Pixel Scroll 6/18/18 Nancy Pixel And The Scroll Of The Trademarked Cocky

(1) JEMISIN ON CNN. N.K. Jemisin is on episode 6 of W. Kamau Bell’s CNN program United Shades of America. In this episode he goes back to Mobile, Alabama, and brings her along for one of the segments.

(2) WRONG TURN. The bear and the maiden fair.

(3) DINO CHOW. Adweek supplies a new reason to burn a hole in your credit card: “These $25 Collector’s Edition Cereal Boxes Include Digital Screens Showing Jurassic World Video”.

Dinosaur-loving fans eagerly anticipate the arrival of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom this Friday, but now they can get in on the action a bit closer to home. Like … right at the breakfast table.

Kellogg’s has partnered with Universal Studios to develop limited-edition boxes of Keebler Fudge Stripes and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes that come with a digital screen embedded into the box. Each screen airs an exclusive five-minute video of behind-the-scenes footage from the flick, showing fans how the dinosaurs are brought to life as well as additional special effects from the movie.

(4) THUNDER LIZARDS. The movie is already killing overseas: “China Box Office: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Rampages to $112M Debut”.

Universal and Amblin have claimed Hollywood’s fourth-biggest opening ever in China.

Universal and Amblin’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opened with a roar at the Chinese box office over the weekend, earning $111.9 million.

It was Universal’s second-biggest debut ever in the market, behind only The Fate Of The Furious. The opening was also considerably better than the $99.2 million that the first Jurassic World film earned in its first full week in Chinese cinemas in 2015 (openings were tallied by the week rather than weekend back then).

The dino tentpole also pulled in $10 million from 520 Imax screens. Altogether it claimed over 75 percent of the weekend’s total ticket revenue in China.

(5) NEW CATEGORY PROPOSED. Nope, not the Hugos: “Some Survivors Of Category 5 Hurricane Irma Want A Category 6”.

Tom Krall lives on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands on the west end of the island, high on a ridge. That’s where he was in September when Hurricane Irma roared through.

“We had the full blast,” Krall says. “Twenty of the 30 houses in my neighborhood lost their roofs or worse.”

The National Hurricane Center says Irma had sustained winds of 185 mph when it hit the Virgin Islands with gusts of 200 mph or higher. They were the most powerful winds ever recorded in that part of the Caribbean.

In his more than 30 years on St. John, Krall has hunkered down for many hurricanes, including other Category 5 storms. He says Irma’s winds were dramatically worse than other hurricanes. He knows what winds are like at 150 mph.

(6) NEED MORE PITCHFORKS. NPR concludes “It’ll Take More Than A Few Angry Villagers To Kill Off ‘Frankenstein'”. And also discusses changes between original (1818) and the version most of us know (1831).

Frankenstein has been popular for two centuries because every era since has felt like the end times to those in it, so every era needs a story unafraid to discuss annihilation.

(7) DO YOU WANT TO BE CURED? WHO classification: “Gaming becomes the latest addiction”.

The World Health Organisation’s classification of gaming disorder as a condition which is capable of debilitating addiction is an important moment in the shifting relationship between technology and society.

Concern among parents about the impact of smartphones in particular, and the response of technology firms to those concerns, has become a staple of the news agenda.

Apple’s much covered Digital Health initiative was derided in some quarters, with analysts and punters alike sceptical about the desire of that company to in any way reduce smartphone usage, given its still heavy reliance on smartphones for revenue.

(8) CAT OBITS. Condolences to three Filers who recently suffered the loss of a beloved cat. Two of these venerable SJW credentials featured in Cats Sleep on SFF.

  • Doctor Science

I had to say good-bye to Sneakers, my SJW credential, on Friday. You may recall him sleeping on Lady Trent.

  • nickpheas

Sadly I also have a loss to report.

Steerpike, by then having celebrated his 18th birthday, developed lymphoma and was wasting away before being put to sleep. He had a good innings and is missed.

