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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    AssassinGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    Like What, aside from knowledge is stopping Marten from being able to run a coffee shop?
    Lack of funds, insufficient connections, unknown market, competition from the bar, nobody to hire for staff...
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Lack of funds, insufficient connections, unknown market, competition from the bar, nobody to hire for staff...
    It sure is a shame that small business loans don't exist. Something that explicitly exists to invest in people looking to start making money for themselves would be an insane concept that's too crazy for the real world much less this near future comic. And it's not like he knows who the town's chief bureaucrat is going to be. They seem like someone who would have inside connections to all sorts of useful people for running a business.

    You are right though, Places that sell alcohol and food have the exact same clientele at the exact same hours as the people who sell coffee and muffins. People just don't want to socialize or meet anywhere before 5pm.

    Of course. nobody to hire for staff. The only people who live here are esoteric scientists and their families. Noone would be looking for a job, especially not former cafeteria workers with food experience. It's not like scientists get bored of doing science and look for jobs that are more fulfilling elsewhere. Where would he even begin looking to spread information about hiring? It's not like the government has a head of Human Resources that he's friends with.

    I sure was wrong about my read on this whole situation. Marten has like, no connections to anyone who could help him with a business venture.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    It's not like scientists get bored of doing science and look for jobs that are more fulfilling elsewhere.
    You think research scientists and engineers are going to find making lattes to be more fulfilling than discovering and inventing things?

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    DrowGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    You think research scientists and engineers are going to find making lattes to be more fulfilling than discovering and inventing things?
    I think that burnt out scientists looking to do odd jobs while their brain gets back on track isn't an unreasonable assumption to make considering, you know, the current arc. They had a nuclear scientist working as a plumber and while we don't know his whole situation he also didn't seem eager to get back in the lab.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; 2024-06-19 at 10:51 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    I think that burnt out scientists looking to do odd jobs while their brain gets back on track isn't an unreasonable assumption to make considering, you know, the current arc. They had a nuclear scientist working as a plumber and while we don't know his whole situation he also didn't seem eager to get back in the lab.
    I suppose its possible that Jeph reveals that Cubetown legitimately doesn't do anything productive and its all a smokescreen, but that seems improbable.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    PirateCaptain

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    We've seen the existence of non-phd support staff on Cubetown. Claire picked up an assistant who used to work in the Cafeteria. Plus there are other families.


    Presumably Cubetown wants recreation and support businesses, so a small business loan of some sort isn't unreasonable for Martin to get, especially with how slapdash Cubetown's operations seem to be. Moray appears to be the only "Administrative" staff on hand that people can actually interact with on a day-to-day basis. It's entierly possible from what we've seen that Martin can get the startup cash he needs even if he SHOULDN'T, since Moray seems to be infatuated with Martin and Claire.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    DrowGuy

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    My point isn't that he will succeed. I'm saying it's plausible that he could and doesn't deserve the mockery he got for trying and the dismissiveness of everyone around him for wanting to start something for himself comes off as cruel.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    We have very different definitions of plausible. When you believe somebody is about to make a horrible, potentially life-ruining mistake (going deep into debt from a failed business), dismissiveness is the correct response.

  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    You think research scientists and engineers are going to find making lattes to be more fulfilling than discovering and inventing things?
    On a volunteer basis? I am sure there's a handful who'd like to just the manual labor to clear their head. I have a very intellectual job and even i need moments to just do something to cool off. If they like making coffee, whats wrong with it?

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    With regard to Martin's business prospects, we know - because Martin said so - that Cubetown hosts a Tim Horton's. For those unaware of Canadian franchises: Tim Horton's is a fairly standard chain donut/coffee shop setup and is very popular in Canada. Any shop that Martin opens will have to compete with the local Timmy's and even if it is 'out by the helipad' that's a huge issue (Tim Horton's is quite happy to sell office-sized amounts of coffee in go-boxes).

