Slow Apocalypse, Texas Style

billIt’s noon in Texas, and here in the hill country the rain is coming in torrential waves.  I regret my failure to grab an umbrella this morning, despite being surrounded by devices and media crying out warnings for several days.

At least the Storm Trooper (my white Honda CRV) will finally get a proper bath.

It’s weird to be sitting through what feels like the intro setup for a post-apocalypse movie.

Minute Earth posted a great video the other day about why the weather seems to be getting weirder.  If you’re on Vessel, you can get access to it:

https://www.vessel.com/videos/DvD90Ipwp

It discusses the feedback loop between rising ocean temperatures and the weather cycles, laying out why storms seem to be dumping more rain and snow while droughts, in a seeming contradiction, are getting worse.

On an objective level, it is really interesting to watch what science fiction has gotten wrong or right, or didn’t foresee at all about climate change.  Seriously, why aren’t there any speculative fiction stories about post-civilization coastal Texas?  …That may be a need to address soon.

And damn it, I have to get back to work now, but tonight I’m going to make some Lovecraftian art with a Texas flare.  Googling “Cthulhu in a cowboy hat” gave me nothing.

What I read on Tuesday (week 2)

I need a new title for this content roundup thing I seem to be doing now, as there’s an increasing ratio of videos being included. Nothing has come to mind yet.

A light bulb burning out

Laughing Squid: President Barack Obama and Zach Galifianakis Insult Each Other on ‘Between Two Ferns’
So good. It is this marketing professional’s opinion that viral videos about putting off going to the doctor for months while your spider bite wounds fester is the way to advertise the Affordable Care Act to younger people.

Youtube: How Wolves Change Rivers
Fascinating video on the interconnectedness of environments.

American Anthropological Association: Take a #StandForScience
The original COMPETES Act established a vision for revitalizing the nation’s research and innovation enterprise. The new FIRST Act does not live up to that vision.

Bones Don’t Lie blog: Gravemarkers: New Interpretations of Decoration and Design
Interesting and brief paper on gravestone fashions over the last few centuries.

LifeHacker: I’m a Telemarketer. Here’s How to Get Rid of Me
As a former (rather successful) political organization fundraiser, I can attest to the usefulness of this device, especially the magic words, “Please add me to your do not call list.”

LiveScience: Volcanoes Helped Antarctic Life Weather Ice Ages
More on why volcanoes are cool!

Search Engine Land: How 90s HTML Coding Will Save The SEO World In 2014
The return of the sprite? For mobile optimization, of all things? Fascinating.

U.S. Department of State Official Blog: Benefiting From the Mobile Revolution
But without interoperable technologies, service developers and content creators cannot innovate and without an increasingly capable and robust wired and wireless infrastructure, those services and content cannot reach consumers.

Wired: Photos: The Brutal DIY Weapons of the Ukrainian Revolution
Brutal as these weapons look, they’re basically medieval compared to modern security forces. “It’s literally sticks and stones,” says Jamieson. “As mean and nasty as they look — and of course they’re intentionally made to look that way — it’s nothing in comparison to a gun.”

LiveScience: Cat Firebombs Featured in 500-Year-Old German War Manual
Create a small sack like a fire-arrow … if you would like to get at a town or castle, seek to obtain a cat from that place. And bind the sack to the back of the cat, ignite it, let it glow well and thereafter let the cat go, so it runs to the nearest castle or town, and out of fear it thinks to hide itself where it ends up in barn hay or straw it will be ignited.

Geek & Sundry/Two Broke Geeks: Tips for Writers feat. Nika Harper! 2 Broke Geeks

Youtube: NOKOMI – An extraordinary adventure with a snow monster (ESMA Animated Short Film)

Slate: “Procedures Involving Gravely Immoral Practices”What the religious right really thinks of birth control.

What I read on Friday

Friday is here.  To celebrate I am including two anecdotes about my day.

sparkling cupcake

A coworker showed up with amazing chocolate cupcakes. This makes me self-conscious because I’m planning to get up early tomorrow to make chocolate cupcakes for my boyfriend’s birthday party (but they’re not traditional cake cupcakes, they’re going to be my ridiculous dark chocolate pumpkin bread in cupcake form).  Coworker’s cupcakes have beautiful, perfect, home made frosting in a delightful pink shade balanced with chocolate chips.  My frosting execution tends to look like something about to creep, and leap, that one should generally beware of. Anyways, here’s some marketing stuff, an article on how cool volcanoes are, a great podcast on the search for exoplanets and extraterrestrial life, and a return to the dream of the space elevator, which it seems is really going happen, eventually, in the future.

Business Insider: Your Facebook News Feed Is Changing Starting Today
Not particularly interesting.

Pando.com: Jonah Peretti: “Both Time and BuzzFeed grew by creating irresistible lists”
Apparently Buzzfeed’s founder hopes that Buzzfeed will be the Time Magazine of the digital era.  It isn’t a totally crazy idea.

