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Okay. So how can I get a Magic Decoder Ring?
When Alex is asked to come up with something at DARPA that will help the world, she'll jump right on board because she's, you know, "good people." What happens when the DARPA people ask her to help put together some device whose sole real purpose is to kill, maim, and terrorize as the American Empire expands? Will she tap her chest with her hand and say, "What could I do? I have children. My family needs a paycheck. I was only following orders! If I didn't do it, someone else would!" Perhaps this is why I dislike her character (and Jeff's) so much. Neither shows any genuine moral maturity. She's a very clever child who will easily be duped into helping to make the world just a tiny bit more totalitarian. But don't tell her that. She's "good people."
Re KUDOS: The NRA's "hit list" of people and organizations that defy them reads like a roster of the most intelligent, the most philanthropic, and the most caring of Americans. I would be proud to be on that list!
Lazy Presidents? Neither Bush nor Obama were lazy. It shows a lack of understanding to think that a President is ever truly on vacation. Just because he isn't in the White House doesn't mean that he isn't running the country, having meetings with staff, etc. They just switch locations for a few weeks and get a change of scenery. But they are always in charge and on the job 24/7 no matter where they are.
Not only did ARPA (later called DARPA) create the first operational packet switching network that would eventually grow and host the Internet, but Senator Al Gore initiated legislation that built it into the public communications backbone he nicknamed the Information Superhighway. It was congressman Dick Armey who faxed press releases the next day after Gore's statement in a (successful) attempt to turn Gore's well deserved credit into public ridicule. (“If the vice president created the Internet, then I created the interstate highway system.”) The partisan press corps cemented the misquoted version of Gore's claims into the collective consciousness of the nation during an election year.
People always quote Dick Armey, and few ever correct him by adding the truth that Gore DID provide the government support for bringing the internet to the public, which is to say that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet." The Internet probably would not resemble the one we know without Gore's successful legislation and championing in the halls of congress. I'm sure Alex would speak up and set the record straight, but since she's meeting with DARPA and doesn't have time to, I'll do it.
I know there are a lot of Jeff-haters out there, but I'd like to acknowledge that he's at least trying to be cordial to Alex despite their strained past. "Brilliant" as she may be, Alex hasn't really figured out how to communicate with those she dislikes without stooping to their level (e.g "Uncle Stupidhead"). Extend the olive branch already!
Actually DARPA, or what was then called ARPA, did invent the internet -- it was then called ARPANET -- and linked among other things educational institutions and defense contractors. It was first deployed at the very end of the 60s. I was on ARPANET myself in the early 80s. The World Wide Web, on the other hand, which newcomers to this technology think is the internet, was invented by Tim Berners-Lee much later, in the very early 90s.
DARPA no more invented the internet than Al Gore did, but they both, each in their own way, did their part to make it happen. They and many others contributed to the result.
The current Straw Poll asks about our feelings about "killer drones." I am bothered by the fact that their use in Afghanistan doesn't bother me so much. If I think about it late at night I lose sleep over it. However, I have a cousin who lost both legs in Afghanistan. I have been to Walter Reed in D.C. to visit, and I have seen the damage and waste that IEDs cause to our service men and women. Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote an editorial in the NY Times asking "Are these people worth less than Americans?" I think they are worth as much as me and you; I don't think they value themselves as much as we do. How else can it be explained that they send their young men and women out to blow themselves up in the name of jihad?
Kudos to Doonesbury for making the NRA Enemies List while others are outraged that they didn't. The NRA has taken the list down twice, but it is still available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
I refuse to be distracted. I'm still waiting to hear Drew's big news.
Jeff will be stuck in the laundry room for a while longer. A form of weaponized skateboard/rapid Special Ops transport is already on the Pentagon wish list. Behold, The Shredder.
Jeff continues to delight, in the sense that he is still as harebrained as he was the day he walked into Walden. He seems to have eased into the Uncle Duke role in the next generation Doonesbury family: confident, brash, and completely lacking self-awareness.
Jeff Redfern is wasting his time trying to write a book. He needs to sell the rights to his existing book to a video game company and make a regular amount of money, but not a lot. Then he will again be stuck with the question "Do I want to mean anything in this life?"
The final panel in today's strip is priceless. What a contrast between the two: One stuck in adolescent fantasies and living at home, and the other solidly educated and working on serious engineering problems in which she has invested years of hard work. It's a contrast I saw all too often in the later portion of my teaching years. Too many kids (especially boys) seem to make it their major priority to become experts at skateboarding and playing video games.
Weaponized skateboards? HYDRA was using those in a Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic back in the Sixties. Hardly a new idea, Jeff.
DARPA drives the future. Congress would do well to grow its funding, along with NIH. This will create new jobs in the future. And please stop with the baby-killing military robot research; what can be done for you, can be done to you.
Alex at DARPA. Truly scary. Any idea she has must violate at least three laws of physics. That will be no challenge for her.
I'm sorry to see there has been no follow-up on Monday's "internet porn" strip. This is actually a very big issue, with the high prevalence of internet porn use and the detrimental physical effect it has on a man's sex life in real life, especially younger men. Get those two talking!
I'll take Alex's word that DARPA invented the internet, but it was an Englishman (Tim Berners-Lee) who invented the world wide web. And he made no money on it whatsoever; he just gave it to the world. Not a lot of Americans seem to know that.