Pixel Scroll 6/23/18 And Now It’s Scrolling All Over the Land; I Still Can’t Seem to Understand

(1) COC ENFORCEMENT AT ORIGINS. Organizers of the Origins Game Fair have issued a statement telling how they will handle reported violations of their Code of Conduct at the 2018 convention, which ended June 17.

Tabletop Gaming overviewed the accusations: “Multiple reports of sexual harassment emerge from this year’s Origins Game Fair”.

Reports first surfaced during the weekend of the show, with one designer and senior member of a games publisher alleged to have asked multiple women to “play test his erect penis”.

In a separate incident, another woman was reportedly followed for multiple blocks back to her hotel.

Tabletop gaming personality Bebo used Twitter to raise awareness of the distressing events on behalf of the anonymous victims, adding: “Anyone who says harassment of women isn’t an issue in the industry can eat dirt.”

Both situations were reported to GAMA, the organiser of Origins, which is said to be taking appropriate action in response, although the company is yet to issue a public statement regarding the events.

Polygon’s story covers responses from the accused, and by Origins’ administering body, GAMA: “Accusations of sexual harassment rock the board gaming community”.

Origins Game Fair, which ran June 13-17 this year, is a tabletop gaming convention sponsored by the Game Manufacturer’s Association (GAMA). Its partner this year was Wizards of The Coast, known for Dungeons & Dragons and the Magic: The Gathering franchises. Other sponsors included a who’s who list of major publishers, including Rio Grande Games, Iello, Wizkids, Paizo and CMON.

Origins is an opportunity for fans to see the latest games, and for those in the industry to see each other and do some networking ahead of Gen Con, the nation’s largest tabletop gaming convention, which is held in Indianapolis each August. Many in the industry choose to mingle outside of the event, and that’s where at least one attendee says an exhibitor sexually harassed them. The allegations surfaced on a personal Facebook page and on Twitter, but were also sent to GAMA. The individual accused has denied the allegations….

GAMA’s official statement says in part:

An incident arose through social media at Origins this year pointing out some specific allegations of harassment. This illicit behavior is a clear violation of our show policies.

To ensure that a thorough review of any allegation is conducted, we must have statements from individuals with firsthand knowledge of the event. Unfortunately, that did not happen in this instance so gathering the information is taking more time. We understand that it can be difficult to come forward and share a statement after an incident occurs, but with the cooperation from individuals involved we can address these situations in a timely fashion.

As we demonstrated earlier this year, we take harassment very seriously and are committed to providing a safe, welcoming and fun environment for everyone at the show.

This serious allegation has not been taken lightly. We are committed to handling this in a thorough and professional manner. We are interviewing all parties involved and gathering statements from witnesses who viewed the incident firsthand. We owe all parties involved a fair process to gather the facts and discern as much as possible those confirmed elements before we act. The ramifications of an unjustified response are simply irreplaceably damaging….

The complete statement is at the Polygon link.

The accusations also prompted Katie Aidley, with several years of experience working for gaming companies and in booths at conventions, to release her post “The truth about sexual harrassment and boardgaming”.

(2) SPEAKING TO THE NEXT GENERATION. A passage from Liu Cixin’s The Micro-Age was utilized in the reading comprehension section of China’s national college entrance exam: “Excerpt of popular Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin’s novel selected in gaokao”.

An excerpt of famous Chinese science fiction writer Liu Cixin’s novel was selected as reading comprehension material in the test paper for the Chinese gaokao exam, China’s National College Entrance Exam that took place on Thursday, which not only surprised many participants but also the writer. Liu later responded saying that science fiction meets the demand of people in this day and age.

After the exam in southwest China’s Sichuan Province ended, participants expressed their surprise at finding an excerpt of Liu’s novel “The Micro-Age” since this type of literature was rare in such a rigorous exam.

…Speaking about this year’s gaokao essay topics, Liu expressed that one of the topics was related to science fiction as it required students to write a letter to the generation of 2035 to elaborate on the big events that have occurred since the year 2000 in China.

He said that unlike previous essay topics which tended to focus on current affairs or the past, this year’s topics were more likely to focus on the future.

