It's really quite excellent -- and vaguely linked to his Cryptonomicon universe...
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This. I've been recently playing FFX with a friend and can't stand the voices.
3) I didn't view the fluid as fuel. Note that the starship stays hovering for 20+ years with no problem. It has plenty of power. Rather, I think the answer to this lies in the weaponry and 2). It is apparent that the aliens have a caste system promulgated not only through culture but through genetics. The lower worker castes are less intelligent (can't understand English), less motivated, and can't operate the machinery (the ship breaks down -- they can't use the weapons and trade them away, etc). The ship may only accept commands from the highest caste of leadership, of which there are no members remaining. So, the few remaining members of the technician or scientist caste work to mutate the system to either accept their DNA as command DNA, or alter their DNA to what the ship requires. The poor human is exposed and the substance does its job.
This is probably not exactly what the writer/director had in mind, but I'm pretty sure the general gist is right: it's the biological nature of the weaponry and their control systems.
There was some subtext explaining these things that was very easy to mix given the pacing and the
The biggest thing to remember here is that this movie is set OVER TWO DECADES after the aliens arrived. In that time, they've spent some time integrated with humans and human culture before being segregated out again. It's also apparent that District 9 was established slowly -- not in a single fell swoop (like the design of District 10 as seen). In that situation it is easy to imagine certain members of the underground gaining some influence and establishing themselves in D-9 as the aliens were moved there before the eventual legal status of the area was determined.
Re: weapons. It seems that there are several "castes" of the aliens -- a worker caste (the majority found) and a higher technical caste. The worker cast may not have had the correct DNA or the correct training the use the weapons and the weapons may have been designed to not accept them as users -- therefore they are worthless to the aliens and good only for trading.
Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some tropes in there toward the end, but I feel like in many ways it remains beyond most Hollywood fair. The main character never has a full moment of realization or sympathy. Everything he does right up to the end is for self-preservation and selfish reasons. Only when he realizes he will probably die before reaching the ship does he decide to act at all for selfless reasons, and even then he cautions that he may change his mind at any moment.
Where else could the movie go?
The director, Verhoeven, was disgusted with the book. As a dutch liberal he probably felt that the the world view propagated in the book was too totalitarian. The movie is a counter-argument to the book. It tries to be a movie (or art in more general) produced by such a society described in the book. And very well in my opinion. If you don't believe me, watch it again. All the "would you like to know more" -stuff indicates that you are in fact watching a movie from that era what the movie is about.
The fact that the movie even tries to take part in a serious debate about the society in general is a plus. That it does it well, is a double plus. That it goes on and don't try to re-do the book but to continue the theme of the book is a such a fashion is double-double plus.
Please have some knowledge of the movie you're talking about before you go spouting about what "dutch liberals probably feel." The movie had a plot and script and was in preproduction before the rights to the book were secured -- they changed some character names and a few plot points in order to make it Starship Troopers but most of the production team hadn't even read the book before shooting the film.
My anal-ness for accuracy being satisfied, the rest of your point is good and well-taken
They have this already.
Step outside, and go play.
Think about logistics here. How expensive is it to launch a new comm or earth imaging satellite? Then, how expensive is it to launch HUMANS to the same altitude with repair tools and all of the consumables they require to get up and down safely.
When you add the fact that the tech up there is still advancing very rapidly, I don't think there's very much benefit in trying to create these super multi-purpose birds.
And when there is (like Hubble, whose time IS portioned out as you mentioned and a replacement costs ridiculous sums of money), repairs can and do happen.
Not necessarily -- the carbon could act as a catalyst or component that is cycled throughout the charge-discharge process.
IANAC (chemist), but it sounds like what they are doing is take a reagent for the electrical reaction from the surrounding environment so they don't have to store it on board the battery -- thus freeing up additional weight/volume for the "charge" itself.
This might imply a problem with scale since you would need the infrastructure within the battery for safely extracting the reagent and, upon a recharge cycle, releasing it.
I wouldn't be surprised to see something like "DO NOT RECHARGE NEAR AN OPEN FLAME" written in huge letters all over the final product.
Heck, even BSG was able to weave some aspect of current events into the psychology and philosophy of the show.
To be handed this great plot tool ("hey, we're going to take the premise of Terminator but not comply with the timelines") and not use its capable writing to explore present-day dilemmas was, in my mind, a travesty.
Of course, maybe they did and Skynet (by which I mean FOX) made them change the scripts.
Link to Original Source
This is a huge difference -- I read the summary and thought "wow, so they're going to turn a 90 mph steerable vehicle into an 85 mph missile."
I'm not against the idea as long as there is some built in leeway -- due to imperfections in GPS real time data (from the sky) and the stored map data.
Not the chilling effects of IP law -- the chilling effects of not having good contracts for proven creative people.
Though IP law reform certainly wouldn't hurt.