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Monday, 31 August 2015

A radical thought.

This is going to be a bit left of field and far-fetched. But bear with me.

People, generally speaking (you get some exceptions in pockets here and there) want a peaceful world. They often think that it's an ideal that will never happen, but that's what they want, and dream about, and strive for. And you frequently hear of the idea of armies and soldiers being to fight for peace - to put themselves out of a job, if you will.

But armies, soldiers, guns, bombs, nukes - these only have a place if there are others of them in the world. They were created to combat an opposing force, an opposing weapon or strategy.

So, here's a radical idea.

Why don't we just get rid of the lot? No more guns. No more nukes. No more bombs. No more bullets. No more places to make guns, or nukes, or bombs, or bullets. Or tanks. Or fighter airplanes and subs. (That one might be a bit harder, considering we've got regular planes and subs that aren't that much different.) No more stealth jets.

At the moment, that probably sounds ridiculously ludicrous. And understandably so. How on earth would you go about it? How would you get everybody to comply? I don't rightly know, to be honest. To be sure, you'd get some people that wouldn't be too happy about it - and not just terrorists and the like, but also people that are just generally quite attached to their guns (not looking at you at all, America....). And people will say, "but if we have no guns, and they have guns....then we're sitting ducks!" Then make armour, silly-billies. Work at defensive measures, rather than offensive measures.

Yes, it's probably just another blue sky dream from this head in the clouds. But it seems to be something that people don't ever really think of. Or just dismiss too quickly. *shrugs*

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Scorpions and Cyclones.

For the last couple of months or so, I've been watching through the TV show Scorpion with my brother. For those who aren't familiar with the show's basic premise, it's fairly simple - this guy called Walter has a ridiculously high IQ, and gathers around him a team of like-minded people, and together they solve problems that other people can't. Slyvester is the maths whiz; Happy is the engineer; Toby is the shrink. Then you've also got Paige, who you could basically call their PR person; she's not high-IQ, but she's the one who makes sure that they don't annoy everyone else too much, basically. Cabe is the guy who oversees it all from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Oh, and Paige's son Ralph, who happens to also be a genius.

To give you a bit of an idea, the series starts off with them trying to land planes that have had a bug in the software, and now have no way to communicate with the ground. It ends with one plane flying over a car going at high speed, and a cable going from one to the other. Yep. It's pretty big. The mid-season finale ends with them in Bosnia. (Unfortunately, that's all that we've got so far down here in Auz.) In-between, we have biohacking, bombing, assassination, nuclear power plants, and a prison break. It's pretty action-packed, for those that are really into that.

The characters each fall into nice roles pretty early on. Happy is quite stoic, keeps herself to herself, and can be quite short with people at times; Toby is the wisecracking one, who ends up having some romantic interest in Happy; Sylvester feels a bit more immediately relatable, but has a lot of fears, and classic OCD; Paige is the touchy-feely one/mum; Cabe is the hardass fed/dad to Walter when things get rough; and Walter - he's the one who looks after the team, but rubs up the wrong way with most people, and has a bit of an ego problem.

With the whole idea being that these folks are über-smart, it would be easy for a lot of concepts to fly above people's heads. Thankfully, that doesn't happen (though, admittedly, speaking as a fairly smart person myself, but anyway), thanks to Cabe and Paige, who the other characters tend to explain things to nicely for us.

There's a lot that I'm loving about this series. It's got some great people on board; it looks at some really interesting ideas; it has a great mix of action and story; but probably what I love most is the way that it weaves together the genius and the human elements. You see Toby struggling with his feelings for Happy; Happy's reluctance to talk about her father, whom she eventually meets again; Sylvester's former battle with depression; Cabe and Walter's complex relationship, and the passing of a mantle, in a way; Paige's difficulties in raising a genius son, while not being a genius herself, and then having his dad step into the picture; and Walter's struggle with believing that emotions are weakness, while clearly feeling for his team, and for Paige and Ralph. And that's what I really love about this series, and also why I decided to watch it with my brother.

This is one that I've really loved so far, and I'm really looking forward to the second half of season one - I hope it gets over to Australia soon!