Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why the Charlie Hebdo "victims" deserved it.

Even Vannie wouldn’t stoop this low. Would he??

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / The first plasma: the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device is now in operation

Not getting sufficient energy from the process is one of many problems these researchers face. But problems are there to be solved. We all know that fusion works and produces gigantic amounts of energy; none of us would be here if that wasn’t the case. To my mind, as researchers in this area creep towards a viable solution, private money will start to get interested. Oil and energy companies will want a piece of the action – we can’t expect them to sit on their hands and watch their industries become obsolete.

In 2012, German car manufacturers spent 25 billion dollars on R&D on what is already a pretty solid product. The money is there, all that big companies need is the motivation to spend it. I doubt if I will live to see fusion plants in operation (I’m 65), but I feel sure that it will happen within the next century.

There are already at least two strong motivations in place. Two of the biggest oil and gas suppliers are Russia and the Middle East. Russia has difficulty getting on with other nations, and the Middle East has its problems with more revolutionary groups than stars in the sky. The other motivation is the increasing political pressure to keep the environment clean. As far as I know, fusion comes with no dangerous by-products.

What interests me more is the political aspect of all this. Other nations will become interested in this process – Russia, China, Japan, the USA to name but a few. Can they be trusted to deal with vested commercial interests responsibly and ensure cheap and plentiful energy for all, or will they allow big business to muscle in for a handful of gold?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Donald Trump can do no wrong.

Trump’s tirade hasn’t been well received over here either

 
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Topic: Game Programming / Declaring Kongregate earnings in European countries (game developers)

I think you need to ask a Portuguese accountant. He will know far more about tax laws than any of us.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Polarized US Politics

Pete, regarding gerrymandering, I can’t quite figure out who is responsible for drawing voting area boundaries. Over here we have the Boundaries Commission, which is expected to be totally neutral, and always includes a senior judge. I am getting the impression that in the USA it is the parties themselves who decide where the boundaries are drawn. Is that true?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Bernie Sanders is a total joke. Let's talk about him.

I’ve listened to several of Sanders’ addresses, and I hear nothing particularly radical in them, and certainly nothing remotely dangerous.

I’m not american, so I really don’t care who runs the country. But given the choice, I would strongly prefer someone who is willing to talk to his opponents rather than shout them down. But then I’m a European, and probably much too reasonable for your tastes.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Bernie Sanders is a total joke. Let's talk about him.

Why is meaning what you say such a scary concept?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / If You Were King... Fix Stuff!

What would you do to fix your nation’s homeless problem?

I would free all convicted criminals from prison, so I could fill the prisons with….

No, seriously, I don’t know how much of the problem I could fix, But I reckon I could make a good start by:-

Hiring experienced buyers to head up government procurement agencies, and thereby at a stroke eliminate a very large chunk of the breathtaking overcharging which seems to be tolerated by said procurement agencies.

Imposing a one-off windfall tax on the trading divisions of all banks and similar financial institutions, the proceeds to be used for compulsory land purchase.

Cracking down on the glaring tax loopholes used by many international companies which currently enable them to pay approximately zero percent of their tax responsibilities to the countries which enabled them to become staggeringly wealthy in the first place.

Passing a new law enabling the compulsory purchase of at least 50% of the land that large development companies are currently sitting on, and auctioning parcels of land to smaller developers for the purpose of building new affordable homes immediately.

Eliminating as much as possible the mountains of bureaucratic bullshit which go hand in hand with land development.

Making it easier to channel funds to local councils for the purpose of building new social housing.

All of which is pie in the sky of course, but you knew that when you asked the question :)

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Beliefs About Sharia Among Muslims

I know a lot of Muslims, mainly Turkish but from other countries as well. They all see ISIS as a threat and a shame upon their religion. Just because the extremists grab all the headlines, it does not follow that all Muslims are extremists.

The same can be said of sharia law. It’s the stonings and mutilations which are newsworthy. When two neighbours in dispute agree to let the Imam resolve it according to sharia law, nobody takes any notice. It’s no different from two Christians asking the local vicar to mediate. And it keeps a lot of petty squabbles out of the courts.

Not all Muslims act like barbarians, and not all sharia law is barbaric.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Cycle of Poverty

Voting is where reform has to begin.

