Pixel Scroll 9/8 Perfidious Etceteras

(1) This day in history:

…in 1966, “Star Trek” premiered on NBC-TV.

Which makes it the perfect day to release Captain Kirk’s autobiography:

“The Autobiography of James T. Kirk – The Story of Starfleet’s Greatest Captain,” is to be published by Titan Books on Tuesday – 49 years to the day after “Star Trek” premiered on television in 1966.

It comes with illustrations, including Kirk’s Starfleet Academy class graduation photo and an unsent letter he penned to his son.

Fan fiction plays a popular role in the “Star Trek” universe and interest has been building since actor William Shatner, the best-known embodiment of Kirk, appeared at July’s Comic-Con International with Goodman and read excerpts from the book. A Shatner-signed copy of the book can be found on the Internet selling for $150.00.

According to the autobiography, Kirk passed over the Vulcan Mr. Spock to be his first officer of the starship Enterprise; 20th century social worker Edith Keeler, not the mother of his son, was the great love of his life; and Kirk may have another son on a distant planet – who makes what suspiciously looks like “Star Trek” movies.

(2) Now there’s an official touchscreen that can turn your Raspberry Pi into a tablet.

 Two years in the making, an official touchscreen for the tiny board has gone on sale.

The diminutive Raspberry Pi – a computer on a board the size of a credit card – has been wildly successful. It was created with the aim of encouraging children to experiment with building their own devices and while the makers thought they might sell 1,000 they have now sold well over five million.

(3)  The roads must roll! Chris Mills on Gizmodo says “Replacing Subway Lines With High-Speed Moving Sidewalks Sounds Terrifying”.

London has the oldest subway system in the world: great for tourism, but sometimes not-so-great for commuters. There’s all sorts of sensible plans to upgrade the city’s public transport, but here’s one particularly outside-the-box solution: a 15mph moving sidewalk, looping 17 miles under London. What could go wrong!

(4) Erin Underwood has a fine interview with Rosarium Publisher Bill Campbell at Amazing Stories.

Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell

(ASM): What upcoming book or project are you are especially excited about? Why that book/project? (Bill, this can be a Rosarium book or something else.)

(BC): All of our projects are really near and dear to my heart, and so are our authors and artists. At this level, you really get to know the people you work with, and you really find yourself rooting for their success and work yourself to the bone to try to help them reach it.

I think the one project, though, that’s nearest and dearest to my heart is Stories for Chip: A Tribute to Samuel R. Delany that I co-edited with Nisi Shawl. I don’t know if I’d have ever written science fiction if it weren’t for Chip, and I can’t help thinking how hard it must’ve been for him to be alone in the field for as long as he was. He had to carry a mighty large load for a lot of people and did it with such grace and intelligence. I told Daniel Jose Older that there are, perhaps, five people on this planet who intimidate me. Delany’s one of them. I just wanted to thank him. It took over two years to do it properly, and, thanks to Nisi and the authors involved, it turned out a lot better than I could’ve possibly hoped.

(5) Tom Knighton’s blog has a new header with a photo of the author, which really brightens the place up.

(6) Mark Pampanin of SCPR has dug a little deeper into how gay rights got its start in science fiction.

But it’s true – gay and lesbian writers and activists who wanted to connect with others in the LGBT community in the 1940s could only do so with pseudonyms and double entendre. And they were able to do it with the help of another burgeoning movement with roots in Los Angeles – science fiction….

Kepner and Ben, as Jyke and Tigrina, were both devoted members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, which met weekly in the basement of the Prince Rupert Arms near downtown Los Angeles to imagine a future of technological marvels and social equality.

The society still exists. Now in Van Nuys, it’s the oldest running science fiction society in the world, and holds members just as devoted as Kepner and Ben once were, like June Moffatt, who joined the society in August 1947 when she was a teenager. She says she “only met Tigrina once” but she knew Kepner quite well.

“He was good fun,” says Moffatt. Moffatt knew Kepner was gay and an activist, but he was still just “one of the gang. I remember once sitting down next to [Kepner] and telling him he was in danger,” Moffatt says, laughing. “I was flirting with him.”

(7) Black Nerd Problems’ L. E. H. Light declares “No More Diversity Panels, It’s Time To Move On”.

