Pixel Scroll 4/15/17 The Late-Night, Double-Feature, Motion Pixel Scroll

(1) CALL THE MOUNTIES. Imagine that — when you walk around town costumed as an armed survivalist, some people just can’t help believing their lying eyes: “Cosplay goes bad for gamer in Grande Prairie”.

Grande Prairie RCMP draw firearms in response to man dressed as video game character

It was almost game over in Grande Prairie this week for a cosplay enthusiast.

Dressed as a character from Fallout, a popular post-apocalyptic video game series, the man walked down a street wearing a gas mask, helmet, armour and bullet belt.

He carried a flag that said “New California Republic” — one of the factions from the games.

A man dressed as a character from the Fallout video-game series walks down a street in Grande Prairie. (Kyle Martel/Facebook)

RCMP Cpl. Shawn Graham told CBC News that police received calls just before 5 p.m. Tuesday from citizens concerned the man was wearing what looked like a bomb on his back.

At least eight officers responded with their long guns drawn. Photos show them crouched behind vehicles and bushes

(2) HPL. Thanks to rcade, we know what a World Fantasy Award nominee pin looks like:

(3) NEW DIGS. LASFS sold its clubhouse and is vacating the premises. They haven’t bought a replacement property yet, so the club will be meeting temporarily at the Art Directors Guild in Studio City beginning May 4. More details at Meetup.

(4) A HAMMER FILM. We’ve seen ice cream made with liquid nitrogen; Nottingham University professor Martyn Poliakoff shows that same liquid gas can be used to make the new “indestructable” 5-pound note destructible.

In a clip uploaded to his Periodic Videos series on YouTube, the professor said:

“The Bank of England is issuing new bank notes starting with the five pound note, and they made them plastic and there have been all sorts of advertisements that you cannot break them.

“I felt immediately challenged, and I had the idea that if we froze it with liquid nitrogen, the strands of the polymer would be frozen rigid and you may be able to break it, hitting it with a hammer.”

 

(5) WHO BLABBED? CBR.com reports animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen is on the way.

An animated adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ celebrated “Watchmen” is on the way, and it may arrive sooner than you’d think.

A recent survey by Warner Bros. “A-List Community” program, which regularly asks subscribers for their opinions on upcoming or recent film and television projects, has revealed the studio is bringing the graphic novel to animated form.

Reading the survey’s description of the project as “an upcoming made-for-video movie,” it’s apparent the film is already either in development, or in the final stages of production.

The survey further describes the film as “A faithful adaptation of the Watchmen graphic novel executed in an animation style that mirrors the source material.” Going by that description, it’s safe to assume Warner Bros. Animation has opted to take a similar approach to the comic as it did when bringing Frank Miller’s “Dark Knight Returns” and Moore and Brian Bolland’s “The Killing Joke” to life; both of those films homaged the respective artist’s style, making changes as needed to properly animate the story.

It’s interesting to note, though perhaps not surprising, that at no point in the survey are Moore or Gibbons mentioned. While Gibbons participated in the production and promotion of director Zack Snyder’s 2009 live-action “Watchmen” adaptation, Moore has made his disapproval of any “Watchmen” follow-up extremely clear. He was once quoted as saying he’d be “spitting venom all over” the Snyder-directed film, and has expressed on numerous occasions his preference that the original story be left to stand on its own.

ComicsBeat  sounded cranky when they relayed the story – “Someone broke NDA and revealed that an R-rated watchmen animated movie is coming”.

It’s a little surprising that news of this new adaptation of Watchmen has leaked to the general public so quickly as membership to Warner Bros. A-List Community program requires the signing of an non-disclosure agreement….

Then they proceeded to quote the NDA language at length, presumably to shame the rival news site. Bad, naughty news site!

(6) I LIKE CAKE. Lynn Hirschberg, in W magazine article “Gal Gadot Listened to Beyonce in Preparation for her Wonder Woman Debut”, profiles Gadot, who discusses how Beyonce provided inspiration, how she auditioned blindly for the part, and how despite being in a superhero movie she still likes to decorate cakes.

