Pixel Scroll 3/23/16 You’re on Canid Camera

(1) SUPERGIRLS. Carrie Goldman writes “An Open Letter To Supergirl Stars Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, From An Adoptive Mom” in Chicago Now.

Her relationship with her younger sisters is complicated. They are our biological daughters, and this creates deep and unavoidable conflict for her. No matter how much we reassure her that we love her the same as the younger girls, she tests us.

During the scenes in Supergirl where Alex and Kara explore the painful aspects of their relationship as sisters through adoption, our whole family absorbs every word, every expression, because seeing this dynamic on mainstream television makes our family feel less alone.  The fact that both Alex and Kara are kickass, strong, smart, flawed, beautiful women who work hard, cry, laugh, yell, fight, and make mistakes has been an incredible model for all of our girls.

(2) READING RESOURCES. The 1000 Black Girl Books Resource Guide database includes several sf/f titles.

[From Marley’s Welcome.] Welcome to the #1000blackgirlbooks Resource Guide. I started this campaign because I wanted to read more books where black girls are the main characters. With your help we have collected over 4000 books; many of them are have the same title, but we do have lots of unique ones as well. This guide includes 700 of those books and more is coming.

I believe black girl books are really important because when you are young you want to read lots of books, but you especially like to read books with people that look like you. While I have books at home about black girls, the books at school were not diverse. Children do most of their reading in schools or because of schools. Teachers assign books that you must read. If those books are not diverse and do not show different people’s experiences then kids are going to believe that there is only one type of experience that matters. Also, if books are not diverse then kids will not learn about the experiences of other members in their community.

(3) BELGIUM CALLING. Nicholas Whyte checks in from Brussels, in “Losers” at From the Heart of Europe.

I finally made it to the office at 1022, those last two kilometres having taken me 90 minutes to drive, to find most of my colleagues gathered ashen-faced in the lobby, greeting me tearfully – I was the only person who was unaccounted for, due to my phone being out of order – and giving me the headlines of what had happened. It’s nice to feel appreciated, still more so when I logged on and saw many concerned messages from friends and family, and even more so when people responded to my posts confirming that I was safe. One of the great things about the interconnectedness of today’s world is that we can often catch up with our friends quickly – Facebook’s check-in system in particular is a source of reassurance.

The horror has hit very close to home. I have flown out of Brussels airport in the morning five times this year, and was originally due to do so again on Friday to go to Eastercon in Manchester (in fact my plans have changed and I’ll take the Eurostar to London for work tomorrow and travel on up by train). My wife was flew out on Monday for a funeral in England and was due to fly back last night; her flight was cancelled and she will now return by Eurostar this evening. Maelbeek metro station (the four-pointed star on my map) is in the heart of the EU quarter, and I go past it almost every day and through it several times a month; a former colleague was actually on the train that was bombed, but fortunately escaped without injury; another former staffer (from before my time) was in the departure hall of the airport, and is recovering well from minor injuries.

… This happened because they [the terror movement] are losing. Less than a week ago, a major figure in the terror movement was arrested in Brussels; perhaps yesterday was revenge for his arrest, perhaps it was rushed into because they were afraid he would start talking (or knew that he already had). On the ground, their allies and sponsors are losing territory and resources in Syria and Iraq. I wrote a week ago about violence as story-telling, in the Irish context. This is an attempt to write a story about the weakness of our interconnected world, attacking places where people travel and meet, where many nationalities and cultures join together and build together.

It is a narrative that must not and will not win…

(4) MIND MELD. SF Signal’s current Mind Meld, curated by Andrea Johnson, asks —

Q: What non-mainstream Scifi/fantasy Graphic Novels do you recommend?

The answers come from: Matthew Ciarvella, Sharlene Tan, Taneka Stotts (Full Circle), Stacey Filak, Carl Doherty, Myisha Haynes (The Substitutes), Pipedreamergrey, Christa Seeley (Women Write About Comics), Martin Cahill, Larry Gent, and Jacob Stokes.

(5) VERICON. Ann Leckie has captioned a set of photos of Ancillary cosplayers from Vericon.

