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[links] Link salad wishes Omaha had better weather

…Jennifer McGee…365 project… — Wow. Someone is using my book Escapement as the basis of an art project. Wow.

Nothing happens over 4th of July weekend, except this year — Some significant publishing tidbits. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Forget Diet Coke and Mentos: Singing Bowls Excite Droplet Fountains [Video] — (Thanks to David Goldman.)

The colorectal surgeon song — Hey, mine saved my life. (Snurched from @willshetterly.)

Spacetime Beyond the Planck Scale — For your morning pleasure.

The Soviet Superplane Program That Rattled Area 51 — One of my old favorites. (Reminder courtesy of Chris W. Johnson.)

B-36 engines (1955)

Thirst for Fairness May Have Helped Us Survive — (Thanks to Dad.)

No ‘him’ or ‘her’; preschool fights gender bias — Hmmm. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

10 Ways Arab Democracies Can Avoid American Mistakes — Juan Cole is fascinating.

Mormonism and 2012 — Specifically, Romney and Huntsman. Mormonism suffers from the same problem Scientology does; neither is any more or less silly than any other religion at the root, but neither has been around long enough for the faith-based narrative of the religion’s founding to fully obscure the far grubbier objective reality of its founding.

Republicans Falsely Claim Obama Advisers Burying Data ‘Proving’ Stimulus Is Hurting Economy — I find it inconceivable that those sterling ethicists on the American Right could lie about anything. Why, when have they ever– Never mind.

The Mother of All No-Brainers — The now-infamous David Brooks column on GOP intransigence, in case you missed it.

?otD: What the hail?


7/6/2011
Writing time yesterday: 60 minutes (short fiction and WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (interrupted)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

[links] Link salad is muzzy

A Fast Life and Success That Starts in the Pouch — The life and times of North America’s only marsupial. (Via Dad.)

POOP BURGER: Japanese Researcher Creates Artificial Meat From Human Feces — Mmmm. (Thanks to [info]garyomaha.)

Rings — This video is just freaky. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Secrets From Apple’s Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity

After an Apocalypse, What’s Left of Digital Stores of Knowledge?

The Golden Fleece redivivusLanguage Log on Senator Coburn and the NSF.

The conservative media’s pay-for-play deals — But it’s fair and balanced!

After GOP debate, feeling nostalgic for George W. Bush

When Your Base Is NutsIn today’s Republican Party, the truth shall set you down, and out.

Our Abortion Was Different: When the Anti-Choice Choose — Rick Santorum is the face of the profound hypocrisy and inhumaneness of the forced pregnancy movement. Something much like this happened in my life years ago, and all the happy Christianist baby-savers out there hadmade it difficult for my wife to find a hospital that would perform a DNC to remove our nonviable fetus from her body when it would not spontaneously miscarry. Because it’s an abortion procedure, and all abortions are evil. So to all you right-to-lifers who are so certain you have the moral answers, I offer a big hearty “fuck you”, and refer you to candidate Santorum and his wife, who oppose all abortions except their own. The real world isn’t simple as your cartoon theology tells you.

?otD: Muzzy, was he?


6/17/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (Kalimpura revisions)
Body movement: 30-minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 234.2
Currently (re)reading: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad wonders if it should have been born a Cancer instead of a Gemini

Don’t forget to enter the new Endurance caption contest: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] — I’ll probably be closing it this evening and constructing the voting poll.

A reader reacts to Mainspring — Much with the liking.

METAtropolis reviewed in Romanian — Not so much with the liking of my novella, “In the Forests of the Night”.

Fantasy Literature reviews Green — Not so much with the liking here either, I am afraid.

Scientists predict rare ‘hibernation’ of sunspots — (Thanks to [info]lillypond.)

How to Have Fun Like Monkeys, Whales and Foxes — I’ve been on dates like that.

How to Switch Off Friction In NanomachinesA new technique could reduce friction with the mere flick of a switch, say physicists. I’ve been on dates like that. Also, I have to ask, what is a “one dimensional surface”?

Deep sewer diving under New York — Wow… (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Are All Gay Girls Secretly Men? — Julia Rios blogs at The Outer Alliance on this difficult and disturbing story of appropriation.

Tea Party Summer Camp: The Experience of a Lifetime — Freaky. (Thanks to [info]shsilver.)

Five myths about the American flag — Ah, reality. If this were a Wikipedia article, Palinites would be editing it right now to remove those biased facts in favor of conservative “truths”.