  • Anne Sheller

Pepper, my oldest, died about 2 hours ago. I found her unconscious and unresponsive earlier in the evening. I opted not to make an emergency visit to the vet since she didn’t seem to be suffering but seemed too far gone to revive. It took her a few hours to stop breathing.

She was a tiny dark tabby, 15 years and about 7 1/2 months old. She’d been diagnosed with diabetes just over a year ago, and been to the vet for a checkup just this past week. I wasn’t expecting her to live a whole lot longer, but her death tonight was unexpected. I’ve had her since she was about 5 months old, and loved her very much.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 18, 1983 — Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born June 18 – Carol Kane, 66. Valerie in The Princess Bride, Myth in The Muppet Movie which looks to be her first genre role, Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooged, and more recently as Gertrude Kapelput in Gotham. 
  • Born June 18 – Isabella Rossellini, 66. Thar in the ‘05 Earthsea series, Nimue in the ‘98 Merlin series, Athena in the ‘98 The Odyssey series and a number of other genre roles.
  • Born June 18 – Paul McCartney. Writer: “Come Together” episode of the Justice League animated series, actor in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. 
  • Born June 18 – Barbara Broccoli, 58. Producer or Director credit in at least fourteen Bond films which or may not be genre depending on how you view them. Her only acting role is as an uncredited Opera patron in The Living Daylights. 
  • Born June 18 – Kim Dickens, 53. Currently Madison Clark in Fear the Walking Dead, Jake’s Mom in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and roles in Flashforward and Lost.
  • Born June 18 — Richard Madden, 32. Rob Stark in Game Of Thrones and Agent Ross in Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

This is a true story, based on an actual sign in my local public library and the chaos my children wreak when we visit.

(11) LONELY PLANET. In “There’s at Least a 39 Percent Chance We’re Alone in the Observable Universe”, Motherboard has taken a look at a new paper (now in preprint or arXiv.org) by the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford that itself takes a look at the Fermi Paradox. By taking a probabilistic approach to the Drake Equation, that paper concludes:

…[W]e find a substantial probability that we are alone in our galaxy, and perhaps even in our observable universe (53%–99.6% and 39%–85% respectively). ’Where are they?’ — probably extremely far away, and quite possibly beyond the cosmological horizon and forever unreachable.

Note that since this is a preprint article it has not been peer-reviewed yet. Motherboard summarized their own take on the paper as:

These are sobering results, but the researchers caution against any kneejerk cosmic pessimism. “This conclusion does not mean that we are alone, just that this is very scientifically plausible and should not surprise us,” the researchers wrote. “It is a statement about our state of knowledge, rather than a new measurement.”

In other words, there’s no reason to despair—yet. The more we learn about the universe and our own planet, the more we will decrease the uncertainty latent in the Drake equation. For example, our inability to detect extraterrestrial civilizations over the decade can increase our certainty that we’re alone, but then again, the universe may be awash in extraterrestrial signals and we simply haven’t learned how to recognize them yet. For now, however, the researchers suggest that if there are aliens, they are “probably extremely far away and quite possibly beyond the cosmological horizon and forever unreachable.”

(12) WITHDRAWAL PAINS. JDA advertised on Twitter he was “Off Social Media Til 6/21” but he must have noticed we were enjoying it more than he was. Today he broke his fast early by posting “The White Male Initiative For Worldcon 76” [Internet Archive link] on his blog.

I, Jon Del Arroz, the leading Hispanic voice in science fiction, will review submissions and select recipients.  Please keep your statements under 500 words. I may ask follow-up questions, however.  If you’re a professional, links to examples of your work would be helpful.

We realize that marginalized majority groups have felt reticent about joining us, and understandably so. But we need more representation from the white male community in science fiction fandom! Bring it!

(13) WHO BROKE THE BANK? That wasn’t the only post JDA published today. Another tells how his plan to abandon Patreon has come a cropper – “The Biggest News Story You’ll Never Hear: Big Tech Strikes At Finances Of Political Opponents” [Internet Archive link].

