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[links] Link salad still hurts

Sense and sensorbility: the book that lets you feel your protagonist’s painMIT scientists have created a ‘wearable’ book using temperature and lighting to mimic the experiences of a book’s protagonist. (Via AH.)

Why do we get confused about “you and me”? — Ah, grammar.

How Long Have I Got Left? — Yup. This. An oncologist writes about the experience of having cancer. (Via David Goldman.)

Giant leaps of evolution make cancer cells deadly — (Thanks to [info]fjm.)

Transmissible cancer is a time capsule from the earliest dogsTransmissible cancer dates back 11,000 years, has a mix of dog and wolf genes.

Evolutionary selection of stupidity — The concluding graph is awesome. (Via David Goldman.)

First Tests of Prototype Organic Wires Grown from Seedlings

Jelly Donut Shaped Rock Appears on Mars

The Secret Lives of Mormons — The excellent Feminist Mormon Housewives blog with a some heart-rending stories.

Historical Abuse Inquiry hears Sisters of Nazareth nuns ‘were almost psychotic’Nuns’ treatment of children at a residential care home was “bordering on the psychotic”, Northern Ireland’s Historical Abuse Inquiry has been told.

The Pawnshop Abortion DoctorReading this piece, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that terrorism sometimes works. If you truly believe that abortion is murder, than the killing of George Tiller must be viewed as a success. The killings in the 80s and 90s may well have been bad PR for the movement. But they terrorized doctors and were essential to the broader campaign that cleaved abortion away from mainstream medicine.

NY congressman to reporter: ‘I’ll break you in half’New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm was not happy when a New York reporter asked him Tuesday night about allegations involving his campaign finances.

My personal Fox News nightmare: Inside a month of self-induced torture Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” and I don’t regret the time I spent among the Foxians. I still believe that what the network does, and the way they do it is deeply damaging to our society—but I think I understand the Fox universe much more clearly. And if, as a result, I wind up being more skeptical of my own certainty and less apt to bore people with my anger, then it was time well spent.

?otD: Ow?


1/29/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (badly fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad reports in from the ICU

Encore, for the Norwegian Curlers and Their Pants — Because color! (Via David Goldman.)

Are You A Super-Spreader of Disease? A small group of special individuals could act as an early warning system for the next epidemic. Their special power? Super-spreading disease.

The Plumes of Ceres — This be some serious cool.

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate scienceAn epic saga of secretly funded climate denial and harassment of scientists.

On the ongoing destruction of Christian communities in the Near East

‘Philomena,’ A Must-See Film About the Magdalene Laundries and Forced Adoptions — (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Real Facts About AbortionThe women who get abortions are not merely irresponsible drug using harlots. They are us.

Top Ten Ways GOP could avoid “War on Women” Label

Glenn Beck and Other ‘Too Little, Too Late’ Apologies“I wish I could go back and be more uniting in my language because I think I played a role, unfortunately, in helping tear the country apart[.]” — Now that he’s made his fortune, he’s developing a glimmering of a conscience?

Non Sequitur on sweet, sweet reason

?otD: Got drainage tubes?


1/24/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (in hospital)
Weight: n/a (in hospital)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad wakes up to head for surgery

2013 Book 96: love in the time of metal and flesh[info]talekyn reviews me.

Yesterday, The Internet Solved a 20-year-old Mystery — This is cool and strange. (Snurched from Language Log.)

Sex With Google Glass — Because reasons! Or not… (Via [info]danjite.)

Milk Drinking Still a Mysteryhe mutation for milk-drinking evolved independently in different parts of the world over the last 10,000 years as a result of strong natural selection, but why was it so advantageous?

2013 Continued the Long-Term Warming TrendThe GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index put 2013 into the top ten warmest years in the global record, even though temperatures in the United States were not much warmer than usual.

The Death Of ExpertiseToday, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.

Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite — (Via [info]danjite.)

The abortion liars club. And one way they wield it. — Thou shalt not bear false witness.

?otD: Cuts like a knife, does it?


1/23/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (in hospital)
Weight: n/a (in hospital)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad has no idea where the hell it is today

Water Spout at Liguria, Italy

Religious meteorology needs more rigorous science — Man, this is hilarious.

