Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Asset Forfeiture...Legal Overkill? - The ugly side of the police.

Obviously confiscating citizens’ assets on a whim in order to buy drinks machines is blatantly taking the piss, but are police forces so poorly funded in America that they feel a need to do this just to cover the basic equipment they need to to their job properly?

Most policemen are just ordinary blokes trying to do a difficult job. They have no special insights into the machinations of other people’s lives, so I find it quite extraordinary that they are given this level of power over their fellow citizens.

On the other hand, are we just seeing the undesired results of the American way – unfettered capitalism, every man for himself, gimme, gimme, gimme?

 
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Topic: Off-topic / Political correctness: how far is too far????

Considering that Hanswurst, the name of the college in question, is German for Johnnie’s sausage, also that the moronic Sarah Palin’s physog is at the top of the page, I am deeply suspicious.

Crow, are you sure that this is a genuine story?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Does Diversity Harm Multiculturalism?

After a few generations in a multicultural society, people lose their ethnic identities and a new culture arises.

No, it doesn’t, and that’s the problem. Multiculturalism was supposed to encourage that to happen, but what actually happened is that it encouraged societies within societies, a kind of new age ghettoisation. In the UK we don’t do exclusively black or white neighbourhoods, but we still see areas with large immigrant populations, and they tend to stick together and not mix. It also perpetuates among the more primitive and tribalistic immigant groups the feeling that they are still special, and deserve special treatment.

I think we should be aware of heritage and celebrate our differences, but trying to hold on to roots that no longer exist creates an identity crisis. That’s why most Americans either latch on to passing fads or pine for ideals that no longer exist. They have no idea who they are.

That’s a very good explanation for the jhcos of this world clinging to ideals which never really existed. Unfortunately we are seeing those sort of attitudes in the UK too. Every time some group tries to claim special status, certain sections of the indiginous population look to parties like the BNP for a solution, whch is both divisive and dangerous.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

If faster than light objects really were discovered, it doesn’t seem to have set the scientfic world on fire, which is quite surprising. A discovery like that would mean an automatc Nobel Prize for a start.

In 2011 CERN was conductng experiments with neutrinos and appeared to get some FTL results. There was speculation both about c and about whether they had just found evidence of the much speculated multiverse, with the neutrinos briefly leaving our universe, travelling through the bulk and then reappearing. The experimental results turned out to be caused by two faulty pieces of equipment.

Without spending too much time on it, I can’t seem to find any follow-up to the Hubble Telescope story – does anyone know what happened?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / NWO conspiracy theories! what's one you think might be real?

Daniel, you’ve linked to an extreme right wing opinion piece of scare-mongering drivel about something which is highly unlikely ever to happen. It’s a xenophobic rant, that’s all.

Now if that’s the colour of your politics, fair enough. But you’re not really telling us what you want to discuss. The NAU is not a reality, so do want to discuss whether it would be a good idea, how certain aspects of it would impact on the countries involved, whether an expansion of NAFTA would be good for business, whether the USA should build an impenetrable barrier across its border with Mexico, or something else. Help me out here, sunbeam, because I’m rather confused.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

Technically any object or light in the sky which cannot be identified with complete certainty is a UFO. I can see lights in the sky on any evening I choose, because I live close to the approach flightpaths into both London Heathrow and London City airports. I know what they are, but because I can’t always see the plane I can’t prove what they are. But that doesn’t mean that I make up ridiculous stories about alien spaceships. What I saw last year was certainly no plane, but neither was it a spaceship, just a minor mystery.

Roswell et al. are the same. It has never to my knowledge been proved conclusively what happened at Roswell, but that doesn’t mean that a mundane explanation isn’t the correct one. There are too many people out there ready to claim it was alien visitors purely because that’s what they want it to have been.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

Originally posted by DanielMontgomery:

To the OP, a report on a UFOs (the non ET kind) is in its self all the fact you need to prove that a UFO exists. the next time you see a plane in the sky and you can’t identify it’s make and model it is considered a UFO. Is it the alarming kind of UFO? Not at all but it is a UFO nevertheless.

