Pixel Scroll 11/23/17 Secondfox Scrollbit In My Pixelmoth

(1) JURASSIC PEEK. Colin Trevorrow, co-writer of Jurassic World: Hidden Kingdom, sent out a tweet with the first six seconds of this 2018 film.

(2) AT THE CORE. James Davis Nicoll says there are “Twenty Core Urban Fantasies Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”. They include —

(3) SANTA’S VENGEANCE. Naomi Kritzer has a very handy list: “Gifts For People You Hate, 2017”. You’ll love the wine-holder. It would be unfair of me to gank the picture, so hurry there to gaze upon it.

…Sometimes you’re shopping for a gift because it’s worth that $15 to keep the peace and even though you know that, you resent every moment trying to figure out what would please this person. And that’s where my shopping guide comes in! Free yourself from the burden of trying to make an asshole happy, and embrace the idea of giving them something that won’t.

There are certain basic principles that apply every year. It should be cheap, but untraceably cheap. (Buying them a hand-crocheted who-knows-what for $2 at a thrift shop and pretending it came from a craft show is a terrific idea but you will need to make sure it looks new and doesn’t have that distinctive, identifiable Smell Of Savers wafting from it.) It should be easy to get, and it should look like a gift you might honestly have picked out because you thought they’d like it….

… There are a whole lot of terrible movies in this ad. Based on the Rotten Tomato ratings, it looks like Fifty Shades Darker is probably the absolute worst of any of the movies in here, but I do not recommend giving it to your mother-in-law, especially if there is any chance that she’ll pop it in while you’re still visiting. Warcraft is also supposed to be pretty terrible and the best anyone can say about the Angry Birds movie is that it’s better than you’d expect of a movie based on this video game. If you’re willing to splurge $8, The Emoji Movie (shown in a different section of the ad) was heavily regarded as the worst movie of 2017. For $10, you can get it on Blue-Ray!

(4) REUSED ARTWORK. Walter Jon Williams discovered a piece of cover art that is awfully popular.

John Scalzi sent me the cover of the Italian edition of his novel The Collapsing Empire, which may look just a little bit familiar to you.  It uses the same piece of stock art (by Innovari) that I used for my own editions, ebook and paperback, of Angel Station.

Furthermore, I know of at least one other ebook that’s using that piece of art….

(5) CRAFT TIME. She did it herself: “A Real Wonder Woman Spends 50 Hours And $30 On Crafting This Costume From A Cheap Yoga Mat And Duct Tape”.

Some superheroes inspire people to get super crafty. Australian makeup artist and children’s party entertainer Rhylee Passfield took inspiration from everyone’s now-favorite female superhero, Wonder Woman, and using a yoga mat, duct tape, and a little magic from a heat gun, she created a wonderful costume.

“Basically, I started by duct-taping myself”, the artist explained the process to the Daily Mail Australia. “Then I cut out a pattern from the duct tape form, copied it onto a Kmart yoga mat and glued it together using contact adhesive.”

(6) BEYOND PRONOUNS. The BBC observes from across the Channel how “‘Sexist’ inclusive writing row riles France”.

The French, as is well known, are obsessed by one thing – language.

The latest topic to consume a nation of lexicologists is “inclusive writing”.

This is the attempt to erase all trace of sexism in a language where gender is a central feature – French nouns are either masculine or feminine, dictating all adjectives and some verbal forms (a point that is sometimes made painfully clear to foreigners who happen to get those wrong).

In such a charged linguistic context, the fight for sex equality is not exactly new. In recent decades the names of traditionally male professions have been feminised.

French people now often talk about “la juge” or “la ministre”. Many writers add an etymologically daring “e” to “professeure” or “auteure”.

But supporters of “inclusive writing” go further. They want to expunge any vestige of male chauvinism from the language of Molière.

…The Académie française – which, contrary to legend, not every French person regards as the final arbiter in those things – pronounced that inclusive writing constituted a “mortal danger” for the language.

(7) LEST WE RUN OUT OF ENGLISH. “Twenty-six words we don’t want to lose”:

Now, Paul Anthony Jones has compiled 366 ‘forgotten words’ in his new book The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities. It has a different phrase for every day of the year (including 29 February) – with entries ranging from ‘ambilaevous’, or ‘equally clumsy in both hands’, to ‘stirrup-cup’, ‘one last drink before a departure’. While it offers titillation for the curious mind, it also serves a more noble purpose – retrieving words from languishing unread and unspoken.

Lingo lovers

In September, academics in Britain uncovered 30 words ‘lost’ from the English language: researchers spent three months looking through old dictionaries to find them, in the hope they could bring the words back into modern conversations.

Purist Chip Hitchcock, who provided the link, adds: “I’ve sent a complaint about their referring to Smoot’s ‘attempt’ to measure the Harvard Bridge.”

(8) PLUMBING THE DEPTHS. Superversive SF, seeking new lows to descend to, harassed K. Tempest Bradford with remarks like this —

Bradford responded with a long tweet soliloquy worth a look. While there doesn’t seem to be an individual tweet that links to the whole exchange, they aren’t difficult to find on her page.

(9) JUSTUS OBIT. Meg Justus (1959-2017), who published supernatural historicals as MM Justus died November 22 of cancer. Prior to her death she prepared this obituary for her blog:

But Meg’s true passions were writing and travel. She published a number of books under the moniker M.M. Justus. She liked to say what she wrote was 90% history and 10% fantasy, set in the Old West. Due to her background she was a stickler about getting the history right, and her books were set in places she’d traveled to herself. Her travels included two long trips of multiple months each; the first was documented in the travel memoir Cross-Country.

She liked to call herself a professional dilettante. Her other passions included quilting and other needlework, gardening, meteorology, and wild plant identification, especially wildflowers.

Meg is survived by her three older sisters, Susan Moore, Nancy Nowell, and Ann Mattas, her best friend of 52 years Jan Hanken, who was the sister she should have had, and more wonderful friends than she ever expected to make.


  • November 23, 1963 – The first Doctor Who aired in the UK.


  • November 23, 1887 – Boris Karloff

(12) FLAT EARTH. Will he wind up flatter than the Earth? “‘I Don’t Believe In Science,’ Says Flat-Earther Set To Launch Himself In Own Rocket”.

On Saturday, a limousine driver plans to launch himself on a mile-long flight over the Mojave Desert in a rocket of his own making.

His name is “Mad” Mike Hughes, his steam-powered rocket is built of salvaged metals, his launch pad is repurposed from a used mobile home — and he is confident this will mark the first step toward proving the Earth is flat, after all.

“It’s the most interesting story in the world,” Hughes told The Associated Press of his jury-rigged quest to overturn more than two millennia of scientific knowledge. And the whole thing is costing him just $20,000, according to the AP. (It goes without saying, but we’ll say this anyway: Do not try this at home — or anywhere.)

“I don’t believe in science,” Hughes added. “I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”

(13) THE NIGHT HAS A THOUSAND EYES. Or so it looks from space: “Earth Is Lit, And That’s A Problem”

The ever-widening use of artificial lights is making the nighttime Earth glow increasingly brighter, with the amount of global light growing about 2 percent each year.

That worries advocates for the protection of dark skies, who say that artificial night glow can affect wildlife like migrating birds and keeps people from connecting to the stars. What’s more, they say, all that wasted light sent out into space is effectively wasted money.

The findings are in a new study in the journal Science Advances that used five years of data from a satellite launched in 2011. This satellite has an instrument that gives scientists a more reliable way to measure nighttime light than they’ve had in the past.

(14) GLOBAL WARMING WITH THAT? “Deep fat fryers may help form cooling clouds”

Fatty acids released into the air from cooking may contribute to the formation of clouds that cool the climate, say scientists.

Fatty acid molecules comprise about 10% of fine particulates over London, and such particles help seed clouds.

But researchers dismiss the idea that cooking fats could be used as a geo-engineering tool to reduce warming.

Instead, the research is designed to help reduce uncertainties about the role of cooking fats on climate.

Researchers believe the fatty molecules arrange themselves into complex 3-D structures in atmospheric droplets.

These aerosols persist for longer than normal and can seed the formation of clouds which experts say can have a cooling effect on the climate.

(15) MR. MEMORY. Little Brother is watching, too: “More than 480 web firms record ‘every keystroke'”.

Hundreds of web firms are tracking every single keystroke made by visitors, a study from Princeton University has suggested.

The technique – known as session replay – is used by companies to gain an understanding of how customers use websites.

More than 480 websites used the technique, according to the study.

Experts questioned the legality of using such software without user consent.

“These scripts record your keystrokes, mouse movements, and scrolling behaviour, along with the entire contents of the pages you visit, and send them to third-party servers,” the researchers said in a blog.

(16) ARTS AND SCIENCES. From BBC we learn, “World’s only particle accelerator for art is back at the Louvre”.

The world’s only particle accelerator used regularly in the analysis of art has gone back into use at the Louvre museum in Paris.

The accelerator has been rebuilt to allow it to investigate paintings without risking damage to the artworks.

The upgrade cost €2.1m (£1.8m; $2.5m). The machine is 37m (88ft) long.

Paintings were rarely analysed with earlier versions of the accelerator because of fears that the particle beam might change the colours.

(17) TODAY’S LYRIC. Dave Hutchinson, author of the Fractured Europe trilogy and the Tor.com novella Acadie, broke out in song – with emphasis on the broke,

(18) FILE MAINTENANCE. If you’re not getting comment notifications from File770.com, it may be possible that you have hit the individual thread comment subscription limit. Not that I really know about how comment notifications work — I have no control over it, and just use what Jetpack provides.

However, there are Filers who have gone into their WP dashboard and deleted a bunch of subscriptions, or have abandoned individual thread subscriptions and just turned on “All Comments for File 770,” and reported afterwards that they’re getting notifications again. So if you are having this problem, give it a whirl.

[Thanks to James Davis Nicoll, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, mlex, Martin Morse Wooster, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Camestros Felapton.]

79 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/23/17 Secondfox Scrollbit In My Pixelmoth

  1. Okay, I will add one comment that doesn’t rely on my inability to misread. ;-). I hope!

    Meredith Moments:

    Kobo has some bestsellers on deep discount today only. At least some of these are on sale elsewhere, too; I wouldn’t be surprised if they all were.

    When the English Fall by David Williams is on sale for $1.99 in the U.S. from Algonquin Books (uses DRM). “When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community is caught up in the devastating aftermath.”

    Also on their “today only” list: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames and The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp are both $2.99. (Though I feel like I’ve seen Eames’s book on sale before today? Or just some other time in the past, maybe.)

  2. Re the Wonder Woman cosplay: today I learned that there is a brand of women’s underwear with the baffling name “boyleg.” Makes for a pleasant Google Image Search, though.

  3. I remember Kibo from Usenet. There was also a Xibo, wasn’t there? Didn’t Kibo like some weird food like Beanee Weanee?

    That reminds me that someone used to include a post-Thanksgiving ad campaign in their .sig file because it mentioned turkey repeatedly and there was someone who would insert themselves into any conversation about Turkey.

  4. Mom gave me “A History of Pi” for Christmas one year because what else do you get someone who likes math and books? I had no idea Petr Beckmann was anything other than a net.kook. I still haven’t read it.

    And I remember Kibo too. And Gharlane.

  5. @Jamoche: As I recall, the History of Pi was pretty interesting, though Beckmann’s opinions about Rome, Catholicism and (Soviet) Russia get in the way of the math from time to time (he’s again’ ’em).

  6. Darren Garrison: today I learned that there is a brand of women’s underwear with the baffling name “boyleg.”

    It’s essentially just a female version of the “tighty whitie”, sans trap door.

  7. 2) Conjure Wife is pretty great, but I would’ve said Our Lady of Darkness, which is like a little love letter to San Francisco.

    Total ditto. My bemused spouse tolerated a trip to all the locations mentioned in the book during a visit to SF.

  8. This is a test of the Emergency God-Stalk System.

    For the next thirty seconds, this comment will conduct a test of the Emergency God-Stalk System. This is only a test.

    If this had been an actual God-Stalk, you would have been instructed to tune to one of the fanzines in your area.

  9. 2) I have read eight of those. More than usually with James’ lists, but still fewer than I expected, considering I like urban fantasy a whole lot. But then, I tend to go for post-2000 urban fantasy.

    Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey is indeed awesome and would deserve a spot on that list.

    3) There is a garden shop in town which had a whole selection of those tasteless garden gnomes including a version of the “Say hello to my little friend” gnome with actual full frontal gnome nudity as well as a gnome couple having sex and a gnome who’d been stabbed in the back.

    Here is a whole selection of “bad gnomes” as they’re known over here. Not safe for work.

    BTW, are egg cookers uncommon in the US? Because they’re pretty much ubiquitous over here. Even I have one (kept in a kitchen cupboard when not in use) and I don’t eat a whole lot of eggs.

    As for crepe makers, approx. a year ago I would have said they were useless, too. But then my parents got one for Christmas and it’s unexpectedly awesome.

    8) Trolling people on Twitter without provocation seems to be the newest modus operandi of the Scrappy Doos. Though considering how very Christian the superversive folks consider themselves to be, they should probaby reread the sermon on the mount for starters.

  10. Egg cookers are, I think, fairly uncommon here in the US – I have an unfortunate kitchen appliance addiction and yet I have never been tempted by one, or seen many in thrift stories. Here the big appliances are popcorn poppers, coffee makers, and crock pots. And George Foreman grills.

    8) I’m unclear how this behavior jibes with the “for a more civilized age” tagline on the site, but maybe it’s a different definition of “civilized” than I usually work with.

  11. Waffle iron is mandatory. And so is coffee maker and water heater. Rest is optional.

  12. BTW, are egg cookers uncommon in the US?

    Probably even less common than egg cups and electric kettles!

  13. I have an electric kettle. It’s Japanese, fast, and lifts off its base to pour. My late mother liked it so much I had to buy her one.

    Other small electric kitchen appliances include stand mixer (rarely used because it’s so heavy – oh, well), crock pot (mostly used by my cousin/housemate), coffee pot (ditto, but daily), hand mixer, mini-food processor (used about once a year), rice cooker (not often used), ice cream maker (ditto), blender, small fast-cycle bread maker. Sounds like I need to dispose of some of those. Several were gifts, or things I used to use more, or need very occasionally.

    I might have seen an egg cooker once. I don’t have an electric griddle or waffle maker, but we had one when I was growing up, convertible between those applications. Much heavier duty than current non-professional ones. It made the best grilled cheese sandwiches, because it folded over and heated from both sides. Yum. But making it in a pan works, too.

  14. Crock pots and George Foreman grills are not a thing over here at all, ditto for popcorn poppers, probably because popcorn isn’t that popular. When I first came across recipe that call for a crock pot, I had to google what it was. I’ve never even seen those things over here. Coincidentally, you don’t need a crock pot to make crock pot recipes, a regular pan or pot on a stovetop works just as well.

    Coffee makers are pretty much ubiquitous, though nowadays more and more people have those really pricey Italian machines which can make regular coffee, cappuccino, latte macchiato, etc… They’re nice enough, though I wouldn’t buy one. Water heaters/electric kettles are common, but not as common as in the UK. Plenty of people have waffle irons, but they’re not ubiquitous. Egg cookers are ubiquitous to the point that I don’t think I’ve ever cooked an egg without one. I do know how to poach eggs, but I now have an egg cooker with egg poaching function.

  15. Crockpots are good for consistent low-heat, all-day (or all-night) unattended cooking, whereas you can’t leave the stove on if it’s unattended. A lot of the recipes are for things which require that sort of low-heat, long-length cooking; meat done that way is so tender that it falls off the bone. Crockpot ribs are amazing.

  16. Coincidentally, you don’t need a crock pot to make crock pot recipes, a regular pan or pot on a stovetop works just as well. That may scorch, depending on how thick the sauce and pot are, unless it’s constantly tended (which loses the point of a crockpot). Oven rather than stovetop works sometimes. However, some of us feel less nervous about leaving a crockpot (which has very limited power) vs leaving a burner or oven running when we’re out of the house.

  17. A crockpot can be turned on and left safely during an 8 hour work shift. A stove or oven can’t.

  18. Lenora Rose on November 25, 2017 at 6:54 pm said:
    They may also go to work to heat/reheat/cook food during the morning for a potluck lunch. (I will say it’s a PITA taking a regular-sized crockpot to work, even with a carrybag for it. But it beats having to run around the building trying to find a microwave that isn’t already in use.)

    I still don’t know how we pulled off a surprise potluck lunch/baby shower at work, when the lunch included a pot of beans-n-franks cooking under a desk and making everyone in the room hungry well beforehand.

  19. Don’t have an egg cooker.

    Do have a stand mixer, waffle iron (but not Belgian waffles) slow cooker, and electric kettle. Though my tea-addicted wife doesn’t use it for some reason.

    Also, ALL the cast iron pans, griddle, corn bread stick pan, and Æbleskiver pan.

  20. See, it would never occur to me to leave any kitchen appliance running, when I’m not at home. I even get nervous when the dishwasher hasn’t finished its cycle yet.

    I don’t make a lot of dishes that requires lengthy cooking times. For the few that need lengthy cooking times – mostly traditional North German specialties as well as sailor’s curry – I use a regular pressure cooker and make them on a weekend/when I’m at home. When I was a kid, clay pots called “Römertopf” (Roman pot) were also used for things like roasts that required lengthy cooking times. I don’t have a “Römertopf”, because they became unpopular sometime in the 1990s and are difficult to find these days. I may appropriate my parents’ “Römertopf” one day, since they never use it these days anyway.

    The closest thing to a crock pot I’ve ever seen in Germany are electrically powered home canning and mulled wine pots, which is the epitome of a strange kitchen gadget only very few people need. Not even my Aunt Gisela had one and she had every weird kitchen gadget in existence.

    Back when I was on the editorial staff of our university literary magazine, we always borrowed someone’s aunt’s mulled wine pot for our annual Christmas reading. Then we bought one litre bottles of mulled wine from Aldi or another discount supermarket at 99 cents per bottle and sold them at 1 Euro per cup at the reading. Best profit we ever made. Sadly, we made more money at selling drinks and buttons than we ever made at selling our magazine.

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  22. Before the crockpot there was the haybox: you’d line a box or huge pot with whatever you had (hay, blankets, towels), and stick the hot pot of stew/whatever into the insulated container for some hours. I used to do that, but I used to marinate meat on the counter too, things I would never do today. I mean, I use the principle to make yogurt and cream cheese, but I’d never make food that isn’t supposed to ferment that way now.

    –for electric cooking gadgets, I have only the food processor since I think it works better for my purposes than a blender, and for some reason two rice cookers that belong to other people and just sit in the back of my cupboard. I make bread in a bowl, with the sponge method and a long rise, and it comes out really well, with exactly the density, weight, loft & texture I desire, and a well-developed, nutty taste. My grandfather gave my parents an egg cooker once, & we used it for a while, but I wouldn’t give the space to one now.

    –I do have a few manual cooking gadgets though. Because I have had problems with my hands in the past, you’d think I’d have gone electric: but I don’t find much advantage to the electric things in terms of hand pain relief.

  23. Crockpots are definitely my friend.

    I wasn’t clued into electric kettles until I traveled overseas and they were everywhere in NZ, Australia and England…

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