Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Washington Post puts out online booklet on Texas flooding, many photos and videos and personal stories


Here is a special Washington Post “booklet” online about the Houston floods, “Where Are We Supposed to Go?”, link

It contains many videos, which include Rockport, TX, where the Category 4 hurricane came ashore. 
One family says they have lost everything, have to start over. 

There is going to be a lot of criticism of the way Houston was overdeveloped on land that mostly flood plain. 


OANN correspondent Trey Yingst has been reporting from Texas on Twitter.

One question is how people will be housed after flood waters (including reservoir release, especially into the Buffalo Bayou).  There are reports that FEMA doesn’t have enough manufactured housing trailers, although there are many manufacturers that can churn them out quickly.  After Katrina, many people were relocated to Texas, especially the Houston area, permanently. This could drive up housing costs almost everywhere in the U.S.

Wikipedia attribution link for p.d. picture by US Army Lt Zachary West. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Atlantic, New Yorker examine unraveling of American social and political stability



Today’s “book” will be a collection of a few periodical articles hitting the press shows Sunday.
First, for The Atlantic, Sept. 2017.

Most important is “How America Lost Its Mind by Kurt Andersen. Truth from science and logic was for the robotic elites;  human truth came from the gut.   That sounds to me like the balanced personalities (Rosenfels-speak) won out – those attuned to reacting to social needs around them than to what is their own heads.  The “Age of Reason” weakened starting in the 60s.  We saw this with doubts about civilized living and modernity from the terrorists.  Eventually we got a huckster like Donald Trump who could win other people under his wing.  Young men find that the modern world offers them little, so they get picked off.  Then why are a number of talented young men that I know in the arts and sciences, very much into their own worlds, still so sociable?  Alan Truing, remember, with his Asperger nature and outside the normal world of social interaction, still had enough charisma to use his brains to save us from the Nazis.


Also Peter Beinart leads off with “The Rise of the Violent Left” with his piece on Antifa on p. 13, where he emphasized the supposed anarchy of the group as playing into the hands of authoritarians.  Look at how the “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville goaded them to fight, into tragedy.    Antifa believes everyone who doesn’t join them against “systematic oppression” is an enemy.

The New Yorker, on Aug. 21,asks “Out of Action: Do ProtestsWork?” (p. 70) The general answer might be, well, no.  Heller manages to review Mark Lilla and “The Once and Future Liberal” (Harper) who was on CNN this morning.  I’ll leave the long piece on Wikileaks and Julian Assange for another time.

But the previous issue by Robin Wright (Aug 14) had asked “Is America Headed to a New Kind of Civil War?”  which she discussed this morning on Reliable Sources on Jake Tapper’s CNN.   There are estimates of a 35% chance of major breakdowns of law and order in the next few years, but we already saw that with Sandtown in Baltimore, and with Ferguson. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Siemens publishes e-book on cyberattacks to power stations in Washington Post


Siemens Energy (from Germany) has authored a little e-book that demonstrates how cyber attacker can shut down power stations.  The Washington Post has published the e-book pdf here.  Call it “Power Grid Systems Shutdown”.

This pamphlet would fit well into Ted Koppel’s 2015 book “Lights Out”. 


The potential capacity of a hostile rogue state to hack into a corporate utility internal network, much of it not connected to the Internet, is shocking.

Hackers (insiders) use a device called a “PlugBot”.


Donald Trump has said “No computer is safe.” 

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Interesting forum on self-publishing at 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in Washington DC


Today I visited the 2017 Outwrite LGBT Book Festival in the DC Center office space and surrounding atrium at 14th and U Streets in Washington DC.

This year I did not have my own table;  I’ll get into this elsewhere.

The most interesting part of the visit was a presentation in DC Center’s largest room (on 14th Street ground level) from LGBT book publishers and literary agents.

There was a discussion of what an author goes through if he/she wants to control the process.  It’s usually necessary to hire a copyeditor and a typesetter (who is often the same).  It’s necessary to find a book manufacturer, and prices can vary a lot (many companies exist in the Shenandoah Valley and down in the North Carolina Piedmont).  It seems that Milo Yianopoulos has controlled the production of his book “Dangerous” after Simon and Schuster dropped him after a controversy.

There was discussion of “guerrilla marketing”, and of the tendency recently for trade publishers not to offer advances, which typically have to be recovered from book sales. 

There was mention of the use of pseudonyms and pen names, and that in a real world some authors really need to keep their identities secret, usually for reasons other than just being  LGBT, like workplace conflicts or possible security concerns for themselves or others around them.  This is rather alarming.


There was discussion of “sea turtle authors”, often introverts, who do not like to be pressed to sell aggressively, and are perfectly content to let their “eggs” lie dormant.
  

I asked about print-on-demand publishers, like Author Solutions.  The group did not think well of this business model, and referred to it as a “shadow industry”  They felt money should go to authors directly,, but that only works if the author owns the publishing entity.  I did refer to the fact that POD companies have been pressing authors harder to buy copies of books and build their own stores and credit card operations, rather than depend on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. 

I did mention the SESPA bill from the Senate and the implicit threat to web speech, including eventually author websites.