Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Should intelligent animals be given more rights?????????

We also share above 95% of the same DNA as a chimp.

I’m not sure whether that’s really relevant. We’re around 50% banana – does that make you feel guilty about eating one?

Why do you all think they are so much lesser then us? Because they have a smaller brain, because they dont show emotion, or because they cant defend themselves as well as we can?

Most animals can defend themselves far better than we can. We’re wimps: we traded brawn for brains when we came down from the trees. Our big brain takes so much energy, we can’t support big muscles as well.

Chimps (I think uniquely) are known to be self aware. They have been observed being deceitful, showing that they are aware their actions are being scrutinised by other members of the group, and that they can see their own actions from the point of view of other chimps. Other animals like dogs, pigs, heffalumps, dolphins have shown some but not all the conventional signs of having some degree of self awareness. I’m no expert, but I think the jury’s still out on whether they can really be considered as sentient animals.

But a lot of animals are there to be eaten – they’re a walking larder. I have no issues about eating something else’ flesh. Would I eat chimp meat? I’d eat you if I was hungry enough, but with so much else to choose from I see no point in eating an animal which is almost my equal (the chimp that is, not you).

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Darren Wilson a murderer.

If that’s the question, I can think of a few right off the bat. Libraries, clinics, grocery and department stores, schools, parks, public transit, police services. These all benefit low-income neighborhoods to a greater degree than they do in wealthier ones.

Apart from shops, where I come from all those things are paid for or heavily subsidised by taxes. Doesn’t that bring us right back to american hatred of supporting low income groups and immigrants, legal or otherwise.

In London there are over 2000 football teams run by the Football Association, ranging from the giants like Chelsea and Arsenal to teams for small boys and girls (some girls also like playing football). Would it not be possible to rope in equivalent American associations to help provide sporting opportunities for kids from the ghettos? 2000 teams represents an awful lot of kids not getting themselves into trouble through sheer boredom and frustration.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Now from the government! Pay per mile!

Like I said, I don’t know the finer details of how it all works. I have a friend who runs an electric van, but he’s in Cyprus setting up a business deal. If this thread is still running in a couple of weeks, I will be able to get more details when he comes back.

Interesting story in giving up driving? Au contraire, really rather dull. I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon and had difficulty and discomfort with the clutch. By the time I found a nice little automatic I had lost around 40 lb and a few of inches off my waistline. London has excellent public transport and I am happy to walk too, so it made no sense to buy another car. If I end up in Cyprus I will probably have to buy one, but that’s a decision for next year.

As things stand right now, not everybody will have a charging point convenient to their homes, but new points are being installed on a regular basis. There is a concerted effort being madse to ensure that this project succeeds.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Serious Nonsense

McGonagall would have been proud of you.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Now from the government! Pay per mile!

Hmm, this was interesting. It seems the councils are not the only providers. You buy a card and the juice is free. I can’t see that idea taking off in America, it smells of socialism. Bear in mind that I gave up driving ten years ago, so knowing how these things work is not high on my list of priorities.

The street charging points provided by my local council are just parking bays with a charger next to them. You plug in, leave it overnight and drive away in the morning.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Now from the government! Pay per mile!

I do agree w/ use of all manner of incentive to get ppl to buy electric/hybrid vehicles.
I suppose a similar “road tax” used at the pump for gasoline could be used for buying electricity from commercial electric “pump” stations. One problem with this method would be the amount of time for a “fill up”.

Why bother with commercial top-up points? There are street charging points all over London, with more being added as an on-going project. To use them you need a charge card (yeah, I can do puns as well) from the local council.

When roads are paid for out of general taxation, making sure that every road user is paying exactly his correct share is of less significance. And in any case, the emphasis in Europe at the moment is on cleaning up the environment rather than taking in the maximum amount of revenue.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Now from the government! Pay per mile!

This will give you some info on how vehicle charges are calculated and which vehicles are exempt. Originally road tax was supposed to pay for maintenance, but in reality roads are paid for out of general taxation. So no links on raising money for roads because we just don’t do it that way.

