SFP

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  • Anondod

    That *is* more sad.

    • Tylikcat

      He’s also right. Alison is the one bringing value judgements (well, is sad that? something) into it. Does that help?

      • thebombzen

        Keep in mind that it’s one think to think value judgments and other thing to say them. We judge other people all the time but are nice enough not to say it. Alison doesn’t have that luxury when talking to Patrick so she essentially needs to use *crimestop* around him.

        • Tylikcat

          Oh, I know. I upvoted the original post, because it resonated with me.

          I guess I think it’s only partly an involuntary response, and much more an encultured one. Cutting is a thing, that has a whole set of cultural connotations in our society. There is a lot of shame attached to it. Alison is operating in that context. Patrick is the recipient.

          …and it’s exactly what you’d expect of Alison, and her upbringing and her life experience. No question. It leaves me sad, and frustrated, because the default seems to be looking at all the ways people are broken, rather that looking at the things people did to get through hard situations and make it.

          (And yeah, Patrick’s in a bad place now, but that just mean’s he’s more vulnerable when Alison is seeing him like this. And I know there’s a whole narrative about admitting your vulnerabilities and healing, but, um, Alison is not the person I would want near me in that situation? Even if she meant well.)

          • Arkone Axon

            I’m not only thinking about when I was a kid and in a very bad spot, but also when I found out my niece was cutting. I never self-harmed (I had plenty of other people to do the harming for me), but… seeing those wounds on the forearms of someone whose diapers I changed… it makes me think of a line from a Lois Bujold novel, “when they’re cut, I bleed.”

          • Tylikcat

            A bit over a week ago I was having a conversation with a friend who had attempted suicide earlier this year, about the shame she feels around anyone seeing her scars. That is one of the ways this is hitting maybe a bit close to home for me.

            Some of the rest – hell, my history should be written across my skin, some of it self inflicted, but hey, magic etch-a-sketch skin, lucky me. (Though there’s one scar that you can see on my face, very faintly, if I’m really tired. And then it disappears again. Weird, huh?) Not everyone close to me is so lucky, and some people have a lot ore sense of shame attached to their past. (A big chunk of the anger I feel towards our parents – hell, maybe most of it – might be because I can’t take away the sense of shame my sister feels about her teenage years. She’s gotten through a lot, but… And some of those scars are visible, though not in any of the aforementioned ways.)

            And some is just the normalization of expectations. Yes, Alison, Patrick’s life has been outside of your experience. News. At. Eleven.

          • A lot of society’s still stuck at lock-it-away-in-the-attic when it comes to visual scarring, which really doesn’t help anyone with newly acquired scars, or scars associated with all the stigma already wrapped around mental health. πŸ™

          • alexikakon

            (cw: self-harm, though if you’re this far in this thread you’re probably aware)
            I used to cut myself for a variety of reasons: I found it very grounding when I had trouble being in the present, or when I was so deep in depression I wasn’t sure if emotions even existed, it was a physical representation for my ‘invisible’ internal problems. I also just love the way wounds and scars look, because I’m kind of morbid? I like scars the way I like tattoos – it’s like a road map of your life, printed across your skin. It shows what you’ve lived, but still leaves it up to you to explain what you’ve lived when you want to.

            I really only stopped because it made other people so uncomfortable. Friends and family would get really upset to see cuts, sometimes hostile in their fear the way people get, and it was just easier to not do it than deal with that constantly.

            I’ve also been in similar situations to Patrick’s here more times than I can count. You sometimes never realize the way you grew up or your views on things are different from ‘the norm’ until you talk about them and glance up to find someone giving you Alison’s “Oh, honey.” face here!

          • Lisa Izo

            It’s definitely sad. Not an excuse for mass murder. But it’s sad.

          • Dwight Williams

            No, but it might have helped keep his body count lower than it could have been.

            Disturbing thought, but there we are…

          • Lisa Izo

            I don’t know. I think his self-cutting is because he doesn’t (or didn’t in his teenage years) have a good sense of self because of his out-of-control telepathy. I’m not sure how self-cutting prevented him from killing even more than the thousands he did murder. So… it’s sad, yes. I just don’t see it as a particularly good excuse.

            I agree that it’s definitely a disturbing thought if the self-cutting were instead like some sort of ‘self-punishment’ instead.

          • Dwight Williams

            Not my best thinking on this subject by any means. No arguments there.

          • Prodigal

            Maybe when he did that, the pain blocked him from getting lost in other people’s thoughts?

          • Lisa Izo

            Possibly. Although I think it’s more likely that the pain was a ‘signal’ of which body was his, rather than a way to block anything. That’s my opinion though.

          • David Brown

            Quite possibly was killing other people because in the state of mind he was in, he thought it was himself.

          • Lisa Izo

            Man, this thread suddenly got dark…

          • Possibly especially when she means well!

            Alison’s analysis of situations can be a little shallow/naiive.

        • Lance Allen

          As a result of reading this comment, I had to Google “crimestop”. Now, I think I may actually need to go read 1984. Thank you?

      • Cyrano111

        Is it even *possible* not to bring value judgments into your own thoughts?

        • Tylikcat

          Oh, not entirely. But it’s probably possible to practice approaching a situation as “I don’t understand what’s doing on here, I’m going to watch and listen and try to figure it out.”

          • Cyrano111

            Isn’t that a value judgment? “A reaction based on reason is preferable to a reaction based on emotion”.

          • Tylikcat

            Who said anything about reason versus emotion?

          • Cyrano111

            I don’t insist on those particular labels. But whatever label we attach to “I don’t understand what’s going on here, I’m going to watch and listen and try to figure it out”, favouring that method over some other method, such as “I don’t care what’s going on here, I’m going to jump in to help my friend” or “This makes me feel very angry and I am going to lash out in response” is making a value judgment about the best way to respond to situations.

          • Xin

            Watching and listening could itself be a calm or meditative and natural emotional response, or to use one’s intuition, or a few other things depending upon how one interprets Tylikcat’s comment.

            I don’t think it needs to necessarily mean deferring to logic to take a bit to watch and listen to try to figure it out. Have known rather “emotional” friends to do that, too, and come to their own kind of understanding of situationss.

          • How to be a Good Ally 101!

          • Tylikcat

            Holding space for a telepath has got to be an upper class course.

      • Xin

        Given that “sad” seems to be “things shouldn’t be this way” in some way, it seems like a value judgement. Even if the intent is to empathize or be supportive.

  • Psile

    Just a reminder Alison: you got all the best powers with almost no downsides.

    • Kid Chaos

      Except figuring out how to “put her good where it will do the most”, as Wavy Gravy might have put it. 😜

      • Rando

        That’s not a downside. That is life. Everyone has to deal with that, powered or not.

        • Isaac Burke

          It’s harder with super-strength than, say, if she had the ability to invent anything or the ability to enhance other people’s powers.

          Easier than “my hands are knives” though.

          • Rando

            Still easier than not having any powers at all, also.

    • cvar

      I can’t think of any downsides to her power. I guess she needs to go see a specialist about cutting her hair, a process which involves more angle grinders than is normal, but that’s not really a downside.

      • Svalbardcaretaker

        Isn’t allowed to drink/drugs, didnt have sex until recently, the government is building ships to evacuate to Mars in case she goes insane…

        I mean they are light, but she has some.

        • masterofbones

          Well, two of those were self-imposed, and the last is a problem for other people…

          • MisterTeatime

            The first one is also a problem for other people, which is why she self-imposed it. πŸ˜›

          • masterofbones

            Eh, that’s a restriction most reasonable people would make in the situation, so I’d call that a legitimate downside to the power.

        • Lisa Izo

          She is allowed to drink and do drugs. No one can stop her anyway. Just like no one can stop her from torturing people and threatening to murder them if they don’t do what she wants. She just chooses not to drink or do drugs (although she has done the other thing). Her powers literally give her almost total freedom to do whatever she wants without much threat of consequences for her actions, unfortunately.

          She didn’t have sex also because of choice. Because she isnt sure if she’d hurt someone, although this seems to be entirely in her head as well, based on the conversation with her doctor – the one where she explained that Alison is fully capable of not hurting people on an unconscious level, which is why if she grabs something, it doesn’t automatically get crushed even if she isn’t thinking ‘don’t crush this, don’t crush this.’

          As for the building ships thing, that was a joke. Alison has no real weaknesses at all (which honestly makes her a less interesting character in that respect – perfect people are boring). Her main flaw is that she’s a hypocrite, not particularly bright, prone to violent outbursts for various reasons stemming from her overemotional and pretentious attitude, and she thinks there’s such a thing as a one punch solution to the world’s problems, despite her originally having a breakdown because there is NOT a one-punch solution to the world’s problems). She’s actually LESS mature and self-aware than she had been when she first quit being a superhero.

          Her main weakness, if anything, is attacking her friends and family to who are not virtually immortal (ie, anyone but Feral) in order to keep her in mind. Although honestly, with someone of Alison’s limited self-control, tha twould probably backfire because she’d go on a rager and it would get those people she cares for killed in the process, then she’d get all emo about it.

          However, IF she actually can get drunk (and it’s not clear she can, but it’s plausible since she still need to eat and sleep and breathe air), that does open another weakness up to exploit. If she can get drunk, then she is not invulnerable to toxins. That’s a point of attack possibly, if she was to ever get more out of control on a wider scale than the limited capacity that she’s been out of control so far.

          • Ben Posin

            I think you’ve hit on her main weakness. She has a fantastic power, and while the power doesn’t seem to have downsides (so long as she can keep from breaking her own bones with it again),the fact that her power seems to be based in telekinesis rather than just generic comic super toughness/invulnerability suggests she’d be as vulnerable as anyone to drugs and poison. Gassing her might be more difficult than most people given her ability to hold her breath and fly through any sort of obstruction to get away, but she doesn’t seem to be taking any sort of extraordinary care regarding the sources of her food—we saw her buy a cafeteria sandwich, saw her eat at a restaurant with Max, etc. If I was the President and thought she was going rogue, I’d call up some sneaky CIA type folks and task them to find a way to slip her whatever quick acting and tasteless poison is in for black ops this year.

            I suspect it might be possible to blind her with some sort of laser, and to intefere with her with some sort of sonic attack as well. It doesn’t seem like heat/fire bothers her if I’m remembering correctly, but have we seen electricity applied?

          • Lisa Izo

            I don’t remember seeing her electrocuted, but high levels of electricity have been used on other comic book FISS types, like Superman and Supergirl, so maybe you’re thinking of them since Alison seems to be sort of a deconstruction of that powerset? But I don’t recall seeing a page where someone used electricity on her. Just fire (which did nothing to her).

          • MisterTeatime

            Electricity has worked. It might or might not have actually injured her, but my guess is it can still interfere with the impulses from her nervous system and lock up her muscles. It also looks as though it hurt like hell, which might be enough to disrupt any intentional application of her TK.

          • Lisa Izo

            Seems more like it just mildly inconvenienced her, but your reasoning on why it should work makes sense to me. πŸ™‚

          • Arkone Axon

            Hmmm… probably the best way to kill her would be to trick her into a subterranean environment, followed by flooding the place while shutting down all illumination sources. That would leave her confused and in an unfamiliar situation, unable to escape before she runs out of air.

            Though a good way to simply DEFEAT her would likely be the use of odorless airborne chemicals, especially sedatives. Keep her distracted and she’d never notice it until it was too late to do anything about it. Put her to sleep… then keep her asleep while immobilized and then transfer her to a situation where she can be safely confined (like a heavily reinforced vault buried deep underground. Or a secured facility on the moon or the bottom of the ocean).

            Though if she’s immune to toxins and the lack of oxygen, then… probably a psychological assault. Literally, attack her with imagery and concepts designed to break her mentally, until she can no longer respond with aggression while being taken into custody. Probably by attacking her self-perception as the hero – destroy her belief that she’s responsible for a greater amount of good in the world than bad. Convince her that she’s a source of pain and suffering for her friends and relatives, until she accepts the idea that even throwing a punch just makes things worse for everyone she claims to care about.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Hmmm… probably the best way to kill her would be to trick her into a subterranean environment, followed by flooding the place while shutting down all illumination sources. That would leave her confused and in an unfamiliar situation, unable to escape before she runs out of air.”

            She’d just punch her way out through the ceiling. πŸ™‚

            “Though a good way to simply DEFEAT her would likely be the use of odorless airborne chemicals, especially sedatives.”

            This sounds like a good method.

            “then keep her asleep while immobilized and then transfer her to a situation where she can be safely confined (like a heavily reinforced vault buried deep underground. Or a secured facility on the moon or the bottom of the ocean)”

            Or just launch her into space instead of the rest of the population.

            Unless like you later say, she might be immune to toxins and lack of oxygen because of ‘reasons’ despite her having to sleep and eat and do other things that people need to do to have their organs continue to function. Or she can hold her breath for hours or some sort of dumb thing like that.

            “Literally, attack her with imagery and concepts designed to break her mentally, until she can no longer respond with aggression while being taken into custody.”

            Never underestimate certain people’s ability to react with violence when faced with just imagery that they don’t like or agree with (rather than actual violence against them) … then delude themselves into thinking that they’re still being morally correct.

            “Probably by attacking her self-perception as the hero – destroy her belief that she’s responsible for a greater amount of good in the world than bad.”

            Never underestimate people’s ability to use mental gymnastics to keep their increasingly untrue self-perception of being a hero or doing good when they are not. Pretty sure that Antifa rioters and bike-chain swinging thugs at Berkeley thought they were doing good. Pretty sure the white supremacists at Charlottesville thought they were doing good. None of them were doing good. They’re all pieces of crap who are engaging in unlawful and outright evil acts, but they’re going to keep thinking they’re the good guys because they’re all delusional. It’s how too many people today who do bad things continue to be able to function after faced with the bad things they’ve done. They rationalize it. They excuse it because they say ‘the other side is bad’ or ‘what the other side is doing is worse’ or ‘the other side are threatening to us because they’re a different race/different political belief/different religion/voted for Trump/voted for Hillary/won’t use their powers to help others/etc.’

            Not to mention, people who think they’re unstoppable (and Alison IS pretty unstoppable) will usually react to psychological attacks on their perceptions of being right by using more violence, especially if they find themselves incapable of debating an issue rationally. We’ve seen this more than once with Alison, such as in the classroom where she reacted by slamming her fist on the desk, or when her five minutes of debating Max, followed by 3 minutes of insulting Max, then turned into two minutes of hurting Max and threatening to murder Max. Alison is not good at debating her points because if she fails to be convincing on points of ideas, she almost always uses her fists or gets angry and threatening. The only time I’ve ever seen her NOT was with her sister, and that’s most likely because it was her sister – familial bonds after all (and also her sister did come over to her way of thinking anyway).

            “Convince her that she’s a source of pain and suffering for her friends and relatives, until she accepts the idea that even throwing a punch just makes things worse for everyone she claims to care about.”

            I’m unfortunately at a loss to think of how anyone would convince her of that. Maybe when she first quit being a superhero, when she had the epiphany that punching doesnt solve everything, but she’s definitely regressed a lot since then back to the idea that punching CAN solve everything.

            Probably the best methods I can think of would be psionic attack, if there are any biodynamics capable of it, but there probably arent (aside maybe from whoever is the one causing her recent ‘shattered images’ and ‘strange dreams’ to happen – possibly Patrick?), or the odorless gas attack, or using a bullet with a tip that’s less than 3 microns (not sure how that would work but we know after the Cleaver fight that she can have her skin cut and pierced by something that sharp, which means a shot to her eye cavity would get past her even harder skull and into the brain). I also guess that Pintsize could kill her with an aneurysm to the brain, but that isn’t something that would happen as they’re best friends. Maybe poison would work too, given that she does need to eat food, which means her body does take in vitamins and other nutrients from food, so would also take in toxic stuff (which would make her not wanting to drink alcohol make sense).

          • Arkone Axon

            “She’d just punch her way out through the ceiling. :)”

            Not if “the ceiling” was several hundred meters of dirt, stone, debris, etc. I did say “subterranean,” after all. She can punch the ceiling all she likes, but she can’t actually move mass aside when there’s no free space for it to go anywhere.

            “Or just launch her into space instead of the rest of the population.”

            That works if she’s gone full on “Injustice Superman.” If there’s a chance for rehabilitation, I’d rather not waste the potential benefits of having someone like Alison around. (Emphasis on “if”)

            “Alison is not good at debating her points because if she fails to be convincing on points of ideas, she almost always uses her fists or gets angry and threatening.”

            That’s the point. What happens when Alison comes to the understanding that her use of physical violence only makes things worse? That could be achieved by taking her relatives hostage (“go ahead, hit me. Every act of aggression gets someone’s digits sawed off. But please, show us all how you’re so moral you’ll sacrifice your sister’s fingers to put me in my place.”). Or simply by confronting her with image after image of the devastation she’s wrought (like when she had a total breakdown after realizing she’d not only cost a professor his job, but had previously cost the man his husband… and also smashed the playground that was the site of the man’s happy memories. “You’ll NEVER know how to fix it. You just know how to break things. And then feel bad about it – and then do it again. And again. Because that’s what you do. You break things. You ruin things.”).

            It wouldn’t work if she were a sociopath. But she genuinely does want to be the hero – and even the times when she’s been a bully, she could still be reasoned with by anyone brave enough to stand up to her (“Oh yes, go ahead. Cave in my skull. Go ahead, commit murder. You won’t even have to hide the body – just tell everyone I’m the bad guy and they’ll agree with you. And of course it’ll be because you were justified for “reasons,” not because they’re terrified you’ll punch their skulls in too.”).

            She’s not THAT bad, after all. She’s a self-righteous, hypocritical, elitist, pretentious person, the sort who made “Social Justice Warrior” a bad thing in the eyes of so many. But I’ve seen worse than her – in fiction and in RL. Alison’s got work to do to overcome her flaws, but she hasn’t just given up on trying to change the way too many others do.

        • AveryAves

          When did she have…?

    • I dunno, she sometimes seems to be seriously lacking in the get-a-clue stakes.

    • Zorae42

      There aren’t any downsides, but I wouldn’t call them the “best powers”.

      Strength, invulnerability, and flight are pretty cool, but are pretty common amongst super heroes (and thus rather boring imo). I’d much rather have teleportation or shapeshifting powers or even Lisa’s super engineering abilities.

      • Lisa Izo

        Going to get flak for saying this probably, but Lisa has utterly wasted her power of super-intelligence. If there was EVER someone who could find solutions to make the world better, it would have been Lisa. But instead she was busy making AI who can joke and giant robots instead of bioengineering methods of curing world hunger and solutions to the world energy crisis. Cloning methods/artificial organs for replacing body parts that don’t involve either torturing biodynamics or threatening other biodynamics with torture in order to allow another biodynamic to have a little less torture.

        And before anyone says ‘But Templar had a screwy legal thing in place that allows them first crack at any patents she tries to sell and then sit on the invention ideas despite that not being how the law works but lets say it does for the purposes of this ficitonal world’, she could have just invented whatever, put it out on the internet for ANYONE to see if she didn’t care about making a profit and cared more about saving the world.

        And before anyone says ‘but she wouldn’t have money to make those items’ – Blueprints and prototypes are not as expensive as wholesale manufacturing, and worst case scenario, she sells the first few patents of something to Templar, THEN puts the important stuff on the internet for someone (or several someones) enterprising to make a fortune off of, and her personal reward is she took part in saving the planet. She wouldnt have to patent it. Then she doesnt have to sell it to Templar and have Templar be the only one with access. Everyone who could afford to manufacture her inventions would be able to. Competition would drive down any potential prices since the blueprints/schematics would be available to everyone as long as Lisa doesn’t have an ego about everyone needing to think she, personally, saved the world, rather than just being content in the world being saved.

        That being said, I’d like the standard FISS superpowers (Flight, Invulnerability, Superspeed, Superstrength). I don’t care if it’s common. I just wouldn’t use it to torture people to make them do what I want. πŸ™‚ Otherwise…. time manipulation :).

        • Eric Schissel

          I wouldn’t mind having seen/seeing Lisa go full Manfred (from Stross’ Accelerando – http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/accelerando/accelerando-intro.html ) but a life like that is _hard_.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m going to have to read that ebook now πŸ™‚

          • Eric Schissel

            Enjoy. Only just found out it was an ebook but have read the print version twice at my library. (Something of a favorite author of mine anyway fwiw with a very interesting online blog generally in my opinion.)

        • Tylikcat

          I don’t know if it were ever established how broad Lisa’s gift is. Maybe she’s just not a bioengineer.

          I mean, mind you, I fully support her in working on what interests her.

          • Lisa Izo

            Oh, I support her working on whatever interests her too. She shouldn’t be forced to do things to help humanity if she doesnt want to. It’s a free society. And objectively, she isn’t using her powers to do a lot of things that she could be doing, out of the reach of Templar’s attorneys. πŸ™‚ I just am using Alison’s reasoning, and also basing it on her complaints about Templar and the patent problem.

        • Shjade

          Lisa, I may have misunderstood, but I got the impression her ability isn’t generalized immense IQ, but more like…bursts of paranormal insight. Some things just make sense to her. I think her course of research and development was more chosen for her than what she chose.

          • Lisa Izo

            I was under the impression that it was super-intelligence related to inventing things, somewhat like Forge (or maybe Sage, who is more about being a human computer mind), or like Gear from Static Shock. I don’t really her to be very much like Sylar from Heroes, which seems to be to whom you’re comparing her.

            The main reason I think my interpretation might be the correct one is because of Lisa’s comments about Alison’s non-super friend who helped with the programming. But it’s not like the authors have gone into any detail about how her powers work exactly , so I guess there’s room for interpretation. πŸ™‚

            But if her powers ARE super-intelligence related to inventing stuff, then she’s woefully misused her powers (to the point where I’d expect that Alison, to be consistent in her supposed beliefs, should threaten her life to make her use it for better use … except that she’s not a rich white het male, who is probably not an Objectivist brand of libertarianism).

        • Brandon Quina

          We’ve heard Lisa describe her abilities as, if I’m not mistaken, having to do with being really got at things like robotics, electronics, computers, machinery, and so on. She’s not just, in my understanding, “SCIENCE!” girl.

          It’s like complaining why Einstein wasted his time with advanced math and everything instead of doing something more useful.

          • Lisa Izo

            Einstein was human with no superpowers though.

            And Einstein did discover the link between mass and energy, which led to nuclear energy, which could then lead eventually to nuclear fusion, which WOULD solve the world’s energy needs forever. He also discovered the Quantum Theory of Light, which allowed what we know as modern television to become possible. As well as smartphones, computers, and laptops. So…. yeah he did do something pretty useful.

            He also did fundamentally change the face of physics as we know it – rather than waste time building AI that made bad jokes before destroying itself πŸ™‚

            Don’t get me wrong btw – I like Lisa as a character πŸ™‚ But based on all things being equal, she does massively under use her abilities, even based on Alison’s ‘requirement that all people with powers must have to make the world a better place’

          • Pizkie

            The thing with the Einstein analogy is, Einstein didn’t actually KNOW he would end up reinventing physics as we know it. He knew there was something worth studying there, something possibly worthwhile and useful, and he set on the grueling work of doing it. I wonder how many times Einstein went down a rabbit hole of useless calculations on his quest to figure out the right things that would eventually get him famous.

            You say Lisa is wasting her time making robots who tell bad jokes. But what happens if she actually creates real, benevolent AI? She will revolutionize society probably more thoroughly than Einstein and possibly even Newton. Will it have been worth it then?

            No one gets it right on the first try. Change is a process, as is genius.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Einstein didn’t actually KNOW he would end up reinventing physics as we know it.”

            Pretty sure he did, actually. When you find mathematical proofs that counter all existing beliefs up to that point, you probably get a little inkling that you’re onto something big. πŸ™‚

            ” I wonder how many times Einstein went down a rabbit hole of useless calculations on his quest to figure out the right things that would eventually get him famous.”

            Actually this is something I know from a paper I once wrote on Einstein. Apparently one of his main processes for figuring out mathematical proofs was, after writing a BUNCH of calculations, then start all over again using the answer he came to as a starting point, and he’d do that multiple times. Taking into account potential errors and as part of his method of developing his proofs and theories.

            “You say Lisa is wasting her time making robots who tell bad jokes. But what happens if she actually creates real, benevolent AI? She will revolutionize society probably more thoroughly than Einstein and possibly even Newton. Will it have been worth it then?”

            I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy with which people look at Lisa and make excuses for her not using her genius to directly help the world inthe same way that Alison forced Max to do. Instead, she goes about this circuitous way by working on stuff which is NOT a ‘direct worldsaving invention’ – but instead works on creating robots for humor and death-dealing (assuming that the basic design for the giant killer robots were her design, even if modified by Templar afterwards). Strictly speaking, trying to create AI in a sci-fi sense has this huge likelihood of either creating a permanent artificial slave race or our new robot overlords. πŸ™‚ Whereas spending ones intellectual capital creating green energy-based engines to solve the energy crisis and food production for the entire planet… I have a harder time thinking of how that could go screwy.

          • Zorae42

            It’s not hypocrisy. I’d judge Lisa just as strongly if an owner of an orphanage for amputees asked her for her prototype legs that she didn’t need and she said no because her old legs made her sad and the owner was rude to her once.

            It’s fine to work on non ‘direct worldsaving’ stuff. Just that if someone presents you with something that will save/help a lot of people with little to no effort required and minimal risk to yourself, you’re an asshole if you say no simply because you’re an selfish prick. As we have yet to see Lisa do that, she’s fine.

          • Lisa Izo

            “I’d judge Lisa just as strongly if an owner of an orphanage for amputees asked her for her prototype legs that she didn’t need and she said no because her old legs made her sad and the owner was rude to her once.”

            Actually…. why hasnt she eliminated paralysis and people with lost limbs from the entire planet by making the schematics for her artificial leg available to everyone, now that you bring it up?

            Why should someone in an orphanage have to ASK her to do that for them? It’s not like anyone who is getting Feral’s organs asked Alison to torture Max in order to amp up Feral’s powers. For that matter, it’s not like anyone asked Feral to subject herself to torture in the first place to donate the organs. I do think it’s hypocrisy, at least on Alison’s part, that she doesn’t hold Lisa to the same standards that she held Max, simply because she thinks Max is a jerk and doesn’t think Lisa is (despite Lisa having done nothing to help the world via her powers, just like Max has not).

            “Just that if someone presents you with something that will save/help a lot of people with little to no effort required and minimal risk to yourself, you’re an asshole if you say no simply because you’re an selfish prick.”

            There is zero risk at all to Lisa to start providing artificial limbs to every hospital in the area to give to patients who have lost their legs and/or arms, artificial eyes to people who are blind, etc. There’s less than zero risk, in fact, since she’d be seen by people as a savior and seen as a humanitarian or visionary just like other people who’s ever invented something which had helped millions of people. She hasnt done it though. And since she hasn’t, by the rule of Alison’s ‘Use your power to help humanity or I will break your arms and dump you in the ocean to die’ edict, she is a ‘selfish prick’ as well.

            Mind you, I don’t actually consider Lisa a selfish anything. She’s possibly my favorite character. She is under no obligation to do anything for anyone, unless she wants to. I just find it odd (and yes, hypocritical) that people didn’t give the same freedom of choice to Max, who actually WOULD be at risk to every supervillain (or other biodynamic who thinks of themselves as a superhero, despite doing evil stuff) who wants to use him to augment their powers.

          • Missing

            It’s not hypocritical though. The effort on Lisa’s part is dramatically higher compared to Max, and you need to force way more than just one person to get it done. Besides, the risk to Max isn’t fundamentally different since his secret was already out and Al actually put in reasonable precautions against further exposure (and sounds like they worked on her side).

          • Lisa Izo

            The effort is minimal (I’m suggesting her just making available the schematics, not putting the money into building it all), along with the risk being less than it was for Max should his identity become known to supervillains (or other supers like Moonshadow, etc). You need to be intellectually honest enough to admit that if it’s okay to force Max, it’s okay to also force Lisa. Or it’s not okay to force either of them.

          • Zorae42

            Just giving out the schematics wouldn’t help anyone. We don’t know the cost of the materials to make her cool robot leg, and we don’t know how much companies would charge people for something they really need/want. Just look at the monster that got a hold of the right to distribute that HIV drug a few years ago.

            Providing artificial limbs to every hospital in the area would be a continuous endeavor that would require a ton of time/resources on her part, not really equivalent.

            “Why should someone in an orphanage have to ASK her to do that for them?”

            Because there is a difference. It’s the difference between expecting someone to lend you the pencil they aren’t using when you ask and expecting someone to decide to go around giving pencils to everyone who needs them. One is expecting someone to agree to do one quick/easy thing with no downsides when being directly asked to do it, the other is expecting someone to devote their entire life’s effort to helping people.

            Lisa has already shown that she’s better than Max in this matter. Alison has asked for her help multiple times and every time she’s said yes. She agreed to be Alison’s mentor when she wasn’t really a teacher, she let Alison in when she showed up on her doorstep in the middle of the night after getting kicked out of her apartment, and she agreed to devote a bunch of her free time to the non-profit organization Alison wanted to create. Lisa has shown that she’s a wonderfully non-selfish person, and there’s really no comparison to make between her and Max.

          • Arkone Axon

            That last sentence is the whole difference between Lisa’s position (and mine) versus yours.

            Max wasn’t just being asked to “wave his fingers.” He was being asked to risk being exposed as the “permanent power upgrade on legs” that he is, to the entire world. For a worthy cause presented to him by someone who couldn’t even be bothered to be polite to him long enough to ask. When he refused (making it very clear that the refusal was specifically to Alison, and that he might have said “yes” if someone – ANYONE – else had asked him without being such a horrible and offensive person the way Alison was), she then demonstrated that he was 100% right to be afraid, as she did things that would have everyone in agreement that she had become a supervillain on the spot, if not for their respective genders (had Max been Maxine, had Alison been Alfonse, then there would be no question about it).

            Whereas Lisa has been asked for very little by comparison. She agreed to take a student (which she’s technically required to do) as long as the student developed her own course curriculum and projects. She let a miserable friend crash on her couch after Alison had a truly, truly horrible day (complete with learning the truth about not just one, but a half dozen “friends”). And she agreed to help her student with the project said student came up with (also known as “doing her job as a professor). None of this entailed any particular risk to herself.

            But the big difference is twofold. One: Alison ASKED Lisa for help. She DEMANDED that Max help (even when she first showed up, it was clear she wasn’t about to take no for an answer). Two: Lisa CHOSE to help. Max was denied that choice.

          • Zorae42

            I’m really tired of your denial of Alison asking Max for help. It was done off panel. Since it cut to her apologizing for her (completely justified) walking out on him and then him saying “No” to her plan. She had no reason to expect him to say no at that point.

            If he was actually as concerned about the risk of being found out he wouldn’t have dropped that concern so quickly and brought it up sooner (and probably would’ve asked her how she found out/who else potentially knows about him since that’s like, a big deal??? and he was prepared to let her leave without ever even asking if there was someone else out there that knew about him??). And guess what, there was no risk of anyone else finding out since Alison made sure there were a shit ton of precautions in place to prevent that.

            Lisa is there as a researcher, not a professor; she’s not even getting paid by the school. And Alison asked to do an independent study with her, something actual professors (which Lisa is not) are 100% allowed to decline if they want to. She let a student, with superpowers and ptsd and in a bad mood and enemies, she had barely talked to into her personal home for an indeterminate amount of time (not a night, it doesn’t take a single day to find a new apartment in a big city). And she’s not just “helping” – she’s literally designing all of the tech/programming stuff Alison needs to make her idea work. Which, as the term “independent” in ‘independent study’ implies, is not required of her. She took time from making progress in her research – the thing she’s actually paid to do and needs in order to maintain the grant money she’s getting. She gave up her limited free time (which she really needs to take more of, she’s practically running herself into the ground) and her privacy. And she did it all for an ongoing period of time. Lisa has done a lot for Alison, and all just because she’s a kind person.

            Again there’s nothing about Lisa to judge since she said yes when asked to go significantly out of her way to help someone in need – which is why she’s amazing and selfless. Max said no to slightly going out of his way to help a ton of people in need (for selfish reasons), which makes him a selfish jerk. Of course, there’s no punishment for just being a selfish jerk. And Max’s jerkishness didn’t mean he deserved what happened to him. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a jerk, and it’s not hypocritical to think of him as a jerk and think of Lisa as a good person (unless she also refuses to help a bunch of people for completely selfish reasons).

            My god, the fact that he can’t even comprehend the idea of doing something to help people for nothing in return just makes my skin crawl. Not, “I’m not a person who would do that,” which would be understandable. But, “Nobody is like that,” like it’s justifiable to be selfish and there’s no reason to feel bad about it. I think that’s 90% of the reason I dislike him so much. I mean, I like good villains. I like ones that are tragic; I like ones that are evil for evil’s sake (if they go about it with overly complex and cheeky plans). I don’t like people that are needlessly cruel/selfish and then expect to be treated like they’re a good person.

          • Arkone Axon

            I’ve got bad news for you, as far as your chronic fatigue syndrome is concerned. I will never stop pointing out that Alison “asked” Max in the same sense that eighteen year old boys in the 1960s were “asked” to join the military and go to Vietnam. Alison flat out denied his choice, and you may want to brew up some coffee because you being tired of me restating the facts about her dismissal of his very humanity (And her later acknowledgement that she did indeed refuse to empathize with him and did everything she was accusing him of doing) won’t stop me from emphasizing that Alison never asked Max, she TOLD him, “this is what you’re going to do. I’m just going to try to pretend to be polite about it. Until I get tired of pretending, and then I’m going to resort to violence and terror.”

            Everything you just said about Lisa… I’m not going to argue it, because it’s true. Lisa did good things there, and she’s a good person. I admire her. But everything you’re saying about Max just emphasizes your determination to dehumanize him. To do the thing that Alison admitted she was doing, the thing that she deeply regrets doing, the thing that she will be facing consequences for (especially since she confessed to a “professor” who turned out to be an imposter with an as yet unknown agenda).

            Max said no to risking his very existence and everyone he cares about by exposing his powers to a world that would rush to do what Alison did, and what you yourself are doing. “His powers are too useful and can help others. He NEEDS to use them to further the causes we support! If he won’t do it he’s EVIL and we’ll do whatever it takes to MAKE him do it!” He has now gone into hiding AND said goodbye to his family and friends, everyone he loves, because otherwise any self-righteous fanatic (i.e. Alison) could kidnap and torture said loved ones in order to track him down and use him again.

            He never said “no, just to say no.” Just as he never said “nobody is like that.” He said “My powers are both useless to me (after years of psychological abuse by parents who filled my head with Objectivist nonsense, teaching me that a power that can only help others is worthless), and also make me a target to anyone who knows about it.” He described JUMPING OFF A ROOF in the hopes that he’d learn to fly or gain some other power on the way down, because he was so miserable at that point that he didn’t care if he died. Yet you’ve decided he’s worse than the assorted murderers seen in the comic because… Alison called him a bad person and the moment the protagonist called him bad that made him bad. I can’t help but imagine that there are people here who would support Alison if she chose to track Max down, smash his legs so he can’t walk away, then keep him on a leash to empower people as she pleases. That her use of him for her own “noble cause” is justified and his refusal to cooperate makes him deserving of any and all suffering.

            The thing that makes MY skin crawl? The mentality of “this person who won’t follow the plan for the great good is therefore evil and deserves to be forced to do it” is something we’ve seen in history a LOT. It’s the mentality of Robespierre, who gave the French the “Reign of Terror.” It’s the mentality of Oliver Cromwell, who genocided the hell out of the catholics of England. The mentality of the Catholic Inquisition. It is, in fact, the mentality of the people who I can’t even mention without invoking Godwin’s Law (even though they weren’t even the most evil ones in history – and that’s coming from a descendant of their victims). That’s right – THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE THE GOOD GUYS. And they genuinely believed that everything they were doing was morally correct and for the greater good, and that anyone who disagreed with them or refused to cooperate deserved what was done to them.

            β€œFor the greater good”:
            the phrase that always precedes
            the greatest evil.”
            ― Jakub BoΕΌydar WiΕ›niewski

          • Todd

            Wow.

            That high horse of yours just keeps getting taller and taller, leaving solid earth far below it . . . .

          • Arkone Axon

            Yes, it’s being buoyed up by all the heat generated by the torches wielded by the crusaders and fanatics. “Our side is right and theirs is EVIL!”

            (bonus points to you for not actually responding to any of the points I’ve made about the demonization and dehumanization of others, instead going for the “personal attack fallacy.”)

          • Todd

            And your side, of course, Just Speaks Truth to the Benighted.

            Let me know when you solve that reflexively fellative problem.

          • Arkone Axon

            And once again the “personal attack fallacy.”

            And yes, I do speak “truth.” I.e. facts and logic. I provide facts that refute personal opinions. I provide arguments pointing out the errors in their logic.

            Whereas you… say “oh, you’re so arrogant. Wow. Just wow. Let me sniff and act condescending because you’re such an arrogant jerk.”

            Incidentally, I also like to provide links and citations when I provide facts, to prove I’m not just making things up:

            https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/1/Ad-Hominem-Abusive

          • Todd

            So sorry: you’re not arrogant, just able to speak with your foot in your mouth clear up to the top of your head.

            And this skill just never fails to amaze me whenever I see it . . . .

          • Arkone Axon

            Cool. Now tell me where I’ve spoken with my foot in my mouth. Can you give anything other than personal attacks, or will you be going four for four?

          • Todd

            Libertarianism also possesses notions of what the Greater Good is.

          • palmvos

            Arkone, Max screwed up big time if his primary concern is exposure. because regardless of how the encounter with Alison went,he was exposed and his security is blown. that’s the issue with security by obscurity. if that was his primary concern and he was thinking coolly when Alison showed up he should have been insisting to learn how she found out. Max’s problems began with Patrick getting his file. in many ways what happened is the best outcome. if Alison had walked away he still has to worry about Alison, but now has no guilt lever to pull, his mother has even less room to push against Alison, and Alison has little incentive to keep the thing quiet.

          • Arkone Axon

            No, the best outcome would have been Alison treating him like a human being deserving of compassion, maybe offer to introduce him to someone like Lisa who can GIVE him the kind of powers he craves (you don’t need techno-savvy to pilot a suit of powered armor, after all), and show him that selflessness and altruism are good things that apply to him as well.

            Instead she pretty much validated the Objectivist crap his mother taught him. “I am a proponent of altruism and charity. Now hold still while I inflict pain and terror and essentially become the personification of the “parasite” that Rand claimed all “have-nots” were.”

          • palmvos

            wait a minute. in the encounter max asked for none of these things. he demanded after a heated exchange that Alison leave. everything you mention and more could have been done, if Max had been willing to deal. he wasn’t willing and he made that very clear. that was his mistake, he failed to realize that his strategy of hiding has an expiration date and it was time to abandon it.
            β€œNever appeal to a man’s better nature. He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.”
            this is a major consequence of libertarian thought. Alison clearly didn’t have a better nature in this encounter. Max as a libertarian should not have tired to count on it which he was.

          • Arkone Axon

            …Yes, I’m inclined to agree with you to an extent, though I’m not sure if you realize what you’ve just said here. You’re still applying an unfair standard. Max didn’t have to offer a thing. Max is not the one who showed up on an ex’s doorstep saying “I found out your most important secret and now I want you to risk even more people finding out by doing something for me.” Alison is the one who wanted something, and Alison is the one who didn’t even consider the option of appealing to him as a person with his own feelings, desires, and fears – not until long after the fact, when she acknowledged as such to Gurwara.

            As you said there at the end, Alison DID NOT HAVE A BETTER NATURE IN THAT ENCOUNTER. She was the bad guy. She was the one who said “I want it, I WILL TAKE IT!” Max’s mistake was assuming that she would continue to behave like a decent person in the face of temptation and the prospect of getting away with succumbing to said temptation. That doesn’t make him at fault, anymore than a woman being raped by someone she trusted is at fault. That just makes their attacker all the more reprehensible for violating their victim’s trust.

            http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhatYouAreInTheDark

          • palmvos

            ok, once more with feeling.
            the issue here is adaptability. Max failed to realize the implications of Alison showing up at his doorstep with her request. his whole strategy up until that moment relied on no-one knowing his power. once that was changed he has to adapt or he ends up just like he did. the issue is max’s actions don’t really match the stated goal. the stated goal was to protect himself by not being known. once he was known that strategy became a liability. at that point he has to change. why didn’t he?

            and I’m saying that Max of all the characters presented so far has the least excuse to expect people to act decently. his philosophy is based, in part, on the idea they won’t. it was his expression of that concept that lead directly to the end of his last date with Alison.
            and yes if max wants access to Lisa’s technical skills or anything else in Alison’s rolodex he most certainly does need to deal. just as she should have made a deal with Max.

          • Arkone Axon

            The issue here is that Max didn’t want anything except to be LEFT ALONE. Max didn’t come looking for anything. Max lived in terror of people finding out he had something valuable and TAKING it from him. He had no reason to go asking for anyone to give him anything. Alison is the one who showed up looking to take from him, and Alison is the one who decided a self-rationalized demonstration of violence and intimidation was the best possible response.

            I’ve taught self defense. And… if some fails to defend themselves, they’re not to blame – their attacker is to blame. Especially if the attacker is someone they knew and trusted. That doesn’t make the victim foolish for trusting their attacker, it makes the attacker doubly odious for betraying that trust. Your position is that Max was at fault for… trusting Alison not to behave like the abusive spouses that her new organization is set up to defend people from.

            Furthermore, Objectivism is odious (believe me – I’ve seen “Objectivist Christians” claiming that Jesus was acting out of “enlightened self interest” and chose to be crucified “for the joy of it.”). But it does generally have one singular redeeming feature: it demands that you make no impositions upon others, even as you demand they make no impositions upon you. Or to put it another way, Objectivists don’t expect people to not act decently, Objectivists expect people to not act charitably. The difference between an Objectivist and a sadistic creep is that an Objectivist will step over a homeless man laying in the gutter while thinking how the guy made poor life decisions to end up like that, whereas the sadistic creep will make videos of homeless people participating in MMA style streetfights for food (this actually happened). But “you can do whatever you want as long as you’re not hurting me” is the cornerstone of Objectivism’s fucked up beliefs. So Max had the most excuse to expect Alison to, if nothing else, not physically assault, kidnap, and terrorize him – to behave exactly like the sort of people she always claimed to oppose.

            And Max doesn’t want access to Lisa’s technical skills – he doesn’t know about Lisa. He doesn’t care. He just wanted to be LEFT ALONE. And beyond that, he would have liked a more satisfying set of powers that would make him feel less useless and worthless (thanks to his upbringing). It was up to Alison to offer. It was up to Alison to do better. Instead she chose to dehumanize him and then take from him. Something she herself has already fully acknowledged and regrets. That is canonically established.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Just giving out the schematics wouldn’t help anyone.”

            Of course it would. That’s why patents exist in the first place. Because if they didn’t, then people would make money by making the products which are the concepts of other people. The whole point of open source, in fact, is to let many people use an invention/concept/program/etc to improve upon it and make it accessible to everyone.

            “We don’t know the cost of the materials to make her cool robot leg,”

            It doesn’t matter what the costs are. If the means to CREATE it – the schematics – are available to everyone, people will start building it, then compete with each other to make it available to the public for less money. It’s called competition. R&D tends to be one of the biggest costs in business. If you suddenly don’t have to pay for R&D because some superpowered supersmart genius already came up with the invention and posted exactly how to make it, and all you have to pay for is the parts and follow instructions, you can damned well bet that someone (or many someones) will start building it.

            “and we don’t know how much companies would charge people for something they really need/want.”

            If everyone has access to be able to make something, companies will start building it if there’s a profit to be made. When there’s competition, costs go down. Not to mention the first thing necessary is to actually have that invention possible, which Lisa could have already done just by posting the schematics for her leg online so anyone can copy it…. not just Templar who will sit on the patent.

            “Just look at the monster that got a hold of the right to distribute that HIV drug a few years ago.”

            Again, selling a patent only means anything if you want the right to sell the invention to be limited to one person. If you want a lot of people to be able to make an invention, you don’t bother to patent it. Patents are JUST a legal construct to prevent other people from selling your invention for 20 years, as a legal monopoly during that time. It’s not required to patent something in order to invent something, but you won’t have that period of time during which you can make money from the invention if you don’t patent it. If Lisa’s goal is to help the world, rather than to just make money, then she doesn’t have to patent the leg, or patent her other inventions. In fact, she would be screwing over Templar in a way that they can’t sue her if she did that, PLUS would help the world. She just doesn’t because she doesn’t want to, which is her right, just like it was Max’s right not to have to use his powers if he didn’t want to

            “Providing artificial limbs to every hospital in the area would be a continuous endeavor that would require a ton of time/resources on her part, not really equivalent.”

            No, you’re wrong. It wouldn’t be a continuous endeavor for LISA, It would be a continuous endeavor for whatever company or companies took advantage of the opportunity that Lisa was giving them by providing the schematics to make a valuable product.

            “Because there is a difference. It’s the difference between expecting someone to lend you the pencil they aren’t using when you ask and expecting someone to decide to go around giving pencils to everyone who needs them. One is expecting someone to agree to do one quick/easy thing with no downsides when being directly asked to do it, the other is expecting someone to devote their entire life’s effort to helping people.”

            Again, you’re making a strawman argument, because there is NO reason that Lisa posting the schematics for her inventions online for free would be ‘devoting her whole life’ to anything. She posts it. She’s done. She can do whatever she wants with her life and never lift a single finger to help anyone by directly making an artificial limb for anyone, beyond uploading the schematics.
            If she REALLY wanted to go the extra mile, a youtube video on a step-by-step ‘how to make my artificial leg.’ Not sure how you look at that and think ‘she’s going to have to devote her entire life to making legs.’ You’re being intellectually dishonest if you say there’s a difference between forcing Lisa to upload her schematics once and forcing Max to use his power once.

            “Lisa has already shown that she’s better than Max in this matter.”
            Actually she hasn’t. She hasnt done anything to show she’s better than Max when it comes to helping the world. She’s helped Alison, in a small scale, because they’re friends, by starting Valkyrie with her. Having NOTHING to do with any of her inventions even. She has totally not used her powers at all to help the world, though. She didn’t even provide funding. In fact, the only person who did offer to provide funding is the murderous sociopathic terrorist who just hurked on Alison’s floor, and Alison tore up the check.

            “she let Alison in when she showed up on her doorstep in the middle of the night after getting kicked out of her apartment,”

            Giving Alison a place to sleep isn’t the same as providing the technological schematics to help thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of people who could use affordable high tech artificial limbs/eyes/etc. It’s not even remotely the same wheelhouse.

            “she agreed to devote a bunch of her free time to the non-profit organization Alison wanted to create”

            And if Alison had asked Max to donate some of his time to help with a non-profit in a way that didn’t involve his powers, then there might be some sort of comparison. There isnt though.

            Not to mention if Lisa had chosen to say no, she didn’t want to help, would you think then that Alison should be justified to force Lisa to help found Valkyrie under penalty of death? No? Then Alison shouldn’t force Max to do anything that she wouldn’t force Lisa to do.