(3) DETECTIVE WORK. Carl Slaughter asks, “How can I resist a headline like this?” It absolutely belongs in the Scroll: “This insane golden chamber contains water so pure it can dissolve metal, and is helping scientists detect dying stars.” Business Insider has the story.

Hidden 1,000 metres under Mount Ikeno in Japan is a place that looks like a supervillain’s dream.

Super-Kamiokande (or “Super-K” as it’s sometimes referred to) is a neutrino detector. Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles which travel through space and pass through solid matter as though it were air.

Studying these particles is helping scientists detect dying stars and learn more about the universe. Business Insider spoke to three scientists about how the giant gold chamber works — and the dangers of conducting experiments inside it.

(4) HOW’S HE DOING? Eric Flint gave Facebook reader a health update.

I thought I’d bring everyone up to date on my medical condition, since I haven’t said anything about it for quite a while. That’s because it’s been… complicated.

On the positive side, there’s no indication that the lymphoma has come back. So, yay for homicide therapy, AKA chemotherapy.

On the down side, I started developing atrial fibrillation a year and a half ago, right around the same time the cancer was diagnosed. Whether there’s a causal relationship there or it’s just coincidence, nobody really knows….

Flint continues with full details.

(5) BABYLON FIFTH. In “‘Babylon 5’ is great, so why does it look so bad?”, Engadget’s Daniel Cooper describes in great technical detail the show’s digital origins and resulting challenges when aired using current technology.

Now that the series has made its way to Amazon Prime, it is ripe for a whole new generation of fans to discover it. Except that, if they do, they may find that the picture quality is highly variable, and some sequences are quite hard to watch. Now, it’s fair to say that the show is so good that it’s worth persisting with nevertheless. But how it ended up in this state is a tale of folks trying to plan for its future, only to be defeated by executive neglect…

How bad does it look?

We should probably begin by outlining how effects-heavy shows like Babylon 5 are made, albeit simplistically. There are three different types of shot that were put together to make an episode. You have live-action scenes, which are just actors talking in a room; composites, which have a mix of live-action and CGI; and pure-CGI scenes. In order to protect your suspension of disbelief, it’s important that you aren’t noticing the transitions between them.

A great sequence to explain Babylon 5’s problem is the monorail scene from the Season 2 finale, The Fall of Night, which originally aired on November 1st, 1995. We begin with an entirely live-action shot, where Captain Sheridan (Bruce Boxleitner) boards a monorail shuttle. And you can tell, because it’s framed properly and looks pretty good, even if the film is a little grainy because it hasn’t been restored or remastered….

(6) MURDERBOT’S ASPIRATIONS. Adri Joy delivers a fascinating character analysis in “A Robot Learns to Love Itself: Reflecting on the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells” at Nerds of a Feather.

There’s a moment near the start of Rogue Protocol, the third in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries series (forthcoming August 7, 2018 from Tor.com Publishing), that quietly broke my heart. The self-proclaimed Murderbot, a rogue SecUnit (a human-robot hybrid “construct”) which hacked its own governor module after an unfortunate murder-based incident that was subsequently wiped from its memory, is trying to distract itself from the endless, stupid problems of humans by watching a new show. Unfortunately, the plot isn’t working out, and Murderbot is eager to get within range of a station so it can download something different. If only, it tells us, this terraforming horror series had a rogue SecUnit character who could stop the squishy humans from all getting horribly killed…

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. Murderbot watches rather a lot of shows – indeed, extensive media consumption is its most prominent character quirk – and it also does a lot of complaining, so the combination of the two is not exactly unusual. However, this is the first time it has articulated a desire to see itself represented positively in media.

(7) COMICS SECTION.

  • Chip Hitchcock spotted a Library Comic about All Systems Red. Chip adds, “The author’s former strip used to recommend something (often genre) at least once a week, and most of them were good; nice to see him back at it.”

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • June 23, 1976 Logan’s Run debuted.
  • June 23, 1989 — Tim Burton’s Batman is released in theaters.
  • June 23, 1989 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids premiered.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS

  • Born June 23 – Joss Whedon, 54. Known for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, FireflyDr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, Avengers and Agents Of S.H.I..E.L.D. which is not a complete listing by any means.
  • Born June 23 – Selma Blair, 46. Scream 2 appears to be her first genre role, also Xena: Warrior Princess, Hellboy and Hellboy 2,  both of the Hellboy animated films, The Fog and most recently Lost in Space.
  • Born June 23 – Melissa Rauch, 38. Bernadette Rostenkowski in The Big Bang Theory, Harley Quinn in the animated Batman and Harley Quinn film, Summer in True Blood, and Wasp / Hope Pym  in the Ant Man animated shorts.

