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[links] Link salad loves the halflings’ leaf

Richard Derus reviews Endurance — Another part of his Jay Lake Pre-Mortem Readathon. He seems to have liked the book.

Archaeologists Just Found the Oldest Board Game Tokens Ever — This is nifty as heck. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Hyperactive Brain May Create “Near Death” VisionsA new study shows that even after cardiac arrest, the brain keeps on going. Light. More light.

Stem cells turned into cancer-killing immune cellsIn cases where immune therapy works, it could allow mass production of treatment.

Fossil Reveals Long-Lived Mammal Group’s SecretNew Jurassic find in China provides fresh evidence of early mammal evolution.

How to Build a Time Cloak with MirrorsA simple arrangement of switchable mirrors can create “holes in time” of almost any length.

Search for centuries-old galleon off Oregon coast begins anew near Manzanita — Arrrh, me hearties.

Scrapbook of early aeronautica (1783) — Oh, cool. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

DC-10 arrives at the Falls fire — Wow, this is a hell of a photo of a water bomber.

Tensioned Suspension — This be some cool art.

Scientist banned from revealing codes used to start luxury cars — (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Earth’s inner heat helps control Greenland’s iceDifferences in the Earth’s crust create hot and cold spots under the ice.

West Antarctica Warmed Quickly … 20,000 Years AgoThe modern meltdown of the Antarctic Ice Sheet mirrors the frozen continent’s big thaw after the last ice age ended 20,000 years ago, a new study finds. Amazing, the degrees even the climate itself will go to in order to support the liberal lie of climate change.

Yep, We’re Screwed: Top Ten Recent Climate Change Findings that should Scare You — Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along.

2 Trenton police detectives shot — Thank god for the NRA and the Republican party and their absolutist defense of your Second Amendment rights. Otherwise this shooter wouldn’t have been able to exercise his theoretical defense of essential civil liberties by wounding two police officers. But these daily shootings are a small price to pay for America’s gun owners to feel safer.

Obama-Impersonating Rodeo Clown Offered Political Asylum by Congressman-Impersonating Clown Steve StockmanQuoth Stockman: “Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if it’s speech they don’t agree with. From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between, Texans value free and open political speech.” Apparently Representative Stockman has never met any Republicans, ever listened to Rush Limbaugh, and was not alive during the Bush administration. The idea that conservatives value free speech and dissent in any form, let alone by comparison with liberals, doesn’t event begin to make the laugh test. Not to mention failing to meet any reality-based criteria whatsoever. Dixie Chicks, anyone? More of that just famed conservative intellectual honesty and self-awareness on display.

Three Republicans Who Opposed Sandy Relief Now Demand Disaster Aid For Arizona — Because being a conservative means never having to be intellectually honest. Nuance, donchaknow?

Congressman Doesn’t Believe White Collar Crime On Wall Street ExistsAt a town hall meeting in El Dorado Hills, California on Tuesday, a constituent asked McClintock for his “stance on Wall Street criminal practices.” The congressman responded, “Well first of all, for a criminal practice there has to be a gun. It’s pretty simple.” Your Republican party, ladies and gentlemen. It’s cretins like this who have a hammerlock on the American political process.

Santorum: Term ‘Middle Class’ Is ‘Marxism Talk’ — This is so stupid I cannot even begin to comprehend it. But, hey, Republicans!

QotD?: Is your mind clouded?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 246.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing conservatives to enroll in Obamacare: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg

[links] Link salad refuses to freeze its soup and nuts

A review of Endurance — A review with a very curious approach.

The First 10 Pages: Science Fiction & Fantasy Boot Camp: 3/26/13 – 3/28/13 — An online course I am etching with writer (and friend) Phil Athans and agent Carlie Webber. Phil comments at length.

Widespread Flaws Found in Ovarian Cancer Treatment — Sigh.

French Toilet Paper Ad: ‘Emma’ By Le Trefle Proves Both French Husbands & Technology Wrong — Hahahaha! (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

“W T Warren Testing Helmet 1912” — Um, ok.

Seagulls — Drones in love. (Via [info]goulo.)

Ukrainian Killer Dolphins Deserted to Seek Mates – Expert — Um, wow.

Neanderthal large eyes ‘made them extinct’No one knows what it’s like/To be the bad man/To be the sad man/Behind blue eyes

Mars rock yields building blocks of lifeNASA says the Curiosity rover detected six elements in a rock that indicated Mars once had a habitable environment with plenty of water.

Google Concedes That Drive-by Prying Violated Privacy — This has been percolating for a while.

