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[links] Link salad gives a lecture today

The First 10 Pages: Science Fiction & Fantasy Boot Camp: 3/26/13 – 3/28/13 — Starting today, I’m co-teaching an online course from Writers Digest University on novel beginnings. This will led by writer (and friend) Phil Athans, with assistance from agent Carlie Webber and myself.

Nerd Nite #1: Sex, Dying, and the FUTURE! — A reminder, I’ll be talking about cancer and genomics this evening in Portland.

An 110-Year-Old Rejection Letter — Old school. (Snurched Steve Buchheit.)

Munsell, the man who colored AmericaHow a Boston argument over better crayons ended up repainting the world. (Via Daily idioms, Annoated

Scientists Castrate Iberian Lynx to Prevent them from Extinction

Humans blamed for ancient bird species extinctions

Cool dam — Speculative landscape?

Windfarm Sickness — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Photographer Joe McNally Takes Photo From Top Of Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Skyscraper, In Dubai — Gah!

How best to clean out satellites before they become space garbageLooking at options for quick and safe de-orbiting.

Marketing Deal Gives a Small Town an Identity Crisis — Dish, baby. (Thanks to Dad.)

Gender and Bathroom Graffiti

Unfit for WorkThe startling rise of disability in America. Speaking as someone who will have to go on disability for a while as I near end-of-life with my cancer, this piece misses a lot of the point. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

The Day I Taught How Not to Rape — Sigh. (Via [info]wild_irises.)

What If There Had Been Weapons Programs in Iraq? — Not that there were. (Facts not valid for FOX News viewers and other willful idiots.) Of course, as any Republican can tell you, presidential lies about trillion dollar wars of choice are much less important that presidential lies about blow jobs.

QotD?: What are you going to learn today?

Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad is dressed up like a million dollar trooper

Why I don’t self-publish — Charlie Stross is wise. Yes, this.

Writer’s Call to Kill Feral Cats Sparks Outcry

Land of the K, Home of the W: America’s Radio Nations — Huh.

Meet the 6-legged robot lizards that may one day roam Mars

Rockets to Reefs — More on the recovered Saturn V engines.

Comet Castle — Such a lovely photo.

Planck Telescope captures Universe’s first light

The cycle of fear that drives assault weapon salesThe cause of gun control in the US is lost unless we address the underlying anxiety that makes people feel safer armed. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Boy kills Georgia infant in stroller, police say — Yep. Definitely safer with more guns. Absolutely. Nothing to see here, citizen, move along.

The Lyndon Johnson tapes: Richard Nixon’s ‘treason’ — Reminds me of Reagan’s October surprise. Republican have never failed to put partisan interest over national interest, have they? (Via [info]danjite.)

For Sen. Portman, Sen. Kirk and the rest of us: The next big step is the important oneIt’s the realization that because I didn’t understand others’ situation or others’ perspective until I myself faced the same thing, I should then strive to listen and to learn and to see the world through others’ eyes so that I can better understand the world without having to experience every situation, every injustice, every ordeal personally. One fundamental definition of conservatism is “lack of empathy”.

Phil Donohue Recalls how he Was Fired From MSNBC for Being anti-war — Progressives really were right on that one, and conservatives dead, dead wrong. Not that any FOX News viewer will ever come to understand that.

QotD?: Who are you trying hard to look like?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (WRPA, revisions)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Guards, Guards by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad has smoker’s hack without ever smoking

A Cancer Gene Therapy Activated by a Pill — This is not directly relevant to my disease, but it’s still cool as heck.

Oklahoma Woman Proof That Youth Should Not Preclude Breast Cancer Screening — Me, too. I was 43 when I presented with fully developed colon cancer. I couldn’t have gotten screened if I’d known to beg for it, as screenings for my kind of cancer aren’t indicated for patients under 50, and so not covered by health insurance and not prescribed by most doctors.

We Aren’t the WorldJoe Henrich and his colleagues are shaking the foundations of psychology and economics—and hoping to change the way social scientists think about human behavior and culture.

Depression Stems from Miscommunication Between Brain Cells; Study Challenges Role of Serotonin in Depression

An Unlikely Plan to Revive the Passenger PigeonAdvances in genetic engineering have some biologists convinced they’ll re-create extinct species.

