Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

(1) WHEN GRAVITY DOESN’T FAIL. NDTV headline: “Announcement Thursday On Albert Einstein’s Gravitational Waves”:

“My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting,” said a message on Twitter from Arizona State University cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, who does not work with LIGO.

His words sparked a firestorm of speculation.

An announcement will be made Thursday at 10:30 am (1530 GMT) at the National Press Club in the US capital Washington.

The event brings “together scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to update the scientific community on efforts to detect them,” a National Science Foundation statement read.

They will provide “a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves — or ripples in the fabric of spacetime — using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO),” it said.

LIGO is a dual set of identical detectors built by scientists at MIT and Caltech to pick up “incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves,” said the statement.

(2) CHINESE STAR WARS. “Red ‘Star Wars’: How China used pirate comic to promote science in 1980s”  at Japan Times.

Song Feideng

Song Feideng

A long time ago in a country far, far away, Chinese authorities managed to obtain a copy of America’s ultimate cultural weapon: a blockbuster movie with enough special effects to wow an entire planet.

Summoned to a small theater in the southern city of Guangzhou in 1980, artist Song Feideng was shown “Star Wars” and instructed to transform it into a traditional Chinese comic book, known as a “lianhuanhua,” to promote scientific achievement in China.

Song was one of the first people in China to see George Lucas’ magnum opus at a time when it was still banned — a marked contrast to the status of the series’ most recent installment in a market that Hollywood increasingly sees as crucial to success.

“The objective was to take the world’s advanced science and popularize it in China,” Song, who worked for a state-owned publisher at the time, said in an interview.

He replaced the movie’s X-wing spacecraft with Soviet rockets and jet fighters. In one illustration, Luke Skywalker wears a cosmonaut’s bulky spacesuit and rebel leaders are dressed in Western business suits. Darth Vader appears alongside a triceratops.

(3) AND YOU CAN READ IT IN ENGLISH. The whole comic has been translated by Nick Stember — Star Wars comic part 1-6.

Chinese_star_wars_comic_manhua_llianhuanhua6-1024x792

(4) GENIUS CLUSTER. “Alice Cooper on His Dinner With David Bowie and Ray Bradbury” at Rolling Stone.

After Cooper’s initial meeting with Bowie in the late Sixties, they later forged a friendship. Once, they even had dinner together with Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury. “It was really interesting, because these guys were in outer space somewhere,” he says. “They were talking about quantum physics, and I’m going, ‘So … what kind of car are you driving?'” Cooper laughs.

Does Cooper know how funny that question really was? Despite living in LA, Bradbury famously didn’t drive.

(5) NUMBERS THAT MATTER. What File 770 reader can resist a series titled “Five Books About”? Marc Turner’s contribution is “Five Books Where Dragons Are Put In Their Place” at Tor.com.

Dragons may be a trope of the epic fantasy genre, but they are a trope I suspect I will never tire of. My new book, Dragon Hunters, might just have one or two of the creatures lurking within its pages.

Whenever you encounter a dragon, it’s usually the apex predator of its world. But invincible? Certainly not. There’s a quote I recall from Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton) that goes: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

His first choice is Smaug.

(6) WHERE SAWYER BEGAN. Robert J. Sawyer’s first SF publication was in The Village Voice in 1981.

I’d had an earlier fantasy publication (“The Contest,” in the 1980 edition of White Wall Review, the literary annual of my alma mater, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, edited by Ed Greenwood, who created the “Forgotten Realms” for Dungeons & Dragons), and I’d sold a science-fiction story to be produced as a a planetarium starshow), but that was my first science-fiction publication — and it came out exactly 35 years ago today.

That story appeared in the 14-20 January 1981 issued of The Village Voice: The Weekly Newspaper of New York, as a winner in a ten-week contest they were running called “Sci-Fi Scenes,” featured in the “Scenes” column by Howard Smith & Lin Harris.

The rules required a story of exactly 250 words — no more, no less (title words didn’t count, a fact I took full advantage of).

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne.

(8) EVEN BAT DURSTON LOST? Charlie Jane Anders tells the story of “That Time When a Fake Science Fiction Author Won a Major Novel-Writing Prize” at io9.

Back in 1953, Galaxy Science Fiction and Simon & Schuster launched a huge contest to find a great new science fiction novel. The prize was $6,500 (a lot of money in those days). The winner? A brand new writer named Edson McCann. Except for one thing: Edson McCann did not exist.

It was a pretty disgraceful scam, everything considered.