On the day we met, she was channeling her powers into decorating a cake. (Who would’ve guessed that the actress had such a way with fondant?) “I want to start with a blue cake,” Gadot said definitively, as we entered Duff’s CakeMix, in Los Angeles. She was wearing simple black pants, a navy sweater, and classic black Gucci loafers.

Although she was six-months pregnant with her second child, the baby bump was nearly undetectable. Gadot, who has a doelike quality, wasn’t wearing makeup and her dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail. “You couldn’t have invented a more perfect ­Wonder Woman than Gal,” Patty Jenkins, the film’s director, told me later.

(7) YOUR MOROSE ROBOT PAL. I think this is cool, although the name “Orpheus – The Saddest Music Machine” is a bit of anthropomorphizing I could do without. Having survived the effects of puppy sadness, do I really need robotic sadness?

We need companions in our lives. And it’s always helpful to have one who needs you in return. Orpheus, a robot-shaped DIY music box that plays music and lights up, is a bit sad and melancholic. But he looks cheerful, and he has a big heart. Orpheus will be a steadfast companion to any older child or adult. Though he needs some help being his best self, right out of the box.   Assemble Orpheus yourself or with your kids from the laser-cut wood pieces, and soon you will have your own hand-cranked music box with moving gears and lights, as well as arms and legs. His melody is called “Cycle of Happiness,” which you can play any time you need some inspiration, or when you feel Orpheus needs some attention. Orpheus is available in the U.S. through ThinkGeek before anyone else.

 

(8) THE WRITE CHOICE. Although it won’t be a pal, you could spend more than a hundred times more money on this geeky Chushev pen.

The “Complication” fountain pen pays homage to the Swiss watchmaking trade for all the innovations in precision mechanics it has achieved. Inspired by the craftsmanship of the Swiss masters, Chavdar Chushev, saw the miniature details in the watches as ideal specimens for abstract art compositions. From that moment, he spent the next three decades refining his technique and evolving his creative vision. The sophisticated design of the “Complication” is the result of countless artistic iterations and technological evolutions.

(9) COMIC SECTION. John King Tarpinian knows you’ll appreciate the sf reference in Frank and Ernest.

He also recommends the cinematic humor in Brevity.

On the other hand, Martin Morse Wooster is certain Tolkien fans will want to throw things at Stephen Pastis after reading today’s Pearls Before Swine.

(10) HANSEN OBIT. Actor Peter Hansen died April 9 at the age of 95. He was one of the stars of the 1951 science-fiction film When Worlds Collide, which won an Academy Award for special effects. He also appeared in an episode of TV’s Science Fiction Theatre.

However, his real claim to fame was years spent playing a character on the soap opera General Hospital, earning an Emmy in 1979 as Best Supporting Actor.

More details here.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY WIZARD

  • Born April 15, 1990 – Emma Watson

(12) DOOMED AGAIN. LegalVision analyzes why an Australian court ordered the destruction of The One Ring – “This Apparently Precious Ring: Tolkien Estate Limited v Saltamacchia”.

The Infringement Issues

The Respondent hosts a website called “Australian Jewellery Sales”. Over the course of eight years, the Respondent sold approximately 1300 rings with the One Ring Inscription between $5 and $30 AUD each. He advertised the rings by referencing phrases such as: “The Lord of the Rings”; “The Hobbit”; and “Bilbo Baggins”.

The Respondent has about 50 remaining rings with the One Ring Inscription left. Right up until the date of the proceedings he continued to offer them for sale. The Respondent argued his rings did not accurately replicate the One Ring Inscription. It is important to note, here, that reproduction of copyright work does not need to be exact. The infringement must be a “substantial part”.

(13) WHAT’S COOKIN’? Enceladus also shows signs of life, although there’s still more hope for Europa:

Could there be life under the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus?

Scientists have found a promising sign.

NASA announced on Thursday that its Cassini spacecraft mission to Saturn has gathered new evidence that there’s a chemical reaction taking place under the moon’s icy surface that could provide conditions for life. They described their findings in the journal Science.

“This is the closest we’ve come, so far, to identifying a place with some of the ingredients needed for a habitable environment,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement.

However, the scientists think that because the moon is young, there may not have been time for life to emerge.