Scientific American: Found in Space, Part 1
Scientific American: Found in Space, Part 2
“Journalist Lee Billings Talks about his book 
Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search For Life Among the Stars. ”
I love this podcast. I may have to pick up Lee Billings’ book.

Video: Drones Over Dolphin Stampede and Whales off Dana Point and Maui
Beautiful video of a huge school of dolphins, and a baby whale cuddling with its mom.

The Bloggess: Dogs love (to eat) me
I recently started following this blog (thank you, WordPress suggestions box).  She’s hilarious, and I need to buy her books.

Kickstarter: Ifukube and Godzilla: A Musical Celebration
As will eventually be evident in this blog, I have something of an obsession with Godzilla, and kaiju movies in general.  Akira Ifukube was the genius composer behind all the most iconic monster themes to come out of Japan in the second half of the 20th century. G-Fest is an annual convention for Godzilla fans that, sadly, I haven’t yet made it to. This kickstarter is funding for a live symphonic concert of Ifukube’s work at G-fest this year.

The Daily Dot: Laverne Cox should win an Emmy for ‘Orange Is the New Black’

Mashable: What Glaciovolcanoes Can Tell Us About Past Ice Ages
“In western Canada, where scores of volcanoes erupted in the past millennia, geoscientists are quilting together the past thickness of the North American ice sheet with lava, and linking it to ocean cores. For example, ocean cores are often correlated by changes in oxygen isotopes (atoms with different numbers of neutrons) in ocean sediments. Edwards can now point to a volcano in British Columbia and say the ice on land was at least 985 feet thick during a certain marine isotope stage that corresponds to a cold Earth.”

Extreme Tech: 60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035, says new study
“Arthur C. Clarke once famously said that we will build a space elevator 10 years after they stop laughing — and they’ve stopped laughing. He said that in 2003, and while his timeline may have been off, his sentiment surely wasn’t. The concept of a space elevator is taken seriously at NASA these days, as it eyes both shrinking budgets and growing public expectations. Space is quickly becoming a bottleneck in the timeline of human technological advancement.”

Final anecdote:

lovecraft seussWhile eating my pizza at the Greek place around the corner that is far too complicated to get too, an older gentleman in an EMT jacket who sported a fantastic white mustache waved and muttered at me in an effort to get my attention. He wanted to look at my t-shirt. Realizing this, I straightened up, moved way from the table, and adjusted my hoodie so that he would have a clear view.

“Lovecraft and Dr. Seuss? Right on!” he cried out in the middle of the restaurant.

I laughed, excited that someone outside of the convention world got the joke. Especially a random old EMT guy whose visage would have fit into a cowboy movie.

 

What I read on Tuesday

Continuing the experiment of noting how I waste my time. Today’s reading includes edible unspeakable horrors, the secret eldritch ceremonies of those who control the internet, Apple CEO Tim Cook telling climate deniers to suck it, and a real magic ring you can buy on Kickstarter that works with your smartphone.

global temperatures

The Guardian: Tim Cook tells climate change sceptics to ditch Apple shares
“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI,” Cook said, adding that the same sentiment applied to environmental and health and safety issues.
He told Danhof that if he did not believe in climate change, he should sell his Apple shares. “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock,” he said.

LiveScience: Giant Virus Resurrected from Permafrost After 30,000 Years
Pathogens are so cool!

Tech Crunch: Researchers Find That Twitter Can Locate HIV Outbreaks
The team mapped over 9,800 tweets with sexual and drug-related themes and found that their locations were a good predictor for established statistics on HIV-prevalence.

Mashable: Samsung Upgrades the Chromebook
I continue to lust for a new laptop.  If these new Chromebooks are as nice as this article indicates, I might be making a purchase later this year (though what I really want is an Apple Air).

Kitchen Overlord: LOVECRAFT WEEK: CHIBI CTHULHU ROLLS WILL CUDDLE YOUR SOUL INTO GOOEY SUBMISSION

Skeptic.com: Believe the Survivors or the Science? What the science of memory can teach us about the Dylan Farrow/Woody Allen case
Difficult subject matter, but makes some very valid points about both memory science and the importance maintaining reason to prevent irrational witch hunts.

The Guardian: Meet the seven people who hold the keys to worldwide internet security
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction: seven keys, held by individuals from all over the world, that together control security at the core of the web. The reality is rather closer to The Office than The Matrix

GeekFeminism.org: In defense of Women in Tech (WiT) groups
This blog makes some great points. I don’t really have any experience with WiT groups, but I have helped to create women’s groups before. I’m not surprised that the seeping pus of the internet has sprayed the idea of Women in Tech groups with some of that weird, confused goo that seems to appear whenever females try to claim a little bit of space for themselves.

Mashable: This Bluetooth Ring Is Like a Magic Wand on Your Finger
Living in the future is crazy stuff.