CALICO's recent activity

  1. Comment on Joker - Discussion Thread (Spoilers) in ~movies

    CALICO
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    Largely my take; I thought it was brilliant. Not to retread to much on what others have said, this is something that stuck out. I really liked how the story tied Batman & Joker's origin together...

    Largely my take; I thought it was brilliant. Not to retread to much on what others have said, this is something that stuck out.

    I really liked how the story tied Batman & Joker's origin together through the systematic failures of the City of Gotham. It made them both kind of an emergent phenomenon of their environment. The trash problem and disinterested aristocratic wealthy riled up the public, and the penny pinching in mental health services set up Arthur for failure (who should have been taken from his adoptive mother by the City). Joker emerges from his environment as a destructive force, and that is directly responsible for Batman's origin. An immune response, if you will.
    I enjoyed that.

    5 votes
  2. Comment on What is your dream job ? in ~talk

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Too many options is the main one. I'm interested in too many fields, and I can't work with them all in-depth unless the maximum human lifespan gets a big boost. So there's some paralysis there. If...

    Too many options is the main one. I'm interested in too many fields, and I can't work with them all in-depth unless the maximum human lifespan gets a big boost. So there's some paralysis there. If I pick one, that might be the only one. That's why I didn't continue my Chemistry education past a Bachelor's. I love chemistry, and I'm personally fascinated by it, but it's not the thing I want to study for potentially the rest of my life. If I dedicate my life to something, I want it to at least be an avenue towards answering some of my big questions of life, the universe, and everything.

    One of my excuses, is how I perceive Academia as it exists today. It seems far too political for what it ought to be, and from what I hear it's common that those running a department will get too set into their personal ideas and shut out alternative ideas.

    From a practical standpoint, what I do now pays very well, and is fairly recession-proof. The way I see it we're heading into an era of instability. It makes sense to stick with this for now. Until the near future looks a little more secure, or I have built myself a good safety net. I plan to take classes and work my way into a field, but that will take some time.

    For now, I read a lot and keep up to date on the things that interest me.

    3 votes
  3. Comment on What is your dream job ? in ~talk

    CALICO
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    I want to a researcher. I want to push up against the boundary of human understanding, and discover new knowledge. There are a lot of fields I'm interested in, but the void of known-unknowns &...

    I want to a researcher. I want to push up against the boundary of human understanding, and discover new knowledge.
    There are a lot of fields I'm interested in, but the void of known-unknowns & unknown-unknowns at our foundational understanding of reality is really appealing—mathematics, physics, and consciousness, are the big three.

    Failing that, and applying a little optimism, if we continue on this path to human space utilization then I want a job out there. I can't qualify as an astronaut, no matter how much I want to. But if we lower that bar just a little bit, I can clear it. The only barrier then would be there sheer magnitude of interested persons.
    If you offered me a job to be a space janitor on Mars with zero time outside of the habitat and a near-certain chance I'd never return, my one and only question would be: "When's the flight?"

    18 votes
  4. Comment on What's your SILLY unpopular opinion? in ~talk

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    This isn't something I ever would have believed a month ago. I recently watched GLOW (Netflix)—which is fantastic btw—and in season one, one of the main characters (a soap opera star) has an...

    This isn't something I ever would have believed a month ago.

    I recently watched GLOW (Netflix)—which is fantastic btw—and in season one, one of the main characters (a soap opera star) has an epiphany and realizes that wrestling is essentially a soap opera in the ring. Everything made sense to her then. To me as well.
    I was always that person who didn't 'get' wrestling. Thought it was all fake, didn't see the point, etc. But putting wrestling into the context of narrative mixed with physical display made it all click into place.

    6 votes
  5. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Given that range, I'd say there's a fairly high probability my face has seen your face, or vice versa. The changing of the leaves is always fantastic in the Blue Ridge, but tbh I think I'm going...

    Given that range, I'd say there's a fairly high probability my face has seen your face, or vice versa.

    The changing of the leaves is always fantastic in the Blue Ridge, but tbh I think I'm going to enjoy the rain more. I've never lived anywhere with so little rainfall as I saw this past summer—zero days, not even a drop.

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Oh, about 9 or 10 months since my last visit. I used to live there, and those were the best two years of my life.

    Oh, about 9 or 10 months since my last visit.
    I used to live there, and those were the best two years of my life.