As you know, I urged my fans and friends who are supporting this blog and my fiction work on a subscription basis to switch their pledges from Patreon to Freestartr because Patreon was removing right wing political commentators over their content.

This weekend, Freestartr was shut down by Stripe, the collections company used to process credit card transactions– a company set up as a paypal alternative because the latter was already known for trying to deplatform right wing personalities through demonetizing. From their website:

FreeStartr currently has lost the ability to collect funds for our creators. CEO Charles C. Johnson’s comments can be found here.

(14) REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY. Wouldn’t The Verge have done more to discourage people from buying this by ignoring it altogether, instead of cleverly badmouthing it? Survey says – Yes! “This unlicensed Harry Potter battery pack makes a bad pun out of an even worse product”. (Wait, was this frame actually written by the same guy who introduced the last two Scroll items?)

If you’ve read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — which I generally assume is most of the global population — you’re probably familiar with the Elder Wand, a powerful wand wielded by both Dumbledore and the dark wizard Voldemort over the course of the series.

The CELLder Wand is not the Elder Wand. Where one is a fictional, legendary magical artifact of ultimate power, the CELLder wand is a Kickstarter campaign for a possibly fictional hunk of plastic that surrounds a fairly ordinary 3,200 mAh USB battery pack.

(15) ABOVE AND BEYOND. Gizmodo enthuses: “This Video Made From Real Mars Data Will Make You Feel Like You’re Flying Over the Red Planet”.

There are lots of incredible things you can do with data. Like make this incredible animation of the Martian surface, for example.

This animation is the latest from visual artist Seán Doran, using real data taken by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (MRO) Of course, it’s not actual video footage, and required a lot of processing to achieve the realistic effect. But it does give the exciting impression that one is flying just above the Martian surface.

 

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “DIY–Behind the Scenes” on Vimeo explains how an animated film is made.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Doug Bissell, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Iphinome, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Jon Del Arroz, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]

141 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/18/18 Nancy Pixel And The Scroll Of The Trademarked Cocky

  1. @Meredith The park I used to row at had a lot of Canada geese during summer, and they wouldn’t go out of their way to harass you unless you had a really interesting sandwich or something. That said, I am aware of the guard goose phenomenon so maybe they are just on good behaviour in parks specifically.

    And to be fair to swans, the only time I’ve come anywhere near being attacked is while spending time in rowboats which, in swan body language, are hurtling down the river shouting “HEY I AM BIG AND FLAPPY AND GOING TO FIGHT YOU” and often provoke a predictable response…

  2. @Heather Rose Jones
    Your reference to plastic predators explains something I saw some years back, when Sarah used to play in soccer tournaments in the large turf fields (which double as a sod farm) over at Batavia: a somewhat decrepit plastic fox.

    In fact, ‘plastic predator’ generally serves to explain many otherwise inexplicable things I’ve seen over the years. Sometimes it’s a phony owl on a rooftop (surrounded by pigeons), or a similar object meant for a similar purpose, but because of it’s weirdly derelict appearance, I never could figure out what it was intended to represent to bird brains. Same principle, though, and whenever I half-glimpse an anomalous object on a rooftop, it’s my first thought.

    (The colossal standing ant sculpture on a rooftop near the White Hut in West Springfield failed to fit the paradigm, I must add.)

  3. @Lurkertype: The Romans had guard geese. This is unclear; I ran across a story that squawking geese once roused pre-Empire Rome against an attack, but later read that it was probably one of those too-good-not-to-be-true stories that got passed on without real verification. The latter was in the context of a report ~1969 that the US Army was trying guard geese, but found they make lousy sentries as they tend to flock rather than patrol. I commonly see a feeding cluster with 1-2 geese looking around at all times; wonder whether anyone has tried to determine (cf research on flying vees) whether there’s anything like a social dynamic or just that each bird spends some time swallowing and watching.

