Pixel Scroll 7/29/16 I Have Promises To Keep, And Pixels To Scroll Before I Sleep

(1) IRON MAN. Gregg Van Eekhout was injured at “San Diego Cracked-it-Con 2016”. Before he was taken away on a cart he signed his fan’s books! Click the link for the whole story. The bottom line —

So, it’s going to be six weeks in a hard cast, and that’s my Comic-Con story. And I’d like to reiterate that I continued to autograph copies of my books even with a fractured fibula. That’s pretty metal, I feel.

(2) PROSECUTION FOR ONLINE THREATS. Ken White at Popehat reports on “A Rare Federal Indictment For Online Threats Against Game Industry”.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California has sought and obtained an indictment against a young man named Stephen Cebula for sending online threats to Blizzard Entertainment, the freakishly successful powerhouse behind the Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo games as well as many others. The case is notable because it’s so rare: there’s so much threatening behavior online, and so little of it is addressed by the criminal justice system.

Stephen Cebula seems overtly disturbed. The search warrant for his home and subsequent criminal complaint tell a tale of him engaging in bigoted trash talk with other players on the Blizzard game “Heroes of the Storm,” ranging from racial epithets to comments like “I will kill your family bitch” and fantasies about raping a child at Disneyland. Blizzard suspended Cebula’s ability to communicate with other players. Cebula — perhaps tutored in law and political theory on Reddit, or by Milo Yiannopoulos — saw this as an outrageous violation of his freedom. He used his Facebook account “tedbundyismygod1” to send two threatening messages to Blizzard:

Careful blizzard … I live in California and your headquarters is here in California …. You keep silencing me in Heroes of the STorm and I may or may not pay you a visit with an AK47 amongst some other “fun” tools.

You keep silencing people in heroes of the storm and someone who may live in California might be inclined to “cause a disturbance” at your headquarters in California with an AK47 and a few other “opportunistic tools” …. It would be a shame to piss off the wrong person. Do you not agree blizzard?

(3) SITE SELECTION, COMPARE AND CONTRAST. Petréa Mitchell delivered vital data in a comment:

In crucial last-minute Worldcon voting news AND Pokemon Go news, New Orleans in 2018 has published a map of Pokestops and gyms near its proposed facility. (San Jose in 2018 has mentioned Pokestops nearby but only vaguely.)


“A Georgia woman became trapped in a graveyard while playing Pokemon Go.  ‘The gate is f—ing closed,’ the indignant woman told a 911 dispatcher.  ‘This is not cool.'”

(5) THE NEXT SFWA CHAT HOUR. Coming Monday, August 1 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. — SFWA Chat Hour Episode #5: Selling Your Book at Conventions.

Join Cat Rambo as she hosts a lively discussion on how to sell your books at conventions, featuring Quincy J. Allen, Jennifer Brozek, David John Butler, and Michael Underwood.

RSVP the event to get a reminder when it’s about to start. Afterwards, it’ll go up on YouTube as usual.

(6) BANDERSNATCH. Musician Andrew Petersen discusses an influence on his decision to create The Rabbit Room“The Inklings, Diana Glyer, and the Art of Community”.

It’s easy for Americans like me, who are almost maddeningly intrigued by the romance of that famous fellowship, to idealize the Inklings—to imagine that the meetings were all chummy chortles and pipe smoke, pints of beer and chin-stroking, heady conversation and magical recitals of what are now classic works of literature. The Inklings were human, after all, and they lived in the same tired old world that we occupy, bearing the same weaknesses and wounds in varying degrees. The meetings were probably more sporadic and less inspired than we like to think. The story is a good one: Christians getting together in the name of friendship and good books. It piques an almost mythic longing in many of us. Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall in one of those rooms? For that matter, who wouldn’t want to be a member of that inner ring?

Glyer’s thesis, contrary to some academic works that claim too much has been made of the Inklings’ influence on each other, is that the very nature of friendship, of nearness, of interaction, guarantees influence on their work. Like it or not, the famously grumpy and immovable Tolkien simply had to have been affected by his relationship with Lewis, and his work must have been affected, too. It was Glyer’s book where I first grasped the idea that The Lord of the Rings probably wouldn’t exist if not for C. S. Lewis. Yes, it was Tolkien’s God-given genius that wrote the masterpiece, but it was C. S. Lewis’s encouragement that nudged Tolkien along and convinced him that the public would care to read it. Friendship matters. Encouragement, resonance, accountability, and criticism were crucial ingredients that went into the feast of Middle-Earth.

