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Everything posted by tomgwyther

  1. I'd go one step further. take heroine for example. It destroys lives, creates crime, spreads disease etc. If heroine were both legal and freely available on a government health scheme (national health service) If heroine were available from hospitals free of charge; the drug dealers would be out of business within a month. The crime related to drug taking and dealing would stop (e.g. burglary to fund habit, drug dealer turf wars) Overdoses would be rare (The drugs would be administered by trained professionals) Infection via dirty needles would stop. addicts could be gently weened off the stuff. The person administering the drug would have no interest in you buying more, and would actually be encouraging you to stop. This only leaves the problem of people being addicted to heroine, which at least could be managed better from within a medical establishment. The cost of such a program could easily be off-set by the savings made in tackling drug crime.
  2. It's highly likely that the security services are dong just that. Although it would take a long time for a new western recruit to get close to anyone important. New recruits from the west are used mainly for logistics. they're not trained fighters and have little or nothing to do with command or front-line duties. western recruits are however used for propaganda. The group I.S. isn't necessarily made up of devout muslims, imams etc. it's a loose affiliation of crime bosses and warlords, I kind of Islamic Mafia. Infiltrating such a group will take time.
  3. I've just finished reading 'God is not great' It's very good. I can also recommend watching 'Atheism: A brief history of disbelief ' It's available on youtube in three, one-hour episodes. It would be nice to live in a world where people didn't feel the need to write books about their non-belief in God(s) But when groups of people start acting in ways which are unacceptable and harmfull, It is neccesary for people like Dennet, Dawkins and Hitchens to stand up and say "No! this is unacceptable, and here's why." I'm sure Dawkins would prefer to just be a biologist, but when people who don't know any better start rubbishing his work, he quite rightly gets annoyed. The same would go or Hitchens. he would have been quite happy writing for vanity fair, but, like me, when he sees people dong horrid, wicked things to their fellow humans, he made quite a fuss about it.
  4. Question everything indeed, and it's good that you do. However we have other ways of knowing what's under the Earth's surface which don't involve visual observations. some of the other respondents gave you some useful information. I particularly like Moontan man's analogy to an 'ultrasound scan'
  5. It's worth noting that the knowledge and experiences we're discussing (Taxes, law etc) are in the contexts of what the average 15 year old would know. It's very easy for us older folks to say "I can figure that out, easy!" When we have the benefit of hindsight. For a young adult, just starting out in the world, it must be bewildering; not even to know what the correct questions to ask are, and even then, to not know what exactly the answer means. It would be interesting to give a group of 15 year olds a set of scenarios, forms to fill in or actions to take, and see how well they do. e.g. You have just been involved in a road traffic accident, you don't know who's fault it is, the other driver is shouting at you and becoming hostile. What do you say to them? Whom should you contact? what details do you need? what do you do next? You recieve a letter from the tax office which says that "HMRC belive you owe us money, it must be paid by a certain date" You do not have the money, nor are you likely to. what office should you speak to? which organisation should you contact? Which forms will you need? what other information will you need and where can you get it? Your land lord wants to evict you in next month, you rent is late by one week, you have nowhere else to go can he do this? who can you speak to? what legislation do you need to know? what happens if I refuse? Your bank is taking charges which exceed your earnings, leaving you broke. Can they do this? Why are they doing this? How do you stop this? Whom can you contact for advice? the bank wont help. You get a letter from a company claiming to be a debt collector on behalf of the bank, they want a lot of money plus fees Can tey do this? to what extent can they charge fees? can they come to your house as they threaten to do? what powers do they have? A close relative has dies, you ave discovered the body, there are no family or friends available to help. Although upset by the death, you have to act. Who do you call first? what information/paperwork of the dead person will you need? who is responsible for the cost of the funeral? who else need to know what has happened and why? Whilst onboard a boat, you spot someone struggling in the water, no-one else has noticed. What is the first thing you should do? What must you continue to do? what ust you not do?
