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Burroughs and the 14-year...
Forum: Edgar Rice Burroughs and John Carter
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6 hours ago
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Elrond's Porch
Forum: J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth
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February 24th, 2020, 11:54 PM
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Video: Ancient Mesopotami...
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February 24th, 2020, 10:39 PM
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2020 American Politics
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One Season TV Series?
Forum: Science Fiction and Fantasy TV Shows
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Where were you *20* years...
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Doctor Who Thoughts
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  Video: Ancient Mesopotamia ~ Neolithic Farming, Trade & Pottery
Posted by: Michael - February 24th, 2020, 10:39 PM - Forum: Archeology and Prehistory - No Replies

This video was uploaded to YouTube in February 2019 by the Ancient History & Archaeology YouTube channel, an educational channel. The video was made by the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. It is the 3rd in a series of educational videos.

It has that monotonal quality educational videos are so infamous for.

As YouTube lectures go this one has a good mix of graphics and images. Here is the video's description:

Quote:Ancient Mesopotamia: Life in the Cradle of Civilization

Lectures taught by Professor Amanda H. Podany about Ancient Mesopotamia. H. Podany is Professor of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She has published a number of books and articles on topics in ancient Near Eastern history, including The Ancient Near Eastern World. 

Lecture 3: Neolithic Farming, Trade & Pottery
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Though travel was dangerous, people transported valuable goods, like obsidian for knife blades, across hundreds of miles, perhaps via chains of merchants. Plunge into everyday life in Neolithic Mesopotamia, where homes and villages reflect a simple, unstratified society, but evidence of intricate pottery shows that technology was advancing and people cared about aesthetics.


Watch Ancient Mesopotamia ~ Neolithic Farming, Trade & Pottery from YouTube
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Only a few years ago high-quality educational videos were hard to find. That is changing as more universities upload videos of lectures. I have watched many videos intended for computer science and machine learning students. I'm amazed at just how much high quality educational content is available online.

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  2020 American Politics
Posted by: Michael - February 24th, 2020, 10:24 PM - Forum: Politics - No Replies

Thread title says it all.

I'm not looking for heated debate. I'm rather disgusted by all the political rants and memes on Facebook and Twitter. But I do have strong feelings about the political situation in America.

I detest Trump. Always have. Always will. In my opinion, evangelical Christian leaders are wrong to support him. His behaviour is completely unacceptable by the standards Jesus set. They supposedly cling to Trump because "he is for Israel". Trump is for Trump and no one else.

I voted for Obama in 2008 but was so disappointed with him as a President I did not vote for him in 2012. I hated the mandate in Obamacare. I hated the fact that he compromised with Republicans on important healthcare issues. But most of all I hated his foreign policy, which contributed to the disastrous events in the Middle East.

Since I began voting many years ago I have mostly voted for Republicans for President but not always. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 even though I didn't agree with all his policies. He was a Republican who ran as an indepedent.

I voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988 but switched to Ross Perot in 1992. I didn't agree with all his views but I felt he had a better grip on economic matters than George H.W. Bush and had more integrity than Bill Clinton.

Never been a Clinton fan.

I voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. I hated the Iraq War but I didn't have any confidence in Al Gore (2000) or John Kerry (2004). Kerry especially alienated me with his body language, which was very practiced.

John McCain lost me when promised he would send American armies anywhere on Earth he felt they were needed. I just felt that was the wrong direction. Can't say I was impressed with his choice of running mate, either. Then again, I didn't like the fact that Obama ran with Joe Biden. But I was glad he didn't choose Hillary Clinton.

I'm sure I'm beginning to look chauvinistic but I didn't oppose Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton because they are women. I opposed them because I didn't like them as candidates. Neither represented what I wanted as leaders.

In 2016 I had to vote for a candidate because I didn't want to not vote as a protest against the really sucky candidates the Democrats and Republicans gave us. I was a Never-Hillary-or-Trump voter.

So I wrote Evan McMullin's name on the ballot. Not a wasted vote. I voted for someone I felt had integrity and whose declared values represented what I wanted to vote for. I still follow him on Twitter. He is a staunch conservative but a serious critic of Donald Trump.