One of the central tenets of the Rabbit Room is that art nourishes community, and community nourishes art. And to me the profound thing about that idea is that the friendships—the heart-shaping relationships, the Christ-centered community—will outlast the works themselves. Glyer’s book makes a strong case for the influence of the Inklings on one another, imperfect though it was. If you want to write good books, good songs, good poems, you need some talent, yes. You also need to work hard, practice a lot, cultivate self-discipline, and study the greats. But you also need good friends. You need fellowship. You need community…..

(7) HUTCHMOOT. And The Rabbit Room is planning a conference in October. Diana Pavlac Glyer will be the keynote speaker.

On October 6 – 9, the Rabbit Room will convene Hutchmoot 2016 at Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, Tennessee. You’re invited to come and enjoy a weekend of live music, delicious food and conversation, and a series of discussions centered on art, faith, and the telling of great stories across a range of mediums.

Speakers, sessions, and special events will be announced as they are confirmed.

(8) VERTIGO. Flashbacks to the right of them, flashbacks to the left of them, volleyed and thundered.



(10) ON JEOPARDY! Steven H Silver says this was a Jeopardy entry —

Women Authors for $800.



“Nobody rang in,” said Silver.

(11) SUMMERTIME. “A summer book list like no other: Michael Dirda picks 11 hidden gems”, at the Washington Post.

One of the pleasures of summer holidays is choosing just the right books to pack along on the annual visit to the beach. I stress that word “books” because only the foolhardy would take an electronic device anywhere near sand, water, intense heat and — as one learns by experience — children predestined to spill their soda where it will do the most damage. Much better to pick one of the following recent titles in paperback or hardcover.

The Big Book of Science Fiction , edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage). How big is big? In this case, we’re talking nearly 1,200 double-columned pages, dozens of representative short classics of science fiction, and newly translated work from around the world. There are surprises, too: Did you know that W.E.B. Du Bois wrote sf? That’s just one indication that the VanderMeers hope to establish a more culturally diverse science fiction canon. Still, there are many old favorites here, some of mine being William Tenn’s “The Liberation of Earth,” J.G. Ballard’s “The Voices of Time,” Cordwainer Smith’s “The Game of Rat and Dragon” and Joanna Russ’s “When It Changed.”

(12) ARRIVAL. The Wikipedia tells us:

Arrival is an upcoming American science fiction drama film starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. The film is based on the short story “Story of Your Life” by author Ted Chiang. The film is scheduled for released on November 11, 2016 by Paramount Pictures.

Deadline Hollywood reported in June:

Paramount Pictures has set a November 11 wide release for Arrival, the Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi movie starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. This was the film that took the 2014 Cannes market by storm when the studio won a wild rights auction to the pic for a fest-record $20 million, earning it North American and China distribution rights.

(13) CLOUDY DAYS. Bob, Gordon, and Luis have been laid off from Sesame Street.

The changes keep on coming for Sesame Street. Last year, the controversial news broke that the show was packing its bags and moving on up to HBO from PBS—and now, most of the children’s show’s longtime (non-puppet) cast has been let go.

At Florida Supercon, original cast member Bob McGrath, known simply as “Bob” to his young audience, said that he and comrades for several decades Emilio Delgado (“Luis” on the show) and Roscoe Orman (“Gordon”) have had their last hurrah on Sesame Street.

“As of this season, I completed my 45th season this year,” McGrath said. “And the show has done a major turnaround, going from an hour to a half hour. HBO has been involved also. And so they let all of the original cast members go, with the exception of Alan Muraoka—who is still on the show, he is probably 20 years younger than the rest of us—and Chris Knowings, who is also young.”

(14) CLICKBAIT RATINGS. Entertainment Weekly rated all 13 Star Trek movies, offering its opinion of the good, the bad, and the why.

The same day, Rotten Tomatoes published “Every Star Trek Movie, Ranked From Worst To Best”. The Rotten Tomatoes list looked like this:

  1. STAR TREK (reboot)

(15) ST:WTF! Adam Whitehead decided there was also clickbait potential in criticizing EW’s “gratuitous list”. And my linking only helps prove him right.

