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Everything posted by Krattle

  1. Oh, and one more thing. I'm sure that by now, had roads been left private all along, that cars would only be recreational vehicles or hobbies, and everyone would be using privately run, super high speed maglev trains or something I can't even imagine. Freight trains would also be maglev. People and goods would be traveling 300mph or faster all the time. Can you imagine it? And even if cars were still relatively popular, I bet most of them would be fast, efficient electric cars and there would be a whole electricity station infrastructure. Hell, why not just plug cars up to wires like an electric train? You could ask the same of airplanes. While they are not truly nationalized, they are subsidized, and because the government will only approve the construction of an airport where they think it should be built, they force airlines to work within a constricted infrastructure. They can only use certain airports as hubs and can only build airports in certain areas, thus artificially affecting the allocation of all their resources, and most likely being detrimental to profit in most if not all cases. If this were not the case, airports would probably be cleaner, faster, and generally more efficient in ways it is saddening to imagine. Not to mention, airlines would probably have enough money to use a handful of suborbital, ballistic-trajectory flights that go Mach 20 and get you across the world in 1 hour. I remember seeing some documentary about such a concept not too long ago.
  2. It's pointless to ask why people "accept" the government road system. People are generally pragmatic, and if there's something "free," then it automatically trumps anything you have to pay for. Not everyone has the vision or forethought to realize that government roads are horrendous. You seem to have listed all the main problems with government run roads, but above all else, it is literally criminal that the government allows 50,000 people to die every year because of their roads. It's not just because the roads are poorly maintained and designed and an outdated technology, it's also because of the effective lack of standards enforced on drivers. Driving tests are so easy one could practically take them blindfolded (oh the irony). Let me describe to you the train system in Japan for comparison. JR Rail, formerly a government-run agency, was privatized a long time ago and split into several companies, primarily JR East and JR West. While the government still owns the land on which the rails are built and you have to consult the government if you want to build a new rail, all the money and innovation is purely private. While JR Rail companies run an extensive network of normal-speed trains all around the country, their crown jewel is the Shinkansen (a.k.a. "Bullet Train"). It travels at 180mph at top speed and has had only one wreck in its entire 60 year operating history, and it was only because an earthquake knocked a train off the tracks. No one died. I'm not lying and I'm not exaggerating. Only one person has been killed directly by a Shinkansen, and that was a freak accident involving a man trapped in a door. Normally, doors open up again after closing on someone, but there must have been an electrical fault. Shinkansen have never run over cars or slammed into each other (much unlike the weekly Amtrak accidents). They are literally the safest form of transportation in the world, with only one death caused directly by a train. Nothing can top that. Not even walking. You can fall while you're walking. They also get you where you're going within the country faster than a plane, because even though they go only half the speed of a domestic flight, you don't have to get to the train station early to beat crowds and security terminals and check your baggage (Shinkansen have no security gates other than the first ticket gate). For the past few decades, JR engineers have been perfecting maglev technology and have a fully operational train that goes 300mph. The only thing holding them back is convincing the government to give them the contract to build the track. So, in every respect, Japan has been more advanced than the US in terms of transportation for half a century. They are where we should have been 50 years ago. But "free roads" effectively nullify the chances of any company building any other kind of road. There were and still are thousands of people with ideas for new kinds of roads or transportation systems with no way to get them implemented. Somehow the government road system will have to become a total failure in the eyes of the public for any other transportation option to become feasible. There are people who could build raised rails directly on top of the preexisting road system, and still let people use their cars. There are maglev ideas, plans for a road that separates vehicles into completely segregated roads by weight - trains on one, semis on another, and cars on yet another. That way, at least wrecks with heavier and therefore deadlier vehicles can be avoided. Someone built a strip of said road in Texas and it is run privately. The fact is, cars are 150 year old technology that has only been slightly improved over the years. They are slow compared to all other forms of transportation, more dangerous than most, and breathing their fumes is harmful. The Shinkansen in Japan, on the other hand, runs on electricity and therefore does not stink or harm your lungs, has killed only 1 person in 60 years versus countless millions killed by cars in the same amount of time, and is the fastest form of land-based transportation in the world. Oh, did I mention they are private, spotlessly clean, and punctual to the second? And that their food is much better than the so-called "food" served on Amtrak?
  3. ^^Even though I did not study QM in college, I have done my fair share of reading on the subject and I reached the same conclusions you did. Just wanted to state my agreement. It seems like there is some terrible epistemological misunderstanding in modern physics. I've actually heard of "scientific" theories to the effect that our observations create the universe. No kidding.
  4. That's the whole point! He doesn't understand just what he's done until he actually flies at warp speed and meets the Vulcans. His cynicism is thus lifted.
