August 23rd, 2012


[links] Link salad won't back down

Don't forget the name Jay's tumors poll.

How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read — (From AH via [info]tillyjane.)

Scott McKenzie's San Francisco was a hippy anthem with a life of its ownSan Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair) didn't reflect the particular sound of the city itself. Not that this mattered – it was great pop and its idealism lives on. (Snurched from Cora Buhlert.)

Sigur Rós - Fjögur píanó — A wild piece of video art. Note, NSFW. (Thanks to Marta Murvosh.)

Children warned name of first pet should contain 8 characters and a digit — Ah, security. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Bee-rotica: A beginner’s guide to insect sting fetishes — Rule 34 is alive and well. (Thanks, I think, to [info]danjite.)

Battling the YakuzaJapan's authorities are clamping down on the criminal underworld, but the mighty Yakuza refuse to back down.

Some Hidden Historical Gems in the School of Dentistry — Mmm. A museum of dental oddities, right here in Portland.

Exotic Detections: Wormholes and Worldships

Helix Collapse Fails to Crush Hope for Vertical Wind Turbines

Decline In Circumcisions Could Prove Costly — Hmm.

Is Climate Change To Blame For This Year’s West Nile Outbreak? — Ah, science. All about the questions instead of the certainties. One of the wonders of evidence-based thinking is that you can learn new things.

Antarctic ice sheets may have changed the planet's heartbeat — Some fascinating science in this article.

Arctic ice cap set for record-breaking summer melt sessionTemperatures have been inconsistent and winter ice is thin.

Religious Right Still Oblivious of their Double Standard on BoycottsAccording to LaBarbera and Mefferd, it is inappropriate for companies to back gay rights efforts or groups because they will be offending customers when they should be remaining neutral in the “culture war.” However, if a company like Chick-fil-A opposes gay rights, then it is an admirable decision worthy of support and any criticism of their activism is an assault on freedom. Actually, this headline didn't need the words "on Boycotts". (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Why are all the GOP celebrities such nuts?

Republicans Condemn Akin's Comments As Blemish On Party's Otherwise Spotless Women's Rights Record

Top Five Worst Planks in GOP Platform — Geeze, where to begin. Any decent, sane human being should be horrified by pretty much all of these.

Romney doesn't lead Republicans, he follows them

The Irony Of A Black President — Ta-Nehisi Coates is brilliant on Obama, race and American society.

?otD: Will you stand your ground?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 6.25 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo


[cancer] A few thoughts on being seriously ill, with reference to privilege

Two aspects of illness that don't often get discussed or even recognized are social privilege and process complexity. These are things I've commented on before here on the blog, but they're much on my mind again this week.

Social Privilege

I have a well paid white collar job in a technical field. I work at home. In other words, my commute is two dozen steps, and I can sit down all day to perform my job functions. These facts combine to grant me a form of social privilege which has been critical to surviving chemotherapy thus far, and to surviving the next round as well, without total financial ruin. If I had a job that required commuting, or driving while on work hours; if I had a job that required standing up at all; if I had a job that required continuous attention without permitting unscheduled rest breaks; I would never have been able to handle things as well as I have.

Most people, well or sick, do not have jobs this convenient. This is a profound form of social privilege from which I benefit immensely. The fact that I even had the opportunity to achieve this position is itself part of being white, male, relatively tall, well-spoken and well-educated. Everything from the circumstances of my birth to the accidents of my employment history have combined to allow me to reach this point.

I am profoundly thankful for this.

Process Complexity

As for process complexity, I have to say that the three most ferociously complicated things I've ever done in my life in terms of paperwork, nitpicky requirements, tight deadlines and unexpected interdependencies are adopting [info]the_child, buying real estate, and being seriously ill.

When you fall seriously ill, the amount of paperwork and compliance in your life skyrockets. In the name of resource allocation, financial prudence and fraud prevention, American society forces an incredible burden upon its least able members. You truly have no idea how complicated this gets until you have experienced it yourself. It's a disastrous piece of social engineering that is just one more layer of punishment upon people already experiencing some of the worst moments of their lives, when they are the least capable of coping with the unexpected extra workload. A truly just and compassionate society would provide the reverse — an uncomplicated refuge of safety and healing not fenced in by reams of paperwork and arbitrary deadlines. Not to be in our America, unfortunately.

Note that I say the above as someone who is both highly competent at paperwork, and covered by good health insurance (at least in the American context of "good coverage"). This not even to reference the staggering financial burden that I must endure with my good insurance. Another privilege for me; that I'm capable of managing this, and have close friends and family to do it for me if I fall too ill to keep up.

Speaking of process complexity, I'm meeting with my attorney right before I go into chemotherapy, to deal with some open items in my estate planning and so forth while I'm still inarguably competent in the legal sense of the term. Oh, the things I have to think about right now.


[repost|food] Open dinner in Baltimore, MD

I will be in Baltimore, MD after Worldcon, for a second opinion cancer consultation at Johns Hopkins Friday, September 7th. I am declaring an Open Dinner in Baltimore the evening of Tuesday, September 4th — the day after Labor Day. We'll meet at 7 pm at Ryan's Daughter, an Irish pub on East Belvedere Avenue in north Baltimore.

This will be my last open dinner before at least May of next year.

Please let me know if you think you'll be there.