Your Emergency Holographic Backup Pixel Scroll 4/29/16 Second Pixel Scroll and Straight On Till Morning

(1) RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. One of the biggest news stories in the world today — “Large Hadron Collider: Weasel causes shutdown”.

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at Cern is offline after a short circuit – caused by a weasel.

The unfortunate creature did not survive the encounter with a high-voltage transformer at the site near Geneva in Switzerland.

The LHC was running when a “severe electrical perturbation” occurred in the early hours of Friday morning.

What did they discover when they bombarded the weasel with neutrinos? That it just made him mad?

(2) TIME FOR REFLECTION. They took the covers off the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope for the next round of work, the BBC reports.

Revealed for the first time in all its glory – the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be launched in 2018.

JWST is regarded as the successor to Hubble, and will carry technologies capable of detecting the light from the first stars to shine in the Universe.

Paramount in that quest will be a large primary reflecting surface.

And with a width of 6.5m, JWST’s will have roughly seven times the light-collecting area of Hubble’s mirror.

It is so big in fact that it must be capable of folding. Only by turning the edges inwards will the beryllium segments fit inside the telescope’s launch rocket.

The observatory is currently under construction at the US space agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

When in recent months engineers stuck down the segments to their support structure, each hexagon had a cover on it.

Only now, as the engineers prepare to move to the next stage of assembly, have those covers been removed to reveal the full mirror….

Leaving such a sensitive surface exposed even for a short time may appear risky. The fear would be that it might get scratched. But the European Space Agency’s JWST project scientist, Pierre Ferruit, said that was unlikely.

“The main danger is to get some accumulation of dust. But it’s a cleanroom so that accumulation is very slow,” he told BBC News.

“They need to rotate the telescope to get access to the back, and the protective covers were only resting on the mirror segments, so they had to be removed before the rotation.

“When the mirror is upside down, the exposure to dust will be much less, and I doubt anyone will be allowed to walk underneath.”

(3) NEWT SCAMANDER SCREENPLAY. The “Thursday Book Beat” post at Women Write About Comics alerts Harry Potter fans that another Rowling publication is on the way.

Potterheads might not be getting an eighth novel in the Harry Potter series, but J.K. Rowling seems committed to giving her fans new material to devour. She announced that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them wouldn’t just be available as a film on November 18, but that the screenplay would also be published on November 19. Newt Scamander’s adventures in the United States may be a balm for readers who can’t get to London to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, though this announcement also begs the question: why publish the screenplay in the first place when the film will still come out first?

(4) REUBEN NOMINEES. The five cartoonists nominated for this year’s Reuben Award have been announced. This award is generally considered the highest honor a US cartoonist can receive. It is presented yearly by the National Cartoonists Society.

  • Lynda Barry
  • Stephan Pastis
  • Hilary Price
  • Michael Ramirez
  • Mark Tatulli

The nominees in the rest of the categories are here at Comics Beat.

(5) CLASS OFFERED BY RAMBO AND SWIRSKY. Rachel Swirsky posted details on  “Retelling and retaling: Take a class with me and Cat Rambo”

Take an online class from me and Cat Rambo! May 21, 9:30-11:30 AM, Pacific Time.

Personally, I love retellings. As a kid, I had a collection of picture books retelling the Cinderella story in a dozen different settings. SFWA president Cat Rambo and I are teaching a class on the subject.

(6) EDELMAN’S LATEST ALSO HIS EARLIEST. Scott Edelman time travels to 2001 and interviews Samuel R. Delany for Episode 7 of Eating the Fantastic.

The latest episode of Eating the Fantastic was recorded 15 years before Eating the Fantastic began.

How is that possible?

Well, when it comes to Chip Delany, all things are possible.

On June 18, 2001, while Chip was in the middle of a book tour supporting the 25th anniversary republication of Dhalgren, I interviewed him at Bistro Bis in the Hotel George. The recording I made that day wasn’t created to be heard, but was merely a tool so it could be transcribed and run as text in Science Fiction Weekly, a site I edited during my 13 years at the Syfy Channel….

Samuel R. Delany and Scott Edelman

Samuel R. Delany and Scott Edelman

Who’ll be on the next installment of this podcast?

I’m not yet sure of the identity of my next guest, but I’ll be at StokerCon in Las Vegas the second weekend of May—where I’ll either win a Stoker Award or, in losing, tie at six for the most nominations without a win—and while there I plan to record several new episodes.