    @Douglas Berry: (re pond): to each their own problems; some place around here found that border collies can be taught that geese belong in ponds, which tends to get the geeese to leave because there’s not enough to eat in the water. (Unlike my above, border collies are big enough and smart enough to harass geese effectively.) doing what geese do all over the park, I visited Kew Gardens on the way to 2nd Glasgow Worldcon (2005); took 2 steps inside the turnstile, looked at the asphalt walkway, and said “They’ve got geese here!”. Turns out somebody thought branta canadensis were ornamental and imported them (cf @Feline); I could argue that makes up for starlings, but these two wrongs really don’t make a right. OTOH (cf @Meredith), I spent several hours there and was never harassed, so maybe the imports learned some manners.

    @Heather Rose Jones: the geese absented themselves from the path of an industrial riding mower. Proving that geese aren’t the worst; my partner tells me that the male of a pair of swans seen every year at their college would charge the mower if it came around while his mate was nesting. Another reactive bird control measure was to put anti-perching spikes on the roof corners of a building that had become a favorite hangout of a Coopers hawk. A local dock used lengthwise ropes to prevent cormorants from landing, once the Charles River got clean enough that cormorants could live there. Wikipedia suggests that Cooper’s is not particularly endangered and may be endangering other species (as you note); OTOH, peregrines are still being encouraged around here.

    @Bruce A. We still have the sparrows or swallows or whatever nesting underneath a loggia that rarely used. Small birds will take what they can get; I hear tweets practically every time I go into any of the Home Depots around here, probably because the ceilings aren’t tiled and the cargo doors are often open.

    @Stoic Cynic: that explains Wind in the Willows; I never quite figured out why Badger was supposed to be one of the good guys.

  4. @Steve Davidson – Yeah, I remember that. He’s still aiming and missing at plausible deniability. As @Marshall Ryan Maresca put it, he “blows a regular whistle, and then acts like he’s blowing a dog whistle.” The quality of our VD impersonators is so degraded at this point that they’re like 5th generation dubs of a Vanilla Ice cassingle left too long on your dashboard in the summer heat.

  5. Bruce A: My work has put up black dog silhouettes around the campus,

    Chthonic dogs will do it every time….

  6. I work near the agricultural grounds of the University (between them and the stadium), and an artificial lake. I walk across a parking lot the same size as the football stadium grounds to get to my bus stop.

    I have seen many many many Canada geese, including whole flocks at rest really close to my path. I have never been attacked. I attribute this to keeping a reasonable distance and generally making it clear I am passing by, by doing things like slowing but not stopping when I do want to watch them. (I don’t go out of my way often, but in a parking lot this size, I don’t really have to.) There are almost always a couple of the nearer ones watching, but they don’t even hiss.

    (one of my sons was hissed at by the riverside once, by a mom with goslings, but he was trying to behave like a toddler with a neat new toy. I kept firm hold.)

    They are pretty, and the goslings are cute and fuzzy. There is a LOT of goose mess in the grasses all around the building though, and in the lot. Hard when we have a day of outdoor yoga, but they are mostly plant matter so when they break down they’re pretty much fertilizer.

    REALLY striking is the result when they’re about to fly south in the fall, though. See, their bodies prepare for the flight by ejecting every last ounce of weight they can. ALL AT ONCE. So those reasonable sized messes stop being reasonable….

  7. @Red Wombat
    Wild boar meat is quite popular in Germany during the hunting season. I’m not a big meat eater, but I’m quite fond of venison, so I have it a few times per year. There are some risks associated with eating wild boar such as trichinosis (which is why all wild boar meat sold has to be subjected to trichinosis inspections) and in some parts of East and South Germany, high radiation levels due to lingering radiation from the Chernobyl disaster. But if you buy wild boar meat in a shop or have it in a restaurant, it’s safe and tasty.

    Of course, it’s possible that the wild boars found in North America are different from the ones in Europe and therefore don’t taste as good, since yours seem to be devolved house pigs, whereas ours are the species from which house pigs were evolved.

