Pixel Scroll 10/24/21 The Pixel Of The Species Is Deadlier Than The Scroll

(1) PRIORITIZING THE CREW. Claudia Black weighs in on the death of Halyna Hutchins and set safety. Thread starts here. Some excerpts:

(2) LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Business Musings asks why publishers aren’t pivoting the way TV streamers are: “Untapped (Part One)”.

… Which is why the upfronts were so odd this year. A few networks didn’t even push their fall line-ups, which used to be essential for ad revenue. Now, these networks are pushing their platforms or even, at times, their older programming, trying to pair up the right ad with the right program in the right way so that consumers will see it all.

What I wrote in my blog was that, for publishers, IP should be the new frontlist. Rather than promoting the new books and titles at the expense of everything else, traditional publishers should be mining their backlist for items that will capture the moment.

For example, let’s take the pandemic. (Please, as the old comedians used to say.) If publishers had been smart, they could have combed their backlist for stories of survival in the middle of a plague.  Or maybe a few books that would make us all feel better about the extent of the pandemic we’re currently in. With just a little time on the Google (as a friend calls it), I found a dozen lists of good plague literature. None of the lists were published in 2020, by the way.

Here’s one that has books by Octavia Butler (with a novel first published in 1984, and a paper edition of 1996 that seems to be OP), Mary Shelley (with a novel that has an in-print edition), and about eight others, some of whom have their plague/pandemic in print and some of whom do not.

The point isn’t whether or not the books are still in print—although that’s part of this argument. The point is also that the publishers themselves should be putting books like these out as part of their front list, books they’re throwing money behind so that readers know about them and buy them….

(3) BUH-BACK IN THE KGB. Ellen Datlow has posted photos from the first in-person KGB reading in 18 months at Flickr. The Fantastic Fiction at KGB even on October 20 featured readings by Daryl Gregory and Michael J. DeLuca.

Daryl Gregory and Michael DeLuca 1

(4) RIGG PROFILE. Rachael Stirling recalls her mother’s last months for The Guardian: “Diana Rigg remembered: ‘Ma didn’t suffer fools: she exploded them at 50 paces’”.

…She was always curious. Her mind was always engaged. She read prodigiously. She tested herself constantly; learning great swathes of poetry just to see if she could. She said to the Cyberknife man: “I shall be reciting Katherine’s speech at the end of Taming of the Shrew and if I get a word wrong I’ll know you’ve FUCKED it UP!” She was entirely self-educated, having been dropped off at one appalling boarding school after another….

(5) MORTON Q&A. Voyage LA Magazine caught up with past Horror Writers Association President and Halloween expert Lisa Morton for an interview: “Rising Stars: Meet Lisa Morton”.

Hi Lisa, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?

I’m a writer, a Halloween expert, a paranormal historian, a bookseller, and a lifelong Southern Californian. My particular genre happens to be horror; I’m a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award (for both fiction and non-fiction works) and a former President of the Horror Writers Association. As a writer, I actually started in film; but after having six feature films produced – four of which I’d like to disown – I moved into prose. I’ve had more than 150 short stories and four novels published in the horror and mystery genres. Last year I had a story included in Best American Mystery Stories 2020; this year started with my story from the anthology Speculative Los Angeles receiving a Locus Recommendation…. 

(6) NO TUBE STEAKS ANYMORE. Mental Floss delivers an ambitious look at off-planet dining in “Gastronauts: A History of Eating in Space”.

…While today’s space meals are planned with taste, nutritional value (usually under 3000 calories, with the proper ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates), and visual appeal in mind, NASA’s earliest attempts at providing sustenance for astronauts was focused mostly on one thing: Could a human even swallow or digest food in space?

Astronaut John Glenn answered that question in 1962, when he became the first American to consume food on board the Friendship 7 spacecraft as part of the Mercury mission. “The original space food was tube foods,” Kloeris says. “These were puréed foods you’d squeeze into your mouth.” Glenn dined on applesauce, and his side dish of sugar tablets and water went down without issue (unless you consider the experience of eating from a toothpaste tube an issue). Applesauce wasn’t the only option, either; if Glenn wanted a fancier dinner, puréed beef with vegetables was available.

