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January 23, 2004

Open thread 17
Posted by Teresa at 12:41 AM *

The world is so full of a number of things …

Comments on Open thread 17:
#1 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 12:58 AM:

My mind was wrenched pretty severely when I read that people traded virtual items from Everquest, etc. for real money on Ebay. But I coped.

The final damage was done earlier today when I read that somebody had set up a sweatshop in Tijuana full of underpaid gamers generating bashing away at monsters, etc, to gain valuable in-game objects for later sale by their employers:

http://games.slashdot.org/games/03/11/24/0141243.shtml

(I read the 'BlackSnow' link at the end of this article, but others may be worth following)

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:10 AM:

There now. Why is it that manuscripts in the slushpile never turn up with things like "a sweatshop in Tijuana full of underpaid gamers generating bashing away at monsters, etc., to gain valuable in-game objects for later sale by their employers"?

#3 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:13 AM:

The world is so full of a number of things …

That dogs like to chase after, catch, and chew
Flings

That we want an Atlas of the Valley of Kings

and look at the planets' neat data on
Rings

#4 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:17 AM:

> Why is it that manuscripts in the slushpile never turn up with things like...

Perhaps they did back when Bruce Sterling first started submitting...

Counterquestion: I've critted a few stories for Critters. How close am I to having any understanding of how awful slush really is?

And if I can be allowed two questions: have you ever personally received an 'Adam and Eve' manuscript - you know - "We're the last survivors of the spacewreck. My name is A'dam..."

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:40 AM:

NASA has just a little more than a month to find the remains of an ocean on Mars so we can all get our free jumbo shrimp:

http://www.longjohnsilvers.com/press/nasa.htm

#6 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:48 AM:

And the Dakota is considered a “building of disaster” why? On account of John Lennon? That seems like a bit of a stretch.

#8 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 03:04 AM:

"Have you ever personallly received an Adam and Eve story . . .?"

Yeah, at leat a dozen, in my days in the swamp. Also "And we will call the new planet . . . Earth!" (which is essentially a variant thereof) and "God builds Earth as his science fair project."

I don't know if these ideas actually regenerate spontaneously, or if people pick them up somewhere -- TV series episodes, antique anthologies, cocktail party conversation -- and decide that they can be recycled. I suspect it's mostly the latter, fueled by one or more of the following assumptions:

-- The person heard somewhere that there are only three (or whatever number) stories anyway

-- SF is all amateur crap anyway and they'll never notice

-- Since the author has never read this (or any other) SF magazine, s/he assumes that this idea has never appeared there, and that makes it okay

The patterns really do not change. Someone elsewhere online recently asked about "aliens land and talk to [pick inappropriate contact]" stories. I can remember Damon Knight bringing up exactly that subject more than thirty years ago in ORBIT.

#9 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 03:13 AM:

Harlan Ellison had something in one of his books about Star Trek, I think, about talking to a fellow writer who confesses to tarting up the Flight of the Navigator with a few phasers and putting Spock in it for TOS, and Harlan's lip pulls inexorably back exposing teeth like the contemptuous snarl of of wolf, or something like that, and I thought at the time it was a bit excessive, but I guess I just don't run into it as often as you guys do, because a _lot_ of people seem to be really pissed off about it.

Oh, and I like the captions on the comment fields.

#10 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:42 AM:

Some story ideas are just in the ether, I think. I remember coming up with the "And we will call this new planet... Earth!" ending back when I was nine or ten, I think. Whenever I first got interested in science-fiction. It seemed like a fantastic idea, and I bounced up and down and squee'd with joy over it. Within about five years I had read enough SF anthologies to know that I wasn't the first person to have this idea, nor were my notions of how to treat it especially original.

But it's perfectly possible to be reading a novel, or watching a play or a film or a TV series, and to know perfectly well how this plot must run, and still to enjoy it as it unfolds exactly as you expect. The most perfect example of this is your average Gilbert & Sullivan opera - even without the advantage of a plot summary, you can easily see what's going to happen next, but still it's marvellous watching it happen.

#11 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 05:07 AM:

> I don’t know if these ideas actually regenerate spontaneously, or if people pick them up somewhere — TV
> series episodes, antique anthologies, cocktail party conversation — and decide that they can be recycled.

I suspect some ideas just demand to be thought of - when I was a kid I came up with the old "fake an alien invasion to unite humanity" plot, and as far as I can remember, I thought it up all by myself.

Perhaps it's the same with Adam and Eve?

#12 ::: Alter S. Reiss ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 06:52 AM:

Thought I'd pass on a link that Naomi pointed out: http://www.slis.ualberta.ca/cap03/sandra/book_curse.html

Oh, and I found it rather odd how much of the Casa Mobile site I could understand. "klikk her for mer info", indeed.

#13 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 09:26 AM:

The world is so full of a number of things.

There are an awful lot of hydrogen atoms about.

#15 ::: Arwen ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 09:57 AM:

Since there were many fans of Oolong here, I figured you'd want to know that last week his human added new pictures of Yuebing (the new bunny) to his page.

http://www.h6.dion.ne.jp/~yuebing/

(Because some days we just really need to look at cute bunny pictures.)

#16 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 10:43 AM:

In tree, flashing tail,
Beady eyes, dun fur. I bark:
Squirell Among Us!

#17 ::: Barb ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 11:18 AM:

Has anyone actually received an "I'm Adam..." story?
Let me count the ways. Teach short story writing to high school students and I'll guarantee at least one a year. The clincher, however, was when one of my colleagues--he taught Narrative Writing--handed Teresa a story of his that he was considering submitting for publication. She was a mere senior in high school, but even then she gagged over bad manuscripts.

#18 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 11:19 AM:

Teresa said:
There now. Why is it that manuscripts in the slushpile never turn up with things like “a sweatshop in Tijuana full of underpaid gamers generating bashing away at monsters, etc., to gain valuable in-game objects for later sale by their employers”?

