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William B
Wed, Jun 26, 2019, 2:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

Good points, Chrome.

Peter, that's fair. I'm basing my read though somewhat on McCoy's interpretation:

MCCOY: The biographical tape of Richard Daystrom.
KIRK: Did you find anything?
MCCOY: Not much, aside from the fact he's a genius.
KIRK: Genius is an understatement. At the age of twenty four, he made the duotronic breakthrough that won him the Nobel and Zee-Magnes prizes.
MCCOY: In his early twenties, Jim. That's over a quarter of a century ago.
KIRK: Isn't that enough for one lifetime?
MCCOY: Maybe that's the trouble. Where do you go from up? You publish articles, you give lectures, then spend your life trying to recapture past glory.
KIRK: All right, it's difficult. What's your point?
MCCOY: The M-1 through M-4, remember? Not entirely successful. That's the way Daystrom put it.
KIRK: Genius doesn't work on an assembly line basis. Did Einstein, Kazanga, or Sitar of Vulcan produce new and revolutionary theories on a regular schedule? You can't simply say, today I will be brilliant. No matter how long it took, he came out with multitronics. The M-5.
MCCOY: Right. The government bought it, then Daystrom had to make it work. And he did. But according to Spock, it works illogically.

It may be that he is wrong, but I think McCoy's point is that this is a predictable outcome for someone who completes a lifetime's work at 24 - - that it is actually on some level unbearable to never be able to recapture that success. Rationally of course no one can expect to produce more than one scientific or technological innovation in a lifetime, which is what Kirk is saying, but that is different from Daystrom's subjective experience of his own worth. This is not confined to scientists and engineers. Child stars often burn out and get sucked into drugs; authors whose first novel is wildly successful sometimes become unhappy recluses. Orson Welles continued working but frequently resented being tied to Citizen Kane forever. Daystrom was not spinning his wheels, but I believe he was unhappy and dissatisfied (as many child prodigies become). I am not even claiming that Daystrom ever was laughed at by colleagues - - it could well have been paranoia -- but merely that he learned too early in life to tie his whole sense of self worth to his "success" before having the maturity to understand what that meant.

The other thing is that the way Daystrom repeatedly emphasizes "self-defense" in the M-5's behaviour makes me think that Daystrom himself feels very threatened, since the M-5 is based on him. This is not incompatible with his paternalistic belief he knows what's best for all of society, but I get a certain impression of emptiness, disappointment and insecurity-based fear from Daystrom, under the bluster.
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Tanner
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 10:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

Cetric, totally!
When I think of shore leave, I think of spending time with someone who has Barrows’ righteous curves.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 2:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@ William B,

That's an interesting comparison, but strangely I never got the idea from The Ultimate Computer that Daystrom was actually a dunsel himself trying to prove otherwise. Maybe it's because the sort of thing he designs is so advanced, but I don't think I would have expected the sort of 'inventor' he is to be able to rapidly produce new systems to keep his fame updated. The fact of the matter is, that some things simply take so long to produce and refine that they will occupy your whole career. Einstein is a great example of this. While he did do various sorts of work over his lifetime for the most part his idee fixe was relativity, and seemed to spend the majority of his life refining it, fighting for it, and trying to explain it to people and seeing if the experimental data fit. I've read stories of physicists going to seminars where Einstein would predictably take various physics issues and bring up relativity to see if they were consistent with it. It's not because he was a one-hit wonder (and history certainly doesn't remember him that way) but rather because that one 'theory' required a lifetime of work.

Similarly, from what Daystrom describes his chief lament isn't that he was washed up but rather that his inferior collegaues laughed at him while not even understanding his theories from 20 years earlier! It's almost like they were boasting of their inferiority, that he was too weird to take seriously. And yet I seriously doubt they were scoffing at the duotronic computer system, and so therefore I have to assume that they were scoffing at him, personally. He seems to imply that they thought his inventions were an accident or something, but realistically I think "boy wonder" is the big takeaway from that speech. If we remember from TNG S1-2, Wesley was often derided by adults who didn't know him and didn't take him seriously *because he was young*, not because he was a one-hit wonder. He always had to prove that being young didn't mean that he couldn't solve problems with the big boys, and I expected that if Daystrom had revolutionized AI at the age of 15 or something that alone would have caused him to never be taken seriously no matter what his accomplishments were.

Beyond that, it strikes me as likely that the "20 years" he spent proving himself were probably related to how complicated and long the process would be to eventually develop M5. It's not like he was spinning his wheels for 20 years after having made himself redundant; I think it's that what he was doing was *so* advanced that it would take him 20 years just to progress to the next step of computer development. Since no one understood his work anyhow it would mean that they wouldn't think he was really accomplishing anything with a 20 year hiatus; they'd think that because it would suit their vanity to pretend that his teenage success was an anomaly, rather than to have to admit that he was so far superior to them that they were comparatively worthless. I suspect he really saw it that way. It's no small thing to call yourself "great". I really don't think it's an inferiority complex thing; it seems more like he sees himself as a technological Alexander the Great.
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Chrome
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 2:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@William B

I love the Stubbs comparison. Stubbs' lamentation of the decline in interest in baseball is somewhat illuminating for this situation. Baseball was surely a great hit in the 20th century, with players becoming household names and legends because they could inspire others with their abilities. But according to Stubbs, baseball fell out of interest because people lost patience for it, and instead became interested in faster games. We might extrapolate then, in the world of scientific discovery - particularly in Trek - there is a sort of rat race to outdo the other guy lest one be beaten by someone faster and better. Scientists with even early great success fall victim to the idea that they need to keep upping the ante or lose their brainiac status in Federation society.

This makes Daystrom sort of a tragic figure. He did everything right once, and really made a lasting legacy (people have noted that the Daystrom Institute is still important in the 24th century). But during his own life, he suffered from living in the shadow of his own success. It makes sense that he'd be talking to Kirk about losing status, when status was something he himself was fixated on. The M5 was his chance to finally one-up himself and stay useful in his lifetime.
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William B
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

You know, I've been thinking some more about this, and I think I read Daystrom a little differently than Peter. I agree that he sees himself as different from other ("less intelligent") people, has some real arrogance, and seems to harbour egotistic condescension. But I think that, as much narcissism, this stems from deep insecurity:

DAYSTROM: We will survive. Nothing can hurt you. I gave you that. You are great. I am great. Twenty years of groping to prove the things I'd done before were not accidents. Seminars and lectures to rows of fools who couldn't begin to understand my systems. Colleagues. Colleagues laughing behind my back at the boy wonder and becoming famous building on my work. Building on my work.

This dialogue shows both -- but I want to emphasize "colleagues laughing behind my back at the boy wonder" here. Daystrom succeeded wildly early in life, and then after that felt empty. It's a common feature of prodigies; a somewhat less extreme version is Dr. Stubbs in TNG's Evolution, who seems worse at first glance (is not as much in hiding/denial as Daystrom) but ends up going far less crazy. His whole value was derived from other people seeing him as having accomplishments, and then without those accomplishments he had nothing left. I guess I want to emphasize here that this problem is not purely egotism, but that people who achieve highly early in life are sometimes effectively trained to view everything about themselves *except for* their achievements as worthless.

So here's the paradox, a connection that I just realized: Daystrom's problem is, in certain respects, the same one as Kirk's! Daystrom's first invention made *himself* redundant; he basically revolutionized all computer systems, with a technology so advanced that he basically put *himself* out of work, because he would never again create an invention of this calibre! Daystrom, as a result, struggled with his own redundancy for decades, until he came up with a new invention. Which means that Daystrom needed to continue to prove his worth, again and again, and could not stand the feeling of being useless, which is the thing he is ushering in for Kirk et al. The main difference IMO is that Kirk is capable of self-awareness, which Daystrom is not:

KIRK: Am I afraid of losing command to a computer? Daystrom's right. I can do a lot of other things. Am I afraid of losing the prestige and the power that goes with being a starship captain? Is that why I'm fighting it? Am I that petty?
MCCOY: Jim, if you have the awareness to ask yourself that question, you don't need me to answer it for you. Why don't you ask James T. Kirk? He's a pretty honest guy.

This makes me think, too, that the issue with the M-5 is not *purely* that it wants to RULE EVERYONE. In fact it's that it needs to *defend itself*. The thing is, technology, at least unless some AI is created which is accepted as having rights, is basically disposable unless it is useful. The M-5 has to demonstrate *its usefulness* in order to continue existing, which means that it has to have threats to eliminate, in order to prove that it is necessary to eliminate threats. "The unit must survive." It is, in a twisted way, genuinely self-defensive for the M-5 to see threats everywhere, because either something is an actual active threat to it, or it is "not a threat," in which case M-5 is no longer as necessary, and thus is more likely to be thrown in the dustbin (as Daystrom felt he was). The reason I mention this is not to make excuses for Daystrom, but because it's a slightly different "disease" with perhaps a different "cure." I think M-5 sees threats everywhere because Daystrom, on some level, sees threats everywhere -- because he is, on some level, deeply afraid of whether he has any value if he can never produce anything of value again.

Anyway, I think the best case scenario is to do what Kirk does: to recognize and value the desire to be productive and useful, while also keeping an eye out for what is *actually* good for others (and oneself), besides a need to prove one's usefulness. What this means in practice is difficult. As the discussion above has pointed out, the continuing way in which technology makes various human tasks redundant has all kinds of implications, and it's also not so clear how to stem the tide or whether that'd even be desirable.
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Gen. Kenobi
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 12:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Who Mourns for Adonais?

"I wish there would be some mechanism here for people to fork off into heir own private nattering back and forth off topic ramblings of brain-vomit and not clutter up these comment sections with irrelevance."

The site owner encourages us to have discussions. Some people are just watching these shows for the first and enjoy discussing new things they see with other fans. If you don't wish to participate, you're totally free to scroll past it - a handy feature used in web browsers since the early 90s.
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SJU
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 12:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Macrocosm

3 stars.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 25, 2019, 9:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

@ Sloan,

I think you answered your own question. And actually it's a good point that I hadn't thought about before: M5 destroys the unmanned drone because it's an inferior AI to itself, and all we need to do is to realize that it hates that which is inferior and wants it to die, just like Daystrom hates the inferior humans who hold him back. And I do think his motive overall is to punish them for being inferior, although not to murder them per se. But M5 is a 'child' and so doesn't have the restraint he does in playing the long game.
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Dave in MN
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 11:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

^
There's something about euphonius and ear-catching about their names.

I'm 99% I remembered their monikers the first time I encountered that part of history.
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Gerontius
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 7:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Surely the fact that Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first people to fly in a powered aircraft means their names should be at least as familiar as that if Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon.
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Gholam
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Innocence

This is a splendidly made episode based on a profoundly mistaken premise. This is what made “The curious case of Benjamin button” movie possible. Benjamin is the story of a man who is old when he is born and an infant when he dies. A reverse direction of time’s arrow which here plays so beautifully in a science fiction package.

As the episode played on, I became totally consumed by the story and felt as though I was sitting on my head and not on my butt, but instead of feeling awkward for being upside down I was enjoying it very much.

What a great feeling to be born old and then grow younger as time goes by and instead of forgetting our youth as we grow older we overlook our old self as we mature younger.

We are all share this awareness of the directions of time’s arrow which states that everything comes after the beginning but here we start from the end going to the beginning. Wow!

The interaction between Tuvok and the kids was virtuoso and story was astounding and powerful especially at the end when Tuvok decided to stay with the 96 years old kid in her death-bed.

The diverse elements together brimming with intriguing concepts was stimulating treat for both the eyes and the intellect. This episode was unique and a true spiritual experience for me.
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Paul C
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 2:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

Overtones of the Master & Margarita - ‘manuscripts don’t burn’.

Too many unexplained things by those mysterious prophets - what happened to those JemHadar ships by the way? - and a touch too much over acting.

Great to see the characters portray humans.
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Chrome
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: This Side of Paradise

All in all, a nice little story. In the original draft for the script, the spores were supposed to be a benevolent group conscious, and being possessed by the conscious would put someone in a state of bliss. I still think there are cues from that script in here -- everyone affected seems to act in coordination to possess others to maintain some sort of symbiotic relationship with the planet.

I like how people were slowly converted one by one, which led to some memorable interactions with the straight man (Kirk) and the euphoric crew he encountered.

Of particular note was Spock's dramatic shift from being very order-orientated to letting down his guard and feeling happy with a woman he could finally share that with. There seems to be a number of messages we could take from this episode - about freedom leading to happiness, but that freedom without purpose is empty. Yet -- I'm not sure the story really sticks to any focused message on the subject.

The Kirk-Spock fight makes this worth the price of admission. 2.5 seems about right.
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Alessandro Picone
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 8:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Homeward

I quite liked this episode, and I don't quite understand why others did not. It an example of how compassion and humanity can win over the abstract, heartless Prime Directive. I was only sorry that Vorin killed himself, there wasn't really any good reason to do so. We have many examples in the Star Trek saga of people from less advanced civilizations who were very happy to join the more advanced reality. It seems that nobody really bothered to explain Vorin the many advantages of 24th century federation
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Broley
Mon, Jun 24, 2019, 4:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S1: Into the Forest I Go

salutations to all and jammer,

i read your review jammer, i dont understand anything with the cbsaa application you say, i watch on netflix, its fine here. but maybe cbsaa is ok now too because this review is from last year, ha!!

i like this episode but not like you maybe, i like the first three episodes better. like you say, why is lorca worry so much with burnhams' safety? i am confused by tyler and burnham relation too. i dont think they are for each other, it doesnt feel to me that way, maybe other people dont think so, i understand.

but stamets and lorca conversations are really strong, manifestation of enthousiasm and curiousity. i also know before something would happen to stamets. i am going to watch the next episode as soon as possible. this is good. i wanted to watch two or three episodes every week because i am busy and i am now on episode 10 after 3 weeks. so i think its good for me. but my partner wants to go faster too so i have to do the same, ha!

thank you jammer for reviewing.
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Other Chris
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 10:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

@Ari Paul "I'm rooting for Armus."

Perfect.
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Booming
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 4:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

Of course I know about "the Chek" but I grew up after the beatles so f*** him.
You know like the Rock... I can already see him telling it to the warp drive...
I need a tall guy with muscles not a dwarf with a fancy haircut.
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methane
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 3:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

Well Booming, you may be pleased to know you think just like the network executives in charge did back in the 1960s! Too many old men! No young people would want to watch that!

Roddenberry didn't fire Scotty, but he did go and hire an actor who looked like one of the Monkees. This was their strategy to appeal to teenagers and give the girls someone to look at*. Of course, Roddenberry made the character Russian to advance his vision of a united Earth, but the character was primarily there to look pretty.


*I think the girls mostly still preferred Nimoy
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Alcoremor
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 2:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Qpid

I loved this episode when it premiered. I was 13 at the time. Some of he one-liners are (and remain) funny, and the verbal jousting between Picard and Q was then, and is now, pretty amusing.

My 41-year-old-self notes, though, is hat the episode is an empty suit. Not in an entertaining way, though. The stakes are zero, and one can search in vain for what exactly it is that Q is giving as a favor to Picard. A lesson that Picard must not dismiss feelings of love, or that he must not deny that he has those feelings about Vash? Who knows?

Since these lessons are not those in which Q has expertise delivering, basically.... nothing is going on in this episode, except for generic Sherwood Forest “action” where the ladies dispatch of the bad guys with flower pots and Q occasionally pops up to Interact with some dreadful performances delivered by actors supposedly playing the standard figures in the Robin Hood legend.

The episode is a little tonal mishmash. Early on, we’re primed to see something interesting play out - that of how do you repay a debt to someone who wants nothing more than to never see you again? This idea is never developed. It is as he p producers stumbled upon a marginal reason for the yearly Q appearance (he owes Picard a debt!) and then goes straight for lowest-common-denominator.... “adventure.” There’s no credible segue that bridges the opening scenes with the Sherwood ones.

The lack of urgency and focus seemed to show itself in Q’s lines - maybe one of high was quotable and the rest of which were forgettable. DeLancie as Q seems vaguely disinterested in the proceedings-not that one can blame him- resulting in the most forgettable use of Q in the entire series’ run. I would rathe r have listened to the speech that Picard was to give, than have watched what was produced.
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Chrome
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

@Cetric

As I’m rewatching TOS I notice that they hardly ever keep a regular Yeoman around, even when the actress was exceptional. Number One’s absence from the show’s chemistry is really noticeable in 2019. (Thanks NBC!)
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Booming
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

I have to comment on that because if we are talking about dumping characters and yes I'm totally drunk with okish reason then I think they should have replaced Scotty with a hot hunk. If I want to see a fifty year old guy with loooots of make up I move to Amsterdam.
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Cetric
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 2:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: Shore Leave

Unnoticed yet:
This episode seems to be the first which introduced the closing pun among crew (Kirk and McCoy mostly) usually aiming at Spock, which became a feature in many episodes. So this is significant for the chemistry thing TOS is famous for, among other things.
Also enjoyable dry remarks of Spock to Kirk: the moment he tells Kirk he's supposed to go on shore leave, as has been honored already in comments here. And when he shows up after Kirk is done with beating up Finnegan, standing there at a distance and asking Kirk "Did you enjoy it?" Priceless.
--
Too bad they did not establish Yeoman Barrows as a new regular cast member. More sexy than Rand for sure.
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Sloan
Sun, Jun 23, 2019, 12:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: The Ultimate Computer

I've been doing a complete rewatch of TOS (actually quite a few episodes I hadn't seen before) but this is the first one that I felt the need to comment on. Jason mentions it somewhere further up the comment thread but I didn't see anyone really address it -- the M5 is making logical decisions up to the point where it decides to destroy the unmanned freighter. What possible logic or programming would make the computer decide to do that? Even if the M5's decision making is based on Daystrom's "engrams" and Daystrom is having a mental breakdown... why is this the first time M5 behaves in an illogical manner? That ship is not a threat. I suppose an argument could be made that the ore freighter is an inferior version to M5 since it seems to be an unmanned drone, but if Daystrom felt that way he would be killing everyone around him for not being a genius like him...

Dave also asks the question I was wondering by the end of the episode... The Daystrom Institute and The Daystrom Award are named after this dude? I guess he must really atone for murdering a crew and half worth of Starfleet's finest after he gets out of that rehabilitation center.
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Edward
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 11:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Blood on the Scales

a closing episode that sets up the rest of the way
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Edward
Sat, Jun 22, 2019, 10:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Oath

love how 24 discussion overtook this with some hatorade for Brannon Braga
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