The point of Gratuitous Lists is that the things on it are not listed in order of excellence, but are just on there so people can talk about the shows/games in question rather than argue about the order, which is often arbitrary. But sometimes arguing about the order is just too much fun. After Entertainment Weekly issued a list of Star Trek movies ranked by quality that is simply objectively wrong (how high up is Nemesis?), here’s my riposte…


  • July 29, 1958 — The U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • July 29, 2002 — M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs.  Shyamalan cited The Birds, Night of the Living Dead and Invasion of the Body Snatchers as the influences for this film.


  • Born July 29, 1972 – Wil Wheaton


  • Born July 28, 1866 — Beatrix Potter, British author/illustrator of the Peter Rabbit stories.

(19) FIRST TREK CON. Stu Hellinger announced he’ll be part of a fan panel at Star Trek Mission New York over the September 2-4 weekend.

On September 2 – 4, at the Javits Center here in NYC, ReedPOP is running a 50th Anniversary Star Trek Convention called Star Trek: Mission New York.

One of the program items is titled: “The First Convention and How it Helped Resurrect Star Trek”.

The panel description: The first Star Trek Convention, in New York City, began as a crazy idea with a shoestring budget that created ripples all the way to the Klingon Empire and helped put the Enterprise back in space. A panel discussion with members of the original organizing committee.

The participants on this panel are Linda Deneroff, Devra Langsam, Elyse Rosenstein, Joyce Yasner and myself as the moderator.

We have not been informed, as yet, what date and time the panel will be, but I will post the information as soon as I know.

Join us to reminisce or to learn more about what we did that helped create the ongoing phenomena that is Star Trek.

(20) JEFF STURGEON. Fascinating work at “Welcome to the Art of Jeff Sturgeon”

After his long time friend and art collaborator artist Jeff Fennel  ( www.Jefffennel.com ) convinced him to try painting on aluminum Jeff left the game business behind and went to painting full time with aluminum his new canvas. Through the new millennium Jeff’s work became nationally known with increased appearances as a exhibitor,guest,panelist and guest of honor at conventions around the country and as a illustrator and cover artist. Jeff’s work is much sought after by art collectors whether one of his classic SF/ astronomical pieces or his beautiful renderings of the american west. Jeff’s newest project is Jeff Sturgeon’s last Cities of Earth as his much anticipated shared world project comes to fruition with an anthology with the top writers in the field, an art book of Jeff’s city paintings and concept art., other platforms are in negotiation to try and bring this amazing world Jeff has created to life. Jeff lives in great pacific NW with wife and artist Leslie Kreher and sons Duncan and Corwin.

(21) WALL OBIT. SF Site News has learned Canadian fan Alison Wall died on March 5. More information at the link.

(22) WILSON OBIT. SF Site News reports Toronto fan Ian Wilson, a past Ad Astra chair, died July 28.

(23) STRACZYNSKI TRIBUTE TO DOYLE. Babylon 5 Creator J. Michael Straczynski On the Death of Jerry Doyle” in Epic Times.

When it came to politics, Jerry Doyle and I disagreed on, well, pretty much everything. Politically, Jerry was just to the right of Attila the Hun. There is a line in Babylon 5 where his character, Michael Garibaldi, suggests that the way to deal with crime is to go from electric chairs to electric bleachers. That line is quintessential Jerry Doyle. I say this with confidence because I overheard him saying it at lunch then stole it for the show.

Despite our differences, when Jerry ran for congress as a Republican not long after Babylon 5 ended, I donated to his campaign. Not because I agreed with him, but because I respected him; because there was one area in which we agreed: the vital intersection between the arts of acting and storytelling. In that respect, Jerry was a consummate professional. Regardless of whatever was going on in his life, whether it was marital issues, a broken arm, forced couch-surfing with Bruce and Andreas or other problems, he never once pulled a prima donna on us; he showed up every day on time, knew his lines, and insisted that the guest cast live up to the standards of the main cast, to the point of roughing up one guest star who showed up not knowing his lines. Trust me when I say that after Jerry got done with him, every day he showed up, he knew his lines. And then some.

He was funny, and dangerous, and loyal, and a prankster, and a pain in the ass; he was gentle and cynical and hardened and insightful and sometimes as dense as a picket fence…and his passing is a profound loss to everyone who knew him, especially those of us who fought beside him in the trenches of Babylon 5. It is another loss in a string of losses that I cannot understand. Of the main cast, we have lost Richard Biggs, Michael O’Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, and now Jerry Doyle, and I’m goddamned tired of it.

So dear sweet universe, if you are paying attention in the vastness of interstellar space, take a moment from plotting the trajectory of comets and designing new DNA in farflung cosmos, and spare a thought for those who you have plucked so untimely from our ranks…and knock it off for a while.

