(1) AN UNEXPECTED ADDITION TO THE PANTHEON. [Item by rcade.] You’ll never guess who is on the cover of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2022 Calendar. Lots of fun in this thread (which starts here.)
(2) UK CONVENTION WILL SHIFT DATES. ChillerCon UK, the counterpart to StokerCon, announced today they will be moving their dates due to Omicron. The new dates are to be determined.
… However, with the current situation regarding the Omicron variant, especially with regard to the ongoing travel restrictions in many countries, it’s proving impossible to keep to the current dates of 10-13 March 2022, much as we’ve tried our best to do so. We apologise for any inconvenience, but feel it’s vital to wait until things are safer, travel is less problematic, and we can organise a fantastic weekend where you can all meet in person.
To that end, we are pleased to let you know that, at the moment, we are actively discussing with the two convention hotels the possibility of moving ChillerCon UK to a date later on this year. We can not guarantee a specific date yet, but hope to be able to advise a suitable, safe, date as soon as possible….
(3) MYSTICON CANCELLED. MystiCon, an event planned for February 25-27 in Roanoke, VA, will not be held the committee announced January 3.
MystiCon has always been as much of a “family” reunion as it has been a convention. Knowing that and looking at business, staffing, health and safety concerns, it has become apparent that we will not be able to have the MystiCon that we know and love in February of 2022. This was not an easy decision but one that is necessary….
(4) LIVE LONG AND PROSPER. The New York Times follows Adam Nimoy “To Boldly Explore the Jewish Roots of ‘Star Trek’” at the Skirball Museum in Los Angeles.
Adam Nimoy gazed across a museum gallery filled with “Star Trek” stage sets, starship replicas, space aliens, fading costumes and props (think phaser, set to stun). The sounds of a beam-me-up transporter wafted across the room. Over his shoulder, a wall was filled with an enormous photograph of his father — Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock on the show — dressed in his Starfleet uniform, his fingers splayed in the familiar Vulcan “live long and prosper” greeting.
But that gesture, Adam Nimoy noted as he led a visitor through this exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center, was more than a symbol of the television series that defined his father’s long career playing the part-Vulcan, part-human Spock. It is derived from part of a Hebrew blessing that Leonard Nimoy first glimpsed at an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Boston as a boy and brought to the role.
The prominently displayed photo of that gesture linking Judaism to Star Trek culture helps account for what might seem to be a highly illogical bit of programming: the decision by the Skirball, a Jewish cultural center known mostly for its explorations of Jewish life and history, to bring in an exhibition devoted to one of television’s most celebrated sci-fi shows….
(5) ANOTHER STRIKE AGAINST ROWLING – OR NOT? Alma, a feminist Jewish culture site, was among many publications that reported the following story on January 3: “Jon Stewart Speaks Up About the Antisemitic Goblins of ‘Harry Potter’”.
…In the clip, Stewart explains the decadence of some b’nai mitzvah parties to “The Problem” writers Jay Jurden and Henrik Blix with the line, “It’s basically like saying, the Jews have arrived. And we are going to dazzle you.”
To which Jurden playfully replied, “What chapter of Harry Potter is that in? That’s when they get to Gringotts, right?”
What proceeds is Stewart thoughtfully explaining how, in his view, the goblins in Gringotts bank are a sign of how little progress has been made in eradicating antisemitism. He also goes on to speak about what it’s been like for him to have to explain to people that the Harry Potter goblins are antisemitic — and his reaction to seeing them for the first time.
“It was one of those things where I saw [the goblins] on the screen and I was expecting the crowd to be like, holy shit! She did not, in a wizarding world, just throw Jews in there to run the fucking underground bank. And everyone was just like, wizards!”
But Alma reported today that Jon Stewart denies the interpretation put on his words: “Jon Stewart Clarifies He Does Not Think ‘Harry Potter’ is Antisemitic”.
