Pixel Scroll 8/9/18 I Was A Dream Scroller And I Had Pixels For You

(1) WHAT DO WHILE THE POWER IS OUT. Ursula Vernon’s ideas make scents.

(2) I PRAY FOR ONE LAST LANDING. Adweek covers a company’s creative message about sustainability: “An Astronaut Returns Home in This Gorgeous Film From Impossible Foods”.

“There’s life,” he begins, traversing the varied terrain, from bustling thoroughfares to nearly silent, sun-soaked forest glades, in full spacesuit. “Everything is here. The colors. The beauty. The motion. It looks like a living, breathing organism. It’s so beautiful here.”

That planet, of course, is Earth, and the film launches this week to coincide with the release of Impossible Foods’ first sustainability report. In that study, the creator of the plant-based Impossible Burger discusses its goal of eliminating the need for animals as a food source by 2035. Doing so will help cut greenhouse gas emissions while conserving natural resources.


(3) SOCIAL GRACES. Here’s a helpful reminder.

(4) NO BOX FITS THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL. NPR’s Etelka Lehoczky says “Spooky And Off-Kilter, ‘Come Again’ Shows Nate Powell’s Virtuosity”.

Earnest yet unpredictable, Nate Powell’s graphic novel Come Again is a perfect example of what’s possible when a creator roams outside of set conventions. Come Again fits no particular genre, though much of its style and tone resemble the slow-building, true-to-life narratives of Craig Thompson, Lucy Knisley and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. But a touch of the mystical keeps this book off-kilter, raising the stakes on a story that might otherwise have seemed thin.

(5) 2017 #BLACKSPECFIC REPORT. Fireside Magazine has published its third annual report about the underrepresentation of black writers in sff magazines. There’s a Twitter thread that starts here. And a narrative version here — “The 2017 #BlackSpecFic Report”. The data is available in a spreadsheet here.

Some highlights:


In 2017, the magazines in this dataset are, as with 2016’s report, professional-rate magazines (as defined by the SFWA) that have been in existence for at least two years and are currently open to submissions. They published 1,112 stories by 816 unique writers, 38 of whom are Black and who wrote 48 of the stories. The unique Black author ratio is 4.7%, and the story ratio is 4.3%. Compared with 2015 data, Black representation in this aspect of the field has essentially doubled.

… When we began this initiative, many worried that the majority of the few stories published would be by Black authors with household names; that still is not the case.

They are, however, generally published in the same set of magazines.

 … Most of the magazines portrayed in this image doubled, tripled, or quadrupled their Black representation from 2015-6 to 2017. When combined with 2 magazines that already performed relatively well in publishing stories by Black authors, but that hadn’t improved significantly — namely, Lightspeed and Nightmare — the magazines in this image published about one fourth of all stories in this dataset. Yet, they published close to 90% of this year’s stories by Black authors. In other words, as with 2016, one quarter of the field is publishing the vast majority of its Black work. Field-wide submission rates can’t explain that.

Furthermore, while these magazines’ representation varies individually, when taken as a combined unit, their Black representation approximates U.S. population distribution at 13%. Five of them published Black authors at rates approximating or exceeding it.

(6) SCOOP NEWS. BBC says the world’s largest ice cream parlor is officially Parque Coppelia, but Cubans call it la catedral de helado: “Cuba’s communist ice cream cathedral”.

We’re at Parque Coppelia, the world’s largest ice cream parlour and an iconic institution in Cuba. Taking up an entire block diagonally opposite the Hotel Habana Libre in the once-tony Vedado district, this state-run ‘people’s park’ offers a for-pennies indulgence for the masses and serves an average of 30,000 customers a day – and up to 600 at any one time.

When Havana sizzles, the entire city seems to descend seeking relief. The helado – served with taciturn efficiency by waitresses in 1950s plaid miniskirts – wins no awards. But no other experience speaks so sweetly to Cuba’s revolutionary idealism.

(7) CITY SECURITY. From the Black Hat cyber security conference, “Warning over ‘panic’ hacks on cities”. Chip Hitchcock observes, “Katherine MacLean’s ‘Missing Man’ spoke of ‘city chess,’ in which senior maintenance workers put up plausible point failures that usually ruin the city very quickly — and she was just talking about breakage, not about deliberate attacks.”

