Pixel Scroll 5/12/18 Don’t Pixel Under The Kitten-Tree With Anyscroll Else But Me

(1) PLUG PULLED ON GAMING CON. The Dark Carnival Games convention in Denver was shut down by the hotel this weekend. Violence between some people on the premises seems to have been the cause – for example, see this video of a fight that purportedly occurred there.

Trae Dorn explains one of the con’s unusual characteristics in his post at Nerd & Tie.

Dark Carnival Games Con (or “Dark Carnival Game Con” according to some of the other official materials) isn’t exactly your typical gaming convention. It’s a game convention for Juggalos hosted by the Insane Clown Posse themselves.

In fact, after the shutdown, Insane Clown Posse issued a statement on Facebook:

…Juggalos…we love you. We appreciate you. And we acknowledge all your wonderful work and creativity in making DCG a Dark Carnival blessed and beautiful space that was truly For Juggalos, By Juggalos. However, due to circumstances that are beyond our control, the DCG Con Conventiion Hall has been shut down, to the tears and heartbreak of our wonderful 100% Juggalo-run staff and amazing attendees who put their hearts and souls into making this space for our beloved Juggalo Family. This was COMPLETELY out of our hands, ninjas. We here at Psychopathic Records apologize and we are with you, we will be here in the hotel, and we love you more than you will ever know….

(2) ARE CODES OF CONDUCT WORKING? Alisa Krasnostein has made available the results of her “Audit of Australian Science Fiction convention Codes of Conduct”. Her survey received 81 responses. Analysis and graphs at the link.

Executive Summary

After personally hearing recounts of a few very troubling incidents, I decided to conduct a survey of attendees at Australian SF conventions to assess the prevalence of harassment still being experienced there….

…Drilling down into the details of how these codes of conduct are being enforced, and how complaints are being addressed, raised some real issues for concern.

The successful enforcement of a code of conduct relies on a reporting process that is well publicised, accessible, supportive, safe and trusted.

Only 85% of the respondents were aware of the code of conduct. 70% knew whom to approach for assistance as per the code of conduct. All three of the main SF conventions inform attendees to report any incidents of harassment to the convention committee. Swancon includes WASFF board members as a point of contact. Only one of the conventions tells attendees how to identify these points of contact (by the colour of their con badge).

I find this to be grossly insufficient. It relies on convention attendees to know not only the names but also match them to the faces of organisers of the event they are attending, and to be able to locate them during a personally stressful or distressing time. Additionally, in my experience, both as a convention attendee and organiser, convention committee members are incredibly busy and not remotely accessible at the best of times. Let alone when you need a quiet and private moment to lodge an upsetting complaint….

(3) AS IF MILLONS OF VOICES SUDDENLY CRIED OUT. Inverse reports “That pesky Obi-Wan Kenobi movie might actually be happening” — “Obi-Wan ‘Star Wars’ Movie Rumored to Be in Secret Pre-Production”.

Since August of 2017, persistent rumors have suggested that a standalone Star Wars movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi, and starring Ewan McGregor is definitely going to happen. However, since then, there has been no official confirmation from Lucasfilm about this project. But, on Thursday, the day of the early Los Angeles premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story, a new rumor surfaced that the Obi-Wan movie is already in secret pre-production.

…[A]ccording to an anonymous source who spoke to Fantha Tracks on Thursday, “The project is sufficiently along that an art department is now in full pre-production mode at Pinewood Studios, England…A number of concept artists, prop modelers, and storyboard artists are working as a team across the two locations on the film…”

(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman says don’t miss a chance to  chow down on chive dumplings with Mary SanGiovanni in Episode 66 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Scott adds, “Warning: The post — though not the episode itself — include video of me strumming ‘Monster Mash’ on the ukulele!” Hm, I better see if my liability insurance covers that….

Did you listen to the 24-hour Scares That Care Telethon, hosted by Brian Keene and his cohorts from The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast, which ended at noon today after having raised $21,591 for that 501c3 charity devoted to helping those coping with childhood illness, burns and breast cancer? If not, don’t worry. Because though its content was for the most part livestreamed only, never to be seen or heard again, I’ve got some of it for you right here.

Because once again, Eating the Fantastic invaded!

