Pixel Scroll 7/28/18 Error 770 Pixel Not Scrolled

(1) HUGO VOTING CLOSES JULY 31. Worldcon 76 sent members a reminder earlier in the week:

Voting for both will end on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT.  Online voting forms and Voter Packet downloads for both sets of awards are located on the Worldcon 76 website. The 2018 ballot can be found at https://www.worldcon76.org/hugo/vote.php and the 1943 ballot can be found at https://www.worldcon76.org/hugo/retro_vote.php.

(2) SHAKEN, NOT BEAMED UP. This is not my father’s Popular Mechanics, full of fannish esoterica like “Ten Forward Vodka Is What Riker Puts in His Martini”.

The next time you want to grab a vesper martini with a Vulcan or pour yourself a holodeck Harvey Wallbanger, reach for a bottle of Ten Forward. That’s right: There is now an officially licensed Star Trek: The Next Generation vodka made by Silver Screen Bottling Company and named for Guinan’s bar on the USS Enterprise-D.

The best thing about this novelty booze is clearly the bottle. Its type and graphics are an homage to the LCARS computer system seen on all the terminals and pads used throughout the show.

(3) AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH. BBC does a word study: “Tsundoku: The art of buying books and never reading them”.

Do you have a habit of picking up books that you never quite get around to reading?

If this sounds like you, you might be unwittingly engaging in tsundoku – a Japanese term used to describe a person who owns a lot of unread literature….

The word “doku” can be used as a verb to mean “reading”. According to Prof Gerstle, the “tsun” in “tsundoku” originates in “tsumu” – a word meaning “to pile up”.

So when put together, “tsundoku” has the meaning of buying reading material and piling it up.

“The phrase ‘tsundoku sensei’ appears in text from 1879 according to the writer Mori Senzo,” Prof Gerstle explained. “Which is likely to be satirical, about a teacher who has lots of books but doesn’t read them.”

While this might sound like tsundoku is being used as an insult, Prof Gerstle said the word does not carry any stigma in Japan.

(4) AMAZON’S AMBITIOUS GENRE TV PLANS. SYFY Wire has published a story (“Star Trek 4 Writers to Helm Lord of the Rings TV Series and More from Amazon Studios”) with a variety of news from Amazon about upcoming genre shows. The headline news is that “writers JD Payne and Patrick McKay [who wrote the upcoming 4th Star Trek movie] will oversee the Lord of the Rings TV series” which is expected to air no sooner than 2020. The series will be set in a time prior to the events of the LorR books (and movies) but little other details has been annoiunced by the studio. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke has said “It’s a vast world and so many ways to go with that property. We brought in so many people with abundant enthusiasm for the property. They will move us into the the next stage as they build out this world.”

The SYFY Wire story also brings news of other genre series from Amazon:

  • THEM: Covenant[…] is: ‘Set in 1953, Alfred and Lucky Emory decide to move their family from North Carolina to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood. The family’s home on a tree lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.’”
  • Half-hour comedy Upload“will revolve around the ability of humans to upload themselves to a selected afterlife” and is said to be “a sci-fi romcom [that] will star Robbie Amell [and] Andy Allo.”
  • Cryptically, “Avengers: Infinity Wardirectors Joe and Anthony Russo are developing ‘a radical global storytelling disruption’ that will be ‘a large-scope, multi-layered international event series’ [and an] ‘origin mothership series will function as a fire-starter to ignite the creation of multiple original local language and local production series. All of the local series are meant to enhance the entire entertainment experience and will be available for the viewer to deep dive into an imagined layered world.’”

(Can anyone parse that last one and tell me what that last sentence really means?)

(5) THIRTY YEARS OF THE SIMPSONS?! Mike Riess, veteran of The Simpsons, has written a book about the series: Springfield Confidential.

Four-time Emmy winner Mike Reiss—who has worked on The Simpsons continuously since episode one in 1989—shares stories, scandals, and gossip about working with America’s most iconic cartoon family ever. Reiss explains how the episodes are created, and provides an inside look at the show’s writers, animators, actors and celebrity guests. He answers a range of questions from Simpsons fans and die-hards, and reminisces about the making of perennially favorite episodes.

In his freewheeling, irreverent comic style, Reiss reflects on his lifetime inside The Simpsons—a personal highlights reel of his achievements, observations, and favorite stories. Springfield Confidential exposes why Matt Groening decided to make all of the characters yellow; dishes on what it’s like to be crammed in a room full of funny writers sixty hours a week; and tells what Reiss learned after traveling to seventy-one countries where The Simpsons is watched (ironic note: there’s no electricity in many of these places); and even reveals where Springfield is located! He features unique interviews with Judd Apatow, who also provided the foreword, and Conan O’Brien, as well as with Simpsons legends Al Jean, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, and more…

(6) REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY. Adweek points out a reference-filled video: “Buckle Up. This Short Film From a Financial Tech Startup Is Part Black Mirror, Part ‘They Live’”.

Bank ads love to talk about your dreams. A bucolic retirement, an Ivy League education for your kids, that five-bedroom home with the “Sold” sign in the yard.

But a new long-form ad—or branded short film, more accurately—from Canadian financial tech startup Koho positions banks not as the enablers of your best life but rather as harvesters of dreams, brutally siphoning customers of both their money and their aspirations.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Dystopian, bleak and visceral, “Dream Thieves” accomplishes exactly what Koho set out to do with its first major marketing push. Led by Jason Chaney, Koho’s chief creative officer, the video was directed by French music video visionary Fleur Fortuné and produced by acclaimed Canadian agency Cossette, where Chaney previously served as chief strategist.

Sci-fi aficionados will notice no small number of references, some subtle and others overt, to previous movies, shows and even ads. While the overall tone may remind modern TV viewers of the Netflix anthology Black Mirror, Chaney says his team has counted roughly 30 references in “Dream Thieves,” including callbacks to A Clockwork Orange, Poltergeist and Apple’s iconic ad “1984.”



When you complain about slow internet service, remember this:

The first transcontinental phone call was held between the device’s inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, and his former assistant Thomas Watson in 1915. Bell called from Dey Street in New York City to Grant Avenue in San Francisco. It took five telephone operators 23 minutes to manually connect the call. (Source: Wikipedia)


  • July 28, 1956 The Cyclops had its theatrical release
  • July 28, 1995Waterworld premiered


  • Born July 28 – Georgia Engel, 70. First genre appearance on the first Fantasy Island series followed by lots voice work in such productions as The Special Magic of Herself the Elf, Dr. Doolittle 2,  and the Hercules series.
  • Born July 28 – Lori Loughlin, 54. First genre work was in The Tom Swift and Linda Craig Mystery Hour series, also the Amityville 3-D film, the animated Justice League Unlimited series, likewise the animated Casper: A Spirited Beginning film.
  • Born July 28 – Elizabeth Berkley, 46. Yes she’s done some genre work including The Twilight Zone, Perversions of Science which appears to be akin to the Tales from The Crypt series, the animated Armitage III: Polymatrix series, and the Threshold series which pops up regularly in these birthday notes.
  • Born July 28 – Tom Pelphrey, 36. Regular role in the Iron Fist series and not much else for genre work other than appearing in Ghost Whisperer.
  • Born July 28 – Dustin Milligan, 33. Regular role in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency series; other genre roles were on Andromeda (which I’ve not seen — worth seeing?), in the Final Destination 3 film, The Dead Zone, Supernatural, and a bit of probably horrible horror called Demonic.


(11) RELOADED.  Lou Antonelli’s Hugo nominee “Replacement Pins” have arrived. Photo at the post.

(12) A THOUSAND TIMES, NEIGH. The Verge shows why “The future of search-and-rescue robots might be centaur, not human”. The embedded video has the bot doing what looks for all the world like a tai chi routine for the first several seconds of the ~3 min video.

Centauro is the latest experiment by scientists to find the most adaptable and useful body-shape for robots designed to help in disasters. Usually, these machines are built like humans, with two arms and two legs, but researchers are increasingly finding that hybrid designs offer more flexibility. With its four wheeled legs, Centauro is more stable than a humanoid bot, but still retains the two forward-facing arms needed for manipulating objects like tools and doors. (Or, as in the video below, karate-chopping some plywood for fun.)

(13) WHEN THE SEA IS BOILING HOT. NPR explains how “Hot Weather Spells Trouble For Nuclear Power Plants”.

