Pixel Scroll 3/14/21 I Am The Pixel, I Speak For The Scrolls

(1) DREAMFORGE ANVIL KICKSTARTER. DreamForge Magazine is becoming DreamForge Anvil Magazine, providing behind-the-scenes looks at what each story means to the author and how it reached its final draft.

There’s a Kickstarter to fund 6 issues in 2021, #1 is online for free right now.

The DreamForge Anvil, SF & Fantasy Stories and How to Write Them Kickstarter has raised $4,275 of its $4,475 goal with six days left.

Our mission is both to present hopeful science fiction and fantasy as well as learn what these stories mean to their authors and how they are constructed. Notes accompanying each story take a look at specific storytelling aspects, both at weaknesses that were addressed by the author and strengths demonstrated in the writing that were appreciated by our team. Complementary essays cover the handling of story hooks, exposition, character development, plot, pacing, world-building, and more.

A special Bradbury-themed Collector’s Edition of Limited Prints by Elizabeth Leggett is available for $600.

(2) FAILING SAFELY. The Space Review tries “Putting the SpaceX-FAA dispute in context”.

…At the launch bases at Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, and Wallops, there are government agencies charged with ensuring safety. The probability of casualty for an operation is assessed both during the planning process and in real time prior to the operation; go/no go decisions are made accordingly. Launches will not be allowed to occur if the 30 in a million requirement is exceeded. At Boca Chica, a privately owned launch complex, that safety task is accomplished by SpaceX, with approval by the Federal Aviation Administration by means of the analyses required by the launch license issued to SpaceX by the FAA.

On December 8, 2020. SpaceX planned to launch SN8 Starship mission from Boca Chica. SpaceX conducted the required flight safety analyses and found that the distant overpressure focusing probability of casualty limits would be exceeded. The company asked the FAA for a waiver of the requirement; the FAA refused. SpaceX launched SN8 anyway, and the vehicle was destroyed during the landing attempt.

We do not know exactly when this situation became known to the FAA, but about fove hours before the planned SN9 launch on January 28, the agency informed SpaceX that the launch was not approved. The FAA required SpaceX to conduct an investigation into the prior noncompliance and made changes to the launch license as a result. The SN9 mission was launched on February 2.

So, the FAA’s delay of the approval to launch SN9 had nothing to do with the fact that SN8 had crashed and exploded. SpaceX is free to blow up any number of its vehicles and create damage to any of its own facilities, but not free to exceed the national standards for the probability of casualties to the general public. Perhaps, if SpaceX killed off its entire launch site workforce in a mishap, then OSHA might get interested, but it would not be an FAA concern.

Elon Musk has complained that the FAA’s regulatory structure is “fundamentally broken” and called for revisions to the standards that he said had been established back when there were only a relative few launches each year from government launch ranges. But such fundamental revisions would require increasing the allowable casualties in the civilian population. Nothing else would have helped SpaceX launch in December, unless the distant overpressure focusing requirement itself was done away with….

(3) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • March 14, 1994 — On this day in 1994, Robocop: The Series premiered. It stars Richard Eden as the title character. A Canadian produced and directed series that lasted twenty episodes including the pilot, it lacks the graphic violence and intent of Robocop and Robocop 2 that preceded it, and adds a lot more humor. You can see the two-hour pilot episode here. It was adapted from the unused RoboCop 2 script, Corporate Wars which was fromthe writers of the first RoboCop film, Edward and Michael Miner. 

