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August 13, 2004

Tracking Nielsen Haydens in their habitat
Posted by Patrick at 04:25 PM *

For those who didn’t see it on Electrolite, here’s our schedule of public appearances at the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention in Boston.

Thursday, September 2

1 PM
PNH: “Did We Win? SF and Its Takeover of Popular Culture” (panel, with Moshe Feder, Liz Gorinsky, Joe Siclari, Graham Sleight, and Walter Jon Williams)

1 PM
TNH: “Deconstructing Mary Sue” (talk)

3 PM
TNH: “All That Gothic Stuff” (panel, with Paula Guran, Bobbi King, Shariann Lewitt, Cecelia Tan, and Liz Williams)

4 PM
PNH: “Tolkien’s Techniques” (panel, with Phyllis Eisenstein, Daniel Grotta, Jo Walton, and Elise Matthesen)

4 PM
TNH: “As You Know, Bob: The Positives and Negatives of Infodumps” (panel, with Debra Doyle and Terry McGarry)

Friday, September 3

11 AM
PNH: Locus Awards ceremony (accepting the publisher’s award for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom)

12 noon
PNH: “The World Map of 2100” (panel, with David McMahon, S. M. Stirling, Scott Westerfeld, and Jim Young)

3 PM
PNH & TNH: Viable Paradise special-interest event (introduction to the writing workshop)

4 PM
TNH: “The Civil War in SF” (panel, with Duncan Allen, Harry Turtledove, Toni Weisskopf, and Peter Weston)

5 PM
PNH: “Drunk on Technology” (panel, with Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross)

Saturday, September 4

11 AM
TNH: Art show docenting (with Ctein; attendance by advance signup)

1 PM
TNH: “Freedom, Security, and Privacy” (panel, with Cory Doctorow, Joseph Lazzaro, and Don Sakers)

3 PM
PNH: “Authors and Editors” (panel, with Paul DiFilippo, Carl Frederick, and Beth Meacham)

3 PM
TNH: “Tough Love for New Writers” (panel, with Gavin Grant, David Hartwell, Steve Miller, and Priscilla Olson)

4 PM
TNH: “Alien Genres” (panel, with Elizabeth Caldwell, Tanya Huff, Sue Krinard, and Michelle Sagara West)

8 PM
PNH & TNH: Hugo Awards ceremony (presenting the “Best Related Book” Hugo)

Sunday, September 5

11 AM
PNH: “Books That Died Despite Everything” (panel, with John Jarrold, Jane Jewell, Janna Silverstein, Jonathan Strahan, and Jacob Weisman)

3 PM
PNH & TNH: Kaffeeklatsch (informal discussion roundtable with coffee; attendance by advance signup)

4 PM
PNH & TNH: Forthcoming from Tor Books (informal presentation, along with other Tor editors)

5 PM
TNH: “The Pains and Promises of Rejection Slips” (panel, with Janna Silverstein, Charles Stross, and Jo Walton)

Monday, September 6

11 AM
PNH: “Images of Loss in The Lord of the Rings” (panel, with Debra Doyle, Mary Kay Kare, Michael Swanwick, and Jo Walton)

12 noon
PNH: “Transcendental Adventure” (panel, with Gregory Benford, Jim Frenkel, David Hartwell, and Charles Obendorf)

Comments on Tracking Nielsen Haydens in their habitat:
#1 ::: jason ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 04:38 PM:

Crud. Reading the panel titles just makes me want to go more...

Accursed schedule...

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 04:59 PM:

Can we put electronic tags on you? Can we? Huh?

No?

[grumble]

#3 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 05:21 PM:

I'm looking forward to the Graft: Boon or Blessing panel.

#4 ::: Dawn Burnell ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 05:49 PM:

Coolness, thanks for the info. Look forward to seeing you there.

#5 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 05:56 PM:

See, I am in entirely the wrong city this weekend. I could be bumming around Boston with my friends that live there, and seeing TNH and PNH and basking in the warm glow of another, different con.

And....instead, I am here in RTP, bracing for a hurricane. Whee!

Some folks get all the fun.

(The panels look interesting--the one I want to see in particular is the Mary Sue panel.)

#6 ::: Abigail ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Teresa, I'm curious. Is your presence on the Mary Sue and Rejection panels an extension of your posts on those two subjects here?

There is not one of those panels I wouldn't like to attend, by the way. Unfortunately I'm hampered by living on the other side of the world.

#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 06:43 PM:

The Mary Sue item will be a talk by Teresa, not a panel.

I imagine her presence on the rejections panel has something to do with having read and rejected a bazillion manuscripts in her many years doing this stuff. That's a metric standard bazillion, of course.

#8 ::: Priscilla ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 08:21 PM:

To answer Abigail - yes.

#9 ::: Sara E. ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 09:50 PM:

Damn it, I wish I could be in Boston.

Sigh.

#10 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 10:15 PM:

That's a metric standard bazillion, of course.

If so, then Teresa is out of date. The metric bazillion, originally defined as the number of times the Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures redefined the meter (see Unit of Length), has long since been supplanted by the SI bazillion. By international consensus, the SI bazillion is the number of scientists (chilled to 20 C at a pressure of 1 Atm with Blood Alcohol Level of 0.25) it took to change a light bulb at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures after consuming more Jell-O shots than they were willing to admit to their spouses.

#11 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 10:35 PM:

Abigail, I'm guessing you've never been involved in setting up a convention program. Like laws and sausages, it has certain esoteric and fuzzy bits.

Panels at SF conventions are not quite like the panels one sees at professional conventions (unless it was Robert Bloch on the panel) in that most of us who end up on them have no set or prepared speech to present. It's about the interaction among the panelists. Sometimes this requires a good moderator, sometimes it's like overhearing the great conversation you wish you could have heard when your four most intelligent friends really got into a good discussion, and sometimes it dies really badly.

Ones with Teresa and Patrick much more often fall into the second category than either of the others. The same may be said of many others here.

#12 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2004, 11:41 PM:

Oh, man, I wish I could be there.

Is the text of the Mary Sue talk going to be made available online?

#13 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 01:16 AM:

(Busily scrambling to compare your schedules with mine, to see where there is overlap.)

We are not, alas, on any panels together, but I will track you down somewhere...

#14 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 01:31 AM:

(aching with envy)

Have a great time. Wish I could be there.

#15 ::: Abigail ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 02:48 AM:

Tom, you're right. I have absolutely no idea how conventions work except the glimpses I get of the process here and on other blogs. Sometimes I forget how close to the very center of the SFF fandom these blogs and the community around them are (possibly even at the very center). As someone on the very outer fringes, it's a fascinating perspective.

#16 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:15 AM:

Dang, I wish I could get to even three or four of those panels and prsentations, not to mention Worldcon itself. Unfortunately, it's a few thousand miles too far from Tucson for me. Well, one of these centuries, my trajectory and that of Wordlcon will coincide, I hope.

Couldn't you come to Tuscon instead and avoid the crowds? I expect they're having Ed Bryant again.

Karen

#17 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:18 AM:

Glad to help, Abigail. Thoughts on the nature of the SF experience are always available, either through you asking or through one of us seeing that your question implies a level of missed understanding.

Last week I thought I would not be there. Today, it seems as if I might. Today, I do not know when I will walk upon this road, but I know that it will happen.

#18 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:21 AM:

...and while you're at it, perhaps you can remind me to proofread for typos. "Wordlcon?" Sheesh! On the other hand, I might be interested in attending something called "Wordlcon," too.

#19 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:54 AM:

Very well then, Tomhopper; if you are there, we shall see you, and be much pleased by the seeing thereunto; and if you are not, we shall stomp hard upon the unwalked road until it admits what it did with you. Darn roads anyway, pretending they go ever on and on, in Boston no less.

