Pixel Scroll 3/15/23 Scroll’s Howling Pixel

(1) CALL FOR ACTION. Shepherd is looking for trans people to be supported by others refusing to participate in cons in states that are enacting these kinds of laws.

A Twitter discussion of the proposed Missouri law and link to its text is here.

(2) STILL “HALLUCINATES FACTS WITH GREAT CONFIDENCE”. “OpenAI Debuts GPT-4” and Publishers Weekly describes the claimed improvements.

OpenAI, the company behind GPT-3 and ChatGPT, today announced the release of GPT-4. This is a major upgrade to the amount of textual and image data that GPT relies on for its (mostly) uncannily accurate and verbose responses. OpenAI says that “GPT-4 is more reliable, creative, and able to handle much more nuanced instructions than GPT-3.5.”

The dataset is clearly larger than the earlier versions, though OpenAI is cagey as to the current size. The last version appeared to know little or nothing beyond early 2020; GPT-4 is trained with data up to September 2021.

GPT-4 is a so-called “multimodal large language model,” meaning it responds to both text and images. In the product demo, a picture of food in a fridge was used to generate recipes for the range of leftovers on display.

OpenAI readily admits that GPT-4 has the same limitations as previous GPT models and is not fully reliable—it “hallucinates” facts with great confidence. But the extensive data published on the product web page shows that the new version performs far better than its predecessors. OpenAI claims that GPT-4 is 82% less likely to respond to requests for content that isn’t currently allowed, and 60% less likely to make stuff up….

(3) PATTERSON QUIZZED ABOUT BAN. Martin County, Florida school district officials removed James Patterson’s YA series Maximum Ride from its elementary school library but is keeping it accessible for older students. The author’s reaction? “James Patterson: If Florida bans my books, ‘no kids under 12 should go to Marvel movies’” at MSN.com. The piece includes a Q&A.

You live nearby in Palm Beach County. Would you consider speaking directly to Martin County school board officials?

I almost went up there, and if the book had been totally banned, I would have.

But if I did speak to them, I’d say look, absolutely it’s important for you to keep your kids safe, and you should do a better job at that. If a book comes into your home with your child ask them, ‘What’s it about? Are you enjoying it? Oh, you’re having nightmares, let’s talk about it.’ But there are far scarier things on the internet than there are in libraries.

(4) A 451 DEMONSTRATION. “Worried about book banning, local faith group plans a public reading” of a Bradbury book, and it’s happening in Summerfield, Florida on March 18.

Amid a nationwide controversy over select books being banned, the Tri-County Unitarian Universalists in Summerfield will host a marathon public reading of the book “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury on Saturday, March 18. While not currently banned in Florida, the book has been the subject of restriction efforts in the past.

“We believe very strongly that it is important that people study what’s going on in the world and learn to think critically about everything,” Cindy Grossman of the TriUU said. “Bradbury believed that strongly when he wrote his book. It may be science fiction, but he was trying to warn people about this kind of censorship and how good it is for humanity to expose themselves to different literature.”…

(5) SIMULTANEOUS TIMES IS FIVE. Space Cowboy Books announced a special 5 year anniversary episode with stories from the pages of Shacklebound Books. The episode is available on all podcast players and at Podmatic: “Space Cowboy Books Presents: Simultaneous Times”.

Stories featured in this episode:

“This is the Genesis Ship Arkhaven” by Jonathan Ficke; with music by Fall Precauxions

“A Free Man” by Warren Benedetto; with music by Phog Masheeen

Theme music by Dain Luscombe

(6) SPIN DOCTORING. Radio Times says “Doctor Who bosses ‘planning UNIT spin-off with Jemma Redgrave’”.

This really is shaping up to be an exciting year for Doctor Who fans, as it’s been reported that the sci-fi series’s bosses are planning a brand new spin-off show with Jemma Redgrave at its helm, as head of scientific research Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.