Who Made That Cellphone? — Ah, history. (Thank to Dad.)

Self-Healing Circuits for Deep Space — Huh. Wow.

Railroad Pageant: 1939 — Mmm, steam.

How Far Did She Fall? The Amazing Story of Vesna Vulović — I’ve read about this before. (Via David Goldman.)

A warmer planet means bigger hurricane surgesNot just in the future—the impact is already significant, a new study argues. Amazing, how liberal lies have affected even the behavior of the ocean itself. Thank God for Rush Limbaugh and the Republican party, otherwise those climate “facts” and “data” might have had some effect on US policy by now.

In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders of ProtectionThe judge’s order prohibited Mr. Holten from going within two blocks of his former wife’s home and imposed a number of other restrictions. What it did not require him to do was surrender his guns. About 12 hours after he was served with the order, Mr. Holten was lying in wait when his former wife returned home from a date with their two children in tow. Yep, I definitely feel safer with gun rights so thoroughly protected. Don’t you? If you’re a gun culture person, why is this all right with you? (Via Marta Murvosh.)

What we Lost: Top Ten Ways the Iraq War Harmed the US — This is what conservative leadership and ideals brought us.

QotD?: Cough much?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (WRPA, working on Whole Genome Sequencing presentation)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike
Weight: 240.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

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

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

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

Widespread Flaws Found in Ovarian Cancer Treatment — Sigh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[links] Link salad is filing its nails while they’re dragging the lake

The Year’s Best Science Fiction #29 edited by Gardner DozoisSF Signal reviews YBSF 29, including my 2012 Sunspin novelette “A Long Walk Home”.

The Phillip Pirages YouTube channel — Deep antique book neepery for extreme bibliophiles. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Should you keep copies of your medical records?

Report: No added hysterectomy benefit with robotics — Headline of the week.

Thunderstone: What People Thought About Meteorites Before Modern Astronomy — Mmm, sky iron.

Saturn’s Hexagon and Rings — Such a photo…

Interstellar Expansion: Colonizing Ice Dwarfs

Finding the Higgs? Good news. Finding its mass? Not so good.“Fireballs of doom” from a quantum phase change would wipe out present Universe.

Is Evolution Now Predictable?

WTF, evolution? — Weird nature. Hahahah! (Via [info]threeoutside.)

‘Mole mastermind’ sought for ‘perfect’ Brussels diamond heist — Behold the Underminer!

Brain Scans Can Predict Your Political IdeologyWhether you pulled the lever for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney may reflect how your brain copes with risk, new research finds. What I don’t understand is why Romeny’s campaign wad considered low risk. He was Bush-lite, and Bush was the worst president in modern history: destroying the economy, ballooning the deficit, dragging us into trillion dollar wars of choice under knowingly false pretenses, etc. About the most risky thing Obama has done is try to make sure more Americans have access to healthcare. Admittedly, something conservatives have stood squarely against, but their position on the ACA also increases both personal and social risk.

Historic oversight corrected: Film ‘Lincoln’ inspires look into slavery vote — Mississippi ratified the 13th amendment in 1995? Nope, no racism here. Just good, patriotic “real Americans”. Lowering the Bar with more on this.

Tea Party: Obama is HitlerIt’s time the we stopped pretending that the Tea Party is some real organization that deserves our respect. I can’t think of a tim when the Tea Party did deserve our respect. It was always a patently transparent Republican astroturf movement designed to tap racial resentment among angry, willfully ignorant, low-information conservatives.

Missouri Republican Wants To Make It A Felony For His Fellow Lawmakers To Propose Gun Laws — That’s the conservative view of democracy: their way or the highway.

Hagel and Repudiating the Bush EraThe fight over Hagel centers on Republican hard-liners’ continuing attachment to Bush-era foreign policy and the rejection of much of Bush’s legacy by everyone else. The problem for conservatives in repudiating the Bush era is coming to terms with the utter financial and foreign policy disaster that the Iraq War has been. They’re not good at admitting they were wrong, especially on such a massive and destructive scale. If a Democrat had launched a trillion-dollar war of choice under knowingly false pretenses, we’d be hearing about it every day for decades to come.

