Pixel Scroll 1/24/20 I Pass The Test. I Will Comment, And Go Into The Thread, And Remain Galadriel

(1) TFL. Alasdair Stuart’s The Full Lid (24th January 2020) is filled to overflowing —

This week TFL takes a look at all the iconic characters getting third acts, what’s good, what’s bad and who’s missing. I also take a look at the excellent charity ‘zine Visitor’s Pass, inspired by The Magnus Archives, process the emotions of my partner finally being out of the Visa system, embrace the joy of getting weird fiction-related and talk about what’s next for The Full Lid.

Signal Boost this week covers upcoming show PodUK2020 and Escape Artists’ role there, fiercely inventive RPG Trophy hitting Kickstarter, Rachel E. Beck‘s latest cyberpunk thriller becoming available for pre-order and friend and colleague Kit Power prepping to launch the crowdfunding campaign for the first collection of his superb Ginger Nuts of Horror column, My Life in Horror

Here’s an excerpt:

Keep a very, very close eye on the Captain’s Biography series from Titan. Firstly because they’re immense fun (the ‘Edited by’ tag kills me every time) and secondly because they’re a useful canary. Or to put it another way, we’ll know the Pike-Era Enterprise show is a go (and I’m 99% sure it is), once the Chris Pike biography is announced…

Anyway, Janeway is a perfect fit for the Picard treatment. She successfully guided a disparate crew home across an incalculable distance, assisted in dealing a near-mortal blow to Starfleet’s most relentless enemy and happily accepted a promotion, something we know Picard struggled to do. I’d love to see a show following her in the same time period. Interestingly, and with typical eloquence, Kate Mulgrew is less sure. I can see why too. (Incidentally, Mulgrew is fantastic as the narrator of The Space Race, which I’ll be writing about the remainder of here shortly.)

(2) SURVIVOR. CrimeReads’ Maureen Johnson provides “Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village”.

It’s happened. You’ve finally taken that dream trip to England. You have seen Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park. You rode in a London cab and walked all over the Tower of London. Now you’ve decided to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and stretch your legs in the verdant countryside of these green and pleasant lands. You’ve seen all the shows. You know what to expect. You’ll drink a pint in the sunny courtyard of a local pub. You’ll wander down charming alleyways between stone cottages. Residents will tip their flat caps at you as they bicycle along cobblestone streets. It will be idyllic.

Unless you end up in an English Murder Village. It’s easy enough to do. You may not know you are in a Murder Village, as they look like all other villages. So when you visit Womble Hollow or Shrimpling or Pickles-in-the-Woods or Nasty Bottom or Wombat-on-Sea or wherever you are going, you must have a plan. Below is a list of sensible precautions you can take on any trip to an English village. Follow them and you may just live….

 (3) THAT’S THE QUESTION. “Quiz of the week: Do you know Jones’s Python characters?” This week’s BBC News Quiz leads off with a Python question. How many Filers will get it?

(4) FADED. NPR film reviewer Mark Jenkins finds“No Love, Little Craft In Pulpy Body-Horror Flick ‘Color Out Of Space’ “.

It wasn’t like any color I’d ever seen before,” explains a dazed New England patriarch, trying to describe the unearthly phenomena at the center of Color Out of Space. Such an assertion might work in “The Colour Out of Space,” the 1927 story by H.P. Lovecraft, whose work oozes with mysteries that can’t be fully comprehended or even perceived. But viewers of the movie have already seen the unearthly hue by the time it’s so described.

It’s purple.

So are many things in this indigestible stew of modern sci-fi and antiquarian horror, notably Nicolas Cage’s characteristically unhinged performance. Cage plays Nathan Gardner, a failed painter and would-be farmer who’s frantic to protect his wife, three kids, dog, and flock of alpacas. Alpacas? They’re among many additions to the tale that would bewilder its original creator.

Like this movie, Lovecraft’s pulp-fiction mythos combines extraterrestrial and occult threats, although the author was never concerned with plausible science. So it’s not such a stretch that the first Gardner to be introduced is one invented altogether by the filmmakers: teenage Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), whose blonde tresses are partly dyed, yes, purple. She’s an aspiring witch spied by the movie’s narrator, visiting hydrologist Ward Phillips (Elliot Knight), as she’s performing a ritual in the woods.

…In the original, the narrator arrives years after the events have occurred, and struggles to piece it all together. His investigation leaves questions and doubts, allowing readers to complete the story in their heads and decide for themselves what they believe. Color Out of Space takes a more explicit, less artful course: It turns ominous possibilities into a gory mess that proves utterly unbelievable.

(5) SOMTOW’S NEW OPERA. A story behind a paywall at the Financial Times, however, I was able to access the article from Google (no idea if that will work for you.) The headline is: “Helena Citrónová — Somtow Sucharitkul’s Auschwitz-set opera premieres in Bangkok.”

