Pixel Scroll 5/16/16 Pixel McScrollface

(1) AGENT OF TERRA? Brad Templeton confesses, “I was investigated by the feds for taking a picture of the sun”.

A week ago, a rather strange event took place. No, I’m not talking about just the Transit of Mercury in front of the sun on May 9, but an odd result of it.

That morning I was staying at the Westin Waterfront in Boston. I like astrophotography, and have shot several transits…

I did not have my top lenses with me but I decided to photograph it anyway with my small size Sony 210mm zoom and a welding glass I brought along. I shot the transit, holding the welding glass over the lens, with all mounted on my super-light “3 legged thing” portable tripod….

At 10am I got a frantic call from the organizer of the Exponential Manufacturing conference I would be speaking at the next day. “You need to talk to the FBI!” he declared. Did they want my advice on privacy and security? “No,” he said, “They saw you taking photos of the federal building with a tripod from your hotel window and want to talk to you.”

(2) SHINING EXAMPLE. Ann Leckie discovered someone’s named a nail polish after her.

There’s a Jemisin and Le Guin too. In fact, Nerdlacquer has named its products after all kinds of sf/f references, from Octarine to General Effing Leia.

(3) #STARWARSFORJJ. Not our JJ. An Irish kid — “Star Wars hero Mark Hamill stuns brave Northern Ireland cancer teen Jamie Harkin”

Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker was reduced to tears when he felt the remarkable force of a brave Northern Irish teen who has fought off cancer twice.

Actor Mark Hamill, who plays the famous Jedi Knight , met up with super fan Jamie Harkin.

The brave 17-year-old has raised more than £15,000 for other children battling the disease….

And on Monday the Derry lad joined his idol for breakfast during a break in filming for the latest instalment of the sci-fi saga in Donegal.

“People say that you should never meet your idols, because you build them up in your head so much that when you do meet them, they are a let down, and to that, I say, ‘you’re wrong’,” he said.

(4) SLACKEROO BANZAI. Birth. Movies. Death. is not enamored of reports that Kevin Smith might get to make a Buckaroo Banzai TV series.

Dear fans of The Adventure Of Buckaroo Banzai,

We regret to inform you that, on a recent episode of his podcast, Tusk director Kevin Smith revealed that he has been approached by MGM about possibly adapting The Adventures Of Buckaroo Bonzai for television.

In situations like these, it is natural to look for someone to blame for your grief. In this case, it appears that you have The CW’s The Flash to thank (or, rather, Smith’s recent episode of The Flash).

According to i09, the studio was impressed with Smith’s work on that single episode (the studio is apparently unaware of Tusk, Red State, the porch sequence from Tusk, the trailer for Yoga Hosers, Mallrats, Smith’s intention to make a movie called Moose Jaws, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back, most of Dogma, Clerks 2, and Cop Out), so much so that they invited him over to pitch ideas….

(5) KALDON CLARION SCHOLARSHIP. SF author Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon passed away on April 20. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to create a Dr. Phil Memorial Scholarship for the Clarion workshop.

Janiece Murphy says, “Dr. Phil was a kind and generous man, and we’d like to memorialize him in a way that reflects these qualities.”

Murphy explains there are two ways to give money.

Folks can donate to the GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/drphilclarion , or they can donate directly to Clarion in Dr. Phil’s name at http://imagination.ucsd.edu/support.html . If they choose the latter, I would ask that they ensure the gift is designated for the Dr. Phil Clarion Scholarship, otherwise it will go to the general fund.

The GoFundMe appeal has raised $1,045 of its $5,000 goal as of this writing.

(6) WHAT’S IMPORTANT. Joe Sherry makes a great point in “My Favorite Stories Sometimes Win: A Nebula Love Story” at Nerds of a Feather.

First, it should be noted that two of my favorite stories from 2015 did, in fact, win Nebula Awards on Saturday night. I adored both Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti as well as Sarah Pinsker’s “Our Lady of the Open Road“. Both are wonderful stories and I am so happy both Okorafor and Pinsker were recognized as being excellent pieces of fiction…

This leads into my second thing I’d like to talk about. So much of the conversation about awards, whether it is the Nebula or the Hugo or the any other award you’d like to mention, is about the winner. Don’t get me wrong, of course I want my favorite stories to be recognized as the “best” novel or short story or whatever other category. Of course I do. I not only get emotionally invested in the story, I sometimes also become emotionally invested in the success of the author. Of course I want my favorite author to win all the awards and sell all the books. Of course I do.

