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[links] Link salad is hanging around, nothing to do but frown

Cyanometer, c. 1789, an instrument that measures the blueness of a sky — Wow. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Ancient Bees, Dinos May Have Died Out Together

NASA says first space Internet test ‘beyond expectations’

New galaxy ‘most distant’ yet discoveredAn international team of astronomers has detected the most distant galaxy yet. The galaxy is about 30 billion light-years away and is helping scientists shed light on the period that immediately followed the Big Bang.

Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly — (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Biological AttackPolio is back from the brink of extinction — ravaging the battlefields of Syria and spreading across the Middle East. (Via Ellen Eades.)

Could Civilian Drones Become Lethal Projectiles?An experiment demonstrates the radio-controlled hijacking of a drone. What could possibly go wrong? (Via David Goldman.)

Reversing climate change even more difficult than it might soundA thousand years might not be enough time to completely undo all the changes. Remember kids, it’s all a liberal lie. Even those pesky “facts” and “data” can’t hold a candle to Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party.

Sure, “Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change” Sounds Nice…

South Dakota v. Fifteen Impounded Cats — Ah, the majesty of the law.

Spook Century — Charlie Stross on the modern security state.

How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One — An unfortunately accurate commentary from the angry Left, such as we have one in America.

Former Sen. Trent Lott: Republicans should pivot towards a positive agenda — Amazing, the things Republicans say after they leave office. Hey, Trent, ever think of saying this when you had the power to do something about it?

?otD: Do rainy days and automatic weapons always get you down?


10/24/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad for a sleepy Friday

The Civil War in COLOR for the first time: Painstakingly remastered images of a divided America that recreate era in amazing detail — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Elephants and humans have ‘unique bond’

Ravenous dwarf sucks life-giving juices from unfortunate victim — I’ve been on dates like that. No, wait, it’s The Register talking about astronomy.

By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say — Nothing to see here, citizen. Just liberal lies from the pit of Satan. Move along.

Gov’t Usurps Parental Rights, Forces Chemotherapy on 10-Year-Old Amish Girl — A really annoying post about an interesting and challenging story. Sigh.

Half of Evangelicals Believe Prayer Can Heal Mental Illness — It’s really hard for me not to be very unkind about this one. Headline kind of speaks for itself. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

“No, You’re Still Deceased,” Judge Tells Dead Man — Wow.

Feeling superior about your political beliefs is a bipartisan issueBut only conservatives are dogmatic about it. My political beliefs don’t include the idea that it’s okay to kill 30,000 people per year for the sake of gun ownership, or that it’s okay to persecute pregnant women, or that it’s okay to let poor kids starve, or that it’s okay to keep people from voting wherever possible if you think they won’t vote for you, or that it’s a good idea to profoundly miseducate all the nation’s children about evidence based thinking. All of those are core conservative political beliefs, or the direct results of core conservative political beliefs. Hard for me to see this as a balanced issue when the other side is so profoundly destructive to our nation’s political and social culture.

Business Groups See Loss of Sway Over House G.O.P.“We are looking at ways to counter the rise of an ideological brand of conservatism that, for lack of a better word, is more anti-establishment than it has been in the past,” said David French, the top lobbyist at the National Retail Federation. “We have come to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines is not good enough.” Sitting on the sidelines my fat, white ass. You bought and paid for those clowns, and inflicted them upon the entire nation. Nice to see American business waking up. Would have been a hell of a lot nicer if American business had possessed a shred of common sense or patriotism sometime over the past two decades while building the GOP’s empire of moron legislators.

Republicans Were Never Going to “Win” the ShutdownToo many on the right believe false promises of unlikely or impossible political victory, and the false expectation prompts them to make futile stands that end up worsening their already weak position. Welcome to the reality-based community, House GOP, where your cherished political beliefs do not have the force of fact or law or even rationality.

The WSJ/NBC Poll Is a Complete Republican RoutWhen that many people in your own party are against what you’ve been doing, it is absurd to believe that you are in a position to “win” anything.