During last year’s telethon, as captured in Episode 34, I brought BBQ and chatted with that best-selling zombie author himself, while this year I picked up takeout from Viet Thai Cafe for dinner with Mary SanGiovanni.

Mary’s the author of The Hollower trilogy, the first volume of which was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award, plus the recent novels Chills and Savage Woods. Her collections include Under Cover of Night, A Darkling Plain, and Night Moves. She’s also the host of the Cosmic Shenanigans podcast.

We discussed H. P. Lovecraft’s racism and sexuality (or lack thereof), how having grown up in New Jersey might have given her the toughness she needed to survive her early short story rejections, why she ended up writing horror instead of science fiction even though her father read her Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert when she was a kid, which novella she wrote that will never see the light of day, how watching The Exorcist III changed her life, why she’s no longer afraid of vampires, the reason her motto if she founded a religious cult would be “doorways are meant to be opened,” the first writer she met who treated her like an equal, the identify of “the George Carlin of Horror,” and much, much more.

(5) PREFERRED BOOKSTORES. N. K. Jemisin contributed to Lonely Planet’s list: “11 authors recommend US bookstores worth traveling for”.

WORD Books in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Recommended by NK Jemisin, author of The Stone Sky

WORD Books in Greenpoint is probably my current favorite. It’s tiny and cramped, yet they consistently manage to have at least one book that I absolutely HAVE to buy, every time I go there. And the downstairs event space makes up for the tight fit upstairs; I had the launch party for The Fifth Season there and it was lovely. There was even enough room for a homemade volcano! And readings, and talks and more. It’s on a gorgeous street with historic architecture and a little park, easily bike-able or train-able. All they lack is a bookstore cat. Why don’t bookstores do those anymore? Oh, allergies. Well, it’s perfect except for that.

(6) BUD PLANT OUT. One of the San Diego Comic-Con giants is going away: “Comic-Con Pioneer Vendor, Bud Plant, Calls it Quits After 48 Years”.

“I’m proud that we had as many as 11 booths up until 2008, 10 of new products and one with out-of-print material,” he said. “But since that disastrous year, when sales dropped by 40 percent, we’ve been downsizing in an effort to still make it work.”

Francis “Bud” Plant, 66, of Grass Valley noted how he spent “seven full days on the road” and 13-hour days at the annual July show.

He said event organizers had always treated him well, but “attendees these days are, in general, not our customers or they are not looking for books.”

(7) WHO’S WHO IN EOFANDOM. Fanac.org posted a scan of L.D. Broyles’ “1961 Who’s Who #1”. Lots of fans you never heard of before, I betcha. However, I did pretty well on page 4 – recognized 5 out of 9 fans listed, including Greg Benford and Ruth Berman. You might be intrigued by Roger Ebert’s entry, from before he made the big time —


  • May 12, 1988 Earth Girls Are Easy premiered on this day.


(10) WE INTERRUPT THIS WAKE… After Syfy cancelled The Expanse The Verge’s Andrew Liptak found a way to soften the blow: “The Expanse author James S.A. Corey is writing a new space opera trilogy”.

Coming off of this morning’s news that the Syfy channel was not going to renew The Expanse for a fourth season, there is some positive news for fans of the series: Orbit Books has announced that it has signed Expanse author James S.A. Corey for three books of a new space opera series.

Corey is actually two authors: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, who co-wrote The Expanse series, which is expected to run for nine novels, the last of which will hit bookstores in 2019. That series has become a popular hit with readers and was adapted as a television show on the Syfy channel that premiered in 2015 with Abraham and Franck as producers. The duo have written outside of the series before: they wrote a Star Wars novel about Han Solo in 2014, Honor Among Thieves. Abraham tells The Verge that Orbit is where James S.A. Corey really began, and I’m delighted that we have another projected queued up with them once The Expanse is complete.”

(11) DISNEY WORLD’S HOTTEST ATTRACTION – FOR ONE DAY. Syfy Wire has videos and stills — “WATCH: Maleficent the dragon bursts into flames during Disney World parade”.

We all know that dragons are supposed to breathe fire, not catch fire. Well,  Maleficent never got that memo.

Friday afternoon, during the Festival of Fantasy parade at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, an enormous animatronic float of Maleficent in dragon form caught fire. The fire occurred when the dragon arrived in Liberty Square, with about 15 minutes remaining in the parade. No one was injured, and the fire was extinguished quickly.