Because this isn’t fair.

And Jerry Doyle would be the first person to tell you that. Right before he put a fist in your face. Which is what I imagine he’s doing right now, on the other side of the veil.

(24) PROFESSIONALISM. Amanda S. Green reminds readers “It is a business. . .” at Mad Genius Club. It’s a good point in its own right, and a lesson that can be expanded to apply to fan activities as well.

So treat it as one. Yesterday, as I was looking at FB, I came across a post from someone I respect a great deal. He also has one of the most unverifiable jobs there is in publishing. No, not reading the slush pile, although that is part of his job. He has taken it upon himself to do what so many publishers don’t do. He responds to those who send something in, letting them know whether or not their work has met the minimum threshold to be passed up the line for further consideration. Believe me, that is definitely more than a number of publishers do. Too many simply never get back to you unless they are interested.

What caught my eye with his post was how unprofessional someone had been in response to his email letting them know their story had not been passed up the line. Now, I know how it stings when you get a rejection. It’s like someone telling you your baby is ugly. But it happens and we have to accept it with grace and move on. Yes, we can kick and scream and curse in public but you do not send a note back telling the editor how wrong they were. Nor do you tell them that the title has been published during the time the editor was considering it, especially if the editor has gotten back to you in less than half the time they say it normally takes.

And that is where this particular author screwed up. Not only did they send back an unprofessional note to the editor, insuring he will remember the author and not in a good way, but he went ahead and self-published the book without removing it first from consideration by the publishing house. That is two very big strikes and, in this case, the author doesn’t get a third strike before he’s out….

(25) WAGON TRAIN IN SPACE. BBC Radio 4’s “Caravans in Space” investigates space habitats and visits the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Chattanooga. Stephen Baxter makes a brief comment in the program.

Is the Earth too perfect? The Moon too grey? Mars too dusty? Then how about setting up a human colony in the depths of space?

Richard Hollingham travels to the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop in Chattanooga, Tennessee to meet scientists, engineers, doctors and anthropologists planning human colonies in space and spaceships that will take humanity to the stars.

These are not dreamers – although they all have an ambitious dream – but well qualified experts. Several work at Nasa, others have day jobs at universities and research institutes.

Richard hears of proposals to build giant space stations and worldships – vessels packed with the best of humanity. These caravans in space might be lifeboats to escape an approaching asteroid or perhaps the first step to colonising the galaxy.

The programme features conference chair and Technical Adviser to Nasa’s Advanced Concepts Office, Les Johnson. He is keen that any discussions about our interstellar future are rooted in reality, not Star Trek.

We also hear from John Lewis, Director of the Space Engineering Centre at the University of Arizona, who advocates mining asteroids and suggests the first space colonies would be like lawless frontier towns.

Other contributors include architect Rachel Armstrong, who is engineering soils for living, breathing organic spaceships and anthropologist Cameron Smith.

As the programme is recorded on location in Chattanooga, it would be remiss of us not to make some reference to trains. Fortunately, our spacefaring future is being discussed in a railroad-themed hotel and on the local tourist train passengers are surprisingly open to living life permanently away from Earth.

(26) STATE FAIR FOOD. When I saw that bacon-wrapped churros were among the semifinalists in the State Fair of Texas annual fried food contest, I hastened to bring this to John Scalzi’s attention. It wouldn’t have surprised me to be the five hundredth person to send him the news, but he said I was actually number seven.

If you read the entire list of semifinalists, you’ll understand why I’m tempted to run a set of brackets and let people pick which sounds most deadly.

Next to “Lollipop Fried Bacon Wrapped Quail Breast on a Stick,” a bacon-wrapped churro sounds like health food….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Rambo, JJ, Dawn Incognito, Michael O’Donnell, David K.M. Klaus, Carl Slaughter, and Michael J. Walsh for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]

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98 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/29/16 I Have Promises To Keep, And Pixels To Scroll Before I Sleep

  1. So this is how pixels scroll — with thunderous applause.

    These aren’t the pixels you are scrolling for.

    One of my favorite things about the book is that it sort of demystified the experience — you know, you can be Lewis and Tolkien and your writing group is still mostly about hanging out in the pub and offering each other critiques that may or may not be listened to.

    [8] VERTIGO

    This election feels like I’m watching the Hugo awards all over again…but the Hugo awards are just about to happen all over again!

