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[links] Link salad fires its lipstick taser

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers — I hope this bears fruit.

Is truth stranger than fiction? Yes, especially for science fiction — (Via John Sapienza.)

Is entanglement real or is there a super-deterministic cosmic conspiracy?Researchers use quasars to kill off the last of the quantum hidden variables. This article made my head hurt. In a good way.

Traveler’s Table: Dumplings around the world

Map: How Wrong Is Your Time Zone — This is pretty cool.

Facebook won’t change privacy settings when you die, allows Look Back video requests for memorial accounts

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Suit Against NYPD, Says Any Damage Was Caused by Reporters Who Exposed ItMartini, a one-term Republican congressman from New Jersey, was appointed to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2002. Previous critiques of his judicial conduct have been unusually blunt and public, including repeated rebukes at the appellate level and the local U.S. attorney’s describing him in court filings as “misguided” and “irrational.”

Pastor tells ‘White Christians of Florida,’ that ‘stench from your houses of worship is wafting’ across AmericaA Baptist pastor from Washington has penned an open letter to “White Christians of Florida,” condemning them for not standing united against that state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.

Are Republicans even trying? Another Obamacare horror story bites the dust Given how horrible Obamacare supposedly is, it’s bizarre the GOP has such a hard time finding real victims. Kind of like years ago when the GOP was campaigning to eliminate the estate tax because it broke up farm families, and they could not find a single farm family that had been broken up. The really weird thing is that there are plenty of problems with the Obamacare rollout, and a significant number of people struggling with balancing premiums and subsidies. In other words, there are plenty of real hard luck stories to tell. Why does the GOP continue to lie?

My Night in Solitary — The world would be a different place if law-and-order types had to experience criminal justice from the inside.

Tenn. official ‘threatened’ blacks with skin ‘trophy’ he saved from 1896 lynching — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

?otD: Do you declare your weapon?


2/22/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid until someone poked me awake in her sleep)
Body movement: 15 minutes (recovering)
Weight: 233.2
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad drank up all the money, yes it drank up all the money

Cover Reveal for Jay Lake’s The Last Plane to Heaven

The Most Ridiculous Mashup Ever – SpongeMen SquareWatch — Totally depraved. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

WTF is that on her head?Vintage ads featuring women with inexplicable stuff on their heads.

Spend the Night in a Giant Anus — Because you can! (Thanks to @dratz.)

Girl Scout sells 117 boxes of cookies in two hours outside Marijuana clinic — I have a pretty firm policy of never linking to FOX News or any of its affiliates, because FOX, but this headline was too good pass up. (Via Lisa Costello.)

She wasn’t being rude — Just a story about a veterinarian, a woman and a dog. Very much worth the read.

80 women go topless in New York: photos by Jordan Matter (NSFW)

Christopher Ryan: Are we designed to be sexual omnivores? — A TED talk. My answer is duh, yes.

Finger Computer Reads Books Aloud

Extraterrestrial Dispersal VectorsIf human civilization is to extend itself beyond our planet, it will need to take with it the plants, animals and microorganisms that can sustain a living ecosystem.

Brain Scans Show Striking Similarities Between Dogs and Humans

Cities, Networks, and the Counterintuitive Nature of SuicideThe new science of cities shows that suicide may be a more complex social phenomenon than previously thought, say computational anthropologists. Me, I was fascinated to learn of Kleiber’s law while reading this piece. (Via David Goldman.)

The Dark Power of FraternitiesA yearlong investigation of Greek houses reveals their endemic, lurid, and sometimes tragic problems—and a sophisticated system for shifting the blame. This just in: water is wet. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the mid-1980s, where criminal acts by fraternity members, up to and including rape, theft, vehicular assault, arson and several suspicious deaths, routinely went uninvestigated and unprosecuted because of the political influence of frat legacies who held power in all levels of local and state government. Boys will be boys, after all. There is nothing whatsoever surprising about this.

A Brief Meandering About the Polar Vortex — Which for some reason climate change denialists continue to insist against all evidence is a scare word made up by the liberal media. Of course, if they were willing to accept evidence, they wouldn’t be denialists.

A Great Freeze Over the Great LakesIce cover on North America’s Great Lakes reached 88 percent in mid-February 2014—levels not observed since 1994. The average maximum ice extent since 1973 is just over 50 percent. It has surpassed 80 percent just five times in four decades. The lowest average ice extent occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze.