In 2015, researchers said that there was evidence of a warm ocean under the moon’s surface, as NPR’s Geoff Brumfiel reported.

This posed an exciting prospect — researchers wondered whether that warm ocean might be interacting with rock to create a form of chemical energy that could be used by some forms of life.

If true, it would be analogous to ancient organisms on Earth fueled by the energy in deep-sea ocean vents.

(14) IMPROVING RECOGNITION. AIs are biased, probably due to inadequate samples: “Artificial intelligence: How to avoid racist algorithms”.

The Algorithmic Justice League (AJL) was launched by Joy Buolamwini, a postgraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in November 2016.

She was trying to use facial recognition software for a project but it could not process her face – Ms Buolamwini has dark skin.

“I found that wearing a white mask, because I have very dark skin, made it easier for the system to work,” she says.

“It was the reduction of a face to a model that a computer could more easily read.”

It was not the first time she had encountered the problem.

Five years earlier, she had had to ask a lighter-skinned room-mate to help her.

“I had mixed feelings. I was frustrated because this was a problem I’d seen five years earlier was still persisting,” she said.

“And I was amused that the white mask worked so well.”

(15) IT’S CALLED ACTING. Variety’s Lawrence Yee, in “Meet Rose, The Biggest Little Part’ in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, discusses how Grace Marie Tran, who plays Rose, appeared on a panel at the Star Wars Celebration in Orlando and while she couldn’t say anything about the film, she did say she told her parents she was shooting “an indie movie in Canada” and bought some maple syrup to prove to her parents she was in another country.

(16) THAT THING THEY DO. George Saunders probes “What writers really do when they write”.

…An artist works outside the realm of strict logic. Simply knowing one’s intention and then executing it does not make good art. Artists know this. According to Donald Barthelme: “The writer is that person who, embarking upon her task, does not know what to do.” Gerald Stern put it this way: “If you start out to write a poem about two dogs fucking, and you write a poem about two dogs fucking – then you wrote a poem about two dogs fucking.” Einstein, always the smarty-pants, outdid them both: “No worthy problem is ever solved in the plane of its original conception.”

…I had written short stories by this method for the last 20 years, always assuming that an entirely new method (more planning, more overt intention, big messy charts, elaborate systems of numerology underlying the letters in the characters’ names, say) would be required for a novel. But, no. My novel proceeded by essentially the same principles as my stories always have: somehow get to the writing desk, read what you’ve got so far, watch that forehead needle, adjust accordingly. The whole thing was being done on a slightly larger frame, admittedly, but there was a moment when I finally realised that, if one is going to do something artistically intense at 55 years old, he is probably going to use the same skills he’s been obsessively honing all of those years; the trick might be to destabilise oneself enough that the skills come to the table fresh-eyed and a little confused. A bandleader used to working with three accordionists is granted a symphony orchestra; what he’s been developing all of those years, he may find, runs deeper than mere instrumentation – his take on melody and harmony should be transferable to this new group, and he might even find himself looking anew at himself, so to speak: reinvigorated by his own sudden strangeness in that new domain.

It was as if, over the years, I’d become adept at setting up tents and then a very large tent showed up: bigger frame, more fabric, same procedure….

(17) VISITING SPACE SOON. A European Shuttle?

While Tumino and his team have worked on IXV and then Space Rider, there have been other European concepts in the background. UK company Reaction Engines has a design for an unmanned spaceplane, Skylon, that will launch satellites and the German Aerospace Agency has a concept called SpaceLiner that carries people. But, neither will be in orbit before Space Rider or anytime soon.

Space Rider could be in orbit in 2020 or 2021, as design funding was approved by Esa’s 27 member states in December last year. The money will enable Esa to work with the Italian Aerospace Agency, Cira, which is managing the project, and Thales Alenia Space and Lockheed Martin to complete the spaceplane’s design in 2019.

Its first flights will not, however, leave the Earth’s atmosphere. A full-scale model will be dropped in 2019 – both by atmospheric balloon and helicopter to test how it lands.

(18) ANOTHER APRIL FOOLS CLASSIC. Mount Vernon’s newest website translation for visitors is in Klingonese. And it’s dialed-in to Klingon sensibilities, as this video tour of George Washington’s home shows.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Greg Hullender.]