So it might be award-winning poet Linda Addison. Or writer Mary Turzillo, who won a Nebula Award for a story I published when I edited Science Fiction Age. Or it could be writer Gene O’Neill, with whom I attended the Clarion writers workshop way back in 1979 when we were still both getting started. (More time traveling!)


  • April 29, 1983 — David Bowie stars in Tony Scott’s vampire film The Hunger.
  • April 29, 1983Something Wicked This Way Comes opens in theaters.


  • Born April 29, 1955  — Kate Mulgrew.


  • Born April 29, 1923 — Director Irvin “Kersh” Kershner is born in Philadelphia.

(10) VOTE. The Internet Movie Database is running a poll on “Your favorite ship’s commander?”

Everybody is in there from Kirk, Picard and Janeway, to the captain of The Love Boat, and Captain Kangaroo….

(11) READ TIM PRATT. Rachel Swirsky’s latest story recommendation — “Friday read! ‘Cup and Table’ by Tim Pratt”.

Cup and Table” is my favorite of Tim Pratt’s stories–and it has a lot of competition. To explain how much competition, let me tell an anecdote about the audio magazine I used to edit, PodCastle.

I was no longer on staff when this happened, but at one point, the editors I who took over after I left received a letter. That letter complained of how many stories about lesbians were in the magazine, arguing that PodCastle should just be called LesbianCastle. One of the editors deviously ran the numbers and found that, proportionally, they did not actually run that many stories about lesbians. However, they did run a surprisingly high percentage of Tim Pratt stories. A percentage that, in fact, exceeded the percentage of stories about lesbians. He suggested that they call themselves PrattCastle instead.

(12) LIFE IN THE VAST LANE. In BBC’s article “Where to find life in the blackest vacuum of outer space” there is, says Chip Hitchcock, a “Shoutout to Hoyle, but not Anderson (who IIRC wrote about something much more like their topic).”

On the face of it space is dark, cold and full of lethal radiation – but maybe life has found a way to cling on in the blackness

First, we had better agree on what counts as “life”. It does not necessarily have to look like anything familiar.

As an extreme case, we can imagine something like the Black Cloud in astronomer Fred Hoyle’s classic 1959 science-fiction novel of that name: a kind of sentient gas that floats around in interstellar space, and is surprised to discover life on a planet.

But Hoyle could not offer a plausible explanation for how a gas, with an unspecified chemical make-up, could become intelligent. We probably need to imagine something literally a bit more solid.

While we cannot be sure that all life is carbon-based, as it is on Earth, there are good reasons to think that it is likely. Carbon is much more versatile as a building block for complex molecules than, say, silicon, the favourite element for speculations about alternative alien biochemistries.

(13) WARP SPEED. Larry Correia’s lengthy “Europe Trip Recap” doesn’t end in time to avoid an extraneous complaint about the LA Times’ Hugo coverage. Otherwise it’s an entertaining account of his just-completed overseas tour.

The next day we drove across all of Germany to the Czech Republic, and I got to experience the autobahn, which my whole life has been this sort of mythical place that has no speed limits, and is filled with drivers that understand slow traffic stays right, and where they never camp in the left lane, and in fact, if you’re blocking the left lane, they’ll come right up on your bumper at 100 miles an hour, honking, and flashing their lights. It was a place devoid of mercy, unforgiving of weakness. So we set out.

Apparently there are two kinds of tourist drivers on the autobahn. Those who are weak, fearful, whose crying pillows smell of lilacs and shame, who stay in the truck lane, or who wander out into the left occasionally, timidly, to be honked at and chased aside by awesome Teutonic Super Drivers…

And the other kind is the American who manages to average 180km an hour across all of Germany in a Volvo diesel station wagon.

It was AMAZING. I felt like a race car driver across an entire country. You know why German cars don’t have cup holders? Because if you stop to drink while driving, YOU WILL DIE. And you should. You need to be on. I’d get a gap, jump out to the left, floor it (because fuel economy is for hippies I’m on the mother f’ing autobahn!),  and nobody pulls out in front of me in a minivan to enforce their personal speed limit, people ahead of me going slower (like 100mph) immediately get out of the way, and when some bad ass comes up behind me in a super car, I get out of his way, and then they blast past me like I’m standing still.