It’s obvious what’s going on here, right? That’s Hamilton/Breq in the middle, and she’s recruited Agent Carter, Lieutenant Peepsarwat, and Translator Zeiat in her search for the Presger gun. That case Agent Carter is carrying?

(6) INHUMAN PASSENGERS. “More ancient viruses lurk in our DNA than we thought” reports Phys Org.

Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it’s even less human than scientists previously thought.

Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA—left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago—have just been found, lurking between our own genes.

And one stretch of newfound DNA, found in about 50 of the 2,500 people studied, contains an intact, full genetic recipe for an entire virus, say the scientists who published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Whether or not it can replicate, or reproduce, it isn’t yet known. But other studies of ancient virus DNA have shown it can affect the humans who carry it.

In addition to finding these new stretches, the scientists also confirmed 17 other pieces of virus DNA found in human genomes by other scientists in recent years…

(7) LUNAR POLE DANCING. “Earth’s Moon wandered off axis billions of years ago, study finds” at Phys Org.

A new study published today in Nature reports discovery of a rare event—that Earth’s moon slowly moved from its original axis roughly 3 billion years ago.

Planetary scientist Matt Siegler at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and colleagues made the discovery while examining NASA data known to indicate lunar polar hydrogen. The hydrogen, detected by orbital instruments, is presumed to be in the form of ice hidden from the sun in craters surrounding the moon’s north and south poles. Exposure to direct sunlight causes ice to boil off into space, so this ice—perhaps billions of years old—is a very sensitive marker of the moon’s past orientation….

“The moon has a single region of the crust, a large basaltic plain called Procellarum, where radioactive elements ended up as the moon was forming,” Siegler said. “This radioactive crust acted like an oven broiler heating the mantle below.”

Some of the material melted, forming the dark patches we see at night, which are ancient lava, he said.

“This giant blob of hot mantle was lighter than cold mantle elsewhere,” Siegler said. “This change in mass caused Procellarum—and the whole moon—to move.”

The moon likely relocated its axis starting about 3 billion years ago or more, slowly moving over the course of a billion years, Siegler said, etching a path in its ice.

(8) INDICATION OF TOR. John C. Wright still has one last book on the way from Tor – The Vindication of Man. Rather a dim-looking cover on the preorder page. The release date for the hardcover is November 22.


  • Born March 23, 1952 — Kim Stanley Robinson. The other great sf writer born in Waukegan!

(10) HE WRITES ABOUT THEY. Although John Scalzi’s post about gender-neutral pronouns is interesting, I found his personal demonstration in the comments even more so:

Also, for the record, my stance on pronouns, as they regard me:

He/him/his: My preferred set. Please use them in all things involving me.

They/them/their: Not my preferred set, but I don’t mind them being used for me.

It/it/its: This is a non-gender construction but generally isn’t used for individual humans (excepting, from time to time, infants), and is mostly used for animals and objects. Please don’t use them for me; if you do I’ll wonder why you are, and also wonder if you see me as an object, which would make me wonder if you’re a sociopath of some sort.

She/her/her: Not my gender! Be aware that in my experience when someone uses these for me, they’re usually trying to insult me in one way or another. So unless you want my default impression of you to be that you’re a sexist twit, please don’t use this set for me.

Other constructions: Really, no. “He” or “They” is fine. Thanks.

(11) DO YOU FEEL LUCKY? Claire Rousseau’s series of tweets ends on a rather optimistic note, considering the 2016 Hugo ballot isn’t out yet.


(13) A SELECTED QUOTE. Sarah A. Hoyt takes time out from moving to post at Mad Genius Club.

And after being selectively quoted by Jim Hines who pretended I was calling anyone not with the puppies worse than those who abetted the holocaust and the holodomor, by cutting out the part where I addressed those who destroy lives and reputations for a plastic rocket, we have at least established what Jim Hines is.  He’s not duped by those destroying reputations and lives.  He’s one of the principals.  I have only one question for him: But for Wales, Jim?