Clerics Issue Fatwa: Muslims Can’t Live On Mars — Uh, ok. Though in fairness, this is specifically about the proposed one-way trip being seen as a form of suicide. Which is still quite a stretch to my view. Is it suicide to emigrate somewhere?

Gay patient says Catholic chaplain refused him last rites — You will know that they are Christians by their love. (Via John Sapeinza.)

Kansas Christianists seek monopoly on worldly honors and emolumentsSlacktivist Fred Clark explains the wider context and profound anti-American shame of the currently-tabled Kansas bill legalizing Christian discrimination against the LGBT community. You know, the truly horrible bill that no one in the conservative blog, media and political world seems willing to comment on. My view of “good conservatives” is rapidly eroding.

Arizona Legislature approves controversial religion bill — Arizona joins Kansas in shaming itself, the nation, and Christians everywhere.

[GOP Senate Candidate] Bevin: Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Parent-Child Marriage — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

DeLay: Americans Have Forgotten That God Wrote The Constitution — Because being conservative means never having to be anything but cracking batshit bugfuck insane. And people vote for this shit.

“He Will Rule Them With An AR-15”Retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin believes when Jesus comes back, he’ll have an AR-15 assault rifle in hand. Every time I read about a prominent Christian like this, I get down on my knees and thank the Lord God Almighty that I am an atheist. This crap makes my skin crawl.

?otD: How’re you going to get around in this sleazy bedroom town if you don’t put yourself up for sale?


2/21/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 10 minutes (feeling poorly)
Weight: 233.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad carefully observes the First Law of the Sea

In defence of unnecessary words

An Animated Guide to the Economics of Sex

What all the stylin’ white boys were wearing on their heads in the 1950s — Is it wrong that these all look the same to me? And I am a white boy.

200-Year Old Douche Discovered Under NYC City Hall — I didn’t realize Mayor Giuliani was that old.

Star Wars actor dies: His ‘disturbing’ Star Wars role outshone a long careerStar Wars actor Richard LeParmentier died this morning in Austin. “Every time we find someone’s lack of faith disturbing, we’ll think of him,” said his family in a statement. Awesome quote in the subhead on this piece. (Via David Goldman.) ETA: While still amusing, it has been pointed out to me this is very stale news. My apologies, I did not check the date.

Comet Lovejoy over the Great Wall — The explanatory text includes some lovely poetic detail.

Old Arctic Ice Is Disappearing, and Taking the Rest of the Ice With ItIt’s not hard to see that over the past few years, the oldest ice has melted away, and over time the ice gets younger. That’s not good: Older ice is thicker and tends to hang around longer; young ice is generally thinner and melts away every summer. That means that the year-round amount of ice is dropping, and dropping rapidly. As the Arctic warms, its ability not just to form ice but to keep it wanes.

Politician wants to raise greenhouse gas limits, for the plants — The stupid, it burns. But it also gets elected.

Other Agendas “Frozen” Is Subtly Forcing Into Your Child’s BrainFeminist Mormon Housewives with a truly hilarious response to some criticism from another Mormon blogger who is deeply unhinged.

GOP Lawmakers Want To Define Anti-Gay Discrimination As ‘Religious Freedom’ — I have never seen a logical argument as to why barring discrimination compromises religious freedom.

Religious Liberty Or Anti-Gay Animus?For me, with devout Catholics, the acid test is divorce. The bar on divorce – which, unlike the gay issue, is upheld directly by Jesus in the Gospels – is just as integral to the Catholic meaning of marriage as the prohibition on gay couples. So why no laws including that potential violation of religious liberty? Both kinds of marriage are equally verboten in Catholicism. So where is the political movement to insist that devout Catholics do not have to cater the second weddings of previously divorced people? Yup. Nails it.

Homophobia Takes Years Off of Your LifeThat’s the conclusion of a new study that compares death rates with Americans’ attitudes toward gay rights. A small price to pay for being one of the GOP’s core of angry white guys, I am certain.

Arkansas man ‘shot dead cheerleader after prank’ — Because guns make us all safer. And you can’t make a safety omelet without breaking 30,000 eggs per year.

Social Identity Markers are NOT a proxy for left wing social policies — (Via [info]goulo.)

Racializing Politics: We don’t say “Slav” Democracy troubled in Ukraine, why Talk about “Arab” Failures?

Hyperlocal Neighborhood Maps Reveal the Chaos in Aleppo — Wow. I never would have thought of the bakery thing. (Via David Goldman.)

