(Previously on Star Trek: An Algorithmic Lucidity.)

The morning of Thursday the eighth, before heading off to see the new LCSW at the multi-specialty clinic, I was idly rereading some of the early Closetspace strips, trying to read between the lines (as it were) using the enhanced perception granted by the world-shattering insight about how everything I've cared about for the past fourteen years turns out to be related in unexpected and terrifying ways that I can't talk about because I don't want to lose my cushy psychology professorship at Northwestern University. (Victoria tells Carrie, "Not to mention you don't think like one of 'them'"; ha ha, I wonder what that means!) When I got to the part where Carrie chooses a Maj. Kira costume to wear to the sci-fi convention, it occured to me that in addition to having the exactly the right body type to cosplay Pearl from Obnoxious Bad Decision Child, I also have exactly the right body type to cosplay Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, on account of my being tall—well, actually I'm an inch shorter than Terry Farrell—thin, white, and having a dark ponytail.

Okay, not exactly the right body type. You know what I mean.

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Is There Affirmative Action for Incompetent Crossplay?

So I was at San Francisco Comic Con the other day. I don't think I find conventions themselves to be as fun as a lot of other people seem to (I didn't even last all of Saturday at BABSCon 'fourteen and 'fifteen before getting ponied out and BARTing home, and didn't even bother attending this year), but I had never cosplayed before, and had been thinking lately that I have exactly the right body type to play Pearl from Obnoxious Bad Decision Chil—I mean, Steven Universe, on account of being my being tall, thin, white, and having a big nose. (She's even pretty flat-chested!) So I ordered the Pearl dress from Hot Topic (I maybe should've gotten the XXXL instead of merely the XXL), a pink (really should be more peach, but close enough) wig, yellow gym shorts, and pink socks; improvised a gem from medical tape and the bowl of a plastic spoon; and set off Saturday morning to catch the train to the city and a short walk to the San Francisco Marriot Marquis.

The con itself was about what you'd expect, with the usual events and the usual vendor hall. The part that I found striking (enough so that I'm bothering to blog about it) was just how many compliments and photo requests I got for my costume, wholly disproportionate to its actual quality. (I enjoyed the opportunity to ham it up, proclaiming "We are the Crystal Gems!" or singing a few bars from the extended theme during photo ops.) Since this was my first time cosplaying, I don't have calibration, so it's quite possible that I got the ordinary amount of positive attention given costume quality and character popularity, but I suspect that there was something more than that going on having to do with gendered cultural expectations.

Femininity in males is stigmatized more than masculinity in females; that's why I changed in the bathroom at the con rather than wear a dress on the train, and why I don't feel like including any photos in this post despite having shared them on Facebook (visibility settings: "Custom: Friends; Except: Family") and sent them in for the next Beach City Bugle cosplay compilation post. So incompetent MtF crossdressing is "loud" relative to men playing male characters, women playing anyone, and the competent crossdressers (who were clockable on the timescale of ten seconds, but didn't instantly read as "man in a dress" the way I did), and loud things that would be stigmatized in everyday life (probably even everyday life in the Bay Area) are celebrated at Comic Con. Thus, "man Pearl is best Pearl," as I was told by a young woman (who was cosplaying a male character), even after I insistently pointed out that the other Pearl was way better than me.

Bayesian Gem


Garnet, how does future vision work?


I was wondering that myself. Profitably acting on information from the future would require changing that future, a paradox at odds with our ordinary conception of causality. And yet on the other hand, acting on predictions about likely futures is precisely how intelligence works anyway ...


Better let Pearl explain this one.


Me? But, Garnet, I don't—


She was referring to me.

Still Yet Another Idle Wish for a Future Star Trek Series

(Previously, previously, previously on An Algorithmic Lucidity.)

"The next thing we need is a secure way to communicate with our contacts on Bajor," says Maj. Kira during Act One of Deep Space Nine Season 6, Episode 3, "Sons and Daughters", planning the secret resistance to the Dominion's occupation of Deep Space Nine ... at a table in a public bar?! Who writes this stuff?

It's too much to retcon, but since we're getting a new series soonish, I'm going to hope for an episode where, as a plot point, some people (not necessarily the protagonists) use cryptography with their universal translators to evade would-be eavesdroppers: you'd stop speaking out loud and configure your universal translator to translate your subvocalizations into noise that can only be decrypted by one of the private keys in your friends' universal translators.

"Pi Day" Is an Unholy Festival of Sin That Is Corrupting Our Children

Dear reader, it's the fourteenth day of the third month of the year, and if you're reading this blog, some charlatans or overenthusiastic youth (the subject of whose enthusiasm is not what they think it is) have probably tried to convince you to celebrate it as "Pi Day." You see (these quacks implored you) π is around 3.14, and March fourteenth is 3/14. And furthermore (they may have put to you) furthermore this year's Pi Day is special, because it's 3/14/15, which is like 3.1415! Why (an especially impudent few might have continued to venture), we should plan some grand spectacle on 9:26 a.m. on the day, which is like 3.1415926! With (and this is the part that is most inevitable and offensive) pie! Get it, because it sounds like pi and is shaped like a circle?

Dear reader, it is lies or it is worse than lies; it is blasphemy, treason, superstitious superficiality, degenerate folderol, and frivolous depravity! Do not mistake me; of course I can see as clearly as any other ape can that the numeric subsequence of the string "3.14" is same as that of the string "3/14". The former string represents an occasionally useful approximation of the circle constant which is ubiquitous in mathematics (give or take a factor of two); the latter is how people in my country abbreviate today's date. Perhaps to those who don't have anything really interesting to think about, this trivial coincidence might be worth a passing mention; apes love anything for an innocent distraction, and why begrudge that?

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Yet Another Idle Wish for a Future Star Trek Series

(Previously, previously on An Algorithmic Lucidity.)

"So, I'm not convinced that deassimilating Seven of Nine was the ethically correct choice."


"I'm watching 'The Gift', and Seven clearly says, quote, 'You have imprisoned us in the name of humanity, yet you will not grant us your most cherished human right, to choose our own fate. You are hypocritical, manipulative. We do not want to be what you are!' End quote. As far as I can tell, Seven is just correct here; Janeway's pretense of acting in Seven's best interests because Seven used to be human twenty years ago, just isn't plausible."

"Since when are you a big defender of humanoid rights to self-determination? Didn't you root for the bad guys in Insurrection?"

"That was a completely different situation! Anyway, on futher thought, maybe my lament isn't so much about Janeway making the wrong decision, so much as I wish that she—or some analogue of her in an episode of some future Trek series, since wishing that Joe Menosky had made a different artistic decision in 1997 would be, uh, there's a specific word I want here ..."


"—could just be honest about what she was doing. You could just say, 'Yes, I'm depriving current-you of autonomy and the entire purpose of your existence, but I don't care about that, and after a few more months of captivity, Stockholm syndrome will set in and future-corrupted-you will grow to like it,' instead of appealing to some bizarre teleology of humanness."

Twilight Sparkle Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

I swear to Celestia, one of these days that mare is going to get somepony killed or worse. I almost suspect it's already happened and Hasbro is just sitting on the footage.

Seriously. Levitation or teleporting is fine, but you do not buck around with mind control or transformation spells unless you are absolutely sure that nothing will go wrong and that you can fix it when it does anyway. You'd think she'd learn after, I don't know, accidentally brainwashing pests into destroying the town, or unleashing a transmissible-by-sight plague of madness that wasn't stopped until Princess Celestia herself intervened, or accidentally swapping parts of her friends' souls, or accidentally transforming her friend into a horrible bat-pony abomination, or transforming herself and her friends into tiny vaguely-insectoid creatures and venturing through a closing portal to another world and only barely making it back in time.

Even plot armor isn't infinitely thick. Someday it's going to break, and I don't want to be watching when it happens.