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[cancer] Which way am I going?

Just had another slo-mo meltdown with the gracious Lisa. I am having a very hard time.

Part of the problem right now is we can’t tell which direction I’m going in. Most of my current health issues (other than the food, which is both dominant and a special case of conditioning and attempts at deconditioning) could point to either me slipping further into my terminal decline, or to me responding to the recent experimental immunotherapy protocol. Or both. And we won’t know for sure until mid-May, though it’s possible negative evidence will emerge in my consultations on 4/14 and 4/15.

So, yeah. Am I living or dying? What does all this exhaustion mean? How tired can one human being be?

Hence the lack of blogging and email. Fragile hope is under great duress, and my energy levels are similar to late chemo after six months of treatment. And we just don’t know…

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[cancer] Quick update re email, comments and social media

As recently discussed here, both my body and my mind are fully occupied with some fairly serious food issues, post-treatment. As such, I am very dilatory about responding to email, blog comments or social media chatter. My apologies. When I am back to full functioning in body and mind, I’ll return to my usual online response times.

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[cancer|food] How I spend my days

The lead suit slowly improves. So does the giant clamp on my brain. The problem is and continues to be food.

The protocol I was on at NIH had the incidental effect of deconditioning me from being able to eat. Right now we spend most of my waking hours preparing me to eat, tricking me into eating, calming me down when I react to food, and planning how I will eat.

It is a freaking misery. Everything is about food right now, and not in a fun way. I feel ill at my stomach most of the time. And hardly anything works.

This is one reason I have not resumed regular blogging. My entire life right now is focused around managing enough food intake to try to switch from a starvation metabolism to a fat metabolism. You have no idea how all-consuming that can be. Not to mention miserable.

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[links] Link salad gets busy with the medical crud

Seven Deadly Sins + Math — Hahah. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Silence Is Now a Luxury ProductA report on the quiet-car-ization of America. (Via AH.)

You’re Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk — Moo.

Crazy living rock is one of the weirdest creatures we’ve ever seen — I guess it’s a coral, sort of? Weird stuff. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Alien-Looking Skeleton Poses Medical Mystery — Cool, but, uh, yeah. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Clinical Whole Genome Sequencing: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time? — (Via AH.)

Do Neutrinos Change Flavor at Night?

Getting the math of the Universe to cancel outNew modification to gravity may explain the cosmological constant.

Who Should Name the Craters on Mars, You or Astronomers? — (Thanks to David Goldman.)

MIT’s New Robotic Fish Can Change Direction As Rapidly As A Real Fish

German Robot Pole Dancers! — Because reasons! (Thanks, I think, [info]danjite.)

Science Graphic of the Week: Bombogenesis, the Most Extreme Weather This Winter — (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Interactive Map Shows Impact of WWII Firebombing of Japan, If It Had Happened on US Soil — Wow… (Via [info]shsilver.)

The Way We Live Now — Yup. You will know that they are Christians by their love.

Oklahoma FOX Affiliate Edited Evolution Out of ‘Cosmos’ By Removing 15 SECONDS of Footage — Exactly why I was appalled to see such a wonderful show come back on such a terrible network. FOX is not the natural home for anything evidence-based, whether’s it’s honestly reported news or actual science.

Ohio State Rep: ‘Public Education In America Is Socialism, What Is The Solution?’ — Conservatives in their own words. Poe’s Law would apply, except speaker intent is clear by his position. By the way, this guy is vice-chair of the Ohio House Education Committee. “Is our children learning?”, to quote another very prominent conservative.

Guns May Soon Be Everywhere in GeorgiaSoon gun owners in the state of Georgia may be allowed to pack heat almost anywhere—including K-12 schools, bars, churches, government buildings, and airports. The “Safe Carry Protection Act” (HB 875) would also expand Georgia’s Stand Your Ground statute, the controversial law made famous by the Trayvon Martin killing, which allows armed citizens to defend themselves with deadly force if they believe they are faced with serious physical harm. What could possibly go wrong!?

