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Everything posted by Zoraptor

  1. Triton is probably being visited because it's an (well, thought to be an) accessible captured Plutoid/ dwarf planet/ planetoid or whatever they're calling them today; most of which have weird orbits that make getting to them difficult, and are small which makes slowing a space craft down to get into orbit or even drop a payload (without the payload splattering on impact) very difficult too. Triton is relatively easy to get to via Neptune which has been visited before multiple times before. It's an odd choice if you're looking for life, but as it certainly isn't a 'typical' moon it is of fundamental interest.
  2. Kanada (sic) is an ethnic group (and language) from SW India, while Canada is a North American country.
  3. It's kind of weird how many idiomatic phrases still in use come from ye olde firearms and as such... I feel compelled- compelled I say- to point out that (a) firing line is different to (a) firing squad. The firing line was the front line of battle in a ranked system when using early firearms where you'd have a front rank (the 'firing line') and ranks behind it systematically reloading their brown besses or whatever. Since the firing line was at the front those behind were partially protected, and the firing line was particularly dangerous. Idiomatically firing line represents being at significant risk, whereas being in front of a firing squad represents an inevitability of death. Next, flash in the pan and going off half roostered, both of which might be quite valid idiomatically for current Star Trek.
  4. We are scientifically speaking the products of inbreeding as well. Most healthy populations, genetically speaking, are the product of balanced inbreeding and outbreeding. Scientists tend to use terms like genetic bottlenecks when talking about humans, but scientifically there's both a mitochrondial Eve (the ultimate female progenitor of the current human species) and at least one other later woman from whom the entire current human species descends. While I haven't checked recently the theory was that humans got down to perhaps as low as a few hundred individuals at some point in the order of 100,000 years ago.
  5. The UK supposedly had a full day of energy production only using renewables (I suspect misreported, actually no fossil fuel usage instead) last year. 100% a gimmick achievement on a low demand day, but they certainly aren't at 90% coal by a long long shot and probably haven't been since the 60s. Nuclear is far more than 3% too, unless something has changed radically in the past few years, though that correctly isn't classed as renewable since it isn't. According to official UK figures they were at ~25% renewable energy in 2016, and are at ~33% as of 2019(pdf, the ~25% comes from the 2016 edition of the same pub). The zero emission future is a myth- though it does have to be pointed out that all claims are for zero net emissions which would involve some use of non renewables. There will be a lot of talk about sequestration and planting trees to balance things out, but the whole thing is impractical unless you don't give an asterisk about economics. The great thing about making long term aspirational goals as a politician is of course that there's zero chance that you will be the one having to fulfill them. Last government here made it a goal to have New Zealand 'predator free' by 2050 which would mean killing every stoat/ weasel/ ferret/ rat (cat/ hedgehog/ etc) in an area greater than the British Isles. Utterly unrealistic, but it sounds good... Natural gas is a lot better environmentally than coal at least. And I'm glad to see at least one article on natural gas that isn't a thinly veiled 'Europe should buy expensive US LNG instead of Russian or ME, please'.
  6. How to answer whether Underworld Ascendant was any good? I think I can only quote one of western civilisation's great philosopher in response: "No." (Haven't played it, but the word of mouth is that it is an absolutely unmitigated disaster and also sold atrociously. I actually backed the kickstarter, but have no interest getting it even for 'free'. Also GOG rejected it for not making their quality control standards. It is on steam so you can read some of the reviews there if you want, they aren't exactly kind though)
  7. Somewhat bizarre situation ongoing in Syria where 13/14 Turkish troops have been killed over the last week. Turkish government claims are that about 150 Syrian troops have been killed in response except... no one else you'd expect to is reporting it at all*. Two separate reprisals days apart killing ~50 and ~100 people about the only response from anyone- including a lot of Turks it has to be said- is mockery of the claims; and near literally no evidence of anything at all happening, no damage information, no death information, no videos, no shouting about murderous neo ottomans and even very little triumphant celebration from the rebel side. While it seems likely that the Turkish deaths took place the reprisals for them simply don't seem to have happened at all. *well, some media are reporting the claim, many of those as if it's true by default, but there isn't any independent verification at all.
  8. The remake has been an utter disaster though, and a prime example of how not to do things. Kickstarter, mission creep, engine swapping, bad management, constant team changes including senior positions and running out of money. Now it's back to what it should have been in the first place but they're still out of money so progress is painfully slow for a title that should have been finished years ago. SS3 has been to all practical purposes dead since they lost their publisher post Underworld Ascendant, hardly matters if it's now being made formal. The disastrous state of the SS1 remaster contributed to that loss as well. Stephen Kick (who I always want to call Stephen Heck) may be good at translating his contacts into buying out dormant IPs and leveraging fan contributions as if they were his studios', but he really ought to have stuck to his core competencies. Actually running those IPs as going concerns isn't one of them on the evidence of System Shock.
