Sign up for my newsletter to be among the first to learn of upcoming titles!

[links] Link salad in the Arctic cold

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

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

The Coolest Child Care Program You’ve Never Heard Of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[links] Link salad stumbles onward through the fog

Subruncinator — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Neanderthals Could Talk Like Humans, Bone Reveals

Massive Lake Found Under Greenland Ice — It wasn’t me, I swear.

Study: Fall of the Soviet Union may have saved the Arctic

Billion-dollar climate denial network exposedA network of 91 think tanks and industry groups are primarily responsible. One of conservative America’s chief contributions to the decline of human civilization: putting us at inflated risk to extreme climate change through opportunistic denialism. Those responsible will of course never be held accountable, because conservatives never are.

Utah? Yes, Utah. Wow.Slacktivist Fred Clark celebrates the unexpected blow to bigotry in one of America’s most conservative, most religious states.

The cost of reading every book: We know their names — A sobering account of the history of the Library of Congress.

Classism in the Rise and Fall of the Duck Dynasty Patriarch — A sociological take on the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle. Interesting perspective, including a fascinating pair of photos.

Our God-Given Constitutional Right to a Television ShowThe writer Josh Barro has compiled a heart-warming collection of affectionate and supportive notes sent by loving Christians hoping to save him from his sinful and murderous ways. Barro’s writings on Phil Robertson provoked this joyous outpouring of excellent news.

When the Right to Bear Arms Includes the Mentally Ill — Because guns make us all safer. Duh.

The “War on Christmas”: On Ethnocentrism and Blasphemy But America never was a “Christian nation.” America was founded upon genocide and has chattel slavery enshrined in the Constitution. If anything, that makes our founding document satanic. Slaves built the White House and the US Capital for goodness sake. What is being “lost” in our nation isn’t Christianity but white hegemony (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Ooops, he did it againIf Rand Paul wants to avoid these questions, then he should avoid people who sympathize with white supremacists. And the same is true of the GOP writ large; if Republicans want to avoid accusations of prejudice or insensitivity, then the first step is to end the party’s association with lawmakers, officials, and activists who can’t help but indulge their worst instincts.

The Truth Behind The Lies Of The Original ‘Welfare Queen’ — Ah, the germ of truth behind one of Ronald Reagan’s most cherished and persistent lies. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

?otD: Can you see your hands?


12/23/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 235.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block falsifying climate change data: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[politics] You’d better run said the man with the gun

A day or two ago, [info]kenscholes and I were enjoying a leisurely breakfast in The Bomber, in Milwaukie, OR. It’s a sleepy little diner mostly patronized by older folks in a sleepy little suburb south of Portland. In other words, about as a dangerous as your living room. Probably less so.

A very large man walked in with a pistol on his hip, open carry. I am extremely dubious that he was a peace officer off duty, based on his hair, clothes and grooming. I turned to Ken and said, “We need to leave.” We did. I didn’t follow my normal policy of dialing 911 whenever I see a weapon in public because the diner staff had taken no action.

Open carry scares the hell out of me. So does concealed carry, frankly, but concealed carry is a defensive measure, at least in theory. Open carry is a very deliberate threat. It’s a gun owner saying, if in my judgment you are dangerous, I will shoot you down.

I am far, far more frightened of someone who feels the need to walk around openly displaying a handgun than I am of any theoretical criminals that might have been menacing Milwaukie that day. The fact that this guy had that need to threaten everyone he encountered telegraphs some very negative information about both his emotional stability and situational judgement. Open carry isn’t about safety, it’s about dominance.

The weird part is how hard this is to prove. The same conservatives who loudly assure us that firearms are safe and that firearms improve public safety have for decades banned Federally funded research into precisely those questions. If guns were such an excellent safety tool, wouldn’t gun rights enthusiasts be eagerly embracing the research to underscore their point?

Quite the opposite. A firearm is a tool for killing. It serves literally no other purpose. All the collateral uses such as target shooting or hunting are simply practice for the killing. Even the gun lobby knows better, hence the research ban. They just don’t want people thinking in those terms because it’s bad P.R.

