Pixel Scroll 1/5/16 A Fine and Pixeled Place

Note: I’m going to start putting the year in the header, too.

(1) SNODGRASS ON AXANAR. Melinda Snodgrass commented about the suit against Axanar on Facebook.

So far a cease and desist order has only been issued and a lawsuit filed against Axanar, but speaking as a former attorney I see no way for CBS and Paramount to turn a blind eye to the other fan efforts. As it is they have an “unclean hands” issue because they allowed the fan productions to go forward for so many years without reacting. Now that they are taking notice they will have to take notice across the board — no exceptions. That’s my best prediction based on training and education.

Because I am a professional screenwriter and also as a trained attorney I feel I have to step away from any involvement with any Star Trek fan funded project. Out of love for Star Trek, and the chance to write for two wonderful actors from the original series I was excited to write a new Trek script. And at the time I agreed to do this CBS was giving everyone tacit approval, a sort of wink and a nod. That is no longer the case.

Am I disappointed? Of course. Having met Walter I would love to have written for him, but it’s not to be. Look, I don’t blame the network or the studio. Bottom line the intellectual property that is Star Trek belongs to them. They have an obligation and a right to protect their asset.

(2) BIG BUCKS BUT SMALL FOOTPRINT. Forbes writer Scott Mendelson ponders why “Five Years Ago, ‘Avatar’ Grossed $2.7 Billion But Left No Pop Culture Footprint”. Why does the film Avatar have no great fannish following (ala Star Wars)?

Despite a pretty swift case of blockbuster backlash, whereby pundits quickly attributed the film’s box office success entirely to the 3D effects, I still think it’s a pretty fantastic adventure film. The characters are simple but primal, and the storytelling is lean and efficient even while running nearly three hours. Avatar was arguably the right film at the right time, with a potent anti-imperialism message that came about just as America was waking up from its post-9/11 stupor and the rest of the world was more-than-ready to cheer a film where murderous private armies were violently defeated and driven away by impassioned indigenous people.

But it was basically a historical cinematic footnote not a year later, with no real pop culture footprint beyond its record-setting box office and groundbreaking 3D.

(3) ADVISED BY C3PU? Hasbro responded to complaints about not including a Rey figure in Monopoly.


Few bought the explanation.

(4) GALLIFREY CONUNDRUM. LA’s Doctor Who-themed convention Gallifrey One has posted a “Program & Guest Update: Early Schedule, Fan Panels and More!” Here’s a panel devoted to a question I’ve wondered about myself.

Life and Death in the Moffat Era — These days it doesn’t seem like anybody who’s dead stays dead… it’s merely a setback! From Clara to Rory to Missy to Osgood to Davros and even the Time Lords — and you have to through the increasingly complicated history of River Song in there somewhere — has Steven Moffat’s decision to bring back multiple characters made death in Doctor Who anti-climactic? Or is it just another example of the wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey fun that keeps the show fresh?

(5) USED BOOKSTORES. Mad Genius Club’s Amanda S. Green, in “Bookstores: Friend or Enemy”, a commentary on Kristen Lamb’s post about the publishing industry (also linked here the other day), makes an interesting point about used book sales.

When I started this post, I did so figuring I’d be flaying Lamb over how she viewed used bookstores. Why? Because some of the comments I’ve seen around the internet claimed she denounced used bookstores as bad for authors. She doesn’t, not really. She points out something a lot of readers don’t understand. When you buy a book from a used bookstore, the author gets nothing from that sale. Also, she rightly points out that the books you will find in such stores are, by the vast majority, traditionally published books. So, used bookstores aren’t much help for indie authors.

However, for authors whose books are found there, used bookstores do serve a purpose. In fact, it is much akin to the same purpose libraries serve. A person is more likely to pay a percentage of the price of a new book for an author they have never read before than they are to pay full price. So, even though that author doesn’t get a royalty from that particular sale, if the buyer likes the book, there is the possibility of a royalty sale down the road. Even if the reader doesn’t buy a new book later, they will discuss the book with others who might. To me, it is promotion and a good thing. Word of mouth is the best sort of promotion an author can have.