A work of intriguing moral ambiguity was sung with passionate commitment at the Thailand Cultural Centre 

When he first saw the BBC’s landmark 2005 documentary on Auschwitz, the Thai-born, British-educated composer and author Somtow Sucharitkul was immediately struck by a Slovakian prisoner’s interview about her relationship with a Nazi officer. Sensing its operatic potential, he soon fashioned a libretto inspired by their story. 

The music came later, mostly in fits and starts. But last autumn Somtow unveiled a suite from the opera during a European concert tour, and the piece quickly gained traction after a broadcast in Slovakia. All this helps explain why, amid this month’s 75th anniversary commemorations of the liberation of Auschwitz, the opera Helena Citrónová made its premiere last week in Bangkok with the imprimatur of the German and Israeli ambassadors to Thailand. 

Opera Siam, which Somtow originally formed as the Bangkok Opera in 2001, is a scrappy outfit largely moulded from its founder’s diverse interests. Halfway through presenting south-east Asia’s first Ring Cycle — its Siegfried has been postponed at least twice — the company began devoting resources to Somtow’s epic cycle Ten Lives of the Buddha (it has now reached chapter six).

Emotionally, the evening took its cues directly from Cassandra Black’s Helena and Falko Hönisch’s Nazi guard Franz Wunsch, who acutely revealed their emotional range in one standout scene, in which Franz is interrogated and Helena is tortured (at opposite ends of the stage), smoothly transitioning from dramatic quartet to lyrical love duet. Other standouts (in multiple roles) were Stella Grigorian’s maternal presence as Helena’s sister and Franz’s mother, and Damian Whiteley’s all-round villainy as both chief prisoner and a German captain.

(6) A MERE FORCE GHOST OF ITSELF. Variety says things are looking dark: “Obi-Wan Kenobi Series at Disney Plus Loses Writer, Seeks to Overhaul Scripts”.

Pre-production on the Obi-Wan Kenobi-focused TV series in the works at Disney Plus has been put on hold as the streamer and Lucasfilm look to overhaul early scripts and find new writers, sources tell Variety.

Hossein Amini had been attached to write. The news follows recent talk that the entire series was being scrapped altogether.

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 24, 1969 Trek’s “That Which Survives” first aired on NBC.

“What is it, Jim?”

“A planet that even Spock can’t explain.”