(4) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born March 14, 1869 – Algernon Blackwood.  Radio broadcaster, journalist, dairy farmer, violin teacher.  S.T. Joshi called his work “more consistently meritorious than any weird writer’s except Dunsany’s” (The Weird Tale, 1990).  A dozen novels, two hundred shorter stories; plays.  “My fundamental interest … is … the extension … of human faculty…. of consciousness…. we may become aware of a new universe…. more than a mere extension of what we already possess and know.”  Whether or not his notions are true, SF is an artform, which he did well.  (Died 1951) [JH]
  • Born March 14, 1918 – Mildred Clingerman.  Twoscore stories for us; also elsewhere e.g. Collier’sGood Housekeeping.  From her SF we can see that her success in such venues is a sign not of any dullness, but of her acuteness.  She did not write in the big bow-wow strain, as Sir Walter Scott said comparing himself to Jane Austen; some of us passed her by; Boucher didn’t, she was often in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and “Letters from Laura” is in his first-rate Treasury.  Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.  Posthumous collection The Clingerman Files.  (Died 1997) [JH]
  • Born March 14, 1940 – Meade Frierson III.  Co-founder of the Southern Fandom Confederation, a name showing either a very bad or a very good sense of humor, and its President 1970-1983, a term showing likewise.  In the apas Myriad and SFPA (Southern Fandom Press Alliance).  Rebel Award.  Fan Guest of Honor at Windycon IV, Balticon 11, Coastcon 1978 (with wife Penny Frierson).  His Fancyclopedia III entry is worth a look for the Jerry Collins drawing.  (Died 2001) [JH]
  • Born March 14, 1946 – Diana Gallagher Wu, age 75. Three dozen novels, four shorter stories; drew Don Wollheim for the Nolacon II (46th Worldcon) Program Book, won a Best Fanartist Hugo; five-time Guest of Honor at filk cons (there, Orange Mike, I used your link again), two Pegasus Awards, gosh.  [JH]
  • Born March 14, 1948 Valerie Martin, 73. The author of Mary Reilly, which is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde told from the point of view of a servant in the doctor’s house. It is a film of the same name with John Malkovich in the lead role. It was nominated for Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. (CE)
  • Born March 14, 1957 Tad Williams, 64. Author of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series, Otherland series, and Shadowmarch series as well as the most excellent Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers. (CE)
  • Born March 14, 1964 Julia Ecklar, 57. She’s the Astounding Award–winning author of The Kobayashi Maru which is available in English and German ebook editions. She’s also a filk musician who recorded numerous albums in the Off Centaur label in the early 1980s, including Horse-Tamer’s Daughter, Minus Ten and Counting, and Genesis.(CE)
  • Born March 14, 1971 Rebecca Roanhorse, born 1971, 50. Her “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™“, first published in the August 2017 of Apex Magazine, won both a Nebula and a Hugo as best short story. She also won the 2018 Astounding Award for Best New Writer. Her first novel was Hugo, Nebula and WFA nominee Trail of Lightning. (CE) 
  • Born March 14, 1973 – Martina Pilcerová, age 48. Thirty covers, half a dozen interiors.  Here is Odyssey 5.  Here is Downtown Blues.  Here is SF Chronicle 223 (hello, Andy, what made you go to Google for that joke of mine?).  Here is Cryoburn.  [JH]
  • Born March 14, 1974 Grace Park, 47. Boomer on the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. She’s been on a fair amount of genre over the years with her first acting role being the Virtual Avatar in the “Bits of Love” episode of Outer Limits. After that, she shows up on Secret Agent ManThis ImmortalThe Outer Limits again, Star Gate SG-1Andromeda, and oddly enough Battlestar Galactica in a number roles other than her main one. I’m sure one of you can explain the latter. (CE)
  • Born March 14, 1988 – Sara Reine, age 33. Four dozen novels, a score of shorter stories.  “I collect swords, cat hair, and typewriters (which I do use for writing!).  I can usually be found working on my treadmill desk at midnight while my four black cats glare disapprovingly….  I’m an Air Force brat who…. finally gave up on becoming a velociraptor.”  NY Times and USA Today Best-Seller.  Flow chart of her books at her Website.  [JH]

(5) COMICS SECTION.

GoComics assembled a collection of past strips incorporating the theme of the day: “3.14159265359 Comics Celebrating National Pi Day”. Daniel Dern says, “I particularly love 2002’s Frazz.”

…So on this Pi Day, we implore you to consider where we’d be without the crazy number in all of its necessary-rounding glory. Without it, several dozen comic strip characters’ heads would be squares, triangles, rectangles or other things that are not circles.

And here are three new strips with jokes about Pi Day.

Totally unrelated to Pi but very amusing is today’sSally Forth about wild variations on the game of Monopoly.

And Non Sequitur has a clever gag about the time change.