(12) A PENNY FOR YOUR VIKING THOUGHTS. Atlas Obscura delves into “The Mystery of Maine’s Viking Penny”.

On February 6, 1979, Kolbjørn Skaare, a Norwegian numismatist with a tall, wide forehead, walked into the Maine State Museum to see the coin. Just a few years earlier, he had published Coins and Coinage in Viking-Age Norway, a doctoral thesis that grew from the decade-plus he had spent as a keeper at the University of Oslo’s Coin Cabinet. The first specialist to examine the coin in person, he had just a day with it before Bruce J. Bourque, the museum’s lead archaeologist, had to address the national press.

Skaare saw “a dark-grey, fragmentary piece,” he later wrote. It had not been found whole, and the coin had continued to shed tiny bits since it was first weighed. A little less than two-thirds of an inch in diameter, it had a cross on one side, with two horizontal lines, and on the other side “an animal-like figure in a rather barbarous design,” with a curved throat and hair like a horse’s mane. In his opinion, it was an authentic Norwegian penny from the second half of the 11th century.

The mystery centered on its journey from Norway to Maine. It was possible to imagine, for example, that it had traveled through the hands of traders, from farther up the Atlantic coast, where Norse explorer Leif Eriksson was known to have built a winter camp. If the coin had come to America in the more recent decades, the hoaxer—presumably Mellgren, Runge, or someone playing a trick on them—must have been able to obtain a medieval Norse coin.

(13) FAMILIAR FIGURE. Here’s something else in silver that’s come from the mint a little more recently…. The New Zealand Mint has just introduced its very first Star Trek pure silver miniature: “Captain Kirk Takes the Silver”.

3D master sculptor Alejandro Pereira Ezcurra designed the Kirk miniature, which is available now in a limited worldwide production of only 1,000 casts. Produced from a minimum of 150g pure silver, it stands approx 10cm tall, is finished with an antique polish, and features a unique production number stamped into the base.


They want US$550 for the Captain. The New Zealand Mint is also offering some less expensive silver Trek collectibles. There’s a series of coin notes with images of the Classic Trek crew. Who knew the day would come when money would be issued with Lt. Uhura on one side and Queen Elizabeth II on the other?

Made from 5g of pure silver, the note’s reverse has images of Uhura and the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 and is coloured and engraved with Star Trek themes.

The obverse features the Ian Rank-Broadley effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and is legal tender in Niue.

(14) REPOPULATION TROPE. Wired headline: “How Hard Could It Be to Repopulate the Planet?” Editor Gordon Van Gelder addresses repopulating the Earth stories (including his collection Go Forth and Multiply), John W. Campbell, and much more in an episode of Wired’s Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy.

In the 1950s many science fiction writers explored the idea of a global disaster that leaves behind only a single man and woman, who would then have to carry on the human race. According to science fiction editor Gordon Van Gelder, a popular variant of this idea featured a twist ending in which the last man and woman turn out to be Adam and Eve.

“It was one of those stories that science fiction would lend itself to so readily, and newbies would be drawn to it, like ants going to a sugar cube,” Van Gelder says in Episode 308 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.

The idea became so overused that magazines would specifically prohibit writers from submitting “Adam and Eve stories.” And while such stories would remain the bane of science fiction editors for decades, the theme of repopulation also produced a number of interesting thought experiments, many of which Van Gelder collected in his recent book Go Forth and Multiply. He says that despite obvious concerns about inbreeding, the idea of one man and one woman repopulating the world isn’t impossible.

(15) SWIMMING THE CHANNELS. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie says, “Unless you have one of those new-fangled colour television things with auto-record, this Thursday 9 p.m. gives us Brit SF fans a tough choice.” At that hour they have to pick between —

  • Channel 4 the new season of Humans:

  • Or BBC4 and the French SF series Missions:

(16) WHIRLYBIRD. BBC reports “NASA will send helicopter to Mars to test otherworldly flight”.

The Mars Helicopter will be bundled with the US space agency’s Mars rover when it launches in 2020.

Its design team spent more than four years shrinking a working helicopter to “the size of a softball” and cutting its weight to 1.8kg (4lbs).

It is specifically designed to fly in the atmosphere of Mars, which is 100 times thinner than Earth’s.

