Pixel Scroll 9/16 Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Scrolls of Our Lives

(1) “A Halloween garden gnome” is what John King Tarpinian calls one of the pieces Tokyo University of Arts students created for a festival —


This massive work of art, which features a giant octopus wrapped around a Greek-style temple, has captured the attention of people across Japan. Now that the festival is over, though, the students are asking if anyone wants to buy it! 

More photos of the work on parade at the Rocket News 24 website.

(2) Of course, being scientists, these folks had to do what every science fiction fan knows better than to do — revive the ancient giant virus.

It’s 30,000 years old and still ticking: A giant virus recently discovered deep in the Siberian permafrost reveals that huge ancient viruses are much more diverse than scientists had ever known.

They’re also potentially infectious if thawed from their Siberian deep freeze, though they pose no danger to humans, said Chantal Abergel, a scientist at the National Center for Scientific Research at Aix-Marseille University in France and co-author of a new study announcing the discovery of the new virus. As the globe warms and the region thaws, mining and drilling will likely penetrate previously inaccessible areas, Abergel said.

“Safety precautions should be taken when moving that amount of frozen earth,” she told Live Science. (Though viruses can’t be said to be “alive,” the Siberian virus is functional and capable of infecting its host.)

…The new virus isn’t a threat to humans; it infected single-celled amoebas during the Upper Paleolithic, or late Stone Age.

(3) Next step, Wolverine? Claws still required, and it’s titanium not adamantium, but… a Spanish hospital recent replaced a significant amount of a man’s rib cage and sternum with a titanium replacement.

Putting titanium inside people’s chests is nothing new, but what made this different was the implant was 3D printed to match his existing bone structure.

(4) Lost In Space first got lost on September 15, 1965. The Los Angeles Times visited with some of the original cast.

Fifty years after the CBS sci-fi series “Lost in Space” blasted into orbit on Sept. 15, 1965, the show’s five surviving stars are still very close. A few gather each year to have dinner to celebrate the birthday of Jonathan Harris, the late actor who played the diabolical and very funny Dr. Zachary Smith.

“We have stayed very much like a normal dysfunctional family,” said Bill Mumy, who played child prodigy Will Robinson during the series’ three-season run.

Baby boomers who grew up watching “Lost in Space” still have a strong connection to the campy show, which boasted a terrific early score from Oscar-winner John Williams, then billed as Johnny Williams.

“When I do these conventions, people are still so wrapped up in it,” said June Lockhart, who played matriarch Maureen Robinson. “The last time I did one, I said, ‘Excuse me.’ I looked out at the audience and said, ‘I must remind you: It was all pretend!'”

“Lost in Space” was created and produced by Irwin Allen, who went on to make such disaster film classics as “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) and “The Towering Inferno” (1974).

The series revolved around the Robinson family — John Robinson (Guy Williams), his wife (Lockhart) and their children Judy (Marta Kristen), the brilliant Penny (Angela Cartwright) and Will.

On the anniversary date, Cartwright and Mumy released a new book, Lost (and Found) in Space, a memoir with rare photographs.

(5) Steven H Silver recreates a convention report of the 1976 Worldcon in Kansas City in “A Brief History of MidAmeriCon” at Uncanny Magazine.

Early projections seemed to indicate that Big MAC would have as many as 7,000 members and the committee knew they couldn’t handle a con that size. To ensure it didn’t happen, they introduced the sliding rate scale, making the con more expensive the later a fan bought a membership, they announced that they would not run an all–night movie room, and they also announced there would be no programming related to comic books, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, or the Society for Creative Anachronism. All of these decisions were met with howls of protest. MidAmeriCon was clearly attempting to destroy fandom and the Worldcon.

Keller was also concerned that people would crash MidAmeriCon, so prior to the convention, he announced that the convention would have a foolproof way of ensuring that only paid members were in attendance. There was much speculation prior to the Worldcon that this meant holograms on the badges. Keller had something else in mind and each attendee was given a plastic bracelet that could not be put on again once it was taken off. Of course, foolproof doesn’t mean fanproof, and some fans set themselves the goal of subverting the security measure. They found a woman who was being released from the hospital and convinced her to continue to wear her hospital ID, so they could try to bring her to the various official functions of the convention. They succeeded.