(10) FAITH OF THE FUTURE. Syfy Wire’s story “In modern science fiction, religion plays a vital, secular role” by Tricia Ennis examines how religion is treated on a handful of TV sf series — Battlestar Galactica—the reboot of the mid/late 2000’s; not the original, The 100, and Killjoys.

It’s easy to think that science fiction and religion are anathemas to each other. Science fiction is, after all, about imagining a scientifically advanced future where we have moved to the point of near magic, explaining through science things that modern understanding can only dream up. Religion, meanwhile, is about not explaining those things at all, instead choosing to rely on faith and parable and scripture to explain the mysteries of the universe and to comfort the minds of those who follow its teachings. Obviously, those two don’t really go together.

Perhaps science and faith don’t necessarily mesh—but if you’ve been keeping an eye on certain recent science fiction television series, you’ll notice a pattern. Sci-fi might still have trouble bridging the spiritual and the secular, but it certainly recognizes the importance of scripture to understanding our past — and protecting our future.

(11) REENACTORS. Nancy Kress introduced a highly amusing photo taken at Taos Toolbox:

George R. R. Martin and the Red Workshop. If a wedding, why not a writing seminar?

Walter Jon Williams identified the bodies:

Among the casualties were David DeGraff, Jo Miles, Brenda Kalt, Sarah Paige Hofrichter, Kevin O’Neill, Sherri Woosley, Gayle Schultz, Nancy Kress, Walter Jon Williams, Autumn Kalquist, Joey Yu, Liz Colter, Peri Fletcher, Amanda Helms, Carsten Schmitt, Gabrielle Harbowy, Harrison Lee, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Isabel Yap, and Elliotte Rusty Harold.

(12) MUSEUM VISITOR. Rick Riordan said the minerals on display reminded him of this —

(13) A HUGO VOTER IS HEARD FROM. Joe Sherry shares another section of his ballot in “Reading the Hugos: Novelette” at Nerds of A Feather. Ranked somewhere in the middle is this nominee —

A Series of Steaks: Since I’ve already written about the Short Story category, this is Vina Jie-Min Prasad’s second story on the Hugo ballot and it is a real standout. Besides everything, what I really enjoy about “A Series of Steaks” is the framing of forgery and what makes a good forger. Ultimately, that’s what “A Series of Steaks” is about. Helena semi-legally fabricates meat for restaurants that is otherwise undetectable for not being the real thing (ultimately, a forgery). She is offered a contract that she can’t refuse because it comes with a threat to expose her.

The rest of the story is a tense game of Helena (and her new assistant) trying to fulfill the order and somehow protect herself. Prasad’s writing is clear and pulled me right in. It’s a damn fine story and I’m going to be looking for much more from Vina Jie-Min Prasad.

(14) ON THE ROAD. John Scalzi has thrown the Theory of Evolution into doubt. Could this man’s primordial ancestors possibly have lived in trees without room service?

(15) TOON TOWN. Ethan Alter, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story, ”’Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ turns 30: How the toon-powered classic revolutionized Hollywood” interviews screenwriters Peter S. Seaman and Jeffrey price about the 30th anniversary of this film, first released on June 22, 1988.

According to the screenwriters, Zemeckis always had a grand vision for the Ink and Paint Club as a place where multiple cartoon characters — each of whom had its own bit of funny business — would fill the frame. A cursory glance around the nightclub reveals penguin waiters, an octopus bartender, and a vintage black-and-white cartoon heroine slinging drinks. “Bob wanted one of those almost Scorsese-like reveals, where you track in and all the stuff is happening,” Seaman remembers. “We did write gags for like the bartenders — he’s got eight arms, and he’s making these different cocktails. We’d write gags for the penguins, and everybody in there.”

(16) LUCKY PAIR. JSTOR Daily delves into “The Fairytale Language of the Brothers Grimm”.

