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[links] Link salad had a snake the size of a sewer pipe livin’ in its rib cage

FDA orders personal genetics company 23andMe to stop selling testsClaims company ignored repeated efforts to get safety data and approval. Hmmm.

Mushrooms ‘Make Wind’ to Spread Spores — Fungus farts? Really?

How cool is the airplane of the future? — I miss the stratoliner.

Redefining the habitable zone: where should we look for life?Desert planets, hydrogen-heavy giants, and hydrocarbon-rich worlds considered.

The Star as StarshipMoving entire stars rather than building spaceships would have certain benefits as a way of traveling through the galaxy. After all, it would mean taking your local environment with you on a millennial journey. Some have suggested it might therefore be an observable sign of highly advanced civilizations at work. But how would you move a star in the first place?

Costco apologizes for labeling Bibles ‘fiction’ — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Pope Francis calls for power to move away from VaticanPope Francis has called for power in the Catholic Church to be devolved away from the Vatican, in the first major work he has written in the role. Huh. Not that church internal politics is any of my atheist business, but this is interesting. I wonder how this dovetails into the conservative political radicalism of the US Catholic bishops, who have become nothing but Republican shills these past decade.

‘Earliest shrine’ uncovered at Buddha’s birthplace

Scottish government outlines case for independence — I have no basis for an informed opinion on this topic, but it is a fascinating piece of politics.

?otD: Who are you?


11/26/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 241.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block closing down donut shops: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad gets ready to go clean house

We Are All Strange — The final video edit.

The 2014 John Picacio Calendar — A Kickstarter for a project of which I am a small part.

14 Ways to Tick off a Writer — Because reasons.

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin rules out sharing Westeros — (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

★What are some of the funniest and most clever advertisements? — Heh. (Via David Goldman.)

This Device Lets You Order A Pizza With The Push Of A Button — Mmmm. Pizza. (Thanks to [info]garyomaha.)

Someone Just Got $237,000 in Debt Forgiven! — Strike Debt does good, in the Biblical sense of Jubilee. (Thanks to [info]daveraines.)

British Railways Locomotives — This is cool. From 1948.

Wounded QR codes — Some serious geekery for you. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Meteorite impacts capture time capsules of the ecosystems they destroyBiological molecules from the site of impact get preserved by molten rock. I’ve been on dates like that.

Oldest signs of life on Earth foundScientists discover potentially oldest signs of life on Earth – 3.5 billion-year-old microbe traces in rocks in Australia.

It was hard to stomach David Cameron preaching austerity from a golden throneAs a waitress at the lord mayor’s banquet, the contrast between what Cameron was saying and where he was saying it felt particularly chilling. Scenes from the class war. (Via Lisa Costello.)

?otD: Where did you hide the silver?


11/14/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
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’s way is shut

How Did @#$%&! Come to Represent Profanity? — The grawlix! (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Somebody Should Write about Those Conscientious Objectors — A bit of Oregon history. (Via David Goldman.)

The Remarkable Dinosaur Footprint Wall — Wow. This is seriously cool. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

‘3D printed gun’ discovered by policePolice have foiled what they believe is the first attempt in Britain to manufacture guns using a 3D printer.

Men will slow down for sex, but not as much for friendship

Faces are sculpted by ‘junk DNA’Scientists have identified thousands of regions in the genome that control the activity of genes for facial features.

Why the U.K. Wants a Genomic National Health ServiceThe U.K. plans to sequence 100,000 National Health Service patients by 2017—in a bold push to be a genomic medicine leader.

Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother — Sometimes I find it very hard not to simply hate the conservative approach to women, children, sex and gender rights. The profound vileness is so obvious and inexplicable to me, and all the more so from people who claim the mantle of Christian morality and virtue. Smug Republican Jesus has a hell of a lot to answer for.

What Kind of Problem is the ACA Rollout for Liberalism? — With an extremely handy chart!

Original 1989 document where Heritage Foundation created Obamacare’s individual mandate — In case you’ve somehow bought into the conservative narrative that Obamacare is a socialist attack on American values, remember it was first proposed as a conservative idea. Not that Your Liberal Media will ever remind you of that.

