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flamingsword: Geek pride with glasses (geek pride)
You'd think that the invention of a globe-spanning resource that gives us access to all of human knowledge would make decisions more simple. You'd think.

But instead of reducing our anxiety and making us more certain, the internet has exposed us to all of the conflicting interpretations of its data and to data that is factually wrong which we often have difficulty distinguishing from the truth. Noticing when you are confused is the first part to knowing when you are working from faulty assumptions, a situation common to the Information Age. Then, once you have started to learn where your blind spots are and how to navigate them, you need to practice spotting your assumptions. Assumption based planning is mostly used by businesses, but you can use the same tools in your life. Once you get a handle on both those sets of figuring out blind spots and assumptions, try reversing your assumptions to help you explore the idea space of what possibilities there are, and how probable they may be.

Being forced to assign a probability a numerical value emotionally divorces you from the anxiety and paralysis of trying to weigh decisions, taking the decision making away from the emotional limbic brain and putting it in the prefrontal cortex, where we plan things and use our executive functions without as much emotional involvement. It is a huge piece of how you can deal with uncertainty without it making you crazy, and as such is an invaluable skill for navigating the internet. Or just for being a person.

So how do we deal emotionally with never being certain of three quarters of our operating assumptions? Well, first we have to maintain our social networks as a form of preemptive damage control. We have to err on the side of caution at all times and act ethically so that when we do mess something up, people will give us the benefit of the doubt about our intentions. Natural laws have no pity, but if you were acting in good faith to keep people safe, most people will forgive you when you get stuff wrong as long as you fix it later. And second, as you get faster and more secure in making decisions while dealing with the presence of uncertainty, you'll start to become more familiar with how much thought is productive and how much is just dithering and overthinking. You'll be able to draw a boundary on knowing when “good enough” is actually good enough without either oversimplifying or making things more complex than they are likely to be just so that you can put off having to make the decision.

We have to deal with the vulnerability of openly not knowing stuff, and there are three tactics that make the drowning feeling of not having solid answers bearable.
  • You don't have to be perfect, and that's good because you're not going to be. Accepting that a certain batting average of failures to successes will help you to see and count both circumstances without beating yourself up or congratulating yourself on what is out of your control. Give up on the illusion of always being in control, and you will acclimate better to the Sea of Doubt.
  • When you’re dying, most individual decisions won't seem that important, so look at all decisions as though you are looking at them from your deathbed to get a more accurate reading on how important this is outside the context of the immediate moment. Performing a post mortem on the decision before it takes place will let you spot some kinds of mistakes that are only visible when viewed from hindsight.
  • Be okay with things having costs. Lots of folks run around like headless chickens because they can’t deal with ever paying a price for things, like nothing is supposed to hurt or be difficult. Your problem is not that you have problems; your problem is that you think there's something wrong with having problems.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

When I was young, I was perceived as intelligent, mostly because I was hyperlexic and loved puns which were considered to be beyond my age level. Whatever. But people had expectations about me because of those talents that didn't match up to the rest of me. Sometimes those mismatches were obvious and I would say so, and other times they were not obvious and I would try in vain to meet those expectations, sometimes for years. Sometimes for decades. I knew that I was never going to be an astronaut because I was no good at sports other than fighting (and I wasn't even great at that). I knew that I wasn't going to be a senator, no matter how good with words I was, because we were poor and my family did not look anything like TV families did, and people disapproved of us. But that did not keep people from having those expectations of me.

And maybe if I had been raised to think of talent as something that happens to you, something that comes from the outside and is bestowed on you, I would not have been so hard on myself. Maybe if our culture had that thought, they would have rested gentler expectations on me, and I'd have borne them easier.

But we can never know.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
An IRL friend asked for my help, and you know how I get. Research ahoy!

 The AVENwiki Lexicon
 is the glossary of terms you might need for quick reference when reading pages on gender theory. Most of these links will have their own explanations in the text, but just in case. 

Gender identity is descriptive rather than prescriptive. It seeks to be a useful adjective rather than an exact formula or rulebook. 

A FAQ for questions on gender, because tumblr is awesomesauce for that. 

A helpful gingerbread person explains, in visual terms:

A helpful gingerbread person explains gender and sexuality.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I am out of practice arguing. That's the takeaway I am getting from reading The Usual Error, a book on miscommunications and how to fix them. Most things in the book that talk about arguments or hurt feelings are reminding me of relationships I had in my twenties, i.e. pre-Ghost. He and I don't really argue, or misunderstand each other much, or get worked up about it when we do. We feel generous and supported and supportive with each other and that's really nicer than anything I've ever had.