There once were two brothers from Hanau whose family had fallen on hard times. Their father had died, leaving a wife and six children utterly penniless. Their poverty was so great that the family was reduced to eating but once a day.

So it was determined that the brothers must go out into the world to seek their fortune. They soon found their way to the university in Marburg to study law, but there they could not find luck from any quarter. Though they had been the sons of a state magistrate, it was the sons of the nobility that received state aid and stipends. The poor brothers met countless humiliations and obstacles scraping by an education, far from home.

Around this time, after Jacob had to abandon his studies to support his family, the entire German kingdom of Westphalia became part of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte’s conquering rule. Finding refuge in the library, the brothers spent many hours studying and searching for stories, poems, and songs that told tales of the people they had left behind. Against the rumblings of war and political upheaval, somehow the nostalgia of stories from an earlier time, of people’s lives and language, in the little villages and towns, in the fields and forest, seemed more important than ever.

This then is the strange rags-to-riches tale of two mild-mannered librarians, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (affectionately known as the Brothers Grimm), who went hunting for fairytales and accidentally ended up changing the course of historical linguistics and kickstarting a whole new field of scholarship in folklore.

(17) LEND HER AN EAR. BBC invites you to “Meet Game of Thrones’ woman of weapons”.

It’s probably not a good idea to get into an argument with Natalia Lee.

The only female armourer working on Game of Thrones, she looks after all the show’s weapons, from flaming arrows to giant catapults.

She also played the fearsome Chella in season one, because they needed “a warrior who chops ears off” and then strings them around her neck.

But while she loves working with the actors, she gets worked up if anyone questions the fact that a woman is wielding swords and slingshots.

“I’m constantly told, ‘Women don’t want to see that, women don’t want to do that.’ It’s so frustrating,” says Australian-born Natalia, 35.

“We’re capable of handling weapons, I’ve proved I can carry all of them.

“My job’s a learned, technical skillset, so your gender has no bearing.”

(18) PANIC OR PATHOLOGY? Answering a pixel from 6/18: “WHO gaming disorder listing a ‘moral panic’, say experts”.

But biological psychology lecturer Dr Peter Etchells said the move risked “pathologising” a behaviour that was harmless for most people.

The WHO said it had reviewed available evidence before including it.

It added that the views reflected a “consensus of experts from different disciplines and geographical regions” and defined addiction as a pattern of persistent gaming behaviour so severe it “takes precedence over other life interests”.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge Carl Slaughter, Brian Z., and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus, who took inspiration from yesterday’s lyric reference.]

67 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/23/18 And Now It’s Scrolling All Over the Land; I Still Can’t Seem to Understand

  1. I believe poor Murderbot previously expressed reluctance to see Secunits in media, because the ones shown were mostly bad rogue Secunits. Expressing a desire to see itself accurately represented is surely progress!

  2. 5) I was a huge fan of Babylon 5 at the time, but I don’t want to revisit it for fear that it hasn’t held up. Though a lot of people forget that Babylon 5’s effects were very good for their time and that it also had more effects shots than other SF shows of the same era.

    15) I’m kind of surprise to see so many commemorations of the 30th anniversary of Who Frames Roger Rabbit? Now I remember seeing the film in the theatre and enjoying it a whole lot, but then I was a big cartoon fan at the time. But even though it was an interesting and well made film, it doesn’t seem to have had a whole lot of staying power. It’s never on TV, at least not here, and it’s rarely discussed, rarely shows up in best of lists and never had a sequel. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a true one off and there is nothing quite like it out there. I should probably get myself the DVD, because I’d really like to watch it again.

    16) This is a pretty good article, especially considering how many misconceptions there are about Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm.

  3. Someone else in Apatoons described WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT as “the worst movie you’ll want to watch ten times.” I have watched it that many times, at least. They took a dreadful novel with one good idea in it and made a great movie from that idea. A sequel was planned, but it didn’t ever come out. Who knows? Maybe it was a trick nobody can do again, but it has had its effect on civilization, and lines from it were quoted for a long time, and may still be getting quoted where I don’t see them.

  4. @3: I’m a long way from my chemistry career, but I am having trouble believing

    “Water that’s ultra-pure is waiting to dissolve stuff into it,” said Dr Uchida.”Pure water is very, very nasty stuff. It has the features of an acid and an alkaline.”