It was beautiful.

(14) CUNIEFORM COMPUTING. ScreenRant hopes it has listed “12 Facts You Don’t Know About George R.R. Martin” but chances are you already know all but a couple of them.

4. The Magic of the Wordstar 4.0 Computer

Martin is a dedicated user of the WordStar word processor software, which was the preeminent word processor back in the 1980s, that ran on Microsoft DOS. Martin is one of a handful of famous writers who use the WordStar 4.0 Computer that utilizes a DOS operating system. The other notable users are William F. Buckley Jr., Ralph Ellison, Robert J Sawyer, Anne Rice, and Andy Breckman (of the tv show Monk). So he’s one of the few people left on planet Earth that uses this word processor.

In an interview with Conan O’Brien, George R. R. Martin explained his reason for choosing such a classic program. “Well, I actually like it. It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn’t do anything else,” Martin said. “I don’t want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lowercase letter and it becomes a capital. I don’t want a capital! If I’d wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work a shift key!”

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

154 thoughts on “Your Emergency Holographic Backup Pixel Scroll 4/29/16 Second Pixel Scroll and Straight On Till Morning

  1. White “chocolate” is the result of an evil conspiracy between British Sugar and the Lard Marketing Board.

  2. When I went to Ireland I kept a journal and at the end of each day’s entry I would write which candy bars I’d tried and what each one was like.

    And I wish they would call white chocolate something else. It’s a confection of some sort, sure, and I don’t doubt it appeals to some people, but comparing it to chocolate just sets it up to be a disappointment.

  3. “Americans do not deserve to have good chocolate, they are so pleased with bad.”

  4. “To my taste American mass production chocolate is crippled by a love of milk chocolate (or, sometimes, shudder of shudder – white ‘chocolate’). We tend to love the sweet profile. My own taste in chocolate though leans towards bitter. European chocolate is more accepting of that.”

    Parts of Europe that is. Milk chocolate is still the norm in Sweden, even if there is no problem finding other kinds.

  5. I feel sorry about the weasel and worse about having laughed.

    The fastest I’ve driven on a public road is 130mph/209kph. I’ve gone faster as a passenger, both on the road and on closed courses. I’m pretty sure those days are over, but I’m glad I had them.

    The problem I have with most commercial chocolate is the emulsion process often uses soy lecithin, which I think gives it a weird back taste and texture. I like Theo’s and I recently found an almond bark with coconut sugar that was good, but I like making my own raw chocolate. It isn’t emulsified, so it has to be made in small batches and refrigerated. It’s good but nowhere near the best ever, which I found at a Whole Foods in Hawaii and have never seen elsewhere.

  6. On the better-in-Europe front–the orange juice. Holy god. There must be laws about how long you can leave it in a vat or something, because the orange juice I got in Europe was so much better than it is over here, and we have FLORIDA for chrissake!

    It’s the pasteurization process, IMHO: there’s something in oranges that does not take kindly to heat, and I can taste the difference (it doesn’t seem to be as noticeable in other citrus). It is possible to get unpasteurized orange juice here in California, but it’s more expensive. But since the national brands aren’t worth drinking IMHO it’s either that or squeeze my own. Luckily my blood orange tree had a bumper crop this year.

    We’ve taken to renting places with kitchens when we travel, which lets us try products we can’t get in the US. I wish we could get the ready-made Spanish tortillas (not as good as granny made, I bet, but not bad for a euro), or fromage blanc, or those frozen rijstafel-for-one dinners (OK, didn’t actually try that, but it sounded interesting).

  7. The important thing about WordStar 4.0? Undelete. Earlier versions don’t have it. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to it.

    Oh, yeah. And embedded ruler lines. Those are awesome, too.

  8. Joe (Joe’s Own Editor) in Linux still carries WordStar capabilities, in fact you can run it in pretty much compatibility mode using the “jstar” command.

    Tried it. Wasn’t close enough. Don’t recall what it was that annoyed be, but it’s been a long time since I played with it.

  9. What’s a “WordStar 4.0 Computer that utilizes a DOS operating system.”?

    One that doesn’t use CP/M.

  10. Was WordStar 4.0 late enough that DOS was universally read as Microsoft DOS, and not any other Disk Operating System?

  11. Kyra, as the Kindle version of Cuckoo Song is currently on sale for $5.56, I’ve just bought it solely on the strength of your recommendation. Which is not something I do often!