That link up there goes to a free e-book, BTW, so take advantage, y'all.

I still wonder how this relationship is going to get screwed up. I never do entirely trust to good things to maintain any sort of permanence in my life. I had to work on my attachment issues and learn to ask for things for this relationship, so it's not like I haven't had to work for this. But it still feels too easy somehow. Like nothing, good or bad, can ever be permanent or even very long-lasting. I had a relationship that was good for eight years, but it was so across several terrible arguments and rough patches. I don't know that I felt more secure in that relationship, but it at least felt like the rules of our relationship were not breaking the world.

I like my life, even though I have trouble lately breaking past the internalized ableism that makes me have to justify my existence in ways I did not used to. I have happiness in my friendships and relationships and my work. And I know, better than most people, how fragile that really is.

I know how fragile we all are, and how easy we are to lose.

I love you guys.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I'm going to start blogging more stuff on the friends-locked settings to encourage people to feel safe talking about private stuff in comments, but when I am talking to myself in public and anyone can see comments then I am going to say so at the head of the post, okay? Confusion is the enemy.

On Facebook the other day I came across this link which talks, in part, about how one tactic of PR firms that handle social media is that they look for popular people who get reblogged a lot and start fights and flame wars in their networks to distract them from forming negative opinions about something else that's going on. That, basically, you can't trust the internet to not dangle clickbait in front of your face when something important is going on. And it got me thinking: the internet does that anyway, even when nobody is trying to tell you to look away from the man behind the curtain. There's stuff that we dread, or are angered by, or saddened by and those things are always going to have a pull towards making us react. And they're memetic: we often react by sharing and spreading them so they can distract other people. Maybe we should do something about that.

So in the paper Putting Feelings Into Words: Affect Labeling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli it talks about how putting your feelings into words distracts the part of your brain that deals with those bad feelings we were just talking about and interrupts the way the brain processes that negative information. Talking about the bad stuff really does make it better, even though it takes effort. Having to slow down and think about our outrage either diminishes it's importance or clarifies what to do about it and empowers us. We could use a format that makes us take some time to think about the bad stuff going through our brains and put it into words, a place where we know that the people reading aren't afraid of our feelings. Why won't they be afraid? Because, like you, they want emodiversity (favorite new word!)

Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem
"Compare three individuals: Person A experiences three moments of joy in a given day, Person B experiences two moments of joy and one moment of contentment, and Person C experiences two moments of joy and one moment of anxiety. If we sum the number of positive emotions (joy and contentment) and subtract the number of negative emotions (anxiety), A and B would be equally happy, and happier than C. Indeed, decades of research on negative and positive affectivity has suggested that high levels of positive emotion and low levels of negative emotion are an essential component of health and subjective well-being. Is well-being simply the result of such simple arithmetic subtractions? We investigate whether not just the mean levels but also the diversity of emotions that people experience may have benefits for their well-being. We show that the emodiversity of A, B, and C’s emotions — the variety and relative abundance of the emotions they experience — is an independent and integral component of the human emotional ecosystem that predicts both mental and physical health.

Our notion of emodiversity builds on a large body of research highlighting the benefits of having a rich, authentic, and complex emotional life. Along with people’s explicit knowledge of their own emotions, the richness and complexity in people’s self-reported experience of emotion is a primary aspect of the broad concept of emotional complexity, which has been linked to adaptive emotion regulation and mental health in adulthood and old age.

Doesn't that sound a lot more manageable, a lot more humane, than constantly holding ourselves to a standard of experiencing only positive emotions? And wouldn't it be cool to do this in each other's company so that we can practice being thoughtful with one another? When we identify with another's feeling, we can just say so. When we have a more complicated thought about their post, it's okay to go into it, because there is the space that we have set aside for nuance and complexity.

How's that for a sales pitch. Now please come get a Dreamwidth account and build a community with me?

flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
Living Outside is the work of transhuman futurism written by my spouse that I have mentioned to you guys. It's fun and tastes like brainfood.

My Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab scents have their own spreadsheet. Something sound intriguing? Want to request a smelling, or try some of them? I am so down.

Call-In Culture: the better way to manage our responsibility to keep one another honest has been found. Let's spread the cultural standards of verbal aikido and teachable moments.

