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cW  ·  44 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Neoliberalism is creating loneliness

Thanks for this. I connect with your descriptions of the ache of disconnection, even though my situations are all different. I'm rich in friends, even though most of them are scattered so far, and that is its own kind of different pain. Ibuprofen for social pain makes good sense, though I'd never thought of it before. It seems inflammation is the problem regardless, doesn't matter if the trigger is externally or internally initiated. I've been consuming turmeric paste in my coffee to combat inflammation, rhodiola rosea when I need a sanguine shot of energy, and kava kava when I need to chill. It does well enough most of the time.

I really enjoyed that How To Be Alone video. It's beautiful, and contains lots of helpful stuff in it, threads from some of the best traditions which promote solitude. I'm thinking of that Pascal quote right now, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," though I think he was selling it from the negative, rather than positive side. The Buddhist version sees the solitude as the link to the real source of connection, beyond people. That's present in some Christian mystics' thought as well. Not sure if it's what Pascal was getting at though. Regardless, we need a functional web of social interconnection whenever we leave the cell of solitude, meditation, prayer, what have you. That web's not there on its own though, and I find myself hamfistedly trying to pretend it is, or weave together a few inches of it. Playing music with strangers has been the best catalyst for unexpected connection lately.

Are you an Alaskan currently? I've never been, but I have a friend who moved out to Homer. He tells me it's one of the best places on earth.

If you make your facebook ad, let me know. I'd like to see it. You should cc: the guy who wrote the guardian article too, if you do.

lil  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 12, 2017

    Pronoia: the belief that the universe is conspiring in your favour.
I had to look it up. I'm a little proanoid, but I mostly believe you have to take the first steps to change your life. Then the universe will rush in to help.
francopoli  ·  104 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Sci-Fi club no. 29: Cowboy Bebop Discussion

The recent half of the family came over to get the hell out of Ireland when the Brits starved people intentionally, then sort-of intentionally, sort of accidentally started a religious civil war. According to the family bible, they stayed with black families that introduced them to Jewish people before they noped-the-hell-out of NYC and Boston in the 1830's. They ended up in Philly just in time to realize they had to go west. They kept a list of names of people that helped them out along the way and ended up mining in the Rocky Mountains when the Civil War started.

The father of one of the families notes in the margins of Romans 14 and not sure why this stuck with me, but in shaky pen was written: Hebrew fed me beef. First in my years eating flesh of cattle.

The older men in the group had to be in their 40's when they came over, so this was a 50ish year old man writing this statement. I wonder how many more Irish immigrants never ate cow/beef until they came to the US and started working here.

thundara  ·  310 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: NeverNeverGawkerEverAGAIN

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

bfv  ·  324 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Schadenfreude

Our choice is between more of the same or self immolation. There is less to say about the pros of more of the same than the cons of self immolation.

goobster  ·  370 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: So I'm going to Kosovo??

Congratulations! I lived (in Prishtine) and worked in Kosovo (at Film City) for a while when I was a civilian contractor with KFOR.

Kosovo was rough then - 12/13 years ago - and really the ass end of the world. Power for a couple of hours a day, every third or fourth day, often no running water, and the Albanian mafia running basically everything. (The whole thing in Kosovo was a proxy war between the Albanian mafia and the EU, and largely unrelated to the problems in the northern parts of the Balkans. The Albanians were trying to annex the land by trafficking shitloads of Albanians in, and claiming they had "always lived there", and the EU/US were just trying to get everyone to stop shooting long enough that they could have a reasonable conversation with Serbia about the region, and wondering what the fuck the Albanians were going on about.)

The one power plant was coal-fired, and it made the snow was bright yellow from all the soot and pollution in the air.

My friend ran the - what was it called then? International Security Center, or whatever? - where they housed and tried all the criminals. Nice guy from Texas, ex-cop, ex-military, and a grandfather. Talk about a shitty job, man. Working in a craptastic place like Kosovo, doing a thankless job, for an organization that wished he didn't need to exist, a public that was against him, and genuine war criminals were the people he got to hang out with on a daily basis. Man... that was hard work.

