Big Head Press Forum

Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: knoodelhed on November 28, 2011, 02:13:54 am

Title: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: knoodelhed on November 28, 2011, 02:13:54 am
FWIW, I'm sure that Hogan Security like any private business (particularly based in the UW) would be subject to numerous laws and regulations as well as licensing and insurance, as well as have a customer comment system. A few well distributed video clips just might do something interesting to their stock price.  ;D  Tho I don't see any direct relationship to current events (eg, Occupy) it seems (with my limited understanding of world history) that something like what Frank Martin is describing could have occurred in Africa or Asia in the early 1900s. Anyway, this is an interesting situation to say the least!
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: Azure Priest on November 28, 2011, 08:33:07 am
Oh, yeah. This could turn real ugly, real fast.

First thing to do, is secure the pole to pole subway system.

Second thing to do, as has been shown on Ceres, set up cameras EVERYWHERE, and let EVERYONE know they're being watched.

Third thing to do, keep the kids home, close to momma and poppa. We don't want another "Black Mamba" incident.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: UncleRice on November 29, 2011, 10:35:07 am
Hogan Security sounds a lot like the Pinkertons.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: jrl on November 29, 2011, 02:48:54 pm
Sounds more reminiscent of the scenario of the Lunar revolution in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, than any historical event I'm familiar with.

But I've got to admit there is WAY more history out there I haven't heard about than there is that I have. I have a pretty fair handle on US & British history, OK on western Europe, but the rest of the world? a few disjointed incidents at best.

Of course maybe I just think I have a fair handle on US history (never mind anywhere else). . . I never heard about the coup plot by a number of very rich Americans during the 30s to overthrow the US government, which was turned in by Gen. Smedley Butler, 'till this week.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: jrl on November 29, 2011, 03:25:06 pm
BTW: While google returns lots of results for "San Blas War," at least the first couple pages of results have precious few details. . . Westernizers tried to force their ways on the traditional culture, tried to force fathers to send their daughters to dance halls, a rape or two, and the people revolted killing 20 police, and settled for semi-autonomous status.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: knoodelhed on November 29, 2011, 03:42:45 pm
Hogan Security sounds a lot like the Pinkertons.
Or Baldwin/Felts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baldwin%E2%80%93Felts_Detective_Agency
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: SandySandfort on November 30, 2011, 08:07:32 am
BTW: While google returns lots of results for "San Blas War," at least the first couple pages of results have precious few details. . . Westernizers tried to force their ways on the traditional culture, tried to force fathers to send their daughters to dance halls, a rape or two, and the people revolted killing 20 police, and settled for semi-autonomous status.

Yes, but "settled for semi-autonomous status" is ambiguous. The Kunas won the war. They permitted the Panamanian government to claim the legal fiction that Kuna Yala a "semi-autonomous" territory. But if Panamanian law does not apply in Kuna Yala, what is left to be "semi" about Kuna Yala's autonomy?
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: Azure Priest on December 01, 2011, 08:24:32 am
Well, we've got BOSS HOG, we've got some dukes, now all we need is a sheriff Rosco. When is officer P. Coultraine going to make an appearance?
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: TMIAHM on December 04, 2011, 11:38:51 pm
Well the General Lee should be able to make some epic jumps in the low gravity! :)
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: Homer2101 on December 06, 2011, 01:27:46 am
It's an interesting situation; will have to read up on the historical reference after finals are done.

The big danger to any populist movement is that the entity being challenged or resisted might not care about public opinion, internal or external, and might not care about the final body count so long as it achieves its objectives. We saw such a situation play out in Eastern Europe in the 1950s and 60s, in China in 1989, in Chechnya at the beginning of this millennium, and can see it in Syria today. Public opinion does not matter in the face of guns and the will to use them without remorse, and no guerrilla movement will survive in the long term against a determined opponent who would destroy everything before ceding control. Mao's statement that a guerrilla must be a fish among fish in the ocean* only works if there are fish among which to hide, an ocean in which to swim, and oxygen in the ocean to breathe.

But that depends on where the strip's authors want this story to go, and the exact situation on the ground, which we readers probably are not that closely familiar with. Or maybe I'm just slow. But it sounds like the northerners on Mercury have neither the resources nor the willpower to get what they want.

*Badly paraphrased, but the meaning is essentially the same.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: sam on December 06, 2011, 04:30:04 am
The big danger to any populist movement is that the entity being challenged or resisted might not care about public opinion, internal or external, and might not care about the final body count so long as it achieves its objectives.

Asymmetric warfare, is warfare by the weak against the strong. If the strong are unhampered by moral qualms, are reasonably united, sane, and competent, the strong are going to win.

Progressives, however, suffer from the serious disadvantage of a utilitarian moral ideology.  If they follow their ideology, they lose against asymmetric warfare.  If they violate their ideology, they lose unity and cohesion, and again lose.

I notice that in the EFT universe, pretty much every moderately wealthy individual has devices that can dispense enormous energies.  They travel in spaceships that employ hyperbolic orbits, they all own something like nuclear reactors.  Thus most of them have, or could easily improvise, the equivalent of a small twenty first century nation's nuclear arsenal.

Under these circumstances, people will be reluctant to behave in ways that lead to all out open warfare.  Any act of violence needs to deeply cloaked in the plausible appearance of legitimacy, thus conflict will be nine tenths symbols, one tenth violence.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: UncleRice on December 06, 2011, 10:44:38 am
I notice that in the EFT universe, pretty much every moderately wealthy individual has devices that can dispense enormous energies.  They travel in spaceships that employ hyperbolic orbits, they all own something like nuclear reactors.  Thus most of them have, or could easily improvise, the equivalent of a small twenty first century nation's nuclear arsenal.
Indeed, the only way you would get their space ships to function in the way they do is if they had nuclear or equivalent energy sources. That means pretty much everyone is a nuclear capable entity. It's a small miracle that the earth isn't a radioactive wasteland as it would only take a few loose cannons with nothing to loose to lay waste to the planet.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: mellyrn on December 06, 2011, 02:55:42 pm
Quote
It's a small miracle that the earth isn't a radioactive wasteland as it would only take a few loose cannons with nothing to loose to lay waste to the planet.

It's a "miracle" only to a given view of "human nature".  Absent a deity, what has happened so far (and what has failed to happen) is, almost tautologically, the result of human nature.

And we may yet render the earth a radioactive desert.  Exhilarating, not knowing, hey?
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: quadibloc on December 16, 2011, 03:37:40 pm
It's a "miracle" only to a given view of "human nature".  Absent a deity, what has happened so far (and what has failed to happen) is, almost tautologically, the result of human nature.
He was talking about the EFT universe, not the real world.

And, of course, the people on Terra don't have personal fusion generators, but are beholden to large utilities instead. Only the free people have this kind of power.

Mind you, just in the news today is a story about how three people were murdered on the highway to Calgary by a jilted boyfriend. So I reject the notion that the "given view of 'human nature'" is a particularly misanthropic one.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: Killydd on December 19, 2011, 01:04:52 pm
Apparently human nature has been changing though:
 http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228340.100-steven-pinker-humans-are-less-violent-than-ever.html?full=true (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228340.100-steven-pinker-humans-are-less-violent-than-ever.html?full=true)

Of course, an on average good view of human nature doesn't keep you from looking at the outliers that might consider detonating a fusion reactor over an important piece of real estate, just to make their point for a cause. 
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: macsnafu on December 20, 2011, 08:25:37 am
Apparently human nature has been changing though:
 http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228340.100-steven-pinker-humans-are-less-violent-than-ever.html?full=true (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228340.100-steven-pinker-humans-are-less-violent-than-ever.html?full=true)

I don't think it is human nature itself that's changed, but simply the circumstances that we live in that have changed, and that's what's led to a decrease in violence. Pinker doesn't have any strong answers as to why violence has declined, but he does make various suggestions, and even he seems skeptical that human nature itself has changed, if you read further down.

Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: Killydd on December 20, 2011, 11:27:16 am
Several of those reasons do boil down to "culture" and just saying that in general we are less desiring of genuine violence.  Certainly advances in medicine lower the homicide rate as, for example, someone knocked around badly in a bar fight is now less likely to die.   World War 2 was the first time that battlefield casualties actually outnumbered disease as a cause of death. 

However, I'd argue that any change in culture that is  visible worldwide amounts to a change in human nature:  What we learn to think growing up is a more powerful force than genetics.  Is it better to say a change in human nurture?  maybe but it doesn't sound as good. 
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: sam on December 28, 2011, 09:23:58 pm
Pinker doesn't have any strong answers as to why violence has declined

Violence has not declined, but has increased hugely and horrifyingly during the democratic era - world wars instead of national wars, a gigantic increase in the rate of homicide and assault, an even more gigantic increase in the rate of imprisonment. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf)

In Britain, everything has been criminalized, except crime, which has been decriminalized.

In 1874 2 people were arrainged for homicide in NYC. 1 was held for trial. This rose substantially in 1875. Six people were held for trial.

Until the red terror of the French Revolution it used to be that the Spanish inquisition, which typically murdered a few dozen per year, was the example of horrifying state repression.

Today Egyptians murder a lot more than a dozen Christians per year, and everyone is impressed by how wonderfully democratic they are.

Queen Bloody Mary murdered 200 people, resulting in eight hundred refugees, and went down in British history as a horrifying bloody handed tyrant.

About two million Hindus were massacred for religious reasons in the partition of India, and hardly anyone remembers, that being fairly routine for the twentieth century.

During the twentieth century Sihanouk murdered twelve thousand, and gets written up as a saint. Tito a few hundred thousand, and is viewed as the exemplar of tolerant and peaceable communism.

During more than fifty years of what the Icelanders themselves perceived as intolerably violent civil war, leading to the collapse of the traditional system, the average number of people killed or executed each year appears, on a per capita basis, to be roughly equal to the current rate of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in the United States.

Decolonization was a gigantic crime, that has killed almost as many people as communism.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: macsnafu on December 29, 2011, 08:54:32 am
Pinker doesn't have any strong answers as to why violence has declined

Violence has not declined, but has increased hugely and horrifyingly during the democratic era - world wars instead of national wars, a gigantic increase in the rate of homicide and assault, an even more gigantic increase in the rate of imprisonment. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf)

The last world war was more than 60 years ago. Since then, wars have been much more localized.  But you really want to argue with Pinker.  His book has all the data to support his position.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: sam on December 29, 2011, 08:15:37 pm
Pinker doesn't have any strong answers as to why violence has declined

Violence has not declined, but has increased hugely and horrifyingly during the democratic era - world wars instead of national wars, a gigantic increase in the rate of homicide and assault, an even more gigantic increase in the rate of imprisonment. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf (http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99-111.pdf)

The last world war was more than 60 years ago.

Thanks to the peace of terror.

Wars are a bursty phenomenom, so sixty years is not sufficient for a trend.  A century, or better several centuries, is required.  And on the scale of centuries, wars have been becoming more terrible.

Crime and repression however, is less bursty, making measurements over short time periods meaningful. And over the last century, crime and repression have become markedly worse.

But you really want to argue with Pinker.  His book has all the data to support his position.

His data is misleading. He equates progressivism with peace.

To him, more people in jail is more progress, hence more peace.  Jail resembles progressive utopia, with free food, free housing, free medical care, and considerably less of all those other irritating freedoms that progressives do not much like.
Title: Re: Trouble brewing on Mercury
Post by: mellyrn on December 30, 2011, 08:11:03 am
Quote
The last world war was more than 60 years ago.

The last officially-designated world war was more than 60 years ago.  There's this amusing little poll (http://www.democraticconventionwatch.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4574) where, given choices of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5+ or "other" for "number of wars the US is currently waging", 39% answered "5+" and the runner-up, 16.8%, is for "5".  I reference the poll since your very statement indicates that what counts as "war" (or, as it may be, "world war") is very much a matter of opinion -- of how we define our terms.

How many places must the world's lone superpower bomb before we call it a "world" war?