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About Werthead

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

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    Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom

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  1. Werthead

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    It would be hugely problematic. A good example is Spain, which does not allow dual national citizens, so British expats living in Spain wanting to secure their futures would have to renounce their British citizenship to take up Spanish citizenship. However, this would involve the expats also giving up their British state pensions, which quite a few are living off, so that's a non-starter either. Because of the sheer size of the British expat population and their paying into the Spanish economy, the Spanish government has indicated they will address this but I don't believe firm plans have been laid out yet (or they hadn't last week when my mother who lives in Spain was enquiring with the authorities about this). Other countries which do allow dual nationalities should be less impacted.
  2. Werthead

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    The UK is a country of 65 million people dealing with a political body with a population of 448 million whose economy is eight times our size (both without us). We are the considerably junior partner in the negotiations with the EU, where the EU enjoys superiority on every front. This is also true of the United States and China and, to a lesser degree, Japan, Germany and France as individual countries. The UK also has a problem in that the primary instigator of our economy is services, which is partially dependent on EU access and will inevitably contract after Brexit, giving us even less clout in international negotiations. Britain is incapable of standing tall and independent as it has nothing to stand tall and independent about versus the EU, US and China. We can throw our weight around and make good trade deals with, say, Kenya and Guatemala, but against the considerably larger economies we have very little leverage at all. If we wanted to completely rework our economy to make us more competitive that's great, but after many decades of preparing for Brexit, no Brexiter has actually proposed such an economic plan, because they seem to expect that business as usual will continue even after a no deal Brexit because reasons, even when Brexit fundamentally sabotages the foundations of our current economic makeup. Brexit will reduce our political and economic power and clout in the world, permanently. There is no way it will leave us stronger and richer than remaining in the EU at this time. Brexiters saying it will are, simply put, lying.
  3. The re-merger between CBS and Paramount-Viacom is done, so Star Trek is reunited under one corporate master for the first time since 2005. It will have little effect on plans for the franchise, but it does mean that any lingering grey areas over what ship designs, music, flashbacks etc they can use from which shows and movies should be eliminated.
  4. Werthead

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    If No Deal happens, then the World Trade Organisation and the EU will require there to be a physical border between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom for customs checks. Britain can declare open borders with the EU, but only if it does the same for all other WTO members as well (i.e. pretty much every other country on Earth), which will cause the EU and the Irish government to have to install border checking infrastructure off their own back, to stop outside goods entering the EU via the back door. There's also the fact - which Brexiters seem to have forgotten - that the EU and its member states are also WTO members and can cause issues for us there if we are seen as shirking our duties on the border issue. If, by action or inaction, the UK allows a physical border to come into existence, it will put the UK in material breach of the Good Friday Agreement, causing massive political problems in Northern Ireland between the UK and the Republic of Ireland (and the rest of the EU). It may push the EU and RoI to demand that Britain hold a referendum on the future status of Northern Ireland, since the results of the previous referendum (to ratify the GFA) would no longer apply. If Britain refused, that would likely act as a spur to a resumption of violence. Of course, if Britain agreed that would also likely act as a spur to violence from the other side. One problem with that is that Spain, of course, is angrily shooting down any suggestion of regional referendums on the basis of independence for obvious reasons, although they might be able to spin this as a different situation because of the UK's obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.
  5. Werthead

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    The EU position is the security of the single market. With Britain positioning itself to let any old shit in from the United States, Africa and China, they need to protect single market access from substandard goods even more than they have previously. The British position is to simply let stuff across the existing border without any checks, allowing substandard and potentially unsafe material to flood into the EU using Britain as a back door. It's also a strange one because it means people can enter Britain using the Irish/Northern Irish border as a back door, including undocumented workers and people involved in people trafficking. I believe these were the things that Brexit was partially meant to address, so I have no idea why suddenly no-one on the Brexit side has a problem with this.
  6. Werthead

