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Journal Journal: Bane's philosophy, Palpatine, and other rambled Sith thought

Having recently finished the book Darth Bane: Path of Destruction I had a few thoughts on the matter of the Sith in the Star Wars univers, Palpatine (and Vader) in particular. There may be a few minor spoilers in here, but I'm not going to be talking much about the book itself so it shouldn't have many. These are simply rambled out from my mind, in no order whatsoever, and are based solely on what I know.

Palpatine is probably the most interesting Sith in the entire Star Wars universe because he is the only one who actually succeeds, unlike the others who tried (and in some cases can very close) but failed. At first glance it seems that he adheres to the philosophy of the Sith that Darth Bane sets down better than most others we see. However it is clear that he deviates somewhat, and that the philosophy itself is somewhat flawed, both of which lead to his eventual demise.

"Two there shall be, no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it."

The first part of Darth Bane's philosophy is the so called Rule of Two. This was first spoken, interestingly enough, by Yoda. How he learned of it is a good question in and of itself, it doesn't seem that he could have read or learned it anywhere. Why not? Bane's goal was to make the Sith appear extinct to the Jedi. From what we hear in the movies he seems to have succeeded, none of the Jedi are willing to believe that there is a Sith Lord out there until Qui-Gon dies. Since Bane himself devised the philosophy, and he had the Sith disappear to the Jedi well enough to make them doubt one of their own, how exactly did Yoda learn of this rule?

I don't plan to delve any deeper into that question, however. This is about the Sith and Palpatine, not Yoda's connection to them (interesting as that may be, it's all supposition until something is written about it). A cursory examination of Palpatine's behavior seems to show an understanding of the Rule of Two. He never has more than one active apprentice at any time. He fulfills his role of embodying the power (especially towards Vader, who's entire reason for joining the Sith is that he seeks some of that power for his own use) and his apprentices seem to crave that power. Well, most of them do. Dooku doesn't appear to have much interest in the kind of power Palpatine possesses, but Maul and Vader both desire that power for their own reasons.

The area in which Palpatine seems to differ most from Bane's views is in his lack of respect for the title Darth. This is understandable before the Empire, as he can't very well call himself Darth Palpatine, the Jedi were somewhat blind, but that would be a clear tipoff. However he seems to prefer the title Emperor after the Jedi have fallen, something that I doubt Bane would have approved of.

It's this use of the title Emperor that shows one of Palpatine's fatal flaws, he depends more on his soldiers and admirals than on the force. The Death Star is nothing compared to what some of the Sith were capable of (collapsing stars anyone?) yet it is what Palpatine chooses to use. In the end Palpatine seems to cast off the role of Sith Lord, and take on the role of Emperor completely.

The main problem with Bane's philosophy, even when it so elegantly handled by Palpatine, is that it fails to acknowledge a simple problem. If you gain power through deceit, betrayal, and cunning, how do you keep it from those who would deceive, betray, and out think you? The Sith had plenty of methods to kill, and plenty of ways to gain power, but no method of keeping it. Even the story of Plaguas tells this, with all his Dark power he had no way to ensure that he could keep it. That is the fatal flaw of the Sith, and the problem Palpatine faces once he becomes Emperor, none of the methods he honed and perfected for years can work as soon as it is well known (at least to his enemies) that he's a Sith. They'll expect betrayal, be prepared for deception (or at least they should be, they kinda mess that up in 6) and know his power.

"At last we shall reveal outselves to the Jedi. At last we shall have our revenge!"

Darth Bane took the Sith underground so that they could make full use of their abilities. Darth Sidious brought the Sith to the forefront, and in doing so robbed them of those abilities. Yet he did so in a manner that Bane would have approved of. That seems to be the fatal flaw of the Sith, they seek that which they cannot possess (at least not possess indefinitely) to the exclusion of that which they can possess. They inevitable try to grab that which they cannot hold, true power, and in doing so leave behind their power. As soon as the Sith step out of the shadows they become easy targets (relatively, compared to how hard they are to hit in the shadows). Yet they cannot help but step out of the shadows, their entire philosophy is based on letting their emotions go.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Buses stopping at Railroad Tracks 1

So I'm driving down the road today, and we're coming up to the only Train Crossing on my daily drive. The car in front of me gets the bright idea to shift into the far right lane from the middle lane, seeing it easy, however he stops after getting halfway and shifts back. I'm a little curious, and bored, so I glance over as we go over the train crossing to see a School Bus parked on the tracks, which starts moving again just as I pass it. The good old fashion 'Why is that a law?' question pops into my mind and I'm bored enough to actually analyze the costs/benefits of such an idea compared to not having that law in a coherent manor (I'm usually too tired to think and drive at the same time without crashing in the morning :P).