(17) WHERE DINOS TROD. In case you hadn’t heard, some people are idiots: “Utah tourists urged to stop throwing dinosaur tracks in lake”.

Visitors to a US state park in Utah have been destroying 200 million-year-old dinosaur tracks by throwing them into the water, park officials say.

While this has been an ongoing problem for many years, officials say the damaging behaviour has increased dramatically in the last six months.

The dinosaur tracks are one of the biggest draws to Red Fleet State Park and many have been irrevocably damaged.

Visitors have been throwing the tracks around as if they were merely rocks.

(18) USING SPACE. The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna, in “Here’s why 2018 is a huge moment in the history of political cartoons”, studies the work of such prize-winning political cartoonists as Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, and Jen Sorensen and finds they are more like multi-panel comics than they used to be.

Many veteran political cartoonists occasionally create longer-form comics, but traditionally that work hasn’t garnered the mainstream awards. Now, formal recognition is catching up to both changing technology and new pools of talent.

“Without the space constraints print always had,” Sutton notes of drawing in an online era, “the number of panels in a cartoon is no longer the pressing issue it once was” — so more cartoonists can diversify their formats.

(19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Destino:  Walt Disney & Salvador Dali (1945-2003)” is a short animated film on YouTube begun by Salvador Dali in 1945 and abandoned and ultimately completed by Disney in 2003.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Errolwi, Michael J. Walsh. Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Scott Edelman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Andrew and Lee.]

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67 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/12/18 Don’t Pixel Under The Kitten-Tree With Anyscroll Else But Me

  1. Only when somebody comes second to hear it….

    @11: that’s an epic fail — but when did Maleficent become steampunk? That dragon looks like it belongs in Wicked — I don’t remember such a mechanical beast even in the debatable Angelina Jolie movie.

  2. (19) I wish I lived in the parallel universe where Dali and Disney were good buddies and went on to make a dozen feature-length films together. There’s a creepy-cool image in Destino with ants that reminds me of a mostly forgotten 70’s sf film called Phase IV, now I’m wondering if the director of that movie swiped its only memorable image from Dali.

    (14) From experience with consumer DNA groups, there’s a lot of variance in how much DNA children take from each parent, and sometimes cousins can be “closer” genetic relatives than full siblings, so it’s probably within the realm of possibility for the species to make it through a 2-human bottleneck without it resulting in a bunch of inbred clones.

  3. 12) Given how far away from their origins Chinese, Byzantine and Sassanid coins have been found, well away from any reasonable sphere of influence, it is not *implausible* that a Viking coin from the Labrador settlements would have eventually found its way to Maine.

    I do see the article also talks about the weird Kensington runestone, which I personally DO think is a hoax.

  4. @iphinome 23andMe, GEDmatch, Ancestry and others whose names I can’t recall are the consumer-based DNA sampling companies. People use them to confirm relatives are related as well as to find relatives and verify family trees, and there are other groups like DNA Detectives that are dedicated to exploring and explaining the results. Apparently it’s common for cousins and siblings to be difficult to tell apart, and full siblings are often less genetically similar than expected because they’re drawing different proportions of DNA from each parent.

  5. @Charon D ah yes those, large databases free for the taking from law enforcement, and a boon for stalkers because after all, someone isn’t just giving up their own DNA and information, they’re essentially giving away their whole families, especially when they add family trees as well, without seeking consent.

    So you have experience with these groups? Did one of your relatives foolishly give your info away the same way people give up their contacts to facebook?*

    *I’ve had words, mostly four letter ones, with my uncle for giving up both his DNA and adding me to his publicly accessible family tree.

  6. 1 is why we can’t have nice things. Well, that and JdA. Well, that and JdA and 17.

  7. Has anyone else watched the German SF series Dark? (Streaming on Netflix.) We’re 6 episodes in out of 10 and enjoying it, although I’m tempted to try to put together some kind of diagram or flowchart to try to piece it all together — it’s set in two different time periods (1986 and the present), with some characters (played by older & younger actors as appropriate) present in both. Definitely worth checking out.

  8. @Iphinome — I sense a certain … disdain, so I’ll tread carefully. I am indeed in 23andMe, as well as GEDmatch, the open source one that recently enabled the capture of a criminal who had been evading the law for quite some time. Since I own my DNA and can do what I want with it, and since all I know about my genetic origins is that they involve multiple unreliable narrators, I was interested in seeing what the database had to say about me.