I do not want to be around another human being who feels the need to threaten to kill me for the sake of their own sense of security. It saddens me that this is legal, acceptable behavior, and people who practice open carry in normal, everyday situations scare the living hell out of me.

This is not a well-ordered militia, as the always-neglected part of the Second Amendment calls for.

30,000 people die every year in shootings in this country. It is one of the great shames of our society, and will eventually be one of history’s greatest puzzles that we as a society embraced this wholesale slaughter when every other similar industrialized society of our era managed a much more peaceful solution with much lower death rates.

Why would I want to be a part of conservative America’s rain of blood just to satisfy some guy’s paranoid ego?


If past experience proves true, I will catch a lot of flak for this post. A note to head off at least one line of criticism: I am quite comfortable with firearms, am a rather good shot, and understand range safety. In other words, I am not speaking from some thick-headed liberal ignorance. It’s precisely because I understand guns that I don’t want to be around them.

[links] Link salad for a rainy Solstice Saturday

In which our collaborate novel Our Lady of the Islands, written by me and Shannon Page, finds a home

Jade par Jay Lake — A French review of the French translation of my book Green. Some complaints, but I interpret the Google Translate version as generally positive.

Textopornographie: France creates its own word for ‘sexting’ — Of course they did. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Party Down: 100 Years of the Crossword Puzzle

Amazing Shadow Sculptures by Tim Noble and Sue Webster — Wow. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Photos: 2013’s Most Terrifying Weather Disasters

Scientists Send World’s First Text Message Using Vodka — Because reasons!

Algae go in, biocrude oil comes out

Damage suffered by Mars rover Curiosity’s aluminum wheels raise concern

‘Perfect’ Electron Roundness Bruises Supersymmetry

People worried about food poisoning, however, should treat chicken as a hazard in the kitchen.People worried about food poisoning, however, should treat chicken as a hazard in the kitchen. (Via David Goldman.)

New Mexico becomes 17th gay marriage state — Another bigotry domino falls. Another state abandons senseless hatred cloaked in religious privilege in favor of a sane and moral approach to its citizens.

Federal judge strikes down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage — Wow. I would have bet good money that either Utah or Nebraska would the last stand of religious bigotry in this country when it comes to persecuting gays. This is beyond shocking.

In Striking Down Utah’s Gay Marriage Ban, Judge Gives Scalia Big Bear Hug — Ah, legal trolling.

New Jersey Senate Passes Transgender Birth Certificate BillEarlier this week, The Advocate reported on the status of a bill intended to make the often-difficult and cost-prohibitive process of updating identification documents easier for transgender individuals in New Jersey. This in the state that elected Chris Christie as governor? Wow…

‘Duck Dynasty’: White evangelicals rallying for racism — It makes smug Republican Jesus smile.

Phil Robertson’s America The Duck Dynasty star’s warped vision of civil-rights history feeds his warped view of today’s gay-rights struggle. Ta-Nehisi Coates with some perspective that should shame any white person, regardless of your politics.

Is the “War on Christmas” about Christmas?For these commenters, the so-called War on Christmas is about much more than a competition between religious and secular forces, it’s also about the centrality of whiteness and a defense of “true” Canadianness against an influx of foreign cultures. It is worth considering whether, in general, this debate is really code for racism and anti-immigrant sentiment more generally. I dunno. Do conservatives ever fixate on race and immigration? Seems beneath them, somehow.

“You’re Days Are Numbered”: On Death Threats And Gun RightsSo what do you think about the NRA’s advocacy? Just curious, since their essay resulted in death threats to me, threats of rape to my wife, and threats of abduction and murder of my six-month-old daughter from the people who read the NRA’s column. Personally, I think a little bit less of an organization like the NRA, which incites their members to threaten rape and murder and the abduction of babies. Guns make us all safer. Especially in the hands of patriotic NRA members like these folks. Only liberal pussies like me could possibly doubt that tools designed for human death in the hands of angry, irrational people could possibly be any kind of threat in a society which cheerfully accepts 30,000 gun deaths a year without question.

