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

[links] Link salad begins to develop new phobias

Found: The Brain’s Own GPSNavigational neurons called grid cells help us find our way in the world. (Via [info]danjite.)

Incredible HD Video of Earth From Space Brings Maps to Life — “Peter… I can see your house from here.” (Via David Goldman.)


Since It Can’t Sue Us All, Getty Images Embraces Embedded Photos

Pop Art, vintage style

Incredible Balloon Art By Daisy Balloon – These Aren’t Your Party Store Balloons — The first image is intensely cool. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Oh, baby it’s a wired world — That’s some damned fine art. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

The Indian sanitary pad revolutionary — This is something else.

Artificial Organs May Finally Get a Blood SupplyArtificial tissue has always lacked a key ingredient: blood vessels. A new 3-D printing technique seems poised to change that.

The Catholic conundrum named FrancisNow we have a relatively new pope who has expressed the heretical (to conservatives) notion that unfettered capitalism is not a guarantor of freedom, prosperity, or human dignity. He’s even suggested economic inequality is a more important concern for the church, and humanity, than condemning gay people or women who use contraception. Kind of like how Jesus talked a lot about the poor, and not so much about the gay menace. Huh. Who knew? Judging by their words and deeds, certainly not the Catholic church in the America, or the American Evangelical community, nor a lot of other denominations.

Surrender Douthat! — On the conservative Christian trope that an incremental loss of privilege from absolute cultural supremacy to merely overwhelming dominance counts as persecution, especially in the area of marriage equality. I’ve often wondered whether, as gays and gay marriage become more mainstream and, well, banal, many Christians won’t find themselves wondering why the apocalypse hasn’t come after all and what that says about Scriptural authority in a lot of other areas. That’s what’s not sitting well with a lot of Christian culture warriors right now.

2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution — On the collapse of what tattered remains still exist of conservative Evangelical intellectual credibility. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Ask The GOP: What Are Women?

The Tea Party Just Turned Five — Is it Winning its War on Workers and Minorities? — Ah, those fine non-partisan patriots whose agenda just happens to coincide 100% with the looney tunes wing of the GOP.

House Republicans Gear Up For 50th Vote To Dismantle Obamacare — Because nothing says compassionate conservative like endless scheming to throw millions of people out of the healthcare system. 50 freaking times. (Via [info]shsilver.)

?otD: Ever been afraid of balloons?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a (no scale here)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[links] Link salad finds a bustle in its hedgerow

Mini-libraries have curb appeal

Who Made That Emoticon? — The history of a simple thing. I also like the list of Japanese emoticons. (Via my Dad.)

Mehrangarh Fort — More amazing South Asian architecture from BLDGBLOG.

Psoriasis drug ‘slows dementia’ mice study suggestsDrugs used to calm inflammation in psoriasis may also help to combat the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, a study on mice suggests.

Newly evolved gene may have changed humans’ brainsNot the only gene that separates us from other apes, but an interesting one.

Antarctic marine wildlife is under threat, study finds — This “science”, with it’s liberally-biased “data” and “facts”, can of course be safely ignored by the ideologically correct conservative. For the rest of us who actually live in reality, it’s scary stuff.

Boeing Said It Will Deny Equal Pension Benefits to Married Gay Couples — Classy move, Boeing. And this will save just how much for your bottom line and the benefit of your stockholders. How typically conservative, to trade away ethics for profit.

Susan Rice And The Power Of Postracial Thinking — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the nonsensical GOP attacks on Susan Rice.

Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy — This is the dreadful evil that we do in the world today, that most Americans are barely aware of. That we would never allow on our own soil.

Sale of Guns Soar Following Election — Because the Obama administration did so much to curb gun rights during his first term. Or not. This is another example of what I keep saying — liberal-progressives fear conservatives because of what conservatives themselves say they will do, conservatives fear liberal-progressives because of what conservatives themselves imagine those liberal-progressives might do. It’s just another facet of the endless GOP War on Reality.

The religious liberty right to believe that algebra is an abortifacientSay you have a public school student who is an observant Jew. That student has a reasonable religious liberty objection to being offered only school lunches containing pork. But what if this student were to refuse school lunches containing beef, asserting that he believes beef to come from pigs and therefore to violate his religious commitment to keeping kosher. Does the school have an obligation to accommodate the delusional belief that beef comes from pigs? Tyndale House says yes. The Christian publisher says it has a right to its own sectarian facts and sectarian reality, and that no such thing as objective truth exists that might constrain that. Slacktivist Fred Clark with more on the endless lunacy that is the Religious Right. And remember, these nuts are the backbone of the GOP. Every time you vote Republican, you’re voting to further empower this intellectual cesspool as a prime mover in American government and policy.