Let’s get straight who is paying for whom — More on the ridiculous belief among rural conservatives that they are somehow being bled dry by taxes to pay for the big cities. You know, those liberal “facts” and “data”. I especially like this bit: But it’s very, very tiresome to watch a bunch of delusional narcissists taking urban tax dollars to pay for their rural infrastructure and safety nets (most SNAP recipients are white, remember) elect a bunch of jokers to Congress who prevent the people who actually pay the bills from solving big problems like climate change, healthcare, privacy, wealth inequality, poverty, and financial corruption.

Watch This CNN Anchor Stop The Spin On The Minimum Wage — Every time we’ve tried to raise the minimum wage, conservatives have trotted out the same job-killing, anti-business opposition. Every time they’ve been wrong. Why would they be right this time?

?otD: Metalbeard? Is that you?


2/20/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 10 minutes (feeling poorly)
Weight: 234.4
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad checks into the Tabard in Southwark

35 Nerdy Cards Against Humanity Cards To Add To Your Deck

Digital Steamboat Willie — Uh…

Lincoln Blimp: 1930

A Map of the World’s Most Dangerous Countries for Drivers — The headline is misleading (the headline editor clearly did not read the whole piece), as this article draws an inverse correlation about cause of death around the world that is fascinating.

The Shrink & The Sage: Should we fear the worst?‘People cope with what they consider disasters much more positively than they would have guessed’

Tracing Ancestry, Researchers Produce a Genetic Atlas of Human Mixing Events

Intel’s Sharp-Eyed Social Scientist

For Mice, and Maybe Men, Pain Is Gone in a FlashResearchers find a way to turn pain on, and off, with a beam of light.

Glass, DarklyFor its wearable computer to be accepted, Google must convince people that the device isn’t creepy.

Promoting Public Policy Programs…with Puppets

Woman Arrested Nine Years After Failing to Return Rented Video

Kerry Blasts Climate Denialists, equates Climate Change with Terrorism, WMDs

This is what actual ‘religious liberty’ looks like

The Changing Face of Christian PoliticsAmong 16- to 29-year-old non-Christians, Christians were viewed as “anti-gay” (91 percent), judgmental (87 percent), hypocritical (85 percent), sheltered (78 percent) and—surprise—”too political” (75 percent). In 2010, respected academics David Campbell and Robert Putnam’s landmark book, American Grace, concluded that partisan politics was directly to blame for the rise of religiously unaffiliated Americans. Interesting read. Unfortunately, this article is far, far too kind to the Christian right and measured by its words and deeds, such as the recent Kansas anti-gay bill.

Breaking the DichotomyIn the wake of Prop 8 and the LDS church’s continued political involvement opposing same-sex marriage in several states in the US, a lot of members find themselves in a very difficult position. It’s more than just embarrassment, and it’s a question that a lot of people outside the church have asked with varying degrees of reasonableness. If you disagree with what they’re doing so much, why do you keep supporting them? A similar question comes, regrettably, both from outside and inside. Why don’t you just leave? A reflection from Feminist Mormon Housewives on a question I’ve often (as an outsider, obviously) wondered about.

Black Boy InterruptedOn the unfinished life of Jordan Davis. Ta-Nehisi Coates is bitterly brilliant, again.

George Zimmerman Refuses to Say Whether He Regrets Killing Trayvon Martin“Certainly, I think about that night and I think my life would be tremendously easier if I stayed home.” You mean like the 911 operator told you to? I doubt Zimmerman ever reflects how much easier, and longer, Trayvon Martin’s life would have been if Zimmerman had stayed home. Ladies and and gentlemen, your gun culture, where the power to conduct your summary execution can be tightly gripped in anyone‘s hands.

I’m anti-carThere are people who really love their cars too but don’t think that having to pay to have a license plate means that the government has become a fascist dictatorship determined to take their vehicles away from them — yet otherwise intelligent people will use that exact same argument when talking about guns.

GOP operative asks judge to delay trial until after electionsClaiming key GOP campaign strategies could be “exposed” before this year’s gubernatorial and legislative races, a Queens Republican operative wants his federal corruption trial delayed until after November’s elections. Wow, does that take some stones. What do good, honest, moral conservatives have to fear from the light of justice anyway? Look, over there, ACORN! Well, never mind. I made the mistake of expecting better of non-conservatives, but the Democrat involved has also asked for a delay for the same reasons.

