Werthead

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About Werthead

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    Social Justice Robot from the Future
  • Birthday 01/22/1979

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    http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/
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    Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom

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  1. Video Games: Fantasy's Final '16

    I've been playing Cities: Skylines. It's pretty good, scratches that city-building itch. It's more in-depth than something like Tropico but it's not quite as insanely detailed and pedantic as SimCity 4 could be. The biggest problem with it is that it's very much all about building the city and infrastructure (and particularly routing traffic properly, get that wrong and things can go south very quickly). There's really not much actual "city management" of the economy or addressing particular issues going on. The ratio of population to some facilities also seems way off. My city of 48,000 really shouldn't need 12 high schools, 16 infant schools, 2 universities, 4 massive hospitals and a fire department on every corner. It's fun. There isn't a huge amount of depth to it, but it was worth the £7 I paid for it in a Steam sale.
  2. The slow revolt of Western electorates

    I agree that reducing workers rights and benefits does not necessarily help the situation, we've seen that from the dire health of the British employment market (where "unemployment is low" hides the fact that vast numbers of people are under-employed, undepaid and in precarious situations). But I don't think anyone is going to argue that France has a competitiveness problem, not when major international banks, major financial services and the OECD are all saying the same things. Negotiating that issue without causing massive further problems and risking the economy (as you say Thatcher did) is France's biggest challenge going forwards. Situations where people desparate for good pay, reliable jobs, better workers' rights and the return of industry are turning to protectionism, authoritarianism and people and parties opposed to unions, welfare and redistribution shows that something has definitely gone wrong in the traditional left/right view of politics.
  3. Government ministers appoint the board and then step back from any direct say over the board. There are rules over who can be appointed to the board and the requirements for political impartiality, and traditionally editorial independence of actual programme-making has been preserved. It's a system that's ripe for abuse, which makes it all the more bizarre that generally it hasn't been (although the process has been - more or less - transparent). But the feeling now is that the government has had too much of a say in how the BBC uses its money, such as using the licence fee to fund other projects, which has been highly problematic. The latest charter renewal also had a lot of editorial discussions by the government in the run-up to its announcement, which was really not its job, and those were pulled before the final consultations.
  4. If the President-elect threatens to start World War III (or instigate a series of events that will lead to WWIII) between election day and the day the electoral college meets (19 December), would that provide a reasonable grounds for the electoral college to vote against them? If you want to stand tall against China and send strong messages to them, there are various ways you can do that, like Obama sailing American warships through international shipping lanes and telling the Chinese to fuck off when they said they were territorial waters. The Chinese eventually did nothing about it. However, China regards Taiwan as its own sovereign territory. From their POV it's like a foreign power suggesting that California declare independence and offering to send them money and military equipment. China will not stand for that for a moment. Taiwan is a massive red line for them and they will go to war over it. This should be the #1 policy line on China given to incoming Presidents: "Do not fuck around with Taiwan, ever." There are tens of millions of lives involved. China doesn't want war with anyone (not with the economic ramifications), but this is the one subject that they will risk it over, as it cuts to the heart of the Communist Party's history and their identity, the fact that Taiwan is unfinished business left over from the Revolution itself.
  5. Feminism - Post-apocalypse version

    This is a worthwhile point. I remember in the late 1980s there was a lot of what was called "touchy-feely" stuff when men were encouraged to go to relationship counselling if things were in trouble (my parents were in this position and my dad absolutely rejected it, as "it wasn't something men did") and talk about things and get in touch with their feelings and it was mocked a lot at the time by some commentators. I remember people moaning because the old Star Trek was about Captain Kirk killing aliens and kissing alien babes (which it really wasn't, but that was the perception) whilst Picard had to have a counselling session with Troi before making an executive decision, and stupid as that comparison was it did sum up the view of the 1960s versus the late 1980s. Certainly in the UK the explosion of "lad culture" in the early 1990s was seen as a blowback against that, with "going out with yer mates for a pint" was exemplified as the ideal expression of contemporary manhood and the male characters in Men Behaving Badly were viewed as healthy and the norm, instead of something people should be laughing at. There was certainly something toxic (in the sense of it being negatively communicable) in that way that gave rise to "ladette" culture and girls should be going out and doing the same thing as men in order to get respect.
  6. The slow revolt of Western electorates

