August 23rd, 2013

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[links] Link salad will hold you in its arms

An atheist’s guide to the good life — Yup. This.

Cancer Becomes Me — I love, love, love this essay about being a cancer patient. (Thanks to David Goldman.)

Most precise clock to watch tiniest ever time dilationsTime can now be divided into slivers hundreds of trillions of times smaller than a second, thanks to a pair of atomic clocks made from ytterbium that have just set a new record for precision.

Traffic Ghost HuntingSimulation: When the biggest problem with traffic is nothing at all. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

The Entire History of the World—Really, All of It—Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart — Uh…

Paleo by Comparison: the Million-Year-Old Map — Interesting if more than a bit whacky.

Massive Himalayan gorge partly carved by Lake Erie-sized floodsWhen glacial dams upriver from the gorge failed, massive floods tore through it. Interesting reading, especially if you are familiar with the Missoula Flood.

Climate Change Archaeology — Interesting stuff from the real world of liberal "facts" and "data" where the ice is actually retreating.

Rich people are more likely to drive like assholesBy way of explanation, the authors wrote: “Upper-class individuals’ relative independence from others and increased privacy in their professions may provide fewer structural constraints and decreased perceptions of risk associated with committing unethical acts.” That is an excellent description of privilege in general.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know: TX Pols Knew What, When?That was the day I realized that God help me I hate rightwing Republicans. Hate them. Not what they do, but them personally. I know it’s wrong. But, if you’re willing to sacrifice a man and little children on the altar of morality and judgement then I chose to freakin’ hate you. How many children were they willing to sacrifice for a popular radio show? We don’t know, because the guy was 61 years old when he went to prison, so there could have been hundreds. Yup. Never can trust liberals because they don't have a moral compass. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Welcome to the Age of Denial — This is as much about Republican political strategies of the past forty years as it is about any underlying cultural trends. Cultivating resentment, paranoia and deep counterfactuals for the sake of continually manufacturing more angry white men has been electorally successful but profoundly destructive to our society and culture. The contemporary GOP's place in history will be one of deep, deep shame at best.

Republicans Move to the Center? Nope, They’re Crazier Than Ever[H]atred of reality itself, hatred of the unhappy truth that there are facts in this world that can’t be neatly arranged behind a worldview of rage and racial resentment

QotD?: Have you been a good boy?




8/23/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (sick)
Weight: 246.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing conservatives to enroll in Obamacare: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[cancer] Special dying person wisdom

I've been asked before if I have any special dying person wisdom. To which my answer is always, well, no, not really. But I have been thinking a lot about what life means to me, and what I see it meaning to people who seem to enjoy their own life the most. I come down to two basic concepts.

Be kind, and don't miss your opportunities.

Kindness is highly underrated. We spend so much time aspiring to or defending our place in life, from how we behave in traffic to how we treat people in the workplace, at home and out in the world. If everybody tapped the brakes on their immediate needs long enough to be kind and pleasant to other people, the world would be a much better place. Sappy? Yes. True? Yes.

The hardest part is being kind to people you don't particularly want to be kind to. Or being kind at moments when you don't have much kindness left in you, for whatever reason. I've come to realize that's when it counts most.

But in any case, be kind. It costs you nothing and makes the world around you a better place.

As for opportunities… I suppose I mean that in every possible sense. Always wanted to go to Iceland? Go to Iceland. Missing out on your favorite meal? Make it. Want to hug someone? Hug them. Declare your love. Read that book. Go to Paris, France or Paris, Texas or Paris Street in your home town. Sleep in. Get up early and hike the Gorge. Go to the therapist. Start the diet. Stop the diet. See that band. Whatever.

We spend so much time denying ourselves. There's never enough time, there's never enough money, it's too complicated, they might reject you, you never got around to it. For my own part, I'm kind of done with self-denial. I've always been more than a bit of a hedonist, and rather too much in love with wretched excess, but of late in the face of my own impending death I've become an even bigger fan than ever of consensual, harm-free indulgence. Life at its very best is short and complicated and way too hard. Already I regret far more the things I didn't do that I wanted, than doing the things I probably shouldn't have.

Spend some time doing what you want, doing it as big as you can manage. It will make you a happier person.

Not much in the way wisdom, to be sure, but kindness and opportunity become more and more important to me as my life grows shorter. How long is your life?

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[travel|photos] New Zealand travelog recap - getting from Oamaru to Kaikoura

On August 3rd, we drove from Oamaru, NZ to Kaikoura, NZ. It was a long day's drive via Christchurch that showed us a lot of South Island countryside.

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My second-favorite road sign in the whole country

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On arrival in Kaikoura, we were treated to a place that looked a little bit like heaven. Collapse )

Our route of travel that day. And the overall maps of the trip.

Next up: dawn over the Pacific, and swimming with dolphins.

As usual, more at the Flickr set.




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

Creative Commons License

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