I think today's been fairly productive. I went off to PMSI (the… - John C. Kirk
Aug. 12th, 2003
I think today's been fairly productive. I went off to PMSI (the company where I used to work) for a chat, and we've agreed that I'll resume work there in October. We need to sort out a few of the finer details before I sign a new contract, but basically I'll stay there for a year while I look for PhD places/jobs in research companies. This works out quite well all round, since the recruitment process is a hassle for everyone involved.
As part of my new-found enthusiasm for my project, I've dug out a Prolog textbook that I bought earlier in the year. Like far too many of my "improving" books, it had a bookmark on page 30 (half-way through chapter 2). Anyway, I'm now half-way through chapter 3 (having started from the beginning again), so this bodes well.
On a lighter note, I also read "Batman/Aliens 2" today. Without wanting to give out any significant spoilers, I definitely think that Batman has the right attitude ("they need to be culled"). By contrast, I think that Superman's reluctance to kill them is rather nonsensical. This isn't about my own moral views, as such. It's more that both characters value human life very highly (they won't kill bad guys), but they also aren't vegetarian, so they don't mind killing animals. So, is it consistent for them to kill/not kill the Aliens? I can see why Superman in particular (being from Krypton) would say that you don't have to be human to qualify - it's whether you're sentient or not. Fair enough, no problem. So, philosophical question - based on what we've seen (e.g. in the films), are the Aliens sentient? I've seen no evidence of any language (spoken or written), or any technological development. Have we even seen any of them using tools? The nearest I can think of is when one Alien wore a pilot's helmet. I think they have a certain amount of cunning, but no more than I've seen in other animals, e.g. cats.
I'd also observe that saying "I won't kill him, because that would be wrong, but I have no objection to ripping his tail off, using it to club him until he loses consciousness, then leaving him to bleed to death, since there's zero chance of him receiving medical attention" doesn't really seem that merciful to me!
On a side-note, this wasn't seen in the films, but in the spinoff books/comics it's been established that the Predators bred the Aliens (via genetic engineering) so that they would have a prey worth hunting. In "Predator 2", if you look closely in one scene, the Predator has an Alien skull mounted on the wall of his spaceship, so it's possibly that we'd see an "Aliens vs Predator" movie at some point.
Public service announcement: I got a leaflet from Orange, saying that if I get someone else to sign up, we both get some money out of it (in the form of discounts). So, no hard sell here, but if you're planning to get an Orange phone anyway, let me know, and we can both benefit.
Meanwhile, I like to think that my blog is better than this :)