Pixel Scroll 8/24/20 The Word For Scroll Is Pixel

(1) CULTURE CANCEL. Andrew Liptak tells Tor.com readers “Amazon’s Culture TV Series No Longer in the Works”. He also reports, “Ringworld doesn’t seem to be moving forward.” His source is Den of Geek, which has it from Utopia creator Dennis Kelly who said:

“In the end, I just think the estate didn’t want to go through with it. It wasn’t the material. They hadn’t seen anything [he had written], it was just because I think they weren’t ready to do it, for whatever reason. I’m a little mystified myself, to be honest.”

(2) ANOTHER NASFIC GOODY. The Columbus 2020 NASFiC published a Coloring Book of illustrations by some of their art show participants, including Artist Guest of Honor Stephanie Law. Download from Google Drive here.

(3) LEVYING A TAXONOMY. James Wallace Harris asks “When Did E. M. Forster’s ‘The Machine Stops’ Become Science Fiction?” at Classics of Science Fiction.

In 1909 E. M. Forster’s story “The Machine Stops” was published in the November issue of The Oxford and Cambridge Review. It is a dystopian tale about a future society run by a machine. Forster was replying to H. G. Wells novel, A Modern Utopia serialized in the Fortnightly Review in 1904 and 1905. Neither writer thought they were writing science fiction because, first, the term did not yet exist, and second, because Wells was promoting scientific socialism and Forster was protesting it. However, both stories had all the trappings of science fiction.

A Modern Utopia is seldom remembered by science fiction fans, but “The Machine Stops” is considered one of the classics of the genre, and often reprinted in retrospective anthologies of science fiction short stories.

(4) MERCURY RISING. The Right Stuff, a new scripted original series begins airing October 9 on Disney+.

Tor.com’s Andrew Liptak, in “The First Trailer for Disney+’s The Right Stuff Shows Off a Familiar Story of Heroics”, takes this approach:

…What many of these stories boil down to is that a group of white men worked really hard to reach the Moon, and did.

To be sure, it’s an incredible achievement. But it’s not the full story, and a new body of works like Hidden Figures, Apple’s For All Mankind, Mercury 13, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut novels have begun to reinterpret and puncture the mythos that’s surrounded Apollo for decades, highlighting the role that marginalized mathematicians, engineers, designers, and astronaut candidates played in that epic story.

(5) ANOTHER STAY-AT-HOME RECOMMENDATION. From the Time to Eat the Dogs podcast, “The Argument Against Human Colonies in Space”, via LitHub.

Time to Eat the Dogs is a podcast about science, history, and exploration. Each week, Michael Robinson interviews scientists, journalists, and adventurers about life at the extreme.

In today’s episode, Daniel Deudney makes the argument against the human colonization of space. He suggests that Space Expansionism is a dangerous project, a utopian ideal that masks important risks to human civilization. His latest book is Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity….

Michael Robinson: You make the point in your book that futurists are people who are kind of connected to this idea of technological futurism, especially in space. Futurists are also usually space expansionists. I was thinking about that. I’m like, why would that have to be? Because there are all kinds of, let’s say, technologies of space that don’t require expansionism. You have all kinds of remote rovers, for example, and telescopes. So what’s the connection between space, futurism, and people who want to expand or colonize space?

Daniel Deudney: Well, there’s lots of different ideas in space expansionism. And certainly one of the most basic is exploration to acquire knowledge. Think about geographic exploration as a type of scientific activity where one goes to different places and makes, you know, empirical observations about those places. That’s what exploration is. So geography is a science in an important way. And that activity, as you intimated, doesn’t really require humans nearly as much as it will get in the past. This is one of the unique features of space exploration to date in comparison, say, to the exploration of the ocean or the Arctic or the atmosphere. We have robotic vehicles that have gone to Mars. Many of the bodies in the solar system have been visited by probes of increasing capability. And humans have only been briefly—50 years ago—to the moon. And so there is a sense in which a kind of prostatic or a robotic exploration has been occurring.