What’s a convention program director to do? They want to present and represent “diversity” in their audience. They’re hearts are in the right place, or not. As others have pointed out, sometimes The Diversity Panel is an excuse for the convention to avoid actually integrating their other panels. Well intentioned or not, the recent fuss at the Hugos really proves this point: we’re here, we’re not going any where. We and our allies vote for awards and read books and *gasp* write and publish them too! The “why is diversity important” is an answered question. So what’s next?

(8) Yesterday I had a clip about a spider clock, but there is a lot more to know about mechanical spiders if you’re interested. (The two of you who raised your hands can keep reading.) One example is this video, Inside Adam Savage’s Cave: Awesome Robot Spider!

We’re back in Adam’s cave to check out his latest obsession, a robot spider with incredibly realistic movement. Adam shows off the special box and platform he built to tinker and calibrate the spider, and then sends it crawling around the pool table in his shop. It’s not for the arachnophobic!


Other recommended one-day build videos are this one building Cylon raiders and troopers from plastic model kits with Aaron Douglas:

And this one building his Kirk chair:

(9) BBC Two has optioned China Miéville’s The City & the City and will develop the novel into a four-part series based on the Inspector Tyador Borlú character. British screenwriter Tony Grisoni is writing the adaptation.

“We are thrilled to be bringing China’s dazzlingly inventive novel to BBC Two,” said Damien Timmer, managing director at Mammoth Screen, which will produce the project. “It’s a 21st Century classic — a truly thrilling and imaginative work which asks big questions about how we perceive the world and how we interact with each other.”

(10) As you already know, Soon Lee is hosting a collection of the punny variations on the title of Rachel Swirsky’s “If you were a dinosaur, my love” produced on File 770 today.

(11) John Scalzi has entered Hugo hibernation. (See last comment on this post at Whatever).

I have officially come to the end of thinking about the Hugos for 2015. If other people decide they want to, that’s their business, but as for here, my plan is let it be through the end of the year. Because, fuck me, I’m tired of them.

May I also suggest that you let it go as well? Surely the rest of your 2015 is better spent doing something else with your time. I’m not saying you have to. I’m just saying you should. That goes for everyone.

(12) John C. Wright, on the other hand, is still roaming the tundra hunting for fresh prey.

If you voted, please write Sasquan, and demand, not ask, that they release the nomination data. The idea that the data must be kept private to avoid someone from deducing the voter’s identities is an absurd lie, not worth wasting ink to refute. They are trying to hide a bloc voting pattern, or a large number of votes that were entered after voting closed or something of the sort.

(13) Charles Rector in Fornax #5 [PDF file] begins his editorial on the 2015 Hugos with this tantalizing hook —

Have you ever taken a firm position on a subject only to realize later that you were on the wrong side and as time went on, you got to wonder how you ever took that previous position? That was my experience with this year’s Hugo Awards. When the year started, I was on the side of the slates. It seemed that the slates were a good idea given the state of the Hugo Awards.

I bet you’ll never see a turnaround like that anywhere else.

(14) 100 Years of Robots in the Movies. (Despite the title I’m pretty sure I saw a split second of Doctor Who in there – and other TV shows…)

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Jerry Pournelle, Ita, and John King Tarpinian for some of these links. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Cubist.]

301 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/8 Perfidious Etceteras

  1. @Leslie C

    Have you considered the alternative hypothesis that your cat was trying to build a spider and you always interrupted before it was finished?

    I hadn’t! I feel bad now. She’s given up, obviously. Oh. Or maybe she’s moved her laboratory to a new location, out of our sight. Hmm, we’ll only know for sure the day artificial spiders surround us, signing demands for cat food with their legs.

  2. Regarding Popular Ratification… I think I had the wrong idea about it. I thought it meant that anybody could vote on matters brought before the business meeting, but it seems like it actually means that there is a third vote, amongst all members, for the ultimate, “popular”, ratification. I was worried about my misunderstood version of PR, because I thought it meant the RPs would be able to take over the WSFS. I see now the worry is that all changes could be stalled by RPs/SPs/other anti-WSFS WSFS members.