?otD: Do you wake up fast or slow?


10/11/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6. hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes (stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (scale broken)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing laws passed under the Constitutional process and fully subjected to judicial review: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad takes a walk with its sister, the moon

The C-Word or “C” is for Cancer — Author Eugie Foster is in great and sudden need, something I understand all too well. I will be shifting some of the funds raised for me to Eugie. Please join me in helping her.

You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don’t burn out too fastLisa Costello on her first year in Portland (with me).

METAtropolis: Green Space is now available for pre-order — Edited by [info]kenscholes and me. Stories by Elizabeth Bear, Tobias S. Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Ken Scholes, Karl Schroeder and me. Check it out.

A favorable Russian review of Escapement

8-year-old flags ‘sexist’ children’s books; bookstore takes notice — Wow. (Via [info]threeoutside, among others.)

Wind Turbine Bird Threat Overstated, Study Suggests — (Via David Goldman.)

Galloping robot “WildCat” — Crazy video. (Via [info]threeoutside, among others.)

When to Catch a Lie via TextA recent experiment finds that when people are about to lie via digital text they take longer to construct their words. I can think of about a million things wrong with this, but it is still interesting. (Via David Goldman.)

Shutdown Stops T. Rex Trek in Its TracksThe ongoing government shutdown has stalled plans to haul a near-complete T. rex fossil to its new home at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a federal institution forced to shut its doors last week.

Creationism and Climate ChangeSkepticism about evolutionary science, it seems, bleeds over into suspicion of all mainstream science. If mainstream science has been proven, from creationists’ perspective, to be a naked emperor, then its conclusions on every topic must be treated warily. I’ve been saying precisely this about conservative politics and culture for years. Privileging evolution denial has validated magical thinking at all levels and devaluated evidence-based reasoning. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Judge Demands Sikh Man Take Off His “Rag” — American conservatives: always at the forefront of the battle for religious liberty. Their religious liberty, not anyone else’s, of course. Sarah Palin “real American” bonus points for total indifferent ignorance about the differences between Muslims and Sikhs. (Via [info]goulo.)

A Ghost of May Days Past: East Germany Rises Again! — Politics and the map.

Inquisitive Justices? No Argument There

What did Justice Scalia mean? — A linguist takes on the Supreme Court’s most narrow-minded and intellectually dishonest justice. (And that’s saying something.)

Why the Devil Quit Bothering Pigs, According to Justice Scalia — And this man sits on the Supreme Court. Are you proud of your Republican party?

The Craigslist Ad That Will Make The Government Shutdown Seem Hilarious — This is pretty funny.

Despite federal shutdown, MAVEN mission still blasting off to MarsKey role as communications hub keeps probe on schedule.

How Democrats Got a Spine“Dealing with terrorists has taught us some things,” said Washington Rep. Jim McDermott after voting no on one of Thursday’s GOP bills. “You can’t deal with ’em. This mess was created by the Republicans for one purpose, and they lost. People in my district are calling in for Obamacare—affordable health care—in large numbers. These guys have lost, and they can’t figure out how to admit it.”

Deadlock — Jim Wright on the government shutdown. A must-read, especially if you consider yourself a supporter of the shutdown.

The Importance of CompetenceLosing the last election seems to have exhausted Republicans’ patience rather than forcing them to scale back their ambitions. Winning parties are often guilty of overreaching and imagining that they have an electoral mandate to advance their preferred agenda no matter what, but it is very unusual for a losing party to have the same delusions of grandeur. The simple answer to that is that Republicans don’t think they lost. They’ve never considered Obama’s victories legitimate. Listen to their rhetoric: conservatives see themselves as the aggrieved victims of liberal conspiracies to steal elections. They know perfectly well how much they have to manipulate voting rolls, turnout and polling to win, and cannot imagine Democrats doing anything different.

?otD: Have you been living underground, eating from a can?


