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[links] Link salad sorrows for Boston

War of the worlds: who owns the political soul of science fiction?In the sci-fi genre, two diametrically opposed ideologies are battling it out as leftwing writers embrace otherness, while the rightwingers look up to authority. Although my personal sympathies should be blatantly obvious, why should anyone own the soul of SF, so to speak? Right wing fiction has as much to say as left wing fiction, regardless of my individual opinions. (Via an interesting linkdump from Cora Buhlert.)

Literature from Librarians: Great Reads Written by the Experts

Landfill Harmonic: An Upcoming Documentary About the ‘Recycled Orchestra’ in Cateura, Paraguay — People are amazing. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

This is your brain on music

Google Glass hits productionThe first Google Glass devices have been finished and are expected to ship imminently, the company has confirmed. I would love to have these, but even if I did, I couldn’t use them until they’re available with prescription lenses.

The Planetary Super-Surface of San Bernardino CountyBLDG BLOG gets interestingly weird about commercial architecture.

Is Nasa looking in the wrong place for life?

Dark matter experiment CDMS sees three tentative cluesResearchers have revealed the first potential hints of the elusive material called dark matter at an underground laboratory in the US.

Human cycles: History as scienceAdvocates of ‘cliodynamics’ say that they can use scientific methods to illuminate the past. But historians are not so sure. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Duplitectural Marvels: Exploring China’s Replica Western Cities — Wow. This is strange. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Margaret Thatcher and misapplied death etiquetteThe dictate that one ‘not speak ill of the dead’ is (at best) appropriate for private individuals, not influential public figures. This bit is especially to the point: Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms. (Via [info]goulo.)

Are there Any Solid Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage?The case against same-sex marriage seems, to me at least, muddled, odd and paltry. A Christian blogger talks about the opposition, and finds the same point progressives have made for years. When you take away bigotry cloaked in religious freedom as an excuse, there is no rational opposition to same sex marriage. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

The Limits of Good Faith — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Rand Paul. Rand Paul went to Howard University, lied, and then got his ass kicked. That’s not so bad. I got my ass kicked regularly at Howard. That was the reason my parents sent me there. But having gotten his ass kicked, his answer is to not to reflect but to make an allegation of racial discrimination.

John Kerry: Foreign Students Aren’t Studying In U.S. Because They Fear Guns — From a certain conservative perspective, I suspect this is good news.

Guantanamo Commander Orders Single-cell Living For Detainees — Lifetime imprisonment without charges or trial, in solitary confinement. Yes, America is definitely a beacon of liberty and the rule of law the world over. (Via [info]danjite.)

Patriots Day bombings in BostonSlacktivist Fred Clark with some modest wisdom.

PSA: Ignore the news — The brilliant Charlie Stross is wise about the Boston bombings in his own lateral way.

Boston Marathon Calamity Shows Value of Social MediaIt might be no surprise that immediately after the explosions at today’s Boston Marathon, social media sites became the best way for the public to obtain on-the-scene reports. But notably, it also became the best way for classic news media to report. Even more than that, the long minutes after the news broke showed just how superior social media is for finding answers to your own personal concerns. (Via David Goldman.)

Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?Terrorism has no nation or religion. But likewise its victims are human beings, precious human beings, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.

Trapped by the BaseI see little reason to believe that the staunch conservative bloc will wither away or splinter; it will remain a dominant force in the GOP and on the national stage. At the same time, however, I see no indication that its ideas about policy, governance and social issues will gain new adherents. They are far beyond the mainstream. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

QotD?: What do you think?


4/16/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (60 minutes and 1,700 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin, 15 minutes of WRPA)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 246.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad knows all about the crime of the century

Reddit Fantasy AMA — On Thursday, April 18th, I’ll be participating in the Reddit Fantasy Ask Me Anything.

Man unveils 1,150-page Bible — written by hand The St. John’s Bible, commissioned in 1998, is the first handmade version in 500 years. Wow… (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Ghost sign — These are all over Portland. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Bitcoin Isn’t the Only Cryptocurrency in TownCurrencies designed to fix perceived flaws in Bitcoin could lead to competition that makes the idea of digital “cryptocurrency” stick.

Nanosponges To Suck Up Toxins

Lab-made rat kidneys raise hopes for dialysis patients — No livers yet, sadly.

Will the Supreme Court end human gene patents after three decades?Court considers invalidating breast cancer gene patents—and thousands of others. Yes, this.

