Pixel Scroll 7/11/18 Your Arms Too Short to Scroll With Pixels

(1) GWW TEAMS UP WITH WW. ComicsBeat spreads the word: “G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord Are Your New WONDER WOMAN Creative Team”.

Dan DiDio revealed in the “DC Nation” portion of this week’s DC All Access video that award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson will be the new regular series writer on Wonder Woman. Wilson will team with artist Cary Nord following Steve Orlando’s forthcoming guest-arc. In the video, DiDio says that Wilson will be expanding on the concepts and ideas that initial Rebirth Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka introduced in his year-long run on the series. The creative team’s first story will be titled “The Just War,” and will feature Wonder Woman facing off again with Ares while attempting to rescue a missing Steve Trevor.

On G. Willow Wilson’s site a headline says “The rumors were true”.

“I’m delighted to be writing such an iconic character as Wonder Woman and to be working with DC once again,” said Wilson. “With more than 75 years of history, Wonder Woman has a wealth of backstory and drama to draw from, and I look forward to putting a spin on Diana and her supporting cast that’s both new, yet familiar. It’ll be a challenge to do her justice, but I like a challenge and can’t wait to get started.”

(2) POOH MAP SETS RECORD. CNN has the story — “Winnie-the-Pooh original map illustration sells for record $570,000”.

The original drawing of the map that appears inside the cover of A.A. Milne’s beloved book “Winnie-the-Pooh” sold at a Sotheby’s auction for nearly $600,000 — a record for any book illustration.

The Hundred Acre Wood map is the work of E.H. Shepard, who was asked to illustrate the book in 1926. Sotheby’s valued the map between $130,000 and nearly $200,000 (or between £100,000 and £150,000), according to a news release from May announcing the sale.

The auction house described the drawing, which was unseen for 50 years, as “possibly the most famous map in children’s literature.”

(3) MOON MISSION. There’s a plan for an “Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019”

An Israeli non-profit organisation has announced plans to send the first privately-funded unmanned spacecraft to the Moon.

SpaceIL said the probe would be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December on a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

It is expected to land on the Moon in February 2019.

The spacecraft will plant an Israeli flag on the Moon’s surface and carry out research into its magnetic field.

SpaceIL’s project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered $30m (£23m) in prizes to inspire people to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. However, the competition expired this March, with the $20m grand prize for landing on the Moon unclaimed….

(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman takes a page right out of history in Episode 71 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Join Arlan Andrews, Sr., Gregory Benford, Geoffrey A. Landis, and Charles Sheffield for lunch in 1993.

Join me for lunch at the World Science Fiction Convention. No, not this year’s San Jose Worldcon, which won’t happen until August. Or even last year’s Worldcon in Helsinki. But the 1993 San Francisco Worldcon!

Here’s how we’re going to do that …

Late last year, I repurposed a Science Forum I’d recorded for Science Fiction Age magazine on March 1, 1994 into Episode 56 of Eating the Fantastic. You got to hear Charles Sheffield and Arlan Andrews, Sr. chatting over lunch at an Italian restaurant about the many ways the world might end. But for this episode, we’ll be going even further back into the past.

On September 1, 1993, I shared lunch during the San Francisco Worldcon with not only Andrews and Sheffield, but Gregory Benford and Geoffrey Landis as well. I thought it would be fun to bring together working scientists to have them discuss over a meal everything wrong (and a few things which might be right) with how their profession is portrayed in science fiction.

I no longer have any idea which convention hotel restaurant we gathered in for our recording session, but we were definitely eating—as you’ll be able to hear for yourself when a sizzling platter of something called a “Laredo” is put in front of us and we worry about whether it’s safe to eat without burning ourselves.

An edited transcript of this conversation was published in the January 1994 issue of Science Fiction Age. So who were this quartet of scientist/science fiction writers when we recorded this Science Forum 25 years ago? Here’s how I described them in that issue—

Gregory Benford is a professor of physics working at the University of California at Irvine, who has also written over a dozen SF novels. Arlan Andrew, Sr. is an executive at a national laboratory, who has worked in the White House Science Office in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. A longtime SF reader, Geoffrey Landis has long looked at the role of the scientist both as an experimentalist and as an SF writer. Charles Sheffield holds a Ph.D in theoretical physics and serves as Chief Scientist for the Earth Satellite Corporation.