… With a decline in Space Shuttle missions and a shift to long-duration trips on the International Space Station (ISS) beginning in 1998, Kloeris and her team began to focus more on a menu variety that could sustain astronauts both nutritionally and psychologically. Omega 3-rich foods low in sodium help offset bone density loss common during space exploration. Food also had to be appropriate for the environment.

Most dishes were a success; some were not. “With something like soup, you had to check the viscosity to make sure it was thick enough,” Kloeris says. “It needs to stick to a utensil. If it’s too thin, it will just float.”

Kloeris and her team created freeze-dried scrambled eggs, thermostabilized seafood gumbo, and fajitas. Food was either flash-frozen or superheated to kill off any bacteria, then air-sealed in a process similar to canning. Once a recipe was proven stable after processing—and making it palatable could take numerous attempts—NASA’s kitchen would invite astronauts in for a taste test….

(7) CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS OBIT. Author Carole Nelson Douglas died earlier this month at the age of 76. She wrote sixty-three novels and many short stories in a range of genres. Her best known mystery series were the Irene Adler Sherlockian suspense novels and the Midnight Louie mystery series about “the twenty-pound black tomcat with the wit of Damon Runyon.”

After selling a paperback original novel, Amberleigh (published 1980), to Jove and an adventurous and original high fantasy, Six of Swords (1982) and its sequels to Del Rey Books, she became a fulltime fiction writer in 1984.

Her genre series included Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, and the Sword & Circlet fantasy series.


  • 1997 – Twenty-four years ago, Fairy Tale: A True Story was released by Paramount. It was directed by Charles Sturridge and produced by Bruce Davey Wendy Finerman from a story by Albert Ash, Tom McLoughlin and Ernie Contreras.  It has a stellar cast of Florence Hoath, Elizabeth Earl, Paul McGann, Phoebe Nicholls, Harvey Keitel and Peter O’Toole. So what’s it about? It is loosely based on the story of the Cottingley Fairies. Its plot takes place in the year 1917 in England, and follows two children who take a photograph soon believed to be the first scientific evidence of the existence of fairies. (Hint: it wasn’t.)  Oh, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini and Peter Pan figure into the narrative. Peter Pan? Yes. It received mixed reviews from critics with many thinking it quite “twee” and others really, really liking it. Audience reviewers at Rotten currently give it a sixty-six percent rating. 


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 24, 1915 Bob Kane. Editor and artist co-creator with Bill Finger of Batman. Member of both the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. Batman was nominated for a Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo at ConFiction. (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade won that year.)  (Died 1998.)
  • Born October 24, 1952 David Weber, 69. Best known for the Honor Harrington series, known as the Honorverse. He has three other series (DahakWar God and Safehold), none of which I’m familiar with. The Dragon Awards have treated him well giving him three Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels for Hell’s Foundations QuiverA Call to Vengeance and Uncompromising Honor. His only other Award is a Hal Clement Young Adult Award for A Beautiful Friendship.
  • Born October 24, 1954 Jane Fancher, 67. In the early 80s, she was an art assistant on Elfquest, providing inking assistance on the black-and-white comics and coloring of the original graphic novel reprints. She adapted portions of C.J. Cherryh’s first Morgaine novel into a black-and-white graphic novel, which prompted her to begin writing novels herself. Her first novel, Groundties, was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award, and she has been Guest of Honor and Toastmaster at several conventions. Alliance Rising, which she co-authored with C.J. Cherryh, won the Prometheus Award for Best Libertarian SF Novel. 
  • Born October 24, 1954 Wendy Neuss, 67. Emmy-nominated Producer. As an associate producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, her responsibilities included post-production sound, including music and effects spots, scoring sessions and sound mixes, insertion of location footage, and re-recording of dialogue (which is usually done when lines are muffed or the audio recording was subpar). She was also the producer of Star Trek: Voyager. With her husband at the time, Patrick Stewart, she was executive producer of three movies in which he starred, including a version of A Christmas Carol which JJ says is absolutely fantastic, and a rather excellent The Lion in Winter too. Impressive indeed.
  • Born October 24, 1955 Jack Skillingstead, 66. Husband of Nancy Kress, he’s had three excellent novels (HarbingerLife on the Preservation and The Chaos Function) in just a decade. I’ve not read the new one yet but I’ve no reason not to assume that it’s not as good as his first two works. He’s due for another story collections as his only one, Are You There and Other Stories, is a decade old. All of his works are available at the usual suspects for quite reasonable rates. 
  • Born October 24, 1971 Sofia Samatar, 50. Teacher, Writer, and Poet who speaks several languages and started out as a language instructor, a job which took her to Egypt for nine years. She won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and is the author of two wonderful novels to date, both of which I highly recommend: Stranger in Olondria (which won World Fantasy and British Fantasy Awards and was nominated for a Nebula) and The Winged Histories. Her short story “Selkie Stories are for Losers” was nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, and BFA Awards. She has written enough short fiction in just six years that Small Beer Press put out Tender, a collection which is an amazing twenty-six stories strong. And she has a most splendid website.
  • Born October 24, 1972 Raelee Hill, 49. Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu (called Sikozu) on Farscape, a great role indeed enhanced by her make-up and costume. She’s also in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. Genre wise, she’s also been on The Lost World series, Superman ReturnsBeastMaster and Event Zero.