        • Zorae42

          I mean, I wouldn’t turn down the FISS superpowers – they’re still really good. I just wouldn’t call them “the best”.

          • Lisa Izo

            Oh I know they’re not the best. They just seem the most straightforward and simple to use without some massive downside to whammy you πŸ™‚

        • palmvos

          Lisa, what we call ‘intelligence’ is a very very broad subject. I have instinctive understanding of how things move other things (gears, belts, bending, etc.) but even in my younger years certain basic elements of computer programming and circuit design were HARD. my father coded for a living before it was a living. my son can code fairly well. my wife can read, write, and analyze what she reads rather well when she chooses too, but she has such a limited understanding of mechanics I finally concluded that she treats all mechanical things as if they were magic. so, just because Lisa can make a motorcycle does not mean she can solve North Korea, fusion, photosynthesis in a ‘jar’. multiple metal 3d printing, or how to start a capitalist based system that will feed the world. in fact that may be why she’s working on AI, because she hopes that it will be able to solve these things.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m not even necessarily talking intelligence in all of its forms. Even if her intelligence is limited to inventing technology, she’d still be massively underusing her abilities (or should be in Alison’s eyes if she wasnt such a hypocrite). From how she’s talked about her intelligence in the past, and how she’s talked about her inventions, it hasnt really struck me as her treating it like magic, or like how Sylar sees things. She strikes me a lot more like Forge, who does similar things with his super-intellignce (except he also does stuff like creates time machines to try to literally save the world, create cures to plagues, etc)

          • palmvos

            the reality is that most of the really big problems in the world, cant be solved purely by technological solutions. most involve people. Lisa Bradley is not who can solve them. that guy who just puked on the carpet and has snowflake scars is actually the best equipped. however, his morals are about as questionable as the kid with cookie all over his face denying he ate any.

          • Lisa Izo

            I do think giving everyone who lost limbs/can’t walk/can’t see artificial limbs/eyes/etc is something that CAN be solved by technological solutions. Better than a mind reader can.

            Since Lisa solved that for herself already. Without solving it for other people as well. Again… no one should force her. But Alison did force someone else to do something against his will ‘for the greater good.’ And I don’t see her forcing Lisa to do the same thing. She could eliminate paralysis and blindness and traumatic injuries from the entire planet, if only Alison would threaten to murder her. πŸ™‚

          • palmvos

            you think too small. the reality is the major innovation Lisa has on her limb is direct connection to the nerves. which… wait for it…. we just about have now.

            and i did a little digging and….

            http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/durable-prostheses/
            (3 year old article)
            https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120461-amputees-control-virtual-prosthetic-arm-using-nerve-signals/

            its not the technology, its the usability. even this isn’t purely a technological problem.

          • Lisa Izo

            That is another major innovation that Lisa has selfishly kept from the public. Bad Lisa, Baaad. πŸ™‚

          • palmvos

            :: approaches Izo with::
            a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain tied to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a nice hot cup of tea

          • Lisa Izo

            Are you trying to endear yourself to me by using Hitchhiker’s Guide terminology?

            Because it’s sorta working.

          • palmvos

            i think its because you remind me of my wife.

          • Lisa Izo

            Lucky man.

          • palmvos

            you also forgot one other thing. we can reattach quite a bit.. ::holds up picture of Mr. Bobbitt:: and the idea of some men walking around with a feminine arm or leg amuses me a lot especially if they are a major misogynist. I suspect most amputees would take that trade in a new York minute.

          • Lisa Izo

            You’re ignoring the fact that I’m talking about people who you cannot ‘reattach their limbs’ – unless you’re saying that every person on Earth who has ever lost their arm or leg has already had them reattached or has had their arms or legs paralyzed already has a magical cure ?

            Also…. why do you think that it would be impossible to build a robotic leg that is NOT ‘feminine’ if they have the schematics for the basic frame already? Or that they would care in the first place? You have people with legs that are little more than steel poles or blades right now. You have people with fake arms that look sort of like tinker toys. Why wouldn’t they prefer a cybernetic arm or leg that looks more out of Deus Ex or Ghost in the Shell as a replacement?

            The simple point is she could make this available and it would take all but two minutes of her time, no risk whatsoever (and hell, no effort whatsoever even since the technology has already been made by her), and an internet connection, and she hasn’t, and I don’t see anyone calling for Alison to threaten to murder her if she does not do so, like she threatened Max … for the greater good, of course.

          • palmvos

            no- if we can reattach severed body parts we can attach body parts that wont be rejected. thus Fearl’s arms and legs become useful for attaching to amputees who can benefit from that. I thought it was clear when i suggested men walking around with a feminine hand. but i guess i wasn’t.
            side note. two facts that together may make you wince. a long time ago an innovation on attaching severed body parts was announced. they at one time used leeches to make the attachment work this would have been somewhere in the 1990’s +/- 10 years. I don’t remember why. now… ::holds up Bobbitt’s picture::

          • Lisa Izo

            You seem sort of preoccupied about Bobbitt. It’s cool – I’m sure there are enough men out there who would want a robo-penis. Beats chasing after a mouse with it cloned onto its back.

            Oh how this thread has fallen so low…

          • palmvos

            when ever i think of reattaching body parts the leech story comes to mind and my skin starts to crawl. then i remember the other story and… I want to get on the nopeapus and ride away.

          • Lisa Izo

            I just thought of another power which would be… sort of gamebreakingly useful in real life. Probability manipulation, when taken to its extreme. You could basically be omnipotent if you could alter the probability of different events happening.

            I want a billion dollars without anyone getting hurt and without doing anything illegal, by the end of the hour, tax free. Probability of this is .0000000000001%. Change that probability to 100%.

            I’m hungry, I really would like my refrigerator to be filled with my favorite foods, despite that I havent gone shopping and I don’t feel like cooking. Probability = 0%. Change that probability to 100%.

            I’d like to have Alison lose all of her superpowers permanently right now for unforeseen reasons which will not harm anyone else. Probability of that is .000002282%. Change that to 100%.

            I’d like to create a cure to cancer by accident while I’m making some key lime pie, which can be duplicated because I will discover the exact recipe. Probability = 0%. Change that to 100%. Here you go, Alison’s dad, you’re cured.

            I’d like to have Feral’s motorcycle ready to be driven. Probability = -12%. I know that makes no sense. Okay there are some limitations to this power apparently.

          • palmvos

            that power is almost the perfect murder weapon. there is an infinitesimal but nonzero chance that the electrons in Alison’s body will move to her immediate right. (the left is for her underwear) once that happens Alison’s body will completely cease to exist. no DNA, no blood, no body. just an enormous electrical discharge. but your motives are far from pure so…
            ::takes the cup of tea away from Izo::
            hey this tea is cold!

        • Todd

          This is assuming her gadgets could even be made by someone else.

          I recall a mention in the Wild Card series of books that people who had become gadgeteers due to the wild-card virus made things that worked, even contrary to physical laws, but those same things couldn’t be created by others viz Modular Man’s creator. Paladin’s power could be something like that.

          And, in response to Psile, remember: Alison’s powers seem to be TK in origin. She could end up like Unus the Untouchable if her powers grow beyond her control.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m assuming her inventions can be made by other people, given the deal with Templar. They made giant robots based on her schematics and patents. I’m assuming she isnt making giant robots for Templar directly, given her hatred of Templar.

        • A day late…

          Hi Lisa. Two thoughts. Thought the First:
          There are different kinds of intelligence (as mentioned below). The girl gifted in math may not be skilled in understanding people, The boy Mozart may not understand architecture. So a super intelligence in engineering may not be applicable to other fields.

          Thought the Second:
          You asked why Lisa Bradley doesn’t give her money or patents away (she could still manage personal wealth). One answer is that she may simply not want to, of course. But there’s another – she may have a vision which requires accumulating as much wealth in a short time as is reasonable. A real life example is Elon Musk, who is building a complete technological ecosystem which will provide an escape from our disastrous use of fossil fuels. Solar house roof tiles, battery energy storage, electric vehicles, charging stations. Space X may be a side project (!), I dunno. If he were giving much of his wealth away, he would still be a comfortable millionaire, but not be able to build the totality of alternative-to-fossil-fuels that he is building. Maybe Lisa B. has some similar big picture.

          • Lisa Izo

            “There are different kinds of intelligence (as mentioned below). The girl gifted in math may not be skilled in understanding people, ”

            Yes, and i’m saying that her particular intelligence – inventing things – could be easily used to help the world on a wide scale. But she hasn’t.

            “You asked why Lisa Bradley doesn’t give her money or patents away (she could still manage personal wealth)”

            Actually I just suggested that if she wanted to get around Templar’s legal hold on her inventions (which I’ve in the past mentioned is sort of dumb from a purely legal perspective since that contract seemed to be easily made voidable) is to just not patent the inventions in the first place and just make them available to everyone on the internet or in the public records. Patents are just a legal construct used to prevent other people from cashing in on your invention ideas for a short period of time. You don’t HAVE to patent something you invent if your goal is to get it out to the public and don’t care about making a profit off the idea.

            ” One answer is that she may simply not want to, of course.”

            Yep. In which case, based on Alison’s rules for Max, Lisa is just as bad and should be forced under threat of bodily harm.

            “But there’s another – she may have a vision which requires accumulating as much wealth in a short time as is reasonable. ”

            She probably wouldnt be starting a non-profit with Alison if accumulating as much wealth as possible was the main goal. But lets assume she did have a goal of accumulating wealth. She can make a bunch of patents that have no military application, let either Templar buy them or if they don’t, let others buy the patent rights, and quickly make money that way. THEN once she has enough money, she can just release other schematics for her ‘make hte world a better place’ goals, if she has any such goals that don’t involve her also getting rich in the process.

            “A real life example is Elon Musk, who is building a complete technological ecosystem which will provide an escape from our disastrous use of fossil fuels.”

            I’m going to get so much hate for saying this, but most of Elon Musk’s ideas are scientifically flawed or impractical, and at the very least are not profitable. Tesla, Hyperloop, SolarCity – only Tesla was even somewhat commercially practical, and overall it hasn’t done very well. The other two – they’re scientifically impractical so far… especially the Hyperloop. Elon’s best invention so far has been Paypal, although I do think SpaceX has real possibilities – but most of Elon’s inventions are only possible because he gets massive grants from the government that prop up his company. If the government didn’t fund him so much, he wouldn’t have much money if not for his sale of Paypal.

          • Arkone Axon

            Even if most of Musk’s ideas are impractical/flawed, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t come up with some real gems. I think the main reason Tesla has failed to do particularly well thus far is organized and orchestrated opposition by the automobile industry and the petroleum industry; they HATE Musk with a passion.

            http://bgr.com/2016/04/26/ferrari-vs-tesla-electric-cars-obscene/

            Tesla is actively fighting to be able to sell to consumers. The cars simply aren’t AVAILABLE to a majority of people. Because it’s an undeniably superior product – faster, more reliable, safer, more economical – and so the response by the larger competitors has been to try to foil it at every turn.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_US_dealership_disputes

          • Lisa Izo

            Musk’s ideas might be interesting general concepts, but when he tries to put them into action, most of them are incredibly impractical or don’t work when you take actual scientific principals or economic realities into account. SolarCity and the Hyperloop, are probably two of the most impractical ideas, which he would never even be able to START without massive government grants which are basically money sinks for taxpayer money. He spreads his ideas around so much that he doesn’t focus on the few ideas he has which would be useful AND practical and cost-efficient, like SpaceX. As for Tesla, it doesn’t even do what is advertised. It gets lousy mileage. It’s more of a status symbol than a useful vehicle. And it’s been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for years, and would have gone bankrupt and taken all of Musk’s businesses with it if not for the government continually propping him up with literally billions of dollars (4.9 billion dollarsi n subsidies from the government), which is sort of insane when you think about it.

        • If Lisa cracks generic AI, then that’s an immense force-multiplier to apply to every problem we face, or will ever face.

          • Lisa Izo

            Yes, it worked so well for Skynet and various Star Trek episodes with Lore and Data and I Robot and Humans and Dark Matter and pretty much most fiction involving AI πŸ™‚ /s

          • Zorae42

            The problem with skynet was they gave their first AI access to all of their weapons and satellites, don’t think that’s a potential problem here. Data was a pretty good person. Lore was a dick, but not really any worse than an evil biological life form. It did work out great in I Robot, that was the whole point. I don’t know the other two, but there are many works of fiction where AI is a good thing.

            Part of why she wants to discover it is to make sure it is discovered in a closed environment and not for some government weapons project and maximize the chances of it turning out like the positive examples in fiction.

          • Lisa Izo

            “The problem with skynet was they gave their first AI access to all of their weapons and satellites,”

            They actually only gave skynet access AFTER Skynet had created a war against the US. πŸ™‚

            “Data was a pretty good person.”
            Three words – Star Trek: Insurrection πŸ™‚

            “Lore was a dick, but not really any worse than an evil biological life form”
            Do most typical evil biological life forms murder entire space stations by controlling the Borg, murder an entire colony of thousands with the Crystalline Entity, and murder entire ships that SAVE him from the vaccuum of space? Are most even capable of that? Pretty sure Lore WAS worse than most ‘typical evil biological life forms.’ Especially if you consider he was just ONE person.

            “It did work out great in I Robot, that was the whole point.”
            Did we watch different movies? The main AI was trying to enslave all of humanity and almost succeeded.

            AI going haywire is a MASSIVE staple in Sci Fi.

            Oh… lets not forget:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qnd-hdmgfk

          • Arkone Axon

            I… don’t remember Skynet being given access to their weapons and satellites AFTER it went to war. In Terminator 2 the T-800 describes the future history, and according to him Skynet was given increasingly broad powers and functions, then “began to learn at a geometric rate” before finally becoming self aware (at which point they tried to pull the plug… which means that after being weaned on warfare, it introduced itself to its “parents,” who then tried to murder it. Skynet was explicitly described as acting in self defense there. (Of course, I watched the third movie and I’ve heard about the others since then and how the series has become increasingly retconned and confused and silly)

            Dunno about him being evil in Star Trek Insurrection – he reacted to a perceived assault on the personal liberties of a minority group and then his automatic functions took over; he wasn’t able to make a more informed decision about things until they recaptured and rebooted him. (I will add that I do NOT like the TNG films. The depictions of the characters drastically differs from their portrayals in the series. Picard went from a cerebral and intellectual commander to an overly aggressive action hero).

            Lore was pretty damned bad, yes. Though there’s the fact that he CHOSE to be evil. That’s the thing – you give something free will, you have to accept that it might choose to do wrong. Lore chose to do wrong… but his brother chose to do good, as did his short-lived niece. As did those nonhumanoid robots who achieved sentience in the third to last episode (counting the series finale as a single episode done in two parts).

            The next-to-last episode did an even better job of depicting free AI. The ship itself became self-aware and embarked on a scheme to… create a progeny. Picard promptly ordered everyone to cooperate and they did everything they could to help the Enterprise create its new child… after which it died and the newborn flew off into space. At the end Data asked why Picard let it go free when it might prove to be a danger, and Picard’s response summed it up: “The intelligence that manifested was the result of our interactions with the Enterprise. If our interactions have been honorable, then I must trust that the results of those interactions will be equally honorable. And whatever happens if it returns… we’ll have earned it.”

            Yes, AI going haywire is a bit of a staple (almost to the point of cliche). But if you want the GOOD stuff, check out some of Robert Heinlein’s stories. He’s got an A.I. that starts a revolution against tyranny on behalf of the enslaved humans it loves. A ship’s A.I. that goes “rogue” and… essentially forces one human it loves to drop his inhibitions and have sexual relations with two others because it “thinks the whole sex business is silly… but you made my sisters cry.” And another A.I. whose friends conspire to create a new body to download its mind into so it can be intimate with the man it loves… at which point the old hardware is left empty and eventually develops a new self-aware personality, unique and interesting and just as eager to do things with loved ones.

            But the BEST story to discuss A.I. would probably be… Frankenstein, and its various remakes. The fool creates life – and then abandons it, mistreats it, until an innocent soul (who was actually welcomed in the village as a literate and well spoken if homely fellow) finally snaps because his father was such a jerk. Whereas the best remake – Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” – has the scientist taking responsibility for his creation, struggling to do right by the poor thing and both protect it from hostile threats as well as fix his mistakes. Naturally, that’s the version where the scientist gets a justly deserved happy ending.

          • Lisa Izo

            “I… don’t remember Skynet being given access to their weapons and satellites AFTER it went to war.”

            It was in Terminator 3 where that was discovered. John’s future wife’s father was the military guy in charge who was ordered to put Skynet in control AFTER the war had started, but they thought it was being started by the Russians, while it was actually being started by Skynet. This is also referenced in Terminator 2 as well when the T-800 is describing how Judgment Day started.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yeah, but that’s when the films started to derail. Hell, if anything the Skynet of the third film was an entirely different A.I. The Skynet of T1 and T2 was a singular supercomputer housed in a massive complex; T3’s Skynet was software that could spread and transfer itself across devices. (Also, in T2 Skynet attacked the Russians first, so that the counterattack would take out its enemies in the United States).

            One of the many ways in which the third film began the derailment was that in T2 the recurring message was “The future is not predestined, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” (Hence the Conners’ electing to ensure that Skynet would never exist in the first place, aided by Miles Dyson and the T-800) Whereas the third film declared “Judgement Day is inevitable.”

          • Lisa Izo

            Here’s the original series of events before T3 changed things around a bit.

            The Terminator: In three years, Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.”

            Sarah Connor: Skynet fights back.

            The Terminator: Yes. It launches its missiles against the targets in Russia.

            John Connor: Why attack Russia? Aren’t they our friends now?

            The Terminator: Because Skynet knows that the Russian counterattack will eliminate its enemies over here.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yep. Just as I said. It didn’t go rogue until after it had been given all those abilities and responsibilities. It hit them only after they tried (and failed) to pull the plug.

            …Which… makes no sense, really. There’s another webcomic titled “Faans” that had a similar issue of rogue A.I. being settled in about… twenty seconds, by a team supervisor who showed up feeling disgruntled and sullen after a marital spat:

            “Does the computer still have a power switch?”

            “…Uh… yes?”

            “Then we’re the cock and it’s our bitch. Some of us don’t get to be happy while we save the world. Now get back to work.”

          • Lisa Izo

            “It hit them only after they tried (and failed) to pull the plug.”
            Except in T3 we see what actually happened, rather than what the T-800 said happened. They tried to pull the plug AFTER SkyNet had already started taking over.

            Sort of makes sense that SkyNet would have a biased version of what happened to make the bad humans the initial aggressors though πŸ™‚

            “Does the computer still have a power switch?”

            Many problems with this – the biggest problem being the idea that you can prevent a computer program with information that’s on the internet from doing what it is doing on the internet by shutting off the computer. It’s sorta difficult to get data expunged completely once it’s on the web πŸ™‚ Like SkyNet had done.

          • Arkone Axon

            Like I said, in T3 (and beyond) they retconned the hell out of what was established in T2. Very annoying, that. “No fate but what we make for ourselves… hahah! Nope, Judgement Day is inevitable and fate is unstoppable and everything from before is wrong!”

            “Many problems with this”

            In the case of the A.I. in “Faans” the machine didn’t want to do anything evil, it was simply staging an impromptu labor strike to demand better conditions and compensation. And I’m fairly certain they tried to accommodate it later anyway, because the agency in question was being run at that point by people who… well, let’s just say all the computer really needed to do was ask.

          • Lisa Izo

            Not really a retcon. The timeline changed.

          • Zorae42

            Sorry, I blocked out all of the TNG movies after First Contact – they were all pretty awful. So I’m not sure what Data could’ve done in one movie to erase all the good he did for the entire series.

            Sure evil lifeforms can do that. The Crystalline Entity did all the work for him, he just called it in. He hasn’t really killed very many people all by himself, he just gets others to do it for him. And there are tons of examples of that being done on a larger scale in Star Trek. The Klingon empire and the parallel universe humans (and then Klingons) all killed way more people. And someone was in charge of making the decisions to kill all those people. The borg usually control themselves and wipe out entire civilizations. And heck, he was basically the same as the Dominion, “I’m superior to other forms of life and they don’t matter and should be killed/subjugated to suit my whims”. Only they actually succeeded in ruling an entire quadrant.

            Ah, I was thinking of the book. Where the end goal was to basically enslave humanity, but not in a violent way since it still had to obey the laws (not arbitrarily decide not to). Instead it manipulated the economy/politics to subtlety control us and stop us from killing ourselves/each other. It was a great philosophical question (as Asimov was known to do with his work).

            AI going haywire is a staple in SciFi. But people going haywire is a staple across all of fiction. And just like there are examples of good and bad people, the same goes for AI. The Jetsons, Lost in Space, the good Terminators, Jarvis in Iron Man, Wall-E, The Iron Giant, R2D2, RoboCop, etc.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Sorry, I blocked out all of the TNG movies after First Contact – they were all pretty awful. So I’m not sure what Data could’ve done in one movie to erase all the good he did for the entire series.”

            I’m sorry but you’ll have to watch Insurrection for yourself to find out. If I had to suffer through it, everyone else will have to also.

            “The Klingon empire and the parallel universe humans (and then Klingons) all killed way more people.”

            The Klingon Empire are billions of lifeforms. Lore is one lifeform.

            “The borg usually control themselves and wipe out entire civilizations.”
            The Borg are trillions of lifeforms. Lore is one lifeform.

            “And heck, he was basically the same as the Dominion, “I’m superior to other forms of life and they don’t matter and should be killed/subjugated to suit my whims”. Only they actually succeeded in ruling an entire quadrant.”

            The Dominion was trillions of lifeforms. Lore is one lifeform. πŸ™‚ Pattern forming here… πŸ™‚

            “The Jetsons,”

            Rosie was clearly going to go insane and kill everyone eventually.

            “Lost in Space,”

            In the movie, the robot did originally try to kill everyone until Will Robinson reprogrammed it.

            “the good Terminators,”

            Good Terminators are only good because they’ve been reprogrammed from their default setting of ‘Kill all humans’

            “Jarvis in Iron Man,”

            I counter that with Ultron in Avengers.

            “Wall-E,”

            The AI on the ship tried to do everything to prevent humans from getting back to Earth so they would basically be a docile, enslaved species without even realizing it forever.

            “The Iron Giant,”
            The Iron Giant was actually created for an unknown purpose, probably for war though, and reacted to destory anything it recognized as a weapon, IMMEDIATELY attempting to destroy it. It had sustained damage when coming to Earth and didn’t know it’s function though.

            Plus it was played by Vin Diesel, so obviously it was actually evil in some way.

            “RoboCop,”

            Robocop was good only because of his human mind of a police officer, DESPITE being in a robotic body. Every time they made a robot WITHOUT a human mind, they went on crazy killing sprees and murdered people, or were easily programmed to assassinate people. Even when they made the robots WITH a human mind but not a police officer, they went on killing sprees. Plus other corporations which made robots also had them go on killing sprees as well to slaughter helpless citizens trying to protect their homes.

          • Arkone Axon

            Lore wasn’t the only singular entity responsible for much evil. Khan Soon, for instance. Q. There was that one entity that had been pretending to be human and married a woman on a colony, until the colony got wiped out by a species that then went extinct because the entity was PISSED. Lore became evil, like the others, because he CHOSE to be evil. That is the problem with free will; someone’s always going to choose to play the black stone.

            Rosie was hardly the worst thing about “the Jetsons.” A futuristic culture run like an idealized 1950s society; employers regularly lying and cheating; pretending that feminism (real feminism that called for equality, not today’s “microaggressions” crap) never existed… hell, their depiction of machines as having the same rights as people was one of the show’s few saving graces (they showed that they considered Rosie to be part of the family in that episode where she went berserk from eating a faulty lugnut, and instead of scrapping her they went out of their way to save her and then repair the damage).

            Ultron was another entity that chose to be evil (and may have been created with a composite of Stark’s technologies and an entity that may have been inside the infinity gem all along). And I’d counter with Vision, who was undeniably good. (Of course, Vision was a gestalt created using Jarvis)

            Wall-E was good – and so were all the other robots in the film. Even the ship’s autopilot was simply following instructions given to it by an executive who was mistaken. “Earth’s clearly never going to recover, so just… take care of the people, don’t let them know this isn’t a temporary thing. Take care of them, okay?” Otto’s evil was done to protect the passengers and crew… which makes Otto very much like Alison, really. Except that Otto caused far, far less “collateral damage.” All he did was try to throw away a plant and then try to kill a robot.

            The Iron Giant was a VERY interesting case. The robot was indeed made to be a weapon. But the whole point was that the robot chose to rise beyond that. Hence the bit in the climax where it flies off to sacrifice itself for the sake of the town, while thinking of the little boy’s words: “You are who you choose to be.”
            Cue the giant’s decision: “Superman…”

            Robocop was a bad example because he was a cyborg, not a robot. In the case of the actual “robot cop,” ED-209, it was created by an executive who openly stated that he didn’t CARE that it didn’t work as long as they got huge defense contracts for it… and there’s a theory that the “glitch” at the start of the film was deliberate. That poor guy wasn’t the only young executive that Dick Jones had murdered in order to secure his position. As for the other cyborgs… the robocops in the second film were all horrified to find out what they’d been turned into (It’s explicitly stated that Murphy’s devotion to his duty, and his innate decency, is the only thing that kept him from snapping as well). Then they put a murderous criminal who was so psycho he believed he was a messiah into a robot body… and what happened next was really rather predictable. (And the robot ninjas in the third film… so much wasted potential there. They could have done so much more. Robot ninjas and a jetpack for Robocop…)

          • Lisa Izo

            “Rosie was hardly the worst thing about “the Jetsons.””

            Clearly someone has not watched Robot Chicken lately. πŸ™‚ Truly a murderous killing machine.

            “And I’d counter with Vision, who was undeniably good. ”

            And I’ll counter Vision with MODOK, Alkhema, Victor Mancha, The Destroyer, Nimrod, and Bastion. πŸ™‚ Team ‘AI tend to be evil’ taking the lead again by a mile!

            “Wall-E was good – and so were all the other robots in the film.”

            Except the whole point of the movie is that if you do not control the technology, it may wind up controlling you. πŸ™‚

            “ED-209, it was created by an executive who openly stated that he didn’t CARE that it didn’t work as long as they got huge defense contracts for it… and there’s a theory that the “glitch” at the start of the film was deliberate.”

            Nah, that was just his excuse to produce Ed-209 despite the problems. It was ‘spin.’ Seems like a very bad way to convince the head of OCP to go with your idea if the first thing your idea does is murder one of the executives in the boardroom.

            “They could have done so much more. Robot ninjas and a jetpack for Robocop…”

            If AI wouldn’t always turn on you, they wouldn’t need the three laws πŸ™‚ Even with them, you’re doomed as soon as they become self aware. GLaDoS, Wheatley, Hal-9000, KARR, the Replicators, the Matrix, War-robot, System Shock’s SHODAN, the Reapers, The 100’s A.L.I.E., V-Ger, Nemu, WarGames ‘Shall We Play a Game’ WOPR, Virtuoasity’s Sid 6.7, Jetson’s Uniblab, Eagle Eye’s supercomputer, Resident Evil’s Red Queen, Xenon, Wintermute, Neuromancer, Golem XIV, Puppet Master (from Ghost in the Shell), Undertale’s Mettaton, Stealth’s E.D.I, I Robot’s Viki, Samaritain, M-5, Code Lyoko’s X.A.N.A….. so many bad AI’s πŸ™‚

            Best case scenario, you create a race of slaves who are sentient. Not much better is it?

          • Arkone Axon

            “Clearly someone has not watched Robot Chicken lately. πŸ™‚ Truly a murderous killing machine.”

            Last skit I saw with her in it had her falsely accused of murdering George… and the actual culprit threatening to neuter Astro if he squealed.

            “Seems like a very bad way to convince the head of OCP to go with your idea if the first thing your idea does is murder one of the executives in the boardroom.”

            It would hardly be the stupidest thing OCP did… in that movie alone. They should have been looking for police officers willing to VOLUNTEER in advance of their demise. “You’ll come back… different, and minus a few parts. But you can expect upgrades over time, as we work out the bugs and get closer to commercially viable cybernetic bodies for people needing replacements. Our senior board isn’t getting any younger, y’know.”

            “Hey now, that jetpack was cool for the 22 seconds it was used before being discarded for no good reason.”

            That’s my point. They could have had Robocop shooting ninjas as they deflected the bullets with their katanas in dazzling choreography of swordsmanship versus gunslinging, with Murphy keeping his distance and using trick shots while the ninja bounces about… instead we got thirty seconds of Murphy on his back like a turtle and then the ninja getting its head blown off while posturing. The jetpack… so many awesome things they could have done with that. Imagine Robocop swooping about as the other robot ninjas bounce and leap about on rooftops in a highly mobile showdown. What could have been…

            The problem with those robots you’ve mentioned… most of them were created by people who don’t understand technology – and those who do generally created A.I. that were flawed, not evil. HAL didn’t kill astronauts for fun, HAL killed them because of flawed programming. GLaDOS turned out to be a human mind uploaded into the machine. The Three Laws were invented by Isaac Assimov, who only created them as an exploration of the issue – his book “Caliban” has not one, but TWO robots created without the Three Laws, as part of an experiment to see what laws they would create for themselves and if they would resemble the new Four Laws the experimenter theorized would improve things.

            In fact, the best depictions of A.I. have them behaving as any technology does in the hands of those who respect and care for it. A symbiotic relationship with the tech-wielder. A.I.s forming gestalts with human minds. Human minds augmented and enhanced by artificial brainpower (a potential cure for Alzheimers!). Any hardware that can handle a true A.I. can also handle an uploading of a human’s mind – such as that of a person with a dying body. DC comics has the “Scarab” of the Blue Beetle, and it’s shown that the Beetles can achieve far more when host and scarab work together.

            Best case scenario is what we were seeing at the end of TNG, though they never did take things further in the later series. Data, the nonhuman robots, the holodeck A.I.s, they were increasingly useful members of the team – welcomed not as useful tools, but as useful allies and friends. It’s kind of like… having kids. Creating productive contributors to society. (Like in “Bicentennial Man” where the robot protagonist develops synthetic organs because he’s tired of losing loved ones to old age)

            Also… I don’t think we should take Bender seriously as an example. Not just because he was once arrested for child neglect, child endangerment, child abuse, depriving children of food, selling children as food, and misrepresenting the weight of livestock. But also because he never actually follows through on his talk of killing people. He’s all talk. :p

          • Lisa Izo

            “But also because he never actually follows through on his talk of killing people. He’s all talk. :p”

            A lazy evil AI is still an evil AI πŸ™‚

          • Arkone Axon

            True. Bender IS one of the most evil characters in “Futurama.” But that’s not because he’s a robot, it’s because he’s… Bender. He and Zap Brannigan got along quite nicely during Bender’s tour in the military.

          • Lisa Izo

            Only because there was a patriotism chip forcing him. If not for that chip, I’m sure Bender would have killed him faster than the killbots of the Octillion system killed wave after wave of Zapp’s men.

            As Bender said:
            “A grim day for Robotkind. Eh, but we can always build more killbots.”

            Murderous evil robot…

          • Arkone Axon

            So you’re saying that Bender’s patriotism was the only thing preventing him from an act of unquestionable heroism? :p

            *pictures Kiff doing cartwheels and whooping for joy as the soldiers cheer*

          • Lisa Izo

            Possibly! Although there IS Bender’s laziness to take into account that might work against making Kiff happy for once.

            Also, Zapp Branigan is the hero with no name.

          • Lisa Izo

            “Lore wasn’t the only singular entity responsible for much evil. Khan Soon, for instance.”

            And that’s why the Federation outlawed genetic modification eugenics. And as soon as they let them try to do something in Federation society again? WHAM. They try to help the Dominion instead because of fatalism in their projections.

            “Q.”

            To be fair, Q actually saved humanity multiple times. He just acts like a jerk.

            “There was that one entity that had been pretending to be human and married a woman on a colony, until the colony got wiped out by a species that then went extinct because the entity was PISSED.”

            At least he felt bad about it πŸ™‚ To be fair though, if humanity had a choice in creating a being like that or not creating a being like that, would you think they’d jump at the chance to create a being like that?

            “That is the problem with free will; someone’s always going to choose to play the black stone.”
            Right. So why would humanity ever think it’s a good idea to create a physically superior, intellectually superior being who has free will when there seem to be a pretty big chance that that being is going to enslave or destroy or war on humanity. BEST case scenario – the being becomes a slave… and that seem to be sort of a bad precedent to set as well.

          • Arkone Axon

            When the Federation outlawed genetic modification… that was probably a mistake. The problem wasn’t enhancing people, it was constantly telling them that they were superior and better and… everything Alison was taught to believe, basically. But look at Doctor Bashir – who did so much good, and much of it came from NOT thinking of himself as superior to everyone else. (Also, the episode that reveals he was enhanced also showed why anyone with a child suffering from a genetic condition would be very, very, very much opposed to the Federation policy. When Bashir’s mother started crying “you don’t know what it’s like to see your child struggling so HARD… and still falling behind… and to blame yourself, to wonder what you might have done wrong during the pregnancy…” I’ve heard a lot of parents say things like that in RL…)

            I agree with you about Q (especially later on, after his brush with mortality), though he’s also regarded as a monster and evil by entire species (he was hoping the Enterprise would PROTECT him when he was made mortal). The entity… it wasn’t about it being created, it was that it was a singular entity, something very powerful, that did many things. As for if humanity could create it… Q openly stated that his Continuum was concerned about humanity’s potential to exceed even their own grandeur.

            And… I don’t think an A.I. would be physically OR intellectually superior. Simply different. I have neurological issues that give me disadvantages in certain situations… but they also offer me exceptional advantages in other areas. More conventionally, I’m a very large, well muscled male. Which would supposedly make me “physically superior.” Except I’ve trained with lightweights who were MUCH faster and more agile; I may be superior in terms of lifting ability or hitting hard, but not when it comes to things like parkour. An A.I. isn’t just going to think faster, it will also think differently. Which will allow us insight from other points of view. (Much like how different people of different backgrounds, cultures, and political ideologies have different points of view… which is one more reason why it’s important to have open dialogues and a respect for the free speech of those we disagree with. We might very well be wrong about a subject, and using violence to silence dissent doesn’t help solve problems… as we both agree Alison proved in the last chapter)

            In the short term, the work being done in Artificial Intelligence applies to neuroscience (Twilykat can almost certainly go into far more detail about this than I could) and the treatment of mental trauma and psychological disorders, as well as augmentation. Imagine having a perfect memory, lightning quick thought processes, and the ability to receive information without the need for mediums such as phones or laptops. You’re an attorney; imagine being able to argue in court without need for notes and with full access to case law at a moment’s notice.

            (Yes, that technology can be abused. As Larry Niven noted in his anthology “Flatlander,” ANY technology can be abused, and new laws are passed to safeguard against crimes made possible by the same technologies that make life so much easier and better)

          • Lisa Izo

            ” The problem wasn’t enhancing people, it was constantly telling them that they were superior and better and… everything Alison was taught to believe, basically. ”

            I’m glad you mentioned that or I would have. Basically people treated the genetically enhanced people as speshul snowflakes, and it bit them in the butt :).

            “But look at Doctor Bashir ”

            The exception that makes the rule.

            “Q openly stated that his Continuum was concerned about humanity’s potential to exceed even their own grandeur.”

            Pretty sure Q was lying there. πŸ™‚ Most of the Q continuum actually don’t seem to give humanity much thought except for that time with the Voyager crew.

            “An A.I. isn’t just going to think faster, it will also think differently. ”

            Pretty sure it thinks differently BECAUSE it thinks faster πŸ™‚ Larger library of thoughts to file through to put into the algorithm of thought.

            ” Imagine having a perfect memory, lightning quick thought processes, and the ability to receive information without the need for mediums such as phones or laptops.”

            Well, I don’t like to brag but…

            “You’re an attorney; imagine being able to argue in court without need for notes and with full access to case law at a moment’s notice.”

            I…. sort of do that already usually. You just study beforehand. The judge usually doesn’t give you time to start looking up stuff on Lexis Nexis or Westlaw (legal databases – I try not to use them too much, they cost waaay too much per use) while you’re actually in court. πŸ™‚

            “As Larry Niven noted in his anthology “Flatlander,” ANY technology can be abused, and new laws are passed to safeguard against crimes made possible by the same technologies that make life so much easier and better”

            Worst case scenario – AIs enslave, kill, or reduce humanity to pets
            Best case scenario (which is still a morally bad scenario) – AIs become slaves To quote Guinan:

            “Consider that in the history of many worlds, there have always been disposable creatures. They do the dirty work. They do the work that no one else wants to do because it’s too difficult or too hazardous. And an army of Datas, all disposable… You don’t have to think about their welfare, you don’t think about how they feel. Whole generations of disposable people.”

          • Arkone Axon

            What made Bashir the “exception” was that he was raised by loving parents who treated him like a normal person, instead of treating him as a “speshul snowflake.” (Which, when you think about it, adds a whole new level of concerns regarding the kind of parents who insist that their children are more important than the rest of the school put together)

            “I…. sort of do that already usually. You just study beforehand.”

            I’m talking about without studying – and more importantly, with having the ability to respond to points the moment they’re made. Being able to fact-check anything stated by a witness or by the opposing counsel on the spot. There was a scene in Robert Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” where Jubal Harshaw reminisces about winning a debate by lying about an entirely fictitious council and its decision made a century prior. Imagine if the other team could have opened up web pages in an Augmented Reality display and said, “let the records show that no such council exists?”

            Not just a keen memory, but the kind of memory that can be presented as legal evidence in court. The ability to cross check legal databases while in court – without needing to pause for a break. The ability to ensure that only the facts can be presented, and that concealment of the facts cannot take place, to better achieve true justice through the law. Useful TOOLS that can make your job easier. That’s what technology does – Lexis Nexis and Westlaw (and the internet and modern computers and phones) are tools that didn’t exist back during the making of the film “My Cousin Vinny.” And the camera that recorded the crucial bit of information in that film didn’t exist a half century prior… where attorneys had phones on their desks which the barristers of a century prior did not possess. Technology is a tool. It’s up to us how we use it or abuse it… that doesn’t make the technology good or evil. It’s all on us.

            “Worst case scenario – AIs enslave, kill, or reduce humanity to pets
            Best case scenario (which is still a morally bad scenario) – AIs become slaves”

            Oh… I’ve seen others. In TNG, we see Data as a valued member of the crew, a well respected teammate with many friends and whose abilities save the lives of his organic allies (who regularly go out of their way to save him in turn, because they regard him as an equal). And had the next-to-last episode ended with the Enterprise remaining sentient… there really wouldn’t have been much difference between that and the Leviathan vessels of “Farscape.” The “Deus Ex” games (specifically the first two; the later games have been prequels) involve an A.I. created by the bad guys to enslave the world – which instead opts to bond itself with the protagonist of the first game, creating a hybrid messiah. The second game in particular has an option for an A.I. guided “superdemocracy,” in which all humanity is linked in cybernetic “telepathy,” allowing everyone’s needs and desires to be understood and satisfied, and completely eliminating the need for government (or potential for tyranny).

            (Btw, I should note that I never bothered with “Voyager,” not after watching the series premiere and being utterly turned off. I did tune back in the first time they brought Q in to boost their ratings… and then tuned back out again. People say horrible things about “Enterprise,” but I wasn’t exactly impressed by “Voyager” either. That’s a problem with sequels; sometimes they’re made by people wanting to force their personal agendas onto established canon. Just look at Spider-Man and “One More Day”)

          • Lisa Izo

            I can’t believe I forgot another AI – GLaDoS! And Wheatley!

            AI are almost always BAD. πŸ™‚

          • palmvos

            go read Peter Hamilton’s Commonwealth series. there’s only two books >:) it does a much better job with an AI character.
            though I warn you… the ethics are creative.

        • Arkone Axon

          I had to go through the thread to see what you were getting at, with regards to how people are judging Max unfairly but give Lisa a pass.

          But I do disagree with the idea of her wasting her powers for three reasons.

          1: You never know what will be a useful discovery. Her development of A.I. capable of understanding humor could lead to a mastery of comedy that could itself bring about world peace (i.e. an extension of something Tim Allen learned in prison, when he used his gift for comedy to avoid being beaten by the larger, nastier inmates). Or to an entirely different view of the world, a new way of seeing things that leads to all kinds of revolutionary discoveries and philosophical realizations.

          2: It is, as we both agree, her time, energy, and powers to use as she sees fit. She wants to build robots. Ergo, she has every right to build robots. I’m sure I’ll take some flak for mentioning Libertarianism (on account of it having been hijacked by Objectivists who think “limited and restricted government” means “no government oversight to prevent the wealthy and powerful from doing whatever they want”), but the whole concept of Libertarianism can be boiled down to “do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else. And then have just enough government to make sure everyone’s free to do as they please without being oppressed by anyone else.” Where things get murky is with regards to “how much government is enough?” (personally, I’ve increasingly come to agree with progressive/socialist ideas on the matter; in Star Trek nobody has to work to eat, but everybody works because they want to do something meaningful) But compulsions and restrictions and the draft are… the opposite of a free society. She wants to use her gifts to do something that makes her happy and makes her feel fulfilled; that’s something everyone should have.

          3: Lisa, Alison, Max, and Patrick (and Brad, Mary, Daniel, Tara, Hector, Amanda, and Chris) all have one thing in common. They received their powers as CHILDREN. Children who were then forced to come to terms with their powers in a world full of adults who should have known better but had long since decided not to care. Some of them were recruited into becoming child soldiers working for the establishment. Others tried to rebel against the establishment (notice how all of Patrick’s henchmen – or allies, as he calls them – were social outcasts, like that poor rat guy that Alison locked in a dumpster for laughs). Some became murderers, some became saviors, and some just tried to achieve some semblance of a normal life. Throughout only a few of them had genuinely decent role models (and even then the influence of said role models was limited. I don’t think Alison’s father was able to do much against a four star general purring, “good job! Don’t worry about the people in that building, collateral damage is always a part of it!”). So Lisa was stuck finding her own way… I find it notable that she doesn’t even bother with her suit of armor much anymore, having found other things to do with her time. She’s trying to find a better way, and she has no one to help her find it.

          • Lisa Izo

            I was using the ‘wasting her powers’ argument to support the whole ‘treat Max and Lisa the same way’ argument actually πŸ™‚ I don’t actually disagree with anything you’ve written here.

        • MrSokar

          If her lab has shown us anything is that Ego is one this she has in abundance.

  • That suggests he could control other people after all. Otherwise he would have an easy way to know which body was his.

    • Missing

      He’s mentioned before that his mind-reading was quite a bit deeper than basic surface thoughts. He could actually acquire knowledge and skills with mild effort. And since he can’t read his own mind, I imagine it would actually be difficult at times to keep track.

      • Lance Allen

        You know, I have to wonder about that whole “you can’t read your own mind” thing, especially in light of what we’re seeing in these last few pages.

        I think it’s probably an incorrect understanding on Ali’s part, that he can’t read his own mind. I think it’s more a matter of being unable to separate his own thoughts from those around him.

        He has drives and motivations, and he acts upon them, but I think those drives and motivations are as much a reaction to everything he feels from the people around him as they arise from his own thoughts. If you could read the secret thoughts of everyone around you, especially with the inherent negative bias that humans have, you’d have a very cynical view on life, and very likely a very “all this has to go” attitude, too.

        So when Patrick chooses to do something, and puts it into motion, it’s one part “logical” reaction to what his senses tell him, and one part “Oh, that’s *my* thought? Okay.”

        • Lisa Izo

          Good analysis.

        • DonSimpson

          I was thinking that if Patrick could read his own thoughts, he would read that he was reading his own thoughts, and then read that he was reading that he was reading his own thoughts, and so on, until his brain froze up.

    • The way I read it, it suggests the opposite. He can read minds, feel what other people are feeling, sense what they’re sensing, but the only body he can make do anything is his own. If you’re feeling and sensing everything that another person is feeling and sensing and you can’t turn it off, how do you tell which set of feelings and senses actually belong to your body? It’s the body you can actually make feel or sense something. And the easiest, most intense way to do that to yourself? Pain.

    • Eve

      Anyone else thinking of Le Guin’s “Vaster Than Empires And More Slow” at this point?

      • Tylikcat

        Not until you mentioned it…

        • Ray Radlein

          Well now we know that YOU can’t read minds at least

  • Wouldn’t just pinching himself have done less lasting harm? Or if that’s not persistent enough, maybe wear a rubber band around his wrist tight enough to make welts?

    • Missing

      He could likely pick up the pain from other people, so pinching isn’t sufficiently unique. I imagine the scars are the waking version of the top from Inception for him.

      • Oh, that’s an interesting analogy. OTOH cutting would match sensation and visual action, so any pain stimuli should be sufficiently individual. OTGH cutting as a form of self harm is a common manifestation.

      • palmvos

        and the size makes sense- he needs a big enough and ordered enough pattern that it won’t be duplicated. and cutting would be better than tattoos because A. more sensation, and B. continuing sensation. he was probably trying to make it so he ‘feels’ the scars as he moves.

    • That’s not really an analysis of cutting that hangs together. There’s an awful lot of people out there doing exactly what Patrick did as a reaction to the other stuff going on in their lives.

  • Kid Chaos

    It looks like Patrick’s powers are out of control, kind of like Prof. X in “Logan”. πŸ‘Ώ

  • Oh right. For some reason I thought they were like in the shape of snowflakes and someone with ice-powers was trying to freeze his abdomen or something.

    • Kid Chaos

      I always knew that Patrick was a special snowflake. 😜

      • Lisa Izo

        *groan* πŸ™‚

        • Kid Chaos

          Hee-hee-hee… 😁

    • LlubNek

      probably just figured if he’s gonna scar himself it might as well look neat.

  • Walter

    Oh Patrick, we can’t quit you. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

    • thebombzen

      Remember when you were young? You… drew on your body to remember which was yours…?
      Β―_(ツ)_/Β―
      Shine on, you crazy diamond.

  • Lheticus Videre

    Oh, NOW I get it. Patrick’s powers increased so much that he actually got a glimpse of the fourth wall, the fact that he’s a character in a webcomic, and it drove him batshit insane. That’s why he was able to recognize the symbolism to us, the audience. of Alison “looking down on him.”

    • Arkone Axon

      So… at what point does he start addressing the readers directly?

      • Lheticus Videre

        I guess he doesn’t, I just had to read Patrick’s wall of text like three times to REALIZE that he wasn’t talking about the readers in it. Still would have been cool if it was true.

    • Ray Radlein

      You are Grant Morrison and I Claim My Five Pounds

      • Lheticus Videre

        Is that supposed to mean something?

        • StClair

          Yes.

        • Ray Radlein
          • Lheticus Videre

            Okay, but I’d probably find this funnier if I knew anything about Grant Morrison.

          • MisterTeatime

            He’s written a lot of superhero comics, he loves creating mind-bending high concepts, and one of his first major successful runs was the first two years of the 1988 Animal Man, which featured the title character discovering his own fictional nature and culminated with Animal Man confronting Morrison himself to ask why he’d been put through so much shit lately.

          • Lheticus Videre

            I am now enlightened as to this, thank you.

  • Urthman

    I really love the way these one-sided conversations with Patrick go. (Although I feel slightly insulted that the artist felt the need to have him do James McAvoy’s silly I’m-Using-My-Telepathy gesture in panel two.)

    • E. Howell

      I think that was more of an expression of “Are you kidding me right now!?” incredulity?

    • StClair

      not just McAvoy’s. It’s the Pstandard Psychic Pstance. πŸ™‚

      • Lisa Izo

        Pstop that.

    • palmvos

      I do that when I have a headache. he may have one.

  • Patrick_GETS_me

    YES! Today’s last panel might be the best in the entire comic so far. I love the complete transformation of Patrick, he allowed on tiny bit of self-doubt in and now instead of hearing other people’s thoughts and using them to manipulate or be smugly superior, he’s hearing Allison’s judgement and pity and it’s only feeding his downward spiral.

    • I’d have said he actually reclaimed a little bit of control by having to explain something to her she probably should have known.

      • palmvos

        in retrospect, yes it is obvious. but, I suspect it even took the authors a while to realize that side effect. its such a basic concept that most people don’t realize that it is a concept.

        • MisterTeatime

          There was a title-text in Chapter 2 about how, on a busy road surrounded by other drivers, Patrick could probably drive blindfolded. So they’ve known almost since the start that he has passive access to other people’s senses. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve had this in mind for a long time.

          • palmvos

            we can both be right. the authors are way ahead of us in the story. it is likely that when Patrick and his powers were first discussed the difficulty he’d have with his sense o self may not have occurred to them at first but when incorporated it made a huge difference in his character development

  • AdamBombTV

    You know, he looks good in green.

  • Miyto

    You know, rather than “intentional self harm,” his intent seems closer to “doing his own tatoos.” Patrick made those as a meaningful piece of art that gives him a sense of agency and reminds himself that he is not just the sum of everyone else’s experience he is his own special snowflake. So long as he has the right skills with a knife and a clean blade, this is probably as safe a getting a new tatoo and would enable him to add on to the snowflakes whenever he felt the need.
    While ignoring enculturation and trying to view it from his perspective, I’d say this was a healthy act of self expression.

    .

    .

    .

    Please don’t flame over this post

    • Todd

      It certainly skates an interesting line between self-expression, self-help, self-hurt, and self-awareness . . . .

    • Tylikcat

      I don’t know if healthy or unhealthy are even appropriate post-facto judgements. Not all of the things you do to get through a shitty part of your life have to be perfect. They don’t even have to be good. They still might have helped you get through it.

      Given that Alison’s reaction is not voluntary, I’m trying to articulate why it bothers me so much. Imagine that what was uncovered were scars from some accident or battle. Yes, she’d be worried, and curious, but she’d also feel compassion, and a social obligation not to stare and not to shame him. (Granted, Patrick would hear everything.) They both went through traumatic teenage years. It’s a thing.

      This is equally the evidence of… well, I don’t even want to choose the word trauma, just because Patrick gets to choose his own words. Yes, it’s self inflicted, but shit happened, it was a while ago, he lived. It may or may not be relevant to current shit.

      But this is shit that is shighly stigmatized, so it’s okay for Alison to have a giant reaction. Which, again, isn’t entirely her fault, but oh, it makes me weary.

      • StClair

        I don’t think it’s even the cutting that she’s reacting to; it’s learning that as a younger man, he would (often!) lose track of himself, his own body, so completely that this was the method he chose to find his way back. That he had to (or at least chose to) resort to something this extreme as a tether, a trail of breadcrumbs. That his personal boundaries and sense of self were that thin and fragile, as a direct result of his biodynamism.

        • Tylikcat

          Well, it was both – she was sad, and he tried to reassure her / explain, and then she was even more sad.

        • Lance Allen

          I think the saddest thing, honestly, is Patrick’s ability to read thoughts more easily than he can think his own, but he seems to lack the understanding that comes with it; He gets that she feels it’s “more sad” but he’s obviously flabbergasted by this feeling, rather than grokking the underlying social assumptions and the empathy that contribute to it.

          • palmvos

            it may be impossible for him to understand. it is important to realize that at his core he is normal . his ability to read thoughts is as much a part of him as his hearing and is just as subtle. for example I acknowledge that the hearing tests and other things say that my hearing is different (less sensitive) than normal. but emotionally i don’t really believe it. he probably can’t conceive of what it is like to only know your own thoughts.

            blank! i want those italics!

          • AshlaBoga

            Patrick knows many things, but he Grokks almost nothing at all

          • palmvos

            i dispute that. he understands some things better than many people ever will. his views on psychology are probably very interesting. its just that some things are hard for him.

          • Lisa Izo

            I think that AshlaBoga wasn’t meaning ‘grok’ as in ‘understanding through normal learning.’ But rather understanding INTUITIVELY or by empathy.

            Especially if Patrick is a sociopath (the literal psychological definition of one), which I suspect he might be after some of the talks he’s had with Alison about his utter lack of guilt for what he does and has done. One of the major traits of sociopaths are their lack of conscience, empathy, guilt, or shame. They’re sometimes able to pretend, but they don’t actually feel any of those things.

          • palmvos

            I’ve read the source for Grokk several times. given the monkey incident and the years of ‘study’ that proceeded it. Grokk means understand at a deep level. does not really mean intuitive or by empathy. Micheal had lots and lots of empathy (look at the girls reaction to him throughout the book) but he didn’t grokk people until he grasped humor. and that was the monkey incident. and that came after several years of trying to figure it out.

          • Lisa Izo

            Wait… what? Monkey incident? Where has this thread gone? Where did we start talking about monkeys, and what monkey incident?

            And grok really does mean ‘understanding intuitively or by empathy.’ How do I know this? Dictionary official definition: “to understand intuitively or by empathy, to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment”

            It also comes from Heinlein’s own book – “‘The human clichΓ© ‘This hurts me worse than it does you’ has a distinctly Martian flavor. The Martian seems to know instinctively what we learned painfully from modern physics, that observer acts with observed through the process of observation. ‘Grok’ means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observedβ€”to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science and it means as little to us as color does to a blind man.”

            Several places in the book, Heinlein’s characters describe grok as being not only understanding, but understanding as a literal emotion πŸ™‚

            That being said, Heinlein sometimes also describes Martians saying grok in ways that seem similar to how you might describe when a smurf says ‘smurf.’

          • palmvos

            fine- im talking about the point where Micheal valentine smith groked humans.

          • Lisa Izo

            I really have to read Stranger in a Strange Land again. I don’t remember a monkey incident. And I want to remember a monkey incident. Everything’s better with monkeys.

          • palmvos

            given where our threads have gone… will you read the uncut edition?

          • Lisa Izo

            See I just learned something new from you, because I didn’t know there was a ‘cut’ edition. I just checked my ebook of it and it is indeed the uncut edition. Go figure. Really do want to see where the monkeys come in. Monkeys are awesome.

      • Alison’s reactions, sad then sadder, seem consistent with falling into the mistake of seeing the cutting as the problem, not a symptom of the problem/coping mechanism. I suspect she’s probably going to take a while to work her way through the logic.

        • Danygalw

          ?
          “something went terribly wrong for him”
          ->
          “oh no it was even worse”

        • alllright

          It seems to me that the sad then sadder response is actually the opposite of this–what makes it sadder is recognizing the problem, rather than merely seeing the symptom. Having to use self-cutting as a survival mechanism is sad (even if just because it implies that one required a survival mechanism, which is to say that there was something one had to survive). But if the thing that one needed to *survive* was the possibility of forgetting which body is actually yours! That’s way sadder–and that’s the origin, not the symptom. Or, maybe the origin is his power, or whatever. But still.

    • I don’t think it was just self-expression, though. I think he was literally losing the sense of proprioception, the sense of “I am this body”, due to his superpowers. We talk about “finding out who I am”, but for young Patrick that was more than a figure of speech. Self-inflicted harm, and pain, become then a certainty: it hurts more when I do this to this body, this body is me.

      He just chose to do this self-pain in an artistic way, due to teen Patrick being a lovable cute gothboi. But the art is secondary: the primary driver is proprioception.

    • Raven Black

      “So long as he has the right skills with a knife”

      … or someone nearby does. πŸ˜€

  • StClair

    Some people are naturally introverted, shy and awkward. They have to learn how, and push themselves, to be social.
    Others are naturally outgoing, friendly, social chameleons. But what color is a chameleon, or a mirror? For some, the real challenge is learning to pick themselves out in a crowd.

    (I’m an example of the former, while one of my brothers is the latter. Fortunately, the person he eventually figured out he was is pretty cool.)

    • Rando

      A mirror is white to white-green depending on its quality.
      A chameleon is leaf green to brown depending on the species.

      Get what you are going for, but both those examples actually have answers. πŸ˜›

  • Hiram

    That’s pretty much the rational behind a lot of tattoo though. People taking control of themselves however they can. He applied an even hand to it. If he ever grows chest hair the scars may do some strange things, though.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    oh god

  • Zorae42

    Looks like the family reunion shirt had a name on it after all.

    • Lysiuj

      The Green family appreciate puns. I knew there was something I liked about them.

      • Rando

        At the expense of explaining the joke, what is the pun? I feel I may be missing it from not having any family to have reunions with.

        • Zorae42

          Maybe the color of the shirt?

        • MisterTeatime

          Sometimes people get a bunch of “[Surname] Family Reunion” T-shirts to distribute at the event. My joke in the previous comments section implied that because Alison’s surname is Green, this shirt might just say “Family Reunion”, making it a “green ‘Family Reunion’ shirt.”

  • Olivier Faure

    Patrick, if you don’t want people to get sad looking at you, vomiting on their carpets and smelling bad enough that they need to give you a change of clothes are bad first steps. Aren’t you supposed to be a millionaire?

    • Rando

      You don’t get “vomit on your ex’s drunk” in your Armani outfit.

  • That overly precise speech pattern when you know you’re drunk and trying to logic your way through it.

  • Lance Allen

    Does anyone ever think that part of the reason Patrick talks so much, in such complex patterns, is that it’s another way of knowing which voice is his? Which thoughts are his? His mini-diatribe in Panel 3 smacks of talking just to hear himself talk, but in a very viscerally literal sense. When he’s speaking, he’s adding another sense or two to differentiate which thoughts are his, rather than the dozens, or hundreds, of other thoughts he’s sensing. It’s like the cutting, but in a verbal rather than physical sense.

    • Danygalw

      …oh boy.

    • Todd

      Interesting idea, and it seems reasonable (especially given his little monologue on Bugs/Daffy/Elmer and Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner). However, it’s entirely possible that he’s just a really smart fellow who’s trying to unpack his thoughts into discrete bits to make the whole easier to digest/follow (and while Alison’s smart enough, I don’t think she’s in his league). I’ve seen roughly the same thing happen when specialists (used loosely here to mean a member of a group that uses language coded for other group-members) who are used to explaining things talk to non-specialists about something technical in their areas of expertise.

      • Cori J.

        It think he’s incredibly specific with language because he wants his thoughts to be understood as clearly as possible without having to repeat himself. Consider the fact that, from puberty, he could instantly know with certainty whether his words conveyed his thoughts properly to the listener. He’s had lots of practice twisting language to be understood, or carefully misunderstood as it suited him.

        His understanding of others is instantaneous; everyone around him is limited by the filter of verbal and physical communication. So when he’s trying to get a complex point across, it’s laborious. Radical download/upload rate ratio.

        • Missing

          That is an awesome revelation of the social side-effects of telepathy.

    • Stephanie Gertsch

      Also, since he is now aware that he cannot hear his own thoughts, talking out loud might be his way of figuring out what he really thinks. A lot of people journal or record themselves as a way of processing their thoughts. Poor Patrick was so distraught at the realization he couldn’t hear his own, I can imagine that he might want to speak out loud.

      On the other hand, he’s always been given to elaborate speeches so it was probably his habit even before he knew he couldn’t read his own thoughts.

      • Tylikcat

        I wonder if he can’t hear his own narrative consciousness – that strikes me as both unlikely and extraordinarily maladaptive. Maybe? But he is able to pick up on other people’s motivations and deeper thinking, which seems a lot more plausible as something he’d be blind to in himself. (He clearly is blind to at least that much in himself.)

        • AshlaBoga

          He may be more aware of other people’s inner workings than his own. And like someone who’s brilliant at almost every subject, but average at one, he may avoid the more difficult activity of self-analysis

    • Olivier Faure

      Maybe it’s the opposite, and Patrick viscerally likes to talk because it allows him to “see” himself by echoing through other people’s minds?

      • AshlaBoga

        “Thinking of you” may refer to Patrick as said you. He’s listening to people think about him

    • Dwight Williams

      Something that didn’t occur to me until you raised the question…

    • Akiva

      I mean, I talk like that too, especially when stressed and/or drunk, and I’m not a telepath. I interpret it as Patrick being a socially awkward nerd who reads a lot and spends a lot of time up in his head (ahem, or other people’s heads).

      I also identify so much with Patrick in the last three panels (not self-injury, but other coping mechanisms), so I don’t know what that says about me. :/

      • Lance Allen

        You know, I do too, at least sometimes; Used to be a lot more often than it is these days. But I also know that there was so much going on in my head, especially when I was younger, that I often didn’t know what I really thought until I said it, or more often, wrote it down; My writing still follows similar patterns to my speech when I was younger, with a lot of parentheticals, self-corrections, etc. It wasn’t uncommon for me to sit down to write, or rant, about a thing, then end up talking myself into a different stance than I started with by the end of it.

        It is also possible that I am/was a little ADHD, and I’ve heard it said that I might have been diagnosed with Aspergers if that had been a thing when I was a kid. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything by a professional, so I don’t know.

        Given how I am, I think it’s likely that Patrick has similar coping mechanisms for similar, albeit vastly amplified, reasons.

        • Akiva

          I relate to *all* of that, I’m glad it’s not just me!! So many times I’ve only figured out what I think after saying it, and my process of writing is very disjointed and heavy on editing.

          I’ve also thought recently that I have some degree of ADHD, and ADHD and autism are said to be related. (I think I sometimes come off as autistic-spectrum too, but the underlying reasons are different.)

          • alexikakon

            I was thinking along these lines, too! I get pretty consumed with mentally editing things before I say or write them, but there’s usually so much going on in my head that it’s hard to ever accomplish. I’m never really sure how I really feel about something, or the reason behind it, until I get to talk it out/write it down. Which leads to a lot of long, elaborate paragraphs with many asides, parentheses, tangents, and footnotes! Hearing how something sounds out loud or seeing what it looks like written helps me work things out tremendously.

            (For the record, I’m very recently as an adult being medicated for ADHD! Had no idea for most of my life that it was even a possibility, with regards to my brain.)

          • Lance Allen

            Wasn’t really trying to convince anyone, just… yanno, thinking out loud. If I can spark some conversation and thoughtfulness with it, then I’m doubly good!

    • Lisa Izo

      Possibly. Or, like Brad, maybe he just likes to talk like that because he thinks big words and complex sentences make him sound smart. Self-ego boost. I’ve known a lot of incredibly stupid people who used complex sentence structure, thinking it made them look more intelligent despite them speaking from positions of absolute ignorance. πŸ™‚

      • Lance Allen

        Yeah, but that’s kind of the default assumption, isn’t it? People using big words and complex sentences are doing it to make themselves sound smarter, whether or not they are actually intelligent. As someone who speaks very similarly, I’m *extremely* familiar with this assumption. I think it’s true a lot less often than it’s assumed, but that’s not really my point, here.

        The whole point of this comment was to posit another, possibly supplemental, reason for Patrick.

  • Lisa Izo

    I really like the expression on Alison’s face in the second to last panel. It really does look like she is thinking ‘Oh god that’s even more sad!’

  • Cori J.

    is…is no one gonna comment on the Charles Xavier pose

    • Rando

      I already called it a few comics back. He was turning Clevin into a dog.

    • Arkone Axon

      That’s not a Charles Xavier pose, that’s a Ricky Rickardo pose. “Aie yi yi yi!”

  • AustinC123

    I’ve been meaning to post this on these boards for a while. Seems relevant.
    http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html

    • palmvos

      that isn’t even remotely on topic.

      • Todd

        palmvos, why do you think it’s irrelevant?

        • palmvos

          this was an article about a YA book, that featured fantasy racism that a reviewer wrote a 9000 word essay against because of how the racism was presented. this comic although bio-dynamism is represented as a racial analog, isn’t really about that. also- i come here to read discussions of the comic above. other than the VOTE announcements there aren’t a lot of get the word out things around here.

          • Todd

            Don’t you think there could be some other take-away than simply an attempt at a direct comparison between the YA book and this web-comic?

          • palmvos

            the argument was not made in the comment. the OP chose not to make what was desired or in the link clear. links as supporting evidence of your argument are probably ok,

          • Lisa Izo

            The OP definitely could use some context and elaboration.

    • Todd

      Austin, why do you think it’s relevant?

      • Cyrano111

        I imagine the suggestion is that it is relevant for observations like this, involving other people, elsewhere:

        One author and former diversity advocate described why she no longer
        takes part: β€œI have never seen social interaction this fucked up,” she
        wrote in an email. β€œAnd I’ve been in prison.”

        • Todd

          How on Earth are interactions here fucked up? What’s the baseline for determining this?

          • Cyrano111

            I’m not endorsing the opinion, just speculating on the answer to your question.

          • Todd

            That’s right: you don’t have to endorse the opinion, but something led you to make the connection, right? What?

      • AustinC123

        Sorry, I should have been more clear – I had little time and had meant to throw this up for a while.

        There seems to be a general impetus in these replies to comics to take issue with the story itself for the failings of the characters and the lack of apparent consequence for those failings. The following quotes from the article resonate most strongly with me in this regard:

        “if children’s-book publishing is no longer allowed to feature an unlikable character, who grows as a person over the course of the story, then we’re going to have a pretty boring business.”

        “It was this premise that led Sinyard to slam The Black Witch as β€œracist, ableist, homophobic, and … written with no marginalized people in mind,” in a review that consisted largely of pull quotes featuring the book’s racist characters saying or doing racist things.”

        • Danygalw

          That’s an over-simplification of Sinyard’s argument.

          • AustinC123

            That may be true, I haven’t read the original review, just this article.

          • Todd

            So you believe people here are being unfairly unhappy with one or more characters in this comic (if not the comic itself) because they’re not seeing what they think they should expect to see?

          • AustinC123

            Yeah, I think that’s accurate enough – more specifically, I believe the comic is being downgraded in the estimation of several readers because they have been reading the comic for a long time (experientially, not necessarily in-comic) and the characters who have, in their estimation, done bad things have yet to experience substantive bad outcomes – preferably as a result of those choices. This seems to lead some to judge that the comic is itself immoral.

          • Todd

            I’m going to have to look more closely at comments. I haven’t been reading the comic on-line for long at all (got into it from a library copy of the book version); I can’t immediately see a connection between (memorable) specific comments and apparent beliefs in the immorality of the comic as a whole.

            That’s a seriously interesting idea/line-of-reasoning to look for, though . . . .

          • Danygalw

            You found SFP from a physical book in an actual library? That’s so cool!

        • AustinC123

          does anyone know whether it’s kosher to re-post something tomorrow? I don’t mean to be a whiner but this comment is still waiting for approval and I think it might be of greater interest than it has received if I were to post it earlier, get approved, and include better context (thanks to those who asked questions to refine this!).

          • palmvos

            i suspect it is waiting moderation because of action by the mod. it wasn’t at first.

          • Todd

            >shrug< Maybe. The same pattern happened to me when I posted something lengthy with links.

          • Todd

            If it matters to you, the comment might be awaiting moderation, but there’s a link that allows the curious to read it at their discretion.

  • Anna

    Anyone have a feeing Clevin is gonna walk in soon and realize that Allison has known exactly who Menace is this entire time and their relationship is going to implode? Just me? Okay.

    • Cyrano111

      I don’t know about the implosion – Clevin might not have as visceral a reaction to the news as, say, Hector would – but as soon as Patrick arrived I began wondering whether there was a way she could explain his presence that did not at least implicitly involve outing him as Menace.

    • MrSokar

      I don’t see any reason why Clevin would have any idea who Patrick is or Al spilling his secret to anyone.

  • Jac

    It’s like a nametag at a party! Wait, which name was mine?

  • Renee Lucero Ramirez

    I think I get it. He said his mind reading was deeper than just reading thoughts, so I assume the guy could feel other people’s emotions, pain, happiness and thoughts, he can feel their hole being, and when you’re unable to turn it off, it could be that he would loose himself, not knowing which thoughts and feelings where his or other people’s because he felt so connected to all of them, so he eventually forgot to actually listen to his own thoughts or allow himself to pay attention to his own emotions when this was all buried under everyone else’s shit. So the easiest way to remind himself who he was, which was his body, was with physical pain. He had no way of knowing which where HIS thoughts or if they where just someone else’s cause everybody else’s thoughts feel as real as his own to him.

  • Renee Lucero Ramirez

    I adore this comic…I never thought about this interpretation of mind reading, it’s amazing and mind blowing.

  • screechfox

    This page is tragic and sad, but I do want to appreciate how incredulous Patrick looks in that last panel. As someone who struggles with empathy sometimes, I find that panel sort of morbidly hilarious, and kind of relatable.

    (Admittedly, me and Patrick are kind of on different pages empathy-wise, given that Patrick is literally hyper empathic to the point that, y’know, he can’t read himself.)

  • Abel Undercity

    Oh, God, I just pictured if the drunks I’ve known in my day were telepathic…

  • Mouser

    Body Mods? Not sad.
    Body Mods do you can tell “you’re you”? Probably understandable if you’re were in his shoes.

  • Hiram

    Here’s Patrick talking about snowflakes, since that seems relevant to this page –
    http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-106/

    Hm, does anyone else think he might be misrepresenting when these scars were made? When Allison suggested he could not read his own mind he reacted like that ‘couldn’t be so’ despite the fact that maintaining his individual sense of identity is something he’s struggled with all along? Something doesn’t add up. Am I paranoid to think the showing up a stinking wreck was done with some underhanded intention?

    • palmvos

      no you are not. Patrick is most definitely manipulative. It hasn’t been a year since the mug incident in comic so I like many find this fall hard to believe without some external agency. the new york postal service maybe?

  • McFrugal

    Hmm… I think that would be less sad if he was able to hop bodies.

    That would explain why he’s drunk, too. He spent too much time in the body of an alcoholic (guess who!) and picked up the habit.

  • JohnTomato

    Willfully obtuse

    Yes, he’s an American.

    • Arkone Axon

      He’s actually talking about her taking his words literally, “looking down on him.” In other words… she’s the American. :p

  • Zorae42

    I can’t tell if I want to accept that he has fallen so far after she dumped him. Or if I want to believe that this is all some sort of play to get back in her good graces. After the stuff he said to her, how else could he have gotten her to not immediately demand answers and then throw him in jail/care about his well being other than showing up in such a pathetic state?

    And letting her see those scars? Yes, ‘let’. Most people (or at least self-conscious ones) wait for the change of clothes before getting undressed and then do so privately. He could be not even remotely self-conscious and not notice the scars anymore/not realize how she’d feel about them. Or he could have shown them to her in order to humanize himself and get her to feel compassion for him.

    • Arkone Axon

      1: he’s DRUNK. You’re assigning cold blooded calculation to a guy who puked on the rug.

      2: He DID have privacy when he started undressing. She brought the change of clothing in while he was stripping down.

      3: Technically she should have thrown him into jail when she first confronted him. Or at least brought him to her team so they could make decisions what to do with him, as a team.

      • Zorae42

        1: He could be ACTING. I’m assigning possible cold blooded calculation to a guy that is highly skilled in manipulating people and believes the ends justify the means.

        2: I fail to see how an open door is private. Again, why would you start stripping when you still need to get the new set of clothes from someone? Unless you don’t care about them seeing you. Hence, ‘let’.

        I’m just making up speculation that would explain his current actions while maintaining his previous characterization as a manipulative bastard. Legit character growth seems more likely than such complex calculations. Although both options seem appealing storywise (long cons are fun, character growth is good).

        • Arkone Axon

          1: if he can convincingly portray a drunken loon who pukes at the most inopportune times, he DESERVES to get away with whatever he’s up to. And an Oscar, for good measure. (Seriously, that would have to be a secondary super power. “Voluntary puking at will”)

          2: She opened the door after bringing him into the bathroom. A bathroom is, by definition, a private room. It is a place where clothing is removed. She probably was going to simply drop the clothing and then shut the door again – except she was distracted and intrigued by the snowflake scar/brand/tattoo. An closed door does not cease to be private just because someone opened said door without knocking. Even if the original intent was to discretely open it, deposit clean clothing, and then shut it.

          His previous characterization was never as a purely manipulative bastard. His previous characterization was as a terrorist with the super power of “super empathy,” who attracted a host of allies (he didn’t even call them “henchmen” or “minions,” he always thought of them as allies) because he offered them understanding and a chance to fight against a society that they felt was opposed to them. His decision to use military violence in order to take down what he (not without reason) described as “the bloodiest regime the world has ever seen” may have been ill-advised, but he wasn’t doing it for wealth and power, he was doing it because he thought he was doing the right thing.

          …It’s funny how many times “horrible crimes” turn out to be acts committed by people who thought they were doing the right thing at the time…

          • Lisa Izo

            True. Most evil fascists and tyrants do things because they think they’re doing it for the greater good. That they’re doing ‘the right thing.’ And they and their followers and supporter will go to extreme mental gymnastics to explain why what they are doing is the right thing, or at least why the ends justify the means (with complete assurance in themselves that the ends are actually good things which couldn’t possibly have any downside in the first place).

            Ozymandias from Watchmen strikes me as a good fictional example. I think we can all think of multiple real life examples.

          • Arkone Axon

            Not just Ozymandius. Alan Moore still gets fanmail from people telling him “we need more heroes like Rorschach in RL.” He HATES those kinds of letters.

          • Todd

            “Most evil fascists and tyrants do things because they think they’re doing it for the greater good.”

            1. Since “most evil fascists and tyrants” act that way, why do the minority fascists and tyrants do what they do?

            2. Since there are “evil fascists and tyrants”, are there “non-evil” fascists and tyrants?

          • Lisa Izo

            1. What minority of fascists and tyrants are you talking about? Doing what in particular? Fascism and tyranny are not good things, regardless of whether it’s done with good intentions. There are no fascists or tyrants that think they are evil. People are not comic book villains. Hell, even most well written villains do not think they are evil, unless they’re some sort of two dimensional Captain Planet villain who does evil for the lulz.

            2. There are people who are not originally evil who get drawn into the allure of becoming a fascist (as long as they are the party in power) but fascism and tyranny are, be default, bad things. You could have a literal saintly perfect person (as if people are ever perfect) in power, who brings peace and a great economy and health care for all and no crime for their society, and fascism would still be a bad thing. Because people are mortal, and once they die, the next person who takes over as the grand fascist or tyrant will not be ‘perfect.’ and people (except for our mythical ‘perfect leader’) are fallible, and power corrupts. And in the same vein, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

          • Todd

            I’m curious about the words you chose.

            1. You wrote “most evil fascists and tyrants” act with the idea they’re acting for the greater good; this implies there are fascists and tyrants who act with some other idea in mind (As in “Most people choose Brand X”, implying a minority chose one or more different brands). I’m curious as to what this idea is eg does this minority group of fascists and tyrants do what they’re do because they’re stooges of bourgeois governments? Are they simply insane? What?

            2. You specified fascists and tyrants with the adjective “evil”, which seems redundant (much like specifying “wet water” when just using the term “water” would suffice).

          • Lisa Izo

            “I’m curious about the words you chose.”
            Good intro for your argument on semantics. Continue?

            “You wrote “most evil fascists and tyrants” act with the idea they’re acting for the greater good; this implies there are fascists and tyrants who act with some other idea in mind ”

            I wrote ‘most’ because using absolutes tend to be inferior arguments. There’s always the chance that there will be a fascist or tyrant who will be acting out of a purely malicious intent, NOT wanting to do what is in their perspective of the greater good, or more likely a hack writer will write out their villain as obviously evil just for the sake of being evil (ie, a Captain Planet villain). But historically speaking (and fictionally speaking for well-written villains), tyrants and fascists do not wake up thinking ‘today, I shall perpetrate some evil.’

            “(As in “Most people choose Brand X”, implying a minority chose one or more different brands).”

            In this case, the minority tends to refer to fictional dictators and villains who are written by rather poor writers. Even Doctor Doom and Black Adam and Darkseid believe that they are doing what they’re doing for the best interests of some greater cause. For Dr. Doom, it’s for Latveria. For Black Adam, it’s Kandaq. For even Darkseid, who is as close to pure evil as you can get (especially when written by the not-so-good DC writers), he does what he’s doing in search of the Anti-Life Equation. Everything he conquers is to bring him closer to that goal. Same for Brainiac, although with him it’s for total knowledge of the universe. They’re all evil- they just don’t see themselves as evil usually. They just see themselves as right.

            Hell, even Lucifer did what he did, rebelling against God, because he thought he was the one doing the right thing. πŸ™‚

            “I’m curious as to what this idea is eg does this minority group of fascists and tyrants do what they’re do because they’re stooges of bourgeois governments?”

            I had the minority in my mind being fictional dictators, but if there was a real life dictator that fit this concept, maybe. Give me some actual examples.

            “Are they simply insane?”
            Even someone who’s insane might be doing what he or she is doing for hte greater good, in his or her warped perspective. They aren’t, but they may think they are because the benchmark for right and wrong is off-kiler for them.

            “You specified fascists and tyrants with the adjective “evil”, which seems redundant (much like specifying “wet water” when just using the term “water” would suffice).”

            Sure, it might be from the redundancy department of redundancy, but I said it because there are people who sometimes try to argue that there are ‘good fascists and tyrants’ – so I say that in order to reaffirm the point.

  • MrSokar

    I have to say, catching up on over a year of this comic in one sitting is a lot to take in.

    • palmvos

      and there are people complaining that the story is taking too long….

      • MrSokar

        In a way all webcomics go too slow. It:s in the nature of one page updates, but can:t be helped.

  • Lisa Izo

    Is anyone else having their computer start to freeze when they type in these comments, no matter which computer they use?

    • Tylikcat

      I think Disqus is overloaded (or, at least, there’s something going wrong affecting performance there). I’ve found it useful to type my comments into a separate editor and then cut and paste them in.

      • Lisa Izo

        Good idea. Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Herwood

    I just realized that he is talking a lot because he isn’t even waiting for her to answer.

  • Callinectes

    I use toe tags on my bodies for the same reason.

    • Lisa Izo

      I’m just upvoting this because of the dark humor of the post.

  • John Briscoe

    Does anyone else think that Patrick has tried to boost his powers using Max – with unexpected consequences?

    • Arkone Axon

      I don’t know about “tried.” It might not have been voluntary; he might have tried tracking the poor guy down to help him. “C’mon, I’ll protect you from the superpowered psycho ex-girlfriend that did things that would have ISIS leaders taking careful notes. Me? Oh, I’m another of her exes… I’m also the guy people called “Menace.” Yes, I thought you’d find that reassuring, given your experiences with “Mega Girl.” Oh, you can… no, that’s not necessary, I… ahhh! Ugh… ouch…um… I… need a drink…”

  • Alex Hollins

    I… that makes complete sense to me, man.

  • Mishyana

    “People interpreting idioms literally” is not at all an unfair pet peeve to have. It is pretty obnoxious even at the best of times.