    What should be done... about climate change

    Climate change is certainly a potential existential threat for all life on Earth - it could act as a catalyst for tipping point, self-sustaining greenhouse effect that will turn us into Venus 2.0 - but this is at the very high end of the disaster scenario. Although that is extreme, there are associated dangers which are much more realistic and certainly present an existential risk to our current mode of civilisation: the displacement of tens of millions of people from coastal areas (where most major cities are located) to continental interiors which cannot support them. Destruction of arable land and the erosion of the topsoil making feeding our current population (let alone the estimated 10 billion by 2100) impossible. Rising CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere which will, somewhere around double our current rate, start to impair human brain function. Social and civil disorder caused by these crises: if the relatively tiny number of Mexicans and Central and South Americans trying to cross the American border is a problem now, just wait until equatorial regions of the planet start to become uninhabitable and you have 40 million people trying to cross the border. There will also be drinking water shortages and likely wars resulting from those pressures. It depends how you define it. Climate change is happening and it's getting worse, and will be devastating to vast areas of the globe without drastic action to reduce it. That is inevitable. Nuclear war and a global pandemic are rated as being potentially far more devastating, and the latter is also considered inevitable, but it could happen tomorrow or in several decades. The chances of a genetically-engineered pandemic are also getting higher. What Musk meant is that he couldn't figure out how to do it, so ergo no-one else could. Hyundai would like a word. Their first model can charge over 60% of the battery over the course of six hours, which of course will improve in efficiency over subsequent developments. This is not something that is viable within our lifetimes or probably several centuries to come. We do not have the technology to become a multi-planetary civilisation because we will have to genetically engineer ourselves to be far more resistant to radiation than currently. We will also have to change the way we breed: giving birth in microgravity or the low gravity of the Moon or Jupiter's moons is impossible, and might only be possible with significant technological and medical l intervention on Mars (and no other body in the Solar system we can go to has as high a gravity as Mars, until someone can figure out how to colonise Venus without dying horribly). Musk's talk about going to Mars and starting a Terraforming Mars/Surviving Mars colony of domes and hydroponic bubbles is a fantasy. Realistically colonising Mars with current tech or tech likely to be available in the next 50 years will mean digging massive underground installations far below the surface of Mars and going outside rarely, or risk being irradiated on the spot.
  7. Werthead

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Varadkar's been keeping up the pressure on this. The bit I particularly noted was when he said that in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the very next day the EU and the UK could start discussions on a free trade deal, and the first things that will be up for debate will be the Northern Irish border, the UK's debt and the disposition of EU citizens already in the UK and vice versa. Anyone who has the notion that any of these problems magically vanish on the stroke of midnight on 31 October when we are "free" is in for a very rude awakening. They will remain issues and we will simply be negotiating them from a position of even greater weakness.
  8. Werthead

    What should be done... about climate change

    Elon Musk puts a dollar value on setting up the first colony on Mars. It is considerably more than just spending the money needed to implement all the steps needed to keep climate change at 1.5 or less. I think Musk needs to get off this Mars thing. It's a bold and interesting idea, but it won't help the situation here at all, even if you can overcome the 10,000 problems he seems to constantly ignore whenever they come up. One interesting idea I saw over the weekend was companies moving into having cars with solar panels on the roof (or as the roof), with the idea that cars can charge wirelessly whilst idle (or charge whilst on the move, although obviously not enough to keep going forever), addressing the problem of on-street parking and charging infrastructure. That sounds like the sort of thing Tesla should be investigating.
  9. I'm getting into Dublin Thursday lunchtime-ish and heading up to Belfast on Tuesday. The only things on my WorldCon schedule at the moment are the 3 panels I'm on ("Space Opera" Friday 10am, "Narrative & the Dollar" Saturday 12pm and "Winter Came" Saturday 5pm).
  10. Werthead

    Formula One 2019

    Ricciardo's position I think was understandable. He outscored and out-won four-times world champion Vettel in his first season in the same car, then both out-won and outscored Verstappen in two seasons, and only failed to do the same in the third because of repeated mechanical failures. He wanted parity in pay with Verstappen and was denied that, so he went somewhere else because he felt the Red Bull was getting behind a junior driver with less of a proven track record and not giving him his due. The feeling may be that Verstappen has more long-term potential than Ricciardo, but that was not as yet conclusively proven. That said, Ricciardo is a great driver with solid experience and who could win a WC in a front-running car. There's a strong feeling that he is on the backburner for Ferrari, given his Italian heritage and that his driving style would fit in with the team very well, whilst he is clearly more measured and experienced than Leclerc. If Vettel leaves, I suspect Ricciardo is the #1 choice (well, Verstappen or Hamilton might be preferable, but it's unlikely they're moving any time soon). It is interesting that the Red Bull young driver programme has not led to massive, long-term success outside of the team. Only Vettel, Ricciardo and Sainz have moved on from Red Bull into other teams and enjoyed long-term success and are still driving, whilst Gasly, Hartly and Kvyat all choked on the big opportunity. Some of their other drivers have gone into completely different series and enjoyed huge success, like Buemi (whose firing now appears to have been hugely premature), but there does seem to be something wrong with their system in that it is not necessarily developing drivers to the best. Bottas is a solid, reliable driver, but him not taking advantage of the opportunity in Mercedes is a blow to his potential future at a top team. I suspect we'll seem him go midfield, to Haas if they do chop one or both drivers at the end of the season, or maybe back to Williams.
  11. Werthead

    AMC's ‘The Terror’ (based on the novel by Dan Simmons)

    Great. Still waiting for Season 1 to be easily available in the UK. Apparently it should hit Amazon Prime UK before the end of the year, which is a bit vague.
  12. Werthead

    LOTR prequel TV series 2.0

    I think the original mistake was understandable, but TORN doubled down on it and reported a supposition as fact, which was a mistake. We know that MGM badly wanted a film trilogy to make maximum bank, but Del Toro and Jackson felt that there was only enough material in The Hobbit for two films max. They proposed a "bridging film" from The Hobbit to LotR as a stopgap. The bridging film would be about young Aragorn joining forces with Legolas, setting a watch on the Shire and trying to find Gollum etc. At some point Del Toro and Jackson convinced the studios to drop that idea and just do The Hobbit as two movies. Del Toro then left, Jackson agreed to direct, production began and then mysteriously the projected expanded to three movies based on The Hobbit alone. The working theory, to some extent supported by things like the Ellis documentary, is that MGM demanded three movies based on The Hobbit with much greater continuity to the LotR trilogy, Del Toro walked in anger (under an NDA so he couldn't say anything) and Jackson was blackmailed into taking over because they would pull production from New Zealand altogether if he didn't. The announcement of three movies was then delayed. We know how that ended up, but it did mean that New Line/Warners had a treatment for an "adventures of Young Aragorn" story right there on file, and when Amazon sublicensed the rights from New Line that treatment may have been available to them. In fact, it may have even been discussed or used as a proof of concept, even if the ultimate idea was that they were always going to do something else. I think TORN just ran with the idea that this was definitely 100% happening when it was no more than a guess, and perhaps a feeling that there had been some kind of masterplan going back to the making of the Hobbit movies because of how the last film ended (with Thranduil sending Legolas to Aragorn).
  13. Werthead

    Formula One 2019

    Gasly out, Albon in. Given both Marko and Horner had been saying that Gasly's seat was safe until the end of the season as late as the last grand prix, this is not a good look for Red Bull's honesty. Still, as a strategic move it's a decent one. See if Albon is ready for the big chair and if not they can either put Gasly or Kvyat back in for 2020. Red Bull seriously lacking depth in their driver recruitment programme at the moment, which is bizarre given how strong it's been previously.
  14. Werthead

    Board games!

    The game is highly modular, so you can change things around. For example, the game we played was a race for the first person to make $15,000, but that would have easily taken all day, so we cut it down to $6,000 and the game went much faster (about 3 hours, and it took that long because 3 of the 4 players had never played it before). I think it is a good game, and it has a lot moddability so you can make it a more combat-focused game, more of a cops and robbers thing (one of the expansions adds bounty hunters who can chase down players with wanted markers, which sounds like it turns it into a completely different game) and so on. I can see why it's so hugely popular.
  15. The DS9 documentary What We Left Behind is now on Amazon Prime Video UK, although you have to buy it (it's not part of the streaming package). Good enough for now.