(14) PUPPYING WITHOUT UMLAUTS. Some of Declan Finn’s days are better than others. “The Evil of the Puppy Kickers” at A Pius Geek.

But last time I checked, Vox Day has really never dismissed his enemies as being subhuman. Nor has he suggested murdering any of them. Not even NK Jemisen, who has her own little war with Vox going that stretches back at least two years. He’ll still debate, or reason, or scream right back at her, but he’ll at least reply to whatever is thrown his way.

You may not like what he says, but he at least acknowledges that she’s someone worth having a fight with.

Can’t say that for the Puppy Kickers. They like being the ubermensch of their own little Reich, and it’s getting tiresome, really. The ones who are really in charge rarely, if ever, acknowledge any argument outside of their own little echo chamber.

(15) KEEP BANGING ON. Michael Bane, the producer of Outdoor Channel’s Gun Stories hosted by Joe Mantegna, announced Larry Correia will appear in an episode.

Did I mention that the MAIN MONSTER HUNTER HIMSELF, LARRY CORREIA, will be joining us on GUN STORIES WITH JOE MANTEGNA this season? The MONSTER HUNTER books are modern classics. I just finished reading SON OF THE BLACK SWORD, the first book in his newest series, and it was excellent.

(16) CROWDFUNDED CON. The Museum of Science Fiction in Washington, DC is running a Kickstarter appeal to fund guests for Escape Velocity, a convention it plans to hold July 1-3. At this writing, people have pledged $14,348 toward the $18,000 goal.

Something special is coming to National Harbor, Maryland – a science fiction convention on a mission. This July 1st to 3rd, the Museum of Science Fiction will be launching ESCAPE VELOCITY, a micro futuristic world’s fair where STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) and science fiction will collide to create a geeky-fun, educational, and above all, fascinating spectacle for kids and adults alike!

A couple of the guests they expect to have are —

Rod Roddenberry, recently announced executive producer for the new Star Trek TV series for 2017 will make a keynote presentation to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th Anniversary and discuss his work with the Roddenberry Foundation.

Adam Nimoy, son of Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, is coming to Escape Velocity to discuss his father’s legacy and his new documentary film, For the Love of Spock.

In addition to screening parts of the documentary, Nimoy will join Rod Roddenberry on an Escape Velocity discussion panel moderated by screenwriter and Museum of Science Fiction advisory board member, Morgan Gendel, who wrote the Hugo Award-winning Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “The Inner Light.” “I’ve known both Adam and Rod for years and it’s fascinating to see how each has found a way to celebrate the work of their famous fathers,” said Gendel. “I expect the panel to be a very insightful look into the lives and legacies of two Trek icons.”

(17) BALLARD REMEMBERED. Malcolm Edwards will guest on The Guardian’s live webchat about JG Ballard on March 25 at noon (UK time).

Malcolm Edwards was JG Ballard’s editor for several years and worked with him on Empire of The Sun, among other classics. He should be able to give invaluable insights into Ballard’s working methods and the wonderful books he produced – and so is uniquely placed to talk about this month’s Reading Group choice, High-Rise, not to mention the recently released film.

(18) NOT WORTH THE PAPER THEY’RE NOT WRITTEN ON? Max Florschutz takes a deep dive into the value of ebooks at Unusual Things.

You don’t see articles from music sites talking about how MP3 downloads are worthless and shouldn’t cost more than ten cents. You don’t see game review sites asking how dare Steam or Origin have a digital game on launch day cost the same as its physical compatriots.

So why in the book industry is this such a problem? Why is it that a person will look at a digital MP3 download from their favorite artist and buy it without a second of remorse, but then look at a digital book from their favorite author and send them an angry message about how that ebook shouldn’t be more than a dollar?

I don’t actually have an answer to this question. All I have are theories based on what I’m reading and hearing from other people around the internet. Maybe you’ll agree with some of these, maybe you won’t. But all of these are things I’ve heard expressed in one way or another….

