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[links] Link salad has a feeling it gets when it looks to the west

Avoiding the goober — The linguistics of the word “gubernatorial”.

Rubber-Duck-Race Bill Expected to Pass in Wisconsin

Cat parasite found in Arctic Beluga

Made in Maine scent makes farmers more attractive to livestock — Because, uh. Nope. I got nothing. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Breast Milk Varies for Males, Females — Uhh…

Skeleton Typogram, A Human Skeleton Illustration Made Using The Words For Each Bone — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Mystery of ‘jelly doughnut’ Martian rock solvedNASA said Friday that a wheel of the rover Opportunity broke it off a larger rock and then kicked it into the field of view.

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. This is pretty damned interesting, but be aware it’s a longish read. (Via [info]danjite.)

Why AIs Won’t Ascend in the Blink of an Eye – Some Math — My friend Ramez Naam is smart.

BART riders get measles scare from UC Berkeley studentHealth officials say that thousands of San Francisco Bay Area residents may have been exposed to measles recently when an unvaccinated UC student attended classes and used the BART travel system. Because some people are fucking morons. I hope they charge that student, and their parents, with several thousand counts of reckless endangerment.

Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?Here’s the type of questions Air Force missileers are cheating on…and why. (Snurched from Daniel Larison‘s weekly roundup.)

Who’s the judge who ruled on Va.’s ban on gay marriage? A seeker of ‘more perfect’ freedom.

How Same-Sex Marriage Opponents Are Trying to Defend Their State BansThis line or reasoning serves two purposes. First, it’s meant to refute echoes of Loving v. Virginia, charges that the state acting in a bigoted manner by trying to discriminate against LGBT people or preserve heterosexual superiority. These are distasteful things to be accused of, so those defending the bans are trying to minimize the characterization that they’re on the wrong side of history. And water can try to minimize the characterization that it’s wet, but bigotry is bigotry, no matter how nicely it dresses up to go to church.

Tom Perkins’ big idea: The rich should get more votes — Ok, now he’s just trolling. Either that or he’s the most ignorant, self-involved example of financial entitlement that ever walked the earth.

We Did the Math on Tom Perkins’ Vote-Buying SchemeGuess who wins? Almost certainly not you.

New Jersey lawmakers cause international stir with bill to rename ‘Sea of Japan’ — Proof positive that Democrats can be utter morons, too. Sigh.

?otD: Is your spirit is crying for leaving?


2/15/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad didn’t know you were looking for more than it could ever be

“Hemingway” on Hemingway — Who the hell would use an app to evaluate their writing quality?

1966 Batman Valentines — Hahaha.

Compulsory Coupling: Fit In By Finding Someone — Yeah, this.

Snow Bird: 1922 — Some photographs defy explanation.

Austin’s Moon Towers, Beyond ‘Dazed and Confused’ — I lived in Austin 18 years, almost all of them in the old part of town where these towers still stand.

Frozen Venice – in pictures — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Bobsleds in ManhattanWhy NYC Should Host The Winter Olympics. Hahahah.
Global Geologic Map of Ganymede — In case you need one.

A little ass music: Hieronymus Bosch’s 500-year-old butt song from hell — This is so weird. (Via Lisa Costello.)

248-Million-Year-Old Fossil Shows Oldest Reptile Live Birth, Chaohusaurus Was Born ‘Head First’

The Rise of the Crazy Ants — Fire ants were bad enough. Now this? (Via David Goldman.)

The French way of cancer treatment[T]he French system is basically like an expanded Medicaid. Pretty much everyone has insurance, it explained, and the French get better primary care and more choice of doctors than we do. It also turns out, as has been much commented on, that despite all this great treatment, the French spend far less on healthcare than Americans. But Socialism is evil! No matter that people live longer, with better quality of life, for less cost. (Snurched from Alexander Unwyn Cherry.)

Cartoon: The truth about numbers: Bible Math! — Snerk. The dangers of literalism.

Kansas’ Anti-Gay Segregation Bill Is an Abomination — Wow. It’s very, very hard for me to read about something like this and not reach some very harsh negative conclusions about the intelligence, morality and basic human decency of American conservatives. (Via John Sapienza.)