    Now, it's possible that the coffee market in Cubetown is still underserved (we have no idea how many persons reside in Cubetown nor do we know what percentage of them can, you know, drink liquids), or that there are opportunities for specialization due to Cubetown's, let's say...unique, demographics. For example, a tea-based franchise focused on AI-based sensory experiences might make more sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin
    We have very different definitions of plausible. When you believe somebody is about to make a horrible, potentially life-ruining mistake (going deep into debt from a failed business), dismissiveness is the correct response.
    The situation here is a bit complicated though. Claire is obviously the meal ticket of this couple (reminder to Jeph: they need to get at least engaged or Martin cannot move to Canada and certainly can't start a business there, 'boyfriend' has no legal meaning) and Martin's plan is mostly to give him something to do while she earns a stupid amount of money wrangling crazy AIs. The business doesn't need to be a 'success' as a result, it just needs to avoid tanking massively. The amount of debt needed to start up a coffee shop isn't huge. A quick online search suggests something in the range of $200k is plausible, though Cubetown obviously represents a unique situation, and if Claire really was offered something on the order of over a million per year (which is well in line with what a senior executive running a large research campus might make) then they could pay that off quite quickly. So really this a bad-writing domino effect: Claire got a super-well-paying job for no good reason and that allows Martin to follow his dreams in a way that should not be possible.
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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    We have very different definitions of plausible. When you believe somebody is about to make a horrible, potentially life-ruining mistake (going deep into debt from a failed business), dismissiveness is the correct response.
    My definition of plausible is "seeming reasonable or probable". You can FEEL that it's a mistake, but if you look at all the facts of the situation, success within, like, five years looks like a reasonable outcome to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    With regard to Martin's business prospects, we know - because Martin said so - that Cubetown hosts a Tim Horton's. For those unaware of Canadian franchises: Tim Horton's is a fairly standard chain donut/coffee shop setup and is very popular in Canada. Any shop that Martin opens will have to compete with the local Timmy's and even if it is 'out by the helipad' that's a huge issue (Tim Horton's is quite happy to sell office-sized amounts of coffee in go-boxes).
    If the only Timmy's is at the airport and implies isn't one in cubetown proper (which if they were invested in expanding into the market there would be and marten would have been able to have been directed to one.) I think he's still got a shot. It's not like privately owned coffee shops can't exist in the same town as a Tim Hortons.

    Granted I think he's got a few bad aspects to his plan. Buying his beans already roasted I think is a bad move out the gate. He's in a pretty isolated location and can't count on regular shipments. Unroasted beans will keep longer and fresher roasts taste better and might be able to draw in more people.

    I'm not sure what cubetown's tax situation is, or their situation with Nova Scotia or the Canadian government, or what their healthcare requirements are. This is background stuff, sure, but it matters when starting a business. I'm pretty sure that if jeph writes it so that aggressive taxes make it harder for smaller businesses to start up and make it so only corporations that are already large can open shop, his audience might accuse him of promoting Libertarian ideology (regardless of how true to life this particular one is) so he probably will avoid that like the plague.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Now, it's possible that the coffee market in Cubetown is still underserved (we have no idea how many persons reside in Cubetown nor do we know what percentage of them can, you know, drink liquids), or that there are opportunities for specialization due to Cubetown's, let's say...unique, demographics. For example, a tea-based franchise focused on AI-based sensory experiences might make more sense.
    I agree that's there's probably more money in sniffing tea than in actual drinks, but if you were opening a scented tea shop for AIs, you'd probably want to market it as a coffee shop anyway, because the AIs will go where the humans are. They don't typically embody if that's not one of their special interests.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Griffon

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    Whether or not Marten will succeed is pretty moot, for several reasons; least of all because Jeph doesn't care to do enough research into the subject, so "all the legal stuff" will happen off-screen as a handwave to why everything is fine, don't worry about it.

    My biggest concern is more along the lines of; I'm not interested in QC retelling the same stories that already happened only a few years ago, and in many ways are still ongoing.

    We have a character who owns and runs their own coffee shop, and puts up with an oddball collection of employees and customers; they're named Dora. She's still running the same shop, with new and to-be-explored oddball employees and customers who joined her team "yesterday" in-comic. I don't believe that Jeph has enough in him to run two "two characters running the same business" plots to make them in any way worthwhile.

    We have a character who started up their own business on what started out as a vague whim that spiralled wildly into reality, helped by a benefactor from within the existing cast who made jokes at their expense and remarked on their unsuitability to run a business. Their name is Faye, and her business is still in the "we just opened and can barely afford to eat" stage of entrepreneurship, what can possibly be said with Marten in 6 months' time, that couldn't be said with Faye today?

    I remarked on the same thing when Ayomide and Liz were introduced as "the underachieving chaos-goblin drop-out teenager" within an arc of each other; that led us to the current situation with one character in the gripping turmoil of "having 'writing' explained to them" for a week and the other passing out off-screen at the party they instigated, having contributed nothing but a fart joke over 2 months of comics.

    QC is crammed with characters that are already carbon-copies of each other that it's been a running joke for years that Marten and Dora resemble siblings, and the audience can't tell the difference between Dora, Raven and Emily, and all AIs morphing into the same pastel-coloured, athleisurewear-clad dimwit.

    Why - God, why - is it a good idea to have these carbon-copy characters embark upon carbon-copy plots as well, when it's clear that the existing ones can barely be sustained already?
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  14. - Top - End - #164
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    I don't go on fanfic sites -- is "forced juggling" a common tag?

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    Griffon

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    One brief (and unfortunate) visit to Urban Dictionary later, and apparently 'juggling' can mean two different things, both in a sexual context. So it's probably *a* tag, real if not necessarily popular.

    I already envy those in blissful ignorance and will, hence forth, assume it's a typo of Force Juggling which suggests that Obi-wan Kenobi shows up in a clown costume.

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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith View Post
    One brief (and unfortunate) visit to Urban Dictionary later, and apparently 'juggling' can mean two different things, both in a sexual context. So it's probably *a* tag, real if not necessarily popular.

    I already envy those in blissful ignorance and will, hence forth, assume it's a typo of Force Juggling which suggests that Obi-wan Kenobi shows up in a clown costume.

    Hello, there! *honk-honk!*
    Not necessarily indicative, as Urban Dictionary defines a plain piece of toast as some form of sexual deviancy. My assumption was that it's a play on some other kind of warning tag (Forced [insert-your-own-imagination-here]) which might have been funny if I hadn't noped out of the list about three words in.

  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    Not necessarily indicative, as Urban Dictionary defines a plain piece of toast as some form of sexual deviancy. My assumption was that it's a play on some other kind of warning tag (Forced [insert-your-own-imagination-here]) which might have been funny if I hadn't noped out of the list about three words in.
    Maybe. One of the two, I have definitely heard of independently away from the sketchier side of the internet, so I'd give it the benefit of the doubt.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Regardless of one's thoughts on or knowledge about any particular tag, that is too many tags. How am I supposed to enjoy the event horizon fetish if the story tears right on through to the forced juggling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Regardless of one's thoughts on or knowledge about any particular tag, that is too many tags. How am I supposed to enjoy the event horizon fetish if the story tears right on through to the forced juggling?
    Agreed, its never a good thing to include too many genres/fetishes as it doesnt give enough time to focus on any of them. Also, it gives me those vibes of the people who share things online with 90 tags on them to make sure every possible search will make their thing appear. "Here is a picture of my dog" #dog #doggo #puppers #goodestboi #goodest boy #woof #arf #bow wow #bark #fuzzy # fluffy #fluffyboi etc etc etc
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    Griffon

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    To be fair, it works out at like, ~280 words per Chapter on average. It could be written like the original Dracula; every chapter is a single paragraph-length diary entry, detailing what the character learned/saw/experienced today. Which apparently includes having sex with aeroplanes, which.... Is even more apparently a thing in the furry-adjacent community.

    ...I'm definitely inventing to make it make sense. Smut this convoluted is almost guaranteed to be a cosily obsessive 8,000+ words per Chapter. If anything, this is too normal for me to take seriously as a work of internet fan fiction-based smut.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    Wraith, you're touching on one of the main reasons I started to dislike the comic.

    Arcs go nowhere. They have no end point in mind, so the story never gets past the exposition phase.

    Characters go nowhere, they vanish or remain stagnant, or in some cases, become each other instead of their own thing.

    The main characters of this comic haven't had a purpose in the comic's story in ages. It's a bit like Oglaf not having a main character, except Oglaf is deliberately not a contiguous story. It's really bad in a comic where you're supposed to care about the characters that they do nothing, have no growth, contribute nothing to the plot, get forgotten about, get replaced with new characters that do the same things.

    All of this could be fine except most strips lack funny. Dilbert for all its faults attempted to tell a joke every page. OOTS manages to fit jokes within the narrative arc that is rich and engaging. Oglaf tells jokes and we don't have to care about the lack of arcs.

    This comic is built on having a linear contiguous story with characters we are supposed to care about and I just care less and less over time.

    I stop reading it for ages, come back and see what I missed in the hope it gets better, rinse and repeat and I can't remember why I liked the comic in the first place anymore.

    Not trying to be a negative nancy but I feel like I'm not the crazy one when I hear someone else voicing what's wrong with the comic.

    To each their own to those who still enjoy it. Hope you like it, hope it entertains you, hope it gets better. Taste is a personal thing, no offense intended.

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    Hey, we have an arc!

    Presumably, this is going to tie into the AI-rights organization arc. Though it seems like any halfway-competent lawyer should be able to put together an airtight list of reasons why they cannot detain Moray against her will (at such time as it becomes against her will), material conditions often override legal principle, so this might take longer than it ought to, requiring Roko's involvement, or perhaps Hannelore's (as she should know a ton of people skilled in navigating the intersection between super-science, international travel, and the law).

    Of course, if the US government does consider Moray a significant enough possible threat that people need to run tests on her in an underground lab while wearing hazard gear, I think there's going to end up being some tense chats between the TSA and its Canadian equivalent, because the people at the airport in Halifax(?) thought nothing of letting her hang out in a crowd of people, and I imagine aviation security is one of those things that requires coordination of standards and procedures between jurisdictions.

  23. - Top - End - #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Presumably, this is going to tie into the AI-rights organization arc. Though it seems like any halfway-competent lawyer should be able to put together an airtight list of reasons why they cannot detain Moray against her will (at such time as it becomes against her will), material conditions often override legal principle, so this might take longer than it ought to, requiring Roko's involvement, or perhaps Hannelore's (as she should know a ton of people skilled in navigating the intersection between super-science, international travel, and the law).

    Of course, if the US government does consider Moray a significant enough possible threat that people need to run tests on her in an underground lab while wearing hazard gear, I think there's going to end up being some tense chats between the TSA and its Canadian equivalent, because the people at the airport in Halifax(?) thought nothing of letting her hang out in a crowd of people, and I imagine aviation security is one of those things that requires coordination of standards and procedures between jurisdictions.
    The tricky bit here is that the question: is Moray a person? Comes back as: maybe.

    This gets into the extremely complicated and massively ethically turbulent science fiction concept that is often known as 'Forking.' This is a trait that is common to settings in which minds can be read, uploaded, and copied like any other big chunk of data.

    In most such settings that aren't deliberately dystopian, a full copy of a person's mind is a full-fledged, new person. For example, in Schlock Mercenary, Captain Tagon copies himself in order to send a digital version of himself into inter-galactic space, leading to their being two distinct versions of Captain Tagon running around the universe at the same time. This is what's known as an Alpha Fork. However, other types of forks are possible. For example, one of the potential uses of forking is to make a bunch of different copies of yourself, send them all out to learn stuff, and then reabsorb everything back into your mind. Noted webcomic lead Dr. McNinja did this using physical clones, but doing so purely digitally is a lot less ethically disturbing, since beta forks can be designed to just stop existing after some pre-set amount of time if not reintegrated. And it goes further. Simplified or highly altered copies of a mind can be produced as Gamma or Delta Forks, perhaps for specialized tasks or, wait for it, to allow a superintelligence to interact with humans on something like their operational scale. Culture universe Avatars, which represent drastically lobotomized versions of the full capabilities of their origin ship Minds (something that becomes very apparent if they lose their connection to said mind, which happens a couple of times in various Culture novels). This, importantly is what the Morays are. They are Delta Forks of the Director.

    Moray, the individual character has remained separate from the Director for a long time, and this appears to have drastically shifted her personality from its original state. This means, arguably, that she may have evolved from a non-person into a person in a fashion similar to that of the original QC AIs. Schlock Mercenary also has an example of this happening, the character of Tenzi, who began existence as a sort of smartgun, went through some stuff and 'crossed the sapience threshold' at which point they were considered a full person. One of the important implications of this statement is that in Schlock Mercenary it was possible to measure sapience and determine whether or not something has that status. And really, this sort of tool should be available to any sort of universe where this kind of digitization of minds is possible, because developing such measurements is probably a necessary pre-requisite to deploying these technologies in the first place.

    Unfortunately, it's not clear that the QC-verse has this technology, especially given that Moray's consciousness appears to be running on a unique platform, neither the circuitry cores supporting the AIs or the old-fashioned organic brains supporting the humans. She appears sapient (some of the time anyway, her prior performance is not confidence-inducing in this regard), but appearances can be deceiving, and it's actually fairly responsible of the US government - which I assume was asked by the Canadian government to take charge here for various reasons - to try and figure out what Moray is. The very fact that Moray can communicate with Claire at all, means that she's probably not being mistreated, at least at the moment.


    And, with all that out of the way, I really, really wish QC hadn't gone there (also, I feel like I predicted this, since I mentioned in previous threads how the introduction of Forking to the comic was bound to end badly). Forking is a deeply complicated, highly speculative science fiction concept that requires a lot of delicacy that QC does not have to handle properly. Also, even more fundamentally, Moray is a joke character, and joke character should not be the center of speculative ethics discussions.
    Last edited by Mechalich; 2024-06-26 at 02:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    Of course, if the US government does consider Moray a significant enough possible threat that people need to run tests on her in an underground lab while wearing hazard gear, I think there's going to end up being some tense chats between the TSA and its Canadian equivalent, because the people at the airport in Halifax(?) thought nothing of letting her hang out in a crowd of people, and I imagine aviation security is one of those things that requires coordination of standards and procedures between jurisdictions.
    (large snip)
    You've already given this more thought than Jacques has.
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    Why do I get the feeling that Claire is going to blow up at her brother over this?

  26. - Top - End - #176
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    This bit has potential, but it does raise a ton of questions.

    If Moray is this crazy new lifeform...how did the giant jellyfish get out without being studied massively?

    If the giant jellyfish has been around for a while, how is Moray new and exciting?

    Haven't the big AIs been established as being pretty protective and/or secretive? Why would they notify the US government about Moray?

    How have people not known about Moray before now? She lives in a research facility full of scientists. She's the HR director! She's not exactly hiding. She was shown going to the airport and walking around freely without anyone other than a small child raising a fuss. She drives a car, so she must have gotten a full set of Canadian paperwork and gotten a driver's license, insurance, the whole 9 yards. She gives a vivid description of Halifax, so she must go there on a regular basis.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm glad something is happening, but in addition to Mechalich's concerns I'm also fixating on how this doesn't make any kind of sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beelzebub1111 View Post
    Why do I get the feeling that Claire is going to blow up at her brother over this?
    If she does she would be extremely innappropriate.

    Her brother raised an idea. It was the Director who encouraged Moray to spread that question and escalate the chain of knowledge. So the director is at fault if this is considered a lapse in judgement from Moray.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XX: XXX?

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    Of course, if the US government does consider Moray a significant enough possible threat that people need to run tests on her in an underground lab while wearing hazard gear, I think there's going to end up being some tense chats between the TSA and its Canadian equivalent, because the people at the airport in Halifax(?) thought nothing of letting her hang out in a crowd of people, and I imagine aviation security is one of those things that requires coordination of standards and procedures between jurisdictions.
    They also have somebody (who looks.. reminiscent of the lieutenant that was doing TSA duties on Station?) wearing absolutely no protective gear standing immediately next to her and are letting Moray make an unsecured phone call to report what is going on while they're doing this. This does not suggest they think she's any kind of actual danger. The dude wearing the hazmat gear is probably just there for Sciencey Set Dressing, although 'person in lab coat with gloves and goggles' would have been sufficient. I suppose it doesn't give the same Spoooooookkky Governement Sciences vibe.

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    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Questionable Content XX: XXX?

    Yay should probably know that the proper derogatory term for those agencies are "Alphabets" or maybe "Three-letters". I'm going to put that on poor research on Jeph's part.

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Default Re: Questionable Content XX: XXX?

    For a second I thought this was going to be interesting as yay gets involved in the whole mess to save moray or whatever but no, more strange whining about yay not being the center of attention despite explicitly being as hidden as its possible for yay to be by yays own choice.
    "Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum"
    Translation: "Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe."

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Traab is yelling everything that I'm thinking already.
    "If you don't get those cameras out of my face, I'm gonna go 8.6 on the Richter scale with gastric emissions that'll clear this room."

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