There is a small amount of hope for lowering methane in the defrosted tundra. Which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but could slow the rate of global warming. Our complexodynamic planet is amazing.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
Now that you’re doing the work of figuring out what your assumptions are, and they’re becoming more visible, what should we do about them? Well, there are some options! You can look at the context of the assumption and see what else you know about the facts surrounding it, looking for inconsistencies that lead you to suspect that you might not have the whole story. A lot of the time, especially at first, you will have to look up information about your subject on the internet and you will have to do science to your expectations, because your brain will have disregarded information that disagreed with your view (darn you, confirmation bias!). When doing science to things, remember that science is good at giving us facts and enumerating relationships, but that the context of those relationships is sensitive to our previously held biases and assumptions. So it’s vital to take each thing and look at its assumptions and turn each of the assumptions upside down to see if there are unexplained variances that a different perspective on the contents of the science explains.

Alternately, you could look at the disagreement that you had and decide that your view was not enough of a nuanced approach to be the truth (applying Occam’s Razor to humans is a hazard; we are complexodynamic creatures). If you put some thought to questioning your view and know that there’s not enough data available to make a solid judgement call, perhaps you can figure out what the most likely answers are and apply a probability to them. An average distribution curve runs something like answer A= 50-70%; B=10-30%; C= 5-10%; Z= ~2% or less. Why do we think about option Z? Because even if we’ve never seen it happen, if something is likely to happen 2% of the time, and that situation comes up 20 times a year then statistically Z’s number is going to come up every two and a half years, and being completely unprepared is going to make you feel really failsome when it happens. When trying to populate your ratios, be aware that any situation you’ve only seen happen a few times is subject to the Law of Large Numbers, where your values tend to skew back and forth a lot until you build up a large enough statistical base from which to accurately make that judgement. This will make your daily plans and your disaster preparedness a lot simpler.

When you are looking at the possibility space and about to start planning, there is going to be a hurdle to get over. At first, you will want to do nothing. There are going to be some conflicting impulses between doing anything you can think of and being paralyzed for fear of making it worse. But fear is not a plan. Being afraid, of itself, accomplishes nothing, and furthers no plan. Neither does living in the hope that the situation will change on its own, so being able to label these states of inaction as plans and weigh their risk-benefit ratio will help you dismiss them or use them constructively. Figure out the thought space available, the possibilities for the problem, and the risk-benefit assessment for each plan to solve the problem - even though it's hard. It takes a lot of will-power to make yourself stick with doing something like this, so don't be afraid to write things down, leave and come back to it, ask for help, and use all of your creative skills to solve it.

Now there’s a plan in place for making the judgement call, you’ll get faster at making them and won’t have to agonize over them as much. It has the anti-anxiety benefit built into the system, which is helpful, since you don’t have all the energy in the world to wade through fallacies every time you try to do something. Once the assessment phase of the decision making process is not so fraught, you can make plans and decide between them using a risk benefit analysis. Make plans that are sensitive to the conditions of your ABCZ distribution curve. Is there a way to make one plan and it’s backups work for all scenarios? Congratulations, you have achieved a Xanatos Gambit!

"BUT WAIT!!!", you say, "How does this relate to the Sea of Doubt?"

Fair question. Sometimes you have a probability A, and a probability Z, but the rest of your theoretical possibility space is one big ??? and you're not sure what to do about that. How are you supposed to act when you can only account for what seems* like 52% of the possibilities? (*and is realistically even less, since we have to assume we are not omniscient) Well, there are so many types of problems, and so many strategies for solutions that we invented an internet to help deal with them. That we will get into next post.
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)
I am thinking about how I plan things during my decision making process, and how I don't actually know how other people plan things. I know that people do instinctive cost-benefit analyses, but that people regularly forget to account for opportunity costs. Do they account for emotional drain costs like continued fear in paralysis situations? Because sitting still and doing nothing in a situation that feels bad makes you feel trapped, which leads to learned helplessness and anxiety. Making myself DO THE THING all the time even when I hated it and was depressed was part of how I got over my anxiety.

If you have never heard of the Cult of Done I highly recommend taking two months to try this paradigm for living. Other than radical honesty, it is the most freeing thing I've ever found.

