Pixel Scroll 12/13/16 I Never Thought I’d Be Playing The Straight Pixel To A Tin Scroll

(1) STORIES TO NAVIGATE BY. WIRED editor Scott Dadich introduces their first all-science-fiction issue: “Science Fiction Helps Make Sense of an Uncertain Future”.

Why fiction? Glad you asked. We live in uncertain times. One of this publication’s most important jobs is to see the big trends, spot important business models, and chronicle landmark innovations that show us where we’re going. But right now, that is hard to do. In this rapidly changing, aggressively agitated moment, it’s very difficult to discern what the future holds.

So we decided to consider things a little more obliquely. Sometimes to get a clearer sense of reality, you have to take some time to dream.

To this end, we reached out to a number of our favorite fiction authors and gave them a simple mission: Pick a plausible innovation or change in the world and spin out a near-term scenario. Don’t stick to the current moment. See where your mind goes. Imagine. Have fun.

That’s not to say the stories themselves are all about fun. Many are quite dystopic. N. K. Jemisin—whose novel The Fifth Season won the 2016 Hugo award—spins a cautionary tale about resource depletion and interplanetary relations. The duo that goes by the pen name James S. A. Corey, creators of The Expanse, imagines a world with a universal basic income—and what we are left wanting. Charles Yu, who writes for HBO’s Westworld, examines what life will be like when machines can read our thoughts. Etgar Keret, the celebrated Israeli fiction author, writes about … well, just read it. And in his refreshing “review,” Glen David Gold, the author of Carter Beats the Devil, shows us what we will have to endure in the movie theater someday in the future.

(2) DOWN WITH FAKE NEWS, Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, has donated $1 million to The Poynter Institute. The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism.

The Craig Newmark Foundation, the charitable organization established by Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark, is giving Poynter $1 million to fund a faculty chair in journalism ethics.

The gift will support a five-year program at Poynter that focuses on verification, fact-checking and accountability in journalism. It’s the largest donation Poynter’s ever received from an individual foundation.

The Newmark Chair will expand on Poynter’s teaching in journalism ethics and develop certification programs for journalists that commit to ethical decision-making practices. The faculty member will also organize an annual conference on ethics issues at Poynter and be a regular contributor to Poynter.org.

Poynter will begin accepting applications for the job in January.

“I want to stand up for trustworthy journalism, and I want to stand against deceptive and fake news,” Newmark, founder of Craigslist and the Craig Newmark Foundation, said in a statement. “And I want to help news organizations stand and work together to protect themselves and the public against deception by the fake media. Poynter’s the right place to do this work because the Institute has long been very serious about trustworthy news and committed to both training journalists and holding media organizations accountable.”

(3) THIS IS, APPARENTLY, REAL NEWS. Blastr’s Cher Martinetti scoffs at the UN stripping Wonder Woman of her honorary title.

Wonder Woman’s role as an honorary ambassador to the UN has come to an abrupt end less than two months after receiving the designation, due to the backlash the appointment received. Some felt that the character’s sexualization was sending the “wrong message” to young girls, and in a move that was every bit the opposite of empowerment, protested and petitioned the character as a symbol for gender equality. Because nothing says women are equal and empowered more than other women slut-shaming them.

The 45,000 signatures that signed the petition against Wonder Woman’s honorary title, and those who protested the event a couple months back, are a sobering reminder of how we, as women, can’t get out of our own way when it comes to equality and progress. We’re taught at a young age to be shameful of our bodies, that our sexuality should be oppressed, and that other women are our competition and, at times, the enemy. We’re trained to look for the flaws in other females first and weaponize them to take them down. For those 45,000-plus people, of course their only focus was the imagined over-sexualization of a character who was so progressive that she graced the cover of the very first issue of Ms. magazine. You know, since Gloria Steinem is wont to praise women who aren’t empowered….

(4) HE BLINDED US WITH SCIENCE. Camestros Felapton has invented the tool we’ve all been waiting for – “The Thermodynamic Model for Distinguishing Fictional Science from Fictional Magic”.

Oh, the age old problem! Any sufficiently fictional technology is indistinguishable from fictional magic. Faster than light drives? Going really fast magic! Psychic powers? Mind magic with a sciency name. Teleportation? Vanishing magic! Robots? Golems! Viral zombies? Actual zombies!