(6) People are still hard at work mapping what parts of the universe SFWA controls.

(7) Ursula K. Le Guin is interviewed by Choire Sicha at Interview Magazine.

SICHA: There’s a sort of growing professional class of writers that may not have had access to being a professional. Before the internet, you would go to your terrible job and then you would write at night. I actually found that system really rewarding, separating out the money and the work.

LE GUIN: On the other hand, if it was a nine-to-five job, and if you had any family obligations and commitments, it’s terribly hard. It worked very much against women, because they were likely to have the nine-to-five job and really be responsible for the household. Doing two jobs is hard enough, but doing three is just impossible. And that’s essentially what an awful lot of women who wanted to write were being asked to do: support themselves, keep the family and household going, and write.

SICHA: And the writing was the first thing to go when things got tough, I’m sure.

LE GUIN: I had only a little taste of that. I did have three kids. But what my husband and I figured—he was a professor and teaching a lot—was that three jobs can be done by two people. He could do his job teaching, I could do my job writing, and the two of us could do the house and the kids. And it worked out great, but it took full collaboration between him and me. See, I cannot write when I’m responsible for a child. They are full-time occupations for me. Either you’re listening out for the kids or you’re writing. So I wrote when the kids went to bed. I wrote between nine and midnight those years. And my husband would listen out if the little guy was sick or something. It worked out. It wasn’t really easy but, you know, you have a lot of energy when you’re young. Sometimes I look back and I think, “How the hell did we do it?” But we did.

(8) A Kickstarter appeal seeks to fund the printing of 5,000 copies of Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice by David Pilgrim.

David Pilgrim is the founder and curator of the About the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI.

For many people, especially those who came of age after landmark civil rights legislation was passed, it is difficult to understand what it was like to be an African American living under Jim Crow segregation in the United States. Most young Americans have little or no knowledge about restrictive covenants, literacy tests, poll taxes, lynchings, and other oppressive features of the Jim Crow racial hierarchy. Even those who have some familiarity with the period may initially view racist segregation and injustices as relics of a distant, shameful past. A proper understanding of race relations in this country must include a solid knowledge of Jim Crow—how it emerged, what it was like, how it ended, and its impact on the culture.

Understanding Jim Crow introduces readers to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, a collection of more than ten thousand contemptible collectibles that are used to engage visitors in intense and intelligent discussions about race, race relations, and racism. The items are offensive. They were meant to be offensive. The items in the Jim Crow Museum served to dehumanize blacks and legitimized patterns of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation.

Using racist objects as teaching tools seems counterintuitive—and, quite frankly, needlessly risky. Many Americans are already apprehensive discussing race relations, especially in settings where their ideas are challenged. The museum and this book exist to help overcome our collective trepidation and reluctance to talk about race.

(9) In “An Interview With Jennifer Brozek” at Permuted Press, the author and editor is unflinching, positive and brave.

Permuted: With the Hugo Awards sparking so much debate this year, do you have any thoughts on the controversy in general as a nominated editor?

Jennifer: Awards are a funny thing. I’m honored to have been nominated. I’m glad my part in the controversy is over. I’m also really pleased that there is a renewed interest in the Hugo award itself. Talk about an adrenalin shot in the arm.

Permuted: Your protagonist in the NEVER LET ME series, Melissa, has bipolar disorder. Can you describe your experience writing a character with a mental illness?

Jennifer: As a high functioning autistic adult, I am very aware of how people in media are portrayed. Either the mental illness is a superhero power (Alphas, Perception) or it makes a person a psychopathic criminal. It is rarely shown in-between. It is rarely shown as it really is—something millions of people deal with every single day. There are a lot of physical aspects to mental illness as well as coping mechanisms. With Melissa, I wanted to show a protagonist who had mental illness but it was neither a “power” nor something that made her unable to cope with the world. She is medicated and it works. This is the goal of every person suffering from mental illness on meds.

