January 2nd, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Wednesday that feels like a Monday

I do not want what I haven't got. — In this case, Hello Kitty contact lenses. I'm going to check outside the window to see if the four horsemen of the Apocalypse have ridden past recently.

Sentinel S-F Readers' Poll — Including my story "Fire-Heart and Rose Lips."

io9 — Gawker now has an SF blog. I'll be watching it a while to see what develops. scalzi, matociquala and Patrick Rothfuss are all namechecked in comments here. scalzi's take here.

The Fleecing of Avatars — Swindles and cons in Second Life.

Inadequacies of English alphanumerics — It's funny whem linguists rant.

Duelity — Evolution and Creation, told in each other's vernacular. A fascinating animation project. Watch all three of them. (Thanks to willyumtx.)

More on wrathful dispersion — Heh. The intersection of linguistics and religious mania.

When the GOP was Green — An old NYT op-ed (2001) about how the Republican party used to be invested in conservation. Not that long ago, either.

US Military SpendingThis is sobering. "We're the most militarized country in the world by far, on permanent war footing." (Thanks to MB.)

[personal] New Year's Open Thread

It's a new year. I'm a new man. (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.) Consider this an open thread to ask me whatever you want1. Interesting questions (or answers) are subject to being promoted to their own post.

1. &mdash This includes things you've asked previously that I might have failed to address, or things I promised to blog about but have not yet done so.

[meme] Privilege

The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

If you post this in your blog, please leave a comment on this post. To participate in this blog game, copy and paste the above list into your blog, and bold the items that are true for you. If you don't have a blog, feel free to post your responses in the comments.

Father went to college
Father finished college
Mother went to college
Mother finished college
Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
Were read children's books by a parent
Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
Went to a private high school
Went to summer camp
Had a private tutor before you turned 18
Family vacations involved staying at hotels
Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
There was original art in your house when you were a child
Had a phone in your room before you turned 18
You and your family lived in a single family house
Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left
You had your own room as a child

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
Had your own TV in your room in High School
Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
Went on a cruise with your family
Went on more than one cruise with your family
Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

ETA: As several people have pointed out, a number of these are time bound. I'm from the beginning of the tv/phone in your room generation, for example, and there were no consumer cell phones when I was a kid. Besides that I went to boarding school, so even the very wealthy kids I knew didn't have stuff like that in their rooms.

Likewise, I didn't participate in an SAT prep course because my entire high school life was very high end college prep. Ditto why I never had a tutor, I was already a straight A student when I bothered to do the work, at one of the top high schools in the country.

So to some degree the meme doesn't reflect some of the realities of my privilege.

On the other hand, I wasn't at private school because of class or financial status -- it was far, far beyond my parents' means -- but because of academic excellence and an employment-related substantial subsidy granted to my father due to my family's peculiar living conditions overseas.

So the meme also doesn't reflect some of the realities of my privilege in the other direction, either.

[links] Link salad afternoon update

2007 list of overused words and terms

The ludicrous skytop zeppelin hat — :: wants :: (Thanks to danjite.)

Jan. 2, 1860: "Gentlemen, I Give You the Planet Vulcan"

The end of space tourism as we know it — Not enough seats on the bus, apparently.

Property rights and the Tragedy of the Commons in action — A letter from the poorest county in Oregon.

Huckabee's Blood-Lust — "...it's disconcerting to think 'You didn't kill anyone' has suddenly become a criticism in conservative circles."

Should Ron Paul be allowed at Sunday's debate? — It's so cute when conservatives fight. They're certainly all about minor candidates when it's Nader or some Green candidate siphoning liberal-progressive votes.

Mukasey directs US Attorney and FBI to investigate CIA tape destruction — I'd really, really like to think the Bush Administration is actually doing the lawful and moral thing for once, but I can't help but wonder if it isn't just a matter of doing the coverup yourself to ensure it's done right.

An old quote from Pat Robertson — And people wonder why I think religion doesn't belong in politics:
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

[writing] Progriss riport

6,100 words on Green, to 118,400.

I am now in the beginning of third act, and am at page 9 of 14 of the outline. Of course, the last part of the outline is pretty soft on plot, but having come this far I have a much clearer idea of what the book is about than I did when I started.