Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad feels a bit better during the lull between assault waves

Bargain Book ClubA reading list for the almost-illiterate Heh.

Aggravated cat is subdued by Portland police after terrorizing family — Life imitates Portlandia.

A History and Account of Daylight Savings

95% of bank ATMs face end of security supportAn estimated 95% of American bank ATMs run on Windows XP, and Microsoft is killing off tech support for that operating system on April 8.

Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?

How elephants react to human voices

Fickle Sun Changed Europe’s Climate for 1,000 Years

Americans have no idea how much water they’re usingThey also think everyone else should be efficient while they simply conserve.

The Relationship Between Hearing and Memory

Bieber Deposed — Can we trade him back to Canada? Maybe for Rob Ford?

Think a hangover will teach you not to drink? Guess againIt only delays the next drink if you’re short on cash.

Microbes and Metabolites Fuel an Ambitious Aging ProjectCraig Venter’s new company wants to improve human longevity by creating the world’s largest, most comprehensive database of genetic and physiological information.

The Fat DrugHow humankind unwittingly joined an experiment on antibiotics and weight gain. (Via David Goldman.)

U.S. Uninsured Rate Continues to FallUninsured rate drops most among lower-income and black Americans. And amazingly, America has yet to collapse into smoking Socialist ruins.

Teens taunted by bullies are more likely to consider, attempt suicide — This just in: water is wet. I know the point of stories like this is that quantifiable study results can prompt official action, but as long-time victim of childhood bullying who had a lot of suicidal ideation and one semi-serious attempt, I have ask why anyone in authority over children needs to wait for academic approval?

Oh Lordy – on the forthcoming Christian film PersecutionBasically, this is a movie in which it’s overtly asserted that in order for Christians to be “free” the government cannot endorse the idea of fairness to all religions. Indeed, it seems that liberty has now been interpreted as a requirement to officially acknowledge that America is a Christian Nation and must adhere to Christian precepts.

When an Undue Burden? — What if gun laws were written like abortion laws? Would those Constitution-loving conservatives embrace the intent of the Founders the same way? (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Journalists should stop ‘balancing’ stories with Science Denialists: Cosmos’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson — Either that or go all the way. Every time a story runs about a weather satellite, a Flat Earth denialist should get equal time. It would be precisely as intellectually credible as evolution denial and climate denial, as the Bible clearly states that the Earth has four corners, and would help those elements in our culture hell bent on destroying any public understanding of science to further their political ends.

Why men shouldn’t be allowed to vote — Heh.

61% of young Republicans favor same-sex marriage — The Gay Menace strikes again, weakening the minds of young voters.

The Uses and Abuses of ReaganOne of Bush’s flaws is that he governed as more of a hard-line ideologue than Reagan ever pretended to be, and another is that he claimed to be an internationalist while making a mockery of America’s reputation in the world. Republicans should not be deluded into thinking that they are obliged to follow Bush’s example in order to honor Reagan, but neither should they feel compelled to respond to contemporary events as if nothing had changed in the last thirty years. Confidential to GOP in America: Want another Reagan? Elect another senile old fraud who projects a strong Daddy image. It worked for you last time.

?otD: How’s the cough?


3/11/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (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 corresponds from its bed of pain

29 Incredible Colorized Historical Photos — (Via Lisa Costello.)

What Happens in the Brain When Blind People Learn to See With Sound — (Via David Goldman.)

A Hole in Mars — A very cool photo.

Morpheus Shows NASA the Path

Portolan Charts ‘Too Accurate’ to be Medieval — Huh.

‘The wife is to voluntarily submit’ — Uh, yeah. I’m all for a little consensual submission play, but to make it a mandatory lifetime comment is more than a little sick. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

CPACer On Women’s Issues Panel: No Stupid Comments This Time Please — If you have make about a point out of telling people this, you have a serious problem.

CPAC Panelist: It Is ‘A Liberal Lie’ That States Ban Gay MarriageTo be clear: 30 states have banned same-sex marriage in their state constitution, usually by legally defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Because being a conservative means never having to tell the truth about anything you disapprove of. Once again the justly famed moral probity of Republicans is on proud public display.

Is there any super bad-ass Catholic weapon around out there? — Uh… (Via [info]danjite.)

Prosecutors balk at being told they have to be honestThey are saying that if you think prosecutors should be honest you are biased against prosecutors. Which may actually be true, since so many of them are dishonest.

How a Hacker Intercepted FBI and Secret Service Calls With Google Maps — (Via [info]danjite.)

