(1) FACEBOOK FLIES OFF THE HANDLE. Canadian sff author Daniel Arenson somehow ran afoul of Facebook’s moderators by sharing images commemorating the Holocaust on his author page. The problem was unresolved for several days, and even now Arenson is concerned that he will be banned, as he explained in a post on his personal FB page. (As of this writing, the commemorative posts can be seen on Daniel Arenson’s author page.)
An update on my Facebook trouble… I might be banned entirely from the site. If I disappear, I want you to know why.
A few days ago, on my Author Page (separate from this account, which is my personal account) I shared a post that commemorated the Holocaust. It was a project created by a Jewish artist, and included some images of Holocaust victims. Facebook removed the photos, claiming they feature “nudity or sexual activity.”
This seemed to be the work of a bot. I figured it was just a bug in the algorithm. So I applied for a human to review this case, and to potentially restore the photos. A human took a look, told me the memorial photos (created by a Jewish artist) are “hate speech,” and that I’m banned from using Facebook for 24 hours.
Three days went by, and my Author Page was still in “Facebook jail.” Meanwhile, Facebook charged my credit card $1,100 for running ads using that page. The same page I’m locked out of.
I contacted Facebook support, and I finally got a hold of a human. I asked why I was banned, and how long the ban would last. They simply threatened to extend the ban. From their tone, it sounded like they might hit me with even more bans, maybe affecting my personal account (this one) too.
They did not provide reasons why this is happening. I explained that the photos were created by a Jewish artist, who wanted to commemorate the Holocaust. Facebook support staff simply threatened further bans against my account(s).
Today, even on my personal account, I’ve had some trouble accessing the website. Maybe it’s just a Facebook-wide issue, though, and unrelated to my troubles.
If I disappear entirely, this is why. I shared photos by a Jewish artist who wanted to commemorate the Holocaust. Since then, Facebook has been smacking my accounts around, and every time I contact them, it gets worse.
(2) VETERAN OF TM BATTLE SPEAKS OUT. Tara Crescent, after seeing news about Christine Feehan’s effort to trademark “Dark” for a series of fiction works, wrote how burdensome it was for her last year to fight someone else’s attempt to trademark “Cocky.” Thread starts here.
(3) THE AXE. Now who will make jokes about these turkeys? “Netflix Cancels ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ Before Your Yearly Thanksgiving Marathon” reports ScienceFiction.com.
‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ has once again been cancelled. This time by Netflix and right before the show’s anniversary. The series debuted on Thanksgiving in 1988 and would later grow into a yearly marathon. This year, you can still binge on this fan-favorite event but with the sad news that new episodes will not be on the horizon on Netflix.
(4) MIGNOGNA JUDGMENT. Nerd & Tie Trae Dorn reports “Vic Mignogna Ordered to Pay Almost a Quarter of a Million to Defendants in Final Judgement”.
You can read the entire order here, but it boils down to Mignogna being required to pay almost $250k to the defendants. While this is significantly less than the amounts asked for by the defendants (which was a sum roughly around $800k), it’s still a significant chunk of change. Mignogna’s representatives already attempted to file an appeal prematurely, and it is highly likely that they will attempt to do so again. If Mignogna’s potential appeal fails, he will be required to pay significantly more to the defendants as well.
(5) ACCESSIBILITY SUIT AGAINST NY LIBRARY. “Hunters Point Library hit with lawsuit over accessibility issues” – Curbed New York has the story.
Disability rights advocates have filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the brand new Hunters Point Library in Queens prevents people with mobility issues from “full and equal access” to the branch.
The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn federal court by the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), argues that the Steven Holl Architects-designed library violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After two decades of planning, the $41 million branch opened in Long Island City this September to glowing architectural reviews, but soon came under fire because sections of the library are inaccessible to wheelchair users and others with limited mobility.
Disability Rights Advocates is handling the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs and claims that “inaccessible features pervade” the new branch, and calls out three levels with bookshelves, a reading and small-group space in a children’s section, and a rooftop terrace for featuring accessibility barriers that prevent “full and equal enjoyment” of the library.
“Heralded as a ‘stunning architectural marvel’ and a ‘beacon of learning, literacy and culture,’ the newly-built Hunters Point Library was designed and built with a total disregard for adults and children with mobility disabilities and in flagrant contempt of the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” the 21-page complaint states.