And the reason for this is kind of obvious, which is that the cost of putting a human into space and keeping a human alive is about the same as it was 50 years ago. Very high, very difficult. And the cost of sending a probe has been getting successively cheaper. This is, of course, because the generic technologies people say, oh, space technology has been advancing. Well, the technologies that have been advancing that are most important have not really been unique to space. They’ve been the same technologies rooted in revolutions and solid-state physics that underlay the Internet censors, obviously computing capability, communications. Think about the amount of bandwidth that we now etch into tiny parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, say, compared to what the electric telegraph could do. Bandwidth has been the big story.

(6) INFORMED TERROR. Spacefaring Kitten is “Paying a visit to Lovecraft Country” at Nerds of a Feather.

…When the bulby-eyed Lovecraft statue was finally retired in 2015, his most ardent admirers were so unhappy that they even returned the trophies they had previously won. As much Lovecraftiana is published as before, but the most memorable new works explicitly take aim at the racial attitudes of Lovecraft and his works. Victor LaValle’s “Ballad of Black Tom” rewrote the “The Horror at Red Hook” from the viewpoint of a black protagonist, and other such works are making it hard to even think about Lovecraft without considering his politics.

In Lovecraft Country, all the Lovecraftian monstrosities are there to make a very specific political point. Indeed, Shoggoths are roaming the night and there are things with way too many eyes and tentacles (and consonants in their names), but evil-wise they are nothing compared to the darkness of Jim Crow. It’s a good premise, even though it reduces the Lovecraftian to a gallery of slimy monsters, missing all the bleak lonely horror that I would actually consider Lovecraft’s claim to fame. Beings from alien dimensions and the fact that there used to be towns where non-whites are killed if they don’t leave before the sun sets are both terrifying.

(7) TODAY’S DAY.

August 24 – Pluto Demoted Day

PLUTO’S STATUS [NASA]:

Pluto’s classification as a planet has had a history of changes. Since 2006, per the International Astronomical Union’s planetary criteria, Pluto isn’t considered a planet because it hasn’t cleared the neighborhood around its orbit of other objects. However, it does meet IAU’s criteria for what constitutes a dwarf planet.

Pluto Demoted Day now takes place every year to mark that very occasion. 

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

August 24, 1966  — Fantastic Voyage premiered. It would lose out at NYCon 3 to Star Trek’s “The Menagerie” for Best Dramatic Presentation. It was directed by Richard Fleischer and produced by Saul David. The screenplay by Harry Kleiner from a story by Jerome Bixby and Otto Clement. The cast was Stephen Boyd, Raquel Welch, Edmond O’Brien, Donald Pleasence, and Arthur Kennedy. Asimov wrote the novelization which came out six months before the film leading to the belief that it’s based on that novel. Critics generally liked it with one saying saying it was the best SF film since Destination Moon. It however didn’t catch on with public and was a box office failure. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an incredible 91% rating.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]

