Michael, I am Your Mother!

Wowah, did anybody experience a Star Wars flashback when Michaels mother came out of a mighty powerful masked suit just as Michael is near death? Like, “Luke, I am your father” moment?

(S2E10)

I’m really glad they dumbed the show down a little bit and let us realize section 31 ship was an AI… so let’s see, the AI probably put Michael’s bio marker into that file, so that they would capture the red angel in the past, so that future AI can prevail.

Thinking a bit more, this Control AI suffer from some problems of today’s AI systems. It’s objective to control terror in the world, to analyze risk, is probably overly greedy and it failed to take into account all of our values, like existence, life, liberty, happiness, freedom from secretive manipulations of events of our lives, in its pursuit of control of interstellar power.

The way it happens is if one subscribe to extreme dogma, such as the fictional logic extremest. But the real sad part is that really, the problem is that politics, the political system, of this future, allowed this travesty to take place. I wonder what humans have thought about the power to manage entire populations. It’s kind of hard to see the where Trek is going with this? Do we expect some kind of revelation about how to fix this?

Anyways, did anybody notice that Saru welcomed Admiral Cornwell onboard? Seems this is usually reserved for the Capital or the most senior officer admitting the new arrival?! Man, Pike’s like, gotta be feeling the balls crushed here… admiral onboard running the mission, Saru, Burnham, Spock!, man… these are not a easy combination for a leader… like I wonder what kind of conversation Pike would have with Saru about this? “Oh, btw, usually the real captain welcomes esteemed guests, not the former acting captain.” Or “Saru, I’d like to be the one giving permission to come aboard and welcoming guests.” “But I’d just assumed the Admiral had permission to come aboard…” he’d answer defiantly.. post-evolution.

….

Yay for minority engineers!!! Inventor of the transporter, inventor of the red angel, all African Americans! This is heartwarming diversity for me to see in the 2010’s.

After watching the show for a third time, I finally caught the other theme of Federation versus section 31. It seems the show espouses two very very polar believes. Those that believe in the principals of Federation and those who believe in keeping Federation around by all means necessary.

The argument made most by the Federation people is that section 31 should not exist… because of small violations it takes liberties on: espionage, murder, sabotage, genocide, etc. for the purpose of keeping Federation alive.

The argument made by section 31 is that without it the Federation does not exist, and plus it’s kind of fun and sometimes advances Federation agendas too.

Personally, I think the good guys are fighting a losing battle. I mean section 31 has time traveling technology. Power struggles against section 31 have never and will never succeed. The failure, however, of personal persuasion to convert one person from section 31 adherent to Federation torch bearer is very concerning. Both in that Federation has nothing noteworthy to offer said person and that section 31 does have something to offer said person. It troubles me to see that even in our imagination of the achievable future utopia, we believe that there will just be those that do not fit in the whole society that they have to be in their own secret society. This idea disturbed me a lot.

Dual Tax-Free Taxes

Now, suppose you have two taxing bodies, how would you set tax for a system where income going into tax should be tax-free? $F$ is nominal federal tax, $S$ is the nominal state tax, and $p$ is the proportion of income paid to either taxes and $A$ is the income pretax. Let $p_f$ be proportion paid to federal government, and $p_s$ be amount paid to state.

If both governments refuse to tax money going towards government, then the effective tax rate as a function of the two taxes using the formula from the tax-free-tax system would be:

$p= \frac{F+S}{1+F+S}$

Let’s consider a bullying federal government that stipulates that California cannot tax its residents unless United States exists, therefore the federal tax takes priority. California still refuses to tax income paid to any government as tax. We apply the formula in the tax-free-tax system twice.

$p_f = \frac{F}{1+F}$

$p_s*A = S(1-p_f)(1-p_s)A$

$p_s = S \frac{1-p_f}{1 +S - S*p_f}$

Producing this expression:

$p= p_f + (1-p_f)p_s$

Finally, what happens when California retaliates by taxing the money paid into federal tax, but maintains that it does not tax income used to pay Californian income tax?

$p_s = \frac{S}{1+S}$

$p_f = \frac{F}{1+F}$

So the effective tax rate under inconsiderate governments will be:

$p = p_s + p_f = \frac{S + F + 2SF}{1 + S + F + SF}$

Understandably, the effective rate increases as the government ignore each other’s taxes.

There are, of course many other ways to skin this cat. We can consider one simplest one. Suppose California and USA disagree very strongly that California says it must have $s$ of the incomes of individuals of the state. (The state income $I$, If we were doing VAT, in which case we tax the gdp) and the federal government demands $f$ of that income. The argument proceeds until California decides that it is give me fair taxes or death and begins its secession from the union.

President Trump calculates that USA will save annually $Y$ from not patrolling California coast, etc. Governor Newsom stipulate that California contributes to non-California USA income (again, easier if talking about GDP) by some $Z$. Trump then retorts, yeah but you spend $\gamma$ of your state tax money on interstate commerce that you will not be spending. (This is arguable post facto assertion will stick, since all calculations are made not only to secess from union but also to dissolve California. In this case, there will be no $\gamma$ or $Y_{CA}$)

The loss USA stands to experience is $fI - Y + fZ$ and the loss California stands to experience is $s*I - \gamma + Y$. So, dividing the saved loss in half, both side may agree to share loss $\frac{(s(1-\gamma) + f)I + fZ }{2}$ of the tax money. This means

$p = f+s(1-\gamma)$

And federal government gives California $fZ/2$ of the taxes it collects from other states in addition to providing the existing $Y$ services. But in reality, this type of analysis is complicated by the fact that the state and federal budget may both exceed tax revenue! And of course we’d never agree on what $Y$ and $\gamma$ are.

Discovery S2E9

Wow!

Jonathan Frakes directs.

Wow

Did they just like step this TV show up by three notches or what? Wow the music, the conversation, the fight scene. Everything I complained about is like… really good now.

I have never ducked while watching a fight scene in any Star Trek Series until this one.

Pike looks real now. Spock’s sharp wit… the realistic groans from heavy punches… the tasteful use of wire-fu… Admiral Cornwell, the dialog flows so naturally and so believable. Like, I don’t know what effects director has, but it’s like they changed out all the actors for better ones, or something. Even Martin-Greene’s Burnham, already top-botch acting, now seem to blend in to the other great acting, accentuating it, feelings ebbing and flowing,

Airiam, dead… that longing music followed by silence, and no preview for next week… the end… the end to a sad series of unfortunate events… the tragedy of a lifetime wrapped up in a few supporting role scenes, but so central and so powerfully done.

Wow, what did just happen here. This is like really high quality Trek. Damn! It’s like, really high quality drama. Do they give oscars for tv series? I’m not too ashamed to nominate this show now, if only for this episode. Wow!

Now let’s see what they do with AI. As I always have, I doubt it will end well. I’ll end up hating Trek more for poor treatment of AI.

Alas, at least they’re getting humans and aliens right…