April 30th, 2013


[links] Link salad has been telling you it's a genius since it was seventeen

Omega Coaxial Ad — Which very much puts me (and others) in mind of my novel Mainspring. (Via OldMiser.)

Amazing potato salad minus the WOW factorJersey Girl in Portland on her potato salad and mine.

20 of the world's most beautiful World Heritage Sites — Bucket list stuff, if I had time and money for a bucket list before I die.

Army Airship: 1922 — A cool photo from Shorpy.

Crystal Puzzle Solved with Sea Squirt — The story's interesting in its own right if you're into biology or materials science, but you have to love the headline regardless.

Memory ImplantsA maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories.

Privately Financed Spaceship Roars Closer to Space — SpaceShip Two breaks the sound barrier.

ESA: Herschel space telescope blinded by heat, retires for good

The World's First Website Gets Its Original Web Address Back — It's not often you can follow something back right to the beginning.

Your Mac, iPhone or iPad may have left the Apple store with a serious security risk — This is mildly boggling. (Via [info]goulo.)

Seattle Police And Phoenix Jones – A New Chapter — Because, um, reasons. Nope. Come to think of it, I got nothing. (Thanks to my brother.)

About HistoryShortpacked is making fun of a specific subset of geekdom, but this pretty much captures the conservative mind in general.

Report: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's repeated requests for a lawyer were ignoredThere is zero legal or ethical justification for denying a suspect in custody this fundamental right Because reasons! After all, we treat white conservative terrorists exactly the same. Or we would, if there were any white conservative terrorists. "Patriots" like McVeigh and Rudolph certainly had a right to counsel. (Via David Goldman.)

Congress tries to reset science grants, wants every one to be “groundbreaking”If lawmakers get their way, research like recent Higgs findings could disappear. That's what happens when you put anti-science willful idiots in charge of national science policy.

Justice O’Connor: Maybe Bush V. Gore Was A Mistake — Gee. Ya think? Note: If you don't know who John Ellis is and when and why George W. Bush called him on election night, you really don't understand what happened in Florida and why people like me are still pissed about it. And believe you me, if the situation had been reversed, and a cousin of Al Gore's was involving in the media calling the election results prematurely in Gore's favor, this would still be a daily topic on conservative media over a decade later. Meanwhile, back in the reality-based community, Your Liberal Media never covered Ellis much, even at the time.

House Republicans Eyeing New Hostage OpportunityThe House Republicans are contemplating a new budget-hostage strategy, the the Washington Post reports in a story that is both highly useful and inadvertently Onion-esque. The hallmark of Onion news reporting is conveying insanity as if it were sane in a completely deadpan way. The Republican party isn't even pretending to govern any more, and no one cares. At least no one conservative. And they call themselves patriotic?

Maker of Useless Dowsing Rod for Bombs Convicted for FraudThere are an infinite number of flavors of this sort of nonsense, from astrology to homeopathy, from the antivaccination movement to global warming denial. While you might think some of these are harmless, they all have very serious ramifications: they lead to magical thinking. They tell people it’s OK to stop putting their trust in reality and science, and instead abandon it for nonsense. And that's my fundamental objection to the Republican party. Not to the theoretical foundation of conservatism, which in many ways is an admirable philosophy, but to the conservatism that requires the magical thinking of evolution denial and climate change denial and supply side economics to function politically, while proudly and explicitly rejecting the evidence-based world. How can you possibly make useful policy decisions when your entire intellectual infrastructure is a fraudulent house of cards? Yes, magical thinking is everywhere (the anti-vax movement is not a conservative fixation), but only in the Republican party and its annexes such as FOX News and Tea Party has such magical thinking been institutionalized and glorified.

QotD?: Are you quite sure what it means?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (WRPA editing work on METAtropolis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 247.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block helping welfare recipients buy cell phones and big screen tvs: 0
Currently reading: The Truth by Terry Pratchett


[dreams|cancer] Voyaging in the undiscovered countries of my heart

I had one of my science fiction dreams again last night. I was flying on a 747 with some other writers. Gardner Dozois was the flight attendant, and did about what you'd expect Gardner to do in that situation. His safety spiel over the p.a. system was more along the lines of "Keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times," which is not comforting to hear aboard a pressurized aircraft.

The plane eventually landed at the World's Tiniest Airport™, an artefact of the geography of my subsconscious rather than any particular airport in real life. I walked alone down the airstairs and into the terminal to find the departure lounge crowded with science fiction writers, artists, critics and fans. Jenn Reese, Greg van Eekhout, and Sydney Duncan, just to name a few. Plus most of the Pacific Northwest genre community. I stopped to talk to them, but they were all leaving on Gardner's plane. I begged people to stay a while longer, or to take me with them, but the plane was full and the place was emptying out. Soon I was left behind alone.

Later I dreamt I was in China with my family. Except they had checked into one hotel and I was supposed to be in another. I went to a store to get a few groceries, and became frustrated that they did not have Mexican Coke in China. The checker turned out to have been educated in America, and fluent in English, so after the store closed we went out to watch the Communist youth groups in their midnight parades. We started making out, then she went off to do something, and I found myself stark naked on the nighttime streets with nothing to clothe myself but Communist party banners. This seemed like a bad idea.

I am dreaming of my own death, clearly. And separation from two of things which matter most to me. [info]the_child, whose heritage is Chinese; and the genre community in which I have become so deeply embedded. My sense of loss is palpable even in my day-to-day moments, and the dreams underscore a deep sense of abandonment.

That last is a tad odd, as it is I who is doing the abandoning by contracting a fatal illness. Nonetheless, this is how my dreaming mind has chosen to interpret the matter somewhere beyond the Gates of Horn. The country of my dreams is treacherous terrain, but no more so than the country of my waking life these days.


[personal|writing] Being busy

I am busy these days. Working under a mortal deadline is wonderfully clarifying to the mind. Even if I am wrong about the immediate future, I am not wrong about the general trend of my disease, so the things I am trying to do right now apply regardless.

As mentioned recently, I have temporarily suspended work on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin to grod around closely inside of METAtropolis: Green Space. In the past three or four days I have done a close read on stories by Karl Schroeder and Elizabeth Bear. Today I'll dive back into Ken Scholes' story. Editorial work is very different from writing a first draft, but they come out of the same general space in my brain. Each has its joys. I'm committing a minimum of one hour per day to this task.

There is also an ongoing project to simplify the holdings here at Nuevo Rancho Lake. Hence the recent Basement Party, and future such in late May and through June, most likely. I have committed at least half an hour per day (though yesterday it wound up being more like two hours) to advancing that ball. Lately that has been a lot of sorting through receipts, files and paperwork to determine what needs to kept for tax purposes, and what can be disposed of. Also, walking through my large and essentially random pile of CDs, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs to make sure whatever is on them has been captured either into iTunes or into my photo files as appropriate. Later there will be larger scale decisions about the disposition of books, clothing, furniture, art, et cetera. I'd rather I do these things now than someone else have to puzzle through them after I'm gone.

Plus Day Jobbery, parenting, relationship time with Lisa Costello, keeping up with friends and family, forthcoming travel, and so forth. So, yes, I am being busy.