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Luka
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 6:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Hard Time

This episode is brilliant. Seriously, I was a fan of TNG forever but when you get the depth of episodes like Hard Time man this is just awesome. Heh. Four stars is very appropriate. I actually conceived a story very similar to this in my mind before seeing this and then to actually see something play out like this I gotta give the DS9 writers major props. O'Brien I feel bad for the guy, he suffered for 20 fuckin years. Wow. The writing on this show is top notch.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

@ Andy's Friend,

I could not have been any more specific with my request for clarification, and yet for multiple posts you have dodged entirely. I thought we were having a friendly discussion but it begins to feel more like you're hiding behind words. If you think my question is "already answered" in your previous posts then you must think my reading comprehension is pretty low. I am now 99% convinced you have no idea what "non-linear processing" means, and likewise what the mechanical difference is between a "computer" and an "artificial brain." And yet you base your entire argument on these terms, claiming definitively that this is the case and that I need to go do research to catch up to your level.

And by the way, mentioning that each of us sticks to his "one" belief out of bias as religious people (or all people) do makes two fatal mistakes: 1) It assumes that each of the three of us is making comparable unprovable claims. 2) Implying our ideas are no better than faith-based convictions puts all ideas on an equal irrational playing field, which is both insulting to reason itself and also insulting on a personal level.

1) We are not all making strong claims. William and I were tossing around ideas and wondering what to make of the episode. You are making a bold and definitive claim, and stating that it amounts to "real science" as opposed to Trek-speak. The burden is on you to demonstrate any validity to what you're saying, as you are the only one making a strong claim here. I said your idea is plausible; you say it's true. William and I both agree that based on what you've said so far you cannot know this is so.

2) I don't go in for this passive-aggressive argumentation style, where when called out on BS you go ahead and say that my opinion (or William's) is just some faith-based hunch that can't be reasoned with. It's just as rude as calling us morons as far as I'm concerned. I know you included yourself in that description, but calling all three of us idiots still means calling me an idiot, which I don't accept.

PS - I'll bet $100 cash right now that you can't explain in detail why Einstein was "at fault" for pushing for one theory to be true. What is this so-called fault he was wrong about for so long? And bonus points if you can show that it was because he was naturally inclined to "want to believe" just "one theory". Spoiler: what you said about Einstein wasn't true. The only 'fault' to date his theories have admitted is with the cosmological constant, and that was only because he didn't have access yet to data showing an expanding universe. And that "mistake" has been replaced with dark energy anyhow, which is the same accounting trick in reverse, so even his idea of how to deal with the problem is still considered to be correct. Nothing about relativity has, to date, been called into serious question in the mainstream, nor has even his comment about god playing dice, about which the jury is still out. The Copenhagen interpretation of QM is not a "fact".

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Andy's Friend
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

@Peter G. & William B

Peter, I don’t know what it is you don’t understand. Everything you ask me to clarify I already have in my two posts from 2014.

Try reading what William writes. He has understood perfectly what I mean:

WILLIAM B―”What you are stating, essentially, is that it will at some point be possible to distinguish between what is actually conscious and what isn't not based on behaviour or anything, but based on the physical make of the object itself.”

Which is partly (but only partly: see below) correct, and what I wrote to begin with in 2014 specifically about Data & the EMH:

“It’s not about how Data and the EMH behave and what they say, it’s a matter of how, or whether, they think.”

In very simplified terms, not WHAT, but HOW. But I further clarified yesterday:

“if we widen our scope, what I have called the "artificial brain" is merely a word for some sort of cognitive architecture which may be very different from our own. The Great Link seem to have one, and I'm pretty sure it's quite different from Data's brain.”

Another thing: you seem to have misunderstood my point about the “religious” aspect. What I mean is that we all, deep down, are predisposed not merely to accept, but to actively prefer, and choose, one specific possibility, one theory, as true. Einstein famously did it, and it took him many years to recognize his fault. It’s just the way we humans are. In this, our opinions are akin to religious beliefs: William B’s, yours, and mine. Some of us are better at listening to reason than others. But as long as matters remain highly speculative, no reason is more true than any other. And all we really have are our humours, our moods, our feelings (because even intellectual choices are based on emotions) to guide us.

So your comment:

“If positing a theory about robotics makes someone a 'religious believer' that you can't communicate with...”

...was completely uncalled-for.


