Pixel Scroll 2/4/17 Scroll Was Born With A Gift Of Pixel And A Sense That The World Was Mad

(1) SINCE THERE’S NOTHING ON TV TOMORROW. MeTV has located several downloadable designs for making Star Trek ships from paper that you can use to keep yourself busy on Sunday if football is not your thing.

In Japan, the art of paper modeling is commonplace. Companies like Sankei sell miniature papercraft kits for building everything from cartoon creatures to houses and vehicles. Here in the West, it has started to catch on, as fans use two-dimensional paper to recreate three-dimensional models of their favorite characters, props and even spaceships.

In the Sixties, you might recall, we had rather simple coloring books, sticker books and paper dolls. Now, this has gone to a whole new level. Better yet, fans have created patterns anyone can print up and assemble for free. (We recommend spending for some high quality photo paper, though.)

As fans find new ways to engineer this craft, no subject is left out of the mix. Star Trek, naturally, remains a mainstay of the craze, but just about any classic sci-fi show you can think of has papercraft models available for download. We found Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea submarines and the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space….

We hunted down some favorites, if you are so inclined to give it a try. You can print and build:

The Galileo II Shuttle (instructions, template)

USS Enterprise NCC-1701

Kirk and Spock (template)

(2) MARS MY DESTINATION. Abraham Sherman of The John Carter Files tells why Elon Musk has him feeling more optimistic about reaching the Red Planet – “Home Sweet Mars”.

…Currently, the next milestone on SpaceX’s path to Mars is for them to finish and launch the Falcon Heavy (FH) rocket, the first of their rockets that will have sufficient power to get spacecraft to Mars.  After the FH gets off the ground late this year, the next milestone will be in 2018, when the unmanned Red Dragon capsule is to be launched atop a FH, and sent to test propulsive landing on Mars – a technique which forgoes parachutes and airbags and is entirely dependent on the built-in boosters of the capsule.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Pm8ZY0XJI  The Red Dragon mission is the small tip of a much larger spear which was described in detail during Musk’s presentation at the IAC.

The SpaceX flagship for Mars colonization will be the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qo78R_yYFA  It will be the largest rocket ever built, and will be able to take one hundred Mars colonists at a time to the Red Planet.  It is in the design phase, and is currently scheduled to make its maiden voyage in 2024.  Once the colony is up and running and can accommodate massive numbers of new colonists at a time, the plan is to send dozens, or even hundreds of ITS spacecraft simultaneously to Mars.  SpaceX has proven to be uniquely motivated and situated to get to Mars several years ahead of any other organization, public or private….

(3) MOONWALKING. Famous astronaut “87-Year-Old Buzz Aldrin Slays The Runway At New York Fashion Week” reports The Huffington Post.

Buzz Aldrin took to the catwalk Tuesday in a New York Fashion Week debut he said was “as easy as walking on the moon.”

The 87-year-old astronaut ? who in 1969 became the second person to walk on the moon ? sported a metallic bomber jacket in designer Nick Graham’s show, aptly titled “Life on Mars.”

Aldrin couldn’t have looked cuter in his pants, sneakers and self-designed “Get your ass to Mars” shirt.


(4) JUST NEEDS A LITTLE SMACK. Ursula K. Le Guin took offense at a letter to the editor published by The Oregonian attempting to justify political “alternate facts” as akin to science fiction. Her rebuttal appeared on February 1:

A recent letter in The Oregonian compares a politician’s claim to tell “alternative facts” to the inventions of science fiction. The comparison won’t work.  We fiction writers make up stuff. Some of it clearly impossible, some of it realistic, but none of it real – all invented, imagined —  and we call it fiction because it isn’t fact. We may call some of it “alternative history” or “an alternate universe,” but make absolutely no pretense that our fictions are “alternative facts.”

Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them.  The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.”  The sun rises in the east.  To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.