– McCoy and Kirk, on the Kalandan outpost

This episode has the Enterprise crew members stranded on a ghost planet and terrorized by Losira, the image of a beautiful woman. (Former Miss America Lee Meriwether plays her.) It was the seventeenth episode of the final season.  It was directed by Herb Wallerstein. It was written by John Meredyth Lucas as based on a story by D.C. Fontana under the pseudonym Michael Richards. In her original “Survival” story, Losira is much more brutal, and actively encourages the crew to turn on each other and fight.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 24, 1911 C. L. Moore. Author and wife of Henry Kuttner until his death in 1958. Their collaborative work resulted in such delightful works as “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” and “Vintage Season”, both of which were turned into films which weren’t as good as the stories. She had a strong writing career prior to her marriage as well with such fiction as “Shambleau” which involves her most famous character Northwest Smith. I’d also single out “Nymph of Darkness” which she wrote with Forrest J Ackerman. I’ll not overlook her Jirel of Joiry, one of the first female sword and sorcery characters, and the “Black God’s Kiss” story is the first tale she wrote of her adventures. She retired from writing genre fiction after Kuttner died, writing only scripts for writing episodes of Sugarfoot, MaverickThe Alaskans and 77 Sunset Strip, in the late fifties and early sixties. Checking iBooks, Deversion Books offers a nearly eleven-hundred page collection of their fiction for a mere three bucks. Is their work in the public domain now? (Died 1987.)
  • Born January 24, 1917 Ernest Borgnine. I think his first genre role was Al Martin in Willard but if y’all know of something earlier I’m sure you’ll tell me. He’s Harry Booth in The Black Hole, a film whose charms still escape me entirely. Next up for him is the cabbie in the superb Escape from New York. In the same year, he was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor as Isaiah Schmidt in the horror film Deadly Blessing. A few years later, he’s The Lion in a version of Alice in WonderlandMerlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders is horror and his Grandfather isn’t that kindly. He voices Kip Killigan in Small Soldiers which I liked, and I think his last role was voicing Command in Enemy Mind. Series wise let’s see…  it’s possible that his first SF role was as Nargola on Captain Video and His Video Rangers way back in 1951. After that he shows up in, and I’ll just list the series for the sake of brevity, Get SmartFuture CopThe Ghost of Flight 401Airwolf where of course he’s regular cast, Treasure Island in Outer Space and Touched by an Angel. (Died 2012.)
  • Born January 24, 1937 Julie Gregg. A performer that showed up in a lot of SFF series though never in a primary role. She was in Batman: The Movie as a Nightclub Singer (uncredited) in her first genre role, followed by three appearances on the series itself, two as the Finella character; one-offs on I Dream of Genie, Bewitched, The Flying Nun, Mission: Impossible, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Incredible Hulk followed. Her only lead role was as Maggie Spencer in Mobile One which can’t even be stretched to be considered genre adjacent. (Died 2016.)
  • Born January 24, 1944 David Gerrold, 76. Let’s see… He of course scripted “The Trouble With Tribbles” which I absolutely love, wrote the amazing patch-up novel When HARLIE Was One, has his ongoing War Against the Chtorr series and wrote, with Robert J. Sawyer, Boarding the Enterprise: Transporters, Tribbles, and the Vulcan Death Grip in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. Besides his work as a novel writer, he’s been a screenwriter for Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Land of the Lost, Logan’s Run (the series), Superboy, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sliders, Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II, and Axanar. Very, very impressive.
  • Born January 24, 1949 John Belushi. No, he was no in a single SFF series or film that I can mention here though he did voice work on one such undertaking early in his career that I’ll not mention here as it’s clearly pornographic in nature. No, he’s here for his brilliant parody of Shatner as Captain Kirk which he did on Saturday Night Live which you can watch here. (Died 1982.)
  • Born January 24, 1967 Phil LaMarr, 53. Best known I think for his voice work which, and this is a partial list, includes Young Justice (Aquaman among others), the lead role on Static Shock, John Stewart aka Green Lantern on Justice League Unlimited, Robbie Robertson on The Spectacular Spider-Man, various roles on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and T’Shan on Black Panther. Live roles include playing a Jazz singer in the  “Shoot Up the Charts” episode of Get Smart, a doctor on The Muppets in their ”Generally Inhospitable” segment, a lawyer in the “Weaponizer” episode of Lucifer and the voice of Rag Doll in the “All Rag Doll’d Up” episode of The Flash
  • Born January 24, 1970 Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, 50. It’s been awhile since I’ve done an academic so let’s have one. He’s not a specialist — instead he’s tackled the Gothic (The Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic), cult television (Return to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory, and Genre on Television), popular culture (Critical Approaches to Welcome to Night Vale: Podcasting Between Weather and the Void) and even cult film (Reading Rocky: The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Popular Culture). His The Age of Lovecraft anthology (co-edited with Carl Sederhlm) has an interview by him with China Miéville on Lovecraft.  
  • Born January 24, 1985 Remy Ryan, 35. You most likely remember as her as ever-so-cute hacker urchin in RoboCop 3 who saves the day at the end of that film. She actually had her start in acting in Beauty and the Beast at four and was in The Flash a year later. At twelve, she’s in Mann & Machine. A year later is when she’s that urchin. Her last genre undertaking was in The Lost Room eight years ago and she retired from acting not long after.

(9) RETRO ROCKETS. Cora Buhlert covers another 1944 contender — “Retro Review: ‘The Lake’ by Ray Bradbury”.

“The Lake” is a short story by Ray Bradbury, which was first published in the May 1944 issue of Weird Tales and is therefore eligible for the 1945 Retro Hugos. The story may be found online here. This review is also crossposted to Retro Science Fiction Reviews.

Warning: There will be spoilers in the following….

(10) OVER THERE. Galactic Journey’s Mark Yon review two new (in 1965) issues of British prozines: “[January 24, 1965] A New Beginning… New Worlds and Science Fantasy Magazine, January/February 1965”.

Summing up New Worlds

New Worlds is an eclectic mixture this month and there are signs that Moorcock is making his own stamp on the magazine. The addition of factual science articles and more literary reviews reflect this, and it must be said that the expansion of literary criticism has been one of Mike’s intentions since he took over as Editor. It’ll be interesting to see how the regular readers respond to it.

By including such material of course means that there’s less space for fiction, and I suspect that whilst that might ease Moorcock’s load a little – he is writing and editing a fair bit of it, after all – it may not sit well with readers. But then we are now monthly…

(11) TROPES IN SPACE. If, like me, you don’t remember ever hearing about 1990’s computer game “Master of Orion”, no problem — Digital Antiquarian tells us everything we missed. And about a few other PC sff games, too.

…A new game of Master of Orion begins with you choosing a galaxy size (from small to huge), a difficulty level (from simple to impossible), and a quantity of opposing aliens to compete against (from one to five). Then you choose which specific race you would like to play; you have ten possibilities in all, drawing from a well-worn book of science-fiction tropes, from angry cats in space to hive-mind-powered insects, from living rocks to pacifistic brainiacs, alongside the inevitable humans. Once you’ve made your choice, you’re cast into the deep end — or rather into deep space — with a single half-developed planet, a colony ship for settling a second planet as soon as you find a likely candidate, two unarmed scout ships for exploring for just such a candidate, and a minimal set of starting technologies.

