Pixel Scroll 10/25/16 Bears Discover File 770

clarke-center-arrivalcarouseli

(1) ARRIVAL PREMIERE BENEFIT FOR CLARION. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will host the San Diego premiere of the film Arrival, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. After the film, there will be a conversation and Q&A with Ted Chiang, whose novella “Story of Your Life” provided the basis of the screenplay.

All proceeds from the screening benefit the Clarion Foundation, which supports the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop at UC San Diego. Click on the link to buy tickets.

Arrival is the the story of what happens when mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe. An elite team, led by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams), is brought together to investigate. As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time for answers-and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten her life, and, quite possibly, humanity.

Ted Chiang is a graduate and, later, instructor in the renowned Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, organized at UCSD by the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Known for his exacting craftsmanship in writing profound and psychologically rich science fiction, Chiang this year alone has the honor of having a story (“The Great Silence”) in both the Best American Short Stories 2016 and Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, after it was originally written for a collaboration with the visual artists Allora & Calzadilla.

(2) NEW CLARKE CENTER PODCAST. Into the Impossible: A Clarke Center Podcast launches November 1.

clarke-podcast-logoInto the Impossible is a podcast of stories, ideas, and speculations from the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. Early episodes will take listeners through exciting, ranging conversations with and between scientists, artists, writers, and thinkers of different stripes, on the nature of imagination and how, through speculative culture, we create our future. The first episode includes Freeman Dyson (physicist and writer), David Kaiser (physicist, MIT), Rae Armantrout (Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, UCSD professor emeritus), and Brian Keating (astrophysicist, UCSD).

Later episodes will feature actors like Herbert Siguenza (Culture Clash), futurists like Bruce Sterling (writer, design theorist, WIRED columnist), and science fiction authors like Vernor Vinge (novelist, mathematician, computer scientist), as well as looks into Clarke Center activities like Dr. Allyson Muotri’s lab growing Neanderthal brain neurons and the new Speculative Design major. We will also premiere an audio performance created in collaboration between artist Marina Abramovic and science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, created in workshop here at the Clarke Center with Adam Tinkle and local and student volunteers.

(3) LEARNING AND RELEARNING. Cat Rambo’s speech is now online — “Into the Abyss: Surrey International Writers Conference, Morning Keynote for October 23, 2016”.

I try to write, every day, 2000 words, because that’s what Stephen King does and I think he’s a pretty good role model. Note that I say try, because I don’t always hit it. But you must write. Every day you write is a victory.

Figure out your personal writing process and what works for you. And then do it, lots. I realized that my most productive time is the mornings. So if my mother calls in the mornings, she knows I will answer “Is this an emergency?” and if she says no, I will hang up. (I did warn her before implementing this policy.) Find the times and places you are productive and defend them from the world. You will have gotten a lot of writing advice here and the thing about writing advice is this. All of it is both right and wrong, because people’s process differs and moreover, it can and will differ over the course of time. Find what works for you and do it.

Be kind to yourself. We are delicate, complex machines both physically and mentally. Writers are so good at beating themselves up, at feeling guilty, at imagining terrible futures. You are the person with the most to gain from being kind to yourself; do it. Don’t punish yourself for not hitting a writing goal; reward yourself when you do.

(4) ZOMBIE PROM REVIEW. Martin Morse Wooster personally eyeballed the production and returned with a verdict:

I saw Zombie Prom on Friday, and I think Nelson Pressley’s review was unfair.  Unexpected Stage Company, which did the production, is a minor-league company.  I doubt any member of the cast was over 25 and no one was a member of Equity.  That being said, everyone hit their marks and remembered their lines and most of the cast had pretty good voices.  I thought the production was pleasant.

The title of the musical is misleading, because there’s only one zombie in the cast. (I guess they couldn’t call it One Zombie at a Prom.) It’s the 1950s, and we’re at Enrico Fermi High.  Jonny Warner gets jilted by his girlfriend and leaps into a vat of nuclear waste, which turns him into a zombie.  Will anyone accept him–including his former girlfriend?