10/8/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing laws passed under the Constitutional process and fully subjected to judicial review: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer] Disability insurance blues

The disability process rolls along in fairly good order. A combination of foresight, luck and social privilege on my part means I will neither starve nor go bankrupt in the process of dying of cancer (assuming nothing really weird happens to my healthcare coverage along the way). I continue to not discuss it in detail for confidentiality reasons. However, a number of issues go on bubbling below the surface, per the comments below. And yes, I am receiving advice from competent counsel as well as a financial planner and a CPA. So I’m not at sea on all this. I’m just frustrated. Meanwhile…

[info]snippy responded to my recent post about the frustrations of not working [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] with the following comment:

It’s not right. But neither is giving a portion of the available support to people who are defrauding the system, because that portion is then unavailable to people who really need it.

Hard cases make bad laws, and one bad apple spoils the whole barrel. This is why, even though I believe it is unethical, I think we should move to a guaranteed minimum income for everyone with higher taxes on incomes over $100,000 to pay for it. No income limit on SS taxes either. (I believe it is unethical because of the negative effects on some people’s characters, but the practicality overcomes those objections-no bureaucracy, no verification requirements, those things save money that then goes into the fund for minimum income distribution.)

To which I made a further response which I wanted to kick up to its own blog post here.

Except in my case, I’m not defrauding.

My private LTD policy was an employer sponsored benefit for which I paid the premiums out of my own pocket post tax. Its entire purpose was to provide partial income replacement should I become disabled working that job. Assuming the policy is actuarially sound (which isn’t my problem either way), the premiums I paid fully offset the cost of the benefit I am now claiming.

However, if I receive any other disability income (such as SSDI), my LTD carrier deducts value of those payments from my benefit.

This is exactly the same as if I paid for a $20,000 life insurance policy and a $10,000 life insurance policy, but the carrier for the $20,000 policy only paid me $10,000 because I had the other policy also in place. How is this not flatly stealing from me? (Well, I know how, because this is how disability law is written. But it’s written to flatly steal from people in my position.)

Furthermore, the LTD benefit is tax-free to me because of the way my premiums are structured. The SSDI benefit is taxable. I have just replaced a goodly portion of the LTD benefit with my SSDI benefit, and that dollar-for-dollar replacement is now subject to tax. Again, I flatly lose. Why?

Finally, the LTD benefit is specifically built around my statutory employment, designed to replace that income, again in a presumably actuarially sound manner. How is it relevant that I might have other income such as royalties from writing reprints, given I paid premiums for partial replacement of that specific income stream, into a policy designed for that purpose?

A similar set of issues pertains to the SSDI award itself, including the question of whether royalty income from work performed prior to the date of disability is considered offsetting income. One portion of the SSA rules says this is not, another portion says it is. They are flatly contradictory on the letter of the rule. What the heck am I supposed to do with this? Any fraud examiner looking at my case could choose either interpretation as it pleased them. I’m pretty sure SSA will always choose the interpretation that allows them a clawback.

I’m not defrauding anyone. I’m in a complex situation where even asking the questions could trigger a fraud audit, costing me a great deal of time and money to defend myself. It’s very, very frustrating.

[links] Link salad is just waiting for the rain

Why Aren’t There More Cancer Vaccines?Blame America’s lousy patent system. That’s ok. Much as with other people’s guns, other people’s profits are more important than my life. (Via [info]danjite.)

Hot wheels: Wacky engineer fits flamethrower on to mobility scooter — Hahahahah. (Thanks to Ellen Eades.)

BILL WATTERSON: A cartoonist’s advice — Interesting Web site as well. (Vis [info]danjite.)

Headstone for an Apocalypse — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Memories of positive associations get written onto DNAEpigenetic changes in nerve cells keep memories in place.

How To Terraform A Squid — Huh. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Measles outbreak tied to Texas megachurch sickens 21 — Stupidity has consequences. This particular brand of stupidity is unfortunately bipartisan.