It’s a role that Redgrave has played since 2012, but in this new Torchwood-style series based on UNIT — the Unified Intelligence Taskforce — she will reportedly be taking the lead.

The fictional military organisation has appeared in Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures but could very well be getting a proper offshoot of its own….

(7) IMAGINE 2200 OPENS. Submissions are now being taken for the third year of Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors, Grist’s annual short story contest “envisioning hopeful, equitable climate futures.” 

Imagine 2200 challenges entrants to write stories that help envision the next 180 years of climate progress. Whether built on abundance or adaptation, reform or a new understanding of survival, the contest celebrates stories that provide flickers of hope, even joy, and serve as a springboard for exploring how fiction can help create a better reality.

Read more about this year’s contest and find out how to submit a story here.

The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place winners receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Nine additional finalists will each receive $300. 

All winners and finalists’ stories will be published in an immersive collection on Grist’s website. 

Stories will be judged by a panel of literary experts, including acclaimed authors Paolo Bacigalupi, Nalo Hopkinson, and Sam J. Miller.

(7) HOW THEY WORK. “Sensitivity readers: what publishing’s most polarising role is really about” according to the Guardian.

… Sensitivity readers can become the implied “baddy” or “goody” (depending on where you stand) in such cases, their service seen as the reason that changes have been made. However, this view assumes that sensitivity readers have more power than they actually do, says Helen Gould, a sensitivity reader who advises on issues including race and mental health issues. “I’m never directly editing text,” she says. When asked to perform a sensitivity read, she will read it, annotate sections where she thinks specific changes could be made – for example, an author might have written an inaccurate description of how a Black hairstyle is achieved (“It’s amazing how much of the work I do is about Black hair!”) – and provide overall feedback. Authors and editors can then choose to accept her suggestions and implement changes, ignore them, or ask to discuss them further….

(8) IN SUPPERTIMES TO COME. Rae Mariz has a wonderful post about “Feeding Future Ancestors” at Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup.

…Which brings me back to our kitchen in Stockholm, with my twelve year old daughter and the responsibility I feel to show her the skills that will help her feed herself and her friends in the world they’ll be inheriting. There won’t be a recipe I can hand down to her with precise directions for how to recreate familiar flavors. The ingredients we’ve taken for granted as staples might not be available—either because she recrossed oceans, or because the industrialization of agriculture will have come to its inevitable end. How can I help her prepare for the future when I don’t even have the foresight to meal-prep a day in advance? I’m still working it out, doing what I can—in the kitchen, in my prose, on the streets—to contribute to a livable planet and a more caring culture. Kids eat what we give them.

The hard truth is that she’s probably already picked up on whatever I have to show her. I’ve certainly already fed her something that will horrify future ancestors when she reminisces about her childhood in whichever storytelling form arises to replace the internet….

(9) JOHN JAKES (1932-2023). Author John Jakes, best known for historical bestsellers like The Bastard and North And South, both adapted for television, died March 11 at the age of 90.

…Born on March 31, 1932, in Chicago, Jakes published his first short story at 18, earning $25, and would go on to author more than 80 books in his lifetime that sold more than 120 million copies worldwide….

With so many mainstream bestsellers to talk about, the fact that he wrote a lot of sff has been overlooked by the obituaries, the reason why Cora Buhlert has written an extended tribute here: “Remembering John Jakes (1932 -2023)”.

…What is only a footnote in all of the mainstream obituaries is that John Jakes was also an SFF writer as well as a writer of crime fiction, westerns and erotica long before he found success beyond imagination with historical sagas.

I certainly had no idea that John Jakes had written SFF before I came across his name in a review at Galactic Journey and thought, “Wait a minute, the North and South guy used to write SFF?” Turns out John Jakes did not just write SFF, he wrote a lot of it and was also one of the protagonists of the second sword and sorcery boom….

(10) ROLLY CRUMP (1930-2023). Influential Disney animator Rolly Crump died March 12. The LA Times tells how this Disney designer helped define Disneyland.