Moore’s Law and the Origin of LifeAs life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself. This is exactly the kind of thing that reinforces to me how sadly limited the imaginations of creationists and Intelligent Design proponents must be.

Justin Bieber doesn’t get to second-guess Anne Frank. Nobody does. — Wow, is this a deep and clueless arrogance on Beiber’s part.

Orthodox Jew Flies In Plane Covered In Huge Plastic Bag, Possibly To Avoid Cemetery Flyover — First of all, the headline is hilariously misleading. Second of all, the story is the umpteenth example of why public decision making should not be based on religious principles, because religious principles lead to deeply irrational behavior over and over and over. While not all religious principles cause people to wrap themselves in plastic, it becomes very hard to draw the line, especially in a country like this one where irrational religious principles such as evolution denial influence education policy nationwide.

Antarctic warming a tale of two ice coresIce cores taken from two regions of the Antarctic give a mixed story on the impact of human-induced climate change on the icy continent. Summer ice melting on the Antarctic Peninsula is at its highest in 1000 years, report scientists in today’s Nature Geoscience journal. But an analysis of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet stretching back 2000 years indicates “rapid ice loss may not be all that unusual” in that area of the continent, report another group of scientists in the same journal. That’s what science does. Incorporate contradictory evidence and revise the theory. Unlike dogmatic denialism.

‘Fraidy Cat — Jim Wright is very eloquent on the existential terror that dominates conservative rhetoric and policy thinking.

QotD?: Supertramp?


4/15/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (60 minutes and 2,000 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin plus some WRPA)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (interrupted by a two hour break)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (overslept)
Weight: 248.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: Jingo by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad hangs out in San Antonio

Message from a Patient: Whole Genome Sequencing Not Clinical YetMendelspod interviews me and Dad in a podcast.

Surgery mid-birth saved baby Lake — Wait, what? (Via David Goldman.)

After ChemoResearch into how the brain suffers as a result of chemotherapy is revealing potential avenues for ameliorating cognitive decline.

Beatles 3000 — A millennial retrospective. Hahaha. (Via [info]scarlettina.)

Bingham Landslide — Wow.

NASA Mars Orbiter Images May Show 1971 Soviet Lander

Hacking an Airplane With Only an Android Phone — Hoo boy.

The Hard Truth about Economic Inequality that Both the Left and Right Ignore

Gitmo Defense Lawyers Say Somebody Has Been Accessing Their Emails — Because we Americans are the highly principled defenders of freedom and the rule of law.

In the story of Noah, climate change is humans’ faultSlacktivist Fred Clark with a progressive religious perspective on the latest conservative idiocy.

Fox’s Disability Insurance Fraud “Shocker” Falls Flat — The conservative view of social programs as some kind of cornucopia of largesse is just bizarre, not to mention profoundly counterfactual.

QotD?: Been to the Riverwalk?


4/12/2013
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (1,500 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin), 1.0 hour of editing work on METAtroplis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 0.0 (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing Agenda 21 by closing down golf courses: 0
Currently reading: Jingo by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad can’t be wounded because it’s got no heart

Fore-Edge Painting — Art guru James Gurney documents the intersection between bibliophllia and art.

The Bank Where Doctors Can Stash Your GenomeA new company offers a “gene vault” for doctors who want to add genomics to patient care.

City Workers Paint Handicap Space Around Car, Then Tow It — I once got a parking ticket under similar circumstances. The space was legal when I parked in it.

Appendix Evolved Over 30 Times, May Perform Useful Function, Researchers Say — Perhaps it even evolved continuously?

Has Dark Matter Finally Been Found? Big News Coming Soon

Cosmos may be ‘inherently unstable’

Climate change can be tracked through “urine layers”Some rock hyrax colonies have been peeing in the same place for 55,000 years. I’ve been on dates like that.

Growing Up Evangelical at the End of the World — This kind of cruel insanity is one of the reasons I’m both an atheist and a liberal-progressive. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Persecutions and History doubt that anyone seriously defends or teaches the idea that there was a constant, universal Roman policy of persecution that never let up, and anyone who does teach such a thing knows virtually nothing about the history of the church or the Roman Empire. Clearly Larison doesn’t know any Evangelical Christianists, for whom the persecution stories are an important, self-valorizing touchstone.

