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Aemon Stark

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Everything posted by Aemon Stark

  1. I think the ideas about the XBs illustrate an issue with the show or, arguably, the format. Ten episodes is a decent amount of time for a slow-burn Breaking Bad-style plot with relatively limited plot threads and a focus on a few different characters and settings. Comparing to other things I've watched recently like The Stranger on Netflix or The Outsider on HBO, Picard (and definitely Discovery) tries to cover a far more complex (or convoluted) story in a short amount of time, almost as if they're going for usual Trek-style world-building and plots but without enough to flesh everything out. The pacing worked well enough initially, got muddied in the middle, picked up in the last third, but then left a two-part finale that only kinda worked. Don't get me wrong; I enjoyed it a lot. But stuff like Agnes's murder of Maddox (regardless of whether she was "just following orders") to Picard's new "golem" body to the Borg subplot and Hugh's untimely death all felt underwritten and under-motivated. On the other hand, Patrick Stewart was great throughout. I really enjoyed Seven's presence - this is a much more interesting evolution of her character than where we left it in "Endgame". And seeing Hugh again was so amazing - I get why it might have served some dramatic sense to kill him off, but he would have been much better as a recurring character. "Nepenthe" was a standout, especially since it transcended any mere fan service suggested by the presence of Riker and Troi. The main problem here is that current Trek shows don't seem to be written with consideration to limited episode seasons. Discovery tried to do a whole war story with the Klingons in a single short season, all told in about a quarter of the episodes comprising the period of DS9's Dominion War, and without the five seasons of character and plot development that preceded it. That's a problem for sure. I'm not sure you can do big elaborate story arcs with a galactic scope in 10-13 episodes. The results suggests you can't. Season two of Disco works a bit better, particularly in the first half, but later on they turn up the sci-fi Action! to max and it gets a bit boring (and fairly reminiscent of everything with the Replicators in Stargate:SG1). It's not that I want Breaking Bad pacing (okay, maybe I kinda do...), but it's fairly obvious that the writing staff haven't yet figured out how to write Trek well for limited seasons. I suppose it's still early on, but in this time of dozens of well written shorter/limited shows, the comparisons are unfavourable.
  2. I'm hoping Strange New Worlds is indeed a lot less serialized. Continuity from episode-to-episode, perhaps with some season long arcs.
  3. Here in NL we've had no new cases for 8 days straight (and only a handful in the last several weeks). No COVID-19 patients have been admitted to hospital since Easter Weekend and there are only two left in hospital. There are only 9 active cases right now. We've now moved to "Alert Level 4" which so far seems like a fairly arbitrary set of slightly relaxed restrictions. My dogs can now go to a pet sitter apparently, yet still can't be groomed there for another 23 days. In the meantime, the government has talked about resuming medical services, but the plans so far indicate at best the status quo. It's very frustrating. There's a fine line between caution and paralysis and we're tending to the latter.
  4. I'm by no means an expert on it, but we're still lacking robust randomized trials or even many things with adequate control groups. So I don't know. It's more likely that, if any efficacy is shown, it will be more like Tamiflu - modest improvement on disease course. As ever, what we need are vaccines.
  5. It's generally pretty well tolerated chronically; can't say I've seen a lot of clinically significant QT prolongation. Something to monitor though. Long-term the bigger concerns are effects on blood cell counts and retinal toxicity. i even called in a script for HCQ today (for RA)!
  6. I couldn't get through it. And, really, I do think Lynch's Dune belongs here. It has terrible dialogue, quite... variable acting, and effects that have aged poorly. And a narrator who on script forgets what she's talking about. But it's also endlessly quotable. Assuming you can stay awake toward the end of the second act, it's really pretty fun. Especially with alcohol and/or other substances onboard.
  7. It's actually even better than that - 9 in hospital, 3 in ICU.
  8. I don't think it's actually terrible... but maybe it is. It all comes down to Samuel L. Jackson's speech.
  9. Very well. But I don't really care for Natalya...
  10. Considering most of the characters (including Mishkin!) appear as playable characters in it, that's not surprising.
  11. I see you're staying Onatopp of things. Believe me, I LOVE Goldeneye. Sean Bean getting crushed by a falling pieces of the Arecibo Observatory later featured in Contact! Random disposable characters like Defence Minister Dmitri Mishkin who think they're starring in their own movie! Feigned attempts at "wokeness" with M's "misogynist dinosaur" speech! Alan Cumming! Robbie Coltrane! And of course full on post-Soviet corrupt Russia with General Ourumov, Head of Space Division. I may start in on the quotes soon...
  12. It's worth pointing out that most antivirals don't work all that well. So as much as we might find better evidence that stuff like HCQ and Remdesivir help, treatment will still come down to "best supportive care" (supplemental O2, nutrition, lung protective ventilation, proning, etc.). On a personal note, I saw a guy in ER yesterday with symptoms/risk factors (international travel) and a previous negative swab. He's doing a bit worse, so needed to get admitted, and of course we swabbed him again. (drumroll) Positive! COVID-19 detected. It really does to show that repeat testing can be/is necessary. I wonder how many cases like this there have been - I really don't know. Suffice it to say, I was sufficiently concerned about the possibility that I was wearing ++PPE including double gloves (and he wasn't coughing or especially symptomatic otherwise).
  13. I never actually saw it! But to take this one step further, Goldeneye is arguably bad but it's so great. I mean, I haven't watched it in 25 years (more?), but the effects probably hold up better than the first movie. Which isn't to say that you should watch either. My childhood memories of these movies is helped more by reading the crazy surreal book.
  14. Strong work! I watch it every few months. It's very much of its time, and the whole plot is super bizarre and unsettling if you think much about it, but I love it. Pre-Bond Brosnan is perfectly cast and when you have so many strong players alongside competent child/youth actors, it's hard to go wrong. Williams obviously carries the day.
  15. Yeah, but Rufio... not sure he counts! He is, after all, the most 1991 element of Hook.
  16. I loved it when I was a kid and it has a fantastic John Williams score. And it's probably one of my most watched Robin Williams movies alongside Mrs Doubtfire. But I'm not sure it really works - I mean, it never really has. I don't know that it counts as "terrible" but I do kinda love it.
  17. I think the script for Outbreak was written by a monkey - perhaps the very monkey featured in the movie.
  18. This is a favourite of mine. It's just so well structured as a disaster movie. Yet bad. Pretty bad science and highly implausible scenes like the "ice freeze chase". And an oddly cavalier attitude toward the mass destruction and death from the new "ice age". But then it is a Roland Emmerich movie. I mean, I think most of these peak 90s action movies are great and not at all "terrible". Con Air is definitely up there, but so is The Rock which I've seen dozens of times. It's a spectacular failure in a lot of ways. Fassbender as David as Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence is one of the virtuoso performances of the last 20 years. I don't like where they went with him in Covenant really, but however good these movies look I can't quite put them on this list. Also, Prometheus has Guy Pearce in terrible old man makeup. Minus a thousand points right there. It has the benefit of not actually being Zardoz too. I don't know that Zardoz, actually, is a terrible movie exactly, but I don't know that I really enjoyed it (that assumes I stayed awake through the third act). It's Bill Pullman's defining role. Kinda. It also has drunk Randy Quaid, pre-weird-for-the-sake-of-weird Jeff Goldblum, and random small parts with the likes of Harvey Fierstein, to say nothing of peak Action Will Smith chomping on a cigar as he punches out an alien - and Brent Spiner as a capital "S" Scientist. So it's pretty bad but it is ever watchable and fun. It did help convince me that Eddie Redmayne is a terrible actor. Or at least can be. Seconded. Pretty much. The 90s were such a great time for cinema. I think my nomination here is definitely Outbreak - it has everything a good 90s movie has: a romantic post-divorce subplot between the leads, A-list casting between Hoffman, Russo, Freeman, Sutherland, 1995 era Kevin Spacey, and Patrick Dempsey as patient zero long before he became an annoying character on the most annoying medical drama on the air. It also has a nonsensical military plot and manages a helicopter chase through a canyon in a movie with an Ebola-style virus.
  19. Well, I know where I live so... Pays to be on an island sometimes. We're up to 236 cases now. Some speculation that there will be a big bump after Easter Weekend. Well, I rather enjoy the idea that we could be confused with the Dutch. Kinda like confusing Iceland with Italy.
  20. There's a bit over 200 cases in NL now, mostly not hospitalized, and our area has so far been largely spared. For now. I think the lipid thing is interesting, because there is retrospective data in the dialysis population regarding outcomes and lipid levels. But it's very hard to know what that means; they tend to be high risk at baseline for infectious and vascular complications, among other things. There's still much we don't know about this virus.
  21. I don't like just jumping in, but... chronic kidney disease can have a substantial effect on lipid metabolism and production, not least because proteinuric CKD tends to be complicated by increase production. I have never encountered any substantive literature that higher cholesterol has some sort of protective effect on infectious risk or host-response generally. That doesn't mean I can't be wrong about that, but CKD (and end-stage renal disease in particular) certainly matters, particularly with comorbid conditions like diabetes and atherosclerosis. The study you quoted also suggested that all-cause mortality was if anything decreased by dyslipidemia. I very much doubt that is the case. #confounders These are retrospective case series only. Baseline nutritional status, on the other hand, mitigates against frailty and provides greater physiologic reserve in the face of infection and other disease. Chronic kidney disease tracks fairly well with atherosclerotic risk. Dialysis patients in particular are prone to this and often has some of the worst outcomes. I don't know what this research is, but I can imagine this has at least a bit to do with the fact that people with higher CV risk also have lower LDL targets. Unsurprisingly, people with established coronary artery disease who we try to suppress LDL < 1.8 are overall going to have higher morbidity and mortality. I don't think this statements squares with the literature at all. More important lab findings predicting poorer outcome in COVID-19 include signs of excessive inflammatory response with high serum Ferritin, IL-6, and d-Dimer levels (we've put some of these on our admission order sets). We also know that people with significant comorbid disease fare worse (not all that surprising). (Consider: PMID: 22910937 "Benefits and harms of statin therapy for persons with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis." Palmer SC, Craig JC, Navaneethan SD, Tonelli M, Pellegrini F, Strippoli GF Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(4):263.) Lipid levels tell you something about lipid metabolism, not nutritional status generally. The key to supporting COVID-19 patients - and critically ill people generally - is aggressive supportive care including enteral nutrition. For people whose GI tract isn't working properly, we do add lipid preparations alongside TPN.
  22. I mean... can we still have that show? It's always kinda remarkable that people that succeed best in TV industry often are the worst writers, with the most poorly-thought-out ideas. I liked Picard a lot in the end. It didn't all work, of course, but I dug the actors and characters and bringing dimension to the Romulans who previously typified the "planet of hats" model of alien cultures. Always a game of chess with them, however. Kurtzman doesn't seem all that different from Berman insofar as "disrespecting the audience" goes. We could have had a post-Dominion War show that didn't feature a single DS9 character, yet drew upon that setting for stories and characters nonetheless. It's not as though Picard didn't require a prequel Short Trek and fairly extensive (if mostly well placed) exposition for the completely novel circumstances we got.
  23. Unfortunately for me, beards and being unshaven generally interfere with N95 mask fit.
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