Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

(1) WHEN GRAVITY DOESN’T FAIL. NDTV headline: “Announcement Thursday On Albert Einstein’s Gravitational Waves”:

“My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting,” said a message on Twitter from Arizona State University cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, who does not work with LIGO.

His words sparked a firestorm of speculation.

An announcement will be made Thursday at 10:30 am (1530 GMT) at the National Press Club in the US capital Washington.

The event brings “together scientists from Caltech, MIT and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration to update the scientific community on efforts to detect them,” a National Science Foundation statement read.

They will provide “a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves — or ripples in the fabric of spacetime — using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO),” it said.

LIGO is a dual set of identical detectors built by scientists at MIT and Caltech to pick up “incredibly tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves,” said the statement.

(2) CHINESE STAR WARS. “Red ‘Star Wars’: How China used pirate comic to promote science in 1980s”  at Japan Times.

Song Feideng

Song Feideng

A long time ago in a country far, far away, Chinese authorities managed to obtain a copy of America’s ultimate cultural weapon: a blockbuster movie with enough special effects to wow an entire planet.

Summoned to a small theater in the southern city of Guangzhou in 1980, artist Song Feideng was shown “Star Wars” and instructed to transform it into a traditional Chinese comic book, known as a “lianhuanhua,” to promote scientific achievement in China.

Song was one of the first people in China to see George Lucas’ magnum opus at a time when it was still banned — a marked contrast to the status of the series’ most recent installment in a market that Hollywood increasingly sees as crucial to success.

“The objective was to take the world’s advanced science and popularize it in China,” Song, who worked for a state-owned publisher at the time, said in an interview.

He replaced the movie’s X-wing spacecraft with Soviet rockets and jet fighters. In one illustration, Luke Skywalker wears a cosmonaut’s bulky spacesuit and rebel leaders are dressed in Western business suits. Darth Vader appears alongside a triceratops.

(3) AND YOU CAN READ IT IN ENGLISH. The whole comic has been translated by Nick Stember — Star Wars comic part 1-6.


(4) GENIUS CLUSTER. “Alice Cooper on His Dinner With David Bowie and Ray Bradbury” at Rolling Stone.

After Cooper’s initial meeting with Bowie in the late Sixties, they later forged a friendship. Once, they even had dinner together with Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury. “It was really interesting, because these guys were in outer space somewhere,” he says. “They were talking about quantum physics, and I’m going, ‘So … what kind of car are you driving?'” Cooper laughs.

Does Cooper know how funny that question really was? Despite living in LA, Bradbury famously didn’t drive.

(5) NUMBERS THAT MATTER. What File 770 reader can resist a series titled “Five Books About”? Marc Turner’s contribution is “Five Books Where Dragons Are Put In Their Place” at Tor.com.

Dragons may be a trope of the epic fantasy genre, but they are a trope I suspect I will never tire of. My new book, Dragon Hunters, might just have one or two of the creatures lurking within its pages.

Whenever you encounter a dragon, it’s usually the apex predator of its world. But invincible? Certainly not. There’s a quote I recall from Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (paraphrasing G.K. Chesterton) that goes: “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

His first choice is Smaug.

(6) WHERE SAWYER BEGAN. Robert J. Sawyer’s first SF publication was in The Village Voice in 1981.

I’d had an earlier fantasy publication (“The Contest,” in the 1980 edition of White Wall Review, the literary annual of my alma mater, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, edited by Ed Greenwood, who created the “Forgotten Realms” for Dungeons & Dragons), and I’d sold a science-fiction story to be produced as a a planetarium starshow), but that was my first science-fiction publication — and it came out exactly 35 years ago today.

That story appeared in the 14-20 January 1981 issued of The Village Voice: The Weekly Newspaper of New York, as a winner in a ten-week contest they were running called “Sci-Fi Scenes,” featured in the “Scenes” column by Howard Smith & Lin Harris.

The rules required a story of exactly 250 words — no more, no less (title words didn’t count, a fact I took full advantage of).


  • Born February 8, 1828 – Jules Verne.

(8) EVEN BAT DURSTON LOST? Charlie Jane Anders tells the story of “That Time When a Fake Science Fiction Author Won a Major Novel-Writing Prize” at io9.

Back in 1953, Galaxy Science Fiction and Simon & Schuster launched a huge contest to find a great new science fiction novel. The prize was $6,500 (a lot of money in those days). The winner? A brand new writer named Edson McCann. Except for one thing: Edson McCann did not exist.

It was a pretty disgraceful scam, everything considered.