  5. I would not call the Space Shuttle a wonder. It's great, but not a wonder. The new Virgin Galactic spaceship, designed and built by Burt Rutan, the Whiteknight, is a much better design in all respects. Burj Dubai is a cool supertall tower, but it's hardly a wonder. We have the technology to build a mile tall building with conventional materials, so when that get's built, I'll be amazed. The Burj is half a mile tall, though, and that's pretty amazing. They broke the record for highest concrete pour at nearly 600 meters, or 2000 feet. At that height, they had to properly balance pump pressure and the concrete mix they used to prevent it from drying and caking to the tubes as it went up but to ensure the pipes didn't explode. I would call the artificial heart a wonder of the world. I would also one-up you on the US Highway System (which is out of date and falling apart) with the private JR Rail system in Japan. They run the Shinkansen, or so-called "bullet train," although the name actually means "new trunk line" in Japanese. It has had only one accident in its entire operating history, and that was due to an earthquake. Only one person has been killed, and that was a freak accident involving a door that shut on him (the door didn't kill him). It's always on time (I know personally) and will often arrive the very SECOND it was scheduled to arrive. Also incredibly clean. In short, it is literally the safest form of transportation in the world. With only one death, nothing can beat it, not even walking. Other than that, perhaps the tunneling electron microscope and anything like Hubble/Chandra X-Ray. I would also have to mention Honda's Asimo robot and nano-machines.
  6. Any movie by Oliver Stone or Michael Moore. Oh, and Tim Burton. Michael Moore is almost a criminal and deserves to be thrown in prison for the crap he produces.
  7. 1. Blade Runner (in my mind, no movie even comes close to touching the genius of this film After that, in no particular order: The Dogs of War (with Christopher Walken) Lawrence of Arabia (Barbara Branden finds it boring - she's an idiot) The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (possibly the most entertaining movie ever made) The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Die Hard (best action movie ever made) Alien (the essential action heroine) Aliens (superb follow-up to Alien) Das Leben Der Anderen (there is no movie about living under Communism better than this, because it takes it personally) 2001: A Space Odyssey (it's not mystical and it's not about drugs) Star Trek: First Contact (what could be more awe-inspiring than humans meeting another intelligent race for the first time?) The Prestige (structurally the most innovative movie I've ever seen - this is what makes Nolan so great) October Sky Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Shatner has some pretty amazing acting in this one) The Flight of the Phoenix (original version) (PS: I hate remakes) The Jack Bull (awesome movie about natural law) Patton Ghost Dog (a modern Samurai) I have a movie collection of about 300 movies, most from before the 90s, so I can't even begin to list them all right now.
  8. I really liked the Matrix at first until I realized it was pretty much nothing but fighting. Movies that are nothing but karate for 2 hours bore me to death. Like Jet Li movies. Jackie Chan movies, however, are more about fun than taking the (hilariously overblown) fighting seriously. His fighting is real and his stunts are real, not Matrix crap.
  9. I think you're missing the point of The Truman Show. What kind of person watches it? I do, because it's called a dystopic movie that shows what will/can happen to the RIGHT values when the WRONG values subvert them. And if you value the privacy of your life, then you will see how relevant The Truman Show still is. It presaged the awful Reality TV show craze, and the growing lack of privacy in public matters. One movie that you can't call underrated because hardly anyone knows about it, is The Jack Bull. Total individualism and respect for the mind and natural law. Also an incredibly sad movie. It really did make me cry it's so brilliant. I would also suggest Buckaroo Banzai. Most fun I've ever had watching a movie.
  10. In regards to the money, it was indeed a dictate from Roddenberry that there be no money in the Federation. Many writers on TNG, Ronald Moore specifically, thought that was a bunch of nonsense. So, when DS9 came around, they gave the Ferengi a larger role and on many occasions defended their philosophy. One episode in particular has Nog questioning the soundness of the human's philosophy that needs no money. "It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement." "Hey, watch it. There's nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity." "What does that mean exactly?" "It means... it means we don't need money!" - Nog and Jake
  11. Hello all, I just joined the forum, but I wanted to contribute here. You have to realize that Star Trek is a 40+ year long franchise that has seen contributions from literally millions of people, and at least 100s if not 1000s of writers. It's hard to keep anything completely consistent across that much time and that many people, so you must factor that in when considering anything like Star Trek. It is not a totalistic whole conceived by one person (Gene Roddenberry). Even he knew when to turn over control to all the talented people around him. Anyway, it is known that Roddenberry read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged several times. Yeoman Janice Rand, from The Original Series, is most likely named after Rand, although there is no information on this anywhere. Also, the Vulcans have several other traits that mark them as at least somewhat Objectivist. These are direct quotes from shows: The Vulcan Dictates of Poetics states: "A character's actions must flow inexorably from his or her established traits." Kiri-kin-tha was a Vulcan scholar and follower of Surak's teachings. Kiri-kin-tha's First Law of Metaphysics is "Nothing unreal exists." I should also note that in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the following is exchanged between Kirk and Spock - an intentional reversal of what was said in Wrath of Khan when Spock was dying. "My father says that you have been my friend. You came back for me." "You would have done the same for me." "Why would you do this?" "Because the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many." To top it all off, the Vulcan greeting and salute is "Live long and prosper."
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