• MT VOID, 09/08/23 -- Vol. 42, No. 10, Whole Number 2292

    From evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com@21:1/5 to All on Mon Sep 11 07:52:47 2023
    09/08/23 -- Vol. 42, No. 10, Whole Number 2292

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    New York Times Article about the Holmdel Horn [unlocked]
    CRYPTID) (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper
    and Evelyn C. Leeper)
    This Week's Reading (AXIOMATIC) (book comments
    by Evelyn C. Leeper)


    TOPIC: New York Times Article about the Holmdel Horn [unlocked]

    The article includes *lots* of photos.

    <https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/04/science/astronomy-holmdel- antenna-microwaves.html>

    or unlocked:


    Where the Universe Began

    A half-century ago, a radio telescope in Holmdel, N.J., sent two
    astronomers 13.8 billion years back in time--and opened a cosmic
    window that scientists have been peering through ever since.

    Published Sept. 4, 2023
    Updated Sept. 5, 2023

    On a field just below the summit of Crawford Hill, the highest
    point in Monmouth County, N.J., almost within sight of the
    skyscrapers of Manhattan, sits a cluster of shacks and sheds. Next
    to them is the Holmdel Horn Antenna, a radio telescope somewhat
    resembling the scoop of a giant steam shovel: an aluminum box 20
    feet square at the mouth and tapering to an eight-inch opening,
    through which the radio waves are funneled into the "cab," a wooden
    hut on stilts. From a distance, the whole site could be mistaken
    for an old mining camp you might come across in Montana or Idaho.



    TOPIC: Mini Reviews, Part 5 (film reviews by Mark R. Leeper and
    Evelyn C. Leeper)

    This is the fifth batch of mini-reviews for this season, more films
    of the fantastic:

    mathematicians and a government representative sitting in a room
    and discussing what should be done with their proof that P=nP (and
    the underlying algorithm). Should it be publicly realized? Should
    it be given to the government? Should it be licensed to
    corporations? The mathematics is not always valid (they had no
    consultants in making the film), but the underlying ideas would
    apply to many discoveries. (Explicit reference is made to Los
    Alamos.) And a lot of the discussion is trying to make the
    government guy (and the audience) understand the implications,
    rather than a discussion of the morality of various possible
    decisions. This is not a film that requires a big screen (we
    streamed it on Vimeo). The ending is a let-down, though, because
    it does not appear that the filmmakers have thought through the
    implications. (The same problem occurs at the end of EMERGENCE.)

    * Yes, a double 'l' and no definite article.

    Released theatrically 16 June 2012. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4), or 7/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    PARADISE (2023): PARADISE is a German science fiction film whose
    premise is basically a variant on IN TIME (which was in turn
    "inspired" by the 1987 short "The Price of Life") All seem to be
    based on the proverb "Time is money." In IN TIME there seems to
    just be some sort of chip that keeps track of how much time you
    have left and works like a debit card, where you can add or
    subtract time. In PARADISE, there is some hand-waving about DNA
    matching and an operation to transfer the years from one person to
    another, as if they were just another organ. (Which in turn
    reminds us of NEVER LET ME GO, although that has a bit more
    scientific plausibility than PARADISE.)

    The plot is fairly predictable: the main character is an
    enthusiastic supporter of this process until ... surprise, he finds
    himself (or rather, his wife) on the short end of it. And of
    course there are twists and turns in the plot--people who aren't
    who they seem, people who change during the film, etc.

    (There's also a hint of the "Twilight Zone" episode "The Long
    Morrow".) [-ecl]

    Released streaming 27 June 2023. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:

    CRYPTID (2022): CRYPTID is a run-of-the-mill monster film; the
    monster is from a reptilian species that has survived since ...
    well, they don't exactly say, but it seems to be from millions of
    years ago. Then again, so are crocodiles. The attacks all take
    place at night in the rain and when we do see the monster, it's a
    bit of a let-down. [-mrl/ecl]

    Released streaming 3 January 2023. Rating: 0 (-4 to +4), or 4/10.

    Film Credits:

    What others are saying:


    TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

    Back in the day, when we used to travel, we would take only
    carry-on luggage, even for four-week trips. This meant that in
    general we did not buy large souvenirs, or large books. But in
    1995 I made an exception for Greg Egan's AXIOMATIC (current ISBN 978-1-59780-540-7, Night Shade Books), which had just been
    published, only in the UK, and as a "format C" book--well, actually
    *larger* than a format C, because a format C is 135mmx216mm, and
    AXIOMATIC is 150mmx235mm. (I'm sure a Brit will send either a
    correction or a lengthier explanation to me.) But in spite of the
    size, I schelpped this book all over Glasgow and Wales, and it was
    worth it.

    Greg Egan and Ted Chiang are different in many ways (*), but in one
    way they are similar: neither one has ever turned out a bad story,
    or at least ever had a bad story published.

    (*) They certainly vary in the volume of their outputs. The
    eighteen stories in AXIOMATIC were produced in a seven-year period,
    with four in 1991 and another four in 1992. Chiang has written
    twenty stories in twenty-two years.

    Rather than a review per se, here are my various comments on the

    The Infinite Assassin (1991): Our narrator is an assassin trying to
    kill drug dealers. But the catch is that there are an infinite
    number of copies of him in an infinite number of universes, and the
    question is whether killing one dealer in one universe is

    The Hundred Light-Year Diary (1992): This has not time travel, but
    the passing of information back in time, and what it does for the
    perception of free will.

    Eugene (1990): This one combines genetic engineering, time travel,
    and free will (three of Egan's favorite themes).

    The Caress (1990): This murder mystery involving a chimera and a
    painting didn't do much for me.

    Blood Sisters (1991): This is about twins and medical ethics, and
    seems more current (or at least nearer future) than a lot of the
    other stories.

    Axiomatic (1990): Neural mods offer not only psychedelic
    experiences, but changes in personality and beliefs.

    The Safe-Deposit Box (1990): A man wakes up every day in a
    different body (and different location, etc.). This has been
    happening since he was born. How does he cope?

    Seeing (1995): This is a somewhat different take on the idea of an
    out-of-body experience.

    A Kidnapping (1995): This uses the now familiar idea of a mind
    being uploaded to a computer.

    Learning to Be Me (1990): One of two stories about an immortal
    brain replacement.

    The Moat (1991): This is a genetic engineering story similar to
    "The Moat" but with a different goal in the engineering--which does
    not make it less disturbing.

    The Walk (1992): Similar to "Axiomatic" in that neural mods offer
    changes in personality and beliefs, but here used in a different

    The Cutie (1989): The protagonist buys a "Cutie"--genetically
    engineered, it looks just like a baby, but is not legally human,
    and dies after three years without ever being able to speak.
    Echoes of stories of cloning, but also of slavery and colonialism.

    Into Darkness (1992): This one really stuck with me for some
    reason: a temporal and gravitational anomaly that keeps appearing
    and disappearing at random. When it appears, if you are in it, you
    can only move towards the center (or apparently around it), but
    never away from the center. If you reach the center before the
    anomaly disappears, you escape (somehow), The trick is not to be
    trapped in a corner, or by a curved wall. There's more to it, but
    this is the aspect that stuck in my brain.

    Appropriate Love (1991): This is a story about surrogacy--and
    insurance companies.

    The Moral Virologist (1990): A virus engineered to kill gay people
    and adulterers has some unexpected consequences.

    Closer (1992): The other story about an immortal brain replacement.

    Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies (1992): Something causes
    mental states to become highly contagious, meaning if you are near
    a group of (e.g.) ethical vegetarians, you become an ethical
    vegetarian--not by choice, but by "infection". [-ecl]


    Mark Leeper

    Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your
    code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you

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  • From Paul Dormer@21:1/5 to evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com on Mon Sep 11 16:47:00 2023
    In article <edbfd92e-a312-413b-9abd-60727453cf3bn@googlegroups.com>, evelynchimelisleeper@gmail.com () wrote:

    * Yes, a double 'l' and no definite article.

    Well, that's the correct way to spell "travelling" according to my
    dictionary. :-)

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