Pixel Scroll 9/14/18 Planetary Classification Just Ain’t About Sol Anymore

(1) MOON EXHIBITION IN DENMARK. Louisiana, the largest gallery of Modern Art in the Nordic countries, is holding an exhibition about The Moon from September 13-January 20. The themes are Moonlight, Selenography, The Moon of Myth, The Moon Landing, The Colonization of Space and Deep Time.

From painting to virtual reality, superstition to science, myths to missions, fantasies to space colonies, join Louisiana on a trip to the Moon – into space and into ourselves. ARTnews has already called THE MOON the most intriguing show of the season.

This large-scale exhibition at Louisiana highlights the role, the importance and the fascinating power of the Moon. The exhibition presents more than 200 works and objects—and show how the round white disc is reflected in our art and cultural history. From Galileo’s moon map to Norman Foster’s plans for 3D-printed moon bases.

The exhibition mixes art, film, music, literature, architecture, cultural history, design and natural science into a vibrant and diverse portrait of our closest neighbor in the sky. We encounter the Moon as a fundamental symbol and as a goal of romantic and artistic longings, scientific inquiry, existential issues—and the urge for political expansion.

With this exhibition, Louisiana commemorates the imminent 50th anniversary of man’s first steps on the Moon and also calls attention to a strong and renewed interest in the Moon both in art and as a springboard for a new Space Race with all its strategic and economic implications.

(2) CIXIN LIU. At The Paris Review, Amanda DeMarco’s overview “Cixin Liu, China, and the Future of Science Fiction” includes comments on the English translation of Liu’s Ball Lightning.

It’s been said that the past is a foreign country, and I’ve come to believe that the future is too. I’d just never been so immersed in it before. In Beijing this summer, I read about two thousand pages of work by Cixin Liu, possibly the world’s most important living science-fiction author and certainly among humanity’s most imaginative prognosticators. (A recent London Review of Books piece called his Three-Body trilogy, published in English in 2016, “one of the most ambitious works of science fiction ever written.”) Like life in Beijing, the experience was magnificent and exhausting and thrilling and flawed. Science fiction might be the genre best suited to Chinese society today; the breakneck pace of change becomes a constant, and to live in the present is to anticipate what is to come. When we told our acquaintance that we’d like to return next summer, she responded as many of our Chinese friends did: “You might not recognize it here.”

(3) BRADBURY STATUE ALMOST PAID FOR. In Waukegan, IL — “Ray Bradbury statue fundraising effort crosses $100,000 mark, enters final stretch”.

The fundraising effort behind a proposed 12-foot-tall statue honoring Waukegan native Ray Bradbury is in its final stretch, according to a library spokeswoman.

The group behind the campaign, now an official part of the Waukegan Public Library Foundation, has raised $107,000 of the $125,000 needed through a mix of individual, corporate and nonprofit donations and pledges, said Amanda Civitello, the library’s spokeswoman.

…The proposed 12-foot-tall, stainless steel statue, designed by artist Zachary Oxman, was inspired by Bradbury’s poem “If Only We Had Taller Been” and would show Bradbury astride a rocket ship, waving a book.

(4) INCURABLY VIRAL. Chuck Wendig explains how this movie got started: “You Might Be The Killer: The… Movie?”

So maybe you remember in the halcyon salad days of Summer 2017, one mister Sam Sykes and one mister, uhh, well, me, we got on The Twitters and we did an improvised horror story, kind of a riff on a slasher film, but in Twitter format. Shitposting, the kids call it!

(“Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig Just Wrote Horror Movie Gold on Twitter.“)

(Or, read the whole thing starting here.)

Well, that went kinda viral.

And when a thing goes viral, it takes on a weird life of its own, meaning, we started fielding offers to make our Twitter thread into Something. Movies, YouTube series, cartoons — but at the end of the day, we had two guys, Craig Engler and Tom Vitale, say they had a vision for it, and it was a movie, and we said, HELL YEAH. Because, holy shit, a snarky slasher film from our tweets? Sign us up…

You Might Be the Killer will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin September 21.

And there’s what you could call a companion Twitter thread that got started by Myke Cole – begins here.

(5) PRO TIP. From SFWA — “Contracts Committee Alert – Failure to Finalize Contracts”.