That’s okay, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that just receiving a nomination is a significant recognition and is difficult enough to do in any given year, let alone a single time in a career. Publish your best work in the wrong year and it may still miss the ballot for any number of reasons. The recognition of a nomination is important, both for the work as well as for the field itself. The nomination says “yes, this story was excellent and we value it”….

(7) KAGAN BOOKS AVAILABLE. To capture a news item seen the other day in comments: Baen has republished several long-out-of-print Janet Kagan works as ebooks – Mirabile, Hellspark, and The Collected Kagan.

(8) SFWA ELECTIONS. SF Site News covered this weekend’s SFWA officer elections.

Last year saw some officers elected for two year terms and others elected for one year terms. This year, elections were only held for positions which were elected for one year terms last year. Erin M. Hartshorn, Justina Ireland, and Lawrence M. Schoen ran for two open Director-at-Large positions.

  • Vice President: M.C.A. Hogarth, re-elected, unopposed
  • CFO: Bud Sparhawk, re-elected, unopposed
  • Director at Large: Justina Ireland
  • Director at Large: Lawrence M. Schoen

(9) NEBULA DIVERSITY. K. Tempest Bradford reported on the Nebula Awards for NPR.

…This weekend’s winners reflect many different types of diversity beyond gender. Half are women of color, half are self-identified queer women – which mirrors the overall diversity of the ballot. 24 out of the 34 works nominated for the award were written by women from multiple racial and cultural backgrounds and a spectrum of sexual orientations. Of the 10 works by men, five of them were written by people of color and queer authors.

“The Nebula ballot is everything a ballot should be in this community,” said Brooke Bolander, author of the nominated story “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead.” “It’s diverse, it’s wide-ranging, and it includes amazing stories by amazing authors.”

That’s an important point, given the ongoing conversation about diversity happening now in speculative fiction circles. The Hugos — the other major awards in the genre — are nominated by fans. Last year and again this year, Hugo nominations have been affected by the Sad and Rabid Puppies groups, who campaign against what they see as affirmative action-based nominating and voting in the Hugo and Nebula awards.

But “people want these stories,” says Alyssa Wong. She was the first Filipino author to be nominated for the Nebula award last year and is now the first to win it for her 2015 short story “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers.” Though she says she’s seen some Puppy-style criticism of her success, most of the reaction has been positive.

Readers “want to read stories from the points of view of people who have been historically been locked out of the genre,” Wong says. “‘Hungry Daughters’ is about a group of women who are all Asian-American and all from very different backgrounds, all of whom feel isolated in some way … But clearly this is not just Asian-American audiences who this is resonating with. I’m appreciative that people are reading more widely now. It means more opportunities — not just to be published, but to be seen.”

(10) SITE PICKED FOR 2019 COSTUME-CON. Over Mother’s Day weekend at Costume-Con 34 in Madison, WI, the site for Costume-Con 37 in 2019 was chosen.  It will be run under the auspices of MCFI with Aurora Celeste and Sharon Sbarsky as co-chairs. Social media still to come.

Costume-Con 37
Salem, MA
March 22-25, 2019
DoubleTree Boston North Shore
(actually Danvers, MA)
$129 Hotel Rate including Free WiFi, Free Parking, and Free Cookies!
$60 ($45 for those that voted) through at least December 31, 2016

(11) HUGO FIX. Damien Walter takes a math-lite approach to fighting slates, where Yobs = Ø

(12) DARLEY OBIT. Dick Darley, who directed Space Patrol, died April 21 at the age of 92. He also directed the first season of The Mickey Mouse Club.

Born in Los Angeles, he served as a fighter pilot in the United States Navy during World War II, then studied radio production and writing at USC. First working at San Diego’s KFMB, he later joined L.A.’s KECA where in 1950 he became director on the channel’s new series Space Patrol.

Set in the 30th century, the series followed the adventures of Commander-in-Chief Buzz Corry of the United Planets Space Patrol, who along with his sidekick Cadet Happy faced off against a rogues gallery of villains inspired by then-current Cold War. For its first 10 months, the show aired as 15 minute episodes Monday through Friday. In December, 1950, ABC commissioned a half hour version that ran on Saturdays, concurrently with the 15-minute version. Aimed at children, the show picked up a following of adult viewers and would go on to make history when it became the first regular live West Coast morning show to be beamed to the East Coast.