(6) THE DEAR DEPARTED. There will be a special party at this weekend’s Loscon in Los Angeles –
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- November 27, 1981 — Frankenstein Island preimired. Starring John Carradine and Cameron Mitchell, it’s more or less a remake of Teenage Zombies. It was co-produced, written, directed and edited by Jerry Warren who did the latter film as well. The fifteen hundred who have collectively rated it at Rotten Tomatoes give a vote of just seven.
- November 27, 2002 — The animated Treasure Planet premiered. It is at least the second telling of Stevenson’s Treasure Island in an SF film setting as there’s an 1987 Italian L’isola del tesoro (Treasure Island in Outer Space) series. It went on to be one of the costly box office failures ever as production costs alone were nearly one hundred and fifty million dollars. While it bombed at the theater, it has an impressive 71% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 27, 1907 — L. Sprague de Camp. The Tales from Gavagan’s Bar he wrote with Fletcher Pratt are my favorite works by him. Best novel by him? I’d say that’s Lest Darkness Fall. (Died 2000.)
- Born November 27, 1935 — Verity Lambert. Founding Producer of Doctor Who. (When she was appointed to Who in 1963, she was BBC Television’s only female drama producer, as well as the youngest.) After leaving BBC, she’d oversee the Quatermass series at Thames. She’d return to BBC to Executive Produce three seasons of So Haunt Me, a supernatural series. Wiki weirdly has her producing an episode of Doctor Who called “A Happy Ending” in 2006 which doesn’t exist. (Died 2007.)
- Born November 27, 1942 — Jimi Hendrix. I wouldn’t be including him but the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction has a long and persuasive essay on him actually being influenced by SF. It has comments such as “for example the title of his second single, ‘Purple Haze’ (1967), though taken by many to encode a reference to drugs, is actually from Philip José Farmer’s novel Night of Light…” That essay is here. (Died 1970.)
- Born November 27, 1940 — Bruce Lee. His only genre role was as Kato in The Green Hornet which to my utter surprise lasted for just twenty-six episodes between 1966 and 1967. He also appeared on Batman in three episodes, “The Spell of Tut”, “Batman’s Satisfaction”, and “A Piece of The Action”. (Died 1973.)
- Born November 27, 1951 — Melinda M. Snodgrass, 68. She wrote several episodes of Next Gen while serving as the story editor during its second and third seasons. She also wrote scripts for Sliders, Strange Luck, Beyond Reality, Odyssey 5, Outer Limits and SeaQuest DSV. She’s a co-editor of and frequent story contributor to George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards series.
- Born November 27, 1964 — Rebecca Ferratti, 55. Did you know some of the Gor novels were made into films? Well they were. This actress played Takena, the co-lead, in the ones that were made, Gor and The Outlaw of Gor. They may or may not have been the worst films she was in during her film career…
- Born November 27, 1974 — Jennifer O’Dell, 45. Her only meaningful role to date, genre or otherwise, has been that of Veronica on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. She’s had some minor roles such on Charmed and Bones, and appearances on films such as Alien Battlefield but nothing major to date.
- Born November 27, 1974 — Alec Newman, 45. He played Paul Atreides on the Dune and Children of Dune series. He was Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows film, and he had the recurring role of Malik on Enterprise. He was Drogyn, Keeper of the Deeper Well, and an eternally young warrior of good on Angel.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro realized which profession would know how to get the most passengers in a small spacecraft.
(10) PRESENTING BILL. Gallifrey One, the annual Doctor Who convention in LA, announced a coup today — “Pearl Mackie Confirmed for 2020, and More!”
Ms. Mackie received rave reviews from fans – and critics across the globe – playing the down-to-earth Bill, the series’ first openly gay companion character, including her tour-de-force performances later in the season during the two-part finale and the subsequent Christmas special, both hers and Capaldi’s final adventure “Twice Upon a Time.”
(11) RAPPIN’ REY. On the Tonight Show, Daisy Ridley performed a rap recapping the first eight episodes that make up Star Wars’ trilogy of trilogies. Full lyrics on YouTube here.
(12) RED-HANDED. “Great auk extinction: Humans wiped out giant seabird”.
“The great auk will always hold a place in my heart,” Dr Jessica Thomas says.
The Swansea-based scientist spent years piecing together an ancient DNA puzzle that suggests hunting by humans caused this giant seabird’s demise.
