
Body movement: urban walking to come
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: n/a (Away from home, no scale)
Currently reading: Between books

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[links] Link salad still wishes we had single payer in the US

Boondocks Fantasy reviewed — Not so much with the liking of my story “Jefferson’s West”.

Space Stasis: What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. — Neal Stephenson on space technology. An objection to this essay from Stirling Newberry. (Nicked here from james_nicoll.)

Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere — Some social speculation on a BBC blog about the progress of revolution worldwide. (Via danjite.)

What the Bible Really Says About Sex — This just in: conservative beliefs at odds with objective reality, reality loses. Again.

Melissa Mia Hall — Liz Williams on healthcare and what happened to Ms. Hall. If you’re a conservative who opposes HCR without offering a credible alternative (pretty much everyone on that side of the aisle, so far as I can tell), deaths like Ms. Hall’s are what you are voting for in your rush to protect the profits of insurance companies and stall a plan that your own side spent years advancing when it was more politically convenient.

?otD: Do you believe full access to healthcare is a right or a privilege? Why?


2/7/2011
Writing time yesterday: 2.75 hours (2,800 new words on Sunspin book one, plus revisions and editorial)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 253.0 (yesterday’s momos…)
Currently reading: Between books

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