And I should add that during my years editing Science Fiction Age magazine from 1992 through 2000, I published short fiction by each of them.

(5) SPEAKER FOR THE FED. In the Washington Post Magazine, Rachel Manteuffel interviews Marc Okrand about how his development of Klingon came about as a consequence of his work on closed captioning — “He invented the Klingon language for ‘Star Trek.’ But how?”.

And how did that happen?

Because I did Vulcan for “Star Trek II.”

And how did that happen?

My real job, the one that really paid the bills, was closed captioning. The first program we did live was the Oscars, 1982. They flew me out to L.A., and I was having lunch with a friend who worked at Paramount. She and I go out to lunch, and the fact that I was a linguist came up — I have a PhD in linguistics. She said: “That’s really interesting. We’ve been talking to linguists. There’s this scene in the movie where Mr. Spock and this female Vulcan character have a conversation. When they filmed it, the actors were speaking English. But in postproduction, everyone thinks it would be better if they were speaking Vulcan.” They wanted a linguist to come and make up gobbledygook that matches the lip movements. And I said, “I can do that!”

(6) DUBIOUS TIE-IN PRODUCT. Vulture says it’s already off the market: “And The Handmaid’s Tale Wine Has Already Been Pulled”.

Look, we all agree, blessed be his fruit, but the newly announced The Handmaid’s Tale wine seemed a little off-brand for a dystopian drama about a totalitarian government forcing women to reproduce against their will. Looks like Lot18 and MGM, the manufacturers of the newly announced themed wines, agreed, removing them for purchase from their website on Tuesday. A representative for Lot18 also confirmed to Vulture the line has been pulled, though the website currently lists the Offred pinot noir as “sold out.” Then again, it also lists the “seductive and appealing” wine, named after Elisabeth Moss’s Handmaid character, as “useless to resist,” so yeah, better to bail out of this whole thing now, and hard.

(7) CONFERENCE QUOTE. Bird is the word.

(8) THREADBARE GAUNTLET. Galaxy didn’t measure up to expectations this month says The Traveler at Galactic Journey. This month being one that fell in the middle of 1963…. “[July 10, 1963] (August 1963 Galaxy)”

Speaking of revolutions, every two months, we get to take the pulse of the one started by H.L. Gold, who threw down the gauntlet at the feet of pulp sci-fi in 1950 when he started his scientifiction magazine, Galaxy.  It was once a monthly magazine, but since 1959 it has been a half-again-sized bi-monthly.  This was a cost-saving measure, as was the reduction of writers’ rates.  The latter caused a tangible (if not fatal) drop in quality, and it is my understanding that it either has recently been or will soon be reversed.

Thus, the August 1963 Galaxy is a mixed bag, with standout stories by lesser authors and lesser stories by standout authors….


  • July 11, 1976 — K&E produced its last slide rule, which it presented to the Smithsonian Institution. A common method of performing mathematical calculations for many years, the slide rule became obsolete with the invention of the computer and its smaller, hand-held sibling, the calculator.
  • July 11, 1997 – Carl Sagan’s Contact premiered in theatres.


  • Born July 11, 1899 — E.B. White (Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web)
  • Born July 11, 1913 — Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger — better known as Cordwainer Smith
  • Born July 11 – Stephen Land, 66. Miles Quaritch in more Avatar films than bears thinking about, the Into the Badlands fantasy series, and Terra Nova to name but a few genre roles.
  • Born July 11 – Sela Ward, 62. The President in Independence Day: Resurgence, regular cast in Once and Again and a voice role in The New Batman Adventures. Also an appearance in Westworld.
  • Born July 11 – Rachel Taylor, 34. Regular cast member in The Defenders and Jessica Jones series, 666 Park Avenue, roles in Hercules mini-series, Transformers and Man-Thing. No, the latter is not the Marvel Comic character.
  • Born July 11 – Tom Holland, 23. Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War and at least two MCU films to come

(11) WELLINGTON PARANORMAL. The truth is out there – but there’s small risk these cops will run into it. The New Zealand TV series follows two oblivious cops who work out of the Wellington police station where Sgt Maaka has a secret office he uses to investigate the paranormal —

In this new factual reality *cough* *cough* show, go behind the scenes of New Zealand’s first Paranormal Unit. As we all know, Wellington is a hotbed of supernatural activity… so Officers Minogue and O’Leary, who featured in the vampire documentary What We Do In The Shadows, take to the streets to investigate all manner of paranormal phenomena.