Why Do Republicans Hate Clean Water? — The EPA does a lot of really good things for every American, regardless of political affiliation. And free market corporate self-regulation didn’t exactly keep our rivers and air clean. In fact, forming the EPA was one of Richard Nixon’s better moves.

The New Religion of Global Warming — Conservative ideological resistance to reality is observably hardening. As I’ve said before, no one comes to global warming denial on the merits of the data. They start there for ideological reasons, then look for data to support their beliefs. It’s a lot like Christian apologia.

The G.O.P. DebateEventually, the winner of the Republican nomination will move away from the Tea Party’s anger to try to appeal to a broader electorate that has higher priorities than interfering with laws on same-sex marriage and upending Congress’s decision to welcome openly gay and lesbian soldiers. I know! Let’s put the GOP back in power to fix the economy they ruined in the last decade!

?otD: What do you get if you multiply your blood type by your zodiacal sign?


6/16/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (Dad time instead)
Body movement: 30-minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 234.4
Currently (re)reading: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad is cool as a cucumber

Don’t forget to enter the new Endurance caption contest: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Outer Alliance Spotlight #80: Feminism

Androcentrism: It’s Okay To Be a Boy, But Being a Girl…

Industrial Photography With Soul — Yum! This photo feature from Dark Roasted Blend will put a little punk in your steam.

Dragon Inn: 1909 — You have to click through the larger view of the photo to see the dragon, but it is pretty cool.

The Terrifying Truth About New TechnologyDo robots and Twitter make you nervous? Growing old is what you’re really afraid of. In other words, “Hey, you kids, get off my digital lawn. Oh, and buy my book.”

Lasers Made from Human Cells — Headline of the month. Bwahahahahaha. One million dollars!!!!

I.B.M. Researchers Create High-Speed Graphene Circuits

Shadow Internet Story Fishy — Hmm…

When It Comes to Scandal, Girls Won’t Be Boys — Women, men and political sex scandals.

Badass Quote of the Day — Ed Brayton quoting Amanda Marcotte on conservatives and history, with respect to Sarah Palin’s hotly-defended fantasies about Paul Revere. (I’m still laughing over the alleged “gotcha” question that elicited her glossolaliac ramble into Revolutionary pseudohistory.)

Gingrich blames staff exodus on ‘strategic differences’ — He’s as nuts as Palin and Bachmann, albeit in a different way. Sadly for the nation, “nuts” does not equal “unelectable” in the weird, proudly non-reality-based community of Republican primaries.

?otD: What’s your favorite vegetable?


6/13/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (hours of tech follies)
Body movement: 30-minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 234.6
Currently (re)reading: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad girds for more medical intervention

A reader reacts to “The Passion of Mother Vajpai” — Short fiction from me and [info]calendula_witch

A Library of Listening, Made by You

Record Tornado Season Caused by Climate Change?Unfortunately, no one knows. Weather is not climate. No single weather event is indicative of climate, no matter how much our friends at FOX point to snowstorms as evidence that climate change is a liberal plot. Weather trends, however, can be evidence for climate trends.

Doing Math Is For Ugly Girls

Japan: elderly engineers want ‘final mission’ to FukushimaA group of elderly Japanese engineers are prepared to come out of retirement to fix the Fukushima nuclear power plant for their final mission.

Pope ousts ‘loose living’ monks of Rome’s Santa Croce monasteryVatican acts after reports of monks staging concerts featuring a former lap dancer and running hotel service. Obviously the fault of hippies. (Snurched from [info]crowleycrow.)

Oregon set to remove faith healing defense for parents — A bill “that would remove the defense of religious belief in the case of homicide”. I will be very proud of my state if we get this completed — faith healing to exclusion of medical intervention is child abuse, pure and simple — and frankly astonished that our powerful conservatives allowed it.

Bradlee Dean Lashes Out Over Prayer Controversy — Amazingly, even conservatives can occasionally be embarrassed by the rabid Christianism they have spent the last few decades so vigorously enabling.

The GOP 2012 Field’s Weak Leaders

Alabama Lawmaker Abandons GOP Over New Law Aimed At Teachers

?otD: Would you like to be Raptured?


5/27/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (1,200 more words on a non-fiction project)
Body movement: 30 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 234.2
Currently (re)reading: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad for a spring hump day

A reader reacts to Green — Generally favorable. I wonder that they’ll think of Endurance.

Think Like A Publisher #11… Electronic Sales to Bookstores — Dean Wesley Smith is really, really smart about distributing ebooks.

