Pixel Scroll 2/22/16 Through Pathless Realms Of Space, Scroll On

(1) NUKED THE FRIDGE. Yahoo! News says there may be a good reason why Indy survived the atomic blast, in “Fan Theory Explains That Much-Maligned Indiana Jones Scene”.

Much like ‘jumping the shark’ from ‘Happy Days’, the Indiana Jones movie series has a similar phrase to encompass the moment it all went a little bit too far.

And it’s ‘nuked the fridge’.

Many ardent fans of Harrison Ford’s swashbuckling archeologist very much drew the line at the moment in ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ where Indy jumps into a conveniently situated fridge to protect himself from a nuclear blast.

Walking away unscathed, it did seem a trifle unfeasible….

(2) POWERLESS LEAD ACTRESS. The name of the show, Powerless, makes punning inevitable. “Vanessa Hudgens Is Far From ‘Powerless’ – ‘Grease’ Star Will Headline NBC’s New DC Comics Sitcom” reports ScienceFiction.com.

Vanessa Hudgens is on a roll after starring in FOX’s smash hit version of ‘Grease Live!’  She’s just landed the lead role in NBC’s upcoming DC Comics-inspired sitcom ‘Powerless’.  Hudgens will play Emily Locke, an insurance claims adjuster, working for “the worst insurance company in the DC Universe” which covers victims caught in the crossfire of super hero/villain battles.  This workplace comedy has been compared to ‘The Office’ but set within the DC Universe.

(3) DECLAN FINN’S FELINE FAN. At Camestros Felapton’s blog, a hilarious faux interview “Timothy the Talking Cat Reads Honor at Stake”.

[Camestros] Noted. So what book do you have today?
[Timothy] Well, today I have with me Honor at Stake by Declan Finn. A tale of love and vampires in modern New York.

[Camestros] And why this book in particular?
[Timothy] Well I was reading twitter and there was this tweet with a graph that showed it was really doing well in the Sad Puppy 4 lists.
[Camestros] The graph from my blog?
[Timothy] Your blog? I don’t think so, this was some sort of SadPuppy4 twitter account.
[Camestros] They tweeted my graph. Do you not even read this blog?
[Timothy] Good grief, no. I mean your very name offends me.…

[Camestros] So the sexy love interest vampire – she is conflicted about this? A bit of a Romeo & Vamp-Juliet thing going on?
[Timothy] No, no. She is a good vampire and a good Catholic girl. She goes to mass and everything.
[Camestros] So crucifix don’t work on vampires then?
[Timothy] No, you see the book has this all worked out. Vampires can be good or bad and the more good you are the nicer you look and the less things like holy water and sunlight affect you. The more bad you are the more hideous you become and the more holy water hurts,
[Camestros] OK so the bad vampires are like regular vampires.
[Timothy] Yup – a bit like the ones in Buffy.
[Camestros] Let me guess – the author explains this by comparing them to the vampires in Buffy?
[Timothy] Exactly! Quality writing – explains things up front so you know what is going on.

(4) MEMORIAL CUISINE. Frequent File 770 contributor James H. Burns has found yet another way to time travel… See “Recipe For the Dead” at Brooklyn Discovery.

Perhaps this is unusual. I have no way of knowing. But when I’m missing a loved one who has passed, or wishing to commemorate someone who is no longer with us… Sometimes, I’ll cook a meal that they loved. Not that I necessarily ever cooked for the departed. But sharing a repast that they favored, having those aromas in the air as the food is cooking, seems a very real way of honoring a memory.

(5) OSHIRO STORY FOLLOWUP. Here are some items of interest related to the Mark Oshiro story.

  • K. Tempest Bradford on Robin Wayne Bailey

3) I am and remain a big fan of Ms. Rosen. I’ve only read one of her novels, but I fell in love with her personality from the two times I’ve been to ConQuesT. She is lively, articulate on her strong opinions, and she is a strong woman. No, I do not always agree with her. In fact, I often greatly disagree with her and her methods of dealing with situations. It in no way changes my respect for her. She doesn’t need me to agree with her for her to be comfortable in her skin. We can disagree, and it in no way takes away from her person. That’s the biggest reason I like the woman. So, in my opinion, she can pull her pants down whenever she wants. Her white legged exposure at ConQuesT 45 was in no way indecent, and no one was assaulted by anything more than her wit, charm, and strong opinions. And honestly, if that’s not what you’re looking for, then you probably shouldn’t go to a convention filled with writers. If the writers at a convention are going to be overtly nice and congenial, I’m not going to pay a hefty entry fee to go listen to their polite little opinions. I go to conventions because of the lively discussion of various opinions from very opinionate writers. If I leave feeling strongly about something, even if that feeling is offense, then in my opinion, the panelists have done their jobs and done them well.

