Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

February 17, 2009

Sunday February 15, 2009 “It may sound just like any other business school class, but the students are surrounded by the high fences and razor wire of the Cleveland Correctional Facility, just north of Houston.”

Drug dealers are being taught to become legitimate businessmen.

Say this kind of educational program turns out to be really good at turning prisoners into legitimate businesspeople. The percentage who go back to prison drops considerably. And similar programs for incarcerated juveniles keep many of them from becoming adult criminals.

Many people who want to reduce crime will hate it. The ex-criminals will be seen as unfair competition.

Just as Jewish college students were seen in the past, and Asian-Americans in the present.

***Mild sore throat, mild aches. I skipped MinnSpec (Twin Cities sf writers Meetup).

I did go out shopping, much later. I had to — I was almost out of teabags.

Learned that Cub has two brands of teabags cheaper than Aldi’s. One, shelved with other teas, is distributed by the company that owns Cub. The really cheap one is on the $2 or less shelves (which not long ago were the $1 or less shelves.)


February 4, 2009

Saturday January 31, 2009 Much warmer today — it got above 40F.

***Found myself thinking about 1,000 books to read after you die. (And, later, 1,000 places to see after you die.) Which is evidence that my mind is working normally again.

***Bought at Steeple People thrift store: Daniel Nagrin, How to Dance Forever. Most modern dancers are out of the game at forty. Nagrin was dancing at least into his late sixties. Arthur Schlesinger Jr., The Cycles of American History. Including the conservative-liberal political cycle. The conservative Republicans who thought the Bush Presidency had made them a permanent political majority were wrong. The liberal Democrats now talking about being a permanent majority are also in for unpleasant surprises. Went to the Wedge Co-op. On my way back, stopped in at DreamHaven Books.


Sunday February 1, 2009 Dreamed about a medical problem: When a woman is pregnant with twins, she provides milk to both wombs. If she later becomes pregnant with a single child, the pattern has already been established. Milk is provided to both wombs, and half of it is wasted.

***”China, US shout to be heard in dialogue of the deaf”

My subconscious commented “With sign language interpretation for the blind.”


Monday February 2, 2009 For the first time, I made French toast using soy milk. Turned out reasonably well. The soy milk was vanilla-flavored; I would have liked a stronger vanilla flavor.

***Self-quoting from a thread on rec.arts.sf.composition: Secrets could also be about things not done rather than done.

“I’ve never really killed anyone.”

Or “When I became a priest, I didn’t believe in the Scavenger Gods.”

“So? Everybody knows the Temple only certifies priests who don’t believe.”

“Yes, but now I DO believe.”


Tuesday February 3, 2009 At Savers thrift store, found a good winter jacket. Bought it to replace the sorta-okay one I’d been wearing. Momentary thought: Nothing wrong with the old one which couldn’t be fixed. The torn pocket could be repaired with duct tape. I put on the new jacket before leaving the store. And realized there was indeep something unrepairable wrong with the old jacket. It was too tight across the chest and shoulders. (It hadn’t been when I’d bought it.) On to Aldi supermarket. Then to Target, mostly for canned computer-dusting gas.

February 3, 2009


Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
February 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
GEOLOGY includes three papers about Mars: continuation of the “jelly sandwich” versus “crème brûlée” debate; support for the Snowball Earth hypothesis; what nine-million-year-old tooth enamel says about vegetation in an ancient sub-Himalayan ecosystem; anthropogenic lead in the Tyrrhenian Sea; evidence for a prehistoric South Pacific tsunami; a multicentennial megadrought in medieval Europe; and a newly discovered fossil turtle in the Canadian Arctic. GSA Today’s science article proposes a new method for classifying Quaternary glacial deposits.

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
One-fifth of women who should receive radiation after a mastectomy are not getting this potentially lifesaving treatment, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
NIH/National Cancer Institute

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
Cardiff University researchers who are part of a British-German team searching the depths of space to study gravitational waves, may have stumbled on one of the most important discoveries in physics according to an American physicist. Craig Hogan, a physicist at Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics in Illinois is convinced that he has found proof in the data of the gravitational wave detector GEO600 of a holographic universe.

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
American Naturalist
Why don’t more animals change their sex?
Most animals, like humans, have separate sexes — they are born, live out their lives and reproduce as one sex or the other. However, some animals live as one sex in part of their lifetime and then switch to the other sex, a phenomenon called sequential hermaphroditism. What remains a puzzle, according to Yale scientists, is why the phenomenon is so rare, since their analysis shows the biological “costs” of changing sexes rarely outweigh the advantages.
Yale University, National Science Foundation

Public Release: 3-Feb-2009
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Living longer thanks to the ‘longevity gene’
A variation in the gene FOXO3A has a positive effect on the life expectancy of humans, and is found much more often in people living to 100 and beyond — moreover, this appears to be true worldwide. A research group in the Faculty of Medicine at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel has now confirmed this assumption by comparing DNA samples taken from 388 German centenarians with those from 731 younger people.
National Genome Research Network

We Have a President

January 21, 2009

Tuesday January 20, 2009 Inauguration Day

Some time ago, a poster on the Usenet group soc.politics stated that liberals were motivated by personal hatred of George Bush.  I responded that there were two reasons why I did not hate Bush: 1) I was not a conservative; 2) I was not a Republican.