(9) PUPPIES MARCH ON. Vox Day announced the next addition to his slate – “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best Editor (Long-form”).

  • Anne Sowards, Penguin
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt, independent
  • Mike Braff, Del Rey
  • Toni Weisskopf, Baen Books
  • Vox Day, Castalia House

(10) LURKER REQUEST. People are welcome to ask questions like this in a comment on the Scroll. I received this one as an e-mail query:

I was wondering if you recognized this summary, or would be willing to post it (a long shot, I know), to see if someone recognizes it and can give title or author.

Our main character is a women who is involved in a profession that shows a lot of skin; I don’t recall if it’s actress, dancer, sex worker, or what. One day she wakes up in a thick, gray, sack-dress with no recollection of how it could have gotten on her. She can’t take it off and, when she tries to bathe, it sheds material but doesn’t wash away. It turns out that a Moral Majority opponent of hers has figured out how to program nanobots to turn out this cloth, and has set it in a cloud around her. He and his congregation wear it as well, I think? I know that the climax of the story involves that as a plot-point, along with some clever reverse-engineering on what wavelengths the nano-cloth passes or reflects…

Sound familiar to anyone?

(11) HIS FIELD OF EXPERIENCE. Never let it be said that Neil deGrasse Tyson missed a chance to talk science.

(12) SPORTS JOKE. For those who are interested enough in US sports to get the joke, a parody of a series of NFL promos aired during yesterday’s Super Bowl broadcast.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, and Alan Baumler for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jim Henley.]

201 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 2/8/16 One Scroll I Sing, A Simple Separate Pixel

  1. @steve davidson: I think that’s supposed to be John Carter’s ribcage. Bizarre, at any rate.

  2. NickPheas on February 9, 2016 at 3:56 am said:
    Oh, that’s nice.

    Someone has picked up UK ebook rights to the Vorkosigan books with covers that don’t make the eyes bleed.

    Hallelujah. I would like to offer thanks to Baen for not publishing in the UK.

  3. Ian P, I feel for you, and hope it turns up.

    For what it’s worth, I have my name, phone number, and email address taped to my Kobo; the time I accidentally left it in a store I got a phone call and it was returned to me. So there are honest people out there….

  4. (2) and (3)

    Those are awesome. And much closer to actual space travel and technology, in some of the panels at least, than the originals. The random triceratops kind of works.


    I assume this means that a consistent sooooper genius like Teddy will nominate himself for best editor short form, so that he will have the requisite two fifth’s for Hugo greatness.

    I also think it can’t hurt to emphasize, for any lurkers or newer arrivals that the reason for ‘fifth’ is that Teddy Beale, self-described super intelligence and great editor, is a catastrophically terrible editor who’s know for having multiple chapters with the same number in books his super intelligent self has edited.

  5. (10) I remember that story; IIRC the main character owned a lingerie company, and the baddie of the story wanted her to tithe her profits to his church or something. There’s a good chance it would have been in Analog, since I actually used to buy that back in the day from Bakka, so we’re talking around 20 years ago.

  6. The BELF nominations look quite similar to last years. This was of course one of the more sober parts of the slate; although many of us had problems regarding Weisskopf, they weren’t at the ‘How on earth can you imagine she might be suitable?’ level.

    It was probably a good idea not to list Minz, as that removes the ‘How do we known who to credit for Baen books?’ problem.

    Schmidt has moved from short form to long form. Do we know what he has edited? And what do we know about Braff?

  7. I assume this means that a consistent sooooper genius like Teddy will nominate himself for best editor short form.

    Has he edited anything in short form this year? (I know that’s missing the point, but it seems a pertinent question.)

  8. No worries. The toner that I used in making my black sheets (I seem to have two of them) doesn’t feel wasted to me. I’ve used them both hundreds of times in the decade or two since I made them, saving myself uncountable hours of post-scan adjustment. (Pretty sure the lamination was a good idea, too. They’re Near Mint, and they’d be Fair to Good if they weren’t wearing plastic galoshes.)

    I’d like to appreciate the filks, but in my heart I know that even if the sources were given right there, I still wouldn’t know how they went.

    I dare say a lot of people here, like me, read these posts in their email, so the hovertext I so cleverly put in last time was probably a wasted effort. My own messages don’t get sent back to me, so I can’t test the thesis.

  9. I’ve a bit of a track record on leaving things on the train, but it is normally things that aren’t part of the normal routine. So additional bags and so on. If the is Kindle being read it’s normally safe but sometimes I start reading the paper instead, or recently File770 on my phone, and stick the kindle in the seat back pouch opposite.

