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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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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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William B
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 12:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@Jason, my understanding is that the experimental verification is very good, with the caveat that the experimental verification at extreme high speeds (extremely close to the speed of light) is largely from elementary particles -- which means that we might be missing something if extended acceleration breaks down bonds, or something like that. That is a potentially big caveat.

As far as the practical concerns, I don't know too much about what the engineering challenges would be so I'll just rattle off what I know and what I remember hearing. I'm sure there are big problems I'm not mentioning, but here are a few. The kinetic energy of a fast-moving object basically scales inversely with the time dilation factor, so to get to a speed at which time moves 1/10 as fast on the ship would require at least approximately 10 times the rest mass times c^2 energy input into the object, at minimum -- and that's not even counting that momentum also has to be conserved, which means that a large amount of extra energy would likely have to be input in order to account for the momentum travelling opposite the ship. With enough antimatter this might work out, but it becomes a standard rocketry problem where until the fuel actually leaves the ship, it has to be carried by the ship and still accelerated. I'd have to look into it precisely, but I think it's a problem. There's also the apparent limits on what accelerations a human being can survive. There might be ways around this ("inertial dampeners"!!!) but I'm not sure how much it'd be possible. Acceleration is really experienced within the object's rest frame, so the additional problem is that at "constant acceleration" in the object's own rest frame, the rate at which an object approaches the speed of light in (say) the Earth's frame will slow down. So that's another issue. I'm sure there are others.

Notably though, neither of these two are all *that* relevant when we're talking about even 1/2 the speed of light. The time dilation at 1/2 the speed of light is only a factor of 2/sqrt(3) or about 1.154, and so to a first approximation you can just treat it nonrelativistically. That's still extremely fast, but in a nonrelativistic universe it would only take a little under a year to accelerate to c at one g (the Earth's gravity), by coincidence, so it'd only take about half a year to accelerate to 1/2 the speed of light at a constant speed of 1 g. Sustaining 1g acceleration for a whole year on a space ship would require a lot of fuel, but might not be too bad. The idea of using lasers (as Chrome mentions) is a way of getting around the fuel issue, but creates its own problems. It is a cool feature that lasers exert pressure, and indeed using light reflection to propel an object does seem to be the most efficient way, offhand, due to light's lack of rest mass.
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William B
Fri, Jun 21, 2019, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@Peter,

That's a great question about how length contraction can be measured, and in fact it is very difficult to measure directly. I haven't checked the state of the art, so maybe someone has, but because the only things that are easy to accelerate close to light speed in the lab are particles (which, consequently, don't have much "length" to measure, although there are other things like their electromagnetic field which are similar) rather than extended objects, it's not an easy thing to verify directly. However, length contraction follows directly from the constancy of the speed of light and the existence of time dilation, both of which are well studied, as well as the principle of relativity. I'm probably understating the experimental evidence here, but it's more that the strongest and oldest experimental evidence is for the things that imply length contraction rather than length contraction itself.

To use an example that's close to what we're talking about, muons travelling at high speeds penetrate through the Earth's atmosphere with a relatively long decay time, even though the decay time of a muon in its rest frame is very short -- shorter than the time it takes for even a near-light-speed muon to pass through the atmosphere (in Earth's frame). In the Earth frame, the explanation is time dilation: the muon experiences a shorter amount of time between the point it enters the atmosphere and when it hits the Earth than the muon would itself. From the muon's frame, the Earth can still only approach it at *at most* the speed of light. That means that the distance between the upper atmosphere and the surface must be less in the muon's frame, in order for the muon to still experience as little time passing during the time it takes for the Earth to hit the muon. Basically both length contraction and time dilation are consequences of the Lorentz transformations, which transform between inertial frames while keeping the speed of light in vacuum constant.

To extend the example of the muon, here's what happens to the space ship during the round trip. It's in the Earth frame. Then it accelerates (say in a very short time) until it's moving near the speed of light, in Earth's frame. It travels to the star, and will get to the star in the Earth-star frame in just over ten years, because the Earth and star both measure its speed as being near light speed. Then it slows down, say touches down on the surface, and then accelerates and races back to the Earth, and then slows down and stops. Once again, the star-Earth frame distance is ten light years, and the ship is going at near light speed, so it takes ten more years (and change), for a round trip of twenty years on Earth. However, time dilation means that the space ship crew has barely aged during this time.

