Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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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.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / The only way to save our species is to dramatically reduce our population

It doesn’t work like that. Beyond powering a windmill or water wheel, both those power sources require some form of turbine to produce electric power, which then needs some form of power grid to distribute it. How would people with medieval technology build them?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / The only way to save our species is to dramatically reduce our population

You couldn’t have an industrial revolution based on wood. In the late 17th/ early 18th centuries there was a concerted effort by the government to replant the dwindling oak forests, and that was just to keep the navy happy. It took 2 to 3 thousand oaks to build one warship.

The industrial revolution happened partly because we had so much easily accessible coal. Some of those early steam engines got through gigantic amounts of fuel and produced very little work. The world’s forests just wouldn’t be able to support usage on that scale – a few years of that and they would all be gone.

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

Originally posted by tghrr:

My first though was hell yes, kill one to save 10’s of millions but then I had a rather cold thought that world war two and the holocaust is actually beneficial in the long term to humanity as a whole because without all these people dieing overpopulation would be even worse then it already is, AND world war 2 led to some pretty cool advancements in technology that are stated elsewhere in the forum.

And by the way I am NOT some anti-Semitic Europe-hater who agrees with what Hitler did, I am actually an English Jew but I just think that despite the horror of what happened he benefited humanity as a whole.

WWII was a mainly European do until the Japs gatecrashed the party. Europe does not suffer from overpopuation and never has – inner cities maybe, but not the continent as a whole. As for the holocaust, we got Israel out of that – that was a bonus, wasn’t it? But I’ll give you the technology aspect. The military pays well for good tech, and always has done. In the long term, Hitler brought us benefits he couldn’t have begun to imagine.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Robin Williams Suicide

That reminds me, the original topic is, why would someone with all that fame and money kill themselves?

If you’re interested in what manic depression can do to you, have a look at this. It’s nearly an hour long, but worth the effort.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / I have a religious obligation to wear a colander on my head!

Perhaps a better question is “how many people are required to gain ‘cult’ status?” and “how many people are required to be considered a full blown religion?”

I woud guess at least half a million. I lifted this…

In June 2005, Jamie Reed, newly elected Labour Member of Parliament for Copeland in Cumbria, declared himself to be the first Jedi Member of Parliament during his maiden speech. The statement, made in the context of an ongoing debate regarding the Incitement to Religious Hatred Bill, was confirmed by Reed’s office to be a joke instead of a serious statement of faith. During a subsequent committee debate on the bill, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield, Dominic Grieve, proposed as “a bit of a joke” to exclude Jedi Knights from the protection of the proposed act, along with Satanists and proponents of animal sacrifice, illustrating the difficulty of defining religious belief in legislation. Similarly, in April 2006, Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, asked whether he would be allowed to set up a Jedi knights faith school during a Committee debate on the Education and Inspections Bill.

On 16 November 2006, two Jedi delivered a protest letter to UN officials in recognition of the International Day for Tolerance. They requested that it be renamed the “UN Interstellar Day of Tolerance” and cited the 2001 Census showing 390,000 Jedi in England and Wales.

According to 2011 census figures, the number of Jedi had fallen to 176,632, placing it in seventh place, having been overtaken by Judaism and Buddhism, but still comfortably outnumbering any other alternative or mock religions. The magazine Metal Hammer also encouraged readers to mark “Heavy Metal” as their religion, leading to over 6,000 responses.

…from the wiki article on the Jedi Census Phenomenon. 390,000 Jedi were not enough to get it recognised as an official religion in the UK. The matter went all the way to the UN.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / An interpretation of God

Just out of interest, how would some of you chaps and chapesses define a god?. Where would you draw the line between a very powerful and knowledgable alien and a god? Would Superman be one? Mr.Spock perhaps, with his mind melding powers? After all, some of the gods in ancient world pantheons were wimps compared to Superman. So what particular attributes are required for a being to undergo apotheosis?

Go to the Isle of Mann, where at any given time you’re likely to be the only sentient biped on the entire island.

