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.