    I was also interested in finding relatives. I’ve found a handful of cousins and since one of them happened to bear the same name as a character in my novel, I put her picture on the cover. Another cousin has assembled a Facebook group of 3rd-to-5th cousins that has over 500 members and apparently is encouraging us to network. And very recently I found a half-brother. I’m planning to get together with him and his family next month.

    So sneer if you want, but I’ll take a brand new brother over privacy and/or Gattacaphobia any time.

  9. Iphinome: Did one of your relatives foolishly give your info away the same way

    Holy shit, did you give them an earful for that, and demand that they take your name off their family tree (though of course it’s already been stored and sold)?

    I would be absolutely livid if one of my relatives violated my privacy in that way (and for all I know, one of them has). 😠

  10. @Joe H

    Has anyone else watched the German SF series Dark?

    Camestros did. I started it but decided it was one I’d need to binge rather than watch in parts, and then I never got round to finishing it.

  11. JJ, see the postscript, an earful of four letter words was given. Demands were made, progress was not. Livid I am*.

    @Charon D. I care not what you do with your own privacy, I care much when others lose privacy without first giving consent.

    *Livid I Am is the protagonist of the failed Dr Seuss sequel, Green Eggs and Early 21’st Century Privacy Issues.

  12. Joe H. on May 12, 2018 at 10:24 pm said:

    Has anyone else watched the German SF series Dark? (Streaming on Netflix.) We’re 6 episodes in out of 10 and enjoying it, although I’m tempted to try to put together some kind of diagram or flowchart to try to piece it all together

    ninja’d by Mark 🙂

    Yes, I watched and I think I really loved it but I’m still puzzling out who is who (and you have the 1950s to deal with as well!)

    Very well done and suitably weird. Yes, it really does need a flowchart/diagram/family-tree. It’s the only program I’ve seen that uses that wall-full-of-pictures-with-string trope where you really thing “Oh, that’s an excellent idea – I might make one of those myself while I watch the show.”

    I’m not sure if I want there to be another season of it as that might spoilt the atmosphere of mystery but I’ve still got so many questions.

    As well as the link Mark posted, I wrote another post that you shouldn’t read until you’ve seen all the episodes https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/dark-debrief/

  13. I read the Atlas Obscura article and followed a couple of the links. One interesting note is that the site where that coin was found tells us little or nothing about the Norse. It does show that the area was something of a trade hub for Native North Americans at the time, but that’s less exciting, at least to white Americans who have been taught that narratives of European “discovery” and contact are more important than the lives of the people they contacted.

    On the other hand, if the finding of that penny was a hoax, it was an odd one: the coin was mis-catalogued as English, and got almost no attention for years after the putative discovery. Also, whatever its source, that coin can’t be from L’Anse aux Meadows, because it’s much too late.

  14. @Mark/@Camestros — Thanks! We did make one tactical error — watched the first three episodes back in December or January, I think, and then got distracted by other things until we watched episodes 4-6 last night, which is not an ideal way to view that show. But we were able to kind of muddle through, and should be able to finish it over the next few weeks (at which point I’ll go read that second linked post).

  15. waves Back from being off-line for almost two weeks, I hope no one noticed.

  16. @Charon D, a new half-brother! Wow, how exciting! Potentially explosive, of course, but it sounds like your family is excited rather than upset. Congratulations!

    I have found distant cousins through Ancestry, but nothing more exciting than that. Iphinome’s privacy concern is well made – I need to double-check that everyone on our tree wants to be listed there. I expect my sister asked, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check.

  17. #11 Disney’s Hottest Attraction

    In the video someone (possibly the videographer) asks a realistic question: “Where’s the fuel shut-off?”

    Watching the attendants running around with fire extinguishers under the dragon as it flexes it’s flaming head made me think, “Hello, design team! Fuel shut-off?”

    Hilarious. That made my day, thanks.

  18. @Joe H: My wife and I watched Dark and enjoyed it a lot, but be warned: Season One ends without resolving anything. In the post-Lost era, this leaves me a little bit worried that the showrunners actually have no idea what the story is.

  19. To add to the regular postings of Award Season, I understand that the Gaylactic Spectrum awards were announced this weekend. I only have informal notification of one particular *cough* item, but I’ll try to track down the official announcement when it goes up (if someone else doesn’t manage to do so ahead of me).

