Montreal Stop Motion Festival Highlights

The full text of the Stop Motion Festival newsletter can be read HERE.

8th Edition Highlights

The 8th edition of Festival Stop Motion Montreal took place this past September 16th, 17th and 18th. On behalf of the entire team, we thank you again for having contributed to the success of our 2016 edition.

It is with pleasure that we bring you the highlights of our last edition. Access our complete “Festival Summary” case file with images. The summary is also available on our website through the home page.
Album photos / Photos albums

Accédez également à nos albums photos de la dernière édition sur notre site Internet:

Access our photo albums of the 8th edition on our website as well:








In case the sky should ever clear…  this storm may last another day or so.

LIVE AURORA WEBCAM: Skies above Scandinavia are glowing green in response to today’s geomagnetic storm. An aurora webcam at the Abisko National Park in Sweden is broadcasting the light show in real time. Watch it now.

Space Weather News for Oct. 25, 2016
STRONG GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A strong “G3-class” geomagnetic storm is underway on Oct. 25th as Earth enters a fast-moving stream of solar wind. The arrival of the solar wind stream was predicted, but the intensity of the resulting storm is greater than forecast. Tonight, Northern Lights around the Arctic Circle should be bright, and the glow could descend to northern-tier US states as well. Visit for more information.


First contact with the solar wind stream produced this outburst of auroras over Fairbanks AK on Oct. 25th. Photo credit: Marketa S. Murray.

More squashed dinos!

At the October 16th meeting, François and Keith made a lot of progress on our stop motion film project. Being in suite 700 really helped since they were able to set up in a bedroom and work without distractions and the effects of ambient lighting.

Unfortunately, this means they missed most of the meeting as well.  With a bit of luck, and François’ work schedule permitting, the last of the shooting will be completed at the November20th meeting.

And below, a rough cut of what our completed stop motion film will look like.

Remote Sensors detect…

Robot looks up
  •  Frozen water found on asteroid
  • Planet 9 may be affecting our solar system
  • NASA’s MRO takes picture of Schiaparelli crash site
  • Curiosity and Opportunity still on the job
  • Juno update
1) Asteroid   has frozen water on its surface: 16 Psyche, a metallic relic of the early solar system, just got weirder.

New research suggests that the asteroid 16 Psyche may have traces of water splattered across its surface. Infrared observations reveal the characteristic absorption of unexpected volatiles, hinting at impacts by water-bearing rocks crashing into the iron-rich asteroid that is suspected to be the relic core of a failed planet. READ MORE

2) Is Planet 9 (no, not Pluto!) messing with our solar system?

Earlier this year an announcement raised a tantalizing possibility: a ninth planet lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. The announcement turned the astronomy and planetary science world upside down.

Caltech astronomer Michael Brown and theoretical astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin found evidence for a possible 10 Earth mass planet that may be tilting long-orbiting dwarf planets on their sides and shepherding them into clusters far past the orbit of Neptune in highly eccentric orbits. In the last several months, more and more papers have been published about the possible planet and how it might prove an explanation for other strange things happening in our solar system. READ MORE

3) NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing technology demonstrator module.

A pair of before-and-after images taken by the Context Camera (CTX) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on 29 May 2016 and 20 October 2016 show two new features appearing following the arrival of the Schiaparelli test lander module on 19 October.

One of the features is bright and can be associated with the 12-m diameter parachute used in the second stage of Schiaparelli’s descent, after the initial heat shield entry. …

The other new feature is a fuzzy dark patch roughly 15 x 40 metres in size and about 1 km north of the parachute. This is interpreted as arising from the impact of the Schiaparelli module itself following a much longer free fall than planned, after the thrusters were switched off prematurely.

BTW, the loss of the lander is not a disaster for the ESA, the orbiter is doing fine. READ MORE

4) They’re aging, a bit wobbly, and some parts don’t work anymore, but they’re hanging in there…  They’re even taking selfies!  READ MORE

What Are Curiosity and Opportunity Up To?