Female Magazine Fans Flock to Nook Color — Gender bias in ebook readers? (Via my Dad.)

A Rejection of the Power Semantic — A little bit of language neepery on pronouns, privilege and power, from Language Log. (Which reminds me some blog commentors who criticized me during the 2010 primary election season for referring to “Hillary, Edwards and Obama”, saying I was disrespecting Ms. Clinton by using only her first name. I had to point out that ‘Hillary’ was her own campaign’s branding, presumably to distinguish candidate Clinton from former President Clinton.)

How to spot a psychopath — Weird article.

Exclusive Area 51 Pictures: Secret Plane Crash RevealedNational Geographic with some fascinating photos and commentary on a highly secret 1963 aircraft crash out of Area 51. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Blohm & Voss BV 138 Seedrache (Sea Dragon) — Speaking of flying boats…

Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite imagesSeventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

What Bitcoin Is, and Why It MattersCan a booming “crypto-currency” really compete with conventional cash?

The dying of the light — Roger Ebert on projection problems in cinemas, thanks to proliferating Sony 3D technology.

Nasa picks deep-space astronaut shipNasa has confirmed that the vehicle it will use to send astronauts to places like asteroids will be based on its Orion capsule concept. “Orion”, your first name in design sanity since 1946. Really, they could have called it something else.

Apocalypse believers shocked after appointed hour passes — It’s hard to know what to say to this. I’m torn between deep mockery and sympathy for the deceived.

Older bin Laden widows think younger wife tipped off US

The Elephant in the Green RoomThe circus Roger Ailes created at Fox News made his network $900 million last year. But it may have lost him something more important: the next election. Your liberal media. I was especially struck by the bizarrely ironic statement that Ailes “doesn’t want Fox to be seen as a front of the Republican Party”. The pretense in this article that Fox has ever been a real news organization as opposed to a political operation is both charmingly naive and deeply disingenuous. And if you think that’s just my bias talking, see the part about Ailes’ belief that Obama wants to create a national police force. (Via [info]shsilver.)

?otD: How’s work?


5/25/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (non-fiction project, plus more time on technical stuff as well)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 232.0
Currently (re)reading: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad goes back to the work week

Prom Time — A gay friend talks about proms then and now. Moving.

Politey-tighty-whities — The cutline on this photo cracked me up hard.

Islands in the stream: The extraordinary homemade dams holding back the Mississippi as desperate residents try to save their homes

Microsoft Wants to Rule the White Spaces — Not typography, networking.

Birds vs. planes — Darren Naish on the biology of bird strikes.

Serena Williams’ Patriarchal Bargain — Sigh.

Is Anti-White Bias a Problem?A new study says whites think discrimination against them is a bigger problem than anti-black bias. Is this surprising? Sadly, this is not surprising. Sigh.

Former Palin aide pens tell-all — I knew who Palin was before McCain ever nominated her, because her petty corruption and generally weird behavior was a fairly regular feature of the political news cycle, though never headlines. The initial, apparently reflexive rush of some progressive feminists to defend her staunchly baffled me; so does her continued popularity with the Republican base.

Presidential pronouns, one more timeLanguage Log on yet another weird conservative obsession with Obama. This reminds of the conservative outrage over the Obama ‘feet on the Oval Office desk’ photo a while back, which was in no wise tempered by the existence of a nearly identical Bush ‘feet on the Oval Office desk’ photo that had never bothered anyone. Not even liberals. Confidential to GOP in America: all the manufactured outrages make your genuine outrages a lot harder to take seriously.

Charlatans and Cranks — Paul Krugman on GOP policies and politics. As usual, he’s speaking from the reality-based wing of, erm, reality.

?otD: Do rainy days and Mondays always get you down?


5/23/2011
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (out of town lacrosse game)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (fitful)
Weight: 232.6
Currently (re)reading: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad wakes up acheing and sore

Ursula K. LeGuin reviews China Miéville’s Embassytown — A wonderful thing this review is.

Habitability Around Nearby Stars — Another great article from Centauri Dreams.

The Human Body, Searchable in 3-DA new tool lets people see the inside of the body up close and in great detail.

Institutional Encouragement of Gender Norms — State of Nebraska can’t handle a male name change at marriage.

Ocean Noise Pollution Blowing Holes in Squids’ Heads — (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Atheist Billboard in Fresno Vandalized After Only Three Days — If your beliefs are so tenuous that they can be threatened by a billboard, maybe you need to rethink them. Nah, easier to attack the billboard.