Congressional Republicans focused on calming their divided ranks“We don’t have 218 votes in the House for the big issues, so what else are we going to do?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), an ally of House Speaker John A. Boehner. “We can do a few things on immigration and work on our principles, but in terms of real legislating, we’re unable to get in a good negotiating position.” Poor GOP. Trapped in the majority, stuck with controlling the House, and unable to advance their agenda. Why would anyone vote for a political party this utterly dysfunctional?

?otD: Will you tell your tale?


2/18/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad jets back across the continent

Linguistics Jobs: Interview with a literary agent

41 Things You Need To Know Right Now, For No Reason In Particular — Pretty hilarious stuff, for the most part.

How To Poop At Work — Pure genius. Of a sort. A compendium of important safety tips. Be warned, pretty much what it says on the tin. (Thanks to someone who would almost certainly prefer to remain nameless in this case.)

Dorion Sagan on the First Ejaculation in Earth’s History — To be more accurate, the first documented ejaculation… (Via Lisa Costello.)

The Strange World of Bug Sex, in Pictures — I’ve been on dates like that. (Via David Goldman.)

8 Celebrities Who Got It Right About Gay Marriage — Uh, yeah. It’s what you might call a non-invasive issue. No social cost, no damage, substantial benefit. Bigot fee-fees are not a proper concern for legislation.

Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein: The Different Body Types of Olympic Athletes — (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Best Report on Bullying I’ve Ever ReadThe NFL’s amazing investigation of the Miami Dolphins locker room. Cruelty and abuse by the strong, established players against the newer and weaker, endorsed by authority figures. Not much different from the sports culture of my school days. Just higher stakes. Why is anyone surprised by any of this? (Also a big part of why I am not and never will be a sports fan. As a humane person, I simply cannot stomach the attitudes and behaviors that come with the thrill of the game.)

Race Inequality in America by Graph, from Crime Sentencing to IncomeSo if an African-American male had fired ten shots into the SUV of some white suburban kids playing their music too loud, killing one of them, I think we all know there would have been a murder conviction and almost certainly a death penalty imposed.

On the Killing of Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn — Ta-Nehisi Coates is bitterly powerful on this.

Red Scarer: 1953 — A photograph of one of the truly vile figures in 20th century American history, Senator Joe McCarthy. Him and Roy Cohn.

?otD: Ever flown through a storm?


2/16/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes stationary bike
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad didn’t know you were looking for more than it could ever be

“Hemingway” on Hemingway — Who the hell would use an app to evaluate their writing quality?

1966 Batman Valentines — Hahaha.

Compulsory Coupling: Fit In By Finding Someone — Yeah, this.

Snow Bird: 1922 — Some photographs defy explanation.

Austin’s Moon Towers, Beyond ‘Dazed and Confused’ — I lived in Austin 18 years, almost all of them in the old part of town where these towers still stand.

Frozen Venice – in pictures — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Bobsleds in ManhattanWhy NYC Should Host The Winter Olympics. Hahahah.
Global Geologic Map of Ganymede — In case you need one.

A little ass music: Hieronymus Bosch’s 500-year-old butt song from hell — This is so weird. (Via Lisa Costello.)

248-Million-Year-Old Fossil Shows Oldest Reptile Live Birth, Chaohusaurus Was Born ‘Head First’

The Rise of the Crazy Ants — Fire ants were bad enough. Now this? (Via David Goldman.)

The French way of cancer treatment[T]he French system is basically like an expanded Medicaid. Pretty much everyone has insurance, it explained, and the French get better primary care and more choice of doctors than we do. It also turns out, as has been much commented on, that despite all this great treatment, the French spend far less on healthcare than Americans. But Socialism is evil! No matter that people live longer, with better quality of life, for less cost. (Snurched from Alexander Unwyn Cherry.)

Cartoon: The truth about numbers: Bible Math! — Snerk. The dangers of literalism.

Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill Is an Abomination — Wow. It’s very, very hard for me to read about something like this and not reach some very harsh negative conclusions about the intelligence, morality and basic human decency of American conservatives. (Via John Sapienza.)

Herpin: ‘A good thing’ that James Holmes had 100-round magazineRepublican state Sen. Bernie Herpin raised the ire of an Aurora theater shooting victim’s father when he claimed that it might have been “a good thing” that gunman James Holmes had a 100-round magazine when he opened fire and, ultimately, killed 12 people. I cannot even bring myself to snark about this.

Schofield man who advocated for open carry jailed, accused of making gun threats — Because guns make us all safer, and every American who carries deadly force can absolutely be relied upon to use that threat of deadly force wisely under all circumstances.