Military retirees: You betrayed us, CongressMilitary retirees are outraged that Congress will start voting Thursday on a budget deal that trims military pensions, calling the move “an egregious breach of faith.” Actually, the weakening of any pension — city government, union, corporate, Federal, military — is an egregious breach of faith. But one that companies, courts and politicians are all to eager to embrace at any turn, especially when there are investors whose returns must be protected. Of course, that attitude almost certainly makes me a mouth-breathing Socialist. (Via [info]danjite.)

Wyoming Senate race 2014: Liz Cheney husband Phil Perry on vote rolls in 2 states — Imagine if you will for a moment if a Democratic Senate candidate’s spouse were registered to vote in two states. There would be calls in the House for a Federal investigation, and the story would top the cycle of Your Liberal Media for weeks, and the conservative echo chamber for months. But a Republican candidate’s spouse? This dog will be dead by Sunday. Because conservatism is more moral, dammit.

$22.62/Hr: The Minimum Wage if it had Risen Like the Incomes of the 1% — I cannot even bring myself to be sarcastic about this.

Did 17 Illegal Voters in Ohio Steal the 2012 Election?And a great deal of legal work has come up dry in the hunt for the mythical “buses of illegal voters” being spirited in from cities or campuses to stuff the polls. But if you just read Fox, you’ve learned that the voter fraud problem is very real. That’s because conservatives are almost always wrong both on the plain face of the facts, and on the basis their “ideas”. Lying is the only way to make the conservative case. Bearing false witness makes smug Republican Jesus smile, after all, because it’s one of those optional Ten Commandments. (Snurched from John Sapienza.)

?otD: Got your collar turned to the cold and damp?


12/21/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 237.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block falsifying climate change data: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad is just waiting for the rain

Desolation again strikes Tolkien-themed street signs — Ah, Portland. (Via Dad.)

Alfred Shaheen: Pioneer of the Hawaiian Shirt — Oooh! (Via [info]threeoutside.)

How Linguists and Missionaries Share a Bible of 6,912 Languages

This is a map of the U.S., with the literal meanings of its state names and cities — This is cool. (Snurched from Lois Buhalis.)

A Baby Name That Really Tells You Something About the Parents — Yes, it tells you these parents have heartland family values, and also badly need oversight from Child Protective Services.

Neanderthals buried their dead like modern humansThe findings focus on Neanderthal remains that were first discovered in 1908 at La Chapelle-aux-Saints in southwestern France.

Hand Fossil Turns Back Clock on Complex Tool Use

Ancient Chinese cat bones shake up domestication theoryFossil discovery an ‘important step’ in understanding feline transformation from pest-control to pet.

Japan’s military revolution hints at Shinzo Abe’s nationalist aims — Hmm.

Sex and Drugs and Border ChangesA combination of sex and drugs (and possibly rock ‘n roll) is forcing two governments to change the border that divides them.

“Help, My Eyeball is Bigger than My Wrist!”: Gender Dimorphism in Frozen

North Korea’s way with extreme insultsThe uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, executed for treason on Thursday, has been officially denounced as “despicable human scum”. Why is the language so over-the-top? Oddly, not very different from how many American conservatives, especially in the media, talk about moderates and liberals.

“Thank You, Doctor. And Now, for the Opposing View, Here’s Joe Camel.”What really gets me is that USA Today gave Heartland a place to confuse the public about global warming. If they ran a piece about satellites, would they get an “opposing view” from a Flat Earther? It would have just as much scientific validity as climate change denial, and every bit as much Biblical basis as evolution denial.

Yeah, About That Global Warming “Pause”… — Debunking another knowing lie from climate change denialists.

“60 Minutes” does Infomercial for NSA with Security Official posing as Journalist — CBS has finally decided to go for the coveted “we have a Constitutional right to lie” FOX News market segment. Your Liberal Media, disgracing itself further all the time.

In Colorado and elsewhere, sheriffs refuse to enforce new gun laws. The state can’t make them — All those conservatives who claim to so revere the Constitution? Yeah, right. Like Christianists who revere the Bible when it’s convenient for them, that reverence vanishes when the Holy Writ doesn’t conveniently match their prejudices.

