Pixel Scroll 10/13/17 Pixel the Thirteenth, Part Scroll

(1) PKD DAUGHTER ACCUSES AMAZON STUDIOS HEAD OF HARASSMENT. The Hollywood Reporter says Isa Hackett, executive producer of two TV series based on the work of her father, Philip K. Dick series, has told the media she was harassed by the head of Amazon Studios — “Amazon TV Producer Goes Public With Harassment Claim Against Top Exec Roy Price”.

In the wake of revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged years-long sexual harassment and assault, a producer of one of Amazon Studios’ highest-profile TV shows is ready to talk about her “shocking and surreal” experience with Amazon’s programming chief Roy Price.

Isa Hackett is the daughter of author Philip K. Dick, whose work is the basis for Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, as well as the upcoming anthology series, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Hackett, 50, is an executive producer on both series. Price, 51, is head of Amazon Studios and has presided over its growth into a major streaming service with such series as Transparent and movies such as Manchester by the Sea. His family has deep connections in the entertainment world: His father, Frank, ran Columbia Pictures and Universal Studios. (The existence of the alleged incident detailed below and the subsequent Amazon investigation were previously reported by the website The Information.)

On the evening of July 10, 2015, after a long day of promoting Man in the High Castle at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hackett attended a dinner with the show’s cast and Amazon staff at the U.S. Grant Hotel. There she says she met Price for the first time. He asked her to attend an Amazon staff party later that night at the W Hotel (now the Renaissance) and she ended up in a taxi with Price and Michael Paull, then another top Amazon executive and now CEO of the digital media company BAMTech.   Once in the cab, Hackett says Price repeatedly and insistently propositioned her. “You will love my dick,” he said, according to Hackett, who relayed her account to multiple individuals in the hours after the alleged episode. (The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed Hackett told at least two people about the alleged incident in the immediate aftermath.) Hackett says she made clear to Price she was not interested and told him that she is a lesbian with a wife and children.

The New York Times reports Price was put on a leave of absence

In a statement, an Amazon spokesman said, “Roy Price is on a leave of absence effective immediately.” Albert Cheng, currently the chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, will assume Mr. Price’s duties on an interim basis, an Amazon spokesman said.

Ms. Hackett is a daughter of the late science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. “The Man in the High Castle” series, which was renewed for a third season in May, is based on one of his 44 published novels. Although Amazon does not release viewership numbers, the company said in 2015 that “The Man in the High Castle” was its most-streamed show.

Ms. Hackett is also a producer of “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams,” an anthology series that premiered in Britain last month and will be streamed by Amazon Video next year.

Allegations that Mr. Price had made unwanted sexual remarks to Ms. Hackett surfaced in August in an article by Ms. Masters that was published on the tech news website The Information.

That article included few specifics about Ms. Hackett’s claims, with Ms. Hackett providing a statement that she did not “wish to discuss the details of this troubling incident with Roy except to say Amazon investigated immediately and with an outside investigator.”

(2) OFF THE BOOKS. Last year California state Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang, responding to complaints by celebrities like Mark Hamill, got a law passed requiring autographed memorabilia come with a certificate of authenticity. (For a refresher, see the LA Times article “The high cost of an autograph”.)

That put a crimp in the state’s collectibles business (one collectibles dealer stopped shipping to California), so the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America sponsored a bill, AB 228, now signed into law and in effect, granting broad exceptions to the original law. The ABAA has informed members —

More comprehensive Guidelines will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the three main takeaways for members are:

  • Allbooks, manuscripts, and correspondence, as well as any ephemera not related to sports or entertainment media, are now categorically excluded from the regulation of “Autographed collectibles” under California’s autograph law.
  • Those few of us who do deal in the kind of autographed collectibles in the state of California that still fall under the law may now provide an “Express Warranty” guaranteeing the item as authentic, rather than a Certificate of Authenticity.  That warranty may be incorporated into an invoice rather than being a separate document.  And the requirement to disclose in the warranty from whom the autographed collectible was purchased has been eliminated.
  • Civil penalties incurred by those subject to the law who fail to comply have been lowered.

(3) HANGING AROUND. David D. Levine tells readers of Unbound Worlds “A Lot Harder Than It Looks: David D. Levine Experiences Zero Gravity”.

