ST: TOS; The Ultimate Computer S2, Ep53

We're all sorry for the other guy when he loses his job to a machine. When it comes to your job, that's different. And it always will be different.

The Enterprise is used to test the M5, a computer that could replace the crew and captain of a starship. As can be expected with this sort of test, something goes wrong.

This has to be one of my all time favorites of the show. The interaction of Kirk, Spock and McCoy is just fantastic throughout and the alienation Kirk feels at being replaced with a computer is so well done. I know it's become a cliche for an AI to run amok and start killing people, but this episode illustrates why it's a cliche: it reflects our discomfort and fear of growing useless as technology marches forward.

Celebrities selling out?

At what point is it considered that a celebrity sells out when it comes to endorsements and advertising? Do we expect more of a celebrity that they shouldn't advertise things or do we expect them to use thier fame to do so anyway and try and sell things for more cash?

Are there any celebrities you wish hadn't done any advertising because it changes what their supposed image might be and have any celebrities managed to enhance their reputation through advertising.

I'm curious because of two pieces of advertising that have come up. One is Iggy Pop selling car insurance and the second is Lemmy from Motorhead about to sell Kronenbourg using the Ace of Spades song. More on that here.

So what do you think?

Bet YOU can't buy this in YOUR local grocery store...

But I can buy it in Jakarta!

Mexican president to California: Keep the War on Drugs going!

Mexico's president opposes marijuana legalization

California's Prop. 19 would decriminalize small amounts of pot for personal use, but Mexico's President Felipe Calderon claims that this would undercut Mexico's fight against drug cartels. Because, you know, that's been going so well lately.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon strongly opposes the California ballot measure that would legalize small amounts of marijuana, saying it reflects softening attitudes toward drug consumption in the U.S. that are undercutting efforts to control organized crime groups in Mexico.

...

Calderon, in an interview in Tijuana, said he was disappointed that the U.S. federal government, which for years has pushed Mexico to crack down on drug traffickers, has not done more to oppose the measure. "I think they have very little moral authority to condemn Mexican farmers who out of hunger are planting marijuana to feed the insatiable [U.S.] appetite for drugs," he said Thursday.

I think I tend to side with Calderon's predecessor on this one:

Calderon's predecessor, Vicente Fox, has made headlines by calling for legalization and regulation of all drugs as the best way to cripple the drug cartels economically. Fox recently said passage of Proposition 19 would be a "great step forward" and could "open the door to these ideas for us."

Linda Norgrove - Should they have tried to rescue her?

Linda Norgrove was an aid worker in Afghanistan who was killed when a rescue attempt was made by US Sepcial Forces. It looks as though she was killed by a friendly fire grenade instead of, as initially reported, a suicide vest worn by one of the captors.

Putting aside the fact the risks and such of being an aid worker in the area, the question is, should the rescue attempt go ahead? Some sources are saying that a negotiated release was possible, but that the decision was made to go ahead anyway.

More on the story here.

At what point, does negotiation run out and force become the answer? Should it be when all other avenues have been exhausted or should it become an option that is weighed up and taken if it is considered the best option.

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