(10) COURTING A MARVEL CELEBRITY. Aussie town creates campaign to get Chris Hemsworth to visit.

Suggested “plot twist: he sends Liam Hemsworth dressed as Loki.”

(11) ANOTHER MARVEL CELEBRITY. Got a big laugh with this at the Ringo Awards last night.

(12) TAKE A RISK. It’s been around since 2003 but it’s news to me (blush) — “Review: Lord of the Rings Risk – Trilogy Edition” at Critical Hits.

LotRR presents a number of very obvious differences from standard Risk.  First of all, the theme is different.  Instead of Napoleonic warfare, we have Middle Earth warfare.  Naturally, the board is also different.  Instead of continents from the Earth that we know, (Africa, Asia, North America, etc.) there are regions from the Middle Earth (Gondor, Mordor, Mirkwood, Rohan, etc.).  The regions function the same way as continents from Risk – you control the entire region, and you get bonus troops.  One of the key differences in this regard is that in LotRR, there are 9 different regions; in regular Risk there are only 6.  Thus, in LotRR, it is easier to control at least one region than it is to control one continent in regular Risk.

But the map adds additional complexity by designating certain territories as fortresses, and others as ‘sites of power’ (more on ‘sites of power’ later).  Fortresses aid in defense, by adding 1 to the defender’s highest die roll of each round of combat fought in the territory where it is located.  Fortresses also generate 1 free unit every turn, and are worth 2 victory points at the end of the game.  Because of these advantages, fortresses tend to be pretty important, and territories that have a fortress become key areas in a region….

(13) BLOCKING A THIEF. “Lego trafficking scheme of stolen sets worth thousands busted ‘brick by brick,’ Seattle police say”MSN News has the story.

…The [Seattle] PD said they began to investigate after Amazon 4-Star, an in-person store owned by the online retail giant, reported in July they had been the target of repeated thefts.

Between July and September, one thief allegedly stole an estimated $10,000 worth of sets and electronics from the store, according to a criminal complaint.

It wasn’t until September when an employee from Amazon 4-Star entered Rummage Around, a store in downtown’s Pike Place Market, and noticed that the Lego sets for sale seemed to match the sets stolen from Amazon.

“He notified police, and a detective went to the store to investigate. While the detective was at the store, the prolific shoplifter arrived and sold multiple items to the shop’s owner,” the SPD wrote on their crime blotter….

(14) A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. “NASA Plans February Moon Launch With Giant Rocket”  — the New York Times has the story.

A flight of the Space Launch System and Orion capsule without astronauts aboard is planned for early next year, a first, long-delayed step toward returning astronauts to the moon’s surface….

.. In January 2021, the rocket was finally ready for its first big test, a sustained firing of the engines that would simulate the stresses of a trip to orbit. The test was supposed to last for eight minutes, but was cut off after only about a minute.

During the second attempt in March, the rocket recorded a sustained 499.6-second burn of the giant engines that sent a giant cloud of steam over the massive test stand in Mississippi. Once the test was deemed a success, the agency shipped the massive rocket to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin preparations for flight.