4) I was not present at ConQuesT 46 and cannot speak to the events that happened there.

(6) THE LEVERAGE CONCEPT. Elizabeth Bear offers help in “We provide…Leverage”.

If I am a guest at a convention you are attending, or simply a fellow attendee, and you feel that you have been harassed, intimidated, or that your boundaries have been trampled or ignored, please feel free to ask me for support, help, intervention, or just an escort to a safer area or backup on the way to talk to convention or hotel security.

If you do not feel that you can stick up for yourself, I will help. I will be a buffer or a bulwark if necessary or requested.

Just walk up to me and ask for Leverage, and I promise that I will take you seriously and I’ll try to make things better.

(This is not an exhaustive list.)

(7) BOSKONE COMPLETE. Steve Davidson finishes his Boskone report at Amazing Stories.

Final thoughts?  There were lots of smiles walking out the door on Sunday.  The David Hartwell memorial was touching, much-needed and well-handled.  From what I was able to see, everything went very smoothly (except for perhaps a few hiccups with pre-registration that I understand are already being addressed).

(8) SLOCOMBE OBIT. Cinematographer Douglas Slocombe has died at the age of 103 reports the BBC.

Slocombe shot 80 films, from classic Ealing comedies such as The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets, to three Indiana Jones adventures.

In 1939 he filmed some of the earliest fighting of World War Two in Poland.

Indiana Jones director Steven Spielberg said Slocombe – who won Baftas for the Great Gatsby, The Servant, and Julia – “loved the action of filmmaking”.

(9) NOW YOU KNOW. Some believe Carrie Fisher revealed the working title of Star Wars: Episode VIII when she tweeted this photo of her dog. It’s on the sweatshirt back of the director’s chair.


  • February 22, 1957 — When Scott Carey begins to shrink because of exposure to a combination of radiation and insecticide, medical science is powerless to help him in The Incredible Shrinking Man, seen for the first time on this day in 1957. Did you know: special effects technicians were able to create giant drops of water by filling up condoms and dropping them.

Incredible Shrinking Man Poster


  • Born February 22, 1968 – Jeri Ryan
  • Born February 22, 1975 – Drew Barrymore

(12) CORREIA ISN’T LEAVING TWITTER. Well, what else do you say when somebody announces “I’ll leave the account open to post blog links back to here and book ads, but other than that I’m not going to use it for any sort of conversation,” as Larry Correia did on Monster Hunter Nation today?

Recently they created a Trust and Safety Council, to protect people from being triggered with hurtful dissenting ideas. Of course the council is made up of people like Anita Sarkesian, so you know how it is going to swing.

They’ve been unverifying conservatives, and outright banning conservative journalists. Then there were rumors of “shadow banning” where people would post, but their followers wouldn’t see it in their timelines. So it’s like you’re talking to a room that you think has 9,000 people in it, but when the lights come on you’ve been wasting time talking to an empty room.

For the record, I don’t know if that’s what happened to me or not. Some of my posts have just disappeared from my timeline entirely. Other tweets seem to show up for some followers, but not others, and it wasn’t just replies. Beats me. Either something weird was going on and I’ve violated the unwritten rules of the Ministry of Public Truth, or their technical interface is just getting worse (never attribute to malice what could just be stupidity). Either way it is enough of a pain that it was getting to be not worth the hassle.

Then today they disappeared all of my friend Adam Baldwin’s tweets. Ironically, his only visible post (out of 8,000) was a link to an article about how Twitter is banning conservatives. That was the last straw.

(13) THAT DARNED JOURNALISM THING. Actually, Adam Baldwin deleted himself.

….Baldwin, who has nearly a quarter of a million followers, deleted his entire Twitter history Monday morning, leaving only one tweet asking for the CEO of Twitter to be fired and the abolishment of the platforms new Trust and Safety Council….

“This group-think, Orwellian, so-called Safety Council is really killing the wild west of ideas that Twitter was,” Baldwin laments:

“That’s what made Twitter fun. You could run across all sorts of differing viewpoints. That is what free speech is all about. As long as you’re not threatening people with violence, have at it.”