The Contracts Committee has learned of recent cases in which a publisher did not routinely send authors a copy of the final contract signed by both the author and publisher.  The authors had made significant amendments to their contracts which the publisher ignored, publishing material in a format which the authors had crossed out in the contract they signed.  Our understanding is that the books were thus published without a fully executed contract.

Failure to return counter-signed contracts is a failure to finalize the contract and is not an acceptable business practice. A deal should not be considered final until the author has received the final, mutually agreed-to, counter-signed contract….

(6) ASK AN AGENT. Fantasy-Faction has lined up four agents willing to answer people’s questions during the week of September 24, John Jarrold, Julie Crisp, Jamie Cowen, and Harry Illingworth  — “Announcing Agent Week!”

…To many of us, agents are mythic beasts who guard the doors to fame, fortune and the realisation of our dreams. There are a thousand websites out there with advice, tips and tricks on how to discover an agent and, hopefully, entice them enough to take you on as client.

Should you wish to, on those websites, you can find information on the publishing industry, what happens when you’ve snagged an agent, how to tread the minefield of getting your book out there and then the hard bit, getting people to read it.

But better surely is to ask an agent yourself?

Which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Especially if your introverted Britishness prevents you even putting digit to keyboard… Well, fear no more, the struggle is over. We have, through the kindness of four world class agents of impeccable taste, organised a week in which you can ask the questions and get your answers.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 14 – Walter Koenig, 82. Obviously you know who he is. Author of Buck Alice and the Actor Robot which I assume is fiction, Chekov’s Enterprise: A Personal Journal of the Making of Star Trek-The Motion Picture and Warped Factors: A Neurotic’s Guide to the Universe. There’s also InAlienable, a SF film written and executive produced by him.
  • Born September 14 – Rowena Morrill, 75. Well-known for her genre illustration, and is one of the first female artists to impact paperback cover illustration. Her notable works include The Fantastic Art of Rowena, Imagine (France publication only), Imagination (Germany only), and The Art of Rowena.  Though nominated for the Hugo four times, she has not yet won, but has garnered the British Fantasy Award.


  • It’s tough to be a schoolkid with an unusual name – Off the Mark.
  • A chance meeting with a dino pal from the neighborhood — Andertoons
  • WuMo raises the perpetual question – who decides where the story’s going, the writer or the characters?
  • We’ll let you be the judge of this joke — Andertoons
  • Yipes! Is that what we’re eating? — Scandiavia and the World

(9) WE MADE IT! MexicanX Initiative participant Iliana Vargas has reported on the experience of attending the Worldcon: “Hibridaciones sinápticas: Habitar la alteridad en todas sus posibilidades: TheMexicanxInitiative en la Worldcon 76” (There’s’ a Google Translate English language version here – as always with GT, buyer beware!)

Creo que si alguien me preguntara por los momentos más significativos de mi vida, sin duda diría que lo fue el entrar al centro de convenciones y ver a tantas personas con las que me identifiqué de inmediato, haciéndome sentir que estaba en un lugar en el que nadie me juzgaría por mi rareza, sino que la compartiría conmigo.Porque de eso se trata la Worldcon: es un ecosistema en el que uno no necesita usar la máscara del ser social con que interactúa cada día para funcionar en el mundo convencional; simplemente se es, con toda la libertad y con todo lo necesario para mostrarlo, lo que uno ha construido en su propio imaginario individual. Es una fiesta que dura cinco días, en la que uno puede encarnar todo aquello que ha abrevado de la literatura, el cine, el cómic, la exploración sonora, las artes visuales y multimedia, para crear su propia comunidadunderground;una comunidad en la que permea un ambiente de respeto, de asombro y de curiosidad, de expectativa constante por lo que uno encontrará cada día en los pasillos, lo que escuchará en cada panel, lo que descubrirá en la zona de vendimia, lo que aprenderá al final de cada día….