StopStopp mentioned the Chartists. That movement was more about voting rights and Parliamentary reform than workers rights, but it had long term effects. The Chartists made people aware of what was wrong with the status quo at the time. Tony Blair’s best remembered sound bite was “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” and it still gets quoted today. He didn’t have all the answers, but he highlighted the problems and got them talked about.

If America is to solve its problems, it needs to get somebody into the White House who is prepared to discuss these issues seriously. I haven’t made a point of following the presidential debates and have no axe to grind on behalf of any of the candidates, but it does seem to me that Bernie Sanders stands out from the crowd simply because he is prepared to draw attention, long and loud, to the inequalities in American society.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Hyperthetical: Stereotypical Jesus

Well then Pete, just for fun: round the clock harp music? It has to be door no. 2. Maybe Django went that way.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

In what way is it inhumane or racist to have a housing list which is already bursting at the seams. The problem is not that we can’t take some of these refugees, it’s that we can’t take them all NOW.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should homeless people be allowed to keep pets?

Oh dear, James. If you think vika’s post was more than just slightly tongue in cheek, you have much to learn. There are some very strange people out there, and some of them are a lot of fun ;)

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should homeless people be allowed to keep pets?

It was also considered fashionable in the 18th century to keep a pet monkey and a pet black person.

Addressing the OP, when homeless people are begging on the streets of London accompanied by a scruffy mongrel, passers by often feel sorrier for the dog than they do for its owner. For a beggar it’s a positive boon, as more cash is forthcoming.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Well, we don’t want governments trampling all over citizens’ rights, do we. We also have several thousand years worth of historical sites which are heavily protected. We are not about to bulldoze Stonehenge to make way for a refugee camp.

And airports? The enquiry into whether to build a third runway at Heathrow or to expand another of London’s airports has been rumbling on for years.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

In Britain any development is subject to public objections and if necessary public enquiries. If the government tried to demolish any widespread housing that wasn’t already designated as a slum, the lawyers could drag it out for years. You know the kind of money they charge, and it all adds to the cost. Having the government making vague promises that maybe we can house another few thousand within three years doesn’t help anybody now.

A chain of camps across multiple countries is in theory the best answer, but even within the EU every government is playing pass the parcel with this problem. It would make sense to build camps or even new towns in the less densely populated Eastern Europe, with the west picking up the lion’s share of the bill. But already getting any kind of international co-operation is proving to be almost impossible.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

I understand what you said, but you’re talking about a humanitarian crisis on the order of thousands of people… and your concern is that SOME of them might be spongers?

Or it could be that I am concerned that a camp like that could slowly but surely get filled up with scroungers at the expense of others who need accommodation. That would also be very bad PR for any relief effort which we did undertake.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Nice one Stan. A few years ago a bloke who had returned from his Hajj mentioned tented accommodation, but I’d never given it a thought since and had no idea how big it is. You can take a tour of it on YouTube.

Not getting their hands dirty and allowing their fellow Muslims to suffer as a reminder of the wickedness of the West has always been the Saudi way. Compare what they could have done for the Palestinians with what they actually have done. I don’t see those tents being put to good use any time soon.

@pete
I reread what I said several times, and I definitely said that SOME would be content to sit there forever. You like to characterise them as being just like us, so inevitably there will be some lazy bastards among their ranks.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Pete, as it was by no means clear which countries you were talking about, I think it’s safe to assume it was a serious question.

karma, tents are not really an option. Northern Europe is not a good place to go camping in the winter. Your Boeing city reminds me of the prefabs which were built here for several years after the war. They were supposed to have a ten year life, and there were countless thousands of them in London alone when I was young. Most have now disappeared, but a few are still being lived in after all these years. Google prefab images of you’re not sure what I mean.

Now they just might be a possible and affordable option as accommodation, but in Britain at least it still leaves us with the problem of where to put them. Almost every square centimetre of land is already taken or allocated. Even issuing compulsory purchase orders on land that building companies are sitting on would be an interminable process while they brought their big gun lawyers in to argue every point.

If we made camps too uncomfortable, i.e. tents, we could be open to accusations of human rights abuses, and that’s a can of worms in itself. If we went the other way, then some refugees would be content to stay there forever and live on handouts. Neither of the above is a desirable outcome.

I wish I had some more constructive ideas, but I don’t. Trying to cope with the numbers who want to come here is going to throw up huge problems whatever we try to do. If we let the problem overwhelm us, we will be even less able to deal with it than we are now.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Which countries currently outside the UN need our support?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Assad is not ours to replace. He is Russia’s ally. Any long term solution in Syria has to include the Russians.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Hello Johnny, nice to see you back.

Regarding having to be careful about not being Nazis, how long are going to beat yourselves up over the sins of an earlier generation? It’s like us being expected to apologise for the empire every five minutes. There comes a time when you have to put the past to bed.

Now, refugees. It’s a laudable thing to make a grand gesture and allow thousands in, but do you really have the housing to cope with that? Over here the social housing lists are overflowing, and allowing too many immigrants, however deserving, to jump the queue is bound to stir up resentment and be counter-productive. So how does Germany propose to deal with that? You’re already propping up half of Europe financially. How much more do you think the German public can take before their generosity of spirit runs out?

I understand Pete’s point about an ageing demographic, we have a similar problem here. But any exercise in social engineering needs to be carried out in a controlled way or the negatives will start to outweigh the positives. Is the current political response to this crisis simply a knee jerk reaction to public opinion, or does Mutti have a long term plan on the table?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Rosa Parks: The Kim Davis of Black People??

what a bastard that Obama is, allowing her to be sent to prison for breaking the law!

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

I brought up the German reunification to illustrate how public attitudes can quickly change. For some Germans it also signified the reunification of families, but it still hit them hard in the wallet. Sure, there is plenty on nimbyism here too – it’s a great idea as long as I don’t have to pay for it. Because many people are incapable of planning their lives more than two minutes in advance, they had no inkling of the eventual advantages it would confer on the fatherland.

So when you say things like “today’s heroes will become tomorrow’s spongers,” I can only think that your sharing what you believe will be tomorrow’s public sentiment.

I thought that would be pretty obvious by now. I take people as I find them; there will be kind, interesting and useful people among the refugees, but there will be scumbags with a sense of entitlement too. Unfortunately it is the latter group which always gets noticed first.

but as gracious hosts we should not expect our guests to completely assimilate and abandon the cultural values that are important to them any more than they should expect their hosts to abandon their own cultural values.

I have a very different take on that. We should expect our guests to abandon totally, completely and permanently all those cultural values which are at odds with our legal code. Multiculturalism doesn’t work. Absorbing those things which we like and rejecting those that we don’t does work. Setting up a mini Syria in some run down inner city area is not the answer to these people’s problems, and they will always be seen as outsiders if they do that. It’s a bit like the conversation we had about changing attitudes towards black people; when they started to become a bit more like us they were much more readily accepted as equals.

What cultural risks do you individually face really? Are you afraid that you’ll have to walk by yet another Middle Eastern restaurant on your way to the pub?

Personally speaking I would see the restaurant as a better opportunity than the pub.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

I would like to hear your thoughts (particularly Beauval and Vika) on what public support is.
Is it a measure of a cost-benefit evaluation?
Is it an alignment to a cultural moral compass?
Both? To what degree is it either?

Different things to different people, but it starts with your alignment of a moral compass. We see people in trouble and we want to help. Also, in the recent crossing of Hungary and Austria it easy to see a kind of heroism in it. It was rather like crowds cheering marathon runners across the finishing line, an acknowledgement of the end of an epic feat of endurance.

The cold evaluation of cost to benefit comes later. I mentioned German reunification earlier. I remember it being very popular with the German public to begin with, until the true cost became apparent. Bringing the East into the modern world cost a cool 2 trillion euros over a couple of decades, paid for with West German money. That bit wasn’t so warmly welcomed by the German public.

And so I think it will be with the refugees who are now being welcomed with open arms. Today’s heroes will become tomorrow’s spongers. With the Germans the newcomers spoke the same language and shared a common history. The waves of immigrants heading for Europe have a very different cultural heritage, and I believe that is going to become a serious problem if we allow too many in at once. As vika said, our government has increased the quota to be allowed in, which means that thousands of our own people are going to be pushed further down the social housing list. How do you think they will feel about that? How would you feel if your prospect of a first home to call your own was snatched away from you at the last moment?

One of the problems Europe will face is the cultural challenge, which is the bit that I really think you are not getting. When Mexicans move to America, the newcomers are not that different from you. A bit more Catholic, a bit poorer, but with many shared values. The newcomers to Europe are rather different from us, and many will have to be persuaded that some of their existing values are simply not acceptable to their new landlords. That creates problems now, and will continue to do so for many years. The longer they try to maintain their own heritage, the longer they will be seen as (unwelcome) outsiders.