A lie is a non-fact deliberately told as fact.  Lies are told in order to reassure oneself, or to fool, or scare, or manipulate others. Santa Claus is a fiction.  He’s harmless. Lies are seldom completely harmless, and often very dangerous.  In most times, most places, by most people, liars are considered contemptible.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Northwest Portland

(5) NOW I UNDERSTAND. James Whitbrook of i09 explains “The Detailed, Depressing Reason Deep Space Nine and Voyager May Never Get Full HD Versions”.

…By the mid-1980s, video technology had advanced enough to the point that many TV shows—including Star Trek: The Next Generation—were no longer editing the 35mm film footage, but scanning it into computers, transforming it into the lower, TV-friendly resolution and edited from there to save money. In TNG’s case, that helped make the VFX work on the show easier, but it also meant there all the show’s film was left in separate pieces. Essentially, for the HD release of Star Trek, all people had to do was scan each episode. For The Next Generation, they would have to scan all those original pieces of film and then edit together each episode again, themselves. It’s more difficult, more expensive, and much more time-consuming.

What’s amazing is that they actually did this for TNG’s Blu-ray release, which was a radical, unprecedented, and incredibly daunting task. Following the edited tape versions that were originally broadcast, a new team painstakingly recreated every episode of the show from the 35mm film footage, a process that cost millions and millions of dollars. But as TNG is the jewel in the Star Trek crown for legions of fans, it was seen as worth it….

(6) NOT SCI-FI, BUT OH WOW! John King Tarpinian spied this item for sale —

(7) DON’T KNOW WHAT TO CALL THIS ONE. Atlas Obscura’s video about Wisconsin’s House on the Rock makes me want to visit. As a connoisseur of hoaxes, I wish I’d discovered it years ago!


  • Born February 4, 1940  Filmmaker and zombie auteur George A. Romero, in NYC.

(9) HORROR IN SPACE. Here is the Super Bowl TV Spot for the forthcoming movie Life. Looks interesting, in a menacing sort of way…

(10) URBAN WRIGHTS. Futurism shows six examples of what architects think “The City of the Future” will look like.

…Architects and urban planners are letting their imaginations run wild — after all, where else can we go but toward our most outlandish, exciting, and sometimes even dystopian imaginings of the future?


For five years now, the Seasteading Institute has been working toward building Artisanolopolis, a floating city that runs on solar and hydroelectric power.

To make food production sustainable, the entire city would feature greenhouses, and a desalination plant would be responsible for the production of safe drinking water. The floating island would be protected by a massive wave breaker designed to prevent water damage to the structure.

Last year, the Seastanding Institute signed a memorandum with the French Polynesian government to begin construction on this ocean domain by 2019. If everything goes according to plan, the world’s first floating city, operating with significant political autonomy, may be ready for habitation as early as 2020.

(11) MEMORY GAPS. Unlike me, the staff at MeTV seems to remember all “15 forgotten sci-fi and fantasy series of the 1970s”. The question is – which of us is better off?

Time Express


Charlie’s Angels creators Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts failed to strike gold again with this nostalgic flop. Think of it as Fantasy Island with time travel. Vincent Price starred as the conductor of a time-traveling train that would take passengers to the past in order to relive important points in their lives. Only four episodes aired before it was canceled. The synthesizer-heavy theme song was cool, though, clearly inspired by Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express.”

(12) NASFiC NEWS. NorthAmeriCon ’17, the NASfiC in San Juan, has opened Art Show registration.

NorthAmeriCon ’17 will have an Art Show! We welcome original art on science fiction, fantasy, astronomical, or fannish themes.

Registration for artists is now open through Jo Hogan’s website for managing artist data:

(13) AN ENCOURAGING WORD. NASA’s Kepler & K2 SciCon IV convention for scientists has a Code of Conduct, too. Thoughts?

Code of Conduct

The community of participants at astronomical meetings and in astronomical research is made up of members from around the globe with a diverse set of skills, personalities, and experiences. It is through these differences that our community experiences success and continued growth. We expect everyone in our community to follow these guidelines when interacting with others both inside and outside of our community. Our goal is to maintain a positive, inclusive, successful, and growing community.