  • Born August 24, 1872 – Sir Henry Maximilian Beerbohm.  Signed caricatures and was generally known as “Max”; when Bernard Shaw, whom he succeeded as drama critic for the (British) Saturday Review, wrote “The younger generation is knocking at the door; and as I open it there steps spritely in the incomparable Max”, that too stuck.  MB, then 26, celebrated since his Oxford days, was and remained deft and immaculate, treating himself as he did others, e.g. “I was a modest, good-natured boy.  It was Oxford that made me insufferable.”  Unfortunately for satire a blade seems just a strip of metal if we don’t see it cut.  Love of MB, or Jane Austen, or Lady Murasaki, calls for knowing their world.  MB is ours by virtue of Zuleika (rhymes with bleak-ahDobson, one further novel, six shorter stories, fictional memoirs in Seven Men and Two Others (expanded 1950 from Seven Men); he did much more.  Here is a caricature of himself.  (Died 1956) [JH]
  • Born August 24, 1896 – Stanton Coblentz.  A score of novels, six dozen shorter stories, fifty poems; more in history, criticism, other nonfiction.  Clute and Langford complain “never a smooth stylist, nor an imaginative plotter”, but “he had a strong gift for the description of ingeniously conceived alien environments, and was often regarded as … best capable of conveying the sense of wonder”.  Memoir Adventures of a Freelancer.  (Died 1982) [JH]
  • Born August 24, 1899 Jorge Luis Borges. I’m reasonably sure my first encounter with him was at University with the assignment of The Library of Babel. I’m not deeply read in him but I also loved The Book of Imaginary Beings, and though not genre, recommend The Last Interview and Other Conversations for an excellent look at him as a writer. (Died 1985.) (CE) 
  • Born August 24, 1915 Alice Sheldon. Alice Sheldon who wrote as James Tiptree Jr. was one of our most brilliant short story writers ever. She only wrote two novels, Up the Walls of the World and Brightness Falls from the Air but they too are worth reading even if critics weren’t pleased by them. And who here knows why Up the Walls of the World waswithdrawn from the Hugo nominations at Seacon ‘79?  (Died 1987.) (CE)
  • Born August 24, 1926 – Bea Mahaffey.  Edited MysticScience Stories and Other Worlds Science StoriesUniverse with Ray Palmer (sometimes jointly as “George Bell”).  Member of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group.  Spoke at Hydracon.  Visiting the United Kingdom she was celebrated in Northern Ireland with BEACon.  Here she is pulling strings at NYcon II (14th Worldcon; left, Lee Hoffman; center, Dave Kyle).  First Fandom Hall of Fame.  (Died 1987) [JH]
  • Born August 24, 1932 William Morgan Sheppard. Best remembered I think as Blank Reg in Max Headroom: 20 Minutes into the Future. Genre wise I’d add him being the Klingon Prison Warden In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Merrit in The Prestige, the rather scary Soul Hunter on Babylon 5 and a Vulcan Science Minister in Star Trek. (Died 2019.) (CE) 
  • Born August 24, 1936 A. S. Byatt, 84. Author of three genre novels, two of which I’m familiar with, Possession: A Romance which became a rather decent film, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature-winning The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, and one I’ve never heard of, Ragnarok: The End of the Gods,  but I’m actually much, much more fond of her short fiction. I’d start with the Little Black Book of Stories and Angels & Insects collections. (CE) 
  • Born August 24, 1951 Tony Amendola, 69. Prolly best known for being the Jaffa master Bra’tac on Stargate SG-1. He’s also had recurring roles as Edouard Kagame of Liber8 on Continuum and on Once Upon a Time as Pinocchio’s creator, Geppetto. His list of one-off genre appearances is extensive and includes AngelCharmed,  Lois & Clark, Space: Above and Beyond, the Crusade spin-off of Babylon 5X FilesVoyagerDirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyTerminator: The Sarah Connor ChroniclesAliasShe-Wolf of London and Kindred: The Embraced. He’s also been a voice actor in gaming with roles in such games as World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorWorld of Warcraft: Legion and World of Final Fantasy. (CE)
  • Born August 24, 1951 – Orson Scott Card, 69.  Five dozen novels, a hundred shorter stories, a score of poems; video games, comics, film; nonfiction.  “Books to Look For” in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction May 87 – Dec 93.  InterGalactic Medicine Show 2005-2019.  Letters, essays, reviews in DestiniesGalaxies (France), The Green PagesSF Magazine (Japan), SF ReviewStarship.  Interviewed in «Alien Contact» JahrbuchFiction (France), The Leading EdgeLightspeedLocus, NY Rev of SFPhénixSF Eye.  Campbell Award for Best New Writer (as it then was); first author to win both Hugo and Nebula in consecutive years; three more Hugos; Mythopoeic Award; Phoenix; Skylark; Ditmar; two Geffens; Grand Prix de l’ImaginaireKurd Laßwitz PreisSeiun.  Website here.  [JH]
  • Born August 24, 1957 Stephen Fry, 62. He’s Gordon Deitrich in V for Vendetta, and he’s the Master of Laketown in The Hobbit franchise. His best role is as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows though he made an interesting narrator in the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and not to be overlooked is that he’s the narrator  for all seven of the Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings. (CE)
  • Born August 24, 1961 – H.R.H. Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian, 59.  A score of novels for us, many young-adult fantasy.  Medals of the Legion d’Honneur and of Art et Lettres.  An heiress to the ancient throne of Armenia (thus entitled “Her Royal Highness”).  [JH]
  • Born August 24, 1983 – Jessica Wick, 37.  Short stories; poems in Aoife’s Kiss, Chi*ZineIdeomancerMythic DeliriumStar*LineStrange HorizonsUncanny; 2008 Rhysling anthology.  Can be found now in Shimmerzine.  [JH]

