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Comment: Re:There might be hope for a decent adaptation (Score 3, Insightful) 327

by tnk1 (#49184651) Attached to: 'The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress' Coming To the Big Screen

I agree. Wannabe certainly sounds to me like he was never commissioned or in any way successful. Heinlein wasn't a wannabe naval officer, he *was* a commissioned naval officer.

You could say he was a wannabe captain or admiral, perhaps, but "wannabe" implies he didn't have it in him to be either of those things and there is no evidence that he lacked the ability to have an otherwise long and successful career, especially on the eve of WWII. Being forced out for a legitimate medical reason does not indicate that he was a failed officer in the way that the term implies.

So yeah, not a very good way to put it. "Frustrated" in his attempt to have a full naval career, is what I might say if I actually believed that his frustrations were being acted out in his fiction. Which I don't.

Comment: Re:Jerri (Score 1) 533

Saddam would have eventually fallen apart, or one of his erratic sons would have. And then you would have potentially worse scenarios. You might even have had a full-on Iranian invasion to support the Shiite majority, causing a union of those two countries. Now that would be worse than ISIS.

Even if Saddam didn't end up out of power, he may have been holding things together, but even brutal dictators like him can't do that forever. Something was going to give.

There is no outcome in the Middle East that is going to go well. Even if the West packed up and left, they'd just start killing each other until the strongest one won. And I'm not sure anyone would like that scenario. Particularly if they decided to start by putting the Israelis under enough pressure that they go "Never again" on the Arabs and start nuking people.

The current start of the ME is bad, but it is nowhere near as bad as it could get.

Comment: Re: Jerri (Score 1) 533

Other "end of the world" cults have been engaged by military forces and they died just the same.

Their ideology will result in needless death when it comes to taking them down, but letting them continue what they are doing is only adding to the number who will end up dying once someone has to deal with them. Don't be confused. The price they demand will be paid one way or another. You're not going to be able to go in there and arrest them peaceably. It's too late for that, and if we let it go long enough, they will make their war, even if we won't give it to them.

Comment: Re:Bombs? (Score 1) 533

We already sort of do that. All they need to do is either tell everyone that they have bombs in them, or go collecting them in pickup trucks with machine guns. At that point, they'll re-paint them with ISIS logos and "provide" them to themselves or their population.

These guys aren't stupid, they control the ground, and they've been turning our own shit back on us for years. You need to give the regular people some hope that ISIS isn't going to rule them forever and then you may have some uptake. Maybe.

Comment: Re:Bombs? (Score 2) 533

Not likely. It isn't like simply making that stuff available makes a user out of you.

These guys are brainwashed into killing people with rusty, dull knives, they can certainly be brainwashed into not buying some smack.

What will actually happen is that the "targets" will collect the drugs and then sell them back to the West to make more money to kill more people.

These guys are already high on something completely different.

Comment: Re: Make it DARKER dammit. (Score 1) 232

by tnk1 (#49165075) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

Yes, but in Dune, Herbert really made it clear how much humanity was different via training, yes, but also very, very long term breeding programs. That's almost the opposite of Trek, where there is this almost quaint ban on genetically engineering humans. Understandable, given Trek history, but humans would not have "evolved" much in that time. Not in a way that would have removed our basic drives which have encouraged much of our bad behavior in the past and certainly our aggression.

I don't fault Trek too much for saying they're a utopia, but not really showing the results. That sort of reality doesn't make for good TV. So it ended up being a gloss of having a Shakespearean actor deliver fine sentiments on camera. Good to have those out there, but dangerous to assume it would be anything near that easy in only a few centuries.

Comment: Re:Make it DARKER dammit. (Score 1) 232

by tnk1 (#49164899) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

You make a good point about following the shiniest crew in the fleet. On the other hand, from a storytelling perspective, that's kind of boring.

And the whole "rape gangs" comment was almost like someone was again telling, but not showing, how there were flawed characters onboard. The characterization was like "I'm a survivor, so I am going to act a little gruff and stiff sometimes, because that's what happens when you've survived after avoiding rape gangs." I mean I literally recall that as a trivia footnote in my mind about Tasha Yar, not as something that really mattered at all.

Also, "rape gangs"? Did they specifically run around only raping people, but were otherwise nice folks? Just that term is another bit of "I grew up in a place so bad that we had whole gangs dedicated to rape. Not murder, or extortion, or unruliness, but rape." Because rape. Seriously.

I think the original series did a better job of showing what actual explorers might have as a personality. You don't go looking for danger in a utopia unless you have a particular sort of personality, and TNG felt like it wasn't bringing along those sorts of people until later in the series, and even then they needed some damage to their shiny resumes.

Comment: Re: Live (Score 2) 232

by tnk1 (#49164659) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

I enjoyed the first season as a kid, it certainly kept me tuning in, but looking back on it, it was a mess.

That said, I've always found the Roddenberry utopia to be a forced one. It was like "we're a peaceful utopia", but I saw none of the actual implications or consequences of that from a societal or cultural perspective. It was all right as the backdrop for what the Enterprise was doing, but the Federation, especially in TNG, felt like they were running around being superior all the time, and given their inability to easily overcome cruder or dystopian civilizations like the Romulans or Klingons, I am not sure that the Federation had actually made a case for being the superior civilization even inside of Trek.

Comment: Re:But We Didn't (Score 3, Interesting) 340

by tnk1 (#49154309) Attached to: We Stopped At Two Nuclear Bombs; We Can Stop At Two Degrees.

