Pixel Scroll 9/5/18 With This Simple Trick You Can Scroll Wild Pixels From Home

(1) DOCTOR WHO AIRDATE SET. The BBC has announced “Doctor Who to land on Sunday 7 October 2018” (in Great Britain).

The Woman Who Fell to Earth

The last time viewers saw the Doctor, she was falling from her TARDIS so it’s about time for the Doctor to land. This time it’s all change, as Doctor Who is moving to Sunday nights, launching on Sunday 7 October….

Never before in the show’s history has an entire series descended to earth on a Sunday. This year marks a brand new era with a new Showrunner, a new Doctor, new friends and a whole host of new monsters – so it’s only fitting that the new Time Lord will land in a new time zone on BBC One.

And BBC America will air Doctor Who in a parallel time slot.

BBC AMERICA’s Doctor Who is blazing a global trail to match Jodie Whittaker’s revolutionary first season as the Doctor. The network’s US premiere will start at the same time as the UK debut on-air on Sunday, October 7th (time to be announced), followed by a special encore in its new regular primetime evening slot. For the run of the season, Doctor Who will premiere regularly on BBC AMERICA on its new marquee night on Sundays.

(2) BBC’S HORIZON. SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie spotted this video, just put up on BC iPlayer for a month: “The Horizon Guide to AI”. He says, “It’s a historical-to-present perspective.  Great to see SF and old voices and faces from the past like Arthur Clarke and Isaac Asimov.”

The BBC’s Horizon programme began in 1964, and since then has produced films looking at computer technology and the emergence of ‘artificial intelligence’.

Our dreams always begin with ideology and optimism, only for this optimism to be replaced with suspicion that AI machines will take over. However, as the Horizon archive shows, throughout each decade once we have learnt to live with the new emerging technology of the time, the pattern begins again. We become once more optimistic, before becoming fearful of it. The dream for decades had been for a computer with AI to be embedded within a humanoid robot, but just as scientists began to perfect machines with these qualities, something happened nobody expected.

Today, AI systems power our daily lives through smart technology. We are currently experiencing a level of fear about the power of AI, but will we enter the next decade optimistic about all that AI can deliver – or fearful of its ability to control vast areas of our lives?

(3) SPACE AND TIME COMING TO AN END. Hildy Silverman announced the long-lived magazine will fold: “The Future: An Update on Space and Time”.

This is a difficult post, but one that must be made. After 52 years of continuous publication, first under founder Gordon Linzner and over the past 12 years me, Space and Time will cease publication in 2019. I haven’t made this decision lightly, but after looking at all possible alternatives, there is simply no path forward. I cannot afford to keep the magazine going financially or make the time commitment necessary to keep it running….

For now, the current plan is to produce two more issues — one before the end of 2018 (#132)  and one final in 2019 (#133), which will use up our stock of accepted fiction and most of our accepted poetry. Any poets whose work we don’t ultimately use will be notified so they can resubmit their work elsewhere.

(4) BIGFOOT GETS THE BOOT. You couldn’t make this up: “Bigfoot researcher’s lawsuit tossed out by Canada court”.

A Canadian court has dismissed a Bigfoot-believer’s lawsuit claiming British Columbia failed in its duty to recognise that sasquatches exist.

Todd Standing tried to get the province to acknowledge that the giant, ape-like figure was “an indigenous mammal living within British Columbia”.

He also claimed the province infringed on his fundamental rights regarding his concern for the creature.

The province argued the civil claim lacked “an air of reality”.

(5) PRATHER OBIT. Washington Science Fiction Association frequenter Rebecca Prather died August 24 at her nursing home in Vienna, Virginia.

Samuel Lubell said, “She loved traveling the world, photography, and Mensa. Prather celebrated her 80th birthday on August 16.”


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 5, 1912  — Frank Thomas. Author of The Disney Villain. Given that it was printed by Hyperion Books which is owned by Disney, I’m not expecting it to be very terribly critically written.
  • Born September 5, 1942 — Nancy A Walker. Author of Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women.
  • Born September 5 — Frank Cioffi, 67. Author of Formula Fiction? An Anatomy of American Science Fiction, 1930-1940.
  • Born September 5 — Carolyne Larrington, 59. Author of The Land of the Green Man: A Journey Through the Supernatural Landscapes of the British Isles and Winter is Coming: The Medieval World of Game of Thrones.


(8) THE CONSPIRACY. It’s happening in the Denver Airport.

(9) FREEDOM OF CHOICE. Adri Joy is worried about spoilers for the first book in this review of book two in Tim Pratt’s series – if you’re not worried, read the review! At Nerds of a Feather — “Microreview [Book]: The Dreaming Stars by Tim Pratt”.