Herpin: ‘A good thing’ that James Holmes had 100-round magazineRepublican state Sen. Bernie Herpin raised the ire of an Aurora theater shooting victim’s father when he claimed that it might have been “a good thing” that gunman James Holmes had a 100-round magazine when he opened fire and, ultimately, killed 12 people. I cannot even bring myself to snark about this.

Schofield man who advocated for open carry jailed, accused of making gun threats — Because guns make us all safer, and every American who carries deadly force can absolutely be relied upon to use that threat of deadly force wisely under all circumstances.

Doctors: Abortion laws carry riskEven those who oppose abortion say that before giving their best medical advice, they may need to call a lawyer. All in accordance with that bedrock conservative principle of not letting the government come between you and your doctor.

[Conservative activist] Brent Bozell urges liberal media to ‘tell the truth,’ while he fibs about writing a column — “Forced ghostwriting”?

Sen. Bob Corker can’t stand the United Auto Workers: An annotated interview — I wish more journalists would do this when interviewing politicians: annotate the lies and misrepresentations. (Snurched from John Sapienza.)

[New York Republican state legislator] Thomas Barraga: No one ‘should ever ride a bicycle’ in Suffolk County — Because freedom, I guess.

?otD: Do you have to stay?


2/14/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad has a full life, if a trifle banal

A Non-Binary Person’s Guide to Invented Pronouns

This Movie Works Whether You Play It Backward or Forward — A visual palindrome. (Via David Goldman.)

Sartre & Peanuts — Huh. (Snurched from David Wilford.)

San Francisco’s Class War, By the Numbers

A Winter Olympics Venn Diagram — Hahahahah.

How to Design an Interstellar Communications System If we want to communicate with other civilisations, it turns out that the laws of physics, the nature of interstellar space and a little common sense place surprisingly strict bounds on how this communication can take place.

SETI at the Particle Level

Satellites Spot Whales From SpaceThis new method could help researchers remotely count and keep track of whale populations. Mmm, space whales.

Giant leap for nuclear fusion as scientists get more energy out than fuel put in150 picoseconds of scientific breakthrough, though “ignition” remains a distant goal.

Probe to use Prehistoric Pigment Shield for Solar PlungeEuropean scientists designing the upcoming Solar Orbiter — a mission that will swoop deep inside the sun’s atmosphere (the corona) to carry out an unprecedented solar observing campaign — didn’t turn to science fiction for help, however. They’re using a technology that was available during prehistoric times to protect the spacecraft from the sun.

This is why we have two nostrils, rather than a single, large hole in the middle

Ancient native boy’s genome reignites debate over first Americans — And then there’s Kennewick Man.

Southeast U.S. Battered by Another Winter StormThis storm doesn’t disprove global warming any more than it getting dark at night disproves the existence of the Sun.

Planet, Oceans Burning Up: There is no “Pause” in Global Warming

Dear Creation Museum, all science is “historical science.” Here’s whyThe sort of selective reasoning—miracles don’t happen when there’s lab equipment nearby, but they have made anything more than a few centuries old completely inaccessible to scientific analysis—quite reasonably raises questions about whether researchers who hold this view can be relied on to do solid science, as does their lack of self-awareness that keeps them from recognizing that they are doing historical science. Their apparent willingness to throw the scientific method under the bus as soon as it conflicts with their personal beliefs is concerning as well.

Christian School Faulted for Halting Abuse StudyFor decades, students at Bob Jones University who sought counseling for sexual abuse were told not to report it because turning in an abuser from a fundamentalist Christian community would damage Jesus Christ. Administrators called victims liars and sinners. Tell me again how atheists are immoral? Help me understand why this version of the Christian worldview is somehow better than simple, honest humanism? ‘Cause I’m really not seeing it here.

Kentucky must accept out-of-state gay unions“Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons,” wrote Heyburn, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. The very same people who threaten to take up arms over every perceived possible slight to their freedoms ought to understand that. But they don’t. Even so, another bigotry domino falls, another step forward for freedom, justice and American values.

U.S. Takes a Sharp Drop in World Press Freedom RankingsThe United States took a nasty drop in the World Press Freedom rankings, released on Wednesday by the media group Reporters Without Borders, falling 14 spots to the 46th best country for journalist freedoms. Of the 180 countries ranked, the home of the First Amendment now sits snuggled between Romania and Haiti.

How Obama Officials Cried ‘Terrorism’ to Cover Up a Paperwork Error — A crazy story about everything that’s wrong with our National Security regime. Headline is a bit misleading, as the problem started in 2004 in the Bush administration, but the Obama administration continued to cover it up. (Via David Goldman.)