…In a clip Stewart posted to his Twitter account, he says, “There’s no reasonable person who could’ve watched [the clip] and not seen it as a lighthearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums, having a [laugh], enjoying themselves, about Harry Potter and my experience watching it for the first time in the theater as a Jewish guy and how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible, even in a considered process like movie-making, right?”
Stewart also clarifies, “I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic. I did not accuse her of being antisemitic. I do not think that the Harry Potter movies are antisemitic.”…
(6) IDEAL GOVERNMENT FOR MIDDLE-EARTH. Henry T. Edmondson, the Carl Vinson Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at Georgia College, gives Tolkien a working-over in “Tolkien, the Mob, and the Demagogue” at Law & Liberty.
…It may come as a surprise that, if Lord of the Rings suggests a warning about political systems, it is not about one-man rule: after all, the novel celebrates “unconstitutional” hereditary monarchy as the ideal government for Middle Earth, hence the title of the last third of the book, “Return of the King.” In this, Tolkien follows Aristotle that monarchy is the ideal government—provided the right king or queen is available, an admittedly difficult prospect. It is not easy to find an Aragorn.
Tolkien also writes approvingly of a natural aristocracy, if indirectly, in his important chapter, “The Council of Elrond,” where the best minds of Middle Earth acknowledge the threat of Sauron and develop a strategy to destroy the One Ring. An approving view of aristocratic wisdom is evident much later in the book, if to a lesser extent, in the chapter “The Last Debate,” where, once again, a small but elite group hold a war council and plan a diversion that might give Frodo and Sam the best chance to destroy the Ring. More philosophically, they consider the nature of the evil that they confront and the need to be prepared for the next assault, in whatever form it might appear, even if Sauron, the immediate Middle Earth threat, is vanquished.
But if there is one form of government of which Tolkien seems to disapprove in the Lord of the Rings, it is democracy. He once wrote to his son Christopher, that democracy is “nearly equivalent to ‘mob-rule’” and that “Greece, the home of philosophy—did not approve of it” because it too often slipped into dictatorships….
(7) HE TAKES IT DARK. George R.R. Martin told Not A Blog readers highly approves the work being done on the latest adaptation of his work, in “Most Anticipated”.
…I am anticipating HOUSE OF THE DRAGON pretty eagerly myself, for what it’s worth. Okay, I am hardly objective. And I know a lot of what you will be seeing. (I, um, wrote the book). Also … mum’s the word now, don’t tell anyone… I’ve seen a rough cut of the first episode. And loved it. It’s dark, it’s powerful, it’s visceral… just the way I like my epic fantasy….
… I think the Targaryens are in very good hands. Anticipate away. I do not think you will be disappointed.…
(8) ACCESSIBILITY DIALOGUE. Teresa Nielsen Hayden engaged Mari Ness about the accessibility issues of DisCon III and Viable Paradise in a Twitter thread that starts here. Two excerpts —
(9) REVISIONS. Hear from Sheree Renée Thomas in Odyssey Writing Workshop Podcast #143.
Author and award-winning editor Sheree Renée Thomas was a guest lecturer at the 2021 Odyssey Writing Workshop. In this excerpt from a question and answer session, she answers questions about editing, what she looks for in stories, how to work with an editor, and what she asks for in revisions.
(10) FRANK DENTON (1930-2022). Fanzine fan and author Frank Denton died January 5 his son reported on Facebook. A Seattle-area fan, he was best known for publishing the fanzines Ash-Wing, from 1968-1978 and The Rogue Raven, from 1975-1997, although he also worked on many others. Denton also participated in several amateur press associations including TAPS, The Cult, Minneapa, N’APA, Slanapa, and APANAGE.
He worked in education for 30 years as a teacher, college library director, and media director of a community college. Denton talked about working on his writing after he retired, however, ISFDB shows only one published short story, which appeared in a 1984 anthology. He enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival. Frank was a kind man who was a popular figure in West Coast fandom, He was GoH at MileHiCon 6 (1974), Westercon 30 (1977), Moscon II (1980), Intervention Gamma (1981), and Rustycon 7 (1990). Frank is survived by his wife, Anna Jo.
(11) ELIZABETH MILLER (1939-2022). Count Dracula and Bram Stoker scholar Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Professor Emerita at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, died January 2 at the age of 82. She wrote or edited Reflections on Dracula, Dracula: The Shade and the Shadow, A Dracula Handbook, Dracula: Sense & Nonsense, Bram Stoker’s Notes for Dracula: A Facsimile Edition (with Robert Eighteen-Bisang) and The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker (with Dacre Stoker).
Miller was made “Baroness of the House of Dracula” by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula in 1995. She twice won the Lord Ruthven Award for her books about the vampire (2001, 2009). She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dracula Society.
(12) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
1995 — [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Twenty-seven years ago, 12 Monkeys premiered. It would be nominated for a Hugo as Twelve Monkeys at L.A Con III but Babylon 5’s “The Coming of Shadows” would win that year. It would be the fifth Hugo nomination for Terry Gilliam as he had previously gotten them for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. None of the previous nominations resulted in a Hugo win either, though three (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) finished second to the eventual winner.
12 Monkeys was inspired by Chris Marker’s thirty-year-previous short French film La Jeté. The screenplay was written by David and Janet Peoples who would later write scripts for the 12 Monkeys series. David wrote the Blade Runner screenplay. The primary cast was Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt and Christopher Plummer.
Box office wise, it did very well as it grossed one hundred seventy million against just under thirty million in production costs. (It had been capped at that budget after Waterworld went way, way over anticipated costs for the same studio.) Critics generally liked it with Roger Ebert saying that “The film is a celebration of madness and doom, with a hero who tries to prevail against the chaos of his condition, and is inadequate.” It currently has a most stellar eighty eight percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
Elizabeth Hand wrote the novelization of the 12 Monkeys film. Copies are readily available pretty much everywhere.
It spawned a Syfy series which ran for four seasons and forty-seven episodes starting in 2015. Terry Gilliam was not involved in this undertaking.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 5, 1914 — George Reeves. Yes, he was just forty-five when he apparently committed suicide. Best known obviously for being Clark Kent and Superman in the Adventures of Superman which ran for six seasons. It was preceded by two films, Superman and the Mole Men and the now public domain Stamp Day for Superman. Reeves had one long-running SFF series prior to this series, Adventures of Sir Galahad, a fifteen-part serial in which he played the lead. This clip is the only English one I found of him in that role. (Died 1959.)
- Born January 5, 1929 — Russ Manning. An artist who created and drew the Gold Key comic book character Magnus: Robot Fighter; who drew the Tarzan comic book from 1965 – 1969 and the Tarzan newspaper comic strip from 1967 – 1972; and the Star Wars newspaper strip from 1979 – 1980. (Credit to Bill here at File 770 for this Birthday.) (Died 1981.)
- Born January 5, 1940 — Jennifer Westwood. Folklorists who I’m including on the Birthday Honors List (if the Queen can have such a list, I can too) for one of her works in particular, Albion: Guide to Legendary Britain as it has a genre connection that’s will take some explain. Ever hear of the band from Minnesota called Boiled in Lead? Well they took their name from a local legend in that tome about a man that was wrapped in lead and plunged in a vat of scalding oil so that he now stands forever in a circle of stones. Among the genre folk that have had a role in the band are Emma Bull, Steven Brust, Adam Stemple, Jane Yolen and Will Shetterly. (Died 2008.)
- Born January 5, 1959 — Clancy Brown, 63. I first encountered him as the voice of Lex Luthor In the DC animated universe. All of his voice roles are far too extensive too list here, but I’ll single out as voicing Savage Opress, Count Dooku’s new apprentice and Darth Maul’s brother, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Very selected live roles include Rawhide in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, The Kurgan In Highlander, Sheriff Gus Gilbert in Pet Sematary Two, Captain Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption, Sgt. Charles Zim In Starship Troopers and, one of my best loved weird series, the truly strange Brother Justin Crowe in Carnivàle
- Born January 5, 1966 — Tananarive Due, 56. I’m particularly fond of her short fiction which you can find in her BFA-winning Ghost Summer collection which also won the Carl Brandon Kindred Award. The Good House and The Between are novels are worth reading for having strong African-American characters.