This week, the Orion spacecraft was lifted atop the rocket and put into place. Together, they stand 322 feet tall, or higher than the Statue of Liberty and its base.

If an assortment of spaceflights stick to their schedules, 2022 could be one of the busiest years the moon has ever seen. In addition to Artemis-1, NASA plans to send a small satellite to orbit the moon and a pair of robotic landers carrying a variety of private cargo to the lunar surface. China, Russia, India and South Korea have all announced plans for lunar orbits or landings in 2022….

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Hear Kurt Vonnegut talk to Case Western Reserve students in 2004. At around 37 minutes he draws diagrams.

Known as one of America’s literary giants, Kurt Vonnegut visited the campus in 2004 to meet with Case’s College Scholars and to give a public lecture.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

61 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/24/21 The Pixel Of The Species Is Deadlier Than The Scroll

  1. First!

    (7) CAROLE NELSON DOUGLAS OBIT. The Midnight Louie series are a sheer delight. What’s not to like with a feline that solves mysteries? I need to see how the audio narratives are.

  2. Paul Weimer on says Ms. Black is even more awesome than I thought.

    Her Aeryn Sun character on Farscape and her relationship with John Crichton was always fascinating to watch. Farscape is by far my favorite SF series of all time with Babylon 5 running a close second.

  3. (14) I hope this is a success.

    My current reading is Bark Twice for Danger, and is perhaps genre-adjacent. It features a talking German shepherd, and part of it takes place at a ComicCon.

    Listening: It’s a Wonderful Woof, by Spencer Quinn, a mystery told by Chet, a dog who washed out of K9 school on the last day, due to an ill-considered decision to chase a cat. His abrupt career change resulted in teaming up with ex-cop, private detective Bernie Little. Despite their stories being narrated by Chet, there is no sfnal content. Chet can’t speak; he’s just the narrator, and once you allow for the fact that it’s in English rather than canine, Chet is very believable as a very smart dog, with the limitations on his understanding of events that implies, as well as his ability to hear and smell things Bernie can’t, and the fact that he can’t always convey information he’s acquired that way to Bernie.

    Cider and I went on our first outing together to a business of the “not pet friendly” variety, and she performed like a champ. We also took both our walks today, which, well, four months without a dog, and several before that in which Dora was declining in energy and enthusiasm.

    Which is to say, Cider is napping peacefully, and I hurt!

  4. (9) Not to criticize the selection here, but today is also Kevin Kline’s birthday. He was in genre-ish movies like the 1999 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the 1999 Wild Wild West, the animated The Tale of Despereaux, the 2017 Beauty and the Beast, and narrated the 1991 TV movie Merlin and the Dragons.

  5. (12) It’s been decades since I’ve played Risk, but LOTR Risk sounds awesome!

  6. (11) A more honest answer would have been “But I didn’t invent Black Panther. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee did.”

  7. (1) Amazing thread by Claudia Black!

    (10) Very clever tourism campaign. It looks like a great place to visit.

  8. @Steve Green: Priest took a C-list character and reinvented him from the ground up. Okay, he didn’t invent the character name or the country name — but everything else we see in both the movies and the current comics is building on his work as a foundation.

  9. three Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels for Hell’s Foundations Quiver, Hell’s Foundations Quiver and Uncompromising Honor.

    Did David Weber really win two Dragon Awards for the same book?

    ETA: Wikipedia suggests his second award was as one of three writers on ‘ A Call to Vengeance’

  10. 1) This whole thing… well, I suppose I’m not surprised given what we know of Hollywood’s general attitude towards safety, but we had some sort of theater gun in high school that fired blanks and made noise. It was shot into the floor, from offstage, and only ever handled by the person who was doing that and only to do that. We had it drummed into us that even touching the thing outside of the demands of the show would have us out of the production and possibly out of the school. And we were in high school. So there’s something bone-deep offensive to me about this stuff happening– they’re professionals, we weren’t, and somehow we still had better safety precautions.

    13) “Lego trafficking.” Add that to the list of “That’s really a thing?” for the day…

  11. Christopher Priest isn’t under any obligation to correct someone’s mistake.

    @David Goldfarb: He didn’t invent vibranium or the heart-shaped herb, either, any more than he invented Black Panther. He reinvented it and that should be good enough.