Satanist Monument Shines Light on Christian Privilege — Yup. This. The fact that some Christians have managed to convince themselves they are persecuted in contemporary America represents a breathtaking lack of self-awareness and intellectual honesty. Unless, of course, you believe that a slight descent from absolute cultural supremacy to mere overwhelming cultural dominance somehow qualifies as persecution, in which case that conviction represents an amazingly willful ignorance about words and their meanings. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Hindus Propose Giant Monkey God Statue On Oklahoma Capitol GroundsHow’s that law for religious displays working out for you, right-wing Christians of Oklahoma? Sure, you got to put up your giant 10 commandments monument in front of the State House. But this opened up the door for the Satanic Temple to ask for a memorial. Now, the Hindus are calling for their own religious statue to be placed on the state capitol grounds in Oklahoma City. I want to donate to the this, and the Satanist monument. (Snurched from Ellen Eades.)

?otD: Do all things come to the patient man? When they come too late, does anybody understand?


12/17/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours fitful
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block falsifying climate change data: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad has thunder in its heart

The Devil is Due in Dreary — An interesting project that Donnie Reynolds brought to my attention. Go pick one up for your gift giving list or your own reading pleasure.

The creepy art of Zdzisław-Beksiński

Artist Creates Elaborate Non-Photoshopped Scenes in Her Small Studio — This is pretty darned cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Why We Sing “Fa La La” Instead of “Fra Spla Spla”

He’s a ‘God particle’ detective

Gibbous Europa — Oooh.

Is our Media Screwing us on Climate the Way it Did on Iraq? — Duh. Your Liberal Media constantly pretends that politically motivated transparent lies from well-funded conservatives constitute a legitimate challenge to overwhelming scientific consensus. Next question?

Why are Christian Militias never “Christian Extremists”? — Because of the absolute privileging of Christianity in American society. Despite the self-valorizing paranoias of many American Christianists, Your Liberal Media endlessly honors the overwhelming cultural dominance of their religion. Next question?

Pope: I knew good Marxists; label doesn’t hurt me — Come on, that’s a little hard on smug Republican Jesus, who stands for truth, justice and the American way. Just like it says in the Bible.

The real tragedy of America’s gun violenceIn the aftermath of its own Newtown-like massacre, Australia changed its gun laws. The result? Homicides and suicides plummeted in the decade that followed. Of course, like all real world problems, the link between guns and violence is a complex issue. But one rarely has so much evidence pointing in the same direction. Yup. And Australia’s undeniable success at protecting its citizens by disarming itself is something you will never, ever hear any conservative politician, media outlet or voter admit to. Here in America, 30,000 deaths a year are essential for the illusion of safety that gun owners enjoy. Ask any conservative: your risk of death is a small price for them to pay for their Second Amendment rights.

Kelly: Outrage Over ‘White’ Santa Comment Was ‘Race-Bait’Fox News host Megyn Kelly insisted Friday that her earlier comment that Santa Claus was “just white,” which invited significant backlash, had been a joke — and that her critics were just looking for an excuse to call her a racist. Ah, the old “I was just kidding” defense so beloved of racists and sexists everywhere.

Bipartisan HypocrisyEzra Klein wonders how Republicans can be such hypocrites about health care when Obamacare turns out to be exactly what they wanted all along. Um, hello? They are Republicans? Is anyone who isn’t a conservative true believer surprised by this? It’s part of the GOP’s absolute fixation with bearing false witness against liberal-progressives and all their works. Especially the Kenyan Muslim socialist usurper.

?otD: Got Kate Bush?


12/15/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 solid
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 240.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad is dreaming its life away

Civilization and Its Stoplights — Interesting. I have found myself falling on both sides of this question over the years.

Twitter Reverts Changes To Blocking Functionality After Strong Negative User Feedback — Uh, yeah.

California to Test GPS Earthquake Warning System

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologramA ten-dimensional theory of gravity makes the same predictions as standard quantum physics in fewer dimensions. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

China carries out first soft landing on moon in 37 years — Go, go, go.