  20. @Heather Rose Jones when formal notification comes, might you do me the small favor of passing on my congratulations to the person in question?

  21. From experience with consumer DNA groups, there’s a lot of variance in how much DNA children take from each parent

    No, there isn’t. Excluding the difference in size between the X and Y chromosomes and the fact that the mitochondria come from the mother, each parent always contributes 50 percent of the DNA unless one parent has produced a defective gamite with too many or too few chromosomes, which is a very big deal, with Down’s Syndrome being one of the less devistating examples. If you had more DNA from one parent than the other, then you would likely know about it from the major physiological problems

    There is a kernal of truth in this in the fact that children can get different amounts of DNA from each grandparent thanks to crossing over during crossing over during meiosis.

  22. @Charon D: From experience with consumer DNA groups, there’s a lot of variance in how much DNA children take from each parent. I can’t parse this; how does a child not get 50% of chromosomal DNA from each parent? How much of each is expressed will vary, male children will get a fraction less from the father (since the Y chromosome is so much smaller than the X), and how much two siblings have in common is random as are fractions of grandparents’, but how does the merger of two haploid cells produce a random imbalance? I thought I’d been aware of major news in the field, but it’s been a very long time since college bio class….

  23. (1) PLUG PULLED ON GAMING CON. ::Googles:: Well, now I know how to be a Juggalo (a term I’d never heard of before today). Um.

    (19) VIDEO OF THE DAY. I’m a huge Salvador Dali fan, but (blush) I’m not sure I’d ever seen the whole thing, so thanks for posting this! 🙂

    @Heather Rose Jones: “. . . the Gaylactic Spectrum awards were announced this weekend.”

    Ooh, are congratulations in order? 😀 As usual, the web site is horribly out-of-date (as in, it only has up through 2016).

    @Darren Garrison: I thought that sounded odd.

    @mlex: In addition to the fuel shut-off, I guess they either didn’t know to shut off the movement of the head, or couldn’t reach it due to the flames?! (The dragon looked very cool, safety and design issue aside.)

  24. Re: Dark: I was so puzzled at the ending that I Googled for information, and I found out that of course people had made all kinds of helpful and interesting charts and genealogies. I highly recommend this if you’re watching and have trouble keeping the characters straight.

  25. @Lenore Thanks! My family consists mostly of me, and I’m not likely to explode when confronted with evidence of my great-granny’s adultery or anything like that. In the case of my recently-found brother, it looks like biological dad was being a cad since we were born four days apart to different mothers. No doubt there would be some people in the world that would be more horrified by the infidelity than overjoyed to discover a new relative. My half-brother and I are both fast-typing Californians fond of sushi and Star Wars, so I have a feeling we’ll get along and I’m more inclined to cheer for our parents’ fertility than gasp in shock.

    @Darren I am admittedly ignorant of the biology involved, and learning about it is on my list of things to do in the future. I’m speaking solely through experience with about five different groups dedicated to analyzing genetic results from the consumer-DNA companies, for the most part working backwards to reunite separated relatives. In the course of reading all the daily posts in these groups I have seen many, many cases where people analyze various relatives to triangulate on the exact nature of relationships, and false attribution of cousins/siblings, and siblings that don’t appear to be related at all until you analyze them in the context of other relatives. I’m not even clear that the person 23andMe IDs as my half-brother is truly a half-brother, since from what I’ve learned from my groups he could very well be an uncle or cousin. That’s the basis of my idea that a two-person genetic bottleneck would be feasible. If I ever decide to write that book I’ll immerse myself in studying genetics. I’m more fascinated with the social aspects – for instance, in the 40s people in the US frequently separated twins and adopted one twin out to another family, because this was thought to be “healthier” – now that people are delving into their own DNA a lot of these cases are being discovered (and all those separated-at-birth stories from soap operas were more true to life than a lot of people realized).

  26. (13) is clearly foreshadowing theStar Trek / Silver Surfee – crossover we have been waiting for so long!

    Roxanne – you dont have to scroll in the red file!

  27. Thanks everyone for all the information about Dark; I’ll calibrate expectations for the end of the series appropriately.

    Started rereading Night’s Master this morning. Speaking of somewhat problematic books that I love unreservedly …

  28. I can’t parse this; how does a child not get 50% of chromosomal DNA from each parent?

    I think the comment was intended to refer to common inherited DNA shared by a pair of siblings. Which I think can indeed range from 0-100%. WIth 50% from each parent, it’s theoretically possible to get the opposite 50% from your sibling, leaving you essentially unrelated.

    The total number of genes is high enough that the extremes are incredibly unlikely (except in the case of identical twins, which uses another mechanism than random mixing). It would be like flipping ~20,000 heads in a row on a fair coin. Not impossible, but I wouldn’t hold my breath… 😀

    (My back-of-the-napkin calculations suggest that the odds of a perfect match or mismatch have a denominator with over 6000 digits! By comparison, the number of particles in the universe has less than 90 digits.)

  29. @Xtfr: This comes up in Heinlein’s Tale of the Twins that Weren’t (part of “Time Enough for Love”) – siblings deliberately created so that they were effectively as little related as two humans chosen at random.

  30. @Andrew – the Bobby Dunbar story was fascinating, thanks for that! From what I’ve seen in my groups, Heinlein’s scenario plays out in real life quite often. To the point where there are people making a good career out of helping others parse out confusion related to familial DNA .

  31. Arrrghh the Dino track thing makes me angry!

    Re: Vikings, I have to agree that trade networks get you everywhere. Parrot feathers from the Amazon show up in Anasazi ruins, abalone shells end up a thousand miles inland…stuff gets around.

    Paul Weimer— ha! Hadn’t thought about the Kensington Runestone in ages. Has been debunked by everybody and their cousin with whom they may share questionable amounts of DNA, but a great bit of Americana.

  32. (1) Another Rob! We are legion! Don’t call me for refunds, though.

    (17) Why are people so STUPID?

  33. @Xtfr: If you are lucky enough to have your parents tested as well as yourself, you can create an “evil twin” genome at GEDMatch which contains the parts of your parents’ chromosomes that you didn’t get.

    @Iphinome: The soon-to-be active European privacy law (GDPR) is forcing a number of changes to how people are handling living family members on various sites. I got a notice from WikiTree last week that I needed to hand over living people’s profiles to them. The paid sites that I’ve dealt with have always hidden living people from everyone except the tree manager. Now, if it’s his own personal site, there’s not much that you can do.

    As an aside, none of the major DNA databases are free for the taking. (There are a couple of now-defunct ones whose current status is in limbo.) The service used in the Golden State Killer case, GEDMatch, did not hand their database over to law enforcement. The police used a convoluted process to get the crime scene sample into the database and then worked the match list for months in the exact same way that adoptees use the match list to identify their birth parents. This is not something that’s going to be repeated casually.

  34. You can get any random mix of your mother’s DNA and father’s DNA. You will, however, get 50% of your DNA from each of them.

    It can potentially result in being genetically more similar to a cousin than a sibling. They’ll still be able to sort out whose parents are whose, though.

  35. Dear Folks,

    Oh my, I really hope that Wired interview garbled or misrepresented Gordon’s thoughts (it can happen in editing for style and space). Because if not, my takeaway from it is, “Yup, there are some reprehensible, even offensive stories in the collection, but I don’t give a fuck ’cause they fit my theme.”

    It doesn’t make Gordon look good, it sure doesn’t make me want to buy the book.

    pax / Ctein

  36. Xtifr on May 13, 2018 at 12:02 pm said:
    My siblings and I have a wild mix of similar and different results (and it’s like two and one on everything), but we all look similar enough that people can tell we’re related. (I got the short fingers and toes, my brother got the wavy hair and pale blue eyes, my sister got the complexion that goes with strawberry blonde.)

    I’ve had my family tree online (though it’s not available currently), but I carefully pulled out all the live people, by generation, so it was clean that way. (However, if you’re over 75, you’ll show up in the 1940 and earlier US censuses, so your privacy is more limited.) I can’t say the same for other people, but the software will privatize people (sometimes to the point where it’s useless: people don’t always check their data first, and people who are centuries dead will show up as “living”).

  37. “Scroll Pixel”
    (I substituted “pixel” for one word in a popular two-word expression, and “scroll” for the other.)

  38. Kip W: Which, translated into Latin, is reductio ad absurdum, isn’t it?

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