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[personal] Our CarMax experience

I was being very grumpy about CarMax on Twitter this past Thursday. A lot of people wondered what was going on. As we were finally able to resolve the issue yesterday, I’ll lay it out now.

Lisa Costello and I are back in Maryland helping settle her parents’ affairs. Her 83-year-old father had a stroke about three weeks ago, and her 80-year-old mother has advanced dementia, with him as her primary caregiver. The two of them have relocated to Missouri to live with extended family. (That’s what we were doing here on our last trip a week ago, helping them get sorted out and moved.)

Lisa’s dad executed a durable power-of-attorney here in Maryland with her as his personal representative. This legally allows Lisa to work with the real estate agent, the attorneys, sell the car, and so forth. I’ve actually been handling the majority of the real estate and attorney matters on her behalf, but she is the client of record in her father’s name. Obviously, those are the most critical issues remaining to us.

Disposing of his car was another one that needed to happen in the two business days we were here this past week. It’s a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria LX with low mileage, in excellent condition. I had the vehicle detailed Thursday morning, then at Lisa’s direction, took it to the CarMax location in Brandywine, MD. I explained right up front that this was a power-of-attorney transaction, giving them the basic background outlined above. The CarMax folks assured us that they handled those routinely and there would be no difficulty. They then went through the appraisal process and provided us with what I believed to be a rather generous offer to purchase the car. (The amount offered was above the high end of the Kelly Blue Book value range for the vehicle as best as I could calculate.) All of this took longer than we might have hoped, but that’s what happens when you’re buying or selling an automobile.

We had gotten far enough into the transaction that Lisa had signed the title over, and the CarMax representative had countersigned, when we reached a deeply annoying snag.

CarMax required us to surrender the original copy of the power-of-attorney.

This had never been mentioned to us up front. The power-of-attorney document itself states quite clearly that copies of the document have the same validity as the original. I believe this is normal in Maryland law. In other words, the requirement for the original was a CarMax business rule, not a legal requirement. When we pointed out that we were not about to surrender the original copy of that document, the dealer reluctantly agreed to accept a certified copy.

CarMax’s own notary refused to certify the copy. She felt it was a conflict-of-interest, and that we would have to leave the dealership and go find a notary at a bank, or elsewhere, to make a certified copy. (I’m not sure that’s a term of art in Maryland law, but it’s what the dealership wanted.)

We visited a bank, an insurance agent, and a AAA office in the area. In all three cases, they declined to certify copies. The basic issue seemed to be whether a copy of a document which had previously been notarized could be notarized again to certify the copy. My suggestion of the notary writing a brief cover letter stating that the attached was a true and accurate copy, and notarize that, was not acceptable.

The only acceptable way to get a certified copy would be to return to the issuing attorney’s office and have a new original created. Which was now impossible as Lisa’s father had moved out of state.

We wound up taking the car back from CarMax, having spent about five hours of the day — one of our only two in Maryland to handle this business — with no success. Irritating enough. Vastly more irritating was that the title had been signed over to CarMax, so it was marred, and we couldn’t simply walk into another auto dealer with less stringent business requirements for the power-of-attorney and sell the car. And we didn’t have time to go seek a replacement title, given our return to Oregon on Sunday.

At that point, I figured we were in for a third trip from Oregon to Maryland to deal with this, or would have to pay the attorney to handle the details of the transaction. Either option would be annoyingly expensive, running at least into the low $1,000s. CarMax had wasted our day, and set us up for a very expensive failure.

So I did what I do when that sort of thing happens, which was bitch about it on the Internet, referencing @carmax.

Their social media team responded quickly, asking me to please call an 800 number. I did so, still in a state of pretty extreme irritation. (I am, however, always polite even those situations. Especially in those situations. Just perhaps a bit stronger voiced and worded than usual.) The woman who took our call was both surprised and sympathetic, and asked if she could call me back after talking to her legal department, and to a senior manager elsewhere in Maryland’s CarMax network.

Eventually, I spoke to another manager here in Maryland, who directed me to take the vehicle to their Laurel store and meet with the business manager there.

Lisa and I drove to Laurel yesterday morning to be there when the CarMax store opened for the day. The gentleman we dealt with there explained that the issue was that CarMax required the original executed copy of the power-of-attorney because as a nationwide dealer network, they often transferred inventory to other states, and not all states would accept a copy of a power-of-attorney as valid. As most vehicles sold under a power-of-attorney are sold via a limited power-of-attorney, essentially a single-use document specific to that transaction, surrendering the original isn’t usually a big issue for the seller.

As I pointed out to him, that was entirely CarMax’s affair, and I was not about to tell them how to run their business. However, they had a sales communication problem in not explaining that requirement up front to us before committing us to an hours-long transaction and having us sign over the damned title, thus rendering it difficult to sell anywhere else. We would have just left the Brandywine CarMax location and gone to another dealer rather then engage in the whole process. (In the end, there is a form in Maryland for mis-signed titles, called I believe an “Affidavit of Correction”, but we didn’t have time for that, either.)

The manager at the Laurel store made copies of the power-of-attorney and certified them, stating clearly he was making an exception to the usual CarMax business rules as make-good for our troubles of the day before. He had another CarMax employee handle our transaction paperwork so that his certification of the power-of-attorney didn’t represent a conflict of interest. In about an hour, we were in and out of the Laurel store with the car sold, and the check in our hands, payable to Lisa’s father. (We promptly FedEx’ed the check to him in Missouri.)