78 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/15/17 The Late-Night, Double-Feature, Motion Pixel Scroll

  1. 2)A compromise that seems to be a terrible idea. Hey, let’s redesign the award, but let’s keep the nominee pin. That makes even more people upset than if you had it one way or the other.

  2. Paul Weimer: A compromise that seems to be a terrible idea. Hey, let’s redesign the award, but let’s keep the nominee pin. That makes even more people upset than if you had it one way or the other.

    It’s not a “compromise”. It’s a “pragmatic” follow-on to someone’s stupidity.

    Reposted from the WFA Reactions post:

    This is why the old pins are still going to be used:

    William Lawhorn @wmslawhorn:
    Sadly I wasn’t being sarcastic. Hundreds of those head pins remain to be given out.
    8:59 AM – 13 Apr 2017

    William Lawhorn @wmslawhorn:
    The 2014 WFC purchased a huge number of pins which were mistakenly produced without authority. They have been passed along.
    9:06 AM – 13 Apr 2017

  3. (3)
    The map doesn’t work, because it’s looking for Ventura Blvd in Los Angeles, not Studio City.
    The building is on the northeast corner of Ventura Blvd and Radford, east of Laurel Canyon – there should be parking in the business lots off Ventura west of Radford. There’s also a Trader Joe’s across Ventura….

  4. P J Evans: There’s also a Trader Joe’s across Ventura….

    Ah, well that guarantees there will be no parking available at all. You know how busy it gets in a Trader Joe’s parking lot….

  5. Soon Lee: I read it as some heel-dragging by people who didn’t want to give up the Lovecraft statuette. Sort of a “we’re still here” gesture.

  6. (7) At least it looks like Orpheus’s head, if torn off cleanly from the body, might float well at sea. But maybe this version won’t meet the same fate, since it’s hard to imagine Maenads getting mad at it for the same reasons (abandoning the worship of Dionysus, or taking only male lovers).

  7. (4) A HAMMER FILM. Cool, science! Wow, it’s illegal to draw on the Queen’s face?! BTW when he talks about the claim that you can’t “break” the notes, is this a British term for what in the U.S. we call “rip” or “tear”? And I’m wondering, you could cut them, right? With a sharp enough pair of scissors?

    (7) YOUR MOROSE ROBOT PAL. Must have! I sent the link to my other half in the hopes of getting it for my birthday. My memory sucks, so I’ll forget it exists and it’ll still be a great surprise for me. (IMHO half of the “sad” part is just the silly poses they’re putting it in. It’s a lovely tune.)

    (9) COMIC SECTION. 🙂 I always like this section.

    (12) DOOMED AGAIN. “LegalVision analyzes why an Australian court ordered the destruction of The One Ring – “This Apparently Precious Ring: Tolkien Estate Limited v Saltamacchia”.”

    Multiple groans from your headline to your next line to their headline, thanks. 😉

    @TooManyJens: LOL, though I couldn’t watch the, er, Whole thing.

  8. (1) There’s a certain disconnect from reality in thinking walking around in public as an armed survivalist would not cause problems.

    (5) It’s not the news site doing the reporting that violated the NDA.

    I may have had more comments, but right now, coherence is fading.

  9. It’s the big referendum here in Turkey today: whether to formalise Erdogan’s autocratic rule. Could be a depressing day for all my secularist friends, but you never know.

  10. (6) I still wish the stars had been right for Terry Farrell to play Wonder Woman when she left DS9.

    @Kendall: I would be rather shocked if the new notes weren’t printed in sheets and then cut… which, naturally, requires that there be some way to cut them!

    Fun fact: The US Bureau of Printing and Engraving (basically “The Mint, but for paper money instead of coins”) will sell you uncut sheets of money – and they charge more per sheet than you’d get if you cut the bills apart to spend them. Quite a bit more than I remembered, actually. I was remembering a sheet of 20 dollar bills going for $25, but now the going rate’s rather more than that…

  11. @Rev. Bob: I suppose they could use some kind of acid 😉 or maybe a laser (which would be cooler!), but yeah, you’re right of course. My brain was processing Hugo nominated short fiction and I asked a silly question.