Baldwin cites the banning of prominent conservative tweeter Robert Stacy McCain as a major reason for leaving …

(14) REASON’S INTERPRETATION. Reason.com’s “Hit & Run” blog asks “Did Twitter’s Orwellian ‘Trust and Safety’ Council Get Robert Stacy McCain Banned?”

Twitter is a private company, of course, and if it wants to outlaw strong language, it can. In fact, it’s well within its rights to have one set of rules for Robert Stacy McCain, and another set of rules for everyone else. It’s allowed to ban McCain for no reason other than its bosses don’t like him. If Twitter wants to take a side in the online culture war, it can. It can confiscate Milo Yiannopoulos’s blue checkmark. This is not about the First Amendment.

But if that’s what Twitter is doing, it’s certainly not being honest about it—and its many, many customers who value the ethos of free speech would certainly object. In constructing its Trust and Safety Council, the social media platform explicitly claimed it was trying to strike a balance between allowing free speech and prohibiting harassment and abuse. But its selections for this committee were entirely one-sided—there’s not a single uncompromising anti-censorship figure or group on the list. It looks like Twitter gave control of its harassment policy to a bunch of ideologues, and now their enemies are being excluded from the platform.

(15) BRIANNA WU DEFENDS TWITTER. Brianna Wu commented on Facebook about Correia’s Twitter statement. (File 770 received permission to quote from it; the post is set to be visible to “friends” only.)

He and other conservative figures like Adam Baldwin are claiming that Twitter is breaking down on “free speech” and capitulating to the “SJWs,” which I guess means people like me. I have spent much of the last year asking Twitter and other tech companies to improve their harassment policies. There is one problem with Mr. Correria’s claim.

There is no evidence whatsoever for it.

None, zilch, zero. It’s a fantasy. A similar lie is going around that Twitter has put Anita Sarkeesian in charge of their Trust and Safety council, which is similarly baseless. I’ve spoken with a lot of tech companies in the last year and I have never heard anyone propose shadowbanning.

The only “proof” that Twitter is shadowbanning people comes from a disreputable conservative blog, that is so disreputable it cannot even be used as sourcing on Wikipedia. That blog used anonymous sourcing, and was written by someone with a personal axe to grind against Twitter.

The truth is, companies like Twitter are finally enforcing their own TOS if you threaten someone, dox someone, or set up an account specifically created to harass someone. That has led to some people being banned, and some accounts that perpetually break Twitter harassment rules to become deverified.

The backlash against Twitter is by people that prefer these system to remain as they are – a place where the women in your life will get rape threats, where anyone can have their private information posted, and where swarms of vicious mobs are destroying people’s reputation with slander.

The last I checked, almost 100 people have spread Mr. Correria’s baseless claim – and even more with Adam Baldwin. This is an important thing to fact check, and I hope you’ll share this to set the record straight.

(16) ELSEWHERE ON THE INTERNET. Bailey Lemon at Medium writes “Why This Radical Leftist is Disillusioned by Leftist Culture”.

…And yet I witness so many “activists” who claim to care about those at the bottom of society ignoring the realities of oppression, as if being offended by a person’s speech or worldview is equal to prison time or living on the streets. They talk about listening, being humble, questioning one’s preconceived notions about other people and hearing their lived experiences…and yet ignore the lived experiences of those who don’t speak or think properly in the view of university-educated social justice warriors, regardless of how much worse off they really are. That is not to say that we should accept bigotry in any form?—?far from it. But I would go as far as saying that the politically correct mafia on the left perpetuates a form of bigotry on its own because it alienates and “otherizes” those who do not share their ways of thinking and speaking about the world.

I’m tired of the cliques, the hierarchies, the policing of others, and the power imbalances that exist between people who claim to be friends and comrades. I am exhausted and saddened by the fact that any type of disagreement or difference of opinion in an activist circle will lead to a fight, which sometimes includes abandonment of certain people, deeming them “unsafe” as well as public shaming and slander.

(17) YES, THIS IS A SELECTED QUOTE: Dave Freer makes his feelings clear as the summer sun:

I couldn’t give a toss how I ‘come over’ to File 770 and its occupants, (there is no point in trying to please a miniscule market at the expense of my existing readers) but it’s a useful jumping off point:…

Is Freer simply unable to generate his own column ideas? He proves his indifference by spending most of today’s 2,500-word post teeing off about half-a-dozen imagined slights he thinks self-published writers suffered here.

(18) PROVERBIAL WISDOM. Mark Lawrence declines to reap the dividends of political blogging.