Doctors: Abortion laws carry riskEven those who oppose abortion say that before giving their best medical advice, they may need to call a lawyer. All in accordance with that bedrock conservative principle of not letting the government come between you and your doctor.

[Conservative activist] Brent Bozell urges liberal media to ‘tell the truth,’ while he fibs about writing a column — “Forced ghostwriting”?

Sen. Bob Corker can’t stand the United Auto Workers: An annotated interview — I wish more journalists would do this when interviewing politicians: annotate the lies and misrepresentations. (Snurched from John Sapienza.)

[New York Republican state legislator] Thomas Barraga: No one ‘should ever ride a bicycle’ in Suffolk County — Because freedom, I guess.

?otD: Do you have to stay?


2/14/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad has a full life, if a trifle banal

A Non-Binary Person’s Guide to Invented Pronouns

This Movie Works Whether You Play It Backward or Forward — A visual palindrome. (Via David Goldman.)

Sartre & Peanuts — Huh. (Snurched from David Wilford.)

San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers

A Winter Olympics Venn Diagram — Hahahahah.

How to Design an Interstellar Communications System If we want to communicate with other civilisations, it turns out that the laws of physics, the nature of interstellar space and a little common sense place surprisingly strict bounds on how this communication can take place.

SETI at the Particle Level

Satellites Spot Whales From SpaceThis new method could help researchers remotely count and keep track of whale populations. Mmm, space whales.

Giant leap for nuclear fusion as scientists get more energy out than fuel put in150 picoseconds of scientific breakthrough, though “ignition” remains a distant goal.

Probe to use Prehistoric Pigment Shield for Solar PlungeEuropean scientists designing the upcoming Solar Orbiter — a mission that will swoop deep inside the sun’s atmosphere (the corona) to carry out an unprecedented solar observing campaign — didn’t turn to science fiction for help, however. They’re using a technology that was available during prehistoric times to protect the spacecraft from the sun.

This is why we have two nostrils, rather than a single, large hole in the middle

Ancient native boy’s genome reignites debate over first Americans — And then there’s Kennewick Man.

Southeast U.S. Battered by Another Winter StormThis storm doesn’t disprove global warming any more than it getting dark at night disproves the existence of the Sun.

Planet, Oceans Burning Up: There is no “Pause” in Global Warming

Dear Creation Museum, all science is “historical science.” Here’s whyThe sort of selective reasoning—miracles don’t happen when there’s lab equipment nearby, but they have made anything more than a few centuries old completely inaccessible to scientific analysis—quite reasonably raises questions about whether researchers who hold this view can be relied on to do solid science, as does their lack of self-awareness that keeps them from recognizing that they are doing historical science. Their apparent willingness to throw the scientific method under the bus as soon as it conflicts with their personal beliefs is concerning as well.

Christian School Faulted for Halting Abuse StudyFor decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners. Tell me again how atheists are immoral? Help me understand why this version of the Christian worldview is somehow better than simple, honest humanism? ‘Cause I’m really not seeing it here.

Kentucky must accept out-of-state gay unions“Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons,” wrote Heyburn, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. The very same people who threaten to take up arms over every perceived possible slight to their freedoms ought to understand that. But they don’t. Even so, another bigotry domino falls, another step forward for freedom, justice and American values.

U.S. Takes a Sharp Drop in World Press Freedom RankingsThe United States took a nasty drop in the World Press Freedom rankings, released on Wednesday by the media group Reporters Without Borders, falling 14 spots to the 46th best country for journalist freedoms. Of the 180 countries ranked, the home of the First Amendment now sits snuggled between Romania and Haiti.

How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error — A crazy story about everything that’s wrong with our National Security regime. Headline is a bit misleading, as the problem started in 2004 in the Bush administration, but the Obama administration continued to cover it up. (Via David Goldman.)

How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying — Because security! (Via David Goldman.)

Senate passes debt-ceiling plan in blow to conservatives — The profoundly unpatriotic nihilists in the House GOP caucus take on on the chin. A very modest victory for good government and good sense.

Rand Paul v Barack Obama: A prelude to 2016 — As much as Rand Paul is a profoundly unpatriotic nihilist as well, he’s got a point about the surveillance state. Not that moderates and progressives haven’t been crying foul.

Is one of “the crazy ones” behind a threatening email sent to House Republicans? What makes “the crazy ones” crazy, in fact, is that they genuinely believe the cynical lies — about government debt, global warming, taxes, healthcare, immigration, Democratic Party fiscal policies and so on — that the non-crazy ones have been feeding the rubes for years. Mind you, “one of the crazy ones” is a description by a House Republican of other House Republicans.