(12) ABOUT WHAT YOU’D EXPECT. Mad Genius Club’s Peter Grant hasn’t quite learned how to fake sincerity: “Things To Ponder”.

…Whilst I don’t sexually objectify (or subjectify, for that matter) attack helicopters in any way (the ones I saw in my younger days, I was usually trying to shoot down!), and I’m more of a transgressor than a transgender, I nevertheless sympathize with the author.

(13) DEER LORD ABOVE, WHY? SYFY Wire reports “Bambi to get The Lion King treatment as latest Disney ‘live-action’ remake”.

The Lion King won’t be the only Disney film about an animal losing a parent to be made even more realistic and emotional thanks to modern technology. Now the 1942 animated classic Bambi will be getting what Disney calls a “live-action” remake (even though it’s actually impressive CGI that aims to be photoreal).

(14) THE MUMMY SPEAKS. “Egyptian priest’s voice heard 3,000 years after death” — 2-second video.

The voice of a 3,000-year-old ancient Egyptian priest has been recreated using cutting-edge 3D printing and speech technology.

Nesyamun’s voice was reproduced as a vowel-like sound that is reminiscent of a sheep’s bleat.

The research – carried out by academics at Royal Holloway, University of London, the University of York and Leeds Museum – is published in the Scientific Reports journal.

He distinctly said “To blave.”

(15) MMM-MMM-GOOD? “Space cookies: First food baked in space by astronauts”.

Chocolate chip cookies have become the first food to be baked in space in a first-of-its-kind experiment.

Astronauts baked the cookies in a special zero-gravity oven at the International Space Station (ISS) last month.

Sealed in individual baking pouches, three of the cookies returned to Earth on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on 7 January.

The aim of the experiment was to study cooking options for long-haul trips.

The results of the experiment, carried out by astronauts Luca Parmitano and Christina Koch, were revealed this week.

The question is: how do they taste? The answer: nobody knows, yet

A spokesman for Double Tree, the company that supplied the dough, told the BBC the cookies would “soon undergo additional testing by food science professionals to determine the final results of the experiment”.

These tests will establish whether the cookies are safe to eat.

(16) PROTO ST. AQUIN. “What we can learn about robots from Japan”, according to BBC writer Amos Zeeberg.

While the West tends to see robots and artificial intelligence as a threat, Japan has a more philosophical view that has led to the country’s complex relationship with machines.

At a certain 400-year-old Buddhist temple, visitors can stroll through peaceful stone gardens, sit for a quiet cup of tea, and receive Buddhist teachings from an unusual priest: an android named Mindar. It has a serene face and neutral appearance, neither old nor young, male nor female. Beyond the realistic skin covering its head and upper torso, it looks unfinished and industrial, with exposed tubes and machinery. But Mindar is philosophically quite sophisticated, discoursing on an abstruse Buddhist text called the Heart Sutra.

If you had to figure out where you could find this robotic priest, you might need only one guess to conclude it’s in Japan, at the beautiful Kodai-ji Temple in Kyoto. Japan has long been known as a nation that builds and bonds with humanoid robots more enthusiastically than any other. While this reputation is often exaggerated abroad – Japanese homes and businesses are not densely populated by androids, as hyperventilating headlines imply – there is something to it.

Some observers of Japanese society say that the country’s indigenous religion, Shinto, explains its fondness for robots. Shinto is a form of animism that attributes spirits, or kami, not only to humans but to animals, natural features like mountains, and even quotidien objects like pencils. “All things have a bit of soul,” in the words of Bungen Oi, the head priest of a Buddhist temple that held funerals for robotic companion dogs.

According to this view, there is no categorical distinction between humans, animals, and objects, so it is not so strange for a robot to demonstrate human-like behaviours – it’s just showing its particular kind of kami. “For Japanese, we can always see a deity inside an object,” says Kohei Ogawa, Mindar’s lead designer.

Japan’s animism stands in contrast with the philosophical traditions of the West. Ancient Greeks were animistic in that they saw spirits in natural places like streams, but they thought of the human soul and mind as distinctly separate from and above the rest of nature.

(17) FAST SHOOTING. Via Slashdot: “Ultrafast Camera Takes 1 Trillion Frames Per Second of Transparent Objects, Phenomena”.

After developing the world’s fastest camera a little over a year ago, Caltech’s Lihong Wang decided that wasn’t good enough and started working on an even faster device. A new paper published in the journal Science Advances details a new camera from Wang that can take up to 1 trillion pictures per second of transparent objects.

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Le Silence de la Rue” on Vimeo, Marie Opron discusses the hazards of city life.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Michael Toman, Jeffrey Smith, Daniel Dern, N., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

58 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/24/20 I Pass The Test. I Will Comment, And Go Into The Thread, And Remain Galadriel

  1. (15) i understand they had to bake the cookies for two hours. Sounds like the oven is a little underpowered.