- Born January 5, 1978 — Seanan McGuire, 44. Ahhhh, one of my favorite writers. I listened to the third of her Sparrow Hill Road stories which are excellent and earlier I’d read her InCryptid series, both of her Indexing books which are beyond amazing.
(14) COMICS SECTION.
- The Argyle Sweater has a physics joke – in its own way.
- Bizarro shows aliens consulting an expert for advice — and who would know better?
(15) HULK SMASH – SALES RECORD. The Guardian stands by the register as a “Rare first edition of The Incredible Hulk comic sells for $490,000”.
A 60-year-old comic featuring the Incredible Hulk – in which the superhero is depicted in his original grey, rather than his signature green – has been sold for almost half a million dollars.
The rare copy of Incredible Hulk #1, which was published in 1962, was bought by a private collector for $490,000 (£360,000). Comic Connect, an auction site which handled the sale, said it was the most expensive copy of the first Hulk story ever sold…
(16) TWO CHAIRS. The two chairs, David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss, talk about the best books they read during 2021 in a variety of categories: SF, Fantasy, Crime, Literary, Non-Fiction and so on. A great year’s reading. Episode 68 of the Two Chairs Talking podcast: “The Endless Bookshop”.
(17) THEY’RE BACK. “Stolen Lord of the Rings books returned to Worcester charity” – the BBC has the story.
…The charity said the books were taken from a locked cabinet at the store…
Dan Corns, commercial director at St Richard’s, had said the hardbacks featured first-edition text from 1954, but were all published in 1957, so while first editions, they were not first printings and were estimated to collectively be worth about £1,500.
“I had a phone call yesterday from the store manager to say that he was just going round the store tidying up and found they had been placed on shelf, which was not normally where would have been, so someone had carefully come in and put them somewhere where we would not necessarily see them but see the books at some time, and luckily we did before someone else saw [and] walked out with them,” he said.
“Obviously someone has thought about it and through their conscience has decided perhaps they didn’t do the right thing.”
St Richard’s Hospice supports more than 2,900 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire with running costs of £8.75m over the last year
(18) LOTR RAP. Utkarsh Ambudkar freestyle raps about Lord of the Rings for superfan Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. The rap segment starts 5:50 into the video.
The star of the hit CBS comedy, “Ghosts,” Utkarsh Ambudkar tells Stephen about his role on the show and then treats our host to a freestyle rap about our host’s favorite topic, the “Lord of the Rings” films.
(19) THIS IS YOUR LIFE, EGO. Here’s a curiosity – “Arthur C. Clarke on This is Your Life” (the UK version of the show) from 1995.
(20) WEBB KEEPS WEAVING. Good news from Yahoo! “James Webb Space Telescope: Sun shield is fully deployed”.
… Controllers on Tuesday completed the deployment of the space observatory’s giant kite-shaped sun shield.
Only with this tennis court-sized barrier will Webb have the sensitivity to detect the signals coming from the most distant objects in the Universe.
Commissioning work will now concentrate on unpacking the telescope’s mirrors, the largest of which is 6.5m wide….
(21) CLEAN AND LIFT. “Gravity Could Solve Clean Energy’s One Major Drawback” reports WIRED.
Finding green energy when the winds are calm and the skies are cloudy has been a challenge. Storing it in giant concrete blocks could be the answer.
… The concrete blocks are slowly hoisted upwards by motors powered with electricity from the Swiss power grid. For a few seconds they hang in the warm September air, then the steel cables holding the blocks start to unspool and they begin their slow descent to join the few dozen similar blocks stacked at the foot of the tower. This is the moment that this elaborate dance of steel and concrete has been designed for. As each block descends, the motors that lift the blocks start spinning in reverse, generating electricity that courses through the thick cables running down the side of the crane and onto the power grid. In the 30 seconds during which the blocks are descending, each one generates about one megawatt of electricity: enough to power roughly 1,000 homes.