Good luck with it. The bureaucracy is inconceivably Byzantine (appropriate, considering the history of the region) but I expect the best introduction to the current situation there is understanding how it went from Yugoslavia to the mess it is now, and the best way to do that is to read my friend Adam LeBor's book, "Milosevic"

It really will be a good primer to understanding the tribal underpinnings of everything you are getting into there.

Good luck. And thank you for doing the good and important work that needs to happen there. I did my part with UXO awareness, but that was all I could manage before I got out.

swedishbadgergirl  ·  409 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 11, 2016

So I've been in the mind section of the hospotal for a littel bit more than two weeks now. It feel like time i here is standing still while everyone else is moving on.

I have never wanted to stop time so much like I want now. Or fastforward.

But I can't. So instead I'm receiving a foster family and only God knows when.

And... I know I'll look back on this thinging it was har tiny Ronja, but you did it

But it is just SO HARD.

flagamuffin  ·  420 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Julia Baird: Being Dishonest About Ugliness

    Two p.m. Vivian Jackson’s class, Room 207.

    What Calvin can’t see: He can’t see the small, pretty girl sitting opposite him, the one who is wearing little rows of red, yellow and blue barrettes shaped like airplanes in her braided hair. He can’t see the line of small, green plants growing in yellow pots all along the sunny window sill. And he can’t see Mrs. Jackson in her rose-pink suit and pink enameled earrings shaped like little swans.

    (“Were they really shaped like little swans?” he will ask later.)

    But Calvin can feel the warm spring breeze—invisible to everyone’s eyes, not just his—blowing through the window and he can hear the tapping of a young oak tree’s branches against the window. He can hear Mrs. Jackson’s pleasant, musical voice and, later, if you ask him what she looks like, he will say, “She’s nice.”

A Boy of Unusual Vision -- indeed.

wasoxygen  ·  426 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Washington Metro: When infrastructure maintenance is an afterthought

The Post has long been a champion and cheerleader for Metro. That it is now expressing such despair is telling.

It may be hard to imagine how bad a system can be that still delivers passengers to destinations daily. I am well-situated as a rider: I can walk to a station served by two lines, both of which directly connect to a station from which I can walk to work. Yet I rode my bike every day last week, and intend to do so whenever the weather allows.

Some of the original 1000-series cars delivered in the 1970's are still in service, and show their age. Since a 2009 crash, Metro only uses them in the middle of trains, away from the crumple zones at the ends. Later cars have upgrades like digital displays which can display upcoming stations, but frequently show only the name of the line.

Electronic platform signs showing arrival times were a long-demanded upgrade, but when they show approaching train times it is often bad news, and they often don't show train times at all, rather information about elevator outages, a static PSA like the website address, or stupid see-it-say-it security reminders.

The escalators are notoriously unreliable; it is noteworthy when all the escalators in a station are running. Many were built to exit a station into open air. This was a somewhat magical experience when it was snowing, rather less so in the rain. Eventually glass canopies were installed over the exits. Same with elevators; I once saw a man give up waiting for a broken elevator and take his wheelchair down the escalator.

The farecard system is complicated, fares are charged based on distance (requiring turnstile interaction at entry and exit) and there is usually a queue of confused tourists at the farecard machines on weekends. Station managers, when present, are helpful, but the fare variation, difference in paper vs. plastic RFID fares (paper farecards were recently discontinued), and primitive vending technology are challenging for newcomers.

Even a seasoned commuter must stay alert. Approaching a turnstile, the heavy jaws of the gate are likely open to admit the previous rider. You wave or wiggle or drag your SmarTrip card over the reader, and once it registers, a tiny green electronic display, appropriate for a 1980's pocket calculator, updates showing your balance. You can't read this without stopping, so you proceed through, only to have the jaws close, bruising your thigh and destroying any smartphone in your pocket. Turns out the tiny display actually showed a low balance in the same tiny green letters. Only recently were you allowed to exit a station with a negative balance of a dime or two (you can enter with a low balance because your fare is not determined until you exit).