    France's big problem is that it was trying to be ultra-laidback and worker-friendly, but it's gone too far and ended up being unproductive to the detriment of its economy. Britain has tilted too far in the opposite direction of taking away worker rights but where France is right now is pretty ludicrous. The problem is that in order to make France competitive on the international scene again, it'll need to shatter the power of the unions in a very, very ugly and probably long confrontation. Margaret Thatcher's name has been bandied around a lot (even by French journalists and commentators) in the UK news coverage of the situation. The danger is that French workers will realise that and will listen to Le Pen's spiel that it's not their uncompetitiveness to blame but immigrants.
  7. Kind of. The Queen is the UK's head of state in title only. She has absolutely no actual power, so being "appointed by the Queen" is a handy catch-all statement meaning the board has been nominated by relevant government ministers and it's been rubber-stamped by the crown.
  8. Tory internal dissent is presented fairly dispassionately, whilst there's a near-gleeful focus on the Labour Party's internal crisis with lengthy pieces on how shit Corbyn is. Which may be true, but when you get almost nothing going the other way is problematic. That's not to mention the only time Labour are even mentioned is due to internal dissent and then the BBC will moan about how Corbyn isn't doing anything and his policies are invisible (which when you never cover them is to be expected). The biggest example was the local elections, where Labour was presented as being in some kind of desperate rearguard, life-or-death fight for survival when it actually did reasonably well and far better than expected. The disconnect between reality and the BBC's reporting was extreme. Kuenssberg's bias is so well-known (even in Westminster) that there have been multiple attempts to petition the BBC to remove her, although the sexist fuckwit brigade keeps leaping on them as a bandwagon, so they never go anywhere. I get the impression she's a Remainer, which means that she's actually done a reasonable job of holding the Tories to account in their recent post-Brexit confusion, but that introduces bias the other way. The BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2015/16 confirmed that BBC Worldwide turned over £1 billion in foreign sales, merchandising and rights handling. That's a quarter of the BBC's current budget right there. Put in what people would be willing to pay for access to the BBC (which admittedly now will be less since they fucked up Top Gear) on a subscription model, maybe form a BBC America-HBO alliance (which they unofficially already have with some projects) and you get quite a large amount of money. You also have to factor in that quite a lot of the bureaucracy that the current structure entails would go, which costs a ridiculous amount of cash. Whether it could run as many services as it could now and might have to downsize some other operations or splinter them off altogether is another thing. Losing some of the services it currently provides that might not make sense in a purely commercial environment - like some of the arts programming on BBC4 and the smaller radio stations - would be a loss.
  9. This will probably be doable Hodorsfield Christmas Moot 2016?
  10. The Arrival- Film- SPOILERS

    I think it fit his character. He clearly wasn't the most socially smooth or capable person, and dropping lines he probably thought were romantic or sweet but were actually pretty corny was fitting.
  11. Straczynski/Wachowski Sense8 on Netflix