The NSA Has An Advice Columnist. Seriously. — Ask Zelda.

Bill O’Reilly says Muslims will Diss Hillary; but 8 Muslim Countries Chose Female Leaders

ALEC is coming to a town near you — This is terrible news, assuming you don’t equate lunatic fringe right wing astroturfing with functional democracy. These are the people who legalized the murder of black teen agers by middle aged assholes through Stand Your Ground, after all.

Do Virginia students really need Terry McAuliffe deciding what to call the “Sea of Japan”?Virginia’s new Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe is learning that campaign promises have consequences. He’s landed the commonwealth in the middle of a longstanding dispute over the Sea of Japan and the Korean Peninsula. In the process, he helped Democrats lose the moral high ground when it comes to education. Gee, thanks, Terry. Big help to the progressive cause there, moron.

Paul Ryan’s Free School Lunch Story Never Actually Happened — It is inconceivable that a prominent conservative representing the political party which most loudly stands for moral probity and personal ethics could possibly misrepresent the truth. After all, we have Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Queen speech as the gold standard by which such things should be measured.

Fuck Your Religious Beliefs, Sincerely — An Open Letter to Michele Bachmann — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Rep. Paul Ryan calls for cuts in anti-poverty programsIt is, in a way, nice to see the likes of Mr. Ryan at least talking about the need to help the poor. But somehow their notion of aiding the poor involves slashing benefits while cutting taxes on the rich. Funny how that works. Look, they’re Republicans. If aliens invaded and the Yellowstone supervolcano exploded, their first response would be a call for tax cuts on the highest-earning Americans. That’s not a policy position, that’s a fetish.

?otD: Good drugs or good sleep?


3/10/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (very fitful and 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 begins to develop new phobias

Found: The Brain’s Own GPSNavigational neurons called grid cells help us find our way in the world. (Via [info]danjite.)

Incredible HD Video of Earth From Space Brings Maps to Life — “Peter… I can see your house from here.” (Via David Goldman.)

Creativity

Since It Can’t Sue Us All, Getty Images Embraces Embedded Photos

Pop Art, vintage style

Incredible Balloon Art By Daisy Balloon – These Aren’t Your Party Store Balloons — The first image is intensely cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Oh, baby it’s a wired world — That’s some damned fine art. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Indian sanitary pad revolutionary — This is something else.

Artificial Organs May Finally Get a Blood SupplyArtificial tissue has always lacked a key ingredient: blood vessels. A new 3-D printing technique seems poised to change that.

The Catholic conundrum named FrancisNow we have a relatively new pope who has expressed the heretical (to conservatives) notion that unfettered capitalism is not a guarantor of freedom, prosperity, or human dignity. He’s even suggested economic inequality is a more important concern for the church, and humanity, than condemning gay people or women who use contraception. Kind of like how Jesus talked a lot about the poor, and not so much about the gay menace. Huh. Who knew? Judging by their words and deeds, certainly not the Catholic church in the America, or the American Evangelical community, nor a lot of other denominations.

Surrender Douthat! — On the conservative Christian trope that an incremental loss of privilege from absolute cultural supremacy to merely overwhelming dominance counts as persecution, especially in the area of marriage equality. I’ve often wondered whether, as gays and gay marriage become more mainstream and, well, banal, many Christians won’t find themselves wondering why the apocalypse hasn’t come after all and what that says about Scriptural authority in a lot of other areas. That’s what’s not sitting well with a lot of Christian culture warriors right now.

2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution — On the collapse of what tattered remains still exist of conservative Evangelical intellectual credibility. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Ask The GOP: What Are Women?

The Tea Party Just Turned Five — Is it Winning its War on Workers and Minorities? — Ah, those fine non-partisan patriots whose agenda just happens to coincide 100% with the looney tunes wing of the GOP.

House Republicans Gear Up For 50th Vote To Dismantle Obamacare — Because nothing says compassionate conservative like endless scheming to throw millions of people out of the healthcare system. 50 freaking times. (Via [info]shsilver.)

?otD: Ever been afraid of balloons?


3/6/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
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 wakes up in a strange place

Another game of putting things aside, as if we’ll come back to them sometimeLisa Costello on living with my death.

Small fortune: Why everyone should give short stories a chance — (Via [info]willyumtx.)

How the Grinch Stole Grammar!

14 World-Changing Data Visualizations, From the Last 4 Centuries — Which reminds me of Charles Minard’s flow map of Napoleon’s march on Moscow. (Via David Goldman.)

When Trilobites Ruled the World — (Via Dad.)

