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Okay, that’s 2 pages of taxes down. How many to go? March 15, 2017

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Oil-exec-turned-Secretary-of-State Rex Tillerson used a secret email address to deal with climate change. And, in the process, seems to have deliberately hidden emails from a subpoena. Where are the Lock Him Up chants?

“Physicians with decades of experience studying death rates relating to changes in health coverage have concluded that repealing Obamacare is fatal. […] even under the most conservative estimates, getting rid of President Obama’s signature healthcare reform law will result in 43,956 deaths every year.

“I click Google’s first suggested link. It leads to a website called CNSnews.com and an article: “The Mainstream media are dead.” They’re dead, I learn, because they – we, I – “cannot be trusted”. How had it, an obscure site I’d never heard of, dominated Google’s search algorithm on the topic?

“In fact, laws in the U.S. did not even address the issue of separating public restrooms by sex until the end of the 19th century, when Massachusetts became the first state to enact such a statute.” (Turns out it’s part of the “more women in the workforce? we must come up with ways to protect their virtue!” ideology.)

But the NEA will also be remembered as the agency that created arts councils in every state and most cities; that spread the professionalization of arts organizations throughout America; and that generated important new fields, such as art therapy for war victims; creative place making and the rebirth of cities; research into economics, mental health, inequality and aging, among many; and whose leaders persuaded private funders of the value of artists and the arts.”

I keep wanting to make a post of cute/uplifting links, and then…the world keeps happening. December 13, 2016

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Ceasefire deal in Aleppo to let the civilians evacuate. Now we have to hope like hell that it holds.

Shortlist of charities providing refugee/humanitarian aid in Syria. Also good choices: the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders.

Trump’s grandfather was banished from Bavaria by royal decree, for skipping out on mandatory military service. Smart people. Why couldn’t we have done that?

World Weather Attribution: connecting the dots between climate events and human actions.

I wish I could tell you that when I first saw those requirements they bothered me. I wish I could tell you that it felt wrong to code something that was basically designed to trick young girls. But the truth is, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I had a job to do, and I did it.”

The students displayed a ‘stunning and dismaying consistency’ in their responses, the researchers wrote, getting duped again and again. They weren’t looking for high-level analysis of data but just a ‘reasonable bar’ of, for instance, telling fake accounts from real ones, activist groups from neutral sources and ads from articles.”

The more people who search for information about Jews, the more people will see links to hate sites, and the more they click on those links (very few people click on to the second page of results) the more traffic the sites will get, the more links they will accrue and the more authoritative they will appear. This is an entirely circular knowledge economy that has only one outcome: an amplification of the message. Jews are evil. Women are evil. Islam must be destroyed. Hitler was one of the good guys.”

Save The Food leads with the dismaying statistic “40% of food in America is wasted” — but then focuses on ways you can avoid food waste in your kitchen at home. Most of the waste is coming from restaurants and supermarkets! Fixing that is going to take laws. Tell us which senators to call, not how to cook our slightly-wilted celery.

One good note to end this on:

“The unemployment rate in the city of Seattle – the tip of the spear when it comes to minimum wage experiments – has now hit a new cycle low of 3.4%, as the city continues to thrive. I’m not sure what else there is to say at this point. The doomsayers were wrong. The sky has not fallen. The restaurant business, by all accounts, is booming.”

LIL BUB meets Grumpy Cat August 31, 2013

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My online-meme-cat f/f OTP has finally met in person!

And there was much rejoicing. Well, rejoicing from everyone except Grumpy Cat. But that’s only to be expected.

New Tumblr debut July 10, 2013

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New Tumblr sideblog: Ptahlarious, in which I queue up the hundreds of memes, lolcats, motivators, dumb jokes, and so on that have been piling up on my hard drive since…well, since I first got on the Internet.

I’ve been wanting to share this stuff more broadly in some organized way for years. When Dreamwidth launched, the plan was to unload it all into a DW comm, as soon as they implemented the promised “queue future posts” feature. Still hasn’t happened. I finally got tired of waiting.

Thus, Ptahlarious. Come by and take a look.

Science!: particles, politics, & internets July 5, 2013

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“The microparticles can keep an object alive for up to 30 min after respiratory failure. This is accomplished through an injection into the patients’ veins. Once injected, the microparticles can oxygenate the blood to near normal levels.

“Researchers at IBM have created the world’s smallest movie by manipulating single atoms on a copper surface. The stop-motion animation uses a few dozen carbon atoms, moved around with the tiny tip of what is called a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM).”

“Distributed across the entire web, though, are a minority of pages—search engines, indexes and aggregators—that are very highly connected and can be used to move from area of the web to another. These nodes serve as the “Kevin Bacons” of the web, allowing users to navigate from most areas to most others in less than 19 clicks.

Porn search site PornMD has, for the sake of publicity and social science, collected its most-used search terms for the last six months and accounted them by location—not just in the U.S. but across the world. Is your home state into Teen or MILF porn? What are Iranians jerking off to? All these answers—and more!”

Representative Lamar Smith, the guy who brought you SOPA, pushing a bill that would remove the requirement for peer review from National Science Foundation grants. Because apparently he doesn’t understand how science works.

The NYT covers what Bill Nye has been up to these days. My favorite part: Neil Degrasse Tyson confirming that they’re IRL BFFs.

Jokes, cats, Internets, and procrastination May 29, 2013

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Or, a roundup of fun & silly links.

Cats walking on stuff: a history. Medieval scribes and ancient brickworkers had the same problems you have keeping the cat off your keyboard.