I've been saying for years that I don't have to make weird stuff up - there are people to do it for me.

#19 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 12:13 PM:

Barb (it feels weird to call you that, but if I don't, nobody'll know which message I mean): You're forgetting that I was a student in his class at the time, and that there were other students around. It was an awful moment. I didn't have enough warning or enough experience to keep a straight face when I realized he'd written the Adam-and-Eve story, and he could see that I was embarrassed for him. That was the last time he talked to me about science fiction.

#20 ::: Matt Runquist ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:11 PM:

Calpundit posted a link y'all might like;
Powerpoint Literature

#21 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:11 PM:

Steve Taylor: ... a sweatshop in Tijuana full of underpaid gamers generating bashing away at monsters, etc, to gain valuable in-game objects for later sale by their employers

I'm as gobsmacked as anyone, but I was wondering why I couldn't parse it. Then I realized Steve probably meant to type "generating & bashing" but forgot to code the "&" as "&".

HTML strikes again, and thank Ghu for those previews. WYSINWYG.

#22 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 01:52 PM:

I suspect some ideas just demand to be thought of - when I was a kid I came up with the old "fake an alien invasion to unite humanity" plot, and as far as I can remember, I thought it up all by myself.

Does it actually predate Sturgeon's "Unite and Conquer"?

Here's one for the Everquest sweatshop fans: Julian Dibbell's "Play Money"

#23 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:00 PM:

Teresa, that's horrible! BUT: while I'm sure you've learned how to keep a straight face now, if I ever (and I probably won't) hand you a story I'm thinking of submitting (as opposed to submitting a manuscript to Tor), and from it arises literary dirty-diaper smell, please tell me "Christopher, this is a piece of shit. You can do better. Go write something else."

Actually, if I submit a manuscript to Tor, I would ask for similar bluntness. Maybe not those exact words.

Um.

Actually, if it gets past the slush reader it probably won't be utter garbage, will it? (Heh.)

#24 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:04 PM:

Xopher: please tell me "Christopher

Is "Christopher" the spoken form of your name? Because I'd been assuming it was phonetic.

Err, that's all. Carry on.

#25 ::: --kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:18 PM:

So we finally got around to seeing Return of the King last night (yay, wow, and you know, Aragorn has a very Dean-esque "Yeeargh!" in his rousing Saint Crispin's Day speech before the Black Gate, hmm), and there was a preview that made me and the Spouse sit up and go wow: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

On the one hand: live-action Max Fleischer cartoon! Retro 1930s world-of-tomorrow design! Robots! Zeppelins! Spitfires!

On the other hand: Jude Law (producing as well as starring); Gwyneth Paltrow.

My question being: does anyone know anything about this at all? Will it suck so hard the charm factor is negligible at best? Will it be a pretty but ultimately empty gosh-wow spectacle, forgotten as soon as you hit the parking lot? Is there a hope in hell it's going to be anywhere near as good as the anticipation it's sparked? (In me, at least. Your mileage may vary.)

I mean, on the third hand: Angelina Jolie, in a uniform and an eyepatch, playing Naval Captain Franky Cook. For a lot of the folks at home, male and female, that's gonna mitigate a whole boat-load of cheeze...

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:20 PM:

Kate, it's a free variant. 'ZOE-fer' and 'KRIS-tuh-fer' are both perfectly fine. 'KSOE-fer' isn't wrong, but it's way too much trouble.

The two pronunciations I don't like are the embellished ('EX-tuh-fer') and the truncated ('kris' without the other two syllables).

I decided years ago on that shortened version because I was tired of my name showing up on computerized lists as 'Christophe', 'Christoph', 'Christop', 'Christo', or even 'Christ'. THAT one made people think my parents were whacko -- which they were/are, but not in THAT way.

#27 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:26 PM:

Hey, what have you got against Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow? :)

Apropos of slush: Where does the term “slush” come from? I’d always assumed it came from “partially melted snow or ice,” but now it occurs to me that the correct etymology might be “the greasy stuff that collects at the top of the pot, the sale of which to tallow-chandlers is one of the perks of the ship’s cook.” I figure someone here has to know the real answer.

#28 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:53 PM:

Along the lines of the Tijuana sweatshop:

I know a guy who runs a ring of players for online poker sites. The players spend hours a day at home, playing as many as five games at once using the ringleader's money. For this, they get paid an hourly wage.

It isn't unskilled labor, however. The wage slaves have to be decent poker players. (They do have to be broke or on a short financial leash, though; because otherwise they'd do better playing on their own money.)

#29 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 02:56 PM:

And the Dakota is considered a “building of disaster” why? On account of John Lennon? That seems like a bit of a stretch.

Also included, for a mere $95(US): a scale model of the OJ Car Chase. A tiny bonded nickel Ford Explorer forever followed by perfectly spaced bonded nickel (what the hell is bonded nickel, anyway?) four-door sedans, on a strip of bonded nickel tarmac.

If that doesn't quite capture the awesome, soul-redefining horror of that moment for you, check out the model of the Alma Tunnel in Paris. I am almost positive that there is a tiny bonded nickel photographer just behind the middle pillar.

#30 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 03:11 PM:

OH Captain, my captain . . .

Bob Keeshan, dead at 76:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=7&u=/ap/obit_keeshan

A very nice guy who worked his tail off. His morning show ran six days a week for over a decade; one of the few shows I remember was when he announced the closing of the Weekend Treasure House.

That, and his gadding about a moon landing set in a space suit, to show kids what was happening up there. This terminally confused my younger brother, who assumed the The Captain was travelling along with Apollo 12 and giving a live show. ("But Dylan, *he doesn't have a helmet on!* He'd be DEAD!")