    Regarding plastic predators, I have two plastic crows named Heckle and Jeckle in my garden to scare off pigeons and overly enthusiastic starlings. It works for a while, then the birds realise what’s up and come back. If you regularly move Heckle and Jeckle, it keeps them away again.

  8. There’s a conceptual overlap between JdA’s stuff—particularly writing in the plural to hide his numbers seem like he has an organization behind him—and the decoy predators meant to scare the geese.

    Unfortunately (?), we’re not geese, and see right through it.

  9. The small town where I was supposed to be this coming weekend (Sigh…) has a substantial and semi-tame deer population. Which has attracted wolves to the area.

    There are signs, news articles and other notices to remind people not to feed or encourage them. A deer who’s used to being fed might walk right up to a door and beg, but ultimately, outside of grown males and select seasons, a deer still has some prey instincts. Dangerous, but usually manageable if you do nothing stupid.

    Wolves who get used to being fed by humans can get aggressive, right up to bity, if they’ve asked for food and a human holds out. Which means you can get punished for someone else being dumb.

    OTOH, there haven’t been substantial numbers of reports of wolf attacks.

  10. @Chip: “maybe the imports learned some manners.”

    Or maybe Canadian humans are so nice because their geese absorb their nastiness…

  11. Or maybe Canadian humans are so nice because their geese absorb their nastiness…

    Now there is an epic tale of First Nations magic waiting to be told!

  12. One of my biological family surnames is Gooseman. Occasionally I have fantasies about some demented highwayman ancestor, mugging passersby with his gang of specially trained attack geese.

  13. The thing about plastic predators is that they are only effective for a fairly narrow band of middling intelligence in the target. The target has to be intelligent enough to recognize that this stationary, silent object represents a predatory, but not so intelligent that the target recognizes that the predator is plastic. (I believe that the hawk silhouettes used to keep birds from flying into plate glass windows operate on a more hard-wired response.)

  14. Which leaves the question which end of the scale are doves? Our prior house was in a neighborhood that was also home to multiple flocks of them. A favored roost was a neighbor’s roof – an indignity he finally chose to address by installing a plastic hawk. The next morning – same old flock on the roof, including one sitting on the polymer raptor’s head… 🙂

  15. Here in 6346 we welcome our new avian overlords.

    Pigeons and doves are quite smart, especially domesticated breeds or ones descended from domesticated breeds. Some of the pigeons in London learned to fake injuries to get extra sympathy food – they’d curl up their foot like it was hurt and limp up to you, cooing beseechingly, and then uncurl it and bob off once they were full or the food ran out.

    Mind you they’d also try to eat cigarette butts. (I almost typed a Brit slang term and thought better of it on a site with USA peeps…)

    @Stoic Cynic

    European by birth and upbringing, but Canada geese by blood. We ended up with a bunch of them during the time when screwing up perfectly nice ecosystems was a popular hobby for the rich. They do quite well in parks.

    @Arifel

    It would probably be very stressful to spend your life in a city park while perpetually offended by humans. In some of the more well-travelled parks some of the wildlife gets quite tame – there’s a bit of Greenwich park where the grey squirrels will sit on your hand for food.

  16. @Cora – American razorbacks are a mixture of feral domesticated hogs and wild boar imported for hunting. They vary in appearance and genetics from very wild-looking beasts to fat porkers fresh from the feedlot. Even the tamest hogs are intelligent omnivores who may be able to survive and reproduce in areas without large predators, but in areas with any hunting pressure the wilder looking and acting hogs are presumably more likely to make it. Can’t say what effect any of this would have on flavor; I’ve never had wild boar, like tame pork just fine.

  17. @Anne: “I’ve never had wild boar, like tame pork just fine.”

    I understand that you really want to get the former dish from Sweden. Swedish chefs make the best bork.

  18. @Anne Sheller
    I’ve got the impression that in the US venison consumption is very much regional and tied to the popularity of hunting. Whereas in Germany, venison is widely available in restaurants and supermarkets (even Aldi carries deer and boar during the winter months).