    Joe Pantoliano. He's a friend of the Wachowskis and appeared in Bound and The Matrix (obviously).
  12. I think the social media bubble is a real phenomenon, but so is the phenomenon of social-cultural bubbles across society. It always has been the case, of course, but the arrival of the internet has made it more rigid. The development of this is straightforward: early adopters of the Internet in the 1990s would tend to be geeks, young people or people in media and technology and communications industries, which would tend to swing liberal anyway. A more balanced audience emerged over the first ten years of the mass-success of the Internet (say from 1995 to 2005) as it gained traction. People in this period I would say were more likely to be interested in talking to different people and exchanging views and information. You had trolls, the first online bullying cases etc, but it wasn't anything like what we see now. The first social media sites, like MySpace and Livejournal, were also interested in getting people to post long and in-depth pieces of information about themselves. What changed things is the advent of Facebook, which went global in 2007, and the introduction of smartphones the following year. Suddenly you didn't need a computer to go online and accessing social media became so easy that your racist Uncle Dave (or hippy Uncle Bob) could do it. Facebook and Twitter encouraged short posts lacking detailed context or information. And that's where you started getting issues, as people would go online not to look for other views or to be challenged, but to look for validation and confirmation of their own biases. The worst impact of this is that very tiny, minority views held by people who'd be harmless because of their negligibility suddenly found other people with the same viewpoints. They found websites that acted as Lonely Racist Hook-Up sites, where they could kid themselves that lots of people shared their beliefs and it was actually now socially acceptable to break out the n-word again or tell women to get back in the kitchen. I do think the hand-wringing over people in "liberal media" bubbles is misplaced, though. Those people voting for Trump or Brexit in the farcical belief either will make their lives better exist in a "blue collar nostalgia" bubble which is far more blinkered, the belief that the 1950s or 1960s represented some kind of ideal (which it might have done for white people, but not really anyone else) and it is even remotely possible for that ideal to become reality again (it isn't). This comes down to the paradigm-laziness principle: accepting that heavy industry and reliable-if-boring jobs-for-life are gone forever requires people to re-train, to learn new skills, to diversify their economic skills and outlook and be more proactive in securing employment, which a lot of people find to be unacceptable. As said above, this only works if you are adding new, well-sourced, investigative forms of media to the existing ones. Something have a conservative or liberal bias isn't a problem if you are aware of it, and the newspaper is doing good investigative work: The Times versus The Guardian for example. You also have those popular tabloids which aren't doing as much in the way of serious journalism but people should know that going in: The Sun versus The Mirror. The problem you have is that a lot of the "new media" is simply created by some guys in their bedroom somewhere, just regurgitating stuff they find online or making it up. When they start talking about the corruption of the Iranian regime, you can be assured that they haven't actually gotten up and flown to Tehran to investigate. The BBC or a major newspaper, on the other hand, has boots on the ground there which at least gives you an up-close view. A couple of years ago I was briefly involved in a new website that was being planned to be a "proper" news site, with people going out to investigate news stories first-hand and so on, but eventually the founder decided it was completely economically unfeasible to do so. The running costs and travel expenses were colossal and it was impossible to fund with the traditional online-only means of making money (advertising and so on). Big media companies have the resources to do proper journalistic work, the new media ones don't. And that's a big problem. I don't think that argument could be made at all, at least right now. The BBC is funded by the British public but it isn't a state-controlled media organisation (a distinction that I think is lost on a lot of people), as the organisation of the BBC is completely independent. The problem is that the British government determines the funding structure, so at the end of a charter period it becomes a lot more sympathetic to the government because it wants its money. There's also the incident we had in 2003 with the David Kelly affair, where the BBC tried to stand up and go toe-to-toe with the Labour government and the board refused to back its journalists, even when they turned out to be right (that the government had indeed been full of shit over the invasion of Iraq), and surrendered abjectly and pathetically. The BBC can still do very good work, but ever since that sorry episode they've been distinctly lacking in their desire to really oppose the governmenton either side of the house. Their current political editor is very strongly and staunchly pro-Tory, and that's come across very clearly in their news reporting for some time now. I'm actually pretty much in favour now of the BBC going completely independent. It can clearly support itself financially from a subscription model and from its international sales, which are now absolutely titanic. It is interesting that the government looked seriously at privatising the BBC a few years ago and abruptly stopped talking about it because they realised the same thing, and a really independent BBC which was completely non-dependent on the government for its funding and free of that conflict of interest might be something that the government doesn't really want to deal with.
  13. Atlas of Ice and Fire

    That's possible. Another option is that they had carved out parts of the Disputed Lands for themselves and sought to protect them. Historical Map 23: The Reign of the Mad King
  14. Atlas of Ice and Fire

    I'm not sure on that. After Maelys's death, WoIaF says that the other eight warlords had no interest in Westeros at all, suggesting that the lands they wanted were elsewhere.
  15. Atlas of Ice and Fire

    You're right about the numbers. I misread that as eleven thousand as the size of the total host. As for Ormund being killed by Maelys, that's what the history says but I'm sceptical about the number of times in battle that two heroes or important characters just happen to meet up and have a boss fight. It felt a bit odd saying that those two clashed immediately before Ser Barristan then showed up and killed him instead. I don't see anywhere where it says that all of the Stepstones were conquered. There wouldn't be much point to it if their primary purpose was as a staging ground to attack Westeros or maybe Lys (if that was Samarro Saan's goal), unless one of the pirate captains wanted to conquer them for their own kingdom.