  12. I think Priest would be the first to say (and indeed I believe he has said) that he was actually returning Panther to how he was depicted in his first appearance – someone who was as willing to use his high technology (which was in advance of Reed Richards’) and guile as much as physical action. Later writers, especially when writing Panther as a member of the Avengers, leaned into the latter and minimized (or ignored) the former.

  13. For those of you who remember Charlie the Unicorn, he’s back, in an epic conclusion to his sixteen-year-long(!) saga:

    Here are the previous four parts in a single video, for those unfamiliar with this or who want a refresher:

  14. @ Kit Harding
    Indeed yes. I can remember at least three deaths or serious injuries from the careless use of prop guns on (professional) sets.
    I worked backstage on a college production of Richard II, in contrast, and the director came down like a ton of rectangular building things on any cast or crew member who fooled around with the (old, blunt but heavy) swords that were used.

  15. 1) These kinds of accidents happen whenever someone does not respect what they are holding; either within an entertainment/production setting or elsewhere.

    I happened across a video of Will Smith in the wake of this tragedy. He was apparently on the set of Bad Boys when someone picked up a pistol and absent-mindedly held it pointed in his direction. He slapped it away, took it away from the other actor, performed a solid clear/check, reinserted the magazine, and handed it back. If every actor took weapons training/knowledge/technique that seriously, we would have more actors/crew alive today.

    Progressives are not stupid and evil. Conservatives are not racists and misogynists.

  16. Cora Buhlert says Well, it’s the Dragon Awards, so anything is possible.

    I’d like to blame it on the Dragon Awards, but it was my brain’s usual ability to entangle two pieces of information and come up with something that it shouldn’t have. Call it neuroentanglement. It’s been fixed.

    Now listening to Larry Niven’s The Draco Tavern. Niven really, really doesn’t like taxes.

  17. I thought the cowra commercial was pretty funny.

    Also, I am 90 percent certain that the “Christopher Priest” mentioned here is not the sf writer, but a comics writer who changed his name to Christopher Priest and claimed he didn’t know there was another one out there.

  18. @Dann665

    If every actor took weapons training/knowledge/technique that seriously . . .

    There’s a scene in Michael Mann’s film Heat where Val Kilmer does a magazine reload under fire. Mann has said several times in interviews that this scene is used at Ft Bragg (where Army Special Forces and Rangers are trained) as an example of exactly how to do it.

  19. @Martin: Yeah, I assumed that it’s the other Christopher Priest.

    @Cat: Re: Niven and Taxes. His story “The Gatherers’ Guild” (which has a character named Glyer, by the way) really leans into the tax issue.

  20. Priest took a C-list character and reinvented him from the ground up. Okay, he didn’t invent the character name or the country name — but everything else we see in both the movies and the current comics is building on his work as a foundation.

    Reinventing an existing superhero gives you a good claim to take credit but Priest was talking about more than that — actually profiting off the creation. I don’t see how he does that even at a creators rights-friendly publisher. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the character, even if what Priest introduced later was a vast improvement. Lee and Kirby would be the owner.s The writers and artists who’ve done cool things with Spawn in the last 25 years don’t own the character. Todd McFarlane does.

  21. Martin Wooster says Also, I am 90 percent certain that the “Christopher Priest” mentioned here is not the sf writer, but a comics writer who changed his name to Christopher Priest and claimed he didn’t know there was another one out there.

    You are absolutely correct. It’s the Pretender, not the one that’s beloved by everyone who knows him.

  22. Andrew (not Werdna) says to me: Re: Niven and Taxes. His story “The Gatherers’ Guild” (which has a character named Glyer, by the way) really leans into the tax issue.

    I only noticed it because it’s a constant refrain in these stories when Rick Schumann, the bartender, is describing the concerns of humans to aliens.

    Glyer, eh? I wonder if he’s named after our OGH?

  23. (1) RE the fatal gun accident on the Baldwin film–a friend who was in my house the day after it happened asked a question I’ve wondered about ever since: Why does anyone still fire a gun AT ALL on a movie set or TV set anymore? Surely special effects, CGI, and post-production are so sophisticated these days that there’s no need for anything at ALL to come out of a gun on set when a film script calls for shots to be fired? (Indeed, why even use a real gun at all? Why not use a visually convincing facsimile that can’t actually fire any sort of projectile?)