(13) A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY. Norman Spinrad has some strong opinions about Facebook.

Well my attempt to split my so-called Facebook “Timeline” into several different forums has been a dismal failure. Didn’t work, and more recent news (and I mean real news, not Facebook’s so-called “News Feed”) about Facebook begins not only to explain why, but begins to illuminate far larger issues about what Facebook is doing and trying to do.

Facebook has been accused of using both secret algorithms and human “editors” to control and even censor its so-called News Feed and “Trending topics” feed to suit the political agenda of Mark Zuckerberg &Co. But not to worry, Zuckerberg himself has appointed a committee to investigate.

Facebook had generously offered to finance free Internet service to third world countries, notably India. Well not exactly. The Facebook “free Internet service” would only connect to web sites approved and chosen by Facebook. India at least being a sophisticated democracy said no thanks. And other so-called “developing countries” have likewise gotten the point.

The point being that Facebook is becoming a threat to democracy itself, nowhere more so than in the United States, where a majority of people are getting their “news” from Facebook already and Facebook is expanding the process exponentially, as witness how it has weaseled itself into most of the televised presidential primary debates and now is funneling selected news stories from legitimate journalistic news channels through “News Feed” and “Trending” to far larger demographics than they can possibly reach by themselves.

And now it has been revealed that Facebook is in effect filtering and editing these feeds according Mark Zuckerberg’s political agenda. But not to worry, Zuckerberg has appointed a committee of his own minions to investigate himself.

Why is this a threat to democracy? Because it is already a huge threat to professional and politically neutral journalism itself, the commons cornerstone of any democracy….

(14) PROTECTION OR THEATRE? Recently the Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation, which runs Anime Expo in Los Angeles, announced a new Youth Protection program that requires all employees, volunteers, vendors and panelists to submit to a criminal background check and take online courses. Christopher Macdonald argues in an Anime News Network editorial that “The SPJA Needs to Change Its Youth Protection Policy”.

On the surface the new policy seems like a great idea. Who isn’t in favor of protecting children from predators? This policy isn’t unwarranted either, as with every similarly large event, bad things happen… and have happened. Unfortunately the SPJA’s new policy has many unintended consequences. Here are but a few:

  • Cost: It isn’t entirely clear who has to pay for the background checks, but these checks could be very expensive for people who have to pay for them. While a typical background checks costs as little as $50, the actual price can be prohibitively expensive for some vendors. For example, some background checks cost an extra $50 for every country a subject has visited in the past 5 years, and an extra $200 if they have lived outside the USA. With those prices, my background check would cost over $1,000 (note: AX has stated on Twitter “No artist, volunteer, guest, staff is being asked to pay for own bg check,“ however it seems that vendors and exhibitors do have to pay for the background checks).
  • Privacy & Security: The new SPJA policy requires that all vendors register with their real names & info. Many people in our industry, particularly professional and semi-professional cosplayers, have problems with stalkers. They do not want to be forced to wear badges with their real names, and they do not want their home address in the SPJA’s database. It may even be illegal to force employees of California based vendors to undergo background checks. There is a very limited number of cases in which an employer can mandate a background check, and this is not one of those cases. Therefore, it may be illegal for companies like Aniplex of America, Bandai, Crunchyroll, NIS America and Viz Media to ask their employees to undergo the background check.
  • Good People will fail the background check: I won’t go into too much detail about this here, there is plenty of information online about it, but many people often have significant trouble with background checks. Here are but a few of the reasons you can fail a background check: a name change, a minor violent arrest (got into a fight in a bar back in your college days), visiting an “undesirable” country (have you been to Iran or Cuba? I have), sharing your name with an actual criminal, etc…
  • It’s Insulting: Picture this, “Hi, you’re one of the top manga artists in Japan, and we’d really like to have you as a guest of honor at our show, but first we need to make sure you aren’t a child molester.” This is straight up offensive; you should expect that people will be insulted by this. And they are; I can say with absolute certainty that some of AX’s potential guests have pulled out because of this, and in at least one case an artist is disturbed enough that it is having an effect on their work. Have you noticed that we’re less than 2 months out, and almost no guests of honor have been announced? Guest contracts are in limbo while they wait for this issue to be resolved. For some guests it is already too late for them to commit to the event, their schedules are made more than 2 months in advance.

