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[links] Link salad, Friday Friday

APOD with an awesome moonrise photo

100 Oldest Companies in the World — (Hat tip to Centauri Dreams.)

The Edge of the American West ranks our nation’s wars by perceived historical significance — Interesting and irreverent.

The Edge of the American West with a sad and frightening piece on Julius and Ethel Rosenberg — Just in case you thought out-of-control conservative paranoia was a contemporary phenomenon.

Obama steps in telecom immunity crap — Obama makes a seriously bad move in a Georgia congressional endorsement. I don’t mind mistakes — I make them too — but I’m going to be very interested to see what, if anything, the senator does to correct this, since to all appearances he came down solidly on the wrong side on this one. (Snurched from douglain.)

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 260.0
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad, Thursday edition

Tomorrow Museum — An interesting site with in-depth posts about futurism, sf and culture, including a long essay on women in SF.

China as an Island — Another fascinating squib from Strange Maps. Especially worth the read if you are Sinophile, or interested in international trade and development.

Vending Machine Extravaganza — Japanese vending machines! Mmm, Pocari Sweat, anyone? (Thanks to danjite.)

Baffling crop circles equal pi — (Thanks to danjite.)

The Fall and Rise of Hillary Clinton — What Hillary won by losing the Democratic nomination. A fascinating, thoughtful article. My own angry frustration with her, which was only stoked by her speech the night of the final primaries, mitigated considerable with the much better speech she gave when she suspended her campaign.

Shariate law cited in US courts — It’s long been one of the more bizarre fixations of conservatives that secular liberals somehow pine for the imposition of Shariate Law in this country. Look who has petitioned for Shariate Law to apply in a lawsuit in a US court, brought by a US citizen against a US company. NOW? NEA? The Democratic Party? No… wait for it… Blackwater. The private military firm which is a darling of neocon foreign policy, which is invoking conservative Islamic theology in US courts. Hello, conservative America, check your monitors, you’ve flatlined again.

Fundie lunacy on paradeThe real world is the biblical world—a universe designed by God with the Earth at the spiritual focal point, not an evolutionary universe teeming with life. I see that someone has read Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ]. One of the not-obvious-from-the-text details in the worldbuilding is that the entire Universe is only about a lightyear in diameter, the stars being variously colored lamps in the sky. (Eventually I’ll write some fiction about astronauts in that world.) Ken Ham would be right at home there.

John Scalzi hits the nail on the “California Marriage Protection Act.” — More conservative idiocy. When the GOP spends its time and energy on red-meat-to-the-base issues like this, it only deepens my conviction that the Republican party is completely controlled by narrow-minded bigots. There’s no rational public policy reason for this kind of ugly prejudice, nor is there a “reasonable people can disagree” moral position.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 258.0
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[politics] Obama’s middle name

There’s a lot of idiocy already floating around about Barack Obama, especially with respect to his alleged terrorist connections. E.D. Hill’s “terrorist fist jab” comment, for example. Even some of the moron wing of the Democratic party are saying things like “…he may be terrorist connected for all I can tell. It sounds kind of like he may be.”

This is racism, barely bothering with a veil. “Terrorist” is a much safer word than, say, “black”, because it’s just fine in America today to revile both Muslims and Arabs (who are not synonymous, any more than white people and Christians are) with the sort of venom once found on the steps of Central High School in Little Rock, or on the streets of Selma. Public discourse in America won’t easily sustain naked white-on-black racism these days, not even on FOX, but white-on-Arab/Islamic racism is just fine and dandy and even quite patriotic.

Obama is ready made for that kind of whispering. He attended Muslim schools in his youth, and his middle name is Hussein. That’s what people like E.D. Hill1 and Fred Hobbs will ensure that millions of Republican voters will be focused on this summer and fall. The nuttier elements on the right don’t even want to believe the circumstances of his birth.

Let’s compare me to Senator Obama.

Jay Lake Barack Obama
Name on Birth Certificate Joseph Edward Lake II Barack Hussein Obama II
Childhood Religious Schooling 3 years in Southern Baptist missionary schools in Taiwan and Nigeria Several years in Islamic school in Indonesia

So we were both named after our fathers. Oddly, so was the current president, albeit with a different middle name. Obama’s middle name is of religious and political significance in the Islamic world. My middle name is the same as one of England’s most recent male monarchs, Edward VIII2, clearly of royalist significance.

Does anyone not on a thorazine drip imagine that I might be a British royalist secretly angling to overthrow the Constitution and restore the Crown to the Americas? The idea is profoundly laughable. Being suspicious of Obama because of the middle name he inherited from his Kenyan father at birth is just as laughable.

