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[links] Link salad wakes up in its own bed

Jay Lake livre son génome — I love the translation of my attribution, The author of the largely unknown Jade…

Neanderthals ‘could speak like us’ — “Ooh-bi-doo, I wan’na be like you / I want to walk like you, talk like you, too…“ Everybody sing!

Dutch masters paintings deconstructed — This is pretty intense.

Will Commercial Space Travel Blast Off in 2014?

Big Dig West — Wow, this is serious stupidity up in Seattle, thanks to WSDOT.

Back in the Pulpit After Losing His Church, and Still Supporting Gay Marriage

Cosmas IndicopleustesCosmas composed his Christian Topography over a number of years, after he had retired to monastic life. He aimed at proving, contrary to prevailing Greek and some Christian theories, that the universe had the same shape as Moses’ tabernacle, that it was in the form of a cube and not a sphere. The earth was a flat, oblong table, 12,000 miles long and 6,000 miles wide, surrounded by ocean beyond which was Paradise, where Adam and Eve had lived (cf. II.43). The whole area was surrounded by high, perpendicular mountains on which the vault of heaven rested. Between heaven and earth lay the firmament, dividing the universe into two stages. God and the just dwelt on the upper level, to which man would be admitted after the Resurrection; on the lower was humanity in this life. And see here. (Thanks, ultimately, to Felix Gilman.)

Noah’s Extremely Bad Animal Husbandry AdviceBy their estimates, 16,000 land animals and birds, including dinosaurs, were on the ark. Uh, yeah. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Heat Wave Stifles AustraliaTemperatures topping 118° F, 48° C, baked eastern Australia during the final days of 2013 and first week of 2014.

Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car — Apparently there has since been a retraction. Gee, I wonder why. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Judge in “kids for cash” ruled liable for damage — It’s so rare for people who work in the judicial system to face consequences for misconduct, especially when the victims are essentially helpless and have no real social power. See our nation’s long and shameful history of essential zero consequences for prosecutorial misconduct, for example. This story continues to amaze me.

Freedom to lie[S]ome members of the court are concerned that the anti-abortion zealots are being obstructed from lying. You can’t blame them. Blatant dishonesty is a big part of the forced childbirth movement strategy and at least a handful of justices are undoubtedly fully on board with that tactic. Yeah, that whole Ten Commandment about not bearing false witness? Smug Republican Jesus gives His followers a pass on that one every time.

NJ Democrat lawmaker on traffic scandal: ‘I do think laws have been broken’ — As any Republican can tell you, rumors of a presidential blow job are far, far more politically important than abuse of power for petty political payback a part of a long term pattern of bullying and intimidation.

?otD: Did you walk alone in restless dreams?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (extremely fitful)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 240.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[friends|photos] Went to the railroad locomotive and watched a wedding

On Monday, July 29th, we went to a wedding. One I was very honored to attend.

[info]garyomaha and [info]elusivem finally got married after almost two decades together. They did it while here in the Pacific Northwest for JayWake, tying the knot at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson, WA.

The ceremony was brief and lovely, held at the prow of a retired diesel locomotive (on my recommendation, I might proudly note). In addition to attending, I was one of the witnesses for the marriage license. The officiant and the other witness were another gay couple, long term friends of the grooms who came down from Seattle. Also in attendance were Lisa Costello and [info]the_child, as well as [info]scarlettina, and my dad and (step)mom. Afterwards, we all retired for a lovely lunch at Skamania Lodge.

I was so pleased to see two dear, long-time friends feeling free to take this momentous and emotional step in their lives. I wish them all happiness and as long together as is given to them.

The wedding party on the move

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center, with bonus [info]scarlettina

Inside the interpretive center

The grooms, boning up for the ceremony

[info]scarlettina her own self


Lisa Costello

The grooms (left and right) with the officiant and other witness

A Jay sandwich

My (step)mom and [info]elusivem

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photo © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and B. Lake.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. and B. Lake is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[photos] Portraits at the Washington Coast

Last weekend, Lisa Costello had the camera a lot. Here’s some pictures of us.

Me, waiting for the tide

Mom and Dad, walking on the Long Beach peninsula near Leadbetter Point

Lisa Costello, me, Mom and Dad at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center (photo by A. Passing Tourist)

Me at Waikiki Beach, near Cape Disappointment

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west

Photos © 2013, Lisa Costello, plus anonymous

Creative Commons License

This work by Lisa Costello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[photos|art] The good, the bad, and the ugly… well, the bad and the ugly at any rate

There’s a tradition on the Long Beach peninsula (SW Washington state) of chainsaw sculpture. Which is definitely an art form in its own right. But sometimes chainsaw sculpture is an art form in its own wrong.

During our recent stay there, Lisa Costello became fascinated with this somewhat homely fisherman:


She then realized that just down the road was his homelier girlfriend the mermaid:


Except that mermaid would have given Hans Christian Andersen a case of the screaming fantods and turned him into a horror writer. Finally, Lisa realized that the mermaid wasn’t the fisherman’s girlfriend, she was the fisherman in bad drag. “Skag”, as some of my gay friends call it.