… Crump would go on to become one of the most important artists to work for Walt Disney Co.

It’s a Small World, the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Haunted Mansion are just a few of the projects Crump would contribute to once he joined Walt Disney Imagineering, known as WED Enterprises (for Walter Elias Disney) in 1959. With Imagineering, the division of the company that oversees Disney theme parks, Crump‘s designs would help define the look of Disneyland…

… Crump fought for Disneyland to retain a handcrafted quality. He was a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is artist who was offended at the suggestion that others would be offended by his critiques. Crump, for instance, enjoyed a close relationship with [Mary] Blair, the artist who designed the dolls for It’s a Small World and whose style informed the bulk of the interior of the attraction. An accomplished watercolorist and muralist, Blair, like Crump, was handpicked by Disney to transition out of animation and into theme park design.

Crump spoke to The Times in 2018 about, among many topics, the creation of It’s a Small World. Still an imposing, broad-shouldered figure in his then-late-80s, Crump was emphatic. “I had Mary’s sketches in a book and gave them to the model shop,” he said. “I said, ‘Whatever you design, make sure they look like these drawings.’ I was given the job of supervising It’s a Small World. I knew it was only going to work if everything looked like Mary Blair. As far as I was concerned, this is a Mary Blair ride. So off we went. The rest is history.”….


1992[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

Our Beginning is Rita Mae Brown’s Rest in Pieces: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery which was published by Bantam in hardcover thirty-one years ago. 

The prefaces are always by Sneaky Pie who is also listed as the co-author of this series.

I’m going do a bit of a spoiler here and tell you the mysteries focus on a postmistress named Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen plus her tiger cat named Mrs. Murphy, a fat grey cat named Pewter and a corgi named Tee Tucker. 

Her other series, the “Sister” Jane Mysteries, centers around no-kill fox hunting and has foxes, owls, cats, dogs and others I’ve probably forgotten as characters. Oh, and humans obviously.  

I enjoy the ones that I’ve read quite a bit though I’ve by no mean read all thirty she’s done so far in this series. 

And now the Beginning… 

Dear Reader: 

Here’s to catnip and champagne! 

Thanks to you my mailbox overflows with letters, photos, mousie toys, and crunchy nibbles. Little did I think when I started the Mrs. Murphy series that there would be so many cats out there who are readers . . . a few humans, too. 

Poor Mother, she’s trying not to be a grouch. She slaves over “important themes” disguised as comedy and I dash along with a mystery series and am a hit. This only goes to prove that most cats and some dogs realize that a lighthearted approach is always the best. Maybe in a few decades Mom will figure this out for herself. 

The best news is that I was able to afford my own typewriter. I found a used IBM Selectric III so I don’t have to sneak into Mother’s office in the middle of the night. I even have my own office. Do you think I should hire Pewter as a secretary? 

Again, thank you, cats out there, and the dogs, too. Take care of your humans. And as for you humans, well, a fresh salmon steak would be a wonderful treat for the cat in your life. 