(10) Light in the Attic Records has released soundtrack to the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. It is available in 2xLP and CD.

This is the soundtrack to the story about the greatest film that never was.

Jodorowsky’s Dune tells the tale of cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unsuccessful attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel, Dune, to the big screen. Composer Kurt Stenzel gives life to a retro-futuristic universe as fantastic as Jodorowsky’s own vision for his Dune–a film whose A-list cast would have included Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger in starring roles and music by psychedelic prog-rockers Pink Floyd.

Building upon director Frank Pavich’s idea for a score with a “Tangerine Dream-type feel,” Stenzel lays out a cosmic arsenal of analog synthesizers that would make any collector green at the gills: among other gems are a rare Moog Source, CZ-101s, and a Roland Juno 6, as well as unorthodox instruments like a toy Concertmate organ and a Nintendo DS. “I also played guitar and did vocals,” says Stenzel, “some chanting… and some screaming, which comes naturally to me.” The score also features narration by Jodorowsky himself. As Stenzel notes, “Jodo’s voice is actually the soundtrack’s main musical instrument–listening to him was almost like hypnosis, like going to the guru every night.”

[Thanks to Rob Thornton, Will R., Mark, JJ, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kendall.]

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223 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 9/16 Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Scrolls of Our Lives

  1. Oh yeah crocodile, deer/venison*, goat**

    * don’t count as exotic it’s something uncle & cousins hunt for food and not unusual to find in parts of New England on menus

    ** not eaten much where I grew up in Massachusetts

  2. @P J Evans, yup. Which is something I don’t mind trying.

    @Jim, makes sense, but fortunately I had it as a heavily spiced mince version, which helped a lot with the flavour.

  3. Frogs (tasty), escargot (delicious), ostrich (meh), KANGAROO (tasty but I don’t know I would have eaten it if I’d known it was kangaroo.)

    Not that uncommon: Alligator sausage, rabbit. But both delicious.

    Also, I’ll be off File770 (and miss the remainder of this bracket) until Wednesday… text-based game outline on deadline. DO NOT BURN THE PLACE DOWN IN MY ABSENCE.


  4. I love ostrich; very tasty.

    I am deeply suspicious of “weird” foods, and extremely hostile to “…but you’ll love it!” food surprises.

    Normal foods include: Most standard American fare, as long as no nuts or peanuts are involved. (Even though I can’t eat it, as a New Englanders, I am required to acknowledge the fluffernutter as “normal,” despite ignorant opinions held elsewhere in the country.) The versions of southern Italian and some northern Italian cuisine that have crossed over to the US. Also, gussadaddies, which might be a family-specific treat, or it might be more broadly Sicilian. Likely I’ll never know. Most seafood. Don’t surprise me with new items, and I’ll likely give them a try. Chinese food, same ban on peanuts and tree nuts. Meat from mammals or birds; again, don’t surprise me and I’ll give most new items a try.

    Unfamiliar, fancy, or “sophisticated” sauces are right out. As is anything for which you will not divulge all the ingredients. Unfamiliar vegetation is deeply suspect.

    I remain trapped in 2015 till the time machine is fixed.

  5. JJ on September 17, 2015 at 10:27 pm said:

    Kendall: (time to Stalk the God)


    Now you’ve got me Stalking the Dinosaur. >:(

    Isn’t it odd?
    You shot your wad!
    Now you better prep to Stalk the God

  6. I was once at a Christmas party where the host served smoked bear meat, smoked elk meat, smoked venison, and smoked, umm, some sort of fish which I can’t remember. Some sort of trout, maybe? Oh yes, and smoked wild boar.
    What did they taste like? Smoke. Nothing but smoke. Rather disappointing, really.
    A Filipino former co-worker of mine claimed that balut was delicious, but honestly, should I ever have the opportunity to try it, I’ll almost certainly decline.

  7. My experiences with unusual meats is far smaller than you all.

    I was pretty gobsmacked, in a restaurant/resort in Banff National park, to encounter a burger that had elk, moose and bison in it.

    I still call it “*The* Burger” and it was the tastiest burger I’ve ever had before or since.