Security flaws have been found in major city infrastructure such as flood defences, radiation detection and traffic monitoring systems.

A team of researchers found 17 vulnerabilities, eight of which it described as “critical”.

The researchers warned of so-called “panic attacks”, where an attacker could manipulate emergency systems to create chaos in communities.

The specific flaws uncovered by the team have been patched.

“If someone, supervillain or not, were to abuse vulnerabilities like the ones we documented in smart city systems, the effects could range from inconvenient to catastrophic,” wrote Daniel Crowley, from IBM’s cyber research division, X-Force Red.

“While no evidence exists that such attacks have taken place, we have found vulnerable systems in major cities in the US, Europe and elsewhere.”

The team plans to explain the vulnerabilities at Black Hat – a cyber-security conference – on Thursday.

(8) 1994 HUGO CEREMONY VIDEO. Thanks to Kevin Standlee for the head’s up:

The 1994 Hugo Awards video is online, thanks to us finding a videotape of it among the files here in Fernley, Lisa digitizing it, and Linda Ross-Mansfield on behalf of the parent of ConAdian giving permission to publish it. The quality isn’t great, but that’s in the original on our tape.


(9) BAEN FANTASY ADVENTURE AWARD. In addition to the grand prize winner reported here, “Dragon’s Heart” by David VonAllmen, Baen today issued a press release naming the runners-up:

  • Second Place: “Deny the World with a Thought” by Benjamin Scott Farthing
  • Third Place: “The Lady of Pain” by Steve DuBois.

The press release says the winners were selected by Baen editorial staff.


  • August 9, 1930 — Betty Boop premiered in the animated film Dizzy Dishes.
  • August 9, 2004 — Donald Duck received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame


  • Born August 9 — Sam Elliot, 74. Genre roles include The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, the Land of the Giants series, the 1999 Hulk film, Ghost Rider, The Golden Compass and The Good Dinosaur animated series.
  • Born August 9 — Melanie Griffith, 61. Hebron roles in Cherry 2000Alfred Hitchcock Presents series, voice work in the second Stuart Little animated film do likewise in the Back to the Jurassic film.
  • Born August 9 — Gillian Anderson, 50. The X-Files of course, roles also in the Harsh RealmHannibal and American Gods series.  Voice work in a number of animated series including Reboot as a character as a Data Nully.
  • Born August 9 — Thomas Lennon, 48. Appeared in Transformers: Age Of Extinction, but more commonly a voice actor with some of his credits being for Justice League Action (most excellent series), one of the computers in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy film, The Dark Knight Rises, ArcherRocky and Bullwinkle and Legend of the Three Caballeros.
  • Born August 9 — Rhona Mitra, 42. First genre role was in a sf update of Beowulf, later roles include Underworld: Rise of the LycansSGU Stargate Universe, The Gates, an urban fantasy set in a gated community where no one is human, The Last Ship post-apocalypse series and The Strain, a Guillermo del Toro vampire series.

(12) SLIGHT UPDATE. While his comments on what happened with Worldcon programming are apt, John Scalzi may not be reading the same sites I do. Thread starts here

Though I feel he’s overly optimistic about the silence of people hoping the Worldcon will eat itself alive — I could list three bloggers who are still writing about that.

(13) PICK THE ROCKET FROM THEIR POCKET. Here’s Russian retaliation for sanctions could include: “Russia targets the U.S. space program after latest round of ‘draconian’ sanctions”Vice News has the story.

…On Wednesday the White House announced it would be imposing fresh sanctions on Moscow over its role in the poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the U.K. earlier this year.

The latest round of sanctions, due to take effect on August 22, will impose broad restrictions on technology exports to Russia, with further sanctions set to hit Russian airlines and banks. The latest round of sanctions could block hundreds of millions of dollars in exports.

The Kremlin has strenuously denied any involvement in the incident, and on Thursday morning Russian lawmakers fumed over the latest U.S. announcement, calling it “draconian” and “absurd.”

One high-ranking Russian lawmaker then suggested hitting back at the U.S. where it hurts.

Sergey Ryabukhin, a senior Russian senator who is chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Committee for International Affairs, said Moscow could restrict exports of RD-180 rocket engines to the U.S.