    “If you went for a soak in this ultra-pure Super-K water you would get quite a bit of exfoliation,” said Dr Wascko. “Whether you want it or not.”

    The last I looked, pure water was far too weak as either acid or alkali to act so quickly; similarly, I find the stories of the hair and the wrench to be as hard to swallow as this potage St. Germain. (Well, maybe the wrench is plausible given enough time as there’s enough H+ in a tank that size to dissolve maybe 20 pounds of non–corrosion-resistant steel — but who makes tools out of that, and would enough volume of water shift around to come in contact with the wrench?) Can anybody point to a technical reference for any of these?

    @16 is interesting, but a bit idolatrous; it’s casual about its statement that most of the tales were collected at best secondhand, and doesn’t even mention that later editions fell into the same sort of moralizing as Perrault. (There was a comparison on the net some years ago of early and late editions of “Hansel and Gretel” which was very … instructive….)

  5. Scroll-deri, file-dera
    My pixel on my back

    I rewatched Who Framed Roger Rabbit not too long ago and was impressed at how well it worked both as a live action/animation combo piece and as a straight noir film.

  6. (1) Is anyone still surprised?

    (3) I don’t get the water thing, either, Chip. Distilled water doesn’t particularly do stuff.

    (11) Hee. The suspender-holding makes it.

    (15) The movie still holds up. It’s mind-boggling to think how hard it was in the days before CGI — all that hand-painting!

    It’s a good ‘toon movie AND a good riff on all the classic L.A. noir mysteries. Hoskins was brilliant. I should probably get a disc of it, though I still have the VHS. And a stuffed Roger.

  7. Joe H, darn it, you earwormed me! I almost never get earwormed with these things, because I’m so unfamiliar with pop music. But I learned that song at my mother’s knee.

  8. The special effects of B5 are pretty dire in some places…but I think (based on the rewatch to date) that the stories still hold up

  9. @me: realized overnight that the momentary concentration of H+ probably doesn’t matter, IFF Fe(OH)2 is insoluble (and maybe even if it’s soluble, at that volume). But I still wonder about dispersal and how favored such a reaction is, and don’t believe the high-speed reactions at all.

  10. I did a little reading on UPW (ultra-pure water) and it’s quite good at leeching away various kinds of impurities. It’s heavily used in semiconductor manufacture. (And it tastes awful.)

    Dissolving a wrench over a 5-year period I can believe. Especially since they’re continually refiltering the UPW in the tank to keep it pure. Dissolving some guy’s hair in just an hour or so I’m not believing, especially since the UPW was exposed to the air at that point. I can definitely believe he psyched himself into believing that had happened though.

  11. Damn, and I was hoping to blame my lack of hair on the purity of Scottish rain as well.

    I can still watch Blakes 7 so the Babylon 5 effects look fine in comparison. I’d rather watch either than some of the overly glossy current series. Though Farscape remains my favourite and it has similar problems to B5 for a high definition release, more practical effects have let it age a bit more gracefully though.

  12. B5 got rerun in the UK recently. Good speeches, terrible general dialogue, effects OK considering.

  13. I think one reason Roger Rabbit works so well is because Hoskins plays his role completely straight…until the end sequence, of course.

    I read somewhere that they wanted to cast Bruce Willis as the lead, and *that* movie would have been awful–he would have been winking at the camera the whole time. See Hudson Hawk (or better yet, don’t) for an example of how that would have turned out.

  14. Infinite Merediths: A vast swath of Jonathan Strahan’s Infinity Project anthologies (Bridging, Engineering, Edge of, etc.) are $0.99.

  15. One of my WoW critters is named “DrawnThatWay” and she gets more pop-culture-reference exchanges than my various toons with names bearing homage to Holy Grail, Star Wars, Space Jam and so on. Plus I still wear my Roger Rabbit t-shirt once in a while. Love that movie! I dragged people to theaters to see it several times, including one occasion where everyone was under the influence of psychedelics.

    Jack Parsons, the hipster’s occultist, for people fascinated with alchemy and sex magick while steering clear of the astrology and tarot and domestic drama with L. Ron Hubbard. He gets referenced a lot, Breaking Bad did an homage where Walter “Heisenberg” White was throwing fulminate of mercury at his drug-dealing rivals.

