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Everything posted by Peterkin

  1. And here was Jesus consigning a whole herd of some poor non-Jewish farmer's pigs to demon-infested death in chasm.... Yet both Christians and Muslims have mistreated animals since that time, and have also been kind and caring of them.
  2. We have to be aware, too, of the rise of extreme conservatism in both politics and religions, pretty much the world over. Islam is in the forefront of that trend, starting with the counterrevolution in Iran, bolstered in popular sentiment by reaction against the high-handed colonialist methods of the western powers in middle eastern affairs and the ascendancy of Israel. Conservative religious factions (as well as violent actions) were [are?] supported by the rich Arab kingdoms like Saudi Arabia... only, the current leadership seems more inclined to modern reform and liberalization. Even Iran has a radical faction which pulls toward Marxist ideology and a middle-of-the-road faction that is pragmatic and willing to share power with secular interests. Meanwhile, the religious right in christian, nominally secular countries is very concerning. Many people blame terrorism on the Quran, which is as reasonable as blaming all christian atrocities on the Bible. When people are hell-bent on doing something - whether it's war or charity - they'll find a passage in their holy writ to support that action.
  3. The original Abrahamic scripture has God putting man at the top of creation: All this is for you to enjoy. Then he punished the humans for developing a moral sense, by tossing them out into the wilderness, to live however they could. Unlike the origin stories of primitive religions, which were told by hunter-gatherers who live in and with nature, this story is borrowed from tiered culture with a clearly defined ruler. The only reference to nature is as a hardship to overcome. This story seems to have gained acceptance at a time when the tribe of Abraham was nomadic herders, who no doubt encountered much of that hardship. Muhammad had some education in that scripture, plus the Christian corollary - which was gaining popularity and military strength. You have to bear in mind that a large part of that territory is desert; the fertile bits were already occupied by powerful, sophisticated civilizations founded on farming and urban industries - nature is seen as an enemy, when it's seen at at all. The Arab peoples were urban remnants of older empires, engaged in seafaring trade along the coast, and nomadic herders, hunter-gatherers, seasonal farmers, traders and raiders in the interior. Some practiced a version of Christianity, some were polytheists. It was Muhammad's vision that they could be united for their mutual benefit, and live amicable alongside the other "people of the book". In the OT, women, children and slaves are chattels of the patriarch; servants and field workers, not much more. Jehovah doesn't cavil at commanding Abraham to sacrifice the son he waited and prayed for all his adult life - then says, "Just kidding! Here's a nice ram instead." No question that Abraham has a right to kill both. Jehovah kills off all Job's dependents for the sole purpose of testing his faith, then gives him new children and servants, as if they were interchangeable accoutrements. In the NT, there is no reform suggested to the status of women and children; in Christianity, men were allowed to beat their wives, own slaves, abuse or sell their children. Why should the third iteration have different values? Eventually, reformed versions of all three religions became less rigid, more tolerant and humane. They were influenced, too, by secular thinking in their various societies, as religion lost its death-grip on culture and governance. Where any of these religions is in sole power, the laws are far more harsh and biblical than in countries with multiple religions a strong secular faction.
  4. You can see it under the skin as well as in the denim. I admit to being at a loss how the artist achieved that fabric texture.
  5. It can't be the whole painting, since there is insufficient subject for one. Then, there is the canvas-like surface texture, in close-up, and the flatness of the image. The factor most indicative that it's a painting is the sort of tentative outline of the top surface of the shin: there are a couple of faint extra likes of lighter paint parallel to that surface, and a dry-brush trace at the edge itself. You can see the same thing along the leading edge of the hand, plus a little bit of blurring next to the ring finger and the edge of the jeans in the background. It is a lovely painting. Very fine detail. Simmer down. She's thirteen.
  6. I don't think it's a question of focus. It looks like a detail from a painting. With modern digital techniques, I can't tell whether it's an actual painting (meticulously detailed, I would say hyperrealist) or a photograph made to look like one.
  7. Sounds good. however, both propositions are rather nebulous. More concrete description and illustrations would be helpful.
  8. They seemed to have a pretty lively community. Lots of talk about how to raise children and where best to live. They had pot-luck parties and outings - no different from any group of people with something in common. It's not their fault my friend and I - both single and political - didn't fit in.
  9. Every society developed the religion that reflects its mores and lifestyle. Every deity represents an aspect of the rulership or cultural values of its society. What they all have in common is the human love of ritual: ceremonial display, hallowed places in which the community celebrates or mourns its significant events. Hindu rituals are very picturesque, and seem to me more life-affirming than the Abrahamic ones, even while the ultimate desire is supposed to be for non-being. I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of Judaism and Islam, but Christianity is a death-cult: it venerates sacrifice, obedience, self-denial in the service of eternal life... Feasting and fasting - it seems to me all organized religions have an internal contradiction. Like humans.
  10. Tea always contains some arsenic, even green tea. This is what the teacher was talking about: long soaking in cold water leaches out more of it. Three minutes in hot water is supposedly recommended; I generally do even less, since I drink it without sugar, lemon or (ugh!) milk.
