So when are people going to admit that series X

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Springyard, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    So he deletes literally kilobytes of information which may have life-and-death implications (Not just here, say they need to use a radio to call for help or a torch for lighting and have no power source) but retains information on the ancient historical dispositions of native fruits and vegetables? Not impossible given that this is Red Dwarf, but that would be a spectacularly stupid decision and whatever else he is, I never got the impression Kryten was particularly stupid.

    I'm not entirely convinced but as I don't have any particular knowledge in this field I will take your word for it.
     
  2. Pendo

    Pendo Supply Officer

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    But where does the phonetic knowledge come from that tells them the sound that each letter will make?

    Next time Ofsted come to my school and look through my children's reading assessments, I'm just going to quote you Aractus. I don't think I'll bother teaching them reading or writing any more, they'll just pick it up naturally. I'll just focus on teaching them how to calculate the birth time of Jesus instead :P :roll:

    I do agree that language comes naturally, children are like sponges and pick up the language they hear around them. But to translate this language into symbols for reading and writing requires a lot of teaching otherwise there would be no standardised way of forming letters or words. How one person writes the sound "ay" may be completely different to how another person writes this. Spellings and letters would be completely different and nobody would be able to read what others have written.
     
  3. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Well of course they do. That's why a significant percentage of the world's population (over 10%) is still illiterate. In most cases, it's because they simply haven't been taught. It's also why, worldwide, we see such a strong correlation between poverty and illiteracy (poor children often have to work, rather than going to school during the day).

    Burkino Faso and South Sudan have literacy rates of
     
  4. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    Why does this bother you so much aractus?
     
  5. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Oh, it's tenuous all right. It just gives me a bit of mental waggle room, in terms of suspension of disbelief.

    Bear in mind that, in any plausible marooning, there wouldn't be any fresh fruit at all. Kryten might not have foreseen a time-travelling shower.

    "retains information on the ancient historical dispositions of native fruits and vegetables" - it depends on how systematically he does it. He might browse files at random, and stop when he's freed enough space, rather than doing it in strict order of importance.

    Also, let's revisit the script - which I think supports my theory! He knows that they won't find lemons or potatoes because he has a timeline of British history, of the kind that might be taught at secondary school. But he doesn't appear to have much data on "the ancient historical dispositions of native fruits and vegetables" as a topic in its own right:

    Some basic trivia on Francis Drake or Walter Raleigh would supply the information about potatoes. Perhaps, by Kryten's time, it's known that Chaucer (or some other trivia-worthy person) introduced lemons. But India is just a guess, which shows that Kryten's knowledge of contemporary Earth flora is quite sketchy.
     
  6. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    I disagree. The Gelf world, Rimmerworld and the Waxworld all had heavily wooded or planted areas, as did Justice world in a deleted scene and Red Dwarf itself apparently has its own botanical gardens, plus it doesn't necessarily follow that they have to be marooned on a barren planet or moon every time, they could be stranded on board a ship and if there was a supply of food on board even frozen fruit and veg could be defrosted and serve the same purposes (I'd take a guess that canned fruit probably would suffice too). Equally it doesn't follow that it has to be a fruit or vegetable at all, it just needs a suitable acid.

    It just strikes me still that given the hazardous nature of the Dwarfer's journeys, some fairly elementary survival knowledge like this would be pretty high up on any list of "Might need to know" information. Considering that might have meant not having to hacksaw off the lids of food tins in Whitehole, for example.
     
  7. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    I think making an 8 watt battery out of wild berries (rather than a classroom classic like potatoes or lemons, which might be retained as trivia rather than "bushcraft") is probably outside the scope of elementary survival knowledge.

    The "returner remote" without the battery is quite a contrived plot device. In most cases, survival would depend on more electric than could be made with fruit. Re-powering Starbug's systems, for instance. Even in more trivial cases, fruit would be of limited use. A fruit-powered torch would be completely impractical compared to a simple burning branch (the little LEDs, commonly used with fruit, give negligible illumination). I'm sure we could think of legitimate survival applications, but they're very much "edge cases".

    In any case, having some general knowledge about the electrical potential of fruit is one thing. But it's a different matter to know that there were wild berries, etc., in first century "Albion" - unless it was on your handy timeline of historical events. Native foodstuffs wouldn't be included because they predate recorded history. You could plausibly know when saffron came to the British Isles, for instance, without knowing what a forager might find in the woods back then.

    It's more likely that Kryten would suggest a "wild berry battery" based on his knowledge of general science, rather than practical "survivalism". But when it comes to the human perspective, he's a bit of a naïf. Someone had already suggested lemons, and lemons would work. He might not have realised that the crew wouldn't want to traipse thousands of miles to India. For instance: consider how oblivious he was, when the crew of the Nova 5 grew old, died, and turned to skeletons right in front of him. His perception of time and hardship might be quite unlike our own.