  16. I remember Babylon 5 for using computer animation where Star Trek Shows used miniatures and there was a discussion which is better. I was in the model-camp and I still think the models held up better over time. But then again I never really got into Babylon 5. The first season was just a bit silly and later seasons made it hard to jump in without having to watch most episodes first. I think offering such an overall arc, when Star Trek weekly episodes dominated the SF scene is part of why it has such a cult status among fans.

  17. I actually missed most of Babylon 5’s first season, since it aired in Germany while I was away on my semester aborad in the UK, where the series aired on Sky (and being a poor student, I of course didn’t have cable). I wasn’t wowed by what I saw before I left, but when I came back, season 2 was just starting up and the series suddenly got very good. And the arc plot was truly something new at the time. Okay, so Twin Peaks had an arc plot of sorts three years before Babylon 5 (and I always maintain that Twin Peaks is the origin of modern TV), but nothing else did. Even The X-Files was still largely episodic at this time.

    Regarding Roger Rabbit, when it came out, I was in my budding teenage cineast phase, so I recognised both the noir references and all the classic characters. Besides, it was set a world like the one I had been imagining since early childhood, a world where cartoon characters and humans coexist. I liked the movie a lot and still have my Roger and Jessica PVC figurines, though I haven’t thought about it in years. I’m definitely going to buy the DVD tomorrow. I was planning to go to the electronics store anyway.

  18. @Cora: And the arc plot was truly something new at the time. The Wikipedia article on “story arc” also cites B5 — but I recall hearing people discuss arcs wrt Hill Street Blues, more than a decade earlier. (I wouldn’t know — I got weaned/pushed-off of TV half a century ago and never got the habit back.) Older Filers in general: was HSB a one-off that nobody followed, or was B5 a leap ahead of what HSB established?

  19. I can’t really speak for Hill Street Blues, since it aired as a summer replacement for Dynasty in Germany and was pulled off the air after two or three episodes, because audiences just weren’t tuning in, which is a big deal in an era of only three TV channels, when US shows were such a rare treat that even not very good shows got high ratings. It was never rerun in another slot either, not even after private TV came along and aired pretty much anything to fill the airwaves, which means that audiences must really have disliked it.

    Of course, shows like Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest and their ilk did have arc plots in the 1980s, but they were basically soap operas, which have a different narrative structure anyway.

  20. @Chip: Wiseguy, in the late 80s, had story arcs that lasted at least 5-10 episodes.

  21. Chip Hitchcock: I haven’t found when the term “story arc” was applied to this kind of TV storytelling, however, HSB was an MTM production, and the use of story arcs was replicated in other MTM drama series after that.

  22. @Chip: IIRC, Hill Street Blues didn’t have long arcs, but generally had storylines that ran through several episodes simultaneous with one-and-done stories. Most episodes had both types in them. And the characters had long personal stories that would take months or even years to play out, generally in the background. Law and Order was specifically in reaction to this, where the characters had personality traits but not personal storylines, and everything wrapped up each week. You wouldn’t want to watch Hill Street out of order, like you could L&O.

    And Bruce is right about Wiseguy, especially at the beginning. The first season had two long arcs (the second of which featured Kevin Spacey, the first time I remember seeing him).

  23. 6) A nice article. The thing that kicked me in the gut at the end of Artificial Condition was Zheqreobg guvaxvat gb vgfrys gung vg unq qbar jung vg qvq orpnhfr bs gur frkobgf jub, jvgubhg nal beqref be nal vqrn ubj gb cebprrq, unq gevrq gurve orfg gb xrrc gur uhznaf sebz orvat xvyyrq.

    11) I laughed so loudly it scared the cats.

    18) The problem is people who can’t tell the difference between normal enthusiasm and pathological behavior. This is the opposite direction from people who can’t tell the difference between normal family spats and abusive behavior (and therefore claim that the latter doesn’t exist), but it’s exactly the same phenomenon.

  24. Missed the edit window before I remembered this. If anyone is interested in a paperback Guide to Robert’s Rules of Order with illustrations by Will Eisner, there’s a copy available from Crossroads Bookshop. I thought about buying it but didn’t — but I figure if there’s anyone who’s going to want it, they’re likely to hang out here.