5) Juno Update (October 19)  An anomaly caused the spacecraft to enter electronic hibernation at 1:47 a.m. EDT. The spacecraft acted as expected during the transition into this “safe mode,” restarted successfully, and is healthy. High-rate data has been restored, and the spacecraft is conducting flight software diagnostics. All instruments are off, and the planned science data collection for today’s close flyby of Jupiter did not occur. Scott Bolton (NASA) explained at the ongoing meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences that the problem was with valves in propulsion system. Find more information from NASA’s recent press release. Meanwhile, data from the first perijove flyby are still revealing intriguing results, showing that Jupiter’s belt-zone structure extends at least 400 km deep!

This Dinosaur Wore Camouflage

Part of a much longer article which includes pictures and videos

Click here to access the original from National Geographic

A beautifully colored dinosaur fossil is the first to show evidence of countershading, a type of camouflage.


Surrounded by hungry predators, a little plant-eating dinosaur from the early Cretaceous did the only sensible thing. It donned camouflage.

Analysis of the exquisitely preserved fossil remains has revealed one of the most elaborate dinosaur paint jobs ever seen, including a brown back and a lighter belly. Modern-day antelope, fish and other animals have similar dark-and-light zones, which confuse predators, but this is the first discovery of such markings on a dinosaur.

“This one is unique,” says paleontologist Jakob Vinther of Britain’s University of Bristol, co-author of a study describing the fossil published in the journal Current Biology. “We can very clearly see that there are color patterns … stripes, spots.”

A puzzling and addictive trend

From the Montreal Gazette, Saturday, Oct 22nd

Escape rooms are popping up all over city, offering a 3D gaming experience

It’s something you don’t get to do in everyday life that’s more exciting than video games or movies . … It’s more tactile.

From page A1 The fate of the world is on the line and the clock is ticking down. A zombie plague is wiping major cities off the map and you’re pinned down in the one lab that contains the cure.

PHOTOS: DARIO AYALA From left, friends Charles Blanc, Alexis Dupire and Clemence Bergier look for clues in a 1930s mafia-themed escape room at Question Games.


Running out of time means certain doom for all mankind. But if you can find the hidden cure and make your way out of the lab in time, you will get bragging rights over everyone who couldn’t hack it — playing one of Montreal’s latest escape rooms, an entertainment trend taking the city by storm.

The general idea behind the experience is simple, even if escaping can be complex. Groups of two or more friends or colleagues in a team-building capacity get locked in a room and solve puzzles to find their way out, with a time limit of about an hour.

Locales offer different scenarios to keep up with demand, with an average price tag of about $25 per person to play. At Question Games for example, players choose between several “missions,” including the quest for the cure described above.

“It’s pretty immersive,” says Gabriel Lawson, 22, prior to attempting a Question Games mission. Originally from British Columbia, Lawson has visited rooms all over the continent.

“It’s something you don’t get to do in everyday life that’s more exciting than video games or movies . … It’s more tactile. You get to do stuff with your body instead of just staring at a screen.”

Not restricted to North America, escape rooms originated in Japan back in 2007. They made their way to Montreal two years ago, with Échappe-Toi opening in October 2014. The operation wasn’t alone for long, with Find the Key, A/ Maze, and Obsidem having started construction at around the same time.

“We probably now have 14 different companies in Montreal and the suburbs,” says Emmanuel de Gouvello, Échappe-Toi’s co-founder. “We’re still growing.”

De Gouvello is not just referencing the industry, but his company, too. Another Échappe-Toi has since opened in France, with a third to follow in Boston under a different name: Dasuru, which translates from Japanese to “escape.”

The new name in Boston was to be expected for language reasons, but that’s not all that is changing, according to de Gouvello. Some of the most successful escape rooms deliver different experiences depending on the market.