  3. Stevie Flying a hawk once a month strikes me as an insufficient deterrent…

    Work on the flat roof of the local library behind where I live was delayed because seagulls started nesting there. After they fledged they brought in a gorgeous Harris Hawk to keep them away. It came every day for a week and once a week since and the gulls do seem to have cleared off. They were extremely, loudly unhappy when it first turned up.

  4. I also see no special reason to restrict vote timeframe as long as it’s between the two cons’ Business Meetings. Leave that up to the administrators. I could be missing something here, of course.

    I agree. The timing should be left as open as possible, with the exception that the result(s) known in time for preparation for the Business Meeting at the subsequent Worldcon, so people can plan accordingly.

  5. > “I’m pretty sure the next book is not the last one planned, but I would be surprised if there turned out to be as many as 5 more books in the series.”

    I believe P. C. Hodgell has said there will be three more books in the series (including the next one). She has also said that there will be a return to Tai-Tastigon. I can double-check the number if you want me to poke around a bit, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case, and it sounds pretty solid.

    Rosemary Kirstein said awhile ago that she has planned seven more books in the Steerswoman series and then a prequel, but I don’t know if that’s still accurate.

  6. @buwaya – That’s a good question. I suspect it is because your heart isn’t into it there.

    We could try to find some equivalently shocking things?

    Let’s see:

    Here, you’ve said that nobody really cares about racism/racism isn’t real unless it’s directed against southeast Asians in the California university system. Something that they would find as shocking… You could try asserting that Obama is not an atheist Muslim? I bet they would freak.

    You could try working harder on your bit about how everybody who you disagree with is lying about their motivations, while they need to take your posts at face value and take you at your word. That would annoy anyone.

    Maybe quite some Dawkins or Bill Maher at them?

    Good luck.

  7. “OMG A SCORPION which is natural if you are, say, in Arizona.”

    I’ve lived in Arizona over a half-century and have never seen a scorpion. (Ratlesnake, once, crossing the road in a fairly urbanized area. I assumed it came from some nearby washes on a steep undeveloped hillside.)

  8. Spiders are the best. I have no problem with letting spiders crawl all over me. Six legged things? The smallest of them freak me out. And anything and everything from the ocean is the stuff of nightmare – lobster and squid being the absolute worst, octopuses being the least terrible. Centipedes, millipedes, either is enough to make me jump up on something.

    But spiders? Love those gals. They’re awesome.

  9. @Kathodus: Your revised understanding is correct. Popular Ratification would have merely added a third vote, this one of all members, after two successive Business Meetings both passed an amendment to the WSFS Constitution.

    In order to ‘game WSFS’ through ‘freeping’ this popular vote, you would also need to ‘freep’ two Business Meetings in a row.

    So, first your hundred vile faceless minions would need to purchase attending memberships at two Worldcons, pay travel and hotel expenses to actually be there, and then have your entire squadron of VFMs actually bother to show up and vote in-person during what can become excruciatingly long Business Meetings, and then you would need to pay for about 5000 or so supporting memberships in the next Worldcon to control the third vote.

    If WSFS are actually needing to worry about resisting overthrow by the Sultan of Brunei’s bankers issuing vast amounts of cash, I think we have bigger problems.

  10. Ah, I was close regarding the number of books left in the Chronicles of the Kencyrath / Godstalker Chronicles. There will either be two or three to come, including the next one:

    “Q: Would [the coming book, #8 in the series] be third from the last, or second from the last, or has that changed?”

    “P. C. Hodgell: … I’m not sure, now, if there are one or two novels after #8. To end with 9 seems appropriate, [but] it depends on how much needs to be covered after 8.”

  11. Bruce Arthurs on September 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm said:
    “OMG A SCORPION which is natural if you are, say, in Arizona.”

    I’ve lived in Arizona over a half-century and have never seen a scorpion. (Ratlesnake, once, crossing the road in a fairly urbanized area. I assumed it came from some nearby washes on a steep undeveloped hillside.)

    When I lived in LA, a scorpion rode in on a used desk and headed for the baby.
    The next year saw me and then-toddler in Merida, where I dealt with a fist-sized purple fuzzy one by flushing it repeatedly and firmly down the toilet.

    Actually, I don’t mind spiders and such at all, but primal MamaBear takes over at such times.