Isle of Man, popuation 86,159? (I just checked). They’re not all inbred vegetables, so I’m not really getting your point here.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / An interpretation of God

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

LOL, vika …. God is a kid with an ant farm/hill

This came up in conversation a few weeks back. God sometimes makes such unreasonable demands of us, and throws a huge temper tantrum every time he gets the needle with us. Perhaps he is a child of godlike beings, not a fully mature deity at all.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Are People More *Judgemental* About Self-Image?

…people who do want to do something with showing who their are are more likely to explicitly place it on social media rather then spend days cleaning their houses for the off chance that someone might visit.

thijser, would you mind explaining what that means. I really don’t understand what social media does, neither do I understand why putting (something?) on social media is better than cleaning my house. I am baffled, and now seems as good a time as any to investigate this new phenomenon.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / AX: Wealth disparity exists and is the cause of most social maladies

It doesn’t have to be race or culture … unless you consider homosexuality/alternative sexual preference to be a culture. It appears that most anything that is only a few degrees away from a particular ideology is something to be viewed w/ some level of distrust. That which is farther removed begins to smell like a true dangerous threat to our very existence.

And that’s it really. Left wing thoughts are the work of the devil. To a European, talk of Obama being a liberal is a joke. To us he’s every inch a conservative. There is an imbalance in American politics, because there is nobody to speak for the workers, nobody prepared to tell businesses to get their houses in order or else. If somebody tries, Congress will create another of the Mexican standoffs it’s so good at.

There’s no reason why at least most of our stuff wouldn’t work in America – universal health care, employment protection, unemployment benefit, national pensions, rent subsidies, lots of freebies for the oldies and so on – apart from the unpalatable fact that most of America’s citizens have been persuaded that all that stuff is bad for them. They have a free vote, and they vote for their preferred colour of government. You can have a moderately right wing government (Obama) or a very right wing government (Rocking Ronnie). No other choices.

Shouldn’t the question be “why is the left so low key in America that it’s practically invisible”?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Are People More *Judgemental* About Self-Image?

I was there champion. When I was a teenager in the 1960s, we cared very much about projecting exactly the right image in order to fit in with the group. The same thing applied in the 1970s, only then it was all about dressing to impress the girls. But I couldn’t afford some of the fancier stuff in the boutiques, so I used to buy a lot of clothes in the local street market. They still did the job though.

I’ll certainly concede that we didn’t suffer from the incessant marketing pressure that exists today. There was no social media either, although I’m still not clear about what that is supposed to be for, so I can’t really say whether there was any comparable pressure on us at the time.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Are People More *Judgemental* About Self-Image?

Showing more does not equate with looking better.

50 years ago people cared just as much about their appearance, but they didn’t have the disposable income to spend on it that they have now.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should shark fishing be banned?

As far as picking one species goes I favor a system that they have been trying in the south of France where they declare large track of water as complete “no take zones” meaning that nothing can be taken from there (at all). This actually improved the amount of fish the fisherman were able to take outside of the area by so much that it offset their inability to fish in these areas.

We have been doing that kind of thing in British waters too. Fishermen here found exactly the same thing. After initially being sceptical about it, they have found that leaving nursery areas alone has resulted in improved catches and larger fish. Despite being an obvious success, the government is being very slow in expanding the scheme.

But it did lead the charge in Brussels, making a huge fuss about the Common Fisheries Policy, resulting in a number of overdue and very sensible changes. The new policy took effect earlier this year, but passed almost unnoticed because that sort of thing doesn’t sell many papers.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / The Madagascar Plan & The Holocaust

It sounds like the Final Solution by the back door. If the Nazis were relying on Jews dying even before they reached their destination, then no doubt they were relying on many more dying once they got there. They would have struggled to find a more unsuitable habitat for farmers used to the Russian plains, so how were they supposed to feed themselves and four million others?

And what would have happened when the money ran out, or the German war machine was considered to be more deserving of some cash. It would have been like Gaza without the international aid.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Children

Captain, you haven’t told us which type you are.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / A Way To End All Crime

At that time you would either walk off the cliff, walk into the water, walk into the wall or other object.

If you were about to walk off a cliff, wouldn’t your subconscious stop you as a matter of urgent self preservation?

The wall is more interesting. So a question to vika. Suppose you were walking across a plain, and came to a wall. It extends as far as you can see, with no obvious way round it or over it. Does your subconscious just give up, or it it still beavering away in the background while you think you’re dreaming up imaginitive ways to deal with the problem?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should shark fishing be banned?

It’s not just the Chinese who eat sharks. I used to be partial to rock salmon, which was a cheap and popular fish. But declining numbers due to overfishing mean it is now quite hard to find and rather expensive. Almost the whole fish is edible.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / A Way To End All Crime

It doesn’t mean that the person involved had no influence on creating that scenario where the outcome was going to be that (the feedback system of the conscious mind) and that they had no control whatsoever in picking an action.

A while back I watched a tellyprog (probably BBC Horizon, but not sure) in which a group of students were sent into a gym where a toy helicopter was being flown. They were told to enter the arena one by one and catch the helicopter when the power was turned off.

They all had different theories on how they did it – some thought it was all about speed, some said mental focus and so on. They were all wrong. The headcams they were wearing showed very clearly that they all picked an area of the wall and then kept the helicopter in view between themselves and their chosen patch of wall. None of them got it, not one. So they thought they were making lots of decisions, but actually those decisions had no bearing on what their brains were really telling them to do.

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

Karma, I remember images like that as the real thing. Some of those bomb sites made great adventure playgrounds. It took 20 years to make a major impact on clearing up after the Germans, and we’re still doing it. Still finding unexloded bombs too.

Vika’s argument doesn’t just apply to wars. NASA funding peaked when America was desperate to outdo the Russians and get a man to the moon first. After that the political will evaporated somewhat, despite all the benefits which have been derived from NASA projects.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

beauval, you asked about Americans being shielded from the utter horrors of war as a mean by which we can keep our “toys” on a sacred pedestal that causes a focusing on the more positive aspects of them.

Not really that, more that not seeing what guns can do until it’s too late enables morons, as in your video links, to treat them like toys. The ones who shot themselves deserved the pain, and were lucky they didn’t die. I was taught to use a .303 rifle by army instructors; they taught us not only how to use if effectively but to respect its power. Judging by your videos, plenty of Americans have never had that lesson. Some fairly graphic images from war zones might help to concentrate their minds.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

Very nice, but it doesn’t really address the question, does it?

So, do you think that shielding the average American who’s never heard of the BBC from some of the grim realities of what war and weapons can do to the human body is a good thing or a bad thing? Or does it not make a scrap of difference either way?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

I came across this short piece yesterday. Now while some may dismiss it as irrelevant, it did make me wonder whether being shielded from the reality of what firearms can do to people is allowing some Americans to kid themselves that their weapons are just big boys’ toys which can be used without any serious consequences.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should we give children guns to protect them from school violence?

It was compulsory for two years. After that you could either stay in or switch to voluntary service, which meant weekly visits to the local Cheshire Home, which was probably much more worthy but not nearly as interesting for me. I was a painfully shy teenager, and the CCF helped to bring me out of my shell, so for me it was a positive experience.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should we give children guns to protect them from school violence?

Fair enough, but I’m willing to bet those British programs weed out all the problem kids before they give them any firearms, and they probably give them more supervision than the typical American public school. That and they probably limit access to fire arms to certain times of day (they probably keep them under lock and key when not in use).

I was in the CCF for five years. The school had its own rifle range where we could use .22 rifles with live ammunition under strict supervision. We also had a large number of Lee Enfield .303 rifles, kept under lock and key behind steel doors in the basement of the school. They would have fired bullets straight through the sandbags and out the wall at the back, so we had to go to army firing ranges to use them under supervision from the regular army. They came from Elvis’ regiment, but were purchased long before he was conscripted, so there was never any question of anyone using Elvis’ gun.

We also had a working 25 pounder field gun, which could be used on the army’s artillery range on Salisbury Plain. I’ve fired some really big live ammo from some of the artillery down there.

There was never any possibility of kids with rifles getting out of control. The CCF is used as a character building aspect of the educational system, and as vika has said, firearms training is just a part of it. And it gives kids experiences they could not otherwise get. Going round a tank assault course is very exciting, but probably the world’s most uncomfortable ride.