As members of the community,

  • We pledge to treat all people with respect and provide a harassment and bullying-free environment, regardless of sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality, ethnicity, and religion. In particular, sexual language and imagery, sexist, racist, or otherwise exclusionary jokes are not appropriate. We will treat those outside our community with the same respect as people within our community.
  • We pledge that all discussions between members of the community should be done with respect, and we pledge to take proactive measure to ensure that all participants are heard and feel confident that they can freely express their opinions.
  • We pledge to help the entire community follow the code of conduct and to act accordingly when we note violations.

This code of conduct applies to all community situations, including conferences, associated social events, on social media, and one-on-one interactions….

(14) SEE PROPS OF THE EXPANSE. Adam Savage visits the props department of Syfy’s The Expanse, where armorists and propmakers engineer the weapons, helmets, and the gear that give weight and story to the universe of the show. Prop master James Murray shows Adam some of the unique props his team has made, revealing aesthetic and functional details.

[Thanks to JJ, Andrew Porter, David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stoic Cynic.]

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81 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/4/17 Scroll Was Born With A Gift Of Pixel And A Sense That The World Was Mad

  1. I think Elon’s plans for Mars are a bit over-optimistic. Getting there is hard enough, but having a place people would want to live is just as hard. Not many would want to live in cramped quarters for years on end. Not unless they recruited them from submarine crews.

  2. 1) Since there’s nothing on TV tomorrow, I make it a practice to go to a popular museum. (We have several world-class museums in Chicago; the Art Institute, the Field Museum of Natural History, and, of genre interest, the Museum of Science and Industry)… It’s amazing how nice an uncrowded museum is. I recommend the practice to those US Filers with little interest in football.

  3. Greg Hullender on February 4, 2017 at 8:15 pm said:

    I think Elon’s plans for Mars are a bit over-optimistic. Getting there is hard enough, but having a place people would want to live is just as hard. Not many would want to live in cramped quarters for years on end. Not unless they recruited them from submarine crews.

    I’d think, that once you could start building there, you’d be able to build big but while everything has to be shipped in from Earth your quarters are going to be very cramped.

  4. I saw the “nothing on TV tomorrow” bit and thought, “What are you talking about, there are watchable programs on TV tomorrow?” And then I remembered that Superbowl is on tomorrow, which you can actually watch on German TV, albeit in the middle of the night and without the ads, which kind of defeats the purpose.

    11) I actually remember seeing several of those shows in reruns in the 1980s and sometimes even 1990s.

  5. Re: House on the Rock. It’s featured in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods novel (and hopefully in the upcoming tv adaptation). Back in 2010, I was part of a group that organized a 10th Anniversary American Gods convention there over Halloween weekend with Neil as the primary guest. Went off very well, and the place is as weird and awesome as one might imagine (Neil had to tone it down a bit for the book).

    The staff were also kind enough to allow Neil and a few other folk to actually ride the carousel once during Saturday evening, and Neil was kind enough to have much of the concom, including myself, be the others who got to ride it.

  6. Is it just me or is Adam Savage looking more and more like Col. Sanders from some angles?

  7. (6) “NOT SCI-FI” Of course it is — there’s the autograph of George Reeves, TV’s Superman, right there on the right-hand page (“Stuart Tarleton”)

    @P J Evans Caution, they’re using RAR format.

    ?? Why be wary of RAR format?

  8. (11) MEMORY GAPS. OMG, they remembered Ark II – I’m not the only one! BTW that site was a brief time sink as I looked at things like forgotten game shows of the 60s and 70s, stores I’ll never shop at again, et al.

    @Joe H.: You remember it too! 😀 I’m confident Ark II is not as good as my kid-self remembers.

  9. @Greg: I think you can copy and paste this indefinitely in the future and be more or less correct: “I think Elon’s plans for ______ are a bit over-optimistic”.

