Pixel Scroll 7/27/16 It’s Only Pixels I Recall; I Really Don’t Know Scrolls At All

(1) THE CORRELATION OF MARKET FORCES. John Z. Upjohn delivers another stinging social criticism on Alexandra Erin’s blog — “Sad Puppies Review Books: Caps For Sale”.


A head-based cap delivery service is so woefully inefficient that it is no surprise he does not sell a single cap all day. “Not even a red cap,” he laments, which suggests that he knows that red caps are best, even if he insists on wearing his ridiculous checked one. Yet they are the ones at the top of the stack, where no one can reach them. SJWs don’t believe in simple market forces like supply and demand. If he knows that red caps are the caps preferred by the majority, there’s no financial reason for him to stock anything else. It’s okay for people to like other caps, but they can’t just expect to be pandered to!

(2) THAT ROTTEN VELOUR. Esquire studies “Why Star Trek’s Uniforms Haven’t Changed Much in 50 Years”.

Remember, this was the Age of Aquarius, when bold hues reigned supreme and NBC was billing itself as the “full-color network.” You can also see nods to the costumes’ 1960s heritage in the boots’ go-go contour, especially their Cuban heels. The flared trousers even suggested the evolution of bell-bottoms.

Beyond the prevailing cultural mood, Roddenberry’s working kit entailed some heavy ergonomic thinking. “No matter how many times NASA described the outfit of the future,” he once quipped, “it always sounded like long underwear.”

“Gene’s idea was that a replicator would redo the clothes every day,” said Andrea Weaver, a Star Trek women’s costumer. “In his mind, the crew would go in and the clothes would materialize, molded to the body form.”

That form was all-important. “Roddenberry’s theory,” said Joseph D’Agosta, the casting director, “was that by the 23rd Century, diet would be down to a science and everyone would be thin.”

Unfortunately, 20th Century reality didn’t always match 23rd Century fitness. “We found ourselves having to stay away from longer shots wherever possible,” Roddenberry observed, “as the simple plain lines of our basic costume render most unflattering any extra poundage around the waist.”

(3) UNIQUE WORKSHOP. Whoever heard of a writer’s workshop that pays for you to attend? The deadline to apply for Taliesin Nexus’ Calliope Workshop for Fiction and Nonfiction Authors is August 8.

Calling the next great American author!  If that’s you, then this September 9-11 get ready to have us fly you out to New York City, put you up in a hotel, and spend an entire weekend developing your work at the Calliope Authors Workshop.  You will have the opportunity to get thorough notes on your in-progress work as well as career advice from successful novelists, nonfiction authors, publishers, and literary agents.

(4) A STEP IN TIME. After seeing all those movies and cartoons in which someone stands inside the giant dinosaur footprint, well, here’s one in which you really can — “Meter-wide dinosaur print, one of largest ever, found in Bolivia”.

A footprint measuring over a meter wide that was made by a meat-eating predator some 80 million years ago has been discovered in Bolivia, one of the largest of its kind ever found.

The print, which measures 1.2 meters (1.3 yards) across, probably belonged to the abelisaurus, a biped dinosaur that once roamed South America, said Argentine paleontologist Sebastian Apesteguia, who is studying the find.

(5) BRONYCON REPORT. Wesley Yiin of the Washington Post says “The grown men who love ‘My Little Pony’ aren’t who you think they are”. His article about Bronycon takes a sympathetic look at the fans.

More than half a decade into the Brony phenomenon, the grown men who love “My Little Pony” understand that the world remains curious about them. So they kicked off their recent BronyCon gathering in Baltimore with a crash course on dealing with the media, from which a couple of helpful pointers emerged:

  • Don’t use jargon like “OC” or even “original character.” Simply explain that the Pony-inspired name you go by in Brony circles is, for example, “Champ Romanhoof,” the persona claimed by Chaim Freedman, a 17-year-old Brony from New Jersey.
  • Do ask for their credentials. Certain publications of a conservative bent have been quick to smear Bronies. You’ll never be able to convince these kind of journalists that Bronyism is not a weird sex fetish, nor a sad childhood hang-up, but just another earnest, all-American fan community.
  • Do talk up the narratives you’d like reporters to work into their stories, such as the money Bronies raise for charity. “The media,” emphasizes Jake Hughes, the leader of this seminar, “is not the enemy.”

