Pixel Scroll 4/23/17 Scroll White And The Seven Pixels

(1) BORN ON THE SEVENTH OF JULY. In “Spinning a high-tech web”, the LA Times provides an elaborate, photo-illustrated preview of Tony Stark’s upgrade to the new Spider-Man suit that will be seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming, due in theaters July 7.

(2) FILK HALL OF FAME. The 2017 inductees to the Filk Halll of Fame were announced at FilkOntario this weekend:

(3) FAHRENHEIT 451 TO SMALL SCREEN? The Bradbury novel is on the road to development once more. “HBO to Adapt Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan”  — BookRiot has the story.

Now, HBO is “moving toward a production commitment” (via Variety) on a feature-length adaptation of Bradbury’s 1953 novel starring Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, Fantastic Four) as the protagonist Guy Montag and Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Boardwalk Empire) as Montag’s boss, Captain Beatty.

The film will be directed by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, At Any Price), who is co-writing with Amir Naderi (99 Homes, The Runner). David Coatsworth (production manager on Underworld: Evolution, Ender’s Game, My Big Fat Greek Wedding) will serve as producer.

(4) THEY’RE HUUGE! “Black Holes Are Bigger Than You Thought” accuses Yahoo! News. (Just how big did you think they were? How did Yahoo! News find out?)

Now meet S5 0014+81.

It’s the largest black hole ever discovered and is heavier than our Sun by 40 billion times (40, 000, 000, 000) in the last observation.

If you plug in the equation above, you’ll find that this black hole has a Schwarzschild radius of about… 119 billion kilometers, along with a said diameter of about 236,39 billion km.

(5) THE TOUGHEST AROUND. Let Den of Geek point you at “17 really difficult LEGO sets”.

The Tower Of Orthanc

It may look simple enough on the box, but The Lord Of The Rings’ Tower Of Orthanc is actually a real tough cookie. Because most of its 2,359 pieces are jet black and slim, working out which bit goes where is the stuff of nightmares (in, um, a good way). The Treebeard that comes with it will make the struggle worth it… honest.

Buy The Tower Of Orthanc now for £348.07.

(6) TODAY’S DAY

  • April 23 — World Book and Copyright Day

Pays tribute to authors and books and their social and cultural contribution to the world

(7) DID YOU KNOW? Last year the International Costumers’ Guild participated in a “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, joining Public Knowledge, the American Library Association, and others, asking the Court to protect the rights of clothing designers and costumers to freely practice their craft.

(8) AT HOME. The Verge’s Andrew Liptak reports “Netflix will invest billions to shoot its original content in California”:

Netflix is betting that filming closer to home will produce better content. In 2015, the streaming giant has announced that it would be doubling its output of original content, and it is aiming to have original productions make up half of its of its streaming catalog in the coming years. The goal is to entice users to come to the service by providing content that can’t be found elsewhere, but that goal is proving to be a strain on the existing film studio infrastructure. To cope, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos announced that the company would be investing $6 billion to expand infrastructure in California, rather than chase tax incentives offered by states.

Sarandos explained to The Wrap that the company determined that going after the incentives leads to diminishing returns when it comes to their final products. Filming out of state is hard on the actors and crew of a project, and the move will help bring projects back home to California. That could prove to be costly for the company, even as California has increased its own tax incentive program in recent years. While remaining in the state will likely cost Netflix more, Sarandos seems to think that the extra cost will be worth spending.

(9) SQUEAK UP. YouTube’s TheBackyardScientist set up 10 megaphones end-to-end to see how loud a noise he could make.

The video, posted to YouTube by TheBackyardScientist, features Kevin Kohler explaining he was inspired by Bart Simpson‘s prank in the season 8 Simpsons episode The Secret War of Lisa Simpson to place 10 megaphones end-to-end and test the results.

Bart’s experiment led to a shock wave that shattered all of the windows in town — as well as Homer’s fridge full of beer — but Kohler quickly ran into a problem Bart didn’t face: a feedback loop.

 

(10) BITE ON. The number of people who give their smartphones to dogs as chew toys is probably smaller than the number of men who have walked on the moon, but for them — “There’s an anti-dog label inside the Galaxy S8 — here’s what it means”. Let The Verge explain it to you.