(10) COMICS SECTION.

Editor’s Note: These links worked earlier today but now I can’t get the images to load at that site.

  • Half Full raises 2020 to mythical heights.
  • Bliss thinks there are some songs spacemen should let alone.

(11) RACE IN ASTERIX. Brigid Alverson and  Calvin Reid, in the Publishers Weekly story: “Race and Representation: Relaunching Asterix in America”, say that Papercutz is reprinting the Asterix comics in America, but is worried about what to do about the “blatant white supremacy” of Asterix scenes with Black characters.

…Acclaimed cartoonist Ronald Wimberly is an Eisner Award nominee, a Glyph Award-winner, was resident comics artist at the Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême, home of the annual French comics festival, and is a media and cultural critic. He is also the editor/founder of the broadsheet pop culture and art critical journal LAAB: An Art Magazine, where he has written about depictions of Blackness in comics. He described the Asterix comics as “blatantly white supremacist.”

“It’s clear that Uderzo has the chops to draw a myriad of things,” said Wimberly, who saw some of the original Asterix art while living in France. “It’s true that he has a limited bag of tricks for characters, but he takes the time to differentiate by type and by importance. He has three traits to differentiate slaves from other characters: black skin, full lips, and ‘oriental’ clothing and accessories.”

Wimberly continued, “Even a child knows that the Romans kept all types of slaves and promoted ethnicities of all types to high position, so it’s easy to see that the purpose of making all of the slaves black is a modern, white supremacist device.”

…[Papercutz president and publisher Terry Nantier] says that the publisher did agree to a few subtle changes—the enormous red lips have been recolored and subdued, up to a point. Asked about adding, for example, an explanatory essay to each book that provides context about the history of race and representation, Nantier said he continues to negotiate with Hachette. “But this is a classic, and we have to keep that in mind,” he says.

“The series has caricatures of absolutely everyone, including the Gauls,” Nantier says in its defense. “Everyone is skewered, every nationality, and this was the way 50-60 years ago that Black people were caricatured. There are issues of stereotypical representation which by today’s standards are a problem. We weren’t able to get much changed, but there were some changes.”

(12) ELLER’S THIRD BRADBURY BOOK. The University of Illinois Press is running a “Ray Bradbury Birthday Bundle Sale” with prices good til August 28. (See prices at the link.)

Happy 100th birthday, Ray Bradbury! The Press is excited to announce that today, on the Bradbury Centennial, we are releasing the final addition to Jonathan Eller’s Ray Bradbury trilogy, Bradbury Beyond Apollo. Drawing on numerous interviews with Bradbury and privileged access to personal papers and private collections, Eller, the director of the Bradbury Center, uses this final installment to examine the often-overlooked second half of Bradbury’s working life.

(13) WHAT DOES YOUR EMPLOYER REALLY MEAN? “Five Pocket-Sized Paperbacks and the Art of Sneaky Reading” — James Davis Nicoll initiates his Tor.com audience in the way to improve each shining hour:

… Passing the long hours reading was officially forbidden.  But…they can’t have meant it. The security uniform boasted a breast pocket just the right size and shape to conceal a mass market paperback.  There’s a hint right there.