    (7) I am one of many people who will miss Carole Nelson Douglas. She was a delightful friend, a generous soul, a prolific writer, and a seasoned pro. I enjoyed many visits with her over the years. I hope she is enjoying cocktails and cats somewhere in the afterlife.

  24. Cat Eldridge: Glyer, eh? I wonder if he’s named after our OGH?

    Oh, yes. The last name, anyway. However, the character doesn’t remind me of me.

  25. (12) I want to say that most of the themed versions of Risk I’ve tried (LotR, Star Wars, and a couple of others) are much better than the original game, at least IMO. This is a stark contrast to the themed versions of other popular board games that I’ve tried, which usually add nothing (or less). LotR Risk is a particular favorite of mine.

  26. @JJ: Well, I’ve known Chris since the late 1970s, and have always enjoyed both his company and his fiction.

  27. @ Laura Resnick:

    “Don’t know”, would be my short answer. Slightly longer answer probably contains words like “hait” and “what we always done”.

    Somewhere along the elongation of the answer, we start looking at things like “recoil” (although there may be no actual bullet leaving the barrel, if you’re firing blanks there’s still a whole lotta gas leaving at speed, so you would get some, but perhaps not full recoil). And I suspect that something approaching “correct recoil movement” would be quite hard to fake in muscles. And you’d probably need to do heroic-level CGI to paint over it.

    Which, of course, means that the ONLY correct conclusion here is “everyone start using laser revolvers” (they’re recoilless, just ask Sheriff Snowflake).

  28. What I’ve heard tell is that it comes out cheaper to have the flash effect from the muzzle be from real powder detonating than to have the effect be added post-production in CGI. Of course, what I’ve heard tell doesn’t amount to much as an authority.

  29. What I have seen is that it’s All About Realism–a knowledgeable person can tell the difference between the gun actually firing and a muzzle flash added in post-production via CGI. I’d think that Ingvar’s point about muscle reaction would be either part of that or the whole thing.

    So that would mean they’re putting lives at risk for a bit of realism which will matter only to the most knowledgeable gun people. I think it’s not worth it, considering what other departures from realism we accept for the sake of better entertainment.

  30. My non-legal opinion is that the person who handed Baldwin the gun should have personally checked it first, and then Baldwin should have also checked it. Good safety protocols are about redundancy. Like wearing seatbelts even in a vehicle that has air bags, or getting vaccinated even if you’ve had a disease.

  31. @Jim Janney–Actors are generally advised not to check the gun, because the actors aren’t trained in gun safety. That’s the armorer’s job. The armorer should do it, and then hand it directly to the actor.

    In this case, someone else handed it to Baldwin. We have no idea what happened before it was handed to Baldwin, and that’s a serious problem.

  32. Jim Janney writes: “Like wearing seatbelts even in a vehicle that has air bags, or getting vaccinated even if you’ve had a disease.”

    Except… Wearing a seatbelt doesnt possibly lower the protection from your airbags, particularly airbags that can go protecting you for decades, when those seatbelts need replacing after just six months.

  33. @HowardB
    Cars aren’t usually dealing with hazards that can change in a few months into something worse.

  34. (12.) So we have 2009 review of a 2003 game show up in a 2021 scroll? That’s just how it rolls here in the year 2525. 🙂

  35. @ Lis Carey:

    I’d say a part of the thing. Muzzle flashes do light the environment in ways that should now be within the scope of CGI. But, also, muzzle flashes from blank-firing weapons do not look like muzzle flashes from non-blank-firing weapons and I’d say that using actual bullets would definitely be a few steps too far towards realism.

    Fake it all, save lives.

  36. HowardB: Please take your (clumsily phrased) vaccine disinformation somewhere else.

    Covid vaccines protect against covid whether the person has previously been infected with it or not. There’s no evidence that vaccines lower any form of protection from covid. Instead, they make natural immunity “more robust and more durable.”


  37. HowardB: Wearing a seatbelt doesnt possibly lower the protection from your airbags… when those seatbelts need replacing after just six months.