Get off my lawn or I’ll shoot you dead — Mmm. Gun safety.

Former conservative hero and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell indicted — Because character counts.

Little has changed year after GOP’s planned reboot“The issue that remains an open book for the Republicans is: What is the character of the party?” said Ari Fleischer, a top aide to President George W. Bush, who helped author the report of the “Growth and Opportunity Project. “Are we a more inclusive and welcoming party yet?” Uh… Self awareness much?

Florida GOP House Candidate: President Obama Should Be Executed

It Is Expensive to Be Poor Minimum-wage jobs are physically demanding, have unpredictable schedules, and pay so meagerly that workers can’t save up enough to move on. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

?otD: Did you wake up in the same state you went to sleep in?


1/22/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 3.0 hours (non-contiguous)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad knows that fire is the devil’s only friend

Science Fiction Author on Trial (NIH trial, that is!) — The fundraiser for my NIH collateral expenses continues. If you haven’t already done so, please do check it out and pass the word.

The London ArrayThe world’s largest wind farm has been planted just off of the mouth of the River Thames. Oh, cool photos.

Hello World: Hibernating Rosetta Comet Probe Awakens

Are We Alone? NASA’s 30-Year Goal to Answer Astrophysics’ Greatest Question “For the first time, we will identify continents and oceans—and perhaps the signatures of life—on distant worlds,” says NASA in its 30-year vision for astrophysics.

Sex abuse files on 30 Chicago priests going publicAttorneys say the documents will show that the archdiocese concealed the abuse for decades. That’s not what Jesus meant in Matthew 19:14.

Wait. Texas Is Spending HOW Much Money to Violate the Constitution? — I love those Constitutional absolutists with their unswerving loyalty to the letter of the document. No, wait that’s the Second Amendment. The First Amendment is entirely fungible.

Executives quit after massive South Korea data theftThe alleged theft of 104m credit card account details by a lone security contractor has left thousands of South Koreans forming long lines in bank branches to cancel their cards, as three dozen financial executives resign in disgrace. Can you imagine American financial executives doing such a thing?

A Wall Streeter comes clean — This is fascinating to the point of alarming.

From ‘I don’t want any part of Obamacare’ to ‘It’s a godsend’ — The transition from ideological hatred to the hard realities of living with serious illness.

NSA-o-Matic! — Your automatic NSA spin generator! (Via David Goldman.)

If Dr. King was in Fact a “Republican”, I Too Can Entertain Some Fantasies: Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Space Alien? If Dr. King was a Porn Star, What Would He Have Chosen For a Stage Name?Dr. King would be disgusted with the Democratic Party, as it is just the more Left-wing of a two party political system that is stridently conservative, and neither serves the public interest nor the public good. Moreover, Brother King was not beholden to either political party. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Republicans in especially low regard. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

?otD: Where were you the day the music died?


1/21/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[religion|culture] The self-valorizing Christian myth of persecution

Yesterday on my Facebook wall there was a fair amount of commenting conceding my blog post entitled “What I Believe About What You Believe”.

At one point, Brad Torgersen said:

[F]or a growing body of zealous atheists, their interpretation of “freedom from religion” includes quashing all public manifestation of faith, be it aural, or visual.

I responded:

As a committed First Amendment supporter, I’m not concerned about public manifestations of faith. I’m concerned about publicly-sponsored manifestations of faith. There’s a vast and unsubtle difference there which many people of faith pretend not to understand because it’s much easier to be outraged if you don’t make the distinction.

Without stopping to think about it very hard, I came up with a quick list of public manifestations of Christian faith which are not publicly-sponsored. These permeate our culture every day, and for there is no serious attempt to undermine any of these public manifestations of Christian faith via legislation or executive action or even public pressure.