Hughes, who goes by “Jake the Army Guy” at conventions, is a communications specialist for the Army with a stuffed Pinkie Pie toy perched on his shoulder, which perfectly complements his denim biker vest. Like many people in this room, Hughes has gotten his fair share of flak for loving a kids’ cartoon inspired by a cheesy plastic toy marketed to little girls during the Reagan administration. (Once, he says, he was quoted in a story that complained of Bronies’ body odor.)

But no one’s in a defensive crouch here. BronyCon, which attracted more than 7,600 attendees this year, is the ultimate safe space: When you’re in a rainbow wonderland of fellow travelers wearing unicorn horns and technicolor manes, randomly hollering catchphrases like “Fun! Fun! Fun!” and singing fan-written songs with titles like “Mane Squeeze,” you can stop worrying about what’s normal and what’s weird or where you fit in.

(6) ANTICIPATING THE 1961 HUGOS. Galactic Journey’s Gideon Marcus is bracing himself for disappointment, in “[July 27, 1961] Breaking A Winning Streak (August 1961 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”.

Take a look at the back cover of this month’s Fantasy and Science Fiction.  There’s the usual array of highbrows with smug faces letting you know that they wouldn’t settle for a lesser sci-fi mag.  And next to them is the Hugo award that the magazine won last year at Pittsburgh’s WorldCon.  That’s the third Hugo in a row.

It may well be their last.

I used to love this little yellow magazine.  Sure, it’s the shortest of the Big Three (including Analog and Galaxy), but in the past, it boasted the highest quality stories.  I voted it best magazine for 1959 and 1960.

F&SF has seen a steady decline over the past year, however, and the last three issues have been particularly bad.  Take a look at what the August 1961 issue offers us….

(7) DEBUT REVIEWED. Paul Di Filippo reviews David D. Levine’s Arabella of Mars at Locus Online.

This seems to be a “steam engine time” kind of period in publishing, when writers who have focused exclusively on short fiction for many years now step forth with their long-anticipated debut novels….

(8) LITIGATION. Slender Man is an online fiction creation. Two Wisconsin girls, age 12 at the time, allegedly attempted to kill their classmate to please this character. They have lost their appeal to be tried as juveniles rather than adults.

Anyone 10 or older charged with first-degree attempted homicide is automatically considered an adult under Wisconsin law. But defense attorneys have argued that the case belongs in juvenile court, saying the adolescents suffer from mental illness and won’t get the treatment they need in the adult prison system.

Experts testified that one of the girls has schizophrenia and an oppositional defiant disorder that requires long-term mental health treatment. The other girl has been diagnosed with a delusional disorder and a condition known as schizotypy, which a psychologist testified made her vulnerable to believing in Slender Man.

In a pair of rulings Wednesday, the 2nd District Appeals court affirmed a lower court’s determination that it was reasonable to try both girls as adults. Citing the ruling last year, the appeals court said if the girls were found guilty in the juvenile system they would be released at age 18 with no supervision or mental health treatment.

It also noted that the evidence showed the crime was not accidental or impulsive, but planned out and violent. Given the serious nature of the offense, it would not be appropriate for the trial to take place in juvenile court, the appeals court ruled…..

According to a criminal complaint, the girls plotted for months before they lured Payton Leutner into a park in Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, and attacked her with a knife.

Leutner suffered 19 stab wounds, including one that doctors say narrowly missed a major artery near her heart. After the attack in a wooded park, she crawled to a road and was found lying on a sidewalk by a passing bicyclist. Despite the attack, she staged what her family called a “miraculous” recovery and was back in school in September three months later.

The girls told investigators they hoped that killing her would please Slender Man, a demon-like character they had read about in online horror stories. The tales describe Slender Man as an unnaturally thin, faceless creature who preys on children.

(9) LIEBMANN OBIT. SF Site News reports filker Michael Liebmann died on July 26. Liebmann founded GAFilk in 1999. More information at the link.

(10) JACK DAVIS OBIT. Artist Jack Davis (1924-2016) died July 27 at the age of 91. I knew him from MAD Magazine, though he was even better known for his movie posters, advertising art, and work in mainstream magazines.