QotD?: Is she so cute?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (0.5 hours on a new story, to 900 words, and 0.5 hours working on my collaboration with [info]the_child)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 234.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block covering up high crimes and misdemeanors in Benghazi: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad asks what’s the matter with him? Is he all right?

Paradise Lost 3 — Looking for a tight writers’ conference with a high staff:student ratio? Plus me? Check it out.

Post-Sick SharksScrivener’s Error with a whole bunch of commentary and links on publishing and copyright, with focus on (among other things) orphan works. Recommended reading if you’re serious about this stuff.

Amazon ‘used neo-Nazi guards to keep immigrant workforce under control’ in Germany — Yep. That’s Amazon, predatory business practices and all. (Snurched from Andrew Wheeler.)

The Complete 14 Batman Window Cameos — Hahahah! (Via David Goldman.)

JayBall rules — Because reasons! (Thanks to [info]garyomaha.)

I’m Elyn Saks and this is what it’s like to live with schizophrenia — Wow. (Via Lisa Costello.)

The CIA funded abstract art during the Cold War — Umm…

Optical Calibration Targets — Oh, wow, this is cool. I want to visit some of these in person.

Bioinspired fibers change color when stretchedColor-tunable photonic fibers mimic the fruit of the “bastard hogberry” plant. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Love of aviation launches teens’ fight to reopen museum — A local story from the Portland area.

Why Almost Everyone in Russia Has a Dash Cam — And why we have so many videos of the recent Russian meteor strike. (Via David Goldman.)

Russian Meteor Is Largest Since 1908 Siberian Blast, NASA SaysA meteor that exploded in the skies above Russia’s Ural Mountains was the largest since the Tunguska blast in Siberia in 1908 and released about 33 times the energy of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

Sex in the Middle Ages — Life after 40? No, wait…

Before Love: Puritan Beliefs about Sex and Marriage — Unfortunately, that Puritan sexual ethos continues to have grip on American culture, especially in the minds of the vocal and destructive Christianist minority, as part of their ongoing campaign of wholesale social repression and denial of individual rights in the name of a very narrow view of religion and morality.

Rising Voices in S. Korea, Japan Advocate Nuclear Weapons — What could possibly go wrong>

How the NRA Hobbled the ATF

The Art of Infinite War, Ctd.: The Administration’s Drone Campaign — Ta-Nehisi Coates with commentary from Judah Grunstein, who edits World Politics Review.

QotD?: How do you know?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (2,400 words on novella in progress, to 15,700 words, plus 0.25 hours of collaboration with [info]the_child.)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 232.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block covering up high crimes and misdemeanors in Benghazi: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad sees a little silhouette-oh of a man

SMBC on the perils of editing — Hahaha.

I Am Not a Camel … but I Do Have Epilepsy — On disease, treatment and medical stigmatization. (Via David Goldman.)

Pad Thai — The odd history of a favorite dish. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

AbandonedNational Geographic television on treasure hunting in abandoned properties. Some cool stuff here. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Sea slug’s ‘disposable penis’ surprises — Yeah, I’ve been on dates like that.

Carbon Sponge Could Soak Up Coal EmissionsEmissions from coal power stations could be drastically reduced by a new, energy-efficient material that adsorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, then releases it when exposed to sunlight.

NASA: Rapid Loss of Freshwater from Middle East Region — Oi. Not good news for anyone.

Zen Groups Distressed by Accusations Against Teacher — Sigh. Religious hypocrisy is religious hypocrisy, no matter where it comes from.

Papal cuts: why is he really resigning? — Something I suspect that is very close to the sad, hard truth.

AP bans use of words “husband,” “wife” for legally-wed gay couples — Ah, the bigotry continues, to the delight of conservatives across the land.

The New York Times is Stupid on Plagiarism — Cora Buhlert on the American view of German politics and politicians. This brings us to the fact that a whole lot of German politicians, including most of the current cabinet, have advanced degrees and doctorates. For some reason, this seems to boggle American minds, which in turn boggles mine, because don’t Americans want politicians who are smart and educated? That said, looking at some of the American politicians who cropped up during the recent election season – you know, the sort who consider the Soviet Union a valid threat for the 21st century or displayed profound ignorance about human biology and reproduction – I guess the answer is “no”. That institutionalized political anti-intellectualism would be a conservative tic, Cora, and every bit as stupidly destructive as you imply.

