December 13th, 2007


[links] Thursday link salad

Star Wars toys that never made it

Sentence parsing for the grammatically nefarious — A linguist gets funny with a quote. Also a very brief discussion of the anomalously anarthrous nature of the noun in the phrase "Abandon ship."

Spines, Made Extra Curvy for Women — You have to love a story that starts out with the phrase, "Pregnant women do not tip over..."

The Pope condemns the climate change prophets of doom

A Republican actually says something I agree with — McCain, in the Iowa debates today:
Suppose that climate change is not real and all we do is adopt green technologies, which our economy and our technology is perfectly capable of. Then all we've done is given our kids a cleaner world. But suppose they are wrong. Suppose they are wrong and climate change is real and we've done nothing. What kind of a planet are we going to pass on to the next generation of Americans?

Good for him.

[links] Thursday afternoon serving

Eugene Weekly reviews Mainspring Powell's | Amazon | Audible ] — (A big shout out to biomekanic.)

Face-Transplant Patient 'Satisfied' — A followup on the 2005 French face transplant recipient.

Great beasts peppered from space — Science is so much weirder than fiction. (Shamelessly nicked from james_nicoll.)

Gliese 581: 1 planet might indeed be habitable — (Also shamelessly nicked from james_nicoll, I think.)

scalzi on the fan writing defense initiative founded by naominovik — I find this fascinating, just as I found last year's dust up over plagiarism in the fan fic community fascinating. My opinions about fan fic are pretty firm, and Not the Least Bit Popular in the LJ community, but then I'm a copyright holder with a strong vested interest in the continued integrity (and unsullied economic performance) of copyrights. See my previous comments on producers versus consumers.

Thieves cut off man's 'holy leg' — Chalk another one up for the moral force of religion.

Ted Rall on those wacky Mormons

How things seep in — The success of White House's Iraq-911 linking rhetoric.

The Effect Of 'In Your Face' Political Television On Democracy — This pretty much explains the GOP media strategy of the past 25 years. Not that I'd been mystified... (Thanks to chriswjohnson.)

C.I.A. Agents Sense Shifting Support for Methods — The legal angles and wrangles of torture.

Spurred by Gratitude, 'Bomb Lady' Develops Better Weapons for U.S. — ""A war fighter needs to know one of three things: Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?" Since when do we shoot people on the spot? Specifically, people we've detained long enough to attempt to identify. Pretty much by definition that's an execution.

[awards] A new Hugo category

Because I have so little to do with my time, I am taking on a new project. In so many words, I'm planning to propose a new Hugo award category at next year's WSFS business meeting in Denver.

Here's the very preliminary scoop. When kenscholes, lasirenadolce and I were speaking with Tom Doherty this last fall at the palatial Tor world headquarters, Tom asked why there wasn't a Hugo for people like Betty Ballantine. He observed that Judy Lynne Del Rey had won a Hugo posthumously, and wasn't it a shame we didn't have a Hugo to recognize the people who'd spent their lives bettering our field.

He had a point.

Fast forward a couple of months. I've been discussing the process with some folks who understand the ins and outs very well. With their advice, I have an action plan on how to develop the formal proposal and some timing on when and how to roll it out. I'm throwing this flag mostly to see if anyone is interested in helping me pull and prod this along (along with my general rubric of public openness). The basic vision is to propose a Hugo Award for Lifetime Achievement. It could be won once and only once, by a nominee who was still alive, at least at the time of balloting. It would be for whoever the Hugo electorate wants to honor — lifelong fans, conrunners, writers, editors, publishers, critics, etc.

Obviously there's a lot of logical and procedural holes to be filled before this makes any real sense, but I welcome preliminary comments. I'll be working on this proposal for some months to come, and paying much closer attention to WSFS processes than I have in the past. I'll carry the ball during the long, quiet hours which slowly unwind through my empty days.