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[links] Link salad knows we got so much power now

Must-Have Primary Texts for the Steampunk Scholar

How to Make a Book DisappearJonah Lehrer’s discredited Imagine has vanished from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and his publisher’s website. Why that’s bad news for readers. As tipster [info]corwynofamber says, “the future of censorship is digital”.

Doctors Sift Through Patients’ Genomes To Solve Medical Mysteries — (Via Ellen Eades.)

Anesthesia Method Suggests Possible Cure For Post-trauma Stress — This is the procedure that has been of such benefit to [info]kenscholes.

26 Ridiculous Sex-Ed Fails — This is what happens you let faith-based thinking interfere with reality. (Via [info]danjite.)

Justices will soon decide whether to take up same-sex marriage appeals — Who knows? The conservative Roberts Court might do the right and moral thing for the second time in its history. I’m not optimistic.

Mars Curiosity rover touches rock, ‘does a science’ Curiosity spent the past several days investigating a strange pyramid-shaped stone named ‘Jake Matijevic,’ testing out some of the gear at the end of its 7-foot-long arm.

Einstein’s Brain Goes Digital With iPad App

Google Street View maps the Great Barrier ReefWeb users around the world can now virtually dive on the world’s most beautiful reefs after a group of scientists map the seabed using special panoramic cameras.

Space shuttle over LA

Presidents—and would-be presidents—can’t resist meddling with NASA

Meeting A Troll… — This man is more merciful than I would have been. (Via [info]cypherindigo.)

‘Every Person Is Afraid of the Drones’: The Strikes’ Effect on Life in Pakistan — Feel safer now? We’re terrorizing an entire nation so you can.

In San Francisco, Prop. 8 backer to head Catholic ChurchThe pope’s appointment of Salvatore Cordileone has been called the ‘Bombshell by the Bay.’ Many gay and lesbian Catholics worry that they will be marginalized after his arrival. Yep, really got their finger on the pulse of America.

Ex-megachurch employee faces new charges as Tulsa police identify 4th victim of alleged abuse — This is why America needs more Christian values.

A Century of Voting Patterns — (Via Lisa Costello.)

Ohio Tea Partier attempts to intimidate student voters at OSU — Conservatives can’t win on ideas, so they try to win by cheating.

A Conservative History of the United States — Make your own facts! It’s fun! And much more satisfying that dealing with the messy nuances of the reality-based world.

Sandy Rios: Bush Gave Us Middle East ‘Peace for Ten Years’Rios blasted Obama supporters for claiming that George W. Bush left him an economic crisis while refusing to admit that Bush “left them peace, he left them peace for ten years,” and now “we are reaping the bitter fruits of chaos not only in the Middle East but in the world at large because we have not been dealing with them with strength” like Bush did. The conservative mind is so delusional. This is unhinged. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Conservative Group Claims Obama Has ‘Communist Beliefs,’ Compares His Policies To Hitler’s — Talk about confused concerning 20th century history. But, hey, this is conservative America. Guys, listen up: You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

We Are the 96 Percent[N]early all Americans have used government social policies at some point in their lives. The beneficiaries include the rich and the poor, Democrats and Republicans. Almost everyone is both a maker and a taker. The difference is that conservatives don’t count government social programs that apply to them. Only help for others they find less deserving.

Movement Conservatives Conveniently Forget Their Role in Making Romney Viable

?otD: Do you know how many time zones there are in the Soviet Union?

Writing time yesterday: 0 hours (post-chemo recovery)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (interrupted, with napping)
Weight: 229.4
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[sale] Catching up to a couple of things

Apocalypse Ink Productions has bought a book from me on writing process. This is an edited summation of my various process posts from my blog over the years, with some additional new material from me.

My steampunk short story “Grindstone” has been accepted for Airships and Automatons, ed. Charles P. Zaglanis, from White Cat Publications. This is a moody apocalyptic piece set in a literally atmospheric world of floating islands.

I have also sold several reprints, one collaboratively with [info]kenscholes, to Wildside Press.

[links] Link salad recovers from surgery

Now Begins Operation Jay — Scott Lynch is generous and slightly scary. Thank you.