I have never heard of Dean P. Rowe, who did the music, and John Dempsey, author of the book and lyrics, but they have talent and my guess is in five years we will hear a lot from them.  There are some mildly deep references to ’50s pop culture, including what I thought was a reference to The Milton Berle Show.  The two best performers were Dallas Milholland, who for some reason decided to play semi-villainous Principal Delilah Strict in a pseudo-British accent, and Will Hawkins, who played Jonny Warner with a great deal of gusto.

Their website is Unexpected Stage Company.

(5) LONG LISTENER ANTHOLOGY. David Steffen says there will be an audiobook of the Long List Anthology Volume 2 after all, using a modified table of contents.

I have been talking with Skyboat Media and we have decided to go ahead with the audiobook, with some alterations to the table of contents from the original stretch goal to get it to just the right length for the resources available.  So there will be an audiobook again this year, this time with 6 stories.

The table of contents is:

  • Our Lady of the Open Road by Sarah Pinsker
  • Today I Am Paul by Martin L. Shoemaker
  • Madeleine by Amal El-Mohtar
  • Pocosin by Ursula Vernon
  • Damage by David D. Levine
  • Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds by Rose Lemberg

The title will also be different to reflect the different table of contents from the book/ebook:

OUR LADY OF THE OPEN ROAD & OTHER STORIES FROM THE LONG LIST ANTHOLOGY, volume 2

(6) TEPPER OBIT. The SFWA Blog posted an obituary for Sheri S. Tepper.

Cat Rambo says, “If I had to name one series by her I adore more than any other of the many excellent choices, it’s the Marianne series, and I highly recommend them to the File 770 readers.”

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS

  • Born October 25, 1892 — Leo G. Carroll in 1892  (played Topper, and Alexander Waverly in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)
  • Born October 25, 1924 — Billy Barty. His sf/f resume includes the animated The Lord of the Rings (1978, rotoscope footage) Snow White (1987), Masters of the Universe (1987) and Lobster Man from Mars (1989).

(8) CHAT WITH THREE-BODY AUTHOR. An excellent interview at SF Crowsnest: “Cixin Liu: interviewed by Gareth D Jones”.

GDJ: My favourite character in the books is Da Shi, especially in the second volume, ‘The Dark Forest’. Do you have a favourite character out of the ones you wrote about?

CL: In terms of Da Shi, he’s one of the most liked characters amongst Europeans and American readers. I think it’s because he’s like a caricature of a Chinese person of Beijing police, real well-connected, good with people. But this kind of people are actually really common in China, so we all know someone like that. But for non-Chinese readers, he immediately captures the attention. In terms of favourite character, I don’t think I have a favourite character really because they’re just there to propel the story forward. So it’s where the story is taking them that affects them, so I don’t have a favourite.

(9) ET, PHONE US. “Either the stars are strange, or there are 234 aliens trying to contact us” says Phys.org news. Obviously, these guys haven’t read the Three-Body Trilogy.

What we’re talking about here is a new study from E.F. Borra and E. Trottier, two astronomers at Laval University in Canada. Their study, titled “Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars” was just published at arXiv.org. ArXiv.org is a pre-print website, so the paper itself hasn’t been peer reviewed yet. But it is generating interest.

The two astronomers used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and analyzed the spectra of 2.5 million stars. Of all those stars, they found 234 stars that are producing a puzzling signal. That’s only a tiny percentage. And, they say, these signals “have exactly the shape of an ETI signal” that was predicted in a previous study by Borra.

Prediction is a key part of the scientific method. If you develop a theory, your theory looks better and better the more you can use it to correctly predict some future events based on it. Look how many times Einstein’s predictions based on Relativity have been proven correct.

The 234 stars in Borra and Trottier’s study aren’t random. They’re “overwhelmingly in the F2 to K1 spectral range” according to the abstract. That’s significant because this is a small range centred around the spectrum of our own Sun. And our own Sun is the only one we know of that has an intelligent species living near it. If ours does, maybe others do too?

(10) THE HULK V. THE THING. CinemaBlend reports Stan Lee’s definitive answer to America’s most asked question. (And no, it’s not “Does your chewing gum lose its flavor in the bedpost overnight?”)