There’s probably enough background in The Dreaming Stars to make it accessible to anyone who hasn’t already read the first book. We are re-introduced to the Liars and the now-expanded White Raven gang, who have spent the months since the end of The Wrong Stars getting progressively more bored in close confinement with each other. The book fills us in very effectively on the rest of the backstory too – the now not-so-mysterious (but still quite mysterious) Axiom, the fate of Meditreme Station, the relationships among the main characters and their respective histories with sociopathy-inducing brain spiders, and the other events that have led to our multi-temporal heroes hanging out on their cool but limited zero-g asteroid base.

(10) SERIES LAUNCHER. And Adri Joy has high praise for the new Robert Jackson Bennett book: “Microreview [Book]: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett”.

Rarely does a book instil such a sense of excitement in me as the first ten percent of Foundryside, the first in a new trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett. The book wastes no time throwing us right into the action with Sancia, a mysterious thief in the middle of a job that appears to be going terribly wrong. Sure enough, within pages, Sancia has accidentally burned down the docks of Tevanne and has most of the city’s authorities out looking for her. More importantly, however, she has discovered that the mysterious object she has been asked to locate is a magical key that can open any lock, and which she is able to have direct conversations with thanks to her own mysterious and unique abilities. By the time Sancia and her buddy Clef (who is a boy key, a fact which is actually questioned and has an in-universe justification beyond “of course this inanimate object is of the default gender!”) are making their way through magical doors that <SPEAK IN OSTENTATIOUS CAPITALS ABOUT THEIR LIFE MISSIONS>, I was absolutely hooked, and while Foundryside certainly gets darker from this point, I never lost sight of that initial hit of wonder from the world Bennett has developed….

(11) THOSE WERE THE DAYS. John Scalzi’s twenty-year blogging anniversary marathon continues with “1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Five: Social Media”.

Was it fun in 1998? I think it was, but in regard to blogs in particular, it was more that it was exciting. There was a sense of being on a frontier of sorts — a place not yet colonized and so a place of invention, or reinvention, if you wanted that instead. We were doing things that were never done before! (In fact they had been done before, many times, in many other media, but they were never done on the Web, in html, so.) There was status conferred just for being out there in the wild, with your online journal the only signpost around for figurative miles. The blogosphere was still (barely) small enough in 1998 that you could read everyone and keep up with their doings. The full blossoming and influence of the blogosphere was still most of a decade away at least, but it seemed like something could happen there.

(12) CONGRATULATIONS, THAT’S HORRIBLE. Alex Doyle’s “Groan Up Comedy” details his efforts to win the “Punday” competition at Callahan’s Place during Worldcon 76.

…What they tell me is that the rules for this sort of thing vary, but in this case, a topic will be given and the participants have 30 seconds to start delivery of the pun. If somebody already used that pun, reusing it disqualifies you. Everybody will line up and the mic gets passed down the line. If you’re at the start of the line the field is wide open, but you’ve got to think fast. If you’re at the end, you’ve got time to work your material, but somebody ahead might snipe it out from under you. As topics change, the mic starts at the other end of the line and the last participant becomes the first so the abuse averages out. Pro tip: sit in the middle.

As a bonus, should any pun be awful enough, the author will get awarded a Spider Robinson trading card by a judge dressed as the character Callahan. A number of these will get handed out, and for suitably terrible puns, but honestly I was too preoccupied to remember all but one of them. Later, I would recall that it was:

Contestant: “Hey Callahan – get me a beer and a hot dog!”
Callahan: “Why?”
Contestant: “It’s the 200th anniversary of Frank-n-stein.”

(13) CAPTAIN MARVEL. Entertainment Weekly brings a first look of Brie Larson as Captain Marvel (“Brie Larson takes flight as Captain Marvel on this week’s EW cover”).

There’s a bright new star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Captain Marvel leads the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s new issue, with an exclusive first look at Brie Larson’s Air-Force-pilot-turned-intergalactic-hero.
Film fans know Carol Danvers only as the mysterious person paged by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in the last scene of Avengers: Infinity War, and she’ll appear in the still-untitled Avengers 4, presumably to help beat up on Thanos. But before that, she’s got her own story to tell — and EW has all the exclusive intel on her upcoming solo film.
When Captain Marvel hits theaters March 8, 2019, it’ll be the 21st entry in the MCU — and the first to star a solo female superhero. In the past decade, the MCU has assembled a diverse lineup of female heroes, from witches and warriors to widows and wasps. But never before has a woman headlined her own story — until Captain Marvel, the part-Kree, part-human pilot who made her comics debut back in 1968.

(14) COMICSGATE INFIGHTING. Jon Del Arroz’ website was down for a couple of days. The reason? — “Hit By A Hacker Attack”. [Internet Archive link.]

What happened was, someone hacked into my hosting account. They purposefully took down the website and tried to lock me out. I had to go through a number of hoops yesterday to restore the account, and I believe we are safe again with precautions I’ve now put into place, but it’s very disconcerting, especially given the timing of the attack.