(10) NEXT GEN. Netflix picks up Chinese-Canadian animated genre film at Cannes — SYFY Wire has the story: “Next Gen: A Chinese meme, ghosting producer, and a lucky break led to Netflix’s biggest animated film”

The international sales market at Cannes generally runs on two parallel tracks: Big names make splashy deals for high-profile movies, while relatively unknown production companies hock not-so-high-profile projects to international distributors hungry for programming. So it created quite the stir and raised more than a few eyebrows online when, at this year’s festival, Netflix plunked down $30 million for Next Gen, a Chinese-Canadian animated sci-fi film from a pair of first-time feature directors and a studio that had never made a movie before.

…It began, as do seemingly all worthy modern stories, with a meme. Back in 2008, an artist in China named Wang Nima created his own riff on the American “Rage Comic,” a Reddit-grown comic form that couples consciously janky art and the hair-trigger anger inherent to the internet. The style, which became known as “Baozou,” was instantly popular in China, and Wang started up a site called BaozouManhua.com to build on his creation. Fast forward five years and the Baozou site had become a digital empire, with stand-up comedy, web series, and user-generated content, sort of a Chinese version of Funny Or Die.


(11) CRAIG MILLER. The latest Chatting With Sherri podcast is “with Producer; Craig Miller”.

Craig Miller is a well-known and respected writer/producer with over 300 credits but he began his Hollywood career as a specialist in motion picture publicity, promotion, and licensing. He started his marketing career fresh out of college, working for George Lucas on a science fiction movie nobody thought would break even: Star Wars. He was Producer-for-Lucasfilm on episodes of Sesame Street guest starring R2-D2 and C-3PO, the Star Wars robots, and other shows and projects.

Miller set up as an independent publicity consultant, working with most of the major studios and many independent companies through his company, Con Artists, and with creative forces of nature such as Stephen Spielberg and Jim Henson.  Films he’s worked on include The Dark Crystal, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Excalibur, Superman II, Altered States, Splash, The Black Cauldron, Real Genius, and dozens of others.

(12) CASTING CALL. If Henry Cavill is really out, Steven Colbert says he’s available.

(13) COMIC CON AFRICA. South Africa’s first Comic Con: “Tickets sold out for Africa’s first Comic Con show”. Yes, they’re calling it Comic Con; any bets SDCC will sue about use on another continent?

This will see thousands of gaming, pop culture, superhero comic fans descending on the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre, north of Joburg, this weekend.

Comic Con Africa will see the best of the best in the industry of superhero comics to gaming, and fans will get an opportunity to see some of their favourite international stars in person.

The build-up to the three-day event has been overwhelming for organisers, who did not expect a sold-out response from fans.

“What to expect at Comic Con Africa 2018” —  for example:

(14) BEFORE THERE WAS TINTIN. Murals Hergé did as an art student are crumbling: “Tintin and the vanishing murals: Brussels races to save art”.

He’s one of the best-known artists of the 20th Century but, before The Adventures of Tintin, the Belgian artist Hergé created art of a different kind – murals at the Brussels school where he once studied.

In the early 1920s Hergé, then a 15-year-old Georges Remi, was a scout and student at Institut St Boniface, in the Ixelles area of Brussels.

He adorned the walls of the old scout HQ with lovingly rendered art showing scouts and Native American Indians, as well as a map of Belgium.

But now the small garage is in disuse, the walls are in a poor state and many of his drawings have crumbled away.

(15) UNWINDING A MYSTERY. Chip Hitchcock asks, “Did this inspire de Camp’s The Clocks of Iraz?”: “Why Edinburgh’s clock is never on time”.

Arrive in Edinburgh on any given day and there are certain things you can guarantee. The fairy-tale Gothic of the royal castle, built on an extinct volcanic plug. The medieval riddle of alleys and lanes. The majesty of the churchyards and macabre spires set against a barb of basalt crags, all as if created by a mad god.

Yet there is one other given in the Scottish capital, and it is the hallmark of Princes Street, the city’s main thoroughfare that runs east to west joining Leith to the West End. The time on the turret clock atop The Balmoral Hotel is always wrong. By three minutes, to be exact….

“We look after 5,000 different clock towers around the world, and to say The Balmoral’s is peculiar is a massive understatement,” [maintainer Smith of Derby]’s Tony Charlesworth told me. “It’s hard to believe, but it’s the only one we’re paid to keep wrong.”