  2. (7) By neither count (production or broadcast order) is “That Which Survives” the seventh episode of season 3; it was 14th of 24 in production order, and 17th in broadcast order, as best I can determine.

    (I saw it first-run, for what that’s worth.)

  3. 4) They’ve made it almost impossible to see this film on the big screen. GRRM’s theater has it this weekend, and I live in driving distance – but I’m in Seattle for Conflikt instead.

    8) Borgnine also shared the screen with William Shatner, John Travolta, and Anton Szandor LaVey in the just-too-bad-to-be-good horror film The Devil’s Rain.

  4. 9) Thanks for the link, Mike. 🙂

    12) It’s amazing how Grant manages to find links to post that are as bad as his own attempts. It’s also telling how quickly puppies morph into champions of tansgender rights, when they can use them as a club against people they dislike.

  5. Three strong shots of nostalgia today:

    Airwolf. Concentrated 80’s action, with Ernest Borgnine lightening up Jan-Michael Vincent’s steely stoicism. (Met EB at a convention, got his autograph, promptly misplaced it. I should dig it out.)

    Phil LaMarr is the (minimalist) voice of Samurai Jack. That is all ye need know.

    And MOO was fun, but MOO2 was the king.

    Thanks for the reminders!

  6. Ernest Borgnine. I think his first genre role was Al Martin in Willard but if y’all know of something earlier I’m sure you’ll tell me.

    In addition to playing Nargola on CAPTAIN VIDEO AND HIS VIDEO RANGERS…

    He’s in THE LAST JUDGMENT, a movie in which a voice from the sky announces the impending end of the world, so that sounds genre, too.

    He was in “The Blue-Eyed Horse,” an episode of BOB HOPE PRESENTS THE CHRYSLER THEATRE, in which he wished his gambling-addicted wife would turn into a racehorse…and she does.

    kdb

  7. 11) I remember Master of Orion and loved it. If memory serves, the aliens were drawn or just designed by Bill Willingham.

  8. 4) Hmm, Color Out of Space is indeed not in the multiplexes. It’s in Baltimore in an art house/independent movie theater.

    I’m amazed that its Rotten Tomatoes score is in the 80s. The trailer did not inspire me to go see it.

    Of course, I don’t know how you’re supposed to film a previously unknown color, but I could have solved that problem with one line in the script, if anyone had asked me. “If you try and photograph it it looks purple, but in real life it’s nothing like purple.” (Maybe a line like that is in there; I don’t know, and probably never will.)

  9. There was a German adaptation of “Color out of Space”, quite recently, which addressed the problem by the simple expedient of filming in black and white, so that the “Color” automatically stood out when they added it in. (It was shocking pink in this one… but most of their other choices were good ones; the story was transplanted from New England to central Europe, but it was a mostly faithful and fairly effective adaptation.)

  10. 12) Not the first attempt to fake sincerity I’ve seen that fails at “a transgender”, interestingly. You’d think a bit of common sense would be enough to spot the problem.

  11. (3) Just for the staistic: I got it, because I knew the other ones were him.

    11) Masters of Orion I really liked – the first one was easy enough to play, the sequel made things too complicated/micromanagement for me.

  12. (12) ABOUT WHAT YOU’D EXPECT.

    That Peter Grant is unironically quoting from a piece about the Dunning-Kruger effect made me laugh out loud. 😀

     
    Eric S. Raymond: My wife bootstrapped herself out of a hardscrabble working-class background after 1975 to become a partner at a law firm, but the way she did it would be unavailable to anyone outside the 1 in 100 of her peers at or above the IQ required to earn a graduate degree. She didn’t need that IQ to be a lawyer; she needed it to get the sheepskin that said she was allowed to be a lawyer.

    Because we all want to pay large sums of money for attorneys who aren’t smart enough to learn what they need to know in order to be competent attorneys, am I right? 🙄

     
    Quoted article: There are systems that can predict the outcome of legal disputes

    It’s interesting that Grant fails to recognize that there is a difference between predicted outcomes and correct or legally-just outcomes.

     
    And yes, that attempt to fake sincerity on Grant’s part is really something to see.

  13. I reckon this is genre-adjacent, since her name is Crowley. And she’s a cat:

    Crowley’s Song (with apologies to John Denver)

    You fill up my cat bowls
    With the wet and the dry food
    You clean out my litter
    You remove all the poo
    You tickle my tummy
    I scratch and I bite you
    Look here’s my tummy
    Let me scratch you again

  14. (4) I much prefer Overly Sarcastic Production’s take on The Color Out of Space (and Lovecraft in general)

  15. @12: “Always be sincere… whether you mean it or not.” (Michael Flanders, “The Reluctant Cannibal”

    @14: [snortle]

    @15: I was amused to be handed a presumably Earth-baked cookie of that recipe by a DoubleTree clerk last night.

