Pixel Scroll 1/20/18 Where All The Pixels Are Strong, All The Files Are Good Looking, And The Scrolls Are Above Average

(1) EPPS HELD BACK. BBC reports U.S. astronaut Jeanette Epps, who was a guest at the 2015 Worldcon, has been taken off her assigned mission to the ISS: “Nasa removes US astronaut from ISS mission”

The US astronaut Jeanette Epps has been removed from her upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS) just months before launch.

Dr Epps was to have been the first African-American astronaut assigned to the space station crew.

She would have flown aboard a Russian Soyuz flight in June but is being replaced by another astronaut.

Nasa has not given a reason for withdrawing her but says she will be considered for future missions.

(2) BYUTV SERIES EXTINCT NOW IS. BYUtv has cancelled its pioneering series Extinct, the post-apocalyptic SF show directed by Ryan Little and written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. It ran ten episodes since it premiered on October 1, 2017 and was BYUtv’s only second scripted show, (the first being its science-fiction-y Granite Flats).

(3) FORREST J ACKERMAN IN 1996. Fanac.org has posted a recording of a one hour interview of Forry Ackerman, conducted by Rich Lynch.

Forry Ackerman, winner of the first fan Hugo Award, tells the stories behind his creation of the long running magazine “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, Vampirella, and the science fiction service award, the “Big Heart”. Here’s your chance to find out how Yvette Mimieux, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson and George Pal had a bit part in Forry’s creation of Vampirella. In this 1996 interview by Richard Lynch, conducted at LACon3, Forry talks about his movie career (over 50 cameos!), and tells anecdotes about the fans and professionals he knew during his long and productive career. Includes great anecdotes about Dr. David Keller, Bela Lugosi and E. Everett Evans. The audio recording is enhanced with more than 50 images.


(4) JOELCRAFT. At Birth. Movies, Death., in “Someone Realized An HP Lovecraft Poem Maps Perfectly to Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’”, see four different versions!


To repeat, this individual discovered that this 100-year-old poem by HP Lovecraft tracks almost perfectly to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Just reading it, you can almost hear it.

But we at BMD wanted to actually hear it. We saw this tweet yesterday morning and immediately begged a musically talented friend of ours to do the right thing here. He of course agreed. But in the time it took him to arrange, record, and send the song to us, SOMEONE ELSE HAD ALREADY DONE IT. Ladies and gentlemen, the talented and expedient Julian Velard, appearing here as “HP Joelcraft”:


More videos at the link.

(5) CARLTON OBIT. Bob Carlton, who created Return to the Forbidden Planet, has died.

The writer and director created the jukebox rock and roll musical, which is loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in the mid-1980s. It later transferred to the West End and won the Olivier award for best new musical in 1990.

Carlton was also artistic director of the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch for 17 years, stepping down in 2014.

(6) SHEARMUR OBIT. The Hollywood Reporter says producer Allison Shearmur has died.

Allison Shearmur, who produced the Hunger Games films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, died unexpectedly Friday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with lung cancer. She was 54.

Shearmur was an executive at Paramount and Lionsgate before making a transition to a producer role, becoming involved in some of the biggest movies in recent years.

She was an executive producer on 2017’s Power Rangers and was casting Disney’s The One and Only Ivan, which she was producing with Angelina Jolie.


  • Can it be Shelob has captured Charlie Brown? See Lio.

SUPERMAN NO LONGER GOING COMMANDO. Or so says John King Tarpinian. Inverse has the story: “Superman Puts On His Red Trunks Again in Landmark ‘Action Comics’ #1000”.

But the costume! This is more than just a special outfit for a special cover of a special issue. It will be Superman’s new outfit going forward, marking yet another change in Superman’s wardrobe within the last few years.

Back in 2011, in an effort to modernize Superman (as well as the rest of the DC Universe), many DC heroes got big costume changes as part of the hard reset, dubbed the New 52. Decked out in armor instead of spandex, Superman also ditched his red trunks in favor of a plain red belt. He also had a turtleneck. Superman went through another change in 2016, during Rebirth, and in early 2017 had a few more tweaks that included the return of his long red boots. Now, an older version of Superman is back, but no matter what Clark Kent is still just a farm boy from Kansas who is now raising his own family.