My short story “Spendthrift” will be in the forthcoming anthology Coins of Chaos

Surviving the World on steampunks

Top Ten Likely Consequences of Muslim anti-US Embassy Riots

Occupy movement turns 1 year old, its effect still hard to defineSince Occupy Wall Street sparked a nationwide movement, no broad tangible result has emerged. To stay relevant, must it involve politicians?

O’Reilly’s Accidental Support For Planned Parenthood Funding — More of that justly famed conservative intellectual consistency.

Kansas Goes Birther: State Board Considers Removing Obama From Ballot — The unswerving conservative commitment to representative democracy, political fairness and intellectual honesty continues.

Obama by the Numbers — Some serious neepery about the metrics of the current presidency.

Joining the Reality-Based Community My old Republican worldview was flawed because it was based upon a small and particularly rosy sliver of reality. To preserve that worldview, I had to believe that people had morally earned their “just” desserts, and I had to ignore those whining liberals who tried to point out that the world didn’t actually work that way. I think this shows why Republicans put so much effort into “creat[ing] our own reality,” into fostering distrust of liberals, experts, scientists, and academics, and why they won’t let a campaign “be dictated by fact-checkers” (as a Romney pollster put it). It explains why study after study shows … that avid consumers of Republican-oriented media are more poorly informed than people who use other news sources or don’t bother to follow the news at all. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Mitt Romney’s Best-Known Mormon Critic Tells it All. One Last Time.

Erasing the Iraq War from Republican Party History — Amazingly enough, most conservatives seem to have forgotten that their party leadership launched a trillion dollar way of choice on knowingly false pretenses. Or else they blame it on Obama. This is akin to thinking that the Bush administration “kept us safe”.

?otD: Cut up much?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (surgery)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.75 (interrupted)
Weight: 236.6
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[links] Link salad knows there will be phantoms and fires by the road

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to vote in the One True Pop-Tart poll — Feel free to boost the signal on this one. I’ll close it in another couple of days.

I will be your dancing monkey, hat on the table. — Scott Lynch is helping people.

Parents can inflict emotional harm, not realize itParents and other caregivers who demean, bully, humiliate or otherwise emotionally abuse children may not know the harm they can cause and often do not get the help that they and their children need, says a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The fact that some reporter felt it necessary to write that lede makes me cringe, both as a parent and as a human being.

Steam powered USB drive — This made me laugh. Both cool and funny. (Thanks to David E. Vincent.)

Fire Tennis — The Slo Mo guys play around… (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Vanishing VoicesNational Geographic with a photo essay on language loss.

Microbial Life In An Undersea Volcano, New Limits Of Life Defined — Mmm, extremophiles.

NASA releases low-res video of Mars rover descent — I think this is about two frames per second. Pretty cool stuff.

Curiosity update: Heat shield spotted! — In case you missed it, this is darned cool as well.

Obedience on the Job — Interesting squib about workplace relations.

US precipitation trends to drain 7 million jobs by 2050 — Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. Don’t mind those lying climate change scientists in their government Ferraris.

Climate change is here — and worse than we thought — There goes that pesky reality again, interfering with the conservative narrative.

White Terrorism at Oak Creek: The Paranoid Style in American Violence — Remember just a few years ago when conservative outrage forced the Department of Homeland Security to withdraw a report on right wing terrorism in the United States? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Including Your Liberal Media. Because Real Americans with guns aren’t terrorists. Or something.

O’Connor: Declining approval for high court a ‘disappointment’Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor called the declining public approval of the high court a “great disappointment” and suggested the ruling in Bush v. Gore may have sparked the public’s loss of faith in the judicial branch. Ya think? Bush v. Gore, that travesty which you voted for, Madame Justice? Maybe if you’d been a little less nakedly partisan and little more focused on Constitutional jurisprudence back then, the Supreme Court wouldn’t have quite the black eye it does now.

Dick Cheney clarifies criticism of Sarah Palin: Process was a mistake — What I find hilarious about this article is the quote from Palin defending herself, near the top of the piece. It’s classic Palin word salad: barely intelligible, defensive and resentful. A brilliant way to confirm Cheney’s original point even while reporting on his FOX News apology tour.

Harry Reid’s Master Plan — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Harry Reid and Mitt Romney.