“I get it–I’m disabled too. You’re out of spoons, I’m out of spoons… However, the kitchen is also out of spoons, and I did the dishes the last ten times.

Procrastination – The Musical! GPOY.

On the other hand, someone has finally articulated the power of harnessing procrastination as a force for productivity.

Game of Thrones house sigils or the Internet. House Wikipedia: “Time Lost, Wisdom Gained”

A map of your grocery store. 100% true and accurate.

If media covered America the way we cover foreign cultures. A sample: “Yet another massacre has occurred in the historically war-torn region of the Southern United States – and so soon after the religious festival of Easter.”

High time for another roundup of silly geek stuff. April 30, 2012

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Brackets for the 2012 iNternet diCkbAg chAmpionship tournament: Guy Who Thinks Anything With More Than Three Sentences Is Too Long To Read vs. Woman Who Thinks You Don’t Go To Heaven If You Don’t Spend 90% Of Your Waking Life Being Furiously Outraged At Something

Neil Gaiman talks online piracy, and how it’s made his book sales go up. No surprise here (I’m one of the fans who discovered his writing when a friend lent me Good Omens, and have bought that and other works of his since).

Tons of red giants have rocky planets at the right distance to possibly have water. Tens of billions of habitable possibilities!

Grouchy scribes leaving comments in the margins in medieval manuscripts :D

Student writes his dissertation on comics (the degree is in interdisciplinary studies)…in comic form. Awesome. (I did the final papers for capstone classes in both my majors in comic format. Good teachers.)

The addictive powers of “stupid games”. For me, it’s Mafia Wars, plus a couple of Neopets games including Destruct-O-Match. (Though let it not be said that I don’t appreciate my Tetris.)

A 92-year-old DVD bootlegger…for the troops! (The poor RIAA has no idea how to deal with this.)

Oh, you pretty things February 23, 2012

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Catvertising! This is clearly a Viridian Dynamics project, y/y?

Perspective. The universe, to scale.

Awesome abandoned monuments. They look like sci-fi set pieces, like crashed spacecraft, or the ruins of cultures too ancient to be related to anything we know…but they were built in the ’60s and ’70s.

Chocolate planets! I’d say I want some, but they look too good to eat.

The world’s tallest treehouse! Ten stories high! Amazing.

Look, it’s a baby Internet: what some of the world’s biggest websites looked like on launch date. Google is surprisingly similar. Amazon is surprisingly ridiculous.

Mysterious, anonymous, and AWESOME paper sculptures appearing randomly in libraries around Scotland. Less anonymous, no less amazing: landscapes sculpted from carved-out books.

Multilingual collection of words that have no translation to English. Or so they claim. Forelsket is described in poly circles as NRE; pochemuchka has an equivalent in elephant’s child; pena ajena is embarrassment squick; taarradhin sounds a lot like a win-win situation; guanxi has the definition that many English-speakers have affixed to “karma”. And certain people would recognize backpfeifengesicht if you said “BBC’s Sherlock” (although using German for this kind of list is cheating anyway, as all their nouns are compound anyway).

Some srs bsns for your Saturday night. May 28, 2011

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The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism: a Web 2.0 tool is only useful if it works for activists and cat macros.

Diary of a Newly Diagnosed Dissociative: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4. Plus a video about the initial shame, and some tips for how to make peace with it.

How to find out the gender (or at least, the sex) of your computer. Cute. (It’s just leaning on Microsoft SAPI; according to the comments, XP comes with a male voice, Vista and 7 with female, and Macs can be easily switched in the system preferences.)

The NYT’s coverage of the first black Senator. In…wait for it…1870. Wikipedia has more, including the legal controversy on whether he had technically been a citizen long enough.

Parents decide to raise a child without telling people its sex. More here, with extra details. (Both the articles and the comments conflate “gender” and “sex” all over the place; the second one has extra tales of people being icky to young boys who wear pink.) The story they’re referring to as inspiration is X: A Fabulous Child’s Story.

How Tokyopop sank wages in the manga translation industry, with hopes that they can still recover. (Translators, not Tokyopop’s manga.)

A linguistics-lathered linkspam March 6, 2010

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A hacked list of millions of passwords reveals that people are wildly uncreative. (The top thirty include “12345”, “123456”, “1234567”, “12345678”, and “123456789”, as well as a bunch of names, including “nicole”, “daniel”, “jessica”, and “anthony”. No idea how “tigger” made it in there, but somehow it ranked.)

Google Responds To Privacy Concerns With Unsettlingly Specific Apology. I lol’d.

A history of attempts at American spelling reform, from the success of Noah Webster to the dismal failure of Teddy Roosevelt to the current trends in, yes, text messaging.

Encouraging contributions to the Swahili version of Wikipedia. The resource that in English stands out among other Internet venues mostly for its potential to be abused (see: Colbert, elephants) is, in some languages, the biggest and best free online repository of information in existence.

The power of word choice in its crazy, crazy action: Most people think “gay men & lesbians” should be allowed to serve in the military; however, when it comes to “homosexuals”, the numbers are split down the middle.

A rousing defense of scanlations, especially when it gets the industry to care more about accuracy. (This is one of the discussion threads spinning off of the ongoing plagiarism-of-Bleach scandal.)

Speaking of which: My Favorite Magma, or “the titles your grandmother would say if someone asked her what anime shows you were into.”

Plus, new manga – the original kind, even! – is now coming out of the United Arab Emirates. Cultural interchange FTW.