When you declare a political preference (especially at either end of the spectrum) you’re immediately plumbed into an extensive support network. It’s rather like a church. Complete strangers will shout “Amen, brother!”.

Yes, you may well alienate half the political spectrum but you’ll still have half left, and half of ‘everything’ looks pretty attractive when all you’ve got is all of nothing.

Plus, the business of blogging becomes easy. You don’t have to think up something new and original to write, you can just turn the handle on the outrage machine and content drops onto the page.

“SJWs ate my baby!”

“This group of two is insufficiently diverse, you BIGOT.”

If you don’t ‘get’ either of those headlines from opposing political extremes then I’m rather jealous of you.

Anyway, the fact is that joining a side in the culture war can seem like a no-brainer to an aspiring author who needs backup. I’m entirely sure that the motivations for many authors taking to political blogging are 100% genuine, born of deep convictions. I’m also sure that many jump on board, dial up their mild convictions to 11 and enjoy the ride, blog-traffic, retweets, prime spots on the ‘right on’ genre sites of their particular affiliation, oh my.

It’s a step I’ve never been able to take. I do have moderately strong political convictions, but they’re moderate ones, and moderation doesn’t sell, doesn’t generate traffic, doesn’t get retweeted.

(19) CASE IN POINT. io9 reports “The BBC Is Bringing Back The Twilight Zone As a Radio Drama”

Ten classic episodes of The Twilight Zone will be broadcast in the UK for the first time—but, much like the show’s trademark, there’s a twist. The episodes will be reinvented as radio plays taken from Rod Serling’s original TV scripts, thanks to BBC Radio 4 Extra.

According to the Independent, veteran actor Stacy Keach will step in to perform the late Serling’s iconic monologues; other cast members throughout the series will include Jane Seymour, Jim Caviezel, Michael York, Malcolm McDowell, and Don Johnson. Producer Carl Amari has owned the rights since 2002, which he obtained in part by promising to do the episodes justice in terms of production values and casting.

(20) TECH TUNES UP FOR TREK. The Daily News profiled cast members of the Star Trek musical parody being performed this weekend at CalTech.

It’s not unusual for the cast and crew to open up text books, work on papers and discuss theoretical physics in their downtime. It provides an opportunity to network too, with students acting beside people who work in the fields they’re studying, Wong said.

“To be able to stand on stage with all of these people and sing about ‘Star Trek’ that’s just crazy,” he said.

“Boldly Go!” started out with the cast meeting on weekends, before amping up to twice a week and nearly every day in the past month.

Marie Blatnik, who studies experimental nuclear physics and plays a fierce Klingon named Maltof, described the scheduling as hectic. She originally auditioned — in half a Starfleet uniform — for a different role, but the brothers recast a male Klingon when they saw her energy.

“It kind of feels like a cult where they lure you in with ‘it’s only 15 bucks’ then jump to ‘I want your life savings,” Blatnik joked about the time invested in the show.

(21) YOUR GAME OF THRONES NEIGHBORS. Seth Meyers has had two Late Show skits where Game of Thrones characters are featured in everyday situations:

  • Melisandre at the Meyers’ baby shower:

  • Jon Snow at a dinner party:

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Frank Wu, Rob Thornton, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus (you know who you are!).]

327 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/22/16 Through Pathless Realms Of Space, Scroll On

  1. RedWombat – I would like to say, in a completely non-harassing, non-threatening and respectful way, that I think I love you. ?

  2. RedWombat on February 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm said:
    … Mostly, though, I got mattock. Very useful, mattock. Especially when you got clay.

    Mattocks are magical.
    That’s how I can break up the Bermuda grass, nothing else works.
    Maybe dynamite, though I haven’t tried it, because mattock.

  3. Esh, the last Eco I read was The Island of the Day Before. I knew it had been a while since I read him but apparently that came out in 1994 and I know I read it not too long afterwards. It doesn’t feel that long ago.

    And now I see he has two novels–The Prague Cemetery and Numero Uno I had never heard of, both of which look interesting.

    Just got William Sloane’s The Rim of Morning, a collection of his two novels To Walk the Night and The Edge of Running Water. I bought it because it is a NYRB. I know nothing about either book, but love the press. I assume others have read them because there’s nothing nobody here has read. Any thoughts?

  4. Aww, thanks, guys!

    @Lauowolf – Funny story, a friend of mine was a demolitions guy in various conflicts, and is also a certified master gardener. He’s from up North though, and was thinking of moving south, so he came over awhile back so I could advise re: local plants.