As a child of the Space Age, born in the same year as Gagarin and Shepard’s historic flights, I have always fantasized about floating in zero gravity. In college, I studied orbital mechanics and rolled my eyes at stories and films that got zero-g wrong. And as a science fiction writer, I have often used zero gravity settings (notably in my debut novel Arabella of Mars) and took pride in getting the physics right. So when I got the opportunity to experience zero gravity myself, thanks to a very generous birthday gift from my father, I was thrilled, and also confident that I would know how to conduct myself in free fall.

Let me tell you this: the thrill was real, but the confidence… well, maneuvering in zero gravity is a lot harder than it looks….

(4) GEEKWIRE. The third episode of Frank Catalano’s GeekWire podcast on science fiction, pop culture and the arts has posted. Says Catalano, “I invited Museum of Pop Culture (formerly EMP Museum) Curator Brooks Peck and Collections Manager Melinda Simms to come on the podcast and talk about the MoPOP collection, how they source/conserve/display objects, and the role of fans in helping find needed pop culture and science fiction items.”

There are also two accompanying articles, the first on the collection and what happens at MoPOP behind the scenes.

You might sum up the motto of their dual mission as to preserve and protect … as well as present. There’s a lot of stuff — artifacts or objects, depending on your preferred term — involved.

“I am responsible for the daily care and feeding of the collection, and make sure everything is housed appropriately to archival standards,” Simms explained. She estimated MoPOP has close to 100,000 objects cataloged, and “if you expand that out to the pieces in the vault that we are still working on getting cataloged in the collection, probably close to 150.”

The second on the important role of fans in preserve pop culture artifacts.

It’s not like one art museum simply calling up another to borrow a Monet. “With pop culture artifacts, it’s different from art collectors. Because art has a tendency to be high-value commodity, and you know museums have art, and you sort of know the lenders around the world who have the art,” Simms explained. “But with with pop culture things it could be anybody.”

Fortunately, pop culture fans tend to know each other. And they tend to focus.

For example, for the current Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds exhibition, “I was looking for a few Ferengi related items,” Peck explained. “And I’m asking around the main Star Trek people I know. No one’s got anything.” Ultimately, one fan collector in this loose network said he should contact “the Ferengi guy … So I talked to him and he’s absolutely going to loan what I need. So there’s this constant leapfrogging of networking and the things that people specialize in,” Peck said.

The podcast audio is embedded (and downloadable from) each article.

(5) CLAIMED BY FLAMES. An Associated Press story called “Wildfire Burns Home of Peanuts Creator Charles Schulz” says that Schulz’s Santa Rosa home was destroyed in the wildfires but that his widow, Jean Schulz, escaped the fires before the house burned.

The Schulzes built the California split-level home in the 1970s and the cartoonist lived there until his death in 2000.

…Charles Schulz usually worked at an outside studio and most of his original artwork and memorabilia are at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, which escaped the flames.

But the loss of the house itself is painful, [stepson] Monte Schulz said.

(6) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • October 13, 1957 — Movie audiences in America are treated to the science-fiction thriller, The Amazing Colossal Man.
  • October 13, 1995 — James Cameron’s sf thriller Strange Days premiered in theaters

(7) COMICS SECTION.

John King Tarpinian sees technology ruining another holiday tradition in today’s Close To Home.

(8) HAVE DICE, WILL TRAVEL. UrsulaV’s Paladin Rant — Or “Why Kevin’s D&D campaign has an Order of the Silver Weasel” — has been Storified.

(9) DID YOU MISS IT? Sheesh, wasn’t 2001 already long enough? Now some supposedly lost footage has been found.

17 minutes of lost footage from Stanley Kubrick‘s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey was uncovered in a salt-mine vault in Kansas. Warner Bros. has now released a statement regarding the “found” footage.

Here is Warner Bros statement:

“The additional footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey has always existed in the Warner vaults. When [director Stanley] Kubrick trimmed the 17 minutes from 2001 after the NY premiere, he made it clear the shortened version was his final edit. The film is as he wanted it to be presented and preserved and Warner Home Video has no plans to expand or revise Mr. Kubrick’s vision.”

(10) NEWITZ REVIEWED. In an English-language review at Spekulatív Zóna, Bence Pintér concludes, “The Magpie Wants Too Much – Annalee Newitz: Autonomous.

