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Comment Re:The Great Bird of the Galaxy.... (Score 1) 166

You're missing a lot of the TNG story I think, and in particular two people. McFadden left the show because she didn't get along with Maurice Hurley, the lead writer, and Gene's drinking buddy (probably because of the sexist stuff you cited, but probably many other things too). Hurley wasn't all bad (he invented the Borg), but mostly his writing was crap, and you can tell because season 1 was so bad. Hurley left after season 2.

The other person you're missing is Rick Berman. He took over running the show in season 3. He begged McFadden to come back, and is the reason she did. Also notice that season 3 was probably the best of the lot, along with 4 and 5, where he was running things. All the "classic" TNG episodes were made under Berman's supervision. Berman's gotten a lot of flak for stuff (he also went on to work on DS9, VOY, etc.), but he really deserves full credit for turning TNG around and keeping it from sinking, and making it a real gem.

Roddenberry's problem is that he was just like George Lucas: an ideas man, but terrible at execution. He came up with some great high-level ideas for stuff, but when he was too involved in the low-level details, the results were bad. He also apparently sucked at picking good lieutenants. Berman is probably the opposite.

Comment Re:The Great Bird of the Galaxy.... (Score 1) 166

WTF? The re-imagined BSG was utterly fantastic... well, at least for the mini-series and the first couple seasons.

Unfortunately, it jumped the shark in season 3 I think, and the whole "final 5" thing was just ridiculous and kinda ruined it.

But yeah, if they could give us something like Moore's BSG first 2 seasons, then count me in.

The main problem with BSG anyway was that it had to have some kind of ending which explained things, since the humans there were obviously related to us somehow, but it wasn't apparent how, so they ended coming up with a horrible supernatural explanation at the end. Star Trek shouldn't have that problem, especially if they could avoid the urge to have a big "story arc", and stick to self-contained episodes (though with some reasonable character development along the way that assumes some knowledge of past episodes, but not too much). It's not about explaining humanity's origins, it's about a glimpse into life in the future.

Comment Re:Because Enterprise Faired So Poorly (Score 1) 166

The Romulans were confined to a single star system in early ToS and didn't get warp drive until later. The neutral zone was just a bit of interstellar space around their system.

I must have missed that bit, I certainly don't remember it (not saying you're wrong, I just don't remember whatever dialog said that, and I did re-watch the 1st season episode about them fighting the Romulans about a year ago).

Anyway, there was a lot of bad stuff like that in TOS, and even in TNG too, apparently written by people who don't understand basic astrophysics. A war with a race without warp drive makes no sense at all; either the combatants will be completely mismatched (any race without warp drive will be no match at all for one with it), or it'll be impossible to have the war in the first place (if both combatants are confined to sublight speeds, unless perhaps they're in neighboring star systems but even then you're looking at decades to send your Navy to fight the enemy).

Remember also, in the 1st season of TOS, there was no Federation of Planets! They kept calling themselves "United Earth Ship Enterprise". They didn't invent the UFP until later, probably sometime in the 2nd season. They just completely glossed over that.

Even TNG wasn't immune to science problems. The whole idea of the "star drive" section and saucer separating was idiotic, because apparently the saucer section didn't have warp drive. Without warp drive, you're not going to get very far; it's basically like having a canoe in the middle of the Atlantic. I still remember the episode "Arsenal of Freedom" where they do a saucer separation for some dumb reason (I think it was something related to convenience, not any kind of emergency). Without warp drive, the saucer section isn't going to even get out of the star system, much less to some other star system dozens of light-years away. If it takes 4 *years* for light to get from here to Alpha Centaur, that means the fastest the saucer can go that distance is some fraction of that, probably at least a decade (plus they'll have relativistic distortion, depending on how close to c they manage to go).

The bottom line is: you really have to take some Star Trek stuff with a big grain of salt, and this especially goes for anything involving TOS and worst of all the 1st season of TOS. Their understanding of astrophysics on that show back then really wasn't that much better than "Lost in Space".