Well a crack team has been working on this problem here at Felapton Towers and we’ve come up with the Thermodynamic Model for Distinguishing Fictional Science from Fictional Magic.

(5) MIND TRICKS FOR THE EYES. The Washington Post has a review by David Betancourt of Pablo Hidalgo’s “Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy.” It’s a book of propaganda posters for both the Empire and the Rebel Alliance and is really good commercial art. The publisher is Harper Design.

“Propaganda” takes key incidents from “Star Wars” and politicizes them through art. Turning these pages, you’ll see appeals to creatures of the Dark Side and to disciples of the Force. Every opinion on the battle is represented. Some of these posters want you to believe the Death Star is the worst thing ever; others claim those pesky Jedi are the real menace.

Guided by the words of official Star Wars expert Pablo Hidalgo, “Propaganda” is a galactic history lesson, offering even the most devoted fans a deep dive into corners of the George Lucas films they may not have known.



  • Born December 13, 1925 – Dick Van Dyke, of Mary Poppins and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang fame.

(7) RAVE ABOUT YOUR FAVE. RedStarReviews has named its favorite book of 2016. Don’t be fooled by the graphical structure of the post, Ancillary Justice is not that book. It is —

Jeffrey Alan Love for his book: Notes From The Shadowed City!

This book is AMAZING! It is an illustrated tale of a man who has forgotten who he is while finding himself inside a magical city filled with dark and dangerous wonder. I love the artwork and was completely captivated by the story. This is a book to fire up the imaginations of the readers! A fantasy that introduces you to some of the lessor known magical swords hidden away within the Shadowed City. This beat Passage At Arms, The Incorruptibles, Children Of Fire and all others to carry away the award this year!

(8) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #15. The fifteenth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed copy of Lyda Morehouse’s Resurrection Code. She’ll be sending a copy to each of the top three bidders, which is pretty cool.

Today’s auction is a little different. Lyda Morehouse will be sending an autographed trade paperback of her book RESURRECTION CODE to the top three bidders! That’s right, we have three copies to give away, which means triple the chances to win!

About the Book:

Where were you the day the Aswan dams broke? It’s the question that defines my generation. Me, I was stuck in British School al-Rehab hundreds of kilometers from the destruction that plunged North Africa into darkness and drowned twenty million people as massive floods reclaimed the ancient Nile valley. We watched the privileged and the sane abandon Egypt to the criminals, prostitutes, and a mysterious murderous cult of Osiris known as the Deadboys. Not much of the capitol remained, and my life really went to hell.

But that’s not where my story really starts.

My story starts the day I, Christian El-Aref, distinguished myself from the thousands of Cairo street rats and became the Mouse. And I had that dead UN soldier whose body that I, quite literally, stumbled over to thank for it all. Now, if only I can keep myself from getting murdered…

Also included: Morehouse’s AngeLINK-related short story, “ishtartu,” from the Lambda Award-nominated collection Periphery.

(9) BEWARE, GOD-SPOILERS! Fletcher Vredenburgh praises P.C Hodgell’s work at Black Gate – “Last of a Series… For Now: The Sea of Time by P.C. Hodgell”

Lastly, all those things I called out Hodgell for including, they’re all good — I wanted more pages, not less stuff. The Kencyrath and Rathilien are two of the most developed creations in any fantasy books I’ve ever read. For over a thousand pages now, Hodgell has been exploring the whys and wherefores of Kencyrath society and beliefs. The same thing goes for Rathilien. Each book has raised new questions and she’s never seen fit to leave them unaddressed. Doing that, she’s made her invented world and its inhabitants come to life, invested with brio and never seeming untrue.

Here are links to his previous reviews — God Stalk, Dark of the Moon, Seeker’s Mask, To Ride a Rathorn, Bound in Blood, and Honor’s Paradox.

(10) SEQUEL STALK! He also reminds us that author Hodgell says Baen will bring out the next book in her series in July 2017.

