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[links] Link salad has no fear for atomic energy, ’cause none of them can stop the time

The Ghastlycrud Zombies — An interesting and entertaining Kickstarter. (Pointed out by [info]rekre8.)

Egyptian princess’ tomb dating from 2500 BC is discovered near Cairo — Cool.

Old Media, Digitized, Make New FormsComputers are changing art in unexpected ways.

Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction — This is wild. Very SFnal. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Lenticular Clouds Over Washington — I have seen this, in roughly the location photographed. They are mighty strange.

A Convenient Excuse — On the real meaning of climate change, and the complete failure of American media and political culture to come to terms with that.

It’s Time for the Poor to Come Out of the Plutocracy’s Closet of Shame — As I’ve said before, Calvinism is a deep stain on the American soul. From that cesspool of belief rises up our deep social judgments against the poor and the needy, who we tend to believe must somehow deserve their lot as it is evidence of moral failing or lack of sufficient hard work. No one works harder than the poor, but you will find vanishingly few wealthy or middle class who are willing to understand this. To put it in reverse, we have a deep seated cultural belief that if you are thrifty and hard working and virtuous, you will prosper. The more politically and socially conservative you are, the more likely you are to see this as a basic truth. Logically enough, if you do believe that, it’s easy to see people who have not prospered as insufficiently thrifty and hard working and virtuous. This is a nasty, vicious cycle of thought so deeply engrained in our social assumptions that almost none of us ever see it for what it is — a pleasant, self-valorizing middle class fantasy that justifies our individual wealth and privilege while relieving us of any responsibility for the infrastructure or class issues faced by others. This is the thinking that allows otherwise sane, moral conservatives to speak with a straight face about “eliminating a culture of dependency” when they propose to put millions of people out of healthcare, eliminate early childhood programs, cut nutrition benefits, or deny people public assistance of any form — starving the poor, the elderly and the children of America for the sake of tax cuts for the virtuous high-earning. Conservatives simply refuse to see the toxic implications of their own beliefs.

The Insane Defense of the “Castle Doctrine” Gone WildA tragic killing in Montana proves once again that these laws do more to encourage violence than to prevent it. Thank God for the NRA or the GOP, or this poor man might have been prosecuted for running home, getting a gun, then waiting to shoot his lover’s husband dead. Man, I love the American right to defense of essential liberties through widespread private gun ownership. That almost 200 30 people a day die from gun violence is a very small price for you to pay for your right to own a firearm, am I right? 200 30 people who mostly wouldn’t die if guns weren’t so freely available. Small price to pay, all those human lives snuffed out every single day so you can feel good. God Bless America. Personally, I think an email listing the names of every American killed each day and a short biography including their age and the names of their family members should be sent daily to every gun owner in America, and that as a condition of gun ownership every gun owner in America should be required to acknowledge that they approve that message. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

IRS Not Enforcing Rules on Churches and Politics — Ywp, Obama’s definitely suppressing the Christian Right. Yeppers. Nothing to see here, citizen, you may continue to panic about Kenyan Muslim socialism as normal.

Dark Money By The Numbers: 81% Has Gone To Republicans — When you can’t win on ideas, or the merits of your own party’s governing history, buy buy buy.

Last-Minute Ohio Directive Could Trash Legal Votes And Swing The Election — By amazing coincidence, the directive was issued by a Republican. By further amazing coincidence, the directive benefits Republican electoral interests and suppresses likely Democratic votes. This is what happens when conservatives can’t win an election on their party’s record or its ideas. They lie, cheat and steal; and suppress votes. More of that justly famed conservative principled consistency in action.

Southern Nevada woman is arrested on suspicion of trying to vote twice — Oh, look. More voter fraud. By a Republican again. Quick, suppress more poor people’s votes!

GOP candidate: ‘My opponent believes in global warming and has been to other countries, he is basically a monster’ — A classic example of everything that’s wrong with the modern Republican party and the conservative movement, in their own words. That a message like that appeals to even a single voter, let alone an entire state, is a very depressing statement on my fellow citizens. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Mitt Romney’s campaign insults votersMr. Romney, by contrast, seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain. By definition, any of these things are true of anyone who votes Republican these days. No memory of the Bush administration’s incompetence in foreign policy, domestic affairs and the economy; no comprehension of the math of what happened to the budget, the deficit and the jobs numbers under Bush; and a general inability to look either behind or in front of the curtain of Romney’s rhetoric. After all, the GOP isn’t even pretending not to lie anymore, and Romney still has nearly half the country behind him. Romney’s bet may well be the winning strategy.

?otD: How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 222.4
Currently reading: Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

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[photos] More faffing about on the Washington and Oregon coasts

In addition to the Aberdeen Star Wars Shop shoot, we did some other location work and tourism over the weekend. This included photography in Oysterville and Nahcotta, watching the Pacific sunset Saturday night, and visiting the wreck of the Peter Iredale on Sunday as a detour on our way home to Portland. We also got some hilarious bonus video of a very bad road in Warrenton, OR.

Some more photos…

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[photos|travel] The Star Wars Shop in Aberdeen, WA

Yesterday, Donnie Reynolds, [info]the_child and I headed to Aberdeen, WA, to the Star Wars Shop there.

Donnie and [info]the_child were shooting footage for a short film documentary project on the store and its owner, Don Sucher. I was along as a lower-tier assistant and generally just to watch.

The place is amazing. Nutso amazing. There’s an estimated 70,000 pieces of Star Wars memorabilia in the store. Along with a bunch of other stuff, including some Kurt Cobain memorabilia, and other science fiction tv show and movie stuff. Even minor sidelines in Lord of the Rings and The Simpsons. It’s a toy collection that metastasized then miscegenated with a pawn shop.

[info]the_child worked second camera, did some interviews of store employees and customers, and shot a lot of stills. It was great fun to see her working, engaging with people, being thoughtful and smart and creative. Me, I wandered around and took pictures and mostly listened.

There are stories to tell here, but I’ll wait for Donnie and [info]the_child to tell them on film.

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[photos] Lighthouses at the Washington Coast

Yesterday, [info]the_child and I loaded up with Donnie Reynolds of Waterloo Productions and headed for the coast to do some location shooting on the documentary project, as well as a small, separate project.

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[conventions] Cascade Writers, Day 3

Yesterday was the third day of Cascade Writers. A nice morning’s walk, another long critique session, a lunchtime pizza-and-cake birthday party for the Scholes twins, then some writing time on Other Me and an afternoon of one-on-ones with the attendees in my critique session. I bugged out yesterday evening for a while with Amanda Clark to attend a friend’s birthday party, then came back to close out the evening in the Applebee’s bar across the parking lot, where I was apparently neither as mouthy nor as flirty as advertised.

One does so hate to disappoint.

Another short round of critique and discussion this morning, then a group lunch of an unspecified nature, then I am out of here. [info]the_child comes home this afternoon from her latest 100% parent-free out of town adventure, and I haven’t really seen her since last Monday, so that will be good.

Plus more writing, of course.

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[conventions] Cascade Writers, Day 2

We just had the second day of Cascade Writers. I worked a full day of Day Jobbery (beginning Quite Early), got a bit of editing in on Other Me, then spent the balance of the afternoon in a long critique session covering four of the seven stories in my teaching section. After that, we had a quick group photo, then [info]casacorona and I caught dinner. I eventually wound up chilling in the lobby with a handful of folks.

In other words, a very busy day.

Up a bit before 5 am today for an hour’s walk, breakfast shortly with Amanda Clark, then a morning of critique, followed by an afternoon of professional one-on-ones, with a Scholes twins birthday part in the nmiddle.

In other words, another very busy day.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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[photos] My weekend in Vancouver, WA at Cascade Writers

My toes

A truly necessary stop sign

The Mystery Machine


© 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

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This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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[links] Link salad thinks Saturday night’s alright for fighting

Fernweh for Magellanica — Fernweh is what the Germans call that longing for faraway places, the poetic certainty that things are better elsewhere. But there is a superlative degree of geographic desire, a Fernweh even more sublime: the ache for fictional faraway places.

The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret — The risks of categorical change.

Why horn size matters when picking a mate

Older worker termites become exploding, toxic defenders — I know people like this.

In Sweden, Taking File Sharing to Heart. And to Church. — Uh, yeah. (Thanks, I think, to Dad.)

Three-planet system’s regular orbits hint at orbital chaos elsewhereSystems evolve from one disk then have orbital interactions destabilize them.

Civic Virtue — Ta-Nehisi Coates on voting and citizenship. Worth the read.

Jeff Bezos Kicks Straight Support For Gay Marriage Up A NotchJeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie, announced their donation of $2.5 million in support of Washington’s gay marriage legislation this week Huh. Good for him. A case of doing the right thing in a fairly big way. However, Amazon is still prima facie a predatory business that victimizes authors. Bezos certainly isn’t buying back his reputation with me given his company’s business practices. On the other hand, he doesn’t care what I think.

Busted: Republican candidate’s companion voted for 5 years… after her death — Yep, that liberal voting fraud is rampant.

The Republican misinformation machine tackles the Internet — Speaking of Republican lies, and not letting the facts get in the way of a good bout of conservative outrage.