Noble gas molecule discovered in space where astronomers least expected it

Meet the Kraken: Hydrocarbon seas spotted at Titan’s north poleLakes of liquid methane may also form where the hydrocarbon crust dissolved.

We’re Still Losing Ice at the PolesI’ll note that some people who deny global warming like to talk about ice in Antarctica increasing, not decreasing. This is at best misleading; the sea ice fluctuates every year, and has grown marginally recently, but this is tiny compared to the loss of land ice. Overall, Antarctica is losing ice, rapidly, with more melting every year.

Okay, I Thought People Were Using “Affluenza” as a Joke — Ah, the majesty of the law.

Indian Gays Shocked by Supreme Court Ruling upholding Colonial Sodomy Laws — Because arrant bigotry and wholesale denial of human rights isn’t confined to American conservatives.

The Real Face Of JesusAdvances in forensic science reveal the most famous face in history. Ah yup. An oldie but a goodie. Thank God smug Republican Jesus doesn’t look like this at all! (Via [info]shsilver.)

Mom shot while taking gun from toddler — No patriotic American could possibly draw a conclusion about gun safety or parenting fitness from this incident. After all, the child was merely standing his ground and exercising his Second Amendment right to theoretical defense of essential liberties as part of a well-ordered militia.

?otD: What did you dream last night?


12/14/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad asking only workman’s wages, comes looking for a job

NSA forces novelist to scrap book — Hah. Charlie Stross from the other end of the telescope. (Via Dad.)

Hubble Space Telescope Sees Evidence of Water Vapor Venting Off Jupiter Moon — (Via Bruce Taylor.)

What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill — Wow…

Strange gelatinous creature gives hints of the first animals on EarthThe comb jelly genome is in, nerves are common, and muscles were invented twice.

World’s Smallest Pacemaker Can Be Implanted without SurgeryNew cardiac devices are small enough to be delivered through blood vessels into the heart.

Small Oregon Nuclear Power Plant Company Gets Massive Federal Backing

Arctic Waters Keep Warming in 2013The Arctic continued to shift to a warmer, greener state in 2013.

And may all your Jesuses be white — While I certainly could have a lot of bitter sarcasm here, this is actually good news about the LDS church and race. The moral cretins who invested so heavily of their spiritual and financial credibility in Proposition 8 get something right for a change.

Photo of the Day: Was St. Nicholas “White”? — Well, smug Republican Jesus was certainly white, so why not? It’s not like facts or accuracy have any place whatsoever in the Christianist worldview.

Let’s just rename Michigan Gilead and call it a dayYes, Michigan ladies you’ll need to insure yourself against pregnancy from rape because the misogynistic pigs of the Michigan legislature think women should be forced to give birth to their rapists children. This is Handmaid’s Tale come to life. The conservative obsession with controlling women and their reproductive health is so toxic I cannot imagine why any woman, or anyone related to a woman by birth or marriage, can ever vote for the Republican party. Assuming they have a shred of compassion or morality in them.

Most of 109 new gun laws enacted since last year’s Newtown massacre have loosened restrictions — Because as any conservative will tell you, guns make us all safer. Ask the 30,000 people who are proudly killed by firearms every year in order to preserve your theoretical defense of essential liberties. No other developed country in the world makes such wholesale human sacrifices for the illusion of safety. Makes me proud to be an American, damn it.

?otD: Did you get any answers?


12/13/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad knows the nose knows

Elevenses And Then Some: How To Prepare A Feast Fit For A Hobbit — Now that’s a lot of food… (Via Lisa Costello.)

Benedict Cumberbatch sees Smaug as sexy

Misheard for the holidays: When good song lyrics go bad — (Thanks to Dad.)

The Best of the Worst Logo Designs — Oh geeze. (I think I got this from Steve Buchheit, but I have lost the source.

Isle of Coll secures ‘dark isle’ status — Mmm. Dark Isle. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

First Lasing Nanofibres Open The Way For Cheap, Soft Laser TextilesBy adding laser dyes to organic fibres, researchers have demonstrated a technique that should lead to textiles that lase at all visible frequencies. All the world’s a rave, and we are merely stoners.

MetropolomeResearchers take advantage of rapid and cheap DNA sequencing technologies to map the bacterial microbiome of New York City.

