Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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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.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Self build housing

You could take a look at these devices. I believe they are compulsory for new build homes in parts of Scandinavia, It gets pretty nippy up there in the winter, but I understand they work very well.

It might be best to install one when you are building, and you could then add a wind turbine or solar panel later to supplement it. If you can team up with the neighbours, something like this might be worth a look, but it’s far too expensive to do it by yourself.

I have no personal experience of using renewables beyond researching a wind turbine for the roof, but I moved on before I could get it installed.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / What do we think of the Maine hermit?

Me too. He’s a scrounger. A hermit is supposed to be self-sufficient, and this man has clearly never bothered to learn how to hunt and gather. Over here he would most likely be assigned a carer, but unfortunately for him he’s living in the USA.

If someone wants to give him a place to live and feed him, that’s fine with me, but his nighttime activities need to be curtailed, in a prison cell if that’s what it takes.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Self build housing

So… what’s hot and what’s not in housing?

Are you building to please yourself, or with a view to selling it on? If you’re planning on staying there for the foreseeable future, doing the trendy thing is really irrelevant. Do everything to please yourself, and if you want to sell later, then if you love it somebody else will too.

In London anything Victorian is extremely desirable – big rooms, big windows, high ceilings, lots of original features. If you have an architectural salvage shop near you, that should be worth a visit.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

To propose we change our gun laws because of an extremely rare occurrence is beyond any amount of insanity you think our gun laws to be.

Why is insane to protect children?

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

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. The industrial revolution advanced so quickly because it was feeding the European empires, not just war machinery but a vast array of consumer goods as well. I don’t think anyone is disputing that all those advances would have been made eventually, just the speed with which they would have been made. If it wasn’t for two thousand years of European wars and empire building, we’d all still be travelling round on horseback and marvelling at the wonders of the renaissance. War and impending doom are the ultimate catalysts for research and development.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / What would happen if there was a worldwide famine?

If things got really grim, I don’t think there is any question that the survivors would be those who could look at a patch of undergrowth and know which leaves were edible, which roots to dig up, which berries and mushrooms were safe to eat. There’s a ton of stuff which we can eat but just don’t usually bother with – not very tasty, difficult to grow commercially, hard to find and so on. And country people tend to live in small communities, and would be more inclined to swap and share.

How far back would we go? All the way to hunting and gathering probably. Spend all your time searching for food and you have a good chance of eking out a living. If you know your plants, know how to catch fish or set a trap, you have a much better chance than someone who thinks that meat comes from a factory.

Why on earth would you need a car or electricity? Were you planning on watching television until the crisis passed? Just walk to the countryside and hope you bash into a friendly local who can give you a few tips on what you shoud be looking for.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

Sorry to necro, but when I supported mandatory gun training earlier in the thread, I didn’t actually have in mind teaching a 9 year old girl to use an Uzi with live ammunition. I know the Americans will see this as just another day in redneckland, but my jaw nearly hit the floor when I saw this incident. The instructor in the video looked good for another thirty years until he gave a loaded machine gun to a child.

Just what will it take for America to understand the insanity of their gun laws?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / What would happen if there was a worldwide famine?

The urban dwellers would take the first hit, no matter what the cause of the famine. During the war, farmers always knew how to hold a bit back for themselves, irrespective of regulations and ministerial inspections. And they know how to forage, which townies generally don’t. By the time things got really serious in the country, many of the townies would already have died of starvation, and there would be less pressure on the remaining food sources. If the cause was the weather, they would only have to find enough for themselves for a few seasons to come out the winners.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / What would happen if there was a worldwide famine?

Or course, it will be the poor to die first….right on up the ladder.

It will be the urban poor that die first. During the war, my mother could queue for hours in London just to get the basics (almost everything was rationed). After she was evacuated to what was then a small country town, food became more plentiful and easier to obtain. The big survivors will be the country boys.

There is always food in the countryside if you know where to look. You could show a field of wheat to a banker and he would probably have no idea what to do with it. Money would become far less important than it is now. Food would become currency in the same way that cigarettes became currency in large parts of Europe after the war.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Would there be slaves if it weren't for general laziness?

Originally posted by RollerCROWster:
Originally posted by beauval:

They were capitalists, doing what capitalists have always done – protecting the bottom line. Slavery is unfettered capitalism, profit for me at any cost to you. Free labour is better than cheap labour.

I don’t see that the slavery situation in America had anything to do with laziness. We sold you the slaves and you used them, everybody had a good deal except for the Africans, and until the abolitionists came along there was nobody to speak for them.

The Africans who were selling the slaves to Americans and Europeans had a good deal.

You can always tell if someone is afflicted with white guilt when they leave out the FACT that all African slaves were bought from African slavers.

No white guilt here, sunbeam. That was a bit ambiguous I agree, but I am aware that strong tribes kidnapped and sold members of weaker tribes. I’d better mention that Europeans were simply cashing in on a long standing trade that the Africans had with the Arabs, just so nobody gets left out.

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

It’s important to note that slaves were not cheap. They were serious investments made by ranchers and farmers. By today’s standards, a slave would be priced similar to a major piece of farming equipment. One source suggested about $130,000 in today’s dollars.

That more than anything is what finished the slave trade we had to service the sugar plantations in the West Indies. Once they became too expensive to be regarded as a disposable commodity, interest in them began to wane.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Would there be slaves if it weren't for general laziness?

They were capitalists, doing what capitalists have always done – protecting the bottom line. Slavery is unfettered capitalism, profit for me at any cost to you. Free labour is better than cheap labour.

I don’t see that the slavery situation in America had anything to do with laziness. We sold you the slaves and you used them, everybody had a good deal except for the Africans, and until the abolitionists came along there was nobody to speak for them.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Shooting/Riots in Ferguson, USA.

I came across this opinion piece on aljazeera yesterday. Now while I don’t like everything he says here, and he certainly attempts to present hearsay as facts, nevertheless he does raise some interesting questions, such as

“And police firing into crowds of protestors, blocking media access, and enforcing a 9 pm curfew in a residential area: Isn’t this the big-government tyranny that the Tea Party has been talking about since its inception? Why aren’t they sending a militia to Ferguson?”

It’s difficult for me to form a valid opinion about this for two reasons. I am not too familiar with all the different shades of rightism which constitute American politics, and even fifty years ago racism in the UK was not as bad as it is in the USA today. So would any of the amateur pundits here care to comment on this aspect of yet another gun toting tragedy?

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

Concerted efforts to improve the human condition directly would be ideal, but who’s going to pay for that? In certain countries and in war situations, the military has virtually unlimited resouces, and can therefore provide a great deal of motivation for R & D in certain fields. We lesser mortals sometimes have to be content with the by-products of that R & D.