Recent posts by vikaTae on Kongregate

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:
Neither of our definitions interfere with one another, and are essentially the exact same thing. Nature = natural. Nurture = artificial.

They’re not the same. My definition allows for natural behaviors that only become apparent in social settings. Yours implies that behaviors that arise from interaction are all artificial.

No. I think you misunderstood me there. I’m not saying that behaviors that arise from interaction are all artificial. Rather I’m saying that if you treat the human as a system, then all properties inherent to that system are natural. All information coming in from outside as a data input to the system is artificial. All sensory input is artificial in nature, because it is coming from outside the system. When it meets the inner processes of the system you get a hybrid result. The expression of natural processes is changed, modified by the dictates of the external data.

The behaviors that arise are thus a mix of the person’s innate traits and the feedback data from how others behave both towards the individual and towards each other where the individual can perceive what’s going on as a third party. Both are data that help the youndg mind understand the world, and become integrated into its own way of thinking.

Thus nature is what the brain starts out with – how the initial wiring of the brain is laid out, and which chemicals and quantities that unique brain has based on other bodily factors. This is the natural element.
Nurture is something completely outside the system, and most of it comes from other humans who are looking after and caring for the young mind. Most of it comes from beings who are fully immersed in the artificial construct of human society, and are continually feeding this society to the new mind. This is why nurture data is artificial in nature. We’re literally feeding an artificial construct in.

What I contested was this statement: Change the culture, and you change what is being passed down. Meanwhile the natural elements are completely unchanged by culture.

Your definition of natural here is something that remains unchanged as society changes.

It does. Think about it. Does your upbringing change your genetics? Does your upbringing eliminate a disability or defect you were born with and in some cases progressed as you grow as a child? Upbringing can mediate, can change how a person deals with such factors, but it cannot change them. Such elements are natural; they are intrinsically part of the child.

If for example the child is born HIV positive, then the upbringing they have, their socioeconomic status, how much time the parents have for that child – none of it will change the fact that the child is HIV positive. This is a natural element; something intrinsic to the particular child that no amount or quality of nurture will eliminate.

That is the blurriness that I spoke of a couple of posts ago. There is difficulty in separating what behaviors arise only due to society, and what behaviors are natural social behaviors. You can minimize both natural and artifical behaviors through societal changes.

Here we agree.

Do you take issue with my example of the boy who helped the girl?

Not with the helping itself. My problem comes with the reasons behind the helping, or perhaps the way the helping is done. If he for example assumes she needs the help, doesn’t ask her if she’d like help, but just barges in there and does the task for her to show her what a big, strong, macho man he is, then I absolutely have issue with his ‘help’. He’s marginalising her; conforming to social stereotypes that a woman needs a man’s help to get anything practical done.

If as a different example, he asks her politely if she would like help, and factors in her reply, then I have no problem with his behavior. He’s treating her as a person who is in charge of her own life, rather than some object to take control of.

That’s the difference, fundamentally.

Flag Post

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

Waterworld covers it in a way. In that world, the oceans have covered the land, so each human settlement (boat or atoll) has to recycle everythng back into the food chain because dirt has become a quasi-mythical substance that is practically impossible to come by.

So the culture is obsessive about maximising the food supply by any means necessary. Including directly recycling the bodies of the recently deceased back directly into the nutrients that grow their trees. One scene fairly early on showed them burying their dead by literally letting them sink into the nutrient sludge around the fruit trees and crops.

Rather than worshipping gods per se, they practically worshipped the few sources of regular food they could use, and the plants were the most important and heavily protected part of any settlement.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

We need a lack of anonymity… more transparency… so that we can better “know” the people we are talking with. That doesn’t really exist currently.

I think we can do it without necessarily removing the anonymity angle. I’m coming at this from my background in sensory interfaces, so I can see that vector overcoming the problem. We can read body language, we can read tone, inflection and then convert where they actually exist. We can project those onto an embodied form. There have been commercial attempts to do just that, for a good fifteen years now, and non-commercial for fifty, so the basic idea does work.

