Snapshots 89 Mike Ditka

The Chicago Bears’ Mike Ditka wore uniform number 89, a handy bit of trivia for anyone heading to the Worldcon. Meatime, here are 10 developments of interest to fans.

(1) Chicon 7, the 2012 Worldcon, is just around the corner. Worldcon – A Beginner’s Guide by GoH Mike Resnick is the kind of highly-detailed scouting report that will let you hit the ground running.

I need hardly add that veteran fans will want to look over Mike’s article, too. I’ve noticed veteran fans always show up for “So This Is Your First Worldcon?” panels to make sure their favorite item isn’t overlooked, though Mike is so thorough it’s hard to imagine anything he’s missed.

(2) One of the best features on the Chicon 7 website is the digital collection of Past Chicon Program Books — from Chicon 1 (1940), TASFiC (1952), Chicon 3 (1962), Chicon IV (1982), Chicon V (1991), and Chicon 2000 (2000), as well as the history of Chicago fandom 6 in 60 published at Chicon 2000.

(3) Fans going to Chicon 7 should also look over Neil’s Native Guide Chicago Edition, a compendium of restaurants and resources convenient to the Hyatt Regency compiled by Neil Rest.

(4) I was intrigued to find L. Timmel Duchamp’s “Panel Deportment and Demeanor” on the SFWA Blog.

Speaking to the subject of the panel is, after all, what they as panelists are there to do. But it’s not really just that simple, is it. Panelists are there to engage in a collective communication– with fellow panelists, and with the audience (even when the audience isn’t speaking).

Always leave a little oxygen for the next panelist.

(5) The late Washington Post columnist William Raspberry evidently had a skill that has become even rarer in the age of the internet:

 “He was viewed as a truth-teller,” lawyer, civil rights advocate and political adviser Vernon E. Jordan Jr. said in an interview. “I am sure that I disagreed with him on a number of things. He had a way of telling you to go to hell and making you look forward to the trip.”

(6) Science Fiction Land could have been Aurora, Colorado’s biggest tourist trap, if its backers weren’t crooks:

Science Fiction Land was the brainchild of a Hollywood stuntman named Jerry Schafer, who showed up in Aurora in 1979 with a plan for an amusement park three times the size of Disneyland. It was to feature a 38-story Ferris wheel, a holographic zoo, a 1,000-lane bowling alley attended by robots, security guards equipped with jetpacks, and the “Pavilions of Joy,” made up of fourteen Las Vegas-style dinner theaters. The park, Schafer said, would also serve as the set of a $50 million sci-fi flick called Lord of Light, which was to be the most expensive movie ever.

It never happened, of course.

(7) Buried nuclear waste will remain radioactive far longer than any warning sign could last, so how do we prevent future generations from accidentally digging it up?

The solution to that problem may lie in a $30,000 hard disk, made of an indestructible combination of sapphire and platinum that claims to be durable enough to last for up to one million years. It was designed by a diverse team of scientists, anthropologists, archeologists, artists, archivists and linguists who worked to build something that would last, but could also be understood by people thousands of years from now.

This hard disk is different from the type of external hard drive that you would save your documents and music on, and not just because of how long it lasts and expensive it is. Unlike a digital hard drive that codes data in a series of zeroes and ones, this hard drive is build to contain tiny images that is read like a microscope, sort of like futuristic microfilm.

Plan B is to breed cockroaches that give traffic directions, since we know they’ll outlive us all.

(8) John Scalzi always seems to know how to handle his business, like the way he cautioned people not to go overboard praising his comments on the Readercon controversy  —

I’m happy to be getting credit for being a good guy, and I really do try to be a good guy. But, you know. I have shown my ass on the Internets (and elsewhere) before, and I probably will again; hopefully unintentionally and then I will then hopefully quickly apologize, but even so. I just want it out there that I’m aware that I’m a fallible person, will almost certainly experience fallibation in the future (“fallibation”: not a real word) and that makes me like everyone else.