On board, the lack of good information displays on any but the rarely-sighted 7000-series trains oblige the operators to make high-volume, low-clarity announcements about upcoming stations. These are mixed with automated warnings about the doors. Metro doors are especially touchy, and frequently require several attempts to close. (Annoyingly, they also require several seconds to open, upon arrival at a station, as the operators have to stand up and look out a window before operating doors.) Operators will sternly warn passengers of the need to offload a train if a door jams. This happens to me once or twice a year, and when a loaded train unloads onto an already-crowded platform in rush hour, it is an ugly scene.

If I am leaving work between 5 and 6, I sometimes take the train in the wrong direction, further downtown, so I can turn around and catch a less-crowded train going my way.

Official IT tools are unpolished and clunky, so most riders rely on third-party tools that depend on an API. MetroHero is a recent arrival. You can look up historical data on performance of individual lines and see that most airlines manage better performance. I don't know if WMATA has a slogan, but they might want to adopt Delta's old underachieving promise: We Get You There.

francopoli  ·  461 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Lunar X, Imaged by ME!

    Question: why is seeing and capturing the X a big deal?

For 99.9999% of humanity, it is not a big deal at all. There is really no science to be done here, after all the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has fully mapped the moon down to the meter resolution level. The "X" has been know about for at least a generation, so it is not like I am the first to see it. And the reality is that outside of a few nerds here and there, nobody cares.

But I do. The "X" is only visible for about an hour every Lunar month, and it is only visible to the US in dark skies about 2-3 times a year. So it is a rare thing to see. I've seen images of it, seen video of it, seen other people excited about the "X" but never got to see it with my own eyes before. Seeing something is an entirely different thing and looking at a picture. Take for instance, oh, at random.. The Antenna galaxies. I can show you amazing photos from Hubble and some of the big telescopes in vivid colours swirling texture and amazing detail. I've seen them with my own eyes and they look more like this under very dark skies and clean air with no moon out to mess with your night vision. Honestly, seeing them takes a 12" or larger telescope, a few hours to get acclimated to the dark, make sure equipment is in tune etc, and is a pain in the rear. Most people are never going to go through that effort to see something that a normal person will say "that it?"

But there is something more than just looking. It is the knowing that a few measly photons of light traveled at least 50 million years uninterrupted through the dead, dark of space and ended up triggering a chemical reaction in the rods and cones of the eye of a hairless chimp on a tiny spinning ball of iron covered in silicate rocks. An event that otherwise has no purpose in the grand scheme of the universe impacted the eyeball of a creature with enough brain and mental energy to say "I understand."

When I give telescope classes, I get sort of laughed at when I talk about the, and I hate this word but it fits, 'spiritual' aspects of astronomy. Looking at the sky, seeing things that even 100 years ago were not understood, not known, though impossible and you get a sense of scale and awe that is hard for me to put into words. I've seen, with my eyes, a galaxy whose light has been traveling longer than complex life has existed on earth. I've seen with my own eyes the proof that space-time curves, that gravity bends light, and at the same time had light that traveled roughly EIGHT BILLION YEARS hit the back of my retina (This took a special night at a star party with a 30" telescope. The owner screamed at people to come and look; he had a line all night and the guy was in tears he was so happy he could show people something that defines awesome in every sense of the word.)

So, why is the "X" important? It is something that I have wanted to see but either get clouds, or work, or I forget to set an alarm, all the little ways that I have missed this over the years. For the same reason that tonight I am going to freeze my ass off in windy freezing frost-laden air to get a picture of Jupiter with two moons, two shadows and the Great Red Spot all facing the earth. I'm so expecting to suffer to see this that I preemptively took tomorrow off to recover. I've seen this image with the Hubble and from people far more advanced in photography than I but I have never seen it with my own eyes. This comes back to why I do outreach as well. When someone at random comes across you and your gear in a park, and see the moon for the first time, or Jupiter, Saturn's rings, and exclaim "you can see that!??!??!" or "I never knew you could do this" I see the same thing. The seeing... that is something that you just cannot duplicate in any other way to make it have a meaning.

The 'why' is a great question. Thank you for asking it.

vile  ·  487 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Which Podcasts, and why?

I'll preface this by saying that I only recently began listening to many of these.

99% Invisible

Common Sense with Dan Carlin: Interesting perspective on politics.

Data Skeptic: Data science from a skeptical perspective.

Freakonomics Radio

Hello Internet: CGPGrey and Brady Haran talking about things.

Invisibilia: Similar to 99% Invisible but with a broader scope.

Lore: True and scary stories from history.

Note to Self: Discussion about being human in this day and age.

Play Dead: Discussing death in video games. -- This one is very new, and I can't find a proper link for it.

Still Buffering: Two sisters, roughly 15 years apart, discuss being a teenager.

Still Untitled: Adam Savage et al. talk about things.

The Greatest Generation: A Star Trek: TNG podcast by two guys who are a bit embarrassed to have a Star Trek: TNG podcast.

The Minimalists: mnmlsm -- I'm actually thinking of unsubscibing from this one. It seems to be getting a bit repetitive.

The Partially Examined Life: A philosophy podcast for the everyman.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe: A show about science and skepticism.

Useful Science: Interesting topics in science.

Waking Up: Sam Harris discusses a variety of topics ranging from politics to science to spirituality.

Welcome to Night Vale: Hilarity and Cosmic Horror combine in a way so beautiful and terrifying that your attempts to comprehend it will thow you into the depths of insanity.

cgod  ·  505 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What makes an atheist love religious music?

I think this fella's fondness for religious music is a bit shallow. Religious music is beautiful because it speaks of an all encompassing love, solace, and forgiveness from a power so much more potent than the powers of man that it has to leave one grasping to touch it's hem.

I don't have a single shred of faith but would that I did. What comfort it would be to have a vessel to put all my shame, fear and doubt into. I'm jealous of those who have found such solace.

I could put up more and better but I'm pretty tired and can't seem to get neurons to fire.

yellowoftops  ·  578 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 3 Questions With @arguewithatree

I'm way too drunk to transcribe right now. But I'm nothing if not stupid, so here we go.

Hello Hubski, this is Chelsea, arguewithatree, it is Monday the 23rd 3:30 p.m. Figured I'd bang this out before I head out to class. I did really good 'newgreen'. I really wanted to peek at the questions before I got this started, but I waited. I waited. And I'm going to look at them now for the first time.

So #1. What is something you are proud of and why?

I think I'm most proud of how far I've come. I think I've done a lot of growing and changing even just in the last year or two but definitely in the last five or so years. So I don't think that if you had asked me at 16 if I thought I'd be in DC studying security at a high level or, you know, comfortable in my ability to speak Arabic or analyze complex problems, you know, I don't even know what I would have said. I think 16 year old me would be pretty impressed with 23 year old me.

#2. How would you describe hubski to someone?

I think I would if I was trying to get someone to try out hubski, I would recommend that they come on a Wednesday and come to Pubski to sort of get the greatest sense of what hubski really is about. It's about a community of people who may or may not have never met eachother and may never meet eachother who come from all over the world who come and discuss their lives and their interests and the world around them in a sort of faceless but not unfriendly environment. There's no pressure to produce attention grabbing content. You share things because they interest you and may catch someone else's eye and get followers. It's an actual community.

#3. What is your message?

I was kind of hoping that I would get this question. And I was thinking about it, and I know you didn't want me to think about my answers but I was thinking about this one. And I think a message that's been really comforting to me especially as a high anxiety person, over achiever, very type-a is the message that you won't ever be the first to do something and you certainly not the last to do something. I think that's very comforting to know that there are people who have gone before you and know what it's like to be at your point in space-time and that you are really not alone in what it is that you're experiencing and that you're not the last. You will be able to look and see when others have reached that point that you're at and that it's your duty to help work them through that in sort of a pay it forward pay it backward type message.

Yeah, I think that's all I have for you. I can't wait to see what people think and what kind of music you put to this. So thanks for reaching out to me to do this and participate in this awesome project.

(And then, I shit you not, a bunch of cats meow over a harpsichord).

lil  ·  605 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The great chain of being sure about things

Were you wearing a large outfit when you read it?

mk  ·  620 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Test Post, Please Ignore

Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.