    This me, yeah baby. (Amy Winehouse reference, in case I sound more incoherent than usual.)

    Seriously, obsessing about politics and current events has eaten up all the time last year that I spent obsessing about the Hugos. Mr. Beale was never actually campaigning for Leader of the Free World, so I guess it makes sense. Although, Mr. Trump is a lot like somebody who would be president in a dark but hilarious near-future science fictional world. 

    I don’t know where people get this weird idea that BOUND PAPER is somehow more water-resistant than modern consumer electronics. I was in a serious rainstorm in New Orleans at Jazzfest this year and everything on my person, including everything in my bag, got thoroughly soaked. I had an iPhone, in a case (not even a waterproof case), and also a Moleskine, one of their cities books, which had been hacked to be for New Orleans. My phone got a little water under the case, which interfered with its touch screen functionality. Once I was somewhere dry, I took off the case, wiped everything down, replaced the case, and everything has been fine ever since. 

    The Moleskine disintegrated.

    I’m sad that they seem to be tarnishing the legacy of Sesame Street rather than just letting it fade into the sunset. I was raised on Sesame Street. I get the impression that my mother liked it a lot because it was more entertaining for adults than most other kiddie programming at the time. 

    Rotten Tomatoes always overrates recent releases. Why, I remember when The Phantom Menace was brand new, it was rated something like 90% fresh. Someday, Into Darkness will be down there near Nemesis where it belongs, and Wrath of Khan will once again be in the first spot as is right and proper. (First Contact is next, then Voyage Home and the first reboot have to duke it out for third place.)

    So, does she ever acknowledge how remarkably unprofessional so many of the “puppies” were last year? No? Didn’t think so. 

    I would make fun of the idea of “you can deep fry anything!” Except, having recently been taken to an excellent sushi restaurant in Los Angeles where they deep fried shrimp heads and soft-shell crab, I would be extremely hypocritical to do so. 

    (Hama Sushi, if you’re in LA and like sushi.) 

  3. @Chip Hitchcock: that only happened to my Fitbit Charge HR (screen dying) when I was in Thailand and it recovered almost the minute I landed in the freezing cold of winter in Seoul. My brother used a Kindle Paperwhite in Thailand with no issues, and as I said earlier my Nexus 7 survived too. My old Nexus 5 phone died while in Thailand, possibly heat-related stress on the battery, or just old age. It technically still works but only for minutes without life support.

    For me, now, travel with an ereader is the only sensible option, as I simply travel too much and stay away from home too long at a time to be able to take enough physical books. In Chiang Mai it’s not an issue as there are awesome used bookshops there, but everywhere else I’ve been it’s kind of a problem.

  4. “The Moleskine disintegrated.”
    Huh. Musta been holy water.

    Nah. Just a little karma over all of those poor moles. Sadly, people really haven’t learned their lesson from the plight of the nauga.

  5. @Chip Hitchcock: that only happened to my Fitbit Charge HR (screen dying) when I was in Thailand and it recovered almost the minute I landed in the freezing cold of winter in Seoul.

    I would have thought “heat blanking them out” for LCD screens would only be an issue in temps high enough that you are too busy worrying about not dying to do any reading. I have been in situations where it is cold enough that my phone’s LCD wouldn’t work. And lithium batteries are lousy with even a mild chill. (FWIW, I know from experience that electrophoretic displays have a more sluggish response time but still work down at least to the 20s F.)

  6. @McJulie
    So, does she ever acknowledge how remarkably unprofessional so many of the “puppies” were last year? No? Didn’t think so.

    Why, if Green is talking about how some individuals are unprofessional, should she include other people who are unprofessional if it isn’t germane to the point she is trying to make?

    It struck me as a good post, and it should be judged on its own merits.

  7. Darren Garrison
    I knew somebody who had a Nauga, which he’d found at a thrift shop in Denver. Doubtless long gone. If I’d had it, it would be in the next room now.

  8. @Jameson Quinn

    (8) It’s not just that No Award isn’t an option. The problem is, the Business Meeting itself is corrupt, so E Pluribus Unum is harder to pass.

    After last year, I’d been seriously thinking about skipping the business meeting at KC.

    But you’ve convinced me to be there to vote against ratifying EPH. It seems to me that anyone who is so ignorant about how WSFS operates isn’t to be trusted about other processes.

  9. John Lorentz: As I was going to vote for EPH, we can both skip the meeting and go and have a bheer somewhere if you want.

