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Diamond Dave
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 5:23am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Carpenter Street

I thought this was OK. No, it's not especially challenging as a watch, but it does what it does effectively and I found it engaging enough. If there's one thing that this series is doing is trying out some different genres - they're not all working by any means but this did have a fairly effective atmosphere. 3 stars.
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William B
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 4:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

@Luke, I agree with everything here and I think you are almost certainly right about Behr and Wolfe, another part of me thinks that literally any change would have to have made the episode better.

I think B or W said at some point that the idea was that they did want to make the audience uncomfortable as well as titillate, and did want to explore whether Risa was a screwed up place and give some credence to Fullerton. I believe that they didn't intend to set up as much of a strawman as they did, and if they think that more nudity would make Fullerton seem like less of a psycho somehow then, well, sure, maybe. I'm pretty doubtful that would have done much good, though....
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Luke
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 2:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Let He Who Is Without Sin...

Wow. That sure de-escalated quickly. In back-to-back episodes we go from what many viewers and critics consider one the franchise's cremes-of-the-crop immediately to what is almost universally considered one of the franchise's absolute worst. I'll be honest, ever since I started these reviews of "Deep Space Nine" I've been really looking forward to absolutely savaging "Let He Who Is Without Sin...". That alone should probably tell you how awful it is. But you know what? After my, shall we say - thorough, critique of "Bar Association", I just don't have the energy to do something similar here. Mostly that's because just about everyone realizes that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." is an absolute abominable mess, so what's really the point of offering a scene-by-scene or point-by-point rundown? So, I'll just focus on the main problems.

I've long said that this is the worst episode of "Deep Space Nine". Not even "Bar Association" is this bad. The only episode that might give it a run for that dubious honor is "Profit and Lace". However, "Profit and Lace" does, at least, have one - just one - funny moment, something that "Let He Who Is Without Sin..." completely lacks. There isn't a single thing about this episode that is praise-worthy. First off, let me just point you to something said in "The Deep Space Nine Companion" (and on Memory Alpha). Apparently, Ira Steven Behr and Robert Hewitt Wolfe think that the main problem with the episode is that the restrictions of "family entertainment" and a five o'clock airtime in some markets meant that it couldn't be as sexy as they originally planned. Yes, they honestly think the problem is that the episode ISN'T SEXY ENOUGH! I'll just leave you good people to think about that little nugget of information for a while while I go do something much more productive, like bang my head into a wall fifty times.

The problem most certainly isn't a lack of tits and ass. It's that all five main characters (Dax, Worf, Bashir, Leeta and Quark) are tuned into completely unlikable caricatures of themselves only to then have those caricatures undergo massive doses of character assassination! Dax becomes a whinging, spoiled child (I won't get into the details as SFDebris and William B have already more than adequately expounded on Dax's total hypocrisy in this episode). Worf commits what can only be called a terrorist act just because he's upset with his girlfriend. Bashir, always a skirt chaser, morphs into someone who is only interested in getting laid as often as possible. Leeta goes from being an amiable airhead to a complete and utter dipshit. And Quark also morphs into a horn-dog. There's your problem, writers! It's not that you put Terry Farrell in a one-piece swimsuit instead of a string bikini; it's that you utterly destroyed your own characters. The only people to escape from this disaster with their dignity intact were Nana Visitor, Colm Meaney and Cirroc Lofton, only because they don't appear in the episode.

Secondly, the episode fails because it sets up a total false dichotomy. Here, we are presented with a choice between the shallowness of the Risians and the stuck-up, hardcore puritanism of the Essentialists. No moderate voices are ever given a hearing. No one ever pipes up and says, "Hey, this Fullerton guy is a complete jackass and I would never condone his methods, but he may have a point about our decadence. Perhaps all this meaningless sex is a dangerous distraction." No. Instead, the writers spend the entire episode telling us what to think. And what message do they want us to take away from "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."? That social conservatives are bitter, hateful people who (as Vanessa Williams flat out says) just need a good fucking - oh, I'm sorry, a good jamaharoning - to be cured of their hang-ups. Well, you know what? Jamaharon you, writers! I'm not a social conservative but I absolutely hate straw-man arguments. And that is all the Essentialists are - straw-man versions of social conservatives. But what is most sad about this aspect of the episode is that I can see a nugget of a good idea buried in the Essentialists. Like with TOS: "The Way to Eden", with it's space hippies, there was a chance to view the Federation in a new light. Have people from your own camp criticize the way things are being done and offer a new vision. Thereby, the characters might actually learn something about themselves or become better people than they were before. But instead, the execution of that idea - like with "The Way to Eden" - is so horrifyingly bad that viewing it is like spending forty-five minutes watching someone slowly drool into a toilet.