  10. 2) Leaving aside questions concerning the technology, I keep wondering to myself “what are the Mars colonists going to do, when they get there?”, and I keep coming up with the same two answers: a) “endless backbreaking work with death as the price for failure” and/or b) “whatever they are told to, by an egotistical billionaire”.

    Sort of takes the shine off the idea, for me.

  11. @Kendall — Based on my experience with both Space Academy and Jason of Star Command (both via Netflix), I’m certain you’re right about Ark II.

  12. 11.2 While I associate David McCallum more with The Great Escape, others will think more about his 14 season run as Dr. Donald Mallard on NCIS.

    That is a great link though. How I managed to avoid getting sucked in to the larger site is a bit of a mystery.


  13. 11)
    Jason of Star Command had James Doohan, as I recall. This left young me extremely confused since I was also watching STTNG in reruns for the first time…

  14. (9) If you click on “Life Official Trailer #2” (found in the links after viewing the trailer posted above) you see that one of the characters in the movie (and it’s the black guy, of course) makes the stupid, unscientific mistake of touching the alien life form with his bare finger.

    Bah. That bit of ridiculousness soured me on seeing the movie.


    From all the terrified people in the trailer, I have a suspicion that the title “Life” may not be entirely accurate.

    (11) MEMORY GAPS

    Not only have I never seen any of those, the only one I’d even vaguely heard of is the Logan’s Run series. I assume I’m better off keeping it that way?

  16. @7: the Wright story was debunked years ago; I’m not even sure HotR itself still pushes it (and the narrator tells an … alternate … version; the one I’ve frequently heard involves Jordan Jr. applying on his own, at an age when he could have been taken on as a student). He claims some hoaxes without proof, misses one of the biggest (one of the three giant organs), and is stretching the truth about the mechanical instruments — they’re a mixture of working and tapes, mostly because the collector concentrated on quantity rather than quality, curation, or even provenance. (My first reaction to the masses of objects was that any serious collector would be carried away in a straitjacket, gibbering madly, because of the way things of a type are displayed with no record of what came from where.) Most of the working parts are percussion, probably because the mechanism for beating a drum is a lot simpler than the one for playing an oboe, but I note the narrator doesn’t claim the mechanisms themselves are fake.
    I’m surprised you hadn’t heard of this place; it got a fair amount of notice in fandom 15 years ago due to American Gods. Readers may remember the scene where Mr. Wednesday strides through the armor collection disparaging the suits as jumbles of pieces from styles too far removed (in time or space) to ever have been used together. The house itself is fascinating, if only as an example of what one person’s imagination will do when he has himself for his only client.

    @2: It will be interesting seeing what Musk can carry off. I’m not surprised (cf @Eli) that all his plans seem to be overoptimistic; OTOH, sometimes a sufficiently self-motivated person can do a lot. I’m remembering Jim Bede. (Non-pilots know his work mostly through 1970’s airshows and (IIRC) Octopussy, which featured his one-passenger jet (the BD-5J).) Flying magazine observed that his competitors pointed to how far short of claims his planes came out, but had to admit that their planes weren’t as good as what Bede was producing. These days he’s more like a footnote in aviation — but homebuilt airplanes are a bit less permanent than a colony.

  17. I remember watching both Man from Atlantis and Salvage 1 on tv. I remembered Project UFO as having the title Project Blue Book, which my brother assures me was not the case.

    One show I remember was probably from the early 80s, and involved a family traveling through alternative universes. They found one where music had not advanced past early Beatles, and the kids formed a band with all the “Modern” songs. Anyone else remember this, or have a title? Or am I completely imagining it?


    Life. Don’t talk to me about Life.” 😉

    More seriously, this looks to me like a barely-tweaked remake of Alien via The Creature Wasn’t Nice. I just hope it doesn’t have the surviving crew defeat the critter by distracting it with a musical number.