"He's with Qetzoqoatl now, fighting the Monkey, the Jaguar, and the Eeeeevil Jesus."

Or better:

"He's with Misterogers now, fighting the teletubby, the pokemon, and the Eeeeevil Barney."

#31 ::: Esme ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 03:32 PM:

Following on some earlier threads: there was an NPR story a few days ago about compulsive hoarders.

#32 ::: trinker ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:04 PM:

Oooh! Thank you for the link to Yuebing. How wonderful that his acquired-around-Chinese-New-Year's bunny is named "Mooncake".

#33 ::: sean ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:18 PM:

OK, shameless praise:

Steve, I love your comment. I, too, was mindblown way back when I first heard of virtual items selling for cash on ebay. Now this... To quote Cardinal Bishop, "I feel and exquisite pain."

Teresa, yes, why can't I come up with something, anything in my fiction that is remotely as bizarre and utterly perfect as these sweatshops? It's an endless challenge to outdo the oddity of life, let alone reproduce it. These entrepreneurs don't have the internal editor who says, "Nah, that's too bizarre!"

As for the adam and eve story...my big lesson came in my first creative writing class. The teacher said "Hands up...whose stories featured someone who commits suicide?" Half of us raised our hands. "OK, how many go insane?" The rest of us raised our hands. "No more suicide or madness for the rest of the semester, OK?" We all nodded solemnly.

#34 ::: --kip ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:46 PM:

Messr. Moles: I just don't trust either of them to make with the giddy that such an enterprise requires. Certainly, Paltrow's line in the trailer ("Can't anything be simple with you?") does not fill one with confidence--on either the performance or writing fronts. --But look at me, judging on zip context.

#35 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2004, 04:53 PM:

Steve: Not quite the same thing, but my brother financed part of his Mormon mission by selling items from Asheron's Call. He sold like five or six hoary frost cloaks and other arcane items and paid for his bike and clothing.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 12:45 AM:

I'm jealous of Doyle and Macdonald. They have an ermine living underneath the bookshelf in their kitchen. Jim says he now understands what the cats were trying to tell him for days before he spotted the ermine.

They've got a heavy accumulation of snow, with a solid layer of ice interrupting it a few inches from the ground, which IMO is probably why the ermine is in their kitchen, eating their cat food.

#37 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 12:56 AM:

http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2004/Jan/hour2_012304.html

Science Friday had a terrific show about building "green" building.

#38 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 12:57 AM:

Steve Taylor wrote:
Counterquestion: I’ve critted a few stories for Critters. How close am I to having any understanding of how awful slush really is?

Sidetrack: I've critted a few stories for Critters too. Have you ever critted someone and afterwards met them in another forum, like LJ or usenet or RL? I have, and I didn't mention it. It was embarassing - their story was good, and they turned out to set my teeth on edge in person.

#39 ::: Rachael ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 01:33 AM:

"I’m jealous of Doyle and Macdonald. They have an ermine living underneath the bookshelf in their kitchen. "

It is the very strangest thing, I am sitting at my computer listening to odd and quite distressed sounding squeeky animals in my walls and then I read that there are ermine in someones kitchen. I suspect my squeeks are nothing so interesting, mice probably. But really loud angry sounding mice.

#40 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 02:19 AM:

Damnit. Funging Cryaps. Poo. It looks like the _Whole Earth Review_ is going under for the last time:

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/000338.html

Most of the never-printed Spring 2003 special Singularity issue, with articles by several SF authors among others, is available at the web site.

#41 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 06:57 AM:

Rachel -- once the wolves come out of the walls, it's ALL OVER.

#42 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 10:17 AM:

There's no online link, but the Friday edition of the Prescott AZ Daily Courier had an interesting story far more upbeat than the coverage of Mormon cultists and their multiple young wives. This more "local interest" item (which did make Page 1) was about two girls in a grade school class where the project was to look into family history and bring some appropriate heirloom to class. Two girls, who hadn't know each other at all beforehand, brought the same photo of their great-grandfather in 1920s Indiana -- a Mr. Ford -- standing beside his Model T. Turns out they were third cousins; *now* they're also best friends. I think this qualifies in the "stranger than fiction" category, in its own modest way.

#43 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 01:31 PM:

I just posted another poem to the appropriate part of my web domain, the poetry that gets tens of thousands of hits per year. It relates to our previous sub-thread on dreams:

Round-trip Ticket to the Twilight Zone
63 rhymes in alphabetical order, submitted to Twilight Zone Magazine.

#44 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 01:41 PM:

We've got squirrels in the ceiling between the 2nd and 3rd floor. If they get to uppity I get into the crawl eave space in Jim's office and put out the Have-a-Heart trap and relocate them....

Geez. Today it was warm enough that Jim and I did a yard clean-up (Among other things, one of our neighhbors had some kind of front-end accident and changed out their broken headlights in front of the house. And left the broken pieces in OUR yard. Gee, thanks. Did I mention I live in an urban location?) But on the overnight we're supposed to get freezing rain. Yikes!

#45 ::: Loren MacGregor ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 01:42 PM:

Apropos of a very old post, I just moved to a new office at Microsoft, where I am pretty much directly opposite an office that is ... indescribable. Let me first say that hundreds of exposed peeps exude an odor. Let me next say that hundreds of peeps very carefully arranged in color format, row upon row, affixed to the ceiling tiles of a room, is eye-catching at the very least.

But it doesn't stop there. I stopped by the office (occupied by a Microsoft Publisher specialist) and said I felt I needed to take a picture. She looked up and said, "They're not mine. I inherited them." "But you kept them," i answered, and she grinned.

And it doesn't stop there, either. A co-worker tells me that she not only KEPT them when she inherited an office from the original owner, but she MOVED them to her new office, which involved removing the ceiling tiles and swapping them.

She felt it was important to keep the art installation intact.

Photos to follow.

-- LJM

#46 ::: Loren MacGregor ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 01:48 PM:

Steve Taylor writes,

"And if I can be allowed two questions: have you ever personally received an ‘Adam and Eve’ manuscript - you know - 'We’re the last survivors of the spacewreck. My name is A’dam…'"

I have -- and I haven't actually been a science fiction editor as such at any time.

Terry Carr told me (and others) that he had once written a story just so he could legitimately use the phrase, "Oh, I guess I forgot to mention, he had wings and flew away."

If I had the wings of a plot device, over this logical obstacle I would fly.

-- LJM

#47 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 03:41 PM:

We had a family of skunks under our front stairs, out below the porch. They were no trouble at all. The mom took good care of her kits. We never snuck up on them. They knew us. To be sure, we whistled as we approached the stairs. We were sorry when they left.

On the other hand, the raccoons not only ran around on our roof, which they reached by tree to garage to tear off window louvres. Our first few nights in the house we lay in bed, after listening to Stephen King audiobooks, paralyzed with fear, at the sound of aliens on the roof.

They were clever fingered beasts. They opened the latch to our chicken coop, and ripped the heads off all our pet chickens.

Also seen in our yard: coyotes, possums, dogs, cats, snakes, peahens... and, on the trail we walk up into the San Gabriel Mountains, on whose foothills we perch: deer, Bear, and mountain lion.

As someone who grew up in New York City, the fauna still amaze me. But no ermine, nor wolves in the walls. Coyotes hunt with duplicitous "I'm just a dog" stance, or even "I'm a little one, all alone" -- while the seasoned killers wait to spring the ambush.

#48 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2004, 07:58 PM:

Jonathan, be very very careful of cougars (mountain lion). Because of too much familiarization with people, they are starting to act predatory on humans, not just when starving.

I love my life. We're having Margene's grandkids (Connor is 5+, Lauren is 2+, both have birthdays in November)over for movies at home while mom and dad go to a real movie!!! They're downstairs watching the extended Two Towers. Jim commented, "Lauren, you're such a sweet, pretty, quiet little girl...."
"Nyuh-uhhh," Connar interrupts him, "not MY sister.... not ever!"

I almost had sloppy joe out my nose.....

Plus we get to send them home at the end. That's the way I likes it, uh-huh.

#49 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 05:49 AM:

> I’m as gobsmacked as anyone, but I was wondering why I couldn’t parse it. Then I realized Steve probably meant to type “generating & bashing” but forgot to code the “&” as “&”.

Nothing so sophisticated! I wrote the first half of a sentence, had a brain fart, and then typed the second half of a different sentence.

I like your explanation though, as it makes me sound intelligent.

#50 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 05:54 AM:

Dan wrote:
> I’m as gobsmacked as anyone, but I was wondering why I couldn’t parse it. Then I realized Steve probably meant to type “generating & bashing” but forgot to code the “&” as “&”.

Nothing so sophisticated! I typed the first half of a sentence, had a brain fart, and then typed the second half of a different sentence.

I like your explanation though, as it makes me sound intelligent.

#51 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 06:11 AM:

Vassilissa wrote:
> Sidetrack: I’ve critted a few stories for Critters too. Have you ever critted someone and afterwards met them
> in another forum, like LJ or usenet or RL? I have, and I didn’t mention it. It was embarassing - their story
> was good, and they turned out to set my teeth on edge in person.

No - the closest I've come is finding out on the net that some writers I admire can be total jerks sometimes. Which shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, what with them being human and all.

My most unpleasantly memorable Critters moment is when I forgot myself critiquing a story and wrote what was basically a really nasty, bitchy review of it, earning myself a wounded email from the author.

The tragic thing was that I really had just gotten carried away and lost the focus of what I should have been doing, with no malicious intent - and worst of all, the only reason I was able to say so many bad things about this story was that it was one of the most readable and interesting stories I'd found on Critters up to that point, so I was actually able to finish it without all my energies having been sapped by workshop despair.

So - to the guy who wrote the half good/half bad fantasy story with quite a bit of underlying promise: I'm more sorry than words can express. Everybody, pass it on.

#52 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 06:14 AM:

Thanks to all who told me they really had received "Adam and Eve" story submissions. I'd always wondered if it was an sfnal urban legend, or a harmless exageration. Clearly I was an optimist.

Special expression of shock and horror for Barb, for the story of the creative writing teacher who unveiled his own Adam and Eve story.

But for all that, I kinda think Gene Wolfe should do a shipwreck/adam/eve story. He'd play it straight, in his twisty kind of way, and do it justice.

#53 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 05:45 PM:

My son Andrew just had his 15th birthday. He had about 20 of his college friends over. Andrew is a university sophmore. He restricted the guest list to other prodigies, who started college at 13 or 14. Fascinating bunch of guys and gals, some arriving in costumes. My wife and I, in shifts, kept them fed, showed digital films, and stayed out of the way while they played Dance Dance Revolution and various Eye Toy games where video images of the players interact with graphics animation.

While I was hiding in my office room, I dug out something arithmetical, derived from a puzzle of 1900 by Dudeney, that Andrew and I had worked out together 6 years ago. It was handwritten. I'd promised him that I'd type it up someday. Here it is, as a web page:

The Four 9s Puzzle

#54 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 08:28 PM:

Oh brave new world, that has such entertainments in it!

A Hamlet text adventure:

http://www.robinjohnson.f9.co.uk/adventure/hamlet.html

#55 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2004, 09:05 PM:

I woke up this morning from a delightful dream of meeting Teresa and Patrick in their home in Ohio (yes, I know). We had a delightful conversation while I was working on my bicycle. I was pleased and excited to finally be able to meet Teresa.

My first ever blog-related dream. :-)

#56 ::: Jame Scholl ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 01:10 AM:

Things don't change much. If at all. Just ask Geoffrey Chaucer, Technical Writer

#57 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 10:07 AM:

Speaking of the world full of numbered things, my word of the day is vigesimal.

---L.

#58 ::: Richard Brandt ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 10:46 AM:

Re: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/demoulin/index.htm

...The Fuzzy Wonder Goat?

Nothing to add. I just like saying "Fuzzy Wonder Goat."

#59 ::: eleanor rowe ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 11:42 AM:

Thanks to Stephan, above.

Is anybody here playing the Hamlet text adventure?

I've got it to 73% but I can't find the chalice. I have grave suspicions about the couch in the back room of the inn, but nothing I do has any effect on it.

Incidentally, whilst in the kitchen type 'make dinner'.

#60 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 11:51 AM:

In a related sense, LNHammer, see what I have to say about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 AD -- One Vigintillion Years From Now, at

Cosmic Future: Until Infinity

#61 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2004, 12:10 PM:

This probably most properly belongs here:

Hubble's End - or a New Beginning?
Keith Cowing -- NASA Watch
Monday, January 26, 2004

Recently Sean O'Keefe decided not to proceed with SM4 - the fifth, and last scheduled Space Shuttle Servicing Mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. This mission would have installed new gyroscopes, and added several new instruments to the aging telescope allowing it to operate until the end of the decade. The plan had been that this would allow the research community to continue to utilize Hubble as NASA's next space telescope, the Webb Space Telescope, came online roughly around the time Hubble would be going offline.

News of this decision began to filter out within moments of the end of a meeting held at NASA GSFC with O'Keefe and Hubble managers. Internal memos arrived at NASA Watch followed by emails to NASA Watch from NASA headquarters. A few hours later, a hastily arranged telephone press briefing was held between reporters and NASA Chief Scientist John Grunsfeld. Grunsfeld, also an astronomer, had flown on the previous two Hubble serving missions and was slated to fly on SM4.

Clearly this did not look good. To date NASA has not even issued a formal press release on the issue. Many took the suddenness of this announcement personally. NASA sources tell NASA Watch that there had been a plan to do this more formally, but that word had already gotten out to Capitol Hill and that NASA Headquarters wanted the Hubble team to hear the news from O'Keefe, not some reporter.

None the less, this decision has quickly morphed formal decision not to send SM4 to Hubble (which still has a number of years left) to a decision for outright cancellation and shutdown of the Hubble. Indeed, a petition website has inevitably appeared. The speculation continues further with reporters and critics stating that the cancellation of Hubble (actually the cancellation of the SM4 mission) is part of Bush's new space policy.

Even Science magazine, one of the most respected scientific journals in the world, got it wrong. They said "Astronomers were stunned to learn that the president's plan precludes any more servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope". In reality the space policy makes no mention whatsoever about Hubble Servicing missions - or Hubble itself. It simply says "Focus use of the Space Shuttle to complete assembly of the International Space Station".

It also says "NASA will return the Space Shuttle to flight consistent with safety concerns and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board." The decision not to fly SM4 was made by NASA on safety grounds based on CAIB (Columbia Accident Investigation Board) recommendations and, to some extent, Stafford/Covey Return to Flight Task Force observations. Had O'Keefe decided to fly the mission it is doubtful the White House would have said or done anything.

Why this decision?

So - Let's be clear about what has been decided - and why. NASA has a number of recommendations it has sworn to adhere to with regard to flying the shuttle in the future. Most come from the CAIB. Some are now coming from the Return to Flight Task Force. The CAIB was very explicit about several things: first, the ability to have shuttle crews be able to use the ISS as a safe haven if, for whatever reason, their orbiter cannot return to Earth.

Second, that there be an ability to inspect the shuttle in orbit and, if damage is found on any of the thermal protection surfaces, to have an ability to attempt a repair. In the case of Hubble, it is in a different inclination and any shuttle visiting it would be as unable to visit the ISS as was Columbia. As such. some way for the crew to be rescued would need to be provided. According to Grunsfeld, this would have required that another shuttle be on the pad ready to go and that it be equipped with the ability to mount an exceptionally risky shuttle-to-shuttle crew transfer in the event that the first orbiter was damaged.

Of course, it is possible that a flight to the Hubble - or one to the ISS for that matter - could suffer from problem sand make it to a less than optimal orbit - and possibly be unable to do much maneuvering after that. In such cases some sort of external inspection and repair capability would be needed that does not rely on the ISS. Moreover, some capability must be in place wherein the shuttle could survive long enough until another mission could come and get to it should repairs not make it possible to return home.

Last year NASA announced that it would not pursue a shuttle mission to either retrieve the Hubble or attached a propulsion stage to return it to earth via destructive reentry. The time frame set for this disposal assumed the launch of SM4 and was pegged at being somewhere between 2010 and 2012.

In early December 2003 Hubble Program Executive Mike Moore told me that they could not justify the risk to the human crew and that automated means to safely deorbit the Hubble was now NASA's preference. When pressed, on the other hand, as to why the risk to a human crew was acceptable to fly SM4 he said that the only way to do the upgrades was by humans and that the risk to benefit ratio supported the use of a shuttle mission (with humans).

How to Bring it Back

In announcing the decision to cancel the SM4 mission NASA headquarters has said that the decision had nothing to do with budget, but that safety was the only driver. NASA Watch has learned that the cost of this servicing mission had long been anticipated and that it had been grandfathered into space shuttle budget estimates. As such, Code S would not have to pay for the mission. However these accommodations within the budget were made before the Columbia accident and did not take into account the need for having a second shuttle on the pad and the effect this would have, in a reduced shuttle fleet, upon ISS assembly.

However, with regard to a subsequent, post-SM4 disposal or retrieval flight, the issue is different. In December Moore said "Another shuttle mission would not be free in this time of full cost accounting. Code S [NASA's Office of Space Science] has to pay for the ride." In other words, costs on the order of $500 million would have had to be found.

Regardless of whether SM4 mission was flown or not, Hubble would be coming home without the aid of a Space Shuttle mission. This is whether this will happen sooner rather than later- and what NASA needs to do in order to allow this to happen safely.

When I asked Moore in December about options that might involve sending up an autonomous vehicle capable of not only docking with Hubble and deorbiting it he said that he'd like to use something "as close to off the shelf as possible". When I asked if he had looked into other options including the development of vehicles that could also extend the life of the Hubble he said that he was "adverse to spending Hubble money on technology demonstrations" and that he was "interested in keeping the risk down."

Last fall word of various systems to de-orbit the Hubble using expendable launch vehicles and a propulsion stage circulated - with a price tag of around $300 million (not counting the launch vehicle). Moore said that Code S had done a preliminary, high-level look at what options might be out there for such a mission. Among the potential solutions considered was NRL's ICM - Interim Control Module - a project NASA spent a lot of money on - and then abandoned a few years back as an alternative to relying on Russia for all ISS reboost propulsion.

According to Moore "we did not find any existing stages to be attractive. It is not that difficult to construct a stage to do this." He noted that there were some things that would have to be invented to some extent. "Autonomous rendezvous and capture is something we have not done."

Why are there only two choices?

NASA has always been rather binary about the Hubble's fate: either you service it or you destroy it. Other options never seem to enter the picture. When I asked Moore if anyone had looked at the notions of deeding the telescope over to some organization or consortium provided they found a safe way to operate and then dispose of it, Moore said "that has not occurred to me." He then quickly said that that sort of discussion is not something he'd normally be worried about and that I should talked with Ann Kinney.

He said "one of the problems that I have personally with unproven methods is that we run a risk in terms of investment and accomplishment. We want something that we understand very well. We do not want to have to have inventions in order to come up with a solution. Right now we have a policy position in Code S that we are not going to leave the problem for future generations. This comes directly from [NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science] Ed Weiler." As for how one might operate Hubble with a new propulsion and control stage Moor said "driving the telescope with a booster to do science is a lot more complex than what we do today."

In his telecon with reporters, Grunsfeld spoke of a variety of potential solutions under development that would allow the useful life of Hubble to be extended. Right now three of its 6 gyroscopes are offline. Several of those online have given indications that they are getting close to the end of their lifetime. The orthodox rule for Hubble has been that three gyros are needed for full fledged science operations. Last summer the chance that there would be three operational gyros by Summer 2006 was rated at only 30%.

Grunsfeld spoke of software solutions that would allow Hubble to continue operating with only two gyros and he speculated that it might even be possible to continue to do some science with only one. However, there is still no plan (or any apparent interest) to try and extend Hubble's life through automated means - just to dispose of it.

When I asked Moore when the decision to bring Hubble back would be made he said that this would likely depend on whether the telescope was still able to do science. AS for when they'd need to have the disposal solution in place, Moore (who was then speaking under the assumption that SM4 could extend Hubble's life until the end of the decade) said that NASA would like to have the solution (propulsion stage) in place and ready to go. If this stage simply serves the function of deorbiting the telescope then it is just a matter of waiting until the telescope no longer worth operating. However, according to Moore, if such a stage is designed to extend science, then the issue becomes more complex.

In a press briefing in Pasadena on the eve of Opportunity's arrival on Mars, O'Keefe said that looking into such options might"raise the risk even higher". He continued "That would overcome one element but raise a whole other set of risks." Of course, the automated rendezvous an docking required to attach to and then deorbit the Hubble would be required regardless of whether the interest was to operate it or deorbit it.

According to Moore, new gyros would allow Hubble to continue operating until the end of the decade, perhaps a bit beyond and that disposal would be likely between 2010-2012. Now, with the prospect of a partially functional - potentially inoperable vehicle years earlier, it would seem that NASA needs to get started on a solution much faster. In December Moore spoke of possibly issuing a RFI for soliciting concepts in early 2004. There has been no word yet as to whether NASA will still be issuing that RFI with ground rules amend to reflect the cancellation of SM4.

We've been here before

NASA has faced this end of life dilemma before. In 2000 NASA made the decision to deorbit the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory when its complement of gyros needed to continue safe and productive operation failed. Compton was launched by Space Shuttle mission STS-37 in 1991 for a 5 year mission. It had operated for more than 9 years and had more than met all of its primary science objectives. CGRO had made many scientific discoveries, some of them "fundamental" according to Ed Weiler.

While CGRO was launch by a shuttle mission and was designed to be captured and repaired, Weiler decided that the spacecraft had more than accomplished what it was designed to do and that the prime issue was how to make certain that this spacecraft, which, at 33,000 lbs was one of the largest NASA had lofted, would land in a location far from where it could do any damage.

Of course, there is also the issue of what to do with the International Space Station when its mission is accomplished. I can recall a phrase in the high level requirements document used during the Space Station Freedom program that said that nothing could be launched that could not be safely returned to Earth. While NASA has been somewhat shy on this looming issue some thought has been given to it.

Of course, this was also a controversial issue with regard to Russia's venerable Mir.

Other options?

While the architecture that will eventually unfold to support the implementation of the President's new space policy has yet to appear, many, many attempts at coming up with architectures to support activity in earth orbit and cis-lunar space have been envisioned over the years. Almost without exception, such scenarios involve in-space propulsion- the moving of things from one place to another. One of the most common ways to do this is with a vehicle often referred to as a "space tug".

A space tug would have the ability to dock with, move, and then deposit another spacecraft in a new location. Some tug concepts rely upon traditional chemical propulsion, Other concepts envision the use of electric propulsion. Still other notions accomplish the task of moving things around with solar sails, momentum exchange tethers, and other more exotic means.

Regardless of which modalities are considered, it is almost a certainty that they vision embraced by the new space policy is gong to reuse this sort of capability. Why not use the Hubble predicament as a means to leverage an opportunity to come up with a solution with the need to develop such new capabilities? Indeed, NASA still needs to solicit ideas for Hubble's destruction - why not ask for ideas on how to save it as well?

#62 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 10:05 AM:

There's a story in today's New York Times (I read the dead wood version, so no link) about what's happening with the fundamentalist Mormons. Looks like the fleeing girls were a product of a power struggle...

#63 ::: Nao ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 10:31 AM:

here's the NYT article link (the USERLAND version that lets you see it without registering).

#64 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 02:23 PM:

Paula Helm Murray said: "I love my life. We’re having Margene’s grandkids over for movies at home ...Plus we get to send them home at the end. That’s the way I likes it, uh-huh."

You betcha! I refer to this type of child-interaction as "catch and release".

#65 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 05:05 PM:

Matt, Nao, the FLDS system has been destabilizing. In 2002, Rulon Jeffs came out on top of a struggle with Winston Blackmore, the reasonably popular leader of the Bountiful, B.C. group. That didn't go over well, though it didn't provoke a general open revolt.

More recently, Jeffs suspended Short Creek religious services and administration of the sect's various sacraments. In part, this is the usual pattern you get when a leader tries to impose increasingly authoritarian rule: people who don't knuckle under fight back, and the leader comes out of the ensuing conflict with significantly more or significantly less power.

Warren Jeffs must be losing it if he tried to boot out twenty men, including Mayor Barlow, and strip them of their priesthood standing, their wives and children, and the houses they live in. For one thing, Barlow's been Mayor since the town was incorporated. He's never run opposed. The Barlows are the most powerful clan in town. For another, you can bet the rest of the congregation isn't thinking "I'll be safe if I obey."

The other thing that may be going on is that law enforcement looks like it's finally closing in on Jeffs and his cronies, and he may be planning to decamp to Mexico. The perception that he's going to take off, undoubtedly taking with him all the FLDS resources that aren't nailed down, would destabilize things even further.

It's like everybody in Short Creek has sweat equity in their community. If it holds together, an individual's ongoing obedience and commitment to it is worth something. Life may have its dissatisfactions, but you get to think you're someone important, and everyone around you acts like you are too. But if the community falls apart, you're just another unemployed person with a weird backstory, no savings, few job skills, a third-rate education, dubious social habits, and child-support liabilities you can't cover: qualities not in short supply in the Intermountain West.

Why is it the kids who run? Because the adults have already paid in the years of their youth, and they can't cash out.

I should probably repost this in the Short Creek thread.

#66 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 08:47 PM:

Oh my.

Young Howard Dean.

Yum.

Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled commenting.

#67 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2004, 08:51 PM:

Did anybody else think of the Segway while reading the Chindogu pages?

#68 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 03:13 PM:

Metacomment -- I really like that the New Regime takes me to the post I've clicked on in the "comments" area (rather than to the top of the comment chain). I just noticed that it didn't seem to do so from the "Previous 200 comments" page, and I'm actually curious as to why they don't automatically work the same (if indeed they don't).

#69 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 03:24 PM:

Uh, because I didn't think of it. Hold on a sec...

#70 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 03:39 PM:

Okay, done. Which is to say, at Tom Whitmore's suggestion, the comment links from the "last 200 comments" page now jump directly to the comment in question.

I've also increased the number of comments linked from that page--to 300 on Electrolite, but 400 on Making Light, since the latter has been known to get 400 comments between a Monday and a Wednesday...

#71 ::: David Frazer ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 06:28 PM:

Way back on January 20th, Particles linked to a website about film sound cliches, including among other things a sound called the Wilhelm Scream. It just so happens that today's Guardian includes a short piece about...the Wilhelm Scream.

I wonder if anyone at the Guardian reads Making Light, or, more likely, got the link from wherever Teresa found it...

#72 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 06:49 PM:

Speaking of the traditional media catching up to Teresa, CNN had a short blurb on Angle Grinder Man a day or two ago. Really. Showed him in costume and all. (Though not his face) Pretty kicky.

MKK

#73 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2004, 11:16 PM:

When the traditional media catch up to Teresa, she'll be mobbed by reporters yelling "Ms. Nielsen Hayden! Ms. Nielsen Hayden! What's the title of your next post? Who do you endorse in the New York Primary? Ms. Nielsen Hayden, look over here!"

Teresa may not wish this to happen.

#74 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 01:33 AM:

"Ms. Hayden!' [for you know such will be the appellation proffered, and television people utter the word "Nielsen" only in hushed tones] "What's the title of your next post?"

May I suggest "The Sources of the Nile?"

#75 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 01:03 PM:

I stick my tongue out at you both. :-P

MKK

#76 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 02:50 PM:

Say, I was reminded of the Nielsen-Hayden anti-spam battles by this Slashdot posting -- apparently porn site operators are using their viewers to help their spam-bots decode captcha images.

#77 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 05:41 PM:

> Say, I was reminded of the Nielsen-Hayden anti-spam battles by this Slashdot posting -- apparently porn site operators are using their viewers to help their spam-bots decode captcha images

Yes! An amazing concept. I don't think the Slashdot article went quite so far as to say it was definitely happening right now - it was more in the solid rumour category - but it hardly matters - I think the idea itself is bulletproof.

The words "Evil Genius" came to my mind when I read about it.

It also reminded me of another unconfirmed evil-genius porn scam I read about a while ago: Set up a free porn site, but make people log in with a username and password of their choosing. Once they've logged in, they can snarf up a reasonable amount of free porn and good luck to them. *But* you log their ip adresses and username/password pairs, and go sniffing around those sites later, in the hope that a few people will have exercised incredibly poor password discipline and will be using their normal username/password pairs.

And of course it would work as well or better with less disreputable sounding things like free game and crossword puzzle sites...

#78 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2004, 09:23 PM:

Courtesy of Wendy Knits Weblog -

http://cgi.ebay.fr/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2978448779

I needed the laugh.

#79 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 10:09 AM:

By the gods, you're right. That is "formalist humor."

---L.

#80 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 10:35 AM:

(open thread? check.)

A whale just exploded in Taiwan.

It's possible I've been waiting my entire life to write that.

#81 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 11:12 AM:

I saw the pictures. Life so seldom imitates Spawn.

Can you imagine having to explain to your boss that you're late on account of getting hit with exploding whale guts? On the other hand, you'd be able to trump anyone who complained about what a bad day they were having.

#82 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 11:41 AM:

I suspect the Earl of Bothwell.

#83 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 11:47 AM:

Life so seldom imitates Spawn.

I believe this is one of those blessings for which we should all be devoutly thankful.

Conversation at the dry-cleaners:

"I think that used to be krill... no, that one's tea... I see. Have you tried lemon juice?"

#84 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2004, 11:03 PM:

That's an ... interesting ... collection of favorites Breathed picked. I've always liked "Pear pimples for hairy fishnuts" (YDTWBaGNfaB), but I'd never seen his take on Hilbert Hooper Aspasia before.

#85 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: January 31, 2004, 07:26 AM:

re: "A Confession of Sorts":

One presumes that getting drunk and "talking" to someone's girlfriend translates to "putting the make on" said girlfriend.

I seem to recall, from my misspent youth, that getting drunk was not a requirement.

(I really should have known better about the particular lady that comes to mind, since she'd told me previously that she thought I was "sweet." This was before I realized that "sweet" is GirlCode for "I will never, ever, under any circumstances, have sex with you.")

#86 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2004, 02:31 PM:

Two rather separate thoughts:

1. Those interested in the PETA thread might find Deborah Parks' book LOVE AT GOON PARK: HARRY HARLOW AND THE SCIENCE OF AFFECTION either enraging or fascinating or both. Harlow, through doing experiments that _were_ cruel (no question about it!) changed the paradigm of how people looked at both animal and infant development -- he demonstrated that cruelty in a way that set the stage for preventing more of it. One of the unstated morals -- if you change the way people see the world and make the old way uncomfortable, don't expect to be remembered well.

2. In another online forum I've been playing with a social-worlds/lines-of-interest analysis of online communities. Lines-of-work doesn't work as well when the only reward is egoboo/learning; lines-of-interest seems more fruitful. Here, we have one person who determines what lines (generally) get followed up and discussed. An interesting analysis might be to see if there's a typology of threads that can be determined just by who posts on them, how often. I have neither the time nor the energy to actually do this analysis, but it strikes me as an interesting question.

Cheers,
Tom

#88 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2004, 09:27 AM:

This is tangential to TNH's marvelous Slushkiller essay, and I'm reluctant to drag the comment thread off-topic so early in its career.

A few years back The New Yorker ran an article on William Carlos Williams. Along with it was somebody's parody of "This is just to say." No, not that one, or that one either. A series of escalating riffs on WCW's theme. The final stanza went something like

I took your shiny new red sportscar
And drove it into a tree.
Ha ha ha ha ha.

Only funnier.

I really have to chase that poem down. It has become (for me) one of those texts that holds a special place in your heart even though you can't actually quote a word of it. I need to make sure it's actually as brilliant as I thought it was at the time.

#89 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2004, 01:06 PM:

There's a lot of knifty rifty poetry out there. Even aside from E.O. Parrott's wonderful volumes and the Brand-X Anthology of Literature.

---L.

#90 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2004, 05:58 PM:

BTW, a question for the techgnomes: How does the trackback tracker code work? How long does it take to recognize an entry's been linked to?

Just wondering — mainly because I've seen a good half-dozen links to the rejections-as-tea-leaves post (including one linked to in the discussion) but it's still supposedly 0 trackbacks.

---L.

#91 ::: Diane ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2004, 06:38 PM:

Fantasizing about Dick Cheney? Oh yuck...must go and scrub out my brain now.

#92 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2004, 07:33 PM:

Teresa: Jordin showed me the first picture on the rabbit link and my exact words were, "There's a rabbit in there somewhere!"

MKK

#93 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2004, 12:09 AM:

Larry "Not The" Hammer writes:

BTW, a question for the techgnomes: How does the trackback tracker code work? How long does it take to recognize an entry's been linked to?

Just wondering — mainly because I've seen a good half-dozen links to the rejections-as-tea-leaves post (including one linked to in the discussion) but it's still supposedly 0 trackbacks.

Yes, but were those links from TrackBack-using blogs (a set largely but not perfectly coterminous with the set of Movable Type- and TypePad-using blogs)?

For a trackback to show up here, it's got to be sent from there. This ain't Technorati, bubbula.

- Techgnome

#94 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2004, 09:53 AM:

Most of them, definitely not. Which answers that question. (I wonder how Mark Pilgrim does his trackbacks — same way?)

---L. "just a" Hammer

#95 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2004, 10:34 AM:

Mark Pilgrim uses Movable Type, so I presume so. The whole Trackback protocol or whatever you call it was largely developed by the Movable Type people, although I believe (I'm hazy about this) they made it extensible so it could be bolted into other weblog CMSes.

#96 ::: The Magician ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2004, 12:41 PM:

Sky Captain and the yadda yaddas, some early comments and previews are at CHUD.com ... I'd post a more direct link, but the work internet connection is being crappy today and I can't get through to find a precise URL. There are two articles on this wonderful looking film, I just hope it is at least half as good as it looks!

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