  • January 5, 1889 — The word hamburger first appeared in print in the Walla Walla Union, Walla Walla, Washington.


  • Born January 5, 1914 — George Reeves, of Adventures of Superman fame. (He was also one of Scarlett O’Hara’s suitors in Gone With The Wind.)
  • Born January 5, 1929 — Russ Manning, artist of the comic strip Tarzan, whose credits include Magus Robot Fighter.
  • Born January 5, 1941 Hayao Miyazaki,  Japanese film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist.

(8) DIRTY PICTURES. Settle down, they’re only pictures of dirt. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now sending back close-ups of tall, ripple-ridden Martian sand dunes. Lots of photos here.

(9) GOTHAM. Formerly known as Pee Wee Herman — “Gotham: First Look At Paul Reubens As Penguin’s Father”.

Cobblepot is in need of a parental figure on Gotham, after his mother was killed toward the end of the first half of the season, by Theo “Dumas” Galavan. What role daddy dearest will play in that story is unclear, but from this image it looks like Penguin may have gotten his more vengeful side from his paternal parent.

While we don’t know exactly when Penguin’s Papa will show up, Gotham returns February 29, 2016, so we can expect him soon after.

(10) LEAPIN’ LITTERS. Not every dog has his day.

(11) THE CERTAINTY UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE. T. C. McCarthy can’t explain it.

(12) QUIDDITCH PONG. Combining the elements of Harry Potter’s favorite sport with beer pong, the Unofficial Quidditch Pong tabletop game assigns the player representing each house three unique spells. For example —


Avada Kedavra– Once per game, choose a cup and remove it from the table. (can be used on Resurrection Stone)

Crucio– All of your opponents must make trick shots for one round

Imperio– Dictate which cup your opponents must make for one round


Quidditch Pong slide_2

(13) WETFOOT. Past LASFS President, actor Ed Green, plays one of the hundreds of faux lawyers and bankers fording the Rio Grande to illustrate a talking point in this Ted Cruz campaign ad. (If there’s a problem with the embedded video below, it can also be played at the Ted Cruz website Fix Our Border Yeah, like you would do that…)

Ed appears at in all his glory at :14, :25 and :35.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, John King Tarpinian, and David K.M. Klaus for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

540 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/5/16 A Fine and Pixeled Place

  1. Michael J. Walsh: I sure do. Thanks for the saving throw!

    ETA: Snowcrash — you too!

  2. @Bloodstone75: Having seen some really cool remakes, and some that went badly awry, I have to say…we’ll see. 🙂

  3. 5) Used bookstores — Some people, at least, are more likely to buy new, if they know they can get a rebate on the price later on. So the existence of used bookstores stimulates the whole bookbuying economy.


    My opinion is that Avatar did not make a lasting impression as have some other properties, at least in part, because the story was so incredibly derivative. They also didn’t exactly take the world by storm with their merchandising.

    I’d be interested in hearing other peoples’ theories about why Avatar didn’t become a Star Wars or a Terminator.

  5. It wasn’t “pundits” saying Avatar’s success was due to the graphics, it was the people who went to see it – I didn’t hear a single rec for the story itself.

  6. 2) Avatar was a good movie but it’s beautiful 3d effects might have worked against it on the pop culture front. It would be difficult to do convincing Avatar cosplay or to make up your house to look like Pandora or turn your dog Into one of those those flying dragon things for Halloween.

  7. There was a Voltron remake a few years back that was mostly CGI and wasn’t very good so I would want to see who is attached before saying anything.


    Well, that is a really wonderful piece by Amanda S. Green, and a big departure from her usual political ranting. I encourage her to leave off doing the latter and start doing a lot more of the former instead.