NC GOP official fired after bragging voter ID law would ‘kick the Democrats’ butt’ — So they fired the guy? All he did was speak the truth. That firing changes nothing about Republican disenfranchisement of votes of color, women and the poor. Conservatives cannot win elections on their ideas any more, so they must cheat the system, and that ain’t changing.

GOP Candidate Sentenced for Felony Fraud After Changing Party Affiliation of 300 Democratic Voters, Casting Absentee Ballots in Their NameWith these 300 fraudulent votes created by one Republican candidate alone, that’s 300 more fraudulent votes than have ever been created by ACORN or anybody who has ever worked for them. Come on. Any FOX News viewer can tell you it’s not fraud when conservatives do it, it’s saving America for Sarah Palin’s “real Americans.” (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Sen. Rand Paul: ‘We’re gonna win this’ government shutdown — Ah, the heady days of three weeks ago, when the Tea Party loons just knew in their shriveled little hearts that the entire American people awaited only their example to rise up in the streets against the Socialist Muslim threat of affordable access to healthcare. Liberalism is indeed a mental illness, having only brought you the 40-hour work week, paid vacations, retirement and a host of other unBiblical ills. So, Rand, how’d that winning the shutdown thing work out for you?

?otD: Was it made by the dead?


10/25/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.8
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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[family|travel] The high cost of personal disaster

This past Sunday, one of Lisa’s elderly parents had a serious medical emergency. Not life-threatening as it turns out, but absolutely life-changing in the way of difficult eldering. Other relatives stepped forward to respond with immediate help, but Lisa needs to fly to Maryland next week to help with the necessary but difficult lifestyle transitions currently underway.

Lisa is now juggling my life-ending terminal illness and the life-changing illness of one of her parents. I cannot leave her alone with this.

Therefore I am flying with her to Maryland next week. She needs my support. We are both flying back to Portland on November 7th for my bimonthly CT scan on November 8th, followed by my oncology appointment on November 11th, then returning to Maryland on November 12th to further assist her parents. As Orycon falls on that weekend, I will still be in attendance there.

So with great reluctance, we cancelled our trip to Europe. We also severely truncated a post-trip engagement with my agent, and cancelled the visit of another friend who was due after Orycon, both of these to great regret.

The financial aspects of this situation have turned into a severe mess.

My $319.00 Eurostar ticket is non-refundable, and there is no compassionate exemption for medical emergencies. @Eurostar has offered an exchange for a future train fare, but as I am dying of cancer, the likelihood of me making it back to Europe to make use of such a ticket is virtually nil.

So there’s $300. I can afford it, but it’s irksome and unpleasant.

I have also sought a compassionate medical emergency refund from United Airlines which states on their Web site that they provide such consideration. Their response turning my request down flatly did not even acknowledge the nature of my situation, simply stating that my tickets were nonrefundable, but that I did retain an airfare credit.

I have since appealed this issue, and @UnitedAirlines is working to help me resolve this. It remains to be seen if there will be a refund.

This situation frustrates me immensely. At this extremely difficult time in my life, I am left with yet another large, unnecessary and expensive problem that I have to spend precious time and mental energy dealing with.

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[personal] Things continuing very difficult

Lisa Costello and I continue to prepare for heading back to Maryland next week to aid her family there. The logistics of cancelling our trip to WFC in the UK have become nightmarish and very expensive. United Airlines turned down my request for a compassionate refund with no explanation. @united says they’re reviewing the case. I am also getting a great deal of financial pressure over this cancellation from other sources I cannot discuss yet.

All of this is just more crap I have to deal with. More money to be spent which I don’t have, to pay for something I cannot do.

I know there’s no rule in life that says there’s an upper bound to one’s troubles, but I am frustrated beyond measure and stretched close to my breaking point right now, in part by the sheer, simple insensitivity of people and institutions.

More when I have the heart and the brainwidth.

