readout: what is shipping

There are no computers in Star Wars, and there is a good reason for this.

Star Wars, much like Dune, is fantasy masquerading as science fiction, and its aesthetic is keyed to the human intuitions that expect tools to fit comfortably in the hand and intelligent things to have a face. Microprocessors and all of the ubiquitous invisible computation they enable just don’t work at human scale and don’t suit human intuitions, and must be eliminated.

Frank Herbert dealt with this problem in Dune by introducing the Butlerian Jihad, a war that led to a religious prohibition against the creation of thinking machines. This Amish-like restriction on allowable technologies allowed him to handwave away the lack of visible progress over thousands of years of galactic feudalism.

Star Wars was released in May 1977, a month before the Apple II went on sale, a couple of years before the IBM PC, when the power of a computer could still be measured by its size. Data was spooled onto rolls of tape, or stacks of punched cards, or metallic disks that took two hands to carry around. Computers were more like industrial facilities with plumbing and ducting, humming with power flowing through transformers and valves, not the ubiquitous silent shards of silicon that permeate our lives today. It seemed reasonable to suppose that a bigger computer was a better computer, and a computer good enough to run a galaxy must be big enough that you could ride a bicycle around inside it.

Although computers were treated much like giant steam engines in the popular imagination, this didn’t apply to robots! Even Asimov drew a distinction between his MULTIVAC computer the size of a city block and his golem-like humanoid robots with their “positronic brains” wandering around having emotions and falling in love and wrestling with ethical dilemmas. We are very willing to accept that anything with a face can be smart, and the fondness for BB-8 shows that having an eye and being cute as a button is all it takes to ensure complete suspension of disbelief.

Watching a new movie like Rogue One, now, after forty years of Moore’s Law, it’s hard not to laugh when they have to extract files from a database the size of a skyscraper by physically climbing up inside it and pulling out a cartridge the size of a book. But you have to admit that this kind of thing makes sense in a way that modern computers don’t. You could explain this scene to a monk in the middle ages and they would get it, whereas a 32GB SD card the size of your fingernail is just silly.

But it’s not just about hardware progress, Star Wars doesn’t have computers. Wait you say, what about Luke’s targeting computer? What about all the screens and readouts in the space ships? While those may perform computation, much like a pocket calculator, they are not general purpose computers. A computer is not really a tool, a computer is the raw substrate for making tools by giving it the correct program. A computer is a meta-tool that eats all other tools, and this is Inhuman and Wrong which is why it does not exist in Star Wars.


What is shipping? It’s like putting two pebbles on a tiny boat on different sides of a continent and praying that they find each other

torry-k-deactivated20160727  asked:

What is the wincest ship?

Good question!

It is a shortcut term to describe the relationship between Sam and Dean. This can mean the in-show (canon) relationship where they can fight and hurt each other but, in the end, they will always choose family. This is also called bibro or platonic wincest.

This can also mean, the imaginary relationship between Sam and Dean that covers everything from platonic brothers to gay serial killers and everything in between. This is referred to as Fanon - fan canon. Since it’s made up and personal, you can have the boys have whatever relationship you need/want.

Some people just think it’s hot. Some think it’s gross. Some don’t care.

I personally identify with their devotion to each other and the debilitating codependency they have. They fall apart when separated.

That’s just one relationship, “ship,” in the fandom. If the characters exist, they can be paired with just about anyone else.

Hope that helps.

this-gilded-earth-deactivated20  asked:

Jack had doubts, but it looked like not only cons used this site. Was that... Smokescreen? "Smoke? You have a blog?"

Huh? Jack? Miko? And Raf? You guys all using the same blog? Huh.

But yeah, I do! It’s a good way to keep track of all the ‘cons. And believe me, the 'cons seem to spend most of their time blogging. Probably why things are starting to get better.

Learning about the culture here’s good, too, though there’s still a lot I don’t get.

anonymous asked:

the phrase 'crack' ship to me seems kinda problematic, or at least trivializing of the crack epidemic because isn't that where the term came from? like, someone has to be smoking crack to ship this? i don't know how old the term is, but i've been in fandom(s) since 2004-5 and i've seen it in use in my whole time, across many different fandom cultures (anime, bandom, spn, harry potter, glee)

yeah i

wasn’t really sure of the history behind the name but i was definitely side-eying the name because of that. 

like i understand the analogy being made but i’m just not sure it’s a particularly good one.