(16) THE HILLS ARE ALIVE. That’s pretty funny —

(17) SQUIRREL POWER. Marvel released a trailer for its full-length animated film Marvel Rising Secret Warriors:

In Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, powered teens Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Quake, Patriot, America Chavez, and Inferno join forces as an unlikely, but formidable crew of aspiring heroes. When a threat no one could have expected bears down on the Marvel Universe, this ragtag, untrained band of teens have no choice but to rise together and prove to the world that sometimes the difference between a “hero” and “misfit” is just in the name.


[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Karl-Johan Norén, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Kendall, ULTRAGOTHA, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

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63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/14/18 Planetary Classification Just Ain’t About Sol Anymore

  1. Re: your first post of this thread–Here is a boilerplate response about the definition of what is a planet or moon:

    NOT quite correct. The consensus is and should be that the word “planet” should NOT be used without a qualifying adjective. Pluto IS a dwarf planet. The word “planet” however has lost ALL meaning without adjectives describing what kind. Among these are terrestrial/rocky, gas or ice giant, KBO, Trans-Uranic, exo-, etc.. Generally speaking it CAN be a planet if it is ROUND/Spheroidal/Ellipsoidal due to its large enough mass and gravity forcing the most efficient shape- a globe.
    Many “moons” are NOT round but jagged oblong asteroids that were captured. They are lazily called moons because they orbit a larger body. But they are more precisely called captured asteroids or natural satellites. Moon is a shorter word to say and this contributes to the lack of accuracy. BUT this is another separate argument. Unless—
    The IAU could END this silly controversy by revisiting its 2006 definition. By refining it by true consensus of a full membership vote from working group committee recommendations. The 2006 action was NOT that.
    Furthermore, if the IAU were to undertake a full comprehensive definition of ALL objects which we may find orbiting any primary star- from dust grains and gas clouds all the way up to, in increasing mass and qualities, to a brown dwarf- a failed star– then this could be a settled question as we continue to explore our star system* and all the others.
    * We will continue to find dim, hard to image objects as we go out to the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud.

  2. (4) I remember that thread. Neat that it became a movie.

    (10) Am I the only one getting serious Big Hero 6 déjà vu from that trailer?

  3. 6) Great news…but John is my agent, and his surname is spelt “Jarrold”, and has been known to reject people who butcher his name with extreme prejudice (he is English, after all).

  4. @David Dorais:

    Saying that the word “planet” has lost all meaning is begging the question: you’re starting from the assumption that there was a time when “planet” by itself referred to things that are all of the same physical kind.

    Even if we ignore most of the history of the word–the very long time when “planet” included the Sun, Moon, and Saturn, very different objects, but not the Earth–it gets fuzzy. Ceres was a planet, then it wasn’t, now it sort of is again.

    The IAU might well be able to come up with a better definition than the one they offered in 2006. I doubt that they could come up with a better definition of either “planet” or “moon” that would be useful to astronomers and planetologists, and accepted by most other people who use those words. The “captured asteroid” definition might make Triton not a moon, and leave it unclear whether Deimos is one.

    A lot of words in ordinary use don’t have agreed-on definitions of what counts–Is my aunt’s second husband my uncle? How far out do you count cousins as family? Is a cable spool a chair if I sit on it, and is it still one if someone else puts their coffee mug there?

    Is a whale a fish? Lots of people would say yes, another large group say “no, a whale is a mammal,” but the same logic that says birds are dinosaurs lets you count whales as fish again–and makes otters and humans fish, by the same “group all species descended from a common ancestor” cladistics.

    Much as that line of reasoning amuses me, when I’m trying to communicate I use “fish” to mean something like “aquatic vertebrates that aren’t mammals, reptiles*, or amphibians,” what people talking about food sometimes call “finfish” to distinguish from “shellfish.”

    *As you know, Bob, “reptile” is also paraphyletic, and not just because birds are dinosaurs. The English word “reptile” is pretty clear, but “snakes, turtles, and crocodiles but not birds” isn’t a set that fits the idea of grouping by relatedness/common ancestry. It’s like answering “which cousins are family?” by saying “my parents’ sisters’ children, and Mom’s brother Jim’s kids, because we like Jim.” That might be what someone meant when they said “I always see my cousins at Thanksgiving” or “I have seven cousins,” but it’s not the answer that comes out when people start asking “what does ‘second cousin’ mean?”

