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A few items collected over the past week or so while I was away from the keyboard.
  • Highlights from Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines
  • Burt Kwouk (1930-2016)
  • Trailers for Star Trek series & new MacGyver series
  • Hugo Awards, how to foil the Puppy slates
  • Cybercrime

2007 OR10: Largest unnamed world in the solar system (Astronomy Magazine)

Astronomers combined data from two space observatories to reveal something surprising: This dwarf planet is significantly larger than previously thought.
Dwarf planets
New K2 results peg 2007 OR10 as the largest unnamed body in our solar system and the third largest of the current roster of about half a dozen dwarf planets. The dwarf planet Haumea has an oblong shape that is wider on its long axis than 2007 OR10, but its overall volume is smaller.  Read more.

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 27 – June 4

May through June:   Have you been watching the Mars-Antares-Saturn triangle change shape? It’s stretching as Mars moves westward away from the head of Scorpius. This will continue until the end of June. Then Mars will start to slingshot back to fly right between Antares and Saturn in late August. Plan to watch this slow summer drama!

As darkness arrives these evenings, look south about halfway between Jupiter and Mars. One star there stands out: Spica, in Virgo. High above it shines brighter Arcturus in Bootes. Half as far to Spica’s lower right is the constellation Corvus, the Crow, eyeing Spica to steal it from Virgo’s hand as she looks the other way.  (complicated way to find Spica, IMO, esp since Jupiter and Mars move around. Better to use this tried and true method: Find the Big Dipper. Use the handle to “Arc to Acturus, then spike down to Spica. You can’t miss Arcturus, it’s bright orange.  –CPL)

 Is your sky dark enough for you to see the Coma Berenices star cluster naked-eye? As soon as twilight is completely over, look above Jupiter by about 25°, about two and a half fists at arm’s length. The cluster is dim but big, at least 5° wide, the size of a golf ball at arm’s length. Its brightest stars, near its middle, form a sort of inverted Y shape. Binoculars bring its stars right out.

Thursday, June 2:   Now it’s Saturn’s turn at opposition. It’s the second-brightest point in the area of Mars, 16° to Mars’s lower left.Finding Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars







Friday, June 3

• For much of the spring at mid-northern latitudes, the Milky Way lies right down out of sight all around the horizon. But watch the east now. The rich Cepheus-Cygnus-Aquila stretch of the Milky Way starts rising up all across the east late these nights, earlier and higher every week.

Cassiopeia at its lowest

Cassiopeia inches along sideways low in the north at dusk.

Saturday, June 4

• New Moon (exact at 11:00 p.m. EDT). A new lunar month begins. Unlike a calendar month, which averages 30.437 days long, a lunar month (from one new Moon to the next) averages 29.531 days. So, on average, you’ll see the Moon in the same phase about 1 day earlier every month bu the calendar.


Burt Kwouk (1930-2016)


Best know for his role as Cato in Pink Panther Films, but also had genre roles in the Curse of the Fly and various TV series.  Hop over to IMDB for a full listing.

Trailers for Star Trek series & new MacGyver series

At the CBS Upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 18, CBS unveiled the logo for the new STAR TREK television series within the first-ever promotional video for the highly-anticipated program. (Only the premiere will be available on CBS, after that it goes to streaming.)

IMBD http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1399045/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt

A reimagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening. Written by CBS

Happy PuppyHugo Awards, how to foil the Puppy slates (or any other kind of slate)

The whole messy Puppies/Hugo situation– this is a thread on File 770 in which various ideas on how to stop slates from screwing up the Hugo awards are discussed and dissected.  Last year, there were 5 no awards because those 5 categories were owned by Puppies.


Since Steven’s presentation on cybercrime and the series, CSI Cyber, I’ve been paying a lot more attention to the subject. It’s worth checking into blogs such as this one from the Norton Community Forum

Cybercrime in Canada is growing. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/cc-strategy-strategie-cc-eng.htm

Cybercrime: an overview of incidents and issues in Canada is the RCMP’s first report on cybercrime, and focuses on aspects of the cybercrime environment that affect Canada’s public organizations, businesses and citizens in real and harmful ways.



Axanar: Some guys don’t know when to quit

Even after J.J. Abrams told the world on May 20 that Paramount and CBS would drop their lawsuit against Axanar fan filmmaker Alec Peters, legal maneuvering and controversy has continued — initiated by Axanar.  File 770 has an excellent review of the situation as it stands today.

A round up of fan productions and the stands they are taking: http://axamonitor.com/doku.php?id=guidelines_backlash

I know a number of MonSFFen are fans of New Voyages and might want to know where they stand. James Cawley was invited by Peters, but declined to participate. He’s staying the heck out of it. Smart man.

If you are on FB, check these out.  I had no idea there were so many fan productions, and apparently high standards, too.







FanFilms & Fanfiction: Paramount vs Axanar, Game of Thrones

Paramount dropped its lawsuit against  Alec Peters, maker of the Axanar fan films. But Ananar is not quite out of the woods yet, and Paramount is creating a fan film guide–something that should have been done years ago, but back then we all knew fan films did not hire professional actors to reprise their original roles, sell merchandise, tabletop games, their own convention, and so forth.

In response to a question asked by a fan at Balticon, George RR Martin agreed the televised series of his Game of Thrones is fan fiction. GRRM is known for his stance against fanfic–he told us at a WC panel I attended, “Don’t tell me about your fanfic because then I would have to sue you”. So, obvious question: How can HBO get away with it?

GRRM’s response:

Exhibition at CASM: Starfleet Academy Experience

Field Trip Proposal

A number of MonSFFen have already expressed interest in going to Ottawa for this exhibition.  We are sure to be organizing the trip, the question is WHEN????  Car Pools will be arranged as we did for the previous field trip to the CASM. I suggest we invite OSFS to join us. http://ottawasfs.ca/ or   facebook 

Thanks to Lyndsay and Fernster for the pointers.

Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience


The Starfleet Academy Experience provides cadet recruits with an opportunity to experience a “career day” at the Academy. In an immersive environment, recruits try out a number of activities to test their potential to train for careers as Medical Officers, Science Officers, Communications specialists, even Commanders. The experience is enriched with the actual science behind the science fiction as the participants learn about emerging technologies such as a functional tricorder, NASA’s warp drive theory, and the latest experiments with phasers and teleporters.

Opening Hours

From Sunday to Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 3:30 p.m.)
From Thursday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last entry at 5:30 p.m.)
Ticket sales start at 9 a.m.


Category Fees
Adults (18+) $18
Teens (ages 13-18) $15
Seniors (age 65+) $15
Children (ages 3-12) $12
Children (age 2 and under) Free

Buy tickets

The exhibition is produced by EMS Entertainment, the leader in interactive immersive exhibitions, with Ottawa as the first stop on a multi-city North American tour. The exhibition will be on view at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum from May 13, 2016 until September 5, 2016.

Please stay tuned to our social media channels for more information in the coming months. Follow hash tag #StarfleetOTT and @AvSpaceMuseum.

Become a Member of the museum to be among the first to know about the exhibition, social events, contests, and exclusive offers.

Ursa Major Award presented in Montreal

The Ursa Major Awards were presented at What the Fur in Montreal Victoria Day weekend. Oddly, I found out about it from File 770, there is nothing on the What the Fur website.  Winners are here.

Feli is doing a great job chairing WTF. I’ve seen it grow in leaps and bounds! 😉  From the Chair’s letter:   (bold characters are mine)

Attendance, 439 agents descended on Montreal, making this the largest convention of its type to be held on this island ever. Our annual Fursuit Parade culminated in a total of 77 fursuiters. That’s an amazing 17% of the whole convention! For the Ecomuseum, our charity, we raised $2,194.73. And though we didn’t reach our goal for this year, every cent raised means that much more to be put towards the welfare and care of the animals at the Ecomuseum. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of such an amazing and giving community. This puts What The Fur’s total donations to the Ecomuseum at over $17,500. That’s astounding!



Alan Young (1919-2016)

Tribute by Mike Glyer
Mister Ed and Alan Young.

Mister Ed and Alan Young.

Radio, movie and TV actor Alan Young died May 19 at the age of 96. A popular and versatile comedian, he began his entertainment career on the radio at age 13, and had his own show at 17. Changing mediums, he won a 1951 Emmy Award as “Outstanding Lead Actor” for the television version of The Alan Young Show.

His best known venture into science fiction was as Filby, the Time Traveler’s loyal friend in George Pal’s The Time Machine (1960) – which he recreated in 1993 for a mini-sequel, Time Machine: The Journey Back, together with Rod Taylor as the Time Traveler. Young continued to be associated with the Wells opus, given a cameo in Simon Wells’ remake of The Time Machine (2002), and voicing the narration for 7th Voyage Productions’ animated version of The Time Machine (not yet released).

Alan Young as Filby in The Time Machine.

Alan Young as Filby in The Time Machine (1960).

As for fantasy — he and the talking horse, of course, spent five seasons together in the TV comedy Mister Ed.

Following the series’ cancellation in 1966, Young was cast as Stanley H. Beamish, the lead in the unaired pilot of a superhero series, Mr. Terrific, but another actor was given the role of when episodes were ordered by CBS.

In the Seventies, Young had a supporting role in another talking animal production, the forgettable Disney movie The Cat from Outer Space (1978).

A UFO is stranded on earth and impounded by the US government. Its pilot, a cat with a collar that has special powers, including the ability to allow the cat to communicate with humans…

Young transitioned into a career as a voice actor, frequently working on sf/f kid shows like Battle of the Planets, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Rubik, the Amazing Cube, as well as TV’s The Incredible Hulk, and animated films Beauty and the Beast, and The Great Mouse Detective (sharing voice work with other distinguished cast members like Vincent Price, Shani Wallis, and the archival voice of Basil Rathbone.)

After 1974 Young supplied the voice of Scrooge McDuck for many Disney videos and video games — DuckTales (1987-1990), the Kingdom Hearts series, DuckTales: Remastered in 2013, and the Mickey Mouse cartoon “Goofy’s First Love” released in 2015.

Robert Silverberg suffered another heart attack

[Thanks to Andrew Porter via File 770 and also to William Pettit (Pete) for the story.]

Robert Silverberg reports that on May 9 he suffered a heart attack in Siena, Italy. He told Andrew Porter in an e-mail:

Repairs performed, I am home now, and all seems well, though as of this morning it appears recovery will be slow.

I do expect to attend the worldcon.

Several dear friends volunteered to come to Siena last week to assist Karen. This proved not to be necessary but was vastly appreciated.

I would not be surprised to receive many messages of concern. Believe me that these will all be received gratefully but I don’t have the strength right now to make individual replies.

I have made no public announcement of the event before this but I no longer regard it as classified info.

Silverberg’s history includes a previous heart attack while on a trip to the UK.


The Stop motion film project is advancing!

François has sent me the latest rushes from the MonSFFA stop motion project!! Those asteroids are really moving, dinos haven’t a chance!


Next month we take a break from the filming to host our mega book sale, but then in August, François and Keith plan to try completing the filming. It’s possibly still going to take more time, but plans are under way to set up some sessions outside our meeting dates.