It’s a question that has dogged comic book fans for decades: who would win in a fight between The Hulk and The Thing? Of course, there’s only one man who has the definitive answer to this quandary: Marvel icon Stan Lee himself. So when it was finally posed to the comic book legend, the world waited with bated breath to hear the answer, which, as it turns out, is The Hulk.

Stan Lee made this admission during his chat with The Tomorrow Show. But there were a few caveats to Stan Lee’s answer, who predicted that The Thing/Ben Grimm would definitely give The Hulk/Bruce Banner a run for his money, as he’s a little smarter than his counterpart. But that didn’t stop Stan Lee from picking The Hulk as the winner, as he explained:

“Oh, The Hulk would win. The Thing is faster and smarter, so he would probably find a way to turn it into a draw or save himself. He’d trap or trick the Hulk. But, in a fair fight, there’s no way the Hulk [would lose]. He’d win.”

(11) FIFTH OF INDIANA. ScreenRant says a fifth Indiana Jones movie will be out in 2019, starring Harrison Ford and directed by Steven Spielberg. But what about George Lucas? “Indiana Jones 5: George Lucas Is Not Involved With Story”.

In an interview with Collider, the screenwriter mentioned that Lucas does not have a hand in crafting the Indiana Jones 5 story, saying, “I haven’t had any contact with him.” Spielberg’s earlier claims that Lucas would be an executive producer could still be true, but it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which Lucas is attached to an Indiana Jones film and isn’t helping design the narrative. It would appear that Lucas would rather enjoy his retirement than jump into the Hollywood machine again, which isn’t all that surprising considering his comments about Disney in the lead-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. For many fans, this is a bittersweet revelation; like Star Wars, Lucas is an integral part of the Indiana Jones property, but he was responsible for some of the more unfavorable elements in Crystal Skull, such as his insistence aliens be in the film. Some viewers would prefer Lucas stay away.

(12) SFWA MARKET REPORT. SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “The latest market report went out a little late this month and I wanted to make sure people were aware of it. Dave Steffen is doing a terrific job assembling it.” Find it here: http://www.sfwa.org/2016/10/sfwa-market-report-october/.

(13) OPENINGS IN RAMBO/SWIRSKY CLASS. There are still slots open in “Re-Telling and Re-Taleing: Old Stories Into New”, the Cat Rambo/Rachel Swirsky live online class happening Saturday, October 29.

Authors constantly draw on the stories that have preceded them, particularly folklore, mythology, and fables. What are the best methods for approaching such material and what are the possible pitfall? How does one achieve originality when working with such familiar stories? Lecture, in-class exercise, and discussion will build your proficiency when working with such stories. Co-taught with Nebula-award winning writer Rachel Swirsky.

(14) ARCHEOTELEVISION. Echo Ishii has a new post about another antique sff TV show – “SF Obscure: Children of the Stones”.

Children of the Stones is a 1977 television drama for children produced by ITV network. I know of this show mainly because of the late Gareth Thomas. So, I decided to watch it because I had heard good things about it.

Astrophysicist Adam Brake and his son Matthew go to a village called Millbury which has a megalithic circle of stones in the middle of it. (It’s filmed on the prehistoric monument of Avebury) Things get strange as soon as they arrive. First of all, the housekeeper and neighbors all seem abnormally happy. Matthew has strange feelings of evil and is immediately hostile towards the new neighbor. His father chides him, but Matthew can’t help but feel something is wrong. We later learn that Matthew has some psychic abilities and this is why he reacts the way he does….

(15) DISSECTING THE FALL TV PREMIERES. Asking the Wrong Questions’ Abigail Nussbaum continues “Thoughts on the New TV Season, 2016 Edition, Part 2”.

Westworld – Easily the most-anticipated new series of the fall, the consensus that has already formed around HBO’s latest foray into genre is that it represents the channel’s attempts to grapple with its own reputation for prurient violence, particularly violence against women (see Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker, and Aaron Bady in The Los Angeles Review of Books).  You can see how that consensus has formed–Westworld builds on the 1973 movie to imagine a lush and impeccably-detailed theme park in which customers pay lavishly to indulge their every fantasy, which almost inevitably seem to involve murder, mayhem, and of course rape.  The metaphor for how HBO’s pretensions to highbrow entertainment ultimately rest on the sumptuously-filmed and -costumed violence of Game of Thrones, True Detective, and The Night Of pretty much writes itself.  For myself, I’d like to believe that there’s more to Westworld than this glib reading, first because I simply do not believe that anyone at HBO possesses this level of self-awareness–this is, after all, the channel whose executives were genuinely taken aback, in the year 2016, by the idea that their shows had become synonymous with violence against women–and second because it’s by far the least interesting avenue of story the show could take.