Dr Thomas studied bone and tissue samples from 41 museum specimens during a PhD at both Bangor and Copenhagen University.
The findings paint a picture of how vulnerable even the most common species are to human exploitation.
…About 80cm (2ft 7in) tall, the stubby-winged and bulbous-billed great auks used to be found all across the north Atlantic – from North America through Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and the UK.
“Being flightless, they were always targeted by local people for food and for their feathers,” says Dr Thomas.
“But around 1500, when European seamen discovered the rich fishing grounds off Newfoundland, hunting intensified.”
…”We looked for signatures of population decline [before 1500],” Dr Thomas said.
One of these signatures might be a lack of genetic diversity, suggesting individuals were inbreeding and the species, as a whole, was becoming vulnerable to disease or environmental change.
“But their genetic diversity was very high – all but two sequences we found were very different,” Dr Thomas said.
(13) DOOOON’T PANIC. “Russian cows get VR headsets ‘to reduce anxiety'”. Now that you mention it, I remember Carnation used to think it was important for milk to come from contented cows…
A Russian farm has given its dairy cows virtual reality headsets in a bid to reduce their anxiety.
The herd donned VR systems adapted for the “structural features of cow heads” and were shown a “unique summer field simulation program”.
Moscow’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food cited research which they say has shown a link between a cow’s emotional experience and its milk yield.
Initial tests reportedly boosted “the overall emotional mood of the herd”.
(14) GENRE BREW. [Item by Bill.] Inner Space Brewing Company, a Huntsville, AL craft brewery, has some SF themes going on.
The tap handle that looks like a Hugo rocket was fabricated by a local Huntsville woodworking shop
Woodtech on Triana Boulevard makes tap handles for local breweries in addition to specialty items for defense companies, wine crates, puzzles, wooden boxes, business signs, trays with old maps of Huntsville, cornhole-game boards and more.
Another beer-space Huntsville-local connection is the Straight to Ale craft brewery, makers of Monkeynaut Pale Ale, which was inspired by Miss Baker, who lived out her life at the local U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
(15) OUR ROBOT UNDERLORDS? BBC appears to have scooped the local paper on this story — “Call to probe Boston police tests of ‘dog’ robots”.
Massachusetts State Police has been asked to explain how it is using robot dogs, by a civil liberties group.
The police force has spent the past three months testing “Spot” robot dogs alongside some of its officers.
The robots, made by Boston Dynamics, are believed to have helped with several live incidents as well as training scenarios.
The American Civil Liberties Union wants details about how and where the robots were being used.
…A video captioned with the words “MA State Police” and showing the robots opening doors and entering buildings was shared online by Boston Dynamics earlier this year.
“All too often, the deployment of these technologies happens faster than our social, political, or legal systems react,” said the ACLU in a statement given to Techcrunch.
In its letter, the campaign group said it wanted more “transparency” about the use of the robots, the ways in which they would be used and which officers would be deployed with them.
The ACLU said there was a need for regulations governing the use of the robots to ensure they did not trample on established civil rights and liberties or lead to racial injustice.
(16) KNUCKLING UNDER. According to the BBC, “Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands”.
Apple has complied with Russian demands to show Crimea as part of Russian territory on its apps.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, in a move that was condemned by most of the global community.
The region is now displayed as Russian territory on Apple Maps and Weather, when viewed from inside Russia.
However, Apple Maps and Weather do not show Crimea as part of any country, when viewed outside Russia.
(17) CTHULHU’S KITCHEN. It’s time to remind everyone “How to Brine a Turkey by H.P. Lovecraft”. In his 2016 article, McSweeneys’ Robert Rooney explains the many advantages of this recipe, beginning with –
A turkey may be so prepared and preserved that, according to Artephius’s Key of Wisdom, “an ingenious Man may raise the fine Shape of a Homunculus out of its Ashes at his Pleasure, so he may, without any criminal Necromancy raise the Shape of any dead Ancestor for study and labor.”
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Well, it’s a commercial. But it’s a cute commercial.
This holiday, follow the magical story of Lucy, a curious 6-year-old with a few questions for her reindeer friends. With the help of her mom’s Surface and Microsoft Translator, she finally gets her chance to ask the most important questions of the season. Microsoft technology empowers and connects everyone on the planet…well, almost everyone.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Bill, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]