  9. (5) Used bookstores
    The writer has already got the royalty from the first sale. Used bookstores (like libraries) help to keep books in circulation, useful for people who can’t afford to buy new. The trend being that people eventually get well-off enough that they can afford to buy books new.

    I was an avid user of library books & bought many books from used stores while a poor student. Now that I can afford it, I generally buy books new, writers whose books I previously read from the library or would buy from used bookstores.

  10. I’ve noticed that authors in general seem to have a more sensible attitude towards used bookstores that many musicians have towards used music stores (and far more sensible than game companies have towards used game stores, although that one’s slightly complicated by an unpleasant monopoly sitting on top of the used game market at present).

    I’m not entirely sure why that is. I’d like to think it’s because authors are generally smarter than musicians, but I’ve known a few dumb authors, and more than a few very smart musicians. 🙂

    And yes, as Soon Lee points out, the author (or musician or whatever) already got paid for that copy of the work. Trying to get paid a second time would be double-dipping.

  11. 5) Used Bookstores a great way to find new authors, read when poor, and pass along books to make room in your house for new books bought with money from those older books. Author was paid first time. Reviews and recommendations might be made. It’s good for the environment. One of The commenters on Amanda S. Green’s well written article mentioned their local used bookstore stocks local new indie books. Sounds like a win all the way around to me.

    Musicians I can understand not being as happy about used music as its entirely possible the music has been copied and saved by the initial purchaser. This is one of the concerns raised with reselling ebooks. I find it absurd given DRM and retailers ability to remove books from my library. Unlike music most readers aren’t savvy about stripping DRM and protecting their ebook library the way they do their music.

  12. (2): I’m not surprised that Avatar has no cultural footprint because the characters were all dead boring. Tons of kids want to play as Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Not many want to play as blue Sam Worthington or the older military guy with the scars. (It’s probably not a promising sign that I don’t remember any of the character names from Avatar.) Avatar is pretty. Star Wars is fun.

    (3): I did see on EW that Rey is going to be added to the Monopoly game now after the complaints, so there’s that. But seriously, they could have put her in the game jvgu ure fgnss vafgrnq bs Yhxr’f yvtugfnore and there wouldn’t be any spoilers for her part in the movie

    (5): I can’t count how many times I’ve picked up a book in a used bookstore that caused me to buy other books by the same author later. I’ve bought series of books based off a single serendipitous used bookstore find.

    (6): Local shout-out! Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought a hamburger in Walla Walla before. Might have to next time I pass through.

  13. (2) Added to the boring characters, and flat plot, there really weren’t any good,memorable lines in Avatar. Seriously, did you hear anyone repeat a line from Avatar, the way, say, people did for Star Wars? fr all the dialogue in star Wars was corny, it was still fun and repeatable, and “Use the Force” became a media buzzline.

    Seriously, I think one of the big, if not the biggest things that determines the lasting effect of a movie is whether people repeat lines of dialogue.

  14. (2) Yeah, as Wildcat said, nobody wants to BE those thinly-drawn characters. The only what you would call badass is the military commander, and he’s a villain, but not a kewl one like Vader. I haven’t seen anyone dress as one of the blue people at a con since … hmmm… a year after the movie, tops? And it’s not just the body paint issue, ladies were paintin’ themselves green the whole time between ST: TOS and the new movies. There weren’t that many blue cosplayers to start, even.

    I also don’t hear anybody quoting fun lines. It is a truth universally accepted that George Lucas is terrible at dialogue, but people endlessly quoted the first SW movie between 1977 and the prequels and now. But George did a nice remix of the influences rather than just putting them out there baldly, and Ghu knows he did a great job with the merchandise. (ooh, ninja’d by Rose!)

    (5) Used bookstores keep reading alive. The authors already got paid, and now the used sale gets them publicity, their work kept in the public eye, and new fans. I used to scrape up my spare change to go to the used book store, and now I preorder hardbacks and ebooks.