  6. Taxes asside. there are a number of other things which are not taught in UK schools, Unknown unknowns if you will. Things about which you only gain knowledge when they go wrong or when there is problem. Your rights and obligations when renting a house for example, how your utility bills are calculated, what rateable value your property is and what to do if you're made homeless. Another thing which has come to light for me is: What to do if you have a baby. My wife's just given birth to a baby girl; during her pregnancy, I found out that there were huge gaps in my knowledge, mainly about how the hospital system works, what to expect and when. Yes, information is out there, but one has to know that it is, where to find it and that you were lacking it in the first place.
  7. As mentioned in other posts, doing you taxes is way more complex that mere addition and subtraction. Otherwise accountants wouldn't need to pass exams to practice. For example: Ddo you know what you annual mileage allowance is, when it runs from/to, how that mileage changes depending on the vehicle class and the total mileage covered in any tax year and how to calculate diferent types of mileage, how vehicle value depretiation changes depending on whether it is covered under you annual investment allowance, which is dependant on which tax year your filing for etc etc etc. The above information is just an example of how to fill in ONE box in a 26 page document. It get more complex if you're a farmer or fisherman. No one ever taught me how to fill in tax return. Luckily my Mother was a tax officer for year and would spend evenings explaining how it all worked. Tax isn't the only thing which isn't taught in school, nor the only subject I would wish to cover in my book. How to write a will, rent a house, get a mortgage, basic car maintainance, various types of insurance, how the law works, how a contract works, are not effectively taught in schools.
  8. UK as it happens, not that there is a huge diference between US and UK. The book would generally be aimed at UK teenagers. It would teach all those skill which are not evolved naturally or taught in schools. Calculating one's tax return is - when you get down to it- quite an un-natural thing to do, when contrasted with hunter-gathering. Moreover: AIA, POA, P45 P90 LEL PAYE were all alien to me when I left school.
  9. Great topic. As it happens, I am writing a book on this very subject. I started it when my wife got pregnant with the intention of dedicating it to my daughter. The working title is 'The universe: some useful information to help you live in it.'* It contains chapters on money, credit cards, tax, how to rent a house, how car insurance works, what to do if someone dies, what to do in a crisis (poverty, homelessness) how the law effects you, basic mathamatical concepts for everyday life. etc etc etc. Basically, all the stuff you learn after school via trial and error. The idea came to me many years ago, after a minor car accident. I had no idea how car insurance really worked and as a result I ended up getting shafted by the other party "If only they had taught me in school how car insurance works" I thought. *I shall need to consult with Douglas Adams' estate for use of the title, I've always thought it rather catchy! p.s. this is the curent contents list. Money What is Money? Banks Savings Debt Spending Law Your rights Your responsibilities Common law Civil law Home Domestic admin Water Electricity Travel Cars Automotive admin Air travel Public transport Survival Finding food Finding shelter Death What is death What happens What to do next
  10. I've been hunting around for the article in 'The Week' which studied this new caliphate in more detail. Can't see to find it though. Shame. I'm beginning to wonder if the abolishion of the old European drawn borders, followed by the establishing of a (albeit deeply moraly disagreeable) Sunni state is such a bad idea. Who knows, maybe it will stabilize the region.
  11. Terrorists who overthrow governments become governments themselves.
  12. Glad some one brough it up. I'll be interested to see how this new Caliphate pan out. looks like the plan is to stradle the old Sykes Picot line, as it was before WWI. IMHO, it's yet another fascist dictatorship, based on primitive tribal god images. It will eventually fail, but not before a lot of blood has been spilled. For now I shall just watch and wait
  13. Nice piece. I know from experience; putting orchestral pieces together is time consuming. I love the melodies and the generall force of the piece. Maybe try adding some dynamics into the piece, either by varying the volume of some of the lines, or by having different instruments taking the lead, i.e interweaveing the string and brass melodies with each other. I look forward to hearing more.