    (If you’re not familiar with TCWN, it’s also been marketed as Naked Space – in a pitiable attempt to associate it with “star” Leslie Nielsen’s Naked Gun movies. If it still doesn’t ring a bell, count yourself lucky! This is not a film for watching. This is a film for laying down and avoiding.)

    In reading news, I finished my second superhero week in a reasonable approximation of “on time” and am now moving on to an SF week. First up is Bypass Gemini, first in the “Big Sigma” series, primarily to see if I want to get the rest of the books while they’re available in a bundle that ends later this week.

  19. A depressing number of the shows in 11) failed to make it over to this side of the pond… I’d have watched them religiously if they had. I do remember Logan’s Run (mostly with an accompanying soundtrack of my dad saying “he’s not under thirty… she’s not under thirty… she’s definitely not under thirty….”), The Fantastic Journey (not to be confused with either Fantastic Voyage or The Incredible Journey, though there’s the germ of a good idea in there somewhere), The Invisible Man, Gemini Man, Man From Atlantis….

  20. I’m not sure what is even meant by saying ‘the whole thing is a fake’. There may be some individual fakes in it, but as a whole it doesn’t seem to claim to be anything other than what it manifestly is. The carousel is, presumably, a carousel. The statue of a squid fighting a whale is a statue of a squid fighting a whale. What else could it be?

  21. I remember watching seven of those shows – didn’t Man From Atlantis have Orson Welles in it? (Hm, not according to IMDB, though I see two familiar names. What am I thinking of? Huh. He WAS the voice of Robin Masters on Magnum PI, though and, er, was doing a lot of narration at that stage of his career…) The Gemini Man was when digital watches were cool and everyone who had one pretended they turned you invisible, and Fantastic Journey never aired its final episode, ending on a great big cliffhanger.

  22. Speaking of final episodes, remember Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future? The show made a buzz for its debut with the clever gimmick of interrupting fake ads with static and snow and an urgent voice from the future looking for help. Phil Proctor was in at least one of those fake ads!

    They really did want help, too, because it was ‘interactive’ in the sense that at certain times, the screen would go white or something and the kid at home with the toy gun would point it at the screen and pull the trigger a lot, and they’d come back and say “Good shooting, Kid At Home! You helped Captain Power get out of a tough spot!”

    When the show ended, they didn’t see it coming, and didn’t get to make a final episode. The series closed with an installment where one regular had gotten killed and the rest were in a bad spot or on the run (I only heard about it, didn’t see it).

    And in front of the screen, Kid At Home stood with his lip trembling, a tear starting in his eye, and a useless toy blaster dropping, unnoticed, from helpless fingers. I failed! I let Captain Power down! It’s all my fault!

  23. Beth, I also remember Project UFO as Project Blue Book. My dad knew one of the scientists involved in the actual project. My dad told me that the scientist told him that he entered the project as a skeptic and came out a believer. He said they managed to explain the causes of some large percentage of cases, and some individuals clearly had mental health issues, but there was some small percentage, I’m remembering it as less than 5% that were credible but not explainable at that time. It was enough to convince him that something was going on.

    My mother used to tell this story about Buzz Aldrin, who lived in our neighborhood briefly. My dad was in the Air Force so we moved a lot. My mother bought a new sports car. This would have been 1970 or 1971. When Buzz Aldrin hopped in for a ride, mom offered to let him drive.

    Buzz: Oh, I can’t drive this car.
    Mom: Why not?
    Buzz: It’s a stick.
    Mom: What? You flew all the way to the moon and you can’t drive a stick?
    Buzz: It had automatic shift.

    My mother never told a story in her life that wasn’t funnier than it actually happened so take a grain of salt with this.

  24. I don’t recall who mentioned the Three Musketeers or on which scroll but by pure coincidence that was the book I decided to review for this week’s Because My Tears Are Delicious To You review, which as we all know are reviews of books I liked from 1974 to 1981.

    (I am trying very hard to review as many books by black authors as possible in Black History Month–without the infelicities of last year–and Dumas is black by the “might be dragged from his car and brutally murdered by Trump voters” test. Next week will involve the oeuvre of William Marshall).

