Aemon Stark

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About Aemon Stark

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    Land of Wind and Rain
  • Birthday August 2

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    A Song of Ice and Fire, of course, math, science, medicine, philosophy, history (especially ancient and medieval!)... and, more fun, movies, books, writing, enjoying fine ales, running, swimming, photography, and many other electrifying things

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  1. It kinda depends on a person's background and education level. The MoCA is better at detecting subtler cognitive problems even in educated people, but it is still a very low bar for anyone in a significant occupation let alone POTUS. It assesses executive function to some extent (ahem *judgement* and *decision-making*), but there are better more specific tests like the frontal assessment battery. Either way, Trump certainly seems to display narcissistic and antisocial personality traits. Dementia would mean memory deficits combined with worsening functioning in one or more other cognitive domains. I can't imagine he meets criteria for that, but at the end of the day he's really just a bad person. But then we already knew that much.
  2. I couldn't finish it either. Too much murk and muted dialogue.
  3. Well, decades of underinvestment will give that impression. Newfoundland doesn't have much of any public transit apart from buses in St John's. We once had a railway running all the way across the province, but the feds pulled the plus on it around 1990 with the promise of reinvesting in the Trans-Canada Highway. I suppose it's better than it was then, but passing lanes here and there don't make up for the ruts from the trucks, especially when said lanes are plowed more in theory than in practice in the winter... Anyway, rail is viable when you want it to be viable.
  4. I think you're right. This might be a reflection on a lot of current television, but the sound design generally feels kinda cluttered throughout. I also long for some more straightforward character driven drama... and maybe fewer Klingons. Of course, in TNG terms by episode 10 we were introducing Lwaxana Troi. They also had covered such seminal events as the first appearance of Ferengi and given us both "Code of Honor" and "Justice". DS9 was well into a fairly quiet, introspective first season. I kinda miss that here.
  5. Well, if you assume that history has some sort of end with necessary progress and "phases", perhaps this would be relevant. But such teleologies are human ideas not realities.
  6. But the practice of cultivation does not necessarily imply any particular timeline for the development of large scale agriculture. We can theorize that it required a very particular confluence of circumstances for this to happen, along with a bit of randomness.
  7. Actually the PQ didn't win a majority in either 1976 or 1994 (41% and then 45%). The next step in 1998 was to be a "competent" government so as to create "winning conditions" for another referendum after the near miss of 1995. But in that election the PQ wound up winning fewer votes than the Liberals, despite still getting a majority of seats. I guess the question in Scotland and - eventually - Catalonia is whether there is a potential for "referendum fatigue", where it's considered a vote loser even to mention it. These are the most divisive of divisive political conflicts. At some point the aspirations of "self-determination" for people living in a rich country who are not in any meaningful way oppressed don't quite last. In Quebec, the PQ is currently competing for third place, having gone down the road of identity (read anti-Muslim) politics, while successfully alienating traditional labour allies over many years of, well, alienating them.
  8. I'm going to take issue with the question, as to ask "why" implies that humans at some point made a conscious decision to "create States". The better question is "how" they created them. Another issue is that the sharp distinction being drawn between farmers and hunter-gatherers doesn't quite ring true. Cultivation didn't begin with widespread agriculture, but the people who started growing stuff like wheat and developing irrigation systems were the ones that made it central to food production and civilization.
  9. I haven't always been a fan of Michael Giacchino, but he did a great job with Rogue One last year. Another one to mention is Joel McNeely who did the soundtrack for everyone's favourite N64 Star Wars game - Shadows of the Empire.
  10. Somehow I've never actually seen Legend. But the Goldsmith score is a transcendent masterwork.
  11. This is manifestly untrue. Here in Canada we certainly pay for drugs for rare diseases through a variable mixture of private insurance, compassionate release from the manufacturer, and provincially-funded drug plans (often on case-by-case bases). That doesn't mean there aren't incredible distortions in the pharmaceutical industry, but there's a difference between Soliris - which has only two rare indications for which it doesn't improve mortality - and Rituximab, a mainstay of lymphoma treatment and a safer immune therapy for pulmonary-renal syndromes. I hope eventually that biologics will get cheaper - and they likely will - but I don't think you can attribute escalating health care costs simply to the rare disease treatment phenomenon. In the US, the problem has been and remains a for-profit "competitive" system with gross redundancy awkwardly grafted onto myriad insurance schemes. As it stands, I deal with a single insurer with transparent fee schedules, but our system also provides no more than a patchwork of drug coverage that leaves many people out. I pay $28 per month through my employer for dental coverage and about $35 for other extended health coverage.
  12. A hard question, inasmuch as before LOTR there weren't many good ones. But here's a list: Labyrinth Willow The Neverending Story (my childhood memories of it, definitely not when I rewatched...) Excalibur The Last Unicorn The various lists on Wikipedia or IMDB contain a lot of stuff like Gremlins or Ghostbusters that I don't always think of as "fantasy". Similarly I'd put Miyazaki movies in a category of their own - as my essentially permanent avatar suggests, Nausicaa is one of my favourite movies ever. A propos:
  13. The 80s lied to us... no flying cars, no (actual) hoverboards.
  14. I don't remember her saying anything about being adopted, but she said she went into the bubble at age 8.
  15. I'd certainly heard of Harvey Weinstein, but only insofar as I was familiar with him as "one of those Miramax guys". Couldn't pick him out of a lineup. What bothers me about this whole scandal is that it's obvious everyone knew about this for years and did nothing. And I'm sure he's far from the only one.