(1) JURASSIC PEEK. Colin Trevorrow, co-writer of Jurassic World: Hidden Kingdom, sent out a tweet with the first six seconds of this 2018 film.
— Colin Trevorrow (@colintrevorrow) November 22, 2017
(2) AT THE CORE. James Davis Nicoll says there are “Twenty Core Urban Fantasies Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”. They include —
(3) SANTA’S VENGEANCE. Naomi Kritzer has a very handy list: “Gifts For People You Hate, 2017”. You’ll love the wine-holder. It would be unfair of me to gank the picture, so hurry there to gaze upon it.
…Sometimes you’re shopping for a gift because it’s worth that $15 to keep the peace and even though you know that, you resent every moment trying to figure out what would please this person. And that’s where my shopping guide comes in! Free yourself from the burden of trying to make an asshole happy, and embrace the idea of giving them something that won’t.
There are certain basic principles that apply every year. It should be cheap, but untraceably cheap. (Buying them a hand-crocheted who-knows-what for $2 at a thrift shop and pretending it came from a craft show is a terrific idea but you will need to make sure it looks new and doesn’t have that distinctive, identifiable Smell Of Savers wafting from it.) It should be easy to get, and it should look like a gift you might honestly have picked out because you thought they’d like it….
… There are a whole lot of terrible movies in this ad. Based on the Rotten Tomato ratings, it looks like Fifty Shades Darker is probably the absolute worst of any of the movies in here, but I do not recommend giving it to your mother-in-law, especially if there is any chance that she’ll pop it in while you’re still visiting. Warcraft is also supposed to be pretty terrible and the best anyone can say about the Angry Birds movie is that it’s better than you’d expect of a movie based on this video game. If you’re willing to splurge $8, The Emoji Movie (shown in a different section of the ad) was heavily regarded as the worst movie of 2017. For $10, you can get it on Blue-Ray!
(4) REUSED ARTWORK. Walter Jon Williams discovered a piece of cover art that is awfully popular.
John Scalzi sent me the cover of the Italian edition of his novel The Collapsing Empire, which may look just a little bit familiar to you. It uses the same piece of stock art (by Innovari) that I used for my own editions, ebook and paperback, of Angel Station.
Furthermore, I know of at least one other ebook that’s using that piece of art….
(5) CRAFT TIME. She did it herself: “A Real Wonder Woman Spends 50 Hours And $30 On Crafting This Costume From A Cheap Yoga Mat And Duct Tape”.
Some superheroes inspire people to get super crafty. Australian makeup artist and children’s party entertainer Rhylee Passfield took inspiration from everyone’s now-favorite female superhero, Wonder Woman, and using a yoga mat, duct tape, and a little magic from a heat gun, she created a wonderful costume.
“Basically, I started by duct-taping myself”, the artist explained the process to the Daily Mail Australia. “Then I cut out a pattern from the duct tape form, copied it onto a Kmart yoga mat and glued it together using contact adhesive.”
(6) BEYOND PRONOUNS. The BBC observes from across the Channel how “‘Sexist’ inclusive writing row riles France”.
The French, as is well known, are obsessed by one thing – language.
The latest topic to consume a nation of lexicologists is “inclusive writing”.
This is the attempt to erase all trace of sexism in a language where gender is a central feature – French nouns are either masculine or feminine, dictating all adjectives and some verbal forms (a point that is sometimes made painfully clear to foreigners who happen to get those wrong).
In such a charged linguistic context, the fight for sex equality is not exactly new. In recent decades the names of traditionally male professions have been feminised.
French people now often talk about “la juge” or “la ministre”. Many writers add an etymologically daring “e” to “professeure” or “auteure”.
But supporters of “inclusive writing” go further. They want to expunge any vestige of male chauvinism from the language of Molière.
…The Académie française – which, contrary to legend, not every French person regards as the final arbiter in those things – pronounced that inclusive writing constituted a “mortal danger” for the language.
(7) LEST WE RUN OUT OF ENGLISH. “Twenty-six words we don’t want to lose”:
Now, Paul Anthony Jones has compiled 366 ‘forgotten words’ in his new book The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities. It has a different phrase for every day of the year (including 29 February) – with entries ranging from ‘ambilaevous’, or ‘equally clumsy in both hands’, to ‘stirrup-cup’, ‘one last drink before a departure’. While it offers titillation for the curious mind, it also serves a more noble purpose – retrieving words from languishing unread and unspoken.
In September, academics in Britain uncovered 30 words ‘lost’ from the English language: researchers spent three months looking through old dictionaries to find them, in the hope they could bring the words back into modern conversations.
Purist Chip Hitchcock, who provided the link, adds: “I’ve sent a complaint about their referring to Smoot’s ‘attempt’ to measure the Harvard Bridge.”
(8) PLUMBING THE DEPTHS. Superversive SF, seeking new lows to descend to, harassed K. Tempest Bradford with remarks like this —
No I just think you are a vile human being. I'm quite familiar with your work and your habit of darkening your photos to appear more "authentic". I just ran with the setup given.
