MT VOID, 01/28/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 31, Whole Number 2208

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Jan 30, 2022, 9:55:44 AMJan 30
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THE MT VOID
Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
01/28/22 -- Vol. 40, No. 31, Whole Number 2208

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Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, ele...@optonline.net
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Topics:
MT VOID Typeface (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)
Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
Lectures, etc. (NJ)
My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in February (comments
by Mark R. Leeper)
Online Film Critics Society Annual Movie Awards
Mini Reviews by Evelyn, Part 1 (THE COLONY, FREE GUY,
SYNCHRONIC) (film reviews by Evelyn C. Leeper)
TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF STAR TREK by Manu Saadia
(a book review in the form of an extended essay
by Dale Skran) (part 1)
"Enoch Soames" (letters of comment by Paul Dormer
and Dorothy J. Heydt)
Bibles (letters of comment by Gary McGath, Paul Dormer,
and John Kerr-Mudd)
This Week's Reading (THE DOOR INTO SUMMER) (book and film
comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

===================================================================

TOPIC: MT VOID Typeface (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

Someone has reported that the MT VOID was now arriving in a
typeface that was very hard to read on his iPad. We upgraded our
Mac OS, which meant we upgraded our MS Word, which now has a really
thin-line typeface as its default. I hadn't realized it carried
over to email we sent, though. I will try a different method of
sending mail to try to improve the typeface. [-ecl]

===================================================================

TOPIC: Science Fiction (and Other) Discussion Groups, Films,
Lectures, etc. (NJ)

Alas, both groups have returned to Zoom meetings, due in part to
COVID, and in part to unpredictable weather. Movies for the
Middletown meeting will be ones people can watch on YouTube,
archive.org, or other free services.

February 3 (MTPL), 7PM: Black History Month: FIVE (1951)
prose poem: "The Creation" (1927) by James Weldon Johnson
<https://poets.org/poem/creation>
February 24 (MTPL), 7PM: THE TIME MACHINE by H. G. Wells
March 3 UNDER THE SKIN (2014) & novel by Michel Faber
<https://tinyurl.com/UnderSkin-Faber>

===================================================================

TOPIC: My Picks for Turner Classic Movies in February (comments by
Mark R. Leeper)

One of the best films of men and the sea is Peter Ustinov's 1962
adaption of Herman Melville's BILLY BUDD. Now note I am not saying
the book is all that good. But the film made from the book is
actually good. Terence Stamp is an American seaman impressed
aboard a British warship during the Napoleonic wars. Melville goes
a little overboard (not literally) to make Billy the so-called
"handsome sailor," a wonderful person loved by all on the crew on
the boat. That is all, that is but for a sadistic Master at Arms.
Soon, quite innocently, Billy becomes embroiled in a conflict
between duty and justice.

[Just as Melville's MOBY-DICK was based on the true story of the
whaleship "Essex", so BILLY BUDD was based on the true story of
the mutiny at (don't laugh) Spithead in 1797, as well as a
subsequent mutiny in 1842 involving a cousin of Melville's as
arbitrator in the trial of two midshipmen on the U.S.S. Somers.]

[BILLY BUDD, February 4, 11:30AM]

Also, for those of you watching the Masterpiece Theatre of
AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS, TCM is running the 1956 movie:
02/18/2022 12:00 PM Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

[-mrl]

===================================================================

TOPIC: Online Film Critics Society Annual Movie Awards

BEST PICTURE - THE POWER OF THE DOG
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE - THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES
BEST DIRECTOR - Jane Campion (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
BEST ACTOR - Benedict Cumberbatch (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
BEST ACTRESS - Olivia Colman (THE LOST DAUGHTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Kodi Smit-McPhee (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Kirsten Dunst (THE POWER OF THE DOG)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - PIG
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY - THE POWER OF THE DOG
BEST FILM EDITING - THE POWER OF THE DOG
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - THE POWER OF THE DOG
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - THE POWER OF THE DOG
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN - THE FRENCH DISPATCH
BEST COSTUME DESIGN - DUNE
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: DUNE
BEST DEBUT FEATURE - Maggie Gyllenhaal, THE LOST DAUGHTER
BEST FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE - DRIVE MY CAR
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - SUMMER OF SOUL (...OR, WHEN THE
REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:
- DUNE for Sound Design
- IN THE HEIGHTS for Choreography
- MEMORIA for Sound Design
- NO TIME TO DIE for Stunt Coordination
- WEST SIDE STORY for Choreography

BEST NON-US RELEASE
- 1970 (Poland)
- BANK JOB (United Kingdom)
- BENEDICTION (United Kingdom)
- THE GIRL AND THE SPIDER (Switzerland)
- THE MEDIUM (Thailand)
- NINJABABY (Norway)
- PETITE MAMAN (France)
- PLEASURE (Sweden)
- THE TSUGUA DIARIES (Portugal)
- VENGEANCE IS MINE, ALL OTHERS PAY CASH (Indonesia)

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:
- John Carpenter
- Tony Leung Chiu-Wai
- Sheila Nevins
- Paul Schrader
- John Williams

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:

IATSE Workers, for bringing attention to labor issues in the film
industry and fighting for better standards.

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) for providing worldwide access to
classic films, including silent movies.

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is an important
non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of film.

Founded is 1997 by film critic Harvey Karten, OFCS is a
professional association that comprises of online film critics,
film journalists, historians and scholars from around the world.
The membership is dedicated to its mission of furthering the growth
of the informed film audience by utilizing the Internet as a
valuable source of news and commentary. OFCS provides a forum for
its members to communicate and discuss ideas about journalism and
cinema and encourage a high standard of journalism across online
media platforms.

[Mark is a member of the OFCS.]

===================================================================

TOPIC: Mini Reviews by Evelyn, Part 1 (film reviews by Evelyn
C. Leeper)

THE COLONY: THE COLONY is a typical post-apocalypse story, the
apocalypse being radical climate change which seems to have left
the earth as a giant mud flat (and oceans, whose tides regularly
wash over these flats. The rich left the earth, but have
discovered they are now infertile because of their and so want to
return to Earth. But Earth is populated by your usual bands of
survivors, who speak some incomprehensible language that has
fourteen words for water. (How much time has passed anyway? If
the rich spaceship people became infertile because of conditions
at Kepler-209, it's either and still managed to send a ship back
to Earth before the colony died off, they must have some sort of
interstellar travel at near light speed, but when was that
developed? This is a bleak film, set in a gray, misty world, and
imminently skippable.

Released theatrically 08/27/21; available on Netflix streaming.

Film Credits:
<https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6506264/reference>

What others are saying:
<https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_colony_2021>

FREE GUY: FREE GUY seems to crib a lot from STRANGER THAN
FICTION, and I'm sure if I knew more about video games it would be
clearer what is going on. I mean, I understand NPCs, but what are
skins? It's got some clever ideas particular to video games, and
even with my inexperience with video games it was enjoyable
enough, if not up to many of the "this is not the real world"
movies.

Released 08/13/21; available on DVD from Netflix.

Film Credits:
<https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6264654/reference>

What others are saying:
<https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/free_guy>

SYNCHRONIC: Netflix has been running a lot of "new" science
fiction films. (Well, new to me, anyway.) THE DOOR INTO SUMMER,
THE COLONY, THE HOUSE, FREE GUY, and now SYNCHRONIC. SYNCHRONIC
assumes a drug that has strange effects, not just hallucinations,
but actual changes to reality, and in specific, time perceptions.
It's a clever idea, and watching the characters figure out the
rules is interesting, but there is too much else dragging down
the film to make it recommendable.

Released 10/22/20; available on Netflix streaming.

Film Credits:
<https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9016974/reference>

What others are saying:
<https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/synchronic>

[-ecl]

===================================================================

TOPIC: TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF STAR TREK by Manu Saadia (a
book review in the form of an extended essay by Dale Skran)
(part 1)

[This is the first part of a review of TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF
STAR TREK.]

A fundamental flaw in TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF STAR TREK by
Manu Saadia (published in 2016) is that it seems more a collection
of essays that are somewhat related than an organized argument or
analysis. Sloppy thinking abounds, although there are points to
agree with as well.

As an example of sloppy thinking, we are asked to believe that the
"replicator" is some kind of matter printer, and that the
Enterprise contains reservoirs of various elements somewhere. This
is virtually impossible to credit, especially given the apparent
consensus that the replicator is just a variant of the transporter,
as is the holodeck. And surely the transporter is not a "matter
printer"--if it was, how does the matter get to the surface of a
distant planet?

No--the replicator is pure magic--energy is converted to
arbitrarily complex matter. The author is correct that this takes
a lot of power--and a lot of data. The author seems to be making
the case for the replicator being a "matter printer" since we are
actually building "matter printers" right now, with some success,
and more likely to follow.

The author does have a good point with regard to Star Trek--the
replicator does not appear until "Next Generation", yet money is
already obsolete in "Original Trek". Thus, the replicator per se
was not needed to create the abundance that is everywhere in Star
Trek.

Another example of sloppy thinking is that the author never
considers who might, say, clean the toilets, in the Trek universe.
We never see any cleaning robots or uplifted animal servants, so
someone must be doing this. Does everything clean itself???

The author paints a picture of a utopian future where everyone is
well-off, money does not exist, and people are motivated to excel
only for reputational glory. This may well work for the most
talented 1% who could plausibly participate and succeed in a
never-ending scientific and artistic competition, but what of the
other 99%? The author, a well-educated writer, may live a
sufficiently elevated life that he believes that he and his friends
would function well in the Trek utopia, but what of the great mass
of humanity with average and below average abilities? Will they
engage in constructive artistic, musical, and scientific activity?
Or more likely will we see the "Brave New World" with most of the
population high on "soma" and engaged in debasing entertainments?

The author appears to believe many will be engaged in the creation
of various arts and crafts, but Trek never addresses any issues
related to intellectual property. If I purchase some beautiful
hand-crafted glass, can I replicate it and give it to all my
friends, claiming that I created it? Can I put the "pattern" for
this item on the Net so anyone replicate their own even if this is
not the desire of the creator of the item? Or is there a
prohibition on replicating hand-crafted items? Are replicated
items marked "replicated" and there is no status in having
"replicated" items? Can I replicate the original Mona Lisa? What
is the status of an original in a world of perfect copies? We are
currently heavily engaged in these issues on the Internet right
now, but via the lens of copyright, patent, and trade mark law,
none of which appear to exist in the Trek future.

Another issue Trek does not address is what are called "Network
Effects." Basically, once everyone has a replicator, and if there
is no protection for Intellectual Property, everyone can copy
anything. But the "best" creators will, just as on the Internet,
come to dominate, leaving little room for the great majority of
those creating art/crafts. Everyone may be rich in material goods,
but only a few will have "Galactic Scale" reputations.

The author--and Trek itself--does not concern itself with personal
property such as a home. Most Star Fleet officers/crew roam the
galaxy, and appear to have no permanent abodes. Picard's family
owns a vineyard, and presumably inheritance laws still work or it
would no longer be in the Picard family. But if the family does
not want it anymore, how is it transferred to someone else? Can it
only be given away? Perhaps more important, Trek does not say
anything about how prime real estate is allocated. A committee of
savants that give nice houses to the "worthy?" This sounds like
the "Party" in Soviet Russia passing out the "goodies." Who is
allowed to build a new house? Since you can't replicate an entire
house, who builds it, given that you can't pay anyone to work on it?

Although Trek is silent on how access to living space is managed,
no matter how it is handled there will always be a scarcity of
great views on the ocean, etc. One "pressure release" for Trek
World is colonies on new worlds, which no doubt offers a plethora
of unique vistas for the taking, with a minimum of competition. In
fact, a desire for a really nice, big house with a great view may
be one of the major motivations to move your family to a remote
colony. One advantage of replicators, fusion, etc. is that living
in a remote colony is not going to be materially different than
living in San Francisco, although at first social interactions will
be limited. What you will not get on any official Federation
colony is the opportunity to pursue your own vision of a better
society, and especially to pursue a forbidden technology. For that
you need to found a secret colony that the Federation does not know
about. We see examples of such attempts now and then in
Trek-world, but they always come to a bad end in just-so stories
designed to show of the superiority of the Federation way of life.

Yet another issue Trek does not address is the motivation for the
accumulation of wealth. There is an assumption that if everyone
has "more than enough" and a sure knowledge that their kids will as
well, so there is no need to be concerned about providing for your
descendants, and further there is universal free health and elder
care of very high quality, this seems to remove most motivations to
accumulate wealth. Indeed, in this circumstance, the great bulk of
humanity would be content to engage in idle leisure low-key hobbies.

However, for a limited number of people, the purpose of wealth is
the accomplishment of goals. Elon Musk, the richest person in the
world right now, has wealth beyond dreams of avarice. And yet he
owns no yachts, works 100-hour weeks, lives in a $50K "tiny house"
or sleeps on a cot in one of his many factories, and is selling all
his mansions. Musk has enough money to buy anything that can be
bought, but what he wants--a city on Mars, civilization running on
solar energy, a human response to artificial intelligence--are not
luxury items that can be purchased at some exclusive department
store. For him money is just the lever he uses to move the world,
and as such he can never have enough money to create the
transformations he envisions.

The mere existence of Musk is antithetical to the Trek utopia,
which is apparently run by a series of university committees and
similar structures that engage in endless, tedious debate. Once
base material needs are met, the accumulation of money becomes
related to the accomplishment of goals. Personally, I like Musk's
goals, but society should neither privilege his goals over those
of, say, George Soros, nor prevent him and his allies from pursuing
those goals. Yet in the Trek universe the Musk equivalent--Dr.
Noonian Soong--must work in a secret lab to build an android.

We need only compare what Musk has accomplished with regard to
space to what the government-run space program has accomplished
(which is more or less what you would get in the Trek "utopia"), to
see a vast difference in vision and achievement. A world with both
approaches is demonstrably better than one that excludes the other.
This is why the Trek "utopia" while seeming wonderful is really a
kind of nightmare, similar to Jack Williamson's "With Folded
Hands." In Trek world, all resource allocation is via committee.
Science has a very poor record of responding to new theories with
open arms. Consider plate tectonics as an example. Resource
allocation by committee inevitably leads to group-think and
stagnation, as well as lots of wasted time persuading others you
are right.

The author repeats the commonplace error of describing the Star
Trek universe has having very advanced, and rapidly advancing
technology. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Star
Trek universe features a rather limited number of technologies, and
a glacial pace of technological advancement outside certain limited
areas. The core technologies Trek has that we don't have are:

-- Some source of essentially unlimited, safe, cheap energy,
variously derived from "dilithim crystals" or somehow involving
antimatter Fusion is reliable and common, but appears to be
used more like a "backup generator" that is not the main source
of power. Fusion is used to drive the "impulse" engines of the
Enterprise.
-- Warp Drive
-- The "transporter", and derivative technologies, including the
replicator and the holodeck
-- The tractor beam
-- Various types of force shields
-- Sub-space communications
-- Cloaking devices
-- The Universal Translator

That's about it. The "transporter" is a gimmick the writers
invented to speed up storytelling, and neither it, nor the related
replicator or holodeck represent technologies that are ever likely
to exist in the form described in Star Trek. Warp Drive and
sub-space communication are ancient McGuffins of SciFi that allow
the writer to tell an exciting story about interstellar adventure,
but are only marginally more likely to be possible than the
"transporter." The magical "dilithium crystals" that act as
matter/anti-matter catalysts are just that--magic that does not
exist in the real world.

Controlled fusion is very likely possible, and success now seems
more like ten years away rather than the traditional thirty-year
timeline. Creating anti-matter is more a compact energy storage
method than a power source, but it may eventually be a useful
technology once we have sufficient cheap energy to manufacture it.
The same is true of "force shields." We may well someday create
powerful magnetic shields to protect space craft and free space
settlements from radiation, but this kind of technology seems less
than relevant to everyday life.

Pretty much all the other technology shown in Star
Trek--tricorders, communicators, computers, androids, medical
technology, universal translators, and even cloaking devices--are
actually much less advanced that what we might reasonably expect to
have in the 22nd century ("Star Trek: Enterprise") and certainly by
the 24th century ("Star Trek: Picard"). The Star Trek universe
posits the "Eugenics Wars" in the 1990s which led to a nuclear war
lasting from 2026 to 2053. Even granting the Earth was
substantially devastated in 21st century, Trek technology seems to
have advanced to a remarkably small degree over what we actually
have in 2022. Of course, we didn't spend the 1990s fighting Kahn
Noonian Soong.

The only way the Star Trek future makes any sense is if it is
understood not as the result of rapid technological progress, but
instead what society might look like if science is grossly
constrained to avoid doing anything that might change human nature
or the basis of human civilization. Secret agencies like Section
31 in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" must work behind the scenes to
ensure that progress moves very slowly or not at all.

Additionally, with no possibility of any personal gain from your
efforts, productivity is likely greatly reduced from what it would
otherwise be. I'll come back to this in more detail, but I worked
for seventeen years at Bell Labs, perhaps a reasonable
approximation of the productivity the Federation might achieve in
its various science institutes--thousands of Ph.D.s paid well
enough and treated well enough and given enough freedom to be one
of the most productive R&D organizations the Earth has ever seen.
And yet when I went to work for a series of startups, I found the
them to be at least 10x more productive per person, and likely much
more than that. In large part this was due to the fact that
everyone at the company stood to make a large sum of money if the
products succeeded in the market, while at Bell Labs you could win
the Nobel prize and change the entire world while making only
modestly more than the other employees. [-dls]

[This essay will conclude in the next issue of the MT VOID.]

===================================================================

TOPIC: "Enoch Soames" (letters of comment by Paul Dormer and
Dorothy J. Heydt)

In response to Evelyn's comments on "Enoch Soames" in the 01/21/22
issue of the MT VOID, Paul Dormer writes:

[Evelyn quotes the devil as saying,] "You wish to be in the
reading-room just as it will be on the afternoon of June 3, 1997?"

I have a memory of a BBC radio programme back in 1997 where someone
went to the British Museum on that date to see if Soames appeared.
(He didn't.) [-pd]

Dorothy J. Heydt replies:

Different universe, obviously. [-djh]

===================================================================

TOPIC: Bibles (letters of comment by Gary McGath, Paul Dormer, and
John Kerr-Mudd)

In response to Jim Susky's comments on Bibles in the 01/21/22 issue
of the MT VOID, Gary McGrath writes:

My go-to Bible is the New Jerusalem Bible. It's in readable modern
English, and it includes books which the Catholics accept but the
Protestants don't.

I'm an atheist, so I don't have a doctrinal preference among
Bibles. The book is on my shelf for research or curiosity. [-gmg]

Paul Dormer responds:

Same here. I think the copy I have was a special offer from the
Book of the Month Club in the Eighties. [-pd]

John Kerr-Mudd writes:

Feh, shudda nicked one from a hotel (do the Gideons still supply
them?). [-jkm]

Paul Dormer replies:

A few years ago, I stayed in the George Hotel in Huddersfield which
was where the Rugby League as formed in 1895. There was a history
of Rugby League in each room. [-pd]

===================================================================

TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book and film comments by Evelyn
C. Leeper)

The film THE DOOR INTO SUMMER is a Japanese adaptation of Robert A.
Heinlein's novel. One major change is that the story has been
moved to Japan and updated. (Heinlein got some stuff about 1970
right in his 1956 novel, but (not surprisingly) a lot wrong, and
the movie time shifts to avoid this.) The other major change--and
quite a good one, in my opinion--is that the movie doesn't have any
of Heinlein's long commentaries on cats, or (more importantly) any
of his blatant lechery, in particular the "betrothal" between an
adult male and a girl of eleven. (That she initiates it and the
marriage takes place when she is an adult does not really lessen
the off-putting nature of the whole exchange.) It also drops the
nudist camp (which was good for one twist in the book, but then
served no further purpose).

Most of the rest of the film is (as far as I could tell) faithful
to the novel. Another criticism I have of the novel, though, that
is carried through to the film, is that there are too many
convenient inventions. I could accept a lot of robots and AI
(running on vacuum tubes, no less!), but there's null-gravity and
time travel as well, which is pushing it. I am reminded of the
"Black Star" series by John W. Campbell, Jr., in which the three
main characters just whip up whatever invention or material they
happen to need at the time. When I read that I thought it was
pretty cool. I was twelve at the time.

The cold sleep companies in the book THE DOOR INTO SUMMER promote
the idea that if you go into cold sleep for thirty years, 5%
compound interest will make you rich, giving you $4 for every
original dollar you deposit. This assumes there is no inflation,
but inflation over that period in our world (1970-2000) meant that
you would have needed about $4.50 for the buying power of that
original dollar. Heinlein does acknowledge the existence of
inflation, but sort of hand-waves around it.

At any rate, the movie is definitely recommended for Heinlein fans,
and mildly recommended for others. [-ecl]

===================================================================

Mark Leeper
mle...@optonline.net


... Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject
in which we never know what we are talking about,
nor whether what we are saying is true.
--Bertrand Russell


Paul Dormer

unread,
Jan 30, 2022, 10:42:05 AMJan 30
to
In article <1a3117e3-072b-4569...@googlegroups.com>,
evelynchim...@gmail.com () wrote:

>
> One of the best films of men and the sea is Peter Ustinov's 1962
> adaption of Herman Melville's BILLY BUDD. Now note I am not saying
> the book is all that good. But the film made from the book is
> actually good.

I only know the Britten operatic version, written for the Festival of
Britain in 1951. Still often performed. Both Britten and E.M Forster,
the librettist, were gay but I'm told they toned down the homo-erotic
elements from the novella.

Gary McGath

unread,
Jan 30, 2022, 8:49:01 PMJan 30
to
On 1/30/22 9:55 AM, ele...@optonline.net wrote:
> TOPIC: TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF STAR TREK by Manu Saadia (a book
> review in the form of an extended essay by Dale Skran) (part 1)
>
> [This is the first part of a review of TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF
> STAR TREK.]
>
> A fundamental flaw in TREKNOMICS: THE ECONOMICS OF STAR TREK by Manu
> Saadia (published in 2016) is that it seems more a collection of
> essays that are somewhat related than an organized argument or
> analysis. Sloppy thinking abounds, although there are points to
> agree with as well.

The moneyless economy of Star Trek is so incoherently presented in the
shows that no one can really make sense of it.

--
Gary McGath http://www.mcgath.com

Dorothy J Heydt

unread,
Jan 30, 2022, 9:56:52 PMJan 30
to
In article <1a3117e3-072b-4569...@googlegroups.com>,
ele...@optonline.net <evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>FREE GUY: FREE GUY seems to crib a lot from STRANGER THAN
>FICTION, and I'm sure if I knew more about video games it would be
>clearer what is going on. I mean, I understand NPCs, but what are
>skins?

A skin, in an online RPG, is a character's appearance, whether
face, body shape, costume, or some or all of the above.

The game I play, Lord of the Rings Online, has a choice between
two faces per species/gender. I've looked at the choices of
faces available to many of my characters, and I can't for the
life of me tell the diffeence, but many players vehemently assert
that they can.

Player characters can also go to a barber NPC and change their
hairstile.

Finally, there are lots and lots of clothing choices. A
character can be equipped with the highest-level armor or
clothing they can wear, with more armor value and other buffs;
but they can also wear "cosmetic" armor or clothing that will be
seen by other players. This also works for weaponry.

> It's got some clever ideas particular to video games, and
>even with my inexperience with video games it was enjoyable
>enough, if not up to many of the "this is not the real world"
>movies.

I liked it a lot. My daughter warned me that a lot of the
magicalish weaponry would be borrowed from other properties that
Disney has absorbed, and so it was.

--
Dorothy J. Heydt
Vallejo, California
djheydt at gmail dot com
Www.kithrup.com/~djheydt/

Tim Merrigan

unread,
Jan 31, 2022, 6:21:34 AMJan 31
to
I suspect that the existence of, and relatively easy access to, matter
replication, and short distance teleportation (from high orbit to a
planetary surface, so, at least tens, if not hundreds, of miles, and a
transporter transmitter/receiver is nice to have, but not necessary)
would have major effect on the economy.
--

Qualified immunity = virtual impunity.

Tim Merrigan

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Scott Dorsey

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Jan 31, 2022, 11:46:13 AMJan 31
to
Gary McGath <ga...@REMOVEmcgathREMOVE.com> wrote:
>
>The moneyless economy of Star Trek is so incoherently presented in the
>shows that no one can really make sense of it.

"Oh, my parents don't use money. They have credit cards!"
-- My friend's niece
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

Paul Dormer

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Feb 1, 2022, 6:53:35 AMFeb 1
to
In article <st93ol$ord$1...@panix2.panix.com>, klu...@panix.com (Scott
Dorsey) wrote:

>
> "Oh, my parents don't use money. They have credit cards!"
> -- My friend's niece

One of the affects of the pandemic in the last couple of years appears to
be the abandoning of cash in favour of cards (debit as well as credit).
The only cash I've paid last year was the barber and the window cleaner.
Even a cheese vendor on a stall in the high street was taking cards.

Alan Woodford

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Feb 1, 2022, 7:07:53 AMFeb 1
to
I've used a little bit more cash than that, but only because a lot of the
local car parks haven't updated their ticket machines yet :-)

Mind you, I'd have been happier if one of the ticket machines I had to use out
in the country last year -hadn't- been updated...

The car park was in a mobile phone not-spot, and it was taking a couple of
minutes per person to actually connect and pay - imagine how happy the queue
was!

Alan Woodford

The Greying Lensman

Paul Dormer

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Feb 1, 2022, 7:50:45 AMFeb 1
to
In article <cc8ivg5ucjv8irntf...@4ax.com>,
al...@thewoodfords.uk (Alan Woodford) wrote:

>
> The car park was in a mobile phone not-spot, and it was taking a couple
of
> minutes per person to actually connect and pay - imagine how happy
> the queue was!

The smartphone I bought a couple of years ago turns out can't be used for
contactless payment.

Alan Woodford

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Feb 1, 2022, 8:43:14 AMFeb 1
to
This was the ticket machine not able to phone home - most people (including
me) were trying to use cards rather than phones for the payment.

Of course, in the good old days, the machine would have had a coin slot, but
it is presumably cheaper not to have to empty the machine.

Paul Dormer

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Feb 1, 2022, 11:27:47 AMFeb 1
to
In article <cvdivglijf1ui0pr9...@4ax.com>,
al...@thewoodfords.uk (Alan Woodford) wrote:

>
> This was the ticket machine not able to phone home - most people
> (including me) were trying to use cards rather than phones for the
> payment.

Back last summer my sister and her son visited me, the first time I'd
seen them for eighteen months (and the first time since my stay in
hospital). She wanted to go to Guildford Cathedral for lunch as they
have a small cafe. When it came to time to pay, she got out her phone
and waved it over the terminal and she'd paid.

I want one of those, I thought. She had an iPhone which uses Applepay.
My phone is an Android but there's a Googlepay in the store on it so I
installed it. Only to get the message that my phone doesn't support
contactless payment. Aargh!

Steve Coltrin

unread,
Feb 1, 2022, 11:31:41 AMFeb 1
to
begin fnord
p...@pauldormer.cix.co.uk (Paul Dormer) writes:

> One of the affects of the pandemic in the last couple of years appears to
> be the abandoning of cash in favour of cards (debit as well as credit).
> The only cash I've paid last year was the barber and the window cleaner.
> Even a cheese vendor on a stall in the high street was taking cards.

Even before the plague I'd gotten to the point where I only used cash
for the vending machine at work and road snacks at gas stations. Almost
everywhere I go I can pay with my watch, and the places I can't I look
for replacements where I can. (Lowe's, this meant you.)

That said, in the past two years I have touched cash *once*, and only
because one of my music teachers was having problems with their bank and
asked to be paid in folding money that month.

--
Steve Coltrin spco...@omcl.org Google Groups killfiled here
"A group known as the League of Human Dignity helped arrange for Deuel
to be driven to a local livestock scale, where he could be weighed."
- Associated Press

evelynchim...@gmail.com

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Feb 1, 2022, 11:35:02 AMFeb 1
to
On Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 11:31:41 AM UTC-5, Steve Coltrin wrote:
> begin fnord
> p...@pauldormer.cix.co.uk (Paul Dormer) writes:
>
> > One of the affects of the pandemic in the last couple of years appears to
> > be the abandoning of cash in favour of cards (debit as well as credit).
> > The only cash I've paid last year was the barber and the window cleaner.
> > Even a cheese vendor on a stall in the high street was taking cards.
> Even before the plague I'd gotten to the point where I only used cash
> for the vending machine at work and road snacks at gas stations. Almost
> everywhere I go I can pay with my watch, and the places I can't I look
> for replacements where I can. (Lowe's, this meant you.)
>
> That said, in the past two years I have touched cash *once*, and only
> because one of my music teachers was having problems with their bank and
> asked to be paid in folding money that month.

Around here (e.g., in the US), restaurants have started charging a credit card
fee of 2%-4%, so a lot of people are going back to cash.

--
Evelyn C. Leeper

Paul Dormer

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Feb 1, 2022, 12:14:21 PMFeb 1
to
In article <ece14622-ceea-4868...@googlegroups.com>,
evelynchim...@gmail.com () wrote:

>
> Around here (e.g., in the US), restaurants have started charging a
> credit card fee of 2%-4%, so a lot of people are going back to cash.

How about debit cards?

Peter Trei

unread,
Feb 1, 2022, 2:06:21 PMFeb 1
to
I"ll have to keep a lookout for that.

The credit card companies come down *hard* on retailers who do that.

OTOH, I have seem some gas stations offer 2-3% discounts for cash.

pt

rksh...@rosettacondot.com

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Feb 1, 2022, 3:18:05 PMFeb 1
to
Steve Coltrin <spco...@omcl.org> wrote:
> begin fnord
> p...@pauldormer.cix.co.uk (Paul Dormer) writes:
>
>> One of the affects of the pandemic in the last couple of years appears to
>> be the abandoning of cash in favour of cards (debit as well as credit).
>> The only cash I've paid last year was the barber and the window cleaner.
>> Even a cheese vendor on a stall in the high street was taking cards.
>
> Even before the plague I'd gotten to the point where I only used cash
> for the vending machine at work and road snacks at gas stations. Almost
> everywhere I go I can pay with my watch, and the places I can't I look
> for replacements where I can. (Lowe's, this meant you.)
>
> That said, in the past two years I have touched cash *once*, and only
> because one of my music teachers was having problems with their bank and
> asked to be paid in folding money that month.

I think the only time I've used cash since the pandemic started was at the
minor emergency clinic back before Thanksgiving. I went in because I thought
I had broken my ankle (I had, thoroughly) and their credit/debit processing
was down. Fortunately there was a pharmacy next door with an ATM.

Robert
--
Robert K. Shull Email: rkshull at rosettacon dot com

Steve Coltrin

unread,
Feb 1, 2022, 4:19:21 PMFeb 1
to
begin fnord
In parts of Albuquerque, businesses have been robbed so often they are
going cashless. It's that or close up shop.

Tim Merrigan

unread,
Feb 1, 2022, 4:32:47 PMFeb 1
to
Less risk of the coin box being stolen, possibly doing serious damage
to the kiosk.

Tim Merrigan

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Feb 1, 2022, 4:38:30 PMFeb 1
to
I've seen some places offer a discount if you pay in change.
Apparently there's been a shortage of U.S. coins for a couple years
now.

Gary McGath

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Feb 1, 2022, 6:15:13 PMFeb 1
to
On 2/1/22 11:31 AM, Steve Coltrin wrote:
>
> Even before the plague I'd gotten to the point where I only used cash
> for the vending machine at work and road snacks at gas stations. Almost
> everywhere I go I can pay with my watch, and the places I can't I look
> for replacements where I can. (Lowe's, this meant you.)
>
> That said, in the past two years I have touched cash *once*, and only
> because one of my music teachers was having problems with their bank and
> asked to be paid in folding money that month.
>

Yesterday I went grocery shopping and paid with a credit card. When I
got to my car, I realized both I and the cashier had missed the gallon
bottle of water that I'd put in the bottom of the cart. I went back in
to pay the $0.75 for it, handing the cashier (a different one) three
quarters.

evelynchim...@gmail.com

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Feb 1, 2022, 8:39:36 PMFeb 1
to
On Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 11:31:41 AM UTC-5, Steve Coltrin wrote:
> That said, in the past two years I have touched cash *once*, and only
> because one of my music teachers was having problems with their bank and
> asked to be paid in folding money that month.

Well, I touch cash every time I go to Aldi, because it takes a quarter to unlock
the shopping trolley. You get it back when you return the trolley, but sometimes
the trolleys are swapped at the checkout, so it may not be your quarter.

--
Evelyn C. Leeper

evelynchim...@gmail.com

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Feb 1, 2022, 8:40:59 PMFeb 1
to
Them too. Basically, they're passing on their fees these days.

--
Evelyn C. Leeper

Gary R. Schmidt

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Feb 1, 2022, 9:59:07 PMFeb 1
to
The ALDI's here in Oz sell AUD2.00 coin-sized tokens (for AUD1.60 or so)
with nice clips that go onto your key ring.

So we don't even have to touch cash to do that!

Although I did touch cash at the pub last night, I'd ordered a meal for
one of the skaters who was running late, and he repaid me in cash. :-)

Cheers,
Gary B-)

Keith F. Lynch

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Feb 1, 2022, 10:03:08 PMFeb 1
to
ele...@optonline.net <evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Paul Dormer wrote:
>> evelynchim...@gmail.com () wrote:
>>> Around here (e.g., in the US), restaurants have started charging a
>>> credit card fee of 2%-4%, so a lot of people are going back to cash.

>> How about debit cards?

> Them too. Basically, they're passing on their fees these days.

Good. Cash customers shouldn't be forced to subsidize credit card users.
--
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.

Dorothy J Heydt

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Feb 1, 2022, 11:45:39 PMFeb 1
to
In article <cu9jvghqs0a854qqv...@4ax.com>,
Yes, because people have been buying online and paying with their
cards, while their spare change accumulates in jars.

Paul Dormer

unread,
Feb 2, 2022, 5:34:41 AMFeb 2
to
In article <stcs9a$bi0$1...@reader1.panix.com>, k...@KeithLynch.net (Keith F.
Lynch) wrote:

>
> Good. Cash customers shouldn't be forced to subsidize credit card
> users.

But a debit card is no different to writing a cheque, except the funds
are transferred electronically. (Shops no longer accept cheques these
days, and haven't for years.)

Paul Dormer

unread,
Feb 2, 2022, 5:34:41 AMFeb 2
to
In article <4a7d5c92-4c7e-4325...@googlegroups.com>,
evelynchim...@gmail.com () wrote:

>
> Well, I touch cash every time I go to Aldi, because it takes a
> quarter to unlock the shopping trolley. You get it back when you
> return the trolley, but sometimes the trolleys are swapped at the
> checkout, so it may not be your quarter.

I think it's a pound coin in Tesco, but as I'll be walking home, I always
use a basket. If I can't carry my purchases in a basket, I'll not be
able to walk home.

Paul Dormer

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Feb 2, 2022, 7:17:24 AMFeb 2
to
In article <m2h79ii...@kelutral.omcl.org>, spco...@omcl.org (Steve
Coltrin) wrote:

>
> In parts of Albuquerque, businesses have been robbed so often they are
> going cashless. It's that or close up shop.

I went to English National Opera before Christmas and their website
announced the house was card only. I bought a programme with a card. I
believe the bar and the ice cream sales were card only. But this was
probably for hygiene reasons.

rksh...@rosettacondot.com

unread,
Feb 2, 2022, 9:38:05 AMFeb 2
to
I can't recall ever encountering this. I have seen a few places (mostly gas
stations) offering a cash discount. We used to go to a few restaurants
that only accepted cash, although I think they've all given up on that or
closed. A somewhat higher number required (or at least politely requested)
that purchases under $10 be made with cash.

Steve Coltrin

unread,
Feb 2, 2022, 11:04:49 AMFeb 2
to
begin fnord
rksh...@rosettacondot.com writes:

> I can't recall ever encountering this. I have seen a few places (mostly gas
> stations) offering a cash discount. We used to go to a few restaurants
> that only accepted cash, although I think they've all given up on that or
> closed. A somewhat higher number required (or at least politely requested)
> that purchases under $10 be made with cash.

There's a gas station near me that charges 21st century customers more
than it does primitive screwheads who are still banging the rocks
together. I don't buy gas, or anything else, from them.

There's a pastry shop in Santa Fe I did patronize that, at least, used
to be cash only. Then I started going to Santa Fe on a regular basis
but with four figures worth of instrument with me that I wasn't willing
to leave in my trunk. Then the damn world blew up and I stopped eating
out. But I see on Apple Maps that they are (allegedly) taking honest
contactless money now.

Paul Dormer

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Feb 2, 2022, 12:09:00 PMFeb 2
to
In article <ste4uu$2hjml$1...@memoryalpha.rosettacon.com>,
rksh...@rosettacondot.com () wrote:

> A somewhat higher number required (or at least politely requested)
> that purchases under $10 be made with cash.

I realised a year or so back how much paying cashless was now the main
way of paying when I bought something in Tesco. It was less than a pound,
about 60p, and I paid with my debit card. (I used a self-service
checkout so no person telling me I couldn't do that.)

Tim Merrigan

unread,
Feb 2, 2022, 6:54:55 PMFeb 2
to
If there had been a problem the selfserv register would have said
something. And you couldn't try to finagle it "Just this once,"
unlike if there'd been a clerk there.

Tim Merrigan

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Feb 2, 2022, 6:59:04 PMFeb 2
to
On Wed, 02 Feb 2022 15:54:50 -0800, Tim Merrigan <tp...@ca.rr.com>
wrote:

>On Wed, 2 Feb 2022 17:08 +0000 (GMT Standard Time),
>p...@pauldormer.cix.co.uk (Paul Dormer) wrote:
>
>>In article <ste4uu$2hjml$1...@memoryalpha.rosettacon.com>,
>>rksh...@rosettacondot.com () wrote:
>>
>>> A somewhat higher number required (or at least politely requested)
>>> that purchases under $10 be made with cash.
>>
>>I realised a year or so back how much paying cashless was now the main
>>way of paying when I bought something in Tesco. It was less than a pound,
>>about 60p, and I paid with my debit card. (I used a self-service
>>checkout so no person telling me I couldn't do that.)
>
>If there had been a problem the selfserv register would have said
>something. And you couldn't try to finagle it "Just this once,"
>unlike if there'd been a clerk there.
>--

Of course you could still buy a candy bar or something to bring it up
to the minimum.

Joy Beeson

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Feb 11, 2022, 10:58:03 PMFeb 11
to
On Tue, 1 Feb 2022 17:39:35 -0800 (PST), "ele...@optonline.net"
<evelynchim...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Well, I touch cash every time I go to Aldi, because it takes a quarter to unlock
> the shopping trolley. You get it back when you return the trolley, but sometimes
> the trolleys are swapped at the checkout, so it may not be your quarter.

At my Aldi, the carts are alllmost always swapped because the cashier
starts ringing up your purchases while you are still unloading your
cart onto the belt. Sometimes I get out of breath trying to keep up.

--
Joy Beeson
joy beeson at centurylink dot net
http://wlweather.net/PAGEJOY/


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