(9) PUPPIES MARCH ON. Vox Day announced the next addition to his slate – “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Editor (Long-form”).

  • Anne Sowards, Penguin
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt, independent
  • Mike Braff, Del Rey
  • Toni Weisskopf, Baen Books
  • Vox Day, Castalia House

(10) LURKER REQUEST. People are welcome to ask questions like this in a comment on the Scroll. I received this one as an e-mail query:

I was wondering if you recognized this summary, or would be willing to post it (a long shot, I know), to see if someone recognizes it and can give title or author.

Our main character is a women who is involved in a profession that shows a lot of skin; I don’t recall if it’s actress, dancer, sex worker, or what. One day she wakes up in a thick, gray, sack-dress with no recollection of how it could have gotten on her. She can’t take it off and, when she tries to bathe, it sheds material but doesn’t wash away. It turns out that a Moral Majority opponent of hers has figured out how to program nanobots to turn out this cloth, and has set it in a cloud around her. He and his congregation wear it as well, I think? I know that the climax of the story involves that as a plot-point, along with some clever reverse-engineering on what wavelengths the nano-cloth passes or reflects…

Sound familiar to anyone?

(11) HIS FIELD OF EXPERIENCE. Never let it be said that Neil deGrasse Tyson missed a chance to talk science.

(12) SPORTS JOKE. For those who are interested enough in US sports to get the joke, a parody of a series of NFL promos aired during yesterday’s Super Bowl broadcast.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Henley.]

201 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

  1. Is 18 not the age of majority in England? I’m really shocked that England would allow parents to direct medical practitioners to withhold information from adults.

    I can see deciding not to tell a child that they are dying. But I can’t see depriving an adult of the right to own what’s left of their life, tie up loose ends, and say their goodbyes. And expecting someone to participate in that kind of lie, instead of getting to say their own goodbye, is incredibly cruel.

  2. I have never understood why anyone would name an e-reader a “Kindle,” let alone a Kindle Fire. At this rate, they’ll be bundling a copy of Fahrenheit 451 with it any day now.

  3. Chrysler, if I’m not mistaken, used to make a vehicle named “Impact.”

    And now there’s an SUV with the name of an art glass factory in Venice.

  4. @Rev Bob All of which is to say, different people have different preferences. I’m used to having no control over what I get and just coping with it. 🙂

    As a tech writer I was frequently the only on in my group, at various companies, who copied everything over into notepad, did a bunch of basic search and replaces for majority of typical errors, dumping it back into Word or PageMaker template and formatting using appropriate styles. It took me a third of the time of my fellow writers consistently. And I was less stressed. But as you said each to their own.

    I’ve done this with a few MS I’ve helped friends with converting to ebooks through Smashwords meatgrinder and what a difference. Again YMMD.

    I’ve found its the only way to be sure all funky code has been removed.

  5. JJ

    The age of majority was changed in 1970, from 21 to 18, which was the year when Nick died. Doctors at that time would ignore the patients they could not cure; they stuck with Nick because he was a medical student, and therefore one of their own.

    Hospices were a much later thing. But I agree that it was immensely cruel to do this to all the people who loved him; almost as cruel as doing it to him…

  6. @Tasha:

    Calibre’s ebook editor has a really useful feature that removes unused CSS rules and, optionally, references to nonexistent CSS classes. Couple that with the ability to do bookwide regex search/replace, and that’s a powerful way to clean up even the worst ebooks. Granted, I wish it had a built-in “unwrap text” feature, but I have ways to compensate for that.

  7. In that case, Camestros, I’m glad I mentioned it, and will go back to the MidAmericon website and remove that nomination.

  8. Hmm. I don’t see Adam Troy Castro or GRRM listed on the Hugo Wikia – have both (or either) of them recused themselves?

  9. On the subject of birthdays, Mary Robinette Kowal shares a birthday with Jules Verne. Just in case anyone’s interested.

  10. @Stevie: How awful! I’m very, very sorry. That just makes me want to cry, for you and for your friend. What a thing to do to him and to you!

  11. @Guess: You’ve already pimped the WoT Companion in comments; enough, already. As long as you’re repeating, I’ll repeat one of the things I said then – these aren’t lifetime achievement awards. (sigh)

    @Vasha: Unless they have some reason, such as a lot of people nominate it as a Novella, I expect them to leave an over-40K work in the Novel category. But a lot of people may nominate it as a novella, given it’s sold as such and really, how many people actually check word length when it’s sold/promoted as work type X? I don’t know, but this makes me think nominating as a novella is reasonable, and just hope enough people do that. But there’s no predicting.

