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So, we’ve discovered the newest iteration of Star Trek on TV.

First, I find Michael Burnham to be a laudable character, at least, as far as her bio suggests she should be. Supposedly educated by none other than Spock’s father, Sarek, it is hinted that she might be the only human to ever have attended Vulcan schools. However, through her actions during the first episode it might be understandable to assume she is an average emotionally volatile human. Only a day or so after Capt. Georgiou discusses a command of her own, Burnham commits blatant mutiny in order to initiate what can only be considered war with the Klingons, a hereto misunderstood and feared enigma to the Federation and Strafleet; hardly a logical course of action.

Secondly, the rest of the crew seems an afterthought, barely worthy of their names appearing in the end credits. The interaction of Burnham, Georgiou, and Saru are splattered across every scene with almost no interaction from the rest of the crew. This might seem acceptable for a pilot episode, but with Trek, the ensemble cast has always been introduced with an easy simplicity in the premiere episodes. This is yet another thing that seems difficult for DSC to learn from its predecessors.

Thirdly, the Klingons seem to be taking center stage. And despite the obvious outward redesign, they also do not behave exactly like other Klingons throughout the Trek universe. This might be explained during the rest of the first season, but even then it seems as though a more fitting title for the show would be “Star Trek: Exposition of Klingons”. There also seemed to be a thick layer of a Game of Thrones paint slathered all over the interactions among the Klingons. While this may be the norm for modern TV, it is an anathema to the Trek universe. Star Trek has always had an air of big “D” drama, as it should given the varying degrees of danger the crews find themselves in, but the majority of that drama has been more than a few paces away from Soap Opera style drivel.

Lastly, the effects…this show so obviously and painfully is drawing from the JJ Abrams style of cinematography that I wonder if they might be paying him royalties. The style of Trek on TV has always been more-or-less in-line with the rest of non-sci-fi TV. That is, no flares, no tilted camera angles, dramatic close-ups only when deemed necessary. I can imagine a few people were actually mildly dizzy watching the cyclonic movements and frenzied lighting that made-up the majority of the first two episodes. This is without-a-doubt, not the Trek of old, and it may very well have changed too much.

I know quite a many people fell in love with this show as soon as it aired. Those are the people that would have also bought a pet rock, chattering teeth, or plopped down a bundle for a sliver of land on the moon. This show may, after a while, prove itself to be the incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future, but it failed in the first 90 minutes to convince me that it isn’t much more than a marketing ploy by CBS to entice people into paying for a streaming service that will still force viewers to watch commercials and probably have buffering issues with horrifying regularity. I, for one, am not sold.

Trek Rant, sort of

So, lately I’ve been writing a few opinion pieces for a Star Trek blog. While I have been a long-time fan, and I enjoy writing, I’ve noticed that there are a multitude of serious fans that do not take kindly to having their precious sci-fi put to scrutiny. This is not a serious issue for me, as I am inclined to write and let my writing stand without much regret. However, it isn’t a goal of mine to ridicule or take away pleasure in a franchise that has endured for half a century.

My general view of the news series, starting on September 24th of this year, is that there have been multiple delays; key personnel have left the show, only to be replaced by others with less stellar resumes, and the overall look of the show has veered toward a Abrams-style that many fans found off-putting in the latest trilogy of films.

The tricky thing here is accepting a realistic assessment of a sci-fi television show…I say that because certainly a portion of the fan base wants to simply watch and be entertained, and not have the fantasy of it all be criticized or revealed as such. That’s completely understandable, but what would be too far? How much change is acceptable before a fan looses interest? Or, is it the fan, through aging, that no longer can accept the fantastical nature of a show like Discovery. These questions are perhaps too philosophical and overly analytical for a TV show, but they seem relevant none-the-less.

One possibility, that with a newer generation running things at CBS and Paramount, as well as a younger audience to entice, things need to change, things need to be fresh in order to be successful. My guess is that no one will ever reach a definitive answer for all of the consternation felt by so many for all of the various reasons they might voice could very well simply be veiled crotchetiness.

As for me, I’m well passed it all. I’ve lost interest in the whole debate; the Klingons, the style of the show, the uniforms, the characters…etc. I have seen every episode of Trek that has ever been shown on TV, but this newest series might be the one I skip, based on nothing more than wanting to have plausible deniability to avoid discussion and debate about its various controversial aspects.

#45’s “MAGA”

I almost wanna make a conlang based on nothing more than “#MAGA”…It would have multiple meanings based on context.

maga – v – to conduct a brazenly open criminal enterprise while claiming otherwise

maga – n – a lie that is immediately disprovable

maga – adj – foolish on a global scale/stage

maga – adv – synonym; rudely, selfishly, ignorantly

etc…

Tweets and Twerps

If you have seen the obvious misspelling tweeted by #45 (yes, I refuse to use his name, as that is his most prized possession and his only truly marketable asset) then relax, you, like everyone else, have been bombarded in what can only be described as the increasingly common approach to news taken by most news outlets. Was there something sinister behind this tweet? That is highly doubtful as #45 seems to barely understand the consequences of his tweets, to say nothing of his actions. Was there anything other than his garden variety, disturbingly frantic, nonsensical ranting? Not likely.

What is important, at least to me, is that this one typo, this small moment, meaningless as it is, set the internet, and thus the media ablaze. Why, in the name of lemons and lime does anyone spend more than 20 seconds on whether or not this man misspelled something? Why, with the Paris Climate Agreement on the line, escalating tensions with North Korea, Iran, and Syria, does anyone worth a damn, pay any attention to this inane tweet? Because it distracts. It defocuses.

This man, who some have ridiculed, insulted, and dismissed out-of-hand, is still very much the President. Regardless of whether anyone might like him, he quite literally has his finger on the most destructive buttons in the history of mankind. Therefore, instead of celebrating his asinine twitter feed, or making memes that do not refocus him, or for that matter his seemingly inept staff, we, as a nation, as a people, should demand, not ask politely for, not request through some bureaucratic labyrinth, but demand that our elected officials (regardless of how we might feel about how they won an election) focus their time and energy on issues that are not just topical or trendy, but ones that actually effect our quality of life.

If we let ourselves be distracted by this sophomoric nonsense, and let our public officials frivolously spend their days devising schemes to lead us down those idiotic paths, then I say we are not worthy of anything else. We do not warrant leadership of the caliber we have had in the past, and we might as well turn the office of President into a 24/7 reality TV show, as that seems to be what the majority truly wants.

As a veteran of the military, it disgusts me that anyone would not demand that the President of The United States of America spend his time actually working on policy and diplomacy. I also find it disturbing that #45 seems to relish his fans (I use “fans” rather than “supporters” as most don’t seem to know what his views really are and simply LIKE him) apologetic views of his behavior. His inability to admit mistakes has already been, and will likely continue to be, detrimental to the US’s standing on the international stage, and more significantly, through the lens of history.

Helpful linguistics links and files

This folder is for linguistics students mostly and inside are some smaller folders:

This post shamelessly taken from: http://blog.linguisten.de/

Aksara Beringin

The Aksara Beringin script was invented by Adam Damario in 2017. It is an alternative way to write in Indonesian. The characters were modeled from the twists of the hanging roots of the beringin tree (Ficus benjamina) – the tree is also a symbol of unity – which were then modified and simplified.

I have not posted about a script from Omniglot in quite a while. This script, while obviously formulaic and designed with some sort of graphic aid, perhaps Glyphmaker.exe, is actually well done. There is just enough variation in the glyphs to be somewhat naturalistic and gives the script flow. However, I think a handwritten sample would improve the general presentation of the script.