This tower is a prototype from Switzerland-based Energy Vault, one of a number of startups finding new ways to use gravity to generate electricity. A fully-sized version of the tower might contain 7,000 bricks and provide enough electricity to power several thousand homes for eight hours. Storing energy in this way could help solve the biggest problem facing the transition to renewable electricity: finding a zero-carbon way to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. “The greatest hurdle we have is getting low-cost storage,” says Robert Piconi, CEO and cofounder of Energy Vault….
(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Honest Game Trailers: Dragon Age,” Fandom Games says that this prequel to the Dragon Age series has so much gore that you wish someone could conjure up a paper towel to wipe the characters; blood-specked faces. And while there are many Tumblr accounts with people fantasizing about being one of the game’s many sexy characters, no one has sex with dragons, and “not being able to romance a dragon in a game called Dragon Age is like going to Pizza Hut and finding there’s no pizza.”
[Thanks to Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chris Barkley, Olav Rokne, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
He pounces! FIrst!
I know I saw 12 Monkeys at the theater when it came out but I’ll be damned if I can remember much about it now. Give me a piece of written fiction thirty years on and I’m fine, but video fiction, particularly most films, just seems to slip, slide away…
21) It’s an interesting idea- no toxic byproducts and could store energy for a long period. Hope it works out.
6) But our heroes the hobbits did fine with democracy.
5) The thing that’s always bothered me about Harry Potter – a lot of social ills are identified but nothing is done about them. At the end, elves are still enslaved, the giants are dead, nothing is done to reduce prejudice against Mudbloods or shape changers etc. Our heroes prevent things from getting worse but don’t make anything better.
(20) I understand they have the secondary mirror unpacked now.
(4) There’s a long-standing joke/theory in Trek fandom – it was around in the mid-70s – that Vulcans are one of the Lost Tribes.
(Headache clamping down)
All my files are packed, I’m ready to scroll
(10) Frank Denton was incredibly helpful and kind to me in my early years in fandom circa 1970. At that time I joined the NFFF and signed up for the group’s APA, which Frank was running. I lasted a few years in that APA, which was the entry point to fanzines for a number of members. Frank was always helpful to new fanzine writers, such as myself, and had interesting things to say from his wide interests. I came up to Seattle by bus to hike in Mt. Ranier National Park. Frank generously invited me to stay with his family before and after my hike. Lost contact for many years, but very happy to know his life has been this long for someone who appeared incapable of becoming bored.
I want some proof that Boromir (sent to Elrond to ask the meaning of a riddle), Legolas (sent to Elrond to bring news of Gollum’s escape), and Gloin (sent to bring news of weird riders in black troubling the dwarf kingdom) represent the best minds of Middle Earth.
10) Another Frank Denton fan here. We were together in DAPA-EM, the mystery and detective apa, for many years, and met annually at Bouchercon. A great guy.
@Cat Eldridge — thanks for the credit re: Russ Manning’s birthday (from a comment I made in 2019, I suppose?). But his birthday was noted in the Jan 5 2015 scroll. Were you composing them back then?
Sorry to hear of Frank Denton’s passing. Always enjoyed his fanzines and fanwriting.
In my early years as a letter carrier, I was once sorting thru flats (“flats” = magazines, large envelopes, etc.) one afternoon after finishing deliveries, and realized I was holding a large white envelop with Frank’s return address on it. Clearly an issue of his fanzine, for it was addressed to Ken St. Andre, another Phoenix area fan.
Problem: It was addressed to an address Ken had moved away from. And the envelope had been mailed Media Rate, which meant it wouldn’t be forwarded, and would ordinarily be thrown away
THROW AWAY A FANZINE??? It was unthinkable.
So I asked my supervisor if, since the piece would just be trashed otherwise, and I knew both sender & recipient, if I could take the piece and try to deliver it off-duty. Supervisor said okay.