I had high hopes for this one, because the premise was really interesting, set in a postnational world ruled by patent-protecting international organisations and multinational drug companies. The main character is Judith Chen, aka Jack, a middle-aged drug pirate and onetime patent-rebel who runs a reverse-engineering, drug-smuggling business while driving a badass submarine. Shit hits the fan when consumers of her reverse-engineered performance-enhancing drug (stolen from a big pharma company) starts to show the signs of dangerous addiction. Jack is determined to make up for her mistake and to help bring down the company which had patented the dangerous drug. In the meantime, a young military robot, Paladin, and his human partner, Eliasz are commissioned to hunt down Jack and his loose gang of pirates.

Sounds good? Yeah. Still… I think my hopes were too high. It’s true that Newitz’s vision of the somewhat dystopian state of the world in 2144 is kind of intriguing and on every page there is some fascinating gadget, invention, etc. I also liked Jack and her backstory about the failed patent-revolution thirty years ago. But I felt that this novel has too much on its plate and Newitz cannot really find the focus….

(11) DRILLING FOR INSPIRATION. In the Washington Post, Chris Richards compares Kanye West’s current spate of spells and visions to those of Philip K. Dick and wonders if West experienced something comparable to Dick’s experience of “2-3-74” — “Philip K. Dick was a sci-fi prophet. Did he predict the unraveling of Kanye West?”

Kanye West saw his beams during a visit to the dentist.

“I’ve heard that there are colors that are too bright for our eyes to see,” the rap auteur said during a concert in Washington last summer, explaining how a few puffs of nitrous oxide had recently enabled him to catch a direct glimpse into heaven. The prismatic rays he described sounded as astonishing as your imagination would allow — and then you had an opportunity to feel them on your ears during “Ultralight Beam,” a song that captured all of the beauty and bewilderment of West’s epiphany in the dental chair. “This is a God dream,” the lyrics went. “This is everything.”

Philip K. Dick saw his beams a few days after seeing the dentist. But once they started, they didn’t let up for weeks….

(12) GAME OF THRONES CAKE UPSMANSHIP. A lot of people run photos on Reddit bragging about their Game of Thrones themed cakes. Click through and judge for yourself whose is the mightiest.

(13) TOAST OF TRANSYLVANIA. Dracula said, “I never drink…wine,” but maybe you do? Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon in a bottle with a cape – is that cute, or what?

Full-bodied with Blackberry and Dark Cherry aromas, with just the right amount of Oak flavors leading to a lingering finish. Classic, small-lot fermentations, followed by aging with Oak, gives full expression to the rich varietal flavors in this wine.

(14) MORE THINGS. Stranger Things Season 2 final trailer. IanP asks, “Is it just me or does Eleven look very Frodo’ish?”

[Thanks to Gary Farber, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, IanP, and Bence Pinter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day OGH!]

58 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/13/17 Pixel the Thirteenth, Part Scroll

  1. @Lenora Rose

    I don’t think the government is supposed to be able to use eminent domain against the sovereign lands of the various Indigenous peoples.

    Ah, I missed the reference to “sovereign.” That’s a bit of US law I’ve never understood very well. Native Americans have a limited amount of sovereignty, but they’re still US citizens and ultimately under US law, and how those things play off against each other I’m not entirely sure. But, as you say, this land wasn’t clearly theirs.

  2. That particular pipeline company is notorious for leakage from its pipes. The material being carried – it’s more a slurry than actual oil – is known to be corrosive. And I heard that the EIR was done by a company that’s connected to them. (FWIW, I worked at a gas-distribution company. My job included reading maps and construction drawings.)

  3. ProPublica had a nice article on the dangers of pipelines back in 2012. The upshot is that problems do happen, mostly with older pipelines. Newer ones are built to higher standards.

    The trouble is that perfection is impossible. We have a similar issue with air travel–some accidents are unavoidable. But if people insist on perfection, then we’ll have nothing, so demands that a system be perfect generally don’t get much traction, nor should they.

    This is why we have courts. Both sides can present their arguments and a binding decision is made. In this case, it wasn’t really possible to argue that there was a significant risk. This sort of thing happens all the time, and it does not mean companies are running the government.

  4. @Greg: The pipeline is too deep the threaten the water supply (else the protesters could have got an injunction). That requires someone trained in the law (which Poul Anderson once remarked is never of this world) to be both honest and able to evaluate the science. (IIUC there may be some options in who one applies to for an injunction — but a higher judge can overrule.)