Phoniness and DiplomacyI was struck by how several of Romney’s missteps were the result of his saying true things that he ought to have known not to say publicly.

Romney Abroad: Candidate Obama Did It Better in 2008Mitt Romney’s clumsy start to his overseas trip is shaping up as a stark contrast to candidate Barack Obama’s tour of the Middle East and Europe in July 2008, when he managed to strike perfect pitch at press conferences and in visits with foreign leaders.

Questions for Conservatives About Healthcare ReformI frequently hear insured people say that if the ACA survives, it will mean they won’t have access to timely medical care. This tells me they not only believe they have a right to health care, but that they have a right to the prompt delivery thereof. And yet, they don’t seem to think people like me and my son have any right to it at all. Well, I disagree with them. I need heathcare reform and I think I deserve it, not from “the government,” but from the society that my family and I have contributed to and served for most of our lives. I’m not saying Obamacare is the answer. I’m only saying that we need to solve this problem and the uncaring rhetoric of my conservative friends is speaking so loudly that I’m finding it difficult to hear anything else they’re saying about healthcare reform. Written by someone who is apparently a religious conservative, demonstrating once again that no one, not even conservatives, likes conservative policies when applied to them personally. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

?otD: What are a couple of the sounds that you really like?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (60 minutes on Other Me)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.25 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by Henry Petroski

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[conventions] Cascade Writers, Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of Cascade Writers. Kind of a weird one for me, as I’d been home from North Carolina all of fifteen hours when I left again for the conference, and I’d slept half that time. Cascade Writers is in Vancouver, WA, which the other side of the Portland metro area from me, so it wasn’t exactly a haul.

We had a registration gathering, then a handful of us went out for dinner. Mmm, Burgerville onion rings. After that was the conference opening, then I gave an hour long talk on revision and editing. The evening wound up with me spending a bit of time in the hot tub. I retired earlier than is my wont at conventions and conferences due to needing to work today.

Up early for a long walk this morning.

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[personal|photos] The Siouxan Creek Hike

Yesterday, [info]mlerules and I went hiking with half of Team E— and their dog N—. It was a comedy of errors getting there, as we hadn’t agreed on a trail in advance as we usually do. So we hit the road toward the Gorge in the Genre car (me driving), while the other two consulted trail guides. We finally settled on the Siouxan Creek Trail in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. (“Siouxan” rhymes with “Tuscon”, apparently.) Our plan was to do a 7.4 mile loop from the trailhead at the end of forest road NF-5701.

Unfortunately, the trail guide we were using had inaccurate directions to get us to Amboy, WA, the town nearest NF-5701. We didn’t realize they were inaccurate, so we didn’t think to double-check with Google Maps. So we wound up taking an extensive tour of rural Clark County, WA. Therein we were diverted, repeatedly, by sheriff’s deputies protecting the route of a long distance foot race. We got seriously lost, took several wrong turns, and spent quite a bit of time driving on the wrong side of the road because of the runners.

When we finally approached our destination, the forest roads themselves were in dreadful condition, some of the worst paved roads I’ve been on in the United States. We had of course brought the Genre car instead of [info]mlerules‘ SUV, and I had to creep along at idle speed at a number of places. It wound up taking us over two hours to make the 70 miles or so from home to the trailhead. Which, if anyone is interested, can be found at 45 deg 56′ 47.40″ N latitude, 122 deg 10′ 40.20″ W longitude. On the plus side, we saw a coyote and several deer.

Once there we shoed up, watered down, and hit the trail.

There’s an initial long, steep descent into the Siouxan Creek watershed. Experienced hikers will note that this means a final long, steep ascent at the end of the day. Not a desirable situation. Once on the trail itself, the slopes were gentle enough, and the views incredible. Including one of the best natural swimming holes I have ever seen. We also saw birds, bugs, flowers, berries, and all manner of natural splendor.

We didn’t make our planned 7.4 mile out-and-back, as we turned back around 3 miles in due to fatigue. (We were at 45 deg 57′ 41.40″ N; 122 deg 8’ 23.40″ W at that point.) We estimate about 600 feet of elevation gain net, though a lot more hill work than that due to all the ups and downs. We were on the trail a bit less than four hours. On the way back I managed to leave my Birkenstocks in the parking lot at the trailhead, but by the time we figured that out, it would not have been worth the extensive trouble to go back for them 45 minutes each way over the terrible roads.

This is a truly lovely hike if you’re in the Portland area and looking for something of the sort. I experienced it as an intermediate level of difficulty. If the weather were a bit warmer, I would have loved to try out some of the swimming holes. But don’t forget your shoes.

Photos, of course… Read the rest of this entry »

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