    @Cora Buhlert: when they can use them as a club against other people they dislike. FTFY — ISTM that the Puppies are becoming what the Russians are portrayed in the US as being: sowers of discord (much more than proponents of a specific position), in the expectation that they’ll do better if the rest of the world is in chaos.

    @peer: I didn’t remember the one it wasn’t, but should have gotten by elimination-by-ear — went with trying-to-reason instead of my first reaction. OTOH, I got all 5 of the real others, which is better than I usually do.

    @JJ: often as I disagree with Raymond, I look at how little of either set of coursework (chemistry and computers) I eventually used and wonder how many people would have failed those courses but still contributed at least as much as I did professionally. Passing tests or academic courses can give one an unreal idea of one’s real-life abilities; this may be even more true in US law practice, which doesn’t formally separate barrister- and solicitor-level work.
    OTGH, the quote (I don’t have the stomach to read the whole article) is ironic coming from the right for another reason: I was on-site when Richard Herrnstein first published the racist IQ-is-everything ideas that Shockley was more nationally notorious for (and that Herrnstein became nationally known for a couple of decades later).

  16. Chip Hitchcock: I look at how little of either set of coursework (chemistry and computers) I eventually used and wonder how many people would have failed those courses but still contributed at least as much as I did professionally.

    I have only a Bachelor’s degree in computer science & engineering, but one of the things I was pleasantly astonished by when I first got out into to the working world was just how much my courses had prepared me to know what I was doing. For instance, I could pick up massive technical manuals for operating systems and utilities, and actually understand what I was reading. I’ve been able to teach myself and become competent in more than a dozen different languages simply by checking a book out of the library, because of the basics I learned at university.

    Certainly I’ve had a number of co-workers over the years who had Bachelor’s degrees and were less than competent, but I have yet to have a co-worker with an Associate’s degree (or certificate-type qualification) who was competent (and I have had quite a few of them). I’m quite sure such people do exist, but I haven’t worked with any. So while I agree that attaining a degree isn’t a guarantee of competence, I definitely believe that it’s more indicative than not having a degree. And I wouldn’t hire an attorney who couldn’t pass the legal courses required to become one.

  17. @JJ In Vermont it’s still possible to become a lawyer via apprenticeship rather than law school, or at least it was when I was in college and we had someone in to talk to one of our conflict-resolution classes about lawyering and he discussed it briefly. (He did mention that while it’s technically still possible it’s very rare if it happens at all.)

  18. Filers may be interested to note that the proximate cause of the RWA explosion is repeating in general fiction; a US citizen with a Puerto Rican background wrote a novel about a Mexican migrant and claimed (as in the RWA case) to have done serious research, but missed on enough points that the initial praises (including from Oprah) are getting a lot of pushback. I first saw the story on NPR, but the uproar has reached the ears of the BBC (enough that it was on their featured-stories sidebar yesterday). I don’t see anything in either story suggesting that the author had editorial consultation/assistance from some person closer to the matter than she was.

  19. @Peace is My Middle Name: Good to see another OSP fan! I like a lot of their videos on folklore/mythology/story tropes, and some of the history ones are quite interesting too.

    I remember wondering how the “Color Out of Space” adaptation was going to turn out when I first heard about it. Visually representing a color that isn’t like any natural color seems like a different kind of challenge than just using modern SFX/VFX to make a more physical entity not look horribly cheesy.

  20. (15) i understand they had to bake the cookies for two hours. Sounds like the oven is a little underpowered.

    High elevation?

    the proximate cause of the RWA explosion is repeating in general fiction; a US citizen with a Puerto Rican background wrote a novel about a Mexican migrant and claimed (as in the RWA case) to have done serious research

    Chip, this isn’t what the RWA meltdown was about. Milan and the Twitter mob went after an editor they thought had conservative views, trying to get her fired from working as an acquisitions editor for different publishers. Her name doesn’t normally appear in the articles about it because she avoided entering into the conflict. When other’s in the industry tried to defend her, Milan turned on them, resulting in the official complaints.

  21. @P J Evans: I noticed the cooking time, but didn’t see much explanation. A previous story said this was a custom oven, but I haven’t seen whether it was tiny so as not to overload the ISS power supply or to minimize launch weight, or whether it was deliberately run at very low power because this was the first real test and they wanted to be careful about fire and odors. Maybe they should have put a Fresnel lens in front of a window, as Bester suggested 60 years ago in “Gourmet Dining in Outer Space”. (AFAICT this wouldn’t actually work because the ISS always faces the Earth, with the solar panels rotating to follow the Sun, but it was a cute idea for 60 years ago.)

  22. @Nina Given how easily CGI can dip into the uncanny valley, it seems like that medium should be perfect for depicting lovecraftian monstrosities on screen. Though how to depict something uncanny enough to be unsettling without looking like nothing more than a bad special effect is beyond my wheelhouse…

  23. Have we discussed the twitter buzz about how the new US Space Force logo looks like the Star Trek logo? Here’s the CNN tweet on the subject.