Republican Family Values — A missive from the Oregon GOP. The Republican Party is proud to be known as the party of liberty. As the party of freedom, we believe that Americans should be free to live their lives as they wish, so long as they do not impede the freedom of others to do so. Therefore they support a gay marriage ban. This doesn’t pass the logic level of a fourth-grade class debate, let alone rise to the basic standards of American citizenship. Conservatives…

Food stamps: Oregon becomes fourth state to avoid farm bill cuts — That’s called compassion, and constituent service. Much less effective at generating more angry white guys than grandstanding against anything that might make Obama look good, but that’s conservative priorities for you. I like living in a (relatively) sane Blue State where the public good can at least sometimes trump partisan self-interest.

Foreign Officials In the Dark About Their Own Spy Agencies’ Cooperation with NSA

?otD: Got IV?


3/14/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (almost solid, some daytime napping)
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 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 goes on the needle today

The Conversation We Never Have — On being a writer, economically. (Snurched from Elizabeth Bourne.)

My Headline Was Stolen — Ah, ideas.

Needless 911: Can’t Get This Jacket Off and I’m Pissed About It! — This would be the Portland area. Be proud, Oregon.

Oscar Mayer Wants to Make Your iPhone Smell like Bacon — Well, okay then.

Beatles memorabilia — Talc? Really?

Measuring Atmospheric Pressure on Exoplanets — Because science!

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Upskirt photos not illegal under state law — The law, in its majestic equality, permits the polite as well as the creepy to take upskirt photos in Massachusetts.

Oscar Pistorius’ ex-girlfriend says he fired from carOscar Pistorius’ ex girlfriend has told his murder trial he once fired his gun from his car sunroof after becoming angry with police. Because guns make us all safer. Ask any conservative.

Navy will deploy first ship with laser weapon this summerNavy’s LaWS will save bullets and missiles—and blind and burn drones and boats.

Flash WarRussian mystery soldiers invaded Crimea by covering up and keeping mum. That could work for us!

Watching for a Crimean Cyberwar CrisisAn info-war is under way as websites are blocked and telecom cables to Crimea are mysteriously cut.

These 9 Maps Should Absolutely Outrage Southerners — Conservative governance, conservative results. These folks should be proud they’ve gotten exactly what they’ve voted in for. Increased poverty, decreased economic mobility, increased teen pregnancy, compromised healthcare outcomes: all utterly predictable results of GOP policies. What’s not to like?

Obamacare Effects Account for Most of Income, Spending Increases — This was published by The Wall Street Journal? The paper that abandoned its editorial integrity years ago in order to become the FOX News of the country club set? Wow… (Via David Goldman.)

Report: How GOP lost young voters“In the short term, the party ought to promote the diversity of thought within its ranks and make clear that we welcome healthy debate on the policy topic at hand.” Why in the hell are you a Republican if you believe diversity of thought and healthy debate are actually good ideas? Or have you never heard any single GOP political or media figure speak, ever? And you’ve obviously never read any GOP party platform.

?otD: Got infusion?


3/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: 233.6 (hospital weigh-in)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[personal] Not much to post about today

I’m too distracted by the overwhelming round of nausea from eating a handful of baby carrots for breakfast.

This is my life.

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[links] Link salad might be thrillin’ baby, but a-my love so dog-gone willin’

Everything About These Pictures Of A Tiny, Adventurous Lego Photographer is Awesome

Arrgh! Adventures of 17th-Century Pirate Alliance Uncovered

Technocracy Inc.: 1939 — Ah, the Technocracy. But in Josephine County, OR? Really?

Oscars 2014: Vagina rejuvenation procedure offered in $80,000 goodie bags — Uh… (Via [info]danjite.)

‘Three parent babies’ could be born in Britain next year Britain is set to become the first country in the world to create babies with the DNA of three people after the government set out new draft regulations.