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[personal|travel] Not going to Europe or attending WFC

Over this past weekend, there was a medical emergency in Lisa Costello‘s family. The situation is not currently life-threatening, but it is definitely life-changing. She and I will be heading to Maryland next week to help deal with this turn of events. That means we cannot fly to the UK as planned, or attend World Fantasy Convention.

We are both very sorry to miss everyone there.

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[travel|conventions] We are going to WFC in Brighton

As previously discussed, thanks to the extreme generosity and support of Unnamed Benefactors, Lisa Costello and I will be at World Fantasy Convention in Brighton at the end of this month.

I’ll actually be flying over on October 23rd, arriving on the 24th and going straight to Paris to visit friends until the 26th, then back to London staying with friends until 30th. Lisa arrives on 31st, and we’re down to Brighton, flying home on the 4th.

Due to my ill health and mobility impairments, and the resultant travel fatigue, my schedule will be quite light. However, there will probably be some kind of public event or appearance in Paris, which I will announce. I may also have a bit of social availability in London, so if you’re hoping to see me, let me know. And of course we’ll both be in Brighton and generally available to the extent my health allows.

See some, all or none of you there.

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[links] Link salad remembers the taste of French fries

Bi-Biplane: 1917 — I love this photo.

These Cars Are The Same Size — Our brains lie to us all the time. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Cuteness Inspires AggressionThe universal desire to squeeze baby animals, hard. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Ancient Kingdom Discovered Beneath Mound in Iraq — I wonder why we always say “kingdom” instead of “monarchy”. Ah, the embedded gender politics of language.

Flowers evolved 100 million years earlier than thought, plant pollen fossils reveal

Signs of oxygen in 3-billion-year-old soilWhich means photosynthesis is at least that old.

NASA Is Grounded — Brought to you by Your Republican Party.

Are you part of the 99%? — This explains a lot. Sadly.

Cameron: profit is no longer a dirty wordDavid Cameron will offer a wholehearted defence of British business, arguing that only successful companies can make the country a true “land of opportunity”. Sigh.

If It Happened There … the Government Shutdown — How we would report on a government shutdown in another country. Hahahah. (Via Scott Frey.)

On Defending Principles — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on the GOP’s government shutdown.

Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead: A kind of politics we have not seen for more than 150 years This isn’t “gridlock.” It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us — and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too. There simply is no principled or intellectually honest stance that can account for what the Republicans are doing today.

The Saddest Paragraph You’ll Read About the Government Shutdown Today With NIH furloughs, children with cancer are being turned away from clinical trials. Your Republican party: turning away ill children to die in order to protect you from the Socialist scourge of affordable access to healthcare. I guess in the moral universe of conservatives this somehow makes sense. (Via [info]danjite.)

Ted Cruz Lie Exposed By Student He Used To Attack Obamacare — Republicans lie. Especially about anything to do with Obamacare. (See death panels, the abortion fee, etc.) Why is this surprising? (Via David Goldman.)

Obamacare myths: Small business owners’ most common misconceptions about the law — This confusion was deliberately fostered by the continuous, hysterical lying by the GOP and their shills in Your Liberal Media.

Why conservatives hate Obamacare — Interesting article which rather naively assumes there’s any rational basis for the conservative hatred of all things Obama. Bush merely ruined our military standing in the world, failed to protect us from terrorism, crashed the economy and ran up the highest deficits in history. Obama is guilty of a black Democrat. Any conservative can tell which of those is a crime against the Constitution.

?otD: Got ketchup?


10/2/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 242.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block implementing Kenyan Muslim socialism by helping poor people see doctors: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, eclectic edition

Side Effects

I continue tracking side effects. I now monitor blood pressure daily, as my friend Regorafenib drives that up. I have a nifty iPhone app that records BP, pulse and weight. I’m looking for a poop tracker as well, just haven’t yet sat down and focused on this. We’ve got the overnight sleep issues under control with the combination of Trazodone and Lorazepam, though daytime fatigue and napping needs continued. We’re dealing with unexplained gradual weight loss. (Well, actually its unexplained gradual reduction of food intake, so the weight loss per se is perfectly explicable.) The feet as always trouble me, and my GI has gone back into horrible overdrive.

