Pixel Scroll 12/24/21 Scrollent Green Is Made Of Pixels

(1) THE MOVING FINGER WRITES. “Russell T Davies has already written new Doctor Who episodes for 2023” reports Radio Times.

…In an interview with The Guardian, the writer has revealed some of the new episodes are already written and ready to go – but he insists the new Doctor is not yet decided.

“I’ve already written some of the episodes. The first will go out in November 2023 – that’s the 60th anniversary of the show,” he said.

Davies was tight-lipped on the topic of who will replace Whittaker as the Doctor, however….

(2) BEWARE SPOILER. Radio Times interviews “Jodie Whittaker on being exterminated by Dalek in Doctor Who”.

…Speaking about the upcoming episode, which will see her succumb to her foes a fair bit, Whittaker told press including RadioTimes.com: “When I read this episode for the first time and in one of the opening moments get exterminated I genuinely thought, ‘Somebody has decided to write me out a bit sooner than I thought!’

“It’s brilliant to play because the first time, for the Doctor, it’s as if you’re grasping at those seconds and that realisation that it could be your last moment. And for you to be killed by a Dalek would be so horrendous! But then once you realise you’re in this time loop the anticipation of the pain and the fun that can be had with that… it’s the first time in my career I’ve died so many times in an episode, there’s always a first! ”…

(3) A HUNK OF BURNING LOVE. Marvel shares Kate Bishop’s Yule Log.

Grab some hot cocoa and cuddle up by the fireplace at Kate Bishop’s inspired NYC apartment!

(4) HAWKEYE NON-SPOILER. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Hawkeye’s end of season-finale episode #6 includes the full performance of the Rogers/Avengers “I Could Do This All Day” song.

(5) TWILIGHT ZONE. Slash Film reminds everyone that “Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Is Science Fiction With A Beating Heart”.

…”The Twilight Zone” isn’t only some of the most unique and influential science fiction of all time, it’s also science fiction with a soul. Watch straight through, and you’ll see that Serling has an unmovable moral compass that always directs his narrative path to the most humane end result. It makes sense that the series is often played in marathons around the holiday season, as many episodes would make a great double feature with the Frank Capra Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The show possesses both a sense of wonder and a through-line of deep awareness of humankind’s fallibility and mortality….

(6) A LOOK AT THE NEW MATRIX FILM. Pablo Vazquez reviewed The Matrix: Resurrection on Facebook. Reprinted here with permission.

First off, let me preface this by noting that the Matrix series has been highly influential to me and cheesily responsible for getting me to read more philosophy and exploring heterodox concepts. After rewatching some scenes and talking with other folks who’ve seen the film, I think the new Matrix film is somewhere between a 5-5.5/10 and some moments border on 6/10. It is very clearly a protest film if an impotent one and I respect it for that. It’s very clear no one involved wanted to do this but they were willing to jump back in if only to maintain an element of creative control. Some scenes are quality Matrix, some are a bit too “Whedonized/Marvelized” for me, and there’s a few sequences that were far too Episode One for me to the point that they might as well have put in some podracing. The pacing was weird, the movie seemed cheaply made, the soundtrack was disappointing and the dialogue was even more so. Don’t even get me started on the fight sequences and, I gotta say, the aesthetic was rather bland for a series so well known for its aesthetics.

What did I like then? Well, probably the first half of the film where it still seemed like a Situationist critique on the power of media to shape consensus reality and a vicious attack on bland sequel culture. The sad point is it basically became the things it was obviously trying to critique. The acting was good and I loved seeing the Sense8 cast involved in something again considering Sense8 is my all-time favorite Wachowski work. I think the movie got too saccharine in its second half but I did like the “two halves of a greater whole” theme. The cinematography was also good but could’ve been better.

Would I go see it again? Probably not. Do I think people are ridiculous for liking it? Definitely not. This is very much a subjective film considering I view it as a cynical nostalgia cash-in masquerading as radical critique but, to someone, it could very well be a crucial “message movie” or some simple entertainment. Lana didn’t want to make this but I suppose her at the helm is a bit better than whatever catastrophe WB was planning in the first place without her. All in all, to me, it’s not a thinking film, it’s rather not what I was looking for with The Matrix, and way too cynical for me, but hey, I suppose that’s the world we live in now and at least it makes alright popcorn fodder if you feel like hitting up the theaters and getting your nostalgia dose.