    I’ve had it ~6 years so it isn’t the end of the world, it went wonky a year or so ago and I thought it was dead then but a factory reset fixed it. I’ve deauthorized it for the time being and will check the lost property office at the station. Got it back from them last time…

    Weird thing is, I could have sworn I was reading Days of Atonement on the way home. If so I’m not sure how I managed to skip the “put it away” step as we were coming to my stop.

  10. I’d like to appreciate the filks, but in my heart I know that even if the sources were given right there, I still wouldn’t know how they went.

    Both the “Vader’s dino” ones play on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

  11. Andrew M on February 9, 2016 at 5:40 am said:

    Has he edited anything in short form this year? (I know that’s missing the point, but it seems a pertinent question.)

    That’s a good point, actually. The only anthology I’m aware of that was published by Castalia House last year was the one edited by Jerry Pournelle.

  12. May I suggest that people do as little as possible to point out eligibility problems in slates? If the soopergenius spends his slate slots on ineligible stuff that’s his problem, not anyone elses.

  13. I was telling someone about Cathy losing her iPhone in Philadelphia (it still hasn’t shown up on their locater app), and she told me that she lost her phone at the mall, and the person who bought it (wiped) two hours later got a phone call from “Dad,” which told her she had gotten a stolen phone, so it got back to the owner. (The info was in a hidden file that the thief didn’t know to delete.)

    James Moar

    Thanks! I was really somewhere else that decade. I appreciated the song when I finally checked it out on YouTube a couple of years back, but it’s not in my marrow.

  14. Andrew M:

    “Has he edited anything in short form this year? (I know that’s missing the point, but it seems a pertinent question.)”

    No, I don’t think so. The only person he suggested for short form editor is Jerry Pournelle anyway.

  15. NickPheas on February 9, 2016 at 3:56 am said:

    Someone has picked up UK ebook rights to the Vorkosigan books with covers that don’t make the eyes bleed.

    That would be the world renowned publisher … Lois McMaster Bujold. She owns all the e-rights to her older Vorkosigan books and the non-North American e-rights to her more recent books.

    However, in fairness, I will point out that the cover on her e-edition of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is very similar to the one on the Baen edition. IIRC, Bujold suggested the three different colored DNA strands to Baen, per a comment on her Goodreads journal (or on the Bujold list, I don’t remember).

  16. I think it’s safe to say that Jerry Pournelle is a better editor than Vox, so that’s something he’s got right.

  17. MAC II people got back to me with a PIN within a few hours. This has to be a lot of extra work for them to do by hand, but they do seem on top of things.

  18. Re: Bujold. Those new Vorkosigan covers are striking and distinctive, Perhaps too stylised for some tastes, but I like them. The ebook Chalion books and Penric’s Demon alas look utterly run of the mill generic.

  19. @ RedWombat

    You’re probably hip-deep in well-meaning advice, but if there’s anything I can help with on the self-pub side, please feel free to shoot me an email!

    Thank you very much for the offer! One of the areas I’ll definitely be looking for advice on is, “Everyone wants me to distribute through their favorite platform; what are the essential e-book platforms and what’s the most efficient way to cover them?”

    At the moment I’m sort of vaguely starting on the process of querying potential cover artists, and contemplating whether I want to hire out the entire process of design/formatting, and deciding just how thoroughly I want to revise the older material that will be included in the collection.

    The actual revision process won’t start until Mother of Souls is off with the beta-readers, but I’ve started practicing getting my nerve up to make some queries on the rest of it.

    Anyone who has recommendations for a good cover artist for my Skinsinger story collection — I’m delighted to entertain ideas.

  20. @ Soon Lee

    Thank you for reminding me about Vermillion. (I’d been waiting to see if it turned up on iBooks, since I prefer that platform, but I’m getting more and more resigned to splitting my books between that and the Kindle app.) *click*

  21. An interesting recent paper on how long conspiracies can survive given their size.

    Dr Grimes then looked at four alleged plots, estimating the maximum number of people required to be in on the conspiracy, in order to see how viable these conspiracies could be. These include: the theory that the US moon landings were a hoax (411,000 people); that Climate Change is a fraud (405,000 people); that unsafe vaccinations are being covered up (…736,000 people…); that the cure for Cancer is being supressed by the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms (714,000 people).

    Using the equation, Dr Grimes calculated that hoax moon landings would have been revealed in 3 years 8 months, a climate change fraud in 3 years 9 months, a vaccination conspiracy in 3 years 2 months, and a suppressed Cancer cure in 3 years 3 months. In simple terms, any one of the four conspiracies would have been exposed long before now.