(I think this was in 1980, and managers & supervisors had more leeway in what they could do; probably wouldn’t have been permitted in later years when supervisors had supervisors of their own)
Problem: I didn’t know Ken’s new address. BUT…I knew Ken worked in the downtown Phoenix library. So I took a detour from the drive home, stopped at the library, and was able to deliver Frank’s fanzine to Ken at his desk upstairs.
I think that may have earned me the most gold stars on my forehead at one time ever. I did Frank a favor, I did Ken a favor, and I saved a fanzine from the trash.
(Am I bragging a little? Okay, I’m bragging a little.)
Typo in my post above — Manning was mentioned in the Jan 5 2016 scroll.
Also born on Jan 5:
Actor Bradley Cooper (1975), who voices Rocky Raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and who plays Stanton Carlisle in the new Nightmare Alley.
Director Spencer Bennet (1893), who directed the serials Superman, Atom Man vs. Superman, Batman and Robin between 1948 and 1950, along with other genre-ish B-movie serials.
Actress Diane Keaton (1946), who was in an episode of Night Gallery and Woody Allen’s most SF film, Sleeper.
Cartoonist and animator Jack Hannah (1913), who animated and directed Disney shorts from 1933-1959, and worked on Walter Lantz (Woody Woodpecker) cartoons after that. He worked with Carl Barks on Disney comic books in the 1940s.
Actor Robert Duvall (1931), who was in the episode “Miniature” in The Twilight Zone, and the movies THX 1138 and The Handmaid’s Tale.
(10) A line in Frank Denton’s fanzine Ash-Wing changed my life.
In the summer after high school, I had brought the issue to read at the community swimming pool. The colophon had a list of whimsical things for which the zine was available, and last on the list was “recommendations for bands which sound like Steeleye Span.”
I had no idea what this meant; the band was unknown to me, and not known to many Americans in 1975. But I was intrigued, so I bicycled to the good record store near the University of Maryland and bought Steeleye Span’s album Parcel of Rogues.
The next day I returned to the record store and bought one copy of every Steeleye Span record in stock. This launched a fascination with British Isles and European folk and folk-ish music which has dominated my listening for almost 50 years.
I got to share this story with Frank in letters and in person. We were never close, even by fannish terms, but I’m so grateful our paths intermingled. I will treasure his memory. Kindness and grace.
Frank Denton’s personalzine The Rogue Raven continued as a blog from 2004 into 2012, at frankdenton.blogspot.com
21) I don’t remember seeing concrete blocks before, but using excess power to refill a reservoir has been proposed plenty of times. That seems mechanically simpler, though I guess it’s contingent on their being space for a reservoir.
Sad news indeed about Frank Denton. I’ll add the birth year to Fancyclopedia 3, which has only a death date. NB typo in (1930-2020) above.
@NickPheas: Not just proposed, pumped storage has been implemented. I know of one site in New Jersey, because it’s close to the Appalachian Trail, and one site in China, because I saw the 2009 solar eclipse from an organized site there. There must be many others.
At least since my open heart surgery (which compromised my mobility for quite some time) and now dealing with my mother (88) navigating the world with a walker, I agree that the issue is pernicious and not SF convention centered.
Now that I am paying attention to such things out of necessity, one pattern has become clear: the ramp up from the parking lot is going to be as far away from the door as is possible; in fact, just about any accessibility option is going to be the farthest/most inconvenient/most inappropriately located, which strongly suggests that they were placed grudgingly and for compliance purposes only, and not out of any genuine sense of accommodation.
And it’s not right.
(13) George Reeves appearance as Superman on “I Love Lucy” is a favorite moment of mine
(an episode that also has Batman’s Aunt Harriet in it)
(8) I’m a little bit underwhelmed by “The 2021 Disclave was not exceptionally difficult, unless navigation is one of your difficulties” as a defense.
Thanks for the title credit!