Well, I think I still stand by my premise that downmarket does change art. It's true, brownies didn't denigrate Adams, but that's because Adams (and the rest of group f/64) managed to stay ahead of the advancing technical curve. Everyone knows his name today since his images are so accessible to most people, but most modernist photographers were making much more creative and interesting work, in my opinion.

Karl Blossfeldt, Adiantum Pedatum, ca. 1920s; Photogravure. 10 x 8 in.

El Lissitzky, Runner in the City, ca. 1926; Gelatin Silver Print. 5 1/4 x 5 in.

Edward Weston, Shell, 1927; Gelatin Silver Print. 9 3/8 x 7 3/8 in.

Man Ray, Anatomies, 1929; Gelatin Silver Print. 8 7/8 x 6 3/4 in.

Iwata Nakayama, Eve, 1940; Gelatin Silver Print. 18 1/8 x 13 3/8 in.

Barbara Morgan, Pure Energy and Neurotic Man, 1940; Gelatin Silver Print Mounted on Board, 13 1/2 x 10 1/2 in.

Without getting into each of these artist's work individually, I think it's fair to say they were reacting to the growing commonplace of image making through abstraction, just like painting did. They had the freedom to experiment with new ideas in an age long before photoshop and the digital darkroom made unconventional photographs commonplace.

I think a contemporary version of Adams would struggle to survive in today's image culture that's saturated with "Earth Porn". If you look at someone like Peter Lik, which is probably the closest contemporary analogue of Adams I can think of, he's managed to make a name for himself through marketing mostly. He's got a book publishing company, and a TV series that ran for a season on The Weather Channel, buzzfeed articles about him, etc., but his actual pictures, while certainly technically adept in every sense, look like only marginally better versions of the everyday clichéd smut people submit all the time to the SFW Porn subs, with the biggest difference being that he shoots with film and makes big C-prints instead of shooting digital and uploading to imgur or flickr or whatever the cool kids/"pros" use these days.

Peter Lik or SFW Earth Porn?

Peter Lik or SFW Earth Porn?

Peter Lik or SFW Earth Porn?

Were those shot with a ten thousand dollar prime lens or a kit lens? Who knows, it's anyone's guess. Lik's wasn't though, and it'd be apparent by the time we enlarge them to 30x40. If I wanted to spend a few minutes in Photoshop, I'm sure I could make imitation Ansel Adams pictures from a few cherry picked earth porn submissions that would fool most people. We're so saturated with pretty pictures, 99% are blind to the minor technical details that separate a "good" photograph from a "great" print, meanwhile the cool and interesting ("artistic") photographs are the ones which manage to stake out unique creative territory or have interesting conceptual ideas behind them.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, White Rhinoceros, 1980; Gelatin Silver Print, 13 7/16 x 23 1/16 in.

Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai), 1993; Transparency in Lightbox, 90 x 148.5 in.

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent II Diptychon, 2001; C-Print mounted to Acrylic Glass, 207 c 307 c. each

Roland Fischer, Birmingham (Day), 2007; C-Print face-mounted to Plexiglas, 71 x 49 in.

You mention Mapplethorpe, but come on, you know he rode the same 80s outrage train that brought Serrano into the limelight, and a big part of his notoriety in particular came from a premature death at the height of his popularity. I'd be willing to bet everything that if all he ever made were those (yes, technically amazing) black and white shots of lilies (Imogen Cunningham was doing that just as well fifty years prior), nobody would have paid him a second glance. His polaroids sit in a museum alongside the large format canvas prints just the same. Sure, now that the whole transgressive art movement is passé, everyone loves to buy his flower pictures as an awesome coffee table book to show off how artsy they are, but those images are certainly not what made him who he was in the art scene. Now I don't want to come off as lecturing you (I remember last time!) about art because I know you're as artistically literate as I am, but you must admit artists have always had to respond to (and push forward) the culture that they make work within.

