July 24th, 2012


[links] Link salad heads for the Piedmont

Same Book, Different…Book (includes spoilers) — Editor Gabrielle Harbowy talks about her reactions to my novel Green, and compares those reactions to a number of other reviews.

Steampunk themed cruise to be held on Navigator of the Seas — Including yours truly. USA Today blogs about this as well.

In an old furniture store far, far away… — More from Waterloo Productions, this time involving [info]the_child.

How not to talk to someone about their feelings...[info]alumiere is both wise and angry. Me, I despise the cult of optimism, so, what she said.

Space smells like seared steak, hot metal, astronauts reportAstronauts returning from spacewalks frequently report a distinct odor clinging to their spacesuits and equipment. In space, no one can hear you dream?

NASA tests 'inflatable heat shield' which unfurls in space and helps space ships float gently down to a planet's surface

Catholic priest victims: NCAA too light on Penn StateWhen money was misspent at SMU, play is suspended. But when boys are raped and crimes are concealed at PSU, play continues. This sends absolutely the wrong signal. Football. Just like Wall Street, the money's too big for there ever to be true accountability. Ain't that America?

Loading the Climate Dice — Paul Krugman is thoughtful on climate change.

Deniers, disgust, and defamationWhenever I post about the reality of climate change, I get the usual chorus of denialist outrage. This includes the odd ad hominem or two, like the sneering "What does an astronomer know about the climate?", because apparently not having an advanced degree in science makes someone a better judge of the data.

Fox News Banned From Canada – Law Forbids Lying On Broadcast NewsHarper’s attempts to make lying legal on Canadian television are a stark admission that right-wing political ideology can only dominate national debate through dishonest propaganda. Got it in one. (Snurched from [info]jess_ka.)

What I Learned in Law School — An attorney's perspective on the Second Amendment and the Aurora shootings.

Guns versus cars — Philip Brewer responds to some discussions on my blog.

Romney to Olympians: 'You didn't get here solely on your own' — So when Obama says that to businesspeople, that's socialism, but when Romney says the same thing to athletes, it's, um, what? More of that justly famed conservative intellectual consistency.

GOP Rep. Stands Up For Huma Abedin & Freedom Of Religion At Town Hall — Props to him for getting it right. The First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion really does protect everyone.

GOP's Obama obsession will lose it the election — A lot of people, including me, hated President Bush for a lot of reasons. Most of them were reality-based, whether or not they were objectively worthy of vilification. Most of what the GOP hates Obama for isn't even particularly connected to reality. It's just weird. And these are the people who used to mock "Bush derangement syndrome".

?otD: Carolina in the morning?

Writing time yesterday: 90 minutes (1,900 words to complete first draft of a requested short story, plus some revision time)
Body movement: n/a (airport walking to come)
Hours slept: 5.75 (solid)
Weight: 238.0
Currently reading: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie


[travel] Follies redux

Flying to North Carolina for Day Jobbery today. As is almost always the case, I am on the earliest possible departure. I woke up with a start a little after 3 am this morning, just slightly before my 3:15 am alarm. [info]the_child was just packing up to go to bed, having spent her evening watching anime on Netflix Streaming. It was weird, felt like a shift change.

Then when I opened my laptop up, I found she'd changed my desktop image.


Love that kid.

At the airport, the usual low-grade madness ensued. Stuck in the check-in line behind someone with a complicated problem who didn't seem to understand their own issues. (International traveler with a non-US passport who was quite confused about visa requirements. How did they get into the country in the first place?) Stuck in the security line behind someone who didn't seem to understand that the instructions to remove everything from your pockets meant that they, personally, had to remove all their personal things from their personal pockets. This traveler was sent back once for a handful of change, a second time for a set of keys, and a third time for a wallet.

In other words, business as usual for America's air transit system.

Which leads me to wonder what people are thinking. I recognize that most people are not regular air travelers. I understand that the system is confusing enough for expert, frequent travelers like me, and is likely baffling to newcomers or those who fly rarely. But there's a lot of effort spent explaining things in signage, in announcements, in instructions given by airport staff. Why wouldn't you follow a clear, simple instruction to empty your pockets? Why is it okay to delay the twenty or thirty people standing behind you while you reluctantly part with $0.38, a set of housekeys and a wallet. One at a time.

I know that the question of whether we should be taking off our shoes, et cetera, is a ridiculous one in its own right. I agree that we practice security theatre, not good security, and that this is not likely to change for purely political reasons. But given that this is the system we have, why do some people feel like they don't have to follow it?

Rant, rant, rant. I know. I'm not actually grumpy about this. More like mildly boggled.

Anyway, to the air with me now.