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

1981 [Item by Cat Eldridge.] Forty years ago in Australia, The Road Warrior (alt: Mad Max 2) premiered. Directed by George Miller and produced by Byron Kennedy, the screenplay was by Terry Hayes, George Miller and Brian Hannant. Australian New Wave composer Brian May is responsible for the music. It stars Mel Gibson and the Australian outback. 

It was extremely well received by critics with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times saying it was “one of the most relentlessly aggressive movies ever made,” and Vincent Canby of the New York Times calling it “an extravagant film fantasy that looks like a sadomasochistic comic book come to life.” On a budget of just three million, it made thirty-six million — a rather excellent showing.  Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it an eighty-seven rating. It would be nominated for a Hugo at ConStellation, the year Blade Runner took home the Hugo.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born December 24, 1910 — Fritz Leiber. I can say that my fav work by him is The Big Time which I either read or listen to every year. And yes, I’ve read the Change War Stories too, difficult to find as they were. Yes, I know it won a Hugo — much, much deserved!  I’m also fond of Conjure Wife, but otherwise I prefer his short fiction to his novels. (Died 1992.)
  • Born December 24, 1945 — Nicholas Meyer, 74. Superb and funny novel, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution is.  Much better than the film, I think. Now his Time After Time film is spot on. And let’s not forget his work on the Trek films, The Wrath of Khan (much of which went uncredited), The Voyage Home and The Undiscovered Country.  
  • Born December 24, 1964 — Mark Valley, 55. He made my Birthday list first by being the lead, Christopher Chance, in Human Target, a short-lived series created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino for DC, that was weirdly well done. He was also John Scott in Fringe as a regular cast member early on. He voiced Clark Kent / Superman in the second part of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • Born December 24, 1966 — Diedrich Bader, 53. I know him best as the voice of Batman on The Batman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. No, he’s not Kevin Conroy but his Batman is quite enjoyable and interesting in his own right. He’s best cast as Batman / Bruce Wayne in the new Harley Quinn series on the DC Universe service.
  • Born December 24, 1969 — Mark Millar, 50. Comic book writer whose resume is long. The Millar/Quitely era on The Authority was politically edged and often got censored by DC as it commented on the Iraq War — well worth your reading. His run on Swamp Thing from 142 to 171 has a lot of other writers including Morrison. He did the Ultimates at Marvels and a lot of the superb series ended in the Avengers film. Finally, his excellent Civil War was the basis of the Captain America: Civil War film and his not to be missed Old Man Logan was the inspiration for Fox’s Logan film.

(9) COVID JOURNAL. John Skylar, Ph.D., a virologist who contracted Covid at DisCon III, is publicly documenting his experience with the virus. Thread starts here.

(10) TAIYOU CON. An Arizona anime con has had its director resign after a sexual assault claim: “Anime fans, cosplayers bow out of Arizona convention after sexual assault accusation” at Yahoo!

Cosplayers and fans of comic books, anime and video games have vowed to boycott a long-running Arizona anime convention in January due to allegations of misconduct and sexual assault against the convention’s director, who has since stepped down.

On Dec. 15, Arizona resident Allie Heady, 25, detailed in a public Facebook post that she had been sexually assaulted by someone known within the anime and cosplay communities as Gackto in December 2017. Gackto also was the name of the director of Taiyou Con, an annual anime convention scheduled for Jan. 7-9 at Mesa Convention Center.

…Heady, an anime fan who lives in Arizona, alleged in her Facebook post that she now has post-traumatic stress disorder after being sexually assaulted by Gackto four years ago.

“It’s taken me a long time to come forward and speak about this. But I continue to see him, and his posts and his ‘achievements.’ And I don’t want to,” she wrote. “And whether or not anyone believes me, I can finally get this off my chest.”

At the end of her post, Heady added a call to action: “He also created an anime convention called Taiyou Con. Please boycott it. Please understand what nightmares he has put me and others thru. Please share my story and uplift those who are maybe too afraid to come forward, because it’s happened. And I will not, I do not want to stay quiet anymore.”

(11) SPACE RONIN. [Item by Kendall.] Tons of rogue planets, Jupiter sized (which makes me wonder about smaller ones they simply can’t detect).  I wouldn’t want to meet a Jupiter in a dark alley between the stars. “Astronomers discover largest group of ‘rogue planets’ yet”The Verge has the story.

Astronomers just discovered a treasure trove of “rogue planets” — free-floating planets that don’t orbit a star but exist all by their lonesome in the depths of space. With masses comparable to that of Jupiter, the 70 or more rogue planets spotted throughout the Milky Way galaxy are the largest such group of cosmic nomads ever found.

Located within the Scorpius and Ophiuchus constellations, the planets were spotted using a suite of telescopes on both the ground and in space. Typically, rogue planets are difficult to image because they aren’t close to any stars to make them visible. However, with data compiled over 20 years from European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes, the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite, and more, Núria Miret-Roig, an astronomer at the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France and the University of Vienna, Austria, and her team were able to capture faint heat signatures emitted from planets that formed within the last several million years.

(12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Well, this is inspired! “Where Is The Comma In ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen’ Supposed To Go?”

This a cappella arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” examines how commas can change meanings… often with unintended results.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John A Arkansawyer.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/24/21 Scrollent Green Is Made Of Pixels

  1. Speaking of Robert Ripley, Neal Thompson’s A Curious Man is an excellent biography of him.

  2. (8) Heinlein references a Ripley column notion in one of the juveniles – Tunnel, ai think.

    Merry Christmas Eve

  3. I’m told that in one of the more modern Ripley’s Believe It or Not! compilations, allegations are made of the existence of a monochromatic creature in Wisconsin called an “Orange Mike”. But Ripley’s, as any Wikipedia editor can tell you, is not on the whole considered a Reliable Source.

  4. My all-time favorite Winter Holiday book is Jane Yolen’s The Wild Hunt and you can find the Green Man review here. I have a personally signed copy by her. And yes, she’s on the chocolate distribution list. She prefers milk chocolate.

  5. If any green knights should happen to turn up tomorrow, wanting to play games with swords, my advice is to decline. Courteously, of course.

  6. (9) COVID JOURNAL. Ugh, and he wore an N95 mask.

    (12) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Luvs it!

    @John A Arkansawyer & @Mike Glyer: Great Pixel Scroll title!

    55 minutes till I’m forced to exchange presents at midnight. Eek! 😉

  7. Kendall says COVID JOURNAL. Ugh, and he wore an N95 mask.

    He doesn’t know that he got infected at DisCon III. It can take two to fourteen days after you get infected for symptoms to appear. According to the CDC, symptoms on the average show up in the newly infected person about six days after getting infected. So it’s likely that a lot of the folks showing symptoms of being infected at Worldcon were not in fact infected there given the short period of time that they were there.

    It’s far more likely they got infected in their social circle where masks were not worn, i.e. their vaccinated family which still could carry the virus.

  8. @Cat
    Omicron is faster – 2 to 5 days. But still, probably not at DisCon. It’s far more contagious, also. I’m hoping it’s not as contagious as measles, where it stays active in air for several hours.

  9. I meant the actively infected person instead of the newly infected person. Like Discon III in the Covid update that just went out, the feline overlords got involved.

  10. @Cat Eldridge & @P J Evans: Good points, thanks. But that means good chance infected before, which means people could’ve picked it up there.

    But yeah, it’s really pretty much “who the heck knows,” isn’t it.

    (Can you tell I’m anxiously awaiting getting tested on Sunday? Sorry.)

  11. P J Evans says Omicron is faster – 2 to 5 days. But still, probably not at DisCon. It’s far more contagious, also. I’m hoping it’s not as contagious as measles, where it stays active in air for several hours.

    Yeah I noticed that.

    It’s just not likely not anyone , other than staff who would have been there longer, caught the virus and developed symptoms there. It’s far more likely that they had already caught it elsewhere and were there when became active there. And being vaccinated dues mean you cannot catch the virus alas.

    I was supposed to have hand surgery three days ago. It got cancelled because my blood sugar is too high right now. But before I could have it, despite being vaccinated and having my booster jab, I was required to have a Covid test to make sure I wasn’t infected. So any of the Worldcon members could have been carrying the virus.