Thirdly, when you stop and think about it, Risa, as a concept, makes no damn sense! Are we honestly supposed to believe that Risians have ZERO standards for who they're attracted to? Or do they simply think that every single person they encounter is sexy? Because all Quark has to do is wave a couple of Horgons in the faces of two random, extremely attractive, passing women and they immediately run off with him to jump his bones all night long. Look, this may make some people uncomfortable, but I'm going there. People naturally have standards for who they want to fuck. And there's nothing wrong with that! If Melissa McCarthy or the mom from "Honey Boo Boo" wants to have sex with me, they're going to be sorely disappointed. If Risians everywhere are willing to jump in the sack with anybody (and not just the women - apparently Leeta has no problem getting a Risian male to screw her), then this really begins to look awfully like culturally enforced prostitution. Personally, I'm against forcing people into prostitution. How about you?

WORST! EPISODE! YET!

0/10
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Chrome
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 12:04am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

I don't think this episode was ever trying to give any searing commentary on Earth's society's current treatment of gender. If anything, it's sort of like looking into a mirror of human societies of the early 20th century (in terms of discrimination) but gender-flipped. Overall the message is thoroughly hammy, but if you view the show as a comedy, it works on some levels (Gosh, *poor* Riker).

As for this James-Robert discussion, the crux of the argument seems to be "Things aren't really that bad for women in our society and men suffer from Affirmative Action" with Robert flatly denying this pointing out how hard women have it.

I will say this: history has taught us that the shackles of discrimination can and will be abused by those in power. Whenever it's possible, a gender neutral law is best, and when that's not possible, laws that discriminate based only on tried, tested, and verifiable reasons can work but under scrutiny.

Yes, at one point men weren't allowed to attend schools to be nurses, but women unquestionably have had it much worse and it's only now that things are getting *almost* equal.
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joseph
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 8:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River

He's gonna paint it.
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James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 6:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

""Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."
It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that
1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it."

There's a lot of information available online in regards to the observation of higher degrees of variability in males. The intelligence bell-curve I've been referencing is just one aspect of that.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201101/how-can-there-still-be-sex-difference-even-when-there-is


"2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them."

They receive a 2-1 hiring preference for having the same qualifications and experience. Which DOES indicate that the field is not being stacked against them, and that there are active efforts to bring more women into positions within the field.
https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112.pdf (same link as before)
"The main experiment (n = 363: 182 women, 181 men) consisted of a between-subjects contest between identically qualified female and male applicants for an assistant professor-ship who shared academic credentials and lifestyles (plus the Y foil candidate). The six lifestyles studied were single without children, married without children, married with children and stay-at-home spouse, married with children and spouse working outside home, married with children and spouse working inside home, and divorced with children. Candidates’ children were always described as two preschoolers. A random stratified sampling procedure was used (SI Appendix). Our data revealed an overall strong preference for female applicants over identically qualified males who shared the same lifestyle (Fig. 1). This preference for women was observed across all three Carnegie classifications of institutions, all four fields, and both genders of faculty, with the exception of male economists (see following)."

And I agree with the authors of the paper here, that the myth of sexism being pervasive in STEM (or, more specifically to this discussion, that STEM is stacked against women) is itself one of the factors in the perpetuation of this drought of women in STEM. In fact, around the 70s-80s was the peak of women in STEM, and not long after the claims of pervasive sexism in STEM began, began the downward descent toward the current trough of women in STEM:

"Once hired, women prosper in the STEM professoriate (14, 16–18): They are remunerated, persist, and are promoted at rates roughly comparable to men’s (14) after controlling for observable characteristics, including academic productivity. However, to be hired and eventually tenured, women must first apply. Unfortunately, despite their success once hired, women apply for tenure-track positions in far smaller percentages than their male graduate student counterparts (14, 16, 18). Why might this be? One reason may be omnipresent discouraging messages about sexism in hiring, but does current evidence support such messages? Despite this question’s centrality to any informed discussion about women’s underrepresentation in academic science, only one experimental study (7) contrasted faculty ratings of the relative “hirability” of hypothetical identically qualified women and men. Results showed that both female and male psychology faculty members downgraded a hypothetical woman’s academic record compared with an identical man’s. However, this study was published 16 years ago and involved only one field, psychology, a discipline that is more than 50% female (14)."