Trust Me (I’m a kettle) — Charlie Stross on the virtues of tech paranoia.

Scientists Discover a Jewel at the Heart of Quantum PhysicsThe amplituhedron looks like an intricate, multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated, “scattering amplitudes,” which represent the likelihood that a certain set of particles will turn into certain other particles upon colliding. Huh. (Via David Goldman.)

Vitamins’ Old, Old EdgeFrom the beginnings of life roughly four billion years ago, they have played a central, necessary role. In fact, early life forms used to be veritable vitamin factories.

Furthering the Conversation on the HPV Vaccine — Katie Couric sorta-kinda apologies, but not on the air!, for giving weight to vaccine denialists in a segment on the HPV vaccine. Which is the precise intellectual and moral equivalent to sorta-kinda apologizing for giving weight to evolution denialists, climate change denialists and proponents of supply-side economics: all destructive counterfactuals with no evidence-based support, crafted from knowing lies and deceptions for which real people pay a real price.

Melting Arctic sea ice could be altering jet streamMore studies look at links to extreme weather. Nothing to see here, kids. Just corrupt liberal scientists falsifying data to get a bigger share of that sweet government grant money. Thank God for Rush Limbaugh and the Republican party, or someone might have to take this shit seriously.

Australia Court Nixes Gay Marriage in CapitalA day after India’s Supreme Court recriminalized gay sex, Australia’s High Court has overturned the capital’s same-sex marriage legislation. This culture war really is over, but the forces of bigotry, clothed in the self-valorizing righteousness of their faith, will keep the battles going for years to come.

Brave Colorado gun-owner stands his ground against disabled children hogging handicapped space in Walmart parking lot. — See. This is why we need widely available firearms in the hands of everyday citizens. Because of this kind of safety-oriented crime prevention. Just ask any conservative about those thirty thousand gun deaths a year. Those are absolutely necessary losses so that this responsible Colorado gun owner can pursue his theoretical defense of essential liberties against the socialist threat of handicapped children whose parents need to use the disabled parking space. I feel so much safer now, and so should you. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Support for a $10 Minimum Wage Is Surprisingly High — Every time in my life there’s been an effort to raise the minimum wage, conservatives have raged about job losses and damage to the economy. Every time, they’ve been dead wrong. Every time, Your Liberal Media gives them full coverage and credibility, and never asks about their history of being dead wrong on the issue at every turn. So it went with integration. So it goes with gay rights. So it goes in America, where the conservative narrative is dominant even with almost no track record of accuracy.

Republican Senator Alexander Aide Arrested For Possession And Distribution Of Child Porn — This is why Sarah Palin’s “real Americans” always vote Republican: their upright moral standing. Want to imagine what the reporting would be like in Your Liberal Media if this had been a senior Democratic aide? We would never hear the end of it. Since this was a Republican aide, the story will die immediately.

Boehner Snaps At Conservative Groups For ‘Using’ House Republicans“These groups aren’t acting out of principle, and they’re not trying to enact conservative policies. They’re using you to raise money and expand their own organization,” Boehner said, according to the source’s paraphrase. “No one controls your voting card but you.” Hi, Speaker Boehner. Welcome to reality. Where the hell have you been through the past four decades of Movement Conservatism?

Mandela and the Question of ViolenceOne should never lose sight of why America preaches nonviolence to some people while urging other people to arms. Ta-Nehisi Coates is on fire.

?otD: Did you smell that cheese?


12/12/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad is big and round and three to the pound

Dementia: Terry Pratchett ‘angry’ with government

Meet Your Body’s Death EatersFrom brain to blood to bone, macrophages take out our cellular trash. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Calvin and Hobbes on ebooks — Hahahah.

Twitter’s World — Languages and Twitter.

Prosthetic Arm Found in Second-Hand Shop — Ah, headlines.

Irrefutable Proof that Santa is Odin — (Via [info]rekre8.)

‘Get me off this plane’: Man locked in dark cabin in worst layover ever — Wow. (Via RWN.)

