Pixel Scroll 9/2/18 Elvish Has Left The Building

(1) DECOPUNK CITATION. Language Log quotes Cat Valente today in “Decopunk and other quasicompositional compounds”.

Complex lexical items generally have analogical historico-semantic accretions similar to those in the X-punk domain. This includes phrases like red tide, solar energy, or historical fiction,  as well as compounds like jumpsuitski lift, or break room. In the other direction, proper names are far from being semantically arbitrary in practice — to quote from a Decopunk work, Catherynne Valente’s Radiance

(2) THE MATTER OF ENGLAND. One people, divided by a common tongue…


(3) PETER CAPALDI, VENTRILOQUIST. This caught my eye –

(4) AND THEN, AT DRAGON CON. Remember what they said about “Inconceivable”?

(5) THE MEANING OF IT ALL. Bow Tie Writer asked an array of fans at Worldcon 76 to answer his question. I recognized Judy Bemis, Kevin Standlee, and Michelle Pincus among them.

Worldcon 2018 was held in San Jose August 15th – 20th. I went around and I asked people one simple question: What does Worldcon mean to you. This video is my homage to fandom, to internet friends, and to all the good people who come together to celebrate the things we love.


(6) RSR’S WORLDCON REPORT. At Rocket Stack Rank, Greg Hullender has an interesting set of “WorldCon 76 Takeaways” (including coverage of the Filer meetups).

…The audience for this panel had lots of people with many decades of experience with fanzines, so we had a lively but always cordial discussion. I was pleased to learn that even the folks who’d done fanzines back in the days of mimeograph machines all seemed to agree that online publications were definitely the future, particularly in terms of their ability to immediately involve fans via comments that don’t need to wait a month or more for publication. They worried that blogs in particular lack some of the feel of a fanzine, which has an arrangement of related stories. (At RSR, we’ll think about how a content-management system might capture that for an online publication.)

I was very pleased when someone in the audience told me that Rocket Stack Rank fit into a long tradition of “Review Fanzines,” of which Tangent is another surviving example. That made me feel a lot less like an impostor….

(7) TRUESDALE’S WORLDCON 76 PHOTO GALLERY. Dave Truesdale’s Worldcon 76 report for Tangent, “Photos from Worldcon 76, the 76th World Science Fiction Convention”, begins with coverage of Saturday’s alt-right demonstration, and ends by explaining what a raw deal he got when his 2016 Worldcon membership was revoked. In between there are a quite a few fine author photos. Here are the captions from one set —

Below Left: Lezli Robyn, helping out at the Galaxy’s Edge dealer’s table. Below Right: Galaxy’s Edge Publisher Shahid Mahmud. Both Lezli and Shahid are two of the most delightful people I’ve met in a long time. Shahid’s enthusiasm and love of SF is infectious. We talked for quite some time about this and that, and his intelligence and sense of humor shone through everything. I can’t imagine anyone not liking Shahid once they’ve met him.

(8) PROMETHEUS SPEECH. The Libertarian Futurist Society presented the Prometheus Awards at Worldcon 76. The author of the Prometheus Award-winning novel, Travis Corcoran, was unable to attend, so his acceptance speech for Powers of the Earth was read by Chris Hibbert. Its message is conveyed with classic libertarian subtlety.

…Since the first Worldcon in 1939 science fiction has been a libertarian territory under attack from authoritarians. Futurian Donald Wollheim was a communist, and argued that all of science fiction “should actively work for the realization of the . . . world-state as the only . . . justification for their activities”.

Wollheim failed with his takeover in 1939—he was physically removed from Worldcon—but he started a Gramscian long march through the institutions, and it worked. In the current year conventions, editors, and publishing houses are all cordy-cepted. The sociopaths have pushed the geeks out and have taken over the cultural territory.

“You made this? <pause> I made this.”

When the state tries to take your home, they come with guns, and you have to fight them with guns, if at all.

When a subculture tries to take your home, they come with snark and shame and entryism . . . and you fight them by making better art….

(9) DIRT FARMING. James Davis Nicoll has a long fannish exploration of “Science Fiction’s Trouble with Terraforming” at Tor.com.