    He inspected my clay and informed me sadly that dynamite would not be terribly effective, except perhaps to soften it up a little, because clay. I hadn’t actually considered doing that, but felt a pang that I didn’t have the option.

    So…mattock and me.

  5. I also have a mattock and clay. I’m sorry to hear about the dynamite.

    @JJ – Everyone I’ve seen comment says that they thought The Trials was the better of the two (even though the difference between them in terms of plotting, worldbuilding and characterization is very slight).

    I thought the ending of. Going Dark was a whisker off. That and the claustrophobia of The Trials is what made the latter my favorite.

  6. @alexvdl: Re. Schwab coming to Arlington (or as I call that block, “Falls Church” – I guess it’s just over the line?), I’m sorry I made other plans that night! I’d planned to go to her shin-dig at One More Page Books, but I can’t make it now. And after I made sure to finish book 1 beforehand, too! ;-( Enjoy the event for me, please.

    @Camstros Felaptop: I love your cat. 😉

  7. Dann665:

    “While there are surely people that do just that….and more that say such things in a joking manner when they mean something else….there are serious counter arguments that are being advocated by people that are not calling it a hoax. One example would be climatologist Judith Curry and her concerns about the variability and certainty associated with the modeling process.”

    Ah, no. Curry is not one that has delivered serious counterarguments. She has spread a bit of the usual FUD, but it has been answered many timrs before. Nothing new from that direction.

  8. Know who else introduced a lot of FUD that was repeatedly refuted? Copernicus. It’s perfectly fine to go after Judith Curry, but equating her with Beale doesn’t help your case.

  9. Laura Resnick on February 23, 2016 at 9:04 pm said:
    @ Kip W:
    And Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery is on order via Cathy’s library. Looking forward to that one.
    I liked that one. In large part because it deals with so many things I find interesting. (I used to live on the street where Garibaldi’s troops had marched into Palermo.) But also Eco’s skill–the narrator is a virulent anti-Semite, and Eco manages to make him hilarious.

    One thing that people often don’t remark on about Eco is how incredibly funny he was. There are some of his short articles that had me gasping for breath – “how to travel with a salmon” and “how to renew your driving licence” were two.

    This was not coincidental: as anybody who has read The Name of the Rose knows, Eco considered the ability to laugh a necessary condition of freedom of the mind.

    That, and his insistence that heroism is inherently suspicious: I remember with great fondness an imaginary interview with one of those elementary-school textbook heroes of my childhood, Pietro Micca, a sapper who blew himself up to collapse a tunnel and save Turin from a French invasion. In the interview, as well as bitterly remarking on how often the Savoia royal family switched sides, and that he would have much rather have gone back home to eat bagna cauda with his wife than become a hero, Pietro Micca explained how he only ended up dying because the fuse was cut too short, the powder was bad quality (and therefore cheaper), and he tripped on his shoelaces that kept breaking. “‘Cos heroism is a question of equipment”, he concluded, “and if you skimp on the fuse, the powder, the shoes and the shoelaces, you can make as many heroes as you want, you know.”

    All of this was told with a marvellously rendered ear for the Piedmontese dialect, even better on the page than in the actual recorded radio play (incidentally directed by Andrea Camilleri of Montalbano fame before he turned writer.)

  10. RedWombat on February 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm said:
    I got spade.

    I also got rake, I got shovel, I got post-hole digger, I got like six trowels and one of them little hand-held cultivators and the narrow wiggly round one for planting bulbs. And I got sledgehammer AND pickaxe.

    Mostly, though, I got mattock. Very useful, mattock. Especially when you got clay.

    Please take this Internet. You win it fair and square.
    PS: Castle Hangnail rocks. Definitely ends leaving you wanting more. Going to drop a copy on my daughter.

  11. @Seth Gordon: You’re spot on, but reading your post made me think of this:

    if there were a general protest against banks/banking and protesters outside on the street were marching with signs that said “We have guns. Give us all your money.” that same “speech” would not automatically result in arrests for armed robbery.

    Which is a perfect illustration of how speech in different contexts can be exactly the same words, but have an entirely different affect.

    Take it more extreme: the protesters include the inside of the bank lobby in their march (or the bank parking lot, etc); while a risky move, it would be hard for a prosecutor to bring charges of armed robbery and have them stick (might use it as a threatening tactic though).

    This is once again a symptom of the general right wing penchant for trying to simplify, aggregate and conflate. More and more I suspect because of an inability to handle the mental tasks required to make distinctions and understand that life is fluid, laws are fluid, circumstances change and there are no universal rules, only guidelines. (Which the right seems, increasingly, to want to pull out of mouldy old books.)