We both went to religious schools run by a faith neither of us has ever proclaimed for ourselves. Does anyone who’s every spent ten minutes talking to me or reading my blog somehow imagine that I might be a crypto-Baptist working to bring about the Christian Millenium? That’s even more laughable that imagining me a British royalist. Yet similar choices made by Obama’s parents for him when he was a minor are being held up as evidence that he is secretly a Muslim.

This is conservative red meat stuff, victimization and conspiracy and innuendo. The American Right has not been a culture of ideas since Goldwater, if not before — they need something to react against in order to be viable. This kind of thinking drove the Red Scare. It drove the Nixon White House. It hounded the Clintons for the eight years of Bill’s presidency. (Remember the Clinton White House Christmas tree allegedly decorated with crack pipes and condoms?) It would have dogged a Hillary candidacy, and it will dog the Obama candidacy.

Except for Obama, making him out to be a crypto-Muslim legitimizes the racism inherent in a vast swathe of the Republican electorate, while also prying apart the Democratic electorate along similar lines. Naked white-on-black racism is difficult to pull off these days with a straight face in mainline public discourse, but lashing Obama to the terrorist mast will be the sport of kings for months to come, giving millions of people who won’t quite say the N-word in public a good, warm-hearted patriotic reason to vote against the brown man. (And I say this as a suspected Southern Baptist Royalist.)

More shame on all of us as Americans that this can be true.

1. Yes, I am aware E.D. Hill’s show has since been cancelled, and that Hobbs is a Democrat. I’m pretty sure this sort of innuendo isn’t going to go away because of that. Note also the common thread between the two of them was FOX News, the fair-and-balanced network whose “news” director was one of Ronald Reagan’s key political strategists.

2. Yes, I am aware that Edward VIII abdicated without being formally crowned.

[links] Link salad for a Wednesday

jimhines with good advice for Con Virgins

Magnetic Genes — Genetically engineered cells make their own nanomagnets, providing clear MRI images. With bonus photography of a mouse brain!

Road Rage Correlates with Number of Bumper Stickers — Interesting if a bit weird. (Snurched from Interrupting Gelastic Jew.)

The Fate of The Sentence: Is the Writing On the Wall? — Shorter WaPo: Oh noes! Kids today will be death of language! I’m pretty sure Cicero complained about the same thing. And look what happened to Latin.

What did it mean to ‘bear arms’ in 1791?Language Log with an interesting piece on the Second Amendment. Their opinion runs contrary to my own feelings on the subject, but they’re certainly analyzing a lot of worthwhile data to get there. Me, I mostly think thousands of gun deaths every year is a staggeringly high price to pay for a theoretical defense of essential liberties, but what do I know? (It also took me years to understand that the phrase “If guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns” was not a pro-gun control argument.)

The Court McCain WantsWaPo on McCain, Gitmo and the Supremes. Once again, Mr. Straight Talk Express was for something before he was against it. Too bad Your Liberal Media is still largely incapable of recognizing a significant McCain flip-flop, especially when there’s terrorist fist jabs to be discussed.

More conservative wrong-ness on Guantanamo — Glenn Greenwald on John Yoo on the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision. Just in case you thought people detained at Gitmo and elsewhere in the War on Terror are, you know, terrorists. If this Republican administration can cause innocent people to disappear for years without any recourse, what protects you? Why any conservative worth the name supports this utter abrogation of the rule of law is beyond me.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259.4
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad for a Tuesday, climate change and Gitmo

Self-sufficiencymarydell sent me this link in honor of my recent medical issues.

Man vs horse race — Not that! (Thaks to lt260.)

Making Old Muscle Young — Researchers boost growth of muscle stem cells to stop age-related muscle deterioration. This is worth living in the 21st century for.

Federal Lands in the US — Another interesting image from Strange Maps.

Even the Antarctic winter cannot protect Wilkins Ice Shelf — The liberal myth of global warming suckers a major Antarctic ice shelf. Even the climate is a traitor on climate change! Don’t they have Rush Limbaugh down there?

In Praise of Oklahoma — Money shot: Just recently, Inhofe informed the nation that global warming was “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.” Got to love conservatives. Inhofe is a sitting Republican senator elected by a majority (or at least a plurality) of voters in Oklahoma. And people wonder why this country is in the ditch, with thinking like that in charge. It’s so cute what Republicans believe. (Snurched from I forget where in the blogosphere.)

Report Questions Pentagon Accounts — A WaPo story about where the “enhanced interrogation” techniques used at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere originated. Let’s just the say the “few bad apples” theory isn’t looking any more credible than it did before. Money shot: “Senior officials in the United States government sought out information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.” Remember back when the GOP claimed to be all about the rule of law? Just more pixie dust from the American Right. Are you proud of your Republican Party?