Mark Evanier wrote an excellent appreciation of Davis at News From Me.

One of America’s all-time great cartoonists has left us at the age of 91. Jack Davis made his initial fame in EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and MAD but went on to become one of the most visible (and imitated) creators of advertising, movie posters and record album covers ever. His ability to make anything funnier when he drew it and his keen eye for caricatures could be seen darn near everywhere in this country for well more than half a century.

(11) ANOTHER BALLOT SHARED. H.P. at Every Day Should Be Tuesday revealed his “2016 Hugo Awards Ballot”.

I didn’t wind up reading a lot of the nominees and blogged about even fewer, but I at least wanted to get my votes up.  To be honest, I’ve lost a certain amount of interest in the Hugos.  And despite the big, big nomination numbers, the Hugos don’t seem to be getting nearly as much attention this year in general. It will be interesting to see if that is reflected in the voting….

How could someone who voted Jeffro Johnson first in three Hugo categories ever weary of the fun?

(12) GRAPHIC DETAILS. Eric Franklin at Game Thyme not only shared part of his ballot, but his fascinating process for ranking the nominees in “Hugo Awards: Done Voting”.

I read as much as I could of the others. I looked at the art nominees.

And then I grabbed an excel spreadsheet and rated everything based on a +10 to -10 scale of “Good” and “Fun.” I plotted that on a graph, and figured out where my “No Award” point was – it’s equivalent to 0 Good, 0 Fun. Anything with a score worse than that scored below No Award.

I also weighted the spreadsheet in favor of Good.  So a Good 5, Fun 0 work will have a better score than a Good 0, Fun 5 work.

Remember that this is zero average. Mediocre scores for good and fun are the +2 / -2 range. 3-5 is good, 6+ is great.  -3 to -5 is bad. -6 and less is awful.

Then I fed it to a formula to determine the distance from 10,10, as if it were a triangle and I was calculating the hypotenuse. So low numbers were good, high numbers bad.

0, 0 in my spreadsheet, BTW, comes to a final score of  11.53, so anything above that level was out.

I’m going to discuss two categories, tell you how I voted, and discuss each nominee in that category. I’m going to discuss Best Novel and Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form.

And yes, I know. I crazy-overthought this.

(13) JOURNEY’S END. Kate Paulk reaches the John W. Campbell Award and the Retro-Hugos in the culmination of her series for Mad Genius Club, “Hugo Finalist Highlights – The Retros and the Campbell Award Finalists”.

Brian Niemeier – DAMN YOU BRIAN NIEMEIER! Okay. Now I’ve got that out of my system. I couldn’t stop reading Nethereal. The combination of fantasy styling over science fiction with an intricate layered plot and remarkably human characters sucked me in and refused to let go. Of note: Niemeier is the only finalist in his first year of Campbell eligibility.

(14) UK GAMING CON FOLDS. Conception is a role playing game convention on the south coast of England. Held every year since 2000 it has raised over £150,000 for charity. There won’t be another.

It is with great sadness and regret that we must announce that the CONCEPTION Committee have unanimously decided to call it day.

There will no longer be a CONCEPTION 2017.

We have decided that after 17 years of hosting events at Hoburne Naish that we would rather end it on the virtual miracle that was this years event and retain the wonderful memories of CONCEPTIONs Past.

This choice was not an easy one for us to make. We have invested a considerable amount of time and effort on something that proved extraordinarily hard for us to let go. We emerged from CONCEPTION 2016 with some doubts and concerns about the future but also a renewed vigour for the challenges set by the new management. We were still optimistic that we could weather this re-structuring and re-development at Hoburne Holidays and still reliably host a convention in 2017.

However, recently even more changes have been forced upon us by Hoburne Holidays which severely limit the quantity of accommodation to a point where we cannot with any great certainly be assured that we can host the event in the same manner as we have in the past without badly tarnishing the experience for all our attendees.

So, rather than be forced to accept the uncertainty of dealing with Hoburne Holidays in the future or struggling to hurriedly find and negotiate terms with an alternative economically/ergonomically viable venue we decided to permanently discontinue the event.

[Via Ansible Links.]

(15) WORLDCON PREVIEW. One artist shares how his work is getting to the con.

(16) THE BAD NEWS. Unfortunately, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller won’t be making it to MACII.