    Roast goose is a popular winter and holiday meal as well, though made from domestic geese and not wild Canada geese. When I was a kid, my neighbours kept geese (and yes, they’re noisy and nasty) and would slaughter and sell them in the run-up to Christmas. If you went over to their house during October, November and December (i.e. prime goose season), the husband and son were slaughtering the geese (in the house and in full view), while the wife, an unmarried sister and sometimes the daughter-in-law and granddaughter were plucking the geese. They’d invite you for coffee and chat, all the while plucking geese. This is the reason why I don’t particularly like eating goose, but I inevitably see those images. BTW, when there was a scene in Game of Thrones with Sam and Gilly plucking fowl, I yelled at the TV, “Oh please, you’re doing it all wrong.”

  19. @Cora, my mother mentioned, just once, that she’d never eat goose because when she was a child (in the 1930s) she had to pluck one for dinner. Apparently, she needed pliers to do it (but then, she was a child so she probably didn’t have much hand strength) and she found it such a disagreeable task that it put her off goose for life.

    So I’ve never actually had goose. (Although I quite like duck; is it similar in flavor?)

  20. Cora: I’ve got the impression that in the US venison consumption is very much regional and tied to the popularity of hunting.

    That’s probably true. I would add, though, I once met somebody whose side business was importing meat from deer raised domestically and slaughtered in New Zealand.

  21. It’s my impression that in most or all US states, meat from wild boar, bear, bison, deer, or other animals cannot be sold for public consumption, so if you’re not a hunter, or have a hunter friend or relative willing to supply you, you’ll only be eating meat from animals traditionally raised specifically for slaughter, like cattle, goats, sheep, hogs, turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese. I’ve seen farm-raised elk and bison meat for sale (the latter is fairly common around MN), but not generally not deer. When Arby’s sold venison for a day last year and the year before, I believe it was sourced from red deer from New Zealand.

  22. @Bruce A It’s my impression that in most or all US states, meat from wild boar, bear, bison, deer, or other animals cannot be sold for public consumption . . .
    It’s a lot more complicated than that. This hits the high spots.

  23. There’s a game meat butcher shop right between Santa Rosa and Petaluma in Sonoma (California). Bud’s.

    http://budscustommeat.com/

    I’ve had some elk sausage and maybe boar sausage? I forget now. We rarely make it out there during business hours, so we’ve only been there once or twice. Good spot, though.

  24. @Mike Glyer @Bruce A.
    Much of the deer sold in German supermarkets is actually imported from the New Zealand, though there are domestic deer farmers and of course plenty of wild deer.

  25. I’ve eaten kosher venison in the US, which I knew must have been farmed, because hunted animals are not considered slaughtered in properly kosher fashion.

    Scroll Ain’t Nothing But Pixel Misspelled

  26. Farmed venison is available in NZ supermarkets, as well as many restaurants, gastro-pubs etc. There is still a small amount of hunting happening, but not the large-scale operations using helicopters that occurred in the 1980’s when we decided that having thousands of introduced herbivores in our National parks was a bad idea.
    A few specialist restaurants will cook your hunted game.

  27. @Cassy B: Well, can you think of a better word for pork-from-boars than “bork”? 😀

  28. @all: The young lady I referenced lived in southeastern England. You could get to the pond with the rude waterfowl on the Tube. So I don’t think it’s European vs. American birds for politeness. They’re just rude bastids. And the ones that attacked me in college were (nominally) domesticated imported European species.

    Canada geese produce way too much crap to deal with. (aaand now we’re back to 12/13)

  29. I know so much about bears now…

    Yeah, there was no surprise at all here that JDA broke his “break for the lord” early. And I would not be surprised AT ALL that the “successful author” “devout Christian,” “award winner” and “super wealthy” dude is still begging others to give him money for his “cause” while his initial fundraiser -barely- covered the first tier.

    But in more important news – Question, What kind of bear is best?

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