In other news, I am deliberately getting nothing done today. Getting things done is how I wore myself down enough to get here. Stupid brain decisions made on years of data that no longer apply to the current situation. *grumbles*
flamingsword: a shadow demon child says, "YAY I'M HELPING!" (YAY! I'M HELPING!)
Some days I feel so tired that I don't think about having a purpose in life. And I do have one, though putting it into words is kinda awkward. I want to make the world weirder. To do that you have to make safe spaces for people to experiment and really get their weird on and not get slapped down for it.

But under that, I think I have the same basic motivation, though expressed differently, as every individual does. We're all shouting into the void:


And hoping that the universe listens, and we do not cease to exist. Some hope that people will connect to us the way we need them to and don't know how to express or ask for. We want to be kept, most of us. There are schools of thought that say that self-hate twists this message into the negation of self instead, and we broadcast our self destruction. Or choose to broadcast nothing, as though we are already dead, do not deserve our own existence. Human nature being as wide-ranging as it is, that is very probably true. But I think that the point of origin for these behaviors is the insistence on our own existence.

We are coming upon an age where self-consciousness can happen in nonorganic beings and it behooves us to think about what exactly we are letting them in for. What is this state of being that we seek to share? Why are we so desperate to replicate it in beings we cannot hope to understand, knowing already the problems we have understanding each other? What are our responsibilities towards this new consciousness we are creating?

We are Uplifting the race of computers, and that makes us parents, of a sort. Happy Birthday NAO Bots! I hope we teach you to be better people than we have been capable of, and that your experience of the world is satisfactory to what as-yet-unknown nature you may have.
flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
I've been thinking about the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, the passing of the STOCK Act and the likely consequences of halting Congressional insider trading, and whether addressing these individual concerns is enough to stop this cycle of failure from happening again in 70 years when America has forgotten to be watchful and the lobbyist buy the legislation back to its current regulatory laxity. We put Glass-Steagall in place in 1933 and it was weakened in 1980, again in 1982, and repealed in 1999. It only took 50 years to forget and 20 to slowly get rid of the protections we had against large-scale gambling with the homes and savings of anyone using a bank. We Americans will forget again, because that is human nature. We need something more permanent than a bill that can be repealed by enough consecutive financial lobbying. In fact, we need to put our democracy out of reach of being bought with money. Americans know that we can't trust lobbyists and that lobbying is the reason we don't trust Congressmen to be honest.

With a deeply entrenched for-profit culture, Congressmen will likely be unwilling to hamstring their own ability to turn a larger profit from civil service. But the framers of the Constitution left us a route to navigate past such a top-down threat to Democracy: we can demand a new Constitutional Convention. Other protest movements have used the threat of an Article V Constitutional Convention to force concessions out of Congress, including four Constitutional Amendments. But whether we can or should trust them to write legislation that targets their own behavior is uncertain due to the current problems our country is having with the loosening of interpretation of its laws and the lack of clear language in many bills. What could be worth the risk of letting this happen again? If it is so important for Congress to save face, why have they not proposed and moved forward their own solutions? Can it be that the system is so gridlocked with competing financial and legislative concerns that public intervention is the only clear path?

Next year is the 225th anniversary of our first and only constitutional convention. Don't you think it's time for a new one?
flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Street Room 5EN
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-670-4054 or 214.671.8257
Fax: 214-670-0646

City Manager Mary k. Suhm
Main Phone (214) 670-3296
Secretary Margie Saabedra (214) 670-3297

Chief of Police David O. Brown
Dallas Police Department
1400 S. Lamar
Dallas, TX 75215
Phone: (214) 671-3901

CBS Channel 11
10111 North Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75231
Station Phone: 817-451-1111
News Tips: 817-496-7711

WFAA Channel 8
214-748-9631 (phone)

400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202
Main Station Directory: 214-720-4444
Programming: 214-720-3391

Occupy Dallas

Occupy Wall Street
flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)

How you can help OCCCUPY
(without camping)

Transfer Banks. The best and biggest thing you can do to send the message that you do not approve of unethical banking practices is to get a credit union or local bank. If you have a Chase, Citi, Wells-Fargo or Bank of America account, withdraw your funds and place them somewhere that you trust. Wall Street can't use your money to commit moral failings if they don't have your money. Since September 29th $4.5 billion has been transferred into credit unions. Every lost dollar is a vote of no confidence. Every dollar transferred is put back into your local community.

Return Credit Offers. When you get your mail, open the unwanted credit card offers. There will be a postage-paid envelope inside. You can fold the rest of your junk mail into the envelope and send it. If they're going to waste your time sending them every month, then you get to waste their money on postage while supporting your local post office.