I would tend to be leery of simply converting dialog to videochat snippets as might be one potential solution, again because of my background. The more you rely on the physical attributes of a person as the only way to convey a message, the more you marginalise those who lack some of those attributes, and deny them a voice they might otherwise have. Text completely sidesteps that issue, so if we wish to continue sidestepping that issue, the obvious way to me, would be to capture those physical elements, transfer them to an online embodiment and let the computer fill in the missing elements.

A good example of these missing elements would be how your voice changes timber depending on how you stand, and how you lean or slouch. A wheelchair user is not going to have that ability to project their voice that a person standing unaided has. So to add that inflection back in, we need to modify or synthesize the voice, and add a 3D avatar that moves through the appropriate visual body language to reinforce in the viewer’s mind that this is what they’re doing.

It would also be an excellent way to bypass the major headaches inherent in cultural body language signals differing across different cultures. Such that the avatar’s body language to go along with their speech, is quietly shifted to match the local customs’ equivalent of the original body language the speaker was using, based on the settings of the recipient’s computer.

There are many potential ways to deceive or utilise the subconscious mind to rehumanise an opponent in an online encounter, whether real-time or time-delayed as in a fourm. A forum of course has the added benefit over real-time that additional time is available to finalise processing of the exact expressions the persona is to use.

The chief downsides of course are that additional interface equipment is required clientside, and perhaps more importantly the additional processing strain on a server when compared to a purely text-input forum such as how this one currently is.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

If you take a wolf pup and train it, you can get rid of all different kinds of wolf behaviors. If you discipline the puppy everytime it howls, so that it understands that howling is ‘bad’, it will stop howling. I would contend that howling is still a natural behavior.

Of course it is. you are simply using Pavlovian conditioning (an artificial vector) to train it that in this society that behavior is not acceptable. That’s exactly what I said. If you alter the expectations of society (the conditioned behaviors both intentional and subconsciously unintentional) then you will alter the end result of the kind of person you will get out of it, and what unconscious beliefs they have internalised.

To use your dog training example, if you instead praise the dog every time it howls, you will encourage it to howl much more. The basic nature hasn’t changed, but because you have altered the way you influence its growth, the animal now has a completely different idea of what is expected of it.

I hold to my definition of nature.

You’re welcome to. Neither of our definitions interfere with one another, and are essentially the exact same thing. Nature = natural. Nurture = artificial.

You have taken a statement about natural behavior and turned it into something completely off the point I was making. The man doesn’t offer to help the woman because he chauvinistically believes that men should be able to do things on their own – he offers to help the woman because he wants to gain her favor.

More crudely put: He wants to get in her pants.

The answer to this is still the same as before. He wants sex with her, so he attempts to win her over in the ways he’s been conditioned to believe are acceptable, plus whatever ideas of his own he has. Most don’t engage in behavior our society has deemed unacceptable because they’ve internalised that it’s not ok to varying degrees. The capability to do so is still in them if they overcome those mental fortifications (natural capacity constrained by artificial boundaries).

So we change the game, and teach them that the way to get into a woman’s pants is to respect us as individuals, to treat us as equals. That the whole current concept of feminising something where feminine is perceived as weak and masculine is perceived as strong, is basically wrong. It had its time, and that time has come and gone.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Challenges of Online Communication

Just to nitpick, that’s not a ‘challenge to broadband communication’, but a ‘challenge to online written, non-realtime dialog’. It applies equally well whether you have a broadband connection, a dial-up modem or a 4G phone.

Ultimately, the challenges of online communication in forums and standard chat rooms boil down I suspect, to a lack of embodiment. Because you don’t see another person there, only text, there’s a tendency to dehumanise your opponent.