By the way, Superman never wore “underwear.” As confirmed in an issue of Action Comics #967 in 2016, the red “undies” (as Jon Kent put it) were just a “decorative element.” The suit was all one piece.

(9) ANOTHER COMPANY READIES FOR SPACE COMMERCE. The second test flight of the Electron rocket has succeeded in placing 3 small sats in orbit — “Rocket Lab Electron reaches orbit on second launch”. The plan is for frequent launches (approximately weekly), enabled by the sparse air traffic.

The Electron lifted off from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 8:43 p.m. Eastern (2:43 p.m. local time Jan. 21) on the second day of a nine-day launch window for the mission….

As the second stage shut down, launch controllers declared that the vehicle was in orbit. The stage subsequently released its three payloads, a Dove cubesat for Planet and two Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire. Planet later confirmed that its cubesat was in orbit and communicating following the launch.

…The launch was the first for the Electron after the vehicle’s inaugural flight in May 2017 failed to reach orbit. The company said that the rocket worked as planned on that mission, but a telemetry problem triggered range safety systems about four minutes after liftoff, ending the mission.

In an interview earlier this month, Beck said that if the second launch was successful, the company would move ahead into commercial service with the rocket. Beck said in the post-launch interview that was still the case, but didn’t set a date for the next mission beyond rolling the vehicle out at the launch pad “in the coming months.” The customer for that launch, if it is a commercial mission, has not been announced.

(10) A TEACHING MOMENT. Yahoo! News tells that the “ISS astronauts will complete Challenger teacher’s science lessons”.

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded during liftoff. Onboard were seven astronauts, one of which was teacher Christa McAuliffe. She was selected from over 11,000 applicants for the position of NASA’s Teacher in Space. McAuliffe had plans to conduct lessons from Challenger; now those lessons will finally take place from the International Space Station.

Over the next few months, astronauts Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold will conduct four of McAuliffe’s six planned lessons, focusing on liquids, effervescence, chromatography and Newton’s laws. They will be filmed and then posted online by The Challenger Center, which focuses on outreach to students about STEM topics in memory of the Shuttle and her crew.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Bonnie McDaniel, Errol Cavit, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]

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138 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/20/18 Where All The Pixels Are Strong, All The Files Are Good Looking, And The Scrolls Are Above Average

  1. Bill: Okay. Then presumably (unless Grand-dad was imagining it), there was some real-life southern Senator who sounded enough like Claghorn that my dad’s pap was mortally offended by the whole thing. I said something about Claghorn one time, and he went off about it.

  2. After thinking about it for a bit, I think the distinction is between a number used as an actual quantity, versus a number used as an identifying label.

    Reading the sentence
    “This hotel has 974 rooms”,
    I would hear in my head (or read aloud) as:
    “This hotel has nine hundred (and) seventy-four rooms”.
    [I think I tend to use “and”, but now I can’t be sure; I’m too self-conscious about it]
    [when writing checks, I would (self-consciously) only use “and” before the cents quantity, if applicable]

    But the sentence:
    “Go to room 423”,
    I would hear in my head (or read aloud) as:
    “Go to room four twenty-three”.

    I think I would only use single digits if I was trying to communicate with someone else and wasn’t sure I had been heard clearly, or was repeating what someone had told me. Oh, and to clarify in the case of easily misheard numbers, such as “fourteen” vs “forty”, and similar.


  3. Owlmirror, that matches my usage, except I definitely use the “and” (or a much reduced “n” in speech).

  4. It also matches my usage, although like Lenore Jones I’ll usually put an ‘n’ in there… (Five hundred ‘n’ forty people showed up to Five-Forty West Main Street.)

  5. This place we hang out is File Seven Seventy.

    Other people have already made every other comment I would possibly have made about saying numbers in various circumstances, so I won’t.

  6. Numberphile made a fascinating video about the differences between the US and UK when it comes to saying numbers.

    British Numbers confuse Americans

    I haven’t watched it in a while, but I remember it as being quite interesting. I think that “seven-seventy” is at least acceptable on both sides of the pond, but something like “fifty-three hundred” is supposedly unique to the US.

    (Yes, I also call this place “file seven seventy” in casual conversation.)