  12. Was WordStar 4.0 late enough that DOS was universally read as Microsoft DOS, and not any other Disk Operating System?

    No, because DOS has *never* been read as Microsoft DOS. It’s PC-DOS.

    PC-DOS is a specific variant of Microsoft DOS (official name MS-DOS) for the IBM PC. There were other non-PC MS-DOS machines; such machines were not necessarily crippled by the 640K memory limit (the DEC Rainbow could go up to 720K. Other machines could reach 1MB by swapping out the ROM).

  13. Forgot to mention. There were versions of WordStar (both 3.mumble and 4) for non-PC MS-DOS machines. It was one of the first big apps for MS-DOS.

    So, no, WordStar was not late enough to for DOS to be universally read as PC-DOS.

  14. I see Chocolove at Vroman’s in Pasadena. (Bookstore, for those who don’t know of it.)

  15. DOS is the operating system, not the machine. There was DR DOS, from Digital Research, which got to v8 about the time that DR was bought out and disappeared. It was pretty good, and did some things that MS DOS didn’t; it hit V5 about the time MS DOS4 came out. They both run on PCs.

  16. There was DR DOS, from Digital Research, which got to v8 about the time that DR was bought out and disappeared.

    Digital Research was bought out long before v8; v7 was put out by Novell. It later got bought by Caldera, who released it with sources as OpenDOS. I lost track of it after that, but I do know that whoever bought it from Caldera took it closed again.

  17. Kyra-
    Just a lurker dropping in to thank you for your book reviews. I don’t always agree completely with them but I always find them valuable.

    I loved Ancillary Mercy and really enjoyed The Lie Tree and nominated both for Hugos. I somehow missed Cuckoo Song and now will look for it. I also agree with you that none of Gladstone’s books have been as good as the first one published. Off to try the Stina Lecht and Joe Abercrombie.

  18. (1)

    I think they may need to make the cabling a little more stoat…

    Re: Chocolate

    American chocolate is much like American-made cheese or beer: you need to seek out hippies (or hipsters) and the people who sell to them. You can get some excellent small batch chocolate here, and it’s a big enough market that there are even fake small batch producers. (Example: Mast, who, inspite of their founders’ bushy beards and exquisite instagram filter choices, were exposed as frauds who were making it industrial scale).

  19. Bookworm: Cadbury is, to quote Wiki, ‘a British multinational confectionery company wholly owned by American company Mondelez International (originally Kraft Foods) since 2010.’

    I’ve tasted the Irish Cadbury offering as a local Irish imports shop carries it and I’m not impressed as it takes no better than a Hershey chocolate bar.

  20. Chocolove Strong Dark has become my go-to value chocolate here in Houston also (I get it from Central Market). There are chocolates that are better, but they tend to be twice the price. I use Guittard chips for baking; Scharffen Berger is good; I’ve just tried some from Dagoba that I liked. (The latter two are actually divisions of Hershey, but their quality seems to have survived the purchase.)

    Ghirardelli I actually think of as worse than any of the above. They cater more to San Francisco tourists than to people actually looking for fine chocolate.

  21. It’s worth noting that Cadbury’s owned by Mondelez International which was originally called Kraft Foods since 2010. Just sayin’.

    The absolute worst chocolate I’ve ever tasted is the Tropical heat proof chocolate that Cadbury sells in places like Sri Lanka. It tastes like chalk that’s gone off. It can’t melt, it has a shelf life just this side of infinity and it’s hard enough to break coconuts open with.

  22. Cat Eldridge: So you’re saying that Cadbury’s comes from the same folks who gave us Velveeta?

  23. The absolute worst chocolate I’ve ever tasted is the Tropical heat proof chocolate that Cadbury sells in places like Sri Lanka.

    I think some version of that made it to Tanzania when I lived there, because I remember eating something along those lines.

  24. Our Gracious Hostspt asks me: ‘Cat Eldridge: So you’re saying that Cadbury’s comes from the same folks who gave us Velveeta?’

    Correct. Though I think Velveeta in a Philly cheesesteak sandwhich is fine.

  25. If we really want to dive into the paleo-desktop-computing memory hole–

    Heath/Zenith H/Z-89 and 90 computers could run HDOS, an 8-bit OS+BASIC ginned up in Benton Harbor for the even earlier H-8 hobbyist machines, though business users usually opted for CP/M. When 16-bit came along, H/Z offered customized versions of CP/M-86 and MS-DOS. (I also had Windows 1.0 for my Z-120. It was awful.)

