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Peterkin

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Everything posted by Peterkin

  1. Hey, at least he hasn't eaten the rinds - yet. Maybe they take too long to turn into chewing gum.
  2. Social organization among other species, as well as early editions of humankind, is about what works - what best supports the survival and welfare of the community. In more recent editions, with entrenched elites and non-welfare directed agendas, the social organizations of humans tended toward imbalance of various kinds. War-like nations built their social structure around the needs of the military: produce replacement soldiers as efficiently as the generals could get them killed; indoctrinate the population with patriotic zeal, a habit of obedience and the virtues of self-sacrifice. Agrarian societies valued manual labour, humility and reverence for the landowner class. Each kind of social organization serves a discernible purpose; when it's no longer serviceable, it adapts - but not without strenuous resistance by those who benefit from the status quo.
  3. Male humans may be losing some of the excess power they have had, simply due to their apparent gender, since urban civilizations began. In tribal societies, there was not always such disparity between the roles assigned to people according to sex. As enlightened societies realize that the unequal arrangement relegated half the creative, intelligent population to drudgery and servitude, and thus wasting half of the nation's potential productivity, while numbers increased faster than the economy could support. Thence the trend toward equal votes, education and employment opportunity for both sexes. It's not a question of relevance; merely of visibility.
  4. That's a particularly bad video. The eclipse took over four minutes here and it wasn't even a total. That whole clip runs only two and half. So I have to assume they time-lapsed the boring bit when everything was just dark. You can try the National Geographic video on You Tube.
  5. It's already owned by the same few people who already own everything else. And of course there is no switch-off, unless they abandon it for lack of profitability. When we reach 50% unemployment, everyone defaults on their loans and there is nobody left to buy all the goods and services, and there are no taxes left to collect, the whole economic and political structure collapses, because no provision has been made to change gradually from a debt/profit driven organization to whatever the next thing is. That's not likely to happen, though. Certainly, there will be riots long before then, bombings and burning of automated factories, maybe derailment of driverless freight trains, etc. Police will have to gas and shoot protesters, jail their leaders and all the usual rigamarole when the plebes get too restless. Maybe it will peter out in a cascade of financial and civil crises; maybe someone can start another war of distraction (though that one's wearing pretty transparent and can much too easily escalate to total annihilation) and deploy all the artificially intelligent weapons. No off-switch; no public domain; no contingency plans. We just have to hope AI gets smarter than we are and takes over the helm before we run it into the iceberg.
  6. Very often. But then, the only recent pictures I have of myself were taken by an official at the Department of Transit, where I have to stand just so in poor light and look up that the camera. I imagine a professional portrait photographer would make me look better than the mirror.
  7. How was pigmentation lost? Spending a long time underground will do it, but you need sunshine, not a cream to restore colour. If it's trough scarring, external application of substances won't help, as the melanocytes have been destroyed. Laser resurfacing can help lure some back. Silver nitrate ointment darkens the skin, but it's not recommended over long periods.
  8. The volume of flesh still doesn't change, but the thickness of the padding adds to the chest measurement.
  9. The volume has no reason to change when the shape changes. Try this with a pound of ground beef: shape it into a tower, a ball, a cone, then squash it flat. Chest measurement would vary according to the shape of the bra cups: a Vaudeville style cone sticks out farther than a Spandex sport bra. Without a bra, there is huge variation. A 17-year-old breast is the same, or nearly the same whether supported or not. A 70-year-old one sags dramatically and a nursing breast is very different from its size before pregnancy. If you remove a naturally shaped unpadded cup, the degree of sag affects the change in measurement.
  10. Unless everyone else also starts later, yes.
  11. Who would have to make what sacrifice if it were discontinued? They get up earlier to allow for travel time to daycare, the parents have the extra burden of waking them even earlier and taking them to daycare, then traveling to work. And you can't substitute an hour in the morning for an hour in the afternoon - it's a completely different situation. The school starting later is not zero improvement; it's a -2 improvement. Because it's been broke for decades. It's completely unnecessary, serves no useful purpose and upsets people. This isn't a question of interfering with something natural; it's a question of whether we should stop interfering with nature.
  12. What would be the point? Besides the extra cost, which many people can't afford, the children wouldn't get that hour of sleep: they would have to get up even earlier, be rousted out, rushed through morning chores, and trucked off to daycare in the dark, in time for the parents to get to work after dropping them off - so they're tired even before school begins. What have they gained by eliminating DST in schools? In any case, why should parents and children be required to make sacrifices for the convenience of WWI industry? Just stop screwing with the time of day and let each business and school district decide on their optimal hours of operation.
  13. Sorry - that's just the way it sounded. Personally, I think the idea is way past its sell-by date.
  14. I sincerely doubt it, for the stated reasons. What if parents are not the only people who have a problem with DST. I'm not a parent, and I hate it. Lots of other people are affected. What I'm wondering now is why you are so staunch in its defence?
  15. But those are quite different routines. It's relatively easy for working parents to arrange short-term supervision after school: there is usually a stay-at-home neighbour with children of their own, where they can go for an hour. Dinner or supper takes place after the parents arrive home. Breakfast can't be deferred and no neighbour is likely to come over to roust someone else's children out of bed, make sure they're clean and dressed on time, and feed them an adequate breakfast. Logically, it should be employers, having the least at stake - and possibly something to gain from their employees being alert and focused and relaxed.
  16. Is that 30 +/- miles truly significant in terms of billionnaire safety? Their bodyguard will eat them before the missiles land.