    Again, it is tenuous, but not so much it bothers me. The mission to India (and the "eight lemons" pay-off) is quite funny. Only something provably impossible (like the language barrier) or self-contradictory would rouse my pedantic instincts.

    The real mystery is why he didn't power the returner remote using his own power source - but that's already been noted as a plot hole, and I dare say it was the wrong kind of electric.
     
  8. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    I guess we could go round and round on this one. In my case I tend to set the bar for my own pedantry at implausible rather than impossible and every time I find myself watching something where I think "But why...?" or "No, wrong..." that breaks the immersion for me.

    For me this one crosses that line, simply because if I can figure this much out easily enough without the benefit of computerised memory and based on my own memories of GCSE science from 1994, I would expect Kryten as the defacto Science Officer to be able to do the same. YMMV of course and at this point I'm happy enough to agree to differ.
     
  9. simulant37

    simulant37 Science Officer

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    I guess this all just shows how bad a writer Doug is...what horrors await us in the next series one wonders
     
  10. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    Yes, you're quite right - suspension of disbelief is quite idiosyncratic. Consider my own (different) reactions to Timeslides and Lemons, for instance. There's definitely no "right or wrong".

    Somewhat moot now, but, since posting the above, I was looking at some old scripts - for clues about what Kryten would or wouldn't reasonably know.

    We know that Kryten was pre-programmed with lots of information. Because of his designed purpose - domestic servitude - this seems to be a mix of practical info ("toilet university") and soft skills for social integration (the ability to sing Bay City Rollers songs). At least once, he doesn't have information to hand because the makers didn't foresee his unlikely adventures in space ("My programmers, for some insane reason, decided that 'dinosaur bowel movement frequency' tables wouldn't be required!"). Given his household role, I find it plausible that he would have a Wikipedia-level store of general knowledge, beyond what he needs for his cleaning duties (see Siri, Cortana, etc., which often field general queries - like, "what is a pangolin?"). He has a solid grounding in science, but we can assume that it was, to begin with, household-orientated (note that he takes it upon himself to study and fix Talkie Toaster).

    We also know that he can learn new information, because he spends six weeks studying for the flight test in Backwards, and often knows things that his makers couldn't have foreseen. I presume that he built on his foundation of technical knowledge with current scenarios in mind (e.g., rather than fixing a household appliance for his master, he reconfigures the matter paddle to clone foodstuffs). But he deletes old files on an ad hoc basis, using his own sense of what is or isn't likely to come up again.

    In short, I would expect him to have, at his disposal, a partial record of home economics, social skills, general knowledge, practical tech, and his own learning and life experience on Red Dwarf and Starbug. Given that, I feel it's reasonable for him to variously know and not know stuff - within reason - based on the requirements of the plot. I'm happy for the writers to use that at their convenience.

    I don't think it would *necessarily* occur to him to make a battery from wild berries in the woods of Albion - but I find it quite plausible that, if *someone else* suggested a fruit-and-veg battery, he would provide the information given (namely, when potatoes and lemons first arrived in the UK, and - if asked directly - the fact that you could probably get lemons from India).

    But, as you say, YMMV.
     
  11. Aractus

    Aractus Third Technician

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    Nobody knows exactly, but read this.

    Aside from dyslexic people, most people can associate letters or symbols with sounds. Once the association is made then reading comes from that. How do you suppose that children learn to speak to begin with? Or how do you suppose that deaf children learn language if they need to associate language with sound? Ancient Greek would have been easier than modern English to "self-learn" as it is more phonetic and ancient languages contained less irregular words. But in any case you can skip over irregular words and still get most of the meaning of the message you were reading.
    That isn't what I said. They will eventually learn to read without specific tuition. But they won't necessary learn the complex orthographies and achieve a literacy level you expect merely by learning to read.
    Well as I pointed out above, ancient languages had less restrictive orthographies, and they didn't have dictionaries, and of course writing is more difficult than reading. Reading does not involve "translation" - it merely involves associating spoken words with written ones. And your point about different spellings is actually wrong: if you look at ancient languages like Hebrew there was inconsistent spellings of a whole range of words, and people still understood it. And remember when Hebrew writing first began about 800-900 BC or so, the people who were using it were peasant sheep-herders living in the Levant outside of the Canaanite cities (most of which were controlled by Egypt), and they forked the writing from Aramaic which is a similar but different language. If peasants could develop their own written language almost 3,000 years ago then it's clearly not as difficult to learn as was once believed.
     
  12. jmc2000

    jmc2000 Deck Sergeant

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    That's a very interesting article, but, by its own admission, it isn't a proper study:

    It's more a collection of interesting anecdotal evidence, which suggests a direction for future study.

    Bear in mind it's important to distinguish between things we genuinely don't need to be taught, versus things we can be taught indirectly, at our own pace, using a "pull" model (where we view materials as and when we want, and ask questions of those who know) rather than a "push" model (where someone deliberately sits us down and imparts a lesson of their choosing to us, whether we're in the mood for it or not).

    Informally, we say we "teach ourselves" things in the former category, but that's just a figure of speech. "Teach" is an ancient word with connotations of explanation and demonstration. You can "teach" someone by answering a one-off question, or putting a video explanation of something on Youtube.

    I say I "taught myself" the basics of General Relativity, minus the maths. Really, my teachers were those who made the materials I found online - plus a colleague who studied Physics at university, and was happy to answer one or two questions when I was struggling.

    When I say I "taught myself", I mean I was motivated by my own interest, worked some of it out myself - generalising from the lessons of others - and looked for tuition that could be digested alone, at my own pace.

    Here's a clear example, from the article, of a child being taught to read - albeit at his own pace, and motivated by his own needs:

    The fact that he generalises from the lessons and arrives at his own insights doesn't mean that he wasn't taught at all. Without someone to provide the desired "lessons" on individual words, it's hard to see how he would have got started.

    EDIT: And how did the parent dictate the spellings to him? E.g., did she say "the word 'free' is f, r, e, e?" If so, how did he know what buttons to press? If he already knew what "f" looked like, then he must have been taught the basics of writing at some point. But if the mother told him "f" and pointed to the appropriate key, then she was clearly teaching him the alphabet herself - even if she wasn't aware of doing so!

    Another "problem" with the article is, some of the most important bits are hidden by the apparent secrecy of the children. Consider this:

    The key mystery here is: how, exactly, did she learn that "x" corresponded to the sound "ecks"? This comes back to Pendo's question about phonemes. If she'd genuinely learned to read herself, I'd expect her to produce some "clever errors". Something like "9x11" would be a likely trigger for one. For instance, she might reasonably think "x" stood for the syllable "by". Unless she factually knows that "x" is "ecks", how does she produce an error like "nine ecks eleven"? It's not like she's ever heard those syllables spoken by others.

    If someone had told her the names of the alphabet characters and the basic principle of writing, but she'd never gone as far as applying that knowledge, then she didn't really learn to read by herself. It may be that she'd been "taught" quite a lot, but never bothered applying it until she wanted to read - and then discovered that, actually, all the things she'd been told were enough for her to get the gist of it.

    This is why the stories suggest a direction for future study, but aren't (by the author's admission) a scientific study in their own right.

    Spoken language is a completely different kettle of fish. If you haven't already, try The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker. It seems likely that we really do have an (evolutionary) instinct for spoken language, and don't need to be taught at all. But written language seems to be an innovation that needs to be taught, even if bright children can learn/generalise the basics from surprisingly few lessons.
     
  13. Pendo

    Pendo Supply Officer

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    I must admit, I haven't read the whole article but I've had a skim through. As jmc2000 points out, it's not a proper study and I too question how much 'unintentional teaching' would have taken place. It would be a very difficult study to undertake, I would be uncomfortable knowing that children were intentionally removed from education to see how their reading/writing skills would develop without it. This would be neglect.

    Yes, this is called phonics and children in schools go through lots of phonics teaching, particularly in Early Years and Key Stage One. Children need to be taught which sounds are associated with which symbols and most children achieve phonetic fluency when they are about 6-7 years old, and that is with formal education. At what age would a child achieve phonic fluency who has not received formal education?

    Learning to speak is a completely different kettle of fish to learning how to read or write and can't be compared. Children are constantly exposed to language and pick up on everything they hear from their parents (good and bad!). They learn through imitation and repetition, and simple words with simple meanings come first "mamma", "dadda" and "no" being the typical. More complex words and more complex meanings come later as children's understanding of language develops.

    That depends on your definition of 'language'. They would still pick up on body language but in terms of a spoken language they would not develop understanding of this, so when it comes time to learn how to read they will already be years behind other children their age. I can't claim to be an expert at teaching deaf children as I have little experience, but I can imagine it is a much more difficult task. If we're talking about a child with profound deafness, I would imagine their learning and understanding of language would come through visual actions, symbols and images and associating these with written words. But again, this would most definitely require lots of teaching and wouldn't be something that they would pick up on naturally.

    I agree that Ancient Greek probably would have been easier as English is considered by many to be the most difficult language to learn, but I still disagree that those on the lower rungs of society would be able to "self teach" without some kind of education and that people do need to be taught how to read. How much reading do you expect these people to be exposed to without the printing techniques we have today? There wouldn't be books, advertisements, signs, computer screens like we have today. People in these times probably didn't see many words on a day-to-day basis. Plus when is a peasant supposed to find the time to "self teach" because, as far as I understand it, life would have been very busy trying to provide food, drink, etc. I can't imagine learning to read being very high on many peasants' list of priorities. I'm sure there would have been a few intellectual types who managed to "self teach" but I find it very difficult to imagine to majority of the population doing this.

    That was partly my point but I don't think I made it clear enough. Spellings were inconsistent and that was even by people who were formally educated. But if someone were to "self teach" how on earth do they know which symbols to assign each sound to, and with the amount of inconsistencies, surely that would only make this task even more difficult? One person on one side of a country may spell the same word completely different to another person on the other side of the country because they have associated sounds and symbols differently, or following a different set of spelling rules. They wouldn't be able to read each other's writing and that is why it is important that reading and writing is taught formally and not through "self teaching" so that it becomes consistent.

    I don't claim to be a history expert, I'm not, so I couldn't really give a valid explanation for this. But some might argue that writing your own language is much easier than learning to read and write a preexisting one. We get children to do this all the time, it's the first stage of educating children about reading and writing. We encourage children to draw their own marks and symbols and ask them to read back what they have written. This is before we even begin teaching them the alphabet. It sounds like it could have been a similar process there, producing their own symbols and applying meaning to them. But that is not learning to read a preexisting language which is what you are arguing is easily "self taught".

    Going back to reading in today's society, I do agree that, without proper education, children could probably still pick up on certain words that they are regularly exposed to, mostly proper nouns such as the names of their favourite TV shows and computer games, chocolate bars and perhaps how to read their own names too. However, is this reading or just a visual pattern recognition? A lot of this may also depend on the context in which the words are presented to them and whether there are any other visual clues to help them recognise the words, such as product logos, etc. Some form of teaching will also still be required for this, such as seeing the word and hearing it read aloud at the same time to make the association of sound and word. I do not believe that children would be able to read sentences; read or understand how verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, determiners, etc can alter the meaning of a sentence; understand how prefixes and suffixes can alter the meaning of a word; decode unfamiliar words that they are not regularly exposed to; understand the functions of punctuation; retrieve information from a text and show inference and understanding; and there are many, many more reading skills that children would absolutely be missing. So aside from reading the occasional noun, children will not be able to take meaning from writing.

    I can't speak for ancient languages because I am by no means an expert, but in context of modern day I have to strongly disagree that reading and writing comes naturally to children and that they will eventually learn without tuition. I haven't spent any time gathering evidence so I have none to provide you other than from my own professional experience of being a primary school teacher of 8 years, as well as 3 years university training and regular CPD in the field of reading and writing. It would be bloody lovely if it did come naturally, it would make my job a million times easier :P
     
  14. UltraDevotee

    UltraDevotee Catering Officer

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    When I re-watched Lemons last year I must say it was one of my favourite episodes of series 10 to come back to. On initial broadcast, I liked it but was irritated by the gaping plot holes. But I think once you get used to the plot holes and accept them it is one of the funniest episodes in the 2012 run and I have enjoyed it more and more each time I have watched it again.

    I think though you can see why the inaccuracies and bits that don't make sense would annoy people as long as you don't take it too seriously (though yes I can see why others don't perceive the ep. like that) it is actually a very decent Red Dwarf episode IMHO and I personally think as a religious satire it is even better than series 1's Waiting For God. After all as someone else said, though the errors are perhaps more blatant in Lemons than earlier on in the show's history even the premise of the show that Rimmer did a shoddy job of a drive plate repair is something I too feel doesn't make so much sense as after all what does Captain Hollister write: "If a job's not worth doing, give it to Rimmer."

    But yeah anyway, bottom line is Lemons is now one of my favourites of the most recent Red Dwarf shows once you get used to it.
     
  15. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Agree.

    Although I prefer BTE to RDX.

    Then again, I prefer BTE to Red Dwarf 3 and Red Dwarf 8!!
     
  16. Pembers

    Pembers Deck Sergeant

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    LOVE this thread.
     
  17. Ant E

    Ant E Flight Co-Ordinator

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    Good
     
  18. jaybo1973

    jaybo1973 Catering Officer

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    I think everyone has to accept that red dwarf has not and will not be the same without Rob grant. Fact. In my opinion 7 8 and btw were terrible, I can't re watch them. 1 to 6 never fail to amuse me to this day, I love them the much as when they were first aired. Series X was a vast improvement over post series 6 but still fails to recapture the magic. I wonder what happened in a parallel world where Rob stayed and Doug left?
     
  19. Presuming Ken

    Presuming Ken Deck Sergeant

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    Dunno what this means to anyone but ranking my series goes like this:

    1. Series 1, 2, 4, 10
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    5. Series 7
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    7. Series 8
     
  20. jaybo1973

    jaybo1973 Catering Officer

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    I'd swap 2 with 1 and 4 with 5. 3 and 6 above 10 and bunch them up. Then squash bte and 7 right down with 8
     

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