Raging on the Web May Not Really Make Us Feel Better — Huh. Who knew? I guess we’ll all have to back to yelling at the teepee.

No burden, no regret in ‘fair, respectful, equal’I have never seen anyone who described their former support for marriage equality as an oppressive weight or burden that they were later joyously relieved to be rid of. I have never seen anyone weep with remorse and regret for the votes they cast or the words they once spoke in support of equal rights. I don’t recall seeing anyone moving in that direction at all.

Illinois Republican: Gun control ‘exactly’ like castration — Ah, the cool logic of the gun culture once again expresses itself. Saving 30,000 lives a year can’t possibly be worth this much trouble, eh? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Richard Nixon Wished for Total Handgun Ban — And he presided over the founding of the EPA. I sometimes wonder how we’d view Nixon now if he hadn’t left office under a criminal cloud. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

Falsity of Nuclear Accusation against Iraq Was Known before Bush’s Invasion — Well, duh. They knew they were lying about it. But evidence-based reality was never a high priority for the Bush administration, being as how they were Republicans and all. The kindest interpretation I’ve ever come up with is that they were certain Saddam had nukes, and were doing the political equivalent of kiting a check, figuring once they found the goods, no one would care later that the initial evidence was false.

QotD?: What’s the coldest you’ve ever been?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (revisions and 900 additional words to “King of the Kingless”, to 4,000 words)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (19 degrees and snowing outside, what do you think?)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block escorting ACORN thugs to steal the votes of “Real Americans”: 0
Currently reading: Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad knows there will be peace when it is done

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser is still live. It has made goal, but additional support is always welcome, especially given my new complications. Please check it out if you have not done so yet.

The Lakeside Kickstarter has expanded its stretch goals to include documenting the science around my genomic testing by traveling to the testing lab and interviewing the scientists there. They’v also posted a new trailer for the movie, which is very striking. So give a little to support SCIENCE!

An Act of Whimsy video from @ eustaciavye77 — She sings a silly SJ Tucker song.

Lorem Ipsum Transition FundraiserOur doors will close forever. Eviction day is coming. The story doesn’t have to end this way. Here’s what you can do right now to save the bookstore.

A review of Dark Faith: Invocations which includes a special focus on my story, “The Cancer Catechism” — I’m not often moved by reviews of my own work, but this one… Wow.

GIVEAWAY: Win a Complete Set of Jay Lake’s “GREEN” Trilogy! — My friends at SF Signal celebrate the release of KalimpuraPowell’s | BN ].

Carry on My Wayward Son (Trombone Quartet) — My teen years suddenly seem so different.

The material that’s like an octopusWhen pressure is applied all around them most materials shrink. But materials exhibiting a rare property known as negative linear compressibility (NLC) are different. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Tapeworm eggs found in fossilized poop — Man, I want a coprolith to go with my trilobites!

Carrots for Doctors — A New York Times piece on medical incentives that touches on but then sidesteps the real issue in healthcare costs: profit-taking throughout our healthcare finance system. Countries with single-payer systems take less profit and pay lower costs, a double win.

Climate change may be hitting migratory species harder than we thoughtCurrent methods don’t consider the whole picture when calculating risk. Actually, it’s just Al Gore out hunting them to help keep the hoax going. Ask any Republican, they’ll tell you those liberal “facts” and “data” about climate change can’t possibly be true.

Idaho gun-nut lawmakers freak out over man with gun in state Capitol (irony alert) — But guns make us safer! Just ask the 80 people killed every day by them!

1 dead in Phoenix office shooting; shooter at large — See how much safer those people are because of widespread private gun ownership. The NRA and the GOP, still protecting the Second Amendment rights of angry, impulsive people everywhere to kill at a whim, as should always be in the case in a just, safe and moral society.

Gabby Giffords made me cry. America? And you? — Roger Ebert on gun control.

Moral Perversity In David Mamet — Andrew Sullivan on David Mamet’s recent bizarre and counterfactual piece on gun violence. I read the Mamet piece when it came out, and couldn’t even begin to frame a response to its ghastly amoral stance.

African-American Travel and Jim Crow Segregation — I’ve heard of the Green Book before. A sobering reminder of white privilege and racism.

Can Republicans “Disengage” from Obama?Because many Republicans and conservatives assumed the worst about what would follow Obama’s re-election (this was the “Obama unleashed” idea), they are going to be more inclined to try “winning a series of confrontations with the president” rather than less. The other problem is that many Republicans are likely to continue reacting to Obama’s re-election as they did to Clinton’s, which was a combination of disbelief that he had won and an increased obsession with “getting” him by way of investigations and scandals.