  12. Kendall says Good points, thanks. But that means good chance infected before, which means people could’ve picked it up there.

    No doubt it was possible to pick up there but it was unlikely that anyone had time for that infection to fully develop into an active case while they were there. It takes about six days to do that and I assume most of you weren’t there that long, right?

    I’m not infectious disease expert though I do know more than I should having had to deal with two serious staphylococcus infections that cost a hundred days in-hospital and my personal infectious disease doctor for three years. (And those led to a permanent blood clot problem that now requires a cat-scan every six months. Yea.) So I find these things fascinating.

  13. tavela, I remember a bit in a Piserchia novel, probably Mr. Justice, about a school for brilliant children. The map of the campus was just the topography. The idea was that they could figure out where the buildings should be.

    I would have been crap at that, and it occurs to me that the architects would have had to be brilliant, too, to put all the buildings in the right places.

  14. In a tweet, Charles Stross suggested Omicron was like a different disease given its higher virulence and shorter incubation time, and that’s why we are so flatfooted. Thankfully it’s just a metaphor.

    I think the con’s bet that December would be the safest time to have the con would have paid off…if not for Omicron.

  15. Hope everyone who celebrates a Winter Holiday has, will have, or has had, in no particular order:
    Happy Hogswatch
    Good Yule
    Merry Christmas
    Happy Hannukah
    Happy Kwanza
    Joyous Solstice
    and a Happy New Year!

    And to those who do not celebrate a Winter Holiday, have a lovely day!

  16. Merry Happy Etc.! 😀

    For the first time with just the two of us, we opened presents at a more traditional (for me) time instead of at midnight last night. Only ‘cuz he was falling asleep before midnight last night, hahaha, so he decided to give me this gift of doing things the way both our families normally do. 😛

    There were tea and books for both of us, yay! 😉 I didn’t expect to receive tea (I keep hearing “we have too much tea”), so that was a nice surprise. The tea I gave was by request (lapsang souchong).

    Anyway, I hope everyone has a lovely day, whether you’re celebrating anything or exchanging gifts or relaxing on a Saturday or working.

  17. Meredith Moment!

    Speaking of the recs from CrimeReads in the previous Pixel Scroll that I commented on there:

    Tade Thompson’s recent SF novel Far From the Light of Heaven is on sale for $2.99 from Orbit (uses DRM), in the U.S. at least. Some sleepers on a colony ship never wake; the mystery of their deaths and investigation into who or what caused it will have interstellar repercussions. Rec’d not just by CrimeReads, but also by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Alastair Reynolds, and The Guardian.

    I may be forgetting Filer recs for this book; if so, my apologies. Anyone here read this? It just came out in late October.

    The narrator, Clifford Samuel, also narrated Thompson’s Making Wolf (not SFF, looks like). He pauses a lot while speaking (at least in the “Far From…” sample), which I’d probably find too distracting.

  18. Meredith moment of sorts: Peter Dickinson’s The Last Houseparty: A Crime Novel is available from the usual suspects for seven dollars and ninety nine cents. If you like Gosford Park or Hercule Poriot’s Christmas, I think you’ll like this mystery.

  19. Happy Merry, everyone, from rainy Los Angeles (where the case rate has tripled over the last few days)!

  20. Lorien says Happy Merry, everyone, from rainy Los Angeles (where the case rate has tripled over the last few days)!

    I’m in Maine which has one has one of the highest rates in the States. Fortunately I’m in the Cumberland Country which has the lowest rate in the entire state. The high rate is driven by three counties with extremely low vaccinated rates. Some ninety percent of the ICU beds with Covid cases here are held by the unvaccinated.

  21. Happy Winter Holiday to all Northern Hemisphere dwellers.
    Happy Summer Holiday to all Southern Hemisphere dwellers.

  22. Cassy B. wrote, among other things

    Happy Hogswatch

    I went looking for sugar pigs, but men sell not such in any town.

  23. @Cat Eldridge:

    According to the CDC, symptoms on the average show up in the newly infected person about six days after getting infected.

    Specifically, in a brief literature check, I find that the incubation period (time from exposure to symptom) has been estimated as five days for the Alpha variant, four days for Delta, and as few as three days (1, 2) for Omicron. (As a reminder, Delta outcompeted the prior variants, and now Omicron seems in the middle of doing the same, so this surge is a mix of the two.)