No. The reason we have not blown up the rest of the world has nothing to do with luck. There has been a very concerted effort to keep them on a leash. If you think that its all luck, remove all the controls we have added over the years against proliferation and watch how quickly a very large western city becomes an irradiated wasteland due to some extremist with too much money and too little sense.

If World War III is going to happen, it is not because someone got unlucky, but because someone created a plan to use those weapons for some purpose. That won't be luck, that will be pure stupidity.

Comment: Re:Censorship (Score 1) 285

by tnk1 (#49123419) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Corporations have the ability to take things away and this can definitely affect individuals and groups in major ways.

However, the difference is that corporations are, at least in theory, opt-in. If you don't want to use Google or pay for someone else's product, then you don't. The government not only makes you pay for it's programs, but it puts guns in your face if you are willing to accept the hardships of not using government services. That's why censorship and other governmental actions that undermine individual rights are a special problem with special restrictions. I am happy to be an American, but if I wasn't, I'd still have to deal with the US government or some government no matter where I go or what I do.

It may be difficult to create a viable competitor to a multinational, but it's not illegal to try and it does occasionally happen. That's the distinction. If you want to have a content search engine that brings up content that Google won't, you (may) have a means of providing value that Google isn't. That means that you can more effectively overcome Google's absolute mastery of capacity and search algorithms because your audience cannot use Google for what they want.

Of course, you might find that the problems and risks inherent in allowing unfettered search on all content isn't justified by the small amount of reward. And this is likely Google's calculation as well. They probably get fuckall, comparatively, for ads based on "adult" search, while at the same time, they need to be wary of liability or moral outrage for hosting the results for those marginal sites.

This is not the same thing as government censorship, although the root causes can be similar. Corporations must shift for themselves, and like an actual person, they're going to have their own risk to reward ratio. Not everyone feels like being jailed or tear gassed for their principles, and Google is probably becoming similarly risk adverse, but does that surprise anyone really? They're a public company and have been for years now.

Is what Google doing "censorship"? I suppose, but if we accept the use of that word to describe what Google is doing, we still have to make a distinction about what is really going on. Would you like to be forced to accept risk for something you don't really believe in? Probably not, and certainly without some sort of protection against those who would have a problem with you.

Comment: Re:Artists paid 16 times as much for Spotify than (Score 1) 305

by tnk1 (#49115681) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"

I agree that the conversation is hidden from us with a Spotify, but again, this is a business arrangement that I also had little say on, one way or another. If I insisted that Spotify give more to artists, then Spotify would charge me more. If I couldn't or wouldn't pay that, then Spotify could not operate, or it would pay out less.

If we believe that Spotify is actually greedy, as opposed to providing operating costs + a fair profit margin, then perhaps people can work together to provide another service that does want to pay more for art, but unless that was run with some business sense, that would fail too.

I don't really see art as something different than any other job. Many people do work that does not bring me any satisfaction, and many artists do nothing that interests me either. To do either professionally requires some sort of commitment. Both "normal" jobs and making art can require talent and often require work and resources. I'd rather be in charge of my own film studio, but even if I had ability, if I don't know how to make money at it, I'm not going to make films because I'll be starving and all my assets will be repossessed in short order.

There are musicians who are good business people, and if they have any talent, they can support themselves. Many do not have business ability, and therefore they need to rely on others. Which is fine, except when those people are not looking out for you. Perhaps instead of complaining about Spotify, we should work on simply taking up a collection for them and giving them money. Don't even bother associating it with a track you like, don't even bother with "ownership" or a license to have a copy of their recording. Just sponsor them.

I think people want the music business to be run like a Charity for Deserving Musicians With No Business Sense. If that's what you want, then don't make Spotify do it for you, cut out the middleman and just pay them as a benefactor or patron. If they start making crap, then stop supporting them.

Comment: Re:Seems pointless to sue (Score 1) 114

by tnk1 (#49115523) Attached to: Lenovo Hit With Lawsuit Over Superfish Adware

Is your point to get a million dollars out of them, or is it to discourage them from doing this to you again?

If you want a million bucks out of them, you could win. Maybe. On February 30th.

If you want the company to be "corrected" or simply punished, then hit them with the class action suit.

The victory in the class action suit is that you punished them, and you did, by getting more money out of them than you ever would have alone. The fact that it benefits lawyers is irrelevant. You paid nothing to get it done, and the lawyers did what you could not.

There are problems with relying on lawyers. Perhaps the government should regulate more, but that's not free to you either. You will pay more taxes for more enforcement. At least with lawyers and a class action suit, you're not even indirectly footing the bill, and private lawyers can be very effective in extracting as much as possible from their targets.

There is a point to these lawsuits, but it is not about financial compensation. It is about future outcomes where no one does that thing again (and maybe a little revenge). You may or may not benefit from the future outcomes. Certainly, like in the case of laptops, if you punish them now, you will be much less likely to face a problem when you buy your next laptop from *any* laptop manufacturer. If you pursued the suit yourself, you might lose and that judgement could embolden the perpetrator, instead of chastising them.

Comment: Re:War is Hell. (Score 2) 224

by tnk1 (#49113953) Attached to: 100 Years of Chemical Weapons

No, that was not the plan. It is a result of poor planning and short-sightedness. We give the people who put us in these messes far too much credit. We'd prefer to believe that they planned it, as opposed to simply not planning anything at all or simply not caring at all.

Not that the West needed to be involved to make the Middle East unstable. If we left the place alone, it would be just as unstable. Tribesmen and various empires have been fighting over that area for centuries. Oil has just made it worse.

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