QotD?: Do you cry no more?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (still in post-operative recovery)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (still in post-operative recovery)
Weight: 224.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block protecting women from violence: 0
Currently reading: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

[cancer] Field notes from cancerland, surgical edition

This and that…

The Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we’ve added some more unlock stretch goals to the Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser:

  • $42,000 — NY Times Best-selling author Steven Gould will run for SFWA president!
  • $44,000 — Video, “How to Write Like My Dad” by Bronwyn Lake (a/k/a [info]the_child)
  • $46,000 — Klingon language expert Lawrence Schoen will present Five Pick-Up Lines Used in Federations Bars by Klingons
  • $50,000 — A delicious surprise!

And yes, I do know what the delicious surprise is. It will be pretty awesome, I can assure you. And it was [info]the_child‘s idea, so she’s in a sense responsible for two of these stretch goals.

Personal Stress

Some folks contacted me privately after yesterday’s post entitled “Hope and Despair” [ | LiveJournal ]. A lot more expressed both concern and support publicly in comments. Rest assured, I am not going off the rails. I was talking about my experience, not expressing a desperate cry for help. I am receiving both good therapy, and excellent support from family and friends. The big issues in my life are soul-crushing, but I still live day to day in (mostly) good cheer, love and personal fulfillment.

Surgery Next Week

Next Tuesday, I am having my liver resected for the third time. This will be my fifth major cancer surgery. (There have also been five minor surgeries, repeatedly inserting and extracting my chest port.) That means, among other things, that the blogs will be dark for a while, with the possible exception of occasional status updates by Lisa Costello.

Also, I am seeing my surgical oncologist today. We’ll be exploring some of the issues around the apparent emergence of Ashcroft (tumor #4), and how that affects the surgical plan, as well as treatment expectations going forward. I should be commenting on this here on the blogs tomorrow.

The release of Kalimpura, the third Green novel

In one of those bizarre coincidences that wouldn’t work if you wrote it into a story, Kalimpura releases two weeks from yesterday, Tuesday, January 29th, a week after my surgery while I’m flat on my back at home in bed recovering, and thus unable to do even local promotion at Powell’s and elsewhere. Part of the irony is that the paperback release of Mainspring occurred the day I went into the Emergency Room with my initial cancer presentation back in 2008. Apparently my careers as a professional writer and as a professional cancer patient are intertwined.

One way to support me is of course to donate to the Acts of Whimsy Fundraiser. Another way, which is better for my other career, is to buy a copy of Kalimpura. Though it reasonably stands alone as a novel, if you haven’t enjoyed Green or Endurance, feel free to take a read of them. also has a terrific set of audiobooks for the series.

If you want to purchase Kalimpura today, here are some links: [ Powells | BN ]

[writing] “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura” off to market

Spent about two and half hours revising my Green novelette “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura”. Oddly enough, I landed at 14,900 words, out of an originally targeted 15,000 words. Funny how that works out.

I treated this short piece like I treat novel revisions these days, with multiple reading and editing passes, as well as an audio pass. That is very much worth the trouble, though the final rounds of changes tend to be fairly subtle.

It was an interesting story to work on in other ways. For one thing, it’s about an outside context problem. Admittedly, having Green resolve this is a bit of a cheat, since by definition, outside context problems can’t be solved within the cultural framework in which they occur. On the other hand, since her very beginnings as a short story in Aeon magazine, long before there were three novels and half a dozen pieces of short fiction about her, Green has been a master recontextualizer.

For another thing, it’s about Green at around thirty years of age. I had originally stated her age at twenty-five, but that created continuity conflicts with the final scenes of Kalimpura. The age of thirty nicely puts her daughter Marya at the same age as Green herself in the events of Endurance and Kalimpura, creating some strong implied conflict that I touch on only briefly in the course of “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura”, but that I might profitably revisit in future projects. Not to mention the whole “What is this ageing that steals upon me like a sunset shadow” thing that people start to go through when they begin to viscerally comprehend that they’re not going to be young and beautiful forever.

Mostly, though, it was fun to finish a piece. Now “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura” is off to market. We’ll see what the editor thinks.

Next up, a Sekrit Projekt novella for which there has been substantial pre-gaming with the writing team involved. I’ll announce when I can, but it’s cool as hell, and getting cooler. I probably won’t start laying down new prose today, as I have to do 60,000 or 70,000 words of background reading to refresh continuity before I begin writing, but I’ll get all my pins set. When I emerge from the fog of this coming Friday’s chemo session, I hope to write like a demon.