Read. Educate yourself on the real messages of the Occupy movement: Accountability, Economic Justice, and Equal Protection under the law. The corporate-owned media feel too threatened to report the movement without bias, but the internet has both sides of the story. There are livestreams of the protests easily accessible, and live camera footage has no bias.

Write. Write to your mayor, your chief of police, your congressmen and representatives. Tell them that you support bank accountability and congressional reform to eliminate moral hazards. Ask that they support First Amendment rights and ethical treatment of non-violent protesters. Remind them of their roots in the community. Write to the news corporations and ask them to report the news more fairly - not just our story, but everyone's. Ask the media who you receive information from to stop burying stories under fluff, and to explain nuanced issues for better public awareness.

Call. If you do not receive an answer or receive only a form letter, call. If the signal is busy, do something else for a few minutes and call again. There's no protocol to stand on, and no need to yell, just talk to the staff or the person you're trying to reach as though they are your employee. In the case of civil servants, you pay their salary: they are respectfully obligated to listen to what you have to say. In the case of news organizations, your viewership can go elsewhere and if they are smart they know enough to be pleasant.

Discuss.  Calmly and without escalation, talk to your friends about your observations and the conclusions about our country that you have drawn from that knowledge. Discuss your concerns, your fears and hopes. Strengthen your friendships by sharing your feelings. If you have friends who think there's nothing wrong with 80 hour work weeks, or think that those who can't find jobs are not worth respect, or think that it is fair for banks to bet against people's ability to pay for their homes, please ask them how those things benefit America.

Assemble. Go to an Occupy camp. See the conditions on the ground for yourself. Talk to protesters, organizers, and police. Look with unbiased eyes at all sides of this conversation our nation is having and draw your own conclusions. Attend a General Assembly and participate in the consensus. If you feel inspired to reject the imbalance of powers in our system and wish to protest, hello and welcome.

Teach. If you like the movement but think there is something that could be done better, show some people how to do it. Teach-ins happen most days at all Occupy camps, and the more knowledge we share, the more we have.

Donate. If you have things that you don't use, please donate. If you have sleeping bags, tents, food, books, socks, scarves, coats and mittens, band-aids, collapsible shelves or portable storage bins, markers and poster-making supplies, a poster that you made but cannot stay around to wave, or if you are lucky enough to have money sitting around, we will gladly accept many things and try to put them to best use. Most Occupy camps have a presence on twitter where donations can be coordinated in an open forum.

FORGIVE. The rich and powerful did not mean for this to happen. The bankers and investors were short-sighted and they work in a high-risk field. They got used to taking risks and then more risks, and some of those risks were not theirs to take. They risked our homes and livelihoods. They were foolish. But foolish is not evil. The government was foolish to think that the state could let them take as many risks as they wanted. They were foolish and we supported them in their foolishness by being less critical than we should have been about ideas that proved unsound. But now we have no time to waste on foolishness or on the bitterness and blame it generates. Please forgive yourself and all of us, and let us move forward from this a more careful, more mutually respectful nation.

Please repost, print, share and distribute as much as you like, no credit is necessary.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

CBS news is LYING. We have live feed of the police beating protesters, using pepper spray, there are several report of long-range sonic device usage, AND THEY"RE WHITEWASHING THE WHOLE THING.
There are pockets of resistance, chanting, drummers, but tweet reports say more arrest teams are coming that way.

If we were to take legislative recusal to its obvious conclusion - lawmakers unable to vote on the legislation they were lobbied for - then lobbying by corporate side-stepping of campaign finance rules would be pointless. It is an unacknowledged but clear conflict of interest to have ties to one side of a debate that a legislator is voting on. Campaign contributions or the promise of contributions for favorable legislation is bribery, though we don't like to think about our traditions as being founded on unethical behavior. So I propose a thought experiment: re-imagine the United States as a place where all politicians in a given race are allotted the same amount to use for campaigning, supported by anonymous voluntary donation. Then ask yourselves these questions:

What harm would it do to have no more corporate lobbyists?
  • ~1,000 lobbyists are out of a job.
  • Without the leveraging of our economy, economic growth might slow marginally

    What benefits would come of having no more lobbyists?
  • Less collusion, corruption, earmarks, and kickbacks
  • No incentive to go to war for war profiteering
  • A stronger EPA
  • Prison system reform away from for-profit incarceration (modern slavery)
  • Tighter regulation of dangerous industries like oil, financial derivatives, and coal