RD-180 engines power the Atlas V rocket, which is used for military satellite launches, interplanetary missions and cargo runs to the International Space Station. The Atlas V has completed more than 75 launches with no major failures to date, and is key to the U.S. space program.

This isn’t the first time RD-180s have been caught in the middle of strained U.S.-Russian relations. Back in 2014, U.S. lawmakers opted to exempt the rocket engine from a ban on Russian military technology due to it importance to the U.S. space program.

(14) GUESS AGAIN. Popular Mechanics shares the revelation: “Weird Prehistoric Plant Turns Out To Be Weird Prehistoric Animal”.

Algae? Fungi? Some other type of plant? The Ediacaran organisms, ancient life forms that were common on in the Earth’s oceans half a billion years ago, have puzzled scientists for decades. Now two paleontologists feel confident that the ancient species were something completely different: animals that were unlike any seen on Earth today.

Scientists have discovered nearly 200 different types of Ediacarans within ancient rocks around the globe since the first discovery in the 1940s. It’s easy to identify an Ediacaran through their unique bodies, which are branched fronds taking the shape of fractals. Looking like long tubes that could grow up to six feet, Ediacaran fronds also had sub-fronds which replicated these patterns.

It’s easy to mistake an Ediacaran for a plant. But Jennifer Hoyal Cuthill at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, along with Jian Han at Northwest University in Xi’an, China, has found evidence that says otherwise. They came to their conclusion through studying Stromatoveris psygmoglena, a marine species first discovered in 2006 that dates back to around 30 million years after Ediacarans supposedly died out.

(15) THE BATTLE FOR THE UR-QUAN HIERARCHY. Olav Rokne of Edmonton’s Hugo Award Book Club wanted to be sure I didn’t miss this gaming litigation story:

“Cult classic video game Star Control 2, beloved for its science fiction storylines and diverse cast of alien characters, is the subject of a bitter legal feud over who has the rights to release an official sequel. Original Star Control creators Paul Reich and Fred Ford maintain that their author contract’s rights-reversion clause was triggered more than a decade ago, while games company Stardock claim they bought the rights during Atari’s bankruptcy sale.

“It’s a feud that blazes more hotly than a Thraddash Torch, but is harder to understand than Orz dialogue. Thankfully, copyright lawyer Leonard French has created two excellent YouTube videos to explain it to the layperson.”

Video One:

Video Two: 

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

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69 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/9/18 I Was A Dream Scroller And I Had Pixels For You

  1. 11) and Rhona Mitra was also in Doomsday which was kinda sorta a remake of Escape from New York, with Scotland instead of NYC…

    15) I notice few care about Star Control III, which was terrible…

    Also, first!

  2. John Scalzi loudly gave up his single panel slot and kaffeeklatsch so marginalized and up and coming writers would get some exposure.

    Now, after his good friend Mary Robinette Kowal has revamped the program, this established, rich, straight white male is on TWO panels and also is given a reading slot to push his new novel.

    Scalzi has said being a white male is the lower difficulty setting. And he obviously has no problem taking advantage of it.

  3. (1) Scents

    I own ridiculous amounts of BPAL, and I know I have a bottle of Veritas somewhere–now I need to find it and see if I can smell the paladin.

    I’m also wondering what other scents were in the sampler, and if they sent some Rose Cross–my very favorite, a blend of roses and frankincense.

  4. 1) Went from never having read the redoubtable Wombat to buying and reading everything she’s written over the course of 10 days and signing up at Patreon.

    A National Treasure.

    Ps: Also, too: Fifth!

  5. Jon Bromfield: Yep, one of the most popular writers in the field is back on the program. Much better for the Worldcon that way, however, judging from your reaction I guess no one can claim the result has made everyone happy.

  6. Yes, Mike, and under the new and improved program TWO unknowns lost their chance at much needed publicity.

    And Nancy Kress is on no panels, no kaffeeklatsches and no scheduled autograph signings. Guess she’s not a friend of Mary Robinette Kowal.

  7. And yet beloved Nancy Kress, a much better writer than Scalzi, and a woman, is on no panels, has no kaffeeklatsches, didn’t even get a scheduled autograph signing.

    Guess she’s not a friend of Mary’s.

  8. Jon Bromfield: Nancy Kress is on three panels. So your ill will is compounded by falsehoods.

    Since this isn’t baseball, I think two strikes is enough for you to be out.