A solution would be of course to embody them in some manner of online avatar form, but we (ironically considering the name of the thread) don’t have the bandwidth to do so consistently, without excluding those parties who do not have broadband, or are on limited access plans (x gb per month). In addition of course the interfaces to replicate an embodiment online, or project a preferred embodiment rather than necessarily just replicate, are usually expensive and often finnicky as things stand.

This issue will become less of one as these hurdles are overcome, so that our subconscious can indeed process that we are talking to other people, rather than just words on a screen.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by Frostbringer:

I guess the noteworthy word in your paragraph is “more expensive”. Given that most states in the USA are de-facto bankrupt and need to cut their expenses, I’m not sure where to take the money for this. In fact, I’m convinced that the police will loose resources in the future. Any solution for this problem can’t include spending more state money.

Then there’s a huge problem there. Are you familiar with the old adage “it takes money to make money”? The same sort of thing applies here. If you wish to see a change in an existing institution, you’re going to have to invest in that institution. Without money being available to fund pilot programs, or new mandatory training and vetting for officers, you’re not going to see a change.

At best you will see a slow decline in quality, as the worst excesses of existing officers increasingly go unpunished, and others either slowly stop caring, or realise they too can get away with more and not be punished.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

As I see it the difference between natural and artificial behaviors is that natural behaviors will be pervasive through all kinds of societies and tribes as long as the society itself does not conflict with this behavior. Artificial behaviors arise only in a specific society that causes them to emerge. You could have a society that always wears funky hats, but always wearing funky hats is not a natural behavior.

I would class natural as that created outside of human intervention (genetic, protein-based et al) and artificial as that which human interaction/interference creates. As such, the artificial parts come thorough interaction with other humans. the nature of that interaction and the subconscious elements passed down by those already immersed in our culture and its stereotypes being what enforce those stereotypes in the younger, developing mind.

Change the culture, and you change what is being passed down. Meanwhile the natural elements are completely unchanged by culture.

I’m pretty sure we’re imagining different scenarios here. I did not mean this in a chauvinistic way. What I am suggesting is that there are natural behaviors that only become apparent in social settings, and these natural behaviors can result in divergence between men and women.

The operative word being ‘can’. If you wish to help, then you would be best off helping everyone in need around you to the best of your ability. Stop bringing artificial delimiters in.

I’m not going to help him because he’s a man and men should be able to do things on their own. Macho power!”.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by beauval:

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.

I would have to agree with this. It would take a great deal of time for things to climb back from that point, and throughout all that time, our machinery would be sitting idle, rusting, being damaged by wildlife, frost, rain and sun (as is normal) and completely unmaintained (as is not normal).

Give it a couple of decades say, and I’d be surprised if even many generators worked at all. The parts for them were no-longer being made, and most of the experts in creating more, kinda lived in the urban environments. We’d end up with a ‘scavenged tech’ type of civilisation more likely than not.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

The line between nature and nurture blurs with the realization that human interaction is not separate from nature. The term artificial gender roles itself seems loaded to me. If a girl and boy are treated differently on a subconscious level, then how much of that subconscious treatment by society is ‘artificial’, and how much is natural?

All of it is artificial as you’re using the term, because all of it is derived from cultural influence and interaction. Change the culture and the nature of the interaction and you change the results.

I dislike the term subconscious discrimination as it has been used here. Is it discrimination to buy different clothes for girls and boys?

Functional differences don’t come under subconscious discrimination. But if a young boy wishes to wear what we would consider girl’s clothes or a young girl wear what we would consider boy’s clothes then it is discrimination if that is denied because cultural sterotypes don’t permit that.

Is it discrimination when a boy acts differently in front of a her in an effort to impress her?

Would he act the same way to impress a boy he liked? If so, then no it’s not discrimination. If he wouldn’t… well, you know where this is going.

Is it discrimination when a boy tries to protect a girl?