C.E. Petit on the Boumediene ruling — This is the recent Gitmo ruling from the Supreme Court, and he’s specifically commenting on Scalia’s shallow opportunism (my words, not his) in the dissent.

George Will on the same question — He calls BS on McCain’s comments. Interesting. Clearly, much like the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the liberals have gotten to Will as well, since with this column he is now objectively pro-terrorist.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad, never never on a Sunday

What philosophy do you follow? — Apparently I am 100% Existentialist and 100% Hedonist, with much lower scores on everything else. Is that even possible?

Ex-planet gets namesakes — Plutoids? Really? (Thanks to lt260.)

How the Romans invented grammarLanguage Log with a (very) brief history of grammar.

Shorpy with a 1902 photo of the Wright flyer

Stephen Hawking: ministers’ £80m error puts science at risk — Money shot: “The notion that scientists will make a more valuable contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of the world if their research is closely directed by politicians is the most astonishing piece of nonsense I have had the misfortune to come across in a long time,” Cox said. Luckily, here in the United States we don’t let political considerations dictate science policy. Oh, wait, never mind. (Hat tip to Bad Astronomy Blog.)

Iraq, the sovereign colony? — Read this and ask yourself if this is how our country should behave. If you’re a conservative who thinks the Iraq War is a key issue and the president should do anything he can despite the Senate, ask yourself how you’d feel about President Obama doing such an end run. We have checks and balances for a reason, and the GOP lost sight of that reason a long time ago.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 260.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad is working for the weekend

Hilarous faux-retro video — Ocean City, MD, advising us to visit their beaches before the oceans boil away in a billion years. Definitely worth the clickthrough.

Centauri Dreams on collecting interplanetary dust particles in the upper atmosphere — Even the process of doing this is very weird. Like grabbing a needle out of a haystack while flying by in an F-16.

Simulate a meteor strike in England — Wipe out the bifteks! With all kinds of cool parameters to wreak destruction on perfidious Albion.

The British vs the US Right — “This skepticism of Government power […] is precisely what has been missing almost completely from the American Right, for which there is now no federal government power too great or too unlimited to embrace.” As I’ve said repeatedly, the Republicans have betrayed every principle they have (except tax cuts). Interesting to see how true conservatives view the war on terror. Worth the read even if you think liberal-progressives are full of it.

Why a McCain Win May Be Bad for GOP, Good for Democrats — “Republicans and conservatives [perceive] that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as president, particularly with large Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, would be utterly disastrous.” Right. After the glittering successes of the Bush-43 administration, I can see how a change would be destructive. I mean, civil liberties, economic prosperity and good healthcare are things any red-blooded Americans should fight against. Right?

“Isn’t it after all only history?”The Edge of the American West with a reminder of what the Nixon years were like. Wow, the GOP hasn’t changed at all.

E.D. Hill has companyMedia Matters with a heavily-sourced discussion of how Obama is treated in the press. Recommended reading for those of who either a) believe the media has a liberal bias or b) believe the media has a pro-Obama bias.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 261.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad says TGIF

Schools Struggle With Dark Writings — Wow, this article is disturbing on a number of levels. If my mental health was being judged based on my fiction, they’d never let me out. It happened to me once, that I wrote a story which scared an instructor so much I was blackballed from a program. You might know that little piece as “The Goat Cutter.” (Thanks to willyumtx.)

In which I ask for your opinion on my greatest hits

Another Internet doppelganger surfaces — It’s amazing how I get around.

Thai Ladyboy Test — I scored a 90%. I think that’s good. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Baby Supernova ID’d in Milky Way — They’re so cuuuute.

BMW GINA — A fabric-skinned automobile. Which is oddly reminiscent of BMW’s original business line, building engines for WWI era fabric-skinned aircraft. (Thanks to sheelangig.)

Photo of a frilled shark — Fascinating but sad story attached.

54 sickened at hospital after farmer’s chemical-fuelled vomit generates toxic gas — That’s like something out of cyberpunk. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Right Wing Bloggers Employ Investigative Journalism “Skills” to Skim Documentsnomissnewo has some fun at the expense of people who are far too easy to make fun of. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch, either.

Ex-Clark Co. GOP chief admits performing oral sex on a sleeping man — As the story notes, the perp was also chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. This is why gay marriage must be opposed at all costs! Because Republicans just can’t control themselves without a Constitutional amendment! Mmm, family values.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 262.2
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[politics] Everybody’s crazy

Conservatives are nuts. Has anyone demanded to see John McCain’s birth certificate? The recipe appears to be a) start crazy rumor, b) treat crazy rumor like it was true, c) manufacture outrage concerning crazy rumor to force denials, d) use denials as evidence crazy rumor was true all along. It’s worked since the Clinton years, why should conservatives give up now? ETA: As ericjamesstone points out quite appropriately in comments, the post I linked to is an attempt to deal with teh crazy, not an example of teh crazy. I submit that the fact that the NRO felt a need to make such an attempt is still an example of teh crazy, however.