(This is Einstein's Twin "Paradox," which is that if one twin remained on Earth and the other went on the space ship, the Earth twin would age 20 years but the space ship twin would barely age at all. The "paradox" is that it appears to violate the tenet of (special) relativity that all frames are equally valid. In truth it does not, because the space ship was not staying in a constant inertial frame the whole time. An inertial frame is a "constant speed" frame, without acceleration, and so the space ship, due to its periods of acceleration, did not remain in a single frame the whole time, and thus broke the symmetry with Earth.)

But anyway, we know how much the ship crew has aged, and we know how much time has passed on Earth. It just remains to explain how this is explained in the space ship crew's frame. The way that transforming between frames work is that if A appears to travel at speed v in B's frame, B will appear to travel at speed -v in A's frame (equal and opposite). This means that if the space ship is travelling at near light speed in the Earth-star frame, then in the ship's frame, Earth and the star will appear to be moving at near light speed in the ship's frame. Note that the ship is *not moving* in its own frame. So it would seem at first glance that it would take another 10 LY for the ship to experience the journey, not because the ship is moving (in its own frame, it is still) but because the ship now has to wait for the star to come around and arrive at the ship, and the star is only going at near light speed. The key is that the Earth-star distance is shortened, by a factor equal to the time dilation factor. This is why the travel time is not merely halved -- it's not just that the ship and the star are both approach in each other, but that the ship is waiting for the star to cover a *much smaller than 10 LY* distance, which the star can do with ease. Similarly for the travel from the star to Earth. So the acceleration and deceleration is the "only" hard part. Because objects tend to stay in their own inertial frames, it's the accelerating between inertial frames that is the difficult part -- that and resynchronizing watches.

(Part of the reason I mentioned the "round trip" is that simultaneity is actually problematic in relativity -- while it's relatively intuitive to say that it takes light ten years to go from Earth to a star, in different frames what constitutes the "same time" on Earth and the star will be different, and so the most consistent way to measure a time for a trip is with a single clock at one location, rather than two synchronized clocks at different locations.)

Hope this made sense! It's actually easier with the math, but then maybe this isn't the time for a Lorentz transformations special relativity math lesson.

@Jason, your understanding is correct. Assuming Voyager could have accelerated up to very high sublight speeds, it could have made it to Earth in very little time at all, assuming they didn't care that they'd be arriving on an Earth 70000 light years later. If that were their plan, one assumes Janeway would have ditched her engagement ring sooner. (Although this does raise the other point that if Mark wanted to wait for Janeway, and if somehow he knew she would be back in 70000 years, he could "just" accelerate a ship to near light speed and go on a round trip to get back coinciding with her arrival. It be funny like that.)
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William B
Thu, Jun 20, 2019, 11:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Explorers

@Peter,

This is actually my field of study, so I wanted to clarify this. What you're describing is actually several different related relativistic effects, but they don't really work the way you describe.

"From the perspective of people on Earth it's true the spacemen would age less slowly, but from the perspective of the relativistic spacemen the rest of the universe would age faster."

This is correct.

"So not only would the local frame of reference seem 'normal' (meaning a 10 LY journey would take just over 10 years at nearly the speed of light) but by the time they got there everyone they knew would be dead and far more than 10 years would have passed on Earth in the meantime."

This is not really correct in the scenario Jason was describing. The issue is that length contraction also occurs, so that if a star was 10 LY from Earth in the galactic rest frame, it would only be a small fraction of that distance away in the ship's rest frame. This means that the "10 LY trip" would be a much shorter distance. The star approaches the space ship at the same speed as the ship approaches the star, so the time experienced for this trip in the space ship frame is very short. So the ratio of proper time experienced during the trip between the ship and the galactic rest frame is still large, but the distance is significantly reduced in the ship's frame. If the ship accelerated to near light speed and did a circuit from Earth to the star and back, the space ship crew would experience it as a very short trip over which Earthers aged just over 20 years.
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William B
Tue, Jun 11, 2019, 2:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Springy, it was fun seeing you make your way through! I'm glad you stuck with it.

Nimoy really blows me away. He's magic in the role and did so much to create that iconic, weird character.
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 3:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter, good points. I think though that this is a case where it's hard to tell whether the episode was attempting to make a progressive point and failed, or attempting to make a regressive point. I'd say that looking at TOS as a whole, the former is the read that matches the rest of the series better, but within the episode itself I'm not so sure. The behind-the-scenes chaos in season 3 is such that I'm not sure how much individual episodes were really filtered through a common vision.