  5. I had to look up paraphyletic, and immediately recognized that I had looked it up before. I guess it didn’t take. Anyway, the Wikipedia page on it has a diagram demonstrating why reptilia is paraphyletic, in case anyone else needs it besides me.

  6. @Vicki Rosenzweig–

    Is a whale a fish? Lots of people would say yes, another large group say “no, a whale is a mammal,” but the same logic that says birds are dinosaurs lets you count whales as fish again–and makes otters and humans fish, by the same “group all species descended from a common ancestor” cladistics.

    No. Or only by an intentional descent into the ridiculous.

    Birds are the direct descendants of the few dinosaur lines not wiped out be the asteroid and its aftermath.

    Mammals and fish have a common ancestor way, way back–but whales (and dolphins, and seals, and otters) are directly descended from the fish that left the water, climbed onto the land, and evolved into reptiles, dinosaurs, mammals of all kinds. And then some of the mammals moved back into the sea, long after having become not-fish, and while readapting to the water to various degrees, have never reverted to being fish.

    There was a time when it was not unreasonable for people to lump whales in with “fish,” because they didn’t yet know anything about how different species evolved or were related to each other, or even really what the major differences between aquatic mammals and fish were. That’s no longer true.

    And “how exactly is this person related to me” is a different question than “is this person my family.

  7. @Lis Carey
    There are people in my family who aren’t related to me at all (being descended from a first spouse of someone who’s related by marriage), but they aren’t treated as not-family as far as I can remember. (And we count half-siblings as the same as full-siblings.) As always, YMMV.

  8. Jeremy Szal: and his surname is spelt “Jarrold”

    Geeze, it’s a sad day when I can’t even transcribe what’s in the post I’m linking to. Much less, reflect that I really do know that’s the correct spelling of his name. Apologies to all concerned.

  9. @P J Evans–That’s kinda my point. Family is a social construct, and “Is this person my family?” is only loosely related to “How is this person related to me?”

    Genealogically related people may not be family. Family may comprise, in whole or in part, people who are not genealogically related.

    But whether a whale is a fish or not is simply a knowable fact, even though, before we had acquired sufficient knowledge, we didn’t know.

  10. Oh, yeah, family doesn’t equal blood relation. I share a household with my step-cousin, for instance (my stepmother’s niece). Both my stepmother and my step-cousin are family, as are all the aunts and uncles and cousins by marriage, and the siblings-in-law. But I consider them all relations as well. They’re not blood relations, but they’re still relations by my definition.

    ETA: Also my late husband’s relatives, including those by marriage. So there you are.

  11. My fam = (a) a brother and a cousin from my adoptive family with whom I occasionally disagree on Facebook; (b) several biological relatives that I don’t really know too well, with whom I occasionally agree on Facebook; (c) my dwindling supply of decades-long friends; (d) my cat. One of my category (c) friends is ailing and possibly dying, and I’ve shed more tears for him in the last 48 hours than anybody in categories (a)-(b) ever. He’s estranged from his own biofam because they didn’t like his orientation, and has a huge found-family that loves him and is there for him. I’m busy working on category (e), people I wouldn’t mind hanging out with when I retire, assuming I live long enough to do that.

    Also, from all my DNA-club experience, there are a whole lot of people who think they are biologically related but are mistaken. Just saying.

  12. I’ve long been partial to the Vonnegut approach to affiliation–granfalloon, karass, duprass. . . .

  13. Fascinating discussion all round people.

    Arriving late I’d like to sum up:
    Uncle Herbert is not strictly my uncle but under current definitions is a moon
    Birds are not lizards but if they clear their own orbits they are planets
    Pluto and everything else is a fish
    Taxonomies are best regarded as Kuiper belt pseudo-planetoids
    My second cousin’s partner is the discipline of cladistics

  14. @Darren Garrison–So, if we redefine the word “fish” from its current meaning to “any tetrapod,” then every therapist-format vertebrate is a fish.

    Of course, that means we need to make up another word for what we currently mean when we say “fish,” but, hey, the people insisting that words have no generally accepted meanings get to score a point, right?