  10. I think I’ve said this before, but you can still buy nauga from Uniroyal. I think they’re smaller than the ones available in the 60s. (Either all that time in captivity has reduced their size or I was smaller in the 60s and so they seemed bigger back then.) They offer some different options to choose from:


  11. @Jameson Quinn:

    the Business Meeting itself is corrupt

    Can I ask for an elaboration on the corruption of the Business Meeting?

    I am also lighting the Standlee Signal because I would like to read his response.

  12. I do find the comment on the business meeting being corrupt quite insulting. I hope it was part of a joke I didn’t understand.

  13. At the risk of mindreading I kind of took it he was running with the Hugos/US election analogy? The business meeting might refer to the conventions or election day itself, not sure. Probably the latter. Don’t think it quite landed, as a conceit.

  14. I thought Jameson Quinn was referring to the US election, where some process or institution analogous to the WSFS business meeting might be considered corrupt.

  15. I do find the comment on the business meeting being corrupt quite insulting.

    I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be a description of the US presidential election put into the terms of the WSFS, not an insult to the latter at all.

  16. I think Jameson just poorly phrased an observation. Damien Walter’s comment was comparing the US presidential election this year to last year’s Hugo fight. I’m pretty sure Jameson was commenting on the metaphor to say that unfortunately in the presidential election No Award isn’t an option and structurally changing the election system is almost impossible for a variety of reasons including corruption. I don’t think that was an actual comment on the Business Meeting. My read anyways.

  17. I think they’re smaller than the ones available in the 60s. (Either all that time in captivity has reduced their size or I was smaller in the 60s and so they seemed bigger back then.)

    Yes, the ones from the 60s do seem impractically large for home use.

  18. Has there been “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my pixel, prepare to scroll?” Seems rather necessary if I’m not just reflecting the collected scrollmind.

  19. Hm. According to this inflation calculator, the $1.00 nauga from 1967 is the equivalent of $7.22 now. Flip that around and the $30 model today is equivalent to a $4.16 then.

  20. On Jeopardy: the answer is Porn, right? Renegades of Porn?

    (I have to say that you can really tell McCaffrey was writing in pre-Internet days. Today, no author would dare use a name that’s only one letter away from a word like “porn” unless they wanted people to have fun with the fact and possibly go viral. Although I suppose there’s a remote chance McCaffrey did it deliberately…)

    The first nauga I ever saw was one kept in captivity at a furniture warehouse in the San Francisco bay area where a friend worked, back in the seventies. I must say, there do seem to be a startling number of varieties. You’d hardly guess they were all the same type of beast! 🙂

  21. Whoops. Yes, Stoic Cynic and others got it right, but I should not have tried to be clever.

    (Specifically, what I was saying was that if the US government is the Hugos, then Congress is the business meeting. Congress may or may not be corrupt in a larger sense, but as winners in the current election system it’s presumably against the interests of at least some of them to change the election system. This can be seen as a form of “corruption” and is a hurdle for reform. At electology.org we have ideas for how to get past this hurdle, but it’s undeniably a factor. And now the joke is as extinct as the naugas.)

  22. You keep using that pixel. I do not thing it scrolls how you think it does.

  23. I have to say that you can really tell McCaffrey was writing in pre-Internet days. Today, no author would dare use a name that’s only one letter away from a word like “porn” unless they wanted people to have fun with the fact and possibly go viral.

    Even in the pre-web days, people did sometimes exhibit common sense, such as saying “You know, maybe we shouldn’t call this game Puck Man

    Then again, you get people today still clueless enough to actually ask for the internet to mock them.

    (I also give the side-eye to people who give their media a title that is so generic (or already taken by something much more popular) that it makes it very difficult to google.)

  24. @Doctor Science: my thoughts, but said gooder. Look forward to your next roundup.

    @snowcrash: That makes more sense, what with Mel’s crisis of faith, and also meaning that aliens with FTL drive weren’t actually stupid enough to try to invade a planet that was 70% deathly poison, with the same corrosive poison in the atmosphere. It does make the movie less stupid. Sadly, I doubt that was the thinking of the writer and director. But it’s a good headcanon. Certainly the last M. Night flick worth sitting through at all (I guessed the WHAT A TWIST! of “The Village” from seeing the 30 second TV ad once).