Steve and I are very sorry, indeed, to announce that we will NOT be attending the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, MidAmeriCon II, to be held in Kansas City, August 17-21.

A direct casualty of this is the signing we were to do at the Bradley Fair Barnes and Noble, in Wichita, Kansas, on August 14.

We apologize to everyone who thought they’d have a chance to meet us, or to renew our acquaintance.  And we especially apologize for the lateness of the hour.  Up until this past Saturday, we were certain that we’d be attending.

So, here’s what we’d like you to do — go to the con, and have a terrific time.  Raise a glass of whatever it is you’re having, and share the toast with friends:  “To Plan B!” which is our own most-used salute.  Drop us a note, if you can, and tell us about the con. We’d like that.


  • July 27, 1940 — Bugs Bunny made his cartoon debut.

(18) GREEN HARVEST. This is the kind of hard-hitting journalism you’ve been looking for. Fox News headlined this story “Sexy cosplayers can make $200,000 a year at comic book conventions”.

Scores of attractive women made their way to Comic Con in San Diego, Calif. last week to don skimpy cosplay outfits to entertain the convention’s superhero fans. Many do it just for fun, but for some it’s a job that pays well into the six figures.

“In addition to a per diem and travel costs, popular professional cosplayers can make at least $5,000 to $10,000 a show,” comic book expert Christian Beranek told FOX411. “If you add in mail order sales, crowd funding contributions and YouTube ad revenue, the top talents are pulling in close to $200,000 a year.”

(19) SAME BAT-TIME. Amazon would be delighted to sell you The Ultimate Batman 75th Year Limited Edition Watch Set.

  • DC Comics super hero are depicted from four eras of comic book history in the square-shaped watches.
  • In addition, there are four incarnations of the Bat-Signal depicted in the round-shaped Swatch-like minimalist watches. The watches from left to right as presented in the box; watches 1 and 2 of the set features Batman with his fists clenched. This muscular, determined Caped Crusader has spent the Modern Age of Comics defending Gotham City from its most notorious villains.
  • Watches 3 and 4 displays Batman dramatically staring up at the Bat-Signal. By the Bronze Age of Comics, artists had encased the super hero’s spare black bat emblem with a yellow oval. The insignia became the crime fighter’s trademark. Watches 5 and 6 then shows Batman swooping into the frame with his cape flying behind him. The image, from the Silver Age of Comics, accentuates the super hero’s signature glowing white eyes and utility belt.
  • Lastly, watches 7 and 8, highlights Batman as first envisioned by creator Bob Kane during the Golden Age of Comics. The super hero’s black cape and cowl and gray suit formed his iconic visual identity.


(20) KILLING JOKE IS DOA. At Forbes, Scott Mendelson passes judgment: “’Batman: The Killing Joke’ Review: The Controversial Comic Is Now A Terrible Movie”.

Final paragraph:

We may not have gotten the Killing Joke adaptation that we wanted, but we may well have gotten the one we deserved.

(21) BIG PLANS. George R.R. Martin tells how he will celebrate the third anniversary of his theater.

Hard to believe, but we are coming up on the third anniversary of the re-opening of the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Santa Fe’s hometown movie theatre, and first art house, had been dark for seven years when we turned on the lights again and opened the doors in August 2013. Needless to say, that calls for a celebration… a week-long celebration, in fact!!!

(22) DIRECTOR’S TOUR. Tim Burton takes us inside the peculiar world of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

[Thanks to JJ, David K.M. Klaus, Dawn Incognito, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Gregory N. Hullender.]

91 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/27/16 It’s Only Pixels I Recall; I Really Don’t Know Scrolls At All

  1. Pixels to the right of them! Pixels to the left of them! Turned up to eleventy!
    Into the file of the hivers scrolled the seven hundred seventy.


    Our reviewer at Forbes seems to unaware that not all of the DCU animated films were kid friendly as Batman Beyond: Return of The Joker had two versions with one being unrated as one scene was different in a way that you couldn’t put in even PG-13 film at that time, so Warner Animation released it a while after the kid friendly version came out.

