Sunday, October 29, 2017

The United States Space Corps - Part XI

The NDAA negotiations are now underway. Senators John McCain and Jack Reed met with Representatives Mac Thornberry and Adam Smith, the respective chambers conference committee members who now sit down in secret to discuss and smooth out their NDAA differences.

Before the meeting, McCain cited the House plan to create a Space Corps as one of the biggest nuts to crack. Bill Nelson, a senior Armed Services member who sponsored legislation opposing the move in the Senate, has said the new military service will never happen. Alternatively Mike Rogers, who is spearheading the push for a Space Corps in the House, said he was feeling optimistic. 

Thornberry, HASC chair, pointed out that 79% of House members voted for his $696 billion version of the NDAA and 89% of senators voted for the $700 billion version spearheaded by McCain. “There is a widespread consensus that we need to do better for our military,” Thornberry said. Both Thornberry and McCain were optimistic that the issue would be ironed out quickly even within days, because differences in the bills are small.

Source: Army Times/ Washington Examiner

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

SPEARHEAD monitoring "Bigfoot" sighting

SPEARHEAD are currently monitoring reports of a Cryptid 2N-Alpha sighting in the region of Avocado Lake, Northern California.

If you are in the area do not engage, shoot at or attempt to communicate with anything resembling "Bigfoot". If you encounter same, please notify the authorities.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The United States Space Corps - Part X

The U.S. House of Representatives officially approved by unanimous consent a motion to go to conference to reconcile its version of the annual defense policy bill with the Senate’s.

Despite not formally going to conference yet, the so-called “Big Four”: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, ranking member Rep. Adam Smith, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain and ranking member Sen. Jack Reed met to discuss differences in the bills.

Thornberry has told reporters negotiators hope to resolve all major differences by the end of October, including negotiations to to flesh out is the Space Corps. The House desiring to create the new military branch dedicated to space by Jan 2019, while the Senate bill would explicitly prohibit its creation instead the appointment of a Chief Information Warfare Officer reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense with authority over space, cyberspace, and information programs.

“I don’t meant to be too dismal, but I’ve been in too many classified briefings,” Thornberry, told reporters Thursday. “As I look at what Russia and the Chinese are doing, we don’t have a lot of evolutionary time to sit and hope we kind of drift in the right direction. We are more dependent than anybody else on space.”

 Source: The Hill / Spacepolicyonline /

Monday, October 09, 2017

Discovery continues, better but still not Trek

Star Trek: Discovery is now four episodes in and while I will say that it has immensely improved since the woefully mediocre pilot, it's still missing the Star Trek mark by a long-shot. Nevertheless it's worthy to watch and allow you to make up your own mind. I was somewhat critical of the pilot, yes but my issues were entirely justified. I won't retread old ground with regards to the ridiculously reimagined Klingons or the confusingly anachronistic technology as these elements are here to stay, they distract from the story and remove it from true acceptance as canonical Star Trek and I'll leave it at that.

Episode 3 "Context Is for Kings" was two things: 1. A far better episode of TV than either/both the pilot episodes and 2. It should have been the actual pilot with the previous episodes told in flashback. How cool would it have been instead to reveal Burnham's past than by her invoking Amanda as the person who read her bedtime stories rather than the nonsensical "Hologram Sarek"? Fuller obviously trusted fans to accept the dual mystery of  Burnham AND the Discovery but clearly nervous CBS executives disagreed and wanted something that they could offer half for fee and make people pay for the other half (as is the reprehensible money grabbing all-access situation in the U.S.). It seems that or assumed we would be too dumb to understand and spent several million explaining Burnham's transgressions to us instead.

It's not until this episode that we're actually introduced (quite spectacularly goosebump-worthy I might add) to the titular Discovery, her captain Gabriel Lorca (a possibly insane "warmonger" with one foot in the door of an admiral's office) and a whole plethora of Bryan Fuller mysteries (who are the black badges??) that now sadly, lesser writers have to solve. The episode itself was great, it had technobabble and even some welcome Star Trek staples that harked back all the way to the original series; a redshirt (not that you can tell because all the frikking uniforms are blue), a monster of the week and a terrible disaster that wiped out the crew on another ship that despite there being dozens of different starship designs they used the Discovery's design again as a "sister ship" the USS Glenn.

Episode 4 "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry" was again better than the pilot(s) but neither better nor worse than last week's episode. This week, we have Burnham studying last week's "monster" and the outcome is certainly in keeping with the principles of Star Trek, albeit not entirely resolved - which is OK as this series is not as self contained as previous shows. The fact that we have the need to check in with the current goings-on in Klingontown every act is a bit too disjointed, especially as they are still following the trope of not speaking English, forcing viewers to read dozens of lines of subtitles. Normally this would be OK as Klingons are more action than talk - except THESE ARE NOT REAL KLINGONS and do far too much faffing about, talking and pledging allegiance to to the memory of their messiah etc. Just shut up and get on with it for fuck sake!!

Another major issue is the characterisations of the personnel on board are not in keeping with humanity as a whole. Roddenberry created a positive vision of the future where human conflict and personal gain were now passe. It was referenced in the original series, fleshed out during The Next Generation and by the time Enterprise was shown, this mentality had been established. However, for some reason here we have Lt. Stamets who is sarcastic to the point of being borderline insubordinate and we have Cmdr. Landry who would seem more at home as the militaristic, trigger-happy henchman of a villain in a Disney movie. These archetypes of characters are great for "The Expanse" or "Battlestar Galactica" but the un-Star Trek-ness of them is distracting and damages both story and the brand.

Despite the myriad of new and old issues, these episodes are a marked improvement over the pilot but still far less Star Trek than is projected by the superior "The Orville" and it would seem most fans agree with me... for now.