    There are some (well, many) subtle difficulties in interpreting the data, though, e.g., I’ve read speculation that Omicron’s shorter (average) observed incubation time may be an artefact of higher vaccination rates: Efficient, quick immune response causes earlier symptoms.

    Estimating Omicron’s intrinsic severity is also proving difficult because of uncontrolled variables, and raises the risk of a Simpson’s Paradox effect plaguing data interpretation.

    Anyway, it’s important to bear in mind that the timescales for “tests positive” and “had symptoms” differ.

  24. Happy holidays, everyone! I received Catherynne Valente’s Comfort Me with Apples as a gift and am looking forward to reading it.

  25. Happy Holidays everyone!

    My favorite CCH Pounder vehicle is the non-genre film Baghdad Cafe, a film about friendship and found family.

  26. Happy all the things! From my personal leanings, joy of the returning light to all (in the northern hemisphere, anyway; to everyone else, I hope you had a lovely midsummer).

    We did the Solstice Night thing with the Yule log and Up All Night and inviting friends to come hang out any time between sunset and sunrise. (“Friends” being almost exclusively the people I’m already engaging in contact sports practice with three times a week, so even for omicron it felt kinda OK.) Rolling overlapping visits occurred from I’d say 5:30 PM until 3:00 AM, and there was much eating and drinking (with my husband taking friends on Personal Scotch Journeys–just calling them whiskey tastings would be to say too little) and laughing and playing of games and I regret not hearing the request for karaoke because we totally could have done that too, to my neighbor’s chagrin. My teammate who’s also a luthier found my long-years-neglected guitar and noodled about on it after we got it tuned. (Now the fact that it’s still tuned and sitting in its case is nagging at me. I mean, either pull it out and play with it, or detune it for its own protection, ok?)

    The hunk of slow-burning wood we called our Yule Log did indeed last the night through. I did not make it until sunrise, but I stayed up until I could see the sun was on its way, so, mission accomplished.

    I joke that Solstice is my Thanksgiving, in that I stress out over cooking far too much and then have a world of leftovers to devour for the next few days. That culminated in taking the last of the sausage-leek pie fillings that didn’t fit in the medium-sized store-bought GF shells, and putting them in a gigantic butter flake crust that I made tonight, and baking them, and eating the results for dinner with wine and cheese. DAMN FINE. And now I have MORE pie leftovers. Life is good.

    So that’s the winter holidays view from Chez LeBoeuf-Little. I hope everyone has had, or will have, just the best and most joyous turning-of-the-year/seasons holiday they possibly can, during these weird and troubled times.

  27. @Mike Glyer, glad you enjoyed the overlong reportage! 😀

    @Kendall, it is yummy! It’s the “savory pie for the first day of winter” recipe from Making Light, here: https://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009676.html (The CSS appears to be on the blink at the moment, but the text of the post and comments, which contain some clarifications on the recipe, remain intact.) I started including it in my Solstice celebrations that year and haven’t stopped since, it’s that good.

    Y’all hereabouts will be amused to hear that last year, when the all-nighter yule log vigil was just me and my husband because of covid, we kept ourselves awake until sunrise by reading the Murderbot books to each other. We were just finishing up Exit Strategy and starting in on Network Effect that night/morning.

  28. @Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: For what it’s worth, both Martin and Taylor ship their guitars tuned to concert pitch, and I presume they know what they’re about; similarly I’ve kept all of mine tuned, some expensive ones for years and one el cheapo for a couple of decades, with no ill effects. (Exception: my sinker redwood Taylor that sounds even better tuned to DGCFAD.) I’m confident that ‘keeping guitars tuned to concert pitch is dangerous’ is an unrule.

  29. (12) As a grammar nerd, I loved the disquisition on comma placement in a certain Christmas carol. Plus, it confirmed my own guess as to the correct interpretation of the carol (and thus the comma placement). The song itself was clever and the scansion was well-done.

  30. @Hampus – I’m not going to claim it’s a wide-spread tradition, but it has become the tradition of my household. (Far as I can tell, making up your own traditions is a time-honored Wiccan/Neopagan tradition, and one I adhere to enthusiastically.)

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