Sunday, March 15, 2015

State of Ipecac's World - March 2015

What's going on with Ipecac?

Things have been crazy busy recently. A couple of weeks ago our heat pump/air handler crapped out during the nasty cold spell. The HVAC guy got it kind of working through the worst days while we decided whether or not to invest in a completely new system. (At night, the temperature in the house was dipping down into the fifties.) Since we've been hemorrhaging money for electric bills to heat the house, we decided to get it over with. Installation was done earlier this week, so now we're finally back in the world of warmth. Our new system should reduce our electric bills considerably.

What's going on with Asshats?

In the meantime, 47 Republican Senators wanted to show just how much they hate the President by sending a letter to Iran in an attempt to scuttle a negotiated deal to keep Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. The letter said Iran shouldn't bother coming to an agreement with President Obama, because we'll just renege on it later. Let's quickly put that into perspective.

There are three (realistic) ways Iran won't develop a nuclear weapon.

One, they decide not to build one on their own. This is unlikely. Since the United States doesn't bomb or invade countries with nuclear bombs, see Iraq versus North Korea, for example, our usual militaristic foreign policy provides them with a perverse incentive to actually build a bomb. Once they have the bomb, the odds of the United States bombing or invading them drop significantly.

Two, Iran negotiates a settlement with the United States and other countries. This is what President Obama, as well as Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, are trying to do. If successful, war is avoided, Iran builds no bomb, and the sanctions on Iran are lifted. It might even help to bring a more moderate Iran into the international community. This is the best outcome.

Three, the United States, or Israel, and Iran go to war. This would be catastrophic for all involved and cost possibly hundreds of thousands of lives. It would also, once again, sow chaos in the Middle East and continue the cycle of violence for another twenty years.

The Republican Senators clearly want the third option. By engaging in an unprecedented act of sabotage against the President's foreign policy, they are actively working towards the third option. They hate President Obama so much, that they're willing to side with the hard-liners in Iran to hurt the President's peacemaking efforts.

Immoral, traitorous scumbags.

What's going on with the Jedi?

At the beginning of The Phantom Menace, the earliest Star Wars movie chronologically, we learn that the Jedi believe that their ancient enemy, the Sith have been extinct for 1,000 years. This means that for the most part, the Jedi have been facing non-Force-wielding beings in their peace enforcement duties. These beings would undoubtedly use modern weapons like blasters, missiles, and such. Given the advantage of the Force, it would be suicide for anyone to try and use lightsabers against the Jedi.

So why do the Jedi still use lightsabers? Against whom are such weapons useful?

Sure, lightsabers are useful in deflecting blaster fire, and useful for things like melting through walls, but they aren't useful against missiles or other high explosive ordinance. Plus, lightsabers are not range weapons and have no stun setting. You can't really subdue someone with a a lightsaber without lopping off one of their limbs.

So, maintaining a dueling tradition for 1,000 years when the only people you will need to swordfight are your fellow Jedi, doesn't make a lot of sense. In fact, when Darth Maul shows up and engages Qui Gon Jinn in a lightsaber fight, that should have been the first lightsaber duel Qui Gon ever fought.

Looking outside the story, we know why the Jedi use lightsabers. George Lucas wanted the Jedi to be like Samurai and even envisioned stormtroopers carrying lightsabers. In such a world, it would make sense for the Jedi to carry them. But as the story developed, only the Jedi and the Sith used the weapons, and with the Phantom Menace, we learned that there are only ever two Sith at one time. So why would the Jedi waste all that time and effort perfecting the use of a weapon of absolutely marginal utility?

Awesome, early Ralph McQuarrie concept art.

To conclude, it makes no sense that the Jedi use lightsabers.

Just something that occurred to me.

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