Minimum Wage: Beggaring Workers does not Help Employment — All my life, every time the minimum wage has become a political topic, Republicans have gone into jobs hysteria. They’ve rarely if ever been right, but this fact creates no accountability for each new round of anti-minimum wage jobs hysteria. I understand why a political party that explicitly privileges ideology over reality can get away with this, but I have never understood why the allegedly liberal media doesn’t call them out on the serial lie, loudly and consistently.

Can the GOP be saved from its obsession with the 1950s?

QotD?: Who were you watching?


2/19/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA, otherwise took the day off)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 233.8
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, dressed all in pink and blue just like a child

This is the last day of the Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser. 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. And my thanks to the over 1,200 people who have contributed.

Genetically engineered virus kills liver cancer — Huh. (Via [info]mlerules and Lupa Bi, as well as Kate Elliott.)

Why Even Radiologists Can Miss A Gorilla Hiding In Plain Sight — Wow… (Via Nate Lee.)

Due to changes in my cancer treatment protocols, I will be at Paradise Lost after all

Every Step You Take, Tracked AutomaticallyA new app called Moves logs walking, biking, and running—no extra effort required. It’s how self-tracking is meant to be.

Space Marines, Water War, and Uplifted Elephants — Howard Tayler Is Wise on MCA Hogarth, Games Workshop and the naming of things in fiction.

How to take a great author photo — Hahahah.

Explore a Living Map of Ankh-Morpork! — Wow.

Computer program roots out ancestors of modern tonguesAutomated reconstruction of long-extinct languages can test theories on how words evolve.

The best bar in the world that I know about — Another of Roger Ebert’s gorgeous meditations on life.

Wing-Assisted Incline Running — Because bird reasons! (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Vintage Maidenform ad. Totally creepy. — Can’t sleep, clowns will eat my underwear.

Tesla says New York Times electric car review ‘fake’

How “Bullet Time” Will Revolutionise Exascale ComputingThe famous Hollywood filming technique will change the way we access the huge computer simulations of the future, say computer scientists.

Reflected Aurora Over Alaska — Mmm.

Landsat Data Continuity Mission Takes Off — I love the photo. The article is interesting, too.

An autochrome of a yellow dirigible in Paris, early 20th C. dirigible – Paris — (Thanks to [info]threeoutside.)

Chiune Sugihara: The Hero Who Didn’t Walk Away — Wow. Another story of the WWII era that I had never heard. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

A Call for Drastic Changes in Educating New Lawyers

It’s Aliiiiiiive!…. Sort OfScrivener’s Error on (mostly) corporate personhood. Interesting stuff, especially the last few ‘grads.

New Pope has Opportunity to Improve Christian-Muslim Relations

Can the Pope Legally Resign?Lowering the Bar weighs in.

On being white in a white white world. What’s a person to do? — A curious but encouraging post from Feminist Mormon Housewives.

Pentagon expands military benefits for same-sex couplesOutgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta signs an order allowing partners wider use of family-oriented facilities on U.S. bases, including child care and counseling. Another step in morality and justice overcoming the institutionalized Christianist bigotry in our country.

Armed Pro-Gun Protesters Occupy Oregon State Capitol — Sigh.

Op-ed of the day: a depression sufferer begs, “Please take my gun away”The Big Lie about guns is this: that they will keep you safe. But facts are facts, and actually, the opposite is true. Owning a gun will make you less safe. Ah, truth, of so little use to the conservative mind when cherished beliefs are challenged. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

The Ignorance Caucus — Paul Krugman on the state of the GOP.

Can GOP end the ‘carnival of the crazy’? — In a word, no. The crazy is how they keep manufacturing more angry white men. Conservative politics is hooked on the crazy like a junkie on smack.

QotD?: Are you in a yellow taxi?


2/12/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (1,200 words on novella in progress, to 6,200 words)
Hours slept: 7.0 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 goes back to work

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!

What to expect when someone is expecting death — Steve Buchheit with an extended riff on death and dying, using some of my recent blog posts as a launching point. (Yes, this link is a bit meta.)

Bookmarks: Q&A with Cory Doctorow, science fiction and Internet activist — An interview with Cory, in which he is asked about me and says nice things. (Via my Dad.)

Get Fuzzy on success in publishing — Hahahah.

Syd Mead on design for Bladerunner — Oooh. One of my favorite movies, ever.

Lawyer Analyzes Hobbit’s Contract — Hahahah.