  15. Given that the force awakens posters showed Finn with a lightsaber, it’s BS to suggest that showing Rey to be a character would have tipped off her Jedi-ness.
    They gave the impression she was in the Han Solo niche beforehand, so long as her figure had the staff, the assumption would have continued.

  16. nickpheas: Given that the force awakens posters showed Finn with a lightsaber, it’s BS to suggest that showing Rey to be a character would have tipped off her Jedi-ness. They gave the impression she was in the Han Solo niche beforehand, so long as her figure had the staff, the assumption would have continued.

    I’m quite sure that the “spoiler” excuse coming from Hasbro is damage-control CYA for a sexist decision made by the person in charge of developing and bringing that game to market, for all the reasons provided by other people in this thread.

    I think that they should make Rey and General Organa gamepieces and a slightly different game instruction booklet, and distribute them through retailers to anyone who exchanges their existing booklet for the new character/booklet set. This “oh, we’ll have a Rey in future editions” bullshit is just incredibly weak and inadequate.

  17. @Mike,

    Regarding dates, I see you’re using the traditional American “mid-endian” format – month/day/year, which is really rather weird by standards of the rest of the world, which tends to use either day/month/year (little-endian) and would interpret the date in today’s title as “1st of may, 2016”; or big-endian, year-month-day, which also happens to have the advantage of making dates sortable lexicographically, as well as being the international standard (ISO 8601). The latter also has the advantage of being unambiguous – noone has ever used “year-day-month”, so if you start with the year there can be no possible confusion.

    I think that it might be useful if you used a date format in the titles that is unambiguous (and possibly even an international standard) – especially for someone searching for a particular entry by its date.

  18. I think Avatar proves the point that something can be ‘popular’ but not ‘Hugo worthy’. It came in dead last in the voting.

    I also thought it execrable as film fare and maybe the fact that it was a terrible movie may have had something to do with it.

    I also like to think (in those moments when I have a chance to think) that the Hand of Harlan is behind the film’s fall from grace – kind of a monkey’s hand curse kind of thing going on there. Someone whispers the word ‘Terminator’, one of the Hand’s fingers curls over and ‘poof’, the movie is cast upon the cultural midden, it’s dialogue wiped from memory, it’s toys remaindered.

    And, finally “oooo, shiny” only lasts until the next ‘shiny’ comes along.

  19. (To those of you who saw this on the 1/3 thread – mea culpa. Got lost, but discovered the error within the window. Edit, cut, apologize, switch, and paste… and there’s a new bit at the end about ebook licensing.)

    Used bookstores:

    The big UBS around here is part of a mini-chain, with (I think) three stores between here and the next major city. It’s really more of a “used media” store, though: books, DVDs, VHS, Blu-rays, CDs, graphic novels, and role-playing books. (The place is huge.)

    As it happens, I’m prepping for another trade-in run. I’m prone to “upgrading” my movie/TV collection by replacing DVDs with Blu-rays, and it’s only logical to trade in the older media. I do the same whenever I get a good deal on an ebook that I own as an Ent corpse. When I moved a few years ago, some of my DVDs got lost, and I eventually gave up on finding them – some other stuff had gone missing in the move, so I figured it had done the same. Since then, I’ve gradually replaced bits and pieces, usually by using the gaps as excuses to upgrade to Blu-ray.

    Naturally, I was wrong. One of the ripple effects from this past Christmas has been the discovery of two boxes full of missing media, to the point that I’m only still missing two movies. I’ve scavenged a few things from the old copies – such as the Buffy episode booklets that didn’t come with the repurchased slimpacks – but otherwise, there’s no point in keeping duplicates.

    One other excellent thing about used media shops is that they may have things that are otherwise unavailable, perhaps out of print. Most of Stephen King’s backlist is available as ebooks, but a couple of things have been pulled – like Rage, a Bachman book about a school shooting. I was lucky enough to find a cheap copy of the Bachman Books omnibus on my last visit; who knows what I might find this time around?

    Maybe I’ll remember to check the comedy DVDs this time. I might be able to replace my missing movies that way.

