Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

6/14/2019

Starship Troopers Bugs Explained

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I love Starship Troopers, the movie!

I’ve read plenty of science fiction, including a lot of the classics. And, yes, I have read Robert Heinlein’s book, Starship Troopers, and, yes, I did actually enjoy it, even with it’s absolutely not ironic depiction of militarism and authoritarianism. But, honestly, the Paul Verhoeven movie is genius. Taken at face value, it’s a gorgeous, low-budget, sci-fi, military action movie. At that level, it’s fun and huge and really kind of great. But, there’s a deeper level that makes it even better, in my opinion. A saterization of our hyper-patriotic propaganda that recent political trends have weaponized make this movie even better. It’s great.
But, it’s also a pretty detailed exercise in world-building and goes beyond even what Heinlein managed in his book. Granted, I think the “arachnids” are more metaphorical than they are realistic aliens. They’re certainly at least fairly consistent in their depiction. But, don’t believe me, instead, take a look at this video from Offworld titled The Science of Starship Troopers’ Space Bugs. Actual scientists take a close, critical look at these creations. And it takes nothing at all away from my enjoyment of the movie! Nothing!
It’s also a fun way to waste about 30 minutes of your Friday. So, there’s that.
Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

6/26/2006

Hanlon’s Razor

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings,The Network Geek at Home,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:22 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

So, I was thumbing through my copy of The New Hacker’s Dictionary and I came across this gem:

Hanlon’s Razor /prov./

A corollary of Finagle’s Law, similar to Occam’s Razor, that reads “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” The derivation of the Hanlon eponym is not definitely known, but a very similar remark (“You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”) appears in “Logic of Empire”, a 1941 story by Robert A. Heinlein, who calls it the `devil theory’ of sociology. Heinlein’s popularity in the hacker culture makes plausible the supposition that `Hanlon’ is derived from `Heinlein’ by phonetic corruption. A similar epigram has been attributed to William James, but Heinlein more probably got the idea from Alfred Korzybski and other practitioners of General Semantics. Quoted here because it seems to be a particular favorite of hackers, often showing up in sig blocks, fortune cookie files and the login banners of BBS systems and commercial networks. This probably reflects the hacker’s daily experience of environments created by well-intentioned but short-sighted people. Compare Sturgeon’s Law.

Now, you might wonder why I mention this. Or, you might not, if you know me well enough. Oh, don’t misunderstand me, I do believe in evil, after a fashion, but most of the “evil” perpatrated against me is mainly stupidity and selfishness, not real, capital “E”, evil. But, then again, there are a lot of stupid, selfish people running around out there, so it does add up after a bit. Now, I’m not being mean or arrogant or anything that anyone reading this hasn’t been before either. I’m just writing it “out loud”, so to speak. I mean, you have to admit, the mass herd of humanity has gotten in your way and irritated you sometime in the past month, haven’t they? But, does that make the idiot who cut you off or called you a name on the phone or whatever “evil”? No, just an idiot.
That’s all. It just struck me as an important thought that I should share with my readers.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved."
   --Victor Hugo


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