Missouri bill redefines science, gives equal time to Intelligent DesignBill has a long list of brain-melting stipulations. If nothing else, I could never be an American conservative because it requires endorsing this kind of deep intellectual dishonesty. Even those Republicans who personally know better enable this idiocy with their votes, their campaign contributions and their political support.

Ted Nugent Is Not AmusedRepublicans hear very little they like in the president’s State of the Union address. Hey, Nuge, I thought you said you’d be dead or in jail if Obama was re-elected. So, pick one and get on with it.

The Art of Infinite War — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the American obsession with “security”.

QotD?: Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (2,500 words on novella in progress, to 8,700 words, 30 minutes on a joint project with [info]the_child)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 231.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block helping illegal immigrants infiltrate America: 0
Currently reading: Mort by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad has the staples

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

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

The Drink Tank talks about me, cancer and fandom — Thank you, Chris.

RNA Fragments May Yield Rapid, Accurate Cancer Diagnosis A new method to noninvasively diagnose cancer and monitor its progression could eliminate the need for painful and sometimes life-threatening biopsies. (Thanks to Barb M.)

Chemotherapy Can Inadvertently Encourage Cancer Growth — This may be what has happened to me. (Via @dratz.)

Meyer the Mormon — Sherwood Smith with an interesting bit about Twilight, as well as a link to a much longer article.

Men who help with housework get less sex — This story seems both counterintuitive, and filled with dodgy assumptions.

Disco Scallops Know How to Boogie Even if They Aren’t Scallops — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

How owls swivel their heads

The Old Bus: 1937Old school bus. Williams County, North Dakota. Wow…

How Drought on Mississippi River Impacts YouThe drought-plagued Mississippi is holding up barge traffic, sending global ripples.

Will Deep-sea Mining Yield an Underwater Gold Rush?Some environmentalists say the lure of precious minerals threatens ocean life and local cultures.

Fire and Ice: The Frozen Aftermath of a Chicago Warehouse Fire — Wow. (Via Lisa Costello.)

What Gun Owners Really Want I’ve owned six guns. I’ve drawn them on bad guys. I want to be understood.Firearms exist to manage situations where rationality has failed, so thinking rationally about them can be hard.

Milan court convicts 3 Americans in CIA kidnapping — Good. Apparently the American justice system is never going to hold anyone accountable for the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration. It’s nice to know the rule of law applies somewhere.

Chuck Hagel Mauled in Bizarro World of US Senate — Yep. This.

QotD?: Ever had 32 staples pulled from your belly?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (still in post-operative recovery)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (still in post-operative recovery)
Weight: 224.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block protecting women from violence: 0
Currently reading: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad keeps trying to find its footing

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet.

Skiffy and Fanty with a random Act of Whimsy on my behalf.

Sex Operator Cards Against Humanity — Rebecca Blain with an Act of Whinsy pace Mary Robinette.

PolarBearSwim — Rick Novy commits an Act of, well, something, in support.

Creative genius and science[info]mckitterick with a fascinating post, including a recording of the oldest documented piece of music in the world.

CephalophoreA cephalophore (from the Greek for “head-carrier”) is a saint who is generally depicted carrying his or her own head. I hate it when that happens. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

PaperTab: A Tablet As Flexible As Paper Debuts At CES 2013 — Not quite fully baked, but still cool as heck. (Via David Goldman.)

Ancient migration: Genes link Australia with India

Chimpanzees possess sense of fairness akin to humans — Much like reality itself, even nature has a liberal bias.

The Airplane’s InfancyBy 1913 we’d learned how to fly. Now came the hard part—designing flying machines that were safe and reliable. A view of aeronautics from 100 years ago.

25 Places That Look Not Normal, But Are Actually Real — (Via Lisa Costello.)

The Weathermen Don’t Know Which Way the Wind’s BlowingFour in 5 Americans believe in global warming–but nearly half of local weather reporters don’t. Believing in global warming is like believing in tomatoes or gravity. Global warming denialism has as much intellectual credibility as tomato denialism or gravity denialism. All of those phenomena are pieces of evidence-based reality, regardless of your opinion or ideology. But weathermen? Really?