Now the Lockheed Martin skunk works UFO or Roswell UFO are a different kind all together, I’m sorry if you think we’re going off topic but is it extremely important to identify if these kind of UFOs are real or not.

There is no question that UFOs exist. I saw one myself about a year ago, which I referenced a few months back in a similar thread. It was unidentified and flying, so that one definitely counts. But that’s all it was, a flame in the sky which I could not identify.

I think I will have to disagree with you about the Lockheed and Roswell incidents. Roswell in particular has become the stuff of urban legend, picking up a host of completely untrue embelishments over the years. When you get down to the basic facts, there doesn’t appear to be anything especially amazing about it.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

Since when did you think that neutrinos are hypothetical?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

Since when did you think that tachyons are real?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / UFOs

The Cottingley fairies. It’s intriguing how two little girls managed to fool the world’s photographic experts for sixty years.

Fairies are both unidentified and flying, so they count.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Does Diversity Harm Multiculturalism?

Looking at the title, would I be correct in assuming this is really all about immigration? I ask because I live in what is widely held to be the most lingistically diverse city on earth, and I have plenty of first hand experience of the negative aspects of multiculturalism. The introduction of new ideas via television, hollywood (or bollywood) films and the internet is rather a different kettle of fish, so I’d like to be sure of what you’re interested in discussing before I get on my soapbox.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Minimum Definition of God

… would they worship us as gods (or perhaps as angels or messengers of god if we landed in past monotheistic society) or would they burn us as witches?

In Christian Europe the church would have seen you as a threat to their power, and you would have been killed. That sort of thing happened many times. The power of popes was enormous, and they didn’t like opposition. The pope outranked kings and emperors, and still does in terms of diplomatic precedence.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Minimum Definition of God

Just about every god that has been invented appears to have an overwhelming need to be worshiped and to be the recipient of sacrifices, which is pretty narcissistic and childish when you think about it. Would we expect a slug or a frog to worship us?

That aside, I would be very surprised if beings don’t exist somewhere which we would regard as godlike. They may well take an interest in us as a species, but I doubt if they expect much in the way of interaction from us.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Communism Vs. Capitalism

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

I think the Scotts have long desired FREEDOM from a very arrogant overlord.
And, from what little I know of world history, such is what a lot of people wanted.

Obviously. Few people actually wanted to be part of another country’s empire, but in those days it didn’t matter what conquered nations thought.

That the sun didn’t set on the British EMPIRE should give a hint that those ppl didn’t petition England for membership the British Empire extended around the globe, so it was always daytime somewhere in the empire.

But the Scots did effectively petition us for membership. A little empire building exercise of their own went disastrously wrong, and they asked for financial help. England agreed, but the price was the Act of Union, which cemented a union of sorts which had already existed for a hundred years. And they didn’t become part of the empire, they became part owners of the empire. The clue’s in the name – the British Empire, not the English Empire.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Communism Vs. Capitalism

I would also like to point out the United Kingdoms socialist failings as well. At this point in time they are having basically the same problems as the US with not only their economy, but the breakup of the kingdom because of those policies and the Scottish desire for freedom from socialism.

Now you’re really being silly. Scottish independence has absolutely nothing to do with freedom from socialism. Scotland is a Labour Party stronghold, and it will do them a great deal of damage if they lose all those Scottish voters.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Mcdonalds Employee (Advice Please)

Spending much of your day doing tasks you don’t enjoy is what work is for many people, so you are not alone.

Are you looking at Macdonalds as a long term career, a place where you can climb the greasy pole? If so, then learning the different aspects of what makes Macdonalds work will be very useful to you in the long term. If not, then I would have to agree with vika that you should start looking around for alternatives, in case your confrontation with management doesn’t go as planned. You didn’t say whether the maintenance job pays any more money.

I’m assuming you’re American, both from the language you use and the fact that in the UK employees are legally protected from a lot of this kind of nonsense, so I am in no position to comment on your rights in this matter.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Bobby Jindal: American Statesman or Republican Toady?

