The h2g2 Post 20.03.17

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Posted: 20th March 2017

Getting into Hot Water

Yellowstone's Celestine Pool. The press gets into hot water these days. That's all right, with the nor'easter and all, we appreciate all the heat we can get. It staves off entropy. But let's not get into global warming. Before I tell you what's in this week's issue, let me share the latest fake news gem, courtesy of Twitter and the late, great Philip K Dick. I think he would have got a chuckle out of this one.

You may be aware of the streaming series The Man in the High Castle, now in its second season from that video source that also sells books, sewing notions, and cat scratchers. The story about an alternate universe in which the Axis powers won the Second World War1 is based on the Philip K Dick novel of the same title, which won a Hugo award back in 1963. The series makes very good use of music from the period, with the assumption that all the good stuff, like jazz and rock'n'roll, would be forbidden by the ruling fascists. So, to publicise their upcoming album of music from the series, the producers set up a website that mimics a pirate sender. It's called Resistance Radio. Listen to it: the music's good, and the narration is imaginative. But here's where the story takes a turn into the surreal.

Certain people had a strong negative reaction to the appearance of #ResistanceRadio on Twitter. They, er, didn't know anything about the streaming series2, and, like the guy in Carly Simon's song, they were so vain they thought everything was about them. So Twitter posts appeared like this one:

What is this Left Wing Loonie #ResistanceRadio nonesense[sic]? Are they still resisting facts like Trump is President…?

As PKD would say, 'I not kid you.' This happened.

We have another quote for you:
…it seems to me that by subtle but real degrees the world has come to resemble a PKD novel…

Philip K Dick to Peter Fitting, 28 June 1974, in The Exegesis of Philip K Dick, 2011, p.12.

He noticed it, too.

Why was I telling you all this? Er, well, because it was funny? Okay, fair cop. But it's also germane to this month's discussion of fake news. If we can't tell fact from (admittedly outstanding) science fiction, we've got our work cut out for us. Fortunately, this week, we have a bumper crop of submissions from h2g2 Researchers who are here to help us do exactly that. Let me list the delights:
  • Awix sets us straight about the cinematic oeuvre of the great Paul Verhoeven.
  • Willem gives us the lowdown on a charming chameleon.
  • Amy P remembers that she left us hanging on that trip to Yellowstone, and returns with more stories and pictures from last year's trip. This time, the family actually get into the park. See geyser pic below.
  • We honour Bluebottle's amazing contributions to the Edited Guide (358 Guide Entries and counting) by bringing you the very first thing he wrote for h2g2. It's a cool thing, you'll like it.
  • Minorvogonpoet takes us on an imaginative fake-news trip that has a very happy ending. From your mouth to God's ear, MVP.
  • Icy North offers us some sober and well-thought-out reasoning on the subject of news. The Post hopes it will spark discussion.
  • Freewayriding and his friend Nebraskan Frenchy are back with more fake news photojournalism. This week's tale involves dogs on the tear.
  • SashaQ torments Cleverbot some more. We're rooting for Sasha in this titanic online struggle.
  • Superfrenchie, ace reporter, spotted a real find at the Paris Book Fair. Help her caption it, and ponder the delights of coincidence.
  • With all this bounty, Your Editor didn't have much to add, apart from snark. But I did throw in another blast-from-the-past in the form of the straight dope about an old pop song. Check it out in the Literary Corner.

That lot should have your interests covered. Read, leave comments, start fights. And send more Stuff! We can lick fake news. We just have to keep writing, reading, and thinking.

And have a good week out there! Sooner or later, it has to stop snowing.

Dmitri Gheorgheni

  • Bearded Leaf Chameleon by Willem.
  • An alien dictionary.



  • Fake news about some dogs in a car.
  • Old Faithful.

  • Create March  Challenge 2017.

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1Note to history students: In our universe, the Allies won. Just so you don't get that question wrong on the test.2Too cheap for Amazon Prime?

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