PBS documentary on concussions leaves ESPN black and blueA partnership ends with hints of pressure from the NFL. Because as we learned from the immoral bastards at Penn State, football must go on no matter what the cost. Molested children and disabled players are a small price to pay for sports success.

The Relationship Between Lead and Crime — Sigh.

Qotd?: Is the heat, or is it just pain?


9/3/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: n/a (recovering from travel)
Weight: n/a (recovering from travel)
Number of FEMA troops on my block closing gold courses for Agenda 21: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad may be right, it may be crazy

Changing The Creepy Guy Narrative — Wow. One person at a time. (Via MF.)

New smart knife for tumor operations “sniffs” out cancer

Kickstarter Campaign Wants to Send Tiny Satellites out of Earth OrbitResearchers have launched a crowdfunding campaign for a propulsion system that could send loaf-sized satellites on interplanetary voyages.

A Low-Tech Mosquito Deterrent — Cool. (Via David Goldman.)

Secret of Bees’ Honeycomb Revealed — Also, How honeycombs can build themselves. (Via David Goldman.)

Nikola Tesla’s remote-control boat, and other unpopular inventions

GPS Reveals Hurricane Wind SpeedsGPS signals tell a lot about how fast the wind is blowing during a hurricane.

USDA Requires Magician to Create “Disaster Plan” for His Rabbit — U… wow…

The Haunting Melody of Global Warming

Howard Morgan, Black Off-Duty Cop Shot 28 Times By White Chicago Officers, Faces Sentencing — Nope, no racism here. (Via [info]danjite.)

GOP Lawmaker In Utah Wants To End Compulsory Education In The State — Are you proud of your Republican party?

Dear Republicans. This Is Your Problem. — Charlie Pierce on Liz Cheney’s senate run. Except it isn’t a GOP problem. The entire country suffers badly from the GOP’s toxic dysfunctionality.

QotD?: Am I the lunatic you’re looking for?


7/18/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (away from home)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block supplying black kids with Skittles: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

[links] Link salad has a chrome steel heart

Hugo nominated novella: The Stars Do Not Lie, by Jay Lake — An interesting review.

Emoji Dick; — Lit-choo-a-chur!!! (Via [info]corwynofamber.)

Potosi miners’ language — For those of you interested in using argots, creoles and secret languages in your fiction, this is a must-read.

The Pixar Theory — The Grand Unified theory of Pixar movies. Weird. (Thanks to [info]scarlettina.)

The Top F2P Monetization Tricks — Some pretty deep gaming geekery here. (Via David Goldman.)

Here’s How to Wash Your Hair in Space — Because you might need to know this.

Congressman who used to be a high school English teacher irks GOP by marking their memos with a red pen — Hahahahahah. (Via Scott Frey.)

GOP House members from districts most affected by climate change cast 96% anti-climate votess residents of these often deep red districts struggle to cope with extreme temperatures, they need to know that while the science on climate change is overwhelming, their Congressional representatives are doing their best to make things even worse. It’s hard not to say those conservative voters deserve what they are getting — the deep anti-science, reality-denying bias built into the GOP will come home to roost very, very painfully — but nobody deserves what is going to happen to these people. Not even the intellectually dishonest and willfully ignorant who vote this way.

Jury finds George Zimmerman not guilty — So a white guy chases a black neighbor kid around, picks a fight, shoots his unarmed victim, then successfully pleads self-defense. Yes, this is justice all right. I am ashamed. Ta-Nehisi Coates on this. Slacktivist Fred Clark also has a round-up. This outcome may be legally correct, but it is a moral and ethical disaster.

Undocumented Immigrants In Oregon Paid About $94 Million In Taxes — This is another thing the immigration bigots on the Right never seem to understand. Undocumented immigrants pay a hell of a lot more taxes than any benefits they receive. They’re a net benefit to the economy.

QotD?: Got polish?


7/14/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 250.6
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; Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

[links] Link salad wakes up in a heat wave

Jay Lake Pre-Mortem Readathon, review the first — A review of my novel Rocket Science.