    As the IBM PC became the dominant platform, developers aimed their products at its hardware/BIOS specifics and the MS O/S, and generic applications got rare–I recall all kinds of work-arounds and hacks required to get Lotus 1-2-3 to run on non-IBM systems. Finally, everybody gave in and started producing true IBM clones that passed the can-run-Lotus (or better yet, Flight Simulator) compatibility test.

    WordStar fit very well into the CP/M environment, and I suspect that part of what caused it to fade as a majority preference was a failure or refusal to adapt to the hegemony of IBM and Microsoft.

  26. Mark on April 30, 2016 at 2:15 am said:

    (13) WARP SPEED

    That was amusing, especially (for me) his experiences of London. He missed out on the Natural History museum though, which is one of my favourite things in London. (Dinosaurs!)

    Best dinosaurs in London are the Crystal Palace Park retro-dinosaurs.

  27. Spreading the book love yay!

    (Mallory, just in case you didn’t know, the Joe Abercrombie is the second book in a series. While they’re actually very stand-alone as series books go — all the books thus far have had entirely different main characters, for example — the first book, Half a King, is quite good, although I like the second book more. If you haven’t read the first one yet and want to, it might give you more background in terms of what’s going on and what the deal is with some of the secondary characters of the second book.)

  28. Regional chocolate preferences: My previous employer had an office in Hyderabad, and a few people a year got to travel from the US to India or vice versa to work from there for up to a month.

    One of my teammates took advantage of this last year. He’d heard that people visiting from the India office would buy large amounts of US chocolate to take back with them, because they really like standard US chocolate. Unfortunately, when he decided he’d bring some with him, he got dark chocolate. Which the India employees turned out to not regard as actual chocolate, because in India they like their sweets hyper-sweet.

  29. Petréa Mitchell: hyper-sweet’s an understatement. I remember cases of baked goods which had so much sugar on them that they dripped as they set in the room temperature case. Tea’s also hyper-sweet In most of Asia.


  30. I can’t rank them, but it’s been a stressful week. Here is a list of other 2015 books I loved, sorted alphabetically by title:

    Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace – The only 2015 book I’ve read twice, and am thinking of reading a third time. This book both celebrates and critiques the hero’s journey as the protagonist escapes a life she loathes to wander through the spirit world sticking her knife in things. This book is all the right kinds of angry, beautiful and strange for this reader. Standalone.

    Chapelwood by Cherie Priest – This sequel to Maplecroft is set a few hours drive from my home. In addition to featuring the wonders of the American south’s quisine, I also enjoyed the not-quite-epistolary feel and mature female protagonist POV in this not-quite-lovecraftian, not-quite-horror tale. Sequel.

    Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear – Karen is the kind of narrator you just want to keep listening to. It’s a fun adventure with great characters. This book wins the year for voice. Standalone.

    Empress Game by Rhonda Mason – A fun, action packed romp that has continued to find its way into my brain long after I thought I’d have forgotten it. Do you like your space opera with knife fights? First in trilogy.

    Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish – Unlikable heroine to the nth power. Owl spends her time getting out of messes mostly of her own making, mostly by making even larger messes she’ll need to escape. She’s excellent at making a bad situation worse, and a worse situation into an explosion. First in a series.

    Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older – Another angry, beautiful book, Sierra’s magic is her art. This book is so good and there’s nothing I can say about it that doesn’t feel massively spoilery. Standalone.

    The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – While clearly inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, this isn’t a retelling. The story centers around the clever, proud Shahrzad, who often uses her words as tools, but is also handy with a bow. This book is written in gorgeous, sumptuous prose. First in a duology.

  31. Unpasteurized juice is great, as long as no one in your family has a compromised immune system

  32. WordStar fit very well into the CP/M environment, and I suspect that part of what caused it to fade as a majority preference was a failure or refusal to adapt to the hegemony of IBM and Microsoft.

    I may be mistaken, but I do not believe there was a generic MS-DOS version of WordStar 5.

    WordStar got as far WordStar 7 before the annoyance that was WordStar 2000 appeared. For that, they completely overhauled the UI and did away with the classic keystrokes.