Basically, you don’t want Fido in a situation where a battery could hiss and explode in its mouth. It’s obviously possible that a child could bite through the battery as well, but the likelihood of him / her piercing through the battery is lower.

(11) ARTIFICIAL DOG INTELLIGENCE. Amazing. How is it mine doesn’t do that?

(12) FIX THE SLATING PROBLEM FOREVER. That’s what Greg Hullender would like to do. At Rocket Stack Rank he summarizes his views about the effectiveness of 3SV, EPH(+) and their combination. He says, “I  think it makes it really clear that we need both 3SV and either EPH or EPH+. Otherwise, even small slates (100 to 200 people) will be able to control a significant amount of the final ballot, including adding embarrassing nominees.”

For each year, we produced two theoretical maximum graphs. A “finalist graph,” which shows what percentage of finalists a slate could have captured for a given number of slate voters, and a “sweeps” graph, which shows what percentage of entire categories a slate could have captured.

Looking at those four pairs of graphs (2.1-2.4 below), we will draw the following conclusions;

  • Std (5/6) by itself is far too weak.
  • EPH doesn’t protect enough finalists, but it is excellent at preventing sweeps.
  • EPH+ is an improvement on EPH, but it’s still not enough by itself.
  • 3SV is much stronger for protecting finalists, especially for modest numbers of slate voters, but it’s vulnerable to sweeps, and it breaks down for slates above about 300 people.
  • The 3SV/EPH and 3SV/EPH+ combinations are far, far stronger than either component alone. Either combination is probably sufficient, but the second one is stronger.

Accordingly, we conclude that the Business Meeting should ratify both EPH+ and 3SV. That should protect the Hugos from slating interference for the nonce.

(13) DREAM CASTING. Enjoy “Miles To Go” hosted at Archive of Our Own. Note – Password = Vorkosigan (as it says at the post).

There once was a man who dreamt of the stars…

A fanvid based on the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold.

…Obviously, it’s not so easy to make a feast for a fandom with no existing visual source. But where there’s a will, or in my case an enormous and driving folly, there’s a way. It was always going to be an ensemble vid, with Miles as the star, but the question was how to cast it. I did eventually solve that problem, and I won’t discuss my solution in detail here because… spoilers.

[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Robin Reid, JJ, Doctor Science, Greg Hullender, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kurt Busiek.]

156 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 4/23/17 Scroll White And The Seven Pixels

  1. (1) Whenever I see Spidey’s suit (and Deadpool’s suit, for that matter), I always think, “How do these people breathe?” There’s no mouthpiece, so they look like they should be suffocating.

    Also: speaking of various Marvel Iron people, I tried to watch the first episode of Iron Fist today and soon had to give up. When the first ten minutes has me saying about the supposed hero, “Cripes, what an entitled asshole,” that’s a good clue this show is not for me. (But I did find that Netflix now has the first season of Wynonna Earp! This show has rather a low-budget look, and the special effects are sometimes pretty cheesy, but it’s a helluva lot more fun than Danny Rand.)

  2. (6) Eww

    (9) That was interesting. I have a science toy/app thingy on my phone that I’ve used during band practice to measure the decibels in our (14×20) practice space. We never go beyond 90-ish. I find that very suspicious. I don’t think my phone’s (Samsung J7 or something like that) mic can handle the actual decibels it’s hearing. I know that if I don’t wear earplugs at practice I get insanely bad ringing the next day – the kind that isn’t just ringing, but also kind of ocean-in-a-shell roaring.

    (12) *it seems to me that, as good an idea as 3SV sounds, it will end up being used, especially in non-slate years, to shut down innovative works that upset some significant proportion of fandom.

    * I suspect I don’t have enough knowledge of fan history to know, and may also be misunderstanding its inner workings, but

  3. @Bonnie:

    The head mask, at least the part over the nose and mouth, is usually just spandex. It’s definitely possible to breathe through that; search the web for “zentai suit” and you’ll find plenty of places that sell full-body suits like those (and probably sites for numerous people who wear them). In fact, one of the first store sites I found has a “Homecoming Spider-Man” print ready to sell right now. Somehow I doubt it’s a licensed product, though… 😉

  4. The masks are proud enough to breathe through, not unlike a ski mask.

    I figure they get moist in there, though.

  5. kathodus on April 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm said:

    (12) *it seems to me that, as good an idea as 3SV sounds, it will end up being used, especially in non-slate years, to shut down innovative works that upset some significant proportion of fandom.