Terraforming is, of course, the hypothesized art of converting an uninhabitable rock into a habitable world. Jack Williamson coined the term in his Seetee-related short story, “Collision Orbit”, published under the pen name Will Stewart in the July, 1942 issue of Astounding Magazine. While Williamson invokes non-existent super-science in order to make the task seem doable, he probably felt confident that terraforming would someday make sense. In the short run, we have seen humans shaping the Earth. In the long run—well, Earth was once an anoxic wasteland. Eons of life shaped it into a habitable planet. Williamson suspected that humans could imitate that process elsewhere…and make it happen in centuries rather than eons. Perhaps in even less time!

(10) AUGUSTULUS: With the help of a belated July issue, Jason has compiled a diminutive list of notable reading in Summation: August at Featured Futures:

This month has been doubly strange. Despite reading 42 stories of about 201K words from the August magazines, I’m in the unprecedented and unpleasant position of only being able to note one story (and that’s not even fully recommended). Counting a late July story and things for a couple of Tangent reviews, I read 59 stories of about 324K words this month and can at least add two recs and another honorable mention, all from the July/August Black Static, but only one of those is even speculative with the other two being straight horror.

(11) GIDDINGS OBIT. Sff writer and critic Joseph “Joe” Giddings passed away from ALS at the age of 45 on August 16. He was born April 6, 1973. His criticism appeared in Bull Spec and Tangent Online (among others). His fiction appeared in Mystic Signals and Dark Stars (more information in his entry at Internet Science Fiction Database.) Giddings blogged at “The Clockwork Pen”.

Joseph Giddings


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge. Who looked at the wrong ISFDB page today — but waste not, want not!]

  • Died September 2, 1973. J.R.R. Tolkien. It’d be extremely silly of me to list what he’s done given what the group knows, so instead I’ll ask instead what’s your favourite work by him. Mine’s still The Hobbit, a book I delight in re-reading in the Autumn as I think of him as being of that season.
  • Died September 2, 2000 – Curt Siodmak. He is known for his work in the horror and science fiction film genres, with such films as The Wolf Man and Donovan’s Brain with the latter being adapted from his novel of the same name. Siodmak is credited with creating the legend that only silver can kill a werewolf. He also wrote the screenplays for include Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, I Walked With a Zombie and The Beast With Five Fingers.
  • Died September 2, 2013 – Frederik Pohl. Obviously needs no introduction here. His first published was a 1937 poem “Elegy to a Dead Satellite: Luna”. Noted work include the Heechee series whose first novel, Gateway, was the winner of the Campbell Memorial, Hugo, Locus SF, and Nebula Awards, Man Plus , and The Space Merchants with Cyril M. Kornbluth. I won’t say that any of the short story collections thrill me but Platinum Pohl is a decent collection. 


(14) HOGWARTS EXPRESS. More “Back to Hogwarts” hype: “Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law were at Kings Cross for the Hogwarts Express”.

As every good Harry Potter fan knows, the Hogwarts Express departs from Kings Cross station, London, platform nine and three-quarters at 11.30am on September 1. This year Professor Dumbledore and Newt Scamander themselves, aka Hollywood stars Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne, were there to kick off the new year.

(15) AND WHILE WE’RE HOGWARTING. Gwynne Watkins, in the Yahoo! Entertainment story “A ‘Harry Potter’ neophyte watches all 8 movies for the first time: Here’s what happened”  says that “my cred as a film nerd and a nerd nerd has been threatened by a shameful omission”– she had never seen a Harry Potter movie (not literally – she’d seen the first one in its initial theatrical release.)  So she decided to watch them all over a 24-hour binge. Some notes are better than others. Is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix really about the problems of standardized testing? On the other hand, she had an interesting response to this 20-years-after rewatch of the very first movie —

What surprised me most on my second viewing of Sorcerer’s Stone was how much I loved Emma Watson’s Hermione. The first time around, I remember thinking that her show-offish, know-it-all nature was borderline unbearable. Now I love how unapologetic she is about her intelligence, how confidently she wields it in a room full of boys. (Seriously, where are the Hogwarts girls? Hermione needs some female friends!) Maybe as a girl who grew up downplaying her intelligence, Hermione made me uncomfortable in some primal, fourth-grade part of my subconscious. If that’s true, it only makes me more grateful that my daughter will grow up in a post-Hermione world.