[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 15, 1852 Isabella Augusta, Lady Gregory (née Persse). Irish dramatist, folklorist, theatre manager. With William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn, she created the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre. She produced a number of books of retellings of stories taken from Irish mythology. Gods and Fighting Men, all seven hundred pages strong, is the best look at her work. It’s available at all the usual digital sources. (Died 1932.)
  • Born March 15, 1920 Lawrence Sanders. Mystery writer who wrote several thrillers that according to ISFDB had genre elements, such as The Tomorrow File and The Passion of Molly T. Now I’ve not read them so I cannot comment how just on how obvious the genre elements are, but I assume it’s similar to what one finds in a Bond film. One of these novels btw is described on the dust jacket as an “erotic spine tingler”. Huh. (Died 1998.)
  • Born March 15, 1924 Walter Gotell. He’s remembered for being General Gogol, head of the KGB, in the Roger Moore Bond films as well as having played the role of Morzeny, in From Russia With Love, one of Connery’s Bond films. He also appeared as Gogol in The Living Daylights, Dalton’s first Bond film. I’m fairly sure that makes him the only actor to be a villain to three different Bonds. (Died 1997.)
  • Born March 15, 1926 Rosel George Brown. A talented life cut far too short by cancer. At Detention, she was nominated for the Hugo Award for best new author, but her career was ended when she died of lymphoma at the age of 41. She wrote some twenty stories between 1958 and 1964, with her novels being Sibyl Sue Blue, and its sequel, The Waters of Centaurus about a female detective, plus Earthblood, co-written with Keith Laumer. Sibyl Sue Blue is now available from the usual suspects. (Died 1967.)
  • Born March 15, 1939 Robert Nye. He did what the Encyclopaedia of Fantasy describes as “bawdy, scatological, richly told, sometimes anachronistic reworkings of the traditional material” with some of his works being BeowulfTaliesin (which was the name of my last SJW cred), FaustMerlin and Mrs. Shakespeare: The Complete Works. His Falstaff novel is considered the best take on that character. Some of his works are available at the usual digital suspects. (Died 2016.)
  • Born March 15, 1943 David Cronenberg, 80. Not a Director whose tastes are at all squeamish. His best films? I’d pick VideodromeThe FlyNaked Lunch and The Dead Zone. Though I’m tempted to toss Scanners in that list as well. ISFDB says he has one genre novel, Consumed, which garnered a Bram Stoker Award nominated for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Oh, and he was in the film version of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed
  • Born March 15, 1946 Chris Morris, 77. First genre writing was in the exemplary Thieves’ World shared universe, such as “What Women Do Best” with Janet Morris, and “Red Light, Love Light”.  He’s also written in the Merovingen NightsHeroes in Hell and Sacred Band of Stepsons saga series.


(14) ‘WILLOW’ WHACKED. “‘Willow’ Canceled After One Season On Disney+” reports Deadline.

There will be no second season of Willow, Disney+’s live-action original series based on the 1988 fantasy film directed by Ron Howard. The news comes two months after the eight-episode first season of the show, which served as a sequel to the classic movie, ended its run on the streaming platform.

Willow, which picked up years after the events of the film, did not have the zeitgeist cultural impact of the original but was well received by critics, getting a 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the series won’t continue, Willow remains an important IP in the Lucasfilm library, so it might be revisited in the future….

(15) HOT ON THE TRAIL. “’Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Leak: Marvel Looks for Source”The Hollywood Reporter has the story. And allow me to make the obvious joke – it must be a very small hole!

Marvel is closing in on the source of a leak of a script from Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania before the movie was released, and it intends to take legal action, a Disney company source tells The Hollywood Reporter.

A federal judge in California on Monday issued subpoenas to Reddit and Google directing them to identify the users who leaked the dialogue. The order came after the company moved for information on whoever posted then-unreleased dialogue from the film to the r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers subreddit.

Marvel is likely to pursue litigation against the person or group responsible for the leak. That could include a referral to prosecutors for criminal copyright infringement, among other charges….

(16) COLD STORAGE. Nerdist traces “The History of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude”, accompanied by many comics panels.

… Today, we think of Superman’s Fortress as an ice palace, far away from humanity in the Arctic. But originally, it was just a mountain cave where Clark stashed his belongings he didn’t have anywhere else to house. This “Secret Citadel” was located in a mountain range outside of Metropolis. It first appeared in Superman #17 in 1942, and it didn’t make many appearances. In those days, Superman’s Kryptonian heritage was more of an afterthought, a mere explanation for how he got his powers. The term “Fortress of Solitude” first appeared in Superman #58 1949, as Superman’s sanctuary located in “the polar wastes.” Interestingly, the name “Fortress of Solitude” actually predates Superman. The pulp adventurer Doc Savage had a Fortress of Solitude located in the frozen north, and DC Comics very liberally took the name and concept….

