MIT Science Fiction Society

84 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02139

MITSFS Meeting Minutes

Friday, December 12, 2003

MITSFS meeting called to order, 1700 SST, Ed Keyes, President and Skinner, presiding; SEB is the pseudo-Kat.

Minutes read.

Motion to commend pseudo-Onseck for reading minutes thoroughly fails for lack of second.

Motion to condemn pseudo-Onseck for failing to read minutes in English with Russian subtitles passes 2-0-1+Spehn


Committee Reports


Covered 2 books, which is more than Bluebellcomm did. Skinner should choose length of time for covered books to be kept up during timewarp, to extend their life.

JM asks if hardcover buying trip scheduled before IAP, no. JFC gave up due to lack of interest. If people are found to come along, they will go, but should not before Christmas because it's just so awful. ED offers to scrape people together first week of IAP. JFC says there are about ten new books to cover now. JFC says if went now, there would be Christmas crowds, JM suggests doing Christmas shopping now.

JFC wants to know what to get his niece, who is turning one year old. JM recommends getting her Dune and/or Xanth and sequels every year. JFC worries about getting busted for abusing a minor.


JFC says some books have arrived, you can cover new Jack McDevitt if you feel like it (Omega). 5th Dark Tower book, bunch of random Wildside Press stuff - they had a 2 day sale after Thanksgiving.


JM: Books getting to Imperial College before break, or January. We aren't sure. (stuff was rumbling down the hall) Surprised we haven't gotten our books already, don't know how they were shipping but should be fast. Did not email to see if they got our stuff yet, just sent mail that we had sent it. JM will ask them.

ED asks how space appeals went this week. JM hasn't heard, but ASA is planning to stick Counterpoint, Rune, and (murg?) together. This is just going to swap people around, because a) Tech feels it uses that room and b) in last rerooming, ASA said would not add more people to Tech's contested space. ED: Tech is effectively A-list again? JM: Yes. While ASA and CAC met with Safety Office and said Cambridge said SMAC lockers can go in hallways, SO said you _can_ experiment with it, in _one_ hallway, but not clear how much floor space this will free up. Lockers along one hallway don't obstruct evacuation, but if lockers are everywhere activities will pile stuff on and in front of and around them and it'll all be a mess.

JFC demonstrates the Star Wars Jabba's Palace pop-up book. It plays music and they dance if you bounce the book up and down. Technically, he bought it off the 90% off black hole shelf. JM decries cheapness of annoying music chip technology. Discussion of an old non-sci-fi greeting card.


Old Business

JFC finished Clarke book. Decent, but not especially good; cowritten with Baxter (Clarke outline and Baxter book). Good parts, but yet another moderns-in-ancient-times book. Premise better than typical, but if you don't like the genre, don't read the book.

ED warns Jamie not to slice his thigh open.

JFC: It doesn't have the American Civil War in it.

JM: analogcomm will generate prototype schedule this weekend, put it online. See who can be crammed in then who didn't submit requests.


New Business

JFC does not revisit Albanian Motion. JM likes cooling off period.

JFC reads book jacket about some Aussie space captain with a dying wife, blah blah blah, black hole. JM is going to write a blurb: "People in blurbs always have too many troubles or a perfect life. I'm going to write a blurb: Bob always thought he had just enough troubles." JFC complains that thumbnail-size black holes around planets are not accurate. The black hole is orbiting the planet, not actually around it, it transpires.

Discussion of small black holes and relative size of Earth and Sun. Sun is 800K miles in diameter, Earth 8K, Jupiter 80K, according to JFC. This makes a 3mm black hole out of one of the above. And the sun is slightly more dense than water, we think. A thumbnail-size black hole is thus reasonably close to the earth.

JFC: There's still this extra banana on the Mobcomm shelf, for now. ED thinks if we covered it in plastic it would be a Bluebellcomm banana.

JFC asks for name for committee to dispose of excess stuff. JM thinks we should have a method, or someone actively pursuing one, to get a name. ED says, like dotcomms, we need a name and t-shirt first and then a business plan. JFC's company spends money to make products instead. JM asks, are they reaching milestones? JFC says they have framed thingies that say they shipped on time, because they didn't redesign their circuit boards, not because as JM suggests they didn't ship on/off shifts.

So, about the committee. There are bunches of boxes of excess stuff to be disposed of, but JM says there are more than that. And people labelling these boxes should be accurate (i.e., Hasslecomm != Hasslecomm-to-be). JFC asks what would be bad about confusing the two, and JM says it would waste time, confuse inventory, and generally suck. JFC: H-T-B == Things That Suck? I think the upshot was that they are, but you should really label things what they are instead of what you think they might be. Really. There are lots of flavors of Hasslecomm-<foo> boxes and they are not the same; do the right things with them and do not call them all Hasslecomm.


Future Business

In the future, ED will be in Tennessee over Christmas and back for IAP. He disappears on the 20th and comes back around 5th January. He will be on line.

Stuff that needs to be submitted for fall is submitted? Don't remember if we spent all our publicity money for slides this semester or not. The LHE needs to turn in all his stuff and turn in copies when they should be copies.

There is a staggering lack of business of any sort. JM is taping.

JFC notes that membership rates have not changed for four months. ED says they shouldn't change very often.

ED asks for volunteers to end the meeting.

Miller motion from Sam fails, 3-5-0+Spehn.

ED likes the Universe sort of the way it is.

JFC says James Blish destroys the universe in one of his novels, sort of well. Brane universes colliding, except with antimatter. JM says it's like that, only it doesn't make as much sense. Our universe goes forward in time, an antimatter universe goes backwards in time, we hit and everything goes away, but there's an actual impact point in space. But they can't bring their furniture along, says JFC. JM says it may or may not be the big bang, but the characters don't know. They're just tourists. JFC says lots of universes and some guy in a pocket universe is supposed to blow himself up, JM says you can maybe change the new universe and this annoys him, because people trying to influence it were being random, like God rolls 3d6 to determine parameters of new universe and they tell him to reroll no matter what he gets and they don't know what either means. Then they get the book, which will probably not help any of this make any more sense. Now they have two James Blish books (Cities in Flight and Triumph of Time) and it is not helping, except that we have steady state universes in one spot. JM: At least it's an inevitable collision in three years. In most science fiction they'd be stopping it.

The pseudo-Onseck is confused whether diaresis is the production of urine or something like an umlaut, but suspects she just can't spell it. ED is not going to read this series. And Blish's people apparently do not understand simple algebra. And Cities in Flight is a Baen book, because it has an exploding spaceship on the cover, which is an exploding city too, being flying you know.

JFC attempts a Miller motion motion, which fails for lack of a second.

ED wants someone to end the meeting. JM is still reading the Blish book. "Each person gets to be their own Big Bang." JFC, on sending furniture one microsecond into the past: "Humans are more predictable than tables." This is all fifties stuff; that's why continuous creation is cool because inflation was an 80s thing.

JM is still reading. JFC is waiting until end of universe to make November motion. ED wonders what kind of universe would be made from a banana floating in space.

JFC wonders what we will see when we finish mapping out cosmic background radiation, some kind of message. JM: "Whoops."

JFC makes third miller motion, passes 4-2-1+Spehn.

Meeting adjourned, 1730 SST.

Respectfully submitted,
Kat Allen, Onseck