?otD: Have any Cardassian laundry lists?


2/13/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad has got bananas, watermelons and peaches by the pound

Photographer Gets A-List Celebrities To Reenact Stunning Scenes From Disney Movies — Annie Leibovitz with some amazing stuff. (Via Lisa Costello.)

An open letter from a Death Star architect — Hahaha. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Agloe, the Paper Town Stronger than Fiction — An odd twist on a well-known story, for you map geeks.

Researchers Watch As Our Brains Turn Sounds Into Words — Ok. This is cool.

Seattle construction workers unearth mammoth tusk

Good luck trying to escape a hungry crocodile by climbing a treeResearchers discovered that four crocodile species climbed trees.

The Archaeology of the Stars — More on hunting for very ancient stars. (Thanks to Dad.)

4 Crazy Gay Marriage Predictions That Never Came TrueIt’s time to take a look at some of predictions and see if any have come to fruition. Guess what?

Nevada Officials Won’t Defend Gay Marriage Ban“After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable.“ Another bigotry domino falls in the face of personal freedom and American values.

Now They’re Making the Homeless Freeze to Death in PensascolaPensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has reversed positions on a city ordinance that makes it a crime for the homeless to sleep on public property with a blanket. I’m pretty sure the Bible has something to say about this in Matthew 25:36. I realize Jesus wasn’t up on current American conservative thinking when he talked about clothing the naked, but the principle seems clear. (Via David Goldman.)

GOP Report Acknowledges That The U.S. Military Couldn’t Have Changed Benghazi Outcome — Republicans formally acknowledging in writing that neither Hillary nor Obama did anything wrong in the Benghazi matter? Yeah, that will be all over Your Liberal Media.

?otD: More better than in town?


2/12/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (multiply interrupted)
Body movement: 15 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad is a Melkotian object

Green, Book Review — Not so much with the liking of my novel.

It’s happening again! — My dear friend [info]garyomaha talks about the costs of segmentation in media and society.

Red Hong Yi renders Chinese scenes from makeup — Impressive. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Lego Hell — Oh, wow. Hahaha. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Chandre Oraon, Man With Tail, Worshipped As God (But Not By His Wife)

33 Powerful And Creative Print Ads That’ll Make You Look Twice — Some of these are amazing. Some are questionable. They’re all worth looking at. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Wildly detailed drawings that combine math and butterflies — Amazing stuff.

Photos by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji in Iran of mosque art — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Genome Surgery — Here comes the future.

NASA Mars Orbiters spots clues to possible water flows

Star Wars planets migrate into position around stellar pairsTatooine orbited two stars; now researchers believe planets like this actually exist.

Australian researchers say they have found the oldest star in the known universe, 6000 light years from Earth

Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? — Wow are there a lot of unexamined cultural assumptions embedded in this article, especially around the supposed natural inviolability of monogamy.

NRA Board Member: Bullied Children Commit Suicide Because Young Boys Have Been “Neutered” — Ah, the magical sense of social responsibility that comes with gun ownership.

My Baby and AOL’s Bottom LineThat “distressed baby” who Tim Armstrong blamed for benefit cuts? She’s my daughter.

Greenland glacier sets glacial speed recordWater pressure greases the skids for Jakobshavn, clocked at 2 meters per hour.

Business as usual + sea level rise = losses of up to 9% of global GDPBut losses should be less if we’re not dumb enough to keep building on coasts.

Sowing Seeds: An Ex-Christian’s Thoughts on the Bill Nye/Ken Ham Debateee, there’s this stereotype in Christian culture (and elsewhere) that atheists are joyless, unhappy God-haters with hearts full of anger and lives devoid of purpose. That makes loss of faith a scary prospect, because who wants a life like that? Just by being himself, letting his love of science shine through, Nye demonstrated how joy, wonder, excitement, passion, and purpose — all things religious people tend to associate with service to God — can be a part of an atheist’s life. (To be fair, I don’t know for sure what Nye’s beliefs are, but Creationist fundamentalism does rather tend to lump together evolution belief and atheism, along with homosexuality, Communism, and baby-eating.) Yes, this. Atheists can be and often are moral, ethical, joyful people. Just as with any group of human beings. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

I’m a Member of the American ‘Used-to-Haves’Watching John Boehner and the Republican Congress during the past few years has been a stunning confirmation of their seeming disregard for the “Used-to-Haves.” As they pull down salaries of $174,000 a year, unparalleled benefits and the option of voting themselves a raise, their selfishness is unrivaled as they barricade health care reform, knowingly shut down the government, cut SNAP benefits and eliminate extended unemployment payments.