[Thanks to Chris Barkley, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Lise Andreasen, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

73 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/15/23 Scroll’s Howling Pixel

  1. 12) Let us not forget that Cronenberg is a semi-regular guest star on Star Trek: Discovery, and fine in that role.

  2. (3) I don’t want to hear about banning books to “keep their children safe” until they pass gun control laws. In the meantime, kids who have to have active shooter drills should read whatever they want.

  3. @Cat Eldridge–

    Her other series, the “Sister” Jane Mysteries, centers around no-kill fox hunting and has foxes, owls, cats, dogs and others I’ve probably forgotten as characters. Oh, and humans obviously.

    The humans are the least interesting characters.

    The Mrs. Murphy series has a similar range of interesting characters, though I can’t recall any foxes offhand. Harry and her friends are the leading lights of their local society, but they do real work and are not so obviously The Landed Gentry.

    I will use the edit window to add: Getting ready to move. Need boxes. Got decent quality plastic boxes?

  4. Lis Carey says of the “Sister” Jane Mysteries that The humans are the least interesting characters.

    And often the most annoying, particularly when they etate their political and social viewpoints. I can’t tell if she thinks that’s how how the individuals of that culture think, or what it is she’s doing there.

    It is not present in the early novels but gets increasingly annoying as the series progresses.

  5. @Mike Glyer–Yes! I’m moving into a senior housing building, very accessible, and nice. The same one my mother lived in, her last few years. A one bedroom, rather than my current studio. Emergency pull cords.

    Quieter area. Nice landscaping, and a better area overall for walking.

    And the rent will be a percentage of my income, so no fear of getting priced out, which I think was going to happen here, when my lease expires.

    They are doing some basic upgrades before I move in, which will include tearing up the carpet, and replacing it with fairly high-quality vinyl fake hardwood flooring. They’ve already done that in the hallways. Far better for my allergies, and easier to keep clean.

    I’m really happy.

  6. @Cat Eldridge–

    It is not present in the early novels but gets increasingly annoying as the series progresses.

    I have a sad suspicion that she’s become respectable in the upper levels of southern society. The Mrs. Murphy books have started to dwell more on the social standing of Harry and her friends, too, but are a bit more grounded because most of them actually work, and often hard work, too. They’re not the idle rich

  7. Lis, you’re getting thr same set-up as I’ve got here including the percentage of income which means it’s federally subsidised. Your rent will go up only if your income increases and only then if increases by over a certain percentage.

    I sssume that your bathroom has the safety bars? Lovely things, them. I wish I’d gotten one of the apartments that had the walk-in shower areas which would be infinitely easier on my severely damaged knee.

  8. @Cat Eldridge–

    I sssume that your bathroom has the safety bars?

    I didn’t specifically request an apartment with them, but, yep, the first apartment that became available had as its previous tenant a woman who did really need them. Sadly, after just four months, she has had to move to the nursing home.

  9. 9) Mention My Name in Atlantis is a fun sword and sorcery spoof/pastiche.

    @Mark: yes, Florida is the state where teachers can bring their own guns but not their own books.

  10. Lis says I didn’t specifically request an apartment with them, but, yep, the first apartment that became available had as its previous tenant a woman who did really need them. Sadly, after just four months, she has had to move to the nursing home.

    Interesting as all the apartments here that aren’t specifically designed as being handicapped accessible come with them as standard equipment.

    The handicapped accessible are entirely different from the bathroom to the kitchen, and come in multiple configurations depending on the disability.

    There’s even ones designed for the really elderly as we have quite a few over ninety here.

  11. 9) John Jakes’ MENTION MY NAME IN ATLANTIS has one of my favorite lines, referring to a Conanesque character: “His thews quivered at an unprecedented rate.”

  12. 12) For Cronenberg, I’d also add eXistenZ to the list of favorites, with its nested layers of increasingly goopy VR.