  12. @Camestros Felapton: ROFL at your Hallelujah-Star Wars-Dinosaur filk! 😀 Also LOLing at your “American Pie” filk. 🙂

    @Matthew Johnson: LOL at your continuation of same! 😀

    @Cheryl S.: Thanks for the link to the k.d. lang version; that’s quite good! I like two others better, though the k.d. lang one may overshadow my second fave. My fave is by SafetySuit (SafetySuit). My second fave is by Jodi, Alana, & Morgan

    Wow, this one by Straalen McCallum is very good, though some of those lines are a little weird coming from as 12-year-old boy. But he does a very good job, IMHO

    @RDF: (groan) No fair rickrolling us! 😉

  13. snowcrash: Hmm. I don’t see Adam Troy Castro or GRRM listed on the Hugo Wikia – have both (or either) of them recused themselves?

    I believe that ATC did say somewhere that he did not wish for The Totally Not Gay Voyage of Captain Christian White to be nominated, that he wanted people to nominate worthy short stories not having to do with the Puppies instead, but I’m not up to looking for a link right now.

  14. Not enough ebook deals mentioned lately, so:

    Daniel Abraham’s the Dragon’s Path is on sale for $1.99. Methinks I’ve heard good things about this, but it never really got onto my RADAR.

    Laline Paull’s The Bees is back on sale for $1.99. I own this, but there’s been some interest in and praise for it here in the past, so I figured why not mention it.

    Saga Press has a bunch of books on sale for $2.99, and they’re all DRM-free ‘cuz Saga is cool. There may be others, but I wanted to mention Ken Liu’s The Grace of Kings (I own this), Linda Nagata’s “Red” books, Nned Okorafor’s Lagoon, Sam Munson’s The War Against the Assholes, and Lee Kelly’s first novel, City of Savages.

    Re. Lee Kelly’s novel: I got A Criminal Magic based on the sample being good; maybe I should check City of Savages out. It’s reviewed by a school journal, the name escapes me, making me think maybe it’s YA. But Amazon doesn’t “shelve” it as YA SF – rather, as GLBT SF. Hmm. Anyone read it?

    ETA: Sorry for the multiple comments. I try sometimes to group them logically, and am catching up…which may be overkill, sorry.

  15. (delurk)
    (10) Another vote here for that having been a story in Analog. I think I remember reading it as a teenager, which would have put it in the mid-to-late 1990’s. I have most of those issues around here somewhere, I’ll see if I can find it.

    Can I add my own, similar, request? People keep pointing out this 3D-printed digital sundial to me and I KNOW I’ve read a short sci-fi story about something very similar. The main character is hired to make a digital sundial for a group with the requirement that it have no moving parts or power (a group of monks, maybe?). Inspiration strikes during a conversation (with a co-worker? boss?) in which the other person complains about new vertical window blinds that have to be adjusted more often during the day than the old horizontal ones; the sundial in the story ends up being made of lots of miniature blinds-like gratings. It probably appeared in Analog as well within the past ~25 years, though I haven’t been able to find it. Does this strike a bell?

  16. I thought it used to be that the administrators would bow to the will of the voters and put edge cases into the category the majority selected, but counting all the votes. I guess this isn’t true any more?

    While ATC’s story was good, I too remember him saying at the time that he didn’t want it considered for nomination. Alexandra Erin wrote a number of things and is very much eligible.

  17. Also, I got one hour service this afternoon when I emailed for my Hugo PIN.

    Answered by an actual human.

    For those who are still having problems, the following may help:

    “PLEASE NOTE: If your first attempt at logging in does not work, try reversing the order of your names on the login page. The KC is part of the PIN and the whole number, including KC, should be entered into the PIN field on the login screen.”

  18. @lurkertype: I think it’s not clear what the majority of voters will do until they do it. 😉 But anyway, I was just guessing. Maybe I’m underestimating how little it takes for them to say “okay, let’s move this cuz a few more people nominated over here.” Does it only take a majority of one to move get them to move it?

    (I don’t know if you were replying to me, but as I recently commented on it….)

    ETA: Re. counting all the votes, you may want to check the Constitution; there was a rule about moving votes only if the person didn’t have 5 votes already in category X but I’m tired and don’t remember the specific situation that applied to, sorry!

  19. Kendall: Maybe I’m underestimating how little it takes for them to say “okay, let’s move this cuz a few more people nominated over here.”