Cheese Chunks Adorn Ancient Mummies

10 of the world’s coolest underground wonders

The “Exosuit”: A wearable submarine for visiting deep waterDeep sea fish may contain proteins we need for brain-machine interfaces.

The Mammoth Cometh — On species restoration. (Via AH.)

On Way to New World, First Americans Made a 10,000-Year Pit Stop — Now if only they’d been willing to ask for directions. (Via David Goldman.)

Settled Science1 in 4 Americans isn’t down with heliocentricity. Because science is a cult, man. Where the priesthood of knowledge doesn’t permit alternative views. Your opinion is just as valid as some longhair Ph.D. who’s spent decades in research. Right?

Who’s behind ‘religious freedom’ push? The answer is hard to find

When ‘Religious Liberty’ Was Used To Justify Racism Instead Of HomophobiaRacism was more than just an ideology, it was a sincerely held religious belief.

After veto in Arizona, conservatives vow to fight for religious liberties“I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated,” said Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer. Really, kids, it’s pretty simple. The right to discriminate and persecute based on your picked-and-chosen dictates of dogma is not a religious liberty. It’s a cultural privilege which is eroding, and rightfully so in a just and moral society.

30 Pieces of Silver — Jim Wright on the Brewer veto in Arizona.

Texas’s ban on gay marriage struck down by federal judge — Some interesting analysis here, including polling data.

CNN host gives Catholic League epic lesson on equal rights: ‘You do not own marriage’ — (Via Brad Smith.)

Who Favors Discrimination against Gay Newlyweds? Most Republicans, old People, Southerners, EvangelicalsYouth is such a determining factor here that it overwhelms the other identity considerations; 60% of African-American Millennials accept gay marriage and half of young Republicans do. People who don’t know any gays have not joined the new consensus.

TPM Interview: The Brown Grad Student Who Chased The NRA Out Of Rhode Island — Well, to be more specific, out of Rhode Island politics.

Rule 34, meet Kafka — Hah!

5 years later, here’s how the tea party changed politicsFor better or worse, the coming together of frustrated conservatives fearing American ruin due to rising debt has altered the national discussion to raise the profile of people and policies previously relegated to the right-wing fringe. That’s an awfully kind description of a political movement far better characterized by its arrant racism and proud, willful ignorance. Because really, if these people were motivated by deficit issues, where the hell were they when a white conservative named George W. Bush held office and ran up the highest deficits in history? They didn’t get mad until there was a black Democrat to blame. A GOP astroturf operations from the beginning, the Tea Party has never had a shred of intellectual or political credibility except as gifted to them by Your Liberal Media.

?otD: Did you kiss him good-bye?


2/28/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 234.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad fires its lipstick taser

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers — I hope this bears fruit.

Is truth stranger than fiction? Yes, especially for science fiction — (Via John Sapienza.)

Is entanglement real or is there a super-deterministic cosmic conspiracy?Researchers use quasars to kill off the last of the quantum hidden variables. This article made my head hurt. In a good way.

Traveler’s Table: Dumplings around the world

Map: How Wrong Is Your Time Zone — This is pretty cool.

Facebook won’t change privacy settings when you die, allows Look Back video requests for memorial accounts

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed ItMartini, a one-term Republican congressman from New Jersey, was appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002. Previous critiques of his judicial conduct have been unusually blunt and public, including repeated rebukes at the appellate level and the local U.S. attorney’s describing him in court filings as “misguided” and “irrational.”

Pastor tells ‘White Christians of Florida,’ that ‘stench from your houses of worship is wafting’ across AmericaA Baptist pastor from Washington has penned an open letter to “White Christians of Florida,” condemning them for not standing united against that state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

Are Republicans even trying? Another Obamacare horror story bites the dust Given how horrible Obamacare supposedly is, it’s bizarre the GOP has such a hard time finding real victims. Kind of like years ago when the GOP was campaigning to eliminate the estate tax because it broke up farm families, and they could not find a single farm family that had been broken up. The really weird thing is that there are plenty of problems with the Obamacare rollout, and a significant number of people struggling with balancing premiums and subsidies. In other words, there are plenty of real hard luck stories to tell. Why does the GOP continue to lie?