  3. (20) Sounds like it was a terrible move too, but the headline is “a terrible movie”…

  4. Petréa Mitchell: Thanks for catching that. The beverage appertainment salon is open!

  5. (8) LITIGATION. “Anyone 10 or older charged with first-degree attempted homicide is automatically considered an adult under Wisconsin law.” WtF I can’t even….Looks like my knowledge of insane laws has just increased by 1.

    (20) KILLING JOKE IS DOA. – Everything I’ve read or seen about this leaves me cold. Urgh.

  6. 8) I don’t quite understand why this matters, they can still use an insanity defense in an adult trial, correct?
    16) An announcement like that should really contain a reason.

  7. 8) It’s really messed up. The system is this kind of horrible cross between people who want to be seen as Tough on Crime!! and people trying to make the juvenile system less a pipeline to prison so they make juvie less harsh with less hold-over, and between the two, you end up with very much the worst of all possible worlds. It’s obviously utterly batshit to try two mentally ill ten-year-old girls as adults for pre-meditated murder, but it’s what we get when our prison system is basically endless spaghetti code because no one can re-write it from the ground up.

  8. @bookworm – Unless they’re found to be not insane, in which case they’ll get tried as adult criminals. And even if they ARE found insane ( which seems likely, but the world’s gone so weird, who knows anymore?) they may be confined to institutions for far longer than they would serve for a crime. Lots of people who plead insanity get committed for years past when they’d get out of prison.

    They’re 12 (not 10, mis-spoke above) so they could end up spending most of their lives in a mental hospital for an awful crime nevertheless committed as pre-teens, because for some reason, it’s impossible to get them adequate therapy in the current system without also throwing away the key.

  9. #19: I DO prefer my watches limnited myself. They seem so much more colorful.

    #5: Hey! GIRLS? My two eldest sons, both children of the 80s, LOVED their ponies even more than their SW and ST toys. Especially the unicorns and pegasi.

    Ah, grades in–now off for a week in Cabo and then my youngest boy’s wedding (he was born in the 90s and didn’t love ponies as much, but he’s marrying a woman who trains miniatures and runs a rescue for blind horses, so he has some pony cred).

  10. Re (8), Snowcrash and Red Wombat and Bookworm

    Bluntly, to get a juvenile out of the adult system, crazier theories have been tried with clean conscious. Sticking a juvenile in the Adult system means that if they weren’t a crook when they went in, they’ll be one on the way out.

    Secondly, it’s Wisconsin. It’s bizarrely tough on some crimes, and quite soft on others (driving drunk is a speeding ticket the first two times – seriously). Also, some aspects of American culture that like a display of toughness are well organized in judicial elections.

  11. 8) I’ve long since decided that the American judicial system is pretty much insane (not that ours is necessarily sane, but nowhere as bad as this) and this pretty much confirms it.

    I’m also glad people here seem to agree that trying children over ten as adults is insane. (Over here, children under 14 are not considered responsible for crimes they commit at all, though they may end up in psychiatric institutions in case of violent crimes, while 14 to 18 and in some cases of developmental delay up to 21 are treated as juveniles) I remember that many years ago I got into an argument online about a similar case (obvious minor tried as an adult and given an obscenely long sentence) with a writer who totally agreed with the sentence, because “some people are just born evil”. I’ve never read anything by that writer again.

  12. Clicky.

    I’ve lived my life in Massachusetts. “Judicial elections” is itself insane, incentivizing ruling in favor of popular opinion rather than fact & law, while actively, deliberately introducing opportunities for corruption.

    One of the few cases where I’m not willing to say “regional differences.” Y’all are doing it wrong.

  13. And then I grabbed an excel spreadsheet and rated everything based on a +10 to -10 scale of “Good” and “Fun.”

    Whoa. Hope it’s rightfun and not wrongfun.

  14. (12) He really thinks he overthought this ? Well, let’s find together a whole new meaning to overthinking.

    The problem Eric Franklin has is : how to define a distance in a multidimensional space ? The dimensions are the axis along which he rates his stuff : “Good” and “Fun”, but he could have more than 2. And the distance is the score he gives to the book, a negative score in this case as the ideal book gets a 0.

    Eric goes for the euclidian norm in a 2-dimensional space, but that is far from a unique choice. Euclidian norm is a type of p-norm, the L_2 norm :

    The L_1 norm is called in english the “taxicab” norm. In our case, it would be : give a score from 0 to 10 on Fun, give a score from 0 to 10 on Good, sum it up to get a 0 to 20 score.