If you look at last week, I wrote a blog calling out a certain “game designer” and on the other front, the comic book movement I’ve been integral in getting going both took more heat than ever before — with a bunch of randos coming out and blasting me and others personally– and blew up internally with an outrage mob which isn’t healthy at all.

I don’t know who the culprit is, but it’s likely from one of those groups, and I know the attack means I’m very well over the target, and what I’m doing here is VERY effective.

(15) AND IF YOU CUT ME. “The tree that bleeds… metal?”. The colored sap is eye-catching. Absorbing some metal may protect against insects.

Heavy metals like nickel and zinc are usually the last thing that plants want to grow next to in high concentrations.

But a specialised group, known as hyperaccumulators, have evolved to take up the normally toxic metals into their stems, leaves and even seeds.

Researchers have been studying Pycnandra acuminata in particular – a tree that grows on the island of New Caledonia in the south Pacific.

(16) ALL ASHORE THAT’S GOING ASHORE: “Monster iceberg’s pivot and turn” — it’s finally starting to head out to sea.

The monster Antarctic iceberg A-68 looks finally to be on the move.

For 13 months after breaking away from the White Continent’s long peninsula, the trillion-tonne block did little more than shuffle back and forth on the spot.

But now its southern end has swung round almost 90 degrees, indicating the berg has been caught in ocean currents.

The approaching southern summer should only assist its anticipated slow drift northwards, experts say.

(17) THE ANSWER MY FRIEND. BBC reports “Urban wind turbine wins UK James Dyson award”. It can capture wind from any direction — which is where wind usually comes from around buildings….

The O-Wind Turbine aims to capture inner-city wind and turn it into electricity in cities struggling to produce enough renewable energy for increasing populations.

The portable, low-cost device can be attached to the sides of buildings.

The two inventors said they hoped the energy produced could be plugged into the home or the electricity grid.

(18) IT’S ALL IN THE WRIST. JJ is giving odds: “10 to 1 says that there’s already cat martial arts fanfic.”

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

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63 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/5/18 With This Simple Trick You Can Scroll Wild Pixels From Home

  1. (4)

    The province argued the civil claim lacked “an air of reality”.

    I feel for the guy. British Columbia sassed him and the court squashed his case, so he got totally sass-squashed.

  2. “So the complete lack of any Bigfoot roadkill implies a very small population. Like 0.”

    I do not agree. We still haven’t found a roadkill of a jackalope and I witnessed one myself by the filer bench at MAC2.

  3. @John A Arkansawyer
    A loving tribute to my favorite Dolly Parton song, “Jolene”!

    A recent tweet from Dolly herself on Jolene.

  4. @Lenora Rose

    I’ve been pretty happy with my iPad mini 4 and a bluetooth keyboard. Finding a durable keyboard has been a bit of a trick.

    As a supplementary writing device, it works great. I still like a real keyboard.


  5. (14) Speculating about the identity of an Internet-based intruder based on zero competent data is on my short list of ways to look effortlessly stupid in public. From the gentleman’s account, he has no information, just ad-hoc spitballing — where, instead, he at least could look in his log files and cough up the intruder’s IP address.

    That Internet location would (statistically) probably turn out to be yet another zombienet host doing automated script attacks against vulnerable software, but at least it would be something, where Mr. Del Arroz has instead gone with yet another dumbass victim narrative. Hey, Jon: If your idea of how to do Internet security is to blog idle speculations about who might have been giving you the shiv, you’re doing it wrong. (Signed, all of the world’s system administrators.)

  6. 18) Just be *that* pedantic martial artist. =)

    His sword fingers need a bit of adjustment. It’s not a peace sign, but a more of a stabbing motion with the two fingers held tight together.

    Then the kitten will be pleased enough by your technique to teach you the twin unstoppable techniques of Tiger Descends from the Mountain, and Falling Asleep in a Sunbeam!

  7. @Cat Eldridge:

    Ok he’s even dumber than I thought he was. Every reputable hosting company I’ve ever dealt with has a hosting option where no one, and I mean no one, can do anything with your hosting as it’s completely locked down.

    First, necessary disclaimer: Although I’m a senior sysadmin with security experience (e.g., used to run online operations for a commercial bank, which is to say a credit-card payment processing outfit), I’ve carefully avoided administering (or hosting) WordPress. With great respect to OGH, WordPress is a representative example of the creeping chthonian horror that is the PHP Web-app ecosystem, and my life was made waaaay simpler when I banished PHP from the public-facing side of my Internet servers, years ago.