    He then looked at the maximum number of people who could take part in an intrigue in order to maintain it. For a plot to last five years, the maximum was 2521 people. To keep a scheme operating undetected for more than a decade, fewer than 1000 people can be involved. A century-long deception should ideally include fewer than 125 collaborators. Even a straightforward cover-up of a single event, requiring no more complex machinations than everyone keeping their mouth shut, is likely to be blown if more than 650 people are accomplices.

    While I’m a bit concerned that if the Illuminati kept themselves below 125 people during the 20th century they might actually be feasible, the thought that first came to me was: how long is the supposed Hugo conspiracy supposed to have been going on for, and how many people needed to be in on it?

  22. @Andrew M

    I assume this means that a consistent sooooper genius like Teddy will nominate himself for best editor short form.

    Nope. He nominated Pournelle and no one else, saying no one else was worthy.

  23. DARTH VADER: …The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of dialectical materialism.

    ADMIRAL MOTTI: Don’t try to frighten us with your economist’s ways, Comrade Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient ideology has not helped you conjure up a better rice harvest, or given you telekinetic powers to evict the imperialists from—

    DARTH VADER: I find your lack of class consciousness disturbing.

  24. @Camestros

    This is bad; I have just impressed a friend by reciting Vader’s Dino, but I haven’t a clue as to what the Ur text is. On the one hand, the years in the National Youth Theatre and the Drama Department were not in vain; obviously I could recite things impressively, since I wouldn’t have got through the auditions without it, and it’s not the sort of skill you can forget.

    But I still don’t know what the Ur text is, and it is bugging me…

  25. Please nominate Harriet McDougal for Best Editor. She edited the Wheel of Time Companion. You can tell by looking at the book its a big editing job. She has never been nominated for an award. This is probably the last year she will be elligible since she is retired.

  26. Is that an editing Hugo she’d be up for or best put the Companion in for Best related Work?

  27. @Dave Ruddell

    I was worried I was imagining the story, but it’s good to know someone else remembers it.

    I also figured it was an old Analog story; my grandfather used to have stacks of back issues, from the 50s to the 90s and earlier and later outliers as well, so it was probably there or S&SF (and honestly, it seemed too high-quality for the latter). But trying to find what might be the title among decades of records from the time is…daunting.

  28. @Heather Rose Jones – Assuming you’re doing it this year, the current best options that I’ve found are to upload to Amazon yourself–it’s relatively painless–and then to Draft2Digital, which covers most of the other options, like Kobo, Nook, iBooks, etc. Those are the two essential ones.

    In the interests of not leaving money on the table, it’s probably also worth it to upload an epub version to Smashwords, though not to fight with their meat grinder, which would make anyone cry. And I’m told it’s also worth going Google Books these days, though that I don’t know from personal experience. Those are nice, but not absolutely essential if you’re already feeling overwhelmed.

    Realistically, though, 95% of your sales will be through Amazon. The rest are mostly so you don’t leave other readers out in the cold (and so you don’t get lots of e-mails about it!) There are readers who will not support the Evil River, and I can certainly understand why, so I do my best not to lose them.

    (I say this year, because things change so rapidly. A few years ago, Smashwords would have been the way to go. These days, D2D kicks them hollow. For all I know, next year we’ll be laughing about those ancient days of D2D.)

  29. Jeff Buckley had the voice of an angel, but this will forever be my favorite version of Hallelujah: k. d. lang

    I finally finished Magonia (there were a lot of projects getting in my way). It was really good, but won’t appear on my long list. It had very convincing world building, vivid characters and unobtrusively fine writing, but a few too many instances of characters doing things because the author needed those things to happen, which is my pet peeve. (@JJ, I can’t remember in which thread you asked about it – the perils of refresh over ticky – but I’d definitely recommend the book and will be getting anything else she sets in that world.)

    (5) NUMBERS THAT MATTER – The dragon’s appearance in The Darkest Road is heartbreaking and even typing that made me tear up a little.

    (6) PUPPIES MARCH ON – I have an overlap again, which doesn’t bother me at all.

  30. And just to be complete, there’s a good version of the Cohen original on the Watchmen soundtrack. Here’s a vid that doesn’t include the scene from the movie, which is definitely NSFW.

  31. Guess on February 9, 2016 at 8:38 am said:

    Please nominate Harriet McDougal for Best Editor. She edited the Wheel of Time Companion. You can tell by looking at the book its a big editing job. She has never been nominated for an award. This is probably the last year she will be elligible since she is retired.