(15) TESTING FOR HUMANITY. The Futility Closet blog describes a proposed replacement for the Turing Test.

The original test, in which a computer program tries to fool a human judge into thinking it’s human during a five-minute text-only conversation, has been criticized because the central task of devising a false identity is not part of intelligence, and because some conversations may require relatively little intelligent reasoning.

The new test would be based on so-called Winograd schemas, devised by Stanford computer scientist Terry Winograd in 1972. Here’s the classic example:

The city councilmen refused the demonstrators a permit because they [feared/advocated] violence.

If the word feared is used, to whom does they refer, the councilmen or the demonstrators? What if we change feared to advocated? You know the answers to these questions because you have a practical understanding of anxious councilmen. Computers find the task more difficult because it requires not only natural language processing and commonsense reasoning but a working knowledge of the real world….

In July 2014 Nuance Communications announced that it will sponsor an annual Winograd Schema Challenge, with a prize of $25,000 for the computer that best matches human performance. The first competition will be held at the 2016 International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, July 9-15 in New York City.

(16) SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED. George R.R. Martin weighs in on the EPH discussion with “All the King’s Horses…” at Not A Blog.

I can hear the proponents of EPH and 4/6 saying their reforms were never meant to be a cure all. Yes, I know that, I never believed otherwise, and I applaud your efforts to help. I just wish these reforms helped more. Neither EPH nor 4/6 is going to prevent us from having VD on the Best Editor shortlist from now until the heat death of the universe.

And I also know that there are now other proposals out there, proposals that call for three-stage voting, for negative votes and blackballing, for juries. Some of these cures, I fear, might be even worse than the disease. We have plenty of juried awards; we don’t need another. Three-stage voting, with fifteen semi-finalists that get boiled down to five finalists and one winner? Maybe, but that considerably increases the workload of the Hugo administrators, whose job is hard enough already… and I fear it would actually ratchet up campaigning, as friends and fans of those on the List of Fifteen rallied around their favorites to get them on the List of Five. And a blackball round, voting things off the ballot? Is that really a can of worms we want to open, in this present climate? That would dial the ugliness up to eleven, I fear… or higher.

Sadly, I don’t think there is an answer here. No magic bullet is going to fix this. And I fear that the people saying, “pretty soon the assholes will get bored and go away,” are being hopelessly naive. The assholes are having far too much fun.

(17) BABELFISH NOW REALITY? Here’s the pitch.

Although the Indiegogo did not reach its goal, Waverly Labs appeas to be going ahead with production — the preorder campaign is scheduled to launch May 25.

1. How much will it cost? Retail is expected to be $249-$299
2. How much is the early bird? Early bird will be first come first serve. A limited quantity will go for $129, then another round for $149, and then a few more Late Early Bird options for $179+. Signup here: www.waverlylabs.com/launch
3. When can I preorder the Pilot? The preorder campaign is scheduled to launch on May 25th. We will keep everyone updated via email. As long as you have signed up for the launch then you will be alerted.
4. When will they be delivered? We are releasing a translation app this summer for basic translation. This is included in your purchase. However, the earpieces require much more testing, manufacturing and production time. Therefore, we anticipate the earliest will be in late fall/early winter, although fulfilling all orders could take until next spring. Again, it is first come first serve.
5. What’s included? The full package includes the Pilot and secondary earpiece (2 earpieces total), 1 portable charger, and an accompanying app. The app is where the languages are downloaded for the earpiece.

The rest of the FAQ is here.

[Thanks to Rick Kovalcik, JJ, Will R., Mark-kitteh, Lola McCrary, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

223 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/16/16 Pixel McScrollface

  1. “The best part of that was learning that the Ultimate Secret Unfair Advantage of the SMOFs is that they’re willing to attend business meetings. Oh, the cruelty of making people do that. The humanity.”

    I kind of agree. I have no idea if I’m going to be able to sit down for so long time to only listen. Is there usually some kind of standing room? I’m better at listening for so long if I can stand up and move around a bit.

  2. Stevie on May 17, 2016 at 5:36 am said:

    The latest ludicrous example was his (unintentionally) hilarious attempt to prevent the election of the new mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. He failed, but being VD naturally he followed it up with equally hilarious claims that, for example, London would become an alcohol free zone. You have to be profoundly ignorant to believe that any mayor has the power to do so.

    Not only he failed, I didn’t even know he was trying, and I live here, and I pay attention!

  3. There is room at the Business Meeting for people to get up and walk around, but people are discouraged from doing so, because the method for requesting recognition from the chair (and for voting) is to stand. If you keep to the back of the room, it ought to be okay, especially if you notify the podium staff that you have a physical need to occasionally get up and move around, and take care to sit down during votes so you aren’t accidentally counted for the wrong side.

  4. Cassy B on May 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm said: The Phantom, I presume you didn’t see Lenora Rose’s question to you in the MidAmericon II Posts Weapon Policy thread. A link is provided for your convenience.

    I was unaware that it was incumbent upon me to answer every question put by every person on all threads. Silly me.

    My answer, for your elucidation, is that gun shows, knife shows and military antiques shows have very effective policies which prevent accidents and lunatics very effectively. Those policies do not usually include the demand that customers run to their cars after purchasing an item.

    The larger point I’m making here, which seems to have escaped everyone, is that increased government interference in things like conventions and indeed life generally leads to the situation in Item 1, a guy getting investigated for using a camera on his hotel balcony. In America.

    Enacting ever more restrictive convention policies is moving in exactly the wrong direction.

    I hope this expansion has allowed even the most reading-challenged to understand what I meant. I don’t require that you agree with my point, but I do think it would be a shame, given THREE HOUR SECURITY LINES at airports, if you missed the point.

    If this makes The Phantom a troll, then I believe I am in good company, and the fun party this year will be under the bridge. We will be serving goat.

  5. @ Cora:

    For those who like trainwrecks, Brad Torgersen is having kittens puppies again and went onto another of his rants:

    Well, to you and me it’s a trainwreck. But reading the comments that follow it on his blog, it’s clear that wiithin his own crowd, he gets kudos, support, and positive feedback for behaving that way. And that’s been the case all along. So long as that remains so, he may well continue indefinitely with this kind of thing.

  6. My answer, for your elucidation, is that gun shows, knife shows and military antiques shows have very effective policies which prevent accidents and lunatics very effectively.

    Oh really?

  7. @ Phantom: You seem to have missed two major points. One has been stated to you repeatedly, but I’ll do it again just for the sake of completeness: Worldcons have had effectively the same weapons policy for THIRTY YEARS, and it has not led to the kind of regulation creep you keep saying it does. The evidence is not in your favor.

    The other I’m not sure anyone else has brought up: it was YOUR COMPATRIOTS who started pushing for increased government control of everything in the wake of 9/11, waving the flag of Scary Brown People With A Different Religion to pass the laws that led to 3-hour airport security lines and people being arrested for taking pictures of buildings. It was liberals who fought against those things, knowing what they would lead to, and our reward was to be called traitors and other less-pleasant names. The law is not on your side of this argument.

    Lawyers have a saying: “When the law is on your side, pound on the law. When the evidence is on your side, pound on the evidence. When neither the law nor the evidence is on your side, pound on the table.” You are pounding on the table, and it’s not fooling anyone but you.

  8. Lee: that led to 3-hour airport security lines

    That’s not a moral decision. That’s a decision by the executive branch of government, to not staff airport security up to the necessary level.

  9. But reading the comments that follow it on his blog, it’s clear that within his own crowd, he gets kudos, support, and positive feedback for behaving that way.

    When you preach to the choir, you can expect a chorus of “amens”. It doesn’t do much good if you are looking to persuade people of your cause though.

  10. That’s a decision by the executive branch of government, to not staff airport security up to the necessary level.

    Or the legislative branch, since they decide how many FTEs an executive agency can hire, and how much money an agency has for contracting.

  11. Well, I do have to say that some of the suggestions for preventing Slating or deliberate crud from getting on the ballot make ME uncomfortable.

    – Anything that removes the voting rights from VALID members who have helped create the award’s reputation. Yes, even if it also decreases the pool of Rabid Puppies or their ilk. I don’t mind it if a new rule or new tier to voting excludes anyone but current supporting/attending voters but I intensely dislike stripping nominating power. (Maybe I’m prickly because I am one of those Supporting Members whose rights you’re trying to limit?)

    – Anything that happens behind closed doors (Such as some administrative decision to remove certain ballots or certain nominees from the long list for any reason other than not being actually qualified.)

    I am not 100% opposed to a round which involves voting DOWN invalid candidates off a longlist, but I do so far prefer the version that allows one to cast a new nominating ballot based on the long list. (I’d probably want to do an extended scan of how long a list we have of viable candidates before firmly settling on 15 as the number).

  12. @ Aaron:

    When you preach to the choir, you can expect a chorus of “amens”. It doesn’t do much good if you are looking to persuade people of your cause though.

    Whatever Mr. Torgersen may be attempting with his posts and comments, I don’t have the impression that persuasion is among his goals. I did have the impression that early on in SP3 he was attempting persuasion (albeit with insults, erroneous and/or unsubstantiated claims, and fabrications presented as “fact,” so he attacted a lot of ridicule and hostility in his attempts at persuasion), but it also seemed to me that he abandoned such attempts by this time last year and thereafter has relied wholly on preaching to the choir and verbally attacking everyone else. And since he gets consistently positive and enthusiastic attention from his crowd for doing so, blogs posts like that one and the previous one and various others he’s written… Seem likely to be his m.o. for as long as he attracts praise that way, and possibly even longer.

    I think that kind of post from Puppies has become old news–and just keeps getting older.

  13. @ Mike: I don’t think I said it was a moral decision. My point is that what led up to it was the passing of the new, more-restrictive, more-intrusive government laws and regulations on airport security theater, and that those laws and regulations were passed by people who are in philosophical agreement with Phantom. They saw a chance to grab for power and they did it, and they threw everyone including the people who vote for them, and who continue to vote for them, under the bus in the process.

    I did not say, although perhaps I should have, that it is also Phantom’s political and philosophical compatriots who have created the need for increased regulation about guns. It’s not liberals who are shooting people in restrooms and killing women because they can’t get laid. It’s not Scalzi who I would worry about carrying a gun at Worldcon.

  14. Lee: It’s not liberals who are shooting people in restrooms and killing women because they can’t get laid.

    I respect your description of why you believe things, however, the history books are full of communist, socialist, and antimonarchist assassins so I’m not convinced that only one end of the spectrum is capable of violence.

    Going back to 9/11 — no, I can’t really say I would ever embrace doing nothing about airport security in light of that example.

  15. sez mike glyer:

    …the history books are full of communist, socialist, and antimonarchist assassins so I’m not convinced that only one end of the spectrum is capable of violence.

    In principle, it’s just as possible that a lethally dangerous weirdo would be politically liberal as that they might be politically conservative. But “possible” and “probable” are two different beasts. Given the USA’s present-day social climate, which end of said spectrum would you bet that a dude-who-shoots-woman-cuz-he-couldn’t-get-laid is more likely to be found in?

    As for the response to 9/11, there’s more options than “do nothing at all” and “the pointlessly futile security theatre we’re stuck with now”.

  16. @Christopher Davis: Maybe I’m only mis-remembering the last extra linking bit. I can’t get to my paperback copy right now. In any case, yeah. No linkage.

    You’re right, I forgot to mention that all of the formatting’s gone, which throws off some of the characterization. Particularly in the dialogue of the teenagers. There’s also a continuity error, and a few of the usual Baen typos.

    @Soon Lee: Walter seems to be taking that whole “living in a kingdom” thing more seriously than his Royal Sovereign HRM Liz 2 does. No need for the common man to vote, or for the voting to take place under one of those new-fangled constitutions. No, he thinks a nice Star Chamber, Privy Council, or the Divine Right of Hugo Administrators is how it ought to be handled. tugs forelock, m’lud.

    Personally, I think I should be allowed to pick the short list (Puppies wouldn’t make it), but that’s not going to happen either.

    (14) It’s insulting? Well, fine. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of people who can become guests who wouldn’t be insulted. Ticking off a few minor celebrities so that women and children won’t suffer abuse and assault is fine by me. I suppose it would have been insulting to check on the former Speaker of the House, too — you know, Mr. Hastert who’s now a Federal felon and self-confessed child molester. Rape is a lot more serious than hurt fee-fees.

    @Jack Lint: Yeah, that’s the first thing I thought of. Thanks, Chuck!

    @Paul: The problem seems to be in the nominating stage. How about Attending Members nominate, Supporting Members and Attending Members vote?

    @Camestros: You can sit in the back, and then roam a bit between the last row of chairs and the back wall, maybe up and down the sides. Get there early, claim a seat in one of the two back corners, and sit during votes. Tell the chair why.

    @Aaron: C’mon, I followed your link, and 6 times in 7 days isn’t often at all! Why are you using facts? Facts aren’t truthiness.

    @Mike: It’s very kind of you to not call attention to the outbursts of someone who’s having trouble fitting into polite society. We should never gawk at the unfortunate.

    If the person is a child (or has the mental or emotional age of one), we definitely shouldn’t pay any attention to tantrums. That feedback makes them have more of them instead of learning self-control. But if the person’s family encourages this behavior, then there’s nothing to be done (save to mutter, “raised in a barn, bless his heart.”)

    Godwin applying his own law means we’ve reached Peak Internet.

  17. @ Mike: I am very well aware that historically there have been violent liberals. There were some in the 1960s that I’m sure you remember as well as I do — but I’m not talking about the history books, or about the 1960s. I’m talking about right here, right now, in America. Teaching people that gun violence is a solution to their problems is not, by and large, something that American liberals have been doing for the last couple of generations.

    And Cubist has it right about the airport security theater. There were a lot of things they could have done about that. IIRC, Israel offered us their assistance in setting up a system similar to theirs, and we spurned it. The people who pushed thru the entirely-misnamed “Patriot Act” and called those who opposed it traitors chose instead to take the most ineffective and irritating course possible, to produce exactly the same kind of reaction Phantom is trying to evoke — “the government can’t do anything right”.

  18. @Lee – well put, all around.

    Though I do think violence is becoming increasingly accepted on both sides of the aisle right now, it’s just burrowed its way closer to the mainstream on the right.

  19. “It’s not liberals who are shooting people in restrooms and killing women because they can’t get laid.”

    This is just so not interesting. Laws and safety measurements are neutral, made to encompass everyone. It might be that one group does something more often than others. It might even be that people who shoot others are more angry than political. It just makes no difference.

    Also, political climate changes. Nationalists can be both left wing and right wing (and almost all political violence, even islamic, is in some way nationalistic).

    In Sweden, there is a much larger chance that a right wing extremist will perform lethal violence than a left wing extremist. But there is also a much larger chance that a left wing extremist will perform violence than a right wing liberal (liberals are right wingers in Sweden).

    I would be happy with less demonization against other groups.

    (gaah, I tried to keep away from politics here)

  20. I’m not happy when these pages are drawn into the cultural war again. It is as bad when commenters here try to do it as when Torgersen does it.

    (throw stones in glasshouses and all that, it is not that I myself always have been good at avoiding it)

  21. Well, I see that Ken Burnside has made an appearance over at GRRM’s, and is still spouting great gouts of wrongness and bullshit.

    KB: I said last year, and I say this year: Read the works. Vote your conscience. In that order.

    A great many of us did just that, Mr. Burnside. Somehow you apparently missed all the reviews on File770 and elsewhere on the Internet. You and the rest of the Puppies are all still trying to pretend that that we didn’t.

    KB: Our host is right on this: The Hugos will never be the same again. They will never again be the “celebration of all that is excellent in the field.” The field has grown to the point, even with the awful straights that publishing is in, where no fan can be familiar with everything in it. It’s been that way since at least the 1980s.

    The reports of the “Death of the Hugos” are vastly premature. You didn’t think they were a “celebration” before Puppydom; that’s why you agreed to join the Puppy slate. So I don’t really think your opinion on the state of the Hugos has much credibility.

    Also, you’re repeating the canard “the awful straights[sic] that publishing is in”. Publishing, including SFF publishing, are thriving, more than ever before. I challenge you to provide some actual evidence to the contrary.

    KB: Larry Correia continues to be right: The politics of the writer (or the person recommending a nomination list) dwarf the consideration of any quality of the work in question.

    Larry Correia has always been wrong about that, and he’s still wrong. The fact that you’re repeating yet another ridiculous canard… well, I’m not sure where your credibility can go after it’s zero — but it’s certainly not going up. Again, I challenge you to provide some actual evidence to support your assertion here.

    KB: Vox Day won last year. The massive bloc vote for “No Award” gave him exactly what he wanted — he made himself a win-win situation: If one of his nominees had one, he gets to claim that he “broke through the wall of groupthink.” If fandom burns the village down to save it, he gets what he really wants.

    The only thing VD won last year is the “I’ve Proven That I’m A Huge Asshole” Award. Nobody “burned down” the Hugos. The No Award correction which occurred against the subpar works which were gamed onto the ballot was appropriate, and the Hugo awards will recover and be just fine.

    KB: Sasquan made a martyr out of Toni Weisskopf. She took second on Editor: Long Form with about six times the number of votes. Toni is a consummate pro. She’s spent decades in the field, from being a volunteer at cons to running a major SF publishing imprint. She’s spent the last five years trying to pour oil on the water and build bridges. And fandom, bluntly, treated her like crap because Vox said kind words about her and was in the same category.

    That would be the Toni Weisskopf of the infamous “It’s Us Against Them” post? She hasn’t attempted to smooth out anything. She’s been a willing Puppy participant, and an active antagonist.

    Furthermore, she apparently felt so entitled to a Hugo that she didn’t feel any need to provide substantiation in the Hugo packet of the work for which she was supposedly being nominated.

    Fandom didn’t treat her “like crap”. She showed the voters utter contempt by deciding that she didn’t need to make a packet submission, and left the voters little choice but to put her below No Award (that’s in addition to the significant number of people who are already No Awarding that category every year based on their belief that it’s impossible for anyone but an industry insider to judge).

    KB: I got told to shut up, and threatened with “the biggest ass kicking you’ve ever seen” if I showed up at WorldCon.

    Oh, really? Where was this? Because all the threats of violence I saw were being made by Puppies.

    KB: Fandom could’ve won the Sad Puppies over last year. Letting Toni win a Hugo would’ve done it. Letting Kary English get one would’ve bolstered it.

    And this is the crux of the problem with you, and with the other Puppies. The Hugos aren’t about “letting someone have one as some kind of concession”. They are about rewarding excellence. If the Puppies had actually put some excellence onto the ballot, then their claims that excellence was overlooked would have had some credibility. But the best that they could manage was “decent” and “okay” — and the worst that they could manage was “execrable”.

    KB: Stopping to ask “Is there a reason why a protest vote is coalescing?” would’ve helped. There really is a wall of groupthink around fandom.

    Nobody needed to ask this. It has always been openly apparent why a protest vote coalesced amongst the Puppies: they are a small group of spoiled babies with an unjustified sense of entitlement, who were pissed off that the Hugo results didn’t exactly reflect their tastes (never mind the fact that most of them had never even been Worldcon members), and decided to exploit the system and take over the ballot instead of participating as genuine individual fans, the way everyone else does. If they wanted to be taken seriously, acting like a big bunch of whiny baby cheats was not the way to go about it.

    KB: I spent ten weeks last fall trying to be a bridge, a person who talks to all sides, and someone who’d listen.

    You spent several months last year pretending that you didn’t have anything to do with the Puppy movement — when, in your own words, you were involved in it up front and supported its goals.

    KB: As this is the “make sure these titles get on the WorldCon ballot” phase, the odds of you getting a Campbell, or me getting a Hugo for “The Hot Equations” is slim. I doubt that anyone can read much of a political context into Hot Equations; if anything you can argue that it’s a fairly thorough evisceration and deconstruction of some SFnal tropes.

    This seems to be the “in thing” in some circles, though it doesn’t delve into the tone-poems of existential angst informing the reader of the hopeless oppression of nonseptunary polyphase-fluidic gendered androids. And their love of dinosaurs. (You only recognize four genders? You sexist fascist, you.)

    Oh yes, you were quite the “bridge-builder” — once your work made it onto the ballot, and you hoped that you could convince people that you weren’t really a Puppy, and could sucker people into voting for it.

    Your disingenuousness is appalling.

  22. @Bob Schoonover: Your idea of Supporting and Attending members nominating a different number of works is very interesting to me (though I’d use 3/5/5, perhaps, versus 4/6/6). I think this deserves some consideration; it looks like it got lost in the discussion, though. ;-( I’d still want something like EPH(+).

    One could twist this a bit with another idea of changing who can nominate, and say supporting members of previous/next get 3 noms, supporting of current get 4, and all attending (previous/current/next) get 5 – and 5 total finalists. Or fiddle with the numbers a little more, like 2 3 5 5. (Or 3 4 5 6, for people who like 5/6.)

    I’m really liking this idea, on the surface anyway.

    @Steve Davidson: “If we’re going to have any system that negates individual voters/ballots, the only transparent way to do is is for all nominating ballots to be made public.”

    Not at all. Also, this seems unlikely to stop RP jerks (why would they care).

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