Picofarad #8 contents | Next: Encounter Log

$50,000 can be yours if you can design a mission to plant a transponder on the asteroid Apophis before 2029, allowing more precise calculations of its chances of hitting the Earth in 2036. The prize is offered by the Planetary Society; rules at

Spurred by yet another article trying to set him up with accusations of plagiarism, Terry Pratchett would like the world to know, once and for all, that he coexists with J. K. Rowling just fine and would like to stop having interviews that go like this:

Q. Did you get the name Hogswatch from Hogwarts?

A. No, I made it up in The Colour of Magic, out of Hogmanay and Watch night.

Q. When was that?

A. 1983.

Q. Ah, so you're saying she stole it from you?

"Silence," he adds, "or changing the subject are the only safe ways out, and not that safe, at that."

Japan has its own Raspberry Awards, handed out by the magazine Shukan Bunshun to the 10 worst films released in Japan each year. SF did very well this year, with Gedo Senki: Tales of Earthsea at #1, also netting "Worst Director" for Goro Miyazaki; the remake of Nihon Chimbotsu (Japan Sinks) at #2; and The Da Vinci Code at #3, also bringing in Tom Hanks as "Worst Actor".

Remember the good old days when all playing D&D ever did to you was make you commit satanic murders? Now it turns you into a bureaucrat. In the wake of the latest Wikipedia scandal-- a prolific editor who had claimed to be a professor with four degrees turning out to be a 24-year-old paralegal (well, if you believe him this time)-- it's being invoked to explain the mysteries of process-obsessed, truth-ignoring Wikipedian culture. Not in the obvious role-playing aspect, mind you, but as the only possible thing which could have taught the presumed spotty, dateless geeks behind it the joys of rules-lawyering.

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