Air temperatures have stubbornly lingered above 90 degrees in many parts of Sweden, Finland and Germany, and water temperatures are abnormally high — 75 degrees or higher in the usually temperate Baltic Sea.

That’s bad news for nuclear power plants, which rely on seawater to cool reactors.

Finland’s Loviisa power plant, located about 65 miles outside Helsinki, first slightly reduced its output on Wednesday. “The situation does not endanger people, [the] environment or the power plant,” its operator, the energy company Fortum, wrote in a statement.

The seawater has not cooled since then, and the plant continued to reduce its output on both Thursday and Friday, confirmed the plant’s chief of operations, Timo Eurasto. “The weather forecast [means] it can continue at least a week. But hopefully not that long,” he said.

(14) NO SINGULAR SENSATION. Forbes says the public needs to catch up, that model is decades out of date: “There Was No Big Bang Singularity”.

…There is a theorem, famous among cosmologists, showing that an inflationary state is past-timelike-incomplete. What this means, explicitly, is that if you have any particles that exist in an inflating Universe, they will eventually meet if you extrapolate back in time. This doesn’t, however, mean that there must have been a singularity, but rather that inflation doesn’t describe everything that occurred in the history of the Universe, like its birth. We also know, for example, that inflation cannot arise from a singular state, because an inflating region must always begin from a finite size.

Every time you see a diagram, an article, or a story talking about the “big bang singularity” or any sort of big bang/singularity existing before inflation, know that you’re dealing with an outdated method of thinking. The idea of a Big Bang singularity went out the window as soon as we realized we had a different state — that of cosmic inflation — preceding and setting up the early, hot-and-dense state of the Big Bang. There may have been a singularity at the very beginning of space and time, with inflation arising after that, but there’s no guarantee. In science, there are the things we can test, measure, predict, and confirm or refute, like an inflationary state giving rise to a hot Big Bang. Everything else? It’s nothing more than speculation.

(15) BITE ME. Here’s some more bad science you’ll be less surprised to hear about. The Washington Post’s Emily Yahr notes that Discovery broadcast Megalodon:  Fact vs. Fiction last night, even though there is no evidence that hungry prehistoric sharks are in the ocean: “A fake Shark Week documentary about megalodons caused controversy. Why is Discovery bringing it up again?”

At the beginning of this special, a narrator explains the dust-up. Unflattering headlines from news articles at the time (“Discovery kicks off Shark Week with dishonest documentary”) and angry tweets fly across the screen. The special keeps a tongue-in-cheek tone; at one point, shark conservationist Julie Andersen acknowledges the scenes of Shark Alley, a real-life area off the South African coast, was pretty accurate in the fake film.

“But let me repeat myself: There are no megalodons!” she adds.

“We get it, smarty-pants. No megalodons roam the modern seas,” the voice-over narrator shoots back. “But when they did, the oceans were like a Darwinian Thunderdome, survived only by the fittest and biggest.”

(16) HOLD FAST. Beth Elderkin at Gizmodo’s io9 takes a look at Star Wars weapons and the characters who love them (“A Shockingly In-Depth Examination of How Star Wars Characters Hold Their Weapons”). Though, one might quibble about just how shockingly in-depth it is. Blasters, light sabers, stunners, and even capes are considered. Poses and grips are dissected. As the author puts it, “We’re here to not only explore but celebrate the art of looking cool while holding a toy gun or fluorescent lightbulb on a stick.”

(17) BY GEORGE! Item 5 in yesterday’s Scroll set Camestros Felapton’s muse to weavnig a copacetic comma filk:

[With apologies to Culture Club]

Words running altogether every day
To make sense they need something in their way

I’m a sign without conviction
I’m a tiny mark that doesn’t know
How to work as punctuation
I come and go and come and go

Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon
I come and go and come and go
Usage would be easy if you used me when you pause
Or to break a clause, to break a clause

An em-dash is not my rival
I’m a punctual revival
It is not a matter of survival
Style guides are not my bible

Comma comma comma comma comma chameleon
I pause and go and pause and go
Commas would be easy if you used them sparingly
Or not at all or not at all

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

28 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/28/18 Error 770 Pixel Not Scrolled


    But I haven’t read all 2,500 pages of The World of the Five Gods yet.

