Monday, April 24, 2017

The Jedi Need Forensic Accountants

Yes, I'm apparently watching Stob Wobs again. This time, I'm at the part where they discover the clone army allegedly ordered by conveniently-dead-person Cipher Diaz.

They already know (from the space-chef at a space-American space-1950s space-diner) that this clone army is expensive, so the obvious next step would be to follow the money to find out who really ordered this army. Of course, that would leave less time for pointless action sequences and fights with silly-swords so that isn't what they do.

But the Jedi Masters don't even dismiss the possibility that Cipher Diaz actually did place the order without authorisation. Which means that apparently, people can just spend a few billion credits out of the Jedi treasury without anyone thinking that's maybe a little suspicious. Despite the fact that they're all fucking clairvoyant. Let me guess, your vision was clouded by the dark side of the finances? Did someone use Jedi mind tricks to cook the books? Perhaps giving Master Ponzi a seat on the council was a mistake. Oh, but I'm sure the fanbois will explain it by some vague appeal to "the force." *hand wave*

I know these prequel movies (a) are hated, and (b) end with the destruction of the Jedi. (I came in too late to complain about spoilers.) I can only assume that (a) is the direct result of (b) not being caused by a massive audit of the Jedi Order that reveals just how much money they've been blowing on force-knows-what and all the Jedi banged up for embezzlement and fraud.

One bonus point for cool name, though. I wonder what gritty cyberpunk story Cipher Diaz was borrowed from.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tropes I Don't Like (Part 3)— Symbol/Object Confusion

Yes, it's Tropes I Don't Like: Another One! In which I whine about media tropes I'm just not a fan of.

Today's trope is symbol/object confusion, or the assumption that a symbol representing an object contains some essence or link to the thing it represents.

I was a little bit hesitant to do a TIDL for this trope because it's everywhere. Speak of the devil. Poke a voodoo doll. I know your true name. Large swaths of sympathetic magic appear in so many places, including urban legends and pseudoscience that IRL people believe in.

Basically, anytime you treat a word, metaphor, simulation, depiction, or other way of referring to or describing a thing as actually being the thing (or at least having some connection to the thing), you are engaging in symbol/object confusion.

Frankly, I hate the idea of symbols having power for much the same reason I hate the idea of emotions having power; using symbols to understand and describe the world is how we work and treating the symbols as connected to, part of, or even identical to the objects is basically imposing our own heads on the world; "that's how I understand the universe, therefore, that's how the universe is!" Our minds link and cross-reference symbols, so we assume the universe cross-references itself as if the entire thing were in our heads. That level of anthropocentric thought borders on the solipsistic, and I won't have any of it in my writing.

René Magritte won't tolerate your symbol/object confusion either.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Another Survey Update

I'm taking a survey right now about pet products. Most of it is just the usual guff; expensive toys and treats for the sort of morons who think their pets are human. Then I came across a proposed product that made me stop, sputter, and declare: "OH, NO they didn't."

It's a dog treat that supposedly offers health benefits, specifically noting that it will provide your dog with vitamin C.

For those of you who haven't quite kept up to date on your biology, vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a chemical required in trace amounts by all humans lest we suffer from scurvy.

Dogs do not need vitamin C.

Because dogs, like most animals, can synthesise vitamin C. The only animals who need dietary vitamin C are those who primarily eat fruit which is laden with the stuff, rendering the genes for it unnecessary and thus no longer conserved by natural selection. And humans, who are descended from such a species.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Am (Apparently) Watching Stob Wobs

Don't expect a full "My Media Habits" post for it, but it's going something like this:

Quigon: Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that reside within all living cells and we are symbionts with them.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Still Crook

I spent the past few days desperately trying to convince myself that, despite all evidence to the contrary, I technically still had lungs.

Now I am painfully reminded of the existence of my lungs every minute or two because they are filled with pain-flavoured gunk and are quite miffed about this fact.

And yet, I can't help but notice that in my previous post I elected to assign an arbitrary five-digit number to the simpleton of a cell that kicked off this misery and for the second time since I started this blog, I managed to inadvertently produce a five-digit prime number.

If it happens once, it's an anecdote. If it happens twice, it's data. That is definitely how logic works and any attempts to explain otherwise will be destroyed by the unshakeable edifice of confirmation bias.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Fucking Cold

This was my day.

Me: I think I will accomplish many things (or at least update that ratty old blog I used to have).

Sinus Cell #14939: Hey! I found this neat particle! You know what would be really cool? Making a billion more of them! And then dying!

Other Sinus Cells: Wow! That is cool! Let's all participate in this new trend!

Human rhinovirus: *goes viral*

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Game of Thrones

The reason Winterfell was conquered and its owners killed or scattered is because they were absolutely dedicated to playing the game of thrones but also very dedicated to playing it badly.

They were aristocrats through and through. Their support for the common people, though often expressed, was completely disingenuous; their sole concern was power and the maintenance thereof. However, the support of the common people is a substantial asset in maintaining power, and their main skill was convincing those common people that their greedy violent aristocrats were somehow "better" than anyone else's greedy violent aristocrats. Leveraging that popularity could have kept them supplied with wealth and power for thousands of years, but they threw that away in support of an incompetent failure simply because it was their "turn" to have power. Starting a war and screwing over the common people economically because of their aristocratic notions of whose "turn" it was to take power didn't end well for any of them and they have only themselves to blame.

This is not a commentary on any recent American elections. Why would you think it was?

PS— Congratulations America for making Brexit not the dumbest electoral decision to happen in 2016!