    14) Sigh. ANOTHER genre show unceremoniously left on a cliffhanger ending. They REALLY need to start making provisions with these kinds of shows to, if canceled, do at least a few more episodes to provide some kind of wrap-up.

  13. @Cat Eldridge–It may well be the case that they all have them in Nevins now. They didn’t all when my mother lived there, and as I said, I didn’t ask, not wanting to risk being on an even slower list.

  14. (1, 3, 4) The loose and vague language of recent laws against drag and “CRT”, books and gender discussions in schools makes it very hard for people to understand what is and isn’t permitted. In view of the draconian penalties, people therefore err on the side of caution and police themselves. Suspect that’s a feature, not a bug.
    Good for UU reminding people what’s at stake.

    @ Mark – quite right!

    If Filers would like a laugh, see the video clip that’s circulating, in which an “anti-woke” author flails around trying to explain what “woke” means, despite “having written a whole chapter on it”. https://crooksandliars.com/2023/03/right-wing-author-cant-explain-what-woke

  15. With David Cronenberg, I’d go for Scanners, Shivers and Dead Zone. I saw his Crash once. When the film ended, we were only two persons left in the audience. The rest had dropped off during different times in the showing.

  16. (9) I remember seeing some of Jakes’ SF works in my high school library in the late 1970s/early 80s.

  17. 1) As a fan in a state (Texas) that’s trying to do anything it can to eliminate Trans rights (along with most others) I have to wonder if a convention boycott would hurt the wrong people. Trust me, the gang of fascist thieves running my state don’t care about SF cons or it’s fans at all. So a boycott wouldn’t bother them at all. On the other hand, it hurts the fans, most of whom probably disagree with their state government on this issue. Perhaps a better idea is to use a convention as a platform to show support for those oppressed by the local totalitarian government.

  18. (1) The 2024 Westercon will be in Utah. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve gained far too much weight since I last wore the outfit 25 years ago, I’d be very tempted to offer to host Match Game SF as the 1997-2001 version of its UK sibling Blankity Blank wearing this costume in Salt Lake City next year. I would have to get new shoes, though; I broke a heel the last time that I wore it. I also couldn’t feel my toes for a month.

    (Sorry it’s not a better photo; ubiquitous high-quality cameras weren’t a thing in Chico, California in 1998.)

  19. (9) I had the opposite sort of reaction to John Jakes. I remember being surprised to learn that the guy who wrote the Brak the Barbarian books was now writing historical fiction.

  20. RE: boycotting conventions due to the new and absurd “keep children safe laws” and “anti-drag laws”

    Well, you can boycott if you wish. Many transgendered people won’t go to “red” states anyway, as there is so much animosity from the inhabitants, and if there were ever some need to go to the hospital during an emergency in an anti-trans state…well, they’d rather not. I’ve spoken to a couple of trans people I know, and they’re horrified at these new discriminatory laws.

    If any transgendered writer wants to attend and lecture or recite their works, all they’d need do is wear something androgynous, such as a sweatshirt and sweat pants. Problem solved. If a person who normally dresses in drag wants to perform/attend/recite/lecture, all they need do is the same as above, and THEY CAN WEAR MAKEUP, as the laws say nothing about makeup!

    In my purple state, as a short, genetic male, who never got a second growth spurt, I’m sometimes mis-addressed as “she/her.” I’ll correct them once. If they continue, I figure they’re just too stupid to learn. I did have to put in a complaint at one business (which shall remain nameless) as their employee in customer service continually mis-addressed me, and that behavior stopped.

    I’ve also spoken to a tall, homely genetic female who works at a business I frequent, and she, also has been mis-addressed as “sir/he/him.” She’s not too happy with these individuals, either.

    It’s going to take a concerted effort, both publically and privately, to stop this idiocy. Comment on laws up for vote, write letters to the people proposing this anti transgender mania, your legislators, and news services, and take a stand. It’s become a case of bullying kids to the point of suicide now, and that should NEVER be allowed! It’s also affecting kids with other issues, like boys that produce too much progesterone and grow “man boobs.” They can’t get hormone treatments to stop it, or to have the excess tissue removed. The list goes on from there. We have to protect these kids, too, and the adults being persecuted for merely existing.

