It’s a party. It’s a dog party! But don’t drink the punch. That’s the advice in today’s Scroll.
(1) Well, that was brutal. HitchBOT the hitchhiking robot met its fate in Philadelphia.
— Lauren O'Neil (@laurenonizzle) August 2, 2015
The now-destroyed robot hails from Port Credit, Ontario. It completed a successful 26-day journey in 2014 in which it “traveled over 10,000 km from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia.” Then in early 2015, hitchBOT moved onto a 10-day German adventure, followed by a three-week jaunt in the Netherlands.
Three countries. Zero incidents. But once hitchBOT made it stateside, it didn’t even make it past the Mason-Dixon line before getting the wiring kicked out of him.
Buzzfeed linked to a vlog recorded in Philly made during hitchBOT’s final hours.
This video from YouTubers BFvsGF shows them discovering hitchBOT Friday night. The researchers said the vloggers are the last known people to have seen hitchBOT.
(2) Nichelle Nichols may wind up the Star Trek cast member who came closest to reaching outer space, all despite her recent health setbacks.
The actress who played Lt Uhura in Star Trek is to blast off on a mission for US space agency NASA aged 82 – and three months after suffering a stroke.
While the telescope – housed in a specially converted Boeing 747 – doesn’t quite go to the final frontier, it makes it as high as the stratosphere, around 50,000 above the Earth.
(3) Numerous features of Pluto and Charon are being given names from science fiction and fantasy. Kowal Crater on Pluto, just north of the right side of the heart, is not named for Mary Robinette Kowal (which would have been cool), but rather Charles T. Kowal, who discovered a new class of object in the solar system (centaur asteroids, which cross the orbits of major planets).
Showalter told BuzzFeed Charon is the first solar system body to have features named after geography and characters from both Star Wars and Star Trek. Darth Vader got a dark rimmed crater, while Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker both got lighter-rimmed craters.
Doctor Who is well-represented. Gallifrey, the home planet of the Time Lords in Doctor Who, is intersected, fittingly, by a chasm named Tardis, the Doctor’s time machine and space ship.
On the Star Trek side of things, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Lt. Uhura, Lt. Sulu, and the Vulcans all get shout-outs in Charon.
“We felt strongly as a mission team that we stood on the shoulders of giants,” Alan Stern, the principal investigator of the New Horizons mission, told BuzzFeed Science, and that they needed to “honor the missions and the engineers and scientists who figured out how to do space exploration, because we could have never pulled off New Horizons without their experience.”
(4) Some of you should plan on going to Pluto – in person! That’s Brad Torgersen’s recruiting pitch on Mad Genius Club today.
Okay, kids, wake the hell up. I know you’ve been sitting in those desks since zero-four-hundred, wondering what the hell is going on, but never forget that you volunteered to be here. Nobody is making you do this. If you want to, you can go directly out that door in the back of the room, call your mommy or your daddy to come pick you up, then go home to your comfy little beds . . . No?
Right. Good. Now, pay attention. This is your official inprocessing brief.
A few days ago, the New Horizons probe did a close fly-by of the (dwarf) planet Pluto. Did you see the news? The pictures? I know, Pluto kinda gets lost in the shuffle — what with all the politicized, hyperbolic, narrative-laden bulls*** they cram into your brains all day. If it’s not the snooze news, it’s social media — where the way you change the world is by clicking your mouse, then giving yourself a hug. Because you care so much. No, don’t bother denying it. You’re children of your era, I know that’s how the game works. Virtue-signaling. Slacktivism. Never get your hands dirty.
Well, be prepared to get some soil under your nails, boys and girls. Because Pluto is where we’re ultimately headed. And beyond. Not with robots. But with human beings.
(5) The Radchaai do not believe in coincidences, and neither does Lou Antonelli.
I'm surprised I didn't see anyone comment on the fact that the day the voting ended for the Hugo awards was also a Blue Moon.
— Lou Antonelli (@LouAntonelli) August 2, 2015
(6) Inside Out – How It Should Have Ended.
(7) Hugo voting has closed and here is John Scalzi’s valedictory to the Puppy movment.
It does seem to me that the all the Puppy bullshit ran down and out of steam there at the end; at a certain point there was nothing left to say, there was just the voting, and you voted or didn’t. The last bit of nonsense I saw from the Puppy environs was some of their nominees rage-quitting the Hugos and deciding to “No Award” themselves, and at least one of them saying that was the plan all along, because apparently when you have no idea what you’re doing, every outcome, no matter what it is, is a victory condition. At which point you just roll your eyes, pity the sad and meaningless sort of existence where being the turd in the punch bowl is a legitimate life goal for a presumably adult human, and move on.
Doesn’t “Floating in the punchbowl” scan about the same as “rolling on the river”? I won’t take that idea any farther…
[Thanks to Steven H Silver and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]