That said, I just remembered to check the episode's credits and Roddenberry wrote the story! So, oops -- I had totally forgotten that. So I was wrong that this episode doesn't represent Roddenberry, unless it went through pretty huge revisions by the time it got from story to teleplay to air (possible).
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 2:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter, I agree that often TOS is focused on the "current" as of 1969 situation, and the idea that the ep is referencing the banning of female leads at the time is intriguing. That said, the episode seems to be about how Lester deals with this rule in a crazy way rather than that the rule is unjust. I'm not sure how this episode would really work as a middle finger rather than a confirmation of their worst fears about female stars. The most sympathetic read of Lester is that she was driven mad by the injustice of the rule limiting her, I suppose.

Although, I do wonder sometimes if the depiction of "Lester" by Shatner as a megalomaniac the whole main cast has to rein in was a dig at Shatner's diva-esque behaviour on set (as alleged by the supporting cast).

I think it's worth noting from a behind the scenes perspective that Roddenberry basically had no involvement in the show for season 3, and so it's hard to draw conclusions (positive or negative) about Roddenberry himself from this episode. The writing team behind this episode is (for better or worse) disjoint from the writer that tried to get Majel Barrett in a command position in The Cage. Not that this means they necessarily would disagree with Roddenberry or his mission.
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William B
Mon, Jun 10, 2019, 9:29am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Springy, yyyyyyeah.

I do like the "mutiny" scenes, from Spock talking to the real Kirk onward to Sulu and Chekov stopping work. I thought it was nice to have some ensemble scenes to go out on. Of course, Uhura is absent, which is pretty glaring in this one.

Glad you liked Yesterdays though!
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William B
Mon, Jun 3, 2019, 8:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Night Terrors

If Molly had a non-human father it might explain her rapid aging....
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William B
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 6:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Jack,

Fair enough. I didn't do my research on this point and should not have been so careless re Hurley.
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William B
Sun, Jun 2, 2019, 9:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

My take, on a few points:

Geordi's original creation of the Leah program was innocent enough. His continuing to converse with her only rather than his whole staff, in Booby Trap, is partly because he was caught in his own "Booby Trap," in keeping with the episode's theme -- caught in the thrall of technology and only eventually realizing he needed to get out (and thus back out into reality). It was related to his character flaws and the episode's theme, but in a way that wasn't indicative of a huge transgression. That said, you know, he and fake-Leah did kiss. I wouldn't call it "making out" exactly but they definitely kissed, and it's clear that there's a romantic tinge to it. I will have to watch the last scene again but I don't think Geordi exactly pulls away from the kiss, although it's one that is followed by him ending the program. I don't personally think Geordi turned on the program between BT and GC. However, I always took it that Wesley *was* talking about the Leah hologram and Booby Trap, in Sarek. We know that Geordi references "[falling] in love in there once" to Barclay re the Holodeck in Hollow Pursuits. I suppose Wesley could have been talking about Geordi taking dates to the holodeck, but I find that unlikely because the holodeck is one of the main possible locations on the ship for a date (we usually hear people going on dates to the holodeck, Ten-Forward or the arboretum).

His behaviour toward Leah in Galaxy's Child is weird, in that he keeps bringing up personal facts about her that he shouldn't know and then lies about where he got it. When Leah finds the program, with the "when you're touching the engines, you're touching me," coupled with his awkward asking her out in a Jeffries Tube, his pushing for dinner, etc. -- all his signs of pushing for a romantic connection well before they've established they even know each other -- I think her thinking the worst is not surprising. So that's why I don't think she should *apologize*. Maybe in the 24th century behaviour is better so there'd be no reason to think the worst, but the thing is, I think from Leah's POV it certainly would be hard to fathom how he could have become romantically interested in her without knowing her while having a hologram talking about touching her every time he touches the engines and for it to have an innocent explanation. Geordi's "I offered you friendship" speech seems to me to be very disingenuous, because he clearly wanted to date Leah. I'm not saying this was some creepy predatory motive, but it's not the same as Geordi trying to bond with Hugh.