"Dark Lord, the Fellowship has entered the Central Artery."

"Stop saying that, you witless digitally-generated minion! My Lidless Eye is bloodshot with looking for Raquel Welch down there."

Time? Short? What? No, everything's fine. And it's fine that we're all fine. How're you?

#20 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 09:02 AM:

Geh. Boston roads. Evil. (Says the person who spent last night madly trying to head south after 93 central artery road closures, while muttering madly "It's after midnight! It's no longer Friday the 13th! This isn't cool!") It's like living on a decaying glacier: each morning you get up wondering if the structures you lived with the night before will still be there and passable, or even in recognizable form.

It's con schedules like these that are making me wonder if I can't just do something to make it for the first two days as well, because everything sounds wonderful. Especially on the days when I won't be there. And I haven't even seen the full schedule yet, mind you, only snippets people are posting on where they'll be. Having been to TNH's (possibly similar? or on a different part of the same phenomenon?) Mary Sue talk at Boskone 41, it'll be one to catch, and then there's the-- oh dear. Perhaps I can manage to develop the con crud early, and just for Thursday and Friday....

#21 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 09:14 AM:

Argh, argh. I knew I should've booked the absolute earliest flight on Thursday. I'm going to miss the Mary Sue talk!

#22 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 09:52 AM:

Oh, if only classes didn't start that week! I wonder if I could convince my dean to comp me the cost of the trip, as a profeshional expense necesary for furthering my education in Library Science...

#23 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 10:35 AM:

Keith -- there is, in fact, to be a librarian panel. And there's an academic track as well. Hope this helps.

MKK

#24 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Andy -- My understanding is that in both the metric and SI systems, 1 zillion = 10^Aargh!, and by extension, 1 bazillion = 10^#%@&$#!!

These days, the major source of error is confusing the metric bazillion with the computer industry bazillion, which is, at any given time, the number of bytes of memory required by the next release of Microsoft Office.

#25 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 03:21 PM:

Karen - dunno about Tuscon, but we've got Ed Bryant up here in Denver, apparently, next-Wednesday-coming (the 18th) at West Side Books. Saw a sign up when I went there last week advertising that he'd be introducting a new something-or-other. I was thinking of going, if it fits in with driving my husband to the airport for his GenCon trip.

#26 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 04:44 PM:

Any other Making Light people willing to say hello to me and my wife at CopperCon, in greater Phoenix, which I think is about a week or two after WorldCon? Or Wolrdcon, or Wordlcon, or any of the square root of a bazillion other permutations.

I have a publication forthcoming on SemiRPimes as they relate to their anagram SemiPRimes. Typo-bait, to be sure. The latest thread of my blog has mucho Math on this, not for the uninitiated. But when the peer-reviewed web encyclopedia makes the posting, I'll immodestly give y'all a hotlink.

#27 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:37 PM:

If this is WorldCalm, why is it so hectic?

#28 ::: abby ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 05:47 PM:

The more I look at the con schedule the more certain I become that I don't really need to go to my Friday morning calculus class...

#29 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 08:07 PM:

I'm not going to Worldcon, but we did the walk-through of the new Capclave hotel today -- the Tyson's Corner Marriott. It's a wonderful hotel for a con, and almost completely accessible, for all varieties of gimps. The restaurant is rated top by the WashPost and I treated myself last night -- Shula's is very expensive, quite formal, but has wonderful food. There's three other food venues in the hotel, and it's next to a giant shopping mall. Y'all come!

http://www.wsfa.org/capc04/index.htm

#30 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 09:23 PM:

Even better, come to Capclave next year.

#31 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 12:20 AM:

Well, yes, but this year's Capclave comes first! And you don't have to be a GoH to come.

#32 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 01:11 AM:

Alas I will miss the Mary Sue panel, I will be coming back into harbor from a whale viewing cruise that I booked before you posted this. But since I did not volunteer for much of anything this year (except for some sitting at the SFWA table in the dealer room) I'm sure I'll catch a few of your panels.

The Kansas City in 06 Bid Committee is throwing a "Thank You" party for supporters on Sunday night in party space in the Sheraton. Come one, come all, everyone is welcome! Y'all are welcome! Look for the party flyers.

#33 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 03:46 AM:

Looks like a great lineup, and I hope you guys have a great time. I'll be in New York around that weekend and I hoped to arrange a side trip to the Land of the Bean and Cod and Worldcon, but it's not going to happen, alas.

#34 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 04:03 AM:

"The Kansas City in '06 Bid Committee . . ."

That would be the thirtieth anniversary of my first Worldcon.

No reflection whatsoever on the committee (and I suspect the temporal displacement is not lost on them), but that's a really terrifying thought.

And Big MAC wasn't even my first convention.

#35 ::: Barbara ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 02:13 PM:

My initial thought as I read your schedule was, "What are you going to do in your spare time?" Read your email for further information.

#36 ::: Michelle Sagara ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 02:28 PM:

rivka: misery loves company -- my plane arrives in Boston at 13:34, so I'm missing the Mary Sue panel as well.

I sort of kind of wanted to ask if it wasn't the strong element of Mary Sue-ism in many novels that allowed for reader insertion & general wishfulfillment on the part of the reader.

#37 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 04:57 PM:

I'd be interested to read a summary of the discussion at the "Drunk on Technology" panel.

Have you seen the Popular Science article:

Is Science Fiction About to Go Blind?
"Awed at the pace of technological advances, a faction of geeky writers believes our world is about to change so radically that envisioning what comes next is nearly impossible...."

They start with a scene from the singular Charles Stross, whose work I so much admire.

#38 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 07:01 PM:

"Awed at the pace of technological advances, a faction of geeky writers believes our world is about to change so radically that envisioning what comes next is nearly impossible...."

Y'know, I started reading Popular Science more than forty years ago, and I can still remember an article from '60-ish about all the fabulous "predictions" of skiffy that had come true. They cited writers like T. S. Stribling, and the old Gernsback slogan "Extravagant Fiction Today -- Cold Fact Tomorrow."

Remarkable how, after all these decades, they still can't see the universe for the free hydrogen. Gotta love that "geeky," too.

#39 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 07:42 PM:

Y'know, I started reading Popular Science more than forty years ago, and I can still remember an article from '60-ish about all the fabulous "predictions" of skiffy that had come true.

I wasn't born in '60-ish, but I've read that article, or its cousin. In Wired p'rhaps?

#40 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 08:25 PM:

Science Fiction coming true... I co-authored a book on such predictions. The co-author went nuts over the standard Writers Guild coauthorship contract, which had a clause that he interpreted as a motivation for me to murder him and take over the project. So I only got paid about 1/3 what was promised, although I delivered timely. I'd love to put what I wrote online, but ghod knows what he'd do. I did also have an article published as a cover-story about what was and was NOT correctly predicted by Science Fiction authors about computers, in the January 2000 issue of IEEE Computer. There are several links to this online: look for the one by my (sane this time) junior co-author, which has nice color illos.

This connects with Chester Anderson correctly predicting US fatalities in an Afghan war, albeit he had hovercraft there. Can an alternate history novel make a correct prediction? Or is that some sort of contradiction?

By the way, has any Lit'ry critic ever shown the strong parallels that are evident to me between Spider Robinson and William Saroyan or between Robert Anson Heinlein and Navy/Engineer/Radical Hans Otto Storm of Southern California?

I miss, in advance, the Boston WorldCon. Such conversation as we have here happens frequently, with more voices and -- umm, better not say "hands-on" experiences.

My 15-year-old came up with an interesting Number Theory idea, so I named "Andrew Numbers" after him, and posted many examples on my livejournal blog. He's almost succeeded, while taking several demanding college classes, in sleeping all day and staying up all night. Some people fall into that at Worldcons, from the late late parties. Though the parties are not as golden as my edited memories of decades past.

#41 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 08:40 PM:

The "predictive SF" bit is continuously recycled. At the risk of starting the Worldcon program early, my quarrel with it is that it seems to me to be part of the "utilitarian fiction" routine: one should read novels because they will tell you what is going to happen. Or because they contain useful history lessons (Late Michenerism). Or because they'll tell you How Stuff Works.

Now, I certainly believe that plots should bring in fine things. You can use an Auden first edition to keep a chair from wobbling, too, or hang a Renoir over a crack in the wall, but those utilities are not their point, and a story is not just a shopping trolley at the Fine Things Stop 'n' Go.

Oh, is that the time? Must dash, I have a batch of tropes in the oven.

#42 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 09:37 PM:

...my quarrel with it is that it seems to me to be part of the "utilitarian fiction" routine: one should read novels because they will tell you what is going to happen. Or because they contain useful history lessons (Late Michenerism). Or because they'll tell you How Stuff Works.

I think I follow. If "utility" is the reason for reading, what separates fiction from non-fiction? When pure exposition is a work's raison d'être, what you've got is a science book that explains relativity with Jack and Jill:

JILL: So if Skylar leaves on a spaceship at 80% of lightspeed, and her twin sister Eartha stays put, when they meet up, Eartha will be older than Skylar, see?

JACK: ...

Must dash, I have a batch of tropes in the oven.

If they were heliotropes, they'd turn themselves.

#43 ::: Priscilla ::: (view all by) ::: August 15, 2004, 10:10 PM:

I just need to gripe right now: it is impossible to even attempt to read "Sethra Lavode" while de-bugging a Worldon Program......

(Back to work. Feh.)

#44 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:04 AM:

So if Skylar leaves on a spaceship at 80% of lightspeed, and her twin sister Eartha stays put, when they meet up, Eartha will be older than Skylar, see?

And vice versa. That's what makes it a paradox.

#45 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:19 AM:

"This connects with Chester Anderson correctly predicting US fatalities in an Afghan war, albeit he had hovercraft there. Can an alternate history novel make a correct prediction? Or is that some sort of contradiction?"

That Marine vehicle that isn't working (the Osprey) is essentially a hovercraft, for that matter, the AV-8B is one--were they used in Afganhistan? And helicopters hover, and they -were- used.

#46 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:19 AM:

So if Skylar leaves on a spaceship at 80% of lightspeed, and her twin sister Eartha stays put, when they meet up, Eartha will be older than Skylar, see?

Xopher: And vice versa. That's what makes it a paradox.

Well, you'd be right, but poor Eartha gets airsick.

#47 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:49 AM:

Any chance of webcasts???
The Tough Love for New Writers session specially ...

Because it's all about me:
I do wish I could go ... I've never been to a con and would like to go to one that has a lot of focus on fantasy writing/ submitting/ editing/ publishing.

Philly's not far from me -- would the annual Philcon be a good idea for a struggling newbie fantasy writer and con virgin?

#48 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:54 AM:

(the Osprey) is essentially a hovercraft

I thought Ospreys were more like helicopter/plane hybrids? Don't hovercraft sit on an air cushion instead of making lift with an airfoil?

(Unless they are also wing-in-ground-effect vehicles like these. Those kits look like such fun. I want one.)

#49 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:08 AM:

Of course, I think the desire to understand How Things Work is a big part of why people read fiction. Not the only reason, of course.

May I just say that I roundly dislike the affectation of spelling it "lit'ry", as in "lit'ry critic" above? If you want to make it clear that you're talking about highbrow culture mavens, say so. The idea behind imputing that "literary" people lisp is the same as the idea behind the constant drumbeat of imputations that John Kerry is in some way "French." In both cases, the non-sequitur is well understood to be standing in for the real message, which is that these people are dirty rotten faggots.

#50 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:19 AM:

Of course, I think the desire to understand How Things Work is a big part of why people read fiction. Not the only reason, of course.

That's certainly true for me. I like mysteries as much as SF exactly for that reason. It's one of the things that drew me to John Bellairs as a kid-- he always had wonderful throwaway details. (Brad Strickland doesn't seem to understand this.) I think that the objection is to stories in service of explanations rather than explanations serving stories. (Mike will correct me if I've missed his point.)

#51 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:45 AM:

(John M. Ford wrote: "Dark Lord, the Fellowship has entered the Central Artery.")

Maybe that explains why the Big Dig got so over-budget: Balrogs.

#52 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 12:14 PM:

Patrick:

You're right. I didn't realize the infelicity in my contraction. I shall not do it again. Wasn't there a song in Tony-winner "Avenue Q" called "Everybody's a Little Bit Racist?" That hit sprang from their award-winning workshop paramuppetry piece "Kermit, Prince of Denmark."

But, as to linguistic oddities and reviewers:

Circle of clichés
(Filed: 08/08/2004)
Tom Payne's guide to the words that reviewers and publishers love too much

"...All trades have some kind of professional jargon – hacks must have their spikes, and cobblers their lasts – but there's something different about the patois of Grub Street. Admittedly, it relies on the same sorts of abbreviations as other trades: 'I couldn't put it down' becomes 'unputdownable'; 'It was so funny I laughed out loud' becomes 'laughoutloud funny'. Publishers and critics need these terms like they need terms for genres, such as chicklit, ladlit, bonkbusters, sexandshopping and killerchillers. Somehow, the way we talk about writing has become rich in clichés. It affects the way we publish books, the way we cover them, and the way we consume them...."

#53 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 12:40 PM:

Example from "Circle of Cliches":

editor should be shot – wouldn't it be better to shoot those who write "the editor should be shot"? The phrase normally appears in connection with a list of minor quibbles. But to punish editors with this ultimate sanction would lead to a smaller number of editors, not only through their execution but also by discouraging people from becoming editors in the future. The grim consequence of this would be a major increase in minor quibbles.

Math:

The amazing Eric W. Weisstein (who was sued by his own publisher when he posted his own material on his website, before Wolfram gave him a cyberhome for his #1 Math domain "MathWorld") has now edited and posted one of my siller discoveries in mathematics:

Emirpimes

#54 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:21 PM:

Patrick, I'd always thought that "lit'ry" was supposed to be a mock-folksy pronounciation of the word, implying not that literary people are lisping faggots, but that the speaker is identifying himself (perhaps ironically) as a lowbrow.

#55 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:25 PM:

I can't speak for JVP (and certainly no one would seem to need to), but I read "lit'ry" as being more of a drawled foreshortening than an effeminate lisp.

YDFMV.

#56 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:32 PM:

Jonathan Vos Post: The amazing Eric W. Weisstein (who was sued by his own publisher when he posted his own material on his website....

As far as I can tell, he had contracted with the publisher, CRC, not to publish the work elsewhere, a restriction that CRC believed was violated by his putting it on the web. I can't really fault CRC for suing to enforce the arrangement they had purchased. It is hard to tell who is being sinned against, given that details of the disagreement are only available through one of the parties.

I'm somewhat more concerned about the possible results of the arrangement between Weisstein and his new sponsor, given Wolfram's track record with regard to suppression of research.

#57 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:33 PM:

I clicked on the Circle of Cliches link.
I find this excerpt deeply disturbing:

Yet another is the culinary image: take Tobias Smollett, stew him in his own juice, reduce, mix in some finely chopped Poe, season with Patti Smith and serve with late Henry James.

I didn't realize Hannibal Lecter did book reviews.

And what on earth are "ladlit" and "bonkbusters"?

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:33 PM:

Andy, I meant the person who stays on Earth is also predicted to be older than the one who flies at a significant fraction of C. Relative to the frame of reference of the one who flies off, the Earthbound twin is moving at a significant fraction of C. It's called the Twins Paradox because each twin ages more (and less) rapidly with respect to the other.

Now, if I misunderstand that, I'm ready to be corrected. But that's how I had it explained to me. Mere one-sided time dilation doesn't strike me as paradoxical, or is my sensibility just too post-Einstein to see it as such?

#59 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 02:59 PM:

Xopher, I was agreeing with you, and making a joke. (One day I might have a blog, Making Joke.) I think you're right about how the paradox goes, but I never had a class on relativity.

My original Jack'n'Jill post was a poke at all the science books that try to make things easier for the reader (assumed dumb as stone) by presenting the science through a narrative between a smart character and a stupid one. I think Galileo originated the modern genre with Dialog on ****, although somebody around here will probably come up with an earlier cite, or tell me it goes back to the Greeks.

#60 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 03:19 PM:

Xopher:

Andy, I meant the person who stays on Earth is also predicted to be older than the one who flies at a significant fraction of C. Relative to the frame of reference of the one who flies off, the Earthbound twin is moving at a significant fraction of C. It's called the Twins Paradox because each twin ages more (and less) rapidly with respect to the other.
Now, if I misunderstand that, I'm ready to be corrected. But that's how I had it explained to me....

I think the disconnect is that Andy was describing relativity without mentioning the twin paradox, and you're describing the twin paradox.

... Mere one-sided time dilation doesn't strike me as paradoxical, or is my sensibility just too post-Einstein to see it as such?

I agree that the idea that two equally valid reference frames can disagree on which frame is time-dilated seems paradoxical. I guess that's why Heinlein got it wrong in Time for the Stars, if I remember right. Though I don't how it should have worked, except possibly that it shouldn't have worked. Nor ansibles neither. They're just weird scifi ideas, ginned up to make plots more interesting than "They left and we never heard from them again."

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 03:49 PM:

Andy, I got your joke! But I thought it was in part a play on my ambiguous (even counterintuitive) use of 'vice versa', and if it was, you'd be (very mildly) disagreeing with me. Sorry for seeming to huff at you; I had no such intention.

Dan, with ansibles, at least they were claiming that there was new physics involved. Everyone up until Shevek was a "Sequentist," meaning they believed that temporal events happened in some kind of linear order, whereas Shevek was a "Simultaneist," meaning he believed everything happens at once, or something like that (there is, as you point out, a good deal of hey-this-is-to-make-the-story-work handwaving involved).

And I thought it had now (thought not when LeGuin wrote those novels)been demonstrated that in fact information can travel faster than light? FTL is a far cry from "instantaneous," of course, but my point is that our understanding of these things is changing all the time.

#62 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:02 PM:

Dan: Nah, I was referencing the twin paradox. Xopher got it right. (I think...) The dialog snippet I posted didn't describe the whole paradox, it was just spozed to be the kind of thing you'd find in the kind of book I was making fun of.
--

Xopher, my spell check thinks you are called 'Gopher'. It could be worse— Clarisworks used to think my last name was 'Pervert'.

#63 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:05 PM:

The Twins Paradox is in fact not actually a paradox, but a common misunderstanding of Special Relativity. It was originally raised as an argument against Special Relativity, in fact.

There are a lot of sites that explain it in detail. This is fairly brief. This one is longer (note it covers multiple pages).

To summarize - the twin on the spaceship definitely ages more slowly.

#64 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:08 PM:

Xopher: ...And I thought it had now (thought not when LeGuin wrote those novels)been demonstrated that in fact information can travel faster than light?

I think you're talking about Aspect's work. I don't believe that's been demonstrated in a generally accepted way. And there's a serious credibility hurdle to overcome: If there's a FTL rate of information transfer that works in all inertial frames, then there's information transfer into the past. I don't know how you can (nonfictionally) fix the grandfather paradox.

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:14 PM:

Dan, I read the brief one. I didn't understand it, I'm afraid. I'm at work and don't really have time to read the long one - actually the distractions of my environment might be why I didn't understand the brief one.

So I'll take your word for it.

Andy, one spell checker I had tried to change my full name - Christopher Hatton - to 'Crazed Toper Heathen'.

#66 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:20 PM:

Xopher:

The situation is not symmetrical, as Skylar has ACCELERATED and Eartha has not. Special Relativity is only valid in non-accelerating reference frames. What we have here is a case for General Relativity.

Other examples of this are weird, too. Within a year of Saint Albert Einstein publishing his Special Relativity paper, someone published this paradox:

Consider a spinning bicycle wheel. Each little segment of the rim is moving fast, forwards, with respect to the hub. Therefore each little segment of the rim undergoes Lorentz Contraction, and becomes shorter, Therefore the the entire rim becomes shorter, i.e. of smaller circumference. The spokes become thinner, but not shorter. So how can a bicycle wheel have the same radius but a smaller circumference?

Several answers were published by various authors. The wheel buckles. The spokes turn into S-curves. And so forth. Finally someone published an analysis, concluding that, according the Special Relativity, wheels cannot rotate. But they do. So Special Relativity is wrong.

Einstein published a letter saying that this last solution was correct.

That's he why he started on inventing (discovering?) General Relativity.

I'll spare you my science journalistic profiles of people who believe that General Relativity is wrong, too. The most clever measurement being done is a giant Eotvos experiment. We have no a prior reason to believe that two different chemical elements have the same ratio of gravitational mass and inertia. So watch the Moon's orbit VERY carefully. The crust of the Moon is dominated by Aluminum compounds and other things silicon, magnesium...). The core of the Moon is dominated by Iron. As Spider Robinson said: "God is an iron." But the Moon's core is displaced from its geometric center. So we have the equivalent of a bar with a chunck of iron at one end and a chunk of aluminum at the other end. Now watch to see if that bar twists in the presence of the mass of the earth and Sun.

That's a footnote of the 2 really weird papers that myself, my son, and my wife published about the possibility of "imaginons" which have imaginary rest mass.

If I can't get a research grant, I can always write a story or novel around this. As you know, Bob, when the Feynman Drive was invented in 2017, the era of hovercraft being blown up in Afghanistan came to an unexpected conclusion, and the Shevik Society was born...

Take Stephen Hawking, stew him in his own juice, reduce, mix in some finely chopped Einstein, season with Robert Forward and serve with late Charles Sheffield...

#67 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:46 PM:

Making Light poster and Physics professor Chad Orzel also addressed the Twin Paradox in an enlightening series of posts on Relativity, Special and General.

Highly recommended.

#68 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 04:49 PM:

Dan Blum:

The Twins Paradox is in fact not actually a paradox, but a common misunderstanding of Special Relativity....

I understand it from a standpoint of Special Relativity. But that doesn't stop it from being a paradox, any more than Zeno's paradox stops being a paradox when you understand continuity. It's true, it's explainable, it's understandable, but I call it paradoxical.

To summarize - the twin on the spaceship definitely ages more slowly.

I don't believe that's an accurate summary. From an SR standpoint, the twin on the spaceship measures the Earther as aging more slowly, then (in another reference frame) as being suddenly older, then aging more slowly. After the round trip, the Earther is older, but except during turnaround he's going just as much slower with respect to the traveler as vice versa.

#69 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:14 PM:

mayakda: Philly's not far from me -- would the annual Philcon be a good idea for a struggling newbie fantasy writer and con virgin?

The annual Philcon would be an excellent idea. My first con was a Philcon (in 1987, which makes me a newbie relative to a lot of folks I've met at Philcons and elsewhere), and it was sufficiently fun to keep me coming back almost every year after that. I've found its programming to be the best among the northeastern cons, and the social atmosphere is quite welcoming. Its proximity to New York means that a lot of the publishing folks will be able to make it down there. Plus (in recent years) it's right in the heart of Center City Philly, so if you need a breath of mundane air, there's plenty to do. Should be a no-lose situation.

#70 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:18 PM:

Well, I oversummarized a bit. To more accurately summarize, the twin on the spaceship can be seen to have aged more slowly at the end of the experiment.

#71 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:19 PM:

Oh yeah, and I'd thought the Mary Sue panel was intriguing, but then I noticed that it was scheduled opposite a little thing called the Worldcon opening ceremonies. And then I found out that it was a Nielsen Hayden production. Ah, heck, I saw enough of that ceremonial stuff at Torcon. Gotta appreciate the valuable information to be found on this blog.

#72 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:33 PM:
The situation is not symmetrical, as Skylar has ACCELERATED and Eartha has not. Special Relativity is only valid in non-accelerating reference frames. What we have here is a case for General Relativity.

JVP, you might want to take that up with the Physics FAQ maintainer:

It is a common misconception that Special Relativity cannot handle accelerating objects or accelerating reference frames. It is claimed that general relativity is required because special relativity only applies to inertial frames. This is not true. Special relativity treats accelerating frames differently from inertial frames but can still deal with them. Accelerating objects can be dealt with without even calling upon accelerating frames.

This error often comes up in the context of the twin paradox when people claim that it can only be resolved in general relativity because of acceleration. This is not the case.


#73 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 05:47 PM:

Personally, I'd much rather listen to TNH than attend an Opening Ceremony at a Worldcon.

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 06:09 PM:

Tom, not a very strong statement, eh? I'd rather take care of a colicky baby than attend a Worldcon OC. But I'd rather listen to TNH than watch Damian Woetzel dance Prodigal Son. Just to give one example.

#75 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 06:22 PM:

Well, I've had to attend at least one Worldcon OC. I've never had to have been forced to listen to T. Draw your own conclusions. (add subtle mark for the irony-impaired here)

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 06:27 PM:

Tom, I get it. Honest. I was attempting to be funny.

#77 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 08:19 PM:

Andy Perrin writes:
[first quoting Paula Lieberman, who wrote:]
"(the Osprey) is essentially a hovercraft"

I thought Ospreys were more like helicopter/plane hybrids? Don't hovercraft sit on an air cushion instead of making lift with an airfoil?

Andy's impression is correct, and Paula is misinformed. The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, and the AV-8 Harrier jumpjet, are examples of VTOLs, Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft. They can hover like helicopters, but that doesn't make them hovercraft.

"Hovercraft" are also sometimes described as "air cushion vehicles" or "ground effect machines,"
and they are generally as Andy describes them.

The U.S. Navy does operate hovercraft designed for amphibious landings, but I don't suppose they showed up in Afghanistan.

(Unless they are also wing-in-ground-effect vehicles like these. Those kits look like such fun. I want one.)

The WIG or Ekranoplane, satisfyingly bizarre in appearance, is, more or less, a hybrid between a hovercraft and an airplane.

#78 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 09:52 PM:

The Twins Paradox is as nothing compared with the Vikings Fourth Quarter Event Horizon. (We will save discussion of Final Minute Time Dilation until after the Olympics.)

As I recall, the Army had some GEVs for riverine operations in Vietnam, along with a few assault hydrofoils. (My memory, which may be wrong, is that both of these were Army vehicles, on the principle of Death Before Cooperating With Another Service. Though they got a lot of copy in the pop-mech magazines, neither platform was very succssful, and the hydrofoils compounded the issue by being armed with the, er, disappointing 152mm gun/rocket launcher system.

We take you now to the Dawn of History:

"Ug have rock and mighty arm."
"Yes, yes, Ug, of course. But you have a technologically backward rock, and your arm, while, well, mighty-ish, has limitations. Here, try the Mark II Mod 3 Lithic-Based Kinetic Assault System."
"Not sharp."
"Well, no, Ug. This rock is aerodynamic. It is smooth. It's very expensive to smooth a rock like this, so the troops must not waste them in old-fashioned mass hurls."
"Throw like aurochs poo."
"You're not following me, Ug. Now, this is the 'Fly Like Mallard' delivery system. . . ."

Uh, we now return you to your regularly braided thread.

#79 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:17 PM:

The "predictive SF" bit is continuously recycled. At the risk of starting the Worldcon program early, my quarrel with it is that it seems to me to be part of the "utilitarian fiction" routine: one should read novels because they will tell you what is going to happen.

If SF were able to predict the future, it would have predicted that our houses would fill up with books. But then, if we acted on that prediction, we would not fill our houses up with books, rendering the prediction null and void. Therefore, the success of SF as a genre is predicated upon its inability to predict.

#80 ::: TomB (editing himself) ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 10:21 PM:

Therefore, the success of SF as a genre is predicated upon its inability to predict anything potentially useful.

#81 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:35 PM:

"assault hydrofoils"

That sounds silly, like "combat puppydogs" or "naval-mounted pandaguns."

"Building on the technological breakthrough from the FROSTED Flake 9 and its know-how in artillery systems, Pikelpuss W&M is currently studying a new 155 mm/52 pandagun for naval farces. This pandagun will provide combat puppydogs with enhanced pandapower, together with über-performance ammunition developed for land2weasel combat (extended range, cargo cult and superduperammunition)."

#82 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2004, 11:45 PM:

Hey, I saw Jackie Chan's Rumble in Vancouver er... The Bronx, in which common sense was assaulted with a hovercraft.

#83 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 12:12 AM:

"Thay, Thnooper, do you think we ought to tell that guy that thith African yellowcake document ith phonier than a four-dollar bill?"

"Seein' how many four-dollar simoleons he paid for it with, Blab, I'd say we let the little nimrod believe whatever he likes."

The Hanna-Barbera Grand Strategy. It all makes way too much sense now.

#84 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 01:45 AM:

Suzanne wrote,

'(John M. Ford wrote: "Dark Lord, the Fellowship has entered the Central Artery.")'

"Maybe that explains why the Big Dig got so over-budget: Balrogs."

Bechtel IS a balrog, that's the explanation, and then there's Gillette...'

=================

As for "hovercraft" I was referring to hovering ability there, not "ground-effect vehicle." Of course, when blasting the airflow straight down, the vehicle -is- getting lift to a degree from the fact that there is this mass of -gas- heading -down- and there is this -land- in the way providing resistance to the gas going -down-. So, there -is- an air cushion effect in effect with AV-8Bs and Ospreys and such when nearing the ground.

VTOL simpley means Vertical Takeoff and Landing , the shuttle is a vertical takeoff vehicle, for that matter Apollo was VTOL, the landing wasn't -powered, but who said that that a vertical landing -had- to be powered for VTOL??!!

The Osprey and AV-8B don't that I'm really aware of use the vertical capability all that far above the ground--the higher the altitude, the less effective it gets because the atmosphere gets a lot less dense fast, it's an exponential decrease if I recall correctly, and the Newtonian phyics of the situation are that there's a lot more air resistance to trying to go -vertical- in an air vehicle with the craft in a horizontal positing and the thrust aimed -downward-, than there is going upward with the nose pointed at optimum climb attitude and the vehicle presenting the a much smaller surface area in the plane perpendicular to the thrust.

there's thrust to weight, and there's lift over drag. Vertical takeoff/landing -maximizes- drag, it's somewhat analogous to diving into the water smoothly versus doing a bellyflop...

=

http://www.aerospaceweb.org/aircraft/transport-m/v22/

"Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey VTOL Transport

"...

"Hover Ceiling
"(out of ground effect) 7,000 ft (2,135 m) [HV-22]
" 5,000 ft (1,525 m) [CV-22]"

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Hovercraft

"Hovercraft A hovercraft is a vehicle that is supported on a cushion of air."

That's what makes VTOL possible for the Osprey and Harrier, the Osprey is compressing air and sending it downward, while the Harrier's exhaust is providing the thrust for vertical flight operations. Helicopters, too, are providing their thrust in vertical operations by blowing air downward, creating a cushion...

Yes, I'm playing Definition Games, but I started out indicating that! "(the Osprey) is essentially a hovercraft" -- I was referring to the fact that it can -hover-, which it -can- do, and so can helicopters and Harriers. Defining a hovercraft as a vehicle which can -hover-, those are hovercraft....

#85 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:20 AM:

Paula, there's a ground effect when airplanes land too, but we don't consider planes air cushion vehicles.

I don't think Ospreys use ground effect primarily to hover (there'll be some, of course, and it will be significant). Non-WIG hovercrafts don't actually get very far above the ground (measuring from the ground to the bottom edge of the skirt). If you take away the skirt, the craft will just sit there. I know this from building model hovercraft. The Osprey's lift mechanism would seem to be either Newton's third law (throwing air down sends craft up) or more likely lift generated by rotating blades a la a helicopter (these may come to the same thing--people argue endlessly about where lift comes from).

#86 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 03:29 AM:

Anyway, Chess Grand Masters are very much like scientists in one recently discovered way. Besides Nabokov's "The Defense" (also known as "The Luzhin Defense") has anyone tried explaining this in Science Fiction? Maybe Predictive SF with Chess by scientists in a hovercraft?

Science secret of grand masters revealed
Mark Peplow
Chess experts gain the edge over opponents by falsifying their own ideas.

I just emailed this to the former U.S. Women's Chess Champion; we'll see if she has a cogent comment.

#87 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 05:53 AM:

All this to-ing and fro-ing over WIGs and hovercraft, not to mention the hype about the Singularity in Popular Science, is really motivating me to get back to debugging book #3 in the fantasy series I'm extruding. You can infodump in fantasy without having to find a professor: "so tell me, Baron, just how are you plotting to take the throne?" Now I just need to find an excuse to insert a helicopter, or maybe an A-90 Orlyonok into fantasy-land and I can have my cake and eat it!

I think I may be able to make the Mary Sue panel. Which should be very useful, given that one of my other projects hinges on the theory that James Bond is a classic Mary Sue ...

#88 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 07:12 AM:

Charlie -- There was this guy named Lenny who had some notes in that general direction (vertically up, that is). I think he came from Quirm, but I may be confusing him with some other bloke.

"It's all right, dear. The North Wing needed repointing anyway. Perhaps it just isn't boiling-gynne time yet."

#89 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 10:03 AM:

Jimcat: Thanks for the thumbs up on Philcon.
Must start my campaign to get my (mundane, but otherwise perfect) better half on board.

#90 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 02:57 PM:

Charlie: A Loon'! Or possibly a Caspian Sea Monster, with nuclear ramjet engines (for extended (make that extremely extended) loiter times) and armed with cruise missiles.

#91 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2004, 07:49 PM:

Mike notes:
"The Kansas City in '06 Bid Committee . . ."

That would be the thirtieth anniversary of my first Worldcon.

No reflection whatsoever on the committee (and I suspect the temporal displacement is not lost on them),

Apparently it was lost on at least one of them, who left Tony Lewis in high dudgeon by telling him that there was no point in trying to remind people of the good times at MidAmericon because everyone who had gone there was dead (or at least gafiated?). OF course, high dudgeon sometimes seems to be Tony's natural state....

#92 ::: Rachel K ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 01:43 PM:

I won't be able to go to Worldcon, so seeing that one of the panels will be "The World Map of 2100" is quite painful. That sounds like an amazing panel.

As I can't go, let me say this instead: Taiwan, Taiwan, Taiwan.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 01:50 PM:

Rachel, do you mean Taiwan as in "I'm trying to say tha Taiwan tto go to WorldCon"?

#94 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 03:56 PM:

CHip ... we're not dead yet!

That was Jim's and my first convention. Period. I started my second year at U.Kan., founded a SF club because I'd been in one at U Miami Coral Gables and Jim showed up at the first meeting (Feb 76). Someone came to a later meeting and said, 'did you know the WorldCon is going to be in KC?" We went "What's a WorldCon?" and got pushed off the edge...

We have a few people still active with the local club (KaCSFFS), or who at least still attend meetings, who were staff members, etc. Ken Keller is still around and still causing trouble. John and Pat Taylor are still here, though Pat suffered from debilitating strokes a number of years ago and is now wheelchair bound.

Granted they're all 10 years older than Jim and I, we were 19, I think, at Big Mac.

And our local annual regular convention, ConQuesT, is on it's 36th year now. Memorial Day every year, somewhere in KC, MOO.

#95 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 05:27 PM:

Paula -- so, should we make T-shirts for aught-six that read (front and back):

I'M NOT DEAD ...

... NOT EVEN GAFIATED.

Benevolent, If Grumpy, MidAmeriCon Veterans' Alliance, Leading the Upward March to Extended Adult Lifespans

[BIGMACVALUEMEAL]

The "Let's Embarrass the Young Whippersnappers on the Current Committee" party might be fun.

#96 ::: Sarah Skwire ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 05:39 PM:

mayakda--

Ladlit: English in origin. Chicklit for guys. Lots of beer and fisticuffs, laden with sex. See Chuck Palahniuk. See also "ladmags" like "Maxim," "Stuff" etc.

"Bonkbusters" has me snowed, however.

Sarah

#97 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 06:11 PM:

Sarah - Pahlaniuk may be testosterone-soaked, but I don't think I'd call his books ladlit. Even if they're unsubtle, his books have a message that's beyond the narrative, and the narrative isn't always linear.

Now, "Men's Adventure" genre books would definitely qualify. Think bodice-ripper with guns and disembowelments and things blowing up, plus the occasional cathouse visit - now that's ladlit.

You're totally on-target with the list of lad-mags.

#98 ::: Julia Jones finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 06:35 PM:

Bonkbusters are blockbuster novels containing lots of bonking. In other words, sex, sex and more sex, thinly disguised as a big fat novel so that it doesn't have to be kept on the top shelf with the wank mags at the airport bookshop, but instead can be placed on the rack for "this week's bestseller list".

#99 ::: Julia Jones curses browser ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 06:36 PM:

Write out one hundred times:
I will watch what my browser fills in for me...

I thought I'd set it back to my normal data. It disagreed with me. :(

#100 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 08:43 PM:

John, that sounds like a wonderful idea for LA's Worldcon. Even just a small, informal party but well-advertised. Maybe on Sunday night. But still try and come to our Thank You party at Noreascon, if you're going there.

#101 ::: Rachel K ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2004, 11:43 PM:

Xopher: Narf, narf, narf. Where will I get my fill of wordplay when all the masters are at Worldcon? Oh, woe is me. I'm more than willing to set up the SARKAWETSNITA (Society to Assist Rachel K in Attending World Con Even Though She's Not In Taiwan Anymore) if the public demands it, however.

#102 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 01:00 AM:

Infants! You're all infants! Baycon Veterans need to unite again around here....

#103 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 09:10 AM:

Sarah & Julia -- Thanks for the explanation(s).

And here I thought "bonk" was something BTVS had made up.

#104 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 10:22 AM:

Now, wait. Last I looked that was 'boink', whereas 'bonk' is a word chiefly used as a sound effect, almost always with reference to something impacting a human head.

Or am I standing, ticketless, staring after the long-since-having-left-the-station culture train as it chugs into the distance?

I'd like to gratefully acknowledge the German Language for graciously lending me that syntax.

#105 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 11:17 AM:

In British English, 'bonk' has become a euphemism for another four letter word ending in k. It became extremely popular with tabloid newspaper editors some years ago, because it could be safely used in headlines, while making it quite clear what was really intended.

Bonkbuster was a fairly obvious development of the concept. :-)

#106 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 11:30 AM:

From this far distance, I get the impression [squints] that "bonk" in the bonkbuster sense is more common on the sunrise side of the North Atlantic -- see "Bonking Boris Becker" headlines. Probably not a reflection on American society that sex is converted to violence in the change of language.

BTW, I have a romantick attachment for the former European name for Taiwan, Formosa, which means "most beautiful" in Latin, I believe (Celeste Aida, forma divina - love that English/Italian pun).
It's in the news here lately, too, as our Beloved & Respected Foreign Minister is raising FUD in his visit to Korea as part of a pre-election campaign, beefing up reasons for keeping in the ANZUS treaty by talking about whether we'd be involved with the US if China & Taiwan came to blows. You just can't trust some people with a pointy stick. They gotta poke it into something.

Sigh. Am getting restless too, reading all this con-stuff. There is one in Australia within the next 12 months, I think. Maybe .... especially if I don't blow my annual leave/budget on the Adelaide Ring Cycle. One of the many things I miss about my late partner is the way he'd push me into doing things, instead of working on my Olympic-grade procrastination medal.

#107 ::: Sarah Skwire ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 01:04 PM:

Larry--

Point happily taken. Palahniuk is, at minimum, much-better-than-average ladlit...and probably enough better than average to be considered as beyond the genre.

Maybe it would have been better to suggest that his imitators are the best examples of ladlit?

I don't think that standard adventure stuff (Tom Clancy, Ludlum, etc.) with large explosions, guns, hostile enemy agents, really fit into the ladlit category---for two reasons. First, they appeal to an older audience than the late teens to early 30s group that ladlit aims at and second, they've got too much politics, not enough drugs, cheap beer, and whining.

#108 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 02:06 PM:

I don't believe that's an accurate summary. From an SR standpoint, the twin on the spaceship measures the Earther as aging more slowly, then (in another reference frame) as being suddenly older, then aging more slowly. After the round trip, the Earther is older, but except during turnaround he's going just as much slower with respect to the traveler as vice versa.

That sounds pretty dodgy to me-- being "suddenly older," in particular, strikes me as unlikely (discontinuous jumps are not common in real systems). The only good textbook description I have of what each twin sees at each point in the journey is one that also includes the time-of-flight delays of light signals sent from one to the other (in which case, they each "see" slower aging at first (in the sense of annual signals from one to the other arriving more slowly), followed by a burst of rapid aging at the end of the round trip.

It is a true statement that acceleration is the key to resolving the "paradox," though it's not necessary to use General Relativity for the solution (it is, however, necessary to use a more general treatment than is usually provided to intro physics classes, which is where the confusion comes from). The "paradox" arises from blindly applying a formula for transforming between two inertial frames to a situation in which one of the frames is not always inertial. I'm not entirely sure whether I'd really call it paradoxical (hence the scare quotes), but this does put it in a fine scientific tradition along with things like the EPR "paradox."

#109 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 02:09 PM:

'Boink' is how scientific progress goes.

#110 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 03:08 PM:

Why, Michelle! You're a Calvinist!

#111 ::: clew ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 03:39 PM:

The pot calls the kettle black, but they're both sitting on Hobbes.

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 04:03 PM:

Cast your bread upon the watter, son.

#113 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 04:29 PM:

More on bonkbuster: if you Google for the word, the third reference that shows up is an article about the OED adding the word to the online dictionary - complete with history:

bonkbuster

The word was apparently coined in 1988, which is about what I would have guessed.

#114 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 04:54 PM:

"I don't think that standard adventure stuff (Tom Clancy, Ludlum, etc.) with large explosions, guns, hostile enemy agents, really fit into the ladlit category [...]"

A departed friend of mine who was writing pseudonymous series "men's adventure" during its, er, great flowering some years ago (and was better known for other things, so I won't offer a name) described it as "gun porn." One of its characteristics, as with porno porn, is the exaggerated quality of the hardware and its effects. Things don't just blow up real good, they blow up gooder than real. (Though it is also necessary to get all the technical gun terms exactly right; mis-stating the caliber of some obscure firearm will draw angry letters.)

Ludlum was never much of a playboy-gunny* writer (or any other sort, for that matter, but I digress furiously), and Clancy is writing, in this particular metaphor, gun erotica. Indeed, in the WASHINGTON MONTHLY some years ago, it was said that he couldn't for anything write a love scene between a man and a woman, but he could do a swell love scene between a man and a weapon system.

*Yes, I'm sorry already.

#115 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 05:23 PM:

So I suppose watching the classic Trek episode "Miri" is a bit of a different experience in the UK.

#116 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 05:34 PM:

Yes, I was thinking that too.

#117 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 05:50 PM:

And then there's one of the books in Jack Vance's "Tschai" tetralogy. Crosspond correspondents will know which one I mean.

#118 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 06:34 PM:

The one with a word in the title not entirely dissimilar to a word I used upthread when describing bonkbusters?

#119 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2004, 07:09 PM:

Servants of the Wossname, for indeed it was he. It. Whatever.

#120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 01:44 AM:

By a series of fortunate events (many of them with humorous elements of cosmic payback in terms of similar things I've done for other people!), it now very much appears as if I will be at Worldcon after all. So I will be tracking the wild Nielsen Haydens with neither gun nor camera, but with some elan.

#121 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 02:02 AM:

Well, young Jones -- doctor, are you, eh? -- a Lotus Elan is a perfectly decent vehicle, but a Lotus Seven would have stronger fannish connections, and a Range Rover is difficult to beat for sheer chocolate-loading capacity.

I can remember when Quatermain and I used to go smoffing on the Bradbury Veldt -- up by eleven, be through two brace of pheasant and twenty pints of Old Preternatural before two. Couldn't see the deuced quarry by two-thirty, but that's the juju of the hunt, eh?

#122 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 03:15 AM:

Ah, but the real prey on the Bradbury Veldt must be the Unexpected Butterfly, not a wing but a carcass leaving the unexpected ripples resulting in a timestorm of epic proportions. I'm much too late for 7th Fandom though I've met some of its icons, sadly not enough before they became (as Heather would say) Currently Dead. Now there's a seriously eerie thought: how would Jasper Fforde and Heather Wood get along?

#123 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 10:01 AM:

Now, wait. Last I looked that was 'boink', whereas 'bonk' is a word chiefly used as a sound effect, almost always with reference to something impacting a human head.

Xopher, you are correct, the BTVS version is 'boink'. My bad. But maybe that's just because Faith's from Boston, and it's a regional variant? (grasping at straws, or stakes, as the case may be)

#124 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 10:21 AM:

So that's what "Bonk" means. Makes me se the Apple Bonkers in Yellow Submarine in a whole new light.

#125 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 10:23 AM:

Mayakda, I can assure you that Xopher's interpretation is also what would result from the dialectical instincts of this native Texan.

Boston and Texan dialects being as nearly completely divergent as you can get in this fair country...I think you can probably safely assume that this is going to be commonplace throughout the USA.

#126 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 11:11 AM:

Re: Bonkers

They used to be my favorite candy. I treasured the commercials. Giant fruit falling from the sky. What's not to like? (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scared me, though.)

#127 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 12:02 PM:

Then you must have been chilled to the bone by The Great Glass Elevator, which has actual Vermicious Knids in it.

#128 ::: Sarah Skwire ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 12:08 PM:

I find myself pleasantly distracted from the idea of gun porn (a phrase I think I might actually be afraid to google) by thinking of all the different synonyms for "boink" that also start with B.

Like bonk. Bang. Bag. Bone. Ball.

Fascinating.

Or perhaps not, since I'm guessing there are more synonyms for boinking than for any other human action....

#129 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2004, 12:57 PM:

At the college I graduated from, the synonym of choice was "scrump." Make of that what you will.

#130 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 03:10 PM:

Theresa and Patrick,
Your Noreascon namebadges have been printed and properly filed under "N", with a crossreference under "H". While the database understands where the last name begins for sorting purposes, it isn't obvious on the printed badge. We muttered about your choice in surname -- it isn't that we don't think you have a right to it, or that it is inappropriate, just that it is difficult to automate once the badge reaches the physical world. I suggest that in the future conventions use illuminated capitals to mark the character to sort on. Fancy glyphs or little lightbulbs, either would work.
Several thousand carefully hand-laminated badges have been made. A badge or two may have snuggled up together in the same lamination pouch (we caught some, we can't be sure we caught all).

#131 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 04:23 PM:

John Houghton - I hope you spelled Teresa's FIRST name correctly on her badge...

#133 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 04:58 PM:

PNH- Campus democrats have a few of the signs left from their trip, I've put my name down for one.

#134 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2004, 07:56 PM:

@#$#@$!
I didn't enter the data, or print the badge -- so you're safe there. Nor did I remember to check the spelling for my post, even though I meant to. Never post is a hurry. Especially here.
Oh, the embarrassment!

#135 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2004, 01:40 AM:

At work I once in a while have occasion to direct people to a local store called "Kerry's Office Supply". The name is much easier to get people to spell right this year, for some reason.

#136 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2004, 11:17 AM:

Though Americans seem to pronounce it just like Carey, i.e. with the first vowel like "air" as in atmosphere, instead of the shorter "eh" as in, say, "beg" or "neck", thus making it easier to confuse the spelling.

I guess these are two different spellings of the same name originally - like smith & smythe - so in some way it's sorta more correct, but I prefer differentiating to avoid confusion where possible.

#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2004, 11:25 AM:

West of the Alleghenies, most Americans don't distinguish those sounds. I, for example, pronounce Mary, merry, and marry exactly alike, unless I'm doing an accent.

#138 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2004, 03:58 PM:

Per the updated Noreascon schedule that was uploaded to their site recently, I note that "Deconstructing Mary Sue" has been moved to 5PM on Thursday.

#139 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2004, 12:14 AM:

Chad:

That sounds pretty dodgy to me-- being "suddenly older," in particular, strikes me as unlikely (discontinuous jumps are not common in real systems).

The "suddenness" is entirely an artifact of how suddenly the traveling twin adopts a new inertial frame at the turnaround. All that happens is that the traveler's calculation of what "now" is on Earth has advanced by a significant amount. There is no discontinuous jump in any observed quantity, only in what is calculated to be simultaneous in a distant place.

The only good textbook description I have of what each twin sees at each point in the journey is one that also includes the time-of-flight delays of light signals sent from one to the other (in which case, they each "see" slower aging at first (in the sense of annual signals from one to the other arriving more slowly), followed by a burst of rapid aging at the end of the round trip.

I think you are remembering a description equivalent to the short one already cited. However, the "burst of rapid aging" is what the traveling twin "sees" happening to the earthbound twin when turning around (and adopting a new inertial frame) in the middle of the round trip (the turnaround), not the end. That aging is of course not directly observed, since the twins are far apart when it occurs. The earthbound twin does not change frames, and so does not observe any "rapid aging" in the traveler. On the web page, the burst of "rapid" (or "sudden") aging is shown in the right-hand diagram, where "Joe 2" in one frame becomes "Joe 6" in the other.

As for your other remarks, I don't find acceleration to be necessary to resolving the paradox, I don't believe I'm applying formulae blindly, and I don't believe I'm confused. But you may feel free to disagree.

#140 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2004, 01:27 PM:

Praps one should try dropping this into the latest Open Thread to see if ripples spread (see optical illusions page), but I thought mebbe this story might be discussed at Worldcon. Just found it in my local paper.

The new J.K. Rowling

A fantasy story left on a shelf for more than two decades has earned its creator $US5 million after she rewrote it as a children's book.
British author Michelle Paver is now being tipped as the next J.K. Rowling after reworking Wolf Brother which she first penned in 1982 ... By last year she was already an established author of love stories when she came across the work in progress again and turned it into a children's novel ... The book will now be the first in a series called The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.
The Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen has just recorded an audio version of the story, [her agent Peter] Cox, said. (PA)

#141 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2004, 06:23 PM:

After writing: As for your other remarks, I don't find acceleration to be necessary to resolving the paradox, I don't believe I'm applying formulae blindly, and I don't believe I'm confused. But you may feel free to disagree.

I've been feeling a bit... guilty? unreconstructed? I mean, that was pretty huffy, and I know I have a tendency toward unwarranted verbal antagonism. So let me apologize for treating Chad's remarks as being dismissive, which he almost certainly didn't intend. While I've been able to do all the reasoning I need about the twin paradox and FTL=time travel without going out of a few inertial frames, I imagine I might learn something by examining an accelerating frame. And if anyone wants to talk about relativity, perhaps it would be better on an open thread.

#142 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2004, 03:46 AM:

Quite a lot of our hostess is quoted here

#143 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2004, 05:34 AM:

I should explain, three weeks later, that Ed Bryant always attends TusCon. I just got the flyer, and sure enough, there he was again. He's more predictable in that respect than the march of technology in sf. Overall it's a very small, very dull con. The all-time highlight for me was winning a Minnie Mouse pen in 1990 in a Bulwar-Lytton contest with the following:

“Gee whiz, Professor Peterson,” Billy Blaster exclaimed excitedly as they raced headlong down the silver-hued halls of Starfire Solar Station, “if the sonic laser rifles have stopped working, then how the heck are we going to stop those mean Martain sandsnakes from eating Betty?”

I'm sorry to say that I haven't managed to have much fun at Phoenix's Coppercon, either. Perhaps if someone I really like is there, and I'm really caught up in my homework, I'll consider going. Other than that, I'll settle for con reports from the Big Con Back East.

Karen

#144 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2004, 02:40 PM:

Apropos of the "Freedom, Security, and Privacy" panel:

CNN is reporting that the DoJ has asked the court to keep their arguments secret in the Gilmore v. Ashcroft case against the secret laws requiring ID to fly.

(Teresa: wanted to make sure you saw this after our quick chat after that panel.)

Money quote:

"We're dealing with the government's review of a secret law that now they want a secret judicial review for," one of Gilmore's attorneys, James Harrison, said in a phone interview Sunday. "This administration's use of a secret law is more dangerous to the security of the nation than any external threat."

Apropos of the kaffeeklatch: missed it because I didn't see the line forming for sign-ups until it was too late. Sigh. Glad I got a chance to see Patrick and Teresa in other venues.

#145 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2004, 04:48 PM:

I was at least able to make it (for three hours) into the Dealer's room--and it was worth the one-day's fee--late on Friday. Half hoping to see some familiar faces, but didn't at that hour--but wonderful to see all the books.

Not as many mass market paperbacks as I would have liked. I was trying to track down Gene Wolfe's Soldier of Arete and Urth of the New Sun in their mass market versions, and was disappointed not to find either. I know I can find them online easily, but I love finding stuff in the dealer's room--and then having the author's sign them for me if they're at the con.

Anyway, I consoled myself with a Mai Tai at PF Chang's afterwards. My wife had (as usual) a margarita....

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