(6) EGGING THEM ON. In a story SYFY Wire gives the more provocative title “Fishing on the Moon?”, they explain why “French researchers believe fish eggs can hatch on the surface of the Moon”.

A new study known as the Lunar Hatch Program was put forth by researchers at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), and theorizes that astronauts could potentially grow and harvest fish on the Moon by utilizing eggs delivered from Earth and H2O obtained from the lunar soil. 

According to the research paper first published in the online journal, Springer, samples of fish eggs were put to the test to see if they could endure simulations of a rocket ride aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. 

IFREMER scientists were pleased to discover that the eggs of two fish species, European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) and meagre (Argyrosomus regius), were indeed hardy enough and could easily survive being taken to the Moon.

(7) PRINTING THE WAY TO SPACE. “Orbex to build rocket engines with large custom AMCM 3D printer” reports TCT Magazine.

UK-based space launch company Orbex has revealed it will employ a huge custom 3D printer from EOS’s AMCM (Additive Manufacturing Customized Machines) business to build rocket engines. 

Headquartered in Scotland with design and testing facilities in Denmark, Orbex says this new in-house capability will enable it to ramp up production for more than 35 large-scale rocket engine and main stage turbopump systems per year ahead of its plans to launch rockets from Space Hub Sutherland at the A’Mhoine peninsula in Sutherland in 2022.

The company, which has previously adopted SLM Solution’s metal additive manufacturing technology, plans to produce lightweight and single part structures using custom blends of titanium and aluminium to withstand the extreme pressures and temperature conditions of spaceflight. These printed components will form part of Orbex’s 19-metre long Prime “microlauncher” rocket, designed to deliver small satellites into polar orbits around the Earth and fuelled by bio-propane, a clean-burning, renewable fuel which reduces CO2 emissions by 90% compared to kerosene-based fuels.  

(8) INSIDE A NEBULA. A New York Times article “Seven Tools for Better, Longer Sleep” includes a projector that turns a room into deep space.

  • EncaLife Star Light Galaxy Projector
  • “Sleep” by Max Richter

Like many kids, my son has always thrived on a bedtime routine, including dimmed lights and soothing music. But as he’s gotten older, he’s wanted more than just the traditional night light. While I was showing him a photo on Instagram one day, we came across an ad for a projector that could light up a room like a galaxy, and it was all he could talk about for weeks. After a lot of research (there were several fly-by-night companies in this category that didn’t seem trustworthy; some were even called out as being scams), I landed on the EncaLife Projector (about $80). I liked that the company had taken the time to get the device Google- and Alexa-enabled, and it had clearly spent some time developing the app.

Now, every night, I say, “Alexa, Goodnight Galaxy,” and the room transforms. The main bedroom smart bulb dims and turns purple (we have the Wyze Bulb, one of Wirecutter’s old budget picks). Then the galaxy projector turns on (you can customize the nebula colors and speed of the stars in the app), and our Echo Dot plays selections from Max Richter’s 2015 album “Sleep” (free with Amazon Prime or $10 for MP3), which was composed specifically to facilitate sleep. It may seem like a lot for bedtime, but when your little one says his night light helps him “have good dreams of building Mars rovers for NASA,” it’s hard not to feel like the investment was worthwhile. — Lauren Dragan, senior staff writer

(9) HAVEN’T I HEARD THIS BEFORE? John King Tarpinian accused The Simpsons of stealing a Scroll title, but it just sounds that way. (Click for larger image.)

(10) MINIFIGS. Maybe not genre, but cool! Hey, one of them did speak in a CoNZealand video, come to think of it — Inspirational Women (IWD 2021) – Custom Design Minifigure Set.

This set was created for International Women’s Day 2021, and includes the following minifigures: Ella Fitzgerald (‘The Queen of Jazz’), Boudica (Celtic Queen and Warrior), Audre Lorde (American poet, writer and activist), Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand) and Jane Austen (English novelist).

Printed on to genuine LEGO parts, these minifigs are the most amazing quality and fit into any LEGO enthusiast’s collection. 

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

21 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/14/21 I Am The Pixel, I Speak For The Scrolls

  1. I see a First truffle lovingly made of most excellent Lindt bittersweet chocolate filled with the finest Lebanese dates. I shall enjoy very much.