  • Christian schools and colleges
  • Christian broadcasts on radio, television, and cable
  • Christian movies
  • Christian Internet sites
  • Christian publishers
  • Christian bookstores
  • Christian signage in outdoor media such as billboards and bus signs (which in many areas of the country are forbidden to atheists)
  • Christian church buildings (including their placement and architecture)
  • Christian church signs (which are an entire cultural trope unto themselves)
  • Sunday, the Christian holy day, being the default day of rest for most workers
  • Christmas as a nearly universally observed public holiday (no other religion in America has anything remotely approaching this privilege)
  • Christmas carols being almost inescapable in public gathering places between Halloween and New Year
  • Easter, or at least Good Friday, as a widely observed public holiday (no other religion in America has anything remotely approaching this privilege)
  • Christian phrases such as “God bless America” being nearly universal in our public discourse
  • “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance
  • “In God We Trust” on the money
  • The Bible being used to swear witnesses into legal proceedings
  • The Bible being used to swear politicians into office
  • Roadside crosses as a nationwide symbol memorializing traffic deaths
  • Crosses as a near universal symbol in cemeteries other than those reserved exclusively for non-Christian faiths
  • Bumper stickers and those little fish decals on automobiles everywhere in America
  • Christian apparel worn every day in every city and town in America
  • Christian jewelry worn every day in every city and town in America

Some Christians like to cite the so-called “War on Christmas” but that’s a marketing meme invented by FOX News, the same organization which has successfully sued for its First Amendment right to lie, and whose viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of any other major news source in America. Professional liars, in other words, and not exactly a trustworthy source. Besides which, the last time I looked, Christmas was doing just fine. There weren’t any FEMA troops blocking church doors this past December 25th, and practically the whole world wished this atheist a Merry Christmas.

What offends Christians insofar as I can tell is the slowly increasing restrictions on publicly-sponsored displays of faith. Not public displays. Publicly-sponsored displays. The Nativity scene on the lawn of City Hall has been banned in many places. The Nativity scene on the lawn of the church, or anyone’s private property, most certainly has not. School prayer has been banned in many places. Private prayer, even in schools has not. The explicit legal privileging and protection of Christian practice is not quite as ironclad as it used to be, but the social privileging carries on as strong as ever in every aspect of life.

Brad went on to say:

And yes, I can read Jay’s retort before he even writes it: American Christians are just upset because their domination of the public square is being questioned, boo hoo. Dominance in number is one thing. Dominance in law?

Got it one, Brad. The Christian perception of persecution in America is nothing more than a slight erosion from the unthinking privilege of absolute cultural supremacy to merely overwhelming cultural dominance. Viewed from outside the framework of Christian faith, the persecution claim betrays a laughable lack of awareness combined with an apparent need for self-valorizing outrage. That entire list of public displays of faith, and the hundreds or thousands more items which could be added to it, is in no danger whatsoever from legal action, executive fiat or public pressure.

(And yes, I’m sure angry Christians can come up with isolated counterexamples for almost anything I’ve mentioned above. Be careful if you want to play that game. For every outrageous report you might come up with, practically every gay, lesbian, Jew, atheist, liberal-progressive, pro-choice activist and secular humanist in the country can bury you in shame with their own Christian-inspired pain stories.)

While public displays of faith are not endangered, what is endangered is the Christian freedom to require other people to conform to Christian mores, which is what almost the entire Culture War boils down to. What is endangered is the Christian freedom to force children of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists and many others to bow their heads in Christian prayer or watch as Christianity is promoted by the state at the expense of all other faiths. What is endangered is the Christian freedom to promote arrant cruelty and profound bigotry agains gays, lesbians, and the transgendered in the name of religious values. Just to name a few examples.

You know what? If that counts as persecution, then I’m a proud persecuter of Christians. But whatever my personal feelings on the matter, I don’t object to Christian academies or bus signs or Nativity displays on church lawns or Christmas carols or all the other myriad Christian symbols and practices that permeate our culture. The same First Amendment that protects me from your faith protects your faith from me. Public displays of Christian faith are not just alive and well, they are pervasive in America. With this atheist’s blessing, because, hey, it’s your freedom of religion.

And all of this hardly constitutes Brad’s “quashing all public manifestation of faith, be it aural, or visual.” It barely begins to level the playing field for people of other faiths or no faith at all. And claims of persecution are quite literally and sadly laughable.