    L_2 is what Eric is doing.

    And you can have all those fancy and honestly quite useless norms of the L_n family using different values of n. Ultimately, you reach L_infinite which is: give a score from 0 to 10 on Fun, give a score from 0 to 10 on Good, take the maximum of the two to get a 1 to 10 score.

    Now, why does this matter ? Most of us would go to L_1 to make a score. But as you use higher and higher values of n, what you do is give more weight to extreme values. The extreme would be of course the L_infinite norm : “this book was the best I ever read on the “Good” scale : 10, but sorry, it scores below average on “Fun” : -2. Final score : -2, it goes below no award.”

    Where you put the origin of course has importance. If instead of using (10,10) as a reference (“best book ever”), he used (-10,-10)(“worst book ever”), you would have using the L_infinite : “this book was total crap on the “Good” scale: -10, but it was decently “Fun” : 2. Final score : 2, it goes on the ballot”.

    So Eric Franklin’s system is designed to :
    – Judge more severely then the classic (L_1) rating system books that are underperforming on one specific aspect.
    – Without being so extreme as a L_infinite system.

    The bottomline being : given the ratings he gave to the books in his ballot, using a L_1, a L_2 or even a L_infinite norm would not have changed the order in his ballot anyway.

    Now I think you’ve got the basic tools to overthink your multidimensional non-euclidian rating systems.

  15. @Vivien. I think that is a bit much for my as yet uncaffeinated brain. 🙂

  16. @Vivien on July 28, 2016 at 1:21 am said:

    Oh crap someone stage an intervention before @Camestros sees this.

  17. snowcrash: Oh crap someone stage an intervention before @Camestros sees this.


    Funny how I was thinking pretty much the same thing. 😉

  18. Paulk:

    “Coventry” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science?Fiction, July 1940) – This is not one of Heinlein’s best works. It’s too heavy-handed to work well, and the lecturing sticks in my craw. Yes, I actually do dislike politics overwhelming my stories. It has nothing to do with whether I agree with the politics or not.
    “If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science?Fiction, Feb 1940) – THIS is the Heinlein the world needs. Frankly, this is the stand-out work of all the retro finalists across all the categories. It should be required reading for everyone – there’s a brilliant discussion of the mechanisms of tyranny wrapped in a tale of awakening that’s simple on the surface and layered many levels deep.

    Add “Misfit” and a little bit of corner rounding and you get Revolt in 2100. The two stories under consideration for the Hugo tell different ends of the same tale.
    But somehow one is too preachy and the other is near perfect.

    I find that problematic, but what really got to me was the dismissal of so many works because “not in the packet”.

    As Ben Yalow pointed out in the comments to the above, a very small amount of leg work would turn up a lot of stuff “not in the packet”. (the higher standard would be “why are these things not in your library?”, but it seems these days that’s expecting a bit too much from most.)

  19. @Camestros – Somewhere in that pictures is the seed of an absolutely adorable picture book story! With a nod to Babar in hot his air balloon, of course. 😀

    I like it!

  20. As Ben Yalow pointed out in the comments to the above, a very small amount of leg work would turn up a lot of stuff “not in the packet”. (the higher standard would be “why are these things not in your library?”, but it seems these days that’s expecting a bit too much from most.)

    I am always amused to see that the people who have deified Heinlein seem to have only a passing familiarity with his actual work, and apparently almost no knowledge of the work of his contemporaries.

    I also think it is funny to see the Impala declaring that she doesn’t like politics in stories even if they are politics she agrees with, and then go on to slam one story with politics she doesn’t like and praise a story with politics that align with hers. I guess it is just coincidental that it worked out that way.

  21. Aaron, in fairness, there are some people who only notice politic when it disagrees with them. When it aligns with their views, it’s as invisible as air.

    To be even more fair, I think it’s quite likely we all do this to at least some extent.

  22. @Cassy B: Sure, but the humorous element here is that Impala specifically called out not liking politics in a book “even if she agrees with them”.

  23. I ranked ‘If This Goes On’ lowest among the Heinlein novellas precisely because it’s not political enough. Not that all SF must be political, but here the speculative hypothesis on which the story turns is precisely a political one, so one would expect it to deal with politics more fully; but it turns out to be The Prophet: My Part in His Downfall. ‘Coventry’, which is actually about how the consequences of a political decision work out, was more satisfying.