Semantic satiation — I always knew this as “neural fatigue”. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Why Do Grandmothers Exist? Solving an evolutionary mystery — (Via [info]tillyjane, a/k/a my mom and [info]the_child‘s grandmother.)

Robohand: How cheap 3D printers built a replacement hand for a five-year old boyCreators make the design public domain to help people who can’t afford prostheses.

Researchers crack olfactory code for partner selection, synthesise first biologically effective perfume — Yep. This. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Men Go on “Guyets” Because Girls are StupidSociological Images on androcentrism.

Doonesbury nail it to the wall on gun control

Dangerous Gun MythsFor every instance in which a gun in the home was shot in self-defense, there were seven criminal assaults or homicides, four accidental shootings, and 11 attempted or successful suicides. That would be, you know, actual scholarship, as opposed to gun culture myth-making. The kind of scholarship the NRA has all but succeeded in banning, so that gun culture myth-making can prevail. Feel safer now?

LaPierre: They’re Coming For Our Guns No Matter What They Say — In other words, paranoid and delusional, blissfully untroubled by liberal “facts” and “data”, like most of the gun culture. Frankly, as much as I’d love to live in a zero gun society, where conservatives and liberals alike would be much safer and healthier (assuming you count not being one of the 30,000 people every year killed by a firearm as healthier), it ain’t gonna happen. Not with 300 million firearms in circulation. Not in this generation or the next. So while I might dream of wholesale confiscation, I could just as easily dream of sprouting wings, with as much likelihood of success.

Former Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle shot dead at Texas gun range — Guns sure kept him safe, didn’t they?

Christianism And Violence just read a post on National Review arguing that Christianity is in part about armed self-defense and the Second Amendment. I kid you not. Christianity is now apparently compatible with the gun lobby (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)


As Extremists Invaded, Timbuktu Hid Artifacts of a Golden Age
— Ah, the principled rationality of government by religious precept. There’s a lesson here that American Christianists will never learn.

Geeks are the New Guardians of Our Civil LibertiesRecent events have highlighted the fact that hackers, coders, and geeks are behind a vibrant political culture.

Will a declining America Start Having to Obey the same Rules as Everybody Else? (Chomsky)

QotD?: Was there an organized sporting event yesterday?


2/4/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.5 hours (WRPA)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.33 hours stationary bicycle (still in post-operative recovery)
Weight: 225.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block protecting women from violence: 0
Currently reading: Gulp by Mary Roach

[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?


1/5/2013
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 has seen the future, brother and it is murder

Librarians and porn — Not work safe. Funny.

Last of 2012’s Link SausagesScrivener’s Error with several worthwhile publishing rants all rolled into one mighty post.

Continuity errors in WWII — Hahahahah. An oldie but a goodie. (Snurched from [info]james_nicoll.)

Hartmut Esslinger’s early Apple computer and tablet designs — Some cool stuff, very forward thinking work from 20-30 years ago. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Cosmic Radiation Could Cause Alzheimer’s in Mars Astronauts

Tree Receivers — A very fascinating and weird (and very SFnal) post from BLDG BLOG about using trees for electronic communication.

First you take a leek… — Oh, this soup. Jersey Girl in Portland with the recipe and commentary on her awesome potato-leek soup.

Liberal bullying: Privilege-checking and semantics-scolding as internet sportIncreasingly, I’ve started recognizing this kind of behavior for what it is: privilege-checking as a form of internet sport. It’s a kind of trolling, with all the politics I agree with, but motivations and execution that turns my stomach. It’s well-intended (SO well-intended), but when the motivations seem to be less about opening dialogue about the issues, and more about performance, righteousness, and intolerance for those who don’t agree with you… well, I’m not on-board. Reminds me strongly of certain people and issues in the SFnal community.

Will gay marriage destroy America as we know it? — We can only hope to be supplanted by a kinder and more tolerant society.

Russian Inequality on the Eve of RevolutionIn 1904, on the eve of military defeat and the 1905 Revolution, Russian income inequality was middling by the standards of that era, and less severe than inequality has become today in such countries as China, the United States, and Russia itself. So the U.S. has greater income inequality than Tsarist Russia. Yep, definitely need to lower the taxes on the rich from their already historic lows. Because reasons. Conservative ones. (Via [info]danjite.)