""In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.
Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."
I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue)"

It's both a minor's rights issue, and a men's rights issue. For one thing, circumcision is arguably completely absent any religious aspect except for Jewish people, and even more and more Jewish people are substituting the circumcision ritual with one that doesn't involve genital cutting. It didn't get its inception in the US because Christians still believed themselves to have an obligation to engage in the Jewish tradition, it got its inception from Puritanical values leading people to mutilate their boys to discourage masturbation. One of the people leading the push for this practice was John Harvey Kellogg, the corn flakes guy. He advocated for it to be performed without pain-reducing treatment so that contact with the penis would be psychologically associated with intense pain. He also advocated for girls to have their clitorises treated with acid to discourage sexual activity from them as well. It's a men's rights issue because, despite there being the same "justification" for treating their clitorises with acid, infant girls are protected from genital mutilation. Infant boys routinely undergo it, and have their foreskins sold to cosmetic manufacturers to be used to make various creams and lotions. All justified on baseless religious grounds, by medical bunk, and by aesthetic preference. I agree that parents should have their "right to be stupid", as you put it, cut down to size, but to say that this isn't a rights disparity faced by men on the basis of their sex is simply false. The obligation to the covenant of circumcision, for Christians, is tossed out with the rest of the Old Testament laws. Such as "don't eat shrimp" and "don't wear mixed fabrics". It doesn't have ground to stand on as far as religious background goes.

That being said, it's pretty simple why I made these points. The claim was that society's deck is stacked against women, by men, for men. I listed out facts which are evidence that the deck is not stacked for men, and if anything it's stacked against them. Which would indicate that if the deck is not working in women's favor, it's not because it's been stacked against them. It's because the deck is garbage - for everybody. Certainly not especially so for women.


"and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights"."

Hardly? It's an objectively superior voting right.


"That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win...."

I already pointed out that this is a rights disparity which results in men who do not participate in the offending system, being refused basic rights and public services. There are still consequences to not signing up for Selective Service, even though they stopped prosecuting for it about three decades ago. So no, it's really not analogous to an obsolete law against sodomy, because people who engage in sodomy anyways are not systemically denied the right to vote, the right to drive, and are not rendered ineligible for various public services.


""Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."
I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different."

I agree that it's not better, just different. In fact I would say that the difference itself makes the human species as a whole better. And that our differences should be cherished as the complementary parts of humanity's whole that they are, rather than denied.


""I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."
I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?"

No, I made that point after you assumed that's what I was talking about (and responded to me as such). Before you replied to me I was making the point that there are mental differences between men and women, because I was arguing against something someone else had said earlier in the thread.


"But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on."

I've chimed in on a variety of points made in this thread, but before you and I started our exchange I don't believe anything I was arguing against had to do with STEM. I spoke about society as a whole (men in particular) not actually stacking the deck against women, and I spoke about men and women having mental differences as well as physical differences, rather than just physical differences as someone claimed.


"At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.
1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.
2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).
3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2)."

I would say this is probably a pretty accurate representation of the main points being discussed in the thread. Some of the things I chimed in on were in regards to more tangential things mentioned by people in the thread, besides those main points of discussion. In my initial post, I used quotes so it would be more apparent that I was speaking about specific things people have said.


"I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit."

Sure.


"So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.
So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?"

I can agree with that.


"So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it."

I don't see there as being a wage-gap based on discrimination, I see there as being an earnings gap based on heavily influential factors mainly in the realm of personal choice. But we don't have to get into that.


"So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."
So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-wit hout-boys.html?pagewanted=all""

I completely concede that in the past, not even a distant past, women had less freedom to pursue their interests. But nowadays that's not so much the case, and in the context of the present, I would say that yes, we have come to the degree of personal freedom that an individual's intense passion would overcome what little cultural pressures remain to inhibit them from pursuing those passions. Maybe that's naive of me to think, but I don't think so. You're right that someone raised in an intensely traditional environment has more cultural pressure to contend with than someone who wasn't. But that is increasingly becoming a rarity, and the institutions themselves have already evolved past the infinitesimal knuckle-dragging minority of people who genuinely seek to typecast the youth into traditional gender roles. You're right though, I shouldn't have dismissed your question so offhandedly like that. I apologize.


""My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."
I'd be interested to hear any of that."

I would say that simply advocating for men's rights and expressing the observation that the world is not stacked against women are themselves very divergent concepts from that which our evolutionary psychology has developed a bias for. Simply recognizing men's vulnerabilities and the ways in which they as a group get the short stick, is very much against our natural intuitive biases of women being a class in need of protection and deserving of pedestalization, and men being a class of disposable, independent people who do the protecting (and harming). Just look at how the very concept of men's rights advocacy is demonized, trivialized, and ridiculed online. It's an open display of cognitive dissonance.


""You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "
You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own..."

Actually, I was being critical of how you conflated and mixed points that I made and topics I was speaking on, and responded accordingly. It results in miscommunication and my words being misrepresented. I take responsibility for that, though. I could have been clearer in my initial comment as to what I was talking about, and when what I was talking about shifted to something else. So, I'll own that and apologize.


"But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better."
So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?"

Actually, when I said "we're contrasting the form of intelligence...", I was addressing them without the gender attribution, essentially saying "we're not contrasting male and female forms of intelligence, we're contrasting this kind of intelligence and this other kind of intelligence". I made the point that men, who do typically trend towards one form of intelligence, did not come to their place of historical power through physical domination. I said they came to that place of power not by physically dominating women, but because they are more inclined towards striving for positions of leadership and high-status (this is actually a directly causal effect of having more testosterone), and because they trended towards a form of intelligence that was of great practical use for facilitating a position of leadership.
And yes, these divides still exist today, when people have more individual freedom to take what path in life they choose. Men are still more often engineers, scientists, large-scale leaders (women actually have an advantage - again, evolutionarily based - in community leadership, and this is reflected in the forms of leadership they trend towards pursuing), and hard laborers. Women still predominate schooling, community organization, professional childcare, psychology, pediatrics, etc. I wouldn't put it as "men are better at non-baby jobs", because that would be an oversimplification of what I'm pointing to: a evolutionarily rooted divergence between the genders in trends of interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits. The interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits men display trends in, are what led to men taking on those positions of power. Not physical dominance, which is what I was arguing against.


"You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets."

Should I? I don't think they're worse at it either, I just see them as less often doing so because of biologically-ingrained difference trends between the sexes.


"But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant."

I'm the one in this thread who addressed the different forms of intelligence without the attribution to gender, first of all. And yes, the form of intelligence women trend more often than men towards is, in fact, worse at landing spacecrafts on comets than the technical, mathematical forms of intelligence men more often trend towards.

In other words, the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective teacher, social worker, community organizer, or psychologist, is obviously less practical for landing spacecrafts on comets than the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective mathematician or engineer. I don't need to prove that, it's pretty self-evident.

But yeah, all of that really is irrelevant to what I actually said because I was making an argument against the claim that men maintained their historical position of social power through physical dominance.

Also, in early humanity's hunter-gathering societies, there was more often a matriarchal social structure (male-led societies took off around the agricultural revolution). Because women evolved to trend towards the form of intelligence which makes them good community leaders, and because of evolutionarily rooted biases towards the pedestalization (and often deification) of women. This is literally the same argument I made for how men didn't come to their positions of power through physical dominance, but just on the flipped side of the coin, explaining how women came to their positions of power without physical dominance.

I think I have explained everything I was saying with the utmost clarity at this point. Again, I apologize if it was the way I wrote that caused the conflation and confusion here. Hopefully now everything's clearer and I won't feel compelled to respond again.
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jeroen
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 3:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Eye of the Needle

love this episode! first introduction of the romulans for me (this is my first star trek show)
the only thing i don't get is the fact that they teach Kes so much and she talks about medical school but she will die in about 5 year from old age.
they rely on her a lot but if their journey will take 70 year she will only be alive for a really small part of it
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Diamond Dave
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 2:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Similitude

The only thing that keeps this episode from being a slam dunk 4 star is the very thing that the very similar Tuvix didn't duck - that in the end it was Sim's nobility and self-sacrifice that prevented Archer having to make a life or death call, and in so doing got the writers out of a big hole by having Archer take such an extreme position.

But that aside this was something of a tour de force - provoking and affecting in equal measure with some really strong performances and many great scenes. "Damn, this is a screwed-up situation" indeed. 3.5 stars.
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robrow
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Death Wish

There's the rub. If you read Julian Barnes History of the World in 10 and 1/2 chapters, the last section tells the story of an everyman who gets sent to heaven, gets everything he ever wanted...and then the pleasure gradually diminishes til it loses any meaning. He ends up wanting to die. I suppose one philosophical criticism of this story is that it ultimately reduces omnipotence to human standards - it's like saying God can tire of his creation and all that heavenly praise (yeh I know Trek never explicitly sets up the Q as being a divine creator, but they share some of it's attributes). I'd grow bored rigid, but that's just my necessarily limited perspective. And it led to an absorbing, very well acted and - at times - funny story. 4 stars from me.
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Jim Witte
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 12:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

@David

"couldn't stand Stewart kanoodling with yet another young actress as opposed to .. Neela Darren."

It would have been interesting if the episode *had* cast a younger actor as the "younger Picard", perhaps with the older Picard having a role as a "visual voice-over" like Q was (sort of - Q was visible to everyone else, but they either didn't care or.. well, chalk it up to Q's omnipotence).

I hadn't thought of that until now - but what *really* would have been interesting if if instead of Marta they *had* had it be a younger Neela or Beverly. That would have added another level of fourth-wall busting ("third-and-a-half" given that it's an alternate timeline?) complexity as the younger Picard would presumably have the same memories of his "later" relationship with either. Would have worked better with a younger Neela I think, since Neela isn't a crew-member of any import except for in "Lessons".

Especially interesting would be if after Picard came back to the main-timeline, he *had* (restarted) some kind of relationship with Neela (if she's still on the Enterprise that is), having "re-remembered" her from the past.

By that I mean that I'd guess in that episode-scenario the "young-Neela" would have been (in the "original prime timeline where his heart fails") just "some random girl he canoodled with for a day and then forgot" - which is why he didn't remember her in "Lessons". This experience would have reminded him that she "had been" one of those "loose threads of regret". And then when the prime timeline "resumes", he would restart the relationship (after Q restores everything, or perhaps just ends his Remember-Me-like-thoughts-shape-reality "Q's-Warp-Bubble" thing).

How they'd deal with *Neela* also "re-remembering" their earlier encounter.. I dont' know. Or perhaps she *wouldn't* remember it. Maybe Q might have thrown in that "reality-bending-bit" for the hell of it - he does have a strange sense of humor.

I guess this would be a *really* strange situation where in the prime-timeline, for Picard the "young Neela" really did happen, but for the "adult Neela", it dint' ever happen. I know, it doesn't fit into single-time-dimensional spacetime at all, but perhaps in two-time-dimensional system with the possibility of superpositions?

(Don't even get me started on trying to think about loop-quantum-gravity ways this might work out where the only thing that *really* matters at the lowest level is (I think) "happens-before/happens-after" causality.)

(And however that framework couples to matter-energy. I haven't read chapter 7.3 "Coupling to Matter" (p 97) in Gambini and Pullin's "First Course in LQG".)

Anyway, remember Q's bit about the unknown possibilities of existence" and Sisko-as-Prophet's line, "it's *not* linear.."
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icarus32soar
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 11:06am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S6: Life Line

What a pity they ruined a potentially stellar episode with Troi and Barclay. This insistence on cross pollinating episodes with characters from other series is vexing in the extreme. Barclay should be locked up permanently in a holodeck and Troi exiled to Betazed. Hayley should have been given more screen time and character development. She's the absolute highlight of the episode. And the holographic fly doing microsurveillance.
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Robert
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."

It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that

1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it.

2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them.

"In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."

I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue) and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights". That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win....

"Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."

I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different.

"I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."

I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?

But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on. At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.

1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.

2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).

3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2).

I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit. So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.

So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?

So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it.

So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."

So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-without-boys.html?pagewanted=all"

"My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."

I'd be interested to hear any of that.

"You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "

You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own... But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. "

So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?

You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets. But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant. You just know there can't be any societal factors in there?

Or am I misreading things again?
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TimeTravelFTW
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:48am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S4: Divergence

I'm a longtime TNG fan and I recently made my way through DS9 and VOY which I never watched regularly while they were on. I then decided...what the heck...may as well finish the job with Enterprise which I never watched at all. I agree with everyone that Season 4 is leaps and bounds better than what came before.
However I came on here to point out a plot hole in this episode that I haven't seen anyone mention. How exactly did Reed 'help' the Section 31 mission? The Section 31 bloke said at the end that it wouldn't have succeeded without him ....but why? At most he delayed them a few hours with his sabotage of evidence but Archer would still have likely allowed Phlox to finish his work.
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James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys,"

I didn't presume it, I gave reasons for thinking so.


"because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best."

Not analogous to any of the arguments I made, or any of the positions I expressed.


"To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against."

I know, it's such a taboo. I mean, you might be called a piece of filth men's rights advocate!


"That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not."

I didn't say they should be, I said they had a superior right to vote, which they objectively do. Meaning men should not have to either.


"However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female."

Yeah, you're right, it does have little bearing on that. Nobody said it had any. What I said that has bearing on that topic, is that it's a part of our dimorphism that males more often have qualities we would describe now as beneficial for leadership, and that men more often have interest in assuming a leadership or other high-status role.


"As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally."

I never said either of those two things, or even implied them.

I said - and I repeat for the nth time now - men have a wider range of intellect than women (so if you choose one of the dumbest or the smartest people at random, you're more likely to get a man; men occupy the lowest and highest tiers), and men display interest in STEM fields more often than women. I then said that this is why there are more men in STEM fields and more male professors in STEM fields.

Sure, in the past STEM fields were arguably stacked against women. But now women receive a 2:1 hiring preference over men in STEM fields, no doubt because people want to get more women into STEM. That's not what a field stacked against a certain group of people looks like.


"Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing."

Whether or not it will likely be invoked again, has no bearing on whether or not it is a system which discriminates against men and gives women a superior voting right.


"Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended."

Then so does the fact that most men didn't have the right to vote either, and any number of limitations on men's rights which have yet to be amended.

I'm perfectly fine with that.
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James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

""No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "
Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards."

And in all of those spheres, it's directly tied into practical skills for achieving the intended goal.


"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."
"Deep thoughtful rebuttals here."

I had already explained why he doesn't.


""2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."
There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant)."

Try not to poison the well some more with this nonsense. There's a distinction between the act of advocating or engaging in activism for men's rights, and a person being a traditionalist. They can do both at once, but that doesn't make the two concepts inherently related.


"I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Those people... who advocate for the advancement of the rights of men."

I am a men's rights advocate. I'm also a women's rights advocate. Those are pretty much two essential ingredients to being a human rights advocate. Which is itself a pretty essential ingredient to being a humanist.


""Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."
You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important...."
"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."
Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation."

I didn't say men were "better at STEM". I said they're more often interested in STEM. And the fact that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence, is itself causation for men more often getting the top positions in intellectually strenuous fields of work.


""No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."
"Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted."

That's entirely besides the point. For one thing, that may be the circumstances now, but that's not what they were not that long ago. No matter which way you look at it, women do have a superior right to vote. They're not obligated into that system on the basis of their gender. They don't get refused basic rights and services for choosing not to participate in it.


"Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that."

That's not even what I said.


"To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation."

I said that "the education system actually is stacked against boys" and that this "is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates". I then said, "Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields".
Meaning the fact that there's less men than women, and still more men and STEM than women in STEM, is evidence of a difference between the sexes beyond physical ability. It's literally all right there, in plain text.


"It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing."

I didn't say that was proof of it, I said that that was a reflection of it. I didn't explain how the education system is stacked against boys, I was listing things out.
This quote, "And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)", references the two ways in which the education system favors girls.


"That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women?"

Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant. That or you favor the tactic of overwhelming your adversary with endless misrepresentation and fallacy. I didn't make that argument.

If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference.
(https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112.pdf)


"These data points are not even related."

You're right, they're not.


"I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!"

i suppose that's why it's a pretty ramshackle straw-argument, innit?


""Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "
Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though."

In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating.


""Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "
I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)"

Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me.


"all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes?"

Questions like these have actually been studied pretty thoroughly. Sure, there are classes the genders naturally gravitate toward. That, if you recall, was a point of mine regarding the fact that there's differences in the mind between the sexes. As I corrected you on earlier, I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men.

If two groups have opposite trends in preference between two different choices, this doesn't mean either choice is "stacked against" either group.


"And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?"

No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it.


"In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different."

I don't see "forms" of intelligence as gendered, and I didn't argue that they were.


"Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.
In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best."

No, that's actually not what I think. We reached these societal divisions in gender because they've been the most working models for a long time. My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology. (Pause to self-reflect there.)


"With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical."

Yes, exactly what I said. We went through physical and mental dimorphism because it worked for us, because of the various pressures we had to survive. And all of this is in regards to my simple point that women and men - are different. In ways beyond just physical dimorphism, which you already agreed with. Now you're once again doodling all over the page, and mashing everything that's been spoken about into this straw-blob of conflated amalgam.


"When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!"

You're the one who combined those things into this absolute mess of a strawman.


"You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today."

I have not said a single thing even suggesting this. You're all over the place, dude.


"Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up."

You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. And now we're here, and you got this sophistic protoplasm all over my new shoes.

Thx.
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Luke
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

It's the casual use of it in the Alpha Quadrant that bothers me. Under extreme conditions - like numerous times during the war - I don't have a problem with it. They're at war so the technical legalities of the agreement be damned. I don't even have a problem with it being used in "The Way of the Warrior" because it's directly addressed - Bashir calls Sisko out on the use of the cloak and Sisko says he doesn't care because getting to Dukat is more important. Hell, if they just did something similar whenever they violate the agreement it wouldn't bother me so much. As it stands, however, it looks like the writers just forgot about the agreement and like using the cloak for no reason. Picking up an Orb in a non-hostile region of space? Use the cloak!

As for Voyager losing shuttles.... whatever you do, don't make a drinking game out of it. You'll die of alcohol poisoning right quick. :-)
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Robert
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 7:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

@Luke - Just make sure you don't take a shot every time the Defiant cloaks in the Alpha Quadrant or Voyager loses a shuttle. :P
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Luke
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 1:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Trials and Tribble-ations

Berman and Braga should have taken notes on this episode. If they wanted to send "a valentine to the fans" with the final episode of ENT, this is how it should have been done. The nostalgia factor is high but the focus never once leaves the "Deep Space Nine" characters. Kirk, Spock and company may take up a lot of screen time, but they don't push our regular characters out of the way - like Riker and Troi do in that episode which shall not be named.

"Trials and Tribble-ations" is indeed just an immense amount of fun. It isn't perfect, but it definitely achieves what it sets out to do and then some - play tribute to Trek's past. Watching the "Deep Space Nine" characters Forest Gump their way through the events of "The Trouble with Tribbles" is a very enjoyable experience. Jammer may be right that the episode is awfully light on plot, or meaning, or connection to the rest of the series. But, so what? It's fun!

There are problems, however. The biggest, as Jammer points out, is Dax's actions. She just goes all googly-eyed fan-girl on absolutely everything (wanting to throw caution to the wind and meet Kirk and Spock just for the fun of it, drooling over the TOS era tricorders, fawning over how great a lover McCoy was, etc.). I'm not a big fan of her character to start with (no surprise, I'm sure) but even I thought this was a disservice to the character. Most of time I was just left thinking "grow up, Jadzia". Another major problem was the completely unnecessary pointing out of the differences between TOS and TNG era Klingons. We simply did not need an explanation, any explanation. When Kor, Kang, and Koloth showed up on DS9 back in "Blood Oath" with full forehead ridges, I thought the message was clear - Klingons always had forehead ridges. The powers that be were trusting to the audiences' intelligence to simply suspend disbelief, wink at the screen and accept that the Klingons in TOS had the ridges. But now along comes an explanation, even it is ultimately a non-answer. Totally unneeded and, to be honest, something of a slap in the face to the audience. It's like the writers were saying "we don't trust the audience to understand what we were trying to do in "Blood Oath" so we better spoon-feed them something". UGH! This will even lead to another unnecessary (though surprisingly well-done) explanation in ENT's fourth season. There are also some little nitpicky problems, such as the Defiant again being cloaked in the Alpha Quadrant (in the 24th century) without care for the agreement with the Romulans.

Still, all of those problems only harm the episode a little and only hold it back from a perfect score. As an anniversary tribute episode, it probably couldn't get any better than this. Imagine trying to write a story that straddles the line between being a loving tribute but also something of a parody, a story that's driven by nostalgia but doesn't rely on it and a story which must be told within the limits of another story. That's right, Brannon Braga had quite a difficult task when he wrote "Flashback" and he fucked it up royally. "Deep Space Nine's" team, however, confronted the same situation and they managed to create a classic episode beloved by just about everyone.

9/10
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Justus
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Vanishing Point

I agree with a lot of the commenters, this was not a good episode. The show telegraphs pretty early that Hoshi is not experiencing reality when T'Pol knows why the aliens are upset before communication has been established. Hoshi even asks how this is possible, but moves on without a second thought.

This could have been a good episode if Hoshi had to solve a problem to escape or had some insight to gain about herself from the experience, but neither of these things happen. She, along with the audience, just kind of wade through the dream sequence until we pop out of the tranporter on the other side.

To add insult to injury, the episode tries to foist undeserved character development on Hoshi to justify the dream sequence. Archer tells Hoshi that she overcame her fear of transportation by boarding the dream tranporter platform. First, Hoshi was already a ghost in the dream and everyone thought she was dead so what did she have to lose? Second, it's not like Hoshi had figured out that she was in a dream and had to do something she feared in order to escape back to reality.

As it stands, this episode is a lot of sci/fi concept with little substance. I'm surprised Jammer rated this as highly as he did. We're usually in close agreement.
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Patrick
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 6:57pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Exodus, Part 1

@battlestar

The occupation takes place AFTER the 1 year time jump. This episode is 4 month after the 1 year jump.

Yes you are missing quite a bit.
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Patrick
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 6:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Downloaded

Mikey, no one is taking you seriously.
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Nesendrea
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Inheritance

@William: That's an interesting interpretation that I can honestly say never once occurred to me over the years. And looking back, it's probably right.

Part of the fault lies with my memory, as I always recalled Soong using the word "terminate" (rather than "shut down"), which leaves a great deal less room for ambiguity. In my own defense, however, later in that scene (unless I am misinterpreting or misremembering once again), Soong tells Data that he programmed Julianna to "die" after living a long life, and he urged him, "don't rob her of that." We can still assume under your interpretation that Soong meant Julianna wouldn't be able to enjoy whatever time he programmed her to have left if she knew the truth - though it has to be admitted that this seems an odd and even slightly cruel thing to say to Data. But taken with the "shut down" remark, it bolstered my understanding that Julianna would permanently power down if she were exposed to that information.

Still, the episode's final act makes little sense if that is indeed what Soong was saying (especially since the officers didn't even comment on the abortive ethical dilemma I mentioned), so I'm going to go with you on this. It's easy for me to feel that the script should have been a little clearer, but for all I know I'm the only one who misunderstood.

Thanks for the clarification.
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Diamond Dave
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: North Star

Yay, Western! Or not... I'm also not keen on these types of episodes, but I suppose at least with a holodeck you can have an excuse that works a little better than the giant contrivance at play here. As an instrument this is fairly blunt in terms of messaging as well, and it mines every Western cliche in the book from lynching to shootout.

I suppose the cast seem to be enjoying themselves but I can't say that I did. 1.5 stars.
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nothingoriginal55
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 3:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Dauphin

i liked this one a lot more than i thought inwould. a low point was riker and guinans scene. Worf had some good scenes in this one.
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Peter G.
Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 3:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

Jammer got this one wrong. And I don't just mean I disagree with him about it being a watchable episode; I've actually always found it fun and novel as a Star Trek outing. I mean he got the intent of the episode wrong regarding Red Squad. They are wrong, were always wrong, and never for one instant had a viable point of view. *At first* we're not sure because we don't know what's been going on, but every single thing we learn about them ought to make us realize they are, just as Jake said, deluded dangerous children.

The Captain taking stims barely scratches the surface, although it does bespeak the fact that he needs to control everything and won't go to sleep. What becomes very alarming is when they tell Jake to avoid talking with the crew; that's when we ought to realize that something sinister is afoot. In time we learn that the ship is not being operated under Federation principles, as it is little more than a dictatorship with a very charismatic leader. The Captain's EXO is evidence of this, as she must enforce his law while he can play being the good guy. Once they put Jake in prison for saying his opinion we can pretty well realize this may as well be a Cardassian ship. We're shown just enough to make us realize that this ship has been a dictatorship all along, since we're told rather quickly that the crew is apparently forbidden to cry or express emotion of any kind (let alone dissent). It's unlikely that most of the cadets would have ever agreed to stay behind enemy lines for 8 months if they hadn't essentially been forced into it. Should we have any doubts that the Captain's choices for senior staff were probably those who would be most loyal to him? Note the lack of senior officers around willing to challenge his decisions.

I think the crux of what we're supposed to understand about this crew is spoken by Jake in the mess hall during the Hitler Youth meeting (which is what it is). When he tells them, correctly, that a decorated hero like his father would never do something this reckless, he was dead-on correct, period end of story. There is not anything controversial about it. The only thing that IS confusing is that the Captain is so damned confident and charming that we want to believe him, which puts him about in the same place as Dukat in terms of how much his charisma ought to inspire our trust.

When Collins, at the end, says that her Captain was a great man, we're supposed to be looking at a child evaluating her big-brother type mentor who just got her entire class killed for no reason and who lost the Federation a battleship during wartime. She is basically in shock, a total basket case, and still suffering from cognitive dissonance delusions about the rightness of what Red Squad was doing. That Nog (and the director) gave her statement any credence was probably a mistake on the part of the script, because it had none whatsoever.

Overall I see this entertaining tale as being about the dangers of introducing young people to a militant education. It can turn bright young stars into little dictators and make them think they're some kind of superior race like Khan and his people. Did anyone watching the episode note the similarity of the pride and sense of superiority Red Squad exhibits and compare this to the Jem'Hadar, who have also been taught that they're a superior race? I think it's no accident. The episode strikes me as being both about the dangers of training young people to be proud killers, as well as the horrors of war in general where the young generation inevitably is the one thrown into the fray and damaged irreparably because of it (see: Full Metal Jacket).
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