Pixel Scroll 12/15/17 You’ve Got The Wrong Android, I Scroll My Name Danger

(1) HE DOOD IT. How could he not? “Wil Wheaton Wears ‘Star Trek’ Uniform To ‘Star Wars’ FOR REAL”.

Life gloriously imitated art Thursday when actor Wil Wheaton wore a “Star Trek” costume to a screening of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

Wheaton portrayed Wesley Crusher on TV’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (1987-1994), and has been playing himself on “The Big Bang Theory.” In a 2015 episode of the hit sitcom, he watched a “Star Wars” movie in “Star Trek” garb, attracting boos from the audience and an insult from one moviegoer. “Live long and suck it!” he yelled back in a memorable line.


(2) A DISTURBANCE IN THE THEATER. Fans weren’t prepared to accept the first silent Star Wars movie: “Uprising at Burbank AMC after ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ starts without sound”.

According to Twitter user, Isaias Rodriguez, theater management attempted to appease the angry fans by either moving them to another screening at the same theater — albeit not in the IMAX format — or to attend a screening of the much-anticipated film at another AMC theatre Friday.

Police reportedly were called to the Southern California venue.

(3) ICE CREAM AND COOKIES. Scott Edelman invites you to lunch at the Society of Illustrators with Irene Gallo in Episode 55 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast.

Irene Gallo

Gallo has worked as an art director at Tor Books for more than two decades, where she currently holds the title of Creative Director. She’s also the Associate Publisher of Tor.com, and is ultimately the one responsible for the look of the publishing company’s book covers, as well as its online output. She’s been nominated for a Chesley Award for her art direction an astounding 19 times, the first back in 1999, and has won 13, as early as 2001, and as recently as 2017.

We discussed what it was like the first time she realized she wasn’t the only one in the world who cared so strongly about art, how she felt the day she discovered Harlan Ellison as well as the title of his that made her go “whoa,” why seeing book covers as thumbnails started long before the trend of Internet bookselling, how a manuscript moves from cover concept through to final cover, whether the cliche that an author is the worst possible designer of their own book cover is true, how self-published authors who create their own books can get the best possible covers, and much more.

(4) WHO PREVIEW. If you want to read some “minor spoilers” for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, “Twice Upon A Time,” ScienceFiction.com is ready to oblige: “15 Things To Watch For In ‘Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time’”. If not – DON’T CLICK!

With just 11 days to go until to Peter Capaldi’s Doctor and the Steven Moffat say their final farewells, some fans are finding it hard to wait! Some sites have been granted early access to ‘Twice Upon a Time,’ so to hold us over until December 25, we have a list of hints and teasers from the episode!

(5) SJW CREDENTIALS ARE GO. Corey J. White has identified “5 of the Coolest Cats in Space” for readers of Tor.com.

The cat is on the floor, looking up at me and yelling as I type this. My original plan was for a piece on ‘Pets In Space’, but she’s threatened to vomit on my bed, under the covers, if I don’t focus solely on cats. Why? Because cats are better than dogs. I am typing this of my own free will. Please send salmon.

In all seriousness though, even dog lovers have to admit that cats would make better pets aboard a space craft: they don’t require as much food as any but the smallest dogs, unlike many dog breeds they don’t need a lot of space to run around, and they’re great at catching the rodents chewing on the cables of the life-support system.

(6) SECOND FIFTH. John Scalzi shares his “Spoiler-Free Observations on The Last Jedi”.

  1. The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars film, and director Rian Johnson packs it full of story, so you’re unlikely to be bored, and even the laggy parts move along. With that said, there’s so much going on in the story and we’re keeping track of so many characters (Luke and Leia and Rey and Kylo and Poe and Finn and Chewie and BB-8 and R2D2 and C-3PO and Hux and Snoke and Phasma and oh look there are new characters too and what the hell are these porg things anyway?) that it can feel thin, and some bits are clearly contrived simply to give beloved characters things to do and/or give us new merchandising yes Porgs I am looking at you (I bought a porg stuffed animal at the show last night so, uh, I fell for it). I think I would have been happier with a sharper focus on fewer characters, and also I’m worried that Episode IX will be three and a half hours long and have five different endings, a la The Return of the King.

(7) PLAY BALL. Cut4.com, a Major League Baseball site, tried to attract a few clicks by assembling a baseball team out of Star Wars characters in celebration of The Last Jedi — “This is the team you’re looking for”. This one you need to follow baseball to fully appreciate:

Starting Pitchers: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jamie Moyer

The wise old wizard, utilizing a psychological advantage to best his enemies and thrive, despite all odds. And, as a solid No. 2, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(8) BATTLESTAR GALACTICA VET BACK ON TV. Deadline reports — “Apple Orders Ronald D. Moore Space Drama Series”.

Ronald D. Moore is heading back to space. Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a space drama from the Battlestar Galactica developer. The untitled project hails from Sony Pictures Television and Moore’s studio-based Tall Ship Productions.


  • December 15, 1958 Frankenstein’s Daughter came out.
  • December 15, 1961 The Twilight Zone aired “Once Upon A Time,” starring Buster Keaton.
  • December 15, 1974 Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein premieres.
  • December 15, 1978 Superman – The Movie premiered in U.S. theaters.


  • Born December 15, 1949 — Don Johnson, who starred with his canine companion in A Boy and His Dog.

(11) MATH PROJECT. Do we know anyone attending Emmanuel College in Boston?

(12) DUBIOUS FAN. Camestros Felapton is restraining his enthusiasm about new mix-and-match possibilities after the Disney/Fox merger for several reasons. Here’s one of them: “Disney, Fox and MCU”.

A comic book universe relies on somehow making superheroes whose basic premise is quite different work together. Marvel has juggled this by having elements that work together and elements that work as given character’s own domain. Thor can be a god-like alien being on Earth and exist side-by-side with Iron Man a human with fancy gadgets but their separate adventures put the characters in quite different characters. Some suspension of disbelief is required to accept that these characters can have their own stories without every film requiring all the Avengers to turn up to help but the settings help and each character can have separate stories.

Now add the X-men. The X-Men aren’t the X-Men without the key premise that they live in a world in which:

  • Some people get random mutant superpowers.
  • That the wider population knows this.
  • That the mutant population is feared and persecuted and suppressed.

Captain America has to be cool with this. I mean, obviously, he isn’t but for the X-Men to have their stories, basically The Avengers have to not do anything when the US government starts hunting people with giant killer robots. Also, the wider public has to be relatively OK with one bunch of super powered people and raging bigots about a different bunch. It has to be OK to get superpowers from a spider bite but not from a genetic mutation AND people have to believe that story (i.e. people don’t think Spiderman is a dangerous mutant).

(13) CHRISTMAS GOAT. Hampus Eckerman says, “Sometimes you have to go to the foreign press to understand why the Gävle goat is burned down every year. The Guardian has its own theory, totally new for me.” — “Killing Gävle – a Swedish city divided by a giant straw Christmas goat”.

Welcome to the small northern Swedish city of Gävle where there’s an annual battle over a 12-metre-high straw effigy of a goat. Local custodians try to protect a giant straw goat from mischievous pagans in a fight for the spirit of Christmas.

Every year since 1966, in the dark days of winter, the business owners pay for a goat to be built in the central square on the first day of advent. For 37 of those 51 years, the goat has been burnt down or damaged by shadowy outsiders, sometimes within a few hours of going up.

In the latest Guardian documentary, Killing Gävle, residents and those who might want to burn the goat explain their hopes and motivations as Christmas approaches and the battle over the goat is fired up once more.

The goat, which pulls Santa’s sleigh, has come to symbolise Christmas in Sweden, drawing people in from the surrounding country. Families bring their children to look in wonder and, the businesses hope, do a bit of shopping while they are there.

But there are other people in the dark forests that surround the city who hold an entirely different view of the goat. They believe in a time before Christianity appeared in Sweden, when people worshipped Norse gods including the goat goddess Heidrun (goddess of enlightenment) and the god of thunder, Thor, who rode around on two goats. Each night he would burn and then eat them, only to wake up the following morning to them having been reborn and able to pull his chariot again….


(14) DOPPELGANGER. When they get it right and find one that has nine planets, then we can talk: “NASA’s Kepler finds solar system like ours with eight planets” in USA Today.

Researchers used data from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope to discover an eighth planet orbiting a star known as Kepler-90.

The planet, dubbed Kepler-90i, is a hot, rocky planet that orbits its star every 14.4 days, and was found with the help of artificial intelligence, NASA said Thursday. The discovery marks the first solar system to tie with our solar system in the number of planets orbiting one star.

(15) STAY FROSTY. Timothy Cama, in a December 12 article in The Hill called “Emails: Disney annoyed by Obama push to use ‘Frozen’ brand” said that recently unearthed emails showed a 2015 negotiation between the Obama administration and Disney about using Frozen characters to promote warnings about climate change broke down because, according to one Disney executive, “it’s in our culture to tell stories that project optimism and have happy endings.”

Papp’s outreach generated extensive media coverage at the time and attracted mockery and criticism from conservatives who already thought then-President Obama’s climate agenda had gone too far.

The effort to use “Frozen” for climate messaging was part of an extensive plan by the Obama administration to convince Americans and the world that climate change is a major issue with enormous consequences.

(16) OCEANS, NOT CANALS. The BBC considers “Pacific ‘baby island’ is natural lab to study Mars”.

It is one of Earth’s newest landforms and it could just tell us where to look for evidence of life on Mars.

The tongue-twisting volcanic island of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai exploded out of the Pacific Ocean in 2015, and its shape has been evolving ever since as it has been lashed and bashed by waves.

Scientists are watching this slow erosion very closely.

They think they see the remnants of many such water-birthed islands on the Red Planet.

(17) FORERUNNER. The 60th anniversary of this project recently passed — “Skylark: The unsung hero of British space”.

It wasn’t a big vehicle, and it didn’t go to orbit. But the anniversary of that first flight from Woomera, Australia, should be celebrated because much of what we do in space today has its roots in this particular piece of technology.

“Skylark is an unsung British hero really,” says Doug Millard, space curator at London’s Science Museum.

“The first one was launched during the International Geophysical Year of 1957, and almost 450 were launched over the better part of half a century. It was the Skylark space rocket that really laid the foundations for everything the UK does in space.”

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Slaughterbots” on YouTube is a near-future film warning about the problems of miniature drones trained to kill.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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43 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/15/17 You’ve Got The Wrong Android, I Scroll My Name Danger

  1. Correction: I’m today’s birthday boy! I had a lovely meal with my family at Longhorn Steakhouse, where Mike, our waiter, overheard the word ‘birthday’ and brought me a hot fudge sundae at meal’s end.

    I might have been tomorrow’s birthday boy, it turns out. I found out a few years ago that I was born right at midnight, and Mom was allowed to choose which day would be my natal day, and she opted for the day she had just suffered through, sparing Beethoven the ignominy of being compared to me every year.

    Nice little pixel you got here. Be a shame if anything should happen to scroll it.

  2. But if I had two birthdays, I’d be 122 years old!

    (And thanks, gang!)

    I’m obliquely reminded of an entry in National Lampoon’s alleged ‘Letters’ column, consisting of a prospective jest for their august publication. It went something like this:

    YOUNG DANDY (Spotting a woman struggling with some packages): Pardon me, my good woman, but can I be of assistance?

    WOMAN (Distastefully eyeing the young dandy’s foppish dress and cloying manner): Yes, my good man, you can direct me to some helpful gentleman who does not affect foppish dress and cloying manner!

    YOUNG DANDY (Cut to the quick): Egad! My twin vanities are my downfall!
    (She exits in triumph.)

    As the imaginary writer of the jape says, “I have a million of them!”

  3. Happy birthday, Kip! Beethoven and I will join you tomorrow.

    ETA: or today in Pacific Time.

    Or, oops, GMT. Time machine fooled me. I must be tired….

  4. Happy birthday, Kip.

    8) Ron D. Moore never left TV, since he is showrunner on Outlander and does a really good job with that show, too. Outlander is even SFF, though for some reason fandom seems to ignore it.

    Anyway, I quite famously hated what Ron D. Moore did to Battlestar Galactica and his Star Trek work was a mixed bag, so I was surprised how much I enjoy Outlander and how close to the novels he manages to stick there without becoming overly gratuitous (which Outlander kind of invites). Let’s hope his new project is more like Outlander and less like the new Battlestar Galactica.

    17) Methinks someone on that project was a Doc Smith fan.

  5. 18) My boss was initially terrified by this video, then saddened when I told him it wasn’t real.

  6. Cora: 8) Ron D. Moore never left TV, since he is showrunner on Outlander and does a really good job with that show, too

    Good point. I misconstrued “back in space” as also being a return to TV.

    You’re also right that I haven’t paid attention to Outlander, another reason I could make that mistake.

  7. Cora on December 15, 2017 at 10:38 pm said:

    I was surprised how much I enjoy Outlander and how close to the novels he manages to stick there without becoming overly gratuitous (which Outlander kind of invites). Let’s hope his new project is more like Outlander and less like the new Battlestar Galactica.

    I too hope his new project spends a lot of time with the camera on a partially unclothed Jamie.

  8. Oh, some eye candy would definitely be welcome. Especially since Moore’s take on Battlestar Galactica had so little of it, compared to the original.

  9. @13: so some people think a real holiday goat would be reborn from the ashes? I wonder how many times they’re going to try; at least they don’t have the fatality rate of the narrator of Bester’s The Computer Connection (aka Extro). The version of the legend I recall was more specific: Thor had to crack his hammer over the bones wrapped in the skin — and once one of the goats came up lame because Loki persuaded a mortal to crack one of the bones for the marrow. It’s a little strange hearing vandal pagans complaining about “their” holiday being commercialized, without the relieving humor of the Gahan Wilson cartoon of witches making the same complaint about Halloween.

  10. In 2010, there were two persons trying to rent a helicopter to steal the yule goat and fly it to central Stockholm. They must have thought they were Valkyries or something.

    And the artcicle does not explain the attack by Santa and the ginger bread man in 2005. Unless the ginger bread man was Loki in disguise.

  11. The Gävle Goat/Gävlebocken has been on twitter for a long time. (The twitter account says since 2008. They might have had a blog on the Visit Gävle site before that. Looks like there’s an instagram site, too.) Somehow I take it harder when the goat burns having read their tweets.

  12. (2) That happend to me waaaaay bac watching Die Hard 3 in the cinema.First 20 minutes featuring a big explosion and a 10 minute phone talk that explains the premise. Lost its impact without sound.

    @Kip: Happy Birthday and Scroll over Pixelhoven!

  13. Scrolled Women Pixelling in Ponds

    (I did run this through search, and nothing came up.)

    Also: Happy birthday, Kip! Here in 5176, we remember you fondly.

  14. Re: 14. There is no sense in which the Solar system can reasonably be said to have nine planets. If you don’t want to go with eight (which is fine by me), then you almost have to bump the number up to at least thirteen. (Not counting the ten whose size and shape have yet to be completely confirmed.)

    You can pare that down a bit by using a wholly arbitrary (and somewhat ridiculous) definition of “at least as large as Pluto”, but even that gets you ten, since Eris is larger than Pluto.

    Some days I like to operate from this list, which bumps the number up to 32 (not counting the ten unconfirmed ones mentioned previously). I admit that many people balk at considering Luna or Ganymede to be planets, but the ancient Greeks had no problem with calling Luna a planet, and we stole the word from them, so… 🙂

    Anyway, no matter how you cut it, there’s no definition which gives nine planets as a result. (Unless you want to exclude Pluto but include Eris, which is unlikely to be a popular suggestion.) And there’s no non-arbitrary definition which gives any number between eight and thirteen.

  15. ” And there’s no non-arbitrary definition which gives any number between eight and thirteen.”

    But how is any particular definition that gives 13 also not arbitrary?

  16. Previous post should read “how is any particular definition that gives less than 8 or more than 13 also not arbitrary?”

    I typed it originally with the symbols for “less than” and “greater than”, but apparently they were interpreted as markup language or something and got eaten.

  17. Unless you want to exclude Pluto but include Eris, which is unlikely to be a popular suggestion.)

    The classicist in me finds this vaguely appropriate.

  18. apparently they were interpreted as markup language
    You’d have to use something like & gt ; and & lt ; to get them to show up. (Spaces added to make the text show – otherwise, you get the symbols > and <.)

  19. Bonnie, you should know better; strange women lying in pixels distributing scrolls is no basis for a system of government! 😉

  20. Bill on December 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm said:

    But how is any particular definition that gives 13 also not arbitrary?

    Well, I suppose you could argue that distinguishing between round (“has achieved hydrostatic equilibrium”) and not-round objects is arbitrary, but it seems like a fairly sensible distinction to me. And the IAU clearly agrees, since they classify all thirteen objects as either “planet” or “dwarf planet” to distinguish them from all the other bodies that orbit the sun.

    (Not counting the extra ten which may or may not prove to be round once we get more data.)

    Certainly less arbitrary than something like “1,477 miles in diameter or more”. Which is a number that sounds like it was pulled from someone’s nether regions if you don’t know the reference.

  21. Whoops, sorry, mislead by the html messup. To answer the question you meant to ask: how are numbers less than eight or greater than 13 not arbitrary? Well, 32 isn’t arbitrary. That’s the number of round objects orbiting things in the solar system. And then there’s those ten (so far) objects we’re not sure about, which may confuse matters. But other than that, yes, they would be. 🙂

  22. &amp; is how you put an amp in, so that you can have &lt; show up the way you want it.

    When I saw the latest Thor, it started with the sound mangled. It took us about 5 minutes to realize that wasn’t supposed to be alien speech – we were waiting for it to be “translated”, rather like the initial Russian in Hunt for Red October.

  23. Well, I had a great birthday today. The women’s chorus I sing in had its December concert tonight, so I’m exhausted now, but happy. They even sang Happy Birthday to me at the end of rehearsal, which quite warmed my heart. And that was a good thing, because the heat in the church we were singing in had failed! It was fun anyway, and lots of folks came, and we sang well, in our overcoats.

  24. Lenore, glad it’s being good for you! I had a call from a sister on my answering machine, singing the traditional birthday song of my family. Roughly to the tune of the William Tell Overture (and more exactly to the tune of the Happy Anniversary song from the first season of The Flintstones), it goes:

    Happy birthday yesterday!
    Happy birthday yesterday!
    Happy birthday yesterday!
    -py birthday yesterday!
    Happy happy happy happy
    Happy birthday yesterday!
    Happy happy happy happy
    [and so on, or maybe there’s a click at the other end]

    Really, it’s too bad I have to delete messages from the phone sometimes. But anyway, it was like getting a second day of birthdayness, abetted by the fact my present showed up today.

    So like I said, glad your birthday was happy, for that is the best kind of birthday.

  25. Oh, that is cool, and funny! I had a call from one of my sisters, too. And I’ll get a second day as well – birthday brunch tomorrow.

    Many happy returns, Kip!

  26. Happy Belated Birthdays, @Kip W & @Lenore Jones! In 1236, we predict Nostradamus will predict your birthdays.

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