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K'Elvis
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:36am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

This episode reveals a misunderstanding of evolution, medicine and the Prime Directive. Evolution doesn't have a "direction". You can't predict how evolution is going to take place. You can't predict what the Meng will become. Smallpox is natural. A broken leg is natural. Treating a disease is countering something natural - that's what medicine is. This is no different. It's not playing God, it's practicing medicine. Playing God is withholding treatment from some people because you have decided they should die so someone else can prosper. This is Social Darwinism, not evolution or medicine. It's thinking like Khan. Would you go to a doctor who would withhold medical treatment if he thought you were unworthy to live? If he let you die because he judged it was in someone else's interest for you to die? I certainly wouldn't. A doctor's interest ought to be what is in their patient's interest.

The Prime Directive has a couple aspects. One aspect is forbidding contact with species that aren't ready for contact. Warp drive is an arbitrary criterion, but it's useful. At that point, contact is inevitable; they are on the galactic stage. The other is intervening in a planets affairs - you can't meddle in their politics, for example. The first aspect doesn't apply - contact has already been made. If you can trade with them, you can offer them medical aid.

Yes, Earth today would be different if aliens had helped the Neanderthals survive. So what? That sort of thinking would leave you unable to act. The future is hypothetical. Answer a distress call and you get one future, ignore it and you get a different future. Both futures are hypothetical. Imagine that we lived in a world where Neanderthals had survived. It would be a different world, but it would be a world where Neanderthals and homo sapiens coexisted - Neanderthals were not going to take over the planet. We could look back and speculate about a world where Neanderthals had gone extinct - we might recoil in horror at the thought. What makes us give that hypothetical world preference over our own? We prefer our own perspective, but the people in this hypothetical world would prefer their own as well. Then there's the issue that the Neanderthals were not a society where contact would even be a consideration.

If I was the captain, Phlox would be on the next transport to Denobula.
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K'Elvis
Wed, Aug 3, 2016, 3:42pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: The Apple

The Prime Directive prohibits interfering with the natural development of cultures, but one of the themes you see in TOS is that a society controlled by a machine is not a natural development. There's also the fact that Vaal was preventing the Enterprise from leaving. In TNG, you see a much stricter interpretation of the Prime Directive than you do in TOS. This is partly because the Federation is in a cold war with the Klingons - the Federation makes contact with less technologically advances societies because if they don't, the Klingons will, and will add them to the Empire by force. Thus interference is inevitable.

It would be interesting if Vaal could be repaired, and then these people could choose if they wanted to live the way Vaal dictated or how they chose to live. The episode does have the common trope of one village representing a whole planet, sure, but I can overlook that. It's common enough in science fiction.
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K'Elvis
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 9:49am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Measure of a Man

As Data behaves as if he is sentient - he passes the Turing Test with flying colors - and has been accepted as a sentient being by the Federation and Star Fleet to this point, the burden of proof lies with Riker to prove Data is not sentient. Riker establishes that Data was built by a human, that Data is physically stronger than a human, and that unlike a human, Data can be turned off demonstrates that merely that Data is not human, which is neither in dispute nor relevant. It does not demonstrate that Data is not sentient. I suppose it would have been unsatisfying to simply rule in Data's favor because Riker failed to make the case that Data was sentient. Data maintains a presumption of sentience, so the slavery analogy remains relevant.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

@Elliot: The point is that with time passing so quickly, they could have never observed the motion of the planets. It's a tiny nitpick, I admit.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 12:16am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Blink of an Eye

This reminds me of the book Dragon's Egg by Robert Forward, about an alien civilization living in a neutron star, where they live and die far faster than humans do. If you like the ideas in this story check out this book.

I noticed when this civilization was in it's renaissance stage, they had a model solar system. They shouldn't know anything about this, as they could never observe planets moving, it would be too slow for them.
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K'Elvis
Sat, Jun 14, 2014, 7:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Repentance

The dice are only seem loaded because you aren't looking at all the dice. Iko is shown as a super-criminal, who is even dangerous inside a locked cell. That's a loaded dice right there.

Those complaining about this episode being "politically correct" are accusing Star Trek of engaging in a thought-crime. It's not propaganda, it's a perspective. If you don't like that perspective, there are plenty of programs that will provide you with the perspective you want to see.