    Maybe or maybe because it is easier to get on the new first stage than the current first stage it will be a source of new kinds of mischief – or possibly both. If the objective of griefers/trolls is to piss off Hugo voters then they might not care that their antics will be swept away by stage 2, just so long as they get their moment of trolling in stage 1.

    Of course there is no way of knowing without trying. So 3SV with EPH+ sounds like the best option but if I had to choose one or the other then I’d prefer just EPH+ rather than 3SV.

  6. (11) Mike, obviously your autocorrect is anti-Puppy. Or pro-puppies (the actual doggies, who really didn’t deserve their name attached to such a horrible group of people. Real puppies don’t hate anyone, or care about awards.)

    (13) Didn’t work for me even with the password.

    @Cam: It’s already a lot of work in a short time for the Hugos as-is; adding another stage is going to discourage honest voters more than griefers.

  7. The bar to remove something from the ballot via 3SV is far higher than the Puppies have been able to muster even at their strongest. (An entry will have to be pretty damn egregious — say for instance, pr0n — to motivate enough people to meet that bar.)

    If they can’t be arsed to buy enough memberships even with the higher chance they have of getting something on the ballot, I can’t see them being arsed to buy even more memberships than that to take something off the ballot.

    Which isn’t to say that it could never happen. But honestly, at this point, the cost vs. potential satisfaction ratio is so low, that I don’t see Puppies feeling it’s worth it to try. The Dragon Awards seem like much cheaper, lower-hanging fruit with a higher satisfaction factor.

  8. I saw a Lovecraft-themed lego set yesterday and for some reason it wasn’t called Call Of Cthlego.

  9. It’s definitely possible to breathe through that;

    And you can point to cosplayers who wear authentic-looking Spidey and Deadpool costumes and survive the experience. Admittedly, they’re probably not getting involved in gruelling, athletic battles, unless the convention has really gone wrong.

  10. I can’t see 3SV getting through unless the griefers get a lot more organised. Right now it looks like EPH plus sustained voting then down has taken the fire out of their bellies.

  11. 3SV and EPH are for different reasons. EPH is for eliminating the power of slates. 3SV is for removing works of defamation, slander and harassment. We have already had one work where one innocent person was accused of rape. That would have been great to remove with 3SV.

  12. @JJ
    I wonder if Beale has mostly spent his capital, and a resurgence to the heights of Puppy Poo are possible at this point? On the other hand, keeping future Puppy-like behavior from other actors is probably a good thing. It is sad that a “gentleman’s agreement” of rules of Hugos have been exploited successfully, but that seems to be the norm for many things. Griefers always appear. (having once been on Second Life a lot, and even written for an online magazine devoted to SL, I know from griefing in a visceral and annoying way).

    Avoiding future griefing from not-even-yet-imagined actors seems to me, anyway, to be a good thing.

  13. (12) FIX THE SLATING PROBLEM FOREVER.

    I think this lays the numbers and conclusion out very well. I’ve been lukewarm on 3SV but the case for 3SV&EPH+ now seems very clear.

  14. All this talk of Spidey suits is making me want one 🙁 I have a Spyder vest that I climb in but it’s not quite the same…

    As usual I have nothing substantive to add.

    Although i did just finish reading Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. If you liked his Broken Empire books you’ll probably like this one too. It’s set in a new world (although it’s entirely possible it’s an even further future Earth) with some solid, not-just-infodumped worldbuilding. It felt very much like the very beginning of a story rather than a full story in its own right, but some sufficiently Big Things happened at the appropriate points and there’s enough set up for the next book(s) to have me excited for the next one, anyway.

    I’m now doing some non-SFF reading, with Strange Weather in Tokyo by Kawakami Hiromi. I really enjoy her writing, even though I was completely bewildered by Record of a Night too Brief upon first reading.

  15. Yes, EPH+ won’t fix the Stix Hiscock problem with this year’s ballot. 3SV can

    The question is, is the Stix Hiscock problem enough of one to justify making a tool that a revived canid campaign might be able to use to blackball the accursed Scalzi, because they really don’t care about him one little bit, not at all, never even think about the man.

  16. @Soon Lee, thats what I wanted to write, even if autocorrect had other plans.