My Night in Solitary — The world would be a different place if law-and-order types had to experience criminal justice from the inside.

Tenn. official ‘threatened’ blacks with skin ‘trophy’ he saved from 1896 lynching — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

?otD: Do you declare your weapon?


2/22/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid until someone poked me awake in her sleep)
Body movement: 15 minutes (recovering)
Weight: 233.2
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad drank up all the money, yes it drank up all the money

Cover Reveal for Jay Lake’s The Last Plane to Heaven

The Most Ridiculous Mashup Ever – SpongeMen SquareWatch — Totally depraved. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

WTF is that on her head?Vintage ads featuring women with inexplicable stuff on their heads.

Spend the Night in a Giant Anus — Because you can! (Thanks to @dratz.)

Girl Scout sells 117 boxes of cookies in two hours outside Marijuana clinic — I have a pretty firm policy of never linking to FOX News or any of its affiliates, because FOX, but this headline was too good pass up. (Via Lisa Costello.)

She wasn’t being rude — Just a story about a veterinarian, a woman and a dog. Very much worth the read.

80 women go topless in New York: photos by Jordan Matter (NSFW)

Christopher Ryan: Are we designed to be sexual omnivores? — A TED talk. My answer is duh, yes.

Finger Computer Reads Books Aloud

Extraterrestrial Dispersal VectorsIf human civilization is to extend itself beyond our planet, it will need to take with it the plants, animals and microorganisms that can sustain a living ecosystem.

Brain Scans Show Striking Similarities Between Dogs and Humans

Cities, Networks, and the Counterintuitive Nature of SuicideThe new science of cities shows that suicide may be a more complex social phenomenon than previously thought, say computational anthropologists. Me, I was fascinated to learn of Kleiber’s law while reading this piece. (Via David Goldman.)

The Dark Power of FraternitiesA yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame. This just in: water is wet. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s, where criminal acts by fraternity members, up to and including rape, theft, vehicular assault, arson and several suspicious deaths, routinely went uninvestigated and unprosecuted because of the political influence of frat legacies who held power in all levels of local and state government. Boys will be boys, after all. There is nothing whatsoever surprising about this.

A Brief Meandering About the Polar Vortex — Which for some reason climate change denialists continue to insist against all evidence is a scare word made up by the liberal media. Of course, if they were willing to accept evidence, they wouldn’t be denialists.

A Great Freeze Over the Great LakesIce cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014—levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades. The lowest average ice extent occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze.

Clerics Issue Fatwa: Muslims Can’t Live On Mars — Uh, ok. Though in fairness, this is specifically about the proposed one-way trip being seen as a form of suicide. Which is still quite a stretch to my view. Is it suicide to emigrate somewhere?

Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites — You will know that they are Christians by their love. (Via John Sapeinza.)

Kansas Christianists seek monopoly on worldly honors and emolumentsSlacktivist Fred Clark explains the wider context and profound anti-American shame of the currently-tabled Kansas bill legalizing Christian discrimination against the LGBT community. You know, the truly horrible bill that no one in the conservative blog, media and political world seems willing to comment on. My view of “good conservatives” is rapidly eroding.

Arizona Legislature approves controversial religion bill — Arizona joins Kansas in shaming itself, the nation, and Christians everywhere.

[GOP Senate Candidate] Bevin: Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Parent-Child Marriage — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

DeLay: Americans Have Forgotten That God Wrote The Constitution — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

“He Will Rule Them With An AR-15”Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin believes when Jesus comes back, he’ll have an AR-15 assault rifle in hand. Every time I read about a prominent Christian like this, I get down on my knees and thank the Lord God Almighty that I am an atheist. This crap makes my skin crawl.

?otD: How’re you going to get around in this sleazy bedroom town if you don’t put yourself up for sale?


2/21/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 10 minutes (feeling poorly)
Weight: 233.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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