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Journal: Nobots: now in paperback 1

Journal by mcgrew

It annoys the hell out of me that my books are so damned expensive, which is why I wanted Mars, Ho! to be 100,000 words. I'd hoped that possibly Baen might publish it so it would be, oddly, far cheaper. I can buy a copy of Andy Wier's excellent novel The Martian from Barnes and Noble or Amazon for less than I can get a copy of my own Paxil Diaries from my printer, and Wier's book is a lot longer.

It's no wonder they're not selling; not only can I not afford merchandizing, but they're way overpriced. I can't blame anyone for not wanting to buy one. I'm still looking for ways to make them cheaper.

I went to check sales this morning and saw that they have some new, cheaper formats. So now there's a 6x9 paperback version for a much less unreasonable $7.00. Unfortunately, this one can only ship to U.S. addresses and will only be available at my website or the printer's website.

I don't think Mars, Ho! will reach Baen's required 100,000 words; right now the manuscript is just short of 60,000 words, a lot more than Nobots' 42042 words and there's only a chapter or two left to write.

Of course, I'm not writing these books for the money (fortunately!); my pension and Social Security pays well enough to meet my needs. But of course I want as many people as possible to read them.

Cory Doctorow's tactics aren't working for me. I may do what Wier did and publish Mars, Ho! as a $2.00 Amazon ebook if I can't find a good publisher. It's most likely I won't find one.

There are two more chapters of Mars, Ho! ready to post, chapter 37 will be here in a day or three.

User Journal

Journal: So this problem isn't new, or owned by either party 28

Journal by smitty_one_each

The arguments by which the Obama administration is countering lawsuits that seek to limit Obamacare subsidies to participants in "exchanges" established by states--a limit that is specified in the Obamacare law itself--have raised the outcome's stakes. Administration officials argue that the plain, unmistakable, uncontested language of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is less important than what they want the law to mean, and that hewing to its words would deprive millions of people of the subsidies that the administration had granted them regardless of those words. Therefore the courts should enforce what the administration wants rather than what the law says.
The Democratic Party, the bulk of its appointees in the judiciary, and the mainstream media echo these arguments.
America has moved away from the rule of law in recent decades, as more and more of the decisions by which we must live are made by administrative agencies in consultation with their favorite constituencies and judges rather than by the people's elected representatives. More and more, statutes passed by Congress are lengthy grants of power to administrative agencies, the content of which is determined by complex interactions between bureaucrats, special interests, and judges aligned with either. Hence House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's famous statement--that the ACA's meaning would be determined only after its passage--was true of it and most other modern legislation as well. This is the rule of men, not of law.

Obama is arguably more audacious about it, but look at the TSA.
Sarah Palin is arguing for impeachment, though that's really all about making damn_registrars foam at the mouth and driving subscriptions. We can impeach our way through the whole federal government, but if we are discussing systemic changes, then we're pissing in the wind, say I.

