Recent posts by beauval on Kongregate

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Topic: Serious Discussion / Citizen Rights to not be Filmed, Vs The freedom of movement rights of those with Visual Prosthetics

It would be impossible to visually tell an apparatus that is simply feeding images to the brain via a patch into the optic cord, from one that is simultaneously imply feeding images to the brain via a patch into the optic cord and dumping a second copy into video memory on a body area network storage device.

This seems to be the crux of the matter. Would it be possible to have a scanning device at the entrance to a building or area which can tell the difference?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Black Lives Matter

James, where did I accuse them of being criminals? Where did I say they are lazy? You’re reading things that simply aren’t there. That’s pete’ job. Try again.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Black Lives Matter

There was legislation and the idea above suggests that “White people did our part, and now it’s all up to you.” It essentially blames Black people for racism because they didn’t live up to their end of the bargain by “trying to integrate.”

No it doesn’t, it says that there had to be movement on both sides. A predominantly white government made the first move, but there still needed to be a response from the black community that we were making the effort to change things and they had a part to play in that too.

If there is, then there’s a “white mentality” that also needs correction. Agreed? (Or is the problem only with Black attitudes and there’s nothing wrong with White attitudes?)

The reasons for racism in Europe were often rather different from the deeply ingrained hatred which still seems to plague America. My old man was racist till the day he died, but he wished no harm on to black people. He was born in 1908, at the height of empire, and he simply saw blacks and Asians as conquered races, subject peoples. He came across soldiers from all over the empire during the war, and had no criticism of their ability or bravery as soldiers, but he never regarded them as his equals. That generation is now virtually extict, and those sorts of attitudes died with them. France was very similar. Charles de Gaulle made it clear to blacks from the French empire that they were welcome to go to France for jobs, but they would never be offered anything but menial work. Organisations like golf clubs are still sometimes run by old farts from the old school, but it won’t be long before the empire attitude is gone completely.

If they’re victims because they magnify “every little thing” and use words like “micro-aggressions” to inflate the same kinds of annoyances that we all face, it denies that racism exists.

I’m not sure that it denies racism, but “micro-aggressions” were a big part of it, and needed to be dealt with by both sides. That takes a long time.

When I was a teenager I marched against the Vietnam war, and I marched in support of American civil rights. I was one of the few white kids who had black friends. My little clique was very much into the blues revival which was going on at the time, and our lexicon of musical heroes included a lot of black men from America’s deep south. Yet we saw nothing incongruous in referring to them as wogs or lukes (Lucozade is a popuar fizzy drink over here, and I’m a London boy so my speech is spattered with rhyming slang. It rhymes with spade.). It was just something which we had picked up from the previous generation, and it never really occurred to us that black people might find those expressions offensive. When I did realise, probably some time during my twenties, I stopped doing it.

I think it has been easier for us than it will be for America, because we never had the degree of separation that you have. Black neighbourhoods, black restaurants, black toilets, blacks sitting at the back of the bus? We never had any of that, not even back in the days of casual racism when they were widely regarded as inferior. America has a lot of work to do.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Black Lives Matter

I think the black community at large had a lack of aspiration until equality legislation gave them the opportunities and perhaps also the confidence to move towards becoming middle class. When the West Indians first arrived in large numbers after the war, their presence here was widely misunderstood. They were initially asked to come to help repair all the war damage, and the government of the day failed miserably to communicate that to the population at large.

They were not made welcome, and broadly speaking found themselves marginalised at the bottom end of society. They tended to underachieve both in schools and in the workplace, possibly out of resignation that no matter how hard they tried it wasn’t going to make any difference. Black professionals and businessmen were very thin on the ground. Understandably there was a lot of resentment among their ranks, but when equal opportunities legislation began to find its way on to the statute book, things started to change for the better. But as a group they still needed to get rid of the chip on their collective shoulder before they were fully accepted.