It will be good to have a President who will run the White House.

***Over whatever I’d had.  Went shopping.

Savers Thrift Store near Lake and Minnehaha has a senior discount on Tuesdays.  Found some useful things.

On to Aldi supermarket, and then home.

Savers Thrift Stores have a senior discount on Tuesdays.  I found some useful things.

***Google News startled me with this headline:

Church, Pagan agree to ’09 contracts – 2 hours ago
By Marty Noble / NEW YORK — Salary arbitration, a process the Mets regularly try to avoid — though not at all costs, obviously — remained on the club’s horizon Tuesday after two arbitration-eligible players agreed to one-year contracts.

January 16, 2009

From the Physics Arxiv Blog

How the credit crisis spread
January 14th, 2009 | by KFC

“The graphic may be dramatic but it shows only how the collapse occurred, not why. That’s much more subtle and is related to the far more complex network of links that exist between the companies involved.

“However, the graph does bear a remarkable resemblance to any number of other network-related catastrophies, such as the spread of disease, forest fires and fashion. That’s almost certainly because  all these events can be described terms of the physics of self-organised criticality.”
The Spread of the Credit Crisis: View from a Stock Correlation Network
Authors: Reginald D. Smith
(Submitted on 10 Jan 2009)

Abstract: The credit crisis roiling the world’s financial markets will likely take years and entire careers to fully understand and analyze. A short empirical investigation of the current trends, however, demonstrates that the losses in certain markets, in this case the US equity markets, follow a cascade or epidemic flow like model along the correlations of various stocks. A few images and explanation here will suffice to show the phenomenon. Also, whether the idea of “epidemic” or a “cascade” is a metaphor or model for this crisis will be discussed.

Comments:     3 pages, 6 figures; submitted to the Journal of the Physical Society of Korea; animations of credit crisis spread available at: this http URL
Subjects:     Statistical Finance (q-fin.ST); Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability (
Cite as:     arXiv:0901.1392v1 [q-fin.ST]

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Journal of Neuroscience
Canada-US scientists discover gene responsible for brain’s aging
According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, a research team from the Universite de Montreal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has identified a gene that controls the normal and pathological aging of neurons in the central nervous system: Bmi1.
“Will scientists one day be able to slow the aging of the brain and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? Absolutely – once the genetic coding associated with neuronal degeneration has been unraveled.”

Public Release: 16-Jan-2009
Swiss and Dutch health systems provide lessons for US on achieving universal coverage
A new Commonwealth Fund study says that policies in the Switzerland and Netherlands that achieve near-universal coverage and low administrative costs can help inform the US health-care reform debate. Both countries effectively cover all but one percent of their population — compared with 15 percent uninsured in the US — due to an individual mandate to purchase health insurance and premium assistance for those with low incomes.
Commonwealth Fund

Public Release: 15-Jan-2009
High-tech solutions ease inaugural challenges
Transportation and security officials on Inauguration Day will have a centralized, consolidated stream of traffic information and other data displayed on a single screen using software developed by the University of Maryland. The Regional Integrated Transportation Information System gives officials a single real-time view far more comprehensive than previously available. The idea is to enhance officials’ ability to monitor vehicular traffic, accidents, incidents, response plans, air space, weather conditions and more.

December 17, 2008


Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
‘Smart’ surveillance system may tag suspicious or lost people
Engineers here are developing a computerized surveillance system that, when completed, will attempt to recognize whether a person on the street is acting suspiciously or appears to be lost. Intelligent video cameras, large video screens and geo-referencing software are among the technologies that will soon be available to law enforcement and security agencies.
National Science Foundation, Air Force Research Laboratory

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Geophysical Union
Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
The common wisdom is that the invention of the steam engine and the advent of the coal-fueled industrial age marked the beginning of human influence on global climate.

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Earth’s original ancestor was LUCA, not Adam nor Eve
An evolutionary geneticist from the University of Montreal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (last universal common ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.
Action Concertee Incitative IMPBIO-MODELPHYLO, ANR PlasmoExplore

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
American Sociological Review
Growing income gap among US families suggests increasing economic insecurity
The incomes of American families with children have become increasingly stratified since 1975, with income inequality increasing two-thirds during a 30-year period, according to findings published in the December issue of the peer-reviewed science journal American Sociological Review.
Russell Sage Foundation, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, New York University

Public Release: 17-Dec-2008
Autism and schizophrenia share common origin
Schizophrenia and autism probably share a common origin, hypothesizes Dutch researcher Annemie Ploeger following an extensive literature study. The developmental psychologist demonstrated that both mental diseases have similar physical abnormalities which are formed during the first month of pregnancy.
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Public Release: 16-Dec-2008
Physical Review D
Caltech researchers interpret asymmetry in early universe
The Big Bang is widely considered to have obliterated any trace of what came before. Now, astrophysicists at the California Institute of Technology think that their new theoretical interpretation of an imprint from the earliest stages of the universe may also shed light on what came before.
US Department of Energy, California Institute of Technology

December 4, 2008

Wednesday December 3, 2008 “I should note that nearly everyone supports some gun control laws that they see as sound and reasonable, if only, say, bans on violent felons’ possessing guns, or if you really insist on minimalism, bans on violent felons’ possessing guns in prison.”