Which books made their way into that pocket? I am glad you asked. Here are my top five.

(14) LOOKNG OVER THE SHELVES. Paul Weimer leads a Q&A with the author of Annihilation Aria in “6 Books with Michael Underwood” at Nerds of a Feather.

5) What’s one book, which you read as a child or a young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?

A series I’ve thought about recently that I think made a bigger impact on me than I’d realized is the Death’s Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (starts with Dragon Wing). The series presents a universe where the four elements each have their own world in a multiverse. I remember a strong travelogue/magical setting tourism angle in those books, and they made a big impression on me in terms of worldbuilding and the idea of several connected worlds, each with their own unique characteristics and cultures. I’ve riffed on that type of worldbuilding in Genrenauts as well as in different ways in some projects that haven’t yet reached publication.

(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “The Lord of the RIngs: The Return of the King Pitch Meeting” on ScreenRant, Ryan George warns us to be prepared for Frodo’s “armor that looks like a prom dress,” terrifying scenes of cherry tomato eating, and seven different climaxes a half hour after the film should have ended.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/24/20 The Word For Scroll Is Pixel

  1. (9) I loved Brightness Falls from the Air

    William Morgan Sheppard played a character on “Doctor Who” – an older version of the same character being played by his son, Mark Sheppard.

  2. I got out today, the first time in seventeen days I’ve been out of the apartment and the first time since May 7th when I injured myself that I’ve been anywhere other the hospital or the surgical practice, and visited Jenner in the flesh as opposed to our weekly Zoom conversations. It’s somewhat telling that I got excited about being at my Primary Care Provider, isn’t it?

    She got a gift of Lindt’s orange peel dark chocolate.

  3. Yay for Bob’s LeGuin Scroll Title

    @Cat yes indeed, glad you are getting out and about

    14) Oh hey, that’s me! 🙂

    Re: Borges, I first came across him because a couple of his stories were in an more traditional SF anthology, and I got interested, and started digging into his work

  4. @Andrew (not Werdna)
    I need to find my copy – somewhere in the Magic Boxes – so I can read it again.

  5. [9] Fry’s Making History is one of the scariest stopping-Hitler alternate histories I’ve ever read.

  6. (7) I remain unable to grasp why people get so upset over Pluto’s status. Unless you are an astronomer who wants to study Pluto and you want to apply for a grant that specifies that it only gives out money to study planets but not dwarf planets, the classification of Pluto has absolutely no effect on your life whatsoever. It’s bewildering.

  7. Raul Weimer say Cat yes indeed, glad you are getting out and about

    I’ll readily admit that I deeply miss my three or so hours walking per day. My longest walk now is from the bedroom to the kitchen, maybe twenty feet. Though I managed to lose more weight since being home despite no exercise and eating well.

    Now playing: an episode of Midsomer Murders.
    Now reading: Ailette de Bodard’s Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight

  8. I don’t know how Disney + can top the great 1983 movie, but I think it’s cool there’s a new version of THE RIGHT STUFF.

  9. I see JDA shared that the bad air from all the fires has driven his family from the Bay Area. I hope his kid is staying well — he had to do this before in 2018.

  10. I’m all for, either stay inside if that’s a safe option, or get the heck out of the area if “stay inside” isn’t a safe choice.

    Just don’t breathe the air near these fires. Everyone stay safe!

  11. 9) I was reading some of Stephen Fry’s Mythos today. It’s a retelling of the Greek myths, and very engaging. His treatment of the early gods (the Titans and earlier) made them reminiscent of Gaiman’s Endless, which made them extra fun to read about.

    also 9) If I ever knew why Alli withdrew Brightness Falls from the Air from competition, I’ve forgotten. But if I had to guess, I would say that since it was published during the period when her identity was being disclosed, she was afraid that extra-literary fact might influence voters one way or another.