I’m watching to see if “fallibation” enjoys the same popularity as his other invented word, “nerdgassing,” did a few years ago.

(9) “This Troll Should Have Stuck at Home” on Not Always Right begins:

(There is a large anime convention at our hotel. During these conventions, many guests dress up as their favorite characters. Some even go all-out and will wear body paint or mascot suits, carry fake weapons, etc. Even during these conventions, non-convention goers stay in the hotel. I am working the front desk and am approached by a very angry guest.)

Me: “How may I help you today?”

Guest: “Kick these d***ed freaks out of this hotel! They’re disturbing my children!”

Surprisingly, it was not Nick Mamatas.

(10) What a lovely new hobby for nosy neighbors: the personal surveillance drone. Won’t it be ever so delightful when everybody owns one?

After years of selling its wares to the military, these companies are desperately trying to depict the next generation of domestic drones as friendly, more like “Robby the Robot” than HAL, the computer antagonist of Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey novels and the films based on them.

But you can’t blame people for getting the wrong idea if online ads pitching drones to law enforcement are anything to go by.

One comes from Aerovironment, a California-based company preparing to sell smaller drones to police. In the video, cops pull the small unmanned plane out of their cruiser’s trunk, quickly assemble it and use it to monitor the movements of an armed suspect.

However, it’s not unlikely this new hobby will inspire all kinds of aerial hacking.

[Thanks for these links goes out to David Klaus, Dave Doering, Neil Rest and John King Tarpinian.]

10 thoughts on “Snapshots 89 Mike Ditka

  1. “…, a 1,000-lane bowling alley attended by robots….”

    Because if there’s one thing science fiction fans love, it’s thousands of fans bowling at the same time.

    It’s what we’re all about.

  2. “Because if there’s one thing science fiction fans love, it’s thousands of fans bowling at the same time. ”

    Better that crab mallets …

  3. “…I have shown my ass on the Internets (and elsewhere) before, and I probably will again….” — John Scalzi

    Well, yes. Anyone who creates something such as “Schadenfreude Pie” is exhibiting cruelty indicating mental illness, in my opinion.

    Schadenfraude is characterized colloquially by the phrase “kicking someone while they’re down.” It is deliberate abuse and cruelty, frequently visited upon total strangers, and comes from hate by definition. It is a formal term for bullying, violence, and similar anti-social attitudes and behaviors. It is frequently accompanied by the lack of shame for anti-social behaviors associated with sociopathy. While it has not been recognized formally in the DSM as of yet, it is likely that in a future edition it will be recognized generally as the mental illness that it is.

    In the meantime, anyone self-aware enough of such tendencies in their own personalities should consider consider consulting a mental health professional in the hope of reducing such tendencies in their daily lives and social interactions.

  4. Yes, and when the the other person receiving the misfortune didn’t deserve it, and/or the misfortune is being caused in part or in whole by the person experiencing the perversion of pleasure, it is of such a degree as to become at minimum a syndrome, or in more severe cases, a mental illness.

    As I said, the DSM doesn’t recognize it at this time, but I suspect that it will be listed in future editions.

    And the Wikipedia entry is not trustworthy, as the last time I had checked, it had taken over by a group of people who were practicing schadenfreude in the degree to which I refer, who completely rewrote the entry to remove all examples and definitions which described the degree to which they were practicing it.

    It a difference of degree but not of kind, from, say, a group of people with varying degrees of paranoid schizophrenia rewriting the article to say that the voices in their heads were a good thing, as well as the violence some of them committed in their illness.

    (We both know that wouldn’t happen as the nature of paranoid schizophrenia is such that a group of sufferers would be extraordinarily unlikely to be able to work together to a common goal, but I exaggerate for the sake of illustration.)

  5. Mr. Walsh, I have just checked the Wikipedia article again, and the current version appears to be written more objectively, so until such time as it may be re-written with bias again attached, it is trustworthy. This could, of course, be changed at any time but at this moment, at least, it’s okay.

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