    What else did McDougal edit in 2015?

    The WSFS Constitution states:. (Warning, .pdf)

    3.3.9: Best Editor Short Form. The editor of at least four (4) anthologies, collections or magazine issues (or their equivalent in other media) primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year.

    3.3.10: Best Editor Long Form. The editor of at least four (4) novel-length works primarily devoted to science fiction and / or fantasy published in the previous calendar year that do not qualify as works under 3.3.9.

  32. Greg Hullender: It wasn’t me that said that. but thanks for letting us know.

    Johan P:
    May I suggest that people do as little as possible to point out eligibility problems in slates?

    I wasn’t pointing out a problem; I was making a prediction – that Mr Day wouldn’t nominate himself, since he’s presumably aware that he hasn’t edited anything short in the past year. And it looks like I was right.

  33. Yes, the obvious way to honour McDougal is to nominate The WoT Companion for BRW, (though this is further evidence of how odd the BELF award is).

  34. @ RedWombat

    Thanks! That’s exactly the sort of practical experience it helps to have shared. I don’t anticipate doing a lot of self-publishing, so it isn’t as if I’ll have a chance to build up my own focused experiences. There’s also a possibility that I may be able to distribute through my publisher (who also runs a general distribution service) but I haven’t queried specifically on that question, and that might well only be “in addition to” rather than “instead of”.

  35. Heather Rose Jones mentioned Letters to Tiptree upthread. I’m not sure if this is the usual price, but it’s currently 99c in the Kindle store.

  36. What else did McDougal edit in 2015?

    Here’s what GRRM had to say on 2/6

    That gesture had a profound effect on the award, I think. Though the rules may say the Long Form award is intended for work published during the previous year, in truth the category had become a sort of ad-hoc “lifetime achievement” award. And that is more or less how it has continued since, due in no small part to Hartwell’s noblesse.

    I can’t mentally trace a second iteration of that thought, but someone else with years of fandom wrote something similar recently. I tend to be pedantic – the rules is the rules (except where punctuation is concerned, obvs) – but this is a ridiculously difficult category when it comes to nominations and treating it as a lifetime achievement award elides that problem. So, I can see why it has been employed in that fashion.

  37. @Stevie – others have pointed out that it was Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen, oft covered and beloved of buskers 🙂 Like, you I usually prefer it when people give a hint as to the base song but I forgot for that one. I’m guessing as well that because of the lines in the original lyrics of ‘It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth’ that it has probably had a Star Wars treatment here previously – so apologies to those who got there before.

    @Matthew Johnson – oh very good 🙂

  38. Rosenscroll and Pixelstern are Dead

    Waiting for PINdot

    Where, oh where, has my little PIN gone?

    (I do have my PIN, these are just scroll title suggestions)

  39. Kindle located at the lost property office in Edinburgh station.

    Guess the paperwhite can wait for a bit longer.

  40. To add yet another recommendation: I really like Rufus Wainwright’s cover of the song in the “Shrek” soundtrack. It was a perfect fit for the movie action that it was on the screen. It’s on youTube in several versions.

  41. My PINnie lies over the ocean
    My PINnie lies over the sea
    My PINnie lies over the ocean
    Oh, send out my PINnie to me…

    Send out, Send out
    O,Send out my PINnie to me, to me
    Send out, Send out
    O,Send out my PINnie to me

    I’ll get my coat, if I haven’t left that on the train too.

  42. Cheryl S:

    Treating it as a lifetime achievement award when determining worthiness is one thing, and, I suspect, unavoidable. Treating it as such when determining eligibility is another thing, and might lead to the admins rejecting the nomination.

  43. @Camestros Didn’t The Rezillos have hits with “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their PIN Sent Out Tonight” and “Rabid Puppy Attack,” too?

  44. In regards to eligiblity, I want to repost a question from yesterday’s thread that didn’t get answered (the Standlee Signal, for once, was not functioning). The old comment has quotes from the WSFS Constitution, but in brief, the issue is that although many people would like to nominate certain works that are a bit over 40K words in the Novella category, it turns out that the Awards Subcommittee has to approve any such shifting of a work to a different category. If people nominate a 42K-word story as a novella and the subcommittee does not approve the change of category, the work will likely have its nomination entirely discarded (see yesterday’s post for why). So I would really like to know if there’s some way to get the subcommittee to rule on the category of a particular work before the deadline!

  45. @IanP

    Yay that the Kindle can hang around
    Safe in the Edinburg lost and found
    Maybe it doesn’t have much to do–
    At least it can read while it waits for you

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