[contests] Kalimpura ARC caption contest voting poll


Art by Dan Dos Santos

Time for another caption contest voting poll, to celebrate the availability of the Kalimpura ARCs. I declared a caption contest on the following photo:


Jay masked and pearled, © 2012, Emily Siskin. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The usual comment madness ensued: [ | LiveJournal ]

I have now embedded the comments into a voting poll. Usual rules apply. Prize after the voting poll will be an inscribed copy of the Green and Endurance trade paperbacks and the Kalimpura ARC. Additional prizes may be awarded at the judge’s discretion.

The poll is here.

[contests|polls] Kalimpura Caption Contest Voting Poll

This is the caption contest voting poll, to celebrate the availability of the Kalimpura ARCs. Usual rules apply. Prize after the voting poll will be an inscribed copy of the Green and Endurance trade paperbacks and the Kalimpura ARC. Additional prizes may be awarded at the judge’s discretion.

Which caption best fits this photo?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

[contests] Kalimpura caption contest

Advance Reading Copies copies of Kalimpura (a/k/a Green book 3) have arrived. We all know what that means — a giveaway via caption contest! So I hereby declare another one of those suckers, based on a photo from this chemo weekend. Your challenge is to write a caption that answers the question “Why is Jay wearing a bank robber mask, Ray-bans and pearls?”

First prize will be a personalized, signed copy of the Kalimpura ARC, as well as the Green and Kalimpura trade paperbacks. Additional prizes to be awarded at my discretion. Usual rules apply. I’ll collect captions in comments here (at both and until I get bored with it, then build a voting poll. Please try to limit the length of your entries or they may become truncated in the poll code.


Jay masked and pearled, © 2012, Emily Siskin. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

[links] Link salad walks this way

A review of my book Endurance in Korean — I think it’s positive.

The Invisible People — Sherwood Smith on worldbuilding.

The Future of the Map Isn’t a Map at All—It’s Information

The ‘Busy’ Trap — (Snurched from Simon Owens.)

L.A. Cops Embrace Crime-Predicting AlgorithmBurglary reports dropped after officers began taking patrol orders from computers. Hello, Minority Report. And what could possibly go wrong trusting the LAPD?

The Things I Wish I Were Told When I Was Diagnosed With Cancer — I like this a lot. Especially his very first point, which resonates deeply with my experience.

Something Wicked This Way Comes — Atul Gawande on healthcare reform. In 1973, two social scientists, Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, defined a class of problems they called “wicked problems.” Wicked problems are messy, ill-defined, more complex than we fully grasp, and open to multiple interpretations based on one’s point of view. They are problems such as poverty, obesity, where to put a new highway—or how to make sure that people have adequate health care.

Republican Leaders Dodge On Whether ‘Romneycare’ Is A Tax — Heh.

Jindal Says He Won’t Implement ObamacareLouisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, one of Mitt Romney’s possible running mates, said that despite Thursday’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act, he will not implement it in his state. Jindal called the health care plan a “blow to our freedoms” and said the “president forced this law on us.” Yes, those raging socialists at the Heritage Foundation and the Romney-era Massachusetts Republican party sure have a lot to answer for,

Where in the world can you get universal health care? — Wow, the biases in this article are weird. If you read this CNN piece without any prior knowledge of First World healthcare delivery systems, you’d think universal healthcare was some kind of political freakshow. Your Liberal Media, supporting the conservative narrative as usual.

?otD: Talk this way?

Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (Kalimpura galley edits)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 (fitful)
Weight: 239.6
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[links] Link salad likes both kinds of music

Endurance by Jay Lake — A review of my most recent Green novel from a feminist perspective. As it happens, this comes fairly close to my own view of the book.

Ancient language controls crime ringsSome gang members serving prison sentences are using an ancient language to try to keep control of their criminal organizations on the outside as corrections officers work fast to crack the code. (Via @lilithsaintcrow.)

Pop Culture’s 40-Year Itch

Europe as seen by… — (Snurched from Andrew Wheeler.)

Can You Make Yourself Smarter? — Maybe.

It gets to me, sometimes — Anonymous Doc on the endless round of struggle and pain he sees in the hospital. This line caught at me: That there are lots of people out there living their lives and enjoying them, and not waiting for the next shoe to drop. People who aren’t professional patients. People who aren’t just biding their time until their diagnoses come to get them. I’ve been a professional patient these last four years, especially these past three, and even now am biding my time until my diagnosis comes to get me. I’ve seen this bitterly from the other side.