    Also, wrt your comment that armies are money-losers: I’ve read various articles indicated that the army of the People’s Republic of China is a money-making enterprise; it’s not clear how much this has involved actual force vs going-along-to-get-along, but ISTM that this is a counterexample. And Wikipedia notes that by 1803 the army of the East India Company (cited above) was twice the size of Great Britain’s; that may have been more useful in cases of great economic imbalance, but such imbalance is just what the Kochs and their ilks are trying to recreate in the U.S.

    The Pro Publica article you link to points out that standards in other areas (e.g. airplanes) are upgraded retroactively (i.e., planes found to have a problem are grounded until they meet a new rule) while no such process applies to pipelines — meaning that if a problem is found later it won’t be fixed in existing lines. The article also says

    The specific effects of [the crude that will go through Keystone] on pipelines – and whether the heavy crude would actually lead to more accidents – is not definitively understood by scientists.

    I’d be less worried about this line if the owners were required to establish a sort of pension fund to cover monitoring and repair expenses.

  5. The pipeline is too deep the threaten the water supply (else the protesters could have got an injunction), and governments in the US can and do routinely use eminent domain to seize private property to enable projects as mundane as shopping centers.

    Oh man, so there’s a lot to unpack here. Four feet deep (which was how deep the pipeline was supposed to be in most areas) is not “too deep” to affect groundwater in the event of a leak, but regardless, the concern was that it crossed the Missouri River. The Enbridge line that basically killed the Kalamazoo was in places 65 feet deep, and yet, and yet, and yet.

    Also, I’m not sure how it works in the US, but treaty land (and First Nations land not subject to treaties) is an incredibly complex issue here, legally speaking, and eminent domain is not always legal and is certainly very rarely desirable–in fact, I have seen myself how what will often happen when infrastructure needs to be built is that the government will defer to corporations, because they can do things (in the case I saw, make “disbursements” and “gifts”) that the government can’t, effectively handing the responsibility for relations between treaty signatories to private entities because they have more power and freedom to act. However, there is a long history of private companies building their own systems that affect First Nations land and other property with impunity here (HBC actually had its own dam that flooded and effectively annexed a ton of reserve land in Saskatchewn, and when they were tired of the mess and didn’t want to clean it up, it fell on the government to accept the responsibility rather than on the corporation, who got to walk away as if they had done nothing wrong).

    Additionally, “government run” was the term I used because in America you don’t have the legal concept of the Crown Corporation, but Crown Corporations are a special class of government agency created through legislation, and they are run by various ministries at both the federal and provincial level. Sometimes they operate entirely based on collected revenues, but very often they do not, and they are not “companies” in the traditional sense.

    Also of interest to this discussion is the concept of Regulatory capture, which is an intense and ongoing problem, especially in the United States (although it’s an increasing problem here as well).

  6. The people had considered it theirs because it contained burial sites and other traditional grounds, and nobody else wanted it until this pipeline.

    Indeed. And the pipeline was moved into their territory because of concerns it was too dangerous to be near the drinking water supply of a white community.

  7. Right now I have to admit I have slightly (Very very slightly) a better understanding of sovereign land in the US than treaty territory in Canada, because Debbie Reese explained the US system in a workshop I was in, but she knew no specifics about how it works up here, only that it is similar, and weird.

    For another example of a private corporation really messing with and screwing up a government, Greg, you might want to look at the case of Omnitrax here in Manitoba, who have been stalling and demanding money to fix a rail line they neglected (the floods that destroyed it aren’t their fault but the impression is strong that it could have withstood more with better maintenance) which is the only land connection to a port town called Churchill.

  8. Yeah, the thing in Churchill is a disgrace. I grew up in NWOntario and worked for a while in the far north in Saskatchewan and the government has effectively abdicated its duties in those regions, so communities are largely dependent on whether or not they have something exploitable by a corporation if they want services, and how exploitable that resource is tends to be what determines the level of those services and how they are kept up. Even a lot of the roads and highways were private roads built for logging and mining and then just bought by the government. (Actually, the power line I built in Saskatchewan happened because a uranium processing facility needed more power, not because the local residents needed it, although they had been in desperate need for decades… that they got better power was considered a bonus; the government only acted because a for-profit company demanded it.)

    As for how we deal with state vs. corporate power on a granular, day-to-day basis, How bosses are (literally) like dictators is a great article to start with if you want to understand how for-profit companies tend to exert greater control over our lives than official state agencies.

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