Why Marco Rubio Needs To Know That The Earth Is Billions Of Years Old[T]his economy, at its root, is built on a web of scientific knowledge from physics to chemistry to biology. It’s impossible to just cherry pick out parts we don’t like. If the Earth is 9,000 years old, then virtually the entire construct of modern science is simply wrong. Not only that, most of the technology that we rely on most likely wouldn’t work – as they’re dependent on science that operates on the same physical laws that demonstrate the age of the universe. Speaking of the intellectual cesspool that is the Religious Right. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Walter Russell Mead and the “Fretting” Realists — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on Obama’s likely cabinet changes. [A]voiding groupthink and excessive uniformity [in the Cabinet] would be desirable no matter what the prevailing view happened to be. While quite true and to the point, this is an odd comment, to say the least, coming from a conservative. The Republican collection of intellectual and policy litmus tests, and their ferocious punishment of any of their own who stray, make the old bugaboo of “political correctness” look like a playground game. Thanks to figures such as Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist, as well the eternal pandering to their deeply irrational and paranoid base, the GOP is about nothing if not about groupthink and uniformity.

?otD: Are you alarmed now? Shouldn’t you be?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (2,600 words to finish “Rock of Ages” in first draft)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on stationary bike)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 219.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block shutting down Evangelical churches and closing gun shops: 0
Currently reading: Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold

[links] Link salad is just an excitable boy

NEW YORKER trolls the nerds or Triumph of the State — Nick Mamatas Is Interesting about a New Yorker piece snarking on genre. (Quelle surprise, that last bit.)

Hydro-Monuments of Rajasthan — More amazing photography from Indian on BLDG BLOG.

Gnotobiotic animal — This is kind of weird. Understandable, but weird. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Big Myths of Everyday Science — I was on top of all of these. Essentially a basic scientific literacy quiz pretending to be a slide show. Kind of nifty. (Via [info]garyomaha.)

The One True FaithScenes From a Multiverse captures the snarky version of the atheist view of religion brilliantly.

A Year in Jail for Not Believing in God? How Kentucky is Persecuting AtheistsIn Kentucky, a homeland security law requires the state’s citizens to acknowledge the security provided by the Almighty God–or risk 12 months in prison. The headline and lede overstate this story, but the reality is only slightly less appalling. For a bunch of people who claim to love the Constitution so much, conservatives sure do have a lot of hate for the First Amendment’s position on religion. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Won Direction — Bill Maher with some thoughts for president Obama. (Via my Aunt M.)

Commentary Editor John Podhoretz Has Awkward Postelection Epiphany — The usual breathtaking conservative intellectual dishonesty, documented in their own words.

Poetic justice: Romney likely to finish at 47 percentIf Romney ran a campaign of unprecedented dishonesty and lack of transparency, virtually all of it was geared towards misleading people about the true nature of his — and his party’s — actual beliefs and governing agenda. If? What if? Romney absolutely ran a campaign of unprecedented dishonesty and lack of transparency. That’s objectively true on the plain face of the facts. That’s something his own campaign team bragged about. What if?

It’s The Racism, Stupid [Conservative beliefs about race, class and sexuality] make you a jerk, no matter how nice you phrase it. When your position is that of denying others their piece of the American dream because you just plain don’t like them, you are a jerk. It’s really just that damned simple. You. Are. A. Bigot. It’s kind of hard to manufacture more angry white men, the GOP’s key electoral strategy for decades, without inflammatory rhetoric. And if you say something long enough, you tend to come to believe it.

Procedures aren’t the GOP’s problemIf Republicans want to stop taking losing positions on issues, they need to find a way to downplay those things they believe strongly in despite their unpopularity and to give up those things they don’t really care about. As all successful political parties do. But that’s not going to happen when everyone is terrified of charges of moderation. Yes. You know who else was a moderate? HITLER! And STALIN!! And MAO!!! Moderation is the road to MADNESS!!!! Only absolute conservative ideologically purity can maintain the American tradition of a free and open society!!!

Worth Noting — Josh Marshall on the GOP’s mania over Susan Rice and the Benghazi attacks. The actual work of government oversight is significantly impeded by endless pandering to nonsensical conspiracies theories or people who need clinical intervention. Which pretty much describes the entire GOP these days rather nicely.

?otD: After ten long years, they let you out of the home. What did you do next?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (1,700 words on “Rock of Ages”, plus thirty minutes of WRPA)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on stationary bike)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Weight: 219.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block shutting down Evangelical churches and closing gun shops: 0
Currently reading: Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

[links] Link salad is thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! — M.K. Hobson with some awesome Thanksgiving history.

‘Life of Pi’ took Ang Lee on an epic journey of his ownRoger Ebert on this film.

Chand Baori — I’ve never even heard of a step well. This is very strange and beautiful.

Steampunk art is now terrorism, according to the TSA — Feel safer now? (Via Lisa Costello.)

NASA’s not sharing a ‘historic’ find on Mars… yetData from a sample of Martian dirt could be earth-shattering, but the space agency is taking time to check its work. The Bad Astronomer with more. (Or less.)

In Space, Flames Behave in Ways Nobody Thought Possible — Cool flames? Really? (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Tech Start-Ups Find a Home on the Prairie — What I find funny about this piece is that company I work for originated as a Midwestern tech startup over two decades ago. (Thanks to my Dad.)

Researcher wants nanotech patent moratoriumClaims advances in the field are “being stifled at birth.” What this really means is that other countries will make substantial advances with huge economic and technological implications while here in the US the whole field dicks around in court.

Monsanto insurance: USDA tells farmers to pay for avoiding troubles with agro-giantthe best maneuver for any Monsanto foe to take right now is to simply buy insurance, suggesting that the top guns will be given the go-ahead to continue with their contested habit of near endless litigation, a practice that has a tendency to leave the little guys bankrupt and out of business — only to be bought up by the billion-dollar Monsanto corporation after their bills can’t be paid. In other words, give up, ordinary citizens, you can’t fight the abuses of corporate America. Btw, if you’re a conservative, this is what your beloved industry self-regulation looks like. Profit optimization at the expense of everyone and everything. Sort of like my relationship to the Google Books Settlement, actually. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Very First Americans — Newt Gingrich honors the original migrants over the Bering Strait land bridge 15,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. No, wait, never mind. He’s talking about white people 400 years ago. Apparently no one before then was American. All those ones that came before? Illegals. Ask any conservative.

The Real ‘Evangelical Disaster’The great evangelical disaster is that evangelicalism has become synonymous with Republicanism rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yup. Atwater and Ailes needed a reliable voting bloc back in the late 1970s, and you guys eagerly signed up. That’s why almost two entire generations of young and middle-aged Americans can casually dismiss Christianity as a source of hatred and vitriol, because your leaders sold your souls for a mess of pottage. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Police officer quits after comments about Barack ObamaWhen questioned by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office integrity unit, he said he also didn’t care if a nuclear explosion killed everyone in the Northeastern U.S because they supported Obama. Remember, this dingbat Republican creep had a badge and a gun and powers of arrest. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

Members of the 112th Congress Depart, Taking Their Quirks Along — Senator Hutchison had a purse boy? Really? (Via my Dad.)

The New RepublicansThere has been a lot of talk since the election about the possible emergence of a new faction within the Republican party, or at least among the conservative intelligentsia. These new Republicans, we’re told, are willing to be more open-minded on cultural issues, more understanding of immigrants, and more skeptical that trickle-down economics is enough; they’ll favor direct measures to help working families. So what should we call these new Republicans? I have a suggestion: why not call them “Democrats”?

The GOP’s Voter Suppression Strategy — That’s what you do when you can’t win on ideas. Assuming that you lack integrity, intellectual honesty or any commitment to the democratic process. Gee, which party are we talking about, again?

?otD: Having a deep fried turducken today?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on stationary bike)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Weight: 219.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing Agenda 21 and sending good Christian girls to Obama’s abortion camps: 0
Currently reading: Diplomatic Immunity by Lois McMaster Bujold

[links] Link salad goes to the infusion center yet again

Literary Consolation Prizes — Heh.

Statins Tied To Reduced Cancer Deaths — Interesting. And yes, I am on statins. (Via [info]danjite.)

Pachyderm Promenade: 1905 — I love this photo of elephants at Coney Island.