How a Purse Snatching Led to the Legal Justification for NSA Domestic Spying — Because security! (Via David Goldman.)

Senate passes debt-ceiling plan in blow to conservatives — The profoundly unpatriotic nihilists in the House GOP caucus take on on the chin. A very modest victory for good government and good sense.

Rand Paul v Barack Obama: A prelude to 2016 — As much as Rand Paul is a profoundly unpatriotic nihilist as well, he’s got a point about the surveillance state. Not that moderates and progressives haven’t been crying foul.

Is one of “the crazy ones” behind a threatening email sent to House Republicans? What makes “the crazy ones” crazy, in fact, is that they genuinely believe the cynical lies — about government debt, global warming, taxes, healthcare, immigration, Democratic Party fiscal policies and so on — that the non-crazy ones have been feeding the rubes for years. Mind you, “one of the crazy ones” is a description by a House Republican of other House Republicans.

?otD: Have any Cardassian laundry lists?


2/13/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (mostly solid)
Body movement: 20 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad has got bananas, watermelons and peaches by the pound

Photographer Gets A-List Celebrities To Reenact Stunning Scenes From Disney Movies — Annie Leibovitz with some amazing stuff. (Via Lisa Costello.)

An open letter from a Death Star architect — Hahaha. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Agloe, the Paper Town Stronger than Fiction — An odd twist on a well-known story, for you map geeks.

Researchers Watch As Our Brains Turn Sounds Into Words — Ok. This is cool.

Seattle construction workers unearth mammoth tusk

Good luck trying to escape a hungry crocodile by climbing a treeResearchers discovered that four crocodile species climbed trees.

The Archaeology of the Stars — More on hunting for very ancient stars. (Thanks to Dad.)

4 Crazy Gay Marriage Predictions That Never Came TrueIt’s time to take a look at some of predictions and see if any have come to fruition. Guess what?

Nevada Officials Won’t Defend Gay Marriage Ban“After thoughtful review and analysis, the state has determined that its arguments grounded upon equal protection and due process are no longer sustainable.“ Another bigotry domino falls in the face of personal freedom and American values.

Now They’re Making the Homeless Freeze to Death in PensascolaPensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has reversed positions on a city ordinance that makes it a crime for the homeless to sleep on public property with a blanket. I’m pretty sure the Bible has something to say about this in Matthew 25:36. I realize Jesus wasn’t up on current American conservative thinking when he talked about clothing the naked, but the principle seems clear. (Via David Goldman.)

GOP Report Acknowledges That The U.S. Military Couldn’t Have Changed Benghazi Outcome — Republicans formally acknowledging in writing that neither Hillary nor Obama did anything wrong in the Benghazi matter? Yeah, that will be all over Your Liberal Media.

?otD: More better than in town?


2/12/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (multiply interrupted)
Body movement: 15 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad doesn’t know why they changed it, it cannot say

Come Support the Jay Lake Auction at RadCon, Sunday at 1pm! — That’s today, in Pasco, WA.

The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards — (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

This goat simulator looks like maybe the best video game ever — Uh…

This Crow Is The Smartest Bird You’ve Ever Seen — (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

How the vastly improbable has determined what animals got where — Personally, I’ve always wondered why the North American bird census is so different west of the Rockies.

Deep sea (mesopelagic) fish biomass 10 times more than previously thought

ICE/ISEE-3 to return to an Earth no longer capable of speaking to it — This is poetic and strange.

Young American adults abandon religion in record numbers

Understanding Polygamy — The comment thread on this Feminist Mormon Housewives post is very strange and difficult to read if you don’t share their Mormon faith framework.

Pat Robertson begs Ken Ham to shut up“Let’s be real,” Robertson begged, “let’s not make a joke of ourselves.” Uh, Pat, the reality-based community appreciates the sentiment, but you’re way too late for that.

Babylonian Tale of Round Ark Draws Ire From Christian Circles — Ah, literalism.

Three endangered whooping cranes shot in US — See guns make everything better! And everyone who carries deadly force is socially responsible, and so completely trustworthy.

Justice Department To Launch Push For Full Recognition Of Same-Sex Marriage — Another push on the row of bigotry dominoes. Just as with evolution denial, this is a one-sided “issue” without a credible argument against.