    I suggest that the central object of the logo looks like the spacecraft from Asteroids. In theory, the US Space Force would be doing Asteroids like things: destroying threatening asteroids and shooting hostile UFOs.

    Others have pointed out that it’s pretty close to the US Air Force’s current Space Command logo. The Great emblem of the Russian Space Forces also uses a pointy space ship in the center.

  24. “The first cookie – baked for 25 minutes – was undercooked, but the second – baked for 75 minutes – released a fresh scent in the ISS”

    And they weren’t allowed to eat them after filling an enclosed space with fresh-baked cookie smell? Is that allowed under the Geneva Convention?

    Seriously, what’s the big deal about having to send them home to be tested? Baking isn’t rocket science, even if you needed rocket science to get to the oven.

  25. Heh, I actually still have Masters of Orion II installed on my system, even though my OS isn’t even a cousin of the one it used! (Thank you, DosBox developers.) 🙂 MOO2 was definitely the best of the series, although I and III each had some nice features.

    I’ve also got FreeOrion, an open source game inspired by (but not a blind clone of) the MOO series. It hasn’t yet reached 1.0 status, but the basic 4X features are working well enough for decent entertainment.

    (Looking at the Wikipedia article on 4X, it seems that the term was first coined to describe MOO; a bit of historical trivia I definitely did not know.)

  26. Lela E Buis on January 25, 2020 at 8:50 am said:

    Milan and the Twitter mob went after an editor they thought had conservative views

    Racist views! Despite what some on both sides of the political divide would like us to believe, “racist” and “conservative” are not synonyms, and, frankly, it’s an insult to (at least some) conservatives to equate them like this!

  27. @15:

    I suspect the problem with the oven is that convection doesn’t work well (if at all) in zero-g: “hot air rises” only works where “up” is meaningful.

    As Flanders and Swann remind me, heat can pass by conduction, by convection, or by radiation. Those sealed pouches suggest that the cookies don’t actually touch the oven, or even the air that’s being heated, so there probably isn’t much heating by conduction either. That leaves only heating by radiation; of course the cookies took longer to bake than they do on Earth, and if anything I’m surprised that they astronauts were surprised that adding five minutes was insufficient.

    Fortunately, I already have some cookies, so I can ignore the question of whether 300F is better than or even as good as 325, or just more suitable to the hardware they have.

  28. Lela,

    What timeline are you checking in from? In ours (Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon, in July 1969), the RWA staff quietly disappeared Milan’s valid complaints, while accepting a complaint against her by someone who RWA’s rules said had no standing. They also claimed that they had evidence against Milan that they only mentioned after ruling against her, thus giving her no chance to refute it. (Unlike Milan, I am not a lawyer, but making decisions based on not merely secret evidence but secret charges is unfair even if someone managed to come up with a set of rules that make it technically legal.)

    I don’t believe that all conservatives are racists–but if you don’t want to be, or sound like, a racist, it’s a bad idea to get your talking points from racists.

  29. Lela E Buis: this isn’t what the RWA meltdown was about. Milan and the Twitter mob went after an editor they thought had conservative views, trying to get her fired from working as an acquisitions editor for different publishers. Her name doesn’t normally appear in the articles about it because she avoided entering into the conflict. When other’s in the industry tried to defend her, Milan turned on them, resulting in the official complaints.

    I guess you haven’t been paying attention to File 770 lately — otherwise you wouldn’t have tried on such a blatant lie. Mike has covered the RWA meltdown here extensively, and so most people here are quite well-educated about what has actually gone down.

    Courtney Milan tweeted about an extremely racist book which had been re-published 6 years ago. She and other authors of color had registered complaints about racist behavior from staff and members, and these complaints were thrown away and not acted upon. In the meantime, members of the RWA directorate encouraged a white writer and publisher to file complaints against Milan which turned out to be baseless and fabricated (aka, “lies”). RWA’s mandate is to represent authors, not publishers, and especially not racist authors or publishers. Their organization, which was stacked with authors in positions of leadership who had engaged in either racist behavior, support of racist behavior, or punitive actions towards authors of color, is now falling apart as the details of all this malfeasance have started to become public.

    Once you’ve had a chance to read up on the whole debacle, do feel free to come back and engage again — using actual facts this time.

    Courtney Milan Suspended by RWA, Banned from Leadership

    Courtney Milan Controversy Decimates RWA Leadership

    (1) TINGLE.

    As Criticism Snowballs, RWA Keeps Trying to Justify Treatment of Courtney Milan

    (5) MORE ON MILAN.

    Kathryn Davis Says RWA Encouraged Her To File Ethics Complaint Against Courtney Milan

    (1) RWA CANCELS RITA AWARDS.