  12. On High School Bullies:

    I had one. One day he and his cronies followed me into one of the bathrooms and, while I was busy at the urinal, started slapping the back of my head.

    So I turned around to ask them what their problem was….

  13. There is so little posting here about books and things actually about the genre. I want to give alot of you wedgys and dunk your heads in the toilet. I point at all sides in this fight.

    The site is headed ‘Mike Glyer’s news of science fiction fandom‘. It wasn’t set up as a book discussion site. We do actually talk about books quite a lot, but it isn’t supposed to be our main purpose, so it’s odd to complain that we aren’t doing it more.

  14. Brian Z:

    “Know who else introduced a lot of FUD that was repeatedly refuted? Copernicus. It’s perfectly fine to go after Judith Curry, but equating her with Beale doesn’t help your case.”

    Good that I never did then.

  15. Around 1973, there was a fierce cultural war between “hippies” and “goat ropers” at my high school. The ropers, often resplendent in their de facto gang jackets (Future Farmers of America, richly embroidered), felt threatened by those of us with longer hair and other flamboyant affectations of appearance. It was my lot at that time to have one of them in my gym class, and therefore in the locker room, where he would offer criticisms and threats of violence on a daily basis (or perhaps MWF basis; I don’t recall, but if we were there, he was offering it).

    There were several of the cowboy persuasion there, but only Smurch was into open threats. A.D. was always civil and even friendly, and it may be that his influence kept most of the rest from bothering me, but Smurch (not his real surname) apparently felt he had been chosen by someone to police the morals of the locker room against “queers.” Smurch, I may add, was the very picture of a cowboy: lean, tall, unsmiling, and with oddly thick reddish lips.

    One day he was going off in his usual way, threatening me for being a hippie faggot, and I finally got tireder of it than usual. I turned to him and said, “Well, at least I don’t wear lipstick.” I fully expected the worst, but he turned red and away, perhaps in that order, and there may have been laughter in the room.

    I didn’t think that would end it, but fairly soon after that, he was gone from the school, and the rumor mill said that he had been arrested for manslaughter, involving the death of his nephew, which is all I ever knew about it.

    I saw him later on, bagging groceries at Steele’s (Paul Steele was known for giving second chances) four or five years later. As I took my bag, I said hey at him, and he looked up for a moment and muttered something back, and that was that. I never saw him again. I’ve seen his name in a Facebook nostalgia group for my home town (not on Facebook, but I sometimes go look at the photos).

  16. Know who else introduced a lot of FUD that was repeatedly refuted? Copernicus.


    But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  17. RedWombat:

    “Hampus, you’re a prince and honorary marsupial! I’d love to see a photo! Email me at ursulav (at) gmail etc when you’re back home and I will send you all the moneys and gratitudes and flailings!”

    Sorry, a bit late, internet is choppy here. Mask is packaged in newspaper and tape now, so I’ll send you a photo when I’m back in 2-3 weeks.

  18. @steve davidson: There’s also the issue of geeks taking the tricks that munchkins use to rules-lawyer their way out of trouble in an RPG, and believing that real lawyers (prosecutors and judges) in real life will fall for the same tricks.

  19. Know who else introduced a lot of FUD that was repeatedly refuted? Copernicus.

    This doesn’t fit with my understanding of Copernicus. He was leery to publish his work (although it’s not clear exactly why), but despite that his books were actually quite popular in the scientific community. His work was considered interesting, mathematically and aesthetically pleasing, and simultaneously wrong, until later discoveries, such as the existence of moons for other planets, made it seem more reasonable.


    They didn’t laugh at Columbus, they told him his math was wrong. Despite what grade school textbooks would tell you, most civilized people of the age knew perfectly well the earth was round and even had a good idea of its size. And they were right. Columbus was quite wrong about the size of the earth, he just happened to run into another continent at about the place where he thought India would be. He wasn’t right, he was dumb, lucky, and had funding. And he went to his grave not admitting he’d been wrong about India.


  21. @RedWombat: I don’t think that’s pedantry at all. Given how often “they laughed at Columbus” is cited as a reason to believe an unbelievable idea, I think it’s a public service to remind everyone that Columbus was actually wrong. 🙂

    In general, of course, just because your idea is unpopular doesn’t mean you’re misunderstood. I think it was Martin Gardner who said, “They laughed at the Wright Brothers…but they also laughed at the Marx Brothers.”