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What are you doing this week? in ~talk

    CALICO
    Link
    I'm currently chilling out in Kuwait International Airport, thinking about grabbing some Shake Shack. Heading back to the US for a couple weeks for training & medical, and I ought to have time to...

    I'm currently chilling out in Kuwait International Airport, thinking about grabbing some Shake Shack.
    Heading back to the US for a couple weeks for training & medical, and I ought to have time to sneak in a weeks vacation in Asheville, NC before I come back overseas. Gonna visit some very dear friends, maybe get a tattoo, ideally go for a hike. Kuwait is fine I suppose, but I miss tree's and mountains.

    7 votes
  8. Comment on SpaceX Starship Update in ~space

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    You set the bar high, forgive my hyperbole. By bringing credentials into question, and specifically requesting something based in an engineering education, that inherently limits only Engineers to...

    You set the bar high, forgive my hyperbole. By bringing credentials into question, and specifically requesting something based in an engineering education, that inherently limits only Engineers to have an opinion one way or the other. FWIW, I do not have an Engineering degree; I have a B.S. in Chemistry and I minored in Physics. No, that's not rocket science. I've played with Orbital Mechanics a bit, but my understanding is more on the physics of the very small than having an expertise in the rocket equation or Kepler's equation. Yes, there are plenty of holes in my education when it comes to this topic.


    Don't mistake my position as one of hostility, please. It's not my intent.

    I'm interpreting your opinion as one of doubt, and I want to understand if there's something I'm missing. By my mostly self-taught understanding, Starship/BFR seems like it should work out fine. Nothing stands out as obviously impossible, at least. I don't mean to suggest it will be easy to make it happen, not by a long shot. It's an ambitious project that ought to outclass the Saturn V if it works. We're in uncharted, unprecedented territory. The way I see it, if you throw enough money and brain-power at the problem then it should happen eventually. Maybe it will blow up on the launch pad for its first test. Maybe the one after that will blow up too. SpaceX isn't unfamiliar with that sort of thing, but in time they've always pulled through before. Maybe this time they won't. Maybe it will fail, and keep failing until they run out of money and can't operate anymore. Sure, that's possible.

    It will almost certainly not stick to Elon's timetable either. Those are historically inaccurate. I chalk that up to his being an optimist, and I don't interpret delays to be a sign of failure or doom on the horizon for a project. Things don't work out, bureaucracy happens, a problem might be harder than first thought, etc.

    I'm basing my optimism of the platforms ultimate success on SpaceX's track record. There will be bumps. Launch vehicles will likely explode. But I don't understand if there's a reason to believe it isn't possible.

    6 votes
  9. Comment on SpaceX Starship Update in ~space

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    I wasn't aware I needed a PhD in Aerospace Engineering to watch a video of a rocket engine not exploding, and compare projected capabilities with alternative platforms to see the advantage. I...

    I wasn't aware I needed a PhD in Aerospace Engineering to watch a video of a rocket engine not exploding, and compare projected capabilities with alternative platforms to see the advantage.

    I don't care what Elon posts on his Twitter feed, and I don't read it anyway. That seems irrelevant in the face of a physical prototype that exists in the real world. It will work or it will not work.

    Grasshopper worked.

    Falcon-1 worked.

    Falcoln-9 works.

    The Merlin's work.

    The Raptor seems to work.

    You seem to have beef with Dragon. Fair.
    But that doesn't mean SpaceX doesn't have a proven track record of accomplishing things. I don't see a reason to doubt Starships feasibility, but my mind is open if you have information I don't.

    6 votes
  10. Comment on SpaceX Starship Update in ~space

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Don't think I haven't read through this whole comment, but I don't feel like my question has been satisfied. The Raptor engine is going well. Starhopper went well, and wasn't meant to be much more...

    Don't think I haven't read through this whole comment, but I don't feel like my question has been satisfied.

    The Raptor engine is going well. Starhopper went well, and wasn't meant to be much more than a test of the Raptor.
    The ease of manufacture is being touted as a selling point, Elon saying that future versions being done with a single-seam weld right off the roll. Yes that sounds low tech, but why should I believe that's not possible?

    3 votes
  11. Comment on SpaceX Starship Update in ~space

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Part of the reason for the steel construction is the ease of manufacture. With the Falcon-series track record of success, why do you dismiss Starships feasibility?

    Part of the reason for the steel construction is the ease of manufacture.