A couple of readers have asked me about this, and I just realized that I hadn’t generally announced it:  Baen tells me that The Gates of Tagmeth is due out next July.  At that point they will have had the ms in their hands for 14 months.  Why the delay?  I don’t know.  Sorry about that. My agent is working on a contract for the return to Tai-tastigon novel.  I’m a bit nervous about revisiting the city after all of these years.  For one thing, my style has changed a lot since God Stalk.  I think that, technically, I’m a better writer now.  However, I don’t think I still have the youthful bounce that made GS so much fun.  After all, for me it’s been 30+ years.  It will be different for Jame too.  A lot has happened in her life too although it’s only been about 4 years.  That will be an issue:  how much has she changed?  Then too, the city is in a bit of a mess.  So we’ll see.  I’ve carried this extended story in my mind for a long, long time.

(11) GAMERS AND SFWA. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America has posted an update to its game-writing membership qualifications.

After long deliberation, the Board has voted to change the qualifications, and the motion has passed. I welcome feedback on this iteration; I consider these things something that changes and adapts on an ongoing basis as the publishing world changes.

The complaints we heard were about the exclusion of salaried writers, the limit on number of collaborators, since collaboration in games is a different model than stories or novels, and the exclusion of game mechanics.

Here are the new qualifications:

Games in any medium may be used for qualification so long as the game has a narrative element, is in English, and in the science fiction, fantasy, horror or related genres.

Prospective members working on games may qualify by showing a sale or income in one of three ways:

  1. By making at least one paid sale of a minimum of 40,000 words to a qualified market, or three paid sales to qualified markets totaling at least 10,000 words. Game publishers may be designated as qualified markets using the already established process and criteria used to qualify fiction markets.
  2. By showing they have earned a net income of at least $3,000 from a game that includes at least 40,000 words of text over the course of a 12-month period since January 1, 2013. Income can be in the form of advance, royalties, or some combination of the three.
  3. If no word count is possible, such as work done for a video game, prospective members can qualify based on one professionally produced full-length game for which they were paid at least $3,000.

Money from crowd-funding campaigns can be used as part or all of the required income once the game has been delivered to backers, but the amount that can be claimed cannot be more than the net income from the number of games produced and delivered to backers (calculated by the number of backers multiplied by the minimum tier which receives a copy of the game.)

(12) UPROAR OF THE DAY. Yes, there are so many tweetstorms a reader can’t even tell which one triggered this comment:

(13) LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS. Quick, somebody write this. Oh, somebody already has? But Kepler data says it’s happening in real life — “Scientists think they’ve found a planet with weather so hot, its clouds are vaporized jewels”.

But on a planet as hot as HAT-P-7b, clouds are likely made of materials that have a much higher melting and boiling point; at those temperatures, most compounds would be permanently in their gaseous states. “Something that has the right sort properties is called corundum,” says Armstrong. On Earth, where temperatures are much lower, corundum is found in rocks—the mineral, when combined with the right elements, forms rubies and sapphires. On HAT-P-7b, the mineral might be forming clouds. “It’s a very good possibility that these clouds are made of corundum, and we’re seeing essentially big condensed clouds of minerals being blown across the planet,” says Armstrong.

Scientists can’t tell for sure that these are gem-based clouds because they’re making observations from billions of miles away; they’d need a sample to analyze to confirm.

(14) EVIL IS LOVE SPELLED WRONG. David Ayer and Margot Robbie will be working together again on the all-female DC villains movie Gotham City Sirens.

David Ayer is back in the business of DC comics villains.

The filmmaker, who directed Warner Bros.’ all-bad guy comic book movie Suicide Squad, is reuniting with that film’s star, Margot Robbie, for Gotham City Sirens, a feature project that will showcase the top female villains from the DC stable, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Ayer will direct and produce the project with Robbie reprising her role as Harley Quinn, the part-time girlfriend of the Joker who is currently DC’s most popular female character. Robbie is also executive producing.

Sirens was a recent comic series from DC that focused on the popular villainesses from Batman’s rogue gallery. Among them were Quinn, Catwoman, Batman’s sometime love interest, and Poison Ivy, who uses plants and their toxins to get what she wants.

(15) BUGS, MR. POTTER! A newly-discovered spider said to resemble the Sorting Hat has been given a Harry Potter-esque nameeriovixa gryffindori.

There the scientists, along with colleague Sumukha J. N., found their own “fantastic beasts,” including one spider that looked like a lady bug and another tiny arachnid that brought their love for Harry Potter full circle.

It was shaded brown, triangular shaped and, Ahmed and Khalep agreed, looked identical to Rowling’s mischievous Sorting Hat.