  21. @Kevin that might be technically illegal but you’re not at all the kind of person they care about going after.

    @Troyce I’ve heard “it will hurt the wrong people” about all sorts of proposed boycotts; none of them have been particularly convincing.

    Personally I have no intentions of going to any cons at all, regardless of the color of the state in which it’s held.

  22. @Carl Andor–

    If any transgendered writer wants to attend and lecture or recite their works, all they’d need do is wear something androgynous, such as a sweatshirt and sweat pants. Problem solved. If a person who normally dresses in drag wants to perform/attend/recite/lecture, all they need do is the same as above, and THEY CAN WEAR MAKEUP, as the laws say nothing about makeup!

    No problem for you.

    Maybe a big problem for people whom you’re basically suggesting should go to conventions and readings in disguise.

  23. 1.) Frankly, this just gives me another reason to further promote virtual gatherings. No, I’m not anything other than cis, but even at that, I have no desire to give my money to businesses in problematic states (which includes…sigh…Montana). But. I’m very willing to support virtual activities that will provide safe connections for people in those places who can’t afford to move but still want to network with like-minded people.

  24. @Troyce Perhaps a better idea is to use a convention as a platform to show support for those oppressed by the local totalitarian government.

    Hard to do when – as you point out – the local totalitarian government doesn’t care about fandom, conventions, or SF. But if you wanted to attend in drag that would be a welcome gesture of solidarity.

  25. 1) More seriously, I think there are better ways to think about boycotts than what they might do to the economy of Texas or Florida. The point of these laws is to make trans people feel isolated and afraid – a public boycott is a message of support.

  26. Disclaimer: I live in Salt Lake City and plan to attend Westercon 76 but am otherwise unconnected with it. I do not speak for the con runners and don’t know what their thoughts might be. With that said, Salt Lake City has long been something of a default destination for the intermountain area; people who don’t fit in elsewhere tend to end up here. Perhaps for that reason, we are blessed with a thriving and vibrant LGBTQ+ community (for whom I also do not speak) and a local government that supports it. The state legislature, on the other hand, is both heavily gerrymandered and dominated by rural interests and has passed some truly reprehensible laws. I can understand and sympathize with the impulse to make a statement. At the same time, making a statement is not the same as making a difference. From my admittedly biased point of view, boycotting SF conventions in red states looks more like shooting the hostages to spite the kidnappers.

  27. (12) Rosel George Brown left us way too soon. I own and loved “Earthblood” with Keith Laumer. I remember reading and liking “Sibyl Sky Blue”. I am sure I read more than a bit of her short fiction, but I recently really liked her “Car Pool” in Lisa Yaszek’s wonderful “The Future is Female…Volume 1”.

  28. 12) Lawrence Sanders’ The Tomorrow File – Somehow I came across it back in the ’70s when I was still a yute. The only memorable SFnal item I recall was identifying a body using the specific mix of skin bacteria.

  29. @Msb
    Apparently, Florida has been banning a bunch of math textbooks because they supposedly contain CRT.

    I honestly wonder how they managed to find CRT in math textbooks, unless math textbooks in the US look very different than in Germany.

  30. @Cora Buhlert

    It is shoe-horned into the story problems/word problems. Instead of “one train leaves the station heading east at 60 km/hr and another train leaves the station…” it may involve a variety of identitarian (and other) labels/topics/etc.

    Give the American people a good cause, and there’s nothing they can’t lick. – John Wayne

  31. @Cora Buhlert: DeSatan has been making things up out of thin air. Even Trump has criticized him.

  32. @Msb
    Apparently, Florida has been banning a bunch of math textbooks because they supposedly contain CRT.

    I honestly wonder how they managed to find CRT in math textbooks, unless math textbooks in the US look very different than in Germany.