  12. Meanwhile, David Gerrold announced a little while ago that “A Method for Madness” will be “finished by [September 2015].”

    And, holy crap, apparently a “pre-final edit copy” of Air Logic by Laurie J. Marks was being read by her friends in late 2014?!

    This is the age of miracles and wonders, folks.

  13. Dumb question, but I don’t recall how we got from the book ‘God Stalk’ to “God Stalk!” being used as a descriptor for a post intended to put you in the queue for follow-up comments by email. Can someone refresh my memory?

    Also, @Doctor Science: I don’t blame you. It’s a very intense read. But ’12 Years a Slave’ was a very intense movie, too. Sometimes these things need to be talked about.

  14. Bruce Arthurs on September 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm said:
    “OMG A SCORPION which is natural if you are, say, in Arizona.”

    I’ve lived in Arizona over a half-century and have never seen a scorpion. (Ratlesnake, once, crossing the road in a fairly urbanized area. I assumed it came from some nearby washes on a steep undeveloped hillside.)

    Yeah, what I learned at the Desert Museum in Tucson after I had happily sauntered all overvthe state is that there are a few species of scorpions and spiders there that are small, nondescript, and sand colored. And deadly poisonous.

  15. John Lorentz on September 9, 2015 at 12:41 pm said:

    I would have been strongly in favor of it, had it remained a two-year process (e.g. Business meeting approval the first year, Popular Ratification the second year). But I felt that stretching the change process out to three years would make things worse, not better.

    But last year in London, it would never have passed if we just had ‘pass-then-ratify’ because people really want the ability of the second year’s meeting to change their mind. Therefore, the only want to get it passed was to agree to let two consecutive Business Meetings work on it before allowing the membership as a whole to be heard from.

    The thought I had after Sasquan was why not combine both processes?
    1) Year one–Business Meeting approves a change
    2) Conduct a vote of the members during the year leading up to the next Worldcon…

    Which members? The moment Worldcon N ends, the membership of WSFS becomes the membership of Worldcon N+1. Did you intend for the people eligible to vote on ratification to be the members of Worldcon N (the one that originally passed it) or N+1 (the one where, under the current system, the BM ratifies the proposal)?

    I’m not saying this is a bad thing; after all, we don’t conduct Hugo voting at con. But we need to be very clear on who exactly is allowed to vote in the ratification election and what the time frame is. How close to the ratifying Worldcon do you want to cut off voting? Don’t forget that the BM agenda currently has to close 14 days before the Worldcon. (I’m starting to think that we should lengthen that to 21 or 28 days, given how much stuff keeps flowing in.)

  16. @Kevin Standlee:

    Which members?

    John doubtless has his own views, but offhand I would think it would best be the n+1 Worldcon’s members, as the nth ceases to be the WSFS electorate as of the Closing Ceremony.

    On timing, I would hope the administrators would understand without Constitutional micromanagement that results for any popular-vote vetting must be conveyed to the next Worldcon’s Business Meeting staff in adequate time to prepare the agenda, and preferably for Business Meeting attendees to think a bit. I would hope nobody’d be so inconsiderate as to give the upcoming Worldcon less than a month’s lead time, even without being ordered to. Or at minimum, yelling to ‘Hurry up, folks!’ would become really loud at 30 days out.

  17. I once had an extremely tiny scorpion run up my pants leg. Unfortunately his tail was pointed at my leg so he stung me all the way up. Big furry ones are fine but anything small enough to do that needs to stay away from me.

  18. I feel terrible, Jamoche, but that made me smile. And think how cute that was. To be fair, I’m reading Digger right now, and was imagining Vernon’s rendering of a tiny, angry scorpion angrily running up a leg, stinging the whole way. I really hope that wasn’t too painful/deadly.

    ETA: QOTD: “Well come on! there’s plenty of mad wombat for everybody!”

  19. Nothing close to as bad as a fire ant – it stung for a couple of hours, that’s all. And I did feel sorry for him later – he was probably just trying to run away from the big scary leg, but was just heading in the wrong direction and making it worse.

  20. John Seavey:

    Dumb question, but I don’t recall how we got from the book ‘God Stalk’ to “God Stalk!” being used as a descriptor for a post intended to put you in the queue for follow-up comments by email. Can someone refresh my memory?