I thought the episode tried to cover too much. If someone's crimes are caused by a brain defect, and that defect can be corrected, should that person be executed? It's a perfectly legitimate question. But they tried to cover too many other issues. There is disparity in the sentences people get for the same crime, and you get better justice if you can afford a better lawyer. These too are worthy issues, but there isn't enough time to cover them in one episode.
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K'Elvis
Thu, May 29, 2014, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Virtuoso

I thought it was a good episode. I find the Doctor's behavior to be quite human. To suddenly be a superstar would turn anyone' head. It would be rather robotic not to be affected by it. It's easy to say you would turn your back on cheering fans, but harder to actually do it.

I did note that they used public domain works that they didn't have to pay for, but in retrospect, that may be a good thing, for a couple reasons. Licensing copyrights can be a mess. The movie Heavy Metal sat in limbo for a time because the music rights were limited. The other reason is that the public domain works are timeless. If they had chosen works that were popular at the time, the episode might have become dated really quickly. You can't know what will hold its popularity.

Creating a duplicate hologram to sing for the Qomar was the logical solution. The Qomar prefer their hologram's music, but it is sterile, all math, but perhaps that's just a matter of taste. I believe the Doctor would eventually have become disillusioned with the Qomar as they wanted more and more of the sterile music they prefer.

But this Qomar hologram - will he ever exceed his programming and want to become more that just a singer? It would be ironic if he wanted to learn medicine. Or the the Qomar see their hologram as little more than a mobile iPod?
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K'Elvis
Wed, May 28, 2014, 10:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tsunkatse

The impression that I got was that the Hirogen were not the builders of the communications array, but merely used abandoned technology and claimed it as their own. If the Hirogen did build it, then their culture has degraded - they can't fix it, and all they do is hunt. If all they do is hunt, they must also steal technology - someone has to make the blood wine.
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K'Elvis
Wed, May 28, 2014, 10:05pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Memorial

I see no reason that Paris shouldn't have a fascination with the 20th century. Go to NASA, and you'll probably find people who do watch Shakespeare. There are plenty of Shakespeare fans. People go to Renaissance festivals every summer. Some people are fascinated with the Roman Empire. Why shouldn't someone be interested in the 20th century?

The ending seemed a little mushy. Janeway mentions memorials for Gettysburg, but we don't force people to experience Gettysburg, we memorialize without it.

This memorial was built 300 years earlier. If it was intended to last forever, there should have been a power supply that lasted for longer. Isn't it a Prime Directive violation to make this object last longer than intended?

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K'Elvis
Tue, May 27, 2014, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Fair Haven

@Carbetarian Good point. This was a public simulation, multiple people would use it at the same time. They implied that Janeway and Micheal had sex. That's fine in a private simulation, but if the holodeck failed... it could be embarrassing. I have no problem with the captain getting some holodeck action, but it might be best to use a private simulation.

Trek hasn't been consistent with the holodeck characters. The Doctor and Vic are clearly "people" with experiences of their own, while other characters are just simulations. The Doctor has no reason to think that Micheal is as real as he is. If they are people, it's wrong to turn them off.

The idea of large numbers of people on a holodeck makes little sense. Take for example "Take me out to the holosuite." You're the batter, and you see the pitcher 90 feet away, and you also see the outfielders a couple hundred feet away. The holosuite is only a few dozen feet away, so you can't really be seeing these people. What you are seeing is holographic projections of the people to simulate distance. That means each person is in their own holographic "bubble", a projection centered on themselves. Why not have a large number of "holo-cubicles"?
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K'Elvis
Fri, May 23, 2014, 10:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: One Small Step

A good episode. The only nitpick is leaving his body in space. They should have put it in storage and returned it to Earth. He did talk about returning home, they could at least have returned his body home. There was no point to retrieve the body only to leave it again.

When Chakotay was told that he didn't have two minutes to adjust the tractor, he was told to return to Voyager, and that's what he did. He was not told not to tractor the ship, only that he didn't have time to adjust the tractors.
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K'Elvis
Wed, May 21, 2014, 5:56pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Survival Instinct

TNG did not establish that drones who get separated from the collective became lost. What it did show is that some drones who became separated from the collective became lost, not that drones couldn't become individuals again. We've seen that with Hugh.

The ability of the Borg to destroy and adapt to attacks is only part of what makes the Borg so horrific. The other part is the horror of being enslaved by the Borg. Rather than undermine this, this episode highlights this by showing how badly these former drones want to be free. Seeing them remembering their former lives doesn't make it look like the Borg are being watered down, it's emphasizing how horrific being in the collective was.
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K'Elvis
Tue, May 20, 2014, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy

I just rewatched it. It's fun episode. If I have a nitpick, the episode would have fit in better in the first or second season. By this point, the Doctor has been accepted as a member of the crew and as a person. They have used him for non-medical purposes before.

I think we would all find it embarrassing if someone could tap into our fantasies. I love the bluff at the end. The Doctor stops being flustered, and just plays it out. Maybe the Doctor needs to find a group to play D&D. :-)

And the end, when the Doctor gets his medal, what I wanted to see was Janeway give him a field commission, and put a rank pip on his collar.
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K'Elvis
Sat, May 17, 2014, 7:22am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: 11:59

The plot of the evil developer and the one holdout who won't sell was a worn-out cliche even when this episode first ran. It's just not a Star Trek episode, it's just a thin veneer over an entirely unrelated story to make it look like Star Trek.

Showing that the problems of today can be solved is not a flaw, it is a strength. If problems cannot be solved then complaining about problems becomes nothing more than bleating. The only people who solve problems are those who believe they can be solved. If a century ago, someone wrote a story about smallpox being eradicated and polio nearly so, many would have laughed.

At the same time, that problems can be solved doesn't mean the doesn't justify the pseudo-skepticism of thinking they the problems don't exist.
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K'Elvis
Sat, May 10, 2014, 10:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

This episode could have been entitled "Leviathan" after the 17th century book of political philosophy by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes described the state of nature as "Nasty, brutish and short." These people, freed from the collective, are living in a Hobbesian state of nature, one of war of all against all.

Hobbes favored an absolute monarch to prevent civil unrest, and felt that while the monarch might not be perfect, anything was better than anarchy. In the collective, there was no internal strife. Of course, they don't want to go back to the collective, but instead think that they can use some aspects of the group mind to provide unity without the totalitarian nature of the Borg. In place of a monarch, they substitute the collective will.

It remains to be seen whether this will work out for them in the long run. Majority rule without checks and balances to protect the minority is subject to abuse, and a collective where everything is subject to the rule of the majority is opporessive.

Of course, the Borg are not truly ruled collectively, but ruled by the Queen. Left to their own devices, the Borg collective would "vote" to disband, and the Queen prevents such unacceptable thoughts. But even if this new collective only goes with the majority, majorities can go too far. It remains to be seen whether this group will prosper or just exchange one nightmare for another.
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K'Elvis
Sat, May 10, 2014, 10:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: The Disease

It's a bit of a mess. First there's this thing that comes out of the blue about Star Fleet officers requiring permission to have intimate relationships with alien species, it blatantly contradicts what's come before in Star Trek.

Strife in a generational ship could be interesting, but it's given short shrift to focus on the mess with Kim. This is not a xenophobic species, but a ship with xenophobic rules, that not everyone agrees to.

And why doesn't Kim leave with Tal, or why doesn't Tal stay with Kim? They are so supposedly deeply in love, but break it off so easily. Tal's breaking away from her society, why not come along with Kim on Voyager? If this biochemical bond is so strong, would they really have left each other? It's the usual Trek thing that the relationship has to end by the end of the episode one way or another.

It seems the episode isn't really sure what it is about. The internal conflict on the alien ship isn't given enough depth to carry the episode. Is it about love or following rules? It's just so hard to swallow the rule that getting the captain's permission for romantic relationships, because to swallow this, you have to ignore everything that has come before.
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K'Elvis
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

@Chris I agree, this episode is more about False Memory Syndrome than a metaphor for rape. In the 90's, the belief in repressed memories was very popular, but as it turns out, it's quite easy for even a well-intentioned therapist to induce false memories. Asking leading questions must be avoided.
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K'Elvis
Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 4:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

Comparing the Doctor to a replicator seems to contradict the previous seasons, as they have treated the Doctor as if he is a person; their actions over the course of the series make no sense if they thought he was "just" a machine.

Yes, the Doctor is running on a computer, what about it? If you think that means he's no more a person than a toaster is, then you reject AI, and you have to throw a whole lot of Star Trek out the window to so so. There's nothing wrong with thinking that strong AI is impossible, but that just isn't the way it works in the Star Trek universe. Both Data and the Doctor run on a computer, what their bodies are made of isn't important. Just because the doctor is a person with a mind, doesn't mean that anything that runs on a computer is a person with a mind.

This is one of my favorite episodes. The Doctor wasn't intended to be used over the long term. "Coin flip" decisions wouldn't have been a problem for an EMH that was being used as intended, that is, only for short periods. The key part of this episode is when the Doctor raves about having chosen to save Kim because Kim was his friend. That's an ethical situation which could drive a flesh-and-blood doctor crazy. If the EMH had been used as intended, he wouldn't have any friends, and thus there wouldn't have been the distress over choosing his friend.

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K'Elvis
Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Mortal Coil

A good episode. It challenges Neelix's belief in the afterlife, but doesn't come to a clean resolution. There's any way of re-interpreting the afterlife to be compatible with his lack of experience. But even if there is no afterlife and this is all there is, is it truly of no value? While Neelix doesn't resolve his question of whether or not there is life after death, he does appear to accept that even if there is no afterlife, this life is still of value.

If this life is all we have, it is precious. Imagine you had the last bottle of wine on Earth. Is it valueless, just because it won't last? Or is it something of great value to be saved for a special occasion, and shared with friends?

It's quite realistic that Chakotay was able to talk him down from the ledge, so to speak. It's a common enough phenomenon in real life, after all. It doesn't mean that everything is going to be perfect afterwards. I would have liked the closing scene to be Chakotay and Neelix doing the ritual again.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: Random Thoughts

Non-touch telepathy among Vulcans has been shown ro exist, but is also shown as being very limited, but this episode makes it appear that speaking telepathically is common among Vulcans, but Tuvok chooses to use spoken words to deal with humans. There's little indication that Tuvok has substantially greater telepathic gifts than other Vulcans, and so rather than throw out the rest of canon to accommodate this episode, I choose to interpret it as he is able to communicate telepathically with someone who is a strong telepath.

I'm not sure what to think of this episode, because it requires judging this society, and we really don't know that much about it. It makes sense that a species of telepaths would have to control their violent thoughts. Are there better methods available? Perhaps they could work on shielding themselves from negative emotions rather than forcing them not to have such emotions. The Vulcans are even less open to emotions than these people are. While I don't think they would force you to have memories erased, they expect Vulcans to control both positive and negative emotions, and a Vulcan who went about expressing emotions would be treated as mentally ill.
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K'Elvis
Tue, Apr 8, 2014, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S4: The Gift

I've always felt that Kes' telepathy was irrelevant. Her story really was the short Ocampan lifespan. We should have seen her go through an entire life: have her grow up, grow old and die over the course of the series. But they kept backing away from Kes' short lifespan, as if it was a story problem to be corrected rather than a story opportunity. Kes should have been changing rapidly, as a month for her would be like a year for a human. I think 7 of 9 did have some good stories, but she was blatant "eye candy". They seemed to try to make Kes more eye candy as well, but while she was very, very cute, I felt that long hair made Kes look somewhat ordinary. If Kes didn't develop, it's because the writers didn't let her develop. They didn't let her grow up, they didn't let her get old, so she couldn't really change.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Apr 7, 2014, 9:19am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Scorpion, Part I

No contact with pre-warp species is only ONE part of the Prime Directive. Even there, it's just one interpretation of the PD in the post-TOS era. In TOS, they dealt with pre-warp societies quite often. No contact with pre-warp species is more of a rule of thumb. But there is another major aspect to the Prime Directive that has nothing to do with Warp vs. Pre-warp. Even if a species has warp drive, you can't simply meddle in their internal affairs. Let's say a planet elects a government you don't like. You can't go in and stage a coup, regardless of whether they have warp drive. You also can't smuggle goods that are illegal or engage in other activities that are illegal there. Of course, the Borg are enemies, and the Federation isn't going to care in the slightest of any meddling with the Borg.

It's a good episode, but I had to overlook the irrationality of even considering going through Borg space. Go around, even if it takes an additional 40 years. You're already going to be gone 70 years, and you're hoping to find a shortcut. You could find a short cut on the 110 year path as readily on the 70 year path.

It makes sense that the Borg aren't good at investigating. The Borg must control thought tightly in order to control the collective. Allowing drones to have their own ideas could allow ideas of freedom to spread through the collective. That probably is why the Borg are so interested in humans. They desire that creativity even as they fear it. They may well hope to assimilate that creativity in a way that they can control.

An agreement with the Borg isn't easy, the Borg deal with force rather than diplomacy. It is really a weakness, because planets have no choice but to resist even if it is futile. Imagine if the Borg were more cunning, and played off one planet against another. Or they could "harvest" planets - don't assimilate them all, just a percentage. Then they could come back in a decade and do it again, and assimilate new technology. Negotiating for use of a Transwarp hub would be a good thing, but the Borg would never keep their word. With this agreement, the Borg will of course betray them, but will not do so today.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 9:05am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Before and After

The Ocampan lifespan is plausible, they just have to grow up very quickly. They also need to be highly fertile. It's plausible that they reproduce only once, but in that case, it has to be a litter. They also would have to be in a real hurry, they don't have time to waste. Yet Kes is languid, almost sleepy, like she has all the time in the world.

To an Ocampan, humans must seem as unchanging as statues. An Ocampan goes through an entire lifespan in 9 years, while over 9 years an adult human doesn't change all that much. Kes's descendants seem to have inherited the short Ocampan lifespan. Would you really want to marry someone you will outlive your great-great-great grandchildren? I do suppose marrying an Ocampan would be great for someone who didn't want to commit to a long-term relationship. Then again, we know that the children grew up as quickly as an Ocampan, but we don't know that their lifespan was as short. It's plausible that they could grow up quickly, but live a long time.
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K'Elvis
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 8:52am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Alter Ego

This episode seemed clearly inspired by Fatal Attraction. There's a line in here where Marayna yells something very much like "I'm not going to be ignored, Dan!" She's clearly maladjusted. Perhaps it was from spending all that time alone. Perhaps because the interacted via a simulation it didn't seem real, thus her actions didn't seem as wrong. Or perhaps she chose solitude because she already was maladjusted.

A holodeck simulation can give you anything you want exactly the way you want it. Getting used to that could hamper people's relationships with real people. With a holodeck character, everything goes as you want it, but a relationship with a real person takes some work and compromise. Your holodeck lover won't mind if you're out every night at the bar with your friends, the holodeck lover is available for what you want 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on your schedule. It would be surprising if more people didn't fall for holodeck characters. Perhaps by the 24th century, they have become more sophisticated about relationships.
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K'Elvis
Fri, Mar 28, 2014, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Blood Fever

Pon Farr is not analogous to a woman being passed out. A person who is drunk can't consent to anything, while Torres isn't just consenting, she's demanding it. Lust is a basic motivation to have sex, it would be peculiar at best to say "I can't have sex with you, because you're experiencing lust! Come back when you're not horny." I wonder how many would be objecting if another female member of the crew were to have sex with Vorik.

It's not so clear-cut whether or not Torres is capable of consenting - or demanding - sex. Aphrodisiacs that make people become lusty don't really exist, so this is a situation were we don't have any good real-world analogy. Is Torres condition more like someone who is drunk or someone who is just experiencing lust? Normally, lust is a perfectly understandable reason for someone to consent to sex, but perhaps we have a special case here? I am not saying it is appropriate to have sex with someone under these circumstances, only that it is not analogous to someone passed out.

As far as the fight resolving the Pon Farr, I think that was a misinterpretation. Spock was shocked out of his Pon Farr from the horror at realizing (so he thought) that he had killed Kirk. The Vulcans have probably tried the holodeck solution and found it didn't work, because the holodeck can't provide the telepathic connection. I don't think they considered finding another woman on Voyager who might like to mate with Vorik, perhaps there was someone who had a secret crush on him.
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