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Messages - oddSTAR

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News and Updates / Re: That Ur-Quan Master continues!
« on: January 29, 2010, 08:11:46 am »
Dig it!

Off Topic / Re: The Pissed Off Megathread
« on: January 29, 2010, 08:08:26 am »
I also agree with the sentiment of a lot of what oddSTAR is saying, but wishing everyone would be interested in interesting stuff is somewhat futile.

I think you're misunderstanding me (which pisses me off?) because I think all news should be boring but important... ;)

Off Topic / Re: The Pissed Off Megathread
« on: January 29, 2010, 08:05:58 am »
I wonder if there ever was a free and impartial press the way you seem to think. Most publications are biased, one way or another. I doubt things were different in the 1950s, 1900s, 1850s or whenever. Perhaps the bias is simply more obvious today?

Granted, but I don't think I said it used to be better.  I'm saying it should aspire to be impartial, not that it's ever really been that way.

I don't see why your personal opinion here matters more than that of people who like human interest stories. You seem to view them as a clumsy attempt to direct peoples reactions as the editors intend. But to a lot of people, news from far away places isn't "real" without a human angle. Hearing that a absurdly large number of people have died somewhere is an abstract fact that doesn't seem real to many until they've actually seen it happen to a person, not just a city or a nation. If that helps them contextualise the information somehow, then surely that is good?

It's not my opinion that matters, it's the integrity of the news being reported.  There are other sources for human interest stories than the mainstream news programs, and that's as it should be.  For the record, I don't think they're clumsy at presenting those stories at all, I think they're actually quite clever (read as: manipulative).  However, when news media focuses on stories of individuals in the case of a widespread catastrophe, you lose context rather than gain it.  Information like that doesn't generalize, nor do I think people need it to understand the overall impact of an event.  What you do gain is empathy, which may seem a noble thing, but is a far cry from objectivity and is not the purpose of the news.  Most news programs seem to have embraced that, however, because it's more interesting and it sells.

I know Conan O'Brien if it helps, he's a big hero in Finland. Pity that Peaock company screwed him over. As for the rest, I really can't comment since I don't follow American media outlets much.

Fair enough, and I'm totally with you on Conan.

Please explain to me how the knowledge that x million people died in y catastrophe on x continent impacts your life in a greater way than finding out that x celebrity drove y car into z store. Neither impacts you in the slightest, it's what you choose to do with the information that matters. the media outlets provide the sort of information people want, not what people need.

Good point.  I'll admit that it gave me pause.  I imagine that you're playing devil's advocate here and not actually suggesting that the two examples you cite are equally important...or are you?  Would you rate the two as equal events since neither directly impacts you or does one have more innate value?  I'm not sure how to quantify the relative importance of two events as their significance will always be subjective, but there is obviously some system by which it is determined by the media when they decide whether or not an item is newsworthy, right?  Do you suspect that is a carefully measured calculation or perhaps an off-the-cuff decision by some senior editor?  My guess would be that it depends on which item will attract more viewers and therefore result in more advertising revenue.  It's too bad that what people want and what they need are so infrequently the same thing.  Like an addiction, that kind of discrepancy can destroy a person...or a nation...or a planet.

But it's not a black and white situation is it? I mean, the fact that some low-brow media outlets are doing Michael Jackson stories doesn't simultaneously mean that the BBC can't cover Copenhagen talks. I'll happily agree that there is a lot of stuff in the news that isn't of much interest to me, but it's not like it automatically cancels out the interesting stuff. The existence of the blight known as the Daily Mail doesn't mean that all other newspapers in Britain disappear.

But what if the majority of news outlets elected to follow the formula embraced by the Daily Mail?  My complaint is that almost every option for news in the US has decided that "low-brow" is good enough.  I occasionally get to listen to the BBC (at pretty odd hours around here) and I can tell you without reservation that they do a better job (by my standards) at news coverage than ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and FOX.  It's likely that we can't really debate my specific criticisms because you're not often exposed to the American media, and that's okay.  You've made some good points, but I still stand by my opinion.

Now this is interesting. So tell me, who decides what we need to know? the State? the free market? A cabal of intellectuals somewhere? I think this is the point of the free press. You get a lot of tripe, but you get all sorts of points of view. If someone sits down and decides what you need to know, then you'll be at their (possibly biased) mercy.

Here you mistake me completely.  Who decides that now?  I am not by any means arguing against the merits of a free press...quite the opposite.  I am merely stating my opinion that (in the US, at least) the media in general are doing a pathetic job of prioritizing their news stories and that they are guilty of frequently engaging in sensationalism for profit...which (still) pisses me off.

Sometimes, Luki, you take all the fun out of being pissed off... ;)

Off Topic / Re: The Pissed Off Megathread
« on: January 27, 2010, 06:31:46 am »
The press is not free, it's owned by fewer and fewer mega-corporations run by people who have their own political and financial agendas.  Each one of them has a distinct bias, some more obvious than others.  My point is that news is supposed to be objective and report the facts, not attempt to pick and choose stories to elicit the greatest emotional response in order to boost their ratings at the expense of other more legitimate and important items.  That's yellow journalism and it's rampant in pretty much all of the major news outlets that I'm aware of in the US.  I don't want to hear about "personal tragedies" or "amazing survivors" or anything more than the basic facts so that I can draw my own conculsions--I don't need them drawn for me or to be told how to feel about things or what I should care about.  Lately, a lot of news programs invite Joe Schmoe off the street to provide his own brilliant "insights" about an event.  Why should I care what he thinks?  If I wanted that, I'd watch daytime talk shows or the asinine pseudo-news programs they have like Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck or even The Daily Show (which I like, but don't watch to get informed).  I don't know if you are familiar with any of those programs, but they're only a shade worse than what gets referred to as legitimate news programs these days.  It's a big world, and there is a lot more going on that is important to know about than how many women Tiger Woods has slept with, who is attending Michael Jackson's funeral, or even that some family in the US has successfully adopted a single child in Haiti.  Those things are absolutely irrelevant to our lives, and serve only to distract us all from everything else that's going on, including plenty of that "nasty stuff" you mention, but also many good things.  It's difficult to believe that spending days upon days of "news" coverage on superficial nonsense could possibly serve to strengthen democracy or do anything at all to educate the populace, from my perspective...  It's actually quite frustrating for me, and I don't like feeling like I'm being contantly manipulated by the media--but I do--so I welcome any counter-opinions on the virtues of this kind of press coverage.

Addendum: I don't know if I addressed your actual question, so...

"Why are those more worthy of attention than stories of people gone missing?"

They're not.  In fact, neither of those stories is worthy of attention on a national or international level.  In Haiti, we need to know that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Port au Prince and caused widespread destruction and killed thousands.  We need to know generally about relief efforts underway and how we can assist if we are so inclined.  We do not need to know about individuals at all, unless it's someone of particular importance.   As for missing persons, we don't need to know at all unless it's a local story or, again, someone of particular importance that would affect us on a national or international level.  Anything else should be reserved for local media coverage only.

Off Topic / Re: The Pissed Off Megathread
« on: January 25, 2010, 09:41:04 am »
On a related note, I wonder if this is the death of democracy. It's hard to have an educated public vote on issues if they don't even notice them.

Media itself will be the death of democracy, if you ask me.  It pisses me off that the media (in the US, at least) has gladly adopted the role of telling us what we should care about these days in the name of ratings and money.  Haiti is certainly an awful tragedy, but I saw a news show the other day who sent a reporter there to locate an orphan who was supposed to be adopted by American parents.  Excuse me, but isn't that actually manufacturing news rather than reporting on it?  We regularly have national news coverage of some missing child or nutty individual who went on a shooting spree, for example.  Can anyone tell my why all 300+ million of us Americans should all simultaneously care about what happens to one lost child that we don't even know and waste countless hours hearing about it when hundreds if not thousands of them disappear every year?!  It's all done to try and boost ratings and profits, I'm sure, but it also seems like an awfully convenient distraction from other more important things that are going on in the world.  Trust me, democracy requires more than passively listening to what the media has chosen to tell us about today, because I guarantee whatever it is has been chosen as part of someone else's agenda... 

</rant off> Whew, that felt nice! :)  Yeah, I like this thread.

Off Topic / Re: New Movies
« on: January 12, 2010, 09:01:59 am »
Yeah, I don't get to see many movies (I have kids, ok?), but I did see Avatar and enjoyed it.  That being said, your report is very amusing, as was this article:

I do think it's interesting how much self-loathing there is in movies these days when it comes to being human, and how world destruction is such a common theme.  Yet, somehow, the fact that art reflects these things still utterly fails to inspire change in people.  What up with that?  :P

Off Topic / Re: So who here is recession proof?
« on: January 06, 2010, 11:50:40 am »
Thanks for a really interesting and educational read, guys.  Pablo, a lot of what you say resonates with me and I admire and support your idealism and desire to make the world a better and fairer place...but, as has already been pointed out, I think it's pretty clear that it's not exactly a step-by-step roadmap to solving all of our economic problems.  That's not to say it's not worth thinking about more--there are a few potentially good ideas in there.  Clearly you've done some research and know a bit about what you're discussing, but I have to side with those who are stating that it's extremely unrealistic to think that people or the system will change (without a major crisis to force them...and maybe not even then).  Sure, there are some serious problems with what we have now, but those with all the money (=POWER) have no interest in seeing it change significantly and the rest of us are too distracted/divided/deluded/demoralized to do anything about it, either.  Who knows...that may not be the biggest challenge we need to overcome in the next century, anyway...

Off Topic / Re: This is the Tsing spotting thread
« on: December 21, 2009, 12:13:22 pm »
Tsing: Right here, Right now: Who is he and why do I care?  ;)

News and Updates / Re: Wii love Star Control II!
« on: December 15, 2009, 06:16:47 am »
I've tried several different ways to get it to work with no luck... :( 
Not with the remix packs, either! Wah!

Off Topic / Re: Crimson Corporation is among us!!!!!!!!!
« on: December 08, 2009, 06:20:25 am »
Yikes, they're only about 6 hours away from me...I hope they don't expand their sphere of influence!  :o

General Discussion / Re: The Shofixti
« on: December 07, 2009, 08:29:51 am »
Well, he wasn't too old to perform amazing feats of fecundity when the Captain found him, so maybe he wasn't quite at death's door yet, either... 

Off Topic / Re: Songs that have been stuck in your head
« on: December 03, 2009, 06:56:13 am »
Hey, I love AND hate you guys for those...

Off Topic / Re: Random Discussions Megathread Dump
« on: December 01, 2009, 09:57:55 am »
Humans suck at thinking ahead.

General Discussion / Re: The Shofixti
« on: November 30, 2009, 11:47:38 am »
I always figured the Shofixti were some kinda highly evolved meta-marsupial lemming.  Anyway, with such rapid maturation and so many generations occurring in such a short period of time, I'd have to assume that they would be more prone to rapid evolutionary changes as well as the whole matter of feeling comfortable with new technology quickly (kinda like how my kids can figure out how to program the TV better than I can--almost like it's innate--despite my years of experience and superior technical knowledge)...  :D

General Discussion / Re: Do the Arilou have Slave Shield technology?
« on: November 30, 2009, 11:33:28 am »
I thought I remembered something about the Ur-Quan bombing slave worlds back into the stone age before erecting the slave I totally confused about that?  I can't seem to find anything to support that idea anymore, but I swear I remember reading somewhere that they would basically destroy a planet's infrastructure, major cities, technology and research centers, etc, presumably to render the fallow slaves from reverse-engineering the slave shield, regaining spacefaring technology and/or to keep them from annihilating themselves too quickly or easily.  Am I going crazy or mixing mythology here?  :-[

Anyway, if that were the case, I would assume that the Arilou probably knew they had some time before humanity became a real danger to itself once more...  Possibly inter-dimensional travel might make the slave shields moot somehow, as well?

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