A Broken System for Tracking GunsThe bureau — which should have a lead role in protecting the nation from gun crimes — has been severely hindered by an array of N.R.A.-backed legislative restrictions. For example, a 1986 law prohibits A.T.F. agents from making more than one unannounced inspection a year on a gun dealer, a rule that serves no purpose other than protecting unscrupulous dealers. Yep, us antigun liberals are definitely full of it: no hocus pocus in our gun laws or statistics gathering. Just patriotic, intellectually honest Real Americans defending their essential liberties and standing their ground without burdensome government interference.

Let’s Give Up on the Constitution — Hmm. There’s a level at which I take his point. It’s only the Constitution that has allowed a discredited minority party explicitly dedicated to rendering government dysfunctional hold so much of this country’s political process hostage. At the same time, it’s the Constitution that undergirds and binds our system together. Even when the lunatics in the GOP have grabbed the reins.

Mosque Arsonist Tells Court: ‘I Only Know What I Hear on Fox News’“No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio. Muslims are killing Americans and trying to blow stuff up,” Linn also reportedly told the judge. “Most Muslims are terrorists and don’t believe in Jesus Christ.” Ah, conservative America and your media echo chamber. You are such clear thinkers and moral actors. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

?otD: When they said repent, did you wonder what they meant?


1/1/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 11.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on the stationary bike)
Weight: 211.4
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 calls some people the space cowboy

Deuteragonist — A literary term of art which I did not know. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Some People Call Me The Space Marine . . . And Get Threatened By Games Workshop Hogarth wrote a book called Spots the Space Marine, only to find it yanked from Amazon, apparently based on a claim of trademark infringement by I-can’t-believe-they-still-exist gaming institution Games Workshop. Games Workshop, it seems, told Amazon that they own the trademark to “Space Marine,” not withstanding that (1) they don’t own a trademark to it in the context of science fiction books, and (2) they couldn’t, because the term has been in wide use in science fiction for the better part of a century. (Via [info]goulo.)

Speed of Perception — This is just cool. From art guru James Gurney. I can think of several ways to use this concept SFnally.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected FailureWired does not like. Howard Tayler does.

Craft Brewers Threatened by Big Beer Brands

Large, old trees disappearing worldwideLargest trees provide distinct ecosystem services.

New milestone for China: Probe snaps close-ups of asteroid Toutatis

Apple Execs Are ‘Seething’ Over The World’s Joyful Reaction To Google Maps For iPhone, Writes Top Apple Blogger — Maybe they should have put out a better maps product before they kicked Google off the platform. “Insanely great” got completely derailed by Apple’s corporate dickwaving.

SSDD: If the evangelical mainstream wants me to view the religious right as marginal, then they should do more to marginalize the religious right

Mormon ‘Pants Day’ — debate heats up as women prepare to dress down — Speaking as an atheist, it’s hard not to giggle about these kind of religious issues. I recognize they’re very serious, for several reasons, but don’t religions have better things to do, like saving souls or ministering to the poor?

Despite string of massacres, little change to US gun control laws — An Australian perspective.

“Fuck You CNN”: How the Press Got it Wrong on Newtown — How would you feel if this were you.

Friendly Fire Isn’tScrivener’s Error on the Connecticut shootings, specifically the media coverage.

Questions I ask myself about Connecticut School Shooting — Juan Cole on the shootings, again with much about the media coverage.

American Exceptionalism: The Shootings Will Go On — James Fallows on the shootings. Guns don’t attack children; psychopaths and sadists do. But guns uniquely allow a psychopath to wreak death and devastation on such a large scale so quickly and easily. America is the only country in which this happens again — and again and again. You can look it up.

Universal Pattern of Voting BehaviourThe same voting patterns crop up in every country that shares a particular type of electoral system, say sociophysicists. Wait, what? Sociophysicists?

?otD: Do some people call you Maurice?


12/15/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 13.0 hours (ten hours solid plus napping)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (on the chemo pump)
Weight: n/a
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing international law and Kenyan Muslim socialism: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad basks in the glory of cytotoxic drugs

Waterloo Productions will be following my chemo experience in realtime on Facebook this weekend — Come along for the ride, if you’re curious.

Hydrated and deliciousLanguage Log with a long riff on “cringe words”. We all have them, and it’s kind of baffling unless you share the particular cringe. For me, the nicknames “Compie” and “Lappie” for computers are cringe words.

Write Your Own ‘Shatoetry’ and ‘Shatisms’ with William Shatner’s New iOS App — Presented without further comment, because basically none is possible. Well, except for the observation that “Shatoetry” is probably a cringe word. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Sandwich Monday: The Latke Double Down — Wow. Slightly reminds me of the über sondvich at Eastburn. (Via @ShellyRaeClift.)