    On a related note, one thing I’ve been working on is an ebook license that lets the owner to treat it like a physical book with the flexibility of digital media. The indie author I’ve been working with is using an early version of that license, which explicitly permits format shifting and transfer of ownership (provided the first owner gives up all access to it). After seeing that Kobo adds DRM to some of its Smashwords-sourced catalog, and noticing that the Viggle store does likewise with its Tor books, I’m starting to think we need to add explicit permission for the buyer to remove DRM if it’s been added…

    It may just be my poor memory, but I don’t think Avatar made much of a footprint even when it was on. I don’t remember much in terms of posters, teasers, trailers and merchandise. Which probably helps explain why we don’t remembers details about the movie now – but which also, I suppose, makes it all the more surprising that the movie did so well at the box office.

    (3) ADVISED BY C3PU?
    This Rey-Monopoly-thing, and the comments about not spoiling things, have made me wonder hos this sort of merchandising works. And whether the goof here is on Hasbro or Disney.

    Hasbro’s game was published some months before the movie was released. Adding some time for making the game, the decision about which characters to include must have been taken – well – 9-12 months before release of the movie? How far along was the movie at that time? How much information does Hasbro (and other toy makers) get? Would people at Hasbro, Lego etc get access to the script, or watch an unfinished version of the movie, so they could design their own merchandise? Or are the studio sending them a couple of pictures and say “this is the main characters, make action figures of them?”

    (I’ve bought the Lego Rey landspeeder for my selv, btw. Haven’t opened it yet – have decided to make it a reward for getting some stuff done.)

    ETA: I second Christian Brunschen on the date thing. A less ambiguous date format would be nice.

  21. Last night’s read —

    Gullstruck Island, by Frances Hardinge (called The Lost Conspiracy in the U.S.)

    I’ll preface this by saying I was pretty darn happy to see love for Hardinge’s Cuckoo Song in a recent Scroll. Hardinge, whom I discovered only a couple of years ago, has rapidly risen to become one of my favorite authors and Cuckoo Song tops the list of her books for me (and I’ll note it’s Hugo-eligible this year thanks to its U.S. publication date.) Other books of hers I would recommend most highly include Fly By Night and A Face Like Glass. And to that list I will now add Gullstruck Island.

    Hardinge’s books (with the notable exception of Verdigris Deep — called Well Witched in the U.S.), do have a bit of a pattern, in that they tend to be “unremarkable girl aged 12ish or 13ish is actually remarkable”. But the who and the how and the what and the where varies immensely, ranging from the revolutionary yearning for freedom that burns through Fly By Night, to the tangled claustrophobic conspiracies of A Face Like Glass, to the sense of worlds on the cusp of change that informs Cuckoo Song. Gullstruck Island offers a world of different cultures grinding against each other until they they adapt or perish.

    Gullstruck Island takes a volcano-studded island as its setting, and a character who considers herself to be the assistant to the real main character. It starts off quite a bit grimmer than her other books, to the point that it was a bit of a jolt; much of the plot is concerned with attempts to keep a massacre from expanding into a genocide. It’s also very much concerned with differing attitudes about death. The book doesn’t stay relentlessly grimdark, but that sense of true danger and foreboding informs the rest of the story, making the risks feel real and the stakes feel high. Hardinge also has, as has been noted by others, the ability to turn a memorable phrase.

    Anyway, highly recommended. Pretty much all Hardinge is highly recommended by me; the only question I’d raise is where to start. Fans of Terry Pratchett might find a bit of his humanism in Fly By Night; fans of Neil Gaiman might see some of that sense of wonder in Cuckoo Song; fans of China Mieville’s YA might get some of that flair for invention and conspiracy in A Face Like Glass. Gullstruck Island is still assimilating in my mind, so I’m not sure who I’d compare it to yet.

  22. Joining the chorus of agreement with Amanda S. Green. In the UK, charity shops are also an excellent source, and enable one to get good books at good prices AND support the cause/organization involved.