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Six

Journal by mcgrew

Drills
        I got woke up early again, about five thirty this time. Fire in passengers quarters number forty seven. God damned drills, but I had to get up and inspect forty seven anyway. I put on a robe and trudged down there.
        Yep, just a stupid drill. I noticed that Tammy was in the commons with the German woman as I walked past on my way back home. It was still early enough that I could still get another hour's sleep or so.
        Nope, as soon as I got back there another damned alarm went off, this time a fire in engine seventeen. This one might be real, so I hurried down there and told the computer do deliver some nasty robot coffee.
        The computer wouldn't let me in at first, it must have been in a vacuum. The door finally opened, and the robot that had been working on it was charred and still smoking a little. I unhooked it from the engine, and another one rolled up for me to hook up, and a third dragged the smoking robot to the repair shop.
        I logged it and trudged back up the five damned flights of stairs towards home, but by then it was too late to go back to bed, quarter after six. I made a pot of real coffee and put a game on, but it was almost over. When it was over I switched it to the always old news.
        Nothing new, of course, they were still trying to scare people about the Venus virus. Destiny came in, kissed me, and poured a cup of coffee. "You're up early again," she said.
        "Yeah," I replied, "fire drill in the passenger section and a burned up robot down in the engine room. I was up at five thirty. I'm sure glad we went to bed early!"
        "Did you eat yet?"
        "No, you hungry?"
        "Yeah. Computer, make a turkey and cheese omelette."
        I said "Computer, a turkey Denver."
        The stupid thing said "Error, no Turkish dishes named Denver are listed in the database."
        God damn stupid computer. "A Denver omelette with turkey meat you dumb computer."
        "Affirmative."
        "Fuck you."
        Destiny laughed. "Had your shower yet?"
        "No," I said, "Want to take one together?"
        "Sure," she said, with a twinkle in her eye. God, but I love that woman.
        We had a pretty long, really fun shower and ate our breakfast. By then it was almost eight. I kissed her and took a cup of coffee to the pilot room. We were going the right way and all the computers were agreeing with each other that everything was cool.
        After that I had inspection. The German woman was eating in the commons and the rest were asleep, except Lek who was in her quarters reading, still dressed. I complimented her on her clothing.
        "Thank you," she said. "I want Doctor Winters to cure me."
        "So do I," I said. "I want her to cure all of you."
        "I want that too," she said.
        I went down those five damned flights of stairs again to the bottom of the boat. The good generator was still good and the busted generator was still busted. So was engine seventeen, with the robot I'd plugged into it still working on it.
        It had been an easy inspection. I trudged up all those damned stairs. There were fifty or so women in the commons, pretty much behaving themselves.
        As I went in my quarters Destiny said "You're a little early. Done?"
        "Yeah, I hope so. Are you hungry?"
        She said yes, and laughed. "Computer, ham and beans."
        The computer replied, of course, "There are no pork products on the menu."
        I said "I think I'll have prime rib, baked potato and a glass of wine."
        "Sounds good to me," Destiny said.
        Right then a light lit up on the map. "Damn it," I said, and went to the pilot room to listen in. Thankfully it wasn't pirates, it was a boat from a different shipping company about five light minutes away.
        The robot was finished cooking lunch right after I got back, so we ate. Then we watched an old two dimensional movie called "The Blues Brothers", and I loved that movie! Funny as hell and it had some really great old classical music. Some of the musical greats from the time, like Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker were in it.
        The closing credits were rolling on the screen when an alarm went off in cargo nine. I hoped it was a drill. "Is cargo nine occupied?" I asked the computer.
        "Negative."
        That was Lek's room; she was in the commons. The light on her door was solid red, so I went in to investigate; there was no fire.
        I went to the commons to talk to Lek. "Here because of the fire drill?" I asked.
        "Drill? I thought my apartment really on fire! Scared me when the alarm go off."
        "Yeah, it was just a drill, you can go home if you want."
        "Thank you," she said.
        I went home myself and we had Polish sausage and sauerkraut with shikes for dinner. Destiny put on an old two dimensional western, True Grit.
        We'd each had a glass of wine with lunch and finished the bottle watching the western, since it would be sour by the next morning. No sense wasting it.
        We listened to a little Clapton when the movie was over and then we went to bed. It was still early but Destiny had gotten up earlier than normal and I'd gotten up way early and was just plumb wore out.

When I posted the last chapter, I'd started this one but it had been nowhere near finished. After posting the previous chapter I "finished" this one and the next, as well. So there will be a new chapter in a few days.

User Journal

Journal: it boggles the mind 23

Journal by Bill Dog

So tonight around 12:30 am, and I'm sitting downstairs watching TV. It's hot right now, so I had the windows closed and the central A/C on. Set to 76, so it hadn't run in a while.

My "living room" (it's an open concept downstairs in my townhome condo, so it's really just one big room) part is right by the front door, and I have my ceiling fan on at its highest speed during the hot months.

So the vertical blinds are flapping away in the window by the front door, and my TV is on this end, facing towards the front door, so at my doorstep you can hear that it's on.

And my recliner is 12-18 inches from the door handle. At about ear level where I'm sitting.

So I'm sitting there, and plain as day, someone tries the door handle. Now the setup here is that the door handle turns freely (although outside there's nothing to turn, you grab the handle and depress the latch with your thumb), but there's a deadbolt above it, keyed on the outside and with a switch on the inside, and that's what locks the door.

So whoever it was, clearly could tell that someone was home, up/awake, and most likely downstairs, given the blinds were flapping and the TV was semi-blaring (I play it a little loud, having lost some hearing or quality of from too much loud heavy metal with headphones, such that sometimes I have a little trouble making out what someone said).