Wellington Paranormal is executive produced by Taika Waititi (Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnorok) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of The Conchords), two locals who have an interest in exposing what is really going on in the streets of Wellington.

In episode one of the series, Wellington’s Paranormal Unit, fresh off a successful retrieval of 5 pairs of stolen trousers that were taken from Blackfield Menswear, officers are tasked with bringing in Bazu’aal – a body-hopping demon. His name, which translates to ‘He who brings hell on earth’.

Actor Maaka Pohatu has been channelling the spirit of Winston Peters while dealing with paranormal occurrences around Wellington.

Pohatu, who plays the diplomatic Sergeant Ruawai Maaka, is obsessed and a little bit frightened of the spirit world in the new television series Wellington Paranormal. So his bosses encouraged him to look to our (temporary) leader.

“Initially, when I was thinking of building Sergeant Maaka [as a character], I got inspired by Willie Apiata, mainly because I wanted to grow a heavy moustache. But producer Paul [Yates] said no, and so did Jemaine [Clement, who directed the series],” Pohatu says.


(12) HANDMAID. NPR’s Linda Holmes dislikes “The Truck, The Choice And The ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Finale” – beware fullscale spoilers.

This review of the second-season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale discusses in detail what happens in the second-season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale.

The sound of the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale coming to an end was the sound of a balloon, expertly inflated to the point where it seemed about to break, being let go so that it releases its tension in a long, anticlimactic raspberry….

(13) USED BOOK. This one’s older than dirt: “Homer Odyssey: Oldest extract discovered on clay tablet”.

A clay tablet discovered during an archaeological dig may be the oldest written record of Homer’s epic tale, the Odyssey, ever found in Greece, the country’s culture ministry has said.

Found near the ruined Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olympia, the tablet has been dated to Roman times.

It is engraved with 13 verses from the poem recounting the adventures of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy.

(14) BIG DINO. They got their growth even earlier in prehistory than was known before: “Fossil of ‘first giant’ dinosaur discovered in Argentina”.

Analysis: By Dr Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh

Dinosaur fans need to learn a new name, the lessemsaurids, because these were the first dinosaurs to grow to giant sizes of around 10 tonnes, back in the Triassic Period some 215 million years ago. The remarkable discovery of four lessemsaurid skeletons forces us to rethink when, and how, dinosaurs got so huge.

We used to think that the first giant dinosaurs arose in the early part of the Jurassic Period, after supervolcanoes caused a global extinction at the end of the Triassic. But the lessemsaurids tell us that at least some dinosaurs were able to attain giant sizes during the latest part of the Triassic, before the extinction.

(15) SOLID BRASS. BBC recounts “The crypto-currencies that die before they have bloomed”. Fewer than half survive for four months from ICO — just in case there were any Filers who thought the recent e-coin payments for stories idea sounded attractive.

It has been the biggest craze in investment of the last two years – the idea that creating your own crypto-currency through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is the route to riches.

But now an academic study has revealed just how many of these ICOs end up disappearing without trace after a short while.

A Boston College research paper entitled Digital Tulips finds that fewer than half of these projects survive more than 120 days after the completion of their sales of tokens to the public.

The researchers arrived at this conclusion by examining the official Twitter accounts of the crypto-currencies. They found only 44.2% of them were still tweeting after that four-month period and concluded that the rest of the ICOs had died.

(16) THEY’RE PINK. BBC finds another obscure record to report: “World’s ‘oldest coloured molecules’ are bright pink”.

Scientists have discovered what they say are the world’s oldest surviving biological colours, from ancient rocks beneath the Sahara desert.

The 1.1 billion-year-old pigments have a bright pink hue, but range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form.

The pigments are fossilised molecules of chlorophyll produced by sea organisms, Australian scientists said.

Researchers ground shale rocks into powder to extract the pigment.

“Imagine you could find a fossilised dinosaur skin that still has its original colour, green or blue… that is exactly the type of discovery that we’ve made,” Associate Prof Jochen Brocks from the Australian National University (ANU) told the BBC.

[Thanks to JJ, Carl Slaughter, Errolwi, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

80 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/11/18 Your Arms Too Short to Scroll With Pixels

  1. First!

    G. Williow Wilson is a treasure with everything she’s fine being superb so I expect this to be great too. Her Air and Cairo are among the best GNs I’ve ever read and her Alif novel is excellent as well.