    WordStar users were faced with learning a new UI *anyway*, so there was no reason for them to not jump on the Word bandwagon. In short, WordStar committed suicide.

    Except for those of us who squirreled away old distributions, of course. I’ve got WordStar 4.0 for CP/M on 8″ floppies lying around here somewhere.

  33. Best dinosaurs in London are the Crystal Palace Park retro-dinosaurs.

    Insert snarky comment about Chelsea FC being the best dinosaurs in London this year.

  34. Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    I know this book gets a lot of love, but it just didn’t do it for me. Ah, well.

    Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

    I *loved* Maplecroft, but haven’t gotten around to this one yet.

    Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

    Finally ordered a copy of this one; it should be arriving in early May.

    (Getting some 2016 books in that order as well — Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs, The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne Valente, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold, Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip, A Tangle of Gold by Jaclyn Moriarty, In The Time of Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carey, The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham, Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton, Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan, and The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells. Hm. Rather a lot actually.)

    Empress Game by Rhonda Mason … Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish … Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older … The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh …

    And some for the TBR pile!

  35. I first read about that weasel in an article in Dutch (I sometimes read the Dutch news for practice and to increase my vocabulary.). The headline led to a certain amount of head-scratching until I worked my way through the article and established that no, “wezel” didn’t have some alternate meaning (you know, the way “mouse” might if an errant mouse damaged a technical installation.). (Also when you’re looking at “deeltjesversneller” and thinking “something that speeds up tiny things, that were once part of something bigger. What do I know of that would fit that description?” “CERN” is a big fat hint.)

    That reminds me of one interpreting job I had where I was supposed to interpret for some English speaking gentlemen from Finland who were visiting a factory they were doing business with. During the meeting, one of the Finns said something about ventilation ducts getting clogged with leaves, twigs and squirrels. And I did a doubletake and asked, “Do you really mean squirrels as in little furry animals with bushy tails?” Turned out he did and that squirrels had made their home in the ventilation ducts, because they enjoyed the warmth there.

  36. @Doctor Science
    I didn’t diss all American chocolate, just Hershey’s, which really is awful IMO. I’m aware that there are small producers in the US who produce some very fine chocolate. Ditto for American cheese, there are probably small producers that make excellent cheese, but most of what you find in US supermarkets is pretty bad.

    I don’t like Cadbury’s either, since they use vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter, which makes the chocolate greasy. Actually, whether they use cocoa butter is one of the marks of good chocolate.

    And don’t get me started on Mondelez. They purchased Jakobs-Suchard, one of our local Bremen chocolate producers in the early 1990s and totally ruined the Suchard and Milka brands by using low quality cocoa. Though I don’t think they’ve stooped the vegetable oil yet, since substituting vegetable oild for cocoa butter used to be illegal in Germany.

    And BTW, though I’m from Europe I prefer milk chocolate to dark chocolate and eat white chocolate as well. And white chocolate – if properly made – still contains cocoa butter.

    @Cheryl S, if soy lecithine is a problem for you, try Hachez (the other local Bremen chocolate maker), if you can find it. They use only lecithine derived from rapeseed/canola because of concerns regarding GMO soybeans. Plus, their chocolate is excellent. I eat mostly Hachez chocolate these days and buy it directly at the factory outlet.

  37. Part of this is American laziness, but another part is accessibility. In particular, if the place is partly or wholly supported by government money it has to make a *serious* effort to be wheelchair-accessible. It’s not always possible, of course, but they have to try.

    That’s an excellent point and the US is IMO way ahead of us with regard to accessibility. Though with very old buildings (and buildings that tourist sights are often hundreds of years old), it’s not always possible to install an elevator.

  38. Of books mentioned today I particularly enjoyed:
    Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (2016, latest in an ongoing series)

    Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (2015, latest in an ongoing series)

    Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older (2015)

  39. [1] According to CERN, the critter that foolishly chewed through the wiring was a fouine, also known as a beech marten, which is only related to the weasels.

    [13] Back in the 80s, I returned from a European vacation with approximately 10 Kg of chocolate bars, and it took about 6 months to finish them off when I rationed them to one a day. I no longer remember my favorites, but I do remember that I preferred the now discontinued Terry’s Plain Chocolate bar over the Cadbury Bourneville. Sadly, it appears that Cadbury or Mondelez bought out Terry’s and kept the one with greater name recognition. These days, my favorite inexpensive chocolate is the Trader Joe’s Belgian Dark Chocolate, which has a nice hint of fruit. Unfortunately, I haven’t really found a nice American dark chocolate bar that’s in the 50-75 cent range.