As for Steeleye Span, I am totally in love with Please To See The King, which sounds like the group was blending British folk music with the first Velvet Underground album. (Not so surprising. There is a gentle acoustic demo of “Venus In Furs” by John Cale which sounds like ’60s UK folk-rock).
(12) my buddies and I spent the day putting up drywall and then went to see 12 Monkeys – had to have one of our friends who worked at the theater sneak us in a side door, we were too young for a R-rated flic – and afterwards stayed up til the wee hours discussing all the ins and outs. One of the few time travel flics that is internally consistent, IMO. Rewatched it a couple of years ago, totally holds up.
(21) an interesting variant of an existing method for energy storage but hardly carbon neutral. Did a quick calculation and just making the bricks – never mind the steel for the tower and transportation for materials – would release ~250,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
Sad to hear about Frank Denton. I was one of the original Slanapans, and Frank was the “old man” of the group, being around 40 at the time! And I couldn’t agree more with Ken Josenhans about Steeleye Span. Parcel of Rogues is a great album (although All Around My Hat is a close second).
David Langford : Thanks for the NB. Strange slip.
Outright cackled at TNH trying the “prove you’ve volunteered or stfu” tactic on Mari Ness. Yeah, that’s going to go well.
(Will try to be back later to be more… thing… but it turns out all the pain management improvement in the world can’t fully mitigate a string of Very Bad Pain Days from misc injuries.)
Although speaking of volunteering, I have a smol fancrush on Hal Bichel (that can be seen from space) and their great work towards making conventions accessible, and I went to look at Convergence’s website and… behold! The finest volunteering page in all the land!
(Although I don’t know if the page itself is fully accessible in all ways – sometimes click-to-expand doesn’t work on all devices.)
This is the kind of thing I meant when I said that volunteering itself wasn’t very accessible for any Worldcon I’ve checked in the past few years – you don’t get this kind of detailed information, so you can’t even make an informed decision about whether you can even volunteer. Which is unhelpful when there are so many people around who want to use it as a lever to make you shut up. Communication is so, so important for accessibility. It’s so good, you guys, I hope everyone starts doing something like it. EVERYONE.
Deeply unimpressed with this particular response.
Just… excuse me?
(Also, this was way after Mari Ness provided her volunteering credentials – those got no response! At all! But apparently TNH had plenty of time to basically say it doesn’t matter that disabled fans are being accused of lying when they flag obvious issues.)
(Boy, I had a lot of respect for TNH before this. Had.)
As someone who’s helped TNH find the elevators, and get to her panels through crowded corridors, multiple times… I think she’s forgetting that she gets some hefty privileged treatment due to her status as an important editor, that not every person receives.
And that even if she wasn’t blithly demanding credentials from someone who was Worldcon panellist, demanding fandom credentials from someone with accessibility complaints is being an ass.
I can absolutely tell you as a Worldcon Volunteer, and a user of Accessibility services myself, that Worldcon Access provision regularly gets screwed up, and people suffer because of it. And mainly because of people who do have the ‘fandom credentials’ who are in volunteer positions that allow them to screw something up.
I have literally had an ‘Established Worldcon Volunteer’ shout ‘I Am IN CHARGE HERE’ at me when trying to untangle the mess they had made of a line for signatures. (And also after I got the people signing some water-bottles, because he’d not once asked if they needed anything.) I know that ‘the community’ may well be good about Disabled Access, but it only takes a few assholes, or some bad decisions made by people who didn’t think things through, and all the good will is meaningless.
21) The described method seems to have an awful lot of waste. There will be lots of friction involved in both the storage and use of the energy via weights/pulleys.
I worked with a Canadian company that had an interesting solution. They made flywheels/gyroscopes. The end of each flywheel axle was supported by a special, low-friction hub that was kept immersed in liquid nitrogen. Excess energy was stored in the flywheels until it was needed. Banks of flywheels would ensure lots of power would be available at the needed times.
I worked for a power company a few years back that had a different approach. They used pumps to suck water out of one of the Great Lakes and stored it in a reservoir. The next day, the water would be released and run through a hydropower plant. The general idea was that coal-fired power plants have a peak operational range. The load at night was well below that range. So the “excess” power was consumed by pumping the water.
In this manner, the coal was consumed as efficiently as possible to minimize CO2 emissions.
As renewable power sources need roughly 70% redundancy (these days natural gas-fired generators, mostly), renewables really aren’t a great solution without first developing some means of storing excess power when it is generated/available. Nuclear, on the other hand, is a great solution…
[here in the year 5096, fusion power has been around for millenia and windmills are considered art objects]
6) My take on Tolkien was that his stories were commenting about why power should be limited. A democracy that does not limit the size/scope of government eventually does become a dictatorship of 50%+1 of the electorate.
One of the US’s primary problems is a fairly common populist notion that “we have a government, therefore it should do things”. We have a government with a specific range of powers. As long as we keep it within that range of powers, it does a pretty credible job.
Spoiler – we haven’t kept it within that range of powers and it does a pretty crappy job almost across the board.
The essence of America – that which really unites us – is not ethnicity, or nationality or religion – it is an idea – and what an idea it is: That you can come from humble circumstances and do great things. — Condoleezza Rice
angry teakettle noises
(21) TVA uses pumped water storage and release at Raccoon Mountain. Facilities like this have risks, though (as do all major engineering projects.)
Electric rail projects try and do the same thing..
@Dann: There was an 1980s Analog story about using a rotating object to store energy – a large cart on a (close to) frictionless circular track or something like that. Don’t remember the author unfortunately – if feels like a Zahn story, perhaps.
Is “Your disability is not my disability” a slogan yet? It might be a useful one, emphasizing that just because a convention has taken actions that make it more accessible for some disabilities, that doesn’t relieve other accessibility needs (my apologies if I’ve reinvented a phrase that is already being used for this purpose).
(I’m not currently disabled (or more accurately, my particular disability has socially invisible mitigations), but I’m keenly aware that that is a situation that could change at any time).
19: This is a very interesting half-hour that I was very glad to have seen.
I remember, growing up in the area, hearing that the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab used flywheels for supplying sudden bursts of power for their experiments. Otherwise, the power draw would exceed the capacity of the local grid. I think they still use them.
I remember reading that LLNL was studying flywheels for energy storage – that was back in the 70s or 80s. (They also looked at elastomers for storing energy: rubber-band energy storage!)
Teresa Nielsen Hayden can act like a wonderful person, but if you challenge her on her notions of how Lovely and Welcoming fandom is, this is what shows up, consistently. It’s disturbingly similar to her approach to Racefail, where she praised someone attacking younger mostly Black and all BIPOC fans and writers (Using the C-word) in the same breath she was using to talk about how those younger fans were going overboard in their attacks.
I could also say something about how groups who aren’t privileged are constantly told to accept small crumbs of progress instead of substantial and timely change, and how those small crumbs of progress are used to undermine their very real issues.
The whole “Volunteer, or fix it yourself, or your opinion of the problem doesn’t count” has been addressed more than adequately by Meredith several times over the last few days, and the only thing I can add to her commentary at this point is praise.
[slapping metaphorical duct tape across my mouth]
Teresa Nielsen Hayden needs to stop Karening and start listening.
Discon not Disclave (which died in 1997).
(10) Almost a month late, but better late than… I learned of Frank Denton’s passing only when I read the February 1 edition of Ansible–apparently I did not read File770 on January 5. I met Frank in the early seventies when he and others, later the founders of SLANAPA, met a couple times at Mike Horvat’s home in Tangent, Oregon–a hundred year old former Methodist church, filled with books, fanzines, old radios, and printing presses. The annual meetings were later continued at Frank’s cabin in Washington state, though by then I was absent from the scene. Frank did, however, write a letter to help me into a program in librarianship in 1976, the career from which I retired in 2016. We were last in touch on his blog in 2011. I believe Framl published at least one novel, not sf, not under his name. I remember him fondly and think I need to reread my file of Ash Wings and Rogue Ravens.