  2. (4) “Sheffield” is mis-spelled in the quote (an error in the original).

    (9) K&E still makes graph paper, at least (and I still have my K&E slide rule).

  3. (15) SOLID BRASS. Did y’all know there are cryptocurrency ATMs? There’s one at TechPort, a local Apple tech (mainly) service shop where Andy, the owner, rents a space out for it in a window corner. It takes cash deposits and the primary users are engaged in that herbal business where the Feds have effectively banned banks for handling their revenue.

  4. Andrew: We can only hope it didn’t appear that way in the magazine. Meanwhile — pour yourself some vintage 1993 appertainment!

  5. I still have my K&E slide rule, also. And my father’s. I still use mine occasionally – for some things, they can’t be beaten.

  6. (9) I owned two slide rules in the 1980s. I inherited one from my grandfather in 1986, but I bought the other new in high school a couple of years before then. Some of my classes banned calculators, but none had prohibited slide rules…

    (15) The “Digital Tulips” title is absolutely the perfect (ahem) coinage for the cryptocurrency phenomenon.

  7. I have a couple of slide rules that I have picked up along the way. I carried one in high school, the last years before calculators got cheap enough. I acquired my late uncle’s small one—four inches, perhaps less, and clearly much loved in its cardboard case, reinforced with masking tape and carefully inscribed with his name. I always wanted a circular one but balked at the price when faced with the opportunity. I got a nice yellow metal one that is the second most precise of the set.

    The most precise one is probably the eight footer, which is indeed a K&E. It stays in the living room, because it’s just not convenient for day-to-day use.

    In his classic Rationale of the Dirty Joke, Gershon Legman included one clean one, and it’s about slide rules. The professor is lecturing the class: “Today, students, we will learn the use of the slide rule. By its efficient operation, we can multiply any two numbers with remarkable accuracy. Someone please give me two numbers to multiply.” A voice from the back shouts “TWO TIMES TWO!” Without losing a beat, the professor says, “Right, then. We put the 1 of the middle scale over the two of the bottom scale, and we move the hairline here, and the result is three point nine… nine… eight. But we’ll call it four.”


    Music: “File in the Hole” by Scrolly Dan

  8. @9a: computers had been around for decades without threatening slide rules (the average computer wouldn’t fit into a lab); it was the pocket calculator that killed the beast. And some joint instruments, like the E6B, lasted longer because calculators didn’t make vectors easy; I’m still annoyed I tossed mine during a move in the early 90’s, because it had great hack value.

  9. Delurking to nitpick
    (10) Stephen Lang of Avatar, Terra Nova and my favorite role he’s played Don’t Breathe. I remember the spelling, even though he didn’t impress on me much in the first two; because he shares the same name as a minor character in Claremont and Byrne’s Uncanny X-men from the classic late ’70s/early 80’s run.
    PS just checked the spelling to be sure and the X-men character was also spelled Steven Lang, but definitely Lang For both the actor and X-men character.
    I’ll take my appertaintment iced in this heat, thanx Mike.
    ETA from 1596, love the file770 time machine.

  10. (1) Good news.

    (2) Rum tum tiddle um tum. (I’m hungry, it’s the first Hum that came to mind)

    (4) That cover is a little scary, could have done without it, esp. so large!

    (6) No. Nuh-uh. I guess they’ll relabel it and sell it as one of their other franchises.

    (9) This happened during that intermediate period where you couldn’t use calculators on math tests, but they’d still allow slide rules. Ha-ha! Asimov’s Guide to Slide Rules to the rescue! Very few people knew how to use them by then, and when the price of calculators fell, so did the ban on them. I still have mine, though — handed down from my brother.

    (11) Hope it comes here.

    (16) Little pink bacteria… someone’s gotta be writing a filk.

    For those who might have missed it: my credential (featured here over the weekend) has been released from the bedroom but still has 2 more days of cone and meds. He’s very happy, looking out the open window and using all the cat boxes he’s been away from. The credit card bill came in already. 🙁

  11. (2) a related note on bibliophilia: Prince Harry has been reported to have given his latest nephew a first-edition copy of Winnie the Pooh, costing £8,000. I’m all for giving books to kids as early as possible, but shouldn’t they be copies that the children themselves can handle, to pieces if needed? And what about Where The Wild Things Are, or Where’s My Cow?