    If conditions are going to be very harsh, I agree with Vicki — don’t take anything you aren’t willing to throw away. Mass market paperbacks you got for a buck or two each. I’ve traveled with books to leave behind, be it in hotel lobbies or on tables in airports. Leave them at the beach even if they’re a little wet, as long as they’re readable. I’ve never been to one, but I understand beach/lake houses generally have a shelf of old paperbacks; my grandpa’s hunting cabin did.

    @McJulie: you look very sporty in your new avatar! And yes, while paper holds up okay against sand and dirt, it’s not so good with rain, ocean/lake/pool, or the aforementioned children with soda control problems. Even if your e-thing dies, you can reload the content on another one; a paper book that dissolves is just pieces of crinkly wood pulp.

    I too would have preferred “Sesame Street” to just end. I’ve been an adult most of the years it’s been on, and the things that only grownups would get have entertained generations of parents. This new one is all glitzy and slick. The Street’s been gentrified and hipsterized. So of course the old folks have to go. Eh, it’s all been downhill since that little red bastard who doesn’t understand first person took over.

    You really CAN deep-fry anything; we had a party once where we did that, but not to state fair levels. I remember one Worldcon (Chicago 2000) where Minicon(?) had a “Minnesota State Fair” party, and all the food was on a stick whether it needed to be or not. We had to explain the entire concept to some Scandinavians. My friend won a small prize in butter carving. I think the farm animals were Fischer-Price.

    My high school BFF owned a Nauga in authentic Avocado Green. IIRC, back in the day, there were also patterns sold so that moms with sewing machines could make Naugas instead of paying retail. Seems like even a better option nowadays at those prices. Quite above the rate of inflation!

    Perhaps Nauga populations are lower than they were in the 60’s and they should be put on the endangered list. Maybe they’re suffering from inbreeding like bulldogs. IIRC herds of Naugas were reported to run wild back then, and now they say they’re bred on a ranch. Has the Nauga gone the way of the bison in the late 19th/early 20th century? Another indigenous American animal in danger?

  25. @Arifel – Laser harp, you say? (kicks in around 1:05)

    I like to think these cats have been cruising and grooving subluminal from Alpha Centauri for millions of years and will eventually connect with the Parliament Mothership.

  26. Thanks for clarifying that, Jameson. The fact that you have worked so hard toward your goals with the WSFS Business Meeting led me to believe you must have been making a joke, albeit a rather strained one.

    IMO, anyone who claims that the governance of WSFS is corrupt hasn’t attended (or at least watched) a WSFS Business Meeting. There are lots of other adjectives that could be applied to it, but not corrupt.

    (I’ve been spending this afternoon getting the computers I’ll be using to upload this year’s WSFS Business Meeting videos as fast as possible after each segment is complete. The parent non-profit corporation of the San José in 2018 Worldcon Bid, SFSFC, donated $250 to pay for the cost of a dedicated IP address on the KC Convention Center’s wi-fi network so we could do the downloads on the minimum delay. Otherwise we’d have to wait until I could get back to my hotel room, resulting in many hours of delay. I want to have a minimum of two machines that can read the P2 cards from the video camera and have the sign-ins to the Worldcon Events YouTube page well configured and ready to go before we leave for KC in a couple of weeks.)

  27. Just a reminder that Filers who donated to the MidAmericon II Park 770 have about 24 hours remaining to send in a photo of your SJW credentials for the thank-you post, along with the name/nym you’d like to appear in the post.

    Although it is widely believed that only Siamese cats are acceptable as bona-fide SJW Credentials, photos of other breeds of cats, dogs, birds, reptiles, pet rocks, etc. can also be submitted.

    One photo only, please — and don’t forget to attach it! 🙂

    Use the link in this post to auto-format the e-mail using your default e-mail client.

    If that link does not work properly with your e-mail client, follow the instructions here.

  28. @Darren Garrison: I’m not actually 100% certain on what happened to the Fitbit. On the one hand, I’d accidentally left it cooking out in the full heat of the sun while I went for a swim, and on the other, it might well have been water damage or something I have no idea what. All I can say for certain is that taking a flight/arriving at Seoul seemed to fix whatever was up with the screen. Everything other than the screen worked for the duration; right up until I lost the ridiculous proprietary charging cable in Vietnam and gave up on it. (Stay safe kids, and only buy devices from companies who use actual USB ports!)