Silent Hives — Colony collapse disorder and pesticides, fifty years after Silent Spring.

Global Warming & Climate Change Myths — Denialism, whether of global warming or evolution or just reality in general, is like criminal defense. The denialist pecks away at the evidence in individual chunks, never responsible for providing a coherent framework to explain the aggregate hypothesis. Each point the denialist attempts to make is under no obligation to interact sensibly with any other point. So large, well supported bodies of evidence can be safely ignored by otherwise intelligent people blinded by ideology or faith, who are being manipulated by cynical opportunists. Sort of like the OJ trial. (Snurched from Slacktivist.)

Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle…a prolonged struggle at the highest levels of Wal-Mart, a struggle that pitted the company’s much publicized commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards against its relentless pursuit of growth. See, this is precisely why we need less government regulation of business, so companies will be free to cover up their misdeeds and protect their profits. Conservative paradise! Industry self-regulation for the win!

Can young evangelicals move beyond the Religious Right? — You know, it would be very easy for me to be snarky and cynical about the message of this piece, but I really want to take it seriously. Maybe this is a step in the right direction. (Snurched from Slacktivist.)

The Bourbon Democrats rise again?“The Bourbon [Democratic-written] constitution of 1875 was a victory for prosperous . . . Alabamians who did not want to pay taxes to improve the lives of those less fortunate than themselves and who did not want to finance commercial development that did not benefit them directly.” What contemporary political party comes to mind?

Romney blames Obama for factory that closed under Bush — Considering that the entire Tea Party movement is founded on blaming Obama for things Bush did, why is this even news?

Sheriff Joe’s world crumblesThe controversial Arizona cop is prepping for a possible trial. But already, his closest allies have fallen. This amazes me. I always thought Arpaio was one of those conservative Untouchables, the real life version of what Republicans liked to pretend Bill Clinton secretly was.

?otd: Country or Western?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (3,500 words on Their Currents Turn Awry)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 (solid)
Weight: 239.8
Currently reading: Somewhere Else by Sally McLennan

[links] Link salad on hump day

A reader reacts to Endurance — Decidedly mixed but thoughtful review.

Jay Lake – Die Räder der Welt — A somewhat mixed review of the German edition of Mainspring.

Fanfare for the Comma Man

D’oh! Groening Reveals The Location Of ‘Real’ Springfield — Right here in Oregon.

New View of Depression: An Ailment of the Entire Body

How Dark Matter Interacts with the Human BodyDark matter must collide with human tissue, and physicists have now calculated how often. The answer? More often than you might expect.

The Amazing Trajectories of Life-Bearing Meteorites From EarthThe asteroid that killed the dinosaurs must have ejected billions of tonnes of life-bearing rock into space. Now physicists have calculated what must have happened to it

How the Greatest Prankster in Political History Messed With Richard Nixon — Ah, politics. (Via [info]danjite.)

‘A Recipe for Losing Touch With One’s Own Editorial Faculties’ — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Noah Millman on John Derbyshire. And I have to confess that firing Derbyshire for being racist was as puzzling to me as firing Buchanan. Why, after all these years of letting them be leading conservative voices with exactly the same message, does it matter now?

Karl Rove and company are losing the argument over inequality — Since, as usual for conservatives, they can’t win this one on the merits of the position, the dirty pool campaigning will start.

Republicans Try To Erase The Contraception Wars“And there was the perception that somehow Republicans are opposed to contraceptives,” Romney told Newsmax last week. That perception would be because Republicans are opposed to contraceptives, on the plain face of their own rhetoric and legislation introduced. There’s no “somehow” about it, fool. The backlash on contraception is just another example of how people of all political stripes tend to intensely dislike conservative doctrine when actually applied to them personally. Conservatism is all about punishing the “other”, not the conservative himself.

?otd: Is your car marked ‘Do Not Hump’?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (3,100 words on Their Currents Turn Awry)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.25 (solid)
Weight: 242.2 (!)
Currently reading: The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling

[sale] German rights to Endurance

I am pleased to be able to announce that my German publisher, Bastei Lübbe, has acquired the German language rights to Endurance, to go along with last year’s acquisition of Green along with the Mainspringtrilogy. This is via my agent Jennifer Jackson of Donald Maass Literary Agency.

By happy coincidence, today she also sent me the link to the art for the forthcoming German translation of Escapement. The German cover art is gorgeous.