Now William:

Having said that, I do believe that you have a point, and the Great Link is a good example. What I mean is, to use your words above, it is necessary for us to be able to *recognize* and *understand* the nature and abilities of the "physical object" itself.

In other words, while we may be able to recognize Data’s “positronic brain” as an artifical brain able of consciousness, simply because it resembles and emulates what we know, we may not be able to recognize anything as alien as the Great Link as another kind of physical object capable of consciousness. And in such cases, at least at first, we will depend on behavioural analysis. And who knows if we will ever be able to understand the Great Link?

So in a way, both sides are right. And you are very right: we will probably always remain somewhat anthrocentric. It is difficult not to, when that is what we know and understand best. And if we indeed ever gain warp capability, who knows what new life we will encounter?

Finally, just to correct a slight oversight of yours, you wrote:

“You said in an earlier comment that it is the fault of the show that it fails to establish what Data's artificial brain does.”

No, that’s not what I said: I agreed with you. Try reading it again ;)
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Vladimir Estragon
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

I've always enjoyed this episode, actually. My big complaint is that it perpetuates the ridiculous belief that clones somehow emerge from the gestation process as full-grown adults. What Riker should have found in the lab would be at most fertilized eggs, not body snatcher pod people.

Also, there are presumably thousands of Mariposans (since they have cities). Why couldn't the Bringloidi males (and the Enterprise males, for that matter) donate sperm to inseminate the clone women? Riker didn't seem too reluctant to donate his DNA to the Bringloidi genome.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Accession

Did anyone else notice that the doll Molly is holding in the first scene has Bajoran nose ridges?! Because they were on Bajor for so long!! I think that's a brilliant touch. I love this show.
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David
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

A fun, amusing episode but nothing more. I'd give it 2 stars. I found the whole premise a bit ridiculous - such as climate controls that go so low as to freeze people to death? When the "infection" spreads to Enterprise, why are some people walking around the ship, going about their duty normally, while others are making out in the corridor? The best scene for me was the Asian engineer sitting there playing with the chips like a 3 year old - hilarious, but at the same time, totally ridiculous. Which I guess sums up this episode.
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David
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Code of Honor

Half a star is very harsh, Jammal. I've been rewatching this show from the beginning on Blu-ray (I have not watched these episodes since 2002, when the DVDs came out). With only a vague memory of how these early episodes play out, I'm finding them quite a lot more enjoyable than I thought I would. I'd give this episode 2 stars (or 2 out of 5 on my preferred 5 star scale). It's ordinary, sure, but not terrible. Simply put, I was entertained. One thing - I found it odd that Yar admitted to finding the leader attractive, though. I didn't think there was anything that stood out about him. Perhaps once I get around to watching the later seasons of the show again, I'll have to re-assess my ratings here. I'm still debating whether this is a 1.5 or 2 star episode....
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David
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Encounter at Farpoint

I have to disagree with the rating here - I give it a 2.5 out of 4 (or on a 5 star scale, 3 out of 5). 2 stars implies it's nothing more than average. I consider it above average. I just re-watched this episode for the first time in 14 years (remastered on Blu-ray) and found it enjoyable. For one, it introduces an amazing, and seemingly invulnerable new villain - Q. The scene in the primitive earth court was also well done - I only wish it was longer. Farpoint station itself was vaguely interesting - it kept us guessing as to what was actually going on, and Zorn was a decent character. On this basis alone, I think it deserves more than 2 stars.
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William B
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Lol. Maybe it will be revealed that ST: Nemesis was all a weird black ops simulation, in the style of "Inquisition," headed by Admiral Janeway to, um...gosh, I dunno. See how Troi responds to her dozenth telepathic violation maybe. Adm. Janeway is not as good at Sloan at running the simulations, I guess, in this scenario.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 2:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Hey, let's not discount the possibility that the show will track a black ops outfit instead of a starship doing exploration. I think Admiral Janeway would be far better suited to overseeing that kind of dirty work than Admiral Picard would.
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William B
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 2:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Maybe Ambassador Picard -- I thought that potential path for him (in AGT) made a lot of sense.
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Robert
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

True! I think Picard would make the best cameo though. DS9 appearing would be awesome for me, but I think it'd make the world feel smaller.

And Admiral Picard would really give the cameo the right weight and note. In many ways he is the lead of the Berman/Braga era of Trek, and that is the right person to do it.

Unless the time it takes place prevents that from making sense.
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Bravestarr
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 12:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Elaan of Troyius

You guys are nuts, this episode was one my favorites from TNG. Espionage, intrigue, and a love story that doesn't feel forced. I'd say that Elaan was generally one of the few women that Kirk genuinely felt love for, with of course the help of her tears.

I was thinking about it and the tears make sense on a planet like Elas. People there are hard and war like, with tears being a rarity. I'd imagine that women on Elas use their tears as a way of choosing a mate, the mate being someone they trust enough to cry around.

When said I love you on the turbolift, it felt genuine. And Kirk does everything in his power to stay himself despite his emotions. Powerful stuff.
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Skywalker
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 12:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Bar Association

@Luke, lol! I agree with every word. You said it perfectly. Quoting the Communist Manifesto with Irishman Miles O'Brien grinning his approval? Jesus! I felt like I was watching Tom Branson from Downton Abbey rail against the excesses of the British nobility.

What I think is interesting is that the writers both allow you and me to see Quark as the victim in all this, while at the same time insist we interpret capitalism as bad and unions as good. I guess that's their idea of balance. What did Armin Shimmerman's character Hebert say in "Far Beyond The Stars"? Wasn't it you freaking "pinko"?

Yeah.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 11:38am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

"@Robert, Ent had a First Contact cameo (Cochrane), which is not Voyager but still keeps the cameo tradition alive."

Hey, the finale had a couple of cameos too. Let's not forget those ;)
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William B
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

@Robert, Ent had a First Contact cameo (Cochrane), which is not Voyager but still keeps the cameo tradition alive.
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Yanks
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 9:47am (UTC -5)
Re: Trailer: Star Trek Beyond

I like it!! I'm officially stoked...
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Robert
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

"Would be good to see some familiarity to the previous shows, little easter eggs and name drops"

There had better be an episode 1 cameo! TNG (Bones), DS9 (Picard) and VOY (Quark) all did it (sadly ENT really couldn't really have a VOY cameo). I don't care if it's an ENT cameo (depending on the time period setting) or a TNG-era cameo but I really want a passing of the torch moment.

In order of preference (for me)
1. Admiral Picard would issue their first mission orders
2. The ship takes off from DS9 and Captain Kira wishes them well
3. Anything else would do
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Latex Zebra
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 6:59am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

Sounds good. A little disappointed they're not going down the anthology route as I think there are, obviously, many more places to go and you can keep each season fresh. More expensive from a production standpoint though. Also hope that with the episodic style they don't start leaving cliff hangers at the end of a season. That doesn't mean one seasons actions shouldn't effect another though.

Wouldn't surprised if we get a very big name actor/actress to try and push it out to the masses.
Would be good to see some familiarity to the previous shows, little easter eggs and name drops

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Rikko
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 6:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Transfigurations

For me it is like most people said: boring and nondescript.

"John Doe" comes and goes without changing anything in particular.

On the other hand, it is notable how O'Brien is becoming more and more relevant as the third season develops, until he becomes the center of attention in "The Wounded" (next season) and, eventually, a protagonist of Deep Space 9, if my childhood's memory is right.

O'Brien is the second character to stand out after starting from very small acting parts. And, of course, the first was Worf. Both guys spent most of their early episodes just saying one or two words like "Yes, Captain".

And then, they become protagonist, or at least supporting cast and the show is all the better for it.
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Nolan
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 2:13am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Threshold

@Skywalker

One of the main issues people have with this episode is that the Voyager crew invents a way to get home by going Warp 10, however it has horrendous side-effects. Which the Doctor then cures. So why aren't they home next week? Sure the crew'll turn into lizards (because of evolution that shouldn't work that way) but then the Doctor could just cure the crew once in the Alpha Quadrant.
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NCC-1701-Z
Tue, Jun 28, 2016, 12:51am (UTC -5)
Re: New Trek Series Coming in 2017

New updates from Fuller himself:

-13 episode season, tied up in a story arc. Sounds like he's trying to move away from self contained episodic stories.
-Not an anthology series.
-Not set between Undiscovered Country and TNG.

trekmovie.com/2016/06/23/fuller-clarifies-star-trek-2017-not-anthology-series-reveals-more-details/

Separately, Brent Spiner told IGN that he would be open to playing a role on the new series, much like how he played Arik Soong on Enterprise.

Thoughts, anyone?
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Skywalker
Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 8:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Prototype

Heh, a lot of the annoying stuff Jammer notes about the episode — the excessive technobabble, the idiotic refrains of the same bridge battle scenes — this stuff didn't bother me as a kid. And I was wondering why the little kid version of me didn't mind.

Then I remembered: that's exactly the kind of stuff I made up when I played and used my imagination as a little kid and pretended I was a starship captain or whatever. If you have seen the Pixar movie Up, you'll remember that little Carl in the beginning plays with his toy airship in the exact same way.

So basically, my conclusion is that the VOY writers have the creative skills of preadolescents.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

@ Andy's Friend, I still don't know why you're hung up on whether or not Data has an artificial "brain". You have yet to define what that means. Are you quite sure you're really talking about something, as opposed to issuing phrases that sound like something but have no content? If there's content then why not just say what it is instead of using placeholders? You haven't even provided an explanation for why the Human brain isn't just a sophisticated computer. Until you can answer my very clear point-blank question in any way (about what non-linear processing is) I'll assume you're not really interested in talking about this. I also assume from your lack of confirmation that you are not an expert in the field of robotics, information theory, etc etc.

Incidentally, I find this particular line somewhat accursed:

"...by saying that that sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking. By that I mean that this is a little bit like discussing religion. If you strongly believe that (I’m not saying that William does), nothing I can say will change your mind."

If positing a theory about robotics makes someone a 'religious believer' that you can't communicate with, then I find it hard to believe you are making such absolute declarate statements with a straight face. If you know something special about this then own it and lay it down for us. The condescension needs real creds to back it up, my man.

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Andy's Friend
Mon, Jun 27, 2016, 6:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

@William B & Peter G.

I was writing to Peter, but I'll answer William's last comment first because it can be done very quickly: I basically agree with everything you wrote.

I think you're quite right about the episode being robbed of its power without uncertainty. It dares ask great questions. It follows it should not provide certain answers. And you are right: knowingly believing in something uncertain is a very powerful thing. It is what makes faith, true faith, indestructible.

I also think you're very, very right regarding Data's multiple roles, as in a mascot of the autist & Asperger's communities. What makes Data so fantastic is that he is so many people in one: the Child, the Good Brother, the Autist... The Android is actually pretty far down the list in importance. This is undoubtedly why he is so beloved: most of us can find a part of ourselves in him. Mirrors, was it, William?

I have a little more difficulty in seeing the Doctor in quite the same multi-faceted fashion. Every Star Trek fan I know likes the Doctor a lot, but for very different reasons that they like Data: they do not receive the same kind of love.

I particularly like your reference to Q, because, as you'll remember, that is my recurring theme: the humanoid & the truly alien. And you're of course right: any truly alien might question our human consciousness; and, if we widen our scope, what I have called the "artificial brain" is merely a word for some sort of cognitive architecture which may be very different from our own. The Great Link seem to have one, and I'm pretty sure it's quite different from Data's brain.

Also, and this is answering both of you now, it is true that we cannot know with absolute certainty that Data's "positronic" brain is an artificial brain. There are strong indications that it is, but we cannot know for sure; and it is true that Data, too, could simply be another Great Pretender.

This leads me to that most interesting aspect: faith. I was going to answer William earlier:

WILLIAM B―"I think that a system sufficiently sophisticated to simulate "human-level" (for lack of a better term) sentience may have developed sentience as a consequence of that process."

...by saying that that sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking. By that I mean that this is a little bit like discussing religion. If you strongly believe that (I’m not saying that William does), nothing I can say will change your mind. There are still highly intelligent scientists who share that belief, in spite of all the advances we've made in the past decades in both neuroscience and computer science. It is, quite simply, a belief, akin to a spiritual one. Some people *want to believe* that strings of code, like lead, can turn into gold.

But that of course is a bit like my belief that Data's positronic brain is an artificial brain, i.e., some sort of cognitive architecture affording him consciousness. I, too, *want to believe* that he has that artificial brain. Because to me, Data would lose his magic, and all his beauty, were it not so. As I wrote, there are very strong indications that this interpretation is a correct one; but as in religion, I have no proof, and I must admit that it is, ultimately, also an act of faith of sorts. I want Data to be alive. To me, Data wouldn't make much sense otherwise. And I know full well that this is, deep down, a religious feeling.


I'm sorry, guys, it's getting late here in Europe... Until next time :)
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