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Subject: Zeitgeist & Tomorrowland rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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Went to see the last Hobbit movie today (Michael Bay's Hobbit, basically, but with some neat ideas and some things well-executed). It was preceded by this trailer:



Now, I won't discount the likelihood that this is just a feature-length ad for Disneyland/world. But it got me thinking about something I've seen several places now, which that movie might explore: the sense that we used to be more daring with our futures, and so our technology advanced much faster. It seems that we now see progress in terms of doing less bad, rather than doing more good.

When someone talks about going to Mars, I think that's stupid, because we probably won't be able to maintain the political will to spend the money on it long enough for it to work, and even if we did and it does, we probably won't learn anything we could use from it. When I look at James Bond movies, I see gadgets which really aren't much different from the phone in my pocket with some implausible software that simply waves a magic wand over complex technical problems. It makes me feel as though what once seemed like an unbridgeable gulf between our reach and our grasp has narrowed enough that it no longer seems worth the effort to go that last bit.

Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's the shortest day of the year and I need to get more vitamin D, but that's the way it seems our cultural attitude is going. And I don't think it's just me, because my reaction to all of that is that it's tragic that we don't recognize how wonderful our lives are, and I wish I could do a better job of cultivating the many joys I experience in others.
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David desJardins
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"A miraculous place where you could actually change the world"?

Isn't that Palo Alto?
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Steve Cates
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Head over to YouTube and watch talks from Peter Diamandis and Elon Musk. They are more hopeful about the future and are proactively doing things to better it. I think the big problem is that negative news sells. The reality is that we are living in the most peaceful time in history and technological advances have connected 3 billion more people in less than 10 years.

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The current problem as far as I see it is money is now carefully managed and it's all important to make sure that everyone is treated equally in the expenses even if that means 'butter scraped over too much bread'.

Back in the 60's years before I was born and for thousands of years before that people collaborated in massive projects. You have the wonders of the ancient world, you have huge castles and you have going to the moon 'because we can'. These says projects sure as this would been seen as a 'waste of money' and so we lack something to draw us all together and be inspired.

Current governments are not inspirational and as much as I like private business, nor are they.

The problem comes with what to do about this, we cannot go back to how it was.
 
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rinelk wrote:
Went to see the last Hobbit movie today (Michael Bay's Hobbit, basically, but with some neat ideas and some things well-executed). It was preceded by this trailer:



Now, I won't discount the likelihood that this is just a feature-length ad for Disneyland/world. But it got me thinking about something I've seen several places now, which that movie might explore: the sense that we used to be more daring with our futures, and so our technology advanced much faster. It seems that we now see progress in terms of doing less bad, rather than doing more good.

When someone talks about going to Mars, I think that's stupid, because we probably won't be able to maintain the political will to spend the money on it long enough for it to work, and even if we did and it does, we probably won't learn anything we could use from it. When I look at James Bond movies, I see gadgets which really aren't much different from the phone in my pocket with some implausible software that simply waves a magic wand over complex technical problems. It makes me feel as though what once seemed like an unbridgeable gulf between our reach and our grasp has narrowed enough that it no longer seems worth the effort to go that last bit.

Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's the shortest day of the year and I need to get more vitamin D, but that's the way it seems our cultural attitude is going. And I don't think it's just me, because my reaction to all of that is that it's tragic that we don't recognize how wonderful our lives are, and I wish I could do a better job of cultivating the many joys I experience in others.



The most important question in this thread is.... Was Brian Blesssed good in the Hobbit? I have no desire to see the movie other than for him.
 
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Ben Vincent
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lochmoigh wrote:
The most important question in this thread is.... Was Brian Blesssed good in the Hobbit? I have no desire to see the movie other than for him.


I think you'll find it pretty disappointing, then.
 
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Damien
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Actually I got bad info, looks like Billy Connolly was Dain not Brian.
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"A miraculous place where you could actually change the world"

Because in this world is impossible!!

The indoctrination for submission, is no longer a secret agenda, and it is at full speed. shake
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Dane Peacock
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rinelk wrote:


Now, I won't discount the likelihood that this is just a feature-length ad for Disneyland/world. But it got me thinking about something I've seen several places now, which that movie might explore: the sense that we used to be more daring with our futures, and so our technology advanced much faster. It seems that we now see progress in terms of doing less bad, rather than doing more good.

When someone talks about going to Mars, I think that's stupid, because we probably won't be able to maintain the political will to spend the money on it long enough for it to work, and even if we did and it does, we probably won't learn anything we could use from it. When I look at James Bond movies, I see gadgets which really aren't much different from the phone in my pocket with some implausible software that simply waves a magic wand over complex technical problems. It makes me feel as though what once seemed like an unbridgeable gulf between our reach and our grasp has narrowed enough that it no longer seems worth the effort to go that last bit.

Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's the shortest day of the year and I need to get more vitamin D, but that's the way it seems our cultural attitude is going. And I don't think it's just me, because my reaction to all of that is that it's tragic that we don't recognize how wonderful our lives are, and I wish I could do a better job of cultivating the many joys I experience in others.


I guess I just totally disagree with your premise. Technology is advancing much faster than ever before in a myriad of areas.

Maybe you have a specific area (like space travel) where you want to see more emphasis, but technology advancement as a whole has not slowed, just gone different ways, I think.

rinelk wrote:
it's tragic that we don't recognize how wonderful our lives are,


Agreed.
 
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Sky Knight X wrote:

Maybe you have a specific area (like space travel) where you want to see more emphasis, but technology advancement as a whole has not slowed, just gone different ways, I think.

It's slowed in the West, but increased in the East (although I suspect a large amount of that is down to outsourcing). Swings and roundabouts ultimately.
 
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Archonsod wrote:
Sky Knight X wrote:

Maybe you have a specific area (like space travel) where you want to see more emphasis, but technology advancement as a whole has not slowed, just gone different ways, I think.

It's slowed in the West, but increased in the East (although I suspect a large amount of that is down to outsourcing). Swings and roundabouts ultimately.


There's a probe orbiting Saturn, another approaching Pluto, another approaching Jupiter, half a dozen on or around Mars, one following a comet and waiting to see if its lander will awake again, another around Mercury…not to mention space telescopes, extrasolar planet detectors, several space tourism options, private rocket companies.. and more and more.
This is an incredibly vibrant and active time for space exploration. People aren't doing much, because we've discovered robots are cheaper and easier.
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jeremy cobert
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rinelk wrote:
the sense that we used to be more daring with our futures, and so our technology advanced much faster. It seems that we now see progress in terms of doing less bad, rather than doing more good.


The issue was created when the big tech giants demanded software patents and we moved off of software copyrights. Innovation has taken a huge hit since then. If we fix that, we can get back on track.
 
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jeremycobert wrote:

The issue was created when the big tech giants demanded software patents and we moved off of software copyrights. Innovation has taken a huge hit since then. If we fix that, we can get back on track.


Not really an issue. If you want to avoid a software patent you simply develop in a country which doesn't recognise them - i.e. anywhere outside the US. For ideal results pick a country where you can get six or seven engineers for the salary of a single US engineer.

I suspect the economy is the main problem. With a still shaky global economy and several developed nations still in the shadow of recession R&D funding is more likely to focus on those areas companies know will generate profits, which tends to be lower risk iteration rather than innovation.

aiabx wrote:

There's a probe orbiting Saturn, another approaching Pluto, another approaching Jupiter, half a dozen on or around Mars, one following a comet and waiting to see if its lander will awake again, another around Mercury…not to mention space telescopes, extrasolar planet detectors, several space tourism options, private rocket companies.. and more and more.


When it comes to space you're usually reaping what you sowed ten years ago though, so it's kinda insulated from immediate effects. Unlike say medical research where reduction in funding can lead to the immediate shutdown of potentially promising research. Even then, I'd still argue nations like China and India seem to have been a lot more active in the field over the past five years than we have (private sector aside, though it may be too early to say whether that's going to pay off or collapse just yet).
 
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Archonsod wrote:
Not really an issue. If you want to avoid a software patent you simply develop in a country which doesn't recognise them - i.e. anywhere outside the US. For ideal results pick a country where you can get six or seven engineers for the salary of a single US engineer.


Don't you feel any shame when opining about a subject (software development) that you know absolutely nothing about?
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DaviddesJ wrote:

Don't you feel any shame when opining about a subject (software development) that you know absolutely nothing about?

Wow, I got me a pet retard!
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Lautresault wrote:
"A miraculous place where you could actually change the world"

Because in this world is impossible!!

No, it is possible. At the movies!
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Chad Ellis
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Archonsod wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:

Don't you feel any shame when opining about a subject (software development) that you know absolutely nothing about?

Wow, I got me a pet retard!


You know, there are insults you can aim at David that have a chance at success*. But retard just isn't one of them.








* Where success is defined as, "Not making you look really stupid."
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Mark Watson
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An insult would be me calling him an inbred cattle-bothering cockmonger. What I did was simply come to a conclusion
 
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Junior McSpiffy
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Archonsod wrote:
An insult would be me calling him an inbred cattle-bothering cockmonger. What I did was simply come to a conclusion


A conclusion which failed at being a success (as fairly accurately defined by Chad up above).
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Chad Ellis
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Archonsod wrote:
An insult would be me calling him an inbred cattle-bothering cockmonger. What I did was simply come to a conclusion


Sure. I could also do some measurements and come to the conclusion that Kuhrusty is on the short side of the bell curve.
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David desJardins
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Perhaps he's pointing out that it's pretty dumb to keep reading and responding to comments from someone who makes a practice of just spouting out nonsense. Which is, to be fair, a good point. But wait. He made a good point? Then it's not stupid to keep reading and responding to him. WE seem to have something of a paradox.
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Back to the OP: it's impossible to tell what Tomorrowland will actually be about from that trailer. But when the Disney Tomorrowland exhibit was created, the predominant view of the in sci-fi was certainly hopeful if not utopian. Over the last several decades that view has shifted. Sci-fi now seems to be largely dystopian. This is undoubtedly a reflection of the audience.

Related, one of the things that stuck out to me while watching the Unnecessary Hobbit Movie is how many ancient ruins there are in Middle Earth. In fact it's a pretty central theme of the stories the world used to be better and more civilized. Most fantasy is written this way, probably because Tolkien did it. It's just interesting that the default assumption among fantasists is the civilization has already collapsed at least once and will never again reach the lofty heights previously achieved.
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David desJardins
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SabreRedleg wrote:
Related, one of the things that stuck out to me while watching the Unnecessary Hobbit Movie is how many ancient ruins there are in Middle Earth. In fact it's a pretty central theme of the stories the world used to be better and more civilized. Most fantasy is written this way, probably because Tolkien did it. It's just interesting that the default assumption among fantasists is the civilization has already collapsed at least once and will never again reach the lofty heights previously achieved.


Tolkien was an ardent Christian and was drawing an analogy or connection to the Bible and the creation of Eden but then the fall of Satan and the other angels who corrupted the perfect creation. I'm not sure you can generalize from that to other fantasy writers or what they are thinking. (Or maybe you can because maybe many of them are influenced by Christian theology, too? Or maybe you can argue that the theme exists in the minds of fantasy writers for the same reason that it showed up in the Bible in the first place, that it ties into some fundamental aspect of human psychology?)
 
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DaviddesJ wrote:
SabreRedleg wrote:
Related, one of the things that stuck out to me while watching the Unnecessary Hobbit Movie is how many ancient ruins there are in Middle Earth. In fact it's a pretty central theme of the stories the world used to be better and more civilized. Most fantasy is written this way, probably because Tolkien did it. It's just interesting that the default assumption among fantasists is the civilization has already collapsed at least once and will never again reach the lofty heights previously achieved.


Tolkien was an ardent Christian and was drawing an analogy or connection to the Bible and the creation of Eden but then the fall of Satan and the other angels who corrupted the perfect creation. I'm not sure you can generalize from that to other fantasy writers or what they are thinking. (Or maybe you can because maybe many of them are influenced by Christian theology, too? Or maybe you can argue that the theme exists in the minds of fantasy writers for the same reason that it showed up in the Bible in the first place, that it ties into some fundamental aspect of human psychology?)


I don't know if Tolkien saw the ancient world as better and more civilized. He certainly loved the idea of Edwardian rural England (the Shire), but the world of the Silmarillion is (after the fall of Melkor) as violent and horrible a world as anything that appears in Middle Earth.
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SabreRedleg wrote:
Sci-fi now seems to be largely dystopian. This is undoubtedly a reflection of the audience.


I'm not sure if you can put that down to more pessimism though. There's a certain trend in all media of the past few decades towards "gritty realism" as being somehow more superior (or perhaps mature), particularly if the work contains social commentary.

DaviddesJ wrote:

Tolkien was an ardent Christian and was drawing an analogy or connection to the Bible and the creation of Eden but then the fall of Satan and the other angels who corrupted the perfect creation. I'm not sure you can generalize from that to other fantasy writers or what they are thinking.

I think it's more the case that many modern writers are being influenced by Tolkien (whether directly or indirectly) so adopt similar ideas without necessarily thinking about it. I think it was Moorcock who complained that the tropes from Tolkien are becoming so prevalent that it's arguably wrong to call those works fantasy in the first place, it no longer being a work of fantasy so much as an established ahistorical genre (Orks vs Elves in pseudo-medieval land).

aiabx wrote:

I don't know if Tolkien saw the ancient world as better and more civilized. He certainly loved the idea of Edwardian rural England (the Shire), but the world of the Silmarillion is (after the fall of Melkor) as violent and horrible a world as anything that appears in Middle Earth.

There's a certain thread in British literature which sees the world as beginning pure (pre-fall) and continually decaying (until God finally decides it's irredeemable and triggers the events of Revelations). From this worldview, each successive civilisation is more depraved and corrupted than the last.
 
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