So I think to myself, hmm...what are all the possible situations that a bus can encounter at a train track when it stops, making up a sort of extended Truth table in my mind. Here's what I got.

(I assume there are no gates or that they'll magically malfunctioning as no bus is going to stop on the tracks if the gates are down)

1. No Train for Miles
With Law - Bus stops for no good reason, slowing traffic and making people angry in addition to causing a significant increase in the chance of an accident as people tend to pull out into the next lane to get around buses and may end up hitting other cars pulling out.
Without Law - Bus goes over tracks without slowing, no problems
2. Train close enough to hit bus if it simply drives over
With Law - Bus stops on tracks, is hit long before fully stopping, driver likely killed, better hope your kid was in the back
Without Law - Bus tries to go straight over the tracks, train hits somewhere in the middle/back and likely kills the kids there
3. Train far enough away that it would miss the bus if it simply drives over, but close enough to hit the stopped bus
With Law - Bus stops on tracks, is hit, driver likely killed, better hope your kid was in the back
Without Law - Bus drives over tracks, is completely unaffected
4. Train at the perfect distance to hit the bus if it stops but give the driver enough time to reverse off the track and survive
With Law - Bus stops on tracks, driver sees train, slams it into to reverse and 'guns' it (as much as you can gun it in a bus). Train near miss, good luck to any cars behind the buss
Without Law - Bus drives over tracks, unaffected
ADVANTAGE - Close, but No Law causes no traffic backup and cuts the chance of an accident down whereas Law may cause an accident, No Law

(There are a few more, but they all are pretty similar to #4 and all end up the same way)

So it seems that the only time the law is going to be helpful is if the train is close enough to hit the bus whether or not it stops, and then it's only benefit is killing the driver rather than the kids. Here's an interesting idea, why not have the bus stop BEFORE the tracks and so save both the driver and the kids in that situation?

I mean, to use some logical physics, the worst thing you can do is come to a stop in front of that which you are trying to avoid, it's much better to stop before or after you're out of it's way as it takes much longer to get out of the way from rest than it does if you have any initial velocity. Assuming you slam the accelerator in every circumstance and the train is the same distance when your front wheels hit the tracks then you have a great chance to get clear if you have a high initial velocity, a good chance if you have a low initial velocity, and an awful chance if you have no initial velocity.

I can just imagine the conversation that went on to start this law.
Bill - Okay, we had a bad train and bus accident today, we should pass a law to make it look like we're trying to help.
Ted - Well what if we had the buses stop and check if a train was coming?
Bill - That's a great idea, that way we can blame the driver for not being thorough enough if a bus does get hit! Okay, where should they stop?
Ted - Probably before the tracks, that way they won't get hit
Will - No way man, there are like, trees, that could block their sight to the train. If they park on the tracks they can see for miles in both directions
Ted - Yeah, and they can get hit much easier
Bill - Good idea guys, we'll have them stop on the track, no should they stop at gated ones?
Will - Totally
Ted - What's the point? Gates work just fine at preventing car accidents. And stopping on the tracks is dumb.
Bill - Ted, Ted, think of the children in the bus, how would you feel if they died because the bus didn't see the train coming due to a conveniently placed tree and happened to drive through a gate and not stop on the tracks? I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go, you obviously don't care about the children on those buses. Will, you get a raise.

Now I guess this law may have made a little sense when trains were slower and carrying less cargo, a bus on the tracks could be seen and allow the train to slow so the bus could get clear. With modern trains that take miles to stop, however, the difference in time between a train slowing down and a train going at a constant speed reaching the bus is pretty tiny.

One of these days I hope they revise this law to be something like:
"All Buses much stop short of the tracks and check for a train, opening the window and turning off music to hear a train coming, at any tracks that do not have gates"

Can anyone point out a flaw in my logic that shows the benefit of having buses stop on tracks? It doesn't annoy me too much, as I learned long ago to stay out of their lane if tracks are coming, but it does worry me a little and seem unnecessary.


Journal Journal: An angle I've never thought of before... 1

So I was stumbing around with my new StumbleUpon extension, and I happened upon an interesting picture that made me pause and think. Here's a link to it on imageshack, I can't remember where I originally found it -

So basically the plot of the picture is that a kid is in Kindergarten being told to share with the other kids. The next panel shows him grown up sitting at a computer, with the semi-obvious implication that he's sharing music (obvious if you assume the first and second panels are linked). The third panel has him behind bars, a slightly exaggerated way to show that he got sued for it and lost.