***Shopping:  Aldi supermarket, mostly for something I’d forgotten to buy earlier.

Uncle Hugo’s sf bookstore, for its anniversary sale.  Elizabeth LaVelle (, who used to be at DreamHaven when DreamHaven had employees, was at the counter when I came in.

November 26, 2008

Tuesday November 25, 2008  My entry for October 25th included this:

“Department of Redundancy Department:  United Fascist Union:  Found through, which tries to list every US political party with at least one member.  (Including one suspected of being a hoax:  the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.)

“Back to the United Fascist Union:  ‘Fascism is the one economic theory that has been proven time after time.  It can raise the standard-of-living and improve the quality of life for all citizens fortunate enough to live in a Fascist Country.’  The thinkers they acknowledge as intellectual ancestors are Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein.”

On, this reply:

Heather Goldsmith | | | IP:

To the Editor:

Of course Mr. Grimes takes himself very seriously, the United Fascist Union was never intended to be a jest. This is no joke, in a country like this, with the government crashing planes into tall buildings as phony terrorist attacks, then invading countries, like Iraq to steal their oil. What is there to laugh about in these black days?

I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with you people, making fun of our United Fascist Union, in a dismal world like this. I think a Civil War is coming, I don’t see how it can not now that the puppet masters installed this RED @ssh0le Barak Obama as a little tin god over our land.

Jackson Grimes has left the country as he sees no point in continuing the United Fascist Union now that both his idols Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussien are dead and he’s lost the Presidency thrice over.

If a Civil War is coming I believe Jackson Grimes is the only man who can get us through it and save our country from both anarchist riots and tyranny under this p.o.s Obama. Don’t you think the REDS will use this narcissistic, 0reo cookie, half-breed, mafia maggot Obama to infame racism and stir the masses to Civil War?

Hail Grimes!

Heather Goldsmith
Minister of Propaganda & Enlightenment
for the United Fascist Union

November 6, 2008

November 7, 2008

Thursday November 6, 2008  The election campaign ate more of my brain than I’d thought.  This evening, I realized my thinking had gotten a bit schizy.  Certain kinds of thinking confusion, not paranoia or delusion.  Nothing worth signing myself into a mental ward for — but enough to make my life temporarily more difficult.

What I’ll need to do next Presidential election is political activism.  Sitting passively and watching the Lovecraftian soap opera did not work well.

***ACA* meeting.  Discussion of ___ and ____.

*Adult Children of Alcoholic and Dysfunctional Families Anonymous.

The Giant had Honeycrisps, so I got some, but so far, they’re not very crisp. I’m disappointed.

Pupusa, maybe? We have trucks around here that sell them at lunch time.

These aren’t stuffed. They’re two round pieces of pita(?) with the filling between them. And I was wrong about the filling; it’s ham and cheese rather than just cheese.

October 26, 2008

Saturday October 25, 2008 My night mind had worked out some background for “The Brain of Any Tree.”  The small detail of how a planet could have trees with brains and Earth-compatible (we can eat them, they can eat us) life was left to me.

Possibilities:  1) Cross-time:  this is an alternate version of Earth.  2) A spacefaring civilization arose on Earth at least a few hundred thousand years ago, and terraformed at least one planet before collapsing.  The evidence of its existence has been explained as natural phenomena.  3) It’s the far future.  Which is what I’ll probably go with.

So far, I have the title and some background.  I won’t have a story till I get at least one character (rather than character role.)

***Department of Redundancy Department:  United Fascist Union:  Found through, which tries to list every US political party with at least one member.  (Including one suspected of being a hoax:  the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.)

Back to the United Fascist Union:  “Fascism is the one economic theory that has been proven time after time.  It can raise the standard-of-living and improve the quality of life for all citizens fortunate enough to live in a Fascist Country.”  The thinkers they acknowledge as intellectual ancestors are Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein.

***Gail Collins:

“Let’s be realistic. There are lots of calls for reform, but we have a country in economic meltdown. The globe is warming, the Middle East is in chaos and “Mad Men” keeps teetering on the brink of cancellation. We’re not going to get around to repairing the Electoral College any time in the near future.

“I have given this a lot of thought, and I think our best immediate course of action is to whine a lot.”