    As More Issues Raised, RWA President Resigns, RITA Awards Postponed, and Many Publishers Withdraw Sponsorship of RWA Conference

    RWA Las Vegas Chapter Disbands in Aftermath of Courtney Milan Censure, RWA Appoints Interim Executive Director

  30. @JJ, Kit Harding: In California, you can still become a lawyer through apprenticeship. Kim Kardashian is about to take the baby bar exam after her first year of apprenticeship. I’m rooting for her! She seems to have a genuine concern for people treated badly by the criminal justice system and is working to become more effective in her concern.

  31. “When I was a lad I served a term as office boy to an attorneys firm.” — WSG
    Corrections?

  32. @Jamoche:

    Seriously, what’s the big deal about having to send them home to be tested? Baking isn’t rocket science, even if you needed rocket science to get to the oven.

    I would wonder whether the dough spent long enough at the wrong temperature to spoil, followed by not enough time at a high-enough temperature to kill whatever had multiplied. Having had a nasty case of food poisoning from a quiche left under the warmer too long, I’d be especially concerned if DoubleTree’s recipe used eggs. (Ideally the dough would have been irradiated to bar this, but we don’t know.) Sending the cookies back to Earth means there’s a lot more lab testing possible than there would be in space — and it wouldn’t get in the way of work that needs to be done in microgravity, which the analysis doesn’t. If microbiology doesn’t need to be checked, there are still tests of consistency/elasticity/crumbling of the cookie part, and whether the chocolate separated (chocolate left slightly too warm for too long can “bloom”).

    @Jeff Jones: My copy of the complete plays says “Attorney’s”. Why the question? IIUC, normally a would-be barrister wouldn’t begin so low.

  33. @Chip Hitchcock: Thanks. I was too lazy to search for the correct quote, not having my own copy.
    Or a would be “monarch of the sea”.

  34. @Chip – that makes sense! None of the articles I found said anything more than just “they can’t eat it”.

  35. @Jeff Jones: did you know that the person satirized was the Smith of now-prominent book chain W. H. Smith?

  36. @Chip Hitchcock: I don’t think I ever knew that. Now I wonder what else he was the monarch of?

  37. @JJ

    Courtney Milan tweeted about an extremely racist book

    “Extremely racist”? How about a little perspective here.
    The Turner Diaries is extremely racist. Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf are extremely racist.
    Somewhere Lies the Moon isn’t even close to that level of racist.

  38. What JJ said.

    Lela, you are constantly coming to this site and claiming things that simply aren’t true. I wish you would stop it. The disingenuousness, I mean, not the coming to the site.

  39. @Bill

    Did you happen to read Courtney Milan’s Tweet thread specifiying exactly what was wrong with the book? It starts here. I found it very informative, especially since I’m not Chinese-American and would have no idea of the offensiveness of some of this stuff. Nor am I qualified to comment on it. Courtney is. It would serve you well to read that before you declare the book isn’t racist.

  40. Oh no, now bill is saying that the book is not „extremely racist“, bc moderatly racist is apparently fine? Or because the level of racism has to be measured carefully, so we can conviently forget its racist in the first place? Yes, its the latter.

  41. @Peer
    Maybe “this isn’t a new book, therefore it’s okay”. (Milan was looking at a reprint that’s about 5 years old.)

  42. @bill
    A book doesn’t need to rise to hate speech level or even to Lovecraft level to be racist. Somewhere Lies the Moon contained racist stereotypes which may not have been that unusual in historical romance, when the book was published. However, when the book was republished approx. 5 years ago, the racist stereotypes were left unchanged nor was there an “This is a work of its time. I’d write it differently now” note, which suggests that Kathryn Lynn Davis has no idea why her book was so problematic.

  43. @Bonnie McDaniel

    . . . before you declare the book isn’t racist

    I did not say the book isn’t racist.
    @Peer

    now bill is saying that . . . moderatly racist is apparently fine

    now bill is saying that . . .we can conviently forget its racist

    I did not say that moderate racism is fine. I did not suggest we forget that the book is racist.
    @P J Evans

    this isn’t a new book, therefore it’s okay

    I did not say that it is okay because it is not new.

    I listed some extremely racist books, said that Somewhere Lies the Moon does not compare to them in its racism, and therefore it is not appropriate to say that SLtM is “extremely racist.” That is all. I did not defend SLtM.

    The post was a comment on JJ’s hyperbolic language.

    Can you not read for comprehension?

  44. bill: “Extremely racist”? How about a little perspective here. The Turner Diaries is extremely racist. Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf are extremely racist. Somewhere Lies the Moon isn’t even close to that level of racist.
    The post was a comment on JJ’s hyperbolic language.

    The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was published in 1903.
    Mein Kampf was published in 1925.
    The Turner Diaries was published in 1978.

    I read Milan’s quote-tweets of Somewhere Lies the Moon, and for something published in 2014, hell yes, it’s extremely racist.

    I appreciate your attempt to police my adjectives, but I’m an accomplished wordsmith and am well aware of the nuances and perspective in what I write.

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