Snapshots 142 A Century After The Ultimate Answer

Here are 10 developments of interest to fans.

(1) Was he inspired by Martin Luther’s 95 theses? Brian Phillips review of Monica Seles’ Love Match for Grantland consists of 62 complaints. Fans are the target audience for gripe Number Five:

5. The fact that the Academy is a pristinely manicured 600-acre private high school that trains über-elite athletes in all sports, from tennis to golf to soccer to football; that it features “million-dollar villas” and a “cluster of stores” ranging from “Hermes and Versace to Prada and Manolo Blahnik”; yet that it is never given a name beyond “the Academy,” as if Game of Thrones were set in a vast fantasy kingdom known only as “Map,” or the Harry Potter series took place in a magical castle called “School.”

(2) Walter Jon Williams prefers an unscented deodorant – or does when he can find any in stock at the market. Failing that, he felt it was his duty as an sf writer to investigate the unknown alternatives.

I discovered that deodorants now have hip, cool names meant to convey excitement and attract the younger crowd, but which are basically meaningless.  When you had scents like Lime or Bay Rum or Old Spice, you sort of knew where you stood.  But now you can smell like Black Ice, or Fresh Rush.

After popping the caps and giving a quick sniff, I quickly discovered that I did not want to smell like Black Ice, or for that matter Fresh Rush.  Despite my enjoyment of aquatic adventure, I didn’t want to smell like Ocean Breeze,  or Ocean Surf.  I didn’t want to smell like a Clean Peak, a Phoenix, or an Axe.  I didn’t want to smell like Anarchy— which you’d think would be no deodorant at all— or an Arctic Refresh, whatever that is.  I didn’t want to smell like a Tropical Paradise or a Long-Lasting Mountain Spring.  And more than anything else, I didn’t want to smell Extreme, which would seem to defeat the point of deodorant entirely.

(3) Captain Worf? A new Trek series has been bruited about. What Culture makes 10 arguments why Worf should be the next Captain.

Some people may argue that, with a new timeline established by Abrams in 2009, there is no way to get back to the original history of the future, as laid down by Gene Roddenberry et al from 1966 – 2005.

Those people are wrong.

Abrams’ movie took great pains to ensure that we all knew it was set in a parallel reality to the original storyline. Ergo, it is logical to assume that the unfolding continuum that is Star Trek continues unabated, which ought to allow any/all fans to enjoy both versions without too much bother.

So, this hypothetical TV show would follow Worf from the original timeline, whilst the movies would do their own thing. How hard is that to grasp?

(4) Is it a swordfish? Or a mop? No, it’s a purple siphonophore! And it lives deep in the oceans basins of the world.

Amazingly, although this appears to be a single jellyfish-like animal, it is in fact a roving colony made up of thousands of individual organisms, called zooids, each contributing to the whole. But more than just its otherworldly shape, this specimen’s purple coloring is said to be rather unusual as well.

This video was collected as part of the Nautilus Live expedition headed by Dr. Robert Ballard, better known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic.

(5) Winnie the Pooh was 100 hears old on August 25. How I loved reading those stories to my daughter! She likes Divergent and The Maze Runner now – the connection linking the former to the latter is so subtle it eludes me.

(6) Stephen Hawking offers a theoretical doomsday scenario involving the Higgs Boson. He has already warned that aliens or artificial intelligence might finish off humanity. There seems to be a pattern here, still, I’m reluctant to accuse him of following Richard Dawkins around the bend.

He wrote: “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100bn gigaelectronvolts (GeV).”

What might this lead to? Hawkins explained: “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”

Before you prepare your loved ones for an evacuation to some distant star, Hawking did offer some hope with, it seems, a wry smile: “A particle accelerator that reaches 100bn GeV would be larger than Earth, and is unlikely to be funded in the present economic climate.”

By the way, how did Stephen Baxter write “Last Contact” without this science?

(7) TAFF delegate Curt Phillips roomed with his wife’s cousin Nick Falkner at Loncon 3. It was Nick’s first SF convention. While some bloggers felt the behavior of their elders was a drag, Falkner kept it all in proportion:

This is a strong community and, as I discovered, it’s a diverse, accepting, warm and friendly community, full of interesting people. Are there some jerks? Yes. But far fewer than I’ve run into outside of this space so let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this is some sort of amazing jerk space. You’ll meet more jerks in the average pub and you won’t be able to talk to them about something that fascinated you when you were 12.