    I stand by what I said before. It’s an intentional descent into the ridiculous.

    Generally, I prefer useful communication. Whales–and humans and dogs and credent–are not within the usual meaning of the word “fish,” nor is “fish” the word scientists use when they wish to refer collectively to tetrapods. Instead, they say “tetrapods.”

    ETA: Camestros, bravo!

  15. ARGH! I just finished Seanan McGuire’s Night And Silence, and the novella included at the end had the most execrable pun, that McGuire must have been planning ever since the very first book in the series!

    It can’t possibly be a coincidence that [spoiler!] Tvyyvna’f ynfg anzr vf abg Qnlr, be Znex, ohg Qnlr-Znex. N qnlznex vf na hayvg znevgvzr anivtngvbany nvq, ivfvoyr va qnlyvtug, gung znex unmneqf gb anivtngvba, yvxr ebpxf be errsf. Hfhnyyl n gnyy cbyr jvgu n ynetr ivfvoyr gevnatyr be fdhner fvta ba gbc, ohg uvfgbevpnyyl gurl unir orra zhpu snapvre. Nyfb, gur cnggrea ba n yvtugubhfr vf n qnlznex; vg vqragvsvrf juvpu yvtugubhfr lbh’er ybbxvat ng jura lbh frr vg sebz gur frn (gung’f jul gurl unir fgevcrf naq qvnzbaqf naq fcvenyf naq fb sbegu; fb lbh pna gryy gurz ncneg rnfvyl).

    Naq abj fur’f n Fryxvr.

    She’s taken twelve books to set this up….

  16. Lis Carey on September 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm said:

    @Darren Garrison–So, if we redefine the word “fish” from its current meaning to “any tetrapod,” then every therapist-format vertebrate is a fish

    Not only that, but every doctor-format vertebrate, every lawyer-format vertebrate, every land vertebrate from every trade and profession is a fish under the rules of cladistics. Specificly the Osteichthyes.

  17. A conversation I had a few years ago with someone who declared she doesn’t like fruits only vegetables. She said anything she liked, eg cucumber was a vegetable regardless of its seed status. Anything she didn’t like, eg tomatoes was a fruit.

  18. @Lis Carey: Birds are the direct descendants of the few dinosaur lines not wiped out be the asteroid and its aftermath. Not in my recollection, various recent Pixels, or the description in Wikipedia, which speaks of birds (not archeopteryx et al, but true birds) as existing before the asteroid, although they “massively diversified” afterward.

  19. Yes, Chip, those would be the dinosaur lines not wiped by the asteroid. We don’t have those birds anymore, but the birds we do have are descended and diversified from them.

    People insisting it’s reasonable to describe apes as fish is okay, but I had better write a damned treatise when talking about birds being dinosaurs.

    Screw that.

  20. Chip Hitchcock on September 15, 2018 at 8:04 pm said:

    Not in my recollection, various recent Pixels, or the description in Wikipedia, which speaks of birds (not archeopteryx et al, but true birds) as existing before the asteroid, although they “massively diversified” afterward.

    The earliest known fosils of what we would today call a bird if it was alive date back to around 160 milion years ago. Back then, you wouldn’t have thought it much different from many other feathered dinosaurs. The term “true bird” is an artifact of limiting the description of a bird to what is around today. It is like with mammals–if there were no monotremes extant, then the modern description of mammals would have them all having live birth, and the fossils of platypii and echindii (if you could somehow determine that they laid eggs) would not be considered to have been “true mammals.” (If an even more basal lineage had survived, one with milk production before hair evolution or hair before milk evolution (whichever came first) our midern definition of mammals would have been even broader.)

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  22. So long and thanks for all the invertebrates!

    There is a podcast called “No such thing as fish”, bc IIRC biologists failed to find a common denominator for all things fish -fish seems to be a wide selection of species, not really related.

  23. @Cassy B.: I have Night and Silence but am about a third of the way through The Human Dress at the moment so won’t be getting to it for a while…so thanks for the ROT13.