When Christians in America claim persecution, at the kindest interpretation they appear uninformed and unselfaware to anyone who isn’t sharing their faith framework. Come to me when you are pulled over by the police for your Christian bumper sticker. Come to me when Christmas is no longer celebrated as a holiday. Come to me when millions of your fellow citizens vote to deny you civil and legal rights because you are Christian. Come to me when your churches are denied zoning and building permits because of their potential for evil. Come to me when your children are forced to bow in Islamic or Jewish or Sikh prayer in school. Come to me when carrying a Bible is probable cause for you to be stopped and arrested. Come to me when you are forbidden to travel because of your religious garments. Come to me when Christians are beaten and tied up with barbed wire and left to die in the cold because of their religion. Come to me when the FBI investigates you and your church looking for terrorists.

Then we’ll talk about persecution.

[links] Link salad wonders why some people bother

Explaining various linguistic fields using donuts — Hahaha.

The Death Bet In it’s pure form, the death bet is just that, a bet that when the bill comes due, you’ll be dead. If you live a good life and die owing millions, well, what do you care? But someone will pay that bill. Maybe it will be your creditors, who might even go out of business, unable to collect what they are owed. Perhaps it will be your heirs, if the millions adhere to property. Perhaps it will be someone you don’t even know. But someone will pay. The good life, bought by debt, is always paid for. Speaking as someone who is currently and rapidly dying, boy do I see this. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

How The Friendship Paradox Makes Your Friends Better Than You Are The friendship paradox is the empirical observation that your friends have more friends than you do. Now network scientists say your friends are probably wealthier and happier too.

Ancient fossil shows evolution of fins to feet on Ellesmere Island

Weighing particles at the attogram scaleNew device from MIT can measure masses as small as one millionth of a trillionth of a gram, in solution.

U.S. Long Range Bomber B-17E, “The Flying Fortress” — I have always had a soft spot for these old aircraft identification posters.

Making Jesus’ name a banner for jerksAnd that’s why the Duck Dynasty affair was a huge deal. It was a test for the Christian church. It was an incredibly easy test for the Christian church. And the white evangelical church in America failed that test. Completely, utterly failed.

The Very, Very Thin Wedge of DenialLet me make a none-too-subtle political point here. Climate change deniers in politics and in the media are overwhelmingly Republican (or “free market libertarians”, who have aligned themselves to virtual indistinguishability from the GOP, or more likely vice versa). When I write on the politics of this issue I get accused of being biased, which is ironic indeed. I didn’t start this fight, nor did I draw the partisan lines. I’m just shining a light on them. I know some pro-science Republicans, but the ones in elected office are few and far between. And no one comes to climate change denial based on a review of the evidence. It’s all ideology pretending to be sciencey enough to fool the rubes who vote Republican.

Victims identified in Portland strip club shooting — One of those rare stories where an armed bystander stops a potentially larger incident. The sort of thing gun enthusiasts tout hard in their rationalization for our rates of gun violence. Which given the actual statistics on gun violence, insofar as conservative restrictions allow them to be studied, is sort of like people who hate seat belts touting the “man thrown from burning car” stories. (Via D. Scott Frey.)

Retired officer arrested in Wesley Chapel theater shootingAn altercation between two couples at a Wesley Chapel movie theater Monday led to a shooting that left a man dead, authorities said. Over text messaging, no less. Because we are all safer with more guns. Ask any conservative, or any of the 30,000 people who die every year of gun violence.

Partisanship and DiplomacyWe just have to think back to the debate over New START in 2010 to recall how intensely Republicans opposed an utterly uncontroversial and modest arms reduction treaty simply because the administration wanted it to be ratified. The objections to the treaty were all spurious or wildly overstated, but getting enough Republicans to vote for ratification was absurdly difficult given the nature of the agreement. Remember, the Senate GOP’s top legislative priority was making Obama a one-term president. Not jobs or the economy, not national security, nothing in the national interest whatsoever. Just a partisan vendetta. And there you have the Republican political philosophy in a nutshell. In their own words.

?otD: Are other people real to you?


1/14/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad knows there is a time to dance, a time to mourn

This Guy’s Wife Got Cancer, So He Did Something Unforgettable. The Last 3 Photos Destroyed Me. — (Via Joyce Scrivner.)