    Not getting vaccinated is the same as not having seatbelts at all.

    But I’m sure that’s not what you’re suggesting – that people should rely on their airbags to save them, instead of using a two-pronged protection which includes seatbelts. Because what sort of person would advise people not to protect themselves as much as possible?

    And if they upgrade to side-curtain airbags after 6 months, they’ll be even more protected.

    Considering that the government is covering the cost of the seatbelts and the side-curtain airbags, someone who chooses not to take advantage of both has… chosen poorly.

  38. @ many:

    I didn’t initially realise that HowardB was vaxodenying, because the vaxodenial was sufficiently incoherent. But, yeah, I can sort of see it now.

    @ HowardB:

    Your analogy breaks down on so many levels, including on (but not limited to) we don’t actually know how well “acquired from a live viral infection” immune reactions last, what with the variants cropping up. And even if any specific vaccine only confers a shorter-term protection, it is better[*] than no protection. So, please stop, for all of our sakes?

    [*] There are individuals where vaccination is not worth the (very small) risk, they can only really be helped by wide-spread vaccination.

  39. @Many

    [sorry about the delay]

    It is the seatbelt/airbag analogy that is faulty. We aren’t talking about using two technologies proven for decades. We are replacing seatbelts with shiny new repulsor rays. [also the first iterations of airbags had issues]

    The Covid vaccines are using relatively new immunization technology. It has been in development for roughly 40 years. The Covid vaccines are the very first instance where this technique has been used in a significant capacity outside of research.

    Traditional vaccines are incredibly effective. Like 99-100% effective at preventing infection. Countries with broad-scale immunizations simply don’t get enough cases of those other diseases to register as a significant cause of death.

    The Covid vaccines are maybe 95% effective against mortality. But as we all know, we are seeing a significant number of asymptomatic cases including among the vaccinated. We won’t know whether that significant difference from traditional vaccines is due to the vaccine function or due to the inherent qualities of Covid for many years.

    Statistics take time to unfold. A lot of time. Pretty much every study that comes out seems to contradict conclusions that might be reasonably drawn from the prior round of studies.

    I’d add that we won’t know how long vaccine or natural protection will last for many years as well. Again, it takes time. Politicizing science doesn’t help.

    Government bureaucrats haven’t helped instill confidence. It usually takes a decade to get a new treatment through the bureaucratic process. We have been assured that this delay represents the best medical knowledge and prudent government policy.

    Now we have a brand new vaccine that was squirted through the process in less than a year.

    One of those two processes justifies skepticism. [for me it is the extensive USFDA process that is the larger problem, natch]

    There are side effects to the new vaccines that are of legitimate concern for a small percentage of the population. A couple of the vaccines have an issue with fostering blood clots. And there are the issues associated with giving some of the vaccines to teens that aren’t a problem for adults.

    FTR, I am vaccinated. I expect to get the booster when I’m eligible. Based on my medical history, this was a “no-brainer” decision. The risk of contracting Covid and either death or a significant negative health outcome is much, much greater than the risk of a negative side effect from the vaccine.

    For the vax-hesitant, go discuss your concerns with a medical professional that you trust who will also take your concerns seriously. YouTube is not your friend.

    For some others, stop vax-shaming people. It only hardens their resolve to not get vaccinated.

    Show some compassion instead.

    Tolerance always has limits – it cannot tolerate what is itself actively intolerant. – Sidney Hook (1975). “Pragmatism and the tragic sense of life”

  40. @Dann665–

    Traditional vaccines are incredibly effective. Like 99-100% effective at preventing infection. Countries with broad-scale immunizations simply don’t get enough cases of those other diseases to register as a significant cause of death.

    A few vaccines are 99-100% effective, such as the polio vaccine with at least two doses, but four doses now recommended if you’re in, or going to, the few places left where polio is still a concern.

    Even with 40-60% effectiveness, flu vaccine saves tens of thousands of American lives every year. It would save more, if we didn’t have so many people who think they’re too smart to get it.

    Smallpox is extinct in the wild, and polio very nearly so, due vaccinating as close to 100% of the population as possible.