    My recollection is that it had to do with Kyra’s brackets, the fact that God Stalk was knocked out early in one of them, and some of its more insistent supporters (Jim Henley to start with? plus others later) doing a write-in of ‘God Stalk’ in later brackets any time they didn’t have a preference.

    After the brackets were over, it just became shouting ‘God Stalk!’ at intervals when you didn’t have much else to say, hence the usage for the ‘I’m just checking the box right now’.

  21. The problem with popular patification between the two business meetings is that the second business meeting would feel constrained by the popular vote. I can see those not at the meeting complaining that the “Business meeting people” had overruled a popular vote if they rejected or ammended something they had approved. If we are to have popular ratification it should be the final stage.

    At London I spoke against the ammendment that change it from one business meeting and PR, to two business meeting and PR, on the grounds that sometimes we could not afford to wait three years for a change. Unfortunately events have (IMHO) proved me right and the motion failed at Sasquan.

    To return to the nomination ballot release I voted against at Sasquan because I did not think privacy could be adequately protected. I feel however that the Hugo committee are doing their best to comply. The Motion before the business meeting was:

    B.2.3 – Short Title: Hugo Nominating Data Request

    Moved, that the WSFS Business Meeting requests that the Administrators of the 2015 Hugo Awards make publicly available anonymized raw nominating data from the 2015 Hugo Awards, including the works nominated on each ballot in each category, but not including any information that could be used to relate ballots to the members who cast them; and

    Resolved, that it is the opinion of the WSFS Business Meeting that releasing such anonymized raw nominating data after the announcement of the results of the 2015 Hugo Awards is not a violation of the privacy of members’ ballots.

    This was ammended to include the 2016 data but hat is not relevant to Sasquan. To the best of my recollection no further ammendments were made, please correct me if I am wrong.

    As has been pointed out the resolution is only a recomendation.

    Two points in the resolution are of note.

    1) The Data is to be made publically available. Thus releasing the data to the EPH sponsors under a NDA does not conform. Also it does not allow for independent verification of the EPH peoples conclusions. I suspect without making the same data available to everyone the motion would not have passed.

    2) The requirement to ensure voters could not be identified. I am very pleased that the Hugo committee are taking this very seriously, and if it eventually means we don’t get the data, so be it.

  22. Kathodus:
    I think my favourite Digger line is still (paraphrased from memory):

    *after grabbing one of the Veiled and pulling his head down to her level* There’s three of you, but you have orders to take me alive. I’ve got a pick-axe, and I don’t particularly care whether you live or die. Do you see your problem here?

    Rapidly followed by a lot of ‘Yes, ma’am’ from the Veiled there…

  23. “You could try working harder on your bit about how everybody who you disagree with is lying about their motivations, while they need to take your posts at face value and take you at your word. That would annoy anyone.”

    True, that’s one of my better bits.
    Doesn’t really work on that lot though.
    Its only good on people with self-doubts, and they don’t have much of that.
    Was trying to sneak in the shiv behind a smokescreen of contradictions but didn’t get far.

  24. @embrasso;

    Thank you; it’s good to know that the author is making such an effort to ensure that people feel part of the process…

  25. On current reading, I’ve just finished:

    The End of All Things by John Scalzi: This is a worthy entry into the Old Man’s War universe. It’s not a novel, but a set of 4 interconnected novellas/novelettes. I probably wouldn’t consider nominating it for a Hugo — but the first story, “The Life of the Mind” would be a definite Novella candidate for me.

    The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: This just won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. I’ve read several SF books which use the Kennedy assassination and other adjacent history as part of their plots, but this one was by far the most well-researched. I enjoyed the book, but the only part that’s the slightest bit SF is that it’s alternate history, and I will not be nominating it for the Hugos.

    Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman: This novel is absolutely fantastic, and as of right now, it’s on my Hugo top 5 list. It’s imaginative and uses a well-researched basis on how eyesight and perception work, expanded into SFnal elements. CIG is like Bujold and Chiang: she’s not hugely prolific, but every published story is top-notch. If you’ve never read anything by her, Arkfall (Nebula nominee), Halfway Human (Tiptree nominee), and the novella “The Ice Owl” (Hugo and Nebula nominee) are excellent.