    Yes, math textbooks in America are different than in Germany.

    One example of a rejected text (and they are not banned — the publishers were offered a chance to revise the books to be in accordance with Florida laws and standards) included a statistics lesson in which polynomials are used to model “Racial Prejudice by Age” and “Racial prejudice by Political Identification”.


  33. @Dann665–

    It is shoe-horned into the story problems/word problems. Instead of “one train leaves the station heading east at 60 km/hr and another train leaves the station…” it may involve a variety of identitarian (and other) labels/topics/etc.

    Which isn’t what CRT (Critical Race Theory) is.

    DeSantis et al. are trying to stamp out any mention of race, ethnicity, and diversity in America. They object even to talking factually about American slavery in history class.

  34. (14) Can someone please explain to me why so many studios / streaming services these days insist on spending a ton of money on these IPs, only to then immolate the entire project after one or two seasons? The popular answer seems to be money laundering, but is there something more . . . i don’t know, mundane?

    Also, a bit off topic, but have you guys seen this? Why has Sam Delaney got a target on his back all of a sudden? Or is this just Upstream Reviews being Upstream Reivews?

  35. @Ben Harris–I clicked your link.

    Back in January, I previously wrote about host Justin Drown consideration of it as a show idea on Twitter. It immediately prompted hysterics from a slew of Pronouns-In-Bio types, some fatter than others.

    Does not sound particularly objective. Might not be able to spell objective

    Yes, this is the kind of biased, loaded language that encourages me to disregard a “source.”

  36. I don’t understand all the CRT anxiety. I mean, they’re big and clunky and not as sharp as modern LCDs, and they generated a lot of heat and the flyback transformer made that mosquito-y whine, but in their time they were SOTA.

  37. @Russell Letson
    And cats loved them: warm places to nap!
    (I also remember watching a cat get up on top of a TV to see where the birds when when they flew off the side of the screen. Cat watching TV, yes.)

  38. Some Florida textbooks were rejected for reasons beyond CRT — inclusion of Common Core standards, of Social Emotional Learning, and for simply failing to meet the standards and requirements defined for the classes.

    @bill–There seems to be a problem; can’t click through to the source of your image.

    Dunno why; it works for me in two different browsers. Maybe you can copy the link and paste it into a browser window.

  39. Andor: mislabeling. Back in the late sixties, a friend of mine told me about walking along the street, and a couple of morons start following. Finally, “Is that a girl, or is it a boy?”.

    All 5’10”, and heavy bones, of her turned around and replied, “I’m a girl.” Aforesaid morons vanished across the street and away….

    CRT: back in the early nineties, I was sharing an office – at the end of a row of three – with a guy. His chair facing away from the door, mine facing it. One day, the woman from the office at the other end came to complain she was freezing (our office had the thermostat). We turned it up a little, and a couple days later, she’s back, freezing. I’m looking at her, standing in the door, and finally it penetrates. And I move my CRT about a foot to the right, so it’s not directly under the thermostat. Problem solved.

  40. @Cora Buhlert

    Eh, it is of course not actually CRT, but still… as much as I hate to say it, DeSantis kind of had a point there, even if he wasn’t using the right terminology.

    If you’re a statistics textbook author who chooses to explain modelling by using as your dataset information from the Implicit Assumption Test (which I classify as pseudoscientific bullshit) and having students solve an equation to find the correlation between racial prejudice and age, I think it’s not unfair to say that that’s an author with an agenda.

    Apparently other sections used as their examples data about how police racially profile, how magnet schools racially discriminate, and comparing the racial makeup of the NYPD with the racial makeup of NY.

    I’d feel disingenuous AF trying to defend this as purely just a simple math textbook without an agenda. I mean, you can certainly defend the agenda, if you want to argue that this is important information about racism that high school students need to know, but as much as it pains me, it feels like DeSantis had a legitimate point that there was a political/social agenda here that wasn’t just “teach kids math.”

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