So here we are in 2020. I'm not going to vote for Trump or any Republican who supports him. I don't care where they stand on the issues that matter to me. They have had many chances to stand up to Trump and defend our constitution and they put party before country. I hope they pay the price for their misplaced loyalties at the ballot box in November.

On the other hand, I'm not happy with any of the Democratic party contenders, either. I liked Bernie Sanders in 2016 but I lost interest in him. Chiefly because he is a bit too liberal for my tastes.

Bernie Sanders is not a communist and he doesn't threaten this country's future in any way with his socialist views. The United States has been a socialist country since the day it was founded and that isn't about to change.

Furthermore, I do believe we should have universal health care. By all estimates (even the most conservative ones) Bernie Sanders' universal health care would cost this country considerably less (about $3.2 trillion per year) than we pay (through corporate and private insurance premiums, co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses) for health care now (about $3.7 trillion per year presently, but projected to grow by 10-15% per year).

People are gagging over the fact that Bernie says we'd pay higher taxes to cover the health care. WHAT HE SHOULD BE SAYING but doesn't articulate clearly is that THESE TAXES WOULD BE LESS THAN MOST PEOPLE NOW CURRENTLY PAY FOR HEALTH CARE.

In other words, Bernie's plan will save most Americans some money. They'll pay less, not more. But conservatives are doing a better job of conveying the false impression that Americans would pay more, not less, under Medicare for All.

Michael Bloomberg struck me as a moderate candidate when he first announced his intention to run for President. Unfortunately his Democratic rivals have dug up so much dirt on him I doubt he would be the kind of president I would want to support. I would vote for him just to get Trump out of office but I'm not sure what kind of trade that will be.

I don't support Elizabeth Warren because she - like Bernie - is wishy washy about the health care costs. Bernie does a better job of articulating his views but he just put his foot in his mouth again by downplaying the horrendous evil of the Castro regime in favor of arguing for socialist programs.

Bernie needs to stick to the European model of democratic socialism and just bake Fidel Castro at every opportunity. Unfortunately Bernie's personal history suggests he would never do that.

I've been told that Amy Klobuchar's views are more in line with my own. You can see her Website here: https://amyklobuchar.com/issues/

And I think Amy has about a snowball's chance of winning the democratic nomination. I'm not sure she would stand up to Trump's withering attacks, either. So far no one has been able to do that and it has nothing to do with their gender. I don't think either Bloomberg or Sanders will do well against Trump if they don't change their debate strategies.

I really don't know much about Amy Klobuchar but I think - based on what little I've learned - she would indeed represent my personal values better than anyone else in the field.

On the Republican side I kind of like Bill Weld. He doesn't stand a snowball's chance of displacing Trump on the Republican ticket. I would probably vote for Weld over Sanders or Bloomberg even though Weld doesn't support universal health care.

The socialist plans Sanders and Warren are promoting won't happen without a cooperative Congress. That means we'd have to vote the Republicans into the minority in both houses. They deserve to become the minority party. They need to cleanse themselves as their fascist pro-Trump members and bring in some conservatives who actually put the country first.

Congress has failed to keep Trump in check because of the Republicans' luke-warm endorsement of the constitution and the rule of law. They have proven themselves to be supreme political hypocrites.

Not that the democrats are perfect. I predicted that Nancy Pelosi would lead the House into disaster if she were made Speaker again. And she gave in to the radicals who wanted to impeach Trump and let them send a weak, flaccid argument to a pro-Trump Senate. Meanwhile, the House keeps passing bills that everyone knows the Senate won't vote on, let alone that Trump would sign into law.

So we need to get the Republicans out of Congress. I'd hate to see Nancy Pelosi serve as Speaker again but I could endure that if she had a Senate counterpart (even - dare I say it - Chuck Schumer) who worked with her to override Trump's vetoes.

I'm pretty sure - as things stand right now - that Trump will be re-elected. The Democratic Party insists on shooting itself in the foot at every opportunity. They are making opportunities to destroy themselves at the polls.

Regrettably that almost certainly means Trump will keep control of the Senate.

Something needs to change to get Americans to stop electing fascists into office. I don't know what it is. I have no idea of why anyone would want to support Trump but - near as I can figure - about half my friends support him. I mean people I've known for years, decades, support him.

America is only as great as its ability to live up to its constitution. Every generation has been tested and found wanting in some way. We don't want to return a racist, intolerant America. We need to move on to an America that embraces people and helps them achieve all they can.

And we need universal health care because the current system is causing hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to go bankrupt. Private insurance was never a good solution for taking care of millions of families. It became popular in World War II because corporations were prevented from raising salaries by the U.S. government. To compete for a dwindling supply of qualified executives and engineers, corporations began offering incredible benefits packages - the kind everyone has become used to today.

Unfortunately, between 20 million and 24 million Americans lose their privately funded health insurance every year. The system is the worst in the western, industrialized world. That is why I want universal health care for all (that and the fact it will cost us less in the long run).

It's not ironic to me at all that the same people who want to keep the destructive privatized health care system in place are afraid to acknowledge that human activity contributes to and accelerates global warming.

That is yet another reason to vote the Republicans out of office. I have no doubt the Democrats will screw up some things but they don't have a monopoly on stupid decisions. I'm tired of the conservative agenda. It has created a broken, dysfunctional government that doesn't comply with our laws or respect our constitution.

It's time for a change, in my opinion.

I just wish we had better choices on the ballot in November.

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  Elrond's Porch
Posted by: Coconut Ent - February 19th, 2020, 11:11 PM - Forum: J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth - Replies (4)

So I'm rereading the books again, and just realized the Council of Elrond takes place in the porch of the House. Funny how I never noticed it before. 

I'd always thought a secret council would be in some suitable hall or room, so this made me overlook all the indications the Elrond's Council was in his porch.

But then again, his in laws have meetings up a tree, so I shouldn't complain. 

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  One Season TV Series?
Posted by: Randy2020/ - February 19th, 2020, 09:00 PM - Forum: Science Fiction and Fantasy TV Shows - Replies (4)

New to this forum and looking for the name of a one season only tv series show. It was based on a space ship that traveled thru the galaxy and when it got close to a planet that would support life it stopped, Once it stopped, a count down clock started and when time ran out the ship left. It was on tv sometime in the late 2000's I think. There was a small number of people onboard and they eventually ended up divide about who was in charge. My wife and I enjoyed this show and have been trying to find out the name of it so we can try and see if it is available anywhere to watch. 
Dont remember a whole lot more about it, I think the people onboard were divided into two groups and fought for control. The ship would stop at planets and some would go to the surface. They found life on some planets and I think some of the alien life ended up on board. If you missed the count down the ship would leave without you and I believe one of the main characters was left and somehow managed to make it to the next planet and reboard the ship.
If anyone knows the name of this series it would be awesome cause my wife and I have been driving ourselves crazy the last couple years searching the internet.

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  Frodo's broken sword
Posted by: Coconut Ent - February 19th, 2020, 08:40 AM - Forum: J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle-earth - Replies (2)

Quote:“By Elbereth and Lúthien the Fair,” said Frodo with a last effort, lifting up his sword, 'you shall have neither the Ring nor me!"

Wasn't his sword supposed to have perished back at Weathertop after striking the Witch King? 

Quote:“Look!” he cried; and stooping he lifted from the ground a black cloak that had lain there hidden by the darkness. A foot above the lower hem there was a slash. “This was the stroke of Frodo's sword,” he said. “The only hurt that it did to his enemy, I fear; for it is unharmed, but all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King. More deadly to him was the name of Elbereth.”

And Bilbo forgot to have it fixed.
Quote:On the morning of the last day Frodo was alone with Bilbo, and the old hobbit pulled out from under his bed a wooden box. He lifted the lid and fumbled inside.


“Here is your sword,” he said. “But it was broken, you know. I took it to keep it safe but I've forgotten to ask if the smiths could mend it. No time now.. So I thought, perhaps, you would care to have this, don't

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  Video: How Not to Fight Space Battles
Posted by: Michael - February 18th, 2020, 02:24 AM - Forum: General Discussions - Replies (1)

This video was uploaded to YouTube in 2014 by It's Okay to Be Smart.

It shoots some logical holes in space movie plots. But it misses some important points of technology and science.

Watch The Physics of Space Battles from YouTube
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The Physics of Space Battles

So, what did they get wrong and how would *I* fight a space battle? I'm glad you didn't ask.

Quantum communications solves the speed of light problem
One point they raise late in the video is that you can't communicate faster than the speed of light. Not true. Physicists have proven that quantum entanglement can be engineered, and now there are at least 2 government projects working on quantum communications systems.

The idea is to entangle a mass of atoms with another mass of atoms, send the 2nd mass of atoms off to somewhere else, and use them to pass signals back and forth between 2 very distant regions of space. Some of the engineering issues are still being worked out but this is doable.

In time we should be able to send drones to other planets and have them transmit some kind of real-time telemetry back to Earth via quantum communications. I've even seen a proposal for a virtual reality Mars excursion using such technology. The biggest drag would be waiting for the remote module to arrive at its destination before anyone can log onto it and ... so forth.

Drones simplify the problem of space fighters and missiles
We saw this idea in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, where the Sovereign's fleet consisted of remotely piloted drones.

Drones would, theoretically, be engineered to consist of less mass. You could save even more mass by turning each drone into a weapon rather than having the drones carry weapons.

With less mass they need less fuel.

Now, Newtonian physics still applies but assuming the space battle is fought within the gravitational field of a star (or a black hole) then the craft would be sort of like submarines chasing each other around in the ocean.

These light-mass vehicles wouldn't need much fuel to change trajectory, slowing down or speeding up, at least compared to what we see in movies. They would obviously still have limited maneuvering capabilties using current technology.

Energy weapons would not be very efficient
Even though the beams do widen as they proceed through space, the wider the beam the less energy it delivers per square foot (or meter) upon impact. And they can only move at most at the speed of light.

But assuming you wanted to deliver a precision strike with an energy weapon I think a drone would be your best delivery system. You would have to sacrifice maneuverability for power. So either the drone is fired in a straight vector or it waits like a mine until an enemy vehicle comes within range before it fires.

The quantum communications channel would allow remote control of the weapon.

All of these options put relatively few people at risk, although you might want to send a manned carrier into space to deploy, service, and recall drones.

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  Video: Real Navy Seal reviews military movies
Posted by: Michael - February 18th, 2020, 01:54 AM - Forum: General Movies - No Replies

He recorded this for GQ.

Watch Navy SEAL Jocko Willink Breaks Down Combat Scenes From Movies from YouTube
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Navy SEAL Jocko Willink Breaks Down Combat Scenes From Movies

Just a cool bit of commentary from someone who has done this stuff for real.

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  Video: Former mob boss reviews mob movies
Posted by: Michael - February 18th, 2020, 01:52 AM - Forum: General Movies - No Replies

Michael Franzese recorded this video for Buzzfeed. He reviews several mob movies. See what he says about The Simpsons!

Watch Mob Boss Reviews Mafia Movie Scenes from YouTube
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  Andre's Reading Corner - Swamp Dweller
Posted by: Lots-A-Watts - February 17th, 2020, 12:30 PM - Forum: Andre Norton - Replies (3)

"Come on In! . . .Take a Seat! . . . and Settle Down! . . ."

Our Story Today ~ Swamp Dweller


My Personal Favorite.

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  Republic of Helios
Posted by: Tberry1818 - February 16th, 2020, 07:20 PM - Forum: Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors - No Replies

Republic of Helios is a book that I recently wrote that is on Amazon Kindle. I like space operas but Republic of Helios is not a space opera. Also there is hardly any physical heroics by individuals. There is war, however, the wars are push button wars. Republic of Helios is a techno thriller that shows how an advance in technology alters everything. In terms of suspension of disbelief teleportation has to be accepted, however, once teleportation is accepted all else follows logically. Another point that I should mention is a new Constitution is being set up for the Republic of Helios whereby there are various sections in the book that extensively address a Constitution for the Republic of Helios. Republic of Helios is a novel of ideas as well as a techno thriller. The setting of Republic of Helios is for the most part the Moon and Mars. Post-apocalyptic SF can be a lot of fun, however, I thought and hope that there can be room for a book where the future is far from a dystopia. The subtitle of the Republic of Helios is Book 1 of the Utopia Trilogy. Utopias, are very frequently controversial and Republic of Helios is no different in that respect.  Republic of Helios is on Kindle Unlimited. Thanks. Thomas Berry

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