Summer Down Under — Heat-related photos from Australia, which is having a nastily record-breaking summer. Warning: Some of these might be triggery. Good thing climate change is a liberal hoax, otherwise there might be something to worry about. (Via [info]tillyjane, a/k/a my mom.)

Debunking the Denial: “16 Years of No Global Warming” — A well constructed, ideologically confirming lie can outperform the facts for a long time if people are sufficiently enthusiastic in their willful ignorance.

Little-known laws shed light on NRA influence — The gun culture is as pervasive as it is destructive.

The Hitler gun control lieGun rights activists who cite the dictator as a reason against gun control have their history dangerously wrong. Like pretty much all contemporary American conservatives, gun rights advocates prefer their beautiful minds blissfully untroubled by so-called “facts”.

More Guns, Less Crime: The Switzerland Example — Ta-Nehisi Coates on why the gun culture in Switzerland is actually nothing like what a American gun enthusiasts like to pretend it is. Once again, those liberal “facts” don’t align at all with cherished conservative beliefs. Quel surprise.

I Wish That I Knew What It’s Like to Be Free — More crazy conservative gun culture shit. (Referred from [info]reynardo.)

Colin Powell blasts GOP’s “dark vein of intolerance” — This would be the same Colin Powell who knowingly lied to the US and the UN about Iraq’s alleged WMDs? Even though I appreciate his newfound message (a few years too late, sir, given what a much bigger difference you could have made back in the day), Powell permanently trashed his credibility with the Iraq lies.

?otD: What do you do when your deck is burning?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (stress)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (forgot to weigh)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad worries some more, because worrying is what it does

The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth — Hahahah. (Snurched from [info]james_nicoll.)

In Portland, Tex-Mex fare rides again — One of my favorite cuisines, and one rarely found (even poorly executed) here in the foodie town of Portland. I miss Chuy’s from my Austin days, and especially the Hula Hut. (Via my Dad.)

Riding a horse across a frozen lake in Siberia — Also this wow factor as well: Frozen Bubbles Suspended Below Abraham Lake. (Both thanks to Lisa Costello.)

LROC Browse Gallery — Lunar pr0n. (Thanks to Gary Dierks.)

Futuristic highways in the Netherlands glow in the dark. — Weird and cool. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Test Room — This is a weird little squib from BLDG BLOG which happens to have an Oregon connection. Though that’s not the weird part.

Juggling by numbers: How notation revealed new tricks — Huh. Interesting. I have extremely modest skills as a juggler myself. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Forbidden sphere — Weird security in the nuclear age. See also: Classifying a Shape and Illegal Numbers. The fascinating weirdness of security paranoia. (Via David Goldman.)

Why We Have a Right to Consumer GeneticsIt’s hard to get straightforward health guidance from personal genome tests, which are banned in some places. But one way to make them more meaningful is to let more people buy them.

World first as scientists create cancer-killing cells that can be injected into patients

The Myth of Harriet Tubman — A moving piece from Ta-Nehisi Coates that says some new-to-me things about race and racism.

Joseph Sciambra, Self-Described ‘Ex-Gay Porn Star,’ Claims Gay Men Anally Give Birth to the Devil — Are all religious conservatives insane? Or just the ones who have public voices? This guy’s on the same range of cruel lunacy as Dobson, Fischer, Franklin Graham and Huckabee. So unlike anything I ever found in the Bible, at least the New Covenant. It’s like faith makes them stupid and mean. Or maybe they started out stupid and mean and found a faith that fit those tendencies. (Via Mike Brotherton.)

The NRA Claims the AR-15 Is Useful for Hunting and Home Defense. Not Exactly. — Uh huh. (Via [info]danjite.)

Thoughts on the Second Amendment — A long but fascinating piece on the Second Amendment’s historical context and judicial interpretations thereof. I was struck by this comment on D.C. v. Heller: Apparently judicial activism is okay for decisions right-wingers happen to like, but not for decisions they don’t like. Well, duh. That’s a cornerstone of the justly famed principled intellectual consistency of American conservatism. More to the point: Americans have clearly stated that the blood of children is an acceptable price for the free availability of guns, and I do not see any marking on the wall that says, “When the pile of bodies reaches this line, things will change.” It is a sad commentary on us as a culture, but there you have it. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

Sen. Crapo pleads guilty to DWI, seeks ‘forgiveness and repentance’ — Another religious conservative moral scold has feet of clay. Not that this ever stops them from lecturing and legislating against behaviors they disapprove of in others.