Is The End Nigh? We’ll Know Soon Enough — Just because every single time the Biblical end has been proclaimed in the past two thousand years has been wrong doesn’t mean these guys can’t be right! Personally, I refer true believers to Matthew 24:36. Matthew 6:6 is a favorite, too. Amazing how many of our loudest Christianists ignore those two while insisting that carefully selected Old Testament verses are the literal and irrevocable word of God, who apparently shares their exact prejudices.

Just, juster, justest — Slacktivist Fred Clark with more on the ethics of the bin Laden raid.

Gingrich Run Reflects His Sense of History — Oh boy, just what this country needs. A moralizing scold and serial adulterer who already ruined the government once already. Remember kids, character counts! (Thanks to my Dad.)
?otD: When’s the last time you had surgery?


5/11/2011
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (galley edits to Endurance)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid, Vicodin-assisted)
Weight: 242.0
Currently reading: Sasha 124 by Alex Tillson

[links] Link salad in the midnight hour

Video games: the addictionTom Bissell was an acclaimed, prize-winning young writer. Then he started playing the video game Grand Theft Auto. For three years he has been cocaine addicted, sleep deprived and barely able to write a word. Any regrets? Absolutely none. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Speaking UpThe Outer Alliance with a summation of the Jessica Verday situation, with respect to a YA story being edited for same-sex content.

Darkness and Cherry Pie: David Lynch’s Map of Twin Peaks — For all you fans out there.

Central Tien Shan, China — Orbital photograph of some Chinese mountains. Stunning.

Japan Fears Nuclear Reactor Is Leaking Contaminated Water

Fission Products in Seattle Reveal Clues about Japan Nuclear DisasterThe first analysis of nuclear fission products in the atmosphere over Seattle provides a unique insight into the nature of the disaster.

Why we must defend Sarah Palin — Politics and women.

Jon Stewart on class warfare

American Thought Police — Paul Krugman on the Republican party as champions of individual liberty and government non-interference.

The Right’s Selective Embrace of Religious Liberty — More intellectual consistency from the leading lights of America’s moral universe.

?otD: Have you ever given a rebel yell?


3/28/2011
Writing time yesterday: 3.0 hours (revisions on Sunspin, net 500 words gain to manuscript)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 249.6
Currently reading: A Bard’s Eye View, ed. Michael A. Ventrella; Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts

[links] Link salad has another day in the sun

Don’t Call Me, I Won’t Call You — The rise and fall of the phone call.

Why aren’t more women airline pilots?

Why don’t journalists link to primary sources?

Japan Earthquake not the “Big One”? — An article by a friend of mine.

?otD: Would you like a crocodile?


3/19/2011
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (3,100 words on Sunspin)
Body movement: 50 minutes of meadow walking
Hours slept: 5.5 hours (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: A Bard’s Eye View, ed. Michael A. Ventrella; Honeyed Words by J.A. Pitts

[links] Link salad, anchovy-free edition

Maps of Murder: Dell Books and ‘Hard-Boiled’ Cartography — From Strange Maps.

Two Thoughts on Gender Presentation and Youth Sports — Andrew Wheeler on Little League and life.

McLaren & Meyer & Rotten & Vicious & me — Roger Ebert on the Sex Pistols.

Worlds without women — Maureen Dowd compares the Catholic Church to Saudi Arabia. I know, let’s blame coverage of priestly pedophilia on the Jews! Also this: Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill. Because you, a little justice in Christ’s church is a bad thing.

Nobel Prize winners by country — A ratio which will drop over time, thank to conservative dilution of the educational system. Intelligent Design and evolution denial do not prepare children for critical thinking in life: quite the opposite. Hard to make new breakthroughs when you have been taught your parents’ opinions trump empirical evidence. America first! (Via Dark Roasted Blend.)

Note to Newt: Women really, really don’t like PalinNewt Gingrich says that adore Palin and are drawn to her unique, can-do qualities. […] According to the latest CBS News poll, Palin is weighed down by an astonishingly low favorable rating among women; just 21 percent. In fact, women give Palin the lowest marks of virtually any demographic group polled by CBS. Facts, so inconvenient when you have a conservative worldview. See above item.

Beware Your Socialist Roads — Damned government, always interfering in private life. I’m sure our finely principled Tea Partiers avoid such socialist hells at all costs. Say, how do you guys get to those rallies, anyway?

?otD: What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?