(16) WOMEN INVISIBLE AGAIN. Juliet McKenna takes to task “Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes – a masculine view of epic fantasy entrenching bias”.

Two things happened on Monday 24th October. News of Sheri S Tepper’s death spread – and a lot of people on social media wondered why isn’t her brilliant, innovative and challenging science fiction and fantasy writing better known?

Then the BBC broadcast the second episode of Andrew Marr’s series on popular fiction, looking at epic fantasy.

The programme featured discussion of the work of seven, perhaps eight, major writers – six men and one, perhaps two women if you include the very passing reference to J K Rowling .

Four male writers were interviewed and one woman. Please note that the woman was interviewed solely in the context of fantasy written for children.

If you total up all the writers included, adding in cover shots or single-sentence name checks, eleven men get a look-in, compared to six women. Of those women, three got no more than a name check and one got no more than a screenshot of a single book.

It was an interesting programme, if simplistic in its view, to my mind. There’s a lot of fantasy written nowadays that goes beyond the old Hero’s Journey template. There’s a great deal to the genre today that isn’t the male-dominated grimdarkery which this programme implied is currently the be-all and end-all of the genre….

(17) MASQUERADE VIDEOS. The International Costumers Guild has posted the final version of the “MidAmeriCon 1 masquerade Look Back”.

This episode features highlights from the MidAmeriCon 1 masquerade held in Kansas City, MO. Having discovered another version of this masquerade after the initial upload, we’ve replaced it with this one because the color is more vivid. There is also one additional costume entry that has been added to the video. Note: This video, while not the sharpest in detail, could still be considered slightly NSFW.

 

They have also just released a quick memorial to author and costumer Adrienne Martine-Barnes.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Rambo, Nora and Bruce Mai, JJ, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

70 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/25/16 Bears Discover File 770

  1. Title: excellent. Get out the hubcaps full of berries.

    (1) Sounds pretty interesting. If any Filers go, we need a report.

    (10) YES!!! I’ve always thought so, now we have Word of Stan.

    (11) This is very promising news indeed! Yay!

    (14) This sounds familiar. I wonder if it was on PBS sometime?

  2. (9) This one is so much with the bad science flags. If you go on a fishing expedition with a large enough dataset, you will find statistical artifacts of some sort. (The same thing underlies a lot of unrepeatable claims based on use of fMRI.) Borra’s history at arXiv.org includes a few other similarly constructed papers, including one claiming to find the same kind of super-fast pulses coming from galactic centers.

  3. Robert Reynolds on October 25, 2016 at 5:08 pm said:

    Kudos to Daniel Dern for the title!

    Tnx. Source, for anybody wondering: Terry Bisson’s story, “Bears Discover Fire.”
    FWIW, I’d also submitted a variant, “Filers Discover Beer.”

  4. “I’ll have your spam. I love it! I’m having spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, scrolled pixels, spam, spam and spam.”

  5. @6: they’re hard to find, but I definitely support Rambo’s recommendation; the 3 Marianne books pack a hell of a punch into a very small space.

  6. (14) I got Children of the Stones from Netflix (on disc) sometime in the past year or so. It was OK in that kind of 1970s psychic-abilities-are-the-new-hotness way. Was of interest to me personally because the location scenes were filmed at Avesbury, which I had visited as part of a day trip during my first & only trip to London several years ago.

    (Which [Avesbury] is well worth the trip; both because of the standing stones, and if you get the chance, the interior of the village church warrants a visit.)

  7. Color me deeply skeptical re: alien signals. I want to believe, which is why I don’t.

  8. (1) Hmm. Tempted as I’m in San Diego. However work is a bit of a bear at the moment and our earnings call is on the 9th..