Why Romney and the Rich Will Never Really Get It[W]ealth and status decrease our feelings of compassion for others.

?otD: Have you seen the future?

Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.75 (solid)
Weight: 236.0
Currently reading: The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by Henry Petroski; Near + Far by Cat Rambo

[links] Link salad goes down, down in the basement

Steve Buchheit reviews The Sky That Wraps

A cruise for everyone: 7 themed sailings — In which Mary Robinette Kowal and I get name checked by CNN.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire — Donnie Reynolds, the documentary filmmaker who’s currently working with me, fights fires. Literally.

Tribe Revives Language on Verge of Extinction — (Thanks to Dad.)

Untrustworthy spirits: Pat Robertson and EliphazSlacktivist Fred Clark is hilariously snarky about Pat Robertson’s relationship with God.

Ex-Idaho Sen. Craig says Minneapolis bathroom trip that led to arrest was official business — Because Republicans are always moral actors. Look! Bill Clinton! (Via [info]danjite.)

Romney Bemoans False Campaign Ads While Doubling Down On False Attack — More of that justly famed conservative intellectual consistency.

The hits keep coming: Romney demanded Kennedy release tax returns, then backpedaled eight years laterIt’s been largely forgotten, but in [Romney’s 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy], Romney demanded Kennedy release his tax returns, saying the veteran senator needed to “prove he [had] nothing to hide.” Also, later on, Romney lied about what he’d said. He’s like a crude cartoon of a GOP politician.

Romney’s “Recovery Plan” Could Bring On Another Recession — Ya think? The Supply Side Economics fairy might show up this time if we all just clap hard enough.

?otD: Do you hear the sounds of machines?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (Revisions on Other Me)
Body movement: 60 minute coastal walk
Hours slept: 6.25 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by Henry Petroski

[links] Link salad yawns and rolls over

The World’s Greatest Cupcake — Mmm. Steampunk cupcake. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Things Black Presidents (and First Ladies) Are Not Allowed to DoThe growing list – according to Republicans and Republican-leaning media – of things white Presidents and their first ladies can do, but black ones can’t. Also, put their feet up on the desk. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

The Case for Way More MandatesInsurance mandates, far from being unique to Obamacare, are all around us. States require drivers to carry liability insurance. Your state government also provides you with—and charges you for—insurance against losing your job. The federal government mandates flood insurance for anyone living in a flood plain who has a federally insured mortgage. Social Security is mandatory insurance against a penniless old age, and the premiums are deducted from your paycheck, whether you like it or not. (Thanks to [info]scarlettina.)

Reagan-Appointed Judge Defends Roberts, Says GOP Has Become ‘Goofy’ — Another Manchurian conservative, clearly. Damn, we liberal-progressives were mighty clever all those decades ago.

?otD: Sleep much?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (goofing off)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 8.0 (interrupted)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[writing] Minor updatery

In progress and/or next up in the batting order…

  • A small amount of effort remaining on the Kalimpura copy edit, then doublechecking my responses to Tor
  • Steampunk short in need of minor revision and submittal to requesting market
  • A quick assessment of any other short stories I might owe or need to write just now
  • Crit reading for the forthcoming Cascade Writers event
  • A close editorial reading pass through the existing draft of Other Me (young adult SF), also awaiting input from my agent on the outline

[writing] Making with the write-y bits

Over the last two days, I’ve knocked out 2,300 words of a requested steampunk short story. It involves airships, so I’m trying to do something a little different. I mean, airships are to steampunk as lost heirs are to high fantasy. So, come on, do something new, right?

I’ve spent most of June either noodling around on book proposals and other miscellanea, or taking time off. In fact, I have a book proposal going right now for a new Sekrit Projekt which may or may not go somewhere, but it certainly won’t go anywhere at all if I don’t turn in the proposal. I’m also back to writing actual, you know, fiction, which is what this is really all about.

More to come, of course, but here’s a bit of WIP:


[links] Link salad flies high, is never gonna die

The Future of Digital Manga, A Fairytale — A long thoughtful essay on the relationship between content, readers and publishing formats. Very much worth the read if you have any interest in ebook publishing issues. (Snurched from @Mari_Kurisato.)