  25. Re Super-Kamiokande

    For every possible solute the equilibrium with ultra-pure water would be towards greater dissolution, but that doesn’t make it a particularly aggressive chemical. In the particular case of a wrench, if ultra-pure means lacking dissolved oxygen that does make iron more soluble.

    The report of the hair sounds like nonsense. Hair is not a living tissue – even if “nutrients” are extracted from the hair it wouldn’t drag them out of the scalp to replace them.

    The other error is that it’s not detecting Cerenkov radiation from neutrinos. (If neutrinos generated Cerenkov radiation the detector would be recording zillions of events.) Cerenkov radiation requires a *charged* particle moving faster than the speed of light in the medium. What the detector observes is Cerenkov radiation from charged particles of various origins moving faster than the speed of light in the medium. Some of these charged particles originate from the rare interactions of neutrinos with the water.

    They use ultra-pure water not only to increase transparency, but also to reduce the Cerenkov radiation noise from radioactive decay of solute atoms. I wonder if one of the reasons for using mine water is to avoid contamination with tritium.

  26. “Hill Street Blues” seemed to owe something to the 87th Precinct novels of “Ed McBain.” That’s not an original observation: A character in the books once made the comparison himself, saying that it was like this TV show was based on them, and trying to convince his fellow officers that, in some weird eldritch way (he didn’t say eldritch) that their lives had somehow been spied on and put on TV. He was even pointing out the similarities between the names (“Carella” – “Furillo”) and individual personalities. Made a good case, but nobody was buying it.

  27. @Mark

    B5 was on C4 for its UK first run, so free to air.

    Odd. Then it was either on hiatus at the time or it aired when I had an evening class. At any rate, I couldn’t watch it in the UK.

  28. If anyone is in western Massachusetts in the near future, I strongly recommend the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, which I visited for the first time yesterday. The current main exhibit is Paddington Bear, but in addition, I was thrilled to discover an entire gallery devoted to the work of Leo and Diane Dillon, big favorites of mine for many years. Some of the pieces were in bronze fantasy frames sculpted by their son Lee. Gorgeous! The art has to rotate, so the Dillon exhibit won’t be up indefinitely, but probably there will be things of genre interest on display at the museum most of the time.

    For fans of megafauna, the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College has fabulous complete skeletons of a mammoth (now the college mascot, since they ditched Lord Jeffery of smallpox-infected-blankets infamy) and a mastodon, as well as a direwolf and a sabretooth (whose skull looked just like the one that someone’s SJW credential was posing with recently), and more.

    The next time I’m in that area, I hope to see the Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield.

  29. I believe “Wiseguy” was the first to call them arcs. And yes, theirs were superb. It was Spacey’s first big role, and the arcs with Ray Sharkey (the very first and thus most gobsmacking) and later Paul Winfield and Tim Curry were also good.

    Glad nobody else is buying the idea of the guy’s scalp being corroded. He probably came into contact with something else that caused the itching.

    @KipW: Heh, I remember that. It was a typically snarky way for McBain to point out how much HSB had “borrowed” from the 87th Precinct. I liked the 87th better.

  30. Chip Hitchcock on June 24, 2018 at 12:12 pm said:
    @Cora: And the arc plot was truly something new at the time. The Wikipedia article on “story arc” also cites B5 — but I recall hearing people discuss arcs wrt Hill Street Blues, more than a decade earlier. (I wouldn’t know — I got weaned/pushed-off of TV half a century ago and never got the habit back.) Older Filers in general: was HSB a one-off that nobody followed, or was B5 a leap ahead of what HSB established?

    Hill Street Blues was and is the best thing in television ever. It had humor, grittiness, stereotype busting, tenderness and cruelty, great characters and great storylines. I sincerely urge anybody who’s not seen it at the time (what is WRONG with you Germany?) to check it out now. It was and still is miles ahead of B5 in seriousness and snark and in how to wring out your heart without dropping spaceships on anybody.

    It was the first instance of a tendency that is so ubiquitous now on tv that it’s hard to remember what tv was before. Everything from BSG to The Good Wife to The Wire and The Sopranos owes their existence to HSB.