— superversivesf (@superversivesf) November 24, 2017
Bradford responded with a long tweet soliloquy worth a look. While there doesn’t seem to be an individual tweet that links to the whole exchange, they aren’t difficult to find on her page.
(9) JUSTUS OBIT. Meg Justus (1959-2017), who published supernatural historicals as MM Justus died November 22 of cancer. Prior to her death she prepared this obituary for her blog:
But Meg’s true passions were writing and travel. She published a number of books under the moniker M.M. Justus. She liked to say what she wrote was 90% history and 10% fantasy, set in the Old West. Due to her background she was a stickler about getting the history right, and her books were set in places she’d traveled to herself. Her travels included two long trips of multiple months each; the first was documented in the travel memoir Cross-Country.
She liked to call herself a professional dilettante. Her other passions included quilting and other needlework, gardening, meteorology, and wild plant identification, especially wildflowers.
Meg is survived by her three older sisters, Susan Moore, Nancy Nowell, and Ann Mattas, her best friend of 52 years Jan Hanken, who was the sister she should have had, and more wonderful friends than she ever expected to make.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
- November 23, 1963 – The first Doctor Who aired in the UK.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- November 23, 1887 – Boris Karloff
(12) FLAT EARTH. Will he wind up flatter than the Earth? “‘I Don’t Believe In Science,’ Says Flat-Earther Set To Launch Himself In Own Rocket”.
On Saturday, a limousine driver plans to launch himself on a mile-long flight over the Mojave Desert in a rocket of his own making.
His name is “Mad” Mike Hughes, his steam-powered rocket is built of salvaged metals, his launch pad is repurposed from a used mobile home — and he is confident this will mark the first step toward proving the Earth is flat, after all.
“It’s the most interesting story in the world,” Hughes told The Associated Press of his jury-rigged quest to overturn more than two millennia of scientific knowledge. And the whole thing is costing him just $20,000, according to the AP. (It goes without saying, but we’ll say this anyway: Do not try this at home — or anywhere.)
“I don’t believe in science,” Hughes added. “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”
(13) THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES. Or so it looks from space: “Earth Is Lit, And That’s A Problem”
The ever-widening use of artificial lights is making the nighttime Earth glow increasingly brighter, with the amount of global light growing about 2 percent each year.
That worries advocates for the protection of dark skies, who say that artificial night glow can affect wildlife like migrating birds and keeps people from connecting to the stars. What’s more, they say, all that wasted light sent out into space is effectively wasted money.
The findings are in a new study in the journal Science Advances that used five years of data from a satellite launched in 2011. This satellite has an instrument that gives scientists a more reliable way to measure nighttime light than they’ve had in the past.
(14) GLOBAL WARMING WITH THAT? “Deep fat fryers may help form cooling clouds”
Fatty acids released into the air from cooking may contribute to the formation of clouds that cool the climate, say scientists.
Fatty acid molecules comprise about 10% of fine particulates over London, and such particles help seed clouds.
But researchers dismiss the idea that cooking fats could be used as a geo-engineering tool to reduce warming.
Instead, the research is designed to help reduce uncertainties about the role of cooking fats on climate.
Researchers believe the fatty molecules arrange themselves into complex 3-D structures in atmospheric droplets.
These aerosols persist for longer than normal and can seed the formation of clouds which experts say can have a cooling effect on the climate.
(15) MR. MEMORY. Little Brother is watching, too: “More than 480 web firms record ‘every keystroke'”.
Hundreds of web firms are tracking every single keystroke made by visitors, a study from Princeton University has suggested.
The technique – known as session replay – is used by companies to gain an understanding of how customers use websites.
More than 480 websites used the technique, according to the study.
Experts questioned the legality of using such software without user consent.
“These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behaviour, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers,” the researchers said in a blog.
(16) ARTS AND SCIENCES. From BBC we learn, “World’s only particle accelerator for art is back at the Louvre”.
The world’s only particle accelerator used regularly in the analysis of art has gone back into use at the Louvre museum in Paris.
The accelerator has been rebuilt to allow it to investigate paintings without risking damage to the artworks.
The upgrade cost €2.1m (£1.8m; $2.5m). The machine is 37m (88ft) long.
Paintings were rarely analysed with earlier versions of the accelerator because of fears that the particle beam might change the colours.
(17) TODAY’S LYRIC. Dave Hutchinson, author of the Fractured Europe trilogy and the Tor.com novella Acadie, broke out in song – with emphasis on the broke,
This is why they won't give you a Hugo award.
— ColumPaget (@ColumPaget) November 23, 2017
(18) FILE MAINTENANCE. If you’re not getting comment notifications from File770.com, it may be possible that you have hit the individual thread comment subscription limit. Not that I really know about how comment notifications work — I have no control over it, and just use what Jetpack provides.
However, there are Filers who have gone into their WP dashboard and deleted a bunch of subscriptions, or have abandoned individual thread subscriptions and just turned on “All Comments for File 770,” and reported afterwards that they’re getting notifications again. So if you are having this problem, give it a whirl.
[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, mlex, Martin Morse Wooster, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]