    With the Falcon-series track record of success, why do you dismiss Starships feasibility?

    3 votes
  12. Comment on How podcasts went from unlistenable to unmissable in ~tech

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Harmontown has probably the only ads I ever sit through and actively enjoy. Jeff B. Davis & Spencer Crittenden turn them into comedy skits that usually get a few laughs out of me.

    Harmontown has probably the only ads I ever sit through and actively enjoy. Jeff B. Davis & Spencer Crittenden turn them into comedy skits that usually get a few laughs out of me.

  13. Comment on What are you reading these days? #29 in ~books

    CALICO
    (edited )
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    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams. You've heard of it: that wacky, existential, cynical, comedy sci-fi that's got nerds all over the internet talking '42'. It's a...

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams.

    You've heard of it: that wacky, existential, cynical, comedy sci-fi that's got nerds all over the internet talking '42'.
    It's a radio drama, television show, video game, and a trilogy of novels in five parts.

    The gist of it, stolen from wikipedia.

    The broad narrative of Hitchhiker follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur Dent, following the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth's destruction by Ford Prefect—a human-like alien writer for the eccentric, electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—by hitchhiking onto a passing Vogon spacecraft. Following his rescue, Dent explores the galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human who had been taken from Earth (prior to its destruction) by the two-headed President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android.

    These books are a lot shorter than I remember, though I've mostly been reading epics and tomes for the past decade and a bit. I guess I'm doing this thing where I'm revisiting books I haven't read since the first half of my life; doing some self-examination I suppose.

    I'm also picking up a lot that went over my head before. As a preteen, Hitchhiker's was mostly just a fun, random, comedy. Now that I've lived some life, it often feels more like a collection of parables, vignettes, and insight directly into the authors' mind & worldview. I now can recognize Adams as an Absurdist, and understand on a personal level what that means, exactly.

    In philosophy, "the Absurd" refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any.

    This is most easily shown through 42.

    For the unfamiliar:

    The Answer, Book 1, **spoilers**

    "You know nothing of future time," pronounced Deep Thought, "and yet in my teeming circuitry I can navigate the infinite delta streams of future probability and see that there must one day come a computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate, but which it will be my fate eventually to design."

    Fook sighed heavily and glanced across to Lunkwill.

    "Can we get on and ask the question?" he said.

    Lunkwill motioned him to wait.

    "What computer is this of which you speak?" he asked.

    "I will speak of it no further in this present time," said Deep Thought. "Now. Ask what else of me you will that I may function. Speak."

    They shrugged at each other. Fook composed himself.

    "O Deep Thought Computer," he said, "the task we have designed you to perform is this. We want you to tell us..." he paused, "...the Answer!"

    "The answer?" said Deep Thought. "The answer to what?"

    "Life!" urged Fook.

    "The Universe!" said Lunkwill.

    "Everything!" they said in chorus.

    Deep Thought paused for a moment's reflection.

    "Tricky," he said finally.

    "But can you do it?"

    Again, a significant pause.

    "Yes," said Deep Thought, "I can do it."

    "There is an answer?" said Fook with breathless excitement.

    "A simple answer?" added Lunkwill.

    "Yes," said Deep Thought. "Life, the Universe, and Everything. There is an answer. But," he added, "I'll have to think about it."

    7.5 Million years later

    "Good morning," said Deep Thought at last.

    "Er... Good morning, O Deep Thought," said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have... er, that is..."

    "An answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes. I have."

    The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.

    "There really is one?" breathed Phouchg.

    "There really is one," confirmed Deep Thought.

    "To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?"

    "Yes."

    Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.

    "And you're ready to give it to us?" urged Loonquawl.

    "I am."

    "Now?"

    "Now," said Deep Thought.

    They both licked their dry lips.

    "Though I don't think," added Deep Thought, "that you're going to like it."

    "Doesn't matter!" said Phouchg. "We must know it! Now!"

    "Now?" inquired Deep Thought.

    "Yes! Now..."

    "Alright," said the computer and settled into silence again.

    The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.

    "You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought.

    "Tell us!"

    "Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..."

    "Yes!.."

    "Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought.

    "Yes!.."

    "Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused.

    "Yes!.."

    "Is..."

    "Yes!!!?.."

    "Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.

    It was a long time before anyone spoke.
    Out of the corner of his eye Phouchg could see the sea of tense expectant faces down in the square outside.