    Unrelated: Amazon.com’s recommendation engine is trying to be too clever. Because I bought a book named Seraphina, it’s suggesting I may be interested in a series of books with Serafina in the name. 🙄

    ETA: Cool, the emoji worked! I’ll never remember that magic number in the future (yay for copy-paste).

  12. (2) Perhaps they ought to swiftly develop a NEW World Fantasy Award nominee pin, and then consider selling off the overstock of HPL to some game company or game parts supplier, in order to capitalize on the numerous Lovecraftian boardgames that are out there (that is to say, why not sell them to people who WANT them, instead of perpetuating the controversy). I like Gahan Wilson, but I can’t believe they can’t easily replace the HPL design, it is pretty rough looking, and sets the bar pretty low.

    How many WFA nominees are there? 43 years times however many were nominated each year… gonna be a decent number but not insurmountable.
    How hard would it be to send off the new pins to every WFA nominee that wanted one? Maybe do a swap for HPL, or sell them a new one if they want to keep HPL?

    Or we can just keep complaining about HPL. Because who wants to actually DO something when they can complain instead.

  13. (1) Sure, because walking around with realistic-looking weapons never bothers the cops. Especially in Canada. That is a special kind of clueless. OTOH, at least in Canada they didn’t shoot first and ask questions later.

    (2) Another special kind of clueless. Let’s continue offending nominees because someone was reckless with cash! Apparently WFC hasn’t heard the phrases “throwing good money after bad” or “sunk cost fallacy”. And I think that’s even uglier than the statue. The left eyeball’s getting ready to go walkabout.

    And if each WFC is independent — which is why they claim they can’t pay the new statue artist anything, even though Worldcon does — why does what some doofus bought without asking some years ago matter?

    Either auction them off for a good cause, or ship them back to the ordering doofus and tell him to distribute them.

    (3) Has there ever been adequate parking anywhere in Studio City? I think not.

    (5) It’s not national security (and even that isn’t what it used to be), it’s an NDA about marketing for movies. So what. And while I don’t think we need yet another Watchmen adaptation, I’ve always thought it was hypocrisy of the highest order how Moore’s always whining that no one can do anything with his characters, ever, when he based the Watchmen on someone else’s, and most (all?) of his comics are based on characters he didn’t create either. So, yeah… go ahead, WB. 🙂

    (9) I enjoyed those. Please keep the funnies as a regular Pixel Scroll item. News and comic strips!

    (10) Oh him! He was always good on GH, which I inherited from my grandma and mom but I think we all gave up on it in the 90’s.

    (12) If it didn’t quote the inscription exactly, then what’s the point of buying it?

    @Kendall: last year when we were all talking “Watchmaker of Filigree Street”, I made sure to bookmark 🐙 because KATSU.

  14. @Al, lurkertype: (the WFC HPL pins)

    I would expect that selling Special Nominee Pins to the general public would rather annoy the people who got them the hard way, which seems like a shabby way to treat those honorees. Perhaps a mixture of options could be the solution: make a new pin, and offer future nominees their choice of designs (or even the option to receive both) until the old stock is depleted. Naturally, that could create some issues based on just how many old pins there are…

    If nothing else, if the pins are offered to the public, I would certainly expect them to be altered in some way. Dip ’em in paint, maybe – but make it so someone can’t buy one and use it to pass himself off as a past nominee… at least, not without putting some effort into it.

  15. That pin is scary shit… I have no idea about how many pins they have left, but I think just setting an end date for their use would alleviate some feelings.

  16. Mike:

    Re (15): Is the new Star Wars actress’ name Grace or Kelly Marie Tran? You say the first, but all the other sites I see say the other.

  17. Since my cable provider doesn’t carry the BBC America channel in HD, but does offer HD versions of its shows via On Demand, I had to wait several hours to see the season premieres of Doctor Who and Class. In fact, I’m only about twenty minutes into the latter right now…

    …and I can already hear the Puppy types howling. I mean, a gay black woman as the Doctor’s new companion was one thing, but those who see diversity in casting as “box checking” are going to have fits over Class. A smart black girl who is apparently Not At All Christian, an apparently gay white guy, a shy classmate who takes that revelation in stride, a know-it-all abrasive woman as the teacher… and I’ve still got about an hour of the show left!