  22. @ RedWombat “I got mattock”

    Now that was a delightful way to start the workday! *splork*

    I’m lucky to have quite decent soil at my present abode, but my clay story involves the house I grew up in. My father, the farmer’s son, bought a house in a new development scraped into the San Diego mesas. The developers leveled off the adobe and tumbled river stones and dusted half an inch of topsoil onto it for the lawn.

    This was adobe of such purity and quality that my father made a ball about the size of a handball out of it, dried it in the sun, and it was so hard you could throw it at a concrete sidewalk and not have it chip.

    For the first decade or so of our residence there, he employed an approach involving digging the clay to a depth of several feet, removing the river stones for landscaping purposes, then mixing in equal volumes of sand and of peat moss to the remaining adobe. By the time I left for college, you could grow things fairly well in most of the yard.

  23. And I would argue that you should *not* laugh at clowns, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that clowns are murderous hellbeasts who want to eat you.

  24. Copernicus was wrong about some things, anyway, such as the sun being the centre of the universe.

  25. Hampus Eckerman on February 24, 2016 at 2:37 am said:

    Ah, no. Curry is not one that has delivered serious counterarguments. She has spread a bit of the usual FUD, but it has been answered many timrs before. Nothing new from that direction.

    Curry has also had a declining contribution i.e. contributing less of substance over time. However, in terms of style of discussion and moderation and how communities debate Curry is an interesting case. Whatever her personal contribution may have been for good or ill, her approach since Climategate was that voices from beyond he center of academic research should be heard and she has been keen to foster debate on her website…which meant that her website comments sections was often just a platform for the ‘Sky dragon slayer’ section of the wider internet community that discusses global warming i.e. the section hat it is the crankiest (in both senses) least respected (by multiple sides) most prone to pseudoscience and least willing to listen to dissenting views. Curry herself isn’t of that ilk but has ended up wasting a lot of time giving a platform for views dismissed as nonsense even by global warming deniers.

    Asking ‘is this remotely possibly true?’ is an important filter in he triage of which views to spend time listening to.

  26. RedWombat on February 23, 2016 at 10:01 pm said:
    … Mostly, though, I got mattock. Very useful, mattock. Especially when you got clay.

    Even more especially very useful when you got clay with archaeology underneath it.

  27. I live in the general vicinity of Red Clay, if anyone’s heard of it. There’s a local legend of a fandom organization that used to borrow a room in the local judiciary building for their meetings. It seems they shared it with a gardening group, using it in turn on alternate weeks. This worked fine for a while, until they had to cede the location to a local labor organization with so many members that it required exclusive access.

    Such is the tale of the surrender of the APA/mattocks courthouse room to the encroaching union army.

  28. (13) I just noticed that Baldwin has changed his twitter profile pic to a protest picture of Robert Stacy McCain. I’m sure that flagging one’s love and support for an outright racist troll like McCain will be sure to bring the people who run twitter around to Baldwin’s way of thinking.

  29. @Aaron
    I know these conspiracy theory whining conservatives, not to be confused with reasonable and decent conservatives, are decreasing my opinion of them with every word and action they take.

    But them I’m an evil SJW feminist who has just taken over the world. I wish someone would contact me about how to get all the benefits the average SWM used to have which supposedly I now have while they are now beset by rape and death threats, the police not answering their calls for help, not seeing people like them in congress, no movies with male protagonist, only women are billionaires as of this week, all the major conglomerates and corporations were bought out by women, the Koch brothers have nothing it’s now the Koch Women… Bwahaha?

  30. @Aaron:

    Neat trick how the “banned” Baldwin still has an account upon which to hang a profile pic, innit?

  31. Neat trick how the “banned” Baldwin still has an account upon which to hang a profile pic, innit?

    It is also interesting to see all the tweets that have come after Baldwin’s “last” tweet. Its like a ghostly hand is sending out tweets from a supposedly dead account.

  32. Perhaps it’s the invisible hand from Whelp* of Nations

    * Recent puppy content has been a bit low. I’m doing my part.

  33. Since astronomers and dead elk have come up, here’s an interesting convergence of the two that I learned of today. It’s about Tycho Brahe:

    “Then there was Brahe’s elk, a tame beast that Brahe kept as a prized pet. The elk met a rather bizarre end, reportedly drinking a lot of beer while visiting a nobleman on Brahe’s behalf, after which it fell down the stairs and died. Yes, that entire sentence was about an elk.”


  34. @RedWombat:

    Very useful, mattock. Especially when you got clay.