I think we're lamenting the same things here, a low bar to entry (particularly in a place like youtube) means flooding the culture with low quality work which is a shame. Idiots like this Wong fellow can't tell the difference, and neither can most people, but simultaneously, people's consumption of media is changing; it's not just young kids that are watching youtube, I can count on one hand how many TV series I watch and one more hand for how many new movies I watch. I look at Lynch's take on watching movies on your phone and I agree with his point, but at the same time more and more content will be tailored for this new kind of casual consumption, and the forward thinking content makers will be making work in that direction. The true cinematic masters will still have their place in both the past and present, but like the portrait painters of yore, I wonder if their most popular heyday has passed. It's not the 1940s and we don't all trundle down to the local nickelodeon to watch a movie every weekend. Maybe Lynch should make some VR cinema?

Now if I were to address the the economics behind modern Hollywood TV and film, I must admit, I'd be over my head and I know you have a much better grasp of that. You mention Rome, and I watched it when it came out; I thought it was good, I was sad when they cancelled it, although it never really captivated me the way GoT did. I think with the birth of Jesus, they could have done a lot with the series, but like you say, it ran into a financial wall. It's hard to capture lighting in a bottle like that when there are so many great shows out there, not to mention all the new types of (lower-quality) entertainment. Anyone in their basement with a great idea can go out and make compelling content, content that even looks halfway decent (to most people) as Wong's video demonstrates. That means to the average consumer of media, the person paying a buck per second of film is competing on the same level as a person with a flipcam, and if the viewers can't tell the difference, on a commercial level, one is going to suffer disproportionately compared with the other.

Like you point out, costs for "professional quality" content haven't gone down all that much, and I guess it's because the best quality content is pouring money into diminishing returns to eek out that little bit of extra wow factor, and big casts, shooting on location, hyper-realistic vfx, despite all the tech, is still time consuming and expensive. In spite of that, just because the market for that specific kind of content is tightening, I don't think it will ever go away. People are enchanted by new things, fresh stories, new ways of seeing, new ways of communicating, such is life. No matter how popular low-brow youtube becomes, I think detailed and immersive audio visual experiences will always be compelling to people.

tacocat  ·  695 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What is your favorite interesting, cool, informative video?

Pretty much every CGP Grey video. I like Numberphile, Periodic Videos and I'm starting to watch Sixty Symbols. I stumbled across this School of Life channel. I'm just gonna embed this one because I made a point to watch it today and it'll save me clicks.

rob05c  ·  703 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Do we know anything about the current status of the Hubski API?

We don't have good ETA. We all have day jobs, unfortunately. But I can tell you where I am.

Right now, Hubski is a monolithic Arc app storing data as flat files.

My current list looks something like this:

1. Write an app reading SQL and serving JSON over REST, as an internal API. This will serve things like /post/id rather than /user/posts, and is not only unwieldy as a public API, but also serves private data like mail.

2. Write a script to convert the flat files to SQL.

3. Convert the Arc code to read from the internal API.

4. Write an External API, with endpoints like /user/posts, /posts/global, /tag/, etc. Hard, because it needs authentication to serve private user data. Easy, because we'll already have an internal API app to modify, and data will be in SQL.

The internal API is necessary before an external API. It will fix scalability issues we're having, it enables and simplifies a lot of other features we want to add, and most of the work transfers to the external anyway.

I'm about 60% done with 1 and 2, bearing in mind the 80–20 rule. But again, I have limited spare time. I'm also on vacation next week, so I'm losing the next two weekends. I'm conservatively hoping to have the internal API deployed for most data in a couple months, and to have an external API by the new year. I know that's long, believe me, it frustrates me more than anyone. If this were my full-time job, I could have it done in two weeks, tops.

Incidentally, if anyone is super-anxious to see the new API and conversion code I'm working on, I could be persuaded to put it on github sooner rather than later. It's all Racket LISP.

Going thru the Arc code to release it is also on my list. But, writing new Racket is more fun than poring thru old Arc looking for security concerns.

You don't need an API. You can always scrape.

jfinster  ·  714 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Comic-Con 2015 Reel

Give me a few days and I'll make a try and write up a separate post going into more detail about it.

But to give you a reply now, I don't think he ever understood the original star trek crew, or the ethos of the franchise, what made star trek unique. He actually says it himself, here's a few clips and some quotes.

JJ Abrams on Star Trek - Interview - Film4

    As someone who was never a fan of Star Trek, when I started working on the first star trek movie we did, I really approached it from a sort of movie-goer's perspective, which is what do I want to see, what would make me excited. I had to do it in that genuine way and not in a 'oh they'll love this', or 'the trekkies will want that' because I don't know.

    I remember as a kid I didn't get him (Kirk). He was too handsome, he was too swaggery, he was too cocky, and you know, full of himself.

    Spock was far smarter than I was, Bones was much grumpier than I was, you know. So my point is that, while, I didn't connect with any of those characters, including Sulu, including Uhura...

J J Abrams discusses Star Trek and Star Wars

    I think that part of it might be that I have a kind of ADD, of kind of, wanting things to happen and sometimes I have to be reminded by people smarter and wiser than myself to just calm down, and to just let something play, you don't need to have another, sort of, thing happening right there.

    Though I was never a Star Trek fan as a kid, since I was eleven years old I was a fan of Star Wars, I feel like I'm one of those fans.

When he was interviewed on the daily show by Jon Stewart, he said that he was never a trekkie and that “It always felt too philosophical”.

So to sum up what he has said:

- He was never a fan.

- Didn't know what trekkies, the fans, would want.

- Didn't 'get' or connect with any of the main characters.

- Had difficulty with the slower, less action-focussed pace. Had to be told when he was cramming unnecessary elements/events.

- Equates being a Star Wars fan to also being a Star Trek fan (They're completely different in tone).

- Didn't enjoy the franchise's thoughtful, philsophical leanings.

I think when you put it all together in one place like this, it's obvious that he was the wrong person to direct the reboots. There was no way he was going to stay true to the original tone, spirit, characters. It was always going to be his re-imagning, that is, the re-imaging of someone who didn't understand or like Star Trek. A recipe for disaster.

This youtuber makes some good points and I'd recommend you watch that clip, but to paraphrase the best bits for you;

It is the philosophy that sets Star Trek apart, without it Star Trek is just another space story.

The philosophy of Star Trek is that humans are capable of creating a fair and just society, so we should do that. We can be better so we should be better.

I would also add another part of it's philosophy is that humans can work together peacefully with alien races who seem completely different to us, but through perseverance we can overcome conflict and better ourselves and others (when Star Trek first came out this was a metaphor for cooperation between different cultures and ethnicities). None of this is apparent in Abrams's Star Trek.

What upsets me the most is that you think the reboot can still be Star Trek if you remove that. If you think movie-goers want movies with huge firefights then that's ok, you can have huge firefights and still have the movie be Star Trek. That's not my problem, but if the main point of the movie is the firefights, then you've done it wrong.

I appreciate that Abrams wanted to make the reboot attractive to new audiences, but he threw away the core of what set Star Trek apart from other sci-fi action/drama. It's because he didn't want to make a Star Trek movie, he wanted to make a sci-fi action movie and the Star Trek franchise just happened to be the one he was given to work with. I feel like he took advantage of a pre-existing franchise that he should have respected instead of trying to re-mold it into his own (non-fan's) vision.

In the process of re-molding it to his own vision, he mangled characters that have been loved for decades. He didn't do justice to any of the characters in my opinion, not a single one, but I'll just talk about Kirk and Spock here because they are central to the original star trek crew, and Abrams got them so badly wrong.

- Kirk is a brilliant and daring starship captain. He's not afraid to break regulations to do what he thinks is right, and not afraid to take risks when the stakes are high. That being said, he doesn't take his position or choices lightly. Abrams seems to misinterpret this as Kirk as always being reckless and having no respect for authority, and instead of portraying Kirk as a unique thinker, he simply skates around on good luck and comes across as flippant and arrogant. Kirk can be a bit of a womaniser, but in Abrams's hands Kirk is just a horny frat boy.

- Spock is half vulcan, half human and an amazing scientist. He usually plays the devil's advocate when Kirk is pondering a problem, and draws the best out of Kirk. An ongoing theme is that his calm vulcan side balances Kirk's more emotional human tendencies. In Abrams's hands, Kirk and Spock are like two bickering kids. Spock in particular seems to have the emotional control of a child, when infact the opposite should be true (Spock is the most calm and composed out of the crew). Yes Spock had internal conflicts between his vulcan and human natures, but Abrams doesn't understand how to portray this with restraint and goes totally over the top with it. Spock stumbles around like a hormonal teenager, throwing tantrums and snogging crewmembers when their minds would have been on the task at hand, bringing an incredibly embarrassing juvenile light to what was a sophisticated intelligent character. His vulcan nature sometimes isolated him from the mostly human crew, making him come across as aloof, but in Abrams's Spock is just self-righteous and possibly slightly racist/species-ist

I don't want to go into plot here, I've already gone on too long, but there are so many ridiculous things from both movies that frustrate me. Military/scientific crew members taking the time during an emergency situation to have a relationship squabble, magical rejuvenating blood that turns up conveniently, a female weapons scientist that is totally useless and gets the most attention when she takes her clothes off, technologies that turn up to solve a plot hole that would break the rules of the universe and are never heard of again, Spock the scientist ends the climax of the movie with a fist fight, old spock happens to be hiding out in the one cave on the entire planet that Kirk is dropped nearby, Kirk becomes captain after smuggling himself on board... The list goes on and on and makes me angry just thinking about it all, I'll have to save it for that other post.

To finish up, I give you ye ole' classic Hitler reacts to new Star Trek movie although youtube is crawling with vids from trekkies who didn't like the reboots.

To me, Abrams's Star Trek movies are just sci-fi action movies slapped with the Star Trek brand. If you changed the names of the characters and made their ship different, there would be nothing to tell you it was Star Trek at all. It is possible to reboot a franchise and make it new and interesting to the old fans while attracting new ones, but I don't think Abrams managed that. Instead of looking at the challenges facing humanity as it ventures into space, he focussed on the action scenes and what felt like adolescent angst. He took what was a thoughtful franchise about humanity exploring the cosmos and turned it into a soap opera with action set in space.

Taking all this into account, I think you can see why I might be nervous about The Force Awakens :) I just don't think the guy has good taste, I don't trust him.

bluFox  ·  810 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: ​Your Porn Is Watching You

Each of them reduces the bits in your fingerprint to some extent. Ghostery (and others that block third party requests) is reasonable if you trust the domain (not just the embedded objects in the page) you are visiting to not be interested in collecting data about you. However, if the domain itself is collecting data about you, then you have just provided one more bit of information that distinguishes you (since the percentage of population running Ghostery is smaller than the full population of browsers).

Secret Agent seems more reasonable in that it is actively targeted towards detecting fingerprinting. The way it works is by spoofing your HTTP headers, which are used in generating some bits to identify you. However, if you are directly on the internet (not behind a NAT (NAT is a way of sharing ipaddresses with others in the same network) -- being directly on the internet is rare these days), your IP is still accessible. If you are behind a NAT, you will have to trust your ISP not to track you.

Disconnect me is similar, and routes your request through a VPN, but you will have to trust them. (By routing your request through a VPN, they make your request seem to come through a different part of the world, than your original location, which removes one bit of information about you -- they do more, but this seems the most salient of what they do.)

NoScript works by removing the vector of many identification techniques, by disabling Javascript. However, it can also make your browsing experience painful if you are expecting dynamic look and feel in websites that are enabled by Javascript (you can whitelist, but how effective that is, depends on your browsing habits). Secondly, it does not eliminate all bits of identification.

All in all, all these are useful techniques, which can reduce the exposed bits identifying you to a degree (You will also have to trust the tool itself not to send any incriminating data back. There has been instances when these tools themselves turned traitor). They are all complementary to each other to a degree too.

lil  ·  823 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 25, 2015

Record and post one of the speeches for comments. I assume you tailor your speech to each of the four grades.

Address his crazy shit with brilliant wit.

"My opponent says I don't know my ass from my elbow. He's right. I don't know my ass -- my opponent, however, knows my ass intimately." hmmmm, no that might not sound right.