Fat Flag — Food, art, nationalism. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Europe’s rarest orchid rediscovered in the Azores

Blistering exposé prompts Johns Hopkins to suspend black-lung screeningsCoal companies paid the Baltimore-based university handsome sums to screen the claimants for the disease. After reviewing chest X-rays, the university’s scientists almost always concluded that the scans did not show black lung — a conclusion which often overwhelmed any other medical opinion in the case. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

What Names are Normal? Shifting the Center of the World — Culture and names.

Online Dating Shows Us the Cold, Hard Facts — Fascinating article, although it makes a couple of logical leaps.

“She Said ‘This Is a Gun.’ I Said No, It’s a Prop for My Monkey.” — Ah, TSA, we hardly knew ye.

At Least 194 Children Have Been Shot to Death Since NewtownThe NRA says arming more adults will protect kids—but most are killed at home, our investigation shows, often with unsecured guns. Yep. Definitely safer dead by those guns than they would have been remaining alive in a gun-free household. Ask any gun owner.

The Heartland Institute and the American Meteorological SocietyIf climate science really is in such disarray as the deniers claims, then why do so many resort to misleading tactics so often? Why post misleading graphs, why cherry pick data, why engage in egregious ad hominems, why send out emails about papers that say the opposite of what the paper actually concludes? If their claims are correct, then why even risk the perception of impropriety? It might seem as if they’re more interested in scoring political and ideological points rather than scientific ones. But then, the evidence is solidly against them. So are 97 percent of the scientists who actually do research in climate science, as are the data, the science, and the reality of global warming. As with virtually all conservative causes, bearing false witness is far more productive than providing evidence, given that evidence-based reality almost never favors the conservative viewpoint.

Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn’t Possible in a Surveillance State — Sigh.

?otD: Does your staff have a knob on the end?


12/11/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad gets its kicks above the waistline, sunshine

Dude, Where’s My Accent?Why the California Vowel Shift may have us all by the tongue. Also this. Snerk. (Via David Goldman.)

Lovebible.pl — Charlie Stross is very funny.

Why Do We Call People Redheads Instead of Orangeheads?

Who Put the O in Portland? — More on the ‘round maps’. I was also struck by this comment: [T]here’s scientific evidence for the fact that GPS technology is making us less, rather than more spatially aware. When we rely, as is now so commonplace, on satellite-guided driving instructions tailored to our specific trip, we’re preventing our brain from doing what it should do naturally: making ‘mental maps’ of our surroundings. That’s been exactly my experience of using GPS.

How to Talk to a Live Person: Every Customer Support Number You’ll Ever Need — A holiday calling guide. (Thanks to my Dad.)

Soylent hits its 1.0 formula, nears releaseWe talk with Soylent’s creator on what’s changed since we slurped down the beta. Soylent peen is greople!

You Can’t Get Entangled Without a Wormhole: Physicist Finds Entanglement Instantly Gives Rise to a Wormhole — (Via Bruce Taylor.)

Die, selfish gene, dieThe selfish gene is one of the most successful science metaphors ever invented. Unfortunately, it’s wrong. This is freaking fascinating. (Thanks to AH via [info]tillyjane.)

Animal Locomotion: Reanimating Muybridge’s 19th Century Illustrations with GIFs — Zoopraxography indeed. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Tolkien gesture – scientist maps climate of Lord of the RingsMount Doom is like LA and the Shire like Lincolnshire, so says a climate model based on author’s famously detailed maps. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Most Important Command in the Old Testament isn’t what you think — A little linguistic analysis for you. And guess what? It’s not about teh gayz or sex or the abomination of widely available, affordable healthcare. Not at all. (Via [info]daveraines.)

Australia’s first gay marriages conducted — Another bigotry domino falls, at least temporarily. Sadly, the forces of religiously-cloaked conservative intolerance are still very strong.

Iceland in shock as cops kills a man for 1st time in history — Clearly they need more guns to be safe. No, wait, they have more guns.

South Carolina Sheriff Refuses To Lower Flag For Mandela — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

Special Report: Thailand secretly supplies Myanmar refugees to trafficking rings — As Daniel says, this is stunningly evil. Sigh. (Via [info]danjite.)

