Pixel Scroll 11/24/16 And He Pixeled A Crooked Scroll

thanksgiving-meal-astro

(1) AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I THOUGHT TURKEYS COULD FLY. The astronauts aboard the International Space Station tucked into another technically perfect holiday meal today. Motherboard explains — “Happy Space Thanksgiving: How the Food-Stuffed Holiday Went Orbital”.

Naturally, these hermetically packaged, shelf-stable Thanksgiving edibles lack much of the flavor and flair of the dishes that Earthbound feasters will be piling up on their plates. But these meal packs are still leaps and bounds beyond the humble dinners shared by the crew of Skylab over four decades ago, when manned spaceflight was still in its early years.

(2) SMALL BUSINESS MODELING. Kristine Kathryn Rusch explains why the election was not a Black Swan event, but was one the reasonably possible scenarios she considered in developing her current business plans — “Business Musings: Running A (Writing) Business In Uncertain Times”.

The first two items in her ten-point plan are —

To do modeling for the next year of your business, you need to be as clear-eyed as possible. You should research trends for your business for similar economic times, if you can.

Then you figure out as best you can what your future will be.

Here’s how you do it.

First, you figure out what the possible futures could be. By July, ours were pretty simple. Clinton victory—then what? Trump victory—then what? Markets react well—then what? Markets react poorly—then what? Civil unrest—then what? Governmental gridlock—then what? Governmental ease—then what? Possible impeachment (either candidate)—then what? And so on.

Second, figure out the impact those scenarios will have on your business. Dean and I were modeling for different businesses. Our retail businesses have a local component that our publishing and writing businesses do not have. Therefore, our models for the retail business were different than our models for publishing and writing.

Some scenarios will have no impact at all on what you’re doing. Others might have a huge impact. Be as clear-eyed and honest with yourself as possible as you set out these scenarios.

(3) ROCKS AND SHOALS. Jules Verne’s status as a hard science fiction writer received an unexpected boost from the latest research reported by New Scientist.

JULES VERNE’s idea of an ocean deep below the surface in Journey to the Centre of the Earth may not have been too far off. Earth’s mantle may contain many oceans’ worth of water – with the deepest 1000 kilometres down.

“If it wasn’t down there, we would all be submerged,” says Steve Jacobsen at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, whose team made the discovery. “This implies a bigger reservoir of water on the planet than previously thought.”

This water is much deeper than any seen before, at a third of the way to the edge of Earth’s core. Its presence was indicated by a diamond spat out 90 million years ago by a volcano near the São Luíz river in Juina, Brazil.

The diamond has an imperfection – a sealed-off inclusion – that contains minerals that became trapped during the diamond’s formation. When the researchers took a closer look at it with infrared microscopy, they saw unmistakable evidence of the presence of hydroxyl ions, which normally come from water. They were everywhere, says Jacobsen.

(4) CAST OF THE RINGS. Empire magazine came up with a cute gimmick: “The Lord of the Rings at 15: the Fellowship interview each other”.

One anniversary to rule them all… To celebrate the 15th anniversary of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, the latest issue of Empire gathered the nine members of the Fellowship, and asked each of them to pose nine questions to one another.

One does not simply walk into a Lord Of The Rings interview. So here, as a little Middle-earth aperitif, we can reveal one answer from each actor. For the full interviews, be sure to pick up a copy of the January issue of Empire, on sale from Thursday 24 November….

Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee)

Where do you keep the sword you were given when you completed Lord Of The Rings? Question set by Ian McKellen

The garage, or maybe a cupboard, or in storage with a ton of fan art. I cried heavily through my send-off. I remember being presented with my costume, including Sam’s backpack (pots, pans, sausages, elven rope, lembas bread, box of salt) and sword. But the most moving trophy was the wee dress [my daughter] Ali wore as she portrayed Elanor in the last moments of Return Of The King.

(5) ALIEN POSTER CHILD. By sharing this image, does CinemaBlend aim to upset turkey-filled tummies? “Alien: Covenant’s First Poster Is Simple And Absolutely Terrifying”.

Following the lukewarm response to Prometheus in 2012, the Alien franchise is aiming to win back hearts with the next entry in the series, Alien: Covenant. As an early Thanksgiving treat, 20th Century Fox just released the first poster for the blockbuster, and it’s making sure fans know that like previous installments, it will be a terrifying ordeal.

(6) UNCLE 4E TALK AT ALIEN CON. A panel discussion about the Ackermonster:

Alien Con marked the 100th birthday of Forrest J Ackerman — writer, literary agent, and professional Sci-Fi geek who not only founded Famous Monsters, but invented cosplay and encouraged the pursuits of monster fanatics everywhere! Hear Forry memories and learn about TALES FROM THE ACKER-MANSION, American Gothic Press’s massive tribute to the man who created the term “Sci-Fi”.  Guests on Panel: Kevin Burns, Joe Moe, William F Nolan, Jason V. Brock

Part I

Part II

(7) SOMEWHERE OVER THE WORMHOLE. Scifinow has it right – “Emerald City trailer is definitely not in Kansas anymore”.

(8) CHIZINE GROWS ANNUAL ANTHOLOGY. ChiZine Publications will expand Imaginarium, its Annual ‘Best-Of’ short story,  and poetry volume, to include more content in an anthology that will be released every two years.

The latest edition,  Imaginarium 5, will be released in Summer 2017 and encompass the best short stories and poetry from 2015 and 2016. It will include an introduction from bestselling Canadian author Andrew Pyper.

There will be a call for submissions for both short stories and poetry published in 2016 for Imaginarium 5 announced via Facebook and the CZP Website in December 2016.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

Fifty years ago Thursday, Lunar Orbiter II took a picture of a moon crater. When it was beamed back to Earth, the photo’s then-unique view made the moon real in a way it hadn’t been before — as an actual place, another world that might be a second home for humanity. Seeing the Copernicus crater close up mustered Space Age feelings of wonder. Such wonder is harder to provoke now, but the image reminds us: The moon still waits for us

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY MONSTER KID

  • Born November 24, 1916 – Forrest J Ackerman

Learn more about him on the Ray Harryhausen Podcast.

November 24th 2016 marks the 100th birthday of sci-fi legend Forrest J Ackerman, founder of ‘Famous Monsters of Filmland’ magazine. Forry was also one of Ray Harryhausen’s oldest friends, the two having met in the late 1930’s after discovering a shared interest in ‘King Kong’.

We caught up with former ‘Famous Monsters’ editor David Weiner to discuss the friendship between Ray, Forry and Ray Bradbury. We also heard a clip of the three legends in discussion, taken from an interview which can be found on the ‘Ray Harryhausen- the early years collection’ DVD.

And in the November issue of Aeromexico’s Aire magazine, Guillermo Del Toro tells how important Ackerman was to his artistic development. (You’ll need to click on the second image and zoom in to make the text readable.)

front

back

(11) TODAY’S ROSWELL BIRTHDAYS

  • Born November 24, 1977 — Colin Hanks
  • Born November 24, 1978 — Katherine Heigl

(12) NEWEST K9 IN THE CULTURE WARS. Sarah A. Hoyt, in yesterday’s Sad Puppies 5 announcement, said: “….One of the things the — for lack of a better term — other side has is bully pulpits…. BUT still, they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read. We have nothing like that.”

However, as someone pointed out, she had overlooked the brand new review site Puppy of the Month Book Club – where the motto is Hugo delenda est.

Jon Mollison and Nathan Housley explained what they’ll be covering:

So what makes a book a viable candidate for Puppy Of the Month?  Easy:

  • Any novel nominated by the Sad Puppies for a Hugo nomination
  • Any novel nominated by the Rabid Puppies for a Hugo nomination
  • Any work listed in Appendix N of Gary Gygax’s D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide
  • Any work published by Castalia House
  • Any work selected by a Contributor that isn’t shouted down by the rest of the contributors as an inappropriate selection

Their latest post is an interview with Schuyler Hernstrom, a fellow who knows on which side his bread is buttered:

Editor: Rabid or Sad?

SH: Ya know, this is corny but I am actually going to pull a quote from my own work to answer. It is a bit early in the career to pull a stunt like this but it is so apropos I can’t resist:

He took a knife from his belt and cut away the flag and a length of cloth from the sleeve and turned to Tyur. He tied the thing to the hunter’s thick arm. Tyur looked down in awe.

“But I am not of your blood…”

“All who fight tyranny are of my tribe.”

The young man grasped his host’s shoulders and the old man returned the gesture.

(13) REJECTS ZERO SUM GAMES. Kevin Standlee tells how he feels about the latest Sad Puppies announcement in “Perhaps we should be grateful”.

Why don’t these people who are so completely certain (or so they say) that the Hugo Awards are washed up, finished, dead, pushing up daisies, etc. concentrate on the awards that they so confidently insisted would overwhelm the entire field and be the One True Awards That Real Fans Give for Real Good Stuff So There Will Be No Need For Any Other Awards Ever Again? They seem pretty unhappy that the members of WSFS continue to hold their convention and present their awards just like they have been doing for many years, including arguing over the rules (which, for those who have been paying attention, was a running theme long before the Puppies showed up). “Sad” is a good description for people for whom, as far as I can tell, think that the amount of happiness is a finite quantity, so that the only way they can be happy is to make other people unhappy.

(14) WELLS STORY DISCOVERED. The Guardian brings word of an “Unseen HG Wells ghost story published for the first time”.

Here’s a gothic tale for a stormy night: a man called Meredith converts a room in his house into a cluttered and untidy study, and one day asks a visiting friend if he can see anything strange on the ceiling.

Don’t you see it?” he said. “
See what?”
“The – thing. The woman.”
I shook my head and looked at him.
“All right then,” he said abruptly. “Don’t see it!”

This is the beginning of a newly discovered HG Wells ghost story, called The Haunted Ceiling, a macabre tale found in an archive that Wells scholars say they have never seen before. It will be published for the first time this week, in the Strand magazine.

(15) TRUE GRIT. An unplanned furrow plowed when the Spirit rover suffered a broken wheel may have reaped a harvest of evidence for life on the Red Planet — “Scientists Think They Finally Found Evidence of Ancient Life on Mars”.

What the researchers found was that El Tatio produces silica deposits that appear nearly identical to those found by Spirit in Gusev Crater on Mars. The discovery of these deposits in similar environments on both planets suggests life because it implies they were formed by a similar process—specifically, microbial organisms.

“We went to El Tatio looking for comparisons with the features found by Spirit at Home Plate,” Ruff said in a statement. “Our results show that the conditions at El Tatio produce silica deposits with characteristics that are among the most Mars-like of any silica deposits on Earth.”

Exploration by the Spirit rover was discontinued in 2010 when the front wheel broke, causing the rover to get stuck and plow across the ground. This mishap is actually what caused the digging that uncovered the rich deposit of pure silica, and now the discovery of the silica deposits in Chile may be enough to send a rover back to that same site on Mars.

(16) ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE CHURRO TRUCK BELL TOLLS. You’ve got mail!

[Thanksgiving every day for John King Tarpinian and everyone else who contributes to this site, which today includes JJ, and Martin Morse Wooster. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor on Turkey Day, Paul Weimer.]

142 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/24/16 And He Pixeled A Crooked Scroll

  1. Oh, you people and your governments. Mosquitos killed more people than people killed people, and we’ve got a long way to go to catch up, so if people really based their reactions solely on body count instead of using that to justify their existing biases, we’d all be speaking gravely about insect control and voting for whoever promised to wipe out malaria fastest.

  2. RedWombat rightfully notes Oh, you people and your governments. Mosquitos killed more people than people killed people, and we’ve got a long way to go to catch up, so if people really based their reactions solely on body count instead of using that to justify their existing biases, we’d all be speaking gravely about insect control and voting for whoever promised to wipe out malaria fastes

    I’ve had malaria (about a week after returning stateside from one of those Asian countries that we weren’t in) and it certainly wasn’t a fun time. Under medical conditions common in fourth world countries, it kills quickly.

    Body count before the last few centuries are more conjecture than fact, ie we have no idea how many people died in the Black Plague than we do of the deaths during the Witch Hunts.

  3. RedWombat: But malaria isn’t the only disease that kills. It’s no good being tough on malaria when we can still just up and die from cancer or influenza or just plain aging. If body count is the true measure of a political philosophy’s goodness, we should be voting for whoever promises to spend the most on health care.

  4. I was surprised that colonialism killed that few people till I remembered how much lower the earth’s population was in the 1500-1800’s. And of course we don’t have good figures on how many natives of North and South America and Australia there were.

    The Pilgrims (since we’re talking turkey) found plenty of great land to farm and build on b/c disease had just recently killed off the native farmers, who’d cleared and improved the land for generations.

    But in cheerful news which may be of interest to Ms. Kingfisher of this parish: baby wombat follows IT guy around office.

    https://twitter.com/realscientists/status/715491202825478144

    Followed by more descriptions and photos.

  5. Fair enough, but I think most bang for your buck is still with the bugs. It’s not just malaria–there’s so many insect-borne illnesses out there to choose from! And just taking down mosquito-kind would do so much! We lose literally hundreds of thousands of people a year to those little biters.

    Seriously, if you could fix just one thing in the world with regards to mortality–other than aging–you could do a whole lot worse than mosquito-borne illnesses. (And, frankly, lost productivity if you’re into that–the number of people non-fatally out sick with malaria in any year is in the millions.)

    ZOMG lurkertype the little wombat trundling along!

  6. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT.

    Oh, let’s have THAT argument. It is one of my absolute faves when it comes to systematic right-wing disinformation. Mind you, I’m sure there are others here who could probably demolish it better than me.

  7. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    But let’s start.

    The answer is Pol Pot.
    Rachel Carson killed nobody that I’m aware of.

    Pol Pot was responsible for the deaths of an unknown number of Cambodians – but 3 million is a plausible figure.

    So, the first questions is WHY you would compare a woman science writer to a murderous communist/nationalist with a murderous fixation on an agrarian utopia and a hatred of urban intellectuals?

    Because that is what you’ve been told to think.

    By whom?

    By some definitely non-communists but who are also nationalists and also seem to have a persistent hatred of urban intellectuals.

  8. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    ‘But, but’ you might say ‘the ban on DDT has killed millions because of malaria and that’s all Rachel Carsons fault!’

    But, but, that is what is known as ‘bullshit’.

    It is wrong encased in more wrong and built up from wrong.

  9. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    The evil brilliance of this argument is that it works like the opposite of a Gish Gallop – instead of a whole series of wrong that the debunker has to debunker in multiple directions, this argument uses the BIG SIMPLE LIE instead – to mislead and distract.

    The lie being – the “ban’ on DDT.

  10. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    How is the ‘ban’ a lie?
    Well there are many kinds of things that could be called ‘bans’ on DDT.
    The ‘ban’ that could be ascribed to Rachel Carson’s book ‘The Silent Spring’ is the ban on the use of DDT in the United States of America.
    Of course, THAT ban has not led to millions of deaths in the Third World because it was a ban on the use of DDT in THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA not the world.

    Even THAT ban (essentially the EPA limiting its permitted uses) included public health exemptions. So the ban that could be linked to the political pressure from people being convinced by Carson’s book definitely led to zero deaths in the USA – the country that the ‘ban’ applied to.

  11. I do so enjoy Camestros’ bullshit deconstructions — which invariably end up with the bull segmented cleanly into various cuts for roasting and grilling, and the shit flushed neatly down the toilet. 😀

  12. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    ‘Yeah, yeah, but’ you might say ‘The US ban led to other bans’.
    This is true, after all DDT is a dangerous substance with real environmental impact. It is well researched.
    ‘Yeah, but Silent Spring was wrong on these point…’ irrelevant. No restriction on the use of DDT has ever been enacted on the strength of whatever Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring alone. She could have written that DDT was haunted by tiny demons fom Gloustershire and it wouldn’t prove anything about the validity of restrictions on DDT. Of course her arguments were much better than that but they were simply a start of an inquiry – not the foundation of a case. Attempts to disprove ‘Silent Spring’ are just a way to divert from modern evidence on DDT. Of course Silent Spring didn’t have every fact right – so what? It is like saying we shouldn’t treat cancer because a 1950’s medical manual has errors in it.

  13. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    ‘Yeah but the wordlwide ban’…no the ‘worldwide ban’ doesn’t exist. There are worldwide (effectively) limitations on its use. However the most notable one is the World Health Organisation’s. Yet THAT ‘ban’ ALSO has exemptions for health programs.

    So what ARE the bans? The bans have substantial reduced the use of DDT for AGRICULTURAL use.

    And?

    Well have you heard of evolution?

  14. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    Evolution – animals change. Mosquitos can become resistant to pesticides. Indeed, fighting malaria, whether it is mosquitos or the nasty creature that actually causes the disease, has been a constant arms race between us and the nasty bastards.

    So widescale DDT use for AGRICULTURE means lots of bad news for animals further up the food chain but that kind of uncontrolled use means exposure of malaria carrying mosquitos to DDT in an uncontrolled way. That means more survivors, more resistance and hence LESS EFFECTIVENESS of DDT as a tool of disease control.

    Anybody who believes that DDT is the best way of eliminating malaria-carrying mosquitoes should be absolutley in favour of a ban on DDT for agriculural use.

    Interesting that the people pushing the lie about Rachel Carson *aren’t* in favour of the ban on agriculture.

  15. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    Of course, whether DDT is effective for public health uses is another question. But, I’ll leave that one. As the key lie has been identified already. Even if DDT is effective for public health campaigns then the bans that are ascribed to Carson defintely SAVED lives rather than resulted in deaths. Without those bans, DDT would have become increasingly ineffective.

    Yet, Bill, you fell for a glib lie.

    Forgive me, but I’ve seen enough of those recently.

    I say ‘lie’ because we know who and why this lie was invented.

    But…I must feed people now and those people also want to watch Crowded House on TV.

  16. Not that Camestos would need my help, but the US military (IIRC) did a feasability study if DDT could be use to eradicate Malaria (mainly for avoiding getting the troops sick, so they wanted to kill of all the moskitos in the area where the troops have set up camp).
    It didnt work.
    The reapeated the study.
    It didnt work
    DDT really works killing mosquitos indoors. Outdoors: Not so much. To many critters dont get their lethal dosis (unavoidible) and even built up immunity.
    The study has been repeated, IIRC by the french.
    Same result.

  17. She could have written that DDT was haunted by tiny demons fom Gloustershire and it wouldn’t prove anything…

    Gloucestershire.

    There! Your entire argument is thus negated! Bring back PVC!

  18. Kurt Busiek on November 27, 2016 at 1:54 am said:

    She could have written that DDT was haunted by tiny demons fom Gloustershire and it wouldn’t prove anything…

    Gloucestershire.

    curses!

  19. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    A few things.
    1. I cooked burgers. Although I say so myself, they were delicious.
    2. I type too loudly apparently and I have been banished. I know fewer Crowded House songs than the rest of the household it seems.
    3. Neil Finn is wearing a very nice purple suit which means he either didn’t watch Jessica Jones or he did but in a disturbing way.

  20. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    So why would you say something both absurd and also a bit nasty? I mean, you seem like enough person and I doubt you usually go around comparing writers to mass murderers.

    Well I’ll start with something a bit more current. Ladies and gentlemen the next Vice-President of the United Sates, Mike Pence:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20010415085348/http://mikepence.com/smoke.html

    Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn’t kill. In fact, 2 out of every three smokers does not die from a smoking related illness and 9 out of ten smokers do not contract lung cancer. This is not to say that smoking is good for you…. news flash: smoking is not good for you. If you are reading this article through the blue haze of cigarette smoke you should quit. The relevant question is, what is more harmful to the nation, second hand smoke or back handed big government disguised in do-gooder healthcare rhetoric.

    Smoking? What’s smoking got to do with it?

  21. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    The Advancement of Sound Science Center https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Center was established as a front for the tobacco industry – specifically Philip Morris. Cigarettes, as we all know (except VP elect Mike Pence) smoking kills. As a business model, killing your customers has some drawbacks, not least of which is a kind of selective pressure which ensures that people in charge of such an industry have to have an almost pathological disregard for the welfare of others.

    Of course, the TASSC couldn’t just leap in and do a Mike Pence and say smoking doesn’t kill. Nope. A more clever and cynical strategy was employed.

    The idea was this: attack science. Throw doubt on notions of expertise and scientific authority. That is not an idea invented by the right – its most excessive expression was during Mao’s cultural revolution in China.

    If enough doubt could be seeded in people’s minds about scientific claims of harm – particularly those based on indirect chains of causality or complex statistical evidence – then moves against smoking could be hampered. After all, lung cancer is capricious and the connection between any one cigarette and a malignant tumour in your lungs is hard to establish. The harm is found in broad net effects that grow over time. It is a matter of statistical preponderance.

    To make this kind of attack another target could be used.
    We’ve had one villain in this story already (Pol Pot) but it is time for another.

    Steve Milloy.
    You should know who he is Bill, because it his words that you are repeating.

  22. Peer Sylvester on November 27, 2016 at 1:52 am said:

    Not that Camestos would need my help,

    All help gratefully received. There are people who know far more about diseases and about bugs and about bug-vector diseases here than I do.

  23. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    Milloy, locked onto the DDT issue as a way of sowing doubt about science-based environmental policy. The brief was to help limit legislation on secondhand smoking but to do that a broader strategy of creating FEAR UNCERTAINTY DOUBT around science policy was being employed. This was not new – a long-term approach to hamper moves on environmental and public health issues was the application of FUD.

    It’s why if you are a right-leaning American you probably think that global warming is dubious. For any industry that unfortunately poisons people as a by-product, there are only a few PR gambits you can employ – making people doubt reality is going to be the main one.

    In 2001 the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_Convention_on_Persistent_Organic_Pollutants ) was used by TASSC and Milloy to create a set of enduring myths about DDT. While the convention overtly did NOT ‘ban’ DDT for use in vector control, the surrounding discussion was exploited to imply that first-world environmentalists were trying to stop struggling third-world nations from fighting malaria. The claim was false on many levels and had only a limited long-term impact on policy. But that wasn’t the point.

    The point was to create a stick with which to attack science-based activism and policy.

  24. Bill on November 26, 2016 at 11:58 pm said:

    Bring back DDT. “The ban on DDT,” says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, “may have killed 20 million children.”

    Who was more dangerous, Rachel Carson or Pol Pot?

    Some years ago I was standing in a long Hindu temple that sat on a precipitous cliff edge and below me was all of Cambodia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preah_Vihear_Temple

    The temple is on a disputed piece of territory between Thailand and Cambodia. It lies in Cambodia but is really only accessible from Thailand. For political reasons it isn’t always accessible but at the time it was. Well worth a visit if the border is open. Exquisite. I think it is more impressive than Angkor Wat, although the scale is smaller.

    After the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and put an end to Pol Pot’s murderous regime, the Khmer Rouge retreated to various places.One of these was Preah Vihear Temple because of its strategic command of the surrounding territory.

    There were stern warnings about minefields, a partly destroyed Russian helicopter, some small artillery pieces (possibly there just for tourists) and Buddhist monk called Terry who treated me as a tourist attraction for a group of visiting Thais because I was the biggest most obviously Western (‘Farang’) person there.

    One of those places which had just way too much history concentrated in one spot.

    Now you just can’t help but try and get into the heads of the Khmer Rouge standing in a place like that. It wasn’t just the genocide – and it pointless to try and draw levels of awful when it comes to murder on those levels – but the extent to which it was a kind of self-genocide. During Pol Pot’s reign, he and the Khmer Rouge essentially tried to make Cambodia murder itself. It is nigh on incomprehensible.

    Ideology doesn’t explain it. After all, it was another brutal communist regime that eventually brought the mass murder to an end. Some kind of mass traumatic syndrome from the horrors of the decades of war in former French-IndoChina goes someway to explaining it I suppose.

    Pol Pot literally wanted to make Cambodia great again. It was nationalism and communism and Maoist obsession with agrarian living that formed a truly appalling mix that led to horrors that should chill everyone of us.

    But also denial. Denial of learning. Denial that people from the cities had anything to contribute. Denial of learning. Denial of expertise.

    When things didn’t go to plan, when the agricultural revolution instead brought starvation, the killing only intensified. When eventually the Khmer Rouge was toppled, the die hards didn’t stop and think ‘we really messed up’ but dug in and kept fighting for decades afterwards UTTERLY CONVINCED that they had done the right thing. To the extent that they would carry on fighting and dying for their beliefs that were so factually and morally wrong.

    So who killed more? Pol Pot or people’s capacity to fool themselves with cynical lies? Pol Pot personally could have only ever killed a few people. To kill on the scale that he did required people who would believe and spread cynical lies and CONTINUE TO DO SO in the face of reality demonstrating that what they believed was wrong.

    I’ve typed a lot in reply now. Some of what I’ve typed will be incorrect, misleading, inaccurate or exaggerated. Infalibity is not achievable.

    Rachel Carson killed nobody by not being 100% correct.
    The followers of Pol Pot killed millions by not accepting that he could be anything other than 100% correct.

    I know which is a better example for any human regardless of their ideology.

  25. Just let me top of with a reading tipp: Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes & Erik Conway about Think Tanks and advisers that deliberatly spread doubt about the science of things like DDT and smoking so the policy of their choice is being put in place. Its non-fiction and more relevant than ever imho.

    (If you depend on lies for your policy to work, your policy is probably wrong. But thats just me)

  26. If DDT had continued being used extensively, it still would have stopped being used long before 2016 because it would by then have become no more effective than tapwater. Individuals die, species adapt.

    (Okay, you try to come up with a poison that kills all of one species of life while not killing all of any other species. There are only so many biochemical pathways in use.)

  27. I think you could ask any farmer about the effects on wind and enviroment on any pesticide on (and off) the market and that is impossible to eradice all critters with it.

    But they also may be some military buffs who might know that chemical weapons have their disadvantages (they are banned as well, but thats not the only disadvantage). Well, pesticides are not that different from phosgen gas.

    Or you might ask pest control to what legth they have to go indoors to eradice every insect in a building and then ask them if they could do it in a swamp. You might see there answer in their eyes before they open their mouths.

    Believing DDT is capable of eradicating malaria is not that much different than believing in chemtrails.

  28. @Peer Sylvester: see also Bacigalupi’s The Doubt Factory, which builds a novel around Oreske & Conway’s work.

  29. Al Franken introduced me to the concept of “kidding on the square,” or at least its label. It’s where you say something you mean, often something offensive, but you say it as a “joke,” and if anyone objects, hey, c’mon, can’t you take a joke for crying out loud?

    The real losers in the DDT ban (you know, the “worldwide DDT ban”!) are those who can no longer spray each other in the face with humorous effect using gigantic hand-pumped sprayers with the letters DDT on the side in 200 point painted. Think of the hilarious cartoons we’ve missed! And the slapstick from bumbling would-be exterminators! Won’t someone think about the Stooges?

    Talk of Cambodia makes me a little jealous of family members who’ve been there. One branch of the family is from there, and my relation to them is in-law-in-law, but they still count. One of my cousins did a world tour on bikes with his family, and I think they were in Cambodia when one of his kids suddenly needed to have an appendix taken out, for which they went to Thailand. I also think of the collections of Cambodian Rocks on my music player—terrific rock and roll from young people who, in too many cases, paid the ultimate price for their music. It’s enjoyable for the sound, but that is sometimes overshadowed by the resonance of repression and disappearances.

    Speaking of systematic slander (as in Rachel Carson), Margaret Sanger gets a lot of that now as well, usually with the careful selection of quotes that try to make it look like she was trying to birth control all non-whites away. Libertarian cartoonist (and full-time genius) Peter Bagge did a graphic biography of her, Woman Rebel, which is fascinating and which documents its research and, at the end, includes a bunch of cool detail that he regretfully couldn’t work in in the compressed narrative. It’s clear enough why they hate her: Planned Parenthood, hiss hiss. She had the nerve to give women agency. The Catholic Church was out to get her, and still is, and now it’s joined by our looniest ‘conservatives’ (and those brave, iconoclastic libertarian types who show their fierce independence by hating all Democrats and loving 98% of Republicans).

  30. The real losers in the DDT ban (you know, the “worldwide DDT ban”!) are those who can no longer spray each other in the face with humorous effect using gigantic hand-pumped sprayers with the letters DDT on the side in 200 point painted.

    Is this close enough for you?

  31. Camestros I am standing on my chair cheering and clapping. The wife’s confused, but she won’t be when I show her your comments.

  32. Camestros, that was…beautiful…*wipes tear*

    There was a local furor among beekeepers when, doing aerial spraying for Zika, they hit beehives. Kills the bees nigh instantly, of course. Normally there’s a courtesy to inform beekeepers and to spray at night when they aren’t active, but everybody was panicking and the hives that got hit died. Given our current pollinator crisis, I’d be verra verra leery of introducing a broad-spectrum insecticide back into spraying the way DDT was applied back in the day–it’s like shooting everybody in the neighborhood because you know one of them’s a murderer.

    Modern mosquito control is potentially much more sciency! We can make super-sexy sterile male mosquitos that hog all the females and effectively interrupt a generation, which doesn’t seem to have any impact on other bugs. (Of course, we may find out later that it does, but so far, so good…) I’m rooting for that to replace sprays in the not-terribly distant future.

  33. Back to the Pups:

    Hoyt wrote:

    “…BUT still, they have magazines that publish recommended lists, and interviews with authors, and turn the spotlight on work they think should be read. We have nothing like that.”

    Ya know – – it’s entirely possible that Hoyt and her circle could look at that observation, and think about it, and think about the last few WorldCons . . . and then maybe realize that in reality they are actually just a small clique of cranks who have terrible taste in SF.

    I mean, it’s possible.

  34. Ya know – – it’s entirely possible that Hoyt and her circle could look at that observation, and think about it, and think about the last few WorldCons . . . and then maybe realize that in reality they are actually just a small clique of cranks who have terrible taste in SF.

    There is this old joke:
    “Attentation all drivers on the M54: There is a driver on the wrong lane, driving in the wrong direction. All incoming traffic should be very carefule!”
    Driver (hears that on the radio): What do they mean, ONE Driver? There are hundreds!”

    (Admittingly it works better in German)

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