0635: "Locke and Demosthenes"

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:13 pm UTC

(Sorry for the double-post.)

phillipsjk wrote:Imagine two ships moving away from Earth at 0.51C in opposite directions. Relative to each other, they are traveling at 1.02C. [...] Or am I ignoring relativistic effects?


Actually, I made that same statement on Slashdot once, but some physicist explained at length why I was wrong... basically you're ignoring relativistic effects. Relative to each other, they're not traveling at 1.02c, they're traveling at 0.99999999c or something along those lines.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby tigerhawkvok » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:22 pm UTC

SciBoy wrote:
tigerhawkvok wrote:Shouldn't Locke's comments (even though he was less popular initially than Demosthenes) be ... well, in the hundreds or thousands? Not the, well, 1's?

This is sort of the point of the comic, that in the real world, they would never get the kind of following they're getting in the book. Who reads a blog and comments on it these days?


Have you seen some of the more popular blogs? LGF? Pharyngula? These can gain hundreds of comments per-entry. Pharyngula is a science blog, and its last ten political entries have an average of 187.5 comments.

Hell, even Nate Silver over at 538 gets 50-100 comments per post, and he's explicitly referenced.

Locke and Demosthenes are supposed to be discussed worldwide.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby The_Duck » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:41 pm UTC

This comic made me smile!

The internet has not become the elevated debating arena imagined by Card. On reflection, though, I'm not sure that political debate through traditional channels rises a whole lot above the best debating on the internet. Perhaps in time things will improve, though.

zenter wrote:I should say that this effect has been replicated in laboratory settings, and people (scientists and otherwise) are discussing applications. This makes quantum teleportation as a means of communication is far more likely (in my mind) than any FTL travel.

There's no inkling that entanglement can produce faster-than-light communication. My understanding is that entanglement in conjunction with a "classical channel" for information can produce "teleportation" of information at the speed of the classical channel (which is limited by the speed of light), and I believe photons have been "teleported" around in this way.

phillipsjk wrote:If going faster than 0.50001C is possible, FTL is possible. It is just a matter of defining your points of reference.

Imagine two ships moving away from Earth at 0.51C in opposite directions. Relative to each other, they are traveling at 1.02C. They can still communicate with each other if Earth acts as a relay: blue-shifting the message. Or am I neglecting relativistic effects? (light always travels at the speed of light, regardless of frame of reference for some reason)

They can still communicate, without the need for a relay. Suppose two ships are going in opposite directions from Earth at 0.5c. From the perspective of ship A, ship B is receding at a mere 0.8c, not 1.0c, because of relativistic effects. So A and B can exchange lightspeed messages just fine. From the perspective of Earth, things are still fine: the message emerges from ship A going a full 1.0c; it is not slowed by the fact that it is emitted by a receding source. So the 1.0 signal easily catches ship A, receding from Earth in the other direction at 0.5c.

As you said, the fundamental point of relativity is that light travels at 1.0c with respect to *everyone*, so a lightspeed signal will *always* catch a slower-than-light ship, no matter what trickery you try to arrange with relative velocities. A corollary is that nothing will ever seem to travel faster than light, from anyone's perspective.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Demosthenes2009 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:15 pm UTC

tigerhawkvok wrote:
SciBoy wrote:
tigerhawkvok wrote:Shouldn't Locke's comments (even though he was less popular initially than Demosthenes) be ... well, in the hundreds or thousands? Not the, well, 1's?

This is sort of the point of the comic, that in the real world, they would never get the kind of following they're getting in the book. Who reads a blog and comments on it these days?


Have you seen some of the more popular blogs? LGF? Pharyngula? These can gain hundreds of comments per-entry. Pharyngula is a science blog, and its last ten political entries have an average of 187.5 comments.

Hell, even Nate Silver over at 538 gets 50-100 comments per post, and he's explicitly referenced.

Locke and Demosthenes are supposed to be discussed worldwide.
The biggest problem is not that bloggers can't get reach, but that it's tough for a pseudonymous blogger to get traction, since most leverage connections they already have as journalists and most journalists refuse to acknowledge pseudonymous commentators. The best counterexample would probably be digby, who is well known, deeply pseudonymous and often quoted.

(Oddly enough, my most commented-on threads of late have been about Michael Jackson.)

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby damunzy » Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:40 pm UTC

well, I just have to say "Get out of my head!" I read this book back in 1985 and I still though it was the weakest part of the book (I am an Andrew lover though!)

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Tidia » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.

Plus, I wasn't ranting. A rant would be much longer. I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.


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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Siguy » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

Of all the absurd things in Ender's Game, the whole Locke/Demosthenes thing was what I had to suspend my disbelief the most with.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Danked » Fri Sep 11, 2009 11:47 pm UTC

That squirrel spells SEX.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Connington » Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:06 am UTC

Just for the record, I read Ender's Game before I was familiar with the internet...

You can see where this is going. It took me a couple years to realize I was never going to find a forum like the ones Peter and Valentine posted on.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Someursault » Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:23 am UTC

the_eye wrote:I was merely seeking insight into what it is that makes the book appealing to people who belong, more or less, to the same subculture as me.

Okay! Let me try. It's generic wish fulfillment fantasy for kids who consider themselves much smarter than their peers. So yeah, I'd project something like a 95% overlap between Ender's Game fans and xkcd readers.

Why that demographic in particular? Well:

Spoiler:
The smarter-than-anyone-else-ever protagonist starts out as a misunderstood bored genius being tormented by mindless cartoon bullies at school. He finally lashes out violently at a drooling bully, actually beating him to death if I'm not mistaken (like many Mary Sues, Ender is the kind of skinny weakling who suddenly has the strength to overpower larger and more athletic children by virtue of his pure inconquerable willpower). As a six-year-old prodigy who's just viciously murdered a boy, naturally he is rewarded by the government with a trip to Smart Kid Camp (in space!!!), where he's given the opportunity to save the world from aliens singlehandedly by playing a violent videogame remarkably well! Hooray!

If you haven't read the book, no, I'm not kidding. If you have read the book and you think I'm being harsh, well, I will say it's overwhelmingly likely that you were much younger when you first read the book. I thought it was grand ten years ago too.

Yeah, the author's a hate-mongering bigot, but going after him instead of the story's puerile content almost seems like a cheap shot.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:46 am UTC

phillipsjk wrote:
zenter wrote:
I should say that this effect has been replicated in laboratory settings, and people (scientists and otherwise) are discussing applications. This makes quantum teleportation as a means of communication is far more likely (in my mind) than any FTL travel.


If going faster than 0.50001C is possible, FTL is possible. It is just a matter of defining your points of reference.

Imagine two ships moving away from Earth at 0.51C in opposite directions. Relative to each other, they are traveling at 1.02C. They can still communicate with each other if Earth acts as a relay: blue-shifting the message. Or am I neglecting relativistic effects? (light always travels at the speed of light, regardless of frame of reference for some reason)


You're neglecting relativistic effects. If I'm doing my math right, two ships approaching each other, each traveling at .5c relative to some frame of reference, they will see the other ship approaching at .8c, not c (and themselves as stationary). For .75c, they'll see the other ship approaching at .96c. Its asymptotic.


Someursault wrote:If you haven't read the book, no, I'm not kidding. If you have read the book and you think I'm being harsh, well, I will say it's overwhelmingly likely that you were much younger when you first read the book. I thought it was grand ten years ago too.

To be fair,
Spoiler:
It isn't a particularly violent video game. Its too abstract to be placed in with the things usually called "violent video games". Its more like chess, which is actually a very violent game if you consider what the pieces represent, but on the level of the players, its just the strategy.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:19 am UTC

Someursault wrote:Yeah, the author's a hate-mongering bigot


Having read Orson Scott Card's editorial news column for several years, I'm kind of confused about where you're getting the idea that he's a "hate-mongering bigot". Sure, he disagrees with people - sometimes vocally - about policies, and sure, he's not in favor of gay marriage, but that doesn't make him a bigot, and disagreeing with people (even for their beliefs) is not hate-mongering. I guess my question is, do you have examples of OSC's supposed hate-mongering?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Jorpho » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:49 am UTC

Heron wrote:I think the most visible place to find OSC's beliefs come through in the Ender books is where Ender's mom is concerned. She is described as a Mormon who, apparently, doesn't really practice her religion actively, although she believes it (or most of it). She prays, and disagrees with her husband (a Catholic) about baptism, but that's about it. The thing she feels strongest about is having a large family, but that's hardly unique to Mormons (in fact it's common among Catholics as well).
So the whacking great "Hooray for Heterosexuality!" rant in Shadow Puppets isn't a lengthy reflection of Card's own beliefs and is a neatly relevant part of the story?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:58 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:So the whacking great "Hooray for Heterosexuality!" rant in Shadow Puppets isn't a lengthy reflection of Card's own beliefs and is a neatly relevant part of the story?


I have no memory of such a rant... perhaps you could refer me to a page or chapter number? I have the book handy.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby That_one_guy » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:00 am UTC

Wow. I finished Ender's Game yesterday, and this shows up. I see Randall's fixed his mind-reading machine.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Someursault » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:20 am UTC

Heron wrote:
Someursault wrote:Yeah, the author's a hate-mongering bigot


Having read Orson Scott Card's editorial news column for several years, I'm kind of confused about where you're getting the idea that he's a "hate-mongering bigot". Sure, he disagrees with people - sometimes vocally - about policies, and sure, he's not in favor of gay marriage, but that doesn't make him a bigot, and disagreeing with people (even for their beliefs) is not hate-mongering. I guess my question is, do you have examples of OSC's supposed hate-mongering?

This is the one I was thinking of:

OSC wrote:If America becomes a place where our children are taken from us by law and forced to attend schools where they are taught that cohabitation is as good as marriage, that motherhood doesn't require a husband or father, and that homosexuality is as valid a choice as heterosexuality for their future lives, then why in the world should married people continue to accept the authority of such a government?

...

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

You can argue about the semantics (he's asking how long he has to wait before people start taking this position, not technically taking it himself? I suggest you read the whole article here if you're worried about this being out of context), but endorsing open revolt over the issue of gay marriage seems like hate-mongering to me. Depending on your exact feelings regarding the overall human cost of a revolution whose goal is nothing less than the destruction of the government of a major world power, maybe you don't think it's technically hate speech but is instead merely extremist political advocacy?

For context, I might easily have strong homophobic tendencies and abhor gay marriage with all my being but I still wouldn't suggest anything so radical and costly as a violent overthrow of the U.S. government on that basis alone.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:29 am UTC

Someursault wrote:but endorsing open revolt over the issue of gay marriage seems like hate-mongering to me.


That would depend on your goals. I don't want to hijack this thread with a debate on gay marriage, but I think OSC's position is not so much "homosexuality is teh bad" as it is "marriage = man + woman", which itself doesn't say anything regarding homosexuality (other than "man + man != marriage"). I do not think OSC has ever advocated less rights for gays (and before you interrupt, no, use of the word "marriage" to describe a relationship is not a right).

Now, personally, I don't think a revolution over this issue is warranted, but in any case, advocating revolt (in the absence of a resolution to the issue), while extreme, is not hate-mongering.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Askara » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:41 am UTC

That's probably how it went in the book, at the beginning at least. Peter's idea was to have Locke and Demosthenes' ideas slowly filter into everyday use, making a lingering impression into however read them without them noticing it.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby AlexanderRM » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:12 am UTC

Comic JK wrote:All of Ender's Game is a little dated--the "Russia takes over the world" bit is a lot more of a sticking point for me than a simplified idea of the internet.


Actually, I think that at least in the later Shadow books China was the main villain. Still, what I notice is the whole World War stuff with no mention of nukes (even if they did get united under a world government for awhile...).



jadewang wrote:(Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by how many people haven't read Ender's Game. Show some geek pride. If you haven't read it by now, go read it. Now. I read it in one sitting.)


Don't forget the sequels and the Shadow series. In fact, I think the Shadow series is the main one with the whole internet thing... it's been awhile since I read Ender's game, but I actually don't recall them showing up in it. They were more in the Earth-politics, taking-over-the-world sort of stuff in the Shadow series.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Jamaican Castle » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:55 am UTC

AlexanderRM wrote:
Comic JK wrote:All of Ender's Game is a little dated--the "Russia takes over the world" bit is a lot more of a sticking point for me than a simplified idea of the internet.


Actually, I think that at least in the later Shadow books China was the main villain. Still, what I notice is the whole World War stuff with no mention of nukes (even if they did get united under a world government for awhile...).


In Ender's Game somebody (Peter?) notes that their shield tech makes nukes and other long-range missiles essentially worthless. Plus, at least during the short civil war after the bugger homeworld was destroyed, there was widespread unease as to who, exactly, should be shot at...

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:56 am UTC

AlexanderRM wrote:
Don't forget the sequels and the Shadow series. In fact, I think the Shadow series is the main one with the whole internet thing... it's been awhile since I read Ender's game, but I actually don't recall them showing up in it. They were more in the Earth-politics, taking-over-the-world sort of stuff in the Shadow series.


They actually started in Ender's Game, and had enough influence by the end of the book to get Ender shipped off to a colony after he won the war.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby BlueNight » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:57 am UTC

Diadem wrote:His (Orson Scott Card's) religious views do creep through, but they seem to be quite mild. I've read much more annoyingly religious books. The religious character portrayed most sympathetically in the books is sister Charlotta. So I think we can assume that his true views are similar to hers. But she is quite enlightened. She explicitely states that she believes unbelievers can go to heaven, and she seems to ignore most church dogma.


It is interesting that religion can still be seen in terms of tolerance and enlightenment by the audience of a fictional SF world with an explicit cosmology, the exact workings of which figure heavily in one installment of the series, and by retcon, throughout the entire series.

The explicit cosmology of Orson Scott Card's Enderverse is that everyone and everything is made up of stringy particles of willpower or existence, and that the more powerful the will, or the more connection-forming it is, the more it emerges into reality from some sort of infinite potential state outside the space-time continuum. It can even be used by science; witness the ansible. Where morality and religion come into play on that highest level of reality, I have yet to see, although both morality and religion permeate the rest of the books.

In the Enderverse, what is Heaven? Which religion is closest to the demonstrably true facts of the universe as given? What does the afterlife mean? Does the Aiùa's affinity for coming Inside (from Outside) mean reincarnation is possible, or even explicitely true? Does a personal love-based morality make one's Aiùa stronger, more apt to make connections?

And how does the killing of squirrels for pleasure affect one's afterlife, especially when as an adult, he maintains world peace?
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby CasualSax » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:09 am UTC

The humor behind the comic was too easy to see coming for Ender fans, and it would make little sense to someone who has not read Ender's Game. I loved some of his other Card comics, this one just isn't up to snuff.

And I agree with the fact that I really, really wish my views aligned more with Card, so I could respect him more. And I also wish that he wasn't using his time to "review everything" in his blog. I really, really don't care what his opinion is of this season's American Idol. http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2009-02-22.shtml

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Heron » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:13 am UTC

CasualSax wrote: And I also wish that he wasn't using his time to "review everything" in his blog.


Isn't that what blogs are for?

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Jorpho » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:18 am UTC

Heron wrote:
Jorpho wrote:So the whacking great "Hooray for Heterosexuality!" rant in Shadow Puppets isn't a lengthy reflection of Card's own beliefs and is a neatly relevant part of the story?


I have no memory of such a rant... perhaps you could refer me to a page or chapter number? I have the book handy.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eikinkloster » Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:06 am UTC

Iridos wrote:Oh - yes and I remember being a bit annoyed of the religious undertones - the idea of converting an alien race to a human religion is also ridiculous - but the piggies are just humans with porky faces and a weird reproduction cycle anyway.... there we go again with the space opera like qualities, where klingons are men with thick black beards.


The idea of a human converted to a Martian religion is pretty well developed by Heinlein in Strange in a Strange Land. I don't see how an alien converting to a human religion would be ridiculous.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby ribbles » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:43 am UTC

A very few blogs are significant enough to have some influence on the real world. For example, for awhile almost any televised discussion I saw of the nomination of now Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor included Tom Goldstein of http://www.scotusblog.com/.

Now, I don't think this qualifies the man for the Supreme Court - but could a particularly popular blogger leverage that position in to, say, a Congressional seat? I'll bet we end up with some politicians who at the very least have blogging on their resume.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby StClair » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:20 am UTC

Chipersoft wrote:I always interpreted "on the nets" to mean usenet, or some equivalent discussion forum.

You're probably right, simply because at the time the book was written, that was all there was. THAT was his example, and what he wrote was apparently what he thought they would become.

Instead, we seem to have gotten a distribution channel for vast quantities of pirated data (games, video, music, etc) with a ghetto of decades-old discussion groups still stubbornly clinging to life, despite having been almost completely eclipsed by the Web and forums like this one.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Pi is exactly three » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:06 am UTC

I mourn the triumph of forums over Usenet. Usenet was specifically designed to facilitate distributed conversations. I find the forum paradigm much less user-friendly.

Danked wrote:That squirrel spells SEX.
Image

I'm sure you can find hidden messages in a lot of Randall's work, provided you're allowed to break up the line art at arbitrary points and ignore the inconvenient bits that don't fit in...

Drenami wrote:As for the state of the web in the books i am glad we haven't matured into the bigbrotherish style of monitoring as in the books.

That hollow laughter you hear is coming from the UK. New Labour read 1984, thought it had some really good ideas, and are implementing them as fast as they can.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/10/interception_commissioner/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/03/gchq_mti/
http://big-brother-uncovered.co.uk/2009/spy-chiefs-plan-to-monitor-internet-traffic/

OK, we'll be able to dump this lot next year but I don't believe things will be any better under their replacements. It's not Labour v. Conservative any more, it's Red Labour v. Blue Labour.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Connington » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:11 am UTC

Heron wrote:I don't want to hijack this thread with a debate on gay marriage, but I think OSC's position is not so much "homosexuality is teh bad" as it is "marriage = man + woman", which itself doesn't say anything regarding homosexuality (other than "man + man != marriage"). I do not think OSC has ever advocated less rights for gays (and before you interrupt, no, use of the word "marriage" to describe a relationship is not a right).


"Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society."

His words, not mine. As for his views on homosexuality and how it inflects his writing, it's perhaps most noticeable in the number of characters with homosexual tendencies he's written (four, off the top of my head). All of them are sympathetic characters, (okay, I'm remembering one unnamed, half a scene child molester now, but that's hardly important) and most notably, they all get themselves into a childbearing relationship, or try to do so.

The most notable on all accounts is Zborab, from Card's Homecoming series. He's portrayed as outwardly spineless and subservient, a facade put up to live in an extremely homophobic culture, with at least one lover and one straight but mistaken as gay friend murdered. There's actually one rather uncomfortable scene of a him and his wife (long story)trying to have sex for the first time. It's portrayed as exhausting and unpleasurable, but it resulted in a child raised in a happy home.

So all in all, Card's approach is very much "Hate the sin, love the sinner", taken to an extreme. I find it highly objectionable, but it never rises about the level of a subplot, and usually no more than an aside.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Danked » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:39 am UTC

Pi is exactly three wrote:I'm sure you can find hidden messages in a lot of Randall's work, provided you're allowed to break up the line art at arbitrary points and ignore the inconvenient bits that don't fit in...

I'm sure you can take the fun out of everything you comment on.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Pi is exactly three » Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:36 am UTC

Hey, I found a hidden message in http://www.xkcd.com/617/ :D
Image
but I can't seem to make the image tag work so here's a link instead
http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=PqqTj6i

Edit: hmmm, I tried a different picture hosting site and now the image displays OK.
Last edited by Pi is exactly three on Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby infinitemonkey » Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:12 pm UTC

Doing a google search for "Locke wordpress" yields a flurry of bogus pages that try to mimic windows anti virus software, then try to get you to install a package. I may even have fallen for it, except that I use Linux. (What a virus that would be... removing your linux and replacing it with windows). Hope nobody falls for it!

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby zombie_monkey » Sat Sep 12, 2009 3:29 pm UTC

Rashkavar wrote:As I recall, the first thing Demosthenes posted was Peter's analysis of Russian train schedules which used unexplained gaps to track secret troop-transport trains for some alarming results (easily verified by sattelite surveilance, and can fairly easily be rederived).

Assuming he doesn't have acces to actual satellite surveilance data... The schedules he has access to would not show these gaps. If the KGB was so incompetent as to reflect those they would not retain power.

To everyone suggesting libraries: be aware that in the UK and possibly other countries authors get a share of the profits from library loans of their books. (Be it library subscription fees or a percentage of government funding, they basically get money if you get their books from a library)

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby markjreed » Sat Sep 12, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

So a post about the silliness of the Nets in EG turned into a debate about gay marriage and relativity. Are you sure this isn't Usenet?

Homosexuality is of course also relative. A man and a woman who are moving away from a relationship with each other may each perceive the other as gay even though they're 0.5 bi. :)

As to the actual relativity thing: velocities don't exactly add, they just seem to at insignificant fractions of the speed of light. If the two ships are moving in exactly opposite directions from a common reference point at velocities a and b, then their velocity relative to each other is not a+b but rather [math]\frac{a+b}{1+\frac{ab}{c^2}}[/math].

So if a = b = 0.5c, then their relative velocity is 0.8c, as the other posters said.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Pi is exactly three » Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:54 pm UTC

infinitemonkey wrote:Doing a google search for "Locke wordpress" yields a flurry of bogus pages that try to mimic windows anti virus software, then try to get you to install a package. Hope nobody falls for it!

We had a near miss at work yesterday. I was called to someone's office - the girl had found her way to a web page displaying drive icons for her PC with flashing virus warnings against each one. So while I was standing next to her, explaining to her how it is a scam, she nevertheless felt compelled to click on the "Install" link!

Saved the PC by yelling at her to yank out the power cord. Apparently I am now rated as scarier than her dad. :)
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:10 pm UTC

Psykar wrote:The squirrels... well Peter used to torture little animals as a kid. Why a squirrel? who knows.

Because squirrels are like Disney. An acquired distaste.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby hoffmanj » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:14 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:
markfiend wrote:IMO this essay is required reading about OSC / Ender's Game.

I'm not obvlious to the many erros in his books. Children of the Mind and Xenocide were pretty aweful. The Bean series is much better, but it too contains some annoying parts (as well as some very unrealistic ones). But I've never detected anything like homophobia in his books. I don't know if OSC is a homophobe (I don't know anything about him), but if he is it does not show in the Ender series. His religious views do creep through, but they seem to be quite mild. I've read much more annoyingly religious books. The religious character portrayed most sympathetically in the books is sister Charlotta. So I think we can assume that his true views are similar to hers. But she is quite enlightened. She explicitely states that she believes unbelievers can go to heaven, and she seems to ignore most church dogma.

I don't recognize the criticism.


Read "Shadow Puppets" again. I admit, OSC did a pretty good job avoiding Christian, Mormon, and conservative fundamentalism in his characters. I used to be naive about his beliefs in his writing, but then I found what kind of rabid fanatic he was.

So... that Anton character? The first time I read it, I just thought, "huh, what an interesting little anecdote about an old gay man who decides to marry a woman and help her raise her kids." Then I re-read it, and I went, "HOLY SHIT, this is ACTUALLY what OSC expects all gay people to do!"

This post breaks down the Anton scene really well, so I'm just going to link to it: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.ph ... count=1813

OSC literally believes that people become gay from molestation in childhood, that it can usually just be contained to an adolescent phase, and that gays wish they could be cured. He literally -- not figurately, literally -- believes that if gay marriage is allowed in even a few states, when adolescents go through confusing moments in their sexuality, they will be pushed and encouraged by the culture of leftist Basic Human Decency to embrace any signs of homosexuality, and BECOME GAY AGAINST THEIR NATURES!

I quote from OSC's 2004 essay about gay marriage, http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2004-02-15-1.html, with my emphasis added:

Television programs will start to show homosexual "marriages" as wonderful and happy (even as they continue to show heterosexual marriages as oppressive and conflict-ridden).

The propaganda mill will pound our children with homosexual marriage as a role model. We know this will happen because we have seen the fanatical Left do it many times before.

So when our children go through the normal adolescent period of sexual confusion and perplexity, which is precisely the time when parents have the least influence over their children and most depend on the rest of society to help their children grow through the last steps before adulthood, what will happen?

Already any child with any kind of sexual attraction to the same sex is told that this is an irresistible destiny, despite the large number of heterosexuals who move through this adolescent phase and never look back.

Already any child with androgynous appearance or mannerisms -- effeminite boys and masculine girls -- are being nurtured and guided (or taunted and abused) into "accepting" what many of them never suspected they had -- a desire to permanently move into homosexual society.

In other words, society will bend all its efforts to seize upon any hint of homosexuality in our young people and encourage it.

Now, there is a myth that homosexuals are "born that way," and we are pounded with this idea so thoroughly that many people think that somebody, somewhere, must have proved it.

In fact what evidence there is suggests that if there is a genetic component to homosexuality, an entire range of environmental influences are also involved. While there is no scientific research whatsoever that indicates that there is no such thing as a borderline child who could go either way.

Those who claim that there is "no danger" and that homosexuals are born, not made, are simply stating their faith.

The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.

It's that desire for normality, that discontent with perpetual adolescent sexuality, that is at least partly behind this hunger for homosexual "marriage."


Since then OSC has joined the "National Organization for Marriage," producers of that infamous "The Storm Is Coming" "defense-of-marriage" ad.

Anyway, when you think of Orson Scott Card and his faith... think of poor repressed Anton.

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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby Eugo » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:44 pm UTC

the_eye wrote:what I've never gotten: How/why is Enders Game somehow a nerd/geek-essential?

It will be a cold day in hell before I give any of my reading-money to that rabid foaming-at-the-mouth homophobe warmonger named Orson Scott Card. Guy's a complete lunatic.

I bought only the first two, and that was paperback. The rest was from the library. While quite entertaining and really worth changing his name to Paige Turner, the whole book is just based on a contrived plot (that only kids in play can be sufficiently ruthless to win a major, stalemated war), the usual overpopulation environment (yet another plug for Club of Rome's agenda) that we've seen in numerous books - starting maybe with Harrison's "Make room!", and very little science at all.

OS Card is a master writing technician, so the implausibility of the whole setup is not that obvious. However, I started having my suspicions when Ender was led to physical violence (the fight with the guy with a Spanish name - forgot), which turned out to be a big setup by the game designers, and merely a pretext for moral self-analysis, which would keep returning page after page. Then I read the Homecoming series, and realized that every, literally every chapter was a setup for one of the characters to get into a situation where a moral decision had to be made, and then analyzed to death and beyond. Then I eventually got connected to the real internet, Wikipedia was invented, and I finally read a few paragraphs about a guy - even got to chat with one of his neighbors from SLC. Tiles fell into place, of mormonic persuasion.

As for how little Orson imagined the intertubes back then, it immediately struck me as odd that on so overpopulated Earth (third kid by special permission only!) they were able to be heard at all.
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Re: "Locke and Demosthenes" Discussion

Postby hoffmanj » Sat Sep 12, 2009 7:46 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:
the_eye wrote:well, I could, in theory, seek out a pirated ebook version and read that in order to judge the book without regard to the man who wrote it, but any legal way of me reading the book moves money out of my pocket towards him. Given that my reading-money is kinda limited (what with having 2 kids and all), I'd rather it went to people whose views are more in line with my own.


That's an interesting criterion. What about Card's views offend you, and where did you read about them? WHY did you seek them out?

For the record, I'm a bit surprised at how beloved Ender's Game is on this board. I found it entertaining and liked the first set of sequels, but wouldn't strongly recommend it to anyone much older than a middle schooler. The ironic thing is that one of your complaints about Card is that he's a "warmonger". The first set of Ender novels, while they are military SF, have what I see as a heavy-handed and obvious anti-war message, especially given
Spoiler:
the big reveal that the war with the "buggers" started off as a misunderstanding. The horror isn't that Ender wiped out almost an entire species, but that he did so for what, in the end, was no good reason. His quest to atone for this in the later books is what gave the first trilogy, in my mind, its soul.


I LOVE Ender's Game, and I recommend it to everyone, but Card really is a warmonger in real life. Read his WarWatch columns, e.g.,
http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2003-10-26-1.html
Essay where he claims you must vote for any Republican over any Democrat because Democrats want America to surrender in the war on terror: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articl ... ion_d.html

As to your claim that Ender's Game having an obvious anti-war message, I take it exactly the opposite way. Ender and Graff and the rest are supposed to be BLAMELESS for their act of genocide. They did what had to be done for the survival of civilization. If you can apply a black-and-white worldview, then that's all that matters. In particular, it does not matter that it turns out the buggers were no longer a threat to humans. The fact that, thousands of years later, history reviles Ender as "Ender the Xenocide" is a bit of dramatic irony. We the reader still knows that they did what had to be done.

Can you not see how this might apply to, say, the invasion of Iraq, which Card infinitely supported? To Card, it wouldn't matter that Saddam didn't have WMDs, or that he had no ties whatsoever to Al Qaeda, or that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice had to ignore evidence and repeat lies to get the American public behind it. Because if you have reason to believe that your civilization is threatened, total and devastating military response is the correct reaction. It does not matter that the war caused a hundred thousand Iraqi civilian deaths, over 4,000 American deaths, tens of thousands of Americans wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars squandered, just to name a few of the devastating consequences. The perpetrators of war are not culpable for any of those consequences because their intent was so unimpeachable.

And compare "Ender the Xenocide" to Bush's low approval rating upon leaving office and how his administration will surely be judged by history to have mismanaged the War on Terror. I think Card actually revels in this; it prooves his point. I think Card believes that this is the inevitable cowardice of those too weak to recognize evil and declare war on it; the luxury of the infantile war protester in a world made safe by the truly moral who are willing to use military might.

Here's a great (long) essay about the moral implications of Ender's Game: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm


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