  12. (9) I’ve never used a slide ruler in action but a maths room at my high school still had a huge wall mounted display slide rule that nobody wanted to take down.

    (11) Looking forward to this.

  13. I AM EXCITE!

    So, a while back, I managed to stumble into beta-reading a novel by a stranger on Twitter. I beta-read as a (fairly occasional…) hobby, and you know how it is — random manuscripts are usually pretty, well, amateur.

    But this one was incredible. Clever, wondrous, full of heart. A portal fantasy packed with footnotes and magic. I’ve never enjoyed a beta-read so very, very much.

    Well, that author is Alix E. Harrow, the book is The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and Orbit’s just announced they’re publishing it in 2019.

    I’m seriously over the moon that this book is going to be out where everybody can read it. I know a LOT of readers are going to enjoy it as much as I did.

    (Announcing a debut is kind of a weird thing, because for the author and a few other people, it’s an OMIGOD, OMIGOD moment, but most people don’t have anything to get excited about yet?
    But the announcement has a quick excerpt that can give you the flavor. And Harrow is also the author of the very excellent story “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies”, which has portals and witches and libraries in it.)

  14. 9) I used to have a small Faber-Castell slide rule with a mechanical adding machine on the back. Useful gadget, in its day. Of course, slide rules can’t be made with absolute precision, so there’s an inevitable degree of inaccuracy that you simply don’t get with the more sophisticated electronic calculators and computers. (What was that? Integer overflows? Floating-point inaccuracy? Hush now.)

  15. @ Steve Wright:

    having bought (and used) a slide rule (late 80s, early 90s), I’d say that the inaccuracy of a slide rule is obvious to the user, whereas the inaccuracy in floating-point is… less so, especially when printed in decimal, as it looks like you have somewhere between lots and oodles of significant digits.

  16. Stephen Lang was also in the 2011 Conan the Barbarian movie, of which we will never speak again.

  17. Joe H. And others — I compile some of the Birthday notes and head trauma of a serious nature raises hob sometimes with spelling. May I suggest that dwelling on a spelling mistake to the point of boldfacing it serves no purpose other than being petty? Just spell it right in your reply.

  18. (16) Little pink bacteria… someone’s gotta be writing a filk.

    Oh, and ain’t that the Sahara, for you and me?
    Ain’t that the Sahara, here’s something to see, baby!
    Ain’t that the Sahara, from one billion BC.
    Little pink microbes for you and me.
    Yeah, for you and me!

  19. Today is the anniversary of the founding of the lamentably closed SF Signal. Thanks to Facebook, I thought it was John DeNardo’s actual birthday.

    Dumb, I am.

  20. In college ca. 1990, I had a professor who swore by slide rules for a particular set of dilution calculations. I went looking for one to use in lab, and eventually was shown a large box in the back of a dusty basement of the university bookstore. It contained all the slide rules that had been pulled from the shelves when the first inexpensive scientific calculator came out. I still have the one I bought for pennies, but I can’t remember how to do the calculation.

    Later, I inherited an older one from my great uncle. Family legend says he stole it off a desk during the evacuation from Dunkirk. He was evacuated, and the slide rule is the right age, but who knows.

  21. I went to a “progressive” high school…took slide rule AND typing AND Gregg Shorthand.

    Thought using the slide rule was very, very cool, as it appeared to be magical to lots of people (though losing track of the decimal place could be embarassing…).

    But. We were never allowed to use slide rules (nor calculators) in any maths classes I took either in HS or in college.

  22. @Standback

    Thanks for the heads up! I enjoyed “A Witch’s Guide to Escape”, so I’ll definitely be getting her new book.

    Slide rules: It was due to encountering slide rules in Heinlein’s and Asimov’s works that I tried to figure out my grandfather’s slide rule that my dad had, which ended up helping me get good grades in high school physics (back in pre-calculator days). Hmm, I think I still have it around here somewhere…

  23. I kept reading about slide rules in Asimov’s, Heinlein’s and Poul Anderson’s novels, so I was really curious as to how they actually worked. So in the sixth grade, I checked Asimov’s book out of the library, bought a cheap slide rule, and learned how to work it. I remember being so proud of myself.

    Pocket calculators didn’t really threaten slide rules until they came with scientific notation, but after that, it was all over once the prices dropped enough. You started seeing them around the time I was in ninth grade, although most kids couldn’t afford them yet.