A Successor to Sagan Reboots ‘Cosmos’ — This is cool. An incredible shame that it’s on FOX, the conservative propaganda organ. (Via Dad.)

Christians, authors debate role of submissive wife — It so very hard for me to interpret this as anything but creepy as hell.

Gay marriage opponents don’t know they’re on the wrong side of public opinionAccording to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, only 41 percent of Americans oppose allowing same-sex couples to marry. But that same 41 percent has a highly skewed perception of where the rest of the country stands: nearly two-thirds of same-sex marriage opponents erroneously think most Americans agree with them. I’m pretty sure this is true of most conservative positions: unpopular, often deeply, when polled among the population as a whole (i.e., including people other than likely Republican voters), but not understood as such by conservatives, who imagine themselves to be the brave vanguards of a still-silent majority.

GOP’s “inane” war on science: Plasma physicist congressman takes on the denialists Holt, a plasma physicist and eight-term congressman (and five-time “Jeopardy!” champion), last month announced he’ll leave the House in January. For “future generations, who will pay an even greater price than the current generation from climate change,” Holt told Salon late last week, “it will be hard to explain to them the inaction of America and the U.S. Congress.” (Via [info]shsilver.)

Obama’s Critics Should Put Up or Shut UpDo you remember when President Bush’s political adversaries starting ragging on him during the first days after 9/11? Or during the first days of the invasion of Iraq? Me neither. Whatever you think of the holder of the presidential office, if you are actually concerned about the nation’s welfare you don’t go on TV mocking him and saying he’s weak.

?otD: Can you sleep alone? Can you sleep with somebody else?


3/5/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
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 likes to get some sleep before it travels

SlushPile Hell — Hahahahahah. Sadly irregular, so I suppose it’s an occasional skim.

30,000-year-old giant virus ‘comes back to life’ — What could possibly go wrong!?

A Powerful New Way to Edit DNA — (Via David Goldman.)

LSD, Reconsidered for TherapyIn Switzerland, the first controlled trial of the drug in more than 40 years found that it eased anxiety in people nearing the end of their lives. Personally, given what’s inside my head these days, I’d be very concerned about a bad trip. (Via David Goldman.)

Toward an Extraterrestrial Paradigm

School releases pamphlet with sex alternatives — Because nothing says “young love” like a burping contest. (Via [info]danjite.)

IMF study finds inequality is damaging to economic growthInternational Monetary Fund paper dismisses rightwing argument that redistributing incomes is self-defeating. Clearly, the IMF are a bunch of Socialist moochers who don’t know anything about money, economics or job creators. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Cliches of “Leadership” and “Resolve”

And we will prove them herewith… — My friend [info]ericjamesstone with a Mormon perspective on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Since he’s primarily talking about his interpretation of Mormon doctrine, it doesn’t matter what my opinion is. I’m not a LDS member. But I’m glad he wrote this, regardless of my disagreements. Where I engage those disagreements is when doctrine leaves the church, any church, and enters the statehouse in an attempt to coerce non-believers according to church rules. Within their house of worship, according to our Constitution, people are free to believe anything they want. My opinions do not apply there.

The Forces Behind The ‘Religious Freedom’ Movement That Exploded Last Week — No vast right wing conspiracy here. Just lots and lots of conservatives and deep pocket donors working quietly to the same malicious ends. See the difference?

Handbook for HomophobesAdvice for those who are troubled by tolerance.

The Real Welfare QueensA new report shows corporations like Koch Industries have gotten billions in government subsidies. It’s not welfare if you give government money to rich people who don’t need it.

Right-wing columnist urges GOP to abandon outreach: ‘Colorblind conservatism’ is futile

Bill Kristol To Bill Maher: ‘Total Bullshit’ That The Tea Party Was About A Black President — Nice try, Bill. I know bigots don’t like to be called bigots, but too bad. “I totally believe that,” Maher said. “It happened a month after he took office. Suddenly white people were very upset about debt, even though Bush had raised the debt way more than Obama had.”

It’s not a messaging problemIsn’t it time for people to recognize that this isn’t a problem with the GOP “message?” It’s a problem with conservative philosophy. Also, this just in: sun rises in east.

Tea Party Might Just Fizzle In Ted Cruz’s Texas — America should be so lucky.