    Measles, mumps, and rubella were on the same track until the antivaxxer movement, fueled by fraud, a generation of parents whose own parents had never seen these diseases, and different flavors of woowoo on the left (New Agers & similar) and the right (the same flavor of fundamentalist “Christian” that says using the brains God gave us is a violation of God’s law), started dropping vaccination rates in localized communities enough to give those diseases a toehold again.

    Covers some, not all, of these points.
    How do COVID-19 vaccines compare with other existing vaccines?

    The Covid vaccines are maybe 95% effective against mortality. But as we all know, we are seeing a significant number of asymptomatic cases including among the vaccinated. We won’t know whether that significant difference from traditional vaccines is due to the vaccine function or due to the inherent qualities of Covid for many years.

    95% effectiveness against mortality in a disease this contagious is a huge benefit.

    It’s also highly effective against serious illness and major organ damage from COVID-19 and its currently known variants.

    And yes, you can also have asymptomatic cases. This is true whether you get the vaccine or the virus itself. It’s no benefit to anyone to have asymptomatic covid convert to symptomatic covid. It’s a serious detriment, in fact. And the vaccines make that much less likely.

    The best way to protect everyone is to vaccinate everyone who can be safely vaccinated–not to let people get sick so they won’t be asymptomatic.

    Serious side effects are extremely rare.

    The blood clot issue with J&J/J vaccine is very rare. Very serious when it arises, but now they know about it, they can identify people at risk for it, and those people get one of the other vaccines.

    And even when the risk doesn’t show up in their medical history, knowing this is a possibility means sites giving the J&J/J vaccine can watch for symptoms and act quickly.

    The death rate for this genuinely very serious vaccine side effect is so far one in one million of people who get that vaccine.

    I’m sure you’re aware the death rate from covid is much higher, as is the incidence of life-changing permanent organ damage in those who survive covid.

    It’s just possible that “You might get asymptomatic covid and pass it to people who refuse to get vaccinated!” isn’t as scary as you think it is.

    Passing it to people who can’t get vaccinated is a far more serious concern. The effective way to protect them isn’t not getting vaccinated, though. Unvaccinated, you still have some asymptomatic days before you know you’re sick, when unlike some other, more familiar viruses, you are quite capable of passing it on to other unprotected people. And you’re typically carrying a higher viral load than the average asymptomatic vaccinated person.

    The arguments against vaccination against covid are nonsense, and much of it is politically motivated nonsense.

    And Dann, you know that. That’s why you’re vaccinated.

  41. Traditional vaccines are incredibly effective. Like 99-100% effective at preventing infection.

    Yeah, no.

    Historically, the vaccine has been effective in preventing smallpox infection in 95% of those vaccinated. In addition, the vaccine was proven to prevent or substantially lessen infection when given within a few days after a person was exposed to the variola virus.


    The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.


    As for the ‘traditional’ yearly flu vaccine, which IMO, given the fairly short time COVID immunity lasts, will probably be similar to the vaccine pattern we’ll have to use against COVID for the forseeable future:

    While vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to those used to make flu vaccines.

    As for…

    I’d add that we won’t know how long vaccine or natural protection will last for many years as well. Again, it takes time. Politicizing science doesn’t help.

    We already know that ‘natural protection’ doesn’t last ‘many years’. We knew because of cases of reinfection appearing within MONTHS of initial infection, observed long before any vaccine was ready for widespread use.

    Just curious, Dann…what source are you using to make such patently untrue statements so confidently?

    Jinx, Lis! And congrats on Cider.

  42. @Dann,

    “Traditional vaccines are incredibly effective. Like 99-100% effective at preventing infection.”

    Traditional vaccines, like the flu vaccine? They are maybe 50% effective according to recent studies. But it is still very much worth it to get vaccinated.

    The COVID-19 vaccines are an actual medical marvel in both how quickly they were able to be brought into play & how effective they are in preventing serious illness & death. Let’s not forget that the vaccines have passed the approvals process and have now been administered to billions of people now.

    But vaccines are not a silver bullet. Vaccines alone are not enough against the Delta variant of COVID.

    But then that is not what we should be doing anyway. We should be practicing defence in depth, and not relying on one defence (one single point of failure). The people who say that the COVID vaccine is not 100% effective, so why should they bother, are frankly foolish. Very few things in life are 100%.

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