I don't think it's wrong for Leah to eventually accept that Geordi's behaviour was relatively well-intentioned and to forgive him, and maybe accept that they could be friends. I think she just decided to smooth things over, also. It's fairly believable to me that she would just try to make their conflict stop, especially since it might be worth trying a different strategy with Geordi. I don't know if that's the good way to go. The thing is, there is a big gap between Leah apologizing (as is what happens) and, as Jason suggests as the alternative, getting Geordi fired. Those are not the only two options. Leah could just say, "This was very weird to me. Let's just keep this professional from now on," for example, without trying to press charges or remove Geordi from his job. I'm not really sure exactly how Leah should have dealt with it. I think the main issue with the episode is not in-story but from a writer's perspective, where Maurice Hurley -- whom apparently Gates McFadden quit the show because she felt threatened by -- writes this ending where the woman apologizes to the guy and realizes she was wrong to be offended, etc., etc. In-story, I don't know, whatever. It seems kind of excessive to me for Leah to apologize, but I think it's believable and I think it was probably good for her to try to take the leap of faith that Geordi's behaviour was well-intentioned and awkward. I wouldn't have minded if she'd stayed angry, though. That's not to say I think she should have destroyed his career or anything like that.

In terms of the episode's intent, I think FutureQ gets it right (and I enjoyed FutureQ's elaborate thoughts on the episode!). I think this is meant to be a learning experience for Geordi, and possibly even for Leah. As a Geordi episode it's probably okay, if we restrict it to Geordi POV; because it's his POV, it's hard to get a read on what Leah is actually going through. Which is fine, I guess. I remember feeling Geordi's behaviour was over the top last time I watched it, but I might be misremembering.
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William B
Sat, Jun 1, 2019, 10:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

@Dave, I mostly agree and don't really find Leah's apology believable. However, regarding the specific point about the quasi-military organization, she is not part of Starfleet -- she's an outside-contractor non-Starfleet engineer/scientist. I don't think we're supposed to see her reaction as representative of how internal Starfleet matters are supposed to go, and I think that's part also of why Geordi behaves as he does (not with the hologram, I mean, the casual approach to dating, because she's totally outside the chain of command).
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William B
Thu, May 30, 2019, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Eye of the Beholder

Seeing the inside of a warp nacelle is indeed cool.

I don't think this ep is very good, but there is an interesting theme in season seven of characters standing at the verge of some major change in their lives, peering over the edge, and recoiling, either because what they see is an illusion or because they deliberately avoid it. It's most obvious with the relationship eps (Attached, Eye of the Beholder) but you see it with Geordi and his mother's disappearance, Data with the emotion chip and then the truth about his mother, Picard and the possibility that he has a son, Worf getting a glimpse of Alexander's future, etc. Genesis flips the usual stuff about societal evolution by showing the characters, lol, "de-evolving" instead. Force of Nature is of course the environmental allegory but it is also literally an episode in which the crew finds out they can no longer go anywhere very quickly because going too fast damages the space they're in. The world seems a lot smaller, because there seem to be fewer external things to explore and they keep pulling back from exploring internal things (usually for good reasons). And it feels like aging, somehow.

I suspect that a lot of it is a matter of Jeri Taylor et al. being in a holding pattern, because they've run out of too many stories that keep the characters static but also are kept in place both by the usual staticity of TNG and especially by the requirement that nothing much can change before Generations. And many of these eps end up being pretty bad (though I like some, like Inheritance). But I think it kinda sorta works in setting up All Good Things and the possibility that the future is a disappointing place, where some of the wonder has gone out of the characters' world, and has to be recovered. Notably, I say "disappointing," not dystopian. This episode is a good example of that pattern, where Troi doesn't really want to stay perpetually single waiting for her Imzadi to get a clue, but also senses (probably correctly) that taking the plunge with Worf would be disastrous, even if it's because of the sci-fi psychological thriller telepath suicide lens that she actively feels it.
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William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 1:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

@Peter, largely agree. I will say though that if we take "The Enemy Within" very literally, we cannot be sure that "Good" Kirk knows what "Evil" Kirk wants, because all we really have are theories postulated by Spock et al. to account for the bizarre occurrence, backed up by other examples like the space dog. If their theory is wrong, then perhaps "Good" Kirk and "Evil" Kirk really are two different beings, and so "Good" Kirk is not particularly qualified to speak about what "Evil" Kirk really wants. I don't think it's worth too much effort trying to read "The Enemy Within" without its metaphorical meaning, so I won't belabour that point. "Tuvix" seems to me different from "TEW" in that it doesn't read to me that there is a metaphorical reading that would require that what is truly good for Tuvix is to be split in two (the way "TEW's" metaphor means that it's good for both Kirk halves to recombine). As Elliott was saying, this is part of what's interesting and even impressive about "Tuvix." I do think the show *could* have played Tuvix as a case where the correct and natural thing for Tuvix would be to separate, either by playing it through a metaphor lens or by some other narrative choices, but I agree that the show really does not seem to do so (and nor do I think it is attempting to).
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William B
Tue, May 28, 2019, 12:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