These days there are still a few blacks who hate whites, and vice versa, but in the main nobody really cares a great deal about colour any more. But then we’ve never had a race problem on the scale that America has, so perhaps none of the above applies to you.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Black Lives Matter

I didn’t say it was only a black problem, I said that bad attitudes among some of them were a significant part of the problem. When they started to act as if they were “one of us”, they were widely accepted by the White community as such. And it certainly took some legislation to get the ball rolling for them. But then overt racism has never been on the level that it now is in America.

Racial tensions do still arise, but now it has more to do with the Asian community because of their perceived association with radical Islam.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Black Lives Matter

Experience over here suggests Issendorf is at least partially right. It took some laws to ensure that they got a fair crack of the whip, but since they discarded the self pitying ghetto mentality that many of them undoubtedly had, and aspired to join the middle classes, their lot has improved enormously. Showing a bit of respect for themselves meant that others respected them too.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should AMERICA build a wall along the Mexico border?

This insane idea reminds me of the Maginot Line. The French built a fortification along their entire border with Germany in order to slow down any German attack. It was so expensive that there wasn’t much left to pay for the rest of the French army.

When WWII came, the Germans invaded Belgium first and went round the line into France, conquering a weakened and under equipped French army in a few weeks.

I’m sure a wall along the Mexican border will prove to be a similar roaring success.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

If and only if there were actually a million and more migrants headed for the same particular country for some ridiculous reason annually.

There are. I’m not going to research numbers for you, but it is beyond question that millions of people are caught in war zones in Africa and the Middle East. All of them are desperate to flee, and will folow any dream which is fed to them by traffickers with ulterior motives.

Secretly, Europe needs the manpower…

Secretly? What are you talking about? What Europe needs is skills, notably in the scientific and manufacturing sectors, and most of the migrants don’t have what we want.

You’re missing the point here. Let’s keep it simple and address just the housing problem, as that’s an aspect which has already been discussed. When there is already a chronic shortage of affordable housing, how do you propose to find all the new arrivals somewhere to live? Give me a sensible answer to that, and then we can move on to some of the other issues.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

It is inhumane because it balances the negligible impact of affording the humanitarian needs of these human beings against an unquantified and, in my estimation, utterly erroneous claim that “we simply can’t afford it.”

The impact is not negligible, it’s huge.

Let’s assume that you’re king of an island the size of Madagascar. You have ten million citizens, which means you have loads of space available. You also have housing for ten million, educational facilities for ten millon, health care and other benefits for ten million, jobs for nine and a half million, you grow enough food for ten million, and so on. Your economy is stable, but you need to be careful not to overspend or you will spiral back into a depression.

A million refugees turn up on your doorstep within a year, with an unknown number already preparing to head your way. They have no money and few usable skills between them. Their knowledge of your language is mainly rudimentary, and they have no idea how your country works because the people traffickers have filled their heads with bullshit. Tell me, in purely practical terms, how you propose to deal with them. Remember that they expect to be fed and housed from day one.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Furthermore, regarding impact, the claims that Britain simply cannot fit all of these “leeches” is bullshit. The population density of the UK is 662 people per square mile, and while it is certainly the most populated country in the EU, it is certainly not the most densely populated. Greece (a country that has treated its immigrant horribly… and certainly in violation of international law) only has 212 people per square mile. So, physical space certainly is NOT a valid argument.

Sure, we have the space for several million immigrants to come here and sit on the ground. Then what? Do you seriously believe we have a couple of million of spare homes available? What building company is going to erect that many houses which it can’t immediately sell. The whole idea is utterly preposterous. I tried to explain the constraints on building in the last thread, but it obviously went straight over your head.

Furthermore, I hope you don’t make any ridiculous demands that we immediately set to work building more. Housing requires water supplies, sewage disposal, gas, electricity, roads and transportation systems among other considerations. Building what is effectively a new town the size of Manchester or Birmingham is an undertaking which would take years to complete, even if we had the will to do it. Which we don’t, for reasons which seem to be obvious to everyone except you.

