Doctors use Thrones’ murder to explore treatments

DEADLY RESULTS: Doctors use Thrones’ murder to explore treatments

TORONTO Game of Thrones fans may have shed few tears over the poisoning death of King Joffrey I Baratheon, a nasty character if ever there were one. But could real-world medicine have saved the young monarch?

It was an intriguing question for Will Wu, a third-year medical student at the University of Toronto, who teamed up with two physicians at St. Michael’s Hospital to explore what steps could have been taken to try to resuscitate Joffrey, one of several characters to experience grisly deaths in of the wildly popular HBO series.

“These characters don’t get saved in the story, but there are ways to save them in real life,” said Wu of Ottawa, who describes himself as a “casual” aficionado of Game of Thrones.

Joffrey, the arrogant and cruel king who sat on the Iron Throne ruling the Seven Kingdoms, unwittingly drinks poisoned wine at his wedding feast in season 4. He chokes, collapses and dies as blood pours from his eyes and nose.

“We think the toxin caused him to go into a seizure and then into cardiac arrest, where the heart stops,” said Wu, whose “case report” on treating the character was co-written with emergency medicine specialists Dr. Emily Austin and Dr. Steve Lin, and published on the CanadiEM website.

The poison that felled Joffrey (portrayed by Jack Gleeson) was called “the strangler” and it created a range of symptoms that weren’t consistent with toxins familiar to modern-day doctors, said Austin, who has a specialty in pharmacology and toxicology.

“But in general, any type of cardiac arrest associated with a poison, you can apply certain treatments and really nothing was done for this poor guy, although he’s a horrible character,” she said. “Had something been done, he may have stood a chance to be resuscitated.”

Treatment would have involved a number of steps — checking the pulse, performing CPR and maintaining an airway.

A defibrillator to shock the heart back to life wouldn’t have gone amiss, either, Austin conceded.

“And then it moves on to the specific toxicology stuff where you start thinking, ‘Is there a specific antidote that I could give to this person, given the constellation of symptoms that they have?’ ”

In some cases of poisoning induced cardiac arrest, doctors have been successful in resuscitating a patient with an IV injection of a solution of lipids. One theory suggests that these fats absorb and compartmentalize certain toxins, keeping them out of tissues where they would have deadly effects.

The King Joffrey case report is the second based on a Game of Thrones character that was written by the team and published on CanadiEM, a website aimed at emergency medicine practitioners. The previous article discussed the role of hypothermia in the case of Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington), who was stabbed multiple times and left to bleed out in freezing temperatures.

Austin called the Joffrey article suggested by Wu “a great project for a medical student, because it allows you to do a bit more reading around toxin-induced cardiac arrest.”

“But taking a step back, I think one of the goals to the article is just to sort of highlight that toxin-induced cardiac arrest can be managed a little bit differently and … there are some special treatments,” compared with those used for cardiac arrests caused by other factors, she said.

“It’s just a good reminder of some of those differences and some of the options we have to treat these patients.”

Jabba the Hutt’s barge: A 4 ft recreation

For the fan who has everything…


Jabba the Hutt’s barge

Rob LeFebvre

See Video

At this year’s Toy Fair in New York, Hasbro announced HasLab, a new program that aims to bring to life special creations like a massive, four-foot long recreation of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge. The company is taking inspiration from platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, too: In order for the barge to become a real for-sale production item, Hasbro wants to gather 5,000 $499 pre-orders by midnight on April 3rd.

If the project reaches its funding goal, Jabba’s Sail Barge (or The Khetanna if you’re a Star Wars geek) will come with a 64-page booklet with behind-the-scenes details, set photos, interviews and blueprints of the actual set piece in the film as well as production information on the toy. The barge also comes with a 3.75-inch scale Jabba the Hutt and soft cloth sails for the top of the sand boat.