    I believe it was John Lorentz who said that the Hugo Administrators make every possible effort to have voters’ selections properly counted, up to and including contacting people individually to get clarification on what they meant. I think he also said that if a work got sufficient votes in two different categories, they would ask the author in which category they wanted it.

    And I believe it was P.J. Adams who said that they would move items to the proper category, if the person who had put it into the wrong category had not completely filled the correct category on their ballot with other items.

  20. @JJ: Thanks, though I’m surprised to hear they ever contact individual voters. I wonder how often that really happens. Anyway, I sit corrected – sorry @lurkertype et al.

    Of course, asking the author wouldn’t necessarily follow the will of the voters.

    The last part – that’s the situation I was thinking of where it only gets moved if you don’t already have the “right” category full. Thanks again!

  21. There does seem to be quite a strong case for changing the rules for Novella; it looks as if the term has come mean something different from when the Hugo rules were devised.

    Of course there’s a strong case for about twenty other changes to the rules as well, and we can’t do all of them at once. (I notice some people tend to say ‘While you’re about it, could you also…’, rather as if the Hugo rules were locked in a vault, and it took effort to get them out of it, but once they are out it’s easy to change them all. Whereas in fact, one change reduces the time and energy available for other changes.)

  22. @James:

    … and I get a few (like DKM’s books) from independent websites.

    I assume ‘DKM’ here is Daniel Keys Moran?

    I need to look for stuff from him again. Got interested in him via ‘All the Time in the World’ in Asimov’s, which later became the first part of Armageddon Blues.

  23. @Snowcrash:

    Hmm. I don’t see Adam Troy Castro or GRRM listed on the Hugo Wikia – have both (or either) of them recused themselves?

    What I’ve been doing on the Wikia is, when people recuse themselves, both add a note to their page and remove it from the original category, adding it to Ineligible Works. That way it still comes up in searches.

  24. @mattasmack

    That late? Well, that would explain why I couldn’t find it.

    Good luck on the finding, and thank you. I remember it being a whip-smart story with an amazing main character, although that could just be nostalgia. I wonder how well it would hold up.

  25. Kendall

    Sherrilyn Kenyon is suing Cassandra Clare for copyright and trademark infringement and false advertising.

    Because, of course, Kenyon’s idea for “an immortal cadre of warriors who fight to protect mankind from creatures and demons who prey on humans” was SOOOOOOO original to start off with.

  26. Sorry, I can’t hear the argument about the immortal warriors over the sound of Tangerine Dreams’ soundtrack to The Keep…. >_> <_<

  27. Rev. Bob: Re: Kenyon/Clare: Am I the only one having flashbacks to the White Wolf/Underworld lawsuit?

    Or the Warhammer 40K “Space Marine” crusade against M.C.A. Hogarth?

  28. Andrew M: Of course there’s a strong case for about twenty other changes to the rules as well, and we can’t do all of them at once. (I notice some people tend to say ‘While you’re about it, could you also…’, rather as if the Hugo rules were locked in a vault, and it took effort to get them out of it, but once they are out it’s easy to change them all. Whereas in fact, one change reduces the time and energy available for other changes.)

    After the grueling gauntlet that was last year’s series of Worldcon Business Meetings (eleven hours over the course of 4 days), every time someone says, “Hey, we should add/change the Hugo Category for [X]”, I inwardly cringe, and then self-medicate with copious amounts of wine.

    I would never want to discourage someone from proposing and doing the prepatory work to present a change to the WSFS Business Meeting, but… I kind of do. Because human beings, even SF/F geeks, can only take so much concentrated bureaucracy in a short span of time.

    This is the list of things passed on from Sasquan to be addressed again this year. EPH will likely consume a significant amount of time. And there is another list of new proposals coming for all the Hugo category changes people are already proposing.

    So, to anyone who is seriously considering proposing a change to the WSFS Constitution this year: please do your homework on what’s involved, and be sure to do everything you can to complete the extensive advance preparation which can make or break a proposal (and which can make a Business Meeting stretch on for hours if it’s even slightly controversial).

  29. @RDF: Yeah, that seems like the weakest part of her claims, but it goes beyond that, it seems.

    @JJ: Ugh, I forgot about some of that business; I’m glad/sorry I won’t be there. 😉 I’m not a fan of A.2 (Five Percent solution).

    A.3 is interesting; this seems to alter the current rules for moving categories – no more asking the author, but just move it where the most votes are. But, oddly, the commentary still talks about talking with the author/creator. The rule is what matters though. Ugh.