(16) THE HORROR. From Agouti (@bitterkarella) comes news of the horror genre’s Midnight Society of writers. Dean Koontz, HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Edward Lee, Stephen King, and Edgar Allen Poe trade inspirations for their next novels. The thread starts here.

(17) NED KELLY AWARDS. My internet wanderings brought me the results of the Australian Crime Writers Association’s 2018 Ned Kelly Awards, and far be it from me to turn down literary award news…

2018 Ned Kelly Awards

Best Crime

  • Crossing the Lines by Sulari Gentill

Best First Crime

  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Best True Crime

  • Unmaking A Murder: The Mysterious Death of Anna Jane Cheney by Graham Archer

(18) NGAIO MARSH. Likewise, I learned the 2018 Ngaio Marsh Awards for the “very best in Kiwi Crime” were recently presented in New Zealand.

Best Crime Novel

  • Marlborough Man by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)

Best First Novel

  • All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane (Rosa Mira Books)

(19) RENAME THAT TUNE. The IAU will probably decide that Hubble needs to share credit – The Conversation has the story: “Game-changing resolution: whose name on the laws of physics for an expanding universe?”

Astronomers are engaged in a lively debate over plans to rename one of the laws of physics.

It emerged overnight at the 30th Meeting of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), in Vienna, where members of the general assembly considered a resolution on amending the name of the Hubble Law to the Hubble-Lemaître Law.

The resolution aims to credit the work of the Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître and his contribution – along with the American astronomer Edwin Hubble – to our understanding of the expansion of the universe.

While most (but not all) members at the meeting were in favour of the resolution, a decision allowed all members of the International Astronomical Union a chance to vote. Subsequently, voting was downgraded to a straw vote and the resolution will formally be voted on by an electronic vote at a later date.

(20) BEWARE BENNU. The NASA mission to visit and sample Bennu — a “potentially hazardous asteroid” — has entered a new phase (“NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Begins Asteroid Operations Campaign”). The spacecraft has begun approach operations:

After an almost two-year journey, NASA’s asteroid sampling spacecraft, OSIRIS-REx, caught its first glimpse of asteroid Bennu last week and began the final approach toward its target. Kicking off the mission’s asteroid operations campaign on Aug. 17, the spacecraft’s PolyCam camera obtained the image from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km).

…The spacecraft has traveled approximately 1.1 billion miles (1.8 billion km) since its Sept. 8, 2016, launch and is scheduled to arrive at Bennu on Dec. 3.

…During the mission’s approach phase, OSIRIS-REx will:

  • regularly observe the area around the asteroid to search for dust plumes and natural satellites, and study Bennu’s light and spectral properties;
  • execute a series of four asteroid approach maneuvers, beginning on Oct. 1, slowing the spacecraft to match Bennu’s orbit around the Sun;
  • jettison the protective cover of the spacecraft’s sampling arm in mid-October and subsequently extend and image the arm for the first time in flight; and
  • use OCAMS to reveal the asteroid’s overall shape in late-October and begin detecting Bennu’s surface features in mid-November.

Ultimately, the craft will map the asteroid, then perform a sampling “touch-and-go” maneuver. The sample will be dropped off at Earth in a Sample Return Capsule in September 2023. OSIRIS-REx itself will end up in a solar orbit.

(21) LOX WARNING. It used to be a thing — and may still be in some fannish circles — to whip up fresh ice cream at room parties using liquid nitrogen. The US Food and Drug administration has issued a safety alert about the danger of drinks and food prepared with LN2 at the point of sale (CNN: “FDA issues warning about liquid nitrogen on food”):

“The FDA has become aware of severe — and in some cases, life-threatening — injuries, such as damage to skin and internal organs caused by liquid nitrogen still present in the food or drink,” the FDA said in issuing its safety alert. “Injuries have occurred from handling or eating products prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption, even after the liquid nitrogen has fully evaporated due to the extremely low temperature of the food.”