Bulgarian archaeologists find golden treasures in ancient Thracian tombTiara, snake-head bracelets and gold buttons among artefacts from Getae burial site near northern village of Sveshtari. I used to live in Bulgaria.

Totally Bizarre Experimental Video Explores Slit Scanning — (Via David Goldman.)

India will shed few tears over the end of UK aidFor India, fairer trade agreements and an end to patronising soft power are more important than dribbles of aid from Britain. And so ends another vestige of colonialism?

Climate change is making your coffee more expensive — Man, that liberal conspiracy is everywhere.

What Can Obama Do About Climate Change?The President faces a divided Congress, but has some powerful tools to limit carbon emissions. The existence of climate change never should have been an issue, except for the “anything to piss off the liberals” ethos of conservatives intersecting with their shameful but powerful reflexive anti-science instincts. (Thanks to decades of boosting evolution denial as a troll for the Ignorant-American vote.) What we should have been arguing about all along is solutions and approaches, not choose-your-own-facts reality distortions.

Why the white evangelical religious right can no longer presume to claim moral superiority — Not that they ever had any moral superiority in the first place, except in the impoverished prisons of their own minds.

Self-Congratulation Will Get Conservatives Nowhere — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on one of the more stunning examples of conservative lack of self-awareness that I’ve seen in a while.

The Real Real America[O]ne big thing that just happened was that the real America trumped the “real America”. And it’s also the election that lets us ask, finally, “Who cares what’s the matter with Kansas?”

More Election ThoughtsI can understand voting against this president, but as I watched the speech I thought, This is the man that millions of people are libeling as unamerican, a socialist, an outsider. This good, thoroughly American man. Voting against him is fine; pretending he’s a radical unamerican outsider is false and vicious. Welcome to conservative America, where pretense is truth and reality is sneeringly dismissed as having a liberal bias. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Kay Bailey Hutchison says GOP is “tainted” by candidates saying “very stupid things” — Ah, Republican Senator Hutchison is one of my favorite long time political crooks. Years ago, her Texas corruption trial was ended by a bizarre judicial ruling that could only be explained by a political fix or rank incompetence from the bench, as it was certainly independent of any precedent or rule of law. The fix paid off handsomely for her, as Senator Hutchison went on with a long career.

Ted Nugent said he’d be dead or in jail if Obama won: So, what’s it gonna be? — (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Father investigated after voting for son — Hey, look. Actual, in person voter fraud. By a Republican! Yep, definitely need those voter ID laws to cage those likely Democratic voters.

What Obama’s Re-election Means — Terry Gross and Norm Ornstein. Full transcript here. (Thanks to Marta Murvosh.)

Election leaves Republicans at a loss for answers — I’m pretty certain the GOP won’t learn anything constructive (or good for the future of the country) from this. Not when they have Hurricane Sandy to blame. Note that the numbers pace Nate Silver, don’t substantiate that theory at all. But we all know what conservatives think of Nate Silver, so it’s not like they’re going to start listening to him, or the data in general, now.

Karl Rove: Obama Succeeded ‘By Suppressing The Vote’ — A rather bizarre assertion from one of the standard bearers of the party that explicitly staked its electoral fortunes on wide scale voter suppression through voter ID laws and limiting early voting. Project much, Karl? I think he’s still pissed that Husted’s Ohio voting fix didn’t pay off for Romney.

Voter Suppression Backfires — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the very public, wholesale voter suppression efforts of the GOP. You, the ones Karl Rove is now projecting on Democrats.

Adviser: Romney “shellshocked” by loss — One disadvantage of resigning from the reality-based community is that reality can really surprise you. My personal theory, however, is that the GOP really thought they had the fix in for Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida, with the voter ID laws and the early voting restrictions. Regardless of the actual votes, there would be enough problems with voting machines and ballots to either jimmy the tally or provide the foundation for Bush v. Gore type lawsuits. In Pennsylvania, the Republican leadership said as much, that the new voter ID law would bring home the state for Romney. Obama winning by large enough margins to overwhelm their cheating simply wasn’t an option in their view. If you think I’m completely full of it on this notion, consider Karl Rove’s reaction to the FOX News call for Ohio. That’s the reaction of a man who was completely confident of a different outcome.

?otD: Can you hear the drip, drip, drip of my IV?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (2,800 new words on “Rock of Ages”)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Weight: 225.0
Currently reading: Mirrordance by Lois McMaster Bujold