When the girl is perfectly capable of protecting herself? Yes, he’s being chauvinist. Do it to me, and that’s a good way for them to find out what my tazer feels like, up close and personal.

If they protect an individual who is out of their depth, or clearly doesn’t know how to handle themselves in a given situation then no it’s not discrimination. When you assume a girl won’t be able to handle hereself because she’s a girl, then it is discrimination.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

There is difference in behavior between men and women that is entirely separate from artifical gender roles.

Not substantial enough to affect career choice to anything like the degree you are claiming. Nature is shaped by nurture to a quite surprising degree, and the initial differences that aren’t nurture-governed are probably best described as tendencies that need to be nurtured to be effective.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Gun issues updates

Originally posted by tenco1:

Eh, at least it wasn’t quite as bad as (what is to my knowledge the) last time something like this happened, where the kid, seven year old this time, killed himself because he couldn’t handle the kick back of the Uzi his dad gave him.

Sometimes that’s done as a ‘joke’. Give someone a firearm for the first time, or a higher caliber than they are used to, and don’t tell them about the kick. Then wait for the ‘funny’ part when the weapon fires out of control, and injures the person firing it.

In a way such behavior illustrates the problem; it’s not truly a legislature problem, but runs even deeper than that. It’s a cultural problem. Guns simply aren’t taken seriously by some parts of the population. They’re not a toy, but they are a tool to ‘lark about’ with. It will take far more than legislation to change those attitudes.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Pawnzilla:

You might want to play the Baldur’s Gate series. It’s an old game, but still one of the best RPGs around. A female character in that game can be just as strong as a male character and there is a great deal of dialogue and choices.

Problem there is that it’s only one series of games. It’s no good having just a handful of games that recognise that your gender does not play an overarching role in determining your ability. We need for that recognition to be mainstream.

Neverwinter nights also didn’t care what gender you were, and had an impressive range of customisation options available for both, including a dozen different ways for your character to speak, for each gender, but these are the exceptions.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Jantonaitis:

In the beta I’m told you could hear Vette crying on the ship, and if the story continued to progress in that direction she’d walk out an airlock.

That would certainly be a realistic option, and would remind players that actions have consequences.

There’s another storyline featuring a male/female sith who enslaves a giant maleish monster NPC, and that class can also electrocute the slave in convos. There’s no romance or creepy stockholm syndrome involved but I guess it’s similar.

Not similar enough. It’s the whole emotional investment that’ll make the situation work. Besides, if you are going to offer a female character for degradation and debasement, it is only fair that you offer a male character as well. It neatly sidesteps a lot of these issues, because you’re not involving stereotypes. If you were to go a stage further and give characters with a range of bodily attributes that would help even more, as you’re not then focused on a particular ‘ideal’ body shape.

It would probably work in the game’s favor too, as you could easily wind up with a slave who has the same bodytype/appearance as someone you know. That would rachet up the emotional engagement, as well as open up the possibility of some particularly satisfying play.

One rather glaring problem associated with gendered agency in that game is that male PC’s have 3 more romance options than female PCs. There’s no SGRs either which would have solved the problem. Also several of the romances are between sith/jedi PCs and their apprentices…who are ALL young girls. I could keep going but you get the idea. It’s not just how women are depicted, it’s their roles.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. There needs to be a far greater range of roles, and a lot less assuming that a strong female needs to be nerfed in comparison to a strong male if both are present in the game. It would be lovely to see more strong female protagonist roles in general, that aren’t also saddled with being male fantasy caractures.

Flag Post

Topic: Serious Discussion / Why Do You Need Feminism?