Bill Keller, Get Well Soon: You’re sick — More on the criticism of people who fight their cancer battles in public. This is sad, terrible stuff. Nostalgia for the old conspiracy of silence surround serious illness is so profoundly misplaced and inhumane. (Via [info]goulo.)

Jewish Surnames Explained

Kevin Andrew Murphy on Jack Chick passing the Bechdel test with respect to gaming — Oh, wow. My head hurts.

Eating ‘Paleo?’ Don’t Forget Worms and Tubers

The ‘Nutcracker Man’ Diet: Extinct Species Of Early Human Survived on ‘Tiger Nuts,’ Not Meat

Lost Remains of Slain Ancient Queen Unearthed

African tigerfish catch swallows in flight — Yow.

A Trip to the Moon — About Georges Méliès and his 1902 movie, Le voyage dans la lune.

It’s all work and no play for SpaceShipTwo pilot on virgin flight

Virtual Museum of Decorated Windows — This architectural neepery is interesting in a slightly worry way. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Why I Bought A House In Detroit For $500 After college, as my friends left Michigan for better opportunities, I was determined to help fix this broken, chaotic city by building my own home in the middle of it. I was 23 years old. (Via Lisa Costello.)

The great decoupling: another phrase for an end to 20th century capital economics

About that consensus on global warming: 9136 agree, 1 disagrees — Climate change denial is like evolution denial. It’s a political position taken for ideological reasons which has no grounding in evidence-based reality. Consider this: no one arrives at either evolution denial or climate change denial after a dispassionate review of the evidence. There is always an ideological starting point, followed by a search for a convincing explanation to justify the desired ideology. That’s pretty much the opposite of how science works. The constant conservative pretense otherwise is a disgrace to American politics, media and education, and a clear and present danger to our national interests. (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Fossil Fuels causing Antarctic Glacier to Melt Irreversibly, raise Sea Levels — Nothing to see here, citizens. Move along. Just liberal “facts” and “data”, which as any good conservative knows are lies from the pit of Hell.

Beyond Fire and Brimstone — A different view of the Christian ethic of eternal torment. (Thanks to [info]daveraines.)

Catholic Church Didn’t Have a ProblemIt simply never occurred to the Catholic Church to oppose health care plans that offer contraceptive coverage until opposing the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act became a priority for the Republican Party. Nice to see America’s Christian leadership upholding Biblical standards, which by amazing coincidence swiftly evolve to repeatedly coincide with the conservative political agenda. Smug Republican Jesus smiles upon them. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Chemical Spill Shuts Down Much Of W.Va. Capital — Remember kids, regulations are always bad for the economy. That’s the most important thing. Only stupid liberal moonbats care about drinkable water when there’s quarterly profits at stake.

Keeping Public Buildings Free of Guns Proves Too Costly for Kansas TownsReasoning that more guns mean greater safety, Kansas lawmakers voted last year to require cities and counties to make public buildings accessible to people legally carrying concealed weapons. Because 30,000 gun deaths a year is a small price for you and I and everyone else in America to pay for gun owners’ illusion of safety, that’s why.

Road Rage Victim Made Multiple 911 Calls — Another proud gun owner acting in theoretical defense of his essential liberties by slaughtering an innocent driver. Ask any conservative: more guns means more safety. Now ask the victim.

Coffee With RefugeesIn Lebanon’s Mountains, Syrians Face a Grim Future. (Snurched from The Nib.)

Anatomy of an Obamacare ‘horror story’ — Surprise! Conservatives lie about the ACA, Your Liberal Media does no fact checking. Hmm, the sun must have risen in the east this morning. Also, water is wet. (Via David Goldman.)

Democracy and the Christie phenomenonHe is leading up to an explanation as to why people like the bullying tough guy types such as Chris Christie — they are looking for someone to “take charge” in a world in which they feel a loss of control. That’s a pretty good encapsulation of the whole of modern conservatism. That’s what people wanted from Reagan, after all.

Fox’s Hume: Christie Seen As A Bully Because He’s An “Old Fashioned Guy’s Guy” In Today’s “Feminized Atmosphere” — Actually, Christie is seen as a bully because he’s a bully. Pure and simple. To some people, especially many conservatives longing for a powerful authority figure, that’s admirable manliness, but those people who admire this behavior are wrong and frankly a bit sick in the head.