    Also, just finished the Obelisk Gate. My socks are currently in (uvtuyl rppragevp) orbit. The ideas and world building is earth shattering (I’ll be here all week, try the fish).

    Vg’f vzcerffvir ubj eryngrnoyr gur znva punenpgref ner, pbafvqrevat gung jr unir fbzrbar jub penpxrq gur jbeyq, fbzrbar jub vprq unys n ivyyntr naq gura na ragver pvgl, naq fbzrbar jub xvyyrq nabgure bhgcbfg bs gur Shypehz naq gnhagrq ure sngure vagb nggnpxvat ure fb fur pbhyq xvyy uvz va frys qrsrafr. Gur qevir sbe fheiviny va gur ynfg gjb punenpgref vf pyrneyl gurve thvqvat cevapvcyr.

    Nyfb, oyrnx nf n irel oyrnx guvat. Ohg ornhgvshyyl pensgrq. Ncneg sebz gur fgbar rngref fybjvat qbja rabhtu va gur onggyr sbe Rffha gb genc gurz va gur pelfgnyf -gubhtu V thrff lbh pbhyq unaqjnir gung njnl ol fnlvat fur tbg snfgre jura pbaarpgrq gb gur boryvfxf.

    V’z nyfb nffhzvat gung Fgrry vf gur terl fgbar rngre naq gur snpgvbaf bs gurz unir gjb tbnyf – gur barf jvgu gur qnhtugre gb fznfu gur zbba vagb gur jbeyq, naq trg evq bs gur fdhvfurf, gur bguref gb beovg vg.

    Jr’yy frr ubj jryy gur ynaqvat trgf fghpx – V’z irel ubcrshy.

  9. (15) I agree about Class. I watched the first episode, and

    the most familiar of tropes […] and executed with so little verve that the characters themselves sometimes seem bored with their own story

    pretty much sums it up.

    I’ll give it a few more episodes because I like the gay alien and his bodyguard, but I don’t have high hopes.

  10. (8) That’s brief, but I enjoyed it since I knew nothing about Liu and I just finished The Three-Body Problem. I won’t quite know what I think of that book till I read The Dark Forest, because so much of it was setup for something bigger, but I found almost all of it very engaging (really everything except the game scenes, which were a neat idea but went on a bit long) and particularly liked the feeling of personal and political history weaving in and out of the larger plot— I like the multiple time scales of the action, decades vs. centuries vs. the magic gadget that’s doing things right now.

  11. lurkertype:

    (14) This sounds familiar. I wonder if it was on PBS sometime

    I don’t know about PBS, but it was one of the serieses shown on Nickelodeon’s “The Third Eye” in the early/mid ’80s. (Along with “The Haunting of Cassie Palmer”, “Under the Mountain”, “Into the Labyrinth”, and, somewhat later, “The Witches and the Grinnygog” (no guarantees I got that last title quite right).)

  12. Daniel Dern:

    “Tnx. Source, for anybody wondering: Terry Bisson’s story, “Bears Discover Fire.”
    FWIW, I’d also submitted a variant, “Filers Discover Beer.””

    There’s a Wellington restaurant called Grill Meats Beer which might be wordplay alluding to this (especially if you say it with a New Zealand accent).

  13. (5) LONG LISTENER ANTHOLOGY. I was happy to read this when I got the e-mail update. I’m sorry it won’t be more stories, and I’ve already heard Madeleine (maybe reusing it is a way to make this affordable), but I’m happy there’ll be audio!

    (11) FIFTH OF INDIANA. Argh, don’t keep making these with Harrison Ford (even without Lucas). I like him, but just no.

    @Bill: Thanks for that “actual publisher” link.

  14. The File of Scroll-A
    Empire of the Pixel
    The Tick Against the Box
    The Voyage of the Space Pixel
    The Pixel Shops of Box Tick

    and, of course,

    Scroll

  15. E-book sale a.k.a. Meredith Moment: Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher is $1.99 in the U.S. at various outposts. I skimmed the Amazon sample, which skips around some, granted. It was, uh, pretty weird. I’m considering reading a real sample. Anyone read this? The premise intrigued me originally.