    (@Everyone else :I edited it afterwards)

  17. 3SV also allows members to do something proactive, if and when necessary.

    I expect a lot of online talk and chatter if and when the possibility of something getting removed from the running by 3SV…and I expect that if a controversial…yet not “politically motivated” work is under the micrscope, there will be more than enough voices speaking out to insure openness and diversity are properly reflected.

    ETA: I look forward to its implementation. I would much prefer to be explainng that “Fuck me Ray Bradbury” is NOT an embarrasment to the award because…rather that X Managed to get on the ballot because…

  18. I just got my Hugo voting email. They’ve overhauled the voting site in the same vein as the nomination site, but complete with floating space polar bears!

  19. Kurt Busiek on April 23, 2017 at 11:01 pm said:

    The masks are proud enough to breathe through, not unlike a ski mask.

    I figure they get moist in there, though.

    I can attest to that–I made a Rorschach costume years ago for a Halloween party and while I could breathe OK in the mask it got pretty steamy after a while. Add in the fact that I was wearing a full-length trenchcoat and a scarf and I was pretty overheated by the time the judging happened.

  20. I think it’ll be very hard to abuse 3SV. It takes a minimum of 600 voters to remove a work via 3SV. To date, there have never been more than 400 slate voters.

    Also, people are allowed to upvote as well, and every upvote cancels three downvotes.

    My worry is that these protections are too strong and might make it hard for 3SV to function even when we need it to.

  21. I got my personalized link for voting on the Hugo’s no pins or passwords this year. Worked on first try. Did my first round of voting based on what I’ve read so far. Woot I’m in the game!

    Would someone point me to the puppy ballot so I can make informed decisions and not waste my time on crap? I’ve been out of the loop for a bit.

  22. I went looking for the new Strange New Worlds anthology after reading the post here on one of the authors, but instead I found original anthology editor Dean Wesley Smith calling the contest a scam for a Simon & Schuster vanity press.

    Smith sounds mad about not being asked to edit the anthology, but in a File 770 interview he said, “I read slush for a lot of years with Pulphouse and with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds anthology series. Never again will I read slush.” So it doesn’t sound like he wanted the job.

    Anyone know what’s going on? I can’t tell whether Smith has a legitimate beef.

  23. @Tasha
    The puppy stuff is fairly obvious. Dinosaur porn novelette, a JCW short story and Teddy in an editor slot.
    The China Mieville and Neil Gaiman picks were? on their lists, but legitimate hostages. Couple of things in the zone slots and Jethro “there has been nothing with reading published since 1980” Jonson.

  24. Correction: There must be at least three downvotes for every two upvotes. That is, downvotes must equal at least 60% of the sum of upvotes and downvotes.

  25. Tasha Turner: Would someone point me to the puppy ballot so I can make informed decisions and not waste my time on crap? I’ve been out of the loop for a bit.

    Here’s Mike’s RP post.

    As NickPheas said, Mieville, Gaiman, and Deadpool are hostages who may well have got on the ballot without Puppy help (although the reception to This Census-Taker has been quite mixed, so it’s doubtful).

    With the exception of Fan Artist Mansik Yang, all the rest are willingly complicit Puppy nominees.

  26. There seem to be two ways in which 3SV is subject to possible abuse. One is that slaters, or people who might otherwise have been slaters, will try to use it to exclude Scalzi etc. I agree that they are unlikely ever to be strong enough to do this effectively.

    But the other is that genuinely concerned citizens will try to use it to exclude Harry Potter, Blackout/All Clear, The Wheel of Time, ‘F*** Me, Ray Bradbury’, ‘Shadow War of the Night Dragons’, the Garcia thing, Laura Mixon, and whatever else they think brings the Hugos into disrepute. I’m not sure we can predict that these attempts will fail; and even if they do, they will provide a new opportunity for conflict.

    My main worry about 3SV continues to be the disruption it will cause to the nomination process, and I remain puzzled that more people are not concerned about this.

  27. @NickPheas

    The obvious I had No Award already. I look forward to the day when I rarely use No Award.

    Do they have any artist or fanzines or such like left which haven’t been disqualified? I’m not as familiar with these categories.

  28. NickPheas on April 24, 2017 at 6:48 am said:
    @Tasha
    Couple of things in the zone slots and Jethro “there has been nothing with reading published since 1980” Jonson.