  12. Bonnie McDaniel on August 24, 2020 at 8:56 pm said:

    (15) Gah, I hate those bloody Pitch Meeting eyes.

    OMG ME TOO. I actually did a brief google search to see if there was an add-on that could do something about it, blur it or replace it with, I dunno, baby farm animals, the way Make America Kittens Again replaces every image of Trump with kittens, but nothing immediately turned up.

  13. …on a more positive note:

    I adored Episode 1 of Lovecraft Country. I have not yet seen Ep 2 because my husband was out and I wasn’t going to watch it without him. Our plans are now to watch Ep 2 while waiting for Ep 3 to drop this Sunday night, but ARRRRRGH that’s a long time to wait.

  14. 7) Pluto was a planet when Kip Russell went there and I say it’s a planet now.

  15. 7) Pluto was a planet when Edmond Hamilton gave it the moons Charon, Styx and Cerberus in the 40s. It’s a planet now.

  16. (7) A planet must have sharp elbows.

    If Earth is moved to the same neighborhood as Mars, as has been suggested to avoid global warming, technically it will no longer be a planet, unless we throw Mars under the bus, which would be wrong.

    I also wonder about the International Astronomical Union. How many of the IAU’s members live in nations that have failed to clear the neighborhood of other nations? The organization should be renamed to something more accurate, such as the Dwarf Polity Astronomical Union.

  17. I never followed the IAU’s logic. We keep finding things like Pluto. If Pluto is a planet then we don’t know how many planets are on the solar system. I’m cool with that. Do more science.

  18. 9) Another fan of Brightness Falls From The Air – quite unlike her short stories in 10,000 Light Years, I thought.

  19. Making History was quite good – I heard about it in an article in Tvtropes of all things, and went right out to get it.

    Yeah, Pitch Meeting eyes are disturbing.

  20. Steven Fry was also in Blackadder Back and Forth, which is SF as it’s a time-travel story linking all the different Blackadder series. His best moment is as the punchline of a running gag about the length of Roman soldiers’ kilts.

  21. @ Nancy Sauer. It has enormous implications for astrology. All the work that went into adjusting astrology after Pluto was discovered- gone, just like that. 🙂

    11) So the publisher is more willing to make (minor) adjustments to the artwork than to add a preface explaining the context? Not what I would have expected.

  22. One bit in KB Wagers’ A PALE LIGHT IN THE BLACK is that Pluto eventually gets repromoted to planet status.

    As you all probably know, planets have been demoted before Pluto (Ceres and a couple of asteroids were briefly called planets). that’s the reed the IAU can stand on for doing it. But to do it 70 years after discovery felt Tysonian in a real way. (recall the first place to go for demoting Pluto before the IAU formalized it was the AMNH Planetarium under Tyson’s leadership

  23. Short story:

    “Time Reveals the Heart,” Derek Künsken, Clarkesworld March 2020

    A chrononaut confronts his fallibility and his most important relationship.

    This suggestion from Lace in the 2020 Recommended SF/F List is terrific. Künsken’s novel The House of Styx was recently serialized in Analog and I liked Part I so much I pre-ordered the book, which just arrived on my Kindle a few days ago.

    This story about a time traveler and his mother is one of those short stories that manages to reveal just enough and not too much, which is hard to do. I read so many stories in the newsstand magazines that entertain but leave me yearning for the story to go on.

    The House of Styx is about miners who float far above Venus on biological trawlers trying to eke out a living in an exceptionally harsh place. The climate is as much a star of the book as the protagonists.

  24. (10) Yay, gocomics finally fixed whatever glitch that was showing only white space where the comics should be.

  25. Pluto is a planet (and a dog). And as far as I’m concerned, all of the big long-necked dinosaurs are brontosauruses, not apatosauruses.

  26. Paul Weimer: As you all probably know, planets have been demoted before Pluto (Ceres and a couple of asteroids were briefly called planets). that’s the reed the IAU can stand on for doing it. But to do it 70 years after discovery felt Tysonian in a real way.