Saturn’s Hyperion: A Moon with Odd Craters — It looks like a wasp’s nest to me. Which leads to some very disturbing story ideas…

Memorial for dead bees at Wilsonville Target — That’s my Oregon.

Japanese earthquake literally made waves in NorwayThe magnitude 9.0 Tohoku quake in 2011 turned fjords into giant resonators.

BIG Plans To Snap Together An Homage To Lego

Apple seeks ‘iWatch’ trademark in Japan

Falling chain of beads — A cool science video from smart people in the UK. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Human Evolution — Snerk.

God, cancer, and Jay #2: The easy questions — More from my friend [info]daveraines, a UMC pastor.

Heatwave grounds US flightsSeveral flights have been cancelled due to the record-breaking heatwave affecting parts of the US. It’s too hot in some places for the airplanes to fly. Weather is not climate, but the aggregate of weather is. Nothing to see here, citizens. Just move along and stay tuned to Rush Limbaugh.

Sorry Now?What do the liberal and moderate lawyers who supported John Roberts’ nomination say today?

Don’t let DOMA fool you — the Supreme Court is restricting your rights — This is Bush’s enduring legacy: making America safe for angry white men.

Justice Kennedy Denies Motion To Halt Gay Marriage — Where’s. The. Harm? The only harm gay marriage has ever offered is to expose the moralizing bigotry of religious zealots as lies.

My Gay Mormon Dad — Another painful post from Feminist Mormon Housewives trying to reconcile the illogical diktats of faith with reason, morality and plain old common sense.

Milwaukee Priest Sex Abuse Records to Be Released deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud called for the documents to be made public by July 1. Victims say the archdiocese transferred problem priests to new churches without warning parishioners and covered up priests’ crimes for decades. Proving once again that the Catholic Church’s favorite Bible verse is Matthew 19:14, “Suffer the little children.” They just forgot the rest of the verse.

Penn. Lawmaker Censored On House Floor From Speaking On Gay RightsState Rep. Brian Sims’ (D) remarks during a part of the House session where representatives are allowed to speak openly were cut off almost immediately by a procedural maneuver. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) objected to the remarks on the grounds that Sims was speaking out “against God’s law.” See, if you’re a conservative, that whole First Amendment religion thing only applies to Christians. The right kind of Christians. And that whole separation of church and state thing is just a liberal lie. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Paula Deen And A Certain Kind Of Racism — Yeah, well. (Via [info]danjite.)

How Other Countries Handle ImmigrationCountries struggle to find the best way to deal with immigrants knocking at their doors.

The Anatomy of the Occupy Wall Street Movement on TwitterA study of the social network behind the Occupy movement shows that the most vocal participants were highly connected before the protests began but have now largely lost interest, say social network researchers.

Is WikiLeaks Now An International Political Party?

Kerry: Spying ‘not unusual’ in international relations — Yeah, well. Good luck with that.

QotD?: How hot is it where you are?


7/1/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (breakfast meeting about literary estate)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 247.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block attempting to secure minority voting rights despite the recent Supreme Court ruling: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Snuff by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad wanders into Friday

A reader reacts to Kalimpura — Generally rather favorable. I loved this bit: There are several big themes in the book that I really like too. First, Green is a bad-ass queer woman of color. Her story isn’t about any of those aspects of her, they just are facts about her. Sometimes those facts contribute to her interactions with other characters and sometimes they don’t. This is so important. Especially because Green is young and brave and flawed and impetuous and foolish and special all at once. She’s an individual, not a stereotype, and we need more of those depictions of queer women of color in our literature.

Bride of the Girl Cooties — Cora Buhlert with an excellent link roundup and commentary on the current iteration of arguments about gendering in SF.

Will McIntosh, On Choosing a Title for Your Novel — I’ve had a things or two to say about this in the past. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

The Secret to a Video-Game Phenomenon — I always thought Minecraft is what Lego should have invented.