The barge itself is on display to media at the toy fair and looks even bigger than that GI Joe aircraft carrier that came out a while back. It’s incredibly detailed, too, with a tiny Ithorian (Hammerhead) skeleton in the jail. Hasbro has a few renderings you can check out to see all the little details. While the program is currently only for Star Wars-themed toys at this point, there are possible plans for other brands to make the cut, like My Little Pony or Transformers. LEGO Ideas does something similar, too, producing fan-led toys like a Minecraft set and Women of NASA. These aren’t funding campaigns, really; mostly, larger companies like LEGO and Hasbro use them as promotional platforms and as a way to gauge interest.

  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.


Wallace and Gromit creator goes prehistoric with latest flick

As a child, Nick Park was enchanted by the animated dinosaurs in the 1966 movie One Million Years B.C.

LOS ANGELES The kooky caveman characters that come to life in Early Man have been kicking around in Nick Park’s imagination for decades.

Long before he created Wallace and Gromit, Park was taken with Ray Harryhausen’s animated dinosaurs in the 1966 Raquel Welch movie One Million Years B.C.

“I just couldn’t believe real dinosaurs moving around with people,” Park said, recalling the film he saw as an 11-year-old that would inspire his love of animation.

Early Man translates Park’s vision into an epic claymation adventure about a tribe of colourful cave people who stake the future of their homeland on a soccer showdown, despite not knowing how to play.

An ambitious young caveman, Dug, and his loyal pet warthog, Hognob, believe the plucky tribe can prevail.

“I’ve never seen a prehistoric underdog sports movie before,” Park mused.

U.K.-based Aardman Studios tapped its largest production team yet — with nearly 40 animators and sets working at once — to make Early Man, which uses stopmotion animation techniques essentially unchanged since Harryhausen’s day.

It’s a slow and painstaking process to bring clay characters to life.

“We’ve used some of the most advanced filmmaking techniques in post-production, together with stop-motion, which is as old as cinema itself,” said animation director Merlin Crossingham.

Stop-motion animation (or “stop-frame,” as Park calls it) creates the illusion of movement through a series of still images. For Early Man, Aardman’s team of artists built a cast of puppets based on Park’s sketches that serve as the film’s actors. Each seven-inch-tall silicone puppet has a jointed metal skeleton inside so it can move.

“They’re like expensive action figures,” Crossingham said.

The faces are made of modelling clay — except for the noses and eyes, which are hard plastic and serve as “grab points” for animators while changing the puppet’s expression.

Mouldable brows and more than two dozen removable and interchangeable mouths allow for a variety of looks.

Animators pose the puppets for each frame — every movement, every gesture — with 24 frames in each second of film. Mouth movements are synced to pre-recorded vocal performances. (Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston and Maisie Williams lend their talents here.) For every shot, the puppets are bolted into place on exquisitely detailed sets that stand about two feet high.

“Getting about five seconds of finished film is a really good week,” said animation director Will Becher.

Because the process is so timeconsuming, artists make duplicates of every set and puppet so multiple animators can work on various shots simultaneously.

Park also personally worked with the vocal performers, something he wasn’t always comfortable doing.

“I used to find it quite nerveracking working with actors, especially if they were quite famous actors,” he said.

“I find it much easier to manipulate a puppet or a clay character, because they do as they’re told. And if they don’t, you can squish their head in or whatever you want. With actors, you have to be a little bit more tactful.”


I expect a knowledgeable review of this stop motion movie by Keith and François for WARP!   They are, apparently, planning a Plasticine stop motion for our next MonSFFilm production.  Is Nick Park worried about the competition?  –CPL

THE PLASTICINE AGE: Caveman movie’s jokes stand the test of time

Early Man, while not exactly a laugh riot, is amusing enough to be enjoyed by both adults and children.

How much you get out of the latest animated shenanigans from Aardman studios may depend on your reactions to the following bits of visual and aural humour: a zebra pelt is used as a crosswalk; and a soccer team’s cohesion has someone referring to them as “early Man United.”

The first gag is a play on Britain’s “zebra crossings,” the second a pun on the name of its Manchester football team. Early Man is a funny romp through prehistory, but it’s staunchly British, and makes no apologies. Though to be fair, most of its caveman humour doesn’t know any geographical boundaries. And most of its cavemen don’t even know how to spell that.

The time period is somewhere between the Late Pleistocene and the Early Plasticine era. Dug, voiced by Eddie Redmayne, is the brightest member of a tribe of cave dwellers whose simple, rabbit-hunting-and-gathering lifestyle is given a shake when they encounter a society that has figured out bronze. The newcomers are led by a Frenchman (Tom Hiddleston doing a Monty Python-style French accent) and his band of Euro-baddies (more Brits). There’s a weird Brexit subtext to the whole matchup, although given the time period maybe it’s more pre-Br’entrance.

The bronze-agers take over the cavemen’s valley, until Dug challenges them to a football match to win it back.

He’s confident, after discovering ancient rock paintings that suggest his tribe invented the game. But the players of “Real Bronzio” have all the latest tech, including puppet-driven instant replays that favour their team. You’ve heard of fake news? This is fake sports.

And so we have the classic setup in which a bunch of underdogs (and one under-pig, a sabretoothed hog voiced by director and co-writer Nick Park), must band together against seemingly impossible odds. They’re aided by Goona (Maisie Williams), a soccer-lover from the bronze side, fed up with not being allowed to play because she’s female.

The humour is all over the pitch, which means some jokes will fly over the heads of younger (and/or non-British) viewers, but also that there’s something for almost everyone to enjoy. (Though I must pause here to make a formal request to comedies: You know that scene where several characters are startled by one another, and the camera cuts from one of them screaming, to another, to another? Please. Stop.)

The stop-motion animation is up to the usual Aardman standards, as is the studio’s unusual but endearing obsession with rabbit characters. It’s not quite the equal of 2015’s Shaun the Sheep Movie, but it’s a step above The Pirates! from 2012. If Early Man was an Olympic competitor, it wouldn’t be breaking any records but would easily qualify for a third-place medal.

CLAWS & EFFECTS: Black Panther a solid outing

CLAWS & EFFECTS Black Panther a solid outing

Reviewed by Chris Knight  Montreal Gazette, 

PHOTOS: DISNEY Ryan Coogler’s use of women in Black Panther — such as Danai Gurira as Okoye — is much more than window dressing for a Hollywood production, writes Chris Knight.


1/2 out of 5 Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Andy Serkis Director: Ryan Coogler Duration: 2h14m

It’s been 20 years since we saw Wesley Snipes fighting vampires in Blade and 10 since Will Smith’s turn as the foul-mouthed Hancock, which means it’s time for another superhero movie with a central black character. (No, Michael B. Jordan in the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot doesn’t count, because that movie doesn’t count. It doesn’t even count to four.)

Black Panther is that movie, but it’s something different too — a step up. For starters, it’s the first mainstream superhero film to feature a black director — I said mainstream, Meteor Man! Ryan Coogler was already a force, with his breakout debut feature Fruitvale Station in 2013 and his Rocky sequel Creed two years later.

It also has black writers: Coogler and Joe Robert Cole. And not only is the hero the leader of an African nation, (the fictional) Wakanda, he’s got a kick-ass allfemale posse backing him up.

It’s also more proof that the best movies in the increasingly crowded Marvel and DC cinematic universes are the ones that tell individual stories. Wonder Woman was much more enjoyable than the busy Justice League and give me a Thor-Hulk buddy movie over an all-Avengers melee any day.

Continue reading CLAWS & EFFECTS: Black Panther a solid outing

Sensors Detect…

A bit of this and that!

1 Remembering David Kyle

2) Thor gets a new hammer!


3)  Scientists have proposed a theoretical way that light could be slowed down to a complete stop, using something called “exceptional points”.

4) A letter from World Con 75

Kiitos for attending and/or supporting Worldcon 75! We were so happy to host over 7,000 science fiction and fantasy fans in Helsinki last year. We have a few post-Worldcon updates that we hope you’ll like!

We have published a Progress Report 6! It has a recap of convention activities, lots of photographs, and membership and attendance statistics. It is published (online only) on our website.

Due to overwhelming demand, we are re-opening our merchandise webshop! Orders will be taken until February 28, and then our staff will pack up and mail out everything after that time. Enjoy this last chance to buy your Worldcon 75 keepsake!

Worldcon 75 is preparing to make our Souvenir Book available to all members who were not able to be with us in Helsinki. An electronic copy is available for download by all members from our membership site. If you did not attend the convention, but would like a paper copy of the Souvenir Book, please sign in to the member site and edit your personal information to include your paper pubs mailing address by February 28. We expect to have the paper copies mailed out shortly thereafter.

We are so thankful to all of you for helping Worldcon 75 on this incredible journey to bring Worldcon to Finland for the first time!

With best wishes
Worldcon 75


A Game that wasn’t Balderdash!

At the February 2018 meeting, we played a game! It wasn’t Balderdash.  😉

Pick out the correct synopsis for each story, among the many alternate-timeline versions devised by MonSFFA members.

Here are the titles of 11 SF/F stories, along with several descriptions for each one. Can you figure out which description is accurate (albeit perhaps misleading and/or grotesquely oversimplified), and which are too silly for this timeline because they were invented by members of MonSFFA?

Participants: Keith, Jay, Joe, Marquise, Alexis, Adam, Agata, Yvon, & Yves   [note: not everyone participated in every round]
Leader: Danny Sichel


* life in a photo archive is futile

* robots live and look like humans but cannot reproduce and all of their emotions are preprogrammed

* cyborgs are angry because a scientist wants to fill spaceships with oysters

* the intergalactic rock band, “Scanners”, play a concert in Vain, Colorado, and solve a mystery in the process.

* a gang of mediums organize a community in which they try to manage the ever changing future they see, to save their jobs

* a world where body scans have no effect on humans because the technology is obsolete

* mind reading serves nothing

* police radar speed scanner goes too high and kills all policemen

* in a futuristic world, aliens charged with reading the minds of humans mysteriously start committing suicide

* life is a digital fake


* the story of every boy-meets-girl-meets-bug-eyed-monster film.

* a dying alien finally catches a fleeing human woman after a thousand-year chase across the universe, but dooms himself in so doing.

* a pilot is lost in his derelict spaceship, until the planetoid he is on in extremis is saved by her.

* android opera in china

* the last man on earth dies of the flu

* the zombie apocalypse makes a ballet dancer sad

* how a hint force runs every space ship

* men are enslaved for reproductive purposes but one man falls in love with a client and plots to run away with her



* doctors at a space hospital teach a brontosaurus to be telekinetic

* Emily has a bad habit of starting fires with her brain.

* A small cooing furry ball travels with Emily

* Emily the sentient communication AI has a bug.

* a man’s pet spaniel has cold feet about the upcoming wedding

* AI goes rogue and annihilates all life

* Woman AI goes mad

* A sentient octopus wants to rollerskate

* Emily is a bitch android



* multicultural unicorns

* drunk chess against a unicorn, for the fate of humanity

* farmers were fed up with growing just one type of corn, and demanded variations

* someone tried to make unicorns exist via genetics

* genetically altered horses

* unicorn composes music

* teen girl gangs in the Arctic

* hypothesis about death of universe



* what is a story set on jeopardy?

* MonSFFA’s vice-president was not as human as he appeared to be, despite the beard

* Oxhorns vanquished poverty in his life the day he grew a beard, and taught modern people to do the same.

* the Bearded Lady has new competition at the freak show, which has just introduced android members

* The Thing From Another World moves to New York and gets involved with activists

* Remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

* Someone tries to invent a spell to banish beards

* A walrus floats on radioactive waste in Miami Beach

* The first men on Earth



* a James Bond story that was never made into a film

* aliens threaten humanity with death, until they are made to understand love

* a mantis falls in love with an Earthling

* a contraceptive pill contains poison

* coming of age during the era of AIDS

* sequel to the Fifth Element

* an alien spider tries to survive winter, until his mate eats him

* a Satanic couple take up competitive boxing

* future management of population growth



* Instructions to a young bird flying over a statue

* British go-go dancers take over London

* An alien civilization attempts space travel after having been in contact with humans

* An android story about a Paul Klee painting

* Lady Byrd sends her lover home

* Adventures with a bird-shaped spaceship

* A patient breaks out of a mental institution

* A woman flees cannibals, but her family are cannibals also

* Evolution of space flight



* The story of a bullied genius

* Batman warns his latest nemesis to run, lest he take a batarang to the crotch

* Society invented a way to publish minds, but there are concerns about privacy

* A superintelligent chimpanzee flees the US military

* A worm farmer’s experiments run amok

* Someone goes to all the greatest libraries of the galaxy

* Sequel to ‘Book Thieves’

* A nerdy high school student gets recruited by murderous cyborgs

* Knowledge revolution



* a Dr Who episode set in Venice

* the zombie apocalypse begins to wind down

* people are concerned their mutually-forming star systems are dying because of the state of their dying nebulae

* story of alien incest

* story about a world where all males have disappeared

* sequel to Book Thieves

* a nerdy high school student gets recruited by murderous cyborgs

* larvae of extraterrestrial nature

* a psychic vampire eats the badness of people she meets on dating sites



* Dinosaurs were going to the moon but then the asteroid wiped out their civilization

* Hikers are put upon by a sasquatch

* Xenoarchaeologists cannot find the object of their search because they are camping directly over the dangerous location

* Camp comedies come with a severe penalty

* Someone stalks L. Sprague de Camp

* Four astronauts on the international space station try to set up a tent, but end up murdering each other

* Planet destruction



* Sulphur mining on the moons of jupiter goes horribly wrong

* a volcano erupts sulphur after which a flying saucer crashes into a mountain, resulting in sulphuric acid snow precipitation

* Time-travelling drug dealer genetically engineered to pee heroin

* A lethal form of cocaine is distributed in a Martian colony

* Father Christmas laughs himself silly

* sequel to Snow Crash

* a UFO from Uranus experiences a fuel leak, is stranded on Earth

* pollution ending humanity


Free Montreal Gaming Event

Festival Draconis 2018
Le festival de jeux de rôle de Montréal

March 2-4 – Draconis, Montreal, QC, The event is free and is open to people of all ages and levels of experience!

The schedule will be as follows:


Doors open at 18h00.
Session 1 from 18h30 to 22h30.


Doors open at 9h30.
Session 2 from 10h00 to 14h00.
Session 3 from 14h30 to 18h30.
Session 4 from 19h00 to 23h00.


Doors open at 10h00.
Session 5 from 10h30 to 14h30.
Session 6 from 15h00 to 19h00.


If you’re not already a member of the website Warhorn, register today, indicate your presence to Festival Draconis and add yourself to the game you wish to attend.

If you need help with the registration process, this page should guide you through it.

Just like last year, it will still be possible to put together pick-up games onsite.


It has started! You can add your game(s) with this google form.


We’ll be hosting another garage sale where you’ll be able to buy and sell second-hand gaming products. To sell items, download and fill out the sales form, then bring it with your games to the festival. At the end of the festival, come pick up your cash or unsold items. Or, you could simply donate unsold items to the festival itself.

An announcement will be made when the garage sale form is ready.


This year, we’ll offer tables for artists and small shops who would like to sell their products on-site. Tables will be free for game designers who run demonstrations of their games. For shops, the cost will be 25$ for two tables. If you are interested, please contact us before February 11th, 2019, a to make a reservation.


This year, there will be a caterer on-site selling homemade sandwiches as well as soft drinks, juice, water, chips, etc… so that you can stay fuelled without leaving the CEGEP.

Obviously, we hope to see very many of you again this year, and please tell your friends and family about Draconis! If you have any questions about the festival, please post them on our Facebook page, and we’ll try to answer as quickly as possible.