And unless the person's watched me for a while and knew I was single and lived alone, would think potentially there was another person in the house, because I left the light on in my 2nd bedroom upstairs. (It's a CFL, and those I like to not cycle too much, and just leave on if I plan to come back into the room in a little while.)

And yet this person tried to come into my house. Now I've got 3 other doors around me, to my neighbors' places, but I can hear when they come and go from my recliner, because one door is right next to mine and the other two are in the next building just a skinny walkway's width away (we're packed in pretty good here).

Now I've heard reports of prowlers coming into peoples' homes when they're asleep at night, through an open or unlocked window. But this person had evidence to the contrary that the folk(s) who live here had gone to bed.

Which brings to mind the question, what if I hadn't had the top latched. What was this person prepared to say or do upon entry into my house, to the person(s) downstairs they would expect to encounter.

This person did not ring my doorbell nor knock on the door. I can't hear doorbells of my neighbors', but I can hear knocks on their doors, and their weren't any, so it wasn't some lost person in need of some kind of assistance.

The last neighbor who left their light on all the time for our walkway moved out recently, and my outside light on the light-sensitive controller broke a few years ago, so it's been completely dark out there, unfortunately. Apparently I should get that fixed and be the one who leaves that switch on all the time.

And maybe it's time to think about getting my first firearm. (And some lessons some where, having only ever shot a BB gun before.) I live in a nice neighborhood, but maybe that makes us a target.

And since I'm a heavy sleeper, maybe even getting an alarm system. Although I think those only detect a window opening, and not breaking.

Which leads to the other question that had come to mind about this person of the night. S/he was evidently prepared to confront this residence's awake occupants, so why not break a window to get in. The only thing I can think of is that the person wanted the element of surprise, and quietly slipping in through a mistakenly unlocked door would enable that, that a shattering window would not.

And yet occupants could come from other parts of the place, potentially with guns, so even if surprise was had on a downstairs occupant, it still potentially could've gone very badly for the presumably would-be intruder.

Oh, and no one tried the keyhole on the deadbolt, so it wasn't a neighbor who was just coming home drunk or something and walked down the wrong walkway, in this row of buildings.

And so I'll close with the ultimate question that came to mind: Why does really weird shit, happen to me. And no it wasn't a dream/I wasn't asleep, I'm a night owl kind of person, and had slept in until about noon-thirty today. I was watching stupid Friends reruns, after coming downstairs to catch Stossel's "Security and Liberty" special from 10-11. (Who's a whole topic unto himself.)

User Journal

Journal: Just how much lying is acceptable in support of "Higher Truth"? 49

Journal by smitty_one_each

On Thursday, footage surfaced of Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist and chief architect of Obamacare, discussing the issue at the heart of the latest ACA court cases: whether subsidies are only available for state-run insurance exchanges or can also be paid as part of a federal exchange.
During a January 2012 lecture Gruber said, "I think what's important to remember politically about this, is if you're a state and you don't set up an exchange, that means your citizens don't get their tax credits."
Gruber spoke with Jonathan Cohn, a senior editor at The New Republic, about the video on Friday and said the remarks were a "mistake" made while "speaking off-the-cuff."

Since ObamaCare is just a river of lies anyway, this sort of blatant falsehood must be deemed entirely in character.
Just don't forget to salivate when these deceivers are done with the whole ObamaCare falsehood and offer to "fix" the whole situation with Single Prayer.
No matter the magnitude and frequency of the falsehoods spewing from these liars, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Because "it's the right thing to do". Also, you've been stupid enough to vote them power thus far, America: why change now?