Republican Official Says Gays Should Be Purged From GOP, Blames Homosexuality On Satan

8 Former Republicans Who Ditched the Extremist GOP

?otD: Did people just like it better that way?


2/9/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.75 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 10 minutes stationary bike (resuming exercise post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad can’t sell you what you need

TOC: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk Adventures — In which I have a reprint novelette, “Benedice Te”.

Worst Day of the Year Ride Canceled Because of Bad Weather — Ah, Portland. (Via my sister.)

Put a monocle on anything and it looks classy — Mr. Peanut, is that you?

That’s “Heavy”: The Mind-Body-Metaphor Connection — This is fascinating. In English, and several other languages as well, weight is used as metaphor to signify importance. The authors hypothesized that this abstraction can be triggered by concrete experiences of weight, like holding something heavy. They call this “embodied cognition.”

Can tumors be transplanted? — Uh…

Why do Americans spend so much on pharmaceuticals?

The Evidence Piles Up: Antioxidant Supplements Are Bad For You — Ooops. (Via David Goldman.)

Crowdfunding’s Effect on Venerable Nonprofits Raises ConcernWebsites now let people ask for charitable support for their own causes, but some fear that such sites will drain donations from established nonprofits. (Via Dad.)

Plate tectonics set the thermostat for early animal lifeSwitch from snowball to hothouse conditions driven by continental collisions.

Mechanism Important for Photosynthesis was Present in Ancient Microbes 2.5 Billion Years Ago

Earth’s Oldest Land Predators Had ‘Steak Knife’ Teeth

Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies

What Noise Does the Electric Car Make? — I was nearly struck by an electric scooter in China, the rider moving fast at night with his headlight off, presumably to conserve battery. Fast and all but noiseless.

Hamline professor’s post on student loan debt goes viral — When I started at the University of Texas at Austin in 1982, tuition and fees for a full 18 semester hour load were about $360. When I graduated in 1986, thanks to conservative-driven cuts in subsidies for higher education, it was well over $2,000 per semester. Costs have soared many times over since then, because we as a society have explicitly chosen to make higher education less and less accessible to each succeeding cohort of youth.

(GOP) Rep. Has Cordial Chat About Whether Obama ‘Should Be Executed’ — This piece is just creepy. Now try imagining the firestorm in Your Liberal Media if a Democratic congressman had had this conversation about Bush or Reagan.

?otD: Did buy it off the shelf? Did you grow it from the seed?


2/8/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad gazes across the frigid Atlantic at the sunrise

Come Support the Jay Lake Auction at RadCon, Sunday at 1pm! — Ah, my friends.

Photos: Time Capsule Mansion Opened After 100 Years — Wow… (Via Lisa Costello.)

A Venn diagram cartoon — Hahahah.

The Patient, the Provider, and Participatory Medicine—Are We a House Divided? — (Snurched from Casey Quinlan.)

A Creepy Medical Tour Of The Past — I’m not sure I’d describe all of these as creepy, but they are fascinating.

Apple fires up new furnaces for iPhone 6’s sapphire screenUnbreakable screen tech heading Apple’s way.

Young Salmon Born Knowing Migration Route Without any prior migration experience, juvenile Chinook salmon can find their way to ancestral feeding grounds by using the Earth’s magnetic field and an inherited internal map, according to a new study.

Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk

Nasa’s Mars Curiosity Rover’s First Photo Of EarthThe distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo, which includes the moon, was about 99 million miles.

Night Hides the World — Another beautiful night sky image, with an interesting explanation, from APOD.

Thoughts on Planetary Migration

Seeing science: The year’s best visualizationsThe National Science Foundation and Science name 2013’s best.

Calvin & Muad’Dib on religion — I love this piece, and I love this series.

Answers for Creationists — Phil Plait answers the Creationist questionsposted after the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate”, with grace and patience.

Alabama Chief Justice Jumps Into Gay Marriage FightMoore said that “a great majority of the American people want to hold to the definition that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Uh, no. Not if you believe the polling or voting patterns. Of course, if you decide to believe that polls are skewed and elections are stolen, then I guess evidence doesn’t matter.

Stupid Irish Homophobes and Their Big Homophobic Fail — This is very similar to conservative dialectic in this country.

Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for TerrorismApril Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country’s Power Grid. I have seen coverage on this before, but I’m amazed at how little. Perhaps because firearms were involved, rather than explosives. Somebody was out exercising their right to a theoretical defense of essential liberties. (Via [info]danjite.)

Dread Pirate Roberts 2.0: An interview with Silk Road’s new bossNew leader wants Silk Road to publish gov’t secrets; calls old DPR a “fraud.” This is very strange, as is everything to do with the Deep Web, which is incredibly science fictional while also being quite real.

Lobbying is a Lucrative Investment, Researchers Find Using CRP Data — Duh? (Via [info]danjite.)

Six Economic Benefits of the Affordable Care Act

Still don’t have health insurance? The Obama administration is trying to find you.

GOP Rep: Even Jesus Couldn’t Control House Republicans — Hahaha.

?otD: Did you get weathered out of work or school today?


2/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad watches the Atlantic

Intimate Portraits of BeesResearchers take advantage of photography technology developed by the U.S. Army to capture beautiful portraits of bees native to North America. (Via Marta Murvosh.)

A Valuable ReputationAfter Tyrone Hayes said that a chemical was harmful, its maker pursued him.

New rule allows patients to get test results directly from labs, without doctors’ clearance

Fighting cancer isn’t all about personal lifestyle but the environment we live in

Cancer cases set to rise by half by 2030: UN — Yeah, well. Some days I know I’m just another statistic in a government chart.

Older than oldest of 7 Wonders: 4,600 year old step pyramid uncovered in Egypt

New laser-printed material is lighter than water, as strong as steelAn internal structure like that of bone keeps the material porous but tough. This article also includes an incredibly cool chart of material strength and density which ought to be of interest to anyone writing hard SF.

Soon, the Coldest Place in the Known Universe Will Be on … the International Space Station“We’re going to explore temperatures far below anything found naturally.”

Atlanta Storm Was a Government Conspiracy? Snow Way!Unless folks can learn from their mistaken ideas, this kind of thinking is dangerous. We know that political parties and ideologically based “think tanks” will spread disinformation that gets absorbed by the public through various media. That’s no tinfoil-hat theory, that’s fact—you only need to read about the history of the tobacco industry (and now the fossil fuel industry) to see this. I draw your attention to the Texas Republican Party platform in 2012, which explicitly opposed teaching critical thinking skills.

Winter Heat Swamps AlaskaIn January 2014, record-breaking heat left Alaskans dealing with unseasonable bouts of rain and avalanches.

‘In God We Trust—but We Have Put Our Faith in Our Guns’Florida teenager Jordan Davis was shot by Michael Dunn after an argument over music. His mother, Lucia McBath, talks about losing her son and her fight against Stand Your Ground laws. Read this, especially if you’re one of those people who believes guns make us all safer.

Everything Is Like Slavery, Except Slavery — If it wasn’t so grimly sad and offensive, this conservative fixation with comparing pretty much every political initiative they disapprove with slavery would be funny. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Republicans, Democrats, and Trust in the Government

Coca-Cola’s Multicultural Super Bowl Ad Really Angered Conservatives — Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

Coca-Cola Critics Have Never Heard of ‘E Pluribus Unum’The rage directed at the Super Bowl ad with “America the Beautiful” sung in foreign languages shows some people can’t get on board with the future.

Times Are A-Changin’: Republicans Now The Key To Gay Marriage Fight — I find this piece to be wildly optimistic, given the GOP’s core electoral strategy of generating angry white guys, but I hope I’m wrong.

Republicans Are Advancing Their War on Public Education — Old news here, but it never stops.

Trick Websites Dupe Democrats Into Donating To RepublicansWhen a crop of mock sites cropped up last month, the NRCC defended its actions as perfectly legal. Character counts, as some political party or another used to frequently remind us.

?otD: When you stare into the ocean, does the ocean stare back at you?


2/4/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad is Friday, Joe Friday

Drilling surprise opens door to magma-powered electricityWell hit magma at unexpectedly shallow depths and used it to generate steam.

Bose-Einstein condensates used to emulate exotic magnetic monopole

Weather-Mapping a Brown DwarfAstronomers using a novel technique have mapped a brown dwarf’s visible surface — even though they can’t resolve the object in telescopes.

Is Google Cornering the Market on Deep Learning?