    That having been said, I note that Mr. Del Arroz has his WordPress blog hosted at GoDaddy. (This is not a secret. I looked up his IP address.) GoDaddy, Inc. are a provider infamous for pitching their offerings at bottom-dollar customers, FWIW, but they do offer WordPress managed hosting. Managed hosting means they automatically roll out on your behalf the interminable parade of security bug-fix updates, competing with other such vendors such as Bluehost, Dreamhost, WPEngine, and others. Typically in such hosting, applying bug fixes for any theming you use and non-default plugins, etc., is on you the customer.

    My recollection is that WordPress security access controls for remote administrative access are pretty weak, and even basic IP address ACLs require non-default plugins. If indeed Mr. Del Arroz’s admin credentials got stolen (and his account’s far too vague to even narrow down how), then it could have happened in a vast variety of ways, including without limitation using the same credentials in other contexts where they can be sniffed and reused by others.

    There are ways to limit the risk exposure and prevent common-mode security problems among multiple places one visits. My experience is that almost 100% of Internet users employ approximately zero of those.

  8. @Lenora: (device wishlist)

    I have an Asus netbook that I use for such tasks. My main complant is the tiny size of the built-in flash memory (not a hard drive or an SSD), but I’ve compensated for that somewhat by plugging a high-capacity microSD card into the native slot to act as a semi-permanent “second hard drive.” (I’m also a bit miffed that the USB ports lack the oomph to run my USB 3.0 external hard drive, but that’s why powered hubs exist.) It’s an 11” device, I think – nice and light, runs the 32-bit edition of Windows 10 Home with no problems… but I wouldn’t want to try running a graphics-creation program on its Atom processor. As I recall, I paid a net $100 for it through a pre-Black Friday sale about four or five years ago – snapped it up at $140 in mid-November, the price dropped to $100 a few days later, and the chain (Best Buy) refunded the difference when I asked nicely. I didn’t even have to fight the crowds. I’m sure there’s a later edition of the same basic model still on the market and would not be a bit surprised to see a similar deal in stores this November.

    Software-wise, I’m a big fan of LibreOffice. Writer will export decent-quality HTML, even though I despise the hard line-breaks and the lack of true XHTML compliance, and it will also spit out Word, RTF, and PDF files among other formats. I actually go with the LibreOffice Portable edition, which doesn’t entangle itself in the registry. It takes a little longer for the new LOP release to come out, but that usually means Day One bugs have a chance to get caught and patched, which I view as a solid win. Further, LibreOffice doesn’t come with that “no using this for profit” restriction that Microsoft Office puts in all of its non-Pro EULAs.

    My normal work configuration with this machine is to use a short extension cord to connect my USB wireless flash drive* (which has an LOP install on it and functions as my main sneakernet media), switch on the wireless Bluetooth mouse, and I’m good to go. Back when I was still able to go to cons, I could easily fit the netbook, mouse, Kobo, iPad mini, and their required cords into one slim satchel with a bit of room to spare. I even did some editorial work on it in the lobby at TimeGate, and at one LibertyCon I used it to quickly add an autograph to an ebook – the author signed a blank page in my iPad’s sketch app, I transferred the image to the wireless flash drive, fired up the netbook, used my portable install of calibre to edit the ebook, then plugged my Kobo into the netbook long enough to transfer the file. (I think it took longer to describe than to do, honestly.)

    Point is, it’s a lightweight Windows machine with solid (5+ hours) battery life. I do well over 95% of my daily computing on my iPad, the netbook handles at least 80% of the remainder, and I only have to drag out the full laptop a couple of times a month. Fair point, though: having that wireless flash drive as a go-between helps a lot. As soon as I finish this comment (on the iPad), I’m going to see if there’s a new LOP version out yet. If so, I’ll download it to the app that talks to the flash drive, where it’ll rest until I turn the flash drive on and send it there. Then, when I next turn on either Windows machine, it’ll be Right There, ready to install. (EDIT: Hey, version 6.1.0 came out in late August! Nabbed!)

    * SanDisk has made two versions of this so far as I know. I preferred the original, which used a microSD card instead of onboard memory, but it’s been end-of-lifed. I now have the second, the Connect Drive, with 128GB on board. Very easy to use – turn it on, connect my iPad to its network (or, if at home, let both connect to my home network), and use the iOS app to shuttle files back and forth. (Yes, it works with Android, too.) When I’m done, I turn the drive back off and use it as a normal USB stick. Easy.

  9. Here’s a funny.

    So I started inquiring about systems and all *now* because the friend who works in a computer place had just won a couple of pairs of Bluetooth speakers in their draw — meaning he was pretty sure he hadn’t won a new laptop.

    Now it seems that a week later, he learns he may indeed have won a new laptop. (The joys of being a few provinces away from Head Office) He figures either it or his old laptop will likely suit my needs just fine, even if it fails to be the *optimal* system.

    And he’s one of the people we’re selling our extra car to, so we’re already in negotiations per se. 🙂

  10. Lenora Rose, sometimes things just work out! Glad to hear that you probably have your computer needs sorted.

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