This post is actually being written off-line because our connection has been extremely unreliable with the high winds today; I'm hoping to post it today but who knows?
What really sucks is having to look over my shoulder at the modem every time a page takes some time to load: is the connection up? Will the page load? *sigh*
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So there's a Larry Correia two-fer going on:
"Ending Binary Gender in Fiction, or How to Murder Your Writing Career". That's where it starts, with such gems as:
Wait...male and female are Western Cultural Norms? Uh… No. That is a biological norm for all the higher life forms on Earth so that species can replicate themselves...Predictably, then, there are people who do not like Correia's gender fascism, which prompted another post on the subject titled Does my Cismale Hate Mongery Know No Bounds?! Responding to Jim Hines." A very worthy (though long) read.
...[W]hatever the particular norm is, or whatever the particular message is, when you put your pet-peeve message before story, odds are you are going to bore the shit out of your reader.
Okay, so I write a book, and let’s say that it has 20 characters in it. What is the acceptable percentage of them that should be transgender? How many boxes must I check in order to salve a blogger’s liberal angst? Let’s see… Only like 1 in 50,000 people have sex changes performed. So at 20 characters a book… If I have one character who has had a sex change show up every 2,500 books I write, I’d be statistically accurate.
Oh, but now you’re going to tell me that gay people make up anywhere from 1-4% of the population. Fantastic. Except gay people are still the same sex they were born with. Gay dudes are still men and gay chicks are still women. This blogger didn’t say he wanted an end to default sexual orientation, he wants an end to default binary sex. If you think sci-fi doesn’t have people who don’t swing both ways, you’ve not read much sci-fi.
ProTip: Focusing on message rather than story is a wonderful way for writers to continue working at Starbucks for the rest of their lives.
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Get on your shocked faces, folks! The human body wasn't designed for life in outer space! Holy sheep shit, stop the presses! You mean an organism meant to live in under gravity and a hundred miles of air isn't made to live in a pressurized can floating in a vacuum? The next thing you know, these geniuses will be telling us that the human body isn't made for living underwater!
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So Obama did his big STFU speech the other night, and called for minimum wage to be raised to $10.10 an hour.
Why $10.10 an hour? Why not $20.20 or $30.30 an hour? I mean, if the whole idea is to make it possible for minimum wage earners to garner a living wage, why not make it $50 an hour? $20.20 an hour would be $40,400 per year, which is a damned good wage. Using an executive order Obama raised minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour; couldn't he have made it $20.20 instead and really helped the little people?
Because as automation gets better, a higher minimum wage means fewer workers and more machines.
Here in the Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan, governor Pat Quinn is calling for the PDRI to increase its minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. This is the state which already hemorrhaged jobs because of ludicrously high state income taxes, and which is sucking butt at attracting new employers, so of course they want to do something which will make it even more difficult for companies to employ people! Can't have a welfare state without the unemployed, after all!
Making fast food is basically an industrial process, and with the rise of automation we could now build a machine that can cook, sell, and serve fast food meals without human involvement. The only reason we haven't is because human labor is still cheap enough that it costs less to pay people to do the work than it would cost to develop and install such a system.
Democrats, however, are doing their damnedest to change that. Of course.
There will be plenty of jobs which cannot be automated, but the cost for the associated products will inevitably rise.
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I'm rereading a biography of Richard Feynman, and there's a good quote in it:
In general we look or a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is--if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong.If your guess disagrees with experiment or observations it is wrong.
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Mrs. Fungus and I watched Man of Steel and I wish we hadn't wasted the money on the pay-per-view, because it was not very good.
1) We didn't care about any of the characters. Not Superman, not Lois Lane, not General Zod, not even Laurence F-ing Fishburne as Perry White.
2) The movie tried to tell too much story. Superman's origin story plus the story of Zod plus the story of Jor El and the end days of Krypton plus....
3) Refrigerator moment which is a spoiler: why the fuck would Zod want to Krypton-form Earth, killing all its inhabitants, when Earth conditions leave kryptonians with superpowers? When there are seven billion potential slaves who are utterly powerless against kryptonians? (The movie makes it plain, over and over and over again, that the krytonians are utterly invincible against anything humans can do.) I can see Zod bringing back the Kryptonian race, but why bring back a bunch of weaklings when his stated reason for existence is the survival of the kyrptonian race?
4) Ham-fisted writing. We were bludgeoned with Lois Lane being a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and a tough-talking reporter in an exchange that lasted about three lines and which the greatest actors in history could not have delivered well enough to save. The people acting in this movie never had a chance; they were shit lines, and instead of being valuable characterization they merely induced epic eyerolls. It was the standard exposition of, "Oh yeah, Lois Lane can take on the men and win, you betcha!" ...after which she was 100% typical female heroine, needing to be rescued from just about goddamned everything and being totally incapable of fending for herself, even against non-superpowered kryptonians. There wasn't even a chick fight between her and General Zod's assistant, not even before the kryptonians got superpowers.
5) "Dick splash". In one of the "Clark Kent's horrible childhood" scenes we were treated to some doofus calling him a "dick splash" shortly before Clark Kent saved his life. This is such an asnine, nonsensical insult that I can't even get a handle on what it means. Does it mean Clark is urine? Or semen? Or what? Regardless, this was the most entertaining thing in the movie.
I will give the movie points for correctly showing what an actual fight would be like between beings like Superman. (Hint: local property values declined rather sharply.) Sadly, the fight scenes weren't entertaining and the spectacle wasn't enough to save the movie.
I've never been very happy with the various Superman movies, but the ones with Christopher Reeves were superior to this...extrusion.
Now, the interesting part of all this comes from my school days. I was friends with people who vastly preferred Marvel comics to DC, and Superman was one of the reasons why; overall DC just seemed weaker in the writing department. To be fair Marvel hit the skids in the same way later on, but not to the same extremes that DC hit. (Superman's dead! He's alive again! Now he's alive but lost his powers! Now he's got them back! Now he's dead but has come back as a zombie! Now he's alive again! Now he's a vampire! Now he's a vampire-werewolf! Now he's a vampire-werewolf-brony! Now he's Wonder Woman and a lesbian! Now we're not sure what he is but he's not Superman! Now he's Superman again and we're rebooting the canon and all that stuff in the middle was a dream!) The success of the recent Batman movies is driving the reissue of the Superman ouerve, but unfortunately it's not being handled at all well.
Compare that to the Marvel stuff; Iron Man is solid entertainment and the rest of their recent movies are well-executed. (Marvel had its flops. Daredevil and Electra were utter shit, but the former movie came out more than a decade ago and the latter was a contractural obligation. The mistakes they made in those movies have not been repeated. Learning from failure--what a concept!)
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Now I'm going to go make some dinner. Whee!