  9. 11) And Sam Elliott was also in Frogs (which I learned from a recent Skiffy & Fanty Torture Cinema episode). (Also, the Sam Elliott Hulk film was in 2003, not 1999.)

    I rewatched Doomsday not too long ago — that film is kind of insane, in an entertaining way.

  10. Testing the comment notifications – ignore.

    (aha – my mistake caused the problem, which is now fixed).

  11. Is the link for No. 12 missing? (I mean, besides the link in the screenshot itself–I thought you were posting a separate link to the thread.)

    Well, Jon Bromfield was rather an aggressive little twit, wasn’t he? Thanks for showing him the door.

  12. 11) Could that possibly be Melanie Griffith’s genre roles? Because I’ve been in Hebron and even that isn’t helping me make sense of that sentence.

  13. Mary Robinette Kowal’s team did nothing at all to the autographings at all,-those were handles by someone (I have no idea who) on the original team.,and the only thing her team did to the readings was add a couple of group readings for Hugo nominees. Nancy is loudly blaming MRK for things that are not her fault, and also she is on panels.

  14. Jeez, Mike, tell the whole world about my paladin fetish why don’t you… *grin*

    Big shout out to the people at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, though. When they found out I’ve got a book in progress where the heroine is a perfumer, they very kindly sent me a care package. I was looking for stuff that might make sense in a high fantasy setting, and now I’ve got things with angelica root and oak moss and whatnot that actually smell reasonably accurate (or close enough that nobody’s gonna call me out on it!)

    The research for this book has been fascinating…I have tabs open to everything from domesticating civet cats to enfleurage to a Roman tradition of perfuming the wings of doves and releasing them at feasts to flap around fragrantly. The amount of money and power exercised to acquire perfumes over the centuries is staggering. Somebody else needs to write a book about this so we can sit at a bar making incoherent noises at each other and occasionally yelling “BUT THE THING WITH THE MUSK DEER AND THE FLUTES RIGHT?!”

  15. (12) SLIGHT UPDATE

    I think Scalzi’s point was meant to be that those who particularly jumped up and declared this was evidence that worldcon was doomed haven’t had the decency to correct themselves now that the programming is fixed, they’ve just gone silent.
    The ones who always witter on do so without evidence anyway, and they’re just carrying on as always.

    (I assume that Jon Bromfield has been excused from class, but just to add that Scalzi isn’t the only one to have returned to programming now that changes have been made – e.g. Jemisin has also come back – and I assume that they do so having been assured that the newer voices they wanted to see given space now have been, so they are returning to take up any remaining spots as per normal)

  16. Jon Bromfield is a hard core hater of Scalzi posting frequently over on the JDA and LC sites that Scslzi’s a terrible writer whose books don’t sell at all. Indeed he claims that Scalzi is making up his numbers as no one that terrible as a writer could possibly be doing that well…

  17. (7) This is not particularly new – the original Italian Job film and William Marshall’s Yellowthread Street novel Roadshow (1985) both depict criminals deliberately causing gridlock in cities by sabotaging the traffic control system, so that the police can’t chase them.

  18. Cheryl S. notes Could that possibly be Melanie Griffith’s genre roles? Because I’ve been in Hebron and even that isn’t helping me make sense of that sentence.

    My bad. I put these together and my severe head trauma of a year ago sometimes raises hob with spelling. Yes it’s her genre roles.

  19. @LeeWhiteside–

    Nancy is loudly blaming MRK for things that are not her fault, and also she is on panels.

    Wait, what? Is Nancy actually saying any of this? Or just this now-banished random interloper and other Puppy-like creatures?

  20. @Lis Carey

    As reported in the scroll, Nancy Kress did say that she wasn’t on panels, but she later updated it to say that she would be on some and that the schedule first sent out hadn’t been completed.

    ETA: She also has an autograph session.

  21. Nancy seems okay with everything

    Worldcon Update: Thank you to everyone who shared my signing-at-the-lobby-at-Worldcon post. I was overwhelmed and gratified at how much response I got. Now I have an Update: Worldcon Programming and I have been in communication. There was a series of misunderstandings regarding the wording of various communiques that went out to authors about whether the schedule we received was final or not–apparently, it was not. But I have been assured that nobody intended to slight older and more established authors, and I have been given panels and an autographing (although I will also autograph in the Hyatt lobby, for people who don’t see this.) At any rate, everybody can stop dissing Mary Robinette Kowal, who is genuinely trying hard to accomodate everybody (an impossible job, in life as well as worldcons).