    ObSFReading #1: Fellside by M.R. Carey is pretty unrepentantly grim so far. I’m sticking with it, but it’s not really my kind of book at all. It may be getting to the point (due to shifts in the book plot and goings-on) where it may become more my type of book as I read on, if that makes any sense. But only time will tell. Anyone read this – what did you think? I’m, I dunno, a third into it. Around the time where [rot13]Wrff tbg gur rkcynangvba nobhg jung unccrarq gb Anm[/rot13].

    ObSFReading #2: I’m not thrilled with A Study in Sorcery, the Lord Darcy authorized? unauthorized? sequel by Michael Kurland, to Randall Garrett’s stories. I liked his previous Darcy sequel, though. This one: (a) I’m not thrilled with the narrator (weird voices, exaggerated and weird accents, etc. (b) Kurland’s writing just doesn’t seem as good as in Ten Little Wizards. And some of his characterization and worldbuilding seem, to my poor memory (i.e., take with grains of salt), a little “off” compared to previous entries in the series (maybe even a wee bit contradictory).

    In brighter news, Faller by Will McIntosh is out! I listened to enough of the sample to decide I don’t like the narrator’s voice at all, but that’s fine – a nice ebook to keep me up late will do fine. 🙂 Time to go buy….

  16. RedWombat on October 25, 2016 at 9:10 pm said:
    Color me deeply skeptical re: alien signals. I want to believe, which is why I don’t.

    The truth is out there.

  17. @Joe H.

    That is Avebury not Avesbury. I concur it is a great place to visit.

    A few miles away is Silbury Hill – the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe
    Close to both is the West Kennet Long Barrow – and you have the West Kennet Avenue leading between the Long Barrow and Avebury (although some of the stones no longer exist).
    A short drive away (it must be, I walked it in a day on the Ridgeway) you can get to the Uffington White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy (a Neolithic long barrow and chamber tomb).

  18. Bruce Arthurs:

    I finally got it all together, now I can’t remember where I put it.

  19. There’s a Wellington restaurant called Grill Meats Beer
    Which is a fine establishment, about 4 doors up from the last NZ NatCon (and SMAFCon South in December).

  20. 14) Not much obscure about Children of the Stones, I’d have thought – it’s had two DVD re-issues that I know of – but it’s a well-done show of its time, it’s worth a look.

    (The really obscure stuff is still tucked away in archives – or, sadly, deleted. Things like Undermind or The Corridor People, now that’s getting towards the obscure end of the spectrum….)

  21. The truth is on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

  22. @Kip W

    “They told him to tell the Truth and Nothing But the Truth. But don’t you see. They had given him far too much of the drug!”

  23. Hulk vs. Thing: I don’t follow the Hulk, but from what I’ve seen, he now faces the Superman problem–he went from “pretty strong, pretty hard to stop” to “unbeatable, unhurtable, unstoppable, god.” (The most recent material I’ve read on the Hulk is the X-Men segment of the World War Hulk series, where he single-handedly wipes the floor with the entirety of the X-Man available at the time, including shaking off being partially fazed into the ground by Kitty Pride.) He’s in the “so ridiculously overpowered he’s boring” territory. (I see that people more familiar with the Hulk do not disagree with my assessment.)

    (Just as an aside, I find it interesting to have a hero (antihero?) who’s key personality trait is extremely poor anger management skills.)

  24. RedWombat on October 25, 2016 at 9:10 pm said:

    Color me deeply skeptical re: alien signals. I want to believe, which is why I don’t.

    Given the nearly infinite size of the Universe I am almost of the opinion that NOT having any other intelligent life out there would be proof positive of a Deity. If there is no intelligence directing the formation of the Universe, then the conditions under which we came into being must be re-created on some other planet out there.

    Not that they’d necessarily be near enough in either time or space for us to contact them. But if they didn’t exist at all it would be very odd.

  25. Ultragotha: any definitive proof of live outside our solar system (because in-system might all be of the same origin) immediately changes the equations from a sample of one “anomaly” to “trend” and likely consequence of galactic/stellar evolution.

    adding the “technological species” (or even “intelligent/self-aware”) aspect is a different kettle. But IMHO, that definitive proof ends the creationism/natural process question once and for all.