In its warning, the FDA said inhaling the vapor “released by a food or drink prepared by adding liquid nitrogen immediately before consumption may also cause breathing difficulty, especially among individuals with asthma.”

…The FDA did not say how many reports of injuries it has received or provide details on life-threatening cases.

(22) MOON WALKER. The BBC’s Nicholas Barber gives “Five Stars for First Man”

The life story of Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, is so full of astounding courage, tragedy and triumph that it is just begging for an old-school Hollywood biopic, with all the inspiring speeches, swelling orchestras and grand themes that the genre entails. First Man is not that biopic.

Directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land) and scripted by Josh Singer (Spotlight), the film is an understated, economical drama which, like a rocket that has to escape from the Earth’s gravity, jettisons absolutely everything it doesn’t need. Dialogue is kept to a minimum. Exposition is edited out. Extraneous characters are stripped away to the point that you see almost nothing of Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll), who moonwalked with Armstrong, and even less of Mike Collins (Lukas Haas), who piloted the orbiting craft. You don’t hear about Armstrong’s Korean War heroics, for that matter, and the space-race politics that were behind Nasa’s Apollo programme remain in the background. And yet, as restrained as First Man is, this riveting, exhaustively researched and utterly believable film manages to shake you, take your breath away and even pull a few tears from your eyes.

(23) SCREEN PLAY. “Movie Madness: Why Chinese cinemas are empty but full”. Speculators think buying seats (to fake up hits, to push stock prices) is cheaper than making good movies.

For a country which will soon assume the mantle of the world’s largest cinema audience, China comes out with a surprising number of big budget B-grade flops.

Some blame this on censorship, others on a lack of creativity but there are also those who see a more sinister force at work, which has nothing to do with film-making.

It also has nothing to do with selling tickets: at least not real ones.

Some investors are apparently financially backing movies with the sole goal of boosting their stock price that can shift on the perception of a movie’s performance, irrespective of its true popularity.

(24) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “The Bridge Tongues” on YouTube is a look back at our times from the 25th century, where no one argues with each other and everyone lives in their own digital bubble.

[Thanks to JJ, Mark Hepworth, John King Tarpinian, Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Gregory Benford, Martin Morse Wooster, Bill Burns, Dann, James Davis Nicoll, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

107 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/2/18 Elvish Has Left The Building

  1. There was a short-lived TV series in the late Seventies titled Salvage 1, featuring James Garner as a junkyard owner with his own personal space program. I’m finding this book’s concept even less plausible.

  2. (11) Thanks for mentioning Joe. He wrote many excellent reviews and columns for me and eventually served as reviews editor at Tangent. Does anyone know how to make sure he is included in next year’s Hugo Awards ceremony “In Memoriam” list?

  3. @ Cora

    I guess because Earth is a Socialist hellhole or something, rusty ships is all they can get.

    Well, yes. If future Earth is full of educated people who have no student debt and who make a living wage and receive universal healthcare, you can see why real men would be so desperate to escape such a hellhole that they’d take flight in rusty old sea-going vessels.

    I withdraw my questions. I was overlooking the desperate need to flee immediately, regardless of the condition of the transport vehicle, from a planet so regulated that everyone has clean air and water!

  4. 8) yeah, I have the feeling this would be a book I would bounce off of, given how much I did not like L Neil Smith’s PALLAS. Pass

  5. Patrick Morris Miller:

    There was a short-lived TV series in the late Seventies titled Salvage 1, featuring James Garner as a junkyard owner with his own personal space program. I’m finding this book’s concept even less plausible.

    Uh, it was Andy Griffith. Though it would have improved by adding Garner…
    As to the book from #8 – shudder. Maybe I’ll read the sample, but I suspect I’d want even that time back….