    If I recall correctly, it also suggests that leaving out the “and” in something like “two thousand [and] one” is an Americanism. I think there’s a clip of Arthur C. Clarke.

  7. @Xtifr, nice video! They got at least one thing wrong, though: There exists a One Wall Street in Manhattan, complete with the One spelled out. It used to be the Irving Trust building; I’ve forgotten whose it is now. (ETA: BNY Mellon)

    Also, London addresses sound comparatively easy to follow compared to Tokyo addresses, which are assigned chronologically, or so I was told when I was there. So the oldest buildings have the lowest numbers. Everybody hands out little maps to show where they are, because the number is not going to help you.?

  8. Speaking of addresses, I’m currently halfway through Cory Doctorow’s “For the Win” which I’m enjoying a lot. But in the parts set in Singapore, the small streets/lanes are called “Lorangs” repeatedly; they should be “Lorongs”.

    It’s a tiny detail, but I’m finding myself feeling more irked by it than I probably should. (I’ve fired off a quick note to the author about it so hopefully it’ll get fixed in the e-version; I’m reading a dead-tree version).

  9. Also, London addresses sound comparatively easy to follow compared to Tokyo addresses, which are assigned chronologically, or so I was told when I was there.

    Not just Tokyo, most of Japan. The numbers in the address that tell you which small district the place is in are helpful, the building number much less so. But Maps apps will do a lot of the difficult work nowadays.

  10. @xtifr

    Most British people would say seven hundred and seventy. Or seven-seven-oh. Very few would find seven-seventy acceptable, definitely a smaller number than those who do not object to fifty-three hundred.

  11. Ingvar on January 23, 2018 at 2:12 am said:

    Am I the only one (occasionally) pronouncing it “double-seven oh”?

    [faints at the sight of such a deviation from tradition] Oh My!

  12. If I said it in the manner of seven-seven-oh I’d probably say “seven-seven-zero” more often, for clarity; I’ve learned too well how an “oh” can disappear when reciting numbers.

    I keep the and (Or the abbreviated n’ version) in my numbers when I say the whole thing – it feels weird to do it without. Wonder if it’s another cross- border distinction or if the “losing the and is a US thing” is as often the case a regionalism for some of the US.

    I think the reason we say room and street numbers differently from total quantities (per owlmirror) is because we don’t as easily visualize the digits if we say “our business is at two-thousand-four-hundred-and-thirteen Random Street” as when we say “Twenty-four thirteen” or “two-four-one-three”. When we’re talking quantities, the fact that it’s a number in the thousands (not the ten thousands or the hundreds) is important, often more important than the exact digits; when we’re talking addresses the fact that it is four numbers in this exact sequence is more important.

    Ingvar: You might be, but it is a logical way to say it.

  13. I was always taught that “and” in a spoken number represents a decimal point; “ninety-nine and forty-four one-hundredths percent pure” comes to mind. Of course, that goes out the window with stylized representations like “four score and seven years ago” or “four and twenty blackbirds.”

  14. @Rev. Bob
    or even “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”

    ETA: I am a Brit and have always said Seven Seventy.

  15. The FiftyThree Hundred in American house numbers: I was always told that Americans divided streets into blocks, each of which started off the numbering again. So you’re looking at Block 53 and the numbers on there. There is no great expectation of there being a number 5299.

  16. @NickPheas: or even “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”

    If referring to the title, yes; citing the title properly trumps other considerations. However, if you asked me to speak that number of spotted puppies in some other context, I would either say that you had “one hundred one” or “a hundred and one” canines – and no, I do not contradict myself there.

    The distinction, as I understand it, is that “a hundred” is like “a dozen” or “a gross,” a collection to which a few more might be added separately. Thus, “a hundred and two” goes along with “a dozen and three” or “three score and ten” – you’re tallying collections and adding the remainder, rather than enumerating a unified number. The fact that the word “hundred” functions in two different ways – both as a collective and as a base-ten unit name, like its brothers “thousand” and “million” – makes the use of “a” or “one” significant for differentiating those contexts.

