Pixel Scroll 3/14/17 Leather Goddesses Of Phobos And The Scratch And Sniff Card

(1) ROBOWATCH. Of course, I’ll understand if you don’t have any money left for this item after running out to buy yesterday’s featured rocket pen with the tiny astronaut. Which is okay! Because this post is from 2015 and the auction is long over.

MB&F has just announced that they will be donating a unique Melchior (co-created with L’Epée 1839) to the Only Watch auction taking place in November of this year. The Melchior, released at Baselworld earlier this year, is a highly functioning robot-form timepiece that was created in a limited series of 99 pieces. This is the 100th piece.

 

(2) LEARNING CURVE. Ann Leckie has been thinking about rejection.

…Hence my ambivalence–the difficulties are real, and I know every writer has to make their own decision about what to go through, how much rejection to deal with (and whether or not they can handle cluelessly–or maybe intentionally–hurtful comments along with that rejection, including offhand remarks about certain sorts of people not really existing or not being interesting or worthy of stories, when that would include you, yourself). At the same time–if you can do it, if you can stomach it, well, the chances may be really small, but you never know.

And there’s a thing that Mark Tiedemann said to me a while back that I thought was really smart. He said that really, when you submit to an editor over and over (we were mostly talking about shortfic here but still), you’re teaching them how to read your work.

Part of that systemic prejudice, part of what upholds it, is the way people are only familiar with certain kinds of stories. Other kinds feel off, weird, unrealistic (no matter how accurate and realistic they may be). It’s that incessant repetition of the “right” kind of story that keeps reinforcing itself. And this didn’t happen by accident–we’ve many of us been trained from small to appreciate certain kinds of stories, just like we’re taught from infancy to appreciate certain kinds of music. Most of the work, most of the training, is exposure to a high volume of work that fits the culturally approved model.

The way a reader learns to appreciate other sorts of stories, from other points of view, is to be exposed to them over and over. Editors and agents and slush readers–every time you submit, they are being exposed to your work.

(3) IT GOES AROUND. Atlas Obscura’s article about the world’s oldest globe is complete with photos and map recreations. Just about the time it was finished, Columbus was finding something unexpected that would fill the big empty space between Cipangu (Japan) and the Azores.

If the world’s oldest surviving globe has taught us anything, it’s that just when we think we’re starting to figure out how the world works, turns out we barely know anything at all.

Known formally as the Erdapfel (literally “Earth Apple,” or in some colloquial translations “potato”), the oldest globe is an impressive and beautiful artifact, even if its cartographic science is a little off. The Erdapfel dates back to 1492, and is far from the first globe ever created, but it is, so far, the oldest discovered terrestrial globe still in existence.

Round representations of the Earth go back to Ancient Greece, and the earliest spherical maps of the world were being created in the Islamic world in the 13th century or earlier. But none of those are thought to survive. Other than descriptions and flattened maps that would have covered earlier globes, the Erdapfel is the oldest remaining artifact of its kind.

(4) END OF DISCUSSION. At Chaos Manor Jerry Pournelle quotes what he had to say about required FDA drug testing and approval as part of a discussion in a SFWA Forum – which was shut down by a moderator.

That was too much. A SFWA moderator, backed by the officer who had requested that the discussion halt, locked the conference, and it sits in frozen silence. The reason given was that it was too personal, and I was privately informed that there were complaints about me. Since I named no one at any time, I mildly protested that I was unaware of what was personal about it that would be personally offensive to professional writers voluntarily reading a topic no one could possibly feel required to read.

The answer I got was that these discussions upset some members, and that a SFWA forum was no place for political discussions at all. And that’s the point: we have come to this, that a professional writers’ association finds that we can no longer have discussions that include politics because some members (who voluntarily read the topic) find it upsetting, and toxic, presumably because they disagree with the opinions expressed. For the life of me I cannot tell you what professional science fiction writer would find anything I said there personally offensive. Disagree, yes, of course; many disagree; that is to be expected, and it is those the FDA will rally to support the proposition that the FDA should insist that generic prescription of Name Brand drugs whose patents have expired be forbidden until double blind tests of the generic drug’s effectiveness have proved its effectiveness.

I think health care costs can be drastically lowered by letting doctors have more room to try different remedies; obviously only with informed consent of the patient, but medical associations I would suppose will work to assure that; but apparently the entire discussion can’t be discussed in a science fiction professional organization because some members are upset over encountering opinions contrary to their own – and if it can’t be discussed there, where the devil can it be discussed?

(5) WHY YOU CAN’T TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER. Huffington Post picked up on Nnedi Okorafor’s discussion of a time publishers whitewashed her book cover.

Nebula Award-winning science fiction writer Nnedi Okorafor wrote a book in 2007 called The Shadow Speaker. The story followed its protagonist ? a Muslim girl named Ejii, who the author described as “black skinned” ? through Niger in 2070.

So Okorafor was understandably unhappy when her publisher suggested putting a white woman on the book’s cover.

Today, the author shared the anecdote as part of a Twitter conversation about whitewashing in fiction. She tweeted the cover suggested by the publisher and the revised cover, updated to feature the story’s black protagonist, per the author’s request.

(6) HUGOS RECS. Abigail Nussbaum explains her 2017 Hugo ballot nominees in the media categories.

Best Related Work: This is the category that I always feel most guilty about not nominating more widely in.  There’s a lot of great non-fiction being written in genre right now, on- and off-line, but since my threshold for substantiveness excludes most individual blog posts, I often end up with very little that I want to nominate here.  The solution, obviously, is to read more long-form non-fiction–UIP’s Modern Masters of Science Fiction is a great source that I somehow never get around to–but happily this year has been a good one for long-form online essays and blog series. (Not listed in this ballot, because he’s asked people not to nominate it, but still very much worth reading and remembering, is Jonathan McCalmont’s “Nothing Beside Remains: A History of the New Weird”, which delves into the short half-life of this genre, and the critical conversation that surrounded it.)

  • A People’s History of the Marvel Universe by Steven Attewell – The only criticism I can make of Attewell’s series is that it seems to be on permanent hiatus, just when we could use an independent history of this corner of pop culture, told from a decidedly leftist perspective.  Attewell delves into the origins of several key Marvel characters and concepts, from Magneto’s background as a Holocaust survivor, to the infamous “mutant metaphor”.  He describes both the evolution of ideas we’ve come to take for granted, and the pitfalls the Marvel writers fell into as they tried to grapple with social upheaval and the need to reflect it in their world of heroes and villains.  With superheroes currently one of the dominant forms in our pop culture, a perspective like Attewell’s is invaluable.
  • Boucher, Backbone, and Blake – the Legacy of Blakes 7 by Erin Horakova – One of the many remarkable things about Erin’s essay is how accessible and thought-provoking it is even to someone like myself, who has been hearing about Blakes 7 for years, but has seen almost nothing of it.  This is by no means an introductory piece or a guide to newbies.  Its focus is specific, one might almost say deliberately fannish.  And yet, by turning her eye on some very particular aspects of the show, and the people who were instrumental in achieving them, Erin builds a larger argument about the intersection between art and politics, about the capacity of popular entertainment to grapple with difficult, even radical ideas, and about the specific circumstances on the set of Blakes 7 that allowed it to do so, and how modern work would struggle to achieve the same effect.  It’s a brilliant piece of cultural commentary (as already acknowledged by the voters for the BSFA award’s non-fiction category) and one that absolutely belongs on this year’s Hugo ballot.

(7) A LINE IN THE CHROME. Scalzi does not object to award eligibility posts – he makes them – but he doesn’t want to be directly asked for a Hugo nominating vote. Does that mean an ethical lesson is being imparted here, or is this a lesson in netiquette?

(8) PRATCHETT BUSTED. The BBC has the story.

A bronze bust of Sir Terry Pratchett has been unveiled ahead of plans to install a 7ft (2.1m) statue of the author in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

It was created by Paul Kidby, who illustrated Sir Terry’s Discworld novels, before his death in 2015.

The statue of the author, who lived locally, is due to be erected in the marketplace or Elizabeth Gardens.

Mr Kidby said getting his expression right so “he’s not unhappy” but “not smiling too much” was the hardest part.

(9) THE GREEN FLASH. Skyboat Media’s Kickstarter has funded – so there will be an 11 hour digital audiobook of Lightspeed Magazine’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction.

(10) TODAY’S DAY

  • March 14 – 3.14 – is Pi Day.

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 14, 1968 Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward, aired its last episode.

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL

  • Born March 14, 1887 — Sylvia Beach, founder of the Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Co. “Ray Bradbury visited this bookshop every time he was in Paris, usually in July,” remembers John King Tarpinian. “They would save signed first edition Jules Vern books for Ray.”

(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GENIUS

  • Born March 14, 1879 – Albert Einstein

(14) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian was amused by another Star Wars reference in Brevity.

(15) STARDUST IN OUR POCKETS LIKE GRAINS OF SAND. AKA, The Mote In Your Eye. Because the New York Times says there are “Flecks of Extraterrestrial Dust, All Over The Roof”.

After decades of failures and misunderstandings, scientists have solved a cosmic riddle — what happens to the tons of dust particles that hit the Earth every day but seldom if ever get discovered in the places that humans know best, like buildings and parking lots, sidewalks and park benches. The answer? Nothing. Look harder. The tiny flecks are everywhere. An international team found that rooftops and other cityscapes readily collect the extraterrestrial dust…

(16) APPLY TO BE A HARPER VOYAGER.  The Harper Voyager line is putting out a call for any SFF-obsessed bloggers and social media “bigmouths” to apply to join their team of super-readers.

Harper Voyagers are granted special access to early review copies, private author chats, and more. The application period runs from now through May 4 – use the application form at Google Docs.

ARE YOU A HARPER VOYAGER?

Are you a fan of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Fantasy or Horror? Would you like special access to e-galleys, author interactions, and swag? If so, the Harper Voyager US team invites you to apply to become a “Harper Voyager” super reader!

As a Harper Voyager super reader, you’ll get special access to early review copies, special entry to an exclusive online forum where they can post reviews and thoughts about the exclusive book previews, engage in private author chats, and special interactions with Harper Voyager authors at regional events.  Most of all, we hope our super readers will help generate excitement for our stellar authors!

Please Note: This program is asking super readers to post honest reviews on Goodreads and consumer sites, participation in online Voyager events; virtual support of Voyager authors across social media. If you chose to post these reviews online at consumer websites, you must disclose in the review that you received your copy for free and send us a link to the review.

(17) LISTEN IN. DMS says Ian Tregillis tells a pretty good story beginning at 8:25 of this interview.

Ian Tregillis is the son of a bearded mountebank and a discredited tarot card reader. He was born and raised in the Minnesota Territory, where his parents had settled after fleeing the wrath of a Flemish prince. (The full story, he’s told, involves a Dutch tramp steamer and a stolen horse.) He holds a Ph.D. in physics for his research on radio galaxies and quasars, and is an alumnus of the Clarion workshop.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Jerry Pournelle, DMS, Daniel Dern, JJ, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]

113 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/14/17 Leather Goddesses Of Phobos And The Scratch And Sniff Card

  1. Arifel: shame about the it’s-“funny”-because-femininity-and-sex-work-are-inherently-demeaning illustration

    Ugh. The device I’m on shows that graphic as really tiny and faint, so I hadn’t even seen that, it just blended in with the other images on the page.

    If I’d seen that, I wouldn’t have linked to the post. My apologies. 🙁

  2. @JJ: it’s also a shame that WJW’s text illustrating the value of the Oxford comma has a jarring affront to grammar; a clause can’t make a list with two nouns. OTOH, he seems to be in the vast majority in abandoning parallelism (which I was taught as an aid to clarity over 50 years ago); everybody seems to think they’re LISP coders, putting randomly-typed objects together for someone else to sort out. (Waves foot, stamps cane….)

  3. Doctors already do genetic testing to determine drugs in some cancer treatments. Its in it infancy, so its not all that advanced. I think there is quite a bit of research going on, but it has a long way to go. Life isnt an SF novel, so this stuff gets figured out very slowly.

    Part of his post was silly… About his moral opposition to the FDA. Most doctors are fellow conservatives,. Iif I go to one who wants to prescribe me something and doesnt believe in FDA testing, I am getting the fuck out of dodge.

    Am I safe in guessing that it is alot of the same people who post alot on sfwa forums? Id bet most members barely read them. I wonder how much grammar Nazi BS takes place on an author forum

  4. Guess: Most doctors are fellow conservatives,. Iif I go to one who wants to prescribe me something and doesnt believe in FDA testing, I am getting the fuck out of dodge.

    It is not true that “Most doctors are conservatives”. It’s about half-and-half liberal and conservative, with the stats trending more liberal as older doctors retire and new doctors start practicing. A Family Practitioner is far more likely to be liberal than conservative.

    Most medical doctors are supportive of the purpose served by the FDA. They know what sort of dire results can eventuate if drugs are taken by people with contraindications.

  5. Oneiros: In lieu of chocolate I’ve found this gif of cats climbing a wall.

    Holy crap. You have just earned a lifetime supply of royalty-free *snort*s.

    I can’t stop watching that. Did the owner put some kind of fabric along that wall corner?

  6. @DMS: Cool globe-making video, thanks. 🙂

    @Darren Garrison: Ew, that puts one of my boss’s favorite sayings (“How do you eat an elephant? On bite at a time.”) into new light. I will reply to him, “If you’re a spider, probably as a light snack!” 😉

    @Beth in MA & @Mike Glyer: Yay! I need a huge time sink. I mean, I look forward to participating and reading what folks nominated.

    @Heather Rose Jones & @JJ: Oh, that’s a tempting collection, despite already owning several. I’m really happy to see a couple of my fave Kurtz books in there (I don’t need them, but others should read her). Hmm, I’m gonna think about this one & bookmark for later.

    @JJ re. the Oxford Comma: 😀

    @Oneiros: WOAH! Great gif!

  7. Meredith Moment – this one’s free, folks.

    Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith (the Jani Kilian Chronicles #1) is free in the U.S. (and DRM-free, at least at Kobo) at least from iBooks & Kobo, and probably other places. Anyone read this? As my boss says, “If it’s free, we’ll take two.”

    ETA: Presumably DRM-free at iTunes as well (and wherever else), since it’s a BookView Cafe book.

    ETA, redux: Apparently I got book 5 free somewhere in print (just checked my book database). It must’ve been free or a gift; I’m not one to buy book 5 of a series.

  8. A previous home (late 70’s/early 80’s) had one wall of a room covered with a “matted” wallpaper, with the appearance of woven grass. Our cats were able to get a good grip on it, like the cats in the gif. Didn’t take long to get thoroughly shredded, tho’, and we stripped off the remainder of the wallpaper and repainted the wall.

  9. @ Kendall

    A good long while ago, I bought a Jani Killian omnibus from SFBC and I really enjoyed it. The books reminded me of C.J. Cherryh’s SF thriller side (in the best possible way), so I would recommend them too. Note to self: Track down more works by Kristine Smith.

  10. @JJ: JJ: Good luck with that just now; it’s covered with half a foot of sodden, half-frozen sneet. But I like the image.

    Oneiros: that’s amazing, even if I wouldn’t want to be the person who has to get them down.

  11. @Techgrrl1972

    Yeah, that means healthy people pay more than they would if old farts like me were left out, but that’s the idea of risk pools. It’s just like homeowners insurance, or auto insurance. You pay the premiums and hope you never collect on them. I don’t get why people who MUST buy auto insurance (with defined minimum coverages) in order to legally drive a car get their underwear in a bunch when the topic is health insurance.

    The first difference is that the required part of auto insurance must only cover damage that you cause with your car to third parties, not damage to your own interests.
    The second difference if you don’t want to buy auto insurance, you can simply choose to not drive. Choosing to not live is generally a frowned upon solution to not wanting to buy health insurance. Driving is a choice and a revocable privilege.

  12. Driving is a choice and a revocable privilege.

    Try doing without a car in an area with little or no public transportation. Or where it’s two (or more) transfers from where you’re starting to where you’re going, and the connections require at least a half-hour wait. Try using public transit on a Sunday or a holiday.
    Then tell me how driving is a choice.

  13. @Bryan: So, less of a difference with homeowner insurance, then. 😉

    @Rob Thornton: Cool! I mean, it was free, so I got it 😉 but the name rang a strong bell in my head. I feel like someone here mentioned it in the past year or two (maybe you), or maybe someone at a convention I was at. I don’t believe I’ve read anything of hers before, but I know her name.

  14. Howdy all.

    I’m just now filling in my Hugo ballot (and all praise and hosannahs of gratitude to Nicholas Whyte of this parish for straightening the thing out in a few hours).

    Just thought I’d wave and say hi and I’m still around, although personal stuff as well as the post-election bullshit has kept me away.

    Rest assured that Filers are still in my heart — and several of you appear on my Hugo nominations. Oor Wombat appears more than once.

  15. The second difference if you don’t want to buy auto insurance, you can simply choose to not drive.

    Sure, unless you live outside one of the handful of major metropolitan areas that have decent public transportation and want a job. Or to be able to go to the grocery store. Or do much of anything really.

  16. @lurkertype: I’m glad to hear you’re still around, and yay for the Hugo ballot! 🙂

  17. The second difference if you don’t want to buy auto insurance, you can simply choose to not drive. Choosing to not live is generally a frowned upon solution to not wanting to buy health insurance. Driving is a choice and a revocable privilege.

    Brian, I guess we are in agreement? I was wondering why people who have no problem with buying auto insurance get twitchy about buying health insurance. Your comment is on point: we have more control over our risks during driving (can choose not to drive or own a car) than we do over our health. I can live the squeakiest clean life I am capable of, but cancer can come out of nowhere. Not to mention accidents, like slipping on ice and breaking bones or worse.

    On another topic, WRT Dr. Pournelle and allowing people to use drugs not approved as efficacious by the FDA: I have one word: thalidomide. Sometimes the bad shit doesn’t show up until later. He’s old enough to remember THAT cock-up.

    I get where Dr. Pournelle is coming from, even though I may not agree with him. If I had a terminal disease, proven terminal, I would be willing to try just about anything, too. Doesn’t mean we should throw out the baby with the bath water.

  18. JJ, you make excellent points. As I said, I get where Dr. Pournelle is coming from. Don’t agree with him. The topic itself is one that can be debated between reasonable people.

    None of which tells us why the thread was really shut down by the moderators, but there was that one post that claimed it was because of other actors, not Dr. Pournelle.

  19. @Kendall
    Homeowners insurance is completely optional once you’ve paid off the mortgage. It is the lienholders that require homeowners insurance as a protection for their investment. The same way that if you have a car loan, the lienholder there will require you carry comprehensive auto insurance rather than just the limited liability insurance that the government requires.

    @Aaron
    Not necessarily true. Driving is still just a convenience in those other cases. There are other modes of transportation (ie. walking, bicycle) that can take the place of driving, but none of them are as convenient or as fast as driving.

    @Techgrrl1972
    The “twitchiness” comes with being required to purchase the insurance. I believe that having health insurance is important to me and therefore I have it. But I also feel that if I wanted to risk bankruptcy by not having health insurance that should also be my choice.

  20. Driving is still just a convenience in those other cases. There are other modes of transportation (ie. walking, bicycle) that can take the place of driving, but none of them are as convenient or as fast as driving.

    Live 10 miles from the nearest market or post office and tell me then that driving is “just a convenience”. Live a mile from a supermarket – while working 40 hours, with an hour commute each way, and tell me that.
    Your “convenience” is a necessity for a lot of people.

  21. It’s a necessity because of other choices people have made (that assume that they will have a car). If you don’t have a car, you find a place to live that is closer than an hour commute. Lots of people do it.

  22. Not necessarily true. Driving is still just a convenience in those other cases. There are other modes of transportation (ie. walking, bicycle) that can take the place of driving, but none of them are as convenient or as fast as driving.

    You really have no idea what you are talking about. In many places walking or bicycling are entirely impractical options. I can only surmise that you have never actually lived in a rural area, because otherwise you would not make such profoundly ignorant statements.

  23. @Bryan: But I also feel that if I wanted to risk bankruptcy by not having health insurance that should also be my choice. And what about the knock-on effects of your bankruptcy? Hospitals are generally non-profit businesses, with much smaller margins to eat bad debts.

  24. Bryan: But I also feel that if I wanted to risk bankruptcy by not having health insurance that should also be my choice.

    Sure, just as the rest of us would end up paying your bills in higher costs because you’ve defaulted and gone bankrupt. Thanks EVER so much for making your “choice” our financial responsibility.

    Ugh. This is why I get so disgusted: when people insist on how important their right to be irresponsible is, and screw all the rest of us who end up paying the price for their irresponsibility. 🙁

  25. JJ: Sure, just as the rest of us would end up paying your bills in higher costs because you’ve defaulted and gone bankrupt.

    We’re one step away from somebody echoing Ebeneezer Scrooge’s suggestion about the poor, and I don’t see how that is helping.

  26. Mike Glyer on March 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm said:
    It reminds me of reading that many of the people who walked away from houses in the crash had plenty of money and could have continued making payments. The people who kept trying to pay the mortgages were the ones who had real financial problems, due to things like jobs going away or hours being cut.

    (I was glad to have ACA for the two years after I retired. Paid for the tetanus booster and the shingles shot with which I celebrated hitting 65.)

  27. Mike Glyer: We’re one step away from somebody echoing Ebeneezer Scrooge’s suggestion about the poor, and I don’t see how that is helping.

    I’m nowhere close to that. I’m not talking about people who are unable to afford important, necessary things like health care insurance (and food, and medicine, and, and, and). I’m talking about people who can afford it, but would rather turf the responsibility off on someone else because their right to not have the government interfere with their lives trumps the rights of everyone else.

  28. If you don’t have a car, you find a place to live that is closer than an hour commute. Lots of people do it.

    Bill, come on. Do you know how high the cost of rent and/or mortgages are nowadays, in plenty of places? Like San Francisco, for instance? People have that hour commute because they cannot afford to live any closer to their jobs. This applies even to smaller towns like my own, and our cost of living is nowhere near the bigger cities.

  29. If you don’t have a car, you find a place to live that is closer than an hour commute. Lots of people do it.

    Lots of people can’t. They simply can’t afford to, or there are no places to live close to places they can find jobs. The only kind of person who would make this suggestion is someone who has no idea what the actual realities of living and working are in much of the country for people who have limited mobility due to lack of access to a vehicle.

  30. Aaron: The only kind of person who would make this suggestion is someone who has no idea what the actual realities of living and working are in much of the country for people who have limited mobility due to lack of access to a vehicle.

    Yeah, the same sort of person who would say that people could afford to buy health insurance if only they didn’t buy 12 iPhones instead. 😐

  31. Well, I know that regardless of where you live in Britain, a car is basically a necessity because our public transport systems suck ass and are absurdly expensive for how ridiculously bad they are.

  32. @Oneiros: has London Transport devolved that far in the decade since I was last there? I also recall commuter trains leaving every few minutes during rush hour for the assimilated former-town some carless friends lived in. I read that it’s much worse outside greater London — but that covers what, a quarter of the UK’s population? Is everything within the trains’ reach unaffordable?

  33. I’ve successfully lived in parts of the UK without a car, but it’s a pain even in the better cities, and I certainly couldn’t avoid having a car now. As in all things, London is an outlier that doesn’t really reflect the rest of the country.

  34. I’ve successfully lived in parts of the UK without a car, but it’s a pain even in the better cities, and I certainly couldn’t avoid having a car now.

    And in comparison to much of the United States, the U.K. is paradise for people who want to use public transportation.

  35. @Aaron

    Absolutely, much of the rural US makes the rural UK look like a utopia of facilities, and I wouldn’t want to try to live car-less in the UK outside of major urban areas.

  36. I have never needed a car in Edinburgh and never had a problem getting around, ever. Admittedly Edinburgh is a major urban area, but it isn’t London. (Population here is about 500,000.)

  37. @Chip Hitchcock: London may be the exception because of the underground (which I find absurdly expensive and quite broken compared to other, better metro systems). For me a train a half hour to the north costs around £15 and a half hour to the south can cost £30. Buses are less costly but usually take screwed up routes – eg to get to my martial arts class using buses it would take over an hour. To drive direct it’s around 25 minutes.

    To take a train to London can be as expensive as taking a flight, for me, and likely be massively delayed at least once along the way.

    When I was last in London and wanted to get out, my train was at double capacity because the previous train was cancelled. There are lots of jokes about how often southern rail (I think) trains are outright cancelled due to any slight mishap.

    In Japan, Korea and Taiwan I can’t remember public transport being delayed. At home it’s rare to have something less than at least a 5 minute delay. More than once, the last train back to my home town has been delayed by well over an hour.

    The same issues keep cropping up – delays and cancellations caused by technical faults at the same places – and they never seem to get fixed.

    If I’m back home for any length of time, I rent a car now.

  38. In my one & only visit to London, I found its public transport system to be a joy to use, and all things considered, relatively cheap.

    Maybe it comes down to what you’re accustomed to having in comparison. Auckland public transport isn’t the best though it has improved (some say it’s terrible). The city is spread too thinly for public transport to be cheap & effective. The bus companies who run our system have to make a profit (yes our public transport is provided by several private for-profit companies).

    A few years ago, we bit the bullet and decided to become a one car household. It’s required us to make some adjustments but so far it’s workable. I don’t think it’s practical or feasible for us to take it one step further & get rid of our car completely.

    Transport & accommodation are two key issues facing a rapidly growing Auckland. On the face of it, idea that one can simply choose to live close to where one works, and therefore not need a car, come across as overly simplistic.

  39. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 3-19-2017 - Amazing Stories

  40. @Aaron

    You really have no idea what you are talking about. In many places walking or bicycling are entirely impractical options. I can only surmise that you have never actually lived in a rural area, because otherwise you would not make such profoundly ignorant statements.

    Actually, I have lived in a rural area without a car. The town I graduated high school in had a population of about 5000. I walked or biked everywhere; school, work, church, grocery store, library. You name it, I walked there or didn’t need to go. My college town was 50,000 people with very limited mass transit. I walked and biked there as well. After graduating college, I decided that I wanted the convenience of a car, and got one, but even now living in an area with 1 million + people, I can and have walked to work, the grocery store, and the library. Sure it takes more time and bringing home the groceries can make the arms tired, but it is far from impossible.

  41. Bryan: Sure it takes more time and bringing home the groceries can make the arms tired, but it is far from impossible.

    Your mistake is in assuming that because it was possible for you, it is just as possible for everyone else. You are mistaken in believing that your situation and experience are universal.

    What’s more, you haven’t even stopped to consider that a lot of people have personal mobility considerations, and what works for you will not be even a remote possibility for them.

  42. Bryan, a town of 5000 isn’t a “rural area”. It’s a small town.

    Try living more than a couple of miles outside town.
    Try carrying more than one 10-pound bag of groceries, at temperatures over 85F.
    Try walking at least one mile at a temperature above 110F.
    Try getting a quarter-sheet of plywood home from the lumberyard without a car.

  43. Actually, I have lived in a rural area without a car.

    No, you have not. You lived in a small town, and then lived in a moderately sized city, and then in a large city. It seems pretty clear as well that when you lived in the small town, you were living with your parents, and they almost certainly had a car.

    Your own post makes clear you have no idea what you are talking about.

  44. My husband grew up in a rural-ish area; it wasn’t exactly farmland (although there were farms nearby) but it was (if memory serves) five miles to the nearest small mom-and-pop grocery (not much better than a convenience store) and about eight miles to the nearest actual grocery store, clothes shops, hardware stores, etc. It was ten miles to his high school.

    Yes, he biked everywhere until he got his driver’s license, but if one has kids, and/or a job, and/or any mobility issues at all (temporary or permanent), or if it’s 100 degrees in the summer, or snow and ice in the winter… yeah, you needed a car.

  45. Try carrying more than one 10-pound bag of groceries, at temperatures over 85F.
    Try walking at least one mile at a temperature above 110F.

    I live in southern Arizona. You walk anywhere during the summer its at temperatures above 110F. So yes, I have walked more than a mile in that temperature, and yes I’ve carried more than 10 pounds of groceries in that heat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *