Pixel Scroll 6/20/16 The Knights Who Say “Pi(xel)”

(1) SPOILERIFFIC GAME OF THRONES RECAP. Lots of GoT recaps online and I tend to read them at random. I found much to recommend Ben Van Iten’s “The Game of Throne Awards, Season 6, Episode 9: Two Battles for the Price of One!” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog which ends with a holiday-appropriate joke —

The “GIRL POWER WHOO!” award goes to the newfound alliance between Dany and Yara. They bonded over a number of subjects, but mostly how terrible their dads were. Happy Father’s Day?

(2) CILIP KATE GREENAWAY MEDAL. Chris Riddle has won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations of Neil Gaiman’s retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, The Sleeper and the Spindle. Riddell is the award’s first three-time winner, and also the first reigning  Children’s Laureate to win.

(3) PEAKE RETURN. Chip Hitchcock recommends a BBC post, “Watching Tim Peake return to Earth”: “Describing Tim Peake’s landing — much more rugged than most authors talked about: The nearest to this I can remember is the arrival on Earth of Manny and the Professor in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress — but they were definitely traveling in economy class….”

Next to emerge was Tim Peake. Pale-faced from six months without sun, he was grinning and relaxed and apparently well.

But the sudden exposure to the baking summer heat obviously left him uncomfortable, medics offering him sips of water and mopping his brow.

Having met him a number of times over the past seven years, I felt moved to welcome him back to Earth. He smiled and said he’d been so well trained that the descent was fine and he was loving the fresh air.

You would never have known he’d just spent a few hours crammed into an agonisingly small spaceship and endured the perils of descent with scorching temperatures and violent swings.

(4) TED WHITE PULPFEST GOH. PulpFest today reminded everyone Amazing Stories editor Ted White will be its 2016 Guest of Honor. (A full profile appeared in January).

PulpFest is very pleased to welcome as its 2016 Guest of Honor, author, editor, musician, and science-fiction and pulp fan Ted White. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 1968 and nominated as Best Professional Editor or for Best Professional Magazine throughout most of the seventies, Mr. White will speak about his career, AMAZING STORIES, science fiction fandom, the pulps, and much, much more on Saturday evening, July 23, from 7:30 to 8:15 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency.

We look forward to seeing you at “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” from July 21 through July 24 at the beautiful Hyatt Regency and the city’s spacious convention center in the exciting Arena District of Columbus, Ohio. Please join us as editor emeritus Ted White helps PulpFest celebrate ninety years of AMAZING STORIES!

(Our guest of honor continues to publish professionally after more than sixty years of practicing his craft. His short story, “The Uncertain Past,” appeared in the March & April 2014 number of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION — featuring front cover art by Kent Bash — while “The Philistine” can be found in the October 2015 issue of ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT.


  • June 20, 1975 Jaws was released.


  • June 20, 1928 — Martin Landau
  • June 20, 1952 — John Goodman

(7) FORECAST DENIED. Henry Farrell tells Crooked Timber readers “The Age of Em Won’t Happen” and advises author Hanson to read Hannu Rajaniemi and Ken McLeod.

Tyler Cowen says that the predicted future of Robin Hanson’s Age of Em – a world in which most cognitive and much physical labor will be done by emulations of brain-scanned human beings – won’t happen. I agree. I enjoyed the book, and feel a bit guilty about criticizing it, since Hanson asked me for comments on an early draft, which I never got around to giving him (the last eighteen months have been unusually busy for a variety of reasons). So the below are the criticisms which I should have given him, and which might or might not have led him to change the book to respond to them (he might have been convinced by them; he might have thought they were completely wrong; he might have found them plausible but not wanted to respond to them – every good book consists not only of the good counter-arguments it answers, but the good counter-arguments that it brackets off).

(8) HOW GREAT IS THE SLATE? Lisa Goldstein has launched her 2016 Hugo nominee review series with “And So It Begins: Short Story: ‘Asymmetrical Warfare’”.

In “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon, Earth is attacked by starfish-shaped aliens, who then wonder why the Earth warriors they killed aren’t regenerating.…

(9) BIG GUEST LIST AT GALLIFREY 2017. Shaun Lyon alerted the media today – here are the big names coming to the next Gallifrey One convention:

It’s time for our first guest block announcement for 2017! First, Gallifrey One is delighted to welcome back to Los Angeles our confirmed guests Paul McGann (the Eighth Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Anneke Wills (Polly), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Daphne Ashbrook (Grace) and 1970s producer Philip Hinchcliffe, as well as guest actors Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium Maldovar), Prentis Hancock (“The Ribos Operation,” “Planet of the Daleks”) and Michael Troughton (“Last Christmas”), costume designer June Hudson, the voice of the Daleks and Big Finish producer Nicholas Briggs, Dalek operators and writers/actors Nicholas Pegg and Barnaby Edwards, composer Dominic Glynn, Big Finish managing producer Jason Haigh-Ellery, and writers Paul Cornell, Gary Russell, Richard Dinnick, Scott Handcock, David J. Howe, Sam Stone and Tony Lee.

Next, we have a special treat for British TV fans, as we welcome actress Hattie Hayridge — known best as the female Holly in the long-running sci-fi comedy “Red Dwarf” — for her first appearance in L.A.

And that’s not all. It is with great pleasure that we are finally able to welcome one of the last few principal cast members of the classic Doctor Who series we haven’t had before… Lalla Ward (Romana II) joins us for her first and only North American event in 21 years! In conjunction with Ms. Ward’s appearance, we are happy to announce that the beneficiary of Gallifrey One’s 2017 charity auction will be Denville Hall, the UK-based actors’ retirement home for which Ms. Ward is the trustees’ chairperson. We’re thrilled to once again bring our attendees this unique guest experience courtesy our friends at Showmasters Events, who are sponsoring both Ms. Ward and several of our guests listed above.

(10) ENJOY LIFE TO THE HILT. This design-your-own lightsaber system, funded by $1.2M raised on Indiegogo, can now be ordered online. They have shipped over 4,000 to Indiegogo and Kickstarter supporters.

Adaptive Saber Parts are an easy to use modular system that lets anyone construct their very own movie quality custom saber. we have lowered the barrier to entry, now you don’t need expensive machinery, soldering equipment, or years of prop building experience to make your very own custom saber, all you need is your imagination, and Adaptive Saber Parts.

To go along with our ground breaking ASP system, we designed a three dimensional virtual saber builder that allows you to create and modify your custom saber in a digital saber workshop.


(11) FIGHTING ‘BOTS. At Future War Stories, “FWS Topics: Miliart Robots and Robotic Soldiers”.

The Near Future of Military Robots

One element of military robots that P.W. Singer raised in his 2009 TED talk was that while America is one of the first to put armed UAVs into the modern battlefield, we do not dominate the field of military robotics. Islamic extremist groups have been using drones, remote controlled explosives with grim effective in Iraq and with off-of-the-shelf hobby drones, more military robots will be accessible to all, even those who want to do harm to the US and her allies. We will see more nations, PMCs, and groups using military robotic systems for surveillance and combat within the next few decades. Nations like the United States, will create more advanced military robots that will be tasked support and combat, unmanning more of modern warfare, downsizing the scale of military organizations. Some warfighters, as with UAV drone pilots today, will never get their boots dusty on foreign soil, but will be engaged in actual warfare. These remote control operators will command battlefield units, in the air, ground, and even sea from thousands of miles away….

(12) LO-TECH FX. The “Melting Toht Candle” is not on my wish list….


If you’ve seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, there’s probably one scene that really sticks in the memory. No not that gigantic boulder tumbling after Indy, nor when he shoots that sword-twirling nutter in the market square, nor even when he has that uncomfortable staring contest with a cobra…

No, we’re talking about when ruthless Gestapo agent Toht gets his gory comeuppance at the end of the film…

  • Celebrate the greatest special-effects death in movie history
  • Wax replica of sadistic Gestapo agent Toht – specs, fedora n’ all
  • Thankfully it melts a lot slower than his face does in the film
  • Doesn’t emit a blood-curdling screech as it burns

(13) POMPEII AND CIRCUMSTANCES. Nicole Hill at B&N Sci-Fit & Fantasy Blog declares “New Pompeii Is a Popcorn-Worthy Summer Thriller”.

Refreshing in its straightforward appeal, Godfrey’s plot rests largely upon the shoulder of Nick Houghton, a down-on-his-luck history scholar who, through mysterious machinations, is offered the job of a lifetime. Novus Particles, one of those monolithic corporations that seem to exist solely to manufacture ethical quandaries, has long mucked about with controversial technology able to transport matter from the past to the present. To varying degrees of success, Novus has brought forward things and people from events at least 30 years in the past. (Time travel, in this world, has its limitations, chiefly in the form of tinkering with the recent past.)

Now, the company has covertly created its crown jewel: a replica Pompeii, populated by residents transported in time moments before their preordained deaths at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. Hapless, brainy Nick has been tagged to take over as the company’s historical adviser, a position designed both to study the displaced culture of Pompeii and to subdue the natives’ unease by maintaining the pitch-perfect authenticity of their surroundings.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Stephen Burridge, Chip Hitchcock, Lisa Goldstein, and Hampus Eckerman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

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85 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 6/20/16 The Knights Who Say “Pi(xel)”

  1. I have a friend who takes some great moth photos, e.g. this series.

    Which reminds me that I saw a kingfisher last month. As the Norwegian name is something completely different – with no references to either kings or fishing – it was only a week later that I connected that bird sighting to the author T. Kingfisher.


    June 20, 1975 — Jaws was released.

    I don’t know how ashamed of this I should be: I’ve never actually seen Jaws.

  3. @McJulie I don’t know how ashamed of this I should be: I’ve never actually seen Jaws.

    Not at all – from another never seen it 😀

  4. Jaws: Tourist in New England beach resort seeks out dentist after losing a filling, is spotted by local gossip columnist who mistakes them for a celebrity incognito. Hilarity ensues.

  5. @JohanP – Oh, lovely! Yeah, when I visited Botswana, Setswana doesn’t have a specific word for kingfishers, only a more general one for waterbirds. (A guide told me that there might have been one years ago, but if so, I’d need to check old language books to find it–most of the wild birds that aren’t enormous showy distinctive things are now mostly known by English names. I suspect because all the exhaustive bird guides are printed in English for tourists. Or possibly there was never such a word and it was all done with descriptives–black and white waterbird, etc.)

    @Sunhawk – Most of them have been posted on my Twitter over at @ursulav but a few wandered onto my blog.

  6. Well, that’s a disappointment. Despite having spent $100 on Kindle ebooks during the eligible period, Amazon has given me no settlement credit. 🙁

  7. @Simon: I never realized concretely (instead of abstractly) how far north the UK is till I was in northern Scotland in July. We had to set timers to remind us to go to bed, since it didn’t get completely dark until after we should have been already snoozing.

    I didn’t buy any Kindle books in the settlement range, but I’ll have to check the B&N account. I already got credit there once in this case. Only class-action lawsuit that’s actually gotten me usable results.

    @JJ: I think you had to have bought from certain Big 5/6 publishers, and maybe you just didn’t?

    @McJulie, Tasha: Fairly ashamed. It’s a really good movie. Great suspense. Not that much gore, unlike all following rip-offs. Good actors.

  8. @McJulie, and Tasha:

    Also NEVER seen _Jaws_ (though I was thoughtless enough to read.the.book). The previews scared the bejeebers out of me.

    Never seeing it. No way.

    ETA: Speaking of great white sharks, one fantastic character in Diane Duane’s WIZARD series is….a great white shark!

  9. I think I saw most of JAWS last year or maybe even earlier this year. Turner Classic Movies pulled it out three or four times over a period of weeks, and I ended up seeing a lot of it one time while doing other things. Dull story!

    Two friends of mine were ushers in the theater that showed JAWS for a record-breaking 54 weeks or some such in the old home town. They knew exactly when to go into the theater and watch the audience, which they found greatly entertaining.

    (I saw a real usher last time I went to a movie. They had one of those flashlights with the long red plastic cylinder. It was like spotting an elevator operator or bellboy.)

  10. Jaws came out when I was in college, but it was a summer movie and I went to see it at a classic downtown-type one-screen movie theater with a cluster of high school friends. I’ve never been into scary movies and I only went because they all wanted to. It was what everyone was doing that summer, not unlike Star Wars a couple of years later. I thought it was fairly entertaining and not that scary, although I’m sure I jumped as high as anyone at the big surprise moment. I think it was great for Richard Dreyfus, who had already broken out in American Graffiti, but wasn’t on the same level as Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider, who were already considered stars as well as really good actors (for A Man For All Seasons and The Sting for Shaw and The French Connection for Scheider). Jaws showed that Dreyfus could hold his own with those guys. And it was this entertaining summer popcorn movie that opened huge and set up a marketing strategy that hasn’t let up since.

  11. Off topic by a few threads but, dinner tonight – beans on toast using the Rue Morgue Beans with Bacon recipe for the beans. This is from the intro to the Bantam double containing Some Buried Caesar and The Golden Spiders both by Rex Stout. The recipe itself is not Stout but from a former mystery bookstore in Colorado.

    First impressions: decent with strong potential. Overall a definite keeper. I wasn’t expecting the garbanzos to work in a barbeque bean recipe but they gave it a nice texture. For anyone wanting to try it, the recipe can be found online in good reads quotations from the book:


    Some thoughts for tweaks: maybe sub one medium onion for the two larges; sub blackstrap molasses for the dark corn syrup; possibly a dash of liquid smoke; maybe a little bit of Serrano to add some bite.

    Not that it needs doctoring but where’s the fun if you don’t experiment a little.

  12. @McJulie

    I don’t know how ashamed of this I should be: I’ve never actually seen Jaws.

    I probably should be more ashamed for having seen more of Sharknado than of Jaws.

  13. Nitpick corner: , “FWS Topics: Miliart Robots and Robotic Soldiers”.

    Presumably that should be Military robots?

  14. @lurkertype

    Even in Edinburgh sunrise was at ~04:00 and didn’t set until after 22:00 yesterday. We’re somewhere between Copenhagen and Malmo in latitude here. There’s an old Billy Connolly joke about parents in Aberdeen forcing their kids into the sea “Get in there you big jessie” while a few miles off shore they’re telling oil workers “if you fall in this water, you will die”

  15. @IanP,

    there’s not very much between Copenhagen and Malmö latitude-wise, considering they’re literally across Öresund from each other 🙂

    Google gives:
    Malmö: 55.6050° N, 13.0038° E
    København: 55.6761° N, 12.5683° E
    Edinburgh: 55.9533° N, 3.1883° W

    So Edinburgh is just a bit (about 0.3 degrees of latitude) north of both of them.

    Best wishes

    // Christian

  16. Sun sets around 22:10 in Stockholm now, up at 3:30. Not that it matters. Midsummer soon, so it will be raining anyhow. No real midsummer without rain.

  17. Sunrise and sunset this far north are all a bit weird now. I got so used to relatively fixed times for them (although I was rarely awake for sunrise) that it seems strange now for it to still be light any time after around 18:30.

  18. IanP – Even in Edinburgh sunrise was at ~04:00 and didn’t set until after 22:00 yesterday
    – Sun sets around 22:10 in Stockholm now, up at 3:30.

    Holy crap. That must make for an….impressive Ramadhan fast.

  19. I lived in the New England area for a while. Sunrise at 5:00 and sunset at 20:45 at the longest day of the year. That was kind of cool — but yegods, the SAD was pretty bad in winter, going to work in the dark (sunrise 7:30) and coming home in the dark (sunset 16:15).

    I can’t even imagine what Edinburgh or Stockholm would be like (sunrise 8:45, sunset 14:45). Yikes.

  20. @snowcrash

    Did a little digging into that (it’s lunch time) as I thought there was a exception to allow for it. Turns out there’s nothing specific but in many places they’ve adopted Mecca time for fasting if daylight exceeds 20 hours. As did a Malaysian astronaut on the ISS.


    I bought one of the dawn simulator lights which really did help during December and January. It’s often enough to wake me up by itself.

  21. “I lived in the New England area for a while. Sunrise at 5:00 and sunset at 20:45 at the longest day of the year. That was kind of cool — but yegods, the SAD was pretty bad in winter, going to work in the dark (sunrise 7:30) and coming home in the dark (sunset 16:15).”

    We have that for 3 months or so in Stockholm. You get kind of depressed after a while. But at least better than in the north where they have two months of total night.

  22. “I bought one of the dawn simulator lights which really did help during December and January. It’s often enough to wake me up by itself.”

    I have one too. 😉

  23. I’ve never seen Jaws or Sharknado but one time I did manage to watch a truly spectacularly awful film about a shark-squid killer hybrid whose name I can’t recall lol For some reason the killer hybrid could just go above land for silly faux-science reasons, to enlarge its killing area.

    @Red Wombat – oh thanks for the username! I hope I am not giving the impression of stalking you since I also follow you on tumblr and I think I’ve had you on my devart watch list since the dawn of time or whenever deviantart started up lol You are a twitter machine! I am a slow twitter user at the best of times, I am always impressed by people with such a high volume of excellent tweets *bows*

  24. @Hampus Eckerman – whoops you are correct, it was octopus not squid. And apparently there was a sequel “Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda” lol

  25. @ Simon Bisson

    Watching the start of the time-lapse, I thought you had a resident bat patrolling, and was going to ask if you knew what species.

    But then it got darker, and the “bat” lit up. Heh!

  26. @Sunhawk:

    Ooooh… pteracuda! That sounds like a movie with real heart.

    (sorry, not sorry.)

  27. @ JJ: a New Englander who went to LA for college but did junior-year-abroad in the UK said they got pints of raspberries at Sainsbury’s every week during the dark half of the year as it was cheaper than therapy.

  28. @Hampus Eckerman Militant radical robots want feminazism NOW!

    Oh yes! I missed this comment earlier.


    I grew up in MA I don’t know what all this anti-sun time talk is all about – the sun shines there sometimes for no reason at all. 😉 I hated going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark.

  29. Ru Morg Binz
    Autocorrected and phone won’t let me click edit.

    ETA, it made a smaller button after I posted. Trick to remember if you have another thought. But it’s off to teach Lit Theory for the weekend, so I am fresh out.

  30. OTOH, maybe Ru Morg Binz iz maid uv Pixels like Srollent Green.

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