  2. (15) I was pleased to see Discovery debunking its own 2013 fake megalodon documentary. I’m not sure why anyone would snark and and talk as if broadcasting the debunking of their own bad work should embarrass them, rather than commending them for setting the record straight. Yes, they should never have broadcast the fakumentary at all, but given they did, this was a good thing.

    And as is finally conceded, also a fun thing.

  3. 1. Just submitted my Hugo and Retro Hugo votes. And though I never receive e-mails from WorldCon 76, because my mail provider hates them for some reason, I did receive my confirmation e-mails.

    3. That’s me.

    4. For me, Star Trek 4 is The Voyage Home, which is why I was rather confused at first.

    Regarding the Russo series, the way I understand it, there will be one main series and several international series set in different countries and shot in different languages that will connect to this main series. Which actually sounds like a neat idea, except that a) you’ll need to find local partners for the various international series and b) watching the whole thing will be quite difficult, if comes in different languages.

    This is yet another reason why nuclear power is not a good idea. Because hot summers and draughts (and Europe has both) may leave you out of cooling water. Coincidentally, the remaining German nuclear power plants (we’re phasing them out) have also reduced their output due to low water levels and high temperatures in the rivers that supply the cooling water.

  4. (4) Any word on if THEM: Covenant will include an episode in which the protagonists stumble upon an Irish android who’s genetically engineering a race of giant ants?

  5. 15) “smarty-pants”? That’s pretty insulting of them. I remember being called that, and it wasn’t fun.


    I dreaded tackling the Stormlight Archive so much I ran away from it altogether. Sorry, Brandon.


    Maybe this has been mentioned in a previous Scroll, but I read elsewhere that Season 3 of The Man in the High Castle drops in October (3, I believe). Yay!

  7. (1) Hah, got both of my ballots completed (except for mere bignum values of N revisions remaining) at 3:48 am, last night. Get moving, you slackers!

  8. 4)

    Any word on if THEM: Covenant will include an episode in which the protagonists stumble upon an Irish android who’s genetically engineering a race of giant ants?

    Dibs on the flamethrower.

    12) Did anyone point out to the producers of the demo video that while the ability to chop wood with its hands/grippers/clappers/spatulas is actually a solid feature for a rescuebot, perhaps showing the general public this, and reinforcing the age-old fear of SkyNet coming after all of us?

    Also, any first in level most martial art forms can bust a board with a little coaching, and the right kind of wood. Although in the video it almost looks like balsa wood…

  9. 15)

    “But when they did, the oceans were like a Darwinian Thunderdome, survived only by the fittest and biggest.”

    Unlike the present day, where modern sharks stick rigidly to the permitted quotas and dispute resolution procedures set down in the UN Oceanic Predation Treaty of 1953.

  10. 1) Thanks for the reminder.

    4) That last one…something Transmedia in nature, maybe?

    11) Good.

    14) I learned about the Big bang from Carl Sagan. Which reminds me…isn’t there going to be another season of the new Cosmos with Dr. Tyson? How is that coming along?

    15) I wonder if Megladons are the new Nessie for our times. We seem to WANT the Dragons out there on the edges of the map and the deep ocean is definitely still very much Terra Incognita

  11. (1) Managed to mostly read nearly all of the nominated works, and have been reviewing/ranking the ballot for all the literature categories (including the Campbell Award here, which I guess technically doesn’t count as such) on my blog for the past one and a half months. For those curious, I put up a group link to my reviews here on my blog: http://garik16.blogspot.com/2018/07/reviewing-2018-hugo-awards.html

    Given the quality of works and the sheer # of them included in the Hugo Packet, especially with the addition of the Best Series award, I’m so happy I became a voter last year and continued doing so this year, it is well worth the money, even if I didn’t care about voting, which I do.

  12. (4)

    Cryptically, “Avengers: Infinity Wardirectors Joe and Anthony Russo are developing ‘a radical global storytelling disruption’ that will be ‘a large-scope, multi-layered international event series’ [and an] ‘origin mothership series will function as a fire-starter to ignite the creation of multiple original local language and local production series. All of the local series are meant to enhance the entire entertainment experience and will be available for the viewer to deep dive into an imagined layered world.’”