    Also prefer the non-USian format for dates!

  23. @msb: “chorus of agreement”

    Wait a second. If the Vile Filers agree en masse with something Amanda S. Green said, does that mean she’s an SJW? Further, would a wish that this revelation not negatively influence her standing in Puppy spaces do more to harm her reputation there than to prevent damage to it?

    Most importantly, what would Aristotle do in this situation?


  24. 12) The irony is, McCarthy is very sympathetic to Gamergaters and the Puppies, However, he doesn’t always agree with them. About the only time I ever see tweets from/to Beale is when McCarthy is talking to him.

  25. RE: UBS.
    One of the two** SF bookstores here, Uncle Hugo’s, has a used book section that is substantially larger than the new book section.

    **Dreamhaven, which used to be solidly the other SF bookstore here is in a weird quantum state. Its open–sometimes, especially for events.

  26. Snodgrass has now amended her post, saying she wrote it before having a chance to read the filing. They’re suing, not over trademark violation, but over copyright infringement, and “unclean hands”, which she talks about there, only applies to trademarks…

  27. Nice to see good work from Green. I wish there had been posts like that in her Hugo packet submission rather than the political stuff we got. Also nice to see non-insulting criticism and disagreement!

  28. I tend to stalk used bookstores for out-of-print books and specific editions I’m after, as well as extra copies of books I keep for giving away on a regular basis.

    That reminds me. Time to stock up on a few PB editions of Bridge of Birds.


    An interesting used book ecology I’ve seen is used book sellers with explicit “return for credit” policies. They seemed to be aimed primarily at romance readers, will have big stickers saying “£3, return for £1.50 credit”, and I’ve seen people returning a bag full of them then pulling an equivalent batch off the shelves to take away. I guess that way the seller can recycle stock through a number of voracious readers at the lower price.
    (The main reason I noticed is that the ones I used had a small but steady SF section, and those enormous stickers were the absolute devil to get off the cover without damage).

    Other than that, I echo other comments – used book stores are a gateway drug for enthusiastic new book buyers later in life, and particularly great for discovering older titles. I spent about a decade trying to get my Asimov collection all with the same Chris Foss covers. When used books became easy to get online it felt a bit like cheating!

  30. @Rev. Bob: “If the Vile Filers agree en masse with something Amanda S. Green said, does that mean she’s an SJW?”

    Careful, now – we don’t want to blow her cover!

  31. Paul Weimer (@princejvstin) on January 6, 2016 at 2:53 am said:
    12) The irony is, McCarthy is very sympathetic to Gamergaters and the Puppies, However, he doesn’t always agree with them. About the only time I ever see tweets from/to Beale is when McCarthy is talking to him.

    That’s the problem with having Vox as an ally. Any form of disagreement or objectivity and you’re labelled as an SJW and become a target for the Dead Elks.


    Avatar became an event movie because it was probably the first 3D movie that was actually worthwhile. Storywise, it was basically Dances With Wolves in space, and narratively it’s a bit flabby because of the sections where they were showing off the 3D effects – fair enough in the cinema but a bit of a slow watch when viewing at home.

  33. ISO date format is unquestionably superior for formal work. For instance, when I include the date in a file name I always use ISO because then my versions sort nicely.

    But the US mid-endian format works really well for everyday, informal use, because in daily usage the year is typically not interesting information. But the month can be. Arguments that some date format you personally are used to is objectively superior in all instances constitute nerdery of the bad sort and fall before the fact that lots of people get along perfectly fine with each of the various formats.

    In addition, telling the US writer of a US blog you’ve chosen to visit not to use the standard US date format is rude. It’s not the rudest possible thing you could do, but that’s no excuse. When in Rome, people. And saying “It looks weird” actually is demeaning, and therefore considerably ruder. Get over yourselves.