Cat Rambo’s upcoming teaching schedule for online classes — In case you, you know, want to learn something.

the art of (re)inventing yourself — Justine Musk is interesting and wise.

Fascism for Nice People — Lavie Tidhar with an interesting response to recent criticism of his remarks on steampunk.

Maintain the rage — Alan Baxter on the reactions to Prometheusimdb ], with bonus cultural critique. God, I need to stop thinking about this movie. I’m like a dog to vomit.

Prometheus Species Origin — Argh. Must stop! (Thanks to @jeremiahtolbert.)

Revealing Colon Cancer’s Escape Route — Sigh. (Thanks to David Ivory.)

Pet piranha bites off Illinois toddler’s fingertip — Why isn’t this is a reckless endangerment charge or something?

Roman jewellery found in ancient Japan tomb

‘Twisted Light’ Beams Data at a Staggering 2.56 Terabits Per Second

Knitting community outraged over Olympic dig; USOC apologizes — Don’t mess with knitters, man. Even I know that. They might have to cut you.

Far-Fetched Scams Separate the Gullible from Everyone Else — This makes my head hurt. (Via David Goldman.)

The evangelical mind must obey the moneyed enforcers of the tribe

Rising Sea Level Puts East Coast At RiskThe sea level on a stretch of the US Atlantic coast that features the cities of New York, Norfolk and Boston is rising up to four times faster than the global average. It never fails to amaze me how liberals have managed to co-opt the natural world into their global warming scam. Thank god for the Republican party, stemming the tide of reality every day. Your GOP: the Canute of the modern world.

Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the wayWhy are we told a broken system that creates vast inequality is the only choice? Spain’s amazing co-op is living proof otherwise.

Some Thoughts on Democratic Norms — Ta-Nehisi Coates takes a historical perspective on the profoundly destructive Roberts court.

Justice Scalia Rages Against Obama On Immigration — Yep, no conservative ideology on this Supreme Court. Just impartial jurisprudence and principled intellectual consistency. Nothing to see here citizen, move along. Confidential to SCOTUS: You people are becoming an embarrassment to history.

Republicans support Obama’s health reforms — as long as his name isn’t on them — Gee. What a shock. Remember when conservatives incessantly mocked the so-called “Bush Derangement Syndrome”?

?otD: By the way, which one’s Pink?

Writing time yesterday: 1.75 hours (WRPA, plus 0.25 hours and 300 words setting up a new short story)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.25 (interrupted)
Weight: 239.0
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[links] Link salad will pay, it will pay tomorrow

Paula Guran needs our community — The loss of a child is a devastation that even my imagination can scarcely encompass. Financial hardship for her son’s final expenses shouldn’t make things even worse.

First Steampunk Cruise — At which I am a guest author. Check it out.

China launches rocket carrying its first female astronaut

Male Homosexuality Study: Gay Men Have Evolutionary Benefit For Their Families, New Research Suggests — :: must not snark at this ::

“The last acceptable form of [SomeImmoralAttitude]” — A linguist perspective on labeling bigotry.

Opinion vs. bigotry — and heartbreak[info]scarlettina with a personal observation on an important point. And she is absolutely right. Bigotry is bigotry, no matter how nice a person thinks they are, and how sincerely held their beliefs are.

There’s a pattern hereSlacktivist Fred Clark on the institutionalized racism of the Republican Party.

Immigration policy change stirs relief, doubt — It is so nice to see the administration doing the unambiguously right thing. I find GOP criticisms that Obama was “playing politics” with this decision to be bizarre, though. I mean, it’s not like the Republican party has ever played politics with immigration, right?

The Only Thing To Fear… — You can’t reason with unreasonable people. Welcome to conservative America.

Republicans say ‘job killer.’ Traditional media fails to challenge or fact-check. Then repeats it. — the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Associated Press used “job killer” just 16 times in the first three years of George W. Bush’s presidency, but 201 times in the first three years of Obama’s presidency, a 1,156 percent increase. Your Liberal Media, always supporting the conservative narrative.

?otD: Don’t you want to sail this ship of fools no more?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (brain break, Locus Awards pre-party)
Body movement: 30 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.5 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[links] Link salad blinks awake

Season Two Finale of The Adventures of The League of S.T.E.A.M.!!! — Heh. Zombies!!! This is cool.