  25. @Steve Wright: welcome to the solar system’s first ever “air slavery” colony.

    “You do want to breath, right…?”

    They’ll have a tv show there consisting of editorial comment by Musk and followed by anime shows, all in french.

    They’ll call it “Musk et ‘Toons” (rim shot)

    later, a small band of intrepid revolutionaries will smuggle breathing air to the down-trodden colonists: they’ll do it with “Elon”…

  26. (4) of course there’s a difference between science fiction and “alternative facts”, there are works of science fiction that were written for propaganda purposes, e.g. Starship Troopers.

  27. @IanP


    @Monsieur Nicoll

    Slander, sir! Do you know the excessive cost of grandchildren to a small Gascon estate? With your laissez faire theories on what counsel to offer one’s children, you invite mere poverty to become monstrous penury. I can only believe, monsieur reviewer, either your fiscal recklessness knows no bounds or insult was intended. You have my name. I presume you will retract, monsieur, or, lacking both taste and manners, name to me your second. 😛

    (Looking forward to your thoughts on The Man in the Iron Mask. The characters have aged and become more flawed, losing their idealism and innocence. It gives the book a very different flavor than is predecessor. Then again, with Dumas’ habits with collaborators it may have a different flavor for reasons other than the character’s development arcs).

  28. I did some audio consumption of The Three Musketeers for attempted stylistic infection before I started writing “The Mazarinette and the Musketeer” and mostly walked away with the confirmed opinion that D’Artagnan was a real asshole and deserved all the crap he got.

    I find that I can enjoy (or at least complete) long novels of that era most successfully via audio. The Librivox.org edition of The Count of Monte Cristo saw me most of the way through a coast-to-coast round trip drive.

  29. I watched The man from Atlantis, but cant remember where… Did it ever ran in Germany? Or was it on a holiday?

    Ds9- Its a shame, bur I expect streaming taking over physical copies in the next years anyway.

  30. Interesting to see the Musketeers books come up. I read them, and a few others by one Dumas or another, about four years ago.

    Here’s a question: Why don’t we have any trouble getting enjoyment from books written by Dumas 200 years in the past, and Nicoll’s youth can’t make the adjustment to writers of a generation ago like Cordwainer Smith and Zelazny?

    I grant that Dumas was a better writer than Smith, but not Zelazny.

  31. @Mike Glyer, I’m wondering if 30-50 years is a sort of “uncanny valley” of literature? Not recent enough for kids to connect to; not distant enough to be historical?

    Kind of like WWII but not the Korean War was taught in my American History classes? (And now, I’ll bet, the Korean War but not the Iraq Wars I and II…)

    Just a thought.

  32. Well, I’m sure that some people would have difficulty relating to Dumas. I still think, though, that one problem with SF specifically is the sense that SF is supposed to be about the future, so that if we are in the future and it is not what the writers imagined, that can alienate us.

  33. @Mike

    Well, perhaps they would have an issue, particularly with the lack of decent female characters etc.
    Cassy hits the other point I was going to make – maybe there’s an age over which it’s just “historical” and gets a pass?

  34. Some years back, my son was expected to read a number of “classics” over summer vacation. He had a good deal less trouble with Jules Verne than with Mark Twain, due to the Verne being in a recent translation and therefore much more contemporary in style.

  35. Arnie Fenner mentions some of the Dillon’s award-winning picture books in his tribute to them at: The Artist: Leo and Diane Dillon.

    The Dillons were awarded the Caldecott Medal two years in a row for Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears (by Verna Aardema), and Ashanti To Zulu: African Traditions (by Margaret Musgrove).

  36. I wasn’t sure about Project Bluebook vs. Project UFO so I looked over on the IMDB and found out they’ve been debating it for 8 years. Lots of people sure it was Project Bluebook/Blue Book, but others maintaining it was always Project UFO.

    Shazam all over again?

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