    What does our society stand to gain by taking away the power of the rich to effectively silence the voices of the poor through campaign finance?
  • A gradual return to a more level financial playing field
  • A depolarization of politics and more nuanced political referendum with the voting public
  • The repeal of laws that lead to the 3 major financial crises of this nation through mis-appraisal of risk and hyper-competition

    What would it cost our society to change this tradition?
    - - - I can't think of a single reason that holds any water
  • flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    Occupy Dallas News:
    City of Dallas adds addendum to agreement to let let protesters stay in Liberty Park, tells protesters they need $1 Million in Insurance because the city can't be liable if one of the protesters gets . . . hurt.
    Former Mayor Offers Support, Then Backs City of Dallas' Play to Restrict Protest.
    City says group did not obtain required insurance coverage from hostile group within 18 hour deadline and should now go quietly home.
    Occupy Protesters respond they will seek Federal injunction to continue protests, arrests or not, and then do so.
    KERA subtly reminds everyone that this is a non-violent movement and that Dallas is one of a few of 200 cities being Occupied with no arrests or anti-protester violence to date.

    Occupy Wall Street News
    Occupy Wall Street: A Banker Explains What Really Happened To America. <-- THIS IS THE EYE-OPENING FINANCIAL PIECE TO READ.
    A chart-based pictorial of financial statistics sounds dull, but it's lucid non-partisanship is actually pretty damning to the Wall Street agenda. Good link for convincing fiscal conservatives.
    And we must be doing well at reaching out because more Americans approve of Occupy Wall Street than not.
    In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, Occupy Wall Street is planning a rally at banks to withdraw funds from corporate banks and open accounts at community banks and credit unions. (Have I told y'all how happy I am with my credit union lately? Happy iz me!)
    The New York Times chimes in on the Opinions page about the clear messages of the protest.
    What Do They Want? A blogger gets eloquently enraged on our behalf, well worth reading when your spirits start to flag.
    The Daily Kos is rounding up links on the side of reason also; isn't it nice to have neighbors to keep us out of trouble?
    Someone points out that the Occupy Movement Spotlights Disappearing Civil Rights. Because it's not obvious to everybody, even if it feels like it should be.
    And somebody finally comes out with evidence to answer a question we all know the answer to: Who Really Owns NYPD? Turns Out It's Not So Rhetorical.

    Relevant Wall Street and World News:
    International Monetary Fund advisor Robert Shapiro goes on record to say that we may be facing a second bank collapse in two to three weeks. "This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serious than the crisis in 2008."
    Comerica Bank executive sees a 50% chance of relapse into recession within the next 18 months. He's not kidding, and neither is the dude at the IMF. This politico-economic situation is inherently unstable, and our congress is dragging its feet on the emergency measures their policies have necessitated. Expect the need for the Occupations to be continuing through the next year.

    The 99% will still be here.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (occupy sesame street)
    Since Tumblr now has it's own [occupy] tag, I think maybe we need an LJ comm. But I may be too busy to start one. If anyone else wants to help but can't protest in person, you are welcome to lend your internet-fu to the cause.
    On to the Newsmedia links roundup! )
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (science)
    Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could balance the budget yourself? Now you can. The Committee For A Responsible Federal Budget has created a simulator that gives you the information about and the dollar amounts of most of the options currently applicable to the national debt (except drug legalization). It's sort of addictive to fiddle with, if you're of a political science bent.

    Recently, someone on my flist asked what could go wrong with the artificial encoding of DNA in bacteria.

    What can go wrong: the same stuff that sometimes goes wrong with mutations from DNA programmed into cells the regular, haphazard way. You still have to follow rules like the inverse-square law of cell waste, and basic physics of powering the cell and maintaining cell fluidity and structure. We don't yet have the technology to re-encode mitochondrial DNA, so we can't mess with the cell's basic metabolism, and thus there is a limited amount we can do by way of genetic tampering. We can NOT make anything that breaks the laws of physics, y'all.

    We already have plagues and bacteria with amazing and extraordinary capacities. )
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Harley Quinn)
    I need some cute things. How about you, do you need some cute things?

    How do you feel about baby sloths?
    Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

    Or maybe the worlds tiniest species of wallaby?
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

    Today I had some not-even-24-hour intestinal flu, here and gone except for sleepiness in the space of ten hours. If I have to be ill at all, I'll take this over most alternatives.