    "We're going to get lynched aren't we?" he whispered.

    "It was a tough assignment," said Deep Thought mildly.

    "Forty-two!" yelled Loonquawl. "Is that all you've got to show for seven and a half million years' work?"

    "I checked it very thoroughly," said the computer, "and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that
    you've never actually known what the question is."

    "But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything!" howled Loonquawl.

    "Yes," said Deep Thought with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, "but what actually is it?"

    A slow stupefied silence crept over the men as they stared at the computer and then at each other.

    "Well, you know, it's just Everything... Everything..." offered Phouchg weakly.

    "Exactly!" said Deep Thought. "So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."

    "Oh terrific," muttered Phouchg flinging aside his notebook and wiping away a tiny tear.

    "Look, alright, alright," said Loonquawl, "can you just please tell us the Question?"

    "The Ultimate Question?"

    "Yes!"

    "Of Life, the Universe, and Everything?"

    "Yes!"

    Deep Thought pondered this for a moment.

    "Tricky," he said.

    "But can you do it?" cried Loonquawl.

    Deep Thought pondered this for another long moment.

    Finally: "No," he said firmly.

    Both men collapsed on to their chairs in despair.

    "But I'll tell you who can," said Deep Thought.

    They both looked up sharply.

    "Who?" "Tell us!"

    Suddenly Arthur began to feel his apparently non-existent scalp begin to crawl as he found himself moving slowly but inexorably forward towards the console, but it was only a dramatic zoom on the part of whoever had made the recording he assumed.

    "I speak of none other than the computer that is to come after me," intoned Deep Thought, his voice regaining its accustomed declamatory tones. "A computer whose merest operational parameters I am not worthy to calculate—and yet I will design it for you. A computer which can calculate the Question to the Ultimate Answer, a computer of such infinite and subtle complexity that organic life itself shall form part of its operational matrix. And you yourselves shall take on new forms and go down into the computer to navigate its ten-million-year program! Yes! I shall design this computer for you. And I shall name it also unto you. And it shall be called... The Earth."

    Phouchg gaped at Deep Thought.

    "What a dull name," he said.

    When the Earth was destroyed at the beginning of the story, it just so happened to be 5-minutes prior to the completion of this program. And so, the Question is lost, setting up a deal of conflict and strife. That is, until the next book.

    The Question, Book 2, **spoilers** Arthur picked up one of the letter stones from his home-made Scrabble set. It was a T. He sighed and out it down again. The letter he put down next to it was an I. That spelt IT. He tossed another couple of letters next to them. They were an S and an H as it happened. By a curious coincidence the resulting word perfectly expressed the way Arthur was feeling about things just then. He stared at it for a moment. He hadn't done it deliberately, it was just a random chance. His brain got slowly into first gear.

    "Ford," he said suddenly, "look, if that Question is printed in my brain wave patterns but I'm not consciously aware of it it must be somewhere in my unconscious."

    "Yes, I suppose so."

    "There might be a way of bringing that unconscious pattern forward."

    "Oh yes?"

    "Yes, by introducing some random element that can be shaped by that pattern."

    "Like how?"

    "Like by pulling Scrabble letters out of a bag blindfolded."

    Ford leapt to his feet.

    "Brilliant!" he said. He tugged his towel out of his satchel and with a few deft knots transformed it into a bag.

    "Totally mad," he said, "utter nonsense. But we'll do it because it's brilliant nonsense. Come on, come on."

    The sun passed respectfully behind a cloud. A few small sad raindrops fell.
    They piled together all the remaining letters and dropped them into the bag. They shook them up.

    "Right," said Ford, "close your eyes. Pull them out. Come on come on, come on."

    Arthur closed his eyes and plunged his hand into the towelful of stones. He jiggled them about, pulled out four and handed them to Ford. Ford laid them along the ground in the order he got them.

    "W," said Ford, "H, A, T ... What!"

    He blinked.

    "I think it's working!" he said.

    Arthur pushed three more at him.

    "D, O, Y ... Doy. Oh perhaps it isn't working," said Ford.

    "Here's the next three."

    "O, U, G ... Doyoug ... It's not making sense I'm afraid."

    Arthur pulled another two from the bag. Ford put them in place.

    "E, T, doyouget ... Do you get!" shouted Ford, "it is working! This is amazing, it really is working!"

