Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A universal pronoun?

In the olden days, everyone was either a him or a her.  If you were something else, you hid that.  But times have changed – a bit – and more and more people are breaking out of the old, societal boxes they had been placed in.  This has led to people wanting new pronouns.  My personal opinion is that no matter what stand you take on this issue, some will call you a slave to the status quo, while others will claim you are using language to promote radical ideas. 

I’m not here to promote or condemn using per, ve, zie, or whatever.  I’m just pointing out that the matter is only going to get more complicated.  A century from now – thanks to genetic engineering and nanorobotics – humans will be able to modify their bodies in ways we can barely imagine.  Some will modify themselves so that they can live on the surface of Mars without needing a spacesuit, some will upload their consciousness to a virtual world, some will form hive minds with other people, or even AIs.  Will all these groups earn unique pronouns?  Will you say something about a glathnex, and someone will ask, “Are those the walrus people?” “No, the pronoun for the walrus people is glathnox.  Glathnex refers to the lesbian hive mind.”

Instead of creating a pronoun for every subcategory of human, could we just use one for everyone?  After some thought I came up with huen, which is short for human entity, be that a single, physical body, a virtual body, or a hive mind.  But won’t that make things less informative, you ask?  Well then, you could just use the huen’s name: Joe, Blathen417, Ϣ.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

How much of Wonder Woman's greatness comes from lowered expectations?

I remember when Spider-Man 2 came out in 2004 a lot of people thought it was great because of the plot, the interesting characters, and their developments.  My thoughts were, Aren't those things movies are supposed to have?  Had movies gotten so bad that when a movie finally did what a movie was supposed to do we didn't know how to react and just called it great?

So what is Wonder Woman in and of itself?  Your basic superhero movie done competently.  Have superhero movies gotten so bad that when one finally does what superhero movies are supposed to do we don't know how to react and just call it great?

It's like if a student had four tests and the grades they received were: 55, 27, 25, and 93, you'd flip out at all the hard work they did to get that 93.  But if the grades were: 85, 77, 75, and then 93, would it have been so special?  (In case you're wondering, that first set are the Tomatometer scores for Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman as I wrote this up.)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A question about Wonder Woman

One of the biggest complaints about Man of Steel was the wanton destruction of Metropolis.  Some wondered if that was why in Batman v Superman the fight is largely in a, conveniently empty section of Gotham.  Which makes me wonder if that’s why they set Wonder Woman in World War I.  Yes, there’s a deadly No Man’s Land, but it was there before Diana showed up.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What’s up with North Korean rockets?

It seems that every few months there will be a news headline along the lines of “North Korean rocket test fails.” So why are the North Koreans so bad with rockets?

Are they technologically inept?  Rockets are complicated – it is rocket science after all – and even outside of North Korea for every hundred or so rockets we launch a few go boom.  But we’ve gotten a lot better.  Back in the fifties, we were blowing up rockets left and right.  You’d think that at some point the Soviets or Chinese would have given the North Koreans tips on how not to blow up their rockets.  Or is the North Korean technology on the level we had in the 1950’s, so are they just doing as well as we did back then?

Is it inept/deranged leadership?  As I pointed out, rockets are complicated.  You need to test their components, separately and combined, dozens even hundreds of times to make sure they all work.  And when parts unexpectedly fail, or when some unforeseen design problem raises its head, that causes delays.  But when someone comes to the head of the rocket team saying, “Next Thursday is the anniversary of our leader losing his virginity.  Launch a rocket by then, or face a firing squad,” they probably launch a rocket, even if not all the bugs are worked out of it.

Is it sabotage?  Now before you all jump to the CIA conspiracy, it would probably be South Korean Intelligence.  Probably with some help from the CIA.  Or it could be internal.  If the deranged leader keeps talking about how strong they are with their rockets, and the rockets keep blowing up, that would show weakness.  Possibly sowing the seeds for a coup. 

And a coup might be a smart idea.  If the new leader announced that the old was taken out by some foreign power, one, how would the North Korean people know otherwise, and two, the rest of the world would assume the CIA did it.  Hell, Trump would probably take credit for it in a tweet in the hope to shore up his poll numbers from a sector of his base even while the rest of the government was saying, “We had nothing to do with it.” And during the resulting brouhaha here in America, North Korea would attack South Korea.  With rockets that worked.