    Digging into the McCarthy tweets, what seems to have happened is that McCarthy saw the Goodreads screen shots and asked Vox about them in an exchange where McCarthy concluded (over two tweets)

    The Goodreads posts suggest one should first conclude that SJW fiction is shit…then read it, then post a negative review. That’s a violation of the prime directive

    That seemed to have stemmed from this exchange:

    McCarthy: I see the careful use of language in those screen caps, but the message is nonetheless there: down vote sjw fiction.
    Vox:Of course. Because it is utter shite. Have you actually READ any of it?

    My shorter version is that McCarthy is saying he can see the nudges and winks, and doesn’t approve.

  35. @Jim Henley,

    When only specifying day and month, sure, day/month is fine; however, when specifying day month and year – which is the specific change that our generous host has just made – suddenly things become ambiguous. And that is precisely the change that Mike has just made: He’s added the year, which means he must consider the year to be interesting (otherwise, why add it?).

    And if the point of having the dates in the titles is to make the articles more easily findable by their date including their year month and day, then all of the parts of the date are really quite interesting – and that makes using a standard date format a useful thing.

    Yes, this blog may be American, but it also attracts a wide, international audience, which I believe is one of the very good things about it – that it’s not insular or losing sight of the fact that science fiction is a worldwide phenomenon.

    Plus, I’m not “telling” – I’m suggesting, and even providing arguments as to why I think this would be a change that would be a good one; especially since Mike has just made the change to include the year in the titles, I’ve just suggested a way that would be, in my opinion, even better, both because it is unambiguous and because it is an actual international standard.

    As to “it looks weird” – well, it does look weird by the standards of the rest of the world (which is the phrase I used), i.e. if you didn’t grow up with it: it’s neither ascending nor descending, but it looks exactly like the widely-spread ascending (little-endian) format.

    Of course, this is Mike’s blog, he can do what he pleases; I just made a suggestion that I think would make things better for everyone involved and resolve the ambiguity (which is the main problem).

    But I don’t believe I was being rude, and I don’t think I’m the one who needs to get over myself.

    Best wishes,

    // Christian

  36. ISO date format is useful for organising and formal purposes, e.g. for file names for translated documents I use the format Company-name-2016-06-01. For everyday use, I use the standard European day.month.year format, because that’s what I’m used to and what everybody around me understands. Though I don’t mind the US format, since I see it often enough on the web and in documents to be used to it.

  37. Dammit, I had “date format flame war” in the sweep for February. For January I’ve got “two people argue over who had the username first” and I’m still waiting for a competing Mark so I can deliberately start that one.

  38. I’m not fond of the USA date system but so long as I know it is being used (which is usually but not always obvious from context) I don’t have a problem reading it.


    I plan on regarding any new Meredith’s with deep suspicion.

  39. RE: Avatar. I fell asleep when my wife and I went to see it in the cinema. I also discovered that I can only process 3D imagery for about 30 minutes before it all goes blurry (we may have already seen a downloaded copy at home so I knew I wasn’t missing anything, ssssh)

    It’s not unusual for big-budget movies to vanish into the pop culture ether after they leave cinemas, even SF ones. Who’s even thought about Independence Day between the cinema release and news of the sequel?

  40. Jim Henley on January 6, 2016 at 4:48 am said

    In addition, telling the US writer of a US blog you’ve chosen to visit not to use the standard US date format is rude. It’s not the rudest possible thing you could do, but that’s no excuse. When in Rome, people. And saying “It looks weird” actually is demeaning, and therefore considerably ruder. Get over yourselves.

    Very true. And yet my inner OCD demon screams every time I see a US format date. (BTW, since in my job I often deal with time series in Excel, encountering a US format column causes shivers of horror to go down my spine*.)

    *Yes, I know there is a wizard to convert. Shiver of horrors happen anyway.

  41. January 5, 1889 —The word hamburger first appeared in print in the Walla Walla Union, Walla Walla, Washington

    I am moderately skeptical that no one referred to a resident of Hamburg in print before 1889.

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