EDITOR’S NOTE: This will be a very short scroll, as I am on a slow motel wi-fi and have already spent a chunk of the evening waiting for screen reloads. Filers, please add some good things in the comments to compensate!
(1) INDIGENOUS SFF. The Herald of Harare, Zimbabwe reports on a rare sff book in the local language: “Science fiction Shona novel print version”
Science fiction is a sub-genre of speculative fiction which in Zimbabwean literature is an uncommon type of writing because of the assumed limitations of the indigenous languages. With the rapid technological exploits happening in the world today, local language experts have met the vexing challenge of adopting new technological terms into the local languages.We are yet to have a wide range of complete dictionaries of technological or scientific terms translated into local languages to help writers explore their different worlds of the imagination.
Motivating indeed it is to note that a first step towards such an ‘expansion’ of our local language has been taken by UK-based Zimbabwean writer Masimba Musodza in his trailblazing feat in the science fiction genre.
His novel “Munahacha Maive Nei?” (Belontos Books) is the first science fiction or speculative fiction novel in Shona language. The novel first appeared five years ago as an e-book before its print edition and now it is available in the new paperback, hardback and e-book editions. Hopefully, the reading public in Zimbabwe will soon have a chance to buy personal copies in local bookstores.
(2) SOUTHERN VIEW. The Southern Fandom Confederation selected officers at its DeepSouthCon business meeting last weekend. Gary Robe is the new President, and Jennifer Liang is the new Vice-President. As Tom Feller notes, they swapped positions, each having held the other office last year.
(3) LUCKEY OBIT. From the BBC: Bud Luckey, “Toy Story Woody’s designer dies”. Born in 1934, he designed several other characters for Pixar, and did some voices. He also worked on number and counting features for Sesame Street.
(4) LONG ARM OF THE LAW. “Supreme Court considers Microsoft overseas data row” — seems subtle, but far-reaching consequences:
A five-year legal battle between Microsoft and the US Justice Department reaches the Supreme Court this week.
The row is over whether US laws give the government the power to make tech companies surrender data they have on users that is stored overseas.
The case dates from 2013, when prosecutors sought emails on a Microsoft server in Ireland sent by a drug-trafficking suspect.
The US government said as Microsoft was a US company it could request the data.
Microsoft disputed this interpretation, saying a warrant issued in the US could not be used to recover information outside the country.
(5) GOT TO GET BACK TO THE GARDEN. “Against a bleak future: Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds reaches one million mark”: that’s a million types, not just a million seeds. Who knew there were that many discrete varieties?
The vault storing the world’s most precious seeds is taking delivery on Monday of consignments that will take it to the one million mark.
More than 70,000 crops will be added to frozen storage chambers buried deep within a mountain in the Arctic Circle.
Cereal staples, unusual crops like the Estonian onion potato, and barley used to brew Irish beer are among them.
Monday marks the tenth anniversary of the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard.
One of three chambers is now almost full of packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop.
The number of deposits amounts to 1,059,646. This number excludes emergency withdrawals of about 90,000 seeds needed to make up for precious samples stranded in Syria due to the conflict there.
(6) ZAP THE APP. BBC reports — “Sarahah: Anonymous app dropped from Apple and Google stores after bullying accusations”.
A wildly popular anonymous messaging app has been removed from the Apple and Google stores after accusations that it has been facilitating bullying. But the company’s chief executive denies the claims and says the app isn’t meant to be used by younger teens.
Katrina Collins was appalled by the anonymous messages her 13-year-old daughter was receiving. One person said she hoped her daughter would kill herself. Others used extremely foul and offensive language.
The messages appeared on the Sarahah app, which was designed to allow people to leave “honest feedback” about colleagues and friends. Although Collins’ daughter wasn’t actually using the app, she saw the messages after a friend downloaded it and showed them to her.
[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Rich Lynch, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob.]