    Are you sure you’re not getting that J Jonson confused with Jethro “these classic works are new to me so clearly you must be ignorant of them” Jonson?

  29. Anyone know if any nominated authors are inncluding their books in the voter packet?

  30. Greg: When you say ‘upvotes’ do you just mean votes for retention? Because that’s not what ‘upvote’ is normally used to mean in this context. (I’m not entirely clear what it does mean, but in any case it means something that might possibly make something a finalist when the original vote would not have done so.) 3SV in the form in which it was adopted did not include upvotes as they are normally understood, and there were some complaints about this.

  31. JJ: Is Stix Hiscock complicit? (I wasn’t planning to vote for her work anyway, but not on grounds of complicity.)

  32. The Johnson who is on Mr Day’s list is Jeffro, not Jethro, which may be the source of the confusion.

  33. My main worry about 3SV continues to be the disruption it will cause to the nomination process, and I remain puzzled that more people are not concerned about this.

    I’m more concerned with the actual problem of works being put on the ballot to intentionally bring disrepute to the awards than a hypothetical problem with three-stage voting. I have faith in the Hugo electorate to be as judicious with 3SV as it was with No Award before the puppy stunt.

  34. Andrew M: Is Stix Hiscock complicit? (I wasn’t planning to vote for her work anyway, but not on grounds of complicity.)

    You’re right, thanks for catching that.

    For those not in-the-know, Stix Hiscock is a female erotica writer who was thrilled about her nomination (although that may have changed after she found out about how she’d been used by VD). I don’t think she knows enough about the Hugos to realize that her work would have never even been considered for the ballot without Puppy griefing; if she had, I strongly suspect she’d have considered declining.

    I don’t think she understands what is almost certainly going to happen with No Award; I really hope that she is not dropping a huge amount of money so that she can go to the ceremony.

  35. @Andrew M

    When you say ‘upvotes’ do you just mean votes for retention?

    Sorry about that. By upvote I mean “accept” and by downvote I mean “reject” as described in section 3.8.3 (page 24) of the WSFS minutes. I’ll try to use the official terms.

    So two votes to approve cancel out three votes to reject.

    My main worry about 3SV continues to be the disruption it will cause to the nomination process, and I remain puzzled that more people are not concerned about this.

    My view is that 3SV just allows us to vote things under No Award at an earlier part of the process. If there’s enough sentiment to use 3SV to remove a work from the ballot, then there’s enough sentiment to vote it under No Award.

    My personal guess is that it will rarely get used. The threat of it will stop future attempts at slating.

  36. Andrew M: The Johnson who is on Mr Day’s list is Jeffro, not Jethro, which may be the source of the confusion.

    Oh, there’s no confusion; he is both Jeffro “there has been nothing worth reading published since 1980” Johnson and Jeffro “these classic works are new to me so clearly you must be ignorant of them” Johnson.

  37. Andrew M:

    “My main worry about 3SV continues to be the disruption it will cause to the nomination process, and I remain puzzled that more people are not concerned about this.”

    Griefers need 60% of the voters to disrupt using 3SV. If they are that many, we are toast anyhow. So not overly concerned here.

  38. As a complete derailment, what sites do you guys use to see upcoming book releases? I think the B&N SFF Books of the Month blog does a great job (even if I use it as a way to put books at the library on hold) but having more than one source is great.

  39. Oneiros:

    I have a Spyder vest that I climb in but it’s not quite the same…

    And that made me suddenly realize what’s going on in your avatar!

    ***
    Andrew M:

    I’m not sure we can predict that these attempts will fail; and even if they do, they will provide a new opportunity for conflict.

    My main worry about 3SV continues to be the disruption it will cause to the nomination process,

    I share your worry. I am kind of torn on whether 3SV is a good idea regardless, but I am leaning towards thinking it a lesser evil.

    ***
    And the voting website is very good-looking and functional! I like that I can move one work up and the others move down automatically – that makes it so much easier to be an undecided voter.

    ***
    Guess:

    Anyone know if any nominated authors are inncluding their books in the voter packet?

    The people who working on putting the packet together presumably knows a little, but as far as I know there’s currently no public information on what the packet will include. Participation is voluntary and as I understand it depends on goodwill from both author and publisher. (And possibly international rights holders as well.)

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