The hat is a staple at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry Potter and his pals spend most of their time throughout the seven books. Brown and tattered, it is placed on the head of each first year student and, through a slit in the aged brim folds, shouts out the child’s house assignment after a period of pondering.

As you’ll recall, Godric Gryffindor was the original owner of the Sorting Hat.

(16) MARTIAN BLAME GAME. The Washington Post has an interview by Vicky Hallett of Stephen Petranek, whose 2015 book How We’ll Live Life on Mars is the basis for the National Geographic Channel series Mars.  In “Are we really going to land and live on Mars?”, Petranek talks about how he tried to make the TV miniseries as factually accurate as possible and how we had the capacity to go to Mars for 25 years if we hadn’t burned so much money on the space shuttle.

Q: Why has going to Mars seemed so impossible to the public?

A: Part of it is because we didn’t continue to be a space-exploring species after Apollo. There was no particularly good reason to go to the moon. We proved we could do it. Then we didn’t do anything after that. In the 1970s, scientist Wernher von Braun was running around the halls of Congress saying, “I can get humans on Mars.” For at least 30 years, we’ve had the technology. All we did was fly 135 space shuttle missions with nowhere to go. We built the International Space Station, but we weren’t significantly exploring space. People got bored. The only time people paid attention to the space shuttle is when it killed a whole crew. It was supposed to be cheap and reusable, but it cost $1.4 billion every time it went up. We spent $150 billion. If we had one-fourth of that money, we would have had a viable outpost on Mars, and we would have had it for a while.

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]

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97 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 12/13/16 I Never Thought I’d Be Playing The Straight Pixel To A Tin Scroll

  1. 2) So it’s all about ethics in journalism?
    (Well, someone had to say it!)

    @ Kurt: Well said. Objecting to the primacy given to the male gaze is not the same thing as slut-shaming.

    I like some of the more-practical costumes for Wonder Woman that I’ve been seeing in fan-art of late.

  2. I’ve seen one of the issues Samuel Delaney wrote and I thought it showed promise. Maybe not terrific, though.

    There are plenty of WONDER WOMAN issues between Sekowsky and Pérez that are decently-crafted or solid or show potential, etc. But no great runs.

    And since Delany’s the guy who had Wonder Woman say that in most cases she doesn’t even like women, I think that’s flaw enough to sink his couple of issues.

  3. @Peer

    Well, if you use Janis Joplin’s version (or I guess Kris Kristofferson’s since I believe he was the original songwriter):

    “Pixel’s just another word for nothing left to scroll”

  4. On a Sunday morning slidewalk,
    I’m wishing, Lord, that I was scrolled.
    ‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
    That makes a pixel feel alone….

  5. ” I wonder if there a distinction made between “salaried” and contract workers ”

    If I am understanding your question correctly, no, no distinction. My feeling is that the game writing world is very different from the fiction writing one in that regard and I tried to accommodate that in the changes. Now that this is all taken care of, we can start doing things like working on adding games to the Recommended list and figuring out the Nebula criteria.

    I am the proud owner of two WW comics both written and signed by Chip Delany. I like to find odd things for him to sign. The most recent, discovered at my local Value Village, is a 1968 French edition of Nova with a fabulous and inexplicably checkered spaceship on the cover.

  6. @Cat: (finding odd things to have signed)

    I like doing that, too – usually in the form of choosing odd DVDs or Blu-rays for actors to sign. Bringing this around to WW, I had a minute to chat with Terry Farrell while she was signing my copy of Back to School. (Yes, the “Rodney Dangerfield goes to college” movie. She played his son’s love interest in what I believe was her first big-screen role.) Anyway, I mentioned that I would’ve liked to see her play Wonder Woman, especially soon after she left DS9, and she replied that she would’ve been interested. Now I want to move to the universe where that actually came to pass…

    (Yeah, I’ve been away for a while. Still looking for work after my previous position got suddenly and unexpectedly discontinued. The company was careful to say that I wasn’t being fired, but the distinction between fired and laid off doesn’t matter much when you’re a contractor. So, if anyone needs some ebook work done, I’m available…)

  7. @Rev. Bob:

    I’m sorry to hear about your job troubles.

    Glad to have you back, though.

  8. I am the proud owner of two WW comics both written and signed by Chip Delany.

    That’s the set, then!

    Not his complete comics oeuvre, but his complete Wonder Woman comics run, at least.