Échappe-Toi is even starting a franchising program next year. Such is the nature of the rapidly expanding industry, featuring few barriers to entry, with first-generation rooms requiring minimal startup capital. However, a lot of word of mouth is needed, not to mention motivation, especially at the start.

“The small weeks were 60 hours and the big weeks were probably 80-85,” says de Gouvello, who had been working as a business coach when Échappe-Toi opened. He eventually had to choose between the two.

That those 80-hour weeks haven’t stopped altogether is a testament to the success of ÉchappeToi and de Gouvello’s passion for his business, which he says fits him perfectly. It’s a recurring theme among founders, many of whom were inspired to start one of their own by playing elsewhere.

“It’s sort of a dream to work in this environment. You get to watch people come and work together and have fun doing something you created,” says Question Games cofounder Matthew Diamond.

As the number of locations increases, each escape-room company naturally tries to raise the bar. However, they don’t necessarily see each other as threats to one another. True fans of the genre are going to try as many different escape rooms as they can. As long as the overall quality stays high, owners stay happy.

“Right now, you can open a small room with keys and locks, call it an escape game, and you’re going to have customers,” says Alexander Reverse, the CEO of A/Maze. “However, people who are playing for the first time won’t want to do it anymore, and they won’t know to go where the quality is much better.”

To help separate them from the pack, Obsidem has added adventure games to their offerings. There, actors may help to further immerse players in a larger-scale environment, where, for instance, the goal isn’t to escape, but extract a separate group of prisoners. In fact, it’s got to the point where “escape room” is almost a misnomer.

De Gouvello compares the games to movies. He has used actors since almost the start, for the most part sticking to the tried and true formula of pitting players locked in a room against the clock. To keep things fresh, puzzles are updated once a year. The actors help, too.

Whereas in a movie actors have lines, Échappe-Toi gives theirs more leeway to move stories along. Groups playing the game each enjoy different dynamics. As a result, their experience interacting with the environment, actors and all, can be just as unique.

“The actor is supposed to be able to improvise something to get to an outcome, which will translate into the players being able to progress,” says de Gouvello.

Échappe-Toi’s games still have only about a three per cent success rate, so progress doesn’t always mean escaping altogether. That’s not the point, though. It’s not just about getting out. It’s about playing out a real-life 3D computer game.

“It’s the next dimension, where you can touch things and take away experiences,” Reverse says.

It’s at the very least an escape away from reality, even if only for an hour. As far as ways to pass the time go, it beats an actual zombie apocalypse, hands down. And it’s only getting better and more realistic.

“As technology becomes more readily available … there’s not much you can’t do,” Diamond says. “And we keep wanting to add and enhance that experience for people when they play.”

So the next time you and your friends are locked in a room, you just might be the last line of defence against a zombie apocalypse, finding a cure to fight a deadly virus, or attempting a daring prison escape … the possibilities are endless.

If EPH had been in effect in 2014 & 15

Aaron Pound analyses  the effect EPH would have had on the Hugos of 2014 & 15.

Looks like a workable plan to stop block voting.

Furthermore, Aaron feels that while it was not the purpose of the EPH, it did have the effect of allowing better quality works on the ballot.

The 2014 “E Pluribus Hugo” Revised Hugo Finalists

The 2015 “E Pluribus Hugo” Revised Hugo Finalists

Aaron Pound has a big library–really big library.

I am a confirmed bibliophile. As of the current date, I own and have cataloged 10,281 books, and that doesn’t count the books that are on the kids’ bookshelves. Because I am a bibliophile, I make sure that my books are arranged alphabetically by author. When I run out of shelf space, I acquire more shelves.

Read about him here.



1. Should you come across a small, deserted town off the beaten track, there’s probably a good reason for it’s being deserted. Do not stop to look around.

2. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, absolutely do not walk to that old house just across the road to phone for help. But if you foolishly do, and no one answers the door when you knock, take this second opportunity to get the hell back to your car. If you then try the door and find that it isn’t locked, do not enter. Once again, get the bell out of there. If you do choose to enter, you’re on your own, pal.

3. Never open your closet door if you even remotely suspect that something other than your wardrobe is behind it. Equally, never draw your shower curtain unless you are certain that the only things behind it are your soap and shampoo bottle.

4. Never search a basement, especially if the power has gone out. If you do, carry a flashlight, not a candle.

5. If you discover that your house is built over an old cemetery, now is a good time to move in with the in-laws. Put the place up for sale if you discover that the previous owners practiced satanism, died in some horrible way, or went mad and committed suicide.
6. If the walls of your new house starting bleeding, don’t stand there wondering how you’re going to get the stain out. Mr. Clean can’t help you here, buddy; vacate the premises immediately.

7. If household appliances suddenly start switching on by themselves, it’s got nothing to do with the wiring. Don’t waste valuable minutes checking your fuse box, get out of the house.

8. If you hear a loud noise, don’t go looking for what caused it, just get outta Dodge… fast. If you do go looking for the source of the noise and find that it was only the cat, you have mere moments to live. Run like hell, but fully expect to die.

9. Never open some dusty old tome of a book on the cover of which is inscribed a pentagram. If you do, under no circumstances read aloud any incantations designed to summon a demon, even as a joke.

10. If your old Ouija board starts to actually work head for the hills. Don’t ask it “just one more question,” for the answer will in all likelihood spell your doom. As a general rule, don’t solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

11. Don’t go looking for witches in the Maryland countryside.

12. Don’t take any bet that involves spending a night in a creepy old house.

13. Shoot to kill any friend or family member who begins speaking Latin or any other language that you know they can’t speak, or who begins speaking in someone else’s voice. This also applies to anyone who exhibits uncharacteristic behaviour, such as drinking blood, howling at the moon and sprouting a lot of facial hair, or walking around with arms extended forward and devouring human flesh. Pack extra heat if their eyes glow.

14. When you have the benefit of numbers, never split up. You’re just making it easier for the monster to take you all out.

15. When running for your life from a monster, accept that even though you are sprinting full-out and the monster is just shambling along, it will nevertheless gain on you. Expect to trip and fall at least twice, more if you are female. And expect to entangle your clothing on something, or become pinned under a heavy object, and so have to waste valuable seconds struggling to free yourself as the monster shambles ever nearer. So try to begin fleeing a few minutes early; you’ll need that extra time.

16. When it appears that you have managed to kill the monster that has been pursuing you and your friends, never check to make sure it’s really dead. It isn’t, but you will be if you get too close.

17. Never handle any strange, pulsating goop that you’ve discovered. next to a meteorite crater. The government has people who do that sort of thing, so don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. Remember what they say about cats and curiosity.

18. Sexually active teenagers, especially you girls, should stay away from silent, monochomatically dressed strangers exhibiting a particular skill with any of the following items: chainsaw, axe, carving knife, scissors, staple gun or pneumatic hammer, hedge trimmer or weed wacker, welding torch, soldering iron, router, power drill, band saw, blender or mix master, knitting needles. Exercise the same caution around any small-town Billy-Bob who seems a little slow and whose family, according to the locals, “live just outside of town, keep to themselves and don’t bother nobody.”

19. Vacation destinations should not include Transylvannia, any rural town in Maine, or the towns of Santa Mira or Amityville. Having to travel though the Bermuda Triangle to get to a holiday spot should automatically see that destination crossed off your list.

20. Never get aboard a plane designated flight 666. Generally, avoid anything to which that number is connected in any way.

21. Should a tall dark-haired man and a short, red-haired woman knock on your door and identify themselves as FBI agents investigating something in your neighbourhood, move to a new neighbourhood.

I found these survival rules in my hoard of MonSFFA stuff.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember who wrote them, it was so very long ago. It might have been Brian Ekkers.

Do please add to the list! Just click on the “comment” link.