  6. Lakedog: What’s the over under on how long until the Prometheus award is kicked out of Worldcon?

    Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Every year the Libertarians ask for a programming room to give out their awards, and every year the Worldcon programming staff assigns them a room on the schedule to do so, and whoever’s interested in the awards shows up at the room at the appointed time. If the Libertarians want to go elsewhere, I’m sure they’re welcome to do so. But nobody is going to “kick” the Prometheus Award out of Worldcon. Stop being a Drama Queen. 🙄

  7. @BravoLimaPoppa3/Patrick Morris Miller:

    I think I watched every episode of Salvage I. ‘Twas the 70s. I was watching Galactica 1980, too.

  8. @David Shallcross

    That reminds me of the first episode of Macross(Robotech sort of). The engines built with only partially understood alien tech end up ripping themselves free and heading straight up leaving the ship sitting there.

  9. Lis Carey: Unfortunately I had to deprive Lakedog of his fun — here, anyway — after his last two (unposted) comments.

  10. @Andrew: I knew the reference (I was given it as a line long before the movie came out), but I hadn’t connected it with Inigo’s response. Thanks!

    I’ve never heard of Salvage 1, but somehow I remember the space-going garbage scow at the center of Quark; I think I watched a fragment of one episode, featuring Richard Benjamin saying the obvious as he watches the planet Polumbus disappear in his rear-view screen.

  11. Salvage 1 was a lot of fun, but it was important not to try to take it even a little bit seriously. They exhausted the possibilities of the premise fairly quickly.

    Quark sustained itself longer as a watchable series by parodying other sf, but that, too, reached its limit, and I don’t think its ratings were very good.

  12. Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, I’ll bring it to the attention of Steven Silver, who has in years past compiled the Worldcon “In Memorium” list. I don’t know if he’s doing the “In Memorium” for Dublin, but even if he isn’t he’ll probably know who is.

  13. (8)
    so much depends

    a rusty cargo

    rigged with anti

    crammed with white

  14. Chip H.: Regarding “Richard Benjamin saying the obvious as he watches the planet Polumbus disappear in his rear-view screen,” it took me a second but I figured it out, although, being a reference to what’s now a semi-obscure 49-year-old(!) movie, some folks here may be a little too young to pick it up.

    All I remember about the series (besides Benjamin) is crew member Ficus the Vegeton.

  15. Sneak peak of the Prometheus winner (*):


    “Hello, my manly male friend Brandon, Butch and Buck: I just invented an Anti-grav device. We can stuck it on anything we like and we are like -UMPF! – off this socialist hellhole of this planet without a rocket!”
    “Thats a good idea, Striker! Since everything is regulated nowadays and everyone has a good, equal lifestyle, we cant get super-rich and look down on other people anymore. In space no one hears you getting rich by making your hands dirty. We can dig into the moon and get all the precious moon ore for ourself, reinstall capitalism and sell it to those happy bastards here! Muhahaha. Especially now that moon ore is the secret ingredient for the anti-grav that you invented and they would also want to that for ´betterment of the human race´or such a socialist agenda. Itll give us leverage. Maybe we could reinstall private health care. An de-privatize street lights or politics”
    “That is all nice and good, but what do we attach the antigrav to? A supercontainer? An airtight house? Can you built a space capsula, since you are such a tech-genius, Stryker?”
    “I could, but Nah, I always wanted to be a pirate!”
    “That is such a good idea! We attach it to a real ship! A brig if possible!”
    “But Brandon, ships are ristricted! You can not buy a ship without filling in a form for the shipyards union! How do we get one?”
    “Well, my dad, who fought in the war, had a shipyard, were he worked with his hands to repair ships and he kept the best for himself. They may be a bit rusty by now, but should serve us well in space. All we have to do is fill them with the mining equipment, Butch won as first price in the “Americas top ninja”-competition and tell the wifes good-bye and off to the moon it is!”

    Chapter 1: Singing the shanty.

    (*) I havent read the book, this is just a dumb joke.

  16. (2) I can read the Middle English, and even the Old English, but that Lascaux cave dialect defeated me. Obviously, I’m excessively avant-garde.

    @Lee: Well done! Yes, you’re right. That’s exactly how she would have taken care of those responsibilities. Thoughtfully argued, bravo.