  17. The megarich expect to survive it and stick around and ride out the worst of it in luxury bunkers. What they think they'll eat or who they think will serve and protect them remains an open question.
  18. Nothing we do now can possibly solve the problem. It could have been solved c. 40 years ago, given the international will. Of course, there was nothing international, except talk and more talk, between people who flew to various places in jet planes. Of course, no resolution resulted and no meaningful action was taken. Now, it's simply too late: we're screwed. Governments can't be expected to admit that.
  19. Yes, if anyone had assumed that taxes would solve the problem. The problem is large, diverse and difficult to tackle. Taxation is one way government has of making the benign alternative more attractive to business than the toxic alternative. Licensing and permits are another and subsidies are a third. Regulations and penalties are yet another. These are the tools available to government. Consumers can do their part by choosing the benign alternative when they buy something. Citizens can vote intelligently. (They can, they just don't always want to.) Businesses can do their part as well.
  20. Some people also find it useful to keep a daily log or journal: recording each day's weather, what you did, whom you encountered, what you ate and how you felt (on a scale, maybe). That way, you can look back over a month and see patterns. For some people, depression comes in regular time cycles, so they can anticipate when the bad days are likely to be and avoid any confrontations or difficult challenges on those days, opting instead for a solitary walk or vegging out with old movies. Or perhaps you can make some connections between situations and moods - whenever I did this, I felt better; when I ate that, I felt worse - and adjust your activities toward the positive outcome. You may also benefit from a dream journal. It can be helpful to record dreams as soon as possible after waking, either described as fully as possible in words or rendered as pictures. Dreams depict our submerged memories, fears and associations that haunt us. Understanding them, once we decipher the language of dreams, gives us power to change how we feel.
  21. There are many activities that could be therapeutic, depending on your temperament and inclination. Some art form - painting or sculpture are the standard choices. Building something, even if it's only bird-houses, can be quite rewarding. Horticulture is very calming and might even yield some superfoods: ripe tomatoes from your own yard, fresh peas, gooseberries, melons...? Another possibility is volunteer work to help other people who are maybe worse off than you are. The objective in any case is to stop focusing on your inner misery and direct your attention and efforts outward, to something positive. There is no magic cure. Maybe you can figure out - with or without help - what's causing the problem and fix it (very difficult and rare). Or you can treat it like a chronic illness, managing the symptoms from day to day (what most people with depression do).
  22. I guess we all have our little projects.
  23. How does a law get passed? Unless it's imposed by a conqueror or dictator, it's usually in response to a majority of voters' opinion. In this case, acceptance in the entertainment media and support from the straight community long preceded legal action - which was damn slow. That there are regressive elements in every society is obvious. There are still idjits running around making speeches against women's suffrage and the banning of hate speech. The history of the US and slavery is a politico-economic one. That practice of human bondage is deeply embedded in patriarchal systems. That made it possible - and expedient - to half-accept slavery into the fresh new baby constitution. It didn't work out so well and blew up in a politico-economic disaster of a civil war. Nothing to do with culture. The federation never had a single coherent culture and doesn't now. Nah, it's just one of several. The really biggest is the followers' willingness to follow. He tells them what they want to hear. It doesn't have to be about God or hell; it can be anything that that makes them feel important and powerful: they're the super-race who have been hard done by, and he will lead them back to the greatness that's rightfully theirs. Whether it's in the name of poor or old turn-cheek Jesus or the Fatherland or Workers' Solidarity or the Glory of the Empire. The human brain is big and full of ideas; it has vast storage capacity for experience, imagination and the reasoning capacity to recombine data and justify its own fantasies. Human will indulge in wishful thinking, in optimistic bias; they will believe in luck and fate, omens, talismans, demons and guardian angels; they will make magic symbols and invent rituals. These things can serve as social cohesives and positive reinforcement, and they can be perverted and exploited. People also love novelty, upheaval, excitement, violence, watching shit explode and blood flow. You don't think so? Look at the ten most popular movies and video games. Three hundred years ago, it was public executions and bull-baiting. That's another strong drive in humans: the desire for control. Of the environment, the elements, of other species and people. That's what also makes it easy for a leader - chosen, imposed or self-appointed - to persuade large numbers of people to attack another group that's got the wrong god, the wrong pigmentation, the wrong ideology, the wrong uniform, the wrong economic arrangement, and is therefore a threat to our correct way of life. Change it if you can. Good luck!
  24. No. Altered cultures write new laws. And in some other countries, defacing the Grand Leader's image is equally serious. Dictators are dictators, under whatever flag or symbol they oppress people, or whatever ideology they profess. I get that you're angry at the dictators, but there is no gain in pointing at one of their many tools of manipulation and coercion, and pretending that if only that one were taken away, we would no longer be the fucked-up species that invented these tools in the first place. Well, you'd better go tell 'em all what they need and don't need, as they are evidently incapable of of deciding for themselves. What do you think they'll answer?
  25. So does every other system of law that predates 1995AD. Laws get changed and updated all the time without fundamentally altering the culture of the nation in which they're practiced. It's usually too gradual to notice, but try comparing any modern Western nation's laws in 1900 and 2000. Not everyone who declares as Muslim follows every aspect of the ancient rules, any more than does every Jew or Christian. That's easy for an atheist to say - people who still adhere to a religion don't see it the same way. And there is a very large number of them - something like 92% of the population. Obviously, your "we" is not everyone's "we".
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