Financial and Legal Planning

This is going pretty well. We’ve got budgets going forward for me both pre- and post-mortem, and the long-term estate plan in place to provide for [info]the_child and her mother after I pass. My ongoing survival makes planning a little more complex, but there you go. I could have worse problems. I’ve also been consulting with counsel about the intersection between intellectual property income and disability income. We seem to have a plan there as well, but are awaiting some confirmation of the legal opinions rendered thus far. Soon most of this will be off my plate except for some ongoing management and reporting requirements.

Writing and Publishing

I continue to not write. I expect this state of affairs to last the rest of my life, as whenever the current medication fails and I go off it, that will not signal a return to health and full cognitive capacity, but rather an entry to my period of terminal decline. We might yet get lucky with a study drug, but I would be beyond amazed if any other core cancer fighting drug left my brain any more clear than the last five treatment rounds have.

Publishing, on the other hand, is going swimmingly. Several fun and interesting things are happening, and wait to be announced. Some big, some small, some just right. Watch this space for details. Let’s just say I’m happy with the progress.

Travel

Thanks to the generosity of Unnamed Benefactors, both Lisa Costello and I will be at World Fantasy Convention in Brighton next month. I am flying over a week early, and hope to spend a day or two in Paris, otherwise be in London. If you’re a European friend or fan who’d like to see me, watch for announcements about exactly when and where I can be found. Plus at the convention, of course, with Lisa.

Food

In news about which I am inordinately pleased, I will be a french fry tester today for a small regional restaurant chain. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about this, so I may or may not report more after the fact. But for some reason, this seriously tickles my fancy.

Mmmm. French fries.

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[links] Link salad moves in mysterious ways

Story Bone — Steve Buchheit riffs on my new career as a psychopomp.

The Telltale Door: 1931 — Edgar Allan Poe’s mother’s house.

BLDG BLOG on books recently received — Interesting stuff, but if both else, click through to see the photo they lead the piece with. Amazing.

Forget Venus and Mars, we’re beginning to understand gender behavior on EarthWe may never know every subtle difference, but gender research is coming a long way.

12 Things Happy People Do Differently — And Why I Started Doing Them

When Will Gene Therapy Come to the U.S.?Several gene therapies are or will soon be in late-stage human trials. One of them could be the first to get FDA approval for sale in the U.S.

A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum PhysicsArtist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Strange, unpredictable chemistry at high pressureExtreme pressure has “a completely different atomic table,” vital to understanding space. Some pretty cool skiffy stuff here.

From the Sea, Freedom — Ah, Sealand. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Freedom of InformationA British newspaper wants to take its aggressive investigations global, but money is running out.

Explaining the New Obamacare Provisions — Remember, kids, according to Your Republican Party, Obamacare is the worst scourge to afflict this nation since the Nazi threat. After all, budget savings and wider access to healthcare is sure a sign of the End Times.

Dr. Carroll explains Obamacare in under 7 minutesThis is clear, concise and even kind of entertaining. Well done.

Ghoul’s Glossary: ShutdownShutdown: n. A maneuver whereby persons elected and paid by the public to do little but pass budgets refuse to do so unless they are permitted to prevent poor children from seeing a doctor.

Better Dead and Red: How the GOP blocked health care for red state AmericansStudy after study has long shown that health care is worst in precisely those states where Republicans poll best. But in their zeal to discredit a president they loathe, GOP leaders across the nation passed up an historic opportunity to bring health insurance and with it, greater financial security and higher standards of living to millions of their own constituents. Are you proud of your Republican party? On the wrong side of history, as always.

End Days for the GOPAfter years of sabotaging government and getting away with it, the GOP has finally gone too far. America knows it, and so does the party itself. We should be so lucky. Given how thoroughly Your Liberal Media supports the conservative narrative both directly and through indirect means such as false equivalency, I find this analysis unlikely. There simply won’t be enough honest reporting for most people to understand what the Republicans are doing and have done.

?otD: Is it all right?


9/30/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 243.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block implementing Kenyan Muslim socialism through stock market growth and economic recovery: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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