    @JJ: One thing that stands out about Truesdale’s victim narrative is that he seriously expected Worldcon 76 (put on by San Francisco Science Fiction Conventions, Inc.) to comp him on Worldcon 76 membership just because he asserted that, in his personal opinion, he’d been somehow done wrong by MidAmericon II (put on by Mid American Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions, Inc.). It’s as if he’s unfamiliar with the concept of individual responsibility, and expected to get something for nothing from SFSFC. Can you spell ‘TANSTAAFL’, Dave?

    Or, to put it another way, he lazily assumed that all Worldcons are morally responsible for all other Worldcons. Because we all look the same, I guess?

    Anyway, the bogs victim-narrative thing from the Usual Suspects has not only gotten old and completely undignified, but also logic-challenged.

  17. Seagoing vessels are not spaceships and they cannot easily be transformed into spaceships.

    Are you telling me Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato might not be 100% scientifically accurate?

  18. @ Lee:

    I am not sure what “cordy-cepted” actually means, but context implies it may have something to do with Cordyceps, a family of fungi that is a related family to that of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (the “ant zombie fungus”). Which is kinda cool, in a weird way, since I could’ve sworn I thought that the zombie ant fungus was a cordyceps, not an ophiocordyceps, which is seems to be. So, the more you learn…

  19. As for “rusty ships”, I guess having oxygen bound into your vessel might allow you to bring more oxygen along, without having to deal with all that messy gas phase. On the other hand, oxygen bound in solid form tends to be… non-trivial to get to a breathing state (and I imagine it’d be worse if it’s pure oxygen just frozen…).

    Ugh, now I am pondering frozen oxygen and going “LOX is bad enough” (not, quite, as bad as liquid ozone, though).

  20. @Chip: I think I watched all of “Quark” too (“Now we wait for the bee”). There was little enough SF on TV back in the day that I could easily keep up with all of it.

  21. @Bonnie McDaniel: Sheesh, don’t you know you can find everything on YouTube nowadays? I said I’d never heard of it, not that it was unfindable. It would take more imagination than I have left to think there were two genre TV series about (literal) garbage and go searching for the other one.

  22. Cassy B. on September 3, 2018 at 7:35 pm said:

    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, I’ll bring it to the attention of Steven Silver, who has in years past compiled the Worldcon “In Memorium” list. I don’t know if he’s doing the “In Memorium” for Dublin, but even if he isn’t he’ll probably know who is.

    My understanding is that Silver is collecting names and dates for the In Memorium for Dublin in 2019. I found some contact information for him on this page.

    Dublin may have something up on their website in time, as San Jose did.

    ETA: I also see from the Committee page on their website, that Silver is on the Dublin in 2019 Publications team so he may have an @dublin2019.com address as well.

  23. @Ingvar et al. (re: “cordy-cepted”):

    From context, I’m going to assume that the term is used to deride governments as parasitic entities that control their populations and march them to their doom, in the same way those fungi turn their target insects into zombies and march them to optimal sporing grounds. Sounds plausible from the libertarian perspective and the tone of the passage, and I say that as a former libertarian. (I wised up.)

  24. Ultragotha, I serve on a convention committee with Steven; I have his email address. But it’s good that you’re putting out other ways to contact him, as, honestly, I don’t really want to be the official relayer-of-fannish-obits!

  25. @Various, it’s “in memoriam”, not “in memorium”. My Latin is extremely rusty, but I remember that one. (I let a couple instances go by, but the mistake seemed to be spreading. My inner pedant got the better of me.)

  26. @ Rev. Bob:

    You are a more generous person than I, as I was thinking that what had “infested” people was humanity, generosity and general well-wishing to other sapient entities (as opposed to racism, sexism, and other toxic -isms).

  27. Lenore Jones, thank you for the correction. They stopped offering Latin in my high school the year before I attended. I would honestly rather have learned Latin than French.

  28. @Ingvar: “You are a more generous person than I, as I was thinking that what had “infested” people was humanity, generosity and general well-wishing to other sapient entities (as opposed to racism, sexism, and other toxic -isms).”