1A- Physical books have physical difficulties that imply value to their purchasers. Yes, this much is true. While the story inside the pages remains the same, the trick with an ebook is that it’s hard to compete with an observation of value when looking at one. A physical book? Well, for one, you can pick it up and feel the weight of it, which, to most people, does imply a value. But you can also flip through it, jostle it, check a few pages, see how long it is.

You know what’s interesting? We can do all these things with an ebook. You can flip through it and read a sample. You can see how many pages there are. You can even check reviews—something you can’t do at a bookstore.

And yet … people don’t value that either. And why? Because it’s easy. It’s fast.

(19) GOTHIC INSPIRATION. Paul Cornell starts watching all the Hammer movies in order: “My Hammer Journey #1”.

The Quatermass Xperiment (1955)

The first thing that strikes one is how much of a Val Guest movie this is, and how much, therefore, as a director, Val Guest establishes the Hammer ethos.  Guest’s forte is a kind of poetic modernist postwar British craft, a deceptive air of understated hard work that nevertheless not only gets everything right, but elevates, through the little details, the whole thing into art.  (Again, that reminds one of the best years of Hammer all in all.) ….

(20) FURY FURIOUS. This was new to me, although it has been making the rounds for several years…

[Thanks to James H. Burns, DMS, Mark-kitteh, Andrew Porter, Michael J. Walsh, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

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275 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 3/23/16 You’re on Canid Camera

  1. Or, if you think back to previously when I posted all manner of links regarding the business at Harvard, I got called a liar anyway.

    Because you lied about it. Perhaps if you hadn’t lied about it, you wouldn’t have been called a liar. Posting links doesn’t mean your rendition of events is true, it just means people can check and see that you’ve lied.

  2. @Tasha Turner – Your books all downloaded? Maybe it’s our family Amazon hates.

    I have multiple devices with Kindle apps, including two Kindles. The one I choose as the default is the one that gets my entire archive downloaded and it happens automatically, just by changing the default and connecting to wi-fi. One of the reasons I’m a Kindle user is that Amazon’s UI is pretty much bulletproof, even in the face of my incredible tech warping abilities.

    @Phantom, being wrong is okay. It happens to all of us on at least a semi-regular basis. In this case, though, it wasn’t that you were wrong, it was that you pulled a statement out of your ass that wasn’t based on anything factual and have been less than forthright about it ever since you were challenged. It is not a good look on you.

  3. I have a Kindle and the app on my tablet. Stuff I buy automatically goes to the Kindle but can be manually downloaded to the app. When the tablet went wonky for a bit, I had to deregister/reregister it, so Amazon thinks I have 2 tablets and a Kindle. I should probably clear out the old one just in case. It just works.

    @Bonnie: Harvard is in Massachusetts, Valente has been to Massachusetts, QED!!!

    I think we need a refreshing Katsu. Will it work with this device?
    Answer: No. And I don’t have the code page bookmarked here. Ah well, imagine a clockwork octopus here.

  4. @Cheryl S
    My Kindle PaperWhite (default device) regularly requires I delete books off. It can hold about 2,000 books.

    At one point my iPad let me download all 6,000 books but then Apple did an iOS upgrade which forced all my music to sync and I had to delete most of my books. A later upgrade iOS by Apple may have fixed the space problem but I’ve found no easy way to tell Amazon to download all the books I’ve previously purchased. Changing the default only affects new purchases in my experience.

    What a fun discussion. I’m enjoying everyone’s comments and suggestions. 🙂

  5. lurkertype: I think we need a refreshing Katsu. Will it work with this device? Answer: No. And I don’t have the code page bookmarked here. Ah well, imagine a clockwork octopus here.

    Here ya go:

  6. @Phantom: I just did some of the legwork for you and found maybe two blogposts where she mentions the puppies at all. Obviously she’s less than happy with them in those posts but I don’t think two blogs, a year apart, can be considered evidence for her being a “puppy kicker extraordinaire” as you claim.

    Have you found some sort of secret repository where all she does is rip into the puppies? I’d like to see it, if so.

  7. @Tasha Turner – Changing the default only affects new purchases in my experience.

    You might want to check with Amazon then, because I get the everything in my current TBR, plus the line for the archive as soon as I change the default and connect to Wi-Fi. I believe it doesn’t work that way for you and would doubt my memory, except I’ve done this three times since November and it has worked each time. I’ve never had even 200 books loaded, though, so maybe that’s the difference?

  8. @Darren Garrison: Bwuuuuuh?! Those…alligataurs?…crocodilotaurs?…are bizarre, thanks. A totally new one on me, and I’ve seen some odd ‘taur creatures in my day. I’m intrigued even as I’m repulsed. 😉 And what is up with the baby crawling into the mouth of one on the second cover. I do pity the poor boy (?) on the first cover, though, being all ganged up on.

  9. Kendall
    I took the character to be a little girl crocogatortaur, maybe the same one who’s on the second cover, a year later, all growed up. Doesn’t seem biologically feasible to me, but what do I know?

  10. Back to the important topic!

    @Stoic Cynic: those 2 in 1 models look very nice indeed, and more or less fall within similar price ranges as the Surface Pros. Price isn’t a massive issue for me as I intend to expense all this through my business anyway, so I’ll have a browse around and probably buy one or the other around May time (when I’m heading home briefly)

  11. JJ: Thanks. Interesting how File 770-compatible octopus is purple and the one on my device is orange. Would a Katsu by any other color clank as sweet?

  12. Those…alligataurs?…crocodilotaurs?…are bizarre, thanks. A totally new one on me, and I’ve seen some odd ‘taur creatures in my day. I’m intrigued even as I’m repulsed. ? And what is up with the baby crawling into the mouth of one on the second cover. I do pity the poor boy (?) on the first cover, though, being all ganged up on.

    I’m pretty sure that is a girl on the first cover. In my head-cannon, she is also the adult female alliga-taur, embittered by her childhood experience and out for revenge.

    (Edit–culturally-appropriated-possibly-legendary-Japanese-assassined by Kip, I see.)

  13. @Oneiros

    With the Fujitsus the cost isn’t so much the base model as the accessories and upgrades once you start customizing. My current Fujitsu work laptop ended up a shade over 3K USD once I added processor upgrade, RAM upgrade, digitizer, bluray burner, dock, etc. Then again I need the horsepower at work intermittently. For a personal model I’ll probably go much closer to base if I ever actually buy it.

    Most of the 2 in 1 models are the old fashioned non detachable screen that rotates 180 and folds down. Then there are the detachable keyboard models. And they also have true tablets and ultrabooks. It can be a confusing line up so thought I should point it out.

    Good Luck whichever way you go!

  14. Darren
    I feel sorry for the kid (in the first instance), in any case. We’ve all been on that riverbank, with the taunts and the stones and the dogs barking. It’s not her fault her parents had a somewhat inexplicable and difficult to consummate torch for one another. They say that once you go Croc, you never restock. (It, uh, makes more sense in the original language.)

  15. They say that once you go Croc, you never restock. (It, uh, makes more sense in the original language.)

    Once you’ve had vent, you never repent?

    Don’t be a hater, go with a gator?

  16. @ Kip W

    Thanks! ForScore works pretty well for my needs but I keep hoping it will come up with a two-page view… I will check XODO out.

  17. @Stoic Cynic: Thanks for the heads-up. If I do go the Fujitsu route chances are I’ll be putting in some upgrades, since it’s technically going to be my work computer. I don’t necessarily need high-end specs but if I have the money lying around, untouchable in my business account, I may as well go crazy with it, whatever route I take.

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  19. Hello everyone. I’m way behind in File 770 comments but plowed through these in case someone addressed my question. No such luck. Will someone explain Paulk’s reference to Wales? I didn’t learn anything about Welsh history here in the US and her reference isn’t sufficient for me to look it up myself. Thanks for any help!

  20. It’s a quote from A Man For All Seasons: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world … but for Wales, Richard?”

    Personally, I would respond to her with a quote from another classic British film about Henry VIII, from around the same time. Although Paulk thinks that the Puppy cause is right and proper, “it is now known to be definitely all Cobbler’s… from beginning to end.”

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