So I thought to myself, that's interesting. I've never even thought to compare the old childhood teaching to share toys with music sharing. There are some obvious differences, the plain-as-day one being that when you share a toy you both can't have it at the same time and the sharee can't use it without you being there (unless you lend it to them in which case you can't use it). However there are some very interesting similarities.

Allow me to bore you with a story from my childhood. I used to play with a couple of the other kids in my neighborhood when I was younger. We all liked Transformers (Beast Wars primarily, and the sequel whose name I can't remember) quite a bit and got together regularly to play with them, we all had some. One of our group, let's call him Alex for convenience, was really into them and was smart about getting his hands on them when they were on sale. One day Hasbro (I think) released the newest, greatest Transformers toy of the time, a large Optimus Primal (or with it Prime?) toy with lights, sounds, and 4 transformation modes. This was an awesome toy, something like $60 when it came out (can't find it for less than $75 on ebay, so that's something), had 4 transformation modes and was just plain cool. All my friends and myself wanted this thing. Then one day our friend Alex found it, I'm not sure if he got it on sale or what (never asked, but he usually bought all of those toys on sale) but he got it.

And he shared it with us. When we had our giant Transformer battles (we each had something like 5-20 figures, and they'd all participate in a battle, so we had 40+ figure battles weekly :) ) Optimal Optimus was always right in the fray. Occasionally alex would be busy somewhere else and so one of us would be the one using Optimal to fight, just like if we owned the toy ourselves. Suffice it to say that after that I didn't really want Optimal Optimus anymore, I still thought he was one of the coolest toys (and was actually getting hopeful that I could find him cheap when I searched ebay today) but since Alex had it and was cool about sharing I didn't really need it anymore. None of the other people in the group got that toy, in fact the only Transformers we had more than one of were the ones we'd had when we'd met, no one bought a toy someone in the group had, not because it was some kind of law, but because we didn't need it, one of our other friends had it so we got to play with it as well.

In essence Alex's sharing of his toy cost the toy industry at least $60, and probably more like $180 because I'm pretty sure my other friends would have picked one up if no one they knew had it and was willing to share. And you know what, his parents were proud of him for being so nice. No one disapproved of his sharing, that would be nuts. Now had Alex shared even a single song with us, cost the music industry $3, his parents wouldn't have been happy. My parents would have probably told me to stop hanging out with him over that.

So I say this to any Toy Industry Exec's out there, you've got to start suing your customers. They're ruthlessly sharing your toys and cutting your profits down significantly. First things first, make toy sharing illegal, I can't find any legislation that makes it legal, so this shouldn't be too hard if you do enough appeals to emotion about starving toy designers and record low profits, make sure you ignore the China lead thing though, the blame for low profits should rest squarely on these little miscreants. Second you should wipe out the 'sharing is caring' curriculum of Kindergarten, it's obviously an effort to teach children to break the law. Third, start suing kids at random, they all share so it should be easy to find a target. Just sue one kid who you're pretty sure of, or threaten it, and then get him to tattle on the other kids (won't be too hard, just threaten to take away all of his toys). Then start chaining out from there, filing actual lawsuits occasionally. Use plenty of appeals to emotion. Then you've got to work on stopping this sharing at the source, I recommend little handcuffs attached to every toy and legislation to make it illegal to use the toy without the handcuff on your arm and to allow another kid to put the handcuff on their arm, call is ARM (Analog Rights Management). Make sure you specify that you're selling the toys at the store, and leasing them in the box.

Once you do this you should start seeing record profits as kids everywhere buy their own toys. If you don't then just blame it on the sharers and go after them even more vigerously. You don't have to pay me for this idea, just don't go after me, it was that kid Alex who was sharing the toys.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Interesting (Friends/Foes)

So I was going through my Friends/Fans/Foes/Freaks list, found a Fan who I friended, and found a whole bunch of Freaks. Only 2 of them had journals, one didn't have a single post I could see. I didn't really see any disagreements I would have with most of them so I left them as just Freaks but one with a journal posted that he had marked all Neoconservatives as Foes, apparently the reason I was marked as his Foe. I wiki'd that term, since I wasn't familiar with it, and still really don't understand it that much as wikipedia politics pages are not known for being clear and concise. I have no problem with people calling me Neoconservative, Ultraconservative, Conservative, Left-winger (or Right, I forget which is Conservative) or any other name based on my views. I do have a problem when said person adds in their journal that they believe all Neoconservatives have no 'intellectual legitimacy' that's when I begin to consider them a little strange. Ergo he's now a Foe, my first Foe!

(Hope I stick this in the right category since it's my first Journal)

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