  9. Well yeah, the classic example is the British Raj starving Indians because they were growing opium that they'd then fight a war to force China to allow people to buy. All perfectly imperialist and perfectly capitalist. The problem with economic theory of any sort is that it- inherently- turns people into numbers. And it's been shown time and time again that it is extraordinarily easy to treat people extraordinarily badly when they aren't people any more but just numbers, and numbers that you want to go a certain way.
  10. You joke, but Poland did invade Lithuania*- by surprise, wouldn't be ironic otherwise- grabbed 30% of its territory and probably would have conquered it if they hadn't then incompetently lost against a force 1/3 their size. They also took part in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia post Munich rather than supporting her. *Ironically, and relevant to my previous post, one of Lithuania's problems was that the only country that recognised their independence was the USSR- none of the western allies recognised Lithuania as at that time they were still hoping to reinstate Imperial Russian rule.
  11. Can't see any way that they're presented as being morally equivalent though. In terms of the game, you're certainly presented with a justification for picking CL or the Sith that isn't just being chaotic stupid, but that's all. I doubt anyone picked sith/ CL without knowing that they were bad, all you're presented with is the equivalent of 'but at least they make the trains run on time'. Which, it has to be said, actually did work for a very large number of people in the real world. (As a game you pretty much have to have some sort of justification or else you'd get even fewer people playing the 'evil' path, or get Baldur's Gate 1 where most evil options required you to be self destructively stupid as well as evil. Personally I prefer the Mass Effect/ Alpha Protocol dichotomy of having amoral practicality instead of 'evil' anyway, as it's way more true to life.)
  12. Don't know what history books those were but the intervention was very much about suppressing the revolution and the western powers only withdrew once it was obvious who had irreversibly won (and following major disillusion with the grossly corrupt and incompetent White leadership). Parts of Russia were still occupied 4 years after the end of WW1- Vladivostok was occupied until late 1922, for example. Molotov-Ribbentrop only happened because the French reneged on their 1935 mutual defence pact with the soviets- mostly over objections from Britain. Not exactly Britain's finest hour either dismember Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler, block the soviets from treaties and hope that nazis and soviets would fight each other to a standstill. Not only morally bankrupt, but worse, morally bankrupt and a failure that achieved the exact opposite of its aims.
  13. Ranking went up though, so if the US education system is stagnating others' systems are actually stagnating worse, and the US system is improving, relatively speaking. Guess that doesn't drive as many clicks as running around shouting about the educational sky falling though, and definitely won't get Betsy and pals all those potential privatisation dollars. (We got exactly the same thing here, except our scores actually did go down- disaster, educational system imploding, will no one think of the children?- but wait a second, our ranking went up? Because others around us had scores drop more so... celebration?)
  14. Trouble is that you can't always control a bully by flattering them, end of the day they require someone to beat up, threaten or extort because... that's who they are. The things that stop a bully are (1) the possibility that someone important will take exception or that the person will fight back effectively and (2) the possibility that picking on them will make you really unpopular. All of Xi, Putin and even Erdogan have (1), Kim has (1; China, nukes) and (2) since about the only people keen on fighting DPRK are Bolton types who'd probably advocate bombing the coronavirus. Certainly the Japanese and South Koreans would be appalled by war with the north. Khamenei on the other hand has neither, they may be friendly with Russia and China but not friendly enough and there would be a massive cheer squad (well, somewhat reduced after Saudi found out just how vulnerable they really are) for war of people who have Trump's ear. Same situation with the Palestinians. There's no point Abbas flattering Trump because Trump will do what Jared and Bibi want and Abbas has nothing Trump wants except for the ability to give up. Trump's proposals to both Palestine and Iran are literal articles of surrender. There simply isn't any room for flattery to work.
  15. Biden's speech certainly looked and sounded like it was given by someone coming a poor 4th/ 5th. So far as process goes this has to be the absolute worst of the worst case for a party that must have been hoping to put the controversies of 4 years ago to bed. No usable digital results, possibly no proper paper trail either since it seems many places didn't get (enough of) the paper forms required, a dodgy app written by developers who it appears have a pretty strong relationship with one of the candidates in particular who did far better than expected; I'm not sure you could practically get worse than that combination for making things look bad. If the lack of paper forms rumour turns out to be true surely they have no option but to to rerun the whole thing, no matter how embarrassing (and unfair to some) that would be...
  16. Well the Iowa caucuses seem to be a clusterasterisk of epic proportions. 2 hours+ of 'quality control' and, supposedly at least, results submitted via a beta app that isn't working and no one knows who wrote? Don't need Russians to make the electoral system look like an incoherent mess and utter disaster, just need a hearty dollop of incompetence and the DNC has more than a hearty dollop of that going by what's happening.
  17. The practical difference is that Trump employs his own family while Biden's son was employed by a foreign company. One's nepotism which certainly ain't great, but the other is at least potentially far more corrupt. (Ivanka's position is unusual, but as I understand it not unprecedented; Hillary was an 'executive' 1st lady for a fair bit of Bill's presidency and was heavily involved in things like attempted medical reforms. Jared otoh is a waste of space, at best, and if he really got his business bailed out by Muhammed Bin Sawman that would be at very least equivalent to the Berisma situation, ie a very bad look, at minimum)
  18. Neither Facebook nor Google earn their money in the traditional sense of business- their model is based on addicting people to theoretically 'free' services, then selling the people using those services to 3rd parties via adverts and the like. 'You' don't pay them, they get paid to sell you to others. They also make massive profits and hide that- kind of, since it's so blatant- in tax havens via 100% bogus 'licensing' charges to subidiaries in Ireland and the like. If they were Euro or Chinese companies instead the US would whine about them cheating their obligations louder than an airfield of idling jumbo jets and slap whatever taxes they wanted on them.
  19. I'll go into Picard expecting it to be offensively dumb so I'll probably enjoy it well enough. In the end my main problem with STD was that I had some vague sort of expectations about plot coherency and being treated like I had more than 2 brain cells and a longer memory than a flatworm. 2 seasons of that and I have been purged of any expectations whatsoever, and I'm more than capable of watching something for the entertainment value inherent in slagging it off. (Picard is on Primevideo here- no NZ Amazon, so it's the only Prime service we have- and the sub cost is the same for 6 months as for one. Wouldn't get it for Picard alone, but I've accumulated a decent amount of Prime shows I do want to watch and will inevitably have time to spare at some point.)
  20. I'm heading towards the opinion that modern show writers are (largely) incapable of writing logical plot progressions. Instead of having the plot progress as a balance of circumstance and characterisation it progresses as a Force Majeure that can rewrite previous events- even previous events in the same show- and which can rewrite characters and their motivations as needed. The alternative is probably worse, writers are capable of writing plot well but don't think the audience cares about it, so don't bother. I think there's a decent dollop of truth in that, very high rating shows like GoT or The Walking Dead largely ignored plot logic for entire seasons without seeing much ratings drop or critical backlash; ratings drops or critical backlash did come but there was a significant lag from the start of the problem due to audience inertia. I haven't seen Picard yet, but it's a problem that seems to mostly infest genre shows- the current Doctor Who has it too, so does STD, Walking Dead and GoT had it too.
  21. At least one bar here has Corona on discount so long as the coronavirus is active. Bit in bad taste really, and the idea of discounting the beer while people are dying isn't the best look either.
  22. Going on social media and trolling is easy, and when you have strongly polarised political poles it's also very effective because either side will often literally literally believe anything that makes the other side look bad, no matter how ridiculous that thing actually is. You don't have to do much actual work at all, you can throw masses of illogical stuff at a wall and see what sticks, and the social part of social media does all the real work of propagating it. You also don't have to make one side look good, just making the other side look bad is enough; and you don't have to convince everyone either, you just have to convince some. And yeah, it's kind of funny that blaming Russia ends up using exactly the same phenomenon that the Russians took advantage of in the first place- telling the D establishment that they didn't really stuff up and it was all the dirty Russians' and their patsy Trump's fault, and the US in general that people don't really believe crackpot theories at the drop of a hat they're just manipulated by a foreign power to do so are exactly the sort of simplistic but appealing stuff that the Russians put out there. It's always more appealing to believe that the boogeyman did it than to admit that you made a mistake.
  23. Eh, that's the same sort of thing where you have media claiming Trump wanted senators 'murdered' because he wanted 'heads on pikes' for potential disloyalty in the impeachment. The media that does that does that because they hate Trump*, not because they seriously believe he literally wanted, say, Mitt Romney hanged, disemboweled, torn apart by wild horses and the pieces distributed for public display to Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake City or New York with the head surmounting the Capitol building attached to a weapon borrowed from the Swiss Guard. He just wants it done figuratively. Same with Bankers-against-the-wall stuff from Bernie supporters. *Indeed, should Bernie get the nomination it will be interesting to see how the media handle it. He's a greater existential threat to the Jeff Bezoses of the world than Trump, so probably a Bloomberg Corporate Party run supported by CNN/ WaPo etc. I'd suspect they'll try everything and anything to stop Bernie getting the nomination though, and if he doesn't get an outright majority of delegates Someone else will get in via superdelegates.
  24. There are a lot of coronaviruses in humans and animals, if the scion of the current coronavirus isn't commercially important it may take a fair bit of time to work out exactly what it was if they ever do to certainty. They also have a pretty high rate of mutation (partly why people tend to get Common Colds multiple times a year). They have always been worried most about some sort of superinfection where you get something highly infectious but of very low lethality like the Common Cold virus and something barely infectious but deadly in the same cell, as theoretically you could end up with a combination of highly infectious and deadly from that. Fortunately the current virus doesn't seem to be hugely lethal, less so than SARS/ MERS etc at least.
  25. I suspect the top Big Navi will be a decent amount- consistently/ noticeably- above the 3080, but will also be very expensive. OTOH I'm still not convinced that nVidia will be able to produce Ampere in bulk due to TSMC's 7nm process being booked out for most of the year. If that is true we may not get a 3080Ti for some time with a TitanA to capture the price-is-no-object top end.
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