4/12/2010
Writing time yesterday: n/a (chemo)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 8.5 (solid)
This morning’s weigh-in: 232.6
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 7/10 (largely emotional)
Currently reading: [between books]

[personal] Fear, self-censorship, and facing into it

This is a difficult post. When I found myself afraid to make it this morning, I realized I had to do so. My response to fear, once I get past whatever initial panic might be involved, is to step towards whatever scares me.

The so-called “Race Fail” last year was very troublesome for me. I found myself being vilified by total strangers based on other people’s interpretations of a few words of mine in a blog post. I found myself being held up as an example of ignorant, arrogant white privilege. I found a lot of things being said about me that were flatly untrue, grossly misinterpreted, or simply assumptions based on my skin color and gender as portrayed in my blog’s icons — in that last case, flatly stated as such.

I was told during the course of “Race Fail” that growing up in nonwhite countries (primarily Taiwan and Nigeria, for reference) did not give me any perspective on race. In other words, my white-ness trumps any possibility that my life experience might influence my development or perceptions.

I was told during the course of “Race Fail” that parenting a non-white daughter ( is adopted from China) did not give me any perspective on race. In other words, my white-ness trumps any possibility that my child’s life experience might influence my development or perceptions.

Since then, I’ve self-censored almost completely on issues of race and gender here on my blog. Not in my fiction — go read Green if you want to see me talking about those subjects — but here in my daily musings about life, fiction, politics, cancer, parenting and whatnot. It simply hasn’t been worth the trouble of defending myself every time I open my mouth, of having to laboriously re-establish my credentials and standing to even express an opinion on race or gender.

Am I complaining about being a white man? No. I am keenly aware of my privilege in society, even in the smallest ways. If I step up to a mobbed deli counter without a line numbering system, I’m often the next one called, ahead of people waiting far longer than I. I always defer to the people around me, precisely because I am aware. My paycheck every two weeks reminds me of my privilege. My occasional conversations with law enforcement remind me of my privilege. My nice house in the suburbs, my spiffy convertible, my pile of tech gear, my current standard of medical care in the face of recurring cancer — they are all privilege.

Ironically, one of the few places where white privilege isn’t overwhelmingly woven into the baseline of society is fiction. I say this as someone who’s edited numerous open anthologies, and submitted to something like a hundred markets. Manuscripts don’t have gender or race. As an editor, I stopped looking at by-lines years ago, given how many people write psuedonymously. And speaking as someone who often writes characters who are not what I am (white, middle-aged, male, Anglo-Saxon), I long ago stopped assuming anything about the author’s identity from their characters or settings.

All of which is to say, a commentor questioned why I’d linked to a recent review of Mainspring that took me to task through the lens of white privilege. My answer, likewise in comments, I have decided to repost here, because I think it’s important.

I firmly believe the story belongs to the reader. Whether that reader is fan, a reviewer, or some random gal from Dubuque.

I also firmly believe the writer is not the story.

I also know that I am neither a racist nor a sexist, unless the reader subscribes to the theory that all white men are racists and sexists. In which case there’s not much I can do about that reader’s perception, since they’re already prejudiced against me and anything I might have to say.

Finally, there’s absolutely no point in arguing with reviewers, with the very narrow potential exception of errors-of-fact. Arguing with perceptions is futile. The words really do need to speak for themselves, even if the reader is hearing things I didn’t put in them.

As far my personal place in this, anybody that’s read more than a few words of my fiction or my commentary would know pretty damn well where I stand on issues of race, culture and gender as a strong liberal-progressive. If they haven’t, then they’re judging me based on their own misperceptions, and that’s too bad for them.

I should have said two things differently. “Even if the reader is hearing things I didn’t put in them” should not have been an “if” statement. By definition, readers find things I didn’t put in the text. That’s them bringing their own experience to the work. Writing is only half the job of telling a story, after all. Reading is the other half.

The other thing I should have said differently is to note that of course I am racist and sexist. I am a human being. We all distrust the other. It’s hardwired into us. My responsibility as a human being, as a parent, a writer, a citizen, is to manage those impulses in such a way as to overcome them. Yes, I’m racist and sexist, every bit as much as someone who judges my words or dismisses my opinions because I am a white male is racist and sexist. As a white male at the top of the power curve, I bear additional responsibility for overcoming those tendencies.

That last is something I’ve been keenly aware of since about the age of 19, and worked diligently on all my life. Which you’d never know from looking at my face or my name, would you? You’d only know by listening to me, or reading my words.

So here’s me, facing my fear of speaking up, and trying to end my self-censorship. Because I find the self-imposed censorship has only stoked my resentments, and that’s less healthy than shutting up. Much less healthy.