Originally posted by Jantonaitis:

Yeah women should quit bitching. Just because videogames tend to depict female characters as big-titted / slavegirl eyecandy for predominantly male players doesn’t mean…oh wait. Incidentally, I played the storyline that article references. You can romance Vette even after you’ve shocked her a bunch of times. At one point near the end <Spoiler!> she’ll come up to you with her old shock collar and suggest sexy times with it. So? big deal, right? Well, as another player put it:

I think even I would balk at the prospect of removing free agency from the game. If a person wishes to play that way with an NPC, it is their choice. So long as a full range of options are provided – ie both genders and all sexual orientations are available as options, as are storylines that dispense with the whole master-slave relationship (from your link, tossing the shock collar out an airlock immediately and at any time is also an option), then I don’t see the problem.

As it is now, I would complain because it seems Vella is the only option available. That is what is setting the stereotype up, not the option itself being available. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want their very own pet sith lord in an electroshock collar? -

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by RollerCROWster:

i would like to see u stop a riot without using any force

In this context, that would be easy. Use proper procedure during the arrest that sparked it off due to the controversy over police not following proper procedure.

A riot’s hard to stop once it gets going, but much easier to stop if you don’t engage in the practices that most inflame the public in the first place.

You won’t stop all riots as some are unavoidable – food or job shortage related riots as example.

Riots related to perceived injustice in policing, however, are easy to stop if you are willing to take the trouble to stamp out injustice and promote a policy of tolerance in the first place. More expensive and more hassle true, but would effectively stop these riots before they ever start.

As a bonus, you end up with an effective police system.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

Another case where issendorf & I strongly feel police should have cameras trained on them as much as is humanly possible….for their protection and for that of the citizens they are sworn to serve & protect.

The UK’s been trialling wearable cameras worn by police officers for a number of years now. They’re part of the uniform, and are physically worn at head level just below the helmet, recording everything at eye level. So far they have not been rolled out to each force, and seem to be sticking mostly to inner city cops and community support officers of the various cities. Cost most likely.

Still, it is a good asset to have in a world where increasingly it is recognised that the cop’s own story of the events is not absolute evidence and an impartial corroborating view is needed.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

The Hippocratic Oath certainly can be subverted through framing, such as considering your “patients” less than human… as the Germans famously did during the Holocaust.

Not even subverted. (btw: the ‘common knowledge’ oath is only part of a much larger entity.) In order to heal a patient, as soon as you go invasive, you absolutely have to do harm in order to cure. As soon as you cut anything, you are immediately doing actual bodily harm. The only saving grace is that it is methodical harm towards an end of aiding the patient, saving them or increasing their quality of life.

But there’s no doubt whatsoever that you are harming them in order to help. Such is the nature of surgery. You have stated therefore that you would harm in a medical context in order to help. That does mean that in some circumstances you do consider physical harm to be okay, so long as it is not violent physical harm. That is both an interesting and an important distinction.

Is it okay to conduct medical experiments on volunteers even though it may kill them?

Absolutely! This is still being done on a regular basis even today. Provided you have the patient’s full knowledge and consent, there is no problem with it. Most of the research on direct brain interfaces with human volunteers was done because the patients were having a very risky open brain surgery anyway, and did not mind the surgical team sticking something else in there whilst they were at it.

What if they are incentivized to volunteer in some fashion, (e.g., prisoners offered time off their sentences)?

Again, no problem. It is still that individual’s choice and they are not forced into it. Most medical volunteers are paid for their time and participation anyway. Rates typically start at £11 an hour (about USD 20.00 per hour) just for turning up and participating, and steadily climb from there as the procedure becomes more invasive or more risky.

The prisoner in your example would be offered time off AND paid.

What about the mentally incapable that may not understand the risk?

Obviously, they are not involved. If you are legally a sentient and cannot legally give reasoned consent, you may not partake. Same reason children’s drugs are measured in percentage of an adult dose. All clinical testing is complete before they are involved.

Incidentally, I’m not a lawyer

I was giving you a legitimate out for your tendency to sidestep the question being asked and give an answer in nebulous terms only. If you are not in the legal profession, your valid, reasonable reasons for doing so are growing thin. It starts to look like you are deliberately avoiding answering the questions posed to you.