    But that’s an edge case, and those tend to get fuzzy even when not counting mammals. 😉

  17. Nick: Canucks too… sometimes. It’s not perfectly consistent (Because what with hills, rivers, major strteets coming in at funny angles, etc, streets don’t always form such perfect lines with their neighbouring streets – and suburbs love the random curlicue effect instead), but news stories do tend to report that “X happened on the 400 block of Y Street” even on occasions where the 400 block actually starts at 390 and ends at 507.

  18. @NickPheas: the only city where I’ve actually seen numbers matching blocks is Washington DC. (An old New York City guidebook had a table allowing approximations of avenue addresses in the main city, involving IIRC dividing by 20 then adding a constant reflecting how far down into old Manhattan the avenue started.) I suspect @Lenora’s case is true for most North American cities — the even hundreds describe some location that people who know the area can find, especially if there’s no convenient mnemonic for cross streets (cf alphabetical duchies in part of Boston, or “Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest”).

  19. @Chip, Hoboken NJ has a grid. It’s easy to follow in the north-south blocks, where the addresses between 3rd and 4th, for instance, fall between 300 and 328, I think. Well under 399, anyway. But we do have addresses below 100, south of 1st Street.

    The east-west blocks are gridded as well, but it’s less obvious.

    I do think this is common, though not universal, in the U.S.

  20. the only city where I’ve actually seen numbers matching blocks is Washington DC.

    Portland, Oregon works the same way. 2444 E. Hawthorne Blvd is between 24th and 25th Ave. 2337 E. Burnside St. is between 23rd and 24th.

    I don’t think this is uncommon. It’s true across the river in Vancouver WA too — 809 Washington Street is between 8th and 9th St, and so on. It’s true in my hometown, it’s true in Seattle…

  21. Much of Clinton, Iowa is on a grid, with avenues running EW and streets running NS. 1st Avenue divides the streets into North X Street and South X Street; the avenues are numbered both ways from 1st, with North or South tacked onto the end. 2nd Avenue North is one block north of 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue South one block south of 1st. 1st Street is close to the Mississippi River, the rest of the streets count up from there going west.

  22. Gridded layouts with 100s blocks is I think not to be founded in New England, and uncommon on the east coast, where the cities mostly were founded before people started saying, “Hey! Let’s be completely logical and neat and orderly about this!”

    Elsewhere in the US, I think it’s pretty common, but hardly universal. It was actually a bit disorienting for me, the first time I encountered it. “What do you mean, the 2300 block? How long is that street? Wait, how long are your blocks?”

    I should perhaps clarify, this was my mind attempting to impose both New England practices in street layouts, and the dimensions of towns in hilly New England, on a very, very flat place…

  23. @NickPheas ETA: I am a Brit and have always said Seven Seventy.

    But you are just weird :-).

    Actually it would be a neat piece of research to see if there are regional differences around Britain in how people would pronounce 770 (or is it the File as a prefix which moves it more to 7-70 for you?).

    For me it is a plain – seven-seven-oh which is the same number of syllables as seven-seventy, and is more reasonable to my ears as I have had 33 years of using Unix file permissions where saying it as three individual numbers makes more sense.

  24. I am a Brit who would say Seven Seventy if following File, so I guess I join Nick in being weird ?

    (If a pure number I would probably say seven hundred and seventy. Trying out some variations, I would refer to an IBM three eight six, but an Amiga five hundred. Huh, that is weird)

  25. My favorite grid layout is Tulsa, where the central north-south streets are (mostly) in themed alphabetical order. The first streets to the west are named after cities west of Tulsa; the streets on the east are named after cities to the east. I thought I remembered a cycle of universities, but apparently that’s just Harvard and Yale playing games.

    This article corrected that old notion.

  26. There’s a section of Cape Canaveral where all the cross streets are named for American Presidents, in order from Washington to Harding, which is helpful in finding places.

  27. (Most of) King County, Washington, has a numbered grid: my old address was 10495 NE 4th Street, which in theory put me between 104th and 105th Avenues, except that 104th Avenue was called Bellevue Way. However, the street numbers in Bellevue didn’t start at 1, but were notionally continuous across Lake Washington to Seattle; I think Bellevue starts at around 90.