?otD: Is there a time for peace? Is it too late?


1/13/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.75 hours (interrupted fitful)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad wakes up in its own bed

Jay Lake livre son génome — I love the translation of my attribution, The author of the largely unknown Jade…

Neanderthals ‘could speak like us’ — “Ooh-bi-doo, I wan’na be like you / I want to walk like you, talk like you, too…“ Everybody sing!

Dutch masters paintings deconstructed — This is pretty intense.

Will Commercial Space Travel Blast Off in 2014?

Big Dig West — Wow, this is serious stupidity up in Seattle, thanks to WSDOT.

Back in the Pulpit After Losing His Church, and Still Supporting Gay Marriage

Cosmas IndicopleustesCosmas composed his Christian Topography over a number of years, after he had retired to monastic life. He aimed at proving, contrary to prevailing Greek and some Christian theories, that the universe had the same shape as Moses’ tabernacle, that it was in the form of a cube and not a sphere. The earth was a flat, oblong table, 12,000 miles long and 6,000 miles wide, surrounded by ocean beyond which was Paradise, where Adam and Eve had lived (cf. II.43). The whole area was surrounded by high, perpendicular mountains on which the vault of heaven rested. Between heaven and earth lay the firmament, dividing the universe into two stages. God and the just dwelt on the upper level, to which man would be admitted after the Resurrection; on the lower was humanity in this life. And see here. (Thanks, ultimately, to Felix Gilman.)

Noah’s Extremely Bad Animal Husbandry AdviceBy their estimates, 16,000 land animals and birds, including dinosaurs, were on the ark. Uh, yeah. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Heat Wave Stifles AustraliaTemperatures topping 118° F, 48° C, baked eastern Australia during the final days of 2013 and first week of 2014.

Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car — Apparently there has since been a retraction. Gee, I wonder why. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Judge in “kids for cash” ruled liable for damage — It’s so rare for people who work in the judicial system to face consequences for misconduct, especially when the victims are essentially helpless and have no real social power. See our nation’s long and shameful history of essential zero consequences for prosecutorial misconduct, for example. This story continues to amaze me.

Freedom to lie[S]ome members of the court are concerned that the anti-abortion zealots are being obstructed from lying. You can’t blame them. Blatant dishonesty is a big part of the forced childbirth movement strategy and at least a handful of justices are undoubtedly fully on board with that tactic. Yeah, that whole Ten Commandment about not bearing false witness? Smug Republican Jesus gives His followers a pass on that one every time.

NJ Democrat lawmaker on traffic scandal: ‘I do think laws have been broken’ — As any Republican can tell you, rumors of a presidential blow job are far, far more politically important than abuse of power for petty political payback a part of a long term pattern of bullying and intimidation.

?otD: Did you walk alone in restless dreams?


1/12/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (extremely fitful)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 240.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad heads back to the west coast

Bechdel Test Movie List — Huh. I think seven of my ten novels pass the Bechdel test. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

10 abandoned hotels

Blaze ravages ancient Tibetan town

Mmm, vintage coffee

Decline of large carnivores damages ecosystems, experts warnResearchers recently called for an international initiative to conserve large predators in coexistence with people.

Metamaterials could perform calculus with light wavesA properly structured material could convert a light wave to its derivative. Science!

New discovery could be a Thorne-Zytkow object — Astronomical turducken? (Via David Goldman.)

Rise of the distorporationA mutation in the way companies are financed and managed will change the distribution of the wealth they create. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

American Conservatives, Jewish Law, and Israel’s New Abortion Policy — In which the intellectual and moral consistency of the American Right is proudly on display once again. It’s so nice to know that our nation’s conservative religious leaders would never stoop to political expediency when Biblical principle is at stake. Wait, sorry, the sarcasm bit got stuck on and dialed up to 11. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

How Newsweek’s ‘global cooling’ story got its legsNine paragraphs written for Newsweek in 1975 continue to trump 40 years of climate science. It’s a record that has the author amazed. Conservatives are not interested in evidence, except that which supports their position. Contrary evidence is ignored because of the well-known liberal bias in reality. Meanwhile, science really does change its collective mind about things. That a theory being explored 40 years might have changed since then due to more compelling evidence to the contrary is apparently inconceivable to conservatives. Confidential to GOP in America: that flexibility is a feature, not a bug, in science. There really is no “gotcha” in pointing out that scientists changed their minds about something over time.