The Renaissance Military Compass — Ok, that is cool. 500 year old milspec technology. Scroll down a bit when you land on the page. (Thanks to [info]threeoutside.)

Excel Is An Art Form: These Beautiful Images Are Proof — Wow. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

U.S. Supreme Court Says “Natural” Human Genes May Not Be Patented — Huh. Some unlooked-for sanity in patent law.

Gene/culture co-evolution

Oxygen mystery: How marine mammals hold their breath

Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories — Because reasons, damn it! (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Antarctic ice melting from below, finds studyIce loss in Antarctica is largely driven by warm ocean currents, a discovery that could lead to more accurate predictions of sea level rise. Must be scuba diving liberals with blow torches. Everyone knows climate change is a fraud, no matter what the evidence says.

‘Spiritual’ young people more likely to commit crimes than ‘religious’ ones — Which is why atheists are one of the most distrusted groups in America. No, wait, what…? (Thanks to [info]shsilver.)

California Prepares for Fallout as High Court Ruling on Prop. 8 Nears — Prop 8 is institutionalized bigotry driven in large part by funding from the Mormon Church, which has joined the Catholic Church as an example of total failure of moral leadership and social conscience because of that. It would be very nice to see Utah’s exported religiously-branded hate run back out of California.

[Iowa GOP governor] Terry Branstad May Need To Approve Medicaid Abortion Funding — Yes. Every single one of them. Because one thing conservatives believe absolutely is that the government shouldn’t come between you and your doctor. Which is what makes Obamacare evil and government oversight of abortions good… that much-vaunted conservative intellectual consistency. You know how much Republicans hate those situational ethics. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

GOP congressman Trent Franks: It’s hard to get pregnant from rape — Republicans apparently cannot keep themselves from being both vile and stupid on this topic.

QotD?: Force choke or Vulcan nerve pinch?


6/14/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (too many errands, not enough time)
Hours slept: 5.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 246.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block leaking intelligence secrets: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad lazes on Sunday morning

‘Mockingbird’ Author Sues to Regain Copyright — Huh.

Exotic Alloy of Ferrous Oxide ManScrivener’s Error is very funny (and snarky) about the new Iron Man movie [ imdb ].

Mis-printed sign amuses Thorndon residents — Things like this always give me the giggles. (Via Sally McLennan.)

Dream with cancer game — My old friend [info]goulo (whom I first almost a quarter century ago) dreams about me, cancer and gaming.

Wright Brothers Flight Legacy Hits New Turbulence — Not to mention the Wright sister.

A Supercell Thunderstorm Cloud Over Montana — Another amazing image from APOD.

Political Extremism Is Supported by an Illusion of UnderstandingAsking people to explain policies in detail both undermined the illusion of explanatory depth and led to attitudes that were more moderate. That’s the Tea Party in a nutshell, along with most of the conservative movement. It’s also why the conservative dominated media machine is so critical to the GOP: Rush Limbaugh saying, “Look, this is simple folks…” helps a lot of people with tenuous positions feel affirmed. Much better for manufacturing angry white males than actually doing the nuance of understanding any issue.

Harvard Professor Trashes Keynes For Homosexuality — That’s liberal academia for you. Bigoted, ad hominem attacks free of facts.

The Conservative Logic of Ferguson’s Smears of Gays, Muslims, Obama and KrugmanI would argue that the reason that conservatives like Ferguson hate Keynes is that Keynes demonstrated conclusively that when the economy goes into a deep recession or depression, the only way to get back out of it is for the government to increase spending. Contemporary conservatives do not want to admit that government plays an indispensable set of economic roles. This is pretty simple, and doesn’t require much nuanced analysis. Most conservative ideas do not survive contact with reality. (viz. supply side economics, reduced regulation, PNAC, privatization of social services, almost anything in Republican educational policy, guns, Iraq, climate change, marriage “defense”, et cetera ad nauseum.) The conservative response is not to assess the evidence and revise their ideas, but to deny reality. We’ve seen this played out over and over again, increasingly blatant, in politics and the media over the past few decades. The BEST study of climate change is one of the vanishingly rare counterexamples of conservative intellectual honesty in response to countervailing evidence, and it was widely condemned by media and political figures precisely for that intellectual honesty.