    My high school didn’t allow calculators on tests until I was in the eleventh grade, so I took lots of tests where I used a slide rule. Given the choice, no one opted to use a slide rule, and I think they quit teaching them at all my senior year.

    I think my first year at Caltech was the first year the bookstore no longer sold slide rules at all. A professor commented that it was one of those rare cases where the old technology had so little advantage over the new that there was no market for it at all. “It’s a better straight-edge, but that’s all.”

    What surprises me is how spreadsheets have eliminated calculators. Sure, there’s a calculator app on my phone, but I think I’ve only used it once. Anything I want to calculate, I’m always willing to turn on the laptop and start up Excel.

  24. I did have a slide rule, but never got further with it than learning very, very basic multiplication.

  25. Greg writes: Sure, there’s a calculator app on my phone

    Lots of free slide rule apps out there, too.

  26. @Msb: considering that the new nephew hasn’t even been christened yet, I suspect the book will be held carefully and read to (not by) him for some years. I suspect this counts more as a present from 6th-in-line to 2nd-in-line (to the throne), so a (mere!) reading copy wouldn’t do; one hopes the kid will have enough time for (and interest in) reading that giving him reading copies is appropriate in time.

    @Cat Eldridge: absent colored pencils, is an unbolded retyping sufficiently clear to find the mistake? I remember staring at corrections repeatedly, unable to spot exactly what was different — and I’m not working under any significant interference.

  27. @Standback — that’s a long time to wait (although AFAIK not way out of line), but I’ve got the novel on my list; I didn’t recognize the short story by title but recognized it after a couple of paragraphs and remember the impact well enough to look forward to seeing what the author does at novel length.

  28. When I worked at Math ‘n’ Stuff in Seattle we sold slide rules. We had one supplier who apparently had a warehouse of them.

    The boss also had a copy of Asimov’s Easy Introduction to the Slide Rule which I desperately wanted to read, but didn’t have time while I worked there. I’ve tried to get a copy since, but they aren’t cheap.

    I can’t remember if I got my husband (a math teacher) a slide rule while I was there. If I didn’t, it was a missed opportunity.

  29. I’ve never seen a slide rule, let alone used one. I did have a toy abacus as a kid, but I don’t think I ever figured out how to calculate anything on it.

  30. @Standback – Thanks for the heads up. I remember the short story and I’m looking forward to the novel.

  31. @Chip: Christening was last weekend, and I think it’s 6th to 5th. Or second 5th to first 5th. Charles, William, George, Charlotte, Louis, Harry is the current succession.

  32. Greg, I much prefer my calculator app to my laptop for calculations just a little too hard to do in my head. When it starts to get complicated, or I want to save the calculations, then laptop it is. But then I don’t get out the laptop often. If it were already open, I might well use the calculator app on the laptop.

    Modern calculator apps are better in some ways than physical calculators (and worse in others). For instance, they typically keep a record of your input, so if you want to double check that you entered the correct numbers, you can go back and look. Of course, adding machines do that too, on the paper tape, and are a lot easier to type on for an experienced user. At least the big ones are.

    At my last public accounting job, we used a fancy calculator app that could embed a live calculation into a PDF. It was much used in tax preparation, where we would be working from scans of client papers, often hand-written. The preparer would often add the items in the calculator and embed the results on the pdf next to the list. The reviewer could open up the embedded calculation to check it, or even edit it if the preparer included a non-deductible item or miscategorized something. A spreadsheet is much more powerful, but using one meant switching views when we already had open the tax prep program, a pdf of last year’s tax return, a pdf of the client papers for this year, a pdf of the client papers for last year, a multi-tab spreadsheet for this year, and a multi-tab spreadsheet for last year. In late stages of prep and in review we would also have a pdf of the tentative tax return for this year, and sometimes last year’s tax prep program would also be open. Even with two monitors up that’s a whole lot. Reducing view switching was really helpful.

    The old style equivalent would have been using the big adding machine and saving the paper tape, stapling it to the client papers. (“Big” here is about a foot square, and maybe 3 inches high at the back, lower at the front – if you go back a long time they were even bigger, and there might only be one in the office. That was before my time.) But if you want to scan the papers, as accounting firms do these days, a long paper tape is a pain in the neck.