  14. In my experince, creationists tend also to be racists. Not all but some. Evolution via natural selection proves that all human beings are the same species, irrespective of skin colour. For some, the idea that black people are equal with white people is unpallettable. Just as racists are unwilling to change their mind about why they hate other racists, creationists are - via ignorance or pride - unwilling to change their mind. I'm not saying that creationist = racist, but they are certainly close in their liniage and both employ a close-minded and, to be frank, stupid way of thinking.
  15. I found this rather useful site which deal with exactly the question you posed. http://physics.info/centripetal/practice.shtml My maths skills are pretty poor, but i reckon the bike will want to approach the loop at about 50Kph and be doing about 20Kph at the top of the loop.
  16. Can you describe the 'loop' better, and what the bike is doing in/on/around it. Is the loop like a circular running track on the ground? is it a wall-of-death type loop? is it a vertical loop? How wide is one lane, how heavy is the bike, why does it have such a huge engine?
  17. Most are collection of sampled instruments, but some are samples of sound effects
  18. maybe you could find a 'soundfont' for what you're looking for, they're royalty free, and free to distribute
  19. http://whitenoisemp3s.com/sounds-like/rainforest i found this, as for the head crack, just a hand clap would do
  20. Nice little video. I've spent a good few years dealing with intellectual copyright law over my years in the entertainment industry. I had a read over the terms and condition of freesound. In short, your best off just getting sounds from somewhere else. Free distribution rights are given to 'freesound' and third parties, i.e. You. Whomever uploaded the sound in the first place still has primary copyright over that sound, However, because they've uploaded it to freesound, they agree that it can be used by third parties for their own projects. You are free to use and distribute this sound in any way you see fit. The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. Quite why someone would upoad a sound and then not expect it to be used by a third party is a bit weird, but hey, some people are a bit weird! IF this video went viral and IF it generated lots of money for you and IF the guy who originally made the sounds could prove that his sounds were primarily responsible for the video's succes, and IF a judge could even be bothered to look at this case, then the original copyright owner might have something to compain about. But until that time, you've nothing to worry about. In any case, the copyright owner has already waved his rights by uploading the sounds in the first place In my opinion, the sounds are too short to even warrant a copyright, and if the guy who uploaded them is so protective; why did he upload them in the first place? Try useing a different site, or better still, create your own sound effects, it's quite fun.
  21. While you're at it, I'd be interested to know why there are large deposits of sand in the New Forest (To the east of Exeter) I can only presume that at one time, the area was coastal. There's an enormous sand dune just to the south of my at Linwood, and there are two massive piles of sand down the road from where I live, rather comically named 'Sandy Balls'.
  22. My friend travels regularly between Europe and India. She has reported no such colour changes.
  23. I use this bea phenomena when tuning a piano, it's actually more accurate than a digtal tuner. here's an example of what you suggested, the left channel plays a slightly different frequency to the right channel, you can also hear the same thing with head phones, the beat phenomena sort of happens inside your brain as well as physically in the air.
  24. I found this article in New Scientist. It gives a plausible explanation as to why or brains seem to prefer simple harmonic ratios, as opposed to more complex ones. here are a few excerpts. The key to pleasant music may be that it pleases our neurons. A new model suggests that harmonious musical intervals trigger a rhythmically consistent firing pattern in certain auditory neurons, and that sweet sounds carry more information than harsh ones. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, we have known that two tones whose frequencies were related by a simple ratio like 2:1 (an octave) or 3:2 (a perfect fifth) produce the most pleasing, or consonant, musical intervals. This effect doesn't depend on musical training – infants and even monkeys can hear the difference. Signals from the sensory neurons arrive at the same time if the tone is consonant, and so the interneuron still fires just once, then waits until it "recharges" before it fires again. The result is a regular train of pulses. By contrast, the signals from dissonant tones arrive at different times and so generate an irregularly spaced train of pulses in the interneuron.
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