O’Reilly: “Asian People Are Not Liberal, You Know, By Nature. They’re Usually More Industrious And Hard-Working” — Wow. Racist and classist and staggeringly stupid all in one. Conservative America, this is one of your leading voices. What does this say about you?

The Secret History of US Drone Strikes in 2012 — Just in case you thought everything was peachy Over There. America embarked on a decade plus of frenzied killing in response to 9-11, mostly of people who had nothing to do with the original event. How do you think they feel about us now?

Gulf Coast Lawmaker Votes Against Sandy ReliefRep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose Mississippi district is situated on the Gulf Coast, was one of 67 Republicans on Friday to vote against a $9.7 billion relief package to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Stay classy, Mississippi. It’s not like the Feds gave you any money to help out after Hurricane Katrina. No, wait… I guess this is compassionate conservatism in action.

GOP’s obstructionism is suicide strategy — We should all be so lucky, The key to the suicide bomb strategy is to convince people that members of the conservative wing of the Republican Party are crazy enough to wreck the economy if they don’t get their way. I’m certainly convinced. The congressional GOP have become a basket of vandals and loons completely uninterested in a functional government. Which is the logical outcome of 30 years of “government is the problem” rhetoric, unfortunately for those of us who are still sane and wish to live in a functional society.

?otD: How carefree is your morning?

Writing time yesterday: 0.75 hours (WRPA, specifically research for a Cthulhu short)
Hours slept: 5.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (forgot to weight before I ate)
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking skills to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad eats well for a change

A reader reacts to Logorrhea — With favorable mention of my novelette, “Crossing the Seven”. (My word was “transept”.)

Books of Beasts in the British Library: the Medieval Bestiary and its context — Online and searchable! (Via Steve Buchheit.)

Ebert’s Top Movies of 2012 — Some moving films here. Worth the read for things you might have missed.

The Screech Owl nest box cam is back in operation for the new season (i.e., 2013) — From my friend Chris W. Johnson.

Half the Facts You Know Are Probably WrongOld truths decay and new ones are born at an astonishing rate. Interesting, and on reflection perhaps unsurprising, but the bit about the non-replicatability of preclinical cancer scared the heck out of me. Ah, how the world changes. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

Cancer Screening Rates Have Fallen In US — Don’t do this, people. Not that screening would have helped me. My cancer came on so early relative to average age of onset that I wouldn’t have qualified for prior screening if I’d known to ask for it.

Shell’s Let’s Go! Arctic Campaign — Hahahah. Some nifty subversion here. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Will Churches Be Forced To Conduct Gay Weddings?Not a chance. That’s just the scare tactic conservative groups use to frighten voters. Of course it’s a scare tactic. Conservatives can’t win ideas, not in these days of Tea Party lunacy defining the GOP. They have to manufacture anger and fear through lies. Viz the entire Romney campaign. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.

Walking in Our Shoes — As essay on gay Christianity and marriage. This is especially clear where modern conservatives insist that they are merely trying to protect traditional marriage “as found in the Bible” – when their understanding is of “traditional” is a very modern one. It’s also clearly illustrated in the racial field – where so many Westerners have a mental image of Christ as quite identifiably European/ Caucasian, which is obviously historically inappropriate – but outrage ensues when others attempt to portray him in other guises. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Barack Obama needs to explain drone strikesBut the U.S. Constitution requires due process when life is at stake. The government cannot be permitted to deprive an American child of his life without any judicial review, even after the fact. More broadly, thousands of people have been killed by U.S. drones in a program that began in 2002 and has expanded dramatically under the Obama administration. Part of the problem with the targeted killing program is the government’s vague and shifting legal standards. (Via [info]danjite.)

FBI Violated Constitution by Branding Peaceful Occupy Wall Street as Terrorist threatSecond Amendment fundamentalists push for open carrying of firearms in public, and armed gun nuts even attended one of President Obama’s rallies in Arizona. That was apparently just all right with the FBI. But the peaceful protest movement, Occupy Wall Street, was treated by the FBI as a terrorist threat. That’s because the GOP won’t allow the DHS to classify armed white conservatives as terrorists. The typical conservative response to adverse data: suppress it.