  9. @Bonnie:

    Thanks. At least I can take some pride in knowing that I was responsible for editing an ebook that, when sent to a small press to become an audiobook under their imprint, garnered the remark that it was the first error-free manuscript the publisher had received. Now, if only the audience (LGBT erotica) would find it… 😉

  10. @Rev Bob

    Ah, I remember the saga of the erotica book, good to hear it finally made it to press. Bad to hear your employment woes though

  11. @Snowcrash, that WIRED site with the Jemison story was so CPU-intensive that it crashed my computer. (I’m assuming that’s what did it. I tried three times to load it; three times my computer froze up.) I finally did a control-a control-c and copied the story into a word document to read. Helluva story. But boy howdy, WIRED needs to remember that some of us are running on old hardware….

  12. @Mark: (the book)

    Depending on how one counts, there are either two or seven books. (One is an omnibus “complete version” that collects a two-part novel and three short stories. The other, which now has an audio edition, is a set of three linked short stories.) For anyone interested, the links are over here.

    What was intended as the next project appears to have been derailed by the big post-election change in the national mood. I know it was a dark story, and I can understand not wanting to write it just now; I’m not sure the audience wants to go there at present. I think it’s being back-burnered in favor of one of two origin stories – and yes, one of those involves a superhero.

  13. @Rev Bob

    Good to hear from you, the Balrog was getting lonely.

    On the way back to the station this evening I wandered into Royal Mile Whiskies looking to maybe pick up something for dad for Christmas. they were having a tasting (always dangerous) and in this case of Swedish Whisky. Not only was this extremely good but I was immensely amused to find that the distillery, Mackmyra, was in Gävle which may explain the annual burning of the yule goat. They’re simply embracing their inner Scot.

    Seriously though, the peated Svensk Rök was as good as any Islay malt I’ve had recently. Ended up getting myself a bottle too.

  14. @ Ghost Bird
    I think Diana/Artemis is Apollo’s sister, not Mars’. Butof couse Mars Ultor would disapprove of whatever a bunch of women got up to without him.

    Interesting, many people on the left find the fact-checking sites to bo ITHO way too friendly to right-wing formulations. While both sides complain about them, I’m not much worried.
    And no matter Craigsgrant’s political leanings, you would welcome fact-based journalism, no? I’d hate to see some jerk fool the US into another multi-trillion-$ mistake.

  15. @Cat: (finding odd things to have signed)

    Several years ago Dan Aykroyd came through town promoting his Crystal Skull vodka. He was also promoting the Wounded Warriors project, in parallel. He did an appearance at a local liquor store, and people lined up all the way around the building to get an autograph. Most folks wanted Crystal Skull vodka skulls signed. Some folks had Ghostbusters DVDs, or Blues Brothers albums.

    The crowds were much larger than had been anticipated, and he was only partway through the line when the scheduled end time came and went. At some point, the organizers said “we’re gonna have to end this, Dan is scheduled to meet some soldiers in rehab in the next town over in a couple hours, and he has to leave in XX minutes.” They moved everyone who had bought a bottle of vodka (@ ~$50 per) to the front of the line, and he signed all their bottles. Then they said “Dan’s gonna walk around the line and sign as much as he can, as fast as he can. No posing for photos, no conversations, have your stuff out and ready.” And he started walking around scribbling his name.

    I had this particular Coneheads trading card. When he got to me, he looked at it, smiled, signed it and said “that’s the first one of those I’ve seen in years!”, and his people grabbed him and pulled him to the next guy in line.

  16. I just finished reading the four original stories in People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy!, and I was really impressed. (I recommend three out of four. You can read my reviews for details.) Has anyone else looked at these? It only came out on December 1, so I don’t see any other reviews for these stories yet.

    I was a little surprised there were only four original stories in this one. The previous X-destroy-Y special issues have had a lot more total stories but I still think this is the best one so far.

  17. Outside in the cold distance
    A wildcat did scroll
    Two pixels were approaching
    And the wind began to howl

  18. Airboy – that isn’t fake news. That kind of hoax is nothing new. Her story was reported by journalists. The fake news thing is when “journalists” invent stories with no basis in anything outside said journalist’s imagination and report on them. It’s a simple distinction.