  8. I just googled “balut”. Now I kinda wish I hadn’t. <wry> I’ll try all kinds of things… but not this, I think.

  9. Escargot: an excuse for garlic butter. (IMO, sourdough bread is a better excuse, especially if you can get the ‘extra-sour’ version.)

  10. PJ Evans, great minds with but a single thought. I explain to people who look at me side-eyed when I say I like escargot, “The snails are mostly a delivery mechanism to get the delicious delicious garlic butter from the plate to your mouth.” In fact, I told someone this just last week….

    Never tried sourdough bread with garlic butter. Sounds lovely.

  11. I’m all for excuses to eat delicious garlic butter! 🙂

    (Unless that excuse is mushrooms, which I find inexplicably revolting when combined with any kind of butter, plain or flavoured. Any other fat and I think they’re wonderful, but butter, they’re disgusting.)

  12. Most pointless was kopi luwak in Indonesia, as it tasted just like coffee to me.

    We did kopi luwak on the podcast, and if you’re into coffee, I really hate to admit it because I WANTED to be contemptuous because hipster weasel-poop coffee, but…it was actually really good. A friend brought it in from Indonesia and it’s earthy and chocolatey and almost truffle-esque. It was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had, to my mild annoyance.

    Most boar I’ve had isn’t worth eating. It’s so gamy that you have to spice it so heavily that there’s no point. I’d love to be surprised, but so far I haven’t been.

  13. Oh, and I once tried to get Impala pate through customs at JFK airport. I kid you not, the customs guy was all “Hey! Mac! Do we gotta inspect impala?” and Mac yelled “What the hell’s an impala?” and then my husband and I were doing a mime impersonation of antelope (we had just flown in from Johannesburg and were SO TIRED) and it was the most intensely New York experience I have ever had. They said “You gotta go to the agricultural inspection station,” so we went over with our suitcases and they X-rayed our bags and then waved us on. Which…okay? I guess that proved they were cans? They didn’t even open the bags to look at the cans, we just took our bags and went.

    I am told they’re primarily screening for anything like beef that will carry hoof-and-mouth but let’s just say that I’m not convinced our border security is doing much to keep out rogue food items. I could have been carrying bags of invasive seeds in my pockets and no one would have called me on it.

    The Impala was meh. The Kudu was a little gamy and also meh.

  14. Cassy B, sourdough is a Bay area thing – ‘French’ bread (it’s really Italian) comes in three flavors there, sweet, sour, and extra sour, where you can still taste the bread under the garlic butter. (And no one puts cheese on the sourdough-with-garlic butter.)

    I had escargot once, in a restaurant. It’s okay, but not something I feel a need for. I’ve had oysters on the half-shell, too. Those are more interesting than escargot.

  15. Cheese and garlic is another combo I find inexplicably revolting. Well, unless it’s hot chilli and raw garlic cheddar, from one of the local cheesemakers around here. That stuff is pretty good. 🙂 Cheese garlic bread on the other hand, totally gross.

  16. PJ Evans, the only time I ever tried oysters on the half shell, I thought it a complete waste of time. It tasted like, well, nothing much, and had a revolting consistency.

    Now, oysters Rockefeller, that I can get behind. And I had a really lovely “clams casino” pizza in Connecticut once…

  17. I cannot do oysters. Food textures are really important to me, and that one is regrettable.

    I also hate shrimp, but love crawfish and crab, so, y’know. No idea.

  18. Kopi luwak has to be one of those foods that was only ever consumed for the first time because human beings are fucking insane. I mean, seriously: Do you think any rational, coffee-drinking human being would ever say to themself, “You know, I’ll bet this stuff would really taste good if we had to extract the beans from a pile of weasel shit before brewing them up.” ? Now, if the first one to try kopi luwak was drunk or something, or if it was a dare or a bet…

  19. Cubist, that’s kind of how I feel about cassava. Never had it myself, but it’s a major staple food for millions of people… and it’s poisonous unless you go to extensive lengths to detoxify it. I can just imagine the prehistoric cooks now… “Well, it poisoned half of us last time we tried eating it…. let’s try soaking it even longer next time….”

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