    Gah, reminds me of when my family first moved to Victoria. New subdivision in an area that was previously all farmland… and the contractors who built the houses carted off all the nice topsoil to sell elsewhere leaving everybody who was just moving in with nothing but clay. We had enough trouble growing grass, much less any significant garden. For a while, about the only thing we could grow other than grass was strawberries.

    And regarding Columbus, I remember with some amusement from ‘The Discoverers’ by Daniel J. Boorstin, which mentioned that Columbus lied to his crew about how far they had gone, telling them they had not gone as far as he thought they had, because he didn’t want to have a mutiny if they got the ‘proper’ distance and didn’t see anything. We know he did this because he wrote both his own estimates and what he told the crew in his logs.

    The amusing part is that, based on where we figure he must have landed, Columbus pretty regularly overestimated the distance they had travelled; his lies to the crew seem to have been more accurate than the ‘real’ answers he had.

  35. @Rev. Bob,

    *Boos and throws peanuts [or insert local pun-recognition rules here] enthusiastically*

    @Red Wombat

    Regarding both the mattock and the note about Columbus, I would give you an internet except at this point I am not sure you have room to store them all.


    A timely reminder that it is possible to keep one’s mind too open or one’s space too welcoming of dissent. Perhaps there is some happy medium to be sought.

  36. Baldwin wasn’t banned. He quit Twitter in rage over Stacy being banned. Somewhere on file770 is the link about this.

    As I’ve mentioned in the past it’s really hard to do a proper flounce and stick with it. I manage about 80% of the time when I say I’m done at not continuing the conversation or reacting to the troll ever again. It’s wicked hard. Requires immense amounts of self control and reminding yourself how bad you look to others when you flounce and return. That last is something I cling to when I’m having a hard time. I like seeming smart. That requires getting people to trust you and see you keep your word. And owning it when you screw up. Personal responsibility.

    I can understand rage quitting and realizing it was a stupid move. Is anyone shocked he’s tweeting again? Seriously? It would be out of character for him to admit he overreacted or is addicted to Twitter.

  37. Baldwin wasn’t banned. He quit Twitter in rage over Stacy being banned. Somewhere on file770 is the link about this.

    We know. We’re making fun of Baldwin for being unable to stick the flounce.

    Also for changing his profile picture to that of a racist who is known for harassing people and expecting that will give him some sort of moral high ground.

  38. @RedWombat:
    I got spade.

    I also got rake, I got shovel, I got post-hole digger, I got like six trowels and one of them little hand-held cultivators and the narrow wiggly round one for planting bulbs. And I got sledgehammer AND pickaxe.

    Mostly, though, I got mattock. Very useful, mattock. Especially when you got clay.

    I’ve been re-reading Pratchett’s Watch books lately, and I’m hearing all that in the voice of Sergeant Detritus, working undercover on a cabbage farm to investigate a string of missing golems who have been buried in the fields.

  39. This is why I rarely say I’m done even when I do walk away. It’s easier not to get caught for failing to stick a flounce if you don’t announce it. 🙂

    (there’s also often someone who sends a few remarks after a flounce — I do NOT here mean people who posted by accident before they saw the announced flounce — that are meant to demand answers of the flouncee to make it look bad if they don’t come back. A really obvious trick but more effective than it deserves.)

  40. @Aaron We know. We’re making fun of Baldwin for being unable to stick the flounce.
    Where are the sarcasm tags. Obviously I need them. Double migraine and keeping up with the Mark Oshiro case might have me denser than usual and a bit touchy.

  41. @Lenora Rose This is why I rarely say I’m done even when I do walk away. It’s easier not to get caught for failing to stick a flounce if you don’t announce it.

    If I didn’t announce I was done I’d keep at it. It’s how I force myself to walk away. #NotOneWayWorksForAll

  42. @Red Wombat: I got most of those things, but I don’t got mattock. Looks like I need to. How do you use it on the clay? I got entrenching tool, what do you think about that? Husband likes pyrotechnics and blasting caps, I’ll tell him they’re no use. I cannot afford enough sand and peat, if I live to be 100.

    And yes, we all love Oor Wombat, the Crimson Marsupial (TM me). We want her to be our BFF or sister or neighbor or something, just to hang out.

    @Rev. Bob: Stay in that corner. Put a quarter in the pun jar. No mattock for you.

  43. @lurkertype:

    I actually wasn’t kidding about Red Clay; my old homestead is only about 20 minutes from there. I’m more like 45 minutes away now.

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