  24. Vivien said:

    Eric goes for the euclidian norm in a 2-dimensional space, but that is far from a unique choice. Euclidian norm is a type of p-norm, the L_2 norm :

    Thanks for the fascinating lecture! I did find this tutorial to be more useful than Wikipedia in answering the question that immediately sprang to my mind, which was about whether the Endeavour Award scoring system, which includes more than two dimensions, is still L_1 or what. (Answer: yes, it’s L_1.)

    (Further answer: this WP installation doesn’t like the superscript tag. Phooey.)

  25. @Andrew M:

    ‘If This Goes On’ […] turns out to be The Prophet: My Part in His Downfall.

    Oh good lord, you realize that if I re-read that, it’s going to be in Spike Milligan’s voice(s) now? Thank you ever so much for that particular mental cross-wire.

  26. The WaPo Brony article suggests that nobody knows how 4chan My Little Pony fandom started, but a little research would have told Mr. Yiin that.

    Prior to the launch of the show, someone shared an article throwing shade at Faust for “selling out” by working for a toy show. So a bunch of 4channers decided to watch the show when it came out so they could poke fun at how bad it was. Then, to their surprise, they found they actually liked green eggs and ham, Sam I Am…

  27. @8 – one of the other problems with the trying of juveniles as adults is the disposition after trial (and sometimes before trial).

    Typically, for children as young as the defendants in the Wisconsin case, they should be held in a juvenile facility pre-conviction. However, in a number of states, if you are tried as an adult and convicted, you go to adult prison. Missouri, for instance, has sent so many 14 year old boys to the maximum security penitentiary that the warden has opened a children’s wing.

    In some states, 16-17 year olds are automatically charged as adults and are housed in adult jails rather than juvenile facilities pre-trial. In theory, they are supposed to be segregated from the adults, but this can often mean being put in what if effectively solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. Which is bad for the mental health of adults and is thus highly unlikely to result in anything good for the mental state of teenagers. Also, adolescents typically require a much higher caloric intake than adults, so we effectively malnourish teenagers when we house them in adult facilities.

    And as others have noted, the state of proper mental health options for juveniles in the juvenile justice/foster case system are noticeably lacking. They are expansive and no one wants to spend the money when they would rather look tough on crime and warehouse children, despite the fact that violent juvenile crime has been on a steady decline for the last 20 years. I used to work as an assistant corporation counsel in NYC. While most of my cases involved the NYPD, I had a couple cases where I was working with people from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). If you are charged criminally as a juvenile and are tried as a juvenile, you do not necessarily to to kiddie prison. You can end up in a residential treatment facility (RTF) or residential treatment center (RTC). If I recall correctly RTCs were for children with the most severe mental problems. RTFs and RTCs weren’t just for children charged with crimes, they could end up there due to PINS proceedings or because all the bad things that happened to them that led to ACS intervening in their lives had messed them up so badly outpatient treatment wasn’t an option. In the 1990s, there were only around 200 RTC beds in the whole state when the number of children in need of that level of treatment was probably at least 10 times that. While there are somewhat more mental health options available in the adult system, you are also effectively consigning children/adolescents to be treated by mental health practitioner who do not specialize in the treatment of children. Personally, I don’t see a good outcome if a 15 year old goes to adult prison and ends up in group therapy with a bunch of 40 year olds. There’s a reason why groups like AA started setting up teen-specific AA groups.

  28. ADOLF HITLER: MY PART IN HIS DOWNFALL. I was wondering about that title. Milligan wrote his autobiographies, two of them using “My Part”–the other causing Mussolini’s downfall.

  29. @petrea

    Thank you ! Yes, the tutorial you point to is a good simple starting point to explain what a norm is, and what the most common examples are.

  30. Paul D. Filippo reviews Arabella of Mars:
    I hadn’t read any of his reviews in quite some time, but this one is several steps up from the habits that used to annoy me about him. In particular, he references other works to compare and contrast. And doesn’t pull the “like a cross between Author A and Author B” bit that he used to do all the time.

    On the other hand, the book was due to hit my official TBR list soon anyway.

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