Originally posted by petesahooligan:
What if you’re FORCED to eat cauliflower yet you’ve vowed to never eat cauliflower? It doesn’t address the topic (why you vowed not to eat cauliflower) and focuses on some stupid outcome that will never happen.

It’s perfectly answerable. In that case, you are forced to eat cauliflower. Your vow isn’t broken as it was not done through your will but against your will.

An interesting example with more severe consequences occured when an older child was allergic to peanut butter and her foster guardians did not believe she was telling the truth about an allergy to peanut butter and decided to prove to her that she was not in fact allergic by holding her down and stuffing it into her mouth.

In that instance she ended up in casualty undergoing a stomach pump, heavy sedation and anti-inflamitary medication, extremely lucky she did not die. A stupid outcome yes, but one that actually did happen.

It’s like saying, “I know you can’t shoot lasers out of your eyes, but what if you did!? What then!?

In that case you would lose the capability for sight, as you cannot see out of something that is emitting more light than is coming in. Worse, since the lasers are originating inside your eye, they are burning their way out. Unless they are properly focussed to pass through your pupil, they will burn out the front of your eyes resulting in parmanent blindness. The heat involved in producing the coherent laser will also cook your optic nerve and cause a haemorhage in the front of your brain as the blood vessels necrotise.

It may be a stupid question, but it is directly answerable.

Pawnzilla: You said something super interesting, (I think), when you said the lives of people are not equal in value. I think this is one of the gooey interior bits of pacifism. Pacifists would assert that all lives, by virtue of them simply being alive, are of equal value in the existential sense. The value of that life as it applies to the community is variable, but the LIFE VALUE of the living is equal from serial rapist to volunteer pediatrician.

By that definition, every animal, insect, and plant life also has the same value. How will you feed yourselves if all lives, by virtue of them simply being alive, are of equal value in the existential sense?

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

beauval, I don’t know if you that an equivalent over there, but here in America, they are known as survivalists or go by the more hip & fashionable preppers. As in most all groups of ppl, there are the extremists and they would be funny if it weren’t for the obvious seriousness of the situation and the fierceness by which they build & defend their figurative & literal position.

There’s certainly no harm in planning the the worst, and keeping stores of ‘just in case’ supplies.

I think it’s safe to say everyone here uses their computers a great deal. Do any of us not have uninteruptible power supplies tied into those computers so that if the power goes, they keep right on working? It’s the same mindset at work in disaster preparation. You may not need to use the emergency preparations, but they are there so that if something does happen, you can still get on with life same as normal.

Even a simple thing such as an uninteruptible power supply tied into the fridge and into the freezers, through to backup generators if you’re without power for an extended period helps. With regards to food, properly sealed, powdered food practically never goes bad, so you can accumulate it over time, and store it somewhere out of the way. It’s a great use for any spare rooms down in the cellar, or even a few cardboard boxes in a storage cupboard.

Sure the world’s likely not going to end any time soon, but a storm or major earth movement could cut you off from civilisation for a few weeks; we’ve seen it happen to cities as well as to isolated settlements.

I’d almost go so far as to say you are being reckless if you don’t have some manner of emergency preparation going on. You cannot plan for everything, but the basics apply to anything.

Flag Post

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

If we assume it is a worldwide famine, are we also assuming unseasonal weather worldwide? If so, then the countryside will be little better off than the towns, as everything is either dying, or conserving resources to survive the winter rather than bearing fruit. Either a drought or a flood has hit, and there isn’t a lot left that is usable.

That field of wheat will likely have failed under such conditions. Even roses, nettles and thistles – all edible emergency crops in their own right – won’t have done well under such conditions.

If conditions become bad enough, there is one plentiful source of food that seems to be being overlooked – each other. If things get bad enough, there is no question that will become a staple for many.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

It doesn’t matter how much money these idiots make, they are still living beyond there means and needs. They are easy to hate, not because they seem rich, but because they are dangerous, stupid, and hold status over others who are unwilling or unable to play the same game.