    I’m on the fence about A.4. I wish (despite last year and other rare anomalies) they’d limited it to just the BDP:SF category, where the most frequent and most egregious problem, IMHO, lies. Also, example 2 doesn’t seem to match the rule. As with A.3, I feel like the commentary says one thing, but the rule doesn’t say what they want it to say. Again, they may get something different than they want.

    Of course, I still dislike A.6 (4 and 6) and like EPH. 😉

  30. @Emburii
    Well, I was only able to look at 1994-1997 and didn’t have any luck. (Though going through the back issues was a good pass-time, and now that I remember the story I want to read it again too.) Now I’m not sure if I should go to earlier or later issues.

  31. @Mattasmack

    Maybe a few years forward but probably earlier, as given the the timeframe I don’t know if I would have had easy access to the issues past 2000-ish. My grandfather was not particularly collecting at that point.

  32. I’m not a fan of A.2 (Five Percent solution).

    Of course, if slates continue they will effectively negate A2, since any work needs at least 5% to compete with a slate (even under EPH).

  33. @Emburii: I think you need to go further back, I remember reading that story and based on where I was at the time I’m going to guess 1992, and probably earlier than later.

  34. @Jake

    Sadly I am not the one with the back-issues; the few I had got taken out by a rather sizeable true. Although now that you mention it, I had some forward of 1997 and didn’t see it either. So yeah, earlier.

  35. …taken out by a rather sizeable true…?/i>

    I sense a typo, and I’m dying to find out if they were taken out by a sizable tree or a sizable grue. Or something worse that I haven’t contemplated.

  36. @JJ:

    After the grueling gauntlet that was last year’s series of Worldcon Business Meetings (eleven hours over the course of 4 days), every time someone says, “Hey, we should add/change the Hugo Category for [X]”, I inwardly cringe, and then self-medicate with copious amounts of wine.

    I see we have come up with similar coping mechanisms.

    My favorite example of bureaucracy-at-not-work from last year was the lengthy segment where people proposed different number combinations for “4 and 6” and then the meeting subsequently voted on all of the new number variants, resulting in the eventual winner of… 4 and 6.

  37. @Tasha Turner: I’d like to always see 5 things in all categories, but not due to barely anyone nominating the works. So, I feel a floor threshhold is a Good Thing, and that the current method is reasonable. Maybe there’s a better way, though; I like proportional methods, since they tend scale better than a fixed number.

    But maybe more people nominating, and people thinking about nominating more things, will help with this anyway. I hope at least some of the new-to-Hugos or newly-returned-to-Hugos people, who surged forward to No Award slates, will stay, and not just go away after a couple of years. Come for the anti-slate, stay for the love of SFF? 😉

  38. Wildcat: My favorite example of bureaucracy-at-not-work from last year was the lengthy segment where people proposed different number combinations for “4 and 6” and then the meeting subsequently voted on all of the new number variants, resulting in the eventual winner of… 4 and 6.

    That was the point at where I reached for my satchel, to pull out the bottle of wine… which I had unfortunately forgotten to bring.

    My sadly inadequate and incompetent satchel also failed to yield a garrote for the fellow who thought it would be clever to get up and sing a lengthy submission.

  39. @Kendall

    I’d like to always see 5 things in all categories, but not due to barely anyone nominating the works. So, I feel a floor threshhold is a Good Thing, and that the current method is reasonable.

    My understanding is that people are nominating too many different things which is why we don’t have 5 hitting the 5%. I’m not sure more nominating is going to solve the problem. Between the prozines of which 2 upgraded from semiprozines to pro this year and all the available free online shorts we’ve seen raved about and disagreed over here we have hundreds of good stories available in each category.

    I easily have 10-20 serious contenders in each category for the shorts. I’m outside the norm from what I can tell. But I read a lot of standalone shorts and back a lot of Kickstarter anthologies and magazines. Much of it specifically aimed at LGBTI, POC, and women. But it also means I may be nominating stuff read by a limited audience.

  40. I’m inclined to agree with Tasha. More and different people coming into the process will probably tend to nominate more and different things. It only takes 5 people to agree on a work, if 100 people are nominating, for it to make the cut. But it takes 50 people to like the same work if the nomination base is 1000 people.

    So I personally am not a fan of the proportional 5% rule myself. But I understand why others think it useful.

  41. @Richard Tongue

    Unfortunately that’s not it; the mechanism is definitely nanobots, and the preacher/televangelist is very aware of what he’s doing. He wants to make her give up her livelihood (and sleep with him as a side bonus, the phrase ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ is employed by said skeeze in the explanation of what the dress is).

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