The Oxford English FictionaryDefining words that aren’t real. Yet. Hahahah.

Chaos TheoryA Unified Theory of Muppet Types. I am definitely a Chaos Muppet. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Underground SupermodelsWhat can a twentysomething naked mole-rat tell us about fighting pain, cancer, and aging?

Using LiDAR, filmmaker discovers “lost city”Archaeologists on both sides of the tech divide are rolling their eyes.

NASA’s Curiosity rover will try risky landing near Mount Sharp

Brown Dwarfs Sparser than Expected

Are These The Universe’s First Objects?

Never Have I Ever, Leviticus editionSlacktivist Fred Clark on Christianist picking and choosing among God’s laws.

Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One.I’ve come to regard all conservatives as extremists, a mob of useful idiots plied by profiteers, rather than a diverse spectrum of citizens, many of whom share my values, anxieties and goals. When I hear the crowd at a Republican presidential debate cheer for capital punishment, I write them off as sadists, rather than accepting them as citizens seeking a means of keeping themselves safe. Slagging conservatism has become my one acceptable form of bigotry. I think this piece goes too far in letting conservatives off the hook with respect to responsibility for their actions and beliefs, but he also has a very serious point.

Another Signpost on the Road to the RightConservatives never liked left-wing, government-run solutions to problems like unaffordable health care and climate change. These days they don’t seem to like right-wing, market solutions, either. It’s an intellectually honest point of view, to which they are certainly entitled. But it does make you wonder. Do they like any solutions at all? Do they even think the problems are worth solving?

The jobs agenda slips down the memory holeRomney doesn’t have to like Obama’s jobs plans, but he shouldn’t get away with brazenly lying about their existence.

‘Romneycare’ Didn’t Kill Jobs, And Neither Will ‘Obamacare’: Study — But Rush says different!

?otD: Why am I still tired?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (Post-JayCon madness)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 5.5 (solid)
Weight: 242.4 (!!)
Currently reading: Shattering the Ley by Benjamin Tate

[process] Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes

I’ve been mulling over some other aspects of my delightful weekend at World Steam Expo. Specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot since that convention about how the creative process works for differently for people in different creative fields, and in turn, how that might inflect my own writing.

Watching the League of S.T.E.A.M. from up close was fascinating. Likewise talking to members of Abney Park and Steam Powered Giraffe, as well as watching the other bands, troupes and performers there.

In simple terms, what I saw was creativity expressed as a tightly interactive process.

The creativity of writers of print fiction is very much an internal pursuit. We work alone, usually in privacy. Even writers who collaborate generally do that serially rather than through face-to-face interaction. (As I understand it, this happens differently for the script writing staff of television shows, so it follows that the solitary work pattern is not universally true of writers. Journalism, to mention another counterexample, is arguably an interactively collaborative process in another sense.) Creativity runs silent and deep for people who write novels and short stories and poetry.

By contrast, the creativity of actors, at least in the context I saw at World Steam Expo, was absolutely a participative, iterative process. The League of S.T.E.A.M. were in character much of the time, even when they were not out in public. When not in character, they were thinking and talking about character, or performance, or script, or costuming, or props. They live their parts, moving in a literal swarm of multidimensional creativity. Likewise some of the other performers. I never saw Spine from Steam Powered Giraffe out of his makeup all weekend.

As a writer, I live my parts, the stage being inside my head. But that stage and its creativity are contained between the privacy of mind and the interface between my fingers and my keyboard. Like I said, a profoundly internal pursuit.

I found myself feeling very envious of the League of S.T.E.A.M., of the other performers and musicians. Watching that ongoing performance and creative exploration made me wish fiction writers could work collectively. It made me wonder what fiction writers could do if they did work collectively.

What would it be like to pull half a dozen writers together in big room and actively, verbally brainstorm a story from conception to completion? Sure, we sit around and talk about ideas sometimes. Sure, we consult one another on technical or plot details. But what would it be like to live our way through that process? Participatively, iteratively.

It’s not that I think the current process of writing is broken. I don’t, not at all. It’s just that I received a glimpse into a different process. It’s a new toy, and I’d love to try that out.