  40. Wordstar compatibility is found in a number of Unix text editors. Most notably, perhaps, the gigantic and controversial Emacs has had “wordstar-mode” since the eighties, and there’s no sign of it going away.

    Wordstar and Wordperfect aren’t the only old word processors that SF writers cling to, though. I met Donald Kingsbury at a convention a few years back, and during our chat, I discovered that he’s still a dedicated user of XyWrite, which, despite never really making the big leagues, had a dedicated cult following among professional writers in its heyday. He was worried about how much longer he’d be able to keep using it; I pointed him in the direction of DosBox (open-source MS-DOS emulator which runs on all Win/Mac/Linux/etc systems, and tends to provide better DOS compatibility these days than even MS does.).

    (Regarding WordPerfect: I always liked the idea of “reveal codes”, but other than that, I hated its interface, with its heavy dependencies on not-on-the-main-keyboard Function keys.)

  41. Book reviews: Looks at reviews. Looks at pile of unread books and research materials. Whimpers.

    Chocolate: unfortunately, we avoid European chocolates for the most part, as they don’t seem to see the need to call out hazelnuts as a major ingredient. We’d rather not have the first indication being my partner getting sick.

    Anime: “Flying Witch” is still the only stand- out anime for this year, and the only one I’d recommend to a non-anime fan. Ushio and Tora, Tanaka-kun is always Listless and Rinne are strong secondary choices.

    Webcomics: in Strong Female Protagonist, Allison has like, the worst philosophy professor ever. Of course considering she accidentally got the last one fired, she may deserve him.

    Still, doing an exercise that shows “people will act in their own selfish interests”, may not be the smartest thing to do to a walking KT event….

  42. Anachronda on April 30, 2016 at 12:59 pm said:

    I couldn’t remember who bought it. I still have a machine that runs it, though. V8 was about when I lost track of it – I moved and it was easier to get a Windows machine to get to the internet than to deal with the program I’d been using with DOS. (1997 – that’s a long time, in computer terms.)

  43. Ghirardelli’s 60% dark is supposed to be a good baking/cooking chocolate. It’s a bit easier to find than Guittard or the other imports – it should be in the baking section of the store.

  44. Chocolate: unfortunately, we avoid European chocolates for the most part, as they don’t seem to see the need to call out hazelnuts as a major ingredient. We’d rather not have the first indication being my partner getting sick.

    I’m pretty sure German chocolate manufacturers mention if it contains nuts, though it’s usually in small print. But if you have allergy issues, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  45. Part of this is American laziness, but another part is accessibility. In particular, if the place is partly or wholly supported by government money it has to make a *serious* effort to be wheelchair-accessible. It’s not always possible, of course, but they have to try.

    It’s also a boon to people who have to move large quantities of heavy, fragile stuff between different levels.

  46. PJ Evans says ‘Ghirardelli’s 60% dark is supposed to be a good baking/cooking chocolate. It’s a bit easier to find than Guittard or the other imports – it should be in the baking section of the store.’

    I’ve found that you can go as high as 80% dark and it will still taste good. Anything over that and it just too dark. Scharffenberger chocolate at 70% is also a good baking chocolate.

  47. @Cora Buhlert, thank you for the tip. I don’t recall seeing that brand before, but I’ll look for it.

    Karen Memory didn’t make it onto my Hugo ballot, but it was really close. I thought the narrative voice was vivid and brilliant and it sent me off on a Bear binge.

    And now I have a bunch more books for the mountain. It’s probably a coincidence, but the word my phone suggested after I typed “for the” was devil. 😉

  48. @Cheryl S, according to their website, Hachez chocolate is available in the US.

    BTW, when I was at university, working at Hachez was a popular summer job for college students. I never worked there myself, but I had many friends who did. They all said that Hachez would let its production staff eat as much chocolate as they wanted. Cause after a few days, they were all heartily sick of chocolate and stopped snacking from the production line, which in the end was cheaper and more effective than constantly monitoring employees to stop them from snacking.

    Karen Memory was one of my Hugo nominations this year. Elizabeth Bear is hit and miss for me, but this one was definitely hit.

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