    Sounds to me like something between a multi-threaded world (like the old “Thieve’s World” anthologies) and officially-sanctioned video fan fiction. The last sentence seems to imply that even though each special episode (or sketch, more likely) will be local to some area, all the sketches will be available to viewers all over the world.

  13. I expect that after this year, the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee (which maintains TheHugoAwards.org and other WSFS web sites) will have a small supply of replacement Hugo Award finalist pins. If that happens, I reckon we can then put something on THA.org explaining how past finalists who lose their pins can contact us to get replacements.

  14. 14) I learned about the Big bang from Carl Sagan. Which reminds me…isn’t there going to be another season of the new Cosmos with Dr. Tyson? How is that coming along?

    Cosmos: Possible Worlds is currently scheduled to run on Fox next spring (2019).

  15. (1) I didn’t have the energy to review the Hugos this year, but I did manage to get my votes in. Perhaps I’ll have a little more energy next year…

    But there was a LOT of great stuff to read. Voting in the Hugos is worth it just for being introduced to “new” writers I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

  16. Kevin – I think that’s a good idea. I doubt I’m the last person this will happen to.

    BTW. Arlan Andrews, another 2015 finalist – who has been following my saga – said he never got his pin at all.

  17. “AKICIF: someone mentioned the name of that Japanese genre in which people are trapped in games. What was it again? Please and thank you.”


  18. Almost done with my ballot! I have most of it in, with some shifting around over the weekend, but glad to have participated once again. Being a Hugo voter means a great deal to me, and give me the chance to find new-to-me authors! Thank you for all the suggestions, Filers!

  19. All done with my ballot! I really enjoyed doing the reading this year and found some great stuff I hadn’t known about before. I found NY2140 very hard going, but was glad I stuck with it, as the middle third of the book had some good stuff. The only thing I tried hard to read and kept bouncing off was The Way of Kings. After the fourth bounce I just gave up.

    But boy, was tackling Best Series a lot of reading! The only series in there I had read was Bujold’s. I can’t imagine having to read six entire series each time.

  20. I also finished my Hugo ballot today, with apologies to fancast as the category I once again just can’t seem to get to 🙁

    I did manage to get reviews up for all the “fiction” categories, sneaking in a series roundup today. I’m glad I pushed myself to write on the categories this year, as it definitely helped my thinking on the trickier ones (although I left a few ties that obviously didn’t fly in the official ballot!)

    Best Series wasn’t as good for me in terms of reading discoveries as it was last year, but I’m fairly happy with the selection of reading I did for it in the end. The best discovery categories for me were short story and the dramatic presentations – there’s no way I would have pushed myself to watch Get Out without it being a finalist…

    Congratulations again to everyone who made this ballot simultaneously amazing and also one of the hardest decision-making processes a human could face outside of a major life change!

  21. @12: this seems like such an obvious idea that one might think everyone trying to imitate human motion was being dim — cf Boucher’s “Q.U.R.” — but does it really make sense to put those casters at the ends of the legs? I suspect that real-world uses will have few places flat enough to make casters useful, and I wonder about how likely rough places are to have enough small debris to jam the casters. I note that the story claims the robot can also handle rough terrain and even stairs; I’d love to see that, and to know what the MTBF is for this compared to other robots.

  22. I formally apologize for incorrectly Firsting on this post. Normally, I doublecheck to make sure but this time I slipped up.

    Also, I picked up Picnic on Paradise by Joanna Russ and I am genuinely thrilled. Now she is on the read-all list.

    Finally, I have been feeling uncomfortable with my stance on Lisa Mason’s rant in a previous post. After looking at the info again, I’ve changed my mind—I’m not going to defend her in any way.

  23. (1) I finalized my Hugo votes today in a massive push to make decisions. And I have realized that I’m really just not much into fiction about AIs and robots. Sorry.

    (2) Ten-Forward Vodka “The best thing about this novelty booze is clearly the bottle.”

    Ouch! Burn!!!!

  24. (1) HUGO VOTING CLOSES JULY 31. Could I please get an extension? 😉 BTW I’m grateful the semiprozines who have some audio fiction, which helps me “read” the category more broadly.

    (12) A THOUSAND TIMES, NEIGH. Centaurs rule! 😀 That must be why my spouse has so many, right?!

Comments are closed.