  33. (1) She also tweeted that he hoped that this wouldn’t have any impact on Ms Marvel, so not leaving one for the other. Which is nice.

  34. 1) I loved Wilson’s Vertigo series Air, with its great Amelia Earhart character. And currently, Ms. Marvel is just wonderful. So I look forward to her take on Wonder Woman.

    9) I spent my first year of high school in an engineering track. Then we moved and I went to a more regular high school. I don’t know how long I’d have stayed in engineering, though. I seemed to have been born knowing algebra, but geometry was a foreign language I really struggled with. Trig, which used both of those building blocks, I was predictably half-assed at. But I had my slide rule and was learning to use it. When I changed schools, though, I never needed it again.

    14) I just got Steve Brusatte’s new book, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs. Haven’t read it yet, just flipped through it. When I was a kid, there seemed to have been like, twenty species of dinosaurs. (I was vaguely aware of more, but you didn’t hear about the others.) Brusatte says here that, on average, a new dinosaur is discovered every week, 50 species a year. There were a lot of dinosaurs.

  35. @ Chip: A simple statement (“It’s Lang, not Land”) is quite sufficient unto the purpose, and has the further advantage of not being the failure mode of clever.

  36. The Emmy nominations are out and SFF projects did very well.

    Four of the six Drama Series noms went to SFF projects: The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones.

    SFF swept the entire category of Single Camera Drama Series Editing– Game of Thrones (thrice), Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale

    The Hugo nominated USS Callister (Black Mirror) got a hefty seven noms in the Limited Series, Movie or Special Categories – Lead Actor, Writing, Cinematography, Editing, Music, Sound Editing and the big one: Outstanding Television Movie

    Not unusually SFF swept the Visual Effects category – Altered Carbon, Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Lost in Space and Westworld

    Other SFF heavy categories include Drama Series Lead Supporting Actress with five of six; Series Music Composition with five of six; Drama Series Guest Actress with four of six; Drama Series Supporting Actor with four of six; Directing Drama Series with four of six; Drama Series Lead Actress with three of six; Single Camera Series Cinematography with three of six; and Writing Drama Series with three of six.

    Also of interest to SFF fans are:

    Outstanding Children’s Program nominees – Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events; CBS’ Star Wars Rebels; and Sesame Street’s Muppet-filled The Magical Wand Chase

    Outstanding Information Series nominee – StarTalk, with Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Outstanding Original Interactive Program nominee – NASA JPL: Cassini’s Grand Finale

    Jonathan Coulton got a nom for Original Music & Lyrics but sadly for the non-SFF series The Good Fight

    The specifics are below:

    Drama Series Lead Actress – Tatiana Maslany – Orphan Black; Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale; and Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

    Drama Series Lead Actor – Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris – Westworld

    Comedy Series Lead Actor – Ted Danson – The Good Place

    Drama Series Supporting Actor – Nikolaj Coster Waldau and Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones; David Harbour – Stranger Things; and Joseph Fiennes – The Handmaid’s Tale

    Drama Series Supporting Actress – Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things; Lena Headey – Game of Thrones; Ann Dowd and Alexis Bleidel -The Handmaid’s Tale; and Thandie Newton – Westworld. (If you consider The Crown to be Fantasy then Vanessa Kirby’s nom makes this category swept too!)

    Comedy Series Guest Actress – Maya Rudolph – The Good Place

    Drama Series Guest Actress – Diana Riggs – Game of Thrones; Samira Wiley, Kelly Jenrette and Cherry Jones -The Handmaid’s Tale

    Directing Drama Series – Game of Thrones (twice), Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale

    Writing Drama Series – Game of Thrones, Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale

    Single Camera Series Cinematography – Stranger Things, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld

    Series Music Composition – Game of Thrones, Jessica Jones, Star Wars Rebels, Once Upon a Time and Westworld

  37. While talking G. Willow Wilson, I recently managed to pick up collections 3-5 of Ms. Marvel and have the chance to nab the next few. But 6 is Civil war 2 stuff. Do I need to bother reading all the crossover nonsense to read that collection or is her arc adequate in itself? If I need to read other books to parsd it, can I get away with skipping it altogether?

    (I will note that Last Days, while it obviously linked to wider universe doings, seemed quite coherent alone.)

  38. @Lenora: The Civil War II issues of Ms. Marvel are relatively self-contained, understandable on their own. I didn’t bother with any other tie-ins.

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