The Famous No-Memory Brain That Is Getting Plugged In Online

Acid bath turns cells from any tissue into stem cellsScientists borrow a trick from the plant kingdom.

Collectively, humanity’s genomes carry a fifth of a NeanderthalIf you have lupus or trouble quitting smoking, it may be their fault.

Child peanut allergy treatment ‘breakthrough’

Absurd Creature of the Week: Pink Fairy Armadillo Crawls Out of the Desert and Into Your Heart — (Via David Goldman.)

Rains Spurred by Climate Change Killing Penguin Chicks

Side-Channel Attacks on Frog Calls — Hahahahaha. (Via David Goldman.)

Fifty States of FearIn total, 54,000 Americans die every year due to work-related illnesses and accidents. This is the equivalent of 148 deaths each day; in terms of fatalities it is roughly a Boston Marathon bombing every half hour of every day. But while we spend more than 7 billion dollars a year on the T.S.A.’s national security theater in which over 58,000 T.S.A. employees make sure we are not carrying too much toothpaste or shampoo onto airplanes, the budget for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is under $600 million per year. It seems that our threat assessments are flawed. (Via David Goldman.)

Oh, the tyranny! — A short history of presidential use of the Executive Order. Obama is issuing orders at the slowest rate since Grover Cleveland is a great line.

Jon Meacham Says He Was Wrong About Lincoln, FDR And Executive Orders — So this guys makes a flat misstatement about Obama and executive orders on national television, an anti-Obama lie alleging presidential overreach seen and believed by millions of viewers. The retraction will be seen by 1% of that number, maybe, if we’re very lucky?

Rep. Cathy Rodgers Exemplifies GOP: Benefit from Gov’t yourself, Deny Benefits to Others — As usual, conservatives in their own words and deeds.

Lunches seized from kids in debt at Salt Lake City elementaryBut cafeteria workers weren’t able to see which children owed money until they had already received lunches, Olsen explained. The workers then took those lunches from the students and threw them away, he said, because once food is served to one student it can’t be served to another. Addendum: After being called out in the press, the school district has apologized.

PerkinsnachtLiberal vituperation makes our letter writer’s point. In which the Wall Street Journal proves once again that it is the FOX News of country club Republicans.

Why Is the American Dream Dead in the South?Upward mobility has stayed the same the past 50 years despite skyrocketing inequality. But it’s lower in the South (and Ohio) than anywhere else in the U.S.—or the rest of the developed world. Interesting to note the overlap between the opportunity map in this article and a Red state/Blue state political map of the United States. Startlingly similar to the overlap between a tax map (i.e., which states receive the most net inflow of government funds as compared to tax burden).

At Retreat, GOP Aims to Erase Its “Obstructive” Image — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. And mind you, this is a story whose author was careful to be sympathetic to the GOP.

The state of the union speech Barack Obama would never give — Huh. (Via Lisa Costello.)

?otD: Just the facts, ma’am?


1/31/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad still hurts

Sense and sensorbility: the book that lets you feel your protagonist’s painMIT scientists have created a ‘wearable’ book using temperature and lighting to mimic the experiences of a book’s protagonist. (Via AH.)

Why do we get confused about “you and me”? — Ah, grammar.

How Long Have I Got Left? — Yup. This. An oncologist writes about the experience of having cancer. (Via David Goldman.)

Giant leaps of evolution make cancer cells deadly — (Thanks to [info]fjm.)

Transmissible cancer is a time capsule from the earliest dogsTransmissible cancer dates back 11,000 years, has a mix of dog and wolf genes.

Evolutionary selection of stupidity — The concluding graph is awesome. (Via David Goldman.)

First Tests of Prototype Organic Wires Grown from Seedlings

Jelly Donut Shaped Rock Appears on Mars

The Secret Lives of Mormons — The excellent Feminist Mormon Housewives blog with a some heart-rending stories.

Historical Abuse Inquiry hears Sisters of Nazareth nuns ‘were almost psychotic’Nuns’ treatment of children at a residential care home was “bordering on the psychotic”, Northern Ireland’s Historical Abuse Inquiry has been told.

The Pawnshop Abortion DoctorReading this piece, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that terrorism sometimes works. If you truly believe that abortion is murder, than the killing of George Tiller must be viewed as a success. The killings in the 80s and 90s may well have been bad PR for the movement. But they terrorized doctors and were essential to the broader campaign that cleaved abortion away from mainstream medicine.