Cheese through the centuries — Because cheese!

Model WarfareBLDGBLOG on the history of art as a tool of warfare.

Indiana Jones Mystery Package — Abner Ravenwood’s diary surfaces. Surrealist performance art on the hoof at the University of Chicago. I love this. (Via both [info]danjite and [info]scarlettina.)

NASA’s GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map — Cool stuff. (Via [info]corwynofamber.)

Titan’s Big River (and Thoughts of Jules Verne)

Quantum networks may be more realistic than we thoughtDelicate qubits survive long distances in quantum communication without a memory.

Recreational marijuana should not be top federal priority: ObamaPresident Barack Obama says federal authorities should not target recreational marijuana use in two Western states where it has been made legal given limited government resources and growing public acceptance of the controlled substance. Yeah, duh. This issue doesn’t affect me personally in the slightest — I don’t use even though I live in a state with a medical condition that would allow me a marijuana card — but as a matter of rational social policy there’s only one direction it can go. “Rational”, however, does not often describe our social policies, viz this nation’s views on welfare, healthcare and gun control.

Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress) — Yeah, well. For those of you who oppose raising the minimum wage, imagine living on that. (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

US backs United Nations measure in favor of universal health coverage — Ah, irony, we hardly knew ye.

Calif. judge says victims’ bodies can prevent rapeA Southern California judge is being publicly admonished for saying a rape victim “didn’t put up a fight” during her assault and that if someone doesn’t want sexual intercourse, the body “will not permit that to happen.” Is this guy a GOP Senate candidate? As amply demonstrated at length during the most recent election cycle, that’s such a Republican view of women’s health; and as such, profoundly and insultingly wrong.

The perils and potential of N.A.L.T. (Not All Like That)Slacktivist Fred Clark on Dan Savage’s take on Christians and Christianists, and what do about the fact that conservative bigotry has become the public face of Christianity in America.

76 Things Banned In Leviticus — All of which are equally abominable in God’s eyes. You know, like wearing mixed fabrics. Or homosexuality. Or trimming your beard. See the whole list to know what you should be protesting on the streets every week and agitating for ballot measures to ban. Assuming you need further proof that Christianists are ridiculous theological and intellectual frauds. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

Clearly has no problem with straw men, long as their haystacks aren’t touching…There was a time I regarded Justice Scalia as a guy who was intellectually honest although I disagreed with him, a reasonable mind I could differ with. Was. It’s a long time gone. Yep. The way Scalia abrogated forty decades of his own legal reasoning in order to vote against the ACA pretty confirmed what had been obvious for years — that he’s a partisan hack who places political interests above law, precedent, the Constitution or the national interest. Which is precisely what conservatives want in a Supreme Court justice. (C.f. Clarence Thomas, who unlike Scalia has the added advantage of being a dim bulb unlikely to ever be troubled by an attack of conscience of the sort that led to Chief Justice Roberts’ aberrant vote on the ACA case. Dumb and loyal are the perfect qualifications for a GOP nominee to any Federal bench.) This piece does a terrific job of unpacking Scalia’s knowing intellectual dishonesty and personal mendacity in service of his political and cultural goals. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

Lieberman Will Not Be Missed — Actually, go ahead and let the door hit you on the ass on the way out, Joe. It’s the least you deserve.

It’s okay to be extreme in the Senate, but only if you’re a RepublicanThe most liberal member of the Senate, Bernie Sanders, was more conservative than 38 members of the House. Furthermore, nine Republican senators were more conservative than Sanders was liberal. Well, duh. Conservative extremism is patriotic, liberal extremism is socialism. Ask any Tea Partier.

?otD: What’s your cringe word(s)?


12/14/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike ride
Weight: 219.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing international law and Kenyan Muslim socialism: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

[links] Link salad rocks the air guitar out of key

Review: Dark Faith: Invocations — LaShawn Wanak with some good things to say about Dark Faith: Invocations and my story “The Cancer Catechism” in particular.

New Pill Could Do Wonders for Cancer Patients — Leukemia, in this case.

Supreme Court to rule on patentability of human genesLower court ruled that genes can be patented once isolated from the body.

Prepare to trek new legal landscape after WA pot law change — Yeah, I’ll bet.