  11. That's not the Mensa test I was given, sometime back in the bronze age. That took an hour and half, went on and on. One of my fellow inductees scored 152. She was a lively, interesting person, while the membership we encountered was mostly trendy young couples with whom we had nothing in common. We dropped out pretty soon - no loss.
  12. Of course it's possible. I don't know which particular test has a 160 ceiling, or how it's calculated. There are many to choose from. The most commonly used when I was in school was Stanford-Binet, which has a top score of 160, so that's probably the one on which you were measured; but I believe it's been supplanted since by the The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, which tops at 155. The highest measured score I know of, back in 1968 or so, was 190 +/- (off the normal scale, it becomes less and less definitive). The young man in question had serious mental health issues, though perfectly lucid and articulate, he was in and out of hospital with severe depression from about age 17 to when I knew him at 25.
  13. Sure you can, even from a very little stream, as long as it keeps moving. But how much power it gives you depends on the equipment you use, the volume of water and speed of the current. Your biggest problem may be elevation: ideally, there should be a considerable fall. http://ergysaver/planning-microhydropower-system https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjEgFlngZ04
  14. The ones that are alive today survived: blue eyes have not been bred out of the human population. Nor are they restricted to northern latitudes: while less common in southern climates, they do occur and the odd pair still appears in Africans. Of course not! Nor have all brown-eyed people. My partner and I both have hazel eyes and no intention to reproduce. How, in light of all the recombinations that take over time in an ever-increasing gene-pool relevant to the continued existence of a non-harmful variant? I meant the trait was not filtered out. I can't remember what specifically prompted my response and don't consider it important enough to search for.
  15. They have survived. No filter sieved them out.
  16. i had mentioned that there are more light-skinned and light-eyed people in northern latitudes. Yet the de-pigmentation of irises still occurs in Africa and the affected individuals seem to manage all right. It's one of those genetic situations that prevail without making very much difference to survival ; it can be studied, recorded and quantified, but it's ultimately not significant.
  17. I doubt it would figure in that filter. Some other traits with which it is associated might but there is no evident survival drawback to eye colour. On the contrary, since it does appear to be sexually attractive, especially among people where it's uncommon, blue or grey eyes could well be an asset.
  18. I hope it's way deep down in the cheek, because the implications are not auspicious for the psychological health of such a society.
  19. It probably was caused by a mutation that prevented melanin forming in the iris. It still shows up once in a while in brown-skinned people. It may have been part of a genetic package along with desirable other traits and was not itself harmful, except in that blue eyes are more sensitive to light. This would not be a disadvantage in northern climates. In small, isolated populations, blue-eyed (and probably grey-eyed) people naturally occurred and met one another. It didn't need to be specifically selected for, though it may have been attractive as a novelty, and there was no reason to reject grey- or blue-eyed people as mates.
  20. Had those. Except for the odd missile crisis, they were delicious. Not likely again for a considerable while: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-00679-w https://wisevoter.com/country-rankings/countries-currently-at-war/ The present civilization - a couple of decades, if it's lucky. And it had better lucky, 'cose it sure ain't no stable genius! The species? Who knows? My guess is, some isolated human colonies and individual families will survive the collapse, but they may well be wiped out later by fallout, airborne disease, weather events or human marauders from the cities. What they will survive on, if they do, is still open to speculation. My personal hope is that the climate topples this house of madness and lies before the nukes have a chance to: that would leave more of the planet alive. Recovering from the enormous, inexcusable, catastrophic mistake of industrialization is not 'decline' in book.
  21. I thought climate apocalypse was a pretty familiar concept to everyone by now. But, okay: Plans and projects for climate change mitigation are formulated to start making significant improvements in 10, 20, 30 years. Within the next five years, we will pass at least one of the key 'tipping points' from which there is no return. Factor in uncontainable methane and ancient plagues that have been lying dormant under the melting permafrost that will contribute to future global pandemics. Wildfires increase in frequency and magnitude, as do tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards. The oceans get warmer and dirtier: fish die and wash up on the shores to rot. Farther inland than ever before, since the sea level keeps rising due to melted icebergs. Many populous islands disappear; many previously arable lands will become uninhabitable. Hunger, conflict, mass migration. Retreating glaciers will cause more rivers to dry up, which will precipitate more famines and wars, as well as loss of hydroelectric capacity and power blackouts, industries grinding to halt, cities in panic. Governments, unable to cope, will topple; the global economic network will tatter and civilization will crash. Lots and lots of deaths; lots and lots of deserts; lots and lots of people wandering around with guns, looking for anybody who still has food. Eventually, I expect some survivors to form new communities in different parts of the world - some of which may grow into new civilizations. But you can stop worrying about AI and forget any prospect of space exploration.
  22. Or, you can adapt to the planet, as other species do. Nature is heartless; it does not tolerate the weak and defective. If you insist on keeping alive a surplus population far beyond their productive years, you have to adapt the planet to your own needs. That works for a few thousand years, and then the planet can bear no more human activity and dies. Then you have to go look for another planet to alter. There is none better for the life-forms of this one: we are the products of this planet, and probably can't live anywhere else without massive technological aid. Certainly we do not have the capacity at present to go anywhere else that's even remotely habitable.
  23. As do animals, plants and protozoa. Carry them, like little packets of mail. If being carried is acting, then they are and do.
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