  19. Hoax: A woman claims to have been attacked by Trump activists, reporters report this in earnest because it is very similar to several *verified* events also happening. Turns out this woman was lying. Journalists then report this, too, because they have integrity and don’t like being fed a lie.

    Fake news: Someone invents a Clinton-supported child porn ring out of a pizza place, an item no respected journalist touches. Or, for an equally vile lie from the other side, Someone claims First-Lady-to-be Trump was a high-end “escort” before marrying the Donald.

    This seems pretty clear difference to me.

  20. Lenora Rose – That is a precise definition of fake news vs. hoax. Thanks.

    I’m guessing that claiming that the 2012 attack on the US Embassy in Libya was caused by a “youtube video” was a hoax because the journalist reporting the story did not make it up. “White Hispanic” which was a term made up by the New York Times is fake news.

    The pizza child abduction ring lie was amazingly vile.

  21. @Rev Bob: I hope your error-free volume of erotica at least featured a decent helping of aberrant behavior?

  22. @Rev. Bob: Welcome back; sorry about the lay off, though!

    @Greg Hullender: I haven’t read the “PoC Destroy” issues yet, but I have them queued up. I’m happy to hear the original stories are good, and thanks for the reminder that I really need to read some of this short fiction I’ve been getting! ::blush:: Gah. Eyes bigger than reading time.

    Speaking of reading, I’m about 3/4 through City of Blades and enjoying it a lot! But my audiobook “reading” has stalled ‘cuz I finally listened to some of Emma Newman’s “Tea & Jeopardy” , which I should’ve looked into to a long time ago. Highly recommended. ETA: By this I mean, I’m listening to half a dozen past episodes instead of listening to my next audiobook. I need to work her podcast into my schedule somehow.

  23. @PhilRM — I agree it would have been better to build simpler systems and use the money saved to build backups and also fly more missions. (As long as it does not repeat the “faster, cheaper, oops” program.)

    I’m still not buying the argument that the shuttle was useless, because money could have been spent on better alternatives. I could buy a big expensive gas-guzzling SUV. There are lots of better choices, but that doesn’t mean the SUV is useless.

    The purpose of the space station is to make it really clear that long term exposure to microgravity is not good.

  24. IanP:

    “Not only was this extremely good but I was immensely amused to find that the distillery, Mackmyra, was in Gävle which may explain the annual burning of the yule goat. They’re simply embracing their inner Scot.”

    It is even better. The straw that is left, after the grains have been removed for the whisky, is used to build the Yule Goat.

    Rev. Bob:

    Nice to hear from you, was thinking of you just yesterday. Sorry to hear about your job.

  25. @msb I think Diana/Artemis is Apollo’s sister, not Mars’.

    I was thinking Mars’ half-sister, as they were children of Jupiter by different mothers. But now I’ve looked it up I’ve learned Ovid has Juno choose to bear Mars with no father, as a response to Jupiter’s solo birth of Minerva. That’s too good to pass up in the context of an MRA troll.

    (I also realised a few minutes too late that I could have posted as Venus Cloacina. But perhaps that would have been a step too far.)

  26. @microtherion:

    As P.J. said, J.B.’s material is quite thoroughly on the kinky side. The audiobook hit Audible, Amazon, and iTunes during the Thanksgiving frenzy, and an interview conducted in October went live on a review site a couple of hours ago. The excerpt there is decidedly NSFW, continuing from the somewhat safer Audible sample.

  27. @Ghost Bird

    Well, in that case, he does prove one of the MRA’s points that children, particularly boys, without fathers grow into troubled adults.

  28. @Cora

    *begin pedantry*
    Mars is less troubled and less troublesome than Ares – he (probably) started as a protector of the fields before the overlay of Greek myth – so if anything I’d say he proves the opposite.
    *end pedantry*

  29. @Msb

    I would indeed support fact-based journalism. I just want all the facts in play and an acknowledgment that the same set of facts may suggest different opinions/conclusions to different people without one or the other being required to forego their humanity as a result.

    To make the point sharper, the invasion of Iraq was a successful and productive campaign in a larger war on extremist jihadi-inspired terrorism that was reasonably (if imperfectly) justified based on on the intelligence available at the time and largely (some errors being acknowledged here) justified by post-invasion intelligence.