If you’re referring to the family you spoke of in the OP as being ‘idiots easy to hate’ then I disagree. Admittedly a lot of what they spend I wouldn’t. Education for example – a good private school costs £9,000 per term, per kid. They’re not spending enough. (Or they can find a good State school and not spend anything. Both work, and neither matches what they’re spending.)

But a lot of what they spend, I do. Out of sheer necessity. Petrol costs and vehicle maintenance are big ones. No functional 4×4 means no acccess to our jobs. Multiple 4×4s then means we don’t all have to work in the same town, or don’t have to leave in the middle of the night to drive all over.

Yes, it gets ludicrously expensive at times, but if you’re earning the sort of money where you can afford to do that, then there isn’t a problem.

Where there is a problem, is in expecting everybody else at whatever financial level they have, to be able to do the same thing just to have a high quality of life. That’s just silly.

Money doesn’t make you happy. It just provides the ability to get the tools you need to see you through life, and to smooth out bumps along the way. On the up scale, after a point, the amount you have simply doesn’t matter. You reach a point where you can afford whatever you need, and the excess is just … excess.

On the down scale things are very different, and money becomes critical. So why waste money pining after a dream that is out of your reach? Would make far more sense to use that money to make money, to bootstrap yourself up to a higher tier. Or, if that is impossible through physical bodily malfuction, at least give yourself enough of a life to live comfortably.

Stop worrying about what the Joneses have. Worry about yourself and making yourself happy. You’re not them, so why do you need what they have? It’s not what you need, after all.

Flag Post

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

You haven’t given me your own views though. I get that you’re a lawyer and so tend to coach things in ifs and maybes, without saying anything definitive. But still, would you take such a job, assuming you were qualified?

Particularly the neurosurgeon one, as that’s the most interesting. Quite a few neurosurgeons wind up having psychotic breaks, or clinical depression over knowledge of what they are doing to the patients. In some cases what they do literally destroys who the patientis , but its do that or sit back and watch the patient die of the disease.

Could you?

It’s an interesting outlier—surgery—but it seems like consent is granted or desired.

It isn’t always. Things get fun if you operate in an emergency and then find out afterwards that the patient is a Jehova’s Witness. But that’s another matter.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by karmakoolkid:

But, for me, there is a huge glaring question: did thin man completely hide this ultra very conservative person by leaving it at home?

Based on your link, I suspect not. It looks like he wore it loud and proud.

“If you don’t want to get shot by a cop, don’t stand in my way” is very telling of how far his attitude carried over onto his job. This is the sort of prick I sincerely doubt would have much of a problem threatening his fellow officers to tow the line. He seems to see himself as a bit of a hero.

Or, there is even the case where his fellow officers actually don’t share those views, but they are unknowingly following the adage: all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. I find this to be more common than most would like to believe.

Pretty much. Besides, if his anti-black and anti-gay rhetoric is held as deeply as is suggested, any sane officer would be nervous of speaking up lest they get a bullet in the back. Literally or figuratively.

In that sort of job you need to be sure the people you work with have got your back, and won’t walk away and leave you in trouble when the moment comes, because they are that pissed at you.

But, how far up the line of supervision do the views of this man go? Yes, he has finally been PUBLICLY outed and dealt with. But, did his supervisors believe this attitude to be just fine and what is needed to manage law enforcement in Ferguson?

they’re hard up for manpower. In such situations, you’re willing to have less than ideal officers if it means you have enough officers for minimum coverage.

Flag Post

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

At least the police department did the right thing, and suspended him. He’s on ‘administrative leave’ pending a full investigation of his conduct.