And what’s the big deal about the BRITISH empire? We weren’t the only merchant adventurers by a long way, nor were we the most brutal. Didn’t they teach you that in school? Try reading up on the Belgian Congo – now that really was an example of imperialism at its worst. The bee you have in your bonnet about us smacks of, dare I say it, naked racism. BTW, most of the British nationals living abroad are either working abroad or retired in the sun, where they enjoy full British pension rights among other things. Why do you think they are leeching off the locals, or are the toxic racist jibes just a way of distracting attention from your insupportable and hopelessly idealistic stance on this issue?

There you go Karma, I’ve said my piece now. But this thread seems to have run into the same brick wall as the last one on this subject.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Migrants In Europe

Did that recently, but please feel free to add anything you want.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Effects of Increasing Minimum Wage. Is it good or bad?

Here’s an interesting little snippet about how Ronald McDonald manages to turn a profit in Oz, which has the world’s highest minimum wage.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Effects of Increasing Minimum Wage. Is it good or bad?

Minimum wage is supposed to match inflation. That’s it’s function.

I think you’re confusing that with index linked wages and pensions. The purpose of a minimum wage is to ensure that every worker receives a living wage.

When we adopted it in the UK there were cries of impending doom from its opponents, but in the event there was barely a ripple in the labour market. The sky didn’t fall, the economy didn’t collapsie. The rate rose to £9 per hour in the recent budget, and that’s under a Conservative government, which also views it as a way of encouraging people to work.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Lafayette, Louisiana, Theater Shooting:

There are so many issues of (greater?) importance facing our nation that allows Congress to see a very few killings as acceptable in the greater picture of “going-along-to-get-along” with the needs of major PAC’s.

According to Obama in that BBC interview, the number of people killed by terrorism since 911 is fewer than 100. The number killed by gun violence is in the tens of thousands. That’s hardly “a very few killings”, even in a country of 300 million people. There have been wars with fewer casualties than that. What’s going on karma? How can congress write off so many deaths as a matter of no importance?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Lafayette, Louisiana, Theater Shooting:

OK, so if public opinion is shifting towards regulation, why isn’t congress shifting with it? Is the gun lobby financing so many pet projects that the representatives of the people just can’t afford to ignore them, or is it something else?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Lafayette, Louisiana, Theater Shooting:

Somebody thinks so. Clearly a lot of other people in the only country that matters here disagree with him.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why do we value authenticity?

@ Pete
Sorry to take so long. The computer’s down, and I’m doing this from a mobile jellyphone, which takes a bit longer.

What if the replica is made by hand and perfectly mimics the individual craftsmanship of the original? Then what?

If the craftsmanship is of a high quality, then I can appreciate it for that alone. I may not like the item, but I place value on the skills used to create it. Having said that, I’m not really into duplicates unless it’s, say, to replace an important piece damaged beyond repair. Good furniture should also be about original and interesting design ideas. I do like some of the modern stuff too.

By “function” I mean that it expresses certain qualities… qualities of hand-craftsmanship, qualities of age and patina, qualities of historical anachronism. These are qualities that can also be duplicated… yet in your comparison you’ve left those qualities out of the duplicate.

Age can’t be duplicated – either it’s old or it isn’t. Patina can be duplicated to a degree, and if it’s done well it can be hard to spot. But adding patina (200 years of other peoples’ grubby finger marks) gets us into the realms of forgery, and that’s definitely not good. Personally, I think patina belongs on bronzes, not furniture. If an item is looking a bit fed up, I’m quite prepared to give it a good rub down and a french polish. It brings out the qualities of the timber. On a good piece of furniture, the veneers weren’t taken randomly from a pile, they were carefully chosen to enhance the design features.

Historical anachronism (?) is evident everywhere you look in the world of antiques, not just furniture. For instance, Queen Anne style remained popular for several decades after the old girl died, and much of what is presented as Queen Anne actually dates from the reign of George II or even George III. Thomas Chippendale drew heavily from it in his designs, although he incorporated plenty of original ideas too. Or is that not what you meant? You can be a bit ambiguous at times.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why do we value authenticity?

Beauval, you’ve cheated the question by claiming the original has value because it is functionally different than the original and that does not exactly speak to the question of why we value authenticity.

That’s a bit Irish, could you try again so it makes sense?

I don’t see how functionality enters into this. The function of the repro is exactly the same as the original. The joy of pre Victorian furniture is the hand carving, the hand cut veneers and banding, and all those little joints, each one slightly different but each one fitting exactly. I enjoy making stuff, usually railway related, and I appreciate good craftsmanship. Owning something that was made by the dozen just doesn’t have the same appeal.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Why do we value authenticity?

That’s not to say that a difficult-to-create object is always better than one that is machine-made. It only means that when we are faced with two identical objects, the value will favor the one that required more human effort to create.

I like antique furniture, and would always place more value on an original item. A modern repro may be more perfectly symmetrical, maybe even slightly better finished, but it has no soul.

I have a Georgian dining table. It’s picked up a few dents and scratches over the last two and a half centuries and needs a good French polish, but other than that it’s as solid as the day it came out of the workshop. A repro is made by a workman on a jig, mine was made by craftsmen who put their heart and soul into it, not to mention years of accumulated skill and experience. That matters to me, and I feel privileged to own it, and several other pieces of a similar age. A modern piece of furniture just doesn’t have the same appeal, and I’m clearly not alone in that view.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Whaling

When I was a kid, whale meat was a cheap way of feeding the family cat. A bloke in the local street market kept it in buckets and sold it as pet food. I didn’t like going there because it smelled so awful.

However, the Japanese like to eat it, and as long as it is hunted in a sustainable way I really don’t have a problem with that. Sustainability is really the only issue I have with this. I don’t suppose the average American would be very happy if the Japanese put political pressure on them to stop eating their favourite burgers because cows are so cute.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Do you agree with this quote? "History is written by the victors" - Winston Churchill

A prime example of this was in the news recently. Three years ago the remains of King Richard III were discovered under a Leicester car park, near to where he died in battle. He is now interred in Leicester Cathedral.

There is no doubt that he was a reformer, but contemporary accounts as to his character vary wildly. He was both admired and hated. He is also widely believed to have murdered his two nephews in order to secure the throne. Being a hunchback made him an easy target for the name callers.

His successor’s claim to the throne was rather tenuous, and it would certainly have have been in his interest to blacken his predecessor’s name in order to strengthen his own position. So, was Richard really a murderous usurper? The weight of evidence says he likely was, but we will never know for sure. But in the public mind, he will always remain one of the great villains of English history.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Hog the outside lane

Are you a policeman?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Confederate Flag and Civil Liberties

So why don’t you tell us about America in its heyday? When was that, and what was so wonderful about it?

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Do you agree with this quote? "History is written by the victors" - Winston Churchill

It’s true up to a point, but too simplistic. Some of the losers got their say too. Much of our knowledge of the barbarian invasions comes from the Romans, who were eventually overwhelmed by them.

Churchmen were one of the few literate groups in medieval and earlier times, and their output would have been biased in favour of the orthodoxy of the day. Other versions of events would be told from the point of view of the ruling classes; the peasants were all illiterate, so we know a lot about what they did, but next to nothing about what they thought. Yet more versions of history were written by charlatans like Geoffrey of Monmouth, who much of the time made it up as he went along. Better sources are things like official government documents (like the Domesday Book) which can be achingly dull but generally deal in bald facts.

 
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Topic: Serious Discussion / Should corporations be allowed to marry?

James, here’s a couple 1….2 about the US. I am aware that regulation is a dirty word for you Americans, but you will see no end to these kinds of abuses until industries are regulated vigourously. I know I’m drifting away from the OP, but this subject may have a bit more meat on it.