?otD: How far will you go today?


1/11/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (airport walking to come)
Weight: n/a (traveling, no scale)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad in the Arctic cold

Scrivener’s Error is funny about a lot of things, including my genome being released open source

2013 movies that pass the Bechdel test — (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

The Coolest Child Care Program You’ve Never Heard Of

Civilian Airplanes, 1914Civilian Flight in 1914 was still a new business, riding hard on the heels of the latest innovations by inventors and tinkerers. Oooh. (Thanks to Danny Adams.)

World War II’s Strangest Battle: When Americans and Germans Fought TogetherDays after Hitler’s suicide a group of American soldiers, French prisoners, and, yes, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against an SS division—the only time Germans and Allies fought together in World War II. (Via [info]danjite.)

Is it 1914 all over again? We are in danger of repeating the mistakes that started WWI, says a leading historian — (Via Donnie Reynolds.)

160 year-old Documents Intentionally Destroyed in Franklin County, N.C. — This is a crime, in so many senses of the phrase. Including possibly literally so.

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for StatesThe sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years. Nothing to see here, citizen. Just those evidence-based liberal “facts” and “data”, which as any good conservative knows are lies from the pit of Satan. Move along.

Group unveils Satan statue design for Oklahoma — A bit more on one of my favorite proposals. (Via [info]shsilver.)

Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns — And conservatives like to accuse liberals of “political correctness”. This is the stereotype of PC gone amok, in the heart of conservative gun culture. (Via [info]goulo.)

New York Official Freaks Out Audience While Using Handgun As A Laser Pointer — Guns make us all safer! Unless you’re a pinko freak who thinks 30,000 Americans shouldn’t have to die every year for gun owners’ illusions of safety, of course.

Supreme Court Puts Utah Same-Sex Marriage on Hold — And this is the political problem on the Supreme Court. Moderates on the bench attempt to adjudicate fairly, even against their own political interests. At least over the past two or three decades, conservatives on the bench have always followed their political interest, justice be damned.

40 Years Since Women Were Granted the Right to Credit Cards — One of those things conservatives opposed, something to note if you’re a woman who votes Republican.

The Smartest Nerd in the RoomWhy Melissa Harris-Perry is America’s foremost public intellectual, and what she means.Ta-Nehisi Coates on race, culture and media.

GOP Senate Candidate Wants To Move U.S. Capitol To Nebraska — Well, maybe not really. But the idea that Obamacare is the worst law EVAR ignores slavery, segregation, and Japanese internment, just name three things off the top of my head. Not to mention a few hundred more, almost all of them conservative ideas.

Bill Young’s first family emerges to tell their story — A Republican congressman who cheated on his wife with one of his staffers, who had his baby out of wedlock, was awarded the Family and Freedom Award from the Christian Voice, the nation’s largest conservative religious lobby. He received the award because of how he voted on “key moral issues.” And he completely wrote his three kids and all his grandkids through them out of his life. Ah, this why “values voters” always vote Republican. Because the conservative respect for the institution of marriage and the sanctity of the family always comes first, unlike those godless liberals like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama who have been married to the same women all their life.

The Agony of Frank LuntzHaving spent his career telling politicians what the people wanted to hear, Luntz now believed the people had been corrupted and were beyond saving. Obama had ruined the electorate, set them at each other’s throats, and there was no way to turn back. The man who worked for Buchanan and Gingrich, who helped write the Contract With America and was instrumental in honing the GOP’s angry white guy strategy through promoting the politics of resentment, this man thinks Obama is to blame for a divided electorate? “Stupid or evil” is almost always a valid question with Republicans, but this line of utterly self-serving bullshit can only be “stupid and evil”. Either that or the biggest failure of self-awareness since Sarah Palin thought she was fit for public office.

?otD: Could you walk outside today without the weather killing you?


1/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: n/a (traveling, no scale)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)