    However, it would have been nice if some fact-based journalism had expended some effort in vetting the history and questionable ideology of the inexperienced individual that ended up pissing away those valuable gains instead of the media decamping for Alaska to discover a largely productive and moderate acting (as opposed to later speachifying) governor. As a bonus, I didn’t even have to resort to dehumanizing acts of name calling!

    History suggests to me that any time an organization claims some sort of authority (fact checkers, public funding of campaigns, etc.) they inevitably end up excluding perspectives that might provide completely legitimate counterpoints.

    History also suggests to me that the current mainstream media is inclined to highlight their preferred narrative with more prominent coverage while more accurate stories/corrections are presented less prominently…if they ever appear.


  30. Rev. Bob on December 15, 2016 at 2:08 am said:
    Some of it is definitely not my kink. But overall, it was worth the money.

    (I’ve read worse.)

  31. “To make the point sharper, the invasion of Iraq was a successful and productive campaign in a larger war on extremist jihadi-inspired terrorism that was reasonably (if imperfectly) justified based on on the intelligence available at the time…”

    Very much nope on that one. The lies were well known to be lies. There was also nothing productive in the campaign and it was only succesful in creating terrorism. Apart from killing more than one million people in a despicable genocide.

  32. Iraq, for all its evils, was stable, secular, developed, and a reliable foe of Iran.

    The invasion was militarily successful, as far as that goes, but it was militarily successful in taking out a major counterweight to Iran in the Middle East. That was bad for American interests and the stability of the Middle East overall. The invasion and the complete, utter, incompetent, inexcusable mismanagement of the occupation made Iraq a breeding ground for terrorism.

    And yes, the lies about WMDs were known to be lies. Saddam didn’t kick out UN inspectors; they were pulled out because the US (mainly) decided they should be. While nearly every intelligence agency was suspicious of Saddam on WMDs, no one except the Bush administration and the Blair government even pretended to believe that the evidence was strong enough to support an invasion.

    And there are some things, like the invasion of Iraq, destruction of its infrastructure, and all the civilian deaths, that if you do them, you better be right.

    Bush wasn’t right.

    Bush wasn’t close to right, and he knew how heavily he was cooking the evidence to reach conclusions he may have really believed, but which plenty of people were trying to tell him had no basis in reality. Valerie Plame was outed as a Non-Official Cover agent working on uncovering weapons of mass destruction to punish her husband for going public with the fact that the Niger yellowcake story was badly sourced and not credible.

    Afghanistan was completely justified.

    The Iraq invasion was criminally insane.

  33. @Lis Carey

    That pretty much sums up my opinion too. I’d like to add that engaging in the invasion of Iraq while not having finished the job in Afghanistan was an act of stunning hubris that has wrecked the whole region for the foreseeable future.


    That does indeed add the final icing to the goat.

  34. Dann on December 15, 2016 at 7:55 am said:

    I would indeed support fact-based journalism. I just want all the facts in play and an acknowledgment that the same set of facts may suggest different opinions/conclusions to different people without one or the other being required to forego their humanity as a result.

    To make the point sharper, the invasion of Iraq was a successful and productive campaign in a larger war on extremist jihadi-inspired terrorism that was reasonably (if imperfectly) justified based on on the intelligence available at the time and largely (some errors being acknowledged here) justified by post-invasion intelligence.

    I’d like to know what facts lead to the conclusion that Iraq was a productive target in a war against “extremist jihadi-inspired terrorism”. The Ba’athist regime was many things: repressive, brutal, fascistic, undemocratic. It was also secular, and opposed to the theocratic states in the region that do sponsor terrorism.

  35. Rev. Bob: The excerpt there is decidedly NSFW, continuing from the somewhat safer Audible sample.

    I am not going to go investigate whether this is pr0n or not, but your description leads me to believe it is the kind of thing I don’t link to. On the other hand, feel free to name the site so people can Google it if they want.

  36. To make the point sharper, the invasion of Iraq was a successful and productive campaign in a larger war on extremist jihadi-inspired terrorism that was reasonably (if imperfectly) justified based on on the intelligence available at the time and largely (some errors being acknowledged here) justified by post-invasion intelligence.

    I’ve been re-reading this paragraph a few times now, and I’m really quite impressed. There are, I think, 6 factual claims there, and all but one is objectively untrue (even including the qualifiers in their most generous interpretation).

    But hey, as they say, 16.667%….is pretty bad.

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