    That (“most of”) is because there are some interruptions. Most notably, downtown Seattle has multiple conflicting grids; I was told this was “conflicting” in the sense that they were set up by people who actively didn’t get along, not just two grids starting in different places and then running into each other, like the odd angles between the Greenwich Village grid and the surrounding Manhattan grid. There’s also a bit of Kirkland where the 120s suddenly give way to streets numbered 1, 2, 3… and then resume.

    It took me a little while to realize that those building numbers encoded the cross streets, like the numbering I grew up with in Queens, N.Y. Queens makes it clearer by dropping a hyphen in: 47-13 is near 47th Street or Avenue, and 47-50 is likely to be followed by 48-02. (Queens and Bellevue both complicate things by occasionally dropping in a “place” between numbered streets, or a “road” and sometimes also a “drive” between numbered avenues, if a developer decided to put an extra street in between the previously determined grid numbers. Of course, once in a while you still get names: not just Main Street and Queens Boulevard, but a series of tree names in alphabetical order in Flushing, a couple of streets named after presidents, the delightful Utopia Parkway….

  28. @Anne Sheller: counted streets show up even in New England; the person who started building the east end of Cambridge MA, next to the river, was so notoriously confident of expansion that he started with 2nd St. (He underestimated; there’s a large mall on the water side of 1st St., with a hotel on condos on its water side.) But do the house numbers jump to a new hundred at every street crossing? Or are they sequential?

    @John A. Arkansawyer: fascinating, but I’m surprised at the running-out-of-names problem; they should have invoked Emerson rather than demanding absolute consistency. In DC the lettered (east-west) streets are followed by two-syllable names, then three-syllable names, without fussing about repetition (Albemarle is followed by Appleton, and Chesapeake by Cumberland) or supporting the end of the alphabet at all (there’s no X, Y, or Z even for the lettered streets); I was told when young that there’s an alphabet of trees (plants?), but I see no sign of it. And all this is interrupted (cf @Lis Carey) and varied by hills and by the gash of Rock Creek canyon (e.g., there’s Euclid St. east of the canyon and Edmunds west of it, both in the NW quadrant).

    @Vicki Rosenzweig: fascinating to see there are competing numbering systems in what’s now one city; I guess that’s an effect of mergers, and of different times of development?

  29. Because of individual cities in the Bay Area having their own grids, and due to El Camino Real (the original main road dating back to the Spanish mission days, now a surface street running down the Peninsula), you can get cases like the Mountain View-Los Altos border, where as I recall the numbers on opposite sides of ECR (which are in different cities) are significantly different and are also running in opposite directions from each other.

    On a much smaller scale, in Chico, California, where I went to college and lived for some years thereafter, has a sequence of streets downtown named for trees, thus: Chestnut, Hazel, Ivy, Cherry, Orange. (Look at the initial letters if you don’t immediately see the significance.) They then continue naming for trees, but don’t try to repeat the pattern, although they stick with trees: Cedar, Walnut, Oak, Ash, Hickory

    A restaurant I liked in downtown, when you ordered, gave you a stand marked so they knew where to bring your food, which is not unusual, but instead of numbers like most places do, they had street signs with names of Chico city streets on them.

  30. All this talk about addresses reminds me of William Tenn’s “Child’s Play” – the address of “Bild-A-Man” corporation is “The Bild-A-Man Company, 928, Diagonal Level, Glunt City, Ohio” but when our hero consults with the chamber of commerce from Glunt, he learns:

    There is no firm in Glunt City at the present time bearing any name similar to “Bild-A-Man Company” nor do we know of any such organization planning to join our little community. We also have no thoroughfare called “Diagonal”; our north-south streets are named after Indian tribes while our east-west avenues are listed numerically in multiples of five. Glunt City is a restricted residential township; we intend to keep it that. Only small retailing and service establishments are permitted here. If you are interested in building a home in Glunt City and can furnish proof of white, Christian, Anglo-Saxon ancestry on both sides of your family for fifteen generations, we would be glad to furnish further information. Thomas H. Plantagenet, Mayor.

  31. andyl:
    For me it is a plain – seven-seven-oh which is the same number of syllables as seven-seventy, and is more reasonable to my ears as I have had 33 years of using Unix file permissions where saying it as three individual numbers makes more sense.



  32. Seven-Seven-oh may have the same number of syllables but it has two discrete pauses where seven-seventy has one. Thus it is slower to say.

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