    Maybe I should make some popcorn.

  18. They could do a few things to clear out those pins:

    1. Sell them to Gahan Wilson’s Virtual Museum so he could give the pins to people who buy subscriptions.

    2. Launch a GoFundMe to fund a new pin so they can just give the old ones to Wilson.

    3. Launch a KickStarter for an official history of the World Fantasy Awards and use the pins as a stretch goal.

    4. Create a new pin and let nominees choose which one they want.

  19. However, his real claim to fame was years spent playing a character on the soap opera General Hospital, earning an Emmy in 1979 as Best Supporting Actor.

    He played Scotty Baldwin’s disapproving father Lee, the reputable attorney and alcoholic. It was always a great moment when Lee found out something terrible Scotty had done and let be known the full weight of his disapproval.

    There’s a great photo of Hansen that makes him look like two things:

    1. The platonic ideal of the 1950s TV sitcom dad

    2. The leader of the Church of the Subgenius

  20. I sent my ideas to the World Fantasy Convention and they are being shared with the board and award administrators. Because the con is being held in November there could be time to do something this year that makes new pins available.

    I told them we were discussing ideas on File 770, so if you want to comment on my ideas or have better ones, speak now or forever hold your peace.

    Or speak later.

  21. Could use the pins faster wholesale than retail. Make them part of a checkers set, or pawns in a chess set.

    Make tiny Easter Island dioramas with them.

    I considered turning them upside down and passing them off as whatever that makes them look like, but have determined that they only look like upside-down Lovecrafts. Eldritch distress signal? “Something is rotten in Arkham!”

    Vanity pins for people who happen to look exactly like HPL.

  22. I should buy all the pins and occasionally bury them in the sand on the beaches here in St. Augustine. It would freak out the metal detector hobbyists.

  23. 1. Take the heads of the pins and attach them to collars.
    2. Put collars on squirrels = Squirrel-cultists From The Burrows Of Madness.

    Will scare the crap out of Timothy.

  24. You know how busy it gets in a Trader Joe’s parking lot….
    Oh yeah.
    (Why is it that they only want customers who live within walking distance?)

  25. (1) That’s kinda hilarious, as that’s my home town; a city of 40,000 mostly oilfield workers in mid-northern Alberta. Realistically, if you’re going to find open-carry nuts in Canada it’ll probably be somewhere around there.

  26. @Beth in MA: I don’t totally agree with the premise either. I can see reading books that challenge you, books you believe you’ll dislike (in the hopes you’re wrong), or sticking with a book you realize partway through just isn’t for you. But purposely reading books you actually hate/despise and sticking to the bitter end – meh, I read too slowly to spend my time like that. Some authors, I just don’t need to read (e.g., Ayn Rand, to use an example from the article!). But to each their own.

    @Various re. The Pins Of Doom And How To Use Them: So far, I feel giving people an option until they’re all gone is the best idea, but this does require they come up with a new pin. Artist permitting/willing, the best would be one based on the new award design, of course! But giving an “only for real finalists” pin to anyone for a buck doesn’t sit right with me. Of course, if they have 500 and only 2 finalists want them the first couple of years, then it’ll be time to re-rethink.

  27. Kendall: Are they committed to the new award design or not? The people running World Fantasy Cons need to think long and hard about the costs of playing out their division publicly, against which the cost of the Lovecraft pins is trivial.

  28. Re Trader Joes. It really does seem to be a thing. Multiple Trader Joes I’ve been to in multiple states seem to have the “we can’t have decent parking” as a design feature.

  29. Rev Bob, Kendall, re: (2) I agree that it would cheapen the experience to give or sell the HPL badges to non-nominees, which is why I think there’s need to be a new pin first, and the replacement of the pin at no cost to the nominee, if they so choose.

    Maybe just replace them all (that’s why I was asking how many nominees there are). But handle THAT part of the problem first, the nominees and their pins, THEN find some way to sell off the no-longer-wanted HPL pins.