On the other hand it seems like hiding your ethnic identity is a dubious way to prevent racism, particularly for non-white immigrants.

It’s a bit difficult for a non-white immigrant to hide his ethnic identity, with or without a hyphen. If he’s not white, that seems to be good enough for many Americans, including Jindal.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Do you guys think we’ll end up inventing new forms of punctuation to help communicate the tone of our conversations for purely text based communications.

Karma already did that. It needs a bit of work though – sometimes it actually works, sometimes I’m just baffled.

Also will the internet, texting and other forms of informal text based communication have any significant lasting impact on everyday language to the point at which it’s influence is considered fully legitimate

About 95% of new expressions will fall by the wayside. They always have. But a few will stick – my friend’s 12 year old recently told me she was photoshopping her own drawing, even though she was doing it with coloured pencils. Some expressions will make it to dictionaries; the OED is constantly on the lookout for new expressions entering the vernacular.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

…let me reverse the question you asked: could you think of an example of an invention that was made outside of war industry and was not introduced to it, even though it could be?

No, I can’t. I doubt if it has ever happened. Commanders looking for an edge have tried the most extraordinary ideas; some were successful (bouncing bomb) and some were spectacularly unsuccessful (giant guns which were so cumbersome they hardly ever fired a shot in anger). If anything looks remotely like it could be used as a weapon, the military will take an interest.

On a side-note, what do you think of creation of firearms in the context of your question? As they were invented just to efficiently kill people, do you think they would never be made just as tanks, or people would want to improve on the idea of bows and crossbows anyway in order to hunt animals more efficiently?

I would imagine that spears appeared for hunting first, as it’s not a great weapon for one to one combat. But that was very long ago. By the time we were ready to move on from bows and arrows, we knew all about domestication, which is a much more efficient way of obtaining meat than hunting. In a more peaceful universe that would leave hunting as a pastime, and you don’t actually need a gun to do that.

On the other hand, that scenario still allows for explosives. Perhaps someone would have invented captive bolt guns for abattoir use, or tranquiliser guns for animal conservation, and someone else would make the connection with hunting. Short answer is that there is no answer to that one, it’s all pure speculation.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

I think hypothermia is worth a mention as a counterargument to what you’re saying here. It’s estimated to have killed hundreds of millions of people. Josef Mengele with his fellow Nazis studied it on concentration camp prisoners – obviously, after he had exposed them to freezing temperatures – and did a great job at describing in detail its symptoms, procedures to counter it and minimising the damage it causes to organisms.

There’s a lot of medical examples, simply because some kinds of injuries are very unlikely to happen beyond a battlefield, and if they do, they’re so rare most doctors don’t bother to heal them properly.

Mengele was able to conduct his hypothermia experiments so quickly because there was a pressing need to save German aircrew who had baled out into the sea, and he had a limitless supply of expendable Jews at his disposal. But as you say, it has killed millions. It might have taken hundreds of years to get round to it, and decades to do the research, but I still think we would have got round to it eventually.

Research is done into rare injuries and diseases, albeit on a relatively small scale. It appears that rare diseases tend to be genetic, so it’s not as if they are going to go away if we do nothing. I seem to remember reading that during the Vietnam war it was discovered that giving blood transfusions to soldiers who had had limbs blown off was actually killing them. The body needs a drop in blood pressure to enable the blood to coagulate around the wound. The extra pressure from the transfusion was forcing the coagulated blood out and they were bleeding to death. Something like that. Without so many examples of those sorts of injuries coming all at once, it might have taken a very long time for he penny to drop, but some doctor would have figured it out in the end.

I just feel that simple human curiosity would ensure that researchers would always find something new to study, even if it was conducted at a very sedate pace. And if new knowledge came along slowly, it might help us to use our new discoveries responsibly before taking the next step.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Self build housing

As you’re so close to the sea, a wind turbine might be a good investment. IIRC I was quoted just shy of £3000 for a 2kw job, all fitted and wired in. It was a bit pricey for the amount I was likely to save with it, but it would have been a good selling point. You should get lots of wind where you’re going (if you’ll pardon the expression), and you might well get a better result than I anticipated in suburban London.

If you want a really big one which turns out to be an abnormal load, the haulier will need to get a route from the police, which can turn a short trip into a very long and suitably expensive one, especially if it needs an escort at any point.

If you want to know about mine workings, have you contacted the District Surveyors at the local council? It’s part of their job to know about stuff like that.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Is it right to kill one person to save the lives of many?

I’m still not convinced that invention and innovation would disappear altogether in a perfect society. These’s always one who is going to think “what if?”

Karl Benz didn’t invent the motor car, just the first petrol powered one, and the first one build as a commercial proposition. Self propelled vehicles had been tinkered with for a hundred years prior to that, and made very little progress. Similarly the Wright Brothers’ powered flight was by no means the first, just substantially the best at the time, and to be fair, probably the first one that deserved to be called a flight rather than a short hop. It came on the back of a hundred years of experiments, mainly by adventurous Europeans with too much money and time on their hands. Progress was agonisingly slow, but it was certainly there.

Now I agree entirely that a war can work wonders for R & D. Bleriot flew the English Channel, 21 miles, in 1909. A mere 10 years later a WWI bomber flew the Atlantic. That amount of progress would almost certainly have taken many decades without the intervening war. The other catalyst in the rapid rise of aviation was that a few people could see the commercial possibilities, and that financial incentive would always exist, even in a society where everyone was content with their lot. There’s always one who wants a bit more.

Plastic surgery was very much the product of two world wars, but it wouldn’t have advanced in the way it has without vanity surgery. Even taking your example of space flight, as aeroplanes achieved ever greater altitudes, don’t you think there would always be someone who wanted to go a bit higher than anyone before him. Whatever the technical problems, I don’t see why they would never be solved, even if it took a few lifetimes to get the job done.

I realise that you would not be able to conduct much of your research without the backing of miitary money. But is fixing wounded soldiers the only reason you do what you do?. Without that backing, wouldn’t you still be trying to improve prosthetics, even if those improvements came in frustratingly tiny steps every decade instead of giant leaps?

I can’t tell if you are right about innovation grinding to a total halt, but actually I rather hope that you aren’t. It feels a bit too much like the human race giving up. Aside from things like tanks, which as far as I can tell are purely wartime machines, is there any technology which you think could not possibly have happened without conflict driving it forward? I know I’m getting way of topic here, but I don’t care. I’m finding this rather interesting.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Direct Democracy

Sorry, but I just can’t see how it ever could be made to work. We do occasionally do it with referenda. We have one on the go right now concerning Scottish independence. The discussions and public debate have been going on since forever in an attempt to ensure that all the Jocks understand the pros and cons of making such a move. I doubt if half of them have any real grasp of the consequences even now. That’s the effort that goes into voting on a single issue.

As for not wanting to present an unsuspecting public with a pile of legalistic jargon, I have to point out that is exactly what an act of Parliament is – it’s a new law. It can’t be couched in vague and woolly terms that Joe Soap can get his brain around.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Direct Democracy

Let me give you an example. This one is short by Parliamentary standards, but it’s very dull. It concerns controlling street trading in one town. Do you really expect the public to read this stuff and still be sufficiently awake to cast a considered vote on the subject? If so, then you have a great deal more faith in people than I do. I can’t see any way that direct voting coud be made to work.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Direct Democracy

Measures are put up on the system regularly and all eligible citizens are notified electronically when a measure is proposed. Each measure has a description no longer than one page. Something too complicated to describe in one page must be divided into multiple measures, each to be voted on individually. Measures can involve new laws, the repeal of existing laws, mobilization of the military, and anything else that is conventionally done by the government.

How do you propose to condense a complex piece of economic legislation into bite sized pieces? And do you really want a referendum on absolutely everything? You would have the public voting a dozen times a day on issues which they don’t even begin to understand. They would soon get very, very bored with that. It’s a recipe for catastrophe in about a week. But if it’s the American way, go for it. But I think we Europeans will just stand on the sidelines to watch the train wreck.