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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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76  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your relationship with your siblings like? on: August 23, 2014, 02:29:57 pm
I have a younger brother who's 19. We mostly get along well, though he has grown somewhat cold and distant over the last couple years (impossible to have serious discussions, sometimes hard to discuss at all). Anyway he's generally nice, cool, fairly smart (and works harder than I'll ever be able to), and he generally manages his life much better than I do. My parents say he looks up to me, but I see no reason why he should.
77  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is it a coincidence that pro-opebo people and the Update crowd largely overlap? on: August 23, 2014, 02:16:52 pm
(there's even a great meme on it)

I have to say, a few of these describe me perfectly. Tongue Not most of them fortunately (I almost never miss classes, I take courses moderately seriously, and I generally do my best in exams / term papers) but the whole procrastinating thing is spot on. Tongue
78  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is it a coincidence that pro-opebo people and the Update crowd largely overlap? on: August 23, 2014, 01:54:42 pm
Nope. Horrible groups tend to overlap.
79  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Alternate US States on: August 23, 2014, 01:32:46 pm
Rio Grande

Aside from being the least populous (though the fastest growing since the 80s), this is probably the most interesting of the three States formed out of old Texas. It is probably the most diverse and complex, as it combines several disparate areas: the Hispanic-dominated lands along the river that gives its name to the State, but also the major cities of Austin and San Antonio and their metropolitan areas, and many suburban and rural counties around these cities and on the Gulf Coast. The importance of these (obviously conservative) areas should not be understated, as they make Rio Grande much less Democratic than one would assume. In fact, since 1996, the State has always been more Republican than the nation as a whole (at least in Presidential politics).

RG Presidential election results, 1960-2012:


Of course, even a quick look at this chart makes it clear that RG is consistently the most Democratic-leaning of the three States. In fact, only three Republicans carried it over the observed period, all of whom prevailed in the Electoral College (Nixon, Reagan twice, and W. Bush twice). In the 1960s, this lean was particularly evident: Kennedy trounced Nixon, LBJ won over two thirds of the vote, and even HHH managed to win an absolute majority (and Wallace's very low percentage makes it very clear that there's nothing Southern about this State). Carter still distanced Ford by a double-digit margin and performed somewhat decently against Reagan, but his former VP got more or less crushed by the latter in 1984. Rio Grande's last Democratic bravado was narrowly voting for Dukakis, certainly thanks to his running mate Lloyd Bentsen, a favorite son of the area. However, since the 1990s, the State has actually experienced a pronounced Republican trend. Clinton carried it both times, but his margins of victory were far from exceptional, and in the early 2000s Rio Grande backed Bush decisively. It is only under Obama that the trend has apparently begun reversing itself, but even today the State can best be characterized as a swing State.

In 2012, Obama beat Romney by 3.2 points in the State, slightly less than his 3.9 national margin of victory. The election map provides a pretty good illustration of the geographic contrast that structures Rio Grande's politics:



Unsurprisingly, Obama's narrow victory rests heavily on the Hispanic border counties, a growing and increasingly crucial constituency which now regularly gives more than 70% of its votes to the Democrats. However, despite appearances, this border region is too sparsely populated to alone sway the State's politics. Instead, the tip of the balance is generally provided by the urban areas of San Antonio and Austin. While RG isn't utterly dominated by a huge megalopolis like Texas and (spoiler alert!) Jefferson are, these two areas together nonetheless contain about 40% of the State's population. Massive Democratic trends in both these areas (especially Austin's) is what allowed Democrats to come back into the game in the Obama years. In 2000, Bush won 47% in Austin's Travis County (Nader took over 10% there, allowing Bush to prevail) and 52% in San Antonio's Bexar County. Twelve years later, Obama beat Romney 60-36 in the former and 51-47 in the latter. The two cities have clearly realigned themselves toward the Democrats, making up for the lost ground among white rural or suburban voters. Still, these trends have so far produced only narrow Democratic leads, which could easily be reversed in a more Republican-leaning environment (or in State-level politics, when turnout may be lower and Democratic candidates less appealing).

Capital: For once the most populous city, San Antonio, works perfectly, being located fairly close to the population center.

Governor: Lamar Smith isn't a perfect choice, but he's the most fitting pick I can think of. In a year like 2010, the GOP would only need to field a half-decent candidate to win. However, he's probably looking up to a tough challenge in 2014.