  24. Peer on September 16, 2018 at 10:47 am said:

    There is a podcast called “No such thing as fish”, bc IIRC biologists failed to find a common denominator for all things fish -fish seems to be a wide selection of species, not really related

    No, all fish in the sense of “vertebrates that evolved in the water and stayed there” have a single common ancestor–it is just that the term “fish” doesn’t have a scientific meaning if it doesn’t include vertebrates that evolved in the water and left.

  25. David Goldfarb, only people who are serious boaters will get the pun. But if you do know the technical term, I think you’ll groan when you see it.

  26. All this talk about cladistics is reminding me of a linguistics conference speech–I forget by whom–where Big Name Linguist noted that the field was coming to the realization that biological cladistics had major problems as a model for understanding the relationships and evolution of languages. “But then,” he continued, “biologists are coming to the same opinion about its usefulness for the relationships and evolution of organisms.”

  27. Heather Rose Jones on September 16, 2018 at 9:16 pm said:

    All this talk about cladistics is reminding me of a linguistics conference speech–I forget by whom–where Big Name Linguist noted that the field was coming to the realization that biological cladistics had major problems as a model for understanding the relationships and evolution of languages. “But then,” he continued, “biologists are coming to the same opinion about its usefulness for the relationships and evolution of organisms.”

    Big Name Linguist should probably limit himself to talking about linguistics. He is breaking a rule.

  28. I urge everyone to look at Darren’s link, and read the whole thing.

    It doesn’t support his claim that it is correct or reasonable to say that humans are fish. I’m beginning to suspect that he had a traumatic childhood experience with the word “tetrapod.”

  29. And I’m beginning to suspect that you are guilty of breaking the same rule as Big Name Linguist. As far as popular useage goes, nobody is going to start calling humans fish. But scientifically, cladisticly, there either is no validity to the term “fish” or all tetrapods are fish. Your doubling and tripling down on your ignorance of the cladistic POV is beclowning you. Maybe you should try reading the wiki article on Osteichthyes that I posted earlier.

  30. All I’m getting out of this is that cladistics as interpreted by Darren Garrison seems to be the science of rendering useful terms useless by extremist nitpicking.

    I’m also really disinclined to appreciate someone who has called two people who disagree with him fools/idiots, even in a vague roundabout fashion. Defend your points, don’t attack.

  31. My cites are my defense–it isn’t a concept that I or Viki Rosensweig made up to be a contrarian, it is a basic tenant of cladistics that to be a valid clade a grouping must include both the ancestor species and all decendant species. This is not new or controversial, it is basic definitions. And cladistics is deeply imbedded in modern evolutionary biology–Big Name Linguist sounds about as credible as a flat-earther or Young Earth Creationist and really should stick to linguistics. As for Lis Carey, if I said that the sky was blue, she would dig in that it was really orange with green polka dots.

    I’ll say just two mote things in this before getting too XKCD 386–1.)I found this excellent discussion on the general topic involving real scientists and 2.)Dunning-Keuger.

  32. @Darren Garrison–
    Your Wikipedia link doesn’t support your claim. It supports the reality-based point that fish and mammals are tetrapods.

    Your “print encyclopedia,” as offered up by Google, might, but it’s hard to be entirely sure, given it’s presented with print so tiny I can only make out just so much of it without getting a splitting headache.

    Your link to The Straight Dope, a.k.a., “excellent discussion on the general topic involving real scientists,” you meant to refer to this bit, right?

    Originally Posted by Terrifel
    Just to be clear, then… we are fish, right? Along with birds, which are also fish. Correct?
    No, because “fish” isn’t a scientific term*, it’s a vernacular term. But, you can logically construct a clade that includes humans and some fish (the lobe finned ones) but that excludes other fish.

    *to the extent that it is used scientifically, it’s acknowldeged to be a paraphyletic group, meaning it doesn’t include all the descendants of the common ancestor of all the members in that group.

    You keep trying to claim that it is scientifically correct to call humans and birds fish because they’re in the same clade, but fish isn’t a scientific term at all. It’s vernaucular, and no, it doesn’t include apes or birds–or quite a few other things.

    The rather more scientific term, tetrapod, however, does include lobed fish, humans, birds, rep–all the things you want to include in “fish,” in your pathetic attempt to be cleverer than anyone else.

    As to the final point, i.e., #2 in the most recent post I see from you as I type this–go fuck yourself.

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