  29. I had a FitBit for a while — got it free from work through their “encouraging fitness” program. When it eventually stopped charging (see details below), I didn’t bother to replace it. Here are some of the issues I had:

    When worn, as designed, on the wrist, the device may be accurate in counting the number of times you swing your arms, but it’s crap at measuring anything where the hands don’t undergo regular acceleration changes. For example, bicycling. For example, using an elliptical without arm movements. Once identified, I solved this problem by jury-rigging a band extension so I could wear it on my ankle. This also solved the annoying visuals issue. (I don’t need a visual brag to random people about my fitness habits. And I dislike having things on my wrist.)

    The exception to this body-location was during dragonboat practice, where my ankles are relatively fixed by my wrists are going great guns. The FitBit counting my paddle strokes nicely…but exposure to salt water promoted corrosion of the copper charge contacts. After a month or two, the corrosion was preventing re-charging, so I got in the habit of scraping the contacts clean prior to the weekly re-charge session.

    The problem with this is that scraping contacts clean removes metal.The proprietary charging device relies on holding the FitBit in place against the charge contacts by elastic tension. But eventually, that tension wasn’t sufficient to maintain connection between the device and charger contacts. I extended the usability for several more months by wedging little bits of folded paper in the other end of the charge cradle to push the contacts together.

    Eventually, even this stopped working and I gave up. The FitBit is designed to measure the activity of people engaged in gait-based exercise on dry land. That’s not me.

    It didn’t help my attitude that the program I received it under included life-habit surveys that relied on shame-based framings of the questions. For example, you could answer “Will using the FitBit change your exercise habits?” with several versions of “Yes! I’m all inspired to begin/increase a healthy exercise program!” or with “No, I do not plan to start an exercise program” but there was no option for “I’m already engaged in a vigorous and time-consuming exercise program and have no plans to increase it.”

  30. It didn’t help my attitude that the program I received it under included life-habit surveys that relied on shame-based framings of the questions.

    This reminds me of one of my new favorite sites (which has been around for years, but I only stumbled across a couple of weeks ago.) Warning, potential time sink!

  31. Heather Rose Jones on July 31, 2016 at 9:45 am said:

    I had a FitBit for a while — got it free from work through their “encouraging fitness” program. When it eventually stopped charging (see details below), I didn’t bother to replace it. Here are some of the issues I had:

    When worn, as designed, on the wrist, the device may be accurate in counting the number of times you swing your arms, but it’s crap at measuring anything where the hands don’t undergo regular acceleration changes. For example, bicycling.

    My Fit Bit (or rather the app based on the data from the Fit Bit) told me quite earnestly about a bike ride I had taken based on me mowing the lawn.

  32. It has been suggested to me many times that I get a pedometer to automatically count steps so as to get to the magic 10,000.

    I borrowed a nice one once and kept a manual count as well.

    Less than 1/4 (and a varying fraction at that — anywhere from 0 to 15%) were actually recorded. The only way to get them to record regularly was by stomping like Godzilla.

    I suspect a FitBit would be no more accurate, just more annoying and expensive.

  33. I got a FitBit because it seemed like everyone else had one at the time… I really liked it for the first couple of months, but given that major sources of exercise for me are martial arts and climbing, it never really did an amazing job of tracking my fitness. Can’t wear it for karate or iaijutsu, and I don’t like to wear things on my wrists when climbing so I stopped wearing it there too…

    Back before I had a FitBit I also used to use Google Fit on my phone to track things, and it once told me of a bike ride I had through Bangkok… while I was sat in a tuktuk.

  34. Are there cycling orintated Fibits or equivilents? Any thoughts on how well they work? I have a gps which proports to calculate calories, but I don’t always have it with me.
    My main exercises are cycling and scuba, and a scuba fitbit sounds very unlikely.

  35. @NickPheas: My brother bought a Moov to track his swimming recently. Apparently it also does cycling. He’s happy with it for swimming but he doesn’t need much from it – literally just to track his length count I think.

    I think it would probably cry if you took it scuba diving though.

  36. Fitbits have their uses…

    Reese: Your “heart rate monitor” looks a lot like a Fitbit.
    Finch: The Machine doesn’t think I get enough cardio.
    Reese: Oh, I like this new side of you, Finch. It’s terrifying, but I like it.

    Mine is causing me to pay just a bit more attention to my diet (through the app) and how much exercise I’m getting so if that prods me in the right direction I can’t ask much more.

    Mine has the heart rate monitor and normally guesses the cross trainer (epicyclic) correctly and will also record the stationary bike ok if I start the workout timer. Allegedly it can work with the phone’s GPS to plot a proper run/cycle but that involves more use of battery sapping bluetooth.

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