Smart Tip: Peel an entire head of garlic in 10 seconds — I’ve seen this done before. (Via David Goldman.)

MIT develops miniature shape-shifting robots

Comfort noise — We actually deal with this in my day jobbe, but not by that terminology. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Electromagnetic Test Town — Ok, this is weird.

Man on FireOne man’s story of protest.

Attacker at Wyoming college kills two, commits suicideA man armed with a sharp-edged weapon that some media reports described as a bow and arrow killed two people, including a college faculty member, in Casper, Wyoming, before taking his own life on Friday. Yep, sometimes it isn’t guns. But the mindless, nuance-free, literalistic conservative defense of the Second Amendment means that instead of being rare, thanks to the widespread availability of firearms, these kinds of killings are an almost daily occurrence. Feel safer now?

Pat Robertson challenges creationism“If you fight science, you are going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was,” Robertson concluded. What do you know? Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. (Thanks to Rick York.)

UN calls for urgency on climate, says Doha deal to delight no one

?otD: I know it’s only rock ‘n roll, but do you like it?


12/1/2012
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 11.0 hours (solid)
Weight: n/a (forgot to weigh)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing people to accept healthcare and committing voter fraud: 0
Currently reading: Neptune’s Brood by Charlie Stross

[links] Link salad is at home

SF is dying – again – and gritty epic fantasy is gritty

When I split an infinitive, God damn it […] it will stay split — Raymond Chandler on grammar and copy editing, along with some linguistic neepery. You’re welcome.

Roger Ebert on Cloud Atlas

Chimp (and Elephant) Art

Sunday Fantasy #385 — Some very weird aviation art from x planes, for all you aircraft and SF fans out there.

There Is No Klingon Word for DeferenceStar Trek and the law.

Curiosity tests new camera, has nowhere to spend its penny

Explosion on Jupiter Spotted by Amateur Astronomers

Does asteroid mining threaten the earth? — The Kessler syndrome?

‘Living Mammoth Cells’ Found in Eastern Russia — The photo with this article looks like Chewbacca’s autopsy.

Sexual selection in the fossil record — Yeah, I’ve been on dates like that.

Caves of Nottingham — This is pretty intense and cool.

The rush to exploit an increasingly ice-free ArcticThree perspectives discuss how Arctic nations are preparing the way.

It’s all a giant conspiracy! (To some readers of climate blogs)Some of the climate skeptic community has bought into conspiracy theories. Gee. Who could possibly have predicted that obsessive belief in counterfactuals would lead to obsessive belief in counterfactuals?

“They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”: Chris Kluwe Explains Gay Marriage To The Politician Who Is Offended By An NFL Player Supporting It — That kind of thinking only applies if you live in the reality-based community.

Slurs only bolster Sandra Fluke’s cause — I don’t suppose I should be surprised by this, but the endless willful misinterpretation of Fluke’s original testimony and her statements since is just bizarre. No worse, I suppose, than the conservative willful misinterpretation of “You didn’t build that.” WHen your narratives aren’t evidence-based in the first place, then the evidence of your own intellectual dishonesty simply doesn’t matter.

The Ghost of George W. BushThe conventions are over, but the individual who will determine the 2012 election didn’t attend either of them. His name is George W. Bush. President who? According to the GOP, Obama is responsible for Iraq, Afghanistan, TARP, the auto bailout, the economic crisis and probably the heartbreak of psoriasis. That Bush fellow? Never heard of him.

The Deafness Before the Storm — The Bush White House and the infamous bin Laden briefings. Yep, your Republican party. Strong on national security since, well, never.

The Price of Hugging the President — Read this piece from Ta-Nehisi Coates. This is why I am a liberal-progressive, and can never, ever be a conservative. I can neither think that way, nor associate with a political party that fosters that kind of thinking. I have a lot of trouble believing anyone rational and humane can do so.

Desperately Seeking Scandals: The Right-Wing Media’s Attempt To Take Down Obama — One of the few places where Your Liberal Media is actually more or less playing fair instead of slavishly toeing the conservative line is in generally not enabling these kinds of narratives, as they so faithfully did during the Clinton and Bush years.

Top Ten Bad Signs for Romney — We can only hope. And really, what the hell happened to the GOP? They used to be able to run scorched earth campaigns like masters. Now…? (Not that I’m complaining, but if I were conservative, I probably would be.)

?otD: House or home?


9/12/2012
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.5 (interrupted)
Weight: 236.4
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo