Pixel Scroll 5/12/17 P.S. I Love You

(1) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Rowling’s Potter postcard was probably worth more than the jewels that were taken at the same time — “J.K. Rowling begs fans not to buy stolen ‘Harry Potter’ prequel”.

An extremely rare “Harry Potter” prequel idea, handwritten by bestselling author J.K. Rowling, has been stolen. And the author is pleading with fans not to purchase it on the black market.

According to England’s West Midlands Police, the 800-word story was handwritten on the front and back of an A5 postcard. It was stolen during a robbery in central England, sometime between April 13 and April 24.

Rowling hand wrote the story to raise money for English Pen, an organization that promotes literature. It sold at a charity auction for £25,000 or approximately $32,000, in 2008.

(2) ROCK OF AGES. National Geographic has a piece on one of the best preserved dinosaurs ever found. “The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada”.

The cavernous warehouse swells with the hum of ventilation and the buzz of technicians scraping rock from bone with needle-tipped tools resembling miniature jackhammers. But my focus rests on a 2,500-pound mass of stone in the corner.

At first glance the reassembled gray blocks look like a nine-foot-long sculpture of a dinosaur. A bony mosaic of armor coats its neck and back, and gray circles outline individual scales. Its neck gracefully curves to the left, as if reaching toward some tasty plant. But this is no lifelike sculpture. It’s an actual dinosaur, petrified from the snout to the hips….

(3) VAS YOU DERE SHARLY? The biggest bangers of them all make clear any dissent from the prevailing theory is unwelcome — “Big Bang or Big Bounce? Stephen Hawking and Others Pen Angry Letter about How the Universe Began”.

Stephen Hawking and 32 of his fellow scientists have written an angry letter responding to a recent Scientific American article about how the universe began. In it, they declare their “categorical disagreement” with several of the statements made, and explain why the theory of inflation is still one of the best models for the origin of the cosmos.

The article in question was published in February. Titled “Pop Goes the Universe,” physicists Anna Ijjas, Paul J. Steinhardt, Abraham Loeb examine the latest measurements from the European Space Agency relating to cosmic microwave background (CMB).

CMB is the oldest light in the universe—light emitted just after the Big Bang around 13.7 billion years ago. In 2013, a map of the CMB appeared to show how the universe inflated extremely fast, before settling down to become the universe we see today. This, many experts said, backed up models relating to inflation theories, where the universe expanded exponentially fast a fraction of a second after the Big Bang.

However, Ijjas, Steinhardt and Loeb disagreed with this interpretation. “If anything, the Planck data disfavored the simplest inflation models and exacerbated long-standing foundational problems with the theory, providing new reasons to consider competing ideas about the origin and evolution of the universe,” they write.

The three physicists argue that since the 2013 map was produced, more precise data has been gathered. And this data, they say, adds more evidence to the argument that the Big Bang and inflation do not adequately explain how the universe started. “Yet even now the cosmology community has not taken a cold, honest look at the big bang inflationary theory or paid significant attention to critics who question whether inflation happened,” they say….

(4) BICENTENNIAL SPACEWALK. It wasn’t without its problems — “U.S. spacewalkers overcome glitch on 200th station outing”.

Two U.S. astronauts overcame an early equipment glitch to complete an abbreviated spacewalk outside the International Space Station on Friday, accomplishing all the major tasks initially planned for a longer excursion in four hours, NASA said.

Station commander Peggy Whitson and rookie flier Jack Fischer began what was expected to be a 6-1/2-hour spacewalk more than an hour late, after a cable supplying power and cooling water to Fischer’s spacesuit developed a leak.

The spacewalk was the 200th outing in support of station assembly and maintenance since construction of the $100 billion laboratory, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, began in 1998.

And the news item inspired David K.M. Klaus to share his theory why the International Space Station doesn’t run as smoothly as the Starship Enterprise.

The largest department on any version of the ENTERPRISE in STAR TREK had to have been Engineering and Ship’s Services — the redshirts — because of the constant amount of maintenance required to keep the ship running smoothly; we don’t have that kind of balance because the crews aren’t large enough — we have a command structure in theory but not used in reality, and everyone doing both science and engineering / maintenance, so neither science nor maintenance get the full attention they demand.  Only because there are also engineers on the ground in close communication can the work be accomplished.

(5) AMA PATTERSON OBIT. SF Site News reports author and Clarion grad Ama Patterson (1961-2017) died May 1.

[Patterson] helped found the Beyon’ Dusa writing group and the Carl Brandon Society. She served as a judge for the 2001 Tiptree Award and her short fiction appeared in Dark Matter, Scarab, and 80! Memories and Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin.


  • May 12, 1989 — The aquatic monster is back – in The Return of Swamp Thing.


  • Born May 12, 1935 — Actor, archivist, and legendary monster kid Bob Burns.

(8) MILLIONAIRE BASH. Dick and Jane must be doing a lot more than just seeing Spot run for kindergarteners to be making these numbers — “This Kindergarten Class Threw A ‘Millionaire Bash’ To Celebrate Reading 1 Million Words In A Year”.

Breyden’s mom, Denetta Suragh, told BuzzFeed News the school estimated 1 million words was equal to 250 books, which they kept track of with reading logs.

This year, the entire class met the goal, Suragh said.

“Breyden was really on me about it,” she said. “He was like, ‘I want a limousine ride so we have to turn in all our reading logs!’ It encourages every child to want to read even more.”

(9) A PAIR TO DRAW TO. The ultimate collision of science and science fiction. Hear Neil deGrasse Tyson and William Shatner on Star Talk.

Captain on the bridge: Neil deGrasse Tyson invites Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to discuss Star Trek and the enduring power of science fiction. Joined by comic co-host Chuck Nice and astrophysicist Charles Liu, we hit warp speed as we explore the ins and outs of the Star Trek universe. You’ll hear how William landed the iconic role as Captain Kirk and about his memorable role in The Twilight Zone. Charles breaks down why Star Trek: The Original Series was more popular in syndication than during its original on-air run. You’ll also hear William reflect on Star Trek episodes “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” and “The City on the Edge of Forever,” the J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboots, the design of the bridge, and his fascination with the science fiction genre. William also gets a chance to ask Neil questions about the universe, igniting a wonder-infused conversation about spacetime, photons, relativity, and the speed of light. NASA Aerospace Technologist David Batchelor stops by to discuss his article “The Science of Star Trek” and weighs in on what technology from the show could soon become reality. All that, plus, fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on the disappearance of the sun, distant galaxies, neutron stars and we check in with Bill Nye as he shares his appreciation for Star Trek’s optimistic views of the future.

(10) EQUAL TIME. Cirsova editor P. Alexander’s only printable tweet in reply to the  discussion here yesterday:

It’s not impossible to
-have friends & readers who were SPs
-support some writers on SP
-have a broadly different view on fiction from SPs

(11) WAVE BYE-BYE. Real cases of the wave in “Wave Rider”, and studies of what makes them happen: “Terrifying 20m-tall rogue waves are actually real”.

However, what really turned the field upside down was a wave that crashed into the Draupner oil platform off the coast of Norway shortly after 3.20pm on New Year’s Day 1995. Hurricane winds were blowing and 39ft (12m) waves were hitting the rig, so the workers had been ordered indoors. No-one saw the wave, but it was recorded by a laser-based rangefinder and measured 85ft (26m) from trough to peak. The significant wave height was 35.4ft (10.8m). According to existing assumptions, such a wave was possible only once every 10,000 years.

The Draupner giant brought with it a new chapter in the science of giant waves. When scientists from the European Union’s MAXWAVE project analysed 30,000 satellite images covering a three-week period during 2003, they found 10 waves around the globe had reached 25 metres or more.

(12) ALONG FOR THE RIDE. “Superbugs ‘Crawled Out’ Of The Ocean 450 Million Years Ago” —  and had lucky genes.

About 450 million years, animals made one of the most important decisions in Earth’s history: They left the wet, nourishing seas and started living on the dry, desolate land.

At that moment, humanity’s problems with superbugs probably began.

Scientists at the Broad Institute have found evidence that an important group of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are as old as terrestrial animals themselves.

(13) NOT-SO-SPECIAL. NPR thinks there are too many effects in Arthur: Legend of the Sword; is this a pattern? “‘King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword’: An Edgy Script, Dulled By CGI”.

Note especially the caption on the lead photo.

(14) SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE. Atlas Obscura drops in on the world’s oldest bookshop.

It has changed hands and locations several times and has been renamed 11 different things. But for 285 years, the Livraria Bertrand, as it is known today, has served Lisbon’s bibliophiles and been a space for intellectual and cultural conversations. Opened in 1732, it holds the Guinness record as the world’s oldest bookstore still in operation.

(15) WHEELBARROW BARDS. I don’t know how long this meme will run, but here’s the first three I spotted:

(16) TIMOTHY IN THE OVAL OFFICE. I laughed so much that I was sorely tempted to gank the picture and all of Camestros Felapton’s setup. But fair is fair – go look at the set-up and the payoff post on Camestros’ blog.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, David K.M. Klaus, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, Mark-kitteh, Martin Morse Wooster, and Ryan H. for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

53 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/12/17 P.S. I Love You

  1. (10) EQUAL TIME.

    Yes, yes, I’m the dumbest m********* on the internet for pointing out that he’s happy to take advantage of cheating in order to get on the Hugo Ballot, because he was hoping that no one would notice that. 🙄

  2. (2) Zuul part two!

    (3) NERD FIGHT!

    (8) That’s adorable.

    (10) Why’s he talking about SP when it was RP who got him on the ballot?

    11 I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but the SJW credential literally typed those numbers. Biggest wave he’s ever seen is in the tub.

    (13) That is a good snarky review, from opening caption on down. Pretty much what I thought from seeing the trailer.

    (15) SF writers — they’re just like Filers!

    (16) Don’t tell Timothy who the nice man with the ice cream is.

  3. (1) I just can’t think of any books worth doing time for. Especially not if they’re super short.

    (11) Cowabunga!

    (16) Whew, Timothy did get the ice cream in the end; I was on the edge of my seat. Also, I very much appreciated that TLtL concordance.

  4. @JJ: I’m pretty sure that any time he says anyone is the “dumbest mother*****r on the internet” he’s just projecting.

  5. Re: Today’s Meredith moment – I can attest that both Solaris Rising and Solaris Rising 2 are very worthwhile anthologies.

  6. I had ice cream today! Double scoop cherry pecan cream in a waffle cone. Last day of the semester celebration. I would have shared with Timothy.

  7. 10) And Cirsova’s already slight chances of crossing the No Award threshold on my Hugo ballot just dropped even further.

    11) The existence of rogue waves is notoriously difficult to prove, because until fairly recently ships that encountered one did not survive to tell the tale. But they are the most logical explanation for several otherwise inexplicable losses of ships such as the loss of the MS München with all hands on board in December 1978. I was five when the München was lost and still remember the tragedy, because it was a big deal both in my hometown and my family, since my Dad worked for the company that owned the München and actually knew the ship and some of those lost at sea. Rogue waves were already suspected back then, though it was impossible to prove at the time. Nowadays, it’s largely accepted that the München was the casualty of a rogue wave.

  8. (15) Dogs aren’t color-blind. They see a duller, more limited pallette than we do, but it’s not just gray-scale.

    Not hopping over to Twitter to say so to Ms. Gay, because that would be missing the g.d. point of the meme.

    Nevertheless, dogs are not color-blind, and I feel compelled to say that somewhere.

    Thank you for your patience.

  9. Today is dedicated to an ORGY of pancakes, waffles and movies. I shall make the famous swedish pannkakstårta and eat until I can’t move. That is why we have remote controls.

  10. 10) I looked at Cirsova when it first crossed the radar around here, and (based on my probably unscientific study of one issue) it struck me as typical Puppy fare – that is, mediocre-to-rotten content, backed up with a lot of whining, because it is much easier to cry “political persecution!” than it is to up one’s game as a writer or an editor.

    I might note that another thing which is not impossible (and which, indeed, gets you more respect) is to decline a Puppy-tainted nomination.

  11. A father can be (and usually is) a legal Guardian. In that sense “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2” has a fitting title – its a lot about fathers. Probably a bit too much about fatherhood – I found the message about legal guardians and how they treat their kids a bit heavy-handed at times. And that is at odds with the rest that aims to be a light-hearted movie (No spoilers beyond what its in the trailer).

    The first Guardians is among my favorites of the Marvel MCU. Depending when you ask me, I would rank at somewhere between 1 and 3: It was fun, it had a good stor, a great cast, it didnt take itself seriously and it was just nice to watch.
    Now the second one clearly tries to do all the things the first one does: It has the same colours, it has (probably) even more jokes, more candy-coloured action, many interesting characters, and even 5 (five!) mid- and end credit scenes). And a cool soundtrack.
    So yes, its a fun movies with laughs and actions and its a feel.good-popcorn movie. But it also fails to reach the heights of the first one imho. In the first one, while some characters had more impact than others (Drax vs. Root), this time the story focuses more on some (Quills, Yondu, Rocket) than others. Drax has a bigger speaking role, but most of it is for comedy relieve. Nebula and Gomorrha have their own storyline, but for me that felt a bit tacked-on and so the characters felt a bit sidelined for me. And thats the other problem: The story is surprisingly linear and focuses on Quills father and Yondu. Of course the first one, was not really a multitude of depth either, but it had nice stages and themes (Heist, Jailbreak, Infinity stone, Then the end fight), here it doesnt feel like much (and I like the Yondu parts more than the Quill parts), except for waiting for the twist that everybody knows will come sooner or later. Plus the “saving the galaxy”-part just didnt feel that threatening for me as it did in the first part. Perhaps the scale of the threat was to big, to esoteric.
    Speaking of: the scale of the powers of the adversary was to big. It causes a lot of plotholes, simply because a consistency of powers would mean either a) its not that much of a threat after all or b) its beyond the scope of the heroes to beat the asversary. I guess its not too big a deal for a fluffy movie like this, but it did bug me.
    Overall, I enjoyed the movie probably more than it reflexes here in the review, but I was also a bit disappointed by it. While the first one took me of guard, the expectations here were simply bigger than it could fulfill – but it remains a fun romp, if you dont think too much about it.

  12. @Hampus

    I can feel my arteries harding just looking at that. Looks wonderful.

    I really like Scandinavian baking. I’d like to do more cakes but I’d also like to get below 100kg…

  13. @Hampus: Just to make sure, that this pancake thing is really as bad for you, as it sounds:
    You make pancakes, and layer them and in between layers is whipped cream and jam and on top fruits – correct?

    I think I have to experiment on that. For scientific purposes only, of course.

    And: Whats that in the glass jars on the picture on your link? Whipped cream with caramel?

  14. Peer Sylvester:

    Yep, exactly as bad as you say. Do note that it is swedish pancakes, not the much thicker american.

    Sorry to say, I do not know what is in the jars.

  15. My mother used to make Swedish pancakes. We’d get half-a-dozen at a time, layered with lots of butter, and syrup on top. (No whipped cream, alas, and no fruit.) My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I think I’ll make that for breakfast….

  16. Are these thin pancakes, or more like crêpes? Looks scrumptious, either way, like a many-layered pancake-cake!

    Meredith Moment: The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (Laundry Files #1) is $1.99 in the U.S. from Ace (uses DRM).

  17. @Cassy B: You and @Hampus Eckerman have me nostalgic for my favorite breakfast! My mom learned to make blinchikis from her mother. At least how my mom made them, they were like thin crêpes. Wonderful, lots of butter, they needed nothing on them as they were super-scrumptious as is. Our favorite breakfast as kids AND as adults! I’d have several – really, I could eat them as long as she kept making them – then for a treat put a little syrup on a couple, or sometimes we’d put a little line of jam and roll them up. But really, they didn’t need a thing on them.

    She loved making them for her kids & grandkids, but now they’re in a small apartment without a stove, so she can’t make them for us any more. (That’s sad way beyond the I-miss-my-favorite-breakfast bit.)

    Mmmmmm, yum. My sister liked the ones that were darker (not burnt, but browned). Usually we had bacon or link sausage as the breakfast meat and O.J. to drink.

    I’m getting hungry.

    ETA: Just saw an online recipe to use canola oil for blinchikis. GAK! Butter or margarine, I actually forget which she used. Not tasteless oil.

  18. It’s too bad that pancakes and waffles are right off my diet. (I used to occasionally make sourdough waffles, although they require starting about ten or twelve hours beforehand, being yeast-raised. Top with applesauce or with jam/preserves and eat with fingers.)

  19. @P J Evans:

    How should the fingers be prepared, or is it chef’s choice?

  20. With whatever got on them from eating the previous waffle, usually. (Also, leftover waffles can be frozen and reheated in the toaster.)

  21. @stoic cynic. I am not sure what would be worse: Being able to read those recipies or not being able to read those recipies. Salty caramel milkshake? Oh boy.

  22. @RevBob

    lady fingers they taste just like lady fingers

    Heh. That story does tend to stick in the mind, doesn’t it?

  23. I just had regular pancake batter cooked all in one bowl, which isn’t as good as making lots of thin crepe type ones and stuffing them with jam and Nutella and whipped cream and fruit. OTOH it’s a lot quicker and easier and not so shocking to my pancreas.

    My mom used to, on special occasions, make those giant puffy Dutch baby pancakes, the popover type that takes up the whole cast iron pan. You can put a lot of toppings on those. Also you can’t beat a good strawberry/cheese blintz. Or any kind of crepe.

  24. 10)

    It’s not impossible to (…)have a broadly different view on fiction from SPs

    This is absolutely true. It’s not impossible. Perhaps they should try it.

  25. It’s not impossible to
    -have friends & readers who were SPs
    -support some writers on SP
    -have a broadly different view on fiction from SPs

    This is true. But when you call them “our side,” and non-SPs “their side,” you’re making a statement about where you stand.

    This is somewhat undercut when you insist you’re not a Puppy when talking to non-Puppies, since it suggests you’re telling each group what you think they want to hear rather than actually standing anywhere, but that’s got its own problems as a stance. And when you wax wroth at people for noticing that you’re trying to benefit from selling ourself as part of one “side” without the other “side” thinking it means something, well, that’s a whole ‘nother bundle of deflection.

  26. @Kurt: Exactly. You can’t call Puppies “our side” and then claim you’re not a Puppy. Well, you can, but that makes you disingenuous at best.

    And as I said earlier, why is he referring to SP when they didn’t do anything this year? He got on the ballot ENTIRELY thanks to RP. If he truly wasn’t on a “side”, he’d have refused the nomination.

    Even the Sads nowadays purport to disavow the Teddy nearly as much as the SJWs do. And Larry and the Sads have decided to abjure the Hugos and hitch their wagon to the Dragon.

    I’m pretty much a Monopuppist, though, so this is all IMO.

  27. @Bonnie McDaniel: “Heh. That story does tend to stick in the mind, doesn’t it?”

    Better than having it stick in one’s teeth, I suppose. 😉

  28. @lurkertype

    Coincidentally, I just had a Dutch baby the first time this morning. Quite tasty (though I’m sure not as much as your mom’s). I’m usually not big on sugary in the morning but, maybe inspired by the thread, finally ordered from that side of the menu at one of our favorite little restaurants. May be an age but sooner or later need to also try their aebleskiver and also their bananas foster French toast…

  29. @Rev. Bob:

    I’d join in the referencing of that story, but I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth.

  30. @William R.:

    If you change your mind, remember to wash your foot very carefully first.

  31. @Cora: the München is one of the cases they mention. They also discuss the report on the Faro — which was probably chains of stupidity rather than a single freak wave, but which caused a family shiver as my wife’s brother-in-law was a marine engineer (now land-based).

    @Hampus: that’s one hell of a stack of pancakes — puts the local IHOP to shame. And it doesn’t matter that it’s thin pancakes or thick when you stack up ~5cm (guessing by the berries) — although thin pancakes may allow for even more fatty and sugary filling.

    @lurkertype: I’ve never seen a pan-filling Dutch puffer, but I have fond memories from both Netherlands trips (1964, 1990) of plates full of the coin-size variety — poeffertjes(sp?) — from beaches and roadside stands. They’d have floated away on a breeze if they weren’t weighed down with butter and sugar.

  32. I was frying pancakes for two hours yesterday, using three pans simultaneously. Good enough for 12 persons and leftovers for three more the day after. So yes, thats hell of a stack of pancakes.

  33. @Hampus Eckerman: More shades of breakfast from my Mom, who also would have 2-3 pans going at a time. 🙂 Well done, you!

  34. @Chip Hitchcock
    The little Dutch pancakes are called Poffertjes. I’ve never heard of a pancake called a Dutch Baby and the name is slightly creepy.

    Just noticed that they do mention the München, probably because it’s one of the better known rogue wave incidents. Though there were also a couple of rogue wave incidents involving cruise ships, including the MS Bremen, a cruise liner owned by the same company that also operated the München.

  35. @Cora

    Apparently they are an American variation on a type of German pancake:

    Dutch Baby Pancake

    Agreed the name is slightly creepy. With a grand experience of one consumed, it was rather nice though.

  36. I’m a little skeptical of the million words event (as much as I don’t want to be), because the article says they estimate it at 250 books. To have that equal a million words (and I bet some of those words are used more than once! : -)), the books would have to average 4000 words. And that’d need to be the case over the whole year of kindergarten, and I’m assuming some of those kids were not reading at the start of the year. And 4000 words is a lot longer than I recall intro reading books as being.

    Not to mention that I set a record for my first grade (when by age I should’ve been in kindergarten, but was in first because I was already reading fluently) with just over 300 books for the year, and I’d passed the previous record around Xmas. Maybe they’re emphasizing reading a lot more, but it seems odd that an entire class would read on the close order to my official* record smashing total back then.

    Still, I’m glad the kids are getting turned on to reading and getting recognition for it. The best I got, other than fulfilling my nascent competitive urges, was being assigned to read out loud to the kindergarten and nursery school classes when my class was doing something I’d already figured out.

    *”Official” because I’m still peeved that they wouldn’t let me count comic books, which were at a far more advanced reading level than books they would count, and I recall that I would’ve been over 500 if they had counted them. And tying into the difficulty factor of book length above, I was reading significantly longer books than most first graders by the end of the year, as I recall reading my sixth grade teacher father’s class’ textbooks by then.

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