February 27th, 2015

moment of silence, candle

Moment of Silence: Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy has passed away.  He lived long, and prospered.  He both was and was not Spock.  But while everyone knows that role, I have another favorite too: he also starred in Brave New World, where it was utterly delightful to see him frisking around advising the other characters to be happy and have lots of promiscuous sex.

He taught us a lot about logic and emotion; more crucially still, the need to balance both in order to live well.  Along with the rest of the Star Trek teamfamily, he taught us about tolerance -- not just of others, but of ourselves.  He showed us glimpses, not just of one future, but of many futures.  In doing these things, he left an imprint that will last as long as our culture does.

So I'm sorry he's left us -- though he has left quite a lot to us -- and I'm really going to miss that man.  But on the other side...


Leonard Nimoy looks at the enormous mob burgeoning around The Great Con in the Sky.  Two cloud buses have arrived simultaneously.  One of them disgorges a flock of angels -- is that Metatron? -- while the other lets out a stream of tzadikim.  On the front lawn, a circle of Summerlanders are spit-roasting an entire ox.

Leonard shakes his head and sneaks around back in search of an open window.  Just as he is closing the window behind himself, a soft sound makes him whirl around.  "Gene!" he cries gladly.

"Hello, old friend," says Gene Roddenberry as they hug.  "Sorry about the crush out front.  People are excited to see you."

Leonard raises an eyebrow.  "Coming in the back way was a logical ruse," he says.  "But what are you  doing here?"

"Waiting for you," Gene replies.  "Since you made your peace with old Spock, I figured you'd take the logical route.  Come on, I'll show you where we stashed the secret Green Room.  If we hurry, we can get there before Isaac Asimov eats all the cookies."

Grinning, Leonard drapes a long arm over Gene's shoulders and says, "Lead the way."

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Asexuals in Entertainment

Here's a heartfelt post on why we need asexual characters, especially in positive roles.  But it's not just because asexual people need role models too.  It's because even sexual  people shouldn't be pressured all the time to get in a relationship.  Being single needs to be okay.

Ironically, one of the healthiest relationships in Polychrome Heroics is a quiet little villain/villain F/F.  Fortressa has declared that she is Through With Men.  Okay, fine, she can do that.  One of her henchwomen, Socket, has an almighty crush on Fortressa -- and has said absolutely nothing about it, because Fortressa isn't interested in a sexual/romantic relationship.  Instead, Socket is just always there for her, fixing up the battlesuit and making sure there's food in the shop fridge and generally trying to make Fortressa's life easier.  Because that's what true love is all about.  It's not about getting what you want out of the other person.  It's that condition in which somebody's happiness in integral to your own, so you do what you can to be there for them, however they  want you to.  It doesn't have to be sexual.  And what started out as a crush is slowly, inexorably, and quite beautifully growing into a squish which is fulfilling for both of them.

To find my asexual, celibate, demisexual, etc. characters, check out the QUILTBAG list.
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Learning by Osmosis

AI specialists at the University of Maryland have created a robot that can learn by observing.  This one taught itself to cook by watching YouTube.

This is epic.  It's the "monkey see, monkey do" moment.  One of the most crucial steps in creating artificial life is the ability of self-learning instead of programming.  More importantly, learning by observation -- rather than being trained explicitly -- is a feature of higher lifeforms such as humans, cetaceans, and great apes.  It lays a foundation for the "aha!" moment of awakening to self.  A robot might go through the motions and then suddenly understand  what they mean.

Just remember, an AI is like a small child.  They learn what they see.  They mimic what you do, not what you say.  So treat them as you want to be treated.  Teach them well.  Then they'll do great things, instead of going insane and trying to destroy the world.