In the end, CarMax made it right for us. For this, I thank them, especially the staff at the Laurel, Maryland store.

The core issue was a business rule on CarMax’s part which placed an extra burden beyond what Maryland law required, plus a training problem at the Brandywine store in that when they stated they would accept the power-of-attorney as evidence’s of Lisa’s standing to sell the car, they did not explain this business rule right up front.

There’s also a sidebar issue specific to me personally about having to handle customer service problems through Internet escalation. I went down this road somewhat famously with PayPal last January, and have also tangled with UnitedHealthcare in public, and am on the verge of possibly doing so with United Airlines. As it happens, my social media footprint is sized such that I can make myself sufficiently radioactive to generate a focused response. Would I get the swift responses I do in these situations if I wasn’t me? Or does everyone who complains via Twitter or Facebook get this response?

Mostly, I want things done right in the first place, with no need to complain. I have no quarrel with the CarMax business requirement for the original power-of-attorney. I do have a quarrel with their failure to properly explain their internal requirements openly right up front. And if we weren’t in our last days ever in this state, I could have gone home and worked through the process patiently. Instead I escalated. And yes, I had plans B, C and D if the escalation did not work, because that’s how I roll.

So that was the CarMax misadventure. Another way to burn a few spoons and fritter one of the ever fewer remaining days of my foreshortened life.

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[links] Link salad knows the cider’s laced with acid

Report: 1 in 3 adults aren’t screened for colorectal cancer — I’m here to tell you, if you’re one of those unscreened adults, get your ass into the doctor. A colonoscopy may be annoying, embarrassing or expensive, but dying of colon cancer as I am now doing is far, far worse.

Drug Combination Therapy Causes Cancer Cells to ‘Eat Themselves’ — Interesting. A story about a combination therapy involving my current primary cancer medication, Regorafenib. (Via Dennis Keim.)

BOOK REVIEW: The Year’s Best Science Fiction #30 Edited by Gardner DozoisSF Signal with a very favorable mention of my award-nominated novella, “The Stars Do Not Lie”.

Sci-Fi Fans Gather at OryCon 35 — Check out the photo…

Just the two of us — As my tipster says, is it still cosplay when you’re at home? These are pretty cool photos. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Women and the Thrones — A fascinating essay on Game of Thrones (both the book and series), somewhat marred by the ‘bringing fire to the natives’ tone of a mainstream reviewer smiling tolerantly at the ghetto of fantasy. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Sneaky Burger Wrapper Lets Women Eat with Their Mouths Open — This is just creepy. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Internet Killed Distance. Mobile Computing Brought It Back. Here’s why location matters again in e-commerce.

Google’s nod to industrial designer Raymond Loewy

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix — I want to see this film.

Chinese used ice-path sleds to move Forbidden City’s stonesIce slides moved more mass per man than any other method available at the time.

Life might have Evolved in Clay, Researchers Find

Earth-Sized Planets in Habitable Zone Common — Warp nine, ensign.

No, We Are NOT in a Climate “Pause” — Debunking another zombie lie from the angry white men party.

Do NOT Clench Your Buttocks in Deming, New Mexico — This story would be almost funny if it were not a horrible example of law enforcement gone badly out of control.

“Burka Avenger”: Pakistan’s Middle Class Gets a Feminist Cartoon — Ok, this is cool. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Who Wants a Christian America?Republicans tend to be Second Amendment absolutists. That whole First Amendment establishment clause, on the other hand, is just so much liberal garbage. Ask any Republican.

Libertarians, ‘moralism’ and the ‘Corrosive Politics of Virtue’Moralism is about drawing lines and assigning blame. It’s about separating the “deserving” from the “undeserving.” And, above all, it’s about identifying the immoral Other who can be blamed for all the ills of society. (This is what distinguishes moral-ism from simple morality. Morality is concerned with justice and fairness. Moralism is concerned with blame and punishment and self-congratulation.)

How “ObamaCare Cancelled Your Plan” is really an Insurance Co Scam to Rip You Off — Not that this will make any difference to the low-information, FOX News crowd that consistently votes against their own interests by being loyal Republicans. (Via David Goldman.)

Can expanding Social Security solve the retirement crisis? asked a financial services executive recently how our retirement saving system can be considered a success, considering that all but the highest-income households are approaching retirement with next to nothing saved. His reply: “They don’t have any money while they’re working, so why would they have any money in retirement?” That, America, is your Republican party’s politicians, major donors and pundits, in a nutshell. Too bad for you. That’s what every angry white man who’s been conned into voting to protect his guns from Kenyan Muslim socialists is really voting for. Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

Boehner says his anti-gay bigotry isn’t “new.” It is however getting old.So Speaker Boehner is wrong when he says that “this” is covered by existing law. It’s not. It is however a handy talking point for reinforcing the public’s existing confusion about the law. And as I always say, Republicans learned long ago that the truth usually doesn’t win them many fights. So they tend to embrace the alternative. Are you proud of your Republican party standing firm to deny civil rights to your fellow Americans?

?otD: Is that the Holy Spirit crying ‘Where’s the beef?’


11/6/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking skills: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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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)

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[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)

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[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)

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[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.

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[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)

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[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

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[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

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[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

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