Conservatives Fair-and-balanced FOX News even more nuts. Obama’s baby mama? Could they be even more patently offensive? Well, yes, probably they could. Also note the deeply inaccurate understanding of urban slang.

Don’t worry, I’ve decided liberal-progressives are crazy too. There’s a lot of snark in the leftie blogosphere right now about how unsuited McCain is to running the country since he can’t use a computer. This is a bogus issue. Relatively few senior leaders past their mid-40s are adept at using personal computers. It simply wasn’t an important business skill when they were younger. I’m pretty sure McCain knows how to a file an original-and-five-copies-forward report on carbons, keeping the canary yellow sheet, because that’s how they did things back when he was commanding a Navy training squadron. So what? Does he need to do either of those things to be president? His qualifications as a commander-in-chief and chief-of-state deserve to be debated on their merits, not on something as silly as a widespread generational difference.

[links] Link salad for a Thursday

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ]

Bloggasm reports on my cancer, erm, reportage — A thoughtul interview with me by nomissnewo. kenscholes says a bit more about it here.

the_flea_king visits the Oregon Coast — Check his photos of Ecola State Park. If they don’t make you want to visit here, your aesthetic sense is dead.

madwriter asks an important political question — I’m curious what my conservative friends think of this.

The Social Gospel — A different Christian approach to politics and public life.

Why Is Bush Helping Saudi Arabia Build Nukes? — Right. Because the Saudis never did anything bad for us. It was all those Iraqi hijackers on 9/11, and that devilish Iraqi bin Laden.

Republicans will “win” if they hold on to 41 Senate seats this fall — O Permanent Majority, where hast thou fled to? Good thing those dastardly Democrats didn’t succeed in their evil “nuclear option” plan to derail Senate minority powers by eliminating the filibuster!

Health insurance falling short — Mmm, market forces come through once again! What a shock. Also, this just in, liberals say sun rises in east, GOP suspects Communist plot. It would be so cute, what conservatives believe, if conservative policies weren’t killing people by the tens of thousands.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 259.6
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad for a Wednesday

I am a nominee for the Campbell Memorial Award for Mainspring Powell’s | Amazon thb | Audible ] — That’s a pleasant surprise, and I’m in very good company. I am terribly thrilled.

SF Signal reviews Escapement Amazon ] — So did June’s print issue of Locus, but they were not so much with the liking.

SF Signal with a mind meld on the next generation of SF writers — A lot of familiar (to this community) names there. I do think should have gotten more mention. See also the poll here.

Grants Pass finds a publisher — A collaborative project of which I am (or will be) a part.

APOD with a stunning photo of Dextre the robot — Wouldn’t Sinistre have been a much better name?

Determinism about the future — In which I learn about a new-to-me verb form known as “the futurate”.

BBC TV detector vans — Really?

Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution — I’m baffled by the lack of Democratic support for this. It’s not like Bush’s overwhelming popularity is an impediment. Much of what’s at issue is already in the public record — unlike our last impeachment, this president has indisputably committed both high crimes and misdemeanors. And apparently (not yet sourced) a president undergoing impeachment proceedings cannot issue pardons. Which would be a very good thing with the end of this disastrous and criminal administration looming. I can only assume the Democrats are afraid of being accused of political theatre in conducting groundless “tit for tat” impeachment proceedings. The evidence should speak for itself.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 262.2
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]

[links] Link salad for a Monday

“The Ides of February” — A story I wrote with Bruce Holland Rogers is now online at Aberrant Dreams.

A reader reacts to Logorrhea, ed. John Klima, Powell’s | Amazon ] — With some rather definite opinions.

Blogging–It’s Good for YouScientific American with an article about the therapeutic value of blogging. Note the comments about cancer, also about writers block and hypergraphia.

Watch that’s back from the seabed… And it’s still working, after 67 years — Weird.

The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject — Well, that answers that. (Thanks to lt260.)

Character and the Primaries of 2008 — The Project For Excellence in Journalism looks at claims of media bias in the Democratic primaries.

John McCain gets tax-free disability pension — Old news, but interesting. I believe Reagan was our last disabled president (Alzheimer’s, unacknowledged until after his retirement), FDR before him (mobility impairment, formally unacknowledged but widely understood).

The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind — A story Your Liberal Media seems to have stayed the hell away from. (This link is from a British paper.) I can certainly see why McCain is the candidate of the party that claims the mantle of family values!

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (still recovering from surgery)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 260.8
Currently reading: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia Amazon ]