We don’t need people who cannot leave their personal prejudices at home, operating in a law enforcement role.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by donseptico:

Vika, Karma seems to have made an attempt to address the ‘shoot on sight’ issue you raised (in essence, I read it as he’d not randomly shoot people who MAY happen to be/look like the perpetrators of such heinous crimes, but would happily act as a vigilante IF it was warranted an IF he could get away with it)…

In my defense that post as it is now, wasn’t the one I responded to. It was a longer rant (roughly 800 words by visual inspection) explicitly attacking me the person, and trying to tear me a new one for considering him to be a pedophile (which I don’t. I once commented on an argument he made concerning child sexual assault, not realising he was quoting another person as the post didn’t say), and for once making immolative weaponry. Neither of which are still valid.

This argument he’s made wasn’t there at the time I responded to it, and I think the others who replied before me can vouch for that.

Karma, could you please TELL PEOPLE if you’re going to drastically rewrite a post several hours after you first made it? Makes it so much easier on everyone.

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

A staunch pacifist does not kill or inflict bodily harm on the unwilling. This principle is, I trust, deeper than legal definitions of murder and killing. The pacifist doesn’t accept any philosophical difference between the two, right? Killing is murder and vice versa. Because one is legal or socially accepted is irrelevant.

Going back to the surgeon example, would I be correct in assuming then that to give two examples, a staunch pacifist would not work as part of a surgical team at an ER, and would not be a neurosurgeon?

The former inflicts bodily harm upon those unwilling who are rushed to hospital with an emergency that needs life-saving surgery. Consent is assumed, but not verified until after the event.

The second often acts to remove a life-threatening abberation in the brain, but the results are usually devastating to the person who was operated on, if you have to go deeper than the cerebrum. Complete changes to personality, loss of memory or abilities, permanent debilitating disability are common side-effects of the procedures, and it is common for neurosurggeons to have a hard time coming to terms with their own actions.

Yet undeniably, both act to saves lives, to preserve it rather than take it. To make people better. A noble cause, and an entirely non-violent one. Yet, sometimes things go wrong.

Flag Post

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

Originally posted by petesahooligan:

At some gray area there is a tipping point where the “victim” accepts responsibility for their own well-being. E.g., I can manufacture cigarettes, but you accept responsibility for smoking them in the safest possible way. If you don’t, that’s on you.

All well and good until you realise that the safest way of smoking those cigarettes is going to damage the lungs of anyone nearby. They’re designed to bring tar into the lungs. They’re designed to damage lung function.

A similar problem with the surgeon. If we follow the rule of “cannot engage in acts that jeopardize others” then the surgeon cannot operate. The surgeon operating carries a risk that the surgeon will make things worse through trying their hardest, or the anasthesticist will unintentionally kill you through administering the wrong anasthetic (fun fact: There are eight different anasthetics available in any common-or-garden operating theater to try and find the best fit for each patient and try to minimize the chances of the anasthetic killing them).

Surgery by it’s very nature is jeapordising to life. It’s invasive, damages the body. Some procedures require critical organs to be prevented from functioning or even removed for the duration of the surgery. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of everyone involved the patient does not survive the operation. If we follow this philosophy of refusing to engage in acts that jeopardize others, then the surgeon cannot operate and we cannot offer surgery as an option to anyone any more.

This of course has the effect that far more will die, precisely because we are unable to offer something which whilst it makes things worse in the short term, carries a fair risk of making things much, much better in the long term, up to and including keeping a patient alive who otherwise would not be.

You are clearly responsible for the welfare of your own child. That would trump your responsibility for the welfare of a potential murderer. However, if you remove your child from the equation, do you have a responsibility to the public to execute a murderer? I don’t think so.

However, in the instance that was presented, the child was not removed from the equation. The child’s immediate right to life is part of the equation directly.

You killed that person (for being a murderer), making you a murderer, so now I’m obligated to kill you (for being a murderer), and now someone must kill me for killing you, etc.

We do have an out in semantics – a murder is an unlawful killing. So long as you took a life within the limits of all locally applicable laws, it was not murder.