  2. The Simpsons finished tonight’s episode with Troll Force Five which includes Comic Book Guy, a Mary Sue, and a Furry. I’d argue it was more Fan Force Five as they didn’t seem like actual trolls.

    (A quick search on twitter shows someone started a Troll Force Five account back in 2010 with only a few tweets.)

    (4) It’s Michael Caine‘s birthday. (b. 1933) I’m surprised how many genre films he’s made in the last twenty years. I also didn’t know he did the voice of the Psammead last year.

    Mine’s a pixel snap in a thin scroll!

  3. (2) I don’t think Musk understands the purpose of regulations. (A lot of employees have filed complaints about his car plant, especially in the last year. There have been more than 1500 known cases of COVID there.)

  4. 2) it is deeply ironic that Elon Musk has publicly claimed to be a fan of the Culture books. He has named SpaceX craft in the Culture style.

  5. 2) “Willfully ignoring a denial of permission to launch” should merit more severe punishment than having your launch delayed by a few days.

  6. 5) πagara Pills! Slowly I turn… Step by step… digit by digit…

    (And second fifth in the bargain!)

  7. Or he wants to make the world like the setting, but he’s starting with the bad guys?

  8. Meredith moment: Poul Anderson’s superb Orion Shall Rise Is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. I always wanted this as an audiobook.

  9. Paul Weimer says of Anderson’s Orion Shall Riise One of his best!

    I actually think it’s his best SF novel bar none and have always been surprised that it garnered absolutely no Awards at all. Even the Libertarian Futurist Society who nominated it for Awards over and over again never actually gave it one.

  10. @Cat and I see that this edition has “The Sky People” which if I recall is a story with another gut punch at the end (I know, I am describing half of Anderson with that, but yeah). Isn’t that the story with the visitors to a rebuilding society in Mexico and a zeppelin from the north shows up?

  11. On the Grace Park Galactica thing – it’s just what turned out to be a cylon body, which they could mass-produce with different characters, combined with a single human actress. This is sort of the opposite of the Barrowman-on-Arrow thing, which is the same character who just keeps taking on new roles of super villainy and whatever Ras al Ghul is in the grand classification schema of things.

  12. (hugo noms)
    Welp, I realized that two of the people whose work I’ve tremendously enjoyed this past year are Film Crit Hulk (yesss, exactly the kind of thoughtful media criticism I enjoy most), and Jill Bearup (particularly her marvelous “That’s Fighting Talk” videos, but I’m not picky).

    I’m… man, I’m not quite sure how to do that. Do I put “Film Crit Hulk” as Best Fan Writer? What category do I even put Bearup in? Probably I need to pick something specific of hers, don’t I?

  13. Do I put “Film Crit Hulk” as Best Fan Writer?

    There’s certainly precedent for stretching “Best Related Work” into anything you want it to be. (and FWIW, “Film Crit Hulk” is pretty cool . . .)

  14. P J Evans said: “(2) I don’t think Musk understands the purpose of regulations.”
    I think he understands the purpose of them–for other people. And as long as it doesn’t get in his way to get the bonus money. He called the shut-down ‘fascist”.
    Funny how many of these tech big-shots say they’re going to Texas after they get told they can’t do something. Like the one hot-shot who was told he couldn’t build a mega-mansion in a high-end residential neighborhood
    It’s always ‘taxes and regulations” that they say makes them leave. But then why start your company here to begin with?

  15. @Standback

    Welp, I realized that two of the people whose work I’ve tremendously enjoyed this past year are Film Crit Hulk (yesss, exactly the kind of thoughtful media criticism I enjoy most), and Jill Bearup (particularly her marvelous “That’s Fighting Talk” videos, but I’m not picky).

    I’m… man, I’m not quite sure how to do that. Do I put “Film Crit Hulk” as Best Fan Writer? What category do I even put Bearup in? Probably I need to pick something specific of hers, don’t I?

    Film Crit Hulk would probably go under fanwriter or maybe fanzine (is there more than one Film Crit Hulk writer?) and Jill Bearup under fancast, if she makes videos.

  16. @Ken Richards:

    Maybe July 22nd, if you find yourself in a locale that occasionally writes dates as “dd/mm”?

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