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Unfortunately, for the last five days, I've been dealing with a severe tooth infection, so I've missed going to any Pride celebrations. I mean, people seeing me scowling and grimacing in pan might get the wrong idea. So instead, I've been living vicariously though Metafilter and Google+, as suddenly history changed around me.

What I do have, is picturesCollapse )

Good job. We have so much work still t do for equality and civil rights, but just this weekend, we can congratulate ourselves.

Happy 10th Birthday, Avatar

Ten years ago, the first episode of Avatar the Last Airbender aired.

I was late to come to Avatar, because when I first heard of it I was really skeptical of any "American rendition of anime". But people kept recommending it, and I finally watched it, realized I was wrong, and I totally loved it.

However, for all of it's flaws, both due to writing and due to Nick (who couldn't understand and hated the fact that a series starring an- ick!- girl was more popular than Sponge Bob), I think I love Korra the series better. Both because of the more mature tone Korra took, the themes of growth and change, and also because to me, the stories had a very different gender element to the themes.

Avatar was very much a boy hero adventure story: Aang is the destined hero, facing off against an obvious enemy. There's no doubt that while he will do some maturing and there will be lot twists, his path is set and his triumph over the bad guys is assured.

Korra comes into a different situation; she enters a complex world, one where she is not accepted for herself, where people, even the authorities she should be able to trust try try to use her for her own purposes, or destroy not only her, but the concepts behind her. Korra's early enthusiasm and confidence is shaken, and the elements that make the Korra the Avatar are continually attacked, leaving her isolated from her very base of support. It's telling that the enemies in Korra all mostly come from around her, often from people she trusts or respects. It is not a very large leap to relate Korra's journey to what happens to so many young women. Finally, unlike Aang, Korra cannot simply make the word change for her- she has to make an accommodation, change to meet the world, learning to rely on her inner strength and empathy. Aang has a place, Korra has to make her place in the world- and in so doing changes it far more than Aang did.

I think if anything, the more complex and mature issues Korra was dealing with were very difficult for the writers to portray adequately, as frankly, they were stretching the boundaries of what an American cartoon could deal with. And of course there's fucking Nickelodeon. I wish I could go to the parallel world where Korra had been picked up by Netflix, and we saw 75 episodes. The idea is something that could really have used that much time.

Shades of Little Fuzzy

Those who have read Little Fuzzy know that the book's climax hinges on a court trial to both determine whether the titular species is sentient, and also to come up with a general definition of sentience.

Recently, a New York court tackled that question when it comes to chimpanzees. Should chimpanzees be considered sentient? Honestly, this is a question I'm conflicted on, though I think a good case can be made in general for better treatment of animals, as we're finding them to be more and more like us.

Oh yeah, that NaNoWriMo thing.

You know, I never mentioned that I decided to enter that NanowriMo contest.

I have tons of ideas. Ones that have been cookng for years. But I passed up on my serious ideas, in favor of a silly urban fantasy story based on a short vignette I did called "Frankenstein's Daughter meets Dracula." I've had severe writer's block for years, no confidence, and no endurance for writing,so I knew it would never go anywhere. I'd see a new anime, or there would be an argument on the internet, or a butterfly, or something. Most likely I'd just run out of steam.

Today I reached 45 kilowords.

I have no idea if I'll be able to expand it out and turn it into something salable, or what. The important thing is, I will finish this.

Story: League of Vivians

This is just something I dashed off around 2AM last night, after working on my NaNoWriMo project. It has nothing to do with any controversies in gaming. Really. Honestly.

Note: I have no idea what an enchirito is. It just seemed like something a gamer would eat.


I"m taking my Vivian into the shop today...Collapse )

Still, it's only Wednesday...

I'm still pretty rational. I'm still just saying "The internet was a nice idea, but it's time to admit it's failed."


Oh yeah, I never got a chance to talk about Edmund. He had an interesting story...


Question about Nicoll-Dyson lasers

Perhaps somone can answer this for me.

While the beam from a Nicoll-Dyson wouldn't be directly visible (except to those unfortunates directly on line to the target, wouldn't it be visible through the effects on the interstellar medium? Even if it didn't pass though something like a nebula, wouldn't it heat up the interstellar gas along it's path?

Just wondering, because I was looking up FermiLab's Dyson Sphere search, and I was wondering if somebody had thought to look for traces of planet-killing lasers.

Change ONE little detail...

I'm considering the ramifications of, instead of the the Pevensies, it's the population of Gilligan's Island that gets brought to Narnia.

I came up with a rather unplesent thought experiment in a discussion on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, explicating why I think they are fundamentally unethical.

The problem with the Three Laws is that they involve such high-level concepts, tthat he robots have to be sentient beings with human level intelligence in order for the concepts work. In which case, we're not really talking about programming, we're talking about brainwashing.

To distill the ethics of the Three Laws to their essence, let's change the target of the Laws. We'll change the wording as so:

1. A Negro may not injure a White or, through inaction, allow a White to come to harm.

2. A Negro must obey the orders given to it by Whites, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A Negro must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Would you consider those laws ethical and moral? If not, why not? Bear in mind, the EXACT SAME arguments made for the necessity of those laws, also apply equally well to other groups of humans. Or rather, those arguments are equally false. If you argue for the necessity of cruelly enslaving robots using brainwashing, then you are also arguing that any other potential group of "others" must by necessity also be equally controlled.

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