A commentor responds to my post on the 1% and hard work — Worth the read, as he has personal experience at multiple levels of the economy, unlike myself. I’ve never held those hard, low-end jobs, not even in my student job days. My first paid jobs were as a government clerk, then as a bank courier.

Tree Lobsters on economic inequality — Be sure to read the mouseover text.

Chastened G.O.P. Tries to Foil Insurgents at Primary LevelOne of the biggest challenges for Republican leaders in the 2014 midterm elections will be how to hang on to the Tea Party support that has been so instrumental to the party’s growth, while winning back voters alienated by hard-right candidates. I dunno. Maybe by not taking hard-right positions? Confidential to GOP in America: Try the evidence-based worldview for a change. You’d be amazed how differently things look when you factor in facts, data and actual history instead of an “unskewed” ideological narrative.

Tea Party Ain’t Over Yet: How Conservatives Still Control Congress — It seems like not so long ago that people in my end of the blogosphere were angrily defending the Tea Party as an independent, non-partisan grass roots movement. How’d that work out?

Leave The Poets AloneTrey Gowdy is a member of the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives. As such, Trey Gowdy is dedicated to working the job of governing the country as little as possible. When you elect people who think government is a failure, is it any surprise when they work for the failure of government? That such nonsensical thinking has achieved such political prominence in America is one of the great shames of our time.

Welfare StateWashington’s Republican counties depend on Western Washington’s money. How can they survive the state budget cuts they demand? Welcome to conservative America, where evidence-based thinking is proudly rejected. And yes, this phenomenon of rural conservatives opposing the very tax structure that benefits them most based on counterfactual ideological beliefs about the direction in which the money flows repeats within many states across the US, as well as at the state/Federal level. As the article comments, The irony here is not that those who benefit most from state spending are paying the least; that’s kinda the way these things are supposed to work. No, the irony is that those rural communities that are most dependent on the state—whose roads and schools and other essential public services couldn’t possibly be maintained without generous state subsidies—are also those least likely to vote for the tax dollars necessary to sustain these services. (Via David Goldman.)

CBO: Guys, We Didn’t Say Obamacare Would Cost 2.5 Million Jobs — Hmm. Unthinkable that the GOP should substantially misrepresent an important ACA point in a way that casts an unfavorable light on the president. Conservative intellectual honesty and moral probity would never permit such a thing.

?otD: How many to beam up?


2/11/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 15 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad yawns, mumbles

Dear lung cancer patient who smoked

Historically Accurate Disney Princess — This is depraved. And remember, this is me talking.

Verifying images: why seeing is not always believing — Sorting out the provenance of Internet photos. (Via David Goldman.)

How Science Turned a Struggling Pro Skier Into an Olympic Medal Contender — (Via David Goldman.)

Anybody who doesn’t support LIHEAP funding is a big ol’ jerkThat’s one of the weirder aspects of the bitter teavangelical politics of resentment: It’s constantly condemning what it calls “socialism” because it’s not socialistic enough. Once everybody gets something, regardless of need, then it’s fine (“Keep your government out of my Medicare!”). Yes, that’s dumb, but sitting in a corner nurturing every tiny molehill of resentment into a mountain of indignation isn’t a promising way to make yourself smarter.

Republican Jesus says… — They left out the adjective “smug”. Otherwise, this is awesome. (Via Lisa Costello.)

8 Unsustainable Delusions of the American Way of Life — An interesting list. The presentation is a bit more leftie and shrill than even I’m comfortable with, but the points are worth considering.

Top 10 Reasons Rand Paul’s Lewinsky Gambit Can’t Obscure GOP War on Women — Well, all that, and the fact that desperate nastiness doesn’t sell well outside those predisposed to the politics of resentment.

?otD: Got sleep?


2/10/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 12 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad can’t sell you what you need

TOC: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures — In which I have a reprint novelette, “Benedice Te”.

Worst Day of the Year Ride Canceled Because of Bad Weather — Ah, Portland. (Via my sister.)

Put a monocle on anything and it looks classy — Mr. Peanut, is that you?

That’s “Heavy”: The Mind-Body-Metaphor Connection — This is fascinating. In English, and several other languages as well, weight is used as metaphor to signify importance. The authors hypothesized that this abstraction can be triggered by concrete experiences of weight, like holding something heavy. They call this “embodied cognition.”

Can tumors be transplanted? — Uh…

Why do Americans spend so much on pharmaceuticals?

The Evidence Piles Up: Antioxidant Supplements Are Bad For You — Ooops. (Via David Goldman.)

Crowdfunding’s Effect on Venerable Nonprofits Raises ConcernWebsites now let people ask for charitable support for their own causes, but some fear that such sites will drain donations from established nonprofits. (Via Dad.)

Plate tectonics set the thermostat for early animal lifeSwitch from snowball to hothouse conditions driven by continental collisions.

Mechanism Important for Photosynthesis was Present in Ancient Microbes 2.5 Billion Years Ago

Earth’s Oldest Land Predators Had ‘Steak Knife’ Teeth

Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies

What Noise Does the Electric Car Make? — I was nearly struck by an electric scooter in China, the rider moving fast at night with his headlight off, presumably to conserve battery. Fast and all but noiseless.

Hamline professor’s post on student loan debt goes viral — When I started at the University of Texas at Austin in 1982, tuition and fees for a full 18 semester hour load were about $360. When I graduated in 1986, thanks to conservative-driven cuts in subsidies for higher education, it was well over $2,000 per semester. Costs have soared many times over since then, because we as a society have explicitly chosen to make higher education less and less accessible to each succeeding cohort of youth.

(GOP) Rep. Has Cordial Chat About Whether Obama ‘Should Be Executed’ — This piece is just creepy. Now try imagining the firestorm in Your Liberal Media if a Democratic congressman had had this conversation about Bush or Reagan.

?otD: Did buy it off the shelf? Did you grow it from the seed?


2/8/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad gazes across the frigid Atlantic at the sunrise

Come Support the Jay Lake Auction at RadCon, Sunday at 1pm! — Ah, my friends.

Photos: Time Capsule Mansion Opened After 100 Years — Wow… (Via Lisa Costello.)

A Venn diagram cartoon — Hahahah.

The Patient, the Provider, and Participatory Medicine—Are We a House Divided? — (Snurched from Casey Quinlan.)

A Creepy Medical Tour Of The Past — I’m not sure I’d describe all of these as creepy, but they are fascinating.

Apple fires up new furnaces for iPhone 6’s sapphire screenUnbreakable screen tech heading Apple’s way.

Young Salmon Born Knowing Migration Route Without any prior migration experience, juvenile Chinook salmon can find their way to ancestral feeding grounds by using the Earth’s magnetic field and an inherited internal map, according to a new study.

Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk

Nasa’s Mars Curiosity Rover’s First Photo Of EarthThe distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo, which includes the moon, was about 99 million miles.

Night Hides the World — Another beautiful night sky image, with an interesting explanation, from APOD.

Thoughts on Planetary Migration

Seeing science: The year’s best visualizationsThe National Science Foundation and Science name 2013’s best.

Calvin & Muad’Dib on religion — I love this piece, and I love this series.

Answers for Creationists — Phil Plait answers the Creationist questionsposted after the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate”, with grace and patience.

Alabama Chief Justice Jumps Into Gay Marriage FightMoore said that “a great majority of the American people want to hold to the definition that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Uh, no. Not if you believe the polling or voting patterns. Of course, if you decide to believe that polls are skewed and elections are stolen, then I guess evidence doesn’t matter.

Stupid Irish Homophobes and Their Big Homophobic Fail — This is very similar to conservative dialectic in this country.

Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for TerrorismApril Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country’s Power Grid. I have seen coverage on this before, but I’m amazed at how little. Perhaps because firearms were involved, rather than explosives. Somebody was out exercising their right to a theoretical defense of essential liberties. (Via [info]danjite.)

Dread Pirate Roberts 2.0: An interview with Silk Road’s new bossNew leader wants Silk Road to publish gov’t secrets; calls old DPR a “fraud.” This is very strange, as is everything to do with the Deep Web, which is incredibly science fictional while also being quite real.

Lobbying is a Lucrative Investment, Researchers Find Using CRP Data — Duh? (Via [info]danjite.)

Six Economic Benefits of the Affordable Care Act

Still don’t have health insurance? The Obama administration is trying to find you.

GOP Rep: Even Jesus Couldn’t Control House Republicans — Hahaha.

?otD: Did you get weathered out of work or school today?


2/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a