  31. I’d give big props to M*A*S*H for changing TV for the better. They managed to cut the fat from scripts so well that it felt like a show got 45 minutes worth into a half hour. It felt like before M*A*S*H, someone would say, “I’m going to the drug store now,” and they’d put on their hat and go out the door and walk down the street and pass the fire hydrant and so on and on… on M*A*S*H, they’d just be at the damn drug store.

    They had character arcs, too. (Obviously not talking about first season here.)

  32. Wiseguy was very good – Jerry Lewis was featured in one of the arcs as I recall, and showed his dramatic abilities.

  33. I liked the museum complex in Springfield, MA. The Seuss museum didn’t exist yet, but the sculpture groups in the quad between the existing museums and the library were terrific—Seuss made corporeal, and wondrously so.

    The Carle museum was good for a visit as well. Great book store there. On our way home from there, I took photos of graffiti on an empty house—someone had painted an off-color Seuss character on there with spray paint. A real artiste.

    There are other nice little museums sprinkled around. There’s an Atheneum in Westfield with some interesting items. The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford has some nice art in it. Also in Hartford, the Mark Twain House and museum made for a good visit. At the time we lived there, the place shut down, but it seems to be back open again, for which I’m glad.

    We went to a dinosaur place with Geri Sullivan while we were there. I’ve forgotten where it is.

    Monson, MA, has a music store that might as well be a museum. It’s full of antique instruments (including automatic instruments) and every imaginable size of Nipper statue and statuette. It’s open something like one day a week, and it’s best to call ahead because unless the owner intends to be there, it might not even be open on that one day. The train station in Monson is a beautiful massive pile designed by Richardson, and it’s in fine shape. It’s frequented by train enthusiasts because trains go by it every few minutes.

    There used to be a huge used book store in a former school building between West Springfield and Amherst. We’ve been away from the area for ten years now, though, so no guarantees. I do know that The Celery Stalk in West Springfield is still going strong. Soup and sandwich lunch place. I made a special trip last time I went through there to have a liverwurst sandwich with tortellini soup again.

  34. Loved Hill St back in the day, didn’t Peter Jurasik have a recurring role in that too before becoming Londo in B5?

    British TV had arc style plots even before HSB though, Blakes 7 spent two seasons trying to find and destroy the Federation command and control centre and Dr Who had experimented with linking stories into larger meta plots. Also, The Prisoner.

  35. IanP: We’re homing in on story arcs in TV shows with indefinite runs. There are a bunch of British TV shows that told a single story spread over a number of episodes, but that were one-and-done by design. (I’m not referring to Blakes 7 or Doctor Who — you could be onto something there.)

  36. Jeff Smith: Wiseguy… The first season had two long arcs

    V (The Visitors) was an earlier, but much less successful TV series which attempted a story arc. It ran from 1984-85 and only had 19 episodes which were a continuation of the original miniseries V (1983) and V: The Final Battle (1984). It might have been more successful in today’s on-demand environment — but back then, if you’d missed the miniseries, or didn’t catch every episode, it was tough to get and stay au courant with the story.

  37. @IanP:

    Doctor Who didn’t “experiment” with multi-episode story arcs. They started right in with them, from the debut episode onward. Furthermore, the third season included the epic-length “The Daleks’ (Masterplan/Master Plan)” story, consisting of a single-episode teaser, the unrelated “The Myth Makers” four-parter (which allowed six months to pass planetside after the teaser), and then the twelve-episode main story.

  38. Disney’s Zorro TV series had some … well, multi-episode story arcs is probably too strong a description, but there was continuity between episodes, including some major villains being eventually defeated and replaced.

  39. 1) Harassment is a huge problem in tabletop gaming, and the response to it is at least 10 years behind say, general SF fandom.

    We’ve recently had things like a self – described feminist company respond to sexual harassment complaints by creating community-wide “harassment policy” designed to protect the accused and discourage reporting. (For instance, a harassment victim is first expected to contact a harasser by email and ask them to stop.)

    We’ve also seen two game designers try to start a GamerGate style campaign to remove women and PoC from gaming. And finally, multiple companies have been accused of suppressing harassment complaints at conventions and on game days.

    Unfortunately, since the hobby is so male dominated, change is going to very slow and halting. There’s some good actors like Evil Hat, and signs of progress, but there’s a long way to go

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