You’re welcome.

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos © 2013, Lisa Costello.

Creative Commons License

This work by Lisa Costello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[photos] Odd vehicles on the Long Beach peninsula

Found some interesting vehicles here on the Long Beach peninsula in southwestern Washington state. Yesterday I photographed two examples in Ocean Park, WA.

Ford Ranchero GT, 1968 or 1969





I’ve always had a soft spot for Rancheros and El Caminos. Never really wanted to own one, but the looks appeal to me. And this one looks so cool. No idea what the drivetrain is or how she would perform, but she’s fun to find by the side of the road.

Home Brew Swamp Hopper








I have no idea about this one. It’s only my guess she’s a swamp hopper. That’s going by the diesel engine, with tall stacks for the air intake and the exhaust. Well, and the very unusual wheel-and-track arrangement. That trailer is hydraulically connected to the body. I couldn’t figure out the drive train arrangement, on account of not being willing to crawl around on the ground in my current state of health. Weirdest of all, she sports a long-expired Washington license plate, implying she was once street-legal.

As usual, more of both vehicles at the Flickr set.

Photos © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[photos] I love a parade

Mom and Dad and I went and had an extended Norman Rockwell moment yesterday. Ocean Park, WA, has an annual Fourth of July parade. It’s a classic small town American parade — fire trucks, politicians, police cars, hot rods, dogs, kids on bikes, the D.A.R., and a whole bunch of random stuff. Here’s a small sampling of the day:

The synchronized shopping cart brigade

Folks from the assisted living facility

Patriotic pickup

Uncle Sam and Abe Lincoln

The American dream on wheels

There’s lots more pictures, but my bandwidth here is very limited. Check out more at the Flickr set.

Photos © 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[politics] Election Day

First and foremost, if you haven’t already, go vote. Obviously I care passionately who gets elected, but your vote is yours, not mine. I’m not entitled to an opinion about how you vote, only about whether you vote. Even if you and I have diametrically opposed political views, I still think it’s critical that we both vote. Call me idealistic, but I never thought the way to winning elections was to discourage the people I disagree with from voting. Quite the opposite, in fact.

For Oregon voters, here’s some information on last minute voting.

Context for people who don’t live in Oregon or Washington: All our elections are 100% vote by mail. We don’t have Election Day polling places, though the county offices are open for ballot drop and for people who had trouble with their mail-in ballots. It’s a clean, simple system that seems to optimize turn-out with virtually no fraud at all. Sometimes there are problems with people who’ve recently moved and may have two addresses, but that amounts to a literal handful of votes statewide in any given election cycle. I don’t why all fifty states don’t adopt this system — virtually all the nonsense about voter ID laws and limiting early voting simply vanishes with this system. It also eliminates all the issues around polling places and staffing and having the right forms and so on. Clean, simple and fair.

If you favor universal suffrage and high turn outs, this system should be a model. If you don’t favor universal suffrage and high turn outs, then we don’t have a lot to talk about because I don’t agree with your profoundly undemocratic and unpatriotic values.

Note, per a brief discussion in comments yesterday with [info]ericjamesstone, that I do not favor some sort of permanent single party liberal-progressive government. I have no equivalent vision of the GOP’s triumphalist Permanent Majority. We need a balance of viewpoints and opinions in government, simply because no one is right all the time, and solutions which are sensible under one set of circumstances can be destructive under other sets.

Whether that balance is best provided by a two-party system is another discussion entirely, but that’s the system the United States has today. The only path I see to meaningful multiparty democracy in this country would involve a complete shattering of the Republican coalition. While I think that given the current nature of the Republican party that would probably be very good for the country, I find it unlikely to actually happen. There’s way too much money tied up in GOP interests, and the media is too deeply invested in both conservative aims in general, and in their own conservative ownership and management.

My issue with the GOP and the conservative movement isn’t their existence, or even necessarily their nominal aims as parsed through the lens of pre-Reagan conservatism. My issue is with the scorched earth, spoke-in-the-wheels style of politics the GOP practices in lieu of actually governing when they are in office. My issue is with the eliminationist politics of resentment the GOP absolutely relies on for votes, poisoning society and culture as a whole. My issue is with handing government over to people dedicated to drowning it in a bathtub, to people who believe that government is incapable of competence or effectiveness, and therefore govern incompetently and ineffectively.

The modern Republican party doesn’t have a different vision of government than I do. They have a contract out on government. If they were interested in reform, or an alternate vision for the future, we’d have something to talk about. But despite the high minded rhetoric they throw around to make themselves feel good about decades of wholesale political and social vandalism, the GOP is a party that wants to destroy the village in order to save it. A village we all have to live in, regardless of whether we vote or who we vote for.

To put it in SF nerd terms, the GOP has become Frank Herbert’s BuSab. And that’s good for none of us. Not even the conservatives so busy setting fire to the village they live in.

So, yeah, I voted for Obama. Because I’d like there to be a functioning American government tomorrow, and next year, and next decade.

[links] Link salad has no fear for atomic energy, ’cause none of them can stop the time

The Ghastlycrud Zombies — An interesting and entertaining Kickstarter. (Pointed out by [info]rekre8.)

Egyptian princess’ tomb dating from 2500 BC is discovered near Cairo — Cool.

Old Media, Digitized, Make New FormsComputers are changing art in unexpected ways.

Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction — This is wild. Very SFnal. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Lenticular Clouds Over Washington — I have seen this, in roughly the location photographed. They are mighty strange.

A Convenient Excuse — On the real meaning of climate change, and the complete failure of American media and political culture to come to terms with that.

It’s Time for the Poor to Come Out of the Plutocracy’s Closet of Shame — As I’ve said before, Calvinism is a deep stain on the American soul. From that cesspool of belief rises up our deep social judgments against the poor and the needy, who we tend to believe must somehow deserve their lot as it is evidence of moral failing or lack of sufficient hard work. No one works harder than the poor, but you will find vanishingly few wealthy or middle class who are willing to understand this. To put it in reverse, we have a deep seated cultural belief that if you are thrifty and hard working and virtuous, you will prosper. The more politically and socially conservative you are, the more likely you are to see this as a basic truth. Logically enough, if you do believe that, it’s easy to see people who have not prospered as insufficiently thrifty and hard working and virtuous. This is a nasty, vicious cycle of thought so deeply engrained in our social assumptions that almost none of us ever see it for what it is — a pleasant, self-valorizing middle class fantasy that justifies our individual wealth and privilege while relieving us of any responsibility for the infrastructure or class issues faced by others. This is the thinking that allows otherwise sane, moral conservatives to speak with a straight face about “eliminating a culture of dependency” when they propose to put millions of people out of healthcare, eliminate early childhood programs, cut nutrition benefits, or deny people public assistance of any form — starving the poor, the elderly and the children of America for the sake of tax cuts for the virtuous high-earning. Conservatives simply refuse to see the toxic implications of their own beliefs.

The Insane Defense of the “Castle Doctrine” Gone WildA tragic killing in Montana proves once again that these laws do more to encourage violence than to prevent it. Thank God for the NRA or the GOP, or this poor man might have been prosecuted for running home, getting a gun, then waiting to shoot his lover’s husband dead. Man, I love the American right to defense of essential liberties through widespread private gun ownership. That almost 200 30 people a day die from gun violence is a very small price for you to pay for your right to own a firearm, am I right? 200 30 people who mostly wouldn’t die if guns weren’t so freely available. Small price to pay, all those human lives snuffed out every single day so you can feel good. God Bless America. Personally, I think an email listing the names of every American killed each day and a short biography including their age and the names of their family members should be sent daily to every gun owner in America, and that as a condition of gun ownership every gun owner in America should be required to acknowledge that they approve that message. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

IRS Not Enforcing Rules on Churches and Politics — Ywp, Obama’s definitely suppressing the Christian Right. Yeppers. Nothing to see here, citizen, you may continue to panic about Kenyan Muslim socialism as normal.

Dark Money By The Numbers: 81% Has Gone To Republicans — When you can’t win on ideas, or the merits of your own party’s governing history, buy buy buy.

Last-Minute Ohio Directive Could Trash Legal Votes And Swing The Election — By amazing coincidence, the directive was issued by a Republican. By further amazing coincidence, the directive benefits Republican electoral interests and suppresses likely Democratic votes. This is what happens when conservatives can’t win an election on their party’s record or its ideas. They lie, cheat and steal; and suppress votes. More of that justly famed conservative principled consistency in action.

Southern Nevada woman is arrested on suspicion of trying to vote twice — Oh, look. More voter fraud. By a Republican again. Quick, suppress more poor people’s votes!

GOP candidate: ‘My opponent believes in global warming and has been to other countries, he is basically a monster’ — A classic example of everything that’s wrong with the modern Republican party and the conservative movement, in their own words. That a message like that appeals to even a single voter, let alone an entire state, is a very depressing statement on my fellow citizens. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Mitt Romney’s campaign insults votersMr. Romney, by contrast, seems to be betting that voters have no memories, poor arithmetic skills and a general inability to look behind the curtain. By definition, any of these things are true of anyone who votes Republican these days. No memory of the Bush administration’s incompetence in foreign policy, domestic affairs and the economy; no comprehension of the math of what happened to the budget, the deficit and the jobs numbers under Bush; and a general inability to look either behind or in front of the curtain of Romney’s rhetoric. After all, the GOP isn’t even pretending not to lie anymore, and Romney still has nearly half the country behind him. Romney’s bet may well be the winning strategy.

?otD: How long shall they kill our prophets, while we stand aside and look?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 222.4
Currently reading: Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

[photos] More faffing about on the Washington and Oregon coasts

In addition to the Aberdeen Star Wars Shop shoot, we did some other location work and tourism over the weekend. This included photography in Oysterville and Nahcotta, watching the Pacific sunset Saturday night, and visiting the wreck of the Peter Iredale on Sunday as a detour on our way home to Portland. We also got some hilarious bonus video of a very bad road in Warrenton, OR.

Some more photos…