Comment Re:Oh drop it already (Score 1) 353

Also, Putin is getting his email laundry aired. I'm rather shocked /. hasn't had a post regarding the Cyber Hunta email leak (http://

Ars also has a writeup on this:

Comment Re: Shut up, indeed. (Score 1) 110

I think intelligence is too broad of a word and implies too many assumptions and is probably a poor word for "artificial intelligence" becomes it implies a lot of things, such as agency, autonomy, understanding, infinite scope, and human-like communication and personality.

I think the human-like part is partly what keeps people from seeing other forms of AI; they don't stop to think about intelligences that may not look, communicate or act like people or necessarily be coherent platforms or systems.

Comment Re:Because Enterprise Faired So Poorly (Score 1) 166

Enterprise could have and should have been the ultimate Star Trek prequel, and other than the stupid temporal cold war and Xindi things, I quite enjoyed the show. It was quite fascinating to see how new technologies and discoveries were dealt with by the crew.

Yep, this is exactly what I thought of that show too. The other thing that really sucked about it was the horrible, horrible, opening theme song. Luckily when viewing it on Netflix, it's not hard to skip past: make sure to memorize the exact length of it.

Seasons 1, 2, and 4 were mostly good. The whole Xindi thing was not, nor the "temporal cold war". Also, those 2 episodes in the last season about the mirror universe were fantastic, as was the opening theme for those episodes. It was there that I realized why the Star Trek future seems so unrealistic to us: we're living in the mirror universe.

Comment Re:Showrunner? (Score 1) 166

Huh? You're completely forgetting Enterprise, which came before JJ's lens-flare crap. Enterprise was surprisingly good; I turned up my nose at it, but got around to watching it a few years ago, and wished I had given it a chance when it was new. It had its problems of course, but overall it was fun to watch.

The biggest problem with Enterprise, however, was the horrifically bad opening theme song. Just awful. Luckily, I watched it on Netflix, so I got really good at skipping past it.

Also, the whole Xindi arc in season 3 was disappointing, but it was in direct response to 9/11 so it was somewhat understandable.

Comment Re:Easy win so load show up with friends (Score 1) 166

Star Trek TOS came out when color TV was still very new, and a lot of people still had B&W TVs. There were 2 issues: 1) the color TVs didn't have the greatest color rendition or resolution or clarity, and 2) they wanted to "wow" viewers who did have color TVs. As a result, everything in the show had crazy, vivid colors.

Comment Re:Discourage, don't ban (Score 1) 69

Since it sounds like you're already interviewing for other jobs, the solution is pretty simple: ignore the on-call stuff and do whatever you'd normally do. If they're able to reach you and you can help, fine (you apparently get extra pay for this). Otherwise, oh well... "sorry!". What are they going to do, fire you for a mistake? (Or rather, a "mistake".)

Remember, it's always works better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission.

Comment Re:Nothing (Score 1) 110

I have not confused anything, I have studied computer science and I am very aware of what AI in that context is (I have even built systems that are considered AI) and that is why my reply was "nothing", i.e. what AI actually is currently does not involve sentient machines that could run amok if we let them develop ciphers and start communicating.
And I am not outraged, I am simply underwhelmed and rather tired at reading sensational AI stories that are nowhere near as exciting as they are implying.
The term "AI" that you encounter every day around you is either science fiction or marketing.

Comment Re:except it wasn't people renting out their rooms (Score 1) 300

You left out GPS. It didn't exist at all until the DOD put those satellites up there. UPS and FedEx depend on the postal service for the last mile in many places.They wouldn't do that if they could deliver the package cheaper by themselves.

For vaccines, many manufacturers were leaving the business due to the extremely high liability in that one in millions case where it provokes a reaction leading to severe disability. Now the Feds insure that liability.

You are now aware of 3 of those being cheaper (or existing at all) due to government.

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