A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Odds and Ends

Only in Pennsylvania
In New York City, when someone wants to sell you a bridge, it's a fraud.  In Pennsylvania, they actually go out and get a bridge - and it's theft. 

Does This Bother Anyone?
Should it? 
a) Lead Author on definitive paper
b) is president of a consulting firm
c) That makes its money on the fruits of such papers.

Caesar omni suspicione maiores debent esse uxorem. 

Fossil Genes, OWS, Precognition, and Intrepid Pathfinders below the cut

Fossil Genes
Could humans one day be induced to lay eggs

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!
In the WSJ weblog, Best of the Web, James Taranto writes:
"It's turning into us against, them," says a 36-year-old Occupy Boston protester quoted by the Boston Herald's Howie Carr. Wait, wasn't that the idea? Not exactly. It turns out that when he says "them," the guy is referring not to billionaire Jewish bankers but street vagrants. "They come in here and they're looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don't bring anything to the table at all."
The same is true in New York, where, according to the Daily News, "Zuccotti Park has become a haven for the homeless," who are abandoning shelters and camping out at the park, "enticed by the allure of free food and a community of open-minded people." But as in Boston, open-mindedness goes only so far. "We have compassion toward everyone. However, we have certain rules and guidelines," says Lauren Digioia, 26, who belongs to the "sanitation committee":
"If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports on the "library" at Occupy Boston, which carries a full range of titles from Z to Zinn. The best detail is this: "The librarians have eschewed the Dewey Decimal System, concerned by historical accounts that portray Melvil Dewey, its inventor, as a racist and misogynist." Take a college humanities department and deprive it of all the support it receives from capitalist enterprises--investment income from the institution's endowment, tuition money from well-heeled parents, subsidies from taxpayers--and what do you get? A bunch of crazy freeloaders sleeping in a park.
+ + + 

As the Occupy Wall Street movement expands, protest organizers are struggling with distributing the $500,000 in donations they have received and quelling disgruntled protesters.
Pete Dutro, a member of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) finance committee, dismissed reports that squabbling was growing among the ranks regarding fund distribution.
"Finances are always a flash point for a lot of organizations," Dutro, 36, said.
The New York Post reported groups of protesters were upset for having to fill out paperwork to access funds, such as money to reimburse drums that had been vandalized one late night.
"There are people who don't want to follow the process and there's not a whole lot I can do for them," Dutro said. "How is that going to be accountable?"
+ + +

Now look how this idea plays itself out in reality. New York magazine has a piece on a conflict that has broken out within Krugman's Army: "It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle." Drummers drum for hours on end, irritating neighbors and even "many of the sleep-deprived protesters."
So the "General Assembly," the Occupiers' quasigovernment, imposed limits on drumming, which prompted a drumbeat of opposition:
"They're imposing a structure on the natural flow of music," said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. "The GA decided to do it ... they suppressed people's opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn't."
To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former "head drummer," this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. "They are becoming the government we're trying to protest," he said. "They didn't even give the drummers a say . . . Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive."
The drummers claim that the finance working group even levied a percussion tax of sorts, taking up to half of the $150-300 a day that the drum circle was receiving in tips. "Now they have over $500,000 from all sorts of places," said Engelerdt. "We're like, what's going on here? They're like the banks we're protesting."
This is rich enough to be part of the hated 1%. If Engelerdt's brain weren't filled with Barberian nonsense, he would realize it's not like the banks they're protesting, it's like the government they're hoping to expand.

In an essay written two years previously, James Chastek replies to whyevolutionistrue's triumphalist literalism regarding Adam and Eve even before he made it! 

How to be Hawkeye the Pathfinder in the Urban Forest
Just look for the natural signs of direction


  1. I thought about you when I saw the study on Google news. Certainly I think this makes a dent in the "independent study" claim but, of course, doesn't completely invalidate whatever science there is behind the claim. Unfortunately, I find my eyes glaze when I read these things. I know that I am unable to find the snipe hiding in the results.

  2. Does This Bother Anyone?
    Should it?

    Hasn't it been shown that folks, no matter how fair minded they're trying to be, will interpret things along the lines of their biases?

  3. *being a twerp about the monogenism link*

    Wouldn't the single shared male ancestor be Noah?

    *edit* Word verification: "guess"

  4. Mike, I actually tried to sell a short story years ago about a scientist 'reviving' fossil genes in some desperately crippled humans. It might be time to revise it!

  5. Revise it or revive it?

    I used the same idea in "Great Sweet Mother" some while back. But I went for gills, not eggs.

  6. Great!! Following the 'spirit of Vatican II' in church building, I guess we really are lost!


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