    "More here." Arthur was throwing them out feverishly as fast as he could go.

    "I, F," said Ford, "Y, O, U, ... M, U, L, T, I, P, L, Y, ... What do you get if you multiply, ... S, I, X, ... six, B, Y, by, six by ... what do you get if you multiply six by ... N, I, N, E, ... six by nine ..." He paused. "Come on, where's the next one?"

    "Er, that's the lot," said Arthur, "that's all there were."

    He sat back, nonplussed.

    He rooted around again in the knotted up towel but there were no more letters.

    "You mean that's it?" said Ford.

    "That's it."

    "Six by nine. Forty-two."

    "That's it. That's all there is."

    Not only did we go great lengths to make sense of the Universe, but it turns out the Ultimate Question is trivial and its Answer is nonsense.
    That's the fundamental nature of the universe.

    As a kid this was something I looked at like, 'lol, yeah ok whatever'. But now I'm in a place in my life where it makes a perfect kind of sense that nothing makes sense.

    Something else I didn't really pick up on was Adams' contempt for God. I vaguely knew he was an atheist, but as with his absurdism it's something I only understand now that I'm older. Reading more about him—now that modern marvels such as Wikipedia exist—I know that he described himself as a radical-atheist. I'd suggest the word misotheist, or maltheist instead. Adam's seemed to have thought of God—were he to exist—to be malevonent, deceptive, and/or incompetent.

    Two excerpts follow:

    Garden of Eden, Book 2, not really spoilers "Alright, look at it this way ..."

    "Sounds good so far."

    "It's there for us to eat. Either it's good or it's bad, either they want to feed us or to poison us. If it's poisonous and we don't eat it they'll just attack us some other way. If we don't eat, we lose out either way."

    "I like the way you're thinking," said Ford, "Now eat one."

    Hesitantly, Arthur picked up one of those things that looked like pears.

    "I always thought that about the Garden of Eden story," said Ford.

    "Eh?"

    "Garden of Eden. Tree. Apple. That bit, remember?"

    "Yes of course I do."

    "Your God person puts an apple tree in the middle of a garden and says do what you like guys, oh, but don't eat the apple. Surprise surprise, they eat it and he leaps out from behind a bush shouting `Gotcha'. It wouldn't have made any difference if they hadn't eaten it."

    "Why not?"

    "Because if you're dealing with somebody who has the sort of mentality which likes leaving hats on the pavement with bricks under them you know perfectly well they won't give up. They'll get you in the end."

    "What are you talking about?"

    "Never mind, eat the fruit."

    "You know, this place almost looks like the Garden of Eden."

    "Eat the fruit."

    "Sounds quite like it too."

    Arthur took a bite from the thing which looked like a pear.

    "It's a pear," he said.

    That's a pretty well example of the deus deceptor of René Descartes' Cartesianism.

    God's Final Message to His Creation, Book 4, **spoilers** Some way ahead of them an awkward low shape was heaving itself wretchedly along the ground, stumbling painfully slowly, halflimping, half-crawling.

    It was moving so slowly that before too long they caught the creature up and could see that it was made of worn, scarred and twisted metal.

    It groaned at them as they approached it, collapsing in the hot dry dust.

    "So much time," it groaned, "oh so much time. And pain as well, so much of that, and so much time to suffer it in too. One or the other on its own I could probably manage. It's the two together that really get me down. Oh hello, you again."

    "Marvin?" said Arthur sharply, crouching down beside it. "Is that you?"

    "You were always one," groaned the aged husk of the robot, "for the super-intelligent question, weren't you?"

    "What is it?" whispered Fenchurch in alarm, crouching behind Arthur, and grasping on to his arm. "He's sort of an old friend," said Arthur. "I ..."

    "Friend!" croaked the robot pathetically. The word died away in a kind of crackle and flakes of rust fell out of its mouth.

    "You'll have to excuse me while I try and remember what the word means. My memory banks are not what they were you know, and any word which falls into disuse for a few zillion years has to get shifted down into auxiliary memory back-up. Ah, here it comes."

    The robot's battered head snapped up a bit as if in thought.

    "Hmm," he said, "what a curious concept."

    He thought a little longer.

    "No," he said at last, "don't think I ever came across one of those. Sorry, can't help you there."

    He scraped a knee along pathetically in the dust, and then tried to twist himself up on his misshapen elbows.

    "Is there any last service you would like me to perform for you perhaps?" he asked in a kind of hollow rattle. "A piece of paper that perhaps you would like me to pick up for you? Or maybe you would like me," he continued, "to open a door?"

    His head scratched round in its rusty neck bearings and seemed to scan the distant horizon.

    "Don't seem to be any doors around at present," he said, "but I'm sure that if we waited long enough, someone would build one. And then," he said slowly twisting his head around to see Arthur again, "I could open it for you. I'm quite used to waiting you know."

    "Arthur," hissed Fenchurch in his ear sharply, "you never told me of this. What have you done to this poor creature?"

    "Nothing," insisted Arthur sadly, "he's always like this ..."

    "Ha!" snapped Marvin. "Ha!" he repeated. "What do you know of always? You say `always' to me, who, because of the silly little errands your organic lifeforms keep on sending me through time on, am now thirty-seven times older than the Universe itself? Pick your words with a little more care," he coughed, "and tact."

    He rasped his way through a coughing fit and resumed.

    "Leave me," he said, "go on ahead, leave me to struggle painfully on my way. My time at last has nearly come. My race is nearly run. I fully expect," he said, feebly waving them on with a broken finger, "to come in last. It would be fitting. Here I am, brain the size ..."

    Between them they picked him up despite his feeble protests and insults. The metal was so hot it nearly blistered their fingers, but he weighed surprisingly little, and hung limply between their arms.

    They carried him with them along the path that ran along the left of the Great Red Plain of Rars toward the encircling mountains of Quentulus Quazgar.

    Arthur attempted to explain to Fenchurch, but was too often interrupted by Marvin's dolorous cybernetic ravings.
    They tried to see if they could get him some spare parts at one of the booths, but Marvin would have none of it.

    "I'm all spare parts," he droned.

    "Let me be!" he groaned.

    "Every part of me," he moaned, "has been replaced at least fifty times ... except ..." He seemed almost imperceptibly to brighten for a moment. His head bobbed between them with the effort of memory. "Do you remember, the first time you ever met me," he said at last to Arthur. "I had been given the intellect-stretching task of taking you up to the bridge? I mentioned to you that I had this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side? That I had asked for them to be replaced but they never were?"

    He left a longish pause before he continued. They carried him on between them, under the baking sun that hardly ever seemed to move, let alone set.

    "See if you can guess," said Marvin, when he judged that the pause had become embarrassing enough, "which parts of me were never replaced? Go on, see if you can guess.

    "Ouch," he added, "ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch."

    At last they reached the last of the little booths, set down Marvin between them and rested in the shade. Fenchurch bought some cufflinks for Russell, cufflinks that had set in them little polished pebbles which had been picked up from the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, directly underneath the letters of fire in which was written God's Final Message to His Creation.

    Arthur flipped through a little rack of devotional tracts on the counter, little meditations on the meaning of the Message.

    "Ready?" he said to Fenchurch, who nodded.

    They heaved up Marvin between them.

    They rounded the foot of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, and there was the Message written in blazing letters along the crest of the Mountain. There was a little observation vantage point with a rail built along the top of a large rock facing it, from which you could get a good view. It had a little pay-telescope for looking at the letters in detail, but no one would ever use it because the letters burned with the divine brilliance of the heavens and would, if seen through a telescope, have severely damaged the retina and optic nerve.

    They gazed at God's Final Message in wonderment, and were slowly and ineffably filled with a great sense of peace, and of final and complete understanding.

    Fenchurch sighed. "Yes," she said, "that was it."

    They had been staring at it for fully ten minutes before they became aware that Marvin, hanging between their shoulders, was in difficulties. The robot could no longer lift his head, had not read the message. They lifted his head, but he complained that his vision circuits had almost gone.

    They found a coin and helped him to the telescope. He complained and insulted them, but they helped him look at each individual letter in turn, The first letter was a "w", the second an "e". Then there was a gap. An "a" followed, then a "p", an "o" and an "l".

    Marvin paused for a rest.

    After a few moments they resumed and let him see the "o", the "g", the "i", the "s" and the "e".

    The next two words were "for" and "the". The last one was a long one, and Marvin needed another rest before he could tackle it.

    It started with an "i", then "n" then a "c". Next came an "o" and an "n", followed by a "v", an "e", another "n" and an "i".

    After a final pause, Marvin gathered his strength for the last stretch.

    He read the "e", the "n", the "c" and at last the final "e", and staggered back into their arms.

    "I think," he murmured at last, from deep within his corroding rattling thorax, "I feel good about it."

    The lights went out in his eyes for absolutely the very last time ever.

    If you've not read through the series before, that won't have had the same weight it would to it otherwise.

    I think these books are filled with a lot of intelligence and wisdom and philosophy in-between all the Kill-O-Zap guns and Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. They reflect a man who struggled to find meaning in the life and universe, but wore a smile along the way.

    If you like Stephen Fry, or Doctor Who, then Douglas Adams ought to be right up your alley as well.

    5 votes
  14. Comment on Nancy Pelosi Plans Formal Impeachment Inquiry of Trump in ~news

  15. Comment on What are some basic excercises for keeping my midsection toned up? in ~health

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    Essentially, all fat loss is some variation of eat less; move more. Cutting out refined sugars and simple carbs is one of the simplest ways to health-up your eating habits. Higher fiber foods and...

    Essentially, all fat loss is some variation of eat less; move more.

    Cutting out refined sugars and simple carbs is one of the simplest ways to health-up your eating habits. Higher fiber foods and complex carbs help with fullness and prolonged energy.

    Cardio is one of the simplest ways to move more. Walks, stairs vice elevator, jogging, biking, etc etc. Follow your bliss.

    Weight training will burn energy as well as build muscle, but lifting at a caloric deficit is less efficient than concentrating on gaining muscle or losing fat alone.

    4 votes
  16. Comment on Pentagon will deploy US forces to the Middle East after Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia oil facilities in ~news

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    I hope the general public is aware of what a powder keg this shit is. Iran is intimately intertwined into the Middle Eastern political situation, and Israel & Saudi Arabia both have a vested...

    I hope the general public is aware of what a powder keg this shit is. Iran is intimately intertwined into the Middle Eastern political situation, and Israel & Saudi Arabia both have a vested interest in taking them down.
    Iran is not Afghanistan. Iran is not Iraq.
    Iran is something on another level.

    If you go to war, you need to accept two things:

    1. You need to be willing to kill.
    2. You need to accept that innocent people will die.

    I hope those few people cheering this are willing to accept that, because if this continues to escalate, a massive number of civilians are going to die.

    7 votes
  17. Comment on She took her amputated leg home, and you can too in ~misc

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    If I found myself in your position I think I'd be too afraid to do very much with the spare parts. You only get the one chance to do it right 😬

    If I found myself in your position I think I'd be too afraid to do very much with the spare parts. You only get the one chance to do it right 😬

  18. Comment on She took her amputated leg home, and you can too in ~misc

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    I have a kind of personal interest in it, mostly limited by indecision. Dress & Appearance is a big deal in my line of work as well, but a little less strict than a healthcare position. One of...

    I have a kind of personal interest in it, mostly limited by indecision. Dress & Appearance is a big deal in my line of work as well, but a little less strict than a healthcare position. One of these days I'll commit and actually get some tattoos done. Have a PA. Considering if I can get away with a labret ring without looking too "unprofessional". Maybe a dark stud to hide in the old beard at work. Overall pretty vanilla when it comes to this kind of thing.

    I am pretty interested in those Instas, and I'll probably hit you up to learn more later. Might be a good idea to go through DM's though; we're getting pretty off-topic and bumping the thread more probably wouldn't be ideal.

    3 votes
  19. Comment on What are you reading these days? #28 in ~books

    CALICO
    Link Parent
    I don't really mind the antagonist, it's the juxtaposition between them and the thematic conflict more than anything: spoiler Religion is fairly prominent in these books. Christianity,...

    I don't really mind the antagonist, it's the juxtaposition between them and the thematic conflict more than anything:

    spoiler Religion is fairly prominent in these books. Christianity, specifically. The antagonists begin as a Satanic Cult, eventually opening a Pandora's Box allowing the dead to return and possess everyone they come in contact with. Our hero's are predominantly Christian, or atheists considering maybe there's something to this whole theology thing. That's good plotting. The Naked God is pretty explicitly an analogue of God, and basically solves everything. That's less good.

    Al Capone as a character in science fiction is fun. But him being the primary antagonist against this Revelations backdrop feels.. discordant.

    The most recent of his works I've read was the Void Trilogy, which I enjoyed greatly and thought the religious themes were played in a much more elegant and interesting way.