The congestion charge was motivated mainly by a desire to reduce some of the monstrous traffic jams in central London, and to raise money of course. Coal was banned for domestic use in 1962, so we just don’t get the pea souper smogs that I remember when I was a boy. But clean air is becoming a big issue again, and there is serious talk of raising extra money from polluting vehicles.

Charging the public to use roads is not a new idea, just a revival of a very old one. We started doing it it the 17th century, shortly after the Civil War. London’s last toll road is just a few minutes walk from where I live; I’ve driven through that many times.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Now from the government! Pay per mile!

We do both. Although fuel prices are at a 4 year low, they are still stupendously high compared with the USA. We have had variable road tax for years now, the bigger the engine the more you pay. I think electric cars are free – they are certainly exempt from the London congestion charge. It doesn’t matter to me. As an oldie I get a free travel card from the government. Aaah, the joys of socialism.

And considering that oil is a diminishing resource, perhaps more countries should consider taxing it as such.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Eric Garner fiasco

I think you may have posted this one on the wrong thread, you slug murderer.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Could the conspiracy theory of a second US Civil War be true?

I mentioned the euro and yen purely as a backup. The big threat to the supremacy of the dollar comes from the BRICs. Have you not noticed what they are up to, and why?

This is only an opinion piece, but sums up the situation rather well without being too technical. I happen to agree with much of what it says, and there are some undeniable facts in it. The BRICs are getting close to overtaking American production, and are flexing their financial muscles.

The rest of the world is looking aghast at the antics on Capitol Hill. With America and its reputation in danger of sliding into terminal decline, the BRICs are beginning to look like a viable alternative.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Could the conspiracy theory of a second US Civil War be true?

Tl;dr most of the world uses the dollar in one way or another so if it were to just go away there would be a mad scramble to find a replacement resulting in a world economy panic. And crashes happen whenever investors panic.

Dropping the American dollar as the world standard would hurt the USA more than it would hurt the rest of us. And there is unlikely to be any economic panic when it happens. The BRICs have been jockeying for position for some time in terms of both international trade and GDP, and are in a very strong position to knock the USA off its perch when they get the chance.

A strong Euro and a strong Yen (if the Japanese can get their shit together) would enable national treasuries and international businesses to spread their bets. If America does fall out of bed, the rest of us could end up doing very well as a consequence.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Could the conspiracy theory of a second US Civil War be true?

“That” is your claim that the public is finally noticing that neither major party really has their best interests at heart, and neither of them appear to be capable of a grown-up approach to their responsibilities.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Could the conspiracy theory of a second US Civil War be true?

So does that create an opportunity for the centre-left to present a programme of social reform to disillusioned American voters, or is that still unthinkable?

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / I am damn tired of Obamacare. Now it's time for the correction. :)

The thing I love the most about that map is that Mongolia has had UHC since 1924, longer than most European countries, and the USA still doesn’t “get it”. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Let's discuss Bill Cosby the serial rapist

I too remember Cosby from the show “I Spy”, but he’s not a big name over here. Now I know this is getting away from Cosby himself, but I think that it’s relevant.

Regarding cover-ups, we had a big star called Jimmy Savile, now dead. He started out as a wrestler and DJ, going on to become one of our most successful DJs ever, a big television star and crucially a huge fundraiser for charity. Everybody loved Jimmy. But I can remember rumours as long ago as the 1970s about Jimmy Savile and underage girls. A lot of people, including the police, knew but didn’t want to know. So he got away with it for decades. He had friends in high places, all the way up to Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Nobody was willing to take him on for fear of the consequences.

I found this story quite revealing in explaining why assault victims can be unwilling to come forward and make complaints. Another big time entertainer was an Australian called Rolf Harris, currently serving a six year sentence. A man of many talents, I can remember him from when I was a small boy, when he used to tell stories about the adventures of a little dog on the BBC’s children’s hour, illustrating the stories with his own drawings at the same time. He has had pop hits in the top 10, done the Glastonbury rock festival, had numerous TV series and even had the Queen sit for him to paint her portrait. He was like everyone’s favourite uncle.

He sexually assaulted a well known female presenter on live television and somehow got away with it. She explains what happened in this link. When she learned that he was a serial offender, she told her story to the police. And was she congratulated for helping to unmask a serial sexual predator? Not a bit of it. You can read about the reaction of some members of the public here. The stupidity of these trolls is just breathtaking, but this is the sort of nonsense people have to endure when they go against a popular celebrity.

So do I think Cosby is guilty? I have no idea, and he’s as entitled to a fair trial as any other accused person (I assumed from the OP that he had already had one). But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it all turns out to be true.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Let's discuss Bill Cosby the serial rapist

Because he was a highly bankable TV star, and people covered up for him.

A major police investigation in the UK over the last two years has resulted in several high profile figures being sent to gaol for similar offences. Some of them will probably die there. Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris were two of the BBC’s biggest stars for decades, and got away with it for so long because people in high places considered them valuable enough to protect.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Remove all social safety nets!

I know about loopholes and tax havens- I started a thread about them a while back. The real question is why American companies are allowed to get away with it so often. And why the American public is so astonishingly naive about what’s going on under their noses. The British government does make an attempt, if somewhat belatedly, to address these problems, and the public has been getting very pissed off with some companies and individuals. When the Starbucks tax scandal broke over here, the branch at my local supermarket was practically deserted for months. We may not have hurt the company much, but we certainly made our feelings clear.

It’s the American public’s services that are being damaged by the loss of “an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year”. It represents a lot of schools and hospitals, a lot of policemen on the streets, a lot of shelters for the homeless, even in an economy as large as America’s. And yet some of them appear to have been persuaded that it’s good for them. Talk about turkeys looking forward to Christmas, it’s sheer fucking genius. How was it done?

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Remove all social safety nets!

How about enforcing tax laws properly? Sweden has lower tax rates than the USA, and manages to run one of the world’s most comprehensive welfare states. The USA has one of the world’s highest rates of corporation tax, and is falling apart. Would I be right in assuming that there is an army of slick accountants who are running rings around the law, and billions of dollars are being withheld on questionable but perhaps just about legal grounds.

That’s not a rhetorical question BTW, I know nothing of the American tax system. I just looked up some numbers.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / A Self-Modifiable Neuroprosthetic for Depression

I know a man who suffers from schizophrenia and is a long term patient at Maudsley. He’s well aware of his condition and most of the time his medication keeps it under control. However, he sometimes forgets where he has put it, and it doesn’t take long for him to become paranoid and delusional. Although he still knows about his illness, it’s almost impossible to get him to accept that he has simply forgotten where his medication is. It’s always someone else’s fault – the doctor didn’t prescribe, the pharmacy didn’t give it to him, his carer stole it etc. I can see some form of controlled self-medication being very useful to him and probably thousands like him. If medication is always on tap, being forgetful ceases to matter.

Now maybe this has already been done (I know some research has been done), but on the subject of forgetfulness, wouldn’t a device like this be helpful outside the realms of mental illness? Forgetulness tends to go hand in hand with age, and the western world has an ageing population. Old people as a group need more medication than young people. Would an implant of necessity have to be in the brain, and could the delivery system be command rather than demand driven?

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / What the hell is wrong with the country?

I don’t know about America, but in the UK it is customary, in the absence of GPS device or map, to stop the vehicle and ask someone the way. Hamster’s employee doesn’t appear to have a great deal of gumption.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / What the hell is wrong with the country?

As an old fashioned Brit, I must say I have considerable sympathy with your viewpoint here. I was taught basic map reading in the Scouts, and some more advanced stuff when I was in the CCF. While it may not be as important as it used to be, I still see it as a useful life skill. That this young woman took offence at being offered a free lesson does seem rather odd, but if you bawled her out like a sergeant-major, perhaps understandable.

Still, it’s another lesson learned the hard way! I do take karma’s point that these are just kids looking to pay their way through college, but personally, I think that the younger generations have become too reliant on technology that can let them down when they need it the most. Have you made sure they all know how to change a tyre, because one day one of them may need to do that too.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why does Politics created?

Hello Liam. Kumusta ka?

Politics isn’t something we created, it’s part of the human condition. It’s about discussing ideas and policies, deciding what the best course of action should be in any given set of circumstances. Without politics, nothing constructive would ever get done. It can operate at all levels from famiy decisions to national decisions of great importance to millions of people.

Now while I see my own government as being pretty inept at times, I don’t see a lot of corruption in it. Did you have any particular government in mind, or do you think they are all corrupt?

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Pope-uri: tidbits on Francis

Ergo, I might wonder if having so little [power] might cause a Pope to be a bit cautious about taking positions that could have a disastrous effect on it.

Popes are involved in modern politics, though not necessarily in the USA. If you take the birth control issue, in some parts of the Catholic world it goes far beyond religion. In countries like Brazil or the Philipines, or in parts of Africa, overpopulation in the lower echelons of society is a serious social and economic problem, but that has never stopped the Vatican from speaking out, inevitably upsetting some people along the way.

The pope has the full might of the world’s media at his disposal. He has just set up a commission to improve the way that media are used, so it looks as if he is serious about making his views known to the world. Of course he has to be careful not to tread on too many toes, but the christian church has a history of adapting itself to the mood of the age in order to remain relevant; maybe Francis thinks it’s time to make some changes.

Apropros the mafia, apparently they were quite stung to hear what the pope said about them. The catholic religion is still big in southern Italy, and while these gangsters may be pretty revolting specimens, they still see themselves as God fearing citizens (the world’s full of people like that). Excommunication may be an old fashioned weapon, but it looks as if it still works.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Pope-uri: tidbits on Francis

…when he harangues politicians (especially American ones)

Again, I would luv to see this.
BUT, sometimes less is more. Might he not be seen as being meddlesome in how a country is ran? Something along the lines of how America is negatively viewed?

…into dealing with some of the problems caused by the super-greedy…

Curious here; what do YOU propose here?

I have no idea how Americans would react to a political pope. Over here we have got quite used to churchmen making (usually left wing) political noises, so I doubt that the pope joining in would ruffle too many feathers. It is one of the pope’s duties to give a moral and ethical lead to his billion plus followers, and I’m sure you would agree that unfair distribution of wealth is both a moral and political problem. Some popes in the past have been very political animals indeed – it’s only 150 years since a pope raised an army to protect his own interests, so there are plenty of precedents.

While modern churchmen may not be able to alter the course of any given government directly, they are in a position to sway public opinion, and that’s something that any democratic politician has to take note of. The mere fact of being the pope guarantees that Francis’ thoughts will get media space and time, and if he wants to improve the world, then I think he ought to take the plunge. I know some of his more conservative colleagues will be horrified, but they can’t actually overrule him. There are times in every man’s life when he has to stand up and be counted, and that includes popes as well as peasants.

BTW, when I mentioned the mafia I had the Italian mafia in mind. After one particularly atrocious act, Francis actually said “they are excommunicated”, but it needs a papal decree to make it stick. It will be interesting to see whether he makes it official.

 
Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Pope-uri: tidbits on Francis

Karma, I’m a knobhead, aren’t I? I forgot to put the link in, and now I can’t find it.

It was written by a journalist called Francis Barry, and basically said that it’s all very well talking the talk, but the new pope will only deserve the plaudits when he follows through on his fine words and uses his power and influence to make the world a better place.

When he excommunicates mafia families with all the required solemn papal decrees, when he harangues politicians (especially American ones) into dealing with some of the problems caused by the super-greedy, when he actually sells off some of the Vatican’s baubles to help the world’s poorest people, then he will certainly get my vote. Until then, he is just another man with good intentions who has yet to show his true mettle.