Elsewhere for April 13, 2019

You should read this for 4/13/2019:

Art and Film

Horse Race Announcer Sues Over Bill Murray Film That Included His Trademarked Tagline

People’s confusion as to what trademark law protects and doesn’t protect is a source of neverending frustration for those of us who simply cannot stand the growth of ownership culture. There is this pervasive and growing sense by those who aren’t particularly well informed that trademark law simply allows one to own a word or phrase to the exclusion of every other person’s use. That, obviously, is not the case and it’s always worth reiterating over and over again that the point of trademark law is to prevent the public from being misled as to the source of a good or service. And, yet, that baseline fact eludes far too many people.

Books, Writing, and Language

Vonda N. McIntyre, 70, Champion of Women in Science Fiction, Dies . See also Feminism, astronauts, and riding sidesaddle: Talking to Dreamsnake’s Vonda McIntyre

One thing I want to emphasize is that people like Kate Wilhelm, and Ursula Le Guin, and Joanna Russ, and Andre Norton, and Anne McCaffrey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley kicked down doors in their generation that people in my generation got to walk through. I don’t think I would have existed as the writer I am now if it weren’t for those writers. What they did was amazing, because when they were kicking down those doors, those doors were a lot stronger and a lot thicker.

McIntyre, along with Tiptree/Sheldon, Butler, Cherryh, and a host of other women writing SF & F had a profound effect on me as a kid in rural N.H. in the 1970s and early 1980s. I wrote Vonda McIntyre as a teen looking for more SF and F by women. She was one of the handful of writers who wrote back, and did something profoundly wonderful: She gave me reading suggestions. I’ll always regret never being able to thank her in person. I’m so glad McIntyre was able to finish her novel Curve of the World. I hope I get to read it.
Via NPR: ‘Losing Earth’ Explores How Oil Industry Played Politics With The Planet’s Fate

In his new book, Losing Earth, Rich writes that in the late 1980s, the American Petroleum Institute began paying scientists to write op-eds questioning climate science. He describes the effort as a campaign to “sow propaganda [and] disinformation, to buy off politicians and scientists, and, ultimately, to convert an entire political party to denialism.”

Via Jennifer Anne on Twitter: So here’s the thing–I am worried that publishing is killing libraries, and that will, in turn, kill publishing.

Here are cold, hard numbers:
Penguin Random House usually charges $55/ copy of an ebook, and they need to be repurchased every 24 months.
Simon and Schuster usually charges list price, and they need to be repurchased every 12 months

Liz Fosslien via The New York Times: The Author’s Journey “A graphic look at the life cycle of writing a book.”
H/T SFWA: Ursula LeGuin interviewed by John Wray: Paris Review Fall 2013.
Jo Walton’s Reading List: March 2019 As Walton herself says:

I read a whole bunch of things, and a whole bunch of kinds of things, fiction and non-fiction, genre and non-genre, letters, poetry, a mix.

I’m really really excited by Walton’s new column; I’m a Jo Walton fan, but anyone who loves books will like this monthly feature.


Louis E. Metzger IV in Medium: Duke University’s Homme Hellinga Scandal: The Untold Story of How Students Risked their Careers to Fight a Cover-Up
This is a perceptive piece in the context of university politics and deliberate coverup, ““Move along, there’s nothing to see here” was the university’s apparent position. With so much of Hellinga’s grant money on the line, it was not in Duke’s interest to look closely at the professor’s potential culpability” but also, in the darker aspects of graduate study:

Duke’s Biochemistry students were uncommonly collegial, perhaps because many of the faculty did not inspire confidence. Whether it was the professor who frequently kept graduate students for a decade, or the one who routinely had doctoral students quit several years into their thesis projects without completing their degrees, the place was not exactly filled with role models.

Food and Drink

Via Simply Recipes: Ham and Asparagus Quiche

History and Archaeology

Avebury’s Stone Circles May Have Honored Neolithic Dwelling See also: The Square Inside Avebury’s Circles

Science and Nature

Our coast isn’t disappearing or vanishing; it’s being violently destroyed

. . . the term “lost coast” is equally off target. It’s like saying we misplaced a treasured item, or it was taken by an act of God.
None of those gentle things caused 2,000 square miles of marsh, swamp and uplands to become open water since the 1930s.
They were destroyed. By us.

Curiosity Rover Spots a Pair of Solar Eclipses on Mars
Earth’s glaciers lost 9 trillion tons of ice. That’s the weight of 27 billion 747s.

That’s how much ice Earth’s glaciers lost in the 55 years between 1961 and 2016. An international team of scientists used satellite and direct field observations to conclude that Earth’s glaciers have melted such a profound sum of ice in the last half-century. They published their report Monday in the journal Nature.


The New Science of How to Argue—Constructively


Study: average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their smartphone
See the full study.
Everyone hates my big stupid horse in Red Dead Online “He is my friend.”
Via Jeff Carlson, a piece for The Seattle Times on How to be smart about applying Apple updates Carlson offers some sensible “upgrade advice to help prevent problems where possible, and tips on what to do if they occur.”
Russia Is Tricking GPS to Protect Putin “The Kremlin’s manipulation of global navigation systems is more extensive than previously understood.”

Researchers at a Washington-based think tank have noticed that a funny thing happens whenever Russian President Vladimir Putin gets close to a harbor: The GPS of the ships moored there go haywire, placing them many miles away on the runways of nearby airports.
According to a new report by security experts with the group C4ADS, the phenomenon suggests that Putin travels with a mobile GPS spoofing device and, more broadly, that Russia is manipulating global navigation systems on a scale far greater than previously understood.

Well-funded surveillance operation infected both iOS and Android devices

Exodus, as the malware for Android phones has been dubbed, was under development for at least five years. It was spread in apps disguised as service applications from Italian mobile operators. Exodus was hidden inside apps available on phishing websites and nearly 25 apps available in Google Play. In a report published two weeks ago, researchers at Security without Borders said Exodus infected phones estimated to be in the “several hundreds if not a thousand or more.”

Women’s Work

Celebrating women in tech: Meet Sue Khim co-founder and CEO of “A huge number of women have successful careers in STEM-related industries. The more you know about them, the more you understand that it’s not rare — it’s normal.”
Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image

💩🔥💰 Trumpery 💩🔥💰

Retiring as a Judge, Trump’s Sister Ends Court Inquiry Into Her Role in Tax Dodges

President Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, has retired as a federal appellate judge, ending an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings.

Pay It Forward and Make It Better

The Head of Lettuce “Bowdoin College student Trevor Kenkel and his greenhouses full of fish are disrupting Maine’s agricultural landscape”

Compared to conventional farms, Springworks Farm uses about nine million fewer gallons of water to annually produce one million heads of lettuce.

The Girl on the Train

I met a girl on the train last night.
I was on my way home after work. It’s about 10pm, and the subway is pulling up to my stop. I’ve been stressed about my own stuff for days now and I’m in my little bubble and just as I stand up the girl across from me starts talking.

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