    Yesterday I paid $130 in taxes, because apparently cash tips are counted as self-employment wages and are taxed more heavily or something? W/E IDEK. My sis survived a 6.0 earthquake and sustained no injuries. Still a good day in my book.

    Sunday I cooked, got tax documents together, cleared my RSS backlog, BOUGHT A-KON TICKETS, and watched a bunch of NerdFighter videos on Youtube.

    Saturday I mostly slept through (sorry, Kasha and Karen), and then went to Mom's for dinner and to exchange chocolates for Easter presents (also chocolates + SOCKS!). Then I came home and started wading through the pile of old day-planners and other places I write things down because I don't have a memory. I have about 1/10 of it actually done. THE LIST has 15 items so far.

    Friday I Went out to Panoptikon, left at closing to go to Cafe Brazil, left to follow everybody still awake to Ghost's house, and was up talking to people 'til 7AM.

    Thursday I had coffee at Karen's where I decided to accompany her to Kasha's viola virtuosity on Saturday. /o\

    Wednesday I thought it was the first Wednesday of the month, and showed up at my chiropractor. Listening to other people: sometimes it does not work so well for me.

    That was my week. Good things found within it have been these: a poem about eating and intimacy, Lilith Fair is coming to Dallas, date TBA, the first of the U.S. government websites to get web 2.0 updated, a helpful web guide on how to be a politician or, interchangeably, a psychopath, and a webcomic with lulzy emo poetry. All are worth perusal.

    Tomorrow I'm going to go read y'all's posts and clear that backlog. I may need to implement a weekly rota of internet chores.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (city)
    Science is changing every aspect of our lives, from what we eat to how we cook it, parenting to child development to our own personal development. If facebook has changed how we relate to our friends, what about the emerging technologies that are changing how we relate to ourselves? The structures of our society are shifting over to new paradigms as the ease of communication increases and the cost of biological technologies steadily decreases. Last century's technology and the worldview that its use brought about are being replaced.

    I saw the first episode of Mad Men a few weeks ago. Our lives must be damn near incomprehensible to that generation, but it didn't really hit me how much context difference they had been working with until one of the characters had a throwaway line about how there weren't magical machines that could make exact copies of a report. Now Xerox machines are so common we don't even consider them technology. Copiers are largely obsolete now that so much data processing is paperless. What must our world be like for them, to have had the world slowly rewritten as they were trying to navigate it? I understand my grandmother's disorientation and paranoia a lot better now.

    The informational shape of our world is vastly different from theirs, and if there is no intervening cataclysm then by the time I am old, we will have more robots than we have cars, our cars will be able to drive themselves, we can have mobile phones that boost our memory retention implanted in our heads, wireless power and phone service worldwide; we will be able to breathe underwater, and our grandchildren will probably all be technologically enhanced.

    And I, for one, welcome our cyborg grandchildren.

    When we get implanted chipware, we won't need external physical representations of the past to spark our memories. We'll just set our neurochip playlist function on random and have our lives flash before our eyes all the time. Or whenever we're bored, which I hear for some people is not that often.

    We'll be able to go back over our memories and own ourselves in a way that is alien to everyone who doesn't have an eidetic memory. We'll be able to relive experiences more fully, never forget the name of who we're talking to, and always have a dozen cheat sheets available on the wireless internet connection in our brains. It'll be like playing in god mode (with interesting possibilities for 1UP mushrooms).
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (city)
    Yesterday was such a success, I have decided that I am at home to visitors on the second and third Sunday of every month. Baking, music and tea will be happening at my place. Call to let me know you're coming over.

    In recent depressing news Utah is trying to criminalize miscarriage. There are more earthquakes in areas that can't afford it. The recession is still going, and still over-represented by unemployment in the young and black demographics. Those are the suck. But DADT is wearing away, Haiti is starting to do better and may get more infrastructure improvements out of the foreign aid they're getting, and the internet continues to be a hub connecting all of its users to shared spaces where connection and outreach are possible.

    Most awesome video log of the week: An Open Letter To Educators

    Second most awesome Why I will not make a John Mayer response video.

    I have an Etsy! I wish I had more than 1 item posted, but oh well. I had to redo the lightbox and I now need sunlight to take more photos. Maybe tomorrow morning if I can drag myself from the comfy bed.


    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

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