  22. Jamoche: JDA loves it when people pay attention to him. He’ll love it that you dropped the link here.

  23. @Mark (re Bromfield/Scalzi) that was also my reaction — the claim that two unknowns are losing exposure due to Scalzi appearing is at best untestable since we-the-public don’t know (absent massive tabulation) how many people (starting with the programming chair, I expect) had their appearances trimmed, or how many panels had a person added, to make room for the excluded. (My guess is that MRK and her team did their best to make sure that everyone who should be on the program was on.) The fact that Bromfield is broadcasting outright lies (e.g. about Scalzi’s sales) makes this bit of bull unsurprising.

  24. I didn’t link to the Federalist – why give him the clicks? I linked to Wonkette.

  25. @OGH: I understand not giving WGHW direct links (cf, IIRC, your providing links to archives of his idiocies rather than his own pages). However, I don’t understand the problem with a link to a detailed takedown of him. Or am I missing an implied emoticon?

  26. Jamoche: I realize that — in fact, I went and read the Wonkette post.

    If JDA takes notice of it he’ll do his victimhood thing, however, it’s attention, and that’s his favorite thing.

    PS: I would have taken down a link to the Federalist.

  27. aaaaand — ninja’d by the originator.

    Now I really have to go make something useful out of this day in place of the dog’s breakfast it’s trying to turn into….

  28. Nancy Kress:

    At any rate, everybody can stop dissing Mary Robinette Kowal, who is genuinely trying hard to accomodate everybody (an impossible job, in life as well as worldcons).

    Hear hear. Mary Robinette Kowal is one of the nicest, more decent, polite, helpful and respectful people in fandom.

  29. Chip Hitchcock: JDA’s goal is to have everybody talking about him every day, and it’s a challenge for me to decide whether something is news I should cover, or just another of the irritating things he does on a daily basis. But when you think about what his goal is, if all a piece does is mock him, linking to it here may help him more than it does us. However, if I tried to turn this into a rule I might miss something I need to know about. (And I apologize for what I am sure reads like a completely unsatisfying, ambiguous explanation….)

  30. @ Mike Glyer.

    It’s like talking about Lord V——-, getting Mr. M——- to say his name backwards, repeating B———‘s name three times, or not saying G-d (of course).

  31. We have finally put up All The Bookcases.
    So now, at long last, my books are being released from durance vile.
    Some have been stored for years, or decades even.
    It is all much more emotional than I had anticipated.

  32. “I had no shelves for spec-fic,
    escaped durance vile, where they’d been for a while,
    I’m glad it’s finally true, my books have a home all anew”

  33. 13) Well, it’s a SAD day indeed when the United States of America is in such a state of decline that we depend on the Russian Federation for rocket engines. Every single deceased NASA administrator must be spinning in their graves right now…

  34. Rob Thornton: Mild confusion ensued when I (briefly) read your first example as Lord Vorkosigan… especially since that makes the second example Mr. Mark…

    (not helped by the habit of certain old-style gossip pages of eliding last names by that means, making it look like you were talking about gossiping about JDA rather than sending him hence.)

  35. (8) But the best 1994 Hugo acceptance speech won’t be in that video. I’m talking about the speech Bob Eggleton gave on the following night when he flew in to accept his Best Pro Artist Hugo, which was presented during the Masquerade.

  36. Dennis Howard on August 10, 2018 at 12:56 pm said:

    (8) But the best 1994 Hugo acceptance speech won’t be in that video. I’m talking about the speech Bob Eggleton gave on the following night when he flew in to accept his Best Pro Artist Hugo, which was presented during the Masquerade.

    The video does have Bob’s one-day-late acceptance speech. Much better than my acceptance-on-Bob’s-behalf that I had to do originally. My goodness, I had a lot more hair back then!

  37. @ Lenora Rose

    Well, I did want to play with that old usage. Pardon if it caused momentary discombobulation.

    P.S. Thanks for reminding me to revisit the Vorkosigan saga. Somehow I lost track of it as time passed, so onward to Bujold!

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