    The libertarian mindset is that The State Always Gets In the Way, whatever the problem is, and that circumventing it is the first step of any real solution. By contrast, people who want to use government as the solution are either deluded or power-hungry, and in either case must be dismissed as not having people’s best interests in mind.

    Curiously, they offer no explanation for the innumerable instances where unregulated corporations have preyed upon customers to make a quick buck, rather than (as the libertarian model predicts) taking a long view of the profit motive and voluntarily holding themselves accountable, as one cannot sell anything to a corpse. Remember, these are people who will tell you that it makes no sense for companies to pollute, because their owners live on the same planet and drink the same water… which is true as far as it goes, yet companies still pollute in defiance of that fact. It’s as if humans don’t uniformly take the long view and act logically and responsibility in all situations. Imagine that.

    Like I said, I used to be a member of the cult. I remember the Reasoning, which is a joke that probably only I will get.

  29. semi-obscure 49-year-old(!) movie

    It was on one of the classic movie channels just a week or so ago. We watched it in a college lit class in the 80s, too; lit teachers might still be doing that.

  30. Rev. Bob on September 4, 2018 at 9:20 am said:

    Curiously, they offer no explanation for the innumerable instances

    I thought the explanation was always “they weren’t de-regulated enough

  31. @ Rev Bob:

    To be quite candid, since I feel cranky today, your description above (accurate in all my own tedious encounters with libertarians over the years) is why, whenever someone says to me, “I’m a libertarian” (and libertarians always feel compelled to share that info, unrequested, with others—often within 20 minutes of meeting them for the first time), what I actually hear is, “I’m naive, tunnel-visioned, and self-absorbed beyond the capacity of a rational adult to take me seriously.”

  32. @ Ingvar:

    context implies it may have something to do with Cordyceps, a family of fungi that is a related family to that of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis (the “ant zombie fungus”).



    I think…..

    No, I still think “cordy-cepted” sounds more like Cordelia from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is intercepting something.

  33. Laura Resnick: …always feel compelled to share that info, unrequested, with others…

    This reminds me of a conversation I had once, where I told someone I was surprised by how many friends I had whose astrological sign is Leo. They answered, “That’s because Leos always want you to know when their birthdays are.”

  34. LOL!
    A good characterization..
    (And one way in which I don’t fit the Leo mold. I keep my birthday private. If personal friends wish me happy birthday on social media, I delete immediately and explain privately. I’m not comfortable with this internet-era thing of 5000 total strangers wishing each other happy birthday year round.)

  35. @Scott Frazer: “I thought the explanation was always “they weren’t de-regulated enough””

    In that circumstance, I love to point out that nothing prevents corporations from voluntarily doing the right thing. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, but no law prevents a company from saying that they refuse to pay less than $10, or $15, or even $30. Every U.S. corporation is completely free to decree that its workers will get four weeks of paid vacation per year, full medical insurance on the company’s dime, and so forth. Walmart’s board could decide at their next meeting to ensure that none of their full-time workers would ever make so little that they qualify for food stamps. Amazon could decree that none of its officers would be compensated more than a hundred times the entry-level pay rate. The only thing companies are forbidden to do is go below what have been established as minimum standards, and yet they constantly get caught doing exactly that. The laws are how we punish them for doing so.

    In other words, if companies didn’t keep trying to screw us over, we wouldn’t need to regulate them. But they do, because they do not exist to benefit their workers. They exist to enrich their owners, and they do that all too well.

    And yet, the libertarian would have us believe that if the regulations evaporated, corporate behavior would improve. Hogwash. The theory is contradicted by centuries of history.

  36. @Rev. Bob
    Or, as my mother explained it, if you set a legal minimum standard, that’s what they’ll try taking as the maximum. (My mother had Opinions.)

  37. @Casey B, you’re welcome, and I’m sorry about your high school. French is useful, too, but even though I’ve forgotten a lot of the Latin grammar, I’m still glad I took it. I love languages.

  38. Peer: Sneak peak of the Prometheus winner (*)


    (eagerly awaits release of Chapter 1)

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