McConnell Vows a Senate in Working Order, if He Is Given Control“We are going to treat senators with respect — we are going to work harder and accomplish more,” said Mr. McConnell. Sure thing, Mitch. Given the behavior of the GOP majority in the house, and the Senate during prior periods of GOP majority, does anyone believe this crap besides the low information crowd watching FOX News and voting Republican? Plus, note the glaring hypocrisy on the question of the Senate filibuster, which was the worst Constitutional evil EVAR when Democrats changed it according to McConnell, but is a reasonable tactic for Republicans to keep on the table according to McConnell.

Republican Lawmaker Apologizes For Saying Men Should Be Able To Rape Women If Abortion Is Legal — Are you proud of Your Republican Party?

Wisconsin GOP Seeks To Oust Majority Leader Accused Of Sexual Harassment — From the credit where credit is due file. Good for the Wisconsin GOP.

?otD: Has it been a long, strange trip?


3/4/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0 minutes (airport walking to come)
Weight: 234.4
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 wakes up alone

Jay Lake, NIH, and Local Visitors

The Sound of Philadelphia Fades Out

Voynich Manuscript partially decoded, text is not a hoax, scholar finds — (Via David Goldman.)

The Oscars Have Just Become NSFW. — Heh. (Via David Goldman.)

Martian Sunset

Watch This Fox News Host’s Heartfelt Apology To The Intersex Community — Color me shocked. I’ll be even more shocked if there isn’t either a firing or a hard walkback over this. FOX simply can’t have this kind of empathy and compassion on their airwaves, it utterly undermines their brand management and message consistency.

Legalizing vigilantism — The bullies with their guns are successfully dismantling civil society.

Filthy rich but secretly terrified: Inside the 1 percent’s sore-winner backlash Why are the super-rich whining so much? They rigged the game for themselves, but are terrified of being discovered. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Why Republicans Don’t Want to Acknowledge the Falling DeficitThe steep decline of the deficit is not something Republicans really want to talk about, even though their austerity policies were largely responsible for it. If the public really understood how much the deficit has fallen, it would undermine the party’s excuse for opposing every single spending program, exposing the “cost to future generations” as a hyped-up hoax. Mmm, evidence-based thinking for the win, not.

?otD: Did you sleep the sleep of the just?


3/2/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (slightly fitful)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 233.6
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 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 has a feeling it gets when it looks to the west

Avoiding the goober — The linguistics of the word “gubernatorial”.

Rubber-Duck-Race Bill Expected to Pass in Wisconsin

Cat parasite found in Arctic Beluga

Made in Maine scent makes farmers more attractive to livestock — Because, uh. Nope. I got nothing. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Breast Milk Varies for Males, Females — Uhh…

Skeleton Typogram, A Human Skeleton Illustration Made Using The Words For Each Bone — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Mystery of ‘jelly doughnut’ Martian rock solvedNASA said Friday that a wheel of the rover Opportunity broke it off a larger rock and then kicked it into the field of view.

We Aren’t the WorldJoe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture. This is pretty damned interesting, but be aware it’s a longish read. (Via [info]danjite.)

Why AIs Won’t Ascend in the Blink of an Eye – Some Math — My friend Ramez Naam is smart.

BART riders get measles scare from UC Berkeley studentHealth officials say that thousands of San Francisco Bay Area residents may have been exposed to measles recently when an unvaccinated UC student attended classes and used the BART travel system. Because some people are fucking morons. I hope they charge that student, and their parents, with several thousand counts of reckless endangerment.

Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?Here’s the type of questions Air Force missileers are cheating on…and why. (Snurched from Daniel Larison‘s weekly roundup.)

Who’s the judge who ruled on Va.’s ban on gay marriage? A seeker of ‘more perfect’ freedom.

How Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Are Trying to Defend Their State BansThis line or reasoning serves two purposes. First, it’s meant to refute echoes of Loving v. Virginia, charges that the state acting in a bigoted manner by trying to discriminate against LGBT people or preserve heterosexual superiority. These are distasteful things to be accused of, so those defending the bans are trying to minimize the characterization that they’re on the wrong side of history. And water can try to minimize the characterization that it’s wet, but bigotry is bigotry, no matter how nicely it dresses up to go to church.

Tom Perkins’ big idea: The rich should get more votes — Ok, now he’s just trolling. Either that or he’s the most ignorant, self-involved example of financial entitlement that ever walked the earth.

We Did the Math on Tom Perkins’ Vote-Buying SchemeGuess who wins? Almost certainly not you.

New Jersey lawmakers cause international stir with bill to rename ‘Sea of Japan’ — Proof positive that Democrats can be utter morons, too. Sigh.

?otD: Is your spirit is crying for leaving?


2/15/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 30 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 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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