That Pesky Amendment Language and Originalism — Steve Buchheit with a modest proposal regarding the Second Amendment’s lack of guarantee of access to ammunition.

3 officers shot, gunman killed at N.J. police HQ — Gee, you think they might have had a few guns around to defend themselves with? Feel safer yet?

Bang Bang Crazy — Part one of a lengthy four-part piece from Jim Wright at Stonekettle Station on gun ownership, from a gun owner’s perspective. (This first bit was written before the recent events in Sandy Hook.) Parts 2, 3 and 4 here. Long but worth the read if this topic is important to you.

On Living Armed — Ta-Nehisi Coates deconstructs his own comment, “And the fact is that I would actually rather die by shooting than live armed.” I feel the same way, though I come at it from a completely different direction than he describes. I don’t want to live in a society where armed response is both necessary and expected in any situation. If I did, I’d move to Somalia. The America of guns is a land foreign to our aspirations and our rights both. We don’t need to be this way. And there is ample, ample evidence that when you remove guns from the social equation, societies succeed in being much, much less violent. Without omnipresent guns, there is no need for omnipresent self-defense through gun ownership. The answer is so simple no one who cares about guns can see it, because their passions depend on ignoring the painfully, fatally obvious fact of 10,000 firearms homicides per year. I’m simply not capable of being that casual about other people’s lives.

?otD: What did you have for lunch yesterday?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 11.0 hours (9.5 hours fitful, 1.5 hours napping)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on the stationary bike)
Weight: 210.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching critical thinking to the children of conservatives: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad for a winter hump day

Spy Fiction For One — This is cool. Dennis Wheatley and Ian Fleming writing for the war. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Why White Tigers Should Go ExtinctEverything you’ve been told about this exotic, royal, endangered species is wrong.

Frost Flowers: Nature’s Exquisite Ice Extrusion — (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Scientists find ‘habitable’ Tau Ceti planet

A City Built on Dredge — A long piece on harbor dredging and the history of New York as a port. Plus the new-to-me concept of post-Panamax shipping. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Intelligent design think tank’s “institute” is a Shutterstock imageA green screen plus a stock image of a lab equals instant credibility. It’s kind of hard for the Liars for Jesus to do good PR about the science they can’t do. My Bibles have a commandment against bearing false witness, the Discovery Institute’s clearly do not.

Today and foreverThe Bloggess on mental health and suicide. This one’s serious and tough.

Persecution is Not an Evangelical Value“As a conservative evangelical, I can say without hesitation that evangelicals unanimously oppose the very idea of persecuting people for their sexual identity or practices.” Wow, I don’t know what color the sky is in this guy’s world, but here on planet reality where conservatives have been running on “God, guns and gays” for years, sexual persecution has become a core Evangelical value. Christianists are one of the most destructive forces in American civil society precisely because of this. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Why James Dobson is unable to speak of the actual murder of actual children — So far as I’m concerned, Dobson, Fischer, Huckabee and the rest can crawl back into the moral cesspool they came from.

Ah, eliminationist rhetoric — Hates it, I does, on all sides. Even when it occasionally slips out of my mouth in frustration. And yes, there’s a difference between occasional angry hyperbole and the relentless drumbeat from certain quarters. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

‘Order At Universal Gunpoint’ — Ta-Nehisi Coates on what’s so very wrong with the “more guns are needed” approach to gun violence. (Besides the obvious common sense and moral issues, of course.)

The Acceptable Cost of the Right to Bear Arms — Warren Ellis with a UKanian (and sane) view of the cost of US gun rights. We’re talking about the acceptable cost to you of being able to bear arms without infringement. When you make this argument, you are telling me that you’re OK with some people being dead, because you think that lax gun controls ensure that not everybody is dead. This. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

NRA promises “meaningful contributions” to avert another Newtown — Psst, NRA: STFU with the paranoia would be a meaningful contribution.

The Woes of an American Drone Operator — (Via [info]danjite.)

?otD: Got snow?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (9.0 hours solid, 1.0 hour napping)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on the stationary bike)
Weight: 214.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block confiscating firearms and shutting down the Internet: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks