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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

To be fair, we don't know how bad this treatment is from a changeling's perspective. All the talk of electric shocks gives us a visceral reaction of "this is horrible physical abuse", but that's a humanoid point-of-view. Perhaps a changeling would see it differently, if those methods were used with proper moderation and tempered with a genuine show of affection.

It is interesting to note that the baby-ling wasn't adversely affected by what Odo did. He (it?) didn't seem to harbor any kind of resentment, nor was there any psychological damage. So it does seem like Odo did strike the right balance here.

I'm also quite sure that Mora did *not* strike any kind of balance when using these methods on Odo. He probably went to higher and higher voltages whenever poor Odo refused to cooperate. That's Classic Mora, right there.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I wouldn't say that Odo capitulated to Mora's methods.

Superficially, maybe, it might seem like it. But Odo's approach his quite different than Mora's. Odo showed genuine care for the baby. Even as he was forced to use coercion he never stopped showing that genuine care. They even point to this fact directly in dialogue:

"MORA: The changeling is developing far faster than you did. I didn't mean that as a criticism. If anything, it's a compliment. I mean, I was wrong. Your approach to communicating to the changeling was sound. I mean, don't you see? It's reaching out to you. It's curious about you."

Mora originally treated Odo as a specimen to experiment with. A favorite experiment, perhaps, but an experiment nevertheless. Odo treated the baby changeling as his child, and that makes a huge difference.

The only thing that irks me, is how quickly Odo managed to forgive Mora. After all the nice subtleties and mature dialogue, that ending *does* seem to endorse the notion that Odo realized Mora's approach to be right. It's a shame, really, because that vibe goes completely against the rest of the episode.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Come on... the cat thing is the best part of this episode (though this doesn't say much). I particularly loved how Data, the super-advanced logical android, was not immune to the spell that cats cast on their owners. I thought it was funny and cute.

That's more then we can say about the disastrous A-plot, isn't it? So that's something, at least.
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RandomThoughts
Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 1:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

Hello Everyone!

Plain and simple... Garak.

For me, when this first aired, I figured Garak was trying to over-emulate human behavior, for a sinister reason... he was acting that way to ingratiate himself with a naive Julian

We knew nothing about Garak, just that he was the lone Cardassian on the station for some reason. The C's we'd seen recently valued family (the pilot episode being just after "Chain of Command", I think), but were pretty strict in general, and condescending and/or humorless toward humans (the exception being the fellow in the bar ("The Wounded"), as it seems a bit of synth/alcohol makes even C's a bit more chummy/chatty).

Garak was acting differently, enough that it made us notice and keep a side-eye on him. I figured it was all part of his plan.

In conclusion, he was being above-and-beyond with his niceties to get Bashir interested in him, since that wasn't how C's normally acted. And nothing more.

I really try to remember these as I first saw them, and not let what might have happened later cloud me...

Have a Great Day Everyone... RT
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OmicromThetaDeltaPhi
Fri, Jan 10, 2020, 7:12am (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Acquisition

Actually, there are a few DS9 episodes where the Ferengi value gold. "Little Green Men" comes to mind.

If there's a contradiction here, it came to be well before the Enterprise episode.

Moral of the story: Don't blame this episode for having the Ferengi value gold. Blame this episode for using them in the first place in a setting where they don't belong.

(though I also kinda agree with Mike, that continuity issues are not that important anyway in a comedy episode like this one)
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 3:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

@Fenn
"I was using the phrase as shorthand for 'character is stated as being queer retroactively, without any author or performer having had to display actual queerness in the work itself' ".

I was talking about that general point too.

The specific case of Dumbledore isn't the point here. My question was: Why should we expect a queer character to behave any differently than a straight one in circumstance that have nothing to do with sexual attraction?

I agree that if an author or actor starts talking about this only 20 years after the fact, it looks really suspicious. But if he says so immediately, should we disbelieve his statement just because said character didn't follow the usual gay stereotypes?

In the end, though, it all boils down to the interpretation of the individual viewer. And when it comes to a guy like Garak, there's always something more to him than you think.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

@Fenn

Dumbledore being gay was an actual plot point in the HP series, though. The story simply wouldn't have worked without Dumbledore's attraction to men (or more specifically: Dumbledore's attraction to one specific young man).

As for that notion coming out of the blue: How would you've expected Rowling to write a gay old wise wizard? Should a gay old wise wizard behave any differently than a straight one? Maybe I've gotten it all wrong, but I've always thought that gays are just ordinary human beings who happen to be attracted to people of their own gender. Shouldn't they behave exactly like straight people in non-romantic situations?

Back to Garak:

Unlike Dumbledore, whose romantic preferences turned out to be of importance to the ongoing story, speculations about Garak's sexual orientation have exactly zero relevance to the plot. I'm not saying that the character isn't gay, or that Robinson didn't sincerely play Garak with this intention in mind. I'm just saying that the entire question is irrelevant. If our heroes aren't part of a story in which their sexual orientation is relevant, who cares? Honestly, this kind of thing shouldn't be any of our business unless the story itself demands that we know.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Flesh and Blood

The top of the house once fell on him.

Ever since then, he is afwaid of the big bad roof.

(I know, that was lame. Sowwy)
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RandomThoughts
Sat, Jan 4, 2020, 12:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S1: Desert Crossing

Hello Everyone!

Heya @Quibbles, Archer had a small line about a protocol (or training, that I've never heard before or since) that has you looking at the surroundings as you fly into a place. He'd spotted the building on the way in, only 30km away (!), if I recall correctly.

Along with some others, I wondered why they didn't just close the door to the shuttle and try to take off. And it seemed the only survival gear they grabbed was water. There must be a all-season hat in there as well, and later thought about how badly their necks were burning. Heck, as an actor, I'd just tell them I wanted Something made for my head to keep the sun off of it. But the sun and I don't get along too well. :)

Have a Great Day Everyone... RT
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The answer is PICARD
Fri, Jan 3, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: Jammer Goes to L.A.: Day 2

In 2000, Star Trek: Voyager reviewer Jamahl Epsicokhan was invited to pitch stories for the series. On 10 March, he traveled to Los Angeles and pitched four stories to Bryan Fuller, all of which were rejected. The pitches were titled "Momentum", "Human Option", "The Warning", and "Do Not Harm".

"Momentum" involved a planet travelling at warp, threatening to destroy an alien medical research facility. "Human Option" was about Seven of Nine suffering an accident, which caused her Borg implants to shut down. "The Warning" would have been about a time-traveling alien, who tried to stop the Voyager from causing a subspace disaster. Fuller rejected this pitch, among other reasons, for being too similar to "Future's End". "Do Not Harm" would have seen The Doctor killing somebody on an away mission, causing an ethical conflict for him. Again, this pitch was rejected for being too similar to an existing episode, this time "Latent Image".
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Sarjenka's Brother
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 10:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Phage

I was really intrigued by the Vidiians and the phage disease.

I wish they, and not the Klingon-Lite Kazons, had been the primary Season 1 villains. I definitely felt for them and what they were driven to.
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Sarjenka's Brother
Wed, Jan 1, 2020, 10:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Ex Post Facto

That cityscape set first seen in "Angel One" from "Next Gen," if I remember correctly, sure made the rounds.

Also, bad film noir + Voyager = bad episode.
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Sarjenka's Brother
Mon, Dec 30, 2019, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S1: Caretaker

Going back over "Voyager" start to finish for the first time since the series aired.

"Caretaker" was a good start, and the series had a good premise.

"Voyager" was RIPE for seasonal arcs as it made its way back to the Federation, but I read that the behind the scenes people didn't want them to do that. It's too bad. It would have been perfect for that kind of storytelling.

I think one of the biggest things hurting the show early on -- the Kazon. They're Klingon Lite. The Videeans, on the other hand, had a fascinating story and I think would have made great Season 1 villains. They should have utilized them more.

But I think "Caretaker" stands up well decades later and was certainly a better pilot that "Farpoint" and even with "Emissary."
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Other Chris
Sun, Dec 29, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

Great Luxwana episode or greatest Luxwana episode?
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Jonathan Lane
Tue, Dec 24, 2019, 6:13am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The first Star Trek feature film elicited mixed reviews from fans (and from the general public). Some Trekkers consider it a masterful exploration of the iconic characters of the Enterprise crew with breathtaking production values and a sweeping musical score that updates the 1960’s television series and prepares it for a bright future on the big screen. Other fans see it as a plodding snooze-fest of slow, indulgent editing—an opinion often sarcastically supported by pointing out that the Enterprise crew are all wearing pajamas, as if to say this movie will put us all to sleep.

But the one thing that nearly every fan and viewer agrees on is that the visual effects sequences are stunning and some of the grandest, most beautiful, and unforgettable in Star Trek‘s 50-plus year history. Among the most iconic and well-remembered of the segments were the introduction of the refit USS Enterprise with Kirk and Scotty flying around it for nearly five minutes (too long?—poppycock!), the opening sequence of the the three Klingon battlecruisers confronting and then being destroyed by V’ger, and the refit Enterprise leaving dry dock.

Those VFX sequences, overseen by the legendary DOUG TRUMBULL (who did the Enterprise shots) and JOHN DYKSTRA (who handled the Klingons, the Epsilon XI space station, and other segments) were rushed together in less than six months using models and blue screens and contraptions like periscopes to get cameras within inches of the amazingly detailed models. To see the finished breathtaking scenes, one would hardly think any of them were created with anything other than the most painstaking attention to detail over years…not simply months.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 12:41am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

@Trent

You're not wrong about Cupid's Dagger.

Oh well... every show has to have its share of stinkers.

@Booming
"I think the difference is and it speaks to the on the nose quality of the show that in Saudi Arabia you will not find one man who will say: 'We think women are weak and inferior.'"

Do you understand that it is an ALLEGORY? Niether women rights nor transgender rights are at the center of this episode. You are completely missing the point here.

And we *did* hear the Moclan's point of view. We heard in all its chilling "glory": They outcast a minority, and then use their very own despicable behavior as "proof" that the minority in question is indeed inferior.

The issue, by the way, is something that's very close to me personally. As a guy who was born... different... I experienced first hand all the f**k-ed up rationalizations that we heard from the Moclans in this episode. The way a society ostracize certain groups of people just because they are different. The way society treats certain people as if they are subhuman, always feels pity for them as if they're inferior, raises artificial barriers to prevent them from integrating anywhere... and then use the resulting impossible situation that they've created to "prove" that their prejudice was justified.

This episode captured that situation perfectly. So perfectly, that there's no way it could be a coincidence. I'm quite sure that McFarlane had some personal experience with this kind of thing. Either he suffered from this kind of prejudice himself, or a family member/friend of his did.

Moreover, it's a topic that actual Star Trek never really covered. There's no Trek episode that really brings home what people like me have to suffer through every single day, yet the Orville managed to deal with the subject on f***-ing episode 3.

I don't know about you, but I find that to be quite impressive.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Command Performance

Well, Booming...

if you are not enjoying it, why watch it at all? It's your decision. It ain't Trent's fault if you insist on torturing yourself.

Also, while the show does get infinitely better, I don't think you - personally - are going to like the rest of it. This show is not for everyone. And I gotta tell yea, that I haven't met a single person who ended up liking the show after outright hating the first few episodes.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:22am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

Whatever flaws the Orville may have, being "misogynistic" is not one of them. It is also a *very* different show from "Family Guy" (I HATE "Family Guy" with all my heart, yet I love the Orville).

To this day I'm not sure how a single person could have produced both shows. I mean, Family Guy is downright barbaric and hateful. The Orville, on the other hand, is progressive and humanistic and... well, Trekkish. Sure, it is also silly and juvenile at times, but its heart is (at least usually) at the right place.

@Booming
"While there is one sentence at the beginning that is pro trans the rest feels pretty transphobic. Society forcing sex changes on children. There are probably 50k reddit debates how leftwing people want to force sexchanges on children. That is what I mean in my second point. It does try to be tolerant but it feeds into certain narratives."

What?

No. I'm sorry, but the actual story that's depicted in the episode has absolutely nothing to do with that "narrative" you're talking about. And as a viewer, I would *not* want the trash spoken by transphobic assholes to dictate the kind of stories we are allowed to tell.

Besides, the episode directly speaks about the issue of choice. It's right the in the script. It's not just one sentence at the beginning (like you claim) but the entire point of the story!

That point, by the way, isn't even limited to transgender rights. The scope is much greater than that: It is about a person's right to be themselves, and about the evil of a society that insists on conforming everyone to some kind of "normal" standard. The sex-change thing is just an example of this larger issue.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

@Booming

I distinctly remember that a few months ago you wrote something to the effect of "Seth McFarlene and everything related to him should be destroyed".

So I have a feeling... call it a wild hunch.... that the Orville might not be the show for you. What on earth possessed you to give it a shot, anyway?

For the record, "Old Wounds" is actually one of the weakest episodes of the Orville. The show does get better (much better) and if you were anyone else I would have recommended that you give it another chance. But given your personal stance on McFarlene, I won't do that. My actual advice to you is to run as fast a you can in the opposite direction, because there's no way in hell that you're going to enjoy this show.

By the way, you are right that McFarlene doesn't act. Or more accurately: He is acting the role of himself. He is basically a trekkie pertending to be the captain of a starship. Some people think that's a problem, by others disagree. Personally, I find the simple sincerity of it to be refreshing.

Can't wait till season 3.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

@Yanks
"Would you please explain what in the trekverse made you come to that conclusion?"

Well, Zefram Cochrane built a warp capable ship in his backyard, in the midst of a post apocalyptic world.

Not a decade later, while still recovering from WWIII, Earth already had many major warp projects going on: Friendship 1, the Conestoga, the Valiant. So it can't be that difficult, once you get have the theoretical basis in place.

I mean, it's probably not trivially easy. I doubt an average Federation kid could build a warp engine from scratch (unless the parts can be replicated). Cochrane still had an entire team working on the project. He also managed to get the Phoenix into orbit using a regular rocket, whIch is already an impressive engineering feat for a private operation.

But still, it is clear that warp drive isn't as difficult as creating a relativistic spaceship using any of the currently known designs. It isn't as difficult as building a ramjet with a scoop the size of a small world. Or a photon rocket with an engine that can contain double the ship's own weight in antimatter while withstanding
multiple petawatts of heat and radiation for months on end. Or an Alcubierre "warp drive", for that matter.

Another piece of evidence, though less conclusive, is the way the Malcorian warp program was depicted in the episode "First Contact". I know it was government funded, but it still seemed like a relatively small project. Also, the Malcorians are in a stage of technological development similar to 20th century earth. That also limits the maximum possible technical difficulty level of building a warp engine.

"Further, I've always thought that "we" didn't want to expose a race to the interstellar community until they possessed the technology to participate in it. Warp drive in the trekverse is the means to that end. This is why, to me, in The Orville, when they made first contact with that species because they transmitted a signal asking if someone was out there was stupid. "

Why is it stupid?

One could argue that having both the capability and the motivation to send messages to the stars is the best criteria to dropping by and saying "hello".

Isn't that a form of participation? Do you really need to be *physically* out there, in order to participate in a community? And isn't the fact that I'm asking this on an internet forum, wonderfully ironic?

In short, don't think the Orville's way of doing this is any stupider than Star Trek. It's just different (though it was definitely stupid of them to just stroll onto that planet without any kind of research into the local cultural taboos).
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Dec 18, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

@Peter
"But Trek also had warp drive being developed around 2063, which is reminiscent - but far more egregious - of Back to the Future's flying car system by 2019 or whatever."

To be fair, warp drive is clearly described (in the Trekverse) as something that came completely out of the blue. It's not a natural development from previous technologies, nor does it require a mammoth effort of engineering.

There's no way to predict such wildcard technologies. Such a breakthrough could happen tomorrow, or it could take a million years. You kinda hinted at this when you discussed the transporter, but the same - really - is true for warp drive as well.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Wed, Dec 18, 2019, 6:31am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

@Jason R.

"I guess a Dyson's sphere is also just an engineering problem too."

That's right.

It's just a problem that we can't even begin to tackle at our current technological level. To us, RIGHT NOW, it is in the "impossible" category. But the impossible of today becomes the reality of tomorrow, if we wait long enough.

You say it is difficult. Well... yeah. Did I ever try to imply otherwise? Yes, mastering fusion is hard. Interstellar travel is hard. But we humans didn't get where we are by being afraid of figuring out the hard stuff.

And just think of all the things we take for granted in 2019, which the people of (say) 1800 would deem impossible. Things like the internet, or nuclear submarines, or men walking on the moon. Humans are a resourceful bunch, so why should the future be any different? Do you really think that the people of 2200 will care about our current practical limitations?
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Regarding the feasability of relativistic space travel:

History teaches us that people who say "that thing is impossible" tend to look very foolish in the long run. They said airplanes are impossible. They said supersonic travel is impossible. They said man would never walk on the moon.

This is doubly so when the technology in question doesn't violate the known laws of physics. If it isn't theoretically impossible, then it's just an engineering problem. And if it's just an engineering problem, it can be done.

Of-course the challenge of interstellar travel is still very *very* difficult. It is completely beyond our current technical abilities. But we have rough designs on paper, and we know what needs to be done, at least when it comes to a fusion-powered starship. Ever heard of Project Daedalus (and I'm not talking about the Discovery episode)?

Speaking of which:

Fusion can get you to about 15% the speed of light (a total delta-v of 0.3c). That's about 30 years to Alpha Centauri. It might seem like a prohibitedly long time, but is it really? If your starship is as comfy as the Enterprise-D, a 30 year journey doesn't sound so bad. In fact, I'm sure there are plenty of adventure seekers and explorers-in-heart who would jump at the chance of such a great voyage.

Indeed, in a world without warp drive, humanity's first adventures into the final frontier would probably look like that.

At any rate, none of this can really be compared to the magic of warp drive. The difference in performance between the best possible "normal space" ships and the simplest warp ship is so vast, that it isn't even funny. Hence the reason why it *does* make sense to draw the line at that point.

@Booming
"Just think about how much more effective the power sources we use have become over the last 100 years."

True. But the laws of physics tell us that there's a theoretical limit to the efficiency in which we can pack energy. It's in Einstein's equation of E=mc^2.

The laws of physics also pose many other restrictions. For example, you can't accelerate without squashing your passengers into their chairs. Squash them too hard, and they'll die. So if you don't want to turn your fragile humanoids into spaghetti sauce, it will take months to reach a substantial fraction of the speed of light.

Unless, of-course, you find a way to cheat the laws of physics. That's what warp drive is for :-)

"I think my problem is with a definitive and therefore arbitrary line."

If 99.9% of the cases fall firmly on one side of that line, is it really arbitrary?

The point of the "warp capable" dividing line is that the vast majority of non warp-capable planets are also incapable of interstellar travel. This is what we see on screen, and presumably this is also what has driven the Federation to draw that dividing line in the first place.

Now, I agree with the need for some wiggle-room in borderline cases. It's just that such cases would be very rare.


@Peter
"One of the arguments being made here is that as long as no one is aware of it them it's ok. But is that a good argument? Does an action you wouldn't condone if conscious of it ok when you're unconscious of it?"

I don't think that was the argument.

The argument was about the danger of cultural contamination. You don't want to beam down into a neolithic village, because your very presence is going to turn the local's world upside down.

Averting disaster from afar eliminates that risk. Hence the reason why stealth is preferable. The whole thing has absolutely nothing to do with the question of what the locals may "condone".

"And let's say there's a race whose religion dictates they'd rather die than have anything to do with aliens; do they lose the right to choose?"

Interesting scenario.

There are no simple answers to this one. Especially since it would be quite improbable for an entire species to share that belief. What if only 90% prefer death? Should we do nothing and doom the other 10%? Or should we do what we think is best, which is the very definition of playing god?

A very difficult situation. Perhaps in such cases, where there is doubt, we should default to the letter of the PD and let them die. I know it "feels wrong", but once we start following our gut feelings, we are rolling down that slippery slope that Picard warned about in this episode.

But still, I don't see how any of this is relevant to a situation as clear-cut as in this episode. Do we have any reason to assume that the Dremans harbor such beliefs? Should we allow them to die based on a hypothetical scenario we have no evidence for? Once we start thinking in hypotheticals, we could pretty much justify any action we want.

I suppose one could argue that this is precisely the point of the PD. That if we can't be 100% sure (and we can never be 100% sure) then it is better not to act at all. But then, as Booming asked so aptly, why even help others at all? Why even stick our noses outside our front door?
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

The line is drawn between civilizations that rely on conventional physics (rockets, solar sails, ramjets, laser sails etc) and ships that rely on the "cheat" of warp physics (warp drives and other subspace-related systems).

Technologies of the second type tend to be vastly superior to those of the first kind, and there isn't much of a middle-ground.

You can find parallels to this in the real world as well. In the 19th century, the top speed of sending signals over the air was a few miles a minute (thanks to visual telegraph systems such as the semaphore). Once the radio was invented, that speed instantly jumped to 186,000 miles PER SECOND (the speed of light).

That's over a million-fold improvement. And you're going to have a hard time finding a signaling system whose performance is in the middle of these two extremes. Such is the nature of quantum leaps of technology.
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OmicronThetaDeltaPhi
Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

@Jason

"At what point does this duty to fly around the universe saving aliens from natural disasters end?"

I don't think there's a duty to fly around the universe full time and save lives.

But if you're already sitting right on top of a planet with a doomed civilization, and you're already having staff meetings that allocate resources for a scientific expedition to their planet, and the dilemma of what to do with these people is already in the front of your mind, then you are already involved.

In such a case, saying "I won't help, on principle" is just being mean.
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