  26. @cmm:

    I had no idea CompuServe still existed. Next you’ll tell me Delphi is still there, too.



    So long as The WELL is dead, we’re safe.


    Fuck me blind.

  27. ” How long have you been commenting over there and you’ve never heard about never apologizing to SJWs? Give it a try…if you’re really looking to make waves.”

    It doesn’t work that way. Its easy to come in blasting and all, but that lacks depth and subtlety. Its all just namecalling in five minutes. One needs a measure of credibility first. Of one sort or another.

    Look at John C Wright. I know its not about trolling with him, but he is not making the heathen doubt their false gods. Or that person Benjanun. Not even preaching that one. What is the point ? Is that fun ?

  28. Jesucri, between the multiple freezes and now this, starting to feel like a higher power don’t want me playing GW2. Actually the newest awful was indirectly caused by a real freeze, not something where I could Ctrl-Alt-Del and switch to another admin account to kill processes — I had to do a hard shutdown. So I went to do some dishes while waiting for reboot.

    Don’t keep reading if injury descriptions bother you.

    Somehow managed to get my finger stuck in the dishwasher handle and somehow it managed to slice a good gash into my finger. Am afraid to check how deep. Hoping it’s a big shallow cut and not a deep one.

    All I gotta say is, fuck the higher powers. If you are gonna resort to injuring me instead of sending a nice note explaining your position, I got no time for you.

    Problem: How to MMORPG with a painscreaming, tissue-swathed index finger… already finished the McGuire and the Oyeyemi, no more new books in house, STILL waiting for SttC…

  29. Halfway Human was a good, disturbing book. I’ll throw Dark Orbit onto my growing TBR pile …

  30. Geoff Thorpe: 1) The Data is to be made publically available. Thus releasing the data to the EPH sponsors under a NDA does not conform. Also it does not allow for independent verification of the EPH peoples conclusions. I suspect without making the same data available to everyone the motion would not have passed.

    As the WSFS request is non-binding, the Hugo admins can do whatever they want, including not releasing the data, releasing it to a select few under an NDA, or making anonymized data publicly available. Even if the WSFS request had not passed, the Hugo Admins could have still chosen to do any of those things.

  31. So I wore my E Pluribus Hugo T-shirt to work today and was a bit disappointed that nobody there asked me about it. I did bring it up with one of them; he asked me which novel was my favorite.

    (For those of you who haven’t seen the T-shirts, they have a list of all the Best Novel winners, arranged to make a rocket, with the phrase “E Pluribus Hugo” coming out the bottom like exhaust. Jameson Quinn did the design, it’s quite nice.)

    I had to think about it; ultimately I’d say it’s between Paladin of Souls and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – which one I pick probably depends on my mood at the time. How about you all?

    I watched the robot video, and did not identify any of it as coming from television. The Daleks were from the theatrical movie Dr. Who and the Daleks, starring Peter Cushing as a human inventor named Who. And the pilot of Battlestar Galactica had a theatrical release, so the Cylons count as being from a movie. (I did notice some purely fantasy creatures, as well as cyborgs; they were using “robot” in a broad sense.)

  32. @David Goldfarb: Def JS&MN. Even if it wasn’t confined to past Hugo winners, JS&MN is way up there on my list.

    I made a Sasquan reference at work recently and did not receive any indication it was understood, alas. But there are Trek & Star Wars fans abundant there afaict, so I dunno.

  33. @Morris Keesan

    The idea that the data must be kept private to avoid someone from deducing the voter’s identities is an absurd lie …

    “I am, in all modesty, one of the finest writers the world has ever known, but I have difficulty constructing a grammatical English sentence.”

    “to avoid someone from deducing”? Really?

    I’d have gone with “the voter’s identities” myself…

  34. Bruce Arthur

    Like you, I have never seen venomous spiders and homicidal snakes in Arizona. Of course, I’ve never been to Arizona…

  35. I’d have gone with “the voter’s identities” myself…

    Lamont Cranston, Kent Allard, The Shadow…

    Bruce Wayne, Matches Malone, The Batman…

    Marc Spector, Jake Lockley, Moon Knight…

  36. I have to say, regarding multi-legged things, that even the time that I discovered a black widow inside the sleeve of the shirt I was putting on did not compare in adrenaline to the time at an SCA campfire when a Jerusalem cricket crawled inside my ground-length skirts all the way up to my waistline before I noticed it.