QotD?: What’s on your plate?


5/5/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA on audiobook prep)
Hours slept: 8.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (foot hurts)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block digging for fossils in the yards of God-fearing Republicans: 0
Currently reading: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad likes to talk about fiction

Punk in Burma: Cultural Appropriation & Resistance

First Enzyme-Based Memory Created in the LabSome clever biochemistry has led to the world’s first enzyme-based memory capable of learning, say biochemists.

Questions over Gene Patents Shake Diagnostics IndustryThe impending Supreme Court ruling on gene patents is creating uncertainty in the fledging genetic diagnostics sector. I have never understood the logic of allowing patents on genes. That’s like allowing patents on minerals or seawater.

Making of Europe unlocked by DNA

Pictures: Extreme Algae Blooms Expanding Worldwide

Understanding the brain of a man with no conscious memory — Of course, my immediate question on reading this article was to wonder how the heck they ever got informed consent to perform all these tests. I think I’ve been a patient too long.

China’s cancer crisis — Wow. Sigh. (Via [info]mikigarrison.)

About the Obamacare ‘train wreck’Insofar as the Republican Party has a strategy on Obamacare, it’s goes like this: The law needs to be implemented. The GOP can try and keep the implementation from being done effectively, in part by refusing to authorize the needed funds. Then they can capitalize on the problems they create to weaken the law, or at least weaken Democrats up for reelection in 2014. In other words, step one: Create problems for Obamacare. Step two: Blame Obamacare for the problems. Step 3: Political profit! That’s the GOP’s strategy on everything. Remember, these are the same civic-minded solons whose number one legislative priority in the face of the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression was to ensure that Obama was a one-term president. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Delaware House passes marriage equality — And another step taken in rolling back the arrant, unthinking bigotry of homophobia. Not mention Nevada, France and other places.

Today’s Political Thought — Andrew Wheeler on the Second Amendment. Yup.

Why Should I Care That No One’s Reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev His Miranda Rights?When the law gets bent out of shape for him, it’s easier to bend out of shape for the rest of us. We used to have this thing called “the rule of law”, before the fear-based conservative narrative about terrorism took over our national consciousness.

QotD?: What’s the title of the most recent short story you read (or wrote)?


4/24/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,300 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (very carefully on the stationary bike)
Weight: 248.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for climate change: 0
Currently reading: Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad wishes happy birthday to its mother

Debut author lessons: Hate mail — Mary Robinette Kowal Is Wise.

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy Available! — In which I have an essay.

Temple of the Autonomous Machine — Okay, this story about the intersection of robotics and archaeology is just fricking cool.

Happiness Inc. — What makes people happy?

Group kicks off planting of ancient tree clones

The chicken crouton recipe — For them what wants it.

Classifying a Killer Whale for Tax Purposes — Ah, lawyers. And to be fair, the IRS.

For young Soviets, the Beatles were a first, mutinous rip in the iron curtainThe band inspired dissidents and musicians and, a new book claims, meant more to youth in the USSR than in the west. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Jon Stewart investigates the Australian gun control “failure”

National Debt Graph by President[T]he Voodoo [Economics] failed just as Bush predicted, and the supply-siders turned a 32-year winning streak into a debt disaster that continues to this day. For 20 years, under Reagan and the Bushes, the national debt increased compared to GDP every single year. In most other years it decreased. Supply side economics never worked. It’s just another one of those counterfactual conservative political fetishes that they justify within their bubble of epistemic closure. Another example of reality’s well-known liberal bias.

Political rhetoric finds its way into post-bombing debate

QotD?: When is your mom’s birthday?


4/22/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (WRPA, plus some work on my archives which I didn’t include in the time tracking)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (injured foot)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for climate change: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett