ellestra: (tiger)
So I have some awards to catch up on.

The Nebulas' nominations for last year were announced last week. As they are voted by professionals they are not subject to internet ballot stuffing as Hugos were and it shows. The only thing I miss is The Man in the High Castle for the Ray Bradbury Award but this was a good year for SF&F and that includes screen version and you cannot nominate everything. I'm happy for Nimona - a graphic novel - to be nominated for Andre Norton Award.

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
The Bone Swans of Amandale, C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
The New Mother, Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
Waters of Versailles, Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)

Rattlesnakes and Men, Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead, Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds, Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society, Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
The Deepwater Bride, Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
Our Lady of the Open Road, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story
Madeleine, Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
Cat Pictures Please, Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
Damage, David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
When Your Child Strays From God, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
Today I Am Paul, Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)


Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Ex Machina, Written by Alex Garland
Inside Out, Screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original Story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Jessica Jones: AKA Smile, Teleplay by Scott Reynolds & Melissa Rosenberg; Story by Jamie King & Scott Reynolds
Mad Max: Fury Road, Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nick Lathouris
The Martian, Screenplay by Drew Goddard
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy
Seriously Wicked, Tina Connolly (Tor Teen)
Court of Fives, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK 5/14; Amulet)
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Big Mouth House)
Zeroboxer, Fonda Lee (Flux)
Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Levine)
Bone Gap, Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)
Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (HarperTeen)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)

The other awards that just announced nominees are the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards. I never really got into horror so I can't really say anything about any of those but it's interesting to see self-published entries in both novel categories. It also looks like Alyssa Wong's Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers might be the it short story this year. And I like how the categories are all Superior Achievements.

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Clive Barker – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Deep (self-published)
JG Faherty – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
Patrick Freivald – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Courtney Alameda – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
Brian Kirk – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
John McIlveen – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
John Claude Smith – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Jennifer Brozek – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
Michaelbrent Collings – The Ridealong (self-published)
John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
Tonya Hurley – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
Maureen Johnson – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
Ian Welke – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Cullen Bunn – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
Victor Gischler – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
Robert Kirkman – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
Scott Snyder – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Gary A. Braunbeck – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
Lisa Mannetti – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
Norman Partridge – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
Scott Edelman – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Kate Jonez – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
Gene O’Neill – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
Damien Angelica Walters – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
Alyssa Wong – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
Jonathan Maberry – The X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Gary A. Braunbeck – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
Nicole Cushing – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
Taylor Grant – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Gene O’Neill – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
Michael Knost – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Danel Olson – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Bruce Boston – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Ann Schwader – Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
Marge Simon – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
Stephanie M. Wytovich – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Also announced - the nominations for Philip K. Dick Awards. Here's the shortlist:

Edge of Dark by Brenda Cooper (Pyr)
After the Saucers Landed by Douglas Lain (Night Shade Books)
(R)evolution by PJ Manney (47North)
Apex by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot Books)
Windswept by Adam Rakunas (Angry Robot Books)
Archangel by Marguerite Reed (Arche Press)

There seems to be a trend for one word titles.

And finally - today Oscar winners were announced. They look mostly very predictable - Mad Max: The Fury Road swept the more technical, behind the scenes categories (I was very happy for Ex Machina to get the visual effects) and most of the big ones went to the most likely choices. Except for the Best Picture. It felt nice to be surprised and for me anything was a better choice than The Revenant. But all the documents were great and I was so happy for Chileans.
ellestra: (root and shaw)
Happy New Year!

It's time to look back at the 2015. It wasn't the best of years - with terrorism rising and the weather going all wonky - but at least entertainment was good.

My top films of the year (it's SFF because that's what I see in cinemas - I usually prefer to see other films at home without people talking and looking at their phones and the smell of popcorn - but for genre I usually want the big screen experience):

The ones I was most entertained by - mostly in order: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Unlike almost everyone I had fun watching Jupiter Ascending (it was pretty and I liked Terry Gilliam parts more than the whole of Zero Theorem). I remember liking Age of Ultron but can't quite recall the plot - something, something, killer robots, something Vison, city falling from the sky, new Avengers - so in retrospect the story wasn't that interesting and I was distracted by how shiny it was. I was underwhelmed by all the YA adaptations.

The TV was pretty awesome. I need to cut back on stuff but I really, really like so much nowadays. There are all the awesome new shows. The year started with the joy that was Galavant which to surprise of everyone (and my great joy) is coming back on Sunday.The summer came with Humans and Mr. Robot. And Syfy brought some entertaining space shows - Dark Matter and Killjoys and the beautiful, high quality The Expanse series (already renewed). And Amazon has finally made SF worth watching with the wonderful The Man in the High Castle. It's certainly became my favourite show of theirs (it used to be Alpha House). I also loved Sense8 - from the get go and didn't find it hard to follow at all. I'm very excited to know they are all coming back this year. I never expected to like Limitless (I finally watched the film and it was OK but I'm glad I didn't see it in the cinema) but it turned out to be the most wonderful thing and I'm so happy it's back on Tuesday.

In another controversial view I admit that my favourite Marvel show is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's probably because I generally prefer assemble shows but I also have most fun watching it. Then it's Agent Carter (incredibly awesome and coming back in few weeks) and then Netflix ones - Daredevil and Jessica Jones (I don't have preference here so they are in chronological order). I know it makes me an odd one and I will make it even worse by admitting I like all Marvel shows more than anything DC. And that my favourite CW comic book based show is iZombie. I like Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and and I liked Constantine but this is my order of preference.

I said good bye to Continuum, Defiance and Dominium. Haven ended too but Lost Girl still has episodes to burn in US. I gave up on Gotham and Sleepy Hollow and everyone gave up on Minority Report. There were things like Falling Skies and Hemlock's Grove where couldn't get through last season - just watched last episode (still painful). I just read spoilers for Game of Thrones and watched dragons parts. I liked the miniseries - both Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell and The Childhood's End. I also finally binged Black Mirror over the holidays and it is as awesome as everyone says it is. Luther would've been great too but I don't know if I can get over Alice.

There were all my old favourites. I watch The Librarians for pure fun and Doctor Who has improved this year. Person of Interest - still no one want to let us know when it'll come back but it might become a summer show (in place of the horrible Under the Dome and Extant that CBS finally cancelled) and get couple more seasons and I cant wait when our favourite psychopaths will be back. Orphan Black - Helena became true MVP this season and RIP monitors. Also have you seen the new trailers? Creepy.

My guilty pleasures included The Originals and Teen Wolf (so many pretty people in both). And I kept following my favourite dramas - The Good Wife, Major Crimes, Suits,Switched at Birth, The Fosters, The Americans, Halt and Catch Fire, The Blacklist, Elementary (Morland is a joy) and kind of keep track of Shondaland. I don't really watch sitcoms but I watched The Muppets and sometimes Blackish.

In books dragons stay my weak spot - I fell in love with Rachel Aaron's Heartstrikers books. There was more Laundry - from Mo's PoV and with superheroes. I read The Martian and The Magicians trilogy before seeing adaptations and loved both. I've read Raising Steam but I haven't touched The Shepard's Crown because if I don't then I still have one more book by Terry Pratchett to read.
ellestra: (tiger)
It's still very warm and humid but since Wednesday all we had was the fog condensing into drizzle. There where even few moments of sunshine here and there. The Wednesday downpour was turning into fog every night then rose as clouds and drizzle down when the atmosphere just couldn't hold this much water. It was just above 20oC but the humidity made it feel hotter. Even in summer clothes we were all sweating like crazy (I took shower 4 times on Christmas Eve just to be presentable for supper). The rain is supposed to come back tomorrow and last for couple of days until the front behind it brings colder air again. So we go into the cycle of hot and cold. One week we have frost the other heat wave. I don't know which clothes to keep on hand and the plants are even more confused.

Here is a week ago (and week from now) - all frosty and cold - and now - with flowering quince flowering.

And all the other plants - forsythia, iris, first ornamental fruit trees etc.

Thanks El Niño!
ellestra: (lightning)
It was 24oC today (75F) and I was overheating in jeans so I dug out some of the summer clothes. I wasn't the only one - people in shorts and sandals where everywhere. If the days weren't so short you can almost believe it was spring. I know I'm far south but this is still 10o warmer than normal for this time a year and the North is asking where's their snow (apparently going to California). And my parents say there hasn't been much winter weather in Poland either but they do seem to have snow on the horizon. Here the very warm weather is supposed to last till the next weekend.

Today is also the peak of Geminids - the biggest meteor shower of the year. With nice warm weather like that I decided to go and take a look. I managed to see few but there is too much light pollution everywhere near, especially in the direction the meteors are coming from, so I could only spot the brightest ones. This meant they were far in between and I never managed to get a photo. But the warm days and cool nights also mean fog. A lot of fog. It made the sky even more fuzzy but it also makes some cool effects. And at least you can see Orion.
ellestra: (tiger)
I haven't done one of these in a while and now I have 2 of them - the fantasy awards.

Couple of weeks ago the 2015 British Fantasy Awards winners were announced at the awards banquet at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham:

Best anthology: Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue, ed. Christie Yant (Lightspeed Magazine)

Best artist: Karla Ortiz

Best collection: Nick Nightmare Investigates, Adrian Cole (The Alchemy Press and Airgedlámh Publications)

Best comic/graphic novel: Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

Best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award): Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Best film/television episode: Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (Marvel Studios)

Best horror novel (the August Derleth Award): No One Gets Out Alive, Adam Nevill (Macmillan)

Best independent press: Fox Spirit Books (Adele Wearing)

Best magazine/periodical: Holdfast Magazine, ed. Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee (Laurel Sills and Lucy Smee)

Best newcomer (the Sydney J. Bounds Award): Sarah Lotz, for The Three (Hodder & Stoughton)

Best non-fiction: Letters to Arkham: The Letters of Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, 1961–1971, ed. S.T. Joshi (PS Publishing)

Best novella: Newspaper Heart, Stephen Volk (The Spectral Book of Horror Stories)

Best short story: A Woman’s Place, Emma Newman (Two Hundred and Twenty-One Baker Streets)

The Special Award (the Karl Edward Wagner Award): Juliet E. McKenna

I'm happy about Lightspeed: Women Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue winning as I was one of the people crowdsourcing it. I also find it amusing that Guardians of Galaxy got the fantasy award. It plays well into that space fantasy label people argue about with films like Star Wars.

And today the winners of World Fantasy Award were announced

Winner: The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House; Sceptre)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway; Jo Fletcher)
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
My Real Children, Jo Walton (Tor; Corsair)

Winner: We Are All Completely Fine, Daryl Gregory (Tachyon)
Where the Trains Turn, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Translated by Liisa Rantalaiho (Tor.com 11/19/14)
Hollywood North, Michael Libling (F&SF 11-12/14)
The Mothers of Voorhisville, Mary Rickert (Tor.com 4/30/14)
Grand Jeté (The Great Leap), Rachel Swirsky (Subterranean Summer ’14)
The Devil in America, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com, 4/2/14)

Short Fiction
Winner: Do You Like to Look at Monsters?, Scott Nicolay (Fedogan & Bremer)
I Can See Right Through You, Kelly Link, (McSweeney’s 48)
Death’s Door Café, Kaaron Warren (Shadows & Tall Trees 2014)
The Fisher Queen, Alyssa Wong (F&SF 5-6/14)

Winner: Monstrous Affections, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, ed. (Candlewick)
Fearful Symmetries, Ellen Datlow, ed. (ChiZine)
Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Rose Fox & Daniel José Older, eds. (Crossed Genres)
Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, Michael Kelly, ed. (Undertow)
Rogues, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam; Titan)

Winner: Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Helen Marshall (ChiZine)
Winner: The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus)
Mercy and Other Stories, Rebecca Lloyd (Tartarus)
They Do the Same Things Different There, Robert Shearman (ChiZine)
Death at the Blue Elephant, Janeen Webb (Ticonderoga)

Winner: Samuel Araya
Galen Dara
Jeffrey Alan Love
Erik Mohr
John Picacio

Special Award – Professional
Winner: Sandra Kasturi & Brett Alexander Savory, for ChiZine Publications
John Joseph Adams, for editing anthologies and Nightmare and Fantasy magazines
Jeanne Cavelos, for Odyssey writing workshops
Gordon Van Gelder, for F&SF
Jerad Walters, for Centipede Press

Special Award – Nonprofessional
Winner: Ray B. Russell & Rosalie Parker, for Tartarus Press
Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Matt Cardin, for Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti (Subterranean)
Stefan Fergus, for Civilian Reader (civilianreader.wordpress.com)
Patrick Swenson, for Fairwood Press
ellestra: (sunrise)
Today is Back to the Future day. October 21, 2015 is the date that Doc and Marty arrived at in the Back to the Future II film. So everyone is comparing the future imagined in the 80s to the one we are actually living in. Cars don't fly, there is no fusion reactors and you cannot hydrate your pizza in seconds. We still, disappointingly, need glasses to watch 3D, hoverboards are barely functional (or are just tiny scooters) and Pepsi Perfect is just for people with too much money. But big flatscreens are everywhere and a lot of screens are touchscreens (if you count smartphones most even). We have fingerprint locks and pocket cameras in our smartphones and we can videochat whenever we feel like it (my main way of talking to my family). You can talk to your devices - from phones to TV to some house (and get super frustrated if it doesn't deal well with your accent or speech patterns). The movies had no idea of internet which became a big thing in the future and now we all carry powerful computers that keep us connected to it all the time. Payphones, maps and faxes are mostly forgotten. And Nike has just released (in very limited numbers) the self-lacing shoes. But a lot of companies hope to cash in on the nostalgia.

There is a new short coming in the new blue-ray edition with this extra message from Doc Brown himself

And a documentary about filming BttF

And for those disappointed with the future - CH feels you

The Back to the Future Trilogy in 90 Seconds
ellestra: (tiger)
It's Wednesday at the beginning of October so it means all the science Nobel Prize winners have been announced. So here they are the winners of this year award for Medicine, Physics and Chemistry.

The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites" and the other half to Youyou Tu "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria". The diseases caused by parasites are still killing and maiming people. Roundworms cause disfigurements that are stuff of nightmares (and a clickbait for the countless website showing you worms in eyes and scrotum dragging behind a man - no link here you can google it if you think you can take it the BBC article is bad enough) and malaria is infecting hundreds of millions and killing hundreds of thousands every year (and those who die are mostly children). Anything that helps to fight these diseases makes our world markedly better. Ivermectin kills the first larval stage of the roundworm parasite and artemisinin is active during the stage when the parasite is located inside red blood cells. Both helped millions and continue to do so still but as always the danger of resistance looms so the research for new ways to get rid of these parasites is still crucial. Youyou Tu's discovery also shows that when something works it's no longer alternative medicine - it's just medicine.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 was awarded jointly to Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald "for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass". This is for discovery that neutrinos can change flavours (this is how neutrinos types are described) and the ability to do that explained why we observed different quantity of each flavour than expected. It also meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. I always liked how they hunted for neutrinos in those underground caves and the man who had the idea how to do it and that neutrinos have flavours and can switch between them was a Cold War spy.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 was awarded jointly to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar "for mechanistic studies of DNA repair". I've been working in DNA repair most of my science career and one of the laureates work at the same university (and another one just next door) so I feel especially close to this one. This is the award for research on 3 main pathways of DNA repair - BER, NER and MMR. The first one is Base Excision Repair - if the DNA bases are damage (by for example oxydation) and change their properties the DNA cannot function properly so special enzymes remove the bad base and replace it with another. Nucleotide Excision Repair works in the very similar way but excises the whole nucleotides. The difference between base and nucleotide is that the base is just the A, T, C and G by themselves. Nucleotide includes also sugar that forms the structural skeleton of DNA. NER usually removes larger part of the DNA strand and then rebuilds it because the damage (like UV dimers) was so extensive it caused the deformation of the DNA structure. Mismatch Repair happens when the wrong type of base is incorporate into DNA. The bases always pair A with T and G with C. If the wrong base is incorporated then MMR comes to fix it which corrects polymerase errors and reduces replication errors 1000-fold. I'm not sure if I explain it simple enough. I spent so many years staring at the schematics of this pathways that everything seems to simplified to me. Sorry.
ellestra: (lightning)
I was supposed to write about Doctor Who but there is something more important happening tomorrow night - Lunar Eclipse. This is the last on of four happening in the two year period and this one will hit over the Atlantic so people living on both sides of the Atlantic will see it in full (Western Europe and Africa, The whole of South America and Eastern half of North America. The people in Eastern Europe and rest of Africa and most of North America should see the full length of total Eclipse of the Moon but will miss some part of the end or beginning of the eclipse. Unless like me you are in the third day of non-stop rain and there is no hope of a break in the cloud cover. I really wanted to see this one - it will be Supermoon Eclipse so the moon looks slightly larger then usual full moon and the total eclipse hit US East Coast at very reasonable hour - just before 11 PM - so no need to wake up in the middle of the night. It woud've been perfect. But with this weather I will have to watch it online - like west Pacific coast people (don't worry Japan, Australia - you'll get your own lunar eclipse in January 2018).

And if you don't care bout any of these here something else to wait for (my dad says Netflix should start services in Poland by December).

It's almost as if she sleeping off the night spent watching lunar eclipse.
ellestra: (tiger)
It's this time again for the second most important awards in science or at least the most entertaining ones. Kissing, peeing, chicken dinosaurs and pain measuring - all the best the science has to offer. The winners of this year IgNoble Awards are:

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Callum Ormonde and Colin Raston, and Tom Yuan, Stephan Kudlacek, Sameeran Kunche, Joshua N. Smith, William A. Brown, Kaitlin Pugliese, Tivoli Olsen, Mariam Iftikhar, Gregory Weiss, for inventing a chemical recipe to partially un-boil an egg.
Accepted by: Callum Ormonde, Tivoli Olsen, Colin Raston, Greg Weis

PHYSICS PRIZE: Patricia Yang, David Hu, and Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo, for testing the biological principle that nearly all mammals empty their bladders in about 21 seconds (plus or minus 13 seconds).
Accepted by: Patricia Yang, David Hu, Jonathan Pham, Jerome Choo

LITERATURE PRIZE: Mark Dingemanse, Francisco Torreira, and Nick J. Enfield, for discovering that the word "huh?" (or its equivalent) seems to exist in every human language — and for not being quite sure why.
Accepted by: The authors were unable to attend the ceremony; they sent a video acceptance speech. They will receive their prize at an at a special event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on October 3: The European Ig Nobel Show

MANAGEMENT PRIZE: Gennaro Bernile, Vineet Bhagwat, and P. Raghavendra Rau, for discovering that many business leaders developed in childhood a fondness for risk-taking, when they experienced natural disasters (such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and wildfires) that — for them — had no dire personal consequences.
Accepted by: Gennaro Bernile and P. Raghavendra Rau

ECONOMICS PRIZE: The Bangkok Metropolitan Police, for offering to pay policemen extra cash if the policemen refuse to take bribes.

MEDICINE PRIZE: Awarded jointly to two groups: Hajime Kimata; and to Jaroslava Durdiaková, Peter Celec, Natália Kamodyová, Tatiana Sedláčková, Gabriela Repiská, Barbara Sviežená, and Gabriel Minárik, for experiments to study the biomedical benefits or biomedical consequences of intense kissing (and other intimate, interpersonal activities).
Accepted by: Jaroslava Durdiaková and Peter Celec will be at the ceremony. Hajime Kimata will be at the Ig Informal Lectures, on Saturday, Sept 19 (a prior commitment prevented him from attending the Thursday ceremony); he sent a video acceptance speech which was played at the Thursday night ceremony.

MATHEMATICS PRIZE: Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Karl Grammer, for trying to use mathematical techniques to determine whether and how Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty, the Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, managed, during the years from 1697 through 1727, to father 888 children.
Accepted by: Elisabeth Oberzaucher

BIOLOGY PRIZE: Bruno Grossi, Omar Larach, Mauricio Canals, Rodrigo A. Vásquez, José Iriarte-Díaz , for observing that when you attach a weighted stick to the rear end of a chicken, the chicken then walks in a manner similar to that in which dinosaurs are thought to have walked.
Accepted by: Bruno Grossi, José Iriarte-Díaz, Omar Larach, Rodrigo A. Vásquez

DIAGNOSTIC MEDICINE PRIZE: Diallah Karim, Anthony Harnden, Nigel D'Souza, Andrew Huang, Abdel Kader Allouni, Helen Ashdown, Richard J. Stevens, and Simon Kreckler, for determining that acute appendicitis can be accurately diagnosed by the amount of pain evident when the patient is driven over speed bumps.
Accepted by: Diallah Karim, Anthony Harnden, Helen Ashdown, Nigel D'Souza, Abdel Kader Allouni

PHYSIOLOGY and ENTOMOLOGY PRIZE: Awarded jointly to two individuals: Justin Schmidt, for painstakingly creating the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, which rates the relative pain people feel when stung by various insects; and to Michael L. Smith, for carefully arranging for honey bees to sting him repeatedly on 25 different locations on his body, to learn which locations are the least painful (the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm). and which are the most painful (the nostril, upper lip, and penis shaft).
Accepted by: Justin Schmidt and Michael Smith
ellestra: (sunrise)
After couple of cooler summers this one was pretty hot. But it never got as hot as the first few summers I spent here - it never reached 40C (104F - I think it never even officially got above 100) for example - and the hottest part was end of June (right after I came back from Poland). In all it wasn't even that much hotter than Polish summer as the temperatures reached 36-37C both there and here. Only here it was mostly the beginning and then we went through couple of months of steady 30-33C and back in Poland they had one week of cold and rainy weather (exactly when my brother took his kids to the sea coast because how could they first Baltic experience be warm). I'm pretty sure that that 30-something heat wave had exacerbated my dad's health problems as both times he landed in hospital happened after couple of days of that heat and he got better when it got cooler. Unlike me, here in a place when constant temperatures above 30C are norm, neither my parents not the hospital has AC. In fact very few places in Poland do have it and in the last heat wave, when it got up to 37C again at the very end of August, my parents went to hide in one that does - shopping mall.

And then, almost exactly as school year started, it got cooler, cold even, in Poland. Now my aunts are complaining about the cold. And I was stuck in the storm season with wet, humid and still pretty hot weather for the last week. But it's all suppose to cleared for beautifully warm (24C hight - 75F) and sunny day and pretty cool nights (it's only supposed to be 11C - 50F tomorrow night). Coincidently - almost the same as in Poland. The summer should be back for one last round - both here and there - but I'm ready for warmer clothes. My sandals are just about to fall apart anyway.


Sep. 9th, 2015 11:27 pm
ellestra: (aeryn)
Both LHC and KEK got some weird results in two different experiments that suggest possibility of new particles outside standard model. They also don't fit into the Supersymetry theory. Right now the best guesses are some new type of Higgs boson or leptoquark.

Queen Elizabeth II has become the longest reigning British monarch in history today (she just beat Victoria). It's been just over 63 years, seven months and two days since the coronation and her rule is almost at the retirement age itself.

The 10 best experiments of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's according to blastr. They use the word scientific accuracy there but we can all agree that it only works in Muppet Labs. Science is universe specific unfortunately which is why we can't just adapt the technology that put pigs in space.

I wondered what could match Miss Piggy cameo but then I saw Team SHIELD effort and I lost it at the last one. Dubsmash battle continues.

Unfortunately only one of these isn't true. Which reminds me to have my existential crisis this week - "why am I even doing this?"

Bad dreams

Aug. 31st, 2015 11:56 pm
ellestra: (winged)
Wes Craven died yesterday from brain tumour. He was 76. I'm not a big fan of horror (mostly because I don't find it very scary so I get stuck on illogical parts) but I liked his films - from Freddy Krueger dreamscapes (my first one was randomly A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and they do dream fighting in that one and it was awesome) to the way he played with horror tropes in Scream series (also see the New Nightmare). He put fun into watching multiple people getting murdered on screen. And now that he is gone the whole internet agrees he will hunt our nightmares. Making them properly scary - none of those naked in the office stuff.
ellestra: (tiger)
So the Hugo Awards happened yesterday (here is liveblog and hopefully they'll put the whole ceremony somewhere because it was hilarious). I watched the ceremony and Connie Willis and Dalek killed everyone and it was great despite all the No awards (it ended with the more No awards that were given out last evening than in all the years before combined). This is, of course, the result of the whole Sad Puppies/Rabid Puppies gaming the nomination precess and the actual voters choosing No Awards in the categories completely taken over by the slate nominations (Hugo allows voter to say they didn't like any of the options given and that's what has happened here). Here are the results (full listing at the link):

The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)

No award

BEST NOVELETTE (1031 ballots)
The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Pat Cadigan translator (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)

No award

No award

Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)

Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)

Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)

No award

No award

Julie Dillon

Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant

BEST FANZINE (576 ballots)
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery

Galactic Suburbia Podcast Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)

Laura J. Mixon

Elizabeth Leggett

Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
Wesley Chu

It ended up being pretty diverse (Ms. Marvel, Orphan Black, translations, Lightspeed Magazine) despite the slate and I really liked when the best novel award was announced from ISS (live from space) by an American astronaut born in China with Swedish name who also grew up in London and went to a Chinese writer for a book originally published in Chinese. It gave it an extra international feel on something called Worldcon.

And the really interesting part was that of the Hugos that were awarded a lot went to those who were initially out of nominations but got on the shortlist after the Sad Rabid Puppies nominees withdrawn their works or were found ineligible. This includes two translated works (first time in Hugo history so many of them got an award) and Orphan Black and best artist. That really shows that what the puppies were really trying to keep out of the awards was quality.

At the end George R. R. Martin organised the traditional Losers Party party where he gave away special trophies - Alphies - awards for those who were pushed away from Hugo nominee list by the slate voting and those who were on the slate but withdrawn. And this is what the nominee list would look like if the slate never happened.
ellestra: (cosima)
Today Internet believed in miracles as Tatiana Maslany has been nominated for Emmys. Doesn't make me care any more about them but I always say all the awards. Here is here post-nomination interview with her. As always she credits the fans for spreading the word about the show. And there is another one here. I think we all feel like it's a group nomination (not only because it's hard to believe she'd just one person but also thanks to the hard work of all her doubles). And here is BBC America celebrating.

This seams to also be an exceptionally good year for SF&F as Game of Thrones got 24 nominations, AHS: Freak Show is close behind with 19 and Dardevil and Last Man on Earth got some too. Maybe it's the drought. Or maybe the lowering of herd immunity among the voters.

So this is also the high time to post the Orphan Black S3 bloper reel

And the proposals for spin-off with Alison and Donnie that were presented at SDCC. Which one you can't wait to watch?

Holly freaking Christmas cake!
ellestra: (tiger)
So this is the time we learn who lives and who dies and what is coming next.

Orphan Black has already been renewed for another season. No long wait this time. CBS renewed Person of Interest, Elementary and The Good Wife (along with lots of other unimportant stuff) which means that (with all the ABC picks) I got to keep everything I wanted. CW kept everything except for Heart of Dixie and Messengers (you know that show about angels that only started a second ago and already crashed - it wasn't horrible but had problem with pacing and explaining what it was about). Also cancelled - Constantine but there is a large campaign already to save it and it has some famous backers. The full list is here.

And then there are trailers and descriptions for the new series coming next autumn. They seem to show a certain pattern. There will be Lucifer based on another DC comic book but mostly rewritten into another crime procedural with supernatural twist. Then there is Minority Report that also has a a guy with special powers pairing with female cop but this time it's in the future and so the precogs are science fiction. (Fox trying for another Sleepy Hollow?). And then there is The Frankenstein Code about man brought back to life trying solve his own murder (and many others I assume). They don't look bad (especially the Minority Report one) but I predict neither will last. It's Fox after all. NBC tries this in search for another The Blacklist. With much less genre but they have Jaimie Alexander. In Blindspot she is amnesiac woman with the tattoos pointing at dangerous crimes and a lot of special skills (fighting, languages). Looks like another superhuman on her resume (not a bad type casting). I just feel bad for her all her make-up hours. Also coming to NBC is a restart (?) of Heroes - Heroes Reborn and a new end of the world comedy that actually sounds pretty fun - You, Me And The End Of The World. And speaking of old series coming back - The X-Files miniseries got airing date. CBS will make shows based on Limitless and Rush Hour (they are digging deep into movies this year to make a police procedural, don't they) and try another shot at angels in comedy form this time - Angel From Hell. Lets see if that one will survive.

If you just want to watch all of those trailer in one place:

ellestra: (telamon)
The winner of this year Clarke Award has been announced. The award goes to Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven. Somewhere out there Puppies are very Sad now.

So Syfy is really getting into the whole science fiction thing. There are already many new series coming and a lot of them are adaptations of popular book series (serieses?) but the newest one is true classic. Along with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment they plan to adapt Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as a miniseries.

Large parts of Internets are hyperventilating because Martin Freeman has been cast in Captain America: The Civil War. No one knows who he will play but the most prevalent hypothesis (aside from Spiderman) is that he will be set up as a foe for Dr. Strange. Or people just want to see him share the screen with Cumberbatch again.

In more good news CBS as officially ordered Supergirl to series and iZombie got renewed for second season.

Here's the preview for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and we finally know the release dates - on 17th of May in UK and on June 13 in US.
ellestra: (winged)
The Hugo nominees were announced and all hell broke loose. The categories have been taken over by a self-named Sad Puppies. It's a Gamergate affiliated group believing that SF&F fandom has been overtaken by progressive fans and authors who vote for women, POC and LGBT authors instead for what is really popular so they organised a concerted voting for the slate of authors they chose (you can read more about their demented ideology at the link I just can't even). Because nothing says most widely popular as hand-picked by couple of guys. They tried this last year with some success (but 2014 Hugos in general had one of most diverse slate of nominees) so this year they organised even more intense campaign and got their people in basically all categories. This is why the novella category is basically nothing but John C. Wright and a vile person as Vox Day (head of even more extreme Rabbid Puppies) is nominated twice. People advise those who can vote to pick No Award option (you can do that on Hugos and No Award can be given in any and all categories) but that's not a most appealing solution. It may lead to a change in voting system (but only after two years so at earliest in 2017) and rivalling voting blocks which would politicise the awards even more.

People have been complaining about award and nominees every year and I've always been dismissing it. Some of the complains were justified and others were just whining but tastes differ and what is mindblowingly awesome to one can be a horrible hack to another so no award can ever satisfy everyone. However, this is just an awful way to spite everyone else just because they don't like what you like and it is truly awful.

This time I'm only posting few main categories - you can see the rest in link above and here (also all of the Sad Rabid Puppies nominees or - alternatively - all the ones not voted in by them).

Best Novel
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson
Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Lego Movie

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short
Doctor Who: Listen
The Flash: Pilot
Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper
Grimm: Once We Were Gods
Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried

Best Graphic Story
Sex Criminals, Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction; art by Chip Zdarsky
The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Weibe; art by Roc Upchurch
Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson; art by Adrian Alphona & Jake Wyatt

Best Professional Artist
Julie Dillon
Jon Eno
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer [Not a Hugo Award]
*Wesley Chu
Jason Cordova
*Kary English
Rolf Nelson
Eric. S. Raymond

*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

At least graphic story category is awesome and all the dramatic presentation ones look good (I'm hoping against all odds that Orphan Black would win even though I know GoT will).
ellestra: (tiger)
So it has started. The spring is truly here and I'm hanging by a thread. The first hit is always the hardest. This sudden switch from being normal person who can go for long walks and even run to someone who gets sore muscles after walking up few flights of stairs too fast (or at least without panting). I knew it's getting really bad. At first the spring comes gradually and I almost imperceptibly get worse but then comes a tipping point and I crash. And by crash I mean I wasn't present for most of Monday. I woke up at 9:30 only because a phone call (I usually wake up by myself - no alarms needed). I tried to get up and go to work but I could barely keep my head up to write an email that I won't make it. And then I went back to bed and when I woke up again it was late afternoon. And normally I can't even fall asleep during the day.

I have 1-2 days like that every spring. They mean that my symptoms are about to get worse. I wake up in a world where it's harder to breathe and I remember why asthma sucks. And why the spring, especially here, is so awful, especially on beautiful days like today. It's easy to forget in good seasons. So I hope you enjoy your warm, sunny days while I dream of rain. And autumn.


Mar. 23rd, 2015 11:53 pm
ellestra: (cosima)
It looks like the final in 2015 Suvudu Cage Match will be between Death and Death's granddaughter. Susan vs. one of Endless. I'm sure she'll bring the poker. Semifinals are still on but unless large amount of late votes come in it seems to be the end result. I'm just happy Death is the right gender. Weird Germanics with their male personification of Death.

The io9's March Madness is already on the Sweet Sixteen stage and it looks like Firefly is loosing to Game of Thrones. Finally a show with bigger (or more obsessed fandom) than Firefly but I'm not sure it's really an improvement.

An sneak peak from episode 3x01 of Orphan Black with the Sarah - Rudy clone talk we've seen fragments of before. It looks like Delphine now knows all about project Castor.

Also Alison as Sarah always hilarious - can't wait:
ellestra: (sunrise)
If you are in Europe or Siberia I hope you remember there will be a solar eclipse visible tomorrow (well today by your time). Some of it will also be visible from Northern Africa and some other parts of Asia but it'll only cover less then 40% of the Sun there. It won't be total in Europe either - the totality is moving over the Arctic Ocean but the further North you live the more of the Sun will disappear. The only people who will see total eclipse are the ones living on the Faroe Islands and Svalbard. In Iceland, Greenland, Scotland, Ireland and Norway more than 90% of the Sun will be covered. In Poland it'll be about 70%. There is only 6 hours left until it starts in Poland so I hope you are ready (I mean you are probably asleep now but you should be already prepared anyway - next one so big will be in 2026).

We no longer fear it and people are more excited than anything when eclipses happened but the rise of solar energy gave media new reason to panic. It's been fun reading all those predictions of power failures, especially in Germany (7% - 18% of power in Germany comes from the Sun). It's not like they didn't had plenty of time to prepare - eclipses doesn't come by surprise. But it's fun to see the press get all worked up about it.

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