  37. Well, spiders. My phobia, irrational as it is, dates back to a series of unfortunate events in our basement, during a wet spring, in which we had a mini-invasion of leopard spiders, and I found them all. Accidentally. Naturally, I then went to vet school in the Caribbean, where the majority of spiders are jumping fellows, but we also had massive quantities of large centipedes. Also, frequent power outages. In sum, spiders are a big Nope for me. Small live crabs can trigger the reaction until I can see them clearly. Octopodes, on the gripping tentacle, are just fine.

  38. JJ. My point was that dispite the difficulties the Hugo committee were trying to comply with the advisory resolution and seem prepared to do so for some time before considering alternate action. I commend this attitude, and hope they manage to get the data out, But if they don’t I will not be compainimg.

    I would not however like to see the data supplied only to EPH.

  39. I remember the first time I went snorkeling, in Mexico. I’d come prepared with an old pair of glasses (for all intents and purposes I’m blind without glasses) and jammed them into the rental mask. Unfortunately for my cunning plan, they distorted the mask just enough (or the mask simply didn’t quite fit) that water kept seeping in. Also unfortunately, although I can not-drown fairly competently (a sort of flailing cross between a doggy-paddle and a sidestroke) I’m not what you call a strong swimmer. And the kicker was, there was sea-grass all over the bottom, very thick and some two or three feet tall in places. So every time I had to stand up to clear my mask, my feet were going into sea-grass and I couldn’t see what was in there.

    Have you ever felt cold fear-sweat when you’re completely immersed in water? It’s an odd sensation. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy snorkeling much.

    Years later, it took a serious act of will for me to try snorkelling again. I spent the first ten minutes quite literally telling myself (it would have been out loud, if the mouthpiece wasn’t in the way) “ok, I’m not drowning, and there’s no seagrass, and the water is glass-clear so nothing I can’t see is gonna get me. I’m ok. I’m not drowning, and there’s no seagrass…” It was a litany, like “fear is the mindkiller.”

    So I guess my phobias include putting my feet in sea-grass when I can’t see if there’s something waiting in there to grab or sting or bite me.

  40. jayn on September 9, 2015 at 5:47 pm said:

    When Ursula K. Le Guin gives a fairly good review, I pay attention:


    …but has anyone here read Salman Rushdie and can tell me he’s worth the price?

    I haven’t read this one. I bounced badly off Midnight’s Children but I think that was just the wrong book at the wrong time for me. The Satanic Verses was incredible.
    If you like literary fiction with a dose of magical-realism then he can be brilliant.

    I heard him speak last year and apparently at some point in the recent past he’d been commissioned to help develop a science fiction TV epic – he didn’t say overtly for HBO but implied it was – which then went nowhere.

  41. @geoff thorpe:

    The problem with popular patification between the two business meetings is that the second business meeting would feel constrained by the popular vote.

    I thought of that but, speaking for myself: no.

    The purpose of popular ratification would be to ensure that two Business Meetings don’t go off the rails. The purpose of the two Business Meetings would to ensure that each other and the popular ratification don’t go off the rails.

    But yes, I’m sure certain rhetoric would get ugly from various sore-loser factions if that sequence of events ever happened, and if WSFS want to avoid the risk hearing time-wasting whinging, they might prefer to defer this idea to a later year. (Voting to refer it to a committee would do nicely, for example.)

    Me, I’m a big boy, and I’d say ‘Hey, if you weren’t prepared to live by the second Business Meeting ratifying this amendment or not in your absence, you should have been there and taken part. Can’t afford the time and money to come to Kansas City, Helsinki, etc.? Sorry to hear that, but that’s the way it works. Prefer a pure direct democracy? Feel free to create one, any time.’

    FWIW, I’ve had my mind changed during Business Meetings by hearing people debate in my hearing (much more often than from, pardon the phrase, blog comments), and think the interactive in-person feedback is invaluable.

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