User Journal

Journal: Mars, Ho! Chapter Thirty Five

Journal by mcgrew

Smiles
        Destiny woke me up about seven thirty; I'd been the one up early the day before because of that engine. "Wake up, sleepyhead, or you won't have time for breakfast." She'd already made coffee had the robots make chicken cheese omelets. God but I love that woman, meeting her was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Of course, were it not for the monsters I'd never have met her. You take the wonderful with the insanely horrible, I guess.
        We watched the news while we ate, but there was nothing new. A war had broken out in Africa, but there's always a war somewhere, it seems. People are stupid.
        Lankham Farms in Mexico closed down, citing Mexico's new environmental laws. The environmental regulations in almost all countries were strict to the point that raising pork just wasn't economical enough to earn any money. About the only place you could buy pork was from the fanciest farm restaurants, the kind you had to be a Dewey Green to afford eating at.
        Like I care about the price of pork. Sheesh.
        I finished breakfast, showered and got dressed, kissed Destiny and went to the pilot room for my normal morning routine.
        Everything in the pilot room checked out. There were no upstairs inspections today so I trudged down the five damned flights of stairs, which is better than trudging up them, and inspected the generators and engines. Yep, port generator and engine seventeen still broke. A robot was working on seventeen so I logged it.
        I got done quick today! Probably wasn't even noon yet. Destiny was in the commons drinking coffee with Tammy and Lek, who was still wearing clothes, although different ones. I wondered where she got them, probably traded drops to the naked animals for theirs. Or maybe Tammy gave her some, I don't know. I sat down with them and complimented Lek.
        "Thank you," she said.
        "You've come a long way, Lek. You should be proud." She smiled widely. Thailand is known as "the land of smiles" and unless they were short of drops the three on board were smiling almost all every time I saw them. Lots different than that German woman, who was always frowning and never seemed to smile.
        "Doctor Winters help me," she said. I was startled. "Tammy?" I said, really confused.
        "She's smart, John. She figured me out after a couple of weeks and confronted me. She noticed that I was the only one wearing clothes and had plenty of drops and she guessed correctly that I was pretending to be an addicted prostitute, so I told her I was a really a scientist studying them and trying to find a cure."
        "I no tell anybody," Lek said. "I only call her doctor when we alone. She say I not animal because I have respect, and animals no have respect."
        I asked "What was up with that one woman yesterday?"
        "She knocked her drops off of the sink and thought they went down the drain. She went through withdrawal for nothing, if she'd been in her right mind she would have realized that there's no way that bottle would fit down that drain."
        Then she started talking Thai with Lek. Lek said "We need speak English, they no understand." I gathered that Tammy spoke very good Thai and communication was easier between them in that language.
        "Uh," I said, "Are you working right now, Tammy?"
        "Well, kind of," she said.
        "I'm sorry, we're in the way" I responded.
        Destiny blushed. "Oh, God, Tammy, I'm sorry! You're making great progress, though. Both of you. Come on, John."
        We went home, ate lunch, and Destiny put on a two dimensional science fiction movie from the twentieth century, and it was funny as hell. I think it was called "Star Wars" or something. Huh? I don't know, it was Italian food, Destiny ordered it. Some kind of cheesy noodles with meat and tomato sauce. Huh? Oh, there's quite a few of those Star Wars movies. After the first one was so successful they made it into a trilogy. Back then computers were still way too primitive to make movies in so it was all models and puppets and probably drawings by hand. Oddly they shot episodes four through six first, and didn't shoot one through three for another twenty years, probably because the technology to do it wasn't there. It was another fifteen years before another was made.
        Then we had beef and beans for supper and watched Forever Old, a new holo.
        We listened to the Vaughn brothers for a while and went to bed.

The last nine chapters are ready to post, but the next 3 or 4 haven't yet been written so I don't know when the next chapter will be available.

What I've been doing is I'll read the whole thing, usually adding stuff and sometimes taking stuff out; I removed about a thousand words from one chapter. when I get to the next chapter to be posted is when they get posted, so I'll post the next few as I write them, then the rest as I edit.

I doubt I'll hit my 100,000 word goal, with so few chapters left to write and only 54,515 words in the manuscript as of now.

User Journal

Journal: Practical socialism 29

Journal by smitty_one_each

So, past all of the theorizing, what ends up happening in pretty much any political system you can name is that power gets concentrated, corrupts leaders, and ruin follows.
The act of trying to separate the theory of a system from the ensuing existential wreckage is among the more amusing acts one can watch other human beings undertake. No Christian wants to admit that Adolf himself made Christian utterances, for a bit of auto-Godwinism.
Thus when evaluating the goodness of a system of thought, I submit that not only should the abstract ideas be considered, but also the historical results of the ideas, and the subjective effects.
For my observation, Socialism offers some emotionally pleasing notions, but, like every single bureaucratic solution I've ever seen, winds up loving the problems it purports to "solve", and leads to stagnation.
Restated: you'll always have a statistical distribution of income. What matters not is that there are rich and poor (that's inevitable), but that there is a current flowing inside the distribution, so that people can reap as much/little as their genius and effort supports.
The big fib of Socialism is that, with just a few more pages of legislation, we can make that current flow "fairly".
Socialism, for some, seems a substitute for a proper faith in something that will endure beyond the final heartbeat.

User Journal

Journal: weather.com's Faces of Death 1

Journal by Bill Dog

"Featured Videos" for just the afternoon of today included:

* (Something like "boy dies after stunning collapse", before I saw some of these others and noticed a pattern)

* "Boys Perish Soon After This Selfie"

* "Teen Dies While Attempting World Record"

* "Exchange Student Falls to Death"

<Goes there right now to see if there are any more>

* "Study Abroad Trip Turns Tragic" (the still for the video showing a young guy's face)

* "Cause of Death Released for Teen"

What the heck is it with their fascination for young people dying? I just wanted to see how fucking hot it was today (work on-site in fed. govt. bldg, and they don't give us A/C, in SoCal). I don't want to see death porn or whatever.

p.s. "Incredible Photos of People Laying in a Week's Worth of Trash" WTF?

User Journal

Journal: niwdoG 24

Journal by smitty_one_each
Playing the Godwin card when the topic is really the meaning, ownership, and usage of the symbol "Socialist" (by, for example, the U.S.S.R) is really kinda l4m3.
Yet, strangely, in character.
Shark

Journal: Burn, Baby, Burn! 1

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

"Sustainability" is, as far as I can see, a project designed to keep this culture - this lifestyle - afloat. The modern human economy is an engine of mass destruction. Of course, I am conflicted about this. I live at the heart of this machine; like you, I am a beneficiary of it. If it falls apart, I will probably suffer, and I don't want to. ...

I don't think any "climate movement" is going to reverse the tide of history, for one reason: We are all climate change. It is not the evil "1%" destroying the planet. We are all of us part of that destruction. This is the great, conflicted, complex situation we find ourselves in. I am climate change. You are climate change. Our culture is climate change. And climate change itself is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg, if you'll pardon the terrible but appropriate pun. If we were to wake up tomorrow to the news that climate change were a hoax or a huge mistake, we would still be living in a world in which extinction rates were between 100 and 1000 times natural levels and in which we have managed to destroy 25 percent of the world's wildlife in the last four decades alone."

http://grist.org/climate-energy/i-withdraw-a-talk-with-climate-defeatist-paul-kingsnorth/

Medicine

Journal: Gimme Gimme Penicillin! 3

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

China 'seals off' town after man dies of bubonic plague
"A Chinese town has been sealed off and 151 people placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said Tuesday.

The 30,000 people living in Yumen in the northwestern province of Gansu are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on its perimeter are telling motorists to find alternative routes, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said.

Other reports said that earlier this month the 38-year-old victim had found a dead marmot, a small furry animal which lives on grasslands and is related to the squirrel.

He chopped it up to feed his dog but developed a fever the same day. He was taken to hospital after his condition worsened and died last Wednesday."

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24523564/china-seals-off-town-after-man-dies-of-bubonic-plague/

The Matrix

Journal: Property is Moral Opposite of Liberty 10

Journal by Jeremiah Cornelius

Think about that, while you make absolute positions...

"...Liberty, as defined in its truest negative sense, is freedom from external restraint. This, along with the principle of self-ownership, commands that nobody shall have the right to act on the body of another without their consent. But "property rights" as Gobry slyly calls them gives people precisely that right. For a right to property is not a right over a piece of the world, but rather a right to act on the bodies of others: to attack and externally restrain those bodies without consent.

In a world that respects liberty, people are free to do whatever they'd like, provided they do not act on the body of another (e.g. externally restrain it). This requires that people may walk about the world as they please, grabbing and utilizing any of its various pieces and resources as they go. No person may stop them from doing so because such stopping would impose an external restraint on their body, a destruction of their negative liberty.

Yet, this kind of liberty-destroying external restraint is precisely what property ownership is. In fact, it is the only thing that property is: a social relation of violent exclusion wherein the "owner" has claimed a right to attack other human beings if they try to act on a particular piece of the world. Claiming a "property right" does not change the piece of world that it is meant to attach to, nor the person claiming it. It merely advertises a terrifying threat: everyone else's pre-existing liberty to use this piece of the world is hereby extinguished at my violent hands whether they consent to have their liberty so destroyed or not."

http://mattbruenig.com/2014/07/23/does-nature-command-the-destruction-of-all-human-liberty/

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.

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