Never underestimate texture. It's far more powerful than sight.
Never underestimate texture. It's far more powerful than sight.
I am delighted to announce that Wizard’s Tower has been asked to publish the ebook edition of Adventure Rocketship! #1. This resulted in a significant amount of squee in these here parts. After all, I can now claim to have published a book containing work by Lavie Tidhar, N.K. Jemisin, Minister Faust, Liz Williams, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Tim Maughan and many other fabulous people.
The book is currently available from the Wizard’s Tower store, and will also be available through the usual outlets over the next few days.
You want this, people, you really do. It has Liz Williams’ story about David Bowie; it has Minister Faust writing about George Clinton and N.K. Jemisin writing about Janelle Monáe; it has interviews with China Miéville and Michael Moorcock. In addition to Liz’s story there is fiction by Lavie Tidhar, Nir Yaniv, Martin Millar and Tim Maughan. And there’s lots more. What are you waiting for?
Yesterday’s radio show was a lot of fun. I spent the first half hour of the show talking to the very talented Jack Wolf about his amazing new novel, The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones. The book is full of fascinating 18th Century history, and some rather nasty faeries. Have a listen to learn more, including how Britain has been changing to fit in with Europe for hundreds of years. And if you happen to be part of the Crawford Award advisory group, I’ll be bugging you about this one.
The second half of the show opens up with a discussion of the forthcoming Union Cup gay rugby tournament. After that I chat to Annie Heatherson of Bristol Academy about the team’s forthcoming FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Go Vixens! It was a great half hour, with much silliness. Listen here.
Of course now you will be wondering about that team song. Here is the full version of the video, which includes the Mayor doing the shoes off thing in front of City Hall, and a guest appearance from Michu.
So, Monaco Grand Prix and Bristol in the FA Cup Final. Sunday is going to be mad.
This post was inspired by an email question from Wayne and a comment from Martin, both of whom asked what crimes The Mandarin could be charged with. Beware: the answer requires massive spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it.
We don’t normally do posts of the “list all the crimes the villain could be charged with” type, since the serious ones such as murder are usually obvious, and for any major villain such a post would quickly become tedious to write and read. But Iron Man 3′s Mandarin is different for reasons that should be clear to anyone that has seen the movie. And here again I’ll warn that what follows is a huge spoiler.
Okay, in case you haven’t seen the movie but still want to read this post for some reason, here’s why The Mandarin from the movie is different: he’s an actor hired to play a role, not a villain. There is no terrorist plot. The explosions were accidental deaths caused by Extremis users that either “couldn’t regulate” or who suffered the deadly side-effects of the injection. The Mandarin was just a smokescreen designed to distract from what A.I.M. was really doing, which was setting up the kidnapping and assassination of the President so that the Vice President (now the new President) could give A.I.M. carte blanche to pursue…whatever it wanted to do, ultimately.
So given that The Mandarin was claiming credit for a bunch of “bombings” that he wasn’t actually responsible for, and that he never personally killed anyone (including, apparently, the accountant), what could he be charged with?
I. Sex, Drugs, and Video Calls
To start with, there are the drug charges, since simple possession is a crime. In Florida it also appears that The Mandarin may also be guilty of various vice crimes despite the women having been provided for him by others. That’s assuming they were indeed prostitutes and not, I dunno, A.I.M. groupies or something.
Then there’s the accountant I mentioned earlier. I’m talking about the Roxxon Energy accountant that The Mandarin threatened—and then apparently shot—during his video call with the President. What The Mandarin could be charged with depends on whether the accountant was also an actor or not. If he wasn’t an actor, then The Mandarin could be charged with some kind of assault, since the accountant was in fear of his life. He couldn’t be charged with attempted murder, however, since The Mandarin knew that the gun he was holding was fake, or at least that the bullets were.
But even if the “accountant” was in on it, there’s 18 USC 875(b), making it a pretty serious crime (up to 20 years imprisonment) to demand (across state lines) something of value (e.g. a phone call from the President) by threatening to injure another person. There’s no requirement that the threat actually be legitimate. There may also be an applicable Florida statute related to making a criminal threat.
II. Terrorism and Other Serious Crimes
Something Wayne specifically wanted to know about was terrorism. Most of the federal terrorism laws as such are about attacks against US nationals abroad. However, there are some domestic ones. For example, 18 USC 2332f covers bombings of places of public use, government facilities, etc. The explosion at the theater might have qualified except that 2332f requires a level of intent (e.g. intent to cause destruction of such a place where such destruction is likely to result in major economic loss) that wasn’t present; I think the guy who blew up did so accidentally. Similarly, the attack on Stark’s home wasn’t really a public place. It was an isolated private residence.
Of course, then A.I.M. went and a) kidnapped the Iron Patriot in Pakistan and b) killed a bunch of people on Air Force One and kidnapped the President and c) attempted to kill the President.
(a) is definitely international terrorism. It’s a violent act that would be a violation of the laws of the US or of any state if committed domestically, appear to be intended “to affect the conduct of a government by … kidnapping”, and occurred outside the territorial boundaries of the United States. That’s just a definition, though, not a specific crime. Since Iron Patriot wasn’t seriously injured when he was kidnapped, the actual kidnapping might be a little hard to qualify as a crime in the US.
(b) is all kinds of murder, kidnapping, etc.
(c) is attempted murder and more.
Tying (a), (b), and (c) back to The Mandarin, however, is slightly tricky but I think doable. One common route is conspiracy, which requires an agreement to commit a crime. But The Mandarin didn’t agree to help A.I.M. test Extremis, and all the videos were made after the fact. It’s hard to agree to commit a crime when the crime has already happened.
But The Mandarin could be an accomplice after the fact. He helped A.I.M. get away with its crimes by providing an elusive scapegoat. He certainly knew that there was criminal activity going on. His claim was only that he wasn’t directly involved. But that’s not enough. Actively helping conceal a crime or actively helping a criminal avoid detection by the police is definitely the kind of thing that can result in accomplice liability. And that’s enough to put The Mandarin on the hook for the same crimes as the principals, including murder, kidnapping, and attempted murder.
The comments also mentioned racketeering. A.I.M. is certainly an organization, and it certainly committed multiple acts of kidnapping and murder (and probably also bribery, theft, and who knows what else), so as a member of A.I.M. (in the criminal organization sense, not the think tank) The Mandarin could be charged with racketeering as well.
It’s hard to feel too much sympathy for The Mandarin. He made something of a Faustian bargain: all the sex and drugs he could handle, and he got to play a bigger acting role than he ever had before, but he had to make a deal with the metaphorical devil to get it. Since most of the people involved with A.I.M. and its plot are dead or were already convictable based on other evidence, I’m not sure he’ll even be able to get very far by cooperating with the authorities. He’ll probably spend the rest of his life in jail. Maybe he’ll end up in one with a prison Shakespeare program.
No luck on the London house-trade queries so far, though I did get an offer from Brazil. Which, tempting as it looks (sun! beaches!), isn’t quite going to work for attending the con in Brighton.It does lead to all kinds of interesting fantasies about future house trading and travel, of course. For a frugal homebody like me, house trading is much more appealing than hotel-staying. Sure, it’s not MY home, but it’s A home, with all the comforts and space that implies. Plus, you know, free. Just gotta get there.
Elsewise–very busy day–productive, though. I’ve edited all the stories for the anthology, and sent all but one out (waiting on a proper email address). Did some other interesting secret-for-now things. Replanted a wayward fern in the aquarium. Went for a swim. Avoided the garden, because apparently it is winter again, cold and nasty and rainy. Oh well, spring was nice while it lasted.
Now: book and bed.
The signs mark “Women’s Bath,” “Hideyoshi’s Bath,” and “Men’s Bath”
Last week I finished my Blu-ray discs of Baka to Test to Shōkanjū. The series is not quite as funny the second time around, but my rating from Two Years Ago still stands – Very Good. I still love Hideyoshi and Shōko.
What is worth noting is that Funimation did a great job with the box set. It includes both DVD and Blu-ray discs. There is a wealth of extras – mostly shorts but also trailers – which are all subtitled. The shorts are pretty funny by themselves. For about the same price, Funimation’s Baka to Test box set far outshines Sentai Filmwork’s bare bones Acchi Kocchi. I’m quite pleased with what Funimation provided.
I probably ought to watch Baka to Test to Shōkanjū Ni! (season 2) while it’s still available at Funimation.com. This season is pretty full, though.
Next up: Naruto
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In the ad, which is entitled "Less Talking, More Doing," an iPad is depicted next to the aforementioned VivoTab Smart, showing off the system's multitasking capabilities and its built-in office apps. A Siri voiceover points out that the iPad does not support multiple windows at once and does not offer Microsoft Office apps. "I'm sorry, I can only do one thing at a time," Siri laments. "I guess PowerPoint isn't one of those things."
The ad ends on a humorous note, poking fun at a previous Apple commercial that depicted an iPad and iPad mini piano duet in GarageBand. The iPad is shown operating GarageBand next to the hardworking Windows 8 tablet, and Siri asks "Should we just play chopsticks?"
Microsoft also focuses on the price difference between the two tablets in the ad, pointing out that the 64GB WiFi iPad costs $699 while the 64GB Asus VivoTab Smart is $250 cheaper at $449.