    I briefly dated an astronomer <mumblety-years> ago, and one night I convinced them to take me over to the observatory which had a lovely pre-1930 mosaic of the solar system, so that I could add a version of Pluto that I had crafted for that purpose. We used the solar system positioning software to figure out where it needed to be placed based on the location of the other planets. I know that the Pluto lasted for a little while before it was removed, astronomers being the same sort of quirky bunch as fen to whom a slightly rebellious act like that would appeal. (This was, of course, prior to Pluto’s demotion.)

  27. @bill–

    Pluto is a planet (and a dog). And as far as I’m concerned, all of the big long-necked dinosaurs are brontosauruses, not apatosauruses.

    Pluto is a Kuiper Belt object. I said so for years before the scientists officially said so. And yes, also a dog.

    On the brontosaurus, though, you are absolutely right. I never believed that apatosaurus nonsense. And, the good news is, science admitted the truth, about five years ago!

    The Brontosaurus Is Back. Decades after scientists decided that the famed dinosaur never actually existed, new research says the opposite

  28. And two of Pluto’s moons, Styx and Nix, sound like part of an old Variety headline.

  29. Tom Becker: (7) A planet must have sharp elbows.

    The first of the Three Laws of Cosmonautics? What are the other two?

  30. Well I’m still in two minds whether to vote for Pluto when the ballot for the Retro Solar System comes out. Sure it was popular in the pulp era but it’s not really a classic is it? And as a whole, the plant genre really has moved on to other shinier solar systems now. I’m not sure we should be handing out rockets just because a planet was famous once.

  31. Headless Pixel in Topless Scroll

    @Mike Glyer

    Tom Becker: (7) A planet must have sharp elbows.

    The first of the Three Laws of Cosmonautics? What are the other two?

    A planet must have sharp elbows.
    A planet must jab other planets with its elbows if so ordered.
    A planet mustn’t let other planets jab it with their own elbows, unless it is ordered to.

  32. Air quality in the Bay Area has been a concern, but I’m mostly relieved that my brother’s house in Ben Lomond is unburnt (as well as other friends’ houses in the area, although I know of one more distant acquaintance who lost hers). The last couple weeks have also been one of those exercises in how non-Californian friends perceive specifically Californian disaster modes. I mean: we don’t usually have tornados, hurricanes, or floods? So there’s that. Yes, fire season is bad, but it’s also familiar.

  33. Wolf, my surgeon, called this afternoon. The x-rays yesterday at Martins Point after seeing Jenner (which was a delight) proved the hardware isn’t anchored to the bone and therefore must come out. We’ll set a date for surgery and the short, two days or so, In-hospital stay when I see him next week. He repeated a phrase I’ve heard way too often, “You’re complicated” in explaining why I’d still likely need more surgery in three months or so.

  34. Cat: She got a gift of Lindt’s orange peel dark chocolate.
    I’ve had that, and can confirm that it’s a great gift for a chocolate lover.

  35. I read Mike Brown’s book about this, How I Killed Pluto and the argument for demoting it is, basically, that either there are eight known planets, or there are a few dozen and the list keeps growing, and the former is more convenient.

    I am not convinced, and would prefer to have seen Ceres re-added to the list of planets than Pluto removed, but the objects are still there, whatever the names.

    Pluto may not be a planet, but those flyby photos are wonderful. Ceres may only be a dwarf planet, but there’s evidence not just of water, but of recent water. Recent by geological standards, that is, but older than our species.

  36. Soon Lee says to me Dang it, I’m sorry it wasn’t good news.

    Well it’s not the worse news he could have called with which would been a total knee rebuild with plates and screws. (He discussed that scenario but rejected it for now.) It’ll be a short stay and I’ll be home again. Not that bad an proposed outcome for the third surgery since May.

    Now playing: Blowzabella’s “The Grenoble Procession Dance”

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