Senators: Julian Castro (class 1) and John Cornyn (class 3)

Representatives: Unsurprisingly for a State of such tradition, local Democratic strength in Rio Grande far surpasses their national results. In fact, extrapolating from Texas HoR districts, it appears that Democrats would hold something like a 2/3 majority in the RG State Legislature. With a Republican governor, this means a fair redistricting would be possible (though again, incumbent protection or other sorts of awful deals have an equal chance of happening). However, it's hard to see in which direction things would change. Under the current (presumably R-gerrymandered) map, Democrats hold 7 seats in a State that would have 11. One could again credit the strength of local Democrats, but in fact, Obama won 6 districts as well. Does that mean that Dems would hold even more seats under a fair map? Or did the TXGOP draw a dummymander? Only some toying with DRA could give us the answer (and it's up to you guys!). Still, I will conservatively settle for the status quo, namely a 7D-4R split.
80  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Trek on: August 23, 2014, 11:00:47 am
Antonio: Glad you found Next Gen! Haha, "Code of Honor" is objectively horrible, as is "Angel One." While Gene was noted for "progressivism," both of those are pretty regressive, I'd say, and just objectively atrocious social commentary. Unintentionally funny and amusing is the best that can be said about them. "Heart of Glory" was great, though.

I wouldn't call Angel One horrible, just depressingly half-assed. They got a good premise, had characters that could have made it convincing... and decided that instead of showing what the premise would result in, they decided to just waste minutes talking about stuff we barely or never actually experience onscreen. It's all one giant Informed Attribute-fest. To be honest, I think "sexy suit" idea is the only thing they got right - it looks ridiculous, but that was the point (just like, as any woman will tell you, the amount of fanservice in ads and popular culture looks utterly ridiculous). But even then, they wasted everything by having Riker be just totally fine with it (missing the whole point of depicting a matriarchy) and the president-leader-whatever be just so eager to see what a "strong man" looks like. It's not inherently bad, it's just one giant missed opportunity.

Code of Honor is obviously a disgrace, I actually had a hard time believing they were able to pull that off, even in the 1980s. I read that the guy who was responsible for it got fired soon after though, so I guess the staff got a clue.
81  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Trek on: August 23, 2014, 08:46:18 am
Wesley is sometimes naive though, for example in that episode about that virtual-reality game which Riker brings back from Risa and Wesley says: "Why would anyone take drugs ? I don't understand this."

It was even more forced in Season 1's Symbiosis, if you can recall the scene between Yar and Wesley. You have to keep in mind that that was at the height of the "Just Say No" era. (I'd say the message was apparent in The Naked Now as well.)

Honestly, I found the treatment of drug addiction in Symbiosis to be quite good compared to the "Just Say No" propaganda I've seen everywhere in 80s media. It's refreshing to at least see the issue explored under the light of economic interests and exploitation for once, rather than getting once again the usual petty-bourgeois moralistic tale based on idiotic notions of personal virtue. The plot could have been much improved of course, but it's definitely not your "Just Say No" episode. Obviously, The Naked Now was just worthless padding.


I'm glad you've started watching and enjoying the show. You don't have to worry about character development; that'll happen over time. Tasha Yar was written out of the show because the actress who player her (Denise Crosby) wanted to quit the show. Season 2 will have some considerable changes: Riker's appearance, Ten-Forward, and the introduction of Dr. Pulaski and Guinan (the latter played excellently by Whoopi Goldberg). Just wait until you get to Q Who.

I'm SO looking forward to all this! Cheesy From what you guys are saying about season 3 and on, it's really going to be a unique experience. Q Who is the episode that introduces the Borg right? If so, I really can't wait. I first discovered Star Trek with the First Contact movie (and I was a kid!), so let's just say I really love the Borg. I can't wait to see Picard struggling with them once again, before he became as cynical and desperate as we see him in First contact.

From what I read on TV Tropes, Crosby left because she thought her character didn't have much to do, which is a shame because the premise for it was fairly interesting.
82  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of water on: August 23, 2014, 05:36:43 am
When being contained in a glass bottle -> FD

When being contained in a plastic bottle -> HD

/snob

So Germans use to drink water in glass bottles? I had no idea. Here you only buy in in plastic bottles.
83  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: August 2014 Federal Election - At-Large Senate on: August 23, 2014, 04:46:53 am
AT-LARGE SENATE

[2] Alfred F. Jones of Rhode Island
Labor Party

[4] Bacon King of Oceania
National Front to Restore Democracy

[10] Clarence of Florida
Federalist Party

[11] Deus naturae of New York
Democratic-Republican Party

[5] Dr Cynic of Pennsylvania
Labor Party

[7] GAworth of South Dakota
P.E.A.C.E. Party

[  ] JohanusCalvinusLibertas (JCL) of Indiana
Federalist Party

[8] LuminevonReuental of Utah
Federalist Party

[6] Mechaman of Indiana
Bad Party

[9] Poirot of New York
Independent

[3] Polnut of Massachusetts
The People's Party

[1] Write-in: Averroës Nix

[  ] None of the above
84  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Trek on: August 23, 2014, 04:26:17 am
I was expecting much worse from a teen in a somewhat goofy 80s show - in fact, he often contributes a good deal to the plot and is rarely acting immaturely or being clueless about everything.

Wasn't a frequent criticism of Wesley that he seemed a bit too perfect (/lacked any flaws) and happened to save the day while the rest of the crew looked incompetent?

Of course, that only applied to Season 1 & 2 Wesley, because he was increasingly depicted as a flawed character, starting with the Season 3 opener ("Evolution"). Not to mention what happened with him after he entered the Academy...

Yeah, it's true that he seemed a bit too smart and competent at times, but there are only a few episode plots which are really solved by him. And besides, the "immature self-centered teen" has become such a cliché nowadays that I find it refreshing to see a young character who actually isn't an idiot or a douchebag. But I can see why he can be annoying.
85  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Trek on: August 23, 2014, 03:30:12 am
Just realized I didn't even mention Riker. Tongue Anyway, he's all right, maybe a bit generic so far, but I'm sure he has time to develop.
86  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of water on: August 23, 2014, 03:26:35 am
The best beverage there is.
87  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Al Realpolitik Institute of Sulfur Mining & Extraction on: August 23, 2014, 03:14:09 am
Sore loser

There were serious illegalities in this race. Had the Dems stayed out of the GOP primary after voting in their own, he would've won and Thad would be retiring at the end of the year.

You're dating a geologist I see. I guess I can see why a geologist would find you attractive. Your head is full of rocks after all.
88  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Which Batman director is your favorite? on: August 22, 2014, 02:09:27 pm
I'd say it narrowly goes to Burton. The Dark Knight narrowly beats Batman 89 in my view (though both are amazing movies), but the other two DK saga movies are mediocre, so overall I must choose Burton.
89  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Trek on: August 22, 2014, 01:53:52 pm
I've finished season 1, and I quite liked it. Smiley It's obviously pretty goofy (embarrassingly so in the first episodes) but still viewable and a few gimmicks are even genuinely enjoyable. The plots are still a bit basic, but some are truly excellent at the conceptual level (Justice, Hide And Q, Datalore, Heart of Glory, The Arsenal of Freedom, Symbiosis). Some are godawful obviously ("Code of Honor", oh pleeeeeeeeeeeease) and some are underexploited (I was really interested in seeing more of that matriarchal society in Angel One), but they can easily be skipped to only keep in mind the most worthwhile ones.

The characters are fine too. Picard is pure awesomeness obviously (I <3 Patrick Stewart). He can be extremely irritating (like his ridiculous Prime Directive integralism... I thought the P.D. was only there for Enterprise captains to violate it Tongue) but that's part of what makes him a well built character. Data is also EXCELLENT, by far the most interesting member of the crew. Crusher, Troy and Worf are both well-built characters who find their own role in the plots. I'll always regret they didn't develop Yar more before killing her off, because her character definitely had the potential to be a great addition - despite their professed egalitarian premise the writers seemed to remain caught in 80s gender roles to some level. Geordi also needs some development, but he has time for it. Finally, I have to say I don't get the hate on Wesley I've seen both here and on TV Tropes. I was expecting much worse from a teen in a somewhat goofy 80s show - in fact, he often contributes a good deal to the plot and is rarely acting immaturely or being clueless about everything. He's not really necessary to the show, but I fail to see how he would be a nuisance either.
90  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: the paradox of snowstalker on: August 22, 2014, 12:51:38 pm
Early Snowstalker (especially his Cogendist/white male problems phase) was definitely in "so bad it's good" territory. But his latest incarnations are just stale.
91  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: am i a legit socialist on: August 22, 2014, 12:36:50 pm
lolno
92  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why do you think? on: August 22, 2014, 10:33:31 am
Because I am.
93  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: SWEDEN - September 14, 2014 - GUIDE and THREAD on: August 22, 2014, 10:30:32 am
I wonder if this could hurt V's electoral results (and thus indirectly the Red Coalition) though.
94  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2014: Out of the World Cup, but life goes on.... on: August 22, 2014, 09:04:34 am
@AntonioV. I think that it's time to renamed the thread in "Italy 2014: The road to Regionals Elections"

Really? From what I've seen, nobody in Italy is giving a crap about regional elections that will be held nearly a year from now. Tongue
95  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: John Walsh, plagiarist? on: August 22, 2014, 03:21:11 am
96  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of PBS on: August 22, 2014, 02:32:01 am
Massive FN that along with NPR deserves a massive boost in government funding so that they stop pestering the public for donations.
97  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Oxford School of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts IV on: August 21, 2014, 01:34:34 pm
Sincere apologies if I was mistaken.
98  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What do YOU think should happen to the Eurozone? on: August 21, 2014, 12:25:07 pm
Wow, I actually agree with TNF and Cory on something.
99  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: MT: Rasmussen: Daines leading by 20 on: August 21, 2014, 12:21:17 pm
Don't worry Amanda Curtis, we still love you <3
100  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: August 21, 2014, 09:00:12 am
People sometimes express wonder as to why Women don't post here. They amaze me.
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