Of course, if everybody could experience the Curt Phillips model of senior fannishness, they might feel the same.

(8) Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales is bringing back Hellhound on My Ale in time for Halloween:

2011 would have marked the 100th birthday of Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson, who according to legend, sold his soul down at the crossroads in a midnight bargain and changed music forever.

Working again with our friends at Sony Legacy (yup, the same folks we did our Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew with), Dogfish Head paid tribute to this blues legend by gettin’ the hellhounds off his trail and into this finely-crafted ale…

To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the Centennial hops (and as a shoutout to Robert Johnson’s mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson), we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool.

(9) Speaking of flesh, I learned this obscure bit of trivia about The Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man” from the Wikipedia:

An unofficial badge of the 509th Bomb Wing based in Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. The text reads, “To Serve Man,” and the caption below reads, “Gustatus Similis Pullus”—dog Latin for “Tastes Like Chicken.”

(10) D. Gary Grady recently educated readers of his blog about a pervasive, Andy Rooney-style complaint against “Vertical Video Syndrome.”

The previous post features a video shot in a vertical orientation, so in the interest of aesthetics and all that is holy, let me point show you a couple of educational videos explaining why you shouldn’t shoot videos that way:

Movies, TV, computer screens – I get it. But weren’t the Ten Commandments vertical? The tablets, I mean, not the film with Charlton Heston. I may have to reserve judgment on this.

[Thanks for these links goes out to Taral Wayne and John King Tarpinian.]

9 thoughts on “Snapshots 142 A Century After The Ultimate Answer

  1. Any reason to ignore J.J. Abrams “Star Warsized” Star Trek is a good reason. I suspect the core fandom for TNG will not give Abram’s relaunch the slightest thought. Worf as a captain would be interesting, to say the least. Maybe the first movie could be a reprise of “Mutiny on the Bounty?” I myself created a Star Trek universe called “Rebirth” — set about 50 years in TNG’s future, after a prolonged period of stagnation brought on by the losses of the Dominion War and brushes with the Borg. There would be no ship in “Rebirth” called Enterprise, for the first time in ages. (But one could be on the drawing-board.) Instead, the Intrepid is captained by Nog, the son of Rom from DS9 … the first Ferrengi command officer in Star Fleet. If anyone wants the full prospectus, send $5 to me and I’ll put it right in the mail! Unless I have an uncle I don’t know about who works for the studio, the chances of selling to Paramount are three digits into negative numbers. That’s the way it works in the land of opportunity our ours.

  2. I understand Walter Jon Williams’s problems with deodorant. All the ones I find are deodorant-antiperspirant. And the stuff they use in antiperspirant gives me a rash.

    Since under prior management the Star Trek^tm franchise has casually discarded any development of supporting characters, there’s no reason to think the new one will be any different. George Takei would have been great as Captain Sulu, but no.

    And there used to be a sign on a door in the Cheyenne Mountain bunker that said, “Stargate Command” but some mundane made them take it down.

  3. It’s not quite true that Paramount refused to develop characters from one show to the next. Worf was fransferred from the Enterprise to DS9, and so was O’Brien. Q appeared in ST:Voyager once or twice.

  4. Mike: What’s your evidence that Dogfish Head’s Hellhound on My Ale is a CURRENT beer? The website says that it was a one-shot beer made in 2011. Martin

  5. The 509th was the wing of which the Enola Gay and Bock’s Car belonged when they dropped Little Boy and Fatman on Japan.

    Today, it’s the only B-2 squadron in the Air Force. When B-2’s bombed Iraq, they came all the way from southwestern Missouri, with airborne refueling at specified points in the Flight Plan, dropped their loads, then flew all the way back with the same refueling. For Every Mission.

    In The Jesus Factor by the late Edwin Corley, there’s a scatological limerick from other squadrons which made daily conventional bomb runs on Japan under intense fire while the Five-Oh-Nine was just making practice flights, which ended “…and the 509th is winning the war.”

    Then they did.

  6. Mike: Thanks for the correction. I didn’t see the release calendar on the Dogfish Head website. Martin

  7. After reading the Grantland article I would hazard a guess that these books “by Monica Seles” are ghost-written on a work-for-hire contract with a stipulation that the ghost cannot reveal that he or she actually wrote them, who is probably angry that such low-stooping was required to eat or pay the rent, and who therefore quietly sabotaged the work.

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