Apartheid’s Useful Idiots For many years, a large swath of this country failed Nelson Mandela, failed its own alleged morality, and failed the majority of people living in South Africa. Ah, we are again reminded of the much vaunted moral consistency of American conservatives.

A reminder of what Republicans thought of MandelaIt’s a constant theme of conservatism to falsely take credit for the progressive causes of yesteryear while attempting to destroy contemporary ones. You have to give the GOP a break here. When their own record is a nearly unbroken string of failures and policy disasters, they can claim no credit at all except false credit.

Santorum: Fight Against Obamacare Like Fight Against Apartheid — You don’t have to be bone-stupid to be a conservative, but demonstrably it sure as hell helps. Really, what can any rational, moral human being say to something like this?

“History? We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.”The conservative project in general really, truly doesn’t give a damn about human suffering. They live in an abstract universe in which their dedication to their rigid ideology simply trumps all moral concerns about real human beings in the here and now. They just don’t give a damn.

?otD: Where was that one night?


12/7/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad’s name was Robert Paulson

Aging cells share features with cancerChemical modifications of DNA look similar in aging and cancerous cells.

Sex versus Cancer — (Via Laurie Mann.)

50 States of Lego — This is cute. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Mugshots from the 1920s — This is pretty cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

World War Two era Japanese submarine found off Hawaii coast — A submarine aircraft carrier. Also, a video via David Goldman.

China (Again) Shoots for the Moon. We Should Join Them. — One of the reactions to my story “The Speed of Time” was an angry denouncement of my portrayal of a future where China was a leading space power. Apparently this was a betrayal of the American dream or something. I still think I was right, and I’m damned glad a government not plagued by so-called deficit hawks and the supply side economics fairy is interested in space.

Turning the Moon into a Giant Space Solar Power HubBut how about wrapping the moon’s equator in a 250 mile wide band of solar panels and beaming the power generated back to Earth? What could possibly go wrong!?

New GPS game is out of this world: Czechs are introducing Stratocaching — Ok, this is some serious cool. — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Why Costco is beating Wal-Mart — An important element missing from this story is Costco’s approach to human resources, which is almost diametrically opposite to Wal-Mart’s Wall Street-pleasing “use and abuse” policies.

Diversity, Mirrors and Narcissism — Cora Buhlert on the ‘selfie’ discussion spawned by Felicity Savage. Also some interesting commentary on [info]james_nicoll’s LiveJournal here.

Bigotry And The Human Language — Ta-Nehisi Coates is wise, at length.

“The Notification Was Posted on the Recipient’s Gravestone Because He Is Deceased” — Uh, yeah.

Today In Responsible Gun OwnershipMan with Alzheimer’s shot. I feel so much better now, don’t you? Guns make us all safer. Especially innocent people who are slaughtered by trigger happy home defenders.

Anonymous ‘TipsforJesus’ leaves thousands in tips — This is cool, and a nice counterpoint to the very gleeful public mean-spiritedness of so many American Christians.

Pope Francis Tells Faithful He Worked As A Nightclub Bouncer — Headline of the month.

Dan Savage has no respect for child-raping Catholic priests — I join Dan Savage in his disrespect. The new Pope’s apparent glimmers of sanity notwithstanding, the Catholic Church has utterly lost its standing as a moral actor in society over this issue, especially their generations-long mishandling of it and continue failure to address this through meaningful consequences for the abusers and the protectors of those abusers who still hold positions of high trust and power in the Church hierarchy.

U.S. students lag around average on international science, math and reading test“Our scores are stagnant. We’re not seeing any improvement for our 15-year-olds,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner at the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. Gee, I wonder if this anything to do with the privileging of ridiculous counterfactuals such as evolution denial and the wholesale denigration of critical thinking skills by a powerful political minority driven by a hate-fueled agenda of resentment and fear?

Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World — Food for thought.

California Republicans use taxpayer dollars to send mail to bash the ACA with fake website — Now that’s the responsible stewardship of public resources for which the GOP is justly famed.

?otD: What’s the first rule of Link Salad?


12/3/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 241.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)