April 18, 2015 Leave a comment
April 14, 2015 Leave a comment
Hopefully, costs will drop enough with the increased automation that we could afford a vastly expanded social safety net- basic survival will have to simply be given to people because it will be fundamentally impossible for many people to get a job to pay for it. Even if we legalize dealing drugs, how would you find customers when you’re dealer #700 in a neighborhood of 750?
April 12, 2015 Leave a comment
Ideally, the legal and technical difficulties involved in getting past someones encryption, and getting past the lock on their safe, should be the same. After all, these two things do essentially the same job. Some details of various laws and regulations might have to differ, but it should all aim towards the goal of the peoples rights being the same, and the governments authority being the same, and the ability of both parties to act on their interests being the same.
Failing perfect equivalence, I’d like to see policy err on the side of protecting privacy. Artificial weaknesses introduced to force equivalence can spiral out of control. Even if you trust the authorities won’t misuse it ever, if there’s a backdoor, other people can use it too if they find it. And if you trust the authorities that much, you’re deluded.
Hopefully some of these proposals get us to a better balance of the need to stop bad guys, and the need to maintain privacy. At least the NSA is indicating some willingness to compromise. Probably not enough of a willingness, but it’s better than we’ve had so far.
March 29, 2015 Leave a comment
I wonder if, using publicly available materials, it would be possible to reedit Star Trek: Enterprise – “These Are The Voyages” to remove the framing story, or failing that, rework the framing story as time travel rather than the holodeck? The holodeck angle ruined the episode IMO. And the idea of Riker needing a holodeck adventure to make the decision to tell Picard about Pegasus just seemed out of character. He might struggle with the decision, but I don’t see the holodeck as a tool he’d use to figure it out.
It would be easy enough to say that for the edit, one of Will Rikers ancestors was the chef on Enterprise, but I’m not sure how to deal with his other appearances on NX-01. Maybe they let him play around on the bridge during the last voyage, but appearances in TNG era uniform and as a MACO are harder to think of a way to work around. That’s where I’m thinking of invoking time travel. If he was sent back to actual events, for historical research or perhaps to make sure things went right(Maybe the Temporal Cold War had briefly reignited?), that might work.
March 27, 2015 Leave a comment
So, this came up in a Facebook thread a while ago, figured I should put my theory here.
So, we should all know that at the end of Back To The Future, the Libyan terrorists that Doc Brown got the plutonium from shot Doc Brown at point blank range with assault rifles, and Marty returns from his near incestous diversion to 1955 to find the terrorists crashing into a photo booth, and Doc Brown getting up barely even winded.
There are issues here. Plutonium, from terrorists? Uranium, maybe, you can mine that shit. But plutonium needs to be produced in a nuclear reactor, and is typically monitored very closely by national and international watchdog agencies. There’s a country short on plutonium that has likely deployed their entire intelligence service to find it. Intelligence services of other nations probably got involved the instant the IAEA was notified.
And odds are, those Libyans aren’t the only people in their org that know about the plutonium. Their next senior commander is going to want it found as well, as well as wanting to find out what happened to their men. And, oh, the odds the crash was fatal appear to be low. I’ve been in much more severe car crashes and walked away. With that many people and at least one unbelted, there were likely injuries, but they would have survived. One of them might have even got away before police arrived and immediately called in the CIA. Seriously, there’s just no way Doc and Marty are getting away from the police.
Doc and Marty would have been immediately picked up. Marty was probably released fairly quickly, maybe the feds cut him a break as a stupid kid, maybe Doc Brown secured Marty’s release as a condition of cooperating with DARPA on developing new technology. Hell, Doc’s bulletproof vest alone would be worth billions. Point blank fire from multiple assault rifles on full auto and all that happens is you are knocked on your ass? With minimal movement restriction on an old man probably not in the greatest shape? This would be one of the most fundamental advances in infantry combat since the machine gun. A trained soldier in good shape could probably have killed all of those terrorists with little trouble. This vest is close to being as implausible as the time machine itself!
At some point Doc Brown manages to access the confiscated DeLorean(perhaps his minders let their guard down while he was consulting on its analysis?) and escapes to 2015, setting up the second movie. But Marty? After the feds let him go, the Libyans catch him. Perhaps one of the terrorists got away, perhaps other cells managed to track him down while looking for the uranium. He’s put through hell to get him to talk. Given that he was living openly in 2015, I suspect that at some point prior to his release he managed to convince the terrorists that he didn’t know anything, and they got that information transmitted up their chain of command. Then the cell he was held by was probably wiped out by SEALs or something, so they weren’t worried that Marty could give the CIA useful information on them.
1985 Marty was a reasonably well put together teenager. Not hugely special perfect teenager, but nothing extraordinarily horrible. 2015 Marty? He was a bit of a wreck. Nervous, even more afraid of being called a coward than he ever was in 1985. Why? Psychological trauma resulting from torture at the hands of Libyan terrorists, and possibly even some from the CIA.
March 20, 2015 Leave a comment
Seriously, what the hell?
Sea levels *are* rising. The agricultural productivity of various areas *is* changing. Droughts *are* becoming more common. Debate the causes of these things all you want, but these things are happening, and they *will* have implications for the national security of basically every nation on the planet.
Preventing the Pentagon and the CIA from researching climate change is asinine. If we’re not prepared to deal with these things, we’re screwed. When we intervene in a conflict caused by these things, and given the hawks infesting both parties we will intervene, we’ll go in with a plan that has less connection to reality than we’ve ever had, and we’ll be looking at a best case scenario of wasting resources to no effect.