    But not the “is this a simulation” question….

  26. When the “alien megastructure” thing was blowing up (that star that had weird luminosity fluctuations, and one proposed explanation was that it was a partially-completed Dyson sphere), I thought that about the worst possible outcome would be that we a) determine that it was, in fact, a partially-completed but abandoned alien megastructure and b) we never learn anything else about it, nor find any other evidence of intelligent life in the universe.

  27. Chip Hitchcock, I’m profoundly annoyed by the commentary on the BBC satellite photos you linked to. The commentary covers up the images. And I can’t find a way to dismiss it, move it, or otherwise make the full image visible. I’m stuck looking at the right half of the image with a black commentary bar over the left half. (Firefox browser.) This appears to be a case where “optimized for mobile viewing” turns into “we don’t want you to look at this on a computer”.

  28. @Darren Garrison

    It’s not that recent. Back in the 70s, Hulk writers started to push the idea that Hulk’s strength and invulnerability were tied to his anger; the angrier he got, the stronger and tougher he got. I think the biggest change in the last… decade or so was closing off psionic attacks in a major way.

  29. I thought that about the worst possible outcome would be that we a) determine that it was, in fact, a partially-completed but abandoned alien megastructure

    If it is a megastructure, it hasn’t been abandoned

    The USSR tried to invent the Internet, but it got blocked by bureaucratic rivalries.

    Reminds me of Lysenkoism.

  30. But IMHO, that definitive proof ends the creationism/natural process question once and for all.

    Well … scientifically speaking, the creationism/evolution question was settled long time ago. I doubt there are any kind of proof that will change the minds of current holdouts.

    We have people who say the Earth is flat, people who say the moon landing was a hoax, and people who say Grand Canyon was created by the biblical flood. That’s about faith, not proof. If anything, I suspect proof of intelligent life outside the solar system would lead to a surge in Ancient Alien-type beliefs.

    ***

    E.T. Scroll home.

  31. A short drive away (it must be, I walked it in a day on the Ridgeway) you can get to the Uffington White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy (a Neolithic long barrow and chamber tomb).

    I cycled it in about 90 minutes a few years back.

  32. @Cassy
    The commentary covers up the images. And I can’t find a way to dismiss it,

    On my screens (IE and Chrome, on a desktop computer) there is a blue circle with a white “i” in it (Chrome) or a white circle (MS Internet Explorer) at the top right. Click it and the black text box toggles off.

  33. @ Kendall, RE Fellside:

    You really don’t want me to say why, but I think you may feel differently about it when you reach the end.

    (Though you’re going to wonder how that could be possible, in between.)

  34. I don’t know about PBS, but it was one of the serieses shown on Nickelodeon’s “The Third Eye” in the early/mid ’80s.

    I think “Nickelodeon’s ‘The Third Eye'” might be a slight mistatement. It aired on that channel, but I was under the impression that it, like “The Tomorrow People” (Thames Television) which aired right before it, was an import rather than one of that network’s own productions? Certainly the serials it anthologized were from the UK and New Zealand. At least so says Wikipedia.

    I watched “The Tomorrow People” fanatically. Then I’d watch the opening credits to “The Third Eye”–and then turn off the TV. I’m not sure why I never actually watched the show. I was 8 or 9 at the time. Some five years later I got to take a metalworking class, and I made myself a third eye necklace on the strength of having those opening credits burned into my brain.

  35. @Darren Garrison: It’s not recent. In a pure physical fight (muscle against muscle) I can’t think of a time when the Hulk has ever been beaten. There have been a few situations where someone has been empowered to cosmic levels (like Spider-Man when he received the Captain Universe powers) and has been able to beat the Hulk, but he is pretty much the upper limit of pure physical power in the Marvel Universe. It’s his thing. (Finding that boring is, of course, perfectly acceptable.)

    Stan has pretty much just said openly what’s always been a clear editorial directive from Marvel. Even when Ben gets souped up with extra cosmic rays, or when the Hulk is weakened, the Hulk always wins that particular match-up. I can’t think of a time when it’s ever gone the other way.

Comments are closed.