NY congressman to reporter: ‘I’ll break you in half’New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm was not happy when a New York reporter asked him Tuesday night about allegations involving his campaign finances.

My personal Fox News nightmare: Inside a month of self-induced torture Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness,” and I don’t regret the time I spent among the Foxians. I still believe that what the network does, and the way they do it is deeply damaging to our society—but I think I understand the Fox universe much more clearly. And if, as a result, I wind up being more skeptical of my own certainty and less apt to bore people with my anger, then it was time well spent.

?otD: Ow?


1/29/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (badly fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad has got an ache in its side

“Quoth” the raven? The heartwarming tale of a defective verb — I’ve never before heard of this class of words.

Google puts prescription lenses in Glass’ frame — If I live so long, and if I have the money, man would I want these.

What’s Ikea for? Cultural Differences in Appropriate Behavior

In South Korea, Spam Is the Stuff Gifts Are Made Of — (Thanks to Dad.)

One of the strangest animals on earth gets a little weirderDespite having 12 photoreceptors, mantis shrimp aren’t great at sensing color.

The Sloth’s Busy Inner LifeEvery week or so, the sloth descends from its favorite tree to defecate. I know the feeling. (Via David Goldman.)

Japan’s huge magnetic net will trawl for space junk — (Via [info]corwynofamber.)

Where The Alps Are A 3D-Printed Landscape Made From Artificial Snow

From Warheads to Cheap EnergyThomas L. Neff’s Idea Turned Russian Warheads Into American Electricity. Reading by bombsight. (Via David Goldman.)

A Cross-National Investigation into the Effects of Religiosity on the Pervasiveness of CorruptionIt is found that even after controlling for the effects of socioeconomic development, communist heritage and religiosity tend to promote corruption. Interesting if true. Not sure this isn’t some kind of elaborate trolling which happens to cater to my personal confirmation bias. (Via [info]danjite.)

Please Let’s Not Make Fun of the Poor

Tom Perkins Is The Hitler of Making Accurate Comparisons — Oh, the burden of the wealthy.

The Text that Changed the WorldOn Tuesday the Ukrainian government sent the following text message to thousands of protesters in the streets of Kiev: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” This short text belied a far more radical message. For the first time, a government was able to identify individual protesters and privately communicate to them that it knew who they were and where they were located. Well. I certainly have a thorough understanding of this technology, and a thorough-going fear of these politics. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement plan: Everybody pays more — Ah, market forces.

Meet 330 Lawmakers Who Made 2013 “A Terrible Year for Women’s Health” — 94% of them are Republicans.

Thinking Like a Conservative (Part Five): Epistemology and Empathy — In their own words, of course.

Rand Paul’s Mixed Inheritance — (Via Dad.)

?otD: Had any holes cut in you lately?


1/28/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 4.0 hours (badly fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad see them every night in tight blue jeans in the pages of a blue boy magazine

The Allure of the Map — Map, meet territory. (Snurched from Scrivener’s Error.)

The History of Smoked BrisketIt’s definitely not what you’d expect. (Via Lisa Costello.)

Grand Canyon ‘formed recently’

Holocaust Told in One Word, 6 Million Times

Audi Bets on Bio Gasoline Startup — Gas in a jar someday, grown in your own home.

Climate scientist’s defamation suit allowed to go forwardCalling a scientist a fraud could be defamatory. If climate change skeptics had good attacks on the data, they wouldn’t need to resort to ad hominem attacks on the investigators. If you know someone who’s on the fence about climate change, point that out to them.

Double Homicide Victims’ Names ReleasedDeputies say he admitted to shooting the two men because he thought they were trespassing on his property. Sheriff McComas says the land actually belonged to Garrick Hopson. He had just purchased it and was showing his brother where he and his family were planning to build their new home in the coming weeks. Yup. Guns definitely make us all safer.

Colo. GOP propose election law changesColorado Republicans are taking aim at a new requirement that every registered voter get a ballot by mail. A system which has worked very well here in Oregon, with voter fraud rates almost immeasurably low (though there has been registration fraud, oddly perpetrated mostly by Republican operatives) and improving turnout. I cannot imagine what the GOP would have against fraud-free, high-turnout system.

?otD: Do you want to go out with a lion’s roar?


1/27/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: n/a (in hospital)
Weight: n/a (in hospital)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)