  30. Rev. Bob on April 16, 2017 at 2:54 am said:

    I would expect that selling Special Nominee Pins to the general public would rather annoy the people who got them the hard way, which seems like a shabby way to treat those honorees.

    Yeah, I was full of great ideas for them until I realized this. Hideous as they may be (and they’re supposed to be hideous–I’m actually a fan of the artist, Gahan Wilson, who is famous for his grotesquery), enough people probably still appreciate them to make the whole thing a bit tricky.

    The stuff about Enceladus (and Europa) is fascinating and awesome! Of course, they were already considered the most likely spots to find non-terrestrial life in the solar system, but this shows that they have the second (of three) critical requirements. And the third (sufficient variety of certain elements) is considered highly likely, even if we don’t currently have the instruments on-site to prove it one way or the other.

    The racial sensitivity of AI thing has been an issue long enough that it was parodied in a 2009 episode of the excellent-but-short-lived TV show Better Off Ted (called, appropriately enough, “Racial Sensitivity”), after some famous problems at HP. Amazing that the AI community is just now starting to take the issue seriously! I mean, I suppose it’s less than a decade, but…

  31. @1: I remember the 1980 Disclave; the hotel was bad in itself, but it was also next to apartment buildings — one of whose residents panicked hard enough that a SWAT team showed up to deal with some future-mercenary “hall” costumes that were seen outside the hotel. It was said at the time that one of them was stupid enough to aim at a SWATter and just escaped being blown away because the SWATter was very good at distinguishing a working weapon from something out of imagination. I don’t know this directly; I consider myself very fortunate to have been off-site at the time.

    I see highly-variable density of parking at Trader Joe’s around Boston. One determinant seems to be whether they’re building new, or taking over a space that had lower traffic (e.g., a former garden shop); I suspect the latter is deadly in a car-culture town like LA.

  32. whether they’re building new, or taking over a space that had lower traffic
    Some of the best were in locations where there had been retail with lots of parking. At least one of the bad ones – and it’s the nearest to me – is also in existing retail space, and their section of parking lot was re-striped with noticeably narrower spaces than the adjoining areas. (One of the reasons I avoid that location – and I’d go for some of the other stores.) The absolute worst are the older stores, in the first half-dozen they ever had.

  33. Chip Hitchcock: I thought the doofus at the 1980 Disclave wasn’t wearing “a hall mercenary costume,” but normal soldiers’ fatigues.
    (Then there was another doofus at a 1985 or 1986 Unicon who decided to “test” his new chain mail glove by punching his fist through the hotel’s front window…)

  34. Re: Trader Joe’s parking — in my part of northern California, Trader Joe’s markets (that’s to save me from having to figure out how to pluralize “Trader Joe’s”) are mostly located in strip malls with large communal parking lots. Now…Berkeley’s trendiest foodiest market of all, Berkeley Bowl (named after its original location in a former bowling alley) long had the most cut-throat parking lot I have ever experienced. I mean, they actually had attendants out there monitoring the parking traffic at times. But then they opened a new much larger annex with more than sufficient parking a few blocks away from my workplace and I don’t have to deal with the cut-throat location any more.

  35. World Fantasy Award Pins:
    Looks like there are 8 categories with 5 or more nominees. If there are several hundred pins left, they will last for ten years, possibly even twenty; to keep handing them out does not sound like a good option.

  36. Kendall on April 15, 2017 at 10:00 pm said:

    (4) A HAMMER FILM. Cool, science! Wow, it’s illegal to draw on the Queen’s face?! BTW when he talks about the claim that you can’t “break” the notes, is this a British term for what in the U.S. we call “rip” or “tear”? And I’m wondering, you could cut them, right? With a sharp enough pair of scissors?

    Brit (and cashier) here. More a case of “you can’t accidentally destroy them”. Supposedly, you can’t start a rip/tear/shatter etc unless you go to a lot of effort. In practice, I’ve seen more badly damaged new ones since they came out than old ones in about 3 years previous to that. You can’t start a rip without something sharp, but once that first nick is there, they tear really, really easily. They also go holey and melty-scrunched from things like ironing. Plus they’re a pain in that, unlike paper notes, once they have a crease in (eg. from a wallet) it’s nearly impossible to flatten the crease out again.

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