@Luke, Peter:

For what it's worth, I'm more in agreement with Peter. But just to defend Luke's (and Lt. Yarko's) point a bit more, Elliott made a good point IMO in comparing the episode to The Enemy Within and in particular to "Bad" (or Animalistic) Kirk's "I AM CAPTAIN KIRK!" insistence that he's the real deal, which is shown to be only partially correct. That episode was one mind divided in two whose natural state was to be recombined. I can understanding reading this episode as the inverse of that -- two minds artificially combined into one body, and the two consciousnesses then being fooled into thinking they're one individual, falsely. It's an intriguing idea, and I do think that some sense that that might be some of what is going on maybe affects Janeway's decision.

*However*, it's still not how this episode strikes me when I watch it. Tuvix seems to me to begin as a weird combination of Tuvok and Neelix, and that's strange, but he still seems to be a distinct individual by the episode's end. I think if the episode were trying to convince us that Tuvix is unambiguously not a single consciousness but two trapped in one body, it would have played things differently. Janeway's controversial argument at the end largely seems to be that Tuvok and Neelix, despite being absent, have rights which supersede Tuvix's, rather than that Tuvix is not a person at all.

I was thinking about how a story dedicated to two consciousnesses trapped together as one who need to be forcibly separated would actually play. One Trek example that comes to mind of a somewhat similar situation is Attached, where Picard and Crusher are somewhat forced into merging for a time; some of the Borg stories also function as a larger-scale version of that. What I think such a story would emphasize is the analogy between the combined person's two consciousnesses getting used to functioning as one and a codependent relationship, where they are forced to be separated for their own good. That might be a good Neelix story to tell, since he tends to be clingy and possessive and not to respect boundaries (resulting from his traumatic loss of his family). I guess it doesn't really strike me that this is the story this episode is telling.
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William B
Fri, May 24, 2019, 9:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

In fairness, there are a few things that I like about TI as a final episode, involving the supporting cast. I won't say them here because Springy's going through the series (and that's why I wrote my comment). But overall, no.
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William B
Fri, May 24, 2019, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Tholian Web

@Springy,

IMO season 3 is quite rough, and I like season 1 and 2 a fair bit. There are still some episodes I find worthwhile, though the TOS goofiness is present in most of them.

It's up to you but I might recommend swapping Turnabout Intruder and All Our Yesterdays, which is considered by most (including me) to be a better episode, and a better one to go out on, if you want to end on a higher note. AOY gives a lot of attention to Spock & McCoy, whereas Turnabout Intruder, while having good qualities, is infamous for SHATNER ACTING and sexism. (Well, not everyone agrees re: sexism, or that the SHATNER ACTING is bad. But I think you will fall in with the not being a fan of TI camp.)
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William B
Thu, May 23, 2019, 2:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

It's weird and cool that there's a new DuckTales and people like it. I haven't followed it (and have only the vaguest childhood memories of the original) but it is kind of neat -- if symptomatic of the endless reboots. I guess my general rule is that if reboots are good, they're good. Tautology but hey.
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William B
Wed, May 22, 2019, 11:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Spectre of the Gun

The episode gets points off for not making a "Chek[h]ov's gun" joke.
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William B
Tue, May 21, 2019, 10:44am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

I'll add, under normal circumstances the natural move would be to make the weird EM crystal thing Wesley figures out block the Enterprise's scanners. But it was wise to not have the Enterprise crew working on the same problem as Wesley, so as to avoid the s1 trap of Wes solving the problem faster than the entire rest of the ship working together.
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William B
Tue, May 21, 2019, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

It's true they need some contrivance (I'm not using "contrivance" pejoratively here) to keep the Enterprise away, either some reason they are unaware of the crash or some urgent business away. But I don't think they had to spend any time on it after setting it up. That said, if it were better executed it wouldn't be a problem to have a problem-solving B-plot.
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William B
Sun, May 19, 2019, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Necessary Evil

@Michael, thank you!

I don't have an active blog. I'll let people know here if I get one.
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William B
Sat, May 18, 2019, 12:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Peter, lol. I laughed. I could hear his voice.
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William B
Thu, May 16, 2019, 8:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

@methane -- I agree on all points. I think there are lots of in-universe reasons that make sense for Odo, and I also think that until "Chimera" any alternatives didn't occur to the writers. (And once again, I'm not personally saying they necessarily needed to go with any alternative courses with Odo, just that I think Odo was a good candidate.)
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